Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

BINGO–we hit the jackpot

Wednesday June 4, 2014
Harwick Pines State Park
Grayling, Michigan




At 7:30 we park on the road beside the jack pine forest.




Those of you who read yesterday’s post know that we had less than ideal conditions for seeing the Kirtland’s warbler and had to do a lot of pretty funny crawling around.  Still, I did manage to get one picture although he turned his back on me.  Guess he wasn’t much interested in being photographed.

Today we’re out to try again. The same group plus 2 new people are just starting out down the trail as we arrive.  It’s a cooler, less windy, blue sky, sunny day.  Perfect for birding.  Everyone has on shoes and long pants and long sleeves.  We head on down the open space between the two jack pine sections.







I know it’s going to be a great day when right off the bat I hear the familiar song of the Eastern Bluebird.  And there he is singing his little heart out on the power line.   It’s a good omen!







A good omen is RIGHT!




Also singing all around us is the Kirtland’s Warbler.   Today we don’t have to crawl around on the ground. 

He’s still hidden sometimes several rows back and you have to have a good eye to see him but we do and nearly everyone gets numerous pictures. 

We are out for nearly 3 hours again just following our singers around and enjoying them.  What a great way to spend a morning.


I get some great and not so great pictures.  Here are some of the former and a couple of the latter that I just liked because he was throwing his head back in song.


Judy, you really must come over and see him.  You’ll love it.  I thought of you the entire time.  You and Eric too Laurel.












We spot this in Grayling on the way back to the campground.  Wish it were lit up.  We love neon signs.





David loves all things CCC.


Therefore, after lunch we do go to see the Logging Museum in the park.




The CCC actually built these buildings at the site of the last logging camp in this area. 

We have seen the bronze statue of the “CCC Boy” at other parks where they have worked around the country.  Although it doesn’t seem that the statue is exactly the same in each place.  It is always a boy with his shirt off and a tool of some sort in his hand.

We learn that in Michigan between 1933 and 1942, the Michigan CCC planted 484 million trees, spent 140,000 days fighting forest fires and constructed 7,000 miles of truck trails, 504 bridges, and 222 buildings.  Their accomplishments also revitalized the Michigan State Park system, helped establish Isle Royale National Park and improved campgrounds in Michigan’s State Forests.  I still do not understand why we cannot pay people without work for these same sorts of efforts today.





The museum, which is very well done,  is in two separate buildings both built by the CCC whose camp was established July 1, 1933.  The first  building held the cooking and dining areas as well as the camp store where they men could buy things and the cost would be deducted from their pay.  Sounds like the mining towns in West Virginia.  “I owe my soul to the company store….”.  Can’t you just hear Tennessee Ernie Ford?











The details presented make these exhibits particularly interesting. 

Anyone ever had a vinegar pie?  Or want to make one?




I sure wouldn’t want to pay their grocery bill.  Although, look at the camp store prices and what the men were buying.








The second building is the men’s bunk house. 


It houses the men’s sleeping quarters, descriptions of the  logging process and many of the hand tools used as well as some old pictures that show the heart breaking size of the trees they so proudly cut down.


Does anyone but me still have these old non spring loaded clothes pins?  Or any clothes pins at all?



The bottom bunks are open so you can try out the mattresses if you wish.  The top bunks have examples of the possessions of some of the men as indicated in wonderful old photographs.   They show that the men were very different.  They were not all local Michigan boys.  Some Michigan loggers came from eastern states like Maine or New York following the industry west in search of fresh sources of timber.  When they’d logged it all out in one state they moved on to clear cut the next.

Many lumberjacks were recent immigrants.  In early years, Canadian, German and Irish workers dominated the camps.  Around 1890 Scandinavians and Finns joined them in large ranks.  Many of their descendants remain.





They have an old mirror on the wall that the men used to shave.  We take our picture in its reflection.





I play with the model lumber train while David takes pictures of the axes, the saws and the log marks.  


I  find the information about life in the camp for the men much more interesting than all the displays of the tools of destruction they used.  So no pictures of those here.  See David’s blog.  HA!











I am saved by the kids.

Throughout the museum they have hands on areas with instructions for school  kids, or adults, to try out some of the things the logging men did.  In the bunk house, right next to the broom and washboard with suggestions to use them both was a checker set.  We sat down to play and I was just about to get soundly trounced when I was saved by the loud yelling and giggling of an approaching school group tour.   That’s our signal to go outside.




These are some really BIG tools.

Outside are some of the giant logging tools on display including a steam powered saw mill which is still demonstrated during special week-end festivals in the park.




As I said, BIG tools.



Neither of us can figure out what this one was used for. I am very surprised that there were no signs around any of the equipment to explain what it was used for.  All  of those  little signs say Don’t Climb on the Equipment.  Of course I didn’t see the one in front of this purpose unknown piece.





One last old growth tree stand to visit.




We have a little of the afternoon left so we take a driving tour through the old growth jack pine.   These are trees allowed to reach maturity but are not cut as are the ones being managed for the Kirtland’s Warbler.  They die a natural death as they would in an unmanaged forest.





Ruby looks tiny among them.



We have noticed a lot of wild lilac blooming on the road sides in this area.  Here on this dirt road loop, we are able to stop the car and have a smell.  Seems this little moth  is doing likewise.





And then, a delicious end to our stellar Kirtland’s Day.


We close out the day in a delicious way with a pizza on a gluten free crust.  We used quinoa flour for it and rolled it very thin.  Our only problem was that we could not get it onto the pizza stone as we don’t have a bread board.  So we put it on our regular metal pizza pan and put that on the stone.   The crust wasn’t crispy enough to suit us so perhaps we’ll make it on the stone and hope to heavens we can get it off when it’s cooked.  Taking that large stone as hot as it is out of the oven to get the pizza off of it doesn’t seem possible so it will have to come off with some sort of spatula.  Stay tuned.   It was delicious in any case.  

I’m also going to check with my gluten free expert Ruth for her recipe





And that’s our Wednesday in and around Hartwick Pines State Park.  
Here’s looking at you kid!



  1. I'm sure that nothing will compare to seeing this special Bird! How exciting for you. I really like the pictures of him.

  2. Spectacular Day!! Lucky, Lucky You :o))

  3. How do you like the new solar panels?

  4. Awww, so glad you saw him AND got some great pics - pretty bird! Do you have some metal tongs - those and a spatula I think, would get your pizza off the stone?? It looks delicious!

  5. A great day and a nice victory over those pesky skeeters!

    When I saw that picture of the biscuits on the table, I had to wonder if David sneaked a couple for a taste test... ;c)

  6. Cool beans about the birding day! With work and all, I didn't have time to comment on your last post, but I read it.

    Tell David that Tamarac was a site for a CCC camp too. Many of the water structures were built by them, and some of the stone work around the original camp still stands. I'll show it to him when you all get here. :)

  7. Terrific Wednesday for sure. Glad you were able to locate your bird:) I would really enjoy the Lumber museum Love the reflection photo of the two of you:)

  8. I am feeling very foolish that I had to look up "CCC". This was a great post--you sound so happy. There's an anonymous good soul in our area who, about 20 years ago, put blue bird houses all over our town. We have bluebirds all over the place, and they are such a joy to see. There were two pair in my back yard, today. It seems their houses have to be at a certain height, facing the right direction, and maybe even the entry hole has to be a certain size. At any rate, we are all grateful to him.

    Your pictures just keep getting better and better. I wish I could get out to try my hand, but I don't seem to have much luck catching a bird that's willing to sit still long enough for me to snap a picture.

  9. Glad you are so ahead of us, Sherry. The question is will the bird still be there in summer? I would have love to go with you on your birding and enjoyed the moment.

  10. If the pizza crust isn't crispy enough, take it out of the pan when it is almost done and put it directly on the stone for a few minutes. That helps a lot. I just leave my stone in the oven (home and RV) all the time, so it gets good and hot when I bake something, and is ready to finish off a crust or the bottoms of rolls that were baked in a pan.

    I have a wooden pizza peel and an oversized spatula, both of which come into play to take the almost-finished pizza from the pan to the stone, and then out of the oven for eating.

    I know a peel seems like it takes up a lot of room, and it does, but you can stand it on end in a closet if need be, up against a wall. It is worth its weight in gold if you make very many pizzas.

    Virtual hugs,


  11. oh yaaa. . .you did hit the jackpot. . .great pics!

  12. The elementary school the boys attended for kindergarten had a special year end project, they would all make bluebird houses to take home. Because of prior owners we ended up with 4 houses in our back yard, for many years we enjoyed the site of them coming and going. Yes you did hit the jackpot, what another wonderful day you've had.

  13. I wish I had some of those old non-spring clothespins ... the ones they sell nowadays are so flimsy that they fly apart after a couple of uses. Lovely warbler.

  14. Another great post ! thanks...yes I have the old clothes pins...have the vintage ones I dont use and new ones that i do use..love to hang out clothes...the old ones have been revitalized by the craft world and you can once again buy them...

  15. This post seals it...we are coming back to Michigan. We missed so much plus we've still got most of Wisconsin to explore as well. Sounds like a future summer adventure! Should come as no surprise to you that yes, I have a whole bag of clothespins. Unfortunately, can't use them at the condo, but actually had an old fashioned clothes line at our old house that the previous (and only) owner of the house had used. I always line dried most of clothes and linens. Nothing beats that fresh smell on sheets!! I have somehow missed that David has a blog. Gotta check that out!

  16. It sounds and looks like you are finding why we stop by Hartwick even if only for an over night. About the contraption you were looking at: it was used for maintaining the ice roads that they moved those large loads of logs on that you show in your other pictures. They filled the big tank with water and drove along the roads spilling water on them which froze to make a slick surface to pull the log sleds over, most also had wings on them to plow the snow off the roads. I have often wondered how they stopped those large loads on the downhill slopes. I think they had some type of drag to slow them down. Glad you are enjoying your time exploring the area.

  17. You might try doing the pizza on the grill. Catherine likes a crunchy crust so she really likes pizza on the grill.
    Great shots of the warbler. I am with David- I love all things CCC.

  18. The Kirtland warbler is actually a very pretty little bird. The picture in your other post didn't show his colors so he looked like a rather plain little brown bird. You got some great pictures of them this time! Love the last one especially.


  19. Oh WOW!!! You most certainly hit the jackpot. What a lovely way to spend a morning, following birdsong. Your photos of the Kirtland warbler are wonderful -- wish we had been on that hike with you. Eric is very jealous right now. :-) And the CCC museum looks so interesting -- like you, I would have enjoyed the exhibits on the daily life of the workers, not so much the logging info (which is just too sad).

  20. Can't say that I've ever had a vinegar pie, but the actual ingredients don't sound too bad. May have to make one some time just out of curiosity.

    Had forgotten all about Tennessee Ernie Ford. I do remember hearing him sing that song as he was one of my mom's favorites. And yes I do think I still have some of those old clothes pins stashed off in storage.

  21. I really enjoyed this post, and I too, love anything CCC. We should probably revive something like it today, but it would never work now as it did then. It's a totally different world. They really did some amazing things though. Also, the idea of giving the men a stipend and sending the rest of their pay back home to their families was totally brilliant!

  22. Great pictures of the birds :) Glad you spotted them! You and neon signs...I did not see that one! Nice commemoration on the CCC. They overlogged, but it was an impressive program for sure. Now I have 'Company Store' on repeat in my head-thanks! Yummy pizza! Hopefully you can figure out the pizza stone for next time.

    1. The CCC actually only built the museum in the 30's. The logging was done by the lumber company in the 1880's-1920's.

  23. Try using the back of the pizza pan like a peel with lots of corn meal to act like marbles

    Katy in NH

  24. Thanks for all the pizza stone recommendations - I will do better with it next time now. I worry a modern CCC effort would suffer due to a decline in our work ethic. Too few actually enjoy hard work and fewer still think they should have to, especially if it was for the government. Sad.


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