Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
August 29-
    I'm gonna try and get this out before golf today.  Not a whole lot to write about, but I do have some pics to share and even a movie.  Some boring weather we are having up here.  The past three days have been almost carbon copies, with the exceptions of the temps and dew points.  Every morning we start out with fog and low clouds.  By about 10 the fog clears and by the early afternoon the clouds clear.  Then the evening comes, temps drop pretty quickly after sunset and the fog builds back overnight.  However, the temps have been on the climb since Tuesday.  On Tuesday itself, our high was only 63 degrees.  We had an east wind and it is amazing how cool this place stays with an east wind.  It was almost chilly!  I know I wore a wind breaker for golf on Tuesday and wished I had even had on long pants.  Tuesday dewpoints were in the 50's.  Yesterday we topped out at about 74 degrees with the dew point climbing into the upper 50's, maybe even low 60's for a short time.  Then today we rose into the low 80's with dewpoints in the upper 60's, yuck.  I sure was hoping we would not have any more days like today.  It is not that it is unbearable, but too hot for the woods and just sort of zaps my energy when I walk outside.  Even puts me in a bit of a crabby mood.  Not even a snowmobile magazine in the mail box could cheer me up.  Oh well, in a week or two I will probably be building a fire!
    With the cooler temp on Tuesday, the hounds and I took to the school forest again.  With the bugs all but gone, that will be a place we go to a lot.  Many trails to explore and the scenery is beautiful.  Plus the hounds really seem to love it out there.  Seeing them so happy really puts me in a great mood.  I suppose that is why the heat and humidity seems to bother me even more, because I can see them suffer when it gets hot and humid.  The school forest also provided us with a little nourishment.  The blackberries are at their peak as you can see from that shot.  Another week or so and they will be all done.  It just cracks me up to watch the hounds watch me pick berries and then eat them.  It does not take long at all for them to move in and get some for themselves.  Here's Burt and here is Baileys.  We did manage to leave a few for the bear.
    Yesterday just a little too warm for the woods.  I suppose we could have managed it, but I figured why get all hot and bothered when we don't have to, so we piled in truck and headed out to the beach near 5 Mile Point.  It was actually quite a bit cooler out there, with temps probably in the mid 60's.  Just perfect for a walk if you ask me.  We had the beach to ourselves.  Things have become pretty quiet up here during the week, with school in session up here and probably in a lot of other places where the visitors come from anyone who might be out there is busy at work or school.  I was a little surprised at the beach when we got there.  Just a few weeks ago we had been out there and there was almost no beach, then when we got there yesterday there was about 30-50 feet of beach.  The wind storm two weeks ago must have piled the sand back in place.
    Today we found out were some of that sand came from.  It was another beach day and being in a crabby mood, I did not feel like driving too far, so we went to the beach at Tamarack Waterworks and there a bunch of the sand was gone!  You cannot tell much from that shot, but in some places large bands of sandstone were exposed and those bands of sandstone were buried underneath about 2-3 feet of sand.  Just amazing how much the beach can change in one of those storms.  My video today is of the beach.  Nothing too special, but with the audio you can really get an idea of what it is like to be out there.  Hope you enjoy it.
    So I guess that about does it for this time.  I am anxious to get to September!  I think I can see the end to any humidity coming for us.  We usually get a front to blast through sometime in the September 6-12 period and that does it.  We can still have a warm day or two, but no humidity.  I can remember the same thing would happen when I was living in Chicago, but it usually came sometime in the September 13-18 time frame.  This one looks to arrive sometime in the September 8-10 time frame and that may also produce our first frost of the year.  That would also be a welcome thing as it would take care of most of the bugs.  Nothing better than to be able to walk in the woods with temps in the low 60's, plenty of sunshine, no humidity and no bugs!  If I am still in a crabby mood then, I better go see a shrink!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
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August 26-
    Yes, I am alive and well and I actually have a pretty good excuse for not putting out a journal in over a week.  I was entertaining!  My parents came up to visit and I spend the tail end of last week prepping the guest room and then from Friday through this morning, showing them around.  This is the third time they have been up here to visit me.  They have come up at the end of August or beginning of September all three times.  It was really good to see them, as I had not been in their company since Christmas Day, 8 months.  We had lots of fun exploring some of the more popular and hidden spots of the Keweenaw.  Obviously with just 2 1/2 days to do stuff, we could not see all there is to see.  Plus, they have already seen things like the mouth of the Montreal, Copper Harbor, the beaches of the north shore and Big Traverse, as well as the drive along the north shore from Eagle River to Copper Harbor.  This time we went to the top of Mt. Baldy to take in a sunset, White City Beach to take in the sun, sand and sea and the school forest to take in the woods.
    The last time I was at the school forest was about 3 weeks ago and deer flies were really bad.  I had not even see a deer fly in my past walks for almost a week, so I figured they would not be much of a problem.  I guessed right and there were a few, but not what I would consider a problem.  They have been busy out there in the past few weeks.  There are now trail markers giving a real good marking of the different trails out there.  It will be fun to do some more exploring out there, especially that the cool air is starting to gain a bigger foot hold.  Although I must say that it looks like late summer like weather will be occurring in the Midwest for the next week or more.  Not hot, but above average, with temps in the 80's for places like Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit and Minneapolis.  Here in the Keweenaw it looks like mainly 70's.  The humidity has dropped a bit too, with dewpoints in the low 50's right now.  That allows for more comfortable conditions as well as some nice cool nights.
    I did take the camera along on many of our adventures this weekend and have lots of shots to share with you, 16 if memory serves me correct.  The first few are some mushrooms we saw on our walk through the school forest.  I think all the moisture and cooler temps we have had lately has allowed the mushrooms to pop up.  This first one was the first mushroom we came across.  Just sitting out in the middle of the footpath, all by itself.  The next one was a little more protected and out of the way and was also a little different in shape.  Definitely a different species.  The last mushroom shot was one that looked like it had a fungus growing on it.  I wonder, is it possible to have a fungus growing on a fungus?
    The school forest sure was one of our favorite places to ski this past winter and now that it is cooling off and the bugs are almost all gone, it will become one of our favorite places to hike.  With scenery like this and this, it's now wonder why huh?  I almost can't believe how lucky I am to live here and be able to take in things like that anytime I want.  If the scenery is not enough of a treat, then mother nature can always throw in things like these to add even more of a treat.  Yep, the blackberries are ready!  And those were like sugar bombs.  I'll have to get out and pick a few quarts for the winter.  I even want to get some started on my property.  I figure I can just toss some onto the ground and they will sprout up just like they would if nature had spread them around.
    While it may not feel quite like fall, it is starting to look a little more and more like it each day.  About a week ago, the first signs of color started to show up in some of the maples and by the end of last week, there was a lot of pale green out there, with even some touches of orange.  We are still over a month away from peak color and these are just the early-turners.  Trees that are more stressed than others and have decided to call it a season.  We passed some horses that seemed to be more interested in fattening up than looking to see who was going by.  Do you think they know something we don't?  I hope so.
    Like I mentioned earlier, one of the other things we did was to head up to the top of Mt. Baldy to take in a sunset.  I am starting to think that there are not too many better places in the Keweenaw, maybe the world, to take in a sunset. What do you think?  We just barely got up there in time.  That shot was taken just as I reached the top.  Thankfully it takes at least a few minutes for the sun to set, so I was able to snap some more shots.  Here is one using the camera's zoom, with the body of water and town sharing the name of Eagle Harbor in the foreground.  You can even see the light from the lighthouse.  This one was taken when about half the sun was left above the big lake.  And here was the view with the sun fully set and the sky God's paint palette of colors.  We even had enough time to snap some family portraits.  Here is my Dad and I and my Mom and I.  Oh and of course, the hounds and I.
    One the sun set, we could not diddle daddle too much up there, as we had about a half mile walk back to the truck and then the 3 mile drive down to the road.  It is not the kind of walk you want to do in the dark.  The drive is ok and it was pretty dark by the time we reached the road, but I wanted to make sure we had some light to show us the way off the big hill as we walked.  However, as we headed off the clearing that gives Baldy it's name (or nickname if you like to call it Mt. Lookout), I could not help stopping and taking a shot of the fog starting to form in the valleys below.  Sometime I would like to stay up there all night and camp out.  The stars must be just unbelievable from up there.  Although I would need to pick a nice calm night, as the winds up here are usually 2-3 times that which is occurring down at lake level.  Imagine what the northern lights would look like from up there.
    So the weekend was a success.  Lots of fun and the weather was perfect too.  The hounds and I had a little excitement on our afternoon walk today.  I had my first bear sighting of the season.  The hounds did not see it and I only saw it for about a second, but I did see it well enough to know that it was huge!  We had just parked the car and were heading down the railroad grade that is the snowmobile trail in the winter, when I saw this object move across the grade at a 90 degree angle to them at a pretty good clip.  It's funny how when you are not used to seeing things, your mind can play tricks on you.  I am not used to seeing a bear in the woods (thank goodness!) and the bear was so big, that the first thought that raced through my mind was "What in the heck is someone doing driving a Volkswagen through the woods like that!".  About a half second later my mind switched to a more realistic option of what my eyes had just seen and I realized it was a big bear.  I would have to estimate it to have been in the 350-450 lb range.  As it crossed the track, it was about 3/4 to 4/5ths as long as the track was wide.  The tracks are about 8-10 feet wide, you do the math.
    Needless to say the hounds and I went the other direction down the tracks and I was a little more conscience of my surroundings and made sure to make a little extra noise as we walked along.  I think I will remain a little more alert as we walk the woods for the next few weeks.  Hunting season starts in about 2 weeks I think, then the bears will be out of sight for the most part.  I sure wish I had gotten a picture of him/her.  It was really a big bear.
    So I guess that gets you caught up on what I have been up to in the past week or so.  I will make all attempts to not be another 8 days between this entry and the next.  Soon the colors will start to take on more and more of an impact and I may have the first frost photo in a week or two and maybe even the first flakes in the next 4-5 weeks!  It is getting close, I can sense the masses are starting to return to the site.  Hit counts are climbing up from their summer slump and more and more e mails are coming in.  The snow may not be in the air yet, but it is definitely on the minds of more and more people each day.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
August 18-
    Feeling more and more like autumn up here.  We had quite a blow yesterday, with sustained winds of 30-40 mph and gusts to 52.  Temps were mild early in the day, but then cooled late.  Today is cool, very September like, with temps only in the low 60's.  It is also breezy again today, but compared to yesterday, it seems calm.  Even with the winds, we decided to get in some golf.  Played 9 at Calumet at noon and then jumped over to Portage to play 9 in the evening.  It made for some very interesting shots, especially when the winds were blowing across the fairway.  I had the wind blow me off my swing twice and actually move the ball on the green a few times as well.  I still shot pretty well, a 45 at Calumet and a 42 at Portage and did not put a single shot out of play (one of my more infamous things to do).
    Golfing was not the only thing that I did yesterday in the winds.  The hounds and I did head to the north shore to watch the waves for a while.  They were really just starting to get underway and were not that huge, probably about 5-7 feet high.  Still high enough to provide some dramatics.  That was the water exploding skyward as a wave hit what is left of the pier at the Calumet Waterworks.  For a reference, the top of that old pier is about 8 feet above the mean lake level.  So the top of that splash was probably about 18-20 feet above the pier and about 26-28 feet above the mean lake level.  The winds were really howling out there along the lake.  Probably the second hardest I have every seen.  The first would have to be my first autumn living up here, there was a storm that had the winds blowing so hard that you could almost not stand up.  Must have been 45-50 mph sustained with gusts to 70+ that day.  The wind alone was so loud that when I tried to call to the dogs they could not even hear me and I could barely even hear my own voice.  Almost a little frightening, being in the middle of such natural power.
    Yesterday was not that bad at all.  However it was a little painful to be out on the beach.  The wind was picking up the sand and carrying it through the air and it stung a little as it would hit my skin.  I think the hounds were feeling the same thing, as they seemed to stick to areas where the sandblasting was not going on.  The sand was not the only thing the winds were picking up and carrying through the air.  The water was literally being picked up off the tops of the waves and carried through the air.  The shots I took of that did not turn out, but I was able to zoom in on the water being sprayed up and over the side of the old pier.  Thanks to the cameras zoom, I did not have to get any closer to the end of the pier that I did to take the first shot.  I suppose I would have survived being swept into the waves at that point as they would have carried me to shore in about 30 seconds, but it would not have been a fun experience, so we were very careful not to put ourselves in any danger.  There is also the risk of "The Three Sisters" sneaking in and bringing the water much further than any of the other waves were bringing it.
    For those of you not familiar with the term The Three Sisters, it is when 3 large waves combine to bring a dramatic wave height.  The waves are usually larger than the average of the others around them, plus they are much closer together.  In fact the last two combine their energy to create one very large wave.  The first one just brings the waterline up higher so that the last 2 can break higher.  If you sit and watch the lake for long enough while a big wind storm is blowing, you are most likely to see at least one set of the sisters occur.  You'll know when you have seen them as well, as the water will reach almost twice as far as is had been, not just a little higher.
    Had I been swept into the lake, this is what I would have gone into.  Pretty good surfing day huh?  There is a father/son pair that surfs Lake Superior.  The local newspaper had an article on them.  Usually our wind storms come in the autumn and both the air and water are pretty chilly, so they are not your typical surfers.  I would imagine they either wear ultra thick wet suits or maybe even dry suits.  I would imagine that they were out yesterday, enjoying the relatively balmy waters and air.
    The winds also managed to knock down a fair amount of trees.  Some of them quite large.  The one thing about having strong winds in October and November is that the trees are all bare and they are not as impacted by the winds.  With all the leaves still in them yesterday, they had to really hang in tough and like I say, some that have withstood wind storms for the past 50-75 years came down yesterday.  The hounds and I actually stay out of the woods on days like yesterday.  They can be a dangerous place to be.  Not only with the trees being blow over, but with limbs being knocked down.  Things calmed down enough this morning so that the hounds and I could head out to the property for our morning walk.  We spent about an hour out there, walking around and getting turned around.  The woods are so thick that it is hard to even get my bearing with the sunlight.  At one point my bearing was off by about 90 degrees!  Not that we would ever get totally lost out there, there are roads on 2 sides and the snowmobile trail on another, so we would not have to walk too far before realizing we were not where we want to be.  Even so, I think I will head down to Houghton sometime this week and pick up a compass so that I can keep my bearings out there.  I would really like to get to know the lay of the land.  It will also get easier once the foliage is down this fall.
    Other than the winds of yesterday and the nice cool temps today, there is not a whole lot to talk about.  I think I will start up the sled tonight.  Not because I have the itch, but because it has been over to months since I last ran it and I like to start it every month or so all summer long.  I have decided to squeeze one more season out of my Pol-Cat.  The purchase of the Blazer and land would make it a little too tight for my liking to get a new sled.  So I been talking with my ace mechanic Al this summer as to some work we can do to get a little more out of the good old triple.  New motor mounts and rebuilding the carbs are the first two things that will get done and then maybe some clutch work to give me more low end.  It's funny how most folks are looking to get more top end and make their sled as fast as possible, but when you ride in the bush, there is nothing like low end to pull you through the powder.  I really started to like the feel of the Pol-Cat last season and I think it will do just fine this season.  Of course if the engine blows I suppose a 700 twin might be kind of neat to put back in place of the 587 triple!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
August 14-
    Well, almost a week between writings.  Not a whole lot going on up here, so I do not have a ton to write about.  I can sense summer drawing to a close in many aspects.  First, watching the computer models forecasts over the past week to ten days, I can see the cold air starting to build a little up to the north of us.  Not winter like cold, but still temps that are definitely not summer like.  Even the actual temps are not as warm.  Highs to the north of Lake Superior by about a few hundred miles have been running in the 50's and 60's rather than the 70's and 80's.  Even the weather here seems like it is growing tired of producing the hot and muggy stuff.  We have been in the 70's for most of the past week to ten days and the nights are getting cooler and cooler.  Even some of the days feel more like early autumn than summer, with highs in the 60's and an overcast.  I sure am not complaining and am still on my countdown till summer is but a memory.  In about 2 weeks we should hopefully be done with the threat for any prolonged heat and humidity and in a month, the AC's will be out of the windows until next June.
    No signs of the pending change in the weather in the woods yet.  Sometimes some of the less healthy trees will start to have some leaves turn into the bright reds, oranges and yellows of the autumn, but so far I have only seen one or two leaves on the ground that were turned.  Heck even the blackberries are about a week away from peak.  I have picked a few from a patch not far from my house, but only about 5% are ready right now.  Looks like a good crop this year.  Don't know why, the thimbleberries were really a poor showing and the blueberries were almost non existent.  If I had my choice I'd wish for a good blackberry crop vs. a good thimble and blueberry crop.  I don't care much for thimbleberries and picking the wild blueberries is a lot of work!  Anyway, in the next week or so I will be loading up on the blackberries.
    It's been great to be able to keep the house open and not have the AC's on.  While I like the comfort that the AC's provide, I would much rather have the natural cooling effect of a fresh breeze through an open window.  Nothing beats it as far as I am concerned.  That is about the only thing I miss about summer when winter is going and that is to be able to have the windows open and get a fresh breeze into the house.  I suppose I could get a fresh breeze through the window in the winter, but it would be a little too fresh!
    Last Saturday my girlfriend and I went to the beach to build a bonfire and watch the sunset and then hang out underneath the stars.  Well, as luck would have it, just as we got the fire going, it started to rain.  It had spit a few showers earlier in the day, but nothing too severe, but the shower at the beach was enough to send us scrambling for the blazer.  We sat for a while and did catch the sunset from the dryness of the blazer and did manage to get a shot for you all.  Nothing quite like the sunset over Superior.  Florida and the Caribbean have some great ones too, but the ones here over Superior are just unique.  We put out the fire and ended up heading back and it never did rain again, but I am glad we played it safe.  It would likely have kept raining had we forced the issue.
    On Sunday, the hounds and I went up to "the property".  That is the name I gave to it for the hounds, so they will know where we are going.  Burt knows the difference between some of the beaches and even knows the difference between the woods up where the snowmobile trail goes and the "bush", as I call it for him, where there are not as many trees.  So anyway, it was cool enough Sunday evening to put on jeans and a shirt for protection against any scratches from bushes and trees as well as bites from bugs.  I did take the camera along to show you what some of it looks like.  All of the property is pretty dense forest.  I have been told it was a meadow about 50 years ago, but you would never know now.  Some limited logging was done on the property about 5 years ago, but that is barely noticeable now as well.
    The road it is on is also quite pretty.  I can remember the first time I ever drove down the road and saw the woods on either side I thought: "This would be a nice place to have a home in the woods".  Now I am one step closer to having my home in the woods.  I do not plan to build anything on it for about a year or more.  Maybe not until the spring of 2004 and even then, it will likely be a pole barn.  My plan is to get that up and have either space in it, or a little wing off of it where I will have some living space.  I then want to contract out to have the shell of a log home put up and finish it off myself, while living next door in the pole barn or wing.  Then when the log home is done, the living quarters in or attached to the pole barn will be guest quarters.  I would imagine that the log home construction is still at least 4 years away, but when it is done, I will have fulfilled my life long dream of having a long home in the woods up here in the Keweenaw.
    Now getting back to my walk through the property Sunday.  I do have a tentative building site picked out.  It is about 200 feet in off the road.  Far enough in to shelter me from the road and anything that might go on along it, but also not too far in that I have a major job at hand to keep the driveway free of snow in the winter.  The one path I have proposed for the driveway actually takes it through a stand of cedar trees and then into a little clearing.  I think it would be neat to have to drive through the cedars to get to the home, especially in the winter, as they will keep their foliage and the snow will be piled up on them, creating a little archway.  Here is a shot of the stand of cedars.  It came out blurry for some reason, and you cannot get an idea of the foliage at the top of the trees, but you can see the clearing as marked by the sunlight off in the distance.  The stand of cedars is about 75-100 feet in from the road and between it and the road is mixed hardwoods.  I also took a shot of the "clearing".  It also did not turn out all that well.  Maybe I forgot to let the auto focus work before I took the shot.  Anyway, it is not a true clearing, as there are some trees, but the vegetation is not as thick in this spot, so I would not have to do as much work to get it ready to build on.  Plus it is in a good spot relative to the road and such.  I had a contractor come out and look at it before I bought it and he said it would be suitable for building a home on, with good drainage and such.  The area that does not have as much trees on it is about 200-250 feet in diameter, so I would not have to clear out much more to have the home and pole barn.  I would like to have trees as close as possible to both to provide shade.  The house I am in right now sits out in the sun all day and just bakes in the summer.  Without air conditioning, it would be a sauna.  At any rate, here is another shot of the "clearing", looking in a different direction.
    As the hounds and I explored the property, it became apparent just how big it really is.  The last time I walked it, the vegetation was not as dense as it was early in the summer and I was able to make good time walking through.  However, this time it took the dogs and I about 10-15 minutes to walk through it, pushing our way through berry patches, other bushes and even around downed trees.  That one must have come down in the storms we had about 2 weeks ago as it looked like a fresh one.
    We did manage to make our way to the back edge of the property, which is an old railroad grade used as a snowmobile trail now.  I actually own half of the snowmobile trail and in that shot my half is on the left.  The old railroad grade is elevated and if you look off to the left into my property this is what it looks like in one of the more clear spots.
    The hounds and I did manage to find our way back to the road and the blazer.  I look forward to exploring every inch of that property and maybe even cutting some footpaths in it this fall.  It would be neat to have some trails weaving through it so that we could take some short walks or even some short skis.  Don't know if the hounds will live long enough to actually live there, but they will definitely become familiar with every inch of "The Property".  The three of us have already "marked" it!  Right in the proposed building spot.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
August 9-
    A Friday journal?  What, have I no life suddenly?  Don't worry, I am still quite the social butterfly.  I am actually writing this in the comfort of my air conditioned home.  I just got back from taking the hounds for a walk.  We walked along side the Hammell Creek up to the first tracks old railroad grade that is now the snowmobile trail and then looped back home.  We have abandoned the cool and low humidity air we had most of this week for the warm and sticky stuff again.  Thankfully it is not that hot or humid, temp is about 86 here in Lake Linden and dewpoint is about 65, and thankfully it will not last long before we get the good stuff again.  Maybe for a long time.  I am without a vehicle right now (loaned it out to my girlfriend while hers is down at Al's getting some work done), so the hounds and I could not venture off too far.  Plus I wanted to pick an area that had some shade and maybe even some water for them to cool off in and the valley the Hammell Creek cut is just perfect.  It is only about a block away from my house and there is plenty of shade (as you could tell from the picture).  Plus the hounds had no qualms about jumping into the creek for a swim.
    It was not as cool as I thought I was going to be in the shade of that valley and I wished I had worn my swimsuit so that I could have taken a dip to cool off.  There is actually a neat little waterfall that empties into a little pool of water.  The pool is about 4 feet deep, perfect to take a little dip in and have the water cascade over the falls and your head.  But I did not go prepared and did not want to risk taking a dip au natural.  Next time I'll remember the suit.  Of course the hounds took full advantage of the pool and cooled off.  They are now sound asleep at my feet while I type this.  A successful trip.
    Not much going on up here.  As I said, the weather earlier this week was delightful.  Highs in the upper 60's, dewpoints in the 40's.  Tuesday morning we dropped down to 42 here in the valley.  Neat to see your breath and feel that crispness in the air.  Actually got the blood pumping.  There are a ton of upsides that I realized once the cooler air arrived.  First, I get to have the windows open all day and get that fresh breeze through the house.  Plus we get to ride in the truck with the windows down so we can feel the breeze flow through our air.  A long hot shower feels really good, especially when the house is still chilled from the overnight plummet in temps.  The cool nights also make for great sleeping.  Nothing like falling asleep to the sound of crickets chirping and having the sheets pulled all the way up to your chin to stay warm.  Another upside is that the hounds and I can take a walk where ever we want to.  We do not have to worry about overheating.  I did discover a downside and that is having to get out of a nice warm bed, in the pitch black, in a cold house, at 4:45 in the morning - to do my work.  A few mornings it was all I could do to muster the will to get up and get going.  I actually have that problem all winter too, but for some reason it does not seem as tough.  Maybe because I just get used to it.
    As I mentioned, we are going to cool off.  A weak front will move through early tomorrow and keep temps in check, maybe even send them into the 70's if we have enough clouds.  Then a stronger one arrives Monday and will really send the temps dropping.  60's look to be the highs by the middle to end of next week and there are even some indications that the cooler air could hang on through all of the following week.  That takes us up to the end of August and only about 2 weeks left for any sustained heat to even occur.  We can have some heat up until about the middle of October, but the deeper into September we go, the shorter and less powerful any warm air event will be.  Plus by the second week of September, the humidity is basically gone until next June.  So, by all indications, we may be done with any prolonged period of heat for a while.  I hope I have not just jinxed things.  Seems like when I give some kind of weather discussion in this forum, it ends up flopping.
    The other big news is that I finally closed on my property.  I now own a piece of Keweenaw County.  I do plan to get up there and take some pictures of it.  Nothing on it but lots of trees and bushes, but I know of some shots that I want to take so that you all can get an idea of it.  I actually own the southbound side of the trail just south of where the main trail and the Gay-Mohawk trail intersect.  So my plan is to put up a toll booth, charge about 50 cents to get through and in a season or so the land will be paid for.  Sound good?  Just kidding.  It will be kind of neat to own part of the trail.  I'll have to see if I need to sign anything or work anything out with the DNR as far as liability is concerned.  I know our local club has an insurance policy that covers all owners that grant easement for our trail to go through.  Plus maybe someday I will be able to have a live trail cam out there.  I am planning on having a live trail cam on the number 3 trail about 4 miles north of Dollar Bay.  I am friends with a man who owns property that buts up to the trail and he used to have a Christmas Tree along side the trail with candy canes on it for snowmobiliers to enjoy.  So the power is there.  I have all the pieces to put together a computer to run the cam, get a phone line to the site and build something to house the computer and cam and we'll be all set.  I think it would be great to have a live trail cam out there.  Heck, have one on every section, that way we can keep track of the grooming.
    Oh well, lots to think about in that time and lots to do.  But for now it is time to head up the the golf course.  Only about 6 more weeks left in the season!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
August 4-
    Looks like the weather will be the main topic of conversation for this journal.  We got hammered pretty good by storms Thursday morning and then it continued to rain for most of the day Thursday.  All told, we picked up about 2.5" of much needed rain.  Even enough to cause some seepage into my basement.  Sort of weird to have water seeping into my basement, while the grass was still totally brown.  It is greening up some more, in fact the front yard will need another cutting, the second in less than a week, but the back yard can still go a few more days before it gets cut.
    Along with the 2.5 inches of rain came some strong winds.  Especially in the pre dawn hours Thursday.  We had gusts to 80 mph reported in the area.  Enough to overturn a semi in a parking lot in Houghton as well as tear the roof off a building in Houghton.  A camper trailer was also flipped over, not to mention all the trees that were either knocked down of had large limbs torn off.  Thankfully there were no injuries with all that happened.  Power was knocked out to most of Houghton and other sections of the Keweenaw, but Lake Linden continued it's good fortune of keeping power.  During the height of the storm it did flicker.  I was in the middle of my morning work rush, so I decided to make use of the power generator that I bought from a visitor to the site.  It worked great and it was neat to have a constant supply of power to my computers when the lights were flickering on and off.  I am going to be very glad that I got that generator, I can see already.
    The majority of our activity occurred while it was dark out, so I did not get any shots of the action.  However, there was more activity in the UP and northern WI later in the day and the visible satellite imagery captured some of those storms with good clarity.  Here is a shot from 22,500 miles out in space of the thunderstorm activity that afternoon.  Even though the image is only 2-D, you can actually see the three dimensional aspect to what was going on, especially in the bigger storms in the central UP and the far western UP.  I don't know what the tops on those storms were, but they were up there.  Probably 40-50 thousand feet at least.
    By later Thursday, the storms had all rolled out and we were in the throws of a nice mild and dry Canadian airmass.  We hung onto the nice weather Friday, with temps in the low 70's and dewpoints in the low 50's.  That allowed the hounds and I to take to the woods and survey any damage that occurred out there.  Not much to be seen.  A few limbs down, but that was about it.  We did come across some strange things, big puddles of water.  Something we have not seen for weeks and weeks up here.
    I was very glad that we got the rains we did.  The forest is all healthy looking again and the fire danger is down to very low levels.  It is very nice to see all the lawns greening up.  There is just something depressing about a brown lawn.  And I don't know about you, but I am glad that it is August.  We have turned the corner and are on the final leg of summer up here.  In a few weeks the heat will be all gone, some of the first colors of autumn will be starting to show and it will be one of the best times of the year up here.  Crisp clear days and chilly nights.  Fires will be starting to brew in the fireplaces in the evenings and it will be a perfect time to head into the woods.  This is the time of the year that I start a series of countdowns.  The countdown to no more heat: 3-4 weeks, to the first frost: 4-5 weeks, to the first flakes of snow: 7-9 weeks, to the peak of colors: 8 1/2 weeks to the first 1" of snow: 9-10 weeks, to the start of snowmobile season: 16.  I still take it one day at a time, but it is also an exciting time, with so much to look forward to.
    Yesterday, "Y", the hounds and I took to Keweenaw county to do some exploring.  We went up to go hike to the top of Mt. Bohemia.  I did bring the camera and took a shot while standing at the bottom.  Just as we got to the top it started to rain.  Not very hard, but enough to wet the grass and rocks.  It is hard enough to get down that hill when things are dry, so we did not dilly dally at the top and came right back down.  As a result, I did not take any shots from the top.  I'm sure that we will be heading back up there sometime soon, especially as the cooler air sets in and maybe even when the colors are cranking, so stay tuned for more shots.
    One last tidbit before I sign off.  Thursday night, actually early Friday morning, Baileys woke me up and acted as though she had to go out.  I walked to the door and opened it up to let her out, but she remained inside, false alarm.  When I looked out, I could see a glow in the sky.  Not sure if it was clouds or the aurora, I went outside to get a better look.  It turns out it was the aurora, or northern lights.  This was a very unique display of them, with the curtain of lights dancing straight overhead and not on the horizon as is usually the case.  I did not take any shots of them, as you need to take a 25-30 second exposure and my digital camera will not do that.  I did stand there and admire the magic of their display.  They are truly a sight that is not repeated by anything else in nature.  No other thing even comes close to their display.  All part of what is go great about this place.  If you want to see more, Pasty.com has some shots take up here that night here.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-