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May 27-
    Even though today is more like a Saturday than a Sunday, it is actually a Sunday (with tomorrow off) and I figured I may as well keep up my regular rotation. I can make no future promises, I may update on a Monday or who knows, I may even get out a journal sooner than 7 days. But anyway, it is the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and here I am! Seems hard to believe that it is Memorial Day weekend already. Seems like just a few weeks ago we were taking our last snowmobile ride for the season. Memorial Day is a little early this year, but it still seems hard to believe that the official start to the summer is happening.
    We are having anything but summer weather right now. A front came through Thursday evening and we had another one of those 25 degree temperature drops in less than an hour. We were actually out on the golf course when it happened. I can say though that I was pretty well prepared for it. I keep a fleece jacket in my golf bag because it can cool off pretty dramatically on any given evening up here. I also brought a gortex wind breaker with me because there was a front and some rains coming at us and it looked like we were going to get caught while out on the course. The first little shower hit as we were heading down the third fairway, but it ended about as fast as it started. The second brief shower hit as we were heading down the 5th or 6th fairway and again ended briefly. Then as we were finishing up the 7th hole, the skies grew darker and it looked like our luck would run out. We tee'd off on number 8 in a pretty steady rain and were able to just barely finish up the par 3, 8th hole when the heavens opened up with a torrential downpour and even a flash of lightning followed by the rumble of thunder. We were already in our carts headed back to the cart barn when the lightning struck and there were no more lightning strikes, but there is something particularly unnerving about being on a golf course when a thunderstorm is occurring. We were unable to finish the game as the rains kept up and we all went home.
    It then rained off and on for the rest of the evening Thursday. It was good to get a decent rain up here. I have been watering the grass seed twice a day and the fruits of my labor have been rewarded by some hairs of grass popping up through the dirt. I think if we would have had some warmer temps in the past 2 weeks, then the grass seed would have been further along, but at least it is germinating and hopefully in a couple of weeks we will have green to look at rather than brown. I have chuckled to myself a few times this past week as I looked out the window to check on the seed. Something about getting excited about watching the grass grow! I used to lead such an exciting life!
    Friday was a nice day, with mostly sunny skies and temps around 60. Yesterday was partly cloudy and a bit chilly. There was also a pretty stiff breeze yesterday, which as carried over to today and today has been overcast with temps running in the upper 40's. Of course you all know already that I am not complaining about the cool temps. I could honestly be a very happy person if this was as warm as it got all summer. I do not mind having to wear a jacket and one of the biggest bright spots to the cool temps is that it keeps the bugs hiding. I spent a lot of time outside the past few days and have not had to swat one blackfly or mosquito. From the looks of it, we are going to have some more cool weather this coming week. Tomorrow and Tuesday look warmer (but not hot) and then another strong front looks to move through and cool us back down and then we look to remain cool for the rest of the week and into the following weekend. I'm sure that this summer will provide some heat, but for now I am liking how things are going.
    We have had some warmer days too. Wednesday was warm and before the front came through on Thursday it was warm and humid. In fact, all of us golfers were wearing shorts and t-shirts and were sweating when we started out. I was the only one with jackets for the change in the weather. Burt and I have been getting out for our afternoon adventures every day. Knock on wood, but he is really getting around well. In fact I think he is getting around better this year than he was last year. We are taking walks that are 2-2 1/2 miles long and while he is pretty sore at the end, he is fine the next day. He really loves living here. When we first moved, I think he did not like it so much. The Lake Linden home was pretty much his home for most of his life and had we not been moving to a place where I knew he would love it even more, I think I might have even waited for him to pass before we made any kind of move. No need to add any more stress to the guy's life. I cannot put my finger on the exact date when he became comfortable with this new home of his, but it was not more than a few weeks. Now when we go back to the Lake Linden home, he gets paranoid that we are going to leave him behind! There are several things that he loves more about this place than the Lake Linden house and one of them is to be able to walk out his front door and be right in the middle of the woods on our walks. On the warmer days we had over to Burt's Pond. That seems to be one of his favorite places to go. It is about 1/2 mile away from the cabin and much of it is through shaded woods, so he does not get too overheated. However, he is glad to get to the pond so that he can jump in and cool off. We will spend about 1/2 hour letting him swim and fetch sticks and then we head back. As Burt and I walk back along the road that we take for a while to get back to the cabin, I am reminded of the shot of Andy and Opie Taylor walking along a dirt road on their way to or from a fishing hole in the woods. All we need is the music to play and me or someone to whistle along and it would be a close match.
    Another thing that Burt loves to do up here at the cabin is to lay down outside and relax in the evenings. The bugs have been pretty bad the past few weeks, but we put up the screen tent and put the swing inside it and so we have been spending quite a bit of time in there. The swing can have it's back rest lowered and converted into more of a bed. Yesterday afternoon I put the back rest down and we spent a few relaxing hours out there thinking about pretty much next to nothing! He likes to lay there and sniff all the scents that are flowing out of the woods and I like to lay there and watch him. The tent sits in the shade all day long, so I can see that as a nice place to be on a warm day with a bit of a breeze and we will be spending quite a bit of time there this summer.
    Today was plenty cool enough to be able to walk in the woods and not have to worry about Burt overheating. Temps were in the 40's, there was a thick overcast and a stiff breeze- your typical late October day! Nora, Burt and I took a nice hike up into the Cliff Range today. We have not been up there for a couple of years and today seemed like a good day to head up that way. It's nice to be out exploring again. We did so much of that in previous years, but then got so busy with the wedding a few years ago and then building the shop and cabin. I think Burt can sense that we are getting back to the "good old days" as he used to be reluctant to get into the truck to go somewhere as it was usually not somewhere fun. Now he has no problems hopping up into the truck because he knows that we will be going somewhere fun.
    It was a perfect day to be hiking in the woods. No bugs and very comfortable temps to be exerting yourself. There is nothing better than hiking the woods of the Keweenaw and having them all to yourself the entire time. It took us about 30 minutes to hike up to the top- all of it up hill. However, once at the top, the rewards are far worth it. The view from up there is really something. To the southeast are the highest points in Keweenaw County. Places like Praiseville Hill and Mt Horace Greely. To the east is the quiet hamlet of Phoenix. To the south are the woods of the Keweenaw and well off into the distance the Huron Mountains. When I would hike up there with Burt and Baileys, they would freak me out by walking right up to the edge of the cliff and look over. Some of the drop off's are sheer drops of several hundred feet. Today was no different. I spent much of the time barking orders to Burt to back away or come close. I have not had to bark orders to Burt in years. Both he and Baileys really settled into very well behaved lifestyles a few years ago- knowing what they can and cannot do. In fact I cannot even remember the last time I have really had to correct or scold Burt, but it has been years. He is an incredible dog and both Nora and I know we are so lucky to have had both him and Baileys in our lives.
    The way back down did not take quite as long as walking down hill is easier than walking up hill. However, here is a little side track. Walking a lot of down hill is actually harder than walking a lot of up hill. I think it is because you use different muscles for walking down hill and those are muscles you do not use as much. Anyway, if you ever go on a long hike (more than 3-5 miles) and there is a lot of elevation change. Be prepared for some pain on the way down! Anyway, we made it back safe and sound. There is a little creek that we have to cross when we are near the bottom and Burt used it to get a little drink and cool off as well. Before getting to the bottom, there was a little trickle of water coming down the hill and I used it to take a photo. We made it back safe and sound and as I said, it felt really good to be out and exploring again. Hopefully we will be able to a lot more of that this summer and autumn.
    I have been pretty busy working in the shop and on the shop. I was able to pretty much finish up the work benches. I say "pretty much", because I need to put a piece of hardboard on the top and also trim out the sides of the top. Perhaps someday I will convert the tops to laminated hard maple, but for now the doubled up 5/8" OSB and hardboard will be just fine. Sometime in the next year or so I also plan to build some cabinets to put underneath the tops. They will store tools and other items. For now they will server their purpose and were built with longevity in mind, by using mortise and tennon and half lap jointery. The only fasteners (screws or nails) were the ones used to secure the OSB to the frames. Everything I build for the shop I plan to build with the intent for it to last the rest of my life. A pretty cool thought when I think about it. These are items that I am creating now and will be around 30+ years from now.
    Visible in that last pic were two other additions to the shop- windows! I put two windows in today. They too need some more work to be finished. I need to trim out the outside of the windows and also put back in the battens on the side of the shop. I need to get some more rough sawn lumber as we used all of ours to make the tongue and groove siding. The windows are up pretty high, but I figured the higher I put them up the less chance there will be of the weather getting in behind them. I caulked them, but with the rough sawn board and batten siding used on the shop there is no way to get the kind of weather proofing I would get on a house with engineered sheathing and house wrap. Plus the snow piles up pretty high on the sides of the shop. Their main purpose is to let some natural light in as well as provide for ventilation. I have two more windows I plan to put on the back wall of the shop, but they will probably not go in for a while.
    Other that completing the trim and batten work on the outside, my next job in the shop is to hang some OSB above the benches so that I can hang my layout tools and some hand tools. I have several things that I built that hold hand tools and some layout tools and right now they are sitting in a box in the shop. I eventually plan to side the entire inside of the shop in tongue and groove, but that may not be for a year or more. I have some spare OSB sitting in the shop, so it will serve as a temporary wall material. Once that is done, the shop will be pretty much ready for business. I do have a few projects that I plan to get right into when the shop is ready, so that is kind of neat to know that there are projects in the waiting.
    The woods continue to green up and are making use of any rain we get. The lake is still way down and it will take months of above average rainfall to bring it back up, but every little bit will help. The apple trees that a group of visitors to the site gave us in memory of my dad are full of blooms. It will be neat to have some apples this autumn to pick and eat and maybe even make an apple pie with. What is even more exciting is to know that these trees will be around for the rest of our lives and will continue to produce more and more apples. Two weeks ago I planted a peach tree. We will not have any peaches this year, but next year I am told we will have plenty. Nothing better than a fresh peach!
    Other than that, not much else is going on. June is almost here and as mentioned I am sure that so are some pretty hot days. Although I can draw encouragement from the fact that in 3 months summer will be essentially over. We may still have some hot and/or humid days left, but we will be at the end of August and staring down the barrel of September and that is a very good month for weather up here! Happy Memorial Day everyone!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
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May 20-
    Some interesting weather we have been having lately. On Monday, we rose to 70 degrees by the late afternoon. Then in the evening, a front came through and dropped temps 25 degrees in 30 minutes. I think the air got a little help from the cold waters of Lake Superior. When the winds blow off of it with enough vigor this time of the year the air can get really cold. In any case, in 30 minutes we went from 70 degrees to 45 degrees. Glad I was not out in the bush with shorts and a t-shirt on! It remained cold on Tuesday. So cold that I wanted to wear some gloves on my afternoon walk with Burt. I probably could have used a hat too, but braved the elements. Then by Thursday we had my perfect day up here, with crystal clear skies and temps in the low 60's. At other times of the year, 60 degrees might feel cool, but when the sun is so strong and I have not yet acclimated to the warmer temps, then low 60's and bright sunshine is just fine by me. I do not need to wear a jacket, but am still perfectly comfortable. Friday was in the 70's and I survived just fine, but did break out the shorts to go along with my t-shirt. Then early Saturday another front came through and we went from the mid 50's at about 3 am into the mid 40's by 6 am and then down into the mid 30's by around 8 am. The most interesting thing about Saturday was that we then stayed in the low to mid 30's all day. Even at the warmest time of the day, the temps were sitting in the low to mid 30's. We had a heavy overcast and strong north to northeast winds too. Plus a bit of rain passed through from time to time and then early this morning we had some snow. I did not see it, but the airport near Calumet reported light snow from 1 am until 5 am and I know I had some ice crystals on the vehicles and boat cover this morning. Temps recovered today, with a high of around 50. Temps will continue to warm and we could slip into the 80's by Tuesday and Wednesday. I guess the rule of thumb if you were planning a trip up here at this time of the year would be to pack for winter, spring and summer.
    I have the air conditioners all ready to go. Not sure if we will be needing them, but I think I will put them in tomorrow and be all set just in case. The cabin sits in the shade until about 10-11 am and then dips back into the shade by around 8 pm. It will also stay pretty cool if we do not open the doors and windows too much, but I know we will be needing the AC's sometime this summer and I may as well get them in and ready for use. I can tell that the cabin is well insulated because we did not need heat at all yesterday or overnight last night. I had even forgot to close the window in the upstairs bedroom yesterday, but yet we still managed to stay warm without heating up the floors. It takes a while for the floors to totally cool down and I did not want them to be warm when we were trying to stay cool, so I am glad that we did not need heat.
    Through all of this wacky weather the Laurium Glacier managed to melt off Thursday. I do not know the exact time of day that it melted, but it is gone. Thanks to the big storm in early April, it seemed to melt about on average. There have been earlier dates like May 15th and later dates like May 26th, but it seems like sometime around the third week of may it finally gives up the ghost. This year I could not see into the spot that it likes to last the longest without getting out of the car and climbing in a bit and there are some nasty bushes in there. I have the puncture marks from the thorns! Plus, each time I stopped, got out of the truck and walked into the ditch to check on it, there were folks walking the road nearby and they must have wondered what the heck I was doing! Oh well, a little confusion in life is always good!
    The blackflys are out, or were. Back on Monday I got the itch to plant grass seed. I had intended to plant just one section, let it get going and then plant other sections in stages. Well, I got about 3/8ths done before dinner and just decided to finish up the rest after dinner. This was before the front came through and dropped the temps on Monday, so I was out there in the 70 degree temps and sunshine and bugs. I hate blackflys the most for many reasons. One being that even bug repellent will not immunize you from them. They do not like bug spray, but they find areas that you cannot put the spray on, like your mouth, nose, ears and even your eyes. I ended up with them flying into all of those areas- nasty buggers! Of course about 30 minutes after I finished the temps dropped and winds picked up and that sent them scurrying for cover. Figures!
    They did not like Tuesday's weather and were a no show yesterday and today too. Today seemed warm enough for them to come out, but perhaps yesterday's cold sent them deep into cover and they needed more than 50 degrees to get them back out. Would it ever be nice if they were all killed by yesterday's weather! But I fear not. They have been around a long time (probably 1000's of years longer than humans have inhabited the Keweenaw) and they have adapted quite well to anything the weather up here can throw at them. I guess you have to give them credit for that, but that is about all I will compliment them on!
    Living in the woods has also introduced me to all the bugs that live in the woods. I do not know what they all are. We have been dealing with these tiny beetle like bugs that Nora and I are calling potato bugs. They are about the size of a tick, but shaped more like an aphid. They do not seem to do much except walk around and make a tick when they hit the floor. They also do not seem to live too long as I have come across more dead ones than alive ones. We also have been seeing some flying bugs that look much like a fat lightning bug without the light. Not as many of them as the others and they are mainly outside rather than inside the house. Among the other bugs we have are the blackflys, a few mosquitos, bees, centipedes and a few ants. Although not too many ants thankfully. With a shop made almost completely out of wood and a house also made mainly of wood. I am keeping my eyes out for any ants or termites and at the first sign an exterminator will be called in. If Burt did not walk around so much outside I would probably spray around the base of the cabin and shop right now.
    I have also set up some natural defense mechanisms to help combat the bugs around here. Nora gave me a Purple Martin birdhouse for Christmas and this week I put it together and we are now just waiting for them to take it over. Hopefully they will as they eat a tremendous amount of insects. I might look into building a few bat houses as well. I know we had Barney hanging on the shop last year. Not sure where he went, but bats are around here and they love to eat insects too. The martins will take care of them in the daytime and the bats can eat them at night. To be honest, most of the bugs do not bother me that much. I could even deal with blackflys and mosquitos if they did not want to latch onto me and suck my blood! I am perfectly happy to let the male mosquitos live in harmony with me up here! For the females, I have two mosquito magnets going for them. The mosquitos have not been too bad just yet, but the traps have been catching quite few blackflys. I know last year that at the end of May the mosquitos were pretty bad, so we set up the magnet up here, it caught quite a few and then I think it and all the dry weather we had really beat down the mosquito population because we really did not have many problems with them from about the end of June on. So we'll see how the two of them work this year.
    Nora and I have been doing some other tasks around the property. Nothing major, but it is starting to look pretty nice around here with all of her flowers blossoming. I am really looking forward to having some grass. Not looking forward to mowing it, but it will be nice to look out and see grass rather than mud. Burt likes to lay in the grass too, so I am sure he will enjoy it once it finally comes up. The shop continues to come along. I am pretty much at the stage where I need to build some workbenches. I did pick up the lumber for them this past week. I got their spaces in the shop all cleaned out and there really is nothing more left to do in the shop except build them, put them into place and then fill them up with tools and other various items. Then I can finish organizing the shop and get on with building some things in it.
    The weather has presented its share of challenges to us for our outdoor adventures. It seems like one day we are all bundled up and then next are sweating it out. Today the sun was out and it was not too cold, so we decided to take a trip to the beach. Well, as we got near enough to the lake to see it, I saw whitecaps on it and knew that it would be a pretty chilly walk on the beach as the temps were in the 40's. It was chilly, but tolerable. We walked a while and then turned around and headed back. Burt did not even want to go for a swim. Not sure why, perhaps it was chilly enough he did not feel the need to cool off. Last time we were out there it was a whole lot warmer and even though we had to climb over the ice pack to get to the water, we did and he went for a swim. Anyway, it was a brisk day to be at the beach, but I have yet to encounter a day when I did not want to be there- no matter what the weather is. Something about walking the shores of the big lake.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
May 13-
    Sometimes these journals are easy to start and sometimes they are difficult. I cannot put my finger on why it is one way other than the other, but tonight it was difficult. I actually have some things to write about, so you would think I would be able to just jump right into it, but I first had to get past the block. So the best way I could come up with tonight was to just talk about it rather than try and figure out something more cleaver to say and then continue on. It looks like it worked, because I am rolling along now!
    Spring continues to pop out around here. The trees have all burst their buds and are in differing stages of filling out. Its fun to live in the woods and see the transformation occur. Two weeks ago the grass was starting to green a bit, but all the trees and bushes were still in winter mode. A week ago the buds were just starting to open on trees like the birch, with the maples and oak still holding back any signs of summer foliage. Then this week everything opened up and some of the ground cover plants like the ferns have also popped up. So things are going from a varied shade of browns to different shades of green and the depth as which you can see into the woods is also decreasing. Soon we will be all nestled into an intimate pocket in the woods, with a thick Keweenaw forest surrounding us. I know I am looking forward to the shade and the intimacy of the summer foliage.
    We are suppose to get some rain tonight and tomorrow, which will be very welcomed. In addition the the greening up of the woods, some rain will really help to knock down the fire danger. So far so good up this way, with the fire in Baraga County being put under control last week and no new fires of significance going on close by. There is a big one in northeast MN and the rains are suppose to hit that one too. Not that the rains will put it out, but will help! The big lake continues to shrink. Normally it is an asset that lakes like the Portage and Torch are connected to the big lake, but this is one of those times that it is a liability, because they too are down about 18". That is not that big of a deal for the big lake, at least in most cases, but it is making a pretty big deal to the connected lakes- especially the ones with a shallower shoreline. The Torch and Portage lakes are just those types of lakes which are connected and also have rather shallow shorelines. As a result, we have a lot of stranded docks right now. That was the dock at the village park in Lake Linden. The docks at the boat launch are fine as the water there is plenty deep. However that scene is being repeated in many areas right now. So any rain in the Lake Superior basin will be welcomed. The low water levels have not been impacting Burt much. He still finds the water just fine and gets after a stick that is tossed out into it. So from a purely selfish standpoint the low water levels are not impacting us, but I do feel sorry for folks that have docks sitting on dry land right now.
    We have been busy up here this past week and especially this past weekend. Nora and I went down to the Lake Linden house yesterday and cut the grass for the first time this season. That is actually pretty early for the first cut and it really needed it too. Not that it was like a wheat field, but it did need cutting. Normally we can make it until around the 15th before it even shows signs of needing to be cut. Anyway, that was done and the other big job left down there got done too. We got all my lumber out of the shop in the basement. Good Old Blue was called into duty again. We were able to put all the plywood and all of the cherry wood into the back in one load. I am not one to hang onto a lot of useless things, but the one exception is the "cut off's" from all of my woodworking projects. We did not save any cut off's from building the cabin, but I sure had a bunch of them from my woodworking projects in the past 8 years. It took three 35 gallon garbage cans as well as a couple of boxes to get them all up from the shop. That was load number 2 for Old Blue yesterday and also the final load of the day. I can also say that I was able to get beyond hanging onto the cut off's and they are destined for the wood boiler.
    This morning I put the wood storage racks up in the shop up here and got all the wood sorted, stacked and stickered. I also did a little more organizing of the shop today and it is coming along. In the lower right there looks to be a big mess still sitting there, but it is really not as bad as it looks. That is a lot of the gardening stuff and some other things that will get put away once the shop comes along a little further. My next job for the shop is to build two work benches, then I can get some things stored in and on them and then I can make the final arrangements to things in the shop and it will be pretty well set up and I can start using it to build things that I want to for the cabin. As I was working in there today, I realized that this is the 5th home for the shop in the past 12 years. I also realized that like me, this is the final home for it. Well, I plan to make my final home the log home we will build next to the cabin in a few years, but it will be part of the "group" of buildings up here. Pretty neat thought and pretty exciting to know that this is it. No more moves!
    Nora was busy yesterday afternoon planting a garden next to the cabin. She had a nice perennial garden down in Lake Linden and grabbed a few plants from that  and brought them up here to start a new one up here. She also picked up some annuals to help color things up around here. She does a great job with her flowers and other plants and was worried that we would not have the sunshine up here that we have down there, but we have seen that while there is a lot more trees and shade up here, there are also some very sunny spots. I even plan to put some raised beds on top of the septic field to plant some strawberries on. That will happen next year though! I also hope to get some domesticated raspberries going up here (we have some wild patches around the property) as well as some blueberries. I think those projects will have to wait until next year too as right now my main landscaping project is this. To plant grass there. I plan to do it in about 3 stages working from front to back. There was a few pockets of grass that came with the top fill for the septic, but not enough to let go on it's own.
    So a lot had been done in the past week and there certainly is quite a bit more to do, but we'll keep on plugging and chugging and take care of things one at a time. Nothing that we have left to do needs to be done immediately, so that is nice too. We can do some relaxing and do not have the stress of a time table.
    Not much else going on up here. I did play my first round of golf up here. Not bad for the first round on a new course that I have never even been on. Hopefully the score will come down a bit, but I was not disappointed by things last night. The Laurium Glacier continues to shrink. Depending on the temps this week, it may just disappear. I will need to start keeping a closer eye on it this week. Keep an eye out for the big news in the next week or so. About the only other item of interest is that tomorrow marks my 8th anniversary of moving up here. The details of that day are still fresh in my mind and probably will be for a long time if not forever. It was such a monumental event in my life and one that changed it for the better more than I could have ever imagined it would. Hard to believe it has been 8 years. Seems like just a few years ago. Time flies!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
May 6-
    Hard to believe another week has flown by, but according to the calendar it has. This will likely be a short one as I really do not have a ton to write about and am sorry to say that I do not even have a single picture to share with you. It's been a busy week up here, but mostly work mixed in with a bit of play. I have actually been battling a Lateral Epicondylitis of late and have had to also take it easy. For those of you that do not know what that is, it may sound pretty serious, but it is actually commonly known as "Tennis Elbow". I have not played tennis for at least 10 years, so I suspect that mine could more accurately be called builders elbow. I developed it sometime while building the cabin. I had so many sore muscles back when we were doing the building, I really cannot pinpoint when I got it. I do know that it would flare up off and on through the winter and seemed to be worse after a hard snowmobile ride. Then this spring it was bothering me to the point where it was interfering with my sleep. So when I went to my annual check up back at the end of March, I mentioned to my Dr my elbow and forearm pain. He took a look at it and diagnosed it at the lateral Epicondylitis and gave me a prescription to see a physical therapist. I started that about a month ago and actually was not too good with the instructions to make it heal. I did get one of those arm bands that helps keep the muscles in the forearm from contracting too much and that helped. I did go to the physical therapist like I was suppose to, but I was also suppose to rest it and do some stretching exercises and did not do those last two very much. In fact I took a snowmobile ride and ATV ride rather than resting it and was doing all that work at the Lake Linden house and in the shop. Last weekend things actually got worse with my arm and when I told the therapist, she already knew of my activities and strongly urged me to take it easy. So all of last week I did take it pretty easy and did my stretches and it made very good progress. So good that I was able to resume work on the shop Friday and have been doing work there and a bit at the Lake Linden house too. It still gets a bit sore with these more active days, but I can tell that it is getting much better. Actually one of the things that can be most irritating to it is typing and I do feel things pull and hurt a bit when I type. So I guess that will be another excuse to keep this short.
    Not much has been happening with the weather up here. We have not had a lick of rain in about a week. Last Sunday was warm, dry and very windy and a prescribed burn set by some government entity on government land on Friday restarted and got out of hand to the south of Baraga and north of Covington. It burned pretty hard for about 2 days and then the winds calmed down and temps dropped a bit and they were able to get it about 90% contained as of Friday. However, today has been windy and warm and I would not be surprised to hear about the fire getting bigger again. Thankfully there have been no major fires burning up this way. I did see the DNR spotter plane on Thursday or Friday flying overhead, so they are watching for things, but so far so good (at least that is what I know as I type!).
    The temps have been pretty comfortable. I actually enjoy it when the temps are in the 50's. I do not mind at all having to wear a jacket and would take that over an 80 degree day on almost any occasion in the warm months. Of course today we hit 70 and with the breeze, that felt pretty good too. Things are starting to green up a bit. The grass is greening the most and would be very green if we would get a decent rain. The buds on the trees are just starting to burst. Usually we do not have a full canopy until the end of May, so it looks like things are on schedule to reach that full canopy in about 3 weeks. All the rivers and creeks are back down to summer levels. The surge with the snow melt is over and if we do not get some meaningful rain soon they will be at late summer levels soon. The lake is also way, way low. As low as I have ever seen it. I have actually not been to the big lake, but have seen the Portage and Torch Lakes and am seeing things there that I have never seen. Actually I take that back. I did see the big lake at Keweenaw Bay and did see lake bottom in spots between L'Anse and Baraga that I have never seen before. I had no idea it was that shallow in those particular spots!
    As mentioned I have been doing some work. The work at Lake Linden is just about over. All we need to do is get all my lumber up out of the basement. I then want to paint the wall that my lumber storage racks are near and we will be completely done with work down there. It does look a lot better than it did just a month ago, so we'll see if those efforts make any difference. I am sure that they will eventually and am just glad to know that those tasks are done and we have done about all we can to that place to make it presentable for sale. The saga up here with the shop continues. I did finish some of the storage space in the rafters and yesterday Nora and I did get most of the items I want to put up there up there. I also built a little hanging wood storage rack for some of the left over lumber from building the cabin. There is still quite a bit of organizing to do and I need to build two workbenches that will help with that organizing. In fact, once those are done, things will go very quickly as I will have a place to put all the hand tools. Right now by looking at things you probably would not notice much of a difference in there, but that will change soon and I will take a few pictures this week to show the progress. I really cannot believe all the stuff we had at the Lake Linden house and we really need to have a garage sale!  Maybe this autumn.
    Well, I think that actually covers things for this one. I will be starting up my summer forecasts tomorrow, so you will have something to check out on the site that is updated daily now! (other than the discussion board). Take care and...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
 
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