Hey gang, Happy
Memorial Day Weekend. The official start of summer - ha! Not
for us. At least I don't think it's so summer like. Our weather
has been miserable and just this afternoon, after a 6 day absence, did
we see the sun and a balmy high of 60 degrees. John thought it was
just about perfect and said he could tollerate a few more degrees.
I want it sunny, no wind and 85. My idea of summer is spending it
at the beach - thus the turn towards a teaching career. Can't stand
the thought of working in the summer. John would go back to school
to become a teacher if they got January, February and March off.
Hope many of you were able to take advantage of the long weekend and do something fun. I wonder if traffic is down this year because of the high gas prices. I'm doing my best to conserve as I just got a new USED car. It's a Mazda 626. It gets much better gas mileage than my 88 Buick Park Avenue. Now that car was a beauty but I was filling it up with oil about as often as I was filling it up with gas. It was time for it to go to the BIG car highway in the sky. My Mazda is a 5 speed and fun to drive. John has been doing most of it lately, and I couldn't be happier. Driving and cooking - not my favorite things and he does them so much better than I do. We're going to take my car down to the UW-Madison for Baileys' hip surgery in a little less than 2 weeks. Burt's foot is getting better although pretty slowly. We haven't been able to go on any walks and so our weekend has been pretty quiet. Can't wait to get him back to 100% - hopefully before we head south. Then it'll be Baileys' turn for medical attention. Geez, it's been the house of the walking wounded around here - and sometimes not even walking. I sure hope with Baileys being number 3, that it's all over.
Last night we had some friends over to my place and John grilled Fatitas and veggies for everyone. They were great and he received generous and genuine praise for his culinary skills. It is so awesome for me cuz I don't have to do it and he actually enjoys cooking. We're really into grilling - ever since he got his gas grill in the middle of January. Now he says he's gonna do an overhaul on mine one of these days. I guess he's becoming a finicky chef and can't possibly "create" on sub-standard equipment. I'll tell ya - the day my food gets all foo-fooed up is the day I take over. Presentation is NOT more important than the taste.
Friday night John and I went to opening night of "Pearl Harbor." Geez, what a movie - 3 hours. The first part was romantic and mushy, the second part was the bombing and so horrible that I cried, or should I say bawled, through the whole thing. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell myself it was just a movie because it really happened. How aweful war is. We are so, so, so lucky to have had those men and women fight for our country, freedom and future. Because of them, I have so little to worry about and so many opportunities. Tomorrow is a very special and important day. I will definitely be giving my thanks.
Kind of a bummer hockey game last night between the Devils and Avs. The New Jersey loss was cruddy but even cruddier is the fact that my buddy Randy McKay broke his hand and may not be able to play again in these play-offs. I talked to him on the phone last night and his ring finger and another bone in his hand are broken and he can't hold onto his stick. They're going to try to rig up some sort of cast and probably shoot him up with something if it's at all possible for him to play at all. I'm so sorry this happened to him - he's worked so hard and it's not going to be fun for him to sit in the press box and watch. Geez, I hope the Devils can get their head around this next game and turn this thing around right away.
When the sun did come out late this afternoon, John and I sat out on our new fold-up loungers. John bought them for us a few weeks ago and we've been enjoying them in his back yard, but hope to get them lots of beach time this summer. They're going everywhere with us. It was great to feel the sun on our face and we both got a bit pink :-) I hope the sun stays around for a while cuz people around here were getting a little ornary and I start to worry about the messanger's safety then. We both saw the Indigo Bunting again - what a beautiful bird. It's like a metalic jewel tone blue. It runs off quickly though when the dogs come outside. I'm not sure if John mentioned this in a previous journal, but in the short evergreen bushes in front of his house is a Robin's nest. When he showed it to me a couple weeks ago, there were 2 blue eggs and 2 brand new chicks. He said that that morning, there were 4 blue eggs, so they had just hatched. By the evening, there were no blue eggs and 4 of the most tiny, scrawney and hairless chicks I've ever seen. Well, now they are really big and packed into their nest and whenever I go and take a peak at them, they have their heads up and their mouths open. That mother must be running herself ragged collecting enough food for them all. I wonder when they'll start learning to fly. I feel badly because the nest is right next to the garage and driveway, so whenever John or I pull up, the mother flies away. She doesn't go too far and really yells at us. So we get away from the nest as quickly as possible. Anyway, here's a picture of the little darlings.
John says that's the only picture he's got. We just haven't been doing too much with Burtie down and out. I'll make sure to take a lot of pictures in Southern Wisconsin when we go. We will be celebrating a special day when we're there - JOHN'S BIRTHDAY IS JUNE 13. His folks are planning a family party. I'll get to meet everyone and probably more importantly - everyone gets to meet me. I am really looking forward to the trip and spending time with John's family. I'm also looking forward to some nicer weather. Now the tough part is figuring out what to get him. I know that he wants a new snowmobile, but that's just a little out of my price range. He's been looking longingly at 4-wheelers lately too. Ahhhh - NO! Anyone got any good ideas? Write in if you do and don't forget to wish him a great day on JUNE 13.
I hope that it hasn't been too hard to suffer through a journal written by me instead of John. I'm pretty sure he'll be back soon. I kept him out pretty late last night, so I think he's pretty tired. Anyway, I'm glad to pinch hit for him every once in a while. Although I know it's him you want to hear from. I'll let him close...
Man, was that great
to have Julie write the journal tonight. I was really at a loss for
things to say and all I had to do was plop my fanny on the couch and watch
the Discovery channel while she typed away. One thing I need to say
though. I may cook, but she CLEANS!!!!! I will cook any time
as long as I don't have to clean up. It is a perfect match.
Gonna run now, Julie does not know this up till right now, but I want to take her to the north shore to watch the sun set.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
May 23, 2001-
I've decided to try and write more frequently, but maybe say less each time. For the past several months I have really not updated this as often as I would like. Sometimes it is because I am busy, other times because I don't have much to say. The longer I live here, the less that is new to me and I seem to run out of interesting things to say from time to time. However, I think that I can still find enough things to write about to supply a journal entry every 2-3 days. We'll see.
One big reason why I do not have much to write about tonight is that we have been pretty much home bound since Thursday. Burt is doing better, but is still not ready to do any serious walking. He is being better about his bandages. Today I went to physical therapy and came home to see him just fine with the bandages. I went out and cut the grass and came back in an hour later and found him with the bandage off. He does not bite the stitches, he just wants to lick the wound, so it is not a major problem when he gets the bandages off. His wound is beginning to heal. In a few spots the cut has fused and it looks like in another few days the other parts of the cut will fuse as well. I am not a vet, but it looks like he could have benefited from a few more stitches then he got. Oh well, he is getting better and that is what is most important. Even his spirit seems improved, as he seems to realize that it is getting better.
Last night when we got home from watching the hockey game at Julie's, there were two bunnies in the back yard. He had no problem running at full speed to try and catch them (his favorite thing to chase). However, earlier in the evening, he was so distracted by the wound that he did not even care that Julie's cat was putting her paw right on his forehead. His second favorite thing to chase are kitty's and he has given Julie's a good chase every chance he got. Julie wants her cat to know that the dogs will not hurt it and she (the cat) learned that Baileys will not do anything, in fact Baileys was a little uneasy when the Julie brought the cat in close to her. Baileys turned her head and then even came over by me. The cat has been de-clawed so it could not harm the dogs and I know that the dogs would be fine with the cat. Anyway, in a way it was good that Burt was so intent on getting at his injury so that Julie could bring the cat right up to him and let the cat actually touch his head with her paw. We'll see how he does when he is back to normal!
So now the Devils are only 4 games away from winning the cup! Holy Wa! I have really tried to not get too hopeful, but it is getting the better of me. They really looked awesome against Pittsburgh. With the exception of the 2nd period of game 2, they totally dominated the Penguins. In games 3 and 4, I do not believe I have ever seen a team so totally dominate another, especially that far into the playoffs. I firmly believe that if the Devils play like they did against Pittsburgh, they are unbeatable. We'll see!
I have only one pic to share with you. It is of a bird at the feeder. I took it a few days ago and believe the one on the right is a Purple Finch. What do you think experts? I apologize for letting the feed run so low today. They really do get at it and it usually needs filling every other day. I am glad that the feed is so cheap. It is fun to watch them come in and eat. It reminds me of when I would go to my grandmas house. She lived in the country to the NW of Chicago and had a giant feeder that would attract tons of different types of birds. I can remember her having 40 pound bags of seed that she used to feed them, I may need to get those myself.
The Robins in the front bushes are growing up very fast. They are all crammed into the nest and I don't know what they will do soon, as there will be no room. Obviously they will get by, but it will be interesting to see. I may snap a shot of them someday. The mama leaves sometimes to get food, or when I drive the car in, or when I walk by where the nest is, so it will not hurt the chicks to have be take a shot of them.
About the only other thing I have to write about is the mystery of the strewn trash. Last night an animal took a bag of garbage from my neighbors front stoop and pulled it to the far corner of my front yard where it proceeded to tear it open and see what kind of goodies were inside. I think that it was one of 2 types of animals, either a raccoon or a bear. My reasons for thinking a bear are these: The trash was dragged all the way from her house to the far edge of my yard, about 150 feet, and then opened. In all my experience with raccoons, they have just tipped over the can or tore up the bag right on the spot and then spread it all around. Never once have I ever known them to drag the bag somewhere and then get into it. Also, it was a fairly large bag, not too large for a raccoon to drag, but still a challenge. Another thing is that there was some foil that I cleaned up. I know that shiny objects are a huge thing for raccoons and I can't imagine the foil being left behind if it was a raccoon. The final point is that either last year or the year before, a bear was spotted just down the block in someone's yard, so it is not unheard of for them to be in town. I guess it will just remain a mystery unless I see the culprit again.
So I guess that gets you caught up in the doings around here. Hopefully in a few days Burtie will be good enough to get around and we can take some shots of the sights up here.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
May 21, 2001-
Not a whole lot to write about. We had absolutely beautiful weather Friday-Sunday, with clear blue skies and temps in the 70's. It was just perfect to be outside and we were for a lot of the time. Burt is doing better. He started to chew at his bandages Sunday, I changed them and then he was ok for a while, but then went at it again, so I changed them again. This morning he was able to get them all off before I knew he was going at it. The wound looked a little puffed up, so I put some antibiotic ointment on it and that seemed to take care of things. I remember when I cut my fingers really bad, they would itch and then the itching would go away after I changed the dressing and put the ointment on. Poor guy, he is still really bummed that he can't get around. He is walking around a little more on it, but still has noticeable discomfort when he walks. The cut was so big and so deep, it will take a while for it to heal up completely. He has to keep the stitches in for another 10 days.
In contrast to the beautiful weekend we had, today has been really crummy. It started to rain at about 9:30 this morning and has not stopped since. The one thing that is funny about the hounds is that they love the water. Be it a lake, pond, stream or even a wading pool, they are in it the minute they see it. Yet, they hate to go out in the rain. They went out to do their business at about 8 AM, right after their breakfast, and have not gone out since. I have given them the chance, but they are just stick their heads out and then are not interested in going out in the rain. I hope that it at least stops for a few minutes so that they can go out before we go to bed! I suppose that if they REALLY have to go, they will. I have seen them run out quickly, get the job done and then run back in a few times.
The bird feeder has been an active place today. I am surprised, with all the rain, but that has not slowed them down at all. In fact, it seems like it has only brought more of them in. I hope that me moving the feeder a bit closer to the camera has helped with the clarity of the image. I may play around with the focus a little more, but I think I have it about as good as it will get. I think that the real answer will be to get a new camera, one with better resolution.
Speaking of birds, the Eagle has not been seen since I saw it that once. It must have just been passing through. There are a couple of places where I know of some resident eagles, at least when the snow is not flying. Maybe that eagle belonged to one of those populations.
Well, I think that I am out of things to write about and I do not have any new photos to share. I wish that I had taken the cam on our drive yesterday. We went down the covered drive and it was just beautiful. I am sure that I will be out there again soon, so I will have to be sure to bring the camera. Tomorrow is hockey night (I can't believe the team I want to win it all is just one win away from going into the Stanley Cup Finals!), so no journal for sure tomorrow. Maybe Wednesday.- JD-May 18, 2001-
I can't believe I made it through another week. In the summer, I really do work for the weekends. My week day's are also enjoyable, being able to get out into the woods or to the beach, but for some reason, the weekends really stand out. In the winter, I am more focused on big snow storms and those are the day's that I look forward to. A dry weekend is less exciting to me than a weekday with a big snow event seen. Anyway, I am glad it is Friday and I have nothing to do. Julie is busy with other plans and the hounds and I are just going to stay at home and relax. Maybe catch the Colorado-St Louis hockey game. It will also be nice to sleep in too. Waking up at a little before 5 am can get to be a bit of a drag too. To add to all of this, I think I may be battling a little bug. I have been tired and a little achy all week. Usually this happens when I get to sleep late, or don't sleep well. I have been sleeping good all week, even taking some naps from time to time, but I still can't seem to shake the feeling of being tired. I talked with a friend in Chicago that said that a flu-type illness is going around down there, and my symptoms are close to what is being felt with that bug, so maybe I have it. It was a beautiful afternoon, but I spent it sleeping. Too bad.
Enough belly aching. I promised some pics of the birds at the feeder taken by the digital camera and I have some to share. I still don't have a good one of the mystery blue one, but I ran into a local who is a big bird fan (not the sesame street big bird) and he said that what I most likely saw was the Indigo Bunting, he said that they are not all that uncommon up here. I apologize for the fact that some of the shots are blurry. I had the camera on the wrong focus setting. Anyway, here is a shot of the big yellow bird. I think that it is an Evening Grosbeak as offered up by a visitor to the site. Here is a really crummy shot of the Indigo Bunting, it was getting dark and the focus was wrong and I am not proud of the shot, but this bird also likes to hide from the camera, so I do not get many opportunities to take a pic of it. Here is a shot of the "red" bird, that a visitor thought might be a Purple Finch. I hope that the experts out there can use these shots to make a positive ID. As I mentioned, I am going to move the feeder closer to the house to get a more clear image from the AL Cam. It does a really good job of close up images. If I put it on my monitor and had it looking at me, the image would be very clear. It just does not do a good job with things that are more than about 6 feet away. Plus, the window can use a cleaning. I seriously doubt that the birds will mind the feeder being closer. The way they have been eating the feed, I could probably put it IN my house and they would still come. Thankfully the seed is not that expensive!
The other day, Julie and I took the hounds to the Dairyland in Lake Linden for some ice creme. They sure do love ice cream! They even like the cones! I don't know how they can eat it so fast with out brain freeze.
Some big news, very big indeed. The Laurium Glacier is gone! It melted totally away yesterday morning. The winner was Paul with a guess of May 18th. Congrats Paul. I will e mail you to get info on where to send the prize. It may take a few days, as I still have not gotten the prize! I plan to employ the intelligence of a woman and have Julie help me come up with something unique to the region to award you with. I will also add this to the "firsts and lasts" section of the site found in the historical weather section. Next year maybe there will be a ton of players.
Some other big news, well, at least for me and anyone else who is a fan of the hounds. I took them to the Village Park to swim yesterday afternoon. It was a pleasant day, with mostly clear skies and warm temps. The village is making the beach a little bigger and has imported some sand to to so. We are really lucky to have such a nice waterfront park, I am always amazed that it is not used more by the folks in town. Anyway, the hounds were playing in the water, running in the shallows and having a blast. All of the sudden, Burt started to cry a little (he never, ever, cries) and was holding up his paw. I could not tell what happened at first. I thought that maybe he twisted it or maybe even broke it. He continued to hold it up and I was about ready to wade out and help him when he put it down and started to limp back in. As he got to shore, I carefully examined his leg and it did not take long at all to see that his pad had been cut. I got him to the car and looked at it closer, the rear pad had been cut all the way through! Lots of blood and I did not have much to wrap it in. I put He and Baileys in the car and headed right down to the vet's in Houghton. They were able to stitch him up. They said that the rear pad was as deep as any they have ever seen, all the way through! He even cut a front pad a little. I wonder how many stitches. I really feel sorry for him. He is really depressed right now because it is painful to walk on, so all of his fun time is gone for now. I tell him he will be back to normal in a few weeks and he seems to understand, but still is not in good spirits. He has enjoyed me carrying him down the steps to the back yard and also his meals and water brought to him. But I also know that he had his choice, he would rather be well, just like I felt when Julie was waiting on me hand and foot a few months ago. Soon it will be Bailey's turn with her hip surgery. Although the vets have told me that the hard part to the recovery to the hip surgery is keeping the dog inactive so that the surgery can fully repair. They said that there is almost no pain for the dog following the surgery and the pain that they felt with the hip problems before the surgery is also gone, so all they want to do is run, but it takes a few weeks before it is ready for that activity. I can't wait to see her running and playing with no pain.
I forgot to mention in the last journal that this past Monday was my 2 year anniversary for moving up here. I still have very vivid memories of that day. They will likely last with me for a long time, maybe forever. It was such a pivotal event in my life, one that has made me so happy and fulfilled. I can clearly remember taking the dogs out in the morning the next day. The sky was cobalt blue, the air was crisp and still, a heavy dew was on the grass and the smell of pine was in the air. I just could not believe that I would be able to experience that every day. A dream come true, that is for sure.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
May 15, 2001-
Busy times, busy times. I have actually had a pretty good excuses to be away for the past 5 days. I sort of let on to the fact that I would not be able to get a journal out until after the weekend. Julie and I thought that a New Jersey hockey game was going to be on last night, so we made dinner plans at her house. Turns out no game, but I stayed down there and got back too late to get one out yesterday. So what has been keeping me so busy? Well, I had to sit and think about it for a while, as it has been so long. Friday I went to dinner with Julie and friends. We had a very nice dinner and watched the sun set at the Eagle River Inn. Got home way to late to write a journal. Then Saturday was busy with graduation events. Want to see Julie? Here she is. Ok, maybe that was not fair, so here she is getting her degree. Still did not get a good look at her? Well, that is about as good as it is going to get until I get the OK from her to post some close ups.
Saturday afternoon we had a post graduation party to go to and then Saturday night we just stayed home and watched the New Jersey Devils hand it to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Man did they look good after the first half of the first period of the game was over. What a joy it was to watch that game vs. the ones with Toronto. Nothing against the Maple Leafs, but that clutch and grab stuff can get old.
Enough hockey talk. I forgot to mention that Saturday evening before the game Julie and I took the hounds for a stroll down the beach. It was a nice clear day. A bit chilly, with temps in the 50's, but still not a bad for the beach in the UP. The hounds could really care less. The minute we pulled up, they were ready to go. In a matter of minutes they were out fetching sticks. Julie had the camera for much of the time on the beach, so you all will have to put up a picture of yours truly tossing a stick for the hounds. We went down to the beach at White City. It is one of my favorites and I could not believe that Julie (the one that grew up here) had never been there! One of the reasons why it is high on my favorites list is because it provides scenery like this.
Sunday came and Julie went off with her family to celebrate Mothers Day at the Hilltop in L'Anse. For those of you not in the know, the Hilltop is famous for it's cinnamon rolls. Giant cinnamon rolls. No, that was not a miniature can of pop. I pride myself on my love of sweet pastries and tried my best to put the whole thing away in one sitting, but I lost the battle.
Later on Sunday, Julie and I hooked up for a walk with the hounds. This being the land of big snows, we decided to and play in what is remaining up here. As you can notice, Julie had the camera once again, so there will be a few more shots of me and the hounds. Here is one of Burtie catching a snow ball. Here is one of just the hounds doing a little "rough housing". After all that rough housing, it was time to do a little cooling off. The UP's largest snow cone.
Sunday night I have work to do for the commodities customers and then it was bed time so no journal. Then, like I said, we though the game was on last night, so I went down to Julie's house to watch it. Only problem was that is was not on. I'm watching it right now as I type this. So far so good. If they keep playing like they are, the cup will be up here this summer. I did manage to stop at the Laurium Glacier and snap a shot. Close but no cigar. Maybe by the end of this week.
For those of you checking in on the AL Cam, the birds have really been active out there. The feeders were almost full this morning and are now almost empty. At one point I counted 12 birds out there. Some really colorful ones. A couple of yellow ones (finches I think), a red one (not sure what that was) and a blue one (really not sure of that one, but it was not a blue jay). The blue one was really neat. All blue, almost florescent. I have never seen one like that before and have not seen it since. Hope it comes around again. I tried to take a shot of all the birds with my camera, but they flew away when I got close to the window.
I also have a robins nest in my front bushes. The babies were hatched just the other day. I actually looked and saw 3 eggs in the morning and by the afternoon, the eggs were broken and three brand new babies were there. I now try and limit my activity around there so the mother can keep them warm and safe. They are not chirping yet. Not really looking forward to that.
The only other tidbit of info I have is that the black flies are out. Not in full force, but about 75% of full force. On out afternoon walk today, they were out and about, being the pests that they know how to be. No bites, but it will only be a matter of time.
So that gets you caught up I believe. My next few days are not as busy, so maybe I can get another one of these out before 5 day's pass.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
May 10, 2001-
I'm going to try and sneak another entry in under the wire. I think that Julie may be headed to Lake Linden to get some ice creme at the Dairyland, so I want to try and get it done before that happens, because then I can feel an early bed time coming on and the weekend is totally filled up with activities so if I do not get one done tonight, that is it until Monday. I am a little tired today because I was up later than usual last night watching the New Jersey Devils giving it to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Only 8 more wins in 14 games and I will get to see Lord Stanley's Cup first hand! Keeping those fingers crossed!
I have a handful of pictures to share with you. On Tuesday the hounds and I took to the north shore for a walk. It was a very pretty day, with sunshine blocked occasionally by just a few high clouds. Temps were in the upper 60's and there was a fresh breeze out of the west. It was a bit of a milestone for me in my recovery. That visit was the first one to the beach since I broke my leg. I had been to the area since breaking my leg, but it was to walk down a road that runs parallel to the beach. It felt really good to be out on the beach. Just like "old times". I like to walk that stretch of beach because it collects lots of things that want to wash up onto it. Most of the items are pieces of driftwood, but sometimes pieces of buildings, or boats and even once an a while a piece of clothing. So almost every time I walk down the beach, there is something new to see and in some cases things that were there previously are gone. Washed away by the same waves that have deposited new items.
The hounds were full of joy to be out there as well. They really love the beach, especially that one. They get to explore the beach, the woods right near the beach and occasionally go for a swim. It's amazing to me how they can tolerate that cold water, but they do. Burt spent a lot of time fetching the sticks that I threw out into the surf. He did not even mind the waves that would occasionally roll completely over him. Later that day, both dog's fur was so soft and they smelled so good. Nothing like a dip in the clear waters of Lake Superior to cleanse a dog up after a dirty spring.
Yesterday I had physical therapy and some other stuff to do so we had to stick close to home for our afternoon walk. I took the hounds out by the Traprock River and it is actually dropped to about average levels already. It was just 3 weeks ago that it was in full flood stage. Still no major problems with flying insects yet. Some wasps, a few bumble bees and an occasional fly, but the noseums are still hiding out somewhere and that is just fine by me. I know that I am just biding my time with those things. Soon they will be buzzing my head and trying to get a drink of my blood. Yeech, I hate those things! Thankfully they are gone by the end of June!
The only other shot I have for tonight is an update on the Laurium Glacier. As you can see, it is still hanging on, although it is also still shrinking. It may actually last another week or so, as it looks like temps will be cooling, especially next week. We'll see.
Well, I'm running out of steam and have a busy Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so I better get to sleep soon.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
May 7, 2001-
Rather than getting behind in the updates again, I have sat myself down and decided to put thoughts to words once again and try and lend my perspective to life in the Keweenaw. I guess the first thing I can update you all on is the Julie did survive the Senior Walk. From What I understand, there were a few moments when things were touch and go late in the night and early in the morning the next day, but I went out to pick her up at her friends camp and she was bounding back like a champ. I felt for her, being there a few times in life myself, but I was also glad to be wide-eyed and bushy tailed that morning, while she was a bit slow to get around. By about noon, she was pretty much back to her bright and happy self and we had fun celebrating her birthday (although the New Jersey Devils did let us down). By the way, if you are wondering why I am a New Jersey Devils hockey fan, she has a friend Randy McKay who plays for them and so I have adopted them as my team. Plus if they repeat winning the Stanley Cup, I get to see it first hand when it visits Randy up here during the off season. I am, and will always be, a fan of the team where coaches go to die, the Chicago Blackhawks. RIP Mr. Sutter you were once know as a great coach.
Anyhoo, Sunday did not turn out to be the day that the weather guy up here (what's his name anyway?) said it would, with clouds and some rain, instead of 60's and sunshine (editors note: It did become sunny and was 60 by 4 pm Sunday). So the trip to the mouth of the Montreal was scrapped. In stead, we went and got my bird feeders and a movie to watch. I got the bird feeders up and you can view them on the AL Cam. I will move it in a little closer, so that when the birds do notice it and begin to feed from it, you will be able to see what kind is there. I may just keep it going all winter, maybe.
Other than that, there has not been a whole lot going on up here. The trees are all budding out and soon leaves will be filling the branches. Gardens are being planted and my grass is now in almost serious need of cutting. The bugs have yet to get going. I call them black flies, the locals noseums, in either case, they are nasty and they have yet to really get going. There have been a few of the forward guard out and about, but they are the mellow, second cousins of the regular season blood suckers. I hear that the smelt run was a dud this year. I can't say for sure, maybe because of all the high water we had. I can't imagine them being too successful when the rivers were really cranking. They would have needed a high power jet boat to get up the Tobacco and I don't imagine the other rivers were too much different.
I have not even seen any trout in some of the creeks I have seen them swimming around in past seasons. I did see a Bald Eagle flying low right over my house this afternoon. Maybe he was eyeing my new bird feeder. Ha, Ha. I know better, they only will eat live prey. Still really neat to live in a place where a Bald Eagle will fly low passes over your house. Maybe it will set up shop in the hood and I will be treated to regular flights.
The only picture I have to share with you is of the Laurium Glacier. As you can see it is continuing to melt, but still has at least a few days to go. I will be passing it most day's this week, so I will keep an eye on it. I figure this weekend or early next week will bring the end to this feature.
So I guess that will do it for another day. Hopefully the weather will be more supportive of getting out and about and I can bring you along. I have not been to the north shore in some time, so maybe a walk up there is in order.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
May 4, 2001-
Finally, a new journal! Sorry for the absence, but it has been a hectic week. I have been busy with the regular work, the new summer forecasts for this site, physical therapy, doctors appointments and some business type meetings. Thank you to all who wondered if I was doing ok. I never get upset when people wonder why there has not been a journal entry added recently. It just shows me how much you all enjoy it. Speaking of the new summer forecasts for the site, please bear with me as I find my groove in them. I am trying to come up with the best things to talk about. In my other forecasts for the central US, my customers want to know how much rain (actual amounts) is going to fall and the spatial coverage of those rains, but with this site I have to get use to the idea that what is likely most important is when will the rains arrive and how long will they last. So I will get with it shortly and also get into a groove with the graphics as well. I hope that you all will find them of some use and don't be afraid to tell your non-snowmobile friends, family and co-workers about the site. Just about everyone I know of can use a summer forecast! Anyway, enough begging for customers.
It is a Friday and I am home alone with the hounds. Sort of by choice. Today was the last day of school for Michigan Tech Seniors (Julie included) and they have what is called the "Senior Walk". I call it the "Senior Stumble", but anyway what it is is the seniors start at one bar in west Hancock and then work their way down east, cross the bridge and then work their way east through Houghton, stopping at each bar to get a refreshment. I was invited, but did not feel like wasting a precious weekend day recovering from my ruthless behavior on a Friday afternoon and evening. Julie is making the pilgrimage and I got home and listened to a pretty funny message on my answering machine. It was about 85% laughter and about 15% words that made little sense, so she seems to be having a good time. She is with a group of girls that are all graduating with her, getting the same degrees. They had many of the same classes together and became good friends. I hope that Julie can save some energy for tomorrow, it's her birthday and I have some fun things planned. Maybe we will have to do most of the celebrating on Sunday, which is ok by me, just so that she has fun.
Like I said, one of the things I had this week was some doctors appointments. I went in to see the doc that fixed my leg and had an x-ray taken of it. Finally, I remembered to bring my camera so that I could show you all what it looks like. I wish that I had brought my camera to the previous ones so that you could see how it is healing. Plus, I still want to get a shot of the x-ray taken at the emergency room. It is kind of gross, but really illustrates how bad the break was. The two pieces of the bone were separated by a few inches. Anyway, in that shot, you can make out the steel rod that they put down the middle of the bone to stabilize it and then the two screws down by the knee that hold the rod and bone together. There is also a screw up by the hip that is not visible in the shot, but it holds things together up there. The break is noted fairly well about 1/3rd of the way down, where there is a diagonal break in the bone going from upper left to lower right. The solid white in the upper left of the break is where the bone has fused and it is even beginning to fuse in the lower right area of the break. I still can't believe that sucker broke!
This afternoon, as I was finishing up work and thinking about what to say in the journal, I realized that I really did not have much to say and that I also did not have any pictures, other than the x-ray, to share with you. Thankfully my afternoon walk with the hounds took care of the picture glut and I think that I can come up with some interesting tidbits to write about.
It so nice, just so nice to be able to get out and explore again. Sunday's adventure to the Douglass Houghton Falls with Julie was the first real exploring I have done since the accident. Today was exploration number 2. Actually, the hounds and I have been in most of the areas we went to today before and part of our journey even took us in areas where my local cross country ski trail goes, but we were still able to see some new sights and experience some new thrills. The hounds had an absolute blast. Their tails never stopped wagging and they are sound asleep on their couch right now. A sure sign that the trip was a success. Not only did they get to run free, they got to go for some little swims. There is still a lot of water standing in the low and swampy areas due to the snow melt and heavy rain. The rivers are all down to almost average levels, but areas that are prone to holding water are. That area that the dogs were swimming in was dry at this time last year. Everything is greening up very nicely too. My yard is just about all fully alive now and is ready for some fertilizer and a cutting. On our walk today, I came across some daffodils poking up through the tall, dead grass. A fairly unique sight sitting out there all by themselves.
The walk today took us through many different types of geography and vegetation. So far you have seen the swamp area that the dogs swam in, here is a field that they also got to run around in, smelling lots of things. It is also a place that I think would be a neat location to build a home. You would have to fix the road a little, as it tends to flood in the spring, but someone has already done quite a bit of work to the culverts on the side of the road and it would not take much more to keep it drive able all year round. Of course you would have to plow it in the winter, which would be quite a task, seeing as where I would like to put the home is about a half mile from the road the county keeps clear. But I do have the perfect location for the home, it sits in a little meadow, surrounded by pine and birch trees, plus is right on the banks of the Traprock River. The bank I would build the home on is about 17-18 feet higher than the level of the river was today, which is about 8-10 feet higher than the record flood level for the river, so I suspect that it would be safe from flooding. Here is a panoramic shot taken this past winter in that some location, it shows how there is a big bend in the river there..
There is tons of wildlife that lives in that area too. Every time we go back there, we come across several deer. Today was no exception. In fact, Burt disappeared off into the woods and I heard leaves being rustled. The sound got closer and closer and I could tell that it was more than just Burt making the sound. All of the sudden, a deer sprung out of the woods, I think we both were as surprised to see each other as we were only about 10 feet apart. I thought for sure there was going to be a collision, but it was able to turn on a dime and head away from me. Burt flushed about 5 of them out of the woods. I do not worry for Burt or the deer. They are way too fast to be caught and even if he were to somehow catch one, I am positive he would just let it go, just as he has when he has caught a bunny and a few squirrels. He just loves the chase. Today he was left in the dust, just as the case has been every other time.
A little further up in the walk we encountered another swamp area. This area is also where part of my cross country ski trail goes in the winter. Last year at this time, I was able to find a way to cross the lowest area and not get wet. Today, I would have encountered water up past my waist. I took another shot of the swamp area. I purposely took it to compare it with what it was like back this past January, as I knew I had taken a shot in the same spot back then. So here is one of those snow/no snow shots.
I walked up a little further, basically as far as I could without needing a pair of waders and then had to turn around. Right at the point where I had to turn around. I came across another sight that was pretty cool. It was a pine tree that has taken root in the decaying trunk of a previous tree. It is definitely a new tree and not a sprout from the previous tree. There are two main roots to the new tree, one that digs straight into the old trunk and the other that snakes down and around the old trunk and it can been seen in the photo branching off to the left of the new tree, then turning and following the outside of the old trunk down into the dirt. I guess that is Mother Natures way of making use of the old to support the new.
As I sit here, getting ready to put the finishing touches on the entry, I am looking out my window at an incredible sunset. We have a high cirrus deck trying to move in from the south. The winds aloft are bending and molding the clouds into shapes and forms that only nature can create and the colors are a mixture of yellows, oranges, reds and blues not found on any palette created by man. The only thing that would make it better would be to be sitting on the north shore, by a campfire, with the dogs and Julie at my side. There will be more than just a few of those this summer, you can bet on it.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
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