Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Canada Trip - Day 1

August 1 of this year was our five-year wedding anniversary!  I suppose that to some people that doesn’t seem like a big deal but, since both of our first marriages didn’t last even a year, each year for us is a milestone.  I’m blessed to say our marriage is effortless; these past 5 years have just flown.  I couldn’t have picked a better husband.  OK, I’m done with the sappy part of this post.

We wanted to celebrate by going somewhere different, and The Mr. picked Thunder Bay, ON.  Since I‘ve never been to Canada, I was super pumped.  He had one place in particular that he wanted to take me, Kakabeka Falls.  For those of you who know me, you won’t be surprised that I spent the next few weeks planning and researching things to do and see.  Imagine my excitement when I came across an amethyst mine where you could “mine” your own gems!

This post is a recap of our very short three-day trip to Canada.  May I suggest that if you plan to go, take longer than three days!


The first morning started out VERY foggy but so beautiful.  It’s about a 6 hour drive from Phillips (we cut off a few hours of our trip by staying at my dad’s the night before) and the first stop we made was at Gooseberry Falls State Park in Two Harbors, MN.  It was beautiful, but there were quite a few people there so it was hard to get many photos without them.


We got stuck in the worst construction EVER, making the trip take even longer.  We’d drive 10 minutes and then be stopped for 15-20 minutes.  I spotted an artist in the ditch painting trees and I wish I would have been able to get out and talk to her.  It would have been neat to buy a finished piece from her.

We also stopped at a few quilt stores along the way to pick up patterns for my mom, one of which was in the middle of nowhere.

This sign cracked me up.

We stopped at the Grand PortageTrading Post to exchange our money to Canadian currency.  The ladies there were very helpful and nice.


I got so excited when we pulled up to the border, hoping all would go smoothly.  The officer asked the purpose of our trip and when we were last in Canada.  I said I had never been before.  He looked at me and said “You live in Wisconsin and have never been to Canada?!”  He wished us Happy Anniversary and sent us on our way.

The scenery was so beautiful.

We finally arrived to our hotel around 5:30 which means it took us 10 hours to get there!  We stayed at the Best Western Crossroads Motor Inn.  It wasn’t much but was a place to sleep.  The breakfast was OK and the view was decent, but we probably wouldn’t stay there again.

First thing on our agenda after getting settled in our hotel was finding a place to have supper.  We ate at a place called Swiss Chalet; I had the chicken dinner and the Mr. had a chicken club.  The first high point of our meal was Poutine, a common Canadian dish originating in Quebec.  Essentially, its French fries topped with a brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds.  Let me tell you that it may not look appetizing but it was AMAZING!  Our main course was good, too, and we finished off with cinnamon and sugar stuffed powdered donuts with a caramel dipping sauce.  I’m drooling right now remembering how delicious they were.

We headed back to the hotel after dinner as Day Two was going to be long.  That will need a post of its own or this is going to get WAY too long.

Stay tuned!
I should note that quite a few of these photos were taken with my cell phone. There weren't many people around when I wanted to take photos of us and I wasn't going to haul out my good camera for food shots lol...people would think I was nuts and the Mr. didn't want to cause a scene.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Old Barn & House

Do you have a building or place that you think will stand forever? I do. It's an old barn and house that has been standing on my dad's property for 114 years.

As a child, the house was fully furnished but left vacant for years. There was plastic covering most of the furniture and the beds were left made. I used to walk around the house, wondering what it was like when the family still lived there. I wish I would have had the passion for photography that I do now so I could have captured it as it sat waiting for its owners to come back. The house began to deteriorate and the relatives of the original owners came and cleaned it out. Now it sits nearly empty, a few things left inside. Most of the windows are broken or removed, and the integrity of the structure gets worse every day.



I've used the house for photo shoots and I've also photographed details of a home that once had a family filling it. Thankfully the house is still standing. Every time I go home, I try to photograph different angles and parts of the house. One day, it won't be there anymore.

The flowers in the front of the house have bloomed year after year with no care.

That brings me to the sad part of this post. The beautiful barn that has been standing on the property fell down. This winter has been very hard on it with feet upon feet of snow piling on top of it.

I knew it was only a matter of time before it would fall....but you just never think that day is going to come. I've used that barn for many photo shoots and used to play in it as a child, as well.

                                           Before                                                          After :(
The next few photos are just details of the downed barn. In some of the photos, you will see that the boards actually just bent and didn't break.


I am hoping to salvage many boards from it to make various things. Maybe a headboard or wall display...I'm not sure, but I feel the need to save as many parts as I can.

If you have a building like this in your life...take time to sit and think about all the memories you made. Photography the little details that made it special for you. You just never know when it will be gone.

The photo below is of my grandpa's barn, the place where I spent most of my childhood. I learned how to ride horses, helped make hay, fished, and enjoyed every second of being a kid. I'm going to do a separate post on this beauty. It's an important part of my childhood, especially since my grandpa has been gone for many years. I'll never forget my days at the farm.

The same goes for the people in your life. Never be afraid to photograph those close to you. Tomorrow is never a guarantee. Sorry this was so melancholy but I just want you to remember to enjoy every second of life :)