Friday, July 20, 2012

Into the Great White North - for the Second Time....

We're now into Day 4 of our most recent odyssey, but I'm pretty far behind in my documentation of our trip. So, I'm going to try to get at least one day recorded this morning and we'll see how it goes tonight.

My friend Theresa and I set out on Tuesday afternoon - I actually picked her up and took her to an appointment so we could leave directly from there. Typically, we headed out to Dewitt to see our friends Chris Hopp and Chelsea Martin, where we can always count on the best hospitality - great food, comfortable beds and affectionate animals.

We stopped at Summertime Concrete where Chris, while Gar is on vacation with his wife Gerrie, is running things with his usual unassuming yet effective management style. I was able to collect some really huge Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) leaves to fashion into leaf dishes and other beautiful objects when I get home. We then headed over to the Martin homestead where Chelsea had already arrived home from work and her sister, Andrea, was in town visiting from Grand Rapids.

Chelsea with her homemade scones and jams
 - what a great breakfast!
On our way, Theresa  and I stopped, as we usually do, at the local Meijer and picked up some good beer (Oberon and Amber Ale from Bell's in Kalamazoo), dessert (Italian Cream Cheese Cake) and some flowers (pink carnations and white zinnias) as our thank offering. Theresa, as is her wont, helped Chelsea by skewering the beef and lamb for the kebabs we were having for dinner while Chelsea herself finished the brown rice, kale and chard rice bake she had started the day before. To sustain us, she also prepared a tray with some cheese selections, smoked fish and capicola and cashews with crackers (the goat cheese was fantastic) until Chris returned from work later in the evening.

Some of the chickens, including Keewee (upper left),
Raptor (center) and Feather (partially hidden
behind other hen at right)
Dinner was terrific, as always. Chelsea is a fantastic cook. Theresa and I both would like to keep her on retainer - just to cook, allowing her to do her own thing ("things", actually - she's endlessly curious and seems to do everything exceptionally) the rest of the time. We just need to make a lot of money to pay her what she's worth. (We aren't even close, yet.)

We had a great time with all the resident non-human animals - including visiting with Stormy (the Lab), Chloe (the Yorkie), Hershey (the Chesapeake Bay) and Sister and Sam (litter mate kitties); 'Pants (Feline Empress) did not deign to present herself - briefly - until the next morning. I, personally, am fascinated with their chickens and we all spent a bit of time hanging out with them. I managed to get a rather blurry picture of three of my favorites - Keewee, Raptor and Feather - before we left Wednesday morning, having had a delicious breakfast of homemade scones and jam which had been intended as dessert the night before. Oh, and I was also gifted with a half dozen of Chelsea's very own granola bars, which I do not share with anyone.

After a bit of back and forth (a forgotten phone figures here), we got on the road for Ludington, Empire, Glen Arbor and parts beyond.