September 2021

Page 1

September/October 2021

MICHIGAN

COUNTRY LINES Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association

ADVENTURE AWAITS

with JOHNNY’S

Planting Sunflowers, Harvesting Smiles

Wild Art With Sherrie Sanville

TREASURE QUEST


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Contents countrylines.com

September 2021 Vol. 41, No. 8

/michigancountrylines

/michigancountrylines 6 ROAD TRIPPIN' Christal Frost takes us to Ludington with the new all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Seafood: These recipes will be your catch of the day.

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

14 ADVENTURE AWAITS The pandemic inspired a Michigan jeweler to literally bury his livelihood ... much to the delight of treasure seekers throughout the state.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr

GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird

RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha

18 GUEST COLUMN Grandma's Quilt: Her grandmother's penchant for socking things away and her mother's love provided Tricia Udell with the quilt she'd always longed for.

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd

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: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: 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.

Be featured!

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.

#micoopcommunity

Are Canadian geese just called geese when they’re in Canada? #repost @corey_niedzwieki

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community

RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Asian Inspired, due Nov. 1. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!

Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/ community.

MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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Unplug With Meaningful Community Programs

ontonagon.coop /OntonagonCountyREA

500 J.K. Paul Street Ontonagon, MI 49953 906-884-4151 800-562-7128 After hours: 866-639-6098 OFFICERS & DIRECTORS

Calvin Koski, President Aura District 906-524-6988 • cgkoski@up.net

William Hodges, Vice President Lake Linden District 906-934-3743 • mistermich52@gmail.com Mildred Ann Gasperich, Secretary Boston District 906-337-5079 • anngasperich@yahoo.com Randy Myhren, Treasurer Green/Firesteel/Toivola District 906-884-4092

Wayne Heikkinen, Director Pelkie/Herman/Aura District 906-353-6496 • mustipuppy@gmail.com Michael Urbis, Director Ewen/Trout Creek/Lake Mine District 906-988-2344 • mdurbis@yahoo.com

George Rajala, Director Chassell/Keweenaw Bay District 906-370-0416 • rajgeo50@yahoo.com PERSONNEL

Debbie Miles, General Manager Fay Hauswirth, Billing Clerk Mark Urbis, Line Superintendent OTHER INFORMATION

Date of Incorporation: Sept. 30, 1937 Fiscal year-end: Dec. 31 countrylines.com/coops/ontonagon Ontonagon County REA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Debbie Miles, General Manager

M

ost adults have a vague memory of when “checking for messages” meant listening to an answering machine. We carried on with our days without relying on cell phones and managed just fine. But today, we are more connected than ever through our smartphones and other devices. Our phones are so much more now—from cameras to calendars to social media connections—and truly disconnecting from them can be tough. But it’s even harder for our kids to unplug because they only know life with these tiny screens. It’s difficult for them to imagine life without computers, gaming devices, tablets, or cell phones. But there’s great value in unplugging for children and adults, even if it’s for just a short period of time. For kids, time away from the screen to be outside with other children allows them to connect with nature and others in a way that a virtual experience does not allow. They can experience life at the moment and allow their creativity and energy to break free. Fortunately, we have access to great community programs and organizations such as 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc., that provide children with a safe place to play, learn, and grow, while cultivating new skills and interests. These types of clubs and programs offer kids an opportunity to explore activities and interests outside of school academics. Children can investigate areas they might not otherwise have access to and discover new interests and passions. They often learn new skills and strengthen existing ones. It’s no secret that the broader the range of experiences and activities children are exposed to, the more likely they are to find their own path and possibly a career. Community programs also foster important leadership development and public speaking skills. Through guided and informal play and activities, children learn problemsolving and interpersonal skills to resolve conflicts peacefully and improve interpersonal relationships. Adults can also find meaningful opportunities to spend time with the kids when we all unplug. From board games to craft projects to playing in the park, there are many ways we can unplug for some family fun. While you and your children are disconnecting, take a moment to identify potential energy savings. Unplug electronics that are not in use to avoid “vampire” energy loss. This is the energy that is drained from technology and electronics even when they are not in use. For example, although it is turned off, your TV is waiting to receive a signal from the remote, and your DVR is waiting to record the next show or perform an update. Let’s encourage youngsters to step away from the screens and join in. Play and be part of an organization that helps them connect with others, find meaningful interactions, and explore new activities and interests. By making a few lifestyle changes, we all may find that “disconnecting” results in becoming more connected with the people and things that really matter.

4 SEPTEMBER 2021


SEPTEMBER IS BACK TO SCHOOL MONTH!

Best wishes to all our mini-members (and parents) for a wonderful school year!

Public Act 295 as amended: The Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act 2020 Energy Waste Reduction Annual Report Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association MPSC Case Number U-20385 Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association contracted with the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) to administer the Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) efforts to comply with PA-295 as amended. MECA filed a two-year EWR plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on July 28, 2019, as required by PA 295 as amended. The MPSC approved this EWR plan on Dec. 8, 2019, and we began implementing our 2020-2021 EWR plan on Jan. 1, 2020. Slipstream was selected to implement all residential, commercial, and industrial programs, and the Energy Waste Reduction website, www.michigan-energy.org. Slipstream has subcontracted with WES Utility Services, Michigan Energy Options, ES Contracting, and Nuwati, LLC to assist with implementing the EWR programs. MECA contracted with DNV-GL as the independent third-party evaluation contractor for the certification of kWh savings. In 2020, Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association collected $78,420 through the Energy Waste Reduction Surcharge and spent $135,776, resulting in an under-collection of $57,356. Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association achieved 320 MWh of energy savings in 2020 compared to their annual kWh goal of 289 MWh. The full report can be obtained at your cooperative’s headquarters and www.michigan-energy.org or http://efile.mpsc.state. mi.us/efile.

Notice to Members of Ontonagon County REA Case No. U-16595 2020 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary Michigan law requires all Michigan electric utilities to get at least 12.5% of their power supply from renewable sources during 2020. Under this requirement, Ontonagon County REA submitted an annual report to the MPSC regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2020, Ontonagon County REA acquired a total of 2,058 renewable energy credits. Ontonagon County REA will continue to acquire renewable energy and bank unused renewable energy credits for future use and compliance with statutory renewable portfolio standard requirements on behalf of all of its members. A full copy of the cooperative’s Renewable Energy Plan annual report filed with the MPSC is available on the cooperative’s website at ontonagon.coop or by request at any of the cooperative’s offices or at http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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It's Electrifying! Charging up the Mustang at Great Lake Energy's Level 3 fast charging station in Scottsville.

ROAD TRIPPIN'

TO LUDINGTON WITH THE ALL-ELECTRIC FORD MUSTANG MACH-E By Christal Frost

t’s a picturesque Saturday morning in Traverse City as I arrive at Fox Motors to pick up the all-new, all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. I must admit, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of driving something that didn’t have an engine. Even my vocabulary suffered as I struggled to describe the car to my friends without using terms like “horsepower,” “fuel efficiency,” and “gear shifting.” The fact is, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, like her other electric counterparts, doesn’t have those things. But what the Ford Mustang Mach-E has in spades is moxie. After all, it takes moxie to present the iconic muscle of the Ford Mustang to the masses without the rumble of an engine. But stepping into this car—with its sleek and stylish interior and gorgeous curves—I knew I was stepping into the future of America’s favorite pony. On our latest Road-Trippinʼ episode, a round-trip Traverse City to Ludington adventure, we tested the limits of the Mach-E. Spoiler alert: I’m in love with this car.

I

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SEPTEMBER 2021

THE RIDE THE CAR IS FAST.

A big thank-you to Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Fox Motors for making this test drive possible.

I am talking throw-your-head-back, heart-pumping, instant-smile fast. The Mach-E GT can go from 0–60 in an unbelievable 3.5 seconds, making it the quickest Mustang ever. Its superior acceleration and ability to produce immediate maximum torque truly make electric vehicles the Torque of the Town.

IT’S RIDICULOUSLY SMOOTH.

Without the constant vibration of an engine, the Mach-E delivers a downright serene and effortlessly steady ride. Upon returning my borrowed Mustang and getting into my gas-powered ride, I was uniquely aware of every pulse, oscillation, and tremor. The only bumps felt in the Mach-E are on the road, and even those seem softer.


YOU CAN HEAR A PIN DROP.

I’ve heard many people remark that electric vehicles might be too quiet, but I don’t see it this way after driving one. Yes, the ride is quiet. It’s supposed to be quiet. Without the revving of the engine, EV drivers are left with a tranquil and relaxed driving experience. Passengers don’t have to speak up to contend with the sounds of a motor. Listening to the radio is easier and, quite frankly, more enjoyable without the competition of shifting gears. Even the quietest combustible engine is no match for the silence of a battery.

THE BATTERY LIFE IS LEGIT.

Admittedly, the idea of a drained battery worried me. After all, no one wants a road trip to end stranded on the side of the road looking for charging stations. That isn't a problem with the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Depending on the model, the Mach-E has an EPA-estimated battery range of 305 miles. However, thanks to expanded technology and great partnerships with grocery stores and electric cooperatives, fast-charging stations are popping up across the state and beyond. Although we didn’t need the charge, we stopped by Great Lakes Energy in Scottville to check out the charging process at one of its four DC fast-charging stations. The Mustang was nearly fully charged after just 30 minutes. A full charge at a fast charge station has an estimated cost of under $4. Don’t forget to check with your electric co-op about electric car tax credits, incentives, and rebates!

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. She is also a feature columnist for GT Pulse on 9&10 News, published every Friday at 11 a.m.

THE TRIP AMBER ELK RANCH

We enjoyed a wagon ride at the Amber Elk Ranch, which introduced us to hundreds of prize-winning elk and even allowed us to feed them!

Pro Tip: Stay at the ranch to enjoy an incredible BBQ lunch.

LUDINGTON WATERFRONT PARK

The Ludington Waterfront Park offers a playground, breathtaking views of the harbor, and a series of sculptures. These are just a few of the sculptures scattered throughout Ludington, and they make up a part of the Mason County Sculpture Trail.

Fox Grand Traverse Ford, Traverse City

Pro Tip: Grab dinner to go in nearby downtown Ludington and enjoy incredible sunsets from the park!

DOWNTOWN LUDINGTON

Retail stores and restaurants abound in downtown Ludington, and you can find everything you’re looking for at downtownludington.org.

Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Grawn

Pro Tip: Whenever you’re in

Ludington, don’t forget to check out Ludington State Park!

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LUDINGTON

• Ludington Waterfront Park • Downtown Ludington • Ludington State Park

37

Great Lakes Energy, Scottville

See the FORD MUSTANG MACH-E in Action

Christal Frost filmed her adventure, now available on countrylines.com.

10 Amber Elk Ranch

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Back To School Savings W

ith a hint of fall in the air, kids are heading back to school, and families adjust to new routines. Maybe it’s getting out of bed earlier to catch the bus or staying later for after-school activities. With these changes, now may be a great time to instill new habits around the house that will help save energy and reduce utility costs. Here are some easy tips you can work into your family’s routines at home.

1

Turn off lights you don’t need. It can cost up to $20 a year to leave one light on eight hours a day. • User dimmer switches to avoid over-lighting a room • Install lights with motion sensors • Turn off fans. Fans cool you, not the room

2

Minimize the number of times you open the refrigerator. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day. • An open door lets in warm air, which makes the compressor work harder • Plan meals and snacks before you hear, “I’m hungry,” and the kids are peering into the refrigerator, hoping something delicious will magically appear

3

Cook with your microwave. This is the most efficient way to cook, reducing energy costs by as much as 80%. • Less heat is generated • Shorter cooking times use less energy

Add it all up and do the math. We can all find ways to save. To learn more, call 877.296.4319 or visit michigan-energy.org.

ADD THESE TIPS TO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE AND SUBTRACT DOLLARS FROM YOUR UTILITY BILL.  Turn off lights – an easy way to start saving.  Open your refrigerator less frequently – average opens = 33 times a day.  Use your microwave for cooking = less heat, shorter cooking times.

CONTACT US TODAY FOR INFORMATION michigan-energy.org • 877.296.4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit michigan-energy.org.


PHOTO CONTEST

Water 1. Camp Lake colors. Connie Pentti  2. Otter Lake at midnight. Mark Timonen  3. Endless fun and beauty in the Big Lake. Danielle Impola  4. Lake Superior. Natalie Mukka  5. A close-up of some bubbles on the water with pretty sunset in the background. Kaci Dault  6. A beautiful day for a visit through the Keweenaw! Heather Hainault  7. Grandson Jaxon didn’t take time to get his swimsuit on. Deb Maki

1

2

3

6

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4

5 Enter to win a

$50

energy bill credit!

Submit A Photo & Win A Bill Credit!

Ontonagon REA members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines will be entered in a drawing. Four lucky members will win a credit of $50 on their December 2021 energy bills!

Upcoming Topic and Deadline:

• Santa Photos, due Sept. 20 (Nov./Dec. issue) To submit photos, and for details and instructions, go to http://bit.ly/countrylines. We look forward to seeing your best photos!

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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MI CO-OP Recipes

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

SEAFOOD

Fresh and light recipes from under the sea.

WINNING RECIPE!

DAN’S SUPER DOOPER SALMON DIP

Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 24 2 • 2 2 2

RECIPE CONTEST Win a

$50

energy bill credit!

10 SEPTEMBER 2021

Asian Inspired due Nov. 1

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. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.

ounces cream cheese, softened tablespoons mayonnaise zest of 1 lemon tablespoons lemon juice tablespoons horseradish sauce pounds cooked salmon, chopped (or use canned, drained)

In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and horseradish sauce. Stir very well until combined. Fold in the fish and stir again to combine. Serve immediately. This recipe makes about 4 cups of dip. Adjust recipe accordingly for smaller serving sizes. Enjoy!

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos


WASABI SALMON

Lynne Oosterhouse, Great Lakes Energy 4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets Marinade: ½ cup soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons lemon juice 4 teaspoons sugar Wasabi sauce: ½ cup mayo 2 teaspoons soy sauce

SALMON LASAGNA

Cheryl O’Brien, Great Lakes Energy 1 • • ¹⁄ ³ to ½ 1 • •

pound salmon filets Old Bay seasoning salt and pepper, to taste cup mayonnaise 16-ounce jar Chi Chi’s salsa parmesan cheese mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon lemon 2 teaspoons wasabi powder Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the salmon for 2 hours. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add fish and marinade; cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over. Reduce heat to medium; cook 8 minutes or until fish is done. Combine the wasabi sauce ingredients and serve with the salmon.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut salmon into 2-inch squares and spread them on the bottom of 9x13 pan. Sprinkle generously with Old Bay seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste. Spread thinly with mayonnaise. Pour Chi Chi’s salsa over all. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake 45 minutes. Serve over rice if desired. This recipe became a regular on our menu during the summer tournament season. Enjoy!

FISH TACOS

Sandy Bartels, Great Lakes Energy Marinade: • zest of 1 lime 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil • pinch of salt and pepper Salsa: 4 radishes, finely sliced ½ cup red onion, finely chopped 4 green onions, finely sliced ¾ cup red cabbage, finely chopped 1 medium fresh tomato, finely chopped • chopped cilantro or parsley 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil Crema: ¹⁄ ³ cup sour cream 1 tablespoon lime juice Tacos: 1 pound mild white fish 4 corn tortillas 1 avocado, sliced • bottled hot sauce, if desired • jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped, if desired

Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Lay fish flat in a glass pan and pour marinade over; turn a few times to coat. Let rest 10 minutes, then turn over and let rest for another 10 minutes. While the fish is marinating, prepare the salsa. In a medium bowl, add the radishes, red and green onions, cabbage, tomato, and cilantro/parsley. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir to coat; set aside. To prepare the crema, mix the sour cream and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl and set aside. Next, char the tortillas: Spray a skillet lightly with vegetable spray over medium heat and place the tortillas in the pan, one at a time, and move them around the pan. Turn to char both sides, remove from pan, and set aside. Add a bit of olive oil to the skillet and keep over medium heat. Put a tablespoon or two of the marinade in the pan, cook about a minute, and then add the fish. Cook about 5 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish. Flip and cook another 3–4 minutes until fish is flaky, but not dry. Transfer fish to a plate and cool for 1 or 2 minutes, and cut into chunks. Assemble the tacos on top of the tortillas. Lay thin slices of avocado on each tortilla, add fish, and top with salsa. Add crema and hot sauce and/or jalapeño peppers if desired. Enjoy. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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Planting SUNFLOWERS, Harvesting SMILES

The Halls’ granddaughter Brooklyn, expressing how she feels about the sunflower fields.

W

hen Teressa and Dan Hall began farming 40 years ago, they had no idea that Hall Farms would become a popular and sought-out public attraction one day. They began as dairy farmers, but, as Teressa says, “About 10 years ago, a friend suggested we try planting sunflowers as a crop, and that’s how it all started.” They sold their cows and began planting black oil sunflowers on just three acres of their 400-acre farm. Each year, they added a few more acres to expand to their current 20 acres of sunflowers. “Then we began getting phone calls,” Teressa recalls. “High school students wanted to know if they could have their senior photos taken in the sunflower fields. From there, it grew to engagements, weddings, and pregnancy photos. My husband said, ‘Why don’t we just open it to the public?’ So, we did.” And visitors

12 SEPTEMBER 2021

By Yvonne Whitman

to the eye-catching fields have been steady ever since. The past few years of social media attention have only increased the traffic from both locals and visitors from afar. On weekends, the farm will host over 1,000 visitors per day. “The folks coming out and the tourism aspect of it was a complete and total accident. Just like the flowers, it has really blossomed into something we never dreamed of,” Dan said. Creating the “sea of sunflowers” does require work. “In an average year, we start preparing the fields in early May, plowing, discing, and leveling the fields,” Dan explained. They plant 22,000 seeds per acre, and it takes about three hours to get the entire 20 acres planted. Ultimately, this results in about 440,000 sunflowers, with each sunflower producing about 2,000 seeds. The seeds are harvested in late October, when the seed heads


are very dry, yielding a crop of about 1,500 to 1,800 pounds per acre. The Halls use a combine with sunflower pans attached, and it takes about four hours to harvest the entire 20 acres.

the sunflower field, and we never know when he will make an appearance. Sunny doesn’t talk. He waves and shakes hands and does photos. He is shy, but popular.”

The seeds are then cleaned, stored, bagged, and sold on-site. They start to sell the birdseed in November. Aside from a bit of help from neighbor kids, Teressa and Dan do everything themselves. Along with the sunflowers, the Halls also grow hay, field and sweet corn, and pumpkins.

The Halls’ generous spirits are as big as their sunflower fields, and while donations are welcome and appreciated, they don’t charge admission. “We want everybody to come here with their kids and enjoy this,” Dan said. “There was a day and time in our life when we didn’t have a penny to our name. We don’t want anybody to be excluded because of money. We always say we don’t have customers. We just have a lot of good friends,” he said. “We enjoy the people as much as they enjoy the flowers.”

The fields open to the public in early August, and the flowers last for only about three weeks. “Their ‘prettiness’ is short-lived,” Teressa says with a chuckle. When they are immature/young, the flowers will move their heads to face the sun, but once they mature, the heads are too heavy, and they can no longer move. People often bring their own props for sunflower photo ops, and if they are lucky, field mascot “Sunny” will make an appearance during their visit. According to Teressa, “Sunny lives in

Kids are invited to bring hats and sunglasses to decorate the blooms at the farm.

HALL FARMS 2623 St. Nicholas 31st Road, Rock, MI /hallfarms.rockmichigan

“If I were a flower, I would be a sunflower. To always follow the sun, turn my back to darkness, stand proud, tall, and straight even with my head full of seeds.” —Unknown

“Sunny” making an appearance to visit with farm guests.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13


While the global pandemic offered its fair share of disappointments and loss, one couple opted to mine for the treasure in the mayhem and offer up a rainbow at the end of the storm. As a second-generation jeweler, apprenticed by his father, Johnny Perri always had an eye for treasure. An avid metal detector and admitted “eccentric,” Perri has always looked for adventure, as well as the silver lining in life. “Losing the rhythm of life and work had me in a real funk,” admits Perri. “I was going out of my mind a little.” Then, a bit of exciting news. Perri happened across an article about famed Santa Fe treasure hider Forest Fenn, who supposedly hid his treasure many years ago, with thousands of folks looking for it over the years. The article revealed that someone had finally found it.

ADVENTURE AWAITS

with JOHNNY’S TREASURE QUEST By Emily Haines Lloyd

“’We should do that,’ I thought,” said Perri, first to himself, then aloud to his then-fiancé, now wife, Amy. “It was that simple, that wild. What if I hid everything from the jewelry store? Buried it? And then came up with riddles and clues for people to go out and find it?” With this simple but possibly crazy idea, Johnny and Amy spent the next several weeks driving around the state, basically dropping Perri’s entire livelihood into the ground (eventually replaced with GPS“infused” wooden X’s) to quite literally mark the spot where the treasure could be found. The couple created their website and let the world know that buried fortune was


just a treasure hunt away. The excitement and outpouring of interest was almost as improbable as a guy burying his life’s work in the ground. “People are as excited as we are,” said Perri. “Who hasn’t dreamed of uncovering a mystery or something valuable? It’s such a thrill.” Each quest is located in a different county in Michigan, with a private Facebook group for ticket holders and the perfect amount of Sherlock Holmeslevel sleuthing and Indiana Jones outdoor adventuring. The Perris recently expanded their treasure quests with a “Silver Ticket” hunt a la Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was a fun extension for seekers.

"It’s the

memories that

people make when they’re out on the hunt. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

The operation is still small and tightly knit, with a core of treasure buriers and administrators equally passionate about the process and keeping the surprises coming. “We’re so lucky to have the team we have, and I just can’t imagine doing anything else right now,” said Perri. “It’s so much fun for us to see the excitement in other people’s faces as they head out or come back from an adventure.” Those interested in embarking on just such an adventure can visit johnnystreasurequest.com and look for an open treasure hunt. Then buy your ticket and prepare for an adventure. “What we’ve come to realize is, yes, the treasure might be the immediate draw,” said Perri. “But it’s not about that, really. It’s the memories that people make when they’re out on the hunt. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

START your QUEST johnnystreasurequest.com /johnnystreasurequest @johnnys_treasure_quest

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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WILD ART A TALK WITH SHERRIE SANVILLE By Emily Haines Lloyd  ||  Photos courtesy of Sherrie Sanville

M

ushrooms are unassuming and hard to unearth sometimes, but totally worth the time and effort to bring out into the light. A little like the woman who spends her days foraging for these earthy gems and the beautiful art she makes with them. Sherrie Sanville, a member of the Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association, didn’t grow up with a passion for fungi. But her husband, who like herself, is from northern Michigan, grew up foraging morels, and he introduced her to the practice of wandering their 120-acre property in Delta County for glimpses of the mushroom equivalent of gold. On those walks, Sanville began noticing the wide variety of mushrooms that peppered the ground and trees all around her. “My husband took me to some of his morel ‘hot spots’ and I couldn’t even see them the first time,” said Sanville. “But then I started to notice all kinds of mushrooms—and I got hooked. Especially when you see these pops of color—purple, red, yellow—I became a little obsessed.” Sanville’s walks increased in volume, as did her identifying skills, although she’s quick to note she’s no expert, just an “enthusiast.” The enthusiasm prompted her to pull out her phone and start snapping pictures of some of the fungal treasures she happened upon. She’d then post them to Facebook for family and friends.

16 SEPTEMBER 2021

While some of her audience was less than impressed with what some considered “gross,” her dear friend, who was also a forager and gardener, planted an idea on how Sanville might share her fascinating finds. “She was like ‘you should totally post these to Instagram! You might find some like-minded folks there,’” recalls Sanville. “I barely knew what a hashtag was, but I trusted her. I named my account @shroom_momma


because that was the nickname my daughters gave me after I became interested in mushrooms.”

“For people who are worried about overpicking mushrooms, there’s no need,” says Sanville. “Mushrooms are the fruiting body; the mycelium is still there. It’s like picking an apple from an apple tree. It will refruit again and again.”

To say that there were more than a few “like-minded folks” could easily be called an understatement. What began with quick snapshots in 2018 of her quirky finds on daily walks became something altogether different as Sanville tapped into her artistic side. However, she humbly argues she’s not an artist. Sanville began shooting gorgeous compilations of mushrooms she would gather, along with flowers and other found objects. Her following skyrocketed to an impressive 60,000 followers. It’s no wonder a company reached out to turn one of her images into a puzzle, while others have used some of her shots in greeting cards. “I recently spoke with a mushroom magazine and they asked me how it felt to be an ‘influencer,’” said Sanville. “I just don’t consider myself that. It’s almost funny. I’m just a lady who walks in the woods and takes pictures.” Sanville’s Instagram account is as organic as her topic and attracts people from all over the world, who crop up much like the mushrooms she features. If people are attracted, they are likely drawn in as much by her authentic curiosity and behind-the-scenes foibles as by the fascinating subjects she shoots. There’s a delightful post on a gorgeous pumpkin fairy house tableau she designed—that went up in flames thanks to the interior candle. Sanville shows the honest, sometimes cringing, truth behind the “Instagram-worthy” process. So, it’s not surprising that she not only has fans worldwide, but that she’s made friends with people from across the globe.

Find Sherrie on Instagram

@shroom_momma

“I never thought the mushrooms in my yard would lead to friends from all over the world,” said Sanville. “When you’re passionate about something, it’s amazing how you will always find a community that joins in with you. That has, for sure, been the best part of this whole process.”

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17


Guest Column

Grandma’s Quilt

By Tricia Udell, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member

M

y paternal grandmother was a talented woman whose greatest pride was taking care of her family. Her recipes remain family favorites, and the quilts she made for family members have blanketed them with love for years. I was always a bit jealous of my older siblings, who each had one of these quilts on their beds. I never got one, though, because my grandmother passed away from cancer when I was a toddler. When I was 11, my grandpa was getting ready to move out of the family home. I looked through all of the rooms remembering the times spent there, taking in the smells and sights. My grandma was a saver, and in the back bedroom closet, I had found the honey hole of my grandma’s stash! A true vintage ’60s and ’70s collection, olive greens and golden yellows, and bold flower patterns. Among these assorted and varied fabrics, I found a quilt top! Imagine my excitement to see something she had made buried like a lost treasure. A crazy quilt stitched from small, tiny scraps of fabric. I could even see some of the same patterned pieces that were in my siblings’ quilts. I snagged that quilt top right up. I stored the quilt in a plastic bag and stuck it in my closet. Decades later, while cleaning, my parents come across this plastic bag, and to my mom’s surprise, she finds the quilt top with a scribbled child’s handwritten note that reads “from Grandpa Howard 1984.” She is astounded at the find, we look at all the little pieces, and my dad has memories, “That piece is from Mom’s apron, and this is from a dress she wore.” Have you ever had that “filled up” moment when you feel all warm inside with happiness? I had that. My dad encouraged my mom to finish the project because he knew how much it meant to me. What a surprise on Christmas when I received the finished quilt as a gift. The quilt top is estimated to be over 45 years old, thread wears out, and material deteriorates. She painstakingly preserved each stitch. The quilt is a treasure! A combined project of my grandmother and my mom. I truly believe the adage, “Those who sleep under a quilt sleep under a blanket of love.”

Win a

$50

energy bill credit!

Tricia is a member of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op. She enjoys spending time with family, staying busy on her hobby farm, and quilting.

WIN $150!

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by Sept. 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com/community. July/August 2021 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Paul Malhoit, a HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods, Indian River. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.


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WHAT DO OUR CUSTOMERS SAY?

Your financing cost and the cost to heat with Well-Connect is typically less than your current cost.

E IN

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MAD

“Well-Connect is one of the best investments we’ve ever made. We are able to maintain our home at a warm and comfortable temperature during the cold months. Likewise, during the warmer months, the added benefit of the air conditioning keeps our home nice and cool. The best part is we are spending significantly less on our energy costs to have a more comfortable home."

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M I C HI

- Aaron & Dawn Hamp, PIE&G member “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). As for cooling, it has cost us $9 to cool this month (July)!!”

- Jess Steed, Cherryland Electric member

IT PAYS FOR ITSELF The cost to finance and heat with a Well-Connect is typically less than your current heating cost.

HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK? Attaches to your home’s existing heating system, it does not replace it. Delivers 90% on average of your home’s heating needs and 100% of your home’s cooling needs. If you have a well, simply add a Well-Connect to reduce your heating costs associated with traditional energy sources while enjoying a more comfortable home. Installs in a day.

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ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR HUNTERS This hunting season, we encourage all members to be aware of electrical equipment and take necessary precautions while hunting. Keep these safety tips in mind as you enjoy the great outdoors.

Take notice of posted warning signs and keep clear of electrical equipment. Do not shoot at or near power lines or insulators. Know where power lines and equipment are located on the land where you hunt. Be especially careful in wooded areas where power lines may not be as visible. Do not place deer stands on utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment can conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution. Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Any nonelectrical equipment attached to a pole can pose an obstruction and serious hazard to our line crews.


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