Saturday, November 8, 2008


Well, we've had our first 40 degree high (two days after a 70 degree high) and winter appears in for the duration. The big piers are tucked away on the island, and the outdoor furniture rests in the basement. The wiley beaver has paid us his first visit, which gives testament to the quiet on the lake. Not a creature was stirring.

Here's a little known fact...ground squirrels hibernate five months or so while tree squirrels just loaf a lot. I guess I'm more like a tree squirrel then. While neighbors and family go on about the joys of ice fishing, snow mobiling, skating and sledding, nothing suits me more in the winter than curling up by the fire to read a good book or watch a movie. Unfortunately, that makes for lousy pictures and worse blogs, so I'll say so long for the season. Looking forward to chatting next spring!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Steve Kruger--The Man Who Can

We are pretty self sufficient on our little island--including the work pier, which can be easily put in and out by my wife and I without even getting our feet wet. However, there are two times each year when I feel as helpless as a babe in arms. When the time comes to install and to store the massive guest piers and swim deck. No getting around it--it takes a good crew to get the job done. These days, we rely on Steve Kruger, who has a pier, boat storage, and lift service on the lake. You can count on him to get everything handled with a minimum of fuss.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Autumn is Everywhere Now

The fall foliage is more widespread now. Almost no green leaves are left, and we are getting many a "leaf shower" in the puffs of wind.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nature's Climate Control

As you can see. The trees arch over the house. In their leafy majesty in summer, their generous shade and cooling evaporation takes the load off the air conditioning. Now they are shedding their leaves, to let the warming sun in during the winter. The bills for this all electric home are quite tolerable.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Take a Bow Jack Frost

Some favorite scenes around the island.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Skies Over Manitou

Sometimes the best views on Treasure Island..... are straight up!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


It's that time. It's time to put the many many sprinkler heads that keep the lawn green into a winter's hibernation. The frost warnings are starting to come in--and we don't want to freeze the lines.

So we kill the electricity to the pump, pull the intake, and fire all the lines with 140 lbs. of compressed air. When you can no longer see water coming from the heads--and hear nothing but a hissing sound--then you've completed your mission till next year.

The big bopper compressor in the basement is happily employed filling inner tubes, water toys, and air mattresses--but it really shines come irrigation day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just Plain Squirrel

That's right. No name for this guy. Just like the time, years ago, when a cat came up the hill to our home in California.
"Don't give him a name," I said to my wife. "We don't need another pet--we can't get attached--he'll wander off somewhere else after awhile."

Well, "Cat," was with us till he died at the ripe old age of fourteen.

Not that "Squirrel" is another "Cat." I came to really like Cat because he thought he was a dog. He came when he was called and was really eager to please. If he saw you were having a bad day he was right in your lap with a comforting purr.

Squirrel, is another story. His favorite thing in the whole world is to wait until I head for the point after a long day--drink and snack in one hand and newspaper in the other--to take my usual place on the lounge. Then squirrel climbs high into the tree tops which arc over the point, and spends his time pelting me with acorns. Now, it could be that he's trying to be helpful, knowing that my snacks are not that good for me--but I kind of think it's squirrel humor. So I tolerate squirrel--but no more than that--honestly--it's not like Cat--I think.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Little Tree That Could

In the twelve years I've lived on Treasure Island, I've found that every living thing has its role to play. At first I couldn't see it in the Mulberry on the sea wall--it was always dropping berries all over the place and it blocked a fine view of the lake as well. As time went on I found it also was a favorite haven for all manner of birds--and also a hangout for fish--as they loved to park themselves under the outstretched limbs to grab the berries as they fell.

Pictured above is another tree--one that I almost never even notice. I can't tell you what kind it is--perhaps a berry tree of some sort--but look what it does in the fall! Most of the year it parks itself at the kitchen deck and I walk right by it. But who can't appreciate it now!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What's Happening!

If you are looking for a part of America where the quality of life is rich and improving--look to small town America. Here, people have always been hard-working and fun-loving--but there have been additions in the last few decades that allow for a much wider range of entertainment than ever before. Perhaps it is the aging of the baby boom--or the greater mix of industry--but you can always find something going on close to home.

Last night C and I joined her sister and husband for a quick hop to Wabash, Indiana and the Honeywell Center, where a touring troop of "Chicago" gave a performance that was superior to the one I caught in San Francisco many years before. Of course in San Francisco I had to deal with heavy traffic, high parking fees, and ticket prices five times as high. On top of that, the center puts out a buffet prior to the performance that is top quality.

Today, it was a hop downtown to the 17th running of the Rochester Chili Cook off and Car Show. Earlier in the month it was a production of "Fiddler on the Roof" by the Maxinkuckee Players--an amateur group that is fun to watch.

Small town America, where the people are friendly, the pace is relaxed, and there is always something to do to bring a smile to your lips.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Treasure Island Lights

Once upon a time I kept a little sail-boat in Sausalito, on San Francisco Bay. The trick, when sailing at night, was to find your way back to the slip from San Francisco. The lights could be confusing—from the lighthouse on Alcatraz to the reds and greens of the many shipping lanes, to the carpet of whites and yellows on the shore—navigation by eye was tough. Soon I came to rely on two white lights on the far shore--keep them in line and you couldn’t go wrong as you made your way home.

When we purchased Treasure Island, I thought back to San Francisco Bay—and decided that the seawall lights, which were intended for occasional use, should be held on 24/7, for the local sailor who might benefit from a light or two on a dark night. The lights burn through the winter as well—a hopeful sign that the lake once again will have life come spring.

There’s another angle. When you live on a lakeshore at night—you are mostly looking out your windows at a big black hole. If everyone was willing to keep a few lights on—the scene would be a livelier one.

It doesn’t take much electricity. We use 60 watt bug lights that are reduced to 30 watts through two rheostats. Every season when we come back to open, we find three or four lights have gone out. It is a rare year when we replace half a dozen bulbs--a small price to pay for a little cheer.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The First Reds of Autumn

Here we are--a little preview of fall--though the highs are still in the range of summer.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stormy Weather

There is no place I'd rather be than on Treasure Island in the spring, summer, or fall. However, I have to admit to harboring the occasional mutinous thought when skittering across the lake as rain falls--the speed of the boat creating the sensation of being pickled by frozen bird shot as the rain comes down. Yes, I have the occasional desire at these times for a nice cozy place on the shore with (drum roll please) an attached garage! This mood passes as quickly as most Indiana storms do--and I then go back to the normal mode--where I'm so pleased to live at a place that requires me to be on the water every day (the shore side mail demands it). Land lubbers miss so much when they stay in their easy chairs to watch the next soap opera--foregoing all that is going on in the grand outdoors of Lake Manitou.

I'd be considerably better off during those wet moments if I'd relent and bring along my foul weather sailing gear from California. I've been on boats with waves breaking along their length--more submarine than sailboat--and been snug as a bug. There is a bit of pride here, I think. To pack rain gear is to admit that we sometimes need it in Indiana--and I'm just not prepared to do that as yet.

Some advice to anyone who'd like to own this or another island. When you make a social engagement--the best wording is "see you tomorrow." If you are overcome by the urge to meet--you might even say "see you tomorrow afternoon." Anything more precise is an invitation to be drenched. For instance "see you tomorrow at 3 pm.," will guarantee a thunder bumper passing through at 2:45--and you are now committed to take on bad weather.

Most of my near death experiences on the open ocean all point to time commitments--usually the need to get a crewman to some port as dictated by his plane ticket--a big temptation to push the margin of safety. It is a wise sailor on lake or on the ocean, who keeps his commitments as vague as possible!