The Trial Run

Last week, for the first time in 7 years my husband took an entire week-long vacation alone together. Sure, we’ve done a long weekend here & there and date nights now & then, but a full week? Not since our son was in 4year-old kindergarten. Mr Knitting Sarah came up with this crazy idea to go up to my parents’ house for the Thanksgiving holiday and then they graciously offered to watch the kids and the dog Monday through Saturday. He found a hotel with condo-like suites that included a full kitchen (a huge plus in my book!) in Door County, a place he knows I love very much.

The day we arrived we got an early start because we are early start people. The weather was cold and raining so we took our time, did some grocery shopping, and had lunch out while we waited to be able to check in to our hotel. When we did, we discovered that because of the off-season emptiness of the resort, we’d been upgraded from a 1-bedroom, 1-bath suite to a 2-bedroom, 2-bath suite. We joked that it was like a “second honeymoon special” that we got separate bedrooms & bathrooms. In all seriousness though, it was a wonderful. Neat & tidy & cozy with a cute little fireplace — just the perfect size for us.

We spent a lot of time on the trail.

img_5315-1It was chilly most of the week, but beautiful and quiet.

On day 2 we even borrowed bikes that the resort had on hand and rode down to a nearby Land Trust…

img_5326-1Where we found an eagle’s nest just off the trail…

img_5325-1This picture doesn’t give any justice to the sheer size of this incredible construction. I’ve seen many eagle nests over the years, but never quite this close up. I could probably curl up in it, that’s how big it was.

I was also wowed that directly underneath it was a circle of giant sticks and branches that had fallen out of the nest over time.

img_5324-1 And yes, I took a picture of the giant pile of sticks. It doesn’t look like much, but it was set me back on my heels. Nature is so much bigger than me.

It’s good to be reminded of that sometimes, I think.

We did a nice long hike in Peninsula State Park, too.

img_5328-1Again, we were there early and the grey light starkly contrasted the green of the forest floor…

img_5332-1The blues of the sky & the bay…

img_5348And the white of the limestone cliffs.

There was texture galore, too…

img_5365The trees that struggled to hang on against the wind and the rock…

img_5352The lichen clinging on the straining bark…

img_5344-1And even a few little delicate flowers still in bloom… in late November… reminding us that this autumn has been unseasonably warm despite the chill in the air we were feeling.

And each evening we’d come home to this…

img_5368Perfect.

We discovered a few new places including a place once named “Death’s Door Headlands” — rechristened “Door Bluff Headlands” at some point no doubt to be less ominous. It was, however, still kind of ominous.

It was a relatively dark hike, with lots of roots to trip over…

img_5370And a cliff edge nice and steep…

img_5372That even the trees leaned away from.

There was a single overlook where you could see the roiling bay that you could hear along the entire trail…

img_5390Mind the the edge though, because it is a long way down. Those who don’t like heights might want to stay back.

We hiked on a while farther to the point where public land turned private and as we turned around we ran into a fearless flock of 6-10 chickadees.  My husband demonstrated exactly how inquisitive they really were…

img_5387Nothing in his hand to entice them, they just took turns alighting on his hand out of curiosity. Then Mr Knitting Sarah convinced me to try…

I’ve never done this before as we do tend to let the wild stay wild, but on our own in the forest without the kids we made friends with this little flock. It was beyond words. They escorted us to the edge of their little wood, where the trail tracked back up a ridge to the overlook. As quickly as they appeared around us, they disappeared back into the forest. I have no other word for the experience than ‘magical.’

Oh, and the spinning…

img_5395Thanks to the short days of late November, movies, and that cozy fireplace, I managed to spin 12oz of Three Waters Farm fiber into…

img_5425Two skeins of about 550 yards of worsted weight yarn (in the top right you can see a teeny tiny glimpse of the chain plied leftovers of one bobbin, too). The smaller skein is Reflections on Mirror Lake and the bigger skein is a combination of Reflections on Mirror Lake and Green Surround, a combination that I absolutely cannot take credit for as a fellow spinner in the Three Waters Farm Ravelry Group spun up this combo months ago and inspired me to buy an extra braid to copy her.

img_5427I am forever indebted to her color combining genius because this skein is gorgeous.

img_5430This one is awfully pretty, too, though. Don’t mind the flecks of snow you can see — I couldn’t dodge the flurries this morning on my back porch!

There were many more hikes, good food, a little knitting, and a lot of laughter. Somewhere around day 2 or 3 my husband let me know that he was viewing this trip as a practice run at retirement, preparation for the empty nest we may have in 10years. If you know us, it won’t surprise you to know that he’d plan a practice run or that I would need one. That’s just us, to a T. We discovered that after 13years we do still have a lot of fun together, that we can function on our own without the kids, and that should we ever want to downsize to a little condo we would most likely be happy as clams. These are such good things to know in advance, I think. What a wonderful, refreshing, joy-filled week — maybe next time we have time to ourselves it’ll be the real show, the true empty nest or maybe, just maybe we’ll take another practice week before that. Either way, I feel prepared after our trial run.

10 responses to “The Trial Run

  1. Wonderful photos and description of your trip! Who would think the little birds would land right on your hand. Amazing!

  2. what a wonderful break! I love that you call it a practice run for empty nesting – should that ever happen to you. 🙂 The hiking and spinning look wonderful, and I love that you had such a nice cozy condo to enjoy together. Life is good.

    • Life IS good. I think part of it was to see if we could handle a smaller space (which is saying something because our house is small). I think the answer is yes. 🙂

      • You know, I would be ok transitioning to a much smaller stash. I actually don’t think it would be bad to only have yarn and fiber ahead for a project or two. I could do that. I appreciate that I don’t have to now, but I could do that. 🙂

      • I think it would be hard to only have fiber one or two projects ahead… I am so used to finishing one and jumping right into the next one, even if it takes me a couple of months to spin, I like the comfort of having my little bag of braids. As for knitting stash, Maybe 4 projects ahead… or maybe I had better not downsize too seriously. 🙂

      • I think if I could eventually getting to where I can spin to knit or weave the next project, that would be a great place to be. Someday maybe. We’ll see. ☺️ I am definitely planning to start a big spin, knit, & weave down the stash next year. I’m kind of interested to see where I can go with it.

  3. Indeed, as salpal1 (Sarah) said, Life IS good! It’s so smart to take a break periodically for just the 2 of you, whether as a retirement practice, or just plain old time alone. The spinning was amazing, but the chickadees landing on your hands? Are you kidding me? That is the experience of a lifetime. WOW! I think animals can see our souls and they clearly saw you guys as safe. Amazing.

    • Very, very true! I’m the kind of person who needs to *see* or experience a situation before I can be comfortable with it, so I think this helped me a lot to kind of envision the future as our kids grow up. I need that!

      As for the chickadees — IKR?! I thought my hubby was insane trying to do it, but sure enough. They are just curious enough. Magical, magical, magical experience.

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