The Holidays at Meadow Brook Hall

Meadow Brook’s Annual Holiday Walk has arrived. The Great Estate is opening its halls for self-guided tours through the decorated rooms of the mansion from November 23rd to December 23rd. Elegant details include over 50 glimmering trees and a 10-foot tall Poinsettia tree made of over 150 live plants. A trip to this signature holiday event in Oakland County is something you won’t want to miss!

Preview Meadow Brook Hall’s Holiday walk before you go:

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Oakland County U-Cut Tree Farms

Cute baby girl in red Scandinavian dress at the Christmas tree farm.

Oakland County is home to seven “u-cut” tree farms. Enjoy the holiday tradition of cutting your own tree whether it’s your first adventure or an annual tradition. Check out our interactive map and full list to find the best tree farm for you:

Christmas Tree Farms in Oakland County

Before you head out to find your special tree, prepare yourself with these tree farm tips:

  • Dress for the weather, and be prepared for snow.
  • Check ahead for special events such as Santa visits, hayrides, hot cocoa and cider.
  • Some farms may not accept credit or debit cards; call ahead or bring cash or checks just in case.
  • Avoid tripping or falling by watching out for hidden stumps while walking on the farm.
  • Prepare your home ahead of time to make sure your tree’s path inside is obstruction-free.
  • Read through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)‘s comprehensive list of tree and decoration safety precautions to avoid hazards to your safety and property.

For more tips visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website here. Stay warm and have fun!

Family stands beside a Christmas tree in a forest.

Do you have a favorite tree farm that’s missing from the list or map? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter, by contacting us at socialmedia@oakgov.com, or leaving a comment below.


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Oakland County Thanksgiving Safety Tips

A beautiful, cooked turkey sits in the center of the table amidst of Thanksgiving dishes like stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Whether you’re a pro at hosting the Thanksgiving meal or this will be your very first time, it’s important to follow and practice food safety tips, especially when poultry and stuffing are involved.

Turkey:

Cooking a turkey requires planning and preparation; get started using these tips from the USDA.

  • Buy the turkey a few days before you plan to cook it.
  • Refrain from buying a pre-stuffed turkey.
  • Remember that thawing the turkey takes 24 hours in the refrigerator for every four to five pounds, and cold water thawing takes 30 minutes per pound.
  • Be sure the turkey is completely thawed before cooking.
  • Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 ºF.
  • Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2-2 1/2 inches deep.
  • Cook stuffing in a casserole for optimum safety.
  • Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer and ensure it is at least 165 ºF.
  • Let the bird sit for 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.

Homemade Roasted Thanksgiving Day Turkey with all the Sides

Stuffing:

The Partnership for Food Safety Education has a special section devoted to stuffing in their Talking Turkey guide.

  • Cook all stuffing and dressing to a minimum temperature of 165 ºF, whether it is cooked inside or outside the bird. For optimum safety, cooking your stuffing in a casserole dish is recommended.
  • Prepare and put stuffing in the turkey immediately before it’s placed into the oven.
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients for the stuffing separately and combine just before using.
  • Stuff the turkey loosely, about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
  • Bake any extra stuffing in a greased casserole dish.

Need more tips for preparing your feast? Call Butterball’s hotline at 800-288-8372, text them at 844-877-3456, or visit their website. Check out the Oakland County Health Division website for additional food safety tips.

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Raptors Enthrall West Bloomfield Families

A close-up photograph of a Barred Owl taken indoors. The owl, with large brown eyes, a yellow beak, and brown-and-white-striped plumage, looks at the camera.

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The first snows of the season came early this year, adding majestic beauty to the woods of Oakland County. Walk quietly in woodlands at dusk and the rhythmic music of our “eight hooter,” the Barred Owl, may enliven your journey into nature’s way with its unique musical repertoire. It’s perhaps best described as mournful, rather rhythmic eight-hoot baritone melody of “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for y’all?” Sharp listeners will note the distinctive ending, a drawled-out note that is sometimes described as a southern twang. I am lucky, for every now and then I hear and see Barred Owls just a few hundred yards from my house. However, on Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of going eye to eye with a Barred Owl, and other species of raptors, from within the comfort of the Marshbank Lodge, a beautiful facility of West Bloomfield Parks located within Marshbank Park, an easy to access 108-acre park in a suburban neighborhood of the Wilder Side of Oakland County.

A barred owl, sits perched on branch on a snowy, winter day. It has brown-and-white-striped plumage and its eyes are closed. Continue reading

Donate to Forgotten Harvest, Every Pound Counts

Forgotten Harvest is one of the largest and most efficient food rescue organizations in the United States of America. The organization rescues fresh, nutritious surplus food and sends it to hungry communities. Last year, they rescued 45 million pounds of food that would have otherwise been wasted; each pound represents a meal enjoyed by a community member who needs it.

Take a look at this video that goes behind the scenes at the Forgotten Harvest warehouse in Oak Park:

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