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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


According to Dan, hell has officially frozen over. He isn’t referring to the cold temps that we have had all month, but the out come of our tax return for 2006. This is just further proof that the Michigan economy is bad…we are getting money back! Well, actually, I told our tax preparer that instead of having the State of Michigan send us a check to just have the State apply it to what our quarterly estimates will be for 2007. We even are getting a little something back from the Fed, but as small of an amount that it is, I said “Send us the money. We can put gas in the truck!”

As I am writing this, we are getting more snow. White Precipitus blessed us with about 4” over night and we’ve probably picked up another 2” since this morning…and it keeps on coming! Dan is out plowing because we have guests that will be arriving late tonight and want to make sure they are able to “get in” without having any problems…especially if Dan happens to be out grooming. I personally would not want to have to get up in the middle of the night, get all my winter garb on and TRY to start our loader in order to TRY to pull some one out who might be a bit stuck in our driveway or parking area. But, I also don’t want our guests to have to sit and spin either!

I had an email from a sledder who is also a bird watcher. He apparently knows that Dan and I are bird watchers too because this is a portion of what he said;

Hi Cathy --
I've been getting your trail report for a few years, reading Yooperyarns, and checking out the eastern UP reports for quite a while -- all the information is great for planning our trips. In fact we just got back from riding the Seney area to north of Newberry and Paradise and back. The information you provide is "right on"! And your humor is unmatched! Trails this year were the best we've seen, including Paradise.

Anyway, the reason for my email is to find out if you know anything about the birds up there? While riding the McCloud grade we came across three birds in the middle of the trail, which we slowed and stopped for. They were almost black and bigger than a pigeon, almost the size of a pheasant. They also had some tiny white spots on their backs. We've checked out bird books and haven't been able to identify them. Can you help? or some of your friends?

Thanks !

This is part of my response to him;
Well, add this to my sense of humor…I can’t find our National Geographic bird book!!! I’ve looked for about 10 minutes for that thing. I know it'll be found in the last place I look! We recently added on to our home so I’m sure it is packed away with ‘stuff’…figured we’d gotten smart enough that we wouldn’t need it this winter I guess. I can’t begin to think what bird you could be describing. The ONLY thing that comes to mind is ravens and crows! But that doesn’t explain the white dots! Could they be young starlings???

The first time I ever saw Whiskey Jacks, AKA Gray Jays, I thought they were mutant Chickadees. There are SO many birds to identify!

If you don’t mind, why don’t you put a post about this on MY guest book at

Maybe someone might be able to help ya….maybe by then I’ll find that darn book….

If you DO figure it out, let me know!

So my question to you, oh, my faithful readers, can YOU think of what bird this might be??? We know the barn yard rooster is over by Marquette on the trail, but we can’t figure this one out. Any ideas???

I know I have a sore throat but I don't feel like I have a cold, at least not yet. I have to be so very careful about staying healthy because of my "dangerously low" white blood count (been to every specialist imaginable and still don't know why). The Drs tell me to not shake any one's hand, don't use other people's pencils and pens...things that you wouldn't ordinarily think twice about. I AM a hand shaker, so it is difficult for me to NOT do this. Hard telling where I may have picked this up at. I started gargling with warm salt water yesterday and it seems to have helped. My eyes feel watery and I feel tired so as inconvenient as it is to have a cold, considering the blood count issue, I HOPE it IS a cold! So, if I don't do any updates or they are short and not very inventive, hope you'll understand!

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