Kimby, you know I've been avidly following the this wonderful saga since you began it.
Because of my move and the fix-ups I wound up overseeing, I've missed the latest installments & am only now seeing them. What treasure! The stories about your grandmother and grandfather & their educational ties, plus the romantically disappointed George are a wonderful window into the past.
The photos are magnificent. That first one truly sums up what a magical place it is, and it's heartening to see the old buildings so nicely fixed up and preserved. Love the idea of "you kids" all participating to help with the electrical/lighting budget -- kudos!
Otis Farm update. Cousin Mike tells me that the electricity is in, the 2 old canoes have been hung in the barn with lights installed in them, and the public is enjoying nature programs conducted by the Michigan Audubon Society. Canoes may be rented and floated on Glass Creek from the end of the boardwalk built several years ago by family members, bird watchers hike the trails, and the old cabin with its 6 bunks can be rented for overnight stays. Another family reunion to happen August 27th. I will not be there, but my sister is taking my parents, if their health permits.
Further update: Mom and Dad did make it to the reunion, and are scheming a 3rd donation. I did not make it to the reunion, but have copied Dad's camera chip and will try to post more photos soon.
The latest plans are to make a solarium of the south facing lean-to that looks over the marsh, to provide light and warmth during the winter. There are also plans dreams to install a circular stairway in the concrete silo that would lead up to a viewing platform. The tile silo would get a roof to protect it from deterioration.
Mom and Dad standing on the boardwalk their donation helped build.
The end of the boardwalk is a canoe launch onto Glass Creek.
The Otis Farm viewed from the boardwalk crossing the marsh. The grey "lean to" on the end of the barn facing the marsh is what they hope to glass in to collect sun and warm up the barn/education center in the winter.
And my favorite:
Dad and his dog Nellie in Uncle Bob's cabin, now available for overnight stays on the sanctuary.
Kimby, I have to say, this is one of the all-time great threads on this or any other forum. You've made this so fascinating, from the history at the beginning to the evolution of the sanctuary and to all the followups. Including your parents and other relatives in the thread is an intimate gesture that makes the viewer feel involved. It's gotten to the point that I can't wait to see the latest development every time I notice that the thread has been updated.
Seeing the double portrait of the attractive college students, then pictures of that couple still together many years later is a real treat & of a piece with this whole excellent, cohesive thread.
My Dad is still very interested in what's going on at "The Farm" and looking forward to his next trip there in July.
Meanwhile my cousin Jack sent me photos of the most recent project, a handicap accessible entrance to the barn. Apparently the slope to the sliding barn door that we able-bodied folks don't even notice was too steep for a wheelchair. The elevation difference was less than 4 feet, but required quite a long ramp:
It's hard to see changes that radically alter the appearance of the historical barn, but wonderful that it will be able to be used by folks who are less mobile, perhaps including my parents some day....
Hmmmmmm. Just at a glance I can see another, better way to do that, but one that would have enriched the contractor less.
Actually, the contractor is a cousin, a builder of great integrity and ability, who tried very hard to make the best of what he was given to work with. Which included having to redesign the project, because the county rejected the original plan for intruding into the sacred 35 foot zone between the barn and the road.
Never mind that the silo is already practically IN the road. NEW structures have to play by rules that the older buildings didn't. Fortunately the older buildings are "grandfathered in" and don't have to be moved or rebuilt.
Reprising some older photos to show the constraints that had to be worked within.
This is how close the silo is to the road (yes, that's a road!)
This is how much room there is between the road and the barn door.
The boardwalk into the marsh takes off from a place that would be blocked by many possible configurations of a walkway.
(The resident manager's house and parking lot (unseen) are to the right in this photo.)
So, given these constraints: stay 35' away from the road, do not block foot access to the barn door with a ramp for wheelchair access, do not block access to the start of the boardwalk, does your improved design still work, bixa?
Haven't visited this thread in a while as there wasn't news to report.
Today, sadly, I'm sad to report that my Dad died yesterday, Easter Sunday, at the age of 90 (and 3/4). The obituary will suggest that memorial donations be made to the Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary, and later we hope to return to spread his ashes.
It is nice to know that this place will remain and we can go visit his memory here.
Kimby, your kindness in sharing this wonderful place and its history allowed us all a view into your fascinating and generous family. Your father certainly seemed to exemplify the family's lovely attributes.
I'm forever grateful that you were willing to include us in stories of the family and your dad, including now this sad news.
Thank you and my condolences to you and to everyone whose life was touched by your dear father.
Kimby, my heart goes out to you and your family. How fitting it is that you chose to share your news of his death here in the Otis thread. Thank you for including us at this time when you must be heavy of heart. Your father sounds like he was a remarkable man who will be missed by many. I wish you much peace.