Bays, Blossoms and Ballads

Taking Booklets to the Vineyards

It was an ordinary Friday – some writing, a few errands and a bit of volunteering – nothing too challenging or exceptionally interesting.  But the sun came out, the temperature was headed for 63, and the afternoon had the promise of a perfect Up North Spring Day.

Ann was painting at The Barns with her Plein Air group, part of a workshop to refresh and hone everyone’s outdoor skills before starting their weekly open air painting excursions.   I dropped her off, then took the back road to the kitchen that makes the dips for one of our vineyards, doubled back to Crooked Tree Art Center to pick up boxes of the Art & Craft Trail Guide, my volunteer effort for the day, and over to Cherry Capital Foods to get the artisan crackers for the vineyard.  Less than 10 miles for all of it, but a fun jaunt.

Back home I organized the brochures for the day’s deliveries on Old Mission Peninsula, answered my email, jumped back in the car for my route.  First stop was Peninsula Cellars, in an old school house, with cherry orchards blooming all around.  With the blue sky, the white blossoms and the red-roofed Tasting Room, the contrasts were stunning.

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Fishing Salt Creek by Bicycle

Salt Creek wasn’t a river, not even much of a creek, but then I wasn’t much of a fisherman.

In sixth grade, I was old enough to have a reasonably long leash from Mom, but young enough to still revel in a bicycle as my wheels.


The bike was rather cool actually, a Schwinn with sport handlebars and the twin tube frame.  My Dad got it as part of some trade he did on a car, got me out of my old 20″ into a 24″ – a real bike in my eyes. Continue reading Fishing Salt Creek by Bicycle

I Was Always into Boogie

and I Talked with Louis Armstrong

The Journey Up North along Musical Highways and Byways

The Music of the Spheres is real Up North and so is the Music of the Lakes.  Not just the Great Lakes, but the thousands of smaller lakes that also owe their existence to the glaciers.  Big Water, Music, and wine by the fireside all provide an antidote to the sorrows and challenges that accompany life.

Music is a big part of the Up North frame of mind, and a big part of my journey and my joy.

In the immediate area we have a group called Jazz North that performs regularly, always to a sizable audience.

The bass player is a friend – Glenn Wolff, a well-known illustrator of many books – and another music lover.  Many musicians of note hail from and frequently perform Up North – Jay Kott, Josh Davis, E Minor, Billy Strings, May Erlewine, The Accidentals, Robin Lee Berry, Dominic Fortuna, Blake Elliott, and dozens more of exceptional talent.

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Why Up North?


It started innocently enough with an invitation to go Up North and ski for a couple of days.  Wanting to go both for the opportunity to ski and to be polite to our inviters, we bundled off on a January Friday to Bellaire.  Our hosts had purchased a studio condominium in a small project near the summit of the resort, with views over the valley, across Lake Bellaire, glimpsing Torch Lake and then West Bay, quite stunning indeed.  The condo had everything one needed – living area with a wood-burning fireplace, two sleeping areas accommodating four people, a compact but full kitchen, bathroom and storage.  Describing us as smitten would be an understatement. Continue reading Why Up North?

Maple Bay Tranquility

I live in the shade of the great maple trees
And though I’m quite old they’re much older than me
There’s birch and old oak,
White pines look like smoke
Together they all form a dense canopy

There’s cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers and doves
And chickadees, indigo buntings and crows
A hawk that eats squirrel,
Bald eagles that whirl
And finches that visit the feeder in droves

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