Up North

C'mon In!

We're up north at our cottage for a few days this week, and plan to stay through the weekend. The dock and boats are already out of the water for the year, so there will be less time at the lake; more time up at the cottage. This week, we've been focused on clean-up. There was a nasty storm here a couple of weeks ago, and while we were lucky to avoid much direct damage to our property (there was hail the size of golf-balls -- although not round; the hail had jagged edges, more like asteroids apparently), there is still a lot of . . . mess . . . from a storm like that in the woods. (Lots of big branches down, leaves pelted from the trees, broken patio lights, that kind of thing).

It's also time for a good inside-cleaning (I do have to tackle that every now and then . . . ), and especially since we're expecting guests for the weekend. While things are looking all spiffed up inside, I thought you might enjoy dropping in for a "look-see."

C'mon in!


Our cottage is small (under 900 square feet) and quite utilitarian, but cozy! It's also full of "relics" -- cast off furniture, old lamps, former appliances that made the shift to cottage-use when we upgraded at home . . . that kind of thing. Most recently added . . . is the couch you may remember seeing from past blog photos. When we re-configured our library at home, we moved the couch up to the cottage (replacing an absolutely ancient sofa bed that we're glad to see go). The couch looks so much better up here than it ever did at home!

Anyway. When you enter the cottage, you come into a large(ish) open living area.


This old recliner (it was once in my Mom's living room, long long ago) is "my spot" when we're up north. (And, yeah. That's my beer there on the table with my knitting.)


There's a little dining area (which also serves as Tom's home-office-away-from-home-office at one end of the table) . . . 


and a quite-functional kitchen.


Upstairs . . . there's a loft that serves as our guest room. It's also where I set up my computer when we aren't expecting company.


Although the loft looks kind of boring from that angle, it really does offer the best views of the cottage when you turn around.


The loft also gives great overhead views of the space below. (Back in the days when our kids "ruled" the loft, we had to institute VERY SPECIFIC RULES about what could and could not be launched from the loft onto unsuspecting people - or pets - below.) (Bonus points if you spot Jenny on the porch, waiting to be let in.)


And then . . . down the dark hallway . . . there is a closet (under the stairs), a small bedroom for Tom and I, a bathroom, and a utility room (including a stacked washer/dryer -- the smartest thing we installed when building the place way back when). The back door leads out onto the deck . . . and the views of the lake I often share.


And that's it!
Compact, but cozy. A perfect place to get away for awhile.

Thanks for stopping by. 
I hope you have a wonderful, restful weekend . . . wherever you are and whatever you have planned.

Do You See What I See?

For various reasons (mostly weather and schedule related), I haven't spent as much time at our cabin up north this summer as I usually do . . . or as often as I'd like to. But . . . I'm here now. So there is that.


And while sitting around last night, I thought it might be fun to share a little "game" we often play up here. (And, no. It's not Pass the Pigs.) (Although that IS a perennial favorite.)

The interior of our little cabin is knotty pine paneling . . . 


(Pardon the quality of these photos. It was dark when I took them. The photos are grainy. But you'll be able to get the general idea.)


Tom and my Dad installed all the tongue-and-groove pine paneling. It's really quite lovely, and it gives the entire cabin a warm-and-cozy feel.

It also gives us our "game" . . . Do You See What I See . . . in the knots of the pine paneling! For two decades now, we stare up at this pine paneling (often after a few drinks) (just sayin) and we find . . . things . . . in the knot formations. Pictures, if you will. Whenever we have guests, Tom gets one of his fly rods and uses it as a pointer to highlight the "family favorites." And our guests usually find new ones to add to our "collection."

Sometimes, we don't see the knot-patterns in quite the same way. Tom tends to see lots of "pigs" and "owls." I see more "dogs" and "koalas." But, generally, with some imagination . . . we DO see things in the patterns of knots on the walls and ceilings.

Here's one of the first we ever found. I think it was actually one of the kids who found it . . . and they're certainly the ones who named it "Mr. Bubble." (Now, I think he looks like the sunglass-emoji guy.) "Mr. Bubble" has been watching over us at the cabin for a very long time now!


In the spirit of Three on Thursday, I thought it might be fun to play three rounds of Do You See What I See. (These are all long-time family-favorites.) (Tom would definitely point these out to you with his fly rod if you were visiting us at our cabin.)

Here goes . . . 


I see an alien. How about you?
(And for advanced players, there is a little koala up and to the left of the alien. Bonus points if you see that one.)


We call this one . . . the kangaroo rat. I have no idea why . . . but it's definitely something. Can you see it? (Bonus points if you see JoJo peeking up from the panel above . . . just one eye and a her nose.)


This is a tricky one . . . because there are lots of knots here (it would help if I had Tom's fly rod to point things out). This is our old dog, Jake. You can see his two eyes and nose there in the in the middle panel (if you look closely and use your imagination). Jake was our white German shepherd - much beloved; our dog-before-Jenny. (Jake almost made it to his 100th birthday, but fell about a month short of Centurion status.) Jake loved being at the cabin with us, so it's nice to have him with us still, there in the knotty pine!

And that's it for today's installment of Do You See What I See!
Happy Thursday. And be sure to visit Carole for more Three on Thursday fun.


So . . . this week, Typepad (my frequently disappointing blogging platform) is not sending me comment notifications by email. This makes it challenging for me to respond to your comments. Just want to let you know. I am seeing them . . . and I love it when you comment! It's just hard for me to respond in turn.



Even Up North

A couple of month ago, I shared a post proclaiming my love (and Tom's too) of bulletin boards. (You can read it here in case you missed it.) This morning, I realized that my love of the humble bulletin board extends to our up north cabin!

Here's the view of our back hallway (back hallway? HA! What am I talking about? I mean THE hallway!) . . . 


What's on it?
Certainly not as much "stuff" as we have on our bulletin boards at home. But an interesting collection all the same!

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Something to make you laugh. Some phone numbers. The complete rules to horseshoes. And a spare "head net" for when the bugs are just TOO buggy. (One size fits all.)

For Tom and I . . . there is no escaping the blank canvas of a bulletin board!
Even Up North.


My view from the pontoon yesterday . . . 

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Hope your week is going well. We're heading back home this afternoon. There is excitement afoot . . . 


Into the Woods

"And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul."
            --- John Muir


My morning view . . . 

Yep. I'm up north this week. It's my first time this season (Tom's been up here several times already . . . to open things up, replace our water heater, and - really - to fish). It's always a whirlwind of activity up here, that first "real" week of the season. There's a lot to do, and none of it is particularly fun. We need to get the docks in and the boats in the water. (And by "we" I mean Tom, really. Brian is going to help with the docks later today, and our "boat guy" LeRoy will help get the pontoon out of our front yard and back into the water.) There is an amazing amount of prep work to be done before that can even happen (power washing . . . and a lot motor "stuff," mainly). Besides that, there are paths to rake and a bathroom to scrub. Dust and cobwebs to tackle. Our Sonos system needs an update (priorities, y'know). I need to take inventory . . . what do we need, what did we forget, what did we want last year that we forget about over the winter. Do the laundry. Make all the beds. That kind of stuff.

The fun comes . . . later.
After we get set up and settled in again for another season.

And it will be totally worth it!


Here's to a great week for all of us.


A Never Before

In all our years up north . . . 

In all this time of having a cabin . . . 

I have never, ever "gardened."

Not even a little bit. Mostly because . . . who needs to garden when you're in deep woods? The woods provide their own landscaping magic, after all. But there's also the practical and logistical side of things. Our up north schedule is erratic most years, with our time at the cabin competing with other summer plans.

This year, though? Not so much.

So back in May, I brought up a flat of impatiens and I planted them on our porch rail.


We've been up here enough this year that they've done well. I can keep them watered so they thrive between our visits (although our neighbors helped once during a particularly dry/hot spell when we were back home).

The flowers add a nice, welcoming touch to our little cabin in the woods. A bright spot!


The pandemic has brought me many opportunities to say "never before" . . .
but this one is a nice "never before!"


In Progress

We're having "work days" here at our cottage this week. Deep cleaning. Household tasks. Putting in the docks. "Lumberjacking." (Taking care of felled trees and clearning out some space at our "beach" -- now non-existent due to rising lake levels.)

Not much time for fun and games. 

Or knitting.

But my watercolor class still meets via Zoom on Tuesday nights! We're working on still life compositions right now. Mine . . . has a definite up north feel . . . 


In progress. . . coming along.
(Bonus points if you can tell what it is.)

What are you working on these days?



Listen to John Muir

I'm up north this week.  

Usually, I don't come up to our little cabin this early in the season (although Tom does, regularly, to fish).  Spring comes slowly here in Michigan, generally.  But it comes even s-l-o-w-e-r up north.  It's hard to take a big step backward when it comes to springtime, y'know? So I usually skip these May trips.


But this year? Things are different. (Oh. So. Different.) And I decided to come along this week.  Bare trees and all!

And even though it WAS kind of shocking to see how far spring is lagging behind up here . . . it's been refreshing, in a way, too.  

Yesterday (a day, mind you, that started with bright blue skies and a temperature of 21 degrees F), I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes: 

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."         
                                                --- John Muir


When JoJo and I set out for our daily walk, I didn't expect much; I wasn't really seeking anything.  Just some exercise.  And a chance to get outside for both of us.

But I received far more than that!


Our time in the trees . . . kind of hit a RESET button in my soul.  I enjoyed the gifts of sunshine and cool breezes.  I marveled at the emerging leaves.  I took big breaths of fresh forest air.  I felt myself relax.  I sunk into spring emerging all around me.  And I realized how lucky I am to be able to watch spring unfold for a second time this year! 

These are challenging times.  The world seems a very confused, scary, and incredibly frustrating place right now.  After yesterday, my advice to you . . . is to get outside!  
Spend some time in nature.  
Allow the magic to happen.  
Listen to John Muir!  

You'll receive far more than you seek!

Mornings at the Lake

I haven't been up to our lake cottage "up north" yet this season.  Between crappy weather and a busy schedule, I've opted to stay at home so far -- while Tom has traveled up for frequent fishing trips.

But I'm here now!


It's such a treat to work from my office-in-the-woods -- outside on the back deck, surrounded by trees and bird song and a gentle breeze.  (And, thankfully, no mosquitoes at the moment.)

I love being up here!  Life is slower.  There isn't anywhere for me to go or anthing I need to rush off to take care of.  No appointments.  No gym.  No garden to weed.  (But still plenty of chores.  Always with the chores.)  I'm looking forward to a few days of quiet re-freshing.  (Until the Fourth of July crowd arrives.  Then we'll head home again.)  Reading.  Thinking.  Knitting. Sitting around the campfire with Tom.  And enjoying the lake in the morning!


When I wake up, I always take my coffee out on the deck.  That sunrise over the lake usually beckons -- and before long, I'm heading down the steps to the lake, where I can just sit on the dock and enjoy the peace of the lake in the morning.


Most mornings, it's still and quiet, the water like glass.  Usually there's mist, rising from the surface of the water.  Some mornings there are a few folks fishing, but not today.  (Plenty of fish rising, though!


This morning, when I turned around to head back up to the cottage, I noticed how very l-o-n-g my shadow was!


See my legs on the dock?  And my head . . . way over on the shore?  (And in between, the lake -- perfectly reflecting the trees overhead).

Mornings at the lake. . . a pretty great way to start the day!