What a day it's been! In fact, what a weekend it's been. On Friday, I talked with Chad Lampkin of Michigan Energy Works, thanks to Alana and Ed Begley, Jr. We talked two hours! I will admit it wasn't all about alternate energy. Chad is a beekeeper, so naturally we had to talk about bees, too.

What fun to talk with such a knowledgeable person! He had all kinds of suggestions for the house - from heating it and heating water, to solar panels, to wood boilers. We even talked about using the creek for power, but it's probably too far from the site. And the good news is...he will be traveling to Minnesota later this year and will stop by my place. He insists on staying with each family he works with for at least a few days, so he can see what kind of power usage each family needs. Chad has worked in 30 states. This summer he will be working on a project at the Artic Circle! I will be happy to have Chad stay out here on the land. He says he's used to camping. (Good thing!) The build-a-house community is growing!

On another note, when in Rochelle earlier on Friday, I just happened to be driving down a street - when what to my wondering eyes should appear? The Wienermobile! It was parked in a shopping center. A big U-turn...and there I was, taking photos of the intrepid Wienermobile!  I have always loved it since I first saw it in my hometown of Davenport, Iowa when I was a young slip of a thing. Dear Reader, I had to share a picture of it with you.

A big THANK YOU to Jeff Wolfe for more work on my website! He is amazing. He has the Land video on my website right now! Check it out, if you'd like. (And yes, I realize my voice is boring, but that's the way it will be for now.)

Chris, Smitty and Smitty's brother, Doug , came out to fish today. They seemed to enjoy themselves on this lovely day. (More later...)

Today, Dave and I worked ourselves to exhaustion. We cut long branches overhanging the lake on the steep west bank. It's such a jungle, and I've wanted to clean it up for years. We have just a little bit more to go...and then it will look much nicer. Now the greater Horsetail, which grows on that steep bank, will be able to spread even further.

Dave and I  dragged the branches across the ice to, yet another, burn pile. While dragging a load of branches, Dave discovered a dead catfish under the ice in one of the old ice holes. Smitty, Chris and Doug came over to see it. Doug cut the catfish out of the ice and laid it on top for some lucky raccoon's dinner tonight. OHHHH, did it smell! (Sorry the picture of the dead catfish is right under the Wienermobile. That just doesn't seem right somehow....!)

Chris and Smitty moved Alana's purple picnic table! right on their homemade sled! We had a little excitement during the trip across the lake. You can see by the photos below, during the "move" one of the Tip Up's went crazy. (Let me stop here to explain that a Tip-up is a wooden and iron contraption set on the ice over it's own ice fishing hole, with a red flag that "Tips Up" whenever a fish grabs the hook.) Smitty caught a bass! (A small one, but hey! that's okay.) He sure was  happy. He loves the Tip Up because you are actually handling (manipulating?) the fish with your hands.

I found out there is a protocol for the Tip Up. Chris, Smitty and Doug each take  a turn. Each time the Tip Up goes crazy, it is another one's turn. If you happen to have your turn and lose your fish, then you have to wait until your turn comes around again.They all enjoy fishing so much! Of course, who wouldn't on such a lovely lake on such a lovely day?

Back to the picnic table. Smitty and Chris had set the picnic table where I wanted it ... (I'm afraid I'm going to seem like Lucy Ricardo -  I Love Lucy - when she couldn't make  up her mind.) Then they made the mistake of asking me if I was sure that's where I wanted it, because they were willing to move it farther. Well, you know what happened, dear Reader. You can see from the pictures. Yep! They moved it from lakeside to creekside. And you can see that it really is quite a purple picnic table -- with spots! I really, really like it overlooking the creek. I sat (more like collapsed) at the table for a few minutes later in the day, and LOVED it! Thanks, guys!

After the picnic table was in place, Dave left and it was only 2PM. So...I had many more hours to work outside. Which I did.I spent almost three more hours working (much slower than with Dave) trimming branches and cutting out honeysuckle bushes. It was so quiet today. All I heard was the murmur of the fishermen's voices, the hum of the neighbor's corn dryer, and a wonderful stillness. After the excitement earlier in the day, this afternoon's quiet seemed peaceful and almost lazy. As I pruned away, I felt so much contentment. "All is right with the world," I thought.

When I returned to the cottage, Dave called and said he found some wood to donate to building JJ's chapel. He has some 2x4's, 2x6's, 2x8's and some 4x4's. It's my first wood donation! Thanks, Dave! We're on our way!

Oh, I forgot to tell you. I lost my saw this morning when working with Dave on the steep bank. I put it at the top of the bank, but when I came back for it I couldn't find it. I knew I would need a saw for my afternoon pruning...and then I remembered just yesterday when I was helping Alana clean her farmhouse, she had given me a --- saw! How fortuitous! As I used my new saw all I could think of were the words from "My Wish," by Rascal Flatts (which you know, dear Reader, I play quite often on my home page of Buildthathouse.com!).

"And if one door opens to another door closed
I hope you keep on walking until you find the window..."

The saw from Alana was that "window." And it worked just great!

Nighty-night, dear Reader.


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