Sunday, June 30, 2013

Excursion: Engineer's Day

Engineer's Day, the last Friday in June, is the only day each year the locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, are open to the public. Now that the kids are seven and eight, we thought they might be old enough to appreciate a visit up there.

Our timing was perfect! Just as we walked up to the locks the John D. Leitch (a 600 footer {about 182 M} out of Toronto) pulled in. The lock closed behind her and the water was slowly pumped out. Ships passing through from Lake Huron to Lake Superior, or vice versa, must pass through the locks because of the falls on the St. Mary's River. In the river there's a drop of 21 feet (about 6.4 M).  When we got home I started reading up on the locks and I was surprised to see that they are the busiest lock system in the world. Even though they're closed during the winter, over 10,000 ships pass through the Soo Locks each year. And, they're free! I thought for sure there would have been a toll; I mean they can't have been cheap to build.

You can see the difference between the high water of Lake Superior and the low water of Lake Huron below. The photo on the left is at the level of Superior while the photo on the right shows the water level of Lake Huron. The kids thought it was pretty cool that when the lock doors are closed they could walk right over them. K noticed that right in the middle she needed to step from on door to the other and there was a small gap between the two. She didn't like it, but as long as I took that step first she was OK. 

We waited patiently until the lower door opened and the freighter passed through into Lake Huron. The kids couldn't believe how close we were to that gigantic ship! They don't look quite so massive when they are out in the freighter channel.

After she cleared the lock she was on her merry way to places unknown...

 For us it was time to head over to the second open house of the day over at the Hydroelectric Plant.

It just amazes me that those generators, installed in 1902, are still running. They even had one shut down with all the parts labeled so the kids could see how it worked. Housed within the plant is Lake Superior State University's Aquatic Research Lab, so the kids could see where LSSU students raise and then release Atlantic Salmon into the St. Mary's river. We even got to watch for fish on their  "fishcam." You can check it out here.

Despite the clouds and spotty rain, we enjoyed Engineer's Day - especially our lunch at Zorba's Greek / American restaurant. (I'd link back to their website, but they don't have one.) It was the best meal we've had in a long time! I doubt we'll do this every year, but I'm sure we'll go back again when the kids are a little older. To me, this has "science fair project" written all over it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Proud Mama

The other day as I was working in my sewing room I heard, "Mama, can I sew with you today?"

"Of course you can," I answered, "what would you like to make?"

"Can I make a horse?"

I found some leftover material and a quilting hoop, she drew a picture of a horse on the fabric, and I showed her how to stitch around her drawing. (She didn't notice that the horse has six legs until after she was done.) I threw her finished piece into a Dollar Store frame I had laying around and we had a masterpiece. Mama wanted to keep it - after all it was her first sewing project, but she was adamant about giving it away.

She insisted, "I want to give it to Lorma."

"OK, but I'm curious - why Lorma?" I really was curious. There are lots of adults she adores and I wondered why Lorma got to be the lucky one.

"Because Mama," she said, "Lorma knows how to sew. She'll know how hard I worked to make this for her." How could I argue with that?

So a few days later we went over to Lorma's house to give her the horse. Our timing was perfect - when we walked into the house we found her sitting at her sewing table; the prefect place to get her gift. It now hangs in her entry way.

At first I was disappointed that K wanted to give her creation away, but now I am thrilled. Sure, she could have kept it and hung it in her bedroom, where she (and I) would have enjoyed it. But giving it away made Lorma feel loved and helped K learn how wonderful it feels to give of one's self. Not to mention that wonky, lime green, six-legged horse puts a smile on everyone's face who walks in and gives it that "why-is-that-hung there" look, because they get to hear the story of why K wanted Lorma to have it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Growing Frustration

My daughter is down right desperate for the Tooth Fairy to pay her a visit. Her brother has lost several teeth lately, while she has only lost one - ever. She wants quarters. Now.

You can imagine her dismay when she started complaining, "My gums feel funny.  Mama will you look in my mouth?"

"Sure," I said, "Go get the flashlight and I'll check." She dutifully went and got her father's flashlight, turned it on, and handed it to me. I pointed it into her mouth to see what was bothering her and was surprised to find a new tooth growing in the "wrong" spot. The tooth in front of it isn't even wiggly.

"It's a tooth," I said.

"What?! Let me see!" I took the picture and then showed her the screen on my DSLR. 

She giggled and then yelled, "Papa! Get the pliers. I need you to get this tooth out!" She was not happy when he explained that since the tooth wasn't wiggly, him pulling it out wasn't really an option.

Guess those quarters are going to have to wait...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Scream, You Scream...

...we all scream for Mackinac Island's newest ice cream parlor - Sadie's. It's located on the East end of the Grand Hotel - where  Margaret's Garden flower shop use to be.

We popped in for their grand opening the other day.

The Governor was there to help the Musser family, Mayor Doud, and two of the Hoezee Brothers (their company makes the ice cream) cut the ribbon.

The atmosphere at Sadie's is lovely and the Hudsonville ice cream is delicious. I may have to pop in there later on in the summer when I am desperate for a pecan ball!