NOW WE ARE 85

Happy 85th birthday to Alcoholics Anonymous. It was on June 10, 1935 that Doctor Bob had his last drink. From that first meeting in Akron, Ohio between Bill W. And Doctor Bob grew a worldwide fellowship of millions. Happy Birthday, everybody!!!!

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CAT NAP

Flyboy takes five after penning his book, I AM FLYBOY. Read all about it on the page: I AM FLYBOY.

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A PAIR OF REAL TURKEYS

When he wasn’t inventing stoves, running the post office, flying kites and courting the French, old Ben Franklin was proposing the wild turkey as our national bird. I am sure the man who graces the $100 bill would agree that we have a pair of real turkeys running for president this year.

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GARDEN SPOT

If all grows according to plan, we will be feasting on potatoes, tomatoes, and onions this season.

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SAD NEWS

We received word this morning of the unexpected passing of our friend, Mike Cotter.  Mike died at home in Sawyer, Michigan on Friday evening, June 5 after a cook-out with his loved ones.  Mike was in his early 60s, and he has been my friend since we moved to Michigan in June 1987.  We go way back, and I am way bummed out, because I thought we would grow old together, grousing about detestable public figures and the sorry state of the nation.  But it was not to be.  Mike, Good Buddy, I miss you.  But your timeless advice will always stay with me:  Shut the f**** up, and get your head on straight.  Rest in peace.

Mike Cotter lived one day at a time, and he began every day with prayer and meditation. And he always spoke the truth.

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THE COVID RAMBLE

Jason Gresl is the best clarinet teacher an aspiring clarinetist could hope to have. He is nudging me toward recording “The Covid Ramble,” which we co-wrote. The following is all Jason:

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HANGING BASKET

Another misting morning in Michigan.

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PANTHER IN THE PINES

Flyboy peaks out from behind the pines. Dare we call this “Pine Furest”?

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SWAN A SWIMMING

(Mohawk, Michigan) Elizabeth Gravitt sends this photo of a Trumpter Swan a swimming.

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PEACEFUL PROTEST

We intend to peacefully protest the imposition of the fascist police state with a peaceful bike ride this morning.

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CIVIL REST

After watching all the civil unrest on television this weekend, Flyboy decided it was time for some . . .

. . . civil rest. Cats have the right idea, no?

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THE AUTHOR AT REST

Flyboy takes five after his literary labors. See I AM FLYBOY for the fruit of his efforts.

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SUPERIOR SHIPPING

(Mohawk, Michigan) Ace photrographer Elizabeth Gravitt sends this photo of an ore boat plying the seemingly placid waters of Lake Superior. Life in the U.P. is calm for the moment.

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THE CALL OF THE KUCKUCKUHREN

Read all about the call of the Kuckuckuhren in the page: I AM FLYBOY.

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BARNEY IS BACK!

Barney the Barnacle Goose is back! In fictional form, at least. Expect to see him appearing soon in the continuing adventures of I AM FLYBOY. Obviously abandoned by a bored owner, Barney had his wings clipped and thus was unable to fly to Greenland to be with his fellows. Some years back, he was seen for some time in the harbor in New Buffalo, Michigan until he just disappeared.

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STATELY PARK

Warren Dunes State Park is a popular destination in southwest Michigan.

The park was packed Memorial Day Weekend.

Looking along the west coast of Michigan from Warren Dunes State Park.

Weather watching at Warren Dunes is wonderful.

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IN MEMORY OF . . .

United States Marine George Addison was only 24 when he was killed in action in France during the “War to End All Wars,” on July 18, 1918.

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LOG CABIN RIDE

(Berrien County, Michigan) Our objective Saturday was to ride the entire length of Log Cabin Road, from Glendora Road on the north to Warren Woods Road on the South.

Natalie is just meters away from meeting our objective.

Not everyone was riding Saturday.

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TUTTA VERDI

We completed our “Tutta Verdi” project Thursday night by watching one of his early works, “Alzira.” We have thus watched every opera written by the great Giuseppe Verdi, aka: Joe Green.

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RESPIRATORY GUIDELINE

ATTENTION: CITIZENS* OF THE WORLD, WE MUST HOLD OUR COLLECTIVE BREATH (LITERALLY) UNTIL AN EFFECTIVE VACCINE CAN BE INTRODUCED. (*this does not apply, of course, to the one percent who own everything)

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KIRK’S OWL

A few years back Kirk Schrader spotted a Northern Saw-whet Owl while fulfilling his duties as Sexton at Riverside Cemetery in Chikaming Township, Michigan. Kirk, who passed away in November 2019, alerted fellow birders, and many of us got to see Kirk’s owl, up close and personal. We miss you, Kirk.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is uncommon in wooded areas, mostly mixed coniferous and deciduous woods. They nest in tree cavities and stand less than a foot tall.

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STORY HOUR

Here’s a fable for our time:

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BACK IN TRAINING

Don’t you think it is high time we got back into training. I know I’m really looking forward to my next train ride. This was last year’s birthday ride back from Detroit.

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WILD TURKEY

It’s spring in Michigan, and this male is saying: “Hey, Baby!” The wild turkey is common and increasing in open woodlands. Displaying males like this one have been known to stop traffic.

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BIRDING IN THE RAIN

Birders must bird, rain or no rain. This was two years ago in Warren Dunes State Park on Floral Lane. Today’s conditions aren’t much different, just more social distancing.

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THINKING OF DETROIT

We had hoped to go to Detroit for my birthday on May 7, but the COVID crisis prevented that. So we go to the Motor City now in our thoughts and prayers.

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CEDAR WAXWING

Here’s a bird worth spotting on this non-Birdathon day: a common but irregular Cedar Waxwing.

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SWAN LAKE

A stately Trumpeter Swan glides across Wolf Lake near Kalamazoo, Michigan, a few years ago. We hope to return soon to see what the swans are up to this year.

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RAINY DAY BIRD

Here’s a bird for a rainy day: a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. This colorful male appeared at my late mother’s feeder several years ago, in Bridgman, Michigan.

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A WALK IN DOWAGIAC WOODS

I once heard the author John Updike revel in the word Dowagiac. He was addressing an adoring audience in Dowagiac, Michigan as part of a literary festival there.  He read from his celebrated fiction, of course, but the highlight of the evening was his lyrical pronunciation of Dowagiac.  We could almost hear him yesterday as we walked the wondrous Dowagiac Woods in successful search of flowering spring wild flowers.  To wit:

We saw some bonus warblers as well.

This trillium was best of show.

The sign says it all.

Never a bridge too far in Dowagiac Woods.

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