Thursday, July 26, 2007

Jay Cook State Park

Cameron, Kristen, Christina, and I decided, sort of last minute, to go camping on the North Shore. The decision was made to camp at Jay Cook about 20 minutes south of Duluth. We just showed up Saturday. The park ranger said everything was full, but one group might be leaving and we could wait until the afternoon. The girls decided instead to just go ask the people themselves. They were leaving and we had a place to camp. After the tents were set up and some lunch was had we went out on a little adventure.

We hiked 5+ miles along both sides of the St. Louis River.

{Cameron's photo here}

Along the way Cameron and I had a photo contest/shoot-off. Above is his winning shot.

Lots of logging is done in the area. These piles go on for over half a mile in Hinckley, just off 35W. Sunday morning we woke up to thunder in the distance and packed up just before the rain started to fall (at 8 AM). Despite the weather, we drove up to Duluth for breakfast at The Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe. The weather didn't let up so we decided to just drive back. It was a constant downpour almost the entire way back.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This was taken this past weekend while on a hike in Jay Cook State Park up by Duluth. I love the little flowers of a milkweed because they are so wee, but intricate. More on our camping trip in a post in the next day or so.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Greeting from the roof, and new south side of my yard!

Yep, that's me Boris Becker style on the roof of my house. After a week of moving dirt, grading dirt, plantings, and setting rocks I fixed a few parts of the gutter system today. The south side of my yard has six tall Elm trees and until this week not much else. Before we plant anything directly below some of the gutters I needed to make some repairs.

As you can see we've planted a bunch already. Christina and I visited two different greenhouses in search of our wish list of shade loving perennials. We also split a bunch of Kay's hostas (Tina's mom). The rocks are Wisconsin flagstone. I ran out to a Patio Town yesterday and loaded up 400lbs worth for the little walkway you see above.

Our friend Matt came over last Saturday and helped me get things started. First we tilled up the entire side yard, including my neighbor's three feet of yard. Then we moved wheel barrow after wheel barrow of the finest pulvorized black dirt I've every seen. I miscalculated a bit and ordered three cubic yards worth, thus I still have a bunch left over.

We planted at night (until 11!) because we took so long finding all the plants and felt it would be less stressful for them with the temperature lower. The tiles you see above were used to temporarily layout the walkway.

All in all, it turned out pretty well. Once we put in another five or six hostas under the newly fixed gutter we can get mulch and watch everything thrive.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Row, Row, Row your boat...
This weekend was an exhaustively busy few days. We helped my mom clean out her garage/house most of Sat. because she moves out Thursday. I also separated some of her plants. Then we headed straight over to Steve's house to haul endless loads of new soil (3 cubic yards to be exact- perhaps hard to quite visualize the magnitude of this task) into an area on the south side of the house. we graded the yard and are making a new shade/quasi rain garden. pictures to follow later this week, right now a bunch of soil on the ground isn't too interesting a photo. So all told a solid 10+ hours of physical labor.

Today we took a partial break (although still hauled soil in the morning), rented canoes in Taylors Falls and worked our way down 7 miles of the St. Croix river to Interstate state park with a bunch of friends. It was a perfect day for being out on the water. Steve and Anton made a new friend in a kayak (see below) and when they asked if he would like a beer (prohibited on the water) he replied, god yes!

Finally after a long day we went to a silly place to eat which was straight out of the 50s with trays that they put on your window. It was aptly named, The Drive In, also the waitresses donned poodle skirts. This GIANT spinning root beer mug really was what drew us in though. Great marketing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July Link of the Month

Christina asked that I add a few of her favorite blogs/links to the LINKS section on the left. I have not added this (yet), but it's definetly worth a look. 3191 is a joint photography project. Two photographers one in Portland, ME and the other in Portland, OR live 3,191 miles apart or as they say "as the car drives, not as the crow flies." They each take a photograph in the morning and do not discuss them beforehand. Take a look at the archive of dual photos they have. If everyone likes it I will add it to the permanent LINKS.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Title Town Nuptials

Last weekend we headed to Green Bay for my former college roommate and wonderful friend Meagan's wedding. Steve was excited because we were a block away from the stadium and the reception was at Brett Favre's steakhouse. Not going to lie, i don't have a glowing review for the city itself, but being at the wedding and reuniting with friends was all worth the trip. Meagan, Rod and both their families spent many weeks preparing her grandma's garden for the ceremony. It had been a bit neglected since her grandfather's death years earlier. It looked fantastic with many flowers, a wading pool with a rock water feature and many kitschy things including many monk statues, pagodas and even a miniature barn with toy tractors for kids. Both Meagan and Rod looked amazing and they couldn't have asked for a better day.

At the reception someone had brought a Brett Favre cut out from their cafeteria at school. it was a huge hit. My friends and i asked Meagan and Rod to take pictures with it and before you knew it everyone wanted their picture taken. This is a photo of some of my UWEC friends who were there. But doesn't Brett almost look real? like he was there almost. My friend Laura and I brought him out on the dance floor later and the 'three' of us danced together. Lots of picture taking by strangers at the wedding of that.

After the wedding we headed up to Door County. I hadn't been back since I was little and Steve doesn't recall ever going. it was a fun and relaxing few days, albeit a bit chilly. We took our time and stopped in many little towns on the way up and at an art fair. We camped at Peninsula State Park, which was very scenic. The first night we went to a traditional Door County fish boil, in which they cook white fish in a giant pot with potatoes and continue to throw kerosene on until it eventually boils over and is ready to eat.

The next day the weather wasn't so great so we weren't able to hike or bike as planned so we drove up to the top of the county peninsula and took a ferry to Washington Island. From there we went on a guided 'cherry train' tour where we learned a lot about the island and stopped at pebble beach and also an ostrich farm.