.

 
Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam

July 31-
    I figured I may as well get one last journal in under the wire before the month is over.  I used to try and make a habit of writing something on the last day of the month, but that did not last too long!  Some nice and also some strange weather we have been having up here.  Much of last week was perfect, with highs in the upper 60's to low 70's, very low humidity and lots of sunshine too.  As I mentioned in the last journal entry, we have been really hurting for rain and yesterday we did get a little.  I picked up about 1/2" in my bucket and it looked like areas further north and also further south may have received even more.  It also looked like we were going to get another round of rains through this morning, but they fizzled out before they could get here.  I have a feeling that one day the heavens are going to open up and then it will not stop and we all will be wishing for some sunny weather!
    Yesterday was kind of a strange day.  It started out with a threatening sky and temps in the mid 60's, then it looked like the sun was going to break out and I think it even did for a brief moment, then the clouds rolled back in and it started to rain around noon and kept up into the afternoon.  At 3 pm our temperature was 58 degrees with light rain as well as thunder and lightning in the area.  Today we are nearly 30 degrees warmer with mostly sunny skies and that nasty humidity back as well.  Amazing how conditions can change on a dime up here.
    Today actually started out rather comfortable, with temps in the low 60's and humidity levels not too high.  Some clouds also made for a nice morning walk.  However, in the past few hours it has gone from Keweenaw weather to Atlanta weather.  It looks like we are going to have to deal with the heat and humidity for 3 more days and then the next round of cool air sets in.  So far my spirits are doing pretty good.  I think as long as I can see light at the end of the tunnel (a direct end to the heat and humidity), then I can deal with the actual tropical conditions much better.  It is when I sit in them and look out into the forecast and see little relief that I get a little anxious and crabby.  Plus there is also another form of light at the end of the tunnel.
    I suppose that for me the month of August is much like the month of March is for folks that live up here and do not particularly like the winter.  For them winter is not quite over yet, there are usually several more storms to go through, but the amount of sunlight is increasing, the temps are not topping out in the teens and low 20's for highs and the higher sun angle is at least tying to melt back some of the snowcover.  We can even have some days where thawing takes place- especially by the end of the month.  For me August means that summer is not over yet, but I can count the number of weeks of it on one hand.  We can still get heat and humidity, but there is usually an end to each heat wave seen somewhere in the not too distant future.  The sun angle is lowering, which means by the end of the month my head hits the pillow when it is actually getting dark out, not when it seems like it is the middle of the day and there are actually 2 full hours of sunlight left.  The sooner sunset also means that things start to cool off in the evening sooner.  By the time we reach the middle of the month, on most days, it is comfortable enough to take an evening walk.  Nora and I did a lot of that last week when the temps were so nice.
    I suppose the big difference between August for me and March for most others up here is that September provides some of the most beautiful weather up here.  Great temps, no humidity and almost no bugs.  Whereas April is not such a nice month up here.  Sure for the folks that don't really like the snow it is the month that the snow all melts away (most years anyway).  However, that melting process is usually a rather drawn out process, punctuated by some new snow and weather that is really not all that nice to be out in- at least for the first 3 weeks of the month.  So I get a little bonus in my "light at the end of the tunnel month".
    I don't have too many interesting stories to tell.  At least no adventures that have to deal with saving the village!  We did take to the woods or fields the rest of the week last week, with the comfortable temps.  I have found a nice shady trail to go on as well, so we can take to that trail on days when we might not normally take to the woods.  The heavy tree canopy makes it about 5-8 degrees cooler that it is in the sun.  So the hounds don't get over heated and neither do I.  The only other photo I have to share with you is of a ripened thimbleberry.  They are probably at the peak of their season and will be for another week to ten days.
    Not much else to report from this neck of the woods, so I guess I will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -

This business directly sponsors johndee.com  

July 27-
    I have a feeling this is going to be a short one.  I really do not have a lot to write about.  The weather has been fairly cooperative.  Sunday was warm, but not what I would call unbearably hot and temps since Monday have been very comfortable.  In fact it was almost cold enough to have to wear a jacket during golf yesterday afternoon, with temps in the 60's, a fairly stiff breeze and even some clouds.  But the sun came out by the time we reached hole 3 and it was a perfect day for golf.  This morning it got downright chilly, with a new low at the airport of 42 degrees.  I actually dropped to 41 and I bet I could have seen my breath if I had gone out in it.
    The cooler air the past few days and especially last night and this morning has gotten me into the mood for autumn.  In fact it felt a lot like September yesterday and this morning.  Today will be a little warmer, but could still pass for a typical early to mid September day.  It's been nice to have the air conditioners off and the windows open.  Fell asleep to the scent of the pines growing at the north end of our yard mixed with some smoke from a wood fire someone was having.  Almost felt like I was camping.  The forecast looks pretty encouraging.  Temps in the upper 60's to low 70's through the rest of the week, with some warmer temps, even hot, by the weekend, but then back to cooler temps for early next week.
    We need rain though.  We have had less than 1/2" since July started.  There have been some rain that come at us, but either fizzle out completely or enough that we end up with less than .10".  The woods are still in decent shape.  All the plants there are still green, or are still green under all the dust coating they have on them.  My grass is getting pretty brown though and we have not cut the lawn for more than 4 weeks now.  I could see some drier and warmer weather coming, so the last time we cut it we cut it quite long.  That has helped it out a lot as it has remained somewhat green in spots through this whole period.  Nora has been watering the garden every few days and those plants seem to be doing pretty well.  The blueberry plants I put in last year are producing and I get to go out and pick a fresh handful to put on my cereal these mornings.  I hear the wild blueberries are also going full speed ahead this season.  I would imagine that Nora and I will head off to one of our picking spots and pick a bucket full or so.  They are very tiny, but also sweeter than the domesticated ones, so they are worth the trouble.  Raspberries are coming into full season too.  I think after picking the quarts and quarts we picked last year to make the jam for our wedding favors both Nora and I are not as excited to pick the our raspberries this year as we have been in the past, but we do have a pretty good crop going.
    With the cooler weather we have also been heading to the woods a lot more.  In fact since Monday the 18th of July we have only been to the beach once and that was last Sunday.  Burt had been doing so much swimming in early July that he was starting to stink a little.  Labs secrete an oil that helps protect their coats and skin and it smells quite bad when it is secreted in high volumes.  Typically you will never smell it, but I have experienced this with another lab that was in our family. It would spend all day in the water and after a week or so of that you did not even want to be around him.  Burt has not gotten that bad, but was getting pretty ripe, so I am thankful for the cooler air and the ability to keep him out of the water for a week or so.  His level of smell has gone down a bit and I think with us being able to stay out of the water for another few days, he should be back to normal.
    I can feel my mood elevating too.  Not just because of the cooler air we have had for the past week or so, but the fact that it does not look to get too hot for any extended period of time in the forecast able future.  Plus the fact that after tomorrow the average high temperature starts to go down.  Not at a rapid pace, but at least in the right direction.  Plus the sun is starting to set a little sooner now.  It is actually getting dark around 9:30 rather than 10:30-11 like it was a few weeks ago.  I think that is one of the hard parts for me in the summer, the fact that it still seems like it is the middle of the day when I am trying to go to sleep.  In the winter it has been pitch dark for several hours by the time I hit the sack and like Nora and I talked about the other day- it just feels like it is time to go to bed.  Plus I think the bed seems more inviting in the winter.  It feels soo good to climb in and get all warmed up under the sheets.  The hard part is in the morning, having to get out of that nice warm bed!
    No pictures this time around, but for those of you that have just decided to give up on the Guest Shots section, Nora and I did update a batch a few days ago and will likely be getting to more in the next few days.  I think we both would like to get the rest of them (35-45 submissions, not individual shots!) updated in the coming weeks.  That way we will be all ready for the new ones to come in.  Well, I think that about covers it for this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
.....Hold on.....Stop the presses!!!  I actually wrote the above section in the early afternoon, while I still had to be in my office, but after the work for the day was done.  There is about a 90 minute period where all I have to do is stick around and catch any call that might come in while the markets are still open.  So that is when I wrote the above section.  After that I planned to take the hounds for their afternoon walk and then head down to Houghton to run some errands.  It was a cool enough day that I thought we would just walk the tracks up behind the house, so we headed up there.  We got about half way down the tracks and I thought I smelled smoke.  Not really the smell you want to smell in the middle of the woods when things are this dry and there are no burn permits being issued.  The smell seemed to come and go and I really did not think too much about it.  Then on the way back I turned around to make sure the dogs were keeping up with me and it looked hazy down the tracks where the sun came through the trees.  I took off my sunglasses just to make sure that they were not causing things to look hazy.  The air is very dry and clear today, so there should not have been any haze.  Anyway, we continued back to the truck and back to home so that I could get down to Houghton in time to get all the things I wanted to get done.  As I pulled into my driveway I saw a plume of smoke rising into the sky from where we had just been and knew that there was a pretty large fire going on somewhere up there.
    There are some folks that live above the tracks and some of the land owners up there have been doing some clearing, so I though maybe it was just one of them doing a burn.  However, I had sort of an uneasy feeling about it.  It just did not seem to make sense that someone would be burning a big pile of brush in the middle of the woods when it has been so dry lately, so I decided to go up there without the dogs and see if I could find the fire to make sure that it was not something that was out of control.  I gave the hounds their treats and grabbed the cell phone and headed back up the hill into the woods.
    This time I did not park at the road, but drove the truck down the tracks into where it seemed like the smoke was the thickest, hoping to not have to walk too far to find the fire.  Initially I headed down hill from the tracks because from the road heading out of Lake Linden, the plume seemed to be between that road and the lower tracks (the tracks the snowmobile trail uses), they run parallel to each other.  I walked down the hill about a hundred yards or so, but as I worked my way through the brush, it seemed like I was actually getting further away from the smoke, so I headed back up the hill to the tracks.  Once back on the tracks, I got smart and looked up and was able to see the smoke running from right to left- coming from up hill.  So I got on a skidder trail (a bulldozed path through the woods they skid logs out on) up the hill to try and find where all this smoke was coming from.  The smoke did start to get a little thicker and after hiking up the skidder trail a few hundred yards, it ended.  I stopped for a minute to catch my breath and I could actually hear the crackling of the fire, which got the heart beating a little more and the adrenaline going a bit.  I worked my way through the undergrowth of the forest and as my feet snapped dried up branches and crinkled dried up leaves I became more aware that of the fact that I had better keep my eyes open for this fire, because if it was out of control it could come down the hill pretty quickly as that is the way the wind was blowing.
    As I got closer and closer to the fire I could hear the crackle get louder and louder and soon it was loud enough that I could hear it above my panting for oxygen and the noises I was making as I went through the undergrowth.  I came upon a ridge and as I crossed over it I came to the upper tracks and saw the hill on the other side of tracks completely ablaze.  The flames were even up into the tops of the trees.  Immediately I knew that whether or not it started out as a controlled burn, it was no longer one.  I had been up there before and the last time I was there the tracks had just ended, there was no clearing or anything.   So I just assumed that somehow the fire had gotten started and was in the woods just up hill from the upper tracks.  I broke out my cell phone and got the wonderful "no service" message, so I high tailed it down through the woods, to the skidder trail and then down to the lower tracks to my truck.  I only had one bar on my cell phone while at the truck, so I just decided to drive the 2 minute drive to the house and call 911 from there.
    While driving to the house it hit me that I was really going to be dialing 911.  I have never done that and until you do, you never think that it will really be that big of a deal, but for me it suddenly seemed strange that I would.  In any case, I got to the house, dialed 911 and told the woman at the other end of the line that I wanted to report a brush fire.  I gave her directions and then called Al (he's a volunteer fireman for Hubbell) that he had better get his boots on because they were about to get a call.  He was actually a little low key about it, maybe that is standard operating procedure when you are an experienced firefighter talking to a regular old citizen who is all pumped up about calling in his first fire, but he seemed to think that he would not get the call that the Lake Linden crew would go up there and check it out.  As we were talking, the call went out over the scanner about the fire, so it took all of about 20 seconds from the time I hung up with my 911 call to when the call was going out over the scanner.
    I actually wanted to get back up there to take some pictures of the fire and knew I wanted to beat any fire crews there otherwise I would probably not be allowed in, so I jumped back in the truck and drove up to the upper tracks and parked where the second tracks cross Normand Rd.  I did not want to block what might be the only way into the fire and also wanted to leave a vehicle there to help show where they should turn to get to the fire, so I hoofed it in from Normand Road to the fire, a distance of about 1/3rd of a mile.  When I got to the fire, I could actually see that a new road had been put in that went up above the tracks, so I walked up there in hopes of getting a better vantage point of the fire.  Once up the hill, things leveled out into a large cleared area and I saw the owner of the land up there in a bit of a tizzy.  I know him and told him I had called in the fire and that a crew was on their way.  He seemed relieved, but a bit out of sorts as well.  I could speculate on why he had not called in the fire, but will refrain because it would not be right. I can say that he did seem a bit confused about everything.
    The fire was not a big one.  Probably about an acre and a half to 2 acres, but it was going pretty good in spots and with the things being so dry and the wind blowing pretty good it probably would not have taken more than 20-30 minutes for it to double in size and then another 20-30 minutes for it to double in size again and on and on until it was close to town.  So I did feel good about placing the call.  I understand that not long after I placed my call, other calls came in, but I was able to give the exact location of the fire and also how to get to it through the woods, so that was a big help.  The first fire fighter showed up about 5-10 minutes after I got there in his pickup truck and in about another 5 minutes the first truck was there and if I had to guess only about 20 minutes had elapsed from the time I placed the 911 call to when the first water was being put on the flames.  Pretty impressive I'd say, for an all volunteer crew responding to a fire out in the bush.  One of the great things about where this fire was is that they could drive almost right up to it.  Thus they were able to knock down the main part of the fire very quickly.  A second and third truck arrived on scene within about 5 minutes of the first piece of equipment and soon they had about 5 or 6 lines out putting water on the flames.
    Things went from pretty exciting to a little dull rather quickly, so I decided to head back and get out of the way.  On my way back I did walk down the tracks a bit and snapped a shot of the hill that was still on fire a bit.  When I had been up there before making the call, the whole hillside a little further down was ablaze and the tops of some of the pine and birch trees were on fire as well.  I snapped one more shot of a firefighter up on the hill doing his work.  It is a little hard to see him in that last shot, but if you look almost in the direct middle of the shot, just to the left of the tree in the middle shrouded in smoke, you can see his silhouette and even make out his helmet and face shield.
    I made it back to my truck and there was already a crowd starting to gather where the upper tracks cross Normand Road- right where I parked my truck to go in and take pictures of the fire and I passed a tanker truck and another fire truck headed into the scene.  In one of the trucks was Al, so he did get the call after all.
    Before going home I stopped by a friends house which was situated just down the hill from the fire to tell him that the fire was just about out and that he had no worries.  We got to talking a little and while we were doing so, an aircraft started doing circles above us.  I think it was probably the DNR giving a hand to the folks on the ground.  It also was not long before the DNR fire crew passed by us with some of their special equipment for fighting fires.
    So I guess what I thought would be a rather uneventful journal entry turned out to be a little more than I expected.  Never a dull moment I guess!  Now I can say it-
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
July 20-
    Wow, I cannot believe that we are closing in on the end of July.  Hurrah!  July is probably my least favorite month there is.  April is a close second with the melting of the snow.  Then by May I am over the melting of the snow and enjoying the comfortable temps and lack of bugs.  June starts out like May and then goes down hill the second half with the invasion of hotter and more humid temps (usually), then by July I am already sick of the heat and humidity, even the low amounts we typically see up here and am ready for autumn, but I also realize that we still have about 2 months to go before autumn arrives.  By August there is light appearing at the end of the tunnel and by the middle of the month I am usually in a countdown to bidding summer farewell and getting onto my second most favorite season.  September can have a few hot days in the first week or so, but they usually do not last too long and by mid month summer is history.  October is just beautiful up here with the colors changing and the crisp air.  Plus we get our first flakes in October, usually very early in the month.  November can be a month that drags on waiting for the snow to get deep enough to play in, but is still a great month when compared to July.  Then the months of Dec, Jan, Feb and March can probably really speak for themselves, but I will say it anyway- yeeeeaaaaah baaaaaaby!
    Although I am not going to spend this journal complaining about the heat and humidity.  I think I did enough of that the last time and quite frankly we have had some very nice days up here since I last wrote.  Yesterday was a 10 in my book.  Temps in the low 70's, a cobalt blue sky and a gentle breeze.  Give me a summer of that and I will never complain about that season again.  Today is a bit warm, but tomorrow and Friday look pretty good and the forecast is looking promising, especially by about Tue of next week and beyond.  So my spirits are rising and I hope that trend continues- I hate these false hope deals where everything looks good for nice weather and then the heat sneaks back in and lasts.
    As mentioned we have had some cooler days since I last wrote.  In fact the day after I last wrote, we had a nice day.  Temps in the 70's and low humidity.  Cool enough to be able to get out into the woods for our afternoon adventure and that is exactly what we did.  We did not travel too far, just headed up to the good old snowmobile trail and talked "the tracks".  Still though, it is always a welcomed change from the beach.  Even the dogs seem to be excited when I tell them we are going into the woods.  The hop out of the truck and have noses to the ground the whole time we are out there.  The bugs are not bad, we are slowly reaching the end of the peak season for many of them.  A few blackflys are still holding out, but are not much of a problem at all.  The deerflies have never been a major problem this season and the horseflies are also starting to fade a bit and really are only a problem at the beach.
    Speaking of the beach, that is where we hung out for the weekend.  Temps were hot and the humidity was up, so the beaches got the call.  On Saturday we went to Big Traverse and Nora and I decided to wear our swimsuits just in case and we were glad that we did.  It was cooler by the lake (about 13 degrees), but the water was also quite warm.  I'd have to say about 75-77 degrees.  My buddy Al was fishing about 9 miles off shore and said the water temp out there was 70 degrees.  Anyway, both Nora and I joined the hounds for a swim on Saturday and the water was warm enough that we could stay in it as long as we wanted and never got chilled. That was the first time in at least 2 summers that I have been in the big lake.  I know the summer of 2003 is when I had my skin cancer removed and could not swim until later in the summer and I think by then it was probably too late.  Last summer was too cool and it was never really needed to enter the big lake.  Anyway, it sure was refreshing and comfortable.
    On Sunday we headed to one of our "secret" beaches and found the water there to be a little cooler, but still warm enough for a swim.  Baileys did her usual quick swim and then retired to the shore to watch Burt fetch the stick for the rest of the day.  With all of the heat and humidity this summer, my attitude has been challenging to deal with.  I guess you could say that I needed to go and cool my head off a bit.  So I took that advice and did just that.  Nora actually said I should title that one that I was still head over heels in love with her, which is very true too.  Anyway, after my little gymnastics display I did some swimming around with But.  Even had a race with him to the stick.  He is so funny when it comes to fetching the stick.  His normally laid back and care free attitude is replaced with a very competitive one.  Both Nora and I had races with him and he does all he can to get to the stick before us, including cutting us off if he gets ahead of us.  Funny dog.  I guess Baileys must have been feeling like she was missing out on all the fun because she came over to swim with me for a while.
    So we had a great time at the beach and I must say that our great beaches are even better when you can swim in the water.  It is such beautiful water too.  Crystal clear and sweet.  Almost like swimming in bottled water or something.  I don't know how long the water will remain warm enough to swim in.  We already had some strong winds Monday that likely stirred it up a bit and with the cooler temps possibly headed in as we go through next week I may not have too many swims left in the big lake, but it is nice to know that I did get in this summer.
    So other than that, not much going on up here.  The Bootjack Fire and Rescue had their annual chicken barbecue this past Sunday.  It is really not barbecued chicken, but rather grilled chicken with seasonings on it.  I do not know what they do to it to make it so good, but it really is good stuff.  With temps in the mid to upper 90's and a blazing sun word has it they did not even need to start the charcoal this year.  Just tossed the chicken on at 9 am and it was done at noon!!!  All kidding aside, I guess they did use much less than the amount of charcoal that they usually use.
    The last item to be covered is a clarification/correction.  I think in the last journal I wrote about how the strawberries were basically done for the season, but that was not exactly true.  Nora did go out and picked another batch and took a picture of them just to prove things.  The blueberries are starting to ripen as are the raspberries.  We have already had a little bit of both.
    Well, I guess that will cover it for another one.  Take care and...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
July 13-
    Cripes it's hot!  This is turning into one of those summers I dread.  I guess it is pay back for the one we had last year.  No 90's last year and we only hit the 80's a handful of times.  This summer is shaping up to be just the opposite.  It seems it has been a big chore for the temps to even drop down into the 70's this summer.  Of course we have been cooling into the 60's at night and may even reach the upper 50's tonight, but my thermometer has been hitting the mid 90's the past several days.  Sunday and Monday the Houghton County Airport set new records for maximum temp and on Tuesday we tied it.  That is the third time this summer we have made a new record high and the first time we have tied.  In addition to the heat it has been pretty humid.  Not incredible humidity, but still dewpoints in the upper 60's to around 70.  That is pretty high for this neck of the woods.
    It has been so hot that the hounds and I have not even been able to take our morning short walks.  If we could do it at around 7 or 8 am, then it would be cool enough to walk, but by 10:30 when we go it is just too hot already.  It's almost all I can do to just stand outside with them while they go potty.  Even our little above ground pool is almost too warm.  It starts out the day at around 82, but by the evening is at 90.  So not much relief from the heat there, but I can say that it still helps to cool a little to go into.  The worst of it had to have been golf yesterday afternoon.  It was league, so I had to play, otherwise I would have been along the shores of the big lake for sure.  Almost nowhere to hide from the hot sun and there was no breeze to speak of either.  I came home and almost was sick to my stomach.  Rough life huh?
    As I look to the future I see more hot weather, probably back into the 90's by Friday and the weekend.  I hope that we do not break the records standing for the weekend.  Saturday's standing record is 96 and Sunday's is 98.  Ouch!  The way this summer is going I would not be surprised if we do break a few more records.  Many of the current records are from previous hot summers where records were made several times in the season. For instance, both the records for this coming weekend were made in 1975 and the records we broke this past Sunday and Monday were from 1966. I have seen a handful of 1995's and 1988's pop up as well.
    One bright spot to all of this is that in less than 2 weeks our average high temperature starts to go down and taking a quick look at the record highs for August, there are a lot of upper 80's rather than mid 90's like we have in the second half of July.  Another bright spot is the fact that as we travel through August the sun will be setting earlier, which means the evenings cool off comes sooner.  Yet another bright spot is even closer and that is a nice break coming next Monday when a strong cold front moves through.  The real cool air arrives Monday night and looks to last through Wed.  So next week's golf outing will be done in much more comfortable conditions.  Heck, may even have to wear a long sleeved shirt if there are clouds to accompany the cooler temps.  Two more bright spots are marketing related: I received my first snowmobile parts catalog yesterday and I saw my first "Back-To-School" commercial on the TV yesterday.  We must be getting closer!
    The biggest bright spot to all of this heat I am having to endure is the fact that this is a great place to have to endure it in.  All we have to do is hop in the truck and head out to the big lake to get into mother natures air conditioning.  As I have mentioned, no matter which way the wind blows we can always find a nice little beach to go to and get into the lake cooled air and cooled it is.  On a really hot day up here I will be anywhere from around 92 to 96, but down by the lake the temp will be around 80.  One day a few weeks ago Nora, the hounds and I left Lake Linden and it was 92.  We got to the lake and it was actually a chilly 63.  Almost too chilly, dressed the way we were, but thanks to the strong late June sun we managed.
    So Nora, the hounds and I have been spending a lot of time at the beaches lately.  Saturday it was the northshore, Sunday it was the secret hideout on the eastern shore, Monday we went to Bare Butt Beach and today it was back to the northshore.  So while I feel like I can complain a bit about the heat we are having, I must also proclaim how lucky I feel to be living in such a wonderful place that provides very beautiful places we can go to and cool off.  Sunday was a good day to pull the chair up to the waters edge and soak my feet.
Baileys thought it was a good day to soak even more.  The water along the shoreline is actually getting warm enough to be in and enjoy it- at least up to your knees!  Usually it takes until mid August for the lake to warm up enough that is does not actually hurt to be in.  I can see us taking a dip in the big lake pretty soon.
    If you pay close attention, you will notice one thing in common in all the beach pictures I have to share with you today.  More than sand and water that is!  I won't divulge that just yet.  See if you can guess before I reveal what it is later on.
    As mentioned we went to "Bare Butt Beach" Monday.  Again, about 15 degrees cooler than it was in Lake Linden.  Water clear and sparkling and some of the most gorgeous scenery you will find on this planet.  Especially when viewed from a shady spot on the beach.  Another bonus is that these spots remain a secret and we can just relax and let the hounds run around without worrying about them bothering others or getting into some threatening situation.  Burt is pretty much content to fetch a stick that is thrown out into the water, so all Nora and I have to do is toss the stick and he is taken care of.  Baileys is more the explorer when we are at the beach.  She will spend some time in the water and some on the beach and some in the woods, but is never too busy to strike a pose for us. OK, one last chance to see if you can spot what all the beach shots have in common.  Here is a shot from the Northshore today.
    In addition to the heat, we have not had a drop of rain fall in July yet.  It came close today, with some storms popping up in the Tapiola area and then sliding south over Baraga.  The grass is still green and the gardens are going strong.  Nora has been helping out the gardens a bit lately, but the grass is working with the rains we got in June, especially the last week in June.  The strawberries are finishing up and we actually have not picked any lately.  We have enough jam to last us all the way until next June, maybe June of 2007!  The raspberries will be next and there are a few early developers that actually will be ready in a few days, with the rest likely being ready in about 10 days.  The blueberries still look to have a few weeks to go and then they will be ready.
    So, were you able to figure out what it was that was common in the beach shots?  It was really nothing too spectacular, but I figured I would throw out the challenge to get you thinking and maybe liven up the journal a bit.  The one common feature was that the wind was onshore in all the shots.  You could tell by the way the waves were rolling onto shore.  That is also the key to staying cool up here.  Head to the beach where the winds are blowing onshore, otherwise you will be forced to head into the water to cool off.  That's all for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
July 8-
    Hi everyone, John is taking a rest right now and said that since I have more pictures to donate to the journal that I should do the writing, so here I am! We are super busy around the Dee house these days. It's really hard to believe that we're coming into the second week of July already! The summer sure is flying by. The main reason we have been busy is because we've had family in town. My brother Joel, his wife Tammi, and their children Laura and Jaron have been in town since Friday. Since we only see our family once a year we try to spend as much time with them as possible.
  Since it's been over a week since the last journal I'll need to go way back in my memory bank to recall the daily events. On Friday evening the four of us headed out to Copper Harbor after dinner. We had a good time doing some fishing and relaxing on Lake Fanny Hooe. We didn't catch any fish but had fun trying!
    Wednesday of last week was my grandmothers 85th birthday so we decided to have her party on Saturday when more of the family would be around. It was a beautiful day and we all had a great time. The strawberries we're still cranking so everyone was able to enjoy some fresh picked berries.
  Sunday evening Lake Linden had their annual fireworks. We decided to walk down to the park to watch the show. As usual we weren't disappointed at the fireworks display. It gets dark very late around these parts so by the time we got home it was almost midnight! Way past all of our bedtimes. It really is surprising to see the amount of people that show up for the L.L. fireworks! The crowd seems to grow more and more each year.
  Believe it or not we didn't make it to the Lake Linden parade this year. We were sort of up in the air about going and by 9 am we had picked enough strawberries to make another batch of jam. So we missed the parade this year and therefore no parade pictures. John actually had to work on the 4th so I decided to go out to the Harbor and hang out with the family. Boy it sure was nice being able to walk around the Harbor, do some shopping and be able to walk home and not fight the traffic! That is one packed little town during the 4th! But, that is a good thing as it helps the local business' to stay afloat. After hitting the local shops Jaron and I decided to go check out the log cabin church.  We didn't know that church was out there until about two days before our wedding. We're pretty sure that if we would have known earlier that would have been the church to get married in. It is just a small log cabin but has a wonderful atmosphere and charm to it. Near the outside of the church sits a giant pair of wooden hands.
  Since the Harbor is so crowded the decision was made to head down to the water front and get a place to put our chairs for the fireworks. We were able to find a nice spot right on the waters edge. While we we're waiting for the show to begin we spotted a freighter out in the lake and a much smaller boat with a very interesting shipmate!As we patiently waited for the sun to set we realized that it was not only getting dark but the fog was rolling in. We all joked a little about waiting for a couple hours with several hundred people to possibly see nothing but fog! So we all waited and waited. We heard the few short booms to signal the start of the show and we anticipated the beginning of the fireworks. With all eyes looking to the sky, the anticipation was mounting and this is what we saw!Yep you guessed it...foggyworks! We could hear the booms and the sky would light up like an explosion but no visual of the actual fireworks. The funniest thing was the reaction from the crowd. Everyone around us busted out laughing! We all watched for a bit and then we decided that we might has well start our trek back home. We arrived in town and could actually see some of the fireworks.By the time the finale' was going the fog had started to lift. It sure was a shame because the fireworks at the Harbor are really something to see. As we walked home we all decided that it was a 4th of July we will always remember, look back on and have a good chuckle.
    Well, John is starting to stir from his little nap, so I guess I will sign off for now and let him finish this off.  Take care everyone! - Nora
    Hi everyone!  Long time no write!  I am sorry, but things really have been very busy.  Not all work related, we have been having fun too, but we really have not had time to sit down and spend the few hours it takes to write a journal and work with any pictures we have.  If I did not have to sleep, then I could get a whole lot more done.  Heck, I might even be able to get on to updating the guest shots.  There is probably only about 50 to do! Yes, we actually have a ton of guest shots to update and to tell you the honest truth I do not even know when that is going to happen.  Things with my work are as busy as they have ever been and add that to the regular daily activities and I am pretty much zapped for time.  Don't worry, if you are one waiting for your images to be added, they will be- I promise.  I just cannot promise when!
    Nora did a great job of getting you up to date on most of the activities we have been doing since last month.  The one thing she saved for me is that we have been out fishing a few times.  Nora's brother loves to fish and actually owns a bait shop in Port Huron MI, Anderson's Pro Bait.  So we were more than happy to take them out fishing a couple of times.  On Tuesday it was actually chilly up here, with clouds and temps in the 50's, but we ended up taking the boat down to the Bootjack Boat launch.  It actually felt a little strange to be down there without the dogs, but we had a pretty full boat and wanted to fish and not have them swim, so they stayed home.  Anyway, we put in and headed south to White City and the lower entry.  Unfortunately as I went to take the first picture of our adventure Tuesday, the camera died on me- low batteries.  So one area that I was really looking forward to sharing with you via the boat will have to wait for another entry.  Although I can say that it was really cool to be down there.  I saw things that I had never seen before and been to places I had never been to before, so it was like I was on vacation or something.  We tried our hand at fishing down near White City and actually did pretty good.  Nora's brother caught the first one, a medium sized pike.  Then her nephew caught a bass and I followed up with a bass.  Then her brother had a monster pike on line, but it ended up breaking the line before we could get it into the net.  He was actually in the process of adjusting the drag on the reel when the line broke.  I saw the fish and it really was huge.  Maybe not a record, but one of the largest pikes I have seen.  No fish for the ladies and I think Nora was actually a little upset about that as she prides herself on the fact that if anyone catches a fish, it is her.
    We did get out again and fished the Torch Lake and "Cuts" between the Torch and Portage Lakes on Thursday evening and I caught the lone fish for that outing, a rock bass.  Not a big fish, but pretty big for a rock bass.  I had another on line, but was unable to boat it before it wiggled off the line.  Nora and I are excited to head back down towards White City to fish as we now know where some pike are hanging out.  Personally, since I do not like to eat fish and am just a catch and release guy, then I prefer to catch pike and bass, they put up a bigger fight than walleye.
    It's going to get hot up here and that actually already has me in a bit of a funk.  I have been almost depressed the past few days, feeling very sleepy and lethargic during the day, all because I know my enemies heat and humidity are going to show their ugly heads this weekend and then continue for a few days at least.  I can usually handle a day without too many issues, but if I know we are going to be in it for a few days, then I get all weird.  I suppose it is just the opposite that some folks feel when it is going to be cold and snowy.  I try and cheer myself up by looking at pictures from the past winter, or even checking out web cams from Alaska or the mountains out west, but it is usually a losing battle.  I guess I can take solace that in 2 months the heat and humidity will be all done with for another season.  Maybe when it is all hot and nasty out, I can just sit in my dark, air conditioned office and update all the snowy guest shots!
    Well, I guess that gets you all caught up for now.  The camera batteries are charged and it's going to be beach and boating weather, so I suppose there will be some pictures to share with you in the next entry.  That is if I don't melt!!!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
 
 
.