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November 28-
    No your eyes do not deceive you, it is a journal and it is not Sunday! We are entering into the snow season and I try to update more than once a week in that season. No guarantees, but I do try! It will also be determined by if I have much new to say and if I have the time to say it! All three cases were met tonight, so here I am!
    We really had some wild weather yesterday morning. A compact, fast moving and very strong low moved almost directly over our head. When I awoke yesterday morning at 4:15 things were pretty calm, with a few snowflakes falling gently to the ground. Nora was up getting ready for work at about 5:45, looked out and things had not changed much. She went into the shower and about the same exact time I heard a gust of wind hit the house. As I worked, I continued to hear gusts of wind and decided to look out and see what was going on. I have seen it snow very hard and I have seen the wind blow snow around very hard, but I have never seen it snow and blow so hard at the same time. We had snowfall rates of 4" an hour and winds to 71 mph! If that was the kick off to winter, it was a doosy! It's funny, I have only lived here for about 9 years, but I did talk to some old timers that have lived up here their whole life and they all said the same exact things that they have never seen it snow and blow so hard at the same time- ever. So maybe I am becoming a seasoned yooper after all.
    Nora took off for work before any announcements about the schools were made. After about 5 minutes she called me to tell me she was on her way back. Typically after about 5 minutes of driving she would be to about Kearsarge, or halfway between Mohawk and Calumet. In those 5 minutes, she had only traveled about 1/4 of a mile down our own road and was not even to the highway yet! She made it back to the house safe and sound and soon found out that schools were on a 90 minute delay. Then about a half hour later it was announced there was no school for the day. So she got to stay home and hang out with Burt and I.
    We took our afternoon walk close by on a road that does not get too much traffic. We still put Burt on a leash to be safe, but it is one of those that can extend out 25 feet and he can roam pretty much as he pleases since the road is so quiet. The road was quiet yesterday, but also snowy. The burst of heavier snow in the morning had ended by around 8 and the winds also died off a little after that, but it snowed steadily for the rest of the morning and then in the afternoon we had periods of heavier snow (as in that last picture) as well as some periods of lighter snow. Also if you look in that shot you can see some snowmobile tracks. A boy that had the day off from school was tooling around in the fresh snow. 3 more days and the woods will be open to sleds!
    Today we had storm number 2 hit. It was a much more timid event than yesterdays ruckus. Still we have picked up about 4 1/2" so far today and the lake snows are just starting to kick in. Today Nora had to go to school (work), so that left Burt and I alone to do our afternoon adventure. I decided to head northeast up 41 towards the higher elevations. They had more snow on the ground before these two latest storms, so I wanted to see how much they had on the ground compared to us. The scene on Hwy 41 in "downtown" Mohawk is starting to look a little winterlike, with the snowbanks starting to grow. We were about the only one on the highway as we approached Phoenix, so I pulled off to take a shot of the snowmobile trail where it crosses the highway. It looked like there was enough down to ride if someone had wanted to. Only problem is one can't until Friday night.
    We continued northeast up 41 and then turned off on a local road and then off onto another one where we were able to park and take our afternoon walk in snowy solitude. The snow there was still falling at a decent clip and the combination of the deeper snows on the ground before these two storms hit and probably some heavier snow with each of these storms caused the snow depth there to be almost twice what we have here at the cabin. Our depth at the cabin when we left was around 8" and while I did not have a yardstick with me on our walk, I would conservatively put the depth at around 13-14" where we were walking.
    With the snows piling up around here, the deer are likely on the move, it is getting to be a bigger challenge for the hunters to get back to their hunting spots and camps and many hunters have already filled their tags. As a result, the numbers of hunters heading out is dropping. Lots of places where there were tracks in the snow last weekend are now void of any new tracks. A few brave souls are still braving it to venture into the woods, but with all the snow are are expecting in the coming days, soon you will need something other than a 4 wheel drive truck to get you back to your blind, stand or camp.
    I probably say this every year, but I am going to go ahead and say it again. I just cannot see how people cannot love snow and think it is beautiful. I enjoy summer and all of it's beauty and the color show during autumn is also a sight to behold, but once the leaves are down and the woods are just a pallet of differing browns, something needs to be done. That something is snow and I just love the transformation it creates. The dead, brown leaves are covered in a fresh white blanket, evergreens become flocked with snow and if the wind is calm enough- each individual limb on a hardwood tree becomes coated with a layer of snow. Add in a bit of running water and some rocks for some spice and you are left with a masterpiece of natural wonder. (FSV) That was the Eagle River between the sleepy hamlets of Phoenix and Eagle River.
    Burt and I had a bit more of an adventure capturing that last shot than we had wanted. No, we did not fall into the river, but I did not want to leave the truck on the shoulder of the road with the roadway still being snow covered. There is a little turn off near the spot where I took the shot, so I thought I would pull off there- thinking the snow would not be too deep yet. Guess again. We pulled off the highway and Old Blue suddenly bogged down, with the engine straining to keep the wheels going and the weight of the vehicle moving forward. I did not stop, but rather turned the wheels back towards the safety of the plowed highway and gave the accelerator enough of a push with my foot to allow the engine a fighting chance to get us out of the thigh deep snow. It was touch and go for a few anxious moments and Burt gave me a look as if to say: "Good one Dad!", but we crawled our way out of the unplowed turn off and back onto the highway. I parked on the shoulder as far off the road as I could and snapped my shot of the river and then got back into Old Blue to head home, but not before snapping a shot of our near snowy entrapment. Yep, that was the axle and differential dragging through the snow between the two tire marks!
    On the way home I promised Burt: no more off trail adventures for today, but the highway was quiet enough that I could slow down enough to snap a shot of the snowmobile trail where it crosses Hwy 41 near Phoenix, only this time looking northeast toward Phoenix and where someone had driven down recently. Soon snowmobile tracks will be the only ones you will see on that trail for 4 months. I hope to put my own there on Saturday. I have tentative plans to ride this Saturday- conditions permitting. There was enough snow there and to the north just about all the way to Copper Harbor, but down here by our house I would really like to see another 5-6" fall by Saturday to ensure I do not hit any rocks. Plus from about Calumet south through Houghton, South Range, Twin Lakes and beyond there is even less than we have here the cabin.
    The good news is that from at least Houghton north (possibly even Twin Lakes or Mass City north), snow looks to fall quite steadily through early Saturday morning. In fact there is the potential for quite a bit more snow in much of the Keweenaw in the next 60 hours. So it is quite possible that there will be enough snow to ride on from the southern tip of the Keweenaw all the way to the northern tip for opening day. Something that is actually more rare than one might think. Looking back over the years, it seems like about 15-20% of the time do we have more than 10" on the ground by December 1st. Go out to December 7th and that percentage jumps to around 45-50% and by the 14th up to around 70%.
    I know I have been saying this for a few weeks now, but I really do mean it this time. I am officially, fully prepared for the snow. I got the mount for the ATV plow yesterday. Al helped me put it on (more like did everything) and my snow removal fleet is all primed for action. In fact, I used the ATV and plow this afternoon to move our 4 1/2" of snow. Things went pretty well. I did not tear up the driveway anywhere. I also did not hit the cabin or any vehicle with the plow and I did not raise the plow so high that it ripped the cable off the plow or worse yet the fairlead off the ATV. Like snow throwing an area or cutting the grass for the first time I still need to work out the most efficient pattern, but did well and it took considerably less time to clear the driveway and parking spots than if I had to do it all with the snowthrower. The mat of snow on the driveway needed to be a bit thicker, so I left a bit of snow down and will let the traffic on it build it up a bit more. This ATV-plow and snowthrower combo will be the ticket for the next few years until I get a nice lawn tractor and snowthrower for the front of it.
    I also put the final touches of modifications on the 800 the other day. The rear suspension is now bogey free and is sporting a pair of ice scratchers. I have seen many sleds going to this setup and the new Polaris RMK even comes that way, so I thought I would give it a try. Most of my riding is in conditions there the bogeys are not needed and when the snow is more firm, the scratchers will do their job and throw some snow into the suspension to keep me from wearing down my hyfax. Why did I do this you might ask? Well, for one I lost about 10-12 pounds of weight and secondly it will allow the sled to be thrown around (or carved) a bit easier. And if I don't like it, I can always put it back the way it was easy enough in about 10 minutes.
    Well, I guess that about does it for this midweek edition. Before I go I was asked to remind everyone that December 9th will be the last day to order anything from the JohnDee Store and be able to receive delivery by December 22nd. So best place those Christmas orders for your ThinkSnow stuff now!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
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November 25-
    Today is sort of a bittersweet day and I suppose it always will be for me. It was two years ago to the day we said good-bye to Baileys. The hurt has stopped, but the memories still remain. I am thankful for the way our minds work in fogging up the sad and painful memories, yet hanging onto the good ones. In ways it seems like a lot longer than 2 years and in others it seems like a lot shorter. She sure is missed, but we are all thankful for all the memories we have of her along with all the pictures and video. She sure was a sweetie.
    Speaking of being thankful, we did have a lot be the thankful this Thanksgiving. Things are well with Nora and I, Burt is still in good health and we all enjoyed a full blown Thanksgiving dinner- just the three of us. I think this is the first time since Nora moved here that we did not have any company over for Thanksgiving. Seemed a little weird and we cooked enough for a dozen, but enjoyed our time together. I did end up coming down with a bit of a flu bug Thursday night and am nearly over it now. I think it is the flu, but also think it was a mild case of it. I did get a flu shot a few weeks ago and they say you can still get the flu with getting a flu shot, but it is most likely to be a more mild case. Anyway, I still get a little wobbly in my legs at times and will have a hot flash or two, but at least I am not sleeping most of the day like I did Friday.
    This past Tuesday I was able to pick up my 800 from Al's shop. He cleaned the carbs and did a bit of tuning on them as well. Before picking up the sled, Burt and I went over to the park for our afternoon walk. No hunting is allowed inside the village limits, so I knew that we would be ok out there. When we lived in Lake Linden, that used to be one of our regular jaunts during hunting season. In past journals I mentioned how it has been cold enough to freeze up some of the smaller and shallower bodies of water, but the Torch Lake is still wide open. Actually that is one of the last lakes to freeze up around here. Even though it is smaller in size than the Portage Lake, it is deeper, over twice as deep. So it takes longer to freeze- many years not until January sometime. I did also notice that the level of the lake is up a lot since early September. I cannot be sure of the exact amount, but to me it looked like about 10", perhaps even as much as 12". That lake is connected to Lake Superior via the Portage Lake, so that means that Lake Superior is also up that same amount. Still down about 6-8" from where it should be, but that was quite a jump it made in September and October.
    On Friday we got some snow. Not a ton, but enough to cover the ground solidly. It was nice to see, even though I felt so crummy on Friday. Nora had the day off and took Burt for the afternoon walk, so all I had to do was get my work duties done as the day progressed and was able to spend some of the time in bed. Normally we spend the day after Thanksgiving putting up the Christmas Tree and decorating the house, but with me being under the weather, I did not want to be climbing around in the rafters of the shop trying to get the boxes of decorations down. I was feeling good enough today so after lunch and our afternoon walk with Burt, we went and got the boxes down. The tree is up and lights are on it and Nora is putting the ornaments on it. She also decorated the railings for the stairs and the loft in lighted garland. The cabin sure is pretty around Christmas time. I'll see about taking some shots of both the inside and outside to share in a future journal. I sure am glad that Nora and I are the same in the things that are important to us both. Simple things like liking to decorate for Christmas, but still important.
    Yesterday we woke up to a pretty decent snowfall going on. The winds were out of the west southwest and sometimes that can set up a pretty decent band of lake effect snow across areas of the Keweenaw from around Calumet north. That is exactly what happened for a few hours yesterday morning. We picked up around 2 1/2 to 3" of snow here in our locale, while Calumet picked up around an inch or two and areas south of Calumet picked up little more than a dusting. The winds turned more out of the SW as the morning progressed and that started to slowly shut down the LES in our locale, but I figured there was a pretty decent chance that areas to our north picked up even more snow than us, so while Nora visited with some relatives yesterday, Burt and I hopped into Old Blue and headed north in search of deeper snow. We did not have to go too far or look to hard. Just a bit north of Mohawk I noticed the snow was deeper and by the time we got to Phoenix (only about a 10 minute drive from our place) there was a lot more snow down. I did not bring along a measuring stick, but would have estimated there to have been at least 6-7" of new snow down and it was still snowing. We found a spot to park the truck and take a walk.
    All of last week I was really starting to grow anxious for the snow. This is the time of the year when things can really start to look and feel like winter around here and that process was really occupying my thoughts. Yesterday's walk through that 6-7" of snow was just what my brain needed to quench it's desire for winter to start. The winds were blowing, there was that bite in the air and the snowflakes were still swirling down from the sky. For many that would have been considered undesirable weather, but for me and many of you reading this, that was sweet medicine! Burt seemed to enjoy the snow as well. There was a quickness in his pace as we walked down the two ruts in the snow created by Old Blue and a few other vehicles that had been down the road before us. Burt even took a page out of his Old Man's book and did a little boondocking! Not quite belly deep, but close!
    I cannot prove it, but somehow I think the snow may have even helped me recover from the flu a little quicker. Perhaps just the brighter feeling I had about things in general helped to spur on the bodies healing mechanisms. In any case, walking down that snow covered road in the beautiful Keweenaw did a lot for my spirits and my physical well being. On the way back to the truck we came across a sign a buck also hangs out around there. Actually, the credit for spotting that rub goes to Nora. She spotted it and a scrape last week on our walk. I did not see any signs of the buck or other critters yesterday, but it did snow quite heavily yesterday, with most of that 6-7" falling in about 4-5 hours. So it is possible that any tracks made during the snow were covered up by the new snow quickly. Once back to Old Blue we piled in, all exhilarated from our walk and took a nice leisurely drive back home. On the way we passed a section of the snowmobile trail and had it not been deer season, I might have been tempted to bring the 800 up here and put on a few miles. Looks like a nice base was laid down in those areas. We did get warm today, but with the humidity low and mostly cloudy skies the snow has held up well.
    As mentioned, we picked up less than half of what they picked up just 10 miles away, but that is how it goes with lake effect snow sometimes. It was not even an elevation snow as they had as much in Phoenix as in areas that were higher in elevation around there. It was just the presence of a band of heavier snow that set up across the tip of the Keweenaw and brought the heavier snows yesterday. We still picked up enough to add to our existing snow cover and with more snow on the horizon for this week and next, I think there is a very good chance that we may not see bare ground until spring. I am not going to jinx things and make it a guarantee though! We also picked up enough snow for me to starting panking down a mat on the driveway. We still need a few more 2-3" snows to get the mat to the proper thickness that I can start using the ATV plow and snowthrower and it looks like we could have those snows and more this week. I just hope that we do not have to deal with the process of making a mat several times like was experienced last year. I think I had to do it 3 or 4 times last year before winter finally came for good!
    There is also the prospect (not a guarantee) that enough snow could be down by December 1st that some riding could be done. I would imagine that the trail which I took a pic of yesterday did not lose much snow today and the temps look cold for the rest of the week, so even if we did not get much new snow, then it could still be ridden on. However, I would have to bring my sled up there and I don't know if I am up for that just yet. We would need about 5-6" here for there to be enough for me to ride, but I would really prefer at least a foot. I guess one gets spoiled living up here!
    Today we went almost due north of us for our walk. Phoenix is actually northeast of us and it was the northerly component that put them into the heavier snow yesterday, so it was interesting to see that areas due north had almost as much snow down. Not quite as much, but still very close. This time Nora was able to join Burt and I and the three of us had a nice time walking through the winter wonderland. Nora teased me by saying that this was it for the rest of the winter and I teased her right back by saying come mid January she would be crying uncle about having enough snow and cold. We'll see which tease ends up being closer to the truth. On our walk today, Nora spotted a birds nest sitting in a little tag elder, covered in snow, so I snapped a picture of it for you all.
    So it looks like winter has arrived for some areas of the UP and for most others it will be here this week. Much of the Northwoods should pick up some snow this week and temps are also going to be getting quite chilly. That all is good news for the winter sports enthusiasts out there. I know two years ago we had a pretty decent start to the season, but many other areas got off to a slow start. It would be nice to have everyone get off to a good start and then not look back. Here is to hoping that comes true!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
November 18-
    Boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. It is times like these when I am reminded of that prayer: "Lord, please send me some patience...AND SEND IT NOW!!!". This deer season thing is really hard on me. To not be able to go into the woods with Burt and Nora. There are still some nice places we can go to, but living where we do now, I did not fully comprehend how spoiled we really are until this last Thursday when we could no longer step outside our door and head off into the woods to walk. To add to the anxiety I am feeling, we have not had much snow in the past week, but there are hints of a pattern that could start to bury us as we head towards into next week and beyond. To top it off, you add the potential for some decent snow and then the opening of snowmobile season directly after that and it is just about as much as this old boy can handle.
    Ever since I bought the property about 5 years ago, I have said that I want to set up a tree stand on the property and climb up there to shoot me a deer. Not with a rifle or bow, but with a camera. I figure if I can get a nice shot of a buck, then that is as good as dropping one with a rifle. I am by no means opposed to the sport of hunting, I just cannot find it within myself to pull the trigger and end another beings life. I am sure that had I grown up where hunting was as much a tradition as eating turkey at Thanksgiving, then I would be a hunter, but where I grew up, the only hunting we did was for bargains at the local supermarket. So I figure if I set up a deer stand, then at least I be able to have something to keep me occupied through these 2 weeks and one day at the end of November. This year I put most activities on hold so that I could spend time with Burt and if he is still around next year, then I am sure I will do the same. But one of these years I will be in the blaze orange with my camera up in a tree, waiting for the elusive 40 pointer to come walking through (we did have a monster 10-12 pointer parading through the property 2 years ago).
    I am not asking for sympathy from you all either. I live in one of the most wonderful spots in the world, have a beautiful wife that I love and am lucky enough to be able to work from my home and thus spend my whole day with my buddy Burt. I just used that first paragraph to try and paint the picture of my emotional being right now. I am really starting to get excited for the snows to fall and for me to be able to play in them when they arrive. I still have this feeling that it is going to be a good winter- perhaps not a record one- but still one that we will be able to look back on and smile. Unlike last year.
    As mentioned, we have been running a bit behind on snow. Not way behind. An average November brings around 24" and one good storm would bring us right back to where we should be right now in an average year- if there is such a thing. I have recorded just over 3" of snow so far. Other areas not too far away at least double that and some even more. Most of that 24" falls in the last 2 weeks of November so the way I see it, even 4-6" would put us about on par with average. There is some snow in the forecast. We could pick up an inch or two (or tree) tonight and tomorrow. Then some more around Thanksgiving with some lake effect that then some of the indications are that things could really cut loose with cold and snow as we work through the last 5 days of November into the early part of December. All that stuff for the end of the month and beyond is way too far out in the forecast to be pinning much hope on right now, but I can say I would much rather be seeing what I am seeing in the models than warm temps and rain, that is for sure!
    The temps have turned noticeably cooler in the past 4-5 days. On Friday morning we had our first sub 20 degree temperature with a 19 and that is the first time we have been that cold since April 10th. On that april 10th we were actually at 1 below zero! The cold has allowed things to start to freeze up. Most of the puddles are either frozen solid, or frozen enough that they should not be a factor from here on out. Some of the ponds have started to ice over, but all the larger bodies of water like the Torch and Portage Lakes are still ice free. So, except for the fact that we are just a tad bit behind on snowfall, things seem to be progressing rather as they should be.
    I have put some of my anxious energy to use by getting some of my riding gear out and ready for the season. Today I washed my bibs and jacket. I need to climb up in the rafters of the shop and bring down the storage bins that hold the hats, gloves and boots. Over the past several seasons I have accumulated quite a bit of gear and end up using most of it throughout the season. The 800 is still at Al's shop. It needed a carb cleaning and would not even start for me. He got it to start, but still needs to dial in the carbs a bit more for me. I am a little anxious to get the 800 back as I still have some minor things I have to do like add the ice scratchers and remove all the bogey wheels on the rear suspension. Plus I am still waiting on the under mounts for the ATV plow. If I am not able to use my ATV plow by the time the snow starts to pile up in earnest around here, someone at the company it was ordered from is going to get an earful of my displeasure! I only ordered it about 2 months ago!
    Burt and I did take some walks this week and Nora joined us yesterday and today. I even took the camera along and managed to snap a few shots of the beauty up here. On Thursday (opening day for hunting) we headed to a quiet country road that is between us and Lake Superior. Just a few patches of snow out that way, but still a nice road to walk on. I think I have been out there about 2-3 dozen times in my life and have only experienced 2 vehicles on that road while we walked. Then on Friday Burt and I headed up into the high country of Keweenaw County for our walk. Again, a nice country road where there is little to no traffic and we can let Burt be off his leash, just like if we were walking in the woods. A bit more snow in the high country, but still not much more than a dusting.
    As mentioned, the cold weather is starting to freeze up the ponds around here. Here is proof of that (fsv). Not sure how deep that pond is, but would venture to guess at least 8-10 feet deep. Yesterday Burt, Nora and I went up that way again for our afternoon walk and there was a light dusting of snow on the ice. We have been picking up dustings of snow every other day or so for the past week to ten days. Today was a nice sunny day with little wind, so Burt, Nora and decided to go to the beach! Not what most folks would consider typical beach weather, but we do not consider ourselves to be typical people and in the case of Burt a typical dog! None, the less, it was pretty nice to be out there and needless to say we had the beach to ourselves! On the way home we stopped to check out a section of the Eagle River (fsv) and it was flowing pretty good for this late in the season. A bit more snow and that will be even more scenic.
    This week should go by pretty quick, with three days of work, then a sort of day off. Can you believe that the commodities markets will have electronic trading going on Thanksgiving night! That means I actually have to do some work on Thanksgiving. At least they have decided to have no electronic night trade on Christmas this year, of course there is still some time to change that setup! Oh well, at least I get to sleep in a bit on Thanksgiving and then Nora has Friday off, so we will be able to start putting up the Christmas tree in the midday on Friday, so it will almost seem like I had Friday off too, except for waking up and starting work at around 4:15 in the am!
    Well, I can see I am starting to turn into a whiner, so that must mean it is time for me to sign off! Hopefully the next time I write the ground will be covered in a respectable snowpack and I will have some nice snow shots to share with you all. Perhaps even a picture of me on the 800 in the snow!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
November 11-
    I don't know why some weeks seem to fly by and others seem to go by slowly and then there are the weeks that are a little of both. This past week seems to have been one that was a little of both. As I sit here starting this entry it seems like a whole lot more than a week ago that I last wrote. Yet, when we got to Friday of this week, it seemed like the work week went by pretty quickly. I guess part of it has to do with how much goes on in a particular week and this one was pretty busy. Even the past 2 days were pretty busy. The weather turned nice later yesterday, so I was able to put up the Christmas lights on the cabin and then it was so nice today that we decided to put some lights on the trees that we planted about 2 weeks ago. There were some other odds and ends items that we took care of in the past few days that have kept us busy either coming or going, but I do believe other than getting down to pick up the 800 and also to have the plow put on the ATV, there is nothing left to do chore wise.
    I am sure that most of you already know this, but we picked up our first accumulating snows this week. We did not get too much in this immediate area, about 2" on Tuesday and then some light accumulations throughout the week. We even had a bit of light snow yesterday morning. Other areas picked up considerably more, but that is fine with me. This early season stuff usually ends up melting off and just makes a mess of things. So the more you get the bigger the mess. Of course I am not one to ever turn away snow. If we had picked up 2 feet and had it all melt, that would have been fine with me. But there is an upside to be found in not getting a lot with this early season stuff!
    I can say that taking our afternoon walk on Tuesday it was REALLY nice to be walking through the snow covered woods again. I really cannot put my finger on why I love snow so much. There is just something magical about it. While I love to snowmobile, ski and do any other wintertime recreation on/in it, I would still love it even if I could no longer do any of those. It has such a stimulating, yet calming effect. I guess for me it is the perfect recreational drug! What is even harder for me to figure out is how others cannot like it. I mean I understand how folks cannot like it as much as me, but there is just so much fun you can have with it and it is so beautiful, I really have a hard time understanding how there are so many that do not like it. I can say one thing though, the vast majority of folks up here do like it. I know there are those that do not and those that perhaps wish we did not get so much, but this week in the local newspaper their little "voice of the people" question was about the recent snowfall and if folks were looking forward to winter and only one person out of the 6 they interviewed said that they were excited for winter. Pretty cool to live in a place where those that like snow outnumber those that do not like it. It really used to bug me those people that look upon snow as if it is a root canal or something. Now I just feel sorry for them that they choose to not enjoy something that can be so fun and beautiful.
    Burt was happy to see the snow too. One his favorite things to do in it is roll on his back. We call it a "fosbury" as in the fosbury flop in the high jump. I am not sure why he does this. Perhaps it feels good or perhaps he is leaving his scent or maybe something else. In any case the 2" we picked up Tuesday was enough for him to do his first fosbury. Only problem was I did not have my camera at the time! On Tuesday we headed out to Burt's Pond to see what was happening out there. Not much, but it sure was pretty (fsv), even with the snow :) ! There wasn't quite enough on the trails to take the sled out on, but that will likely be changing in the coming weeks - I hope!!!
    Actually the forecast does look to bring some cold later this week and that may bring a bit of snow and the extended outlook into next week sees some more opportunities for snow. I think the cold would be better as it would help to freeze things up. Although I can say that we went to Burt's Pond on Thursday too and it was almost completely covered in ice. So things will not need much coaxing to freeze up around here. A couple day cold snap and many of the shallower areas of water will freeze up.
    One thing I had forgotten about with regards to walking in the snow is how you can see all the critter tracks. Burt smells them all year long and I always wonder what it is he is so interested in when he is smelling the ground or a bush or small tree. On Tuesday I got to see. In just our little 20 minute 1/2 mile hike we came across deer tracks, rabbit tracks, coyote tracks and even some bobcat tracks. Makes me wonder of the deer and coyote tracks and the bobcat and bunny tracks had anything in common? Anyway, it was fun for me to watch Burt pick up the scent of those animals and be able to see their tracks in the snow and determine for myself what had come through before us. Also was interesting to see all of that activity in our very own woods.
    Most of our snow melted off yesterday and what little that was left this morning is now gone with our temp at 50. As mentioned earlier we did not have much to lose, which was good because the mess it left behind was not bad at all. In fact the ground is already dry in most areas. Yesterday Burt and I took a walk in an area closer to the lake. When we left the house we still had an inch or two on the ground, but driving closer to the lake we ran out of snow. We were still several miles from the lake, but close enough to it to run out of snow. It really is something how much of an effect the big lake has on our weather. I'd have to say that it plays a bigger role in our weather than in any other area around it. We stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter and then there is all the beautiful snow we get because of it!
    Ok, does it seem like I might have snow on the brain? Well, I guess I do, although I can honestly say that I am not on the edge of my seat or constantly looking at the models or out the window. It took me several years, but I have finally been able to keep my emotions in check until about the last week of November. That is when we can typically start to keep much of what falls and so to me that is when what snow that falls starts to count. Funny to think back to my first year up here and how I was so excited for it to start snowing once we hit September!
    With the main firearm deer season upon us, Burt and I have only 4 more days to romp in the woods. I am thankful that we will still have places that we can go that are almost like walking off road in the woods, but I guess you can say we have gotten pretty spoiled living in the woods. We have so many places that we can go to, but he is happiest just heading out the door and into our woods and then the surrounding woods. So that is what we do just about every day. So we have 4 more days and then have to wait 16 to be able to do what we have grown accustomed to. But like I say, we do have some nice places that we can go to for our afternoon walk. Then, even if there is enough snow down on December 1st for the snowmobile trails to open, we can still get back into heading right out from our door as one of our walks only crosses the trail at a right angle. I may need my snow boots or maybe even my skis (one can dream, right?), but at least we will not have to hop in the truck to get to a nice walking spot.
    Well, not much else going on. Hard to believe that we have been living up here for almost a full year. Next Sunday will actually be the 1 year anniversary of our move. Like just about anything else time wise, in some ways it seems like more than a year and in other ways it seems like less than a year. In all ways it has been wonderful.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
November 4-
    If I had sound effects to go along with the text and pictures in this journal, I would be having a drum roll going right now. It could actually be for two reasons. The first would be that tomorrow I roll out the winter version of the website, complete with the forecast in text and graphics. Secondly the drum roll could be going because it looks like our first accumulating snows of the season will fly in the coming days. As a matter of fact the forecast holds several chances for snow in the next week to ten days and possibly beyond. It's funny how even in a land that receives on average 240" of snow a year, the talk in restaurants, shops and stores before the first real snow of the season hits is about just that- the first snow of the season. Folks are not in a panic about the snow. That pretty much never happens up here, but there are lots of folks talking about the storm. I think one reason is that what they are hearing is not that we will pick up a few inches of snow, but that up to a foot of snow could fall up here. My ideas for our area specific are not that ambitious, but I certainly think a few inches are possible. I also think that some areas of the western UP could pick up close to or even double digit accumulations, but they will be future inland.
    Ok that was your tease at my feelings for the system tomorrow and Tuesday. You will just have to tune in tomorrow for the full story! It's been a different week for me. At times I am busy with lots to do and at other times I have been sitting around twiddling my thumbs. One of the projects that kept not just me, but Nora and Burt busy earlier this week was digging some holes. They are for the traps we are setting for errant snowmobilers. We have not had any problems so far, but I did not want to take any chances this winter. I am just so sick of those darn things riding around here, stinking up the woods and creating all the noise they do and just do not want them even trying to venture into our land. We set 4 traps so far and I hope to have all the potential ways a sled could get into the property set before the season kicks in December 1.
    So, did I freak any of you out? I figure I must have had at least a few of you wondering if I had flipped my lid! The holes were not for snowmobile traps, they were for some trees we wanted to plant. When they dug the lines for the utilities some holes in the woods were created and I wanted to plug those holes with some trees. However, I did not want to have to wait the years it takes for the baby trees to grow up, nor run the risk of the baby trees dying, so I went and got some adolescent trees. There is a nursery just outside of Chassell and they have a wide variety of trees of different age. I was able to pick up 2 spruce trees that were in the 9-10 foot range to help with my hole plugging process. So on Monday Burt and I drove down to Chassell to pick out the trees we wanted. We picked the two out, but the machine that they used to load the trees was broke, so we had to come back on Tuesday to pick them up. That gave us Monday evening to dig the holes. Nora and I got that done, while Burt supervised.
    Then Tuesday we put Ol' Blue back into action again and hauled the two trees up. One of the persons at the nursery thought that it would be too much for Ol Blue, but they did not know all we have put her through the past several years. It was no problem at all to haul those two trees up here from Chassell and then we put the ATV and utility cart to action to get them to the planting site. I know, I know, no helmet. But let me ask those of you wanting to e mail me about that. Do you put your seat belt on when you move your vehicle from your driveway into your garage? Both activities can have an accident occur. Anyway, that ATV and utility cart have also gotten a workout since we got them. They have hauled 1000's of pounds of crushed rock for our driveway, hauled firewood out of the woods and now trees to be planted.
    It took some careful planning and a bit of luck, the root balls for each tree weighed a few hundred pounds and once they got going in a certain direction, there was not stopping them. My biggest fear was that they would either miss or fall out of the utility cart when we were unloading them out of the truck. Going from the cart to the hole in the ground took some muscle, but there was only one way that the tree could go into the hole. After about an hour we had both trees out of the truck and planted. I did not plant them directly on the utility. In this case it was the water line and that is 6 feet down anyway. So we should be ok there, even if the line needs to be dug up for some reason, the trees are not directly over it. Even the supervisor said Nora and I did a good job.
    Weather permitting I might even dress up one of the trees in lights for the holidays. We did pick up some lights for the cabin and weather permitting will be putting them up. I say weather permitting, because things look to be pretty ugly for most of this week. The weekend might give us a break, but then things might turn nasty again next week and then we are into the second half of November and typically the numbers of nice days once you hit that time of the year are very numbered. So it is not out of the realm of possibilities that the weather would not provide the conditions needed to hang lights on the cabin, especially since I plan to follow the roof line and thus climb almost to the top of my 28 foot ladder to reach the peak on the front!
    Today Nora went on the ATV and made the comment that we better get some cold temps before we get a lot of snow because there is a lot of wet trail between Mason and Lake Linden. Here I was thinking that things were drying out nicely up here. Most of the trails that Burt and I have been on have been in good shape. Even some of the traditional wet spots up this way are dry. I know there is a section around Mason that used to be really bad, but then they spent some time fixing that up. According to Nora, it sounds like the fix did not hold. I can report that the trail just north of Lake Linden is in good shape. Burt and I took a walk down it today. We went down to turn the heat on in the LL home and while we were there, took a walk in our old stomping grounds. So I guess there are some wet spots and some good spots up here. It does look like we will be getting cold, which will help with the wetness. The worst thing right now would be to start getting heavy snow and have it not stop. I know that seems almost like a sin to say, but we really should get some cold weather before we start getting lots of snow. Thankfully it is only early November and we usually do not get tons of snow in November, but usually start getting some cold. This am we dropped into the mid 20's and I spotted my first night ice. It was on a puddle, but still ice!
    With winter weather staring me in the face, I blinked. I asked Nora if she would mind us going out to make one more load of wood. I knew of two places we could get to quickly and make a quick load of hardwood firewood. Neither would be an easy job, but one was easier and a little closer, so we chose that. We got out early and it took us less than an hour to fill the back of Ol' Blue up. Our wood supply before this latest load would have easily taken us through February and probably most of March. My concern is if we have the kind of winter like I think we might have the snow will still be too deep in March and even into the first half of April to get into the woods to gather more. The wood we picked up today will give us at least another 3 weeks of burning, maybe more. The funny thing about making firewood is that you always feel good after making a load or two, but you also never feel like you have enough! I guess that is because we will eventually burn everything that we collect, so in theory we really can never have too much. However, I think we have enough to get us through this winter. I think.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
 
 
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