Tag Archives: Michigans Thumb

Sebewaing’s Busy Harbor

Lumbering Era in Michigan in Sebewaing Harbor

Sebewaing River Harbor

The lumbering era in Michigan’s Upper Thumb from 1860-1880 resulted in booming towns all along the shoreline. Sebewaing was no exception. While it did not benefit from proximity of being on Lake Huron like Sand Beach, (later named Harbor Beach), or having a deep river outflow like Caseville, it’s historical  spot as a rich hunting area by native Americans and natural outflow to Saginaw Bay by the Sebewaing River predestined it as a natural gathering spot.

While researching another topic. I ran across these rare pictures taken in the Sebewaing river area in the late 1800’s. I was surprised such large ships could enter as the early plat maps show only a narrow river entrance into the town. It turns out that Sebewaing was a bit of a ship building and repair site. It’s yet another bit of history to savor. If only for a moment.


Schooner Viola in Sebewaing harbor. Source: Ralph K. Roberts

Drukee Sebewaing Docs 1887

Schooner  G.R. DURKEE, 1887, attributed to being taken in Sebewaing. (Doubtful) Dowling Collection, University of Detroit – Mercy

JC_Liken_Sebewaing DocksSteambarge J.C. Liken 1873, taken in Sebewaing. Source: Ralph K. Roberts


Trihalomethane Found in Caseville’s Water System

Updated April 2, 9:15 am.

Online reports from WNEM and other news outlets have reported that recent tests of Caseville, Michigan’s water supply showed excessive levels of Trihalomethine. Trihalomethanes are formed as a by-product when chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water. Trihalomethanes forced the first water safety regulations to be issued after passage of the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974.

Chemical Byproduct in Water System Seen in 2016 Testing

Caseville said they are seeing 2017 average test results at of Trihalomethine at 88 parts per billion.  Caseville’s 2016 Water Report showed measurements of Trihalomethine ranging from 40 to 100 parts per billion.  Four tests were conducted in 2016 with an overall average at 74 parts per billion. The safe standard is 80 parts per billion.

We spoke with Troy Hartz, Superintendent of the Caseville Water Plant. Caseville’s water supply comes from Saginaw Bay. He noted that the measurements in August have the highest level of Trihalomethine due to the warmer water from the lake. Hartz noted that the Michigan DEQ informed him that there are other Michigan water systems who draw surface water from lakes who are also experiencing the high Trihalomthine measurements during August testing. 

Steps Being Taken 

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been brought in to the Caseville Water Plant to determine the best way to address the problem and comply with the water safety standard. Hartz indicated that adjustments may be made of the amount of chlorine applied at Caseville’s pumping station to address the concern.  

Caseville has not asked residents to seek other water sources but have asked residents with heath concerns to consult with their doctor.

Long term exposure to high levels Trihalomethanes can lead to kidney or liver damage and an increased risk for cancer.


Attract Hummingbirds and Orioles to Your Cottage

We were at the market in Caseville Michigan in March and someone brought up the topic of when the Hummingbirds and Orioles will show up. I’ll admit that in Michigan’s Upper Thumb there is a big nectar feeder culture. We look forward to seeing these migratory visitors show up each spring as a sign of warmer days ahead. 

 The robins make their way here about mid-March to feast on insects and worms emerging from the frozen earth. The next anticipated migratory birds to swoop in on the scene is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Baltimore Oriole. After spending, the winter in Mexico, Cuba and Central America theses migratory birds make their way to the Great Lakes by mid April.

With a little persistence, you can attract hummingbirds and orioles to your cottage within a few weeks and enjoy this colorful resident for the entire summer season.


For Orioles Set up Colorful Feeders Early

  • Orange is the New Black – Orioles are attracted to bright vibrant orange. We found that having an orange or bright red feeder draws the birds in for the feast. Set the sliced orange halves in a shallow bit of water to discourage ants. Replace the oranges daily. If you see mold, clean out the feeder. Mold can be harmful to the birds.
  • Set Up Feeders Early in the Season – We think orioles have a great memory and hummingbirds are demanding. One early spring we noted that the hummingbirds were buzzing us until the feeder was placed. Placing your feeders out early will catch the early arrivals and may turn those passing through to seasonal residents.
  • Keep Oriole Feeders Out in the Open – We have seen the most active oriole feeder posted in the middle of the yard. Orioles will fly in, take a sip or two of the sweet nectar then fly off to a nearby perch to finish up, preen and do it again.


If You See an Oriole Nest, Switch to Bugs

  • Mealworms – If you are lucky enough to see one of the small sack like nests in your yard change up the diet to mealworms. In the spring, the birds crave the sweet from fruit nectar after their long migratory flight north. Once breeding and nesting season starts they will begin to seek out insects. Mealworms are a great high-protein food that will build them up for their fall flight south.
  • Leave Oriole Nests in Place – The bird won’t reuse the nest but the will reused the material. Orioles will set their nests out on slender green twigs to discourage predators. We found nests in small trees about six feet off the ground. Experts suggest offering lengths of twine or horsehair. Sadly we have seen small spreads of plastic wrap incorporated in a nest.


Create a Bird Spa

  • Water  – Orioles are attracted to shallow moving water. Pick a shallow basin and add a small pump or bubbler to keep the water moving. Change the bath when you see crud or droppings 
  • Place Oriole Feeders Away from You – Orioles are typically shy. They do not like a lot of traffic from humans or animals. Try to locate your feeder in an open area where it can be seen from the air and treetops. Placement in a high branch or on top of a pole is ideal. We have place one feeder on a tree outside our kitchen window with great success. 
  • Multiple Hummingbird Feeders – If your successful drawing in the small birds, consider placing several nectar feeds in close proximity. 


Hummingbird Food Tips

  • Offer Clear Sugar Solution – We use the same recipe for both orioles and hummingbirds. Add one cup Big Chief granulated sugar to four cups of boiling water. Stir the sugar water and let cool. Refrigerate unused portion. Never use food coloring. For Orioles, some experts recommend diluting the sugar water to eight parts water to 1 part sugar.
  • Grape Jelly is OK – A favorite alternative to sugar solution is a small amount of grape jelly. A couple of tablespoons in an secure dish is like ringing the dinner bell. You may see some aggressive behavior by the orioles as they vie for feeding rights. Hummingbirds will also visit a jelly station.  Experts suggest mixing a ¼ cup of water into the jelly.
  • Clean Feeder Means Healthy Birds – If you see black mold form in and around your feeder take it in and wash it out. This advice is especially true for hummingbird feeders. The sweet nectar will draw in ants and other critters.
  • Orioles Will Chase Away Hummingbirds – Orioles are territorial and will go to any bright colored feeder that offers nectar. The best solution is to over several hummingbird feeders minus any pirch to avoid the problem. Hummingbirds also have issues with Woodpeckers but they infrequently feed thus tend to be not a huge problem. Hummingbirds can coexist with other birds if enough feeders are around. 


Michigan Ingredient Veggie Chili

A Tasty Guilt Free March Madness Treat

Healthy Chili
Photo by: Shared Food License: Creative Commons

The long winter has taken its toll. Despite the grudging use of the treadmill and stationary bike, I’ve noticed a few extra pounds have gathered. Oh, and the doc wants me to consider cholesterol lowering meds. Ugh! Time to consider alternatives. Admittedly I’m a meat and potatoes guy. I like red meat and genuinely like to include it in my everyday diet. However, after a bit of research, I found I can have a healthy alternative without feeling I’m missing out of the high protein I seem to crave.

The Love of The Bean

According to the Michigan Bean Commission, the Thumb region is a top producer of dry beans in the world. The rich farmland of the area is surrounded on three sides by the moderating effects of Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay making for ideal growing conditions. The typical white or black bean has high protein, complex carbs and fiber. Beans contain a powerhouse of nutrients including antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals, such as copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. They are a perfect base for a meatless cholesterol free yet satisfying recipe.

By trial and error, we have a mostly Michigan Chili Recipe. We strove for Michigan grown ingredients and sought out our local brands to round things out. We think we have a tasty healthy and economic award-winning chili recipe here. We welcome your suggestions and send us your Michigan ingredient recipe and we will gladly post it.

All Michigan Bean n’ Veggie Chili

This simple chili recipe contains many Michigan ingredients and works great on the stove or in a crockpot.

  • 1 (15-ounce) can Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup Morning Star Farms GRILLERS® CRUMBLES™
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil (Not extra virgin)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 pinch of Pioneer Sugar (cuts the acidity)
  • 1 (14-1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, do not drain

Preparation – Heat and lightly saute the crumbles, garlic, and onion in a large saucepan with olive oil. When heated through and the onions are slightly soft, add beans, tomatoes, chili powder, sugar, and cumin. Mix well, mashing tomatoes. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Serve with sharp shredded Pinconning Cheese on top for garnish. Goes great with Jiffy Mix cornbread.

8 to 10 servings