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Sunset over the Keweenaw Bay on the 4th of July

Sunset over the Keweenaw Bay on the 4th of July

Before we even get to the subject of fireworks (human or ant) let’s enjoy a peaceful moment.  Look at that sunset in the photo above.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Calming?  Lovely?

We drove over to Baraga about 9:30 p.m. last night.  I had a yogurt strawberry ice cream in a waffle cone which dripped ice cream all over the hands while trying to take the following photo.  It’s a wonder there’s not smears of frozen strawberry yogurt all over the image.

Family after family, campfire after campfire, as folks line up along the bay to watch the fireworks

Family after family, campfire after campfire, as folks line up along the bay to watch the fireworks

Hundreds of people milled everywhere, waiting for the fireworks.  Along the Keweenaw Bay in every imaginable spot.  By the park.  Over behind the marina.  On Sand Point.  Half the community turned out to watch the firework display.

It didn’t start until 11 p.m.  We were yawning in the car, but our cameras were ready.  A family from Chassell (a town to the north of us) with relatives from Tennessee surrounded our car.  We were entertained.  Dozens and dozens of private pre-show fireworks boomed off everywhere.  We live on a Native American reservation, so fireworks are readily available.  Big ones.  At one point we sat surrounded by smoke and fireworks, waiting for the main attraction. 

Are you ready for the lovely firework photos?  Yes?

Well you’re not going to see any here.

You may see something that vaguely resembles a “light show in the sky” but it would be a stretch to call them “fireworks”.  My camera simply wouldn’t register anything other than a blur.  So let’s call the following images “art” instead. 

Here are some “art” shots.

Musical ntoes on the horizon

Musical notes on the horizon (quarter notes?)

Colored dots in the black sky

Modern art dots in the black sky

My personal favorite  :)

My personal favorite 🙂

Can anyone else see Tinker Bell?  or have I lost it?

Can anyone else see Tinker Bell? or have I lost it?

Oh, OK.  You’re wondering if there is anything half-way resembling “real” fireworks.  Not really.  But here’s a shot that almost captures the essence of the light show that entertained hundreds of us during the 4th of July celebration in Baraga last night:

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

And now it’s time to share about the Ant Fireworks.

This morning we were splitting up a truckload of firewood, as usual.  We are really roaring through that huge pile of wood with, maybe, only four truckloads left to split and haul and stack.  We decided to split some cedar kindling today.  Easy, right?  Cedar cuts like a  knife through butter.  It’s a breeze to split.

We split maybe a half dozen.  Then hauled another log onto the splitter…and…broke it open…and hundreds of ants burst out of that log.  Red ants.  Fire ants. Biting ants. 

You should be glad you don’t have any pictures of what happened next.  The ants started crawling up our jeans, in our shirts, under our sleeves.  We (well, mostly me) started jumping and swatting and trying to kill the fiercely biting red ants which were attempting to bite and sting and attach to our skin.

Between the noise of our yelps as the ants bit and the streaming ants scattering all over it looked like massive fireworks!  And yes, I had to take my jeans off in the driveway, hoping to high heaven that no one would choose this particular moment to come visit.  Off came the jeans!  Off came the shoes!  Off came the socks! 

And finally the Ant Fireworks stopped. 

I’m hoping never to personally experience ant fireworks of that nature again.  As for firework “art”…or maybe real firework photos!…we’ll try again next 4th of July.

Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend.

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Beautiful green of the creek in the ravine

Beautiful green of the creek in the ravine

Shhh….there’s no dogs around today, are there?  Since they’re back at home, I’ll tell you about what we saw in the ravine yesterday.  First of all, I LOVE this ravine.  It’s such a special place.  It looks like a green wide expansive park through which flows a beautiful moving stream.  In mid-summer, it often almost dries up.  Right now, after all this rain, it’s a roaring little river with mini-waterfalls. 

Fascinating inner circle of Fern

Fascinating inner circle of Fern

Tall ferns grow majestically here.  So do giant mosquitoes.  Here’s the secret to walking in the woods at this time of year:  Walk.   You’re safe if you’re walking.  If you stop to, say, scratch, or take a photo, or pet a dog, you’re in trouble.  The mosquitoes dive-bomb in with their radar-like accuracy for a blood-feast.  Just keep walking at a steady pace, and they generally stay at bay.

Across the road from the ravine grows a massive thimbleberry patch.  About four or five years ago the blossoms multiplied beyond imagination and grew fat red berries.  Enough to make jam.  Imagine that!  It takes so many thimbleberries to cook up jam that you need an active patch.  I became blissed-out picking maybe two or three quarts of lovely berries, lost in thimbleberry plants which grew over the head.  Do you think these plants will produce much this year? 

Hmmm...doesn't look like too many blossoms in the patch, does it?

Hmmm...doesn't look like too many blossoms in the patch, does it?

I promised you a slug photo, right?  The picture of the tentacled fellow still isn’t ideal, but it shows you the creatures which have appeared all over the woods in the aftermath of the days of rain.  There are slugs on the trees, slugs on the plants, slugs on the wildflowers, slugs on the car…well, you get the idea.  This slug was crossing the road yesterday, aiming for the other side.  Hope no crazed driver (like myself, trying to get the dog home yesterday) ran it over. 

Slug

Slug

Very odd ant hills

Very odd ant hills

Perhaps some naturalists can share with us why the ants suddenly began constructing skyscrapers.  Instead of their usual ground-level rounded hill condominiums.  It probably had something to do with the rain.  This morning, upon going outside, I noticed dozens of upward-built ant hills.  Perhaps, sodden by the many days of rain, they determined to save the queen by building upward.  (In a sudden moment of absolute memory loss, I googled “Do ants have queens?” and learned that, yes, of course, indeed they do. They also don’t have lungs.  Want to read more about ants?  Try this website.)

Today’s outdoor activity consisted of a) a ten minute wander outside this morning, b) a lovely chat on the telephone on the deck for a half hour with an friend from gaia.com.  His name is Ben and we’ve never chatted before.  He was also sitting outside on his deck.  Very satisfying.  And c) unloading the truck and stacking the wood in the wood pile this evening. 

But in between my friends, Jan and Joanne, and I enjoyed a thoroughly lovely tea party!  Yes!  I know it’s not an outdoor adventure, but we did have to open the door and walk outside to get to our car in order to drive up to Houghton.  We went to the Four Seasons Tea Shop and experienced the most delicious tea, salads, croissants, wraps, soups and sweets.  Oh luscious.  We all ordered something different and divvied up the food into thirds so we could all sample each of the offerings.  We’ve been trying to arrange this trip for more than a year.  Thank goodness it worked out today! 

Jan, Joanne and Kathy with their little fingers up in the air like proper tea drinkers

Jan, Joanne and Kathy with their little fingers up in the air like proper tea drinkers

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