June 28-
    Well, here we go, the final entry for June of 2009. Seems like June went by pretty quick. Especially since for all but a few days, the weather was pretty nice. As I mentioned in the previous entry, the humidity arrived on the 18th and then lasted through the 23, but then on Wednesday it broke and has been pretty low since. We still had some relatively warm temps, but with the lower humidity it was tolerable. Looks like the humidity will be gone for at least the week ahead and maybe longer. Today is actually a bit chilly. Nora and I just got back from taking the pups for a walk in the woods and had to kind of bundle up. Well, bundle up for July that is. Nora got a little more bundled up than me, but even I swapped out long pants for shorts and a put a light jacket on. We are at 59 degrees, with overcast skies and a stiff breeze out of the southeast. I am certainly not complaining about the weather. In fact it was perfect weather for a hike in the woods. Too windy for the bugs to bother you and very comfortable too. We lucked out in the fact that it did not rain a single drop on us while we walked, but about 5 minutes after we got home the skies opened up and it rained pretty good. 
    It's funny how the heat and especially humidity really has an impact on me. Judging from the talk on the discussion board the past week or so, I am not alone in hating the heat and humidity. When we got to mid June and had not had any heat or humidity, I was thinking that we were far enough along in the summer that any spells we did have I could handle no problem. Well, about 8 hours after the humidity hit, I had about had it and even though we only had 6 days of humid weather, I was pretty much sick of it and wishing for it to go away for the rest of the summer! I'm sure it will be back again before the summer is over, but it sure is nice to be in this break we are in. It looks like the thermometer will even struggle to rise into the 60's tomorrow and Tuesday, although I don't think we will need to turn the heat on.
    I think I know what caused the heat and humidity to break as well. On Monday Nora and I put up the swimming pool. It is not too big of a deal to put it up and take it down, only takes about 2 hours in each case, but funny how just about the time the pool was full, the heat and humidity broke. Last summer we never even put it up as we never really had any hot spells. I think we had a few days when it got warm, but we just went to the beach. I do have the ability to heat the pool using the wood boiler and plan to start doing that once this current cold spell is over, but no need to heat it when it is too cold to swim.
    Other than putting the pool up and welcoming the change in the weather, it has been a pretty quiet week up here. The pups are doing good. We finally figured out a solution to Millie's itching she had. We just give her a fish oil pill once a day and she is fine. Sure am glad that we did not need to put her on any steroids or anything nasty like that. Huck was starting to bump into walls and furniture, so we took him to the vet to get checked out and turns out all he needed was some glasses! He's good to go now and Millie teased him for a few days, but all is well now.
    Of course he really did not need glasses and was not having any problems with his eyesight. That was just the result of a little free time we had Thursday afternoon, but that picture sure is a keeper!
    As mentioned, not a whole lot going on for us this past week. Took the pups to the beach a few times and for some walks other times. The area had the Relay For Life this past Friday and for the first time in many years, we did not attend. Just sort of ran out of steam by then. Calumet had it's Pasty Fest yesterday, which we did not attend and there was a fireman's tourney in Allouez this weekend- which you guessed it, we did not attend! I guess I am not one for big crowds! I prefer the quiet side of things and that is exactly what we had this afternoon. Just Nora, the pups and I walking down a nice bush road with nothing else but any critters that scampered into the woods when they sensed us coming and the wind through the trees.
    The pups sure did enjoy the cooler temps. They pretty much ran back and forth and tackled each other the whole time and just had a good time hanging out with their dad and mom. The rains we have had have greened things up nicely and it looks like it will be a pretty good berry crop this year, or at least a good year for the thimbleberries. Nora also spotted some wild columbine growing in the woods where we walked today. It sure was a pretty place to walk and I think we will probably go there more often. It is shaded the whole time and will also be pretty when the trees change color.
    Back home, Nora flowers are growing nicely too, although they benefit from her daily care, but you can see some on the AL Cam and then we have some on the front deck as well as some growing in a bed along side the cabin. Her peonies are just starting to open their buds. The flowers get so big that the stems can hardly hold them up.
    About the only other item is the announcement that the Trail Cam is finally back in action. I did get out there a week ago to set everything back up, but when the sun is bright, you can hardly see the monitor, so I could not aim or focus the camera. This past Friday Nora and I went down there and had a blanket to put over the box housing the computer and monitor and were able to view the monitor to get things focused and aimed. It looks like the camera is just a bit crooked, but I will get down there before the snow flies to take care of that last final detail. Looks to be running very stable now too, so hopefully all will be well for years to come!
   I guess that covers it for another one. 
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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June 21-
    Happy Fathers Day dads and happy summer solstice!  For all of you already sick of the summer weather, the suns rays have gotten as high in the sky as they will and will be retreating south for the next 6 months. Seems kind of strange for me to be saying that, seeing as though we have only had summer like weather up here for a little over a week. The humidity arrived up here on Thursday and who ever sent it, can have it back! I have come to the conclusion that I really do not mind the warm temps all that much, it is the humidity that I don't like. Up until this past Thursday, our dewpoint had remained below 55 degrees, which does two very important things as far as I am concerned. First, it allows your perspiration to evaporate much more easily and thus your body stays cool easier. Secondly, it allows the night time temps to cool off nicely, so windows open at night allow for some good sleeping weather. 
    I can be grateful that we have had an absence of humidity up until the 18th of June. Sometimes it arrives in early June. We will have some periods in the next 2 months where it gets shoved to the south and I am hoping those periods are quite frequent and also long lasting. In any case, in about 2 months summer will be singing it's swan song up here and any heat and humidity will not be around much longer. 
    I can also be grateful that I live in a part of the country where I can drive about 10 minutes and be near a giant source of natural air conditioning. Lake Superior. That is where the pups and I have gone the past 2 days and we went to an inland lake on Friday for our afternoon adventure. Nora has been out of town since Thursday, so Huck, Millie and I have been bachelors for the past few days. She is on her way home now and will be here around midnight tonight, so we have been cleaning up the joint the past few hours, trying to erase any signs of the wild parties we have been throwing the past few days.
    Anyway, as mentioned, we went to an inland lake on Friday for our afternoon adventure. It's a nice lake tucked away at the foot of some of the highest terrain in Keweenaw County. We have been there in the past fishing with Nora's brother and his family and we used to go there every spring for a snowmobile ride-in. It is Gratiot Lake. I think if I were to want to have lakefront property on one of the inland lakes up here, that would be the one. Medora and Lac La Belle are neat too, but maybe a bit too far up the road for me. Gratiot is still close enough that you could hop into town to pick up supplies on a regular basis. The other neat thing about Gratiot is that it is pretty undeveloped and will likely remain that way as about 1/2 of it's shoreline is a nature conservancy.
    The only public land on the whole lake is the boat launch and that is where the pups and I went on Friday afternoon. It was a little sticky out, but not unbearable and there was enough of a breeze that I figured we would be pretty comfortable going there and I was right. There was enough of a breeze to keep any insects away from us and the pups had a good time swimming. I tried to get Huck to jump in off the dock there, but neither of them wanted anything to do with that. They did fetch sticks for about an hour though and had a good time playing with each other (and me). I really get a lot of enjoyment watching the two of them play with each other though. They sure do love each other a ton and I am very glad that we got two of them. Now that the potty training is over, it is no more work to have two than it would be to have one and to watch them play with each other is priceless. As we were leaving, a couple of Canada Geese paddled by off shore and they caught the attention of both Huck and Millie. I was able to get a picture of Huck watching what he wished were for dinner swim by.
    On Saturday it was even more humid and there was a nice breeze coming in from the northwest, so I decided to brave the Lake Superior shoreline. I say brave because I was worried we still might encounter those nasty beach flies. They always show up around my birthday and stick around for a week or two and then are gone for the rest of the summer. So for the past 2 weeks or so, we have avoided the Lake Superior shoreline (they are not a problem at the inland lakes). Last week I was talking with Al and knew he had been in some fishing tournaments recently and those nasty biting flies will show up many miles out into the lake and bite folks in boats too. He said that they were not bothered by them the past 2 weekends. I don't know what happened to them this year, but it looks like they were a no-show, which I doubt you will hear anyone complain about!
    So down to the big lake we went and enjoyed a beautiful day on one of the rocky beaches of the northern shoreline. Skies were a hazy blue and with a stiff breeze blowing in off the lake, temps were in the low 60's, but still very comfortable and with no bugs, a great time was had by the three of us. The dogs did some swimming and we took a nice couple mile walk down the beach and on our way back, they spotted a big stick floating in the water. Well, no self-respecting Labrador Retriever is going to be able to just walk by a stick floating in the water, so they swam out to get it and brought it back to shore. Funny to think it was just about a month ago that they were afraid of even the smallest wave on the lake and now it is the opposite, it makes for even more fun.
    Today was even more humid and warmer than Friday or Saturday as well. In fact, on our morning walk. I had sweat pouring from my forehead by the time we got back from the two mile walk. With the coast clear to go to the big lake to cool down, I knew that we would be going to the beach for our afternoon adventure, I just did not know which one. We have probably a dozen spots within a 30 minute drive that we can go to and I can let the dogs run free (and wild) and they will not bother anyone. We also have two shorelines that we can choose from and when it is warm out, I always pick the one with the on-shore breeze. It keeps things much cooler and also keeps any bugs at bay. Today the afternoon winds were from the southeast, so we went to the eastern shore to play. The eastern side of the peninsula has a lot more beaches that are sandy. Because it is sheltered from the brutal forces of nature we have up here in the autumn and winter, it also is less rugged than the northern shoreline. 
    The beach we went to today will remain a deep dark secret and this was the first time Huck and Mille had ever been there. It was a favorite of ours when Burt and Baileys were around and I know Nora and I went there at least once last summer too. The pups wasted no time heading for the beach once I opened the door of the Blazer. They ran right to the water and crashed into it with reckless abandon. By the time I caught up with them, they were running up and down the beach, playing with each other. There is a spot on that stretch of beach that is sandstone and some parts just drop off into the water. So I thought I would take them there to see if Huck would do any launching into the lake. After his second trip into the lake to fetch the stick, he learned that it dropped off nicely and was a good spot for him to just jump in and that is exactly what he did. He did not do this every time though. In fact, I was wanting to get a quick video of it, but every time I had the camera recording, he chose to just wade into the lake.
    Millie swam too, but for some reason, this was Huck's day to do most of the fetching. She would just lay in wait for him to reach shore and then pounce on him to get the stick. That is exactly what he did on Friday when we were at Gratiot Lake. Funny how they seem to take turns with who's day it is to do most of the fetching. As mentioned, Millie did do some fetching, in which case it was Huck to be the one to lay in wait and then pounce when Mille got to shore. All in all it was another great day at the beach. We missed Nora, but I am sure we will be heading to that beach and many others the rest of the summer, now that they are free from those nasty biting flies.
    Not much else going on up here. We finally got some decent rain Friday morning. It poured for about 3-4 hours and we ended up getting almost 3" in that time frame. That was at the airport, so I don't know how much we got here. I forgot to put my rain gauge out. It did not seem like we got the 2.8" the airport got, but then again, things were so dry, the ground just soaked it up. I know everything is a whole lot greener up here and the mosquito population has done a little spike here in the past few days. Just one of the down sides to living in the Northwoods I guess. I can tell you this, living in the woods, we sure do get to be very intimate with the bug population up here. When we lived in Lake Linden we were not as impacted by things like mosquitos and midges. I am also happy to report that the midges have tapered off as well. They were never that bad up here, only about 2 days when they were a real problem and now are not much of a pest at all. Another month and we will be just about done with all the bugs. August is my favorite summer month up here.
    I guess that about covers it for this one. I need to finish cleaning up the cabin before Nora gets home, man those pressure washers are nice!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
June 14-
    I'm getting a more traditional starting time for this entry. That is after dinner and in the early evening. The past few weeks I had actually sat down in the afternoon to write, figuring I would free up my evening to just relax. Well, today I got ready to sit down and write and a nap seemed like a better idea. So the pups and I went into the bedroom and took a nap. For some reason I was really tired and just basically slipped into one of those deep coma sleeps. I did have to wake up and do some other work at around 4 pm, so got myself up and took care of that. We then had dinner and here I am. Not much more livelier than I was before my nap, but duty calls. 
    I can say that this will likely be a short one. I have only a few pics to share and not a whole lot to talk about. Summer weather finally arrived here. Friday was pretty nice, yesterday even more so and today was a typical Keweenaw summer day, with temps in the 70's, lots of sunshine and low humidity. So with 3 days in a row of summer like weather already in the bag and several more in the future, I think I can finally declare summer here. Of course there are those that wait until June 21st for some reason. As I look up at my calendar, it even has the words "First Day of Summer" printed in the box for June 21, but I really do not know why that is. It's the summer solstice, the day when the suns rays are at their highest angle in the northern hemisphere. The whole thing that creates summer is actually retreating after the solstice. So I have never understood why the solstice is called the "first day of summer", when there is plenty of summer weather that occurs before that date- even here in the Keweenaw! I suspect the mainstream media worked on that one. Seems to have the flavor of them. But enough of the ranting. Summer is here, despite what my calendar says.
    The past week has had it's share of un-summer like weather. On Monday we had rain for much of the day and temps were only in the 40's for highs. Tuesday was a bit better, but still cool and then we started the gradual warming trend that has gotten us into the 70's where we are now. I think the local population was really chomping at the bit for the warmer weather to finally arrive. We had a few tastes, but nothing sustained. Even the grass was not growing. But now the grass is growing, the trees are fully filled out and the bees are buzzing around, making up for all the lost time so far this season.
    I was interested to see how the pups would adjust to the warmer temps. Burt and Baileys really did not like the warm temps at all and is why we spent many summer days at the beach. As temps started to warm a bit, I noticed Huck and Millie slowing down a bit, especially after we had already walked a mile or two, but they seem to have adjusted pretty well to the warmer temps. Not that 70's are all that warm, but considering they were born in the dead of winter and really only knew temps in the 50's or less for most of their lives, 70's are warm to them. Huck seems to struggle a bit more than Millie. I suspect the black fur is hotter to have and he also has a bit more bulk to him, but they both got along fine today on our walk in the woods. Of course they were plenty happy when our walk today took us past Burt's pond. It did not take long at all for them to jump in for a swim and cool off.
    Nora and I did buy them one of those little plastic kiddy pools and filled it with water today for them, but I guess they have become spoiled by the ponds, lakes and the big lake that they swim in because they were not all that interested in the pool. I'll keep it out for them for a while longer and see if they gain any interest and if not then it can go. We do have plenty of places to go and once we get past the ankle biter season in the next week or so, we will spend a lot of time at Lake Superior. For now the big lake is off season. Those ankle biters are nasty!
    This past winter, the trail cam really was full of gremlins. It seemed like there were many issues it was dealing with and try as we may, we could just not get it to run correctly. So I made it my goal to use the more hospitable temps during the warm season to get all the bugs worked out. One of the bugs was the connection to the wireless internet at the Wildlife Refuge Cabins. The connection was weak at best and thankfully a visitor to the site read about my problems with the connection and sent along some high-end equipment that I could use to boost the signal down at the cam. One of the problems was that the cam sits below the line of sight for the office where the wireless router was, but the high-gain antennas that were sent also have long enough cables so that I could raise the one down by the trail so that it has line of sight to the antenna in the office. So thanks to Josh, the signal problem was taken care of. The other problem was the software that captures the picture and uploads it to the internet would freeze up. When I first started using this software the problem would not happen too much, but for some reason it went from happening once or twice a month to once or twice a day. So I am now using a different software to capture and upload the pics to the website and it works great. The latest problem has been that the computer has been crashing. It is a brand new computer and powerful enough to do what is being asked of it, but it was crashing after only a day or so of running. My thought was that it might be the camera causing the problems because the other computer also would crash. I have since brought the computer home, hooked up a different camera and am letting it run for a while to see if it is more stable. So far so good, so maybe later this week the trail cam will be up and running again. Not that it matters that much in the summer, but once I get the bugs worked out, it should be very stable for the winter season.
    Not a whole lot else going on. If you did not notice, I have the XTX up for sale. There is nothing wrong with the sled. It is just that I got it primarily for Nora and with the baby coming in about 2 months, she will not be using it much this winter. I bought the M this spring and Rt12 has been generous to let me have another to use for this upcoming season, so there really was no need to have the XTX. So anyone looking for a good crossover sled with the reliability and ease of care that you get in a 4-stroke, you should check out this sled. It is in like new condition and with just a bit more than 850 miles on it, is barely even broken in. In fact I was told that at around 1000 miles the motor wakes up even more, which seems hard to believe for has hard as it pulled this winter. 
  So I guess that about covers it for this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..

-
JD-
June 7-
    Welcome to June and welcome to summer everyone! Still not summer weather here, but you're not going to find me complaining. It has been a cool "warm" season so far though. So far this year we have only had 18 days with temps above 60 degrees and of those 18, 7 of them were above 70 degrees. Even the trees have been slow to fill out. Usually by now the forest canopy would be fully filled out, but up this way it is only about 75% full. Strangely the trees in the Houghton and Hancock area are completely filled out. I guess that extra bit north does make a difference. 
    I have only cut the lawn once all season so far. I think partly due to it being dry as well. Since May 1, we have had less than 1" of rain fall as well. I actually started to water the lawn because it was turning brown. Usually the brown does not kick in until July and I figured I would try and halt the browning process. We did get a bit of rain this morning and looks like tomorrow and tomorrow night we could get as much as an inch. One of the big upsides to the cold and dry weather has been the bugs have been missing for the most part. On Wednesday we did warm enough that the midges were out and really came out on Thursday and Friday, but then went back into hiding yesterday and today with the cooler temps. I would imagine that if the rains pick up and temps warm a bit, the mosquitos will be more numerous and we are approaching the time when the biting beach flies will be out. We were at the beach today and when we got back to the blazer, there were a few on it. So perhaps our beach visits will be curtailed for a while now. The only good thing is those biting beach flies seem to only last about 10 days and then are gone for the season. 
    It just seems strange that we are into the second week of June and I can count on one hand the number of times I have worn shorts and had the windows open in the cabin. I suppose the depressing thing for those that really enjoy the warmer temps is that in just a little over 2 months, the warmer temps will be on their way out!
    I really do not have much to write this time. Our adventures this week were mainly in the woods and not to any places in particular. We had to take Millie to the vet on Friday because she was itching a lot and had some irritated spots on her skin. She has a little infection going, so we are giving her some antibiotics and something to ease the itching. It's only been 2 days and she already seems better, so that is good.
    We did go to the beach on Thursday and Huck showed off his new trick to me and Millie. He now likes to bound into the water to fetch a stick. Not jump, no. He likes to launch himself up and out as far as he can. In fact, one time I tossed the stick out into the water and Millie had a 2 length head start on him. She had already fully entered the water and was swimming out to get the stick and Huck jumped completely over her- the long way! He cleared her completely, but she was a bit confused at first by the cannon ball that was done right in front of her. Then when she saw all the commotion was caused by her brother jumping over her, it was game on and the race was on to see who could get to the stick first. Huck got there first, but she caught up fast and they both brought the stick in together.
    So today Nora joined us and we went to the same spot where Huck launched himself into the water. I was really hoping that he would perform the same task today so Nora could see. So when we got to the spot, I got them all excited to fetch the stick (basically just showing them the thing!) and tossed it into the water and off Huck went, flying through the air like Superman and crashing into the water. Nora just loved it and we both got a good chuckle out of it. Nora tossed the stick next and I took a picture of Huck flying through the air. I really am not sure what brought this about. Until this Thursday, he had never done that and had never seen another dog do it. It just came right out of the blue. He doesn't really even take much of a running start either. He just launches himself off the bank and into the water with all of his might. Perhaps he will start taking running starts soon and we can enter him in those dog jumping contests I see on TV. What is also neat is that he is so beefy that he really makes quite a splash when he hits the water. It is almost like he is trying to do a cannonball.
    We were down at the mouth of the Black Creek today. Actually it is more like the mouth of the Black and Hills Creek as they both come together when they reach the lake and make an estuary. The actual point where the rivers dump into the lake is quite small and lack luster. Especially for as grand as things are just before they dump into the lake. Here is a shot of the Black as it comes down into the lakeshore area. I guess that one can get a full sized version. This whole area is owned by the Michigan Nature Association and they sure have been animated about not wanting motorized vehicles into the area. It's their land and they have the right to do what they want, but in spots there are "no motorized vehicle" signs on about every other tree (not exaggerating here) as well as on 6" steel posts driven into the ground every 20-30 feet and if you ask me, the signs and posts are WAY more ugly than anything a motorized vehicle would do. Plus they have cut down tons of trees and laid them across the trail that ATV and the like used to use before they owned it. So to me it seems like they may have done more harm than good in their act to try and "protect" the area. I guess the thing that just makes me shake my head is that these pristine areas they are protecting did have motorized access going on long before they bought the land. So obviously the motorized access was not causing any problems.
  Like I say, it's their land and they have the right to do whatever they want. It is still a pretty spot, despite their actions and I do enjoy being able to take the dogs into an area where I know no motorized vehicles will be there. Although I can say that in all my years of living up here, every time an ATV or dirt bike has passed us on the trail, they have always slowed down nicely.
    Well, I have only one more item to share with you. I have been wanting to delve into the world of movie production. Not feature films, just things like snowmobile footage. This past winter I had a computer built for me that was to be used exclusively for video editing. I picked up some higher end editing software and have been learning the ins and outs of it for a month or so now and I have finished my first little DVD. It's nothing too grand and is actually one segment of 6 helmet cam spots that I will be putting into a longer DVD that contains footage from our WY trip. I also have some regular video recorder footage that both Dave and I shot that I will be including on the DVD. This clip may look a little fuzzy because I rendered it out to a file size that would not be too large, but still some quality was lost from the original footage. I will render things out in the highest format for the ones I make for the guys our gang. This file is a little over 6 meg, so those without high-speed internet may want to skip it or be patient! Anyway, here it is, enjoy
    I guess that about covers it for this one.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-
JD-

 
 

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