Friday, February 29, 2008

Weird Object Friday

Happy W.O. Friday. Sorry I'm so late in posting mine. My W.O. is simply what it looks like. A frog singing in a microphone. Who would buy such a thing? Me. When we moved to our house 6 years ago Caleb and I had in mind to do his room in a frog-turtle theme. We never really quite got it all the way there but we did buy a few things with that theme in mind. I especially liked this piece because it reminded me of my son...... singing. For those of you that don't know my son he's very theatrical and sings beautiful. At the end of march he will be staring in "Guys and Dolls" as Sky. We can hardly wait.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hartwick Pines Old Growth Forest

Tuesday morning we woke up to the coldest morning. It was minus 10 degrees and wasn't rising very fast. It was too cold to go snowmobiling so we decided to visit Hartwick Pines State Park. I'm the nature nut in the family but surprisingly Craig really enjoyed the visit too. One of the main attractions at the park is a 50 acres white pine old growth forest. It has a 1 mile walking trail through it. So what is an old growth forest? Apparently it is one of only 3 forests in Michigan (the other 2 are in the U.P.) that was spared the logging days of the 1800's. These trees are 300 to 400 years old and they are massive!! Not to mention beautiful!!
It had snowed the night before we visited and the forest and trees were covered with the most beautiful new fallen snow. It was like we were walking in Narnia. And because it was so cold we were the only humans that braved it that morning.
The wind would blow and a fine mist of snow would fall from the trees making it look like it was foggy. Craig and I would just stand in awe.
We really had no intention of walking the whole mile but the further we went the more we were drawn in.
I thought I was going to be disappointed with the photos I took because I forgot to switch to my wide angle lens. All these photos were taken with my telephoto lens but I really like them. They captured it pretty well.
Later in the week when the kids came up Jordan and I paid another visit to the park. It was much warmer that day. That is also when we fed the chickadees out of our hands. I'd like to visit this forest in the summer. I bet it is equally at beautiful then.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Where the deer and the antelope play

OK, so there weren't any antelope at the cabin but I liked the title. We arrived prepared for the deer. In anticipation of the deer at the cabin we bought 80 pounds of deer feed with us (corn). When we first arrived the deer would scatter whenever they spotted us. We would turn the lights off in the cabin so they wouldn't see us walking around watching them. Even our shadows scared them. As the week progressed we saw more and more. I guess the word got out that the Mullauer's were handing out free corn. At one point I counted 17 deer in the yard at one time. We usually put out the corn at morning and at dusk. The deer are pretty smart. By the end of the week I think they knew when meal time was.

Of course I wanted to get some great shots of them but most of my photos of them were taken from inside the cabin. I was pretty satisfied with what I had gotten during the week but I had no idea what I was in store for the last morning we were there. Craig and the kids were inside packing up to leave and I decided to put out the last bit of birdseed to see if I could attract any last minute birds. Out I went with my camera around my neck. A few days leading up to this I had noticed that the deer were slowly becoming less afraid of us. They wouldn't totally run away when they would see us but they kept their distance in the woods peaking around trees. I'm sure they were watching to see if we were putting food out for them. Anyway, I put the birdseed out and I suppose the deer thought it was for them. Ever so slowly they started to approach me. I couldn't believe it. There was a group of 6 of them. Several were very young. I stood as still as I could and they just kept coming. I was able to raise my camera and I had the most amazing photo shoot with them. It was like they were giving me a going away gift. They actually came within 20 feet of me. The young one's were braver than the older ones.

These first 4 photos tell a story. This adorable little baby reminded me of a teddy bear. He looked so soft. I wished I could have hugged him. You can see how intensely he was watching me. Very slowly he kept coming......
At this point he was almost to the feeder. I was standing near the front of the feeder and he was trying to get to the back of it so he could keep watching me. Finally he was behind the feeder still not taking his eyes off of me. This is my most favorite photo of all the deer. Just look at the innocence in his eyes. I love this photo!!!
What an experience!! Enjoy the rest of the photos.

A dream come true

Every time we head north it is one of my goals to see a Bald Eagle in the wild. My husband and my family know that too well, as I talk about it often! And I always head back home disappointed. This time my dream came true!! It was Tuesday about 2:30 and Craig and I were in the truck headed back to the cabin after spending a few hours at Hartwick Pines, a state park. As usual I had my eyes on the tree tops in search of that majestic bird. All the sudden out of the corner of my eye I saw a bunch of crows and vulture looking birds eating something up on a hill. And I thought I saw a Bald Eagle in the middle of it all. We were past it before I could be sure.
"Craig!!!!!!!!! I think I just saw a Bald Eagle!!!!" He thought he saw it too. Craig turned the truck around and drove back. Sure enough, there he was. He was way up on a hill at least a football field length away. He was eating on a deer carcass. We saw footsteps and blood leading up the hill so obviously the deer carcass had been planted there specifically for the birds.
My photos are by no way National Geographic quality but being that we were so far away I was half way pleased with them. I was using my telephoto lens but even with that I had to really crop down the photos.
After I had been snapping away for a few minutes Craig says "Why don't you try to get out of the truck and walk a little closer for a better shot?".
"No way. What if he tries to get me?" (like anyone has ever heard of a Bald Eagle attack).
"I can't believe that you have this opportunity of a lifetime and you won't get out and walk a little closer."
"OK, OK." Slowly I got out and started to walk up the hill.
I didn't get but a few yard and he flew off. I tried to get some photos of him in the air but they just didn't turn out well at all. On the way back to the truck I was laughing hysterically with excitement!! It was pure happiness.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Birds birds and more birds

As I stated in my previous post, I really concentrated on my photography while we were at the cabin. I tried hard to get pictures of all the different types of birds that I saw but some were just too quick. But being that I am only a wanna be photographer I think I got some pretty good shots. My son so kindly pointed out to me that I wasn't a REAL photographer because REAL photographers get paid for doing it. I told him that wasn't true that many photographers do it because they love it and not for money.... On our first morning Craig and I were sitting at the table having breakfast and I spotted something moving out back. At first I thought it was a small mammal because it was black and near the ground. A Pileated Woodpecker!!! He didn't give me much of a chance to get a good shot of him but I was happy just the same to have seen him. The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in Michigan and can be 19 inches tall. I love woodpeckers!! This little guy was kind of shy. He's a Red-Bellied Woodpecker. He looked soft and adorable.This fella gave me all the photos I wanted. He was not the least bit disturbed by my presence. He's a Hairy Woodpecker. Blue Jays were everywhere. A lot of people don't like them because they can be real bullies but I think they are beautiful. I only saw one pair of Cardinals. And they didn't like my presence so I had to take this one from inside the cottage. I wish I had gotten better shots of them.
This Red Breasted Nuthatch zipped around like crazy. It was a wonder that I even got a photo of him. Chickadees!!! They were abundant and so adorable. They were so sociable and would even talk to us.
Jordan and I went to a state park (Hartwick Pines) and the chickadees were eating out of our hands there. We didn't know that they would do that. We saw some other people doing it so we just had to try it too. It didn't take 1 minute and they were landing on our hands.
The feeling of their little toes curled around your fingers is amazing. It just makes you smile.
I saved this photo for last. That is Jordan's hand. To me it is just the most amazing photo. I can't stop staring at it. This photo is going to get enlarged and framed.

That's about it for our birds at the cabin except for one VERY special bird. This bird deserves his own post and I will be posting about him tomorrow. I will give you a hint... It has been my dream to see one of these birds in the wild. What do you think is the most majestic bird in all of America? Tune in tomorrow, I can't wait to show you (yes I even got pictures!!).....

We're Back....

It was a wonderful vacation and I have so much to share with all of you. I think it was the most peaceful vacation we have ever had. And some of the most incredible experiences and sights. I have so much that I am excited to tell you about that I could never do it in one post. So this week my blog will be dedicated to our trip up north to the little cabin in the woods.
Yes, this was the actual temperature most mornings. It was never above zero when we woke up. Early mornings I would bundle up looking like an Eskimo and go sit outside and wait for that perfect photo opportunity. I really concentrated on my photography hoping to get some great shots of birds, deer, wildlife and scenery.... I was not disappointed!!! I came home with 1,100 photos and since last night I have weeded them down to 500. Today I will have them weeded down to 200 or 300. I wish I could stay home all day and play on the computer with my photos and of course blog too but it's time to get back to reality and head to work.

To be continued......

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Surprise!! I have a new blog design and I love it!! I have tried for months to make my blog a little more personal but I never seem to know what I'm doing and all I end up with is frustrated. So I was thrilled to discover Rebecca. She is the mastermind behind my new design. She started this business as a way to raise funds for an adoption that they are in the process with. She was wonderful to work with and it was so easy on my part. Thank you so much Rebecca!! Please check out her website. The name of her business is Artistree Blog Designs. There is a link to her in my side bar.

We are leaving for the cabin in the morning and I will not have access to a computer while we are gone. Have a great week everyone. See you in a week or so......

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Isn't she beautiful....

Last night was the highly anticipated Winter Fest dance at school. Jordan was BEAUTIFUL!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Weird Object Friday

At the suggestion of my friend Margaret, it is weird object Friday. I'm going to make a little game out of my weird object. Can you guess what this is? I'll give you a few ideas with one being the real one. Make your guess. I'll update later tonight with the real answer.

1. An antique egg basket
2. An antique horse muzzle
3. A wire cup from an antique bra
4. A protective cover for old street lamps

What's your guess?

Update: OK, you know it wasn't #3, I was just trying to be funny. But you all guessed wrong. Even my husband thought it was #4. It is an antique horse muzzle. I never knew such a thing even existed until a friend gave this to me a few years ago. I recieved this from an elderly gentleman from our church that was having a huge barn sale of all kinds of awesome old stuff. I got some really neat things from him and I'm sure I'll be showing you some of the other stuff I got from him on other weird object Friday's.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why He Is My Valentine

1. I hear you loading the dishwasher at 11:00 PM when I am already in bed.

2. You are in the middle of totally taking the engine out of my car for a major repair.

3. You taught me to love outdoor activities that I never imagined I would do.

4. You love Seadra and Zoe as much as I do (Ok, maybe only Zoe).

5. You give me 100 back rubs for every 1 that I give you.

6. You turn my electric blanket on so I get to crawl into a warm bed.

7. It was always important to you that the kids be raised with manners an morals. They respect and love you for it.

8. You will not go to bed at night until the kids are safe at home.

9. You protect me and make me feel safe.

10. You put up with me and I'm so glad you do!!!

Happy Valentines Day Craig. I love you!!!

Only 3 more days....

This is a photo that I took at the cabin when we were there two years ago. Being that we are leaving Sunday morning for the cabin I've been looking at old pictures and getting very excited about being there again. I'm starting to gather up a few things and make lists of things to take with us. I've been watching the weather reports and it looks like we will have plenty of snow to play in while we are there. And it makes curling up by the fire so much better when it's cold and snowing outside. People at work know that I'm going to be gone next week and several have asked me.. "Where are you going on your vacation next week? Somewhere warm right?". No, we are going north were it's even colder. They all think I'm crazy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What's in your glass?

I decided it was time to do a post that wasn't about grooming or snowmobiling. I wanted to share with you my most favorite drink. I am an ice tea drinker no matter what the season. And this one is by far my favorite. I cannot find this particular tea in the regular grocery store. I get this at a local heath food store. I have tried every other vanilla hazelnut brand on the market and none are as good as this one. I bring four bags to a boil and let it sit for 10 minutes or so. Then I add enough water to make a whole gallon. I also put in about 1/4 cup of sugar just to give it a hint of sweetness. I actually have cravings for this tea! If you can find it try it!
So what's your favorite drink?
P.S. How do you like my photo Margaret? I posed my tea by a chicken like you always pose your subjects by objects :-)


Some of you have asked what the groomer is, what we do, and where we go with it. I did a post on Feb. 10th of last year that is a pretty good photo show of a 12 hour day in the groomer. You can click here to check it out.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My hubby loves to groom

Our winter storm yesterday brought us a lot more snow than anticipated. Which leads me to a funny story....

Craig and I decided to go grooming for a few hours last night. We bundled up and jumped in the groomer. It was 9:00 PM and 1 below zero. Along the trail we came across a huge tree that had fallen over the trail. Usually Craig can push fallen trees with the plow but this tree was above the groomer so he had to put a tow strap around it and pull it out of the way. Anyway.. after the job was done a few small branches were still on the trail so Craig decided to get out of the groomer and toss them off the trail. I watched Craig step off the trail into the ditch beside the trail. All the sudden I saw him drop down to his waist and he was flopping around frantically. I was laughing as this was quite the scene to watch. I assumed that he was being swallowed by deep snow as this is a common occurence. It didn't take long for me to realize he was not in snow but up to his waist in freezing water. OK, now I am no longer laughing and I figure I better get my butt out of the groomer and help him. I was afraid he was going to drown.

By the time I got myself out of the groomer Craig had managed to get himself out of the ditch and he was laying flat on his back in the middle of the trail. Ok, now I'm laughing again. I was trying really hard not to laugh because I figured Craig was in no laughing mood. There he laid soaking wet in sub zero temps and his carhart pants were quickly turning to solid ice.

The first thing he says "I'm Done!! Were going back home now". He took his carharts off and drove home with wet jeans and soaked boots. Inside the groomer is nice and warm so he wasn't too miserable on the ride home. Craig later asked me why I didn't get my camera out and capture the event. I would have loved to but it happened too fast.

Today we are having a good laugh talking about it. Tonight we are not going out in the groomer. Instead we are taking the sleds out for a ride.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Winter Welcome

I know a lot of my family and friends do not like winter. But it was a requirement to be married to my husband. Not really, but it helps. I have always liked winter. To me it is just so beautiful. On days like today it can be one of the most beautiful seasons. I just stepped outside and snapped these pictures a few minutes ago. It's only 2 degrees today with wind chills of -25. The church had an outing planned today to take a group sledding. Needless to say it was cancelled. Mom called me this morning to ask if I was going to church in this weather.... "Mom, I only live 1 block from the church".
I took this photo standing on our front porch looking at the neighbors house. It's snowing lightly but it's blowing really hard so it looks worse than it is. And really, we do not have a lot of snow. Not enough to snowmobile. Monday and Tuesday was nearly 50 degrees so we lost most all of our snow and had to start over again. Craig and I did go grooming last night with what little snow we do have. And yes, I wore my seatbelt the whole time. We groomed from 7PM to midnight.

Craig has a new snowmobile. Well, used but new to us. He sold our oldest sled and upgraded to this one. He's out in the garage right now polishing it all up. He's very happy with it.

Caleb should be home from Traverse City in the next hour and I'm making chicken tacos for dinner. Time to go.....

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happy Friday

We have a brand new Petsmart that opened in our area today. Actually, tomorrow is the grand opening but on my way home from work today I noticed that they were open so I stopped. Wow, what a nice place. I'm still going to go to the grand opening tomorrow. Jordan and I are going at 9:00 when the doors open and we are taking Zoe with us too. A bunch of company reps will be set up with promotions and samples and they are having a bunch of giveways and specials going on. I didn't have much time to shop when I stopped today so I'm looking forward to looking around tomorrow. How silly is it that I'm excited about a pet supply store opening? Zoe can't wait to go.

I sometimes feel guilty that I don't take Seadra on as many outings as Zoe but Zoe is so much easier to take places. She so laid back and easy going. She would let any stranger or dog approach her and be happy to meet them. Seadra, on the other hand, is high strung and she does this high pitch scream when she sees a strange dog. It's embarrassing. Seadra gets just as much attention and love that Zoe gets so I'm sure she doesn't even notice that Zoe gets to go on more outings.

Speaking of the dogs. We've been putting the hamsters up out of reach of the dogs when we not at home just in case they decide to mess with them. We've had them almost 2 weeks now and they haven't once tried to jump on their home or act aggressive towards them. So last night we went to dinner and "forgot" to put the hamsters up. When we came home the top was completely off laying on the couch and the hamster home was teetering between the wall and the coffee table. How it didn't completely fall over I'll never know but had it I'm sure the hamsters would have been gone or eaten. I guess we won't trust the dogs around them.... It's just too tempting for them.

And speaking of the hamsters, we have learned their personalities. One is friendly and the other is mean. The mean one you cannot pick up. If you put your hand near her she gets on her hind legs and waves her arms at you in a threatening way and she does bite!! She has drawn blood on several occassions. The nice one is adorable. Jordan puts her hand in there and opens her palm up and she just crawls right into Jordan's hand. She just loves to be played with. She will crawl all over Jordan, she's soooooo cute!!! Jordan has named the nice one "Bo", not Boo, but like Bow. The mean one still doesn't have a name. I don't know why we haven't named her yet, just lazy I guess.

Caleb left around noon today for a youth church retreat up near Traverse City which is about 4 hours north of us. They will be sledding, skiing, snowoarding.... 3 days of fun in the snow. I'm sure he's having a great time.

Happy Friday everyone!! I've got a three day weekend.... Yahoo. And only one more week until our vacation at the cabin..... Double Yahoo.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The end of an era

For the last few months my washer has been making noise when it agitates so I figured the end was near. Today I noticed that it is only agitating about 1/3 of the time. This washer has a story to tell. Can you see the dings all over the front of it where the enamel is knocked off? I had not had my washer very long, maybe only a few weeks. On this partucular day I came downstairs to find a hammer laying in front of the washer with all these dings in it. Caleb was 5 and Jordan was 3 at the time. "Caleb!!!"...."Get downstairs now!!". The conversation went something like this:
Mom: Now Caleb, I know you did this. Why did you do this to Mommy's new washer?
Caleb: I didn't do it Mommy.
Mom: Mommy knows that you did this... now tell the truth!
Caleb: Honest Mommy, I didn't do it.
Mom: Caleb! Mommy is not going to give up until you confess to this and tell Mommy you are sorry!!
Caleb: I didn't do it Mommy!!
This interrogation went on for maybe half an hour. Caleb was not one to fib even at a young age so I should have believed him. Jordan was innocently watching this scene the whole time. Finally she speaks up. "I did it Mommy".
I felt like the worst Mommy ever. It never dawned on me that my sweet innocent 3 year old daughter knew what a hammer was let along how to swing one. That was 13 years ago and we still laugh about it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

200th Post

Today is my 200th post. My first post was May 7th 2006 and here I am 200 posts later. And since then I've added Seadra and Zoe's blog and my Viewfinder blog. When I first started blogging I rarely ever got a comment. I knew no one else in the blogging world and other blogs I did happen to stop at I was always too chicken to leave comments. I was mostly just in my own little world. It was Seadra and Zoe's blog that lead me to have friends, which was only this last April. In conversations with my family I find myself saying "my blogging friend said this" or my "blogging friend did this". Yes, I call you all my friends even though we have never really met or even talked on the phone. It's been a lot of fun. I can't tell you the times I have sat at this computer and laughed out loud at things I have read or see on your blogs and there are times I cry with you too.
I have read articles before that say people blog for self centered reasons or bragging rights. I hope that is not the reason I blog. Of course I am proud of my family and I enjoy doing posts about the kids or things that we are up to. But for me blogging is a hobby, something I enjoy, it relieves stress, it allows me to be creative, I incorporate my photography into it of which I love.... there are many reason I like to blog. And I've met some great people. Not all people online are predators and we are proof of that.