July 31, 2016-
First things first...
Mea culpa, mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa! I really am sorry for the absence
and also for not keeping you all informed of why I was not writing a journal
or doing forecasts. As mentioned in my little note of the 27th, we were all
out of town and I had brought my computers to do my commodity work. I had
planned to keep up with the website as well, but we just got too busy having
fun. So I copped out and did not force the issue. The good news is that I
did not have another medical emergency (hopefully done with those for quite
some time) and we did have a wonderful trip to Port Huron to see Nora's
family and friends. We were also very happy to get back onto the island!
The trip down south sure showed us all what a fantastic
summer we are having in the Keweenaw. Not that it was horrible in P.H>,
but highs did get into the low 90's just about every day and the humidity
was up there too, with dewpoints in the 70's. We were staying at one of
Nora's brothers place and he and his wife are about as fond of the heat and
humidity as I am, so their house was wonderfully comfortable and the times
we were outside, it was either the early morning or late evening or we were
able to tough it out.
It was pretty warm and humid up this way while we were
away too, but since being home, the weather has been nearly perfect. Today
is about as great as it gets, with a high around 80, low humidity and a nice
refreshing breeze. I took advantage of the weather by floating off into
la-la land on the screened in porch with the pups, while Nora and Gracie
swam in the pool. I have a strong feeling that I will be taking to the porch
once I finish this and we have supper.
So, now onto the trip. The weather played a bit of havoc
before we could even leave. A line of strong thunderstorms roared through
the Keweenaw around 7 am and knocked out power to not just our local, but a
huge chunk of the western UP. Nora had planned to fill up her car the night
before, but got too busy with packing for the trip. We soon found out that
very few gas stations in the Keweenaw have back up power! None that we could
find in Calumet or most of Hancock. Just before crossing the bridge, we saw
the lights were on at Dave's BP, so we pulled in and joined the large group
of other folks filling up! None of the stations we passed in Houghton had
power and it was not until Baraga that we encountered power. We might have
made it to Baraga, but we were all glad that we did not have to find out!
Plus, we did not know how extensive the outage was when we were filling up.
Some were saying Ironwood and Watersmeet to Copper Harbor and Marquette. So,
we were worried about getting to Baraga and then having to wait until the
power went back on. I am not totally sure when most of the Keweenaw got
their power back on, but heard it was not until late in the afternoon and
some were without power for more than 24-36 hours!
The rest of the trip down went smoothly and we arrived in
the mid-evening. Got settled in and it was up and Adam very early for most.
I had to do my work, while Nora and her brother Joel went to do some
fishing. This is the brother than owns the bait store in P.H., Andersons
Pro Bait. They went out with one of Joel's buddies and caught 24 walleye
in just about 2 hours. They all said that they were too busy reeling them in
to take pictures, so I guess we will all just have to believe them! I do,
Joel knows his way around a fishing rod!
The rest of the day was spent with Nora visiting some of
her family, I went with Joel to his shop and got a sweet set of sunglasses.
The afternoon was pool, some more family, dinner and to bed. Saturday we
went to the farmers market right on the water and then an open house
(graduation party for those of you not from MI) and Nora got to see a bunch
of her friends.
Sunday morning it was up and Adam bright and early again.
This time for us all to head out into Lake Huron to do some fishing. The sun
was still hiding below the horizon as we headed up the
St Clair River towards the Blue Water Bridge and the open waters of Lake
Huron. To the right of the bridge is Canada and the city of Sarnia, to the
left is the US and Port Huron. As we got on the other side of the bridge and
at the point where the lake turns into the river, there were a bunch of fisherman
in smaller boats, going for the relatives of the walleye that Nora, Joel
and his buddy caught Friday morning. Our destination was the site of the
wreck of the Charles S. Price. She went down with 11 other vessels on the
Great Lakes during the great storm of 1913. Also known as the "Big
Blow, "Freshwater Fury" and my favorite name the "White
Hurricane". 8 of the 12 ships that sank in that storm were on Lake
Huron and waves at the south end were reported to be 35 feet! The weather
was the complete opposite Sunday morning as we headed out to the Price and
enjoyed the sunrise.
As we neared the site, Joel handed the helm over to me
and he got busy putting out lines. A couple of surface lines and a couple of
deeper lines on the downriggers. It was not long and we had our first fish
on. I don't know if it was from one of the surface lines, or downriggers,
but Nora went into
action to land it.
While the weather was pretty nice on Lake Huron, northern
Lake Michigan was having a different affair. Some very strong thunderstorms
were rolling across the lake and as I would later learn, giving many of the
racers in the Chicago-Mackinaw a bunch of trouble. At least one of the
sailboats in the race sank in the foul weather. We could see the storms on
our radar and as they held together and headed SE towards our location we
decided to get back to port, while the getting was good. So it was a short,
but sweet fishing trip and Nora did land the fish, a
nice steelhead that Joel filleted up and they had for supper Sunday
I had a blast. I am one of those folks that goes fishing
to be on a boat, most folks go on a boat to go fishing. This was not
Gracie's first trip onto Lake Huron, but the first that she will be able to
remember. She had an
awesome time, even had fun sitting in the front cabin and getting tossed
around a bit as we headed back to port and into some 1-3 foot chop.
Sunday evening was spend chillaxing and then after I
finished my morning work on Monday, we headed back north to the Straits of
Mackinaw and our destination for the night. We had a nice dinner and stroll
down the main drag in St Ignace and then headed back to the hotel room. I
woke up early Tue to get my work done and while I was a little jealous of
the two sleeping beauties still in their beds, I was able to witness a
magnificent and peaceful sunrise.
After I finished my work and we had breakfast, we got
into the car and headed west towards home. I had a Dr's appointment in
Marquette at 4 pm, so we had some time to kill on our way back. The first
stop was at the Garlyn Zoo near Naubinway. I have to admit, being that the
zoo was not too close to any major population center (sorry Naubinway!) and
just sort of sitting out there in the middle of nowhere, I was not expecting
too much. They should probably rename the zoo the Serendipity Zoo, as it
sure went beyond all of our expectations. It is not a huge zoo, but has
quite an extensive amount of animals in pretty nice enclosures.
As you exit the zoo office/gift shop, the first thing you
can do is feed some goats and alpaca. Obviously that was something that Grace
was not going to pass up! I did not take pictures of all of the animals
and exhibits they had, but tried to remember to capture some of the more
unique. Black Bears in the UP is not really a big deal, but the two they had
also had a chocolate
lab as a companion. They three of them got along like siblings and I
forget the story of how that situation came to be, but it did and they sure
to get along great!
They also had a pair of mountain lions. One
quite large and the other smaller. These creatures are being spotted in
many areas of the UP and I sure would not want to happen along one without
the proper fencing between the two of us!!! Another unique exhibit was of an
animal that is not native to the UP and must have alternative accommodations
once it gets cold out. It was an
alligator, and a pretty good sized one too!
The zoo also had a pretty decent herd
of reindeer or Caribou. They are not native to the UP, but their habitat
does extend down to the north shore of Lake Superior, so I guess they could
be considered neighbors and not really out of Towner's. :) There was also a
Buffalo in the zoo that was paired up with a donkey. Not sure if that
was a Shrek kind of thing going on, but they did seem to enjoy each others
The final exhibit was that of a
big old whitetail buck and his friendly keeper. Not to be left
out, here is one of Nora
and Grace! The rest of the day on Tuesday was spent having lunch
lakeside in Curtis MI, then my Dr's appointment and then home, sweet home.
No dogs on this trip. My brother Jim was gracious enough
to house and dog sit for us. He did an awesome job, as the pups were happy
to see us, but not as happy as I might have thought they would be! A big
thanks goes out to him, as our travels were much freer without having to accommodate
the dogs. Although after seeing the pics from the trip, both Huck and Millie
are wondering when we are going to get some bears for THEM!
Wednesday was spent getting settled in and taking care of
business. Thursday was a beautiful day, so we hopped in the SxS and headed
out to do some berry picking. The raspberries are in full picking form and
we headed out to a spot we knew about. We were about an hour or two too
late, as they had just been picked and we actually happened along the fellow
pickers as we made our way to the next patch. No worries and I was able to
capture a picture of a
butterfly getting some nectar from a thistle flower. How about that for
an un-zoomed, iPhone shot?
Jim has some raspberries
in his back yard and invited us all over Thursday evening to pick some.
We were able to pick enough in about 40 minutes that Nora was able to make a
pie for all of us yesterday! We will also be planting raspberries in the
raised bed gardens in our yard. I may even see if I can just plant them from
some berries that I pick this season.
Speaking of the garden, it is going
like gang busters. Nora has been giving it lots of TLC every day and the
plants are responding. We actually have some
strawberries still going and I am starting to think that those plants
might be ever-bearing, as they are still flowering too. Nora and Gracie have
picked a zucchini, some
tomatoes, radishes and soon we will be able to pick some cucumbers and
Yesterday was a wonderful day to be outside and we
finished it off by heading to the beach for a picnic dinner and then a swim.
Well, the pups and
Gracie went for a swim, although had it been the middle of a hot day, I
might have taken the plunge myself.
So here we sit, just a few days away from the first day
of August. I suspect that in a few weeks, the thoughts of many of the
visitors to this site will be to the upcoming autumn and then winter. I know
that after my trip south into the heat and humidity, I was ready for summer
to come to an end, but after the last few days in the beautiful weather we
have had up here, I guess I could rough it out for a few more weeks! It does
actually look to turn hotter and more humid the early to middle of this
week, but then cool back down to comfortable levels by the end of the week.
None the less, my thoughts are starting to turn more and more towards the
cool, crisp autumn weather and then the snows to follow!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly
July 27, 2016-
Sorry for the absence this
weekend, but we were out of town and I had planned to write, but was too
busy having fun, so did not write. I will hold off until next Sunday (the
31st) to write.
July 17, 2016-
This entry is coming
to you thanks to pure dedication. About 90 minutes ago we were eating a
delicious meal of Bookjack
Fire and Rescue chicken BBQ and then topped it off with some of Nora's
Jacobsville cupcakes. After that it was a nice relaxing sit in the
screened in porch as showers and a bit of thunder came and went. Needless to
say I was about as relaxed as I could be (with Huck laying with/on me too).
However, I knew duty called and got up from my relaxing position on the
couch in the porch and rambled into the office. Truth be told, it was not
that excruciating to have to get up and come into the office to write the
journal, but I know I could have hung out with Huck for most of the rest of
the evening and he sure seemed pretty content to be where he was!
I guess my first order of business is to say that the ATV
we were selling in last weeks entry has been sold. The good news is that if
you still want to purchase it, you most likely can. We sold it to the good
folks at Pat's Yamaha in
Greenland. I just got lazy and did not want to deal with all that is
involved in selling the unit, so I called around and Kip gave me the best
deal on it, so we took him up on it. So thanks Kip and if you want a good
deal on a good, used ATV, look them up!
In my last entry, I had forgotten to share with you the
"Star Wars Marathon" day that Gracie had with her uncle Jim. She
went over there in the morning last Friday and spent the whole day and night
there. They did not make it through all 7 episodes, but were able to make it
through 5 1/2. They had on their Star Wars t-shirts, Gracie brought over her
Star Wars sheets to sleep in, her light sabers to get some exercise in
between episodes with and Jim made storm
trooper pizza for the two of them. I'm thinking if he could secure the
licensing rights he could turn that into a money maker! It was a little
strange for Nora and I to be all alone for so long, but we did enjoy a nice
dinner out and then some relaxing the rest of the evening.
So it was a pretty uneventful week, but for some reason,
it also seemed to drag on for me. By Wednesday it seemed like it should have
been Friday, so by Friday evening, I was more than ready for a day off! I
did a lot of futzing around, but nothing too earth shattering. Jim, Gracie
and I spend quite a bit of time in the shop making frames for some paintings
that Jim has been commissioned to do. Gracie loves to help out in the shop
and one of the things she does right away is to grab the hand broom and
dustpan and clean up. I figured she was experienced enough to graduate to
the shop vac and she
took to it like a pro! Some of her other duties include spreading the
glue during glue-ups and also fitting the dominos into the slots during
Nora and Gracie also visited a friends place where they
raise some livestock, so she got to feed
some chickens and also some
goats. I get a kick out of when she does things like that, as when she
gets back, she has to tell me all the good reasons why we should have some
chickens and goats!
The weather up here has been beautiful. We have had some very
comfortable temps and humidity levels and are getting enough rain that
things are staying nice and green and keeping the fire danger down- at least
in our neck of the woods. It does look like we will be joining the rest of
the central US in the heat wave this week. We will not be as hot to the
south of us, but it looks like we will be having our hottest temps of the
summer so far, right along with many areas between the Rockies and
Appalachians. I am still loving the summer weather, but have had some
thoughts of autumn and even winter drift in from time to time. I think I
could officially get excited about the coming autumn and winter, but know we
are still about a month and a half away from that at least and do not want
to get antsy.
I can say that the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club will be
resuming our trail work sessions this autumn. We have a bridge that needs
extensive repairs, or possibly replacement and we also have a re-route in my
neck of the woods that will bring the need for some pretty serious clearing
and widening of an existing path just outside of Mohawk. The only other
detail that I have is that it will happen the weekend after the Milwaukee
snowmobile show. So mark your calendars for October 21 and 22 to head up and
join us in some fun! As soon as I have the scoop on lodging details, I will
be sure to share them with you, although I can say that with the nice smoker
Nora got me for my 50th, I think it might be time to bring back the brisket
and pulled pork for the Saturday dinner!
I can also say that I am planning to be at the Milwaukee
Snowmobile show the weekend before. I will be at the booth for the Keweenaw
Snowmobile Club. So be sure to stop by and say hi. I plan to have some
ThinkSnow Stickers and maybe some other items for sale as well. I may even
try to swing the Novi show this year. My plan is to do some remodeling to
the website and put more effort into it starting this autumn. Things got
pretty crazy there for a bit, with lots on my plate, but things seem to be
calming down a bit now and hopefully will stay that way. So I really want to
re-energize the site and also meet as many of the visitors as I can.
So, I guess that about covers it for this one. Enjoy the
upcoming heat and humidity!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
July 10, 2016-
Whew, it is 6:30 in
the evening (closing in on the witching hour for me!) and I still have some
things to do other than writing a journal, but I really wanted to get this
out on the right day, so here I am. The reading might be a bit brief, but I
do have 11 pictures to share.
When I last left off, it was Independence Day eve and we
were getting ready to head down to see the fireworks show in Lake Linden.
This was the second year in a row when we did not have to brave the crowds
of people at the village park and were able to watch in the tranquil
confines of one of Nora's friends that has a place on the lake close enough
to Lake Linden that we can catch the show from there. It's a nice gathering
of around 8-10 folks and really makes watching the show that much
The only down side were the mosquitoes when we moved from
their deck down to the lakeshore to watch the show. We all did put bug dope
on and the evening was cool enough that we all had long pants and
sweatshirts on, but they still were trying their best. The bug dope worked
great at keeping them from landing on you and biting, but they still would
swarm to within a inch or two of your exposed skin, which happened to be the
face for most of us. I actually closed my eyes at one point, just to shut
them out of my mind and it worked. That made it easier to have my eyes open
and just trust the bug dope.
On the 4th itself, we got up early enough to get things
all prepared for the festivities at the park in Mohawk. The events start out
with a kids bike
parade. Gracie did most of the decorating of her bike this year and it
turned out great! That handsome young man with his eyes on Grace is the
son of John and Donna Stachler. He is the person responsible for getting the
SnowFest going in the first place around 12 years ago. They bought a place
up here to stay when they visited and then about a month ago, made the move
from the Chicago area to the Keweenaw.
Last year they took a different route from previous
years, staying off the highway, but this year it was back to closing down
highway 41 for a few minutes while all the
kids followed the fire trucks down the highway on their bikes. After the
bike parade, they have games and food in the park. One of the games was a
pie eating contest and another was a
water balloon toss. I was under strict doctors orders to not participate
in either... just kidding. I was actually gone somewhere else when they were
setting both up for the adults, so I missed out. Perhaps next year.
On Tuesday, we joined Uncle Jim on a roadside trash pick
up. He has found a nice country road to ride his bike on, but there has been
some garbage on the sides that he wanted to pick up. So Gracie and I took
the side by side, while he rode
his bike. There was not a ton of garbage that had to be picked up, but I
can say that all three of us were kept
pretty busy picking up things and we ended up with around 5-6 plastic
grocery bags filled with things, plus some things that were too big for the
smaller grocery bags, so they went into the back of the SxS on their own.
We reached the end of the line and then put Jim's bike in
the back of the SxS and all headed back. It was not an all work and no play
excursion though, as we stopped off at a nice section of the Gratiot River
for some exploring. Gracie ventured out onto
a rock for a pose, while I stayed land side and took pictures of some
falls nearby as well as a
panoramic view of the river in that spot. The river actually does not
make a turn as it looks in the pic, that is the effect of the
Amazingly, there was no problems with the bugs when we
were there. Actually, the black flies are just about done and we have not
picked up a ton of rain, so other than the 3rd of July swarming we endured,
the mosquitoes have not been too bad. It may be a bit early for the deer
flies and horse flies, but they have not been too bad either. So the bug
thing has improved a bunch from early June!
It does look like some hot and humid weather is coming to
the Midwest, including the Keweenaw. We look to be in the 80's Monday,
Tuesday and Wednesday and might even flirt with 90 on those days. Dewpoints
look to be in the upper 60's to low 70's, which is the yucky zone for me.
It's not that I am looking forward to those kinds of temps and humidity, but
I am not totally dreading them either. I have the AC's all set to go and the
pool is all ready to help out as well. We might even hit the beach and cool
off by putting our toes (nothing else!) in the big lake, while Gracie and
the pups go all the way in. So I guess we will see how my attitude about the
heat and humidity sits in next weeks entry! I can say I have seen some
scenes on the tele that were either of autumn or winter/snow and it did kind
of get me excited for the cool season!
About the only other thing I have to mention is that we
are selling our ATV. It is a 2003 Yamaha Grizzly 660. It is carbureted and
runs very good. It has 3481 miles on it, as well as a Warn RT30 winch that
is just about brand new. It also comes with two sets of tires, a windshield
and a rear seat/cargo holder. Each set of tires are mounted on their own
rims. One set of the tires are the stock ones that came with it and do not
have a lot of wear. The other set are some really good "mudders".
They are 27" mud lights with a very aggressive tread. Those also are in
very good shape and the rims are nice billet aluminum ones. I will be
putting up a page with lots of pictures of it, but for now here is a
shot of the bike with all of it's extras. We are asking $3250 for the
hole kit and caboodle. We may also have a 2006 Yamaha Grizzly 700 EFIi for
sale, but I need to see if my brother wants to sell it down by him in
Milwaukee or us up here. Any questions or if you want to make an offer, e
mail me! Guess that is about it!
Good night from the Keweenaw!!
July 3, 2016-
Happy Independence Day Eve!
Things are hopping in the Keweenaw! They always do! This is the traditional
"Homecoming" weekend for folks with ties to the Keweenaw. Plus, it
is a huge time for visitors. You probably can't find a place to stay in
places like Copper Harbor. All day Friday and yesterday highway 41 was about
as busy as I have ever seen it. The perfect weather probably has something
to do with it as well. We were beautiful Friday, yesterday, today and will
be tomorrow as well.
The week actually started on the cool side. The cool
temps early in the week were actually a blessing, as there was a work
session at the local
ice rink. I guess I need to explain why there would be a work session at
an ice rink in June! Well, we were fortunate enough to be able to get the
cast-offs from one of the local indoor rinks that was upgrading their
facilities. We were able to get the skins for the boards, including the main
part, the toe kicks and even the tops of the boards. If that were not
enough, we even got
some glass for the end boards!
So stages one and two had already taken place before the
work session and that was to bring the donated material over to the rink.
Stage two was to bring some building materials needed over to the rink and
store them inside the warming hut.
Monday's work consisted of moving the entrance from the
end boards to the side so that the glass will be able to wrap around the end
boards. We also ripped
out any of the rotted boards and replaced it with new material. There is
still a bit of replacement to be done and then the plan is to skin all of
the boards with 1/2" marine grade plywood and then skin that with the
white polymer board material, the yellow toe kicks and red tops. Then
install the glass and get busy selling tickets to the sky boxes!
Seriously though. It is so cool to see some new life
being breathed into the rink and even more excited to be part of it along
with a group of locals volunteering their time. I am going to be a little
nervous about doing damage while cleaning the rink with Big Red this coming
Tuesday was a beautiful day, so my brother Jim and I went
for a ride in the
commander in the afternoon. It ended up being quiet the ride. All good,
just longer than I had initially thought it would be. Our first stop was at
"secret spot" to check out the
little falls there. There was actually a fair amount of water flowing
over them for late June. I have seen it where there is hardly any water
flowing in the summer months.
The second stop was a bit higher in elevation and a
completely different view as we drove up to one of the
overlooks on the Cliff Range. It was a perfect day to be up there taking
in the view. Here is a
panoramic view of what we saw while standing on the conglomerate rocks
of the Cliff Range. The third stop was still in the highlands of the Cliff
Range, but instead of facing SW, we were facing NW and overlooking
the big lake. The fourth and final stop was to take in the water flowing
over the Eagle River
Falls. Again, a pretty good amount of water flowing over the falls for
this time of the year. Nothing like during the spring meltdown, but I have
seen those falls also nearly dry in the summer sometimes.
We made it home safe and sound and in time for dinner! It
just so amazing to be able to spend a couple of hours tooling around on the
SxS and see such magnificent things. All of these were probably no more than
5 miles from our house too boot! We are truly blessed to live were we do!!!
Yesterday there was a music fair a the Lions Club Park at
Calumet Lake. It was the first year for this event and was actually put into
motion just a few months ago, so I was really not knowing what to expect. I
do love live music and Gracie heard that there was face painting, so the two
of us headed over yesterday afternoon to check things out while Nora made
sure the BBQ did not burn down the house while the pork butt was
For it being the first year of the event and only having
a few months to be put together, I was very impressed with things. There
were two stages and about a dozen or so vendors selling things. No food or
drink, but they did make that clear in their promotions on air and on paper,
so we were prepared with full bellies and some Gatorade to drink. One of the
stages was more intimate and snuggled into the edge of the woods, while the
other was more out in the open and had Calumet
Lake as its backdrop. That picture was taken while they were still
setting up for the band, but the band started playing shortly after and we
stayed to watch and listen for around a hour before having to get home and
tend to the pork butt smoking on the smoker that Nora got me.
Gracie opted for a
tattoo rather than getting her face painted. The pork turned out
perfect. I forgot to mention that the brisket I smoked a few weeks ago was a
miss. Not the fault of the smoker or the meat, but the cook. It was a new
smoker and even though I did research how best to use it, I messed up a bit
in the initial setup. I got things going at around 4 am and it seemed to be
taking a long time for it to get up to temp (at least at 4 am!), so I opened
the vents wider than they should have been and went back to bed. When I woke
up a few hours later, the temp of the smoker was 350 and it really should be
around 230. So the poor brisket got cooked to much and was pretty dried out.
I did try a little salvage work by making an au jus. That did help a lot,
but it was not the same as having a nice moist smoked brisket.
So I learned that all you need to do is get the charcoal
going a bit and then get things setup as you want them and walk away and
don't fuss. That is exactly what I did with the pork. Got it going and set
the venting as I wanted to keep the temp at 230. It stayed there the entire
cooking time and the only fuss I had to give it was to mop it every hour or
so and take its temperature around 5 hours into cooking. It took a total of
around 8 hours to cook, but I probably did less work cooking it than I would
a steak. Awesome smoker, just awesome!
Today was spent hanging out in the pool and then
decorating Gracie's bike for the big parade in Mohawk tomorrow. Its neat
that she is getting old enough to be able to do much of the decorating
herself, but is young enough to still be fully
excited about doing it!
Tonight is the fireworks in Lake Linden and we will be
going to Nora's friends place on the lake like we did last year. Then the
parade at 10 am, with the kids games and picnic in the park following and
then to some friends house for a BBQ and then probably come home and take a
nap! I'm grateful and excited to be socializing so much and am equally glad
that I do not have a major project to be stressing over while this is going
on as well!
Nora's garden is cranking along. She will have tomatoes
in a week or so, the beans look to be a few weeks out yet, as do other
things like the cukes and squash. The strawberries have produced a few
berries, but it will be another year before they are mature enough to really
be making a bunch of fruit. So we had to resort to getting a few quarts from
one of Nora's friend. Berry
time in the Keweenaw! Natures candy. Yum!
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Have a
Happy Independence Day!
Good night from the Keweenaw..