Throw Back Thursday – Maddie’s Musings 4/20/17

Personal Note:  Maddie’s very first blog!  First published June 23, 2009 – our first year as island summer residents.  ____________________________________________________________________

Hello – Maddie here.

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My favorite place – my Dad’s lap.

I hope all of you folks out there who read Mom’s blog are happy to hear from me – finally.  I think Mom told you that I had been working on this thing for some time (in between everything else I have to do around here to keep the premises safe).  Somebody has to make sure we aren’t going to be attacked by squirrels or chipmunks or snakes – and it sure isn’t going to be that big furball I am forced to share Mom and Dad with.  All he’s good for is to prance around and look good.  You should see him right now – lying at Mom’s feet with every long, golden hair in place.  Well, let me tell you something – he stinks!  I can’t wait till Mom takes him off island on Thursday for another bath and to get groomed.  I know he told you about that bath he had down at the horse shower.  Mom’s good at a lot of things, but bathing 90 lbs. of dog in a shower built for a Clydesdale in front of an audience is not one of them.  He smelled a little better (at least our company didn’t gag when he came around), but he needs to go to a PROFESSIONAL.

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This is me and my all-time favorite toy. Why is it my favorite? Because I cannot destroy it! Of all the toys I have had in my five years of life, this is the only one that has survived. I keep trying though – I will NOT give up!

OK – back to me.  Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat.  I am a dachshund.  I know that is hard to spell – even Mom has to look it up in that big book of words every time she uses it in this blog.  I am NOT a weinie dog, a weiner dog, a hotdog, or a doxie.  Do you think puffball would like to be called a GOLDIE?  He is a golden retriever.  I am a dachshund.  I have papers to prove it – maybe not as many papers as goofy, but papers nonetheless.

I have two houses to take care of – one in Georgia and one up here where it’s still freezing even in June – ok it’s not freezing, but I do not have 17 tons of hair like the monster does – I have very short, shiny brown hair that nobody has to professionally take care of – I am a very low maintenance dog.  A couple of baths a year (in the bathtub at home, not at a fancy, spancy salon) is all it takes to keep me looking good.

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Me in my cold weather sweater and faux fur cover-up. I JUST put these away this week.

In Georgia, we live on a lake, and the yard is fenced in, front & back.  Therefore, when the door opens, I am free to run around outside to my heart’s content.  I can chase squirrels and ducks and birds (wish I could fly!) and dig up moles and catch mice (Mom says I must be half-cat), and hunt for snakes.  I know Mom told you about me going after that copperhead in the yard in Georgia.  I had it handled, but Dad says he saved my life.  I still say I had it handled. 

Then there was that time when I was tracking that big black snake that lived in the bushes outside our front door (in Georgia).  I was barking like crazy (something I am not allowed to do up here because of the neighbors).  Mom came out and was trying to get me away from the bush (she doesn’t much like snakes), and that snake dropped right on her foot.  You should have heard her scream!  I jumped right in there and grabbed that snake (Mom said it was at least three times longer than me), and whipped it around my head like a lasso.  Then I threw it down as hard as I could (you are thinking I am making this up, but you can ask Mom).  We all thought it was dead, but it was only dazed.  It crawled off, and our good neighbor at the lake (who doesn’t care if I bark) came over and took care of him with this big stick that goes BOOM (Dad was not at home at the time).

Ok – enough about the lake.  Mom told me to write what I like about living on Mackinac Island.  So, here’s my list:  1) There are no poisonous snakes on this island.  So, when I spot a snake and go after it, Mom and Dad don’t worry so much.  2) There are chipmunks!  They look like little squirrels with shorter tails.  3)  There is a chipmunk AND a snake that live under the boardwalk at the condo, and I love to hunt for them – I have even named them.  The chipmunk’s name is appetizer, and the snake’s name is entree.  4)  There are the biggest squirrels I have ever seen here.  The one who lives in the tree outside our living room window is black – our squirrels in Georgia are gray.  The squirrel’s name is dessert.  5)  We have more “quality” time with Mom and Dad here because we go on walks.  In Georgia, they just open the door and let us out.  Here, because we don’t have a fenced in yard, we have to be walked so Mom and Dad have to go with us.

Here's me "running free".

Here’s me “running free”.

Now, here’s my list of things I don’t like about the island:  1)  I have to wear a straitjacket.  You see, when I walk on a leash, I like to pull because there are always things to check out.  With just a collar, I ’bout choke myself to death.  So Mom ordered this harness-thing that puts the pressure on my chest instead of my neck.  Looks like a straitjacket to me, but now at least I don’t turn blue on walks.  2)  I can’t run free (see above).  There are leash laws here, but I have a flash for you.  They let dufus walk around without his leash.  We live near the woods, and once they have us on a wooded path, they let him go.  Now they say they can’t do that with me because I would run away chasing everything that moves.  And I won’t come back when I’m called, like that crazy dog does.  I mean, look at what my options would be – chasing a rabbit vs back into the straitjacket.  What would you do?   The only time I am semi-free is when we go to Turtle Park.  It is this huge, open area, and they will let go of the leash handle and let me run around.  They think that leash and handle will slow me down enough that they could catch me if they had to – pleezzee!  I LET them catch me just to keep them from freaking out.   4) Walking downtown with Mr. Personality and Mom and Dad.  We can’t get three inches without being stopped by a crowd of folks saying, “Ohhhh, what a beautiful golden retriever!  Isn’t he gorgeous?  Isn’t he so well-trained?  Isn’t he just like ours at home?  Isn’t he just like the one we had when we were growing up?  Come on, big boy, give us a kiss!”  You know what I want to say?  “Yeah, go ahead and get those kisses all over your face, and then I will tell you what he just picked up off the street and munched on.”

Actually, I think the island is pretty neat.  I love going in the woods, even on a leash because there is so much to explore and so many new smells to check out – other dogs, horses (who last year I thought were big dogs until I challenged one and got to see close up the biggest paws I have ever seen – and their paws have iron shoes on them), all kinds of wild animals, different plants, different trees – everything is so exciting (even in my straitjacket).  I also love the ferries and the buggies.  When we are going off island, I get to sit in Mom or Dad’s lap so I can see everything (and don’t get in people’s way).  How cool is riding in a buggy behind a team of horses and pretending that I’m the driver!! 

Me and Mom on the ferry. This was one of those cold days when Cathie and Charlie were here.

Me and Mom on the ferry.

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Me and Dad on the taxi. I’m telling the driver which way to turn.

And, I have to admit it, sometimes downtown, stinky breath gets ignored and people lean all the way down and say to me, “Aren’t you the sweetest thing!  Dachshunds are my favorite dogs.  We have two back home, and we miss them so much!  You are so cute!  You are such a happy girl!”  So I give them kisses – and stick my tongue out at the big blonde dog.

Ok – I guess that’s about all I have to say today.  If you like my first blog, be sure and tell Mom, and she will let me know.  I have lots more I could tell you!   I hope I get more fan mail than bushy tail.  That would make me VERY happy!

P.S.  I forgot to tell you that Dad calls Bozo his “big-headed boy”.  He calls me his “precious, sweet little baby”.  What does that tell you, Goldie?

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Happy 4th of July! 7/3/16

Hi Everyone!

Here in Beverly Beach we’ve been enjoying a week of hot days, afternoon thunderstorms (normal summer weather in Florida) . . . .

. . . and amazing sunsets. When they named our little neighborhood Sunset Inlet, they sure knew what they were doing, didn't they? (Photo: Neighbor Monika O'Connor)

. . . and amazing sunsets. When they named our little neighborhood Sunset Inlet, they sure knew what they were doing, didn’t they? (Photo: Neighbor Monika O’Connor)

On Mackinac Island, this Sunday afternoon before the 4th was busy with visitors by the thousands. . . .

. . . and every one of them arrived on one of these ferry lines -

. . . and every one of them arrived on one of these ferry lines – Shepler, Star, or Arnold!  This photo from Tom Chambers shows some of the action today as ferries came to the island and departed to Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

Blog readers (and friends from Georgia) Dr. Karen Castleberry and her husband Raymond, were on Mackinac a few days recently and shared the next photos.

Blog readers (and friends from Georgia) Dr. Karen Castleberry and her husband Raymond were on Mackinac for a few days recently and shared this and the next four photos.

Beautiful clouds over Fort Holmes.

Wispy cloud strands over Fort Holmes.

Wildflowers on a shoreline beach.

Wildflowers on a shoreline beach.

A wonderful and delicious presentation at the new Sushi Grand.

A wonderful and delicious presentation at the new Sushi Grand.

An illuminated American flag on the West Bluff.

An illuminated American flag on the West Bluff. Thanks, Karen and Raymond, for sharing your memories!

One of my favorite times of the summer on Mackinac is right now - when the woods are a blanket of yellow. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

One of my favorite times of the summer on Mackinac is right now – when Mother Nature rolls out her yellow carpet.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Josh Carney (dock porter extraordinaire) captured Mackinac at night with this and the next two photos.

Josh Carney (dock porter extraordinaire) captured Mackinac at night with this and the next two photos.  I don’t even want to imagine how early this was in the morning for him to have found the streets empty!

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Fort Mackinac and Father Marquette – with floodlights.

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A path usually  teeming with visitors waiting to board carriage rides.  Thank you, Josh, for these three photos showing “life after everything closes” on Mackinac.

British Landing on an early, sunny morning - as seen by Alyssa Henes from her taxi. We've known Alyssa for years and years.

British Landing on an early, sunny morning – as seen by Alyssa Henes from her taxi. We’ve known Alyssa for years and years.

It might have been on that same early morning that Clark Bloswick and his faithful dog were creating long shadows at Fort Holmes.

It might have been on that same early morning that Clark Bloswick and his faithful dog were creating long shadows at Fort Holmes.

Island resident Larry Rickley made an amazing discovery in the woods last week and called Clark Bloswick to hurry over for a photograph. There are about seven deer on the island now, and this is the newest one!

Island resident Larry Rickley made an amazing discovery in the woods last week and called Clark Bloswick to hurry over for a photograph. There are about seven deer on the island now, and this is the newest one!

A gorgeous sunset from Captain Pat Springate off the back of a Shepler ferry.

A gorgeous sunrise from Captain Pat Springate off the back of a Shepler ferry.

Friend Sandi Steensma took this photo of the Straits from near her home in downtown Mackinac.

Friend Sandi Steensma took this photo of the Straits from near her home in downtown Mackinac.  Looks like a painting doesn’t it?

One more from Sandi. The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Huron, framed by Arch Rock. The brightly colored kayaks just pop against that water!

One more from Sandi. The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Huron, framed by Arch Rock. Love the brightly colored kayaks against that water!

We’re counting down the days until we head to Mackinac (10-11 more days, depending on when we leave).  I’m going to take a little break from the computer until just before we head north, so I’ll be back around July 12 or 13 (after our bags are packed, but before we hit the road).  Lots to do between now and then as we’ll be preparing the house to leave it during hurricane season – more on that later. I can’t wait until we’re on the island, and I’m sharing personal photographs and stories with all of you during our three-month stay.

See you in about 10 days! Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!!

See you in about 10 days! Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!!

God bless.

Monday Mania 7/14/09

Julie had gone out early for another 6-mile run Monday morning, and at 7:30 GDaddy, Jordan and Matthew hopped on their bikes and went to find her.  Then they rode with her, as she finished up her run.  We sat around and drank coffee, had a very light breakfast, then started to get ready to catch a ferry.

juliematthewferryWe were heading for the Mill Creek Discovery Park, half-way between Mackinaw City and Cheboygan.  The five of us and two dogs boarded the 11 o’clock ferry for the ride across the Straits.  Julie and Matthew grabbed a window seat, and Jordan joined Ted, Maddie, Bear and I in the center section of seats where the dogs were out of other’s people’s way.  We had called for Julie’s SUV and were going to try to get all of us in it.  That was a challenge with Bear because he is used to having the whole folded-down back seat of Ted’s truck to spread out in.  At first, he took over the seat I was supposed to sit in, but eventually we persuaded him to get down on the floor.

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Since we were all hungry, we drove almost to Cheboygan to eat at a little drive-in that a friend of ours introduced us to last year – Yeck’s.  They still have car-hops at Yeck’s, and you can eat in your vehicle or get out and sit at tables set up on their property.  Since it was cool, we chose a sunny table and parked Bear under the shade of a tree.  He wasn’t amused.

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A sawmill was constructed by Robert Campbell on the site of Mill Creek Discovery Park in 1790 to provide lumber for Mackinac Island.  Campbell also operated a farm with hay fields, cattle and an extensive orchard at the same location.  The operation continued through the 1830s.  Abandoned and eventually forgotten, Mill Creek was rediscovered in 1972.  After extensive archaeological work, the site opened in 1982 and features reconstructions of the sawmill and other structures.

I wish I could tell you that Jordan and Matthew were eager to investigate all the historical exhibits that are available on this property, but that would be a lie.  What they were interested in was the Forest Canopy Bridge, the Treetop Discovery Tower & Climbing Wall, and the Eagle’s Flight Zip Line.  Watching a chainsaw cut boards in half sounded a lot safer than any of those to me, but since Matthew has given me the nickname of “slowpoke” (because I arrive last on every bike ride), I kept my mouth shut so I wouldn’t become “scaredy-cat slowpoke”.

What you do is pay to go into the park, then if you are going to do the “adventure” (the dangerous stuff), you pay some more.  We only signed Jordan and Matthew up to be daredevils because we thought they would be fine on their own (with us supervising, of course).  But when we realized what all was involved, Julie decided she might better go with them. 

There are three components for the thrillseekers in the crowd.   1) After donning a harness that looks similar to what I tried to put on a taxi horse, you follow a path to the canopy bridge.  You are connected to an overhead cable and, following your guide, you are led out onto a swinging bridge with a footpath that is approximately an inch wide (I’m exaggerating of course, but that’s what it looked like to me).  Halfway across, the guide stops everyone to give a little lecture on forest facts while you are balancing like a high-wire artist above this “river”.  GDaddy and I were watching all this from far below, and I kept saying this little prayer, “Thank you Lord that they didn’t ask their BeeBe to go with them.”  From left to right, that’s Julie, Jordan, and Matthew in the middle of the bridge.

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After surviving the bridge adventure, you come to part 2.  They connect your harness to a zip line, and throw you off into thin air (I’m just telling it like I saw it).  First Matthew, then Jordan, then Julie.  If I had not had my hair colored last week, I promise you it would have turned completely white watching this.

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Everyone made it across, and we moved on to part 3 – the rock climbing wall.  By this time, Bear was bored silly with the whole thing (having found out no food was being served).  Maddie, on the other hand, watched intently in case anything exciting happened and she needed to spring into action.

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Both Matthew and Jordan had rock climbed before at birthday parties they had attended (what ever happened to Pin the Tail on the Donkey?).  They scrambled up that tower like they were spiderboy and spidergirl.

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After all this heart-stopping action, no one was the least bit interested in sawmills and excavation sites (Ted and I decided we would return before the end of October to see everything we had missed), so we headed back into Mackinac City to the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.  The lighthouse was completed in 1892.  For over 60 years, four generations of lighthouse keepers and their families lived at this station and helped ensure the safety of vessels crossing the Straits of Mackinac.  In 1957, when the lights of the newly constructed Mackinac Bridge made the lighthouse unnecessary, it was closed.  It is now part of the Michilimackinac State Park, and has been under restoration since 2000.  If you look closely, you can see Julie’s head at the top of the tower in the second picture.

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The first span of the Mackinac Bridge lies practically in the front yard of the lighthouse.  This close, you can really get a feel for the magnificence of this structure.  We took pictures of Matthew and Jordan as they walked down to the beach below the bridge.

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Ted, Bear, and Maddie were waiting for us on a bench when we came back from the beach.  Bear is so funny – he really keeps his eye on me when I walk away.  Ted says he never lets me get out of his sight.

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We caught the 4:30 ferry back to the island, and had a rough crossing.  Water was being thrown up onto the windows, and the wake behind us was rolling and wild.

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Tuesday is a very important day for two reasons.  First, it is Matthew’s 7th birthday.  And second, for the first time since the end of last July, I will see my youngest son Blake.  He will arrive in Pellston on a 6:30 p.m. flight, and I will be there to greet him.  He will stay with us on the island for two weeks before he returns to China for another year.  I can’t wait to hug him and fill him up with good food.  6:30 can’t get here fast enough!  

But first, we have a very excited little boy who right now is having a hard time falling asleep.  His GDaddy and I can’t wait to give him his big surprise tomorrow morning.  Tune in on Wednesday for pictures!