.
Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
Journal
July 31-
    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 change.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
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July 25-
    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.  I think!
    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 mostly deciduous 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 a 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 Baileys 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.
- JD-
July 20-
    Getting another 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 surface.
    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 road travel.
    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.
    The footpath 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 touches.
    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.
- JD-
July 18-
    It is said that a 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 daily life.
    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 fly, right?
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
July 14-
    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 group 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.
- JD-
July 10-
    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.
- JD-
July 6-
    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 310 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. An 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.  Stay tuned!
    Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
 
 
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