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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!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


5 a.m. on Wednesday; got my “cuppacoffee”. Have a light blanket wrapped around my legs…it got kind of chilly last night. I think it is about 42 degrees outside because it is about 55 inside. I don’t want to turn the furnace on yet!!

Trying to get a weather report is about impossible, at least on the radio. We have our radio set to 15 different FM stations and 5 AM…and no one gives a weather report on a predictable basis. And I think the weather wizards in N. Carolina might be a bit on the chicken side…they only give you today, tonight and tomorrow. Heck, where we’re from, you can get a whole 5 days weather report!

The report I finally got yesterday a.m. was kind of interesting though. It started out telling us that the highs would reach near 70, a sunny day, overnight it would drop into the 40’s. The man went on to warn us that the tide was high (full moon the past couple of nights), and that due to the high tide there would be high surf and riptides and to stay out of the surf. Then he told us what to do if you got caught in a riptide. And, again, where we’re from, OUR weathermen tell you what to do if you get caught in a blizzard even down to the point of telling you what you should be wearing and how much kitty litter you should have in your trunk in case you get stuck in a snowbank.

One thing I’ve noticed since being here is I’m beginning to feel like a nicer, more relaxed person. I didn’t realize how stressed I was till I got away from our business. I must be a real B to Dan sometimes and don’t even realize it! It still seems strange though to not be telling him to watch the phone and office while I go brush my teeth (little things like that).

The bird migrations have begun. When we first arrived here, all we were seeing were TONS of buzzards and a couple of eagles (oh, and fighter jets…get to that later if I don’t forget). Now, we are seeing huge flocks of tree swallows, warblers (at least we think they are warblers; very shy and hard to see), and many flocks of snow geese flying over head..WAY overhead. They are too high up in the sky to get a photo. Their clamor proceeds their view…they sound like Indians on the warpath way off in the distance.

About the fighter jets…they too are way up in the sky and way too fast! Dare County bombing range is within Alligator River NWR. The Navy owns the range but leases it to the Air Force. It isn’t too far from where we are so there are a lot of fly overs as they are practicing. It is like having our own air show…but way off in the distance.

A couple of days ago, we were at the fire maintenance building and there was an 8” x 10” photo on the table in their kitchen of fire personnel holding a snake over the end of the shovel. The snack was a huge rattler…and when I say HUGE I mean HUGE. It weighed 98 pounds and was 9’ 5” long. He killed it at a part of the refuge about 30 miles south of here. I am not worried about bears so much as I am snakes (and spiders!)! He managed to break its neck with the shovel but couldn’t chop its head off with the shovel. You’d probably need a buzz saw for that! I will think about this snake every time we are out in the refuge filling brochure boxes or near the river….at least you can smell a bear before you see him (usually anyway!)

There is another post today below this one; just photos of a shy bird. We THINK it is a cormorant; well Dan thinks it is. I don't know for sure...any ideas??

Guess that is about it for this time!!


  1. Anonymous6:25 PM

    Looking at my bird book it is a Cormorant. Looks like a Great Cormorant.

  2. Hi Cathy

    What an interesting life you and your hubby lead! Thank you for posting these pics! This is what I love about my blogging friends... They take me to places I might never visit.

  3. Whoa! Back up a minute. In my last comment I said to watch out for bears and you responded "and snakes" too.

    Oh. My. Gawd! You didn't mention snakes! I hate snakes. If I were you, I'd be wishing I was back in snow country :-)

    You are a brave woman.


  4. Anonymous, thanks for the post. I forgot to bring our National Geographic Birds of N. America book with us and I am totally regretting it!

    Wendy, THAT is what I enjoy about the few blogs that I follow too! I wish I had more time right now to do justice to my blogging buddies and spend more time on their blogs so please forgive me that I don't.

    Joanna...I don't mind SMALL, harmless snakes as long as I KNOW they are there, but one this size even if I knew it was there would send me into a real panic!

  5. sfeutz8:39 AM

    That sounds like a trophy rattler! Having come from the rattlesnake, poisonous spider, scorpion area of Nevada to the UP of Michigan where the bears might get you but there is little in posionous critters- it was a long time before I stopped shaking out shoes before I put them on and watching where I put my feet and my hands. Maybe that is part of what Tahquamenon Tranquility is about! Sounds like you are enjoying the warm. I understand it is just cold rain in Newberry. Enjoying your blog posts ......Watch out for those snakes!

  6. C..glad to hear things are going well (and relaxation being achieved).

    It is a Double-crested Cormorant.

  7. Definitely a Comorant! We scare them away the lake whenever we see them..they eat an emormous amount of fish and most fishermen hate them. ha
    Oh God the snakes and spiders would keep me awake there too. Wear high top boots (how about chest high waders??) to feel safe, okay?

  8. Sandy, Tahquamenon Tranquility...it even sounds pretty. But you and I know what that is all about! And if I were you, I'd still be shaking off the shoes!

    ES...so glad to hear from you!!! Hope all is well in your corner of the world. Thanks for identifying the bird!

    Retired One...this one looks so much larger than the ones we are use to seeing so that is why I wasn't convinced of what it was.


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