Category Archives: May

Juneberry season is on its way – trees are in bloom

Ben from Damn Arbor notes that the juneberries in town are in bloom, which means that it shouldn't be more than about a month before they are ready for street-side snacking. 

The forager in me always welcomes street trees that provide impromptu nutrition. Arborwiki has a brief list of some of the places where you can find juneberries downtown; surprisingly, the municipal parking lots on the west side of downtown are ringed with these trees. Keep your eyes open and get to them before the birds do.


May 2013 Peony Bloom Countdown, The Peony Garden, Nichols Arboretum, Ann Arbor

The peonies bloom every year in the Peony Garden at the Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor. This year's prediction for the first bloom date is May 20-25, 2013, and for the peak season at about June 1, 2013; that according to the garden's Peony Bloom Countdown as of May 1. By midsummers night the blooming is over and the garden is all green.

More seasonal blooming information at the arb's spring, summer, fall, and winter pages.

UPDATE from the Peony Bloom Countdown:

Our current prediction was made on May 6:

   Earliest bloom starting before May 25. Very early peonies as 'Red Charm' are already showing leaves while some of the very late peonies are only just showing buds breaking the surface.

   Peak season to begin after Memorial Day Weekend.

Our current prediction as of May 14:

   Earliest bloom starting before May 25. Very early peonies as 'Red Charm'are already showing leaves while some of the very late peonies are only just showing buds breaking the surface.

   Peak season to begin after Memorial Day Weekend.

2013 morel season in Michigan is on its way

Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 5.13.53 PMIf you're hunting morels, you know that the first rule of putting dots on a map to say where you found them is to be imprecise. It's OK to say which county you located the morels in, but don't narrow it down any more than that. I happen to know that morels can be found in Marquette County, but even my mom won't always provide an exact location.

With this mapping in mind, here's a few sources for early morel sightings in Michigan.

The Facebook group Michigan Morels has daily reports with photos of people showing off the results of their hunt. No maps, but lots of county reports. ("Where the hunters gather") has a morel progression map on their front page. The Michigan bit of it is included below, as of 1 May 2013.

A similar map is the Morel Mushroom Progression Sightings Map from I've cropped it a little wider to show the progression from south to north.

Mushrooms are known to frequent burn sites, popping up the next few years on the burnt over location. Two sets of maps from previous Vacuum posts are useful here, with the caveat that you should check with land owners before hunting morels in the wild.

Sleeper Lake Fire, Luce County Michigan, a 2007 fire; the account of the 2008 morel season said a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for picking.

Duck Lake Fire, Luce County Michigan, a 2012 fire. You'll be hunting for mushrooms in the Tahquamenon woods.

Some news stories from this season, via a Twitter search for Michigan morel:

A beginner's guide to morel hunting in Michigan, Lansing State Journal.

Northern Michigan mushroom outlook: will the cold spring freeze out morels? Petoskey News

Hunting for morel mushrooms? Here are some tips, Detroit Free Press

2012 Water Hill Music Fest: Sunday, May 6th, from 2 to 6 p.m. (rain date May 13th).

Water Hill Music yearC3

From Paul Tinkerhess, organizer:

The 2012 Water Hill Music Fest is set to happen Sunday, May 6th, from 2 to 6 p.m. (rain date May 13th).  All residents of Ann Arbor's Water Hill neighborhood are invited to play music on their front porches during this unique celebration.  Expectations are high this year after thousands of visitors attended last year's inaugural event.

More information: and .

From last year's event, as documented by Michigan Radio:

Things I wish I had written: May 2011 edition, A-G

May is almost over, and as always there is more I wish I would have done than was actually done. Some notes on things not written, in the hopes next year will bring another May (chances are good) and that I'll have some of these May stories written before then.

a2b3. I would have loved to have written meeting non-summaries for every lunch meeting, capturing at least who was there, what the question was, how long it took to introduce everyone, how many people where there, and who the new people were. Some of this should be ritualizable, with a clipboard and a form?  (Noted: printable sign in sheets; Crowdjuice, for signups in advance with a social matchmaker function.) 

Ann Arbor City Council. Every month I read the news, and there's always someone referring to some document but not producing it for inspection. The story that needs the document, in this case the map, is the maps for the proposed marijuana ordinance; I tracked them down but haven't published them yet.  (School buffer zones, a2docs)

Arborwiki. Every month deserves at least one wiki posting, and this month I find myself wishing I had written down the simple rule of copy editing with wiki: always link to anything in boldface or caps, and if it doesn't exist, make it exist by fixing the spelling or creating the page.

Blogger's Secret. This section is not sure whether it's a whole weblog or just some random notes, and if it is a weblog it should certainly be written with the thought that there's some non-zero byproduct from the work. The message is simple (write twice a day about one thing), but that's a heck of a lot of work to keep up and do anything else.

Chicago. Why do I have a whole Chicago category, but don't get there more often? One or the other of those should be fixed. (And ask, since Detroit is so much closer, why the Detroit category is not more full; ditto Lansing.)

Community Television Network. I'd love to have told you about the time I spent getting trained to use the equipment there to produce some good old-fashioned public access television shows, but somehow the training hasn't happened yet.

Coworking. There's a very good story about how various coworking spaces are the same and how they differ, but to tell it right I want to visit more of them. I do need to also write more about the Workantile Exchange, the downtown coworking club I am a part of.

Dioxane. Our favorite plume generates slow-moving controversy, when data about how it is being monitored becomes less accessible.

Farmers Market. I'd love to post pictures every week, and I want to get to the Wednesday night market which starts June 1.

Fishing, floods. There were stories of people running into carp on bike paths, people fly fishing for carp, and more hot carp action during the latest Huron River floods. Pictures please!

Great Weird Ideas. No end to them; the question is managing them, or at least corralling them so that you can set them aside and get back to the modest ordinary tasks that you need to for the day. Thus this wish list stops at the end of this section, ignoring H-Z for now.



Lightning damage closes Ann Arbor Northside Elementary School on May 26, no one injured

Lightning hit a brick chimney at Ann Arbor's Northside Elementary School on Wednesday at about 4:15 p.m., sending bricks flying 100 feet through the school pickup area. Fortunately, no one was hurt, as the area was vacant except for a staff member's vehicle which was damaged by flying brick.

I was aware of this when it happened because the lightning strike was powerful enough to cause the power grid to bounce, prompting comments on Twitter and speculating on the exact location. Phil Proefrock's photo published to Facebook tells the story.

Northside will be closed on Thursday for building repairs.

Media: Ann Arbor Public Schools news release. Ann Arbor Chronicle, reporting on the civic news ticker that the chimney "crumbled" based on the school board report.

Lightning information: 24 hour lightning summary from Strikestar.

Photo from Phil Proefrock pending permission to include here.


Ann Arbor Farmers Market report, third Saturday in May 2011

Here's what some people have written about recently in their writings about the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, especially looking at produce that's at market, new vendors and old, how people are doing and checking the weather.

The one constant is that everyone seems to have gotten a lot of rain. Here's a map of the last 7 days of precipitation.

Picture 13Some notes:

Eggs: Grandma from Grandma's Kitchen brought 137 dozen eggs. Her tractor is still in the mud up to its axles.

Rhubarb: $3.50 for about 1.5 # from Wasem's Fruit Farm. Cynthia from Mother's Kitchen has this recipe for Stewed Rhubarb

I don't think I'll need any miracles today.   And if you are new to canning, you won't need any miracles either if give rhubarb a try.  Canning stewed rhubarb is ridiculously simple – all you need is rhubarb and sugar.  

Greens: It was the week for a bag of braising greens, knowing full well that greens needed to stay in the fridge a day or two before being eaten and thus the spinach was a bad choice.

Chocolate: Paul from Mindo Chocolates was there sampling some amazing freshly roasted chocolate.