Yarn Along & A Frozen Island – 3/12/2013

This week was pretty busy, but I made some progress on my turquoise set and I am (still) reading Post Office.


I had wanted to make the scarf like in the Alokananda pattern, but I was having so many issues with it curlying, so I decided to make it into a cowl.  I just took the first two diamonds from the cable pattern (20 stitches) and repeated it 5 times in the round.   I thin the width is good, maybe it could be a little wider, but I think the blocking and finishing may fix that.

This weekend, we wen tout to see what has become of the island after this long frozen winter only to find the river is still iced over!  But from across the river I could see that the dock was still there (I wonder if the barrels have been destroyed by the ice, if so, it will sink when it melts), the outdoor shower did survive and we had left our tent because the river became icy before we could go out to get it, and I was shocked to see ti still STANDING!  This winter has had so much wind, and icy and snow, but the tent is still up!  So I just that is a good sign for putting a yurt on the island 🙂

A Blustery Island Day + Yarn Along

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSo I did not get any time to post before today, so this post will be an island update as well as a yarn along post.

This weekend on the island, it was very windy and some rain as well 😦  So we did not work on any projects.  We did the usual walk on the island.  We found a Blue Jay feather


I found some raccoon tracks

Some flowers are still blooming:

I love that so many of the trees on the island have holes form the critters or are twisted (you can only see that after they fall and the bark comes off).

And there was more evidence of fall.

I got a great shot of one of the turkey vultures (and his dinner), but heron was a little harder, I was on the boat so the shot did not quite come out as we were moving.

The next morning, the fog was beautiful.

Everything was wet and cold so we headed home.On the dock, the spider webs looked so cool with all the dew and fog

We were able to get home just in time for the Bears game (to bad the lost)  😦


Ok, now for the yarn along!

This week I am reading My Sister’s Keeper and I made some progress on my knitting.  I got the additional yarn I needed for my Stormy Scarf and I have added to the length.  It think it is almost done!


On my Yurt Throw, I finished (almost) tow more squares which completes all of the wheat squares.


Here is the overall pattern and progress:


A Lazy Weekend on the Island

This weekend was a lazy weekend which was SO nice.  The weather was awesome – in 70’s and VERY sunny.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I spent most of the weekend just sitting on the beach with a good book and a glass of wine soaking up the sunshine  🙂



While I sat on the beach, Tom got in some fishing, there were a lot of tiny fish around the edge of the island…and was able to catch a Sheep head and a baby largemouth.  Both very small so we let them go..

But we did take a few walks around the island…which the dog loved!

During the walk,I found a few caterpillars that were very cool

I found there were still some flowers blooming and I was finally able to get a decent picture of the tiny white daisies:

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More cool mushrooms:

And there was more evidence of fall:

I took a few more pictures of the trees, and I tried to get some with the cool vines growing on them  🙂

We found some more interesting raccoon leavings:


I found another of the strange funnel spiderwebs


I got a few more geese pictures:

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I found another cool old bottle on the island:

Unfortunately, I also found a bee hive while walking the island and got a pretty nasty sting.  I’ll have to avoid that area in the future.  It hurt that Saturday and Sunday, but Sunday night is swell up and has been miserable ever since.


Overall, it was an awesome weekend!


This week, I think there is a tie for the island garbage of the week.  A Big Lots bumper sticker and a Wacker Club baseball cap.

New: Fire Pit & Camera – Island Update

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES(this blackhawk statue is the second largest concrete statue ever made

and is just up river from the island).

My hubby is so sweet…he has been hearing my complaining that I can’t get any good pictures of all the beautiful birds around the island, so he got me a new camera that has AWESOME zoom  🙂


I was having some fun with this on Saturday!

So this Saturday, we first hit an estate sale.  We have been looking for someplace near the island that sells boulders….we wanted our fire pit to be very simple, just a bunch of boulders so if is easy to move around as is needed  (the island floods and is prone to trees falling).  There was some fun old rusty things at the sale (and I had an excuse to play with my new camera):

But in the end, we ended up purchasing:


one skid that was in great shape and had the wood pieces very close together.  We thought this would be great to throw a dog bed over so she can lay a little above the ground to get away fro the bugs (no, my dog is NOT spoiled).  We also purchase the 12 medium boulders and used them for our new fire pit.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESand Tom found two great old pieces of wood that we think will make a cool bench.  We just need to sand the top, bold them together and add some varnish.


We did not arrive to the island until nearly 5 pm on Saturday,I found this little guy stuck in the port-a-potty, so I let him go out in the grass.


and some one was VERY happy to be heading out there…


I found a temporary home for the cool bottles I have been collecting on the island…in the outdoor shower!

This time of year, the island has SO many geese….they will hang out for a few months before heading further south.  And even though I was never able to get close enough for a good picture, with this camera, I could even get a great shot of the geese hanging out across the river!

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I also got a few pictures of the sandpipers.

We took a nice walk across that island


that evening and it was beautiful.


At the south end of the island, we found the sail boat canoe was out:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOne of my favorite views from the island is of the south end  ( and it gets the most flowers, bees & butterflies) …I really want to put a gazebo there to just sit and enjoy! This is the south end view:


While we were out walking, Heidi suddenly went on critter patrol and insisted that she had found one.


I found she was checking out a hole in a tree!!!  I put the camera down there and found something had burrowed a nice house down there.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We also checked out the Raccoon Restaurant along the walk:

I found some old pepsi cans (those always bring back memories):

And for this weeks island garbage, I found a Mail box  🙂


I found that more of the vines are getting fall colors, and some are just getting eaten by the Japanese beetles:

Had to get some interesting tree shots:

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I was sad to see that the big 7 foot sunflowers have all stopped flowering, but another kid of yellow flower is heavily in in bloom and there are a few other flowers still trying to hold on:

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After the walk it was time ot light up the tikis

and grill up some burgers:

After that, it was campfire time!!!!


The next day was very gray and the rain would not quit….so we left hte island early, grab breakfast and Charlies and heading home with enough time ti watch the Bears (barely) win!  What a great weekend.  We came to late for many birds I was hoping to see, but I’ll get them next time!

Labor Day Weekend with No Working :)


This has been a very long week, so I did not get any time to post until now as we did not go to the island this weekend. 2014 planning at work means never ending meetings and an not so fun oral surgery made us decide to skip the island this weekend.


(Heidi LOVES the boat)

But last weekend was a blast!  We decided not to do any work and had my cousin and his wife going us for two days and one one night out on the island.  I spent a lot of time sut reading a book and soaking in the water.

Tom got to do some fishing with my cousin Lee.

I spent most of the time just soaking in the water or reading a book, but I take a few picutres of some of the flowers that are still blooming.

We started going through a few items that remained on the island this weekend and was very surprised to find an old mag lite flashlight that despite being underwater for over a month, was still working!!!


This week, my husband also gave me my birthday present early and I can’t wait to try this out!  A new camera with 21 x zoom so I can finally get some great pictures of all the birds on the island!!!!  This is going to be so mu fun!!!!IMG_20130907_125717_160

As for the rest of the weekend…

The post on our outdoor shower was so long, I did not want to make it longer with there rest of our weekend update.  This weekend, we finally remembered to bring the sign and put it up on the island!


There was so little work to finish on the shower this weekend, which was great.  More time for other things.  We pulled out  at least 6 stumps left by the beaver.  This was hard work, you have to dig down pretty far and the chop the stump really low so we don’t have them sticking out and continue to trip on them.



You can tell this beaver has been really busy….


While digging out the stumps, I came across these weird bugs…my best guess is that these are lavra stage cicadas since all that I found were under the stump of a tree.  I saved all three that I found (as well as a long of red worms).


Those ugly bugs ending up working awesome for Tom’s fishing.  When he used them near sunset and sunrise every bug got a good size catfish.  New trick for us to use for fishing!!!



Saturday night there was a very pretty sunset.


That night, we actually saw a deer come across the water form the next island!  I t was the first sighting of deer, not just deer tracks!  To bad I could not get her picture, she ran away pretty fast when she saw us.

Sunday, we did a nice walk across the island. I found there was already another sign on the island 🙂


I also found that the the leaves are starting to change colors….I love the color, but I hate what that means, summer will soon come to an end.


I got a picture f thee strange funnel webs the spiders on the island create as well.


I have also tried to start collecting any unique bottles I find on the island.  These may look great int eh kitchen of the yurt (if and when we ever got that up!)


I took also some pictures of some of the flowers, mushrooms and geese 🙂











The Outdoor Shower Is Complete!!!!

It feels so good to get this project finished! IMG_20130825_122552_570

My original plans were:

Primitive Shower PlansThe outer structure consists of 4 premade cedar fence panels and 6 cedar 4×4 – 8’.


We used 4×4 posts dug 3 feet into the ground to connect the panels and create the outer structure.  There are more details here


For the floor, we used big patio stones with a 1.5” gap between each stone and then the gaps are filled in with small pea stones. There are more detail son how we did the floor here.


Next, we build two benches (using the Anna White Simple Outdoor Bench) one for the front and one for the back of the shower.


The we measured the length of the inside back wall and the inside short 3′ panel to create shelves.  For the 3′ panels, we just sued some 1x4s cut to size (and stained) and connected to the supporting 2x4s of the panel.  These shelves are just the right size for the shampoo, etc.


The back shelf was a little different, we used shelf supports and a 1×8 along the entire back end of the shower  so we can store other items in bins.



We also installed plenty of hooks to hang your towels IMG_20130825_123341_131

For the water system, I found a propane water heater + water pump + water filter that we are using with a rain barrel.  My husband did all of the work getting this set up, so in his words, here’s what was done:

First – my wife is a beautiful, brilliant, creative woman. I love her very much. I know that there are so many things I never would have done or learned to enjoy without her. Including buying an Island. That we have an island is pretty cool. That we now [on something completely off the grid] have hot showers on demand – even cooler.
In addition to the kit above [just getting started with the additions] – you’ll need a water barrel or some water source less than 5 feet away. The pump is rated for 6 feet. Couple of that footage has got to get water from the ground up to the shower. Not sure how the reviewers got it to pull from a stream or a river with this pump.  Still a great shower/pump combo.
We went with a deck box to house the business end of the system, to protect it from weather and it looks nice. Here’s what we bought from Menards. They are pretty much cheaper than anybody out there AND had it in stock.

IMG_20130818_113904_257 IMG_20130810_100304_758We lined the deck box with plywood cut to size to reenforce the floor and give us something to secure the water pump to. It’s not supposed to move around. A propane tank is pretty heavy as is a 12 volt marine battery so reinforcement – good idea.

IMG_20130810_103513_411SO you are buying some plywood to now.  And you need a saw.

We use a small gas powered Generac generator to run the electric saw, and other power tools. This generator is a one pull start every time for three years, except when I let the oil run low. And fortunately it wouldn’t start. Brought it in to a local shop – they added oil and started right up.  I love this generator.

All the hose & clamps you need for the water barrel were included with this rain barrel to connect it to the water pump. Thing is solid doesn’t leak either. And it’s got a broad top for rain collection.


Cut a 3/4″ hole in the deck box with a drill bit / battery drill to get the hose from the rain barrel into the deck box and connect to the water pump’s filter.IMG_20130818_113919_694What was tricky was the inlet adapter used a 3/4″ inlet and the outlet was 1/2″. Had to get extra braided 3/4″ hose to get this connected.  Used a box cutter to cut the hose. Went to the local Ace to get all the hose and adapters to make it work. A bit PITA but worth it when we got the first hot shower.


The water pump’s power runs off a 12v marine battery – power connecter clips purchased at Menards – [not furnished w/water pump kit]. Used needle nose pliers to crimp water pumps wires into the clips.


When the power is not needed – we clip it to the plastic handle so it doesn’t drain the charge.

They recommend a fuse in between – I ignored that. Didn’t expect a lot of unexpected surges…

BTW – the reviews say it pulls with a hose from a river/stream just fine. Not so for us. Found out later that it has a 6ft max pimp distance so river 25ft away – not gonna happen.

Drilled 2, 3/4″ holes through the back of the deck box through the shower’s wood fencing directly under the thankless water heater/shower.  One for water one for the propane.
Once you hook those two up to the shower unit it’s pretty much done.
IMG_20130810_162319_856We now are using a solar trickle charger to keep the battery charged so we don’t have to swap batteries out.

IMG_20130825_133056_024So far so good. Hot showers on the island – awesome.

So, that was Tom on his great work.  Thi shower does work awesome. On the lowest settings this is a very hot shower!


We just need to find out it the rain barrel alone can collect enough water (it does have a large screening opening on the top, or if we need a backup rain barrel or if we need to add some gutter system to the back f the shower to collect more water.  But only time will tell!

The rest of the weekend was also awesome, i have some great pictures, but the post is getting extra long, so I will hold off and try to post on that tomorrow.

Back to the island

It has been almost two weeks since I’ve I posted anything about our progress on the outdoor shower and the island!  We are almost complete!  It would have been totally done by now, but we decided to do less work and more relaxing this weekend.  It was AWESOME .  🙂


So….shower progress… My husband Tom completed all of the work to get the pump, water heater and rain barrel all set up. ( We found the pump is great if the water is nearby, but is not strong enough to pull the water form the river.)  I’ve has him to post how he did it, so hopefully that will be coming later.

The set up look like:



We also have all of the benches completed!  These benches are the Anna White Simple Outdoor Bench.  I think they came out great. I saw in all the pictures, the legs come down on two sides, but the plan only calls for one, so I followed the pictures not the plan there.  I think it is a little more sturdy that way.  I build two benches, one goes directly under the shower (so you can easily was you feet ) and one in the back.  I love the look!



The only things left to do is to add a few shelves and hooks and we are thinking of adding some type of gutter to the back side of ht e shower to help collect rain water.

Last weekend, we finally got a contractor out to take a look at what it would take to get a very large deck up on the property for a yurt.  (This is one project we should probably leave to an expert).  The yurt we are looking at is 30 feet in diameter.  We also want to have our too shed up above the flood level, so we are talking about a 50 x50 foot deck that is 4-6 feet in the air.  The we want a lower deck that is about 2-3 feet up that is for the picnic table and chairs etc.  I also finally pulled out one of our old tents that was very muddy still since it was left on the island in our old shed and got hit by the severe flood this year.  I had opened it up a few weeks ago and let it sit out to dry, and then I clean it out (not a fun process).  Now that old tent is our temporary tool/toy shed 🙂

This weekend, we also reorganized our tools and had a tree expert come out and walk the property.  I found out that most of the trees I though were back walnut are actually Box Elder trees.  There are a few black walnuts trees, but not nearly as many as I expected.  So that’s a good thing!

I am hoping to post pictures of the completed shower next week!  Projects coming up:  1) Take care of the beaver problem by wrap trees in 3 feet of wire.  I don’t mind that his house is near the island or that  likes to take down Box Elder trees, but I hate tripping on the stumps he leaves. So we want to save the trees near our campsite (hopefully soon to be yurt area!)  2) Put up an outhouse…we have been stalling on this one, because we were afraid that a traditional outhouse is a bad idea on an island that floods over every spring. So we have come up with a compromise.  W can build a structure that looks like a traditional outhouse (with out the pit) and put a composting toilet in it instead.  3) I hope….get the contractor to build he deck and add the yurt!!!!!

One more island update…I found that we have some HUGE bullfrogs on the island.  I knew we had some (you can’t miss that sound) but I had no idea how big some of them were.  I found one that was bigger than my hand.  And they sit very still so you can easily get their picture!



We also have some pretty big northern leopard frogs.


Heidi thinks the frogs are the greatest thing ever.  She spends a lot of time searching the shoreline for them.  This weekend, she figured out they like to hang out near the algae…so we had a green dog this weekend!






Outdoor Shower & Island Update

The floor is complete!


This weekend, we made some more progress on the shower, despite the unusual cold (it was a high of only 62 that weekend, and I was wearing jeans, long sleeve shirt and a fleece jacket the whole weekend L ).  We lugged all of the stones to the island….that was hard.  Each stone weight 42 pounds and our boat say s it can only carry 500 pounds total. But we did manage to get them all over to the island in only tow boat trips (and one 30 min drive from the hardware store).

My original design of the shower:

Primitive Shower Plans

I love the simplicity I built into the design.  In the design there is a 5” gap around the big patio stones and a 1.5” gap between each stone and then the gaps are filled in with small pea stones..  To get this gap was very easy, the 4×4 posts are actually 3.5”x 3.5” and some scrap 2x4s are actually 1.5”x 3.5”. So to get the gaps I want, I just use the scrap 2x4s as spacers when I placed the stones.  For the first stone, use two 2x4s against the 4×4 to place the first stone.


Then for each additional stone, use the 2x4s for spacers between each stone.

IMG_20130727_175018_226 IMG_20130727_180353_927 IMG_20130727_181019_147 IMG_20130727_182427_759

I know I would have a problem with just one stone based on this design:

Primitive Shower Plans2


I was planning on using a circular saw to cut the stone, so the 4×4 fits, but we decided to try a chisel first, since the stone did have some natural breaks already to pound into.


Unfortunately, after just a few hits, it broke a big piece than we expected.  But, the pea stones will fill in the gap and I think I will still look good.


This when really quick!  Next we filled in the gaps with the pea stones and used a bromm to push them down in to the gaps.




Done for the day!


The next morning, we got started on the benches.  There was a lot of wood to cut!


We started on the sanding and staining of the pieces, but did not get too far.

Taking a nice walk through the island,


I found some great flowers and mushrooms:













Th one was so weird…..I have never seen anything like it!  But it was growing on a tree.


I also love these huge vines that are climbing up many of our trees.


Very odd, not sure how this got here since last year, but we found a tv on the island!  Must have floated during the flood!


Next weekend, we are heading out for a family get together at my cousins cabin, so there will be no island updates for a while.

Outdoor Shower Progress

We started working on the outdoor shower (you can get pretty dirty on the island).

I know there are so many other projects I should start on, like the outhouse or the yurt/cabin.  But we choose to start with the shower because I felt like it was the easier project and I just need to see that we got at least on thing complete.

I was in Menard’s for hours on Saturday trying to everything we needed ordered, loaded, driven and then boated out to the location.  And it is still not complete.  The stones were very heavy; so we left those have to pick them up next week.  But we were able to get the basic structure complete this weekend- despite the unexpected rain! Yeah!!!




The structure consists of 4 premade cedar fence panels and 6 cedar 4×4 – 8’.


Everything was of course dog approved…


We dug the first hole, added the first post,


leveled it out,


then slowly filled the dirt back in and pounded it down.


Then we brought one of the panels over to determine where the next hole should go.  With two poles up, we attached the panels using clamps and 3” deck screws.


Repeat this until 3 panels are up.


The last panel, we cut the support in the back need so the panels were now in 5’ and a 3’ pieces and attach these )split them at 6 panels on one side and 10 on the other).



I love the look and the wonderful smell of the cedar and it was super easy to put up!  Next weekend, we hope to add the flooring, the benches, the shelves, hooks and the shower equipment (I hope we can get all of that done).

 For the shower equipment, we finally decided against the sun shower.  I have ordered a propane water heater + water pump + water filter so we can just pull water from the river for the shower.  This should be awesome! I like the sun showers, but you do have to fill them, lay them out in the sun, move theto your shower (before the sun starts going down) and then use them quick.

My original plans:

Primitive Shower Plans

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