Friday, June 26, 2009

Here Comes the Barn!

Here comes the barn! This was quite an adventure. Abe not only built the barn, but he delivered it and then proceeded to back it in and set it down singlehandedly. Well... he did have a miracle hydramatic high-tech trailer with a remote control so he could lower the barn down and set it in place with his thumb! It was a bit scary to watch - at one point I thought that he was just going to drop it down like a load of wood from a dump truck! It was quite a challenge for Abe to back the trailer around and into position to place the barn in the right spot. Here he's beginning the turn! This is when I was becoming a Nervous Nellie: Oops! That looks dangerous! Holy Moly! TA DA! You can see the entire "download" of the barn as done by Abe holding the remote control. Watch in amazement!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Richard planted the bushes in front of the house eighteen years ago when we first retired. It looked really nice until just a couple of years ago when the potentilla decided not to bloom so profusely, and the rhodos got very tempermental about whether they would bloom or not. It was time for a change. Keith from Traverse Outdoor came up with a plan, and now it's a reality!

Oh boy oh boy - hydrangeas and dwarf lilacs in front of the covered porch! What a nice change. There's a great view from my bedroom window.

The front porch 18 year old potentilla bushes and rhodos have been replaced by carpet roses, veronica, serviceberry tree, viburnum, spirea, juniper and some flowering perennials. Mike and Brad from Traverse Outdoor did the work (on those 95 degree days!).

Our new entrance with fresh baby plantings:

Soon there will be a mini-barn delivered - it's for the golf cart, snowbolower and kayaks. Mike and Brad also cut down seven or eight trees to make room for the barn. Then they played with the Bobcat to level off the site and add gravel.

OK, the site is all prepared and level and we're ready for the barn - bring it on!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day 2009

The Hardy Family included us in their Father's Day brunch at the Great Wolf Lodge - what a great idea that was! Peter and Melissa and the girls stayed there for Father's Day, and they had a ball doing all of the quests with the magic wand. Autumn could make the bear talk, and make the lights on the tree come on - what a good time!

Brunch was wonderful - I'm glad we had a chance to talk to Barb and Jim, and it was just nice to see everybody. I haven't seen Betsy for ages, and I'm glad she was there too. Altogether there were 5 fathers there to be honored, counting Adam - he's already a step-father and will be a new Dad on July 2. Barb and Jim had 3 and a half grandchildren there.

The Great Wolf Lodge is a perfect place for families, especially children. Everything looks very lodgy and campy and comfortable, and the water park is great fun for everyone. In the lobby there's a computer for public use, and a young man was playing WoW! With all of the other things to do - he was probably just checking his auctions.

After that pleasant start to the day, we were off to do some geocaching - what else would you do to celebrate Father's Day? It was the perfect day. All in all, we found 7 caches, and Dick had a great adventure to help make this a memorable Father's Day!

We started our Fathers Day outing with a family brunch at the Great Wolf Lodge. What a great facility for kids no matter how old they are. Can't think of a better way to spend the day than by collecting some caches that have cropped up this spring. This one just cropped up this morning and after noting the location just up the road, put it in the Garmin. Unfortunately for us, our Palm got fried a couple of months ago and we've been using paper again. Not much info on the page so I didn't bother to print it. I didn't note the terrain either.
Anyway, the day was drawing to the end and we were tired but, what the heck, why not one more. Found a place to park with a faint path heading straight toward the cache. Took off on a solo which should have been a warning. Maybe I should have stayed in the car.

After about .5 mile, the path forked - right or left? Straight ahead led to a steep drop. Oh well, as Yogi said, when the path forks, take it. One led in the right direction. For a while. Then the GPS started counting up. Bushwack time! Down the hill into - - a swamp.

Now I'm still dressed for Sunday Brunch, white sneakers, tan shorts and a polo shirt, and the wise one is "patiently" waiting in the car. (Which I now realize I forgot to mark) There's no turning back. Forge ahead along the edge of the swamp and come to -- a creek. Found a downed log and teeter my way across. I almost made it but I needed a new pair of grubby shoes any way.

Once I was in range, I found the cache quickly as well as a water supply and an easy path complete with boardwalks and bridge for the trip out.

It was a good adventure, a FTF (too tired to dance) and a trail I didn't know about. On the way in I was thinking of stopping at the store and picking up a couple of T-Bones to grill for supper. When I got back to the car, (just about an hour round trip) I just wanted to get home, mix a drink, and settle for anything, A PB&J sandwich sounded good. TN.LN.SL. Thanks for a most memorable adventure.

Actually, I made a hamburger hot dish for supper (low fat). It was quite good in my opinion, but no match for T-bones!

We left home this morning at 9:30 a.m., and returned at six o'clock this evening - a full, fun-packed Father's Day 2009.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Northport Lighthouse and Maritime Festival

Big day today in Northport. Lighthouses, schooners, and a fish boil on top of that! How could anyone stay away?

On the way up M22 we stopped in Suttons Bay at an earth cache called Suttons Bay Wetlands. There's a trail with informative signs behind the Inland Seas Education Center. I'm sure at one time it was a nice little trail, but it hasn't been kept up, and it's crying out for some maintenance. The signs are aimed at school children, and I think it would still be a valuable field trip for a class studying eco-systems. These pictures went on our log of the cache:

Hooray! We found the festival! Northport was buzzing with activity this afternoon. It was a nice, small event - there was a craft fair, lots of child-centered activities, ships at the dock, and of course, the food tent.

For me, the highlight was Kitty Donohoe, a folk singer from Ann Arbor. She sings wonderful songs about Michigan, the Great Lakes, lighthouses, rivers, and lumberjacks. I enjoyed it immensely, and bought one of her CDs for the car.

After the festivities, it was time for a stop at PlantMasters in Suttons Bay, since it seems that all imminent danger of frost is over. Annuals and a couple of perennials filled up our cart. The colors in this tent of annuals knocked our socks off.

As we drove away, we said, "Didn't we used to do this at the end of May?" It has been a cold, cold Spring.

Back in T.C., West Bay was just filled with boating activity of all sorts! It makes for a very picturesque sight on such a blue sky day.

But for me, the prettiest view is always a tall ship under full sail.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Trekking Traverse Trails

"Trekking Traverse Trails" - new cache series by Basswood Bend!

It will be spectacular - I know because I have watched its creation.

Trails have been hiked,

lock'n'locks have been covered with camo tape,

coordinates have been recorded,

permission has been granted to display the brochures in the Visitor Center,

brochures and stickers have been designed and ordered,

permission was granted by the Visitor Center to use their logo on the brochures and the pathtags,

pathtags have been designed and ordered,

sleep has been interrupted by new ideas,

caches have been placed,

and so on and so on.

If you're a cacher, you will love it! Each find earns you a smilie, and if you collect all ten stickers and place them in your brochure, you will get a pathtag.

We're hoping it won't be too many more days before Trekking Traverse Trails will be published.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Willie Willie Willie

We love Willie Nelson. For me, this began when Jimmie Carter was President and he told an interviewer that Willie was his favorite performer. It's possible that Willie was even a guest at the Carter White House. Jimmie Carter was a very upstanding gentleman, very proper, and so it seemed to me that Willie must be proper too - "Gilt" by Association, so to speak ;) turns out that Willie is not that proper after all, but he is so entertaining and so listenable that a fan can overlook some things as not really affecting the product :)

Dick and I are fans, but we're not FANS. Some of these folks follow him around and attend all of his concerts, just like Kim and Mike used to follow the Grateful Dead, or like Shelly and Melissa with Tim McGraw. These Willie fans wear bandanas and cowboy boots and leather jackets and fake braids - some of them look downright wierd! But then, everybody needs a hobby.

Last night at Interlochen's Kresge Auditorium it was Willie Nelson night. We clapped and stomped and sang along and just really enjoyed the whole thing - even though he didn't play Pancho and Lefty. ()

He is such a great performer and you can tell that he's a real person with real human instincts, and very down to earth, friendly, and accomodating. He's older than we are, but he can stand up there and sing in a powerful voice and play such great guitar for an hour and a half with no break - I think that's remarkable.

Our seats were in row F, section 4 - center stage :) here's the stage all set up for Willie:

This photo is fuzzy, but I like it anyway - this is the way I remember the night.

Though he's mostly known for his vocals and unusual phrasing, Willie plays amazingly well on his disreputable old guitar full of holes and autographs of his friends. Give a listen:

"Crazy" is usually associated with Patsy Cline, but Willie wrote it, and I think he sings it better than anyone:

Don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys!

After the show he autographed T shirts, hats, bandanas, books, programs, albums, and even a bottle of booze (after signing it he opened it up and took a swig!)

Friday, June 05, 2009

From Facebook

*** Rules *** Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I was a teacher for 25 years. I loved teaching the little kids - first and second grades. At that age the kids are still very cute and eager to please. Second grade was my favorite age group. They are my kind of citizens!

2. I taught in Belleville, Van Buren Township, Wayne County, Michigan. When we moved there in 1957, Belleville was a Polish farming community. When we left in 1991 Belleville was a much more diverse town - fewer farms and many wage-earners working at the GM Hydramatic plant at Willow Run or the Ford plant at Rawsonville. I imagine that most of those folks are having hard times now in 2009.

3. The name of the District is the Van Buren Public Schools. My schools were Belleville Elementary, Elwell, Edgemont, and Haggerty.

4. Dick taught high school social studies for 32 years at BHS. Most of our close friends were fellow BHS faculty members.

5. Big Rapids, Michigan is my hometown. Our family, my parents and brother Jim, moved to Traverse City when I was in First Grade. My dad was a teacher and football coach in both Big Rapids and T.C.

6. My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. The movie with Keira Knightley was OK, but I prefer the A&E production with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I can watch it endlessly - over and over. The costumes, the music, and the performances do justice to the time and setting of the story.

7. As a child my favorite book was Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott. Sweet story. My Grandma Kanitz bought the book for me at the dime store in downtown Milan. We were shopping together, and she let me pick out whatever I wanted! I remember it like it was yesterday. I still have that same book - the cover is kind of in shreds, but I treasure it.

8. Jane Austen is my favorite author. When we were in England, we had a chance to see her burial site inside Winchester Cathedral. I was especially moved by being there.

9. My favorite color is yellow - because it's a sunshiny, happy color.

10. It is so wonderful to have a President who is thoughtful, charismatic, rational, intense, intelligent, and articulate. It feels like the whole planet is counting on him to make this a better world.

11. Movies are a real treat for me. Dick doesn't like to go, so I really look forward to having the kids come home because each one of them is willing to take Mom to the movies! The entertaining two star movies are my favorites.

12. I love Motown music, especially Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, and the Four Tops. My all-time favorites are "Reach Out" , "The Tracks of my Tears", and the entire soundtrack of "The Big Chill".

13. It sounds corny, but John Denver was my very favorite performer. We own all of his albums and still play them often, especially on trips when we can't find NPR. Our family could crack you up singing "Grandma's Feather Bed" - go ahead, ask us!

14. I am a big fan of college football and basketball. (Big Ten). Pro ball - not so much.

15. I have always enjoyed computer games, starting 30 years ago with Outhouse, then Asylum, then Zork - then Ultima - then Everquest, and now World of Warcraft - the most fun ever. Our entire family loves to play WoW, and it's a great way to keep in touch with everybody.

16. Dick and I have three marvelous children, Laurie, Tom and Jana. Luckily they are all intelligent, thoughtful, caring people and I'm proud of each of them.

17. We have one grandchild, Dylan, the son of Laurie and Chip. Dylan just "graduated" from Palm City Elementary School and was given the citizenship award. He's the best gandchild in the world. He's eleven years old now, going on 40.

18. We have traveled all around the U.S. and also to Australia, Belize, Mexico, Grand Cayman, Alaska, Hawaii, London, Devon, Cornwall, all of the Scandinavian capitals, Russia, Estonia and Poland.

19. My secret desire is to visit Jasper, Alberta, Canada, because of the John Denver song Rocky Mountain Suite.

20. Our hobby is geocaching.

21. We have found 2200 caches.

22. We have found a cache in every county of Michigan. We want to find a cache in every State - 16 States to go.

23. Even though I have an extensive collection of cookbooks, I really don't like to cook. Don't tell anyone.

24. Our whole family has degrees from the University of Michigan - 4 BA's, 1 MA and 1 PhD.

25. Our children are fourth generation graduates of the U of M. Yes, we are four generations of Maize and Blue faithful :) My grandfather Geib started it all by graduating from U of M Law School in 1904. Tom received his BS from MIT.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Our View of the Bay

Tonight we're thinking about our neighbor Tom B. who had thoracic surgery this afternoon. Naturally we're hoping that all went well and that he has a peaceful and pain free night tonight. Rest easy, Tom. He's been in the hospital for two weeks - his wife is practically living there. His daughter and grand-daughter have come to be with them.

I'm getting better and better. I still fade a little bit in the evening, but by and large, the laparoscopic surgery is very tolerable. Much to be preferred than a six week recovery period! AND no more gall bladder attacks! Hooray!

We went walking down by the marina today, and even though the temp was 70, it seemed chilly next to the water. It was fun seeing some people in hoodies, and others in shorts and tank tops - People don't know how to dress in this weather! Northern Michigan must be way below normal, temperature-wise.

Dick was doing cache maintenance on his "The View of the Bay is Half the Pay" cache. He found a couple of things missing, and he rearranged a couple of things. It was a gorgeous day to be downtown on the trail.

There were young folks in swim suits and bikinis at the volleyball beach - I guess the strong sunshine on the sand was keeping them warm - honestly, it really wasn't that warm!

We haven't been to the gym all week because of my surgery, but I can almost guarantee we'll be there next Tuesday. Not sure about Monday because we'll be out late Sunday night listening to Willie Nelson at Interlochen :) We're not really late night people!
But anything for Willie :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Out and About

Hooray! Went for a ride into town with Dick this afternoon - it was great getting out of the house. It's a gorgeous day - calm and cool, placid and blue, and beautiful. I'm feeling almost great - just a little bit of a crick in the side, and I fade fast in the evening. I feel very lucky.

Huge bunches of roses came today from Dick - the living room smells so good! They re beautiful and fresh and fragrant.

Our neighbor is still in the hospital - now he's facing possible thoracic surgery - he finds out today.

What ever happened to the Do Not Call List? We've had seven or eight phone calls today - all toll free numbers or telemarketers. It's funny for a while, but then it gets really annoying. They must all think that 10 a.m. is the primo time to annoy people - that's when the calls began to pile up. I would really like to be crossed off their lists.