At Double R Ranch, hikers, bikers, and horseback riders tromp across its trails, nestled next to a gentle, undulating river. Meanwhile elsewhere on the property, golfers take to a nine-hole course that sprawls alongside the ranch’s campgrounds. Families can spend an afternoon or several days taking in the verdant surroundings, where land activities such as hayrides and volleyball games meet water activities in the form of canoeing, tubing, and fishing. Overnight guests can set up camp in one of more than 100 campsites or stretch out in an A-frame chalet that boasts an electric stove, a coffeemaker, and nature’s alarm clock: a bird singing cheerily as it constructs a new split-level nest.
After slinging itself onto the Michigan art scene in 1996, The Mud Room has since spun into a hub of creativity for artists of all ages and artistic experience. Under the direction of the studio's in-house teachers, small groups learn to wield everything from paintbrushes to pottery wheels during four types of classes, which teach such skills as fusing colored glass tiles into kaleidoscopic works or hand-forming ceramics to recreate ancient casseroles. Customers can also stop in to paint pre-made ceramics themselves. The pieces come in various shapes and sizes, which patrons can adorn with colored glaze before handing their artwork over to the professionals to be fired and finished. The studio also offers group pottery classes for parties including girls' nights out, birthdays, and kids' celebrations. In keeping with its safety-first approach, The Mud Room features only nontoxic, lead-free products, ensuring the finished pieces are safe to use with food.
It's only a matter of time before grass takes over the earth; but in the meantime, Egypt Creek Lawn and Landscape fights the good fight with a range of landscaping services. Beyond just mowing, the landscaping and design experts can surgically edge walkways, spread mulch, trim shrubs, plant trees, or maximize spring growth with fertilizer and aeration services. When not making weekly visits to more than 300 lawns, the team draws on winter expertise to remove snow from walkways and freezer burn from pints of rocky road ice cream.
Shaner Avenue Nursery owners and staff have extensive training in horticulture and forestry, which helps them keep an inventory of trees, shrubs, and perennials thriving. Fill gardens with rhododendrons ($35.97), a few of nearly a dozen varieties of junipers ($7.97+), or a member of the hydrangea family, which includes nine siblings in white, pink, and blue ($7.97+). Those who revel in eating everything they bury in the ground can plant raspberry shrubs ($5.97+), a red haven peach tree ($39.97), or bushes that grow fresh cobbler.
For more than 60 years, Blakeslee & Son's HVAC specialists have kept businesses, renters, and homeowners cool by installing and maintaining a variety of air systems. On call 24/7/365, their knowledge keeps systems running smoothly through emergencies, as well as periodic tune-ups that identify failing components and sabotage by house gremlins. The certified and licensed technicians also venture to construction sites to place high-efficiency furnaces, air-filtration units, water heaters, and central air-conditioning units. Additionally, they're well-versed in eco-friendly methods, such as geothermal and active-solar-energy systems.
The business was the creation of Clarence Blakeslee, a home-systems technician who started his business in his home cellar. Though originally a one-man operation, Blakeslee & Son eventually moved from Clarence's basement into it's own shop, which in turn fostered more shops and employees. It's now run by Brian Lovall, who worked his way up from shop boy to master plumber to president of the business.
Sputtering air-conditioning and heating systems return to quiet, efficient form after Aire Serv of Mid Michigan's trained technicians perform comprehensive repair and maintenance services. During multi-point tune-ups, technicians measure room temperature, check the thermostat's pulse, make necessary adjustments, and lubricate parts. Before releasing heating and cooling equipment back into the wild, they test for carbon monoxide, sniff out issues such as faulty electrical wiring and flammable burner debris, and remove all anacondas from the ventilation ducts.