Archive for September, 2014

Hiking between the falls at Tahq

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

I think the first photo is the money shot, at least on our hike between the falls at Tahquamenon State Park last Saturday. This was below and around the bend from the upper falls, hence all of the foam on the tannin-laced water. The river slows down considerably on the four-mile stretch between the upper and lower falls.


Fall is arguably just about the best time for hiking at Tahq. Why? Because there are NO INSECTS! Oh, that’s not totally true. There are insects. It’s just that the pesky biting ones are not prevalent. There is some color, although at the end of September, we still see a lot of green leaves.


The trail never strays far from the Tahquamenon River and, since the river is at the bottom of a valley, there is quite a lot of up and down and you will see phenomena like this tree.


We love to check out the fungus amongus.


And yes there are waterfalls! The lower falls is below. I didn’t bother to photograph the upper. The upper is bigger, i.e., there is a larger distance for the water to drop (think Niagara but much smaller). The lower is a series of smaller drops. Lots of water this year but not as dizzying as it was when we were there during the Memorial Day weekend. There were “no” insects there then either but that was relatively unusual. And we didn’t hike between the falls that day partly because we didn’t plan to but also because there was so dern much water in the river last spring that parts of the trail were underwater and therefore it was closed.


The last time I hiked between the falls, I was totally dead at the end of it all. We hiked from the lower to the upper falls, ate at the brewery, then hiked back. It was early July, it was 90 degrees, and, as much as I love my Chaco sandals, my Keens are better for hiking the relatively rugged (for Michigan) trail at Tahq because they have a closed toe form factor, which helps with all of the tree roots across the trail, etc. And there were insects of the biting sort although the extreme temps kept the mo-skee-toes at bay for the most part. I was taaaarred at the end of that hike and a bit trepidatious about this one. Not to worry. I had a blast! I felt fantastic and I could’ve easily hiked it both ways. Big uphill section? Bring it on!

Cheesy hash browns and spicy sausage Eggs over easy, hash browns, and toast

Monday, September 29th, 2014

And so another season at the moomincabin ends. Yesterday was such a beautiful summery day that it felt like we could leave the place open forever and in truth, it probably could’ve stayed open a couple more weeks. But we want to spend some time at Houghton Lake (and The Planet Ann Arbor!) and no one else seems to have the time and opportunity to go up so this morning, after providing the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie with breakfast, we did the dastardly deed. I took my morning beach walk when it was still mostly dark but here’s the beach once the sun came up (but didn’t show its face). The Kaye Barker was in the parking place at this point. Not sure when it moved down.


Here’s an exterior shot. The storm windows are on and the water is drained at this point (I think) but the lucky-shucky is still on. I hate those storm windows. They are necessary but I spend as little time as possible inside while they are on the windows. Gratuitous shot of the Ninja. Hee – when I handed my commuter card to the gal at the Big Mac, she asked me if *I* was the Ninja. Yes! But really it’s my vee-hickle’s moniker!


Just because, here is a gratuitous shot of the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen and Lyme Lounge in front of the Old Cabin. Ready to launch.


I do not know what I would do if Bugs and Horsey ever decide to burn down their outhouse because every single blasted year, I need to use it after we have drained the water and turned it off. THANK YOU!!! Of course, I could easily use the woods or ask Jeep & Pan et al but I’ve come to look forward to my annual visit to the old outhouse I used as a kid. My first outhouse. Was it that dark in there when we were little? I mean in the daylight. There’s a knothole behind the eastern terlet. It doesn’t let in a lot of light. I thought about using my iPhone flashlight but 1) I didn’t wanna drop it you-know-where and 2) I didn’t wanna look you-know-where but, being me, I might have…


And awaaaaay we go. Me behind the Frog Hopper and Lyme Lounge on the cabin road. I am a bit amazed that my speedometer actually reports six mph at this point. Felt more like four. At any rate, this is a sloooow road and that is a good thing.


Back on the Planet Ka-Whomp! More about the interesting parts of our weekend this week. Love y’all, KW!

If you go down in the woods today…

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

bearpawI have hiked the trail between the upper and lower falls at Tahquamenon many times in my life but yesterday’s hike yielded a once-in-a-lifetime event. The Tahquamenon Falls State Park was having an open house over the weekend and the weather was stellar considering the park is in the yooperland, so this popular state park was packed full with visitors from all over the world. Although most visitors only venture as far as the boardwalks / stairs to the falls, a small percentage hike the relatively rugged four mile trail between the falls. With yesterday’s crowds, that meant that a lot of people were on the trail.

Along with a group of our North Country Trail friends, we decided to hike from the upper falls down to the lower falls, then drive back up and have a late lunch at the brewery. We were maybe a mile into our hike when a rather distressed woman hiking toward us said there was a dead bear in the trail ahead of us and something about hunters and a canoe. We were intrigued by this information. I have never seen an actual bear – dead or alive – in the wild up here in the yooperland in my entire life. Bear scat? Photos from moominbeach neighbors? Yes. They are around but I’ve never seen one.

After that, we met several groups of hunters (with dogs) and eventually the huntress who had shot the bear and, while I’m not sure that I am reporting this 100% accurately, to the best of my knowledge, here is the gist. The hunters were well away from the park’s visitors when they spotted the bear. The dogs treed the bear and the huntress shot and wounded it. It came down from the tree and ran — possibly across M123, a paved 2-land highway (but I’m not clear about that detail) — pursued by the party. By coincidence, the wounded bear fell to its death *on* the hiking trail. We think that the distressed woman came across the bear shortly after its death.

The hunting party pulled the bear well off the trail so as not to disturb other hikers and the huntress waited with it while the rest of the hunting party hiked to the upper falls to obtain a canoe with which to carry the bear down the river to the lower falls and out.

Was this all legal? We were wondering that too! Yes it was. Bear hunting seasons in Michigan are complicated. I can’t begin to understand all of the rules but there are three seasons and a lottery system. This is the third season and these hunters had legal permits. But can they hunt within a state park? Yes, they can. Again, I do not know the specific rules about this but I know that Tahquamenon Falls is a very large park with a *lot* of wilderness and, again, most people stick very close to the paved sidewalks, boardwalks, staircases [junk shops and food emporiums]. These hunters were nowhere near any of those areas when the bear was shot.

Our group kept an eagle-eye out for the huntress and her prey. I know that many people (maybe including a few of my nine readers) are not keen on hunting and may not agree with the employment of dogs to hunt bear. I have my own mixed feelings (at the end) but I am not sorry that I sought out the bear and its huntress. The huntress was very knowledgeable about bears in general and, as a schoolteacher, was wonderful at explaining how the hunt worked and what they were going to do with the bear and some bits of bear physiology in general. The bear was a sow and the quick age estimate was five years. Her teeth and cervix will be sent for examination to determine more accurately her age and whether she has given birth.

We were invited to touch the bear if we wanted to. In the manner of Boyz Will Be Boyz, certain people who will not be named got a wee bit of bear blood on one of their hands and did NOT WASH IT OFF until they got down to the lower falls. You can be sure I was quite a bit more reticent. I did gingerly touch the fur and of course I took a few photos, and one video. Because I fumbled my phone, the video turned out to be a mere three seconds, which I subsequently decided was long enough.

I’m sure it was quite the feat for the hunters to get the bear into the canoe and paddle it down to where they could get it out of the river. We weren’t there for that operation (we had already headed up to the brewery), but our group had an exhibit set up down at the lower falls and those who were staffing it said it was quite the extravaganza, with the bear being wheeled along (?) on some sort of device and all kinds of people following close behind with cameras. Only in the 21st century? You know I’d’ve been one of those camera people if I’d been there.

My thoughts on hunting (and guns)? I have never shot a gun. I do not think that I could shoot an animal unless it was threatening my or someone else’s life. But I would have to learn how to shoot a gun to do that so I’m in sort of a catch 22 there. I am not against hunting. I want to believe that hunters shoot animals for good reason (food, etc. for themselves or others) although I know there is also some sport involved and I don’t begrudge them that. Getting beyond that basic question to methods of hunting, I don’t understand them well enough to have an opinion. I don’t like the idea of any yahoo who happens to get his/her hands on a weapon out there getting drunk and shooting randomly but I think that is a pretty small percentage of the hunting population.

I enjoyed talking with these hunters (the huntress in particular but she was who we talked to most extensively). I was impressed at how knowledgeable they were about bears and that they were very concerned that their hunt happened to intersect with a relatively highly traveled tourist hiking trail. I’m sure they didn’t plan that. They were aware that the opinions of the random folks walking the trail that day would vary greatly and I was impressed that they pulled the bear far enough off the trail that no one would accidentally happen upon it.

It was so hard to leave the Tahquamenon area today but we’re having one last day of summer here at the Moominbeach. Closing it up tomorrow morning just as more typical inclement weather moves in.

Catching up in Paradise

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Tahquamenon River Mouth campground


Last night’s “funky” faaaar


Morning on the river


North country trail work crew


Just checking in

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Very spotty service up here at the Tahquamenon River Mouth campground. Good night!


Thursday, September 25th, 2014

skeletorToday. 0-skunk-30 walk. No skunks today. The last two days I have seen a skunk run through Maryfield Park and across Linwood at around the same time in the same place. Two days ago it was heading straight for me and I broke out into a sprint. Second day (yesterday) I was half a block away when I spotted it and I waited until it passed. Today? No skunk. Was that because a dog was in the area?

Today? Laundry and chores and packing and organizing for a cabin-closing trip this weekend. When I was a kid, we pretty much closed up the cabin on Labor Day. School started the next day and I was actually happy to return to my bedroom in our shabby old bungalow down on Superior Street, across the street from our own Lincoln School. I vividly remember packing all of my clothes and possessions into a bushel basket (google it) to move out *to* the cabin, the day after school got out, thank you very much Mrs. Commander. Moom, we need to go to the cabin! Now! We don’t care how cold it is out there or that we have to use the outhouse.

I guess I probably used the same bushel basket to pack my belongings when we moved back to town at the end of the summer but I don’t really remember. I do remember organizing my bedroom and desk, etc., in our house in town. After my parents retired from their jobs, they stayed at the moomincabin well after Labor Day, until the first bit of snow arrived. Back in those days, Radical Betty and Don and Katie were still around. They all had so much fun.

It’s a bit different nowadays when no one lives anywhere near the moomincabin. But we still open the place for summer and close it in the fall and we will be closing it this weekend. Alas.

P. S. I have been asked when I will arrive at Tahquamenon tomorrow. It seems the “whole world” wants to know. I am humbled by this request. Love you all, KW.

“Close to the bathroom?” “ACK”

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

friday3Yes. The last time I camped up at Tahquamenon, getting to the bathroom was interesting in the dark. I mean, I could seeeeee where the bathroom was because it was all lit up but if I tried to walk straight to it, I would have to cross other people’s campsites and bits of woods and whatever. The iPhone flashlight is wondrous but it isn’t up to some of those impediments. If I took the road, I had to circle all over the place and sometimes I would pick the wrong place to turn. I could still see the bathroom but I still couldn’t easily access it. I cannot complain. The River Mouth campground *has* flushy terlets and showers and God Bless AT&T, the 4G smartphone network.

I guess I am a wimp about camping. I like to camp. I like to sleep in tents. I like to sleep in the Lyme Lounge. I have no qualms about using an outhouse. That is, I have no qualms about using an outhouse if there aren’t so many people using it that it can’t be kept clean. I remember a very small beach urchin who tried to use an outhouse once on a trip home from somewhere in the Great White North. We were just north of Lansing. I might have been able to endure the stench by holding my nose. My child was on the verge of vomiting or maybe she did. If so, I don’t blame her! It was that awful. I led her out *behind* the damn outhouse and she provided nitrogen to the grass or whatever plants were there. When I was a kid, most of the rest areas on the Great Lake State freeways were outhouses. I forget when that started to change but that change was a good thing, for “the environment” and “public health” and whatever. That particular rest area was a holdout and it is now long gone, thank you Zeus.

So I am getting lost here. Showers are my bete noir, or I guess I should say lack of showers. I always take a shower. Every day. Occasionally, I even take two showers. That’s not to say that, given the right campsite, I won’t find an inventive way to bathe and wash my god-forsaken hair. I grew up bathing and washing my hair in Lake Superior in the summer. I’ve bathed in rivers and have even used bottled water in a pinch. Not to mention the rubber camping shower I bought and used back in the [beloved] moldy old Houghton Lake cabin. But, sorry, I neeeeed to be clean. Every day. I am not comfortable if I am not clean. I have been like this since I was a teenager. At that time, it seemed like it wasn’t a good idea to bathe every day in my house. We didn’t have a shower then but we sure as heck had water up the wazoo up there on the shores of Gitchee Gumee.

I could go on and on about being a teenager with “horrible” parents but (fer kee-reist), they were wonderful and eventually I gained the confidence to bathe when I needed to, even though in the summer, it sometimes meant asking a relative with a year-round house for the use of their shower. And so I was a frequent user of Radical Betty or Don & Katie’s shower when I had to be at work at my summer college job early and Gitchee Gumee was particularly ugly. I appreciated that so much.

Because Bad*ss is not an official job title

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

nookI can be a bad*ss on the job but I am usually pretty sly about it, i.e., you catch a LOT more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. There was nothing bad*ss about today though. I did not publish a spec today. I published a monster. I don’t want to talk about it and you do NOT wanta know. Suffice it to say, when I gathered up all of my cosmic debris and shambled out of work 10 minutes early, I told the Queen Bee (and anyone else within hearing distance), “I’m done. Stick a fork in me.”

Okay, new microwave. How do I defrost a frozen clump of leftover enchiladas? No, I have not used the micro to do anything besides heat up some bits of leftovers since I bought it in… July? August? August. I wrote about it here. Back to defrosting the leftover enchies. Where is the owner’s manual? I prob’ly stashed it somewhere but I bet I can find it online and so I did. Enchies are defrosted and warming in Gertrude’s top oven.

What else? Oh, the GG’s cute little reading nook. I’m not 100% happy with this new arrangement of furniture. This looks so comfy and I’m sure it is, but what you can’t exactly make out is that the Red Player Puano [intentionally misspelled] is on the right. It’s right in the middle of the Landfill Back Room and on the other side of that is a desk with the GG’s UberMac on it, a medium-ass TV sitting next to it so the GG can watch feetsball games while surfing the internet. Trapped by all of this stuff is a big bookshelf that I CANNOT GET TO! And The Commander’s big tree-type plant that we almost left to die in the garage in Command Central on Dillon Street. The GG finally figured out how to schlep it down here and it actually seems to do better when it doesn’t get a lot of light, go figger. It’s okay. We’ll figger it out.


Monday, September 22nd, 2014

demogorgonThis cute li’l demogorgon was waiting for me on my not-so-0-skunk-30 walk yesterday morning, i.e., I got out about an hour later than usual, hence it was *light* enough that I could see him. I suspect he is the first of the annual Halloween display. Given the number of plastic rats that make up that display, I have to wonder what the interior of that house looks like. Can you navigate from the front door to the bathroom? When was the last time the kitchen was used for anything besides storage? Then again, [most of] the rats disappear when the Halloween season [did I really just call Halloween a season?] ends, so there must be some kind of order involved.

I’m grumpy (oh not all *that* grumpy) because every time I make a few significant inroads on de-hoarding around here, I feel ecstatic! For about two hours. And then I start looking around at how much more is left. Reality check? I joke that I am de-hoarding. I am not a hoarder. You can navigate anywhere in my house, including the Landfill Dungeon, without getting buried under a stack of old newspapers (newspapers?) or dirty dishes (or cats (and their feces)). The main living areas (front and back living room and kitchen) are pretty sparsely decorated these days and it doesn’t take much to let Rooomba have free reign. Still, I would like to get rid of a few pieces of furniture.

I vacillate about how to move forward. Some days / weeks are better than others. The Commander spent a lot of time in her upper 80s getting rid of stuff. I remember running into Radical Betty at Penny’s Kitchen and and she would be giggling about that. “Fran always says she has all this stuff to do.” RB and The Comm were BFFs beginning in college. The Comm was doing all that stuff because she didn’t want to leave a mess for me to clean up. I envy her freedom to fling anything she wanted to fling. Grandroobly was gone and so was The Engineer and she didn’t want to leave me to deal with a whole lot of stuff. Interestingly enough, she didn’t get rid of some of the artifacts I remember when I was a child. I’m not sure if that was on purpose or if she just didn’t come across those things in her flinging activities.

I envy her the freedom to fling but I don’t envy the fact that so many people were on the other side by then. I would rather have fun with all of those who are still around!

I’m not going anywhere any time soon but I do not want to leave my beach urchins with a bunch of stuff and so I continue my flinging operation. I’ve said this before and I will say it again.

Good night,

You have failed level 1

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

2dotsYes, it is the iPhone 6 right up close and personal. No, it is not my iPhone 6. Its owner is playing a game called Two Dots. I downloaded the game Two Dots (onto my iPhone 5S) and promptly failed at the very first level. Anyway, I guess this photo represents the 21st century version of having a beach urchin sitting in your chitchen reading / drawing / writing while her moom cooks dinner.

Power outage this afternoon? Yes, for about an hour. Funny thing… This morning on my not-so-0-skunk-30 walk, I was headed down Duncan and I kept hearing a funny little buzzy noise. It kind of sounded like when the folks kitty corner across the street open and close their remote control garage door. Except it was kind of random. All of a sudden, I realized that it sounded a lot like a buzzing noise I heard once before. The noise faded as I [rather nervously] made my way through the schoolyard but when the power went out, I had to wonder if a transformer had blown or whatever. Not sure what happened but we do have power now and I have enchiladas in the oven.

A good bit of flinging occurred at The Landfill this afternoon. A couple boxes of stuff are going over to DayTwa. A whole bunch of stuff went into the recycle cart. There are books and various other odd items to donate and a few things went rather unceremoniously into the trash amongst a wee bit of giggling. Oh, nothing interesting enough to write about and anyway, it is only partially yer fav-o-rite blahgger’s story. A few items are being Thought About a while longer and one or two items were actually reunited with or adopted by yer fave.

Then a pilgrimage over to the Plum in the rain. My second today but I knew when I made my first pilgrimage this morning that I would be back. We were okay because we had umbrellas. I used my regular rainbow umbrella and my beach urchin used The Commander’s beautiful dragonfly umbrella from MOMA or wherever. That particular umbrella suits that particular beach urchin’s style particularly well so I foisted it off on her. It’s beautiful but we have more than enough umbrellas around here.

And so I guess I have rambled along to a rather abrupt stop. Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. Love y’all. KW.


Saturday, September 20th, 2014

coffeeMan oh man, did we have a hard time finding our fave coffee spot down at the farmer’s market this morning! I don’t know the exact algorithm for getting a space at the farmer’s market but there is an element of first-come, first-pick involved. Some people seem to manage to get the same space every week. Roos Roast jumps around. For all I know, that’s their preference. Anyway, it took us a couple rounds through the market to find our coffee folks this morning. I ran into some other people who had given up and gone inside to Sweetwater’s for coffee (which is a great place too). But I knew Roos was there because I saw a Roos person schlepping one of their big jugs around and eventually we found it. For me, looking for Roos is part of the fun. Next time I guess our search will be a bit easier, since we’ve been advised to look UP for the YELLOW SIGN!

Eek! I thought the GG was dying out in the back there for a minute but then he said, “Fumble!” Oh yeah, U of M is playing this afternoon. The Champions of the West. Champions? West? It’s okay, I couldn’t care less about feetsball, although football Saturdays are fun [if you don’t go to the Plum Market before one (note to self)] and I enjoy the ambiance of football on TV.

It was a pretty regular Saturday here at the Landfill even though I was sorely missing Kelley’s Island. I did all my usual chores, processed tons of veggies from the market, and picked away at flinging. Actually, I moved more of the stuff I plan to keep back into the Landfill Chichen. I even moved glassware into a cupboard. I have been storing a bunch of glasses in my loverly new dishwasher all this time. The GG has not been happy about this. I have plenty of cupboard space to store this stuff. The thing is that I don’t want to hide them away. I want a free-standing set of shelves to display them on. I have not had time to deal with this or maybe I just haven’t had the gazinto. We’ll get there.

The GG spent a lot of time cleaning and reorganizing the Lyme Lounge for next week when it will serve as his home base for trail-building up in the Tahquamenon area. Next weekend we’ll be camping and hiking at Tahq and then closing the moomincabin. I haven’t looked at the long-range forecast. I hope it doesn’t snow up there. It certainly wouldn’t be unheard of.

This was obviously a boring day and I am about done except to say that I’m glad I am not over at the stadium because it is raining and there is thunder and where there is thunder, there is lightning.

Oh yikes! PS. Our Partners in Porterization seem to have seen a TV story on my company’s kayak trip yesterday. I haven’t seen it. I hope my underwear is not visible! Here I thought that uglies of meeeeee would just appear in some obscure place on [my-company] TV 7? Eek!

Update: They are calling the game because of lightning. How long will it take to get 100,000-plus people outta that stadium? Soooooo glad I am not there.

Indecent exposure

Friday, September 19th, 2014

We’ve been talking all week about freezing down in the river on our sorta annual work kayak trip. Last year it was in the 90s when we took our trip. This week we are barely making it into the low 70s before the sun heads down toward the horizon in the late afternoon. It probably did only get into the 70s this afternoon but it was a glorious day and we had so much fun. We got dumped off at Argo, made our way through the cascades (here’s a youtube link of someone else kayaking the cascades) and then paddled on down to Gallup and here is my kayak as I paddled past Island Park.


I got some much-needed kudos today. I am not a fancy, extreme kayaker in any way, shape, or form. I am a strong paddler but I prefer calm water. I can handle a little bit of bounce and I can navigate the teensiest tinesiest of rapids. The cascades are about my limit and even on those, I take them slowly so I can maneuver myself to hit each rapids as straight-on as possible.

Once we finished with the cascades and got down on the shallow, relatively calm Huron River, I tended, as usual, to end up at or near the front of the pack. This year, I found myself up there amongst a bunch of younger men, not people I know well or at all. In the last quarter-mile or so, it seemed like a few of them were racing a bit to get to the dock. I hung back on purpose. Why? Well. I knew that I would have to more or less roll myself out of my kayak onto the dock and I was wearing a short hiking skirt and, uh, I really didn’t want anyone to see my underwear. I especially made sure that I got to the dock after Tock and his uber-camera did. I know he got some *other* photos of me and if any of them turn out, I’ll ask him if I can share them with you.

This party was not as well attended as some others have been and probably more people decided to hang out at Gallup than kayak and that was okay! There was plenty of food and drink and people were relaxing and having fun. I grabbed a cuppa whine and sat around in my wet clothes (wet by *water*, I’ll have you know) with the LSCHP and other co-workers for a good while. The kudos? One of the boyz that I had been kayaking with, however randomly, made it a point to tell me what a great paddler I was. “You have really good form.” I humbly told him that, although I own three kayaks and have spent a lot of time paddling, I am just an amateur and I always stick to situations I can handle. I really appreciated his words though, being that my last birthday had a goddamn zero in it and this young whippersnapper is probably about my daughter’s age.

Eventually I drove home and reconfigured myself to schlep down to the Oscar Tango where a waitress quietly tipped me off that my tank top was INSIDE OUT! Sheesh! Why didn’t the West Park muskrats tell me that? I do not know. Inside out shirt and exposed undies all in one day.

I’m not sure how coherent all of this was but I think I am done. It has been weeks since we’ve eaten at the Oscar Tango and we haven’t been Porterized in as many weeks. So much fun. Last Friday, we ate at a very similar kind of place on Kelley’s Island. Except for the view. Wish I could walk to the Captain’s Corner pub more often…


Garbage in, garbage out

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

nofishTomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day Friday and that’s the day The Planet Ann Arbor’s fleet of garbage, recycle, and compost trucks roars into the neighborhood, lifts up all the handy dandy carts and dumps them.

I don’t have any compost this week, largely because nobody was around to do yardwork last weekend and I am saving my kitchen scraps in the freezer until there is enough yard vegetation in the bin to help cut the smell of rotting meat. I almost *always* have a bunch of stuff in the recycle cart so I grabbed that and rolled it down to the curb. Then I grabbed the garbage cart. Hmmm, this is reeeeallly light. Is there anything in it? Well, no there isn’t! I think that is a first. Alas, it was short-lived. I emptied a trash bin in the Landfill Dungeon, one that has been collecting various bits of cosmic debris for *months*. And there is a fairly full kitchen-sized bag that will go out in the morning.

A disclaimer or two. One of the reasons we have such a paltry amount of garbage this week is because we dumped the garbage from our little luxury camping expotition last weekend into a dumpster at the Kelley’s Island State Park. No fish, please. There’s a fish hut for that, a good distance away from the campground and picnic area, thank you very much. (If you embiggen the photoooo, you can better see the Frog Hopper and Lyme Lounge in the background.) But even that was a paltry bit of garbage.

At any rate, we have come a long way since I was a beach urchin and my family lived in a shabby little bungalow on Superior Street and my old coot would burn paper trash in an incinerator out by the alley. I don’t remember exactly when those incinerators were outlawed but I remember being a young adult living in various apartments and shoving *newspapers* into garbage bags.

The Planet Ann Arbor had a monthly pickup in those days. It was staffed by volunteers and I didn’t always manage to participate. When I bought a house and became a parent (those events were related, don’tcha know), I began recycling in earnest. The Planet has steadily improved its recycling operations over the years and so have I and nowadays I call myself the Queen of Recycling. That’s just in fun though because I know all too well that there are many folks who are waaaaayyy ahead of me in the challenge of reducing their personal footprint on the earth.

I am looking forward (sort of) to Talk Like a Pirate Day tomorrow (yes, it is a thing). Actually, I am thinking ahead to the aftermath of TLAPD, which is walking downtown to the Oscar Tango. How many weeks has it been? Toooooo looooonnnnng!

I said I didn’t have any compost. That’s not exactly true. For years, I have composted vegetable matter in the Landfill Back Yard. I am still doing that.

I’ve already found jeebus, so just leave me alone.

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

lichenThis solicitor didn’t even come to the house. He was waiting for me at the Shell station. I needed a dry bag so I swung by REI just before the lunch hour and got gasoline on the way.

“Hello! How are you today? Are you on your way to work?” [What is your name, rank, and serial number?]

Uuhhhh… I was fumbling with the pump to get the right gasoline selection. I have to *concentrate* on stuff like that and he was distracting me.

“This is Shell customer appreciation day. Can I wash your windshield?”

Uuuhhh… Okaaaayyy. I was still struggling with the pump but I forced myself to brighten up just a weeeee little bit and chirped, “It probably needs it.”

He went through some perfunctory swishing and swiping motions for 30 seconds or so. I *finally* got the correct grade of gasoline selected and flowing into my tank. And then… Dun dun dun.

“You have a crack in your windshield.”

Oh, really? He pointed it out and I had to squint to see the teensy tinesy wee little pit in the Ninja’s windshield. And then he launched into a long spiel about some program for fixing cracked windshields. Or replacing them. Or something.

My eyes glazed over. I stammered something lame like, “My husband takes care of this stuff.”

“Oh, well, that’s fine. You guys can come by any time to [take advantage of this wonderful program].”

Hee. “My husband takes care of this stuff” is true but, if that yay-hoo could see what the Frog Hopper’s windshield looks like at this moment, he would know that the GG is not likely to take advantage of his speshul offer any time in the near future. Actually, the GG’s modus operandi regarding windshield cracks is something like, “As soon as I fix the windshield, it gets hit by a rock.” Alas, all too true. The Indefatigable was particularly susceptible to this rule and I can remember him going out to talk to the driver’s license test people about the condition of that windshield before one of the beach urchins was scheduled to take her test. Did he really need to fix it? Because…

Will I go back to that particular station? Oh I probably will but the possibility of being assaulted by an intrusive person giving me the hard-sell on a repair that I don’t need will definitely make me think twice.

And then there were the beaches

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

I grew up spending my summers on my family’s beach on Gitchee Gumee. I think you could call the sand on our beach sugar sand but I’m not sure. A very quick google for “sugar sand” brought up the mineral content (or whatever) of sugar sand. That’s okay but to me, sugar sand is sand on which you can walk barefoot without cutting your feet. I don’t think I encountered a sand beach on which I couldn’t walk barefoot until I visited Florida as an adult.

There was one little hike on Kelley’s Island that we didn’t do until Sunday morning. It was a bird preserve and I talked the GG into doing the hike *before* breakfast and so we did that. The GG stipulated that we would drive the Frog Hopper over to the trailhead and take coffee and that is what we did. What I didn’t realize is that the trail ended at this beautiful beach.


Looks like this would be a regular old sugar sand great lakes type beach, roight? Well. It was chilly that morning so I was wearing socks and my purple Keens and, when I walked onto the beach, I felt crunching under my feet. Rocks do not crunch but *shells* do. Glad I had my shoes on because this was the rare (I think) great lakes beach made from shells.


I fergit exactly where we ran into this beach of stones. I think it was somewhere off the north loop trail?


Anyway, we finished our early morning preserve / beach walk Sunday morning and the GG cooked an excellent breakfast in the Lyme Lounge and then we went over to the north loop trail again and ended up on this rock “beach”.


The Kelley’s Island State Park does have a sugar sand beach but I have to guess that it is a man-made beach. I loved the state park although I wasn’t all that interested in hanging out on the beach. Especially loved that I could walk a short mile from “downtown” to our spot at the state park.

Quarry Kelley’s Island

Monday, September 15th, 2014

You can’t grow up on the shores of Gitchee Gumee and NOT have an interest in rocks. At least when you are a child. I remember having a bit of a rudimentary rock collection. Did I collect it on the beach? Naw, I collected it on a trip around Gitchee Gumee during which my parental units let me buy cheap little rock specimens from various gift shops on the Canadian north shore. That was also the trip that my little brother talked to a French-speaking girl at a rest area and, when The Commander asked him how he communicated with her, he said something like, “You just have to put your mouth in a different way.” Sometimes I wish I had more of the DNA that my brother had. I wouldda been too shy to talk to anybody at that rest area at all…

So, I am not a geologist but one of the reasons I *loved* hanging out on Kelley’s Island this weekend was because we could walk everywhere from our loverly campsite, including old quarries. They were everywhere. Here is the GG in some old crumbling structure on the north loop trail.


We climbed over a rock wall to get to this area. I was grumpy about climbing up that wall and down the other side. When I got down to the other side, I was thinking it looked like a beaver pond. Not so much. Rock surfaces everywhere, some of them with fossils. I actually insisted upon going *back* there Sunday morning, rock wall be damned.


Then there was the East Quarry Horseshoe Lake. I won’t tell you about our vee-hickle expotitions to find out how to get to the trail for this quarry. It turned out that we could take a short walk over to the fish-cleaning hut at our state campground, then walk the beach to a trail that connected to this place. There was a guy trying to skip stones and he was semi-successful but when his mother (or mother-in-law or whoever) joined us to watch, I couldn’t help but spill out that my grandmother was a champion rock skipper. I hope I am not imagining that. I could be!


We walked from this beauteous quarry/lake down to the whinery, where I had a glass of whine and the GG had a wee leetle glass o’ bourbon. Then we walked into town (past the Chocolate Church, at which time I asked the GG if he had anything to confess, snort snort). We did the tourista type thing and then walked the mile up to our campsite to chill out a bit before heading back into town for dinner (this was all on foot). There was a “fancy” restaurant that we were interested in but we ended up at the Captain’s Corner for the second night in a row. It reminds me of the Oscar Tango but the view is better and we wanted that view. BTW, man has it been a while since we’ve been at the OT on a Friday night but we *will* be at the OT this Friday! Jeebus, I hope they remember us there!

P.S. There was poison ivy on all of the trails we walked on Kelley’s Island. Knock on wood, I do not have it. I shouldda tooken a pitcher o’ that but I was too busy making the sign of the cross (even though I am not Catholic).

Too Pooped to Post

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Or not. The GG spent his last birthday (it had a goddamn zero in it, as did mine a few months earlier) camping on Kelley’s Island. This weekend, he went back and this time he dragged yer fav-o-rite blahgger along.

I took Friday afternoon off so that we weren’t fighting rush hour traffic down through the Great Lake State Megalopolis and then through northern Ohio. That turned out to be a good decision, well, except for the fact that we were STARVING so we grabbed small hamburgers and french fries from the Dundee McDonald’s. (Don’t tell our kids!)

So, we drove through northern Ohio and, miraculously, when we arrived at the Kelley’s Island ferry, we were ushered on immediately. I was a bit nervous at first. My last car ferry experience was out on the huge ferries that service the San Juan Islands. This ferry was kind of small and the weather was a bit rough albeit not enough that I had a problem walking up the stairs to where I could observe what was going on. There are two ferries and this is the other one.


And so we got off the ferry and drove a mile up from town to the gorgeous state park on the north side of the island. Here is where we parked the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen and Lyme Lounge. We were a very short walk away from the flushy terlets and showers and that was a good thing fer yer fav-o-rite blahgger. And we could walk from this space to anywhere on the island. Beaches and old quarries and dinner downtown.


I loved Kelley’s Island and I will write more about it this week. And we’ll be back!

Poker Paddle postponed

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Pretty decent wind and waves around the entirety of Kelley’s Island today. We weren’t scheduled to participate in the poker paddle anyway. We didn’t schlep kayaks down here & I haven’t played poker since my old banker coot slipped me a roll of pennies for the band bus in 7th grade. Our plan for the weekend was to park the Frog Hopper & Lyme Lounge and walk everywhere, untethered from any schedule except our own. And that is what we have done. That is about all for now since I am posting from my loverly iPhone again (what did we do before smart phones?).

Here are some fossils I saw this morning. I thought they were seagull poop at first. Not. Goodnight, KW.



Friday, September 12th, 2014

I have wonderful service here at the Captain’s Corner barrooom on Kelley’s Island but I don’t have my loverly MacBook Pro with me. It is in the Lyme Lounge up at the state park — where there is spotty service with side trips to the Edge and Canananada. Walked the long way round to get here — 5 miles? Just over a mile back. Note to self: this is a populated island so use the woods when you have the chance whether you have to, you know, goooo, or not, because, unlike on the Planet Ann Arbor, there are not a whole lot of good urbanP places.

So you aren’t gonna get much but you can have this beauteous pitcher of glacial grooves.


Pick a title!

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

horsiesI have four in mind:

  1. Mouse would have a horse in the back yard if The Planet Ann Arbor allowed people to keep horses in their backyards.
  2. The annual Thermostat Wars have begun.
  3. This is none of my business but don’t you guys usually go north?
  4. The GG needs a new facebook profile pitcher.

Read the rest of this and pick a title! Or don’t read it and pick a title. Either way. (Or don’t pick a title.)

So, I got over to Cubeland this morning and emailed the Queen Bee to ask for tomorrow afternoon off. Of course this was okay with her as she replied when she got in and read my message. But then, she came over to my cube and kind of tentatively said something like, “This isn’t any of my business but don’t you guys usually go north?” I won’t say where we are going for the weekend but for once, we are actually not going north. We aren’t going all that far south either. I’ll let y’all guess.

Of *course* I told the Queen Bee (and Cube Nayber) exactly where we were going and they were wondering how we would manage with the cooler weather that is expected this weekend. Well, we will do fine because we will be taking the Lyme Lounge, which has heat. I am told there are showers available in the state park we are camping at. I hope that’s true because I will not be a happy camper if there are not showers. I do like to be clean and I don’t wanna swim in Lake Erie! (Oops, I just gave y’all a hint…)

When I got home today, I took a serious look at the weather and, hmmmm, I packed a few more things than I might usually pack at this time of year, especially going south. I *always* pack leggings, wool/silk turtleneck sweater, polartech vest and jacket, smartwool socks, and even a little pair of knit glubs. I pack this stuff year-round. In the Yooperland and even the northern part of Troll-land, morning temps can get down into the 30s even in July. Tonight I added a second pair of socks, ski-band, and scarf, albeit a heavy cotton summer scarf, not one of my winter wools, to my suitcase. I did not pack my YakTrax. I DID NOT PACK MY YAKTRAX!!!! I DID NOT PACK MY YAKTRAX!!! Noooooooooo!

We have had quite a few cold mornings this summer, even down here in the armpit of Troll-land. It [almost] always warmed up later or at least the next day. Today it was as cold when I walked out the Cubeland door in the late afternoon as it was when I got there this morning. I am warm enough in The Landfill that I don’t need the furnace to come on. But it’s coming and the Thermostat Wars have begun.

Love y’all,

Vote early and often (or not at all) on my title.

P.S. Rest in peace, Perry Ping[atore]. My grade school BFF’s dad, a hard-working dry-cleaner up in Sault Ste. Siberia. I remember him speaking at my old coot’s bank retirement party and saying how much the community would miss my dad’s participation in the business community. Dad continued to be a participant in the community for quite a few years, just not at the bank. I don’t know how many years Mr. Ping[atore] continued to work at his business but he was also a wonderful contributor to the community and he will be sorely missed.