Friday, October 24, 2014

"Barb's Visit Continued......."

Down the road from Gwen Frostic's Studio, perhaps 1/4 mile, is Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm.  From what we could see, all of their alpacas are "Huacaya Alpacas".  The other breed of alpaca is called "Suri". (

Here are several photos from the farm......

They also have a pair of "Great Pyrenees" guarding their herd.

The farms shop had a fairly large inventory of alpaca merchandise, too......all extremely soft!  :)

A very enjoyable stop along our way to Green Point Nature Preserve, which will be the subject of my next post.  :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Barb's Visit......"

Our friend Barb arrived from Madison (via Indian Trails bus) last Wednesday for a visit.  She came ahead of her husband, Geoff,  who drove over on Friday.

Our first full day with Barb found us heading over to Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve's hiking trail on the shore of Lake Michigan, south of Elberta.  (

On our way there, I decided a stop at Gwen Frostic's print studio was in order. (  Don and I have passed it too many times without stopping while on our way to the Frankfort/Elberta area, so I decided since we had Barb with us, it would be nice to explore something new.  :)  I was introduced to Gwen Frostic block prints when I worked on Mackinac Island in the Spring/Summer/Fall of 1972.

Don and Barb in front Gwen Frostic's studio and home.  Gwen lived in an upstairs apartment, above the print shop.

The "Round House" to the right of the entrance has a "green roof".  Here is a close up of it.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed into it due to it needing some repairs, but it is reached by walking down this glass enclosed hallway.

Across from the main entrance and at the top of the hallway is a pond and waterfall.

Judging the size of the building from outside of the structure is very deceiving.  The retail and print shop is HUGE, with a couple of smaller alcoves adjoining the main showroom.  Unfortunately we did not take a photo of its entirety.  Here Barb is deciding which 12 notes she wants to purchase from the dozens available.

This will give you a better view of some of the prints available.

The printshop is located behind the main showroom.  Several machines were in the process of printing.........

After Barb made her purchases, they were nicely wrapped with a piece of cedar leaf (?) affixed with a sticker.  What a nice touch, eh?

To be continued.........with a stop at Crystal Lake Alpaca farm.  :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Boss Mouse Farm to Table Dinner......."

Sue Kurta, of Boss Mouse Cheese (, located outside of Kingsley, MI, hosted a "Farm to Table" dinner Sunday evening.  The dinner was set up in a huge old barn on her property.  Her smaller cheese making facility is also on the property, closer to the house.

As you can see in the photo, it was a beautiful evening, although a little cool, but a few propane heaters were set up around the interior to help temper the coolness, and we very quite comfortable.

Here is our hostess, Sue Kurta, thanking everyone for coming, and giving us a quick overview of the menu.  The young guy in the background is a neighbor of Sue's, who came over to help with the event.  Don and I had the opportunity to chat with he and his brother, who was also helping Sue, prior to dinner.  It sounds like the area would be a great place to grow up.....neighbor helping neighbor, etc.  ;)

Our chef, Michelle Rodriguez.......

Here is the menu.....

Don took a few photos of our meal.......the delicious soup......

A wonderful Boss Mouse Cheese and fruit platter......

And the delicious main entree'.......

We had a very nice time!  We sat with Sue's parents, whom we had met at the Grand Traverse Commons Colantha Walker Dairy Festival.  Sue was this years " Festival Queen".  :)  We also sat with some friends of Sue's who had driven up from the Detroit area.  It was a wonderful night of great conversation and food.  ;)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Little Studio Deck Changes......."

Here is a photo of the little studio with the old deck.  We had planned replacing the little deck with something a bit larger (and less rotten!) with the "assumption"that the large round logs at the top of the steps were an integral part of the decks structure, but found that was not the case.  Nice looking as they were, it didn't make sense to continue having them as part of the new deck.

After Rick, of Soper Services (, had taken the moldy and rotten planks off of the old deck, making it possible to see the support structure, it was immediately understood that a new approach/design was needed in replacing the deck.  Don and I chose the more direct, and less expensive solution, going with a rectangular design.

Don cut down the White Pine that was growing too large/too close to the building, making a wider deck possible.  We also decided that once the deck was built, we would have Dave and Rick switch which way the screen door opened.

Using cement "biscuits" (a term I had not know before), the new deck now had a sturdy foundation that would not rot, as the old posts in the ground had done.

Yes, this new deck is definitely much safer!

It is true that it isn't organically shaped like the one it replaced, but we like the looks of it none the less.

Here is how it looks completed and with the screen door opening the opposite way from the old deck.

There is even room for a chair.  ;)

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Harvesting the Ginger Root....."

After planting a ginger root sometime in December 2013...........and waiting a few weeks before seeing these little shoots beginning to emerge........I made an effort to take "growth photos" every once in awhile.

This is a photo I took in late January 2014.  Am I jogging any memories?

Or how about this one from April 2014?  :)

Near the end of June it had been time to transplant the ginger plant to a larger pot before setting it out on the deck for the Summer.

This photo was taken almost 5 weeks later.  As you can see, it loved being outside in full sun!

The previous photo is the last one I had taken of the plant prior to harvesting, which took place a few days ago.  I figured with the continuing cooler outdoor temperatures, it was time.  This is what they looked like after I had taken them out of the their pot, having trimmed the leaves/shoots at soil level.

After letting them dry a few days, thinking the roots may need to "Cure" so to speak, I then took the hose and using the "jet" setting, washed the roots, bringing in the cleaned roots and placing them on the wood stove hearth to dry.

I separated and took a photo of what "I think" are the pieces of the original ginger root that I planted in December 2013.  I chose them because they had the darker, bark like "skin".  They still look completely healthy and may also be the root(s) that I choose to once again grow as plant indoors.

Here is a photo of what I presume to be the newly formed ginger roots, some of which are actually "double" layers of root.

I really did not know what to expect when I planted the original root back in December 2013, but "assumed" it would propagate itself similar to potatoes.  After trimming the leaves/shoots at potting soil level and dumping the pot over, I wasn't sure what I'd find.  As you might imagine after seeing the photo, I am VERY pleased with the results of this "experiment" and will soon start the process over again.