Archive for February, 2010

Recently, a friend and I met at the Boardman River Nature Center and walked the trails along the Boardman River’s Nature Education Reserve. It was one of those walks that totally rejuvinates. We were drenched in sunshine, absorbed by beautiful surroundings and shared great conversation.  I came home even more energized after the hour+ walk.

The trails hug the river and wind between dense Cedar trees.

The trails feature several bridges over running creeks.

We found evidence of a busy beaver who had gnawed down a tree along the river bank.

Go see it for yourself. http://www.gtcd.org/contact/


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David and I were recently lamenting that it seems like we’ll never be done with our home remodel. We would really love it if Carter Ooosterhouse, Holmes on Homes or This Old House showed up at our front door and gave us a hand (or just finished it all for us).

I thought about titling this post “THE HOUSE” to emphasize how enormous and endless the project feels. However, I’m not a big fan of all-caps and try to use it sparingly. While we’re not quite at the all-caps point in the home remodel, we are approaching the 2-year mark. We’ll just say that we grossly underestimated both the time and money that it would take to complete our overhaul. I call it the too-much-HGTV-syndrome where doing home renovation appears enjoyable, non-complicated and finished in a weekend or two. We’ll just say that the dust has settled on that TV fairytale idea.

Our back mud room currently looks like this:

Our kitchen looks like this:

We finally bought a kitchen sink and are making some decisions on tiles for the mud room and downstairs bathroom.

We’ll keep plodding along and will finish this big ol project one of these days.

And at some point in our future, we’ll tackle rehabbing the upstairs level too. But we’ll take a break in between.

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In a previous post, I discussed installing Victorian-style baseboard and mouldings in our house. This photo montage update should give you an idea of how the baseboard moulding really adds some period specific character to our home. We are really happy about the way it turned out even though it was a bear to paint the many corner pieces.

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David and I attended the annual Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce dinner on January 29 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. We were invited to attend through my EverywhereUGO ties and our table consisted of folks who helped put on the Turkey Trot event, that EverywhereUGO sponsors. The dressy affair was the place to be with over 1100 community members in attendance.

The dinner featured a presentation from McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance and Traverse City native. Hagerty Insurance is a major employer in downtown Traverse City and has carved out a niche as an insurance carrier for owners of collector cars and boats. The Chamber dinner event  therefore included rare automobiles on display in the lobby, in the meeting hall, and on stage. It was very interesting to learn from McKeel Hagerty how the company grew into a world-class business that started in the basement of his parent’s Traverse City house.

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Nothing says Appreciating Life Up North quite like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. A recent trek along the Sleeping Bear Point Trail accessed through Glen Haven was truly remarkable. A girlfriend and I, and our four-legged friends, hiked the dune. We got caught up on the latest and greatest details in each other’s lives while walking through some amazing scenery.

We happened to see eight deer running up the dune in the distance. They stopped atop the dune overlooking Lake Michigan and looked back at us for a brief moment- all eight of them- their white tails on alert, then they crested the dune and were out of sight. Later in the hike, we passed their deer trail. It appeared to be a well-worn path that’s been taken before.

It’s amazing that we were the only people on the trail that day besides the white-tailed deer. It was a warm January day of which the sun shone intermittently and a seasoned northern Michigander could get by without wearing mittens. We marveled at how lucky we are to live so close to such beauty and wonder.

How important is a connection to nature? For me, I’ve felt that it provides a quiet environment to think things through, regenerates feelings of inspiration and awe, and helps me feel grounded. Whether it’s an occasional visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes, my regular walks to Ashton Park or Hickory Meadows, my backyard garden, or even the creek behind my parent’s house. These special places provide me with a real connection to this world and my life in it. Glen Haven reminded me of the value to reconnect with nature and the environment. Everyone needs to feel connected to this earth. It’s a part of us.

In the picture above, even Wyatt took pause on the side of the dune to look out into the distance and reflect on his doggy existence (I’m sure he’s the introspective type.)

Previous pontifications about Sleeping Bear Dunes include musings about the Empire Bluff trail and camping at Platte River.

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