Bodie Has Landed! 10/20/16

Hi Everyone!

This will be old news for Facebook folks, but for those who don’t do Facebook, here’s a quick rehash of the last few days!

I can’t believe it’s almost been a week since we left the island for home!  We spent Saturday night in Richmond KY, Sunday night with Jason in Atlanta, and Monday morning –  bright and early – we were at Bearabella Golden Retrievers in Sparksburg GA to pick up Bodie!


“We’re getting a what?”


Bodie is beautiful.  He’s also big for a 6 1/2-month-old puppy.  Although a lot of folks who see him – and who knew Bear – say how much alike they look – to me their faces are totally different.  Bodie is also a darker blonde.  His breeder says his face will change and his forehead will get broader.


I love him just as he is, and I’m loving that black “treat spot” right in the middle of the front of his tongue!


It was an easy trip home.  I rode in the back with Bodie, and Maddie soon joined us.  One of many sweet pics to come of the two of them together.

The first full day at home Bodie was in constant motion.  I can’t even imagine how confused he was.  He’s spent the first half of his first year on quiet, wooded land in the country, with a pond for swimming.  Now here he is being walked next to a busy highway, feeling all kinds of different textures under his feet (concrete, sand, grass), navigating stairs for the first time (piece of cake), meeting new people and new dogs, and seeing the ocean and big waves instead of a quiet still pond.  Amazingly, he has handled it all quite bravely!


He and Maddie have had a couple of “conversations”.  The first time he got in her face, she lit into him as only “Diva Maddie” can, and he backed off.  Then the next day he surprised her by jumping at her, wanting to play.  She grabbed him by the nose and held on!  That time he growled at her, and she let go.  Since then they seem to have called it even.


Bodie is all puppy – curious, nosy, and very smart.  He will do ANYTHING for a treat, and I taught him “sit” and “down” in two days.  He is “mostly” potty trained, although he had a couple of accidents the first day which were entirely my fault.  He’s so big I tend to forget he’s a puppy and can’t “hold it” as long as an adult dog.  I wasn’t paying attention.  Believe me, I am now paying attention, and so far no more accidents!

He sleeps in his crate at night, settling down after a few minutes of complaining.  He woke up at 4:30 the first morning, 5:30 the next, and this morning he made it to 6:00.  I hope this trend continues!  The first two mornings I took him out to potty and then put him right back in his crate, and he went back to sleep.  Every morning since we’ve been home I’ve been up before daybreak and out walking Bodie with Ted and Maddie.  Ted is overjoyed I’m committed to getting up and out, and watching the sun come up over the ocean is even more incentive to stick to it.


The devastation along A1A is unbelievable.  The worst of the damage in Sunset Inlet was siding being stripped off several house, some water intrusion through sliding glass doors, and some roof damage.  Our home had very little damage at all.  We lost our beach walkover, and so did most everyone else along the coast.  Just north of us a modular home retirement community was partially destroyed, and a little further north many homes were swept away.  If the storm had made even a 5-mile shift toward the coast as it passed us, the destruction would have been much greater. Men and equipment are hard at work moving in sand so the parts of A1A that were washed away can be rebuilt.  We are so thankful that no lives were lost.



I love this pic Jill took of our ferry leaving last Saturday morning.  She tells me the leaves have hit their peak this week.

As I finish this, Bodie is lying at my feet next to my desk. Ted says Bodie is already a "mama's boy", and that's fine by me.

As I finish writing this, Bodie is lying at my feet next to my desk. Ted says he is already a “mama’s boy”, and that’s fine by me.

Bless his heart, I know he thinks he has several names – Bodie Leave It, Bodie Stop It, and Bodie No!  But the name he is called most often is Bear-Bodie.  Ted and I both are having the hardest time getting used to “Bodie” without saying “Bear” first – kinda like when you have several children, and you run through the list of names before hitting on the one you’re talking to.

But, we’ll get it eventually.  And Bodie will just be Bodie. 

The hole in my heart is a tiny bit smaller today. 

God bless.

Saying Bye 10/14/16

It’s that time again.  The day before we leave Mackinac, and my emotions are all over the place.  I’m sad to be leaving.  I’m excited to be picking up Bodie.  I’m anxious to get home and see what our precious little neighborhood will be like post-Hurricane Matthew.   I’ve been tottering on the verge of tears all day, but I know I don’t have time for a melt down. So – I’m going to quickly toss up some of the photos I’ve taken over the last few days and ask that you be ok with that for now. 


The steady stream of horses leaving Mackinac is down to a tiny trickle.  The big barn is nearly empty now, and the majority of these gentle giants are happily munching pasture-land grass and hay on big farms in the U.P.  No more work for them until the spring.  Their only job is to get fat and sassy over the winter.


When I walked by Grand Hotel earlier today the front flower bed was already empty, and folks were busily pulling up the flowers in the bed in front of Sadie’s.  In the next few days the soil will be prepared and thousands of tulip bulbs will be planted for a spring blooming.


It seems as though Fall just can’t totally break through this year.  There are patches of beautiful foliage here and there, but only very few places where the color is rampant.  I think anyone coming up for the next two weeks will be the lucky winners of the “perfect time to see the best leaf show” award!


The hillside leading up to Fort Mackinac will be solid red in a few more days.


Downtown work is being done on the Stuart House . . . .


. . . and on Trinity Church.



Jill and I had what we thought would be our last lunch together on Thursday at Mary’s Bistro Draught House . . . but we managed to sneak another one in today with Ted at the Chuckwagon.  We have not been able to get together NEARLY enough this summer!


The case of the mysterious cameraman.  What a bunch of equipment these guys had!  We  THINK they were doing some filming for Original Murdick’s Fudge.


I’ll just call this one “Shady Fall Street”.


It’s always a sad day when they take down all the beautiful hanging baskets from the city lamp posts.


Workers are busy cutting back greenery on the hill leading up to the fort. 


I’ve discovered that Fort Hill is by far the easiest way to get home now.  One steep incline to the top, then cut across behind the Governor’s Residence and the Jewel Golf Course.  Now that I can finally do it without stopping and without huffing and puffing, it’s time to leave.  Oh well – I’ll work on it again next summer.


View from the top of Fort Hill right next to the Governor’s Summer Residence.


Signs of Fall in the woods.


One of the best places to see lots of fall color right now is Point Lookout.  Thank you, Orietta Barquero, for this up-to-date look from the top of the stairs leading down to Sugar Loaf . . .


. . . and this one from the cemeteries.


From Point Lookout today – thanks, Jill Sawatzki!



Doud’s is all decked out for Fall and Halloween.


A gorgeous shot from Orietta Barquero of Fall reflected in a clear lake up toward the middle of the island.



A beautiful sunrise shot from Patrick Conlon on his commute to the island this week.

Ted was able to meet another cousin today when she arrived this afternoon for a church conference at Grand Hotel . . .


Meet Marilyn McNitt from downstate Michigan. 

Lunch on our last day on the island at the Chuckwagon! Have a great winter, Donnie and Sharon!

Lunch on our last day on the island at the Chuckwagon! Have a great winter, Donnie and Sharon!

My head is just filled with things I want to say, but if I get started I might still be here at midnight writing, and Ted will not be happy with me.  We’re meeting friends for dinner later on, but we’ll make it an early evening and be on the taxi when it arrives at 7:15 Saturday morning.  And so begins the trip home.

What a crazy, amazing, emotional, happy, sometimes-frustrating, topsy-turvy summer we’ve had.  We’ve been so blessed to have met several of Ted’s biological cousins on his mom’s side of the family.  It’s so strange to think about this journey and realize that Ted began this year as an only child and will end the year with siblings, uncles and an aunt, and dozens of cousins.  Some of these folks will be in Florida over the winter, and we’re hoping to reconnect with them there.

Besides new cousins, it’s been a summer filled with visits with other family and friends.  From grandkids Matthew and Jordan right after we arrived, Jason, Jen and Alex just before we’re leaving, and friends from Georgia – R.D. and Kim and Glen and Debra – in between, we’ve been happily sharing Mackinac all summer.  And I’m pretty sure we have several among all those folks who will be returning to this magical spot!

This was the summer of a lot of moves.  We won’t be doing that again next year as we’ve already committed to being right here at Cedar Hill Condos for at least three months.  And by the way, if you’d be interested in renting the condo we’ve been in at any time (except when we’re here, of course), email me at and I’ll get you the contact information.  It’s only available on a monthly basis – 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.  We love it!

One of the best parts of the summer was our Bree’s Blog get-together in September at the Chippewa.  So much fun!!  Hoping we can do it again next summer – only with even more people!  Heck, maybe we’ll have to rent out a whole dining room!

Bodie.  Oh my gosh – I’m so excited.  I’m also scared and anxious.  I have to keep preparing myself that he won’t be “just like Bear”.  He will be a 6 1/2 month old teenager.  Oh my gosh . . . . what a ride this is going to be (and I don’t mean the ride home, although that might get interesting also)!  We’ll pick him up south of Atlanta on Monday morning and drive straight to Beverly Beach – truck full of luggage, Maddie in the front seat, and Bodie in the back seat.  Geez, I hope the big fuzzy guy has a sense of humor!

As always, I’ve had so much fun sharing this beautiful island with all of you this summer.  I’ll be back on line once we get home, but I’m sure I’ll have something up on Facebook on Monday about Bodie – even if it’s just a pic or two! 

Till then . . . . . .

I love you all . . . . God bless.

Family Fall Fun! 10/12/16

Imagine you’re six years old.  Imagine it’s your first Fall Break of 1st grade.  Imagine your mom tells you you’re going someplace “cold” on vacation, so you know you’re not going to the beach where BeBe and G-Daddy live.  Imagine you’re really bummed about that ’cause you’ve asked several times over the last few weeks, “when are we going to see BeBe and G-Daddy again?”


So you settle into your plane seat in Atlanta, armed with electronic entertainment, and resign yourself to going somewhere the “grown-ups” want to go.  You change planes in Detroit, climb on a much smaller jet, and arrive at a really small airport.  You come through the door to the terminal, looking around at crazy stuff like bears, cougars and deer – stuff you don’t normally see in an airport.  And then, even though you imagine you see BeBe and G-Daddy standing right there in front of you, how can that be possible?


But it is!



And that’s how one little boy arrived on Mackinac Island Thursday afternoon – with Jason and mom Jennifer.  I told him on the ferry ride over we were going to a place where there were no cars.  His eyes got big.  Then I told him we’d catch a taxi to the condo.  Now he’s totally confused.


That moment when Alex spots – in the street – what’s causing that amazing only-on-Mackinac aroma!

What a blast we had for four days with these three!  They were right about going someplace “cold” – we had highs in the low 50’s and low’s in the 30’s while they were here. But, they took our advice and brought layers, so everyone stayed warm outside.


Through special arrangements with Grand Hotel we were able to go on a very special carriage tour on Friday, and Alex got to sit up front on the driver’s seat with Ben Mosley. for the entire tour.  He loved it!


Thanks to neighbor and friend Pam Day for this shot of our entourage as we passed by Cedar Hill Condos.


While on the tour, we saw most of the special places on Mackinac.  As you can see, fall foliage has definitely arrived on the island, and Point Lookout is one of the best places to view vast expanses of beautiful trees all dressed up for Autumn.


Next stop was Fort Holmes.

We traveled through a lot of woods and trails flanked on both sides by trees just beginning to show their most brilliant colors.

We traveled on a lot of woods trails, flanked on both sides by trees just beginning to show their most brilliant colors.

Our last stop was the West Bluff . . .

Our last stop was the West Bluff . . .

. . . and our ride ended at Grand Hotel for lunch.

. . . and our ride ended at Grand Hotel for lunch!

Alex and G-Daddy, enjoying a stroll downtown . . .

Alex and G-Daddy, enjoying a stroll downtown . . .

. . . racing up Turkey Hill . . .

. . . racing up Turkey Hill . . .

. . . and cutting across the Jewel to look for golf balls.

. . . and cutting across the Jewel to look for golf balls.  They found some too!

On Sunday we biked halfway around the island and had lunch at British Landing.

On Sunday we biked halfway around the island and had lunch at the Cannonball at British Landing.

We decided to cut through the island on British Landing Road, enjoying lot of fall color along the way.

We decided to cut through the island on British Landing Road, enjoying lots of fall color along the way.

Stopping for a breather near Wawashkamo, where it seemed like a perfectly great idea to . . .

Stopping for a breather near Wawashkamo, where it seemed like a perfectly great idea to . . .

. . . to play 9 holes of golf on the course's last day of the season.

. . . stop and play 9 holes of golf on the course’s last day of the season.  Only the guys played – Jen and I watched, drove the carts and kept score.  Love this pic of Jason and Alex taking their practice shots.

Sunday night was also the last night Woods Restaurant was open this year, and thank goodness we'd made reservations! The place was packed with locals and a few island visitors also. Such a great way to finish up our time together.

Sunday night was also the last night Woods Restaurant was open this year, and thank goodness we’d made reservations! The place was packed with locals and a few island visitors also. Such a great way to finish up our time together.

Too soon it was Monday morning.  We drove them to Pellston to pick up a rental car, which they drove to Detroit to catch an afternoon flight.  We had such a great time with these three!  It was a little colder than expected, and that ride out to Woods Restaurant on Sunday evening on the taxi was pretty chilly.  But we wrapped up in the blankets the taxis carry, and Jason told Alex ghost stories all the way back in the dark . . . . ’cause that’s just what you do on a cold, dark night on a taxi in the woods on Mackinac Island.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’ll be leaving on the first ferry out Saturday morning. Before then – probably Friday night – I’ll get out one more blog post to wrap up our time here this year.  It’s gone by way too fast – as always!

God bless.


Alex among the pumpkins on the steps of The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

Alex among the pumpkins on the steps of The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

Gorgeous sunset over the big barn by neighbor and friend Eugenia Murray.

Gorgeous sunset over the big barn by neighbor and friend Eugenia Murray.

View from the Jewel Golf Course.

View across  the Jewel Golf Course at dusk.

That moment when Ben handed Alex the reins and let him "drive" for 2.5 seconds.

That moment when Ben handed Alex the reins and let him “drive” for 2.5 seconds.  Alex’s favorite part of the tour though was when he spotted a huge flock of geese on the open space of grass across the road behind the fort, and Ben drove the horses off the road and straight through them – sending them honking and flying!  Hmmm . . . I think that was my favorite part too!



Hurricane Matthew Report 10/8/16

Hello Friends!

Most of you already know all this if we are friends on Facebook, but for those who aren’t, this is an update from our Florida home after Hurricane Matthew paid his visit.

Our little village of Beverly Beach was spared the devastating damage that was done to our south in Daytona Beach and to our north in St. Augustine and Jacksonville.

There is no power in our neighborhood, and it could be days to weeks before it’s restored.  I truly don’t feel it will be that long where we are because we didn’t sustain nearly as much damage as other beachside communities did.  But, that remains to be seen.

One of our neighbors, Bob, chose to ride out the Hurricane in his Sunset Inlet home.  He said he would never do that again, and had never known fear like he did going through that storm.  Thankfully, he is ok and was so gracious to get out as soon as he could to take photos for the rest of us.


Our house is the blue two-story second from the far end.  I think that’s pieces of siding in the yard, but it’s not from our house.  We lost no siding at all.


We lost a palm tree in the front, but it did not impact the house.


Storm surge raised water levels in our inlet over the seawall and sidewalk, but it did not get into homes.


One neighbor lost the two-story screened enclosure over his deck and patio.


This home in our neighborhood lost quite a bit of siding.

There was some water damage to several homes due to a busted window in one house and water entering through the bottom of sliding glass doors in others.  But – all in all – we were very, very fortunate.

At first report this morning we thought it could be a week before bridges would be open, but they were opened earlier this afternoon, and neighbors are returning.  First arrivers  have been in our house and checked everything – we had no leaks.  As soon as they figure out who all has a generator, they’re going to get our stuff out of our freezer and transfer it somewhere safe. 

Julie and her family evacuated also, as did our son-in-law Matt’s family.  They are all safe, back home, and their homes have very, very minimal damage.


Highway A1A was washed away 4 miles south of our house, and one beachside restaurant was destroyed. 

A huge “THANK YOU” to our Sunset Inlet neighbors who have been in touch with us throughout the last few days through social media.  You can’t imagine how much it helped to have that close connection when we are so far away.  We love you all and can’t wait to see you in another week. 

Ted and I say a another huge “THANK YOU” for answered prayers for our family, our friends and neighbors, and all of our homes.  We were very, very fortunate.

God bless.

Saving the Beagles – One at a Time 10/4/16

Almost two years ago I wrote a couple of paragraphs about Murph-E, a sweet little almost-5-year-old Beagle who Mackinac full-time residents Jennifer and Kirby King were adopting from a medical research lab.  Here’s what I wrote:

“Good friend Jennifer King, General Manager of Grand Hotel, loves beagles.  She and husband Kirby are owned by their precious Stu-E, and they all live on Mackinac Island year-round.  A few weeks ago, someone shared a video with Jennifer about the use of beagles in research.  The video showed beagles who had been rescued from a research lab being released from their cages and stepping out into sunshine and onto real grass for the first time in their lives.  Jennifer cried her first tears for those babies that night.

Shortly thereafter, Jennifer and  Kirby contacted a rescue group in Illinois (the closest one to Mackinac), and this week little 4-year old Murph-E – a beagle being ‘retired” from a research lab –  joined the King family!”

The photo below is Murph on the day the Kings adopted him.


On Thursday evening last week I rode up to Jennifer and Kirby’s home for a follow-up on this adoption story.  Jennifer swung open the  screen door before I reached the porch steps, and two happy Beagles – with ears flapping and noses twitching (no doubt because I was covered in eau de Maddie scent) greeted me enthusiastically and welcomed me into their domain.

Murph-E (in the foreground) and his brother Stu-E patiently await a treat from Jennifer. The crate in the background belongs to a "cousin" Beagle who sometimes visits. These two are never crated.

Murph-E, now seven (in the foreground) and his brother Stu-E, who is four, patiently await a treat from Jennifer. The crate in the background belongs to a “cousin” Beagle who sometimes visits. These two are never crated.

In the living room – after getting lots of pets and cuddles from me – with Murph settled on Jennifer’s lap and Stu on Kirby’s, this sweet couple gave me some of the background story.

Two years ago Murph-E had gone directly from a research lab in Illinois into a foster home in the same state.  He stayed there for a week, and then his foster mom and Jennifer met each other half-way (in Wisconsin), and Murph officially became part of the King family. The trip home was uneventful, but the following weeks were filled with “firsts” for Murph-E.

Life for Murph in the lab meant confinement to a small cage, where he ate, slept, and went toilet.  He was removed once a day so the cage could be cleaned.  While he was out of the crate, whatever research procedure was planned that day was performed on him. Even two years later, he will “freeze” if placed on his back and not move until someone manually turns him back over.  The Kings have no idea what research he was involved in, and they really don’t want to know.  But, because of the uncertainty the Kings are hyper-sensitive to any medical condition that arises with Murph.  A suspicious lump last winter was a really scary time until it could be biopsied.  Thankfully, the growth was benign.

Jennifer said the first hurdle before he even arrived on Mackinac was “what will he eat?”  The foster mom had tried a different dog food each day, usually to have Murph turn up his cute little nose at it – or to eat it one day and refuse it the next.  Each day Jennifer would call Andrew at Doud’s Market to see if he could quickly get “such-‘n-such” dog food to the island.  Andrew did the research and always said “yes”!  The day before they were to pick Murph up, his foster mom called to say, “He’s eaten canned Alpo twice in a row.  Buy that.”  An immediate call was made to Andrew to order three cases of Alpo – canned.  When the Kings arrived home with Murph, they put Alpo in his bowl and Stu’s normal Purina Pro-Plan dog food in his.  Murph helped Stu finish up the Pro-Plan and has eaten it ever since.  The Alpo is still in the basement.


Murph-E had no concept of what “going for a walk” meant, had never seen stairs or been on grass, and didn’t know that toys were fun objects.  Murph’s leg muscles were weak because he’d never been exercised – so he could only handle a very short walk and then he’d he have to rest.  Over time, and with the help of Stu to show him the ropes, he has developed into a good walker with normal muscle tone.  The only throw-back to his former life is the “turn-around” he does occasionally while out on a walk.  It’s as though his brain goes back to when his entire world was his cage, and he thinks he still has to “turn-around” after a certain distance.  He will stop, turn in a circle, and then continue on with the walk.

On the inside of Murph-E's ear was a numbered tattoo which was his lab ID #. When he was adopted the lab changed all the numbers to "8's" so he couldn't be traced and added a smiley face - something the foster mom had never seen after fostering several of the Beagles on their release from lab facilities.

On the inside of Murph-E’s ear was a numbered tattoo which was his lab ID #. When he was adopted, the lab changed all the numbers to “8’s” so it couldn’t be traced and added a smiley face – something his foster mom had never seen before – even though she has fostered several of the Beagles after their release from lab facilities.

Another curious thing Jennifer and Kirby noticed the first summer was Murph-E being very sensitive to warm temperatures.  Even though summers on Mackinac are not that hot, even high 70’s and low 80’s seemed to be difficult for him to tolerate.  After speaking with a lab technician, they learned the facility where Murph was kept was a constant 68 degrees.  Consequently, Murph’s favorite time on Mackinac is spring, fall, and winter.  Summer – not so much.

Stu-E has been a wonderful brother to Murph-E, even though he's several years younger. As Jennifer says, "He's who Murph-E looks to as far as how to act like a dog." The first night was hard - Stu-E took one look at Murph-E and just went into acorner and looked sad

Stu-E has been a wonderful brother to Murph-E, even though he’s younger. As Jennifer says, “It’s Stu who Murph looks to as far as how to act like a dog.  The first night was hard though – Stu took one look at Murph and then went into a corner and looked sad and dejected.  But he quickly adjusted.”

Since Murph-E’s adoption, the King household has become a home where animal-tested products are no longer welcome, and she’s on a quest to get that information out to as many people as possible.  Jennifer was horrified to learn, through Apps like Cruelty Cutter (launched by the Beagle Freedom Project) and Leaping Bunny that the majority of her cosmetics and the cleaning products in their home were tested on animals.  She also learned that 98% of the products we use daily are tested on dogs, and 98% of those dogs are Beagles – chosen because of their small size, sweet personalities, and willingness to please.

Life these days is extremely good for Murph-E.  With two years as a normal dog behind him, the little Beagle is enjoying life to the max on Mackinac, surrounded daily by owners who love him and a Beagle brother who is his best friend.

And, every time he walks up the steps into his home, he passes under the name of the place he now calls home - Freagle Cottage (standing for Free Beagles).

And, every time he walks up the steps into his home, he passes under the name of the place he now calls home – Freagle Cottage (Free Beagles).

Jennifer, Murph-E, Kirby and Stu-E in their backyard on Mackinac Island.

Jennifer, Murph-E, Kirby and Stu-E in their backyard on Mackinac Island.


A lucky little dog and his loving mom.

A lucky little dog and his loving mom.  Jennifer said, “Of all the great things I’ve been blessed to see and do in my life, adopting Murph is one of the best.”

Murph-E today. Happy, safe, healthy, and loved.

Murph-E today. Happy, safe, healthy, loved . . . . and free.

 God bless.

Counting Down to Home 10/2/16

Only two weeks left on Mackinac, and my thoughts are turning more and more toward home! The excitement is building daily as I think of picking up Bodie in Atlanta and getting back to family and friends – these two weeks will fly by!

But – before all that – we’ve got Jason, his girlfriend Jen, and her little boy Alex arriving on the island on Thursday, and we are over the moon excited about that!  It will be Jen and Alex’s first Mackinac visit, and we’re praying for good weather and more fall colors.  The really fun thing is they’re not telling Alex (who is seven) where he’s going (this is his Fall break).  They’re just getting on a plane Thursday morning, and when he gets off in Pellston, we’ll be there to meet them (he thinks we’re in Florida).  We can’t wait to see his face when we arrive on Mackinac, and he’s greeted by no cars and horses racing up and down the corral outside the windows!  What fun!

In the meantime, Ted and I have been busy this week, and the weather has been great!  Here’s some photos of what we’ve been up to:


Meeting blog readers always makes my day! This sweet couple, Neil and Erica, hailed me at the four corners intersection as Jill and I were walking down to the school Wednesday morning for International Day.  They’re from Illinois, and I believe it was Erica’s birthday (found that out later on Facebook).  Happy Belated Birthday, Erica!


A sure sign that it’s Fall.  An open gate to a turn-out behind the West Bluff tells us the horse normally here has already left the island for down-state.


One of those seemingly never-changing photos.  Sweet George making one of his many daily trips on Grand Hill to pick up a dray to be transported somewhere else on the island.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)


Work continues on the paving of Main Street.  This has been a beautifully synchronized project, with most of the work being done at night. 


The project was divided into segments of road. First a night was spent preparing each segment, and the next night that segment was paved.  The weather cooperating helped a lot!  (Two night photos by Jill Sawatzki)


Newly paved section of Main Street looks great!


On Wednesday, Ted and I had lunch at Mary’s Bistro with our Little Stone Church minister and his wife, Fred and Mary Zobel.  Today was Fred’s last Sunday as our minister, and in the years ahead, he and Mary plan to travel and enjoy friends and family all across the country.  After lunch Ted and I walked home the long way – heading west on the Boardwalk.


For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated by Cattails.  I know they can be a nuisance plant in some artificial landscapes, but left to Mother Nature they stand out as an unusual and distinctive plant.  That velvety “tail” is actually the Cattail’s  flower.  Did you know that every part of this plant is edible, and humans have found uses (besides food) for other parts.  They’ve been used for rush bottom furniture, baskets and mats, and the downy seeds have been used to stuff pillows and mattresses.  During World War II the seeds were used to stuff life jackets.


There are stairs leading to the West Bluff from M-185 (Lakeshore Drive) – 205 stairs to be exact.  After approximately half of those, you walk along a cliff to the next set of steps and can see carriages and cyclists below.


The next set . . .


. . . (I swear it seemed like more than 205 in all) . . .


. . . brings you to the top and an incredible view!  There are 15 landings along the way, so you can stop and rest if you need to.  Yes, I needed to!


We wandered behind the West Bluff cottages, chatted with a few horses (this one was certain Ted had horse treats in his pocket) . . .


. . . and found a few more hints of Autumn between this horse’s ears.


Walking home after dinner in town Friday evening – past the beautiful and Halloween-decorated Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast . . .


. . . and Grand Hotel.


On Saturday I met long-time blog reader Barbara Blem and her husband Roger for the dedication of a plaque memorializing Mackinac College, which Barbara attended.  There was only one graduating class (in 1970), and there were 30 students in that class. 


The plaque was dedicated 50 years to the day from the College’s inaugural in 1966.  Around 18 former students attended the ceremony, which included viewing the College recruitment film.  The graduates also were given a tour of Silver Birches, arranged by Liz Ware.  Silver Birches was once part of the College campus, as was Stonecliffe.


The plaque will hang by the west entrance to the Arts Council Theatre, where there is also a Mackinac College Memorial Garden with plantings in the College colors of blue and green.  Thanks so much, Barbara, for inviting me to this event!


Walking my bike up the hill later in the morning, I noticed the first fallen leaves on the Jewel Golf Course’s green grass.


These brightly colored Mums and the faint touch of gold in some of the trees are still just hinting at what is to come.


I parked my bike for a moment in the archway leading to the Jockey Club and shot the flowerbeds of Grand Hotel through the arch.  Just wondering when those flowers will disappear magically overnight and the next morning will find gardeners busily planting tulip bulbs!

Stay tuned in the next couple of days for a follow-up story on the little Beagle, Murph-E, who was adopted from a research lab facility two years ago by island residents Jennifer and Kirby King. What a remarkable turn-around he has made – from living five years in a cage and never touching grass – to his loving home now on beautiful Mackinac Island.


You are going to love this one!!

God bless.






















Mackinac Students Visit Countries Around the World 9/28/16

Island friend Orietta Barquero texted me last night to let me know today was International Day at the Mackinac Island Public School.  The event was held in the school gym and over a dozen countries were represented.

It’s a fact that many of us forget – and something school children here seldom think about – but Mackinac Island, as a resort community, is filled with workers who travel thousands of miles to spend their summers working on the island.  They come from as far away as Russia and Asia, leaving families behind, to work for the season in hotels and restaurants, fudge and gift shops, or as drivers for Carriage Tours.  Grand Hotel is the island’s largest employer of international workers, and most of those who participated in International Day were Grand Hotel employees.  My friend Orietta (from Costa Rica) and her husband Steve are year-round island residents.

Kindergarten-6th graders were given passports to each country and workbooks with questions to ask and facts to find.


Some of the countries represented were – the Philippines . . .













India and . . .


. . . Costa Rica.  Orietta is sharing galleta, a sweet treat from her native country.  It tasted a little like cookie dough and was yummy!

This was the 3rd annual International Day at the school, and each year it continues to grow.  Mackinac Public School has 79 students this year Pre-School through 12th grades.  There are four in the 2017 Senior Class.

Thanks, Orietta, for alerting me to this great event!