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Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Sept 30-
    I figured I would try and sneak one last journal in before the end of the month.  I don't have a whole lot to share and I would have had some nice shots of the woods to share, but the battery on my camera went dead today.  That is the one thing that I do not like about my camera, there is no low battery indicator.  When the batteries get really low, the camera will sense it and automatically turn the camera off, but you have no advance warning that the batteries are getting that low.  I guess the other bone I could pick with that camera is that it has a removable lens cap, whereas Nora's lens cap just folds back into the lens and you do not have to worry about it popping off or anything.  My lens cap does have a tether so I will not lose it.  So can you tell I don't have that much to say?  I just spent the past 4 or 5 sentences talking about the +'s and -'s of my camera!
    The weather continues to be just beautiful, although we did have both our first frost and first freeze Wednesday morning and again this morning.  It was not a hard killing freeze and it looks like the tomato plants were only just burned back in a few spots.  I think it might have been enough to send the bugs packing though.  The last few weeks of September have been so much like the first few weeks of June that we had both a beach fly and black fly hatch up here- just like we would have in June.  The beach flies we experienced this past Sunday while at the beach (what are the odds of that!) and the black fly hassles we experienced were in the woods at the Tech Trails on Tuesday.  I did go into the woods with the hounds today and we were not bothered by anything.  A few bees still flying around, but no mosquitos or black flies.
    It hit 73 in my back yard today (68 at the airport).  Last year on this day we had our first snow.  Our first snow this year actually could be just a little more than 24 hours away.  A strong cold front will blast through here tomorrow and the air behind it will be the coldest since last spring.  It looks like it might be cold enough by early Saturday morning to make a little snow, maybe even some lake effect snow.  It will be the typical early season event, which means that a lot of the lower elevations in the Keweenaw will see mainly rain, with maybe a few flakes mixed in, while the higher terrain of the Keweenaw and especially the higher terrain inland will see the greatest chance for snow and may even see enough to whiten the ground.  If the Saturday event does not get us, then a second front arriving later Sunday sure might.  That chance will come late Sunday night and continue through Monday.  So if I were a betting man then I would bet that at least the higher terrain of the Keweenaw will be seeing some snow in the next few days.  Hard to believe when I was outside in shorts and a short sleeved shirt today.
    Right now the weather for the big day actually looks to be almost perfect, with temps in the upper 50's to low 60's and mostly sunny skies.  I hope I did not just jinx things.  I do recognize that the day is still over a week away and the forecast can change, but right now it looks good.  Nora and I are hoping to take a lot of the pictures outside, so a nice day would be very helpful.  We do have some alternate spots if the weather is bad, so we are not taking a chance with things.  The rest of the wedding plans are going very smoothly.  Nora is with the organist right now picking out music.  That was the last significant thing that had to be done as far as planning goes.  She will be putting together the programs this weekend.  I on the other hand have been helping where I can, but mostly just staying out of the way.  The behind the scenes website issues have actually been keeping me busy.  I had to find a new spot for the trail cam and believe I have found it.  I don't want to make the announcement of where it will be until I know for sure it will work there.  I plan to go survey the site tomorrow and will let you all know as soon as I know for sure where it will be.  I hope to get it up in time to catch the color change.
    Speaking of that, the colors are changing.  They will not be at peak this weekend and may not even be at peak next weekend, but should be very close to peak by next weekend.  It's always so hard to tell if the colors will be vibrant or not.  I mean they are always pretty spectacular, but some years really outdo others and it's just so hard to tell if it will be a good year until it happens.  I guess that's one good thing about living here, you never miss a good year!  Of course the regular years are also very good and there are no bad years- at least in the past 8-9 that I have been up here for the color change.
    Next week is probably going to get to be pretty busy, especially by the end of the week, so I do not know how many journal entries I will be doing in the next week to ten days, but when I do get back into the swing of things, I should have some interesting material!  It looks like I am out of material for this one, so will sign off.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
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Sept 27-
    Wow, what a great weekend.  Busy, but good.  The weather both days was just perfect.  Upper 60's with clear blue skies Saturday and low to mid 70's on Sunday with more clear blue skies.  Saturday morning Nora, the hounds and I took to the woods for a hike up Mt. Baldy, or Mt. Lookout as some maps call it.  What was once a fairly challenging drive and a short walk has turned to a shorter drive and a more challenging walk as they have gated the upper half of the trail to the top.  I used to park on top of the first hill and then walk the last 1/2 mile to the top of Baldy, but now you have to park about 1 1/2 miles from the top.  We got an early start, preferring to walk in the coolness of the early morning.  We made it to the top by about 10 am and were on our way home by a little before 11.  The top of Baldy really gives you a neat view of the north shore of the Keweenaw from Eagle Harbor east to Agate Harbor.  Next summer I plan to explore these areas by boat, but on Saturday it was time to view the ships from the land.  That was a freighter that was on it's way upbound to some destination in western Lake Superior.  In about 2-3 months the shipping season will be coming to an end across the big lake.  Here is a zoomed in view of the hamlet of Eagle Harbor, with the lighthouse being the building on the far right.  There was still a bit of early morning moisture being burned out of the low levels of the atmosphere, but the day turned out to be crystal clear.
    On the way up to the top we had a close encounter with a coyote.  I say close because we were only about 25-30 feet from it!  I think it must have been a young one as we were making enough noise for it to hear us and we did surprise it.  An adult coyote would have known we were coming and would have been long gone.  I think that there was another one on the other side of the trail about 30 feet away, but was also down a steep hill as all we heard was some snapping of some small branches.  I tried to get a picture of it, but as I was digging my camera out, it took off into the woods.  On the way back down I had my camera all fired up and we did hear some noises on the side that had the steep hill, but I did not want to walk towards something that I knew was there, but I could not see what it was.  Nora got a little freaked out when we saw it, but that is pretty understandable.  What was surprising to me was my reaction.  I was not phased by it at all, it may as well been a chipmunk!  I don't know why I was not scarred or even concerned, but wasn't.  Maybe it was because Nora was between the coyote and me!
    After our adventures on Baldy we drove home and I pondered whether to work on the steering for the boat or on the front suspension and steering for the snowmobile.  I decided on the boat because it would be nice to have it going when the families come up for the wedding.  Some are coming as early as Wednesday and if the weather is good I'm sure that they would love to use it to go fishing.  So I started in on the boat, thinking that if I encountered something that I was not sure about, I would leave it.  I have worked at a marina in the past, so know my way around a boat pretty well, but have never replaced a rack and pinion steering system.  As fate would have it the control cable was too short, so I could not do any more work on the boat, so I jumped into the snowmobile.  The question then became whether to work on the suspension or the steering.  The suspension is an easier fix, but the steering is more important, so I got going on that.  To replace the steering on my sled is quite an undertaking, it needs to have the engine removed to get at the lower mounting assembly for the steering.  With having to rebuild my engine twice last January I have lots of practice removing the engine and even have some special tools that help in the process.  I was able to get the engine out and then replace the steering and get the engine bolted back in in about 2-3 hours working time.  Sunday I replaced both trailing arms and a radius rod, so she is good to go.
    Also on Sunday Nora and I drove down to Houghton to take in the centennial celebration of professional hockey.  They had a ton of stuff from hockey's history up there as well as some historical items from other collections.  One of the items on display was the Stanley Cup.  I figured there might be a pretty big line to see it, so Nora and I got down there soon after the gate opened.  We had to wait about 10-15 minutes to get from the back of the line to the front.  Because it is such a treasured trophy they actually did not want to take it out of the trunk it travels in, but it was still exciting to know that it was inside that trunk.  As you can see I was so excited my hands were shaking a little and the picture is a little blurred.  Ok, hopefully you all know that I am not that big of a dork!  I was pulling your legs.  You did get to see the cup and more than that, you got to pose with it.  Even more than that, you could kiss it if you wanted.  As a big hockey fan (I once had license plates that read "NHL FAN"), I could not pass up the opportunity.  Sorry for the blurred images, but I had my camera's flash turned off.  I took a test shot while waiting in line and it exposed properly, so I kept it off.  For some reason when taking pictures of the cup it needed more light and thus a longer exposure and thus the blurred image.  In any case, I got to touch the cup and another one of my life's goals have been met.  Although I'm not sure it really is silver, it tasted kind of tinny to me.
    Some of the other memorabilia they had was a jersey worn by number one on the Blackhawks goalie Glenn Hall and a stick used by Guy Lafleur.  They also had a jersey, stick and helmet from some guy named Gretzky.  On the way home I started thinking about all I had just seen and was amazed that I only had to drive 10 minutes, pay 2 dollars and wait in line 10 minutes.  The wait was only for the Stanley Cup, everything else we could see just by walking up to it.  Had something like that been in Chicago or Detroit, it probably would have been 50 dollars and I would have had to wait 3 hours in line just to see the cup, not pose with it.  What a magical place this is!
    Between seeing the Stanley Cup and fishing the sled, Nora the hounds and I did go to the beach and have some fun there.  We went to the secret beach nicknamed Bare Butt Beach by Nora and her family when she was growing up here.  It's pretty out of the way, so we were pretty sure we would have it to ourselves.  We were right, we did.  We only had to share it with some big old pieces of driftwood.  It really was a great day for the beach- not just for September 26th, but any time of the year.  Not a cloud in the sky, temps in the low 70's and a fresh breeze.  I'm thinking we do not have too many of those left this season.  In fact by Friday we might struggle to get out of the 40's and I would not be all that surprised that a few areas away from the lake see a few flakes of snow.  Nothing major, but a few lake effect snow flakes.  Our first frost or maybe even a freeze might be on the way for tomorrow night.  Getting back to Sundays adventure to the beach, even the two track we take to get to the beach is worthy of a picture.  Can't you just smell the fir and balsam trees?  Did I mention that this place sure is magical?
    Well, I suppose that gets you all caught up with the latest goings on up here in the Keweenaw.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
Sept 24-
    Autumn is here!  I figured I would start this entry out saying that as I started out the previous one by saying "Summer is here!".  I do believe that autumn is finally here though.  Temps today are in the low 60's and it almost feels like the kind of evening that a nice fire in the fireplace would be needed.  I think I might even think about putting away the summer clothes and bringing up the winter clothes.  I will be taking the AC's out of the windows in the living room and the bedroom, but may leave the one in my office in the window for another week or so.  It looks like we could have lots of sun next week and may warm into the low 70's and that is enough to heat up my office in the afternoon as the window faces west.  This is by far the latest I have had to leave these things in the windows.  In most years I am safe to take them out by about the 10th of Sept.
    That all would make sense as this is turning out to be one of the warmest Septembers we have ever had up here, if not THE warmest.  I read a report from the NWS-Marquette that said that they are currently having the warmest September on record and it looks like they could end up with it.  Their mean temp for the month so far is 63.5 degrees.  The old record is 59.9.  Keep in mind that this is the mean temp, not the mean high temp.  Our mean temp for the month so far is 62.0, which is 6.0 degrees above average.  Another interesting fact is that September is currently the warmest month of the year so far, with the mean temp of 62 degrees.  It is not that big of a feat to have Sept beat out Jan, Feb, Mar and April.  Even May should be beat out by Sept, but to have June, July and August all be cooler than Sept is really a strange event.  Just shows how unusual a summer and now September we have had.
    Even though the temps have been on the warm side they have not been getting to me at all.  Of course by "on the warm side" I mean upper 70's and low 80's, but with the longer nights the temps are cooling into the 40's and low 50's overnight and then take longer to warm during the day due to the lower sun angle.  It is just amazing what a difference that makes.  I can't even imagine the difference further north.  The humidity has also behaved itself for the past 2 weeks or so and that has made the warmth more tolerable.  But I am ready to have to wear a jacket outside and it looks like I will be needing one more times than not from here on out.
    The color change is starting to move along.  Not at a brisk clip, but earlier in the week there was hardly any color in the trees and now some subtle reds, oranges and yellows are starting to appear.  The hounds and I took a walk on the tracks Monday and as you can see the trees were primarily green, with just a few spots of color.  Of course there are always the trees that are not feeling as well and change earlier.  Today the hounds and I took a walk along the north shore up by Calumet Waterworks and here is what I mean by some subtle colors starting to appear.  On Wednesday we took to the woods again.  The temps were cooler so it was a better day to be in the woods.  I had planned to go on a trail that we sometimes ski in the winter time, but as we got to it there was a bunch of logging equipment on the trail.  So we drove up the road a bit to where the snowmobile trail goes through Monkey Town.  I suppose that not too many of you reading this will know where Monkey Town is, but the section of trail we were on was the one that goes from Lake Linden to Gay and is right at the beginning of the trail near Lake Linden, actually right were the Dreamland Trail branches off of the LL-Gay trail.
    I've actually never been on that trail in the summer time, so it was fun to walk it.  I knew that much of the trail would also be in the shade, so the hounds and I would also be able to stay comfortable.  I think the hounds love to go places they have never been before, or that they don't remember being too.  They were very excited to be exploring out there, all the new sights and scents.  My goal was to make it at least to the Sawmill Creek.  The trail cross the Creek in the middle of the woods and it has always been a photo shoot opportunity for me in the winter as it was on Nora and My first ride last season.  I have never been to that spot in the summer, so I was looking forward to seeing how picturesque it was without snow.  Pretty nice I'd say, but I'll take it with snow!
    Speaking of snow, I do not see any in the forecast for the next week to ten days at least.  That's fine with me.  I mean I would like to get our first snow, but it really is not that important that we do.  It sure can happen this time of the year, or at least be in the forecast at this time of the year, but I just don't see anything like that for at least the next ten days.
    For you die hard pro hockey fans, you should be packing your bags for Houghton right now.  I don't know how many of you know this, but the Keweenaw is actually the birthplace of professional hockey.  Now the NHL was not born here, but professional hockey was.  This weekend they are having a big celebration for the centennial anniversary of that happening.  Several professional hockey players will be in town for the event, including Gordy Howe.  The Stanley Cup, MacNaughton Cup (WCHA regular season champs) and the Gibson Cup ("Stanley Cup of the North - Winner of the Northern MI-Ontario hockey league) will be here and they have things going on all weekend.  The Stanley Cup is to be on display Sunday and I am going to try hard to get down to see it.  I have never seen it in person and for you long time readers, you know I was one win away by the New Jersey Devils from being able to not only see it, but touch it and perhaps even take a sip out of it.  Oh well- such is life!
    It's now T-2 weeks 23 hours and 4 minutes until the big moment for Nora and I, but who's counting!  Everything seems to be going very smoothly, we met with the minister yesterday and also applied for the marriage license.  The plan of events for the wedding service have been worked out, the details for the reception have been pretty well hammered out and the honeymoon plans have been checked again.  I can't say where the honeymoon will be until it is over because it is in the upper Midwest somewhere and Nora and I would like to have that time to ourselves.  It will be great to have our families up here and also for them to meet each other.  I am going to be seeing my sister for the first time in about 4 years.  She lives in Oklahoma and visits my parents in southern WI in the summer, but does not get up for the holidays which is about the only time I get down to my parents.  Everyone is very excited and it's hard to believe it is almost here.  I suppose once that is over, you will start to read more about me looking and longing for snow and the winter season to arrive.  The wedding sure has kept me distracted from that this season!
    So I guess that gets you caught up on all that is going on up here.  Have a great weekend and...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
Sept 19-
    Summer is here!  What a beautiful past few days we have had.  Yesterday was in the 70's with tons of sun and a light breeze.  Today we are pushing 80 (78 actually) and again lots of sun.  I actually played golf yesterday and I think that it was probably the best weather we have had to play in all season.  I can remember playing in this tournament in past years in rain and snow, with temps in the low 40's and northwest winds of 35 mph.  Not yesterday.  In fact we played two rounds of golf because it was so beautiful out.  If I could order up a summer's worth of days like yesterday or even today I would.  One thing that adds to how nice these days are is the fact that the humidity is so low and that it cools down so nicely at night.  The sun is setting at about 8 pm and does not rise until after about 7 am, that allows temps to drop into the 40's at night and that makes for some great sleeping conditions and also keeps the temps from getting out of hand during the day.  So these warmer days right now are just fine by me, especially when the nights are so cool and comfortable.  But one thing is for sure, it does not fell like mid September in the Keweenaw at all.  We have not even had our first frost yet, although we did come close on Friday with temps dropping into the mid 30's here in the valley.
    Today we went to the beach.  We chose one of our "secret" ones and one that takes about 35-40 minutes to get to.  It may actually be one of our last visits to this one until next summer.  Not because we may not have any beach weather left, but because it is further away that the others and if we do have "beach weather" in the next weekend or two, it may turn into "boating weather".  The boat is cleaned up, but not quite ready to go.  It still needs a steering system repair.
    Getting back to the beach, I really love that spot.  In fact, if Nora and I were to win the lottery, I think that we both agree that we would buy that section of lake shoreline and put a nice little summer camp out there.  I have yet to be out there when it was not beautiful.  Sure many of the days we go out there are beautiful with warm temps and a southerly wind, but I have been out there when the skies were overcast and there was little wind and it was also very enjoyable.  Today the south winds were pushing some nice 2-3 footers onto the beach.  That was plenty small enough to allow Burt to do his thing with the stick and Baileys even joined in to help him at times.
    Nora went down the beach a little bit to take some pictures and Baileys decided to follow her.  Burt and I followed suit after a few more tosses of the stick.  As we were walking towards them, I noticed Baileys along the edge where the sand meets the woods.  She seemed to be very interested in something so I walked over to investigate.  To my surprise, she was busy picking blackberries!  Now I have posted pictures of the dogs picking berries before, but in all the cases that I can remember either I or someone else showed them the berries and in some cases even fed them some and then they started picking them themselves.  This time, Baileys found the berries all by herself and started in on them.  She even knew to eat only the ripe ones!  I was just amazed.  Along with the blackberries there are still some blueberries to be found.  I don't ever remember seeing edible blueberries still around this late.  Sometimes you can find some old dried up ones, but never any that are still blue, plump and juicy.
    A little further up the beach we came to an old tree that has apparently been sitting on the beach for quite some time.  It has it's root structure still intact and with the tree lying on it's side those roots point into the sky.  It really is a unique thing to see and is like an abstract sculpture sitting out on the beach.  It seemed like a good enough place to pose, so the hounds and I did.  Then I decided to climb up onto the roots to do a little showing off.  After that I came back down and joined Baileys in her exploration of the roots closer to the ground.  Not to be outdone, Nora and Burt were on the other side doing their own exploring and posing.
    After playing around at the tree we headed back down the beach to where we parked and tossed the stick for the hounds for a while longer.  On the way back we came across what looked like some of Lake Superior shedding some of her hair.  Perhaps in preparation for the upcoming storm season.  I never really want to leave that beach, but there were some things I wanted to get done and I did want to catch the tail end of the Packers-Bears game.  Congrats Bears!  Now to all the Packers fans who are reading this, I am not a die-hard Bears fan, nor am I an anti-Packers person.  In fact, about the only two weeks that I do not root for the Packers is when they are playing the Bears and that is because counting today's victory, the Bears have only one 4 games in the past 25 meetings.  So it is more of an underdog thing.  I actually used to hope the Packers beat the Bears in the Bears heydays of the early and mid 80's.  Anyway, enough of the football talk.  As mentioned it is always difficult to leave that beach and if you stare at this picture and imagine the warm breeze blowing in your face, the smell of pine and Lake Superior air and hear nothing but an occasional seagull singing and the waves crashing up on the shore, you will know why it's hard to leave this spot.
    The color show looks like it might be getting ready to start it's act.  The majority of the trees up here are now turning a pale green and others are showing hints of color.  I am thinking that we are at least 2 weeks away from peak, probably more.  That will make both Nora and I happy as we were hoping to time our wedding with the peak of color season up here.  That was one of the reasons for having our wedding at that time of the year.  I know that when there were splashes of color in early August, Nora was really worried but I did not have too much concern.  I have seen some splashes show up in August before, maybe not as much as this year, but the color change is really tuned in with the amount of available daylight and that was not changed this year from previous years.
    It does look like our summer weather might be coming to an end up here though.  It looks like that might be happening very close to the autumnal equinox as well.  Not that we will be thrown into winter or anything like that, but 60's might become more the norm rather than 70's and 80's.  We did not reach 80 today, so that gives us what looks to be just one more chance to hit 80 or more for the month tomorrow.  We are still at 5 days for the month, which is 1 behind July, but 2 above June and 4 above August.
    Well, as the sun sinks lower in the western sky it might be time to get the backyard fireplace fired up.  Then relax for a while, letting the sky fill up with stars, before hitting the bed for a good nights sleep.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
Sept 15-
    Well, I'm still wearing short pants and short sleeved shirts and the AC's have been humming quite a bit lately.  It's been a strange few months in the weather department up here, that's for sure.  In June we had 3 days with a high temp of 80 or more, July had 6, August had 1 and so far for September we have had 5.  It's possible that this Sunday and/or Monday we could hit 80 or above and I seriously doubt that it has ever happened before where September had more 80 degree days than June, July or August and so far we have already had more 80 degree days in September than we had in June and August combined.  It does look like once the front for next Tuesday comes through then we can probably stick a fork in summer.  Why am I being so bold?  Well for one thing what I mean by summer being over is that summer like temps will be gone for the most part.  We might have a day or two with temps in the 70's, but most of the days will be spent with temps in the 60's, maybe even some 50's for highs.  Also it just gets harder and harder to get an 80 degree day once we reach the end of September, so I have history on my side as well.  We can still get an 80 degree temp in October, but they usually are record makers when they do come.
    So it looks like I may finally be able to start making the transition from summer status to autumn, that means the AC's can come out of the windows, the flannel sheets can go on the bed and the summer clothes can go into storage and the cold season garb can come out.  It also means that I need to start thinking about the winter chores as the first 2 weeks of October will be pretty busy with the wedding and honeymoon and winter preps around here need to be taken care of by early November at the latest.  By mid November winter can be here to stay and then it's too late to do the things to prepare for it like Christmas lights, bush protectors and the like.  I also would like to get the work done on the sled that I need to get done before it gets too cold out.  I need to replace both trailing arms and the steering post.  Neither are major jobs, although the engine does need to be moved out of the way to get the steering post in and out and I really would enjoy those tasks more with temps in the 50's than in the 20's or 30's.
    Not much out of the unusual has been going on up here.  Sunday was cool with temps in the 50's so Nora, the hounds and I took to the School Forest for our walk.  Monday was in the 80's so we took to the beach.  On the way there I spotted a little boat for sale at a very reasonable price.  On the way back I decided to stop and look into things a little more.  The owner was home and we talked about the boat and I told him I wanted to check with Nora on things, but that I might be back to start it up and then maybe make an offer.  Nora was all for it, so we went down that evening and ended up coming back with a 16 foot runabout in tow.  It needs some cleaning up so I have not taken any pictures of it yet.  I hope to get it cleaned up in the next few days, so hopefully I will have pictures soon.  One reason why it was so reasonably priced is it has a broken steering cable.  I priced replacements before I bought it, but I just need to get on getting the length of cable needed and get one.  So we cannot use it yet either.  It's a tri-hull which are generally more stable than "V" hulls, but also do not like the choppy water that much.  I really do not plan on using it that much when it is really windy out and will never take it out on the big lake if the winds are blowing at all.  My main reason for getting it was to tool around the Torch Lake and Portage Lake as well as the Keweenaw Waterway.  Being so small it is also easy to trailer around and we can even take it up to Lac La Belle, Gratiot Lake, Lake Medora or down south to the inland lakes down there.  So next season you will be able to take rides with us on the waters of the Keweenaw!
    I played what was probably my last round of golf for the season yesterday.  It was the greens keepers revenge yesterday which is where they put the tee boxes in some strange spots and also put the pin placements in the hardest spots on the greens.  Some of the holes even had a saucer type piece of plastic in them so the ball would come out of the hole if it went into it too fast.  Al and I played reasonably well considering that we had not played in about two weeks.  The most you can score on a hole is a 10 and we did not have to take any tens, but some of the guys we played with did.  I suppose I may get asked to play in the next week or two, but golf is one of those things that get played less and less the further into September you go up here.
    As I sit and watch Ivan getting ready to hit the coast I sure hope that everyone has done what they are suppose to.  We are under a high wind warning for later tonight and tomorrow with gusts to 50 mph expected.  Not Ivan, but I guess you could call it "sympathy winds".  Tomorrow may be a good wave picture day at the big lake.  Stay tuned.  Well, I guess that about covers it for now.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
Sept 11-
     Boy, in a way it seems like it has been more than 3 years since that horrible day in our nation's history and yet in ways it seems like it just happened a few months ago.  I am sure that everyone can still remember as if it were yesterday what they were doing when they heard about what was happening and can remember the first time they saw what was happening.  I know I sure can and I will never forget many of the details of that day and many of the details to the events to follow.  I just hope and pray that those who lost loved ones will someday be able to fully move on and that the persons responsible for trying to make sure nothing like that ever happens again are successful.
    Our September so far has been more like August.  I guess that makes sense this year as our August was more like a September!  We got pretty warm and humid yesterday.  Enough so that I broke a pretty good sweat while doing some work outside and it was not even the type of work that would normally cause me to break a sweat.  We are in the process of cooling as I type, a front came through earlier today and the cooler and drier air is building in.
    Nora and I just got back from having a nice dinner at the Dreamland Hotel.  I really like that place and every time I go there I wonder why we do not go there more often.  It is really a locals hangout and it just feels like your typical northwoods gathering spot.  After dinner we took the long way home via Jacobsville and White City.  We stopped off at the beach at White City and took in the lower entry light.  I did not have my camera, but Nora had hers.  We did take some pictures, but then Nora has headed south to Houghton and took her camera with to see about making some prints of some shots she has taken so far.  So no pictures of the light and beach tonight.  It was pretty though, with the sun getting lower in the western sky the lighthouse was seemed to have a spot light on it.  Plus the sky was a deep blue and that helped to make Superior's waters extra blue.  Quite a sight.
    While it has been warmer than average up here, the humidity was not too bad until yesterday.  And by warm for September I am talking about low 70's, so that is actually cool enough for the hounds and I to take to the woods for most of our afternoon adventures.  One day this past week we took to the tracks up by the house.  I mentioned in an earlier journal how they had taken a bulldozer through to try and widen and flatten out the trail.  Well, I did remember the camera and took a shot of the hounds on the trail.  Down the trail a bit they are replacing a culvert and have a 25 foot deep, 70 foot wide hold in the trail.  They were working on the culvert, so the hounds and I stayed out of their way and did not go down that far.
    On Thursday we went to the School Forest for our afternoon walk.  It was starting to get a bit warm and the bugs were also giving one last go at it, but we had a good time anyway.  There are enough wooded trails that on a sunny and warmer day we can stay out of the sun and in the cooler woods.  In the last journal I showed you the clearing they did in one stand of red pine.  They have also been busy improving some of the trails.  The improvements may have been to allow the logging equipment a solid trail to drive on, but it will also benefit the rest of us that use those same trails.  There are culverts put in some sections where the trail used to flood.  One such spot could really be a challenge to ski in the winter.  There was a small hill and the trail would go down the hill and turn to the left a bit.  Those two things would provide a challenge in and of themselves, but at the bottom of the hill was a small creek which would not freeze, which would present the the real challenge for that section of trail.  I never ended up in the creek, but there were a few days when I came close!  So I am glad that the creek now has a culvert to go through.
    Thursday evening Nora and I headed up to the property to try and finish up the clearing.  Right where we parked was a small maple that had given up on the season and was displaying it's autumn blaze.  For the most part, the trees are still green and it does not look like the peak of the color show will be too early this year, even though there was a quick shot of some color in August that has hung on through the current time.  Nora and I were able to finish up the cleaning up of all the mess made on the 4th of July.  We had not been out there in about 3-4 weeks and had about an hour and a half to two hours of work left to do.  It is really nice to have that work done.  There is still a ton of work to do, but Nora and I do not feel pressured to rush through anything or push too hard.  We handled this first bit of work with a determined, but relaxed pace and enjoyed it a lot more than if we had set a date to have everything done and raced to achieve that date.  As soon as the first snow flies we will take care of the brush by burning it and we will be donating all the logs to the Houghton County Historical Society so that they can use it in the steam engine that runs over by the Village Park.  Then I suppose next spring we can look into moving forward with things out there.
    I also finished another project this past week.  The bookcase is done, well almost.  I still need to go and get some glass cut to fit the doors, but that is work someone else has to do, all I need to do is pick it up and put it in.  I am pleased at how it turned out.  There was a lot of work involved as the piece has some special jointery to it.  All the rails and stiles on both the case and the doors are joined with pegged mortise and tennon and the tennons on the front stiles of the case are what is called "through tennons".  That means that the tennon actually goes all the way through the piece of wood that is mortised.  So both the mortise and tennon work has to be exceptionally clean because they are on display.  Even the door pulls are hand made.  Because of the solid and stable nature of the construction of this piece, it is one that my grandchildren could very well be handing down to their grandchildren.  But for now I am going to enjoy looking at it from my living room couch.
    My last duty for this entry is to show the invite for Nora and my wedding.  Some visitors to the site wanted to see what they looked like.  They were entirely designed and hand made by Nora.  I did help out with some of the printing, but that was it.  Nora did all of the other work and a lot of work it was.  Here is a view of the invite out of the mailing envelope.  Then once you opened it up the invitation was on the right hand side, while the RSVP card and a map were tucked away on the left side.  Even the picture of the tree was taken by Nora this past spring over at the village park.  In 4 weeks from today, Nora and I will be Mr. and Mrs.!  Almost hard to believe, but also a great thing to think about and a good way to end this entry.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
Sept 7-
    Mmmm, September weather!  If I did not love snow so much, I think I would be living in a place that had September weather occur for about 8 months of the year.  I'm actually not sure if such a place even exists, but if it did that would be my choice.  But since I love the snow so much, I live here, where it snows for 8 months of the year!  Not quite, but we do have snow in 8 months in most seasons- some seasons 9 months.  I can tell that folks are starting to get excited for winter because the activity on the site has started to pick up.  The e mails are more numerous as are the Ask John's and General Discussion questions.  Even though I can reach a point in the winter when I am pretty burnt out from all the work on the site, I do get excited as the lead up to the winter forecasts occurs.  I am in my last week of summer forecasts and will be taking a break for the rest of this month and all of next month with the forecasts to resume Nov 1 as snowfall forecasts.  I am shutting down a bit earlier this year so that I can have some free time in the pre-wedding period.  There is not a whole lot left to do for the wedding, at least on my list, but there are a few things I have to take care of before the big day and freeing up some time will be a help.
    As I mentioned in my first sentence of this entry, September weather is here.  It roared in on 55 mph winds yesterday.  Prior to that we had a run of 4 days of highs in the 80's and pretty high humidity.  The AC's were humming 24 hours a day and we did lots of beach going.  We sure are lucky to have so many great beaches at our disposal.  That is not something that I really even thought about before I moved up here, but it sure has become a big deal since moving up here.  Any direction the wind blows we can find a beach where the winds are on shore and things are cooler.  The cooling is not as dramatic this time of the year as it is earlier in the summer, as the lake waters are about as warm as they get all year right now.  However it is still about 5-10 degrees cooler by the lake this time of the year, which means temps in the 70's as opposed to the 80's.  Plus we can always dip our toes in the water and that will add further cooling.  That is exactly what we all did on Saturday.  There were only light winds and we needed the further cooling.  On Sunday there was a nice breeze and even a few clouds, so just being at the beach was comfortable enough.
    Yesterday we started out with what looked to be another tropical day, but around noon the front blasted through with a quick shower and then the winds picked up and both the temps and humidity levels dropped pretty dramatically.  By the time we went to the beach, the winds were howling at around 35 mph sustained with gusts to 55.  Not only was it too cool and windy to be in the water, but too dangerous as well.  Even though the winds had only been blowing for around an hour, the waves were already 3-6 feet high and a good rip current was going on.  I was thankful that Burt did not even seem tempted to swim, had he snuck in it could have been a problem.  Instead we all walked along the beach and got sand blasted.  My intent was to take us to a little spot along Five Mile Point, but there was already a vehicle parked where I wanted to go, so I decided to head up the road a bit to Eagle River and walk the beach there.  That is where that first picture was taken and was the shot looking northeast.  Here is the shot looking southwest with the waves crashing up on the cliffs.  As we were getting ready to leave a lakes freighter was coming around the bend and heading west to either MN or maybe western Ontario.  I don't know which ship that was, but I would think that persons that are familiar with some of the freighters that ply the waters of the Great Lakes will be able to recognize that one with the big white stripe near the bow.  I just missed getting a shot of it as a wave broke on the bow and the spray completely obscured the entire bow as high as the pilot house.  The boat was not rocking as far as I could see, but seeing the water spray that high was pretty impressive.  That has to be 30-40 feet at least.
    On our way home we saw a tree that had come down near the Phoenix Store and landed on the roof of the store owners house as well as take out the powerline to their house.  We also stopped off at the property to see if any trees had come down, but none had.  None of the wood has been taken yet either.  I have talked to two friends up here that said they would take some of the logs to use as sauna wood or other uses, but none has been taken.
    Today was cool enough to take to the woods, so the hounds and I headed off to the School Forest.  We went a different way on our walk today and went through where they did the clear cutting.  It sure was weird to be walking through there, things have changed so much.  As I mentioned in a previous journal, the stand of red pine that they clear cut had to be cut that way.  It was thinned previously and trying to thin it more would have left it vulnerable to the wind, so they just took everything.  I'm not sure what they have planned for that section of land if anything.  If they do nothing, Mother Nature will not waste much time in reclaiming it.  The birch, aspen and even maple will star to fill in pretty quickly and in about 10-15 years it will probably be pretty hard to even tell there was a stand of red pine in there.
    That is now the most wide open spot in the whole School Forest and I suppose it might even be neat to have a meadow in there.  One thing is for sure, the land is not lacking for wooded trails.  Still plenty of them!  There are also about 4-5 more stands of red pine out there.  Here is a shot of another stand that looks similar to what the one looked like before it was cut this summer.  So now you know what I mean by how different things look.  One thing that I thought was interesting was how much bear poop I saw when we were walking through the logged area.  Not sure why that was, but there were about a half dozen piles in a pretty short distance.  Needless to say I kept my eyes open, but we saw nothing but signs that bears had been around, not the actual bruins themselves.  If you are wondering why they did the logging in the first place, I don't know for sure, but I would speculate that it was to raise funds for things that they want to do out there.  I know a few years back that thinned some of the red pine stands in order to raise funds to build the log cabin/classroom out there.
    After the School Forest I headed out to do some tire shopping.  After 2 winters with this vehicle and dealing with tires that are just terrible in the snow, I finally decided to replace them with some good all terrain/snow tires.  I found a pretty good set at a decent price and will have them put on tomorrow.  It will be nice to have some traction when the white stuff comes.  The truck has 4 wheel drive, but at times all that meant was that I had 4 wheels spinning, not just two!
    Well I guess that about does it for this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
Sept 3-
    Well, it took until now to put together our hottest period of the entire summer!  It looks like we'll end up with at least 3, maybe 4 days of temps in the mid to upper 80's and dewpoints in the upper 60's and low 70's. I know that at the end of July we had 3 days in the 80's and the beginning of August also provided 3 days in the 80's, so I guess we did have some warm days this past summer, but it sure has been a cool one.  I don't even mind the heat and humidity at this point because I know it's days are numbered and I can count those numbers on one hand.  In fact, it is looking like if we hit 80 on Sunday that may be the last one until next summer, or if we do not hit 80 Sunday then tomorrow will be it.  Quite frankly I am glad for the locals that like the warmer temps that we are getting one last hurrah right now.  It won't be enough to satisfy them for the long winter ahead, but every little bit helps.
    Speaking of winter, it has arrived to some of the mountains out west.  I was checking out some of the web cams in the west and they had snow, at least a few did.  Togwotee Lodge was one and so was Alta Utah.  Exciting to see and hopefully in about 4 weeks things up here might look little like that.  Seems hard to think that is possible as I look at my thermometer and it reads 88 degrees at 7 pm.  It may be hot, but at least it is humid!
    Nora has been busy figuring out all that her camera can do.  On Tuesday the hounds and I met her at her work and then went over to the MI Tech trails for our walk.  It was cool enough to be in the woods, but warm enough that we did not need to bundle up either.  This was her first shot with the new camera (in case you ever get asked that question in a trivia game).  Hey, that's not a bad idea, along with the JohnDee.com hats and stuff we could do a JohnDee.com version of trivial pursuit.  But seriously, the camera has so many features that I just decided to let her master them and then she can just teach me.  She's a whole lot smarter than me, so that will be the most efficient way of mastering this new camera.  You may not notice a really big difference in the quality of the shots between the new camera and the old and that is because in the reformatting of the shots for the journal the images are shrunk and their quality dropped a little so that they are not 4 meg in size.  However, if we ever want to reproduce them in print we can go up to 8x12 and they will be the same quality as if they were shot on film.  Her second shot does not really catch my best side, but it had the hounds walking with me in it so I thought it would be neat to post for sentimental reasons.
    On Wednesday we went down to Jacobsville and the White City beach.  It was a cool and cloudy day, with temps in the upper 50's and low 60's.  Needless to say that we had the place to ourselves.  The beach was gone, must have been the product of the different winds we have been having or something.  Usually there is about 40-50 yards of really nice sand between the sea grass and the waters edge, but on Wednesday there was only a few feet.  That was still plenty enough for the hounds to play on and do the things they do.  It has only taken me 9 years, but I finally figured out why Baileys does certain things when we go to the beach.  She has always had a bigger problem with ear infections, but I never really put everything together until the other day.  See, one thing that she does when swimming is to go up onto the beach and rub her face in the sand.  I finally figured out that when she does that, she has gotten water in her ears and is trying to get it out.  Because she can get water in her ears so easily that also explains why she does not like to actually swim, but does like to wade in the water.  Another unusual thing she does is to actually shake her head while she is still in deep water.  I figure that too is because she has water in them.
    So, I have learned that  when we go to the beach and she does these things that I attribute to her getting water in her ears, then when we get home I need to put the liquid ear cleaner in them.  That will keep her from getting an infection.  This past weekend she had such a bad infection her one paw actually swelled up and she could not put weight on it.  Nora remembered that she had the same problem around Christmas last year and that the vet gave her antibiotics and the infection went away quickly.  We still had some antibiotics left over from the spring flings in the hospital, so we gave her some and she recovered nicely.  In any case we did take Nora's camera with us on Wednesday and I snapped this shot of the lower entry light and of the hounds exiting the water.
    It seems like I should have more to say, but I just don't.  In 5 weeks Nora and I will be on the eve of the wedding.  Things are going very well thanks to all of Nora's hard work.  We are waiting for a considerable amount of RSVP's to come in.  Funny how you make it as easy as possible for folks to RSVP and they still seem to wait until the very last minute.  It is a small wedding, so there are not tons of outstanding RSVP's, but what is frustrating is most of those still not in are from folks who we do not know if they are coming or not.  Some family have not returned theirs, but we know they are coming because they are IN the wedding, so that is not a problem.  I am not sure what the etiquette is on this, but I suppose in a few weeks we will just have to call those that we have not heard from or maybe just assume that they are not coming, but you know what they say about assuming!
    I hope everyone has a safe and fun Labor Day weekend!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
 
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