Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Perfect Late Summer Day...

Today is just the kind of day we saw too little of this summer, sunny, bright blue cloudless sky, and the temperature near 80F. A perfect late summer day. So rather than spending the day inside on the computer I decided to play hooky. K was totally up for the idea. And lucky for you, I took my camera along ;-)

My first stop was at Culver's for a chicken Caesar salad to-go. They really do make a great chicken Caesar salad... my favorite of the fast food places. Next stop was Lookout Park in St. Joseph. Lookout Park is located on Lakeshore Drive just south of Hilltop Rd. It's one of my favorite parks in the area. At lunch time, it's lots of people's favorite spot. The parking lot is often full with folks who like to eat lunch while looking out at beautiful Lake Michigan. During the summer there's a hot dog cart parked there during the weekday lunch hour but the cart wasn't there today, hence my stop at Culver's. I must tell you that this is no ordinary hot dog cart. The lady who runs it serves up one terrific roast beef sandwich with several choices in toppings. At $6.95 it isn't cheap, but it is delicious!

Anyway, back to the park. It has two different areas to park in and a green area that connects the two parking areas. The north parking lot area has a fence going across the length of the bluff and has many park benches and picnic tables. The south parking has no fence but you can't see the lake from your car. There is, however, a wheel chair ramp to a lookout area. Here is one view of Lake Michigan from the north parking lot.

Looking north from that spot you'll see...

And looking south (with Lake Michigan off on your right) you'll see...

I sat at a picnic table right next to the fence and gazed out at the beautiful blue water while I munched on my salad. K spent the time sniffing around the ground. The beautiful view was lost on him. When I finished eating, I took K for a stroll in the park before we got back in the truck and headed back to the condo.

I made a stop at the wonderful little (and I mean little!) produce stand I passed on the way.

We've stopped here many times during the summer to buy right-off-the-tree fruits and veggies grown within feet of the road. Fresh and delicious!

Here's what was for sale today.

Notice there is no one tending the cart? There is a container where you drop your money. Everything is sold on the honor system. That would never happen back home in metro Detroit but it's not at all uncommon here in Berrien County.

I came home with an acorn squash and a quart of peaches. The peaches looked so good I just couldn't wait to eat one. So I didn't. In fact, I sliced up two and ate them out on my deck.

My deck. Oh how I'll miss sitting out here when the nippy frost makes it uncomfortable! I'm sitting out here now and have been for an hour and a half, writing blog posts on my laptop. Would you like to see my little haven? OK. I'll give you a peak.

Here is a long view.

And here is close up view of my patio table along with my trusty writing companion, K.

Here is the view I see when I look up from my laptop.

Here's the view slightly to the right...

And here is the view slightly to the left.

Very woodsy!

When I look down, I can see my froggie friends hanging out by the lovely oak tree that grows up through my deck.

As I gaze around me I remember how this deck looked in the dead of winter when we bought this place. I looked out at all the trees and tried to imagine what kinds they might be and how very green it must be when the trees got their foliage. Now here it is the end of summer and I can identify many of the trees and fauna around me... oak, maple (silver and red), pine, willow, elm, ash, and dogwood. There are ferns galore and lots of what looks like grape vines only they don't have grapes. At the bottom of the ravine there is a little brook. Right now it sits silent but after a rain it babbles and chortles with glee.

Now I find myself wondering how this wooded area will look when mother nature paints it from her autumn palette in just a few weeks. I'm sure it will be splendid!

And did I mention the wild life here? Right now I'm looking at a cardinal on a tree branch off to my left. I can hear several other birds chirping in the trees but I can't immediately identify them.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't see chipmunks and squirrels here on the deck. They love the oak tree!

And not visible from my deck but in the field right next door to the condo complex we have a family of deer living. We see them every morning and evening when we take K over to do his thing.

We've also seen a momma turkey and her poults in the field. I don't have those pictures but D does!

And we haven't seen but we've been told about (and heard!) a family of coyotes living in the field too!

But all good things must come to an end and so must this blog post. The late afternoon brings out the mosquitos! So I'm heading inside now, preferring that to becoming their latest meal. It has been another wonderful day in St. Joseph and now I'll have it recorded to reflect on when old man winter comes knocking on the door.

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