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Cabins, Cottages & Homes

Ground Hog Day

Let me be the first (and probably the only) person to wish you a Happy Ground Hog Day.

Yes, today is the big day when Punxsutawney Phil  comes out of his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and we find out if Phil will see his shadow.  If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not, it will be an early spring.  I know I am rooting for an early spring!

I browsed the official Ground Hog Day website  and found all sorts of information.  But, a few of my questions were not answered.

Does Phil have an agent?  If not, he should get one. He does not look  too happy on the video’s I have seen of him!

Does anyone really know if his predictions come true?

Why is a ground hog called a ground hog?  I understand the ground part, but they don’t look like any of the hogs I have seen.

An interesting fact I learned from the website is that a ground hog can whistle when alarmed.  I wonder if Phil whistles when they wake him from his hibernation on Feb. 2.

Written by Dave.

House Moving

acrossthelakeA few summers ago, our neighbors decided to build a new home on their lot. Their lot was large enough to split into two sites. Instead of tearing down the existing home, they decided to move it to the newly created parcel.

We had a front row seat of watching the engineering feat of moving a house. It was interesting how the movers first lifted the home and placed wheels under it. Then a bulldozer towed the home to its new foundation.

We all a have seen pictures of a house going down the street. What caught my attention of a house that was moved across over the of ice White Bear Lake, a Minnesota lake. This Story is worth reading.



One Response to “House Moving”

harmonsmith says:

I moved my house. The building was of 1946 construction and remains 55’ long by 34’ wide. The structure weighed some 225 tons (450,000#), roughly half a million pounds, the two story, brick veneer structure had to be moved some 165’ from its original lot to another contiguous property and raised some 20’ higher than it had been. It was under the supervision of Wolfe. They made my moving experience a memorable experience.

Written by Dave.


ideasI would like to take credit for this post, but I can not. It came as one of those mass emails that are sent to everyone and his brother. Usually it is something to delete, but this one is worth a read. What do you think?

Crazy Idea #1 :  Give the Economic Stimulus Money to American Citizens to SPEND on Goods and Services.

At last count, the price tag on the economic stimulus plan was approaching $1 TRILLION.  If you took that $1 TRILLION dollars, divided it by every American citizen (roughly 250 million people), it would approximate $4,000 per citizen, right?  Put that amount on a debit card — $4,000 per American citizen – and hand them out. 

A household of four receives a debit card with a $16,000 on it.  A household of three, $12,000.  Got the math?  Pretty simple so far, right?

The credit cannot be deposited into savings accounts or used to pay down on their mortgage.  The debit cards can only be used for a down payment on a house, to buy cars, appliances, pay for daycare, school tuition, school lunches, gas for their cars – they can be used only to BUY goods and services, and they are only good for 18 months.  If you don’t spend the debit card within 18 months, it expires – you lose the money.

Can you imagine how many consumers would line up at car dealers to buy a new or used car?  Can you picture people pulling out their debit card to put a down payment on a home, whether it’s their first, second, third, or an investment property?  The car dealers would run out of cars and call Detroit, saying, “Make more cars!” and Detroit would hire workers to make more cars, and they would call companies in Grand Rapids to order more parts to make the cars, and Grand Rapids companies would hire workers, and the taxes paid buy all of those workers would build roads and improve school lunches, and so on and so on …

After all, it is OUR money they are talking about spending.  Shouldn’t we have a say in what it buys?

Crazy Idea #2:  Increase Americans’ Take-Home Pay.

The economic stimulus plan calls for income tax cuts for middle-income Americans from 25% to 15% of their gross wages.  Great idea.  It would noticeably, positively and immediately impact the bulk of American households. For example:  If your family income last year was $60,000, this tax cut will put $6,000 more in your pocket to spend this year.  Could you use an extra $500 a month in after-tax income?  If your family income was $100,000 last year, you will see an extra $800 a month in your take-home pay.”

Can you imagine what would happen if everyone, not just middle-incomes, paid a 15% income tax over the next few years?  Do you think those folks making household incomes of $300,000 who would have $30,000 more disposable income wouldn’t go out and BUY THINGS … or invest in companies who hire workers?

If you begin to focus on real-dollar, disposable-income increases for the vast majority of Americans, you will begin to build hope in people.  Not false hope, but real hope and (consumer) confidence that they will be better able to feed their families, make their car payments, keep a roof over their heads and maybe even have a little money left over to go buy that new refrigerator.

Crazy Idea #3:  Eliminate the capital gains tax on all real estate purchases made during the next three years

That’s right; you NEVER pay capital gains tax on any real estate you purchase within the next three years, regardless of whether you buy land, rental houses, commercial property, second homes, anything.

It’s simple. No government bailout, no throwing money at the problem. 

Can you imagine how many people with money invested in 401K’s which have lost 30% of their value, or CD’s that pay next to nothing, or savings accounts, would RUSH to buy distressed real estate?   Real estate agents’ phones would ring off the hook with calls like this:  “I’ve only got a half a million left in my investments after AIG destroyed me.  I want to buy eight of those $40,000 foreclosure properties fix them up, and sell them (or rent them) and when I sell, I get to keep every nickel of profit. Let’s go shopping!!!”

Will those investors do the work?  Of course not.  Most of them will call plumbers and electricians, furnace and air conditioning people, tile and carpet installers, window replacement companies, and so on and so on …

Suddenly (within 12 months), the glut of homes forcing real estate values down would be absorbed by the private sector, not by the government, and the homes left on the market are those in marketable condition, not distressed condition and the trades people will have jobs fixing them up.

Crazy Idea #4:  Reinstate consumers’ ability to write off interest paid on credit cards, auto loans and second homes.  Those interest write-offs were eliminated during an inflationary spiral to curb excessive spending.  We are in a recessionary plunge now; we need it reinstated.

 Crazy Idea #5:  Get rid of the “partisan politics.”

Whether you support Democrats, Republicans or are independent, all of us will petition to eject our politicians from office if they don’t put aside their partisanship and start working together to fix our economy.

This economic crisis is enormous. It will take ALL of us, rich and poor, conservative and liberal, black and white, to fix this. 

We must all start tugging on the same end of the rope

Written by Dave.

tcbay1There are places for lunch or dinner that everyone knows about; Mc Donald’s, Burger King and the like.  You know what you are getting, you know how the food is going to taste. You have experienced the fast food and the “friendly and polite” service at every location. You know what I am talking about, so I do not need to say more.

But, sometimes there is a place for trying something with real personality and ‘not so fast food’. There is always something about a place that is fresh and interesting and displays the entrepreneurial Michigan spirit of making a business work that makes me want to support it.

There is a mom and pop joint on US 31 in Acme, “That’s a Pizza”, that is just such a place. It is a growing establishment with a couple of other locations with surprisingly good, actually, VERY good food. Having been there by myself and with others, I found that this place is no fluke. It has consistently good food and genuinely nice, friendly people.

The Chicken Black Bean Wrap for under $6.00 is one of the special items I enjoyed. Try them for yourself.

That’s A Pizza 

5430 US31 N,


Read what others say: “That’s a Pizza” Reviews.  Perhaps I should have taken a picture of my dinner or of the restaurant, but I didn’t. So I am including a shot of the sunset over the icy Grand Traverse Bay.

WaterLandLiving’s  policy on articles.

Written by Dave.

Boat Show

boatshowticket2Having just come back from the local boat show, I am proud of my new purchase: a Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht. What a deal, priced at only $796,573.00!

Just kidding. I made no purchase at the show. Every offering seemed to offer deep discounts and boat show specials. The question I was asking is, “Are boat shows a good place to make a new purchase?” The boat dealers would say yes, but the experts have a different story. Check out Buying a Boat at the Show . Boat shows are excellent places to gather information, ask questions and compare units side by side.

There are a lot of good, informative sites on the web. The one I like the best is Discover Boating. Check it out.

There are more upcoming Michigan shows. See WaterLandLiving’s Upcoming Show List.

Written by Dave.

Spring is Coming!

dairyqueenThere are plenty of signs that spring is coming. The days are getting longer. Spring break will be here before you know it. It seems like the sun is poking out from behind the clouds a little more these days. And, once we hit March, we know winter will soon be over.

But, recently I saw a sure sight of spring, a Dairy Queen had opened for the season! Soon people will be lined up in their shorts and flip flops waiting to order their favorite Blizzard or ice cream cone. Mom’s will be washing sticky fingers and faces and the air will smell of cooking hot dogs and burgers. And, as we stand in line on a warm summer night waiting for our ice cream, all the snow of this winter will be but a distant memory!

Written by Dave.

Interlochen Michigan

interochenInterlochen is nestled in Grand Traverse County in Northern Lower Michigan, approxiamiatly 12 miles south and west of Traverse City. The county is located on the 45th parallel, being halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. Okay, what does that mean? It means it is cold in the winter and warm in the summer.

Interlochen is a wooded community anchored by two Michigan lakes, Green Lake and Duck Lake. It is also home to the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Founded in 1928 as a summer music camp, it has evolved into a school known worldwide for music, arts, public radio station and yes, it’s summer camp is still in existence and is as popular as ever.

Interlochen has a number of interesting places to visit shop and, of course, eat. You may want to try the Hofbrau, a rustic restaurant with that Up North feel. When visiting the area, be sure to visit the Interlochen Center for the Arts to get their schedule of summer of events, and then be sure to take one in. 

Written by Dave.

Daylight Saving Time

clockToday is the day we move our clocks ahead one hour, which means we probably all lost an hour of sleep last night. At least I hope you all turned your clocks back. If you did not, consider this your reminder.

Turning our clocks ahead in the spring and back in the fall is something we do every year and probably give very little thought to. But, this year I got to thinking about it and wondered where and when this whole concept started, so I searched the web for some answers.

The first thing I found out was that it is not Daylight Savings Time as I always thought, but it is Daylight Saving Time (no “s” at the end of saving).  So, if you will notice, I am now calling it  “Daylight Saving Time”.I also thought the concept was fairly new, but through my research I found the idea started way back with Benjamin Franklin. It seems as if he was awakened at 6 AM one morning, and was very surprised to find the sun streaming into the room. Obviously, he was not awake often at that time of  the morning and did not realize how early the sun rose. But, this got him to thinking about how all this sunlight was wasted while people were sleeping. He thought if this light would be later in the day, it could save a lot of candles, and that was where the concept of Daylight Saving Time was born. Although it probably would have saved a lot of candles, the idea did not catch on for about 200 years.

You know, I think I would have liked Benjamin Franklin. He had a solution for everything!

 Read more about this and other little known and interesting facts about Daylight Saving Time and enjoy your extra hour of daylight this evening!

Written by Dave.

Kalkaska Michigan

kalkaskafish2Kalkaska is the county seat for the County of Kalkaska. Kalkaska County is home to over eighty Michigan lakes, as well as a reported 2500 miles of rivers and streams. The headwaters of the Boardman River, the Manistee River and the Rapid River are all located in the county.

Kalkaska is home to the National Trout Festival , held the first week in April, and has been attracting visitors from near and far every year since 1935.

Almost half of the land within Kalkaska County is owned by the State of Michigan. The DNR has developed miles and miles of snowmobile, horse and hiking trails which criss-cross the area, connecting many camping and natural areas. Many say these are the best trails in the state, leading to west to Traverse City, east to Mancelona and then towards Gaylord.

The largest trout I have ever seen is in Kalkaska.  Standing seventeen feet long and twelve feet high, you can’t miss this metal sculpture in the middle of town.

Just north of town there is another interesting phenomenon, a large tree on the east side of the road. I call it The Shoetree because it is a large tree with shoes hanging from it. I have no idea why there are shoes hanging from it, but if anyone out there knows, I would be very interested to hear from you!

For some good home cooking, you may want to try Trout Town Cafe, Good food, fair prices, and good service. Who knows? They may be able to fill you in on the Shoetree!

Written by Dave.

Michigan Potholes

potholesJust when you thought it was safe to venture out on the roads after a Michigan winter, a new threat rears it’s ugly head…..MICHIGAN POTHOLES!

I was cruising along enjoying the sunshine last week, when suddenly I felt as if the earth had dropped out from under me. I thought for sure I’d fallen into a sinkhole, but when I looked back, it was only a pothole. But, a big pothole it was!

After that with all my tires and teeth intact, I slowed down and watched the road a bit more closely. I saw that the road was peppered with those ragged edged holes, many looking to be well over 12 inches deep. This many potholes probably makes the job of our law enforcement officers more difficult. They have to try to determine whether a driver who is driving erratically is under the influence or just trying to avoid potholes.

According to the MDOT website, potholes occur when snow and ice melt as part of the seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. So, it’s no wonder we see a lot of them in Michigan!

For some interesting info including how potholes are formed and how to report them, visit the MDOT website on Potholes.

In keeping with the theme of this site, I did a search to find if there was a Pothole Lake in Michigan. And, sure enough, I found a North Pothole Lake in Kalkaska County.  I am not sure how it got it’s name, but here is a survey of the lake.

And, as you drive around those potholes, remember that they are a sure sign of spring!

Written by Dave.

Holey House

woodpeckersI have a problem, a big problem. I am under attack, or rather our home is under the attack, by woodpeckers. They love to come and just peck at our wood siding. We literally have holes in our siding that woodpeckers have spent hours and hours working on.

They are not fussy, they are satisfied to peck on any side of the home and have done just that. No part is safe from these persistent pests.

I did some investigation on woodpeckers by turning to the web, starting with Wikipedia on Woodpeckers. After checking out a few other sites, Get Rid of Woodpeckers and Ehow on Woodpeckers, I am learning that this is a common problem for homeowners and not an easy one to elimate. The woodpecker’s drumming (pecking) is to create noise to attract a mate. I will withhold my comments on that activity. They are instinctly looking for insects within the wood siding.

If you have had any personal experience with this and have solved the problem, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Written by Dave.

Painted Trees

treepaintRecently I came home and found that someone had vandalized some of the trees in our front yard. The culprit used a fluorescent blue spray paint and left an unusual series of X’s and O’s on the trunks of the trees. Not only was our property attacked, but so were many of our neighbors.

This type of action is certainly unacceptable in my opinion. When I confronted the culprit, they were unremorseful. DTE, the local power company had come through and marked certain trees for trimming. Although from past experience, I know they don’t trim, they lop. 

I understand their desire and the need to maintain their lines from possible storm damage and power outages. They claim the right to trim all growth within 10 feet of their lines in any direction. To me, that seems extreme.

Every morning as I pull out of our drive, I notice the blue paint on our old hemlock that they left some two years ago, and now refreshed.

It seems as if they could use some sort of a mark that is a little less ‘in your face’ and a little less defacing.

I wonder how they would feel if I sprayed their poles or one of their towers with a big blue X.

Written by Dave.

Another Creative Piece

I wonder if he is thinking about Michigan's economy.


Written by Dave.