April 26, 2015-
    As I was getting ready to sit down to write, I knew I had plenty of material, but was struggling for a start. So I got the pictures all set and numbered and then went to go write and saw that I had forgotten that I wrote on Monday and that the picture I have slated first this week was taken on Monday and is the same picture is finished with last week. So I guess you can say that I am picking up where I left off...literally! 
    That being snows flew pretty steadily most of the day on Monday, but did not accumulate because of air temps being a fraction above freezing and the April sun energy making it through the clouds. However, not long after I finished writing the last entry, the sun sunk low enough on the horizon so that it's energy was not as strong and the snows started to accumulate. Nothing major, but come the next day, we had a couple of inches on the ground. It continued to snow all day Tuesday and by the afternoon, one could have probably taken a little spin if they had wanted to. Here is the trail crossing just north of Calumet by the Trailside Lodge.
    It continued to snow into Tuesday night and came down at a pretty good clip for most of the morning on Wednesday, which made for a pretty winter-like front of house shot. Even with snowy roads, the pups and I braved the elements on Wednesday to get in our morning walk. They seemed pretty un-phased by late season snow and played a little game of WWF as we walked back down the driveway after the walk. By midday, we had around 6" on the ground and it was still coming down pretty good when I picked Gracie up at the school
    While the 6" of snow on the ground was somewhat impressive for this time of the year, I wonder how much new would have fallen had the temps been just a few degrees cooler. All told, we picked up 11" new from Monday through early Thursday. That brought our April total to 18" this season. A far cry from last seasons 42" that fell during the month of April. Of course the month is not over yet! Just kidding, no new snows this week. Just some melting every day of the remaining snow, with temps in the 50's and maybe even a few 60's by the end of the week.
    Despite the snow this week, I spotted 3 wild turkeys- the animals not whiskey- crossing the highway earlier in the week. Then on Tuesday evening, I was headed back from a meeting and as I got close to our driveway, I saw a turkey crossing the road we live on to get into our woods. I tried my best to get a shot of the bird, but between trying not to skid off the snowy road into the woods and the awkwardness of trying to take a picture with my phone with only one hand, I did not get the best shot, although if you look just to the right of the upper right hand corner of the mirror, you can see him/her in the trees. Wild turkeys are pretty common in other areas of the Midwest and have been increasing in numbers in the Bookjack area, but we have never seen or heard them up this way since living here. I did hear the call of one yesterday morning as well. It would be neat if they could get themselves established up this way. 
   The snows stopped in the wee morning hours of Thursday and we even had some sun in the afternoon on Thursday, as well as Friday, Saturday and today. My travels took me by the Laurium Glacier yesterday afternoon and it is still hanging tough. To me it looks like it has 2.5-3 week left in it at least. 
    Yesterday afternoon we decided to take a ride in the Commander. Most of the snow was gone from our woods, so we figured most of the snow would be gone from the trails as well. I lobbied hard to have the pups come with us and was successful. So Nora drove, Gracie sat in the front with her and I sat in one rear seat, with Millie in the other and Huck in the rear cargo spot. Huck is less afraid of new things and actually loved being in the back for the trip. Things were going pretty well while we were on the main trail, but then when we got off onto a smaller logging road, we came across some snow that looked a bit too deep to get through. I will say that the Commander will go through snow deep enough to hit the underside of it. We have gone through areas where I could see the skid plate had dragged through the snow as we went through. The spot we stopped did have some tracks on it, but they were the width of a truck, so we stopped, the pups jumped out to reconnoiter a bit while we got the SxS turned around.
    We switched plans a bit and made our way to a new destination on a route I was pretty confident would be passable. All but the final 100 yards or so to the spot were passable and we might have even been able to make it the whole way, but stopped and walked the rest...just to be safe.
    The spot we went to I have been to many times in different seasons and have shared pictures with you. It is called "Secrete Spot" and has a nice set of falls on one of the larger rivers in Keweenaw County. The pups and Gracie had a lot of fun exploring and it did my heart good to see Gracie so fully appreciating the woods. Not that I have every been worried that she would not have a love of the outdoors, but to see her so excited and so appreciative of the woods was great. The pups loved the ride in the SxS and I can see us all having lots of fun in it this summer and autumn! Thanks Land O' Lakes Rec!!!
    So today was also a nice sunny day, so after lunch, we all got outside to enjoy it. Gracie and Nora had tried to dig out the swing set last weekend when I was out of town, but gave up soon into the dig. Today Gracie asked if I could dig out a swing, so I got going on it. As I dug, I wondered how many other dads have had to dig out a swing at the end of April so their daughter could use it!
    After that, it was decided that we should go pay Old Granddad a visit, as it had been some time since we last saw him. So we made our way through the woods, past the 90 degree tree. Stopping to chat with Big Piney for a while and say hi to the Maple Twins, before finally making it to Old Granddad. He was in fine shape and looking excited to open his leaves for the summer. I think the Dee Family is getting more and more excited for summer to arrive as well.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
JD-

This business directly sponsors johndee.com  

April 20, 2015-
    Ok, I'm back. Thanks for the evening off! I'll get to my "weekend trip" in a minute, but will say that I have not been that exhausted in quite some time. Mainly because I was going to bed around 2 hours before I am used to waking up and then did not spend too much time sleeping in.
    We sure had some more beautiful weather last week. Got into the 60's just about every day and had quite a bit of sunshine to boot. I can admit it was nice to see more and more of the snow go and I even got in some yard work on Thursday.
    On Tuesday, I had some free time and decided to take the pups for their first SxS ride. The commander is big enough that we have room for Gracie, Nora, myself and the two pups, so I figured I would introduce them slowly to the concept of riding in it so that by the time it was true riding season, they would be ready to go. When the whole family rides, one of the pups will have to go in the back area, but I thought I would start them out by having them sit in the rear seats. That way things would be more like they are in the truck and I could also put up the side curtains to keep them from jumping out!
    They were quite nervous when we got loaded into it while still in the shop and got even more nervous when I started it up. Huck even jumped from the rear seats to the back box, on his way to jumping out of the thing all together, but I was able to verbally coax him to stay in the box and turn around and climb back into the rear seat.
    I backed up nice and slowly and used my voice to assure them that all was fine and we were just going on a "special car ride". My initial though was to just take them around half way down the driveway and then turn around, to keep away from the road, incase they did decide to jump out. However, about halfway down the driveway, they seemed to be fully at ease and enjoying themselves. Snouts sticking up into the air to catch the scents and eyes wide open to take in all the scenery. So I kept on going up to the road and then turned onto it and drove down it a bit. The longer we were in, the more comfortable they were and by the end of the short little trip, they were hooked. I pulled into the garage, shut it down and told them to hop out and they gave me a look like: "what, that's it? were not riding any longer?!"
    We hung out in the shop until the girls came home from work/school and I showed them the picture of the pups in the commander and they both thought it was cool that Millie and Huck enjoyed their ride. Especially Gracie, who coaxed Huck into the rear box to hang out with her.
    Last week I ordered up a soft top (Bimini) and split windshield for it, so that it would be more weather-proof, should we get caught in some rain (or even snow). They came in on Wednesday, so I picked them up and spent the afternoon installing them. The directions were not the best, but the quality of the items was great and I am glad I went with parts from Can-Am, because they also fit perfectly and were designed specifically for that model. It was a pretty nice afternoon on Wednesday and I was just finishing up things when the girls came home, so Nora helped me with the remaining work to be done and then the three of us piled into it for a ride to dinner. The poor pups were in the shop with me when I was putting on the top and windshield and as soon as we fired it up to go, they both ran over to hop in. It almost broke our hearts to tell them they could not ride this time and the looks on their faces was like: "What, you show us how fun it is to ride in and then tell us we have to stay home and not ride with you?!". There just was no way to be able to take them and have dinner as well. So that sat the ride out.
    We headed south to a restaurant not too far away. The trails were a mix of snow, puddles and even some dry spots. When it came time to get off the main trail and take the access trail that would get us close to the restaurant, things got more interesting. There was still a pretty solid foot of snow on the ground and it was pretty soft, due to the temps in the low 60's and sunshine. We took a stab at it, but ended up turning around before getting stuck and ruining our nice little ride to dinner. That is one of the nice things about riding an ATV or SxS up here, is that it is legal to ride the shoulders of roads (not highways) to get from one point to another if needed. So we back tracked a bit to a road and then took the back roads in to the restaurant.
    We had a nice fun and filling meal and then headed back home. The sun was still up, but had sunk enough on the horizon that the air temps were starting to get cool. It was then that Nora and I realized how much warmer we will stay with the windshield. When it is hot, we can open up the upper half of the windshield enough to get a nice breeze through, or even take it off without too much effort- if we know we will not be needing it. About half way home, Nora turned around to see how Gracie was doing and we got the answer to what a full day at school, a big meal of chicken strips and fries topped off with a ice cream sundae and then a little bit of bouncing around will do to a 5 1/2 year old. Now...How many of you thought there would be a picture of her getting sick? I don't think that will ever be a problem for her...or I.
    On Friday, I did my morning work and then headed down to the airport to catch a flight to Chicago. Some college buddies and I had corresponded and decided to have a little get together there and this past weekend was the date. The weather was perfect in both the Keweenaw and Chicago and it was quite nice to be driving to the airport, not wondering if the flight would even be able to leave! The flight did go off without a hitch. I arrived at O'hare about an hour later and then found myself on the blue line heading to the loop. It's been quite a long time since I was last on the "L" and I can fully say that I do not miss it! Not that it is a horrible thing. In fact, it was nice to be sitting in it and looking out at all the vehicles (with one person in them) stuck in traffic on the Kennedy expressway. However, there is a rather large list of things I do not miss since about Chicago, or any big city life, since moving up here and riding on the L is definitely on that list!
    I got down ok, walked over to my hotel, got settled in and then met up with one of the buddies in the hotel lobby. We then headed over to the Chicago Blackhawks store, so I could pick up some stuff. After that, we headed back to the hotel so I could drop off my purchases and headed down the street to meet up with another from the group. While waiting, I did the "tourist" thing and snapped a shot of the John Hancock building. Since I have not been in the big city for 15 years, I figured it was fine for me to act like a tourist! We met up with most of the rest of the group, had dinner at Harry Caray's (another touristy thing to do) and then finished up the night at a local pub, catching up with everyone. Got to bed at around 1 am, which is 2 am Keweenaw time and only 2 hours before I am typically waking up!
    Saturday we had the morning free, so some of us non-Chicagoans did some more touristy things. There have been quite a few changes to the loop (downtown Chicago area) since I was last there. Many new buildings, probably most notable being the Trump Tower. By the shape and size of the tower as well as the size lettering used to spell "Trump Tower" on it's side...I would not want to trade lives with the guy, even if I could have all of his dough! Anyway, another new feature to the down town Chicago area is the millennium park. It went up shortly after I left town and have been wanting to see it, as the park that it takes up part of now was always one of my favorite places in the city. 
    One of the highlights to the millennium park is the sculpture they call "Cloud Gate". I actually had to look up the name because most folks just call it the bean, because it is shaped much like a giant bean. What ever you want to call it, it is pretty cool and a really neat design. It reflects the skyline very nicely and also has some pretty funky reflections if you go underneath.
   We then walked around the park a bit more, headed up through Oprah's neighborhood and spotted a unique food truck. Of course food trucks are nothing new to the larger cities and even some of the smaller ones. Marquette has one or two. However, this was the first food truck for dogs I have ever seen. Had that thing been around when Huck and Millie were living there with me, I am sure we would have been regular customers!
    The main event for Saturday was to take in a Cubs game. However, the guy that organized things was really thinking, because instead of us all getting seats inside the stadium and then not being able to talk to each other much, we went to one of the "roof tops" across the street from the park. A great idea, as on the lower floors, they have seating around tables and concession stands. The price into the building covers all your food and drink as well, so that is nice. On the rooftop, there are stadium type seats to watch the game if you want. Not the best view of the game and it looks to get much worse as the "friendly confines" do not like these what these entrepreneurs are doing and are erecting giant signs (as part of a larger renovation to the bleachers) to block the view. Or, perhaps it is not intentional at all. Either way, I hear the lawyers are figuring things out.
    It was a fun time at "the game" most of us casually watched things and spent more time chatting, so the venue was perfect and the food very concession stand-like, but good. The Cubs were up 6-2 going into the 9th and in true form, let the opposition get 4 runs in the 9th to tie it up. We stayed through the bottom of the 9th, but when the Cubs did not score, we all decided to head back to rest up for the evening. The Cubs did end up winning in extra innings. The nighttime entertainment was to go to a blues club called Kingston Mine and a good time was had there too. I was blown away by the line of folks waiting to get into the joint as we left at around 1 am! They do play until 5 am, but I just cannot fathom waiting to get into a joint at 1 am!
    Another short night and I was on my way back home. It was great seeing some of the guys, most of them I have not seen in 25 years! and we all promised to start making the reunions more regular. The trip went pretty uneventful and soon I was back enjoying the company of my family and surprising Gracie with her gift from Chicago. She loved it enough she even wore it to the Red Wings territory that is better known as her grade school!
    The weather was not so nice when I returned. Temps were in the low 40's and there were some light rain showers falling. Today things did not get better, with a steady rain quickly changing over to snow and it has been snowing since. The temp has been hovering around 33 and with the solar radiation coming through the clouds, it has not accumulated much at all, but as soon as the sun sets, I am sure we will pick up a bit of fresh, as it is suppose to keep snowing through Wednesday! It's not that big of a deal that is is snowing up here at this time of the year, but to snow for 3 days straight is a little unusual. As long as it does not pile up a bunch and make things a bigger mess when it melts, I am fine with it. Got lots to do in the shop!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
JD-
April 19, 2015-
    Got back into town from a quick weekend trip. Pretty tired pup, so I will write tomorrow.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
JD-
April 12, 2015-
    This entry is nothing short of pure dedication! For as I type, the temperature outside is 73 degrees and we have clear blue skies. The last time we even got to 70 or above was back on September 28th, 195 days ago. I will admit that I have spent much of today outside and also spent much of yesterday outside, but I sure would love to still be out there now!
    We have had 3 seasons this past week. It started out somewhat spring-like, with temps in the upper 30's to low 40's, then on Wednesday, we got a bit of fresh snow. Not a lot, but around an inch or so in the morning. That led to a snowy walk with the pups. It even frosted the forest nicely. This time of the year, the new snows do not typically stick around too long and any trace of that snow was gone by the afternoon.
    Then, late Wednesday night into Thursday, a second snow event it and that one had a bit more kick to it. Amounts in the Keweenaw varied some, depending mostly on the terrain. I picked up around 6" total, but hear just a few inches fell in the Houghton/Hancock area. The heaviest snow that I was able to hear about was a foot just to the west of Marquette. The snow fell with temps very near the freezing mark, so it clung to everything and gave us what was most likely the last Keweenaw Kamo of the season and probably the last, true snowy front of the house shot for this season. Ahhh, but not to worry. In another 5 months or so, we will be right back at it!
    Even the 6" we picked up early Friday did not stick around too long. We broke into sunshine and temps of around 40 by Friday afternoon and most of it was gone by sunset. What did not melt by sunset Friday quickly melted Saturday, with clear blue skies and 40's by sunrise and then a high of around 57 for the day.
    While spring fever hit the week before when we had some warmer temps, true spring action took place yesterday in the sunshine and upper 50's. Gracie helped me drop the blower unit off of Big Red. We then hooked up the loader arms to the front of Big Red and I attached the forks. That was so I could pick up the blower unit and move it into the lean-to. The loader arms were stored in there over the winter, so I had to get them out first before moving the blower in. The whole affair took me less than around 30 minutes and that was taking my time. Plus, I did not have to lift anything heavy at all. The hydraulics of the the tractor does all the heavy lifting. So while more dramatic that removing the plow off the ATV, it was less labor. Always a good thing.
    The tractor and forks were not done yet. Earlier in the day, I drove down to pick up a pool that we had ordered. It was decided to forgo the fancy in-ground pool for a season or two so that we could concentrate more on saving for Graces education and perhaps her parents retirement....some day! So we ordered another above ground pool, only this one is 22 feet in diameter and 54" deep, while the old one was only 15 feet in diameter and 48" deep. At any rate, the box that contained all of the pool materials weighed just shy of 300 lbs, so I put a left over pallet I had laying around the lean-to in the back of the truck, had the folks at the store put the pool on it and then it was just a matter of some hand movements on the joystick to lift all 300 lbs of pool and pallet out of the back of the truck and store them in the shop until it is time to put up the pool.
    Now, the more astute of you might have noticed that the back-hoe on Big Red was also gone from it. That unit was on load from the good folks at Land O' Lakes Recreation. Initially for just part of last summer, but then they were gracious enough to let me hang onto it through the winter, so I did. It did not see a ton of work this winter, but it did come in handy at times, moving the piles of snow that had fallen off the roof that I could not get to with the bucket or blower. I can see a backhoe going back on Big Red in the not too distant future, especially if I were to use it to dig out the hole for the fancy pool some day.
    So we said good-bye to the back hoe, but hello to a very special toy to use for the summer... A Can-Am Commander Max 1000! Bruce, the owner (and also the man in the drivers seat of the SxS in the last picture) of LOL Rec had contacted me a month or two ago about the idea of letting us use the SxS for the summer, much the way I am able to use a snowmobile from Rt 12 in the winter. Me not being a total idiot said: "SURE!" So on Tuesday, he brought the SxS up on a trailer and then returned back to Land O' Lakes with the back hoe. They also have a newly opened shop just off I-94 in Kenosha WI and I believe the back-hoe was going down there for a customer of theirs.
    It goes without saying how excited all of the Dee family is to have that toy to play with this summer! Although it was pretty chilly on Tuesday when Bruce dropped it off, Nora and I did take it for a quick spin and then Nora and Gracie took it for a spin while Bruce and I were detaching the backhoe from Big Red.
    Yesterday afternoon we took it for a longer ride in the sunshine and 50's and I am, sure we would have taken it out today, except Nora and Gracie had prior commitments to attend to. We do have lots of places we already want to explore with it and are even thinking of a camping trip with it this summer. Of course you will be able to live vicariously through the journal, but LOL Rec does rent the very same units up at their place situated on the WI/UP border north of Eagle River.
    With Gracie and Nora gone all afternoon, I did some fiddling around in the shop. I am not yet ready to reveal what I have been doing the past few weeks- when I have time. It has been kind of a slow process, but I am enjoying the freedom to go out and work at a relaxed pace and not be under any kind of deadline. I did hop in the truck with the pups and we headed down to look at the falls in Eagle River. They are probably the largest, when measured by volume of water flowing over them, and are also probably one of the easiest to get to. Just park and walk a 100 feet or so and this is your view
    There are lots of other falls up here and with about a foot and a half of snow still on the ground, they will be running for some time to come. In fact, the issue with the ones deep in woods is getting to them. I could take a snowmobile, some friends of mine rode yesterday up north of me, but I think we will wait a bit more until things become a bit more passable for the SxS and then the whole family can go.
    On my way back home, I did stop off at "10 Foot". It is a spot upstream from the Eagle River Falls by about a mile or two and is neat, as the river flows through the woods and then hits a drop of around 10 feet. When the water is high like it is now, the drop is more like 4-6 feet, but also thundering more than when the water is low. Here is a panoramic view of the location. Be sure to scroll the image left to right to take it all in. Once again, a reminder of what a special place I live in!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
JD-
April 5, 2015-
    Happy Easter everyone! Seems kind of hard to believe that we are already into April and already at Easter. We have had a bit of spring weather (more on that in a bit), but the week seemed to provide weather that was still more like winter than spring.
    On Tuesday, we got some fresh snow. Not a lot, but about an inch and a half. It started out as huge, silver-dollar, snowflakes and then transitioned into a more average type snow. I am glad that we did not get a significant amounts of snow, although, it sure is fun to watch those huge flakes fall, especially with little to no wind. Their greater size and thus surface area causes them to fall more slowly, so it almost seems as though it is snowing in slow motion. 
    Later on in the day we had a bit of excitement around here, as the sound of some squirrels was heard up in the roof rafters. I had a suspicion on where they were getting in and so the pups and I went outside to scout things out. It was still snowing lightly and was kind of a raw cold, but the pups got all amped up when I mentioned the words "squirrel" and "hunt" in the same sentence. They tore around to the back side of the house and before I could even get back there, I could hear the racket of two red squirrels that had been treed by the dogs. For some reason, the squirrels could not figure out that they were actually safe just hanging out in a single tree, so they would climb around and jump from tree to tree, all the while, Huck and Millie would run beneath them, just waiting for that missed branch or some other kind of catastrophic misfortune.
    At times, they would even climb down a tree and get on the ground, only to cause a frantic chase by one or both of the pups. There were some very close encounters, but each time the squirrel was able to narrowly escape disaster by frantically climbing up the nearest tree.
    Then, a third squirrel appeared, this one from a small entry into the house from where the soffit met the old roof of the cabin. That is the spot where I had a feeling they were getting in, so I was actually keeping a close eye on it while the pups gave chase. 
    I am not big into killing an animal, but I also did not want to have a trio (or possibly more) of squirrels taking up residence in the un-insulated portion of our house, so I figured I would go and get the pellet gun and try my luck with it and perhaps the pups would figure into the eradication process as well. The main problem was that this was all happening close enough to the road that we live on that I did not want leave the dogs alone with the squirrels in case a chase led them to the road where they could be struck by a vehicle. So I got myself as close to the living room windows as I could and started calling out. Gracie heard me, so I yelled to her to have Nora come out.
    Nora came out and was able to keep an eye on the dogs while I got the pellet gun. I loaded it up, pumped it up with pressure and waited for the little varmints to get close enough that I could take a shot. The pups seemed to know what was going on, as they semi-herded one to a tree close to me. I followed it through the scope and it stopped long enough in a spot that I had a clear shot at it. This was when the years of sniper training in the army kicked into gear and the mantra of one shot, one kill, filled my head.
    I squeezed the trigger slowly and nothing. The trigger would not budge. Shoot! I forgot that the pellet gun had a safety. So I released the safety, eyed up my target in the scope again and prepared for the shot. It moved a bit, so I continued to follow it through the tree. It came to rest on a branch a little further up, but well within the range of my practice shots taken at a pop can this past summer. So once again, I held my breath, lined up the shot and slowly squeezed the trigger.
This time the trigger fully engaged, but there was no shot. I tried again and the gun did not fire. I examined the gun, made sure the loading slot gate was fully closed and fired a test shot innocently into the woods, but nothing. I continued to mess around with the gun for a while, trying different solutions, but could not figure out what was wrong.
    So it was time to move on to plan "B". I had Nora help me carry the big extension ladder around to the back of the house and I would plug the spot they were getting in. The only problem was, when I got ready to seal up the hole, I counted only two chattering squirrels and not three. One must have found its way back inside. I went around to the front of the house and could hear it rustling around in the soffit of the foyer entry, so I took a push broom we use to clear snow off the deck and banged it onto the underside of the soffit. I could hear it scramble and by the time I got back to the back side of the house, it had made it out and was being harassed by the pups. I instructed the pups to hold their ground and not let any squirrels get past them and onto the house while I stuffed tightly packed aluminum foil into the opening. One squirrel was able to make it past the pups and onto the house and actually came within about 3 feet from the hole, and me. I gave a quick shout and waved my arm and it did a quick 180 and headed back to the tree they were using to get onto the house.
    I was able to seal up the opening tight enough to keep them out for the time being. When the weather becomes more favorable to be 15 feet off the ground on a ladder or perhaps scaffolding, I will put a permanent fix in to keep them from getting in. 
    So after the opening was sealed up, we all went inside. I gave it about an hour or two and we did not hear any more sounds from above us. I decided to go outside and survey the situation to see if they were possibly trying to get in. I had to chuckle when I looked at the ground and saw all the prints from the squirrels in the snow in one area and all the dog prints in the snow in another. It was quite the battle, but I am proud to report the pups and I were the victors and no blood was shed. The next morning on our walk, I saw a ton of squirrel prints that lead to a brush pile across the street from us. So it would appear they found a second home, although not one with satellite TV.
    On Wednesday, temps warmed some, as the first of two warm fronts came through early in the day. We did not get exceptionally warm, but the atmosphere did get unstable enough so that by the time the second front arrived in the evening, it was juicy enough to allow some thunderstorms to pop. We go so long in between thunderstorms up here during the winter that the first one of the spring seems so unusual. 
    The second front was the more powerful of the two and even though it came just a few hours before the sunset and typical cool off period for the air, our temps continued to warm through the night Wednesday and when I started work at a few minutes after 4 am on Thursday, our temp was 57! That did not hold too long, as temps fell back into the 40's by mid morning, but sunshine helped to bounce temps back into the 50's by Thursday afternoon, so it was decided by the Dee clan to take the seasons first waterfall tour.
    We were a little too early to catch the true raging of the rivers during the spring thaw and who knows, perhaps this seasons spring thaw will continue to occur in stages and we will not ever have one big torrent. However, between the sunshine and temps in the 50's, enough snow melted to get the rivers flowing and the falls to start to become a little dramatic. That was the Eagle River Falls and may actually be the first time I have seen them with both ice and spring run-off at the same time. I know I am not the only one fascinated by waterfalls, but I often wonder what drives the fascination. I know I enjoy first taking in the falls as a whole and then zeroing in on smaller details of the entire complex. It can be very mesmerizing to watch the water splash through the rocks and in this case, the ice. I also enjoy taking shots in a manner where you use a longer shutter speed to soften up the flow of water.
    We did not have enough time to do the full waterfall tour and some are not even possible to get to without a snowshoe trek, but we did drive down the road to take in the Jacobs Creek Falls, which too seemed to be just waking up from a long winter slumber.
    We then continued up the highway and stopped to take in views of the lake. Even though the western half of the big lake is nearly ice free, there is still some ice directly north of the Keweenaw from around Eagle River north and when looking out onto the lake, one might perceive it to be fully frozen. As we arrived into Eagle Harbor, it was neat to see the piles of ice heaved up into miniature mountains still clinging to the shoreline.
    Another sight for the eyes in the town of Eagle Harbor was bare grass! After seeing snow on the ground for the past 6 months, it is always a little weird seeing bare ground. At home, a few tiny patches of snow are still hiding out on the roof, otherwise it is fully clear. However, there is still plenty of snow in the yard and in the woods. To the tune of around 2 feet. Funny, for some that would be an incredible snow depth for any time of the winter, yet for us, we consider it well on our way to spring!
    It looks like we will continue to chip away at our snow cover, but not do anything with reckless abandon. April is typically me least favorite month to be up here. It is generally referred to as the "mud month". In the past, I would get pretty stir crazy, with not enough snow to legitimately play in, but still too much to keep me from the activities we do in the warm season. Last April I still had some projects to do related to the addition and this April I am working on getting the woodshop into peak shape for future Aprils to fill the house with beautiful, handcrafted furniture. Currently I am working on a bank of base cabinets to sit on either side of my "chopsaw" and will then move onto a cabinet to sit under the table saw to store blades and accessories. 
    Plus, I got the wood delivery for next winters heating season already and will get busy cutting it up.    Just kidding, I had to go to Marquette on Friday and passed that large supply of wood just outside of Chassell and thought I would use it in a late April fools joke in the journal. I do still have some wood in the woodshed, but am hoping for the weather to turn warm enough so that I can turn the heat off in the floors in the shop without fear of them freezing and thus not have to feed the boiler so much.
So let the mud month commence, I am ready for it!
Good night from the Keweenaw.. 
JD-

 

ŠJohn Dee.com 
All content including forecasts, images, layout and design may not be used without consent!