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Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam

June 30-
    This has to be one of the only places in the country, maybe the planet that can actually turn warmer after a fairly strong cold front moves through.  Such was the case in the past 24 hours.  The high yesterday at the airport was 59 and about 64 at our house.  The front came through early this morning (complete with thunderstorms) and the temps today have been in the low 70's.  Of course we had a strong easterly wind yesterday and skies were overcast for much of the day.  An easterly wind has the air travel over a lot of lake before hitting the Keweenaw, so it gets plenty of time to chill off.  In fact, give us an easterly wind and overcast skies and any day is going to struggle to rise out of the 50's up here.  Today the wind is strong, but out of the west, southwest and we have also had at least a few peaks of sun and that has allowed the temps to warm a bit more.
    On Monday we set our second record high for the summer so far.  I hit 95.3 with a dewpoint of 72 making for a heat index of 99.5.  Hot and sticky stuff.  However, as is usually the case up here, that kind of heat and humidity does not last too long and was actually ahead of another cold front that came through late in the day and produced some severe weather.  Our little screen tent almost went for a wild ride with winds that had to have been blowing over 55 mph.  I don't know for sure as the wind gauge with my weather station is a piece of junk.  I don't think that it has ever registered a wind speed over 20 mph for as long as it has been mounted.  My brother has the same model and same problem.  My advice is to stay away from La Cross Technology.  This is the second piece of equipment I have had problems with of theirs and now the weather station has stopped communicating with the computer, so I cannot display it's info to the web or track the trends. I may have to bit the bullet and get one from Oregon Scientific or Davis Instruments.  All I know is I am going to avoid La Cross Technologies for a long time!
    Ever since that front came through on Monday evening, we have been very comfortable up here, with temps in the 70's and tolerable humidity levels.  That is one of the things I looked forward to when moving up here was cooler summers.  The first summer was pretty cool, but then we had some doozies in the early 2000's and I was wondering why if our average high temp maxes out at 76 why were most of the day's recording highs in the 80's and 90's?  Seemed to me we should have some days cooler than 76 to balance things all out.  Well, last summer seemed to balance things out, with just a handful of 80's and no 90's.  This summer is probably more typical of things up here.  Some heat, but not long lasting and then back to the cool and comfortable.  I feel for the folks further south that have been in the 90's and humidity for a week or more now, but sure am glad I live here!!!
    It was actually cool enough to take the hounds up into the woods for out afternoon exercise.  We don't go trouncing through the deep woods this time of the year.  Too many chances to pick up a tick or be attacked by mosquitos, but we did walk the tracks that the snowmobile trail uses in the winter.  It was really nice to be up there.  Not that the beaches are no fun, but I am one that likes to have a change of scenery on our afternoon explorations and so the woods was a nice change from the beaches we have been hanging out at for the past few weeks.  The bugs were not bad at all.  A few mosquitos would find us when we stopped walking, but as long as we kept moving they would not bother us.  Plus it might have been too cool, but there were no deer flies to bother us, which is usually the case this time of the year.  I suppose that maybe they are just in a down year too, or maybe the past few years were up years for their population.  Which ever is the case they do not seem to be as much of a problem this year than in previous years- which is a good thing!
    We did come across some downed trees from the storm Monday evening.  Although not that many and and not as many as I thought we might encounter.  That was the first big blow we had since the trees have filled out with leaves and usually that first big blow will bring down many of the ones that were sort of on the edge of coming down anyway.  So we walked down the trail for about a mile or so and then turned around and came back.  I can really tell the hounds are getting older, they start out strong, but then tire out much faster than they used to.  When we first moved up here we would sometimes be out for hours and they would only start to limp and tire after putting on 3-5 miles, but now seem to start limping after a mile or so.  We do have them on some pills to help, but there is only so much you can do with arthritis.  What is important is that we are all healthy and happy and are able to get out and enjoy the great outdoors up here.  As long as we have that I will never ask for any more.
    We have been busy picking our strawberry crop.  I picked about 8 pints yesterday and another 4 pints today.  Tomorrow there will probably be another 4 pints ready and by that picking we will probably be just past 1/2 way through the total amount of berries out there.  Nora and I also plan to make jam with them tomorrow and I know I am really looking forward to that.  Strawberry jam is probably my favorite, maybe tied with blueberry.  We still have some blueberry left over from last summer and have some blackberry and raspberry left over as well.  Maybe we should open up a little stand and sell it.  Naw, I think it should keep for a while and the first few years at the property may not provide too much fruit.  However, I definitely plan on having a ton of blueberry bushes as well as strawberries and will try and get some black and raspberries going too.
    I can't believe the 4th of July weekend is almost here already.  In just a week we will be already almost done with the first week of July and in 4 weeks will almost be done with July itself.  I think that July is my least favorite month after April.  Seems like the winter is nowhere in sight while we are in July, while in August it may still be hot, but at least it is starting to get dark earlier and I can start the countdown to when I will be putting the summer clothes away and bringing the winter clothes out of storage.  Funny how I say I like the change of seasons (which is true) but can never wait until winter to come again!  Something tells me that I am not alone out there in my feelings!  Have a safe and fun holiday weekend everyone.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -

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June 25-
    What a great weekend!  Perfect weather and lots of fun- even a bit of work.  Temps were in the 70's Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with nice low humidity levels to boot.  We actually started out very warm on Friday, with the thermometer registering an 82 when I started work at 4:30 in the morning.  Not too many times will you see a temperature reading up here at that time of the morning like that.  In fact, I wonder if it has ever happened.  With our AC's humming all night, I actually had no clue it was that warm all night.  Thanks Mr. Carrier for your wonderful invention!  Had lots of sunshine this weekend too, which combined with the comfortable temps and low humidity to make for just perfect weather.
    With the cooler temps, Nora and I decided to head up to the property to finish off the rest of the wood chopping/hauling/stacking work we had left.  So Saturday morning we got a pretty early start and went at it.  It took about 2 hours to finish things off, which was a little longer than I had thought it would take, but I am glad it is done with.  It was actually starting to get a little warm for that kind of work.  Still in the 60's, but I wear a pair of safety chaps when I use the chain saw and they are like wearing a pair of snowmobile bibs over my jeans, so I get pretty warm pretty quick.  Anyway, here is a before shot of the wood we cut, taken back on May 26th when the clearing was being done.  Here is the after shot of the same spot.  A few more leaves on the trees still standing, but a whole lot less trees laying on the ground.  We left the two old rotted white pine.  I may chop them up a bit, just to help them along in the decomposing act, but no hauling or stacking them.  There is also a bit of brush that will need to be hauled and burned later on, but that will be pretty easy.  Here is a shot looking out towards the build spot.  So where did it all go?  Right here.  That actually did not show all of it.  We have one pile that is about 6-8 feet high, 10-12 feet deep and 30 feet long.  Another pile that is about 4 feet wide, 5-6 feet high and 35-40 feet long and the last is about 4-5 feet high and 4 feet deep and about 10-15 feet wide.  I figure we have about 6-7 chord of firewood to get us through the first heating season or two.  There will be more trees to cut down to make way for the log home, but all the clearing that needed to be done for the cabin and post barn has been done and I am a happy camper about that.  On the way in to do the cutting, there was a little doe right by the "proposal tree" checking out what was coming down the driveway.  Neat to see wildlife out there.  It will be exciting to watch the critters come through once we are moved in.
    There was some good news up here besides the weather and getting the clearing work done.  On Friday the winds were blowing pretty good out of the west, so I decided to brave the beach at the northshore to see what was going on with the beach fly situation.  I figured that with the winds blowing at about 25 mph, even if they were there that they would not be too much of a bother to us.  Well we got there and went out onto the beach and not a fly to be had!  Just the sun, the wind, the water, the waves and the beach.  So the nasty little biting flies are gone for the season!!!  That means the beaches are back open to us!!!  There are still some horse flies and deer flies that have to be dealt with, but they are not nearly as big a problem as the others.  I am so glad that the season for those nasty beach flies is only about 2 weeks long.  Now we can take the heat no matter what, we have our beaches that we can go to and cool off at the big lake!
    With the beaches open again, Nora, the hounds and I went back to the northshore on Saturday and Nora spotted something out in the water.  Nora thought it was a wood duck or a loon, but I was ready to call the Dept. of Homeland Security to report a Russian Attack Sub along the south shore of Lake Superior.  Probably a good thing I did not make that call.  It was perfect down there yesterday, with lots of sunshine, comfortable temps and a light breeze.  The horse flies are not as bad on that shore as they are on the south shore of the peninsula, so we did not have to worry about them either.  Baileys took advantage of the weather to relax and sun herself on a rock.  I actually followed suit and watched Burt swim after the sticks Nora tossed for him.  A little later Baileys was spotted picking some wildflowers.  I call this picture "Baizy in the Daisys".
    Today the wind was from the other direction- out of the east.  It is always nicer to be at the beach and have an onshore breeze, so we just simply went to the other side of the peninsula!  It is just so great to have so many choices of places to go up here and have the options to be able to go to beaches with onshore breezes no matter which way the wind blows.  I realize that I left good old Burt out of the last round of pictures, so he gets to lead off the round of pictures covering today's beach adventure.  Nora and I went to our favorite beach on the eastern side of the peninsula (which will remain a secret for selfish reasons!) and it was actually a bit chilly.  The sun was out fully, but temps were only in the low 60's and there was a bit of a breeze.  It was not too cold and once you got out of the breeze it was perfect, but we did not spend too much time out of the breeze.  We pretty much spent the entire 2 hours there tossing the stick for Burt.  I believe that fetching sticks in the water is just hard wired into his brain.  It seems like he actually will tire and seem to want to quit, but then about a minute or two later, he is pacing back and forth, wanting us to toss the stick into the water.  We try and get him to just relax for a bit and take a break, but he wants nothing to do with that.  Has to fetch.  Baileys is much more relaxed at the beach and has no problems just laying there and taking it all in.  At that beach there is some really nice sights to take in too!
    While I tossed the stick for Burt for a while, Nora grabbed the camera and took some shots.  Here are some flowers she came upon.  I'm not a botanist, but they looked like Iris to me.  Here is a little brook flowing out of the woods and onto the beach, on it's way to join up with the big lake.  We have had pretty decent rain lately and most of the creeks are still running.  I am glad that she takes pictures like that, because they show some of the other things that make the beaches up here so special.  I am always taking the proverbial "down the beach" shot and fail to catch the finer details.  Here is another shot showing some of the finer details of the beach we were at today; some driftwood, sea grass, ferns and the edge of the woods.  Of course I think I managed to capture the finest of the finer details of the beach we were at today.  What do you think?  That's my whole world in that last photo.  Baileys and I were caught in the act of cuddling, one of our favorite things to do anywhere, anytime.
    So we had a couple of great days at the beach this weekend.  Right now I have two exhausted dogs that are probably not going to move too much until tomorrow morning.  Nothing seems more relaxing that watching an exhausted dog lay there and sleep.  I have a feeling that I am going to sleep pretty good tonight as well.
    This past Friday the local Relay For Life was held and Nora and I went over and did a few laps.  Nora's employer did not sponsor a team this year, so she did not have to spend the night, but we still made it over for the survivors lap and made a few more laps after that.  Seemed liked a pretty good turn out again this year.  I am not sure if it will be as big as last year, but that would be ok.  If you ask me, last year was really just phenomenal.  The amount of money raised was equal to about $4 for every man, woman and child in the area.  Just think if that happened everywhere.  What is there about 250 million people in the US?  That would be 1 billion dollars.  Wha!  Anyway, it's safe to say that they had another very successful event this year, no matter what the actual numbers were.
    The berry season is upon us.  The strawberry plants are producing the early birds and the main crop looks like it will be ready by about this weekend.  We have already had a few and nothing better than fresh fruit right out of the garden.  The blueberry plants are just bursting with berries.  Still a few weeks to go with them, but for only the second year, it looks like it is going to be a big crop.  The raspberries are starting to form fruit.  Looks like it will be a pretty good year for them as well.  There are still a few flowers and the bees are busy pollinating them.  Nora has a peony that is opening up and in her garden the tomatoes are flowering and so are the cucumbers.  Looks like a pretty good harvest is pending at the Dee farm this summer.
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this time.  Hard to believe that the 4th of July is just a little over a week away.  June seemed to fly by.  I wonder if the next 2 months fly by as well.  If so, that would be fine by me!  If not, that is OK too.  Is is very pretty up here and lots to do in the summer as well.  This weekend sure proved that!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
June 21-
    Not only does time fly when you are having fun, but it also flies by when you are busy.  Plus it really zooms by when you are busy having fun!  I really cannot believe that it has been a week since last writing, that June is a little over a week away from being over and we are at the summer solstice.  For you snow lovers, the sun has already begun it's retreat back to the south.  Of course it is a slow retreat at first and there is the thermal lag, so we still have plenty of summer like weather left, but it is always a mini milestone to us snow and winter fans that we are over the astronomical hump.
    We did not wait until the first day of astronomical summer to get into summer weather.  We hit 83 on the 13th of June and the past 3 days have climbed into the 80's as well, with an 86 on Sunday.  Had some humidity on Sunday and yesterday as well, but the humidity is nice and low today, which means a nice cool night ahead.
    So far my attitude with the warmer temps and higher humidity has not been too bad.  I think I have been a little on the crabby side yesterday and again today (Nora may beg to differ on that level), but not as bad as it can and has gotten.  Really strange how the heat and humidity can get to me.  I think much of it has to do with the fact that I feel more like a shut in as the hounds and I cannot do as much in the afternoons.  It is particularly hard at this time of the summer because the nasty biting flies keep us away from our usual beaches along the shores of the big lake.  Plus the Lake Linden Village Park is too busy for me to take them over to swim at and there really are not too many other places we can go to and not be bothering others or be bothered by flying nasties.  However, we did strike gold on Sunday when we went down to the Bootjack boat launch. There we found a nice place for the dogs to swim, with little in the way of bug problems and it is also quiet enough that we are not in anyone's way.  Plus it faces west so will usually be on the downwind side of the Portage Lake, making it a little bit cooler as well.
    We had such a good time there on Sunday we decided to return there yesterday and it was a perfect day to be there.  The winds were blowing pretty good out of the west, so that kept any bugs away, plus kept things comfortable.  In fact, when Baileys and I took a break in the shade and sat and watched Nora throw the stick for Burt, I could have stayed there the rest of the day and just relaxed.  But I had a little bit of work to do and also a practice round of golf to play, so we could not stay the rest of the afternoon.
    I suppose one of the other features to the Bootjack boat launch is the fact that it is "new" to me.  Sure I have drove by it several times, but never stopped, gotten out of the car and had a look around.  So the sights are new to me, including this view of Mt Ripley and the Quincy Hill.  That would actually be the section between Houghton and Chassell in the foreground.  Speaking of Chassell, this is the view of that little town from the boat launch.
    Of course the main objective of going there is to get into the great outdoors and get some exercise for the hounds without overheating them.  Only one way to do that and that is letting them swim.  Burt wasted no time in getting into the water and we brought with us a stick from the property for him to fetch.  Baileys is usually one to not swim too much.  She will always get her feet wet and usually goes up to her belly in the water, but to actually see her go in past her head is a pretty rare event.  Well, she sure seemed to like this place as she was seen swimming around quite a bit.  I have come to the conclusion that she must have odd shaped ear canals as she gets water in her ears almost every time she goes in that deep and I believe that is actually why she does not like to go in that far.  I know I would not want to swim much if I had water go in my ear every time!  Baileys also did a bit of camouflaged exploring, can you spot the yellow lab in this shot?  I don't know what she found, but it must have been tasty!  Actually I know for a fact that she did not get into anything.  We watch both of them very closely to make sure they do not eat anything they should not.  Been to the vets enough already!
    On Saturday, Nora and I took the boat down to the Dreamland Motel for dinner.  It was really neat to be able to do that and a perfect night for it too.  Clear skies, temps in the mid 70's and a light breeze.  We could not really ask for better.  The boat performed perfectly and I think both Nora and I are pretty comfortable in it now.  Not that we will be making the trip to Isle Royal in it anytime soon, but we don't have any concerns putting around on the inland lakes. I know I want to take it down to the Bootjack boat launch and then head south to Jacobsville.  I have never been trough the waterway to the south entry and really have looked forward to seeing that neck of the woods.  Plus I want to bring it up to Lac La Belle and see that lake in the summer, maybe even head out into the big lake and take a trip up the coast a bit towards Keystone Bay.  So there are lots of places left to explore in the boat and I hope that we can get to see them all this summer.  If not, there is always next summer!
    Last Thursday and Friday were nice and cool up here with perfect outside working conditions in the evening, so we went up to the property to work on getting the trees cut and stacked.  It ended up being more work that I thought it would be and we are still not done yet, but we put a huge dent in the work that needed to be done and I think we have less than 2 hours left to go.  Nora really worked hard both evenings.  While I cut and helped load the truck a little, she did the rest of the loading and most of the unloading too.  After working about 2 1/2 to 3 hours Friday we both were pretty pooped and it has been too warm in the evenings to work comfortably and since we are not in a rush, we will wait until the next comfortable evening comes.  That may be tomorrow and it may not.  If not tomorrow, then Saturday for sure.  I do not have any pictures of our work. I wanted to wait until it was done to show you all, but will be sure to take some shots when we are done.  It looks like we will have about 3 1/2 to 4 full chord of wood from this latest round of cutting and stacking.  That gives us about 6 chord of wood to use for heat in the outdoor wood boiler we will be using for heat when we live up here.
    Once we are done with that work we are done with most of the stuff that we can do on our own.  The next steps require help from professionals like laying slabs for foundations and bringing in electric to the site.  So those tasks also require a financial commitment and that will be the main determining factor in when they get done. But I do hope to have the slabs and electrical in before the snow starts to pile up, maybe even have the post barn up so that next build season we can get going on the cabin- which is what we are calling the "guest home" as guest home sounded so snooty.
    Have not gone fishing with the new gear Nora got me for my birthday, but if tomorrow evening is too warm for working up at the property, then it may just be perfect for a little fishing trip.  We have some family on Nora's side coming up in a little more than a week, so we will be fishing then for sure. But, I was hoping to find some spots on the Torch and Portage Lakes before they arrived so we did not have to hunt for them.
    Well, I guess that covers it for this one.  The Keweenaw is gearing up for all the festivities on the 4th.  Fresh paint is going down, businesses are cleaning up things.  The Loading Zone II is even getting a paved parking lot (golfed with Dinky this afternoon and found out what was going on with the equipment in his lot today).  Really neat how this area becomes so alive around the 4th.  It really personifies the heart and soul of this great country we live in.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
June 14-
    This is a little better, five days between writings.  Actually, it is rare for me to write on a Tuesday in the summer as that is when golf league is.  However, the 1"+ rain we had overnight and this morning made the course a little too wet for carts and a lot of the guys in our league would not play golf if it were not for golf carts!  So the league was canceled.  I don't mind walking, especially if the weather is not too hot.  I can actually get a better feel for the shot when I walk up to it verses racing up to it in a cart.  Anyway, no golf, so I figured I would write a journal.
    Thanks to everyone that wished me a happy birthday yesterday. 364 more days until I am no longer in my 30's.  I can remember listening to the Jimmy Buffett song "A Pirate Looks at 40" (one of my favorite songs) and thinking: 39, man that is old.  Well, it sure does not seem so old now!  The funny thing is I really do not think about my age too much and feel about the same I did 10 years ago.  It may take me a little longer to recover from an injury, but I still recover!  I guess a lot of it really is in your head.  Plus the bright side is that I can sing that Buffett song to my self and have it really take on some meaning for a year!
    Along the lines of the birthday, Nora did get me some great presents.  I am now pretty well set for fishing gear.  A new rod and reel, soft sided tackle box, lures and other assorted tackle.  She took me out for dinner and also made me a cake, complete with 39 candlesTalk about a cloud of smoke!  She even snuck home without me knowing and placed some signs on the dogs.  The funny thing is, I had just walked by Burt and then about 60 seconds later, walked by him and there was the sign on him.  At first I thought I was losing it, but then realized what was going on and she and Baileys came out from around the corner and Baileys had her sign on.  I also got some nice shirts from my parents.  So the gifts were great, dinner was great, the cake was great, but the best part about the day was to be able to spend it with Nora and the hounds.  That is all I could ever ask for.
    Other than celebrating birthdays, things have been somewhat quiet up here.  We had a pretty relaxing weekend.  We ended up doing little work.  We did go out and get one of those screened in gazebos and a swing to put inside it.  Nora put the gazebo together and I did the swing.  We put it on the rocks that we put down a few weeks ago and they work great.  The gazebo and swing are actually in the shade of some maple trees and still get a breeze, so it is very nice to sit in there, even on Sunday afternoon when the temps were warm and the humidity up there.  I'm sure that we will be getting a lot of use out of those two items, not only here, but once we are up at the property.  I really am not much of a TV person and would rather just sit outside on a swing and read or enjoy the outdoors and both of those items make that more pleasurable to do that.  We also put the pool up on Sunday.  Sunday would have been a good day to use it for a swim, but the water out of the hose was a bit on the chilly side and today the air is on the chilly side (I bet the water is too).  But it looks like things could be getting warm around here next week and I have all the parts to make a homemade heater, so we should be swimming in it next week.
    We also went to the beach on Sunday.  I was a little afraid to as it is full season for a nasty little fly.  They mainly hang out at the beach, are about the same size as a house fly, but they like to bite, especially your legs and ankles.  The only thing good about them is they have a pronounced season (from around June 10-24) and then they are gone.  Anyway, we decided to brave the beach at Big Traverse and on our way out there passed Rice Lake.  Rice Lake is a fairly large lake, but also very shallow.  One could just about walk across the whole thing as it runs around 4-6 feet deep in most places.  Because of that, it is also a pretty quiet lake.  There are a good number of homes and camps on it, but on most days I will drive by it and not see a boat on it or any one at the lake, except for folks at the camps.  Sunday was the annual Rice Lake fishing derby and things were hopping!  It's hard to see from this picture, but there were more boats on the lake that day than I have ever seen on the lake every other time I have gone by combined!  Still lots of open water, but at least 2 dozen boats were in view.  Did not hear what the winner brought in, but I am sure the results will be in the sports section in the paper.
    We did make it to the beach, but did not last too long.  The flies found us and started their swarming.  They do seem to like the dogs more than Nora and I and the dogs thicker coats do protect them from the bites for the most part, but the dogs do get annoyed by the flies buzzing their heads and eventually they start to attack Nora and I, so on days when they are out, we cannot last too long at all.  Here is a shot of Baileys with some on her.  At times where were around 2-3 times as many on the poor girl.  Burt gets his fair share too, they just do not show up as well in a photo.  But like I say, in about 2 weeks, they will be history.  A really strange insect and one I would just as soon live without, but all God's creatures I guess!
    Speaking of bugs here in the Keweenaw.  I put some of my observations on them in a General Discussions thread and since some of you may not go there, I will repeat my thoughts here.
Black Flies: Are about the size of a gnat.  They show up in early June and taper off by July 4 and are not much of a problem after mid July. Are most problematic in the woods or near wooded areas, but can be a problem in the open too.  They are not too much of a problem at the beach. Repellent does help keep them away, but one of their favorite places to go is inside your ear.
Beach Flies, Biting Flies, whatever you want to call them: They are about the same size as a house fly.  Show up around the second week of June and taper off about 2-3 weeks later. Are most evident along the shores of the big lake and are usually not too much of a problem inland (even on many of the shores of the smaller inland lakes). Repellent is useless. Best advice is to avoid the big lake shore during this time or you will experience the swarming!
Horseflies & Deer flies: Horseflies are quite large, almost as large as a bumble bee.  Deer flies are about 1/2 to 1/3rd the size of a horsefly and have patterns on their wings.  They arrive by about the second week of June and slowly increase in numbers, peaking out in mid July and then dying off and become almost no problem by the first or second week of August. Most common on the beaches or near water, but deerflies can be nasty in the woods too. Repellent is of little use, but not totally useless.
Mosquitos: Contrary to myth, they are not the size of small dogs up here.  UP mosquitos are no larger than their southern cousins.  They arrive when the snow is about 2 feet deep and continue through the summer until the snow is beginning to pile up again the following autumn. Seriously, I have seen mosquitos up here on a warm spring day while snowmobiling, but they are usually gone by the end of Sept. They are most common in the woods and also during the hours around sunrise and sunset. I have not found them to be any worse than anywhere else in the Midwest, although I do avoid the deep woods at sunrise and sunset. Repellent works very effectively.
    The bottom line is June is the worst month for flying insects up here. By July the biggest problems are the horse and deer flies at the beaches or near swamps. By August, most of the bug problems are over, with the exception of mosquitos around sunrise and sunset and an occasional horse or deer fly.  So the bugs each have their times of the day and year when they are the biggest problem and many of them are not even a problem at certain times of the season.  If you know how to avoid them, you can still be up here in the summer and not be too bothered by them at all.  Of course if you venture into their prime spots it can be a nightmare!  Hopefully my tips will help you avoid them.  As for repellent, something like Deep Woods Off is your best bet.  I have tried things like Off Botanicals and the skintastic or whatever it is with mixed results.  I have even tried the fabric softener trick tucked into the back of your ball cap and while they cannot get through the fabric softener sheet and the fabric softener sheet did seem to help a bit, I still got a few bites so the fabric softener had mixed results as well.
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this one.  I need to go and string the extra spool that came with my new fishing reel.  Plus I have a few more lures to put away and then it's bedtime.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
June 9-
    Well, I broke the string of writing a new journal every 6 days!  Problem is I did it in the wrong fashion.  However, I was kept busy with a special project earlier this week and needed to get it out of the way first.  I actually did get it done yesterday afternoon, so I could have wrote a journal yesterday.  I even came quite close to writing one yesterday evening, but was tired of being in front of the computer, so Nora and I went up do so some work at the property instead.  We needed to fill in one of the test holes dug for the septic evaluation.  It was about 5-6 feet deep and I was worried someone trespassing would fall into it and then sue us.  Don't know how that should be allowed to happen, someone breaks the law by trespassing on your property and you are the one that gets punished when they get hurt!  In any case, the hole is filled and we re-marked where the cabin and pole barn will go.  Plus we cut a few small trees that needed to be cleaned up along the driveway.  I can also say that I did play golf on league night Tuesday and even got in a practice round Monday, so I has not been all work and no play for me!
    We sure have had some wild weather up here.  Not really storm wise, although we have had a few thunderstorms roll through.  It's been more of a wild ride temperature wise.  On Sunday I had a few spare minutes and decided to put the air conditioners in.  The one in my office had been in for about a week as all the machinery heats things up, plus it sits in the afternoon sun and gets headed by that.  But the other AC's were still stored away, but Sunday morning I decided to put them in just to get that job out of the way.  It was about 55-60 degrees out when I was putting them in, but the timing could not have been better as we rose to 88 degrees Sunday afternoon and the humidity was up there too with a dewpoint of 66.  So we had all three humming and while the outside was pretty tropical, the inside was nice and comfortable.  Monday and Tuesday were a little chilly, I actually played golf with long pants and a jacket on.  Yesterday was even colder, with temps in the 40's for most of the day and just sneaking into the 50's by the end of the day.  Right now I am at 72 and would not be surprised to see the thermometer register an upper 70 or low 80 before the day is through.  Living up here you sure need to keep all sorts of clothes handy in the summer!  Winter you can be safe with just winter stuff.
    With the crazy weather we have up here in the summer it is amazing we can grow anything at all, but some plants seem to thrive.  My strawberries are cranking out the flowers and there are even a few berries starting to show up.  Looks like we will have a good crop this year and since they are behind netting the bunnies will not get to them before we do.  My mouth is watering just thinking about them.  The blueberry bushes planted last year actually put out a few berries last season, but this year there are more flowers on them than leaves and it looks like we'll have enough for some blueberry pancakes, muffins and on cereal.  If the trend keeps up, next year we may be able to make some jam.  I know once we move up to the property I am going to have a lot of blueberry bushes as they not only produce some delicious treats, but also look good in the summer and are a bright orange in the autumn.  The raspberries are doing ok.  No flowers yet, so it is hard to tell how much fruit we will have, but we always seem to get a pretty good crop of fruit from them as well.
    I mentioned that Nora and I went up and did a little work at the property last night, but we also did a lot of work up there over the weekend.  We wanted to move all the lumber cut for the driveway that was sitting along side the driveway over to where the outside wood boiler will be.  So we put Old Blue to work hauling the wood and ended up with a rather large wood pile.  That pile is actually about 7 feet high at it's highest point, about 20 feet long and about 8 feet wide.  It sits on the extra rock we had from the landscaping here at the house, so it should keep from rotting until we need it to stay warm our first winter up there.  Not sure if that will be enough for a whole winter, but we have lots more to cut up.
    So with all the wood removed from the driveway, it looks pretty good now.  Once we are living up here I'm sure that we will be landscaping it.  I already have a few spots for blueberry bushes picked out and I am sure Nora has a few landscaping ideas of her own.  We still have a ton of work ahead of us, but I can say that I am still having a ton of fun with it all.  I cannot speak for Nora, but she is not complaining and we do enjoy each others company while out there working and I am usually pretty good about not barking out orders- usually!  I just think it will be so neat to look back on all that was done and know that we did most of it.  True homesteaders!
    We have not been out in the boat for over two weeks, but I am sure that will be changing now that the temps are warm and the waters turning calmer and warmer.  I know both Nora and I were not 100% comfortable being in a new boat to us on water that was pretty chilly and not having any other boaters out there to help us if anything went wrong.  The waters have warmed up enough now that we would survive no problem (might be chilled, but alive) and more boats will be on the waters to come to our aid if anything goes wrong.  We do carry cell phones and have paddles, flares and even a whistle on the boat, so we are prepared!
    So I guess that about covers it for this one.  Things are starting to get a little busier up here.  The 4th is really the true kick off to the tourist season up here, but it seems like a few of the early birds have arrived.  The bugs are about average, not oppressive, but still a bit of a problem.  I think next week is the start for the nasty biting flies at the beach, so we may have to avoid that spot for a while.  But they only last about 10-14 days and then the beach is safe again.  And hey, in just 2 1/2 months, summer will be on it's last legs up here and my second favorite season will be waiting in the wings!  Seems like a good thought to end on.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
June 1-
    I just cannot believe that another 6 days have gone by since I last wrote.  When I finished the last journal I thought to myself: "well, maybe I will get another entry out before the holiday weekend is over, or certainly by Tuesday".  I guess time really does fly when you are having fun...and you are busy!  If every 6 day period goes as fast for the next 3 months, this is going to be a very short summer!  We have been quite busy up here the past 6 days, both working and playing.  I can start by saying we got Nora a new ride.  She was driving around in what I liked to call the "GC" for "Grandma Car".  It was a 91 Oldsmobile Delta 88.  A nice ride back in the early 90's I am sure and actually not too bad of a ride these days, but we were in need of a truck to do some hauling and Nora had wanted to be able to drive a big old pickup around, so when I saw a friend was selling his, we worked out a deal and now have "Old Blue".  She is 4 wheel drive as well, so maybe someday she will become a plow truck as well.  She has already come in handy when it came time to haul some wood pallets up to the property.  I am wanting to put the trees that have been cut on the pallets to help to keep them from rotting.  The trees that were cut will be our fuel for heat in the first season or two and rotten wood does not burn too well.  Old Blue will also be put to work hauling the wood that sits along the side of the driveway over to the pallets.  Plus another chore that I will mention in a bit.
    On Thursday we took delivery of 12 tons of rock.  Not for the property, but for here in Lake Linden.  The north side of the back yard has never been able to support grass to grow very well, despite the best efforts of the dogs to fertilize it!  Some grass will grow and weeds seem to be able to grow even better, but that section has never been the pride of my yard.  So I decided to try and kill several birds with one stone, or shall I say 12 tons of stone!  I figured we could landscape that section of the yard with stone and make it look more presentable.  Plus Baileys is allergic to something that is growing outside, so we laid landscape fabric down first and then the rocks, so I thought that might make it more enjoyable for her to go on and we would also have less grass to cut.  I think we hit the mark on the improved look and less grass to cut, but the verdict is still out on whether Baileys will use it rather than the grass.  By the way, anybody want that satellite dish in the last photo, you can have it for free.  All you need to do is come and get it, but it does not break down, so you will need a truck.  It is a 1.2 meter Channel Master dish.  Not so good for TV type signals, but top of the line for data signals. Just let me know!
    I did have some rock left over, so I did a little landscaping in the front yard as well.  Those were three Colorado Blue Spruce that Nora and I planted last year in the spring when we got all the trees from the Conservation District tree sale.  They were just sort of sitting there on the north end of the lot so I decided to highlight them with some of the left over rocks.  I also put rock down between my two beds of raspberries.  They were closing in on each other and made it impossible to get the lawn mower through, so now I can walk through there without getting muddy or have to worry about cutting grass.  You would think that with all of that rock usage we would have none left, but we still have about 1 1/2 to 2 tons left and just plan to haul it up to the property and I will actually put it under the pallets that we are using for the firewood storage.  Old Blue will help out with the movement of that rock.  I'm sick of hauling it by wheel barrel!
    We did manage to get in some fun over the weekend.  On Saturday we went to the beach to let the dogs to what they like to do when we go to the beach.  That being Burt fetching sticks and Baileys watching him.  She did swim a little too, but really does enjoy just hanging out and smelling things more.  It was a really nice day for the beach, with lots of sunshine, temps in the upper 60's and a little breeze.  In fact we had a delightful weekend all three days, while lots of areas to our south were in and out of clouds and even some rains.  We can actually thank the big lake for our mainly sunny skies all weekend.  The same thing that gives us all the snow in the winter also gives us more sunshine that other places in the summer and keep us cooler.  It really is better by the lake!  Even the visibilities this weekend were good.  Most of the time we go to the beach at Big Traverse you can see the Huron Mountains, but on Saturday it looked like you could just reach out and touch them.
    On Sunday I got to go walleye fishing for the first time in my life.  I have been fishing many a time and some times even caught one or two, but this is the first time I have ever gone out with the expressed intent of catching a walleye.  Even though I have never caught a walleye or know too much about fishing in the first place, I was actually feeling pretty good about my odds.  Why might you ask was I feeling so confident?  Well, I was going out with a Pro.  I got in contact with Captain Larry Smith from Fish On II charters.  He is friends with Troy from the Lac La Belle Lodge and Troy was good enough to put us in touch with each other.  Right out of the box I have to say that going out with a fishing guide is the way to go.  Sort of reminds me of going out with a guide for back country snowmobiling.  Not only does he know how to fish for what you are going after, but he knows all the spots and also supplies all the bait and tackle.  All I had to do was show up with my bug dope and sunscreen on and be ready to catch some fish.  Capt. Larry is an actual professional fisherman, being sponsored by several businesses as well as partaking in tournaments and it was very easy to see he knows his stuff.
    So Sunday morning I drove up to Lac La Belle to meet up with Capt. Larry.  I thought we would be fishing Lac La Belle, but Larry said that the walleye were biting more on Lake Medora, so we jumped in his truck and pulled his boat over to Medora and headed out.  We drove over to the other side of the lake to a spot he thought would hold some fish.  I had explained that my fishing talents were pretty much confined to casting off a dock and hoping for the best.  I can also bait a night crawler and catch pan fish all day off my parents dock in Lake Geneva, but then again when the perch and rock bass are hungry enough, they will bite a hook with nothing on it.  So he was happy showing me how to properly tie a gig onto the line and also how to bait the hook with a minnow.  We fished a small drop off that he had marked with some small floating markers and it was not too long before he had his first fish on.  It ended up being a smallmouth bass, which would be just as exciting for me as anything, but I sensed from him that a true walleye fisherman gets more excited when they catch a walleye.  About another minute later he was busy reeling in another fish, this time a coveted walleye and in less than 5 minutes after that he was at it again with his second walleye of the day.  It was about that time that I realized I was doing something wrong and just decided to sit for a while, observe a professional at work and pick up some tips.  I was able to pick up some tips with the help of his narration and it was not too long before I landed my first walleye of the day and my life.
    We ended up catching a few more fish that day.  He said the fishing had been slow that day and when we pulled up to a friend of his who is also a guide that was fishing out on Medora that day, that was the first words out of his mouth as well that it had been a slow day for them too.  We boated over a half dozen fish in the few hours we were out and most of them were of legal keeping size, so if that was a slow day I can only imagine what a busy one would be like!  I was also a pleasure to be out on Lake Medora Sunday.  I have never been out on that lake, only have seen it from the road and the top of Brockway Mountain.  There sure a lot of new homes going in on that lake, some dandies too!
    Nora was a little jealous...no, a lot jealous that I got to go out with Capt. Larry and I did my best to casually mentioned to him this fact and he was kind enough to say that the next time we go out she needs to come too.  So she is happy about that and I am worried that she will had it to me when we do.  I think Capt. Larry will be able to handle his own, but Nora is out to get me!  If you would like to hook up with Captain Larry, he gave me permission to put is contact info in the journal.  His e mail is: fishon@pasty.com and his phone number is 906-289-4481.  I would strongly suggest getting in touch with him if you are coming up and planning to do some fishing in the Keweenaw.
    Well, Nora just came in from shoveling most of the rocks into the back of Old Blue and then I dawned on me that I did not think all the rocks could be put in the truck at one time, they being too heavy.  So we went out and the springs had not folded down yet, but we did lighten the load a bit to be on the safe side.  We need to have dinner then take that load up, come back down and load up the rest of the rock and run it up to the property, so I had better sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
 
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