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Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
Journal
July 31-
    Last day of the month, so I figured I better get a journal in.  Been busy as usual, plus trying to catch up on my sleep.  For some reason, last week will full of late nights.  Since I start work at 5 am, any night past about 9 pm, is a late one.  Last week, the earliest I got to bed was about 10:45, so by the weekend, I was running some serious deficits.  Plus I love sleep and perform best when rested, so I was really in need of some catching up.  I am not complaining, all the late nights were of choice, but still had their impact.
    We have been getting out into the woods to do some exploring and I have been bringing my camera along.  I actually forget when this first series of shots was taken, but I believe it was this past weekend.  The hounds and I took a walk in the woods near my house.  We took the took the local snowmobile access trail.  I am just so lucky to have wilderness so close to my home.  That last shot was taken about 250 yards from my house, as the crow flies.  I remember walking that trail when we first moved up here and because it takes lots of turns I did not even realize I was still so close to my house.  We came across a beaver dam and like a true flat lander, I was just amazed at the fact that it was there.  It turns out the beaver dam was actually only about 100 yards from my house, maybe a bit more.  It is no longer there, it was a small one on a small creek, but that creek can really get cranking when the spring thaw hits and I think that this springs flooding washed out the dam.  Anyway, it is a nice trail to take, as it provides a lot of differing environment in a very short time.  The trail is only about a mile long.  At the one end of the trail, there is some mixed forest and then the vegetation changes to a grassy meadow, which is actually a flood plain that floods every spring.  The creek now is just a gentile little little body of water meandering it's way through the meadow.  Here is another shot of the meadow.
    About 3/4ths of the way down the trail, it encounters the Traprock River.  There is a swimming hole that the hounds like to take a dip in and they did not pass up the opportunity.  Here's the Beez doing a little doggy crawl.  Here is old man Burt taking a dip.  As you could see, they did kick up a little bit of silt as they got near the edge of the creek and I thought that they may need to get a little cleaning up when we got home.  Baileys decided that as long as she was going to get the hose when we got home, she was going to make it worth her while.  By the time she was done, she looked like a chocolate lab not a yellow lab and I was on my knees laughing.  Never a dull moment with these two!  We got home and I was able to make a game out of playing with the hose in the kiddy pool I have to them and they got all nice and clean and had fun while at it, so we all had smiles.
    Even though most of the Midwest rose into the 90's today and even here it was warm, with lots of humidity, it is getting harder and harder not to think of the pending season changes.  Yesterday I got a snowmobile magazine in the mail, it seems like visitors to the site are starting to think a little more about snow, we got our first KSE reservation and the back to school sales have started.  Even Julie had a meeting for school (she got a job teaching in the Hancock School system!).  In a month the first frost will be possible and in about 2 months, we will be near the peak colors.  Another sign is the firewood piles starting to pop up.  That was one that a person nearby me has.  They heat their house primarily with wood and walking outside in the winter, you can smell the wood burning just about every day.  I love it, it makes me feel like I am living in the northwoods, which I am!  Looks like he has some chopping and splitting to do.  He went had about that much piled up last fall.  Got it cut, split and stacked in about a few days.  That's hard work.
    So even though most folks in the Midwest are sweltering, the glorious season is getting closer and closer.  A lot of folks up here seem to have had enough of the heat and humidity.  I am at the head of the list.  I know we have a few more weeks left, but then the refreshing winds out of the north will begin to blow, nights will get crisp, gardens will brown and the critters up here will begin to prepare for the long snow season.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
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July 26-
    Aaaahhhh.  Boy has it been nice the past 3 days.  I know that a few up here have thought that it has been too cool, but not me.  Great sleeping weather, with lows in the 40's and 50's, great hiking weather, with highs in the 60's and lots of sunshine.  Well, at least today we had lots of sunshine.  Some clouds were out and about from time to time Tuesday and Wednesday.  I will admit that when the sun was hiding behind the clouds it did get cooler, but still not too cool for me.  I never mind throwing on another piece of clothing to stay comfortable.  But on the flip side, there is only so much you can take off to be comfortable.
    With the nice weather, the hounds and I have been heading out into the woods for our afternoon exercise.  I have been trying to mix things up a little so that both the hounds and I can see some new scenery every day.  Yesterday we went down one of my favorite ski trails.  It is the same trail that the groomer uses to get from his house to the trail system so it is always nice and flat, as well as "panked" down.  In the summer, it is a beautiful "two track".  They call it a two track because of the two tracks left by the vehicles.  Makes sense, huh?  We even braved the deep woods by exploring some less traveled paths.  Most of those less traveled paths end in a rather short distance, but the hounds and I don't mind.  Its the quality, not the quantity.  The bugs are not bad at all, with just a few deer flies to swat every once in a while.  No misquitos or black flies and no stable flies and no horse flies.  Hey, is this really the UP?  I'm not complaining!
    I played golf yesterday evening.  I even walked instead of riding a cart, plus I carried my clubs.  Not really a big deal most times.  That is the way I would usually play.  I prefer walking to riding.  That way I get to see my next shots setup better before I hit the ball than racing up to it in a cart and then hitting it, only to race onto the next shot.  I guess my point here is that my leg did just fine.  It was a little bit sore at the end of the 9 holes, but that is to be expected.  I awoke to no unusual soreness, so it is definitely getting stronger.  A month ago, I would have never been able to do what I did and would have been really sore trying.  The human bodies ability to heal is really amazing.  Especially with the help of some fine doctors and other health specialists.  Speaking of which, I need to get back up to the therapy center and hit the machines to get the leg to 100%.  No way I want to have anything less by the time the snow flies!
    The view from up at the golf course was great with the low humidity, clean air and crystal blue skies.  I still think that a persons life is extended by living up here from both the lack of stress and also the clear air.  In that shot, the nobs in the terrain, way off in the distance, about mid picture are Mts. Houghton and Bohemia.  The cameras lens setup makes things look more distant then they really are.  In real life, I could see the actual ski runs on the face of Bohemia and it looked to me that they have cut at least one new one.  Sure hope I can get the courage up to ski that place next year.
    Today the hounds and I took our walk on another ski trail.  This one is a rather short one and is mostly up hill on the way out and down hill on the way back (obviously, duh!).  It also had some berry patches that I believe have been visited by some local bruins.  I did not go out to the patches to look for hair or slobber, but there was a fairly clear path beaten down through the grass to them.  I suppose that a human or even some deer could have done that too.  I did not see or step in any other bear sign, so who knows.  I did make sure to make some noise when we walked up the trail though.  I am not worried about meeting up with a single bear with the dogs in my company.  The bear can run faster then them and will climb a tree if need be.  What I am worried about is a sow with cubs.  I'm fairly certain that she would stand and fight to protect her cubs and that would not be good.
    Thankfully, the hounds and I did not see any bear, but did see more flattened vegetation.  We also saw more berries and some Keweenaw color.  I was really hoping that the butterfly would not fly away before I could get the shot taken.  The dogs were even walking right beneath it while I waited for the camera to come to life.  As luck would have it, the shutter snapped and about a second later, it took flight.  All I needed was some blueberries and most of the rainbow would have been represented in that one.  I wonder what that butterfly is doing right now.
    On my morning walk, my neighbor with the bursting raspberry bushes gave me a big container full.  They are in my kitchen just waiting for me.  After I finish this journal I'm gonna have a bunch with my chocolate fudge brownie ice creme.  That will make it healthy, right?  Who knows, maybe when I get my patches all going full speed I will try my hand at making some jam.
    Well, I've been sitting here for several minutes staring blankly at the computer screen, so that must mean I am out of things to say for now.  It feels like I am forgetting something, but I did not write my ideas down so guess that this is it for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
July 23-
    Hope that I did not mess anybody up by changing the date on the last entry, but as I sat down to write this one, I realized that I had put the wrong date on the last one.  Anyway, all is fixed now.  As I type this, the cooler air is headed into the Keweenaw.  It is actually still fairly warm, but the less humid air is filtering in and I will awake to temps in the upper 50's or low 60's and nice dry air too.  I really don't know how someone without air conditioning could survive it up here.  All I know it that everyone I heard say they hoped it would be a hot summer and now wishing for come cooler temps.  You'll never hear me say I which it would stop snowing, never.
    Not much new to talk about.  The berries are still the main story up here.  The bushes Julie got me for my birthday have some berries that are ripening and I snapped a shot of a few before I ate them.  Tasty, very tasty.  I can't wait to get a big berry patch going so that I have tons to harvest and eat in the future.  I saw some in the store, but they were 4 bucks for a half pint, a bit steep for me.  There are some farms to pick them up here and Julie is talking about going to pick, sure hope that she will share some.  I think that the hounds and I will head off into the woods tomorrow to see if we can get some that the bears have left.
    I am a little worried about my front grass.  We picked up about 3.5" of rain last week, the back yard has greened up nicely and I had to cut it, but the front is still rather brown in most areas.  Not a good sign.  I don't think the grass is dead, but I wonder why it is still dormant with all the rain we got.  I may break down and water it soon if we don't get much rain and it remains brown.  One thing I have noticed with the rains is that the lake level is up.  I would have to say that it is up about 6-8 inches from where it was this spring.
    After the past week of humidity, and the past 4 days of heat, it seems hard to believe that in a month and a half we will be done with any heat and in 2 and 1/2 months we should have seen our first flakes.  What a great thought.  I looked back at the past journals a few weeks ago, and I just can't believe the snow we get up here.  The piles in my front and back yards were just huge!  I'm ready.  I'm ready for autumn and then winter.  I know we still have a good month left of summer and will enjoy it, but I am ready.
    Wow, am I ever hurting for material tonight.  I wanted to get one out tonight because I have dinner plans for tomorrow, but jeez, I think that I am out of stuff.  I know that as soon as I finish this and upload it, all this stuff will come to me.  Sometimes I write ideas down, I think I need to get back into the habit. I guess this will just be a short but sweet one.- JD-July 21-
    Gonna try and sneak one under the wire today.  It is currently 10 after noon and Julie is heading down so that we can go to the beach.  Then we are going to a friends house for dinner, so I am going to try and get out a journal before all that takes place.  If I don't finish before we go to the beach, I think I will have time between the beach and the dinner plans so I will finish it then.
    I've been slowly becoming more and more active up here.  Between regular walks, both on the beach and in the woods, golf and socializing, I have not been too much laying around.  Oh, I almost forgot, I am continuing to work on the bathroom and should have a picture in a few days.  The only thing left is the crown molding and once I get going on that, it should be done in 2-3 hours.  I just need to get going on it.  It is fully functional, which is nice and I think that it looks great.  A huge difference.
    Anyway, back to more interesting stuff.  Like I said, the hounds, sometimes Julie, and I have been going either to the beach or into the woods to do some exploring.  Baileys is really coming along and is almost back to 100%.  I am still not letting her run, nor am I letting her get too much exercise, but she is really coming along and it is great to see her without pain.  It has been really humid up here all week.  Our dewpoints have been running in the upper 60's to low 70's which is almost unheard of anytime up here, let alone for a whole week.  The actual air temps have not been getting too hot.  They have been in the 70's for the most part, but still, it is uncomfortable to do too much strenuous exercise outside.  We have thus not spent too much time in the woods.  I took the hounds to the beach just about every day this week.  I still can't get over how nice some of the beaches are up here.  I think I have mentioned how I have been privileged to be on some of the best beaches around.  Including some famous ones along the mid Atlantic coast, Florida, the lower Great Lakes and even Barbados.  But none seem to beat the beauty of some of the beaches up here.  Well, Barbados had some nice stretches along the east coast.
    That pic was the beach at Big Traverse Bay.  A fairly quiet stretch of beautiful sand beach.  No rocks and better yet, no glass, pop cans or other signs of human spoilage.  The township has developed a little park at the north end of the beach and that is starting to become better known, so we'll see how long it stays pristine.  So far so good.
    This stretch of beach also is home to lots of wild blueberries.  They are just starting to ripen.  We have plans to pick a bunch and then put them in some pancakes tomorrow.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  It is just so cool to have all of this wild and wonderful nature up here.  All at my immediate disposal.  Big Traverse is only about 10 minutes away from my house and the drive is really beautiful to boot.
    One of the main objectives in going to the beach has been to get the hounds some exercise.  The doctor said Baileys could swim as much as she wants, so I have really been trying to let her go lots.  She like to swim, but just not as much as Burt.  He'll fetch as stick for as long as you want to throw one out. He even seems to enjoy the waves.  Yesterday we were there for about 2 hours and I suspect that today we might even be there longer.  I don't know who is luckiest, me or the hounds.
    As I mentioned, the ride to and from the beach is really beautiful.  It takes me through some wonderful northwoods forest land.  That was the freshly-paved road between Big Traverse and Rice Lake.  Speaking of Rice Lake, here it that beautiful body of water.  The vegetation growing up out of the water is wild rice, which gives the lake it's namesake.  Then a bit more forest after Rice Lake until I reach the farmland of the Traprock Valley.  Not much farming being done anymore, but there are a few horse stables and hobby farms.  Then we reach the Torch Lake and follow it into town.
    In one of the previous journals I said I would take the camera along next time I went golfing.  I was true to my word and did it last Thursday.  I mostly play the Calumet Golf Club.  It is a public course and only has 9 holes.  That is fine, as I start to get a little weary after more than about 12 or 13 holes and am usually pretty tired by 18.  Anyway, the course is in pretty decent shape, considering it usually is not even greened up until May sometime and is usually under snow by November.  It sits on top of the Keweenaw Spine so on a clear day affords some great views.  Even on some not so clear days.  Normally from that vantage point, you can see the big lake and all the way to Mt. Bohemia and Mt. Houghton.  It was too humid and hazy to see that far when that shot was taken.  I kept looking for other shots to take, but was having a problem.  Most of the holes are just regular golf holes, with nothing special.  Either that or the low sun angle put a glare of sunlight right in view so the shot would not have turned out.  When we reached the par 3, 6th hole, I was able to snap a shot of Al teeing off.  His shot did not go exactly where he had wanted.  You can actually see the ball just above and a little to the right of the sign for the hole.  The actual hole is straight up ahead, just beyond the water hazard.  We had a good time out there, regardless of our scores.
    Well, I have just returned from the beach and now have to get ready to go to dinner, so will sign off for now.- JD-July 17-
    So much to say, I don't quite know where to start.  Julie came back last Friday and that helps to explain why a journal has not been done since last Thursday.  Not really her fault, but we have been busy going to gatherings, exploring, shopping and other fun stuff.  I don't know how many of you pay attention to the picture names that I post, but if you do tonight, you will see that some are labeled "jul14...." and some are labeled "jul17...".  That is proof that I at least had intentions on doing a journal last Saturday, but I guess we must have gotten tied up with other stuff.  Actually, that was the night we went to a graduation party, so I did have a good excuse.  Anyway, I hope that I do remember all that I want to write about.
    I guess that I may as well write about some of our weather events.  We got rain Sunday morning, a pretty good soaking and very welcome.  Since then, it has rained both Monday and this morning.  My lawn is starting to green up again and it will be needing it's first cutting in over three weeks.  I did not miss cutting it, but the burned out look was not pretty to look at.  It was actually nice to watch it rain Sunday, even though it did wash out much of the morning.  Another nice thing is that we have yet to get into the heat.  It has been humid, with dewpoints in the 60's, but temps have only been in the upper 60's and low 70's so I have not had to use the air conditioners.  It has also been quite cloudy, which is fine by me with this humidity.  Looks like it might become warm enough to close up the house and turn on the air in the coming days.  Really, there is not much relief seen from the heat and humidity across all of the Midwest in the next week to ten days, maybe even more.  So if you are suffering now, best make some plans to do more for the next week to 10 days at least.  Sorry!
    When Julie arrived last Friday, we were still in the sunny, but low humidity weather.  I decided we should head to the north shore to see if the biting flies had gone away.  The way I figured it, if that had, we would have a great day at the beach and if not, then we take a few bites and scramble back to the car and go to the beach at the village park where the flies have not been bad.  As it turned out, there were no flies and it turned out to be a great day at the beach.  The hounds liked going to their old stomping grounds for a swim.  Here is Burt bringing back a stick, while Baileys contemplates getting hers.  She finally decided to head out and get it and here she is on the return trip.  Every once in a while, a wave would come in and present a little challenge for the dogs to get over.  Baileys does not like them and will not go in over her head when they are rolling in.  Burt, on the other hand, attacks them and goes right over the top.  When Baileys does go out and get a stick, she has a unique way of bringing it back.  Sort of like she is smoking a large cigar.
    The rain has not only helped my grass out of the mini-drought we were in, but it has also helped out the Keweenaw's berry crop.  The woods are filling up with ripening thimbleberries and red raspberries.  On our walk the other day we snapped a shot of some thimbleberries.  Julie loves these things, but they are really not for me.  She got me to try some, to see if my mind had changed.  The result was was the same as the last time I tried them.  The pucker face.  Cute huh?  We then came across something more suiting to my taste buds, red raspberries.  Now this is my happy face.  My all time favorite are black raspberries or blackberries.  But they will not be ready for about another month.  We did go to one of my secret patches of these berries to see how they were coming along and I was happy to see lots of berries popping out.  The red raspberries Julie gave me for my birthday also have a good amount of berries on them.  However, they are still over a week away from being ripe.  A neighbors bushes are just starting to ripe and it was all I could do to keep myself from stealing a few on my walk with the dogs this morning.
    On the afternoon walk, Julie, the hounds (they like to eat them too!) and I gave ourselves a special dessert by hiking into the woods and picking some fresh berries.  I spied some nice fresh red raspberries and when I went to get them I discovered that they were covered with a little slobber and a few strands of black hair.  That all did not show up in the picture, but it was caused by one of two possibilities.  Either someone with black hair and a drooling problem was out there before us picking berries without using their hands, or a black bear was out there trying to get to them before us.  I am putting my money on the second choice.  I'm just glad that I did not do a quick grab and munch.  Yuck!
    So lets see, what else is going on.  The bathroom is slowly coming along.  I stress slowly.  All I have left to do is to put the trim up, caulk the tub and build a cabinet, but I just can't seem to find the desire to get on it.  It is basically functional again, so the need to do the rest is not as critical as it was a week ago.  I am going to hold off posting the before and after pics (not that there are a ton of you dying to see it anyway!) until it is totally done, but I am very happy with the way it looks now.
    I guess that about does it.  Julie is probably reading this thinking "what about this... and that... and this...!), but I have drawn a blank, so I guess I will just sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
July 12-
    What beautiful weather we have been having.  The past three days have been in the 70's. with clear blue skies and low humidities.  The night time temps have been dropping into the low 50's, making for perfect sleeping weather.  Now, if only it could last.  Unfortunately, it looks like my old nemesis the heat and humidity will be creeping in this weekend and really take hold next week.  The way I have things setup it should not be too bad.  The house can be kept cool, I will just miss having the windows open all day and night.
    The bathroom remodel saga continues.  By about Tuesday, I was finding myself a bit stressed out about the whole thing, as it looked like the goal of having things done by Friday (the day Julie arrives back in town) would be quite hard to reach.  I finally gave up that goal and just decided to get things done at a more laid back pace.  The painting is all done, the slate tile was laid yesterday and grouted today, so it is all done.  All I have left to do is to put up the wainscoting and trim and paint them, put the toilet, vanity and sink in as well as build some cabinetry.  It is looking good and I am glad that I decided to take my time and just enjoy the process as much as possible rather than stress out about it.  I know that Julie could care less if it is done when she gets back or not, so I don't know why I was so bent on getting it done so fast anyway.
    With the bathroom remodel I have not been outside in the beautiful weather as much as I would have liked to.  Even so, the hounds and I have been taking regular ventures into the woods or to the lake to swim.  Baileys is really getting better and better every day.  We are now up to 20 minute walks and that is nice.  I think that it is also helping me out.  My leg seems to be getting better as well.  I still plan to get back into the workout regime once the bathroom is done.  I think that the regular and more disciplined workout will get it into pretty good riding form.
    Berry season is just beginning.  I had my first three red raspberries today on the walk in the woods.  Most of them were still at least several days away from being ripe and the ones in my back yard are still over a week away.  It looks like I will have a fairly decent crop for the first year with these bushes.  I am actually surprised that I have any.  It seems like a rather stressful event for those things to be dug up and then replanted.  I am looking forward to the harvest though.  The ones in the woods were awesome.  So fresh and ripe, just like candy.  Nope, better.  Maybe tomorrow Julie, the hounds and I can head off and check out one of the black raspberry patches that I know of.  Those are actually my favorite.  Plus, the blueberries are likely getting ready to go.  What a great time of the year.
    Speaking of good eats, Julie is down in the birthplace "Crispy Cremes".  For those of you that do not know what I am talking about, they are the best doughnuts in the world, period.  Nothing fancy, just glazed yeast, but they melt in your mouth and are just amazing.  I am a bit of a doughnut afficianito, that and bacon.  Hey, everyone has their vices right?  Too bad mine are not so good for me.
    About the only other thing going on news worthy is the difference a year makes in the land use issue up here.  Last year the battle lines were drawn over the Mt. Bohemia issue and each side was digging in for the showdown.  This year, that whole issue is pretty much a non event.  Black Bear (the developer of the hill) is trying to get the county to apply for a grant to have a sewer system developed that it could use and there is opposition as well as support for that, but it is barely even making the newspaper up here so it is not exactly a major issue.  At least not for the region as a whole.  What is making news is the unique areas of the Keweenaw being purchased by different entities.  What is nice is that these entities, be it the state or private interests, all seem to have one interest in mind and that is to keep the areas the way they are now.  No development, but yet open to the public with little or no restrictions.  That is a nice way to go about things if you ask me.  In fact, one area that is trying to be negotiated is up near the tip of the Keweenaw from Bare Bluff to the mouth of the Montreal River area and then up to Keystone Bay.  Some land up by Schlatter Lake would also be included.  I have yet to get to Keystone or to Schlatter, but the mouth of the Montreal is about my favorite place up here.  I sure hope that this transaction can go through.  It would protect these areas from ever being developed as well as allow us to be able to go to them using any means we like.
    This transaction is actually hinging on some government action in the form of grants.  There is public commentary which is being considered in the decision and if you feel that this is a good idea, you can write to: Sharon Edgar, Grants Administration Division, Michigan DNR, P.O. Box 30425, Lansing Michigan, 48909-7925.  It was said that you can write about the lands unique features, loss of public access and importance to the regions economy as some issues that would help sway the powers that be.  I guess the way it works is that "X" amount of funds become available for the grants and we are in competition with many other areas to try and get one of the grants.  So a strong showing for this area would obviously help our chances.  Now, I take special pride in respecting a persons individual rights and I hope that I have not offended anyone with this issue or my plea for people to write.  This is something that I almost never do and I believe it is actually the first time that I have.  Obviously, if you don't want to write a letter, don't.  I will never know and even if I did know you did not, I would not be upset in the least.  I actually do not usually get involved in such things myself, but because I think that this is one of those really good things that only comes around once in a while, I will be sitting down and typing out a short letter to express my opinion in hopes that these areas can be preserved for the public forever.  So lets swamp Ms. Edgar shall we?
    Well, I guess with that I will be signing off.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
July 9-
    Busy times.  Julie left for North Carolina last Friday to be with some friends and teach power skating lessons (ice skating in North Carolina in the summer? What is this world coming to!?), and I decided now would be a good time to remodel my bathroom.  I actually played golf Friday afternoon, then came home and decided to get going on things.  I was able to get almost all of the demolition done before bed on Friday, then finished the demo on Saturday and started patching the drywall.  The room had this goofy wall paper/paneling on it.  There is wall paper glued to 4 x 8 paneling that is then glued and nailed to the walls.  Pulling that stuff left me with a big mess to clean on the drywall.  It would almost have been easier to just put new drywall up, tape and mud that, but I did not want to deal with the cost or the hassle of changing the electrical, so I just scraped the glue off, taped and mudded up the holes and torn drywall paper and this morning I was able to put a coat of primer on it.  This afternoon I painted and it is starting to come along.  However, like any contractor, I hit a snag.  I am use to just going to the local building supply store and getting what I need, as they have it in stock.  I forgot that this area does not have the super stores like Home Depot, Lowes or Menards.  There is a Menards in Marquette, but I only drive the 2 hours to get there when I have to.  We have lumber and hardware stores, but they did not have the trim and wainscoting that I want in stock.  So now my carefully planned out remodel schedule has been turned on it's head and I and afraid that I will not have it done by the time Julie gets back in town.  Now before you jump to conclusions and I scare my parents, Julie does not live here, she still lives in her own house.  I just wanted to be done so that it would be done and I did not have to work on it instead of spending that quality time (QT) with JW.  The slate is suppose to come in tomorrow, then the trim and wainscoting by Thursday, so it will be close.  I have taken some pictures of the way it did look and the progress along the way, and I will post them when I am done.  It will be nice.  The retro 70's look was just not my style.
    Not much else has been going on up here.  Like I said, I played some golf.  I play with my snowmobile buddies and some other friends up at the Calumet Golf Course.  It is a public course and only has 9 holes.  To play 18, you just make the round twice.  It is a pretty course, with some neat views.  It sits up high and from the clubhouse you can see the Huron Mountains and Lake Superior to the east and Mt Bohemia and Mt Houghton to the north.  For a public course it is not too bad, of course I have not played on a private course in a long time, so I have forgot what a perfectly manicured course is like.  Plus the price is right.  20 bucks gets me 9 holes of golf with a cart.  A season pass is $300 and if I keep playing as much as I do, I might get a 1/2 season for $150 which is good from Aug. 1 on.  Only problem is that the season is just about over by Sept 15th.  Maybe a few good days into the end of Sept and early Oct, but that is pushing it.  Our first snow is usually around Oct 1 and as much as I like snow and I like golf, I don't like to play golf in the snow.  Next time I play, I will try and remember the camera so you can see the course.  I also plan to play Portage Lake Golf Course, which is owned by Tech and is in better shape, I think.  I am also sure that I will get up and play the Keweenaw Mt. Lodge sometime this season.  Especially now that the bugs are starting to ease up a bit.  That is a nasty place to play early in the season.  You need to wear ankle weights so that you are not carried off by the insects!
    Things have turned quite dry up here.  We have had a few light showers, even a few storms, but they have not really brought much rain.  My grass is now almost all brown and I have not cut it in 2 weeks.  It could use a cutting, but I will wait until it looks like some good rains are on their way.  No need to add the stress of cutting it to the stress it is already in.
    I have been taking the hounds swimming almost every day.  Baileys has really started to swim a lot.  Her knee is doing very well, so I have to be really diligent in keeping her from running.  Yesterday I took two tennis balls to the lake and tossed them out one at a time.  It worked perfectly, with one dog heading out to get the one ball, while the other dog was on it's way in with the other.  Sort of like an assembly line.  In 30 minutes, I had two tired pups.
    It has also been warm up here.  Not hot, but with temps in the 80's and dewpoints in the 60's, the AC's have been buzzing.  Plus, Lake Linden is usually about 4-8 degrees warmer than the Airport.  We are further away from the Lake with a north or west wind, plus lower in elevation so the air compresses and heats up.  I would like to get a good accurate thermometer and place it in a shelter box to get the air temp down here.  I would not be surprised if we were close to 90.  Plus my house is not in the shade ever, so it heats up good.  60's and 70's are on their way for the next 4 days, so the windows will be opening once again.  Nice cool nights, so I will get some good sleeping in with the windows open.
     I will leave you with one final thought.  In 4 months, it will be the second week of November.  Winter will be closing in on us and I may be only a week or two away from the first ride of the season.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
July 5-
    Happy July 5th everyone!  Hope everyone's 4th of July was fun and safe.  Mine was.  Been kind of busy the past several days, with all the festivities, so I was not able to get to this until now.  As I mentioned the other day, the 4th of July is really a big deal up here.  Just about every town, village or city has a parade, several have fireworks displays and other happenings.  As I also mentioned, Lake Linden is ground zero for many of these activities.  It is really the one time of the year (other than high school football playoff time) that we sort of take center stage up here.  It is amazing how the whole Keweenaw area also starts to buzz with activity around the 4th.  It seems to be the traditional start to tourism season up here.  By the weekend last, we actually had mini traffic jams going on in the village.  I forgot how aggravating it is to sit at a stop sign and have more than 2 cars in front of me.  I almost had to plan a little extra time to get to where I wanted to go, to accommodate the traffic.  Almost.
    We had our fireworks display and dance in the park on the 3rd.  The entire park really fills up with people.  I don't know how many folks come up, down or over here to celebrate, but I thing that it is safe to say that the village's population swells to about 10 times its normal size for that evening.  Even so, this was Julie's first year taking part in our village's celebration (that sheltered, city girls life thing).  I think that she had a good time and may just be a fairly regular visitor.  They had a band playing, food, drinks and silly string.  Even I got into the act, preying on unsuspecting passer-by's.  I would pretend to sneeze and then give them a good spurt of the string.  Made them jump a little.  The only bummer part to the whole night was the weather.  It was actually perfect right up to the point that the fireworks started, then some rain showers rolled in.  It did not rain hard, but did come down enough just to make things a little uncomfortable.  Most folks stayed through the whole show, keeping the spirit.  We did luck out, as some fairly strong storms rolled through about 2 hours later.  That would have cleared the park out pretty quickly.
    The storms did help to clear things out for the parade that the village has on the 4th.  Again, the turnout for this is pretty big.  Way more people line the street than live here.  I am not sure how many, but almost as much as the fireworks.  The parade does not really have anything ultra special.  There are people riding unicycles, marching bands, clowns, people on horseback, different businesses have some floats, lots of fire fighting equipment and even my dream truck, a Chevy Avalanche.  Any Chevy dealers out there reading this that want to supply one to Snow Central, I would be happy to show thousands just what a great truck this is!  Oh, and every entrant in the parade tosses out candy.  The kids watching the parade all have plastic bags and many of them are pretty full by the time the parade is over.
    I did not partake in the rest of the festivities up here (Gay parade, fireworks in the Harbor).  I actually had plans to go with Julie down to a party in Twin Lakes, but I came down with a little bug, or just plain ran out of steam, but in either case, I just did not feel too well.  I still did not feel 100 % this morning and that was the main reason for no forecast text today.  I do feel better now, but still am a bit tired.  Hopefully a good nights sleep tonight will have me back to my regular bright and happy self by tomorrow.  We look to get quite cold tonight.  Down into the 30's.  There was some freezing temps in the Arrowhead of MN this morning.  I already had my first dream that it was snowing out.  The season must be getting closer!
    Today has been a cool one (temps in the 50's).  But plenty of sunshine, so it was still nice to get out.  Today the hounds and I took a walk in the woods.  The first one since I can remember.  Maybe the first one since this past fall.  It felt really good to be out there and the hounds really loved it too.  Baileys is really coming along nicely.  She still can't go for too long of a walk.  We went about 1/4 mile and spent time just smelling the woods, both the hounds and I!  It was so great to get out and even smell the woods.  Nothing like it.  The sights were pretty great as well.  The woods are all lush and vibrant with the rains we have had so far this summer.  There are lots of wildflowers growing as well.  Truly paradise.
    However, because of the army tent worm outbreak (some are calling it a plague), not all of the woods are as vibrant as others.  That was a birch tree that was attacked by the little caterpillars.  There are entire groves of birch, aspen and poplar trees that are totally bare and it looks like it is fall or something, with the trees so bare.  The caterpillars are actually a little selective in their eating habits.  For some reason, they do not like to eat maple trees.  That tree was about 20 feet away from the defoliated birch in the pervious one.  Most of the caterpillars are now gone.  They have metamorphasized into moths.
    Some other sights seen on our walk this afternoon were thimbleberries.  They are not quite ready for picking, looks like a few weeks more at least.  I am looking forward to the blackberry season and to getting my own red raspberries.  Now that I have my own hidden blackberry patches, I need to go and find a few more.  The bugs were not too bad, so in a few weeks, when Baileys can get a little more exercise, then Julie and I can do some exploring for more of the delicious fruits.
    So I guess that gets you caught up in my activities up here.  Talk to you soon.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
 
 
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