Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dining in the Great Outdoors!

Although the official start of summer isn’t until June 21st, Memorial Day is considered the “unofficial” kick-off to warmer weather, longer days – and outdoor dining.

Grills will be dragged from garages. Tables and chairs hauled to the deck. Entire outdoor kitchens will be set-up and stocked. All of this so we can enjoy - after a long hard winter stuck inside - with finally being about to eat - outside!

I am in love with outdoor dining. I will brave heat, wind, rain and sometimes bugs just to eat outdoors. I have been know to Google local restaurants just to find one with "outdoor seating". Come summer - even with an entire restaurant full of empty tables, I will still ask - "Do you have anything outside?"

I will happily leave the comfort of a climate-controlled, gently lit indoor restaurant to sit in 90-degree, humid sunshine that forces me to wear sunglasses in order to see my dining companions. Doesn't matter. I am eating outside!

Wind whips my hair into my mouth as I chew - no big deal. I am eating outside! A hike down the deck and through the restaurant to get to the restroom - doesn't matter. I am eating outside! There's just something about eating outdoors that makes everything taste extra delicious.

There is something magical about eating outside that makes it worth the risk. When it doesn’t burn, the sun feels lovely; when it doesn’t gust, the wind feels playful. The night can seem more romantic outside. And eating outdoors is inherently more casual than dining inside. It’s hard to feel too formal while listening to frogs croak or watching squirrels race by.

So join me! Enjoy yourself - find someplace special to plop yourself down in a comfy chair pulled up to a table on an deck somewhere and breathe in the intoxicating air of the great outdoors!

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Digging in the Dirt . . .

To dig in one's own earth, with one's own spade, does life hold anything better? - Beverly Nichols

After a long, cold winter I am ever watchfull for the first glimpse of spring.

 How it thrills my heart to spy the first spring birds after their long vacation in Southern climes,

or the white trilliums and yellow lady slippers poking through the debris of winter,

or the new buds promising fragrant blooms on lilac bushes that dot the Island's landscape.

What I miss most, though, during the frigid, frosty months, is my connectin to the soil and what it produces, whether it's garden-fresh vegetables, sun-ripened fruits or brillant blooms.

As strange as it may sound, I need the feel of warm, black dirt running through my fingers. the outdoorsy smell of fresh-turned dirt on my work cloths and , yes, even the taste of a morsel of dirt on my tongue.

In an almost spirtual way, dirt is the substance that ties me to the earth. Just as soil keeps plants firmly anchored, it also keeps me grounded in what's real and what's important. It helps me stay connected. Working with my hands - tilling the soil, planting the seeds, watering the sprouts, hoeing the weeds, pruning the vines and harvesting the crops  yields such a rewarding sense of accomplishment.

The first day I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"U @ 50" . . .

A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact opposite backwards as forward. Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact opposite. This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant. Make sure you read as well as listen forward and backward.

This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old. The contest was titled "u @ 50" by AARP. This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. It was shared with me this morning and I felt it was worth passing on.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Every Adventure Starts and Ends on the Ferry!

The rhythms and rituals of life on the Island are sacred – the ceremonial arrival and departure by ferry; Bayside dinners with terrific food and breathtaking views; the unspoken decree against high heels (although I must admit that I am guilty of ignoring that one out of sheer vanity); and the generational parade of robust kids, running, swimming, squealing, sledding, and coming of age in the woods and on the waters of Drummond.

But getting to Drummond means that your business must first come through the ferry dock – with a tempo and hierarchy unlike any other place. Everyone and everything is on display as vehicles come and go and wait. Everyone’s stuff is on view piled in a backseat, a bed of a truck or stacked high on a trailer. You know what stores people shop at. You know who is getting new furniture. You know what books, magazines and papers people read to pass the time. And you also get a glimpse into each other’s relationships as passengers are dropped off, picked up and said goodbye or hello to.

The ferry also marks the passage from one world to another. The pace of the Island has always been intertwined with the coming and going of the ferry. And life on the Island is a reflection of this marvelous relationship. “Island Time” means a more relaxed way of life – and the wait for the ferry is the first step into a mood and pace that is always of an unhurried nature. This distinctive lifestyle and its gentle easy rhythms are as much a part of the landscape as are the waves lapping at the shore. Waiting for the ferry makes for a wonderful chance to practice patience . . .

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble and Drummond is the best medicine for dealing with the stress of life off the Island. Mahomet once said, “Patience is the key to content.” And I have often been known to exclaim that I am the most content woman in the world when I am back “home” on Drummond.

And so every trip across M-134 brings with it a peaked sense of anticipation – the wait for the ferry always putting extra emphasis on what it really means to get here.

This was one of the first Blogs I posted when starting this page - it bears repeating now as many of us are planning our Great Escapes to the Island for the Summer Season. Hope you enjoyed it the second time around too!

If you are not into sauntering and need to plan your trip down to the last little detail - here's a great link for info on the Ferry schedule:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


“Sometimes we are lucky enough to know our lives have been changed, to discard the old and embrace the new and run headlong down an immutable course. It happened to me . . . on that summer’s day when my eyes were opened to the sea.”  - Jacques Yves-Cousteau

Blue-green stretches of water, emerald islands scattered across this fluid canvas, and warm pine-laden breezes – when it comes to restoring body and soul, no place in the world can compete with Drummond Island. And few other places in the world can inspire one to explore, again and again, the tapestry that makes up a summer spent in the north; the rituals of family, the pleasures of friendship, and the immutable cycles of the natural world. There is a depth of feeling and wonder that lies at the very core of spending one’s summer Up North.

For me there is no sweeter pleasure than a summer day spent out-on-the-hook in Harbor’s big bay. I wake up early in the morning, squint up at the sky to see if the haze margin that promises a scorcher is smudging the horizon, pack a lunch, a hat, some sun block, snatch a bottle of water, and dash out the door. I inevitably run back for the book and bottle of wine I left on the table, then dive into the car and head down to Yacht Haven. My adrenaline is pumping in fierce anticipation, and finally – there it is: the jockeying for a parking space, the hunt for the cart to haul items down the dock and the first deep inhalation of diesel as the Up North’s engine turns over and comes to life. Bingo! All my senses are buzzing with the intoxicating elixir of the elements!

It’s WATER time!

Once anchored out in Harbor I take up residence on the deck – my head falls back unto a pillow. I angle my hat, adjust my sunglasses, open my book and settle into nirvana. Lord Bryon once wrote “There is society where none intrudes/By the deep Sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more.” I would have to agree with this great swimmer wholeheartedly.

Once significantly toasted top and bottom I predictably dive into the water. Half submerged, at one with the aqueous mystery below; I bob around the boat, exposed to the sun and air from the neck up. I am on sensory overload, and I haven’t even broken any laws! I am the most content woman in the world. I surrender to the rhythm of the water and my mind goes as blank as the sky. I might swim a few strokes and then turn on my back to float, letting the energy of the water pass around and through me.

After a while I come back to the present, climb up on to the boat, and flop on to a towel laid out on the deck in a coma of bliss. I slowly drift off to sleep – the smile on my face the same as it was when I was a child and my eyes were first opened to lazy summer days spent out-on-the-hook.

“Summer afternoon – Summer afternoon – the two most beautiful words in the English language.”  – Henry James

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grandbabies always come before writing!

A Sense of Wonder . . .

"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength .. " - Rachel Carson (The Sense of Wonder)

Rachel Carson's book - The Sense of Wonder - shaped how I approached raising my own two boys and later in life my perspective as an educator. Now, as a Grandmother, it is my hope that I am able to be that same good fairy christening my grandchildren with an indestructible sense of wonder.

Today marks Day One of Savannah's Great Adventure on
Drummond Island . . .

If you would like to know more about Rachael Carson's book *The Sense of Wonder* then go to at this link:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sharing Drummond . . .

Grandparents are there to help the child get into mischief
they haven't thought of yet.
 ~ Gene Perret

I head above the 45th with one of our youngest grandchildren - Savannah - today. It will be our first Great Adventure together. She has been on Drummond off and on since she was but a few months old. But always under the supervision of her parents. At a year and a half her parents have agreed that it is time for Grandma to start introducing her to the wonders of the world that is Drummond Island.

Time to start making memories . . .

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good Food, Good Wine, and a Bad Girl!

There is nothing like good food, good wine, and a bad girl. - Fortune cookie

The Summer Social Season on Drummond Island is about to offically begin! It will be heralded in by one of my most anticipated and relished events of the season – a Wine Dinner at Bayside.

There really is nothing like good food and good wine. Being a bad girl, I should know!

But honestly, I have always found the world of wine just a tad bit pretentious. Maybe that is because I was introduced to this universe late in life when I first met my husband, Barry. Despite his patience and tutelage I have yet to feel I am an accepted citizen of the wine world. Not that I don’t love a good glass of fermented grapes – in fact these days I prefer one to a glass of hops and barley. But I must confess – there was a time when I thought Char Donay was a lady from France!

This confession led to Barry purchasing a book designed to help me gain some wine smarts titled, The Saucy Sisters’ Guide to Wine. The Sisters claim that becoming a “wine diva” will give me entrée to a world of “greater popularity, love, sex, health and beauty.” What more could a bad girl ask for? They instantly sold me on boldly exploring this new wine-tasting frontier!

And there is no better venue’ for such study than a Bayside Wine Dinner where Rob, wine connoisseur extraordinaire, takes the time to walk you through each course and it’s accompanying beverage.

But again, I must be frank – sometimes Rob’s commentary begins to sound more like blah, blah, blah then “This is a wonderful chard for the price.” or “I can’t believe I was able to get this cab for tonight’s event.” There are times when, from my perspective, he may as well be speaking in tongues. Maybe he is.

Whatever language he is speaking, it is always clear to me I don’t totally comprehend the just of his meaning. Chard? Cab? Growing up in the Soo a chard was a burned up log or tree from either your burning pit or a wildfire. And a cab was something I didn’t see in person until well over the age of 21 – but I knew it was yellow because of picture books in St. Mary’s library.

When I am asked about wine in public, Barry better be by my side – otherwise I am likely to go off on how I typically judge a wine first by its label. Does it go – read coordinate – with what I am serving? And no, I am not talking the same language as Rob here. I am talking the language of a Fashionitis – does the label coordinate well with what I have going on in terms of color, texture, and style? A well dressed table is a MUST for all meals – wine bottles must not clash with the décor.

Luckily there is a portal into the world of wine for the like’s of me – and it is easily accessible to anyone attending a Bayside Wine Dinner. That portal is Rob. While he may at times appear to be speaking a foreign language he works hard to take the pretension out of his passion. Zinfandel with your Tex-Mex? Not a problem. A little chardonnay with your All-You-Can-Eat Whitefish at the Northwood? Delicious. Pinot Noir and wild venison? Why not?

I like Rob. He just might keep me from feeling like I am over a barrel the next time wine comes up in a conversation. So as Aristophanes, a B.C. bad boy, very cleverly put it - “Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”

NOTE: If you would like to experience a Wine Dinner @ Bayside for yourself I understand the next event is scheduled for Sunday, June 4th. See you there!

Drummond Island Resort and Conference Center
Bayside Dining

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jeepers, Creepers, Love to Hear Them Peepers!

As we peepers peep

We keep the people from their sleep.

Others hear our chorus

And know such swells of spring

A surest sign new life it is to bring.

In our search for other peeps,

We sing all night as we creep

And jump around the deep.

Spring Peepers - a poem by Catinka Knoth 2010

Drummond Island is being serenaded by the lowly little spring peeper, also known as the tree peeper. Right now a concert can be heard on any given evening.

These little frogs, not much more than an inch to an inch and a half, are difficult to find. They nest in and around trees; their brown and tan bodies resemble leaves. They blend in really well.

Like many frogs and toads, the peeper’s song is far louder than one might imagine. Peepers are a type of chorus frog, many call at the same time making their songs blend. The song of the spring peeper is often one of the first recognized by children.

If you are not sure what a Spring Peeper sounds like then enjoy the following video shared by Betsy Purple — April 29, 2007 — video made at a beaver pond in the U.P.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Drummond Island Sunsets . . .

Note: Please wait the few seconds it takes for the slideshow to load. To truly appreciate the photos, click on the small icon in the lower righthand corner of the slideshow toolbar to go to *full screen*.
Then just sit back and enjoy!

Drummond Island Sunsets View Photo Slideshow

Make a Free Flash Slideshow

This slide show was made possible by all the wonderful
Drummond Island Michigan Facebook *Fans*
who generously shared their favorite DI sunset photos.
Special thanks go to the following (in no special order):
Chris Taylor, Aaron Belanger, Karen Elve, Dm Brys, Jack Egan, Heidi Heskett, Brad Rau, Missy Anderson, Gary Krywko, Scott Laaskso, Cj Roggow, Jacquelyn Guisbert, Summer Bartholomew Rose, Bill Bridges, Ross M. Kaplan, Aaron M. Jones, Derek Torno, DIsnowshoes, Danielle Guntzviller, Shannon Rose, Sarah Schackow, Betsy Boris, Jeannie Myers and your's truly, Candis Collick

Sunset Song . . .

A fitting tribute to the new Drummond Island Sunset photo album - enjoy!

Richard Thompson was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of all-time and the recent recipient of both an Ivor Novello Award for Songwriting and the 2006 BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, the iconic British folk rock legend is one of the world's most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters.

The Drummond Island Sunset photo album can be found at this link: