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.  :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Fermenting Sauerkraut......"

I have not used my new "Farm Curious Fermenting Set" ( until this morning.  "Hopefully", I have done everything correctly and will have our homegrown cabbage fermenting into sauerkraut.

I went out to the garden and cut 2 heads of cabbage this morning.  Bringing them into the kitchen, I sliced each head as thinly as I could, reserving the core to use in the final step.

The sliced cabbage was then salted and kneaded by hand to help release some of the water in the cabbage.

When the cabbage was wilted and the bowl had liquid standing in the bottom, it was then put into a one half gallon Mason jar.  There wasn't enough released liquid to cover the cabbage so I added some brine that I had made so the cabbage was completely covered, then used a couple of large cabbage leaves underneath the cabbage core to keep the cabbage under the brine.

You can see the core and large cabbage leaves in this photo.  The Farm Curious Fermenting Set allows the fermenting gases to escape the jar without causing the brine to overflow the jar.  The airlock also prevents any outside contaminates getting into the fermentation and ruining it.  Now, it will sit on the kitchen counter so I can keep an eye on it to make sure all goes well.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Tent Set Up......"

Don has set up his new tent in one of our natural clearings.  He began yesterday and did his final check (my photo op) this morning, before he went off to begin more "trail blazing".  :)

Here is what the clearing looked like prior to his tent.   The 2 stumps on the far side of the clearing mark the beginning of a short path to another clearing where he has placed a "Deer Mineral Block".  We don't think the deer have found it yet, but the squirrels and chipmunks sure have........and they're loving it!  :)

Here is the tent before he installed the "rain fly".  The tops of both main room and screen porch are, for the most part, total screen.

And after the rain fly was attached........

I took a photo of the tent in the distance from one of the paths on our walk out to the clearing this morning.  We were perhaps 1/3 of the way from our house to the clearing.

Don had taken one of his folding recliners for its new place in the screened porch of the tent.

And also a new cushy cot for in the main room of the tent.  I "imagine" there might be a few naps out there in his future.  :)

A "small" feature of the tent, is the tiny screened window in the back at floor level, which has its own tiny awning.  :)

I took another photo from a distance on yet another trail that leads back to our house.  The tent is barely visible from the house, and only because we know where to look.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Patrick and Abigail Visit........"

Last Friday, Patrick and Abigail drove up to visit......."and do some work".  We needed a few trees cut down, mainly some dead ones on the outside edges of a couple of clearings in the woods that Don wanted to have cut down before they fell down on anyone walking his trails.

The kids arrive (Julie had a meeting to attend for the Manistee Library) and after getting out of their truck, Abigail immediately begins checking out flowers, taking photos with her camera she got from us for Christmas, and collecting.......

We all followed Grandpa Don to the first of his clearings, where his "Ceremonial Circle" is, which had a couple of trees that needed to be felled.  Abigail lays her "collection" of items already picked up on the short walk to the 1st clearing, in the center of the Ceremonial Circle, before we all head to the other clearings to see what else Don wanted cleared.

As you can see, she has quite the collection of various "finds".

Off we go to the other clearings.......

We have a total of 3 natural clearings that Don is cleaning up.  His 1st one, the Ceremonial Circle, his 2nd, a larger clearing where he will be erecting a large tent with large screened porch for immersing himself in total "woods" and not being eaten alive by mosquitoes, and the 3rd, where we have set a deer lick.  Each clearing needed a couple of trees felled.

The photo below is clearing number 3.  Once Don sets up his tent, I will post a few photos.....

After showing us what he wanted cut, Don and Abigail leave to go exploring (Abigail does not like to be around the noisy chainsaw), stopping off at their truck first to change into a short sleeved teeshirt.  It was beginning to get warm.....

Patrick hard at work........

We worked our way back through the clearings until we were back at the Ceremonial Circle where several trees needed felling.  Patrick is now cutting the last one down, which was going to come down through the middle of the Ceremonial Circle.  Some good clean up was required afterwards.  ;)

After the last tree was down, we called out to let "our explorers" know that it was safe to come back and check Patricks work.

Abigail had found more items to set in the center of the Ceremonial Circle.

Abigail and Grandpa Don found all sorts of interesting items.

Even some of Grandpa Dons property marking tape......

Abigail definitely is NOT scared of bugs or other things found in the woods.  Here she is opening up one of those "thin skinned puff balls" that are found on some oak branches.

Back we go to the house so her Dad can shower and change before we go out to lunch.  We ate in Karlin at the restaurant/bar, the "Karlin Inn".  I'd forgotten I wanted to send home with them some Zucchini Relish that I had made, plus I had some fresh Deviled Eggs, too, so back to the house we went.  Abigail LOVES Grandpa's Deviled Eggs.  :)