Michigan Word of the Week: Snow

new snow, fog and sunrise by Latitude45

As snow arrives (which it did with a vengeance in the southern part of Michigan yesterday), Michiganders divide into two camps: those wishing they could hit the road for Florida and those readying their snow gear for all that winter has to offer. Here at Absolute Michigan we (mostly) fall into the latter camp and are psyched up to get out and enjoy Michigan’s frozen fun!

A decade ago, an internet magazine we published called The Northern Michigan Journal featured Nature Baroque: Snowflakes & Crystals, an excerpt from It’s Raining Frogs & Fishes by Michigan author Jerry Dennis with illustrations by Glenn Wolff that begins: What child can resist tasting snowflakes? Head back, mouth open, tounge stretched to catch that bit of coldness–for children, snowflakes on the tongue are as essential to a northern winter as sleds and snowmen. It’s a Nature Baroque: Drawing by Glenn Wolfffantastic tour of what snow is – be sure to read it!

Back in February of 2006, Michigan Tech students set 3 snow-related records: largest snowball, most snow angels and biggest snowball fight! The record attempts are part of an ongoing battle between Houghton and Bismark, ND (who has since reclaimed the snow angel record) They know a thing or two about snow in the Keweenaw as the peninsula holds the record for annual snowfall in Michigan with 355.90″ in 1978-79.

A number of Michigan Snow Cams give you the current live look at snow and weather around the state. Almost everywhere in Michigan you can find a hill that offers great sledding, and the Michigan Sled Riding Forum seeks to provide locations and will let you add yours! If there’s no hill and you’re somewhat insane, you could learn how to ultimate sled from the pros.

Further up the evolutionary chain from tobaggon and car-towed sled are snowmobiles, and Michigan offers some of the finest snowmobiling in the nation. Every February, Sault Ste. Marie hosts the I-500 Snowmobile Race. This year is the 40th annual and you can watch a quick I-500 video to get an idea of what it’s like.

Of course there is always the good old standbys of cross-country & downhill skiing and snowboarding, check out our Michigan Ski Tour. Downhill or cross county skiing not enough for you? Check out the backcountry telemark Skiing in Leelanau County.

For beautiful pictures of snow in Michigan check out snow photos (slideshow) in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr. There’s little doubt we missed a shovel or two of Michigan snow info – let us know what in the comments!

Shop Michigan: Travel Folding Cribbage Set from Drueke

Travel Folding Cribbage Set from DruekeAt just under four inches long when folded, the Travel Folding Cribbage Set is great to take on any trip, and it even comes with playing cards. It’s a must-have for any cribbage fan.

The Drueke Company was founded in 1914 in Grand Rapids, filling the gap left when World War I made it impossible to get European chess boards. The company was purchased in 1990 by The Carrom Company of Ludington. They are still producing wooden games today. In addition to cribbage boards, they also sell backgammon, dominos, checkers, game boxes, chess tables and wooden accessories – all made in Michigan from walnut, maple and aspen.

Michigan Word of the Week: Turkey

turkeys by The Amazing Mr. Keebler

The fall turkey hunting season ended yesterday (November 18th). The spring season is from April 23 to March 31 (so that means you’ll have to continue the hunt for your holiday feast below). The Michigan DNR’s wild turkey page has more info about Michigan’s turkeys and there’s more from Michigan Sportsman Magazine. All this turkey hunting there has to be someone out there protecting them: namely the Michigan Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Absolute Michigan might not know as much about turkeys as the National Wild Turkey Federation, but we do have the Totally Terrifying Turkey Trivia Test. Turkey related links include the Michigan Turkey Producers Co-op, who have information about the various grades of turkey including organic and ABF. Standard ABF are Antibiotic Free, but Michigan ABF turkeys are also Animal Byproduct Free, meaning that they are raised on a vegetarian diet of corn and soy rather than the traditional diet of meat and bone meal. You really can’t say you’ve experienced Michigan turkey if you haven’t been to Turkeyville USA.   We have to issue a “Cubicle Music Warning” on that link and while we’re on high alert, here’s UM Musical Theater majors performing Turkey Lurkey Time.

If you need help recovering from that, you may need to see these turkeys in the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr – add your own Thanksgiving glamor shots!

Finally, if you have turkey or Thanksgiving recipes with a Michigan flair, post them in the comments below!

Shop Michigan: Morning Peppermint Pure Olive Oil and Beeswax Soap from Country Bee Soaps

morningpeppermint_soap_400w.jpgMorning Peppermint soap is part of the Saving Grace line of soaps made specifically for babies. A soothing soap with calming properties, it is made with a blend of pink grapefruit and peppermint, grade A olive oil, organic palm oil, coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, essential oil, distilled water, and sodium.

Country Bee Soaps are handmade all natural soaps, made by Amy and Rob Oliver. Using Amy’s dad’s locally harvested honey and beeswax Amy and Rob have managed to create nourishing, healing soaps, lip balms, and salves. The company was founded in the basement of Amy and Rob’s farmhouse. As the business began to boom Amy left her job as a computer administrator and is now fully immersed in a job she loves. Country Bee Soaps are dedicated to incorporating locally farmed products into the business. Country Bee Soaps now have new products: wood polish, leather protector, cuticle oil, herbal facial grains, and herbal “boo-boo” pads. At the moment Amy and Rob are slowing down while their second daughter is born, so orders will take 2-3 weeks to be processed from October 1st to December 1st.

By |October 30th, 2007|Business, Shopping|1 Comment

Shop Michigan: Mick Morris Myth Solver #4: Grudge Of The Gremlins!

Grudge of the Gremlins!

Mick Morris Myth Solver #4: Grudge of the Gremlins! is a captivating young adult book in which Mick, Sissy and Nathan are in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan at night, “It’s creepy and scary being in a museum at night, but even worse when gruesome little gremlins take over!”

The book is the 4th in the Mick Morris Myth Solver series that was created by the husband and wife team of Karen Bell-Brege and Darrin Brege and their son Mick. The series is designed for readers aged 7-12 and tells the stories of Mick and his friends who go on hair-raising, wild adventures while trying to solve myths. Each book also has five different ways to finish the story ranging from silly to scary. As Dan Miller, the sports Director on WJBK Fox 2 and parent says, “the alternate ending and the roller coaster ride between being a bit scared and having a good laugh, keeps my guys coming back.” Other books have dealt with aliens, Bigfoot and the Lake Champlain monster and they already have plans for future books.

Shop Michigan: Grey Poncho with Boucle Accents from Oak Grove Alpaca

Grey Poncho with Boucle Accents from Oak Grove Alpaca This Grey Poncho with Boucle Accents is hand woven using Michigan alpaca, and a tiny bit of mohair for some color and is warm and soft and perfect for a night around a bonfire.

Oak Grove Alpaca is a small alpaca ranch near Howell that is committed to raising world-class Huacaya Alpacas. They write:

We are presently in the process of creating our own special line of alpaca products. All of the steps involved in creating a special alpaca item: fleece processing, spinning and creation of the final product will be done at our ranch or by talented local fiber artists. The ability to control all aspects of fiber processing will produce the finest alpaca products.

Check out their web site for information about their herd and a wide variety of products including fleece & yarn, sweaters, vests, scarves and hand-woven ladies and children’s clothing.

Shop Michigan: Highland Humanity Blend Coffee from Higher Grounds

Highland Humanity Blend Coffee from Higher GroundsHigher Grounds Highland Humanity Blend coffee is “a robust blend with a rich, full body that has the caramel nuances of a medium roast and the bold flavors of dark roasts.” The blend comes in 1 lbs, 3 lbs, or 5 lbs and it’s just one of a number of fair trade and shade grown organic coffees they sell!

The Higher Grounds Trading Company provides premium, gourmet handcrafted coffees while supporting their coffee-producing partners who are leaders in sustainable development and environmental preservation around the world. Higher Grounds is part of the Fair Trade Coffee Federation, and all their coffee is certified organic by the USDA.

Their Customer Happiness Department would also like to invite you to the Grand Opening of their new coffee bar and roastery in the Village at the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City next Thursday (Sept 13) from noon – 9 PM.

Shop Michigan: Potato Brats from Nowicki’s Sausage Shoppe

NowickiFeaturing Delicious locally made sausages are the best for miles around and in business since 1917, Nowicki’s Sausage Shoppe has been making homemade specialties for five generations. In 1979 Nowick’s Sausage Shoppe created the world’s longest sausage, totaling 8,773 feet. Featured in the Guinness Book of World Records, Nowicki’s Sausage Shoppe will forever be remembered among the great names in really big food.

You can’t buy online, but if you’re in Rogers City, at an event they’re at or if you have a phone that can dial (989) 734-4100, try Nowicki’s Trademark Original Potato Brat, made with %25 potato and %75 lean pork.

You can read more about Nowicki’s Sausage Shoppe in the August issue of Traverse Magazine.

Shop Michigan: 2005 Proprietor’s Reserve Trio from Chateau Chantal

2005 Proprietor Winner of a Gold Medal in the 2007 Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition, the 2005 Proprietor’s Reserve Trio is Chateau Chantal’s version of the Bordeaux blend. It includes varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir, producing a wine that contains plum and boisenberry bouquet with subtle hints of smoke from the French Oak barrels used in the fermentation, a dry full bodied wine. Chateau Chantal is sure “you’ll find strong fruit flavor and subtle hints of chocolate and vanilla.”

Chateau Chantal was opened in 1993 as a B&B, winery and vineyard estates. The property is located on a 65-acre estate on the Old Mission Peninsula, located directly north of Traverse City. Robert and Nadine Begin bought 60 acres of cherry orchards in 1983. From 1984 until 1991, the Begins cleared the land and planted their vineyard. Since opening day Winemaker Mark B. Johnson has worked with the Begin family to produce some of the best wine the Old Mission Peninsula has to offer.

Michigan September Event Calendar

pig races by radiospike
pig races by radiospike

A sampling of Michigan festivals & events for the month of September. As usual, there’s no way we’ll get them all, so please add links and information about those we’ve missed (or reviews of ones we have here) in the comments below.

August 18 – September 30

Michigan Renaissance Festival- Holly (Open Weekends and Labor Day)
Inside the turreted gates of Hollygrove you are free to roam the festive marketplace featuring friendly village merchants lining every path. In addition to the fantastic selection of handcrafted wares, Hollygroave visitors may also partake in games of skill or enjoy non-stop entertainment where belly dancers, sword swallowers, musicians, comedians, and sword fighters provide merriment for all ages. The Festival is best known for its awe-inspiring full-contact armored jousting tournaments where gallant knights defend their honor until the last man is standing.

August 22 – September 3

Michigan State Fair – Detroit
Celebrating 101 years, the Michigan State Fair includes many different events. Some of which are: a circus, daily parades, 60+ rides, a livestock pavilion & show, farm exhibits and live farm animal births, a petting zoo, pony rides, free concerts featuring national & local acts, a lumberjacks timber show, all kinds of contests and competitions, food, arts & crafts and more.

August 31 – September 3

Detroit International Jazz Festival – Detroit
For 28 years, the Detroit International Jazz Festival has attracted visitors and locals to an end of summer ritual on Labor Day Weekend that celebrates one of America’s most important art forms. The festival boasts six stages and one hundred acts over four days in a city well known for its musical legacy.

Arts, Beats, & Eats – Pontiac
Celebrating art, cuisine, music and humanity throughout downtown Pontiac, with 50 restaurants, 200 music performers, and 155 art exhibitors.

September 3

The 50th Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk – Mackinaw City
The Mackinac Bridge Walk is an annual walk in which people may walk the length of the Mackinac Bridge. Walkers are led across by the governor of Michigan, currently Jennifer M. Granholm.

September 7 – 8

Hopps of Fun Beer & Wine Festival – Mackinaw City
Sampling of more than 50 award winning Michigan microbrewed beers and over 40 wines from Michigan’s four internationally recognized wine regions. Brewmasters and winemakers will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the brewing and winemaking process.

September 7 – 9

Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival – Paw Paw
The Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival lets visitors enjoy wine tasting, tours at area wineries and vineyards and a grape stomping competition. There will also be a classic car show, craft fair, polka and jazz music, a bicycle tour and fireworks.

September 13 – 15

Traverse Epicurean Classic – Traverse City
Experience the defining character of the Traverse Epicurean Classic: a comfortable approach and fresh ideas for pairings in Food, Wine, Cookbooks and Culinary Literature – where culinary meets literary. A place where the artisans are eager to share their time, talents and experience with you, the attendee.

September 14 – 15

Michigan Irish Music Festival – Muskegon
The Michigan Irish Music Festival features all things Irish, an outstanding line-up of music on 2 stages, an Irish Pub, Market vendors, cultural activities and much more.

September 14 – 16

Victorian Festival – Northville
Northville turns back the clock and transform itself into a Victorian Village complete with period costumes, free trackless train and horse and carriage rides, storytellers, magicians, musical entertainment and demonstrations. Ryde Park features rides for kids and the Victorian Saloon offers entertainment for adults.

September 15

Tour de Leelanau – Leelanau County
The Tour de Leelanau is an international event hosting cycling’s premier teams and athletes. During the week before the race, team members from all over the country will quietly arrive and scope out the layout of “The County” and the course to begin preparing themselves for Saturday’s test. By Friday, a strong undercurrent of tension will be in the air at Leelanau Sands Casino, the site of the finish line and a new event, the Expo. Saturday will explode with excitement as spectators crane their necks to catch a glimpse of and/or collect some autographs from their favorite riders.

September 21 – 23

Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association Harvest Stompede – Leelanau County
The Harvest Stompede includes several events. Participants may choose just the wine tasting package that includes special pours and food pairings at the wineries, or the wine tasting may be combined with one of several different in the vineyard experiences. “The Harvester” is a three mine recreational hike through the vineyards, the “Stinger” is a 5 K walk or run. “The Grape Stomper” is a seven mile challenging run through three vineyards and an orchard blended with some breathtaking views of West Grand Traverse Bay and the scenic vistas of the Leelanau Peninsula. Participants may choose solely to enter one of the runs or the walk or combine with one of the wine tasting packages.

Photo: Pig Races by Radiospike