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May 26-
    I am generally very shy about producing a seasonal prediction, such as a forecast for this coming summer, but I will stick my neck out in this case and predict that it will go by very fast for me! I just cannot believe that the month of May is almost up and that Memorial Day is upon us. It sure is true that time fly's when you are having fun, but it is also true that time fly's when you are busy! For the past few weeks I have had multiple irons in the fire and one by one they are being pulled out, but several still remain and one is getting bigger and bigger. That iron that is getting bigger and bigger is the construction of the cabin at the property. On Wednesday, the contractor arrived to build the pad for the cabin. Just like the shop, the cabin will be build upon a heated slab on grade. So Wednesday they cleared off the vegetation and then brought in a bunch of sand to create a level and slightly elevated site to put the concrete slab on.  It took the be better part of the day, but by the end of the afternoon we had a nice level pad as well as a spot cleared for the septic tank and field.
    So with that done, the rest of the work pretty much falls upon Nora and I, that is until the concrete truck arrives, then I will have some friends help me with the pour. Oh, and I will also have some help with the plumbing rough-in in the slab too.  But for the next week or so, it will be Nora and I on our own setting up the forms and getting ready for the pour, then after the pour we're on our own for the framing and pretty much everything else in the construction.  Exciting times!
    Nora and I have been busy preparing for this moment though. We were able to get all the lumber dimensioned for the walls. Here is the stack of around 130 2 x 6's that will be the studs. Here is a stack of 2 x 6's that will be used for the top and bottom plates. Only the top 3 layers in that last shot are the 2 x 6's, the rest are 2 x 10's that will be for the loft floor joists and they still need to be dressed. However, I will only square up the edges of those boards and keep them the full 2" thickness for even more support. It was a lot of work to dress all of those 2 x 6's and Nora was a huge help, but it was well worth it as they are about as flat and square as any construction lumber I have ever seen. It will sure help with the construction and finishing of the framing of the cabin. All of that jointing, planing and ripping sure did generate a ton of sawdust, wood shavings and cutoffs!
    I sure was glad that I got the idea to put the dust collector out there and just run the tubing out to it. It would have been a real pain to haul all that debris out there by the trash can load. I came up with another idea to help with the wood working in the shop. Nora and I had set up a screen tent out there to enclose a little swing. A place to sit and relax for a while after a hard day of work. Well, a wind storm a few weeks ago had it's way with the screen tent. The tent got blown around a bit and ended up with some tears in it. It was a pretty inexpensive one, so we just decided to trash it. However, before the garbage truck could come to pick it up, I realized that I could salvage the front of the tent with it's screened doors to put in front of the garage door of the shop to allow me to keep the garage door open on the shop for some fresh air, but also keep the bugs out. So about 2 weeks ago Nora and I put it up and it works like a charm! It looks a little goofy, maybe even a bit redneck, but like I say, it works! Once the bug season is over, then it will come down.
    The property is actually on the site of an old mine. In fact we have an old shaft right on the property. It has been filled in with mine rock, so there is no danger associated with it. Occasionally Nora or I will come across some old relics from that era. Most of it just trash and useless, but some of it kind of interesting like old bottles and tin cans. When the guys were up there doing the clearing they came across an old county sign marker. I think that will find a place in the shop.
    Along with all the work, there has been some play time too. Burt and I have been taking to the woods or the park for walks and Nora has joined us when she is not working. Last Sunday was a nice day for a walk in the woods. The wind was blowing strong enough to both keep it cool and keep the bugs away. We are in high season for the black fly and while they are not as bad as I have ever seen them up here (my first year up here was the worst), they are worse than they have been in recent years. Golf league started Tuesday and I sure would like to see pros have to try and make a 10 footer while being swarmed by those nasty little bugs!
    Anyway, last Sunday Nora, Burt and I went out to the School Forest for our afternoon walk. The trees are finally starting to fill out and everything is greening up nicely. It was a very nice day for a walk and the company was great too. Nora had the camera and could not resist the temptation to take a shot of her two men. As much fun as the tree of us have been having, I still really miss Baileys. Sometime on our walks I will imagine what she would be doing at that very instant. Would she be walking ahead of us, behind us or right along side? Would she go around that puddle or through it? It's hard to believe that yesterday was the 6 month anniversary of her passing. In ways it seems like she was just here yesterday and in other ways it seems like she has been gone for a long time. Don't worry, I am not depressed, just miss my little girl is all. She sure was a sweetie.
    So Memorial Day weekend is here. It will be nice to get an extra day to sleep in a bit. It's gonna get hot up here, not just warm, but hot. So I would imagine we will be going to the beach in addition to doing the work on the cabin. Not too many bugs at the beach yet, but in about 3 weeks those nasty biting flies will be out. Thankfully they only last for about 10 days and then are history. So if you are up here from around June 10th until about the 20th be careful of the beaches, the little biting flies will have you for a meal, but they do go away quickly and seem to avoid the woods.
    Guess that will do it for this one. Have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend everyone!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -

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May 20-
    Another week has come and gone so it must be time for a journal! I really have been busy the past 7 days, so that is my valid excuse. Before I get going with this entry, I need to add a bit to the last one. I forgot to mention that Hwy 41 just outside of Copper Harbor had to be closed after all the heavy rain as the French Anne Creek washed out part of the hwy. If you wanted to go to the harbor, you had to go via Eagle Harbor and then up 26. I think I read where they planned to have 41 back open by this Monday. The other tidbit that I forgot to mention in the last journal was that Sunday was the 7 year anniversary of us moving up here. The details of that day are still very fresh in my mind, probably more fresh than anything else from that long ago. It was such an exciting and momentous occasion. I know I will never forget at least some of the details from that day, but I hope I can retain all that I have so far, which is quite a bit.  Here is to hoping the next 7 are as wonderful as the past 7 have been!
    Now, onto the current goings on. We are starting to really ramp up the activity for the cabin building. I have been spending just about every day out there doing something. Nora has been helping a ton and I really do not know what I would do without her help. I talked to the contractor that will be preparing the site for the foundation and he plans to be up there one day next week. It will only take him one day and I know he will do great work. I was more than pleased with the job he did for the shop. The word was that he is the best and after my experience with him, I can verify that up. Actually there is a whole team of guys that do the work and they all do great work.  Really is a pleasure to work with him too, a really nice guy. We always end up chatting for a half hour or more every time we meet. He is from the Chicago area, but has been up here since the mid 70's, not just 7 years. My only complaint is that he does such good work at such a fair price that he is really busy and sometimes it takes a while for him to be able to get to my stuff. Really it is not too long, I just like to have things like this done yesterday is all!
    So this has been my project for the past couple of days. That is the stack of 2 x 6's and some 2 x 4's that will be used as the framing members for the cabin. First I have to run one face and one side through the jointer to give me two nice and flat surfaces that are also perpendicular to each other. Most of the boards were already flat enough that it only took one pass along the jointers knives to produce a flat surface, but there were some boards that required 2 and even three passes to produce what I was looking for. At the end of the work day yesterday, this was the pile of jointed lumber and this was all that was left of the original stack of lumber.
    Needless to say planing all of that lumber produces a lot of wood chips and sawdust! I have a dust collector that I hooked up to the planer. It is basically a motor that drives an impeller that then causes a great deal of suction (about 5-8 times the air flow of a shop vac) and then drives the air and debris into two cloth bags. The air can then escape and the bags, while the sawdust and other debris are trapped in the bags. The bags can fill up pretty quickly and are a pain to empty, so I have a primary stage, which is just a plastic lid that I put onto the top of a 35 gallon metal trash can. The plastic lid causes the air to rotate around the inside of the can and the friction against the walls and bottom of the can causes most of the debris and dust to fall out of the air stream into the can and thus I just empty the can, which is a whole lot easier. Plus the collector works a lot better with empty bags.  Well, I was producing so much debris that the can was filling up every 10 minutes or so and once the can fills up, the bags fill up very quickly. The result was for the whole dust collection system to get clogged every 10 minutes or so if I did not stop prior to the can filling up. I figured I spent as much time dealing with the dust collection issues as I did planing the boards.
    I love woodworking because I seldom work off of plans and thus I become completely absorbed in the process of what I am doing and lose all track of anything else that is going on around me and many times all sense of time (I have actually worked straight through lunch without even knowing it a few times which is almost unthinkable for me and my need for food at regular intervals). This type of woodworking is very repetitious and thus I actually do a lot of "side thinking". Meaning I am thinking about other things that the actual task I am doing. With my side thinking I came up with the idea to just put the dust collector out by the burn pile where I had been hauling the debris to. I could then bypass the can setup and actually take the bottom bag off the collector and all the wood shavings would just flow out of the collector and onto the ground near the burn pile.
    So Thursday afternoon I went down into my shop in the basement and dismantled all of the tubing for my dust collection system in that shop. I figured I would never be using it again as the dust collector is up at the property and one by one all of my tools are finding their way there too. As I took down the tubing in the basement, I felt my first bittersweet moments of what it will be like to leave this house. I am very excited to build the cabin at the property and even more excited to eventually live there, but I love this little house I have been living in for the past 7 years and 6 days. It is full of a lot of great memories and is more than a house, it is our home.  I know that soon we will be making new memories up at the property and given time that new house will become a home, but I just could not escape becoming reflective of all that has happened to me in the past 7 years.  I gained one beautiful girl and lost one. I have made lots of good friends and have drifted away from others. There have been tears of joy and tears of sorrow, but most of all there has been a lot of love. I guess that is what makes a house a home.  So I am not worried about being happy once we are living in our new place, but a piece of me will be left behind when we move.  Now if that piece could only make the house worth more!!!
    Thursday evening Nora, Burt and I went up to the property to drop off the dust collection tubing as well as some cement blocks to put under the roof eves to keep the run off from the roof from eroding the sand away. It's just a temporary fix to keep the sand from eroding and sluffing away from the foundation. A more permanent fix will come when we have more time to allot to that situation. Friday I hauled the dust collector out to the burn pile and ran the tubing out to it and it was a perfect solution. The collector had plenty of power to suck the debris out there and then it just dumped onto the ground by the burn pile. All I had to do was run the boards across the jointer and never had to worry about emptying the system at all. That is how I got to where I was in the pictures of the piles of jointed and unjointed boards a little earlier.
    This morning I headed up and finished up the rest of the jointing in about an hour and took care of some other things. Nora and Burt brought me lunch and then Nora and I got to stage two which was running all the boards through the planer to bring the boards to the proper thickness as well as to bring both faces into being parallel with each other. Surface planing creates even more wood debris than jointing, so I was especially glad that I did not have to try and keep up with the amount of debris in the can. In two instances the pile on the ground out by the collector actually got so deep that it ended up clogging the whole system, but it was still a great setup.
    I figured it would take several passes through the planer to bring the boards to the proper thickness. They were all a little over 2" thick to start with and I need to bring it down to 1 1/2" which is the thickness of a regular 2x.  If I were a more experienced builder I would have left them at 2" thick, but am worried the extra thickness would have just caused me headaches down the road as I try and frame nice square walls. Nora and I were able to run each board through the planer twice this afternoon and have 2 more passes to make. We are only about 3/16" of an inch off, but can only take up to about 1/8" off at a time. So we'll take 1/8th and then another 1/16 to end up at the desired thickness. I then need to dismantle my table saw, haul it up from the basement shop and out to the property. Set it up and then run the boards through it to end up with the desired width for the 2x boards. At which point I will have just about all my framing members fully "dressed" and ready to be used in construction. Oh, and if you were wondering how the two new pieces of machinery performed? Awesome! Plenty of power and very well designed and made- both of them.
    It hasn't been all work and no play for me. Burt and I have been taking our afternoon walks too. I actually forget when it was that we went up into the woods, but it was a nice day. One of those days with cobalt blue skies, temps in the 50's and a nice fresh breeze. The breeze is important this time of the year to keep the bugs away. Actually as long as you are moving, you make a difficult (but not impossible) target for the black flies. As soon as you stop, they seem to dial in on you and then the rest is history. A good breeze can also play havoc with their radar, so that is why a good breeze is nice this time of the year. I can say that the black flies have not been as bad as I thought they would be. They are out and like I say, you stop moving on a calm day and they will find you quickly, but I have not been swarmed by them, just been pestered by a half dozen or so at one time and the insect repellent did work too.
    I could not remember the last time I took a picture with Burt being the main subject matter, so I figured it was long over due and here is the man. He is doing very well. He has adjusted to being the only dog in the home, maybe a bit too well sometimes! He and I are bonding better than we ever have. Baileys always seemed to want to be the one getting the attention from me and at first when she was not around Burt was a little uncomfortable about getting so much attention from me, but now loves it and will take all he can get. He even spends quite a bit of the day by my side in the office which is something new.  He has also been a real trooper when we all go up to the property to do work. I keep telling him it is so that we will have a "property house" and I think he understands. He really loves it up there and I am excited for him to live up there.  Anyway, as we were finishing up our walk the other day, he was feeling a little warm and thirsty, so he climbed down into one of the creeks still running and got himself cooled off and a little drink.
    Well, I think that about wraps it up for this one. I hope you all like to watch those home improvement/building shows, because I have a feeling that a lot of the material in the journals for the next 4 months will be about the process which is about to jump into high gear. I am sure that we will be having some play time too. It is getting on the beach season and the woods will also draw us in on cooler days. Plus there is all the events that take place up here in the summer that help make this such a special place to live. So stay tuned!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
May 13-
    I just cannot believe how fast time goes by. It really seems impossible that it has been over a week since I last wrote. I have been keeping busy, but it did not seem like I have been that busy. I actually was going to write earlier, but did not have that much to say and it looked like the weather might get interesting up here and perhaps provide some material, so I decided to wait and see if it did. The weather did get interesting with some rains and snows and lots of wind too. Thursday and Friday felt more like a late October or early November day than a May day. We really need the rain, but a months worth in a little over 24 hours did cause some minor flooding. I do not have my "rain bucket" out yet, but I did talk to someone that lives down the street and he said he measured around 3.5" from this latest storm. Here is a shot of the Traprock River yesterday evening as it was spilling over it's banks. It was actually right about at flood stage and had just begun to overflow it's banks. That is about 8.5 feet while the normal flow stage is usually more around 3.5-4 feet. Back in April of 2001 the river hit 10.4 feet and that was the third highest. Most folks up here are pretty smart and do not have anything important in the flood plains. Even back in 2001 the flooding did not impact any homes. I believe it came close, but the only thing that happened was that the bridge was close to being topped and that caused some backwater to flood sections of the roads nearby.
    The interesting thing about yesterday's rise of the river was how quick it rose. It went from around 3.75 feet to around 8.5 feet in less than 24 hours. It's a good thing the rain abated for a while yesterday evening or it might have gotten more serious on the Traprock. I know just about every feeder creek was full and even some areas that are dry except for the period of heavy spring run off were full of water. If you are wondering how I know so much about the exact river levels it is not because I drive down to check it every few hours, it's because there is a river level gauge just up the valley from me a bit and and at the location where I took that last picture. In fact, here is the gauge itself yesterday.  The data it measures is then transmitted to a computer system and is actually available on the internet at this location.  Most of the UP Rivers can be addressed from this page and if you want to pick a river from the US you can use this page.  Sometime it just amazes me the amount of info on the internet. Here the river level of our little Traprock is available for all the world to see.
    Some snow fell with this storm too. I did not pick up any real accumulation at my house here in Lake Linden. Friday morning when I started work at 4:30 in the morning there was a tiny bit of snow on the truck outside, so that went down as an official trace in my locale. However, some of the higher terrain nearby picked up enough to whiten the ground. The trail cam had everything dusted in white both Thursday and Friday and reports of up to 6-7" came in from the Ironwood area (although I don't think that the ever had that much on the ground, it was just that much fell over the course of the storm) and there were a few school districts that were shut down on Friday. Not that they over did things by closing those schools, but it seems really strange to think a UP school district was closed because a few inches of snow fell!
    May snows are really not that rare an event around here it seems like about every other year or so we get a snow. It's funny because I really do not get that excited about May snows. I suppose because I know that any snow is not going to last and it is a very rare occasion when an area gets enough to even play in. About 10 years ago a storm hit and gave the highlands west of Marquette and also some areas of the Porcupine Mountains several feet of snow. Now that is something I would have been excited over!
    I'm just glad the storm is finally just about over. I have so much outdoor work to start doing that the past few days of being washed out was starting to give me cabin fever. We had a mainly dry day today and Wednesday was pretty dry as well. Nora, Burt and I went up to the property to do some clearing for the cabin and septic on Wednesday evening and got all that we needed to done. We have the area the cabin is going in all cleared and some of the trees where the septic is going cleared out too. There is a "widow maker" that I will leave up to the excavation contractor to take down and some smaller trees we can take down at a later date because they will not fall on any buildings. The widow maker is actually two large birch trees. One has fallen into the other and the one still alive splits in two about 4 feet off the ground. So it is not the type of situation where I want to be down on the ground with my saw cutting and hoping that I can get out of the way before they come crashing down. The contractor can just knock it right over with the bucket on his excavator and then Nora and I can chop it up and stack the wood for burning this winter.
    I also finished up the wiring for the shop and this morning a friend of mine who is also an electrician went up there with me to connect everything to the breaker box. I had some 240 wiring to do and I have also never messed around the breaker box, so I decided to leave both of those jobs to a pro. I did watch him when he was doing the work at the breaker box, so I will be able to add any more circuits there myself. The electrician that did the entry service actually put a breaker in front of the breaker box in the shop, so I can kill all the power to the shops panel before I do anything there. Otherwise I would not be messing with it, that's for sure! 110 volts I can handle (don't like it, but can live through it), but 480 or what ever it is at the breaker box is something I would not even dream of working around. Of course the joke with electricity is that it's not the volts that get you, it's the amps and there is 200 of them going to the shops panel, which I believe is plenty to do the trick.  Anyway, the shop has lights now and I was able to run the new tools that were delivered last week and they both run. So that meant that I was able to cut up the shipping crates they came in and they will be burned when the time is right. I still have a few little things I need to take care of at this house with some trim and then I will be steadily transporting my shop from the basement in our home to the shop at the property.
    I have a ton of "dressing" to do on all the rough sawn 2x stock. In this photo from last November, all the 2x stock is the lumber on the left hand side, the stuff on the right hand side is for the siding and interior tongue and groove and will get it's dressing later!  Sometimes when I think about all that is in front of me I wonder if I am a little nuts by not only wanting to build my own house, but dimension all the lumber, siding and interior woodwork for it too! But then I remember to just concentrate on the next step and not worry about things down the road and it becomes a whole lot less daunting. Sort of the trick to anything in live I guess.
    Not a whole lot else going on up here at the moment. This seems to be the calm before the storm time of the year when all the businesses start to get ready for the summer tourism season. Plus locals that have camps they close for the winter are all opening them up and doing all the chores that are associated with that. Burt and I took a walk in the woods on Monday and they are starting to come more alive with the buds on the trees opening and wildflowers starting to poke their heads above the ground and of course the insects are starting to grow in numbers. With the nasty weather we had late this week they were all in hiding, but today Nora, Burt and I took a walk and when we stopped to talk to my neighbor for a brief time, the black flies zeroed in on us and while I would not call it a full fledged swarm, it was enough to be bothersome.
    So, the defense (what there is) has begun. The only real defense against these buggers is to stay indoors. Sometimes a repellent will work and sometimes not. I have visited several web sites and done reading on them and it seems that there are several species that would be common up here and depending on the species they can be just a mild nuisance to down right life threatening as I quote here from one of the web sites: "There are records of both domestic animals and people being killed in a few hours through venomous bites and blood loss."  Nice eh?  I have not heard of anyone dying from black flies up here and I personally have probably not picked up more than about a half dozen to a dozen bites in any one instance, but they do like to swarm and if caught in one I usually do not last too long outdoors! The good news about these buggers is that they are really only a problem in areas where there is a stream with moving water in it. They need clear, cool, running water to have the larvae survive to the adult, biting fly stage. I do not have a problem with them around my house and they do not seem to be too much of a problem at the beach. The golf course can get nasty and the woods where a stream is running could be a real bad place to pitch a tent for the next few weeks! Which leads me to the other good thing about these things and that is that by the end of June and beginning of July they have pretty much lived out their life cycle and are not too much of a problem.
    So if you were thinking about visiting the area in the next 3-4 weeks, you just need to be aware of places to be and not to be. The beaches would be ok, as would any of the urban settings. As long as you keep moving in the woods they are not too bad. However set up camp in the woods next to a nice clean, cool, running creek/stream (of which the Keweenaw is full of) and you will probably not be a happy camper, that is until around the 4th of July or beyond when they have departed for the season. Want to learn more about Black Flies, just go to google.com and type in: Black Fly in the query box and several good sites will be listed right at the top (other than the sunglasses company that somehow got to the top of the list in my search).
    I guess that about covers it for this one, except for one last item. The Laurium Glacier has not melted just yet. I do not have a picture, but it is for sure seeing it's last days. In fact tomorrow may just be it's last day. If not tomorrow, then Monday for sure.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
May 5-
     Boy, another 7 days since last writing. I'll really have to work harder at trying to update more often than that. Although in my defense I have been busy and did do some more guest shots as well as provide summer forecasts every day this week, so I have not been a totals slacker. I am a bachelor at the moment. Nora had to go to Green Bay for some oral surgery. I wish I could have gone with her as she is so good about going with me to all of my health related procedures. However, she had to be down there this afternoon and I could not get away from work soon enough to be able to go with her. She was able to get her aunt that lives up here to go with her and the two of them left early enough to be able to get in a little shopping prior to the procedure. She called about 2 hours ago and was done. I hope that there is not too much pain. They did give her some stuff to help with the pain, but still no fun to have to deal with that. On Monday I went to Marquette by myself to see a dermatologist. Nothing serious (I hope). My regular Dr. just thought it would be a good idea to start seeing one regularly because of my episode with a skin melanoma 3 years ago. The dermatologist did remove something to be biopsied, but really was not overly concerned about it, just cautious with my history.
    I'll tell you what though. Any oral surgeons or dermatologists out there that are looking to get away from the rat race and start up a practice in the beautiful Keweenaw you would be set. The oral surgeon in Marquette is booked for 4-5 months (reason why Nora had to go to Green Bay) and there is no dermatologist in the Keweenaw and I bet one would have plenty of business up here too.  Pretty good place to make a Dr's salary and live in, that's for sure!
    Other than my trip to Marquette on Monday, I have been traveling up to the property every day this week. I took delivery of some machinery on Tuesday and spent the rest of Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday afternoons putting them together. Burt and I also did some exploring those days so I only had about an hour or so to work before heading home to meet up with Nora and have dinner. Plus I have learned my lesson when it comes to setting up wood working machinery. Do it right the first time and save lots of headaches with poor results down the road.  The machinery are actually quite large and were a real trick to get into the shop. They came freight delivery and I made sure the truck they were on had a drop gate. I was hoping it would just be one of those furniture delivery, box truck type trucks and he could just back up the driveway and up to the shop and we could move the items right in with the pallet dolly. However they came in a full sized semi. I was prepared for that by bringing up the snowmobile trailer. We loaded the machinery onto the trailer one at a time and I slowly backed up the driveway to the shop and we then tilted the trailer and slid the machinery off into the shop. One piece of machinery was about 650 lbs and the other was just shy of 1000 lbs, so it did take a bit of fancy footwork to make sure the transfer from the truck to the shop went smoothly.  But they are in the shop, fully assembled and tuned.  Now I just need to get power to them! I actually was up at the shop today wiring up some lights and receptacles. Still a lot more to do along those lines and I have never dealt with 240 volt stuff so will have an electrician do the 240 and also make the final connections at the breaker box.
    However, the shop is really coming along. In fact Nora, Burt and I finished up all the siding work this past Tuesday.  So all of the outside construction of the shop is now finished.  Well, almost all. I still will be putting up some fascia boards along the eves, but will wait until the rest of the shop is built to do that. The inside of the shop still has a long way to go before it is finished and technically never will be totally finished as I will always be adding things to it like jigs and fixtures and maybe a tool or two..or tree. But right now I have to finish up with the wiring for receptacles and lighting. Then maybe before the winter arrives insulation and then after that the tongue and groove paneling. It is going to be one heck of a nice shop!  The way I figure it, if Nora every finally gets sick of all my nonsense and kicks me out, then I will have a nice place to go to. Plus it will not be so far that Burt can't come and visit whenever he wants.
    Nora, Burt and I have also been doing some exploring around the property. Actually not within our property lines, but in some of the neighboring areas. On Tuesday we saw an old mining building off in the woods, so we picked our way through and checked it out. It really is something to come across these old relics sitting out in what is now the middle of the woods. As is many times the case with items from that era, this building was huge. It may not have looked all that large, but take a look at that last picture once again and look at the lower right hand corner of the building. The tiny figure you see down there is Nora. That puts the buildings size in perspective! It even had a basement.  Wonder what it would cost to heat a building like that now days!  Not only are many of these buildings just sitting out in the middle of the woods, but in some cases, the woods are sitting inside of them. That shot was not from the inside looking out, but rather from the outside looking in. The masonry work is really something too. After seeing these big old buildings up here with the local mine rock used in the masonry. I am actually planning on using the old mine rock around here for the veneer on the fireplace of the log home. I think using local rocks along with local logs will really add a special touch.
    We have also found some new paths to walk on in our explorations recently. One in particular led us to a nice little beaver pond that will be perfect for Burt to be able to swim in this summer before I get going on the day's work. It is about 1/4 to 1/3rd of a mile from the property, so it will be a nice walk to and from as well as a nice swim for Burt. Then he can just lay around and nap while I work the rest of the afternoon and evening. I suppose there will be a period starting up here in a week or two that the black flies will be too nasty to be doing that sort of exploring and maybe even too bad to do much work, but we'll see. Last year they were really not bad at all out there. Not sure if they have cycles that they go through or if it's a certain weather setup or what. However, my first year was the worst with them and then each year it seems like they have been a little less and less of a problem.
    Speaking of weather, we had some snow today. Not enough to whiten the ground or anything, but I did drive through a squall on the way up to the property and with the wind blowing there was a little wisp of snow dancing across the roadway. So that will count as a trace of snow and perhaps the last of it for the season. Of course up here you never really know until you are into June and from what I have been told even June has produced some flakes (of snow that is!).
    It has been warm enough to melt off the last of the Allouez Township Glacier. Yep it melted off completely on Wednesday.  So now there is no snow left at the property. The Laurium Glacier is still hanging in there. However, it looks like about a week from now I will have to start keeping a very close eye on it. It probably does not have much more than a week left if that. This will probably be the earliest it has melted since I started keeping track. Although I am willing to bet that my first winter up here it melted even sooner as we basically lost all of our snow on the ground by late February and just picked up some snows that melted quickly in March and almost nothing in April.  Boy, what a short winter that was. Had to wait until a week before Christmas for enough snow to ride in and about 8 weeks later it was almost all gone.
    Well, I have gone through my list of notes and all the pictures I had for this one, so it must be time to sign off.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
 
 
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