Sunday, August 18, 2013

St. Joseph Triathlon August 17, 2013

Race Results:

Race Website:

Eastern U.P. Windsurfing and Sailing Club 1st Meeting

This is some video I took of a friend and his buddy windsurfing last week on our lake during 20 m.p.h. winds. It was really cold, and misty, and a huge challenge to even lift their sails, but they had a good time. We decided to start a Facebook group in hopes of meeting other windsurfers, sailors, etc. in the area.

Check it out at:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Blueberries are Here!

The blueberries are just beginning to ripen in our area. Yesterday was in the mid-80's and the water was almost too we waited for Steve to get home from work and then drove to Pendills Creek to swim in Lake Superior. We like the beach there because it is sandy. We found lots of blueberries there and the water was much more refreshing! The only bad part? The horseflies....but we all turned them into a game, and each time one started to buzz around us we took off sprinting to see how long we could go before either the fly gave up or we had to dive into the water. I think nobody beat the flies and we had fun diving in to "save ourselves!"

Here is Alaina with her blueberry stash in front of a bunch of blueberry bushes.
When we got home we cheated a bit and made a yummy dessert with some of the blueberries Steve picked from Sav-A-Lot. Every summer we anticipate these boxes coming in. They are 5 pounds of giant blueberries for $12, and you can usually only purchase them for a week. We buy 3 or 4 boxes and keep them in the freezer for instant indulgence. 
YUM!!! The taste of summer!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We Found a "Paddle to the Sea"!

This afternoon the girls and I went for a walk on Lake Superior. Lately we have been looking for agates, and so our heads were down, eyes buried amongst the rocks, for most of our walk. However, near the end I grew tired of looking, and cast my gaze up into the dry sand and I was surprised to see a block of wood with writing on it. The backside of the wood was painted with some colorful stripes.

The block said: "Paddle to the Sea 2013, If found please contact James, Whitefish Township School, Paradise, Michigan, Please return boat to the water to continue the journey."

The girls became very excited, because we have read the book "Paddle to the Sea" by Holling C. Holling at least a dozen times!

 Now we actually get to take part in this journey/experiment. We took a few pictures with the boat and plan to send them, along with a letter and some information about Brimley to James. We are also going to ask him to share with us about where the boat traveled to if he gets any more contacts. We plan to go over all of the info with permanent marker and put a new coat of lacquer on top because it is already getting worn off. Then, we are going to take the boat into the Sault and release it in the St. Mary's river past the locks, so that it has a fair shot of traveling somewhere exciting.

This is such a great idea that the girls are inspired to make some more boats to send out this summer,, and also we want to read the book again. If you haven't read "Paddle to the Sea," we highly recommend it. Hopefully I will have another post to share someday about where James' boat traveled!

                                      Here is a quick "Paddle to the Sea" movie from YouTube:

The Adams Family

They're Maureen, Todd, Jack and Andy,
Mudbud and Maisy (labs colored sandy),
And the boys' friends who are always dandy,
The Adams Family!

With pyrotechnic rockets they illuminate,
And play on the beach 'till it's really late,
They're barbeque ribs are always first rate,
The Adams Family!



Lets Eat!

So, for tie dye, saunas, bonfires, and games,
We are so lucky to know these boys and their dame,
With them not a moment is ever lame,
The Adams Family!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Swimmer's Itch for the 4th of July!

Every 4th of July morning Steve and I have a tradition of swimming across the lake and back. This 4th we woke the girls up early and were in the water by 8 a.m. Autumn and Alaina sat on our windsurfing board and Autumn used a kayak paddle to steer right beside us in-case we needed any assistance. It was an enjoyable swim and we managed to cross the lake and back in under an hour.

When we got home I jumped into the shower to get ready for the parade, and while I was in the shower I became extremely itchy. My neck and ankles were especially itchy, and by the time I exited the shower I felt like crying. About 10 minutes later I began breaking out in red bumps all over my body. Steve began complaining that his neck and ankles were itchy as well, and we decided that we were probably experiencing a case of swimmer's itch. (I had never had it before, but Steve has had it plenty of times, so he knew right away).

We went to the parade, and the girls played some fun carnival games, purchased a neat table top game at a garage sale, and caught lots of candy...but all I could think about was itching! Later in the day they both began complaining that their ankles were itchy as well (they were the only parts that were in the water when they were paddling), and we found out that a few of our neighbor's kids also got the itch. (Steve was lucky because he had worn a wetsuit, so  it protected most of his body, and he never got it all over)

That night we went to a wonderful neighborhood potluck and everyone shared ideas about how to prevent swimmer's itch...we were told to towel dry off vigorously (did that) and to shower immediately (did that too)....When we got home we did a little research online. Here is some info we learned:

from: (

Swimmer's itch

What is Swimmer's Itch?

Swimmer's itch is a skin rash that is caused by an allergic reaction to microscopic parasites that are carried by waterfowl, semi-aquatic mammals, and snails. As a part of their life cycle, these parasites are released by infected snails into the water. This is where they may come in contact with people and burrow into their skin.
The good news is the organism that causes swimmer's itch cannot complete its life history in the human body. Your body's immune system detects it as a foreign protein, then attacks and kills it shortly after it penetrates your skin. The itching and welts are not caused by the organism living under your skin, but by an allergic reaction.
Not everyone is sensitive to swimmer's itch. Some people show no symptoms of swimmer's itch even though others swimming at the same time and place break out severely. Much like poison ivy, however, your sensitivity to swimmer's itch will increase with each exposure. There are several over the counter remedies your pharmacist can recommend to help relieve the discomfort, but see your physician for a definitive diagnosis.

Where does it come from?

The organism that causes swimmer's itch has a complicated life history. It starts out in the intestinal lining of waterfowl, mostly ducks. The life stage that causes swimmer's itch is called a "cercaria" which is an immature stage of a blood fluke common in waterfowl. The cercaria only lives for a day or so and typically inhabits the upper few inches of lake water. This increases its chances of coming into contact with a duck (its definitive host). Once it's in the duck, it easily moves around the lake, and ultimately along the shoreline.
Swimmer’s itch is not spread from person to person.

Reducing the odds of getting swimmer's itch

There are actions you can take to help reduce the odds of getting swimmer's itch.
  • Keep waterfowl away from your dock and shoreline. If you are feeding waterfowl (ducks and geese) from your dock, stop. If ducks like to rest on your dock, do what you can to discourage them. You can try putting an owl wind sock or statue on your dock and move it around occasionally so the ducks don't become accustomed to it.
  • Stay out of the water by the shore. If ducks don't congregate around your dock, the swimmer's itch organism may originate somewhere else in the lake and is being brought to your shoreline by wave action or currents. You may want to try swimming from a raft or boat farther out from shore where you are less likely to come into contact with the cercaria. Of course, this strategy may not be practical if you don't swim or have young children who want to play in the water near shore.
  • Dry off with a towel as soon as you get out of the water. When you get out of the lake, don't let the water evaporate off your skin. The organism in the droplets of water on your skin will look for somewhere to go as the droplet of water evaporates.

Later, we went to the fireworks in Brimley, and they were spectacular. After the show there were at least 100 giant lanterns released into the sky and we watched them drift up and over the lake. It was very pretty, and this turned out to be our favorite part of the evening.

On Friday, the 5th, there were lots of people swimming in our lake and no one was reporting getting the itch, so Autumn took a sauna that night in the floating sauna and jumped in numerous times and felt just fine.

On Saturday, we went for a long bike ride, and then went down to check out the beach. Some of our neighbors were in the water, so the girls got in as well. About 5 minutes later, Autumn's friend got out and said "I'm itchy!!!!"

 Oh NO! Not again... We all left the beach and went running home to jump in the tub. Autumn and Alaina started crying hysterically because they were so uncomfortable and we looked out our back window to see our neighbors sprinting down to the cold waters of Lake Superior to try and get some relief.

The rest of the day was an itchy nightmare for both of them. That exposure did them in. The girls managed to suffer through their play practice in town, and we still went to another potluck and bonfire that night.  Steve, Autumn and myself took a sauna and risked jumping in the deep side of the lake (with no ill-effects), but no amount of convincing could get Alaina to enter the water. I don't blame her. The intensity of swimmer's itch is somewhat traumatizing, and is something our family wishes to avoid in the future. I think it will be some time before Alaina feels safe swimming in our lake!

Well, it will also be a long time before this 4th of July is scratched from our memories!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yoopers Ride Free Day, Pictured Rocks Boat Tours, Munising, MI

What a wonderful day this was for our family! We arrived early in the morning to ensure we got free tickets on one of the afternoon boats, and we managed to catch the 1 O'clock trip, which was the same boat our friend Michelle and her two little boys and Mom, Aunt, and Grandma would be riding on. While waiting for the boat ride we walked amongst all of the artists and crafts booths. The girls looked at tons of agate necklaces because they have been trying to find agates on our beach. They also got to pet a sled dog that had run in the last Iditarod, and we got to listen to some great live musicians. Then, Autumn and I found a little slackline exhibit and spent the rest of our time seeing who could walk back and forth the most times without falling off.

When we got on the boat we couldn't believe that the ride was going to be 2 1/2 hours long! It was extremely sunny and hot, but the wind kept us comfortable for most of the ride. It was fun sitting next to Michelle and her boys, and we all had a good time keeping them entertained.

Probably the best part of our trip (and the part that I didn't take video of) was our visit to my cousin and her husband's house. I had never visited them before, and since we didn't have big plans for after the boat tour we decided to make the drive past Marquette for an impromptu visit. Their house was so was like a nature museum, full of deer antlers, agates, a free ranging frog, beautiful nature pictures, feathers etc. We left wondering why we hadn't visited them earlier, and positive that we will be out their way again.

On the drive home we got a phone call informing us that Autumn had won a framed picture at one of the booths...we stopped at a Sub shop called "Togos" in Harvey, and then again in Munising to pick up the picture she won. Then, a fog began to roll in and we saw lots of deer obstacles on the stretch through Seeney. It began to rain, and the rest of the drive home felt somewhat treacherous. When we got home we were really tired and thankful to have made it safely, but also very happy with our wonderful and adventurous day, and most of all for our friends and family who shared it with us!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nature Day

     Today was "Nature Day." This morning on his 5:30a.m. run on the logging roads, Steve spotted a wolf! (A very RARE sighting) Then on his drive into work he said he saw numerous rabbits hopping alongside the road.
      I took the girls for a run through the campground this afternoon, and we saw ducks and geese on the lake. We ran down the road towards the lighthouse and hopped onto the beach to walk the last mile home. However, the girls spotted a dead animal lying amidst the rocks, and as we got closer we realized it was a dead beaver! It was lying on its back as if sunbathing, and we could see its long, bright yellow buckteeth, and its leathery tail. Even though it was obviously dead (I don't think it had been very long) the girls and I still remarked on how adorable it was. "Poor beaver," we lamented. We were also surprised at its size, which was that of a cocker spaniel. 
     Since it was so close to the lighthouse we decided to see if the lighthouse keeper was home so that we could borrow a shovel to bury it. He wasn't there, but an older, female museum volunteer, whom we recognized from last year, was. She came back down with us to the beach and immediately started stroking the beaver's body to see if it had died of an injury, "I've never touched a beaver before," she quipped with subtle excitement in her voice. I was taken aback by her reaction to the beaver, because I generally don't touch animals that have died of unknown causes...I'm more of the type that pokes them with a stick. This women however, dove into action, investigating and lifting the poor beaver as if it were a stuffed toy. She concluded that it was a female, and probably pregnant, and then she lifted it (with a back-breaking struggle) and carried it up the beach and closer to the woods, where she said she would make sure the lighthouse keeper would bury it when he returned. 
      I desperately wanted to offer my assistance while I watched her hoist the heavy beaver, and yet everything within me cried out "don't touch it!" So I just stood there shamefully, feeling like I do when I ask Steve to rescue me from a spider in the house or remove a dead mouse from a sticky trap under the sink. We said our goodbyes, and then continued walking down the beach... the girls full of excitement, because every 30 seconds they were finding large hunks of coal, and me full of self-reflection and embarrassment at my unwillingness to assist in "Poor beaver's" funeral ceremony. What did it say about me? Am I afraid of catching some strange beaver disease, or is it something more?
     Two geese honked at us as we stammered along the rockier than normal shore, lugging as much coal as we could creatively carry. "Why are we carrying large amounts of coal off the beach?" we asked each other. "It's like self-inflicted slavery," piped up Autumn. "It's fun!" "Well, my arms are killing me...and what are we going to do with all of it anyway?" I questioned.
     We decided we would take it home and use it as incentive to research coal for a science project. What is coal anyway? How is it made? Does it float or sink? What does it cost? Why does it keep washing up on our beach? We walked along thinking aloud coal questions.
     Near the end of our walk we noticed a large crane meandering along the still snowy in places shore, and bobbing its head up and down as though it were looking for pretty pebbles. It reminded us of the emu and ostrich that we had seen while visiting Binder Park Zoo, just a few weeks ago. The crane seemed oblivious of our approach, and we were able to get within 10 feet of it before it let out a loud, screechy call that reminded us that birds really might be descendants of the dinosaurs. "Wow! That was really special!" the girls exclaimed. As the crane flew away it looked as if it was struggling to fly. Maybe it had an injured wing and that is why it allowed us to get so close?
      We went for a bike ride this evening, and saw the usual squirrels, hawks and birds. But, because of the wolf, the beaver, and the crane our family dubbed today "Nature Day." We are so thankful to live in an area where, in all honesty, we could give this title to every day that we go outside and explore!

Some More of Autumn's Home School Videos


Skipping Stones