We finally reaped
the benefits of a
thunderstorm today! Thankfully it was not severe, but did bring
some much needed rains. Since the beginning of June, I have watched
thunderstorms roll towards us and die out as they crossed the big lake,
or track to the south and miss us. Before last Thursday's all day,
steady rain, we had picked up only about 1.4" of rain since June 1.
Which was only about 25% of the 5.25 which was average for the same time
frame. We picked up nearly an inch on that day and another .80" today.
My grass is greening and as a matter of fact, I cut my grass this past
Sunday for the first time in 8 weeks. At least the front yard.
The back is still brown and not growing, so no need to cut it. I
would imagine that in a few days it will also start to green up and I will
be back there cutting it. I must say that I have not missed having
to cut it, but green is so much more pleasant to look at than brown.
At last writing I was
coming off a nice string of cooler days and at this writing I am coming
off a string of warm and humid days. Things have not been way hot,
but still, highs have been in the 80's and the humidity has been up there
too. The cold front is on the way and should be here by tomorrow
morning. Maybe even bring some more t-storms. Then tomorrow
looks nice, with temps in the 70's and low humidity levels and more of
the same on Friday. I wish I could say the same for the weekend and
all of next week, but the heat and humidity look to build over the weekend
and continue into much of next week. I sure seems like this summer
has been a warm one up here, so I did a little look back at things and
my suspicions were correct. Since June 19th, we have had 9 days with
a high temp for the day that was below average. 3 days were right
on the average for that day and 29 have been above average. Our average
high in that time period is 81.6, which is 7.1 degrees above the average
for that same time frame. I am not looking forward to the next electricity
bill, but at least my home has been comfortable. I really feel sorry
for those without it. Especially the nights where the temps have
stayed in the 70's. In just 3 to 4 weeks we will be done with it.
Or at least done with any sustained heat. It can get hot all the
way into September, but usually will not last more than a day or so and
the heat usually does not come with humidity. I am ready! Can't
wait! The one thing I forgot to mention in the last journal was that
our average high was headed down on that day. So for the past 6 days,
our average high has been going down. Really slow, we have only gone
from 77 to 76, but it is in the right direction. By the end of August
the average is 68, just about perfect. The sun is also not as high
in the sky and is setting earlier. It has actually gone behind the
hills out to the west of me before I go to bed and soon it will actually
be dark when my head hits the pillows.
The other thing I forgot
to mention in the last journal was an experience that happened while we
were out walking the school forest. I am not sure how many of you
have ever flushed a partridge out of the bush while walking, but it is
a little bit unnerving. Things are all nice and quiet and then all
of the sudden there is an explosion about 5-10 feet in front of you as
the bird breaks from it's resting place in the grass or bushes and then
flies off. Well, last week while out at the school forest, I learned
what is even more startling than than flushing a partridge. Flushing
the bird and then having it fly right at you and hit you. Yep, the
thing came right at me, so I ducked and put my arms up to defend myself
and it hit my elbow. It was probably as scared as me and did not
hurt itself and was able to keep flying and disappeared off into the woods,
but man, what a stress test for the old ticker! Hope that does not
happen anytime soon. I thought the thing was mad at me or something!
All I could picture was that scene from "The Birds" where the seagulls
are hammering away at the lady in the phone booth.
With the heat and humidity
the hounds and I have not been doing a whole lot of exploring. At
least of new and exciting places. We have gone into the woods to
walk the tracks from time to time. There is shade and we take it
slow and they do not overheat, but it is not like the walks that we take
in the fall when we go anywhere and do it at a fast pace. I am really
looking forward to that weather. Did I say that already?
On Saturday I did venture
out to the old stamp mill site near Eagle Harbor to partake in the Berzerker.
Brian (my friend and fellow KSE guide and also the guy on the far left
with his hands on his hips in that shot) has a relative who owns a bunch
of land out there and he invites a bunch of his friends out to have fun.
Now I have to set the stage a little. Brian's stepbrother Guy is
a very smart man and a computer wiz from what I understand. His friends
also are very smart and are researchers, inventors or involved in science
and technology in someway. This Berzerker is sort of their way to
blow off steam and a lot of other explosives! I was not able to stick
around for the 6 foot birthday cake that was suppose to burn with the illumination
of several suns, nor did I get to see them launch bowling balls 700 feet
out of mortars, but I did see some golf balls get fired out of a mini cannon,
a few homemade rockets
get launched and also ice creme being made with liquid oxygen.
Before I go into the ice creme making process, I need to point out that
the rocket picture was taken using the zoom and the boy and man watching
it were actually about 50-75 feet away from it and not just a few feet
like it looked. Safety was an issue with all of these "experiments"
going on and the only causality that I heard about was a few scrapes and
bruises when someone rolled a 4 wheeler.
Anyway, the ice creme
making process was really neat to watch and also very good to eat.
Guy would take all the ingredients and put them into a large
plastic container. He would then mix them up and get ready for
the freezing process. As mentioned, the freezing was done by using
liquid oxygen. The process was actually quite simple, the liquid
oxygen is just poured into the creme, sugar and other raw ingredients
and in about a minute an a half, you have ice creme! He was able
to make 3 different types of ice creme in about 10 minutes. The thing
that took the longest was dishing it out to everyone. Not quite to
Ben and Jerry's or Jilberts texture, but still very good. Especially
on a hot day out on all that stamp sand.
So I guess that gets
you caught up on all of my doings up here. Hopefully the cooler air
tomorrow and Friday will inspire me to do some exploring with the hounds.
I just looked at the latest computer guidance and I cannot believe how
hot it says it is suppose to be next week. Maybe the models will
Good night from the Keweenaw.
helps sponsor pasty.net
which helps to make johndee.com
I've had some
pretty good success with early starts on my journal, so I thought I would
continue the trend. Things have quieted down a bit in my forecasting
duties, partly due to the fact that I am not updating the text on this
site, but mostly because the commodity markets are settling down just a
bit. It was very fun when things were crazy, but I am also glad to
have a bit of a break. I am also glad that the heat has broken across
the Keweenaw. We cooled off Sunday night and have been cool all week,
with more of the same for the next week, possibly more. Could it
be that we are done with any more severe heat and humidity? I doubt
it, but as we head deeper and deeper into August, any heat is usually confined
to a day or two and is usually not accompanied by too bad of humidity.
I think that is what was the worst with the recent bit of sultry weather
was the humidity. On Sunday, the dewpoint was 76 degrees. That's
way up there, even for the tropics, let alone the northwoods of the Keweenaw.
On Monday we played golf in the evening and it actually was a bit chilly.
It rained very lightly for about 30 minutes and the combination of the
rain, wind and cold was enough to kick us off the course for a while, but
as soon as the rains stopped, we headed back out. As I sat there
shivering in the golf cart Monday, it was hard to think that it was so
sultry just 24 hours previously.
We have started to
get a little more rain. Still not any big totals, they have been
occurring in just about everywhere else in the UP but here. Late
Sunday, some strong storms rolled through the UP and hit just about everyone
but us. The weather was severe enough to take out my internet provider.
Service was out from about 7 pm Sunday till about 10 am Tuesday.
I do have some backups because all of my business is conducted via the
internet, but the backups are dial up, so that really makes me a busy man
trying to download all the maps and charts that I use. I sure do
miss my broadband when it is down! That was the reason why I did
not update the website on Monday and Tuesday and then I just liked the
little break from the forecasting I was getting so on Wednesday I just
did the graphics, which are easier and less time consuming to do than the
text forecast. I'll start the text forecasts back up next week.
With the cooler weather,
the hounds and I have been taking to the woods. For one reason, they
have been in the water so much that they are starting to secrete an protective
oil to keep their skin from drying out. That oil smells rather bad.
Almost like vomit, so I am hoping to stem the secretion of that oil by
keeping them dry for a while. Keeping them dry has not been much
of a sacrifice, not when we have such beautiful woods to explore.
On Monday I decided to take them to a favorite place of ours to go in the
winter, but we had yet to be there in the summer, the School Forest.
It was neat to be out there in the summer and see how different things
are without snow. Here is a shot of one of the red
pine stands out there taken Monday and here is a shot taken in the
same spot this past January.
Different huh? Now take a look at a section where the foliage is
trees, and in
winter. The one bummer part of the walk out at the School Forest
was that the deer flies were pretty bad. The did not bother the dogs
much, but went after me instead. Their mode of attack is to buzz
around the back side of your head and eventually land on either the back
or top of your head or your neck and then take a bite out of you.
I have found that a good way to combat this is to either wear a hat or
break off a 2-3 foot maple tree twig, pull all the leaves and smaller branches
off of it, leaving only the branches and leaves at the very end and use
it as a swatter. I just sweep the swatter across the top of my head
while I walk and it keeps them from getting too close. Works good,
but I do need to swat constantly or they will be on me as soon as I stop.
Looks like I will wait until the end of August to head back out to the
School Forest and wait for the deer flies to fade away.
There is some farmland
out by the School Forest and it is always interesting to see what farmers
up here try to grow. Needless to say that Agricultural exports are
not a major part of the economy of the Keweenaw. Our growing season
is just too short to grow any crop that is of large value. Most fields
are full of hay up here but driving home we did pass a field
of corn. That is really not the best crop to grow up here, as
corn actually grows in relation to energy units based on how warm it is.
Those energy units are called growing degree days and are computed by taking
the average daily temperature (high-low) and subtracting a base temp (usually
50 degrees) from it. So if for example a day has high of 80 and a
low of 60, the average temp would be 70. Subtract 50 and you come
up with 20 growing degree days. You then add up the daily growing
degree days for each day and come up with a running total. Corn actually
reaches different levels of maturity such as tasselling, kernel fill, dent
and dry down based on the amount of GDD's it has received since planting.
We do not even get enough GDD's up here to allow corn to reach maturity.
So people are growing a crop that will be dead or frosted out before it
even reaches maturity. That crop in the picture was about waist high
and still not even tasseling, which means that it will be weeks before
any ears are even filled out and many more weeks before it will be dry
enough for harvest. Of course it may be sweet corn which is picked
right at kernel fill and does not need any dry down at all. So maybe
it is sweet corn, but even so, it will be a close call to be able to harvest
before we get our first frost in another 6 weeks or so. One crop
that would actually grow pretty good up here is oats, but I have yet to
see a field of oats up here.
On Tuesday I took the
hounds into the woods close by. The deer flies have not been too
bad up on the old railroad tracks that are now used as the snowmobile trails
all summer and I was hoping that was still the case Tuesday. It did
end up being the case. A few would come and go, but were not a problem
at all. I did not take any pictures on that walk because I have provided
you with many from the summer, fall and winter. However, they have
all been still shots and I thought you might like to see what it is like
to walk those trails, so I did shoot a little video
as I was walking. Nothing too special, but it does give you a different
perspective from the still shots.
Yesterday the hounds,
my gal and I went up north into Keweenaw County to check out the view from
Baldy or Mt. Lookout. She had actually never been there before (only
having lived here for about 25-30 years), so I was looking forward to seeing
her reaction of the views from on top. Brockway is nice, but Baldy
is better, if you ask me. I suppose one neat thing about Baldy is
that it is not easy to get to and you do need 4 wheel drive, so we usually
have the place to ourselves, or at least have to share it with some "locals".
Last fall 3 bald eagles were resting on the cliffs on the south side of
the hill when we arrived and then took to flight and hovered above on the
updrafts. No eagles last night, but still some very beautiful
views. That was Agate Harbor. Using the zoom on my camera,
I was able to capture a pleasure
boat leaving Grand Marais Harbor on it's way to Eagle Harbor a few
miles to the west. It's cool to watch things happen from afar and
such an elevated perspective. I was even able to zoom in on a Lakes
Freighter off the coast by about 4 miles or so. Looked to be
riding a little low in the water at the stern end and the strange thing
was that it did not move for the whole hour we were up on Baldy.
Usually those freighters come and go in a matter of 15-20 minutes.
Wonder if they had any problems. Burt and Baileys always like to
explore and one of their favorite things seems to be to go to the edge
of the hill and look over. Scares the heck out of me and I do
call them back, but they also seem to be pretty sure footed and fairly
cautious. I tried to get a shot of Baileys, but the 1/2 second delay
in the shutter combined with the zoom caused me to get only 4/5ths
of her in the shot.
Speaking of Baileys,
there is also a very beautiful lake sitting at the foot of Baldy/Lookout
called Lake Bailey. It is shallow and not so good for swimming or
fishing, but there are not too many more beautiful lakes in the Keweenaw
if you ask me, especially when you are on the north shore looking across
the lake with Baldy in the background. Here is a reverse-perspective
shot looking down from Baldy onto the east end of Lake Bailey. Looking
west, you get to look over both the town
of Eagle Harbor and the body of water by the same name. You can
see the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse in the far right of that shot. It
is the last building.
The sun was in the
process of setting, so we decided to sit and take it all in, when we spotted
bear. Anybody remember doing that as kids, I guess my girlfriend
and I are still a kids at heart. She spotted it and I decided it
needed recognition in the journal. Even Baileys and Burt decided
to stop exploring long enough for me to snap a shot. Well, at least
did. We were well rewarded with our wait up on Baldy, some high
clouds were rolling in just as the sun was setting and we were given a
sunset that changed it's look almost by the minute. Here is one of
those minutes captured for you to take
in. All you need to do is set the AC to about 65 degrees and
crank up the fan to blow a breeze of about 25 mph and you will have the
elements that we were in. Almost.
We were able to hike
back to the truck and get down the mountain before the last rays of sun
went away, then a relaxing drive back down to Hancock and then Lake Linden
for a peaceful nights sleep. I hope you all are enjoying my renewed
interest in photo taking. This new cam has really inspired me and
I look forward to sharing many more adventures with you in the near future.
Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
early start. It is only 3 pm and the hounds and I have already had
a pretty full day. Actually, we were back at about 1 pm and had had
our full day. Plus it is about 90 out, with tons of humidity, so
we are all hanging out in the cool house, away from that nasty heat.
So instead of sitting around watching the TV or something like that, I
decided to get a journal out.
Knowing that it was
going to be a hot and humid one today, I decided to get most of our activity
done early. By about 8:30 the hounds and I were already in the truck,
heading out of town. Our journey was to take us deep into the northwoods
of the Keweenaw today, almost to the tip. A pretty long journey,
but full of interesting sights, so I decided to share bits and pieces of
our journey with you. We start out things heading
up cemetery road, just north of Lake Linden and also my house.
Why do they call it cemetery road? Because there are some cemeteries
on it of course! Notice all the brown grass? It is still very
dry up here, but looks like some rain tonight.
Continuing north a
little we come to the swimming
hole in the Traprock River at Bekkala's. I might just take the
hounds there this evening to do a little swimming. We continued north,
driving the length of the Traprock Valley and eventually left it behind
and climbed the hill up to the Keweenaw Spine and through the hamlet of
Copper City and we hop on the main highway and travel through the town
of Mohawk. North of Mohawk, the scenery changes quite a bit.
Even though we are still on the main highway, there are no more cities,
towns or villages. Just lots and lots of trees, an one giant
snow stick! Every time I head north of Mohawk, it is almost like
I am on vacation. Things just seem so different up there and so remote,
it seems like I have traveled far from my home, when I have actually not
been in the car for more than 30 minutes. The last item of interest
we passed before exiting off HWY. 41 is the once proud mining town of Delaware.
Seems like Delaware did not like the idea of loosing it's prestige once
the mines shut down, so it took a look around one winter and saw all the
snow that fell and decided to become famous
for something else. I must say, not much else happens in Delaware,
especially in the winter!
Turning off of 41 and
onto the road to Lac La Belle, we are still driving through the woods and
on a paved road, but it does narrow a bit. I guess you could say
that it becomes a little more "intimate".
Kind of weird to be driving down that road without 4 foot snowbanks on
either side of it. Still very pretty though. Speaking of pretty,
I challenge anyone to find a time when the view out over Lac La Belle is
not beautiful. Depending on the weather, the lake will be in very
different moods. I have seen the lake boiling with 2-4 foot whitecapped
waves, or flat as a pancake, but locked into a thick fog. This morning
it was no winds and clear blue skies that created a mirrored
I could have sat and
looked out over Lac La Belle all morning, but we had other things to do,
so we continued on the road, heading out towards Bete Gris. Just
before getting to the white sands of Bete Gris, we took a left and onto
a gravel road that
ventured off into the deep woods of the northern most section of Keweenaw
and Michigan. This road was taking us up to the old Smith Fisheries
and our final destination, the mouth of the Montreal River. I have
been down this old gravel road many times, but usually it was in my low
riding Honda Accord. Today was the first time down it in the Blazer.
What a difference! I was able to keep up a good speed and never worry
about bottoming out. The road had been freshly graded, so it was
in better shape than when I had traveled it in the Honda, but still, what
a difference in a 4 wheel drive vehicle that is also made for some off
It was still cool as
we headed down the trail to the Smith Fisheries, the outside thermometer
on my Blazer read 73 degrees. Perfect conditions to have the windows
rolled down, the tunes cranking and the hounds with their heads out the
windows, ears flapping in the wind and smiles on their faces. In
about 15 minutes we were at the end of the journey to be taken while still
in the truck and had to do the rest of it on foot, so we piled out of the
vehicle, the hounds happy to be finally able to put nose to ground and
me glad to be able to finally be able to slow down and take a good
and slow look at around at all the beauty that surrounded me.
to the mouth of the Montreal is really neat. You have to pay close
attention to where you put foot for the next step, as there are plenty
of roots and fallen trees to stumble on and at times the path is washed
out and a misstep would send you tumbling about 10-15 feet into Lake Superior.
Another amazing thing about the footpath is the smell. All the cedars
and fir frees in that area floods the air with an intoxicating smell.
It is actually very sweet smelling, not the harsh, sharp, manufactured
pine scent of an air freshener or pine scented kitchen cleaner. That
is also something I could have just sat and absorbed for a while, but alas,
we were on a mission. So we continued on, along the footpath.
Crossing over, under or around fallen trees and exhilaratingly close to
the cliffs overlooking the big lake. Occasionally getting a look
back at what the shoreline
looks like. I really want to take this trip via kayak someday.
There are sea stacks like the one just pictured as well as some sea caves.
After about 20 minutes
of hiking along the footpath, we neared our final destination. I
can tell when we are almost there because the Bear
Bluffs come into view. If you ask me, this is some of the most
beautiful land in the country. I've seen lots of places, from the
Atlantic coast to the deep south to the Rocky Mountains and the shoreline
of the tip of the Keweenaw can hold up to any of them. And it is
all less than an hour away from my door. I actually do not head out
there too often. I like to keep it special by going once or twice
a year. Just enough to get my fill, but also not so often so that
it becomes familiar.
The hounds were glad
to be at the final destination, as they were able to take a dip in the
big lake as well as in the river and cool off. It was still not hot,
but I could tell that it had warmed some, with the temp probably in the
mid to upper 70's and also a noticeable humidity. I was still pretty
comfortable, or at least comfortable enough to keep from having to take
a dip in the frosty waters of the big lake. I did not take any pictures
of the falls. Nope, I did one better. I took some movies.
I had said that I wanted to save my first movie taken with the camera until
I had something special to share with you all and I can think of nothing
more special that a movie of the falls at the mouth of the Montreal River
and I even threw in a quick look at the hounds just to add the finishing
Now, before I go on,
I need to give you some technical tips since this is a new feature to my
site. The files are in "avi" format. So you will need Quicktime
to view them. If you do not have a Quicktime Player you can get one
for free here.
Download the file from that site, install the player and then you can download
the avi files from my site. The files are very big, one is 4.5 meg
and another is 3.4 meg. So if you do not have a high speed connection,
it might take as long as 30-40 minutes to download the files. It
took my cable connection about 15-20 seconds to download the files, a very
good reason to have a broadband connection! To download the file
from my site, I would right click on the link to the file and choose "save
file as" to save the file locally on your hard drive. Be sure to
pay attention to where you are saving it on your system! Then you
can just launch quicktime and open the file in that program to view it.
Netscape has problems with avi files and if you have other media players
on your system like real player, MS Internet Explorer may use them to open
the avi file and you could also experience problems viewing the file.
I have only had success with Quicktime.
So without further
adeu...I give you the
lower falls of the Montreal River as seen from about 2/3rds of the
way up the falls. You can even catch Baileys and Burt at the end
of the movie. The second
movie was shot from lower down on the lower falls. You get a
good view of most of the falls as well as where the river spills into the
big lake. I finish off the movie by zooming in on the Bear Bluffs
to the west. Pretty neat huh? I can't wait to share some other
movies with you and the upcoming snowmobile season should really be great,
showing some of our adventures on them.
So that was our adventures
this morning. It is still hot out there. Even hotter, with
a temp of 88 at the airport and about 93 here in the valley. Nice
in the house at about 72. I can't wait for the cooler air to arrive
tomorrow night. Looks like it will be nice and cool all week.
Pre season football starts next week, it won't be long before the cooler
temps are here to stay!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
It is said that
picture speaks a thousand words, but I must add to that shot by saying:
"Aahhhhhhh". After a few days of nasty weather, the heat and humidity
finally broke and we have a beautiful day going. I was getting a
little worried yesterday, as my summer SAD (it it the same as winter SAD,
just in the summer and really does exist) was starting to get the best
of me. I was really lethargic and could tell the heat and humidity
was really getting me down. It was really all I could do just to
leave the house. Once outside, I was usually OK, but still not in
a very good mood. It's funny, I was reading the journals from last
year at about this time and it sounded like I was battling the same thing.
Must peak out in July or something. That last shot was of the bank
thermometer here in Lake Linden, taken at about 3 pm. Nice huh?
Yesterday we were in the low 90's with a dewpoint of 72. You could
actually see the humidity! I did take the hounds to the north shore
to cool off in the big lake and my thermometer in my truck said 75 by the
time we got down there, so there was a big difference by the big lake.
I could have spent all day there, but had some things to do, so let the
hounds swim for about 30-45 minutes and then headed back into the tropics.
The front came through
yesterday evening and by about 8 pm, the temp was in the low 70's with
a dewpoint already in the low to mid 60's and we did not get a lick of
rain. Some storms, strong ones at that, fired up across the far southern
UP and into northern WI, but once again we were skunked in the rain department.
Maybe all this heat and dryness now will translate to cold and snow this
winter! One can hope anyway. Another strange thing that happened
with the frontal passage was that a plume of smoke from fires in Canada
swung through the Keweenaw. The visibility dropped to about 2 miles
and you could actually smell the smoke. Reminded me of when we had
the forest fire at Rice Lake 2 years ago and the plume from that fire blew
into town, only this time the whole Keweenaw was in the smoke. It
did clear up by late in the evening.
On Monday the hounds
and I combated the heat by heading to the
beach at Big Traverse. I really like that one because of it's
sandy shores. There is usually some decent driftwood scraps to be
used as sticks for the hounds to fetch and that is also a beach where I
can easily spend the whole day. However, we went there on Tuesday
to beat the heat and were run off after only about 90 seconds on the beach.
Big Traverse was the wrong place to be Tuesday afternoon. First,
the winds were out of the west, southwest, so the winds were off shore.
That caused things to be very hot. The off shore winds kept any lake
cooling well off shore. It must have been about 95 out there.
The off shore winds also allowed a large population of flies to be blown
from the swamps to the west of the beach out onto the beach and the dogs
were literally covered with them in no time. They tried going into
the water and rolling in the sand, but nothing worked. I asked them
if they wanted to go and they ran right to the truck...smart dogs!
I really should have known better, but I wanted to take them to the beach
and did not have time to go anywhere else. Big Traverse is the closest
"Big Lake" beach, Torch Lake is too warm to offer any real cooling effect,
so that is why we went there. Next time I will go to the beach with
an on shore breeze, or no beach at all.
Today was cool enough
to head into the woods for our afternoon jaunt. I decided to head
up to the north end of the Traprock Valley and walk the snowmobile trail.
With the humidity so low (dewpoint 52) the visibility is great. From
the bluff we could see
all the way to the tip of the Keweenaw, with Mtns. Bohemia and Houghton
in the foreground. Yesterday you could not have seen even seen past
the ridge in front of Bohemia. It was very comfortable in the woods,
the trail being shaded
in most places and a nice breeze helping to keep things cool. The
hounds really seemed to enjoy getting back into the woods to explore and
sniff things. I know I thoroughly enjoyed being back in the woods.
The last shot provided a look up the trail, but this
is what was off to the right and left of me as I walked along the trail.
Throw in the smell of the northwoods, the sound of wind through the trees
and some birds chirping and I was able to forget all about everything else
in life and just be in the moment there in the woods. I sure am lucky
to be able to just hop into the woods and be cleansed of any stresses of
Not much to share in
the woods. I am really liking this new camera. It takes great
shots. In the past I would usually have to retouch the shots, either
adding or subtracting brightness, contrast and in some cases tweaking the
colors. So far I have not had to do anything with the shots coming
from this camera. It even has setting for when you are shooting in
snow, so that the brightness of the snow does not throw off the exposure.
I now have my rechargeable batteries and an AC adapter and I think the
only thing I might get is some extra memory for it so that I can shoot
lots of video in the winter and be able to have enough memory to store
all of the clips, then just choose which will be best to share with you.
Plenty of time to worry about that.
The dryness has not
seemed to effect the woods too much. My grass is brown, but the foliage
in the woods is still green. I think that the berry crops will be
delayed because of the dryness. Last year the red raspberries were
ready for picking and this year they are still weeks away. Even the
thimbleberries are not ready yet. Looks like another week or
so for them. It's funny, when I was al grumpy from my summer SAD
yesterday I was actually thinking how nice it would be to have one of those
cool and rainy days. You know, the ones where it rains all day and
a fire is needed to take the chill out of the air? I think I am a
strange one. Most would love to have sunshine and tropical like conditions.
Here I want some cold and rain! Of course my spirits are much, much
better today. Take away the heat and humidity and I love a sunny
day as much as the next person. Tomorrow looks to be another winner,
then a little bit of heat and humidity this weekend, but then next week
looks great. Then we'll almost be done with July and will be that
much closer to fall and then winter! I get the feeling that I am
not the only one counting down the days till the first flakes start to
Good night from the Keweenaw.
As I sat down
to write this entry, I had thought that it had been another week or so
since I wrote, and was glad to see that I wrote just last Wednesday.
Things have been rather busy around here and quite honestly, I could not
even remember doing the journal last Wednesday. I feel like I have
been a world traveler lately. Went to Eagle River WI to pick up a
generator that a visitor to the site sold to me at a great price.
Not I do not have to worry about the power going out anymore, I can make
my own. Today I got to travel to the eastern UP. Went as far
as about Paradise. Actually we were a little south of Paradise, but
up until today I had never been east of Marquette. I was surprised
to see how different the eastern UP is from the western UP. Almost
reminded me of the open farmland of IL and IN at times. Still very
pretty and I'm sure it is even more beautiful with 2-3 feet of snow all
over it, but different, quite different from the western UP.
I guess before I go
on, I need to be a little forthcoming. I have been mentioning doing
things in which I was not alone, but did not exactly mention who I was
with. I have been seeing someone for about 5 weeks now and things
are going great. I have decided to keep the details under wraps for
the time being. I figure that there is enough pressures that exist
when a relationship first begins that I do not need to add more by exposing
that relationship to the world. I don't think that she would mind
me talking about us, but I just feel it is best to keep this side of my
life in the private for now. In due time I'm sure that some of the
details will be exposed in this forum, but for now I would appreciate you
all just using your imagination and your patience.
When I have not been
gallivanting around the upper Midwest, or slaving in the weather forecasting
office, I have been living the good life here in the Keweenaw. Temps
got nice a cool last week. Perfect weather, just perfect. We
even dropped to 46 degrees Thursday morning. The cooler temps allowed
the hounds and I to take to the woods last week and I did bring along my
new camera. Still no video to share with you, I really want that
to be something special. But I do have pictures and will share them
with you. So back to our adventures. As mentioned, we did venture
into the woods last week. Things are still green, but we do have
our own little drought going on. We have picked up less than an inch
of rain in the past 5-6 weeks. Other places near us have picked up
substantially more. Even southern Houghton County has picked up 3-4"
in that same time frame. I hope we do get some rain soon so that
we do not have to worry about fires. So far the woods are still quite
green, but my grass is totally brown and the fire danger signs at all
the national and state forests as well as campgrounds are all at moderate
risks now. Seeing the fires out west and all the troubles they are
causing is not something I hope this area has to handle.
One of the items still
nice and green out in the woods are the berry bushes. The strawberries
are done, but the thimbleberries
are coming along and the first of them should be ready in another week
or so. Then the raspberries and blackberries, but I believe I have
been down this road just recently, so will avoid it for now.
Another source of green
up here are the golf courses. Of course they get a little help, with
the irrigation in place. It is amazing to see the difference on the
fairways where the sprinklers can reach and where they cannot. Green
turns brown in a matter of inches. I played MTU's Portage Lake Golf
Course and not too many brown spots out there. The course is pretty
well maintained. I took the camera along and took a few some shots
of the course. Plus I get to show off it's zoom. This is a
shot taken on the tee
of the second hole, a par 5. Way off in the distance is the green.
Now, using the camera's zoom you can almost tell what kind of putter the
on the green is using. Well, maybe it's not that powerful, but
there is a huge difference when you zoom in on things. That comes
in pretty handy when I want to take a shot of a
water lilly but do not want to get my feet wet!
So where was that shot
of the lilly taken? The Lilly Pond perhaps? Nope, the good
old Torch Lake by the Lake Linden sands. I took the hounds for
a walk out there the other day and thought I would share some of what I
saw with you. We get to see lots of special, but small things like
this and I will try and make it a point to share them with you. I
think that the new camera will inspire me to capture them and share them
with you. So before signing off, I will share one last special moment
up here with you. Sunset
and the Portage Lake Golf Course.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
I am going to
try and squeeze in a journal today. It is actually about 1:30 as
I type and I am done with most of my work for the day, but need to man
the phones in case I get a call from a customer while the grain markets
are open. Those markets close at 2:15 local time, and I am not usually
letting the door hit me you-know-where on the way out at 2:16. Especially
on day's like today that are so wonderful. Business has been really
busy lately, probably busier than it has been in many years. That
is good, but I do not make any more money when it is busy, the day just
goes by faster and I get the satisfaction knowing that what I do that day
is really important to my customers. One of the hardest things for
me to do is work when it really does not matter. The worst thing
to me is a slow day at work. Plus, I seem to to my best work under
pressure, so I have been enjoying things lately at the office. In
a little over a month, the weather will not have much of an impact on the
crops in the Midwest, so things will be slowing down.
But speaking of the
weather, we have had some great stuff lately. It got a bit warm over
the weekend, but not hot. Temps were in the 80's with dewpoints in
the upper 60's and low 70's. Just warm enough to keep the air on.
Temps cooled yesterday into the 70's with humidity levels low and the same
is going on today. Just perfect. Mornings are crisp, just a
bit of a chill in the air. Daytime temps are warm enough to be outside
with shorts and a T-shirt on and the evenings cool just enough to enjoy
dinner on the deck of the DT or lay on a blanket at the beach and watch
the sky go from powder blue to pink to a deep violet as the sun sets (can
you tell what I have been up to lately?) I'd have to say that the
weather during golf yesterday afternoon was perfect. Temps of about
74, a dewpoint of about 55, clear blue skies and just enough of a breeze
to keep the air fresh. Even the bugs have gone away! If there
was ever a way to control the weather, I would certainly give us day's
like this all summer long. Maybe throw in a little rain at night,
just to keep things green. The interesting thing is that our "average
day" right now should be just that. Our average high right now is
75 and the average low is 55. I sure wonder when it was so cold because
for the life of me, I can almost never remember the temps being much below
75 in July and August since I moved up here. I sure can remember
the days when we were in the upper 80's and low 90's!
As mentioned at the
end of the last journal, the new cam arrived. I have had some time
to play around with it and have a few shots to share. Not a lot,
I forgot to bring it the other evening and missed some neat shots heading
home from the beach, with a low fog forming over the swampland east of
Rice Lake. I still need to figure out all the features to the camera
and when is best to use them, but I have taken some shots and even got
the video to work and then display. So I christened the new camera
with a shot of the
hounds. Actually, it was not the first picture I took with the
cam, but the first to be displayed in the journal. I am really looking
forward to using this cam to take pictures with. It will even shoot
a 60 second video that will really be neat when the snowmobile season starts
and adding action to the shot will make a huge difference. No video
as of yet, I would like the first video to be something special so I just
did not want to put one out for the sake of putting one out.
Well, the bug season
is tapering off, as I have been saying, and that leads us to the next season.
Berry season! The first to become available is the strawberry,
one of my favorites. Those were some that we got at a stand down
near Nissula. The Chassell Strawberry Festival is this weekend.
I have too much going on to take part in it, but will make sure to get
some more of the big old red berries before their season is over.
But their end is just the beginning of the season. We still have
blue, thimble, red and black to go. Then the berry season ends and
the summer ends and fall arrives and....the real season starts!
Not much else going
on up here right now. The hounds and I are going to head out into
the woods as soon as I finish this and I will bring the cam to show you
how the beautiful Keweenaw woods are doing. I then am going to work
out and then head down to pick up my golf partner and we are going to play
Portage Lake Golf course. Maybe I'll bring the cam along on that
round to show that course off a little. So until next time...
Good day from the Keweenaw.
Long time, no
write. Sorry. I have to admit, I have been rather busy, maybe
not too busy to write, but still pretty busy with both work and play.
The play has been lots of fun. Last week was a hot one, at least
until Thursday. On Sunday we got to 98 and the humidity was very
high, with a dewpoint in the upper 60's. The humidity backed off
with a weak front by late on Tuesday, but it was still pretty warm Wednesday,
but with low humidity was more tolerable. Then the 4th of July was
absolutely perfect. A high in the mid 70's, not a cloud in the sky
and dewpoints in the upper 40's. If I could order up a whole summer
of day's like that, I most certainly would. I think I would actually
love summer if the weather was like that. I do like the change of
seasons and could not have winter all year long, but after our little battles
with the heat, humidity and bugs up here, I sure was wishing it was winter!
The status on the bugs
is that they have backed off a ton. The gray or "friendly" flies
have died off. The story on them is that they were not planted by
the DNR. They have a peak in the year following a peak in the tent
worm population. The gray fly lay their eggs in the nests of the
tent worm, so the year following a big tent worm outbreak, we have those
gray flies. I am not going to use the term "friendly" fly as that
is giving them false representation. They may be friendly because
they are not afraid to be around a human swatting at them, but I do not
want to be friends with them. I talked about how the DNR and others
were saying not to worry because they do not bite, but how that did not
help much because they hang out with other flies that look like them and
do bite, so I am not going to call them friendly. Anyway, they have
a life time of about 10-14 days after hatching and that has come and gone
and now it is hard to find one. The other good thing is that they
only have one hatch, so now that they are gone, we will not have to worry
about them. Plus, the tent worm situation this year was very low,
so next year the gray fly population will be very low.
We have been very dry
up here in the past 4-5 weeks. We have picked up less than an inch
of precip and my once green lawn is now totally brown. I am not going
to water it, it is just dormant. The upside to all of this is I do
not have to cut it. I have not cut it for about 10 days and will
not likely need to for another week or so. We could really use the
rain though. I have been watering my plants and the raspberries are
coming along great. I won't get much from the plants I just put in,
but the ones put in last year are full of flowers and will be putting out
fruit in about 3 weeks. The strawberries are in season now and I
picked up 2 quarts this afternoon. WOW were they good! I may
just have to get some strawberry plants. The neighbor who gave me
the raspberry plants offered me some strawberry plants, so I may just have
to taker her up on that offer this fall. The way I figure it, it
is a win/win situation. The more berry plants I have, the more berries
I get and also the less grass to cut! When I get my property (my
offer was excepted and the bank is working on their end of things), I plan
to put some blackberry patches on it. Those grow best in partial
sun and all I have at my house it full sun.
We've started to get
back into the heat a little today, with a high in the mid to upper 80's.
The AC's were turned back on after two great days with the windows open.
Actually, yesterday afternoon I needed to close the windows, as it got
a little chilly up here. Just amazing the difference clouds and wind
direction can make. An east wind with clouds and we will be hard
pressed to get out of the 50's. Sunshine and a southwest wind and
we heat right up into the 80's without batting an eye and can easily shoot
into the 90's. I would not doubt to see some 90's up here tomorrow,
but then we look to cool by late in the day Monday and could stay cool
for a week or more. That would be great. We would then be into
the middle of July and only have about 6 more weeks that heat is a possibility.
I am already looking forward to September when heat is not a very strong
possibility, heck, I'm almost ready for SNOW!
Well, I do have pics
to share with you, but they are all of the golf course. I went and
took pics of each hole and can now give you a little tour of my little
home course, the Calumet Golf Course. It is a public course and memberships
are available. They also have buildings where you can store a cart
if you own one. Many members do own a cart and the cart barns are
actually filled with a waiting list to get in. Al and another friend
Ron bought a cart this spring, and I am lucky enough to ride on it many
times. The course was in pretty rough shape a few years back, but
the manager has really done the right things and the course is responding
nicely to the inputs. The greens are in really good shape and the
fairways are also coming around.
The first image is
of the course layout.
As you can see it is only a nine hole course, with a different set of tees
for the back nine. It is a pretty forgiving course, meaning that
if you hit an errant shot, you will not likely be in too much trouble.
The exceptions are on the first four holes. A wander too far to the
right and you will be (OB) out of bounds. The course is also not
too long. Most par 4's are in the 300-400 yard range and the two
par 5's are both reachable in two.
The first hole is a
yard par 4. It is actually reachable in two, but the green is
hidden by trees on the left and also protected by bunkers on the left and
right. For those without a 300 yard drive, a 250-270 yard down the
middle drive leaves you with a short chip to the green and pars and birdies
are the rule on this, the easiest hole on the course. Trouble is
had to the right, with the OB. Hole
2 is one of the par 5's. At 552 yards, it is the longest on the
course. A good
drive and strong second shot can put you on the green in two, but a
safer way to play is to lay
up on the second shot and leave a short chip to the green with a possible
birdie put. Hole
3 is not as easy as it looks. A 369 yard par 4 always seems to
play a lot longer for some reason and the wide open fairway tends to lead
to a lax attitude and errant tee shot. OB is on the right and runs
the whole length of the hole. OB is also found behind the green.
Water is directly in front of the tee box, but usually is not a problem.
average drive will leave you about 130-150 out ( I told you this hole
plays longer than it says!) and the green is reachable in two, but also
protected by bunkers right and left. Par is actually a lot tougher
than it looks on this hole! Hole
4 is the second par 5. At only 461 yards one would think that
the green is easily reachable in two, but the green is about 50-75 feet
higher than the tee box and most of that elevation is put on in the last
250 yards. So a
strong tee shot will leave you with a strong 3 iron or 5 wood to the
green. Like the previous three holes, OB runs the entire length of
the hole on the right.
Making the turn (hole
4 ends at the clubhouse and since this is only a 9 hole course, the "turn"
is really between 4 and 5) onto the fifth hole. The golfer is looking
down at the elevation gained on hole 4. Water does come into
play on this hole, but is about 320-330 yards out, so only the biggest
hitters should be afraid of driving the water. A decent
tee off of 5 will leave the ball about 50 yards short of the water
and about 150 yards out for a 7 iron to the large and sloping flat green.
This par 4 hole is only 40 yards shorter than the par 5 just before it
and that makes it the hardest hole on the course for par. Hole
6 is the first of two par 3's. Water comes into play for any
duffed shots, the green is well protected and small and finding the green
on this 175 par 3 can be a challenge (even though I almost aced it, missing
the hole-in-one by 2 1/2 feet just a week ago!). The par 4 hole 7
is the only hole for "righties", or right handed golfers. It is a
339 par 4 with a dogleg right. A lofted tee shot over the left hand
side of the trees on the right will put
your drive just in front of a water hazard and about 70-90 yards from
the small and sloping green. By the middle to end of the season as
the course dries out, a drive can carry into the water (done it a few times),
so the temptation to crush the drive must be held down to have a chance
to make par or better. Hole
8 is the second par 3. A short 131 yards to the well protected
and highly sloped green. Hitting the green with your tee shot is
not a guarantee for par as three puts on this hole are as common as patsies
in the Keweenaw. The
final hole is a 341 yard, up hill, par 4. A
decent drive will leave you about 75-100 yards from the green and pars
are common on this hole. Trouble can be found both right and left
of this well protected fairway, so a straight drive is key here, as can
be evidenced by the second shot I was left with my
drive that sailed a bit too long and to the left.
The clubhouse is on
the highest ground of the course and affords some great views of the Keweenaw.
Mts. Bohemia and Houghton can be seen to the northeast as can Lake Superior
and the town of Gay (or at least the Gay smokestack!). To the northwest
the buildings of Calumet can be seen. The clubhouse has a restaurant
with lots of great tables with great views, serving dinners nightly and
Sunday brunches starting at 10 am.
I hope you have enjoyed
the tour of my home course. My new camera came in and I played around
with it a bit today. I plan to take some shots from up on the course
with it and make use of the zoom, so you can get a feel for the views it
has up by the clubhouse. It looks like it will be a great camera.
Good night from the