Thursday, December 25, 2014


Had a wonderful day. Slept well the night before, too as sis and I had everything done just before 11 and I was able to relax with a glass of wine while watching The Ref with Hal and family. I never have relaxing Christmas Eves!

Here are some photos of the past 2 days.

The home on Christmas eve and then Christmas morning. Notice the difference? Less than an inch, but Bing would be pleased.

Ziggy under the tree
A few gifts from my oldest sister. Is that a Vera Bradley backpack?!
Luna, Ziggy and Lyra being serious on their Christmas morning walk
 A little yule log enjoyment, thank you Hallmark.
Really has been a wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The 2014 Christmas Tree!

not quite finished
Little sis and boy friend and Lyra arrived last Friday night. Saturday sis and I went out to the woods to the balsam Hal and I selected and cut it down. It would have been shading the apple tree behind it by the end of summer so it had to go. Turned out to be about 14 feet tall and I had to cut it down a bit which I did about a foot at a time. It's now about 8.5 feet tall. We decorated it the next day and finished Monday morning.

Here are a few more photos.

just needs a heavenly light shining on it
That's me sawing the trunk
Still sawing the trunk
spending the night in a bucket
adding the garland
Finished tree
in the dark

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Finally Something Useful!

I made myself a scarf! I found a free pattern I liked at and found a nice wool-like synthetic yarn (Premier Deborah Norville Tweed in oatmeal) that would go nicely with my faux suede faun colored winter coat. I figured its about 6 feet long and 6 inches wide. I really liked the unusual crochet stitch. Now if I can just figure out how to make a matching hat!

Added another 10 to this before declaring it done

Yooper Vacation Day 2, Tahquamenon Falls State Park

After Whitefish Point Hal and I headed on over to see the falls that we'd visited several years earlier but which I don't really remember except for mosquitoes and taking a ferryboat to the location. We had to buy mosquito repellent on the boat and then had to walk from the boat down a series of ramps/stairs to the falls. The guy walking in front of me had no shirt on and was covered in mosquitoes but I don't remember seeing the falls at all. Very weird.

This time we drove to lower Tahquamenon Falls first, parked by the gift shop/park station and followed the trail to various lookouts.

Then we walked further up the river to Upper Tahquamenon Falls.

On the way we met several people walking back saying we'd just missed a kayaker go deliberately over the falls. Apparently there were 3 of them doing this since Labor Day. (This was the day after). However, they were not done and we got to see 3 of them do it. I managed to get shots of the blue one.

Here is a shot of the falls showing the scale of the drop. The kayaker at the base is the one I missed. We were further away when I took these shots.

 Here is the third kayaker we saw take the plunge.
It was a very fun part of our trip. When we got back to the parking lot we decided to have supper at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery at Camp 33 which butted right up to the park buildings. Apparently there was an old logging site (camp 33) not owned by the state and the brewery bought it and built a very large nice brew pub. I had whitefish. It was very tasty. The beer was pretty good, too. If I remember the name I'll post it. I think it was called Sundog or something similar.

And here is one more shot of Hal because I can't get enough of those. Walking up the stairs from the upper falls.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Firewood Cutting

In the past few weeks Hal has started cutting trees up for firewood to heat the house. He started with some huge old ash trees on his dad's farm that were killed by a nasty little critter called the emerald ash borer. These are some of the biggest trees he's ever taken down.
I actually don't think the one shown on the trailer below is this particular ash but one of the smaller ones nearby. Still, it was pretty big for one guy to maneuver on his own.
These were later split into 6-10 pieces with a log splitter.

Since then he has cut up and split many logs but has a lot more work ahead of him to have enough for winter. But it's a good start.

Yooper Vacation, Day 2 Whitefish Point

After the Soo Lock tour we headed a tiny bit northwest, staying along the Lake Superior shore to Whitefish Point lighthouse and Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Compared to many lighthouses we have been to this one looked like it was run by a for profit business, clean, shiny, well repaired, etc. They also charged a lot more to see everything as well.

First order of business was to pay our fee to climb the tower which included a guide. He didn't have to go up to the top with us, just making sure only so many went up at a time. Here is some of the view from the tower and the tower itself.

View of the grounds
The tall guy in the center is Hal
Here is Hal atop the tower.

The happy couple atop the Whitefish Point lighthouse
Looking northwest
Those big Fresnel lenses have been replaced most recently by LEDs. Not as impressive or pretty in my opinion but they seem to do the job with a lot less upkeep.
LED outside the lighthouse window
The interior of the keeper's house attached to the lighthouse was refurnished to reflect the early 1900s. Coming down the stairs one is startled to see a life size mannequin of one of the last keepers to live here. They also made one of his wife in the kitchen. At least she wasn't barefoot.

After the tower and light keeper's house we went to the museum. This huge light is a 2nd order Fresnel lens (pronounced freh-NEL). It wasn't used at this lighthouse, the plaque in the photo below mentions it being located at White Shoals 20 miles northwest of the Mackinac Straits on Lake Michigan.
 Lots of displays about shipwrecks in Lake Superior, here Hal is checking them out.
One of the big things Whitefish Point is famous for is that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank a few miles off shore in Canadian waters. The museum now houses the bell from that ship, after a diving expedition recovered it and replaced it with a replica at the wreck.
It was definitely worth the visit.

Snow Showers

Having cold northerly winds and our first wet snow flakes of the season. It is sticking to some of the leaves on the ground but isn't going to amount to much if anything. I Heard Wakefield, MI had about 5 inches of snow on the ground. That's in the western part of the Upper Peninsula and if we didn't go into it we probably came pretty darn close. Here's a picture of the northern part of the Lower Peninsula where we reside. This was around 10 am.
Shouldn't be any problems for the trick or treaters tonight though.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Few More Yarn Projects

Finished 3 crochet projects this month. (There is another that I can't show yet till the recipient receives it in the mail.)

A shawl called Desperately Seeking a Second Color because I had a very hard time picking the edging color.

A cowl/hoodie for Hal in camouflage yarn. He was very patient while I had him try it on repeatedly yesterday so I could figure out how to finish the hood part. I designed this one myself.

And I made a hat from my favorite designer Michelle DuNaier. This was part of a test, the pattern not yet released. Got my hair cut this week. A little too short for my tastes. Fortunately it will grow back.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our Yooper Vacation: Day 2, Soo Locks Tour

Sorry for the delay, you've all been so patient!

Breakfast was down near the docks at Frank's Place, a great shotgun style building, nice modern decor and old fashioned breakfast. I had biscuits and gravy with a fried egg on top. I love b&g and try to get it whenever I can. I think Hal had an omelette and hash browns. The food was very, very good. After breakfast we headed over to the docks and bought our tickets for the 10 am tour. Our boat was the Bide-a-wee and we followed the Nokomis the entire trip. We left through the MacArthur Lock on the American side and returned through the Canadian lock which is only large enough for pleasure craft.

Here we are following the Nokomis into the MacArthur Lock. The Poe lock is to the right of the tall building. The bridge in the background goes to Canada on the right (north).
Approaching MacArthur Lock
Inside MacArthur Lock. Note the wall height. That is the observation deck where we watched the big freighter go through the Poe Lock the day before.

Twenty one feet later, and about 10 minutes, we would be leaving for the Lake Superior side from the lower Lake Huron side.

Lots of wall on the left
all that wall is underwater now

Under the bridge to Canada
Just a lot of water and shoreline to look at on the trip, plus some sort of mining operation on the Canada side. But here is an old freighter being dismantled over in Canada.
dismantling freighter
Then we got to come back to the US by going through the much smaller Canadian Lock.
In the Canadian lock
exiting Canadian lock
And here is photo of Hal while waiting for the water to fill in the Canada lock.
As we approached the United States side we got to see what was left of the rapids that the locks bypassed. Doesn't look like much but we were told it's quite a strong current.
What's left of the rapids
We got to go around a freighter approaching the locks.
Last big thing we got to see was a power plant generating electricity from the 21 foot drop between the lakes. A really cool looking structure.
US power generating plant
Here is a closeup view of the power plant. Note the decorative light house bas relief.
power plant brick work up close
Last shot as we approach the dock, power plant on the left, that freighter we went around on the right heading for the Poe Lock. Was a fun couple of hours.
approaching dock