The Island – and That Witch Irma 9/16/17

(I’m having publishing issues this afternoon.  I apologize if you’ve received notice of TWO blogs.)

Hi Friends!

It’s been an absolutely gorgeous week on Mackinac.  With Ted still on the mend (more on that later), I’ve been back and forth to town more times in the last two weeks than I’ve been the entire time we’ve been here – and I have photos to prove it!

Yes, we still have hanging baskets overflowing with beautiful blooms, but . . .

. . . everywhere I turn leaves are beginning to get dressed for fall!

One of my daily stops! I know most people have seen the outside of our post office, but you may not have ventured inside! This is where we pick up our mail each day from our post office box.

The way every day looked this week! I was taking another break on Fort Hill (carrying groceries home). Just couldn’t resist this view of the Trinity Church steeple and Lake Huron.

A scene from Fort Hill. This 8-week-old golden retriever puppy was getting a ride up in the arms of her mom. In a few months she’ll be pulling her owner up that hill!  What a cutie!

Another view from Fort Hill. A wedding carriage awaits a bride and groom from inside Trinity Church.

Boats of all sizes in the harbor this week:  Starting in the foreground with the 81′ Isle Royale Queen III – the Sip n’ Sail Cruise ship that will take you out to the Mackinac Bridge on a sunset cruise, complete with live entertainment.  They offer numerous other charter cruises also.  A great time – we know from personal experience!  Almost hidden in the middle is the private yacht Blue Moon, 198′ of pure luxury.  No idea who was aboard, but she sure was an impressive ship (another photo below).  On the other side of the Star Line dock is the 300′ Victory I, a Great Lakes Cruise Ship that regularly docks at Mackinac (another photo below).

The Blue Moon

Victory I

I always find it difficult to actually throw garbage in these beautiful containers!  But – that’s why they’re there.

Black-eyed Susans at Market Street Inn.

One afternoon I hitched a ride home from the top of Fort Hill with a three-horse-hitch carriage driver (he took pity on me when he saw the grocery bags). A lovely ride to the condo, chatting with the driver and other passengers.

Already a touch of color in the trees at Surrey Hill.

From the “only on Mackinac file” – a cage full of live chickens, riding to the ferry dock atop a Grand Hotel bus. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)

TED UPDATE

Ted has come a long way in the week-and-a-half since he severely pulled a hamstring muscle and came home from the medical center on a walker.  He actually followed doctor’s order for a total of three days (a record for him) and rested, took his meds, and kept heat applied.  He really didn’t have a choice because any time he moved it HURT!After three days, all bets were off.  He’s pushed himself and graduated yesterday from walking to riding his bike.  Of course, yesterday was Friday – and Friday is Pink Pony night.  And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night could stay Ted from the completion of his Friday night trip to the Pony.  So off he went – on foot, not on a bike – with a promise to me that he’d take a taxi home.  And he did.

BLOG FANS!

Another great thing about all the time I spent downtown this last week is that I got to say “hi” to several blog readers who were on the island.  I know I’m going to forget someone, and I took no pics, but I LOVED running into and talking with Mary (Valentine) Stancik, Irene and Gary Cowley and their beautiful Border Collie Brandie, Barbara and Roger Blem, Ron and Susan Jennings, Jim and Marcia Shrauger, and a lovely lady who hailed me from her bike on Market Street and stopped to tell me she’d been a blog reader for years – please forgive me that I can’t remember your name.  Love, love, love each and every one of you!

THAT TERRIBLE IRMA

As with Matthew last summer, our Sunset Inlet neighborhood sustained some damage when that witch of a hurricane, Irma, swept through Florida like a freight train.  After her path shifted west, we thought our part of the state would feel little of her effects, but we were wrong.

Our house lost some siding, but only on one side. Inside, except for a few drops of water on one window sill in the master bedroom, all was dry.

As with Matthew, the canal behind our house, which comes in from the Intracoastal,, rose over the seawall and into yards (this photo was taken from our backyard) . . .

 

. . . but it only came up a little higher than last year and didn’t get into anyone’s home.

Most of our neighbors had similar damage to us – siding, soffit, and a few lifted shingles.  But a few had more serious damage – water coming in through sliding doors and windows.  Some are having to go through the whole “dry out” process with fans and de-humidifiers.

With Matthew, Sunset Inlet lost power for about 2 days.  With Irma, it was twice that.  But, after lessons learned with Matthew, many neighbors had purchased generators and were more prepared.  Still, generators were mostly run for lights and refrigeration, not AC.  It was hot – very hot.

But here’s the story I want to tell about Irma.  I’d say about half of our full-time residents rode out Irma at their homes.  The next morning, they fanned out and assessed damage, not only at their own homes, but at homes where residents had either evacuated or, like us, were away in other places.  We knew by noon the next day that we had lost siding and were dry inside.  Friends emptied what little we had left in our frig and freezer and picked up siding out of our yard.

As water slowly receded in Sunset Inlet, and they awaited the return of electricity, several neighbors spent an entire day helping another of our neighbor’s mother clean out her house, which had been totally flooded just up the road from where we live.

Then  – several families went together and rented a boom lift, and because we have several men in Sunset Inlet who are in construction, they took the lift house to house and accessed damage on roofs or on soffits  . . . .  and FIXED it!

Our neighborhood heroes!

Love these guys!

Getting it done!

So, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who coordinated, participated in, and contributed in any way to what you did for us and for every other Sunset Inlet resident.  I know I’ll leave someone out, but SPECIAL THANKS to Mark & Shauna, Todd & Brandi, Bruno, Frank, Angelique and Marty, Ernie, Jeff, David, and Toney.  Love each and every one of you and so appreciate your awesome hearts for our community!

So happy to report also that Julie, Matt, Jordan, and Matthew’s home only sustained minimum damage also!

MEANWHILE, IN ATLANTA (IRMA CONTINUED)

Of all our friends and family touched by Irma, it was Jason’s home in Atlanta which had the most damage.

Two 90-foot trees from his neighbor’s yard fell on Jason’s house.

After the trees were removed, the full scale of the damage was revealed.

The trees fell between the master bedroom and a guest bedroom. It was flooding rain and the wind was blowing about 60 mph when they fell, and all that continued for at least 12 more hours.

The tree has been removed, a tarp is in place, and the house is being dried out with fans and de-humidifiers.  He’ll need a new roof, six new windows, new flooring on the main and lower levels due to water damage, new light fixtures (water flowed through them into downstairs), new mattresses, etc.  We’re so thankful Jason had just left his house when this happened.  Also thankful Jason – after a day of being shell-shocked – is handling all this with his usual sense of humor and finding the positives in all of it.  As he says, “It’s all good.”

There’s a quote by Taylor Lakin that reads, ” Hardships are some of the most amazing blessings we could be given.  How else would we become stronger, better, and reminded to be grateful for who and what we have in our lives?”

Love and hugs to you all!

God bless.

 

 

 

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The Island . . . and That Witch, Irma 9/16/17

Hi Friends!

It’s been an absolutely gorgeous week on Mackinac.  With Ted still on the mend (more on that later), I’ve been back and forth to town more times in the last two weeks than I’ve been the entire time we’ve been here – and I have photos to prove it!

Yes, we still have hanging baskets overflowing with beautiful blooms, but . . .

. . . everywhere I turn leaves are beginning to get dressed for fall!

One of my daily stops! I know most people have seen the outside of our post office, but you may not have ventured inside! This is where we pick up our mail each day from our post office box.

The way every day looked this week! I was taking another break on Fort Hill (carrying groceries home). Just couldn’t resist this view of the Trinity Church steeple and Lake Huron.

A scene from Fort Hill. This 8-week-old golden retriever puppy was getting a ride up in the arms of her mom. In a few months she’ll be pulling her owner up that hill!  What a cutie!

Another view from Fort Hill. A wedding carriage awaits a bride and groom from inside Trinity Church.

Boats of all sizes in the harbor this week:  Starting in the foreground with the 81′ Isle Royale Queen III – the Sip n’ Sail Cruise ship that will take you out to the Mackinac Bridge on a sunset cruise, complete with live entertainment.  They offer numerous other charter cruises also.  A great time – we know from personal experience!  Almost hidden in the middle is the private yacht Blue Moon, 198′ of pure luxury.  No idea who was aboard, but she sure was an impressive ship (another photo below).  On the other side of the Star Line dock is the 300′ Victory I, a Great Lakes Cruise Ship that regularly docks at Mackinac (another photo below).

The Blue Moon

Victory I

I always find it difficult to actually throw garbage in these beautiful containers!  But – that’s why they’re there.

Black-eyed Susans at Market Street Inn.

One afternoon I hitched a ride home from the top of Fort Hill with a three-horse-hitch carriage driver (he took pity on me when he saw the grocery bags). A lovely ride to the condo, chatting with the driver and other passengers.

Already a touch of color in the trees at Surrey Hill.

From the “only on Mackinac file” – a cage full of live chickens, riding to the ferry dock atop a Grand Hotel bus. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)

TED UPDATE

Ted has come a long way in the week-and-a-half since he severely pulled a hamstring muscle and came home from the medical center on a walker.  He actually followed doctor’s order for a total of three days (a record for him) and rested, took his meds, and kept heat applied.  He really didn’t have a choice because any time he moved it HURT!After three days, all bets were off.  He’s pushed himself and graduated yesterday from walking to riding his bike.  Of course, yesterday was Friday – and Friday is Pink Pony night.  And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night could stay Ted from the completion of his Friday night trip to the Pony.  So off he went – on foot, not on a bike – with a promise to me that he’d take a taxi home.  And he did.

BLOG FANS!

Another great thing about all the time I spent downtown this last week is that I got to say “hi” to several blog readers who were on the island.  I know I’m going to forget someone, and I took no pics, but I LOVED running into and talking with Mary (Valentine) Stancik, Irene and Gary Cowley and their beautiful Border Collie Brandie, Barbara and Roger Blem, Ron and Susan Jennings, Jim and Marcia Shrauger, and a lovely lady who hailed me from her bike on Market Street and stopped to tell me she’d been a blog reader for years – please forgive me that I can’t remember your name.  Love, love, love each and every one of you!

THAT TERRIBLE IRMA

As with Matthew last summer, our Sunset Inlet neighborhood sustained some damage when that witch of a hurricane, Irma, swept through Florida like a freight train.  After her path shifted west, we thought our part of the state would feel little of her effects, but we were wrong.

Our house lost some siding, but only on one side. Inside, except for a few drops of water on one window sill in the master bedroom, all was dry.

As with Matthew, the canal behind our house, which comes in from the Intracoastal,, rose over the seawall and into yards (this photo was taken from our backyard) . . .

 

. . . but it only came up a little higher than last year and didn’t get into anyone’s home.

Most of our neighbors had similar damage to us – siding, soffit, and a few lifted shingles.  But a few had more serious damage – water coming in through sliding doors and windows.  Some are having to go through the whole “dry out” process with fans and humidifiers.

With Matthew, Sunset Inlet lost power for about 2 days.  With Irma, it was twice that.  But, after lessons learned with Matthew, many neighbors had purchased generators and were more prepared.  Still, generators were mostly run for lights and refrigeration, not AC.  It was hot – very hot.

But here’s the story I want to tell about Irma.  I’d say about half of our full-time residents rode out Irma at their homes.  The next morning, they fanned out and assessed damage, not only at their own homes, but at homes where residents had either evacuated or, like us, were away in other places.  We knew by noon the next day that we had lost siding and were dry inside.  Friends emptied what little we had left in our frig and freezer and picked up siding out of our yard.

As water slowly receded in Sunset Inlet, and they awaited the return of electricity, several neighbors spent an entire day helping another of our neighbor’s mother clean out her house, which had been totally flooded just up the road from where we live.

Then  – several families went together and rented a boom lift, and because we have several men in Sunset Inlet who are in construction, they took the lift house to house and accessed damage on roofs or on soffits  . . . .  and FIXED it!

Our neighborhood heroes!

Love these guys!

Getting it done!

So, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who coordinated, participated in, and contributed in any way to what you did for us and for every other Sunset Inlet resident.  I know I’ll leave someone out, but SPECIAL THANKS to Mark & Shauna, Todd & Brandi, Bruno, Frank, Angelique and Marty, Ernie, Jeff, David, and Toney.  Love each and every one of you and so appreciate your awesome hearts for our community!

So happy to report also that Julie, Matt, Jordan, and Matthew’s home only sustained minimum damage also!

MEANWHILE, IN ATLANTA (IRMA CONTINUED)

Of all our friends and family touched by Irma, it was Jason’s home in Atlanta which had the most damage.

Two 90-foot trees from his neighbor’s yard fell on Jason’s house.

After the trees were removed, the full scale of the damage was revealed.

The trees fell between the master bedroom and a guest bedroom. It was flooding rain and the wind was blowing about 60 mph when they fell, and all that continued for at least 12 more hours.

The tree has been removed, a tarp is in place, and the house is being dried out with fans and humidifiers.  He’ll need a new roof, six new windows, new flooring on the main and lower levels due to water damage, new light fixtures (water flowed through them into downstairs), new mattresses, etc.  We’re so thankful Jason had just left his house when this happened.  Also thankful Jason – after a day of being shell-shocked – is handling all this with his usual sense of humor and finding the positives in all of it.  As he says, “It’s all good.”

There’s a quote by Taylor Lakin that reads, ” Hardships are some of the most amazing blessings we could be given.  How else would be become stronger, better, and reminded to be grateful for who and what we have in our lives?”

Love and hugs to you all!

God bless.

 

 

 

Mackinac Island Postcard #3 9/1/17

Hi All, and Happy Labor Day Weekend!

It’s been a great week on Mackinac, with beautiful ,cool, crisp days that may just be heralding an early Fall.  There’s a busy weekend ahead, and then that delicious slide into a Mackinac Autumn begins – leaves changing colors, temperatures dropping, and the process of Mackinac readying herself for the peace of winter beginning.  I LOVE this time of year on the island!

SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

Special visitors at the Stuart House on Monday. Ted brought Maddie and Bodie to see me while I was working.

A secluded swing – right on the water and surrounded by lush flowers and greenery – what a magical place to hide.

Horses are already leaving.  After Labor Day the crowds will diminish, and slowly, slowly almost all of the nearly 500-strong herd of hard-working, big-hearted workers will go to pastures in the UP for a well-deserved rest.  About 30 horses remain on the island during the winter. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

The annual Mackinac Island Medical Center Auction was another huge success this year. Held at Grand Hotel and featuring a meal, and both silent and bidding auctions, the evening is always a fun event and the cause is a great one! The group at the table next to ours obviously stocked their cottage with games and puzzles from one of the silent auction tables!

Leaving Mackinac for a day of errands on the mainland one day last week.

A beautiful island sunset up near the airport. (Photo: Pam Day)

Same sunset, same place, same photographer, different perspective – all beautiful.

The Wheelers were in town this week!. So much fun to watch these vintage bikes be ridden around town. Even more fun to watch the riders get off and on them! (Photo: Bruce LaPine)

Meet Gabby! She’s a five-year-old miniature dachshund who you’ll see all over town, riding a dray with her driver owner.

Maddie says, “Thanks, but I’ll just stay right here on this comfy couch with my daddy.”

Bodie – looking wistfully out the window, dreaming of a long walk in the woods . . .

. . . and trying to get the point across that he needs a new bone!

New cousin Marv and his wife Ruthie will be with us Sunday night.  Marv and Ted are going to be doing the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk on Monday – along with 60,000+ of their closest friends!  This year they are closing I-75 for the bridge walk, due to safety concerns from the Department of Homeland Security.  They’ve done an excellent job of letting people know the bridge will be closed – advertising has been going on for months (usually two lanes of the bridge remain open to north and south traffic). 

Have a great weekend, be safe, have fun, and enjoy time with family and friends!

God Bless.

 

 

A Rainy Day on Mackinac 8/17/17

Hi Friends!

The Horton clan awoke to heavy rain this morning on the island, and a few hours into the day it’s still coming down.  It’s one of those days when you don’t feel guilty for not going out and enjoying everything Mackinac has to offer, so I’m sitting here at the kitchen island, laptop open . . .

. . . looking out the front door glass at the rain creating little riverlets on the street, dog toys scattered everywhere, and pups watching the windows for any signs of Ted coming home from the weekly Men’s Breakfast at the Yacht Club.

After I wrote the last blog, I continued to push myself on my ankle, and I paid for it later in the week.  So, as of yesterday, I’m trying to do better.  I declared myself “off my feet” except for stuff I just couldn’t avoid doing, wrapped my ankle in the compression bandage the Med Center had provided, elevated it when possible, and really rested yesterday. This morning my ankle was less swollen than it’s been for three weeks, so I have the same plan for today.  Cough is basically the same.

And enough of that.

The good thing about “pushing it” is that I have lots of photos to share!

After church last Sunday I had to get a pic of the pots of geraniums lining the entrance to the church. Is there anything more welcoming than red geraniums?

On the walk home that day I slipped into the Grand Hotel’s gardens . . . .

. . . and came back out at the beautiful, curved red bench sitting strategically in a corner just off the sidewalk. It’s a great place to stop and rest on the walk up the hill or just to people watch!

Thanks, Jill, for getting this photo of two blog readers who stopped in the Island Bookstore recently. That’s Ashley and her mom Penny – both from Chicago! Thanks for reading the blog, ladies!

Loved these bikes with their “wheels of light” on Main Street the other night!

A typical busy day on Surrey Hill.  A visitor has pulled a chair out into the sun and is eating lunch (while texting, of course), people are walking down to the Grand stable to see the horses and the carriage museum it houses, and a private buggy, pulled by four Hackneys, waits in the shade for its passengers.

Bodie, in the closet and trying to figure out a way to get the dog treats out of my vest pocket.

Blog readers and friends Tony and Yvonne stopped by the condo one afternoon this week. They were at Grand Hotel celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. It was a nice day to sit on the porch and chat!

A beautiful sunrise captured by Max Jones.

Bodie and I left the island on Tuesday for his first grooming in Michigan. So proud of him – they said he was great for them in the tub and on the table. Still a little leery of the drying room, but he’s getting better at that too! He loves the ferry – and the taxi rides!

We were at a party downtown a few nights ago and got to enjoy a great sunset from the private dock.

Walking home after the party. We love Mackinac after dark.

We happened to get to this corner at the same time as a Mackinac Ghost Tour!

Beautiful Fort Mackinac.

Love this family of blog readers. You might remember Brittany as the college student who was in St. Augustine for a few weeks with her education major friends. She and the family called yesterday wanting us to join them at Sadie’s for ice cream, but I was determined to stay off my foot as much as possible. So I said, “Y’all come on up!” Loved visiting with Brittany, mom Lori, dad Craig, and brother Josh!

 UPDATE

Blake landed at his destination this morning around 4 a.m., after leaving Jacksonville early in the morning on Wednesday.  He texted this last night around 11 pm, and I had to laugh out loud. I can so see him, earbuds firmly planted and oblivious to everything else going on around him.  Blake’s text:  “You know, there’s that point in your day when you’re jamming out to some Jackson 5, some Commodores, some U2 – and then BOOM – wheels touch down in Istanbul. Surreal, but a very good moment”. He later flew on to Ankara.  Thank you so much for all the prayers that lifted for his safe journey.  Please continue to remember him as he settles into this new life.  (Photo is from a few weeks ago in Colorado.)

We have company coming in on Tuesday (Dave and Diane Bennick, who we stayed with on the trip up).  We love that we’re getting to see more of this great couple.  More “new family” coming in September!

Y’all have a great rest of the week.

God bless.

Thank You for Waiting! 8/10/17

PUBLIC PITY PARTY

Ok.  I know I said I’d be here on Monday with a blog.  And here it is Thursday.

I’ve never had a year on Mackinac start off like this one has.  I’ve coughed continually for four weeks, and on top of that I slightly sprained my ankle in the woods this past weekend.  I’ve pumped myself full of over the counter drugs that basically have done nothing but make me want to sleep all day, and basically that’s what I’ve done.

So – Monday – after volunteering at the Stuart House for four hours and coughing almost continually, I dragged myself down to the Medical Center and said, “Help.”

I saw a young female doctor who was on her first day of a two week rotation on Mackinac.  I swear to you she wasn’t old enough to drink adult beverages, much less dispense medical advice and drugs.  But she listened to my sob story and examined both my swollen ankles (the one I sprained only slightly more swollen than the other one). Her diagnosis – one ankle is slightly swollen due to injury, BOTH ankles are swollen because I’ve obviously been getting a lot more exercise since I arrived on the island than I was getting in Florida, and my body is retaining water.  The cough is from a virus that is sweeping the country and lasting anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.  She added a cough medicine to my over-the-counter regime and said, “This might help, but probably not.”

So, I’m four weeks into the 8-12 week cough cycle and in a compression bandage on one ankle.  I’m drinking lots of fluids, elevating my feet when I can, and trying to talk myself into a better frame of mind.  I know I’m being a whiny baby.  I. KNOW. IT.

I promise to try and do better.  I promise.

MACKINAC CONTINUES ON

Even when you feel bad you can appreciate beauty, and right now the island is at its full summer blooming peak. Here’s a little of what’s been happening since we talked last!

We were in on a surprise birthday party for friend Patty one evening at the Gate House. Her husband Buz did a great job of keeping it a secret, and several couples from Little Stone Church gathered for good food and fun.  (That’s Patty in the white jacket and Buz beside her in the turquoise shirt.)  Thanks, Jill, for this pic!

After dinner the birthday girl, Buz, Ted and I stopped for an ice cream at Sadie’s. What a great day!

Bodie got a chance to make friends up close and personal with one of the West Bluff horses. He continues to amaze me with his bravery around things that might scare a less secure dog.  He seems to have the attitude that the whole world is his playground, and if I’d just give him a chance he’d be “king of the island” in no time flat.

I walked him over to Governor’s Residence the other night and had him “up” onto the bench that sits at the top of Turkey Hill. Love how proudly he sat there overlooking his domain.

Passing by the Grand Stable at dusk the other night, I happened to find a farrier still at work.

Starting down Fort Hill. This view is one of the best on the island.

Blooms, blooms, blooms at The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

A West Bluff cottage that always has beautiful gardens. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Another West Bluff cottage. This one is for sale!

Sunrise at the marina one morning this week. (Photo: Tony Boom)

A backyard gate behind a West Bluff cottage.  Doesn’t it made you wonder what’s on the other side?

Gardens on the Governor’s Summer Residence property. (Photo: Ted Horton)

Hedge-clipping at the Governor’s Summer Residence.  Maybe he’s coming this weekend!

Full moon and the beautiful Grand Hotel. (Photo: Annie Lockwood)

Hollyhocks on the West Bluff.

Poppies on a road going toward Brown’s Brook – in the interior of the island. (Photo: George Piliouras)

The gardens of the Metivier Inn never fail to be jaw-dropping in beauty.

The top of Fort Hill just as dawn breaks.  (Photo: Ted Horton)

Bodie, on a final walk of the evening.  He’s getting this posing stuff polished to a fine art!

Hoping you all are doing well and thanking you for your patience with me this summer.

Love, hugs, and God bless.

Back in My Happy Place 7/27/17

Hi Everyone!

We’ve been on the island now for almost two weeks, and I think we’re about settled in.  I’m a little surprised that the first week was harder than usual for me – physically I mean.  I knew I hadn’t been exercising much in Florida since it had gotten so hot (short walks with Bodie just don’t equal “in shape” on Mackinac).  The first walk up the hill to our condo left me breathing hard and thinking, “Geez, what the heck is this?”  But, it’s amazing how fast that climb got easier each time I did it, and yesterday Bodie and I covered over two miles of trails – up and down hill – and came back to the condo feeling great.  It makes me feel better that Bodie is having to get in shape too, but for some reason, I think he’s having a lot more fun than I am during the process.

Weather – what can I say?  We came from over 100 degrees heat index in Florida to here where the temps haven’t gotten out of the 70’s for highs since we arrived.  Shorts and t-shirts during the day, a jacket at night for the last dog walk, and a lap blanket out on the porch in the mornings while we have coffee.  We’ve had a couple of days of rain, but that’s ok.  We’re on the island.  We just pull on the rain gear and keep on truckin’.

Bodie has amazed us by how well he’s taking the island busyness in stride. From the time he stepped off the ferry . . .

. . . and jumped right into the taxi, he’s handled it all with a maturity I really didn’t think he possessed yet. He’s been surrounded by horses, carriages and people and is amazingly calm about all of it.  Maybe Maddie’s “so what” attitude has rubbed off on him!  Still very excited though when he meets new folks one-on-one.  We continue to work on that!

The island is beautiful in July, and we were so excited when we got to the condos to find all the landscaping done, flowers blooming, and butterflies floating from bush to bush.

And, we’re excited that we’ll be right here in this same place until we leave mid-October!

OUR FIRST TWO WEEKS IN PHOTOS

We celebrated our first evening on Mackinac with dinner at the Chippewa (a tradition). The second night we went out with friends Buz and Patty from Oklahoma. They’re here until the middle of September, and we’re so excited we’ll be seeing lots more of them before they leave. I think it was the third night we finally ate at the condo, and then walked down to Sadie’s for ice cream.

One of those stormy days. It’s amazing how quickly I forgot how dirty a golden retriever can get on the wet streets of Mackinac Island! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

One thing all that rain produces are lush gardens all over the island, like this one of the west bluff.

As I was leaving the reunion, one of Ted’s newly-found cousins, Diane Caruso, gave us this wonderful pillow she had made because she knew of our love for little Maddie. It’s wonderful to have something “homemade” in the Mackinac condo, and when we leave we’ll take it to Florida, and it will find a home there.

You all know Ted and I have a morning coffee ritual – wherever we are. Maddie in Ted’s lap . . .

and Bodie guarding the front porch seems to be the theme for this summer.

One of cousin Dave and Diane’s sons, Scott, and his wife Tina and their boys spent the day on the island the week we arrived. They stopped by to say hello and added another “personal” item to the condo . . .

. . . . this great candid shot of their family on vacation!

Ran into artist Mary Lou Peters in Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island this week. Love this sweet lady!

Backtracking some now – I know most of you saw this on Facebook, but just in case you didn’t, Ted and I stopped in to see Lowell and Faye for a few moments as we passed through Olivet. It was storming and we had to leave the pups in the car, so we didn’t get to visit nearly long enough!

And one day while we were at Dave and Diane’s, I met Mary Saul and Frankie Thill in downtown Spring Lake for a girls chat session. So happy to see these two sweet friends.

I dropped by Mackinac Mud Pottery this afternoon and was just in time to watch owner Jay Barch creating at the wheel. Love this shop filled with original items. Ted and I use coffee mugs from Jay’s shop on Mackinac and in Florida.

Heading down Fort Hill this afternoon. There it is – that Michigan blue water and sky!

Pretty zinnias at the Grand!

Fort Mackinac on a gorgeous July day!

INDULGE ME – PLEASE

You’re just going to have to indulge me now for this section.  I’ve taken about 352 photos of Bodie since we arrived, and if left up to me I’d force you to look at each and every one. But I’m going to take pity and try and just put up a few of the best ones.  I promise, promise, promise I will NOT do this in every blog this summer, but for this one . . . well, please indulge me.

Mackinac, as seen through Bodie’s eyes his first week:

First of all, the cars here are pulled by animals called horses. Horses are much bigger than me, so I leave them alone. I don’t even bark at them. I have to admit riding around in a carriage is pretty cool stuff!  Would you believe there are people here who sweep up after the horses when they poop in the street.  I sure am glad, cause I don’t think they make poop bags big enough for horse poop!

Out my window I get to see horses in a corral. Seriously, I do.

Mackinac has woods, and being in the woods means I can be off-lead. That makes me very, very happy!

Mom makes me practice my Sit/Stay command all the time here (so she can take photos of me).

Mom said we didn’t have room in the truck for both my crate AND my bed. I’d rather she brought my bed. Maddie shares hers sometimes, but it’s not quite as big as mine.

Mom and I go on long, long walks – usually twice a day, and I’m really getting a full tour of Mackinac. Mom LOVES to take my photo at the different places we visit. Like the gazebo for Somewhere in Time . . .

. . .this place called Anne’s Tablet . . .

. . . . and in the Grand Hotel gardens!

Today we were in Turtle Park and this guy was kicking a soccer ball around. I figured he needed help.

I ran out to help him with the ball, and he stopped what he was doing and gave me great pets!  I thought that was pretty cool, but since he didn’t have treats in his pockets, I ran back to mom when she called.

This is absolutely the best place I’ve ever been so far in my life. It’s summertime, but it’s cool. There are miles and miles of trails to run on. Just about every person I meet wants to pet me. Everyone of you should seriously pack up all your pets and bring them to Mackinac!  They will thank you forever!

ONE MORE THING

Jill and I sat downtown at Marquette Park this afternoon people-watching and drinking our Arnold Palmer Lite Ice Tea (99 cents at Doud’s).  I have it on good authority that Friday, July 28, is Jill’s birthday, so everyone feel free to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY right here!  Yes, she’s going to kill me for doing that, but that’s the way it is with good friends.  We can get away with stuff!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JILLSKI!!

See you back here in a few days!  God bless.

The Beach, the Island . . . . and Places Far Away 7/2/17

Hi Everyone, and a huge Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

We’re nine days away from leaving for Michigan, with an arrival date on Mackinac penciled in on or about July 16.  Once we reach Michigan, we’ll be visiting family along the way, and our gang will be spending a few nights with cousins Dave and Diane Bennick near Grand Haven.. There’s also a family reunion where we’ll get to spend more time with cousins who visited us on the island last summer AND meet relatives we have yet to see face to face.  Dave assures us that Bodie and Maddie are welcome and that there are four Golden Retrievers in their neighborhood for Bodie to play with.  LOL – this should be very interesting!

Bodie says he sincerely hopes everyone has a soft spot in their hearts for teenage goofballs who always seem to find a way to get into trouble – even when they’re not trying.

SPEAKING OF MACKINAC

Bruce LaPine shared this and the next two photos toward the end of Lilac Festival week. A Shelper’s boat rounds the breakwall, framed by lighthouses and white lilac blossoms.

The flower beds outside Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor at Grand Hotel are flourishing!

More beautiful lilacs – overhanging a white picket fence and framing the Mackinac Bridge.

This is soooo cool . . . .

In honor of the 130th anniversary of Grand Hotel, David Lorch, PhD, LEGO designer, and engineer, created a 9 ft. replica of Grand Hotel made entirely out of LEGOS.

The details are impeccable and include people, horses, a Grand omnibus . . .

. . . . even the chess set on one end of the front porch and pots of geraniums!

I can’t wait to tell you about this . . . . . .

Mother and daughter team, Barbara Toms and Marcia Dunnigan (on the right), have joined together with artist Sharon Griffes Tarr (far left) to create the Mackinac Island Cottage Cookbook.  These three ladies held a book signing at the Island Bookstore last week.

The book is a compilation of Barbara and Marcia’s tried and true personal recipes. Their cottage (shown above on the book cover) is always filled with warmth and laughter, and these are two of my favorite “women of Mackinac”.  That front porch has been the scene of many an island party, and these ladies know exactly how to make everyone feel welcome.

Sharon’s illustrations of island locations are beautiful and add even more fun and enjoyment to the book’s charm.  The Island Bookstore will carry the books, but if you don’t have a trip planned, Jill says just give the store a call, and they will be glad to ship it out.  She has one tucked away for me already, and I am excited to get my hands on it in a couple of weeks!

FROM THE BEACH

We’ve had such a great week at the beach.  Jason and Blake flew in on Wednesday, and on Wednesday night Julie, Jordan and Matthew joined us for grilled burgers.

It’s so hard to get everyone together in one place at one time!  We hated that Matt was out of town and couldn’t join us, and Jen and Alex couldn’t come because Alex had a swim meet.

Jason flew back to Atlanta on Friday, and Blake will be with us until this Friday when he’ll return to Colorado.  In mid-August Blake will return to Ankara, Turkey for a two-year commitment teaching English at a local university there.  He is in the process of raising support.  Please keep Blake in your prayers for his safety and for his purpose there.  There is a need in that country, and work there can impact the regions surrounding it.

Please remember me too in your prayers during this time. This is hard.

FUN STUFF IN BEVERLY BEACH

Ted, Jason, Blake and I were at Turtle Shack Thursday night, and we ate outside. This huge crab sauntered across the sidewalk from behind the building, and when we got up to take a pic, he scooted behind the tire of one of the cars nearby. He sat there until we finished eating and was still there when we left. Biggest crab we’ve seen down here so far.  I guess you can grow that big when you’re wise enough not to cross busy highways during dinner  hour.

PRETTY STUFF AT BEVERLY BEACH

On my way to work last week this lone cloud was hovering over the ocean. I pulled over to get this pic ’cause I thought it was kind of spectacular.

Talk about spectacular! Sunset from our deck last night. I don’t usually like iPhone photos of sunsets because they tend to wash out the colors. But this one was perfect.

One more spectacular shot.  Blake took this panorama as he was walking the beach last night at sunset!

THE PASSING OF A HERO

Those of you who follow this blog often read comments by “Jason-the other one”.  Jason has read the blog for many years, drawn to it because of his love of the island.  Jason served in Afghanistan until 2010 with Ben, his military service dog and partner.  Ben returned to the states a month ahead of Jason, then went home to meet Jason’s wife and parents (Jason had applied to adopt Ben when he knew the dog was being retired).  Jason returned overseas, and Ben spent the rest of his retirement with Jason’s family.  Jason would see him when he’d come home on vacations over the years.

Ben crossed the Rainbow Bridge last week. Jason writes, “I’m writing to let you know my beloved partner Ben crossed oer the Rainbow Bridge last Wednesday. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as we deal with his passing. If not for him I wouldn’t be here today. He saved many lives, allowing countless service members to come home safely to their loved ones. He served our country with honor and had a very blessed retirement. He passed away at 14 years of age. Even at 14, he loved to play and rough house. He was found at home asleep on his bed. We guess it was just his time.”  The photo above is from Ben’s retirement ceremony in 2010.  His service years were March 2004-June 2010.  His last patrol in Afghanistan was June 5, 2010.

Rest in Peace, brave Ben, and thank you for your service.

God bless.