It is not 6
days yet, but it is a Sunday, so I figured I may as well sit down and get
a journal off! I do have a few important things to cover as well. The first
item (in case you missed it on the front page of the site) is that registration
for the 2nd Annual JohnDee.com SnowFest Snowmobile Ride-In is going on.
It took a little longer than I had hoped to get this up, but this year
I am taking a more active role and with trying to finish the cabin as well
as run the site and my regular business, I have been stretched pretty thin.
I would first like to thank John Stachler for helping with the registration
again this year and I would also like to thank Jim Formanek for his work
on creating the registration page as well as the banner for the ride in.
Jim sure does great work and I am grateful to him for donating his time
and expertise to make those items possible.
Now, onto what is up
for this year's ride in. The registration process is very much the same
as last year. You can use the PayPal link on the registration page or send
an e mail and then arrange payment to John Stachler. The registration fee
is the same at $50 dollars and that will get you dinner on Saturday at
the Spica Restaurant up on top of the Best Western Franklin Square Inn
in Houghton. Great food and a great view overlooking the Portage Lake and
skiers flying down Mt Ripley. You will also receive a T-shirt commemorating
the event and of course a large portion of the registration fee goes to
the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last year with only 100 persons allowed to
attend we still managed to raise over 4200 dollars for the foundation and
this year I think we should be able to go over the 10,000 dollar mark as
we will be allowing the first 250 persons to attend.
New to this years event
will be a scavenger hunt. This will allow groups of riders to get together
and come up with items that are on a list. It will not be a first in, first
to win contest. I do not want folks racing around the Keweenaw trying to
get done first and possibly causing an accident. It will be a fun way for
folks to team up and see the Keweenaw. Nora will be helping me with the
items on the list for the hunt. I will say that each team will need a digital
camera or instant camera as some of the items will be a photo of a team
member in a particular location in the Keweenaw. Of course there will be
prizes for the winning team(s) and perhaps even for some of the runners
The other item new
to this years event will be snowmobile drag races at the Range Snowmobile
Club. I know last year at this time we were having quite the heated discussions
on some of the threads in the General Discussion Board about who's snowmobile
was faster. I realize that most of it is just in fun, but it did get a
little old and who really cares what someone SAYS about their snowmobile
and how fast it is. The proof is made at the track and here is your chance
to shut up and put up! The good folks at the Range Snowmobile Club will
be handling the race completely, so there will be a separate fee for participating
in the race. I believe it is $25 to race and $10 per class. If your sled
is fast enough, you could walk home with a couple of hundred extra bucks!
They host several races a year at their club grounds and will do a great
job for us.
I am in the process
of trying to secure some entertainment for the Ride In banquet. There is
actually a group up here that I have seen several times and I do know that
they like to do charity work. Plus Nora works with someone that is related
to one of the band members, so we'll keep our fingers crossed on that one.
Have no fear, we'll have some entertainment there for all of you once the
dinner is over, even if I have to bring all my old AbbA LP's and my Mr.
Microphone. So, head over to the registration page, get yourself
signed up now while there is still spots available (last year event filled
up in just a few weeks) and get ready to have a good time. I enjoyed meeting
all the good people that attended last year and look forward to doing the
same this March.
The second item on
tonight's agenda is the recent troubles with the General Discussions board.
For those of you that missed it, sometime on Friday, most of the 3000+
registered users on the discussion board had their accounts deleted. I
was out at the property from about 9 am until 9 pm on Friday and had no
clue that this was going on until I got home. At first look, it appeared
that someone had cracked the usernames and passwords for my account or
perhaps one of the moderators because not all of the user profiles had
been deleted. There were still about 500 out of the 3000+ that were valid,
but the others were gone. Nora actually did a bit of research on the software's
web page and I followed her lead and once I got into reading things it
started to look more and more like some kind of an issue with the disk
drive of the sever for the discussion board as other have had similar problems
and that is what caused their problems. I also saw where the program makes
automatic backups of some of the more critical files on the board and that
the file containing all the user profiles is one that the program usually
backs up. As luck would have it, the board had backed up the profiles and
I waited until the pre-dawn hours this morning to restore those profiles.
I waited until early this morning just in case I ran into problems I did
not want folks wondering what was going on when the board is more active.
No real problems with the restoring of the the user profiles. One of the
moderators did notice that there were quite a few profiles created a while
ago that have not been activated. He actually went in and deleted those
accounts while we were at the 500+ list. Then when I restored the original
list, I undid all of his hard work (sorry Paul!!!), so I went in and did
some cleaning up this morning as well. There are actually a lot of accounts
that were created months or years ago that had not been activated yet,
so I cleaned up about 1/2 of them and hope to clean up the other half sometime
soon. In any case, the board is back to "normal" and I will make a note
to back up the file that contains the user profiles on my hard drive from
time to time- just in case that happens again. Sure was a quiet board yesterday
Of course we have been
busy at the property since I last wrote and we do have much to show from
the hard work. I took Thursday and Friday off from my regular work and
ended up putting in about 10
hours of work at the property on Thursday and then another 12 hours
on Friday. Nora came up both evenings after putting in a full day of work
at the school and I am happy to report that we are about 95% done with
the tongue and groove! There is just a little bit more to put up on top
of the knee wall on the west wall, but it should not take us longer than
about 30-40 minutes to get that done. There is also some trim work that
needs to be done, but I can even do that after we move in if I have to.
While we had the scaffolding still up, I wired in the lighting
and ceiling fan in the cathedral ceiling. It it really starting to
look like a home with walls nearly done and the lighting going in. We will
finish up the tongue and groove tomorrow and also get back to work on the
painting and should have that done by Tuesday night. Nora was a big help
with the tongue and groove. She did all the cutting Thursday and Friday
evening, handing up the pieces to me so I could nail them while up on the
scaffolding- and she is a master with the sliding compound miter saw!
The main reason why
we did not finish up the tongue and groove today was that I wanted to get
home and do some yard work. Tomorrow or Tuesday is one of the days that
the village comes around and will pick up yard waste. The weather was pretty
good for that today and the leaves were dry and there is only one more
pick up day left, so I figured we had better get that work done while we
had good conditions. Nora cut the grass while I raked the leaves. We still
need to get the bush protectors up, but that only takes about 45 minutes
and then we will be all set for this home to make it through the winter.
It sure would be nice to sell this home before winter sets in, but the
real estate market slows to a crawl up here in the winter. Something about
trying to move into a new place with 4 feet of snow on the ground that
seems to discourage potential home buyers. I may see how much it is to
have the driveway plowed or may just find a used snowthrower and keep it
down here. We'll see, maybe the home will sell before winter sets in for
good- but time is running out!
Speaking of time running
out, it does look like we have some snow coming our way this week. Lake
effect, so totals will vary, but it looks like a west wind, with most of
the other conditions being pretty good, so we may end up with some "plow
snow". It is still too early for the snow to stick around for the
winter, which is why I am not too concerned about not having the bush protectors
up just yet. I guess I am really becoming a seasoned Yooper. The first
year I lived up here I think I had the bush protectors up by the first
of October! This year may be the latest that we have put them up
and hopefully the last year we will have to worry about them!
I will be starting
up the snowfall forecasts next week. I was thinking about starting them
up this week, but would like to take advantage of the free time for one
more week so I can get the rest of my shop in the basement packed up and
hauled up to the shop at the property. I doubt that I will get the wood
still sitting down there up this week, but I better get that done pretty
soon. The only way to do it is through the casement windows in the basement
wall and it will not be long before they will be buried under the snow.
It is really strange
to think that in just a few weeks we will not be living in this home anymore.
I am excited, but a little sad too. Lots of great memories here. I will
be able to take them with me, but still sad to leave the home.
Not much else to say
for this one, but I will leave you with one final picture. It is of my
buddy Burt. He and I have been taking our afternoon walks out on the
snowmobile trail near the house. It is one of the first places that the
hounds and I discovered when we moved up here over 7 years ago and have
put a lot of memories on it as well and will put some more out there before
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly sponsors
I have to admit
that it actually seems like at least 6 days have come and gone since I
last wrote. We have been very busy at the cabin and are getting closer
and closer to being done. I think it is safe to say that we can count the
number of weeks until we are moved in on one hand. If all goes well, perhaps
the weekend of November 11th will be the big move day. One thing that might
actually impact when we move will be when I can get high speed internet
up there. My current provider looks to be out of the equation as it would
cost several thousand dollars to bring cable into our site- even though
our neighbor about 800 feet down the road has it. I have contacted another
high speed provider up here, but was told it will be weeks, maybe months
before they can even get out to see if I can use their wireless system,
so I may just have to get a satellite system. I have talked to some that
have it and while it is not as good as cable or DSL, it is better than
dial up. I plan to stop in at the office of the wireless provider to see
if perhaps we can speed up the site test a bit and I may call the cable
company to see if we might be able to work out a deal.
When I last wrote,
we were getting ready for the kitchen cabinets to arrive. On Friday I painted
the kitchen ceiling and put down the floor. As I was finishing up the kitchen
floor Friday evening the cabinets arrived. As mentioned a friend of the
site offered to build our cabinets and then come up and install them. His
name is Jeff Stanley and his cabinet shop (Needle Creek Cabinetry, 847.774.8830)
is located on Pyott Rd in Lake in the Hills, IL. Rather than have to haul
all the assembled cabinets up in his trailer, he just made all the pieces
and hauled them and all of his tools up in the back of his SUV and did
the assembly here. I about 2 hours he had all
of the base cabinets done and we called it a night for Friday. (That
picture was actually taken first thing Saturday morning, that is why it
is light outside!)
It was hoped that we
could finish up the rest of the work on Saturday in time for Jeff and his
girlfriend Kathy to take in some of the sights of the Keweenaw, but unfortunately
it ended up taking the better part of the day to get things all done. Here
is a shot of us making
the countertop for the breakfast bar. It will probably end up being
a breakfast/lunch and maybe dinner bar! Even though it took longer than
anticipated, the hard work was worth it as by the end of the day on Saturday
we had all the cabinets
installed as well as most of the countertops. Here is the cabinetry
on the outside wall. There is still a little more work to be done like
putting the countertop on the cabinet to the right of the stove, put the
backsplash on as well as the shelf pins and doors and drawer fronts. I
was initially planning on making the doors/draw fronts in the shop once
we move up there, but with company coming for Thanksgiving and temps getting
colder and colder, I have opted to have Jeff make some for me and ship
them up here. That way all I need to do is install them. I still may make
some raised panel ones if I get ambitious and have time next spring/summer.
It felt funny standing
around and helping out where I could when Jeff was here. Usually I am the
one trying to figure out numbers in my head, or what is the next step in
the building process. It was probably a good thing that I did not need
to be on top of things Saturday as I was feeling really tired. Turns out
I was coming down with a cold as Sunday I awoke with the old wobbly legs,
sore throat and stuffy head. I am still getting over this little head cold
I have, but it has not been too bad and every day there are improvements.
I just hate that worn down feeling I had on Sunday and even Monday.
After finishing up
on Saturday, Jeff, Kathy, Nora and I all went to dinner. They left Sunday
morning and Nora and I got back to work. As mentioned, I was not feeling
so good on Sunday so we did not get a lot of work done. We cleaned up a
bit, I readied the scaffolding for the tongue and groove work and then
we stocked the wood boiler and went home. I was feeling good enough on
Sunday to take Burt for a walk with Nora. We headed out to the School Forest
for a nice afternoon
walk in the woods. The woods sure are pretty quiet this time of the
year. Not only is there an absence of humans, but with the leaves off the
trees it seems like the place has been abandoned. Of course if you look
hard enough you will see signs that there is still plenty of activity going
on in the woods. The bucks are starting to feel their oats and leaving
behind some scrapes and rubs. The small critters are busy gathering food
for the winter, while others are just busy eating as much as they can to
get them through the food sparse winter months.
This has always been
one of my favorite times of the year to walk the woods. I suppose it's
because the weather is just about perfect- throw on a jacket, maybe a hat
and gloves and you are all set, plus the woods are so quiet and because
the leaves are off the trees you can see so much further into the woods.
Hard to believe that in less than a month main firearm deer season will
be well underway and we will be just a week away from opening day for snowmobiling.
It sure has been a cold October. If this keeps up into November, there
will be a lot more ice on the lakes than we usually have around here. I
just hope that the atmosphere is not using up all of it's cold weather
now rather than in January. October is the one month when I actually enjoy
above average temps! Oh well.
On Monday I got back
to work at the property. I was still feeling a little weak, in fact I ended
up taking a 90 minute nap in the morning and felt like I could have stayed
in bed all day, but work duties called. Once I was back awake for a while
I felt better and good enough to head up to the property to start the tongue
and groove. I only worked for about 2 hours, but got some work done. Yesterday
I got up there and was able to work for about 5 hours and between the 2
hours on Monday and 5 hours on Tuesday I was able to get just about half
of the ceiling done. I was able to get another 5 hours done today and
it looks like I should be able to finish up the ceiling tomorrow. I am
actually taking tomorrow and Friday off, so that means I have all of Thursday,
Friday, Saturday and Sunday to devote to the tongue and groove and should
be able to finish it in that time. The floors will be the last big job
and then I think we will be able to stop putting in the long hours up there.
While I worked on the T & G yesterday, Nora primed the bathroom and
bedroom on the first floor. This past weekend she primed
the walls in the loft that were drywalled. With a little luck she will
be finishing up the painting as I finish up the T & G and I know she
is looking forward to being done with the major jobs and is getting really
excited to move in. It sure will be neat to live there and know that we
build the whole thing.
As mentioned in the
last journal, the DVD that shot that includes myself as well as all my
riding buddies is done. It is Born to Ride 5 (we are in #'s 3 and 4 too).
We all received our copies on Monday and I was able to watch it Monday
evening. I thought it was his best one yet. He really is good at not only
shooting the video, but also the editing. The DVD is not the head banging/extreme
riding that is on most of the other DVD's (most of us are getting to old
and wise to attempt stunts like that), but is still enjoyable if you ask
me. I know I would enjoy watching it even if I was not in it! I am also
proud to report that I made it into other segments other than the bloopers
too! Of course I did make the blooper segment too! I don't think that they
have updated their website with this DVD title on it yet, but you can still
go to their website (dobsonentertainment.com) and contact them through
it to order BTR 5.
I guess that about
covers it for this one. Exciting to think that if all goes well, the next
time I write we should be done with all the major work at the cabin. Until
Good night from the Keweenaw..
I cannot believe
that it has almost been a week since I last wrote. I think part of it is
the fact that I did it on a Friday and lately I have been doing it on Sundays,
so since it is Thursday, I should have a few more days before it has been
a week. I am not sure if that last sentence even made any sense, but I
am too tired to start over, so it is staying. I actually took today off
from work. This is the time of the year that I usually take a couple of
long weekends. Last week I made my Thursday and Friday a little less work,
but still did work. Today I did not do any forecasting what so ever and
tomorrow will do the same. That did not stop me from working though. Burt
and I headed up to the property today to clean up the shop. Nora and I
finished up making all the tongue and groove last night. That means that
most of the big mess making is over for a while. I will still be using
some of the machinery in there from time to time, but nothing like we did
recently and I really like a clean shop, so Burt and I spent about 3 hours
up there getting things all cleaned up. Here is a shot of the 1500
board feet of tongue and groove taken last night (along with some of
We came back for lunch
and to go to the bank and post office and then I headed back up there to
paint the kitchen. Yep, in the painting phase already. The drywallers finished
up on Tuesday. I sure am glad that I was talked into just having someone
do that job! Nora and I could have done it and we might even be close to
being done with it, but we also would not have been able to get all the
other things done that we did while the pros were at work (like the tongue
and groove) and it most likely would not have looked
this good! That was just a snap shot of part of the upstairs bedroom.
It is pretty difficult to take pictures inside a house. Seems like you
can never really get the whole picture.
Anyway, the reason
why I am already painting the kitchen is that this weekend a friend from
the site who owns a custom cabinetry shop in northern IL is coming up with
the cabinets. He generously offered to build us our kitchen cabinets for
cost and that was an offer we could not pass up! We figured it would be
easier to paint the kitchen walls and ceiling while they were still bare,
so that is what I was doing this afternoon. Well priming anyway. Tomorrow
I plan to paint and then put down the flooring. Another day off filled
with work! After this weekend though, the kitchen will be just about done.
In addition to finishing
up the tongue and groove this week, I also finished up the rest of the
insulation. Since we are heating the cabin, that was high on the list of
items to get done. Even though we are not "paying" for the heat, I still
do not want to waste fuel. There was not a ton left to do, but it did require
the scaffolding. I had loaned that out to Al so that he could use it to
build his garage. Friday night Al dropped off the scaffolding and we got
it set back up inside the cabin and I finished
up the insulation.
Our plan is to have
me hang the tongue and groove next week, while Nora paints the rest of
the drywall. If all goes well, then perhaps a week from now we will be
getting ready to put the floors in the rest of the cabin and that will
be close to one of the last things we do before moving in. I figure we
still have 3 or 4 weeks before we move in, but it is getting closer and
I had plans to write
last night, but got caught up talking to Rick Dobson, the videographer
that makes the DVD's that we have been in recently. He finished up the
latest DVD that he shot up here and at Togwotee last winter and will be
selling it at the Milwaukee snowmobile snow this weekend. They sent a couple
of copies up to us today, so hopefully they will be here in Saturday's
mail. I know I am looking forward to seeing it. I did not get to see much
of the footage he shot while in WY as I went to the room and tried to sleep
rather than stick around the lounge and watch the footage shot that day.
Well, I had a feeling
that this would be a short one and I apologize if it rambled and did not
read well, but I am a tired guy and my brain is frazzled. So this will
do it for this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
the 13th everyone. For those of you checking in early (seems like I have
been in an update on Sunday's only mode for the past few months), I guess
this might be a bit of a surprise. For those of you used to the Sunday
updates and checking in on Sunday, hopefully this will not be old news.
One of the reasons I am writing tonight rather than Sunday is that I felt
a little guilty not doing any forecasts for the storm that has been hitting
the UP the past 2 days. However, I had planned to take my autumn vacation
days in the form of three long weekends (like I usually do). The first
long weekend was to be this weekend and I figured I may as well suspend
the summer forecasts at the time I take my first long weekend. So that
is why the summer forecasts ended Wednesday. I also figured that forecasting
this storm would be mainly a novelty and not a utility like the winter
forecasts are. Sure there may be a few folks wanting to come up and see
or even play in the snow, but their numbers would be very small. In any
case, I was feeling a little bit of guilt for not covering this storm better,
so I hope this journal helps a bit.
With that said, I do
not have a ton of snow shots. Most of the heavier snow missed the Keweenaw.
Calumet did pick up close to a foot, but temps today have been in the mid
30's and the snow is melting and settling a bit and they probably have
about 6-8" on the ground at the moment. The winner so far seems to be Twin
Lakes, with 2 feet fallen and about a foot and a half on the ground. It
looks like it may still be snowing pretty good there right now and perhaps
they will eclipse the 3 foot mark for fallen snow with this storm. When
I first saw this system materializing last week my first thought was "man
I wish this was coming in December". Had this same system arrived in December
or January we would have seen 3-6 feet of snow fall. Think that is not
possible? Just look back to what happened at my home here in Lake Linden
the last week of December 2001: 50"+ of snow in 5 days and 62" in 10 days.
Or what happened up at the property in mid December last year. I estimated
about 70" fell in under a week and heard reports of over 100" falling in
one week in sections of the Keweenaw. So it can happen.
I have a funny story
to tell. On Wednesday I was talking on the phone with my brother who lives
in Milwaukee when I saw a post come in on the General Discussions board
about one of their local weather guys being up in Baraga to cover the storm.
It struck me as funny that a guy would drive over 6 hours to cover a snow
storm in the Keweenaw and end up in the one spot that is considered the
"banana belt" and misses just about all of the lake effect. So I half joking/half
seriously said to my brother he should call up the Milwaukee station and
tell that guy to get out of Baraga and head to where the lake effect really
hits. My brother ended up calling the station and about 20 minutes after
I hung up with him the guy called me here at home. He was a really nice
guy and I chatted with him for about 10 minutes, telling him where his
best bet for the biggest snow totals would be and even giving him some
good spots for scenery and even to catch the big waves on the lake. The
next morning things were all a buzz about Twin Lakes being featured on
the Weather Channel and Good Morning America. Turns out this guy took my
advice to heart and headed to Twin Lakes to try and catch the biggest snow
totals. As fate would have it this storm has come in pieces and when he
was broadcasting from Twin Lakes there was only about 4-6" down. Too bad
he could not have stayed there until today and he would have seen what
the buzz was all about. Of course Twin Lakes MI getting 2 feet of snow
would have probably been preempted by Buffalo getting 2 feet anyway.
We had lots of rain
mix in with our snow last night. Just as the sun was setting it really
started to come down and we were picking up 1-2" per hour and I though
that we might end up with a foot of snow ourselves, but then the rain started
mixing in about 10 pm and that put a halt to our accumulation. I really
do not mind. This early season stuff is nice to see, but sure is a mess
as well. Plus it will melt and cause a mess when it does so. Even the snow
in Twin Lakes will melt. It will take longer, but they will see bare ground
by sometime next week as well. I suppose if they have been using a front
end loader to move snow around down there then a pile put in the shade
has a slight chance to make it until winter sets in for good in a month
or so, but snow now just does not last, so I just to not get as excited
as I used to about it.
I did not fire up the
sleds and take a ride either. There probably was enough this morning, but
we were still having a rain/snow mix and the 800 is still set up for out
west, so I did not even tempt myself. Had we picked up 2 feet, then I for
sure would have dug the 700 out and took a spin. Even though I did not
ride during this event, I know that I could have and just knowing that
I could have taken a spin on the sled in mid October is enough for me.
It has been a very
busy week at the property. On Monday the
wood boiler arrived. Kind of a neat trailer they have to transport
those things around. It sits on two steel bars while being transported
and then they can lift the boiler up, remove the bars and drop it onto
the spot. Our spot was the
slab that we poured for it last Friday. On Tuesday they got all the
outdoor connections made and the gas company came out, dropped off a propane
tank and hooked it up as well. On Wednesday they got all the indoor connections
finished and that was just in the nick of time as the snow
started to fly on Wednesday afternoon. I have to say that I am sure
the novelty of this device will wear off and loading it with wood will
just become one of the daily routines that is not the most fun, but for
now this thing is really cool! I am just amazed at how well it works. We
have the water temperature set to be 185 degrees. As long as the water
is 175 degrees or warmer, the damper on the firebox is shut and allows
only enough air to keep the fire from going completely out. So the
wood just smolders. Then once the water cools below 175 degrees the
damper opens and a fan blows fresh air into the firebox and in no time
there is a roaring fire going on inside. Then once the water reaches 185
the damper closes. There is a bit of a lag and even though the damper closes
at 185 the water usually warms to 190-195. The process of warming the water
seems to take about 15 minutes and so far it seems to take about 4 hours
for it to cool. I am sure once the air temp is colder it will take less
time between the "calls for heat", but then again the cabin is less than
half insulated right now, so perhaps that time will remain the same once
the colder air sets in but the cabin is insulated. The boiler is well insulated
as the snow did not melt off the top of it when it was going. The tubing
that feeds the hot water to the cabin is also well insulated, as there
is still a bit that has yet to be covered back up in it's trench and snow
actually accumulated on it for a while. Nora and I managed to run all the
tubing, insulate it and put the water proof sleeve over it on Monday evening.
Quite the job and I could barely lift my arms on Tuesday they were so sore
from pushing the pex through the insulating and water proofing sleeves.
The leak in the water
line was found on Monday and fixed on Tuesday and then the helped back
fill the trench from the shop to the cabin. On Tuesday Nora and I got ready
for the storm by taking down the screen tent, the swing and also moving
a bunch of the sawdust off the burn pile. You would think that sawdust
would burn great, but in reality it burns very stubbornly. It basically
smothers itself. So I did not want to have all of the sawdust from the
recent planing of the boards for the tongue and groove on the burn pile
as once it gets wet it will never burn and will also be a real chore to
move. So we got it moved to a big hole we have on the property. Burt
was there to help too.
We awoke to some rain
Wednesday morning and then as mentioned the snow started Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday morning I was able to take my first "front
of house shot" with snow in it. Not too shabby for October 12th. Of
course in a month or so the front of house shot will be taking on a new
look, so I also took one from where
they will be taken for the next several years until the look will be
towards the log
On Thursday afternoon
we took a walk up at the property before getting on with the work. We headed
out to the snowmobile
trail for our walk. No snowmobiles, but an ATV or two had been through.
I love those shots with some color still left in the trees, but also the
snow. On the way back to the shop I stopped to take a shot of Nora
and Burt in front of the Dee Compound, complete with burning wood boiler.
We got on to working in the shop, which is not heated. Nora and I were
working hard enough to keep ourselves warm, but poor Burt had to lay on
the cold cement floor in the shop and I think that combined with being
a little wet from his walk he actually was chilled. Nora noticed him shaking
a bit so they went and warmed up in the cabin for a while while I kept
on working. After about 15-20 minutes they came back in and I put down
drop cloth for Burt to lay on and put my jacket on him to keep him warm.
It worked as he slept for a while and did not get chilled. We were able
to get all four surfaces on the boards dressed (S4S) and so all we have
left to do is to put the tongue on one side and the groove on the other
and that massive job will be done. Mark my words, I am never going to make
my own tongue and groove again. Well only two conditions would change my
mind. One if I only had a little to do or secondly if we got the wood for
free! It was a ton of work and the time it took would have been nice to
spend doing something else.
Tomorrow and Sunday
Nora and I plan to finish up the insulating. They drywall contractor has
been busy all week. On Monday he had two helpers with him and they hung
a bunch of the drywall. The rest of the week he was on his own and was
able to finish hanging the drywall by Thursday. Today they came out and
taped all the joints and tomorrow will put the first coat of mud on. Monday
will be the second coat of mud and then Tuesday will sand and be done.
It's really neat to see the transformation of the inside
of the cabin take place with the drywall up. Some rooms look bigger
and some look smaller. One thing is for sure, I am VERY glad that I did
not take on this part of the build myself. I have watched them work a bit
and they make it look easy, but I know it would not have been like that
Well, I guess that
about covers it for this one. I am starting to fade off and I better get
this posted before I fade off to sleep completely!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Hard to believe
that another week has flown by. When I think back to what we have done
it seems to blend in with the week before. These journals have been more
of a recant of the week's construction since we started the cabin and I
was all ready to talk about the water lines and septic being done, but
realize that was last week's list of accomplishments! This week was taking
care of the last minute items to be ready for drywall. The gas company
came out and hooked up the tanks for the kitchen stove. We tested the iron
pipe connections I made for the service and no leaks! The water company
came out and turned on the service this past week as well and guess what?
The water line had a leak! Not a big one, but enough to keep the water
off for now. The guys that installed the water line said they would come
out on Saturday and find the leak and fix things, but I told them we could
wait until this Tuesday, that way they can help me fill in the trenches
that are still there for the power and for the pex tubes from the wood
boiler. The boiler and pex tubing will be delivered tomorrow, so
I will get the tubing laid in the trenches and they can back fill the trenches
with the mini excavator which they will use to dig up the spots where connections
were made in the water line. There are only 2, one right at the connection
to the service at the road and then one about half way in where the two
sections of pipe were joined.
So in a way the water
line leak was a blessing as it will not cost me any more to have them come
out and fix things, plus I do not have to backfill all the trenches by
hand. That would have been a pretty big job, with a 2 foot wide by 2 foot
deep trench that is about 100 feet in length. The drywall
was delivered on Friday. I realize I made the claim that it was going
to be started on Thursday and finished this Tuesday or Wednesday, but the
drywall guys were delayed a bit and will start tomorrow. No problem with
that either. I sure can relate to how some jobs can take longer than expected
and we were not under a strict time constraint to get the drywall in. It
will be done only be about 2 days later has been initially anticipated,
so no biggy there.
Friday the cement truck
came and we got the slab
for the wood boiler done as well as a
walkway along side the house. I had my buddy Dave help me with the
concrete work and Burt helped too. Don't worry, the corner of the slab
for the boiler will not be left dangling like it was in the picture. There
will be backfilling done once the pex is in.
One of the other items
done this week was to finish up the water supply lines and make the connections
for the baseboard heat up in the loft. So the mechanical
room is all ready for the guys to come and hook up the boiler and all
of it's items. I believe that is going to happen on Tuesday and Wednesday.
I don't mind having others come to do work up there and things like hooking
up the boiler are best left to the professionals, but I will be glad when
all the sub contractors are done and we are back to it being just Nora,
Burt and I doing the work and responsible for everything that gets done.
If all goes as planned, that should be in a week. At that point we will
be getting pretty close too, with the drywall done and working on hanging
the tongue and groove. After that the floors, a bit of finish plumbing
and wiring and then move in.
The other job that
has been going on up at the property is to make the tongue and groove.
Since Thursday, Nora and I have been busy running about 1500 board feet
through the planer. Normally the planing is one of the easier jobs. You
just feed the boards in and they are drawn through the machine by the machine
and then you just grab them as they come out the other side and stack them
again. Well, the planer was not working properly from the start of this
job. The boards needed to be "coaxed" through the machine rather than being
drawn through by the machines power feeder. The feeder rollers were working,
but for some reason not good enough to push the board through on it's own.
I tried a few things at first, but still had the problems. Then finally
after too much frustration and sore muscles with the first two passes (it
took three passes for each board to be planed to the proper thickness),
I decided to take the machine apart and re-calibrate things in side as
well as change out the knives. It took a few hours, but was well worth
it as this morning we were able to do the third pass through of all the
boards in about 2 hours and the previous two passes took about 8 hours.
Here is a shot of yours
truly grabbing a board as it comes out of the planer and here is a
shot of all the lumber
that we dimensioned to the right thickness in the past 4 days. There
is still quite a bit of work to do before it is tongue and groove. Each
board needs to have one side jointed straight, then run through the table
saw to get it to the proper width and then it needs two separate passes
on the shaper to make the tongue on one side and the groove on the other.
I figure at least another 8 hours of work, maybe more before we have a
stack of tongue and groove.
The race has sort of
been on to try and finish up making the tongue and groove before the weather
goes down hill later this week. Making it generates a ton of sawdust and
we have been using the dust collector, with the collector right at the
scrap pile outside. That way we do not need to haul the sawdust out there,
it just goes out there automatically through the ductwork to the dust collector.
Well, I cannot do that when it is raining or snowing, so I have been wanting
to be finished before the rain and snow arrives later this week. The planing
generates the most debris (about 80% of the total debris) and if push comes
to shove, I can always just keep the dust collector in the shop and then
haul the dust and chips generated by the other processes out to the burn
Speaking of the weather,
it has been summer like up here the past few days. Friday we rose into
the upper 60's and yesterday the mid 70's. At daybreak this morning the
temp should have been in the low 30's at my house, but instead was in the
low 60's. We hit 70 degrees late this morning before the front came through
and cooled things down a bit, but not too much. Temps have been in the
low to mid 60's most of the afternoon. Tomorrow and Tuesday do not look
to bad around here, but then things get nasty for Wednesday, Thursday and
Friday. A November type storm looks to roll through and drop temps big
time (highs struggling to get out of the 20's by Thursday) and even bring
the first flakes of the season. Some of the higher terrain up here may
even see some meaningful accumulation.
It is really interesting
to see my attitude towards the first snow of the season change with each
passing year I live up here. The first year I was thinking about the first
flakes once the calendar went from July to August. The next year I think
I was not going too nuts until September. Now I actually do not think much
about it until this time of the year. Don't get me wrong, I am still a
bonified snow freak, but I guess I am just turning into a seasoned Yooper.
I know the snow will come and it will pile up to depths that most snow
lovers can only dream about. I am excited for the first flakes to fly and
I am sure that my heart rate will increase when it see those first flakes.
But I also know that any snows right now will just melt and that any future
snows up until about the start of deer season will also melt. So now I
really do not get too excited about the accumulating snows until we get
to the middle of November. Then it can snow until April!
The Keweenaw will does
not look to be the only ones to pick up snow, nor will the UP be the only
ones or the Northwoods for that matter. It looks like flakes of snow could
be seen deep into the Midwest. Places like Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Detroit
should at least see some flurries, but perhaps even a dusting if a squall
happens to be particularly vigorous. This storm at the end of the week
will be so strong that it could pull enough cold air down that places like
St. Louis and/or Cincinnati could see a stray flake of snow.
The color show has
reached and passed it's peak. Here in Lake Linden the peak was about mid
week this past week. The Houghton/Hancock area was about the same. Up at
the property the peak was last weekend and to tell you the honest truth,
I have not been anywhere else in the past month, so I cannot say. But I
do know it is safe to say that for the Keweenaw, the peak has passed and
the leaves are coming down rather quickly with the strong winds. We did
take some time this afternoon to take Burt to the School Forest for a walk
this afternoon and I took this shot to show what is the
average look around here with the colors. About 50/50, meaning 50 percent
of the leaves are still on the trees and 50 percent are down. Up at the
property I'd have to say that about 75% of the leaves are down. With the
precip and very strong winds (55 mph+?) later this week, I suspect that
the only colors you will see will be on the ground and they may be covered
in a blanket of white in spots. Not that I want to discourage folks from
visiting the Keweenaw this next weekend. If you have never experienced
a November Gale (even one in October) in the Keweenaw, I strongly urge
you to not cancel. It is really something to go through. Almost scary at
times and definitely awe inspiring- especially if you go to the big lake
at one of the breakwaters.
Well, I guess that
about covers it for this one. Before I go, I will leave you with one last
shot. Nora said it has been too long since we took a family picture, so
we found a nice spot at the School Forest this afternoon and made a new
one. So here are the
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Welcome to October
everyone! Seems hard to believe that in just two months snowmobile season
will have started up here- conditions permitting. It has been another very
busy week. Not just building, but website things and even some planning
for the ride in. As long as I am on the subject of the ride in, I will
remind everyone that the date for the ride in this season is March 2nd
and 3rd (Friday and Saturday). We are going to increase the amount of people
able to attend by 2 1/2 times from last year, so that means the first 250
folks registered will be able to attend. We have not set up the registration
for it yet, but that should be coming soon. We are pretty sure that the
fee will be the same as it was last year at $50 per person. Two new events
for this year will be a scavenger hunt and drag races. The scavenger hunt
should be lots of fun and hopefully will allow folks who have never met
before to group up and try and find all the items on the list. For those
of you who are always bragging about how fast your sled is, you will have
the chance to show us all by heading over to the Range Snow Club and take
part in the drag races that will be going on there Saturday. There will
be separate fees required for the drag races, but the scavenger hunt will
be free and open to all. The banquet, t-shirt hand out and sign ups for
the scavenger hunt will all take place in the Houghton/Hancock area. We
have not confirmed which hotels will be used for all of that just yet,
but anyone wanting to get a hotel room booked now and wanting to stay close
should book something in Houghton or Hancock, although you certainly can
stay anywhere you like!
As mentioned, it has
been a busy week at the property too. On Monday I took a trip to Marquette
to pick up some items. Then on Tuesday went up to continue working on things.
They boys were busy working on the water line and septic system early in
the week. Matt was able to get the 6 foot deep trench dug for the waterline.
Just amazing how he was able to dig that 150 foot long, 6 foot deep trench
by hand! Just kidding, he actually used a mini excavator to dig most
of the trench and dug out the area near the house by hand. After that it
was time to dig the hole
for the swimming pool. Just kidding again, that was the hole for the
septic tank. Here is the
tank going into place. It was actually a much bigger tank than we needed
for that size building, but because we have to use a pump to get the fluids
from the tank to the drainfield, it had to be a two chamber tank and those
are the big ones. So big, the I-beam that extended off the back of the
truck and lifted the tank into place actually flexed as the tank was extended
out over the hole. The front of the truck also seemed to want to bounce
a bit! It only took about 5 minutes to get
the tank set, then they backfilled a bit, plumbed it to the house and
the drainfield and covered up the front half. I have a plumber coming tomorrow
to set the pump up and then we can cover up the rest.
The water line was
laid and connections were made at the street earlier in the week. Yesterday
a friend and I made most of the connections in the house, so now all we
need is the water company to come out with the meter and set that in place.
I will finish up sweating a few connections inside the house and then we
can turn on the water. With water and sewer going... you guessed it, no
more trips to the woods! With the septic and water done, we could then
pull power from the shop to the cabin and that was done on Thursday. I
did not have the little collar that the service wire travels through as
it passes into the breaker panel, so we could not get the power totally
hooked up to the cabin on Thursday, but I did pick up what I needed on
my way up to the property on Friday and made all the final connections
and threw the breaker switches and powered up the cabin. As I was flipping
the switches I felt like there should have been a band playing or maybe
some kind of confetti drop, but instead it was just me up there alone at
the property flipping a few breaker switches and then seeing how my wiring
job went by walking around the house with an electric drill and plugging
it into each outlet. I did not have 100% success, but I'd say that out
of about 60 connections made, having only three need redoing was not too
bad. Loose connections at the wire nuts were the culprits in all three
Even though we did
have power running to the cabin via some heavy duty extension cords, it
is very nice to be able to just plug in the tool I am using right into
the wall outlet where I am working and not have to worry about dragging
an extension cord into the work area. Plus we also have lights, which means
we can stay out there past dark if we want to now. So let's see, we have
power, sewer, the water is just a few simple connections away. The propane
guys are coming on Tuesday to drop off a small tank for the kitchen stove
and ready a site for the boiler. The wood boiler arrived in the Keweenaw
on Friday and all I need to do is set a slab for it and then have it delivered,
plumb it and fire it up and then we will have heat!
There was quite the
response to my asking for drywall tips. The drywall job will most likely
start this Thursday and I am predicting that it will be done by next Tuesday
or Wednesday. How can I be so bold with my prediction? Well, I have decided
to just let the pros hang, tape and mud all the sheetrock. I really wanted
to build this cabin completely by myself, but with so many folks advising
me to just sub out the drywall work, I got an estimate and it seemed reasonable.
They will be arriving on Thursday and I was told it would be a 4-5 day
job from start to finish. While the drywall is being taken care of, Nora
and I will most likely make all the tongue and groove and then once the
drywall guys are gone we can take over with hanging the T & G. Once
that is done, it will be time to paint the drywall and seal the T &
G and then do the floors and then move in!
Nora and I have been
busy this weekend hanging insulation. I picked up about 30
bags of insulation (that was only about half of all I bought) and as
luck would have it, the autumn is when all the insulation manufacturers
seem to have their sales. So I was able to pick ours up on sale and also
take advantage of a rebate that is going on and thanks to those to events
happening, the insulation is going to cost us almost half as much as when
I priced things out a few months ago. A little tip for those of you wanting
to build a house, plan to purchase your insulation in the early autumn!
We have already completed all the insulation
work for where the drywall will be going up and I actually hope to
get all of the insulation up before the drywallers come on Thursday. That
way the bags will not be in their way and if we need to warm the cabin
up a bit to allow the mud to dry quicker, it will be easier to keep it
warm being fully insulated. However, I am also not going to stress out
about it if we cannot finish the insulation job before the drywallers come
as all the insulation that needs to be in before they come is in. Here
is a shot of yours
truly hanging some insulation in the kitchen.
The other activity
going on up here is the color show, which is reaching it's pinnacle in
many areas. Here is a shot of the
colors up at the property on Thursday. I did not take a shot today,
but they were at peak today. By the way, I do not mean to rub it in, but
that is the view out of the front of the cabin. Of course that view will
be changing in a few years as that is where the log home will go, but for
now that will be our view from the living room and dining room.
It is a beautiful autumn
day today, with temps in the mid 60's and tons of blue sky. This is about
the only time of the year when I actually enjoy above average temps. In
the summer it gets to hot with above average temps, in the winter that
means the snow might melt and in the spring I really could care less. But
temps in the 60's this time of the year is just perfect. Nora, Burt and
I took advantage of the nice day to take a walk in the woods. We headed
out to the School Forest and had the whole place to ourselves. The color
show there is progressing, but like the colors here in town, I think they
are still about 4-6 days away from peak.
It looks like we will
actually be enjoying a few more days of above average temps this week,
which I will be even more thankful for as I planted grass seed where the
septic work was done and it would be nice to get some grass going there
before winter comes. The race will be on though as the days up here with
warm temps can probably be counted without having to take your shoes off
at this point. Thursday I even had to break down and turn the heat on for
the first time this season. There were a few days earlier that I came very
close, but decided to stick it out. Thursday morning it was 62 degrees
in the house and 44 and cloudy outside, so I gave in. Not bad though, almost
made it through the whole month of September without having to use the
heat. There have been wood furnaces going in the neighborhood for weeks
now, so this place is pretty well insulated.
Well, I think that
about covers it for this one. I need to sign off so I can finish my Sunday
work for my customers and then head back up to the cabin to finish a bit
more work for the day.
Good night from the Keweenaw..