January 26-
    “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  Edith Sitwell. Edith I couldn't agree more. This has definitely been a winter to stay warm and cozy! As we were traveling around the Keweenaw this afternoon, several times we said, "this will be a year to remember". The snow banks are growing bigger by the day and the temps are about to take another nose dive in the next few days.  
    Even in our own yard, the banks are getting big. John keeps a path open from the wood boiler to a depression in the ground, just off into the woods to dump the ashes and over the course of the winter, it has slowly become more of a snow tunnel.
    The snow on the ground is not the only place that it is impressive. Up in the trees, the snows have been sticking to the branches for almost all of the season. In some cases, the branches could not hold any more snow and snapped. In others cases, they are still managing to hold the 3-4 feet of snow stuck in them.
    It's really a shame that the temperatures have been so bitterly cold. As I listen to the folks at the grocery store and such, the compliant isn't the amount of snow or spending hours moving the snow, but the amount of cold. With temps so cold people aren't able to enjoying their winter time activities. Between the cold and the lack of sunshine, most Yoopers are ready to put a fork in the 2013-2014 snow season! Including the 4 legged ones! There was a pretty large herd of deer in Eagle River today. I think we may have gotten there just after food had been dumped as they were all nose to the ground, chomping away on lunch. Huck just about jumped out the window in excitement of being so close to the deer. They are so accustom to the cars stopping and looking that they didn't seemed to uneasy at all. We couldn't help but think that as cold as they looked, these guys were actually the lucky ones....we feel pretty bad for all the other deer out there who must be having a very rough winter with all this snow and cold temps. 
    We've had a pretty busy weekend with family visiting, the guest bartending gig at Bear Belly Bar and getting ready for the ride in. Yesterday, the weather couldn't keep folks away from stopping by the BBB. There was a great crowd and a lot of money was raised! In fact, $772.00 was the total in the tip jar and owners Troy and Cathy once again matched the funds in the jar to double the donation to $1544.00! Good food, great people and some tunes from Tom and Dirk made everyone forget about the gray sky and cold air. Thanks to all who sent in donations or stop out to Laclabelle and donated!  A special thanks to Troy and Cathy from BBB for hosting the event and for their generous match donation! 
    This week at work I happened to look out the window and see the "Snow Go" go by. Usually, it's around this time of the year that they go around town and "cut" the banks. The interesting thing is this is the 2nd time for the snow go this year. And I'm guessing it won't be the last. The banks are so high that it surely answers the question why road signs are sky high in the Copper Country. I'm sure there are some summer only visitors who are a little stumped as to the height of the signs.  
    If you haven't noticed, I'm doing the writing this afternoon. John needed a little rest and I volunteered and stepped right up to the plate! Actually, that's not true. I'm really counting on a snow day tomorrow and as soon as it looked liked that probably will happen John said, "You don't work tomorrow so YOU write the journal". I was so excited about a possible day off tomorrow, that I agreed before I really thought about it.
    Our system for writing the journal together is sort of funny. John picks the pictures and leaves me a little sticky note of what the pictures are. Then I'm supposed to write things based on those pictures. Sometimes it's very difficult to do! I'm currently staring at a neon blue sticky that has the first bullet as "heading out to ride Fri".  Well, since it wasn't me heading on to ride it gets a little sticky. All I know is John went riding on Friday and soon after he left, it was snowing like crazy, he had a great time and came home in one piece! All the stuff in between leaving and coming home...well, I'm not so sure about. :-) 
    (John's notes on riding) - Yes, I went out to the shop to get something and saw the poor lonely sled that Rt 12 has given to me to use for the season and thought that after 3 weeks, it was about time to get on it and have some fun. So with temps rising into the teens, snow flying, a brief lull in all the work that has to be done for the ride-in and some friends in town, I met up with them for a ride. As mentioned, it was pretty quiet when I left, but soon after, the snows started up and came down heavily the rest of the day. It was a great ride and I was surprised and happy (for the businesses at least!) to see a fair amount of traffic on the trails. I also passed 3 groomers either coming or going, so trails were in awesome shape as well. Not a single bump was hit all day on around 60 miles of trails.
    So my thanks to my wife for giving me a little break from writing. In one week, the ride-in will be history and all that will be left will be to pay some bills and then tally up the funds raised for the event. We are already off to a great start and I look forward to the "pre-party" at the Mosquito Inn in Toivola Friday night, starting at 7 and then the banquet on Saturday. As soon as I finish with this entry, I will be making the sheet for the poker run available on the site and you will be able to make your own copy by going here
    I do have one big announcement for the Ride-In, I was able to secure two round trip tickets between the Houghton County Airport and Chicago on SkyWest Airlines. Travel must be completed by August 31, 2014. So it could make for a great prize for anyone in the Chicago area wanting to take a trip up here and not make the drive! So I guess that about covers it for this one. Next week there will be plenty to talk about, so be sure to tune in!
-ND/JD-

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January 19-
    Sheesh, I cannot believe we are already at January 19th and less than two weeks away from the Ride-In! I really have no idea where the month has gone so far. I also cannot believe that I have only gone sledding 4 times all season! Closing in on 200" of snow for the season and I have only ridden 4 times? Kind of hard to explain, other than it just seems like life has been very busy this winter. The work on the addition continues and I am getting very close to having the kitchen drawers and doors left to finish. All that is left besides that is to finish the railing for the stairs and some trim work for the doorway that leads into the storage space under the stairs, as well as a couple of pieces of trim in the kitchen area itself. 
    Another reason for the low amount of rides so far is that it has been so cold. We have never had a winter this cold since I have lived up here. Last Sunday was one of just a handful of days when we got to at least freezing. I guess some would say I am spoiled or a wimp, but I just do not like to ride in temps that are much colder than 10-15. I am not alone though. I have talked to a couple of my riding buddies up here and they have yet to even go out once! I guess that might be reason number 3, my phone is not ringing off the hook with buddies calling me and asking me to ride. Reason number 4 would be that as nice as it has been to have all of this snow, it also takes a lot of work to move it around. So instead of being able to play in it, I have been busy moving it around.
    I spent around 100 minutes moving it around Thursday, another 50 minutes on Friday and 90 minutes today. The addition roofs need to be shoveled off, but I have too much stuff on my plate for the ride-in, so I think I will just bite the bullet and pay someone to do it. The problem with that is I will likely need to coordinate someone with a bobcat to come and clear the snow that comes off the front part of the roofs of the addition. So even having someone do it for me involves quite a bit of work!
    Just about every time I have had to spend more than 30 minutes clearing the driveway and parking area, I keep thinking about how much easier things would have been to just get that darn tractor and implements! Oh, well, those of you enjoying all the snow we have picked up here this season can thank me and I suppose that if or when I have the tractor next season and hopefully loads of free time, then you can all blame me for the lack of snow! At any rate, it has been a doozy so far and there does not look to be much of a let up in sight. More bitter cold and snow early this week and then temps will bounce around a bit, with warming for the second half of the week, some cold for the weekend and milder for early next week. No thaws and other than a few 8-15 hour breaks with out it snowing, it looks to snow almost non-stop for the next 10 days.
    I guess I can go out on a limb and predict enough snow to play in for the Ride-In! Speaking of the Ride-In, today is the final day to get registered if you want to be able to pick up your shirt at the event and avoid a $5 shipping charge. Anyone still wanting to attend the event will be able to register until the 29th. Then we need to cut things off so that the caterer will have a solid number of persons to make food for. Registrations this past week took a solid jump and I am feeling very good about that. Even though the vast majority of folks registering do it in the final 7-10 days, it is always a little scary when we are so low, so close to the deadline! So I am happy that we will have a nice crowd for the event and we already have some awesome prizes and are working on more. We also received a bunch of donations this week. Folks that for one reason or another are not able to attend the event, but still wanted to help out and made a contribution. We are already solidly over $5000 raised for the event and the main money makers have yet to even take place. I am not expecting to reach last years total. It was boosted hugely by all the money taken in for the sled raffle, but I also never set a hard goal to reach in any year. My goal is to just raise as much money as we can and have as much fun while doing it! A goal we have met every year! 
    It's a ton of work to put this on and sometimes I can get a little discouraged as much of my free time in January (prime time snow-play time) is taken up with the duties for it, but all I need to do is think of the results of the work and I snap out of my pity party. This year all I need to do is go to the picture of Brody, think about all that he is having to go through and any of my issues are suddenly made into mole hills. So, again I will make the plea to all of you reading this, if you feel the spirit to help send Brody to Disney World, you can send a donation (of any amount) to us via the mail at PO Box 182 Mohawk, MI 49950 or paypal at deenora@gmail.com. You do not need to have a paypal account to send money via it. You can simply use a credit card.
    One final reminder, for those of you up this way next weekend, be sure to stop by the Bear Belly Bar and Grill in Lac La Belle Saturday from noon to 5 pm. Not only will you have an awesome meal, but you will be able to scold me for my forecasting errors and raise money for Brody too. So it's a win, win, win scenario! There will also be some great live entertainment from Tom Katalin/Dirk Hembroff from 3-5 pm.
    I do not have a ton of pictures to share with you this week. Been pretty busy working and taking care of Ride-In duties, but I am also not picture-free. I did try and find the walkway that had been tunneled through the snow bank, but was unable to. Who knows, perhaps in another week or so, I will be able to take a shot of the tunnel we have through the plow bank at the end of our driveway. They have already winged back the bank twice, but it is still around 6 feet high on average. Driving down our road is almost like driving down a canyon!
    On highway 41, on the way to Calumet, there is a building that has a rather large drift overhanging the roof. It probably stretches around 6 feet down and is just shy of connecting with the snow on the ground.
    We had a rare moment of sunshine yesterday and took full advantage of it. We all got bundled up and headed out to do some snow-tubing. The run off the screened in porch roof is almost ready for a ride and with a bit of shoveling, it could be made into a great run, but we opted for the snow banks I have made with the ATV plow. Speaking of those banks, they are getting quite high themselves. In some spots, I am actually riding up into the canopy of the trees! Kind of makes it hard with the branches trying to knock me off the ATV when I ramp the snow, but I think I will be able to keep at it for a while longer before I have to give up and just start piling it up and making our parking area smaller. Not that it does not have some room to shrink anyway.
    So here is one of Gracie's run down the snow banks. She actually got going so fast, the wind resistance took her hat right off! We also have a two person tube and so we dug it out and Gracie and I took a a run down the snow bank. I think once the Ride-In is over and the temps warm, we will have to head over to Sweedtown and run the big hill they have there. It is probably around a 300-400 feet foot run and probably 75-100 foot drop. I wonder if Mt Bohemia would let us run down some of their hills?! Actually, there is NO way I would go down that hill on a snow tube! That is sure to end up in a trip to the hospital!
    After the snow-tubing, it was time to climb some mountains, so Gracie shimmied up the biggest one we have, where the cabin roof and shop roof dump their snow. It is probably around 10 feet high at the moment. It was fun to see her struggle with the proverbial 2 steps up and one step back, but she made it. Huck thought it looked like fun being up there, so he hustled up there, just in time for a post at the summit
    So I would not say that I am sick of winter...yet! But I am growing tired of it meaning mostly work and not play. Hopefully I will be able to finish up all the addition work soon and be able to turn the snow into something that is fun. It has been a while since I took a ski or snowshow with the pups and of course riding is in order too. Strange to think that at one point in my life, I had so much free time, I not only started these journals, but would write them several times a week! I really do have plans to simplify my life, but at the moment, it is pretty far down the to-do list!
    I still love winter and snow as much as I always did, but I am starting to day dream about my daily chore being to clean the swimming pool. Grace is also dreaming of the swimming pool, but based on how much snow is sitting where it goes, it looks like we both will be waiting for a while longer!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
January 12-
    Whew, what a week! I certainly do not have to go on and on about how cold it was, as many of you reading this were probably colder than we were. Something to keep in mind if you are wanting to ride, but the Midwest is in the midst of an arctic air outbreak. Our lowest temp during the outbreak was -11 and most lows were actually in the single digits below zero and highs were in the single digits above zero. We did manage to stay below zero (-2) for a high on Monday and then on Thursday, we had a morning low of -13, but that was because we had clear skies and a light southerly breeze that brought some of the bitter cold sitting just to our south north into our neck of the woods for an hour or two. Temps did warm to 17 above by Thursday evening.
    So we got cold, but nothing like the -20, -30 or even -40 some other spots across the upper Midwest saw. The cold did bring nearly non-stop snow. It did stop snowing Wednesday night, but we picked up several inches of new snow every day since last Sunday through Wednesday and then picked up a few inches Friday night with a clipper type system. The forecast is looking pretty good for the Northwoods, with several clipper type systems to bring some meaningful snows to the northeast 1/3rd to 1/2 of the region. More on that in tomorrow's forecast!
    This entry looks to be a long one. I have 23 pictures to share and quite a bit to cover. Plus, I am getting a later start than usual, so we'll see if I end up trying to speed things up a bit!
    The most important thing I want to cover tonight is the upcoming Ride-In. I am going to really be hitting it hard the next few weeks, as we lead up to the event. I did get word late on Thursday that we have been matched up with another local Wish Child. All of the children we have been matched with have been so special and I feel honored to be able to help them make their wish come true. This year there is an extra special and extra personal element to the wish child. He is the nephew of a very good friend of mine. His name is Brody and he is a super brave 4 year old boy from Chassell that has been heroically battling a brain tumor for nearly a year now. His wish is to go to Disney World and meet Mickey, Goofy and Pluto. He will be heading down there February 27th to March 5th. Brody loves the Green Bay Packers, trucks, camping and the colors orange and blue!
    It would make me so happy to hit it out of the park this year. We do it every year, but this year I feel like we need to point to the left field bleachers and knock in over the cheap seats. Registration to the event is open and will remain open right up to 3 days before the event. Persons that register after Jan 19th (one week from today) will have to pay an extra $5/person to cover the cost of shipping the shirt(s) to them. If you want to register and not attend the event, please feel free to do so. I would appreciate a note if you register, but plan not to attend, so that we do not set a place and count you in for the caterer either. If you just want to send a donation, you can either send it to me at: PO Box 182, Mohawk, MI 49950 or can use Paypal: deenora@gmail.com  If you want to send something to be offered up as a raffle prize or silent auction item, you can use USPS to the above address, or e mail me and I can send you a physical address if you are going to use UPS/FedEx. 
    I will stay that to date, the registrations are a little light for some reason. There is always a last minute rush to sign up, so I am not that worried about the actual numbers of those attending, but if you have been putting it off, it would help us all to get your info in now, rather than be swamped with registrations at the last minute. So head over and register!
    I can say that the prize collection process has been going very well and we have some awesome things. I continue to get e mails from folks who want to send things and need an address and am very happy that there are so many folks that join and help. If you have never come and are on the fence, please come. You will not be disappointed. It is not the Super Bowl (that is the next day!), but Brody and his family hope to attend and I can all but guarantee, if he is there, when you see his eyes light up from everyone that is there to support him, it's better than the Super Bowl. It's the kind of thing that really makes life worth living.
    So that is my Ride-In talk for this week!
    Back to the weather and such, I am not totally sure of the reason, but I have never seen the trees so flocked as they have been for the past few weeks. I have posted several pictures in the past few journals, but the snow clinging to the trees has caused more limbs and, in some cases, whole trees to come down than I have ever seen during a winter up here. Not even because of wind, just snow load. We even had a small tree break about halfway up and fall partially onto our driveway yesterday afternoon. 
    Earlier in the week, we lost power. I was sound asleep Tuesday night and at around 10 pm, Nora awoke me to give me the news that we had lost power. She felt really bad about having to wake me up, but with temps sub zero out, she figured I had better know. So the first thing that popped into my head once I shook the cobwebs out was: Man, I sure wish we had gotten to hooking up that stand-by generator! But no, it was sitting under a tarp that was covered in about 3 feet of snow! It was about 90% my fault for not being hooked up, but about 10% contractor fault. I did call back in the summer to get some bids. I got them and talked to a contractor about hooking it up in early Autumn before the wind storm season came around. I put in several calls and they never returned them (one of my pet peeves about some contractors, if they don't need the business at the moment, they never call back!). So it got put off and put off and then winter came and I thought we would just see about getting through the winter. We have never lost power in the dead of winter and I just figured I would not have some poor contractor suffer in the cold to do the hook up. Plus, we do have a portable generator that could be used in the event of a power outage.
    Which is exactly what I did Tuesday night. I strapped the LED headlamp to my head and headed out into the cold to get it fired up and then fished extension cords to the wood boiler to keep the circulation pump going on it and then two extension cords to the house to run the circulation pumps for the heat in there, as well as two computers for me to get my work done with and the refrigerator. So we had our style crimped some, but were fortunate to have heat and a working refrigerator/freezer to keep the food from going bad and I was able to do my work. Probably the worst thing about the whole deal was that the power first went out at around 9:45 pm Tue and then at around 11:30 it came back on, so I went out and shut off the generator and returned everything back to their normal electrical supply source. Then at around 12:45 am Wednesday, the power went out again! So I had to get out of a nice warm bed and head back out to set things up all over again. I made the promise to myself that even if the power came back on, I would keep things the way they were until I finished my morning work. I did not have to worry about that as the power did not come back on until around noon Wednesday. But again, we were very fortunate to have some back up power to keep the heat going and allow me to work and my deepest gratitude to the linemen that had to fix what broke. It was reported on the news that the breakage happened in a remote location and they had to take snowmobile with sleds pulled behind out to the site to make the repair. I think they also have a tracked vehicle that they utilize in the remote locations. It was reported that the snow was chest deep where the repair was made, so a huge thanks to those that braved the severe cold and other elements to make the repair. It never ceases to amaze me how utterly dependent we are on electricity to go about our daily duties!
    So this past Thursday ended a 48 day spell in which I recorded at least a trace of snow. I am not sure if that is a record, but if not, it has to be very close. Some days was just a trace, while other days was over a foot. When we get into those snow cycles, it is always a little weird and almost discomforting when it stops snowing. You are so used to seeing snow fall and suddenly it is not snowing. Kind of weird. For the season, I had picked up 155" of snow up until Thursday, with the official count for Keweenaw County being 177". I sure would be interested to see what the total for the season so far in Calumet is. They are only around 7-8 miles away from us as the crow flies, but have really been hit hard this season so far. The banks are absolutely huge down there. I even saw where someone had actually tunneled through the plow bank to make way for their walkway. I did not have my camera, but will have to try and get down there and snap a shot of it, its pretty incredible.
    No shortage of snow here either. Here is a shot of the snow draped over the front of the shop. It hung down around 3-4 feet and was a little spooky to go under to get into the shop. It actually just built to that extent with the latest round of cold and snow and not long after those pictures were taken, I broke out the roof rake and took the overhanging snow down.
    With the temps rising into the teens, I also took to the roof of the woodshed to clear the snow off of it. This was the second time for the season on that roof. The first was about a week before Christmas and I moved about 3 feet off of it. I have to say that when I got up on the roof this past Thursday, I was surprised at how much snow was up there. At least another 3 feet.
    With the sun out and temps in the teens, I decided to shovel off the roof of the screened in porch. I knew there was a lot of snow on it and since there was no heated room below it, the temps would have to get above freezing for a day or more to get it to slide. So I propped a ladder up to it and got busy clearing the top 4 feet of the 5 feet of snow on it. We just need another 8-10" of snow and with the snow piled up off the eaves, it will be a perfect sledding hill, right from the top of the roof down!
    With all the heavy snow, we also had the perch that the Power Hounds on the AL Cam sit on collapse. They then became buried under a blanket of snow. So when Nora and Gracie got home Thursday afternoon, we all got bundled up and went on a rescue mission. I started by using an avalanche beacon to find them. Then when I thought I had picked up a strong signal, I had Millie the avalanche rescue dog come in to help confirm the find. I then zeroed in on the exact spot by using my avalanche probe. Soon after, Gracie arrived with a shovel and started digging for them. We took turns digging and Huck and Mille got in and dug as well. We were able to get to them in time and other than some bumps and bruises, they are back in action on the perch.
    When I shoveled the roofs this week, I was really amazed at how much snow was on them, yet the snowcover on the ground has not increased too much in the past 2 weeks. After our avalanche rescue, I got my answer as to why when I saw Gracie walking out on top of the snowpack and barely sinking in. All the fresh snow keeps compacting the older snow and I did notice that as I dug deeper and deeper into the snow on the roof, the more it became like Styrofoam. There is still some powder on top and hitting the snow just after a fresh snowfall provides some awesome powder riding, but what really stands out to me is the density of the base we have. Barring some kind of a strong and early melt this spring, we will probably be riding well into spring this season.
    A little later on that afternoon, we headed across the parking area and Gracie went to see about playing on her playground. She spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out where it was!
    Today we rose above the freezing mark for the first time in I don't know how long. This usually means the metal roofs will start to clear their snow. First to go was the steep pitch of the cabin. It is a 12/12 and usually clears every few days, but this mornings clearing was only the second of the entire season so far! Actually, the rear 1/2 cleared this morning around 7:30 and then the front half cleared this afternoon, about 20 seconds after I had just walked through the slide path! The other half is still covered in snow due to the addition roof in the way, but the side with no obstructions is completely clear.
    The shop roofs have a much shallower slope to them. They are 4/12 and unless temps really get warm, they usually need a little help. So I went and got a propane tank filled this morning and put a salamander heater going in the attic and about 2 hours later, the front half of it cleared. The back half was in Hangfire mode. I did go out to check it about 30 minutes ago and the back portion has now cleared, so the entire shop roof (with the exception of a 3 foot thick slap right at the ridge on the front) is now clear. Thankfully I do not have too much of a mess to clean up when those roofs clear. All part of the planning when you build up here actually. There is a bit to be cleared and the slide stops around 2 feet from my boiler.
    So that about does it for this one. I do have one final picture to share with you. It is from my recent visit to Siberia. Actually, that is just a home in Calumet, but every time I drove past it, it reminded me of what a home in Siberia might look like in the winter!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
January 5-
Happy New Year! Not only is this the first entry from the new year, but it is also the first entry from the new office! Yep, got all moved in this week. Will talk about that more in a bit, but I love it aready!
The first order of business I would like to take care of is to start hyping the Ride-In. We are just under 4 weeks away now and will need to get everyone that wants a shirt to be registered in around 2 weeks. I will have the exact date for registering to receive a shirt, but it is usually within around 10-14 days of the event. 
    There are lots of good prizes coming in and I have some more deals cooking, plus it looks like we will have plenty of snow to play in. I will be doing my guest bartending at the Beer Belly Bar and Grill at Lac La Belle on the 25th, so if you are up in the Keweenaw that weekend, be sure to stop in for lunch or an early dinner and let me serve you, chat with you and help raise funds for the Make-A-Wish. I will be there from around 11 am to 5 pm.  There will be a Karaoke party at the Mosquito Bar in Toivola on the 31st and I plan to bring some items down there to raffle off and might even sing a tune for you all- as long as Nora promises to be the designated driver so that I can get enough liquid courage in me to get up on stage. 
 I am really looking forward to the event this year and hope as many of you reading this can make it. It really is a special thing to be able to gather so many friends of the site- a family really, and raise money to help brighten a childs life. It really means a lot to me to see this event continue to be so successful and I appreciate all the help I get from others as well as the good folks that make the trip to attend the event.
    As mentioned, I think we will be pretty well set for snow for this years event. Since last Sunday, I have picked up another 24" or so of snow and now we are entering into the deep freeze like all the rest of the Midwest. things do look to warm some by the second half of the week and weekend, but more snows will fall with the cold and then again by the weekend. There is a base out there right now that I have not seen this early since I moved up here. It is not just us that is in such good shape though. Most of the LES belts of the UP are sitting pretty as are the LES belts of NWL MI. NW WI also has very deep snow and after this storm finishes up tonight, the snow will be pretty deep in areas of IL, S. MI, IN and NW OH!
    The only bummer part to this winter so far is the cold. It has been just too cold for much of December and the first week of Jan for me to want to think too much about riding. I did get out on the second weekend of December for some decent riding and then I also got out yesterday and Friday and the conditions were excellent. Temps were a bit warmer, with a high of around 10 above on Friday and on Saturday we started riding with temps of around 20 and finished with temps in the low 20's.
    All week, I noticed that the trails were not exceptionally busy. Not totally dead either and I have seen parking lots of the hotels/motels with trucks and trailers in them, but it has not been a mad house around here. In fact, in the time we rode the trails yesterday, I think we saw just about as many groomers as we saw sleds. In the morning, we saw 2 and then in the evening we saw 3 more. Good snow + cold temps + light traffic + steady grooming = excellent trails. I thought I might have hit a little bump just north of Phoenix, but I was mistaken. Pool table flat. With all the snow, in spots, the banks on the side of the trail are getting pretty big! Actually, that is a part where the trail runs through a little cut made through a little hill, but the snow was probably close to 4 feet deep on the level in that spot.
    We got off trail too, checking out some of the higher terrain up this way. It had been about 4 weeks since I was last out there and it was pretty deep then, so I was excited to see what things looked like now. Pretty cool and pretty deep. The logging road we were on was like a tunnel and the way that the snow had stuck to the trees up there almost creates a surreal experience. If you take a close look at that last photo, you will see how the snow has actually accumulated on the trunks of the trees where either moss was growing or some other small feature on the bark of the tree allowed the snow to accumulate on an otherwise vertical surface. 
    What has amazed me is that with all the new snow that we have picked up at our place, the snow depth has not increased too much. I think the main reason is that a few weeks ago, we had close to 3 feet on the ground, but much of it was fluff. Now we have 3 feet on the ground, but all but the top few inches is a pretty solid snowpack. I know the dogs can walk around in the woods right now without sinking in too deep. While out riding, we found some spots where there was around 6-8" of fluffy powder to carve in and other spots where there was about 15-18".
    So it has been a very cold and very snowy winter so far. The wood supply continues to dwindle and if the temperature trend we have been in for the past 5-6 weeks continues, we will probably be out of wood by around the first of March. I can get more and if not, we have a few trees of our own that we can harvest to burn, but I do plan to see about reserving 3-4 cord of wood for later this winter to get us through the heating season and pool warming season.
    Earlier this week, I got a good scare when some satellite imagery revealed that ice had quickly formed on the northern end of Lake Superior between the North Shore and Isle Royal. That is a pretty big area to be freezing in just 24 hours and also some pretty deep water to be freezing up. With how cold things have been, one of my big fears as been to put enough ice on the western lake to limit or halt the lake effect snow and also end our insulation from the bitter cold off to the west of us. The good new (at least for now) is that all that ice is gone. Other than the more sheltered areas like Thunder Bay, the lake around Duluth and east of Whitefish Pt, the lake is back to being pretty wide open. But like I say, at least for now.
    So switching gears and getting back to the new office set up, the move went pretty well. A lot more work than I had anticipated. I really could not believe how much stuff I had crammed into that tiny space and I am still not fully organized in my new space, but I was able to get the new office space painted and the trim work done on Monday and early Tuesday and then moved the computers and got them back up and running Tuesday night. Wednesday I was able to get the rest of all the stuff down into the new space and somewhat organized. Friday and Saturday I was able to get the networking for the Woods Cam going, the weather station hooked up and the AL Cam hooked back up, so I am now pretty much back to normal as far as functionality. So how does it look, well, here is the old office space, now the "sitting room" and here is the new office, complete with my assistant working on the next hi-tech forecast model. Still a few things to be done in each space, but nothing big and no rush either. 
    So I guess that gets you all caught up on things to date. It's getting late and I better head off to bed. But before I go, for those of you that pay close attention to the pic numbering, for some reason I never made a 4 and 5 this week. Went right from 3 to 6 for some reason, so 4/5 are not missing!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

 

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