Cello visited Santa Claus in North East, MD ! …She’s on the Nice List… are you?!?
Cello is mailing a letter to Santa 😉
We had never been to this park when we camped at Elk Neck State Park in the past, so we decided to explore! North East Community Park is a waterfront park – it has a walking path along the water, dock, playground, covered pavilions for rent, picnic tables and restrooms.
North East Beach is located within Elk Neck State Park. Dogs are allowed on the beach on the “off-season.” Cello loves to run in the sand and had a blast chasing her ball!
Playing ball on North East Beach!
Only a short out-and-back walk in Elk Neck State Park will get you to Turkey Point Lighthouse. Once at the lighthouse, there is an amazing view!
Turkey Point Lighthouse in Elk Neck State Park, MD
We camped in Elk Neck State Park in North East, MD for Thanksgiving with our friends, Brandi and Stan. Cello and I kicked off the day with our first mile of the Holiday Streak Challenge! (Thanks Annie for getting us motivated and moving!) …then Brian deep-fried the turkey….YUM! We had a great trip – lots of fun, and lots to be thankful for!
Deep fried turkey…Delicious!
What an awesome sunset!
Cello has had recurring ear infections lately. It was suggested to us to try her on a grain-free diet for 30 days to see if her ear problem ceases. Her dog food is of very high quality, and is already grain free. However, all of the treats I was making her had whole-wheat flour as an ingredient …so – this is the first grain-free treat to be made in Cello’s Cucina!
We are going to go camping for Thanksgiving, so I decided to make these treats to bring on the trip for Cello… I chose Fall cookie cutters…a turkey, 2 different shaped leaves, an acorn, and a Squirrel (Cello’s favorite!)
Fall cookie cutters
Cello is licking her lips waiting for her treats to be done!
1. preheat oven to 300 degrees F
2. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients until completely combined
3. The dough will be very sticky – so generously flour everything – including your hands. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness.
Use cookie cutters of your choice to cut out the cookies.
4. Place cookies on a parchment paper-lined cookie tray, and bake the cookies for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. The cookies will
come out a pretty pumpkiny-brown! Let cool on a wire rack for soft treats, or turn oven off and let treats sit in oven for 1-2 hours or more if you want crunchier treats. I baked mine at night, so I just shut the oven off and left treats to cool overnight. In the morning I put some in the refrigerator, and some in the freezer to take on our camping trip.
Cookies can be stored in an air tight container in refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks – or in the freezer if you would like them to last a bit longer, or if you wanted to save them for a later date.
NOTE: have lots of extra garbanzo bean flour – the dough is REALLY sticky…so you will need to add flour to the dough, the cookie cutters, the roller, and the work surface (I used a glass cutting board – which worked the best with this sticky dough)
Made with healthy real pumpkin, these biscotti are yummy!
**egg whites (SEE NOTE BELOW)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In a large bowl, stir the pumpkin, honey, water, oil, egg, and vanilla
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cinnamon
4. Using a mixer, slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, a little at a time
5. Knead the dough with your hand in the bowl until the dough forms a ball, and divide in to two equal parts
6. On a cookie tray sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, form each ball of dough in to a slightly rounded rectangle, about one
7. Place loaves about 2 inches apart, and back for 35 minutes
10. Leave loaves on cookie tray, and place tray on a wire rack to let cool for 30 minutes. At the same time, LOWER the oven
temperature to 300 degrees F
11. Place the loaves on a cutting board, and slice into 1/2 inch slices
12. Place the slices, cut side down, back onto the cookie sheet
13. bake for 20 minutes. Turn slices over, and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until hard and crunchy
14. Let the biscotti cool on a wire rack until cooled completely.
Yield: Depending on how thick you cut the slices, you should yield about a dozen biscotti from each loaf.
Note: (OPTIONAL): using a pastry brush, apply an egg white-wash to loaves before baking the first time. This step will not change the taste of the biscotti, but it will take away any trace of flour, and give the biscotti a slight “shine.”
The kitchen has been the longest-running project. We built the cabinets all by hand – with no plans to follow, and no idea what we were doing! We get complements on them constantly – they really came out great – and fit right in with our cabin!
The kitchen is mostly completed as of today (11/16/2013)…but we still need to complete the ceiling (we are going to do a tin ceiling), get hardware for the cabinets, and complete the chinking on 3 walls of the kitchen and adjoining pantry.
The kitchen when we originally looked at the house…
The kitchen during the demolition…
Building the cabinets
…and the kitchen as of 11/16/13
Copper farm sink…Brian’s pick!
Other end of the kitchen
Adjoining pantry/laundry room (still needing the chinking in between the logs down as well as the ceiling)
Chinking (white stuff!) getting done in the kitchen:
2018: The “tin” ceiling going up!
One of the walls in our kitchen was nothing but rotted logs (from old roof leakage) and a very tiny window. We had the logs on hand, but hadn’t gotten around to replacing the wall. Friends of ours called us one morning to tell us they were removing a large window from their home to replace with a larger window, and that they thought we may be able to use it…well, it was a perfect size, and we dropped what we were doing that day, and ripped out the wall and old window!
Rotted logs and old window removed
New window in and trimmed, and new logs installed…just need to stain the logs, and chink in between logs
2019: Farm table and chinking/trim complete
More paneling on walls and ceiling to rip out… this room was a “treat”…we discovered to bats behind the paneling while ripping it out…quite the experience – and something I will NEVER forget!
The bar before…
Bats…YIKES! Brian brought them safely out of our house!
With the paneling gone, it’s on to stripping the bark off the logs, sanding them down, staining the logs, securing loose wires, repairing the chinking, and painting the chinking!
The exposed ceiling in the bar…
The bar after all the staining and painting…
We love wood carvings! Have you ever seen someone carve a tree stump with chain saw into a work of art? If not – it’s a must-see! These people are really talented! Here are some of our cabin “residents”….
This one was a gift…he greets people at our front door
Brian surprised me with this one for Christmas one year!
This guy awaits visitors as they make their way to our lake
This was the first carving we ever bought. This bear keeps us company in the lodge room.
Brian gave me this one for our 2013 Anniversary gift. This bear watches over Cello and Loki’s water and food bowls. You can see behind the bear that part of our kitchen wall is not yet completed with the white chinking…
This little guy can be seen “climbing” up a tree in our front yard
Brian came home from Home Depot one day and said he had bought me a surprise…a wood burning tool that was on clearance… he thought maybe I could do some burnings on some of the logs in the house. …With great fear of sparking a flame on such “seasoned” wood, I gave it a try anyway. The result was a pleasant surprise! The burnings looked really cool! I think the burnings make for nice, subtle details that are discovered sometimes by accident by visitors to our cabin.
Goose in the kitchen
Bass in lodge room
Turtle in the Lodge Room
Made with real pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)…pumpkin is known to have several health benefits for dogs!
Picture from dogtreatkitchen.com
Glaze Ingredients: (Optional)
Storing – Baked doughnuts, like these pumpkin dog treat donuts, will be good in the refrigerator for about one month. Keep them fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Yield – Using a mini donut pan, you’ll have 3 dozen little pumpkin doughnuts.
Warm cinnamon and pumpkin dog treat donuts make a sweet smell. Reward your sweetie with a batch of glazed or plain doughnuts that will satisfy a sweet tooth, and be healthy, too.
Cello was participating in a dock diving contest in Easton, and Holiday Park was the closest campground to Easton. We had been here before (our first camping trip with our travel trailer almost a year ago) and enjoyed the campground, our view, and the location (close to St. Michaels, Easton, and Annapolis). Friends Brandi, Stan, their daughter, Payton, and their dog Guinness joined us for this trip. Cello won her first 1st place medal while dock diving, and for the first time won 1st place overall in the Masters Division of her dock diving contest!
View from our campsite
The “champion” on our campsite 🙂
…Lake in Wood Resort…Probably the coolest campground we’ve been to yet! Also one of thee prettiest, and well-kept campgrounds! This campground also had wood carvings and totem poles everywhere! In addition, the “cabins” you could rent were not cabins at all – – they were a double-decker bus, tee-pee, caboose, etc! Cello rates this one 5 paws!
We had lots of company on this trip! Friends Brandi, Stan, their daughter, Payton, and dog, Guinness (they just bought a travel trailer and this was their very first trip with it!!) , Aunt Joyce and Uncle Johnny, and friends Chris and Cindy with their dog, and Cello’s boyfriend, Memphis!
Some of the totem poles and wood carvings around the campground
Cello and Memphis inn the fenced-in dog run!
Cello’s first dock diving contest! This wasn’t really a “true” campground, but they had camping spots for events such as Fido’s Festival.
Making our way back home we stayed a few nights at Cape Cod Campresort & Cabins. While here, we visited the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Cello was allowed on the ferries, and on public buses on each island!
Next stop in Maine was Mt. Desert Narrows. While here, we visited Stephen King’s house in Bangor ME, Bar Harbor, Bass Harbor Head Light, and Acadia National Park.
View from our campsite
First destination spot in Maine was Megunitcook Campground by the Sea. We went to Lobster Festival in Rockland, and visited the town Camden, Maine, as well as Camden Hills .
Cello is all set with her Maine- themed trailer buddy!
Cello is ready for some lobster!
On our way to our longest trip ever! Aunt Joyce and Uncle Johnny joined us on this great adventure to Maine, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket! First stop: Boston Minuteman Campground for some sleep to recharge ourselves for the rest of the drive to our first destination in Maine!
Aunt Joyce and Uncle Johnny went with us to Conewago Isle. Allthough when we pulled in, we were not impressed with what we saw, our site was right on the Conewago Creek, and we wound up having one of the funnest camping weekends!
Our Campsites (Us on the left, Joyce and Johnny on the right)
View from our campsite
Cello likes to watch Uncle Johnny set up his trailer from the window!
We went with Jerry, Russ, and Dixie to Delaware River Family Campground. We hiked, visited NJ’s tallest waterfall, Buttermilk Falls, historic Millbrook Village, Crater Lake, and Four Sisters Winery.
View from our campsite
Cello…enjoying the camping life!
We were invited by friends Jerry and Russ and their dog Dixie to got to The Depot Travel Park for Memorial Day weekend. We had a blast visiting local wineries (all dog friendly!) and sitting around the campfire at night.
Our campsite (Us on the right, Jerry and Russ on the left)
Cello met another (bigger!) female GSP at the campground.
Aunt Joyce and Uncle Johnny, and friends Chris and Cindy and their dog, Memphis (one of Cello’s boyfriends) joined us on this trip. I had a great birthday – we hiked, then had a little birthday party around the campfire with cake and cupcakes!
View from our campsite
Happy Birthday to me! …camping style!
On our way home from Myrtle Beach, we decided to try another stop-over location. We stayed the night at South Forty Camp Resort. It was a quick visit, just to get some sleep before continuing on our travels home. I forgot to take a picture of our campsite at this campground – but here were our views from the campsite…
Our Easter destination with friends Jerry, Russ, and their dog Dixie, was to Ocean Lakes Campground. Ocean Lakes was quite the experience! It was like it’s own little city – over 2,000 sites, on 310 acres! It was HUGE! And everyone there had golf carts – it was quite the experience! Cello got to walk on the beach each morning, and we took day trips to Conway, Georgetown (lots of dog friendly bars/restaurants!), and Murrells Inlet. We ate Easter dinner in our trailer – Jerry made lasagna roll-ups, and I made meatballs, sausage, and gravy. What a great time we had!
We didn’t want to drive all the way through, so we decided to do a stop-over on the way to our Easter camping trip to Myrtle Beach. If you are every passing through this area and need a stop-over place to stay, I highly recommenced staying here. The sites were pull through, level, clean – and some (like ours) even had their own gazebo! The facilities were immaculate!
This is our first time camping for Thanksgiving…we went to Elk Neck State Park with friends Jerry, Russ, and their dog, Dixie. Russ deep fried a turkey (our first time having deep fried turkey…YUM!!!) We visited Turkey Point Lighthouse and the town of Northeast, and went on a nice hike to see the white clay cliffs.
Cello gearing up for the chilly weather
Happy Thanksgiving 2012!
Aunt Joyce and Uncle Johnny joined us on this trip to Gettysburg Family Campground. We visited a dog friendly Irish pup/restaurant, O’Rourke’s, Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Brian and Johnny played a round of mini-golf before we left (Johnny won!)
Our first trip with our new travel trailer was to Holiday Park Campground. Aunt Joyce and Uncle Johnny bought a travel trailer as well, and they came with us on this trip. The campground was nice, and we took a day trip to St. Michaels. This campground was not full hookup, so it was also our first experience with a dump station… (Gross!…Definitely Brian’s job!)
Our campsite (Brian designed our camping sign!)
View from our campsite
Hickory Run State Park was our last tent-camping trip. The campground was very nice, and the hike was enjoyable.
View of the rocks at Hickory Run
Cello’s new “camp-buddy” Lamb Chop
Our anniversary trip to Big Meadows Campground was such a memorable one! Deer had no fear and would walk right up to the campsite, drives on Skyline Drive, great hikes, bear sightings, and anniversary dinner, camp style!
Our 5th Anniversary, Camp-style!
North/South Lake was another favorite trip of ours. The campground was beautiful, our site was right on the water, and we had a bear walk right by our campsite each night! It was so neat to see, but very scary to have a bear only 15-20 feet away from us! We had to sign a waiver at this campground about the bear, and agree to take the necessary precautions – which luckily WE did – because that bear that walked by our campsite ransacked another tenting family’s tent who didn’t follow the rules, and had food inside their tent! Great hikes here as well.
View from our campsite (on the water)
Boyfriend Memphis, and his parents Chris & Cindy joined us for this trip to Dingmans Campground. It was a great weekend with a trip to Bushkill Falls for a short hike. Our campsite was right on the Delaware River. Right after we retired to inside the tent the first night, we had what sounded like a pack of wild coyotes run by – it was so scary to hear something like that so close by!
View from our campsite (on the water)
Having Boyfriend Memphis on the trip was a real treat for Cello!
Ricketts Glen State Park – one of the most beautiful campgrounds with one of our favorite hikes ever – we hiked a short while and saw over 20 waterfalls – beautiful! My Aunt Joyce and Uncle Johnny joined us on this trip – THEIR first tent camping trip ever! (They were hooked after just one trip as well!)
Cello had a crate inside our tent just in case… looks like she enjoys her camping crate!
Back to Blue Rocks Family Campground for our second camping trip ever, and for the first of many camping trips in the 2012 camping season. It was also for my 40th birthday (am I really that old??) It dropped down to 29 degrees the first night, and snowed… We had a below-freezing rated sleeping bag, and sat around the fire for as long as we could before retiring to our tent. To go to sleep in the tent, I had a layer of Under Armour on, a layer of thermals, a layer of sweat pants, a winter coat, a winter hat, and hand/foot warmers jammed every which place I could find! Oddly, Cello slept in our sleeping bag for only a short time before working her way out to on top of the covers! Crazy dog! Luckily, the rest of the weekend was warm, and we had an enjoyable time.
We had to pack Cello her own chair for around the fire since during our first camping trip she “stole” Brian’s the first time he got up out of it!
Cello loved being in the tent! We brought some of her “bed buddy’s” from home to keep her company 🙂
Originally, the lodge room walls and ceiling were covered with painted-white paneling, and the ceiling was dropped down far enough where we could reach up and touch it. (The actual original height of the lodge room is 21 feet). You could only see half of the 2 story stone fireplace. After we tore all the paneling off, we had to strip the logs of the bark (by hand), sand the logs, stain the logs, re-run the wires to hide them, repair the chinking (white stuff in between the logs), and paint the chinking… it was quite the project!! In the middle of us doing this project, we had people asking us where we are living when all this is going on… the look on their faces when we told them we were living “right here!” in the middle of this construction zone was hysterical!
Ripping out the paneling…
Windows behind the paneling! Awesome…light!
After the ceiling was exposed, the logs were stained, and the chinking was painted…
The original cabin had a log rail stair case that led upstairs… but when we bought the house, you’d never know it! We were determined to rip out the wall leading upstairs, and build log railings …
Where the log railing SHOULD be…
Cutting down the wall leading upstairs…
When we first moved in , I kept hearing “noises” in the lodge room…after some careful inspection, and some helpful hints from our cat, Loki, we discovered a family of squirrels were living in between the paneling and the logs. We trapped the squirrels and relocated them (mom and 3 “kids”), and removed the paneling…to find that we were left with a log wall that hand been gnawed down, where you could see through to the outside! With some help from family and friends, we removed a window, replaced the chewed logs with new ones, and reset the window.
Lodge Room wall with chewed logs
Lodge Room wall after all the work…
This is another “Good-n-Plenty” pink room to match the bathroom! I couldn’t WAIT to rip this paneling down! When we did rip this paneling down, we had a couple of unexpected discoveries… a fully intact mouse skeleton (I’ll spare you the sight, and leave that picture out!), and an inactive but huge bee hive…aaah, the surprises keep coming!
This picture was taken after we had ripped down the drop-ceiling to expose the beams
This picture was taken in the middle of the job, while we were still taking paneling down on another wall, but here you can see the logs have already been stripped of the bark beofre the paneling covered them – – so one less step down the line for us…YIPEEEEE!
When we bought our cabin, there was already a dock on the property. However, in July of 2004 (before we owned the cabin) a huge rain storm (known as the 1,000 year storm) hit Medford Lakes, NJ, and three dams broke due to extreme lake swelling. Within a span of 14 hours, Medford Lakes took on 12 inches of rain. Three dams could not take the pressure, and burst. Two of those dams were at either end of the lake where our cabin sits. Here is what was left of the damn closest to our cabin:
You can get a picture of just how high the wave of water was traveling right through homes and businesses by looking at the picture below. The below picture shows an aluminum canoe wrapped around a tree at the level of the flood waters. This canoe remains here today, as a reminder of what this town went through in 2004.
The Flood of 2004 had taken it’s tole on the dock, so the only safe thing to do was to knock it down, and rebuild it.
Here is the old dock:
Ripping out the dock:
You can see how the force of the flood waters had pushed the pilings:
The new dock:
On August 1, 2009, I had laid down in our bedroom with the blinds drawn, trying to ward-off a migraine. Just as I drifted off, I awoke to sounds I cannot even describe. Medford Lakes NJ got hit with absolutely no warning by a tornado! Yes, a TORNADO in New Jersey! Crazy, right? What’s even crazier is that the tornado traveled right down our street! It touched down just feet from our home, just one week after we had dead trees removed from our property, and just days after our new roof was complete! We were one of just a few houses on our street that were spared completely – minus a broken flag pole out on the lake-side of our property.
When I woke up to excruciatingly loud pops and bangs, I ran out onto our porch to discover a house across the lake was on fire. I still had no idea what was going on!
I immediately called Brian, who was on his way home from work at the time. I was in shock, trying to describe what was going on – and Brian had no idea what I was talking about. Where he was driving, only minutes from our home, the weather was a gorgeous August day. I went out to the front of our home to see this:
The tornado some how by-passed our home, and traveled right down our street, causing awful damage to houses and cars!
Our home and my car were left untouched – with just a broken flag pole:
Our street was shut down, and the Red Cross delivered fresh water and supplies to all the houses due to power-outages and damage.
Just a few streets over, our town’s golf course suffered much damage as well:
I have never experienced a tornado before – and hope I never do again in the future! We were very lucky to have been spared of damage from this disaster!
Our side yard was a mish-mosh of broken brick, slate, pavers, railroad ties, and a ridiculously over grown garden. I spend an entire summer taking out each brick, paver, piece of slate, and railroad tie by hand, and stacking up the “good” pieces of brick (to re-use for a patio). Brian “mowed” down the garden, and roto-tilled the entire yard in an attempt to grow grass in the sandy Pine Barren soil…EVERYone told him it was impossible to do… and what does Brian do when someone tells him he can’t do something? He makes SURE he does it! …
The side yard as it was…
Dante and Cleopatra checking out my piles after we installed the new fence:
Brian, mowing down the jungle…I mean “garden”….
“New” side yard, with patio and walkways built with whatever good materials we saved from the original yard…oh – and the grass that was “impossible” to grow …way to prove everyone wrong, Brian!
New “GSP” size fencing! Added in Winter, 2015:
The 40 foot porch overlooking the lake had been screened in, and the log railings had been replaced by a plywood wall. We wanted to restore the porch to it’s original form – log railings. We asked around town about where we could buy logs, and we were connected with a man named “Spike”…he still operates the saw mill where the original logs of this home were milled! Generations of his family harvested cedar trees, milled them at their saw mill, and carted them by horse and buggy down the main street of our town, to the log homes that were being built here! It was great getting some more history about our home and community from Spike!
Why start anything inside when we have a leaky roof, right? The first project we decided to tackle, was one of the biggest – and one that we could not tackle ourselves… the roof. This project was quite the eye opener…a lesson learned with log cabins…no project is easy, quick, or inexpensive…and ALL projects, no matter how small, lead into 5 other projects!
We wanted the roof to look original – which meant tearing off all the layers (all 4 of them!) and insulating the roof from the exterior so that the original log beams and tongue-and-groove ceiling could be exposed in the lodge room. What we found was that from the leaking, most of the roof was rotted – and had to be torn off! …I can’t even describe the pit in my stomach when the roofers told us the “the whole thing” was coming off… the sky’s the limit! …
I’m sure the neighbors “loved” us with all the debri that was around the house for the MONTH it took to do this job!
(original estimation from roofers was 1 week!)
After the exterior was torn off, looking up in the lodge room was like looking up at an old barn ceiling!
Tearing out the paneled ceiling and walls in the lodge room…so that the roofers could see the roof from the inside and install the skylights.
In 2009 we bought our dream home – on a whim – and totally unprepared for what was in store for us. We used to have conversations about what our dream home would be, what it would “have to have,” etc. Well, one day, we stumbled across our ultimate dream home…a log cabin on a lake…with all the “requirements” on our once fantasy dream-home list… except it wasn’t quite in “dream-home” shape…and it didn’t quite look much like a log cabin!…
The home we purchased was a real cedar log log home, built in 1927. It is built on a double lot, with a 2-car log constructed garage. Some time over the years, the original logs AND ceilings of the entire home were covered over by painted-white paneling. The original hardwood floors were covered with rug…It was infested with mice, flying squirrels (yes FLYING) – and bats (YIKES)…(all of which we finally were able to safely remove and relocate). The cabin also had an entire log wall whittled down to toothpicks by the family of (regular) squirrels living between the paneling and logs (family of squirrels also safely relocated!). …Aaaah…with the adventures we encountered…I could have written a book!
Our goal: Restore it back to it’s original glory…expose all the logs, fix all the chinking (white stuff in between the logs), and make some upgrades along the way – all “DIY” style…ON OUR OWN! … My thought at the time was “No problem!” … I swore we’d be done the home in it’s entirety in 3 years… what I quickly came to realize is that we had just purchased a life-long project! Although frustrating at times, it has truly been one of the most rewarding things Brian and I have ever done. The memories we have created here, both inside the home, and out on the lake, are priceless!
Posts to follow are just SOME of the things we have demolished, built, and restored!
We entered Cello in the Animal Welfare Association’s calendar contest. The proceeds for the contest entry, as well as proceeds from calendar sales went towards the shelter. Cello won “Miss November!)
Pool picture on August’s page