Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Getting Ready for Winter….."

Don's been quite busy doing some outdoors things in preparation for our upcoming Winter.

First was the job of taking down and storing our screen room.  We'd actually been planning on disassembling it for a few weeks but had been waiting for a dry day to do it.  As you can see, "the dry day" never arrived, and with the arrival of the heavy wet snow, it couldn't be postponed any longer, and had to be taken down when wet.  Thankfully, we have the large loft in the garage and it could be partially set up there to dry.

It seems so strange to look out through the kitchen window or from around the corner on the upper deck and see the space empty where it sat all Summer and now have all this open space.  It was such and integral part of our morning coffee and iPad using routine.  ;)

Yesterday saw Don down in the guest rooms egress window well.  We wanted it to be thoroughly cleaned out before we build the clear polycarbonate roof over it.  Patrick is coming tomorrow to help me build it.  Like his helping me build the new raised bed……."HE" builds and I assist.  ;)

We don't know when the egress window well had last been cleaned out, but it had a very thick layer of well rotted leaves, basically "ready" compost in it.  Don took all of the debris out, down to the sandy soil, so it is now ready for its protective cover to be built above it.  The cover will still allow light and fresh air in but will keep most, if not all, of the falling leaves and snow out of the window well, and will , of course, not be attached to the well frame, but be removable in case of an emergency.  Patrick and I have talked about possibly tacking hardware cloth or screen to the side supports, but figured we wait until the cover was build before we made the final decision.

I am so happy Don is retired!  He has been doing quite a few things around the house that if he'd been working "outside the home", would have been left to me to do.  Yes, it allows me more time to watch my soaps on TV and eat bon bon's.  LOL  

This photo gives you a good idea of just how large this window well is……….

Now to get some curtains, eh?  ;)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Our Last Full Day Together……"

The 4 of us had another leisurely morning before going out for a hike through the woods.  Don has been exploring and has found a trail that takes us from our house in a round about way to the airport and back via another trail.

Mark was in heaven walking in the woods.  He was able to this when he was younger and it brought back wonderful memories.

Lisetta and Mark in front of our house.

Mark had done a short walk the morning before but this was the first time Lisetta had been shown around the property.  Here she is with Don about to check out the Little Studio.

Lisetta and me under Autumn Clematis on the log arbor.

We then got in the car and headed towards Traverse City once again.  We were going to pass Classic Motors, where we had bought our tractor, and they are a Harley Davidson dealer, too.  We knew Mark loves Harley's… we stopped.  :)  It was LOVE at first sight!

Don, from Classic Motors, knew we weren't going to buy anything, but he seemed to just enjoy talking about the beautiful bikes!  He and Mark shared some "on the road" stories, too.

I thought this one fit Don quite well.

But he may have preferred this one better.  ;)

After leaving the Harley dealer, we continued on our way and stopped at The Blue Tractor for a late lunch/early dinner before driving up Old Mission Peninsula, stopping at the "usual scenic overlook" where we can see both East and West Bays at the same time.  We were very fortunate to have the sun break through the clouds when we stopped, allowing us to take this gorgeous photo of Power Island between Old Mission Peninsula and Leelaunau Peninsula.

Talk about timing!  We were just about to pull out back onto the road when we saw this rainbow over East Bay!

Once back on the road, we headed to another favorite place of ours to show Mark and Lisetta.  The Old Mission General Store.

That was the last photo we were able to take because it was getting dark quickly.  We did drive up to the Old Mission Peninsula Lighthouse State Park, but by the time we got there it was too dark for any more photos.  We did, however, get to see the sunset when we walked out to the shore in front of the lighthouse.  We saw it peek through several dark cloud banks as it slowly sank down the horizon.  Beautiful!

We then headed back towards home, but took a different route home so that we could stop at Moomer's Ice Cream Shop, which is located out on a farm West of Traverse City.  Moomer's is very well know (AND LOVED!) up here, having absolutely delicious ice cream.  :)

Mark and Lisetta left the following morning, resigned at having to go back to work the next day.  We had a wonderful time with them and hope they come visit again.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Part 2 of Mark and Lisetta's Visit……"

After leaving the scenic overlook, we drove directly into Traverse City and to Grand Traverse Commons.  We wanted to show Mark and Lisetta the amazing renovation of the old State Mental Institution.

During our walk through the Mercato, we stopped at the furriers and Lisetta became our "in house" model.  She had a great time modeling several coats!  The furrier had a good time, too, bring out "just one more" for her to try on.  :)

This 2nd coat was reversible with this as side1…..

And this side 2……

Oh "just one more"…..

No really….."just one more".  ;)  This was my favorite as I always think of Lisetta as wearing red.

We had a blast!

After the Mercato at Grand Traverse Commons, we headed headed over to Left Foot Charley's for a hard cider, leaving there to eat dinner at Sleder's, and then to head home for the evening.  With all the fresh cool air of the day, we all were ready for a good night of rest so that we could go "out and about" the following day for another "adventure".  :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Mark and Lisetta Visit….."

I taught with Lisetta the last few years before retiring.  After I retired, she became the Drawing instructor and another Ceramic teacher was hired to replace her.  We had some really good times throughout those years, as did our students.  :)  Unfortunately, Art seems to no longer be a "career choice/pathway" for students, and the classes being offered are becoming fewer and fewer.  Lisetta is the ONLY remaining Art teacher in the ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICT!!!  Of course I find this quite sad, considering I taught Art classes at Niles High School for 32 years, sometimes being the only art teacher and at other times, with a colleague.  We even taught extra classes several years, going without prep hours, because of the high demand by students.  I guess my memories of those 32 years could be called "The Good Old Days".  ;)

Those "good old days" were brought back to light with Lisetta and Mark's visit.  We had a wonderful time!  Day 1 of their visit took us up into Leelaunau Peninsula, stopping first at "Light of Day Organics" tea farm (, the only tea farm in Michigan.  Below are Mark, Lisetta, and Don.  I took this photo prior to our entering the tea shop, which we all found very nice, and yes, we did purchase several teas.  ;)

The tea farm has a couple of yurts on the property that are used for holding classes and other events.  Don and I were very interested in checking them out as we have talked about possibly having a yurt set up our woods as a "guest yurt".  :)

After leaving the tea farm, we headed up the Peninsula with Leland's "Fishtown" as our destination. This photo was taken as we entered Cedar, MI.  One of our favorite sayings by this time was to mimic Lisetta and blurt out……."Mark take a picture!" LOL  ;)

We arrived at Leland's Fishtown, located on the Leland River and almost immediately saw Salmon in the clear water of the river.  This photo was taken in front of a couple of the ferries which take passengers back and forth from the mainland to North and South Manitou Islands.

As you can see, we pretty much had the area to ourselves.  It is sort of "off season" up here.

Most of the shops were still open in Fishtown, so it was nice to be able to walk in and not be crowded while browsing.

As you can also see, it was a bit "brisk and breezy" that day, too!  Notice the 2 fishermen in the background trying to "catch" those salmon's attention.  ;)

On the way back toward Traverse City we pulled off the road and into a "scenic lookout" that we'd not stopped at before.  A truly beautiful view with a sliver of Lake Michigan in the far background.  Did I mention it was a bit "brisk"?  Not that you could tell from Don's posture, eh?  LOL

I am adding a few more photos from the scenic lookout because I think the view is breathtaking…..

Remember you can click on any photo to enlarge them, too.

Next stop……..The Grand Traverse Commons.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Yesterday a Big Deal?"

I thought that waking up to yesterdays snow was a big deal……

I've changed my mind on that after seeing what awaited me "this morning"……

I realistically know that it isn"t going to stay and that we have much, much more snow ahead of us, but it is only October 24th!  I find it kind of exciting.  ;)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"1st Snow!"

Our first snow wasn't much, but it still is the first one!  We heard on the news this morning that a town north east of us received 4" during the night.  As you can see, we only had a "dusting".

We've talked about taking down the screen room, but the weather has not cooperated.  We want it to be completely dry when we disassemble and store it, but we've been having quite a bit of rain up here.  There has to be a day or two of dry weather soon……."I hope".  ;)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"1st Fire in the Wood Stove...."

It was all worth it.  ;)  Yes, those many days/hours of stacking (and re-stacking.....LOL) all that wood of those 2 truckloads of firewood dumped into huge piles, was definitely worth the time and sweat equity because we are now reaping the benefit with our 1st fire in the wood stove.  With temperatures dipping into the 30's at night and only reaching in the high 40's during the day, we are enjoying the warm and soothing comfort of wood heat.

Now to hone our skills in adjusting the airflow and baffle to get the most out of each piece of firewood.

Lopi Wood Stoves are still in production, although they no longer produce our model, the Endeavor.  However, their website does still have the Endeavor's owners manual available, which was wonderful in learning what external adjustment rod did what.  :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Don's Turn....."

After I finished "tooling" around in the tractor, I came back and helped Joe take the little John Deere trailer off the back of his truck.  We were quite lucky to be at the right place at the right time in buying this trailer.  It is a used one and is in perfect condition.  It is a bit larger than the new ones being offered.  It will be great for hauling firewood from behind the garage to the front porch, plus I'm sure there will be other uses for it.

The back can be taken off to haul longer things, too, plus by pulling a cotter pin, it will tilt and dump its load.  The previous owner sprayed it with some sort of "Rhino Liner", thus the scratched surface inside.

After thanking Joe and seeing him on his way, it was Don's turn to take the tractor out for a spin.  You thought "I" loved driving it?  OH, Don does, too!

Off he goes.......

I thought he was going to drive all the way to State Park Highway, but he held back and only went as far as the curve.....

Before turning around and heading back.

Don handled the tractor like a real pro.  What could be next?  A couple of 4 wheelers in our future?  LOL

He parked it back by the lean to containing the stacked firewood.

Yeah.....there is a very happy grin under that beard.  ;)

We were not able to buy the size "hoop-style", tarp covered, storage unit that we wanted, so we will have to order it.  Meanwhile, we've parked the tractor in the workshop area in the garage.  It fits nicely in there, but in order for us to use it, we'd have to pull the car out to get the tractor out, so it is not feasible to store it in there when we are dealing with snow removal.  We'd have to shovel to get the car not gonna happen.  ;)