Saturday, December 21, 2013

Treasure Island in Winter

Getting back and forth can be a bit of a bother..........

But the sights are worth it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where Did the Lake Go?


A pretty day for snow scenes.  I thought those who visited in the summer might get a kick out of seeing the lake with a coat of ice and snow.  Very different, but beautiful in its own right.

It was a very laborious scoot across the ice today.  The two inches of snow, frozen like bullets in the 9 degree temps, acted like sandpaper on the bottom of the kayak.  But, every three feet I was able to swing down the ski pole tips as hard as I could--and no ice gave way.  That meant I could return on foot--keeping the kayak very, very close on a tether.  Still some thin ice patches out there--please use extreme care if you are going ice fishing.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Of Owls and Eagles

Now that the lake is taken by bitter wind and flows of ice, we are truly back to nature.  All of God's more timid--or at least wary--creatures have come out to say hello.  This morning we had the Bald Eagle in the point deck tree for at least an hour.  This must have been very disconcerting to the little squirrel that lives in a hollow limb--needless to say we didn't see him stick his head out. 

Later today, we looked out the kitchen window to see two eagles standing on the ice off Alice's deck, pecking away at something while ignoring the very brazen gulls.  One gull approached to three feet away--I figure they must think they can outfly the eagles, as they certainly are no match on the ground.

Last night we were serenaded by an owl--the first owl visitor to the island in quite some time.  The call of owls and doves are very special.  Just the right volume and tone for me.  We tend to keep the Blue jays moving as they can jangle a nerve or two.  I have a special appreciation of the song sparrows
and cardinals, as they each have a call unique to
themselves.  We had one cardinal for many years who always ended his call with--what sounded just like-"Virgil, Virgil, Virgil."  So guess what we named him?  Then we had "Son of Virgil" who was smaller at first, and only signed off with one "Virgil."  He eventually moved on to Wolfs Point.  Guess that's it for now--stay warm!

We have illustrated this note with two pictures from Mike Kenny's Photo Album at the Rochester Sentinel.  This is one of our area's best resources for news and nature.  You can see more by checking out

Saturday, November 30, 2013

First Snow / First Ice

I'm thinking we are into winter a bit early this year.  I talked in an earlier post about sliding across the ice--but not so soon!  We are now back to open water with an air temp of 46 degrees.  Earlier today I was banging through the ice with the kayak--it takes a bit of coordination and I found myself struggling to relearn all the winter moves.  We use collapsed ski poles with sharpened points to take on the ice.  With the present thickness, it holds long enough for the kayak to move on top--and then it collapses under the weight.  One struggles to move a boat length at a time onto the ice--always taking care to not get caught leaning when the ice suddenly collapses under a ski pole.  The fun begins when you reach the
opposite shore and try to get out of the thing without rolling over!  Oh well, at the present time we are back to the rowboat.  I found the ice to be both beautiful and brittle.  It was around a half inch thick with the clarity of glass.  It wasn't as strong as ice in prior years--which had a darker quality to the color.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pioneers Again

The big piers and boat came in today.  We're back to rowing across the lake to our cars on the shore.  Then soon we'll be sliding across the ice in kayaks--and then, with a little luck, sauntering across the ice on foot.  The great crew at the Rochester Boat Company: Steve Kruger, Jason Swick, Shawn Reffett, and Travis Woodcox, do a super job for us with all the heavy equipment on the shore and at the island.  Still, it is kind of nice to be back to basics--depending only on your own strength and wits to come and go.  We have reclaimed Lake Manitou--only sharing it with a few duck hunters at the moment.  Soon we will only be sharing it with the deer and other assorted wildlife.  A peace steals over this lake that is hard to describe, but it is definitely good for the soul.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We're OK--I Guess

I look at the pictures of the devastation done to Illinois towns, and I guess we should be thanking our lucky stars--unless something worse develops tonight.  It's days like this that make me appreciate the basement with its ceiling of steel beams. 

We went from nearly 70 degrees to 55 degrees in a heartbeat as a storm front--itself moving at 65 mph swept through.  The wind gusts had to be at 80 mph plus.  By some miracle the windows on the south side of the home held--even though pelted by hail and debris. 

The rowboat, complete with very heavy outboard motor was lifted off the lift and flipped over the work pier and out to sea.  The two "emergency" lines securing it were parted like bits of straw.  The tank, oars, life jackets, and cushion all made their separate way toward the dam.  We went from being a passive spectator to moving fast through the driving rain to secure what we could.  Happily, the anchor flipped out along with everything else and the anchor line held the boat and motor close enough to the island to be reached with a boat hook--lots of lightning around--never fun when you are out in the rain with a ten foot aluminum boat hook!

The heavy Adirondack chairs were swept to the edge of Alice's deck, one going overboard and the other blown down the access ramp to the garden gate.  The BBQ grill on the kitchen deck was picked up on one end and tossed to the lower deck level.

The saddest moment, though, was the loss of the pretty young pear tree that Cookie planted fifteen years ago.  It was always the first to greet us in the spring with a sea of white blooms, and the last to say goodbye in the fall with its scarlet burst of leaves.  The remaining leaves were its downfall, as they presented too much to the wind and it was snapped off at the ground like it was nothing.

We will recover, we always do, and we must remember those who fared so much worse this day than we did.  All the above was accompanied by the wail of tornado sirens--at least none touched down near here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Hint of Winter

We had quite an artic blast roll through last week.  A little preview of what's in store as it was well below freezing for a time.  We'll be back in the 60's for the weekend--and so it goes. These wild temperature swings make for some great twilight viewing.  The leaves are fleeing the trees in great bunches in the bluster of it all.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wrapping it Up

We're starting to see the first blush of Fall color, and the first crisp, sunny days of Autumn have rolled in.  Our local listing has ended, but we'll stay at $590,000 for a few months as we test the European market--then on to Spring with a local listing again.  We aren't renting next year as we've decided that this is the year that Treasure Island sells--I'm fast closing in on 70 and its time to throttle back a bit.  Enjoy the Autumn wherever you are.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Fling on eBay

Leaving no stone unturned, we posted our listing on eBay for 30 Days.

We had a nice fifteen minutes of fame on eBay's Home Page yesterday.

Here is the article....

Why buy a condo when you can buy an island?
by Joe MacFarland posted Sept. 18 on eBay's home page.

Another day, another island for sale on eBay. Every six months or so, an island pops up on our eBay stories radar that strikes our fancy. We've told you recently about an affordable island in Tennessee, that ended up selling for a mere $99K. But that island was uninhabited without any structure...not exactly hassle-free.  Other islands we talked about--a private Caribbean island and an island off the coast of the Bahamas were either too far away or just too expensive. But this week we may have found the perfect medium, a Private Island for Sale--Treasure Island--located 120 Miles South of Chicago:

Offered for a Buy it now price of $599,000, this island is somewhat affordable.  Let's put it this way:  a 2-bedroom condominium in San Francisco goes for over $800,000 these days.  Why live in veritable isolation in the concrete jungles of the Bay Area when you can live on your own private island?
The listing goes into some detail about the island's amenities, including the beautiful, restored cottage:
Treasure Island is offered as the perfect gathering place for fun on the water--including approximately one hundred fifty feet of pier structures.  The island itself is over an acre, located on the South West portion of Lake Manitou, which lies 120 miles south of Chicago.  The home is a lovingly restored lake cottage--first constructed in 1902.  A full basement, foundation, and redwood siding were placed in the 1980's.  The point deck and roof were replaced a year ago.  The well runs 100' deep with full compliment of water treatment and filtering.  The all electric homes runs with a 200 amp service from shore.  The septic system is state of the art and large enough to accommodate a second home on the island (foundation is already in place).  All lawn is fully irrigated complete with drip system for flowers around the house. 
Your purchase includes a lot on the shore with 18' of waterfront with pier.  A pontoon boat is included for easy access between the island and the shore. The island is beautifully lit for enjoying the warm Midwestern summer nights. The steady breeze makes outdoor life a pleasure, while central heat and air accomplish the same end for the home. The seawall surrounding the habited part of the island makes a broad perimeter walk, punctuated by period lanterns. The internal walkways are lined with pin lights so you may retain your night vision to enjoy the wildlife and fireflies.
You can fish at midnight off the 12' x 12' swim deck which floats off the point (where once there was a wedding for eighty guests). Alice's deck, through the gate in the fence, is a raised platform for viewing the "wild" half of the island.
The location is ideal, close to both Chicago and Indianapolis.  And if you don't think it suited for a family, you'd be wrong.  There is ample fun for the kids--who wouldn't love to swim, fish, sail, and enjoy island living as a toddler or teen?  And as they get older, Culver Academy, one of the Midwest's premier prep schools, is located nearby.  Once the kids are ready for college, Notre Dame or Purdue are only 65 miles away.  Should the kids want to move back to the island with their own families, there is room for another house on the island, with the foundation already laid.  Perfect, right?

Sure island living is not for everyone.  But it sure beats working for a living.
The above story appeared on eBay's home page yesterday.  It generated some 12,000 views for the listing and another 2,000 views for this blog.  We're still looking for a buyer, though.  Jump right in!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Balloon Man

As summer wanes toward fall and the winds move to a light ebb, we are graced by visits from the balloon man. He dares the island tree tops, and then drops to the surface of the lake. His approach is heralded by the "wrush wrush" of the burners. I didn't hear him in time to get close with the camera--but he is a colorful sight even in the distance.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What It's All About

Here are some photos from the Huffer family.  They were here last week.  Sue Huffer did these with a little digital camera--you can find the professional version of her work at  She's located in Indianapolis.  I'd say she sends a pretty good message about good times with family and friends. (The Pontoon and Kayaks pictured are part of the island rental).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Treasure Island Today




We have lots of photographs scattered throughout this blog.  You can page back many years.  Here is a snapshot of Treasure Island as it stands on June 23, 2013.  All of the views are either of the island or from the island.

Doing the Math

I suppose some might look at the $400 a night we charge for Treasure Island (which includes the pontoon) as pricey.  I was at a silent auction the other night.  One of the offerings was a nearby marina's weekday rental of a pontoon--with a retail value of $325.  Hmmm.  That means the island is going for $75 a day!  I'd say that's a pretty good deal.  We also provide unlimited gasoline and allow the boat out at night.  Don't think you'll find that in the other marina's rental agreement.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Treasure Island Squirrels are Famous!

Yep.  You read it here first.  Thanks to last week's guest, John Delworth, we now have our squirrels taking a bow on YouTube.  See for yourself:  Treasure Island Squirrel.

Well-deserved, as our squirrels have to perform a death-defying high wire act on the specially designed power line just to get here.  Once here they have the luxury of not looking for cats or dogs--but must be ever vigilant re. the Bald Eagle that has the island booked for a daily flyover.

Our friend has a second reason to eat rapidly--he has four buddies circling below waiting for his leavings.  The pecking order is pretty rigid, but the number one squirrel isn't taking any chances.
We put some sunflower seeds at the side of the home for those who are lower on the food chain.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Signs of Summer


We're off to a good start with spring blooms and turtles.  Summer's just around the corner.