March 2020 Thumb

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March/April 2020


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative


DIRTY GIRL FARM Thank A Lineworker During April

AMI Update Members Share Cute Kids Photos


Harness the power of the sun... using the Earth.

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Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sandusky

Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 southern-michigan Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138

1. 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 • The Reliable Renewable is a trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.

Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

In This Issue March 2020 || Vol. 40, No. 3

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

Follow Us On Instagram! @michigancountrylines

Celebrating 40 Years michigancountrylines

Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Design and Production: Karreen Bird Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358


Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.

FEATURED PHOTO FROM #micoopcommunity:

Frozen jellyfish emerge during Michigan winters #notreally #lookslikeittho. Creative capture by @corey_niedzwiecki (Corey Niedzwiecki.)

Tag us or use #micoopcommunity in your post and your photo could be featured on our Instagram account and printed as the featured photo in our magazine.


Heather Rosencrantz, owner of Dirty Girl Farm, offers a line of all-natural skincare products at her holistic apothecary based in Michigan. Today, Dirty Girl Farm has over 400 amazing products. Her belief is to have healthy skin and happy souls.


Guest Column: Winter Road Trippin’ With Christal Frost, Media Personality Christal shares her fun winter adventures strolling through Marquette and the Eben Ice Caves.

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Chili Cook-Off

Take home the gold with one of these comforting, delicious chili recipes. Christin McKamey & Our Readers

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Column: Grandma Grace Rik Cryderman, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Member

Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Win $150 for stories published! Guest Column: Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column, go to under the MI Co-op Community tab.

Sugar Cookies

Featured Guest Chef: Try Dirty Girl Farm owner Heather Rosencrantz’s favorite sugar cookie recipe. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!


Clean Up With Dirty Girl Farm

Utilizing her botany and farming background, Heather Rosencrantz created a line of all-natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare products that are safer for both people and the environment. Emily Haines Lloyd

Best of Michigan UP NEXT! Best Pizza: Are you a pizza aficionado? Have you tried every mom and pop pizza parlour in Michigan and know the best stops? Share with us your favorite pizza places to enjoy America’s soul food. Submit your favorites at under the MI Co-op Community tab by March 25, and look for it on our preferred pies list in the April issue.



Caro line crew: Jeff Swick, Jacob Waun, Brandon Bruce, Gary Burns, Jason Lawhorn, and Jason Kuhl.



Ubly line crew: Mike Kozlowski, Ray Kwiatkowski, Mike Cleland, Ray Eskau, Shane Maurer, and Jim Vogel.


Thumb Electric Cooperative 2231 Main Street Ubly, MI 48475-0157 1-800-327-0166 or 989-658-8571 E-mail:

Board Of Directors HURON COUNTY Randall Dhyse, Treasurer District 1 • 989-551-6533 Don Wolschleger, Director District 2 • 989-975-2027 Beth McDonald, Secretary District 3 • 989-550-7470 SANILAC COUNTY Kim Nunn, Vice President District 1 • 810-679-4291 Mike Briolat, Director District 2 • 989-284-3405 Duane Kursinsky, Director District 3 • 810-837-3828 TUSCOLA COUNTY Louis Wenzlaff, President District 1 • 989-683-2696 Jonathan Findlay, Director District 2 • 989-551-8393 Carl Cousins, Director District 3 • 989-871-4449 Dallas Braun, General Manager PAYMENT STATIONS Huron County Bad Axe—Northstar Bank Pigeon—Northstar Bank Tuscola County Akron—Northstar Bank Caro—Northstar Bank Mayville—Mayville State Bank Millington—Mayville State Bank Sanilac County Sandusky—Northstar Bank Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 MARCH 2020

TEC Happenings Dallas Braun, General Manager

Recognizing Lineworkers April 13 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day, a day set aside to express gratitude to the nation’s approximate 120,000 lineworkers who keep the lights on. Lineworkers across the nation truly deserve this special day of recognition. TEC would also like to recognize and thank the 12 linemen that take care of TEC’s electric system. Most people take for granted what it takes to provide a safe and reliable electric grid. The grid consists of everything needed to get power from a generating plant to the meter on your home. At TEC, this includes 16 substations, which are interconnected by 140 miles of transmission lines, 2,150 miles of distribution lines, and over 12,300 meters providing electric service in the three-county area of the Thumb. So, the next time you see one of the TEC line crew members shown above, thank them for keeping the lights on.

AMI Deployment Update The initial deployment to members served from the Ubly substation is ongoing. At the time of this writing, two propane meters and over 300 of the approximately 800 electric meters on this circuit have already been changed out. It is expected that this circuit will be completed by May. Once it has been determined that the AMI system is functioning as expected, full system-wide deployment will begin. This deployment will consist of installing 35 “communication sites” on 65-foot poles throughout our service area. Using an FCC-licensed, 900-MHz frequency, the new meters will transmit downloaded data to the closest communication tower for approximately 3.5 seconds in a 24-hour period. The data from the communication towers will then be sent to the office via an internet connection.

When the AMI system is operational, one of the biggest changes members will see is that they will no longer have to read and submit their monthly meter reading. This reading will be done automatically on the same day of every month to ensure each billing period is 30 days. Members could see an unusually high or low billing the first month after the meter changeout, however, due to the timing of your normal reading date. Power outages will also be automatically reported by the AMI system, while you will still be able to report an outage, it will no longer be necessary. Members will be able to remotely check on their electric service status, including outages and hourly consumption data.

may not be at a level high enough to create a magnetic field, which is needed to turn the disk to register the kWh energy consumption. In essence, the old meter is not capturing all the energy consumed. The new digital meter will. While this reason may be valid through the law of physics, it is not for most TEC members. The industry has not manufactured an electromechanical meter in many years, and as a result, the majority of meters installed on TEC’s system are already digital. Exasperating this concern is the problem some of your DTE neighbors experienced a few years ago. In conjunction with their AMI roll-out, a new billing system was implemented, and this caused issues due to estimated readings, not inaccuracy of the AMI meters themselves.

One concern shared by members is that the new digital meters will register more energy consumption than the old electromechanical meters. In theory, this is possible. An electromechanical meter will, at times, register less than a digital meter. The reason has everything to do with physics. In an electromechanical meter, a low energy load or draw

It is anticipated that system-wide AMI deployment will be completed by early 2021. With a fully deployed and integrated AMI system, there will be many internal operational efficiencies made available, resulting in cost savings for the cooperative. If you have any questions as we continue deployment, please call.

Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Feasibility Study Update As a result of member communications and a goal outlined by the TEC Board at its 2019 Strategic Planning Session, your cooperative is taking a serious look at offering fiber internet services. TEC has contracted with outside professional consultants to conduct an in-depth FTTH feasibility study. As the financial model is studied and reviewed, input from our members is needed. In

Want less clutter in your life? Want to be environmentally friendly?

the near future, on behalf of TEC, Inside Information will be conducting a random statistical survey of TEC’s membership regarding FTTH services. Internally, TEC will also conduct its own survey, which will be open to 100% of TEC members through a future link on our website for those who wish to participate.

Go Paperless And Win A

$50 BILL CREDIT Four Winners Will Be Chosen!

Would you like to save p yourself and your co-o members money?

• All members who are signed up for paperless billing by June 11 will be entered in the drawing.


• Winners will be announced at TEC’s Annual Meeting on June 13.

• Sign up online at or via SmartHub.

• Paperless members will receive an email or text letting them know their bill is available to view. No physical copy of the bill will be mailed unless a member falls into shutoff status.




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Also in Downtown Marquette:


• Delft Bistro • Steinhaus • Boomerang Retro & Relics




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r e t n i w ippin’ r T d a o R With Christal Frost

Adventures Through Marquette And The Eben Ice Caves 41


s a lower Michigan native, it’s hard not to feel the magic crossing the mighty Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula. To me, the U.P. feels like an old friend, welcoming me home with open arms. Marquette boasts a unique blend of wilderness, nature and urban luxuries. Take notes on the journey, and get ready to follow in my footsteps!

Donckers Lunch Counter And Candy Store

I loved the Red Rooster—a delicious blend of egg, bacon, roasted red pepper, smoked gouda and avocado spread on a ciabatta bun. We also grabbed a pound of Lake Superior chocolate rocks, which may or may not have made it home. 6 MARCH 2020

Delft Bistro

See Marquette In Action

Christal Frost filmed her Marquette adventure, now available on

The converted movie theatre restaurant kept the big screen, giving diners a creatively curated meal with the backdrop of cinematic classics.

Ore Dock Brewing Co. The upstairs community space offers rotating artists in addition to an impressive lineup of musicians from across the Midwest. From the taproom, the lead brew-tender chose his favorites for our beer flight—I personally loved the Bramble on Rose. Steinhaus

Blackrocks Brewery

Blackrocks is a house-turned brewery founded by longtime friends, David and Andy. The pair made their homebrewing hobby commercial, with a mission to make the best beer possible while always having fun. Blackrocks was buzzing with locals who literally wore their love of the brewery in the form of hoodies and hats. By the way, Coconut Brown will change your life.

Landmark Inn

Originally opened in 1930 as the Northland Hotel, its history includes visits from celebrities like Jimmy Stewart, Abbott and Costello, and The Rolling Stones. After closing in 1982, the Northland found new life as part of a historic restoration project, reopening in 1997 as The Landmark Inn. We requested Room 502, which was dubbed the “Amelia Earhart room” after Earhart reportedly stayed there in 1932. The Landmark’s meticulous dedication to historic preservation is noteworthy, as is its staff.

Boomerang Retro & Relics

The U.P.’s first retro-chic boutique allows visitors to step back in time with an amalgam of authentic vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, accessories, décor and furniture.


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The Steinhaus was recommended by virtually every local I spoke with, and it did not disappoint. I kept it simple with the eggs Benedict, but the Steinhaus delivered an Italianinspired twist, using thinly sliced and fried speck ham. Be sure to order a side of potatoes to soak up the hollandaise sauce.

Eben Ice Caves

The caves, also known as the Rock River Canyon Ice Caves, are located on the outer edge of the Hiawatha National Forest. The trail into the caves is around a mile long, and ice cleats are a necessity. The hike can be challenging, but it is completely worth the effort. The phenomenon of ice sheets surrounded by the blankets of freshly fallen snow was a sight to behold. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to some of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met. And Marquette, a city surrounded by the waves of Lake Superior, will indeed become your second mother. Don’t be surprised when, weeks after your visit, you feel her calling you to come back.

Christal Frost is a media personality who can be heard on Today’s Country Music-WTCM, The Christal Frost Show on NewsTalk 580-WTCM AM.

Appliance Recycling Spring Start


ppliance recycling is not available throughout the winter as it can be difficult to schedule and maneuver about in uncertain winter weather. We anticipate we will start to pick up again around April 1. Our contractor SEEL will pick up an old working refrigerator or freezer, and we will credit your account $50. If they have scheduled to pick up a refrigerator or freezer, they will also schedule to pick up a dehumidifier or a window AC unit you wish to recycle. Those are worth a $20 bill credit. We anticipate phone lines opening around the last week in March.

Call 844-631-2130 to schedule your pickup!

Most Votes On Facebook!


4 3 2



Photo Contest Submit Your “On The Farm” Photos! Enter to win a chance for a


energy bill credit!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our March/April theme is On The Farm. Photos can be submitted through March 20 to be featured in our May/June issue.

Enter Your Photos For A Chance To Win A Bill Credit! To enter the contest, visit and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. If you’re not on Facebook, that’s okay. You can also enter the contest at Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2020, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your December 2020 bill.



Cute Kids 1. Partners in crime, plotting their next move. The Koglin boys—Jenni Koglin 2. Boys and their toys—Patricia Eaton 3. D reams can grow wild born inside an American child—Desiree Bischer 4. S anilac County’s junior horse whisperer —Julie Leen 5. H enry—Ashley Hutchinson 6. B rothers and sisters are peas in a pod, birds of a feather, bugs in a rug, and friends forever—Lacey Dhyse 7. S washbucklers and fair maidens —Ann Dupre 8. <3—Chelsea Spiegel



Chili Cook-Off Take home the gold with one of these comforting, delicious recipes.

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography Recipes Submitted By MCL Readers And Tested By Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

Winning Recipe!

Taco Soup Chili

Jennie Lewandowski, Presque Isle 1 pound ground beef 1 medium onion, chopped 1 (1.5-ounce) package ranch dressing mix 1 (1-ounce) package taco seasoning mix 3 (14.5-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes 2 (14.5-ounce) cans black beans, do not drain

2 (14.5-ounce) cans corn, do not drain 1 (14.5-ounce) can cream-style corn ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the beef with the onions; drain grease. Add the remaining ingredients (dump in whole cans, don’t drain). Cook over medium-high heat until slightly simmering and hot, about 10—15 minutes. Serve with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips!

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

Trifecta Chili

Frances Painter, Midwest Energy & Communications 1 1 1 2 4 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 •

pound lean ground beef pound lean ground turkey pound pork sausage large onions cloves minced garlic chopped poblano or 2 mild banana peppers (15½-ounce) can diced tomatoes can diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Rotel) cup chili powder (15½ -ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (15½ -ounce) can pinto or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (15½ -ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained shredded cheese and sour cream to garnish (optional)

Brown meats together until no longer pink. Add onion, garlic, and poblano or banana peppers and sauté until soft. Add diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes with chiles, chili powder, and the 3 cans of beans. Bring to a boil. Transfer to a large slow cooker and cook on low 5–6 hours, or simmer on stove, stirring about every half hour to prevent sticking. Serve with crackers of your choice (our family likes Cheez-It!).

Smoked Steelhead White Chili



Ronald Andres, Great Lakes Energy 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 1

tablespoon olive oil medium onion, chopped stalks celery, chopped cloves garlic, minced pound smoked steelhead trout* (skin and bones removed), flaked into ½-inch pieces (15.5-ounce) cans Great Northern beans (use liquid) (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth Anaheim peppers (braised, then seeds and skin removed), diced teaspoon ground cumin tablespoon ground coriander teaspoon dried oregano tablespoon lemon pepper quart whipping cream

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, and garlic in the hot oil until tender. Add smoked steelhead, Great Northern beans, cannellini beans, chicken broth, Anaheim peppers, cumin, coriander, oregano, and lemon pepper into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Stir in the whipping cream. Simmer until the whipping cream is hot, but do not boil. *Smoked salmon can also be used.

If you’re not enjoying the lip-smacking scents of Heather Rosencrantz’s Dirty Girl Farm soaps and body wash, maybe try her family’s favorite sugar cookie recipe. Deceivingly simple, but chockfull of yum. Perfect for special occasions or just a cozy afternoon at home.

All-American Chili Kerri Hanson, Great Lakes Energy

1 pound lean ground beef or ground venison 6 ounces chorizo 2 cups chopped onion 1 cup chopped green pepper 8 cloves garlic, minced 1 jalapeño pepper or poblano pepper, chopped 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 1 teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon salt 2 bay leaves 1¼ cups Merlot red wine 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Sugar Cookies 2¼ ½ ¼ ¾

Using large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown ground beef, chorizo, onion, green pepper, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook 10 minutes until beef and chorizo are browned, stirring to crumble. Add chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, tomato paste, oregano, pepper, salt, and bay leaves and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes and kidney beans; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves before serving. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese. This is even better the following day!

Mexican Fiesta: due April 1 Farm to Table: due May 1

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to for more information and to register.

¾ 1 2 ¼

cups all-purpose flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon salt cup cold butter (grass-fed organic butter, if possible) cup sugar egg teaspoons vanilla extract teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift together dry ingredients well and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Once mixture is light and fluffy, add egg and extracts. Begin adding flour mixture a little at a time, making sure each addition is well incorporated. When dough comes together, turn out onto a lightly floured cold marble surface, roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out shapes and bake for 8–12 minutes depending on thickness. Cookie Tips

• Try to use as little flour as possible; adding too much makes cookies tough.

• When mixing your scraps together to re-roll, brush as much flour off as possible. • Cold dough holds its shape better and cookie-cutter shapes won’t distort.

Read the full story about Dirty Girl Farm on page 14, and find this recipe and others at



AUTOMATED METERING INFRASTRUCTURE (AMI) After deployment, you can expect… Increased efficiency & safety

Increased reliability

Operating more efficiently helps us keep costs down for our members.

New tools for diagnosing problems and disruptions help us improve reliability for our members.

• With data from the AMI system coming directly to our offices, we will be able to read your meter remotely. Members will no longer be required to read their meters monthly. Remote disconnects and reconnects mean co-op vehicles will spend less time on the road, reducing expenses. This ability will also improve employee safety by avoiding dangers associated with entering private property.

• With more detailed information about what is happening in the field, we will be able to respond faster to outages: The AMI system will automatically report to us when and where there is an outage or disturbance.

• Automatic meter tampering alerts will reduce the possibility of energy theft, saving the cooperative and its members money.

TYPE ALFC FORM 2S CL200 240V 3W 60 Hz TA=30Kh 7.2

• With more data, we can also improve power quality and safety by being proactive and correcting problems such as high/low voltage, part power, blinks, and overheating meter bases that could become a fire hazard, to name a few. • More data enables us to provide more accurate information about outages and restoration times. This system will also allow us to eliminate truck rolls for false outage calls.


New tools to help keep electric bills affordable • The new system means more information about how you are using electricity. We can help you diagnose problems leading to high energy bills. Members will be able to view their hourly electric consumption using the internet or SmartHub app. • This AMI system is a capital investment project approved by the board and will be financed like other capital investments, such as the circuit rebuilds, new trucks and other system upgrades.

Thumb Electric Cooperative is upgrading its electric system! We are investing in an AMI system that will help us operate more efficiently, improve reliability, and serve you better.

DEPLOYMENT TIMELINE Currently underway Ubly Substation Circuits 2020 Full System In All Three Counties 2021 Project Completion



co-op entrepreneurs


DIRTY GIRL FARM By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Vanessa Longuski

14 MARCH 2020


was the weirdo with the weird products helping the weirdos,” jokes Heather Rosencrantz, owner of Dirty Girl Farm, a line of all-natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare products.

Twenty-five years ago, Rosencrantz looked like a glimpse of the future—a young mother in yoga pants, bringing her fresh herb plants to the local farmer’s market. However, at the time, she was nothing like her contemporaries. A yoga instructor with a botany major in college and background in farming, Rosencrantz had taken a much lesstraveled road a la Robert Frost’s urging. When Rosencrantz’s young daughter’s skin simply did not respond to store-bought skincare products, Rosencrantz took her knowledge and background and created her own solution. “There just weren’t natural skincare solutions in the market. No Whole Foods on every corner like today,” said Rosencrantz. “I realized I had the information and the ingredients in my own garden, so I started making my own.” The products worked so well on her daughter’s tender skin, Rosencrantz started bringing small jars of her Boo Boo Balm to the farmer’s market with her. What initially began as inquisitive questions about the “weird green goo” turned into parents at their wits’ end, sharing their own heartbreaking stories of seeking out salves to treat their child’s or their own sensitive skin.

“I hesitate to say this is my ‘calling,’” said Rosencrantz. “But hearing those stories and knowing I could do something to help people was the absolute beginning of Dirty Girl Farm.” Little by little, Rosencrantz utilized her education and her passion and created a line of all-natural skincare products free from chemicals, toxins, and gluten that are never tested on animals. The Dirty Girl Farm line expanded to over 400 different products, from bar soap and body butters to facial serums and eye creams. Twenty-five years later, what Rosencrantz has spent her career building is no longer considered weird. It’s part of a multibilliondollar industry sought out by consumers around the world.

We can’t change the world all at once. But we can each take small steps in the right direction. I’ve always believed that.

While Dirty Girl Farm remains one small piece of that industry, Rosencrantz isn’t content to simply make a great product that is answering a need. She wants to create products that are as safe for the environment as they are for one’s skin. To that end, Dirty Girl Farm uses cornstarch packing peanuts and cellophane that dissolves in water or can be composted. Plastic packaging is always recyclable, and some wrapping has undergone additional changes to make it more eco-friendly— like its bar soap now packaged in cardboard. The ultimate goal is to make everything in the box safely disposable. When Rosencrantz took Dirty Girl Farm products entirely online, she made another leap to “right-sizing,” as she calls it. “Even closing our physical store has a positive impact on the environment,” explained Rosencrantz. Beyond that, Rosencrantz explained, her days and weeks are becoming less littered with additional travel and worries that come with a physical space. Ultimately, she’d like to build a lab closer to home on her spacious property in Silverwood, Michigan, where she is also a member of Thumb Electric Cooperative. “I’d love to see Dirty Girl Farm in even more cupboards. Just as an acknowledgment that more people are looking closely at what they’re putting on their skin,” said Rosencrantz. “We can’t change the world all at once. But we can each take small steps in the right direction. I’ve always believed that.” So, step by step, Rosencrantz is creating cleaner products that are better for both people and the environment. Each tiny step is proving that what was once weird can be positively wonderful.


Dirty Girl Farm


Visit to see how Heather makes galaxy soap with natural glitter. 15

Renewable Geothermal Heat

Geothermal is a simple technology that uses the earth’s renewable energy to provide high-efficiency heating and cooling. In winter, the system draws heat from the ground and transfers it to your home. In summer, it extracts heat from your home and transfers it to the ground. Contact the energy experts at Thumb Electric Cooperative at 800-327-0166 for honest answers on your energy choices, or call any of the trained and certified installers listed here. AirTech Heating LLC 3661 Day Rd., Kinde, MI 48445 989-551-6555

Michigan Energy Services 8445 Main St., Whitmore Lake, MI 48189 888-339-7700

Shetler Plumbing & Heating 7184 Nitz St., Pigeon, MI 48755 800-547-3651

All-Temperature Geothermal Systems 1103 E. Caro Rd., Caro, MI 48723 989-673-5557

Michigan Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 3461 N. Lapeer Rd., Lapeer, MI 48446 810-664-8576

Superior, Inc. 3442 Cemetery Rd., Cass City, MI 48726 989-872-3305

Ameriheat, Justin Faber 2891 E. Forester Rd., Deckerville, MI 48427 810-376-4534

NRG Control 3690 Washburn Rd., Vassar, MI 48768 989-670-2543

B & D Heating, Cooling & Plumbing 1148 N. Van Dyke Rd., Bad Axe, MI 48413 800-515-1117

Newton-Johnson Plumbing & Heating 114 Enterprise Dr., Vassar, MI 48768 989-823-2341

Thumb Cooling & Heating 8430 N. Van Dyke Rd., Cass City, MI 48726 855-206-5457 And: 837 S. State St., Caro, MI 48723 989-672-4948

Burkhard Plumbing & Heating 638 E. Huron Ave., Bad Axe, MI 48413 989-269-7532

Orton Refrigeration 31 W. Sanilac Rd., Sandusky, MI 48471 810-648-2252

Certified Temperature Innovations 3107 Custer Rd., Carsonville, MI 48419 810-300-7748

Preferred Heating 7736 Arendt Rd., Melvin, MI 48454 810-378-5454

Well Connect-Terra Caloric PO Box 307, Alpena, MI 49707 989-356-2113

Roots Heating and Cooling 4074 Huron St., North Branch, MI 48461 810-688-4813 Geomasters, Inc., Plumbing & Heating 57 Ward St., Croswell, MI 48422 810-679-2251

Annual Operating Costs

For An Average 1,800-Sq. Ft. Home (45,000 BTU heating load, 20,000 BTU cooling load)

Holland Heating and Cooling 9160 Lapeer Rd., Davison, MI 48423 810-653-4328 Ingell Refrigeration 1115 4th St., Port Huron, MI 48060 810-982-4226


J & B Plumbing & Heating 7641 Pigeon Rd., Pigeon, MI 48755 989-453-3931


Jack McCain Plumbing & Heating 9651 Weale Rd., Bay Port, MI 48720 989-453-2277 Kowaleski Heating & Cooling, LLC 3977 Ruppel Rd., Port Hope, MI 48468 989-550-0739 Kulek Heating & Air Conditioning 14421 Jeddo Rd., Yale, MI 48097 810-387-4452 Kundinger & Kroll 31 E. Main St., Sebewaing, MI 48759 989-883-2770 Lakeshore Improvements Plumbing & Heating 7825 Big Gulley Rd., Palms, MI 48465 989-864-3833

16 MARCH 2020

$3,000 $2,200

$2,000 $1,500 $1,000





Natural Gas





Electric Baseboard

Fuel Oil

$500 0

A/A Heat Pump w/ Electric Furnace

A/A with LP Gas


Factors Used: Electric Baseboard, Air-Source Heat Pump (A/A) and Geothermal—based on TEC’s 7.790¢/kWh dual-fuel rate. Liquid Propane (LP) gas—based on $2.00/gal. and 90% efficient furnace. Fuel Oil—based on $2.20/gal. and 80% efficient furnace. Natural Gas—based on $1.08/therm., 90% efficient furnace including $9/mo. service charge. (Electric baseboard costs do not include air conditioning.) *All electric system comparable to natural gas!

Tree Planting Guide


pring is nearly here, and that means time to plant flowers, gardens and trees. Please use this guide to plant trees that will not someday interfere with power lines. Trees interfering with power lines can become a hazard causing injury, can be costly by raising rates due to having to be removed safely, and could even cause power outages if they were to fall into power lines. Thumb Electric has been working with tree issues for many years. As a result, outages are significantly down as trees and storms are a significant contributor to outages.

Spring Tree Crew Schedule Members served out of the Millington Substation will see crews removing trees from the right of ways. This includes residents of Arbela Township, Millington Township, Watertown Township, and Vassar Township south of Hanes Road. In addition, there could be crews finishing projects on transmission lines feeding the Caro, Vassar, and Millington Substations, as well as some small finish work out of the Owendale Substation. Enjoy your spring and take care in any tree planting you do.

50' 40' 30' 20' 10' 0'




30' Small Tree Zone: Trees less than 25' tall/spread at least 25' from line


50' Medium Tree Zone: Trees 25'–40' in height/spread at least 40' from line


70' Large Tree Zone: Trees larger than 40' in height/spread at least 60' from line


Guess this photo and enter to win a


MI CO-OP Community


energy bill credit!

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by March 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the January issue is Ronald Hart, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as the Shakey Lakes Dam structure located in Shakey Lakes Park, Menominee County. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

Grandma Grace

By Rik Cryderman, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member


er name was Grandma Grace Christiansen, a moniker gained by her first name and her most beautiful feature—her grace. She was the grandmother of a friend who was like a sister to me, and without a grandmother myself, I enjoyed sharing her. She and her husband had owned and operated a small market in the town of Albion, Michigan, a place I was blessed to call home for eight years. They managed their store in the days where folks ran a tab and left with their goods, saying, “Put it on the bill.” Most paid their bills at the end of every month. Some would sometimes delay, with an explanation quickly accepted by the Christiansens, whose market bore their name. Some couldn’t pay at all. Years after the market had closed and her husband had passed away, Grandma Grace and her granddaughter were in her basement searching for something, when her granddaughter noticed an old file cabinet. “What’s this?” asked my friend Jeri of her grandmother. “Oh, just some old papers from the market— I’ve been meaning to toss those out.” Opening a drawer, Jeri found it filled with papers. Lifting one out, she recognized it as a bill, with groceries itemized neatly. “Grandma, these are unpaid bills—and I recognize these names. You should send out a reminder—it’s been years, but you’re entitled to this.” Her grandmother walked over to the file drawer and lifted a piece of yellowed paper. “Oh, they lost a boy in the war.” She returned the paper to its file. Lifting another, she said, “They put two children through college, and those kids chose to raise their families here.” And she put the paper in its slot. Lifting another, she said “His dear wife had a stroke, very early. He took such good care of her.” And this time, as she put the yellowed bill back in its place, she slid the heavy drawer into the cabinet. “Yes, it’s time to toss this old cabinet. I don’t need anything here, let’s go upstairs.” This was Grandma Grace—a sharp mind with a generous heart. I like to think, if heaven has a basement, there’s an old file cabinet there. I think it holds some papers with my name. And I think a God of Grace slides closed that heavy drawer and turns my eyes toward the light. “Let’s go upstairs.”

January 2020 Photo by Justin Palmer

18 MARCH 2020

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rik Cryderman is a retired hospital chaplain who worked for Beaumont Health for more than 30 years. He writes a Facebook page called “Pure Lewiston” for the village of Lewiston, Michigan.

Hybrid Geothermal Add a Well-Conect in Hours. Heat for Half for Decades.







HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK? Well-Connect works in combination with your home’s current heating system. This hybrid approach allows almost any existing well to become a free, clean energy source for heating and cooling your home.

WHAT DO OUR CUSTOMERS SAY? “When I could no longer physically cut 20 cords of wood, I installed a Well-Connect. The system has met all claims and surprised me. If people are heating and cooling with propane, fuel oil, or wood and have their own well, they have a need and don't realize it. That need is to cut those heating & cooling costs by at least half (as well as emissions).”

Jess S., Cherryland Electric Member







Thumb Electric Cooperative

THANK YOU Lineworkers serve on the front lines of our energy needs, and on April 13, 2020, Thumb Electric Cooperative will honor the men and women who work in challenging and often dangerous conditions to keep the lights on. We are proud to recognize all electric lineworkers for the services they perform around the clock in difficult conditions to keep power flowing and protect the public’s safety.