Category Archives: Troy

Epiphany… Finally

Every year, I like to do the Epiphany Home Blessing, a tradition in the Catholic Church.

Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

We weren’t in Michigan last Epiphany, so the last time the house was blessed was 2021. It would be superstitious to say that it’s because it wasn’t blessed in 2022 that we had pipes burst and have to undergo major reconstruction, but…. 😉

This is the current state of our kitchen.

Today is the day we finally checked out of the hotel and moved back permanently into our house! Today, Donald also found the Epiphany Home Blessing card and chalk that we got from church. Together, we blessed the home for 2023.

We are so happy to finally be back home – really home! – and are looking forward to finding new local adventures!

Have a blessed day!

— Jenn & Donald

Stage Nature Center in the Snow!

Donald is great at always keeping an eye on the weather for us, so we knew that it was going to snow Sunday morning. I thought it would be a lot of fun – especially for my Florida boy! – to go for a walk in the snow at one of our favorite local nature centers.

We had a nice breakfast at the hotel, then stopped by the house to grab our wet weather boots from one of our moving boxes. Next stop: the Stage Nature Center, where we had previously seen a mink playing in the Rouge River!

Our car parked next to the snow-covered trees
Our car parked next to the snow-covered trees! Poor car isn’t used to this cold weather!

The snow was so beautiful on the ground and coating the branches of the trees! It was really good packing snow, too!

After living in Florida for the past few months, this was quite a change for us and we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. There were a surprising number of people who were also out this morning to take a walk in the snow. We decided to take the Blackbird trail today, and it ended up snowing the entire time.

I don’t think it is possible for me to overemphasize how often one of us would exclaim, “It’s SO PRETTY!” or “Wow! Look at this, babe!”

Even without leaves, the snow-covered branches made for interesting tunnels to walk through.
I made this for Donald. I will always give him my heart!

We saw deer, ducks, and birds on our walk, but we’re particularly entranced by the trees. There are a lot of older trees here. (Above, Donald is playing among some of the taller pine trees.)

We love taking photos and recognize the importance of capturing our memories. We are trying to get better at documenting our adventures (and taking more videos!), so we played a bit with slow-mo mode. The clip below shows Donald shaking a branch to have some snow fall on him. This is towards the end of our walk, and you might be able to tell that the branches now have a good couple inches of snow on them – much more than when we began our walk!

Just after seeing some deer in the woods, we came to a hilly section of the nature center. I wanted a photo of Donald in the field, to show the scale of the terrain a bit. I think I ended up making it look like he was tiny and standing on the fence!

There had been a group of kids in a group who were geocaching when we started our walk. We didn’t want to interrupt their program, but decided to catch a few caches on our way out. There are definitely more caches out there, but we just grabbed a quick two. They are not too difficult to find; it is a fun, little “extra” that families can do together while enjoying nature.

There was just enough snow on the ground for Donald to make a snow angel. I think he did a great job!

We were out in it for a good two hours, then returned to our hotel home to warm up. We were so glad to get back to some of the things we love to do: hiking, taking pictures, and seeing the local flora and fauna.

See you next time!
— Jenn & Donald

Stage Nature Center

It has been a little while since we have indulged in one of our favorite lunchtime pastimes: finding a new city park to explore. We tend to do this a little more in Tallahassee, but we have found that there are quite a few local parks in Troy which are beautiful and fun to explore – particularly in summertime. Today, we returned to the Stage Nature Center – where we had seen the mink earlier in the year – to see how it looks when everything has had a chance to green up.

This is the Rouge River, as it is here in Troy, a little more than a creek.

We only had about 30 minutes to spend at the park during my lunch hour, so we made a quick trip around the Sugar Maple loop. It was really neat to see the different colors of green in the leaves and how the sun lit up the trees. The part of the loop that we walked also had a display of the various stages of tree/forest lifecycle, with logs in various stages of decay and decomposition.

The nature center has programs in the winter/early spring where you can rent a tap for a sugar maple tree, then collect the maple syrup produced from the sap.

We spent a few minutes at this crossroads in the paths to watch some chipmunks. They are FAST little ones! One of them ran up a tree and started chittering very loudly for quite some time. At first, I didn’t know what was making that sound and ended up recording it on my Bird ID app. I’m not sure if he was mad or excited, but he certainly wanted everyone in the forest to hear what he had to say!

Just as we were about to move on from the chipmunk area, we spied four deer running parallel to our path. Donald’s phone has much better zoom on the camera and he was able to get this incredible photo.

A view of the Rouge River from the other side of the Sugar Maple loop.

We just did the short 0.4 mile Sugar Maple Loop today, as I only had an hour for lunch. It was really pretty and we want to come back after work one day to see what animals are active in the early evening, as well as spend more time in the back half to see if we can spot our mink friend again.

I love seeing all the different colors of green!

This was a very BIG bee on this flower. It’s in an area of the nature center which has been planted as a monarch butterfly migration station.

I love when parks make boards like this to help people know what kinds of flowers and plants are indigenous to the area, and to promote planting native plants in gardens. Sometimes, you will see a companion board, where they will inform you of invasive species in the area and ask people visiting the park to help remove the invasive species if they are seen during your walk.

This was just a quick out and back visit, but we had a lot of fun. It was great to take a break and get away from the house for a bit, as well as to enjoy the warm, sunny, non-humid weather while we have it!


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