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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Color Extravaganza

This year's fall colors were beyond description! Starting on the road driving toward our cabin, the breathtaking views began...
On nearby Deer Yard Lake, maples abound...
Cascade Mountain, layers of color...

From our deck... Wow...

Hard to say what is brighter, the copper post cap or the trees!
Even in the mist of morning, maples look on fire.

Early morning light...

...and late evening...

...and the penumbra, that pink glow layered over the blue shadow, Earth, Sky and Water.
We're so incredibly lucky!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Of Logs and Laundry


We had a lovely 10 days at Cascade Bluffs at the end of August til the day after Labor Day. As you see, the fall color was just beginning to show.
Clear morning light on the Big Lake...

A few amber jewels, 'designedly dropt', as Walt might say...


...some roadside goldenrod... (aCHHHOOOO!!)

...and fading purple asters...watch out for the bees!

We spent many hours refining our trails, which are now magnificent, if we do say so ourselves! But it is really hard to get a good image of a trail under the forest canopy...
...so you will just have to visit and check them out for yourselves! Here are our blue tags that mark what we are currently calling the West Boundary Trail...

Don't mess with the USFS!
Their signs are much sturdier and more intimidating than our blue tags...

...and they left us four of these "pins" or USGS survey markers, in reality big capped pipes pounded into the rocky ground with the longitude and latitude and other secret messages engraved on top. This one is at the mid-point of our west border. It was placed in the ground over 20 years ago and I tried to get a shot of the printing on the cap... No go. Again, you'll have to make a pilgrimage yourself to the spot and read the historic etching, that says "This spot marks the western edge of Val and Kathy's future paradise." And that is the absolute truth, folks--come and read it yourselves!

For those who have traveled north and visited our haven in the woods, you know that the road has some... ahem... challenging spots, in part due to Mud Season, 2010, when things got a bit churned up by big trucks. Here is a shot of our road, circa August 2010, smoothed out somewhat and fairly dry, but still kinda rutty...

So we've gone and hired a guy who really wants to get our road in shape: Dean Berneking, AKA Road King. Here's Dean in his element...


...and here's The Mark of Dean... the site of a future culvert...

Speaking of culverts... He brought a bunch... needed to go get a few more...

Here is a real north shore work of art: a culvert that ain't going to wash out or silt up anytime soon! Doesn't it just bring tears to your eyes? Beeyootiful!!


Man, this road looks great even in the rain!


Smooth! Look, no ruts!!

Wow, he even built us a "guard rail" for that steep section, out of local building materials!


Winter follows closely upon fall! While we did enjoy the beautiful autumn weather and color, and had fun (and worked hard) tromping about in the woods, we also had the cold days and nights to come uppermost in our minds. We made a dash down the shore to Val's folks, Matt and Phyllis Ulstad's Lake Superior cabin near Gooseberry Falls State Park. Matt very generously supplied us with a truck-bed full of seasoned, dry birch, already split and ready for the wood stove! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Matt and Phyllis!


Back up on Cascade Bluff, we've been busy with the Husqvarna... our friend the chainsaw. When the septic system and cabin went in, some trees did have to come down (sigh) but we are slicing them up and will put them to use...

That pile is getting bigger! Val's been busy with that chain saw!
Val--- VAL! Can you hear me??


A REALLY big pile, waiting to be split!

And speaking of splitting, this gorgeous "22 Ton" device was our anniversary present to ourselves... a wood splitter! FYI, we are celebrating 32 years since the day we met on Sept 5th, 1978, and 18 years since the day of our commitment ceremony (that also marked ten years together as a couple...yes, we've been a pair-a-docs for a long, long time!)

Val's brother, Keith, procured this for us in the cities and hauled 'er up on the trailer. Here he is with Val's Dad, Matt, unloading it.
The Ulstads, during a break in the action: Keith, Phyllis, Val and Matt!

The splitter in place, with a growing stack of split wood, on the left...
Val hard at work with the splitter hidden behind that huge pile...


One sad moment... This year, we lost two of our sweet old friends, Oscar Wilde and Lauren Bacall, a pair of wonderful kitty companions. We brought their ashes (in these kind of hokey floral tins) up to Cascade Bluff and they have now joined our New World.
Here's Lauren, the prettiest princess of all (and she knew it, too)...

...and Oscar, the best boy ever, and the smartest cat I've ever known...
We will miss you both very much!


All this trail blazing, chain saw work and log splitting leads to achy backs and sore muscles... but fear not, we are planning to put in a hot tub! We took a tour of tubs and saw a couple of styles we liked. The tub is on order and will be wood-fired, so back to the splitter!


All that sweating and mucking about leads to filthy nasty clothes, of course. In the interest of keeping what friends we have and not offending their nostrils, we have invested in a very energy and water efficient stacked washer and dryer. Here is is in the back of Chris's truck, being delivered. Sorry, no shot of it in place...

...but here is the ultimate "Solar Laundry": good ol' fashioned clothesline and sunshine, and the photovoltaic panels in the background, on the garage roof, powering the washing machine and water pump!

We were truly blessed with a stretch of beautiful weather. Actually, all weather is beautiful, but we had some exceptionally fine evenings.
The first few are pictures of the last light of August 31, 2010...



...and here are some of Sept 3rd, just before the misty rainy stuff moved in
for the evening of Labor Day and beyond.

Nice!

But even our final morning was gorgeous, in its own mysterious way...
We can't wait to get up north again and promise more blogging soon, with updated pix of the fabulously improved road, the outside stairs, maybe a path made of pavers, a screened in porch... who knows what's next. One thing is sure, the adventure continues at the New World!