Sunday, April 29, 2012

Views, walks, bicycles and fun!

The maple sugar season is over...until next year since the buds on the trees have appeared. 

Spring is clearly arriving in full force and the 23rd 23rd Annual Zoo-De-Mackinac is coming up! Woohoo. It looks really exciting as it’s a weekend of fun (as well as exercise) which involves a scenic bike ride which is 51 miles in length along the shores of Lake Michigan. The ride starts in the morning at Boyne Highlands Resort and the route passes through rolling countryside so that riders can experience the stunning sight of trillium covered forests, sandy beaches as well as the views of Lake Michigan from 400ft bluffs!’s amazing. There’s a scheduled stop at Legs Inn for lunch and afterwards everyone continues to Mackinaw City where the Arnold Ferry Line have chartered boats ready and waiting to take everyone to Mackinac Island. Once everyon is on the island everyone can attend the party and listen to several bands. The bicycle ride is good fun and preparation for the 9th Annual Mackinac Memorial Day Bridge Race which is if you don’t remember one of only two unique opportunities of the year when runners are allowed to run across the bridge.

Otherwise Mother’s Day is coming up! What activities exist nearby? Perhaps hike in the Historic Mill Creek or in the Wilderness State Park which is 11 miles west of Mackinaw City, at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula or even the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum. Decisions...decisions.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring is here!!

Spring is coming and all sorts of good fresh foods are becoming locally available including asparagus, rhubarb but more important if you’re a gardener it’s time to consider start planting any seeds indoors so that you’ve got time to mature before they’re planted outside as sprouted seeds. This is because Michigan is in the hardiness zones 4a to 6b.

But let’s get to the question of asparagus and rhubarb which are already available. Asparagus is grown on the western side of the State and Michigan grows more asparagus than any of the other states. Asparagus is delicious cooked in a variety of ways – baked on pizza, or boiled eggs and soldiers, or baked in a tart with ricotta or just steamed with topped either butter or drizzled with olive oil.

Rhubarb is not a fruit but a vegetable as well as a member of the Polygonaceae family. Michigan is considered the third state in terms of quantity of production and the plant is highly suited to its cool climate and soils. The fact that it has a tart flavour means that it is often combined with strawberries and raspberries in pies and cobblers or made into sauces, or jams and even jellies. But if you’re a keen baker is delicious combined in bread, muffins, cakes or even puddings. Consider trying the cornmeal pastry tarts by Kim Boyce, or strawberry rhubarb pie crumble, or a variant of Eton Mess where the author uses yogurt instead of cream which I use, or even just as a chutney which is delicious on melted cheese on toast! But if you really want to not bother it's sometimes faster to just go by some from 'American Spoon' in Petosky!

So, spring is here and summer is not far behind!!