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November 26-
    It's hard to believe that we have already been living at the new place for a week. In some ways it seems like more and in others it seems like less. It has been another pretty busy week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were spent getting things in order. Then Wednesday afternoon Nora's brother and his family arrived for Thanksgiving. On Thursday we had Nora's Grandmother, Aunt and Cousin over for Thanksgiving dinner, so the cabin was christened with a dinner for 9 on Thanksgiving and it performed beautifully. There was enough room for all the food and all the folks and afterwards we sat around and played games until it was time for bed (which came pretty quick for me!).
    I also took care of some outdoor chores this past week. Winter will be arriving any day now and this is typically the time of the year that once it shows it's face, it is around for good. So I wanted to make sure that I was all set. One of those outdoor chores was to get some more wood made for the boiler. There was a large birch tree that fell on the property a year or two ago and I knew it would provide a good amount of firewood, plus there were a few other trees that came down in the past year or so that I wanted to get chopped into firewood for the boiler. Thanksgiving morning Nora's brother, nephew and I took Old Blue over to the tree and made pretty quick work of chopping it up and hauling it over. All told we filled the back of Old Blue up twice just from that tree alone and then came close to filling it again with the others. Two pieces were so big that it took both Joel and I to lift them into the back of Old Blue and then we put them directly into the boiler. That was on Thursday morning and this morning, they were still burning! That is 3 days of burning from just those two pieces. The rest of the pieces were small enough for Nora or I to put into the boiler. It sure looks a lot different where that old birch used to lay too. It was great to have their help. We were able to get a day's worth of cutting and stacking for just me done in about 2 hours with their help. There are still a couple of trees that I want to get cut up, but they can get done even after the snow starts to pile up and we probably have enough wood to get us through the winter, but I would rather have some left over than to have to use propane or try and get some wood cut in the spring.
    In addition to the chores, we have gotten back into the swing of having some fun. On Tuesday Nora, Burt and I headed up into the higher terrain of Keweenaw County for a walk. It is still deer season so we stay out of the woods, but there are plenty of county roads that are also quiet enough that is seems like we are deep into the woods and we can also have Burt off his leash. I cannot remember when we got enough snow to accumulate around here, seems like it was back on the 11th and even that melted off pretty quickly in most places. On our walk Tuesday (10 days after that snow on the 11th), there was still a bit of snow left on the side of the road. It is really amazing the difference elevation makes. Not only does it lead to more snow, but also leads to the snow sticking around longer. It will be interesting to see how much more snow we pick up here at the cabin than we used to pick up in Lake Linden. I know last year there were several times where there was a lot more snow to move up here than I had to move in Lake Linden. Part of that was just due to the way a band of lake effect set up, but other times it was just pure elevation. We are only about 400 feet higher here than we were at Lake Linden, but it should still make some kind of a difference.
    Speaking of snow, I think I have finally stopped being so busy and also gotten most of the chores I wanted to get done before it flew and am now starting to get excited for it to fly. I have not reached the point where I am checking the forecast models every 6 hours, but I am excited for the flakes to start falling and the snow to start piling up. As mentioned earlier, this is the time of the year that usually the snow sticks around and the depth just gets deeper and deeper. There are the odd years where we get some and then it melts, but I know that before I moved here I watched the snow depth for the region pretty closely and noticed that around the first of December, the depth just got deeper. There is some snow seen for the end of this week and weekend. Perhaps not tons of it, but certainly enough to start making it look like winter around here. Actually, if I could make a personal order, I would just like to get about 2 inches of fluff first so that I can like up the burn pile and let it burn down without having to move a bunch of snow off of it. Then once that is done, it can pile up deep! We really lucked out with the weather during the building process, so perhaps our streak of luck will continue for one more week.
    We have finally had a few clear nights and that has allowed the temps to cool off nicely. The smaller bodies of water have been making night ice just about every night and they are ready to freeze for good with the first cold snap, which also looks to be coming later this week and weekend. We have not had too much rain, so right now things are pretty dry. That would be a nice trend to keep up before the snow flies, that way the mud holes will not be too deep and the trails can be ready to ride with the first foot or so of snow.
    I still need to get my sleds down to Al's shop to have them given the once over and have the 800 de-tuned for this altitude. I talked to him a few weeks ago and it sounded like he would be ready to take care of that for me this week. I plan to leave the sleds down in Lake Linden until there is enough snow to ride them up here and then will keep them up here for the rest of the winter. It will be nice to be able to ride right from the cabin and hit the trails without having to be on any roads if I want to. I can still shoot the road a bit to the trail if I want, but no more getting land locked like what would happen every spring in Lake Linden. I was just really starting to learn the places to play down in the valley and even though I am not too far from it I suppose I will have to learn some new places to play up here. Not as many fields up here, but I am also a lot closer to the highest terrain in Keweenaw County. By sled in good conditions I could probably make it in about 15 minutes. Less if I knew the trail was empty and free of hazards, but I never ride with those types of assumptions on the trails!
    I sure am looking forward to riding this season. The group of us are planning a trip out west again. The boys got hooked, which is no surprise and I have a feeling that we may all be going out for some time to come. I think what helped me get a little more excited to ride was watching Born to Ride 5 with Nora's family this past weekend. I forget some of the things we did and when I see the video of it, my blood gets pumping! I am going to see if I can get the raw footage from that riding and the stuff he shot in the Keweenaw last winter too. I know he cannot make a 6 hour long DVD for sale, but I sure would not mind having all of that footage to watch.
    Well, I think I have run out of things to write about for this one, plus it is still early enough in the evening where I could get a little bit of down time. I have yet to have a full day with nothing to do, but will take even a few hours if I can get it. I guess I can add that one of my chores this past weekend was to set up the weather station and the Al Cam. So you can go to the Al Cam page and see the snow station as well as the weather data from the weather station. Since we are out in the sticks now with no neighbors to bother with lights, I will be putting lights up to illuminate the weather station. So all of you late night snow junkies can watch the snow pile up. I actually used the property cam for the Al Cam for now. I think this spring I will put the old Al Cam back into use on the weather station and try and set up the property cam out in the woods some and perhaps try and coax some wildlife into the cam area. So far we have had a cat come through and this evening several deer came through. I know that there are bear, fox, coyote and bobcat that come through too so it would be neat to be able see some of that activity on the camera. Before signing off, I also have two more images to share (almost forgot about them). Yesterday Nora, Burt and I took a walk down at the north shore. It was a beautiful day for a walk, with the sun shining and temps in the upper 40's. It's been a while since we were down there and also has been a while since I posted a pic of the big lake in the journal, so here you go.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
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November 20-
    WE DID IT!!! I am sure there were the doubters that we would, but we made it! All moved into the cabin. It has been a very busy last 6 months, but we achieved our goal. The final push in the last week was pretty crazy. Things just seemed to take more time than they should. I suppose part of it was because I was doing things like the final trim work and other things that really need to be done slowly and carefully or else they will end up looking bad and ruin all the hard work leading up to that point. On Wednesday of last week I had one of those days that I would have loved to just call it quits, go home and take a walk with Burt and Nora, but our schedule would not allow. For some reason nothing was going right and it was a struggle the whole time. I suppose it was fitting then that during the last thing I was doing for that days work (moving the wood for the stair treads) I got a jumbo sliver. It was about the size of a match stick and ended up going all the way through the base of my index finger. I tried to get it out when I got home, but was unsuccessful. It was late, I was tired, so I just went to bed with the thing still in my finger. I figured I would try again in the morning to pull it out. When I awoke on Thursday, I could not bend my index finger and the skin had closed in over both the entrance and exit points on the wound, so I decided to go to the hospital to see what they could do.
    I felt a little funny going to the hospital for a sliver, but I guess since it actually went through my entire finger I was not being too wimpy. The Dr. that saw me was the same one that has saved my life twice. The first time he pointed out a mole that looked suspicious and ended up being melanoma. The second time was my heart deal. I don't think he saved my life this time, but did a great job getting the sliver out. I did not even need stitches and by the time it was time to move on Saturday the finger was fully functional and all I needed was a band aid to keep from opening up the wound.
    Speaking of the move on Saturday, it really could not have gone much better. It was drizzling, so I guess the weather could have been a little better. Friends Jim and Mary showed up around 9 am with a truck and covered trailer and we got to moving things. Nora and I had already moved many of the little things and I had moved my office, so most of what we had to move on Saturday were the big things- the beds, dressers, refrigerator, washer, drier tables, chairs, stuff like that. It would have been nice to have no precip falling as we could have used the beds of the trucks more and also our snowmobile trailer. As it was though we only needed to make two trips from Lake Linden to here to move everything that needed to be moved. We did leave a few things behind and we will be bringing them up in the next week or two. Having Jim and Mary help was huge. It cut our time at least in half and also saved us some energy so that we could spend Saturday afternoon unpacking and putting things in their place. So we owe Jim and Mary a huge thank you for all their help and hard work.
    Even though it was our first night in the cabin, Nora, Burt and I all slept well Saturday night. I can still remember my first morning waking up in Lake Linden. What sticks so strongly with me was letting the dogs out to do their business and standing outside with them and smelling the fresh air and pines. I am sure that my first morning here at the new place will also stick with me forever. Only the thing that will stick with me the most this time around will not be the smell, but the sight. Again I went outside with Burt in the early morning as he was going potty and the first glow of the rising sun was backlighting the tree tops to the east. It was a nice crisp morning and one of the first ones without clouds in a long time. Things were also extremely still. So quiet that your ears ring as they try to pick up any kind of sound.
    Going to sleep on Saturday was an experience too. Both Nora and I could not believe how dark it was. We have both been out here at night and experienced how dark it gets, but I guess going to sleep in pitch black was something that made an impression on us. We never had it that dark in Lake Linden, with the street lights always illuminating things- even when all the lights were off in the house. Lake Linden was always a quiet home, but the cabin is even quieter. No furnace to run in the background and even the hum of my computers cannot be heard from the bedroom. Man, I have to stop talking about how dark and quiet the bedroom is, or I am going to fall asleep right here in my chair!
    On Sunday it felt weird to not have to travel here to do any work. There was plenty of work to be done, but we did not have to pack a meal, jump into the car and come up here like we have been doing just about every single day for the past 6 months. I must say that was really nice and it still seems hard to believe that we are all done with the construction and moved in! There are still some very small things that need to be done. More along the lines of built-in work and that will have to wait until the boat is out of the shop and it is warm enough to spend the time out there and build these things.
    Nora and I have been busy the past 48 hours putting things in their place and we are almost done. She will probably hang me for showing the place before we were 100% done, but I just could not wait any longer. You all almost did not see any pics tonight as I could not find the cable to connect the camera to the computer. I was just about ready to give up after 30 minutes looking, but then found it at the last minute. Anyway, here is a shot of the living room (stereo still needs to be hooked up and the speaker needs to be put down and turned around!). Here is the dining room. All that needs to be done there is for the light to be dropped a few more feet to get it closer to the table. Here is 1/2 of the kitchen (still need to put in the toe kicks) and here is my office in the loft. The bedrooms were too difficult to take a picture of, but turned out great and most importantly- Burt's couch fit into the downstairs bedroom.
    I have one phone line that is not functioning and was too busy today to stay on hold and put in a work request. The satellite internet is working great and I am pretty impressed with the speed I get. I have done several speed tests and am getting about 1000 Kbps download and about 300 Kbps up. That is better than I was getting from my cable connection when I first got it. I realize that the satellite system may never get any faster (then again, maybe it will), but the speeds I am getting now are fast enough for me. The things I need to download are not that large actually. We also got satellite tv and right now I am trying to get used to that. There are so many channels available that the numbers for the channels that I like to watch are all over the road. Numbers like 157, 273, 385, etc. I suppose I will just get used to those numbers like I did with the cable, but man o man I cannot believe how many TV channels there are if you want them!
    Today Burt and I met Nora back at the old place (seems strange to call it that). I wanted to get the bush protectors up and also take down the instrument shelter that was in the view of the AL Cam. Both were things that would be a whole lot easier to do with no snow on the ground and so I wanted to get them done immediately. Both of those projects went well and we also got the grill into the back of the truck, so now we can grill out up here too! Both Nora and I felt a little strange going back to the Lake Linden home. It had only been about 48 hours since we were there, but already it did not feel the same as it always did. A little sad, a little exciting and definitely strange.
    So we are here. We have Nora's brother and his family coming on Wednesday to stay with us for the Thanksgiving holiday. Some have said we were crazy for doing that, but it will be nice to have family here for our first Thanksgiving in our new home. After all, that is what the holidays are all about- family and friends. Plus we will have lots of time to sit and relax in a week or so. I am looking forward to getting back to playing in the Keweenaw and "taking you all along". We got a taste of that on Sunday when we took Burt for a walk on one of the quiet Keweenaw backroads.
    I have just one last order of business to talk about before I sign off for this one and that is to remind everyone that has not signed up for the ride-in to do so as soon as possible. The registration will be going through December at least, but it would be helpful to us to have folks get registered as soon as possible. Plus you will be sure to have your spot in this years event. I know there were folks that wanted to come last year, but we ran out of room. I would not want that to happen to them again this year. So for the first time from Keweenaw County...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
November 12-
    I have a feeling that this will be the final journal from our home in Lake Linden. Things are on schedule and next Friday/Saturday we are moving. We have actually been moving some items up already and will continue to do so this week (as I type I can hear Nora packing things up in the living room and kitchen). I plan to move my office on Friday and then we will be moving the rest of the stuff on Saturday. We were blessed by some friends that also live in Lake Linden who offered to help us move. They have a large enclosed trailer that they will be bringing with them and their muscles will be welcomed as well.
    So the official countdown has dropped to below one week and Nora and I are now both saying things like: "This will be the last time we do this before we move", and I believe I will have a very full week ahead of me, so I doubt I will be able to write again within the next 6 days, so that is why I felt pretty confident saying that this will be the last journal written from our Lake Linden home. Hard to believe that they started a little over 7 years ago. Lots of great memories have been captured by them and lots of great memories were made in this house. As you can probably tell, I am feeling a little sentimental right now about this place. In some ways I wish that we did not have to sell it and could just keep it and drop in from time to time to help relive some of the memories made here. I think what is being hardest for me is that most of my memories of Baileys were made here in this house and even though moving from this house does not mean I have to give up those memories, I will not have the visual reminders that this house provides. I do have some memories of her up at the property too, but all the construction of the cabin has happened since she passed, so all the new memories made there will not include her. I suppose all of these feelings are being compounded by the fact that we are at the one year anniversary of finding out about her cancer and then her passing shortly after that. I have always been one to look back and reflect on things and time periods like a day a week and a year have always been big milestones for my recollections. I still reflect after the one year anniversary of things, but it seems like the feelings and emotions are not as strong after that first year milestone passes.
    I am also one to always look for the positive in situations in life and am also very excited to be moving to the cabin! It has been a very busy past 5 months, but we are getting very close now. We passed both the electrical and plumbing final inspections. The carpet has been laid and the trim work is about half over. So I still have some trim work to do, I have to hang three interior doors as well as put the final stair treads and risers on and then we will be done! We have been using some scrap sub flooring as the treads while we have been working so that the final treads did not get damaged. The trim work is going well, I think that is where I have my strongest skills in this whole process as it is the type of work I have been doing for years and years. With experience comes ease I guess.
    I was going to take come pictures of the place, but the trim work still needs to be done where the carpet just got laid this weekend and it just did not look right without the trim in there. Where the trim is done, there is still a mess of tools and scraps of wood, so it did not look too good there either, so I guess you will all just have to wait until the next journal to see the final product! I think it looks pretty good though and everyone that has seen it also comments on how well things came out.
    I really cannot believe that we are just 3 days away from the start of firearm deer season. Usually this time of the year just draaaaaaags by and I cannot wait for deer season to come and go so that riding season can start. I have no worries that in the blink of an eye deer season will have come and gone for me this year! In fact, I need to get my sleds down to Al's shop so that he can clean the carbs on both of them as well as change the settings on the 800 back to the flatland settings needed for riding here. I never did change things back after getting back from Togwotee. I can also say with confidence that once the snow starts to pile up and December 1st is here, I will be more than ready to play! Nora and I have been not only burning the candle at both ends, but in the middle too! It will all be worth it and we are on the final stretch, but I also know we both will be ready for some rest and recreation too!
    On Friday Burt and I took to the woods for our afternoon walk. With deer season arriving Wednesday we can no longer be up there (or more properly put should not be up there) and I wanted to make sure that we took one last walk "up on the tracks" before we move. That has been one of our favorite places to walk ever since we moved here. It is close, but still puts us basically in the heart of the Keweenaw woods. I figure that in the past 7 years we have walked that stretch together well over 100 times. The replacement to that will be the trail that our property backs up to, so in that regard we will have it even better once we move up there. On our walk Friday I did get to thinking about how lucky we are to have so many places to explore around here. Many of them we can just walk to from the house here in Lake Linden and others are just a few minutes away by car. It's funny that even with as much time has we have been spending at the property these past 5 months, we have not been doing much exploring up there. So most of the places that I know of right now to walk to right from the house are roads. We certainly have some exploring to do once we live up there. Need to find those secret hiking/skiing paths like we have down here.
    Not much else is going on up here. The weather has been pretty quiet. The storm on Friday gave us just a little "peck on the cheek" with a dusting of snow Friday night. We look like we could pick up an inch or two tonight and perhaps another inch or two tomorrow. Not sure if that will even last too deep into hunting season though as it looks like there could be some warmer temps by the end of this week and into next week. Not balmy, but too warm for snow to hang around. That would actually be ok by me as once we get moved in I need to cut up a few fallen trees for firewood for the winter. Two I can drive the truck right up to and a few more are not too far from where I can get the truck too. I figure there is about 3-4 chord of wood within close reach and we have about 2 chord still left and that should be enough to get us through the December-March period and then by April we can go get some more from the woods if we need to. Of course if we have a winter like they did in 95-96 then there will still be way too much snow in April to go log picking. Wouldn't that be a shame!
    I guess that about does it for this one. It has been a great run writing to you from this home and I look forward to years and years of writing from the new place. So for the last time from Lake Linden...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
November 5-
    Welcome to November everyone. In less than a month it will be snowmobile season up here! Seems strange to think that we are so close. It really seems like summer just ended. September and October just flew by and I have a feeling that November will too. Usually this time of the year just crawls by, but not this year! To tell you the honest truth, I think I may not know what to do when we are finished with building the cabin. Nora pointed out that for about 5 months straight we have not eaten a nice sit down, relaxing dinner at home. Well, that may not be 100% correct, but I bet we could count the number of times we have done that on one hand! With all the physical work and eating on the run I have managed to lose over 25 pounds. I did have a good 20 pounds to lose and am not complaining about the extra 5 pounds. Plus I have added more muscle mass than I had when I started building. The trick will be to keep my weight down and my muscle mass up once we stop working. I suppose I will just have to do a daily workout on the sled!
    I really do not have much to write about. This will probably be a progress report on the property and that's about it. This past week we finished up the little bit of tongue and groove that needed to be done, laid down all the laminate floors, finished the electrical, the painting and the bathroom floor. All that is left to do is finish hooking up the bathroom sink, finish a counter top and backsplash and install the kitchen sink and then hook up the shower. There is also some trim work to do and we have to put the carpet down, but the list of things to do is growing smaller and smaller by the day!
    The laminate floors turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. I think the biggest problem was that we went with the absolute cheapest floor that the store had. They way I figured it the floor would go down ok, but might not wear to well, but since we will only be living in the cabin for a few years and then it will be used only occasionally, I figured the wear resistance would not be as much of an issue. Turns out that the price also had some effects on how well the pieces fit together. I did some floors in our Lake Linden home with that laminate and it was back in the day when they were all tongue and groove and you had to glue the pieces together. The gluing was not much fun, but pieces fit together just fine and it only took me a few hours to do both the dining room and kitchen. The laminates these days are all snap together and so I thought it would take even less time as all I would have to do is cut a few pieces to fit and not have to mess with the glue. Well, about 90% of the pieces did not fit right and ended up needing some pretty serious coaxing to "snap" into place. In a few cases it could not even snap together, so we have one or two seams to deal with. They will likely be covered up with furniture or an area rug, but needless to say I am not happy at all with this stuff and will never use it again. In fact I was so unhappy with it, we decided to do carpeting in the downstairs bedroom rather than try and lay the laminate down in that room. It took me all of my working time Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to get the front room done. I figured 3-4 hours for the whole job had it gone like it should, but it probably took about 15 hours and does not look as nice as I would like. Live and learn I guess.
    Yesterday Nora and I picked out some carpet and it will be delivered tomorrow or Tuesday and then my friend Dave will help us lay the carpet. He used to do it for a while and has access to all the tools, so that will be a huge help. I think the carpet might end up working better in the bedroom anyway. A softer feel on the foot when you get out of bed. I know I am already enjoying the nice warm floors. Both Nora and I have been walking around without our shoes on up there and it is really nice. I think I will enjoy getting out of the shower and stepping onto a nice warm floor the best. Plus the heat is so even, no cold spots. So far we have not been going through much wood. We are only having to load the boiler about 1/2 way and that lasts about 24 hours or even a bit more. Plus we are burning wood that was cut over 2 years ago when we put the drive way in and that wood is balsam fir, which also burns much quicker than hardwoods. I have to burn that up first as it is the driest and will actually be rotten in another year or two. Plus I figured we would save the hardwood until we really need the BTU's in the heart of the winter. I am still really amazed at how well that boiler works. All we have to do is toss wood into it once a day an clean out the ashes once a week or so and it takes care of the rest.
    Well, if there is anything else going on around here, we do not know about it! Both Nora and I have been nose to the grindstone these past few weeks. Not only building, but now getting ready for the move. I was able to pack up the rest of my shop in the basement and will be transporting all of that stuff to the shop at the property soon. Nora is boxing up things that we do not use on a daily basis and we will be transporting that up as well. It will be nice to have all that storage space in the shop up at the property so that we can just fill that up and then move it into the cabin as we have time. The big move looks to happen in less than 2 weeks. Actually the weekend of the 18th and 19th is when we plan to make the move. I thought we could just rent a truck and have my friends help us in one shot, but then realized that weekend is the first weekend of deer season and all my friends will be out at their camps doing the hunting thing. So Nora and I will just load up Old Blue, the snowmobile trailer and blazer and take a couple of trips to move everything. I suppose if the weather is nasty, then we will have to rent a truck to keep things out of the weather.  We'll see.
    Well, I had better sign off. Tomorrow I wake the forecasts on website back up from their autumn slumber and need to take care of some things along those lines. Plus I still have some regular work to get done and oh yea, I need to sleep too! Before I go I will leave you with one last shot. It is of the snowmobile trail up by the property. Burt and I took a walk on Friday afternoon up there. We had about 6-7" of snow down at the time (Lake Linden only had about 2-3") and it was starting to look like winter. Most of the snow is melting now, so we will have to start all over again, but that is pretty typical for this time of the year.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
 
 
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