Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lady-slipper Orchids in the Upper Peninsula

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Birch Lodge Purple Ladyslipper Orchids
Although this has been a dry spring until the rain we have had in the last week (over 3"!)  The Lady-slipper Orchids have been out in force.

 First in bloom have been the Purple Lady-slippers (Cypripedium acaule) in the more acid soils among the Hemlock stands and in the bogs.  ( Not to mention some nice stands in the conifers here at Birch Lodge.)
Yellow Lady-slipper Orchids Trout Lake, MI
 They were followed closely by the bloom of the Yellow Lady-slippers (Cypripedium calceolus) which is possibly two varieties, debated, but I vote for two.   One (pubescens)  is common in the U.P.  it is smaller and more likely to be found in thin wet soils of lime stone outcrops and along the ditches in lime stone areas.

 The other is more of a woodland native, more common downstate, (parviflorum) it tends to be a larger plant with darker sepals and is found in mixed hardwoods and along wood edges.

  The Showy Lady-slipper orchid, (Cypripedium reginae) seems to be latest to bloom and prefers a more neutral soil.  This is not called regina for nothing!  What a beauty!
Showy Lady-slipper Orchid Trout Lake, MIShowy Lady-slipper Orchids Trout Lake, MI

It frequently may be found in moist ditches along the sunny side of the road.

  Please don't even think of trying to  pick or dig these orchids up.  Aside from being illegal,  they area next to impossible to grow, and experts caution that they will die within three years of being moved.  If you must try to grow one, there are growers online.

 Personally,  I just think they are lovely jewels of the wild and can't get enough of stalking and photographing  these late spring beauties!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Birch Lodge and a Restored Boat

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Restored boat, Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI
The Birch Lodge "Navy" has now doubled in size with the addition of a vintage row boat. It is as yet unnamed and unchristened, although Bill is kind of partial to calling it "Trout Leak". (Deb edits this to add--but it doesn't leakRestored!)

This beauty formerly was situated in informal dry dock with about a dozen other steel row boats. Informal storage here in the UP means dumped in a pile at the edge of the woods.

  However, a little sanding and sealing and a lot of paint in a scheme that replicates that visible on old photos, we now have a distinctive water craft to ply the lake. Oh, and it is steel, quite heavy, and takes a bit more effort than those new-fangled flimsy aluminum boats to cruise or carry.

 In fact, you may notice there are TWO oarlocks. They may be for moving between seats - we hope they do not mean it takes two people to move the darned thing through the water. In any event, the sailor will get a work out - A-row-bercize UP-style (Deb edits to say OH BILL!)  (Birch Lodge Boot Camp?) Give it a try!!  (Deb says Bill did this post, it rows nicely....step away from the coffee Bill...)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tahquamenon Falls and the Duck Lake Fire

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About a week ago now, we had heard that the Duck Lake Fire had been largely contained and that the campground at the Lower Tahquamenon Falls was open again to the public.  We had a nice weekend, and Bill's cousins were visiting, so we took a trip up to the falls to see what it was like. 

At one point they were speaking about evacuating Paradise, and we were braced to see burned terrain.  We were very pleased to see no sign of the fire at all in the Paradise area, or along the road out to the falls. 

At the entrance to the Upper Falls Park, we saw a lighted sign along the road warning about the wildfire in the area.

 The fire crews were out working on hot spots, and the roads had not all been opened.  (Since our visit, we have heard that the roads are open, but the forest roads are in rough shape from the vehicles fighting the fire--so if you are planning a trip into the fire area beware.   Also, the area is already starting to green up after the burn!)

The Falls were as usual a fantastic sight, and it was a relief to find all is as usual in the Falls area.

 So if you were lamenting the loss due to the fire, be aware that not all has been lost, there is still plenty of the U.P. that is just fine....come and see for yourself!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Butterfly Bush aka Lilacs in Bloom

Print Friendly and PDF Birch Lodge ButterfliesOur lilacs have been wonderful this year.  I am amazed at their bloom, and their fragrance wonderful .  We have noticed that the butterflies are loving them too. 

It has been a very dry spring here, and I have been helping the lilacs blooms last a bit longer I hope by watering them.

 The butterflies seems to like the moisture, sometimes resting on a wet leaf. 

Last year I posted a blog on the beautiful  Canadian Tiger Swallowtails which gather on our beach.

Trout Lake, MI Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

 In addition to these beauties.  There seems to be every kind of butterfly on this one bush!

At the same time!

  Canadian Tiger Swallowtails, and Monarch butterflies seem to dominate.
American Painted Lady
Red Admiral Trout Lake, MI
Red Admiral

We had lots of Skippers, a Red Admiral, a couple of  Mourning Cloaks, and an American Painted Lady among the bunch.  There are however, some I am not sure of.
Mourning Cloak

 A larger dark butterfly was more shy, but came often over several days.
 I am not sure if this is a dark variation of a swallowtail or could it be a Pipe-Vine Swallowtail?  If so it is rare and not supposed to be in this area. 

Pipe vine Swallowtail? Trout Lake, MI
Mystery Swallowtail

There was also a butterfly I mistook for a leaf.  This might be a Question Mark?  Truly, that's a name, one of the angelwing variety.
 I didn't see it fly with wings open,  it took off while I was called away, but the little question mark in cream on it's wing makes me think that I am correct here. 
Question Mark

Hummingbird Moth

We also had visits by the hummingbirds and a Humming Bird moth!
He was on the lilacs, but we got a better shot of him on the chives, which were very popular too!
More Blooms or Butterflies?

  I will miss the butterflies, but I will really miss the waft of perfume of those old lilacs through the lodge.

Birch Lodge Trout Lake, MI
Top of the Lilac and Swallowtails

 Wish you all could have been here, maybe next year?  Maybe later this year?