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September 30-
    Wow, does anyone know where September went? I cannot believe it is the last day of the month. Seems like the month just started a week ago. Add that to the fact that our weather has been a whole lot more like early September than late and it just does not seem like tomorrow should be October 1st. The color show is in full form and that will be the main focus of my writing this evening, but the weather also deserves an honorable mention. Temps have been warmer than average again this past week. Most of the time the temps have been comfortably warm, but last Monday was different. We started out in the upper 50's, but hit a record high of 89 degrees, with dewpoints in the upper 60's! This time of the year it cools off at night nicely, but I came home from the golf banquet Monday evening and it was still in the 80's, with a dewpoint in the upper 60's so I went to the shop, grabbed one of the window air conditioners and put it into the bedroom window. That was a very smart thing to do as things remained hot and humid all night long. Each time I let Burt out in the middle of the night I expected to feel things cooled off, but they were still muggy. A very unusual event for that late in the season. In fact that is not only the warmest it has ever been for that date, but is also the warmest it has ever been that late in the season. Or better put, if you look at all the high temperature records, there has never been a temp higher for the rest of the year after last Monday's record.
    In addition to the warmer than average temps it continues to rain. We have been in and out of rain all day today and I am over 6" for the month of September, but other areas around here are in double digits for the month. It is just amazing how things have greened up and the creeks have returned to average flow levels, even above average. Things are so green right now I think you could call the Keweenaw the Emerald Isle. My grass is as deep a green as it has been and probably ever will be. Even Lake Superior has risen considerably in the last month. I do not know the exact amount it has risen, but I think it is safe to say at least 4-5", but perhaps more than that. Last Monday during the heat wave Burt and I went to the beach and I could tell that the lake had risen considerably since the last time we were there. In fact we had to climb over some rocks to get to our swimming spot. This summer we had at least 10 feet of beach to work with. I suppose the only down side to this could be if it does not get cold before the snow flies then we could have some wet to deal with, but no need to worry about that right now. Plenty of time left to freeze things up before winter sets in.
    As mentioned, Burt and I went to the beach on Monday. With temps in the 80's, high humidity and lots of sunshine it could have been a July day up here, except for the fact that we had the whole beach to ourselves. Even the water was pretty warm for late September. Not quite warm enough for this old boy to take a swim, but plenty warm enough for the other old boy to take a swim. I almost did not want to leave the beach on Monday as it was about 10 degrees cooler there and we did not have a nice air conditioned home to come back to. In fact when Nora came home from work Burt and I were just sitting quietly, trying to keep cool. It was not working all that well as Burt was panting and I was sweating. I did not think too well that morning as I should have closed all the windows when it was still cool out and the house would have at least stayed cool for the day. As mentioned above, I broke down and put the AC in the bedroom window and we all slept in air conditioned comfort. Although if someone would have told me I would have needed an AC to be comfortable at night on September 24th in the Keweenaw, I would have thought they were nuts!
    On Tuesday things started to cool down and the humidity started to drop as well. Around noon time the dewpoint dropped from the low 60's into the mid 50's in about an hours time and the temps dropped as well. By the time Burt and I took our afternoon walk on Tuesday it was nice enough for us to be getting around without any discomfort. As mentioned earlier, the color show is really coming along. This year is a different year though. We are having a segmented color show. A few weeks ago the trees that were stressed due to the dry summer changed and lost their leaves. Right now the maples and oaks are all changing and have pretty much peaked out in many areas. However, the birches and poplar trees are still mainly green right now and will likely be peaking out sometime next week. It's too bad that the maples and oaks could not hold out longer or the birches and poplar could not turn earlier, because it would really be incredible up here right now. It is still a great show and one to behold, but just not quite as good as some I have seen up here.
    I hate to brag and in all honesty I really am not bragging because I have nothing to do with it, but the colors right outside our door have been as good or better than I have seen anywhere else up here. This was the look over my shoulder as Burt and I headed out for our walk Tuesday afternoon. We got out to the snowmobile trail and this was the sight out there. Pretty close to peak out there, but you can see the green in the birches and poplar. We decided to take a side trail that is not part of the snowmobile trail system. It is just a little path that branches off of the trail for a bit. I am not sure why it is there as it just ends up hooking back up with the trail after about 1/8th of a mile. In any case, Burt likes to take it because it is not as open as the snowmobile trail and he really likes to go off the beaten path. As we were nearing the point where the trail hooks back up with the main trail we came across a recent blow down. Hard to tell which wind event would have done it as we has several this September, but just a sign of things to come as we head into October and November. Those are the true "gale" months up here.
    We then broke out into a field that Burt usually does not want to go into, but I think some deer are using it to feed in or travel through as he picked up their scents and was all for going through it. Speaking of Burt, he is still doing very well. No lump has returned and he is getting around very well. In fact about 3 weeks ago we started him on a special kind of glucosimne/chondrodin for dogs and it seems like that is starting to kick in as he is wanting to go for longer and longer walks. They say it takes about 4-6 weeks for the effects of that stuff to really kick in, but I think it is already starting to show. It really puts a smile on my face to see the old man getting around so well. We're just taking it one day at a time and living in the minute. That is truely the best way to live anyway! It still is amazing to me how we can be out walking in the bush and come across an old relic left over from the mining era. What is also amazing to me is that there is usually no other sign of the mining era that will be visable near these buildings we come across. They must have been built by something that could not last as I find it hard to believe that a building like that would be the only one out there back then.
    I mentioned how the colors right outside our windows were as good as anywhere up here and here is a picture taken last Wednesday evening to back up my words. That is what we have had to "suffer"  through the past week or so everytime we look outside our windows. We have a lot of maples on the property, they are taking over from the birch and that is why the color has been so good right here. Of course that is what the color show looks like every autumn up here. We got married nearly 3 years ago and many of our pictures were taken right here on the property during the peak of the color season that year.
    On Thursday Burt and I headed down the road a piece for our afternoon afventure. I have been trying to get around a bit this past week to try and capture some different areas during the color show. We could not travel too far on Thursday as we needed to hook up with Nora for reasons I will describe in a minute, but I still wanted to go somewhere new to take some pictures and have my fun with Burt. We went to a trail I have been down on snowmobile a few years ago. It really does not go anywhere specific and is not that long, so I have not been down it since that one time, but know it is there and is also a nice place to walk- especially during the color show. The maple trees all take on different colors up here. Not sure why the same species of tree will display different colors, but I am not complaining. The yellows are probably the most dominate and also the most visable. The oranges are probably the second most common color with the reds the third. The reds are my favorite, especially the ones that seem to glow.
    After our walk Burt and I drove down to Calumet to the auto body shop to meet up with Nora. Thursday morning on her way to work she hit a deer with the Blazer. Ultimately the deer lost the battle, but not before inflicting some pretty serious wounds on the Blazer. Nora was unhurt, a little shaken up, but not injured. Amazing how much damage one of those animals can do if you hit one. I never have, but came close. It was our first or second year living up here and the hounds and I were driving home from somewhere up this way and we were driving through the valley. We were passing by one of the cemeteries just north of Lake Linden at around dusk and this huge buck jumped out of the woods on a collision course with us. I breaked, but it was so close it did not do much good. We were driving in the Honda, which was a pretty large car, but also very low to the ground. That buck ended up jumping over the entire hood of the Honda and its back hoof kicked out and hit the post that seperates the windshield with the door. I did not have time to count the tines on its rack, but there were a ton. I remember thinking to myself that buck was going to buy it if he did not settle down a bit. Turns out later that week someone else hit a 14 pointer with her pickup about a mile away from where we had our encounter and I have no doubt it was the same buck. Anyway, we got the estimate and are waiting to hear back from the insurance company. We still carry good insurance on that vehicle and I guess we will see how good it really is!
    On Friday we stuck close to home and Burt decided he wanted to go to Burt's Pond. It is funny how he really has taken to deciding where we go. We get to the part in our walk where we can go one way and walk the snowmobile trail, or go another way and head out to Burt's Pond and some days we stay on the trail and others we head out to the pond. Friday was a pond day. I think Burt made a wise choice. About the only thing better than walking through the woods during the color show is catching the color show reflect across a calm body of water. On our way back we took a little detour that took us through the thick of our woods here at the property and were rewared with quite the show of colors.
    On Saturday Nora, Burt and I took Nora's grandmother for a ride to tour the colors. The Blazer still runs fine and we have the hood pretty well strapped down, so we did not let Thursday's mishap stop us from taking our annual color tour with grandma. We stuck to the less traveled roads on most of our tour. The colors are pretty nice on the main highways, but we don't drive too fast while color peeping and do not want to create a backup while we try and enjoy the show. Yesterday was probably the peak of the colors for the maples and oaks up here. Here is a shot taken on 5 Mile Point Road. (FSV). We traveled north to Eagle River, then up to the Jampot to get some "Monk Muffins" and then doubled back to the Garden City Cutoff Rd up to the Eagle Harbor Shortcut. We took the Eagle Harbor Shortcut almost to Eagle Harbor, but branched off on the Delaware shortcut up to 41 and then headed back via way of 41 and the Cliff Drive. The colors on the Cliff Drive were not quite there yet. A lot of birch trees in that area. I will be keeping an eye on things there as there are some nice photo ops to be had there.
    Today we snuck in a short walk in between rain showers. Well, almost. We actually got caught in a pretty good downpour as we were walking. The funny thing is that when it started to pour we mentioned to Burt that we should turn around because it was raining. He is so smart that he actually understood. Well, then it stopped raining and he stopped and looked at us as if to say: "Hey, it stopped raining, so we can turn around and head back into the woods!". It looked like more rain was coming, so we just went back to the truck, but it was nice to see him want to walk more rather than run out of steam. Here is a shot taken on our walk today.
    So I think that about covers the color show for this week. Other than the leaf peeping, dodging the rain drops and cutting the grass, we have had a pretty relaxing week. This is actually the time of the year when I get to relax the most. My main business is in between seasons and the website is also in a slow time of the year. In fact this is usually the time of the year that I can take some time off in the form of some long weekends. It does not look like I will be able to do that this year, but will be taking some 1/2 days in the next few weeks. I will be working it so I get to sleep in until around 6-6:30 and will be done with work a few hours later. Not a complete day off, but close to it. I really do need some down time in order to "recharge my batteries". Hopefully what I have planned will work as I do not want to run out of steam in the middle of the winter!
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this one. I have just one last shot to share with you. I think I saved the best for last as it is my favorite of the group I had to work with this week and probably one of my favorites in quite some time. It is of Burt and I during our evening ritual. Just about every evening since the snow melted this past spring we have sat outside and just relaxed. In fact it is something he looks forward to doing every day after dinner and will sit and wait to do it. Nora snuck up on us and took that picture from behind, but I am glad she did. It probably captures more about what our lives are about right now than anything.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
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September 23-
    Hard to believe that a week has already gone by since I last wrote and that September is almost over. September has just flown by, if only July could go by that quick! Speaking of July, we are having a bit of July weather today. Temps in the low 80's and lots of sunshine. Thankfully the humidity has not gotten out of hand because the air conditioners have been put away for weeks and I really would not want to have to dig one of them out and really would not want to suffer through heat and humidity. We have had some humid days in the past week. Out ahead of each front it got humid, with dewpoints rising into the mid to upper 60's. Thankfully when that happened skies were cloudy and temps were not much warmer than the dewpoint, but it was still sticky. Behind the fronts the temps dropped about 15 degrees and the humidity also dropped dramatically, so we have been having some very changeable weather up here, but I guess that is pretty much expected in this neck of the woods this time of the year. We have also picked up a ton of rain. My rainfall totals have been a little screwed up as we had a brief loss of power and that caused all the rainfall data to be lost. However, I know we are over 4" for the month here at our place and there are places around Houghton that are over 8" for the month. I guess it is safe to say the drought is over. We still have moisture deficits that extend back in the 15 months prior and Lake Superior is still way below its average height, but for all intents and purposes the drought is over.
    The rain has done two things around here. First it has greened up the grass nicely. Our lawn is looking as good as it has all season and I am thankful that it will be healthy for when it goes into its winter slumber. I plan to give it a shot of winter fertilizer in a few weeks to help it make it through the long winter under all of that snow. The second thing the rains have done is to allow the color change to happen in a pretty average time frame. There were more than the average early turners that have already changed and are now bare, but the rest of the trees seem to be on pretty close to average schedule for change and the change is underway. Looks like peak colors will be in about 10-14 days, which means that next weekend and the weekend following will be the two peak color show weekends up here. It may not end up being the best color show that we have had around here, but still a great show and probably better than you will find in most other areas of the Midwest. When we have a good show up here, it is jaw dropping- your mind almost cannot comprehend the information that your eyes are sending it. In any rate, the color show is underway up here and things are looking beautiful.
    In other news Burt is doing well. The area where the lump was removed has not had a lump return. I talked to the vet this past week about some things and one of the questions I had was would the cancer most likely return to the spot where the lump was returned and he said yes. However, it is not guaranteed to. It could show up anywhere on his body, so we are giving him lots of rub downs, which he does not mind at all. Mom and Dad are doing well too. I have really been able to come to terms with things and be at peace. I suppose it helps that he is his usual self right now, but I can honestly say that the thought of having to say good bye to him is not a devastating thought. That may change when that time comes, but I am not going to let it effect me right now.
    We have been pretty busy having fun. The late surge of summer weather up here has allowed us to enjoy some things we might not normally do at the end of September. One of those activities would be riding in Old Blue with the windows down and snout out the window. That was Tuesday and we were actually on our way to the beach for a swim. Temps did not get quite as warm as the weather guy had predicted, but still warm enough for a dip in the big lake and then a good shake.  Sometimes the shake is not enough so a good roll in the sand is in order. I am not sure if it is the lateness of the season, the weather or something else, but he has not been ultra interested in swimming. He still is excited to be at the beach, but usually when we are there all he wants to do is to fetch his stick. Lately his has as much fun exploring the beach as he does swimming. I am not going to worry about the reason or the fact that there has been this change, as long as we have fun.
    After our time at the beach I decided to take the long way home on the road less traveled. Seems like in the past few years we have done less and less of that. When we first moved up here we did a lot of exploring and then slowly the exploring has tapered off. One of the reasons is that both Burt and Baileys suffer with arthritis and we just could not spend the afternoon walking around in the woods. I think the other reason is that we just sort of settled in up here and got busy doing other things. I have noticed that absence of taking the road less traveled and have been missing it and decided a few months ago to start taking it more and more. As we drove home Tuesday afternoon, that feeling of calm and contentment hit me. Burt riding shotgun in Old Blue with me, sticking his head out the window to catch the scents, the smell of the woods and sound of tires as we slowly rolled along one of the Keweenaw's roads less traveled. It took us about twice the amount of time to get home, but it did not seem like it and was well worth it.
    On Thursday we drove to a spot where we could take a nice walk in the woods. It is only about 2 miles away as the crow flies and we have been there in the past, but have not been there for about 4 months. It is a pretty spot. An old logging road rides along the side of a gentle hill and the trees are thick and provide a canopy across the old logging road. Each time I have walked there I have thought that if I were a hunter, this is where I would set up my stand or blind. The woods are full of oak trees and there are a few creeks and swamps nearby. The oaks provide the food in the form of acorns and the creeks and swamps water. On our walk Thursday Burt was busy sniffing lots of scents and then ran over to some saplings to sniff them. Turns out he had good reason to as they were all marked up from a buck. He sure does love to hunt deer and it is quite good at it too!
    Yesterday Nora wanted to head up to the Jampot outside of Eagle River to get some muffins, so we made an afternoon of it by stopping off at Great Sand Bay to let Burt swim and explore. We had very strong winds Friday night and they were still blowing pretty good on Saturday so the lake was in a bit of a fit, but that still did not stop Burt from going for a swim. He did not seem all that interested in swimming again yesterday so we spent some time walking along the shoreline as well as occasionally tossing the stick for a quick dip in the waves. On the way home I asked Nora if it was ok to take the long way home and she said sure. I married a very smart and beautiful woman and we were all rewarded by another trip down one of the areas roads less traveled and its blooming color show. That one was so nice I thought it would deserve a full sized version. We have our own color show underway in our woods and here is the view out the front of the cabin.
    Today we thought it would be fun to take Burt to a place where he could do some hiking and exploring, but also be able to take a quick dip if he wanted, so we headed to a place that we explored on the ATV about a month ago- the secret spot. It was perfect for what we wanted. A nice path to walk down and then we got to the river and Burt was able to take a dip and cool off. The last time we were there things had been so dry that the river was down to a mere trickle, but thanks to all the rain it was flowing pretty good today (fsv). The trees were showing off their colors there too, as this maple can attest to. It was really a perfect afternoon for a walk like that, with temps in the 70's and all the sunshine. Seems hard to believe that in just over two months snowmobile season will be starting up and in just over 3 months it will be Christmas!
    With the knowledge that these summer days will be giving way to wintry weather in not too long, we have been busy trying to finish making out firewood for the season. We manage to collect two more full loads of hardwoods and I think we are at the point were about two more full loads will set us up pretty well. There are still the handful of trees that are dead standing in our own woods that I would like to take down and cut into firewood, but that can be done at a moments notice and can even be done once the snow flies, as long as it does not get too deep. I did have the camera with me on one of our trips to make wood and this is the typical situation where we are grabbing the wood from. Loggers have come and gone and left behind scraps. Well, scraps for them, but some pretty decent wood for us. We made a full load with a little over half of what was seen in that last shot. It will be nice to have our wood made for the season, that's for sure!!!
    The final item I have to share with you are the weeks photos at the wildlife cam. Again I did not save all of them as some were pretty much the same, but it was nice to see momma back with BOTH her offspring. Last week only one was seen and I was worried that one had not made it, but both are safe and sound for now. The next shot I have to share with you is of a late night visitor. This one made me chuckle a bit as it almost looks like she was caught doing something she was not suppose to be doing. The final one is of that same big old black bear impersonator Burt walking in front of the cam.
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this time around.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
September 16-
    I would like to start out this entry by thanking everyone for their words of concern expressed via e mail or through the General Discussion Board. It is really heart warming to know that there are so many of you out there that care so much about us up here. Really helps to give us support as we go through this situation. I would also like to extend another set of thank you's to all that offered up their homes in the Madison area for us to stay in so that Burt could have his radiation therapy. That is really going beyond the call and was an extreme gesture of kindness. As much as I would like to be able to come down with Burt and let him go through the treatments in hopes of eliminating the cancer, it is just not a doable option. While I could likely perform my work duties from anywhere down there for the next 6 weeks, Nora cannot and has to stay up here for her job. We are a family and this family will stick together through this. Not that Nora did not offer to let us go, but I could never split up the family for that long of a time. Plus there is no guarantees that Burt would be OK after the radiation therapy and with his age, something else could even take him in the next 6 weeks. So we are going to just make the most out of the days we have left and do everything possible to make sure that Burt is happy and comfortable.
    He is doing just fine. The lump that was removed from his neck almost 3 weeks ago has not returned yet, so I take that as a good sign. I know when he had another tumor removed from his back about 3 years ago, that biopsy also had cells to the edge, but the whole sample was not sent in and so it was not known if the cut was from where it was removed from him or just where it was cut to be sent in to be looked at. They told us if the lump did not return in about 3 months, then it would not likely return. Not sure if that is the case here or not. I will be calling the vet this week to find out things like that as well as any signs to look for as far as it spreading and what we can do to make him more comfortable once those signs appear. I do have him on a herbal type of medication. It was something that was suggested to me when Baileys was sick, but unfortunately we did not receive it until 3 days after she had passed away. It is called Artemisinin. It is a compound that is from a plant I think that is called the sweet wormwood (or something like that). It actually can cure malaria and in some cases has been shown to have curative effects against cancer. I am not going to put a ton of faith into it, but there have been many cases where it has caused the cancer tumor to shrink and in some cases go completely away. Plus it has absolutely no harmful side effects, so it is worth a try at least.
    Nora and I are also doing a lot better than the last time I wrote. The initial shock of the news has been able to be digested and we have gone from the initial despair and sadness felt when you get such news to the mindset that he is alive and well now and we are just going to have fun for as long as we can. The truth of the matter is he is getting up in age and I knew that the number of days he had left in this life were growing shorter and shorter. I remember when he had the other tumor removed, one of the vets confided in me that she did not think that tumor would cause him to die. That the could even go back in and remove it if it came back. She went on to say that most labs will make it to their 12th year and something pops up and takes them. He was only 8 at the time so I thought to myself that I would be very happy if he did make it to his 12th year. I know some labs will live years beyond 12 and would obviously be very happy if he were to as well, but in my mind I know he is getting up there in age as just as a human starts to work through their 80's, we can expect life threatening ailments to become more common. And when they do, we can look at the situation and know the they have lived a very full and happy life and be glad for that.
    So I have been able to come to terms with what is going on. Not that when we finally have to say our good byes there will not be a ton of tears shed, but right now he is feeling just fine and we are having fun and we will enjoy what we have right up until the end. Going through the loss of Baileys nearly 2 years ago has also helped prepare me for what to expect. I know the pain associated with the loss will be extreme for the first few days and then gradually will get better. Time has an amazing way of healing all wounds, both physical and mental and we will not fight our feelings and just let time do the healing. Oh, and I have no regrets about living up here. Wish there was a place we could take him for the radiation therapy that was an hour or two away, but this place has worked it's magic again and I am happy as ever to be living here.
    As mentioned, Burt is doing just fine. He is still just as active as he was before the news and I do not know if he can sense anything is wrong or not, but if so he does not seem to be concerned in the least. What is important to him is that we get out in the afternoon for our adventures so that he can put nose to ground and see what has been happening since the last time we came through that part of the woods. Or as in the case of today, head out to Burt's Pond and take a dip. All the rains we have picked up in the past 2 weeks has allowed it to rise right back to where it belongs and it is a good swimming hole for him once again, as well as some other creatures. Of course after all that exercise, a dog needs some nourishment too, so once we are back at home it is treat time and here he is man handling a pig ear. It looks like we will be having some late summer weather up here this week, so some trips to the beach will be in order. In fact we have plans to head there tomorrow for sure. Tuesday may rain on us. Last Tuesday we got rained out as well. It was the first time that we were not able to take our afternoon adventure in I don't know how long, perhaps even since last Autumn. Snow never keeps us from getting out and I do not remember being rained out in the spring and I know for sure we were not rained out this summer, so it was very weird to not be able to get out last Tuesday.
    I think the rains the past 2 weeks have also saved our color season. There were the trees that changed a few weeks ago due to the stress of the dryness, but since the rains have hit, things have stayed pretty green in the rest of the trees. There are a few splashes of colors starting to show up around here, but that is to be expected as we are about 3 weeks away from the peak color show. In fact I think from here on out the color show will just get more and more dramatic until it hits it crescendo around 3 weeks from now. Anyway, here is a look at how things look back on the snowmobile trail near by. The rains have also helped out the apple crop up here, which I think is going to prove to be a godsend for the woodland creatures out there. The berry crop sure did take it on the chin with the dry weather and I know lots of critters depend on them for their summer bulk up. Right now most apple trees are just loaded with fruit and it seems like the amount of droppage is a little lower than average right now. Even our two young apple trees given to us by some friends of the site in honor of my dad have produced some fruit this year. They were loaded with flowers in the spring, but I did not want to mess with mother nature and try and force more fruit to happen than what she would determine on her own, so we ended up with three apples. I am looking forward to tasting them in a few days and also all the fruit and pies we will have in the future!
    I actually made a list of things I wanted to talk about in this entry and one of them was the fact that the ThinkSnow Hounds are back! Last December during a storm, the wind blew them off their perch and the yellow lab was smashed into many pieces. The black lab was OK, but with the yellow all busted up, I figured it best to just take the feature down. This past labor day weekend, I decided to try and put the yellow back together. There were probably a dozen pieces in all, so it was a bit like trying to put together a 3D jigsaw puzzle, but I was able to figure where things went and the glue worked on the material it is made out of and then on Labor Day I put them out along with the sign. I have a feeling their absence last winter was partially to blame for the lack of a winter we had up here. I am looking forward to the kind of snows they have been known to bring.
    One of the other items on the list was the fact that Al and I did manage to win our golf match 10 days ago. We both played well enough to each beat our opponents. The match was pretty well decided by the end of the 6th hole, but we did play out the rest of the match and ended up winning 26-14. Not sure what we will be winning, but we should do pretty well as we not only won the playoffs, but also managed to come in first during the regular season. It was fun to be playing so far into the playoffs and it was great that we won the whole thing. Golf is such a game of mental ability as well as physical, that it was neat to be able to fight off the jitters associated with playing under pressure and do well. Now everyone will be gunning for us next year!
    I can also say that I think we have won the battle against the mice. We have not had one show up in the live traps inside the house for a week now and I think it is pretty safe to say I was able to plug up what ever avenue they were using to get into the house. That makes me happy and I know it makes Nora really happy as she is not a big fan of mice at all. In fact it would be pretty safe to say that she is terrified of them. I do not have a problem with them roaming around outside the house, in fact I do not have problems with anything roaming outside the house- just as long as they do not cause any problems. In fact we had a nice woodland creature roaming outside the cabin just about 30 minutes ago. As I was writing, Nora called out to me to say a deer was feeding on some carrots that she put out about 30 minutes earlier. I grabbed my camera and snapped this shot out the front door. I am not sure if it is the "momma" we have been capturing on the wildlife cam, but we did put a few carrots out in front of the cam so perhaps some more activity will show up there too. I do have some shots to share from that cam and will do so in a minute.
    Nora, Burt and I have been busy making firewood as well. We started 8 days ago and I think we are now up to having about as much wood as we had last winter. Not bad for 8 days work. I still want to make a few more loads and then take some trees down that are dead standing on the property, but it is nice to know we probably have enough wood to get us through the bulk of the cold months and all we need to do is gather a bit more to insure we have enough to make it through the entire winter. Here is a shot of the hardwood pile, all nice maple and a bit of some birch. We also came upon a bunch of cedar. It does not have the same BTU's that hardwood does, but it was just sitting there for the picking, so we made 2 trips yesterday evening and two trips this morning and this was the result. That cedar should be plenty enough to get us through what is left of September as well as all of October and November. There is still a bit more cedar we might pick up, but I really want to focus on getting some more hardwood. I do know where there should be at least 4-5 loads that are not too hard to get and all I really want to get is another 2-3 loads. I think we will take most of this week off with the warmer temps, but will get back on things next week as it looks to cool back down.
    Now onto the wildlife cam. Things were pretty active out there in the past week. There were 38 shots on the cam and only a few had nothing on them. Many of the shots were pretty much the same as I have the camera set to take shots pretty rapidly when there is activity there, but it seems like we had deer there just about every day or evening in the past week. The cam took some nice night time shots on the 12th. Here is one of the babies and then 2 minutes later along comes momma. I am a bit concerned that the camera did not ever capture the second fawn. Perhaps it was just being elusive or perhaps something happened to it.  Earlier in the day it looks like the same two were through. Then on the 14th, it looks like we got a shot of a big old black bear walking by. Actually, that was just the back end of Burt. Our walks take us by the camera and he walked in front of it to go check something out. Burt may not be happy that I shared a shot of his rump with the whole world, but I thought it was cute enough to share with you all.
    I think that about covers it for this one. I may have forgotten something, but have written enough for this one. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
September 13-
    Well, I am breaking my tradition of an update every Sunday as I have some news to share and I did not want to include it in the regular journal rotation. We got the report back from Burt's biopsy and it was not good. The tumor removed was a malignant Mast Cell Tumor. The other bad news was that not all of the tumor was removed. So that most likely means the tumor will grow back and because it is a Grade III it will spread to other parts of his body and eventually take him from us.
    Needless to say both Nora and I were devastated by the news we got yesterday. He has been in such good health and getting around so well and we really had thought that the vet had been able to remove all of the tumor. We both know that Burt is getting up in age and ever since Baileys passing I have treated each day with Burt as a special gift. Unfortunately trying as I might to prepare for this eventuality over the past 2 years has not made it any easier to try and digest the news. I think one thing that is also frustrating is that this type of cancer responds pretty well to radiation therapy. However, the closest place to have that done is at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. The treatments would be 3 a week for 6 weeks. So short of us winning the lottery so we can quit our jobs and either rent a place down there or rent a jet to fly us down there for the treatments, that option is out. This is the very first time since moving up here that I wish we were living down south- at least for the next 6 weeks. There is not a 100% cure rate with the radiation (about 70-80%), so I guess I have to look at it as though we would not be guaranteed he would live longer with it. Plus once this initial shock and sadness wears off and we get back into the swing of things up here, I will be glad that we are living here again. Actually, I am still glad that we are living up here and feel very fortunate to have the life that we do. I guess I just wish we could have our cake and eat it too- just this once.
    I am also grateful that I get to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment with him. Working from home has been great as it has allowed me to be with my dogs for almost every second of their life. I know that in the weeks or months to come, my desire to be with him every moment will only be stronger.
    As far as how long he has, we just do not know. In my reading almost every source has said that with the grade of tumor he has, only 10% of dogs live another year. I know Baileys went very quickly, in fact, Burt has already outlived Baileys from time of biopsy to time of death by one day. I do not feel any lumps where this one was removed, so it does not seem to be growing back too rapidly. I am really not going to wish for anything other than to have as much fun as I can with him and Nora for as long as he is around and also that he does not have to suffer one ounce. I was grateful that we were able to keep Baileys comfortable and knew right away when the time had come and I hope that things can go that smoothly for Burt.
    The two comforts I have right now and will dwell on until it is burned into my psyche is knowing that we do have some time left with him to have fun and also that he has lived a great life. Any dog and most humans would have given their right arm to have the life he has had. Walks or swims every day of his life. Good food a couch or bed to sleep in and tons of love. I can honestly say that I can look back on my almost 12 years with him and have no regrets.
    For all that we have done for him, he has returned those favors ten fold. Every afternoon he runs out to greet Nora when she gets home from work. His old bones slowing him down some, but not stopping him. When ever I am having a bad moment, he can sense it and comes to give me a nudge and tell me it will be all right and he has been correct in that assessment. The lessons in life he has taught me are too numerous to even begin to recount, but I guess the biggest is to live life not just one day at a time, but one moment at a time.
    So we are sad right now, but will move on and make the most of what we have left. Once he is gone, we will cry and laugh and move on without ever forgetting. He is still getting around just fine for now and who knows, there is that 10% chance that he wins this battle.
    I am sorry that I had to bring this news to you all, but there are so many of you out there that care so much for us I figured it would be best to let you all know now and not wait until the next regular journal entry. Also, knowing that so many of you care so much for us, even though in many cases you have never met us is very special and helps in this time of struggle. I will be sure to keep you all posted in how he is doing and if any of you have a private jet that you want to let us use to fly down to Madison 18 times in the next 6 weeks, let me know. That is one offer I would not hesitate to take you up on!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
September 9-
    We made it. Autumn is here. I know, I know, autumn does not start until September 21st or something like that, yea, if you are an astronomer. I like to go by the meteorological parameters when it comes to my seasons and not the stars, moon or sun. Meteorological autumn is September, October and November. I know we were already in September the last time I wrote, but autumn weather has come now as well. We did go through some summer weather last week before the autumn stuff could arrive. On Wednesday my weather station reported a 90, with the airport only warming to 88, which was still warm enough for an all time record high for the date. Thursday saw temps again rise into the upper 80's, with an 87 both here and at the airport. Just for good measure the dewpoints were in the low 70's too. We managed through it, thanks to Lake Superior and air conditioning. On Wednesday I took Burt down to the big lake and let him swim for about an hour. Temps were very comfortable down at the lake, with the breeze off the cooler waters. Thursday I had to play golf, so we stuck close to home, but I still got him to a lake for a swim. We woke up on Friday with temps in the low 70's and humidity still up there, but that was as warm as it got as the front came through and then the temps dropped into the 60's by the afternoon. Yesterday the high was 65 and today we never made it out of the 50's. Today was overcast and it really felt like autumn was here.
    The forecast looks to keep us in cool temps through the week ahead, perhaps into next weekend as well. In fact there are some signs that a few flakes of snow might be seen in the upper Midwest by Thursday and/or Friday. Actually it looks to be cool enough during the overnight periods, the biggest question will be if any moisture will be left behind in the cooler air to produce the flakes. Really is something to think that last Thursday we were in the upper 80's and this Thursday some flakes of snow could fly here or nearby. But that is September up here really. It is not the month with the most dramatic temperature change. October and November actually have slightly larger drops in average high from the first of the month to the last. However, I think from a perspective on what can happen and also how things feel, September is probably our biggest change in the temperatures. In most years we have what would easily be considered summer weather in the beginning of the month and then by the end of the month we have already seen our first flakes, or they are in the forecast.
    In addition to the arrival of autumn, we also got some very healthy rains up here. As the warmer and more humid air was building in earlier in the week, showers and thunderstorms fired up. Late Monday night and into early Tuesday I picked up just over 1 1/2" of rain, the Houghton County Airport picked up just shy of 4" and there were reports of over 5" of rain in the Houghton/Hancock areas. Even reports of some minor flooding. Up the road from us, Copper Harbor only reported a little over .50". Add those rains with the .50" we saw the week before and the .20" or so of rain we picked up with the frontal passage on Friday and we have done pretty well. Good enough to make some honest to goodness puddles! Never thought I would ever be so excited to see puddles, but I was! That shot was actually taken Friday afternoon and those puddles were likely caused by Tuesday's rain.
    The rains were heavy enough to soak the ground good too. We have had damp ground ever since Tuesday's rain. All the plants in the woods got a good wash down as can be seen by this thimbleberry leaf. I don't know if that was the same leaf I took a picture of a few weeks ago, but it was the same plant. I think what surprised me the most was the fact that Burt's Pond jumped right back to it's normal summer level. It is actually a beaver pond on a creek, so I guess all that needed to happen was for that creek to start flowing again and the pond would fill right back up. Pretty cool how mother nature takes care of herself that way.
    The cooler temps have put me back into a mood to get some work done around here. When it was so warm this week, I just wanted to sit inside and be in the air conditioning. I really do not like sitting around and doing nothing. I actually would much rather be out doing some work than sitting around watching TV, especially with what is on in the afternoons! One of the main tasks we have at hand is to gather enough firewood to keep us warm for the season. In our travels through the backcountry this summer we have been making notes on where we have seen firewood that could be gathered and Saturday Nora, Burt and I started the gathering process. We were able to make two full loads of Old Blue in the morning and then one in the evening. All told I think we picked up a little over 2 chords yesterday. That is about 25-30% of the total amount of wood I want to have on hand for the winter. We will probably not need that much, but I know that we started to get a little thin on the wood by the time we reached March last year and had we not had a mild last 2-3 week of March, we would have had to make more before the month was over.
    I am really luck to be married to someone that is happy to go out into the woods and work very hard for several hours at a time to collect our firewood. It takes us about an hour to drive out to the place we want to get the wood from, cut and load the wood into Old Blue as well as drive back and unload it. So all told we worked about 3 hours yesterday, but both of us could barely move by the time it was time to go to bed. I can add that we went grocery shopping, she did come cleaning of the house and I also cut the grass, so making wood was not the only thing we did! At any rate we had plans to get more wood today, but it was sprinkling out this morning and we both were still a bit on the sore side, so we took the day off. However, as we were heading out to take our afternoon walk, I had Nora pose in front of the fruits of our labor yesterday. Basically all hardwoods and not that old either, so it will burn nice and slowly.
    We're not the only ones working hard around here, getting ready for the winter months. The squirrels have been running around for over a month now, gathering all they can. They are out in the winter months too, but not much to eat besides snow cones once the snow starts to pile up around here. I was not around, but she said she watched this one walk out to the end of a branch, hang upside down to reach out and pick something to eat. She did not get a picture of the performance, but did get a picture of the performer. Pretty nice shot I'd say! I have still had to partake in the RRP this week. We did not have any show up in the live traps for a few days and I thought we had plugged up all the holes. Then we captured two more on separate nights. They were much smaller and could have been offspring that were already inside the home when I plugged up the spots that I thought they were sneaking in by. I did go over things one more time last night and again today and I honestly cannot see anywhere that a mouse could get in by, so it will be interesting to see if any more are captured. It's been kind of a pain to have to transport them down the road once they are caught, but the good news is that they are being confined to that upstairs storage area behind the knee wall and are not getting into the rest of the house. I do have confidence that this situation will be fixed, if it already hasn't!
    My last order of business is the wildlife cam. Things were more quiet out there this week. Not sure why. We did capture one picture of Momma and her two fawns, but that was back on Labor Day and I was not sure if it was a new picture, or just one that did not get deleted from the cameras memory. We did capture a shot of a deer out feeding on the apples at around 11:30 on Tuesday night. The way she is looking back over her shoulder makes me wonder if that was not the same time that Burt had to go out. Poor guy, as he as gotten older he cannot make it through the night. He pretty much goes like clockwork at around 11-11:30 and then again around 3 am. Not much fun for me either, but I know when you gotta go, you gotta go, so I do not complain much about having to let him out. Anyway, interesting how that deer is looking back in the direction of the cabin as if she has just heard something. I talked to my neighbors and they said they have been feeding momma and the twins all summer. I think it would be neat to see dad!
    Well, I guess that gets you all caught up on things up this way. I got a late start tonight and it is getting late, so I had better sign off. Perhaps the next time I write I could have some pics of the white stuff to share with you. Would not be surprised if some of the NCN cams pick up a few wet flakes later this week.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
September 2-
    Ahhh September. It sure was nice to put August to bed, as nice as it is every year for me. It is just such a psychological uplift for me to transition from August to September. I really do not put much emphasis on the man made measures of time or better put descriptions of time. Noon, midnight, April, they are really just descriptions we use to specify a particular moment during the year. The year actually holds some credibility with me as it is the measurement of time it takes the earth to make one trip around the sun. However, our pick for the first of the year seems rather arbitrary (at least I do not think the earth is at some important celestial point in it's trip around the sun) and is not of much importance to me. I do not make "New Years" resolutions, vowing to stick to the one I made about 20 years ago to never make another new years resolution again. I realize I am contradicting myself a bit by saying in one breath how I get a psychological uplift when we make the passage into September and then in the next breath go on a rant about how I do not get into man made time descriptions. However, something happens in September that raises my spirits. The sun sets and rises at a perfect time, the temps cool to a perfect level for outdoor activity and the woods transition from the emerald green to the cascade of yellows, oranges and reds. Seems like for what ever reason, the change of months from August marks real changes in our environment. In almost every year if you were to deprive me of the date, I would be able to tell you when it is the first of September and not be off by a week. I probably could not do that in any other time of the year.
    This year I might be a little fooled as we are having a bit of August weather here in the first few days of September. Yesterday we hit 83, today 80 and the dewpoint has been up in the low 60's. However, the temps are falling off and making a run for the dewpoint almost every night now. That helps to offset the warmth of the day. The cool down is happening earlier now. Max temp is made sometime around 3 or 4 rather than 5 or 6 like it is in June, July and August. We have actually managed to keep the air conditioners off until this afternoon. Poor Burt was panting and even I was feeling a bit on the warm side, so we closed all the windows and turned on the AC's. However, if the temps fall to a comfortable level as they have almost every night for the past 2 weeks or so, then the AC's will go off and the windows will open. I really prefer to sleep with the windows open and AC's off, especially now that we live where it is ever more quiet. There are some sounds, but they are of the woods. Things like squirrels and chipmunks running across the dead leaves on the ground, the wind through the tops of the trees, coyotes howling off in the distance (some nights a lot closer than others!) and even the sound of acorns as they hit the forest floor. I am glad that I left the AC's in up to this point, but also see the day they will be coming out- this Thursday.
    We have been slowly starting to make preparations for the winter up here. Not rushing around like it is imminent, but rather just taking care of some of the things that have to be taken care of as we go from the warm season to the cold. I think that is one of the things I really love about living up here is that you actually need to get prepared for winter. Back when I was living in northern IL and southern WI, you just dug out the winter coat, hat and gloves and were pretty much set. Up here there is a whole lot more to do and the amount of work to do will depend on a number of factors, but the bottom line is that unless you live in some kind of a communal building where everything is done for you, you will have a list of chores to get done before winter sets in.
    One of the tasks that stands paramount on our list is to make enough firewood to get us through the winter. Again, it is not something that we are frantically running around trying to get done before the first snow flies. In fact we can still make firewood once the snow has flown. The big date to be done by is November 15th as that is the start of firearm deer season and you cannot be out in the woods with a vehicle at that time. Nora and I did make a bit of wood Friday. There were a few dead standing trees near the cabin and shop that we took down. They were not of any threat to either the cabin or the shop, but were there for the picking. There are a few more that are close by that we will get and then once the cooler autumn temps settle in, I think we will take to the deeper woods to gather the main supply of wood for the winter. We have several spots where entire seasons worth of wood sit on the ground for the taking, left behind by previous logging activity.
    Other events this week included a bit of a scare with Burt. He will be 12 this December 27th and I know that is really getting up there for a dog of his breed. Not that I am being fatalistic, just realistic. We still take one day at a time and live it to it's fullest, but there is that under current that the number of days left are shrinking. A few months ago we felt a tiny lump in his neck. It was about the size of a pea and seemed to be a newly formed fatty tumor. He has several of them already and the Dr's have all said that they are of no concern. Well, about 10 days ago this one started to grow and reached the point where it was the size of a large grape. It also did not seem to be part of the skin and was starting to feel frightenly like what I felt in Baileys neck. So we took him to the vet in Marquette on Tuesday to have him looked at. As we were waiting for the Dr to come into the examining room, both Nora and I lost it a bit. I am usually a very positive thinking person, but I guess the weight of the moment was really getting to me. Baileys went so fast from the time of diagnosis to the time we had to put her down, I was just fearful that we were facing that same timeline with Burt. The "Doc" as we like to call him with Burt, came in and we tried to regain a bit of our composure and described the lump and how it has started out small, did not seem to be affixed to anything other than the skin and had remained the size of a pea for a few months, but then had grown and we feared it might be a lymph node. We put Burt up on the examining table and the Doc felt Burt's neck. He said "Is this the lump you are talking about?, allowing me to put my fingers where he held the lump and I said yes, that was it. A second later he said that was not a lymph node.
    At that moment I think I know how someone who has been wrongfully accused of a very serious crime feels when they are acquitted. There was a momentary blurring of my vision, all sound was muted and an immediate vision of Burt being with us a while longer played into my mind. Then tears of joy from my eyes poured out like a south Florida thunderstorm. Burt did not have lymphoma! The joy of the moment was muted a bit when we realized that it was not lymphoma, but there was still something growing pretty rapidly inside Burt that should not be and that something is usually cancerous. So poor Burt had to go under the knife for what had to have been at least the 8th, perhaps 12th time in his life. Nora and I tried our best to kill the three hours it was going to take for the surgery and recovery to take place, but were only successful in getting by about 2 1/2 of it. We returned to the vet and Burt was still in the process of snapping out of the anesthesia. They said he did fine with the operation and was recovering nicely and would be able to go home in about a half hour. So we sat in the waiting room and then got called into the examination room to talk to the Doc. The Dr repeated that things had gone well and that he was not really sure what it was that he took out. Most likely cancerous, but there is the potential that all of the cancer was removed and we will not ever have to worry about this ailment again. The verdict will come from a pathologist in Colorado where the growth was sent to. We should have the results sometime this week. So we are certainly not out of the woods on this one yet, but lymphoma is really nasty for dogs (Baileys 2 weeks of life from time of diagnosis being proof) and Burt does not have lymphoma.
    It did take Burt a while longer to recover from this latest round of anesthesia. In the past both dogs were just about fully rebounded by the time we made it home and were more than happy to get a meal. Burt was awake in the car for most of the ride home, but once home he spent a lot of time sleeping and did not have much of an appetite until right before we went to bed and then only took a few treats. The next day he was more like his old self and ate a full breakfast and is now back to 100%. The only lasting effect at the moment are his stitches (staples actually) and because of that he cannot enjoy these beach days we are having by swimming. Wednesday he can get his incision wet and we are headed to the beach even if it is snowing!
    Other big events this week were the final stages of the playoffs for the gold league Al and I are in. Our league is comprised of two divisions with about 8-10 teams in each division. We managed to finish the regular season in first place. Actually we captured first place in the first week and never looked back, keeping that position through the entire regular season. We then won our first playoff game, then our second and found ourselves in the semi-finals this Thursday. I somehow picked that day to have the best round of the season, shooting a 10 under my handicap for just nine holes and Al played well enough to allow us to reach the finals. In the finals we play the champion from the other division in an 18 hole match. Points for each match are made not just by beating your opponent in overall score (stroke play), but also hole by hole (match play). Al met up with the other team after our Thursday evening victory and we agreed to play the championship match yesterday starting at 9 am. As I drove to the course a thick layer of fog hugged the ground here in the high country and the first few holes were played with soaking wet greens from the dew. None of us had a problem with the conditions as we all had to deal with them equally and by about the 5th or 6th hole the sun had burned off all the fog and all the dew and the conditions were back to "normal".
    I say "normal" because this poor course really has taken it on the chin this summer. The greens are irrigated and are in great shape, but the rest of the course is left to he mercy of mother nature for it's water supply and this year as you all know mother nature has been extremely frugal in her moisture allotment. All of the grass is brown and there are actually more spots where bare ground is showing. I have actually changed my playing style because of it. I no longer chip onto the green if I am within about 30 yards of it, I just put. The ground is so dry and so hard that I actually get better results putting rather than chipping. Al does the same thing and our opponents were a bit amused by our style at first, but by the middle of the match they were trying it a bit as well. It actually does take some getting use to in order to gauge the speed at which you have to put. Both Al and I have gotten that feeling down well, but our opponents results were not as good as I think they would have liked.
    Because these guys are in the other division we have never played them and I was hoping that they would be fun to play with. Just about all of the players in that league are fun to play with, but some guys take things a bit too seriously and it is no fun to play with them. The match was actually pretty close through most of the day. After the first round of 9 Al and I were down 24-16, but my opponent had a very good round of nine and mine was a mix of some good holes and some very bad holes. The second nine my fortunes changed somewhat and I did not have any explosively bad holes, while Al was able to maintain his decent playing. We really did not keep track of things hole by hole on the second nine, but we knew it had to be close. When we finished we sat down and started figuring the scoring out. However, they guy running the league was not there and we did not know how he was going to figure things out with the 18 holes vs. the 9 holes that we usually play in league. There were two possible ways to figure things out, so we did both. In one way it had Al and I losing by 1 point and the other had us in a tie.
    The guy that runs the league (Aaron) was actually playing golf down at Calumet and so Al and our opponents drove down there, scorecard in hand and waited for him to finish to see what had happened. It turns out that the scoring we had done after the match had been wrong, a point I should have gotten was not given to me and the net result was that we tied! Al and our opponents told Aaron, that they would be happy leaving it a tie and just declare co-champions and split the winnings, but Aaron wanted a single team to be the champion, so this Thursday we will be back out there playing another 9 holes to see if we can determine a champion. I would not have minded being co-champ, but will not mind playing these guys again. They are lot of fun to play with/against and the jitters of playing against someone I have do not know will be gone. They also won their regular season, so I think it is pretty cool that the two teams with the best regular season made it to the finals and ended up tying in the championship match. They are much better golfers than Al and I, but through the magic of handicaps it puts us all on a level playing field. Stay tuned, I don't think ESPN, CBS, NBC, ABC or even the golf channel has any plans on covering the match, but I will fill you in next time I write.
    Today we all traveled south to try once again to get the trail cam up and running and this time were successful. Only now I see that the filename being used at the trail cam is the same as is being used for the Al Cam. This is because the the computer now running the trail cam is the one that used to run the property cam and the property cam has now become the AL Cam. So they both ended up with the same filename for the picture. I have changed things here at the AL Cam end and when the trail cam begins updating tomorrow morning it will overwrite the AL Cam image currently there and all will be back to "normal". Do you get the idea that I really do not put much credibility in the word "normal"?
    Last week when we were down there working on the cam the trees near the Wildlife Refuge Cabins were really changing and I even commented on it. This week I can do more than comment, I can show you a picture of them. Now don't get the idea that all the trees up here are like that because they are not. Most of them are still fully green, but there are pockets of color. That area by the cabins is about as far along as anywhere I have seen. Like I have been saying for a few weeks now, I think this years color show will be like last years in that we will have two shows. About 50% will turn early- sometime in September and the others will change at their regular time in early October.
    Across the street from the Trail Cam they had the Vietnam Moving Wall Memorial. It is a replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington D.C., only is scaled back in size 50% and is made of steel rather than granite. The wall travels around the country and is setup so that folks can see it rather than have to travel to DC to see it. Really a stirring thing when you look at all of those names on it and realize that each one represents a life given in that war. 16 men from Houghton County lost their lives, while 1 from Keweenaw County died over there. I am glad that we got a chance to see it. It was both stirring and sobering and really helps to send home the point that we should never take what we have in this country for granted.
    After working on the trail cam and then viewing the Vietnam Moving Wall Memorial we took Burt for a walk at the Tech Trails. It is an area owned by MI Tech and they have hiking, biking and cross country ski trails. Things were still pretty green there. I have been there in the past with Burt and Baileys and Nora, but I don't think we have been there since Baileys passed almost two years ago. It was a nice place to meet up with Nora while she worked in Houghton not too far from there, but now we have our own woods to walk in and just do not get down that way much.
    The other activity being done this week has been the RRP. What is the RRP you ask? It stands for the Rodent Relocation Program. With summer drawing to a close and winter approaching, some of the little creatures living in the woods have been looking for a nice safe and warm place to shack up for the winter. In this case it is mice. We first started hearing them in the walls a few weeks ago and then it stopped, so I figured they did not like what they found. Then I heard the noises again, so I decided to look for the ways they were getting in. I thought I had found all the places and most of the noises in the walls stopped, but then I saw one in the house. Nora is not a big fan of mice (terrified of them actually) and while I am not terrified of them, I do not want them in my home. I figured they were getting inside the home via the "cubbies" we have in the loft. There is only insulation and not any drywall or tongue and groove there, once they get into the framing cavities of the house, they are free to get into the house. So we set some live traps and I set up some barricades to keep them from getting from the loft into the rest of the house. All worked well. The live traps are very simple plastic cubes with a swinging door at one end. You put a cracker with some peanut butter inside the cube. The mouse crawls in to get a snack and then cannot get out. The trap does not kill the mouse, but keeps them at bay until I can take them out of the house, down the road a few miles and turn them loose. The barricade did work as well. It is not as friendly and is composed of some storage tubs and then a small opening that has a piece of sticky paper. The mouse goes to get through the tubs and finds the sticky paper and is trapped. Only one mouse met with this fate and it was fatal. I think I have sealed up the areas that they have been getting in, which are incredibly small by the way, and we have not caught any in the traps for over a day now. So we might just have fixed the situation. I am not going to declare a victory just yet, but so far so good and I did not have to kill a bunch of mice either. I may not be fond of them, but do not want to kill them unless I have to.
    The final item on the agenda for this evening is to share two shots taken by the wildlife cam. I got it set up last weekend and when we checked the cam on Monday it had already taken some shots. They were all of the same animals, a momma deer and her baby for this summer. The next day it captured a few more pics, again all of the same animals, but this time it was momma with two babies. Both Nora and I were thrilled to see the cam not only works, but takes very good pictures. What is also really neat is that the cam is located about 50 yards from the cabin and is actually pointing in the direction of the cabin. So we have all of this happening right outside our walls up here. Hoping for some more shots before winter sets in and the woods become very quiet. Perhaps we will catch a roaming coyote, wolf or even bear. We only have some apples down by the cam as I did not want to purposely bring in things like bear.
    Guess that about covers it for this one. Welcome to meteorological autumn everyone. In just 4 short weeks I should be seeing signs of the first snow in the forecast, that is if those first flakes have not already fallen!
Oops, was going to upload this and then just realized I forgot to say that it finally rained! Tuesday morning we picked up just over 1/2" of rain. It was plenty enough to get the dust off things and even had the gound wet for a while. No puddles, but it was nice to see that it had rained. Looks like we could pick up some more tomorrow night and then the chance exists for an autumnal type storm by Thursday. That would be really nice- even if it did cause problems with the big golf match.  Now I can say it...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
 
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