Thursday 4 comments

Goodbye Northland

We'll be back in the spring!

Sunday 10 comments

My Trip to the Smoky Mountains

Day 1. From Solon Springs to Champaign, Illinois with lunch and a few stops along the way.   I was reminded how flat the landscape is and how much corn is grown in Illinois.    548 miles

Day 2. Champaign, IL to Sevierville, TN with lunch at the Waffle House in Lexington, KY.  Kentucky is a beautiful state and I'd like to go back and see more of it.  Arrived at the Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede just in time for dinner and the show.  No pictures allowed during the show.  It was a good time with good food and the North won!    525 miles

Day 3.  Our first day in the Smoky's with retired forest ranger Dwight McCarter.  Beautiful day with breath taking views.  Stops at Cherokee and an old grist mill.

Here's an unusual Christmas tree that was in a shop in Cherokee.  Cheddarhead hats and mice on a ghastly red tree!  Eye catching for sure!  

In the afternoon we took the tram ride at Ober Gatlinburg.  This was an awesome ride and view!  I loved it! 

In the evening we had time for shopping and dinner in Gatlinburg.  This is where you go if you want to buy some moonshine...and I did!   110 miles

Day 4. Today we drove to Cades Cove on a very narrow and winding road.  It was another beautiful day to be sightseeing in Tennessee. I'm going to fess up to y'all (see, I really was in the south!).  I didn't take that many pictures because I didn't want to look like these guys. I wanted to see it all with my own eyes.

In the afternoon we were at Dollywood.  I really had to control myself and not sneak some pictures while at Dolly's Museum.  This was my favorite part of Dollywood.  It had many of her gowns, shoes, awards and other memorabilia, but no pictures allowed here either.  Dolly is one $mart lady.  If you want pictures of her stuff, buy the book or postcards.

Interesting story about this train.   Back in the 40's it was used up in Skagway, Alaska when the Alaskan Highway was being built.  At the same time and place my Dad was working on the Alaskan Highway construction.  Made the ride much more meaningful for me. 95 miles

Day 5. Up early and on the road to Asheville, NC to see the beautiful Biltmore Estate.  No pictures allowed inside, but you can take them outside.   I bought the tour book, postcards and wine from the Biltmore Winery.  250 rooms in this mansion plus gardens, stables, indoor pool, winery, bowling alley, you name it!  230 miles

Day 6. Sadly it's time to head home already.  We left early and finally got to our destination in suburban Chicago around 6:30.  Took longer than expected because 3 semi trucks crashed into each other and really screwed up traffic in Indiana. 595 miles

Day 7. Arrived back home around 3:30.  I had a great time, saw lots of new and interesting sites, met some wonderful, friendly people and I'm looking forward to another trip next year. 413 miles for a total of 2516!

Wednesday 9 comments

Good News, Bad News and an Apology

First I want to apologize to all my blogging friends.  I haven’t been doing much commenting or blogging lately.  I’ve been in some kind of funk and I’m trying to get out of it and back into visiting with all of you again.  Thanks to all who continue to visit my blog, even though I haven’t been updating very often.  But like the title of this blog, I have some news.

First the bad news.  Yesterday I went up to take another picture of the view from my blind.  From the back everything looked just fine, but then I noticed on one side the zippers were unzipped.  Hmmm, that’s strange.  Then I could see the front was ripped and my chair sticking out of it.  We’ve had lots of wind lately and it must have caused all hell to break loose in my little blind.  I may be able to repair it with duct tape, but it did sit out in the sun, wind and rain all spring and summer, I think the elements got the best of it.  I’ll be adding a new blind to my Christmas list.  I know, in the big scope of things, this is hardly bad news, sad would be a better word for it.


But now for the good news.  On Saturday, I’m leaving on a trip to the Smoky Mountains!  Jim has no desire to travel and I do!  So I’ll be taking a bus tour and will be gone for 7 days and 6 nights.  I plan on sending pictures to my Facebook page and Google+ as well as adding some here when I get back.  The weather forecast sounds perfect!  Can’t wait to board that bus at 6:05 Saturday morning.  See ya all when I get back.

Friday 7 comments

Bad Pictures of Weird Things

We were heading up to Superior Wednesday morning and saw this turkey vulture sitting in a tree along the road with its wings spread out.  Most likely it was letting the sun dry it’s feathers.


This was growing inside my blind and made the whole thing smell just like fresh mushrooms.P1120403

The spiders are busy weaving webs every night.  DSCN1350

Another mushroom picture.  This one was growing in the Brule Bog, which actually looks like a fairyland.  Lots of moss, mushrooms and the feeling little gnomes and trolls are watching your every move.  I have no idea what kind of mushroom it is, but I’m willing to bet it’s poisonous.  Don't know what kind this is

The bog floor

This picture has a little bit of everything in it.  Bad lighting, greenery, fall color and the last flowers of the year.


And to show you how quickly things are changing, here are two pictures of my little blind.  The first one was taken on Sunday, Sept. 25.  The next one was taken on Friday, Sept. 30.  Sept 25 blind-1


And this is all that’s left of the pond now that the beavers are gone.  It’s still a pretty view.  At this time last year, we we were rowing around out there in the little boat.  What a difference, eh?DSCN1394P1080428



No, I’m not talking about Facebook, I’m talking about all the changes around here.  It seemed like it happened over night.  The deer lost their pretty red coats and are now wearing their winter coats.  The fawns have lost their spots too.

Aug 30-35

Sept 14 Little Doe with Spottie and Dottie-1

The summer birds are all gone and now the tough winter birds have taken over the feeders.  Blue jays, chickadees, nuthatches, downy and hairy woodpeckers and an occasional goldfinch.

Our menu has changed from summer salads and meat cooked on the grill to soups, chili and all the other great comfort foods I cook when it starts to get cool.  And cool it has been!  We had a couple killing frosts and that took care of the pesky mosquitoes, gnats and flies.  DSCN1150

The landscape has gone from green to shades of yellow, orange, red and brown.  Oh yeah, it’s fall and I’m lovin it!DSCN1195

Many more colorful fall pictures will be coming next week.  The leaves are changing really fast and it’s just gorgeous out there!

Tuesday 4 comments

Another Marked Swan

A friend told Jim that this is the time of year swans molt their feathers and it's when the DNR or other wildlife people put collars on them.  We were driving past the pond where I saw the last one and we decided to pull in to see if it was still there.  Right away we could see one swan on the water and I wanted to see if it was Swan number 26C or if it was a different one.
Well, as you can see (if you click on it to zoom in) this one is 26N and it does look like it's getting a new set of feathers. And like the last one, I reported this one to the USGS Bird Banding Lab.

Thank you everyone for your nice comments about Molly.  She's such a good girl...most of the time!  
Monday 9 comments

Pictures of Molly

She’s getting old and likes to rest…a lot.  As I was going through some of the recent pictures of her, I couldn’t help notice she’s resting in almost all of them.  But when you turn 11, in dog years, that’s old!  While out for a walk one morning, she rested along the side of the road while I was taking pictures.molly

When we’re out driving around she lays with her head between our seats.  Many times, she nudges me with her nose because she needs her neck/head/ears scratched.


She spends lots of time on the bed…but when it’s time for us to go to bed, photo 4

then she moves onto the 2

But she’s a good girl and I don’t know what we’d do without her.

Last summer/early fall she gave us quite a scare .  Something mysterious happened and she became almost completely blind.  We don’t know what caused it and neither did our Vet.  But in February, something just as mysterious happened and she regained her sight.  Whatever it was, we all hope it doesn’t happen again.  Especially Molly!

Linked up to Tammy's Photography Spot "Behind The Camera".

Thursday 9 comments

Swan Sighting

Yesterday we stopped to take a walk near the pond by an old gravel pit.  Back in the day, this was one of Molly’s favorite swimming holes.  Now, she’s not too interested in water or bringing back sticks, but we still like walking there.  Anyway, as soon as the pond came into sight we could see a big ol’ swan swimming around in it.  As we got closer, I took some pictures and I had a feeling I’d seen this swan before.  Bet you’re wondering how does she know it’s the same one she’s seen before?  Well, you see this swan was wearing a yellow collar.  When we got back to the cabin I was so excited when I checked the pictures and sure enough, the number on the collar was 26C.  DSCN0955Back in the March of 2010 I saw this same swan and reported it to the USGS.  Here it is swimming around in the same pond.P1030521-1

At that time I reported it and received this Certificate of Appreciation.  The cool part about it is knowing the swan was born in 2004.  Cert of Appric-1

But to take this one step further the first time I saw this swan in 2009!  At that time it was in a river not too far away from the gravel pit pond.  It had a couple cygnets along with it as well as another banded swan.  I sure wish I would’ve reported both of them at the time.tundra swan, cygnets & wood duck-2

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to make my day!

Linked up to Tammy's Photography Spot "Behind The Camera".


Moving the Cam

We’ve been getting pictures of the same deer and the same raccoons around here, so we decided to take one of our trail cams and try it out on some of the roads we walk on.  We picked spots where we see tracks of other animals.  Mainly deer, wolves and bobcats.  So far we’ve been happy with the pictures.

Night and day pictures of wolves.Aug 11-16August 12-3A bobcat and another wolf at a different spot.


SUNP0057And from yet another location, a small bear (not the best picture) and two different bucks.SUNP0016

SUNP0008Look at the strange set of antlers on this one.

SUNP0056At the cabin, it’s always nice to see the little doe and her fawns come by.  The dots are slowly fading away on little Spottie and Dottie.

PICT0036And it wouldn’t be right to leave out the raccoon family.  They don’t have names, because I don’t like them and wish they’d find another place to hang out.


Tuesday 7 comments

The Irresistibly Sweet Award

Drum roll please….!  Well, maybe not that dramatic, but Tammy over at Tammy’s Photography Spot has passed along this award to me.  Thank you Tammy!  I'm honored, happy to accept it and to pass it on to other sweet bloggers out there in Blogland.

The rules state that I have to tell you 7 things about me and then pass it on to 7 other fabulous bloggers!

1. I love being retired.  We retired in 2007 and I’m still amazed how fast the days go by.

2. Another hobby of mine is making miniature pincushions and selling them on Etsy. Never in a million years did I think so many people would like my little creations.

3. I like all things in nature, except for ticks, biting flies and mosquitoes.  Other things I don’t like.  Green peppers, liver, and lutefisk.

4. Things I do like, chocolate, wine, pasta, shrimp and pizza. 
5. I have two brothers that are married to two sisters.  They are the best sisters-in-law anyone could ever have.  The brothers are pretty darned good too!

6. I make lists…lots of lists.  Things to do, things to buy, birds and animals I’ve seen, things I should do, places I want to go to.  You get the picture.

7.  I’ve been blogging since 2005. It started as a way to let my family know what we were doing.  The biggest bonus to blogging is “meeting” so many great people out there that enjoy doing the same things I do.

The next step is to pass this on to 7 others I feel are worthy of the Irresistibly Sweet Award.  Well, I want to pass it along too all of you because I think all of you deserve it. 

Saturday 7 comments

I’m becoming a fan of August

Normally, August isn’t a favorite month of mine.  By now, I’m sick of summer, the bugs, humidity and heat.  But this year August has become the month of good eats!  Last week we went home for a few days.  Along the way we stopped at several roadside produce stands.  The first one was the best.  The seller had a nice table set up with the produce reasonably priced and it was all on the honor system.  See the jar on the left side of the table?  Just put your money in it, take change if need be and you’re good to go!  produce stand (1)At this one we bought some fresh brown eggs ($1.25 a dozen!),  tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.  A little closer to home we stopped at another favorite of ours and bought more of the same things plus some jalapeno peppers.  This is the kind of stuff you gotta eat until you get sick of it, because the season for super-fresh produce is way too short.  produce stand (3)Get a load of these prices!  On the way back to the cabin we stopped at yet another roadside stand and got some sweet corn, zucchini and fixins for fresh salsa.

Another wonderful thing about August is blackberries and there’s a great crop of them this year.  Jim went out and picked a quart on Sunday.  We had some on our cereal and froze the rest.  Yesterday we decided to go check on another spot and we each picked a quart.  The mosquitoes were as bad as they get and even though I was wearing a layer of Deep Woods Off I had plenty of bites on my arms and legs.  DSCN0795Our tomatoes are getting close to being ripe, so we won’t need to beg the neighbors for some of theirs this year.  BLT’s anyone?  DSCN0750One more good thing about August is the following month is September!  Yeah!  Cooler weather, football, fall color, pumpkins, squash and all that wonderful comfort food.  Bring it on!

Linked up to Tammy's Photography Spot "Behind The Camera".