Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

There always seems to be a moment on a cloudy day, when the sun finds a place to shine through. Maybe that makes a good New Year's wish. May the sun shine through for all your days in 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Snow

We add some lights to the flag pole for the holidays.

The first snow of any substance. It's been a pretty forgiving winter so far.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

With very best wishes from Treasure Island.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Birdy Bush

It is the lady of the island's habit to put a row of sunflower seeds on the railing of the kitchen deck at the beginning of each day.

We have a flock of sparrows on the island that is quite dispersed among the many trees. That is, until they hear the call "birdy, birdy, birdy." Then they all fly to the bush at the kitchen deck railing to watch eagerly as the morning's snack is laid out.

I could only catch a representative few with my little camera. Often the center of the bush will hold another twenty or so.

The Squirrels are always happy to help with the clean up.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Deck is Done

Finished! Little did we know there would be so much foundation work to do. Many of the support boards along the sea wall had to be replaced and shot with new anchors. Nearly 800 pounds of concrete and five new posts were installed to shore up the center sections.

The point deck should be good for thirty more years. If only I could say that about myself!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back to Basics

We love our place. In the summer it is grand, with its huge piers and motorized boats. However, my favorite time is the "off" season. I've never had the mechanical ability to repair boat motors, and it takes an accomplished crew to bring the big piers in and out. It is good to have a time of year when you aren't dependent on others.

Now, it's just me, my wife, and a little row boat. Nice and simple. In a little while the row boat will give way to the winter kayaks for moving across the fresh ice (propelled by Phillips screwdrivers in lieu of paddles). When the ice is thick enough--foot power will be the means of coming and going.

That is the wonder of living on an island. It will not allow you to become a couch potato. Every day you are compelled (if you want to get your mail) to get out of your cozy home and go forth into the wonder of winter. Every day there are new patterns in the ice and different birds coming and going. There is the brisk chill of a fresh winter day and the incredible brightness of the ice field that is the lake.

Here's to a good winter!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

Just about done I'm happy to say. There's a lot of work to raking leaves, but it keeps us in shape, and we wouldn't sacrifice a single tree to ease the burden.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

From our home to your home. May you have a great Autumn!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Comes to Big Island

Big Island sits off the front door of Treasure Island on Lake Manitou. Here we see a fine start to Autumn--leaves all aglow in the waning light of a beautiful Indian Summer day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Going Going Gone

The Point Deck was a place of good times and happy days to so many people over the years. It's seen birthdays, weddings, and fishing contests. It's been a place to relax for a multitude of guests. Now it is time for a redo. The foundation needs a bit of work. Wood can only last for so long in a lake environment. The replacement deck stands as a stack of 98 sixteen foot boards on the sea wall. Soon we will have a new platform and a new cycle of memories.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Hibiscus are Back

Each year they seem prettier than the year before. Enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fishing in the Front Yard

If you're looking for a trophy catch--we recommend you take the pontoon to the head of the lake, or White Creek. However, we have a young angler proving once again that fishing can be fun from the front pier.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spring Storm

This is the time of year for the crash and bang of thunderstorms--bumping through quickly in a whoosh of sound and fury. Here is a picture from a twilight storm. The spring leaves seem to glow as the light works its way through a break in the clouds.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

About Those Eggs You Saw Earlier....

Two out of three robin's eggs have hatched. It's a tough world out there. We keep the place predator free--so they have a shot. Right now the cold rain is coming down. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spring Comes to Treasure Island

Here it is--at last! Happy Mother's Day. Bring on the good weather!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Goose Truce

For a few beautiful days every Spring--we allow the newly formed goose families a bit of time to promenade their young about the island--free from the threat of predators. Soon, though, it will be business as usual as they can be pretty hard on a yard.

Friday, April 29, 2011

An Easter Update

Edith has brought us a nice Spring gift. Seven new arrivals. The last from the egg had a real struggle--we thought she was a goner. But with lots of prodding from mom, she made it to the water's edge and tonight she is just one of the gang.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


From Edith, the Treasure Island Goose, (Bert is on the night shift)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Bald Eagle Returns

The morning is off with a bang. We were having the morning cup of coffee and looking out over the front yard when the bald Eagle appeared--wham--on the lawn near the flag pole. We were thunderstruck at his instant appearance, and it took a moment or two to choose between the binoculars and the camera (sorry, it was the binoculars). He hesitated a moment and then took flight. It was then that we realized he had something rather large in his grasp. He flew effortlessly to the tree at the point and commenced his own version--I suppose--of morning refreshment. It took quite a bit of binocular gazing to even guess at the hapless victim. There were feathers--and we know the yard had blackbirds visiting--so that is our best guess.

The visit was capped in a most unusual way. We heard the alarm of a goose--and in came a very agitated goose right for the eagle. Most surprising. The goose won out in this confrontation--driving the eagle from his breakfast, and harrying him all the way toward the airport. We are now left with quite a pile of entrails on the branch at the point tree. I'll have to figure a way to get at them before they become a fly hatchery.

A most unusual beginning to a day on Treasure Island.

PS Two hours have passed. I love it when procrastination works! We now have a very large crow at the point tree finishing off what the Eagle left behind. Nothing goes to waste in the natural world.

PPS It is now evening and the remains of the remains fell from the limb to the top of the sea wall. All that was left was a beak and a spine. We can now see that this was a Coot. He was distinguished by the lure that was firmly driven through his beek--probably why he was in the yard instead of on the water. It was one of those worm lures--probably left snagged in a lily pad until our friend encountered it. Nature does have a way of weeding out the weak.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kayaks Rule

Well, the lake is stirring, but not the big boats at the moment. We do have the bass boats, and we even saw our first waterskier over the weekend. However, the lake is mostly calm and free of boat wakes at this time of year--and the more timid forms of water fowl are still easily reached by kayak. We were out this morning and found white and grey heron, mute swans, lots of mud hens, and geese everywhere as they manned their nests on the south shore. The lily pads are still forming just under the surface. A perfect day to glide about and sample the new found Spring.

Monday, March 21, 2011

White Pelicans

My favorite memory from my first sailing trip to Mexico from San Franciso has to do with arrival at Puerto Vallarta. It was a fairly tough sail, so I kind of staggered to shore (you loose your land legs after a couple of weeks) and found myself a recliner on the beach. I opened a Corona and stared at the sky--just in time to see this amazing formation of Pelicans fly overhead. Not your normal kind of gray and dingy pelicans from San Francisco--but a group of snow white and amazing pelicans from the Pacific.

Imagine my delight last year when I spotted the same beautiful creatures on Lake Manitou. Now, we have a report via the Rochester Sentinel that a flock has come to visit us today. They are passing through--but what a pleasure to know they are here. They are presently in Rain Creek, but we're hoping for a visit on Manitou.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunrise on Open Water

Well, we had our first "Spring" day yesterday. A high of 72 degrees. A nice break from winter. Spring comes in fits and starts in the Midwest. Lots of cold days to come--but also lots of sunshine. As a wise man once said, "It takes a Winter spent to truly appreciate the Spring."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Strangers Passing Through

We have two loons making themselves at home on the lake. We only enjoy them for a brief time. They like their water cold! They are on their way north. They are under the water as much as they are on top of it. You will seldom see them on shore as their bodies are so long--and their legs set so far back--that they can just barely walk on land. They don't seem to sing when they are in transit. Their call was one of the great memories of my fishing trips to Quebec--but there's not so much as a peep around Lake Manitou.

A note on the photographs of birds for this blog. They are off the internet. My peanut camera just can't do justice to the birds. Back in the old days I had a 500mm lens--and that just barely got the job done.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Of Open Water, Sandhill Cranes, and Swans

OK. Spring certainly isn't here yet. But today we have open water to the shore. It took a little persuasion with a sledge hammer here and there, but we now travel by boat and kayak.

The day prior I was greeted by a pair of Mute Swans just off the southwest side of the island. They were here the day before the lake froze--and they returned to say hello the day the lake opened. Soon they will be back to their more familiar haunts at the Manitou headwaters.

More amazing for us--the Sandhill cranes are loosing some of their shyness this year. Before now, I only saw them flying overhead, or standing at the headwaters of rain creek. Today, there were three cranes walking about the remains of the ice field, halfway between our island and Rose's English Cottage on the shore. To watch these birds take flight, is to see one of nature's marvels. How does a body that big ever get airborne! I am reminded of the military cargo planes lumbering off the runway at Travis air base. If you hear a steady warbling sound--look high up in the sky and you may catch a glimpse of them.

Keep the faith--Spring can't be far behind!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Twilight for the Ice

There is now a great pile of slush atop the ice pack that is Lake Manitou. Warm weather is forecast, and soon we will return to rippling waves of water. Here is a picture as the sun sets on the last of the winter's ice.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


It's 16 below zero this morning. The sun is out in all its glory. At this temperature, and with the bright, bright sunlight, the super-chilled snow appears as if coated with a carpet of tiny diamonds. So beautiful to look at--though I think we'll postpone the morning walk a bit.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jack Frost

Frosty has been busy lately. Here's a view through the upstairs' window. Jack doesn't like the thermopane on the main floor--but he has a ball upstairs.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I have an old sailing buddy who was fond of saying, "Life is a word-eating contest." On my earlier post you may have noticed that I said we never had humongous snow--just a lot of accumulation over winter. I stand corrected as of last Wednesday--as you can see. Here is a picture from Main Street in town.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


We are mercifully out of the Great Lakes lake effect snow belt--so we never get a humongous amount at one time. However, as the termperature seldom strays above freezing in the winter, we do find quite a bit on the ground about this time. Here are some pictures. The point in winter--for those of you who have enjoyed it--is a bit less hospitable this time of year, but it is every bit as pretty.