My wife and photographer extraordinaire, Mary Potts, has created an amazing book on an important, though under-explored, subject: The Horses of Greenfield Village. Huron River Press is the publisher, and Mary collaborated on the book with our friend, Pamela K. Smith, who wrote its highly informative text. Mary photographed -- in all four seasons -- the impressive Percheron and Morgan horses who live and work in the Village, and the results are spectacular, as seen in approximately 300 images.
Earlier today (April 30), Mary and Pamela were guests on the the The Craig Fahle Show, heard on WDET-FM in Detroit, and their engaging interview is found about 75% of the way into the podcast available on the radio station website. Check out this conversation.
The book is already being sold at The Henry Ford gift shops -- located in the Museum and in the Village -- and online. On June 9, there will be autographed copies of the book available at the venue's William Ford Barn, after which the book will be released nationally, including to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
'Tis the season...to be incredibly busy. Even so, I wanted to give parents and grandparents an opportunity -- albeit, late in the game -- to send the youngsters in their lives on a journey to the Portable North Pole. This year, Santa is offering a tour of his famed workshop and he'll introduce kids to his fleet reindeer, just some of the site's innovations for 2010. Video download is available, as is a free iPhone app. Merry Christmas!
It's been too long since I wrote in this space. Thus, I'm planning to publish several pieces in the near future, and wanted to include one (that should have run here in June) about an organization focused on two of my favorite subjects: kids and sports.
The Miracle League of Michigan "provides children with mental and/or physical challenges to play baseball as a team member in an organized league." Its origins are in Conyers, Georgia, where a custom-built facility known as the "Field of Dreams" afforded youngsters there a chance to play, and to do so safely, due to its soft, accomodating surfaces. Here in Michigan, the city of Southfield plays host to both competitive and non-competetive teams at Miracle Field, located at 26000 Evergreen Road, just south of 11 Mile Road. This season's schedule runs until late August.
A former colleague of mine, Vic Doucette, has been involved for some time now, and was the person who first told me about this wonderful alliance, which has been featured on programs like the Today Show and HBO's Real Sports. Learn more about the history of the Miracle League, and how you can volunteer to make a difference. Plenty of businesses have signed on as sponsors, and there are many opportunities in that regard, too. See the kids in action, and you'll understand why this is such a worthy endeavor.
Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and there are numerous related activities throughout Michigan. Examples include the MI Earth Day Fest in Rochester, which takes place Friday-Sunday, a free event that organizers hope will draw 100,000 people. The state's Department of Natural Resources and Environment has a guide by which you can find events near you so, if possible, get out and celebrate the planet.
The weather is improving, and so are moods. It's a great time to talk about Earth Day, which began in 1970. The University of Michigan is hosting numerous events in conjunction with the 40th anniversary.
My wife and I were fortunate to call Ray Riker a friend. Ray and his partner Jim Gowran -- our friend, as well -- have run the Kirby House for more than a decade. Mary (who took the wonderful photo of Ray above) and I stayed at this magnificent B&B numerous times since we were married in 2000. A few years ago, Ray and Jim even asked us to house-sit while they went on a rare vacation, which helped solidify our friendship, and gave our daughter Zoë (who was conceived in one of the Kirby's rooms) a chance to enjoy its many charms and comforts.
Tragically, Ray passed away on January 3rd from cardiac arrest, following a bout with colon cancer. So many people who knew Ray posted memories of him on the funeral home's Web site, and many of these writings, like ours, centered on his companionship and his smile. As the chef at the Kirby, Ray also crafted sumptuous breakfasts that put a smile on our faces, and jump-started our day as we made plans to venture into Saugatuck or Douglas for an afternoon of sightseeing, shopping and eating, often made even more pleasant due to tips and suggestions from our gracious hosts. Afterward, we would return, pour a cool drink, then chat, laugh and relax with Ray and Jim by the pool. Mary and I have always felt at ease, and at home, when in their company.
This past week has been a reminder to spend more time with loved ones, and we'll be there to support Jim as he goes through the grieving process. Thankfully, he plans to re-open the B&B in February, and Mary and I will be there to help, as our schedules permit. In fact, she has offered to assist with some of the cooking, since Mary, as was true of Ray, puts together wonderful feasts. Based on the comments of those who attended the funeral last Friday, the house will soon be full again, which always put a smile on Ray's face.
One of my "go to" online destinations, Absolute Michigan continues its mission of highlighting the best our state has to offer. The subject matter is diverse, the information timely and informative. They explore one of the country's favorite holidays, and how you can celebrate it in Great Lake style with A Very Michigan Thanksgiving, which I've selected as the "Arresting Resource of the Month" for November.
My wife, daughter, and I went to Parmenter's Northville Cider Mill on Sunday, and along the way I kept pointing out the vibrant colors that were starting to burst from trees on Prospect Road, M-14, etc. Check out these Michigan Fall Color Tours, courtesy of Pure Michigan, while you can still take in peak season, although that may soon pass in the Upper Peninsula. Still, there's much to see around the lower portion of the state, so grab the family and your camera, then enjoy some of the country's most spectacular vistas.
Want to experience the rush of charging down the tunnel and onto the field at the University of Michigan's fabled Big House? You can do so and benefit charity all at the same time, but registration ends soon for the Big House Big Heart event, taking place this Saturday, October 3 in Ann Arbor, 5K and 10K chip-timed courses take you through the U-M campus, and there also is a 1 Mile Fun Run, all of which end on the 50-yard line at Michigan Stadium. I'll be out of town for this one, but would love to sign up next year. Great cause, great idea.