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August 31-
    Well, it took until the last day of meteorological summer, but we finally hit 90 degrees up here in the Keweenaw. We hit 93 and the airport hit 90. That after starting out at 50 degrees this morning. The numbers of minutes of darkness is growing and that is allow the temps to cool, especially when the humidity is not too bad, the skies clear and the winds calm. Our humidity has risen a bit during the day today and it looks like it may stay a little elevated for the next two days, but the autumn initiating front that I talked about in last weeks journal might be heading in by around Wednesday of this week. Actually it looks pretty certain that the front will arrive and cool things down and that cool off looks to continue for the rest of the week and weekend and possibly beyond. It is that beyond point that might not make this the kick off to autumn front. In any case, September will be here tomorrow and the time for summer weather will be running out soon and that puts a spring in my step.
    Most of this week has actually been beautiful, with highs in the 70's and lows in the upper 40's to low 50's. On Thursday, we got some rain. A whole 1/4", which doubled our total for the month and we will end up with .50" for the month. I cannot even remember the last time we had average to above average precip occur in the June, July and August time period. It was looking like this might be the summer that happened, but then August turned dry. However, like the past two autumns, I am sure that the storms will come a rolling in and we will make up for lost time. Just a year ago Lake Superior was at all time record low levels for that time of the year and by the end of October it was about 12" higher and right now is only a few inches below average. A pretty incredible feat when you think about the fact that Lake Superior is the largest (surface area) lake in the world. Who knows, perhaps we will catch some of Gustav's action later this week.
    With the hot weather we are having today, Nora and I figured it would be a good day to go to the beach. I know I have said this at least a dozen times previously, but we are so lucky to have Lake Superior so close by. And not just one shoreline, but two. That fact, plus the fact that each shoreline has some zigs and zags to them makes it possible for us to go and sit on a beach with a nice, cool, onshore breeze- no matter which way the wind is blowing. Today's winds were south easterly, so we headed to the eastern side of the peninsula. We ended up at one of our favorite beaches and one that we are pretty much guaranteed to have to ourselves. Well, almost to ourselves. We did have to share it with this little guy. It was 17 degrees cooler by the lake and that put the temp at around 74 degrees. Pretty much perfect, with the sun shining brightly. Just enough of a breeze to keep things fresh and things were perfect out there today.
    Nora and I took a walk down the beach and on the way back she asked if I was going to go for a swim. She did so by pointing out that if I did not, then she would be the only Dee to go for a swim this summer. Had Burt still been around, then she would definitely not have held that title alone, but her dip in the big lake Friday of last week earned her the title so far this summer, so I could not let that stand, plus the water did not feel that cold and it was a bit warm under the late August sun, so off I went into the big lake and off Nora went to grab the camera. She took a handful of pics and in the spirit of providing content to the site and also sacrificing self dignity, I will chronicle the event for you.
    As mentioned, the water initially felt quite cool on my feet, but as Nora and I walked down the beach, I walked on the water side and soon the lake felt pretty good, even when the water splashed up my legs, so I thought that the dip in Superior would not be that bad. Things went pretty well, until I reached the Danger Zone. For the males reading this, you know what I mean. For all others, you will just have to use your imagination. As I was heading out, there was a bunch of laughter and I turned to see where it was coming from, but did not see anything. I managed to get past the danger zone OK, but things were really not that much easier the rest of the way in. However, I was not about to get that far and not go all the way in, so I took the plunge and finished the mission. So, I got my swim in Lake Superior accomplished this season and that means that every summer since I have lived up here, I have gone for a swim in the big lake. Who knows, tomorrow is a holiday and it is suppose to be just as hot, so maybe there will be a repeat.
    Not much else going on up here. I have been doing a little woodworking, but do not have any pics of my work yet. I have also been trying to nurse the yard back to health. It was doing OK in June and early July, but then when things turned so dry, I did not water it and it started to dry out and burn up. Now that the sun is not as strong and also not as high in the sky, the yard does not spend as much time in the summer sun, plus overnight temps are much cooler and we have a heavy dew just about every morning, so it does not take as much to nurse things back to health. Plus, now that we do not have any dogs roaming the yard, I can also use some fertilizer to help get it back into shape. Things are going well, but I am not looking forward to my next watering bill! Hopefully mother nature will jump in and lend a hand in a few days.
    Not much else going on. The ATV is still in the shop. When I dropped it off, I was told that they were a bit backed up and it would take about 2 weeks, so I will give them a call on Tuesday and hopefully it will be ready or close to. Nora and I had nothing to do all weekend and while today and tomorrow might be a bit warm and dusty for riding, we are heading into riding season and I know of several places that I want to explore before snowmobile season kicks in.
    On the wildlife front, no more bear visits for the past several weeks. Not sure what became of the bruin, but it has not been visiting our neck of the woods lately. Spot and Freckles are still stopping by just about every morning and sometimes in the evening as well. They are getting bigger and are much quicker on their feet. I suppose they would still be vulnerable to a predator, but it would probably take more than one predator to catch them and even that would be a bit of a task. I have gone out and startled them by accident and they can move pretty quickly. In any case, it is nice to see them stopping by to munch on the clover.
    I guess that about covers it for this one. Perhaps the next entry will include some ATV shots and maybe even some autumn shots. The colors are still just peaking out a bit, but in the coming weeks, the show will start to get more and more colorful.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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August 24-
    Before I get into the meat of the journal and start losing readers, I just wanted to let everyone know that the dates for the work session on the trails up here has been set for October 24th and 25th. For those of you that do not know what I am talking about. I offered up my services to help coordinate and attract persons for a work session on the trails up here in the Keweenaw. All of the work will actually take place in Keweenaw County and much of that between Copper Harbor and Lac La Belle. Both the Pines in Copper Harbor and the Lac La Belle Lodge will be offering up free lodging to anyone that is up to take part in the work session, so you can call them and get set up. Just be sure to mention you are with the trail work crew. Also, there will be free sack lunches on both days and a free dinner on Saturday at either the Pines or Lac La Belle. No special tools or equipment is needed for you to participate, but if you want to bring an ATV and things like chainsaws, post hole diggers and cordless drills, feel free. As more details become available, I will let you know and if there are any questions, feel free to e mail me. No onto the regularly scheduled programming...
    It's been a week of changing weather up here. Not that unusual for this time of the year in this neck of the woods. One day is it summer and the next autumn. On Tuesday we had a low of 46 and a high of 66 then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we were in the 80's for highs, with some pretty humid conditions. Today we are back in the 60's for highs and will see low 40's for a low and some areas away from the influence of Lake Superior will likely see some 30's occur tonight. Looks like we will continue our roller coaster ride in temps for the next week or two. I do not seen autumn coming to the region yet. Just tastes.
    Seems like just about every year I have lived up here, we have had a front come through, usher in autumn like weather that just sticks around for good. Some years it has been more dramatic than others. I remember back when I was living in Lake Linden before Nora moved up, the hounds and I were taking a walk in the evening and it was pretty warm out. A front was getting ready to roll through the region and as it came through town, it was marked by a gust of wind from the west. The air in that gust was actually cooler than the air it replaced and things cooled down from there the rest of the evening. The cooler air then stayed for the rest of autumn and then winter locked in. So the arrival of autumn that year was literally marked by a gust of cooler air. All other years were less dramatic, but usually just as permanent. So far I do not see the weather to provide that type of permanent cool down. I can say that things are cooling for the season in the upper latitudes and I would imagine that in a week or so, I will be able to make the call for us as well.
    Another sign that the season is about to change is some of the trees are starting to show some color. It is just the typical early changers that we get every year. The rest of the forest canopy is still a pretty deep green, although some of the ferns are in the process of change and a few of the wildflowers are also browning. I wanted to show some pictures of the subtle changes going on up here in the woods right now, but the truth is I have not spent a lot of time in the woods. It was a little too warm for me to be in the woods Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and then Saturday I was busy with other things. Nora and I did toss the rear seat on the new ATV and take a short ride on Saturday evening. The old one has a fried engine. I let the oil get a little low and egged out the piston and cylinder and it is at the Yamaha shop getting fixed. That one is better setup for two riders, so Nora and I are not doing much tandem riding on the new one. The 660 should be back in around a week or so and then we can take to the woods on them again.
    The main reason for our short ride yesterday evening was to go check on some berry patches. The raspberries are nearing their swan song. There are still some ripe berries out there to be enjoyed, but most of the bushes have either dropped their berries, had them eaten by critters or they have dried up. However, there is another variety of berries that exist in the woods and ripen later than the raspberry and those were the real berries that we were in search of. They are the blackberry. The first patch we examined proved to have only berries that were yet to ripen. Not a single berry ready for the pickin'. I was a little worried as it has been a cool summer and I figured a lot of the blackberry crop would be behind schedule and we could have a frost up here in the not too distant future and the crop could be caught by the frost before they were ripe. We drove on and were able to find a few berries out there that were ripe for the picking. Not sure why the camera could not focus, but you will just have to trust me that those were ripe blackberries! Here is a shot of the new ATV waiting for us in the woods.
    I guess you could also say that another sign that summer is drawing to a close is that my golf season ended this past Thursday. It was the first round of the playoffs and the attempt to repeat as Sandy Pebbles Men's League Champions was dashed when Al and I lost. It's funny how things can go in golf. Prior to this last Thursday, I had about 3-4 bad rounds and then out of nowhere I had a pretty good one. Not good enough, but I have no idea what happens when things go bad and also cannot point my finger to why I have a good round. All I know is that the clubs will likely be going into storage soon and truth be told, I will not miss them too much. For the past few seasons it seems like golf has been more like work than play. Not sure why, good round or bad, it just does not seem to be as fun as it once was.
    Other events up here this week was the departure of the 700. Yep, after 4 years with me, it is no longer a part of my list of toys to play with. On Saturday a gentleman and his friend drove from Sault Ste Marie Ontario to pick it up and bring it back with them. Although there were some rocky moments in our history and it was designated the "backup" for the past 3 seasons, it was still a really fun sled to ride and I have many great memories on it, so it was a little sad to see it drive off forever. It also looks like the 800 will be leaving the stable for different pastures soon. The sale is not finalized yet, but should be in the next day or two and then it will be time to say good bye to it in a few weeks. I have a feeling it will be even harder to say good bye to it as it has been my main ride for the past 3 seasons and has been very reliable and fun to ride. It will also be a little weird and a little scary to not have a sled in the garage. I know I have two new ones coming this season, but there is always the possibility that something goes wrong and they do not show up. I know I can always get one for the season, but it will just be a little unnerving to go into the shop and not see a sled awaiting the snow and me to ride it.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 17-
    We're getting closer! The end of August is just two weeks away! I know for some that may not be exciting or welcomed news, but I am sure that there are more than a handful that will join me in celebration once this month is in the history books. However, as has been the case all summer, I really cannot complain about the weather in the past week. Today is actually a little on the warm side. In fact it is the warmest day of the summer so far. The airport is at 86 degrees, eclipsing the previous high so far this summer of 83. There is still some time for us to warm a few more degrees, so I would not be surprised if we hit 88 or 89 before the evening cool down starts. There is a nice breeze though and Nora and I just got back from the beach, where conditions were very comfortable. So, like I say, I really cannot complain about the weather this summer, but I can still be excited for autumn to arrive!
    It has been another week or being slow, then busy. My mom and brother left on Monday and Nora and I took it pretty easy for a few days and then one of her brothers and his family arrive on Thursday and we have been pretty busy since then. He is a big fisherman, even owning his own bait shop in Port Huron MI, so we always go and wet a line when he is up. Yesterday I went with his son Jaron up to Lac La Belle. I was to lazy and air headed to get the boat going, so we were relegated to having to fish the shore. I knew Troy and Cathy would not mind us fishing off of their docks and also knew that the DNR had a big dock at the boat launch and I even thought we could head to the "Irons" (the break waters that are at the entrance to Lac La Belle from Lake Superior to try and catch some fish.
    On my second cast, just as I was pulling my lure out of the water, a pike jumped out of the water and bit at it. The fish did not latch on to any of the hooks on the lure, but it sure got us all excited to make the next cast! On the next cast, I ended up catching a pike. I am not sure if it was the same one, but am thinking it was as we did not have any more hit the rest of the time we were fishing there. I did end up catching a clam. No joke. It must have had it's shells open and then my leader must have gone through the open shells because when I reeled in the line, there was a clam, clamped down on my leader. I was able to get the leader out of it without any harm to the clam and we tossed it back into the lake. So as we broke for lunch, I was in the lead, with one pike and one clam.
    We went in for lunch at Lac La Belle and discussed what we would do for the rest of the afternoon. Our options were to head to the irons, or try our luck at some smaller inland lakes. Nora's brother opted for the smaller inland lakes and we even entertained the thought of heading to Lost Lake up near the tip of the Keweenaw, but I was actually not sure how easily I could find it and rather than waste fishing time looking for it, we decided to head closer to our home and fish some lakes I knew how to get to with no problem. So we headed back down 41 towards Mohawk, but turned off a bit before and drove a few miles into the bush to try our luck at this little lake or perhaps even a pond. I have seen others fishing out there, so I figured that there had to be some fish in it. It always amazes me how they can get into a lake that has no inlet or outlet and is basically land locked, but Joel said that fish eggs will be transported by birds and will end up seeding the lakes. I suppose it is even possible for a bird such as an eagle to have a fish in it's grasp and drop it accidentally into a lake. Anyway, we got to business fishing this pond and all ended up getting skunked. The shoreline was rather shallow and also had a lot of weed beds, so I would imagine this would be the type of place where a canoe or rowboat would be best put to use getting you into the deeper water. There were a few little bass and a trout or two that would chase the lure as it came to shore, but in some cases, the lure was bigger than the fish chasing it!
    We gave it a go at that place for about 45 minutes or so and then decided to give Thayers Lake a try. Again, this is a lake that I have been to several times, but never fished it. I knew that we could fish the bridge that the snowmobile trail uses to cross there the headwaters of the Tobacco River start at the lake. However, a lot of weeds and lilly pads have grown in that spot in the past few weeks and we had a hard time running any bait through them, so we enjoyed the view for a while and then headed home. So my little pike and clam ended up giving me the trophy for the day, but I felt bad that I could not have taken them to some better fishing holes. The problem is I am just not that big a fisherman, so my guess is as good as anyone's! I am better at guiding them to areas if they want to come up and play in some secret powder stashes!
    On Friday Nora, Joel and his family, Nora's niece from another brother, and I all went down to the mouth of the Gratiot to just take in the scenery. The sun was getting ready to set, but we had a nice time relaxing and just taking in all that area has to offer. It is nice that the county improved the road to get there and you do not have to brave the big mud hole at the very end. Plus they have a porta potty in case nature calls and there are a few rustic campsites that some folks have carved into the woods along the shoreline. I think the highlight to the evening though was just relaxing and being able to take in the setting sun over Lake Superior (FSV).
    Today the relatives all did their own things, so that left Nora and I with some along-together time and with the temps rising into the 80's and lots of sunshine we headed to the shores of the big lake. I really consider us to be so lucky to not only live in such a wonderful place with so much to do in the woods in all seasons, but also to be about 15 minutes from the shores of the big lake. It sure makes handling the warmer temps much easier. In fact, Nora thought it was even a bit chilly down by the lake. I was fine, but could see how it might have felt a little chilly to someone. We both wore our swimsuits in case we got lucky and a pool of warm surface water was visiting. I did put my toes in the water and although there were a few folks (young kids mostly) swimming, it was far too chilly for me. Had it been really hot, I may have gone in up to my knees to cool down, but ankles were plenty deep enough for me today! Funny how the surface water changes, because last Sunday when we were down there the water was actually a lot warmer and would have been warm enough for me to swim in on a day like today. Oh well, I just had to rough it out in the beach chair all afternoon. It's a rough life, but someone has to do it and I took one for the team!
    No good news on the ATV. Al had a look at it and it is getting fuel and spark. He was not able to check the compression, but thinks it is probably making some compression. He said he would tear into the engine, but is afraid that a low oil condition may have also led to the potential for some transmission problems and cannot handle those, so I am going to take it to the dealer to have him look at it. Hopefully it is not too serious, but it does not look like it is anything simple. I am guilty of not checking the oil every ride, but I do know that it was checked no more than about 300 miles ago and was fine. It did not leak any oil and also did not show any signs of burning it up, so it is a bit of a mystery as to where all that oil could have gone in 300 miles of regular riding. I suppose only time will tell.
    I did have one picture I forgot to share with you from last weeks entry. It is of my brother and I clowning around while putting some mine rock down along the side of the shop addition. The slab foundation for the shop addition was put on a sand pad and the sand was starting to erode away, especially at the drip edge for the roof, so my brother and I went and grabbed some mine rock from my neighbors rock pile and piled the rocks on the sand to keep the sand from being eroded. My brother and I can get a little silly at times and Nora just happened to be standing near by with the camera and caught us in the act. It only took us about an hour to put all the rock down we needed and the three loads of rock in Old Blue will run be about 12 dollars. Now that is inexpensive Yooper landscaping!
    Well, not much else going on. I saw that some of the peaks in the Rockies picked up some snow in the past few days. Not unheard of for those areas, but it won't be long before some snow is seen in the mid elevations of the mountains out west and although we are warming into the upper 80's today, in a month it is not inconceivable that we could have snow in the not too distant forecast. It usually comes the first week of October and a month from now the edges of the forecast guidance will be reaching into that time frame!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 10-
    One third of the way through August already! I really cannot think too much about it though, or the rest of the month will just drag by. We have enough going on the rest of the month that it should go by fairly quickly all on it's own. I really do not have much to write this time around and due to not a whole lot of activity and me forgetting to bring along the camera when I did have some things to take pictures of, I do not have any pictures to share. So for those of you that only read this to see the pics, sorry.
    It has been another week of nice weather. We were a little warm earlier in the week, but I do need to qualify that. By warm, I mean in the low 80's. So far this summer, the Houghton County Airport has not risen above 83 degrees. Yesterday we did not even hit 70 and today stayed in the low 70's. This morning we were in the upper 40's, but temps were in the 30's away from the lake, including a 34 in Wakefield. A little early to be seeing those kind of temps, but not totally unheard of. In about a month, much of the UP will have either seen a frost or could be looking at one in the near term. In just 2 months we will have likely seen our first flakes of snow. All hard to believe, given we are still in the middle of summer up here. Things just change so much in September.
    My mom and brother have been staying with us since Thursday and we have been having fun taking hikes in the woods and on the beach. On Friday my brother and I went for an ATV ride and the older bike stopped running. I do not know as much about the engines of those as I do about my sled, so I really do not know what the problem is. I checked a few things, but they did not solve the problem, so I will be taking it down to let Al have a look at it. Hopefully it is nothing too serious. I just feel bad because my brother and I were planning on doing a lot of riding while they were up here and only got in about 2/3rds of a good ride before it conked out one me. I'm just glad that we were not too far into the bush when it broke down on me. I was able to call Nora and she came and rescued me and my brother drove the other one back home. The funny thing was that Nora and my mom had sat down to watch the opening ceremony for the Olympics and they were doing the count down and just as they got to "one", the phone rang and it was me asking her if she could come get me. So she missed part of the opening ceremony, but I was very grateful to her for coming to the rescue.
    Shifting gears to the wildlife scene, the bear made a revisit to the area. It had not been around for over two weeks and Nora and I got a little complacent and had put the garbage in the can, but did not put the can inside anywhere, so on Wednesday night, the bear came a visiting and got into the garbage. It actually took the can and hauled it about 50 feet and then took the bag out of the can and hauled it about 200 feet into the woods. Thankfully it did not make too much of a mess in the woods with the bag and it's contents, so I did not have too much of an ordeal to clean things up Thursday morning. It returned Thursday night so my brother was able to see it, my mom was asleep and missed it. There was nothing for it to eat on Thursday, so it has not returned in the past two nights.
    On Wednesday night, Nora also saw some kind of a cat in the yard. It was dark out, so she did not get a real good look at it, but from her descriptions it sounds like a bobcat. Way too small to be a cougar and way too big to be a domestic cat. Perhaps it will visit again and I will be able to get a look at it. Spot and Freckles continue to be frequent visitors to the property too. The other day, they stuck close to each other the entire time they were in the clearing. In past visits they would roam in different areas and at times be 50-100 feet from each other, but Thursday were never more than 10 feet from each other, so I don't know of there was a reason for that change in their behavior or if they just felt like hanging close to each other.
    Well, believe it or not it has taken be about an hour to write the past 5 paragraphs and I am really struggling for anything else to say, so it looks like this will about do it for this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 3-
    Welcome to August everyone. I always feel a little better about things as we say good bye to July and hello to August. One step closer to autumn and also the winter. There was a thread on the discussion board about what is your least favorite month and I would have to say July is mine. We are smack dab in the middle of summer. Historically it is the hottest month of the year here (and just about everywhere in the northern hemisphere). As we transition to August, the sun starts to set earlier and by the end of the month, we are usually done with the really hot stuff. So August is more tolerable than July in my mind. In fact, I think April might come in as my second least favorite month as that is when we say good bye to the snows and it is usually to messy up here to do much. If it were not for the fact that in most years we can still play in the snow the first week or two of April, then it might give July a run for it's money for least favorite.
    I realize that for many a snow lover, August is the least favorite month. I think when I lived back down south in northern IL, it was my least favorite. Still plenty hot all month and it also used to be the month that I would have to go back to school. We can still have some hot days up here in August and as a matter of fact, are having one of them right now, with a temp of 85 and a dewpoint of 64. For some reason it feels more humid out there than that. Not sure why that is. I really cannot complain though, the cabin is nice and cool and this is the first hot day that we have had in a while. The first time we have been over 80 degrees in a few weeks I think. Plus it looks like the last day for at least the next 10 that we will be over 80 degrees. Into the 70's for the first few days of this week and then we may only see highs in the 60's by the end of the week and weekend. Nice.
    In keeping with the weather theme, we could use a good rain up here. We have seen some showers and thunderstorms roll through, but nothing that has produce really meaningful amounts in most cases. My grass has started to brown and I have decided to water it to keep it green. Once we get to the end of August, the sun is not nearly as strong and it seems like mother nature can take care of keeping it green until the white falls. In fact, many years the grass would go brown for June, July and August and then come back to life for September and October. So I figure I will help to keep it green for the next few weeks and then it should be able to get by on it's own after that.
    So that was the weather report, now onto the bug report. The report is there are no bugs. Well.... maybe just a few, but golf has become enjoyable again as the deerflys have given up the ghost for the season and there really is nothing else out there to cause problems. The beaches are fine and of course if you head into the woods at sunset or around sunrise, you are bound to be pestered by a mosquito or two, but even they have not been too bad at all- perhaps one of the bonuses of being a little on the dry side lately. That is another feature of August that I like more than July- the insect, or lack there of, situation up here. That concludes the bug report, now onto wildlife.
    The bear that was visiting us a few weeks back has been absent for 2 weeks now. Not sure why, but both Nora and I are not too upset. I think we are both glad that we got to see it and were thrilled about the fact that we were able to see it up close too. But they can be a real nuisance, so are glad that we are not picking up after the mess that it could leave behind. We have had a pair of fawn being regular visitors during the breakfast and dinner hours. I have nick named them "Spot" and "Freckles". They come just about all the way up to the cabin and Nora was worried that they would eat her tomato plants, but they do not seem to have much of a desire for them as they leave them alone and just eat all the different plants that are growing naturally in the area. They are cute little buggers. They spend about 90 percent of their time eating and the other 10% looking out for danger. Their mom hangs back in the woods and is more on alert. If she hears or smells trouble, a stomping she will go with her front hoof and Spot and Freckles take off like bolts of lightning into the woods. Sure hope that they will be regular visitors to our little clearing in the woods. It would be sad to just see one after a while. I think cars would be their worst enemy right now as we have not heard coyotes for many weeks. What I find interesting is that Spot is noticeably larger than Freckles. Not sure why. It can't be because it was born 30 minutes sooner. Perhaps it is a male and they grow faster than a female. or perhaps the other way around. At any rate. that is what is going on around here as far as wildlife is concerned.
    The berry report is that the blueberry crop is still going well and picking can be seen in the favorite hot spots. Thimbleberries are also going strong now, although neither Nora nor I care much for them. Raspberries seem to be a little muted this summer. Not sure why, but they are hard to come by. Even our patch in the woods is not as loaded as it has been in previous years. Last year was really bad for the raspberries, but that is because it stopped raining the first week of June and did not start back up until September. I have not seen a whole lot of blackberry bushes out in the woods either. However, I don't think that they are as common as the other berries are. I do know of a few bucket filler spots for blackberries and perhaps Nora and I can pick some when they ripen up in a month or so.
    As far as activities go, there has been some work and some play. In the play department, Nora when on a ride with friends Thursday. They rode up to Lac La Belle and back and had a good time. The weather was just about perfect for them. I took an ATV ride with a friend from northern Illinois on Friday. We too had a fun time. We rode to Gay and back. The weather cooperated for the most part, although we did run through the back side of a developing thunderstorm on the way home and got sprinkled on a bit. Otherwise the weather was just about perfect. Temps in the low 70's and lots of sunshine. Even though we have been a little dry lately, the woods are still plenty green. We took the long way to Gay, driving around some of the high country in Keweenaw County and then dropping in past Thayers Lake and then over to the rail bed that runs to Gay. We spent a few minutes in the local watering hole in Gay- you know the one, and then headed home. The trip home was pretty much a straight line shot and took us a little over 30 minutes, even with having to try and dodge the raindrops.
    Today Nora and I went to the beach. By about 9 am, you could already tell that it was going to be a good day to go to the beach. Already warmer than any of the mornings have been in some time and the humidity was also noticeable. So after taking care of some work, we had lunch and then headed out to the beach. We sure are lucky to live in such a beautiful northwoods setting and have the added bonus of being able to go to the shores of the big lake and just relax in peace and quiet. The decision to head to which of the many beaches available to us is always largely determined by which way the wind is blowing. An on-shore breeze is the ticket, so we headed east today. It is a beach that we like to keep secret because it is always empty when we go, even on a good beach day on a Sunday in August. It is also one of Burt's favorites and we had not been there yet this year, so it was a little bittersweet going there today. At first I almost did not know what to do. By instinct, I started looking for a stick to throw and when I spotted one, it hit me that I did not need it. It honestly took me a few moments to realize that I could just relax and close my eyes, feel the sun beat down on me and listen to the water lap up onto the beach. Once I did that though, I became quite relaxed and while I missed having my good buddy around to toss the stick for, it was a very relaxing day at the beach. Nora and I took a nice 1 mile or so walk down the beach and other than one other set of beachgoers about 1/2 mile down, it was empty  (FSV). The water was a bit chilly for my wimpy skin, but had it been as hot at the beach as it was at the cabin, I may have gone in at least up to my knees. However, with the onshore breeze, the temps there were about 13-14 degrees cooler, running around 71-72 degrees.
    As for work, I was able to complete the last bit of work on the shop. I know that I will be putzing around with things for as long as I live and I do still need to build some devices to store all the gardening stuff, but the last big job for the entire shop itself was to paint the floor. So on Thursday I used the cleaning compound that comes with the paint kit and let it dry Friday and then Saturday morning Nora and I painted the floor. I did the painting while Nora followed directly behind me and put down the decorative paint chips. The chips will also serve to add a little texture to the floor and make it less slippery. We made a great team and it only took us a little over an hour to pain the 900 square feet floor. Plus it turned out great- we think!
    I let the paint dry for around 24 hours and then the directions say that you can start returning things to the garage, so I spent the morning putting the tool chest, work bench and some other things back in. Plus a new addition. After ending up in physical therapy for my back from working on my sled all hunched over, I decided to get a hydraulic lift for the sleds/atvs. It is really a nifty device, using compressed air from my air compressor to power a hydraulic pump that in turn charges a hydraulic ram on the lift and will lift the bed up 32". It will lift 1500 pounds, so anything that I would ever want to put on it will be lifted and will make doing repairs or detailing much easier and more comfortable. The funny thing is that the first thing that will be up on the lift for me to work on will be my lawn mower.
    As I am sure many of you also noticed in the previous two pictures, there is a black mat down on the floor. I also picked up a rubberized mat to protect my nice painted floors from the sleds carbides. I am hoping it holds up anyway! It is about 1/4" thick and is pretty heavy duty rubber, so I think it should hold up to the carbides on the skis. I plan to back the sleds in and even use the dolly in many cases to move them around, so it will not see too much abuse, but thought it would be a good way to protect the floor.
    So now the shop is officially done and like I say, I still have some storage and organization details to work on, but am done with anything that would need to be done to the shop as a whole. Now I can clear the woodshop of all the items that belong in the garage and get the woodshop a little more organized. If you have not yet been able to determine, I really like to have organized workspaces!
    I think that pretty much gets you caught up on the goings on up here, so will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-