These lazy hazy crazy days of summer…

When visitors come...

When visitors come…

In mid-summer the Main Street in our little town buzzes with cars and visitors. People from other locales sometimes drive hundreds of miles north to splash in Lake Superior, to camp in the Baraga State Park, to tour the Copper Country. Our quiet little world turns into a beehive of activity.

I swear there’s never a dull moment in July and August.

Might you be bored?  You can pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, thimbleberries.  You can kayak, fish, swim, canoe, float or sun-bathe.  You can plant a garden, or how about drive to the county fair this upcoming weekend?  I suppose you’ve already attended the Native American Pow Wow, the 4th of July parades, the Aura Jamboree, and, of course, the Fireman’s Tournament last weekend.



Folks blossom like flowers come mid-summer here in the Upper Peninsula. The energy moves outward toward the sun.  People open their doors and screened windows and enjoy the outdoors.  They gather with friends.  They play.  Oh, how people play on their four-wheelers, their boats, their bikes, their two legs.

As a sometimes-wanna-be-hermit, I am always amazed at this intense shift toward outward energy at this time of year.  We have been so pleasantly busy during the last week or so that it’s nice to take a deep breath and have nothing to do today.  (OK, if we’re not counting the sink full of dishes and the laundry and gardening which needs attention pretty darn soon.  And, oh yes, my jobs. Can’t forget those even in summer’s busyness.)

Summer roadsides

Summer roadsides

Let me share some of the fun of the past week, may I?

Last Thursday eve several women found themselves in a circle of lawn chairs with bare toes in sand out at the Mouth of the Huron.  This is an often almost deserted stretch of lovely beach far out from town.  Years ago our crew camped there every summer and celebrated while friends roasted a pig for the Saturday potluck.   Our kids swam and built sand castles and played with friends and we camped in big tents listening to the waves lap against the shore.

On Thursday night we sipped wine and shared hummus and salty blue chips and Crazy Joe’s Cucumber Salsa and deviled eggs and veggie sticks and watched the orange-orbed sun sink beneath trees on the horizon.  Temperature?  Balmy.  Perfect mid-summer bliss.  Children laughed and shouted in the distance.  Kayakers paddled by.  We chatted as women do, enjoying the company of friends, catching up.

Calm seas.  Sailboat.

Calm seas. Sailboat.

Can summer get any better than this?

The next night:  vegetarian lasagna rich in garden vegetables, tossed green salad, garlic bread fresh from the oven, and heavenly blueberry cobbler with friends in their screened-in porch.  Afterwards, a tour of their gardens.  We plucked blueberries from their tended plants and lingered in the greenhouse. We shared stories.  We saw a video of their new baby grandson who could almost–almost, mind you–roll over.

Can summer get any better than this?

Family at the beach

Family at the beach

During the weekend Barry took the chainsaw and we pruned away low-growing branches threatening to interfere with our lawn mowing and winter plowing.  We lugged the fallen warriors into the woods.  Gosh, this place looks cleaned up now. Especially with the garden rototilled, the lawn mowed, and the weeds whacked.

After a township meeting on Monday night, Book Club met on Tuesday eve. Picture a table laden with salads galore.  So many salads and chips and salsas and tapioca puddings and lemon bars that the eight women could hardly move when they finally alighted two-and-a-half hours later after laughter and conversation and a little book discussion to boot.  We read Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild”.  I fully recommend the true story of her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.  Most of our book club readers enjoyed it, but not everyone.

When Amy came to visit in 2009 we picked blueberries

When Amy came to visit in 2009 we picked blueberries

And last night, you wonder.  Did we do anything last night?  Of course we did. Amy and Michael, who dwell down in western Illinois, trekked up to the Upper Peninsula more than a week ago.  They’ve been enjoying the place where Amy grew up, and arrived laden with two bottles of delicious red wine.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the kitchen creating a white bean pesto salad, fresh garden salad, and grapefruit-avocado salsa for the Keweenaw Bay whitefish which Barry later grilled.  Add sourdough bread and blueberry crisp and, oh yes, appetizers of pickled pike and smoked lake trout and chips and you have another successful summer dinner with lively and entertaining friends here in our Little House in the Big Woods.

Lazy hazy summer days at a friend's house

Lazy hazy summer days at a friend’s house

Let’s not ponder the pile of dishes in the sink just yet.

And you?  What have you been doing lately?  Has your energy moved outwards like the daisies and sunflowers growing toward the sun?  Have you found yourself more surrounded with friends than in the white cold of winter? Wishing you the best of lazy hazy crazy summer days…

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 August 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to These lazy hazy crazy days of summer…

  1. What lovely summer activities! It looks like you’ve been having all sorts of fun! 🙂

    We had a family gathering this past weekend. Almost everyone from Hubby’s family and the hostess’ family were there to enjoy the not-too-hot weather, eat BBQ’d whatever along with a variety of salads, and enjoy the company of the in-laws, nieces, nephews and the grand-nieces/nephews. We also got to meet the newest addition – only a few weeks old! There were splashes from the pool (two nieces got shoved in by their dad fully clothed!). Kids hopped around the trampoline, swung on the swings and played badminton with my son. It was a great day!

    By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask, what are thimbleberries? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of them before. Glad you’ve been enjoying your summer. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      It has been a fun time lately, withershins. And what a lovely family gathering you had! I love BBQ. Hope those two nieces weren’t too mad at their dad! Thimbleberries are berries that grow around here in early August. They are much more tangy than raspberries and have tiny seeds instead of big ones. They are considered quite a delicacy. I included a photo in the post so those unfamiliar with the berry might see what it looks like. Continue to enjoy your summer!

      • I thought the photo was of raspberries. Very similar, then, but not as sweet. I guess they don’t grow in this part of the continent. I do l like the taste of raspberries but the seeds always get stuck in my teeth. If I ever get out your way, I’ll have to try them. 🙂

  2. Indeed I have found myself more in the company of family, friends and friendly strangers. Our island usually goes from about 1,100 to 3,000 people in the summer. This summer I believe we may have exceeded this number. Whee! Last evening in Victoria B.C. We went to three different restaurants for dinner before we found one that looked promising to be able to take us. We were put on a wait list. Fifteen to Twenty minutes. The downtown looked like a disturbed anthill.

    Yet even with all these bodies everywhere it has been and is fun. Our weather has been outstandingly summer fine for weeks. The huge relaxed smiles on these many faces show the benefits.

    All the best of summer to you Kathy and thanks for such a warm and lovely post.

    • Kathy says:

      Terrill, it must be so different when your island expands in visitors like that. So very much like our rural area. Isn’t it odd when you have to wait to eat in your own community? I am still smiling about your “disturbed anthill” analogy. Love it! So glad you stopped by and read about my summer–and shared a little about your own.

  3. msmcword says:

    As always, your post and your photos have allowed me to go “up, up and away” from the city and into the wonderful world, nature–filled world of the U.P. (at least in my dreams)

    • Kathy says:

      Nancy, your kind comments always make me want to continue sharing about our nature-filled world here in the U.P. Now you have me humming that Up, Up and Away song…in my beautiful balloon…

  4. lisaspiral says:

    Oooo it all sounds great. Putting my swollen feet into the Great Lake has enormous appeal about now. I remember picking blueberries in Canada as a kid. We always went up about this time of year. Someday maybe I’ll get the chance to do it with you. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Lisa, wishing you could put your swollen feet in Superior right now. Except your poor feet my still die of shock–it’s still sooooo cold. Wouldn’t it be lovely to pick blueberries together? I’ve been buying the cultivated variety at the Farmer’s stand but the little wild ones are ripening. Hopefully will be able to pick some this year. Thank you for reading.

  5. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – You always leave me staring into space and daydreaming of the events, tastes, smells and sounds of whatever topic you share. Your rendition of the wonderful foods shared by your group have me drooling. Though I’ve not shared in good company in a while, I can pretend to be a part of yours. Thank you for taking me back to the countryside I love so much.

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, I am so glad to see you around these days–and to hear some of your daydreaming thoughts. You listen so deeply when you read. I am glad that you were inspired by some of the food we’ve eaten this past week. Mmmm, some of it was really good. I just can’t believe there’s been this much busyness. Wishing you could splash in one of our northern lakes or rivers.

  6. that song is in my head now–but I like it

  7. Not enough lazy days of summer this year — but that is the stage of life I am at, so be it. How did you like “Wild”? My book club is currently reading “The Boys in the Boat” about the 1936 Olympic crew/rowing team — a good read!

    • Kathy says:

      Well, Kat, truly, I haven’t been feeling that “lazy” part too much, either, except for may be today. I liked “Wild” a lot! I voted for the book, hands down. I could never have done what that woman did. She hiked her way out of her own pain and misery into a better life, perhaps. Will look up “The Boys in the Boat”. Thank you for the suggestion.

  8. bearyweather says:

    Actually, the opposite is true for me .. spending lots of time at home. Since most of my friends are teachers, we are all too busy finishing our summer home projects and taking our last trips to get together … only 2 weeks of freedom left. There are some county fairs left to visit with people … and the weather has been perfect .. low 70’s and breezy (although my tomato plants are telling me that it has been too cool … high yesterday was 68º).
    Nice summer pictures.

    • Kathy says:

      Bearyweather, don’t you love those quiet times at home? I sure do. They can be so fulfilling. I am glad you’ve enjoyed your summer of freedom, and hope the upcoming school year is also enjoyable. Our school doesn’t start until after Labor Day, but I still go in maybe 9-10 hours a week in the summer time and work on reports and budgets and Title I and other fun stuff. I think this weather is too cool. It’s 68 right now, errrr. I want 78. Shame on the Universe, lol!

  9. Heather says:

    Summer is surprisingly full of that outward energy. Perhaps it’s why winter feels so intensely inward.
    Your summer days and nights seem to be packed with friends – and no, summer cannot get any better. We’ve spent the past two weekends with bunches of family visiting, and then have a friend arriving Monday. We’ll be paddling, and hiking, and of course eating. Cheers to you, my friend 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Heather, exactly. You’ve stated it so succinctly. Winter is soooo intensely inward, even when we don’t realize that our energy has retreated to help keep us warm when we’re doing crazy stuff, like, say, skiing down Shanty Creek. I hope you continue to have a most wonderful time with your visitors. I’m headed downstate again next week and am looking forward to that leisurely drive through your neck of the woods…

      • Heather says:

        Wave when you pass through – or shout if you have time to grab to donut at Goodale’s 🙂

        • Kathy says:

          Is that where we met last time in Grayling? I don’t remember the name Goodale’s. (Which isn’t saying anything, I don’t remember much, ha ha.) I will probably passing your way next Friday kinda early in the morning depending on where I stay. Would always love to see you!

          • Heather says:

            I don’t remember where we had breakfast, either!
            Goodale’s is a bakery that has been in operation by a family at least as long ago as Tony’s childhood when they would get donuts for breakfast occasionally on their Manistee River vacations. They aren’t good for you, but they sure are good 🙂

  10. lucindalines says:

    Oh you make me so hungry with your vivid details of food. Such great times in the summer. It is good to hear that you are enjoying it so much. I need to stop my gaming and do some summer living before it is too late here.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, indeed, Lucinda, we somehow have to breathe in that summer living because, darn it, it seems to disappear so quickly. One minute we’re in short sleeves and the next we’re in long underwear and fleece. May the summer last a tiny bit longer!

  11. “Folks blossom like flowers come mid-summer here in the Upper Peninsula.”

    Kathy – you’re a YEAR-ROUND BLOOMER!

  12. A picture of thimbleberries! Thanks, Kathy! Isn’t it delightful how certain relatively mundane activities take on a glow when they are considered to be summer rituals?

    • Kathy says:

      Patty, I posted this photo on Facebook earlier this week, but I don’t think you have Facebook so actually thought of YOU when adding it here today. Yes. Oh yes. I love the glow of summer rituals. Oh yes…

  13. Sounds as if you’re living the good life! I hope to be one of the tourists this fall, I’m thinking of taking the first week of October off and photographing the Copper Harbor/Keweenaw Peninsula while the trees are wearing their fall foliage. That may be a little late though, I may have to move my vacation up a week or two.

    • Kathy says:

      Quietsolopursuits, if you take a few minutes away from being quiet and solo we could meet at the coffee shop in L’Anse for a cup of coffee. If I’m here. Am spending some more time downstate with parents lately, but, gosh, it’s great to be here during the beautiful autumn leaf-changing season. I am glad you’ll be able to enjoy the UP then. You will probably take thousands of beautiful pictures!

      • Thanks for the offer, but along with being quiet and solo, there’s one other thing about me. When I’m on vacation, I never know what time it is. I get up with the sun and divide the day into three parts, morning, afternoon and evening as judged by the position of the sun in the sky. Meeting somewhere would require me to watch a clock.

  14. Lori D says:

    As you know, just the opposite for me. I’m hibernating indoors until the beautiful weather of winter in Florida returns. But first, my yearly trip to Mom’s house in Chicago in a few weeks. Yipee! So glad you’re enjoying the outdoors while you can. Sounds lovely.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Lori. You know I hadn’t thought about that. Yes, I imagine it would be the opposite for folks living way down south. I hope you have a lovely time with your mom in Chicago. Hopefully you’ll have time to visit some old friends. You’ll surely enjoy some cooler weather anyway…hopefully…

  15. sybil says:

    This summer, life has turned on its head and I live with daily butterflies in my stomach. My daughter Kait and I are moving ! We’ve found a small “mini home” in the country with a lovely barn and a fabulous view and a horribly steep driveway. I’ve been tidying my house and arranging for inspections, insurance and all those little details. Oh how I wish it was all sorted out … there go those damn butterflies again.

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I can hardly believe that you’re moving! How very exciting! Is it nearby where you live now? Will you be closer to Amy-Lynn? Have you lived with a horribly steep driveway before? I think butterflies always come to visit when we make big changes like these in our lives. Perhaps they’re bringing butterfly magic to help you along when needed during your bouts with all those little details. Can’t wait to hear–and see–more!

  16. Stacy says:

    My, my! You have been busy, Kathy. Can you believe that summer is winding down here? Mind you, the thermometer says that we’re deeply entrenched in it, but school starts in mid-August here, so the kids are gearing up for the first day of school next week.

    I think I need a vacation…..

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, I can hardly bear those words “summer is winding down”. LOL. Today we’re having one of those picture-perfect northern summer days. Finally. The temp is supposed to be 72 (and 74 tomorrow) and it’s balmy and oh-so-lovely. As for your vacation, yep, you better take off pretty darn soon. I’m heading off downstate to see my parents next week and am excited about that end-of-summer trip.

  17. dawnkinster says:

    Wow! Busy busy busy! I had family (sister) visit earlier in the summer. Now it’s pretty much about work. Love the roadside photo…Summer is so wonderful and you appreciate it so up there. I miss Lake Superior! Loved the big rock and the lake picture too. Sigh….

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Dawn, gosh it was a busy week. It’s really calming down now. Nothing even on the agenda (except gardening and walking and reading and stuff) this weekend. I remember when your sister visited earlier in the summer. It sounded fun. Don’t you love when the roadsides are strewn with lacy flowers like Queen Anne’s Lace? I surely do.

  18. Janet says:

    I LOVED this post. It was like reading a good book. Oh, and thanks for the reminder to add Wild to my reading list. Happy Summer to you!

    • Kathy says:

      Janet, I am so glad you enjoyed this post. Truly. Before writing it I wondered if anyone on the planet would be interested in it. And you must read Wild. You will surely relate. Happy summer to you as well.

  19. june perkins says:

    Such a beautiful atmosphere full of the tastes, pace and joy of summer.
    Our holidays are a few weeks off here but looking forward to them.

    • Kathy says:

      June, thank you for pausing by our summer doorstep. I hope you will enjoy a wonderful time during your holidays. Are you going somewhere or staying at home?

  20. Karma says:

    Summer is on nearly everyone’s minds as I float around the blogosphere. It sounds like you’ve been having some wonderful days. I noticed that you wrote that your garden has been rototilled. Seems rather early for that, isn’t it? I figured you would be keeper of a garden filled with summer harvesting goodies!

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, do you think we’re obsessed with summertime because we know it’s heading oh-too-quickly toward *that other time of year*?? I think that word rototilled should have been something else. What we actually do is take our little rototiller (which is maybe a cultivator) and run it between all the rows thereby getting rid of the majority of weeds. So actually we cultivated. I think that’s what we did. Today am pulling up all the onions. Bet you’re swimming in veggies!

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  23. Tapioca? Did you say TAPIOCA? Ahh, how I love that sweet pudding. As well as raspberries and wine and deviled eggs and…oh, I’m focusing on the food you mention, when truly, I also loved hearing how your beautiful place becomes energized by visitors these summer days.

    Summer in San Francisco is foggy and cool (although the sun glorifies us every afternoon). So after work I hiked lots in the cool weather, and then I traveled to the beach along the Atlantic Ocean to join family and friends for some good hot summer fun. Whether lazy, hazy (foggy), or crazy, summer is a specially delicious time of year.

    • Kathy says:

      My dear roughwighting~~you would be SO welcomed at our book club. Your love of tapioca would insure that you fit right in. We tapioca-starved readers dive right into that pudding even more than our books!

      You have brought back fond foggy and cool memories of my short visit to San Francisco one summer long, long ago. (OK about 2001.) There is something special about that town. There truly is.

  24. P.j. grath says:

    Hazy? Occasionally, especially in the dewy mornings. Crazy? Definitely, with what we in Northport call “heavy traffic” and visitors from Chicago describe as “quiet and laid-back.” But lazy? No, no, not at all. I wish it were, at least for a couple days here and there, but for us that will come in September. Today is dog parade! Wine festival! People in the bookstore!!!

    Your delicious dinners sound like dreams from a magazine, Kathy. Being at those dinners for a few minutes this morning has been a mini-vacation for me. Thanks!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, I am so glad to see you! With all your busyness, it’s a wonder that you have time to read blogs–let alone add a comment. You know, I kind of hesitated before adding that word “lazy”. Sure, some days are lazy here (like today perhaps) but others–not so much. As in evidence with all our activity the last week or so. Glad you enjoyed the description of the dinners. Was thinking this might actually be a rather boring blog for people–but glad some people have seemed to enjoy. Will Sarah be in the dog parade?

  25. Brenda Hardie says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Thank you for sharing your lovely summer activities and memories. I love the pictures you posted on here, especially the beautiful roadside one with flowers blooming in the ditch ♥ I’ve been offline a lot lately from caring for my aging dog—I’ve been up all night long now to get her outside for potty breaks every 2-3 hours and keep a close eye on her since she hurt one of her back legs and is having trouble walking now. Last night was a rough night for her but she is finally relaxing and resting peacefully. So, I’ll be heading to bed soon too. My summer activities have been very limited this year because of my dog’s needs. Alex has been picking the tomatoes, peas, green beans and peppers from the garden to help me and he’s been taking lovely pictures of the flowers blooming now. Sunflowers, morning glories, gladiolas, dahlias and marigolds. ♥ He’s been my special helper this summer and I am so proud of him ♥ Thank you again for sharing these beautiful pictures and wonderful memories of summer activities.

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I am so sorry about your poor dog. Bless you for caring for him so heartfully. How wonderful that Alex has stepped up to the plate with the gardening and photographing. You should be proud of him. He’s a “keeper”. Thanks for stopping by–and for sharing your enjoyment.

  26. Christina says:

    Thanks for the lovely post reminding me of my childhood summers in the UP, Kathy! It looks like you’re all thoroughly enjoying these long, warm days.

    I absolutely LOVED Wild too and I’ve recommended it to four others who’ve all read and loved it so I’m really surprised to hear that some members of your book club didn’t. What was it that they didn’t like?

    • Kathy says:

      Christina, how nice to see you here. Happy to be able to remind you of the long warm days of summer–although this week it hasn’t been too warm again, darn it. Supposed to be 75 today though and I’m cheering!

      Also delighted to know that you liked Wild, too. Not sure I can definitively speak for the rest of Book Club but one of the members was quite offended about the main character’s behavior and choices at the beginning of the book. This clouded the rest of the book for her.

      As for me–I thought the book was really a spiritual awakening. Christopher, however, thought it was a “hiking manual”. LOL!

  27. Colleen says:

    Kathy, I have always loved your food-talk. And am glad to hear there are other tapioca loving people out there!

    It has been a quiet summer here. Even though there have been trips to Vancouver and the Island and all of the other summer goings-ons, it has felt quiet. And more reflective.

    We’ve been spending more time on the coast and in the city, taking advantage of the natural air conditioning:) When it’s 100+ here, an hours drive will have us shivering in cool 60s. When our teeth start chattering and the fog has gone right through our jackets, we come back home to warm up!

    It’s been so nice reading about your summer. You will probably be driving downstate by now. I am leaving to do the same next week, driving up to see family in Alberta. Have a wonderful trip Kathy, I know you love those quiet driving times as much as I do.

    • Kathy says:

      What a nice comment, Colleen! Food-talk can be so yummy, can’t it? My goodness, you have a wide array of temperatures within a short area. It’s been quite cool here lately, in the upper 60’s. It’s supposed to approach 80 soon, though, thank goodness.

      Oh won’t it be fun to have our nice quiet driving times? Yes, we do both love that so. I just received an email blessing from another friend who will be traveling. She wished me “traveling mercies”. Isn’t that the BEST blessing? I wish you traveling mercies as well.

  28. Love the words and pictures — especially roadsides and calm seas.

  29. Reggie says:

    With such varied and wonderful activities with your families and friends, I am surprised you found time to blog! 🙂

    By the way, what do the thimbleberries taste like? Are they like raspberries?

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, I only blogged four times in August! It felt like something to do *just for me* in the midst of the busy-ness. What do thimbleberries taste like? Oh no. How do you describe taste? They are tarter than raspberries. Their seeds are tiny. They are sweet/tart with a slice of summer hidden beneath green leaves. How’s that for a description? 😉

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