Lots to Talk About! 3/26/15

Settle back, y’all.  It’s going to be one of those loooong posts . . . I can just feel it!

I’ve realized that the crashing of a laptop no longer throws me into a total tizzy like it used to do. My iPhone gives me the ability to do most everything I can do on the computer  – phone folks (even Skype), text messages, pay bills, surf the internet, get directions to anywhere I want to go, watch movies, listen to music . . . the list goes on and on.  But what I simply CAN’T abide doing on my phone is writing this blog.  I have a hard enough time texting a couple of sentences (I think my fingers are too big – or maybe it’s just a mental block), and to even consider writing an entire blog post on that T.I.N.Y keyboard makes me want to just go hurl myself into the ocean!  I taught myself to type at home at the age of 11 on an old Royal manual typewriter, using a “Learn to Type” book my daddy brought home one day.  The book was actually for my mom (although I can’t imagine why daddy thought she needed to learn this skill).  Mom pretty much ignored it, but I grabbed it up and had a blast pounding away on those old keys.  When I actually took “typing” in high school as a Freshman, I was timed at 50 words per minute on the first day of class.  You can imagine my speed when I discovered ELECTRIC typewriters!

Anyway . . . . I do post to Facebook from my iPhone, and over the last 10 days those of you who do Facebook have been able to pretty much see what we’ve been up to.  For y’all, this post will be a little repetitious, but I wanted to share some of those same stories with my readers who aren’t on Facebook.  So bear with me on this one – there are a few things in here I haven’t covered on Facebook.

FLORIDA GOODIES

Imagine my excitement when a mom and baby manatee was spotted just off our seawall!  I later learned this was this calf was born in our inlet last summer, and I guess she stopped by to show off how much her baby has grown.

Imagine my excitement when a mama and baby manatee were spotted just off our seawall! I later learned this calf was born in our inlet last summer, and I guess mama stopped by to show off how much her baby has grown.

They hung around all day and late in the afternoon swam slowly out of our inlet and back into the Intracoastal.  During the day I did some research and found that a lot of people try to lure the manatees to their docks by shooting fresh water over them and into their mouths from garden hoses.  It seems that manatees LOVE fresh water.  But. . . I also learned that the fresh water hose thing is against the law in Florida.  It lures the manatees into areas when boats are numerous, and that is the number 1 killer of manatees - boat propellers (as you can see, this mom has had a few run-ins with those props herself).  These are old scars that obviously weren't deep enough to threaten her life, but this is why there are so many "Manatee Zones" on the Intracoastal!

The pair hung around all day and late in the afternoon swam slowly out of our inlet and back into the Intracoastal. I did some research and found a lot of people try to lure the manatees to their docks by shooting fresh water over them and into their mouths from garden hoses and by throwing lettuce to them. It seems that manatees LOVE fresh water – and lettuce. But. . . I also learned that the fresh water hose thing and feeding manatees is against the law in Florida. It lures the manatees into areas where boats are numerous, and guess what the #1 killer of manatees is – boat propellers (as you can see, this mom has had a few run-ins with those props herself). These are old scars that obviously weren’t deep enough to threaten her life, but this is why there are so many “Manatee No Wake Zones” on the Intracoastal!

Ted and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on St. Patrick's Day by going out to dinner at a new restaurant in Ormond Beach - "31". Sooo nice, with awesome food and entertainment!

Ted and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day by going out to dinner at a new restaurant in Ormond Beach – “31”. Sooo nice, with awesome food and entertainment!

FLAGLER HUMANE SOCIETY

It’s really ridiculous when your “retired” schedule is so busy you can’t find a day to volunteer – but that was the case last week.  I never got out to the Humane Society, but I did get all my TB testing done to work at Florida Hospital Flagler.  On Saturday I’m going to work a few hours for the Humane Society at a spring festival at one of the Flagler churches.  We’ll have information to give out, and we’re taking a few pooches and kitties that are available for adoption.  On Monday, I’ve got an all-day orientation at the hospital.  After that orientation, I’ll be ready for training and hopefully will be actually volunteering in a couple of weeks – every Thursday from 8 am-12 noon in the Emergency Room.  I’m thinking 4 hours at the hospital and 8 hours at the Humane Society each week will be just perfect!

Boy - a 4-year-old male, with gorgeous green eyes.

Boy – a 4-year-old male, with gorgeous green eyes.

This is what Boy thought of my attempts to get him to pose by dangling a squeaky mouse toy next to his head.  Cats are hilarious!

This is what Boy thought of my attempts to get him to pose by dangling a squeaky mouse toy next to his head. Cats are hilarious – and stubborn!

Sweet Otis - a 2-year-old male.  All these cats love perching on this three-story cat tower and looking out the window.  Thank goodness for that tower!

Sweet Otis – a 2-year-old male. All these cats love perching on this three-story cat tower and looking out the window. Thank goodness for that tower!

Lu (short for Lucifer).  He apparently wasn't the most friendly cat when he was brought in).  A 7-year-old male who purred the entire time I was working with him.  I think that name should be changed to LB (for Laid-Back).

Lu, short for Lucifer, apparently wasn’t the most friendly cat when he was brought in.  This 7-year-old male has obviously mellowed because he purred the entire time I was working with him. I think hisname should be changed to LB (for Laid-Back).

Little Barker a 4-year-old tortoiseshell mix.  She's an adult, but a very small grown-up.  Hardest cat I've photographed yet - would NOT stay still.

Little Barker, a 4-year-old tortoiseshell mix. She’s an adult, but a very small grown-up kitty. Most difficultcat I’ve photographed yet – would NOT stay still.  Very sweet . . . and curious . . . and FAST!

I LOVED this cat:  Gretta - a one-year-old female Abyssinian mix.  She's got a lot of Abyssinian markings.

I LOVED this cat: Gretta – a one-year-old female Abyssinian mix.

She's got a lot of Abyssinian markings.

She has a lot of Abyssinian markings and is sweet, friendly, and a real lover.

Patches - a 2-year-old female.  Adorable!

Patches – a 2-year-old female. Adorable!

The first kitten I've photographed - this is Billie-Jo, a 3-month-old solid black bundle of love, love, love!

The first kitten I’ve photographed – this is Billie-Jo, a 3-month-old solid black bundle of love, love, love!

"Who?  Me?"

“Who? Me?”

Excuse me a moment, but I’m about to climb up on my soap box.  After I spend three hours photographing kitties (seriously, these 7 cats took 3 hours – because they’re cats, and they simply don’t care if you photograph them or not), I always walk back to the dog area to see who’s come in new.  As I walked up and down the aisles of kennels, I began to read each dog’s “history”, and one of the items they list is “reason for turning in”.

IMG_3868Really?  Did this person not know when he/she picked out this dog that it would need to be fed, exercised, taken to the vet, played with, taught good manners, and loved for the next 10-15 years?  Obviously not. . . because there sat a beautiful one-year-old Labrador/Shepherd mix (who I would not photograph and show you because you would all be crying over your computers in one minute flat).  This is one reason why there are so many abandoned animals in shelters.  I know, I know.  At least they turned him in to a place where there is a good chance he’ll find a great forever home – instead of dropping him out of the car somewhere.  For that I am so thankful.

Counterpoint to the above story.  Two weeks ago while I was photographing the cats, I looked out the window and almost dropped my camera.  One of the volunteers was walking a pure-bred Bernese Mountain Dog out to the free-run pen – a dog just like Jason’s Beyla. When I finished with the kitties I tracked down the dog and his story.  I didn’t photograph him either because this gorgeous dog was at least 30 lbs. underweight and had ears so infected you could see he was in a lot of pain.  He was so malnourished he needed to gain at least 10 lbs before he could be neutered.  Beautiful head and conformation.  He came in one day and was adopted the next.  A lady was on a list for the first Bernese to come into the shelter and wanted the dog for her four-year-old special needs child.  She was told all about his health issues and the health issues Bernese are prone to have as they age.  She said, “If he has two months, two years, or ten years, you can rest assured they will be the happiest and healthiest of his life.”  Music to a shelter worker’s ears!  He went home with her, is doing great with her child, is getting fattened up for his surgery, and is being regularly administered meds for his ears.  This boy will have a very good life from this point on.

MACKINAC ISLAND

A spring snowstorm hit the island yesterday, bringing icy conditions.  A little later temps began to rise slightly, and the Mackinac Bridge closed temporarily because of the danger of falling ice. The Coast Guard is cutting through the ice in the shipping lanes today – a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.  Yeah!!!!

St. Patrick's evening on Mackinac!  RobertMcGreevy captured the Aurora Borealis that turned the sky into a Technicolor screen

St. Patrick’s evening on Mackinac! Robert McGreevy captured the Aurora Borealis turning the sky into a Technicolor screen of beauty.

Bob Frei captured this one the next evening.  He was in Mackinaw City, shooting across the Straits to the island.

Bob Frei captured this one the next evening. He was in Mackinaw City, shooting across the Straits to the island.

What a light show!  This one's from Lana Trayser

What a light show! This one’s from Lana Trayser, showing the Northern Lights behind the Mackinac Bridge!  Awesome pics!

Molly McGreevy Update:  “I’m feeling better.  Still very sore, but moving around better and better.  I get a medi port surgery for chemo soon and probably start chemo the third week in April. Continued thanks for everyone’s prayers.  Please don’t stop!”

Molly's dog, Mieke - showing off for Molly on her first venture outside after getting back to the island.

Molly’s dog, Mieke – showing off for Molly on her first venture outside after getting back to the island.

Silver Birches Update:  Liz Ware continues to make progress on her project of love – the restoration and renovation of Silver Birches.  She tells the story much better than I do, so I’ll use Liz’s words in the captions beneath the photographs below.

Demolition of the top two floors of the lodge at Silver Birches began this week after tentative approval of the Mackinac Island Planning Commission at its March 10 meeting and receipt of related local permits.Historic preservation speci...alists, ERA Architects, Inc. were commissioned in late 2014 to create a Historic Preservation and Strategy Report for the Lodge at Silver Birches. This report provided background on the condition of the lodge and identified options for creating the long-term sustainability of the building while retaining its historical integrity. The forty-five page document was delivered to the Planning Commission for review in February 2015. This report also serves as a baseline for the Historic Preservation Easement agreement that we hope the City will approve at its meeting on March 31. The agreement will ensure the preservation of the historic features of Silver Birches’ original buildings for generations to come.

“Demolition of the top two floors of the lodge at Silver Birches began this week after tentative approval of the Mackinac Island Planning Commission at its March 10 meeting and receipt of related local permits. Historic preservation specialists, ERA Architects, Inc., were commissioned in late 2014 to create a Historic Preservation and Strategy Report for the Lodge at Silver Birches. This report provided background on the condition of the lodge and identified options for creating the long-term sustainability of the building while retaining its historical integrity. The forty-five page document was delivered to the Planning Commission for review in February 2015. This report also serves as a baseline for the Historic Preservation Easement agreement that we hope the City will approve at its meeting on March 31. The agreement will ensure the preservation of the historic features of Silver Birches’ original buildings for generations to come.”

The report was commissioned as a part of the due diligence being undertaken to rehabilitate the lodge in accordance with both The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation & Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings, and the Michigan Building Code. It identified three options for rehabilitation with the full removal and reconstruction of the second and third floors to match the original being the preferred method. It was considered to be the most feasible for providing greater structural integrity and support for the continued use of the Lodge as a hotel. With some alterations to strengthening the building, this option will rehabilitate the building and restore its ground floor interior and exterior historic character. A new foundation and the ground floor rehabilitation occurred in 2014.

“The report was commissioned as a part of the due diligence being undertaken to rehabilitate the lodge in accordance with both The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation & Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings, and the Michigan Building Code. It identified three options for rehabilitation with the full removal and reconstruction of the second and third floors to match the original being the preferred method. It was considered to be the most feasible for providing greater structural integrity and support for the continued use of the Lodge as a hotel. With some alterations to strengthening the building, this option will rehabilitate the building and restore its ground floor interior and exterior historic character. A new foundation and the ground floor rehabilitation occurred in 2014.”

Both the city building inspector and the city architect, Dennis Dombroski and Richard Neumann, respectively, had an opportunity to review and comment on this report in advance of its publication. Additionally, Mr. Neumann was commissioned by Silver Birches Mackinac, LLC to undertake a formal Architectural Review of the plans to rebuild the second and third floors to assist the Planning Commission. MP Gamble Construction is the general contractor and Plutchak Crane Rental and Fabrication is assisting in both the demotion and rebuilding of the 2 stories.

“Both the city building inspector and the city architect, Dennis Dombroski and Richard Neumann, respectively, had an opportunity to review and comment on this report in advance of its publication. Additionally, Mr. Neumann was commissioned by Silver Birches Mackinac, LLC to undertake a formal Architectural Review of the plans to rebuild the second and third floors to assist the Planning Commission.  MP Gamble Construction is the general contractor and Plutchak Crane Rental and Fabrication is assisting in both the demotion and rebuilding of the 2 stories.”

On a personal note, seeing the roof come off the lodge was bittersweet. However, my family is resolute in rehabilitating this iconic (and beloved) property in a manner that will allow it to be enjoyed for generations to come. We understand the curiosity surrounding this part of the entire rehabilitation of Silver Birches. Our thanks to those who have sent aerial photos and our team on-site taking photos. Construction cameras will also capture the progress and will be shared on Facebook. Silver Birches is a construction site. We ask adherence to the posted No Trespassing signs to ensure safety for all. As always, should you have any questions, I can be reached on Facebook, email lizware1@gmail.com, or by phone 703.627.8315.

“On a personal note, seeing the roof come off the lodge was bittersweet. However, my family is resolute in rehabilitating this iconic (and beloved) property in a manner that will allow it to be enjoyed for generations to come.  We understand the curiosity surrounding this part of the entire rehabilitation of Silver Birches. Our thanks to those who have sent aerial photos and our team on-site taking photos. Construction cameras will also capture the progress and will be shared on Facebook.  Silver Birches is a construction site. We ask adherence to the posted No Trespassing signs to ensure safety for all. As always, should you have any questions, I can be reached on Facebook, email lizware1@gmail.com, or by phone 703.627.8315.”

I can hardly wait to take a ride around the island this summer for a glimpse of all this up close and personal!

I’ll close with a little sound-only video posted by Robert McGreevy.  You’ve seen tons of photos showing what the Straits of Mackinac LOOK like when they’ve frozen over.  This video lets you listen in on the SOUNDS all that ice makes!  This is SO cool! https://soundcloud.com/mac801/ice-sounds-02-21-2015?fb_action_ids=10205976331477667&fb_action_types=og.shares

I think that takes us right up through today on all the news.  See you back here on Sunday, good Lord willing!

Oh, by the way, I’ve MISSED Y’ALL!

17 thoughts on “Lots to Talk About! 3/26/15

  1. What would we do without pictures?!?! Thank you to all your contributors. Your cat photos are wonderful. It’s hard to believe there are so many beautiful kittys waiting for homes. “Boy” was my favorite this week. Who knew ice made noises?!? Thank you Robert for sharing that phenomenon. Very interesting blog today. We missed You too!!! Congratulations to You and Ted on your anniversary! A match made in Heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Bree for the beautiful post. I sit here in the snowy UP (near Lake Superior) watching the temperatures drop again. I did get to spend 10 days in sunny Florida last month enjoying the sunshine and got to see some Manatees also. I love seeing pictures from Florida. Of course I also love the Magical Mackinac Island photos my other favorite place in the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am always touched by your photos and stories about the animals at the shelter…and grateful that you volunteer. Lu kind of looked like he could be my sweet Katarina’s twin…except he looks more masculine of course. As I read the reason for surrender on that one dog “too much responsibility”…it made me angry…and hurt for the poor pup. People take on animals and just dump them off like castoffs. A friend of mine who is waiting to adopt a new pup was at a shelter the other day and one of the reasons for surrender on a tag there was “divorce” (neither spouse wanted the dog). IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY! I see so many homeless fur-babies at the shelter and it breaks me heart that I can’t take them all home and give them all the love Katarina receives. Katarina brings us so much joy. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary since my sweet boy Oreo passed. In some ways it seems like just yesterday, and in other ways it feels like he’s been gone forever. I thought I’d never get another pet…but I feel like adopting another is the right thing to do (Oreo would want us to). 😉 Thanks for all of the Mackinac pictures! We are headed up in June (and August) and I can’t wait to see the progress on Silver Birches! I always hoped that one day someone would restore it! It’s so awesome it will be restored to it’s full glory! I hope you and Ted have a wonderful weekend!
    Melody

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love seeing the Aurora Borealis pics again. Bob Frei is my husband’s cousin. 🙂

    I just shook my head with disgust when I read that someone returned that poor dog because there was too much involved. Really?!!! Hopefully the right family will come along.

    On an unrelated note: I finally read “Heart of Ice ” by PJ Parrish. Excellent read! Thanks for the suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful photos ! The cracking ice was very interesting too. I have been keeping up with Silver Birches and the story is so interesting. Happy anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I missed you, too! I haven’t heard the ice breaking up in so many years. It always sounded like gun shots to me – like they were hunting on Bois Blanc. Love hearing it again. Wish I could send you a tape of the sound our river made when the ice jams broke and miles of ice flowed through. That’s a different sound, too, and distinctive. Ice sure can be destructive and beautiful. And f course, I loved the cat pictures!

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  7. We missed you too Mrs B and Tedd; congrats on the anniversary! Good having the blog back up and running. I’m looking forward to visiting the manatees while I’m on the instructor’s course down in Key Largo this June. I tell ya what………..irresponsible pet owners just absolutely P&^% ME OFF! It’s without saying the shelters that take in animals are doing what they can but there really needs to be a certain line for stupid people in the world and a tall cliff waiting for them at the end of said line……..that’s all I have to say about that. I agree, Lu needs a new name though.

    It’s good to learn that Molly is feeling better and up and around. Her Dutch Shepherd is beautiful BTW;….I’ve trained several for what we do over here in A-stan. Dutch Shepherds are remarkable, high drive dogs. All the pictures were great this post Mrs B! Look forward to Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m not sure what part of your post I liked the most…….let’s just say I loved all of it! I think you missed your calling and could have been an animal photographer. You make it look easy and I’m sure it’s not. If I could, I’d adopt all those animals and rescue them to a good forever home. Thanks so much for all the updates!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great to see your blog up and going again! The pictures of the cats melt my heart. I could never work in an animal shelter, I would bring them all home! LOL!

    I can’t wait to see Silver Birches when I am on the island in June! It has been fascinating to watch the progress but Liz must have an extremely patient nature to her. She has had so many meetings and road blocks. I can’t imagine taking on such a project. Good for her!!!

    Hugs from Iowa!

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  10. GREAT blog Brenda, we sure do miss you when your gone. I’ve never heard ice like that before. Thanks for the link. I had a Royal typewriter too when I was younger. I thought it was just the coolest! 🙂

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  11. One of the two times I have seen the Northern Lights was on Mackinac, a sight I will never forget (it wasn’t in the winter either).

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  12. Brenda,

    Great to have you back. It may be hard for you to realize, but we do miss you when you’re gone. Glad the laptop was fixed and I hope you’ve been able to find everything.

    Thanks for posting the update on the Silver Birches. I hadn’t known the renovation was going to be so extensive. Actually I guess it’s more of a restoration than a renovation. I wonder if all that had be done was expected when it was purchased.

    You’ve done wonders with the cat pictures. I think I like Lu the best. Then again, maybe it’s Boy or Otis. Hard to choose.

    Please enjoy the warmer weather at your house. Believe it or not, my thermometer reads 10 degrees this morning. I don’t think Winter is quite ready to give up yet. And remember I’m not talking about Mackinac Island. I’m talking about southern Michigan.

    Oh, I almost forgot. It was good to hear the sounds of the ice. I hadn’t heard anything like that in decades. Also I just have to say something about the Northern Lights. When I was a senior at Cheboygan High School (1955-56), I worked as a bellhop at the Ottawa Hotel at the corner of State and Main. Many nights when I walked about a mile west to go home, they would be putting on an amazing show as they jumped, rolled and danced across the sky. I remember stopping and just staring at them as they did their performance just for me. Unbelievably beautiful.

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    • Would love to see them once in my lifetime, Lowell. But if that doesn’t happen, at least I’ve seen all these gorgeous photographs!

      >

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  13. Thanks for the blog. I have a inner connection with the Island. Always feel at home when I am there. I am a cancer survivor. I will pray for Molly’s recovery. The journey through treatment can be challenging. It is worth the trip. Looking forward to your progress!!

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