Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let It Snow!!

We had a pretty good snow recently, with a heavy frost. This was a perfect morning for some awesome photos! Tuff is becoming quite the photographer...check out his photos here.

Pheasant Hunting

Tuff, Scott, Perry, Cory & Dalton went Pheasant hunting at Rolling Hills in Marcellus Michigan. This was Scotts first time bird hunting, and also Cheese, Perry's Lab. Buddy has been hunting before and loves it! The snow was pretty deep and the birds were sitting tight under cover, but the dogs worked hard at flushing them out. A great time was had by all. Here are some photos of the day.

Ricks Deer

Rick is also an avid hunter and called Tuff over to see his deer. The guys were pretty lucky this year! Click here for photos.

Deer Hunting 2008

It's that time of the year again! Deer Season at the cabin. This has always been one of our favorite times; Tuff has a perfect hunting area on our 10 acres near the cabin, and I get to explore northern Michigan for new areas to Christmas shop! This year was very successful for Tuff, he got his Buck on opening day just after daybreak! He hasn't got a deer for a few years, so this is very exciting! We have some great friends at Wolf Lake that also hunt, they have land that joins ours, and the guys have fun sharing stories and planning the days strategy. Buddy loves to be at the cabin, too, and can't wait to go exploring. Click here for some photos of our annual hunting trip!

Annie Oakley (Lauren) & Wild Bill (Drew)

Lauren & Drew spent the weekend with us and had a blast learning how to shoot BB guns! Tuff had a safety session first, and then they got busy with the targets! They were both very good, and Lauren has earned the nickname "Annie Oakley"! She is a very good shot! Drew is good also, but not as accurate as "Annie". I'm sure with just a little more practice he will be knocking down those targets as fast as Lauren does! They had a great weekend, and Lauren showed her tree-climbing skills to us. She sure is some climber! Here are some fun photos of the weekend!

Sandhill Cranes & Amazing Acres with Kesse & Yvonne

If you ever get the chance to view the fall migration of the Sandhill Crane, do it! It's one of natures most amazing things to see. There are literally tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes landing at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area in Medaryville, Indiana, between 4pm and sunset. The park is beautiful, and there is a large tower with ramp and platform that's big enough for many people to enjoy the view. You will also see many deer out feeding with the Cranes. Click here to hear the Sandhill Cranes. Here is a map of the Jasper-Pulaski park. And finally, here are some photos of our trip. We also stopped at a huge pumpkin farm which is just on the way, and you will also see some photos of our day at Amazing Acres corn maze in Michigan with Kesse & Yvonne. They were amazed at how the Cranes would just come out of nowhere and land in the fields.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Party 2008!!

Our annual pumpkin carving family gathering was a huge success! Everyone had a great time carving, going on a hayride, bobbing for apples (even Murphy & Buddy got in on this event!) visiting, and of course enjoying all of the great food! Thanks everyone for making this a great day..we can't wait for next year, and we are already planning for some new fun things, so make sure you don't miss it! Click here for some great (and maybe scary) photos! UPDATE: You may have noticed that I added a photo to this post...I ran across the top photo of Madeline Leers (Mom) and Kesse carving pumpkins in 2002! They really had fun that day, and I thought everyone would enjoy seeing them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn at Wolf Lake, Kidders Cabin

This is probably our last trip to the cabin before the snow starts flying! It was a perfect weekend, and Scott, Micki, Grace, and the dogs, Toby and Sydney came for a visit. It was Graces' first time here, and we all had so much fun. I'm sure you'll enjoy the individual posts of our activities. Before you get to them, click here to see some beautiful fall colors! We took so many pictures, and had such great photo here to see them!

Graces' First Trip to Kidders Cabin!

This was Graces' first trip to the cabin. She had so much fun! I'm sure this will be the first of many more in the future! Grace was willing to explore and go anywhere we went. I think we have a future mushroom huntin', fishin' kayaking, campfire Kidder in the family! Click here to see more cute photos of Grace at Kidders Cabin!

Buddy, Sydney, Toby

I think the dogs had as much, or even more fun than we had!! They swam, fetched, played, took a boat ride, explored, and then started all over again. They were so exhausted after our 5 mile hike that they all flopped down and took a nap in the yard. It was so much fun watching them have fun! I'm sure they will be coming again, and Buddy will be looking forward to having his friends Toby & Sydney back. Click here for some hysterical photos!

A 5 Mile Hike

Another of our favorite things to do is to hike the 5 miles around wolf lake. Especially this time of the year. It's a great way to see all of the unique cabins and "trailer parks", and it gives the dogs a chance to meet some of the neighbors. All of the dogs did great, they all stayed right with us and we only had to put them on the leashes a few times when traffic got heavy. Click here for more photos.

Touring the Pine River Corridor

When you come to the cabin, you just have to take an hour and take a trip down the two-track that runs along the Pine River. It's a great way to see what the river is like without getting into a boat! The colors were awesome, and we had a great time exploring, looking for bears, and gathering stones, leaves, and bark for Graces' project! Click here to see our photos!

One Last Boat Ride!

We just had to take one last trip around Wolf Lake before taking the boat & pier out..besides, Grace just couldn't wait to drive! It was chilly, but a beautiful day for a cruise, and the dogs just loved it! I think it was Toby and Sydneys first time on a boat! Click here to see some more pictures.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The last of Hurricane Ike

The remnants of Hurricane Ike came through Elkhart September 13 & 14, dumping up to 12 inches total in some parts of northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. Bud & Irene have lived on Christiana Creek since 1955 and have never seen the creek as high as it is. There are many lakes that feed the creek, and it continues to rise even today, 5 days after the rain stopped! Here at our house, the Washington ditch, which drains all of the farm fields around us flooded its banks and ran over the field next to us and flooded our pond. The Washington ditch went down back to it's normal level within just a few days. Click here to see some photos of the creek at Bud & Irenes house, and here at our house.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Late Summer at Kidders Cabin

We finally got a few days to go up to the cabin! It was so nice to be up there, even if it was only for a few days. We had not been up since early June, and were ready to get going! We had a couple of nice days to get some chores done, mainly mowing the grass and trimming some trees along the paths on the 10 acres. We also went on a sunset kayak trip on Wolf Lake, and got back just at dark. What a relaxing way to end a day! We also got to kayak the Pine River again. (see the post below) We had nice weather, and finally some rain! It's been dry up there, too. We also got to visit with Chuck & Joy and see the big Buck that Chuck got some photos of. (Of course, the location is top-secret!) We were sad to see our "Kidders Cabin" sign was missing. Leo & Bud made the sign for the cabin in 1996, and it was a treasured part of the cabin. We will have to make a new one to replace it, but it just won't be the same. Hopefully whoever took our original will return it one day. Click here for some photos of our trip.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kayaking the Pine; after the flood

We were anxious to get to the Pine River and see how the flood in June changed it. We had been reading on the internet that it was really different, and was actually closed to canoes and kayakers for several weeks. It really has changed in many areas! There are many more rapid areas, lots & lots of logjams, and the twin boulders that were near the end of the run at Low Bridge are missing? Moved? Or just underwater & sand and we can't see them. If you've done the Pine you will remember these boulders that you had to go between. They were one of the rivers major challenges. There are many more challenges since the flooding, but it is still passable, and lots of fun! The trip from Peterson Bridge to Low Bridge took us approx. 3.25 hours. What great day! Click here to see some great photos of the Pine River, and some of its logjams & boulders.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kayaking Christiana again!

Here we go again! This is our first evening trip. We got on the creek after 6 pm, and out just at dark! It was a big group, Tuff, Alys, Vic, Perry, Miss, Brian, Melissa and Jim. Some first time kaykers again, and everyone had a blast! We started at Redfield road in Michigan and got out at Vic & Perrys again. It's about a 3.5 hour trip. We stopped at Bud & Irene's house on the way and had some apples from their trees. This stretch of the creek is always fun! Click here for video 1, video 2, video 3, video 4, video 5, video 6 & video 7.

And again! "the guys trip"

Tuff, Scott, and the Coryn brothers Scott & Shawn went down Christiana Creek for the first time on Sunday, and had a blast as usual! They came across a huge water snake that you will see in the photos, and Tuff said Scott Coryn had everyone laughing so hard! Click here for some photos of the guys trip.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kayaking Christiana Creek

We recently went kayaking on Christiana Creek with Rick, Betsy, Megan, Courtney, Chris & Brooke. We put in at Redfield road in Michigan & got out at Vic & Perrys house in Elkhart. This trip took us about 4.5 hours, a nice leisurely float. The creek is very clean and a good fishing creek. Tuff & Rick grew up on the creek, and used to spend hours upon hours in it. It's nice to be able to still get on it & have a great landing place at Vic & Perrys. Perry had a wonderful lunch of fresh pizza, salad, breadsticks & cold drinks waiting for us, thanks Perry! We had such fun that we decided to make the run again a few days later. This last trip was just Tuff & Alys & Rick & Betsy. Tuff & Rick had all of their fishing gear this time, and some anchors rigged on their kayaks to make fishing a little easier. It gets a little swift on the creek in a few spots and it's hard to stop and fish without one. They both caught many really nice bass, smallmouth and largemouth. I even caught a pretty nice smallmouth, it was a blast! This trip took us about 7 hours with all of the stops for fishing, but it was such a perfect day just to float & relax. Hopefully we will be able to get to the Pine River before summer is out. Click here for some photos of our adventures on Christiana Creek. We also have some fun video of the day, click for video 1, video 2, video 3 & video 4. This is some of our first attempts at videoing while kayaking, and it gets a little tricky, so you'll have to forgive some of our upside-down/sideways/turned around views.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Flower Power

Here is our wildflower field. This is our 2nd growing season, and the 3rd year since preparing the soil. Tuff and I attended a seminar put on by the Michiana Master Gardeners featuring Neil Dibol, and were immediately inspired. The first year we cleared the ground in the spring & summer, then broadcast spread the wildflower seed in the fall. We were really amazed at the results last spring & summer, and again this year. It seems like each season brings new color and a different variety of flowers and grasses. Click here to go to Neil Dibols Prairie Nursery website.
Click here for more photos of our Wildflower field.


As you saw in our earlier post, we are experimenting with raised garden beds this year, in addition to the more traditional style of gardening. We have discovered that we love the raised beds! There are many benefits, such as non-compacted soil, and planting, weeding & harvesting from a sitting position is much easier on your back. The raised beds are 2x12x16 long. We still have the tilled area for pumpkins, watermelon, squash, etc. And, in addition to that the 75 (15 different varieties) of tomato plants that Bud started for us in his greenhouse. So, now you know where to come & get your tomatos!! Click here to see our gardens.

Creek Party!

Irene and Bud had the 2nd annual creek party at their house, and everyone had a great time! They live on Christiana Creek, and it's a perfect spot for kids of all ages to play & explore. Bud & Irene have lived there since the 50's, and 4 generations of Kidders and their friends and extended families have enjoyed the creek. (actually, there are 5 generations that have enjoyed the creek, because Bud & Irenes Dads' both used to fish there!) The day started with a wonderful dinner catered by Essenhaus, and then the fun began! The kids played in the water, floated, and searched for buried treasure in the sand pile. Thanks Gram Irene & Grampa Bud for such a fun time! Click here to see more photos of a very special day...

Friday, June 27, 2008


Our Grand-Daughter Grace spent the night with us a few weeks ago. We had so much fun with her! She had wonderful adventures with Papa Tuff picking strawberries (and eating them) and exploring the wildflower field, playing with Buddy, and playing in the sink...that was one of her most fun things to do. She also LOVES to swing! She discovered she could do it all by herself, and kept saying she was a "Big girl".
Click here to see more photos of Grace!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kesse & Brittany at Kidders Cabin

Alys, Tuff, Kesse, Brittany, and the Moyers, Betsy, Rick & Megan all spent 5 relaxing days at Kidders Cabin. We had a few cool days, but most of the time the weather was wonderful. (the tubing photos look warm, but it was a chilly 56 degrees that day! the girls just had to go!) We had a ton of fun kayaking, fishing, and sitting around the campfire. Click here for some fun photos!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chuck Krause

Update: Our friend Chuck passed away this fall. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Chris, and his family. We will miss having him stop by the cabin, but his spirit and memory will always be with us.
Original post:
We received sad news this morning from Chuck Beurmann, Pete & Rachels son, that our friend Chuck Krause, who lives near Wolf Lake and is the local wood carver, had a terrible accident while cutting a tree down on May 19th. Apparently a tree that he had cut down rolled onto him, breaking his back, hand, and causing other injuries. The outlook is not good. He will most likely be paralyzed from the neck down. The best case scenario will be if he can recover the use of his arms. He is being cared for at Grand Rapids hospital, on the 4th floor, heart center. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chuck and his family. We will post updates as to how he is doing. Chuck Krause became a friend of ours many years ago, and always enjoys stopping in at the cabin and showing us his latest wood carvings, and sitting around the campfire talking. He is especially proud of his kids and grandkids accomplishments. The last time we visited with him was just a day or two before his accident, and we gave him a section of the Elkhart Truth newspaper from last summer that we had been saving for him. It had featured an article about his son and grandson in the cherry spitting contest. They are world champions! Chuck was also a champion cherry spitter. We did not know that he had been injured the last time we were at the cabin, and had driven by his house, only to see that he was not at home. Click here for some of Chucks wood carving pictures that he is so proud of. Beautiful work, Chuck.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Twin Fawns

While we were at the cabin Megan and her fiance Dustin came for a visit. Megan has been coming to the cabin since she was 10 years old, and wanted to show Dustin around. So after a tour of the cabin and checking out Wolf Lake, we all got on the golf cart and drove down the road to our 10 acres. This is a nice wooded area where Tuff loves to deer hunt. While we were driving around the trails, we noticed that Buddy wasn't with us anymore. Tuff blew his whistle (which always brings Buddy running) but this time, Buddy was nowhere to be found. We drove around the trails again, and Tuff spotted him over by a downed pine tree. After investigating, we found out why: Buddy had found twin newborn fawns, and wanted to show us. When Tuff went over there Buddy was licking one of the fawns on the head. The fawns were beautiful. We didn't have our camera with us, but went back to the cabin to get it and rushed right back. The fawns had moved, but Buddy was able to sniff them out again. We took a few photos and left them alone. It's awesome to see so much wildlife thriving in the area.
Click here to see the fawns.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pete's 'Shroom spot

Tuff and I were at Kidders cabin recently, and our friends Pete and Rachel Beurmann, who live full time at Wolf Lake, decided to give up a very special morel mushroom hunting area, and took us to a very beautiful federal forest where the elusive morels grow. Of course you have to know how to identify an ash tree. Pete helped us out there, too. We had a nice 25 minute ride to the woods and had breakfast at Garlets corner.
The growing conditions have not been good at all, with the dry and cool weather we have had. Still, you hold out hope that you will find enough for dinner! Pete was the first to find one, and after that we all found a few. I think we only found about 30 total, greys and yellows, and they were nice sized! We all had enough for dinner, and had so much fun finding them, and really enjoyed out time spent with Pete & Rachel. You can be sure that we will be back at this special woods, but don't expect to find directions or a map on this blog! We mushroom hunters are pretty secretive about our hunting grounds!
Click here for some great 'shroomin pictures.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Morels & More!

While we were up doing our remodel job at the cabin we had to take a few breaks and of course, look for some mushrooms! We have a few spots very near the cabin that have always produced a few yummy morels. It was a little early for the yellows to start popping, but we did spot two! We also got very lucky and saw a bunch of wild turkeys several times, and one time the big tom turkey was strutting his stuff showing off to his harem. Of course, it's always great to see the colorful birds that are so happy to see us back & filling up their feeders. We can't forget Buddy, he just loves being at the cabin, and is so much fun to have along. One of his favorite things are playing with sticks....the bigger the better! Click here for some morel & wildlife pics.

Remodeling at the Cabin

As you already know, Kidders Cabin is one of our favorite places to go. We recently decided that we needed to do something about the "Guest Room". We did away with the 1950's set of kids bunkbeds and added a queen bed, shelving, new paint, carpet, lighting, and many more little things that make this room so much better! Check out the before pic and the result of our 2-day remodel. Click here. See you up there soon!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Cement

Last year we had the hard task of selling the house where I grew up on Baldwin Lake. My family moved there in 1964, and my Dad and Mom took the small 2 bedroom lake cottage and eventually ended up with the 4 bedroom walkout basement on the lake. My Dad, Bill Leers passed away in 1994, and we lost my Mom, Madeline in 2006. My Moms wish was that we sell the home and divide the profits between her 9 surviving children. The family that bought our house had a vision to do an extensive remodel and still keep the original structure of the house pretty much the same. When they were doing this, they had to remove the cement patio that was poured in 1972. Our Dad was pretty darn proud of what he had accomplished and signed his, Moms, and the kids names remaining at home in the cement patio the day he poured it, along with the date. I knew this was going to be removed with the renovations, and went over and took some pictures before the remodeling began. Several months went by and the house was looking great. One winter day in 2007 Tuff and I were driving around Elkhart and pulled into a parking lot where there were some old bricks, and pieces of limestone set up as benches for sale. As we drove into the back of the lot we spotted some broken pieces of cement, and Tuff said "That's your Moms' cement" I thought he was crazy, but sure enough there was a large piece with all of our names on it!! Needless to say, we now have that chunk of my childhood here at our house, and have it set up as a table in our garden area. I believe it was meant to be here with us. We also discovered the iron spiral staircase that was in the house in the same parking lot, and have that also. Although I am not sure yet how we will use it, you can be sure to see it in the future on our blog. To see a few more pictures of our family cement, click here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kidders raised garden beds

After helping with Rick & Betsys raised garden beds, we decided that was the way for us to go! We are now building and installing our own raised beds. We are looking forward to planting, weeding and harvesting without all of the back-ache we usually get! Plus, we can now allow the grass to grow between the beds and just mow like usual, and do away with standing in the mud while we are working. We mixed good topsoil with 1 year old composted leaves & grass, and rotted manure, and filled the beds. We can't wait to see how this style of gardening compares with what we have always had in the past. We will still have our traditional areas for pumpkins, squash and other plants that need alot of room. Check back later, because we will post pictures throughout the growing season. Here are just a few more pictures of the raised beds.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt!

Since Easter was so early this year we decided to wait until nicer weather to have the Kidders annual Easter Hunt! And it was well worth the wait. We had picture perfect weather, and everyone had so much fun! We had a great group of kids & plenty of food. Everyone got to try out the stilts Tuff made, and I think Jessica won that contest, but everyone had fun trying them out. It's much harder than it looks! Bud & Irene brought their golf cart along so that they could cover more ground and see what all the kids were finding in their areas. And last but not least, we had the PRIZE egg hunt, which was hidden in the wildflower field. Lauren was the lucky winner of 5 golden dollars in the prize egg! We all look forward to our Easter get-together and can't wait until next year! Click here for more fun pictures.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Raised Garden Beds

Rick & Betsy needed to move all of their raised garden beds, so Tuff took our John Deere tractor over and we got all of the beds moved, filled, and ready for planting in just under 9 hours! With all 4 of us working, and a few visitors pitching in, we made really good time. Tuff and I are thinking of adding some raised beds to our garden. It was a perfect day, sunny, almost reaching 70 degrees. Click here to see the new raised garden bed area.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Signs of Spring!

When we got back home yesterday we were greeted with cheerful purple and white Crocus'! Along with other bulbs and plants poking up out of the ground, they are a sure sign of warmer weather to come!

Here are some more photos of the Crocus.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cabin Fever!

Tuff, Buddy and Alys headed up to Kidders Cabin hoping to do some spring cleaning and leaf blowing. Imagine our surprise when we found lots & lots of snow still on the ground! We had to get out the shovels and snow blower before we could even pull in the drive! Although we didn't get some things accomplished that we had planned, there were plenty of things to do around the cabin. We walked around Wolf Lake almost every day, and that is a 4 mile hike. Good exercise for all of us! We visited with some of our neighbors, Pete & Rachel Beurmann, and Chuck Krause, who is a local wood carver. You will see some of his fish carvings in our photos. We've met some pretty good friends up here and always enjoy sitting around the campfire chatting with them. We saw plenty of wildlife, deer, birds, owls, snow geese, loons and even some turkeys that Buddy especially liked chasing from the yard. When we left this morning, 4/4/08, alot of the snow had melted and it was warming up into the 50's. We will have plenty of time for those spring chores the next trip up. Click here for some snowy pictures!

Monday, March 24, 2008


I've been looking at several blogs in the last few days and alot of them feature babies, toddlers, families..and believe me, we will have plenty of posts of our family, kids, & grandkids, but we just have to post Buddy! He's brought us alot of love, companionship and fun just when we seemed to need it the most! Everyone in the family loves him, especially all of the grandkids. He's always willing to play, play, play! Here is a quote that is so true:
"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog." -George Graham Vest
Click here for some sweet pics of Buddy.

Voyageurs National Park 2006

This is going to be a "blast from the past" from our vacation with the Moyers in 2006. It was a trip of a lifetime, and Rick & Betsy planned the whole thing. We just tagged along! We drove to Crane Lake Minnesota, and then boarded a houseboat, loaded our kayaks on top, and towed our pontoon boat. We toured Crane lake, Sand Pt. Lake, Namakan Lake and Kabetogama Lake for 7 days. It was beautiful. We saw Bald Eagles every day, fished, kayaked, soaked up the sun, played trivia on the radio every night with other house-boaters in the area, and just had so much fun. The scenery was wild, and the sunsets breathtaking. We had Canada on one side and the US on the other. This is near the boundary waters that are so famous for canoist and kayakers. We would love to make another trip and rent a cabin for a home base, and explore with the pontoon and kayaks again. To see some amazing photos, click here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Kayaking the Pine River

Tuff and I love to kayak. Our friends the Moyers love to kayak also. We have made many trips down the Pine and the Pere Marquette, but my favorite is the Pine River. Here are some photos of an Autumn trip we made with Rick, Betsy, Megan & Courtney. (yes, the girls got locked out of their car, so they had to work on that before we got started!) It was a LONG but beautiful day on the river. The only person to get wet was Tuff, and luckily he is always prepared and had a change of clothing with him! BRRR That water was really cold that day! I will probably do LOTS of posts of kayaking, so I'm sure you'll see more of our adventures on the Pine in the future!
Click here to see our photos.
Here is a great link to the Pine River.

Kidders Cabin

Kidders Cabin came to us in 1996, and has become a special place where all of our friends and family meet to relax, fish, kayak 2 of Michigans National Scenic Rivers, the Pine, and the Pere Marquette, ride the trails, explore, mushroom hunt and so much more! We have 12 years of memories here, and 12 years of photos to post! We have great memories of wonderful friends that we have lost, Leo Haggard and Jim Vest, who fished with us many, many times. And also Madeline Leers, who rode over 80 miles of trails with us in one cold snowy weekend, and loved every minute of it! We will always have stories to tell around the campfire of the fun times we have had with them. To see photos of our fun times at Kidders Cabin, click here!

More Snow!

When we heard on Thursday that we were going to get more snow I couldn't believe it! So far this winter we have had 77" of snow, with our average being 70.5".

It's supposed to get down in the teens tonight, so this snow will insulate any spring bulbs that may be coming up. At any rate, I'm sure it won't be around for long!

Click here for a great weather radar page that we look at daily.