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 🙂











Family Get Together

I have been waiting, hoping to get some more pictures….but oh well.


Last weekend was so great.  My cousin & his wife have a cabin in Michigan and it was so nice to go out there and just relax by the lake!  Great food & company.. There was swimming kayaking, fishing hammocking nature walks….awesome!!


The cabin is so cute and has an awesome outdoor shower!





IMG_6956The view in the morning was beautiful.IMG_20130803_064556_621






I got started on my new patchwork blanket while I was there:IMG_20130803_070132_984

Tom got in some fishing. He has been wanted to do that  fro awhile, but there rarely seems to be time for that on our island because we are always working on something… IMG_20130803_070713_905

Got some reading in  🙂IMG_20130803_131406_897


And we had a lot of fun!IMG_20130803_200748_930




































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.

Long Time No Post

Work has been crazy!!!! To many projects going on at the same time!  So what (other than work) have I been up to?  Island stuff of course!  🙂

Until this spring, the island only had two types of trees…Silver Maples and Black Walnut.  So this spring, we planted a bunch of fruit trees (apple, cherry, peach, plum, pear and apricot).  I may have to remove some black walnut trees from near the fruit trees….I have been told that silver maple is one of the few trees that can survive near black walnut trees (they put out toxin into the soil around them).  So far, so good.  The peach tree has peaches on it already!  🙂

We took Friday and Tuesday off around Memorial day, so we have 5 whole days on the island!!!!  I spend one whole day pulling out nettles….I HATE those plants (they sting) !

Now we are finally on to building on the island.  First up…a bathroom please!!  I was torn on this one for a long time….do we put in a septic system or go with an outhouse or a composting toilet.  Well, after reading that a septic tank has to be pumped out from time to time, I thought it was a bad idea…I don’t think any company can get to an island to pump it!  Our last trip to St. Martin, we stayed in a cabin that had a outhouse on the side, and I hated the way that smelled!  And composting toilets have to be emptied out….gross!  So I found one more solutions….a tree bog!!!  It is a composting toilet that you NEVER have to clean out!  Basically, you build an outhouse that is at least 3 feet up off the ground.  Underneath, you have hay, wood chips and/or ashes and around the outhouse, you plant willows and other nutrient hungry plants.  The waste from the outhouse falls into the wood chips below and turns into compost for the willows!  Just add more wood chips/ashes after using the outhouse.  I hope this does not smell like a outhouse smells….  Also to help with the smell, we are building the outhouse with cedar siding 🙂

So to get materials to the island was a challenge…we had to boat it in…

It took three trips to get everything over!

So far, we rented a pole digger,

it was difficult to use….on our first try, it got stuck and we had to dig it out.  We found that adding water as we went helped a lot….

and used 8′ long 4x4s that we place 4′ feet into the ground) and added some support of 2x4s around the structure and have the  floor in place.

I have the frames completed for all the walls except the one with the window, Menard’s did not have the window in stock last weekend, and I wanted to wait to put the frame together until I could see the window actually fits i the space.

After working very hard (and getting very sore), the last thing  I wanted to do was cook, so we ordered a pizza…and they delivered!!!  We just had take the boat and meet them across the river.  AWESOME!

Last weekend I also found the biggest spider ever on the island..huge and creepy…..he was as long as a D battery!  I was in the tent and he crawled up the screen (on the outside thank goodness), so I got his picture:

But other than the work and the spider, it was a great long weekend on the island!

Tom caught a big catfish

We had a huge bonfire

The dog had a great time….she love the mud and the boat

Heading back there this morning for more work and play!

The Dead Zone

Our courtyard has an area I call “The Dead Zone”.  It is a large area were nothing has grown since the building did tuck pointing 2 1/2 years ago.

Another problem with this area is inconstant watering.  So I am planning on getting some soak hoses with a timer, luckily, the current house is just around that right corner!  I have some plans for this area that I hope to complete this spring. I think added some planter boxes can add some height and interest to this spot.  My husband needed a visual ot make my palns more clear, so I created this in paintbrush on my Mac (sorry, it is not very good, I am no graphic designer!)

I also need to update the path on the side, I am hoping to get some thicker stones…maybe read to go with the bricks of the building. 🙂

I need to look into some more shade friendly plants, but I  planning on using periwinkle as ground cover for some large brown areas..

The area used to be filled with ivy, which looked great, but it keeps climbing the building and causing damage.  But periwinkle not only does not climb, but has some nice flowers all spring and summer long!!


I know I have not picked up my knitting needles in some time…today is so nice outside.  There were cardinals, robins and starlings everywhere! I took a ton of flower pictures!Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!!!!!

Beautification Commitee

We live in a condo in a building that was converted to condos in the ’90s.  It used to be a very old factory so it has some great exposed brick walls and high ceilings with think beams.  Last year we started a beautification committee to try to get some of the community areas looking a little better.   We have a very shady courtyard in front of the building and a rooftop deck with a grill.  The roof only had one old plastic picnic table that was starting to bow and a grill and some plastic chairs that you would have to bungee to the railing so the wind would not move them around.  Last year, my husband and I focused on the roof top.  We build some slated benches, an planter bench.




All of the plans for these benches are from the book

Big Book of Home How-To (Better Homes & Gardens (Paperback))Big Book of Home How-To (Better Homes & Gardens by Better Homes and Gardens






We added a picnic table and recycled the old picnic table. We took the old picnic table apart and replaced the plastic with wood.  We repainted the metal and stained all the wood.  I love the result.

Here is the before for the rooftop last year

and the after:



In the courtyard, I tried planting some free plants I was able to get and bought some 50% off bulbs.  He bulbs were on sale, because it was the end of the season and most of these bulbs did not come up.  We also have a big problem with too much shade in the courtyard.

We added some bird houses and bird feeders and a  bird bath as well. I put some old yarn in a suet holder for the birds.







I think the birds are appreciating it!


We also had one member find this great sculpture.  I think it looks great.



We tried adding a path, but the stones are very thin, and it seems to have sunken.

We bought some large planters and filled them with some bight flowers for the summer.  This winter, we but some evergreens in there so there was still some color for the winter.

Today was such a beautiful day (60’s and sunny!!!!!), we bought some flower seeds and painters plastic.  I am hoping this woks so we can save some money on plants for this year. We planted the seeds in the pots on the roof and covered it with the plastic and some painters tape to create a little green house.  We see what happens!


This year, we need to do some replanting in the pot on the roof and in the courtyard.  I also would like to find some more shade appropriate plants.  I am also planning on adding a soak hose a with a  water timer for the largest area of the courtyard.  The hose would not have to cross the sidewalk here. and this area is looking really bad because we did some tuck pointing that killed everything.  We know refer to this area as “the dead zone”.  I am really hoping I an fix this.  I will have to post more when I have more definite plans for this year.

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