We are thrilled that school is out for the summer. Miss P kicked of her summer vacation with a Girl Scout end of the year camp out last night! We had pouring rain in the wee hours of the morning but luckily the torrential downpour was north of town and missed the campers.
After picking up Miss P, we journeyed on to Ann Arbor to enjoy the Peony Garden at Nichols Arboretum while the Peonies are still blooming. The Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is the largest public collection of historic (pre-1950) herbaceous peony cultivars in North America.
To celebrate the start of winter today we went out to enjoy our freshly fallen snow.
We live on a glacial moraine that is filled with interesting geological features. Today we walked up a kame in the state recreation area. You can see the cone shaped hill there in the right side of the photo below.
Michigan is really a pretty interesting place to live. You may remember when I wrote about the kettle hole in our yard.
"The hill in front of you, known as a kame, was formed thousands of years ago when water from melting glacial ice flowed through a large crack in the ice. Glacial melt water carried sand, gravel, and rocks, depsiting them at the base of the crack to form the kame. To help picture this, imagine how sand flows through and hourglass and creates a rounded pile of sand in the bottom of the hourglass."
I'm thrilled to have everyone home for a few days. Let the festivities begin!
This week we went to the bird sanctuary near us and watched the Sandhill Cranes come in for the night. They spend the night in that wetland area you see in the first photo.
At first we saw a few small groups of cranes flying in. Then more and more larger groups and many groups at once. It was fun to hear them calling as they flew. The ones already on the ground in the wetland area would answer back.
I'm posting these pictures at a larger size so that you can click on them and see some of the groups of cranes in the distance.
(in the photos above and below you can see about 6 groups of cranes in the distance, surrounding the sun below the cloud)
Note the groups in the distance below just over the trees.
So. many. cranes.
This sanctuary is one of a few places where the Sandhill Cranes congregate before heading south together in mid November. We feel lucky to have seen so many on one visit. There were thousands coming in while we were there. Certainly, it the most we have seen in one night. It was a beautiful evening for bird watching.
It was a beautiful day yesterday and we went for a butterfly walk with some people who really know their butterflies.
We saw about 15 different species of butterflies,
and also found a few praying mantis. I'm glad that the super heat of summer has broken enough for us to turn off our air conditioner units - at least for a few days. We are enjoying a lovely breeze through open windows today.