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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!

Friday, December 25, 2009


Hope you have had a good Christmas and that you have the weekend off to enjoy your family and finish up the left over fruitcake and/or eggnog.

Dan and I haven’t done a lot today. He fixed breakfast on the grill and then after breakfast we drove the 7 miles to where we can get reliable cell phone signal to call our kids, my sister and my Mother. When we got back home, Dan put a ham on the grill for a late “lunch”. It turned out very well; melt in your mouth tender. He can cook for me any time...and I don’t have the clean up issues!!

I didn’t even try to make my annual Amish Sugar cookies in my easy bake oven, but I did make one pan of 5 minute fudge this morning. I use to think it was called 5 minute fudge because of the cooking time; now I think it is because of how long it lasts with Dan around. I thought about purchasing some frosted sugar cookies from the deli, but 8 cookies were $4.00!!! So, our annual tradition of frosted sugar cookies and coffee has been replaced by Dan cooking breakfast on the grill.

It is over 60 degrees today and very overcast. It rained a little bit but I guess we’re getting use to that! We hope Sunday to FINALLY go to Cape Hatteras and take the ferry to Ocracoke.

I don’t know if you ever wondered about where mistletoe comes from or not. I never gave it a thought till we arrived here. It was pointed out to me by Cindy and then she explained the “how it grows”. Since then we have spotted mistletoe all over the place.

So I am sharing a couple of photos of it with you. The close up is of mistletoe that is growing at the end of a tree on the property where we camp. It is all over higher up in the trees but this will give you a good look at a large “clump” of it.

There is one tree along the highway that is totally dead, but it has bunches and bunches of mistletoe growing all over it. It looks strange.

Mistletoes are parasitic evergreen plants that grow on the branches of trees. Mistletoe grows as bushes that can be from two to five feet in diameter. Though it will grow on most deciduous trees, mistletoe prefers trees with soft bark, such as older apple trees. Hawthorn, ash and lime are also favorites of the mistletoe if apple trees are not available.

Mistletoe flowers ripen into berries that are sticky. When they come into contact with a tree, either on the wind or dropped from the wings of a bird, the berries stick to the bark. After a few days, the berry will send out a flattened, threadlike root. The root will eventually pierce the bark, allowing the growing plant to live off the tree's resources. Mistletoe never gets nourishment from soil; nutrients and water always come from the host tree.

Mistletoe itself seldom kills a tree, but the growing mistletoe plant can cause branches to die off and rot. The roots of mistletoe also present an easy path for fungal infections and wood-boring insects. Mistletoe does provide a valuable habitat for some bird species, but its tendency to spread quickly sends most gardeners looking for a quick way to get rid of it.

So there you have it; everything you wanted to know about mistletoe but were afraid to ask. Aren’t ya glad I shared it with ya!!?? Now I need to find out if it is grown someplace ON PURPOSE and how it is harvested!
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  1. Hi Cathy, this is Miao, the Chinese student working in the Refuge. I just sent an email to your 'northcountry....' address. So nice to read these stories. Thanks! I'll come to see you again. :-)

  2. Hi Miao!!! I received your email and am anxious to visit your flick'r page but I seem to be having slow connection issues right now; dial up out here at the campsite!! Keep in touch!!

  3. sfeutz5:46 PM

    It sounds like you and Dan are having a Christmas to remember! The bit on the mistletoe was interesting and although I have lived around areas where mistletoe grows I did find out some new facts! Hope you have a wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas to you both!

  4. Sandy, this whole job here has been one large learning experience!!! WE both have learned so much and a lot of it is just through observation (nature at work!)

  5. Pretty interesting about the mistletoe...but I will just keep in denial and know that it comes from Santa in the North Pole. :-}
    Glad you had a nice, quiet Christmas and are continuing to enjoy yourself!

  6. Cathy--As I sit in my sister's living room in Lancaster, PA reading your blog, I figured I'd share just one tidbit of info about the harvesting of mistletoe. From what I've learned through locals--most shoot it from the trees and let it fall to the ground. Unless a younger person or trained monkey climbs up the tree, it's a bit difficult to get it down. So, next time you see folks traveling down the road next to your RV site, and they are carrying a gun--maybe they aren't going hunting after all. Maybe they are harvesting mistletoe!!
    See you next week.
    cindy heffley


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