Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
May 30-
    It's not the last day of the month, but I seriously doubt that I will be sitting down at my computer on a Friday evening, so I figured I had better get out a journal tonight.  Actually, it is late afternoon, I may be heading up to the golf course this evening, so I figured I better get it done now, or who knows when I will get it done!  The weather has been just about perfect for five days now.  Temps have been running in the 70's, with overnight lows in the 50's and any rain has passed through and been done with in about an hour.  The trees are filling out, the grass is growing and bugs are starting to get more noticeable - it must be summer.  I love it when I can sleep with the windows open.  There is something nice about being able to fall asleep to the sounds of the wind in the trees or birds chirping.  Yes, the birds are still wide awake when I go to sleep.  Heck, there is still light for about an hour after I go to sleep.  In a few more weeks, there will be almost 2 hours of light after my head hits the pillow.  It makes it a little hard to go to sleep when it is light out and sometimes they are even having a ball game at the boneyard and all the cheering keeps me up, as was the case last night.  I'm not complaining though.
    The hounds and I have been busy heading off to the beaches.  We have entered the beach season for us.  Two main reasons:  First, it is cooler by the lake.  Not that it is that hot out right now, actually, it can be too cool by the lake at times.  This time of the year, I will be driving towards the big lake and can tell right when I hit the lake breeze.  The temps will drop 20, sometimes 30 degrees.  With the water temps only in the 30's and low 40's, walking along the beach with a good onshore flow can be like walking in a walk-in cooler.  It can be in the 70's or low 80's away from the lake, but only in the 50's along the lake.  Later on in the summer, being near the lake is like walking in an air conditioned room.  Temps away from the lake might be in the 80's or even low 90's, but right along the lake it is only in the upper 60's to low 70's.  The winds were not too bad today, so I was actually able to walk along the lake in shorts and a short sleeved shirt.  It was a perfect day to be at the north shore.  No bugs and perfect temp.
    Even with the lake temp in the upper 30's, the hounds thought it was a good day for a swim.  They actually just wade out into the water and take a drink sometimes too.  That is what they did in this case.  I get a little jealous of their ability to handle the cold water sometimes.  I don't think I could even stand in the water up to my ankles for more than a few seconds, as cold as it is.  I put my hand in it and it was numb in just a few moments.  Really is amazing how well engineered they are.  The only thing I would change about them if I could would be for them to shed all the fur that they need to in about 24 hours.  I have been brushing Baileys out for about 3 weeks straight and she is still loosing lots of fur.  I think that we are starting to reach the home stretch, but I think I could have made a fur coat for myself with all I have removed so far.  Burt does not shed quite as much.  His fur is a lot shorter and even when he does shed, it is not as noticeable.
    Well, back to the walk on the beach.  As I have said in previous journals, one of the neat things about walking the north shore is to see what new items have been deposited by the big lake and the winds that stir it up.  I have seen all kinds of things, some natural and some man made.  Most of the stuff is driftwood.  Here is a piece of Superior Driftwood that Baileys decided to check out.  That piece has actually been there for as long as I have been walking the shore there.  I think that it would take one heck of a storm to dislodge it.  It is about 3 feet in diameter, 1/3rd of it is buried in the sand and gravel.  Looks to be an old growth white pine.  At least the lower 50 feet of it.  Here is Baileys asking me if I will help her over it.  She actually tried to get over it, then I told her to just go around.  Even though that log has been there for the past three years, some other pretty big logs have come and gone.  Here is a shot of Baileys and I on a good sized log with Burt in the background, taken about this time last year.  Here is that same spot today.  All gone.
    The other reason (almost forgot) why going to the lake is best place to walk right now is that the bugs are almost non existent.  At least the blackflies.  In a few weeks the stable fly (house fly that bites) will be out, then the deer and horseflies will be out, but at least those do not bother me too much and I can usually kill them before they bit the dogs, so I will tolerate them more than the black flies.  In a few weeks, actually soon after the 4th of July, we will be able to head back into the woods for some of our walks.  As long as it it not too hot, then the blackflies taper off dramatically and other bugs are not much of a problem.  The misquitos are not bad unless you get deep into the woods and go by some wetlands, or are walking around sunset or sunrise.  Then you better have your anti aircraft guns ready!  I heard about using fabric softener as a bug repellent.  I tried it by taking a sheet of Bounce and rubbing it over my skin.  The blackflies went to bother me and then did fly off, so maybe it works.  I am going golfing in about 30 minutes and will try it again.  I will also have a can of deepwoods OFF, just in case.
    Well, I guess I will sign off for now and get ready for golf.  Before I go, Burt says that there is one more reason why the beach is great right now, swimming out to fetch sticks.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
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May 26-
    Greetings from a beautiful Keweenaw.  The weather today was just about a ten, if you ask me.  A bit windy, that may have brought it down a point or so, but lots of sun and temps hitting about 70.  That is about perfect for me!  I could really go for a whole summer of day's like today.  I suppose a few degrees warmer would be ok, but not much.  Yesterday was actually on the cold side.  It was cloudy most of the day and we even had some light rain for a brief period early in the afternoon.  Not the best golf weather, but we were out there.  Today was much better and we were out there again.  I won't bore you with my golf tales.  Actually, I would be too embarrassed to tell.  My game has not gotten much better with all the playing I am getting in.  Maybe I am playing too much, not concentrating as much as I should.  I am having fun - most of the time - so I guess that's what is most important.
    Not a whole lot of new and exciting news to report on.  The story with the fire up at Lac La Belle is that the high winds on Thursday knocked down a fir tree onto some power lines and that sparked the fire.  I guess it was going pretty good and threatened several camps, but the local volunteer fire fighters and DNR fire fighters were able to strike it down in about 2 hours.  That is really something, considering the winds we had and the fact that things were really dry.  I'm sure that there are some very happy residents in the Lac La Belle area right now.
    The biggest news, I guess, is that the black flies have finally shown their face and their suckers.  I saw and heard my first black fly Thursday evening as we were just starting out to play golf.  Thankfully it was too cold and too windy for them to really be much of a factor.  It was too cold yesterday and too windy today, so again, we escaped them for the most part.  I did have one fly into my ear as I was getting ready to tee off, but that was it.  I did get my first bite today though.  It actually happened in my garage as I was cooking dinner.  I still have the grill in the garage and may keep it there.  I put it there in the winter so that I can continue to use it, but I like the convenience of having it right there, so even though it is now warm enough to put it in the back yard, I might just keep it in the garage.  Anyway, I was cooking dinner and got bit on the leg.  Not too bad, no welt from it, but I suppose there will be plenty more to come.  The good news is that usually by the 4th of July, they are dying off, so maybe this will be quick season.
    The tourists are also starting to arrive.  I am seeing more and more license plates from out of state.  I suppose a lot of them may actually not be tourists, but rather own some property and a camp up here and are thus weekend warriors.  I either case, it is nice to see visitors up here.  I know that they are here to enjoy what I get to enjoy all year round and it helps to remind me of what a special place I live in.
    Yesterday I played 18 holes of golf and did not get to take the hounds for their afternoon walk, but did take them on one when I got home and before my dinner.  It was so great to be able to just take a few steps and be in the woods.  Just the three of us, exploring the great northwoods.  I cannot see how I could ever give this up.  The thought of making a lot of money, but not being up here is actually a bit of a nightmare.  I know that may seem strange to some of you and I certainly do not have any problems with someone that puts making money high on their priority list, I guess it is just not that important to me.  My life is so stress free, so carefree and almost perfect.  If I could change just one thing, it would be to not have to start work at 5 am in the morning.  Of course, I could quit doing what I am doing and have a 9-5, but that is not for me either.  The bonus of starting early is that I end early and have much of the afternoon to play.  And I do love what I do for a living too.
    The trees are still quite bare.  The leafs are starting to open a bit more, I suppose in about 4 or 4 more days, they should be pretty well opened.  It does not look like we have any cold air headed in.  Not a whole lot of really warm stuff either, but 60's and low 70's.  Strange to think in 3 months it will be close to labor day and the summer will be over!  I really do not see how the trees can even grow here at all.  They only get 3 months to do their thing and yet they seem to grow just as fast as trees further south.  Maybe it is a day length thing.  I know that spring wheat is like that.  The crop that is planted in northern Alberta, in the Peace River District, goes from being planted to being harvested in just a little over a month.  During that time, the crop gets 20 hours of daylight to work with.  Amazing how nature can adapt to itself.
    Speaking of nature, the one and only picture I have to share with you all is from the Al Cam the other day.  Last year there was a fluorescent blue bird that came visiting the feeder.  I think some said it might have been an indigo bunting.  I did a bit of searching on the web for some info and I am just about positive that it was an indigo bunting.  The pictures from the web sites match it almost exactly.  As luck would have it, I saw another one at the feeder and triggered the cam to update.  As it did, it caught a bright yellow one too.  So here is a shot of the color at the feeder the other day.  The interesting thing about this bird is that it is really not blue.  The website said that in bright sunlight the male appears to be a brilliant blue with the wings and tail darker. Without the sunlight he will be black! This bird actually has no blue pigment at all, but seems to be blue due to diffraction of light through its feathers. Females are a drab brown, sorry ladies.  The yellow bird was an American Gold Finch I believe.  I have a humming bird feeder that I will be putting up in a day or two.  I will be hanging if from the soffit of the house so that it is in view of the cam.  Chris and Marlo had one last year and had lots of hummingbirds visit it.
    So I guess that about does it for another exciting journal.  Birds, blackflies, tourists and golf.  Not quite as exciting as in the winter, but the quiet is nice too.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
May 23-
    I'm going to catch flack for it, but I bugged out of a golf game this evening.  I actually played 4 holes and was shooting pretty good, a birdie, 2 pars and a double bogey, but the conditions just got a little too much for me.  Especially since I have the whole summer ahead of me to golf.  When we booked the tee time, it was in the upper 60's and sunny, perfect for a game.  By tee off time it was in the upper 40's and by the time we finished the 4th hole, it was 41 degrees with a west wind of 30 MPH.  To add insult to injury it also clouded over.  My hands are now just thawing out.  The rest of the foursome stayed with it, but I am glad I am in my nice warm home, sipping some hot apple pie.  For those of you that have tried the apple pie, you know how lucky I am right now.  It is even better warm.  Jim, don't worry, I have not given out the recipe, only tastes.
    I almost had a near disaster yesterday.  Took the dogs for our afternoon walk yesterday and when I got home, it smelled like someone had been lighting matches in my house.  I walked around trying to find the source of the smell, checking each room, even the basement, but could not really find anything.  I went back into my office and noticed the smell was a little stronger in there and then noticed my computer was frozen.  I tried to reboot it and nothing, it would not even restart with the button, so I just unplugged it.  The case was very warm and the smell was definitely coming from the computer I just had upgraded.  I called down to the company that did the upgrading and they told me to bring it down and they would look at it.  Turns out the cooling fan for the processor died and caused a bit of a meltdown.  The heat sink was still hot about 35 minutes after I had unplugged the machine, so it must have been really hot when I first unplugged it.  They replaced the processor, heat sink and cooling fan and all seems to be fine now.  I am going to turn the machine off when I leave the dogs at home.  Just to make sure it does not start a fire.  As long as I am here, I will not worry about it.
    So that is why I did not do a journal last night, I got home late from fixing the machine and was out of steam.  And I almost did not get one out tonight, because of golf.  But here I am.  I guess the first newsworthy item is that the Laurium Glacier melted yesterday.  I have not figured out who one yet, but will soon and we can get in touch so that I can mail down your prize.  It went faster than I thought it would.  I guess the 70's we had yesterday was the final straw.  Some other news of interest is that there was a fire up at Lac La Belle this afternoon.  I do not know all the details, but Al is a volunteer fireman for Hubbell and has a scanner at work in case he is needed.  Anyway, I stopped in to chat with him and there was a whole lot of chatter going on.  Turns out that there was some kind of a brush or forest fire near the intersection of the Lac La Belle Road and the Deer Lake Road.  The good news is that when we were golfing, we heard that the fire had been put out on his hand held.  They were pretty lucky, as the winds were really blowing today and we have not had much precip in the past 2 weeks, so things are pretty dry.  Not as dry as they were 2 years ago when we had the big fire near Rice Lake, but still, it could really have grown into a big fire, so I am glad that they were able to knock it down.  I don't know how many departments were there, but I would imagine at least 4-5, as the last call I heard went out to Allouez Township department for some help.  I do not think that there were any structures damaged.
    I brought the camera along on our afternoon walk yesterday.  We walked up the Hammell Creek to the first tracks (snowmobile trail).  Along the way we came across an area where a beaver had been pretty busy.  Looks like about 6 good sized birch have fallen victim.  I always wonder what they do with one of those big trees when they fell them.  They are way too big for the beaver to drag into the creek, but yet after a few days, the trees that have been knocked down are gone.  Yesterday I got my answer.  They chew the big pieces into smaller pieces and then drag them off into the creek.  What is also amazing to me is how fast they get things done.  I have seen three big trees felled in less than one day.
    I also came across a mushroom on my walk yesterday.  I am not a mushroom hunter and could not identify one to save my life, which could actually be the case if I liked to eat them.  Anyway, I took a shot of this one because I do remember some folks saying I should try and find some morels and I seem to remember seeing a picture of a morel so I thought I would take a picture of it and let you experts out there let me know just what it was.
    The warm temps have caused the trees to start to leaf out.  It is amazing how much the forest is transformed when it breaks dormancy.  It is almost like a totally different place all together.  I have been down trails in the summer and trails in the winter and at times it seems like they are not even the same trail at all.  Plus in the winter, many of the objects on the ground are completely covered in so, so you cannot use them for reference.  Soon the woods will be in full foliage and then 3 months later the colors will be starting to show.  However, for the next 3 months, it will be tourist season up here.  They have already started to arrive.  Touring campers are seen driving on HWY. 41 and I bet that even the Lake Linden campground might have a few motor homes in it.  The main tourist season will start in a few more weeks.  Up here, the real warm season cannot be counted on for sure until the days start to get shorter.  Kind of a weird thing, but we can still have cold days into the third week of June.  It is not even unheard of to have cool temps for the 4th of July, but that is a little more rare.  Of course we can also have temps in the 90's occur for a day or two from now into early September, but we are not really in the warm season just yet.  Our average high does not reach 70 until June 15th.
    So both the woods and roads are starting to come alive up here.  I guess the hounds and I will have to start going to our secret spots to make sure that we are alone.  Not that we are anti social, but it's nice to walk and let them roam as they please and not have to worry about them bothering anyone.  Maybe we can even find some new spots.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
May 19-
    I think that the weather is confused.  We have had snow fly on 3 out of the past 4 days.  Thursday, Friday and today some flurries flew.  Not enough to even accumulate, but still, to have snow fly so often this late in the season is very rare.  All the plants are on hold.  The trees started to open their buds, then stopped, my tulip heads are changing colors without opening, the grass I cut about a week ago has grown less than a half an inch and of course, not a bug to be found.  The paper had an interview with some expert that thought this season would be very bad as far as bugs are concerned.  I'm no expert on bugs, but I bet it might be better than usual, with the cold air keeping the first hatch at bay and possibly killing off some of the larvae.  Of course I could just be wishful thinking.
    The cold has not stopped the regularities of the region from happening.  The "bone yard" has been active all weekend with baseball games and practices.  Players braving the cold, winds and even some flakes of snow, baseball in the Keweenaw.  The brief, but intense construction season is in full gear.  Foundations have been poured for new buildings, renovations are going on with some older homes and roofs are being redone.  I suppose that many of the workers would prefer this weather to highs in the 80's and 90's.  I know I would if I were working outside.  Heck, I prefer it just for my adventures with the hounds.  The 80's and 90's are only acceptable to me if I am going swimming and the UP is not known for it's swimming water.  Not until the end of July and a few weeks in August anyway.  I hope to have an indoor pool in my "dream home", so that I can have a little of the tropics up here.  I was even thinking of getting one of those new outdoor pools with the inflatable ring that raises the sides as you fill it with water.  They have crashed in price from $500 to $150 for the size that I would like (15 feet x 3 1/2 feet deep).  However, with the way this "warm" season has been going so far, the pool might be used for hockey practice instead.  I just hope that we do not swing the other way and get thrown into a heat wave.  At least not up here.  The heat can get to about the WI-UP border, that is fine with me.
    With all the cold we have been having, the Laurium Glacier is still hanging on strong.  The question to me is: it will last into June?  I'd say that it will last at least another week.  We do look to warm up some, but not that warm.  The precip does not look to be that heavy either and some clouds will likely be rolling in when it gets warmest, so lots of factors will be combining to help keep it around for a while more.  However, we still have 11 more days before June arrives.  In any case, it has outlasted last years date for melting and we did not get nearly as much snow.  A testament to how cold this spring has been up here.
    On Thursday, the hounds and I took to the woods.  We went to a place we have never been and I bet a place that many of you have never been to, including the locals that are reading this.  I am not going to say just where we went.  Not yet anyway.  I will create an "Ask John" category and have all of you post your guesses.  No prize, sorry, just the gratification for being able to guess the mystery spot for our adventure on Thursday.
    There is something inherently exciting about things that are new - Toys under the tree on Christmas morning - A new car - New residence - New job- even a new toothbrush can provide a tiny bit of a rush.  For me, just going to a new place is exciting.  I suppose the same is true for just about everyone, that is what fuels the whole vacation travel industry.  If going somewhere new was not exciting, we all would just sit at home on our vacations.  Anyway, as I parked the car and opened the door for the hounds to get out, I had a sense of excitement and could actually feel it from the hounds too.  They know most of the places we have been to and I'm sure that they knew we had never been there before, or at least it seemed that way to them, so they had an extra spring in their step as they bounded out of the car and put nose to ground to examine the area.
    It will be interesting to me to see how many of you correctly guess where we went.  I will be providing photographic hints, lots of them, but none of them will be all that telling.  Like this one, we had to walk an old two track to get from where we parked the car to the beginning of our adventure.  In that spot, the path had actually all been worn down, but for most of the way, it was actually a true two track.  Our goal for the day was to find a certain river and on that river, to find some waterfalls.  As you can see, we were successful.  The hike from the car to the river was not too far and temps were only in the 40's, but still the hounds were heated up enough to want to cool off in the river.  Baileys even did a little salmon fishing, but came up empty.  I think that was a trout stream.
    The scenery was absolutely beautiful out there.  Of course, the fact that I had never been there and so everything I was seeing was new to me and that helped enhance the beauty, but still, the river literally cut it's way through the woods, with the trees overhanging the river in almost every foot of shoreline and the closest sign of civilization miles and miles away.  A true northwoods wilderness.  I decided to follow the river bank downstream to see if there were any more waterfalls.  The map said so, but you cannot always trust those maps.  The trek downstream provided many challenges.  At times we were able to walk right alongside the river and at other times we were forced to hike 100-150 feet above the river to get around areas that the river had carved an unwalkable cliff.  I wish that the last shot would have turned out better.  The camera looks to have problems with the whitewater on the river, but it was really a beautiful sight.  As I was taking the shot, all I could think of was "A River Runs Trough It".
    Back down at river level, we came across several places that looked to be very good fishing holes.  I did not see any fish swimming in them, but if I were a trout or a steelhead, I would hang out in some of the holes we came across.  I am not real big into fishing, too much sitting around and not enough action.  However, I think I might be able to get into fly fishing.  It looks like it would provide enough activity and challenge to keep me interested.  I do not like to eat fish, so it would all be for the fun of it.  I suppose surrounded in all that beauty would even make getting skunked a successful adventure.
    We continued downstream, sometimes the hounds would lead and at other times I would.  We had been hiking the river bank for about an hour and my objective had then become to get to the big lake.  I knew that there was an old road that was near where the river met the lake and we could hike the road back to the car and save time.  What I did not know was that we were still a ways away from the lake.  I heard some rumbling and thought that it was the wave action and that we were close to the big lake.  As it turns out, it was not the big lake at all, but another set of falls.  Another half hour of hiking and some more rumbling...the lake or more falls?  More falls.  I was not worried, but was wondering exactly when we would get to the lake.  My leg was starting to get a bit sore and I could tell the hounds were starting to feel a little tired too.  They stop running all over the place and stick pretty close to me when they start to tire.
    After that last set of falls, we walked for another 15 minutes or so and I could start to smell the big lake.  Actually the big lake does not have much of a smell, but what it does is start to overpower the other smells of the woods.  The scent of fir and hemlock start to get washed out by the pureness of the airmass from Lake Superior.  I suppose that the lake does have a scent.  It smells like nothing at all.  Just pure, clean air.  Something that some folks in the big cities actually pay for. Then after a few more hundred feet, I could hear another roar.  Knowing that there are no falls where the river meets the lake, I knew it must be the lake and it was.
    There was no rejoicing or jumping for joy at the sight of the lake, I knew we would get to it sooner or later, but there was a sense of accomplishment and a bit of a relief that we had finally made it.  It actually reminded me a lot of my childhood and when we would take trips to Florida.  We rarely flew the 1200 miles from Chicago to the southern Gulf Coast, so that meant 1200 miles in a vehicle.  My parents liked to drive straight through and before it was all interstate, that meant in good weather the trip would take 27 hours, sometimes with five people in a 4 door sedan.  A few times we were delayed even longer by things like a semi heading in the opposite direction skidding on ice and jackknifing into the median, kicking up a wall of snow and mud that proceeded to smash our windshield.  Thankfully we all were ok, but talk about a rude awakening.  I was riding shotgun with my dad driving and he awoke me at about 1 am just in time to see the truck's trailer go into the median, head right towards us, and then a wall of black come towards our station wagon at the closure rate of about 100 mph.  I honestly thought it was the trailer and we were all about to die.  No death, but my dad's fingers were cut by some of the shards of glass that came in on us.  I think it was a small miracle that the windshield did not come crashing in on us with the force of the mud, snow and ice.  Then there was the forest fire in Florida that closed the interstate for a while and of course I cannot leave out the fog banks in the Appalachians or the traffic jams in cities like Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta and even Tampa.  So the trips were sometimes more of a journey.  At the end of the journey, we would get out of the car and the first thing we would see, hear and smell was the Gulf of Mexico washing up on the beach.  That end of the trip ritual actually left a deep imprint on my memory and if I close my eyes, I can actually relive the end of the drive to florida ritual.
    So after hiking through the woods, over rocks, over and under logs, up and down steep embankments, following the twists and turns of the river and finally breaking out of the woods and onto the beach, with the sight, sound and smell of Lake Superior, it felt just like the Florida journey's end ritual, minus the tropical heat.  Our mission had been accomplished, it was all downhill from there.  In reality, it was all uphill.  The car was parked about 2-3 miles away from where we were standing and about 600-700 feet higher, but figuratively, it was all downhill.  We made excellent time on the walk back to the car on a path made by vehicles.  Comparing the hike down to the lake to the walk back to the car is like comparing a drive through the inner city to a drive on an open highway.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, or in this case the walk.  We made it back to the car in about 45 minutes.  All quite tired, but also very rejuvenated.  We had explored lots of new territory, seen lots of new and exciting things and accomplished our mission.  Dinner tasted extra good and the bed felt extra good.
    So now it is up to you all to try and figure out where it is we went.  I will eventually say where, but will let you all guess for a few days.  It is a special trip that I am sure I will do again sometime.  Maybe even with a fly rod in hand.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
May 15-
    Greetings from a mild Keweenaw.  As I type this, my thermometer says 68.6 degrees.  That is warmer than it has been in about 2 weeks and as warm as it will get for at least 5 days, possibly more.  The forecast actually looks to provide the chance for some lake effect rain and snow showers Friday and Saturday.  It is really something how we have been stuck in such a cool pattern.  My tulips have yet to open up and I finally cut the grass for the first time yesterday.  It barely even needed it, more like a trim than a cut.  There are a few buds starting to open up.  I took the hounds for a walk in the woods yesterday and spotted this opened bud.  Don't know what kind of tree it was on, but it was a popular one, as there were lots of those flowering buds out there.  My guess is mountain ash.  That species seems to be the first for lots, first to open it's buds and first to have it's leaves change.  The rest of the trees are still quite bare.  It is actually hard to picture the trees with leaves on them.  They have been bare for seven and a half months and in about 4 months the colors will be getting underway and will be at peak in 4 and 1/2 months.
    I actually do not mind that it has been cool.  I can handle the cold better than the warmth.  Of course if it were to be consistently in the 60's rather than the 40's and 50's it would make golf a little more enjoyable.  I have gone out the past three days to play.  Monday is was fairly chilly.  A shirt, fleece jacket and wind breaker were needed.  Yesterday just a shirt and wind breaker and today, just a shirt.  The men's league I signed up for starts next Tuesday and I have to establish a handicap first.  To establish the handicap I need 5 - 9 hole rounds.  I have three done and 2 to go.  With temps not indicated to climb out of the 40's until possibly Sunday, I think I will be taking the next few days off.  Looks like I will have a big juicy handicap to start the season!
    I haven't gone on any new and exciting explorations this week.  Been too busy golfing.  I do want to check out some waterfalls I have never been to.  Things have dried up enough that we should be able to get into them.  Maybe we can do that tomorrow.  Most of our walks have been close to the house.  Still very enjoyable, but just not that exciting for all of you.  I did take the camera along on our walk yesterday.  I did not have much time, so we just walked out to the snowmobile trail that runs from the main trail to the Maple Leaf Bar and then off to Gay.  One of my favorite spots on the trail is where it runs along the Traprock.  When I first moved up here, three years ago to the day yesterday, one of our first walks was out along that trail.  In just a few steps from my house we were in the wilderness and I could not believe how lucky I was to have this so close.  I even thought that it would be neat to try and buy some property along the Traprock.  However, seeing it actually rise higher than the trail we were walking on in the spring thaw, I think that I will avoid any flood threat areas.  It is really beautiful, but flooded homes are no fun.  Even the Hammell Creek is running pretty high still.
    As I just mentioned, yesterday was my 3 year anniversary of moving up here.  I can remember a lot of the details like it was just yesterday.  It was such an important transition in my life, maybe the most important, that I think I will remember a lot of those details for a long time.  Making the move to this area has not been all that I thought it would be, it has been more.  The quality of life could not be any better.  The cleanest air in the nation, when the skies are blue, they are a blue found nowhere else.  It is so easy to find a spot to go and sit and not hear or see another sole.  You hear just the winds whistling through the branches and an occasional bird call.  For someone like me who thrives on the outdoors, I don't think that there is a better place in the world.  There may be some that are just as good, but not better.  Even the outdoor magazines have found us and rank us in the top ten places to live in the nation.  I guess the only downside is that I have all these projects I would like to get done and they just keep piling up.  It's a good thing I don't own a boat or 4 wheeler, I might never get anything done!
    Well, I have been sitting here for about 10 minutes, trying to think of something else to say and am drawing a blank.  I suppose it does not help that the TV is on, but I really seem to be stumped.  I suppose that in an hour or so, as I am going to sleep, all these ideas will come racing into my head.  But for now I am drawing a blank.  If anyone has any ideas, please e mail me and I'll try to accommodate them.  I guess that does it for now.
- JD-
May 12-
    Once again, I have been away longer than I would like to have been, but since my last entry on Wednesday I was a guest speaker at a Lions Club meeting Thursday evening and then Friday and Saturday I go into "weekend mode" and did not really feel like sitting down to write a journal.  Actually, Friday night I went out to dinner with friends and we then took a drive around the Keweenaw a bit, so I would not have been able to anyway.  I do have some shots to share with you and hopefully I can share some interesting tidbits from the past few days.
    When I last left you, we had snow on the ground and were getting ready for a big blow.  All told, I got about 3" of snow here at my house, but some areas in the higher terrain of Keweenaw County picked up about 6" and there were unofficial reports of some heavier snows in southern Baraga County.  Some of the snows actually hung around till Friday, but was all gone by Saturday.  We did get the big blow later Thursday and into early Friday.  Winds gusted to near 60 MPH Friday morning.  I did not loose power, but it did flicker at about 6:30, right at the time that some neighboring communities did loose their power.  I was very grateful that I did not loose power, especially at that time.  I am smack in the middle of my main workload.  I should really get a little generator so that I can get through my morning work even if I loose power.  A backup power supply would not last me long enough.  Just another thing on the list of "wants".
    I did manage to get over to the big lake Thursday, just as the waves were beginning to build.  However, the wind had only been blowing for a few hours, so the waves were only about 3-4 feet high.  I really wish that I could have busted loose from work Friday morning and gone over to see them then.  I would imagine that they were at least 10-12 feet high.  Winds were sustained at about 35 MPH with lots of gusts into the upper 40's and low 50's, but did begin to back down by about mid morning Friday.  My travels Friday evening for dinner to me to Eagle Harbor, then we took a drive the long way home via Lac La Belle, Gay and Mohawk.  We saw tons of deer as the sun was setting.  Looks like this season was very kind to the population up here.  I do not remember seeing so many deer this early in the year.  I think I will limit my travels around sunset and keep my eyes out the rest of the time.  Yesterday I even saw a coyote cross the road about 200 feet in front of me.
    Yesterday was probably the nicest day we have had up here in a long time.  I was asked to go golfing with friends, but already had plans to do some hiking with other friends.  The hiking friends called to cancel at the last moment, but it was too late to go golfing, so the hounds and I made the hike anyway.  Had a great time hiking, but also missed one of my friends making a hole in one!  Yep, one bounce and straight into the cup.  I have never seen one live, only on TV.  The closest I have come is about 6", way back when I was still using my driver to reach a par 3!  Anyway, the hounds and I took to Keweenaw County for our hike and to be more specific, Mount Bohemia.  Obviously all the skiing is over for the season and the hill is nice and quiet, perfect for the Three Musketeers to do some exploring.  It's a steep climb and a good workout.  I get jealous of the hounds, being able to run up and down the hill like nobody's business.  About two thirds of the way up, I stopped to catch my breath and looked over to watch the hounds explore some rocks.  Here is a shot of Baileys doing some exploring, with Lac La Belle and Deer Lake in the background, about 600 feet below.
    We did make it to the summit, er... top and did some exploring on the back side.  I thought we were following a sign that pointed to some backcountry runs, but if where we were walking was a ski run, anybody going down it would be nuts!  I doubt I would even take my sled through there and you have seen some of the places I have taken my sled!  Anyway, things were a bit wet and the bush was pretty tangled, so we did not last too long on the back side, but we did manage to find some snow still hanging on.  I know I have said this many times, but I am just amazed to still find snow out in the woods, especially when all of it was put there by mother nature and it has remained there by the same force.  To think that 6 years ago, they were still able to ride sleds around where we were hiking.  Brian said that their last ride was May 16th that year!  Wha!  I wonder how I would like that?  I suppose that I probably would love it.  As long as there is enough snow to play in, I like it.  I would not want it to last forever, I do like the change of seasons, but I could handle playing in it till the middle of May I suppose.
    On the way back down, I snapped a shot of Gratiot Lake off in the distance.  It was only about a month ago we were still snowmobiling on it.  The way up is harder on my heart and lungs, but the way down is actually a lot harder on the legs and also harder to accomplish without falling.  Here is a look at the the view on the way down.  You can make out the yurts at the bottom of the ski hill and barely even see my car just to their left.  It's a big hill huh?  We managed to make it down the hill without incident and after all the exercise, we decided to head over to Bete Gris and go for a dip in the big lake.  Well, the hounds did anyway.  No shots of them swimming, but here is a shot of the Bear Bluffs, just east of Bete Gris.
    We came across some more snow on our drive home from our adventures up by Lac La Belle.  This snow was put there by the road commission as they cleared the road to Lac La Belle.  Still impressive to see, but it did not have the same impact as coming across some snow out in the bush.  It was great to get out and do some exploring.  I'll have to look to the maps and find some new places to go before the bugs get too bad.  I know there are some waterfalls I have never been to, so maybe I'll have to figure out how to get to them and take some shots.  'Till, then...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
May 8-
    Just when I thought it was safe to put the winter boots away until next October!  I awoke and a few snowflakes were just starting to fall.  The flakes picked up in intensity and before too long, all was white.  May 8th, over 7 months since the first flakes of the season flew and the snow is still coming.  Here is a shot from the Al Cam from this morning.  It actually really started to come down and for a brief moment I found myself hoping for enough to play in!  I figured as long as we had to deal with the snow, it may as well be enough to do something in.  We ended up with about 2" here in the valley and about 3-4" up on the hill.  Not quite enough to play in.  I have some flowers that came up the other day.  Not sure what they are, but here they are, trying to hide from the snowThe tulips seem to have had better sense, keeping their flowers from opening up yet.  The snows changed over to rain at about 3 pm today and now everything is just a big slushy mess.  With a little luck it will all melt overnight or by tomorrow early and we can dry things out.  The hounds and I had to slop through the slush in a wind driven rain and temps in the upper 30's on our afternoon walk.  Not that much fun at all, at least for me.  They were just glad to finally get out of the house and did not seem to mind the weather conditions at all.  I have a golf tournament to play in this Saturday, so I hope things can warm up just a bit.  I'd rather not play in my snowmobile suit.
    Yesterday was quite different around here.  We rose into the low 50's and had tons of sun.  With the sun angle so high (just as high as it is at the beginning of August), even when it is only 50 out it feels pretty warm.  Our afternoon walk was much more enjoyable yesterday.  I decided to take the hounds on one of our traditional autumn walks, starting out up by the village water tower, then walking the snowmobile trail for a bit until we hit the trail heading up to the old quarry and then head east on a side trail and eventually back down south to the village.  I say this is a traditional autumn walk because the colors are usually unbelievable in the autumn.  Of course there were not a whole lot of colors, even green, but the quarry always provides a good swim for the hounds.  As you could see, we were not the only ones checking out the quarry yesterday.  First time we have come across anyone else.
    Even though the trees are still totally bare, the woods are very beautiful.  Walking along a trail like this, with the strong may sun beating down on my face and the northwoods smell of fir trees is really spectacular.  I often wonder what I would be doing at that moment if I had chosen to stay in the big city and chase the big bucks.  The thoughts of sitting in an office, breathing recycled air to the hum of all that office equipment make me very glad that I made the choice I made.  I am also very grateful that I was able to make the choices I made.
    Anyway, back to the walk.  If early indications are any true sign, this could be a very good year for bird hunters this fall.  Last season we were hard pressed to see any partridge on our walks and now it seems like we can't go anywhere without flushing a few.  It is not the most pleasant thing to experience, with the bird waiting until the last moment to explode, and I mean explode, from their hiding spot before taking flight.  Sometimes the hounds will flush the bird out before I am too close, but in most cases, they are behind me sniffing something and I am the one doing the flushing.  Not something for someone with a heart condition.
    We also came across some snow still in the woods.  Of course, the woods are totally white right now, but it was a pretty neat to be walking along and come across a patch of snow still hanging on.  Especially since it was not put there by a plow or even by the drifting of snow.  It was just in a spot that was sheltered from the sun.  It makes me wonder if we did not have the big thaw we had the second and third week of April, if we would still have snow around right now.  The Laurium Glacier has not melted much in the past 2 weeks and looks like it may outlast last years date.  Especially if the current forecast for cool temps through the next week to ten days pans out.
    Well, I guess that will do it for now.  We are suppose to have 50 mph winds tomorrow from the west, so maybe I'll head out to the big lake to catch some wave action.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
May 6-
    Well, the pressure is on me now.  The hound's journal entry sure did get a lot of favorable feedback.  I am a bit worried that I can live up to their work.  Actually, they get the advantage of not having to try and come up with new and exciting things as often as I do, so I guess I can use that as an excuse for not being able to produce up to their standards.  At any rate, the pressure is on.
    I do not have much to talk about.  I guess I can talk a little about the weather.  We had a pretty nice weekend.  Saturday surprised us with temps of about 70 degrees.  That was only about 15 degrees warmer than the bonehead weather guy's were saying what it would get too, me included.  Of course, if you are going to error, error on the poor side, that way not too many people will complain when the weather is better than you said it would be.  We did have a cold front move through at about 3 pm and the temps dropped about 25 degrees in less than 2 hours.  Sunday was also pretty nice, not as warm, but still pretty sunny and temps in the 50's.  Today we were back into the cold, with temps only in the mid 40's and a thick overcast.  Almost felt like it could snow, but when the precip did come, it was all rain.  I do not mind the cool weather all that much.  It is comfortable to walk in and the hounds do not get hot.  Although, if things do not warm soon, I may have to go into hiding soon, as the natives are getting pretty restless for the warmer temps to arrive.  We have a day like Saturday occur and it teases all of us.  Even the trees seem to be chomping at the bit to break out their leaves.  The buds have been cracked for about a week now, but that is it.  No signs of leaves yet.  All the trees are still totally bare.  It's not that we are suppose to be too warm at this time of the year anyway, our average high for the date is only 57 degrees, but we have just been so consistently cold.
    Enough of the weather talk.  I do have 2 pictures to share with you.  On Saturday the hounds and I took to the beach with the warm and sunny weather.  I decided to head to the north shore to see if all the ice was gone from the shoreline.  Last time we were there, there was a lot of ice along the shore, but not anymore.  The shore was freed of the icy grip it had been held in for the past 5 months and the big lake was able to wash up onto it again.  It is always fun to walk the beach soon after the ice breakup.  Most of the things washed up in the fall storms or even trapped in the ice and then deposited with the melt are still there.  The nice thing is that most of the objects are not trash, but are big pieces of driftwood, or old pieces of dock or maybe even some old boat that was crushed in the autumn storms.  There are also tons of interesting rocks.  I am not an agate hunter, but bet that passed a ton of them on the walk Saturday.  There's also lots of smaller pieces of driftwood, perfect for tossing out into the lake so that the hounds could swim out and bring them back in.  The system is Burt swims out and gets the stick and Baileys waits for him on shore, then tries to steal it.  Sometimes she gets it and sometimes not.
    I really like taking them to swim in the big lake.  They come home all nice and clean and when they are dry, their fur is so soft.  I just love to rub my hands through it.  Just like puppy fur.  The only downside is that sand usually ends up in my bed.  Sunday night I actually had both a wet and sandy bed.  I had to wash the sheets to get the sand out.  Today we stayed away from the beach.
    I had a productive weekend, getting all my spring cleaning done inside and out.  The lawn is fertilized and I got the lawnmower going.  Not much else to do except sit around and watch the grass grow.  I hope it does warm some soon.  I have a golf tournament to play in this Saturday and the men's league will be starting soon.  The course I usually play is not even open yet.  It's up on the hill near Calumet and still has some wet spots.  Other courses have been open for a couple of weeks now.  Maybe I should get a rebate on my season pass!
    So I guess that about does it for now.  The hounds say hi and thanks to all that wrote in and said they enjoyed their entry.  I am sure that they will be stepping in and doing another sometime soon.  Although right now I can hear them getting ready for bed. Sounds like a good idea to me, so until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
May 2-
    Hi everyone, this is Bailey's and this is Burt.  Dad was trying to write a journal yesterday and got all frustrated because he did not have anything to write about, so we told him to not worry about it, pull himself away from the computer and take us for a walk.  It worked, he took us for a walk yesterday evening (third one for the day) and did not try anymore to do a journal.  Before we went to bed last night, we said that we had an idea, we would write the journal tomorrow night (tonight) and tell everyone about our day.  All dad had to do was take some pictures of us in action.  He said it sounded like a great day, and we went to bed.
    Dad's day starts very early, we think it starts before the day does, it is still dark out so it must still be the night.  So while he is working in his office down the hall, we are still sleeping.  Sometimes all his typing on the computer and talking on the radio wakes us up, we sure wish that he could sleep in a little more and start work a little later, but dad says that because he starts work so early he can take us on all the fun explorations in the afternoon.  So we guess it's ok.
    Baileys wakes up at about 6:30 and walks down to keep dad company as he is working.  We think that is why dad calls Baileys his 6:30 girl sometimes.  Sometimes he calls her the cute little short snout girl, we have not been able to figure that one out yet.  We do not know what a snout is.  Burt likes to get more sleep.  He stays in the bedroom until he hears the printer printing out all the pages of work that dad creates.  He knows that the printer means dad is just about done with his work and it will then be time for one of our favorite times of the day...BREAKFAST!  Dad forgot to take a picture of us eating our breakfast, but it was good.  He's really a good cook.  On Sundays he makes us all pancakes.  Every Sunday, pancake day!  MMMM!  Anyway, today was regular food, but we still loved it.
    After breakfast dad lets us out do go to the bathroom and we asked that he not take a picture of us doing that, so don't worry.  Dad has to do more work after we eat breakfast, then he has breakfast and takes a shower, then he has to do some more work, but at 10:30 he takes his "coffee break" and we go for a short walk around the neighborhood.  We love walks, almost as much as we like to eat.  If we could walk to a place and then be able to eat there, we would probably be the happiest.  Anyway, we get really excited to go for our morning walk, here's a shot of us waiting to get out of the back yard to start the walk.  We can only go for about 15 minutes, so we walk real fast.  Sometimes too fast.  One or both of us will be busy sniffing something and dad has to pull us along so that we are not out too long.  We know that the morning walk is a short one and fast one, that is why we call it the "shorty", but we still like to see what we can get away with as far as sniffing is concerned.  Sniffing stuff is very fun for dogs.  Today we did most of the pulling, just to show off how good we are to all of you.  It was snowing on our morning shorty this morning!  Crazy!  We think it would be warmer out by this time, that is why we have been shedding all of our winter coats.
    After the morning shorty, dad has to do more work (he works a lot), we think that work is pretty boring stuff so we just usually take a napNaps are good for you.  Notice how Baileys was on the couch?  Dad has really gotten laid back in his old age.  A few years ago we could have never gone on that couch.  We have our own and we have always been able to go on that.  That is what we were on in the first picture of us sleeping this morning.  It has been our couch since we were little puppies.  Dad brought it all the way from Illinois for us when we moved up here.  He even took the window out so that he and grandpa could get it into the house for us.  They are so great for doing that!  Anyway, dad is pretty cool for letting us on the other couches, we a good and don't mess them up or anything.
    After our nap and more work for dad, it is treat time!  We each get a little rawhide to chew on.  We really like these things because we get to chew and chew and chew on them.  They taste pretty good and also help to keep our teeth nice and clean.  Someday we will smile for all of you and show you how nice and white our teeth are.  Problem is, we have not learned how to smile yet, every time we try, our tails wag!  Must be some kind of a crossed wire or something.  Dad says he likes they way dogs smile better anyway.  After our treat, dad usually finishes up his morning work and then has lunch.  After lunch he does a little more work and then WE are all done with our work for the day! and can go play!
    Today he took us into the woods to a place we had never been before.  Since we had never been there before, we had lots of sniffing to do.  Dad is not in a big hurry on the afternoon walks, so we get to sniff as much as we want and we also get to stay out for much longer.  Anyway, we had a blast today.  We were walking through the woods and there wasn't even a path!  We were true explorers!   We saw deer and bear poop and even got to chase some partridge from their hiding spots under some trees.  Dad kept asking us if he should buy the place we were walking through.  We are not sure what "buy" means, but we liked that place and would like to go there lots more, so if buy means that we can go there more times to explore, then we would like that.  Here's a shot of us posing in today's play spot.
    After the walk we stopped off at the post office and dad got his mail, then we went back home and got more treats!  We really needed those ones, as we were hungry from all of our exploring and dinner time was still a few hours away.  After the treats, dad went somewhere called "Al's shop".  Were not sure where that is, we know what "shopping" is and we know what the "store" is, or favorite is the doggy store, where we get to go in.  They do not have any up here, but had them where we used to live and there is one near grandma's and grandpa's.  Doggy stores are a great thing.  We get to sniff all kinds of treats and say hi to all the people and other dogs.  Anyway, we do not go with dad when he goes to Al's shop, but that is ok, we can usually use a nap before dinner and take one.  However, we are always listening for the garage door to go up and as soon as we hear it, we run as fast as we can to the door to wait for him to come inside the house.  Every time he comes home, we make sure to be there at the door and wag our tails as hard as we can.  Even if he is gone just 5 minutes, we do it like we have not seen him for days.  It really makes dad happy, with his face becoming all bright and a big human smile showing up.  He always bends down to give us hugs and jokes to us and says "Oh good, there are two doggies here, when I left there were two doggies and I'm glad that there are still two doggies here", like where would we go?
    It is usually dinner time when he gets back from Al's shop or working out or riding his snowmobile, or whatever he is doing when he leaves us at home.  We really like dinner too.  Our favorite is spaghetti, but we only get that on our birthday.  Sometimes we get to have some of the stuff dad had for dinner, but not very often.  It is good though.  We like dad's food too.  Anyway, here is a shot of us having our dinner tonight.  After we and dad eat dinner, we usually go for a walk.  Sometimes there are other dogs or humans out walking and we get to say hi to them.  We love saying high to everyone and lots of people know us and love to say hi too.  We are lucky to be living here.  Lots of very nice people and all the woods to explore a dog could ever ask for.  Thanks for moving up here dad!!!
    Well, this writing a journal is hard work.  No wonder why dad only does it a few times a week.  Sheesh, I think that we need to take another nap.  Actually it is past our bed time.  Time to hit the couch and start dreaming we are chasing something!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
-Baileys and Burt
    Hi, this is John writing now.  I hope you enjoyed Burt and Baileys journal.  I am glad that they took over for tonight, as I really was at a loss for what to write.  I only have one picture to share with you all, it is of the Laurium Glacier taken yesterday.  Still hanging in there and almost 2 weeks away from last years melting date.  It will be interesting to see how it holds up.  Some warmer weather coming next week.  Finally!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-