Just Chillin

Time For A Little R&R

I awarded myself an extended vacation to relax and unwind from a hectic 2020. My spouse and assorted family members have spent the greater part of this summer chillin at our favorite escape. With the end of summer and the glamping season looming there is no time to waste.

While here I’ve spent some of my time hand stitching on my small canvases and a little bit of knitting.

Knit One Knit Two

I’m sad to say that this leg of our journey is almost over. With very little time left in the season I’m sure we will make at least two more visits to our Little Cabin In The Woods.

Bye for now!

Stress Line

Followers of my blog have heard me speak of my journeys to my little cabin in the woods (lcitw). My lcitw is a retreat located in a northern region of the dairy state. This is where I go to escape from the rigors of daily life. The journey to this escape takes multiple hours via automobile.

On one of our excursions I heard my husband announce that we had just crossed the, “Stress Line.” Being absorbed in my journaling I was not currently aware of our surroundings. Curious why he had said that I glanced up from my spiral notebook to take note of our location. Even after finding my bearings the meaning of his phrase did not ring a bell.

Out of curiosity I asked him to explain. With a smile on his face he shared his thoughts. “Stress Line” was the term people used to describe the geographical location, on our long journey, where the stress accompanied by daily routines is left behind. It is at that pinpoint on the map when relaxation begins to overtake/overcome tense muscles and clenched jaws and replaces them with smiles and a sense of relaxation.

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His explanation was not at all what I had expected. Stress line for me conjures up images of earthquake fault lines or stress fractures. I had never thought of using those two words in that context. The usage made complete sense after he explained it.

Now every time I cross that line I think of those two words and remember that moment in my life with a smile and a chuckle.

Do you have a stress line? If so, where is it?

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16 Quilts

My husband and I just finished a six day respite at our little cabin in the woods (lcitw). Before heading north we often make an outline of the items or activities we might like to experience. Favorite restaurants, reading and movies are among our usual selections. No matter how much effort we invest in our planning it is always amazing how much time we spend sleeping.

We live a fairly fast-paced life style which takes a toll on us. Paying attention to and managing the fatigue that often ensues takes an intentional focus. The visits to our lcitw help to abate the cycle through rest and relaxation. The down time or sleep usually sneaks in during our first 48 hours. It is not until we find ourselves refreshed that we realize how much we needed to rest.

As we prepare for our trips we gather together the supplies we need to accomplish our goals. If our intent is to eradicate weeds or give our lcitw a bath we might bring with a rake, a weed trimmer and a ladder.

Included in the tubs of supplies traveling with us this time were 16 quilts of all sizes. All 16 had already been quilted and surrounded by either a binding or facing. The last step to be completed was hand stitching. This trip was a perfect opportunity to accomplish that task.

My hope was to at least finish half of the quilts. Much to my surprise I thankfully and very proudly can announce that all 16 are done. Over the next several posts I will give each one its final spotlight.

Thank you for visiting!

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Fragrances in the Air

IMG_5673My Little Cabin in the Woods has been the topic of several postings. Today’s entry is another one in that series. My topic of interest is the memories or experiences  detected by my sense of smell.

While living in the woods one is exposed to, or graced by a multitude of fragrances. Some of them are natural to the area and some are not. Some are pleasant and some are not.

On the natural and pleasant side is the strong scent emanating from the towering pines that surround me, the spell of moist earth, the perfumed fragrance of the abundant flowers and the fresh aroma of the forest just after a rainfall. Staying yet in the pleasing category I would also add the enjoyable experience of wood burning in a campfire as well as the fragrance of cooking food.

IMG_0363When thinking of those experiences that would be unpleasant I could only think of two. The scent emitted by a skunk and the undesired, nose pinching odor of sewage being pumped from my Little Cabin in the Woods. Both of them I would much rather avoid.

Whether pleasant or undesired, smells are everywhere. The way in which we react to them is different for each one of us.. Even though there are some things I would rather not experience I am grateful that my sense of smell is intact. My life is much richer because of it.

Our Paths Have Crossed

IMG_5673What naturally goes along with a Cabin In The Woods? Well critters of every kind, of course! Some of them are welcome and some are not. On my must-have-list are butterflies, birds and bats (except not in my cabin). Making the OK list is turtles and frogs and on my thanks-but-no-thanks list is ants, spiders, snakes, raccoons, gophers, flies mosquitoes, bees, hornets and all other bugs, to name a few.

Living in the woods without sharing your outdoor space with many of these creatures is next to impossible. We are, after-all, invading their domain; the place they call home. If they could communicate in a way that we could understand I wonder what they would say?

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There are two creatures that seem to have collided with my Little Cabin in the Woods, the ant and an unknown guest. Evidence of the ant population can be seen just about everywhere. The tell-tale sign of their presence is their characteristic mound. I’m sure you’ve seen them. Their painstakingly assembled home gently rises above the surface of the earth. All those tiny little grains of sand are neatly stacked in a shape similar to that of a volcano.

Hoards of ants can be seen maintaining their tiny home. My Little Cabin in the Woods apparently has laid out the welcome mat for these critters because there has been an ongoing battle between us and them. They have found the cool, dark refuge beneath the rug on my deck to be an irresistible location to raise a colony. Left undisturbed the space between the surface of my wooden deck and the underside of my rug can become quite crowded.

I discovered their secret hiding place one day while sweeping the rug. The edge of the rug happened to catch on the bristles of my broom. As my broom swept across, the edge flipped up. With the rug raised into the air I could see the surface beneath the rug; that’s when I became aware of the ant colony. Hurriedly the ants began scurrying away.

To encourage their complete exodus I turned the edge of the rug over even further and anchored it down with a few large stones. I also assisted with their move by swiping my broom over the surface of the wooden deck.

To promote the drying out of the wood, I allowed the breeze and the sun to do their thing. Once the moisture had been evaporated I released the rug from the weight of the rocks and allowed it to return to its original position. Now every once in a while I lift the rug to see if the ants have returned, but so far they have not.IMG_5431_1

Ants have occasionally been found inside my trailer but never to the extent that I have found them on the side of my Little Cabin in the Woods. For a time an army of ants could be seen marching along the edge of the electrical cord that has attached my cabin to power. From the thick, round, black cord they marched single-file up the steep expanse of the side of my Little Cabin in the Woods to the roof. What attracted them to those heights is beyond me.

Not knowing what their intentions were we decided to discourage their continued migration by spraying the cord and the side of my cabin with an environmentally friendly deterrent. After a few repeated applications the mass progression came to a halt. Now all that can be seen are the occasional explorers.

The most puzzling creature is the one that has taken up residence between a small segment of the wall on the east side of my Little Cabin in the Woods. I first noticed his/her existence while busying myself with sewing. Over the whir of my machine I was startled by what sounded like scratching or chewing of wood. At first I thought the noise came from my little companion Sadie but a quick check for her proved me wrong. Sadie was sound asleep, snoring in her favorite place, totally unaware.

I listened further. Whatever was inside continued to chew. I tapped on the wall and it stopped, waited a while and started again. I tapped harder and more frequently. I wanted my message to come through loud and clear. For a time the sound stopped. I had no idea who was making their presence known nor of what species the creature belonged.

At first I thought it might be a red squirrel. Red squirrels have earned the reputation of being a nuisance here. While they haven’t, as of yet, to my knowledge, made their presence or should I say done damage to my Little Cabin in the Woods they have raised havoc at the home behind mine.

From time to time I have heard them scamper across the roof of my refuge and for a time thought one of them might be my unwanted guest. I’m fairly certain the red squirrel is not to blame because I had the owner of the property walk around on top of my roof looking for tell-tale signs of a visit but none were found.

Left on my list of suspected culprits is either a mouse or a bat. I’m strongly leaning toward a bat because of the habits it is exhibiting. Activity seems to take place in the morning when I would expect a bat to return and in the evening when it would want to leave.

I make it a habit to annoy the mysterious guest by tapping on the wall in the vicinity of the latest noises. By creating a noisy environment I’m hoping I might be able to annoy it to encourage an early departure. Then again I’m not certain a checkout is possible because my husband has been methodically sealing up every entry point he can find. It’s quite possible that my unwanted guest may be trapped. Only time will tell.

I know that bats are our friends, especially here, because they are voracious consumers of the pesky mosquito. However I would much rather accommodate them with shelter far away from my Little Cabin in the Woods.

I will provide updated information on my guest’s identity and his/her fate as further tidbits are made available. Until then I say thank you to the creatures of these woods for allowing me to live alongside them in separate habitats. As long as they leave me alone I will do the same.

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The Sounds We Hear

There’s the famous question—

If a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound?

In my opinion it does but that’s not the reason for these ramblings. The focus of today’s thoughts are the sounds I hear at my Little Cabin in the Woods..

Have you ever taken time to sit quietly and listen to the sounds of the world around you? How many sounds did you hear and what type were they? Did they make you happy or sad, relaxed or anxious?

If I were to eliminate all sounds except those made by nature I would be entertained by a smorgasbord of opportunities. Among the noted sounds are the melodies sung by the birds that call these woods home. I have no idea how many different varieties there are. Of the few that I can identify there are seagulls, finches, robins, woodpeckers and of particular interest the sounds made my a hummingbird’s wings.

066 (2)Early in the morning, before the sun peeks above the horizon, I’m awakened by a chorus of birds. To their symphony is added the chirping of crickets and the scolding chatter of the occasional squirrel. Evenings in the Spring we are serenaded by the family of frogs that find shelter here. Their rhythmic chanting provides background entertainment for our fireside relaxation.

Of my least favorite sounds made by nature is the annoying buzzing of mosquito’s; whose existence seems totally unnecessary. Then there’s the sound made by winged creatures that sends chills through my spine. Those sounds are made by bees and hornets.

There’s a period in the morning between sunrise and 8:00 AM when silence is broken only by the creatures of nature. The minutes before 8:00 AM have been designated by the establishment as quiet time. The hours accumulated by those minutes as well as the ones falling after the hour of 10:00 PM, the designated evening quiet time, are my favorite times of the day.

As we cross those thresholds the sounds around me begin to slowly increase. Added to the sounds of nature are the giggling and chatter of children passing by while hiking or riding on bicycles. Accompanied by the sounds of children playing are the conversations shared between adults. Those can be uttered softly, barely audible from one campsite to another, while others are spoken at an unnatural decibel level, heard even through closed windows and doors.

Also apart of the sounds heard here are those accompanying wood cutting, grilling and the whir of mechanical devices such as fans, air conditioners, water heaters and motorized vehicles. Added to that is the crunch of footsteps on gravel, barking dogs, tarps blowing in the wind, cellphones ringing and doors opening and closing. While these human made sounds are not natural to the woods they are present whenever and wherever humans inhabit.

I prefer the sounds of nature. Those are the ones that bring me peace. They provide interludes of relaxation; a chance to unwind.

May the sounds that bring you peace fill your ears with their melody.

A Storm in the Night

We weathered our first storm, in my Little Cabin in the Woods.

My companion, Sadie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is afraid of storms.

IMG_8723She can hear them coming long before I can. I can usually tell when one is approaching because Sadie typically spends her time curled up underneath my kitchen chair. When storms approach she leaves her quiet little place of solitude to be by my side. If I’m within in touching distance she will get as close as she can possibly be. So close that it seems every ounce of air has been sucked away and there is absolutely nothing between us. If you touch her little body you can feel her heart racing. Her breathing quickens and her eyes open very wide. She gazes up as if to say, “Save me from the storm.”

During yesterday’s storm she curled up into a little ball beneath my makeshift sewing space. If I happened to leave the area, so did Sadie. When I returned she did as well. I feel sad for her because of her fear. If only I could reassure her that all would be fine. Unfortunately it’s difficult to relay that to her. Because of her disease (more about that some other time) it’s very difficult to find a place on her body that you can touch that won’t make her feel uncomfortable.

IMG_0154The storm passed as quickly as it approached. In no time Sadie was once again back beneath her favorite safe place. Together we weathered the storm safely tucked inside my Little Cabin in the Woods.

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“Chillin With My Gnomies”

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Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, or Should I Say Time Flies?

It’s been some time since I last entered a post. So many activities have been taking place I barely had time to think. So sorry that this was one of the past times I had to let rest. All that matters is that I’m back and ready to resume my ramblings.

Being a city girl living the fast paced life it’s often hard to slow down. The daily grind of multitasking doesn’t stop immediately. It takes a bit of time before one finds themselves exhaling. The slow but gentle glide to total relaxation begins the all too important sense of relief; that pause that refreshes. It’s that moment of inactivity when you realize how busy you have been; how tired you have gotten. It’s when those furrows in your brow begin to soften and the smile you once had begins to return. Oh how often we forget to take time to smell the roses; to enjoy life for what it should be.

I recently took just such a pause. It was on one of our annual excursions to northern Wisconsin that I once again found my sense of peace. We shared the respite with one of our daughters and her husband. Oh and of course our traveling companion Sadie. Now mind you it wasn’t a trip void of adventures. We did our share of sight-seeing and our part to keep the economy running. The pace, however, was much slower, more relaxed.

During the process of decompressing I enjoyed listening to and observing the natural beauty of the world around me. I am grateful for the time I had to relax and unwind. I left that quiet sanctuary feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life had waiting for me. Before we part company let me share a few photos of my excursion.

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Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to unwind and recharge. Now let’s get back to work.

Grabbing Time . . . Part Five, the Finale

This is the last segment in my guided tour through Door County so listen carefully and take lots of notes.

To date we have

I know we’ve been really busy but that’s ok.  My vacations are always packed with adventures.  I figure I can relax when I go home.  So lets not let any grass grow under our feet.  Lets hit the road and see if we can’t wrap this adventure up.

There are so many places and things to do in Door County.  If one set out on the first day of summer with the goal of experiencing each and every one perhaps you might be successful by the end of the year.  Then again you might find you have only touched the tip of the iceberg.  Let me give you a list of suggestions:

On The Water

Experience the Wonders of Nature

  • Cave Point County Park is a wonderful place to climb amongst the rocks and enjoy the beauty of water carved caves along Lake Michigan.  Cave Point County Park is right next door to White Fish Dunes State Park.
  • Visit one or more light houses.  Many have great tours available.  They also provide wonderful opportunities for photography

Food

Here is a few more of our favorite places to dine and/or purchase Door County specific foods

Shopping

Every town in Door County has a wonderful selection of fine stores offering an enormous variety of merchandise.  It would take far too long to mention each and every one.  All I will tell you is there is a price range and selection to suit all tastes.

People Watching

If your feet get too tired and your wallet too empty there’s always the sport of people watching.  Sometimes it’s fun to sit a spell and observe as people from all over enjoy the many shops and restaurants.  During our most recent visit we made a list of the different states, districts and provinces represented by vehicle license plates.  Here’s what we saw:

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Washington DC and Ontario.

If you counted them then you know people from thirty-one different areas visited Door County during the seven days we were there.  Amazing!

Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoy my visit to Door County every time we go.  Leaving the area always brings a tear to my eye.  It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend.  The only thing that makes it a teeny-weeny bit bearable is the realization that I will return.  Nothing can keep me from going back.

Well, there you have it.  I’ve taken you on a tour of Door County from one end to the other.  Of course I have by no means mentioned everything there is to see and do.  I think it’s better to leave some things left unsaid.  Perhaps that way you will be curious enough to plan your very own exciting trip to Door County.  Who knows, maybe we will even see one another there someday.