Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
June 29-
    Good grief it's hot!  As I type this, my thermometer says 95.  The airport is officially 93 with a dewpoint of 65.  That's some nasty heat.  Thankfully I have two window AC's going full blast and my indoor thermometer has not budged past 71.  I like it cool.  I really feel sorry for all the folks without air conditioning up here and that is a lot of folks.  I would have to say that about 85% of the homes up here do not have it.  However, I can say that since last Wednesday, I was warning of the heat to come and told folks to get their AC's ready or if they had thought about buying one, to go out and get one because they would need it.  I guess there are still some folks that cannot even afford the 120 bucks or so that a window unit runs, but I think I would sure find a way to pay for one if I was faced with the situation.  My basement is also very cool and I had thought about spending the day down there building something in the workshop, but never did get down there, except to fetch some tools that I needed this afternoon.  If it were not for the man eating spiders down in the basement, I might even consider moving my bedroom down there.  I am not afraid of spiders, but the thought of having one of those 3" in diameter jobbers walking across my face as I sleep is enough to keep me upstairs.
    I did take the hounds to Big Traverse to swim today.  My car thermometer (which is actually quite accurate) read 89 degrees as we were driving out there, but when we got to the lake it read 71.  It sure was pleasant out there!  Amazing how much cooler it is by the lake.  There was even a nice lake breeze blowing in that made it extra refreshing.  I would have liked to have spent the whole afternoon out there, but the flying creatures started to home in on us and we had to evacuate.  Our pests Du Jour were a mix of horse, deer and stable flies.  At first they were not bad at all, but they seemed to discover us one by one and by the time we left, the dogs were either running into the water (Burt) or rolling in the sand (Baileys) to try and get them off of them.  The flies did not bother me too much, although I can say that I killed about a dozen of them in the 45 minutes we were at the beach.
    Another type of fly, very much like a typical house fly has been the talk of the town up here, literally.  Just about everywhere you go, people are talking about them.  The seemed to have peaked out earlier this past week and now seem to be dying off.  Last Tuesday's golf league was a real challenge.  They seem to be attracted to light things and would just about cover the golf cart.  I think that as we were getting ready to tee off on the first hole, there must have been a few hundred flies on our cart, no exaggerating.  Al and I played yesterday evening and they were not nearly as bad.  The rumor of the DNR planting them to help combat the tent worm problem is still going strong, but I am more skeptical.  No one has been able to prove that rumor true and I think that folks just want to have someone to blame and since the DNR is not exactly everyone's favorite up here, the DNR became the scapegoat.  I am just glad that they seem to be on the way out.  They sure were a nuisance.  People said that they did not bit.  I suppose that may be true, but they would also mix in with flies that did bite, so you could not really let them land on you, or you were asking for a bite or two or hundred.
    There was even a story on how the flies are driving things like deer out of the woods and are causing a higher than average amount of car/deer accidents.  I can't even begin to imagine how bad it must be for all the creatures out there.  Not just the bugs but the heat.  If I have to come back into this world and have to do it as a woodland animal, I hope it is as an Eagle or something like that, so that I can fly to where it is cool and also to where the bugs do not bother me!  It must be just terrible being a bear, deer or even a coyote or wolf right now.
    I guess one good thing to the housefly problem we have had was that it made the usual nemesis, the blackfly, almost a forgotten entity.  The season for them is drawing to a close, usually by the 4th of July, they are not much of a problem at all, so that will be one less thing to have to swat.  We've actually been pretty dry, so the misquitos are not bad at all and in about a month or so, the horse flies and deer flies will be tapering off.  They never fully go away until it cools off in September, but they are not much of a problem in August.  One more month.
    Back to the heat for a moment.  I have friends and family that really do not like the cold.  I can sympathize with them, as I really do not like the heat.  Cold does not bother me, so long as I can dress appropriately.  My feeling is you can always throw on another layer to stay warm, but there is nothing you can do when you are wearing next to nothing and still hot!  I really do not like to even go outside when it is this warm.  With the exception of the two walks with the hounds and a brief time tuning up my outdoor grill, I have been inside all day.  Hopefully it will cool off enough this evening to allow for another walk with the dogs.  Sad part is that tomorrow is suppose to be even hotter!  I would imagine we set a new daily record high today and will again tomorrow, but I doubt that the all time record high of 102 will be broken.  That was set back in the summer of 1988, on July 7th.  1988 was a terrible drought and heat year in the Midwest and Plains states and this summer might just be creeping into drought and heat as well.  There is some cooler air seen for us by later Tuesday and into Wednesday, but then it looks like we might heat back up for the end of the week.
    I was going to buy an above ground pool about a month ago.  Walmart had a 15 foot in diameter and 3 1/2 feet deep pool on sale for about $250.  It was one of those new ones that has the inflatable ring on the top of the pool and then you just fill it pool with water, the ring filled with air lifts the sides up.  Very easy to setup and take down.  However, with the cool spring and early summer we had, I figured that I would never get the chance to use it.  I sure did guess wrong!  The only time I can tolerate the heat is when I am swimming.  Then I actually prefer it to be hot.  Lake Superior was still a bit too chilly for me.  I did wade up to my knees, but that was about it.  The Torch Lake is probably swim able, the village beach was actually pretty crowded today and a few were in the water.  The Traprock is still a bit chilly, but I'm sure the swimming hole at Bekkala's was busy today even so.
    I don't have too many pictures to share with you.  I do have plans to do a tour of the Calumet Golf Course.  I am going to take shots of each hole and give a little narrative.  Maybe not the most exciting, thing, but hopefully even the non golfers out there will enjoy seeing where I spend many an afternoon or evening in the summer.  I did take pictures of the first three holes, but then forgot the last 6, so I will have to get back out there to finish taking pictures.  I did have my best round of the season so far yesterday evening.  I missed a hole in one by about 2 1/2 feet and shot a 39.  I actually could or should have shot under par, but a few putts did not drop and I did have one or two muffed chips.  I was actually below par after 4 and thought I might shoot par.  Oh well.
    The one shot I do have to share with you is of the Hurricane up in northern MN this morning.  Even on the weekends, I need to stay on top of things in the world of weather.  I need to see what is happening as well as what the models say.  I actually never take a day fully off.  I monitor the weather happenings and models 365 days a year.  Anyway, this morning as I was looking at the satellite imagery across the Midwest, a feature stood out across northern MN.  An area of clouds was spinning counter clockwise and there was actually a hole in the center of it.  If that had been out over the tropical ocean, it sure could have been mistaken as a hurricane.  However, the clouds with that feature were not a mass of thunderstorms, but were mainly mid an high level clouds spinning around an upper level low.  Still very interesting to watch.  The weather never ceases to amuse and amaze me!  Guess that's why I can keep it up 365 days a year and have been for the past 11 years.
    One final thing.  I want to thank everyone for still coming to read these journals.  I realize that they have not been the most exciting recently.  Part of the problem is that I have not been going on very many adventures lately.  Mostly because of the bugs and heat.  The bugs will be wavering soon and I am sure that we will have some nice cool days too.  So keep coming back and I promise I will have some great stories of adventure to share with you.  Heck, I still need to break in the blazer!  Plus, I ordered a new cam today.  I ordered a Fuji FinePix2800.  It has a 6x optical zoom which was my first requirement.  It also takes 60 seconds of video with sound, my second requirement and has decent resolution at 2.11 mega pixels.  There are cams with better resolution, but at 2.1 mega pixel it will produce pictures 8x10 in size with film quality.  Plus, it got great reviews.  There was a cam out there with 8x zoom with a similar price, but it did not get the best of reviews and one short coming was the video shooting.  So I opted for slightly less zoom and better video.  I am excited to shoot some video of our snowmobile adventures this winter.  So thanks again for sticking around and I am looking forward to sharing some more Keweenaw adventures with you soon.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
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June 23-
    Yep, I'm still alive and well.  Things just sort of conspired to keep me from being able to sit down and write a journal entry.  Actually, I could have yesterday, but since Saturday is the one day a week when I do not have to do any work, I like to keep it that way.  Not that the journal is really work, but it is a commitment of sort, and it is nice to have one day that I have to commitments of that nature.  I guess I can start out by wishing everyone a happy astronomical summer.  I personally still like to think of summer as June, July and August, but different strokes for different folks.  If you want to read my reasons for that, you can go to the ask John.  There is a whole discussion about the topic.  I guess the good news (sort of) is that the amount of daylight is already headed back down.  2 months from now and summer will be drawing to a close up here.  The nights will start to take on the autumn chill and in about 2 months and two weeks, we can look for our first frost here in the valley.  Seems hard to believe as we have only had summer like weather up here for the past week or so.  Last week was beautiful up here.  Lots of sun, temps in the upper 60's to low 70's and low humidity.  10's in my book.  I suppose that most would think 60's is too cool, but with the sun so strong, I was able to take walks with the dogs and have my shirt off and be comfortable.  Things have gotten a little soupy in the past 36 hours, with the humidity levels rising.  Our dewpoint has been running in the low 60's since yesterday afternoon and that is about 10-15 degrees higher than I would like it to be.  I had to break down and put the AC's in the windows.  More for the humidity than the temps.
    On Wednesday of last week I did get my new vehicle.  It's actually a used 4 door Blazer.  The Honda and K5 Blazer are gone, but not forgotten.  It was actually a little sad to give up the Honda.  It has been a big part of my life for the past 8 years and I have some great memories of travels with the hounds in it.  But now I can look forward to making some great memories in the Blazer.  I actually took it for a ride Wednesday evening, touring a little of the Keweenaw.  Here I am posing by it Wednesday evening.  I have since detailed the inside and out and it looks like brand new.  Amazing the products they have out now to bring a cars finish back to life.  Actually, they were out about 20 years ago, I just have not used them for a while.  But after I bought the Blazer, I went out and bought a random orbit buffer the cleaner, polish and wax as well as other chemicals to clean other parts and I use my steam cleaner to do the interior as well.  So now it really does look like a brand new car.  The only problem with that is I do not want to get it dirty!  Oh well, that's life!
    The flies up here have really gotten bad.  Actually, I think that last Sunday we had a major hatch, because prior to that, they were not that bad.  There is a rumor going around that the DNR planted them up here last year to help combat the tent worm explosion that was going on up here.  It may be true, I don't know, but they are really pests this year.  The tent worm population is way down, so I guess they need something else to go after and it is humans.  I wish the DNR, if they did plant them, would plant some dragonflies up here to take care of these pesky house flies.  They don't seem to bite, but buzz all around and will land on you too.  Not a fun thing while golfing or taking a walk on the beach.  Wednesday night we were on the beach for a little bit, but had to leave because the flies were so bad.  Hopefully, they will subside soon.  The other flying insects are about average for this time of the year.  Some horseflies and deerflys and even some blackflies, but the blackflies seem to be on the way out.  They were really not bad at all this year.
    The one place that the houseflies or what ever you want to call them are not bad is the Lake Linden meadow (formally the sands).  So the hounds and I have been going out there a lot.  I think that we went there about 4 times last week.  It is not that it is not a beautiful spot.  It has just about everything the hounds could want.  Some things to sniff, water to swim in and even some things to chase (Canadian Geese).  But I guess I really do not like to go to the same place so often, when there is such a multitude of places to go to up here.  Hopefully the fly situation will die off a bit and we can start exploring the woods and beaches some more.
    Every time I go to the LL meadow, I am struck at how lucky the village is to have that property.  I'm not sure what they are going to be doing with it and I think that they are not sure either.  One idea was a golf course.  No complaints from me! But I would not mind it being left as it is.  Just a big area of different weeds and grasses surrounded by the Torch Lake.  It is also a great place to play in fresh powder in the winter.  I really can't see it being left undeveloped for too long.  I just hope that it does not get sold off for private dwellings.  I would not want to loose that place as a walking spot.  I love it's convenience and amenities.  As it type this, I have been trying to come up with a clever way to fit in my last picture.  It is of the park and beach, with the Village in the background, taken from the meadow.  However, I have not been able to come up with a clever segway, so here's the shot!
    Well, I know that it has been almost a week since I last wrote and this was not exactly full of exciting stuff, but I am nearing my bedtime and need to sign off.  I promise that I will try not to be almost a week before I update this with the next entry.  The week ahead does not look quite as hectic.  Till next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
June 17-
    This one is actually coming to you from the late morning-early afternoon.  I have a bit of free time and figured I would get out a journal.  I had planned to do my usual Sunday evening entry, but had a very busy day of work and play.  It started out bright and early with breakfast (pancakes for the hounds and I) and then a walk.  I then cut the grass and did some weeding in some hostas I planted last fall.  I then decided to clean out the garage.  That task was not as bit as it sounds.  The garage is really not that messy (I have not had enough time living here for it to get too bad!), and what I really wanted to do was to clean the floor real good.  It is a sealed concrete floor so when it is clean it is really clean.  There was still some residue from all the winters grime that was dragged into the garage that I wanted to get off the floor.  So all I had to do was empty the garage of things like the car, snowmobile, snow thrower and lawn mower.  I then used a little soap and water, scrubbed it with a stiff push broom and then rinsed and squeegeed it clean.  Put all the stuff back in and then it was time for lunch and a our afternoon walk.  Once that was done, I decided to plant come raspberry bushes.  Some friends/neighbors offered up their plants.  They have about 40 of them that I could take, so I started out by soaking and then cutting the sod to make the beds for the bushes.  I transplanted some of the sod to areas that needed some grass and then dug 22 holes for the plants.  By that time it was dinner time, so I made dinner and then headed over to dig up the plants and transplant them.  I was getting pretty tired by that time and was hoping that the digging up part would be pretty easy and it was.  Their garden was full of nice soil with no rocks, so the digging went very quickly and easily.  I had all 22 plants dug out in about 30 minutes and was soon back at my house replanting them.  That too went well and by about 7:30 was watering the plants and transplanted sod and done at about 8 pm.
    So that is why I did not get out a journal last night.  I am very glad that the work is done.  Now all I have to do is water them from time to time and get ready to stake them when they get bigger and then pick all the berries.  With 30 bushes (22 I planted yesterday and the 8 from last year) I should have a pretty good crop.  I'm not sure how many berries the new plants will produce.  They are still pretty small and not flowering yet, but even some of my plants are not flowering yet.  The cool spring and early summer has things running a little behind up here.
    I did get to Bridgefest Saturday evening, but did not take any pictures.  Actually, the weather was so bad Saturday that I was not even sure that I would get over there.  It started raining Saturday at about 9 am and did not stop until about 5 pm.  It did not rain very hard, in that 8 hours of steady rain, we probably did not pick up more than 1/4 of an inch, but it was steady enough to keep from being able to go outside and enjoy things.  There was a golf tournament that I was asked to be in, but declined and was glad that I did so.  Saturday was not a good day to be up at the course.  I have already had 2 days like that this season, was glad I did not score the hat trick!  Anyway, I went to dinner in Houghton Saturday and then wandered over to the Bridgefest before going to see a movie.  Most of the activities were either winding down, or had never gotten started, so there was not a whole lot going on.  They did have a water ski show and there was the seafood cookout going on.  Other than that, just a few vendors selling things like paintings and other knickknacks.  Yesterday was a gorgeous day for the fest, but I was too busy visit.  So I guess you could say that I did partake in the Bridgefest this year, but to say that I really experienced it would be unfair.  Hopefully next year I will be able to take in all of the event.
    I have not done much else since the last time I wrote.  Have not played golf since last Tuesday night's league play, but am going out tonight to get ready for league play tomorrow.  The walks the hounds and I have been on are all close to home.  I am selling the honda and blazer to get a new car and have my two vehicles all cleaned up so I do not want to get them all dirty.  I had thought that the transaction would take place last Friday, but was delayed for three business days so I will have the new vehicle this Wednesday.  It is a 4 door blazer, so the hounds and I will be able to do some exploring in luxury.  Needless to say that will not be taking it in some of the places I took the old blazer.  I bought that one specifically to beat on in the bush.  This new one, while not brand new, is in excellent shape and I do not want to put any scratches on it just yet!  However, we will be able to go places that the honda could not make.  I can feel a trip to the mouth of the Montreal and High Rock coming up as well as some other places like the Sturgeon River Gorge and maybe even some unexplored places of southern Houghton County.  I am really looking forward to getting the new blazer and was actually a little disappointed that the deal could not go down on Friday.  But my spirits are back up and I am ready for it.  I think that the hounds will like riding in it better too.  I plan to keep the back seat down most of the time so that they will have plenty of room to lay around.  It will also make the trips back to my parents way more enjoyable for all of us.
    Not much has changed in the bug report.  Most insects are still at low to moderate levels and you can still walk in the woods without being picked up and carried away.  So far this has been a really great warm season.  It does look to get a little warmer and I am even considering putting my AC's in the windows today, so that they are ready to go when I need them.  With things being so cool so far, it is hard to believe that in 2 weeks we will be approaching the 4th of July.  That is the traditional start of summer up here, but in the past 3 summers, we have had plenty of warm days prior to the 4th.  I like this stuff much better.
    Well, I guess that will do it for now.  Hopefully with the arrival of the new blazer, the hounds and I will get back to doing some exploring and taking of some good pictures.  Until then...
Good Night (afternoon really) from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
June 13-
    This is your June 13th flying insect report for the Keweenaw Peninsula:  Misquitos - Light to moderate activity continues, peaking just after sunset; Blackflies - Moderate intensity continues, with peak activity during periods of sunshine and warmer temps; Deerflys - Increasing from light to moderate activity, worst in the afternoon warmth in the woods, beaches still mostly clear; Horseflies - Light activity, moderate at times on the beaches.  How's that?!  The cooler temps have really kept the bugs at bay so far and I am pleased.  Today was almost a perfect day.  It was cloudy this morning, so that was a problem and it looks like we are going to get hit with some storms in the next hour or so, so that is also a negative.  However, the sun broke out at about 11:30 this morning and it was in the mid 60's with a gentile breeze.  I could really not ask for more.  The hounds and I were able to walk in the woods and I wore just a T-shirt and shorts and was plenty warm.  The hounds even got a little warm and needed to cool off with a dip in the Hammell Creek when we were done.  Yesterday was a bit on the cool side, not for me, but for most, with a temp of only about 60 degrees and lots of clouds.  The sun really makes a big difference in how warm it feels.
    I did take the camera along on the walk today and snapped some shots.  The first one is just a shot looking down the snowmobile trail.  The trees are in full foliage and the ground cover is also in full foliage. Looking into the woods, you can really get an idea of how green everything is an how filled out the forest is too.  It is so nice to be able to walk trails like that and only have to walk about 5 minutes to get to them.  Basically a dream come true for me and the hounds seem to really like it too.  Just about every time I head out into the woods, I wonder about what my friends and family are doing at the time, some of them stuck in an office or in traffic.  I also wonder how many people in the world are doing exactly what they want to be doing, exactly where they want to be doing it and figure the numbers are pretty low.  I am very lucky and keep reminding myself of that.  Sometimes it even gets scary, thinking that something might happen that would force me to have to leave.  I cannot imagine what that would be, but one never knows what can happen.
    Getting back to the foliage, some of what has turned all nice and green are the berry bushes.  In a previous journal, I showed some shots of the Blueberries out near the beach.  Today we got to see blackberry and raspberry and thimbleberry bushes.  The blackberry and raspberry plants are not showing any buds, but there are buds on the thimbleberry bushes.  Those are the first of the wooded berries to show up.  The raspberries show up towards the end of July and the blackberries arrive about 3 weeks later.  I'm looking forward to the raspberry season because I have a few plants right in my yard to go and pick and have for breakfast and for the blackberry season because I know where the motherload is at and can pick gallons if I want (and probably will).  Just another bonus to living up here.  When I get some property, I think that I will try and develop some natural berry patches in areas out there.  I suppose I will have to compete with the bears when they are ripe, but I'm sure I will be up to the challenge.
    I only have one other item to share with you.  I did manage to capture a picture of a hummingbird at the feeder yesterday.  There has been at least one showing up, mainly in the morning.  When I first put it up, I did not do it right because the nectar did not fill up the drinking ports.  There is nectar there now and I hope that one bird tells all it's friends!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
June 11-
    Well I'm back as promised.  Still rather busy and still not a lot to say, but I do have some free time this evening, so I may as well try and get out a real journal.  So far this has been the best summer yet for weather.  Today is a little cool like last Tuesday was, but most of the other days have been perfect, at least as far as I am concerned.  Temps in the 60's and low 70's and not a whole lot of humidity.  Maybe too cool for some, but this is not the place to be for summer heat.  This is the place to escape from the summer heat.  I hope I do not sound mean, but for someone who does not live here through the winter and only comes up here in the summer, I have a hard time having any sympathy for them complaining about the cool temps in the summer.  For those that do live here all year round, I suppose complaining about cool temps now holds some merit.  The past 2 years by this time we had already had some heat by this time.  This year we have not had one single day that could be considered hot.  No need for AC yet, the windows are still free of the AC boxes.  My heat has been off since last Wednesday and it was only on for about 24 hour then, so my energy needs have been next to nil.
    I do not have a lot to write about, the hounds and I have not done a lot of exploring of late.  I have a feeling that will be changing soon.  The black flies are out, so we do not want to go too deep into the woods.  They have not been nearly as bad this year as in past years.  The cooler temps are to credit, I'm sure, but they are still out there, and no need to ruin a walk in the woods by swatting those buggers away from us.  We went to the beach on Saturday and a few horse flies popped out to bother the hounds.  Thankfully there was a stiff breeze and that kept them from being too much of a problem.  Maybe the cool temps will keep them from being too bad.
    Bridgefest is this weekend.  For those of you not in the know, Bridgefest is a festival that celebrates the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and the relationship between Houghton and Hancock.  They have food and music as well as some shows and athletic competitions.  Saturday night there is a fireworks display too.  I was down at my parents nursing Baileys after her knee surgery last year and missed Bridgefest and my first year up here I did not actually go to the fest, but did drive down with the hounds and took in the fireworks up on top of Quincy hill.  I think I will be partaking in some of the fest this year, so I can give you a full report.  I don't think that it will be quite up to the speed of Taste of Chicago or Milwaukee's Summerfest, but I'm sure it will be fun just the same.
    Still on the hunt for some property.  I am closing in on a piece and things could happen fast, soon.  It is amazing how much time it takes.  I really got lucky finding this home.  I came up for two days, saw about 15 homes in that time and was able to to find a place that I could call home.  I am really happy with this place and if did not have a dream to live in a cabin in the woods, I would not have any desire to move.  I can't imagine what would have happened if it would have take me more time to find something.  That would have been some pretty heavy duty commuting!  Back about a month ago when I asked for ideas to put in the journal, someone mentioned that I do a journal about what it has been like to move up here, the good, the bad, tell it all.  I thought it was a good idea and I have been writing down some notes and will put together that entry in the not too distant future.  However, I do want to do it when I can spend as much time as I want.  60-90 minutes will likely not cut it, because I want to get it just right.  I think that it will be of great interest to anyone that has ambitions on moving up here.  It is a different place and a different way of life from what a lot of you are living right now.  I certainly cannot say if it is for you, but will try and be as descriptive of things as possible and let you judge for yourself.
    So I guess that will do it for now.  I have been having problems concentrating on this entry, lots on my mind.  All good...no, great, but distracting just the same.  I promise these will get better soon.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
June 10-
    Yes, I am still alive.  However, I have also been really busy with work and play and have not been able to make time to write a journal.  Tonight is the same case, but I figured I would just drop a quick note to let you know that I have not forgotten about the journal.  I hope to be able to get one out tomorrow night.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
June 6-
    It's Thursday, so it must be time for a journal!  I am actually writing this in the late afternoon because we have a 7 PM tee time.  7 PM may seem late, but we could actually get in 18 holes if we wanted to.  It is staying light past 10 PM now.  The sun sets about 9:30 or something like that, but there is still light for about 30 minutes later.  Last night as I was getting ready to go to sleep at 9:30, my neighbor was cutting his grass.  I would have liked to have had the sliding glass door open, but it was too noisy.  It is getting light at about 5:30, with sunrise at about 6 am.  That means we are getting about 15-16 hours of daylight right now.  No wonder the trees can grow up here with a season that is only about 3 months long.
    I had an interesting experience on the golf course Tuesday.  It is league night and when it was our time to tee off, it was so foggy that you could not see more than about 75 yards.  Makes it really interesting to play in.  You would tee off and watch your ball disappear.  Then you had to play your next shots blindly and even 100 yard chip shots had to be done without sight of the green.  Sort of what it might be like to play legally blind.  Not totally blind, you could see your ball when you were about to hit it, but as far as seeing where you were going, you were out of luck.  I wish I had brought my camera because it was really something to see, or not see, I guess is a better way to put it.  Thankfully the fog did clear, but then it started raining and rained fairly steadily the rest of the round.  Temps were only in the mid 40's, so it was a character builder out there.  I was glad to shoot a 48 for 9 holes.
    As most of you have noticed I have a hummingbird feeder in sight of the Al Cam.  There have been a few trying it out, but I think I need to make sure that it is working, as they do not seem to spend more than a second or two up at it and then fly away and the activity has been really slow.  There is actually more activity from regular birds trying to get something from it.  Today I took a shot of a Golf Finch hanging onto the wire holding up the feeder.  When I sat down to start writing this, there were two Grosbeaks trying to hover like a hummingbird at the feeder.  They were so big, the wind generated from their wings was making the feeder swing back and forth.  They did not get much from the feeder at all and flew away before I could snap a shot.
    After Tuesday's clouds, fog, rain and 40's, yesterday was clear blue skies and highs of about 70.  Today is also mostly sunny and it is about 75 out.  Pushing my upper limits for heat tolerance.  The house is still nice and cool and that is what matters most.  With temps getting into the 70's, it was time to head to the beach for the afternoon fun.  I chose Big Traverse because the winds had an easterly component to them.  I was glad I brought a wind breaker, because it was a bit chilly out by the big lake.  Still, with the sunshine and gentile breeze, it was a great day to be at the beach.  There is some kind of bush that seems to like to grow out near the beach at Big Traverse and it shoots out some flowers at the beginning of June.  We hit pretty close to the peak flowering time today.  The bushes are really thick down by the Township beach and paint the area just above the ground in shades of pink and white.  There was already someone at the Township beach so the hounds and I went down to another spot I know about.  The bushes are not as thick there, but still provided some nice whites and pinks against the blue backdrop of Lake Superior.
    Another plant that seems to really like to grow out there is wild blueberries.  The ground is basically covered in them in spots.  We are still about 3-4 weeks away from picking time, but the flowers have opened and the plants are getting ready to produce the tiny blue niblets of sweetness.  Kind of hard to see the flower that I wanted to show in that shot, as it was in the sunlight and was too bright.  However, if you look at the bottom left of the shot, you will see a little white flower that will be a blueberry someday.  I can say that I really do not get into wild blueberry picking too much.  They are so small, you really need to pick a ton to have a useful amount.  I will pick a few as I am walking through them, but I do not actually make trips out to pick them like I do raspberries and blackberries.
    Big Traverse is really one of my favorite beaches and I wish that I had lived up here years ago when camp property out there was dirt cheap.  It has climbed out of my reach, like most of the waterfront around here, but it would have been great to have a camp on that beach.  Lots of sand and about 3-4 miles of beach front to walk.  Not sure if I would want to live out there, they do not get the snow that other areas of the Keweenaw get.  Maybe 100" or so, but it is a beautiful place in the summer.  The new cam I use can actually record sound, so I thought that I would record the sound of the waves lapping up on the beach and you could look at that last shot and pretend you were there.  The sound recording is not too great, sounds kind of like it was done inside of a tin can, but oh well.  Here it is anyway.
    Of course the hounds went swimming.  Burt spent about 30-40 minutes fetching sticks.  Baileys lost interest in fetching quicker and decided to work on her tan instead.  All in all, a very great day at the beach and just another reason why I am about as lucky as one can get to live here.  On the way back, with the sun shining, the wind blowing and some great tunes playing I was given a reminder by the Jokela homestead that it is not just the best place in the country to live, but the best country on the planet.  Old glory sure does seem to have even more meaning since September 11.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
June 3-
    Welcome to summer.  Meteorological summer that is.  Astronomical summer begins on the 21st of June, but as I'm sure you all can attest to, summer is well underway by the 21st of June.  I think that there needs to be an effort to change the "First Day of Summer" to June 1st, the "First Day of Autumn" to September 1, the "First Day of Winter" to December 1 and the "First of Spring" to March 1.  It would make more sense than the way we are doing it now anyway.  With the exception of today, it has felt a lot like summer up here.  Perfect temps, with 60's and 70's, low humidity and a gentle breeze.  I could go for a whole summer of days like that and the way things are going so far, I might just get that wish.  The past 24 hours have been on the cool side, with temps mainly in the 50's, but it was sunny this morning so that helped to take some of the chill out.  We even had a frost this morning.  As far as I am concerned, I'll take 50's to 80's just about any day.
    With the cooler temps, the bugs have been knocked down a bit.  We have been spending a little time in the woods and have not been swarmed too bad.  Actually, the worst place I have seen for blackflies in the past week or so was the first tee on the golf course.  They were not bad anywhere else, but waiting to tee off on the first, it was bad.  Usually they are pretty bad everywhere, makes for some tuff shots, especially putting, with blackflies buzzing around your face and into your ears.  Copper Harbor actually has a golf tournament up at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge called the Blackfly Open.  This year it was so cold leading up to it, the Blackflies had not even hatched.
    Anyway, as I said, it has been feeling like summer and we have been going into the woods, so here is a shot of the woods in the summer.  Pretty thick huh?  That shot was actually taken when the hounds and I were looking at some property.  Yep, that's right, I have been busy looking for some land that I will eventually build my dream home on.  I was planning on keeping it a secret, I figured it would be neat to just make the announcement that I got some property, but I have been at such a loss for things to write about, I figured I might as well let the cat out of the bag.  I have been close on a few properties, even made an offer on 40 acres, but things did not work out.  I'm looking at a few more pieces and hope to have something in not too long.  The nice thing about looking for property up here, it that there is not too many "bad" pieces.  It's kind of like going to the ice cream store.  Just about everything looks good, you just have to figure out what looks the best.  I'd have to say that there has only been 1 parcel that I was not interested in.  It was pretty cheap, but not a whole lot of potential.  Others have had lots of potential, but would take some doing to bring out the full potential and some are just perfect, but priced a little high.  Plus, I am trying to stay in the vicinity of Lake Linden.  I really feel as though I have become part of this community and would like to remain a part of it.  Actually, the community does include the Traprock Valley as well, so the geographical area is fairly large that I can look in.  And I suppose I would not turn away from the right property that was not too far away from Lake Linden and the valley.  Maybe something a little further north and in the higher terrain, so that I get even more snow!  We'll see.
    The other day the hounds and I came across an old building from the areas copper mining past.  It is pretty wild to be walking in what seems to be an undeveloped area, almost in the middle of nowhere and come across some mining ruins.  What is also amazing is the size and in some cases the detail of the buildings.  The date on that building said 1915 and the craftsmanship in the stonework was amazing.  Especially when you think that is was for copper mining!  It is the size of other old mining relics that is amazing to me.  It seems like things back then were never small.  Everything was jumbo sized.  Almost like humans were twice the size back then.  Of course that is not true, humans are actually getting bigger over time.  I can't imagine working in that environment.
    Well, that is all the pictures I have to share and I just got a call about the real estate thing and I need to run and take care of something, so I have to sign off for now.  I did get some good ideas on journal content and I do plan to do one soon.  However, it will take some time to put together and I want to be fresh and not tired or feel rushed, because it will be a much better entry if I can take the time.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-