The Stewardship of Torch Lake

I’m not a scientist…


unless you count teaching 6th grade science for a dozen years or more.

Even at that I had to scramble to keep up with the knowledge base. I’m also not an engineer, a geologist or a chemist.

So when I started to hear about “fracking” & drilling, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Since it hasn’t been happening in my back yard much – yet – it’s been easy to set aside.

I don’t want to get “preachy” here & there are certainly others eminently more qualified to speak about this matter but…

I’ve been traveling this past week, breezing through the Upper Penninsula, zipping through Minnesota, zooming into North Dakota. The first actual destination was the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Unit) which is described as the “Badlands of North Dakota”. I journeyed to The Badlands in South Dakota several years ago & was suitably impressed. The Roosevelt Park scenery is similar to its cousin to the south, but smaller & more accessible. Spent a bucolic couple of hours driving through, snapping photos of bison, birds & longhorn…picnicking, breathing deeply… enjoyed every moment.







Then headed north into what I now know is the Bakken Oil Field, a journey from the sublime, right straight into the heart of the ridiculous. I’ve read about the California Gold Rush, the Texas Oil Boom, the Alaskan Pipeline. They all sounded horrible in a kind of fascinating way.

North Dakota has decided to allow drilling for oil in the northwest corner of their state. I know there are arguments for & against what they have chosen & I’m not qualified to innumerate them.

I just want to encourage you to do one thing…

Buy a plane ticket to the northwest corner of North Dakota & drive around a bit. You should decide for yourself what you think about the issues of oil drilling & “fracking” in & around Torch Lake & Michigan.

Me… I’m off to do some more hiking!!!

A princess' addiction to wine starts early !!!


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The Leaving of Torch Lake

I can’t believe I’m saying this but…


I’m leaving the lake.

Yup…going on vacation.

Just as the weather & the water are warming up, just as the leaves are unfurling, the flowers blooming, that perfect summer time is finally approaching & everything we wait for all through the long cold winter is nearly here, I’m packing up.

To add insult to injury, I’m not traveling to some other warm & lovely spot…I’m going  NORTH!!! Back to cooler temperatures, back to sweaters & sweatshirts, & maybe even (God forbid) mittens… I’m off to the Canadian Rockies. Wish I could tell you I’m overjoyed to be going, that I’ve been chomping at the bit to just jump in the car & zoom away.

photo compliments of

photo compliments of

Truthfully, I alternate between counting the days & wishing I were already back. The dock’s in – the boat’s not. The flowers are blooming – the vegetables are still at the garden center. The floors are clean – the windows are not. Some neighbors are here – some are not. The new septic system is done – the roof is not. I’ve kayaked – not sailed. The shops are open – my money is still in my wallet. I’ve waded – not jumped.

On the one hand, I always love the way the summer consumes me & will miss the rhythm of the waves & the days. On the other, every single person I’ve talked to who has visited the Canadian Rockies extolls their extraordinary beauty.

I’m trying to open my mind, loosen my grip, let go & just enjoy the journey. But I swear to you now…

If I have to touch snow again I will simply weep!

Me…I guess I’m off to pack for the journey!!!

A princess loves to travel

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The Morels of Torch Lake

You either “get” Morels… or you don’t…literally!

When some of my friends (who shall remain nameless) hear me talking about Morels, they think I’m trying to start some deep philosophical conversation about the nature of goodness & evil, or whether you should lie to protect a friend (aka…morals). They prepare to debate the value of virtue or the honor in honesty. While this may be an interesting way to spend an afternoon…

All I want to do is find a mushroom to go with my dinner!

It’s Morel season in Northern Michigan & that means it’s time to go hunting. To the uninitiated, it seems a simple task. Grab a decent pair of shoes, some bug spray, a compass, a net bag & you’re good to go. Truly, all those things help but seasoned Morel hunters know the real secret…

Focus! Absolute attention, complete concentration, & serious single-mindedness.

Armed with all that, I set out the other day to hunt the mighty Morel.

This is not a Morel…it’s a trillium. DSCN3684 And this is not a Morel…just a cool fungus thing on a tree. DSCN3652 This is also not a morel…it’s a Spring Beauty. DSCN3654You guessed it…not a Morel…Marsh Marigolds. DSC00471-001 Cool map looking thing on a log. DSCN3635 A “wannabe” Morel…A Beefsteak mushroom. DSCN3689 And Jacob’s Ladder. DSCN1303 And Dutchman’s Britches. DSCN3690 Another cool tree fungus thing. DSCN3645Jack in his Pulpit. DSCN3691 Oh, yeah… DSCN3637 So now you know my secret.

Focus, always focus!

If you click on the link here, you will find a map to my secret morel spot.


Really? You thought I’d share?

Me…I’m off to do some serious sauté – ing!!!

Homemade is best I

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