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September 28-
    Wow, September is almost over. Seems like just a week ago it was starting. Sure wish June, July and August would go by just as fast! Anyway, October is just around the bend and today felt more like a late September day than we have had of late. On Friday we got warm enough to set a new record high for the day at 82. The previous record was 74 and had stood for almost 50 years, so that should tell you just how unusually warm it was up here. I think I can say that we are probably done with the 80's up here for the season, but I doubt that we are done with the 70's. It looks like most of this week will be spent in the 50's and 60's, but then by next weekend, we could be seeing some 70's occur. This is about the only time of the year when I am not only fine with above average temps, but actually welcome them. In the summer it just makes things too warm. In the spring it melts the snow quicker than I like to see and in the winter, above average temps are just not a good thing for a number of reasons. That is unless it is in late January and we are talking about temps around 5-8 degrees warmer than average, then we are talking about highs in the 25-28 degree range, which is fine by me.
    So far, the summer and first part of Autumn have been about what I would wish for. The summer was void of any severe heat and humidity and now the autumn is turning out to be mild, but still comfortable. Sure hope it keeps up through the rest of the Autumn and into the Winter as well. My perfect scenario is to keep temps mild through the first week or so of November, then turn cold for a week to freeze things up and then cut loose with the snow around November 15th or so. Then it can snow every day and remain below freezing for highs until the first week or two of April. Like I say, so far so good, so we will see.
    I am typing this with lots of sore muscles. In addition to the daily walks that Nora and I take, I have been getting my exercise in other ways. Of course I am still cutting the grass and now that we have picked up more regular rains and I applied the autumn fertilizer, it seems like I have to cut it every 5 days or so. I also worked on the Sauna a bit more. I was able to build the door earlier this week and got it hung. I am just waiting for the glass to come in. I ordered up some tempered glass for safety sake. The glass place up here does not carry it in stock and had to order it up. I also ordered up a light. They too have to be special to handle the heat and humidity of a sauna. It will be in tomorrow. That just leaves the stove and I was told it will be delivered sometime early this week, so hopefully it will. Nora has some family arriving later this week and every time they come up her niece wonders if the sauna is done yet. I hope I can say "Yes" when she asks this time.
    In addition to the sauna door, I also built a little bench and storage area for all of our snowmobile and ATV gear. I had some left over cedar from the sauna, so I put it to use by building that. The shop will be heated in the winter, so I figure I can just keep all the riding gear out there. That way I do not need to come into the house with all my snowy gear on and disrobe. I can just get out of it while in the shop, hang it up and then go into the house with my base layer still on. Or if I feel like it, I can fire up the sauna when I first get back. Slowly get out of the gear and then take a quick sauna before heading into the house. I suppose I could even use the sauna to dry out the gear if I need to. However, the gear I ride in typically does not need any drying out- at least the inside of it. The outside can get wet, but with it being all gortex, the inside stays nice and dry. Amazing stuff that gortex is.
    Another job that was on the list of things to get done before the snow flies was to build a lean-to on the one side of the shop to store the boat under. The last two years we stored the boat inside the wood shop and while there is still room for it this year if I move some tools around, I really did not want to have to do that. I had wanted to build a lean-to to store the boat in and maybe even the snowmobile trailer and lawn mowers. With October knocking at the door and other projects still needing to be done before winter, I decided to just quickly build a down and dirty, temporary lean-to. That was yesterday's project. I had some cedar posts laying around and just picked up some 2 x material and some OSB and slapped that together. I will be covering the OSB with some plastic so that the snow will slide off easier. That is the roof's main purpose- to keep snow off of the boat. I did mis-calculate and came up 1 1/2 sheets of OSB short, so I will be getting that and the plastic tomorrow. Plus all of that will come down next spring or summer and I will build a permanent lean to, with a metal roof, but what is there will get the job done for this winter.
    Today's extra exercise was to start "making wood". In last weeks journal I showed you some pics of the load of firewood we got. In case you did not notice in the first shot I posted, I was standing next to the pile of wood. I have on some earth tone cloths, so it is possible you did not see me, but I did purposely stand next to the piles to show how much wood was there. In any case, the logger that delivered the wood could not put all of it where I wanted, so he put a little bit right near the boiler. That small pile was the pile I cut and stacked this morning. It was a nice crisp morning, with temps warming from the 30's into the 40's while I was working and I was able to make pretty quick work of things. It took me a little over an hour to cut and stack a little under 2 cord of wood. That actually would be enough to get us up to around Thanksgiving with both heat and hot water. There is still a ton more of wood to cut and stack. I want to have about 10 cord cut and stacked for this winter. However, I think I will wait to do any more cutting until my helper, Nora, is there with me. Kind of a pain to cut and then have to stop to stack. We make a good team and Nora is great. She is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and do the dirt and hard work. I figure that we probably have about 4-6 hours of total working time ahead of us to get that 8 more cord cut and stacked.
    After cutting the wood, I decided that I may as well fire up the boiler. Even with temps dipping into the 30's overnight, we have not had to turn on the heat. However, we also can heat our domestic hot water with the wood boiler and I figured that even though we may not need heat for another week or more, I may as well fire up the boiler and start heating the water with it. It is actually much cheaper to heat the hot water with it than with the electric hot water heater. Plus, when we do need heat, the boiler will be all nice and hot and ready to supply that heat. It only takes about an hour for the floors to warm up once the hot water starts flowing through them and then once the floors are warm, the air in the cabin warms quickly. I had the boiler stuffed full of cut off's from the shop building event earlier this summer and since that wood was all nice and dry, it only took one match to get it going. So now I can joke to everyone that we heated out cabin all winter with just one lit match! I can say that it was pretty nice to fire up the boiler, turn off the power to the hot water heater and be "off the grid". I realize that the boiler does use some electricity and we are on a municipal water supply, but it just seems like when we are getting our heat and hot water from the boiler, we are off the grid.
    We did not go for an ATV ride this past week. Nora was out of town early in the week and then it seemed like we just had other things going on in the afternoons. We did take some walks and I did take some shots of the developing color show up here. The colors still vary from one location to another, but from what I have seen in my travels, I think that we are around 35-50 percent changed. You do not even need to travel too far to experience both the 35 and the 50 percent. The road that we live on is about 50% changed at the moment, but yet the trees in the front of the cabin are 35% or less. I would have to say that we will have two peak weekends up here. Next weekend will be the "early peak". Meaning that about 75-80% of the trees will be at their peak, while the other 20-25% will still have green in them. The following weekend (10th/11th) will be the late peak. Meaning that about 75-80% of the trees will be at peak color, but the other 20-25% will be bare. The weekend after that will still have some color to see, but I think as much as 50% of the trees will be bare. I have one more color shot for you. Yesterday Nora and I took a walk out to "Burt's Pond" to have a look at the colors out there. That is probably the best representation of how things are in the color department in our general area. Like I say, there are areas further along and other areas not as far along. One thing that I can say is that it looks like my prediction of it being a good color show this year will come true. The trees that are changing at the moment are quite vivid and that is likely to carry into the main period for colors and I am looking very forward to it. It is almost like viewing a fantastic fireworks show. You almost do not believe the information that your eyes are sending you and at times you will come around the bend in the road and all you want to do is say "Oooh" and "Ahhhh!"
    Well, I think that about covers it for this one. I am sure that I will be taking my camera with me on many of my travels in the next 2 weeks. Who knows, I may even go back to some of my favorite old haunts for the colors. I sure hope to find some new ones too and I am sure that the show right outside my windows will be nothing short of spectacular as well. So until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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September 21-
    I must be having fun, because time sure is flying by. I cannot believe we are 2/3rds of the way through September already. A little over one week from now we will be into October. I think another thing that makes it hard to believe it is late September is the weather. We have been enjoying some wonderful late summer weather up here. Hitting 70 degrees or warmer several times in the past week. I even hit 82 on Friday. With the cool overnight temps and low humidity, I did not mind the 82 at all. In fact I think I enjoyed it quite a bit! It was warm enough for shorts, but also not too warm to be active. We did have a front work through Friday night and then Saturday was cooler, with a jacket being needed, but we have started to warm some today and it looks like we will be back into the 70's for tomorrow and Tuesday.
    With all the warm temps, we have not had to turn the heat on yet and it looks like we will make it through the upcoming week without turning the heat on. I forget when we turned it on last year, but I do remember that we probably pushed it a bit too far. It was really starting to get chilly in the house and it felt good one the heat was finally on. By chilly, I mean low 60's and not 50's, but that was still chilly enough to be on the uncomfortable side for me sitting in it all day. When it does come time to fire up the wood boiler, we will be ready. Nora and I got busy this week and collected our wood supply. Actually, truth be told, Nora and I did not gather a single log of wood this season. I just decided to have some 8 foot rounds delivered by one of the many loggers up here. Those two piles were not even all of the wood, there was a third pile set up right next to the boiler. Quite the supply and I suspect that what was delivered will probably last close to 2 seasons and that will include heating the cabin, the shop and heating all of our domestic hot water as well. The pile by the boiler will probably last close to 2 months, or at least 6 to 7 weeks. We still need to cut the logs to more manageable lengths and re-stack what we cut, but I am not going to cut all that got delivered. It was 17 chord in total. I can say that is is nice to look out and see all our heating needs for pretty much the next 2 years sitting there.
    On Monday, I went for a little ATV ride down to Lake Linden. The blazer was in the shop having some work done and Nora had Old Blue, so I had to ride- except for the ATV's. Rather than have Nora drive all the way up to Mohawk and then back down to Lake Linden after work, I decided to drive the ATV down to Al's shop and then Nora would only have to stop off in LL, let me load the ATV in Old Blue and then up to Mohawk, while I waited for the blazer to be done. It worked out well and was a great reason to take a little ATV ride. The weather was perfect, with temps in the 60's and plenty of sunshine. It felt good, but a little bittersweet to be driving on the trails that the hounds and I took so many walks on. I did not keep track of how many times we walked "the tracks" above Lake Linden, but I think a conservative estimate would be a couple of hundred times. It was one of our favorite places to walk and I still have tons of memories associated with those trails.
    Yesterday, Nora and I took an afternoon ATV ride. It's funny that in many weeks, I have none or perhaps one or two pictures to share with you by Saturday morning, but then we do something on Saturday or Sunday that I can take pics of and end up with at least a few to share with you. I ended up getting a new camera this week, so I wanted to get to some places where I could put it through it's paces. The latest round of Mega Zoom cameras have been hitting the market and I really love the big zooms for outdoor shots. So when I saw that some cameras had 18 and even 20 times optical zoom, I just had to get one. I did some research and ended up with the Olympus SP-570UZ. It is a 10 mega pixel, 20x optical zoom camera with a lot of bells and whistles. I can shoot in auto mode or program mode, plus can override the aperture, shutter speed or both. One of the things that it does (which I did not know until I bought it) is to help you take panoramic pictures. You take the first shot and then it uses a target and cross hairs to line up the the next 2 shots and you end up with a 180 degree panoramic shot. The camera automatically merges the three pictures for you, inside the camera! I got to try that and many features out on our ATV ride yesterday. A warning, the camera is not a small one. So you cannot tuck it away in a coat pocket when not in use, unless that pocket is a big one, so while it is loaded with features, it is not the tiny little point and shoot like most digital cams are.
    The first real shot (I did play with it for a few days after it arrived) I took I made use of the digital zoom to give a birds eye view of Bete Gris Beach near Lac La Belle. At the top of the image you can see the "irons"- the breakwater for the shipping canal as well as the Mendota Lighthouse. The next shot was another birds eye view, but this time of Lake Addie and some of the colors starting to pop in the Keweenaw. Here is another shot of some of the colors starting to pop up here. I have to admit though that the colors in those last two shots are not representative of what most areas are like around here. We are probably around 20-25% changed so far and still looking like the peak will be hitting in a little over 2 weeks. However, both the first and second weekends in October should be pretty primo for leaf peeping.
    After exploring some of the higher terrain, Nora and I headed back down to the flatlands and got on the Mandan to head east towards the tip of the Keweenaw. I did not know if we would be able to make it all the way to the tip on this run as there were a few spots that I wanted to take her to on the way up and I was not sure if I would be able to find the way to them on the first try! The Mandan is a great trail for ATVs. Flat and firm and nice and wide too. In fact for many miles, Nora and I rode side by side on it. I rode on the left side of the trail and when we came to a corner that turned to the left, I would drop back and behind Nora a bit, so as to not cause a head on collision with anything that might be coming in the other direction, but we had the trail all to ourselves the whole day.
    One of the places that I wanted to take Nora to was Lost Lake. It is a tiny lake sitting near the tip of the Keweenaw that does not see too much human visitors. I would venture to guess that less than 5% of the local population has seen this lake, let alone any persons not from the area. Not that there is anything too exceptional about the lake. It is very beautiful, like most up here, but I guess it is the remoteness of the lake that appeals most to me. I really like getting off the beaten path and this little lake certainly fits the bill. We did take one wrong turn and ended up having to turn around and take a different trail that went to the lake, but even the wrong turn provided a neat ride through the woods. We did make it to Lost Lake and I was able to try out the camera's panorama feature. I thought it did a pretty decent job of aligning the pictures automatically and while many of you may never get to Lost Lake yourselves, at least you can say that you have seen it!
    The next Lake that I wanted to take Nora to was Hoar Lake. This one is even further up the vine towards the tip of the Keweenaw, but it is a little more accessible. It is also quite a bit larger, so it took three shots with the camera to get it all in, but once again the camera's panorama feature worked pretty well. Just a big of a seam between the shot on the left and the middle one. In other visits to this lake we encountered others there, but yesterday Nora and I had the whole place to ourselves. Although we did see some deer and bear prints up there by the lake as well.
    After Hoar Lake, we were not too far away from Fish Cove, so I decided to take Nora to that spot as well. She had never been to any of these places I took here, so it was fun to take her there and see her reactions to them. They are all really special places and give some really beautiful views of the Keweenaw and each one is different from the other.  The most striking thing about fish cove is how rugged the shoreline is there. The basalt rocks of the Keweenaw have been carved by the glaciers and also by the wave action of Lake Superior into many different formations. Just to the west a few miles are the Bare Bluffs. Of course a big part of the beauty of Fish Cove is the Big Lake itself. While standing on the beach out there, Nora asked to see the new camera and fired off a few shots. One of them being a look back at the ATV's waiting patiently for us.
    It was getting late and we had about an hours ride back to where we started the adventure and another 35-40 minute drive back to the cabin, so we re-joined the ATV's and shot back to the truck, loaded the ATV's onto the trailer and then headed home. On the way home we passed a large pond and sitting in it all by itself was a swan. Kind of strange to see a swan up here and out in the middle of the bush, but I guess this one wanted to see what the Keweenaw was all about. It was over a quarter of mile away, and really not much more than a white dot to the naked eye, but I put the camera's zoom to the test and when combined with the ability to crop a 10 mega pixel image with my computers software (otherwise called digital zoom), I was able to get a pretty close up shot of the swan.
    We made it back safe and sound and were awe struck by the piles of wood that appeared in our yard while we were gone. I unloaded the bikes and Nora jumped in the shower and washed off all the dust she had to ride in behind me today. The dust is not as bad as it is in the summer, but we have been pretty dry for the past 10 days and there is some dust kicked up while riding on the trails. That was the main reason why we rode side by side on the Mandan on the way up, but wanted to make better time on the way back, so we rode in single file.
    I did some more work on the sauna this week. Once we were back to having two vehicles, I shot down to the lumber yard and picked up the 2x framing lumber I needed to build the frames for the benches as well as the joists for the floor and then got busy putting in the floor one day and the benches the next. So now the sauna is nearly finished. I am working on the door at the moment and other than that, all I need to do is to wire the light, hook up the stove (once it comes) and then fire it up. I am going to order up the stove tomorrow and it should be here in about 2 weeks. That should be about perfect timing to take the first sauna with some chillier air. I know I am actually looking forward to taking my first sauna with Nora! Sorry, but there little chance that there will be any pics posted of that event. Need to keep my G rating!
    I am working on setting up the page for this seasons Ride-In and hope to have it up on the site this week. For those of you wanting to make your plans now, I can say that it is going to be on Friday and Saturday, January 30 an 31, with the banquet in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Ballroom on the 31st.
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
September 14-
    It's official, I am sled less. I said good bye to the 800 yesterday. Skylar and his brother were up for the work session south of the bridge and on his way home from that he was going to be driving close to where the person that bought the sled lives, so we worked it out that they would bring the sled from Twin Lakes to central WI. That meant that I had to load the 800 into the back of Old Blue one last time and take it down to Twin Lakes. So that is what I did yesterday evening, arriving just in time for the work session to be over! Actually I had not planned to take part in that work session, I have a pretty full plate of jobs to get done around here and also will be hosting a work session of my own for the trails in Keweenaw County, so I skipped out this year. At any rate, we got the 800 off Old Blue and onto Skylar's trailer and this was my last look as Skylar drove off to park the truck and trailer. Kind of sad to say good bye to that sled. It has been nothing by a joy to ride and I sure had some fun times on it. However, I am also excited for the new rides to arrive and to start a new season on them. I still do not have a definite arrival date for them, but I would imagine that by the first of November I will finally be able to spill the beans as to what they will be.
    As mentioned above, I have a plate full of stuff to do around here before winter kicks in. Seems like it is that way every autumn. Partly because there are chores that cannot be done until autumn or even just before the snow falls and partly because there are chores that I put off until the temperatures cool and partly because there are some chores that just pop up at this time of the year. The chore I worked on this week was one that just popped up at this time of the year and that is Nora's sauna. In reality we both will be using it, but when getting ready to build the shop addition this spring and enlisting Nora's help I was able to sweeten the deal a bit by promising her a sauna in one corner of the shop. So that is why it will be called Nora's sauna. At any rate. I did not get onto working on it until Friday. I had dentist appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday and then Nora was sick on Thursday, so I took care of her and was able to get to work on the sauna Friday. On Friday I was able to get some additional framing work done and also got the ceiling done in the tongue and groove. Then on Saturday I was able to get back to work on things and was able to complete the walls in the T & G. So now all I have left to do (all!) is the floor, benches door, light and then install the stove. There is a little design work that I need to do to sketch on paper how I want to support the benches. Then off to the lumber yard to get the needed wood and with a bit of luck the floor and benches will be done by the end of the week. The door would probably make a good weekend project and then dropping in the stove should not be too much work- once I find one!
    Autumn has held it's grip on the region, although we did hit 70 on Wednesday and Friday and flirt with it yesterday. The humidity was also up there a little bit on Friday and Saturday, but not too high. Just into the upper 50's where you can start to feel it. We have been getting a fair amount of rain as well. Nothing like areas to our south have endured in the past few days, but like the past few September's this one is making up for missed rains in the summer. So far this month we have had rains on 7 of the first 15 days, including today- although today has been just a few sprinkles. I am not complaining too much about the rain. Most of my chores are the inside variety and those that require me to be in the elements I can sneak in on the days that support outdoor activity. I feel kind of sorry for Nora. She was suppose to have an overnight ATV trip to the harbor with friends this weekend, but they canceled because of her getting sick this week and also because of a forecast that looked pretty foul for Saturday. As it turns out she got feeling better by Friday and the weather was pretty nice for most of Saturday, with the rains holding off until around 4 pm. Once it started, it rained steadily into Saturday night, but they could have gotten the trip in. Just goes to show you that you can't trust a weatherman!
    Nora and I did get out for a short ride today. First we got our exercise in by taking a walk around the neighborhood. Our neighborhood is really more a bunch of country roads, but that is the way we like it. The autumn colors are still easing their way into the picture, although by the look of things on our road, we are probably less than 10% changed. On my way down to Twin Lakes, I went through some spots between Donken and Twin Lakes that were around 25% changed. It is impossible to say exactly how good the color show will be, but I am sticking to my guns that because most of the trees are still hanging onto their green that they will all change at roughly the same time and the show will be pretty good.
    After our morning walk, Nora and I fired up the ATVs and headed out for a little ride. We did not plan to go too far as the sky looked pretty threatening and there was not a ton of gas in the tanks. However, you do not need to venture too far from our place to take in some really pretty scenery and there were a few spots that I wanted to explore that I had not been to. So we hopped on the bikes and headed off. Even though the sky threatened rain the entire time, we did not have a drop fall on us. The rains yesterday evening and into the overnight hours allowed for wet ground and no dust, so overall, things were just about perfect for riding. Our first photo op is of the Hills Creek river valley. Lots of green in that shot, but I would venture to guess that in a few weeks, it will be bursting with yellows and oranges. One of the first places I wanted to explore was a little ATV trail that I thought might lead us to a spot along the Gratiot River. As luck would have it, that is exactly where it led us to and even better it led us to a spot on the Gratiot where there were a few sets of falls (FSV). The river was not flowing too hard, but recent rains did put enough water over the falls to make them very pretty.
    A little further down we took another little ATV trail that led us to a different section of the river. This one much different in feel. The area the river flowed through was much more open and also little change in terrain, so the water just lazily worked it's way (FSV) through the low spots in the valley. They say still water runs deep and that saying held true with that spot. I could not see just how deep the water was in that spot, but it looked to be 4-5 feet at least, perhaps a bit more. Most smaller rivers and creeks up here are not very deep at all. The Traprock has a few deeper holes in it as do the Montreal and the Pilgrim rivers, but a hole that is 4-5 feet deep is pretty unusual around here. Maybe we will have to keep that in mind for a cool off spot on a hot summer day.
    Although I do not remember either of those two specific spots, I have been to both of them before, just in a different way. Burt, Baileys and I all walked that section of river one spring day many years ago. It started out as just a little trek to the river itself, but it was such a perfect spring day for a hike that we started to just walk down the bank of the river towards the lake. Our sense of adventure and the desire to explore new areas led us to just kept going. At one point I figured it would be easier to just finish up trek to the big lake and then take a foot path back to the car. Well, that trek to the big lake ended up being much longer than I had estimated and it took us about 3 hours of bramble crashing, cliff portaging and rock hopping to finally make it to the big lake. We then still had about a 3 mile hike back to the car, but made it. I know I was tired for about 3 days after that and I do remember the dogs sleeping very good that night!
    There were no other little paths to explore, so we just took a trail down to the big lake to see what it looked like on this early autumn day. Pretty typical for early autumn. Battleship gray skies and whitecaps. That is the typical look of Lake Superior from September through March. Not as pretty as it is in the spring and summer, but still majestic and a little spooky. Hard not to look out on the wind tossed waters of the big lake and think of all the ships and souls that have been lost to it's power.
    After viewing the big lake for a while, we headed back home on the road that you can take down to the county park at the mouth of the Gratiot. It is a really pretty road to drive along and since the county has obtained the land at the river's mouth they have fixed up that road so that any kind of vehicle can make it down to the big lake. In the past it would take a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get past a nasty spot down near the lake and in the wet season, even most of those types of vehicles could not get past one particular nasty mud hole. For today, Nora and I had the road all to ourselves for most of the trip and were able to enjoy scenes like this for the 3+ miles from the lake back to the main road.
    So I guess that about covers it for this one. As mentioned, the weather has been early autumn like up here and that trend looks to pretty much continue, although we may see some 70's later this week and weekend. No snows on the horizon yet, but that is fine by me. It is always nice to get the first flakes along with the color show, but then I would just as soon have a mild autumn until the middle of November and then winter can cut loose and not look back. We had the summer that I like, maybe the autumn and winter will follow suit. I am still awaiting the four hundred incher!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
September 8-
    A day late, but I am here and well. Nora and I skipped out of town and headed to southern WI for a wedding. As just another sign that I am getting older, my nephew got married on Saturday. I suppose it will not be too many years and my sister will be a grandmother, which will make me a great uncle. Kind of weird, as all of my great aunts and uncles were very old! Anyway, we got back in the late afternoon and then I took care of some crucial work that needed to be done, then we returned a rental car and then came home, had dinner, I finished up the rest of my Sunday work load and by that time I was too tired and it was getting too late to sit down and write a journal. So it was not any bad news that kept me away from the keyboard last night, but rather the side effects of a nice wedding.
    My nephew is a Lieutenant in the Army and is stationed at Ft. Bliss and gets to smash things with an M1 for a living. Pretty cool and we are all very proud of him in his accomplishments. Nora and I were unable to get down for Christmas last year, so we have not seen him for over a year and got to see other family members that we had not seen in almost a year. Funny not seeing people in over a year, but they basically look the same as the last time we saw them. I wonder if they think the same about us! Anyway, before the wedding, my older brother and I tried to talk some sense into the boy, but he was determined. Here is a shot of the three of us outside the church. I suppose it was a good thing that we were unable to talk him out of it. He has a beautiful and very sweet bride and we with them both all the happiness in the world.
    Speaking of beautiful brides, I would be very remiss if I did not include a shot of my beautiful bride and myself at the reception. It only took about 4 shots to produce one that did not look like I had gas pains, but I guess if you stick with something long enough, you will produce success. We had fun, but the sad part is I do not like to dance to fast songs (imagine that, a cracker from the yoop that does not like to fast dance) and the DJ played one slow song for the first 2 1/2 hours of the reception and then this old fart started to get sleepy, so we went home. I actually requested a slow song early on in the event and was told they would play it, but we got tired of waiting. So as much as Nora and I wanted to have that first slow dance of our lives together, I guess we will have to wait. We did not have a DJ or dancing at our wedding, so did not get to partake in the first dance at that event either. I am not overly concerned about things and neither is she, but it was funny, we were really looking forward to it and then it did not even happen! The fast dancers had a good time though and perhaps if we had stayed a little longer a slow song (perhaps even our slow song) would have been played.
    Once again, as nice as it was to see family again, it sure is nice to be back home. We were only gone for a little over 48 hours, but it seemed longer. I just love the feeling that I get as we drive further and further north and get further and further away from the hustle and bustle of life to the south of us. It is a gradual process, with cities like Wausau and even Rhinelander getting bigger and bigger and more and more like big cities. However, once past Eagle River and into the UP, you can not help noticing you have left the fast lane behind you. One of my favorite parts is head up that stretch of 26 that goes past Twin Lakes on it's way to Houghton. Before I moved up here, I always considered it the "home stretch" to my arrival in the Keweenaw. It is where the snow got deeper and deeper the further north you went. There is also some very pretty scenery along that route, with the firesteel river valleys and then the small lakes and ponds on the side of the road up towards Twin Lakes. Even now, it seems that as I drive along that stretch of highway, my stress level goes down, while my anticipation level goes up.
    Other than getting ready to head south. Not much went on in the last week. Seems hard to believe that just a week ago Nora and I were at the beach again and I took my second swim in the big lake for the season. I suspect it will also be my last as autumn has appeared in the area. In the last journal entry I talked about how just about every year that I have lived here, autumn has arrived in a very short and pronounced window. This year was no different. Last Tuesday afternoon we hit 90 degrees here at the cabin, with a dewpoint of 75. Hot and humid for just about any place on this planet. 6 hours later the temp was 60 degrees and the dewpoint was 55. The drop in temps was also accompanied by thunderstorms that brought about 2/3rds of an inch of rain, which was more than we received for the entire month of August up here. Since then our temp has not been higher than 66 degrees, with lows in the 40's and no humidity to speak of. The forecast looks to bring more of the same for the next week to ten days, which will put us into the third week of September. By the third week of September, it is pretty hard to call summer back. I am not saying that we will not see temps in the 70's occur for the rest of this warm season. Heck an 80 cannot even be ruled out through October, but as far as getting some summer like weather to move in and stay for more than a day or two, that will be difficult. Plus, the humidity is likely gone for the season, no matter how warm a day we might have from here on out.
    So I am a happy camper now that at least the humidity is gone and also the threat of any really hot temps. The color season is slowly getting underway. However, for you folks trying to time your visit to catch the peak. It looks like it will be pretty much on schedule. That means the first weekend of October for most of the area. We may not be right at peak at that time, but will be close. The second weekend of October will likely be past peak with colors still around, but also some bare trees. If you can come between the first weekend and second weekend (Oct 6-10) then you are likely to take part in the full color show. It also looks like it will probably be a pretty good one. Still kind of hard to be sure, but the longer the trees stay green, the more of them that will be changing at the same time. Plus the healthier they are when the change takes place, the better their colors are. The trees around the cabin have not even begun to change, but just down the road and in many other spots up here, there are splashes of color starting to appear. THAT gets my blood pumping too! Autumn is just so beautiful up here. If you have never been up to see our color show and love autumn colors, then it is something that you just have to see. I have run into people that have spent many an autumn in New England and say our colors blow theirs away. Even had someone that lived in New Hampshire say our colors were better. The past two summers were so dry that the color show was pretty muted, especially last year, but like I say, this year looks to be shaping up to be a good old fashioned one with mind blowing color. I realize that I may just sound like the tourism board, but I really am just trying to let you all know that as special as this place is for it's snow, it is equally beautiful for it's autumn color. Here is a shot taken 4 years ago just outside of Lake Linden on one of our walks.
    I know with the weather cooling off I am sure that my outdoor activity will be picking up. The ATV will be ready tomorrow, so Nora and I will start to take some trips on them. I also have a few woodworking projects that I want to get done before the winter comes. One of them is to build a sauna for Nora in the new shop. Last Monday, I picked up the sauna for her, although it was one of those ones that requires a little assembly. All the walls were framed in when I build the shop addition. It is also wired for a light and the heater. So all I really need to do is to side the inside with the cedar I picked up and build the benches for it. I am also going to be building a door and then I will just have to put the heater in it and bingo, sauna time! I call it Nora's sauna, but I am sure I will be using it from time to time as well. Especially after those long rides on a cold day! Hopefully in the next week to ten days it will be done and open for business.
    There are a few things I want to do to inside the cabin as well. Nothing too major, but I do want to build a built-in for our bathroom and also finish some trim work by the stairs. So I will have enough to keep me busy until the snow flies, that is for sure. Speaking of the snow flying, I do not see any chances for that to occur up here yet, but we are getting to the time of the year when such an event might be seen in the way off distance of the computer guidance. I will be doing the forecast text and graphics for another few weeks and then go to graphics only for a week or two, then take a few weeks off and will start up the snowfall forecasts. I do plan to put out a seasonal outlook, but will probably not sit down to do that until early October.
    Well, I think that about covers it for this one. Happy Meteorological Autumn and
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-