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Hemlock Grove

The news really sucks lately, doesn't it?  Nobody's right when everybody's wrong.  I thought I'd start a new Yooper topic, just to have a place to get away to once in awhile.  I had the thought for years that I'd like to name my peace[sic] of heaven on earth.  I had all kinds of ideas like Rivendell, Bushwood, Wiseacres, Shangri-La, Camp Many Ha Has, etc.  Then, I chose the obvious one.  Hemlock Grove.  It's not official or anything, just a personal name to a place.

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A typical August day harvest picture around here.  This pic is from 5 years ago, when my first garden here was planted in, well, sand.

Today, we picked blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and some of the biggest broccoli heads I've ever grown.

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The only picture I have of my most prized possession as a small child.  Yep, that large-headed kid is me.  I still like old tractors and I'm happy to have one that is strong and dependable.  Most of the time.

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We suddenly have more tomatoes than we can eat.  Not much into canning at our house....

Quote from R.D. Walker on August 18, 2017, 8:37 am

We suddenly have more tomatoes than we can eat.  Not much into canning at our house....

These freeze easy, just a hot dip to get the skins off.  Or, we've found the neighbors love fresh tomatoes wherever we've had neighbors.  🙂

Tahquamenon Falls.  A day trip from home. For perspective, that's a 50-foot drop. It's not far from Hemingway's Big Two-hearted River.

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Bird season is less than one month away.

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Yesterday was the monthly watering of the solar battery.  They took 3.5 gallons, which is average.  So, is it a battery, or is it batteries?  It is 20 individual 1.2 volt cells joined together to form one 24 volt battery.  A battery of cells, get it?  This is an older picture, taken before the wiring was complete and neatly tucked away.

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The labor of love I gave up and sold in order to get my country place.  That's a 1966 Dodge Charger and a built up 383 Magnum engine.  I bought it in 1996 from the second owner, who had it since the mid-70s.  He was one of my best friends.  I was laying under it working on the frame on the morning of September 11, 2001, listening to the radio.  After that day, not much got done on it.  I sold it in 2009, in pieces and crates and rolling frame.  Most surprising of all, I got my money back  out of it, which promptly went into the down payment fund for this place.

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Blackberries, starting to ripen.

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While sitting in my bowhunting tree stand one day, I watched this guy for an hour while he was trying to dig out a chipmunk.  You have to see it to believe how fast these suckers can dig.  It was getting too dark to see and he was still there, and looking for me because he had winded me.  I did not have a camera with me that day, just my bow and arrows.  I took the picture the next day.

We had a population explosion of badgers a couple years ago.  They have big holes dug all over the place.  We ran into one not too long ago while out for a walk.  They are a bit ornery.

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The Elmira Findlay Oval wood cook stove.  Our winter work horse.  It's not as old as it looks.  It was built in a Mennonite foundry in Canada in the 1980s (maybe early 90s).  Again, an older pic.  This was actually a real estate agent photo.  It did not come with the house.  We had to pay for it to stay separately, which I did gladly when I looked it up online and saw that the asking price was less than 10% of what new ones are going for,.

We love this stove.  Mrs. CL was very intimidated by it at first.  She sure learned fast. Directly across from the wood stove is a more modern gas stove.  The oven doors almost touch when both are opened at the same time.

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I was working on the bad foundation wall on my house today.  While forming it up for a poured wall, I moved a broken chunk of a concrete block out of my way and found this little guy laying underneath it.  I shall call him Gerry.  At first I thought it was a little plastic toy.

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This fawn with the torn and healed ear came in to my blind several times during the 2016 bow season.  Other than the ear it seemed fine.  When other fawns would show up with their mothers, this one was always alone.  The does with fawns would always chase this one away when they came around.  I'm thinking maybe the wolves got the mother and junior barely got away with his life.

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Splicing garden fence is no excuse to let your fashion sense go by the wayside.  Red and black buffalo plaid is always and everywhere in fashion up here.  Never goes out of style.

Some historians believe that this was also a fighting tartan of Clan McGregor and Rob Roy McGregor, who is an ancestor on Mom's side.

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We've had the grandkids up for a couple of days.  Today I showed them the picture of the salamander I found 2 days ago.  Within hours, they brought me a red and brown salamander, 3 garter snakes, 3 copper belly snakes, 2 snake skin sheds, several toads, and a few frogs.  All from the back yard.  We all thought it was awesome - that is, me and the kids.  Mrs. CL is not a fan of reptiles.  Ditto for amphibians.  She especially hates snakes.  She is not happy about the abundant, slithering wildlife right in the yard.  We also jumped a doe with a fawn while on a walk.

I thought it was great that they chose to do that instead of burying their noses in their phones.  They are all acting happy, being social and polite, and not fighting with each other at all.  I'll take that kind of visit any time. 🙂

It's 45 degrees right now.  Tonight's low is forecast to be in the 30s.  It looks like we may have an early fall this year.  A few trees are showing color and the black cherries are falling.

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Fall can't be far away.  We dipped into the 30s last night, and there was patchy frost in the area, but not right here, thank goodness.  Soon it will look like this.  The missus snapped it while driving home home day.

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If you like the look of those old wood cook stoves you can get them in electric or gas.  Here is an example of a retro look gas stove.

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Yes, it looks pretty hot.

June, 2016 to June 2017

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Are the pooches, Pyrenees? I like big dogs.

CL, if you keep publishing pictures of the beautiful country around your place, you may have some Okie refugees setting up just over the hill behind your place. Shhhhh.

Yes, we have a male and a female Great Pyrenees.  Friendliest dogs you ever saw, but the snarling and growling they can make at an unknown noise, movement, or smell is enough to make anybody think twice.  That pup is a natural-born guard dog.  The instincts are very strong in him.  He is always watching when there is someone to protect, like my grandkids.  It's like he lives for it.

I'll find out tomorrow morning how much the "pup" weighs.  He's going to the vet for a shot.  I'll try to remember to get a picture of him when he gets his winter coat and looks twice as big as he is.  I'm guessing he's about 125 pounds.

Over the hill behind my place - have you been snooping around? Because there literally is a place for sale over the hill behind my place.  Incidentally, there was another well-known Revoista in the area this weekend, a scant handful of miles away, but, alas, we did not get to hook up.

Here's a picture of both dogs from half a year ago.  The little one is 90 pounds.  She has been very sick for a long time and lost most of her hair, but I think you can see that she is still happy to be around.

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Our friends have a Great Pyrenee. They also have a huge garden, where they let their chickens run and scratch. Big White always goes along when they are loose. The chickens seem to think that she is just another big, white chicken. The dog actually knocked down a Red-tailed hawk as it dove on one of the chickens this spring. The hawk flew away, but hasn't been seen since.


This hung in my Great-grandfather's blacksmith shop  and was a calendar for the year 1915.  It still has the metal strips across the top for hanging on a nail.  It hung on the kitchen wall in his house for about 15 years after my Dad as a child found it in the attic and then hung in my Grandparent's kitchen for another 40 years after that.  It then hung on my kitchen wall for nearly 10 years.  After we moved here I had it professionally re-framed and touched up.  It now hangs proudly in my living room, looking better than it does in this picture with the old frame.

I don't know what I'd do if this was not hanging on the wall in a family member's home in a prominent place.  It has always been there my whole life, in one home or another.  I'll never grow tired of it.

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No pictures (yeah, I know, its a photography topic), but this morning I hand-mixed and poured 55 bags of concrete.  This was to repair/replace a bad foundation wall that had broken and pushed in concrete blocks due to water collecting and then freezing.  This new wall ain't going anywhere! Over the last few days I dug down to the footing, broke out the old wall, supported the floor and wall above it with beams and floor jacks, tore out rotted wood, formed it up and also put re-enforcement rod in it.  After it dries I will put the wall back together on top of it with new treated lumber and sealer.

Then, I will need to put up some gutters to divert rain water away from the area.  It is in an area with two inside corners so the water becomes trapped.  Next year, if all goes well,  I will build a deck there, too.

Edit - Okay, I broke down and took a picture.  🙂

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By the way, every piece of wood used to build the forms inside and out was solid maple that I cut on my sawmill, including the thicker ones that look like 2 x 4s.  You gotta make due with what ya got sometimes.  The beam holding up the floor is a full 6 x 6 tamarack beam that I cut, too, along with a couple of 2 x 8 tamarack boards to help carry the load.

I can clean up and re-use the maple and tamarack, or "larch" as Monty Python characters like to call it.

Unconscious grace.  The secluded, spring-fed lake down the trail and over the hill behind my place.  It's about a 20 minute walk.  That little dock and a broken picnic table are the only man-made things anywhere near the lake.  This year, with lots of rain, the water level has had the dock under water all summer.

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We have many red squirrels around here.  They are legion.  Some of those sneaky little bastards have found a way to get into my attic.  I guess it's time to get out the pellet gun for some target practice.  I have no mercy for them and will give no quarter.

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Fall.  It is definitely in the air already.  This is a picture from last October.

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The tree that had the "bouncy branch".  Look at the size of the stump in comparison to my neighbor who is cutting on the tree.  This tree had to come down for two reasons.  One, it was leaning quite noticeably toward the house, and two, it was right in the way for putting up solar panels.  The picture does not do this tree justice.  I measured it with a 100' tape and had 88' laying on the ground.  When it was standing, it took up a space of roughly a 50' diameter circle.

It was a shame to have to cut it down because it was a beautiful, full maple, and was Mrs. CL's favorite tree.

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“Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~George Santayana
“Those who remember the past are condemned to watch as everyone else repeats it.” ~RD Walker

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