Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Be brave

In the past two days, since we moved north and west from Duluth Minnosota, we’ve explored Canadian waterfalls…

Kakabeka Falls

…and a fur trading fort set in 1816.

Fort William

Tonight as I sort through those images there are plenty I’d like to show you. But you’ve all seen waterfall images (though even I think the falls up here are pretty spectacular) and I’ve shared lots of forts in past travel posts.

If you like, once I get home, I’ll post some of my favorite shots from those experiences. But this post will focus on our adventures last night, when we drove to the top of the Sleeping Giant mountain to watch the sun set.

There’s potential for a spectacular sunset.

The road up was almost 6 miles of bumpy, rutted dirt. When we got near the top the road disappeared into pure rock. We were driving on the top of the mountain! There’s a viewing deck up there, but not exactly what I expected.

Not quite the nice wide deck I was expecting.

It’s a metal walkway extending out from the side of the mountain, 100 meters above the lake shore below. The floor is made of wooden slates…

Ummmm…don’t look down.

…that you can see between. It’s a very long way down and it took me a few moments to stop feeling light headed enough to slowly creep my way out toward the end.

It helps if you hang on to the railing and concentrate on the horizon.

But when I finally did, the view was astounding.

Picture perfect.

And to my right the lowering sun made the cliff glow.

The light on the cliff against the dark clouds was breathtaking.

I couldn’t keep from feeling a thrill to be out there…

It was amazing! photo credit to my husband.

…even though there really wasn’t much of a sunset.

Just before the rain came.

It was scary, being so high above Thunder Bay, but I’m glad we went. If you’re ever nearby I recommend you venture out too!

Just don’t look down.

Good night sun!


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Houses of different kinds

During the past couple of days we’ve visited a few houses over here in Wisconsin and Minnesota, each one different, but each housing families in the early 1900s.

Our first house tour was in Superior Wisconsin, where we visited Fairlawn, a mansion built in 1891…

Fairlawn mansion.

…the family only lived in the house a few years when Mr.Pattison died unexpectedly. His wife moved the family to California and the house became a children’s home for several decades.

Lots of drapery and carved wood.

Inside the first floor has been restored to look as it did when the family lived there, while the top floors describe what life was like when it housed dozens of children.

We also toured Glensheen, a mansion in Duluth Minnesota.

The grand front of Glensheen.

This one was completed in 1908, and was lived in by an original family member until 1977 when the last daughter died.

The dining room.

With 20,000 square feet, fifteen fireplaces, numerous bathrooms and bedrooms, it’s huge and beautiful.

Lots of carved wood in this house too.

Each of the seven children had their own bedrooms, often with their own bathrooms too.

One of the girl’s rooms.

Most of the rooms had lovely views of Lake Superior. Still, the house was a lot darker inside than what we’re used to today.

Drying linens in the laundry room.

The grounds were beautifully landscaped, complete with a huge vegetable garden, tennis courts and lawn bowling.

The back of the house was more stunning than the front.

Next we headed north, tunneling our way through a couple rocky outcroppings.

Tunneling our way north.

We stopped in Two Harbors Minnesota where we walked the breakwater enjoying a beautiful later summer afternoon.

Such a beautiful day to be near the water.

In the same park was a lighthouse that has become a Bed & Breakfast. It looked wonderful, though it’s privately owned and we couldn’t go inside.

Seems like a perfect spot to relax on the shores of Lake Superior.

Guess we’ll have to make a reservation and stay overnight to see what it’s like to sleep in a lighthouse!

Then we moved on to something that’s been on my bucket list for a long time — Split Rock lighthouse.

We took the tour and learned a whole lot about what life was like when this lighthouse employed three keepers. Then we started to explore.

Stairs ascending the tower.

Up in the relatively short tower there is a truly beautiful lens.

The lens rotates and sending out a bright white light every 10 seconds.

This lighthouse sits high on a cliff; I’ve seen pictures that made me want to see it for myself.

I couldn’t keep myself from giggling with joy when I rounded the corner and saw this jewel of a lighthouse shining in the sunlight.

But nothing could have prepared me for just how beautiful it really is, as seen from the stony beach far below it’s base. I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s just stunning, definitely my smile of the week, and a perfect way to end our exploration of the Duluth area.

We’ll be moving even further north, into Canada, tomorrow. I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again…but you can be sure I’ll have more images and adventures to share when I do!

Me and the lighthouse.


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Junk can make you smile.

If you ever need a smile this is the place to go.

Called Lakenenland , we ran across it today while traveling on M28 from Munising to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

It’s an artist’s personal sculpture garden, and reminds me a lot of the art compound we explored down in Georgia in the spring of 2018.

Here’s a slide show of a lot of the art you’ll see here. Some of it has his political opinions, some is whimsical, and some is just pretty.

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It’s about a half mile loop, you can walk or drive (or snowmobile in the winter!). We drove it and then parked and walked to take pictures.

There’s also a picnic area and a small stage where they have live music some evenings.

It’s all free, though you can leave donations.

The artist has definitely had some issues with the local zoning commission as evidenced by some signs.

But if you can deal with a couple of political points of view that might be different from your own you’ll probably enjoy this sculpture park as much as we did.

If you’re ever up this way, be sure to stop and check it out!


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Finally!

Katie here. You might have noticed a distinct lack of Katie-related posts on mama’s blog this summer.

Here I am at my park!

OK sure, she went to Norway, and then Washington DC and then she went camping, all without me.

Pretty in blue.

I guess she had a really busy summer and she didn’t have too much time to spend taking me to my parks. Oh, she says that the reason we haven’t gone to the park in forever is because it’s been really hot.

Mama said the light was magical.

Sure mama.

Though, to be honest, and I’m nothing if not honest, it has been pretty hot here. I haven’t wanted to go out and sit on my deck, or sit in my outside pen either. So she might have a point.

Invasive beauty.

Anyway…tonight mama told daddy that since it was cooler she was thinking about taking me to my park after supper. I didn’t get excited because I’m pretty deaf now and I didn’t hear her.

I had such a good time!

But daddy remembered, and later on in the evening he woke mama up from her nap in her big comfortable chair and asked why she wasn’t taking me to my park!

Goldenrod starting to bloom.

And mama said, let’s go Katie! I didn’t hear that either, but I saw her pack up my park bag and I got pretty excited. And boy! When we got to my park I was spinning circles!

Light shines through the grasses.

Mama said the evening light was pretty magical and she spent a lot of time taking pictures of stuff that was not me. I didn’t really mind, though I did have to take myself on my walk a good part of the time.

Giving mama the stinkeye because she’s lagging behind.

And I also remembered my contract with mama; one photo, one treat. So even when she wasn’t focused on me, when she lifted her head from the camera and looked at me I trotted right over to get my treat.

At first she laughed and said, “No silly, if you’re not the model you don’t get a treat.”

These are mama’s favorite trees.

Really mama? I’m not moving until you pay up. And eventually she understood. One picture, no matter what it was, one treat to me.

Can’t beat this kind of light!

The walk went a lot better after we understood each other.

Little sunflowers hiding in the dusky evening.

It was a wonderful walk through wonderful golden light. I even did a short little run for mama while she figured out how her new camera did multiple shots.

Coming in for treats mama!

I got five pieces of kibble for that one.

I trotted around my park like I owned it. Mama says I acted like I was a teenager again…and that made her very happy.

Pretty gold.

Between you and me I can’t wait for snow, but I don’t think mama is on board with that one, at least not yet.

A wide view.

Meanwhile I hope it stays cooler so mama and I can get out for more adventures. Though I might have to pay dad some sort of salary to keep waking her up. Cause she’s getting kinda old you know, and she needs her sleep.

Another good day at the park with my mama.

I think, though, if she gets out more she’ll act more like a teenager too.

And that would be a good thing for both of us.

That was fun mama!


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Backyard birds are so much fun to watch

You know I like to go out to Kensington Metropark and hang out with the birds there. But I have to say that my own backyard has some pretty fun sights too. This past weekend I wasted spent quite a bit of time just sitting and watching what was going on right here at home.

See the red bellied woodpecker? Right below her (or him) is the juvenile.

Turns out there is a whole lot going on! In particular I enjoyed watching this red bellied woodpecker feeding his or her youngster. I have to admit I’ve never noticed young woodpeckers before. I don’t know if I’ve just never seen them, or if I mistook them for some other kind of woodpecker.

Here, have a bit of lunch sweetie.

Either way, this was obviously a juvenile being fed by a parent.

The youngster moved to a more open branch and I hoped the parent would feed it there, but being a teenager, the younger bird became impatient and flew off before mom or dad returned with more seed.

Though I wish the leaves of the birch tree they were sitting in hadn’t obscured the youngster’s head I’m still really glad I noticed this action going on just outside my kitchen window.

Well good, the little whippersnapper is gone. I get to eat this seed all by myself!

And of course the hummingbirds. They are really active at the feeder now, perhaps fueling up for their long trek across the Gulf of Mexico this fall.

Is this the only thing on the menu, lady?

Sometimes I’ve seen them over in the zinnia garden too. I can understand the allure of having a fence to sit on while eating.

Yum. WAY better than that empty caloried sugar water she serves at the house.

Kind of like going to a fancy restaurant v.s. a fast food place.

We have lots of goldfinches and titmice and cardinals and all the rest too. They are eating me out of house and seed, but I don’t mind.

This is MY orange, everyone else go find your own.

Seems a small price to pay for all the entertainment they provide.

Incoming!


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The last long run

The title of this post might be misleading for any number of reasons. Today’s run/walk was probably not the last long run I’ll ever do, and frankly there wasn’t all that much running involved.

But I have the much anticipated (at least by me) Crim race next Saturday, and today was my last long training run in preparation for actually accomplishing the ten hot and hilly miles next weekend.

Pontoon boats waiting for the weekenders to descend.

It’s not as though I’ve been training methodically. Or even with a plan. I just tried to run longer once a week than I did the week before. And I tried to get out there one or two other times during the week to do 3 or 4 miles.

Moving in formation away from the noisy, gasping, foot slapping runner.

And even then it wasn’t really running like I remember from the days when I was young. It was shuffle along for a quarter mile, gasp for air and walk at least part if not all of the next quarter, then pick up the speed and shuffle along again.

And if there was a big uphill, then all bets are off and walking was totally acceptable. Unless I wanted to prove something to myself, in which case I sometimes shuffled to the top just to say I could.

But not generally.

Riding a bike looked infinitely more fun.

This morning I did my last long run/walk at my favorite park. It’s where I used to run long every weekend, often meeting one or more of my running friends to talk and run together.

Along the familiar route today I’d remember things from previous runs. A running partner with a frozen water supply line here, a couple of dancing cranes there, the spot that Katie rested before we headed back to the car on one of our walks.

Very tall water lillies. I need to come back here with the good camera and maybe a kayak.

And sometime during mile 7 as I was slogging up a little hill to round the flagpole, ensuring my total would be ten miles because I added that ‘little’ out and back at Turtlehead, I remembered that once, many years ago while training alone I had come up this very hill and found a flock of cedar waxwings swarming a tree. I looked up at the tree again, now perhaps twenty years later, and imagined those birds, their little bodies fliting among the branches, the color on their tails. I remembered how I stood there a long time watching them way back then. And I noticed birds flitting among the same trees, though my eyesight is much worse now than it was then, so I thought today’s birds were sparrows.

Until I got closer and heard the little snuffling tweets they made as they flew back and forth.

Such delicate little blue bell type flowers.

Could it be? Not possible! But yes, up in the top of the trees was a flock of cedar waxwings, yellow band on their tails the tell-tale sign. I had to laugh out loud, though to be honest, crawling up a hill in mile 7 of a ten mile run is not generally a time I spend a lot of time laughing.

I guess sometimes you can conjure up memories and make them real if you give your mind free reign.

Proof summer is sliding at an alarming pace into fall.

Anyway, I saw lots of things on this run, the pictures here are all taken with my phone, often while I was still moving. They aren’t great photogenically, but they tell you the story of a (very) long run during a grey, foggy morning, at my favorite park.

And I’m very very glad it’s done.

Hiding among the reeds to avoid the paparazzi.


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Still smiling

Trent coordinates a smile a week blog post, asking people to share something that’s made them smile each week.

Well, currently I’m in one of my happy places.

Pt. Betsie on a windy wet afternoon.

And it sure makes me smile.

The Coast Guard on patrol.

What made you smile this week? Post about it and link up to Trent’s blog, he’ll recap on Monday.

Lots to smile about this week!


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Trying to find the night sky. Again.

I’m ‘up north’ and the sky is clear and the air is warm and the bugs aren’t bad. Perfect to head out and try to learn more about shooting stars. And there might even be a few shooting stars to boot!

The little lake was calm with families waiting for the sunset on the protected beach away from the big lake.

I went out to North Bar Lake, a place a photographer told me about years ago. I’ve been there a couple of times since, and I figured it might be the perfect place to watch the stars.

I got there way too early, but walked out on the beach anyway, trying to scope out a spot for sunset and star viewing.

Someone’s castle, left from earlier in the day.

There wasn’t much beach to speak off, the Great Lakes are high this year, but I’m not complaining, it feels good to see the lakes full.

Not a lot of sandy beach, but enough to enjoy.

Once I figured out there wasn’t any one particular spot I’d want to be I headed back to the car to read for awhile.

The stairs glow with late afternoon sun.

And then an hour or so later I dragged my towel, camera bag and tripod back out and walked way down the beach away from all the families and groups of kids with their bonfires and set up shop.

The last of the daylight shimmers.

It wasn’t much of anything, last night’s sunset. But it gave me plenty of time to play around, trying to figure stuff out.

Typical sunset pinks up the sky.

Like how to slow down the movement of water.

Add a bit of time to that shutter speed and smooth out the rough edges.

And how to make the most out of that time just after the sun goes down. The pink sky.

Still waiting for those stars.

The blue air.

The blue hour, Lake Michigan style.

But the darn moon, only half a moon at that, was just way too bright.

Moonlight on the big lake.

I tried, because I was getting tired of waiting, to capture the big dipper. Just to see what this camera can do.

Really, the big dipper is in there. Promise.

And then I focused for a minute or two on the group of college kids up the beach and their bonfire.

Don’t know what happened here, but it’s kind of cool, so I’m keeping it.

By 11:15 I was so tired, sitting on the sand, looking for anything to take a picture of, the stars not really showing yet. I finally packed up and headed back to the car, checking along the way for things to shoot.

Can you see the tree and the stars and the fence?

I liked the old tree and the big dipper behind it. Not exactly why I was out there, but still pretty cool.

I sat on the little beach and captured the moon and the kids’ bonfire. And then I headed back to camp.

Can you see the bonfire out there, to the left and lower than the moon?

An hour later, pulling into the campground, the moon was setting, a bright orange crescent putting out much less light. And at my site, almost 12:30 in the morning, there were a ton of stars overhead.

No pictures of any of that…but you can imagine my frustration. And so the quest continues for another night.

A failure, but a fun failure.