Plymouth Ice Festival

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After a year with virtually no snow (winter 2011/2012) – or even much cold, we in Southeastern Michigan are truly getting paid back by ‘old man Winter.’ We’ve seen the coldest temperatures in at least four years, and the return of snow. The photos below show our yard during the holidays.

Snow from our back deck

Snow from our back deck

 

Our "Bird Pond" out front

Our “Bird Pond” out front

I think the Trees Look Beautiful!

I think the Trees Look Beautiful!

Winter can have its fun side. Michigan has the most miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the United States. That activity is definitely on my “bucket list.” I understand that there are inns and restaurants that are strategically built along certain of the larger, more traveled trails. That sounds like fun to me! There are other activities like ice fishing, skiing (cross country, mostly; but there are also several ski ‘mountains’ in the state), snowshoeing, and skating.

Plymouth Ice Festival 2013

Plymouth Ice Festival 2013

One of the prettiest spectacles every year is the Plymouth Ice Festival. It is held in the pretty town of Plymouth (imagine that), Michigan which is in the Detroit Metropolitan area. The Ice Festival is held on the third weekend of every January.  This year we visited on Saturday. The weather was unusually warm (into the 40s). Normally, that would be welcome in a year where we’ve already had temperatures below zero Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, those temperatures are not so welcome when you are carving and displaying ice sculptures.

Ice Sculpture

Ice Sculpture

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Ice Carving Dear to My Heart

Ice Carving Dear to My Heart

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The festival encompasses the entire village, but the main display area is in the town square. This is where the competition takes place. There are teams from local universities. For example, the team below is from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE)!

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Local businesses sponsor carvers, also. In some instances, they are placed in the square for judging. In other cases, they are displayed outside the local business. One of the most interesting displays was the ‘Ice Bar’ outside a local restaurant.

Sponsored by Local Grocery Chain

Sponsored by Local Grocery Chain

In Front of Shop

In Front of Shop

 

Poor Owl was Melting

Poor Owl was Melting

Gingerbread "Sculpture"

Gingerbread “Sculpture”

Svedka Ice Bar

Svedka Ice Bar

One of the few artists who probably didn’t mind the temperatures was this fellow who was using his chainsaw to carve wood. I really liked his work. The photos below show some of his sculptures. What do you think?  There are some excellent chainsaw sculptors in our region. We actually have two works by an artist from Mikado, Michigan at our home. I’ll show you those in a later post.

All Carvers Didn't Work in Ice

All Carvers Didn’t Work in Ice

 

Great wood work

Great wood work

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Crane

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Fish & Turtle

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Owl in Progress

Up Next:  More Michigan Winter Fun

 

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Hodgpodge

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

I know that I’ve been away awhile. No, I didn’t drink too many Hot Bourbon Balls. Work can be very cyclical, and this has been our heaviest season. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to a more “normal” blogging schedule.

 

Christmas

The Tree is Up!

Our Tree

We had a nice, quiet Christmas day. That is, until we started getting ready for the family dinner. I got a little smarter this year (amazing, huh?) and started cooking and preparing several days in advance. Our meal was like the title of this post – a hodgepodge. Although there were a few dishes that nodded to our present area (Michigan – land of ice and snow), most of the menu had a distinctly southern bent.

Our Christmas Village

Our Christmas Village

We had Turduckhen (yes, they actually can stuff a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey). We had both Cajun rice and cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes (real potatoes), squash casserole (thanks to my sister-in-law, Deb), cranberry/pineapple/walnut salad, crescents, and pecan pie. While it was a lot of work and I was really bushed by the time it was over, dinner was a great success. Do you like my “tablescape?”

Christmas Table

Christmas Table

 

Some Sad News

Sydney with Her Dad & His Dad

Sydney with Her Dad & His Dad

Sadly, our girl, Sydney, has been diagnosed with DM (Degenerative Myelopathy). Without getting real technical, it’s a condition in which dogs (mainly seen in German Shepherd Dogs) lose the use of their hind quarters. There is no cure.

Sydney in Her Prime

Sydney in Her Prime

At present, we are doing our best to keep Sydney up and active as much as possible. We are using some holistic herbs and vitamins that have helped others who have had this diagnosis for their dogs. It’s not a “fix,” but if it can keep Syd up and moving longer, we’ll try it. There’s absolutely nothing in it that could possibly hurt her, so we’re hopeful that it will help her to be happy and mobile longer.

 

The GREAT News!

Nitro & His Girl

Nitro & His Girl

Now that I’ve given you the sad news, I want to update you on Nitro. He’s a happy boy. He and his girl, Tehya, are best friends. It’s like he’s been meant for her and Nichole his whole life. It’s just sad that he had to go through so much bad to get to his forever home.

Nitro's Put on Weight

Nitro’s Put on Weight

If you haven’t been following Nitro’s story on my blog (newcomer? WELCOME!), you can page back through my posts and find his amazing, miraculous story. Nitro also has a page on Facebook “Nitro’s Journey Home.” It’s a truly unique story – one with a happy ending.

Doesn't He Look Great

Doesn’t He Look Great

Nitro and Nichole went to his new vet a short time ago. They already knew his story and were very much looking forward to meeting this stalwart animal who had been through so much only to find his purpose with two ladies who love him. His weight was up to within only about 10 or 15 pounds from where it should be. His bloodwork came back with all normal levels. He was a perfect gentleman and allowed everyone to fuss over him to their hearts’ content. He even got his PAWdicure without protest. His demeanor, after the years of a neglect, completely amazes me.

He's Still a Frisbee Dog

He’s Still a Frisbee Dog

Wanna Play?

Wanna Play?

Not Takin' it Away!

Not Takin’ it Away!

Here are photos of Nitro with his new Frisbee. If you look back at earlier Nitro posts, you’ll see that Nitro used to be a fabulous Frisbee player. He obviously never lost his love of playing with the flying disk. He’s not capable of the running as fast, nor jumping high, but he can still play. Most importantly, he enjoys the activity.

Happy New Year

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s 2013.

 

This is a “major” year for me. I can’t believe that this much time has gone under my bridge. In retrospect, I’m happy to say that my regrets are few (cue Frank Sinatra and “My Way). I’ve filled a little of my “bucket list,” but there are so many more things I want to see and do. I guess I’m going to have to live as long as my wonderful, great-aunt, Ruth, who lived to be 104.

I hope you will come along with me as I post them on my blog! Until then…

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. From there, click on “Follow.” I hope you will. You will be notified of each new posting. I also hope you will jump in and comment on my posts.

 

Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!