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June 24-
    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.
-JD-
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June 17-
    Happy Fathers 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 all night!
    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..
-JD-
June 10-
    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 goes.
    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 windows 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. The thimbleberry 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.  MMMM, September!!!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
June 4-
    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 otherwise.
    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 it.
    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..
-JD-
 
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