Adventures in Real Estate

Northwoods Journal
Saturday, July 19, 2014

I must start this entry with a warning: today’s “adventure” was a real snoozer for the most part. You may want to wait until just before bedtime to read this, because it’s sure to put you to sleep.

The hope that the loggers would cease and desist for the weekend was sadly misplaced. The buzz saws were hard at work bright and surly. The only upside was that it seemed to be only the logging equipment and not the semis running this morning.

Good news when we got up — Milo’s paw appeared to be much better and he wasn’t limping at all. He was just as anxious for his breakfast as always.

Mark fired up the Coleman stove and made bacon and eggs for breakfast and we were able to eat out on the porch. We had a few more birds today: a blue jay, the hairy woodpecker, a pair of white-breasted nuthatches and a purple finch. I was able to get some photos of the finch this afternoon.

What'r you lookin' at?

What’r you lookin’ at?

Purple finch

Purple finch

Even though Milo wasn’t limping, we thought it best not to take him for a hike this morning. Mark took Daisy and Ruby while I showered and got dressed. He took the girls up the ridge across the road and back to the property I have referred to in the past as “Wayne’s World”. We had noticed on Friday that the property is listed for sale. It’s a very nice piece of property, very secluded. When Mark got back he was anxious to go into town and inquire about the asking price. The listing agency is the same one we spoke with last year about our property.

It turns out that the property is 40 acres and the asking price is $95,000, which I think is awfully steep considering all that is on the place is a travel trailer, not a cabin, and it probably doesn’t have a septic field. It is very secluded, which is a bonus, but that’s also a downside because the trail to access is would be impassible in winter and early spring.  There is also the issue of safety.  Secluded means it could easily be broken into and no one would know.

While we were at the realty office we perused other places that are for sale. It turns out that the young man who was helping us last year no longer works for the agency (no real surprise) but the woman we spoke with was more than happy to give us details on other properties for sale in the area. It was very weird – one of the sheets she gave me was for the place my grandfather used to own on Ryan Road back in the 70’s!

We spent the rest of the morning driving around looking at properties. We were also playing with the Garmin, putting the addresses in even though we know our way to just about every place in the county. One place we looked at was over toward Hillman and has 38 acres and a mobile home. Mark fell in love with the property, it’s just what he’s been looking for. So, he drove back to town to speak with the realtor again and ask some questions. They asked if we would like to see inside the mobile home and we said yes, so we drove back there again with another agent from the office. Turns out the inside of the mobile was DISGUSTING. Even with all Mark’s experience in construction, we don’t think the place is salvageable. It would have to be yanked off there and a new structure put in its place. Mark really did like that property, though, and has been talking about all the ifs, ands, and buts of buying it ever since. Big sigh…

Since Milo seemed fine, we decided to take him on a gentle hike late in the afternoon. Mark drove over to Mills Rd., to a trail we’ve done many times before. It’s mainly flat and smooth, running through some pine forest and new growth birch trees. The air was a bit humid and stale among all the trees. When we got to the end of the trail we went left on the adjoining trail and hiked to the juncture of another main trail coming off Meaford Rd. This is the trail we drive up to the place I call Lookout Ridge. We stopped to give the dogs a drink and I took a few photos. We were both intrigued by this tree, the left half of the tree is dead but the right fork is living. We wondered what had happened to it to make it grow this way.

Is it dead or alive?

Is it dead or alive?

I also got brave and experimented with Av mode on my camera, playing with the aperture to try and get a deeper depth of field for this landscape shot. Even with Av mode, it would only let me go down to f4.5. I definitely have to read up on Av mode in my manual. (Smaller number, bigger opening, more light, deeper depth of field – am I finally starting to remember this correctly??)

It's beautiful here.

It’s beautiful here.

On the drive back, Mark went past De Cheau Lake and spotted this snapping turtle next to the road. You know they always say “slow as a turtle” but this guy moved pretty quickly to get away from me taking his photograph! He went right into the tall grass between the road and the lake.

Snapping turtle

Snapping turtle

(Squeamish readers might want to skip over this next paragraph.)

We only had a short time of rest before Mark made a fire and cooked BBQ chicken on his tripod. Right before dinner was ready, Daisy took off into the woods after a critter. Mark went after her and I went out to try and help. Just as I went out and started to call her, she came running up the driveway – with a dead bunny hanging out of her mouth!! I could tell she was quite pleased with herself. I swear she is learning very bad things from Ruby, who as innocent as she looks is really a vicious killer. Ruby has killed probably close to 30 moles in 2 years and right after we got home from our last trip up here (4th of July weekend) one of the dogs discovered a rabbit’s nest in our fenced back yard and Ruby took care of those babies lickety-split. Then today here comes Daisy with a rabbit hanging out of her mouth! Never in her life has she done such a thing before. I guess next time someone asks if these beagles hunt, we can say yes!

After dinner we loaded up the canoe and the fishing gear and headed to the lake. Thankfully it was not windy this time. We checked on the kingbird nest. I was really hoping to see babies, but the momma is still sitting the nest.

Eastern kingbird sitting the nest.

Eastern kingbird sitting the nest.

Since the fishing was slow, I had plenty of time to watch what the pair was doing. There was a lot of hopping in and out of the nest going on, which made me think maybe there were babies after all, but I never caught a glimpse of any.

What's going on in there?

What’s going on in there?

That shot’s not very good – the canoe was moving quite a bit and I didn’t quite manage to get them in the frame very well.  I was mostly trying to see if there were babies!

While not fishing, I also experimented with capturing the reflection of the trees on the water.

Rough life, but someone's got to do it.

Rough life, but someone’s got to do it.

There was plenty of bird activity going on but I was unable to get photos of any of it. There was a flock of cedar waxwings but when they perched, they were just beyond range of my camera and if I did manage to focus on one, it would fly off before I pressed the shutter. Also, a great blue heron flew in right above the lake and landed. Just as I was about to get a photo, it ducked its head down into the reeds and didn’t come back up. At one point it took off again and flew away from us. I took three quick shots, all of them blurry and grainy! Oh well, I tried. At one point Mark was just about to tell me the loon was a mere few feet away from me, but just as he said it, the loon dove and do you think he ever came back up by us again? Nope. Where he went and where he eventually surfaced remained a mystery. Then, just as we were heading for shore, a bald eagle flew right over us.

We did catch three keeper pan fish, so Mark had those to clean when we got back. We had thought to have a campfire tonight, but it was later than we expected by time he was done and we are too old for staying up this late! The clock is heading toward midnight as we crawl into bed.

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8 Responses to Adventures in Real Estate

  1. avian101 says:

    Amy, remember this: Av modem- Landscape = f/11, f14, …f/32 (Deep)
    Birds= f2.8, f4.5, f/6.5 (Shalow)
    Have fun! 🙂


  2. kathydoremus says:

    Lovely purple finch!


  3. I think that the photos are great!

    $95,000 for 40 acres is too much, that’s why you see for sale signs in front of properties for years.

    I think that what happened to the weird tree is that either wind knocked part of it down when it was young, or more likely, another tree fell on it. After that, trees only “know” one thing, grow upwards towards the light, so the remaining parts of the tree did the best they could. It looks like an old poplar, near the end of its life, which is why parts are dying now.


    • Thanks, Jerry!

      Even the agent from the realty office said that property was overpriced. I guess Wayne figures he’s sitting on gold, since the 40 acres is almost completely surrounded by state land. But, the trail along the power lines cuts right next to it – after all, that’s how we get back there – and that mean’s anybody could get back there if they wanted to.

      I almost wondered if that tree had been struck by lightening. If you look at the trunk, near where it forks, there is a dark slash. But it could also be that something fell on it, too. It was a very interesting tree.


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