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June 29-
    Well, summer has finally arrived for good up here. We have been having some wonderful weather lately, with very comfortable temps (70's) and not much humidity. We even got some good rains Friday night and again last night. All told a bit more than an inch fell in those to periods and then both yesterday and today cleared up and made for some nice days. We really needed the rain up here as we had only seen enough to dampen the ground fall in the past 4 weeks and I was worrying that we were going to be having a third dry summer in a row. Other areas not far away have been seeing rains. Even Wednesday evening, some storms rolled through just about all of the UP, but all of Keweenaw County and the very far northern end of Houghton County (somewhere between the airport and Calumet) missed the rains. The grass was really starting to turn brown and I get a little concerned about the fire risk when it starts to get so dry in the summer, so the rains we had were just what the doctor ordered for these parts.
    It has been another busy week of building. Not much changed on the outside. The ridge cap came in on Thursday, but the weather and Al's schedule have prevented him from coming over to put it on. I believe he plans to come over tomorrow evening to put it on and that will be nice to have the roof fully buttoned up. I moved the entrance door from the old shop to the new one and am still waiting for the garage door guys to come and install that. I plan to call tomorrow to check in with them.
    This week was spent getting ready to spray the insulation in the walls and also to get the tongue and groove made from the rough sawn wood. Nora and I opted out of doing that ourselves again. It was a major undertaking when we did it for the cabin and pretty much promised ourselves that we would never do that again! There is a company up by the airport that employs persons with problems getting jobs elsewhere and they have a four sided planer that can make the tongue and groove out of rough sawn stock in one pass. They only charge something like 27 cents a board foot to make the tongue and groove and the turn around is quite fast as well. I brought the wood in on Monday afternoon and by Tuesday morning, it was done. I am not sure if it is always that fast, but I think it usually does not take more than a day or two. In any case, it was very nice to have that all done by them and all I had to do was drop it off and pick it back up. Much better than the 8 step process Noran and I had to go through to make it ourselves.
    So all the prep work was done and then I had golf on Thursday, so Friday evening Nora and I were able to use the spray foam insulation. This was my first time ever using the product, so I was a little nervous at first. It is a two part material that comes in tanks similar to a 20 lb propane tank. The two parts do not mix until then exit the gun and go through the nozzle. However, you only have about a 15-20 second time before the stuff starts to cure inside the nozzle. They do send 10 extra nozzles so that you can change one out if it starts to clog. In any case, I was a little aprehensive at first, but once I got going then became comfortable using the stuff. I thought it would foam up more, as I have seen other spray foam insulation products really foam up once sprayed, but this only seemed to expand about 6-8 times it's initial volume. That meant that I had to keep working an area to build up the 5-6" thickness I wanted. I bought enough to give all my outer walls that 5-6" thickness and it has an R value of about 7 per inch, so I will have walls that are an R35 to R42. Compare that with fiberglass insulation that only gives you R19 in a 6" wall. Plus this really seals things up, so no critters and no air leaks. The fiberglass insulation really takes a lot of care to get a really air tight seal. I plan to use blown-in insulation in the ceiling as I can lay that in as thick as I want and as it settles, I can just add more if I need it.
    It took us about 3 hours to do all three outside walls, but it turned out pretty good. It is not cheap stuff though and I am not sure if I would ever use it again, mainly because of it's price. I suppose if I had just a smaller area to do I would order up once of their smaller kits and use it for that, but not for an entire building again. Of course I say that without seeing how well it insulates. I suppose if those R40 walls really keep things super warm, then perhaps it could go into the roof and any of the framed walls of the log home or something. Anyone interested in learning more about the product I used can check it out here.
    The foam sets up very quickly too, so you can start building over it almost instantly, although Nora and I did not finish spraying and then cleaning up until about 9:30 on Friday evening and were too exhausted to do anything else but hit the bed and sleep. I actually woke up at about 5 am on Saturday and was so excited to get going on the walls that I could not fall back to sleep. 5 am is still sleeping in for me, but usually weekends I can make it till 6 or 6:30 before I am too awake to sleep anymore. I did get out of bed and ready for work at around 6 am and was out working at about 7. For the walls I am using the tongue and groove on the upper half and then a product that is new to me on the lower half. Since this will be the garage for the toys and Nora's vehicle, there is bound to be some water that gets splashed up on the lower part of the walls and so I really wanted to use something on the walls that would be water proof, but still be easy to install and look good. In one of the catalogs I get, I came across this plastic material that is the same type of material that they use for hockey rinks. I know those boards really take a ton of abuse and also have to be waterproof, so I ordered up enough to cover the lower 4 feet of the walls in the new shop. It comes in varying thicknesses, but I just decided to go with the thinnest (1/16") and then attach it to an OSB backer board. So that is what I did first on Saturday, was to hang the OSB. Nora then joined me and together we attached the plastic siding to the OSB. I did keep the OSB off the floor by about 1/8", but ran the plastic material all the way flush with the floor. Initially we tried to match the edges flush, but it just did not seem to go well, so then we decided to overlap the edges about an inch, which worked and looked much better. On the seams that did not butt up against each other perfectly, I cut some 1" strips to go over the gap. They do make strips that you can use where the to edges meet and also make corner and cap pieces. Our corners turned out pretty well and I just plan to silicone caulk those to end up with a water tight joint. The company I got the plastic from is called FarmTek and they are super to work with, you can check them out here.
    We got the plastic hung on about half of the wall space yesterday and then decided to move onto the tongue and groove. I did not order up enough plastic to cover all the walls and was planning to keep one wall all tongue and groove, but we realized that we probably did not have enough tongue and groove to do all that wall, so we ended up with plastic on all of the lower wall surfaces, except where the sauna will be. That will be all tongue and groove pine on the outside and tongue and groove cedar on the inside. Today we got the rest of the plastic up and then the tongue and groove, so all the walls are done with the exception of the walls for the sauna. I will need to get some more rough sawn and take that over to be surfaced into tongue and groove, but it is starting to look good in there. I am going to use some luan plywood on the ceilings, with 1x3's covering up the seams. I plan to epoxy paint the floors and then get everything moved in! Although the sleds and ATV's are already sitting in there.
    Not much else has been going on. We have been too busy to go on any ATV rides. It would have been perfect conditions yesterday or today with the rains we had keeping the dust down. Now that we are nearing the completion of the shop I am sure that we will be getting out on them more.
    We do have a visitor staying with us for about 2 weeks. Her name is Paisley and she is a Bernese Mountain Dog. Friends of ours took a trip to western Canada and were going to be spending 3 days in the car to get there and 3 days in the car to get back and they thought it would be too much car time for her, so we offered to take care of her while they were away. She has been over to our place many times and so was familiar with us and the cabin, although I think the first day or two she was wondering when her mom was going to show up to take her home. She has become very comfortable staying with us and is really a super good dog and also very sweet. She just loves to be petted. In fact, once you start, if you stop, she will nuzzle your arm and hand with her snout to try and coax you into more. She has a couple of play toys that she likes to have a tug of war with or just lay on while taking a nap. She also loves to explore the woods around the cabin. I think she smells all the critters that are roaming the woods around us and will track their scent. Today she even played a game of hide and go seek with Nora, here she is trying to lay low on the edge of the woods. She will be with us for about another week or so. I am pretty sure she thinks I am too boreing as all I ever do is work. I have played with her some, but she seems to be much better friends with Nora, which is understanable to anyone who has ever met me and Nora! In any case, it has been fun to have a dog in the house again. I know Nora and I are not quite ready for the full time responsibilities of another dog of our own, but will enjoy the company of Paisely for the rest of her stay.
    I guess that gets you pretty well caught up in the goings on up here. The big 4th of July holiday is just a few days away and I am sure that we will be taking in many of the events. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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June 22-
    Just one more week and one more day and June will be on it's last day (did not mean to rhyme just now). Seems really hard to believe, given our weather up here. This past week was a little better than last week, especially from about Wednesday afternoon on. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning were spent in overcast skies and low 50's for highs and then the sun broke out Wednesday afternoon and has been shining pretty much constantly since. Well, I guess we have had some clouds today, but it does finally seem like summer is here. One reason why it finally feels like summer up here is the sunshine. It is actually pretty rare for us to have clouds in the summer and if you are looking for a place with lots of sunshine in the summer, this is usually it. The reason for that is the same reason why it snows so much here in the winter- the big lake. In the summer, the lake is much colder than the air is (usually) and that causes the air to be more stable near the surface and not want to rise and form clouds. So many times we are in clear blue skies while much of the rest of the UP and Midwest has some clouds. That was the case yesterday afternoon. Note the cloudless skies over much of Lake Superior, while clouds are popping up over many other areas of the UP.
    I can add that so far this summer we only put one air conditioner in a window and have only had to run it for about 4 hours total. I cannot even remember the day, but it was earlier in this month when we had the temp hit 80 and the dewpoint was 72. But that lasted only a short while and we were able to open the windows back up and let mother nature keep us cool since. In fact, many days have been spent with the windows closed so that the cabin can stay warm enough to be comfortable!
    I still am not complaining, it has been comfortable for working and playing outside and Nora and I have been doing a bit of both this week. Not as much as I would have liked, as I came down with a little stomach bug on Wednesday. Not sure what is was and will not gross you out with the details, but I think it was probably some sort of food poisoning. Save the effort, I am not a tomato eater- unless they are in a red sauce, so I did not get sick from one of the bad tomatoes floating around. I did end up with a 102 fever Wednesday night and was pretty well kept inside for all of Wednesday and Thursday. Felt a little better on Friday and then pretty much back to normal by Saturday.
    It was fortunate that I got to feeling better by Friday as that is when this years local Relay for Life got started and as a two time cancer survivor, I was asked to give a little speech about my ordeals with it. All went well and I was also asked to be the one that brings the torch into the stadium to start the lighting of the luminaries. I then handed it to another survivor and followed her along the track. She handed it of to another and we both then followed that survivor. That went on until we had 6 survivors and then we all proceeded to the main light for the event and lit it. As the torch passed each section of the track, the luminaries were lit behind it. It really is an inspirational thing to see all those luminaries glowing as the sun goes down. They have enough luminaries to fill in every inch of space on both sides of the track the whole way around and in many cases the bags are two and sometimes three deep. I really enjoy walking slowly with Nora and looking at each bag. Some tell a sad story, but most a happy one. Here are the two that Nora made for me this year. I think next year Nora and I are going to form a team. So anyone that wants to join up with us is more than welcome. I just need to say that the Relay for Life really is a happy event. Sure there have been those that lost their battle with cancer and they are memorialized with luminaries, but the real underlying theme to the event is survival and celebration of life. You do not have to have had cancer or even know someone that has (although I bet just about everyone reading this knows someone that has had cancer), all are welcome to come and enjoy. As next years event approaches and we have a team formed, then I will talk about joining up with us for the event. I believe that the event falls on the third Friday and Saturday of June every year.
    Other things keeping Nora and I busy this past week were finishing the outside construction of the shop addition! Technically we are not fully done yet, but are done with the materials that we have. The roof cap is not in yet and the garage door has not come in yet, so it is not fully weather tight yet, but is close. It is nice to be done with the outside work as now it will not matter what the weather is like and I will be able to continue working if I want. It is also nice to be able to look out at the building and see all the outside work done. It sure is one long building! Hopefully the roof cap and garage door come this week though so I can get it all buttoned up against the elements.
    Nora and I did get out for an ATV ride yesterday. There is an area up here that I know contains a lot of logging roads as I have gotten turned around in there on snowmobile and one of my goals with the ATV's this summer has been to learn where each one goes. Yesterday's ride went into that area and we found some good routes. Now I just need to get back out there and make sure I can remember where they are. It's one thing to find them, but can be an entirely different (and just as important) thing to remember them.
    It was a great day for a ride yesterday. Lots of sun and temps in the 60's. Things are drying out a bit, especially on the dirt trails. Poor Nora had to follow me and was pretty well coated with dust. She even made the mistake of putting some lip gloss on before we headed out and about a mile into the trip had pure black lips. She now realizes there is no lip gloss in ATVing! The trails that were in the thicker woods still were pretty dust free and I felt good every time we got on one of them. In that last shot we were actually heading down a pretty steep hill and in the background in the opening of the trees you can just barely make out the lake.
    We found our way to Phoenix and stopped in at the Vansville to wet our whistle and then headed back on the main trail. That was a dusty ride back for Nora, but she did stay back enough to let the dust settle a bit. On the way back, we crossed the bridge over the Gratiot River, so I stopped to take a shot of it. We have not had a lot of rain, but enough to keep all the rivers and creeks flowing. We also have had enough rain to keep some mud holes muddy! That was me stuck in the mud yesterday. It looked innocent enough, but I sunk up to the axles and the mud was really sticky and was stuck. We hooked up the winch to the other ATV and I got right out. I bet if I had had the 27's with the big knobbys on I would not have gotten stuck! I actually took them off because I really got them for the winter and the spring ride and don't need them in most cases this time of the year.
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this one. One more weekend and then the 4th of July will be upon us. I am looking forward to working on the inside of the shop. I am not sure when I will be done with it, but will be working on it for sure this week. Seems strange that Nora and I have not been to the beach for "a day at the beach" yet, but I am sure now that the weather seems to be getting more summer like we will be having a beach day. Until next time...
-JD-
June 15-
    Boy, hard to believe that June is already half over. Just a little over two months and summer will be over here and to tell you the truth. I think it just started a day or two ago. We turned the heat off a week ago, but earlier this week, I was beginning to wonder if we had been a little premature with that. Our high on Tuesday was 55 and only 50 degrees on Wednesday. Add to that the fact that we also had overcast skies those two days and it felt a whole lot more like April or October days and not June. Again, I am not complaining as it made for some good weather to be outside working. It was too cold for the bugs to be out and also I do not mind working in long pants and having to wear a jacket, so the weather actually cooperated in that respect.
    On Monday evening the wood for the siding arrived. I had to help out with a fundraiser Monday evening, so I could not do any work then, but got busy working on it Tuesday and then Nora came home and lent a hand and by the early evening we had all the siding up for the two sides. On Wednesday I trimmed the bottoms of the siding and started framing for the garage door. Thursday was golf day, so no work got done and then Friday was my birthday and I had planned on not doing any work, but it was a perfect day for it, so I finished framing for the garage door and was going to start putting siding up on the gable end, but then Nora pointed out that we should really wait until the roof was on to do that. That way the boards for the siding could be pushed flush to the underside of the roof. So we called it quits early and then went to a nice dinner.
    Saturday was a play day, so we did not get any work done, but then today Al came up in the morning and we got to hanging the metal for the roof. This is the third metal roof I have done and Al has done a lot more than that, so things went pretty smoothly. I stayed on the lower part and Al did the upper half and in about 4 hours total, we, along with Nora were able to hang all 20 sheets and the roof is almost done. I say almost, because the ridge cap that they gave us was the wrong size. So I need to return those and have them order up the correct size. Hopefully it will not take too long for that to come in. It is not a huge hole in the roof, but still a hole and it will be nice to get that covered up. The new roof is also a slightly different shade of green than the original one, but I suppose in time the two will fade some and look closer. What can you do?
    I do plan to work on the gable end tomorrow and should be able to get it pretty well done. Then will do the battens for the siding and then the siding will be done. Some of the materials for the inside are coming by ground freight and will be at the terminal in Rhinelander on Thursday, so hopefully that means that they will be arriving on Friday. Friday is also the Relay for Life event up here and I am actually going to be one of the featured speakers at the event, but I can get some work done in the afternoon before that starts. So hopefully a week from now it will be close to having the major construction done. There will always be projects to do in there, but it will be nice to get all the toys and other "outdoor" stuff out of the woodworking shop so that I can get onto woodworking!
    As mentioned, Nora and I have been doing some playing as well as working. On Tuesday we finished up with the siding for the sides sooner than we had anticipated and decided to go for an ATV ride. It was pretty chilly out (upper 40's), but I thought we had dressed well enough for it. I was wearing about the same things above my waist that I do when snowmobiling, but just wore my work pants and no bibs or anything. Typically my legs do not get that cold, but when we came back from that ride, my legs- especially my knees were frozen. I pretty much climbed right into bed and Nora grabbed a towel out of the drier and wrapped herself in it to warm up. The chill kept the bugs at bay on our ride, but sure did chill us to the bone!
    Despite all the cold temps so far this late spring/early summer, the woods continue to fill out. The trees are just about 100 percent filled out and the wildflowers are starting to pop. On Tuesday we traveled along a logging road that was flanked on either side by a sea of wildflowers. It was a beautiful sight and just drove home how lucky we were to be traveling through the woods in this beautiful part of the country. I can also say that we have been very fortunate to not have any of the flooding problems that many other areas of the Midwest are experiencing. We did get a little rain Thursday and it rained in Houghton County this morning, but just enough to keep things green.
    Yesterday was a play day all day. Nora and I tossed the ATV's on the snowmobile trailer and headed south of the bridge (Portage Lake Lift bridge that is) to do some riding. Skylar and his family were up in the area and had brought their ATV's so we hooked up with them and all explored the woods in the Twin Lakes area. The day was just about perfect for an ATV ride. We had a mix of sun and clouds and temps in the upper 60's. I think the only thing that would have made it even better is if we had picked up 1/4 of an inch of rain overnight to help keep the dust down. Not all of the trails we went down were dusty though, there were a few mud holes to be had, and many of the side trails we took through the more heavily wooded areas still had damp ground so that the dust was not too bad. However, get out onto the main trail and you had to give the person in front of you a few hundred yards lead way so that you were not riding in a cloud of dust. When we were done for the day, I had dust everywhere, eyes, nose, ears and just about every inch of my skin. We still had a blast and I would do the same thing in a heart beat, but I guess that is one of the upsides to snowmobiling over ATV's- no dust!
    Well, I think that may do it for this one. That roof work today just plum wore me out. I had to get down from the roof to help Nora bring each sheet of roofing over and I think that was the hardest part of the day. It feels good to have worked so hard, but my eyelids are starting to grow heavy on me and even though it is only around 7 pm, it may be time to head to bed. If not to sleep for good, at least to cuddle with my wife who is already all bundled up on the bed!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
June 8-
    It's been another pretty busy week. Not as busy as we had 2 years ago when I would work from 4:30 am to 2:15 pm and then head up to here to work on the cabin until 8 pm, but I have been pretty busy swinging a hammer in the past week. The addition to the shop is coming along nicely and I figure we have about 10 hours more of total working time until it is weather tight. Exactly when those 10 hours will get done is a little less certain. We are at the stage where the metal roof needs to go on and Al will be helping me with that. The problem is our schedules for free time do not match up too well this week, so it will be interesting to see if we even get to it this week. The other question mark is when the wood for the siding will arrive. It sits just down the road about 2 miles at the sawmill and I was down there yesterday to drop some extra 2x's I had off and the sawyer said he would swing by today. I think he forgot as it has not shown up yet. I will just give him a call tomorrow and see about rescheduling it to arrive. Once that arrives, then I can work on the siding as my schedule permits and the roof will get done when the roof gets done.
    I am looking forward to having it all weather tight as then I can start moving a few things into it. I am not going to go too nuts with filling it up just yet, as I want to paint the floor with epoxy paint, but have to wait until the end of the month for the cement to be cured enough so that the paint will bond properly. So I do not want to have to move a lot of things out to paint the floors. However, once water tight, then I think I will start storing the ATV's, snowmobiles, lawn mowers and the snow thrower in there. They can all be easily moved out when painting time comes.
    When we left off last Sunday, Nora and I had finished putting up the walls and had them all ready to receive the trusses. Those arrived on Tuesday as scheduled, so I had Al, Nora and Darcy join me to help put them up. Darcy is a friend from Lake Linden who works for a company that owns a boom truck. The boom truck is used to lift the 200+ lb trusses in place. I probably could have just gotten a half dozen friends or so to come over and help put them in place by hand and just paid them in beer, but it only took us 45 minutes to set the trusses with the aid of the boom truck, so it might have been cheaper to rent the boom truck for an hour than pay my buddies in beer! In any case, the truss set went very smoothly and in less than an hour all were set and ready for the purlins.
    The roof purlins was the part of this job that I was looking forward to the least. In fact, all other aspects of the build I can honestly say that I enjoy and do look forward to, but putting those purlins up was something that I was not looking forward to at all. For one I am up off the ground, so anytime a tool, material or fastener is forgotten, I have to climb back down and get it. Plus working off the ground is slower because that next step could be my last one. We just went to the funeral for the father in law of one of Nora's friends. He was working on a roof and fell and died from his injuries. Every step I took while working up there I thought about him and his fall. It did not scare me to be up there, but I can say that I was extra, extra cautious while up there. I can say that the purlin process went better and faster than I thought it would. I had some very nice weather to work in and I did learn a lot from the previous shop build, so was able to apply what I learned to this process. All told I think it took me about 4-5 hours total time to get all the purlins up. That may seem like a long time, but they are 4" wide and need a 6" spike driven through them into the tops of the trusses. One of the mistakes I made last time was to try and drive the spikes through all by hammering them. About 1/8th of the way through it I got the idea to pre-drill the holes for the spikes first with an undersized bit, then hammer home the spikes. This made driving the spikes a ton easier, but added the element of having to carry the drill around with me. That either causes me to lose the use of one hand to hang onto the rafters with, or causes me to have a drill flopping around and getting in the way on my tool belt. Long story short, it took me much less time to get the purlins done this time around and I can now stand on the ground and look at the shop addition that is fully framed and ready for the roof and siding.
    I was noticing the other day just how big this whole building is going to be when we are done with it. 66 x 30. The old saying is that you can never have enough storage space, but I think we will for a little bit anyway! This addition is not an afterthought. I had it planned all along. It was just that I wanted to build the section to be the woodworking part first, get the cabin done and then add on the part that will be for the toys and other "wet" items. Nora will also get to keep her vehicle in there in the winter and I am going to build her a sauna inside the addition as well. So like I say, we will have ample storage space for a while and I plan to maximize the space by lots of organization too, but I am sure the day will come when I wish I had more, but that is as big as the building is planned to get!
    The other excitement for the week was the arrival of a new ATV. I believe I mentioned how my brother and I went in on a new ATV. It is actually more of a 30/70 split in his favor, but he does not have many places to ride it where he lives, so we are keeping it up here- to our favor! It is an almost exact duplicate of the other bike, only brand new, a 700 fuel injected rather than 660 carbed model. We could have gotten it with power steering, but figured that was really not a necessary option to have. It was pretty weird turning the key and seeing the odometer read: 00000. I have been in brand new cars that did not even have the odometer read all zero's. The other weird thing was to see the underneath of the bike be perfectly clean. No way to ever have it look like that again without some major undertakings. We did not waste too much time in getting it dirty either. We did not ride it the day we got it, I had to play golf. However, Friday evening Nora and I took a ride and while we have not had a lot of rain, there are still plenty of puddles and mud holes to be found. So it has been christened into the family and I am sure that it will provide years and years of enjoyment. It was fun for Nora and I to both have our own rides, although I kind of missed having her sit right behind me in a way. It was nice to be able to talk to her while riding.
    As mentioned, we have not had nearly the rain that just about the rest of the Midwest has had. We have picked up a few showers here and there and everything is greening up nice, but it would be nice to get a good soaker. The trails are almost perfect for riding an ATV right now. Some puddles to navigate around (if you are like me) or go right through (if you are like Nora). But also some nice stretches of dry, but not dusty trail. Last year was so dry and dusty, that Nora would not have wanted to follow me and I sure as heck would not have wanted to follow her.
    We finally had some true summer weather too. It came in like gangbusters on Friday. We spent most of the morning in the 40's and then by 3 pm we were 81 degrees with a dewpoint of 68. The warmer and more humid air was accompanied by a few showers, but just enough to wetten the ground for a spell. Yesterday was also pretty warm, with a high around 78 and humid with a dewpoint of 60, but today has been more like a typical Keweenaw summer day, with a high around 70 and dewpoint around 58. The warmer and more humid air did pop the foliage in the woods. The trees are almost fully filled out up here and you cannot see more than 20 feet into the woods again. That is the one thing that I really like about the woods in the summer is their seclusion. The warm temps and humidity has also brought out the bugs. The blackflys are not any worse than a week ago, although this weeks golf outing was a disaster. If we were just going out to play, then I would have quit they were so bad, but it was league night and I had a commitment to Al and our opponents. I really hope that they are less of a problem next Thursday. Blackflys are never fun, but they make for an extra nasty pest when you are trying to concentrate to make a golf shot. The mosquitos had their first big hatch of the season and if you venture into the woods right now you will need to be protected as they are thick. We have a Mosquito Magnet going and it is filling up. I may get another to help combat them more. We had two, but one died. I have found that they do work pretty well, especially as the season goes on.
    The warmer temps and greener woods have also brought out some larger creatures. Last Saturday Dave said he had a deer blowing at him as he worked on the concrete block for the shop addition and then yesterday evening, we had a doe swing by the house to feed on the plants that are greening up around here. She did not seem to be too frightened by us. Nora was just getting back from an ATV trip with her friends and I helped her wash it down, while swatting blackflys and mosquitos and the deer just stood there and watched us for a few minutes before moving on. Later on it came back and walked around the backside of the cabin and I fell asleep for the night watching it feed. The bugs are the downside to living in the Northwoods, but falling asleep to a feeding deer is one of the many upsides.
    Not much else going on. Next weekend is a big weekend up here, with Bridgefest and Seafood Fest going on. Not sure if Nora and I will be heading down for any of that, but if we do will take you all along digitally. I know we have an ATV ride planned for next weekend as well as would not be surprised if we get out  before then a few times. We are also heading into beach weather. It will be a little bittersweet going to the beach and not have to throw a stick in the water for Burt the whole time we are there. He sure did love to fetch sticks thrown into the water! Oh well, a nice relaxing time at the beach will be good too. I think that about covers it for this time around.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
June 1-
    Wow, I can't believe it is June already! May just seemed to fly right by. Actually, so did most of April for that matter. Now if we can just get the next two months to go by as fast, then I will be home free to survive the summer. Actually, I do not have too much of a problem with summer. Not a big fan of the bugs it brings and not a big fan of the humidity either, but other than those two items, I like summer- just not as much as autumn and especially winter. Today was the first day of meteorological summer too. I know I have harped on my feelings about the astronomical summer and winter vs. the meteorological summer, so I won't get into that again, but happy summer. In just 3 weeks, the amount of daylight will be getting shorter and the sun's angle in the sky getting lower.
    I have to admit that with all my talk about summer and getting it over, we have really yet to have it start. We are still seeing very chilly weather for the most part with brief intervals of warm temps. Today was one of those brief intervals of warmth, with the afternoon high hitting 75 degrees and clear blue skies. The rest of the past week has been chilly, with highs in the 40's and 50's. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever turn the heat off this year. I have not officially shut things down, but may finally be able to do so by the end of this week. That is a good thing, because we are down to our last dozen pieces of wood. We could go out and fetch some from the woods, but have other things to keep us busy right now.
    Speaking of those other things keeping us busy, it was a pretty busy week on the build site. The inspector came on Tuesday and passed us for our rough inspection, which gave us the go ahead to pour the concrete. I tied up a few loose ends like adding some more bracing and even bringing in a load of crushed mine rock to cover up the sand on the front of the shop. Then on Friday, Dave came up and helped me with the pour and finishing work. It was just the two of us and the slab is 30 x 30, so we were a little busy while the trucks were dumping the concrete, so I do not have any pictures of that happening, but once that was done, I was able to take a picture of Dave running the bull float across the slab to begin the first stages of the finishing work. A little later on, the concrete set up enough that he was able to get out there and run the power trowel. You'll notice that it is all Dave doing the work once the forms were filled. I know a little about finishing concrete, but leave it to Dave to do it. We did not have the best of weather to work in either. It could have been worse (90 degrees, sunny, windy, with low humidity), but it rained pretty steadily the whole time we were pouring. It did not rain heavily, but it did rain pretty steadily. Once the pour was done, it stopped for a while and then started up for a brief period and then stopped again. Then in the afternoon it started to drizzle and that kept up until the early evening. The result was that the concrete cured very slowly. That is good as it provides for a stronger cure, but the drizzle grew heavy enough that Dave had to give up on the power trowel and got out there on foam boards to put a hand finish on. Despite all the wet weather, he was able to give things a good finish and we were lucky that it did stop drizzling by around 6 or 7 and was dry through the night so that the top of the slab could cure with his hand rubbed finish still in place.
    All in all, it took us about 8 hours from start to finish on Friday and we were hoping to have been able to lay the one course of block Friday evening as well, but all Dave was able to do was get the leads in. Then on Saturday morning he came back and laid the rest of the block. It did start to drizzle a bit again on Saturday, but did not keep up for very long, so the blocks set up well and then Dave moved onto his next job for the day. I put in the anchor bolts for the blocks and the posts and then went over and got the posts from the local sawmill. I got them cut to length yesterday afternoon and evening, so that by this morning I was all set to start construction, with the block work all cured and the posts all cut to size.
    This addition is a bit smaller than the existing shop and we already had posts up at one end, so this shop will be using 6 posts vs. the 9 posts the other shop took. I started notching the top of the posts to receive the trusses and then Nora and I got going on putting up the posts and bracing them. Since we had already been down this path 3 years ago when we built the current shop, we had the learning curve out of the way and were able to make good time. The trusses are scheduled to be placed on Tuesday afternoon, so my goal was to have everything set for that by tomorrow afternoon. Well, I am happy to say that we actually finished all the work for the walls. Not only are the posts up and braced, but the wall girts and diagonal bracing is done as well. So by the end of today, we were all ready for the trusses.
    I really like to be ahead of schedule when it comes time to be ready for a piece of machinery and friends to come help with the construction. The work today was not difficult and like I say, we had been down this road before about 3 years ago, so we knew all the tricks to make things go easier. I can say that I was very glad to be done with the slab work and onto the construction of the walls. I really enjoy working with wood much more than anything else. Even though I spent most of yesterday washing tools for Dave or just standing around watching him work, I am glad to be done with that stage! Setting the trusses should be fairly straight forward and then moving onto the roof will not be one of my more favorite stages of construction. Things just move along more slowly when working off terra firma. However, I do have the advantage of the learned lessons from the initial shop, so the roof work should go a lot more smoothly this time around.
    Hopefully the weather will cooperate with the truss setting event this Tuesday afternoon. I am a little worried that rains will be in the area. I think as long as they are not too heavy then we should be able to work through them, but if it is raining heavily or there is lightning in the area, then we will have to put things off until a day when the weather is better. There is a narrow window of time to set the trusses as well. Al and Nora will be helping me and both cannot be up here until around 4 pm. Then the boom truck needs to be back not too late, so things need to go smoothly with that event. Golf has started up, so Thursday's are out for doing it. Al has fishing tournaments this weekend, so I really hope that Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon is dry!
    With all the work going on and the shortened week, I did not get out to play at all, so there are no "fun" picks this time around. Nora did go out on the ATV Friday afternoon and evening, but it was a bit wet out and she did not bring a camera with her. Once the roof on the shop addition is done, then the exterior walls will go up very quickly and once that is done, then I will be able to get out to play more. Plus Nora will be on her summer hours at work and will be able to join me in the afternoons for the fun and hopefully in a few weeks, the blackflys will have toned down enough to make being in the woods more tolerable. With the cold temps this week, they were not much of a problem. However, it seems like once that temp rises above 55, then they come out and are real nasty creatures. The mosquitos have not been too bad just yet. I did swat at a few of them, but I would not say that they are a really issue at this point.
    I have just two more items I want to cover. First, starting tomorrow, I will be back on the airwaves up here. The group of stations that I was working with for the past 8 years shut our arrangement down last month, but another group of stations up here picked me up and so I will be on the AM side (920) at 6:30 am and then on the FM side (93.5) at 6:45. So for you locals that were missing the forecasts every morning, you will be able to get them again, you just need to slide down the dial a bit. For you visitors, you can check out the program as well. The final order of business for tonight is to let you all know that the Laurium Glacier did melt this week. It was on Wednesday the 28th. John Klauck was the winner and there were three runners up. I have already been contacted by one of the runners up, but you others need to e mail me with your mailing address and John needs to give me his shirt size and the color he wants so I can get the prizes of to you all. I guess that covers it!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-