Secret of the fuzzies, friends and Finn Fest–and bears.

The woods at 9 p.m. in mid -June

The woods at 9 p.m. in mid -June

It looks like it’s snowing here in Upper Michigan as the summer Solstice approaches.  In between the green leaves a cascade of white fuzzies fill the sky.  The fuzzies pile up on decks, front porches, in between newly planted tomato plants.  It’s the Time of the White Fuzzies.  It happens every year, no matter what.

Of course, this year the white fuzzies came late, due to our Long Winter and delayed spring.  They’re about three weeks late.  From what trees do they come?  We don’t know.  Downstate, where my parents live, the white fuzzies come from cottonwood trees.  The fuzzies fill up their garage.  But ours come from…well, we don’t know.  We don’t have cottonwoods. Perhaps poplar or maple buds?  It’s one of those mysteries that someone, someday, will share with us.  Then we’ll know the secret of the fuzzies.

The way the light shines in the forest just before sunset.

The way the light shines in the forest just before sunset.

We’ve been splitting wood almost every night.  A couple of nights ago I wrote a blog in my head about what makes a good splitting partner.  Of course, what makes a good splitting partner is the same as what makes a good marriage.  Mutual trust, good communication, a willingness to take turns shouldering the heavy load.

It’s also been a bit busier than usual around here.  We can go for months without having company.  Then suddenly, like the rain of fuzzies, you see lots of friends.  Last Friday Deb and Chuck came for dinner.  We served salmon, fresh from Lake Superior.  Deb brought roasted asparagus salad with lettuce fresh from her greenhouse.

A fresh-caught fish.  Might be dinner.

A fresh-caught fish. Might be dinner.

She showed us pictures of her new baby grandson, Zev, on her smart phone.  What a cutie!  Her son is our son’s best buddy.  They grew up together from the time they were wee fuzzies.

Then she showed me some pictures of a bear in a green grassy field.  She and Chuck took the photo while traveling back home from Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula.

“That is the coolest,” I gushed.  “Could you send me those pictures?”

She agreed–and even said I could share it.

This is the photo I fell in love with on Deb's phone.

This is the photo I fell in love with on Deb’s phone.

On Saturday night our friend Anni stopped by–out of the blue–after a retirement party.  We talked for a couple of hours, at least until ten o’clock, which some of you know is after my bedtime.  Didn’t matter.  One should really stay up late this time of the year.  It’s so light.

We live in a unique place.  It doesn’t get dark until between 10:30 and 11 on Summer Solstice.  It’s because we’re located directly above Central Time–but we’re still in Eastern Time.

They hired a new employee at the newspaper where Barry works.  She’s lived here before, but must have forgotten.  She said, “It feels like I’m living in Alaska!”

Another cool view of the Bear.

Another cool view of the Bear.

On Tuesday I went out to a two-hour lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in, oh, at least two years.  We talked and talked.  She likes to talk about spiritual things so we had a marvelous connecting chat.

Today my friend Bertha and I walked three miles.  Yep.  Don’t know if we talked faster than we walked, but, gosh, we sure had fun.  See what I mean about getting together with friends a lot?  A good week for that.

The clearest picture of the bear.

The clearest picture of the bear.

What else can I report?  They’re having a big Finn Fest celebration here this weekend.  To celebrate the many Finnish immigrants who settled here in this part of Upper Michigan.  It’s the biggest deal.  I may accompany my reporter husband as he covers some of the fun, so that’s our plan for this weekend.  Plus a going-away party for a young couple who is moving away.

That’s the news from our Little House in the Big Woods.  Just ordinary doings.  Enjoying the warmer weather, even though the garden almost frosted a couple of nights ago.

What have you been doing?  What ordinariness feels magical to you?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in June 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Secret of the fuzzies, friends and Finn Fest–and bears.

  1. I love ordinary magic–getting together with friends, sharing unique pics, eating out–sounds wonderful

  2. Interesting to hear about the fuzzies. And I, too, love the bear photos! Here on the equator we have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of light, all year round–changing around 6am and pm.

    Sara and I have finally moved into our long-term rental here in Ecuador. Trying to get settled and back into blogging!


    • Kathy says:

      Kathy, how nice to hear from you. Never thought about the equatorial equality of light. How interesting! Will come blog visiting soon and hear about your grand adventures in Ecuador.

  3. Barb says:

    Everyday things are what make up my life, Kathy. Tomorrow, I’ll hike with a friend I haven’t seen since our Girlfriends’ Vacation in May. We’ll be on the lookout for wildflowers while we chat. I’m also on the lookout for bears – I saw fresh scat on a walk last week. I like faraway photos of bears the best! I’m alone for a few days – it feels quiet here and peaceful.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, I kinda like those far-away photos of bears, too. We don’t want them too close for comfort. Glad you’re having some alone time. I like those quiet times. My next alone time should come later in July. Before that the kids will both be here. Enjoy your girlfriend hike!

  4. Nothing going on at my house. MD appt for eyes last Friday. Med to dilate my eyes leaves me very dizzy for about 8 hours. My helper drove me home and then I rested in bed until I could see and not feel doubly dizzy. (I am dizzy all the time. Still need a few more lab tests and maybe CT scan of carotid artery, etc.

    Usual animal chores. Cooking for myself- no dairy, gluten, citrus, sugar, or seasoniong of any kind. Very dull diet but I am trying to get well. Not taking BP meds so that is why no salt. I broil talapia for supper daily and cook fresh vegetables. Rice rounds out the meal and maybe pinto or lima beans that I cooked for several hours -(dried beans).

    The salmon looks wonderful. I don’t buy it in th store because it does not look or smell fresh. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Sorry to hear that you are dizzy so much, Yvonne. That must be upsetting. Your diet, however, sounds very healthy. It sounds like you are doing the best you can for your body. Wishing we could share some of our fish we you. Barry shared a couple of bags with his co-workers today.

      • Lucky co-workers with a generous work friend who fives his fish away. I bet those people just love it when Barry goes fishing and they know they might be lucky and get some fish.

        As an aside, I went to MD this afternoon (x3 within past 6 weeks) and he ordererd CT scan of sinuses and a different antibiotic, doxycycline x30 days. Will then send me to EENT MD and them a rheumatologist of my choosimg which will be a MD in Dallas who is treating my daughter for arthritis. I hope that my health issues can be resolved in central Texas and not north Texas. 🙂

  5. A trip to the P.O. Subway makes my lunch and dinner so I stopped early to pick it up. Home. Sat in the garage and made a video of my yard sale leftovers, just to see if I could actually record a video with sound. Then a video tour of the side yard! What fun. A neighbor appeared to vent her husbands ineptitude at installing a light fixture. Then she wanders back home to wait for the electrician. I do garage therapy these days. Came in and ate half the sandwich. Back to the garage to look up prices on eBay for items I might want to sell. However, Flora wanders over to check out the situation. She just finished first grade and loves to talk. To end this session, I came in. And took a nap. Hello…..Hello…..are you there? I hear the snores!

    • Kathy says:

      Making a video sounds very creative, Linda. Very cool! Did you put it on your blog? I love what you shared about Flora and the magical ordinariness of your day. What kind of sub sandwich did you eat?

  6. john says:

    I am absolutely loving the sunsets and the silhouettes of the trees on the bluff against the sky after the sun goes down. Tried taking Pinery Road from Dynamite Hill to the Indian Cemetery to see how things are growing back after the fire, this was not a good idea in a Prius or missing the turn at Third Lake. After I bottomed out twice I turned around and came back. If Terry K. drops the price again on the pick-up truck he has for sale in front of his office he might have a buyer. (I might not have a wife after that, so I better find a way I can hide it from her). Barry has all the fun, he has a wife that lets him have the best toys.

    • Kathy says:

      So you must be back in our neck of the woods now, John. Glad to hear you’re out exploring. Not so happy to hear about your bottoming out. Good luck with Terry–and Jenny. You better not be using us as an example in your marital wangling to buy toys!!

      • john says:

        C’mon Kathy, Barry has the coolest snow plow. His pick up is a classic, his boat beats the heck out of my inflatable kayak. I wish I could play the bass. He might not have the best shack on the lake, but his tent is pretty nice. And heck, he has you who went along with him when he wanted to live in the middle of the big woods.

  7. dorannrule says:

    Thank you for this lovely post and for reminding me of summer magic. I almost forgot that soon the fireflies will put on their big show in this part of Virginia (usually toward the end of June). Sometimes you can get dizzy trying to figure out which are the stars and which are courting fireflies on earth.

    • Kathy says:

      Dor, guess what? I think I saw fireflies outside the window last night here too! However, it’s indecisive. I didn’t have glasses on, so it could have been…well, anything. Loved your last sentence. Magical writing.

  8. bearyweather says:

    The white fuzzies are here, too. (Coincidence – I worked on a “fuzz” post today, too ;-)) I think the fuzz comes from the aspens/poplar trees. Starting today, I also have a bunch of little brown helicopters – the maple seeds have dried on the branches and when the wind blows, they take off by the hundreds.
    We are also enjoying the long days … I think it is getting light by 4 am and staying somewhat light until 10 pm. It helps make up for those very, very short winter days where I don’t see much of the sun.
    I am planning a trip to see some wild bears real soon at the bear refuge … I can hardly wait to see the cubs playing.

    • Kathy says:

      Bearyweather, will have to read your fuzz post soon. We kinda think the white fuzzies come from the poplars, too. The maples have those helicopters, yes. They are coming down, too. However, today it’s been raining finally–hurray!–and the only thing coming down are raindrops nurturing the garden. I also think it gets light here about 5 a.m. Which makes sense considering you are in Central Time. The bear trip sounds wonderful!

  9. Lori D says:

    Such lovely times with friends. I miss mine. Have fun and the Finn Fest. Maybe we’ll get to see some photos.

    • Kathy says:

      Awww, Lori, I wish you can see your friends soon. Am intending to take pics at Finn Fest. If I’m in a reportorial mood will share. Sometimes I am…other times not as much… It might be fun to see the re-enactments of history from the turn of the century.

  10. Dawn says:

    We have white fuzzies too! But ours are of course the infamous cottonwood. Lots of it this year. LOVE the bear. Kind of glad I saw it in a picture though, not in real life. Would have freaked me out!

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, Dawn, I saw your cottonwood fuzzies when visiting downstate. Oh, so glad you liked the pic of the bear. Deb did a good job photographing it. Was impressed she got that quality from her phone.

  11. Love the bear! What a photo op!

  12. Someday can I come visit and have fish from lake Superior?!?! 🙂 Just kidding, I’m a stranger, but my mouth is watering. I recently went with my boyfriend down to the coast in Texas, to Port Aransas. We went before Memorial Day weekend and it was all empty. He has a love affair with the waves, I have one with shell hunting. I found sand dollars, and spent time talking with the sea as he played with it. It was very ordinary magic. Right now, my morning glories climbing all over my gutters and railing are keeping me ordinarily magicified. I can practically relate with them like friends now, I’ve seen them all grow so fast for so many weeks.
    I also used to love the fuzzies. I don’t have them here in Texas, but in Massachusetts at one of my favorite rivers, they would fall like snow. I would love just sitting in the sand and watching their dance through the air down the corridor of that river, so lovely. Thanks for bringing back such a vivid memory!

    • Kathy says:

      Jennifer, Barry shared a couple packages of fish with his co-workers today, so we’d probably give you some too. (Especially if you say you’re a blog reader, lol.) Remembering when we took a trip down to Port Aransas many years back. Love the story of your beach magic and the magic of Massachusetts fuzzy memories…

  13. You grow ’em BIG in the north, North, NORTH woods! BIG fish and BIG bears. Paul Bunyan would be tickled pink!

    Len has had the last two days off so we’ve enjoyed the magic of ordinary bicycling.

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, Paul Bunyan sat me on his BIG knee and taught the art of telling BIG stories. He swatted a mosquito and I almost fell off. lol. Glad you’ve had some bicycle magic lately!

  14. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    The bear is the coolest, Kathy. The cottonwood trees here have been the bane of my parents’ lives for, well, the 40+ years they’ve lived in the house they’re in.

    I remember the late sunsets from when I was in Houghton, especially walking out of a movie theatre’s west-facing door at about the times you mentioned and having the sun just about knock me over.

    • Kathy says:

      Sid, yes, I know people who sigh long sighs when they speak of cottonwood trees. As an “outsider” I think cottonwood trees are wonderful. However, their fuzzies did not look so wonderful all over the garage of my parent’s house. So glad you know a bit about our neck of the woods!

  15. Spring has truly arrived, the Yoopers are coming out of hibernation. 😉

    • Kathy says:

      We think we’re out of hibernation. We keep looking around furtively, ready to return to hibernation at a moment’s notice, though. 🙂

  16. Don’t know that I love it, but here in NW Wisconsin, we are living in the land of the yellow. Sticky yellow powder that falls from above and lands on our cars, bikes, decks, windows, EVERYTHING! We try to wash it off, but the next day it is there again. I pray, pray, pray for rain!

    Your bear is awesome. We have emptied the bird feeder so we don’t have an encounter with the bear.

    • Kathy says:

      We had the yellow land the week before (I think). Yellow everywhere. But that’s odd. Why would we have it before you in Wisconsin? Oh oh. I hope that doesn’t mean we’re due for MORE yellow stuff next week. We do have rain today…

  17. Oh, when I saw the title I was hoping you’d be giving me an answer to the puzzle of all the white fuzz in the woods! I wonder about it every year, but don’t have an identification, either. I like this post, with your every-day activities…thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, we’re pretty darn sure those fuzzies come from poplar/aspen trees. 86.4% sure, that is! Glad you liked the every-day activities post. Thank you for saying that.

  18. Heather says:

    You have fuzzies piling up; I have pollen. Trade?
    I love it when my friends pile up, too. Though it makes life busy, it’s also so much fun. Hope your wood-splitting goes well!
    (Thanks for sharing the bear! Amazing!)

    • Kathy says:

      Heather, as a biologist, please solve this puzzle. Why did we have pollen first and then fuzzies? This is wrong. Unless we are about to have a SECOND invasion of pollen next week. Errrr! Thank you for your wood splitting well wishes. We split and/or stack and/or cut every night. I can’t believe how much I enjoy it. Along with Deb’s bear picture.

      • Heather says:

        Wood cutting/stacking must be your version of mowing for enjoyable chores 🙂
        I think we got two invasions of pollen: whatever comes first, and then the later pines and grasses. The grasses are thick with pollen right now. And is it just me or does it seem like EVERYTHING is blooming like crazy this year?

  19. Karma says:

    Wow, those bear pictures are really something! What a moment to have captured forever – how nice for your friend. It has been a very strange spring all over this country it seems. I’ve wondered about the fuzzy-puzzle too. My fuzzies are probably different from your fuzzies though I suppose (what a very strange sentence that was to write, lol) Kind of Dr. Seuss-ish, no?

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, I loved your Dr. Seuss comment! Made me smile big time. Isn’t it interesting that so many of us ponder where fuzzies come from? You know, I’m not sure how excited my friend was about her bear pictures. She seemed more delighted about the pics of her grandson, wonder why? lol.

  20. msmcword says:

    The ordinariness that feels the most magic to me is being out in nature. There is a nature park near my home, and I never tire of going there. Being surrounded by nature is when I feel the closest to God (and I give your friend credit for being brave enough to take photos of the bear).

    • Kathy says:

      Nancy, your nature park sounds wonderful. Nature is a wonderful magic in which to immerse our beings. As for Deb being brave enough to take the pic of the bear–I think she took it from her car window. (You know, for a quick getaway!)

  21. sonali says:

    You are a friendly dolphin my dear friend! How sweet that you let your friends come over & spend time with you. Walking with a friend, last I did was in Feb! too bad..

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, I was a friendly dolphin before writing this blog, but, gosh, I can go so long without connecting with any friends (except on-line) too. You will have to schedule a walk with a friend. It’s been a long time since February.

  22. Okay, the “cottonwood” tree is actually a poplar, and that is what is making Beaver Island fuzzy. I’ll bet you have poplar in your neck of the woods!

    • Kathy says:

      We are surrounded by poplar, Cindy. Sounds like you may have solved the fuzzy question! It’s what we suspected, but were never sure. Did some local tell you?

      • Yes! Joe Moore, retired teacher and now publisher of Beaver Island News on the Net did the investigation on that one. Like you, I wondered, but then they’d be gone, and I’d move on to other inquiries.

  23. Robin says:

    It’s a wonderful life, isn’t it? 🙂 Love those shots of the bear as well as your glimpses of the light in the woods. As for me, I’m discovering all kinds of ordinary magic here on the Wabi-Sabi Ranch. We seem to be following a similar line of thought as that’s what I wrote about for my blog post today (scheduled to go out later while I’m sitting on the dock watching the tide come in or go out — I can never remember what time high or low tide occur).

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the “light in the woods” glimpses. I was sitting on the couch, meditating or something, just shaking my head over the beauty of the light sparkling on the trees when it was so late in the day. Interesting that we were following the same line of thought. I hope to go blog reading today or tomorrow so shall find out then!

  24. Carol says:

    It’s the ordinary things that make life a big thing.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, you’ve wrapped the secret of life in that little sentence, I think. And to know that the ordinary things are “enough”. I so agree.

  25. Janet says:

    My ordinariness that feels magical……finally getting to clean my house while no one is home. My husband has been home a lot lately, and I don’t get much done with him around (always trying to pick up after him). I actually thought while I was cleaning today, how good it felt to clean. Then I read your post. Magical? Maybe not magical, definitely ordinary and feeling good about it.

    • Kathy says:

      Janet, it’s such a good feeling when we’re alone for a while and can get things done. By the way–I think cleaning qualifies as being magical sometimes. Earlier this winter I was in a wondrous state of mind and decided to clean the corners and edges of the house (haven’t done that in years…) and felt how magical that act of cleaning could be. Ordinary peace. That’s what is magical, that something ordinary can make our heart lilt. Happy weekend!

  26. I get white fuzzies flying all around my deck here in the SF bay area every time I brush my dog, a ‘senior’ golden. This is an ordinary time of extreme magic for me. Henry and I bond over the brushing. He loves the feel of the brush on his (arthritic) back. His long (once golden, now white) fur flies out of the brush in long white fuzzy strands, and I try to catch them before they land on my neighbor’s deck. She might wonder why the bay area always gets white fuzzies flying around every season of the year! (Let’s make it our secret…)

    • Kathy says:

      Pam, first of all, I think you are a deep dog lover, aren’t you? Second, my goodness, I have never read such a magical description of brushing fur fuzzies. Sigh. And to think that you and Henry are responsible for the white fuzzies in the bay area! I promise never to reveal a thing.

  27. penpusherpen says:

    Fresh wild Salmon,, Kathy, nothing can beat it for flavour. Hope your meal was wonderful. We don’t get white fuzzies, but now and again there;’s a cloud of gnats that seem to be attracted to something in our garden. That’s the ordinariness that makes my day, sitting in the garden and just letting ‘be’ . Soaking in the greenness, (for we’ve had heaps of rain) Love the bear photo;s, looks like he was waiting for the photo opportunity!! Poseur !! 😉 have a good (hopefully white fuzzie free) weekend. xPenx

    • Kathy says:

      We are lucky that the salmon are running now, Pen! Usually Barry brings home lake trout and I am tired of that after all these years. Smiling thinking of your cloud of gnats. Those dratted insects. Unless they’re not biting. If they’re not biting then they are simply part of what “is”. Glad you are enjoying being!

  28. Well, I cannot wait for magical ordinary moments to return in my life – everything in the past several weeks has been extraordinary – the wedding in the woods and visiting with all the friends and family the occasion brought near – delighted but exhausted!

    The Finn Fest celebration sounds like fun – is it planned to be close to Midsummer? Hope we’ll see some pictures. The bear pictures are wonderful – the field is huge and makes the bear seem so small, although I’m sure he isn’t!

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I’ll bet the last several weeks has felt extraordinary to you. I can almost feel your joy–and your tiredness. As to the Finn Fest celebration, yes, I think it is planned to be close to Midsummer. Unfortunately for the planners it rained most of yesterday. We did go up to an old Finnish farmstead where I took at least 50 pictures so will probably post them for those who would like to see.

  29. sybil says:

    Doing lots of gardening. Going for dog walks. My brother and his wife were in town yesterday, just for the day, on a cruise from Montreal to Boston. We had a lovely day together.

    I’m in a strange sorta funk at the moment. Not keeping up with emails, blog reading or blog writing …

    Have a magical day my friend.

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I’m glad you commented. Had at least three stray thoughts–where is Sybil? Is she doing all right? Should I email and find out? Sometimes internet-less funks are perfectly what the doctor ordered. Wishing you ordinary magic, too, and maybe a pinch of extra-ordinary blown in just to take away any funk.

  30. me2013 says:

    Love the bear, we get fuzzies mid-summer. Ours are from dandylions

  31. Stacy says:

    Norm was out of town so my ordinary doings involved reading a book cover-to-cover in one sitting (ok, two). A great suggestion for your book club….and it’s not even my type of book, but I was mesmerized – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. 🙂

  32. Val says:

    Sorry about your white fuzzies. Maybe you could spray them with dayglo paint and then they’d be psychedelic fuzzies instead. (I have to admit I had to Google ‘white fuzzies’ as I didn’t know what the heck you were talking about. Now I know… sort of… stuff like, what, white mealy bugs? They look like fluff… We get ’em sometimes…)

    Love that bear. Wouldn’t want to meet it, but love it! You know what it’s doing, don’t you? It was having a picnic with all its friends, as bears are wont to do, and had to make an emergency exit to have a very rapid pee…

    • Kathy says:

      We would certainly have a fuzzy psychedelic woods with that suggestion! Our fuzzies are definitely from the poplar trees; my parents fuzzies downstate come from the cottonwood. Mom just said in took her two hours to clean their garage yesterday! (That’s how challenging the fuzzies can be.) And, yes, I’m sure that’s the explanation re the bear… 🙂

  33. I love the long days this time of the year. We are supposed to have a few bear near our vacation home, but I’ve never talked to anyone who has encountered one here. The fuzzies, however, are all over!

  34. Munira says:

    I love how often the word ‘fuzzy’ is used here in this blog! That’s my cat’s name! Fuzzy! 😀
    Your week with such a variety of friends sounds delightful, and that bear looks truly befuddled in the middle of that field!
    And what have I been doing? Well, mostly I am playing therapist to an old and dear school friend who is going through extremely troubled times in a relationship :/ It has been confusing, because I consider them both to be good friends so it’s difficult to steer clear from taking any sides. Sigh.

    • Kathy says:

      How fun that you have a cat named Fuzzy, Munira! Gosh it’s a small world when there are fuzzies everywhere. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing a little of what’s been happening with you. I find that a very challenging situation to be in the middle of friends. That happens with me a lot. Good luck. It really can be confusing because sometimes the stories seem like they’re coming from opposite directions, don’t they?

  35. My allergies know all about ‘the fuzzies’! I think there is a type of poplar that has the cotton fuzzies that float around in the spring air, but don’t quote me on that!

    Getting together with friends is always fun. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been to the zoo with one friend, the art gallery with another, met with Hubby’s cousins last weekend, as well as my writer’s group, so as you can see, I’ve been busy visiting, too! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I am sorry to hear you have fuzzy allergies, withershins. No fun at all. Glad to hear you’re having fun with friends, though, too. Guess we can call them “warm fuzzies”, lol.

  36. Reggie says:

    I love the photos of the bear in the middle of all that green!

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