Chicory: Queen of the Roadside!

blue chicory blossoms

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The sultry days of summer are here. Goldfinches flutter over meadows. Dragonflies patrol the sky. Bullfrogs sound off from ponds. Tomatoes ripen on vines.Crickets sing to the night. Rabbits are everywhere. Thunder rumbles. But it’s chicory (Cichorium intybus) that really proclaims that the heat of summer is on.

Chicory is one of our most abundant midsummer flowers but sadly, it also carries the demeaning title of being classified as a weed. I guess that’s technically correct since it’s a non-native plant that grows profusely along many rural roadsides and other areas that have disturbed, well-drained soils that are bathed in full sunshine. However, their beautiful periwinkle blue flowers on spindly stalks make them an unmistakable sign of summer. It’s abundance in mid-August also reminds me summer is at its peak and the season will soon fade away.

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Flying Dragons of Summer!

An upclose Yellow-legged Meadowhawk

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Dragonflies have ruled the skies of planet Earth since before the time of the great dinosaurs. They survived cataclysmic extinction events that eliminated other species and set back human evolution In the blink of an eye, dragonflies can change their flight direction, speed, and elevation with aerodynamic skills that even the most advanced, high-tech drone cannot master. Dragonflies can detect, track, pursue, intercept, catch, and consume flying prey that are plucked from the air. Perhaps this makes them one of nature’s finest tuned killing machines, true masters of aerial predation. Some of these perching “flying dragons” appear to smile, just as this Yellow-legged Meadowhawk seemed to do. 

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2020 Fire & Ice Festival in Oakland County

The Fire & Ice Festival in Downtown Rochester is back January 17th–19th for another year of family fun and winter festivities that you can enjoy for FREE. The three-day community celebration will be packed with events like tube sledding, ice skating, dog sled rides, cross-country skiing, ice sculptures along Main Street, fireworks on Friday and Saturday night, The Big, Bright Light Show, live music, TasteFest, and so much more!

The Fire & Ice Festival will be the inaugural event to commemorate Oakland County’s bicentennial year.

“We can’t think of a better way to kick off celebrating Oakland County’s 200th year than with the Fire & Ice Festival in Downtown Rochester,” said County Executive David Coulter. “We welcome everyone to attend our free winter festival to take part in the winter fun.”

The Fire & Ice Festival runs from 5 – 9 p.m. Friday, January 17; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, January 18; and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, January 19. The fireworks are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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The 2019 Merry Mitten Classic with Oakland County Olympic Snowboarder Danny Davis

Danny Davis, a professional snowboarder from Highland, is returning home to Oakland County to host The Merry Mitten Classic on December 21st, 2019. For the second year in a row, he’s teamed up with Burton Snowboards and New Belgium Brewing Company to put on this Modified Banked Slalom Event for all ages and skill levels at Alpine Valley in White Lake. Danny, an Olympic athlete, has competed at the highest level while keeping things cool by focusing on “fun, friends, and new experiences.”

Check out highlights from last year’s Merry Mitten Classic with Danny Davis:

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Introducing Oakland County’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2019

Members of the newly selected Elite 40 under 40 Class of 2019 came together for the first time at a private reception prior to the 2019 State of the County address on February 7th, 2019 at United Shore in Pontiac. The Elite 40 were honored guests of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who recognized them and their achievements in his speech.

“I’m excited about this outstanding class of talented and passionate leaders who are committed to improving their professions and their communities every day,” Patterson said. “These young leaders are wonderful ambassadors for Oakland County.” Continue reading