Well, I am not
going to make any promises as to how long this entry will be. Sometimes
I sit down with not much to say (as is the case tonight) and 8 paragraphs
later am still writing. Other times I just run out of steam or material
or both and things end rather quickly. I sure wonder how I managed to write
as many as 3-4 entries a week back when I first started. I suppose a lot
was new to me and thus would be new to you and so I had a lot of new things
to talk about. I am still having some new experiences now, but the longer
and longer I live here the more each event becomes some kind of a repeat.
Anyway, we'll see how long this one goes.
We got some nice rain
in the past 7 days. It rained last Sunday and again on Monday. Close to
an inch when you combine both of those events. Then Wednesday morning we
had a few showers, which turned into some severe storms in areas to our
south and east. Quite the hail storm in Marquette Wednesday afternoon,
with hail covering the ground up to 2" in spots. For us it was just about
.10" of rain. We picked up another 10" this morning with a quick thunderstorm.
Tuesday was cool and very windy, with sustained westerly winds at 25-35
and some gusts to over 40. Lots of junk got blown into the pool that day
and I could not keep the cover on it either. Thursday and Friday were near
perfect summer days up here, but we missed out on them as we headed south
for a surprise visit for my mom. Friday was the 50th anniversary for her
and my dad and with my dad's passing back in August of last year it was
thought that it would be a neat idea for all the brothers and my sister
to get together and celebrate the day. So Nora, Burt and I drove down Thursday
afternoon and I did my work from my brothers near Milwaukee on Friday and
then we headed over to my moms Friday afternoon. My sister flew in from
Oklahoma and my other two brothers, a niece and nephew who all live close
to my mom also were there. It was a nice get together. We surprised her
and also made her happy, so it was well worth the trip.
I had to chuckle on
the way down though. Here we had been driving for about 3 hours, heading
basically straight south and we are still going through areas considered
"Up North" for lots of folks! Made me realize that we really are way up
here! I'm sure those other places are very nice and it would be nice to
be 3 hours away and not 6, but I sure do not mind traveling the extra miles
and spending the extra time in the car to get where we live. It has always
been so nice to take that turn onto Hwy 26 just north of Mass City and
start the final leg into the Keweenaw. Especially in the winter as that
has traditionally been where the snow really starts to get deep. However,
even in the summer it just seems like such an enjoyable stretch of road
to be on- aided by the anticipation of being almost home.
We did not do a whole
lot of exciting things last week. Monday and Tuesday were about the only
free days as we had to pack on Wednesday and then traveled Thursday, Friday
and Saturday. I know Monday was a hot and very humid day, probably the
most humid we have had so far this summer. That caused us to go to the
inland lake on Monday for Burt to swim and get some exercise. I also know
that Nora and I relaxed in the pool for a while after that. Tuesday was
cool enough that we were able to walk in the woods. I took Burt to a foot
path near by and we had fun exploring. I believe Wednesday was warm enough
again that we went to a lake and then I headed down to have Al get the
Blazer ready for the trip down. Today was a good day for Burt to swim and
we decided to brave heading to the big lake. The beach flies should have
been gone and I am wondering if they even showed up this year. I had heard
some some that never ran into them when I thought they might be out, so
who knows. In any case the beach was safe today. We had
the place to ourselves, not just with an absence of humans, but also
an absence of nasty biting flies. So it looks like the beach is safe once
again and that makes me a happy camper as it is always much cooler by the
big lake. Today was no exception, the temps were around 15 degrees cooler
by the lake. The wind was blowing pretty good from the SW and that had
some waves going, but they were nothing
that Burt could not overcome.
The combination of
the rain, the warm temps and the fertilizer I put down last week really
got the grass going and I can officially say I
have a lawn now. There are still a few spots that need some help and
encouragement, one of them being right in front of the Al Cam, but for
the most part there is grass. Even Burt took notice today as he wandered
out onto it after I had cut it and then rolled around a while. Now that
I have a lawn and worked so hard to get it, I will probably be wishing
I did not in a few weeks after having to cut it a few more times!
I can tell that summer
is in full swing. Not just by all the snowbirds that are out and about
on the local roads, but the first of the local berries are hitting the
shelves of the grocery stores up here as well. Today we picked up some
local strawberries and we will have to head down to Lake Linden to see
if any of ours are ready for picking yet. A few weeks ago there were some
flowers out, so I know there will be fruit. Always a nice treat to be able
to pick your own from your yard and eat them right away. Another encouraging
tidbit is that the minutes of daylight are now shrinking. It does so pretty
slowly for the next 4-5 weeks, but then really starts to kick into gear
by later in August. July is probably my least favorite month. I figure
that for folks that do not like winter, it is probably the equivalent of
January for them. We still have what is traditionally the hottest time
of the year to get through, but I think having the pool will help a lot.
It felt really nice to just sit in it and soak and I did not care how hot
it was outside while I was doing that!
Not much else going
on up here. It looks like we will be hitting the beach the next 2 days
as temps are suppose to be in the 90's and the humidity will be up there
as well. Then some nice cool and low humidity air will be arriving from
our friends in Canada for the rest of the week and possibly into the weekend
as well. So perhaps we will be able to take to the woods for some afternoon
entertainment as well. Hard to believe that it will be the 4th of July
next week, but that is fine by me. One step and one holiday close to autumn!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
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Day. Kind of a reflective one for me. This is the first time in my life
that I was not able to wish my Dad a happy Fathers Day. Kind of sad, but
I also have all the great memories of him that make me happy too. He really
was the best dad and I was very lucky to have him as mine. I can only hope
that some of it rubbed off on me and when the time comes I can give the
love and respect that he gave. Hope all the fathers and their loved ones
are having a great day.
Old Mother Nature must
have taken my writings of last week as a challenge as she really poured
the heat on all week. We rose into the upper 80's every day this past week
and even hit 90 on Friday to set a new record. Along with the warmth, the
humidity was noticeable. Not downright sultry, but in the low 60's most
of the day. If the heat and humidity was not enough, we had blazing sunshine
every day as well. It is just amazing how much sunshine we get in the summer
and how little we get in the winter. That big old lake really has a huge
influence on things. It is also amazing how strong the sun is at this time
of the year, even this far north.
I actually did pretty
well most of the days. Burt and I went to a
lake nearby for the afternoon adventures. I have stopped taking him
to the pond nearby as it has really dropped in depth and has also become
pretty mucky. He could still swim in it, but I would rather take him to
a body of water that has better water quality. If we get some good rains
and the pond comes back up and the water looks better, then we can go back
to hiking over there and letting him swim. The biggest bummer of the hot
weather this past week is that the big lake has been pretty much off limits
due to the high likelihood of those nasty biting flies. I did not even
risk going there as I figure they come pretty much like clockwork every
year. I actually did have to swat a few when I was golfing on Thursday
and the course is about 5 miles from the lake, so I would think it is safe
to say they are out there. I will give it another week and then we will
venture out there. Perhaps next weekend. The big lake really is the best
place to be with weather we have had though. Not only is the lake cool
and refreshing for Burt, but it also is like being in air conditioning
for me. I could stay down there all day and not get too hot. The inland
lakes really do not provide the same cooling effect and as a matter of
fact. On Friday, it was in the mid 80's when we were there, with a dewpoint
in the low 60's. The combination of the heat and humidity as well as some
seagulls flying around and chirping reminded me of Florida. Had I closed
my eyes, the other senses sure could have convinced me that I was down
in Florida where we used to go every spring when I was a boy.
I think the worst day
for me with the heat and humidity was Thursday. We golfed that afternoon
as that is when the league is that I am in. Temps in the upper 80's and
the blazing sun, not my ideal golf weather. Thankfully Al's golf cart has
a top on it, so we could escape the sun for part of the time, but I sure
wish he would have gotten one with air conditioning! Actually, there have
been times when we wished we would have had heat! Anyway, we played
a few holes for warm up and then played our round of 9 hole for the league
and by the end of those nine holes I was pretty well spent. I came home,
had a nice dinner and then took a shower and went to bed! This week looks
to be cooler, with temps in the 70's for the most part and maybe even some
60's on Tuesday.
I did not get to any
of my intended projects this week. One was an outdoor one and it was just
too hot to even think about getting started on that one. The other is primarily
an indoors one, but does require some work in the shop and lots of coming
and going from the shop. So I also did not want to get going on that one.
I pretty much spent the week either inside, tossing the stick for Burt
or watering my lawn! I had to give it water twice a day with it being so
hot and dry. I have an array of hoses and sprinklers to help me get the
job done, but there was still about 35% of the area that was just better
to be done by hand. Those areas would take me about an hour to do by hand,
so I was spending over 2 hours a day just watering the lawn! My hard work
is not going by without results though. The lawn
is coming along. There are still some spots that were bare and that
was mostly because of poor soil or where the seed may have been washed
away by the downpours we had a few weeks ago. In any case I got some topsoil
at the store, mixed in some seed and then spread it on the bare spots.
I also put another dose of starter fertilizer on. I just did that about
a week ago, but with how much I have been watering, I figured it had been
all used up.
What we really need
is some good and regular rain. The first part of that is actually happening
as I type. It started raining about an hour ago and has been coming down
pretty good for the past 45 minutes or so. My rain gauge has only reported
about 1/5th of an inch so far, but I think we have picked up more than
that as there are puddles in many places and everything is soaked. The
perfect scenario for me would be for us to pick up about 1/4" every night
for the next 2-3 weeks and everything would be all set as far as the lawn
goes. If you cannot tell, I really am one that enjoys a good looking lawn.
That was one of the first things I did when I moved into Lake Linden. I
spent all summer getting the lawn looking really great and then the next
summer drought hit and all the seeds from the weeds in the neighborhood
came and planted themselves on the lawn, so I stopped trying to make it
perfect and just tried to keep it looking better than most of the rest
around me. Hopefully I will be able to establish the quality of lawn I
like up here and keep it that way.
Nora has been busy
with yard work too, only hers has revolved around her flowers and vegetables.
Her wave petunias
were loving the heat and humidity last week, as well as all the TLC that
she gives to them every day. She has a few tomatoes that are filling out
as well as a green pepper. The cukes and beans have a way to go before
they will be putting out their edibles, but Nora has a very green thumb
and is able to use it this year as she is not helping me build our house
like she was last year!
The other item that
kept me a little busy was setting up our swimming
pool. We took deliver of 3 yards of sand on Monday and then put the
pool up Monday evening. When I was not watering the yard Tuesday and Wednesday,
I was filling the pool. I am not looking forward to our next water bill,
but it will be worth it. I decided to forgo the Yooper Pool Heater (a coil
of copper pipe put on the gas grill and push pool water through it) this
year and take advantage of the wood boiler. However, on Monday when I went
to pick up a heat exchanger I was a little taken back by the $385 price
tag! It was something I could use for ever and for other heating purposed
like a spa or something, but I just could not stomach the price tag, so
I decided to build my own. I basically took two copper pipes of different
size. The smaller one sits inside the larger diameter one and has the heated
furnace water go through it. Then the pool water travels around that pipe
and gets heated. I made it about 4 feet long and it sits in the shop and
is connected to the run from the boiler to the cabin. It works great, the
pool is sitting at about 84 degrees and can be warmed about a degree an
hour. Today I took the temperature of the water flowing back into it from
the heat exchanger I made and it was 92 degrees. So I guess if we ever
want to make a giant spa out of the pool, we could do that too! Plus the
heat loss from heating the pool water does not effect our hot water in
the cabin, although I will say that the boiler has been working harder
than it has since we got it, even during the bitter cold snap this winter.
However, once the pool water is where we want it, then it will only take
intervals of heat to keep it there. I guess the only way to make it even
better would be to put a thermostat in the pool and have the amount of
heat added to the water automated. As it stands now I need to shut down
the circulating pump as well as close the valves feeding the heat exchanger.
Not a big deal, but I can see forgetting do to that one time and ending
up with 95 degree water in the pool some morning after it has been going
Today it was cloudy
and even cool enough that we were able to take a walk in the woods rather
than go to the lake with Burt. I really like to do different things for
our afternoon adventures and I think Burt does too. We know of a
nice shaded path through the woods and the bugs never seen to be too
bad in that area, so that is where we headed today. Burt,
Nora and I enjoyed the walk this afternoon, it was a nice change up and
conditions were good for it.
The areas Relay for
Life is coming up next weekend and Nora decorated two bags for me. She
did a great job so I took pictures of them. This is a shot of the
front of the bags and here
is a shot of the back. My only regret is that we cannot keep them.
The final tidbit I
have for this entry is a picture of one
of the critters living in our woods. We do not have a name for it yet,
but it seems there is a family getting under way in the woods. Last week
Burt and I spied a deer about 100 yards from the cabin, but no bear seen
or experienced yet. I suppose that is a good thing as they can be a real
pest if they decide that our place is a great place to have a meal. Although
it would still be neat to see one passing through. Nora got me one of those
wildlife cams and I hope to get it going this week or next. I plan to put
some food out to try and bring some animals into its view. If it captures
some interesting shots I will share it in the journals and if there is
a lot of activity, I may set up a live cam out there.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Back on my Sunday
schedule! If you ask me, I think Nora should be the one writing this journal.
She is the one that took all but one photo that will be used in it this
time around. I am in familiar territory with not a whole lot to say. It
was a pretty uneventful week for us, which is really just fine with me!
After last summers busy schedule and even the autumn, winter and spring
being pretty busy, I am perfectly happy to spend a lot of time doing nothing
in particular. I am also a bit on the tired side. I started watching a
movie that was on TV yesterday evening. I really should not have as it
started at 8:30 and was to run until 11 pm. I have a hard time not watching
a movie all the way through, so when I started this one I knew I was signing
myself up to stay awake until 11 pm. Not a big deal for most folks, but
when you start work at 4:30, going to bed at around 8:30 is a pretty regular
event for me. Plus I knew that I was wanting to get going on my Sunday
work by no later than 6 this morning. I have several hours of work to get
done on Sundays and I really like to have it done by or soon after breakfast.
That way I am not stuck doing work for the whole morning, or worse yet
having it still to do in the afternoon. So with a late to bed and early
rise I got a little over 5 hours of sleep last night. It is only 6:30,
but I can feel my eyelids growing heavy already! So we'll see how far this
As mentioned, things
have been pretty uneventful up here the past week. The weather has even
been pretty uneventful. No huge temperature swings, although we did have
a strong cold front come through Thursday evening and pop a few thunderstorms.
The temps dropped considerably from Thursday to Friday, but not the 40
degree drop in 60 minutes like happened previously. The thunderstorm was
quite brief and did not give us much rain. We are now back to being on
the dry side. The fire risk is not too high, but that is because the woods
have greened up so. The forecast does not hold a ton of rain for us either,
which normally I would be fine with, but my grass is still trying to come
up and seed really likes water to get going. I have a feeling that I am
not going to enjoy getting our water bill. I plan to have underground irrigation
for the lawn and any vegetable or flower beds once the log home is built.
I may look into having a spike well dug for that. It would cost me many
thousands of dollars to dig a regular well, but that is for one that hits
potable water. I do not need that for outdoor usage and I know in Lake
Linden, you only had to go down a few dozen feet with a spike well to get
to water, so perhaps something like that can be accomplished up here too.
All stuff to worry about another day.
For the most part temps
were pretty comfortable all week. We did get warm and humid right out ahead
of the front on Thursday, but the days leading up to it were comfortable
and then Friday, Saturday and today have been nice too. I believe I am
becoming a bit more tolerant of the warm temps and perhaps a bit more tolerant
of the humidity. I cannot explain why, but right now it is 82 degrees with
a dewpoint of 55. Nora and I just got back from a walk and I was not uncomfortable
at all and quite honestly it felt pretty good. Just a year or two ago I
would have never felt that way and would have probably been in a grouchy
mood to boot. We'll see how long this hold up. Not that this week is suppose
to be exceptionally hot or anything, but temps do look to be in the 80's
a lot and the humidity looks to rise too. The one thing I am bumming about
is the fact that the beaches on the big lake will soon be off limits for
a week or two. No, the DNR is not closing them down. One could still go,
but they would have to contend with those nasty flies. I call them biting
flies, but others call them beach or fish flies. What ever you want to
call them they are nasty. They are the size of a regular house fly and
they pretty much stick to the beaches of the big lakes and a few of the
smaller inland lakes. If you run into them, you will know. They swarm around
and on you and their bite is similar to a horse fly. The only good thing
about them is they have a very short season that lasts about a week to
ten days. They seem to materialize right around the 10th to 15th of June
and are gone by around the 20th to 25th. I think I am going to brave going
to the beach at the big lake one more time tomorrow and then not push my
luck. We went yesterday and today and they were not a problem. I think
there were one or two that were out and about, so that means they are getting
ready for the full hatch. In past years I just took the dogs to the Torch
Lake to swim if it was too hot for a walk. I suppose I could still do that,
but it is a whole lot further now. There are a few smaller lakes closer
by that we may go to or Burt and I can always hike the half mile to Burt's
Pond and he can swim there. He really loves to go there for some reason.
I think it's the fact that we can just head right from the cabin through
the woods and end up at the pond. No driving around or anything.
Well, speaking of Burt
and swimming, we took him to the big lake yesterday and today. We brought
the camera both days and yesterday Nora took about a dozen and a half picture
of him. Most of them were really just for our own personal pleasure and
something to have for the ages. However, since those were the bulk of the
pics on the cam, I figured I would share a few with you. I guess you could
consider it a condensed version of yesterdays day at the beach. It starts
with the arrival
on the beach and scopeing things out to make sure everything is the
way we left it when we were last there. Then it gets down to the business
of fetching the stick.
That is the main order of business for the trip. Oh, and should not be
a little stick. Burt really prefers to fetch a stick with a lot of substance.
Some of the smaller ones tossed out into the lake will not even be retrieved.
The one in the last picture is actually the ideal size. We found it about
a week or two ago and have been using ever since. He will pretty much fetch
that stick for as many times as you toss it out- even to the point of overdoing
it, which we try to avoid. Once the stick is brought back to dry ground,
then the shake to
remove excess water from the coat commences. Funny how dogs do that,
even Burt when he knows he is going right back in. That same ritual is
then repeated several dozen times until it looks like Burt has had enough
or our arms are growing tired. We sometimes walk around a bit and explore
the woods near the beach and then hop in the truck to head home. That means
down and head out to catch all the smells and take in the scenery.
Once at home it is treat time (for nourishment of course), then a nap to
get rested up for dinner. It's a tough job, but Burt handles it pretty
darn good and never complains!
Today we went down
to Eagle River for the afternoon romp on the beach. It was really a great
day to be at the beach. With air temps away from the lake in the low 80's
and the lake temp in the low 40's, the air temp down by the lake was in
the 60's. It is just like being in air conditioning. Only better, as there
are no hot or cold spots, just all comfortable. The flies were not a problem
yet and the beach where we were was also pretty quiet. Two lakes freighters
went by as we were there. I took a picture of the
first one. I am amazed at how much noise they make. That freighter
was around 2 miles away, but we could still hear a low rumble coming from
it. I wonder what it must be like to be on it and have to put up with that
noise all the time.
As mentioned the woods
are fully greened up. Part of that greening up is all the berry bushes.
bushes are flowering right now and it sure seems like it is going to
be a huge crop this year. I cannot remember the last time I have seen so
many thimbleberry flowers, even just along side of the road. I am not a
big fan of thimbleberries, although their flowers are the prettiest. They
are too tart and not juicy enough for me. I would much rather have a strawberry,
a blueberry or even a raspberry or blackberry. We have a patch of raspberries
and I have seen some wild strawberries too. I hope to get some domesticated
blueberries going next year and maybe even try to get some blackberry patches
going again. I tried a few years back, but none of them took. I am not
sure what else it takes outside of dropping some berries on the ground
or planting them, but that did not work for me a few years back.
Well, I guess that
about covers it for this one. We'll see what kind of excitement this week
brings. I have two outdoor projects and one inside project that I want
to get done in the next week or two. So I guess that will provide for some
items to discuss and perhaps share with you. I have a feeling that the
rest of June is going to go by very quickly as we have something going
on just about every week until the 4th of July. Then I just need to get
through July (my least favorite month) and then the light at the end of
the tunnel of summer weather will be coming into view. Hard to think that
in just 3 months summer will be pretty much over for this neck of the woods.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
I can honestly say
that I really did have intentions to stick to my schedule and write a journal
last night, but one thing led to another and before I knew it I was out
of time for the evening. I like to give myself at least 2 hours to write
one and in reality if I have pictures to add, it will usually take much
longer than 2 hours to write one. So rather than try and rush one out and
do a poor job, I thought I would wait until today and do my usual C- job!
Just kidding, I would give myself more than a C- on most of them, although
there have been a few that I have thought a C- might have been a bit generous!
It's been a pretty
busy week since I last wrote. Seems hard to believe that it has been a
whole week since Memorial Day. I know I did not come right out and say
it in the last journal, but I think it was implied by the theme of the
writing. But just in case some of you did not catch it, I am very happy
to be settling back into a more "normal" way of life again. I did enjoy
building last summer, but it is just so nice to not have to do anything
of a working nature. Both Nora and I have been busy with some projects,
but we have also been enjoying life a lot with Burt and our new surroundings.
Nora and I have been walking almost every evening and we have also been
spending a lot of time relaxing out in the screen tent with Burt. He really
loves that and it is so relaxing to just sit or lay on the swing and hear
nothing but the wind through the trees and the birds chirping.
I think what is also
so nice about this summer verses last is the lack of pressure to have to
do anything. I had a pretty good idea that I would take all of the summer
and then some to get the cabin finished in time to move in before winter.
We did not have to move in by any set time, but wanted to before the winter
really set in and so that meant that we really could not relax until we
were moved in. Then through the entire winter and spring we knew there
were things that still had to get done in Lake Linden, so that was hanging
over our heads. With all of that gone, we can finally settle back into
a more relaxed way of life and we are all loving it.
Burt is loving it too.
Last summer I still took him for his afternoon walk or swim, but we could
not spend a whole lot of time doing those activities so that I could get
up here and put in as much time on the cabin as possible and I think he
sensed that we were a little rushed for time in these "relaxing" activities.
We certainly have time now and have been able to get back into exploring
and he sure loves that.
Last Wednesday was
one of those times that we did some exploring together. He and I hopped
into Ol' Blue and drove down to the mouth of the Gratiot River. The county
really fixed up the road to get there and owns the beach down there as
well, so it is one lakefront spot that is safe and legal to drive your
vehicle down to and still have a good chance of being the only one or one
of the only ones down there- especially on a week day afternoon while school
is still in session. Wednesday afternoon we had the place to ourselves.
It was a fairly warm and humid afternoon, with temps in the mid to upper
70's and dewpoints in the low to mid 60's, so it was also a good day to
be down near the big lake. It really is amazing how much different the
conditions will be down by the lake at this time of the year. With water
temps still in the 30's, it can be as much as 20 degrees cooler by the
big lake. On Wednesday, the winds were blowing nearly parallel to the shoreline,
which sets up an interesting situation. Occasionally the wind will blow
from the land and occasionally it will blow fro the lake. When it blows
from the land it is pretty warm, then the lake breeze takes over for a
few minutes and it is like you walked into a walk-in refrigerator. Then
the land breeze takes over again and it is like someone turned on the heat
full blast. For the record I like the lake breeze better, but it really
has to be one of the few places in the country where such an extreme difference
in air temperature can occur in such a small distance.
For some reason Burt
did not seem like swimming too much, so we spent more time walking the
shoreline and exploring
the river a bit. Thankfully the bugs were not bad at all. Not sure
why as that would have seemed to be a prime spot for black flies, but I
do not remember having to swat a single one and it is still just a tiny
bit too early for the horse flies to be a problem. However, a word to the
wise, in about a week, the nasty beach flies or biting flies or whatever
you want to call them will be out in full force. They are not a problem
away from the lakes at all, but are nasty, nasty, nasty at the beaches.
Especially the beaches of the big lake. The only good thing about them
is that they do not last too long. About a week to ten days after they
first appear they are gone for the season. Although I will say that for
some reason last year we had a second hatching in late July that caught
us off guard and made for a miserable week or two up here on the beaches.
Plus the deer and horse flies will start to show their ugly heads shortly.
In fact the deer flies have already started to appear in the woods a bit,
but are still not too bad.
So, with mostly sunny
skies, warm temps and almost no bugs, it was a
great day to be at the beach. It did not last for too long though as
the humidity in the air and some unstable air aloft led to some afternoon
thunderstorms. I have to admit that I am quite paranoid of being struck
by lightning. I suppose having all the knowledge I do on the topic, plus
knowing that most folks are in danger long before they think they are makes
me a little more paranoid than the average Joe. So after the first few
rumbles of thunder were heard, I told Burt that we needed to go home. Our
timing was pretty good because we had only been in the truck a few minutes
when the first raindrops hit the windshield and a few minutes later we
were in the middle of a torrential downpour. One of those downpours that
causes standing water to occur on the road and the ditches on the sides
of the road to fill up. My weather station said that we picked up about
3/4" of rain in about 40 minutes. The day before we had picked up about
2/3" of rain in about 30 minutes. Both the rain storms came at almost the
exact time in the afternoon too. It really reminded me of being on the
west coast of FL in the summer. There you can almost set you watch to the
development of the afternoon showers and storms. In the summer, Florida
is far enough south to be enveloped in the easterly trade winds. However,
along the west coast the sea breeze wants to blow from the west. So you
get this piling up of the air just inland along the west coast which leads
to some pretty huge thunderstorms. The storms then drift west as the sea
breeze loses out to the trade winds. It will just pour rain for about 30-40
minutes and then the rest of the afternoon and evening are perfect. That
is what it did up here both Tuesday and Wednesday. I think that the rain
we got up here last Tuesday and Wednesday was more than we picked up for
all of June, July and much of August last summer.
Not everyone saw those
showers and storms occur last Tuesday and Wednesday, but some areas were
hit on other days and most areas have seen some fairly decent rains fall
in the past week to ten days. That has allowed the
woods to really green up. That picture was taken this past Saturday
when Burt, Nora and I took an afternoon walk in the woods not far from
the cabin. If it looked a little cooler in that shot than it was in the
shots taken Wednesday, it was. However, the humidity was still up there
a bit and we even had a few sprinkles to dodge. All in all though a nice
day to be walking in the woods. The cooler temps kept the bugs at bay and
the only thing we had to bother us were some ticks. Nora and I removed
3 each from our long pants, but amazingly Burt did not have a single one
on him and we gave him a very thorough looking over when we got home. The
only thing I can think to explain that is that it is easier for a tick
to latch onto jeans than onto Burt's fur. He has had some that we have
picked off already, but came home tick free from Saturday's walk in the
cool and damp woods- a tick heaven.
On Sunday we decided
to forgo the woods and go to the beach. So since Burt and I enjoyed the
mouth of the Gratiot and the weather was not the best of beach weather,
I figured we would head there and hope to have the place to ourselves.
When we arrived there was one other truck there, but no sign of anyone,
they must have gone upstream to do some fishing. The weather conditions
on Sunday were almost the exact opposite of Wednesday. Cool temps and even
some fog. Even so it made for some pretty
scenery and that one looks like it is good enough for a full
sized version. For some reason Burt really felt like swimming yesterday,
so Nora and I tossed the stick in for him for at least a half hour, but
decided to suspend the activity when we spotted him shaking. Silly guy
still wanted to swim even though he was frozen to the bone! On the way
back a hawk or falcon (not up to speed on my raptors) swooped down in front
of the truck and then up and stopped for a rest atop a dead standing birch.
Nora saw it land there and pointed it out to me so I could take a
shot of it. My apologies for the blurred image, I guess that is one
of the problems with a digital cam in that you cannot always tell if your
subject is in focus. Gonna have to work on that one a bit. Nice camera
So that covers most
of the fun parts of the past week or so. The working parts have not been
too bad either. On Friday Nora and I went down and cut the grass at the
Lake Linden home. With the rains, the lawn looks as good as it has in over
a year. Last years drought really caused the lawn to suffer. The up side
was the fact that I think we only cut the lawn a half dozen times or less
all summer. It has probably been cut that many time so far this season.
The grass was also getting long enough up here that it could use a cutting.
There are still spots that have no grass and others that just have some
tiny hairs of grass, but the spots where the grass came up last autumn
and also where grass was mixed in with the topsoil we got, the grass was
almost knee high. So rather than wait until it was all in good enough that
it needed to be cut, I went over it all and cut back want needed to be
cut. I am happy with how
it is filling in and if it keeps up like it is, in about a month we
should have a pretty solid lawn. All of Nora's plants are growing very
well. She is happy to have time to spend on her flowers and vegetables
and not have to worry about rushing home from work so she can rush up here
to help me build the cabin.
I have also been busy
with the shop and as of yesterday afternoon, finally got to the point where
I can say it is done.
Now, with that said, it will never be done. There will always be some fixture
or jig to build or some new tool to acquire and the more obvious work that
still needs to be done is to insulate it and put up tongue and groove walls
and a ceiling as well. But for now all the tools are in their spots, dust
collection has been hooked up to them in a temporary fashion and my work
benches were finished up for now and the hand
tools and layout tools are hung above them. Oh and by the way, the
sign hanging on the wall in that last shot was not stolen. The guys doing
some clearing for us last year found it and I even showed it to the previous
head of the road commission and he had no problems with me having it, so
I kept it. So it is not stolen property, just a unique decorative piece.
I even have enough
room in the shop that the
babies were able to get put back inside of it. None of my sleds have
ever had to spend any time outside when not in use and it was bothering
me to see them sitting on the trailer off the driveway. I could probably
use the space in the shop for something else, but it is worth my piece
of mind to have them back inside. There is a bit of work that I want to
do to the 800 in this off season, so it will be nice to have a spot to
be able to work on them safe from the bugs and rain. Hopefully all will
work out and I will be able to build onto the shop as planned in time to
give them their permanent home in time for the riding season. If not, I
suppose in a pinch they can use the wood shop again. Although trust me
on this one. If you ever have the chance to build a storage space or shop
bigger do it. I am not complaining about what I have and have not run out
of space yet, but it is true when they say you can never have enough storage
space! I will gain some room when the shop is built onto, but a lot of
what is in there right now is woodworking related and will not be moved,
so any additional machinery will create some need for arranging. But I
must say I do love my shop! It is the most space I have ever had and I
look forward to not only working on it, but working on other projects in
I guess that about
covers it. Although the official recording time for snowfall for the season
is not over (a snow season runs from July 1-June 30), I think it is pretty
safe to say that the snow season is over for 2006-2007. By most measures
it was a pretty disappointing one. While our season total was not too bad
at 205.5", if you remove the big storm in early April, the season total
would have been 163.5". Remove the respectable storm we had in early March
and the total drops off to just 145.5". That is a pretty poor season. In
my opinion had it not been for the huge April storm we had, this season
might have gone down in the record books as the most disappointing- perhaps
tied with my first up here in 99-00 which ended the third week in February.
I guess the only good thing about such a season is that is it behind us
and it means we have to have a doosy to make up for it.
Good night from the Keweenaw..