Lakeside daisies bade us welcome

Post 16/2021 Saturday 17 April . . . It may have been two decades since we were introduced to the rare lakeside daisy on a guided walk on Kelleys Island on the Ohio side of Lake Erie. Kelleys Island is a 20-minute crossing on the Shirley Irene ferry from Marblehead. We spent the past week on Kelleys in a self-catering cottage. Thankfully, the islanders have and continue to act with proper precautions related to the now more than year long Covid-19 pandemic. Seventy seniors age 62 and up received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on February 12. The island has about 250 permanent residents, most of whom stayed home over winter.

As a number of times previously, we walked all over the island, reconnecting with landmarks, including the glacial grooves, Inscription Rock, the now silent quarries, the numerous trails (including the Lilac Walk, believe it or not, which had started to bud), and oh so delightful, a walk on the alvars among the threatened lakeside daisies.

Lakeside daises dot one of the alvars on the island. An alvar is a naturally open area with either a thin layer of soil or no soil over a base of limestone or dolostone bedrock. According to the U.S, Fish & Wildlife Service the lakeside daisy occurs in the Great Lakes Basin of the U.S. and Canada, off the coast of Sweden, the eastern European Baltic regions and the United Kingdom. USFWS: “This bright daisy is a long-lived perennial growing where few others can, on nearly barren limestone bedrock in full sunlight. All individuals within a given population tend to bloom about the same time, producing the spectacular effect of a golden blanket across a rock landscape. All the flower heads track the sun across the sky in unison, After about a week, the double notched petals fade before falling. Seed dispersal takes place about a month later. Lakeside daisy also reproduces vegetatively by rhizomatous growth.”
These daffodils found rootage in the Huntley-Beatty Preserve, a quarry that opened in the 1830s. Today the quarry sports scrub pine trees and the lakeside daisy. Immigrants from Germany and Italy worked the quarries and the wineries.
Forsythia bloomed all across the island.
Horseshoe Lake in the East Quarry, just as the hail came tumbling down. We were fine, wearing our raincoats.
We were amazed to find this early near-blooming lilac bush. We were less enamored to see a large, possibly Lake Erie Water Snake, cross our path nearby.
This one mile boardwalk trail through the North Pond State Nature Preserve takes your breath away. It’s a coastal wetland you’re crossing, showing the protective barrier beach that lies between Lake Erie and solid ground. The area contains rare beach plants and is home to migrating birds. Unless you’re wearing waterproof shoes, as we were, you’ll get wet feet. The water will rise some inches over the walkway as you cross the wettest areas. Breathtaking, and a surprise.

Prince Philip funeral

We watched the funeral for Prince Philip. The music, readings, prayers, simplicity amidst the grandeur of St George’s Chapel, gave the solemn occasion life and meaning.

Prince Philip was a conservationist. Bless his ongoing influence in such endeavor among us. I especially liked the choir’s rendition of Psalm 104:

“You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, giving drink to every wild animal; the wide asses quench their thirst. By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches. From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work” (vv 10-13).

Goodbye

Kelleys Island is upgrading its wi-fi service. That meant we were without an internet connection most of our time there. That proved a bonus. We caught onto island time–time steeped in history and a quietly refreshing pace for today.

Fond farewell, brief flower.

-John

8 thoughts on “Lakeside daisies bade us welcome

    1. It was a nostalgic return with new discoveries from having a longer stay there, even sang two hymns with our masks on and socially distanced seating for about two dozen people. Offering in a drop box on the way out. Island life does a body, mind and spirit well.

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  1. So nice to learn about an island I’ve never seen before. Reminds me a wee bit of Pelee Island in some ways. This blog was an education for me.
    Kaye

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    1. You’ll find the most Lakeside daises on Manitoulin Island, also on the Bruce Peninsula. Kelleys is almost in view of Pelee. Hurrah for Island life, plants. birds and people!

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  2. Nice to meet the Lakeside Daisies and the blooming Forsythia! Thanks for sharing your adventures on Kelley’s Island! A nostalgic week for the two of you.

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    1. I forgot to mention that Kelleys is a big destination for fisherfolk. We enjoyed fresh fish not of our own catching. And a pizza.

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    1. Thanks, Leslie. We look forward to the time we can again go round and round the island. There’s so much to enjoy, especially on foot.

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