Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Cabin in December

Last weekend we made a trip to the Soo. We were there to help my mom host the Annual David Mitchell Family Christmas dinner. This annual event has been held for at least 80 years and probably more. That is how many years my mother has attended. I have attended since I was born too but rarely make it to the dinner now that there is a 350 mile drive involved. Especially with the early December date. Road conditions can be very iffy this time of year.

Although our cabin was closed for the season in Sept., we made a visit to pick up my Clavinova for use at the dinner. A Clavinova is a electronic piano and I used it to accompany the Mitchells as we sang Christmas carols.

It was difficult to just stop by the cabin. We couldn't drive in the drive-in because of snow. We used the neighbor's driveway and trooped across several yards. It made us wish we could spend the winter there because it was so beautiful.

It was a beautiful sunny day. You can see there are no geese around anywhere!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day in the Sault

Yesterday started with a beautiful sunrise. A peaceful morning on the river and a great memory to keep up throughout the winter. A beautiful sunrise is a fleeting moment and it didn't take long for the sun to wash out the pinks in our picture. There are no geese or seagulls here now. Just a mother duck with her 10 ducklings who are now about the same size as her.

The boat traffic kept me busy on Sunday. They were making up the lost time from the wind storm of Friday and Saturday. Many boats were anchored at Whitefish Point and near the Straits. We saw the following boats on Sunday and I'm sure there were more.
CSL Niagara
Cason J. Calloway
Canadian Provider
St. Clair
Canadian Progress
American Mariner
Canadian Transport

My hydrangea tree has outdone itself this year. I never get tired of this tree that was planted 50 years ago by my grandmother.

At sunset last night, we were again treated to a Mother Nature show. Plus in this picture you can see two boats on the river. I believe it is the St. Clair going down and the Canadian Transport coming up.

Enjoy you Labor (Labour) Day. It's back to work for me on Wednesday.

The Kaministqua is out front right now heading up the river.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

First Fall-Like Storm

We traveled up to the Soo on Thursday evening. Our plan was to avoid the heavy traffic of the weekend and it worked well. As we were coming close to Gaylord on Alba Road, we spotted this beautiful rainbow. I wonder if the farmer who works this big farm noticed found the pot of gold that must have been in his field. This is a u-pick strawberry farm that always looks so well-maintained to me. So I guess this field is a pot of gold for the owner.

The weather has been really interesting since we got here. We arrived in a very heavy rainstorm on Thursday night. The rain continued off and on all during the night. Our yard is too wet to mow which it really needs. There is standing water all around.

Yesterday we did get to see some boats. Thursday night and Friday morning there were 3 thousand footers. The Edgar B. Speer was out front when we arrived. The Indiana Harbor passed during the night and then the American Spirit was headed up Friday morning.

As we headed to town, we saw the Roger Blough getting supplies from the supply boat before heading down the river.

Friday morning was beautiful sunshine but later in the afternoon the rain returned and soaked everything again. Last night we were going to my brother's and saw this beautiful sunset. We were traveling west on 7 Mile Road near Nicolet Road.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for today calling this the first fall-like storm of the season. That is a very accurate description of what it feels like this morning. The northwest wind is blowing at 15 mph with gusts up in the 40's. This picture below shows how the wind has pushed out the water. Yesterday that small boat was sitting in the water and today it isn't. The temperature is 47 right now.
There haven't been any boats by since last night. It seems most of them are taking shelter and staying out of Superior because of the winds. I learned on Facebook that the power was out in part of the Soo last night but so far we have been fine here. I'm loving the weather because I don't usually get to experience fall storms because after Labor Day I have to return to southern Michigan and go back to work. So this year I'm still here. But it probably won't be so nice when I go to the Chippewa County Fair in a hour to see our friends show their Belgium horses.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Paul R. Tregurtha

Yesterday our job was to get our yard in shape before the rains came. A benefit of working in the yard here is that I can do some serious boat watching. The Paul R. Tregurtha came down and provided a great backdrop for my work.

My flowers are in full glory right now. Because we are back and forth between our place downstate, sometimes they don't do so well. We have had abundant rain this year and I have a kind neighbor who steps in and waters the flowers when needed if we're not around.

Yesterday we also saw these ships:
St. Clair
Presque Isle
Joseph L. Block
Paul R. Tregurtha
Canadian Enterprise

The rains did arrive last night. That was the second heavy rain we've had in that many days. Our yard is absolutely soggy and we won't be able to work in the yard today. There are puddles of standing water scattered all around.

We have to head downstate tomorrow. Although I am retired, I have re-entered the world of education. I am an instructional coach. In this position, I work in schools, directly with the teachers to increase student achievement. In essence, I help teachers find methods that will help the students do better. I am going to be working in two school districts, Hopkins Public Schools and Byron Center Public Schools.

I am happy to have lots of work but it puts our plans to spend many winter months here at the cabin on hold for one more year.

I will continue writing this blog when I have something to say about the river. You can read about my personal life at I blog there about the daily events in our lives.

For right now, we're leaving for just about 10 days and we'll be back for the Labor Day weekend. We don't want to miss the Chippewa County Fair at Kinross.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sunrise, Sunsets & Rainbows

I took the picture above about a week ago as the sun was rising over Sugar Island. It is always such a peaceful time here. When I'm in working mode, I don't have time to enjoy this time of day.

I took this picture last night as we crossed the Mackinac Bridge. It was just after a heavy rain shower. There was a 360 degree beautiful view.

Looking off the Bridge to the east we could see a rainbow ending at Mackinac Island.

I can tell that summer is starting to end for us. The sunrises are coming later. No more sun peeking over Sugar Island at 4:30 AM. But the cool evening certainly felt great last night.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cozy Corners in Barbeau

This beautiful river is the Charlotte River which follows into the St. Marys River at Dunbar. There is a lovely township park there. We passed this on our way to Barbeau. We were going there to try Cozy Corners for lunch this week.

Barbeau is at the corner of Scenic Drive and 15 Mile Road. You can take Riverside Drive to 15 Mile and drive east to the St. Marys River. You will also find Cozy Corner. Cozy Corners has had several owners. In the past we weren't too pleased with the service although the decor has always been stunning with a great view of the St. Marys River.

We decided to give the new owners a try this week and it was great. Our server was attentive and prompt. The food was good. They were out of whitefish which was a major disappointment. But Tom got perch for the same price which soothed his disappointment. I had a patty melt which was very good too.

The amazing change was the addition of animals that the new owner had secured in big game safaris. It is worth the drive just to see the 30+ mounts throughout the restaurant.

If you try this or any restaurant in the area, let me know and I can share your comments with my readers. Thanks

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Emma C. Nason Home

Emma C. Nason Home
A Childrens home in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

The Emma C. Nason Home was home to our family from 1966 - 1972. During that time my parents took the job of directors of "The Home" and our entire family moved in there.

The Emma C. Nason Home has a wonderful history in the Soo. Emma C. Nason was a woman who moved to the Soo in the early 1900's from New York. Her goal was to start a home for wayward sailors. I'm sure there were many of them in the Soo during that time. Nason's vision for this home must have changed over time and she actually established a home for unwed mothers on Ridge Street.

So when the city leaders started a children's home, they named it the Emma C. Nason Home in her honor.

We lived there and have great memories of the children whose lives brought them there. The children at the beginning were mainly orphans or motherless children but over the years as medical care improved, the main clientele became children who had been removed from their homes because of neglect or abuse. Most of these cases came from downstate mainly from Saginaw and Calhoun counties.

Please share any memories that you have of the Emma C. Nason home. I'll share more in the future.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dix Sept

Last Sunday the Dix Sept passed our cabin. I found this picture of the boat on their website. The Dix Sept is a privately owned vessel that is making several trips to Mackinac Island this summer. Of course, I wanted to find out more about this interestingly-named vessel and with the help of Google, I found out her story. I then emailed the owner and received a very nice response.

Hi. We purchased Dix-Sept in November of 2009 in Dana Point, CA. Dix-Sept is a 55' Nordhavn. I, together with a crew of sometimes two, and sometimes three others, brought the boat from Dana Point beginning on January 8th. We came through the Panama Canal, up the eastern seaboard, through the Canso Canal, across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, down the St. Lawrence River and Seaway, through four of the five Great Lakes, and ended in Bayfield, WI, our home port for this summer and next. We were the first pleasure boat in 2010 to come through the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In the spring of 2012 we will take Dix-Sept to the Med for three years or so.
This summer we are making three trips from Bayfield to Mackinac Island. The trip you saw us on was number two. My wife's brother, and our sister-in-law and nephew were on the trip. In two more weeks we will be making trip number three with my wife's other brother and his fiance, and two more friends.
We are semi-retired. We own a company, American Christian Tours, that takes students on class trips. I am also an active duty lead paramedic for the city of River Falls, WI. Can't golf or fish worth a darn, and didn't want to learn to knit, so went back to "paramedic" school. I was in EMS during college.
We have two sons, both adults. Both sons and our daughter-in-law were on the first Mackinac trip.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Locks at Night

Last night we went up to the Locks for the Lantern Light Walking Tour. Our hosts, Jim and Mary, have Twilight Walking Tours that meet at the main gate of the Locks. You can see their schedule at Twilight Walking Tours. They don't charge for the tour and just have a suggested tip of $5. I felt it was a bargain for the 1 1/2 tour along Portage Avenue. They shared several 'ghost' stories of local businesses but also told about Soo history, Irish folk stories and even some Herman Melville, which by the way is his birthday today.

When we finished the tour at 10:30, we were treated to some good boat watching. There were two boats in the Locks, Canadian Progress and Kaye E. Barker. It was a warm evening and there were quite a few people there to watch along with us.

Kaye E. Barker in the background

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Kiyi, a research vessel for the Great Lakes Science Center just headed down river at noon on 7/29. The work of the Kiyi is described as research in Lake Superior. The vessel and crew conduct fish research including stock assessment, fisheries research and habitat monitoring especially on the lake trout population. Click on either Kiyi for additional information of the work of the Kiyi.

I just received the following note from the captain of the Kiyi, Joe Walters. He explains that the Kiyi is on her way to Cleveland for some work. She will return to Lake Superior in late August so we'll be seeing her again.

Hello Brenda!
I'm Joe Walters, the Captain of Research Vessel KIYI. Mike McCann forwarded your email to me.
Let's see if I can put things in a nutshell for you.
KIYI was built in 1999 at Patti Shipyard in Pensacola, Fl to replace the aging 57 ft SISCOWET, which had been in service for over 50 years.
KIYI is 107 ft long, 27 ft wide and draws 9 ft. She is the largest of the five research vessels operated by the US Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor, MI. We do fish assessments in Lake Superior. That means we essentially do population checks of fish by trawling and hydroacoustic survey. That's a fancy name for a very high end fishfinder that can actually count individual specimens.
We are on our way to Cleveland to get some work done in a shipyard. Namely, we're getting a new anchor system installed. We should be headed back to Lake Superior sometime in late August.
I guess that's a start. If you have any more questions please don't hesitate to email me. I'd be happy to tell you all I can!

Joe Walters
Marine Operations Specialist
Captain, R/V KIYI
U. S. Geological Survey
Lake Superior Biological Station
2800 Lakeshore Drive East
Ashland, Wisconsin 54806
715-682-6163 office
715-492-8676 cell

Benedicts versus Canada Geese

If you have visited us here at the Cabin, you know that Tom has an ongoing battle with the Canada geese. Every year, we watch the geese go through the same cycle of raising their young.

The geese like to bring their young up onto our beach area for feeding. We could probably live with that but if we don't chase them off, they come right up into our yard and all around the cabin. We would be willing to share our lawn with them but they leave disgusting 'calling cards' all over which we don't want to step in. So Tom has found it best to keep them completely away.

Now that the babies are almost full-grown, the geese are also much more bold. They don't leave at the first sight of a human like they did when they had babies but have to be chased to the water's edge.

I will tell you that no geese are harmed in this battle. And the geese seem to have learned several things. First, come very early in the morning when no one is awake. They come floating down the river and slowly make their way on shore. They typically start around 5 am. Some days one of us is up but often we are not. This is the Cabin where relaxing is treasured. We don't use alarms or have any routines. Every day is different.

Secondly, the geese seem to recognize Tom. As soon as he comes into the front yard, they start to leave. Now they don't do that for me. But Tom uses loud noise makers to frighten them and they don't like it. Also, Tom is relentless. He doesn't give up until the geese are floating out of sight. I don't have the patience or time to spend out there glaring at them.

So if any of you know any methods we could use, please let us know. Once we've conquered that problem, we could move on to the problem of sea gulls that raise their young on a small island out front. Thankfully, they have moved on now but for June and most of July we listen to their squawking 24 hours a day. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2009 Compared to 2010

There are many economic experts who analyze numbers to make predictions about trends and the upcoming future of any industry. I'm sure Great Lakes shipping has its own set of pundits. But I'm going to step out on a limb and make my own observation and prediction.

My observation isn't based on economic indicators or anything from Wall Street. Rather, my indicators are the ships that are passing by our cabin here on the St. Marys River.

I am a compulsive person when it comes to boat watching. Since I was a child, I have kept a record of the boats I see. Back in the 1950's and 1960's all I had to use was a notebook, a Know Your Ships book and my eyes. I couldn't identify individual ships but only shipping company based on the smokestack. My grandfather wouldn't let me use his binoculars for fear that I would break them.

When my husband & I purchased my grandparent's cabin in 1998, the first thing I did was buy a pair of binoculars with the money I inherited. Since that time, I've gotten a telescope for better boat watching. I keep my log on an Excel spreadsheet and we've also gotten a scanner.

So I'm using my boatwatching list to make an observation on Great Lakes shipping. I picked a day- July 26 and I compared the 2009 number of ships to 2010. I can say based on these facts that shipping in on the increase.

Ships passing the Cabin
2009- 7 boats
2010- 16 boats

So the Wall Street experts might be saying that our economic future is very uncertain. But things are looking up here. At least for the joy of boatwatching!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sixteen Boats Today

The July full moon coming up over the river last night

The Beluga Fidelity

McKee Brothers upbound this morning

The geese are hard to scare off this time of year. Their babies are all grown up.

Today has been a busy day on the St. Marys River. We were just relaxing today after a very busy six weeks of company and moving. So I had lots of time to watch all the comings and goings. This has been a perfect summer day with lots of activity in the river. Here's the list of what I saw.
James R. Barker
Mesabi Miner
Edwin H. Gott
Great Lakes Trader
Joseph L. Block
McKee Sons
Walter J. McCarty Jr.
Beluga Fidelity
Peter R. Cresswell
Sam Laud
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin