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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!

Saturday, May 01, 2010


I wish there was a way I could capture the aroma of the Balm O' Gilead trees. I wish I could put a scratch and sniff on my blog for you.

These trees are a member of the poplar family. I had never heard of them before we purchased our park in 1992. In fact I didn't know a lot about trees in general. But we have such a variety I learned quickly!

They aren't a pretty tree, but they do provide nice shade, they grow quickly off from a root system (remove one tree and by next year 15 more will have popped up in it's place). But the aroma of the oil on the leaves is truly an outdoor lovers turn on. If you enjoy the smell of the great out doors, you would LOVE the aroma of these trees.

When we purchased the park, there were just a few of these trees growing on site 46 and we babied them along to the point of only allowing certain guests to use that particular tent site (with the promise they would be very careful of these young trees). Most of the other tent sites are under the canopy of huge white pine trees. This part of our park, where the rustic sites are, is my favorite part of our park. I cringe whenever we have to do any tree trimming because it IS so beautiful back there. BUT these big old pines and now the older Balm O' Gilead's limbs grow over the road and we have to have at least 14' overhead clearance for RV's to safely get through.

Which is what we've been doing today. Yes, I know, we trimmed trees last year...and the year before...and the year before that, but they DO grow outward as well as skyward. We don't worry so much about trimming the road that goes to the rustic sites; we do keep it trimmed back so people can drive their vehicles back there without getting them scratched, but we ONLY keep it wide enough so people can drive cars or trucks back there. We purposely do NOT allow RV's in that area....it is for our tenters only.

Dan and I are partial to tent camping and so we really take pride in our rustic tent sites. For starters, they are HUGE. Each site is easily 80' x 80' if not larger. They are grassy. They are private. And they are just plain beautiful.

Anyway, I digress! We HOPE to open by May 6th. I over did it a bit today with my knee, so poor old Dan is outside picking up the brush with the loader and disposing of it. I told him that I felt later I could help clean out all of the fire pits as long as he didn't ask ME to drive the loader. I don't think I could get on it with my knee being sore again...and at least I could use the pitchfork and shovel to lean on if I needed to!

We use to clean all the firepits in the fall when we closed the campground...but we got wiser as we got older. We would have to clean them again in the spring anyway because they would fill up with leaves from all of the trees. So now, we just do it before we open.

I've still got windows to wash in and outside of the cabins and Little Lodge and the bathhouse but can't be on a ladder just yet. Dan would do it, but I really hate for him to have to be doing so much by himself.

Yesterday, we "installed" all the new required by state law NO SMOKING signage. We ordered 4 clear ones and 12 with white background. They are all self adhesive. Can you believe that little order cost us $78.00??? $9.00 of that was for UPS, but these things are not cheap! Hopefully no one tries to destroy them or peel them off!

We have our first caravan arriving May 15th. The group is from Adventure Caravans out of Livingston, Texas. They sent another group here last year, same weekend of May. When they arrived last year, it was snowing sideways!!! Some of the group was from California and commented about the tomatoes they had growing back home and how surprised they were to see snow! But the tour company must have been impressed since they are sending another group here again!

So, that is about it for now. Hope all is going well in your little corner of the world!


  1. YOu've been a busy bee Cathy! I hope you can post pictures of that Balm O Gilead tree - sounds nice!

  2. Guess I never heard of those kinds of trees either...I should have looked at them when we were there with you better.
    Good luck on your new season, Cathy...hope lots of campers visit you!
    We are still in Florida as I am writing this...our new grandson was born with some respiratory distress and is in the NICU. He is doing better now (whew!) but they won't discharge him until Wed. or Thursday, so we are staying here until then. It has been in high 80's and even 90 for two days, so we are loving it at the beach on those days.

  3. Shelley, I will try to get some shots! Did you get rid of your virus??

    Retired One, keep us informed of how the little guy is doing. We had some more rain and rain expected for the next several days! Do I hear the buzzing of mosquitoes??


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