2018-02-15 / Columns

Omena has big doin’s

Phone/fax 386-5686

Leelanau County crews were in Omena Tuesday morning trimming overhanging tree branches that were hitting, or close to hitting, plow trucks. This picture is on Omena Heights. Leelanau County crews were in Omena Tuesday morning trimming overhanging tree branches that were hitting, or close to hitting, plow trucks. This picture is on Omena Heights. Come one, come all. After a two-year hiatus, yours truly is entering the Chili Cook-Off Saturday at the Northport Winter Carnival.

I’m not afraid of competition, so feel free to enter your own creation. The categories are traditional, non-traditional, vegetarian and flaming. Entrants need to bring four quarts of chili in a crock pot with a serving ladle. The chili needs to be delivered to the warming house at Braman Hill from 11-11:30 a.m.

A cash prize is given the overall winner, and category winners receive a hand-painted prize. Contact Jenny Evans, jevansart@gmail.com.

Tasting begins at noon. Proceeds benefit the Northport School National Arts Honor Society. You can also put a team together for the Broomball or Milk Jug Curling contests. The events run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They have added a kid-centric event called GAGA. It’s similar to dodge ball, but strikes only count from the knee down. GAGA begins about 1 p.m. My favorite, the Northport School Cardboard Sled races, starts about 11:45 a.m.

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The other big event is the NCAC’s Dinner Theater at Tucker’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Seating times on Friday and Saturday are at 5:30 p.m., and Sunday is at 3:30 p.m. It’s a wonderful comedy, “Don’t Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell.”

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Rat Renz was in the Pacific Northwest last week for her great granddaughter’s first birthday. Rat stayed with her daughter Cynnie Dotzauer in Snohomish, Wash., and they traveled to Portland for Audrey Elliott’s birthday party. Audrey is the daughter of Rat’s granddaughter Emma; her husband is Lane. Back in Snohomish, Rat enjoyed dinner with her niece Marian (Manie) Electa Powell and her husband, Mark. Then, Rat, Cynnie and Manie had a girls’ day with Cynnie’s other daughter, Ellie First. Their outing included seeing Ellie’s new apartment.

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Mother Nature figures pretty heavily in the news this time of year. We should be seeing moderation this week, and possibly even some melting. Everyone these days seems to be commenting on how the days are longer. It is noticeably light later, and an earlier sunrise is also noted. The other sign of spring is that male Goldfinches are starting to turn yellow. They’ve worn dull winter plumage the past few months.

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Several weeks ago, this column mentioned that Bob Mosher had sighted otter tracks in the Omena Heights Orchard. Last week brought a new visitor to Kim and Linda Kemper’s koi pond. Kim spotted a river otter contentedly eating a fish from their pond. Despite their Border Collie, Duff, barking indignantly inside the house, the otter finished his lunch and then disappeared behind the waterfall and into the bushes. The Kempers later followed the otter’s tracks which appear to carry the form of a “snowy trough, a long mark where the otter has slid,” according to expert Roger Tory Peterson in his field guides on Mammals and Tracks. A Gill’s Pier resident shared her experiences with the Kempers of seeing otter families with as many as five members along M-22 on the west side of the peninsula. Another member of that same conversation reported that at least one otter lives at the stream on her property. Fortunately for the koi, the Kemper’s visitor has not returned.

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The otter visit follows an adventure at the pond this past summer when a Great Blue Heron appeared several times to enjoy a frog and fish buffet. Although the Kempers love the herons and other wildlife, they added fish lines to dissuade the bird from further food searches. They are hoping that the otter is similarly dissuaded from returning.

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Happy Birthday to Helen Putnam Bradley, David Lightner, Don Valmassoi and Jeffrey Dailey.

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