December 26-
    Greetings! I hope everyone's Christmas was good and if you don't celebrate the holiday, I hope you had a good Sunday! I debated whether I should even write today, seeing as though I did the quick write up on Saturday and posted our Christmas picture yesterday, but I do have some more general pics and stories to share and figured that by the next time I write they will be old news, so here I am!
    A quick note. For those that missed it and are still debating on whether or not to come up this way to play in the snow. I did write a special entry on Saturday after taking a ride on my sled and taking some pics. Most of you know I am not in the business of telling folks if they should come up or not. I like to take pics of conditions and let folks decide for themselves. The only thing I can add from Saturday's report is that we did pick up about 2" of dense system snow on Christmas morning and now temps have shot up into the low 40's today. Based on what is happening in my yard and driveway, I would suspect that the two are pretty much a wash and one would not find conditions to be that much different right now from what I was on Saturday. Traffic still seems to be very light. We went to Calumet and did not see a single sled on the trails or even at the motels. I suspect that those coming up for this week are just arriving now though. So perhaps that is good that we did not have heavy traffic combined with the warm up.
   Temps do look to cool tonight back down to below freezing and will stay below freezing for the next week to ten days and there are some snows seen- especially by the end of the week, the weekend and first half of next week. No big dumps of snow, but I guess if you added up the high end totals possible from later this week into the middle of next week, we could end up with the equivalent of a big dump. Perhaps some snow for other areas of the Northwoods, which would be nice. We certainly do not want to be the only ones with snow to ride in. No amount of fresh snow or grooming could ever keep up with that!
    I have to say, this December may not break any records for lack of snow, but it sure has been a strange one. I can actually count on one hand the number of times I have had to move snow from the driveway. The first two snows were actually used up to make a mat (the first one melted) and then most of our snows have been light enough to not have to worry about plowing. I did plow yesterday because we picked up the 2" yesterday morning and also picked up about 1.5" on Friday, so the 3 or so inches would just start to make the mat too thick.
    I actually have not even had to run the snow thrower yet, as the plow is doing all the work and the banks have not had to be cut back yet. Just amazing and back in October, if someone would have told me this was going to happen, I would have told them they were nuts!
    The lack of snow has a double negative effect on me. Not only do I have to deal with it as a snow lover, but I also have to be the one to break the news to all the snow lovers coming to the site. I actually am not too depressed about it. I realize I have TONS of things to be thankful for at this point in my life and am not going to let a lack of snow get me down (too much anyway). However, there are some very good folks up here who depend on the winter tourism to help them get by in the winter and they are suffering right now, although true winter tourism does not usually start until today. So hopefully we can get things in shape to allow for a steady stream of visitors.
    Last year between Christmas and New Years we had our annual thaw and rain event and it was depressing. I remember taking a walk on Cliff Drive and even though temps were above freezing and there was some fog and drizzle outside, just being able to walk and enjoy that beautiful stretch of Keweenaw roadway lifted my spirits. So this week, the pups and I headed out there for a little walk. Not that I was as down this year as last and the weather was different, with temps in the 20's and a pretty stiff breeze going, but still, the walk down the drive was a spirit lifter and helped me to appreciate how good I have it.
    The views were very pretty, with the Cliff Range coated in snow and the seeping water off the edge of the face of the cliffs forming giant icicles. It was also a joy to watch the pups run around through the woods boarding the roadway. They had a blast playing chase with each other and the occasional squirrel that they managed to surprise. It does my spirits a lot of good to watch them have fun. The road is only being plowed part way, so there is no through traffic and we had things to ourselves until the county plow came by and made a pass.
    On Friday, some light snow was falling and Nora and I took the pups for a little walk, this time down another Keweenaw road that is off the beaten path. Again, with little to no traffic we are able to let the pups run free to dart from the road into the woods and back.
    Christmas was spent here this year. It is only the second time in my 45 years on this planet that I have not gone to spend it with my immediate family, but I grew up waking up in my own bed and coming down to open presents Christmas morning in my own house and that is something I really want to do for Grace too. This is the first year that I think she is old enough to start forming those memories and so we stayed put. It was weird not making the trip south and spending the day with my family, but we had a very nice Christmas here and watching Grace wake up and see what Santa brought here was priceless.
    Speaking of Grace, she made out pretty good this Christmas, as if that is any kind of a surprise! Although she did appreciate all she got and in reality, all she asked for from Santa was a pink ball with all the princesses on it. I honestly believe that if the ball was all that was under the tree, she would have been just as happy as she was with all that actually was.
   She did get into the holiday spirit this year, although she was not climbing the walls Christmas Eve. Nora and I did not hype things too much and I think this was probably our last Christmas Eve for some time to come where she will not be climbing the walls! Of course the pups were not left out of the celebrations either. Santa made sure they had some new toys to rip to shreds and some treats to look forward to at times during the day. So it was a very nice Christmas here at the Dees. 
    Well, I guess that covers it for this one. Have a great week and talk to you all next year!
-JD-

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December 25-

~ MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE  DEES ~

December 24- Trail Report
    Well, I fired up the new sled and took a little ride. I keep hearing that the ONLY place to ride is between Twin Lake and South Range or perhaps Greenland to South Range. Knowing that we had enough snow to ride up this way, I figured I would show it is true. Now, I am not picking on the trail reports from south of the bridge, just wanted to get the word out that folks can ride north of the bridge too.
    So I fired up the sled around 9:20 and headed north. Conditions were thin getting through Mohawk, but rideable.
Just past town (about 100 yards), conditions improved dramatically.
    I continued northeast up the main trail and was actually having a good time. It's rare that you get to ride the trails in the Keweenaw and have them to yourselves. About half way between Mohawk and Phoenix I stopped to take this pic. Here is a shot a little further up the trail towards Phoenix
    Up in Phoenix, I came across the groomer. I stopped and had a nice chat with him. They have been going out and panning the trails. Knowing I would not be able to ride all of the trails in our system this morning, I asked him what things were like. He said that as long as you stay in the high ground, that conditions were just like what we were in here in Phoenix. He said that things get very thin as you drop down right near the lake in places like Eagle River, Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor. He said there is snow there and you can ride a sled down there, but that it is very thin. He said trails like the Mandan, Brockway Mtn and sections of the Eagles Loop were all just like they were on the main trail where we were. I can verify the conditions in Eagle River and Eagle Harbor as I have been down there by truck in the past few days. The snow only gets thin as you get right up next to the lake, so anyone wanting to ride a sled into those areas would have to grin and bear it for less than 1/4 mile.
    I continued on, but noticed that the gas level was getting a little low. I am sadly still trying to get through the first tank of pre-mix and was not able to fill up before my ride. I really wished I had been able to fill up as well as had a riding partner, because I was having such a good time, I could have stayed out all day. Here is a shot of the trail between Phoenix and Central.
    Still staying on the main trail, I pressed on north and east, I especially wanted to get to a section between Central and the side trail to Lac La Belle. It is notorious for having wet spots and thus being a little messy early in the season. In fact, about 10 years ago, things were so ugly through there, they did a special re-route. As I headed through that stretch, it was nice to see all the wet spots were frozen up and the trail through there was all good.
    I went a little further past that section that can be wet and made it to where the trail to Lac La Belle branches off the main trail and turned around to head back. I really wished I could have continued on and hit the Mandan and even the Brockway Mountain trail. Those are two of my favorites up here, but the gas situation forced me to do otherwise. On the way back home, I stopped to take a shot of some snow on the left overs of a deck of logs to show the snow depth. Certainly not deep like we are used to, but looked to be around 8-10", maybe a bit more.
    One more shot of a thin spot just south of Phoenix. I think this is a spot that has some natural moguls on the ground, and with the grooming, the low spots have been filled in, but the high spots are thin and is the reason for the thinner snow overall through here. It was about a 1/3rd of a mile stretch that was in that shape.
    So, that covers my ride today. I had a fun time and was glad I went out. Opinions will differ on what is good and what is not and what is worth it to come up and what is not, that is why I took the pics, so you all could see if you even wanted to make the time to come up. I can report that things are thinnest in the Houghton/Hancock area as well as down right up against the lake in areas like Copper Harbor, Eagle Harbor and Eagle River. So one could get through these areas if they had to, but you will have to grin and bear it. Lac La Belle is thin too, but not as thin as the others. The snow mat is down across the lift bridge between Houghton and Hancock, so folks not liking to ride the metal of the bridge do not have to worry about that. 
    I also spoke with a friend that rode from Calumet down to Hancock and then back to Calumet via Dollar Bay and Lake Linden. He said the trail between Calumet and Hancock was in pretty decent shape and got thin just as you were heading into Hancock around the cross country ski trails. The trail from Hancock to Dollar Bay was thin like in Hancock and then improved a bit as you headed up in elevation a bit past Dollar Bay, but was not as good as from Hancock to Calumet on the upper trail.
    So I guess the bottom line is your best riding will be on the main trail from just outside of Hancock through Calumet, Mohawk, Phoenix, Delaware and then on all the loops until you get right down by the lake. So getting into the towns will be a "grin and bear it" scenario, but there is snow, these areas are not snow free.
    The trails elsewhere have adequate snow cover now, but would not hold up to tons of traffic. I doubt that there will be tons of traffic, but I suspect that some will come to ride between Christmas and New Year. So the best advice I have is that the early birds will get the worm as far as trail conditions go this week. Things will likely be much better on Monday than on Friday if we do not get much new snow next week. Right now there does not look to be a lot of new snow on the offing. A dusting to inch tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday and then maybe a few inches later Friday and Sat. 
    Hope this helps!   - John

December 18-
    Well, another week has passed and another week closer to Christmas. One week away to be exact. With the way the weather has been going up here, it really has been hard to get in the Christmas mood and it really seems more like the beginning of December and not the third week. Oh well, guess I will have to sit and watch some Christmas specials with the family and eat come Christmas cookies this week to get me more in the mood. Not that I am in a bad mood, just lacking that special feeling I always get right around Christmas.
    This is probably going to be a somewhat abbreviated entry as both the weather and an illness has kept me from doing too much. First, the weather was the pits for most of the week. Last Sunday we smashed the record high for the day, with a 49. That was not a record for the entire month though. The record for the entire month of December is a 57 set back in 1953 on December 16th. The air was quite dry while we had those warm temps and it had little impact on our snow. Most of the roads did not even melt much. However, the rest of the week was spent with temps in the mid 30's for highs and mid 30's for lows and we even had some liquid precip fall Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. So needless to say, our halfway decent snow cover that we had going into last weekend, took it on the chin. 
    We did pick up about 5-6" of snow on Thursday and Thursday night and then another 2-3" yesterday, so repairs have been made, but we are still lacking in the kind of snowcover that usually is occurring at this time of the year. I keep thinking: "if we would not have had the thaws we have had since getting our first snow, we would have a really good snowpack down right now". I have measured 43" for season so far, which is more than Chicago sees in an entire season and about half of what places like Eagle River WI see in an entire season. So had the snows not been hit with the three thaws we have had, we would be in pretty decent shape.
    Anyway, as mentioned, I have also picked up a bit of an illness. Actually both Grace and I have been under the weather this week. We both came down with a cold and just could not shake it, so yesterday we went in to see a Dr and were both diagnosed with a sinus infection. We both are on antibiotics now and hopefully will be mended soon. It has not been a terrible experience, but it has made us both tired and a little irritable. Poor Nora, dealing with two sick kids all week!
    So the lack of energy and weather kept me indoors for most of the week, poor dogs too. They have been missing their daily walks and even by Friday we had enough snow that a ski could have been made. They don't seem to mind hanging out on the bed all day either. Oh to have the life of a lab in the Dee house! They deserve it though, they are such good dogs and give so much love to us all.
    Truth be told that just about 2 hours ago, I did not even have a single picture to share with you, but one of the magical things about living where we do is that a problem like that can be remedied very quickly and without too much trouble. This morning after getting all of our chores out of the way, we all piled into the truck and headed to Eagle River. The Keweenaw County Sheriff collects toys for kids and then distributes them to kids who might otherwise go without them for Christmas. He has been doing this for years and years and we have made donations to his cause for years, but wanted to include Grace in the process this year. So a few weeks back we took Grace to one of the local stores and let her pick out a toy for a little girl. She picked out a little doll and some accessories for it and today we went to the sheriff's office to give it to them.
    On the way, I stopped to take some pictures of the trails. Here is what trail 3 looks like at the crossing just SW of Phoenix. Here is what it looks like heading in the other direction. I guess the best way to describe them would be: "snow covered, but thin". The snows are typically always thinner right down by the big lake and right now that is very true. Here is a shot of the trail as it dumps into the town of Eagle River. The snow only drops to those lower levels when you get about 1/4 of a mile away from the big lake, so the vast majority of our trails look more like the first two shots. In fact, I wish I had taken some shots of the trails around Calumet, because they look even better. Still not great, but a thicker base and one that I would actually ride on- even with my mountain sleds.
    Now, I'm not trying to sugar coat things either. It is thin and with any kind of significant traffic, will only get thinner, but also, if we were to get another 5-8" of snow before things got too busy, then a better base could be established and we might actually survive an onslaught. Will that 5-8" come before Christmas? Well, not sure about that. The good news is that no thaws are seen and there is some light snow (inch or so), followed by some lake snow that could give us 2-5" on Thursday and then a similar situation for later on Christmas Day. The very early indications for the period between Christmas and New Years holds no thaws and some chances for some light snow events across much of the northern Midwest. So no big storms, but at this point no thaws and we could slowly build the snowpack across the Northwoods as well.
    Getting back to our trip to Eagle River, we also took a few "scenic" shots. We did not venture into the woods, but did cross the Eagle River itself and that provided for a nice, scenic, winter photo. A little further down stream, the river has a set of falls and they too made for a unique winter shot. See, magic. I went from no shots to share to 5 almost instantly!
    What would an entry be without a couple of shots of Gracie. Here she is carrying the toy in to the sheriff's office and here she is posing with it in front of their tree. Don't let the handful of toys by the tree mislead you. There are several collection spots for the toys across the county and several businesses also hold open houses or Christmas parties where toys are collected. We went to one such party at the Bear Belly Bar and Grille in Lac La Belle last weekend and Grace got to give a present away there too. So hopefully she is starting to get an idea about the giving part of Christmas too.
    Well, I guess that about does it for this one. Not sure about a writing next Sunday as it will be Christmas Day. We will actually be here, so it's possible, I guess I will just have to see how the day goes. Maybe I will be too busy plowing the 2 feet of fresh powder!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
December 11-
    Wow, hard to believe December is almost half over and Christmas is just two weeks away! I have most of my shopping done, so that is not my main concern, it's how fast the busy period for snowmobiling between Christmas and New Years is approaching and how we are not yet ready for that to happen. I keep preaching that things can and do change in a hurry around here, but so far this season does not want to be one that seems to want to produce such a change.
    We did get some lake effect with the cold air at the end of this past week. It was pretty selective in who it hit hard, with the area just south of Houghton from Painesdale to around Toivola hit the hardest. It looked like those folks probably picked up about 15-18" of snow all told. It also looked like areas from around Calumet north to Mohawk (which includes me) saw the least- probably only about 4" in the period Wednesday night through Friday night and a general 4-8" fell in most other areas from just north of Mass City north to Copper Harbor. Not much fell in other lake snow belts of the UP, which was pretty much expected.
    I did travel south to play in the deeper snow on Friday. I loaded the new sled into the back of the truck and parked at the Mosquito in Toivola. I then met up with some friends from the site and we spent the afternoon playing in the snow. It was pretty good for early season down that way. About a foot and a half of snow was on the ground and we had fun cruising around the snowy woods. It was pretty chilly (only around 12 above) and very windy, so I whimped out and did not take a lot of shots during the ride. I did manage to pull up to a sled just like I had last season and took a picture of the two sleds side by side.
    My first impressions- and they are just that, early, first impressions, are that I love some things about the new chassis and am not so sure about others. I love the rider forward setup. I love how the sled handles when you are keeping both skis on the snow. It handles bumps way better and is just a way better ride in all aspects. However, it was harder to "toss around", meaning carving and a tiny bit of side hilling we did. Now, the truth of the matter is the snow was still not really deep enough to be getting a real good feel for how it will be to toss around, but I did let a few others in the group ride it and when I swapped with someone that was on one of the older M chassis, I was able to tell that even in those snow conditions, the old chassis style was easier to roll over.
    So it's way too early to be making concrete opinions on it, but it does look like it will be a bit more work for me to toss around than the old M's were, but a joy to be on when not wanting to toss it around. It's a good thing I am feeling good and am stronger than the past 2 seasons! Speaking of which, I can tell that my strength and endurance is back to being very good. The past 2 seasons, 2-3 hours of backcountry riding would have just about worn me out completely and at the end of 2-3 hours on Friday, I felt like I was just getting warmed up.
    So that's the good news about snowmobiling up here. Now to the bad. We warmed into the 40's today. Up outside of our house, the warm temps did not seem to much at all to the snow. The roofs cleared, but that was about it. Our snow depth only decreased by about 1/2 inch and areas where it was plowed or packed were not impacted at all. The air was very dry and the warm temps just do not have as much of an impact on the snow when the air is dry. However, I did just look at the trail cam and it tells a different story there. Not sure why, but it looks like the snow was more impacted there than here. I have not been to look at our trails up here in a few hours, but when we drove past them at around 1 pm, they looked to be in the same shape they were when we started the say. Snow covered for the most part, but very thin, with some spots still having some rocks to dodge.
    That's part one to the bad news. Part two is that it looks like some rain could be headed this way for Thursday. It's still far enough out in the forecast that things could change and I can also say that the Keweenaw is currently indicated to be very close to the main rain/snow line, so a nudge east of 50 miles and we could be all snow and see lots of it, but so far the models have not wanted to budge that line east in the past day or so. I guess it will just be a week of finger crossing for me.
    It's been a pretty busy week in the social department for the Dee's. Last Sunday I wrote early because we had a Christmas party to go to early Sunday evening. There was one of Santa's helpers there and Grace is at that age where she recognizes the need to get close enough to get the word in to Santa, but the sitting on the sitting in the lap part is a no-go right now. It was Dad's knee she sat on last Sunday and Mom's when we saw another one of Santa's helpers yesterday in Calumet.
    The visit with Santa's helper was just part of a lot of things going on in Calumet yesterday. They also had horse drawn wagon rides through town. So we climbed aboard one of the rides and Grace had fun watching the horses pull the wagon. After the ride, we went up and thanked the horses for pulling us around town like they did.
    After that, we ducked inside one of the coffee houses that have popped up in downtown Calumet and warmed up with some hot chocolate and a tiny little snack. That wagon ride can really cause an appetite to pop up, because she pretty much put away that whole cookie and I had no problem putting away a piece of blueberry pie!
    After that, we went to the final activity of the day in Calumet. That was to say hi to some of the sled dogs from the CopperDog 150. Actually, those were Alaskan Malamutes and they do not run the CopperDog, but they are there as ambassadors for the sport. They love to meet people and as you can see from that last shot, get their tummies rubbed by 2 year olds. They did have some of the actual teams that compete in the race there in Calumet yesterday and were giving rides to anyone that wanted to go. So Grace and I got into one of the sleds and took off on our ride. It was a lot of fun and it is amazing how those dogs just love to pull. They had to keep the rides very short because of the 100's of persons that went on the rides, but we really got a great feel for what it's like and if you ever get the chance to go on a sled dog ride, don't pass it up. I know that Grace and I picked up this sled and are already training Huck and Millie to pull us around the Keweenaw! Just kidding of course. That was a sled that was sitting there for folks to look at and the owner said we could pose on it. Wish snowmobiles were that light!
    So that just about covers it for this one. I will mention that we are starting to get closer and closer to this season SnowFest snowmobile Ride-In. We will be holding it at the same spot as last year, so space will confine us to about 130 participants. So you might not want to wait until the last minute to sign up as there is the chance that we could be full.
   Also, along the lines of the event, there is a visitor to the site that has taken on the task of restoring a vintage sled to donate to the event for auction. He has already done a ton of work to the sled and is at the point where financial assistance would be helpful in the process. I have set up a page where folks can go and make a donation through paypal to help with the restoration process. The money will go to me and I will forward it on. If you want to follow the progress, you can go to this discussion board topic. All help is welcomed!
    So I guess that covers it for this one. Hopefully next weeks entry will be all about how the storm brought snow and not rain and I will have some nice powder over the hood shots for you all!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

December 4-
    Happy December everyone. Boy, the change over to this month is really my favorite. It marks the start of winter (meteorological anyway), the end of deer season and the start of snowmobile season.
    As mentioned in the last entry, we lost all of our snow, with the exception of where it was piled up. I actually did come across a few patches of natural snow still holding tough in a field on Wednesday, but that was about the only natural snow I saw left anywhere I looked. The snowmobile trail on Wednesday afternoon sure looked lonely, if not even a little sad, without it's buddy snow cover.
    But then, as if on cue, mother nature came into action Wednesday night and we picked up a little snow and in the blink of an eye or click of the mouse button, the trail was looking more like it should in early December. Not enough to ride on, but still very pretty to look at just the same. The snow actually fell in a rare fashion for up here and that was without any wind at all. Typically we have some kind of wind blowing when it is snowing up here and at times we are in the midst of a winter hurricane, but Wednesday night the flakes just floated down from the heavens like miniature paratroopers and gently coated everything in white.    
    Looking up into the night sky and watching the snow fall down reminded me of when I was a kid and would put my back to the outside wall in our kitchen. The windows along that wall were tall casement type and extended to within about a foot or so of the floor. I could lean my head back and rest it on the window sill and with the back yard flood lights on, sit and watch the flakes fall from the sky. Sometimes like they did on Wednesday and sometimes in violent swirls created by the winds turbulence. 
    With the fresh snow and the ending of deer season, Thursday the pups and I were able to take to the woods for our afternoon walk. Ever since the loggers finished up with their work near by, I have wanted to go in and explore the area and see what kind of trails were made. Not for snowmobiling, but perhaps for a ski or snow shoe- with the owners permission of course. So the pups and I headed in to see what we could see. Most of the trails created by the loggers ended as I thought they would, in a twisted mangle of "tops"- the tops of the trees left behind by the loggers. In a few years, they will decompose and become part of the soil for future trees to use, but for now, they are like a road block to someone on foot, ski or snow shoe.
   We were able to wind our way through the skidder trails and find our way through the woods and in a pinch, it could be an area to take a ski or snow shoe with the pups, but as mentioned, I need to make sure my neighbor would be OK with that.
    On Friday, the pups and I took to the "bigger woods" of Keweenaw county for our afternoon romp. Still not enough snow to snowmobile or even ski on, but it did make for a nice walk in the snowy woods. Conditions were actually perfect for a walk in the woods. The two inches of snow we picked up Wednesday night were still on the ground, temps were in the upper 20's and there was only a light breeze. Looking around at the woods covered in the light snow, it just seemed like all was how it should be for the second day of December. Deep snowpack is fairly unusual- even for these parts at this early part of the month.
    Another nice thing about being able to walk in the woods with a fresh snow cover is that you get to see what has passed through before you. I saw tracks from mice, rabbits, a fox or other small creature of similar size and stature and then we happened along some wolf tracks. At first I could not tell if it was from a wolf or just someone's big dog, but upon further inspection, there were no human prints (other than mine) around and we were too far off in the woods for it to be a domesticated dog running loose. It was also interesting to see the reaction of Huck and Millie when they sniffed the tracks.
    I am never too worried about myself when it comes to a wolf encounter in the woods. The woods are pretty thick with them and getting thicker up here and there are other areas where the wolf has been around for a lot longer time and if wolf attacks were a real threat, there would be a lot less folks coming out of the woods. Readers with "Little Red Riding Hood Syndrome" may snicker at my thoughts on this, but I will base my actions on the facts and not backwoods tall stories. There is always the threat of an attack, not just from a wolf, but bear or even a large pack of coyotes. However, the odds are small enough to keep me from fretting about it.
    I do worry about the pups though. There have been plenty of cases where dogs have been attacked and even killed by wolves and because of that, I keep the pups pretty close by and make plenty of noise in the process. We have only come across one wolf in the wild and that was many years ago on an early morning ski in the School Forest. It was a lone wolf that was bedded down under a pine tree. We startled it at about 50 yards away and it saw us and ran away.
    At any rate, looking at the tracks reminds me that even thought the woods may seem quiet and in a winter slumber right now, it is actually alive with many creatures and to keep on the lookout and not do stupid things.
    We followed the logging road until it came to a creek still running on it's way through the woods. This creek actually never fully freezes up, but can become pretty well ice covered in the dead of winter. We also crossed the snowmobile trail at one point and as I looked down it, I remembered that if we had enough snow on the ground at that point, I would have likely been riding down that very spot on the new sled for it's shakedown ride. Perhaps next weekend!

    We did pick up some more snow last night. Seems like most of our snows have come at night so far this season, but I'm sure that will be changing soon. Anyway, I had thought our general area would pick up around 3-5" of snow. The snows started around 7 pm and by the time I went to bed, we had picked up around an inch of new snow. On one of my late night roll-overs, I did manage to take a peak out the window and saw that we had picked up maybe around 2". When I woke up to start work at around 5 am today, I did a quick glance out the bedroom window and saw that same 2" on the trees. My initial thoughts were that we had ended up with a bit less than forecasted, but still got some. After rolling out of bed, I took a peak out the front doors and saw that there was a lot more than 2" coating things there! I did not go out and measure, but it looked like around 5-6" to me. The snow was sticky enough that much of it had stuck to the pines behind the house and reduced the amount that made it to the lowest branches and ground. Once light hit, I did measure 6.5" on the truck. So the forecast ended up being wrong, but to the good side!
    It was a wet and pretty heavy snow and actually made for very good packing. So after I got my morning work done, I decided to hop in Nora vehicle and use it to pank down the snow to build our snow mat. It does not look like these snows will melt anytime soon, perhaps the rest of the season and more looks to be on the way this week- perhaps A LOT MORE by the end of the week. So panking down a mat seemed like the proper thing to do with this snow.
    After that, it was into the house to have breakfast with Nora and Gracie and then back out into the snow, but to play this time. I was excited to head out with Grace to make a giant snowman, but in the time we were having breakfast and getting ready to go out, the air had cooled enough that the snow dried out. So no snowman, but I showed Grace how to make snow angels and she proceeded to make about a dozen of them! The pups went out with us and had a blast running around and playing. I honestly believe that they love a good dumping of snow as much as anyone in the house. They were so excited on our morning walk and really had fun when we got back and they could play around the cabin. Here is one of the rare quiet moments they had. Moments after that picture was taken, Hucky got up, ran over and proceeded to pounce on Millie.
    Going back to yesterday before the snows hit, Nora went to a friends house to make some soap (not sure what she is trying to tell me), so rather than just sit around the house and wait for it to snow some more, Gracie and I headed down to Calumet to watch the high school hockey team take on the team from Cranbrook. Even though Cranbrook is from the Detroit area, the teams are very strong rivals. They do play each other in a weekend series every season and typically meet up with each other at the finishing stages of the state playoffs. This season is no different as they are basically ranked 1 and 2, with the outcome of this weekend's series to determine which is which. Friday nights contest ended in a 5-5 tie and yesterday afternoons game was won by Cranbrook 4-3 in overtime. All I can say is high school hockey up here is not too far behind Division 1 college play like Tech competes in. Very entertaining. 
    Grace's eyes lit up when she first saw the players warming up, but as soon as the cheerleaders got going, all attention to the game was lost and she spend the rest of the game helping them out.
    With Christmas only 3 weeks away, we have been starting to get Grace into the spirit of things. We put up the tree last weekend and have been telling her how Santa and his reindeer will be visiting our house Christmas Eve. This morning she was washing her hands and I went in to brush my teeth I asked her what she was doing with the washcloth, she told me she was washing the sink for when Santa's Reindeer come. I'm not holding my breath for the "washing the dishes for Santa's Reindeer or washing the clothes..., but you never know! 
    I think I will start something new for the entries and try and give a quick sneak peak weather forecast to those reading this on Sunday's during the winter. As long as I am here and typing and you are there and reading, may as well make use of the moment. At this point there does not look to be much in the offing for system snows in the Midwest in the next week to ten days, but some light LES looks to fall Monday and Tuesday and then arctic air by the end of the week could set the stage for some heavy LES in portions of the UP and maybe northwest lower MI. However, winds may keep the snows confined to some specific areas for much of the event (the Keweenaw and from Traverse City north-northeast to Indian River. So who knows...maybe next week I can share some "powder over the hood" shots with you all!
    In closing, I leave you with one more picture of our little girl hanging out with her buddy.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

 

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