June 30-
    Wow, the final day of June...where did the month go? I had a feeling that this summer would fly by and so far it seems to be doing just that.
    First off, I would like to apologize. In the last entry I said I would be starting the warm season forecasts up and did not. I had some pretty legitimate reasons for not being able to do them Monday through Thursday and then just figured I would skip Friday, to stay consistent! So far it looks like this week will be a little less hectic and I should be able to start the forecasts up.
    It's been another week of chipping away at the huge list of things that need to be done to complete the addition. When I sit with an idle mind and think about all that needs to be done, it is quite overwhelming. So I try not to do that too much! It is much better to just concentrate at what ever the current task at hand is and worry about everything else when their time comes. Things were buzzing around here on Monday, as the rest of the metal roofing was delivered and the crew came over and got busy putting it up. They finished up with the last little bit of flashing work on Tuesday morning and then headed off to the next job. I will see them again in a few weeks when we open up the wall between the addition and current building.
    On Monday, the high school boy (Sam) who has been helping me off and on and will continue until we are done, helped me put in the front doors. I really wanted to have a welcoming entrance to the addition, so we went with some double doors and a skylight transom above them. All told the unit probably weighed about 250 lbs and was very cumbersome, but actually went in pretty smoothly. On Tuesday, Sam and I put in the door from the living room to the screened in porch, which left the only opening to the addition the sliding glass door from the master bedroom to the screened in porch. That slider is actually going to come from what we are using in the front of the house right now and a single entry door that will match the styling of the double doors installed in the addition this week will go into the front of the current house. All of that will happen when the demo work for the kitchen remodel takes place.
    The current work being done is everything that needs to be done before the spray foam guys can some in and spray the walls and ceilings with the insulation. So all the electrical has been done and I "passed" the electrical rough-in inspection. I put passed in quotes as there are a few minor things that need to be done before the walls can be closed in, but all the cavities where the spray foam will go are ok with the wiring. I also passed the rough framing inspection this week, so some of the drywall will be getting delivered tomorrow and the drywall crew will be coming over Tuesday morning to hang the drywall on the ceilings of the second floor so that the foam can be sprayed down onto it. I have also been installing "proper venting" in the bays of the trusses, so that the foam can be sprayed up into that part of the ceilings and still have venting under the roof.
    The spray foam crew is scheduled to do their work early next week and once that is done, I will temporarily block off the opening where the screen door will get moved to and thus the addition will officially be sealed off from the elements and more importantly...critters and bugs. So that will allow us to open up the wall between the addition and the current home. It is going to look and feel so weird when that happens, but I know we are all looking forward to it too. Once the insulation and wall removal is done, then the rough plumbing will get finished up and inspected and the drywall crew can some back and finish their work and I will do the tongue and groove on the walls and ceiling that will get that and then we will move quite a bit of the stuff currently in the living/dinning room of the cabin into the addition to make room for the kitchen remodel.
    Still a lot to do and it seems like progress has kind of slowed down a bit in the past 2 weeks, but that rate of progress will likely pick up again in the next week or two and quite honestly, when I look back 2 months ago at what I was doing as far as work on the addition, we have come a long way!
    The heat and humidity arrived last Sunday as I was typing out the last entry and Monday and Tuesday were pretty warm and humid ones, at least for this neck of the woods. Highs were in the mid 80's and we had dewpoints in the upper 60's to around 70. So Gracie fired up the sprinkler (she is so cute, she sets it all up and turns on the water herself) and cooled off in it. Once I finished up with my work on Tuesday, I joined her in a cool down in the sprinkler. It worked! By the time I was finished, I was about ready for a hot shower!
    Temps cooled back into the 70's on Thursday and the humidity eased a bit too. A more noticeable cool off arrived yesterday and today has been beautiful, with temps in the 70's, low humidity and loads of sun.
    Yesterday was not a bad day either. It started out overcast, with temps in the upper 40's and then skies cleared and temps topped out around 70. By mid morning, the temps had warmed into the low 60's and the clouds were at least lifting, which made for nearly ideal conditions for a parade! The annual Pasty Fest took place in Calumet (where else but in the good old UP is there an entire festival dedicated to the pasty?!) and things get kicked off with a parade down the main drag in Calumet late morning. Gracie met up with her friend Paxton and the two of them got ready to watch the parade and catch the candy thrown by the participants. It's not the biggest parade in the region, but sometimes that can be a good thing! One of my favorites was simply an old pick up with a dog in it. The dog seemed to be having a blast rolling down the street and getting so much attention. Of course the fire trucks are also a fun thing to watch go by. Here is one final shot of my little girl and I all smiles after the parade.
    Today was actually warm enough to head to the beach, so that is exactly what we did this early afternoon. Gracie brought her surf board and pulled some wicked runs in the 1-3" surf we had today and the pups had a blast fetching the toy from the water. All in all, a beautiful day in the Keweenaw.
    So I guess that about covers it for this one. Tomorrow is officially the first day of the 2013-14 snow season, although I doubt that we will be putting any numbers down for a while!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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June 23-
    Well, for those of you that like to stick to the astronomical calendar, happy summer! For the rest of us, the amount of daylight is getting shorter! I was all prepared to talk about how cool we have been this past week. Barely making it out of the 50's the past few days and even flirting with the freezing mark for early morning lows earlier in the week, but within the past few hours it has warmed into the low 80's and the dewpoint has shot up into the low 70's. Nasty stuff. 
    I guess I can still talk a bit about our coolness this week. On Monday, I had to run down to the lumber yard to pick up a few things and brought the pups along with me. Like most dogs, they love to have the windows rolled down, so they can stick their heads out. So I had one of the back windows rolled down for them, but had to turn the heat on to keep me warm! Here it was, June 17th and I am using the heat in my truck to stay warm! The next morning was the chilliest of the week, with the official low at the airport 38 degrees, but I was 36 and there were a handful of stations that actually dipped to the freezing mark or a bit below. I think the cold spot that I saw was Kenton at 28.
    As mentioned, the high temps were not all that warm this week either and it has been a pretty cool summer for us so far- the past few hours not withstanding. In fact, we have not had any need to put the air conditioners in at all and many nights, I can only sleep with the window cracked, otherwise it gets too cold in the bedroom. Unless we get a nice cool down this evening, I think I might be wishing I had the AC running in the bedroom tonight.
    The coolness to the summer so far, when combined with my lack of free time due to the construction work, has also pretty much made us abandon the idea of putting up the pool this summer. We do look to be warm and humid the next 2 days, but then cooler air arrives and locks in through the weekend and early next week. So that means too cool for the pool up to the July 4th period. I suppose we will get some days when we wish we had it going and if it looks like the pattern is going to lock into one with hot weather for us, then I would not object to putting the pool up, but this may very well be the first summer without a pool in some time.
    As mentioned, the summer solstice came and passed on Friday and the amount of daylight is now on the down turn. It is a very gradual process for the next month or so and then starts to become more noticeable as we head through August. I noticed on Thursday that we had 17 hours and 15 minutes of visible daylight. The actual time from sunrise to sun set was about 90 minutes less. Sure makes for some long days and it is like the middle of the day when I am trying to get to sleep! I think part of the addition will include some nice shades for the master bedroom!
    Speaking of the addition, not much happened as far as the workers go. They came on Monday, but the pieces of metal roofing that failed to get ordered were not to show up until later Friday, so they just buttoned up the spots of the roof that did not have the roofing up yet and we hunkered down for the wet week. We started with some thunderstorms on Wednesday and have had a lot of rain since. It is pretty rare when we have clouds and rain for 4-5 days in a row in the summer, but that is exactly what we have had. I hear some rumbles of thunder as I type, but looking at the radar, it looks like that activity may miss us to the west. Although we did have some rain this morning and picked up around and inch on Thursday and again Friday and yesterday.
    All this rain has really worsened the mosquito crop up here. Before the rains, they were as bad as we have ever seen them since moving into the woods where we are at and now you practically take your live into your own hands going out unprotected at dawn or dusk, or when it is cloudy and not raining. The addition is still open to the elements in spots, so they are pretty bad in there, but I am using a natural bug repellent as well as those Off fan things that give off some kind of repellent and the combination seems to be working pretty good.
    While the work from the workers was pretty light this week, I have been going at it pretty good. I was able to complete about 95% of the wiring, having just a bit to do where the walls will be opened up. I even got some help pulling romax this week. She is so cute, she just wants to help me so much that when the chance comes for her to be able to do something, she gets into it. For about an hour she helped me fish the wire through the holes in the studs, while I fed her slack wire to pull. It really did help as some of the runs would have required me to go back and forth to fish the wire through. Too bad she is not old enough to use a sliding compound miter saw or pneumatic nail gun! 
    So anyway, all the main wiring is done. Here is a shot of the second floor bedrooms and bathroom. Here is a shot of the first floor as seen from near what is currently our living room window. Strange to think that just 2 months ago, there was still 8 feet of snow piled up where that picture was taken from. Here is my project from this afternoon. I probably would have been better off waiting until the sun set, or things got cloudy, as it got pretty warm under that un-insulated roof with the afternoon sun beating down on it. None the less, I got that section of wall done and just need to sheet the other side so the insulation can be sprayed into it in around 2 weeks.  Here is a shot taken Friday evening that shows both the addition and the existing home. When I look at that picture it sure looks like the place is going to be huge when it's all done. My final shot of the addition is from the side never seen, the back side. Not exactly the most glamorous facade, but in reality, it is not going to be seen much as it faces the woods. I know the two things that I am not really looking too forward to is doing the fascia, soffits, siding and trim work for the back of house and the side facing us in that last shot, but just plan to set up scaffolding and do everything at one time, working from to to bottom.
    So I guess that about gets you caught up on things for this week. I do plan to start the summer forecasts this week. It will not be tomorrow, as I have a busy morning on tap, but probably Tuesday. I am not sure how wordy I will get with the text, but hopefully I will be able to convey my message without having to use too many words and take up too much building time!
    Until next time...
-JD-
June 16-
    Happy Fathers Day! This is probably going to be another pretty quick one as we just finished dinner and we want to run to town to get some shopping out of the way and I also could get some more work done before tomorrow and it's already with 2 1/2 to 3 hours of my bed time!
    Anyway, it has been another productive week on the addition. Things were pretty quiet around the site on Monday and Tuesday as we waited for the roofing to arrive. It showed up at just about the crack of dawn on Wednesday. We actually were short one stack of metal, but it was found and delivered by midday and stacked along side the morning delivery, so that put us in good shape to get cranking on things.
    It did not take the guys long to get the mish-mash of different length pieces figured out as to where they would all be going and soon the first piece of metal was going up. I felt kind of sorry for the guys as Thursday was a warm one- especially for these parts, with temps in the upper 70's and a bright June sun. They did not let it stop them though and kept up through the day. Friday was also pretty clear, but quite a bit cooler and with a nice breeze, so a whole lot better to be doing a roof in, especially a dark metal roof! 
    By the close of business on Friday, they entire back side of the addition was done as was all of the screened in porch, the foyer roof and also all the roofing that had been taken off the cabin was put back up. Quite a bit of work when you figure in all the measuring and cutting that needed to be done in the valleys. All that is left is around 1/2 of the front side of the main part of the addition and that should be able to be attended to this week. Although it was discovered that a few pieces were not ordered, so they will be arriving midweek this week.
    The other job at hand this week was to start the modifications to the facade of the cabin. When the addition is done, Nora and I really wanted it to look as much as possible as though the addition was there all the time. Our designer did a very good job of marrying the two structures together, both on the inside and out and one thing I wanted to do to enhance that process even more was to change the facade of the cabin to look more like the addition will. So we removed the siding on the cabins facade and also built out a "ladder" to extend the roofline out beyond the face of the facade. I will then be filling in the bottom of the facade with framing to make the bottom run horizontally from the one support post to the other. There will also be some windows put in the facade to make it seem a little less imposing.
    They guys have been taking all their Saturdays off from working on our project so that they can help build a home for their uncle who lost his entire place to a fire a few months back. While they are gone, I usually have some stuff that I can get done. This week I did some wiring in the evenings and then yesterday and a few hours today, I got all the second floor partition walls done. So this week while the guys finish the roofing and open up the walls between the cabin and addition, I will be finishing up the bit of wiring that needs to be done on the first floor and then do all the wiring on the second floor. I then will get that inspected so that we can move quickly onto insulation. I am actually going to have it done by a contractor that does spray foam insulation. I was planning on doing 2" of spray foam myself and then the rest with fiberglass, but for just a bit more I can have it all done with spray foam in 2 days, rather than the 5-7 it would have taken me. Then once the insulation is done, the drywallers can come and do their magic, I can get to hanging the tongue and groove and we will be very close to having a finished addition. There is still a big job in the kitchen remodel to do and the addition will need the bathrooms done as well as trim work and flooring, but things should be moving along pretty good in the coming weeks. I plan to move the camera inside once most of the current round of outdoor work is done and then probably back outside to capture the siding going up.
    As has been the case since the addition got underway, we have been doing some other things. Yesterday Nora, Grace and I attended a karaoke party which was a fund raiser for the family of a little girl who has leukemia. It was actually at an outdoor band shell in Laurium and after seeing the little girl who is battling the illness get up and sing a couple of songs, Grace thought she would do it too. The only problem was that she did not know the words to any professionally recorded songs, but instead got up and sang twinkle, twinkle, little star acapella. I don't know if it was fear or just a mistake, but she had her back to the audience the whole time! None the less, it was cute.
    Speaking of Gracie, she has really taken to her electric toy truck this summer. She was just a bit too young last year to really get the gist of it, but she has the steering, gas and direction pretty well figured out this summer. Hopefully that will translate to a fun season on the snowmobile this upcoming winter.
    The weather for most of this week has been quite nice. Temps in the 60's and 70's and quite a bit of sunshine. Nice cool nights for sleeping too. Today was no exception, with temps in the upper 60's and lots of sunshine. So we took to the beach for some afternoon fun. Of course the puppies had their romp in the water, but after flying her kite for a while, Gracie shed her shorts and top and revealed her blue and white bikini and then slipped on her floaties and headed into the still frigid waters of the big lake. At first, it was only up to about her chins, but little by little and bit by bit, she went in deeper and before long was fully in and swimming and even playing fetch with the puppies. Now I don't know what the temperature of the water was there. I do know the bouy in the western lake was at 38 degrees this week, so I can't imagine the water Grace was swimming in was much warmer than the 40's. She did not last too long and was happy to get home and be able to sit in the sun to warm up, but man-oh-man, that is one tough cookie! I was too afraid to even put my toes in!
    I guess the final new is a bug report. The black flies appeared around 10 days ago, but fizzled out noticeably after just a few days of their arrival. There are still a few here and there, but really not too much of an issue in our neck of the woods. There are also many reports of lots of ticks. Knock on wood, but we have not had any issues with them in our woods yet either. The dogs do go into the woods to do their "business", but so far so good. But like I say, lots of folks- even in the more urban areas, are reporting lots of ticks. The  mosquitos are the main problem for us. They showed up a little over a week ago and have been very nasty ever since. Even in the middle of the day they are out, which is unusual as we have only really had them bad in the dawn and dusk times. I do have the mosquito magnets going and they do seem to be culling the heard a bit. It has also been pretty dry the past week, so perhaps that will cull the heard even more.
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this one. Before I go, I will leave you with a shot of a lakes freighter heading west towards Duluth or Superior this afternoon.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
June 9-
    Greetings. I can say with great confidence that this is going to be a short one. I am tired (mixture of work and trying to stay up to watch the outcome of the Blackhawks game last night. Also, my girls were out of town all weekend and have returned and I would like to spend time with them.
    So, the main story to tell this week is the continuing of the addition build. We had just two days of building this week. Monday was a rain out, as were Wednesday and Thursday. Actually, it did not rain at all on Wednesday, but the threat was there. There was a pretty big crew both Tuesday and Friday and a lot got done. By the closing hours of the day on Tuesday, much of the roof sheeting was on and the hand framing of where the addition roof meets the existing home got done. I even got up onto the roof to survey the work and take some pictures. Here is a shot taken from the peak of the main addition roof, looking down on the roof for the foyer. Here is a shot looking over to where the two roofs converge into one
    Before going home on Tuesday, I helped them pull measurements for the roofing. We are going with metal roofing, like what is on the existing home as well as the shops. I like the idea of a pretty fire proof roof living in the woods like we do and also the fact that little to no shoveling has to be done. I have a feeling that the valley between the existing home, the main roof of the addition and the roof over the foyer is going to catch some snow and some raking may need to be done there. Otherwise, the snow should come down all on it's own. The metal roofing will be arriving on Tuesday.
    We are just about ready for it as on Friday, they got all of the roof sheeting on, as well as the felt and ice/water membrane. I like to go the extra step of putting the metal roofing down on furrowing strips, rather than directly on the roof. That way air can circulate underneath and everything gets a chance to dry out, rather than have the condensation form on the underside of the metal and then hold it there in either the felt or perhaps even the sheeting. So they were able to get most of the furrowing strips down and have only the front side of the main roof to do before the metal can start going down. 
    So, weather permitting, we should be able to get pretty close to having it all weathered in. Although with all the sheeting down as well as the felt and ice/water, we have a pretty weather resistant roof right now. Here is a shot taken from the inside, looking up at where the old roof meets the new
    We also put in the windows into the dormers on Friday and I am looking forward to getting all the rest of the windows in as well. It will really help to make the inside brighter and I am also looking forward to how the outside looks with the windows in the walls, rather than looking at the big monolithic walls like we have now. So this is where we stand right now as far as it looks from the outside. I have begun the wiring, well at least putting in most of the boxes for the first floor. I was going to frame out the upstairs partition walls, but we still have the metal that we pulled off the existing roof up here and if I built any walls up there, they would only box in the roofing. So they will have to wait until we move the roofing.
    Well, I promised you a quick one and looks like I will be keeping my word this time
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
June 2-
    Welcome to June everyone! It sure has been a roller coaster ride in the weather department. Memorial Day was sunny, but a tiny bit cool, with temps in the 60's. Then Tuesday was cloudy and cool, with temps in the 50's. Wednesday started a warming trend that continued into Thursday and Friday and saw us hitting he 80's on Thursday and Friday and then yesterday was another transition day, leading us to temps this morning in the 30's and 40's for most of the rest of the day. We did also get some rains, but nothing like that which has fallen in most of the rest of the region to our south and nothing like the severe weather happening even further south. Although Friday evening we did have some pretty good sized hail with a thunderstorm that rolled through.
    I don't know if it is the weather or being so busy for most of May, but it just does not seem like it is June. I suppose when it was so warm and humid Thursday and Friday, it seemed like June, but today just seems more like April to me. One thing is for sure, this summer is going to be a blur for me. I sure have bitten off quite the project to accomplish this summer. 
    Some great progress was made this past week. The guys did come over for a bit on Monday, but it was decided to not start setting the trusses until Tuesday, so they took the afternoon off and I joined the rest of the family on a trip to the beach Monday afternoon. As mentioned, it was a bit cool, but sunny, so pretty nice for hanging out at the beach. A few months back, Grace had gotten a kite and has been dying to fly it. With all the trees (and snow) around our house, there is no where to fly it and the same goes for most areas. About the only place good for flying a kite up this way is the beach, so we had promised here that when we went to the beach, she could fly her kite. And that is what she did. I was pretty surprised at how well she did. Initially, I hung onto part of the string, so that if she let go, it would not drop off into the lake and drift away, but she did so well hanging onto it, that after a while, I could stand back and watch, and snap a shot of her view of the kite flying
    Of course the pups came along and were excited as could be to be able to run and play at the beach. I have been taking our morning walks with them, but then either my regular work or work on the addition has them fending for themselves, so it was nice to see them be able to stretch their legs at the beach. By the end of our time at the beach, they both were pretty worn out. Millie spent the afternoon chasing down a tennis ball that was tossed for her and Huck got his exercise by retrieving a fetch thrown into the water.
    We started setting trusses bright and early Tuesday morning. I mentioned in the previous entry that we had 59 separate pieces that made up our roof system and that 19 of them were different in some way from the others. The truss manufacturer supplies a very good drawing of where they all went, but it is still a bit of a challenge to formulate a plan in your head as to which should go up first. We must have spent the first hour or so figuring out which ones were going to use first and then staging them to be lifted in place. The actual lifting and placing does not take too long and by the end of the day had most of the ones that go in the main part of the addition done.
    The most complicated part of the truss system was done on Wednesday. That was when we put the pieces in place that were around the two dog house dormers. It seemed like pretty slow going if you were not there doing it, but there were some unique trusses and truss arrangement and then doing the hand framing while 9 feet off the ground takes a lot more time than if it were at ground level. On Wednesday, we also got the two posts/beams that support the foyer roof up and in place so that those trusses could be put in place. Here is a shot of the project at quitting time Wednesday.
    Wednesday was warmer and a family vote was taken and it was unanimous that we should go to the beach again to enjoy the evening. So that is what we did. Pretty much the same routine, except no kite flying, but some pretend deep sea fishing.
    I think on Thursday and Friday, the most dramatic transformations took place. Most of the work was not too complicated, so it made for some quick progress. We got the trusses for the foyer and screened in porch up, which concluded all but one truss lift/set. That one will go up once we open up the rest of the current home that needs to be opened up for the addition. We also built the "ladders" or "look outs" on all the ends of the gables. Here is a shot taken during the lunch break with all the trusses up and here is the end of the day shot with the ladders up
    For most of this build, it has been myself and two others. At times there have been 4 workers and on Friday, we had seven of us. I guess you could really say 6 1/2, as I cannot spend the whole day out there and at times, I am either standing around or just being the "go-fer". In any case, they larger crew on Friday was able to finish the wall sheeting as well as a good chunk of the roof sheeting. By the end of the day, this is what things looked like. Yesterday I got the rest of the partition walls done on the first floor, so other than a couple of nailers to put in for the drywall folks, the framing is done on the first floor.
    The hopes are to get very close to being shelled in by the end of this work week. There is going to be some complicated work when it comes to doing all the metal roofing, so I am not sure if it will be 100% shelled in a week from now, but we should be close. I will actually be a little sad to see the guys go and a little intimidated by the rest being left up to me, but it is all stuff I can do and have done before, so I just need to take it one step at a time and not worry about all the work that needs to be done in it's entirety. Plus, I will be getting some help from some high school boys on some of the remaining work to be done as well.
    Other than the addition build and two trips to the beach, not much has been going on. The trees are starting to fill out nicely and should be fully filled out by the end of this week. The black flies showed their ugly heads on Wednesday afternoon/evening and were out for most of the day on Thursday and Friday. I knew we were living on borrowed time with regards to their appearance. Thankfully in a month they will be history and we have found a homemade repellant that at least keeps them from landing and biting you, although they do still swarm and buzz your head, which is annoying in itself.
    Yesterday, after all their chores were done, Nora and Gracie took a little ATV ride to a friends house. I'm not sure how much ATVing I will be doing this summer, but I suppose I will get out for a ride or two, just to keep my sanity. 
    On a trip to town yesterday, we took a detour and went to check out the Laurium Glacier. It was still hanging on, but does not have much time left. It has been pretty cold since that picture was taken, but I would have to say that it will likely be gone in another 2-3 days. It has already set a record for the latest melt and the first June date in my record keeping as well. 
    So I guess that about covers it for this one.
 
Good night from the Keweenaw..

 

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