Friday, September 12, 2014

Day Two: Afternoon Tea at Naniboujou

While it wasn't in our original plans, we realized that we would be in the area for a much-recommended Afternoon Tea at Naniboujou Lodge, north of Grand Marais.  It's served in the solarium from 3-5, and I would heartily recommend it for anyone (with or without kids) who is in the area! 
 Because it's in the solarium, it is very relaxed and casual.  The kids stretched out on couches and flipped through books from the Naniboujou library while they waited.  This was perfect for Justin, who was not in the mood to sit any more!
 Tea was lovely-- a mix of savory and sweets.  Although it was not gluten-free, we let Alex have a "cheat day", which has been working well for us if it's just once in a while.
 We split two tea services between us, and got two extra cups for my little tea drinkers.  I think we went through at least two pots of herbal tea-- these guys love to pour and mix and drink!
 After tea, we rescued the pup from the vehicle and took everyone on a walk at Naniboujou beach.  I found handfuls of agates!  Kolachi practiced her dogwalk and Justin casted and casted and casted.

A great end to another nice day up North!

Day Two: Hungry Jack Lodge Pontoon ride

We checked in last night at the Moose Cabin at Hungry Jack Lodge.  It is pet-friendly, which was our biggest draw.  The cabin also has bunkbeds.  Bonus.
 The kids got up at 5:30am, so we went for an early morning stroll around the resort.  We found a little wading beach, and, even though they were in their winter hats and mittens, the kids decided to test the waterproof nature of their snow boots.

 Let's just say that Justin is not a good depth gauge.  He flooded his Bogs and they took a day to dry out next to our wood stove.

After a little morning snack, we rented a pontoon to cruise the lake.  We originally wanted to take a canoe out, but the kids' were a bit nervous about canoes.  Probably because they knew their dog would have a hard time staying still.  We'll try canoes next year, when the pup is a little more water-saavy.
 As it was, Kolachi did a great job on the boat.  I think she enjoyed the ride, and she looked rather cute in her puppy life jacket!

 We floated for a while to let Justin 'fish' (just his casting lure).  He has become quite the avid fisherman, requesting to do it all day, everyday.  We wish we had Papa Bob here.....
 Our beautiful view!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day One: Lutsen Resort Beach

We stopped at Lutsen to (hopefully) get a late lunch, but their restaurant was closed, so we settled for almonds and bananas on the beach instead.  After Kolachi and Justin played at the water's edge for a bit we collected some driftwood and headed for "Pooh Sticks Bridge" to have some races.

 I think this dog enjoys playing with the waves....
 Alex's favorite annual activity:  Pooh Sticks races.

Day One: Gooseberry Falls

Our next leg-stretching stop was Gooseberry Falls.  We've enjoyed it in summertime, and now there was definitely a fall crispness to the air.  The kids discovered a new friend in the parking lot, but we decided to leave him in his habitat because he'll probably not emerge from chrysalis until spring.  We have plenty of sleeping butterflies in our classroom already!

 Cold, cold, cold water!

 Justin has started to pull some really goofy faces for the camera.  Alex and Kolachi try to put up with it as best they can. 
 Speaking of Kolachi, this 15 month old puppy is developing into a fantastic young lady.  We encountered several other puppies and dogs today, and she was able to completely ignore all but one of them (who, in her defense, did have a very alert/aggressive posture).  She greeted strangers nicely for cursory pats, but always returned to my side quickly and appropriately.    It's so fun having her out and about with us!

Day One: Duluth and North...

We left the house at about 7am this morning in order to get an early start.  The weather has suddenly turned cold, and while we certainly aren't complaining, it did take a bit of digging to find our fall-winter gear on such short notice.  I'm talking hats, mittens, down vests and 300 weight jackets!
After stopping at the Duluth Grill for breakfast, we headed to our favorite rock-scrambling beach.  The water was so high that our scrambling rocks were inaccessible!  We still had fun throwing stones and watching the waves crash against the shore.

 We also found some nice pieces of driftwood that will live in our classroom or playroom.  Dave's gotten to the point where he just smiles and shakes his head when either Alex or I add something to the floor of the van...
 The storm was threatening to start, but it held off until we were back in the car.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Science Class- The Mighty Oak

What better place to talk about oak trees than Carpenter Nature Center?  We skipped our normal morning walk and loaded up everyone in the minivan to do some hiking and exploring in the ravine.  Kolachi had a wonderful time exploring smells and the soft, easily dug dirt of the ravine floor.  The kids found toads, tree frogs, slugs and lots and lots of acorns. 

Alex sketched an oak tree and Justin kept finding 'beautiful leaves' that we'll try to press and save.
We gathered some freshly fallen acorns (like, FRESHLY, hitting us on the head fallen) and headed back home to start the long process of making acorn flour.  After doing a bit of internet research, we decided to float them (to pull the floaters) and freeze them to make shelling them a bit easier.  We're headed out of town in a day for a family vacation, but will continue the process when we get back!

Excited to see the process and results.  If nothing else, it will be a good skill to have in case of lean times ;-).  Acorn pancakes would be delicious!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Farmer Girl

Alex was a tad jealous of Justin's preschool experience, so we signed her up for an 'after-school' program on the farm.  "Cooking on the Farm" started today (every Monday afternoon), and she was beyond ready to go harvest, grind, chop and cook....not to mention the animal tending and horseback riding! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Leafy Discovery

I dismissed the children for "recess" this morning, and they happily headed to the playroom.  I had taken one (maybe two) sips of tea when I head quite the commotion downstairs.  After some shouted questioning, I figured out that they had made a MASSIVE discovery right outside the basement window. 

So, in short order, I monkeyed myself down into the window well in order to capture a "curled leaf caterpillar".  Excitement ensued.  My tea went cold, but we think we figured out the species of caterpillar.  (Note:  for those of you keeping track, we STILL have three swallowtail chrysalis in our home.  I'm pretty sure they've gone dormant for the winter and we will meet those butterflies in the spring).

 Oh-- and that creepy-crawly feeling on your leg, after you've scaled down and back up the window well.  It's just a teeny tiny version of the fellow above.
 A Spring Azure?  Only time will tell!