I have this
thing about writing a journal on the last day of the month. Not sure
why, but I do. So here I am, Friday evening, on a 3 day weekend,
sitting at home writing a journal. Ha, I'm not complaining.
This is right where I want to be. I turned down golf (played 18 yesterday)
and decided to just stay in this evening. I have the fireplace all
ready to go. I'm going to build a fire and see if taking the rain
cap off solves the problem of the smoke not going up the chimney as well
as it should. If not, then plan two will go into effect this weekend.
That is to bring fresh air into the firebox via an intake tube already
in the firebox. I'll be sure to keep you all posted, as I am sure
you all are just riveted with excitement over the issue!
Gonna get chilly tonight.
Tomorrow AM could find the first frost in the valley. It was 35 degrees
in northern MN and those conditions are expected away from the lake tonight.
Today we never left the 50's. It was mostly sunny, so it did not
feel that cool. However, the afternoon walk had me wearing a coat
for the first time this season. It actually felt pretty good to be
wearing the wind breaker.
Yesterday the hounds
and I took a walk up on the ridges overlooking the Traprock Valley.
There is a place that I would love to purchase property on, but I doubt
that it will be for sale anytime soon. It is owned by Champion International
and from what I understand, they are not as willing to part with their
land as Lake Superior Land Company is. The number one reason why
I would like this property is that it has a great
view of the valley. It would be nice to be on the lake, but I
have pretty much given up on spending the money needed to have lakefront
property. When I first started coming up here, all the land was really
cheap. I can remember seeing lakefront property for just a few thousand
dollars. It is about 10 times that now. Still a bargain compared
to stuff further south, but too much for me. I am now looking for
stuff with a view and if that goes before I can buy, then I'll just settle
for some beautiful land in the woods. Anyway we walked around this
property and came across a unique
object. I am not sure what is was. It almost looked like
the remnants of an old street car or something. I suppose it is possible,
there were street cars running from Lake Linden to Hubbell at one time.
Strange the things that you can encounter when walking in the woods and
fields up here.
The rest of our walk
yesterday took us into the woods where it was delightful. This is
really one of the best times of the year to be up here. The time
from the 4th of July till the 3rd week of August is the busiest up here,
but really, now is the time to come. It is still warm, or at least
not cold, and best of all, there are no bugs! We just go anywhere
and not worry about flies or other insects. I suppose that it is
a different story if you are out there in the evening, as Chris and I found
out last week picking berries, but during the day, the conditions for walking
in the woods could not be better. We came across a sign
of the pending season change. Yep, there starting to change.
At least a few of them. Soon, I will be pointing the AL Cam off towards
the maples in my back yard so that you can monitor their change.
Just about this time
last year, the hounds and I took a walk on a trail out by my house and
the ferns were turning colors. That is where we headed off to today
for our afternoon walk. They are not
as far along this year. Hope that is not a sign that the winter
will be mild! Just kidding. I don't really believe in the idea
that creatures in nature know if the winter will be a bad one or not.
Plenty of animals die every winter up here and if they knew it was going
to be unusually difficult for them to get by, I am fairly certain that
they would do things to help them through it. Just a theory, but
no one has been able to show that animals are predictors of how severe
a winter will be.
I'm not taking any
changes and fired
up the sled this evening. Actually, I had not done it in over
a month and wanted to keep the carbs from getting too dry and gummed up
as well as lubricate the moving parts by having the 2-stroke exhaust do
it's magic. All my neighbors know that I am a meteorologist and I
think I gave some of them a scare with starting up the sled when the coolest
night of the season is pending! She started up pretty easily.
About 10 pulls and it was humming. I let it warm up just a bit and
then gave it some revs, just to help work things a bit. Good throttle
response, so the plugs are not fouled. I start it in about another
month and then have Al give it the once over in the middle of November
so that it will be all ready for that pre-thanksgiving ride (I hope!).
was relaxing on the couch and looked so cute, I just had to snap a shot
of her. I'll end with that.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
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Whew, busy times.
Fun, but busy. It was great to have my parents visit and thankfully
the weather was just about perfect. We did not do a ton of stuff,
but kept ourselves fairly busy. They arrived Friday evening and all
we did was have dinner and then visit some before going to bed. Saturday
we too the scenic route to Copper Harbor, taking in the Cliff Drive, Eagle
River, Eagle Harbor and Brockway Mountain. Once at the Harbor, we
made like tourists and visited the gift shops and then grabbed a snack.
On the way back down I asked if they were feeling brave enough to take
on a ghost hunt and they said they were so we stopped in at Mandan.
I was not too afraid going in. For one, I had my parents as well
as Burt and Baileys for protection and also because it was a pretty nice
day. At least not as gloomy as the November day last year when the
image appeared in the window. I took several shots, but as you can
see from this one,
there were no ghosts in view that day. You can also see that the
house lost it's little gable over the front door. Must have been
the 300+" of snow last year. I also did enough examining of my own
to see that there was nothing directly behind the window on the top left.
So last years image was either a reflection or a honest to goodness ghost.
I am putting my money on the reflection. There are some storm windows
on the house and they look to be made out old leaded glass, so they are
not smooth and are very prone to reflections. Anyway, it was a ghost
free event and I can say that I was not exactly disappointed.
The weather has been
just about perfect. Days have been spent in mostly sunny skies and
temps in the 70's. Nights have been dropping off into the low 50's
and even some upper 40's. Yesterday morning we dropped down to 46
degrees. This weekend will be even cooler. I would not be surprised
at all to see temps into the mid to upper 30's and maybe even the valley's
first light frost. Saturday morning is the best chance. That
is not highly unusual. The average first frost date for the valley
is about the first week of September and a hard freeze can be expected
about 2-3 weeks later. Those dates are about 1-2 weeks earlier than
the higher elevations around here.
The trees seem to be
noting the change of season taking place. Many have lost that deep
green color and some even have hints of some yellow and orange showing
up. In about a month we will be at peak color. Seems really
strange, with all the mild temps we have been having lately. What
seems even stranger is that in a month, we will have either seen our first
flakes or I should be eyeing the system that will bring them. Maybe
this weekends chill will help me to feel more like fall has arrived in
the northwoods. One thing that will be good about the cooler temps
is that I will be able to test out my fireplace. I have had problems
with the smoke going up the chimney and I think that it is because there
is no fresh air allowing the fireplace to draft. However, my friend
Chris from the White House Motel thinks that it might be the cap on the
chimney. I decided to try his advice first because if he is right,
his fix is a lot easier than trying to bring fresh air into the firebox.
Actually doing that will not be too hard. There is an opening in
the firebox that you can run a gas line to. It is sheltered and I
would not have to worry about using it to draw in cold air. The hard
part would be putting a drier like vent in the exterior wall to draw in
the cold air. As soon as the fix is in, I can start with my next
project for the house and that is to build some custom cabinetry on either
side of the fireplace as well as build a mantle.
The passing time has
also meant that both Baileys and I are healing further. I have been
going up to workout and do the exercises that I was doing with my physical
therapy. I am adding weight to the routine, so things are getting
better. I could easily ride, even off trail, but I want to be 100%
so that nothing holds me back this winter. I may not be jumping as
much and as high, but I don't think that my riding style will change all
Baileys is also making
advancements in her healing process. She can now get about 45 minutes
of walking in and we are taking full advantage of that. Actually
I think that we go a little over, because we take our 10-15 minute mid
morning walk and then take the 45 minute afternoon walk. Today we
headed off to walk the snowmobile trail that runs along the Traprock
River. The hounds took a nice little swim and then we continued
on. It is hard to believe that in just 3 months and with a little
luck, this will
be all covered in panked down snow and be ready to ride. Man that
seems odd. 3 months ago I was getting ready to take Baileys down
As many of you have
read, this will be the last week for the summer forecasts in text.
I will keep doing the maps, as they say a lot about the weather in the
next 4 days and are not too hard to do. I will be taking some time
off before the winter forecasts kick in November 1st, so the last few weeks
of October will be my time of rest and recharging. I think that I
may even take a few days off from my commodity work. I don't know
what I will do, I live where I would vacation, so maybe I'll just take
the hounds on some camping trips or something. One thing is for sure,
I need a few days off. I have not had a real vacation in over 4 years
and have only gotten a few days off at a time when the holidays come.
I guess I had a week off when I broke my leg, but that is not the same.
Heck, I am really looking forward to having a three day weekend!
Well, enough of my belly aching. I love my job and my life and like
I say, I live where I would take my vacation!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
I just did not
have the heart to leave you all out there until Monday. My parents
arrive tomorrow and if I did not update the journal today, then it would
have had to wait until after they depart Monday. I know that they
would not mind me updating it while they were here, but I think that I
should not, especially since they will not be here too long.
Went berry picking
with Chris and Marlo of the White House Motel in Mohawk. We have
not seen much of each other this summer so it is nice o hook up again.
I took them to the secret spot and swore them to secrecy. They promised.
The berries are coming
along. It seemed like about 1/4 were ready, 1/2 were turning
and will be ready in about a week and the final 1/4 are still either white
or green and need about 2 more weeks. It's weird how some are ready
and some are still weeks away, I guess that is mother natures way
of providing a meal to the animals in the woods for a prolonged period
of time. I can say that most of the berries on an individual bush
were in the same relative degree of ripeness. It was great to happen
along a bush like
this. You just put the pail underneath the berries and start
picking. I learned to put the pail underneath by loosing a lot of
the ripest ones. They are so ripe, all you have to do is touch them
and they fall. If you are not there to catch them, their on the ground,
usually in a place to hard to get to. The ripest are the best tasting
The bugs were not too
bad when we first started, at least not for Chris and I, but poor Marlo
must have been wearing something on her skin that they liked or must have
tasted better than Chris and I (not surprising!), because she did not last
long at all and was chased back into the truck to be safe from the misquitos.
However, as the sun set, the flying mini-vampires came out in full force.
At one time I looked over to see 7 on Chris's back, all with their needles
sucking blood. Plus it was too warm to wear long pants or a long
sleeved shirt, so we were not only eaten alive, but also scratched up pretty
good. I am sporting some pretty good scars from the thorns on the
bushes. One actually stuck in my thumb when I tried to pull away
and I had to get it out with my teeth. All of the pain was worth
it, I think. I ended up with about 3-4 quarts of berries and Chris
had about the same. All told we were picking for about 45 minutes.
Chris and I have also
taken on the task of resigning the trails for this season. One of
the things that we felt this area needed to improve the trail system (other
than more grooming) was better
signage. So we volunteered to do it and the Tourism Council took
us up on our offer. What I would like to do is use a stencil kit
and spray paint to put very legible lettering on the signs and put enough
signs up so that riders are not confused. We also hope to put some
laminated sections of trail maps up in places to display the "you are here"
to folks. Those are the things I like when I am in unfamiliar lands
and I think that I will help folks a lot and make riding more enjoyable
up here. Plus, I know of a few hazards that were never marked that
need to be. So hopefully things will be safer too. We plan
to do some preliminary work in the next few weeks, then the new signs are
suppose to come in by the end of September or beginning of October, so
we can get out there and get going on things. It will be fun to be
out there, doing the work in the great outdoors. I suppose it will
be an ongoing process, we will likely find places to put new signs once
we start riding and find some spots that need them. Plus, you all
can write in to me and complain or suggest were signs are needed and we
will get to it. Should be fun.
It was cool enough
to take the hounds for a walk in the woods today. We followed the
sign in the last shot and took trail
#3 north towards Copper Harbor. Needless to say we did not get
even a fraction of the way, but it was great to be out there. Kind
of hard to have too many concerns when this
is your view. Could you smell the pine an fir trees? hear the
birds chirping? feel the cooling breeze rustle the maple, aspen, birch
and hickory leaves in that shot? It was paradise, this is God's country,
that is for sure.
No porcupines, or bear
or even deer. Some deer and bear sign, but none of the real thing.
That is fine with me. I was not up for an exciting walk, just a little
stroll through the northwoods is fine. I have not seen a bear yet
this season, but I may stake out a spot where I am almost guaranteed to
see some in my truck and see if I can get a shot of them before it gets
dark. Oh man, I can't imagine what I would do if the truck did not
start! Holy Wa!
Well, I am exhausted
tonight, after my adventures in berry picking evening last night, so I
think I will hit the hay. I'd hate to be sound asleep when my parents
show. Even worse, be tired and cranky. That's my biggest pitfall.
I am a royal pain when I get too tired. With that said.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Before I say
anything, I want to say that a visitor to the site went and retouched the
panorama I took at the Redridge Dam about a week ago and it looks great.
When I took the individual shots, the camera made it's own adjusted to
each view and all the images did not turn out with the same exposure.
This person went in and fixed the shot so that it all has the same exposure
and it looks great. I meant to say that in the past journal entry,
but forgot, so I needed say it right of the bat. Check
Wow, what great weather
we have been having, perfect! The days have been warm, but not hot,
with temps in the 70's. The low humidity allows for good cooling
at night, so good sleeping weather is being had as well. The house
stays comfortable almost through the whole day without the aid of air conditioning.
Yesterday it warmed up to about 77 degrees inside, but as soon as the sun
set, I opened up the shades on the back of the house and put a fan in the
sliding glass door opening and in 20 minutes had my bedroom down into the
60's and the living room was at about 70 degrees. The lower sun angle
is also causing the shadows to get longer. Keeping me in the shade
longer in the morning and earlier in the evening. I don't really
like it when it gets dark up here at 4:30 pm and stays dark until 8:30
am, but if it means snow, I can live with it.
I was watching a program
the other day and they were talking about summer seasonal affective disorder
or summer SAD. Usually SAD is associated with winter and the lack
of sunlight, but they said some folks are actually affected by the sunlight
and also the heat of the summer. I think I am one. I actually
get really crabby when it is hot and humid out and my spirits are much
better when we get rid of that stuff. It is not that I am unbearable
to be around, but my spirits are much better when it is cooler and humidity
levels are lower. I'm glad that I saw this program, now I know that
I am not alone in my feelings. I never feel the winter version of
SAD. In fact, it is just the opposite. I am psyched, very happy!
I don't mind the dark and cold nights of winter. I guess because
there is so much snow up here, it helps to brighten things.
It's funny, I do get
more and more excited around this time of the year. The summer is
almost over, soon the leaves will be changing, the shorts will be put away,
the jackets will be coming out and in just two months I will be on the
watch for the first flakes (if they have not already come!). I think
that the excitement is heightened by living up here because instead of
wondering if I will see winter, I am just wondering if we'll see 150 inches
of snow or 350. Since moving up here, I keep wondering if that will
ever change, and I think that I am adjusting to things a little.
The other day I went back and read last years journal from this time of
the year into September and October and the change of seasons and impending
winter was all I was talking about. This year I am excited, but know
that it is coming and will be here in time. I am enjoying these last
few days of real summer weather, for soon they will be gone until next
June. I do not think that I will ever take the winters up here for
granted, but I think that I will get better and better at having patience
for it to arrive. But I must admit, I am excited by watching the
rain/snow line start to appear more frequently across northern Canada.
One model actually has it as far south as 300 miles to the north of Lake
Superior by next Monday. That model may be a bit overdone, but still,
it is neat to see it drop further and further to the south.
We are in a bit of
a drought lately. For the past 4 weeks, we have picked up about an
inch and a half of rain. I have been watering my front lawn for the
past 2 weeks. It never did green up with the rains we had in the
middle of July, while all my neighbors did. I think I gave it too
much weed killer. I cut it Sunday, that was the first time since
the beginning of June! and it barely needed it. It is about 50 percent
green right now and I gain a few percentage points a day. I gave
it fertilizer about 10 days ago and will wait another week or so and will
give it another shot. I think I almost killed it. Next year
I will stick to one round of weed killer and not use different chemicals
to do it either. I think using the weed and feed and then a few weeks
later using weed-b-gone was not so good. Anyway, I don't have too
many weeds this year!
With the warmer temps,
the hounds and I have been heading off to the beach. Yesterday we
went to the northshore.
It was a perfect day, with cloudless skies, temps in the 70's and low humidity.
We walked pretty far. Probably the furthest we have gone since Baileys
had her operation. She did fine and was raring to go today.
It is so great to be able to go there and be the only ones. It is
not that I do not like people, but I guess being in a special place like
that is extra special because of the fact that we are alone. I cannot
wait until Baileys is healed up so that we can take some of our 2-3 hour
walks. I think I could have walked for about 3 hours yesterday.
It was that nice. One of the treats to that place is actually walking
the woods to get to the beach. The smells are unreal, things
are nice and cool in the shade and by the lake, plus all is quiet except
for the call of a bird, the wind through the trees and the lapping of the
waves on the shoreline. If you can't feel good walking through there,
you will never be able to feel good. If I could box it and sell it,
I'd be a billionaire. Then again, it would seem wrong to exploit
it like that.
Today we stayed closer
to home and took a walk on the Hubbell Sands. Like the Lake Linden
Sands, there is not any sand left anymore. Last year they went in
and put topsoil over it and then planted vegetation. I guess the
sands are still there, they are just buried underneath the soil and plants.
In any case, it sure does look way better. I do think that some of
the mining relics are neat and should be preserved up here. They
are part of the history and heritage of the area and I think that it is
important to pay respects to the persons who risked their lives and some
who even gave their lives to make a living for their families. However,
I also think that some of the relics of the mining are a blight to the
area. Things like the stamp sand areas and some of the newer, but
still run down, buildings are just an eyesore. To me they are just
old run down factories. Thankfully, in just a few years, the majority
of the stamp sand fields will be refurbished and left to mother nature
to nurture. Before they repair these areas, they are basically sterile
areas, with just a few patches of weeds, old mining timbers and a few clumps
of trees. This is the
result of last year's work near Hubbell. They even built a nice
bed, with a set of retaining ponds and little waterfalls. The
falls are dry right now, but in the spring, they were cranking. I
even saw a Blue Heron striding through the shallows of one of the ponds
and came across a few of the frogs that it was likely hunting. This
year it is the Mason Sands. A fence is going up so I looks like access
to the dredge will be cut off. You can still see it, but will not
be able to walk right up to it. A fence is up around most of the
repaired areas. I think it is to keep guys like me out. No,
just kidding. I think it is to keep vehicles out. I got into
the Hubbell Sands area by going through an opening made for pedestrians
to get through, but no vehicles. The vehicle gate is locked unless
an official is out there.
This past Sunday, it
was cool enough to remain in the woods and that is where the hounds and
went. We came across a porcupine while out there. Thankfully,
the hounds did not see it or smell it and I was able to keep them moving
past where it was. Otherwise they may have found out the hard way that
those things are not something to get too close to. I have heard
a few horror stories of dogs and porcupines and I was glad that we did
not become one of them. On the way back down the path, the goofy
thing was in the same spot, only it did move and climb into a tree.
I wished that I had my camera along. It would have made for a neat
picture. Best that we kept moving I guess.
Well, I made a list
of things to write about and I have now crossed off everything, so I guess
it is time to call it an evening. My parents are coming to visit
Friday, so I will try and get a journal off before then. Otherwise
it will have to wait until Monday after they have left. Till next
Good night from the Keweenaw.
under the belt. I'm still in the season when weekends are most important.
In about 3 months, weekends will be secondary to big storm days.
Mmmmm, getting the bug. We sure have been having some changeable
weather up here. Tuesday was clear blue skies and just beautiful.
I took the hounds to Grand
Traverse to play on the beach. 'Twas a great day to be at the
beach. No bugs, plenty of sun,
sand and crystal clear water. The kind of day that you don't
to leave. I am just so lucky to be able to head off to places like
that once I am done with work for the day. I can't imagine trading
any kind of other life for mine. I pray that I never have to.
I suppose having the life of my dogs would not be too bad, but I like the
idea of being able to eat whenever I want and do whatever I want and not
have to depend on someone else to get it.
Getting back on track,
Tuesday was beautiful, but then Wednesday and Thursday were less than beautiful,
with clouds, some light rains and temps in the low 60's. Wednesday
afternoon was good enough to head out to a place that I was told had just
tons of Blackberries. I cannot reveal my source for this info, nor
can I reveal where it is. It is along a
pole line, I can say that much. I can also say that the promise
of being loaded with berries was true too. Usually the berry patches
I come across will be 5-10 feet in diameter and there may be 2-3 of them
in the same general area. This spot had patches
that were about 50 feet deep and basically lined almost the whole pole
line for a quarter mile. At first, it appeared that the bushes did
not have any berries on them, but lifting up the top branches revealed
a mother load of
As you can see from
the last picture, most of them are not yet ready for picking. We
look to still be a week away or so from the peak of the blackberry season.
None the less, there were a few
that were ready and JW and I were able to pick about 2
quarts of them in less than a half an hour. I do plan to head
back up next week to pick a bunch more. I plan to freeze them and
enjoy them all winter long in smoothies, muffins and even on top of ice
creme. I feel sort of bad not saying where the location is, but for
one thing it is a little hard to describe exactly where it is and also,
even though there is an abundance of berries, if word got out that such
a place existed, the bushes would be picked bare fairly quickly.
Plus, I kind of promised the person that told me about it not to tell everyone
where it was. This journal does have a bigger circulation that the
local newspaper! One last hint. If you know where this
old house is located, you can find the berry patch!
Then Wednesday night
was a bit of a first for me this season. I did something outside
and needed to wear jeans and a jacket. Well, "needed" may be too
strong of a word, but I was comfortable in that garb. I am not one
to wear that type of stuff if I don't need to. I have worn shorts
and a t shirt with temps in the 50's as long as there is sun. With
the clouds, winds and temps in the low 60's, it was a bit raw. Kind
of nice in a way, but then that type of weather all day Thursday was not
so great. Not that it kept us inside or anything, but still, it was
not the nicest of days up here. Very autumn like indeed.
activity was actually to go watch the lawn
mower races. For those of you somewhat new to this journal, a
group of guys from the area get together and race old lawn mowers.
They all have been supped up and none of them can cut lawns anymore, but
it is fun to watch. They really move, with tops speeds of about 30.
There are a few spills and thankfully no injuries. The worst one
I saw was when a guy lost one of his front tires and went into the woods.
He came out ok, but the mower was not so lucky. I think that they
are even faster this year than they were last year. A tribute to
As a reward to the
foul weather Wednesday and Thursday, we were blessed with perfect weather
today. Clear blue skies and temps in the low 70's, plus a gentle
breeze to keep things fresh. A ten on the "Dee Scale" of summer weather.
The kind of weather that I hope we have when my parents come to visit in
The weather and what
it does to the big lake were not too friendly to a man trying to swim from
Grand Portage in the tip of Minnesota's Arrowhead to The Keweenaw.
He was in the water for about 36 hours, but was still too far off and decided
to give it up. I guess there were 4-6 foot waves out there.
I just can't imagine trying to swim across this lake. He was doing
it to help a charity so all was not lost. I hope he has better luck
if he tries again. He really ran into a string of bad weather.
Usually the lake is pretty calm in the summer, but we have had more autumn
like weather for the past week or so.
So I guess that gets
you all caught up on my doings up here for the past several days.
I need to get on the rest of the trim work for my bathroom so that it can
be done by the time my parents arrive. I am actually hoping for a
damp day tomorrow, so I can find the inspiration to stay in and work on
it. If the weather is good I am afraid that I will not waste it by
Ah, but before I go,
I need to make an announcement. My old fax finally gave up the ghost,
so I went and got one of the multi tasking machines. As a result,
I now have a scanner. I realize that the reason why some of you might
not have sent me images for the guest shots was that you were unable to
supply a digital image. Well, now you can just send me the prints
if you want. I will scan them and put them in the guest shots section.
One thing though. If you want the prints back, please include a postage
paid, self addressed envelope for the to return them in. I don't
mean to be a cheapo, but I could start to add up if I have to provide the
postage and envelops to send them all back. At least I hope I get
that many new shots! You can send them to me at: PO Box 46, Lake
Linden, MI 49945. That's all for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Well, I have
yet to meet up with someone that says they miss the extreme heat and humidity.
Julie says it is a bit too cool, but is not complaining. The weekend
was just perfect as far as I am concerned. We went to the mouth of
the Misery River Saturday and hung out there for much of the afternoon.
What a perfect day for that. It must have been the best beach day
we have had so far. Temps in the mid 70's, not a cloud in the sky
and a fresh breeze. The water was even tolerable. I did not
go swimming, but did wade into my knees and did not mind having the hounds
shake by me. We kept putting off when we would leave and finally
hit the trail back at about 4.
Yesterday started out
cool and cloudy, almost cool enough to wear a light jacket. So I
decided it would be a good day to do some exploring in the truck.
I bought the thing to head off into the bush and have only done that about
3 or 4 times so far since I bought it almost a year ago. Now is the
time I had most in mind to go anyway, with the cooler temps heading in
and still plenty of daylight. So anyway, we too a trip down south.
On the way down, I took Julie up to the top of Whealkate Bluff. She
has lived here for almost her whole life and had never been there.
Such a sheltered life! Anyway, it is a good place to get some exercise.
No need to join a health club up here. This is MY
stair climber. You follow that trail up about 1/3rd of a mile
and gain about 500 feet of elevation. The heart is pumping pretty
good at the top. I would have taken a shot from on top, but I have
done so in the past and they never turn out too good. You just can
not get a feel for the perspective. After Whealkate, we continued
south, back towards Misery Bay, but hopped off the main road and took the
Cross Cut north up to Beacon Hill and Freda. I was not sure of
the condition of this road, as I have never been down it, but it was in
great shape and I could have easily made it with the Honda. Still,
it's fun to be in the truck and know that if we come across a mud hole
or a ditch or anything else that the Honda could not get past, the truck
Once we were at Freda,
we went to the Redridge
Reservoir. It is actually a very pretty spot. It also seems
to be popular with the type of person who is careless with their trash.
Plenty of signs of bonfires out there with all the trash. Actually,
it is not that bad by most standards. I guess I am just so used to
seeing no trash in the woods that when I come along any, it just seems
like a lot. When I got down to lake level, the panorama was so beautiful,
that I decided to snap a few shots and make my
own Panorama. Even on a gray, overcast day, the sights up here
The Redridge dam is
very old. Dating back to the mining era. It looks like they
just built the thing and let it flood the valley that the Salmon Trout
River cut through the hills. Along the banks of the reservoir are
old tree trunks. The growth rings on some of them seem to indicate
that they were old growth in nature. I'm not an expert on the subject,
but it looks like it anyway. Some are so old that they are now a
for newer growth.
There was one last
place to show Julie before we left that area and that was the mouth of
the Salmon Trout at the big lake. Of course what would a visit to
the big lake be without a
swim...for Burt that is. Looking south from where we were, the
lake meets land and there are some 50-100 foot cliffs right at the waters
edge. I snapped a shot, but the sun angle did not allow the cliffs
to show up. I'll have to remember to try and plan a trip when the
sun angle is better, closer to sunset. The cliffs are red and with
the setting sun, I bet they would glow. Anyway, here is a shot
of the cliffs.
Today was a good day
for the woods, so the 4 of us headed off to do some blackberry picking.
On our way to the first patch we came across a
sign of the pending color season. The first sign I have seen
this year. We also came across a
sign of the wind storm we had last week. Pretty big tree, it
ripped up the ground like it was a banana peel.
I thought that the
berries would be ready to be picked, but we were a bit early for most.
It looks like most of the bushes
we hit today need at least another week. Some of them need even
more time than that. That's ok, I'll wait. However, the hounds
decided they did not want to wait and helped themselves. Here is
picking some berries and here
is Burt. What is really funny is that they watched Julie and
I picking them and eating them and came over and started doing the same.
Baileys just goes at it and eats all of them, ripe or not. Burt only
eats the ripe ones. Last year Burt did the same thing, came over
and started eating them after watching me. This year is Baileys first
year that she wanted to pick them. I ran into a friend in the grocery
store today and he told me of two places where there are more. One
is close by that we can walk to and find with no problem. The other
one we have to drive to and may be a little harder to find, but I heard
that it is the mother load. A patch that is at least 1/4 mile long
along a pole line. He said to just watch out for the bears.
We'll do that.
So the summer is on
it's final stretch up here. Daylight is growing shorter. It
is almost dark when I go to bed and the shadows are getting longer and
longer. Soon it will be dark when my head hits the pillow.
That will help with the sleeping process a little. Sort of hard to
go to sleep when it is totally light out. In two weeks, school will
be in session, that means Julie's vacation is over. Boo hoo.
The back to school season used to be my least favorite, now it is one of
my favorite. It means the days are growing cooler and soon the flakes
will start to fly. But just as important is the fact that I do not
have to go back to school. Can you tell that I did not like school
much? Not exactly the place for free spirit and dreamers, at least
the classrooms I was in. But I'm done, I'm free and living out my
dream. Life is very good.
Good night from the Keweenaw
I think I speak
for just about every human (and probably the animals too!) living in the
Midwest when I say AAHHHHHH. Man-O-Man is this nice! I could
take a whole summer of it. Actually, living up here, this is what
our whole summer is suppose to be like. Well, almost. Our average
high is suppose to top out at 76 and right now it should be 75. Today
I think we topped out at about 70, but the lower humidity is what seems
to be the key more than anything. The air cools off so nicely and
quickly in the evening, I just got back from taking the hounds for a walk
around the hood and it was just delightful. The sun is low in the
sky, but it is still warm enough to walk with shorts and a golf shirt on.
Just perfect. I think I might even start up the sled. No, No.
Not because I am itching to ride. I've had that itch since Feb. 5,
the day after I broke my leg. No, I need to start it because I do
not do any winterizing. I think I mentioned this before, maybe more
than once, but my friend who's a mechanic (AL for those who rode with him
on a KSE tour), told me to do nothing, just start it up a few times during
summer and it will be fine. I did that last summer and it was fine.
Ran just great when I needed it to in November. Anyway, I'll wait
for it to cool off a bit more and then head out before it get too late.
Blue smoke, mmmmmm.
The cool air was up
here yesterday. I got to take the hounds into the woods for the afternoon
exercise. I swear, I think that even the woods were happy with the
cooler and less humid air. They had this bright crispness to them
and the wind blowing through them seemed to make the branches dance with
joy. I can only imagine what the creatures in the woods must have
been feeling. Imagine being a bear, coyote of wolf and have to wear
a fur coat. I realize that they do not sweat through their skin like
us, but it still has to be warmer with that coat on than off!
The great weather has
also motivated me to get onto my list of chores. I did not want to
run the drier, so today I finally did laundry. 4 loads of it.
That may not sound like a lot, but it was all mine! I was just about
out of underwear. Ok, maybe a bit too much info, sorry. Anyway,
life just seems to be so much better with this weather. I was even
watching the WGN noon news today and they were doing stories on it.
Having reporters out in the field and the reporters were all giddy.
I am so glad that we
will hang onto the great temps for another week, maybe more. That
will put us at the 3rd week of August and that means that for us folks
in the Keweenaw, we only have about 2 1/2 weeks of heat threats left in
the season. I suppose that a day of heat is possible as we get past
the first few days of Sept, but it really gets hard to have a prolonged
period of heat to lock in once September arrives.
On the morning walk,
I smelled some burning wood. I did not think it was cold enough this
morning to use the heat, but maybe some did. Tonight may be a different
story. We could dip into the 30's here in the valley. It looks
like most other areas will drop to about 45-50 degrees, but we usually
drop about 6-10 degrees cooler here on those clear, calm nights.
What was unique about
this front was that it came with little fan fair up here. We had
some big storms way out ahead of the front, as an upper disturbance rolled
through. Thunderstorms to 61,000 feet. Man did it get dark.
65 MPH winds too. I even saw a wall cloud with rotation in it.
For those of you not in the know, a wall cloud is a cloud appendage which
sits underneath the base of a thunderstorm and a tornado can many times
drop out of it. It was rotating, so all the ingredients were there
to have tornado formation. I had a perfect view of it, as it was
off to the east, with the morning sun illuminating the sky beneath the
cloud. I scrambled to get the camera, but then all h-e-double toothpicks
broke loose. The batteries in the camera were dead, so I scrambled
to load new ones. Got them loaded and took a shot, but the flash
reflected in the window and all I got was a bright white image of the flash
in the window. So then I ran to the front door to take a shot and
the house across the street was blocking the view, so I went to go run
to the garage to open the garage door and take a shot from there, but before
I could even get to the garage door, a torrential downpour came and I could
no longer see the wall cloud. But what a storm. We have not
had one like that down here since I have lived here and I have only been
in about 4-5 of those my whole life. Last time I saw a rotating wall
cloud, it did produce a tornado. The tornado actually touched down
to the west of my location by about 7 miles, then lifted back up, passed
over me and then dropped back down about 8-10 miles to my east.
So I tried to provide
a really awesome picture of our storm, but failed. Better luck next
time. I just hope the next time is not too soon. Escaping damage
free from a storm like that is a bit hard to do. We did not even
loose our power and neither did a lot of the region. That was really
amazing to me. The winds were blowing so hard, the water on the street
was actually being picked back up.
I see the "Ask the
Audience" is a bit of a hit. I am glad. However, I have to
admit that I cannot take credit for the idea. A visitor to the site
gave me the idea and I ran with it. I have 3 more questions on paper
right now and will keep thinking of more. One of the ones I have
right now is a real doosy, so I will wait for a while to post it.
I think that most folks will be stumped with it, but will also learn a
lot from it. I am having fun reading the answers. Some really
excellent answers and some really funny ones too! I'm chuckling about
right now as it think about them.
I don't know what I
plan to do this weekend, but I think that I want to do something that I
have not done before, or have not done in a long time, so I will be sure
to bring the camera, new batteries an all, along to let you share in the
adventures. Till next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Up until now, I felt a little guilty talking about the heat. We never
really got all that hot, with temps in the mid to upper 80's and dew points
in the low 70's. Well, yesterday we were in the upper 90's with dewpoints
in the upper 70's. At 5 am this morning, our temp was a blustery
82 degrees! Today we only managed to rise to about 90, but the dewpoint
was in the upper 70's. We were hotter and more humid yesterday than
most areas of the Midwest and more humid than most of the region again
today, so I think I can officially complain about the heat. I hate
it! There, I feel better now.
I would now like to
take this minute to thank the person(s) responsible for air conditioning.
Without it, I think I would have lost my sanity. I must admit, that
my two window units are really struggling to keep up with things.
I think the fact that our temps only dropped into the 80's last night is
what really caused the stress on the. I turn the one in the living
room off most nights and on nights when I know it will be warm, just turn
it to a lower setting. So this morning, it was not as cool in the
house because of the fact that the living room one was running at a lower
setting. Tonight, should be cooler. Our dewpoint is now dropping
and we should drop into the mid to upper 60's. It does not matter,
I am going to keep the air on full blast all night. I am just very
thankful to have air conditioning in my house and car. I cannot imagine
life without it. Lots of folks up here do not have it. The
temps we are having right now only happen every 20-30 years or so.
I would have to say that about 80% of the houses up here do not have air
conditioning, when compared to the near 80% in places like Chicago and
Detroit that do. Everyone is ready for cool air up here. I
feel sorry for the people who came up here to escape the heat and do some
With the heat and humidity
on the highest setting, the hounds, Julie and I have been taking to the
lakes and even the streams to keep cool and have our fun. Yesterday
we went to Bekkala's.
That is actually a swimming hole on the Traprock River. That was
Burt heading out into the hole. I think that the white object is
one of the boy's that were out there as well. It is a great place
to cool off. The river gets about 10 feet deep there and is perfect
for swimming. Here is a shot
of me trying to act cool and be cool. I think I was pretty unsuccessful
in both accounts!
As I said, there were
some boy's, and one girl, out there as well. They have set up a ramp
that they use to jump
their bikes off of. They were pretty good at it, even performing
Here's one that I think it was wise to not hang
onto the bike too long. Here is another 360
jump from a different angle. I had some thoughts of going off
the jump myself. I figured that since the road was right there, they
would not have to carry me far to get to the ambulance. Instead,
I decided to just be
a spectator. Maybe I'll head down there this winter and jump
the creek on my sled! Not.
and Baileys had a fun time swimming and even I got the nerve to go
all the way in. I know it may not seem like a big deal, but the
water temp was probably in the upper 60's to near 70 degrees. It
was refreshing once you were in, but quite a shock when going from the
air in the upper 90's and high humidity. Even Julie got all the way
in. Here is a shot of Burt
and his daddy at the swimming hole, here
is the Beez.
Today, we went to a
beach just north of the Sand Hills Light and 5 Mile Point. The winds
were out of the southwest so I knew that any warm water out on the Big
Lake would be pushed up against the shore and that there may even be a
little wave action. No waves, but the water sure was beautiful!
Man, it had to have been in the mid 70's, maybe even warmer. I was
perfectly refreshing without being too cool. Plus it is crystal clear.
I always talk up the beaches up here, but I swear that I would not have
wanted to be any place else today, with the bright sunshine, crystal clear,
beautiful water and even a few small waves for Baileys
to surf. Burt and I did some surfing, but no pics. But
here is another of Baileys
sitting a few out, watching her dad and brother bodysurf. As
beautiful as it was today, we may just have to head out there tomorrow.
I was out there two years ago about this time and the water was even warmer.
Almost like bath water or like it was when I was in the Keys in October.
A few day's later it was back to ice water.
So I think that gets
you caught up in our adventures the past few days. My cold is beginning
to leave me so my energy is getting back up there. Cool air will
be here in about another 48 hours and the blackberries will be ready in
a few days. A great time to be in the Keweenaw!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
You would think that
since it has been 5 days since my last journal I would have lots to talk
about, but just the opposite is true. I caught a summer cold early
this past week and have been battling it. The worst part of it has
been how it has been zapping my energy. I have tried to lead as normal
a life as possible. I have been doing all my work, updating the web
site, cooking, cleaning and taking the hounds for their swims and walks,
but in between, I have been doing a lot of couch cruising. I really
hate being sick, because it zaps my energy. I like to be doing something
most of the time. Even if it is just taking it easy on the beach
or something, but having no energy can really get to me. So the net
result of this is that I do not have much to talk about. I have not
been doing anything unusual with the hounds or with Julie or even by myself,
so I do not have any interesting or unusual pictures to share with you.
Plus, it has been quite hot up here so most of our trips have just been
to the lake to let the dogs swim.
I have finished the
bathroom enough so that I feel comfortable enough to show the world.
It still needs a few things done to it to finish it completely, but I think
that you all will be able to get the feel for it. So at the risk
of embarrassing myself, here is a look at what my circa
1973 main bathroom looked like from the the hallway. It is not
a large room, but I was able to climb into the tub/shower and snap a
shot from the inside. Nice huh? I suppose I could have
salvaged the materials and sold it to someone looking for the retro look.
The faux, yellow marble (yellow marble? does that even exist naturally
in nature???) vanity basin is still in my garage, so if anyone wants it,
I'd be happy to give it away.
The good thing about
having a bathroom and being a male, is I got lots of time to sit in it
and figure out what I wanted to do with it. Julie just can't figure
out how men can spend so much time in bathroom, and I really do not have
the answer. It is not like I am really enjoying myself, but business
is business. Anyway, I digress.
When I bought this
home, much of it was decorated in the same style the bathroom was.
It must have really been the cat's meow back in the early 70's, but like
any period decor, it was really obnoxious now. I knew that by spending
some money and a lot of time, I would be able to transform it into a modern,
traditional looking house and increase it's value quite a bit. The
important part was that I would be able to do all the work myself.
When I first moved here I was very busy painting the outside, painting
the inside, putting new flooring in all the main rooms and even redoing
the kitchen. I think I burned myself out, because I just could not
find the energy and desire to finish the remaining projects like the bathrooms
and even the fireplace area. It took about 2 years to get the bug
back in me and I am glad it is here, I am proud of my new bathroom and
am looking forward to finishing out the fireplace with some custom cabinetry
and mantle work. Plus, I have figured out how to ventilate my fireplace
so that I can use it without having to open up a window to allow it to
draft. When I am done, there should be a lot of fires burning in
So, like I said, I
had a good amount of energy and desire when I started into the bathroom
remodel. Julie left for her friends in North Carolina on a Friday
so Friday evening, I tore into it. This is a shot taken Friday evening
about 2 hours of demolition. I hit a snag as the pluming was
built into the vanity and I had to take apart the vanity to get it out.
I decided to call it quits for the night and tackle the rest the next morning.
The rest of the demolition the next day went pretty well and then I got
busy with the remodeling phase. By Sunday, I had painted the ceiling
and patched and taped the drywall. The wallpaper previously there
was actually attached to 1/4th inch paneling and underneath, was just the
rough drywall. So not only did I have to patch the holes from the
wallpaper paneling, but I had to tape all the joints, nail holes and screw
holes used to hand the drywall. I've decided that drywall is not
one of my favorite things to do. I suppose that if you did it every
day, then you would get really good at it. As it stands with me,
I need to work on my technique a bit more. I think I am too stingy
in using the mud.
One the patching
and taping was done, I painted the walls and then moved onto the floor.
I wanted to use slate, I don't know why, but I just thought I would like
the look and I was right. Somewhere along the lines of putting in
the slate, I began to burn out. I was racing, worrying a lot on it
every day in hopes of having it done by the time Julie got back in town.
I did not tell her I was working on it and was hoping to surprise her.
She does not live here obviously, but she does use it, so I was hoping
to have her go in there and be surprised. But it became apparent
to me that I would not be able to finish in time, so I slowed down my pace
and just had fun with it. Here is a shot taken by about Thursday,
after the slate tile
was done and the walls were painted.
You are probably wondering
why I said the painting was done, but only the top half was painted.
Well, here is a shot taken today that will show you the nearly
finished look. I still have some patching and final touch up
painting to do on the crown molding and I am going to build a hanging corner
cabinet for the corner in view in the last picture. Plus I need Julie's
help in adding the finer touches to the decor. She got me a perfect
shower curtain, that just pulls all the colors of the room together.
I can't believe she was able to find one so perfect. Here is a look
of the new vanity area.
Here is a before and
after, and another.
I am very happy with how it is turning out. I still have plenty of
energy and desire to get on with the fireplace area. I have a few
mechanical things to address, need to find some cherry wood and then will
be off to the races. I need to finish that project in the next 4-5
weeks, as I need to be able to put the finish on it while it is still warm
enough to have the windows open while the fumes vent from the finish.
Sounds weird saying
I need it to be warm enough, as it it about 300 degrees out there today
with a dewpoint of about 275, but in just a few weeks, frost could be starting
to show up. Speaking of which, for all of you out there wondering
when the heat may be broken across the Midwest, looks like at the end of
next week, things are going to get nice a cool in the Midwest. Not
cold, but many areas could be 30-35 degrees cooler by next Saturday than
they will be this Wednesday. We may even have some frost in the valley
here by next Sunday morning if things play as currently indicated.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Dee would like to thank Jim Formanek of Formanek Designs for his expert
assistance in the creation and technical support of this site. For
anyone wishing to have a site of their own developed, I strongly recommend
that you contact him.
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Website link: go to Formanek