Aardy R. DeVarque (aardy) wrote,
Aardy R. DeVarque

Pictures from up North

Earlier this month, my sister and I drove up to my grandmother's house in Rogers City, Michigan, to help some of the family go through what was left there, clean house, and set up for a moving sale the following weekend. (My grandmother has already moved in with one of my aunts, the house is up for sale, and the folks who were up there for Christmas divided up most of what my grandmother didn't want to take with her, so we got to deal with whatever was left.) Due to work schedules, we could only stay for two days, and since it's an 8 hour drive there, that meant two days of driving for two days' stay, but I'm very glad we went.

These are some highlights of the pictures I took.

In and around the house

The first table we got set up for the sale contained the "decorative" bottles that had been on shelves behind the built-in bar that we'd used as a puppet theatre as kids, and some of the glassware from the china cabinet.

The "donkey clown" bottle is a Jim Beam commemorative bottle in "honor" of one of the 1960's presidential campaigns. (They produced both this and a version with an elephant head for the 1960, 1964, and 1968 campaigns.) I don't know the history of the "bird" bottle, but it's pretty. The green-glass bottle on the right looks a bit like a hookah; the "spout" had its own cork and I think led to its own mini-bottle. On the far right is a gallon bottle of Seagram's 7.

I'd heard of Ripple, but I think this is the only Ripple Red bottle that I've ever seen. Likewise Little Brown Jug Johnnie Walker "6 years old" whiskey, a literal "little brown jug" and the Apple Wine Jug. I don't know what the Chinese-looking vase is; it had no hallmark. The three-sided Haig & Haig Pinch bottles were interesting to look at, too. (There was also a bottle of Vat 69, but my sister took that to show her husband, who is a Band of Brothers fan.)

This leaded-glass window is over the stairs in the second floor hallway, and looks out onto the balcony. I suppose the pattern is supposed to be vaguely floral or abstract, but to me it's always looked like the face of a bird or gargoyle.

(Apologies for the picture quality; the original is blurry and this is the best I was able to clean it up.)

This little chair has been in the preserves cellar for as long as I can remember. It's in an area of the cellar we kids were almost never allowed in (past the wood-burning stove that heats the house and the cistern that used to hold well water), so an occasional family joke was that the chair was there because children who misbehaved would be locked in there with the spiders.

My grandmother's back yard adjoined the local Lutheran school (where my mother and aunts and uncles all went to school--and somehow still managed to be late on occasion). A gate in the fence leads right into the school playground, and since we always visited during summer or Christmas break, we often had the playground to ourselves. This particular piece of wooden "equipment" has been there as long as I can remember, and being able to actually not only get all the way up the "steps" on one side, but also across the beam and down the steps on the other side was something of a rite of passage among the cousins. (Even the family dog--Fuzzie, a collie-German shepherd cross who looked like a collie but was colored like a Shepherd--could do it on command.) Having the last or second-to last step (depending on the side) be a few inches higher than the next step was a nasty trick by the builders that foiled the efforts of many a child who was still small enough to have to hop from one to the next.

Out by the farm

The street sign marks the corner of Claus Rd. and Noffze Hwy. The former is named for an ancestor of mine, and the latter is where my grandfather's farm is.

This is the view looking down Noffze Hwy. from Claus Rd.; my grandfather's farm is just over the hill and beyond the line of trees in the distance on the left. He born in the farmhouse on that side of the road, later purchased the farm directly across the road from one of his cousins, and took up farming when he retired from working as an engineer on U.S. Steel's limestone boats on the Great Lakes.

This is one of the fields of my grandfather's farm. The entire area was classified as "settler's swampland" by the government and was originally sold cheaply to homesteaders. It is still largely forest with sandy soil and a lot of large ferns growing everywhere, broken up by areas of a few dozen or a few hundred acres that have been cleared into farmland. (There are also now relatively successful oil wells on several adjoining farms.) There's a beaver dam and pond a ways through the trees, where we would sometimes go ice skating if the weather was cold enough, and one year I helped my uncle and grandfather break up part of the dam, as the beaver had made it too big, causing quite a bit of flooding.

While taking the scenic route home after driving into Hawks to get some ice cream (Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream is quite excellent!), we saw several deer and some fawns that couldn't be more than a few months old. I barely managed to catch this one on camera, and as you can see, a large raindrop managed to fall exactly where its head was just as I took the picture. In the center of the picture just to the right of the large raindrop, you can see the right side of its head, its back, and hindquarters. After that, it vanished into the forest where its mother was waiting--you could see it only when it moved, but wouldn't be able to spot it in a photo. (I took another photo shortly after this one, and even knowing where to look I can't find the fawn in that one.) A real-life demonstration of just how good fawns' camouflage works!

On the shores of Lake Huron

This beach is only a few blocks down the street from my grandmother's house. When driving up north, we always knew we were almost to her house when we could see Lake Huron far down at the end of the road. That day it had been in the high 80's and very humid, and when it started cooling off in the evening as we took an after-dinner walk, a thick fog rolled in off the lake. The foghorn was going all night and long into the following morning. The spit of land you can just see through the fog off in the distance is where the Calcite Quarry port is, a mile or so down the short. You can normally see the loading gantries right about where the center of this picture is, but this time, the fog was too thick.

This is the view north from the Rogers City marina. I thought the tumbled rocks of an old breakwater made an interesting picture, especially with the fog rolling in.

Looking out over that old breakwater, I could just see the next point of the shore start to get enveloped by fog. (That point of land is basically where the edge of town is, and is where we'd taken a walk on a bike trail through the forest the previous evening.) It really is a beautiful area, and I'll have to make it back up there someday not just because I'm related to half the town and surrounding area, but also for the view. (And the weather, since I like it cool in the summer and snowy in the winter.)

This is another view of the point in the distance over that old breakwater (with an old, grounded tugboat in the foreground this time), and you can see how much the fog has rolled in in the meantime; the tiny islands and trees at the end of the point are barely visible.

The channel bouys for the marina vanish off into the fog here. There are three red ones in the center and left of the picture, and two green ones visible on the right. It's hard to take a good picture of fog over water, but I think this one turned out better than I expected.

This ship's propeller, around 12 feet tall, is one third of the Sailors' Memorial between the lakefront park and the marina. (The other two parts are a similarly-sized anchor and a large stone with a plaque listing the sailors who died on the S.S. Cedarville and the Carl D. Bradley. My grandfather was an engineer on the Bradley, but transferred to a different ship a few years before she sank; one of the survivors and several of the dead were cousins of his.)

And last--but probably least:

I'm not sure what exactly this sign at the marina is meant to indicate nor who it is meant to warn--if I'd taken two steps back, I'd've fallen into the water of a boat slip, so few people are ever going to see it, and I suspect that Canadian geese can't read signs.

Feudalism: Serf & Turf
Tags: grandma, picspam, rogers city

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