Sunday, June 25, 2017

So here we go into retirement!

This has been a regular sight out our front window

But then so has this!

Our son, Matt, joined us at camp in May. Joanne Spillar photo

Indian Skipper samples a dandelion

Wild columbine
Brenda and I and Cork (the dog) are experiencing summer for the first time at our home in Nolalu since retiring from camp at the start of June. From the moment we built our house in 1991 until now we had spent every summer operating camp.
I have been gobstruck at how lush and beautiful everything is here. I ran around for days photographing wildflowers that grow on our 65 acres and it is a good thing I did because other vegetation has since towered over the smaller flowers, blocking the view. I was amazed to find trilliums and orchids, most of which haven't bloomed yet. Although I have a pile of plant and wildflower identification books there are many species I can't yet identify.
We also got to see a few unusual birds before the trees were completely leafed-out. These included a rose-breasted grosbeak and chestnut-sided warbler. We have two pairs of tree swallows living in nesting boxes that I put up in April. The first nestlings actually fledged today.
I have put up bluebird boxes for the past 25 years without ever getting to see the birds. They came after we had gone to camp for the summer and left before we returned at the end of October. I could tell from the leftover nests what species had used the boxes -- mostly tree swallows but once in awhile bluebirds too. I saw a male bluebird twice this June but I guess he didn't have a mate or just didn't like my nesting box locations.
Brenda had the same experience with flowers. She has planted seeds for decades without ever seeing a single flower until now. We have a hillside of beautiful lupines in front of the house along with a large-flowering vine that we can't identify.
We have many acres of land to mow here and I have been largely thwarted in accomplishing this task by almost daily rains. I have been able to mow the lawn around the house but have only gotten about three-quarters of the fields done and just a tiny bit of the brush that borders our lawn. I haven't done any of the mile of trails on our property.
Brenda and I joined Bow Narrows angler Doug Billings for our first-ever professional baseball game, yesterday. Doug is on his way home from fishing at camp last week and for years has come south through Thunder Bay. We watched the Thunder Bay Border Cats play against the St. Cloud Rox in the Northwoods League. Wow, was that fun! Tonight we are meeting Doug and Dan and Sharon Sharp, also Bow Narrows anglers on their way home, for supper at a restaurant in Thunder Bay which is about 40 minutes from Nolalu. When we say we are "going to town" we mean Thunder Bay.
Brenda and I have also been busy preparing our house for some big construction projects that we were never able to get done during all the winters we lived here. These include pouring a concrete floor in the basement and adding on a sunroom to the side of the house. There's lots to do and it would help if the rain would stop!
I apologize for letting the blog fall to the wayside for awhile but I should be posting things fairly regularly from now on. I'll be concentrating on the natural world. There's no end of subjects there.

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Darryl Hamer said...

Congrats on your retirement Dan and Brenda. So glad to hear you are enjoying it!
-Darryl and Family

Dan Baughman said...

Thanks so much, Darryl.

robin hall said...

Glad you and Brenda and Cork are enjoying yourselves..we will surely miss you come next may its always been the happiest week of the year when I am there.51 weeks of anticipation and one week that flies by way too fast!

Doug Billings said...

I made it back to West Tennessee! It was great seeing you and Brenda at the Border Cats game. I had a blast. We will definitely have to do that again. Thanks again for a wonderful time at the Prospector. The fun, food, and fellowship was second to none.

I finally made it to the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It is a fantastic place, well worth the time spent. I spent the week at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan watching the great lakes freighters and left on July 1st. I was on the road and couldn't wish you a Happy Canada Day/150, so I will do it now--Happy Canada Day 150! I hope you had a great one. One of the most special moments of my life was standing with you and Brenda singing the Canadian National Anthem and the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of our baseball game on June 24. I will cherish that memory for a long time.

Have a great summer and let's stay in touch.

Your friend,

Doug Billings

P.S. I was wearing my new Canada ball cap and a lady in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario said, "Your cap says Canada but your accent sounds like someplace else. Are you from Canada?"

I said, "Yoo-betcha, extreme southern Canada!"

Dan B. said...

Thanks, Dee. Hope to see you again when we get our cabin built.
Doug, we had a great time at the ball game and at supper. Glad to hear you got to the Bushplane Museum. I actually rode in two of the planes that are in there, Green's Stenson and the Fairchild Husky.
You ARE an Honourary Canadian. On yeah, eh!

Ray G said...

Hi Dan: Glad you are now able to enjoy some of the other good things in life. Sometimes they can be right in front of you and you don't have time to enjoy them.

thanks for getting back to the blog, you know how much I enjoy it.

Ray G>

Dan Baughman said...

That's a fact about the good things in life. I could spend years just learning about the plants right on our property. Then there are the nearby places with yet other plants. There are lots of major attractions in the Thunder Bay area that Brenda and I have never seen, things like Ouimet Canyon and Isle Royale. Now is our chance.