Spotlight: Christine (Firefly)

By Nancy Polanski (nap) on December 12, 2011

Christine is wild about Nature (pun intended). She and her husband have planted roots in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, where they take full advantage of all that Mother Nature has to offer. Check out her photos....

May I introduce you to a very interesting lady named Christine, who calls herself "firefly"  (and I forgot to ask her why she chose that for her username on Cubits.  Will someone please ask her for me??) .....


I was born and raised in Michigan and love it here. Where I live is very much a part of who I am.


Michigan is a unique State of two peninsulas. There is the Lower Peninsula (the mitten) and the Upper Peninsula (the UP). The two parts of the State are connected by the mighty Mackinaw Bridge. The Lower Peninsula where my husband and I live is divided further. The southern part is where most
2011-12-12/nap/1f2f7fof the cities are and most of the people. The northern part is much quieter, more forested and more of a vacation spot. This is the area wh ere my husband and I live.


I would be remiss not to mention the big lakes. The Great Lakes are beautiful. From the shore or in a boat, they appear as an ocean of clear aqua color. Lake Superior is the largest fresh water lake in the world and in my opinion, the most beautiful. It’s shores are surrounded by rock cliffs and formations of various colors. It’s cold and depth are forbidding.


We purchased our piece of “quiet” in 1996 when we found a couple sections of woods bordering a river and connected to a small lake. We fell in love with the trees, ferns, marsh and wildlife of the area. We built our own nest here in 2002.

 

It sounds like you have found the perfect spot for yourself. Your photos are spectacular. I can see why you are attracted to this area. What is it like, living in such a rustic location?2011-12-12/nap/e87b8f


Living in a vacation spot has its advantages and disadvantages. If you like to shop, go to theater, enjoy night life, live near where you work, have snow plowed roads in the winter, have access to high speed internet and order take out, you do not want to live here. But if you like quiet, nature (which can be sometimes quite loud), woods, plants, water and wildlife, then you have found paradise. No Starbucks within 50 miles. You have to make your own coffee, thank you.


The winters here are long and cold. Temperatures can get down to -20° F with about three feet of snow that stays the season. We usually find snow still in the swamp in late May. The Spring is muddy and cool, the Summer is hot and humid, and the Fall is perfect 70° weather with a colorful show that rivals anywhere in the U.S.A.

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Walking in the woods every day, there is always something new to see. I tend to walk slowly, taking in the wild orchids in the Spring, the breeze through the leaves and the wood thrush singing in the Summer, the colors and smell of Fall and the diamonds of snow in the Winter. It is common to see deer, wood thrush, owls and hawks in the woods. Our home faces the marsh end of a lake, where we watch the wildlife of all kinds, eagles, cranes, deer, otter, muskrat, loon, ducks, geese, swans, and mink to name a few. We are lucky enough to see nests in the spring of loon, geese and swans, and watch the progress of nature for another Spring. We joke that we do not have TV because of having the nature channel out our front deck, 24/7.

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I grew up here in Michigan with an appreciation of nature. I had some wonderful influences in my young life that shaped who I am today. I grew up on a small farm that housed my family

 and also on the same property, my maternal grandparents. From my grandmother, I learned how to be creative.

 

I have seen some of your creativity in the photos you've posted over at the Photo101 forum. I'm referring to the beautiful sweater you knit. So I would love to know about your grandmother and the others who shaped and influenced you.

 

This is a lady who recycled well before it was popular. She made ornate doll furniture from tin cans, rag rugs from plastic bread bags, vases from plastic bottles, and scrapbooks from greeting cards. She also taught me to sew, knit, crochet and paint.

2011-12-12/nap/02865b 2011-12-12/nap/273de8

Thank you for providing these photos of some of your grandmother's work. They are simply amazing!!

 

I wish I had photos of the Barbie bed and vanity. It was amazing. You never think of taking photos of some things, you just take them for granted.

 

My grandmother had a cottage business selling flowers to the main floral warehouse in the area. I spent every summer cutting and bunching gladiolus. I also spent time picking money plant, baby’s breath, statice and straw flowers. We also grew produce for the farmer’s marke2011-12-12/nap/ba3ffct in town. So I helped plant, hoe, pick and package everything from string  beans to corn to gourds and pumpkins to sell. I loved it.


My mother was an expert seamstress and was quite good at creating homemade clothes that were the envy of my classmates (at a time when “homemade” meant poor folk, which we were). She created a wonderful canopy Barbie bed from a shoe box, and a vanity and mirror set from the old Nestle Quick boxes. I was invited to everyone’s birthday party because they wanted one. My mother was quite popular with my friends.

 

My dad was quiet and smart. He taught me to look at things beyond the surface. He taught me how to appreciate moss on the ground, the way a tree grew where it shouldn’t have, to understand the delicate balance of animals, earth and stars. He taught me how to fix my own car, do plumbing, do house repairs, and rely on myself, yet stay a “girly girl” He also gave me my quirky sense of humor.

2011-12-12/nap/e19381
Their upbringing has made me the person I am today. I have 2 adult children of whom I am very proud. My son and daughter are both very successful in their careers. I remarried 15 years ago to a wonderful man. It was love at first sight and he continues to amaze me every day. He has a son and daughter-in-law in Colorado and our four year old grandchild.

We had a very special chocolate lab for most of our married life that we lost a little over a year ago. We are still mourning his passing. He was a big part of our life.

 

I enjoy taking pictures of nature, kayaking, fishing, hunting, knitting and crocheting, crafts, and my Kindle. My favorite book/author is hard. I like quite a variety, from classics, to fiction, to biographies,2011-12-12/nap/5a50f6 to myste ry, to sci-fi. My latest favorite is 11-23-63 by Stephen King. Not a normal King book, this book deals with a man that goes back into time to try to stop the Kennedy assassination. King deals in the book quite a bit about the difference in living in 2011 compared to 1960. Amazing. My only full price book and it was well worth the money. I am reading now, Next, by Michael Crichton. This book deals with the ramifications of messing with DNA in plants and animals and is one of the scariest books I have ever read. It also has its share of humor to offset the fear. Wow. Good.

I enjoy grumbling about the raccoons getting into the bird f eeders, the bugs, the cold, the heat, the deer eating all my flowers, the geese screaming all night long in the spring and the gunshots from the goose hunters early in the morning in the fall. It is 7:15 am as I write this and they are “blaming away” at something out there in2011-12-12/nap/91a545 the dark right now.

 

I was doing research years ago on a recipe that my grandmother used to make because I wanted to fi nd the true name of a German breakfast sausage. I never did find the real name, but I found Dave's Garden. I came over to Cubits from there and enjoy the site very much. I am mostly on a private thread on the weather site. But branch out from time to time in books, crafts, and photos.


I have so enjoyed getting to know people here on Cubits. We come from all walks of life, have our own unique areas we live in and love and share. I feel like I go on vacation every day to every part of the earth here on Cubits. Then come home again to my favorite vacation spot. Thank you all for sharing all your spots with me.

 

And my thanks to you, Christine. You have just given me a refreshingly picturesque look into living and appreciating a country lifestyle.

 

Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them, and hover over them to read their descriptions.  Don't forget to visit the threads below this article and say hello to Christine.  You're all invited back next week for our next interview with another Cubits member.

Related articles:

About Nancy Polanski
I live in Western New York. I'm retired, after working for 30 years in the Microbiology Labs at our county hospital. My time now is spent mostly with the Karen refugee population in Buffalo, advocating for them, teaching, helping and enjoying them. I've twice traveled to their camps in Thailand and experienced their culture. It seems they have taught me more about life than I have taught them.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Hi Firefly! Zanymuse Dec 21, 2011 5:09 PM 25
Wonderful! marsue Dec 17, 2011 9:27 AM 13
Great! kaglic Dec 13, 2011 4:43 PM 2

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Who's Who Spotlight articles feature personal interviews and photos of individual Cubits members, sharing with you their talents and expertise in a variety of areas and interests.

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