Monday, December 30, 2013

"Don's New Snowshoes....."

When Patrick, Julie, and Abigail came up to our house to celebrate Christmas, Patrick had put all of their snowshoes into the car so that Don could give them a try.  Abigail's were brought because she couldn't be left out and so that she could show her Grandpa's how they fit.  :)  Don tried both Patrick and Julie's and got a pretty good idea as to what length he felt most comfortable wearing.

After Christmas, we went to "Back Country North" ( to have a look at what they had.  We were fortunate to have asked Eric, one of their sales associates, to help us.  He was extremely knowledgeable and much so that Don was able to try on and make a decision as to what he wanted to purchase.  He chose a model, the Ascent, made by MSR (, plus gaiters, and poles.

The following day, he put his gear on and headed out into the woods.  :)

Copper was there for support, but she did not go for a hike with him.

All set and ready to head out......

He took off out our driveway......

Then turned into the woods along one of trails he has been hiking on daily.  By the time I got there to take a photo, you could just barely see his back (he is at the pointed end of the horizontal branch on top of the pile).

He came back a couple of hours later, exhausted but very happy.  :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Baked Donuts......"

I wanted to try baking donuts after reading a blog post about them on King Arthur's Blog (  I was lacking a donut pan though, a fact which Don and I remedied last Wednesday night when downtown in Traverse City, purchasing one at the kitchen shop, Peppercorn (

I baked a dozen donuts to put into Patrick and Julie's Christmas gift basket, but get this, I have no idea as to how they tasted!!!!  I baked them Friday afternoon, the day when they were coming to celebrate Christmas with us (they're driving over to visit Julie's family in the Thumb for Christmas), and I didn't get them finished until the kids had already arrived!  I had to discretely bag them and carry them to the walk in closet where I had their gift basket stored, not being able to sample one beforehand!  LOL  "Hopefully", the kids will give me a critique on how good they were.  :)

I did manage to get a photo of them in the early stages of cooling.  They came out perfectly shaped (if I do say so myself) so I will have to try another batch that I can taste!  LOL

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"New Christmas Ornament....."

Don and I found and purchased a new Christmas ornament to commemorate our first Christmas in our new house.  Quite appropriate if I do say so myself.  ;)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Our New Mechanic!"

Don, who never has owned a car or any other piece of power equipment in his entire life, has taken to our tractor VERY well.  He does most of the snowblowing and now.....has even changed the oil and oil filter!  The tractor was brand new so it has a "break in" period, which means an oil change after a certain amount of hours.  It was due and Don "took the challenge"!  We purchased the new filter, oil, drain pan, oil filter wrench, and he was at it!

After completing his task, he was back out clearing the driveway/road once again.

And yes, he seems to be enjoying it!   ;)

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Saturday With The Kids....."

Late Saturday afternoon, Don and I drove down and met Patrick, Julie, and Abigail to watch Manistee's 25th Annual Victorian Sleighbell Parade.  It was a very cold day/evening, but thousands of people joined us along River Street, the main street of Manistee.

Patrick had Abigail in her old backpack so that she would be able to see everything "from up high", but she is almost too big for it and this may have been the last time she will be in it.

Julie did her part and dressed in the outerwear of a woman during the Victorian era.

We made plans with the kids to meet in front of Schyler Binkley's Daybreak Gallery and Studio (, the same place we sat for the July 4th Parade.  Thats Schyler and his dad, Bob, behind us in the window.

Don did his best to get photos for me but it was so dark and the photos subjects so far away that they didn't always turn out as good as he would have liked, but they still show how beautifully decorated the horses and carriages were that evening.

Yes, the old fashioned bicycles were out along with newer versions, too.  :)

The end of the parade was signaled by the huge Christmas tree drawn by a team of 4 horses.  It would be taken to the park at the end of the business district and plugged in, at which time Christmas carols would be sung and fireworks set off.

We wimped out and did not follow the tree to its final spot, but headed back to our cars and made plans to meet for dinner "outside" of town (due to the crowds).  We met at Rico's and had a very enjoyable time.

We said our goodbyes and headed home.  Don and I were pleasantly surprised when we got to Bear Lake and saw that the town had a huge Christmas light display set up in the seasonal campground on the shore of Bear Lake.  Each campsite had its own display that was sponsored by local businesses.  It was quite dazzling with its thousands upon thousands of lights.

It was a fulfilled time and we obviously made it home safely.  ;)

Friday, December 6, 2013

"The Fully Decorated Christmas Tree......"

Here it is, fully decorated!  We love it in this space!

Here are a few photos of some close ups of the various ornaments.  The fish on a wood slab and the guitar were 2 that I had made while teaching pottery.

"Little Orphan Annie and Andy" were painted by my Great Aunt Dordy (Dorothy).  She was a pretty prolific china painter and we have several ornaments and some other pieces of hers.  The "Knitted Chickens" are from Maniphone and Jonathan, former neighbors of ours in Madison, who now live in North Dakota.  I found the bagpipe for Don at Johannson's Nursery in Madison.  They had a wonderful assortment of unique ornaments each year.

My poor but well intentioned attempt at making a wire recumbent bike ornament for Don.  ;)

The 2 wax ornaments (white heart and red arched shape) were my Grandparents on my Mothers side. They had been sent to my Grandparents from relatives in Germany back in 1965.

As you can see, we have ornaments that "go back" from earlier times when the kids were small, too.  ;)

I bought the large glass Viennese ball (lower left) when Claire and I traveled with a group to Europe. The glass snowflake below and to the left of it is from Austria and was purchased on the same trip.  I guess I could safely say that pretty much every ornament on the tree is special to me in some way, but I suppose that is true of many family Christmas trees, eh?  ;)

More of Great Aunt Dordy's china painting.

Don took some photos from outdoors, too, as I had asked him to do.  Can you tell it was a VERY dark night?  ;)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Setting Up The Christmas Tree!"

Don and I decided to set the Christmas tree next to the front porch door.  This is our first Christmas in this house and we had a couple of possible places in the great room, but decided this was the best one.  Don moved the computer into the main floor bedroom to provide the space for the tree.  As you can see, Copper is very excited about all this.......NOT!   LOL

I carefully "fluffed" each branch before setting it into place......

Making my way higher and higher......

Until it was fully assembled.

Then it was Dons turn to take over.  He is "The Man" for stringing the lights.

The job usually takes awhile........working at it on and off, but, in my opinion, it is definitely worth the wait.

He finished hanging the lights last night.

Sam, our parakeet is now back next to the tree, and as you can see, I'm settled in for the evening.  Tomorrow, I will get the ornaments out and trim the tree!  YEA!!!!  Christmas time is here!

Don took several photos from various angles around the house so I thought I would post a few of them, too.

"Ralphie's House" from "Christmas Story" sits up on the loft railing.........

Which provided an interesting photo opportunity.

This one of my favorite photos because it includes a view of the burning wood stove, too.

After I finish trimming the tree, I will write another post showing it in all its glory and perhaps include some photos taken from outside, looking in, too.  ;)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Snowblowing and Decorating......"

While Don snowplowed the driveway.......

I made some wreathes out of some White Pine we had to cut when the tractor shelter was set up.