Old Overgrown, Ramblings

Exactly one year ago today, I moved to the UP. Paul came up to start his new job in May. I sold the oh, so fabulous Market Alley Wines on June 16, 2017 and we had to be out of our home in Monmouth on July 1 for our house buyers.  The movers came on June 29 to haul our incredibly down-sized belongings up north and we packed the car with what we would need for a month or so, squeezed in the pup and up north we drove! Continue Reading


IRON RIVER, MI, April 24, 2018 – Contrast Coffee has hired a General Manager at their flagship shop in Iron River. Susan Schuytema brings decades of experience in customer service and hospitality. She has worked as a journalist and most recently as the owner of a nationally award winning wine shop in west central Illinois.

“When we first came to Iron River for my husband’s interview last spring, (Paul Schuytema, Executive Director of the ICECA), I was so impressed with Contrast Coffee … not just the coffee, which was and is amazing, but the company’s commitment to the community. Although it is a different kind of liquid pleasure than from my wine shop, I immediately felt a strong parallel with my own business and the mission of the coffee shop. I knew when we relocated here that I wanted to be a barista and am thrilled now to be part of the management team.”

Schuytema’s success in creating a neighborhood “hang out” with her Illinois business Market Alley Wines gives her the experience to help Contrast Coffee’s Iron River location become a true destination for locals and visitors alike.

“Contrast Coffee is already a great hang out that is full of smiles and lively conversation,” Schuytema said. “Our job is to deliver incredible coffee, great every time, served with a smile and the sense that you’ve come back to that place you just love – welcoming, homey and part of your family.”

“I’ve always prided myself on excellence,” said Schuytema. “The Contrast owners’ commitment to creating a truly exceptional coffee experience is something that I deeply respect. They’ve worked hard to hone in on the best beans, the perfect roast, the perfect grind to deliver the absolute finest cup of coffee.”

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We use so much less ice in the UP than we ever have! I think we have used the ice maker in our fridge twice. And it seems totally obvious, but we had bloody Marys at an outdoor event and the ice never melted!

Outdoor chic – it’s a thing. There definitely is a Northwoods style that is laid back, practical, and warm during the winter! I can’t seem to stop buying knit hats!

During the summer, the grocery stores display corn on the cob (in husks) on ice. There must be a reason for this, I just don’t know what it is. Two of the things I will miss most about Illinois is the sweet corn and the summer tomatoes. Even though they will be for sale here, they just pale in comparison.

Saying “River” after the name of a river is not cool. It’s the Brule not the Brule River. It’s the Paint. Not the Paint River. It’s Cooks Run which is a bummer after I hash tagged #cooksrunriver dozens of times. (As a side note, I don’t really care if I sound cool or not.)

A sauna? It is pronounced the original Finnish way: SOW nah. And boy, are they popular up here. Speaking of Fins … my mom just got her ancestor DNA results and she is 3.5% Finnish! I guess that makes me a small percent too. Cool!

Anyone who knows me KNOWS I run hot. But even in the coldest of winter, everywhere we go is SO warm! I’ve only been cold once and that was last week with a super strong wind.

Oh, and as God as my witness, I’ve seen turkeys fly! For real! The wild turkeys roost high in trees and can fly about 1/4 of a mile. We saw dozens of them coming down from their roost and flying to the neighbors house (who feeds them.) And, according to Stella, their poop is tasty.

Also, flying squirrels are real and live here. Legit as shit. I saw one of those too! They actually have membranes that connect their front and rear legs and kind of jump then soar.

I had no idea porcupines also live up here. I’ve seen a few … all road kill.

We saw a couple of tundra swans flying over the house yesterday! And the woodpeckers are beautiful but one SOB had been pecking our house! Like, part of our house in on the ground. @#$#* woodpeckers.


I’ve been  in the Upper Peninsula or a little over seven months now, and Susan just over six. Along the way, we’ve made a few observations of how life is different up here in the Northwoods. Continue Reading