Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Detroit Sunrise - September 2015

I find my zen many mornings at work by just standing near the window to enjoy the sun rising over the Detroit River.....

Monday, September 28, 2015

The New Barn

We have boarded at quite a few different barns over the years and all are pretty different from each other in a variety of ways.  This barn has about 20 stalls - 10 on each side - with a row of 4 grooming stations down the middle.  That's Mata Hari in the first one.  You can just see the entrance to the indoor arena at the far right the picture. Technically it's a separate building but has been connected to the barn with a "breezeway".  

This is Mata Hari's stall.  I'm glad she has a window and so does she - when she's inside in the evenings she likes to stand looking out.

Madison kept talking about this giant beehive on the trail that she's been taking Mata Hari on around the property. When I went out walking with her last time, we came on it again.  It's super low to the ground on this tiny bush which is kind of unusual but it's a "dead" hive.  No bees around it at all.

A bit dark, but my girls enjoying their trek through the trails.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mata Hari

Our little black horse was injured last spring. It was a suspensory injury in her front right leg which basically means, very long, slow recovery.  We spent months hand walking her with small increments of time increases, and then riding at a walk with the same slow build up.  Eventually we added some trot work and finally, 2 weeks ago, we started to add cantering.

We also moved barns 9/1/15 because our beloved owners of Foxcroft had decided they were going to sell their farm next spring.  The timing worked out - Mata Hari was able to get turned out in a small pasture and didn't need to be confined to her tiny paddock any longer.

Madison has been taking advantage of the grass trails that wind around the property at this new barn and taking Mata Hari out there for her cool downs.  She is becoming quite the good trail horse which should prove helpful when they start doing cross country.

The morning of these pictures was drizzling rain but I am excited to see how that background changes as we move into fall.  There could be some good photo opportunities back there!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Crystal Mountain

I have several new clients through work that meet in places all over the state (and sometimes other states) which means I'm doing a little more traveling than I used to do.  Last week I had a quick overnight at Crystal Mountain and was pretty surprised to find that I didn't have just a hotel room but a whole CONDO to myself!  A bit of an overkill for the 10 hours I was actually IN the room but...

It was on the golf course - 18th hole.  You can sort of see it outside the window.  The decor was very woodsy but nicely done.  It was apparent that the whole condo had been recently updated.

We had the exact same table and chairs set in our cottage!  The big chair was comfy - I didn't sit on the coach.  It looked slippery.

The weird lighting did a number on the kitchen in this picture but the cupboards were an odd choice for a remodel.  I was mildly disappointed that they didn't have a decent coffee maker in such a nice place.  The bathroom and bedroom were off to the right with several closets lining this hallway as well.  There was also a door that opened to the condo next door like they have in connecting hotel rooms so I guess if you have friends next door you don't have to go outside to get to their place.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

47 Years

Not too many people can say they have been friends for 47 years...especially when you are only 52 years old.  Anne Marie and I met in kindergarten and have been friends ever since, in spite of going to different elementary schools.  During those years, we only saw each other in the summers at the local community swimming pool but it was enough to keep our friendship alive until we reunited in junior high.

As our lives moved on and changed, we remained friends and often made plans for trips that didn't always happen as careers and families took over.  But this year, 2 years late for our 50th birthdays, we did it!  It was almost last minute but worked out perfectly for the week following Labor Day.  I needed to go to Bay Harbor in Petosky for a short meeting and they had a great room rate.  Anne Marie, wanna go and make it a mini vacation?

We had a fabulous suite/condo comfortably decorated.

Full kitchen.  And that's a murphy bed on the left in what looks like a big cabinet.

Pretty bedroom with a semi-enclosed balcony.

Our first full day we drove to Charlevoix and did a whole lot of window shopping (this was after a very brisk walk around Bay Harbor of a few miles).  By 2:30 (according to the clock!), we were getting thirsty so we grabbed some drinks and headed to sit along the water at the docks here.

It was a pretty magnificent view of huge boats and beautiful homes. The weather was beyond perfect - 72 and sunny.

We strolled along the river that leads out to Lake Michigan and were in time to see the draw bridge open to let in some sail boats to the harbor.

This is looking north along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.  I love Michigan.

The lighthouse at the end of the walkway.

I still have to get some of the pictures that Anne Marie took of the resort itself (Madison and I stayed here a few years ago) but on this same evening, we poured a couple glasses of a good wine and went out to find a spot along the water to watch the sun set.  We saw some adirondack chairs by a bonfire pit and headed that way mentioning how cool it would be if someone would light the fire.  And VOILA!  It was already lit and burning when we got to it!

Seriously relaxing occurred as we warmed out toes by the fire, watching the waves lap in and the sun setting.  Just after the sun went down, a hotel guy showed up with a big basket of S'mores supplies!  Life is good at Bay Harbor!

Thursday morning the weather wasn't so picture perfect but we still started our day with a brisk walk around Bay Harbor and ventured out onto the docks in their marina, also loaded with fancy boats that cost more than our houses!  And then we spotted this nice little cottage.  Oh yes, I like this one!

Anne Marie had to spend part of this day on her own while I put in a few hours for the job that I was here to do.

After I wrapped up work, the sky started clearing and we headed into the town of Petosky for some shopping and dinner at a restaurant that had been recommended to us by some locals we met by the fire the night before.  I'm glad we took their recommendation...the food was fabulous and the view was stunning. But then, I can't say there are any views in this area that aren't awesome!

After dinner we stopped in the bar for glasses of wine and then back out to the bonfire for S'mores for dessert!  We engaged in some lively conversation with others that were there and wrapped up our evening tired and ready to head home in the morning.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fabulous Photo

Madison and Mata Hari standing just inside the barn arena at the absolute perfect moment of the sunset.  Snapped by Dad with an iPhone...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again (not literally!)

After falling off the blogging habit for way longer than ever intended, I'm going to make a concerted effort to jump back in after almost losing my entire hard drive of photos. I figure if I at least get them published on my blog, I more or less have my photo diary forever.

Our WAY over-due project was painting the outside of the house.  This was a huge project that we did have quoted out to professionals but everyone gave us ridiculously high numbers.  It wasn't like we COULDN'T do this ourselves, it was just going to be time consuming and required decent weather.

We started the last week of August when I took the week off work.  We started with scraping and caulking and covering up the windows on the south side of the house.  Having all the windows covered up creeped everyone out!  We decided to go a bit lighter - more of a beige color than a brown.

We also decided on black trim rather than the dark green that had been used previously.

This was my view one day as I tackled painting the dormers.  It was a long way down to that concrete!

As redneck as it looks, setting up the ladder in the back of my truck worked really well.  I KNEW it couldn't slide out.  And it was a shorter climb down.  I was literally laying down on the room to get up under that overhang/gutter.

The other side of the house was a bit easier if only because its the north side and was in the shade.  Next project will be to get a patio put in off that sliding glass door.

This front side wasn't quite as hard since you had a lower roof to reach the peak - though putting a ladder on the roof to reach that center point was a bit nerve-wracking.

 Finished! With our cool house numbers made from horse shoes by our neighbor.

This back door still needs to be painted.  I'm still debating on the color...either black or red.  Actually, the deck railing still needs painting as well but you can't tell so much in this picture!

I'm really happy with how it all turned out.  The roof color looks good and I like how the black trim around the windows makes them really pop.  You never think about how many window you have until you have to close them all when it's raining or when you have to trim them all out with paint!  Holy smokes!