July 7th

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

For those friends who live in or near Wright County, if you haven’t already, you have to go to the Swapper’s Meet.

I had always heard about it, as it is a common summer Saturday activity for neighbors at the cabin, but last weekend was the first time Paul and I had attended. It was rainy, so it was pretty quiet, and I wasn’t sure what all of the hype was about.

However, this weekend (yesterday, today and tomorrow) is their holiday weekend event – a big three day market. From what I had read before attending, thousands of people turn out for this weekend’s sell, so we gave it another try.

It was a totally different place today! Hundreds of vendors, hundreds of people browsing. I took this picture at 6:30 this morning; by seven, these aisles were packed!

Picture a giant yard sale, and you might get close to imagining what this place was like. A little bit of everything. People were pulling carts and wagons full of their finds!

July 6th

Friday, July 6th, 2018

Is it simply coincidence that the Fourth of July weekend brought a family of Bald Eagles to the lake?

I’m not sure, but it’s awesome!

We had a pair of Bald Eagles that must have been nesting on the lake somewhere the past couple of years, but we haven’t seen them much this year. I’ve been missing them. We saw one adult yesterday, but I wasn’t sure if it was a random guy swinging in for a meal, or if it was one of the pair.

Well, this morning Paul and I were enjoying coffee on the patio when this adolescent eagle landed in our neighbor’s tree.

Not only was it super neat to see it that close, but I’m hoping that means the pair is back with it’s “chicks.”

July 5th

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

I love the lake.

Can you be a Minnesotan if you don’t?

Just kidding, friends.

But really, I do love the lake. I love boating, water sports, and all of the wildlife that flock to the water.

We were cruising the lake on the pontoon today when a Bald Eagle cruised in overhead. He dove toward the water, pulled back up with a large Northern, and flew back over us.



June 30th

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

The lake our cabin is on loves their loons.

So much so that a couple of years ago, the lake association integrated two Loon nesting platforms into the lake to encourage loons to nest (obviously), but then also in turn build the loon population by raising young on the lake, hoping they’ll return to the lake in future years. They’ve had great success with them; each year all platforms have been  occupied.

I am all about this idea, especially when it means there are chicks to photograph.


They grow crazy fast too. Two weeks ago, the chicks I saw couldn’t have been more than a couple days old; they were essentially black cotton balls with legs. This guy is at least quadruple that size.

On that note, I have related trivia for you.

As many of us know, when chicks are that small, it’s very common for mom/dad to carry the chick(s) on their backs.

But how on earth do the chicks get all the way up there?

Serious question. I was so perplexed by this that I did some digging.

I finally found a video that showed how it happens and it was so cool. Someone in my family said mom/dad dives under to pick up chick.


Someone else said chicks climb up.

Half nope.

The chick swims up alongside mom/dad, and mom/dad loosely extends their wing. Chick swims up and nestles between mom/dad’s body and their wing. Mom/dad half scoops up chick to get them out of the water, boosts chick towards their back, and the chick attempts to climb to the middle of mom/dad’s back.

I’m not sure why I find this so fascinating, but this added another dimension to loons for me.

Have any of you ever seen this happen? If so, I’m jealous!

June 29th

Friday, June 29th, 2018

My family did something today that they have never done before.

Actually, strike that, they did two things they’ve never done before:
1. Henna came to the cabin, and
2. She slept INSIDE the cabin.

Farm dog turned indoor cabin dog all in the span of 6 hours.

We all loved it, especially Henna.

With the crazy heat today (Heat indices of 110 degrees), we couldn’t not bring her. We were all a little concerned about how much she would bark, or that the activity of boats, people, and other dogs would have her too riled up, but she actually did so great with it. So much so in fact that it actually wore her out mentally.

For anyone who has (or ever has had) a VERY, smart active puppy, that is hard to do, and is a true God send.

She was perfectly content to be in her harness, on a leash all weekend. She happily laid in the yard and monitored all of the jet ski’s drive by. However, she was pretty perplexed by the skiers and wake boarders (they are ON TOP of the water!), and when they were out, her eyes were constantly scanning the water.

That’s what’s happening in today’s picture.

Being the sweet, loyal, brave, control freak pup she is, she was very concerned for the people in the water. She’d whine and whine, concerned for them, but unable to help them. So to cope, she’d keep at least one paw fimrly on Emma, so she couldn’t leave. She had to at least keep one of her humans safe!

We all had a good laugh at her expense, but it’s only because she’s got a sweet heart.


June 23rd

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

If you are slightly terrified looking at this image, don’t worry. I was too.

When Paul and I pulled up at the cabin this morning, this lady was in the middle of the road. We parked, got out, and walked up to her thinking she was a snapper, and when we got closer realized that was definitely not what she was.

In fact, I had never seen a turtle like her before. Ever.

Huge webbed feet, a large, low, flat soft shell – she was easily over a foot across. Most off-putting, however, was her snout. It looked like a pig’s: long and tapered with two nostrils at the end. And to top it off, creepy alligator-esque eyes.

I had no idea what kind of turtle she was. But let me tell you, she was fast.

I took these photos, walked around to the other side of the cabin, came back, and she was gone.

So naturally, I got curious.

I  Googled “Minnesota turtle species,” and a handful came up. You typical Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle, and others, but then there she was: A Spiny Softshell Turtle.


Fun fact: They don’t start breeding until they are between 8-10 years of age, and can live to be over 50!

June 16th

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

The cabin is one of my favorite places to be.

This weekend is the first weekend we’ve spent time here, and it’s wonderful. I don’t know about you, but if you spend a lot of time on the water, you begin to enjoy the look of it. The colors, textures, depth, contrast. Each day it’s different.

Tonight, cruising around the lake on the pontoon, I loved the texture and colors of the water.

June 7th

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Our first cabin night of the season!

The weather wasn’t perfect, but it felt good for the boys to get in the water and play with the new boat. My parents upgraded their surf boat, meaning a bigger and better wave, so they had lots of fun getting the curl just right.

We were the only ones out on the lake, meaning there was lots of room to play and experiment.

Making the transition from surfing in the ocean to surfing behind the boat, Paul even completed his first 360 unassisted, which was sweet!

Looking forward to lots of lake time this summer.

May 18th

Friday, May 18th, 2018

I learned a great lesson today: It pays to have awesome friends.

Yes, yes, I’ve known this all along, but today proved to be especially awesome.

About a week ago, I posted on Facebook asking for recommendations for an underwater camera to bring to Hawaii. A few people came to my aide with suggestions, and it was super helpful to help narrow down what I was looking at, especially since I didn’t leave myself much time to research and purchase.

Well, one of the friends that came forward isn’t a photographer, but had an underwater camera that he uses often and really likes.

So I reached out to him with a proposition: A case of beer for a week’s worth of borrowing his camera.

With no hesitation, he responded “Yeah, absolutely, no sense in you spending money. Just as long as we’re in agreement that if you break it, you buy it.”

A more than fair stipulation, my friend.

So today, on our way out to the cabin, I swung over to his house and traded the beer for the camera. At the cabin, while Paul and dad were playing with the new boat, I climbed down into the water. I looked at this little camera, and thought to myself “this goes against everything I stand for” – and stuck the camera in the water. It was a little frightening, but all went well.

At that moment, I fell in love with this little camera.

It’s an understatement to say that I am excited to give this guy a go in the ocean.


September 14th

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Day three for portraits, day two for Paul.

What can I say – when the husband is home, we maximize our time together hence the Paul inundation.

Today was a sad day for the Johnson family (my side of the family). My family has a lake cabin and one of our favorite things to do is surf behind our Centurian. As we are going into fall, it was time for the boat to come out of the water for the season. It was gorgeous and nearly ninety degrees today, so we took a couple laps around the lake and everyone who wanted to surfed. We had the lake entirely to ourselves, so it was a very relaxing last run.

July 28th

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Minnesota was made for snow shoeing and lake life.

At either end of the year, it’s hard to imagine the landscape in a different season. In the winter we can’t imagine how we could ever be outside in a swimming suit, while in the summer it’s impossible to think of donning a heavy coat, hat, and mittens.

Each season has its unique beauties and attractions, but time spent on the lake in the summertime is one of my favorites.

Last summer, the newest “toy” at the cabin was this Lily Pad. Made of dense foam, up to twelve people can hang out on it before it loses buoyancy. It takes relaxing on the lake to an entirely new level, which my sister, Emma, demonstrates well 😉