Thursday, August 30, 2018

Postcards from the Lake: Home Rehab

No one died. This is always a plus when doing home rehab. Especially a nasty project. But it wasn't pretty.

It was a necessary project. Reglazing the windows. Painting the trim and of course the window frames. Basically, anything NOT the structure of the house. But starting it right before Labor Day when we knew we would be closing the house early due to our trip? Not the brightest idea!

Nonetheless, Rick came a few days before the rest of it and gave it a good start. He pretty much had the garage done, apart from the trim painting. I came up a few days later with our friend Mark and he and Rick spent two hard days sanding, scraping, and glazing the numerous panes of the 15 windows of the house.

Jan joined us on the next evening and our Saturday job was painting and priming. They left Saturday night. We didn't have much time for fun but we did enjoy some good dinners...

...and a little wine! (Which, I might add, was most welcome!)

On Sunday Rick and I were back at it. More painting. Lots of painting. And then removing the film of glaze from the windows.

Let's just say that inside and out our windows have never been cleaner. You know that ad where the birds fly into the window? Lizzie and I have been expecting them and she is waiting eagerly.

Lizzie, meanwhile, has had the worst few days and nights of her furry little life. It started with the car ride (she doesn't like those!), then loud house noises as the guys worked on the windows (including the dreaded sanding machine!) and more than our share of serious thunderstorms.

Rick headed home on Monday morning and I have been working on the slew of windows and trim to finish before he returns after his four-day, 400-mile bike ride. If the weather holds, no problem. It has rained -- stormed -- every day.

Paint isn't drying. Seriously annoying!

But I took a huge carload to charity this week. Mugs from home replaced mugs here. Lots of glasses, a coffee maker, outdoor cushions, VHS tapes, dishes and more are going out the door. This is what we do when it rains.

And, in the process, found the rest of my grandmother's china pattern so now I have a more complete set. 

I took a jaunt into town after two of the worst storms and viewed the damage. (They were without power; I was luckier.)

More rain is predicted. My battery lights, candles and oil lamps are at the ready!

Meanwhile, Lizzie is keeping me company, along with Netflix and the Miss Fisher Mysteries, Midsomer Murders and who knows what. I'm supposed to be gentle with my foot (I wasn't all weekend and paid for it) and started the topical chemo on my lip Sunday. It will get ugly and I'm glad I'm alone!

It's probably a good thing no one is around! But this, too, will pass.

Looking at life through rose-transferred china!

Linking to:   Share Your Cup       /    Pink Saturday     /   Let's Keep in Touch   

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

My Favorite New Purchase!

I've been looking for a good carry-on bag for our upcoming trip. One small enough or "flexible" enough to put under the seat and big enough to pack full if needed. If it could fold up into  itself and pack into my suitcase, all the better! I think I've found it. (This is not a sponsored post. I get no remuneration for mentioning this but I will say I found it at Amazon.)

I was googling polka-dot bags and this turned up. When fully opened it is enormous! But it's that soft parachute-type cloth that is strong and light. The pocket is about six or so inches squarish. When fully opened, it stretches almost the width of a twin bed.

I haven't tried stuffing it with everything I own yet, or walking with it attached to my suitcase handle but I will. Even if it doesn't work for this, it will be a good thing to have for weekends! Oh, and it was $20 (and I ordered other things so I had free shipping.)

Sharing today with:     Let's Keep In Touch     /     Share Your Cup    /    Pink Saturday     

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Postcards from the Lake: Art Camp -- a Little Bit of Nature

A quick look back at some of the nature we saw during Art Camp. The time brought both walks and time to enjoy the lake. Like this guy!

(I'm not big on the geese the second they step on the beach but in the water, rather lovely!)

We also saw some Mergansers. The mom is the one wearing the cute "feathered hat."

All the babies looked like ducklings.

Although I don't have a photo of the bald eagle, I'm pretty sure he had his eye on some of them. Hope not...I loved how the seemed to skip along on the water, then dive in and swim under.

(We also saw our "regular ducks" and a heron, too!

Taking to the woods, we enjoyed some walks. Kate got up super early and walked more but the time together was fun.

I was on bunny count. So far, I've seen 24 this year.

And we saw some woodpeckers, too. This one was pretty far off but so bright, I had to shoot, despite the fuzziness.

This one was closer -- pecking on a tree in the yard.

Most of the wildflowers have faded, but I loved the Queen Anne's Lace.

The fungi are earlier than ever before. Is fall coming?

Doesn't feel like it yet -- but it always does.

Home again.

Sharing with:    Let's Keep In Touch    

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Postcards from the Lake: Winding Down

I really have trouble saying goodbye to summer. It's such a lovely time here. Hot, yes. But not hot like the South. And this year, probably too dry, but that made for lovely times to be outside.

We're winding down but still time for another postcard or two from the lake. (Lizzie must have just heard the "winding down" part.)

This is the summer I overdosed on cherries and peaches...

...and loved the foggy mornings as much as the clear afternoons.

Until my foot took to being bothersome, I enjoyed our walks to the public bathing beach...

...and past some lovely gardens.

But I did swim. And swim. And swim. The water wasn't quite as warm as bath water, but it wasn't cold, either. Just refreshing.

I loved the colors of summer. Especially at the farmer's market.

And I loved them equally when I was painting.

I loved them in the passing boats...

...and in water floats that I saw every day...

And in the flowers that seemed to do so well on my porch.

My companion popped up where I least expected her.

I enjoyed seeing some good art on loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts...

...and trying (not always successfully) with my own.

Yes, there will be more postcards from the lake but soon it will be time to send them from other places as well. It will be time to go home...

...and time for a desperately needed haircut!

Don't let anyone tell you differently!

Linking this week to:    Share Your Cup    /    Let's Keep In Touch   /    Pink Saturday     

Monday, August 20, 2018

Cork Poppers Sample the Wines of Grand Traverse

Let me say at the start, I wasn't expecting much from our wine tasting of Michigan's Grand Traverse region wines. The reds, for the most part, aren't well suited to our climate. The whites stand a better chance. But when Roger and Meredith suggested this theme for our August Cork Poppers, we all rallied. After all, Roger had hosted the "Wines of Minnestota" a few years ago to abysmal results and if nothing else we would be able to rib him about one state or the other.

(Apologies to my Minnesota readers. Perhaps the ones we tried didn't do your beautiful state justice.)

Our gathering started with a fabulous set of appetizers -- an antipasto plate from Kate, a veggie plate from Jan, Rick's bread and loads of cheese from Bob and Dick.

Then it was onto the wines, starting with Clayton and Anne's offering from Aurora Cellars on the Lelenaw Peninsula, a 2013 Gerwurztraminer. It was nicely chilled and we started off with a bang!

"It's delightful!" said Cheryl, our white wine expert.  "It's zingy! On your tongue! I love it -- I had seconds already!" I noticed it had nice legs and called it a "beach wine" and Clayton said, somewhat surprised by his own choice, "This is really good!" Score one! ($17.99 at the winery and available at Michigan Whole Foods.)

Dick and Cheryl offered a Laurentide Sauvignon Blanc 2015 next (21.99). "This one is GOOD!" said Barb in surprise. I noticed it had nice legs (those little drips that hold on the inside of the glass and slowly drip down) and someone else added "It goes down fast, I know that!"

Roger was next with Hawthorne 2017 Semi-dry Gerwurztraminer from the Mission Peninsula (where I ventured on my birthday!)

I didn't like this one as well as the first Gewurztraminer -- to me it felt more like a Chardonnay, which Dick described as creamy and oaky. Roger found it for $14.99.

Jan offered the first red of the day, Cuvee No. 7 Unrestricted. This was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Franc grapes from Petoskey's Mackinac Trail Winery.

I found it "thin." More like a Pinot Noir. Roger said it was the one he liked best so far. Jan didn't remember the price but said it was close to $20.

Kate offered Chateau Chantal's 2015 Malbec "Tango" next.

This was an interesting story. The chateau purchased a vineyard in Argentina specifically to grow the Malbec grapes. They were crushed and fermented in Argentina. The "must" (the mixture of the crushed, fermented grapes) was then sent up to Traverse City where it was turned into wine and bottled.

"It tastes like a Malbec they made yesterday," Kate observed and Roger agreed, saying it was "weak." I found this also to be more like a Pinot Noir than a Malbec. But someone nominated it for "best story for the worst wine."

Well, about here, things started to disintegrate. "This is much better than the wines of Minnesota," Mike M. pointed out. "I wish you'd forget that," Roger said. "I'd like to," chirped up Rick. "Well," Roger said to Mike, reminding him of a past tasting when Barb jokingly brought a Boone's Farm, "it was your wife who brought the blue stuff." (I should add here that when I posted about the wines of Minnesota, the reviews weren't all as bad as I remember the conversation being!)

Barb tried to be the peacemaker. "What I liked about the wines of Minnesota were the labels." Mike did acknowledge they had better labels that the wines of Michigan.

So, I had to follow this discussion, which by now was out of hand. It was somewhat fitting that I presented our wine, "Asylum," by Black Star Farms (on the Mission Peninsula as well). It was specially bottled for the Northern Michigan Asylum and purchased at their shop for $15.99.

"This isn't as bad as I thought," I admitted after tasting it. "It's pretty good," agreed Mike S. Vindicated. Henry. And I did get to share a bit of my story. Barb (who may or may not be a distant cousin) and Rick (who also may or may not be a distant cousin) and I offered a toast to my great grandfather

Bob offered Arcuturos 2013 Pinot Noir, also from Black Star Farms. Bob's son had bought a case of it. The vineyards were formed from former horse farm property in 1998. Someone called it "sweet and yummy and red."

As you can see, by now the conversation had disintegrated into issues on how picky it was for an organization to serve liquor at an MSU fundraiser, how many unnecessary hoops had to be jumped through and that if everyone held their event off campus it would be a lot easier. We also bemoaned the fact that you can't carry anything much larger than a phone into the stadium and no food or beverage whatsoever.

Ï always swore I would never be last at this group," Barb said. Anne sympathetically agreed. Ït gets worse every time, doesn't it."

Barb brought Artisan Red, a Michigan semi-sweet red table wine, again from Black Star Farms. She read a riotously scathing review which she had written and should be posted on all wine sites. "If you were born before 1960 this is not the wine for you."

It is a blatant party wine, we decided, and too sweet. "It won't last," someone said. "It won't last is for damn sure," Barb's husband said. "This tastes like a headache to me," someone said. However I decided (and Barb agreed) that it would be good for poaching pears. "I like it," Jan said.

Rick summed it up. "It reminds me of the wines of Minnesota." At which point, we drank a toast to Aretha.

Part of the fun of Corkies at Rog and Mere's is the boat ride up the Grand River with Captain Roger.

While some stayed home to work on their dinner offerings, I enjoyed this one tremendously, partly for the companionship...

...the beautiful views...

...the wildlife...

...the birds...

...and the relaxing atmosphere.

Somehow, Kate and Mike got the boat appropriately docked!

Meredith's table theme was cherries, as Traverse City is considered the "cherry capital of the world," at least that's what they tell you. The men had candies as  their favors. The women had the most fragrant cherry almond soap bars.

Dinner? Can't beat it! Anne's enormous Caesar....

...was a perfect companion to Mere's Frogmore Stew.

For dessert, Barb's mega-cream puffs.

For Dick and me, birthday candles!

And all in all, another great day of popping! Good food, good friends good wine.

Even if it was Michigan wine.

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