what's new?

issues & thoughts 


SOLD!  J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store...the fun little shop that Louise launched in 1991 now has a new owner.  Our beloved "little red" wagon has hauled over 4.7 million pounds of the birdseed and remains with the business.  New owners Gretchen & Ken Giles will most likely continue to give the wagon all the work it can handle.

frugal is what frugal does? What sweet delight a quiet life affords. 
       ~ William Drummond

We tend to get our money's worth out of things we buy, and we find joy in being rather frugal.  Pictured here are a pair of Mike's blue jeans that have been mended multiple times...just because they are so darned comfy.  The jeans are amazingly well-made and it seems worth the effort to hang on to 'em.  You see, Louise found a source for great blue jeans that are actually made right here in the USA. They are a bit more expensive than the disposable variety found in Big Box stores - but we think they're worth it.  We think our economy is better served when we make stuff right here in the USA.  Here's a link:  http://bit.ly/1Jksv4S

ZOOM!  Louise was saying "sure could use some rain" as she kicks up some dust mowing the backyard.  Actually, I'm kinda' proud of the way Louise tackles some chores like cutting the grass.  99% of the time I tackle the job but it's nice knowing that she is more than capable if she ever needs to....like this winter when I messed up my shoulder.  Louise pitched-in and helped keep the solar panels free of snow.  BTW: our landscaping projects geared to improve drainage around the house are coming along nicely...new baby grasses sprouting everywhere!  
She's a picker, he's a picker....wouldn't you like to be a picker, too?College Football Bowl Season - The college football bowl extravaganza continued this past winter here at HighPointe. Forty-one freaking college football games plus a handful of high school championship games...whew!  Not that we watch 'em all.  We enjoyed watching some sports for years but got serious about our Bowl Picking in 2011.  You may have read about it here "He Lacked" - Louise won big.   This year Mike prevailed, picking the winner of 25 games. 

2014-15:  Mike won 19 to 16
2013-14:  Louise won 22 to 16
2012-13:  Mike won 24 to 17
2011-12:  Louise won 18 to 14.

Congrats to college national champs: Alabama. 

Travel time - some of our friends and a few of the folks who work for us have said they are anxious for their "summer vacation".  A trip to Disney, or some destination promising fun and thrills and manufactured memories.   We're just a couple of fud-duds...preferring home to long lines, crowded roads.   Maybe this will be the summer for a local jaunt - maybe to the Upper Peninsula.   There is so much to see and do right here at home. 

Pure MichiganIf you're looking for inspiration check out the various TV ads and radio spots promoting Pure Michigan.  There are some 70+ examples on YouTube produced by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. >

The messages may seem a bit sappy but I love 'em.  It's one of the best, most successful ad campaigns of all-time. [read more]

Looking for something to do this summer?  [link to list of events, attractions]

Looking for a unique perspective of Pure Michigan?  Try: http://www.notsopuremichigan.com/   My personal favorite is the segment on the Renaissance Festival.

turkey-time at High PointTurkey time - a few years ago we began seeing a couple wild turkeys on a regular basis.  Then a dozen.  Then 2 dozen.  Today we've got upwards of 50 crazed turkeys roam around High Point...making a mess of our new deck (below).  They swarm our roof, our yard - and get quite vocal when they think it's "feeding time".  The gang obviously enjoys cleaning up seed debris under our bird feeders and the flock has grown to the point we're finally beginning to question our sanity.  It's gotten out of hand.   So the plan now is to feed further away from the house and gradually reduce the volume of corn and bird seed available to 'em. 

Above/Left:  turkeys feed on seed ribbon Mike spread out the new section of driveway.

Parade of Projects - 2012 was filled with 'em!  Landscaping around solar panels, painting lower lever, replacing carpet, fixing bathroom tile floor, and now: replacing deck surface with new cedar boards.  The original deck was built 24 yrs ago...and always had a bit of wobble - but less so now that Mike shored up the structure. a guy and his deck
It took longer than planned - but the new deck surface and benches turned out pretty nice. 

enlarged view >

finally completed
new mowerMower - our older riding mower was giving us a bit of trouble.  Repairs over the past several years could have just about paid for a new one - so Mike stuck a stake in the ground and said: "nope. no more...when it breaks beyond my ability to fix it - we'll get a new one."  As you may have guessed, Mike ran over that stake the same day he made the pledge.   Checkbook in hand, he went shopping. 

So...meet "Little Red" - hopefully the last riding lawn mower we ever have to buy.  Seems pretty sturdy.  Some parts come from some foreign lands...but we tried finding one not sold at "big-boxy stores" - bought it locally from Adam @ GB Outdoors.  Adam's been kind enough to refer a few snowplow customers my way...so it feels good to steer some business his way.  It's the real American-way.  BTW: did you notice the new mower's got a cup-holder?  Yes, indeedy.  Progress.

see how our solar panels are doing; click hereSolar - we're obsessed with our solar array installed in our backyard (February 2012). It's providing about 1/3 of our total electric needs.  Total system performance is tracked using a web-based software program which you can access and see for yourself.  Info is updated every half-hour.   >


ground source loop - one of five lines buried 5 ft down in our backyardGoing Geo (As in ground source Geothermal)
2011 was also a big year for projects here at High Point! First we had to deal with minor flooding twice this year...I say minor 'cuz there was only an inch or two of water - but enough to damage carpet and prompt us to find a solution!  Mike got to use a jack hammer for the first time to dig up a chunk of the basement floor and explore. The result? A new foundation drain system and a new sump-pump.

Next up on the project hit parade: installing a new Geothermal heating and cooling system.  Some trees in backyard (stumps and all) had to get cleared, then we had the nice folks from Michigan Energy Services dig five trenches roughly five feet deep and 150 feet long....to accommodate 750 feet of  "GeoThermal loop".   These series of pipes contain fluid that is capturing the earth's energy - in this case a fairly constant temperature (50-55 degrees), which is piped into the basement, connected to our new WaterFurnace to heat and cool our home and supplement hot water heating.  The WaterFurnace is connected to our existing duct-work and operates much, like the natural gas forced air system we had previously, and was installed by the talented folks at Porter & Heckman from Lapeer, MI.   And yes, the Water Furnace was made right here in the USA.  Cool huh? See more: photo-album & video clips >  

Meanwhile, Louise and I walk about the house repeating: "we're heating our home with water!"  No fuel oil, no natural gas....just improved technology capturing the power from the sun, stored right here in the soil.  We're loving it so far!   The jury is still out but in the first year using geothermal system our natural gas consumption dropped by 90%.

inside: a new Geo Thermal "furnace"

hammock lovers....head to toe (times 2)...the rest of the story.best friends
while in college Mike had a roommate who nixed the standard issue dormitory bed in favor of a hammock. Yep, he strung it up with lag bolts secured in concrete walls. Quirky guy that boy we called "2-shirt Tanis" (because he always employed the layered look: shirt on shirt).

Anyway, this isn't a shirt-tale, but rather, a hammock story. Louise has bought a couple of 'em for our little utopia in the woods - strung between two sturdy oaks with the bolts slowly being absorbed by the growing trees. It's a peaceful way to spend some quality time with a good friend: swinging in a hammock. We made a design note to ourselves recently that when it comes time to build a Superior home we'd be wise to incorporate a hammock to be placed indoors so that we could use it year-round (ala' 2-shirt)! See? There was some linkage after all, to these tales. 

meet Ripley

In 2008 Louise visited the animal rescue shelter in Fenton and believe it or not, we met Ripley. She says they instantly bonded - and decided he was just the sort of feline to fill the void at High Point.  (R.I.P. little Noodle).

He's put on a few pounds since arriving. Ripley spends the days romping, exploring, bird & critter watching, and modeling neat sweaters that Louise makes.

The guy has nearly the star power as Sarah Palin, sporting his own BLOG for gosh sakes! The difference between a Ripley and Palin? Besides the lipstick, Ripley can be trusted and seems to be fairly honorable.



revised 10.19.17