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
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
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..
|This business directly
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
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
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
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..
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..
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
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..
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
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
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
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
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..