All The Farm That Is Fit To Print

Monday, August 29, 2011

Leelanau Harvest Tour

This event is hosted by the Cherry Capital Cycling Club and is a benefit for TART Trails.

On Sunday, September 18th, the Cherry Capital Cycling Club will host the 2011 Leelanau Harvest Tour, an annual bicycle road ride through scenic Leelanau County. Over 900 riders (families and individuals) from all over Michigan are expected to participate in this non-competitive event. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trails, a Traverse City-based nonprofit trail and bicycle advocacy organization. TART Trails owns, operates, and maintains the Leelanau Trail, a 15-mile trail that stretches from Traverse City to Suttons Bay.

The Leelanau Harvest Tour is known for its unique food stops every 20 to 30 miles. Each stop is on a lakefront park with a menu that includes specialties donated by area merchants and restaurants. Pre-registered riders will also enjoy a post-ride meal, included in the registration fee.

Route options cover 25, 45, 67, or 100 miles through beautiful Leelanau County. All of the routes cover hilly terrain and riders are rewarded with great views at the top of most hills.

The event starts and ends at Glen Lake Schools.

To sign up online or to find out more information, please review the Leelanau Harvest Tour’s web site, http://www.leelanauharvesttour.org

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society

By James Howard Kunstler

The best way to feel hopeful about our looming energy crisis is to get active now and prepare for living arrangements in a post-oil society.

Out in the public arena, people frequently twang on me for being "Mister Gloom'n'doom," or for "not offering any solutions" to our looming energy crisis. So, for those of you who are tired of wringing your hands, who would like to do something useful, or focus your attention in a purposeful way, here are my suggestions:

1. Expand your view beyond the question of how we will run all the cars by means other than gasoline. This obsession with keeping the cars running at all costs could really prove fatal. It is especially unhelpful that so many self-proclaimed "greens" and political "progressives" are hung up on this monomaniacal theme. Get this: the cars are not part of the solution (whether they run on fossil fuels, vodka, used frymax™ oil, or cow shit). They are at the heart of the problem. And trying to salvage the entire Happy Motoring system by shifting it from gasoline to other fuels will only make things much worse. The bottom line of this is: start thinking beyond the car. We have to make other arrangements for virtually all the common activities of daily life.

2. We have to produce food differently. The Monsanto/Cargill model of industrial agribusiness is heading toward its Waterloo. As oil and gas deplete, we will be left with sterile soils and farming organized at an unworkable scale. Many lives will depend on our ability to fix this. Farming will soon return much closer to the center of American economic life. It will necessarily have to be done more locally, at a smaller-and-finer scale, and will require more human labor. The value-added activities associated with farming -- e.g. making products like cheese, wine, oils -- will also have to be done much more locally. This situation presents excellent business and vocational opportunities for America's young people (if they can unplug their Ipods long enough to pay attention.) It also presents huge problems in land-use reform. Not to mention the fact that the knowledge and skill for doing these things has to be painstakingly retrieved from the dumpster of history. Get busy.

3. We have to inhabit the terrain differently. Virtually every place in our nation organized for car dependency is going to fail to some degree. Quite a few places (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami ...) will support only a fraction of their current populations. We'll have to return to traditional human ecologies at a smaller scale: villages, towns, and cities (along with a productive rural landscape). Our small towns are waiting to be reinhabited. Our cities will have to contract. The cities that are composed proportionately more of suburban fabric (e.g. Atlanta, Houston) will pose especially tough problems. Most of that stuff will not be fixed. The loss of monetary value in suburban property will have far-reaching ramifications. The stuff we build in the decades ahead will have to be made of regional materials found in nature -- as opposed to modular, snap-together, manufactured components -- at a more modest scale. This whole process will entail enormous demographic shifts and is liable to be turbulent. Like farming, it will require the retrieval of skill-sets and methodologies that have been forsaken. The graduate schools of architecture are still tragically preoccupied with teaching Narcissism. The faculties will have to be overthrown. Our attitudes about land-use will have to change dramatically. The building codes and zoning laws will eventually be abandoned and will have to be replaced with vernacular wisdom. Get busy.

4. We have to move things and people differently. This is the sunset of Happy Motoring (including the entire US trucking system). Get used to it. Don't waste your society's remaining resources trying to prop up car-and-truck dependency. Moving things and people by water and rail is vastly more energy-efficient. Need something to do? Get involved in restoring public transit. Let's start with railroads, and let's make sure we electrify them so they will run on things other than fossil fuel or, if we have to run them partly on coal-fired power plants, at least scrub the emissions and sequester the CO2 at as few source-points as possible. We also have to prepare our society for moving people and things much more by water. This implies the rebuilding of infrastructure for our harbors, and also for our inland river and canal systems -- including the towns associated with them. The great harbor towns, like Baltimore, Boston, and New York, can no longer devote their waterfronts to condo sites and bikeways. We actually have to put the piers and warehouses back in place (not to mention the sleazy accommodations for sailors). Right now, programs are underway to restore maritime shipping based on wind -- yes, sailing ships. It's for real. Lots to do here. Put down your Ipod and get busy.

5. We have to transform retail trade. The national chains that have used the high tide of fossil fuels to contrive predatory economies-of-scale (and kill local economies) -- they are going down. WalMart and the other outfits will not survive the coming era of expensive, scarcer oil. They will not be able to run the "warehouses-on-wheels" of 18-wheel tractor-trailers incessantly circulating along the interstate highways. Their 12,000-mile supply lines to the Asian slave-factories are also endangered as the US and China contest for Middle East and African oil. The local networks of commercial interdependency which these chain stores systematically destroyed (with the public's acquiescence) will have to be rebuilt brick-by-brick and inventory-by-inventory. This will require rich, fine-grained, multi-layered networks of people who make, distribute, and sell stuff (including the much-maligned "middlemen"). Don't be fooled into thinking that the Internet will replace local retail economies. Internet shopping is totally dependent now on cheap delivery, and delivery will no longer be cheap. It also is predicated on electric power systems that are completely reliable. That is something we are unlikely to enjoy in the years ahead. Do you have a penchant for retail trade and don't want to work for a big predatory corporation? There's lots to do here in the realm of small, local business. Quit carping and get busy.

6. We will have to make things again in America. However, we are going to make less stuff. We will have fewer things to buy, fewer choices of things. The curtain is coming down on the endless blue-light-special shopping frenzy that has occupied the forefront of daily life in America for decades. But we will still need household goods and things to wear. As a practical matter, we are not going to re-live the 20th century. The factories from America's heyday of manufacturing (1900 - 1970) were all designed for massive inputs of fossil fuel, and many of them have already been demolished. We're going to have to make things on a smaller scale by other means. Perhaps we will have to use more water power. The truth is, we don't know yet how we're going to make anything. This is something that the younger generations can put their minds and muscles into.

7. The age of canned entertainment is coming to and end. It was fun for a while. We liked "Citizen Kane" and the Beatles. But we're going to have to make our own music and our own drama down the road. We're going to need playhouses and live performance halls. We're going to need violin and banjo players and playwrights and scenery-makers, and singers. We'll need theater managers and stage-hands. The Internet is not going to save canned entertainment. The Internet will not work so well if the electricity is on the fritz half the time (or more).

8. We'll have to reorganize the education system. The centralized secondary school systems based on the yellow school bus fleets will not survive the coming decades. The huge investments we have made in these facilities will impede the transition out of them, but they will fail anyway. Since we will be a less-affluent society, we probably won't be able to replace these centralized facilities with smaller and more equitably distributed schools, at least not right away. Personally, I believe that the next incarnation of education will grow out of the home schooling movement, as home schooling efforts aggregate locally into units of more than one family. God knows what happens beyond secondary ed. The big universities, both public and private, may not be salvageable. And the activity of higher ed itself may engender huge resentment by those foreclosed from it. But anyone who learns to do long division and write a coherent paragraph will be at a great advantage -- and, in any case, will probably out-perform today's average college graduate. One thing for sure: teaching children is not liable to become an obsolete line-of-work, as compared to public relations and sports marketing. Lots to do here, and lots to think about. Get busy, future teachers of America.

9. We have to reorganize the medical system. The current skein of intertwined rackets based on endless Ponzi buck passing scams will not survive the discontinuities to come. We will probably have to return to a model of service much closer to what used to be called "doctoring." Medical training may also have to change as the big universities run into trouble functioning. Doctors of the 21st century will certainly drive fewer German cars, and there will be fewer opportunities in the cosmetic surgery field. Let's hope that we don't slide so far back that we forget the germ theory of disease, or the need to wash our hands, or the fundamentals of pharmaceutical science. Lots to do here for the unsqueamish.

10. Life in the USA will have to become much more local, and virtually all the activities of everyday life will have to be re-scaled. You can state categorically that any enterprise now supersized is likely to fail -- everything from the federal government to big corporations to huge institutions. If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you. An entire social infrastructure of voluntary associations, co-opted by the narcotic of television, needs to be reconstructed. Local institutions for care of the helpless will have to be organized. Local politics will be much more meaningful as state governments and federal agencies slide into complete impotence. Lots of jobs here for local heroes.

So, that's the task list for now. Forgive me if I left things out. Quit wishing and start doing. The best way to feel hopeful about the future is to get off your ass and demonstrate to yourself that you are a capable, competent individual resolutely able to face new circumstances.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Leelanau Raclette Fondue

Michigan Guide-Traverse City, Traverse City Hotels, Mackinac About UsAdvertiseContact UsLink to UsLog InMy AccountStoreSubscriptionsFeeds Articles Community Store
VacationOutdoorsArtsFood & WineLivingEventsGuides & ResourcesReal EstateShopVideoCommunityTraverse MagazineRecipesWineCherriesRestaurantsNewsletterFeaturesHomeFood & WineRecipes
« Back to the list of recipes

By: Martha Ryan

MyNorth.com, the online home of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, challenged Northern Michigan chefs to prepare a dish that is made with 95 percent Michigan products. We call it the Chef Showdown: Local Foods. Northern Michigan’s chefs, including Martha Ryan the chef/owner of Martha's Leelanau Table, responded with gusto.

The rules? Prepare a dish of your choice, savory or sweet, but 90 percent of the ingredients must be either raised, grown or foraged in Northern Michigan and an additional 5 percent must be raised, grown or foraged somewhere in Michigan. Additionally, the chefs agreed to provide our readers with their recipes and list of local ingredients—so the MyNorth audience could shop local and prepare the dishes themselves at home.

•1 cup shredded Leelanau Raclette, Leelanau Cheese Company, Suttons Bay
•1 cup shredded Boars Head Swiss
•1/2 cup Chateau Fontaine Chardonnay, Chateau Fontaine Vineyards & Winery, Lake Leelanau
•2 tablespoons Blackstar Farms Cherry Eau De Vie (brandy), Blackstar Farms Winery, Suttons Bay
•1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with brandy)
•1 clove Michigan organic garlic, peeled
•Bardenhagen red potatoes, Bardenhagen Farms, Suttons Bay
•Gala apples, Friske Orchards, Charlevoix

Put wine in heavy bottom pot and heat to boil. Turn down to medium and add both cheeses. Stir in a zigzag pattern for a minute only. Add the corn starch and brandy to wine and cheese mixture. Cook til smooth and all cheese is melted ( 5-10 minutes). Rub a fondue pot with a cut clove of garlic and pour cheese mixture into pot Serve with fresh apples, roasted potatoes, crusty French Bread and Cornichon. Serves 2 for an appetizer or light meal.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to Start Long Term Food Storage

eHow User

In lean times, long term food storage makes sense. In case of a glitch in the supply chain, a failed crop or financial turmoil, those with adequate food storage supplies will weather a storm more comfortably than those who are not prepared. Rising grocery prices are one sign that food shortages may be ahead. here's how to get ahead of the curve and stock up for your family.

Begin with the basics, the lowest-cost essentials that are simple to acquire and will help sustain you in times of need. These items, including whole grains, rice and beans, are the bulk of many long term food storage larders. Whole grains and brown rice are superior because they are packed with nutrients, unlike their counterparts.

Add dried and frozen meats, as well as fish and poultry, to your stockpile. Try buying your beef by the side or quarter from a local butcher and you will save considerably.

Make sure you have an adequate amount of store-able fats, such as olive oil and coconut oil, for inclusion in your pantry.

Include dried fruit, peanut butter and other snacks and energy-boosting foods.

Acquire food storage containers, such as food-grade plastic pails with gamma seal lids. These are excellent for whole grains, non perishable foods and emergency supplies such as matches, candles and lanterns. As you purchase survival foods and bulk items, store them properly to avoid waste.

Find the best sources for price, quality and selection for the food items you need. Check food club stores, local food co-ops, and bulk distributors as well as your grocery store.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Long Term Global Food Crisis Looms: Experts Urge Immediate Action

ScienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2008) — Declining agricultural productivity and continued growing demand have brought the world food situation to a crossroads. Failure to act now through a wholesale reinvestment in agriculture—including research into improved technologies, infrastructure development, and training and education of agricultural scientists and trainers—could lead to a long-term crisis that makes the price spikes of 2008 seem a mere blip.

This stark warning, in line with calls from organizations such as the World Bank, the World Food Program, and Asian Development Bank (ADB), was issued by members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) following their meeting on 16-19 September at Institute headquarters in Los Baños, Philippines.

The global community needs to remember two key things," said BOT Chair Elizabeth Woods. "First, that growth in agricultural productivity is the only way to ensure that people have access to enough affordable food. Second, that achieving this is a long-term effort. A year or two of extra funding for agricultural research is not enough. To ensure that improved technologies flow from the research and development pipeline, a sustained re-investment in agriculture is crucial."

Dr. Woods pointed out that the annual rice yield growth rate has dropped to less than 1% in recent years, compared with 2--3% during the Green Revolution period of 1967-90. Based on projected income and population growth, annual productivity growth of almost 1.5% will be needed at least until 2020.

The meeting coincided with the release of a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations stating that higher food prices are partly to blame for the number of hungry people growing by 75 million to around 925 million worldwide—and further jeopardizing the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger and poverty by 2015.

Another report, released this week by the ADB, argued that, for Asian countries to prevent future food price surges, agriculture needs wide-scale structural reform. This report also warned that, with demand remaining higher than supply, any supply shock would further increase cereal prices.

An ADB report released in August increased the cut-off level for poverty from US$1 per day to $1.35 per day, meaning that millions more people are trapped in poverty than previously thought. Disturbingly, the new measure does not take into account the higher food and fuel prices of 2008, which, according to some estimates, have plunged a further 100 million people below the poverty line. Although the export price of rice has settled from more than $1,000 per ton in May to around $700 per ton, it is still double the price of one year ago.

The current crisis serves as a timely wakeup call for governments, multilateral organizations, and donors to refocus on agriculture. Various national and international bodies have called for a second Green Revolution to feed the world in the face of a growing population and shrinking land base for agricultural uses.

Unlike the first Green Revolution, in which productivity growth was achieved with the introduction of modern varieties in tandem with assured irrigation and inputs (such as fertilizer), and guaranteed prices, the second Green Revolution needs to achieve the same goal in the face of several 21st-century challenges. These challenges include water and land scarcity, environmental degradation, skyrocketing input prices, and globalized marketplaces, all within the context of global climate change.

In short, the second Green Revolution will have to expand productivity sustainably, with fewer resources.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Thermodynamics of Local Food

Jason Bradford

Books, blogs, and articles about local foods have been popping up with high frequency recently. I am not going to get into who’s involved or even what they are discussing in any detail, but instead refer readers here, here, and here for background. Or if you want to stick to The Oil Drum, similar discussions occurred here a couple years ago.

I am going to make an argument I don’t see much. Reading the pros and cons on this subject is a bit like watching a pea roll around on a plate. My goal is to stick a fork in that pea and focus on something very fundamental. The point I will make is that one can say with high confidence bordering on certainty that only a predominantly local food system will ever be sustainable

What I mean by sustainable is the ability to endure. Quite simply and irrefutably I conclude that the current globalized food system is a flash in the frying pan because it doesn’t respect the first law of thermodynamics. Whatever other argument you might want to make against the global and for the local (and several legitimate ones come to mind) this fatal flaw is insurmountable. No quibbles, qualification or value judgments need to get in the way of this basic fact.

The Linearity Problem

The first law of thermodynamics is that matter and energy are never created nor destroyed, they only change form. The forms of matter and energy in the human body come from food, which primarily comes from soils. When plants and fungi occupy soil and grow, they ingest atoms in simple or mineralized forms and incorporate them into organic forms. This process essentially mines soils at an atomic scale.

The concentration of people into urban centers requires shipment of food far away from agricultural lands. Soils, therefore, are constantly depleted of nutrients. Currently, these nutrients are replaced by adding soil amendments and fertilizers that themselves derive from mining operations. In the same way that oil fields deplete, so do the mines that support current agricultural practices, whether based on man-made chemicals or imported organics, such as bat guano from Chile. In essence, the food system is predominantly a linear chain from mine to soil to food to plate to bodies and excretions to the treatment plants to the water ways and land fills and to the oceans.

Because we can’t create matter out of thin air to replace these depleting resources (First Law) the system is unsustainable. To make it potentially sustainable we’d have to take the waste outputs and make them inputs again to yield a cyclical food system.

Transportation Constraints

A sustainable system must be primarily local because of energetic and logistical constraints. What is removed from a plot of land needs to be returned. Okay, not the exact atoms, but roughly the same kinds atoms in the original quantities and proportions.

This line of thinking has led me to a very important question: What is the average mineral composition of human urine and feces? My search has not been exhaustive, but I did come across two fairly recent publications that both reference a 1956 study by the World Health Organization. One of these, The Humanure Handbook is available online or in many bookstores. The other is a booklet published by Ecology Action titled affirmatively, “Future Fertility: Transforming Human Waste in Human Wealth.”

A classic composting method is to combine animal manure and urine with mature crop residues, usually straw. When mixed appropriately, this combination has an ideal ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C:N) leading to the formation of quality finished compost. Straw also includes various transformed soil nutrients, so the final product is nearly a perfectly balanced source of soil replenishment, which is what you’d expect given the First Law.

Let’s put our mind in the toilet for a moment. What is going to be the best strategy for taking the contents of that porcelain bowl and mixing them with straw? Should the straw be brought to every home? Should it go to the municipal treatment plant? Or perhaps the straw should stay on the farm with the “precious cargo” shipped from city to country?

Folke Günther

These questions may amuse and be largely ignored, but they are completely fundamental. One of the few people I know of who studies this issue is the systems ecologist, Folke Günther. His website provides more up to date calculations for human waste, and he even uses the metric system!

To simplify the subject a bit, he focuses on phosphorus. The reasoning is straightforward--it is ten times more concentrated in the human body than in the Earth’s crust and therefore the most limiting nutrient in most locations. Essentially, if phosphorus can be reclaimed effectively so can everything else.

In Günther’s writings and presentations on the requirements for sustainable cycling of nutrients, he suggests that the population of rural areas needs to be about twelve times larger than urban areas. He gives a scenario where ruralisation occurs in a region over 50 years based on the normal turnover rate of infrastructure—essentially as urban centers decay they are not rebuilt and investments in housing and other infrastructure are made instead in the adjacent hinterlands. Furthermore, assuming a rise in transportation costs, he also shows that a rural economy based on local food and energy weathers oil depletion well, in contrast to a city that must import basic needs.

I find these concepts obvious. I think a child can understand the basic premise operating here: If you take and don’t give back, it runs out. The implications, on the other hand, are stunning. Will the migration to the cities, a demographic phenomenon that has gone on for so many decades, be necessarily reversed in the 21st century? If so, is it even remotely possible that this might happen in a thoughtful way as envisioned by Günther? And of course ruralisation in a region like Las Vegas is impossible.

Historic Model: China and Village Ecosystems

This topic has not gone unexplored on The Oil Drum. Phil Harris described the essentially local and long-term persistence of agrarian village ecosystems, especially in China. I have heard stories about farmers in China competing for humanure by building comfortable and decorative outhouses along roadside borders of their land. Please send pictures of these if you come across any of them. I am looking for some design ideas for the future.

"The human mind...burns by the power of a leaf."
Loren Eisley

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stir of Leaves

As the summer slumbers, fall sneaks in leaving bright leaves and cooler days. The creek near the house seems to tumble along more briskly. Down by the lake, mists rise from the waters each morning. If you are up early, you might see a lone rowboat, fisherman sitting solemn and waiting for a nibble.
Even the light slants differently across Leelanau, shading the hills for artists and photographers.

My father said that around each turn in Leelanau county there was a new painting. Last September, my father died. He was buried before the snow flew last winter. I hope that heaven is unrolling bright vistas for him to enjoy. I hope he's found my mother who he pined for since her death.

I miss him. I miss them both.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fall in the Air

Here in Northern Michigan you can sense the fall coming. The light slants differently across the landscape, highlighting the touches of red and gold that have begun to dapple the trees. Oh, of course, it is still summer. The beaches are still full of families, pinickers, and boaters. But when evening draws down the curtain, a coolness steals out of the north to warn us to value these precious warm days.

Winter is nothing to sneeze at in these parts.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In Praise of Small Farms


This is the time of year when I throw hay to the heifers in the pasture and break the ice in their trough every frosty morning. Sometimes I sit in the early sun and watch the hawks, the deer and the lbbs (little brown birds), who are busy looking for the last of the wild mustard seed.

The heifers munch at the hay, which was raised on this very field over the summer. It was the product of my morning and evening irrigation efforts, and grown in the hot sun of western Colorado.

The heifers’ deposited manure will eventually turn to topsoil for a new hay crop, and they themselves will join the main herd, where they will have calves in the spring. The calves will then follow me around in utter curiousity as I walk through the pastures with my Irish irrigation shovel next year.

It’s all a big circle, and I realize I’m one of the few Americans left who still does it, and even rarer, one who does it on a small family farm of less than 120 acres. Most farms are huge today, and use large machines and major petrochemical inputs to produce a crop. They are more the world of the industrial factory than of Thomas Jefferson’s agrarian dream. He envisioned a small republic of independent farmers and craftsmen who would live and work in small towns across the country that were themselves self-sustaining communities.

Instead we got Alexander Hamilton’s America of powerful banking interests, large corporations, an imperial military and millions of workers who toil in the country’s massive and ubiquitous industrial systems (while they’re not sitting in traffic jams trying to commute to heavily mortgaged tract homes).

Wendell Berry, the Kentucky farmer-poet, laments this loss of America’s connection to its land, and of how technology has replaced husbandry and the “mystery of God” present in well-cared-for farms and farmers. “Animal science has led us away from any such belief in the sanctity of animals,” he writes. “It has led us instead to the animal factory, which, like the concentration camp, is a vision of hell. Animal husbandry, on the contrary, comes from and again leads us to the psalmist’s vision of good grass, good water and the husbandry of God.”

Well, I don’t know about God, but I do appreciate good topsoil — “a wilderness of organisms,” as Berry calls it — and healthy animals happy in their pasture.

Our valley is blessed with a whole variety of farmers and ranchers who are trying to make their occupations more connected to nature, with the landscape, and with our local communities. We have the Valley Organic Growers Association, Homestead Market, a whole variety of organic orchards and natural food stores like Hardin’s and the Old River Road market in Paonia. Many of our local restaurants are also using locally grown food for their menus. We should support them.

As Americans have lost connection with their land, one can see the degradation of North America almost everywhere. We are one of the last small-farm communities still relatively intact, and I think we should stay connected as much as possible. Learn about topsoil, use compost, take care of your animals and they’ll take care of you and appreciate your care.

It’s all a big circle, after all.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peak Oil and a Changing Climate

The Nation

The scientific community has long agreed that our dependence on fossil fuels inflicts massive damage on the environment and our health, while warming the globe in the process. But beyond the damage these fuels cause to us now, what will happen when the world's supply of oil runs out?

Peak Oil is the point at which petroleum production reaches its greatest rate just before going into perpetual decline. In “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate,” a new video series from The Nation and On The Earth productions, radio host Thom Hartmann explains that the world will reach peak oil within the next year if it hasn’t already. As a nation, the United States reached peak oil in 1974, after which it became a net oil importer.

Bill McKibben, Noam Chomsky, Nicole Foss, Richard Heinberg and the other scientists, researchers and writers interviewed throughout “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” describe the diminishing returns our world can expect as it deals with the consequences of peak oil even as it continues to pretend it doesn’t exist. These experts predict substantially increased transportation costs, decreased industrial production, unemployment, hunger and social chaos as the supplies of the fuels on which we rely dwindle and eventually disappear.

Chomsky urges us to anticipate the official response to peak oil based on how corporations, news organizations and other institutions have responded to global warming: obfuscation, spin and denial. James Howard Kunstler says that we cannot survive peak oil unless we “come up with a consensus about reality that is consistent with the way things really are.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sleeping Bear Dunes - 'Most Beautiful'

WASHINGTON (WOOD) - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was named Wednesday the Most Beautiful Place in America by viewers of ABC's "Good Morning America."

Online voters selected the park from a list of 10 finalists, all of them recently featured on the show, according to a statement from the National Park Service. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore received 22 % of the nearly 100,000 votes. The dunes are located west of Traverse City.

The Top 10 --

•Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Glen Arbor, Michigan)
•Grand Teton National Park (Jackson, Wyoming)
•Point Reyes National Seashore (Point Reyes Sta, California)
•Cape Cod, Massachusetts
•Asheville, North Carolina
•Aspen, Colorado
•Destin, Florida
•Lanikai Beach, Hawaii
•Newport, Rhode Island
•Sedona, Arizona

Jim Madole of Grand Rapids nominated the park -- 71,000 acres that includes towering dunes, woods and trails along the shore of Lake Michigan -- as the most beautiful place in America.

"It is peaceful and serene, a place for gazing out into the world, night or day, and realizing that the universe is truly a magical, majestic mystery, and humans are just a very small part of it all," he wrote in his submission. "Here at Sleeping Bear, I sit in awe and wonder at the perfection of Mother Nature."

"Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is something of a hidden gem in the national park system," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "It's off the beaten path and perhaps not as well known as some other national parks. Jim describes perfectly why Americans have set it aside for the enjoyment of this and future generations."

"I think we've been 'discovered,'" park superintendent Dusty Shultz said in the statement. "We actually have more than a million visitors a year but Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore still retains the amazing qualities that make it the most beautiful place in America. I've been here for 10 years and every day reveals a new aspect of its beauty."

The area is dominated by massive sand dunes perched on glacial ridges 450 feet above Lake Michigan. Two large islands just off shore are part of the park and offer tranquility and seclusion. The national lakeshore preserves pristine beaches, quiet rivers, forested hills and clear inland lakes. Local visitors say the park's Lake Michigan waters are clear to a depth of 30 feet.

The park keeps cultural landscapes alive in stories of American Indian, maritime, agricultural, and recreational history, and preserves nationally recognized maritime structures and artifacts from the U.S. Life-Saving Service era.

Alberto Orso produced the segment for "Good Morning America" and said they did not set out to feature national parks, although Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Grand Teton National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore made the final list of 10 beautiful places.

"It was an open call to viewers to send pictures of places that meant something special to them," said Orso. "We had thousands of entries, lots of them about national parks and narrowed the field to 10 amazing places."

Orso said the list of finalists includes recognizable locations, "But we also wanted to highlight some of the places that aren't always talked about and that are a little less seen and heard."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

America: Why Aren't You Protesting?

As noted by Richard Heinberg on June 22nd, 2011, the media has lacked the ability to connect the economic situations in the Middle East and their uprisings to what is happening in Europe. I would avoid the word “Revolution” in the case of the Middle Eastern uprisings, seeing as no dramatic systemic changes have taken place, only the ousting of dictators. Same as I would avoid the words of social upheaval in the case of European protests, which have been quite calm and only demanding to maintain the social safety nets produced through years of labor struggle. Rather, the odd occurrence is the ostensibly quiet population of the United States who are in many cases having the same economic problems and austerity based government solutions. This is a place where the media does want to ask the public the question, “Why aren’t you protesting?”

Effectively in the United States the labor movement has been dismantled over 30 years through multiple policies, the main one being “Right-to-Work” laws, which have left only 6.9% of private sector workers in unions, and 36.2% of public sector workers in unions. This has correlated as well to a 30 year stagnation in wages, which has barely kept pace with inflation, leaving many with the option of accumulating debt buttressed by a free flowing credit policy. That points to a problem when consumer spending accounts anywhere from 40%-70% of the economy (whether or not you wish to count government spending which is done through the aggregation of taxes from said consumers). Even if the low end number of 40% is the truth of the matter, it is large stake in the economy and plays a disproportionate role in the health of the economy as a whole.

The importance of wage and debt is linked to the economy having a large consumer component, which is basically like the gas to the engine, it keeps things in motion. According to the Federal Reserve, Household Debt is far greater than disposable income, basically at a ratio where consumers are maxed out. Connect this with the Weltanschauung (world outlook) of consumers at the moment, according to the Rasmussen Consumer Index, 61% of the US population see the economy as getting worse. Basically, you have a massive Molotov cocktail being thrown at the economy. The wage trend is not reversing, as noted by Paul Craig Roberts and Shadow Government Statistics, new jobs are typically in non-value added labor (service economy), with an industrial sector shedding jobs as they are outsourced to countries with cheaper labor and laxer regulations (or harsher authoritarian regimes).

When unemployment is calculated correctly it stands nearer to 16-17%, and high-value labor is not returning to employ most of these people, but only the non-value added labor. Without wages and jobs, how is 40% (roughly 5.9 trillion dollars) of 14.7 trillion dollars going to be maintained. Possibly through Citigroup’s idea of a Plutonomy, where the economy services only 20% of the population. However, wouldn’t that lead to political instability in a country that in a form stabilizes the world economy through dollar supremacy and also US treasury bonds (one of the safest investments).

With all this being the trend, and each recession taking longer to reach normal employment levels, where is the social reaction in the United States in comparison to Europe and the Middle East, which were experiencing (and still are) similar situations. A large part of the blame can be laid at the feet of the media who have downplayed protests calling for stimulus and national reinvestment from the grassroots and economists such as Paul Krugman, Josepsh Stiglitz, Robert Reich, and Mike Whitney. Stimulus having the point of proper regulations (neither over or under-regulated, but well regulated), and bringing back value-added jobs which maintain the advancement in Science & Technology. At the same time the media has overrated the Tea Party movement which has been calling for the implementation of the same policies which have been followed since Regean.

These were bad solutions to growth stagnation at the end of the 70’s and still are in the present. Cutting taxes and eviscerating regulation produced large mountains of government debt and has not increased the number of middle class workers (rather decreased that number). Those people, Tea Partiers and so-called Conservatives, do not understand the first thing about economics and are just rabid ideologues spouting words that make semiotics professors mouths’ water. But, not all the blame can be placed on the media, it also is a lack of political will on the part of the politicians, and large propaganda campaigns by corporate America. What has happened is a corporatization of American politics, especially after Citizens United case, but even before, as rampant individualism and greed have taken root into the American culture in a corrosive manner.

A quick glance at the historical record shows that when the elites begin to siphon off more and more of the surplus, social movements were typically the norm. This creates instability and opens doors to collapse of power and markets, the internal structure of a nation. The new rulers are the multi-nationals, and they are not nationalist. As they exist without borders, they are not worried about political or economic instability in a single country.

The new rulers do not have any real party affiliation, and neither party adheres to the political philosophy they claim, they are all corporatists now. And this is the fundamental reason why America is so silent. The people are behind history, they are standing in the trashed piled high by the Angel of History, which always progresses forward, not understanding their old paradigm does not operate properly anymore. They do not believe a government is meant to regulate an economy, that is for the markets. Yet they want a government, just not to impinge on their right to be greedy at all costs.

What then is left to this government that has no purpose within the economic sector?

Militarism and policing, which has never been good for a government to occupy all it’s time with. The other function has been for the government to siphon money through taxes (by having one of the highest corporate tax rates which can be avoided with a legion of lawyers), into corporations. This is shown by the revelations about GE. GE had American profits of $5.1 billion, paid 0% in taxes, and received a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, but I am almost certain it is using roads, electric and water systems, and other American taxpayer produced resources free of charge. So, yes Americans are going the Tea Party route, because they do not trust government, not recognizing that the line between Governments and Corporations have been obliterated over the last 30 years.

What does all this mean for political and economic stability in the U.S.?

It looks like a long brimstone filled road, unless somebody can grow a pair to start making a proper political discourse in that beacon of light on a hill, that republic from 1776. There are many people who are shareholders and need to recognize that collapse economically in the US, means a collapse in their portfolio. And stakeholders as well need to recognize that it is their tax dollars being turned into profits (money begetting money) rather than value-added goods and infrastructure development. These are the last people with any clout, because obviously the rap line is the only mantra left in the US, “Money Talks, Bullshit Walks.”

Otherwise as the system deteriorates even further, massive protests will happen, but with a narcissistic victim hood component where people are finding someone else to blame, ultimately not accepting responsibility for misunderstanding or being blatantly ignorant about the link between politics and economics. With money moving freely around the world, markets will react as markets like to react, dropping dollar supremacy, moving investments to other countries with a better “order”, and leaving a highly militarized and narcissistically angry society holding nothing but guns and their broken dreams.

By. Andrew Smolski

Andrew Smolski is a contributor at Oilprice.com and specializes in Political/Economic Sociology. His work has been syndicated in many leading online publications and he can be reached at da.smolski@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An Angel During the Holocaust

Angels Online

During the Holocaust, my mother was a young woman with a small son. They were refugees in Russia having fled from the Nazi's in Poland . My mother did everything she could in order to feed both herself and her son, who went to bed each night with a small crust of bread under his pillow. She had traded goods in the black market for some material, with this she intended to get food from a nearby farm. When she reached the farm, the people were very kind. They fed her and filled her small sled with wonderful grains and vegetables. She was elated.
When she was headed home it started to snow so heavily that the small sled became stuck, and she was unable to move any further. God she prayed, what will happen to my little boy, please protect him.

Suddenly a large sled with a horse appeared. The man in the sled had a fur covering his legs, and ice hanging from his handle bar moustache. What are you doing here he asked.....where do you live? My mother couldn't believe her luck. He took her along with her small sled and food right to her door. It was only right to invite him in for some hot tea. When she turned around to thank him and invite him in, he was gone. No trace of him could be found.

My mother is convinced he was her angel, and the answer to her prayer.....and so do I.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Peshawbetown Pow-wow

Andrew McFarlane

The annual Pow Wow of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians takes place at the Strongheart Center in Peshawbestown (on M-22 north of Suttons Bay) this Friday-Sunday (Aug 18-20). The event features native singers, dancers and artists and includes traders' booths and food booths. For more information, please call (231) 271-4104 or (231) 995-0313.

The Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau has a great article on what a pow wow is all about that includes a quotation by Steve Feringa, chairman of the Peshawbestown Powwow committee: "A powwow is a social gathering, it’s not a sacred gathering per se. We’re trying to bridge that gap in our community between Native and non-Native in all kinds of ways. Powwow is a great thing that brings everyone in and gives all different people a chance to know each other."

Last year's Leelanau Enterprise featured A return home to Peshawbestown, the story of 85-year-old Delia Morgan and her memories of life in Peshawbestown in the early 1900s. This one is highly recommended as well!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sleeping Bear Dunes - Leelanau


Calendar of Events

•Leelanau Wine and Food Festival
•Orvis Fly Fishing School
•Patriotic Music Free Concert
•Meet The Winemakers
•Great Lakes Photo Tours
•Empire Asparagus Festival
•National Cherry Festival
•Dune Climb Concert
•Traverse City Film Festival

Friday, August 12, 2011

Leelanau Peninsula Wine, Food, and Music Festival


The annual Leelanau Peninsula Wine, Food, & Music Festival will be held this Saturday, August 13 from noon to 6 PM at Haserot Park in Northport. The event features wines from the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas, one brewery and one hard cider vendor, music from Dawn Campbell and food from area restaurants. The $15 admission includes a souvenir glass and 2 wine-tasting tickets. For more information visit the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce or call 231.271.9895.

Also in Northport on Saturday is the annual Northport Dog Parade, which starts promptly at 1 PM. The theme for the 2010 Dog Parade in Northport is "Dog Gone With the Wind". The parade is open to all, but only those who have registered will be eligible for prizes. Advance registration is $5 and is available in Northport at Dog Ears Books, The Pot of Gold Re-sale Shop and the Old Mill Pond Inn. Late registration begins at noon on parade day and is $10 per dog. Judging takes place at the Mill Pond before the parade. Bring the kids, the dogs & the entire family. Prizes for all! For more information, please call David Chrobak at 231-386-7341.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday Night Live

Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau

Streets are closed to traffic for hands-on activities, fire engine rides, strolling performers, food and family entertainment. Starting every Friday evening from 5:30pm - 9pm on Front Street in downtown Traverse City. For more information contact (231) 922-2050

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Farming in Northern Michigan: Web-Based Seed Exchange

A web-based seed exchange digitizes the age-old practice and makes farming in Northern Michigan a bit more local.

Apr 12, 2011 Jeff Smith

Farming in Northern Michigan: Back in the day, a farming region naturally evolved a local seed stock tailored to the particulars of its growing conditions. Northern Michigan farmers kept seeds from their biggest and best produce. They traded seeds with other Northern Michigan farmers at seed exchanges. Each year, produce improved.

But then, same old tale ... big companies took over, Northern Michigan farmers bought seed from nation suppliers, and the connection to specific regions like Northern Michigan vanished. Now Benzie farmer Craig Schaaf and his compadres in the local organic farming movement have set out to take the venerable seed exchange idea and go digital with it: a web-based seed exchange where farmers can buy and sell seeds from produce that grew grand and luscious right here in Northwest Michigan.

For consumers, especially local food mavens like Traverse City chef Myles Anton at Trattoria Stella, the seed exchange will mean steady progress in quality of produce. And for farmers, it could mean more income. "A butternut squash sells for about 75 cents," Schaaf says, "but it has about $24 worth of seeds in it." Check the exchange at MLUI.org.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tumbling tumbleweeds

As we wait for some female New Zealand Red bunnies to surface, we are currently fattening up our two males beyond belief. They seem fairly content without girlfriends. Of course, it's hard to say whether they really miss the ladies or not? They are cuddly and keep my daughter occupied. She grooms, trims nails, and cleans cages. She is looking forward to breeding them and having baby bunnies.

We feasted this week on fresh chicken and then made chicken soup out of the leftovers. I look forward to having some more chickens in the freezer before the snow flies.

If you are interested in experiencing naturally raised chicken, pork, or beef---please contact the Hubbell Farm and make an order.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Festivals in Northern Michigan--a list

Here is list of events we know you will enjoy.

2011 Festivals in Northern Michigan

•January 16 Traverse City Downtown Chili Cook-off
Park Place Dome

•January 15-17 Sno-Blast Winter Festival
East Jordan near Charlevoix

•January 15th - 17th Kalkaska Winterfest
Kalkaska County Fairgrounds

•February 6th - 7th Taste The Passion
Wineries of Leelanau Peninsula

•February 2nd weekend Empire Winterfest

•February 7-14 Winter Blues Fest
Petoskey 231-347-4150

•February 18th - 21st Cherry Capitol Winter Wonder Fest

•February 19 Glen Arbor Winterfest 231-334-3238

•February 9 Pentwater Winterfest

•May 14-15 Old Mission Peninsula Blossom Days

•May 15 Pentwater Wine And Art 231-869-8301

•May 28 Petoskey Stone Festival

•June Premium Pour-Leelanau Peninsula

June 11 Leland Wine and Food Festival 231-256-0079
More Leland festivals

•June Pellston Summerfest

•June 18 Charlevoix - A Taste of Charlevoix

•July 2-9 Traverse City Cherry Festival

•July Empire Anchor Day 231-326-5287

•July 16-23 Charlevoix Venetian Festival 800-870-9786

•call Suttons Bay Jazzfest 231-271-5077

•August Northport-Leelanau Peninsula Wine And Food Festival

•August 19-20 Petoskey Festival On The Bay

•August Pentwater Homecoming Celebration 231-869-8301

•August 20 Traverse City Wine and Art Festival

•September Silver lake Apple and BQ Festival 800-870-9786 Think Dunes

•September 17 Leland Heritage Celebration

•September 10-11 Harvest Stompede-Annual Vineyard Run & Walk

•September Charlevoix Oktoberfest 800-951-2101

•October 14 Charlevoix Apple Festival

•October 22 Leland Fall Frenzy

•November 5-6 12-13 Toast The Season-Gifts Wine And Food

•November 26 The Great Macaroni & Cheese Bake-offOld Mission Peninsula Wineries

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Peak oil is 'getting closer' but the world is not ready

Tom Levitt

28th June, 2011

The end of cheap oil has got governments panicking to control prices rather than planning for a post-oil era. Tom Levitt reports
Was it a sign of desperation or show of strength?

In a surprising move, the major oil consuming countries, principally Europe and the US, agreed last week to release some of their emergency reserves of oil in an attempt to try and cut the high market price of oil.

It was only the third time in history such collective action had been taken, the previous being during the Gulf War in 1991 and in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina damaged offshore oil rigs, pipelines and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Officially, it was to offset the loss of oil from Libya as a result of the ongoing conflict in the country. But there are suggestions the US and others had lost faith in the World's biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, being able to increase oil production enough to keep prices from rising.

This comes after a leaked memo from a senior Saudi oil executive in February alleged the country's oil reserves were being overstated.

New era of oil

Regardless of the motives, the decision is being seen as the start of a new era of government intervention in the oil market.

'We have learnt a big lesson. This is a dry run for how governments will respond in a few years time when we get a permanent oil price rise,' says John Miles, chairman of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security.

Some observers go further in saying the move is evidence that we may already be entering a 'peak oil' period.

They say rising market prices reflect a falling confidence in the ability of key oil producing countries to increase production to meet the rising demand for oil from emerging nations like China (already the world's second largest oil consumer after the US) and India.

David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock, says while not definitive proof of peak oil, 'it shows doubts amongst countries about oil supplies and suggests we may be very close to peak oil'.

Tar sands no answer

This new period, the 'approach to peak oil' as Dr Richard Miller from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) refers to it, has eroded spare capacity and reduced the amount of new oil coming on stream to replace declines from existing fields around the world.

Without cheap alternatives, the oil industry is being forced to look at more unconventional sources of oil, such as tar sands.

The ODAC say these are not sufficient to be able to fill the future gap between supply and demand. What's more they come at a high cost. Both in economic terms and in the, as yet unaccounted for, environmental costs.

It's production process is three times more carbon-intensive than conventional oil sources - with extraction requiring the creation of vast open mines to get to the mixture of oil, clay and sand. In Canada, which holds the largest known deposits, extraction has also been linked to rising incidence of cancer and the pollution of major rivers with arsenic, lead and mercury.

None of this has stopped BP, Shell, Total and others from looking to invest.

Our economy is locked into oil

While the approach of the oil industry is not surprising, the recent government intervention is more unexpected.

It shows the real worry governments have about high oil prices 'putting the brakes' on economic growth. It also shows how dependant and reliant industrialised countries like the UK, have become on oil.

David Korowicz, from the environmental analysts Feasta, explains: 'Firstly, rising prices squeeze out less essential consumption leading to business closures and unemployment. Secondly, higher oil prices mean more money flows out of oil consuming countries into oil producers. Less money flowing around the economy means less money for businesses, and less money for people to service their debts. Growing defaults further destabilise banks and government debt loads. The Eurozone, the US, and the UK are all suffering under massive debts, rising oil (and food) prices could effectively push them over the edge.'

The UK and world economies are effectively 'locked into' an unsustainable position. But rather than tackle the enormity of the crisis peak oil presents, the UK and others have decided to use any means possible to 'wriggle out of a high oil price'.

John Miles, from the Industry Tasforce, says the government's reaction shows it continues to be 'behind the curve' on peak oil. 'They should be getting ready for how to deal with it, but my fear is they will wait and try to respond to it in a few years time.'

Willy De Backer, head of the influential 'Greening Europe Forum', believes it will take a major shock before countries look to a post-oil future. He fears we are already entering a period of unpredictable developments or 'black swan events', which could stifle economic recovery and lead to civil unrest.

He says the problem is compounded by the lack of transparency amongst oil producing countries and the difficulty in knowing how much oil is really out there. This has left politicans scared about speaking out on the issue for fear of being too alarmist and frightening people, says De Backer.

Oil era will end in riots

In summary, the future of oil, say peak oil observers, is caught between society's long term need for a divorce, its current addiction, and the short term priorities of politicians and investors.

As a report by Deutsche Bank, 'The Peak Oil Market: Price Dynamics at the End of the Oil Age', pointed out, with so many parts of our economy, especially food prices, closely linked to oil prices, our eventual divorce from oil is likely to be messy.

The findings are similar to a recently revealed report that UK ministers commissioned but then refused to publish, which warned of civil unrest from 'peak oil' energy shortages.

Despite all the warnings about supply and volatile prices, the Deutsche Bank report still did not expect governments to prepare for the post-oil era.

'I think some governments are already spooked by high oil prices,' says Mike Childs, head of climate change at Friends of the Earth. 'Trying to keep oil prices down is a failure to recognise that oil prices are only going one way and that is up. Increasing demand and dwindling supplies paint an ugly picture.'

The UK department for energy and climate change insist last week's intervention was a 'short-term measure' which, 'does not alter out position or commitment to move to a low carbon economy'.

Others disagree. Shaun Chamberlin, author of 'The Transition Timeline' and a DECC advisor, says the department is caught between two conflicting aims: keeping energy available and at a low cost while trying to reduce emissions, primarily through a high carbon price.

'The two aims are pulling against each other,' he says. The question for him is whether the UK will take on ideas like the transition town movement and adapt to a post-oil era or wait for the crisis?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fishing North and South Lake Leelanau

By Whit

South Lake Leelanau
Channel catfish well over 10 lbs are caught every summer. Bluegills and rock bass that are boated in this lake are found on Michigan’s Master Angler Awards list on a regular basis. Over 11 million walleyes have been stocked during the past five years. Have I grabbed your attention for a bit? All of this and more can be found in South Lake Leelanau.

I haven’t mentioned brown trout and some excellent perch fishing. The brownies cruise the deep hole in the lake which is found SW of the east shore public launch site. With depths down to over 60 feet, this hole is rather confined on this 5,300 acre lake and is easily fished by drifting slowly with a SW breeze in the evening. A tactic relatively little used elsewhere is to hang a minnow off a three way swivel while drifting across deep water, bottom bouncing as you go.

Smallmouth bass are plentiful and hang on the 20 foot drop all along the east shore of this long, narrow lake. Typical live bait presentations produce some of the finest bass fishing in Northern Michigan. Gold bladed spinners are also effective. Having a hard bottom of sand and gravel near shore makes evening and early morning wading available. Although most anglers ply their boats, a select few don waders and slip quietly along casting bait and lures of choice.

Huge, slab sided bluegills fill the bill for ardent panfishing buffs in the shoal waters of the south end, and in the northern 1/3 of the lake, which narrows considerably as it flows towards North Lake Leelanau’s much deeper waters. Weed growth is sparse, but what is available seems to be a magnet to large gills of over 8 inches. A chartreuse icefishing teardrop from which is dangled a worm, or better yet, some form of terrestrial grub, and fished on a slip bobber is a surefire tactic on these fish. Some anglers have been known to secretly use perch minnows in the early morning and late evening for ‘gills.

Few fishermen target rock bass. These hard striking, dogged fighters do themselves proud with their strong brutish runs on light tackle. On the table they fair as well as any bass, especially the filleting sized hard bodies found in this lake.

In the opening paragraph of this piece, you may have thought you read something about 11 million walleyes having been planted. Well, you did. In the past five years a massive stocking effort is beginning to bring spectacular results. Crank baits and spinner baits are used to bring in numbers of walleyes and some are beginning to push the magic 10 lb. mark. Aligned with the prevailing summer winds makes this lake a perfect fit for drift fishing. Begin the float at the south end where Cedar Creek and Weisler Creek empty into the lake. Leeches dragged and twitched behind a walking sinker rig are deadly, with crawlers on a single hook harness coming in a close second. Little known, except by a few, is a fine after dark fishery in the shoals at the south end of the lake. Again typical walleye tactics work well, but also include still fishing using a three way swivel and the above mentioned baits as well as emerald shiners.

Ice fishing tactics for all of the above species are deadly in South Lake Leelanau. While it’s perch fishing is only mediocre as a rule, now and then the perch population decides to cooperate and limit catches of tasty 7-9 inch fish are taken.

North Lake Leelanau

Back in the late 1950's there was one Michigan inland lake that offered trophy brown trout fishing, with specimens upwards of 20 lbs. there for the taking. While it’s southern neighbor held browns, it was to North Lake Leelanau that fishermen flocked in search of these brutes.

Covering almost 3,000 acres with depths of over 120 feet, this member of the Deep Six sits near the top of what might be called Michigan’s "pinkie", in Leelanau County. The bottom consists of sand, gravel and assorted rubble in the shoal areas while deep water sits over sand, clay, and marl. A thermocline forms every summer at about 35 feet and can be a key to locating fish from trout to perch.

Fish plantings over the past several years have counted 112,000 brown trout, 94,000 rainbows and over 27,000 whitefish. Walleyes were put into the lake by the 1000's during the early 1990's as well. South Lake Leelanau, which is connected by a natural channel has been stocked with 11.5 million walleyes in the past five years. Yes, that is Million. These fish move back and forth between the two lakes on a yearly basis.

Two basins form this lake, the southern section being shallower, with a gently sloping bottom of sand and gravel. This is a prime area for walleyes and smallmouths. Drift fishing, using both crank baits and live bait, is a popular method. Night trolling along the 5 foot contour lines brings in fish that cruise out of the deeper water up to the shoal areas, in search of forage fish. In this same section find gravel and you will find smallmouth bass. Most fish are under 15 inches, but 4 lb. bruisers cruise these waters.

The north basin harbors trout, as well as smaller numbers of walleyes. Summer trolling along the ledges where the thermocline and bottom meet, (again key on that 35 foot depth) using a variety of lures, with silver/black Rapalas being a favorite, boats mainly rainbows. The browns tend to be deeper. Lake trout, from earlier plantings, still can be found in even deeper holes.

Four points, Brady Point and Cemetery Point on the west shore of this deep section, and Warden’s Point and Porter Point on the east shore, offer a steep pitch from shore into deep water. Smallmouths take up residence in the 25-35 foot depths and rise up to the shallows off the points in the evening to gorge themselves during post sunset hours on an abundance of minnows. The action begins about an hour before sunset with smaller bass and lasts for an hour or more after full dark. The pre and post dawn hours, until the sun hits the water, are also excellent. Besides the usual hardware and live bait, leeches are bringing in more, and many times, larger fish.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Homestead named top wedding destination nationwide

From staff reports

The national wedding magazine, The Knot, has named The Homestead resort north of Glen Arbor as the 2011 Best of Weddings pick among wedding venues nationwide.

The Homestead, as well as other northwest-lower Michigan wedding destinations including the Inn at Bay Harbor in Petoskey, Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville and Mission Point Resort and the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island were featured in a story today in the Grand Rapids Press. Here are excerpts from the story:

Northern Michigan is fast becoming a top site for destination weddings that bring wedding parties and guests together for weekend or weeklong festivities in one beautiful locale.

And the happy couples are adding their own unique elements to these special occasions. In one, the bride and groom took turns sawing a huge log by hand, symbolizing their first bit of teamwork as a married couple. At another wedding, an artist painted the beachside ceremony while it was taking place, a gift from the groom to his new wife. One couple lit a bonfire on the shore and hosted a s’mores party.

The Homestead offers several sites for picturesque wedding ceremonies and receptions for up to about 200 guests. The Leelanau County resort has seen huge growth in weddings along its private Lake Michigan beachfront since adding the mountaintop Bay Mountain — with views of Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Bay and the Manitou Islands — to its list of venues, as well as building Mountain Flowers Lodge and Camp Firefly, two event facilities. More than 60 weddings already are booked for May through October, said Barb Ellis, one of two wedding planners at the Homestead. Couples and guests come from all over the country, she said. More than 120 weddings are slated this summer at Mission Point, which can accommodate receptions for as few as two people to as many as 1,000 guests, said ZoAnn Andress, wedding sales manager.

“Our outdoor views of Lake Michigan are incredible,” said Homestead owner Robert Kuras, “but when someone’s big day arrives and the forecast isn’t cooperating, I’ve seen (our wedding planners and staff) move everything inside totally seamlessly and then move it back outside again when the sun starts to shine.”

The Glen Arbor Sun also published this story on July 17, 2008, about the three different settings The Homestead offers for destination weddings: Bay Mountain/Mountain Flowers Lodge, Camp Firefly and Café Manitou

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beach Bards

Glen Arbor - Leelanau School

Beach Bards Bonfire – By heart poetry, storytelling, & music on the Leelanau School Beach from June 24 – Aug. 12, (sorry, no fire July 29). Starts with Children’s Hour @ 7:30. One dollar per being. 334-5890.