August 30, 2015-
Sheesh, I was going to
start this entry by saying: "Ok...here we go", but it appears that
I already used that one, just last week! Oh well, final entry for August of
2015! I am not usually sad to see August end and this year is no different.
Don't get me wrong, it has been a great summer and I could not live in a
place where summer did not happen. But...changing the calendar from August
to September is probably my favorite. November to December is also fun, but
it seems a little less dramatic. Sure the trails can open if we have snow,
but the weather change from the end of November to the first few weeks of
December is typically not that dramatic, while the change in weather from
the end of August to the first few weeks of September typically is.
The week ahead looks to be quite warm and humid- by our
standards- with highs in the 80's and dewpoints in the upper 60's. A cold
front is seen by next Sunday that will knock down the heat- perhaps for
good. So I will just grin and bear the warm/hot temps and humidity this
week, do indoor tasks that can be done and look forward to the cool down in
It was a pretty eventful summer. Gracie learned to swim
without her floaties and this week she learned to ride
a bike without training wheels. Truth be told, she probably would have
been riding a bike without training wheels a long time ago, but our bike
riding season is pretty short and we also just did not practice trying to do
it much. However, she was home all day this past week and coming week and
then school starts next week and I really wanted to teach her how to do it
before it started, so I took advantage of the extra time with her to get out
there. It probably took her around 60 minutes with the training wheels up a
few inches to give her the feel of riding without their instant help, but
still not letting her fall right over, and then she was not using them at
all. So it was decided to yank them off and I can say that she took right
off and never looked back. Rode for around 2 minutes all on her own and then
stopped and accepted congratulations from both Nora and I. I have to admit
that it was one of those proud daddy moments that I will not soon forget.
She was so excited too. The look on her face for the first few peddles was a
bit of concentration, perhaps even worry, but then she realized she could do
it and her face lit up with a smile ear to ear and she was off.
We let her ride around for another 15-20 minutes and then
headed back home. She has been practicing a bit on our driveway, but it
being crushed mine rock makes it hard. Sometimes the front wheel washes out
on the rocks, but she takes each tumble like a champ. The next day both Nora
and I were thinking hard of a place where she could ride the bike and we
could walk with the dogs off-leash. We came up with one of our quiet
Keweenaw County Roads. It is not paved, but the stamp sand provides a
much more stable base than our driveway does and the road seldom sees any
traffic, so she is able to ride ahead of us, the pups can do their thing and
everyone can move off to the side of the road if a vehicle decides to come
down. None came in our travels. So I can see us going down to that road a
lot. Gracie can ride her bike, the pups can run free and Nora and I can get
some nice, mild exercise in as well.
Around midweek, we were passing through Hancock when we
saw this fellew.
He kept saying: "Hey, hey, guess what day it is. You know what day it
is?" Finally he told us. It was the day the
Houghton County Fair started! Now, before you all wonder where everyone
was, that last picture was taken opening day, around 10 minutes before the
gates were suppose to even open. We decided to get there early on the first
day and try and beat the crowds and were actually able to get in before the
official gate opening. By the time we left, the isles were pretty much
packed with people.
We did not go last year because of other things going on,
so this was the first year in which Gracie could actually do many of the
rides. I think Nora and I where not sure how far up the excitement scale she
would go. If it were entirely up to her, she probably would have done them
all, including sneaking into the ones she was too small for! Anyway, we came
across a friend of hers and they palled up for the first hour or so and
first headed to the "kiddy"
rides. Some were a bit more tame than others, but none of them were too
crazy. She did enjoy all of them and had a
smile on her face the whole time. I joined the two of them on the
spinning strawberry ride, but smiles
from me were hard to come by! Good thing I ate that pizza, gyro, bag of doughnuts,
pop, water and shave ice after that one! ;)
A trip down the
carpet slide and then they moved up to the
Ferris wheel. I would have easily done the Ferris wheel, but Nora not so
much. One the Ferris wheel was done we broke off from her friend, had some
food, took in some of the animals and then bumped into some other friends.
This time it was the roller
coaster that got the call. She is just like her daddy and loved the
roller coaster. I am not really scared by any ride, but prefer to stay off
the ones that just spin around, as they can induce a bit of motion sickness.
Anyway, she did ride the roller coaster 3 times and I am pretty sure she
would have rode it the rest of the evening had the situation presented
But alas, there was some more things to take in and some
more food to eat. I slightly over did the eating part and ended up having to
move from our bed to the recliner to fight off some indigestion, but learned
a lesson! The fair also had a side show put on by the Marvelous Mutts. They
are a group of rescue dogs that have been trained to do some really cool
tricks. They have even been features on Late Night with David Letterman.
Anyway, it was cool to see all the tricks these dogs could do with Frisbees
and the agility course. They also had a big pool that the
dogs would leap into and fetch a toy.
Since the calendar says summer is winding down and it
won't be too long before the day at the beach come to an end, we all headed
to the beach
yesterday afternoon to enjoy the
beauties of Lake Superior in the summer. Gracie had fun playing in the
sand and on the rocks.
Man, when I see a picture like that, I cannot help but think about how fast
she is growing up! She also braved
the water for a swim and then we settled in for a cook out and had some
burgers, chips, fruit for dinner and then a few Oreo cookies for desert, all
while basking in the sun on the shores of the big lake.
Today was actually the first in the string of 80 degree
days. Nora and Gracie got an invite to go pick some apples, which did not
sound like a whole lot of fun in 80's and sunshine, so the pups and I headed
to the beach for some frolicking. It's so fun to ask them if they want to go
to the beach. They pop up from where ever they are and run right to the
front door. The trip to the beach can be a little challenging as they are
all ramped up to get there, but we have learned to just roll with their
excitement. Today was no different. Heads either stuck out the window or
faced right ahead between the two front seats to see how much longer. We
made it in good time and found our regular beach deserted and had a fun time
retrieving the fetch
as well as tennis ball chucked down the beach by the chucker. I am so happy
to see them is such good health still. They do not quiet have the staying
power that they had when they were younger, but to watch them play, one
would have a hard time believing they are 6 1/2. Hopefully that trend can
continue for many years to come!
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Enjoy your
week and talk to you in September!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly
August 24, 2015-
Ok, here we go. Thanks
again for putting up with my delays, but as mentioned, I got tied up working
on something and when I finished, I looked up at the clock and it said 8 pm,
so I knew that there would be no way I could write last night.
Anyway, I guess I can start off with another meteorology
tidbit. Not a full lesson like last week, but we did have an interesting
event take place this past week. Wednesday afternoon we had a cold front
pass us coming up from the south. I can honestly say that in all my years as
both a casual and more serious weather observer, I cannot remember ever
being part of a cold front that moved in from the south. I have experienced
a cooling effect from the south that happened from an outflow boundary that
happens under a thunderstorm. However, those are only temporary cool offs,
with a return to heat and humidity shortly after.
What happened on Wednesday afternoon was an actual cold
front that was part of an area of low pressure in off to the west of us in
MN. The front was able to sweep all the way to the SE quadrant of the low
without catching up with the warm front. Ahead of the cold front, our
temperature was 80 degrees with a dewpoint of 70. The front then passed
through and 30 minutes later our temp was 65 with a dewpoint of 60. Both the
temp and dewpoint continued to drop the rest of the day and into the
overnight and were not due to the general drop in temp and humidity seen as
the day comes to a close. The cooler and less humid air actually extended
off to the south and west of us all the way into northern IA.
The front even touched off some thunderstorms across the
western UP. Here is a
radar image of the front and its squall line as it was passing through the
Keweenaw. Here is a
visible satellite image from around the same time. While that particular
radar image did not look all that impressive, we did get quite the gully
washer. We ended up getting around 2/3rds of an inch of rain in around
10 minutes! That is rainfall at the rate of around 4" per hour!
Needless to say, it did bring about some ponding
of water in our parking area and brought the level of the pool up a bit,
but about 30 minutes later and all the rainwater had been soaked into the
ground. Things had been pretty dry, so we sure welcomed the rain as well as
that which has fallen since last Wednesday.
The next few days following that were pretty nice. Not
too hot or humid. It allowed the pups and I to take some walks and check out
some more of the signs of the changing seasons up here. The trees have not
changed much since I last wrote, but the
ferns have started to go.
On Friday, we met
up with friends for dinner and then headed to the beach for a sunset
bonfire. While I got the fire going, Sydney,
Linda and Gracie brought a log over to sit on. Or at least that is what
Sydney and Linda thought. Grace had other ideas and ended up rolling
it to the waters edge to use as a
balance beam! We also took the advantage of the company to take a
As you can see, we got there just a bit before the sun
was going to set. In addition to that a lakes freighter (if I recall, it was
the Roger Blough) was rounding the bend, on its way to Two Harbors MN. While
it was actually traveling at around 13-14 mph (all of this info was gained
from the internet via smart phone while we were sitting on the beach!), it
seemed to take for ever for it to pass through our line of sight. In fact
the sun was able to set and it was able to get pretty much pitch black out
and the lights from the ship were still able to be seen, even
through the flames of the bonfire.
Saturday it did warm up a bit, with the temp topping out
at 84 and a dewpoint in the 60's. Thankfully it did not get too warm too
early and the conditions for Gracie's soccer game were still comfortable.
The warm and humid weather did allow for one
last dip in the pool. The pool was actually already draining at that
point, but still plenty of water for her to swim in. I still cannot get used
to seeing her swim without the floaties!
The periods of cooler air this week also allowed me to
get going on the first of my three outdoor projects I want to accomplish
before the snow flies. Before I could get going on it, I needed to evict these
guys from their spot in the wood shed. I have to admit that I did feel a
little sad about having to spray down the nest, but there was some things in
the wood shed that I needed to use and the nest was quite active and they
did not like me going in there. So it was taken care of by two cans of
spray. The instructions said to wait for 24 hours after spraying before
taking down the nest. I think I may wait until it is 24 degrees! Although I
have only seen one hornet come and go from the nest since spraying and it
might just have been one that was away while the spraying took place and now
wonders were everyone went.
The real task at hand was to finally put
the siding up on the lean-to for Big Red. It has been nearly a full year
since I built the lean-to, but sure seems longer, as I have been staring at
the ugly house wrap the whole time. It is all done except for some battens
on the one side, which will get done as soon as the weather improves this
Speaking of the weather. It is a true autumnal day out
there. We have barely been able to get above 50 degrees, high temp since
sunrise has been 51, and in addition to that, the wind was whipping up out
of the WNW this morning and it has been raining pretty steadily since around
10 am. The air aloft is cold enough and the lake water warm enough that the
rain is actually being enhanced by the lake. So we have lake enhanced rain
Before the rains hit, Grace, my brother and I went with
the pups to take in the
wave action at Calumet Waterworks. It was quite windy, pretty chilly and
I was glad that the
pups enjoyed romping around on the beach, but were smart enough not to
go into the surf above their heads. I certainly did not want to have to
perform some kind of a rescue, although they are probably both stronger
swimmers than I am at this point. Here is a shot of my
brother and Grace all bundled up against the elements on this 24th day
of August. Hard to believe that it was just two days ago when the pool was
still getting used!
So that about covers it for this one, but before I go, I
can leave you with one of the latest "dandies" from Grace. Since
the weather was so nasty and the school summer daycare is over for the
season, I thought that she might enjoy being able to sit and watch a movie.
For what ever reason, she has really taken an interest in Star Wars. She has
yet to see any of the movies, but did trade one of her necklaces for a
plastic light saber with one of her friends, so I suspect that has a lot to
do with it. Anyway, we tried to get the movie the new way off of Netflix, or
Amazon Prime or the other online venues, but the only place was to purchase
it from the i Store for 20 bucks. So this morning we headed over to the
video rental store. They did not have it in DVD, but did have it in VHS. We
have a functioning VHS machine, so we took that version. On the way home,
she was very inquisitive about what this "tape" was and how it
worked. I proceeded to explain things to her and said that back when I was
growing up, that is how we watched all movies, as there was not DVD's yet.
To which her reply was: "That's cool that we are going to watch it how
you did when you were a boy, dad. But it's not going to be in black and
white is it?" I guess at least she did not ask if it were
going to be silent!!!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
August 23, 2015-
My apologies, but got
tied up on a special project and it is now bed time for this Bonzo, so I
will write tomorrow.
August 16, 2015-
Let's clear one thing
up right out of the box... I am not even going to try and compete
with last weeks entry! Nora did an awesome job in all ways and I hope that
maybe her appearances in the journal can become more frequent. She is afraid
that people do not like it when she writes or that she does not have
anything interesting to say, but I say not true and have a sneaking suspicion
that she is just saying that so she does not get wrapped into this thing too
deep! In any case, I am grateful for the work she did last week and am glad
so many of you took the time to congratulate her.
So the tide of my emotions for the summer has changed. I
am ready. I am ready to put summer in the rear view mirror and look out at
fall in all directions. I can honestly say that it does not have much to do
with the fact that we are on day 4 of our current "heat wave". I
put that in quotes as we have not even hit 90 on any of those days, but have
been solidly in the upper 80's and have had loads of humidity. I actually
felt this way before we even entered into this hot spell and all it has done
is to re-enforce my feelings on things.
Despite the cooler weather the week before, we did keep
the pool up and have been in it much of the past 4-5 days, but quite
honestly, I am getting pooled-out. Perhaps not sick of being in the pool,
but have grown tired of being in the full, hot, sun. I have a history of
skin cancer and even though I bathe myself (as well as Gracie) in zinc based
sunscreen, I still feel a little uneasy about being in the full sun for too
long. I have some swim shirts, but just cannot get used to their feel while
in the water. I think that perhaps next summer I will come up with a way to
allow for some shade in a spot of the pool and then I can hang out there and
not feel as uneasy.
It's funny how my feelings about the seasons changed so
fast this year. When I first moved up here, I think I was ready for autumn
to arrive by the middle of June! Then the past several years, it seemed like
there was sort of a gradual transition in the loss of love for summer and
yearning for autumn, but for what ever reason, I practically woke up one day
being ready for autumn.
There are actually some
signs of autumn showing up around here. That was a little tag elder
growing along side the road that the pups and I walk on every morning. It
started changing earlier this week and is now pretty far along. There are
also a few maple trees
in our woods that are showing some splashes of color. Of course these
are the exceptions and not the rule. We are still a full month and a half
away from the real color show, but we always get a few "early
changers" every late summer, just to toss out the hint of things to
We officially ran out of the firewood that I had made
earlier in the summer when I cleared some of the trees out from around the
pool area. We picked up some land right next to ours this spring and there
are a number of dead standing trees out there that I harvested this week. It
was cooler- especially in the mornings, and allowed for getting all geared
up to cut wood (steel toe boots, long pants, cutting chaps, head gear,
ear/eye protection). The cutting is usually the easy part. The harder part
is the moving and stacking part. Thankfully I have been able to make use of
many vehicles at my disposal to help make the moving a bit easier and a bit
more fun. The
Commander has come in handy for some of the smaller loads of wood, the
dump box is awesome as it will still dump automatically, even with a full
load in it. The truck gets the call when the
pieces are bigger and/or more numerous. When the pieces are really big,
then Gracie gets the call...er..Gracie
and Big Red!
Those pieces were going pretty quick, as we are still
heating the pool and it was looking like I was going to have to switch from
dead-standing to trees that were in line for coming down due to being
diseased or perhaps in the way of further "urbanization" around
here. :) Thankfully the calvary showed up on Friday and dropped off a
load of firewood to get us through the rest of the pool heating
season...and then some. Actually, that should be enough to get us into the
heart of the heating season. I still kind of plan on going hand-to-mouth
with the cutting of that wood until we get some nice cool days and then
might cut enough to last a month or two until the main cutting party takes
place. I will be having another load delivered and that will be all hard
Despite the heat and humidity the past 4-5 days, we did
have a very nice cool morning yesterday morning. I woke up, gave the pups
their breakfast and then let them out and was completely surprised at how
cool it felt (way cooler than in the house). Turns out we did get a tiny bit
of dry air to move in and that combined with clear skies and calm winds to
produce a nice inversion. So the air temp right at the surface was around
60. I quickly opened all the windows in the house to take advantage of the
natural cooling and then we closed up the house as soon as the inversion
broke down and things heated up.
For those of you who do not know what I am talking about
when I use the term inversion, here is a little meteorology lesson for you.
Cold air is more dense than warm air (the whole reason why a hot air balloon
can fly). On nights when the air is very calm and the sky is clear, the air
will be able to cool due to the heat escaping to the clear skies. As the air
cools, the cooler air finds it way into the lowest levels of the atmosphere.
In some cases, this might just be a valley, but if the cooling is allowed to
happen for long enough, then that layer of cold air will be able to sit over
most areas right near the surface. In many cases, that layer of cooler air
may only be 10-20 feet thick and then the temps warm. The point where the
air starts to warm as you go up is called the inversion. This is because the
atmosphere from the surface to around 30,000-40,000 feet generally cools as
you go up because the air gets it heat from the ground which is warmed by
I also took advantage of the inversion Saturday morning
to take the pups for their morning walk in nice cool conditions. While
returning to our place, the
smoke from the wood boiler illustrated the inversion perfectly. What was
happening there was that the smoke (actual particles, not just the air) was
coming out of the chimney of the boiler, while it was very hot as it came
out, it cooled to the same general temperature of the air around it fairly
quickly. It then stopped rising as it hit the inversion and remained trapped
below the inversion as it was then cooler than the air above it. By the way,
the pups were busy listening to their sister from the previous litter say
"good morning" to them as we walked by. She lives next door. So
there is your meteorology lesson for the day. Now you can impress all of
your friends at the next cocktail party!
A little later that morning (after the inversion had broken
down unfortunately), Gracie had her first soccer practice and scrimmage. The
season actually started last Saturday, but we had company over and did not
partake. Anyway, she always cracks me up. We were driving and I noticed her fidgeting
a bit and asked her if she was nervous about the new season starting and she
said she was very nervous. I gave her some words of encouragement, but what
cracked me up was that I knew it would take her all of 3.7 seconds to become
the coaches-pet and to jibber jabber with all the others on the team. I did
not time it, but that is exactly what happened.
This is her second year in soccer and I could notice the
confidence in her when compared to last year. Last year it was all new and a
huge curve to negotiate, but this year she was a seasoned veteran. As much
as I do not wish to have to wake up a bit earlier on Saturdays and spend the
morning traveling to and from Hurontown (just south of Houghton) for soccer,
it is a ton of fun to watch these
kids play and have fun. The way the league is run as well as the
attitude of the coaches and parents is awesome. The kids are there to fell
comfortable first, have fun second and learn third. Winning is a
long-distant fourth. Not that I do not think wanting to win is wrong, but
for kids that are 4, 5 and 6, that time is still a bit off in my opinion.
They also changed the rules around a bit this year.
Instead of having the full field of 11 players, there are 5 players out on
the field and a goalie. That makes for a slightly smaller swarm around the
ball and also allows for around half of the players to be resting while the
others are out on the field.
So on the way to soccer on Saturday, Gracie said said
that she really hoped that she scored a goal this season. I told her that I
did too, but not to be disappointed as I played for around 7-8 years and did
not score a single goal. I did play defense...in my defense. Anyway, she
said that she really wanted to score a goal from mid-field like the girl in
this years women's world cup did. Like a supportive dad should, I said:
"I do too sweetie, I do too.". About five minutes into the game,
Gracie was bringing it across mid-field and noticed the goal keeper for the
other team way out of the net and decided to go for it. She booted a good
one and it looked like she might get her first goal and from mid-field and
it ended up bouncing off the cross-bar!
Just kidding, but she actually did almost get her first
goal. She got around a defender and brought the ball inside the penalty box
area and found herself staring at a wide open goal due to the fact that the
other team had decided to change goalies out while the game was still going
on. As she got into position to bury it into the back of the net, players
from the other team swarmed her and she was able to get off a shot, but
not the one she had hoped for and it ended up being caught by the freshly
replaced goalie. She had a couple of other close calls, one of them a bit
controversial and is being reviewed by FIFA to see if it was in fact a goal
and not saved as was called on the field.
Yesterday was probably the hottest of the past 4, as
today we have had a stiff breeze blowing and that has helped to keep our
temp from going past 84. It is still very humid today, but with the wind, it
has been very comfortable to be out on the screened porch. I almost wrote
this entry from there, Nora even suggested the same thing, but there is
quite a bit of work that needs to be done besides the actual writing, so
decided to head into the air conditioned office.
It was still in the upper 80's after dinner last night
and instead of heading back into the pool to cool off, we decided to pile
everyone into Nora's Pilot and head down to the
big lake. It was just a few weeks ago that even putting your toes into
that water would bring about some real pain, but it has really warmed up
since then. The surface temps on most of the lake range from the low to
upper 60's and I bet there are pockets of warmer surface water that are
solidly into the 70's. I had some aspirations of taking my annual "full
dip" in the lake last night. I have not done it in at least a year or
two, but decided against it as the sun was getting lower on the horizon when
we go there and I just did not have the same urge I did earlier in the day
when things were so much hotter and the sun so much stronger. I did manage
to at least get my
knees wet! And who knows, perhaps there will still be a chance for a
full dip before things cool off for good.
A much different story for the
pups. They get so excited when we take the turn off the highway and head
down towards the lake. It's so funny how they just cannot wait for us to get
there. I guess they don't always live in the moment! Anyway, they had a
total blast taking turns fetching a stick and we even brought along a bit of
shampoo to help remove the grime collected on their coats since the last
time they went for a dip in the lake.
The pups were not the only ones that took a full dip.
Gracie also loved the warmer water and also loved the fact that she
did not need to wear her floaties anymore. Don't worry, she was not in
over her head, figuratively or in actuality. We did not let her go in past
mid-chest. That was plenty deep enough to engage with the pups and here she
is having a race with
Millie. She also had fun grabbing onto both of them and riding
them in like dolphins in a Sea World show. When a collar escaped her
grip, there was
always a tail! Actually she did that only once, Nora caught it with the
camera, but we told Grace that she should not hang onto the dog's tails
because it could hurt them. The picture was just too cute not to post!
Really helps to give the feel of things on the beach yesterday evening.
So I think that about covers it for this one. Our cooler
temps are about 8-10 hours away and then it looks like we will be fairly
comfortable through Wednesday and then possibly heat up again. Besides
making wood, I have a few other outdoor tasks I want to get done before the
snow starts to pile up, so I will be welcoming all of the 60 degree days I
can get for the next 60 days or so.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
August 9, 2015-
Well, as promised, you
are in for a special treat this week. Nora went on a quick trip to Isle
Royal with her brother, sister-inlaw and their friend and took tons of
pictures. I know she is always a little apprehensive to write, as she things
everyone is coming to read what I have to say, but I know how you all have
enjoyed her writings from time to time and I think this will be more of a
photo display that writing, as she has lots of great pictures to share. So
for those of you (including me) that have not been to "The
Island", sit back and enjoy!
Boy, where do I begin. John had warned me last week that he
would like me to write this week so while I was gone I took alot of
pictures. Over 500 actually! I know John likes to wait for the perfect shot,
but I'm more of the take alot of photos and hope for a few good ones kind of
photographer. I must warn you that I have so many pictures I might not be
able to be as clever as John is and have them flow into my
As some of you may know, the
Queen from Copper
Harbor had some problems last week and on Tuesday was actually in
Wisconsin getting some repairs and then an inspection from the Coast Guard.
We had tickets for Wednesday morning and for a few days were holding our
breath as to if our trip would happen. The folks from the Queen were very
good at keeping us informed of the status of the boat and when we received
the call Tuesday evening that she would be back at the Harbor in time for
the morning sail we were pretty excited. We got up bright and early and
headed to the Harbor. It was a beautiful start of the day. We all fueled up
with a piping hot turn over and a coffee as we waited to board. It was a
full boat as some had planned to head out Monday and/or Tuesday but were
unable to. I over heard one of the Captains say he arrived to the
Harbor around 4 am! As we headed out I watched the the Captain on the
dock. I can't imagine the money, time, stress etc. that it took to get
everything up and running again. I could almost see the relief in his eyes
as they watched us
sail away. It was a beautiful day to be on a boat and we had smooth
sailing the entire 3 1/2 hour trip. I spent the trip out on the stern to
avoid some motion sickness. The others
joined me from time to time as well.
As we arrived on the Island
we were greeted by one of the park rangers. He goes over the basic
"rules" of the island.
The briefing doesn't take too long and then we were free to start
our adventures. We decided to stay in one of the house
keeping cabins on the Island. Nothing fancy but it certainly did the
trick. The cabins have showers, stove, fridge and sleeping for many. So it
worked out well for our group.
Our stay was shorter than we had wanted but the
Queen was filled on the Friday return and we couldn't miss the Eagle Harbor
craft show on Saturday:-) The things on our "to -do" list
and have some
laughs. I'm happy to say that we accomplished all of the above. We
brought out 3 kayaks and then rented the 4th. Next time we will skip hauling
our own and just rent. When you rent your kayak is ready and waiting for
you. When you bring your own, one must portage....Not a long way, but up and
down up can be tricky at times. Once we got all our fishing gear and kayak
gear to Tobin Harbor we were off! My sister in-law Tammi took the
lead, followed by Alan, my brother Joel and then myself. I found it tricky
at best to kayak, fish and take pictures. It seems like every time I'd put
my camera down, I'd want to pick it right
back up and snap another
picture. Once I got my pole situated that made life a little easier as
well. We did a little
trolling kayak style.
Last year Joel and Tammi had been on the Island and
went on a hike that ended up spitting them right out
to Lake Superior. So they thought it would be fun to take the kayaks
there as there was a small
beach area and some beautiful scenery. Well, we were not disappointed!
When we paddled out onto Lake Superior and rounded the corner, all you heard
was "WOW" for everyone. Since we had been paddling for a few
miles, the beach looked like an inviting stop to get out and stretch our
legs a bit. While there we decided to each make a little
cairn and snap a picture for Gracie. She loves to make them and see them
along her adventures back at home. The shore line was filled with
interesting rocks and even a little something left behind
by a moose. Before long we decided it was time to continue on. I did
have a little mishap and tipped my kayak at shore. Luckily, I fell just
right and kept my camera dry. I've done something to my shoulder that I'm
praying with go away on it's own. I must say the water was a tad shocking at
first but not so bad after I had been in a bit. Tammi and Alan wanted to
jump in Superior together for their 50th birthdays. Tammi was first,
followed by Joel. At that point Alan knew he had to go and couldn't be the
only one left to go in the water. My spill earlier surely counted in my
book. It wasn't long and Alan took the plunge as well. I will say that
they were all proud and happy to have jumped in, but no one lasted real long
due to the temps. It was getting a little late so we fished for awhile
longer and then decided to head back to camp. By the time we arrived at the
shore we were all pretty whooped! There is a nice little restaurant on the
island and we had a delicious dinner. I must say we didn't "rough
it" too much and that was ok. We really had more time to
explore and enjoy each other while not worrying about cooking, hauling
food, dishes, etc.
As some of you long time readers might remember my
brother Joel and I have a long standing fishing bet. So as soon as supper
was finished we went fishing. The fish weren't biting so for fun we would
see who could cast the furthest. Being with Joel and fishing brings out the
kid in me and him! I'm sure the people at the Lodge heard us whopping it up
each time one of our little competitions ended. Tammi and Alan even
got in on the fun. Tammi kissing Joel's lure for luck and all sorts of
craziness. By the time the sun set it was time to call it a night. After
several, "just one more casts" we called it a night. No fish in
the net but lots of laughs and memories made.
The next morning came around and we had until about
2 pm to do some hiking. The idea of some kayaking in the harbor was
mentioned but with my bad shoulder and some sore arms we decided a hike and
a picnic lunch would be just fine. The weather was just perfect the entire
time we were gone. While on our hike we had a little breeze that was just
enough to keep the bugs away. For those of you reading who haven't been on
the Island hiking, it's really an adventure. I find that if I want to look
at something it's best to just stop. Alot of the trails have tree roots
sticking out or even 2x4's
to cross where the land is swampy. On our morning hike we
stumbled across some delicious
blueberries! It was a perfect late morning snack. Those wild blueberries
are just so sweet! As I was stopping and taking pictures I looked down
and noticed this little guy looking at me. Can
you see him? There's just so much to see
it's incredible. At one point someone spotted
moose tracks in the mud. They looked pretty fresh too. He saw them for
some time along the trail. It looked like an adult and a smaller, baby
moose. Well, it wasn't long before we heard something in the woods. Everyone
heard it and stopped. We waited and looked, hiked a little more, stopped and
looked. This was the closest thing to a moose
we saw that day. Along this particular path there are some interesting
signage and it was nice to have the time to stop and read along the way. The
awesome and before we knew it, it was time to head out.
group shot and some lunch it was time to get back on the Queen. The ride
back was much cooler and by the time we got to the middle of the lake, it
got a little
rough. The last hour or so was probably the roughest seas I've been in.
It was fun to catch the
birds following the boat, the freighters and the waves. The picture
doesn't really capture them very well but trust me
they were pretty impressive! We were greeted into the Harbor by the George
T. and crew from the Harbor Haus. I was glad to see that they still
carry on the tradition of greeting the boat when it comes in.
By this time it was around
7 pm and we were all a little hungry. So after a quick trip up Brockway
we were headed home. For those of you who haven't been on top of Brockway
lately they have a few
new signs up. Oh we also saw a turkey
on the way up. I always loved watching the turkeys when I lived downstate so
I'm happy to see them around the Keweenaw.
The weather on Friday wasn't so nice, with on and
off drizzle. The rain didn't stop us and we loaded in the car to head out
to Jacobsville. It wasn't long before the girls found a cool piece of drift
wood. It didn't take much convincing to get Gracie to pose for that one.
Such a ham! The usual Jacobsville
rounds were made including a stop off at bbb.
We all went home with a few pieces of sandstone and rocks. I think Gracie
got a few of hers from the man made fire pit. As luck would have it we
ended our adventures with a bang. As we were driving along we found a super
great wild blueberry patch. I wish we had containers with us as we could
have picked enough berries
to make some muffins. I was playing around with the camera and snapped
that in black
and white. In case you are in Jake and need some syrup you will be
all set. I
love that the honor system can still be successful.
I almost forgot the highlight of Gracie's Friday!
Joel and I were reminiscing about who lived where etc. and we pulled up to a
house and stopped in front of it, remembering the people who had lived
there. The couple who live there have dogs, horses, chickens, roosters etc.
Before we knew it, out comes the current owner of the home and he says,
"come on in I'll show you the place". So we pulled up into his
drive I spent some time talking with the gentlemen about what I knew about
the first owners of the house etc. He was so nice and let Gracie feed
his horses. She's wanted a horse since she was 2, so this was a
real treat to be so close to the horses. She giggled and laughed and didn't
want to leave. The
smaller guy had us adults giggling too.
Our company left earlier this morning and we were
all a little sad to see them go. Joel and Tammi back to lower Michigan and
Alan to California. The only downfall to living in the UP....all our family
is so far away! Lucky for us, some of them really love it here and visit 1-2
times a year which makes it nice. I believe that everyone had fun and I
think the highlight of the trip might have been John's little side
by side tour....I stayed back with Gracie but I heard they hit some
pretty deep waters and really steep hills for a certain flatlander:-) As you
can see by the pictures the dogs really wanted to go with.
I was joking about writing the journal and said I'm
just going to write, "here's some pictures hope you enjoy". I
think the hardest part is trying to fit the pictures into the text so it
flows. So this time I decided to just write the journal and then go back and
insert pictures. Sure hope it works:-)
Good Night from the Keweenaw!
August 3, 2015-
My apologies for not
writing yesterday, but we had a pretty busy day and I had quite a bit of
material to share with you all, so I did not want to just sit down and write
a quick one.
So welcome to August everyone! For the snow-lovers among
us, that is pretty good news. Not as good as September, or more
so...December, but for those waiting for the flakes to start falling, August
presents the beginning to the end of summer and it's heat and humidity. With
as beautiful as this summer has been, I remain in no hurry for it to end,
but being a lover of all four seasons (well maybe not the Keweenaw spring!),
I do start to get excited for the change over to occur. In fact, I did have
my first "snowmobile dream" this past week. At least that I can
remember. Perhaps there have been others and I can imagine that some of you
reading this probably have them all summer long, but on Tuesday, I had my
first vivid snowmobile dream. So my thought process must be at least
creeping towards things to come.
Snowmobile dreams or not, it is still summer up here and
as mentioned in the last entry, late summer means berry season. Earlier in
the week, we all hopped into the Commander and headed out to "the back
40" to see how
some of the berry patches on our property were doing. First off, I will
say that Gracie does not normally ride in the back. That last shot was taken
while they were turning the machine around. Anyway, the thimbleberries and
raspberries are just starting to ripen. It looks to be a fairly healthy
thimbleberry crop, but the raspberries seem to be a bit off. Kind of a
bummer for me as I do not care for thimbleberries, but love raspberries. A
little later on in the week, as I was walking the pups, they dipped down
into the woods off the side of the road and did a
bit of berry picking themselves. It still cracks me up to watch them
pick berries. They sure do love them! I have discovered that they also love cantaloupe
and am trying to have some already cut up in the fridge for us all to snack
So after about a 2 month break from the woodshop, I
returned this past week to work on a project. It is something that was right
up at the top of the list for both myself and Nora to have done, as it not
only filled up an empty spot in the addition, but also will be very functional
and used pretty much every day. What could it be, you wonder? Well it is a
bench for the foyer. I had picked up the slab of natural edge, spalted
maple for the seat in early June and just was waiting for a week where there
was not much on the schedule. That week finally arrived last week and so I
got started on things on Sunday and by Saturday, Nora and I were putting it
in place. It will work out perfect for putting on my shoes (or boots) before
the morning walk with the pups, as well as store their leashes and
hat/gloves for me. Technically it is not 100% completed. Nora has some old
ceramic door knobs from her grandparents and I am going to use them to make
some coat hooks on the top rail.
The next project will take me outside, so that will be a
"weather permitting" project and is also not anything that has to
really be done until the snow flies, but I would like to have it done much
sooner than that.
Tomorrow will be Gracie's 6th birthday. The first three
years of her life seemed to crawl by. Not by any of her doing, but because I
was so sick and really struggled to feel good for those three years. The
last three have flown by like everyone said they would. She is such a
beautiful gift to Nora and I, I cannot even begin to formulate words to
express the way I/we feel. In ways, I do not like to see her growing up so
fast, but in others, I am so excited. She lives every moment of her life
like it is the best that has ever happened and it is so magnificent to be
able to be part of that.
With her birthday falling on a weekday, we decided to
have her party with friends (the first one by the way) this past Saturday.
So 9 of her friends
came over for the festivities. She wanted the theme to be something like
snowmobiling, or the Keweenaw or the Chicago Blackhawks, but I insisted that
it be My Little Pony and since I was paying for the party, I got my way! :)
Kidding of course, but it was really fun to see some of her friends over and
all of them interacting with each other. Many of them were in the same
kindergarten class together, but a few were not and it was neat to see them
all get along so well.
We had a dinner of hotdogs, chips and watermelon and then
they played some games, went outside to do a
scavenger hunt (Nora's great idea) and even an impromptu
snake hunt. Then it was back inside for cake and ice cream...after
blowing out the candles. Later in the day after the party had ended and
all the friends had gone home, she played with some of the presents,
including a Lego kit.
It was cool to see her actually using the instructions to put the Lego kit
together all by herself. She did invite me to join in and we finished it up
Yesterday Nora's brother and sister in-law arrived for a
visit and we all went to the Quincy Mine for their tour. I have to admit
that I have probably drove by the mine several hundred times, but had never
taken the tour until yesterday. It starts out above ground with a guided
tour of the main lift house and hoist. Gracie actually went on her birthday
last year with the woman that had been her sitter before Gracie started
school. It was all she talked about for weeks and ever since going on the
tour, we cannot pass the mine without her talking about it, so we asked if
she wanted to go again for her birthday this year with Nora and I and she
excitedly said yes. So of our group, she
was the only veteran of the mine and tour.
The mine was established in 1846 and continued in
operation for 99 more years. When it ceased operation in 1945, the #2 shaft
was the worlds deepest at 9,260 feet. The
hoist used to bring miners up and down as well as the mined material up
from below was the worlds largest and lifted 10 tons of ore at 36.4 miles
per hour! Here is a shot of three
miners getting ready to go into the hole for a days work. Looks like I
was the only one with my "game face" on.
Actually, the hoist is no longer in use and hasn't been
for almost 90 years. These days, the participants are brought into the mine
by taking a cog railway (one of three in the whole US) down a hill from the
mines surface buildings to a level a few hundred feet below. The ride down
was pretty fun in itself. The view
is very cool, the grade is pretty steep and some of the others in the
tour got scared, but not me. I remained cool,
calm and collected. Once at the bottom of the hill, you then get off the
cog tram and get onto a wagon pulled by a tractor that takes you 2000 feet into
the side of the hill and into the mine itself. The tunnel you travel
into the mine through is actually an old adit at the 7th level of the mine
that was used for drainage. It was widened back in the 70's by MI Tech for a
mining study and even includes a classroom off the adit that was used for a
period of time.
Once the tractor takes you in the 2000 feet, you take a
short walking tour and see things like the
power drills that they used near the turn of the century, as well as
some of the other tools and techniques used in those days. Down below they
also have a map showing the entire mine complex. When you are down there,
you feel as though you are down really deep, that is until you look at the
point on the map where you are and how much deeper down and in it goes!
You are also taken into one of the stopes, they are the "rooms"
created when a larger deposit was formed. Here is a
picture of one drifts going off towards the stope. I believe the cloudiness
in picture was just from some spirits that haunt the mine.
The mine is a constant 43 degrees. I did bring a jacket
with me, but had to loan it to Gracie not long after we went inside as she
had insisted that she only needed a hoodie and would be warm enough with
that. I was able to manage the 43 degree temps better than I thought I would
after handing Gracie my jacket, but by
the end of the tour was happy to get it back for the ride back out to
the outside world.
So that about covers it for now. Tomorrow is the big day
for Gracie and then Nora heads to Isle Royal with her brother, sister in-law
and a friend of theirs on Wednesday for a quick trip. Nora is planning to
bring the digital SLR camera, so perhaps I can coax her to write next week's
entry and tell us all about the trip to the island!
Good night from the Keweenaw..