Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This and That...

I apologize for being a day late. The Grizzly Den log cabin has been busy with renters so most Mondays we are cleaning and washing, getting it ready for our next guests. I may have to change posting day to Tuesdays. 

We had a line of thunderstorms go through last night. Just in the knick of time as we had just finished grilling sweet corn and chicken to the sounds of the approaching storms. I just love good 'ole summer thunderstorms. It seems every week we get a heavy downpour up here, unlike most of you everywhere else. The farmers have been busy in their fields haying and trucking the large bales downstate to those less fortunate. Rumor has it that last year's price of $25 for a round bale is now up to $40 a round bale. And my heart goes out to the struggling corn growers... Sad year for most farmers.

Here's some good news - Steve has his shed just about completed. Next he'll make a door. The extra building sure cleaned things up around here. Now we have to get that wood shed loaded before winter. But not today. Today Steve is in the garage building a trailer to haul our four-wheelers out to the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming in a couple of weeks. We are staying in a log cabin with awesome friends. 
So excited...

Here's a project of mine...

This is what my back porch used to look like. Wear, and tear, and apparently yummy to the the porcupines.

So my back porch went from looking like this...

...to this. Much better! 
Now if we can keep the porcupines at bay. 
(Steve has been known to be standing in that doorway in the middle of the night with his 22.)

Recently my brother, Rob, asked me if I had ever seen something that looked half moth and half hummingbird. I told him I hadn't. But this summer we have them all over the place. They love my flowers and in years past we didn't live here so I didn't have any flowers. But here's one in my petunias. I looked it up and it is called a hummingbird clearwinged moth.

My pictures don't do the moth justice, but you can see more at the below site. 

 Here are some random pictures of our weekend.
On Saturday we took our kayaks to Brevoort Lake.

We put in at the top of this map at the campground's public boat launch and paddled the left shoreline. It was a beautiful day and the water was crystal clear. We have snowmobiled to Brevoort Lake many times in the wintertime, but never visited in the summertime. We will be back!

Sunday afternoon we loaded up the dogs and took them to Lake Superior...

...where they did a little wading but mostly sniffed around in the beach grass.

Then they took a little break...

...until Ike made it clear it was time to go.

One last thing...
July 26, last Thursday, was the one year anniversary of this blog.
Thanks to everyone for your interest and I appreciate you stopping by!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Hobby!

We started a new sport this past weekend- kayaking!
Mine is on the left, and Steve's is on the right.
Here we are at our favorite little cove on Lake Superior.
The wind was out of the south so we had smooth sailing for our first day out.
The sky was a little threatening after an early morning thundershower passed through.
But the skies quickly cleared, and it turned out to be a gorgeous day.

We followed the Lake Superior coastline for a long ways. Imagine our surprise when we came around one point of land and found a bright yellow sea plane resting on the shoreline. The pilot was alone and seemed to be peacefully reading. We all waved as Steve and I proceeded on our way. I didn't want to intrude on the pilot's privacy and serenity, so I didn't snap a picture until later when he was up in the air.

We stopped and took a break on this empty beach.

And watched the sea plane fly over.

We are loving this new hobby and hope to kayak many beautiful lakes in the area.
We feel so blessed to live in the UP!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Teaching a Middle-Aged Dog New Tricks

Sadly, we are down to two dogs. As you readers know, our 12-year-old Lab, Tess, had to be put to sleep. She now rests in peace without pain, having struggled with hip dysplasia the past couple of years. Whenever we took the other two dogs to the beach, Tess would have to stay home because of her condition and that always made me sad for her because I knew how badly she wanted to come. Back in her good days, she loved to swim while chasing after a tennis ball. We've never had a dog that wasn't crazy about the water...until now.

Today's post is about teaching Ike to swim, 
or at least attempt to ease his fears of the water. 

Last week, Steve and I took Ike and Bear to a Lake Superior beach. Bear just had a birthday so this was a great way to celebrate...well, for her anyway. Seven years ago she was born in our cabin in the UP which is now our home. We think Ike is about 6 months older than her, but we don't know for sure. Six and a half years ago he just showed up one day and decided he liked us and wanted to stay. We tried to find his owners, but no luck. It was probably a good thing as we are convinced he was abused. It took him two years to wag his tail! I don't think he knew what lovin' was. In the above picture Steve is trying to coax Ike into the water. Bear is all for it, but you can see Ike is skeptical about the so-called "fun" day we told him we have planned.

On the left, Ike slowly steps into the water. But Bear is ready for a shake and a roll.

Every time she would get out of the water, 
she would head for the weeds and roll on her back!

Baby steps, Ike

Good Boy!

The Buddy System
(Ike is on the left, Bear is on the right, 
and they're not really swimming as they can touch the ground.)

After a while, we took a break. But it was hot, so Ike sat in the water next to Steve's chair.

We decided to head for another beautiful beach...

...with lots of sand bars and seagulls to chase.

Off they went...

But this beach had waves and moving water. 
Sometimes Ike would hesitate and whimper.
(He's the dog closest to you.)

The group even waded across this little inlet creek. 
Steve first made sure it was walkable for Ike.

Ike's whimpering increased so Steve decided to get him to shore. 
We didn't want to push it.

But Bear proceeded with a couple more shakes, rattles, and rolls...

and then proceeded to head out on her own...

...in search of seagulls.

My walking stick and I went through the Straits of Mackinac to Mackinac Island this past Friday. More pictures to come of this enchanting jewel in the sea embraced by the clear blue waters of Lake Huron, blanketed with every shade of the palette in the overflowing gardens, planters, and baskets of flowers. The smell of horse droppings mixed in with the wafting cocoa aroma coming from the fudge shops completes the circle of uniqueness this island emulates. Every piece fits perfectly on this entrancing island. I never get tired of traveling there and every visit is just as special as the last.

Busy travel in the Straits

A footnote to this post about my dogs...
Yesterday (Wednesday), the dogs and I went for our usual walk.
Halfway down the road, both dogs took off like a bullet into the weeds. 
"Oh, no," I fretted, "Not again."
Yes. Again.
Only this time it was a porcupine.
Bear got poked with at least 50 quills.
Steve and I had our work cut out for us, but we're getting better at it.
(Boy, I hope the dogs don't hear that.)

Bear is doing just fine.
By looking at her, you wouldn't have a clue about the ordeal we all went through yesterday.
I don't have a picture, so you'll have to take my word for it.
This was not a pretty picture to share.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hot. Hot. Hot.

But hey, it IS summer! So last week we went to the beach three different times.

We welcomed a heavy downpour one night so you know what that means...


We took a cool, shady, round-a-bout way heading north...

...to one of our favorite beaches, a secluded cove on Lake Superior.

We decided to take the dogs there the next day by car.
"A perfect place for them to cool off," I said.
"The perfect place for me to teach Ike how to swim," said Steve.

And that's what we did.

But you'll have to wait for those pics on my next post.

I apologize for getting behind again. My intention was to get a posting out every Monday. But this past Monday we had to take Bear into the vet for a second opinion. She has lesions on her belly that we were highly concerned about. There is a disease in the UP called Blastomycosis that affects dogs. Click on the name for more information. It is a deadly disease if not treated immediately. We know of two friends who have had to put their dogs down because they contracted the disease. 

Bear is half husky and has a LOT of hair. She loves to have her belly rubbed and this is when I noticed them.

So, last week I took Bear 45 minutes north to Vet #1. He looked at the lesions for, oh, say, two minutes, got up and said they have to come off as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment at the front desk.
Ok, I'm quite concerned I am going to lose another dog.
At the front desk I ask how much the surgery will cost - $400. But what do you do? 

Make the appointment but get a second opinion.

On Monday we drove 45 minutes south - this time Steve came with me.

After throughly checking Bear out for, oh, say, 15 minutes, Vet #2 says, "Oh, she's fine! What a nice dog. She has awesome teeth."


She says to watch the lesions. No, they certainly are not related to Blasto. If they change or grow, then they will need to be removed for a cost of, ready? $180 tops.

Bear is doing fine and had a grand day at the beach last week.

Speaking of grand...we are spending tomorrow on Mackinac Island. I look forward to showing you those pictures, too!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Engineer's Day 2012

This past Friday, June 29, was Engineer's Day at the Soo Locks. It is the one day a year they open all their doors to the public. No fences or gates or locked doors to bar our view. 

Lots of picture perfect views of the locks.

And a beautiful day to be hanging out on the water.

Unfortunately, this year we didn't get a view of a freighter up close. The above picture was taken earlier in the day by the Detroit District, U.S Army Corps of Engineers.

We toured the administration building.

One of the offices

They took down the old visitor viewing building on the far left and put up this new one.

A tent for shade

We were able to watch the locks open for this boat...

The Soo Locks Tour Boat

Another great day in the UP!

Have a safe and fun July 4th everyone!