Monday, September 15, 2014

"2014 Northern Home and Cottage Tour"

Don and I went to the the 2014 Northern Home and Cottage Tour on Saturday.  There were 10 places on the tour but we only were able to make it to 4 of them due to a later start AND the distance between each place on the tour.

We began with the 1st home listed, which was on Torch Lake (  It is a beautiful home but "a bit much" for my tastes.

Next we went to a place located on the shore of East Bay.  If it had been the only place we had visited, it would have been enough for the tour.  ;)  IT IS FANTASTIC!  It was a private home but has since been donated to a non-profit organization.  (

We took photos of it but there are many photos on the link ( which will be more informative.  DEFINITELY check it out!  "My" favorite bedroom was "Michigan".

Behind the tree/bush in the previous photo is where this next photo was taken.

Our next stop was on Old Mission Peninsula, although we did not take any photos (

The last home we toured was also on Old Mission Peninsula, but towards the center of the Peninsula amongst the fields and orchards (

It was a very enjoyable day!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Sandy and Rod Visit From WI......"

Sandy and Rod from Wisconsin came for a short visit, arriving Thursday evening, after a "not so smooth" Lake Michigan crossing via the "SS Badger".  Poor Rod had a hard time of it, and believe me when I say that "I understand", being that I, too, have a very sensitive stomach.  ;)

Rod felt fine by the time they arrived at our house.  We stayed up and did some catching up but eventually went to bed so that we could get going Friday morning at a decent hour.  I "think" it was close to noon or somewhat after, that we actually got in the car and headed west to Sleeping Bear Dunes.  So much for an early start, although there were trails to walk and things to see while I made breakfast.  :)

Our first "overlook"........Glen Lake.

Then on to a couple more scenic overlooks.

This was taken on our walk from the parking area to the deck which is built overlooking Lake Michigan.

Here we are on the deck.  A nice older gentleman offered to take our photo (I have to use that word "older" carefully).  ;)

A photo of the shoreline from the deck.  It is a LONG WAY DOWN to the shore!

Here is another photo to help put things in perspective.

After leaving Sleeping Bear Dunes we drove further up the Lake Michigan shoreline to Leland, where historic "Fish Town" is located.

Rod and Sandy.....

We finished our Leelanau Peninsula tour with a "drive through" of Glen Haven and a coffee stop in Glen Arbor.  Our final stop was in Northport, which sits near the tip of the Peninsula facing where West Bay and East Bay join.  We had, as expected, a nice meal at The Soggy Dollar, then drove back down the shoreline of West Bay, arriving back at our house after dark.  It was a GREAT day!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Only 3 Cords....."

As some of you may remember, last year we had 2 large dump truck loads of slab wood, and one of regular seasoned firewood.  We still have quite a bit of regular firewood, so we only ordered 3 cords this year, which with the left overs from last year, will give us plenty for this Winter.

Dane, from Lake Ann Hardwoods, delivering the firewood last week, using a much smaller truck.  :)

Here he is getting the last of the wood to drop down from the truck bed.

I now have a "little job" to do.....stacking it.  :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Strawberry Bed Protection......"

As you may remember, I constructed 2- 4'x4'x2' high raised beds and transplanted strawberry plants from a low raised bed.  I lost so many strawberries to chipmunks this past Spring, I wanted to try and prevent it from happening again next Spring.  Little did I know how many of the strawberry plants that I had found when cleaning out the beds last year and consolidating all of them into one bed, that many, if not all, were ever-bearing strawberry plants.  I also bought and planted June bearing strawberry plants, so now they are a mixed batch in each bed.

I decided to build bed "toppers" using hardware cloth attached to 2"x2" wooden frames.  I began constructing them late last week and finished them up this morning.

Here is the first one with the frame almost finished.  It only lacked the top center support.

The hardware cloth being stapled to the top of the frame.  Let me say, "stapling" is NOT one of my favorite things to do and my right hand proves it with my first blister in years!

Number one is completed and number 2 begun.......

The first one with the top up and out of the way in the "harvesting" position.  ;)

Both completed and in "protection mode".

The weight of the top will hold it easily in place while picking strawberries.

Now, I can only hope that the chipmunks do not burrow up from underneath the raised bed frame.  These were completed just in time, too, because the ever-bearing strawberries are now blossoming and setting fruit.  :)  They are a little behind the other ever-bearing strawberry plants still in the low raised bed, due to their being transplanted......... or, at least, I "assume" that is the reason.  ;)

Friday, August 29, 2014

"Madison Rob's Visit Continued........"

Saturdays time was spent around the house with Don and Rob exploring the trails and woods, but come late afternoon, we headed to Grand Traverse Commons to attend the annual Music/Microbrew Festival.  We had a wonderful time, but, unfortunately, no photos were taken of the event.

There are also no photos of our Sunday fun either.  Don and Rob did more hiking in the woods and then we drove into town, stopping at a couple of local microbreweries ( and, and had dinner at 7 Monks Taproom (  We topped the evening off with a stop at Moomer's Ice Cream Parlor (  Yes, we had an excellent day!  ;)

Monday the camera came out once again and we have some nice photos of our activities.

Although not really an activity, we have photos of us sitting on the porch watching a downpour early that morning.  We needed the rain and it did not deter us from what we had planned.  Its nice having a covered front porch so that we could sit out and watch the rain come down.  :)

I made sure the boys were well fueled before all of their hiking by making a large breakfast each day of Robs visit.  This was a waffle/blueberry syrup and bacon day.  ;)

We drove over to a hiking trail called Green Point Dunes (, located south of Elberta and Frankfort, where I happily sat in the car and read numerous issues of "Tiny House Magazine" ( while the boys hiked the trail to Lake Michigan.  They came back "dripping wet" due to the topography AND humidity.  I was very happy to have stayed in the car and read.  ;)

Here is Rob with Lake Michigan in the background.

Heading back towards home, we decided to drive through Frankfort and luckily for us, Don remembered reading about Frankfort hosting replica ships of the famous Nina and Pinta!  We arrived with less than an hour before the ships headed to their next destination on Lake Michigan, Muskegon.

Here are the boys in front of the Nina.  Our photos were very dark due to the lateness of the day AND the ships are black.

A photo of the Pinta, which was the larger of the 2 ships.

Rob left on Tuesday morning, taking the northern route via the Upper Peninsula.  We had a wonderful time and look forward to his next visit.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Madison Rob" Visits.......

Our former Madison neighbor, Rob, visited us last week.  He arrived on Thursday evening, so Friday was our first day of "touring"..........this year, we began with the east side of Leelanau Peninsula from Traverse City to the tip of the Peninsula, following M22, with a little bit of the west side of the Peninsula, too.

Our first stop was at the 45th Parallel Park.

Next on the tour was the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.  As you can see from these 2 photos, "Someone" is not able to smile on cue.  ;)

I went and sat on a bench facing the Bay while Don and Rob went up into the Lighthouse.

Then the two of them walked down to the shoreline, which, by the way, is quite closer to the Lighthouse than it has been in the past few years.  With the open Winter and drought of 2012, Lake Michigan's water level had dropped significantly, but these past 2 years we've had enough rain/snowfall to bring the level up.

After leaving Grand Traverse Lighthouse, we drove back down to Northport.  With Don and Rob such beer enthusiasts, we wanted to stop at "Northport Brewing", Northport's newly opened microbrewery (  The facility was nice with an open air sitting area, but we were not impressed with their first brewing efforts.  Perhaps we'll return at a later date and see if their brews have improved.

We ate dinner in Northport at the Soggy Dollar (, where Don and I have enjoyed eating fact, it was on Don's birthday when he expressed a desire to drive up to Northport and try it.

After dinner, we still had a lot of daylight left, so we headed west so we could show Rob "Fishtown", in Leland.

We also walked the piers in the marina,  checking out the variety (AND SIZE) of the many sailboats, yachts, and cruisers.

I should mention that Leland is the port of several commercial and recreational fishing operations, as well.

More to come......

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Oh What Fun They Had........"

Our Granddaughter, Abigail, stayed with us last week while Julie went to an appointment in Traverse City.  It was an early appointment, so Julie and Abigail had left their house quite early and had not eaten, so Grandpa fixed a big breakfast for Abigail and Grandpa Don.  :)

After breakfast, Grandpa Don and Abigail took off to explore the woods, stopping at Grandpa Don's tent out in the furthest clearing from the house.  And just like "Goldilocks", she had to check out Grandpa Don's comfy cot and sleeping bag.

Then she moved on to his folding lounge chair........

After that, they headed back out into the woods, stopping at the next clearing where Grandpa Don had made a 2nd Ceremonial Circle.  Originally, he had designated this clearing for the placement of the "Deer Mineral Block", but after our neighbors had another bear on their deck a few days prior to Abigail's visit, he decided he did not want any possible "food attractions" near the tent.

As you can see, Abigail is not squeamish when it comes to Nature......

Another stop in their exploring was at Grandpa Don's deer stand.  Abigail has climbed up in it before but the day of their exploring, she only climbed up partway before coming back down.

Then off to do more exploring, stopping here, there, and everywhere, seeing what there was to see.  :)