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Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
Journal
August 27-
    It seems like I have gotten into a more regular "groove" with these things.  Perhaps it is because the weather has me in a better mood and I feel more like writing.  Not sure, nor can I promise how long this will last!  Although in the coming weeks, I am pretty certain that we will be doing a lot more exploring and that will lead to more stories and pictures to share, so the future looks promising at least!  It's funny, today seems a lot like a Friday.  I think that is because I have been looking forward to this day for several days now.  Why have I been looking forward to this day?  Well, it is because this day signaled what I could consider the start of autumn weather or at least early autumn weather.  Today has been in the low 60's with dewpoints in the low 40's.  Tomorrow will warm some and the humidity will come up a bit, but we will also be cloudy and I am only talking about a temp around 70 and a dewpoint up near 60, hardly the nasties.  Plus we look to get some much needed rain so that will be good.  Then we are back down into the 60's for the weekend, maybe even some upper 50's if clouds hang tough.  A bit of warming for next week, but nothing too dramatic and that takes us very close to the magic date of about Sept 10th when it gets very, very hard to have any heat.  There are still some 80's possible, but the humidity would not accompany them and it would most likely be a one day event.  So the way I see it, given the time of the year and the forecast for the next week or so we may just have crossed the finish line as far as any uncomfortable summer heat is concerned.  So thinking that today seems like a Friday because I was waiting for a weather event reminds me of the winter time when I really do not look as forward to the weekend as I do to a good snow.  We can have a big snow headed for a Monday and I can hardly wait to get through the weekend so that it can hit!  I know, I may have a problem, but what's a guy to do?!
    It has been an interesting day in the weather office.  Yesterday afternoon a line of severe storms rolled through the Washington DC area and took out the power in a lot of locations.  One of the locations was where the NWS has their supercomputers running.  This is where things get a little confusing to me.  You see, they have generator backup power for the supercomputers, but they cannot generate enough power to also keep them cool.  Theses computers are so powerful and generate so much heat that they need to run liquid nitrogen through them to keep them cool.  So, they could power the supercomputers and run the models, but doing so would have meant that the computers would melt, literally.  I don't know about you, but that seems to be an incredibly stupid situation to have setup.  Sort of like the police department having back up cruisers to use, but no engine in them.  What's the point?  At any rate, I did not know that this was all happening and I awoke to very little new computer guidance to look at.  Usually I have a full suite of info to utilize to make my forecasts, so it was an interesting morning, trying to scramble to find enough info to put together a forecast together.  I guess the best way to describe it would be if I were a contractor and I showed up on the job site to find that all the tools except for a hammer and handsaw had been stolen.  I could still get work done, but it was a slow go and not the way I wanted to be operating.  The good news is that all of my competitors were in the same boat so it was not like I was the only one left with just a hammer and handsaw.  Everything seems to have been taken care of but one of the other problems was with the internet provider that the NWS uses.  It too went down and thus the NWS was not able to get much of the data out even once they got the power back up and the supercomputers running.  Sounds like the head of the NWS has his head up his you-know-what when it comes to redundancy.  Imagine if there had been a major storm or hurricane that was poised to impact an area of the US and we had no computer guidance available to help us.  Someone would have lost their job and a few of the blow hards in congress would have had their 3 minutes of fame.  I know as well as any that the further you go out in the future the less reliable the models become, but in the next 24-48 hours they are usually very, very good and very, very useful.  I guess I have beat this horse enough, so will move on.
    Monday proved to be muggy enough make it a beach day.  It was not hot and it was also mostly cloudy, but was really too warm to make a walk in the woods doable for the hounds.  So we all headed down to bare butt beach.  If you remember that is the secluded beach that Nora used to go to all the time when she was growing up and took me to it back in June.  We had been planning to head out there many times this summer, but something always seemed to steer us in a different direction.  Since this is such a special beach to Nora and pretty much a secret to even a lot of locals I am going to be selfish and keep it's location under wraps.  I can say that is it not right close by, but not out of the Keweenaw either.  It was a good day to be at that beach, no bugs and no one else to worry about.  Just Nora, the Hounds and I.  We had a nice relaxing walk down the beach, tossing the stick into the water to keep Burt and Baileys busy (and cool).  Of course, as is always the case walking the beach up here the view was magnificent.  Here was the view from the other direction.  Hope I did not give away the location!  After the walk and swim the hounds were pretty worn out.  We picked a few blueberries (they are still going strong) and then headed back to the homestead so that we could have dinner and I could run up and play some golf.  Rough life huh?  Speaking of golf, that season will be wrapping up in a few weeks.  We have one last week of league to go.  Actually, the regular season ended 3 weeks ago and the past 3 weeks have been the playoffs for some and a "fun night" for the rest of us.  Al and I did make the playoffs, but then bowed out in the first round.  The guys we lost to have made it to the final 4, so I guess we lost to a pretty good team at least.  There are still some tournaments to play in before I can hang up the spikes for another year.  Sure does not seem like about 15 weeks ago I was breaking them out.
    Today was a perfect day for the woods, so that is where we headed to.  It's too bad that the hounds are really struggling with all their joint problems.  Actually, Baileys is better than Burt now.  She seems to be able to go for quite a long way before she shows signs of getting sore and it is not in the hip she had worked on, but the other that is not in good shape either.  Burt is really fighting arthritis in an elbow he had surgery on years ago.  They are both on medication for the arthritis, but it can only do so much.  They can still get around for a mile or so and they do have fun, but the explorations have to be kept short.  Nora and I have been taking the longer 2-3 mile walks by ourselves.  It was just a year ago that the hounds and I were taking them.  Sad.  Here is a shot of the trail we were walking down today.  Almost chilly, as Nora had jeans and a sweatshirt on and I would have been cool had I not been walking.  Nora actually took that shot and she also took one of what the woods looked like off to the side of the trail.  Won't be too long and those ferns will be turning color, they always seem to around Labor Day.
    So we are getting ready to enter into a great time of the year.  The second best time of the year if you ask me.  Nora is excited for autumn and also excited for snow.  In a short time we will be in the thick of autumn and all the great things it brings.  Splendid.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
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August 24-
    I have a bit of material and some pictures, so I figured today was as good as any to get out a journal.  The weather has been very pleasant, with lots of sun and comfortable temps on Friday, yesterday was a bit warmer and a little more humid, but clouds kept it from feeling too warm and today was also pretty cloudy for the morning and half the afternoon, so it did not feel too hot either.  We have a few more days of possible heat and humidity then say good bye!  By labor day weekend, it could feel more like the end of September rather than the end of August, but I sure am ready!  For the rest of you further south, you too look to be pretty cool by the end of this week and into the weekend and quite frankly, I do not see any heat for all of the next week, so we all may just be looking at the last stand of heat for the summer this week.  For some areas east of the MS River, it looks to be as hot or hotter than it has been all summer, with some mid to upper 90's possible.  For us, it looks like upper 70's to low 80's, but dewpoints in the mid 60's until things cool by about Wednesday.  So that is the weather forecast.
    With the cooler weather the previous 2 days, we were able to take to the woods on our walk.  On Friday, we just went up to the tracks behind Lake Linden and let the hounds do some exploring.  Not much exciting went on.  Yesterday, we headed up to the property to do some exploring and we had a good time walking around a bit.  It was still a bit too warm to do a whole lot of serious trouncing through the woods.  There are almost no trails through the property, so that means that long pants and even long sleeves on the shirt are the best way to go to avoid getting all scratched up.  Too warm for that kind of garb yesterday, at least for me.  So we did walk around a bit, getting even more familiar with the "lay of the land".  I am not getting as turned around out there as I used to.  For some reason, I could loose my bearing out there very easily and I usually can keep my bearing pretty well, so I found it funny that I could almost get lost on my own land.  I have been out there enough now that I am fairly certain of how I want the road to go and where I want to build the home and pole barn.  So I grabbed some blue marking tape and marked the general vicinity of where I would like the road to go, that way we can walk that same path on the way in and out and help beat a path down through the woods.
    While exploring the property, Nora came across some fungi and found it unique enough to take a shot of. Here is another.  Hey, come to think of it, that is MY Fungi!  On the way out, we started breaking some branches off of the fir trees that were not only dead, but also leaning down into the path that we are going to take to get in and out on.  Here's a shot of Burt and I surveying the situation.  Well, as can happen anytime I get into a little task, I got more and more into it and so the branches started to get bigger and bigger and soon I was knocking down some smaller trees that were dead and in a little more time I was knocking over some 20-30 footers that were dead.  It almost turned into a full blown work session, with Baileys worried that we could be out there for hours hauling trees around, but restraint did take over and we posed for a group shot and then headed back home.  Don't ask me why Baileys was sticking her tongue out at you in the last shot!
    Today showed signs of getting a little warm and with a south wind, we decided that North Betsy Beach would get the call again.  That makes it 3 days in the past 7 that we have headed out there.  All three days have provided slightly different weather conditions, but all three also provided very nice conditions.  Actually today started out a little on the cool side, so cool that Nora opted to wear my fleece jacket for most of the time, but on our way back from a walk, the winds shifted from a southerly direction to a westerly direction.  For a lot of locals on the peninsula that would mean a drop in temps, but when you are on that side of the Keweenaw and that far north, a southerly wind is on shore, while a westerly wind is off shore, or at least shore parallel.  Well, that wind shift caused the on shore winds to stop and the temp warmed from 70 to 84 in a matter of minutes.  I could actually feel the push of warmer air occur, it was like walking from an air conditioned house to the warm and humid outside.  Thankfully that switch in the wind direction came at the tail end of our walk and our walk was the last thing we were planning to do before leaving for home, so we did not have to deal with the heat for too long.  Other than the walk the hounds did some swimming and Nora and I picked some blueberries.  Those wild blueberries sure are good, but they sure are small.  You have to pick about 3 to 4 times as many in numbers to end up with the same volume of berries that you get with the store bought ones, but it is worth the effort.
    The walk was very enjoyable as well.  The water was about 20 degrees cooler than it was a few days ago, the result of the sloshing around of any warm surface water that develops on the big lake in the summer.  One day the water temps can be in the low 70's and the next day it is in the low 50's.  Today was a low 50's day, so Nora and I did not do much venturing into it, but the hounds spent most of the afternoon in it.  The walk also provided some neat scenery.  We decided to follow the shoreline to the southwest rather than the northeast as we had done in previous visits.  It was unexplored territory and as happens many times in unexplored territory, there are some neat sights to see. (FSV)  There is just something so relaxing to me about a big old piece or two of driftwood piled up on the beach.  Of course some pieces are more relaxing than others and some are just plain old wild. (FSV)  I doubt a human could sculpt something as beautiful and original as that.  Needless to say that I think we will be walking along that beach a few more times in our lifetime.
    On the way home from the beach today, we got a special little surprise.  As we headed into the valley, we noticed a farmer up in the field tending to one of his dairy cows.  Upon futher inspection, we could tell that the cow was in the process of giving birth.  We slowed down and stopped far enough away to not cause the mother any stress, but were able to witness the arrival of a cow into this world.  So the Baccus herd is one larger, but unlike the rest of the herd out there, it will not be supplying any milk to Gilberts, it was a baby boy.
    The only other bit of information I have to share with you is the light show that was put on early Saturday morning.  Because I wake up at a little before 5 am Monday through Friday, usually wake up somewhere in that neighborhood on the weekends too.  The difference is, I usually roll over and go back to sleep on the weekends!  Yesterday, I woke up at about 5 am, answered the call of nature and took a peak outside.  I saw some flashing in the sky and new right away that the northern lights must have been going.  I woke up Nora and the two of us piled into the truck to head to a spot near by that does not have any street lights so that we could get a better view of them.  It turned out to be quite a show.  There were the usual curtains of light coming down from the night sky off on the horizon, but there were also bursts of light dancing across the sky directly overhead and just ahead of us.  About the best way I can describe it would be to say that it was like dozens of very muted cloud to cloud lightning strokes.  The intensity of the flash was probably only about 20% of what an actual lightning flash inside a cloud would look like, but it was very similar in size and shape.  But there would be dozens going on at a time, just amazing!  I don't think I will ever get used to the northern lights, nor will I ever grow tired of seeing them!
    I guess that will do it for another one.  I don't know about you, but I am REALLY looking forward to the cooler air.  Heck, we may even need to build a fire this weekend!  MMMMMM!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 21-
    I bet I am not alone right now in being able to say: "Aahhhhh, that's better.".  Our temperature is down from the low 90's and our dewpoint is down from the low to mid 70's and it feels like the northwoods of the UP again.  Actually, our dewpoint is still in the mid 60's, but falling and the temp is a comfortable 70 degrees, so it is much better.  Nora, the hounds and I did make it through the warm and humid spell without too much difficulty.  Basically we stayed inside the air conditioned home, or went to the beach!  We did take a few evening walks in the woods, but also cooled off in the pool afterwards.  My spirits are better now that things are cooling and will remain comfortable for 2 days, then 2 days of some hot stuff again and then it looks like we could be done with the hot stuff for the season.  I am even a little concerned about a frost for the first week of September.  That would actually not be all that unusual for my neck of the woods, but this is the first time I actually have to be concerned.  We still have a garden to try and keep alive through the first week or two of September.  Nora has been busy harvesting lots from the garden.  It seems like every day she comes in with a bowl of different items.  I am not a big vegetable guy, so I have not been eating much of what has been harvested.  However, one of my watermelon will be ready in a few days.  Actually, it might be ready right now, it has a pretty hollow thump to it and has been the same size for about 10-14 days.  I already harvested one and it was a bit too early.  It had the meat in the inside, but was still white.  That was about a week ago, so that is why I think this other one is ready.  I also have two others that might be ready in 2-3 weeks, those are the ones I am worried about.  The only vegetable that Nora planted that has yet to produce anything edible is the tomato plants.  We have plenty of tomatoes, but they are all green.  If that frost comes and it is a hard one, she might be eating fried green tomatoes!  Actually, you can harvest green ones and they will ripen over time, but then you may as well go to the store and get one because it is not vine ripened.  I guess the only other plant that has yet to produce are the sunflowers.  They are tall, about 8-10 feet tall, but have yet to fully head-out.  The heads have begun to form, but I am worried about them too, as they may not make it before the growing season ends.  That surprises me a bit, as the northern climates are good for sunflowers.  Speaking of flowers, the others that she planted are going great.  Here is one of the gladiolus and here is a star gazer lilly.
    I mentioned that we have been going to the beaches lots.  We had such a good time at the beach north of Betsy (we have cleverly nick named it North Betsy Beach) that we decided to go there again yesterday.  It was a good day for that beach as the winds were generally out of the south and that beach faces almost due south.  That meant an onshore breeze- the key to keeping cool and no bug problems.  It was so humid that the visibility was only about 2-3 miles along the shoreline as illustrated in that shot.  You could also see the waves rolling onto shore in that shot.  They were not too big, but just big enough to let Burt have some fun bust through them on his way out to get the stick.  That is really turning into one of my favorite beaches, I just wish it was not so far away.  There are some wild blueberries growing out at that beach.  The day before we went to the beach at Big Traverse and Nora picked a handful which we (the hounds too) had as a snack while at the beach.  I think the wild blueberries are even better than the cultivated ones, but are so small that it really takes a lot of picking to get enough to do anything with, even to add to pancakes.  Next year I hope to have some growing in the garden and maybe even use some as ornamentals around the house.  Maybe those will be as good as the wild ones.
    Today we hopped over to the other side of the peninsula to take advantage of NW winds.  I had been almost a year since I had been to Misery Bay and a literal lifetime for Nora, so it got the call.  That too is one of my favorite beaches.  Probably because of many different reasons.  First off, it has beautiful sand and is very long so it is good for long walks.  Secondly, it usually is pretty quiet at least when I go there.  Third, we do not get there more than once or twice a year so the "newness" of it helps to make it more enjoyable.  And last, I usually pick a day that will be very good conditions to be out there because it is almost an hour away and I would not want to drive an hour to have poor conditions.  Today was nearly perfect, a few high clouds rolling over from time to time, temps in the 70's and an onshore wind at about 20-30 mph.  Oh, and the humidity was dropping as you can see by the increased visibility in this shot taken by Nora.  I really like the way the sun reflects off the water so I used the camera to shoot a shot in the opposite direction.  A great day was had at that beach.  Nora picked lots of driftwood that she plans to use in an artistic way, the hounds got to play in the waves and I got to take it all in with a smile on my face.  At times I really cannot believe how lucky I am to have all of this at my disposal.  This really is a beautiful and magical place and I can't wait to fine new places to marvel over.
    So I guess I have come to the end of another journal entry.  I am really starting to get excited about the weather, or shall I say the change in seasons.  This summer has been pretty nice by all accounts.  But I am ready for autumn.  It looks like maybe about 2 more days, this Sunday and Monday, and then autumn might just be here.  If not, it will be shortly after.  School will be in session soon, football will be starting and golf ending, the leaves are already starting to turn just a bit and the nights are cooling off nicely (except for last nights low of 71!).  Of course I am excited for the snow, but can wait.  I just want to be able to take an afternoon walk with long pants and a sweatshirt on, feeling the chill in the air, but the warmth of the autumn sun on my face.  I can't wait to smell the smoke in the air from the fires burning in the fireplaces and wood burning stoves.  Soon, very soon, I can feel it.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 17-
    Well, this is a little more like it, only 4 days since my last entry.  Since I last wrote we have had our hottest days of the summer so far.  Officially 87 on Thursday and 89 on Friday.  I say officially as those were the airport readings.  Of course, the airport is one of the coolest spots around here, at least cooler than places like Houghton, Hancock and Lake Linden.  I did not see a temp on Thursday here in LL, but on Friday I recorded a 93.  Those were only the 4th and 5th days of the summer that I labeled "intolerable".  We had the front come through Friday evening, actually during Nora and my evening walk.  We left with the temp at the airport at 85 and returned about 45 minutes later with it at 74.  Yesterday was still a bit warm (temp of 78) and humid (dewpoint in the mid 60's), but the cooler and more importantly less humid air came in late in the day.  Today was much more comfortable with a temp in the low 70's and a dewpoint in the mid 50's.  We're back into the hot and sticky stuff by tomorrow through Wednesday though, glad I got the pool in shape!  Nora and I actually used the pool Friday evening after our walk and she is hanging out in it right now.
    With the winds out of the east northeast yesterday, I decided to head out to the east side of the Keweenaw.  Usually when we go to that side we head out to Big Traverse.  It is close and also a beautiful beach.  However, I figured it would be a popular destination yesterday so we looked for one of the less popular stretches of beach on the southeast side of the Keweenaw.  There are several, especially between Gay and Lac La Belle and boy did we find a great one- tons of soft, light tan sand and a gradual drop off perfect for the dogs and anyone else to swim.  The weather could not have been any better if we wanted it to be- a few mid level clouds to dot the blue skies, a fresh breeze off the cooler waters of Lake Superior and temps in the low 70's.  As I looked to my southwest, with the sun sparkling off the clear blue waters and a tree leaning out over the light sand, I could half almost thought we were in the Caribbean.  Had that tree leaning out over the sand been a palm I would have thought I was in the Caribbean.  To tell you the honest truth, as nice as things were out there, it did not matter where we were.  If the view to the SW was tropical looking, the view to the NE was pure Lake Superior.  A rugged shoreline with the mixed conifer and deciduous forest running right up to the lake.
    After some stick fetching, Nora, the hounds and I decided to take a walk up the shoreline a bit and we were able to walk comfortably for about a half mile before we ran out of sand or flat rocks to cross, so we turned around and took a slow stroll back.  Much of the rocks up there are sandstone and imbedded in the rocks themselves were pockets of clay.  The clay was actually still soft, and you could rub it away with a finger.  Where mother nature had rubbed out the clay were holes in the flat sandstone.  All were of different sizes, some the size of a tea cup and about as deep and some were up to two feet across and a foot deep.  It never ceases to amaze me the new and interesting things I happen across while exploring this wonderful place.
    Upon returning to where we parked the truck, it was voted upon and by unanimous decision decided that we would just stay for a while longer and relax on the beach.  With as perfect as the day was, it was not hard at all to just relax and take it all in.  One of the best days of the summer and probably one of the best spots to be at on that day.  Even the hounds were very content to just lay on the beach and do nothing but ponder why we are so lucky to be able to have such beauty at our disposal.  Or at least that is what it looked like Burt was doing here, and Baileys was doing here.  But, like all good things, we needed to pack up and head for home, if anything to feed our bellies and get the sand out of our ears!
    Today being cooler and less humid, we were able to take our afternoon adventure into the woods.  We stuck pretty close to home, walking the tracks that are used by the snowmobiliers in the wintertime.  When we got to the point where the tracks cross the Hammell Creek we climbed down into the ravine and followed the creek down to a small set of falls with a little pool at the bottom of it. (FSV)  The hounds cooled off a bit by taking a dip and Nora and Burt did some exploring of the area and then we returned back up the creek to the steep hill that lead to the tracks and then eventually back to the truck.  We did not see much wildlife on our walk today, but on Nora and my walk yesterday evening we saw two deer and have spotted some deer from time to time on our excursions around the Keweenaw.  The deer should be plenty fat this fall, as the apple trees in the area are just loaded with fruit.  In some cases the branches are just about ready to break with all the fruit on them.  This spring as the trees were budding out I would see entire areas with nothing but white flowers on the trees.  I really did not believe that all the flowers belonged to the apple trees, but now I know better!  Last year was just the opposite.  A few trees were loaded, but the majority of them did not produce any fruit or just a few apples per tree.  Maybe that is mother natures way of giving the animals lots to eat in order to survive a really snowy winter.  One can dream!
    So we have some heat coming at us for the next few days.  I can handle it.  I am actually in the process of building a bookcase for my brother who will be coming to visit in a few weeks.  I cannot show it here until he arrives because he reads this and I want him to see it for the first time in real life.  The reason why I bring that up is because that means I will be spending time in my shop in the nice, cool basement.  I have been able to keep the house cool with the air conditioners, but I am looking forward to taking them out for the season.  That ceremony should take place in about 3 weeks or so.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 13-
    You would think that after almost a week of not doing a journal, I would have lots to talk about, but we are in that time of the year when things are slow and our activities are rather limited.  My parents visit was fun.  It's always good to be with them and they really liked Nora.  Not that I had any worries at all, but I am just glad that they finally got to meet her to see how great she is.  We actually struck out on some of the things I had planned to do.  We did get to Eagle Harbor on Saturday to take in the art fair that they had going on there over the weekend.  We then rode up to Copper Harbor and my dad and I let the ladies do some shopping while we found a comfortable bench on the shores of the harbor, shared a candy bar and got a lot of relaxing in.  It was a perfect day to sit in the sun and do nothing, with a fresh breeze and comfortable temps.  After Nora and my mom were done with their shopping they joined us on the bench for a while.  We then headed over to Lac La Belle to have some lunch at the Seasons Restaurant.  The lunch was filling and very good and I could have really used a nap, but somehow mustered up the energy to get us all home and then I think I took that nap.  On Sunday we had plans to see the Calumet Theater, the Houghton County Historical Museum and maybe a few other things and struck out in all of them.  On Sunday's the Calumet Theater has only guided tours.  The tour was said to be an hour long and none in our group really wanted to have that intensive of a tour so we opted out.  The historical museum in Lake Linden was closed on Sunday, so we just went home and took it easy for most of the day.
    The weather is doing it's mid-August thing, with a record low made Tuesday morning at 39 and the record high for tomorrow in jeopardy of falling at 87.  Today was warm, but not hot or unbearable.  I think our high topped out at 83 and the dewpoint ran in the mid 50's.  I am a little more tolerant of the warm temps at this time of the year, as I know their days are numbered.  Before I sat down to write this journal I went back and looked at the journal for this time last year and we were also having some topsy turvy weather, with some days in the 60's and others in the 90's.  I had forgotten that we experienced a late season heat wave with a few records being set in the first week of September, with 90's occurring.  In fact, Marquette set it's all time record high for the month of September last year.  I'm kind of hoping that we avoid that scenario this year.  Even though this summer has not been bad at all as far as heat is concerned. I could really go for as little heat as possible from here on out.  The one thing that is nice is that the hours of daylight are getting shorter and that is allowing the night time temps to cool off more significantly.  As mentioned, the temp dropped to 39 near the airport yesterday morning and I would not be surprised that here in Lake Linden it may have been even colder.  I know that the house was plenty chilly that morning.  It was also pretty chilly this morning, with lows in the upper 40's.  We do have some heat building into the region and it looks like we will remain above average in the temp department through the weekend.  Some cooling does look to arrive by early next week so that will make the heat a little more tolerable.
    I knew that the heat was coming since the middle of last week and since I got the OK last Wednesday to be able to swim, I decided to get the pool back in shape for swimming.  We had just let it go for most of the summer, since I was not able to use it and Nora did not want to rub it in by using it when I could not.  I knew that the pool would need some cleaning, but I was not ready for what I found under the tarp.  I guess the best was to describe it would be to say that it looked like a biology experiment.  There were actually little critters swimming around in it!  I am not totally sure what the bugs turned out to be, but they looked like earwigs.  So I started the filter up, shocked the water and then put the chlorinating tablet in and vacuumed it and all is back to normal.  The water is pretty much crystal clear, no more bugs are floating in it or swimming in it and the sunshine the past few days is warming it up.  I would not be surprised if Nora and I take a dip tomorrow and the next several days after that.
    In a sign that shows just how cold our winter was, Baileys and Burt are still shedding!  They actually shed all year round, but in past years, they have slowed their pace of hair loss by about the middle of July.  Now, I can say that their shedding has slowed as we have gone through July and into August, but I am still able to get some decent volumes of hair when I brush them out.  Baileys especially. I bet I could have just about filled a garbage bag with all the hair that has come out of her this season.  The funny thing is I bet just about the time they are finally done with this summers shed they will start putting on the coat for next winter.
    I only have two shots to share with you.  The first one was taken on one of our walks in the woods.  Even though we have actually seen less than an inch of rain in the past month the woods are still pretty green.  Many of the trees are turning a pale green and a few have even brought out some yellows and oranges.  But, I am really surprised at how green and lush the woods still are.  The same cannot be said for my lawn!  The other shot was taken by Nora on Sunday when we headed down to White City to relax on the beach and let the dogs swim.  The shot is of the lower entry light.  It sure was hot on that beach that day.  The winds were pretty much out of the north and that allowed the air to heat up a ton before it got to that point. I would not be surprised if the temp there was close to 90.  The lake did not provide any cooling either with the winds off shore.
    Well, I guess I am out of material to share with you for this time, so I will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 7-
    I fear that this is going to be a pretty short journal.  Once again, I am faced with the challenge of trying to come up with something interesting to say when there just is not that much!  One problem is that Monday and Tuesdays are my golf days.  Monday is the practice round and Tuesday's are league day.  Al is my partner for the league and we actually made the playoffs, going from second to last to 5th in the final two weeks, by pretty much crushing our opponents.  We made the playoffs and this past Tuesday was the first round.  I ended up shooting my best score for the year (a 41) and Al also shot well (4 below his handicap).  So we were able to get by our first round opponents. But that also does not leave me much time to do a journal, nor are we really able to do much exploring.  Then on Wednesday I had my final visit with the surgeon that removed my skin nasties (he said all was healed and I can now do anything I like, including swimming and running), so that also ate up most of the afternoon exploring time.  So since Sunday, we really have not done a ton of exploring.  However, we have done enough that I do have a few interesting photos to share.  I actually did not even think that I had any to share the go around, but Nora told me I did.  She was right and I am beginning to wonder how I ever survived without her!  Anyway, there are just 4 shots, but of varied and pretty neat themes.  So that will pretty much be the balance of this very short entry.  Oh,  I almost forgot... I normally might have waited a day to do a journal, thinking that I do not have much going on tomorrow and could do something exciting and thus have more to say. But, I actually do have something going on tomorrow- my parents are coming up to spend a few days visiting.  So not only do I have something to do tomorrow, but will be spending my time with them for the weekend, so I would not feel like doing a journal until Monday, but alas, Monday is golf practice round day and Tuesday is league playoff day...so you get the picture I'm sure.
    I am excited for Nora to meet my parents.  She is so great and they are so great, I have no worries about them getting along.  In fact, that thought had not even crossed my mind as a possibility until I just typed that.  What I am more afraid of is ending up being the black sheep of the group, as I think they will get along so well!  I have been trying to think of things to do on their visit.  The past few years I have taken them to some of my favorite natural spots up here like the mouth of the Montreal River, White City and Big Traverse Beaches and also Mount Baldy.  This year I think we will take a more cultural approach and see some of the man made historic features.  I am a little embarrassed to say that I have yet to even be in the Calumet Theater.  Driven past it at least once a week for over 3 years now.  We even saw Ricky Skaggs walking in with his guitar to rehearse for his show there last Saturday, but have never gone inside.  Plus, Lake Linden is the home of the Houghton County Historical Society and I have yet to even tour all it has to offer.  I know, I know, shame on me!  Well, that will all change this weekend. Plus Eagle Harbor is having an art fair that I think we would all enjoy, so that is also in the cards.  If we have enough time and energy, I suppose a trip to the beach or a walk or two in the woods will also take place, as I cannot forsake the hounds.
    Speaking of the hounds, Nora captured a really near picture of my two friends.  I may have to get that one printed up and frame it.  I actually do not have too many pictures of them printed, but am glad I have a lot of them in this journal.  I really need to break out the video camera and get some movies of them.  Sadly, they will not be around forever and the day will come when I wished I had more pictures and memories of them.  They sure looked pretty content in that shot and were not posed either.  Nora just grabbed the camera and got down in front of them and snapped a few shots.
    As mentioned, we have been able to get out for some short walks before I had to run off and smack the little white ball.  One of the walks was in the woods, or at least along the old railroad grade that now serves as the snowmobile trail.  We came along a field and wanted to test out the camera's zoom.  I re-read the instruction manual and discovered a way to double the camera's zoom ability.  It turned out that the shot without zoom was actually a pretty nice one of just a field up here in the Keweenaw, so I figured I would post it.  As you could see, things are still plenty green up here.  We have been hurting for rain for the past week and we really do not look to get much for almost another week. So that may change a bit, but the sun is also loosing some of it's kick and does not hang up in the sky as long (setting behind the hills to the west at about 8:30 now), so the evaporation is not as great.  Plus, it has not really been all that hot. Although, Tuesday and yesterday were on the warm side for these parts, with low 80's occurring and a fair amount of humidity.  In that shot of the field, you could probably even make out some of the haze due to the humidity.  I am much more tolerant of heat at this time of the year, because I know it's days are numbered.  Soon I will be able to count on one hand the number of potential hot days we have left and not too long after that the magic number will be zero!  With that in mind, the locals have been busy chopping and stacking firewood for the upcoming season.  Some have been chopping and stacking more than others and the other day I did go by what I think could only be considered a "yooper sized stack of firewood".  That should be enough to get them through most of the upcoming winter!  Ah the joys of living in a remote part of the country and being able to tell tall tales!  That was more than likely a firewood business in waiting, not one family's seasonal supply!
    With all the heat and humidity yesterday, we opted for the shoreline with the onshore breeze.  That meant the north shore. So we headed out and found the temperature to be about 13 degrees cooler there than in Lake Linden, but also a lot of fog (fsv).  That is not the first time I have been down there in the middle of a hot and sunny day and encountered fog. But, it is still a little strange to be in the fog with the midday sun trying to blaze through it.  It was very comfortable down at the lake shore and the hounds enjoyed their swim.  Plus, as a bonus, no bugs!
    Well, I guess that about does it for another day.  This turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would and I hope more interesting for you all than I thought as well!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 3-
    Normally about this time of the day the hounds, Nora, and I would be off on some adventure in the woods or perhaps the beach, but we are having a little rain delay at the moment.  It doesn't look like the rains will last all that long, but I figured why waste time by sitting around and doing nothing, when I could put my time to good use by writing a journal.  For the past month or so I have been writing these journals the old-fashioned way by just typing them in.  However, with the cooler season approaching I figured I may as well get back to using the voice-recognition software, in an attempt to work out all the bugs that still remain.  So far it seems to be working pretty good. I've only had to make a few corrections, and I seem to remember all the commands as well.  It seems as though I actually do more typing in the wintertime, as I am a little more frequent with my updates of the Journal as well as having to answer more Ask John's, in addition to my regular daily workload.
    The weather up here has been OK the past few days, not perfect, but not a disaster either.  The upper air low plaguing most of the Midwest over the past few days has brought us very foggy morning's, with the fog lifting by late morning and then even a few peaks of some in the afternoon.  There've been a few raindrops that we have had to dodge from time to time such as is occurring right now.  But overall, I'd say things are not as bad as it once looked they would be with this upper air low.  The temperatures have sure been cool enough for me, with overnight lows dropping into the mid-fifties and daily highs rising into the upper sixties.  However, the humidity has been pretty high the whole time, with dew points generally running in the low sixties, except that night when it drops off into the mid-fifties.  The way I see it, we have about a month left to remain under the gun for any kind of real heat, then it's good by heat hello good hiking weather.  This is also a fun time of the year to be a meteorologist, as I can start to watch the cooler air build in the high latitudes.  In fact, part of my duties is to keep an eye out for a potential frost that would impact the crops grown in North America.  The first areas to keep an eye out for our up in Canada, mainly the southern two thirds of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  The computer models are actually indicating a pretty sizable chunk of early-season cold to slip through Canada and even into the far northern Great Lakes region in about two weeks.  One model is so aggressive with the cold air it actually pushes the rain snow line to the SOUTH of us here in the UP.  All the moisture would be off to our east, so it is not indicating snow, but if the weather were to follow what that model is saying verbatim, then there is a good chance frost would occur up here early morning on the 18th.  In reality, I'm not putting a whole lot of faith in that cold air forecast, it is just too far out in the future to have much confidence in whatsoever.  But it is fun to watch the change of season start to occur in areas to our North and also encouraging to think that in just about a month, the change of season will be getting ready to get underway right here in the UP.
    For now it is still summer and that means all the joys of summer can be taken advantage of.  One of the joys currently going on is that raspberry season.  That was just a small sampling of the berries my patch has been producing in the past few days.  We are at the point where we can actually go out and pick berries once every 24 hours or so and end up with close to a pint each time.  We have managed to put all berries picked to good use so far. Nora makes a totally awesome desert that includes brownies, cool whip, chocolate pudding and raspberries all in layers.  I'd have to say that it's about the best desert there is, with the possible exception of making it with strawberries instead of raspberries!  Nora is also getting ready to make some raspberry jam and I am excited to be the designated taste tester.  The garden is still rolling right along, within the week we will have tomatoes ready for picking, as well as some green peppers, banana peppers and cucumbers.  I can sense that there is a growing interest in the progress of my watermelons, the most advanced melon is larger than a tennis ball but smaller than a softball.  I'm not sure if it will make it to doneness before the first frost (especially if it's in two weeks!), but I do think that the climate up here is suitable enough to grow watermelons.  We got the gardens created and  planted about three weeks later than we normally would, and for some reason these watermelon plants did not grow hardly at all for about the first two or three weeks but they were put in the ground.  So even if this year turns out to be a failure, I may have a go at it again next year, getting that plants in earlier.
    On Friday, Nora, the hounds and I decided to give  the School Forest a try for our afternoon walk.  We didn't last long, as the deer flies took aim on us, tall wet grass made for some soggy walking, and the rumble of thunder indicated that soon the woods would not be a safe place to be.  It was nice to get back out there. I have actually not been there since the snow melted.  With the deer flies still being a pretty big nuisance out there I think I  will wait a couple more weeks before giving it another try.
    Nora and I have also been doing a little bit of redecorating, basically just repainting the spare bedroom.  The job is actually done and things look great, but I have a funny story to tell- Nora and I were busy in the room with some prep work, when Burt came walking into the room.  I like to tease the dogs about how they should be helping us do the chores around the house, so I asked Burt if he would help us paint the room.  With that, he walked over, picked up the paint stirring stick and gave Nora and I a look.  I think both Nora and my jaw must have been about on the floor with that action.  With no further instructions given Burt must have decided it would be just better off if he did his own thing with his stick, so he brought it into the living room to chew on.  I didn't want him to get a sliver so I took the stick away, but it was pretty funny for him to pick up that stick and look as though he was going to help us after I asked him to give us a hand.  Never a dull moment around here with those two dogs!
    Yesterday, we took to the woods for our afternoon walk and came across another deer.  This time the animal was in full view and stood there and watched us get closer and closer until it realized it would rather not meet us face-to-face.  It sure seems like we are encountering more deer on our walks this year than in the past few years.  I know that my first year up here we encountered a ton of them.  I can remember on some of our walks coming across three or four separate groups of deer while we walked the trail.  I'm not sure what is the explanation for not seeing as many deer in the past few years, whether it being the general deer population was down, or just the deer population in my local area was down, or it just happened to be that we were not running into each other while out in the woods.  In any case it's always a special treat to come across some of the local wildlife while out in the woods.  While out in the woods we also saw that some of the thimbleberries are ready for picking.  As all of the dedicated readers of this journal already know I'm not a big fan of thimbleberries, but I think that Nora is planning to pick enough to make some jam, and I have heard that that is pretty good, even if you don't like raw thimbleberries.
    Well, I guess that gets you caught up in some of the sights and goings on up here in the past few days.  I'm managing to keep my excitement for the end of summer under control. [Did he say managing!!  Depends on who you ask!  Ha Ha!  Last week I busted him kissing the new sled!!   And he continues to have dreams about sledding through the "deep powder".  The draw backs of having me give the journal the final look over before uploading it-Nora].   At least for now, but even Nora is getting really excited for autumn to arrive.  If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the crispness of the air, the crunch of leaves under foot and the smell of wood burning in the fireplaces.  MMMM....Won't be too long.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
 
 
 
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