Throw Back Thursday – Bear Learns Some Life Lessons 3/9/17

Personal Note:  As promised, a second blog from the paw of sweet Bear.

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First Published August, 2009

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Hi!  Bear here.

Sometimes I just get too comfortable with my life.  I think I know what each day will bring – I get up every morning when dad wakes up and watch him make the coffee, then I sit around with him for a while.  Then when I think I just can’t wait another minute longer to go outside, I go jump in the bed with mom and wake her and Maddie up.  Once Maddie’s awake, I know we’re going outside pretty fast, because that little girl can’t wait like I can.  When she wakes up, she’s gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!

When we come back in, dad gives Maddie and me a bacon strip out of a bag (he thinks I don’t know it’s not real bacon, but I’ve had real bacon before, and believe me – that bag stuff is not real)  But, I never refuse food, so I eat it.  Then mom feeds us, and she and dad sit around and drink coffee, or go out on the deck and watch the people go by.  At some point, mom gets her yogurt out of the big box with doors, and Maddie and I wait while she eats it.  We know when she is finished because she always scraps around in that yogurt carton with her spoon.  When we can hear the spoon hitting the sides of the carton, we know that’s all she’s gonna get out of there.  Then she takes the spoon out and sits it down.  That means she’s done, and we can move in close and clean out that little bit of blueberry or strawberry yogurt that she has left – I call it breakfast dessert.

Then we settle down for a morning of rest – inside on the couch, out on the deck, or my personal favorite – right in front of that whirly thing that sits on the floor in the bedroom.  If I lift your head up a little, that wind can go right through all the fur on my neck and really cool me off.  The whirly thing is GREAT!

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Sometimes I have to get up when I hear dad come back from town on his bike.  I love that I can look out the back bedroom window to where he parks his bike!

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And so the day goes.  The only real change from the routine comes when I go get a shampoo and grooming.  I can tell those mornings because when mom says, “Let’s go”, she gets my shampoo and conditioner out of the closet and puts them in a bag.  Then I know I get to go for a ferry ride and a truck ride, and then I get pampered all day by the nice people at Bark, Bath, and Beyond.

So this morning mom’s reading her email, and suddenly she says, “Oh my gosh Bear, we’re going to be late!”  She jumps up, throws on her backpack, and says, “Let’s go”, but she doesn’t stop at the closet for my shampoo.  Instead we run downstairs, she puts on my collar, attaches my leash, and off we go down the hill.  I think to myself, “No worries, whatever it is, I’m sure it will be fun!”

As usual, when we walk down the hill we pass lots of people who say how handsome I am and want to pet me.  Mom is really in a hurry, but she stops long enough for a little girl to say hello.  She knows how much I like little kids and how much they like me ’cause I’m so soft and cuddly – just like a teddy bear (which is kinda how I got my name).

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Before we get to the end of the street, mom says, “Here we are.”  Here?  Where’s here?  We go inside this fence and go toward an open door in this building that’s like a big barn, and then I suddenly “get it”.  Mom brought me here last fall when I was sick.  This is where Doc Al takes care of the sick dogs on the island (he might take care of cats too, but I don’t want to think about that).

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Doc Al is a vet, and I know that he mainly looks after all the horses on the island.  But, if one of us smaller animals gets a tummy ache or something even worse, Doc Al is who everyone on the island calls.  If he’s nearby on his bike, maybe at one of the stables or barns, and someone calls him with a sick pet, he will just get on his bike and make a house call!  He will do the same thing if an animal is too sick to get to his office.  You see it’s different here.  Mom and dad can’t just put us in the car and rush us to the vet when there is an emergency.  And carrying a 90 lb. golden retriever down the hill to Doc Al’s office would be a little hard , even for my big, strong dad.  So, when he needs to, Doc Al comes to your house on his bike.  How cool is that!

When we get to the open door, Doc Al is on the phone, but we go on in.  I’m still wondering what’s going on because I’m not sick!  I feel great, in fact.  I know I have to take 2 pills a day because something in me called a thigh-roid gland doesn’t work right.  If I don’t take the pills, I get sloppy fat – would you believe I weighed 103 lbs. last year!  But it was this gland thing I had going on that was making me gain weight – it certainly wasn’t because they give me too much to eat!  Good grief, you’d think I was a Yorkshire Terrier by the amount of food they put in my bowl.

Anyway, Doc Al gets off the phone and gets down on the floor with me.  He’s telling me how nice I am and how good I look, then all of a sudden I notice he has this HUGE NEEDLE in his hand.  What the heck is that for?  He asks mom to take off my collar and hold my head because he’s going to draw blood OUT OF MY NECK!  Are you kidding me!  My animal doctor at home in Georgia has done this before when she was testing my thigh-roid gland, but she always stuck me in the leg.  My NECK?  Mom is holding my head, and Doc Al is trying to find my skin under all my fur, and I’m thinking, “Geez I wish I was back home in front of my whirly thing!”

Doc Al finds what he is looking for and sticks me.  I hold very still because mom and Doc Al are telling me over and over again how good I’m being.  That’s because I’m so scared I can’t move. If someone was sticking a needle in your neck, you’d be scared too!

He’s finally done, and I’m still breathing.  He stands up and puts all my blood down on the table (I’m pretty sure he took at least a quart!), so I figure I’m safe again.  Then he writes a bunch of stuff down and tells mom that he should have the results back tomorrow.  I guess then we will know if I have to change the number of pills I take for my thigh-roid condition.  I still like Doc Al though, even though he did kind of surprise me with that needle.  It really didn’t hurt a bit – I’m a pretty tough guy.

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We’d started back up the hill for home when mom takes out her camera again (can you believe I belong to someone who takes a camera to the vet’s office?).  She says it’s been too long since she took any good pictures of me, so today’s the day.  I’m happy about that – I love to pose for pictures!  When we get to the big yard in back of the island school, there are a bunch of geese there.  I LOVE to chase geese!  But what does mom do?  Gets me up as close to them as she can, then tells me to sit and stay!  Stay?  It’s GEESE, for pete’s sake!  So there I was, a few yards from about nine million geese, and I have to stay!  Why did I learn that command anyway?

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After that, we just walked around the grounds at Grand Hotel, and mom took lots of pictures of me in front of lots of big flowers.  Things were going pretty well until she told me to down/stay in front of this HUGE bed of flowers out in the road at the Grand.  As soon as I started to lay down, I smelled something in the grass that I really liked.  I smelled it some more, then I just HAD to roll in it.  Mom didn’t get mad though ’cause she knew it couldn’t be anything bad smelling at the Grand – they wouldn’t allow that.  Man, that was some sweet-smelling grass!

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She took one more picture over in front of the Grand’s Flower Shop, then we went across the street to the Pro Shop and took a breather before going home.

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So it’s been a pretty eventful day for me. Mom asked me to write about my experiences on her blog, so after I went for a long walk with mom and dad and Maddie this afternoon, we had supper, and I sat down to think about all that had happened.  I came up with three lessons I learned that you should write down and maybe put on your refrigerator – ’cause they are pretty important.

1)  You should always leave the house looking your best, because you never know when you might have to pose for pictures in front of nine million geese, even when you just want to be chasing them into Lake Huron.

2) If you are going to roll in something that smells good to you, always make sure it is on the grass at the Grand Hotel – seriously, I didn’t even get in trouble.

3) You should always be ready for anything and always be alert, because when you least expect it, someone might stick a needle in your neck.

Well, the whirly thing is calling my name – talk to you again soon!

Throw Back Tuesday – Bear Writes a Blog 3/7/17

Personal Note:  Today’s blog and the one coming up on Thursday were written by Bear – this one is his very first!  I always loved it when Bear or Maddie asked to take over the laptop and pen a few words – it meant I got a vacation from writing that day!

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First Published May 27, 2009

Hi! My name is Bear.  I’m a golden retriever.   That’s me in the picture below with my bratty little sister Maddie and my mom Bree (well, actually her name is Brenda, but she told me once she had never liked that name and had always wanted to be called Bree).  I don’t care – I just call her mom.  Maddie and I are not really related, although there was this 90 year old lady one time who looked at us and asked, “Are they brother and sister?”   Pleeeasseeee!  Do you see who mom is holding tightly in her arms in that picture?  Do you see that the brat has on a collar AND a halter AND a leash??  Do you see me just sitting there looking gorgeous without even a COLLAR on my beautiful neck?   Sister??  Geeezzz!

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Mom had been fretting all day yesterday about the weather and about how she couldn’t come up with a story idea for her blog (whatever that is).  She said the weather was really nasty – 46 degrees at 2:oo p.m., cloudy, threatening rain, not a good day to go out and take pictures. (I personally consider that a perfect day.  It’s chilly and there is a good chance I could get seriously wet.  What else could a golden retriever ask for?)  Anyway, she and dad (that’s Ted) were having a little “discussion” about him forgetting something in town again and that “somebody” had to make another trip down the hill.  So I said, “Come on, mom – let’s you and me go to town together.”  I know what you are thinking – dogs can’t talk.  But I swear, two seconds later she looked at me and said, “I think I’ll take Bear to town with me.”  Need I say more?

So she started getting on all these clothes – undershirt, sweatshirt, fleece coat, blue jeans, socks, wool cap, gloves  . . . . . . .  good grief! It’s not Antarctica!  It’s just Mackinac Island in May.  Tomorrow it will be sunny and 70!    So, she’s finally ready, and we start to leave.  Maddie comes running down the stairs like she’s going too, but mom says, “No, sweetie, it’s just me and the big boy this time.”  You should have seen her pout.  Mom put on my collar (a Georgia Bull Dawg collar, I might mention), attached my leash (leash law downtown) and away we went. I promise I did NOT look back and stick my tongue out at the brat.

Yeahhhhhh!  We got to the bottom of the first rise, and it started RAINING!!!  What fun is that!!  I could stick my tongue out and catch WATER!!  I don’t know why mom was so cranky.  I did happen to notice that all the tourists who ride around in those buggies pulled by those insanely big horses were all wrapped up like mummies.

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When we got to that gigantic white building where about a gazillion people stay every night , we spotted Anna who works for Grand Hotel .  She is always there somewhere outside the Grand, and she always has the most beautiful smile on her face and is so friendly.  Me and mom and dad just love Anna.  She is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and dad always says to Anna, “That’s where I was born!”  He must have said that to her about a million times now.  I think that’s what happens when people start getting a “little older.”

By the time we had talked to Anna a few minutes, the rain had stopped.  That’s how it is on Mackinac Island – one minute it’s raining, the next minute it’s sunny.  I LOVE it!  Our IMG_0592next stop was the bank.  Mom stuck her head inside and asked if it was ok to bring me in.  The nice ladies in the cages said, “Sure!”  This really sweet girl wanted to pet me (I’m soooo used to that), and mom asked her if she would hold my leash while she did her banking, and she said she would love to.  I got a LOT of good petting and ear scratching from  her!

We stopped in to say “hey” to Bill and Jim at Mackinac Realty (they sold us our great condo), but only Jim was there.  He offered to babysit me while mom went in the post office, but mom said no, she’d just tie me up outside.  Huh?

Mom explained to me that dogs were not allowed in post offices anywhere, including Mackinac Island, unless they are seeing eye dogs.  I told her that I see with my eyes, but she acted like she didn’t hear me and tied me up anyway.

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We started back home, then ducked into the shelter under the awning at the Great Turtle Kite and Toy Store to warm up a minute.  The cute girl in that store invited us in (I can get mom in ANYWHERE).  I was really bummed out when I discovered that this was a KID toy store, not a DOG toy store, but I had fun looking anyway.

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When we got home, mom said, “I still have no idea what I will write about tomorrow.”  So I put my head in her lap, and said, “Don’t worry, mom, I’ll write it for you.”  And so I did.

Throw Back Thursday – Stick Season 3/2/17

Personal Note:  Loved looking back at this October stroll through the Annex on Mackinac Island. Seeing Bear in several of these photos brought back so many special memories of that sweet boy.

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First published October 23, 2012

She calls it “stick season,” this slow disrobing of summer, leaf by leaf, till the bores of tall trees rattle and scrape in the wind. – Eric Pinder

Tonight I’m inviting you to come along with Bear and me as we walked for almost two hours on Sunday afternoon.  It was a beautiful day to be on Mackinac, and it seemed strange not to go to church that morning (Little Stone Church closed for the season last Sunday).  Ted took Maddie and walked her to town to pick up a newspaper, and Bear and I struck out in another direction.

I hadn’t been to the Annex in over a month, so I was anxious to see how the trees were looking in that area of the Island. Bear and I walked down Cadotte toward the Grand, then turned right on Algonquin just past the “caution” sign.  Algonquin runs behind the West Bluff cottages.

As we crested the first hill, I glanced at the path we sometimes take from Four Corners through the woods to Algonquin. It was literally covered in leaves now.

Walking down the back side of that hill brought us to the corrals where Teddie and McGuyver spend their summers . . .

. . . but both of them left the Island last week, and the corrals were empty. Either I’m going nuts or that is a new building (the yellow one) since the last time I was in this neck of the woods. Maybe they renovated an old shed that was there. Gotta ask Mary about that!

The “stick season” may be upon us, but even with some of the leaves already fallen . . .

. . . it seems the ones still clinging for life to the trees are putting their hearts and souls into making their last moments as beautiful as possible.

Bear, his nose always to the ground, seems to be finding it difficult to understand why there is less horse poop to taste test these days. I tell him it’s because there are fewer horses on the island now. He just keeps on looking though.

All of these are private corrals, and they’re all empty. Remove the horses, and you remove that earthy smell that lets you know it’s Mackinac. I miss the horses . . . and the smell.

At the end of Algonquin, we turned toward the lake. I stopped to frame a photo of the lighthouse between these two trees in one of the West Bluff cottage yards . . .

. . . then we went through the turn stile onto Pontiac Trail. Bear seemed to sense something different and came running back to me after he’d walked ahead. The bluff below Pontiac has been clear cut, something that is done every several years. It did take some getting used to, but just like the trees along Cadotte, before we know it the trees will be tall again.

The tree cutting (which opened up views of the stairs down to the water) does allow for exceptional views of the Grand now from along the trail.

At the end of Pontiac Trail, we made a sharp right, then a left onto Lake View Blvd.

We usually stay on Lake View until we reach Hubbard’s Annex, but on a whim we took a less traveled trail . . .

. . . and I found myself on a path I had never been on. Bear and I had a wonderful time wandering around back there – seeing a couple of houses, barns and stables we’d never seen before. It was amazing to find a spot on the island that was new to us!

It was later than I thought it was (we stopped to chat with some ladies who were staying at the Grand and needed directions), so we headed back home.

Every time I walk up this hill now I try to memorize this view of the condo so, during the winter, I can close my eyes and visualize it.

For the last week these trees down at the horse corral below the condo have been becoming brighter and brighter. I knew when I walked back Sunday afternoon, I wanted to photograph them and that splash of red the gate added. What I didn’t know was that a few horses had been turned into the corral a little before we arrived . . .

What a beautiful frame for these taxi horses . . .

. . . and the big Belgians who pull the drays.

Hope you enjoyed our little walk . . . it sure was nice having you along!

 

Winter Mackinac Magic and Bodie’s First Writing Attempt 1/15/17

Hi All!

Winter has come and gone in Florida!

Winter has come and gone in Florida!

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  We had a couple of REALLY COLD days and nights – it even got into the thirties a time or two.  But, not to worry.  We’re now in the 70’s again, and I have to say it’s pretty darn perfect weather right now!

It was even nice enough to some of the Sunset Inlet ladies to eat outside at a great little restaurant we discovered recently - Hammock Organic Café and Boutique. Can't beat getting to eat and shop in the same place! Yummy!

It was even nice enough for some of the Sunset Inlet ladies to eat outside at a great little restaurant we discovered recently – Hammock Organic Café and Boutique. Can’t beat getting to eat and shop in the same place!

On Mackinac it’s 29 today, and for the next two weeks it looks as though 35 or 36 may be the high temp.  All the photos below are compliments of Clark Bloswick except for two.

Tuesdays are trash days downtown, and a little snow storm doesn't stop these hard and hardy workers and horses from completing their route!

Tuesdays are trash days downtown, and a little snow storm doesn’t stop these hardy workers and horses from completing their route!

On Saturday morning the Mighty Huron was cutting through swome surface ice as it arrived early in the morning.

The Mighty Huron plowed through some surface ice as it arrived early one morning this week.

Yesterday marked the end of seeing the 1,000 foot freighters until at least March. The Soo Locks closed today.

Yesterday marked the end of seeing the 1,000 foot freighters until at least March. The Soo Locks closed today.

A sunset earlier in the week - perfect lighting. How can Clark continually be in the right place at the right time?

A sunset earlier in the week – perfect lighting. How can Clark continually be in the right place at the right time?

Sunday morning serenity.

Sunday morning serenity.

Those hard working horses have to eat. A hay wagon heads for the barn after loading at the ferry dock.

Hard-working horses have to eat. A hay wagon heads for the barn after it was loaded at the ferry dock.

Full moon hangs over a blockhouse at Fort Mackinac.

Full moon hangs over a blockhouse at Fort Mackinac.

Looking across Lake Huron toward the bridge in the distance. Looks like the shore ice is setting up.

Looking across Lake Huron toward the bridge in the distance. Looks like the shore ice is setting up pretty well.  (Photo: The Island House)

Loved this pic of two friends, Pam and Meredith, leaving for a day of fun on snowy Mackinac!

Loved this pic of two friends, Pam and Meredith, leaving for a day of fun on snowy Mackinac!  (Photo: Craig Harris)

BODIE’S FIRST WRITING ASSIGNMENT

Hey!  It’s me – Bodie.  Mom said I could try and write a very short blog today.

I only have two questions. What's a blog, and what's writing?

I only have two questions. What’s a blog, and what’s writing?

So.  Mom tried to explain it to me.  She said a blog is where you tell someone out in space about something that is interesting to you or about something you like doing.

I got this.  I like food – dog food (dry and canned), people food (when I can steal it), trash can food (dry and wet), street food (little pieces of paper, bugs, smashed water bottles, lizards (after Maddie kills them), rocks, twigs, dried up chewing gum, bird seed.  You get the picture.  Oh, and poop – but Mom says I don’t like it as much as Bear did – not yet anyway.  I’ll have to work on that.

What else do I like?

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My crate!  I sleep in here at night, but I also grab naps here when Mom’s working or watching tv in this room.  I also stay in here when Mom and Dad leave the house.  I think that’s because they are worried I’d un-stuff the couch if they left me free.  And I can’t say that I wouldn’t.

What else.  I LOVE dryer sheets!  I stand in front of the dryer when Mom gets the clothes out, and we have a race to see who can spot the dryer sheet first.  Mom usually wins because she can see INSIDE the dryer.  I have to wait and see if mom doesn’t spot it.  In that case it just falls out of the dryer on the floor, and I’m on it like a wolf.  I’ve only managed to swallow two so far – because Mom is pretty good at prying my jaws apart.  She was worried after I swallowed the first one, but something called “Google” told her they weren’t very dangerous if they’d already been through the dryer.  And – like most things I swallow – it all came out ok in the end.

I love being outside! Last night we were out on the deck and our neighbors next door had their little 8-mon-old granddaughter out on their third floor deck. She was trying to talk to me so hard! I loved watching her!

I love being outside! Last night we were out on the deck and our neighbors next door had their 8-month-old granddaughter out on their third floor balcony, and she was talking to me through the rails.  I don’t know why the grown-ups couldn’t understand what she was saying.  I understood her perfectly!

Mom is saying “that’s enough for the first time, Bodie”, so I will end for now.  Mom just read what I wrote and said it looked like I was going to do pretty good as a blog writer – especially for a kid!  I didn’t know she was serious though until she hugged me and said I was a good boy.  I really, really, really like when she calls me “a good boy” – because that is usually followed by a treat, which is the BEST kind of dog food EVER!

Did I mention I like food?

Ok, ok, Mom.  I’m stopping now!

Mom also says I’m a little too chatty at times.

Who, me?

Who, me?

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Personal Note:  I received the following notification from Feedspot Blog last week:

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I hope some of you out there will know more about this than I do!  When I opened the link, I learned that Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog was listed as the 14th most popular ISLAND blog among the thousands of island blogs Feedspot holds in their index.  The rankings change by the week and are based on Google reputation and Google search ranking, influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter, and other social media sites, quality and consistency of posts, and Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

As I said, I don’t really know what any of that means, but I say a very big “Thank You” for the designation!  And a huge thank you to all my readers who encourage me daily to keep writing!

Love you all, and God bless.

Busy Week Everywhere! 11/20/16

We didn’t have to worry about time dragging by this week!  Ted and I (and Maddie and Bodie) were busy with work, doctor appointments, and a wonderful visit from friends.  And every time I checked on things on Mackinac, there was something else going on up there – including the first snow of winter!

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Our Oklahoma friends (who also own a condo where we were at Surrey Ridge), Buz and Patty Wierwick, visited us for three nights this week as part of their three-week driving tour of the south.  They had never been to Florida or Georgia, and I think they fell in love with both states!  Their children are “doing” Thanksgiving at other relatives this week, so Buz and Patty are going to be having Thanksgiving dinner in Mobile, AL on their way back home.  We spent a few hours touring St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, on Thursday.

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Stops included the oldest wooden school house in the U.S. . . .

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. . . . and we just had to stop in for refreshments at St. George Tavern, which claims to be “The Oldest Pub in the Oldest City.”

 

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On our way out of St. Augustine, we rode by the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S.  At over 315 years old, it’s the oldest structure in St. Augustine.  Have you noticed that every sentence about St. Augustine contains the word “old”?

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Ted finally got our boat out of storage last week, so we took our guests out for a ride on the Intercoastal on Friday – a gorgeous Florida November day!  We’re so glad we got to see these great friends for a few days during the winter, and we can’t wait to get together again on the island next summer!

WINTER ARRIVES ON MACKINAC!

The calm before the storm - near sunset. Grand Hotel and Fort Mackinac by Tom Chambers.

The calm before the storm – near sunset earlier in the week. Grand Hotel and Fort Mackinac by Tom Chambers.

Sunrise from the water on November 17 by Stephanie Fortino on her way to the island.

Sunrise from the water on Thursday – by Stephanie Fortino on her way to the island.

And a sunrise on Friday from Clark Bloswick.

A sunrise on Friday from Clark Bloswick.

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Ahead of the snow came a gale warning.   Jason St. Onge, who posted this pic of the freighter James Barker, said it was in the 60’s with calm waters earlier on Saturday.  Saturday night and Sunday’s forecast included gale warnings with gusts up to 50 mph for the Straits of Mackinac and the island.  The James Barker was setting anchor to take refuge between Mackinac Island and St. Ignace.  Peak winds were to arrive around 4 pm Saturday.

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Molly McGreevy posted this pic from a Marine Traffic App, showing the James Barker wasn’t the only vessel to take cover in the St. Ignace “parking lot”.  For those interested, the green icons from bottom to top are the freighters James Barker, Cuyahoga, Edwin H. Gott, Algoma Enterprise, and Calument.  The light blue icon are tugs.  From top down The Michigan, The Rebecca Lynn and The Anglian Lady closest to land.

 

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A Clark Bloswick photo from this morning at British Landing.

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Clark’s view of the town this morning.  He said the island got a couple of inches overnight.

POOCH NEWS

Bodie had his first official grooming last week, and I'm so happy to report it went very well. Raina, our wonderful groomer, said he was good on the table. What was even better was his trainer taught me how to load him in my car the day before our grooming appointment. With a couple of simple instructions, Bodie now jumps right into the back seat and seems content to either lay down or sit in the back and take in the scenery. Please, Lord, let this last! As much as you all know how much I loved my sweet Bear, he was a terrible traveler.

Bodie had his first official grooming last week, and I’m so happy to report it went very well. Raina, our wonderful groomer, said he was good on the table. Even better – his trainer taught me how to load him in my car the day before our grooming appointment. With a couple of simple instructions, Bodie now jumps right into the back seat and seems content to either lay down or sit in the back and take in the scenery. Please, Lord, let this last! As much as you all know how much I loved my sweet Bear, he was a terrible traveler.

How Bodie sleeps at night. Cracks me up!

How Bodie sleeps at night. Cracks me up!

We took Bodie and Madde out to Washington Oaks State Park this afternoon for a little adventure. Bodie discovered his shadow . . .

We took Bodie and Maddie out to Washington Oaks State Park this afternoon for a little adventure. Bodie discovered his shadow . . .

. . . and loved running free up and down the trails!

. . . and loved running free up and down the trails!

My sweet fur babies. . . .

My sweet fur babies. . . .

So darn cute!

So darn cute!

A FEW EXTRA

An awesome sunrise over our Flagler Beach pier by friend Linda Brendlinger.

An awesome sunrise over our Flagler Beach pier by friend Linda Brendlinger.  We lost a portion of the end of the pier to Hurricane Matthew.

Some beautiful shots of last week's super moon from blog reader Cheryl Haddon from Illinois. Wow!

Some beautiful shots of last week’s super moon from blog reader Cheryl Haddon from Illinois. Wow!

The Bodster. Gotta love that face!

How can you not smile with these two characters around!

Who let the dogs out?! We have this big holding pond in our community, and it is usually dry. It makes a really fine dog park! From the front, that's Maddie, Bodie, Ryder (an English Golden Retriever), little Joey (a MinPin), and Raschal (an Australian Shepherd). They LOVE playing together out there!

Who let the dogs out?! We have this big holding pond in our community, and it is usually dry. It makes a really fine dog park! From the front, that’s Maddie, Bodie, Ryder (an English Golden Retriever), little Joey (a MinPin), and Raschal (an Australian Shepherd). They LOVE playing together out there!

I had to end with this one. This photo from Greg Main shows a very unusual vertical cloud. If God was choosing to show us what His angels must look like, I think this cloud is a great representation.

I had to end with this one. This photo from Greg Main shows a very unusual vertical cloud. If God ever chose to show us what His angels must look like, I think this cloud is a great representation.

Personal note:  As all of you who have been readers over the years know, I usually take the month of November off from blogging.  I didn’t want to do that this year, because of course I wanted to share our first month with Bodie with you.

So, I’m going to take a little breather now until the first of January.  Per doctor’s orders, I’m starting physical therapy again on my neck, and I just need some time to recharge my jets.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us, and I know we’re all going to be extra busy.  It’s a good time to take a break from writing!

I’ll still be around on Facebook, so we can always say “hi” from there!

In advance, the Horton household wishes all of you the happiest of Thanksgivings and a very Merry Christmas.  We’ll see you back here during the first week in January, 2017.  It promises to be an exciting year for us.  We have an Alaska cruise coming up in May, three months on Mackinac again during the summer, and lots of fun with a growing Bodie and our sweet little Maddie girl.

Sending much love and hugs from our house to yours!

God bless.

First Week Back 10/23/16

HURRICANE MATTHEW

We’ll have been back from Michigan a week on Monday, the 24th, and I have to admit to still being somewhat discombobulated.  Although Flagler Beach and Beverly Beach community services are working like Trojans to get our little beach communities cleaned up and everything open again, it’s sad to ride up or down A1A and see the destruction that some subdivisions and towns even smaller than ours suffered.

Ted and I rode up to Fort Matanzas this afternoon (where Ted volunteers), and the destruction to homes and trees and dunes is just devastating.  All along the highway there are piles of debris – some of it is just rubbish from downed trees, but way too much of it is furniture, appliances, clothes and artwork from houses that were once someone’s “dream homes”.  In some areas the ocean came across the dunes and highway and went into neighborhoods and houses on the other side of the road.  Vegetation both east and west of the highway looks as though it’s been sprayed by weed killer.  Such is the destruction of salt water on plant life.

As many times as you read of these kinds of things happening other places, you can never fully grasp the reality until it happens close to you.  In Sunset Inlet, homeowners whose houses sustained damage are struggling to get roofing and siding companies’ attention when there are so many other people needing the same services.  Since we first got home, we’ve learned more about what happened here in our neighborhood, and we now know that several homes suffered pretty substantial damage – mostly from water intrusion from roof damage, windows and sliding doors.  We had sustained winds here of nearly 90 mph for several hours, and that is a terrible force against anything man-made.

But – everyone is pulling together – sharing information, being there for each other, and lending helping hands.  For those in the community who got here a day after the storm passed (one couple actually rented kayaks and came in that way before the bridges opened) – a huge thank you to those who came in and emptied our frig and freezer while the electricity was out and moved it into storage where there were generators.  And thank you for coming – not once, but twice – to check our home for water damage around our doors and windows.

Each day more highways are opened, detours are cancelled, and businesses are opening.  Two of our favorite places – Java Joint and Turtle Shack – were off limits to cars because of a detour, but they opened within days and you could still get there by walking down the side walk.  Today the highway was opened, and we had breakfast at Java Joint for the first time since we’ve been back.

Our Flagler County communities depend on tourism – both summer and winter – for jobs and a good economy.  We are rapidly rebuilding, and I predict by January, when most of the snowbirds arrive, and by next summer, when the beaches will fill with vacationers, this little coastal town will once again be going strong.  We may be small, but we are mighty!

MACKINAC ISLAND

I KNEW I would miss the peak week for Fall colors, and I did.  Thank you to Jill for sharing the first seven pics below (except the one from the Chippewa) from her final week on the island.

Jill found me on our last morning grabbing a cup of coffee from Miranda at Martha's Sweet Shop.

Jill found me on our last morning grabbing a cup of coffee from Miranda at Martha’s Sweet Shop.

One of my favorite places for Fall color - Surrey Hill!

One of my favorite places for Fall color – Surrey Hill!

There's no Halloween anywhere as happy as a Mackinac Island Halloween.

There’s no Halloween anywhere as happy as a Mackinac Island Halloween!

Children fill the streets for a giant parade past the downtown businesses, who pass out goodies to every trick or treater.

Children fill the streets for a giant parade past the downtown businesses, where owners pass out goodies to every trick-or-treater.

After dark the streets belong to the adults, and costumes range from cute and clever to . . .

After dark the streets belong to the adults, and costumes range from cute and clever to . . .

. . . over the top scary!

. . . over the top scary! (Photo: Chippewa Hotel)

A sure sign of season's end - today the Chuckwagon closed for the season. Have a great winter, Donny and Sharon and the crew!

A sure sign of season’s end – today the Chuckwagon closed. Have a great winter, Donny and Sharon and the crew!

The day after we left I saw this Mackinac Revealed LLC photo on Facebook. This has always been one of my favorite vistas, and in this pic our neighbors at the Cedar Hill Condos, Meredith and Craig (and dog Mason) happened to be walking down the hill. Such a perfect photo!

The day after we left I saw this Mackinac Revealed LLC photo on Facebook. This has always been one of my favorite vistas, and in this pic our neighbors at Cedar Hill Condos, Meredith and Craig (and dog Mason),  happened to be walking down the hill. Such a perfect photo!

Shepler Ferry Captain Pat Springate captured this great photo today showing exactly how HUGE a freighter is!

Shepler Ferry Captain Pat Springate captured this great photo today, showing exactly how HUGE a freighter is!

The east end of town from Fort Mackinac this afternoon. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

The east end of town from Fort Mackinac this afternoon. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

 

And earlier today - from Clark Bloswick - a glance toward the Chippewa and Fort Mackinac on a beautiful fall morning.

And earlier today – from Clark Bloswick – a glance toward the Chippewa and Fort Mackinac from the Arnold Dock bike racks.

A CHANCE TO LIVE ON MACKINAC

For anyone who may be interested, I’m mentioning again a condo for sale on the island.  I have a special place in my heart for this condo because Ted and I used to own it!  Yes, our former condo at Surrey Ridge is being sold by the folks who bought it from us.  Improvements to the condo since we owned it are: 1) personal storage units for each owner; 2) new decks and railing; and 3) new landscaping.  The condo has three large bedrooms and two baths, a living area, kitchen, and a loft area that could be used as an office or TV room.  The condo has three levels – entrance on the first floor, living area, kitchen, master bedroom and bath, and guest room and bath on second floor, and loft and third bedroom on third floor. The price is $315,000 FIRM.  Interested folks should contact Steve Gould at (678) 521-3165.  It is for sale by owner.

BODIE

Eventually Bodie will take his place with Maddie as “one of our dogs”, but just for a little while I have to talk about him pretty much constantly.

You remember how you felt when your baby(s) started crawling and you could no longer take your eyes off them for one second. Take that feeling and multiple it by four legs and you get my present position. Negatives: He loves to put things in his mouth and couldn't care less if they are safe or dangerous. Case in point - I was loading the dishwasher tonight when he disappeared behind me and headed for the bedroom. I know to follow him ANYTIME he disappears suddently, and thank goodness I did. He had pulled a steak knife out of the dishwasher and was trying to figure out how to chew it! Oh dear Gussie - I almost had a heart attack! Thank goodness no harm was done, but I spent five minutes with his mouth pried open looking for blood and cuts.

You remember how you felt when your baby(s) started crawling and you could no longer take your eyes off them for one second?  Take that feeling and multiple it by four legs and you get my present life.

Negatives: 1)  He loves to put things in his mouth and couldn’t care less if they are safe or dangerous. Case in point – I was loading the dishwasher tonight when he disappeared behind me and headed for the bedroom. I know to follow him ANY TIME he disappears suddenly, and thank goodness I did. He had pulled a steak knife out of the dishwasher and was trying to figure out how to chew it! Oh dear Gussie – I almost had a heart attack! Thank goodness no harm was done, but I spent five minutes with his mouth pried open looking for blood and cuts.  2)  Hmmm . . . I seem to have run out of negatives.

Positives:  1)  He’s settling down more for longer periods of time.  2) He’s good in his crate at night and when we leave the house. 3) He has SIT and DOWN mastered (as long as there’s a treat involved), knows LEAVE IT and OFF (because he hears it every two minutes), and definitely knows his name.  4)  He and Maddie are learning to share, but Maddie has met her match in “toy snatching”.  For the first time in her life, she gets HER toys stolen as often as she steals Bodie’s. 5)  Did I mention he’s a mama’s boy?  6)  He is so curious about everything.  He will sit and watch an airplane cross the sky and cock his head like “What IS that?”

He loves walking out to the dock on the Intracoastal and watching birds.

He loves walking out to the dock on the Intracoastal and watching birds, but the first time a fish jumped out of the water he almost came out of his skin he was so scared.

Several days after we lost Bear I took all the covers off his huge orthopedic dog bed and washed them.  When I was putting it all back together, I said to Ted I was going to see if anyone in the neighborhood would want the bed, and he immediately said, “No you’re not!”  I asked why not, since we’d both talked about getting another small dog when something happened to Bear.  “Because,” he said, “We’ll have another big dog one day who will need that bed.”  Of course I cried on his shoulder that day, thinking to myself I couldn’t ever love another big dog.

I was wrong.

I was wrong.

One of my readers last week commented that Bodie would never fill the spot in my heart that Bear filled, but that Bodie would create his own spot.

And that’s what he’s already doing.

God bless.

Come Walk With Me! 9/17/16

Oh. My. Gosh! What beautiful weather we’re having on Mackinac this week!  All the humidity is gone, the temps are in the high 60’s during the day and low 50’s at night, and we’re beginning to see a red leaf here and there.  I can feel Fall standing just behind the curtains – waiting backstage for just the right moment to appear in all her glory!

With that thought in mind, I set out with my camera on a walk a couple of days ago.  I didn’t capture too much in the way of fall colors, but I sure had fun looking!  My photo idea for the walk was to focus on Mackinac fences, and I did that some, but it really just turned into one of my “happy walks”!

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Just past the new condos is this tall wooden fence.  There is one on both sides of the road here, and they hide some of Grand Hotel”s maintenance equipment.  The gates are seldom open, but if you happen by at the right (or wrong) time, you might spot someone leaving on a riding lawnmower!

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This open fencing borders the back side of the first nine holes of Grand Hotel’s Jewel Golf Course.  Since we’ve moved right across the street from the course, Ted has been “climbing the fence” after the flags are removed in the afternoon and trying to improve his golf game (yes, it’s ok to do that – I promise he won’t get in trouble).

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This beautiful team of horses came by while I was at the golf course fence.  Pretty sure they are Percherons.

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Looking across the golf course to Little Stone Church.

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This serpentine white picket fence surrounds the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence.  Wonder where that bench on the dray was going?

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The Governor’s residence is to the right of this photo.  I’m standing at the summit of Fort Hill, looking out over the harbor – a fantastic vista!

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I turned left, walked up a small hill, and spotted a team of dray horses through the trees.

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Sometimes a fence can be a living thing – like this hedge at the back of Fort Mackinac.

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The North Sally Port entrance to the fort.  On July 17, 1812, American troops marched through this gate to surrender to the British.  This is not a public entrance but is used by State Park and Tea Room employees, tour groups with a State Park escort, and service vehicles.  And it’s handicap friendly.

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I cut through the open area beside the fort and passed several private residences on my way to. . . .

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. . . the Somewhere in Time gazebo, scene of dozens of island weddings each summer.

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The view from inside the gazebo.

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From the gazebo, it’s just a short walk over shaded dirt paths to Anne’s Tablet, where you can stand at that split rail fence and see . . .

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. . . the entire marina, the bay, Round and Bois Blanc Islands, and both lighthouses.

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There are many short trails that meander near Anne’s Tablet.  One takes you to . . .

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. . . the edge of a cliff that drops straight down.  Careful on that one!

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Another leads to a fence-bordered set of very steep stairs leading down to the back of Marquette Park in town, and one leads to . . .

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. . . . the East Bluff, where Victorian cottages reign over . . . .

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. . . what could possibly be the best of all views of town and the Straits of Mackinac.

I retraced my steps to the back side of the fort, then took a shortcut through the State Park Maintenance buildings area. Love this old building that has probably know many uses over the years . . .

I retraced my steps to the back side of the fort, then took a shortcut through the State Park Maintenance buildings area. Love this old building that has probably known many uses over the years . . .

. . . but right now is mostly used for storage.

. . . but right now seems to be mostly used for storage.

Beyond the maintenance area I come to this fork in the road I know so well.

Beyond the maintenance area I come to this well-known fork in the road.

Picking the road on the left and walking just a few steps, I come to the Cupid's pathway sign. Directly across from that sign is the shortcut path we would take through the woods going home to Surrey Hill.

Picking the road on the left and walking just a few steps, I come to the Cupid’s pathway sign (on the right). Directly across from that sign is the shortcut path we would take through the woods going home to Surrey Hill.

I've found myself avoiding this path all summer because it was one of the most frequently walked paths Bear and I. We'd choose it as the shortcut for one of our adventures and as the shortcut for our way home from anywhere.

I’ve found myself avoiding this path all summer because it was one of the most frequently walked paths for Bear and I. We’d choose it as the shortcut to one of our adventures and as the shortest way home from those adventures.  I knew what was going to happen, but I turned down the path anyway.  Just a few steps, and tears filled my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.

That tree up ahead (the one on the left and closest to the path) is the one I'd slip behind and hide while Ted, Maddie and Bear walked on ahead. As soon as Bear would look back and not see me, he'd fly down the path to find his lost mom.

That tree up ahead (the one on the left and closest to the path) is the one I’d slip behind and hide while Ted, Maddie and Bear walked on ahead. As soon as Bear would look back and not see me, he’d fly down the path to find his lost mom.  And then he’d dance happily all around, and sometimes . . . .

. . . many times that would be followed by one of his famous "Bear zooms" through the woods at full speed.

. . .  that would be followed by one of his famous “Bear zooms” through the woods at full speed.

My heart has been so heavy this summer without my sweet boy. I love this photo of us taken several years ago on a beautiful Fall day.

My heart has been heavy this summer without my sweet boy. I love this photo of us taken several years ago on a beautiful Fall day.  I’m praying for many years ahead on Mackinac, sharing this beautiful island, with Bear’s blessing, with Bodie.  Just the thought of Bodie makes me smile

That special path takes another fork toward the end. One way leads to the back of the carriage museum at Surrey Hill and the other, which I took, comes out behind the building which houses one of the island's fire trucks.

That special path takes another fork toward the end. One way leads to the back of the carriage museum at Surrey Hill and the other, which I took, comes out behind the building which houses one of the island’s fire trucks.

Behind the fire truck building, a walk across the area which houses the offices of the electricity company, out into the open in front of Grand Hotel Stable . . . . and I'm back to the condo!

Behind the fire truck building, it’s a short walk across the area which houses the offices of the electricity company, then out into the open in front of Grand Hotel Stable.  And I’m back to the condo!

Can’t tell you how excited we are to have dinner planned on Monday evening with a dozen or so blog readers.  Right now my reservations list includes Lowell & Faye, Kem & Ed, Yvonne & Tony, Hilde & Bud, Joleen & Bruce, Pam & Mike Day, and Jill.  If you’re a blog reader and going to be on the island Monday, Sept. 19, and want to join us at the Chippewa at 6:00 p.m., please email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com so I can add you to the list!

God bless.