I will start by saying that I have a new found respect for the owners of all those cute and cozy bed and breakfasts! I will admit that over the years I have often eyed aging Victorian beauties and dreamed of transforming them into an amazing B&B. I now realize that I am not up to the task. The months of May, June, July and August brought weekly visitors, as we prepared for the August wedding. As the months passed we jokingly changed the name from the Apple Ranch to the Apple Ranch B&BLD (bed,breakfast, lunch, & dinner, to the Apple Ranch RV Park, to the Apple Ranch Retirement Home & dog park. I am sure there were some guests that felt a more appropriate name might be Bette's Big Stone Lake Work Camp!
Over the summer, and with the help of many hands, there were several transformations! We did some major landscaping to the yards, and with the donation of about a hundred perennials from my neighbors Jon and Floyd Thieman it looks amazing. An arbor was added to the front yard for the bride and groom to stand under. The house now has a second bathroom, which we have talked about adding since we bought the place. The decks were stained a lovely shade of green, the front porch was finally finished, complete with a ceiling fan and a monster fern, the barn was rid of 5 years of excess "stuff", and the orchard was topped, pruned, fertilized and mowed to near perfection. Many thanks are in order ... First to my awesome friend Pam, who not only worked tirelessly every time she came, but also for being my sounding board when things went less than perfect, and to her husband Jerry who let me "borrow" his wife for much of the summer. To Jim Skeffington, father of the bride (yes, my ex) for taking the lead on the bathroom, and spending a couple of weeks here making it happen. (It is AMAZING by the way) To his wife Jan, who not only shared her husband so freely, but even agreed to move some medical treatments to Ortonville so she could be with him. To Kurt and Shae, for doing everything from dock duties, to construction duties, & from lawn work to handyman jobs. There is no one on earth that has better sons! To Jon, my friend/neighbor/tenant/Ranch hand for landscaping, heavy lifting, and always being available to help a damsel in distress. (You have no idea how many things can break in a week) There are more, but we'll get to them when we get to the wedding part.)
So, enough blah, blah, blah from me... On to the pictures, in no particular order:
In May the days were spent doing yard work, gardening, and helping Jon & Floyd pack their belonging . The evenings were devoted to wedding invitation creation. Although in a former life I designed and made invitations on a regular basis, it's been a while, so the project took longer than I expected. I think we were all pretty happy with the end project, so I'll add that to the successful project list.
Those of you that have been to the ranch are familiar with my pal Maizee, a rescue Lab/Retriever mix that came to live with me last October. In June Maizee had a joyful reunion with her sister, who lives with Jon's friend Scott. (Maizee is on the left) There was no doubt that they recognized each other right away!
I've barely started, but the clock is ticking, and I do have other chore to get done. I'll make a real effort to get back here very soon to show off a few more photos!
Get out and enjoy the fall!