Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Standing Outside the Asylum

I have always wanted to photograph here at the former Northern Michigan Asylum in Traverse City.

Yet each time we have visited it seemed to be raining. I thought this time would be another losing situation, considering it was snowing when we left our house, and we drove through a mini snow storm on the way to Traverse City.

As we neared Traverse City though, I could see patches of blue sky getting bigger and the sun starting to peak out. I thought "finally I will get to photograph and explore the former Asylum". I had even come prepared with an extra camera so Glen could have something to do while I was exploring.

Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane

  • Construction began in April 1883
  • This was the third Asylum built in the state of Michigan
  • Architectural style is Victorian-Italianate
  • The first patients began arriving in the winter of 1885/1886
  • Some of the buildings have been restored into retail shops and restaurants
  • Others remain untouched, the unrestored ones are the ones that called to me
Glen and I started out together at the Gardener's Cottage, built in 1890 and remodeled in 1922. The little details captivated me here.

This is also were I left Glen to his own devises. I hoped he would continue on his own and not give up, but either way I was off to explore.

Separate infirmaries a.k.a. cottages were built apart from the main building. The main building has been restored and most of the cottages have not.

Cottage No. 30
Established in 1904 as a men's cottage. This cottage housed "working patients" patients who assisted in the fields and did grounds keeping chores.

The front porch...

Side view including the round tower...

The men's dining hall…

Cottage No. 40

Established in 1893 it housed the more boisterous male patients.

Cottage No. 28

Established in 1887 as a men's geriatric ward

Cottage No. 32

Established in 1889 as a men's ward and later converted to a tuberculosis ward.

Exploring the backside of the buildings
The backsides offer up some awesome grunge and I am sucker for doors...

It was at this point in my exploration that I began to wonder where Glen had gone to. I had not seen him since I left him at the Gardner's cottage. I had a sneaking suspicion that he had gone back to the car and was catching up on work stuff on his phone. But much to my delight as I turned around from shooting this screen door, there he was lurking in the bushes shooting some berries on a bush.

A couple last door/entryway photos. All this grunge and decay fills my little photographer heart with joy.

I came across this book…

at a little bookstore in a nearby town. It has proved to be priceless in helping me identify the buildings I photographed and the history behind them.

I hope to get back up there again next spring or summer and explore the women's cottages, since I have only explored the men's side so far.

Joining Helen for Weekend Walks a little late.

Friday, October 25, 2013

5 Random Friday Finds

Find No. 1

I found this lovely postcard in my mailbox this week from my dear friend Viv. Even though I didn't participate in the fall postcard swap she still sent me a postcard. That meant a lot to me.

Find No. 2

A new dog bed makes for a happy and sleepy dog.

Find No. 3

A piece of cheese works wonders to get your dogs to pose for you.

Find No. 4

Feeling courageous this week after starting Brene' Brown's new e-course, The Gifts of Imperfection, I did the required homework of writing this on my hand, taking my picture and posting it as my FB profile picture. You never know who you will impact when you do brave things like this.

Find No. 5

Glen and I are away for the weekend. We went north about 3 hours from our house to Traverse City. This picture is at a former state mental hospital in Traverse City. I have always wanted to explore and photograph there, but it seems every time we are there it is raining. I thought this time would be a bust as well as, since we drove through a snow storm on our way there. Once we got there though no snow and the sun was starting to come out. There will be more photos and a post coming on this amazing place.

Joining Kim for Friday Finds
Joining Nancy for Random 5 Friday

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Trap of Contentment

Glen and I had a really great conversation over dinner at Applebee's this past weekend. Now I know why couples go out to eat so much once the kids are out of the house. It is that face to face connection time, that time that can so easily get lost when it is just the two of you.

Anyway, back to the conversation. Glen was sharing his week with me and lamenting a bit about a trap that some of the salespeople he manages fall into. Glen is a Sales Team Leader for a Janitoral and Packaging company. He was sharing how some of his salespeople are content with a part of a company's business, say $15,000 a year. Even though when a few key questions are asked, you find out you could potentially have $500,000 of this company's yearly business. But they never ask those key questions because they are content with having some of the business.

This conversation got me thinking. We as women, especially those of us at my stage of life, having raised our kid/kids and sent them out into the world, think "ok we did it". Now we can sit back and rest and be content with our place in life. But really this is our time in life, our time to pursue our hobbies, passions, etc. Yet so many of us don't, and there are two main things that hold us back, time and fear.

You know that these are just excuses. You time managed so well when you had a busy family to plan around, so why can't you schedule a little "you" time into each week. Set a goal for each week, and don't start with a overwhelming one that you know you can't complete, which will prevent you from even starting. For example don't start with the goal of "I'm going to write a book" start with "I am going to write a short story this week" or even "I'm going to write a paragraph this week". Very manageable goals that will keep you on track with time and help you conquer fear. Small successes will lead to confidence which will lead to great courage.

This fall I have left contentment behind and have been pushing myself in my photography harder than I have ever pushed myself in anything in my whole life. Small successes have led to confidence which gives me courage to keep pushing onward.

What about you? Are you ready to leave contentment behind and push yourself in something you have always wanted to do?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Train Yard

I have to admit that every week when I set out for my Backroads Adventure there is a sense of excitement but there is also a small pit of dread in my stomach. I LOVE doing these adventures, but I am always worried that I won't find anything exciting, interesting or photo worthy. Especially when the week before ends with an exploration through an old Masonic Lodge. That is a tough act to follow.

This week was good, but there wasn't any BIG WOW until....the end...yet again. I think this is God's way of teaching me patience, holding back the prize until the last stop. Goodness knows I am not a very patient person.

I knew this place existed, but I had never been here before.

The Coopersville & Marne Railway is a train of antique passenger cars, which date from the early part of the last century. The passenger cars are pulled by a 1950's era diesel locomotive. The train runs from Coopersville to Marne and back to Coopersville. There are theme train rides for Halloween and Christmas that are a delight to kids of all ages.

The Coopersville and Marne Railway Company began operating on July 4, 1990 using a leased locomotive, a leased passenger car, and a borrowed caboose. The traffic that summer was enough to warrant obtaining the use of a second coach. In 1991 they leased a third coach, and in 1992 they leased one additional coach. They now have four coaches, with room for 300 passengers.

In another part of the train yard there are some projects in progress, like this steam locomotive.

And these passenger cars.

I am not sure if this is an old depot building or not, but it's unique shape intrigued me.

To me it seems to have a Southwest feel to it, like a mini  Alamo.

I had a bit of an epiphany standing in that train yard. I thought, I am a real photographer, this is something a real photographer would shoot. I think I thought that because, generally I shoot in quiet places that are without people. But here I stood in the middle of a train yard, in the middle of a town, where people could see me, and it felt great!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Taking the Backroads - No Trespassing, Hunting or Entering

Each week my backroads adventure seems to take on some kind of theme, and this week was no different.

I am pretty sure that none of these signs were meant for me, only hoodlums and hunters.

I again found myself headed north this week. A lot of times I base my decision on the weather, but most of the time it is wherever pops into my head.

Road Signs
I started out on M-120 just north of Muskegon, but was quickly diverted by a Street Sign that said River Road.

I have to say that River Road was quite a disappointment since I never saw even a glimpse of the river.  When I came to the intersection of River Road and Holton Duck Lake Road, I had serious doubts about any Duck Lake. Being the ever adventurous one though, I thought I give it a try. Holton Duck Lake Road did not let me down.

This was also the perfect spot for my weekly Chai Latte cup shot.

Once back to M-120 headed towards Fremont, I passed this lovely barn. Not one to let a good barn get away, I turned around to get a photo of it.

Fremont is home to Gerber Baby Food.

Glen's parents use to camp in nearby Newaygo. When we went up to stay with them for the weekend, we would often go in to Fremont to the Walmart because we forgot something or there was an awesome pizza place downtown.

I did go to my first Estate Sale while I was in Fremont.

Basically what that taught me was...what I consider a treasure, my family will not. Also do not hang on to 1970's style clothing and purses, they are not going to come back into fashion. Although they did have some great vintage children's books. I did not buy any though because someday they will just be in my Estate Sale.

Disappointed in Fremont's offerings for the day, I figured I would head toward the campground where Glen's parents use to camp.

County Road B35
I had great success with County Road B15 last week, and B35 did not let me down either.

I am thinking this is an old schoolhouse, because of the playground equipment, but it could have been a church as well I guess.

The windows were too high for me to see inside.

And there was NO way I was crawling down through this window.

This fence was so lovely in the side yard.

As I turned around from taking this picture, my heart did a somersault and a YEEK! escaped my lips,  I was staring into the lifeless eye of a dead deer. Glad I saw that after I got my fence photo.

I continued on B35 towards Coopersville. I did not have expectations for anything else for the day, but I was getting hungry and knew I could find some lunch there. 

Of course once I got to Coopersville the lunch plan was delayed for a while when I came across this treasure...

Another photography Heaven event. Post on this coming tomorrow.

Joining Helen for her Weekend Walk party.