Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
July 30-
    I thought I had better get a quick journal out for a couple of reasons.  One, it has been 5 days since I last did one.  Two, we have to go to Marquette this afternoon and will not be back until later this evening, so I will likely be too tired to do one tonight and lastly, it is almost the last day of the month and I should get one done by then as well.  I really do not have much to say.  It sure seems like less than 5 days since I last did a journal.  The weekend was rather uneventful.  I was able to get rid of most of what I wanted to at the garage and have a little extra spending change as a result.  Plus I do not have the items cluttering up my garage, basement and closets anymore.  it got a little warm over the weekend, with Sunday being a truly intolerable day, with temps in the upper 80's and low 90's and dewpoints in the low 70's.  Thanks to air conditioning and the lakeshore, we all were able to remain comfortable.  That, by the way, was only the second "truly" intolerable day.  The count for "my" intolerable days is up to 8, but the guidelines for those are days are much more strict and are when the temps rise above the mid 70's and the dewpoint is above 60.  So, as you can see, this has not been a very hot or humid summer at all and it looks like we will remain tolerable through the weekend and early next week, with temps in the upper 60's and low 70's.
    We have also been missing a lot of the rains lately.  I think our last big rain was back at the beginning of July.  We have had a few showers and storms roll through from time to time, but for the most part, the rains have either died while trying to reach the Keweenaw from the west, or fired up just after passing the Keweenaw, or passing to the north or south.  It is strange how that will happen almost every summer.  It might have a little to do with the lake, but some of the cases actually go just the opposite of the lake killing the thunderstorm principle, as we will have storms come at us from the west and sustain themselves as they cross the lake, then fall apart just as they reach the peninsula.  Today it did rain and the storms held together.  It also looks like rains could fall for parts of the next 4 days, so that should help get us caught up in the moisture department.  My grass will be happy, as it was starting to brown and Nora will be happy that she does not need to water the garden.  Speaking of the garden, I think that we will actually have quite a harvest.  We still have at least 6-8 weeks left until a threat for frost arrives and most of the plants are busy flowering or filling.  I may even have a watermelon!  There are a few on the vines and one is further along than the others.  A few days ago it was the size of a pea, then the next day the size of a super ball and I bet it could be closing in on the size of a tennis ball in a day or two.  Now I just need to find out how to tell when it is ripe.  I think you can tap the outside and tell by the sound it makes.  Anybody know?
    On Monday, it cooled enough that we could get out and about a bit.  We decided to head up to "the property" as it is know by the hounds to see if the thimbleberries were ready for picking and just to look things over in general.  I sure do get excited every time I go out there, imagining having my dream home out there and finally living in the deep woods.  That shot was actually taken where I plan to build the home.  It is a small area that has been partially cleared, so will not be as much work to clear as other areas.  It is close enough to the road that I will not have too long a driveway (150-200 ft) to clear and maintain, but far enough into the woods so that I will not be able to see or hear the road, and the persons driving along the road will be able to see in.  I have always wanted to live in a home surrounded by woods.  If all goes as planned, that dream could be coming true in about 5 years or so.  I have my steps I want to take and also want to finance as little as possible, that is the reason for the 5 year plan.  I actually have not even completely settled on exactly where the home and pole barn will go on the clearing and I want to talk to some log home builders in the area to get info from them before I settle on an exact layout.
    The bugs were not bad at all at the property.  That actually says a lot, as just a few weeks ago when I went in there, I was almost eaten alive by misquitos.  I suppose the dry weather may have something to do with it, but it is also getting to that time of the summer that I consider to be the best, the time when temps are not hot and the bugs are not much of a problem.  Even the horseflys, Deerflys and other biting flys are not an issue.  I must say, before moving up here, I always heard the horror stories about the bugs up here, but they are not that bad.  In fact, I would have to say that the misquitos are less of an issue in most areas up here than where I came from.  The deep woods, such as my property did get pretty nasty at the end of June and into most of July, but other areas up here were not too bad.  I can see that one of the first items I will be getting once I develop the property is the propane misquito traps now available.  Probably more than one!
    The other part of Monday's trip was to go and check out a local swimming hole up near Mohawk.  It is an old flooded quarry where come local boys have set up a tree swing to fly out into the water on.  When we got there, the hounds were really wanting to go for a swim and the fact that some boys were swinging out on the rope and dropping into the water only caused them to be more excited.  However, the bank where the swing is located is about 5-6 feet high and you have to climb up a handmade ladder to get out of the water there, so we looked for a spot to take them that they could climb out of the water and found one and let them swim and fetch some sticks.  It also afforded me a good view of the boys dropping off the swing into the water and after about 4 or 5 tries (the camera has a second or two lag between when you push the shutter button to when the picture is actually taken) I finally got a shot of one of the guys airborne.  Being at the quarry, on a summers day, watching the boys swing out into the water sure seemed as small town - middle America as you can get.  Needless to say, at that moment, I was not missing the corner of LaSalle and Jackson in any way, shape or form!
    Well, that is all the pictures I have and I am out of time.  I need to get more work done before heading off to Marquette.  So until next time...
Good night (afternoon really) from the Keweenaw..
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July 25-
    If it's any consolation to those of you waiting for a new journal, I have been meaning to write one for the past few days, but it seems like by the time things settle down enough to write, I am out of steam for the day.  I guess that is one of the side effects of getting up at 4:45 am every morning, I pretty much hit the wall at 8 pm.  So here it is, 4 pm on a Friday afternoon, I could be out golfing, or at the beach or in the woods, but no, I am here, writing a journal.  Is that dedication or what?!  Actually to be honest with you, the temps are in the low 80's and the dewpoint has risen, plus the sun is a bit too strong for my taste- given the temps and humidity, so I am just as happy to be in my air conditioned office as anywhere.  Nora is currently manning a garage sale.  Not at our house, but at her aunts.  We combined junk....er..forces and decided to try and get rid of it.  So far so good, the main item I wanted to unload I was able to, my old snowthrower.  Sold it for 40 bucks to a couple from Iron River.  Most of the other stuff I am not too concerned about.  They are either cloths that I can take to Goodwill, or are small enough that they can either be thrown away or put back in the nooks and crannies from where they came.  We have one more day, so maybe more will be sold then.
    With the exception of this afternoon, we have had another perfect week of weather.  Temps in the upper 60's and low 70's for highs, dewpoints in the 40's and 50's and overnight lows in the 40's and 50's as well.  That has allowed us to have our pick of places to go to explore and we have done both the beach scene and woods scene this week.  On Monday it was the woods.  Even though Burt looked like he was about to pass out in that last shot, it was a pretty cool day.  Nora even wore a jacket.  With the rains we have had this summer, the woods have managed to stay very green and the wildflowers are also very healthy this year.  The days when the temps are on the cool side up here seem more like the beginning of Autumn rather than the hottest part of the summer.  Walking in the woods and seeing a bit of autumn color also helped to push the false notion that it was September.  That was the only tree we saw like that and I am betting that it has some kind of health problems, not the fact that autumn is here or anything like that.  However, today our average high actually went down, from 77 to 76.  I guess you could say we are over the hump and it is all down hill from here huh?  Well, I am not at that mindset just yet.  August can provide some pretty hot temps in the Midwest and even though I only see one "intolerable" day in the next week to ten days, maybe more, I think I will wait until about Labor Day to get really excited about no more heat.
    Anyway, back to our walk, Nora had her eyes on the lookout for wildlife and it paid off as we were finishing up our walk.  She spotted a deer hiding in the woods.  If you had troubles spotting the deer, don't worry, so did I.  Thankfully it stayed put long enough for me to spot it and take a picture of it.  However, if you still could not find it, here is a shot zoomed in as far as it would go and from a better vantage point.  If you still could not see that, may I suggest a good eye Dr and please do not come to the Keweenaw to deer hunt this autumn!  Speaking of deer, one morning in the past week, Burt got all excited about something out front.  I did not hear a noise, so I asked him to be quiet.  He refused to be quiet and seemed really excited about something.  He is not one to disobey that often and the types of sounds he was making usually means there is something very interesting out front, not just the local cat, or a rabbit or squirrel.  I was actually thinking it might be a bear, as there as been one that was visiting the village during the 4th of July holiday period.  It turns out there was buck in the front yard and was about 10 feet away from the window.  He could hear Burt making a big fuss as we had the window open (probably could have heard Burt with the window closed too), but was just keeping very still, looking towards the house and where all the noise was coming from.  I'm not totally sure what was going through his mind, but it must have been something to do with an exit strategy, as a few moments later, he bolted across the front lawn and off into the woods to the north.  One thing that amazes me it Burt must have smelled the buck, as I doubt it made much noise, at least enough noise that Burt would have noticed.  Burt does know all about deer and their scent, but it is pretty cool to think that he could smell it all the way in the house.
    On Wednesday, it was starting to get a little warm, not hot, but warm enough that the hounds would have been too hot in the woods, so we took to the beach.  I was wanting to go to the north shore, as what wind we had was out of the NW, but I did not feel like dealing with all the rocks at the Tamarack Waterworks, so I decided on 5 Mile Point. Now, if it sounds like I am bossy and call all the shots on what we do or where we go, well you are right on.  The man is the boss and that is just the way it is.  Just kidding!  Nora actually wants me to come up with the places to go on most days.  Occasionally she will come up with a spot and we go there.  Some of the spots she comes up with are spots I have never been to, so it is even more fun. The lake is still plenty cool, so it was very comfortable to be on the beach, temps were in the upper 60's and there was just enough of a breeze to keep things fresh.  After lots of stick fetching, a stroll along the beach and some more stick fetching, we were on our way home for dinner and a nap.
    Nora has been out and about with the camera and was able to capture another winner.  This time it is a shot of one of her roses with a visitor on it.  The garden is also producing.  We used the lemon basil on some chicken the other day.  Man does that stuff taste and smell good!  I have a few watermelon blooms, but I seriously doubt that we will have enough summer to finish them out.  Peppers are about ready for harvest and some cucumbers are on their way.  Best of all (if you ask me) is the first few raspberries have also been consumed.  None have actually made it into the house yet.  They have all been the vine to mouth kind, but this is just the advance guard, the main body will be ready in another week or so.
    The only other item I have to share with you is some information I got from the Keweenaw Tourism Council about the grooming operations for the upcoming season.  They will be keeping one groomer in Copper Harbor, one in Copper CIty, one in Hubbell and another in South Range at the snowmobile club.  That sounds like a really good setup to me.  Having them spread out like that will mean that it will be easier for all the trails to get done.  It also sounds like each groomer will have a territory and the fact that one will be kept in Copper City means that the stretch from Copper City to Phoenix will be done at least twice a day.  So that all sounds like good news to me.
    I have just one last shot to share with you.  Nora is right now baking some cookies.  Burt got wind of this and positioned himself for the beater.  About the same time, I moved into position for the beater.  It looked like a battle was brewing, but somehow we managed to work things out.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
July 20-
    I must really be getting spoiled with all the wonderful weather we have been having, because today is in the mid to upper 70's, with a dewpoint in the low 60's, but I have only ventured outside briefly because it is just too hot for me.  Now to be fair, the sun is also full strength and I am trying to limit my sun exposure a bit these days, but it really does seem a little to hot for me out there at the moment.  So I guess I will make this day number 7 in the intolerable list this summer.  The good news is that the tolerable weather will be back by tomorrow and will then remain through the rest of the week.  In fact, it looks like the next 2 weeks will not provide much in the way of heat around here.  Perhaps a day or two is possible between now and the first week of August, but nothing too extreme and nothing sustained.  Looks like this summer will be going down in my memory banks just about as perfect as can be.  Could it be that this autumn and winter will also go down as just about as perfect as can be?  I sure hope so!
    I realize that it is still about 4 months away, but I sure am chomping at the bit to take a ride on my new sled.  I think what make's it even harder for me is to walk past it every time I get into my truck to go somewhere.  I did start it up and ran it for a brief period about a week ago, when we had an especially cool day.  I need to let the Pol-Cat run for a little bit too, just to keep the gas from getting too old in the carbs.  Since moving up here, I have not drained the carbs or used a gas stabilizer for the summer.  So far it seems to have worked just fine.  I have never had any problems with my fuel deliver system, so hopefully things will continue to go that way.  I suppose the fact that the sled usually does not sit for more than about 6 months also helps.  I have had several dreams about snow and snowmobiling recently as well.  Don't know if that is a good omen or what, but I hope so!
    I really do not have a whole lot to share with you.  Nora, the hounds and I have been taking walks in the woods and along the north shore.  With the exception of today, the weather has been perfect for taking such walks.  Neither the hounds, Nora or I have gotten too warm.  I did get the good news from the Dr. on Wednesday.  I have been given the go ahead to do anything but run or swim.  That is not too much of a problem with me, as I do not like to run and the water around here is still too cold to swim in.  Even the pool is a bit on the cool side, with all the cool days and really cool nights.  I did get out and hit some golf balls on Friday and then played around of golf on Saturday.  It's amazing how rusty I got in my 3 1/2 week layoff from the sport.  Things were close to a disaster on the driving range and the first few holes were also a bit rough, but by the 3rd of 4th hole, I did get back into the swing of things (sorry!  I could not resist) and the rest of the round went pretty well.  I plan to get out there tomorrow and then I should be all ready for league Tuesday.  We have only two more regular season matches left and then the playoffs.  Seems strange to think that we are in the second half of the season already.  It seems like it just started.  I suppose that almost a month off in an already short season will do that.  With the sun setting earlier now, we cannot even tee off at 8 pm and get in 9 holes anymore.  Of course that also means that I am not trying to go to sleep with it looking like the middle of day out there either.  The sun is actually just ducking behind the trees at the north edge of the yard when I am hitting the hay.  In a few weeks, it will be ducking behind the hills to the west.  All good signs of things to come.
    I am afraid that I have also been slacking a bit in the picture taking department.  I should have brought it along on a couple of the walks, as the woods were really pretty.  We have had plenty of rain this summer, so they trees are really full and really green.  Plus, the wildflowers are really good this year.  It also looks like it will be a good year for berries.  I know my raspberry bushes are just about drooping with berries on them and we came across a massive raspberry patch on one of our walks and I think that one could pick a few gallons of berries from them once they ripen.  I don't think that we will have to go anywhere else by my yard for all the berries we need.  For the blackberries though, we will need to head off to my secret spot. I have not been out there yet this summer, but I am confident that by the end of August, it will be full of berries.
    Nora did take some pictures and I can share them with you.  She is discovering all the little tricks to the camera and is taking some great shots.  This first shot is of a  Lily growing in one of her flower gardens.  This next shot is of a male goldfinch on top of the feeder.  Looks like I have some healthy competition for shots for the journal.  Actually, I do not see it as competition, but actually help!
    Well, it looks like I have come to the end of another entry.  I suppose I should get this all uploaded as well, as I think that we are in for a rough evening as far as the weather goes.  The NWS has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for our neck of the woods, but it also just seems like one of those afternoons that leads to severe weather in the evening.  Gardens could use the rain though, so I hope we do get at least some regular thunderstorms through.  'Till next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
July 15-
    My how time flys...It sure does not seem like 5 days since I last wrote.  I actually do not have a ton to say, but have taken some pictures and can share them with you.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I am getting pretty excited that July is already half over.  It's funny how when I was a kid, summers were the best.  No school, lots of fun playing sports and swimming.  Now, summer is just something to get through so that I can enjoy "Back to School" time and then on to my favorite season, winter.  Speaking of back to school, I have already seen an ad in the paper for an early back to school sale.  It's won't be too long now!  I really cannot complain about this summer though.  The weather has been almost perfect.  After my first three summers up here provided more heat than I wanted to endure and more than I had ever envisioned having to endure, this one has been more along my type of summer and much more like I would expect summer in the UP to be like.  I can remember during the hot times those past summers, asking: "just where the heck is the cooler than average temps?".  It seemed like we were consistently above average and when we cooled off, we cooled off to average levels.  Well, this summer is providing those below average days.  Most of them have been below, rather than above.  We have had a few warm and humid days up here, but I think I can still count them on one hand.  We have yet to officially break 90 at the airport, although I do believe that here in Lake Linden, we have hit 90 at least once.  Today a front came through, cleared out any humidity that was attempting to build in, the skies are cobalt blue and a fresh breeze is blowing as well.  If that is not something to be happy about, then the fact that in 10 days, our average high temperature will start to go down is.  Actually, the same can be said for most locations in the Midwest, your average high temperature will also start to go down once we get to the last week of July.
    The only thing that could be making this summer better would be for me to have been able to walk around for the past 2 1/2 weeks.  I do go to see the doctor tomorrow and I am hoping for the OK to be able to walk on it.  Actually, I have been walking on it for about a week, but very limited.  No walks with Nora and the dogs and no golf.  I sure am ready to get going, even putting on a little weight, as I am still eating the same (like a horse), but not getting the exercise.  I think that even though it will be much better to be able to get the OK to walk and be able to do it at the snap of a finger, being physically able to, but having to stay off it has been harder than when I broke my leg and was going through the rehab process.  At least at that time, I could work on it and it gave me something to do.  But like I say, in a little over 24 hours, I am sure that I will be much happier that I do not have to do any rehab and can walk without any restrictions.
    So not being able to walk has limited my activity quite a bit.  Nora, the hounds and I did go to the beach on Sunday, but the winds were blowing off shore and that put us under the gun for the horseflies and deerflies to get us.  We probably lasted about 15 minutes before being run off the beach.  Even the hounds were happy to leave and get out from underneath the assault of those biting flies.  With the exception of that day, the flies have not been a problem.  I think partly due to the fact that we have been picking the right side of the Keweenaw to go to and partly because I think the cooler summer has kept them at bay a bit.  I few more weeks and even those pests will start to become less of an issue.
    I was lacking for some pictures to share with you all, so I sort of copped out and took some shot of the gardens and Nora's flowers.  I think the gardens are going pretty good, but I think that Nora was hoping for a little faster development than has occurred so far.  Next season we will get a much faster jump on things and I think the results will be better, but so far we have harvested some herbs, lettuce and radishes and some peppers will be ready soon as well.  Here is a shot of the herb garden, all of the herbs planted have established and the cilantro and basil is going the best.  This is a shot of one of the vegetable beds.  In front are the tomatoes, next is the lettuce and then some broccoli and last are the peppers.  I am a little concerned about getting any watermelons this year.  The plants sat for about 3 weeks after being transplanted and have just started to grow in the past week to ten days.  The sunflowers have really been taking it on the chin, with all the strong winds we have been having.  Even so, they have always managed to be able to bounce back and Burt posed behind them for you.  My raspberries are about a week or so away from being ready for picking.  It looks like a bumper crop and Nora is ready with lots of mason jars to make some jam.  Nora's flowers are going pretty well.  Here is her pink wave petunias, the condominium of impatiens and a new addition, the purple wave petunia.
    This afternoon cabin fever got the most of me and so Nora, the hounds and I jumped in the truck and took a little road trip.  I decided to head south and show Nora Clear Lake and then swing by Nissula to get some strawberries.  It was a perfect day to be at Clear Lake, with the blue skies and comfortable temps, plus the strong winds helped to keep the bugs from getting the better of us.  Clear Lake is a beautiful lake too.  Surrounded by a mix of hardwood forest and some white pine and fir trees, it is also crystal clear and warms up nicely in the summer, so it is a good swimming lake too.  As I was walking along the shore path a little, in search of a stick to throw for Burt, I spied a little frog sunning himself on a log.  Thanks to the zoom lens, I did not have to try and climb down and get right into it's face to get a close up.  The hounds had lots of fun swimming and I wished that I had brought my suit, but in reality, I can not swim just yet because of my skin graft.  I did want to try and show you how clear the water was, unfortunately, the wind was blowing hard enough to create some ripples on the water, but here is a shot of some logs sitting about 10 feet under the water.
    After the hounds swim, we piled back into the truck to head down to Nissula to get some strawberries. But, when we got to the farm, they had a sign indicating they were out of berries for the day.  I was kind of bummed, as Nissula is about a 45-55 minute drive from Lake Linden, but it is through some very beautiful country, lots of farmland in that neck of the woods, so all was not lost.  I was hoping that we might come across another berry farm on the way back, but the only other one we passed was closed.  I think that time is running out for berries and that is probably a big reason why we struck out.  Nora was actually able to get some at the supermarket when we got back to town, so all was not lost.  I might make a call to the organic fruit and vegetable farm on the way to the golf course and see if they have any left.
    So now we are home all safe and sound.  It was nice to get out and do some touring of the area and hopefully by tomorrow at this time I can be walking or playing golf or exploring.  Nora wants to make some thimbleberry jam and there are tons of thimbleberry plants on my property, so I can see us getting out there soon to pick some of them.  I hope that the jam tastes better than the berries!  Well, I suppose I have reached the end of my thoughts for this one, so will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
July 9-
    I have a few spare moments and a few pictures to share, so I figured I had better make use of these two assets and put out a journal before it gets to be 5 to 6 days between them.  My wounds continue to heal.  It's funny, I'm not sure how many of you have undergone surgery, but there are milestones along the path to full recovery.  The first is obviously to just wake up from the surgery.  The next would probably be to drink and then eat something.  The next might be to be able to get out of bed.  After that it is probably to get released from the hospital.  From there on, the milestones may be a little less important in the whole scope of things, but are no less meaningful, especially because the time between them are usually longer, so you have the build up anticipation of reaching them.  So why am I saying all of this?  Well, yesterday morning I reached another milestone, and that was to be able to take a shower!  Before you get all grossed out, I was keeping myself clean with a wash cloth and washing my hair in the kitchen sink, but those are no replacements for being able to take a shower.  I think I really have just one milestone left and that will be to be able to walk without restrictions.  The weird thing is that physically, I can walk, but because the Dr. wants the area that had the skin graft to have the least amount of aggravation, I have to curb my walking dramatically.  He even wants me to use crutches a lot.  So here I am, with a perfectly good leg (except the graft areas), having to use crutches!  "'Twas a bit different when I broke my leg, that time I needed the crutches to get around.  I guess the good news is that when I am given the green light to finally be able to walk with freedom, I will be able to do just that.  No physical therapy or no recovery, just dump the crutches and get on with things.
    The no walking thing has put a crimp in my lifestyle, that is for sure.  I think I have even gained some weight.  I am not worried about the weight thing, it will come off once I start moving around again, but we have had some great weather for walks and I even miss taking the morning shorty around the neighborhood.  Thankfully Nora has been around to take the hounds for their walks.  If she were not here to do that, the hounds and I would probably be at each others throats!  Plus I am missing my beloved golf.  I am hoping that since we use a cart, I might be able to get back into action next week.  I go to see the Dr. tomorrow and that is one of my questions!
    Seeing all the nasty weather down south, I sure am glad I am where I am.  Today is actually more like an early September day than an early July day.  Our temp is about 60 degrees and there is an overcast and brisk wind.  That did not stop Nora, the hounds and I from piling into the truck and heading off to the beach.  Actually I love a day like today for the beach.  The sun is not beating down on me and making me all hot, the wind keeps any bugs away and the cool temps keep humans away.  The winds were out of the east, so we headed off to Big Traverse.  As you can see from that last shot, I needed to bundle up a bit, Nora as well, but it still was one of those days were we both said that we could have stayed out there all day.  I am so relaxed and free from stress right now, it was just a beautiful time we had with the hounds.  Of course going to the beach means something entirely different for the hounds, especially Burt.  Baileys was never as excited to fetch sticks as Burt is and with her still recovering from the hip surgery, she was inclined to just relax and watch things from dry land.
    So Baileys and I just sat and watched Nora and Burt do all the work.  Burt decided he wanted to bury his stick in the sand and I thought I would take a shot of him in the process.  Just as I snapped the shot, he looked up and caught me in the act.  He's probably going to be a little mad at me for posting this shot, but I think that this action shot will make up for it.  I think Burt had a grand old time at the beach today.  He actually seemed to be smiling as we headed back to the truck.  Baileys had a pretty good time as well, hanging out with her dad, watching Burt swim and Nora toss the sticks.
    The beach at Big Traverse has to be one of my favorites.  Beautiful sand, usually not crowded and when the water is warm enough, good for swimming, with a sand bottom and gradual drop off.  There are other beaches up here that I like a lot as well, but they take longer to get to.  White City, Misery Bay, 5 Mile Point and even Bete Gris.  I guess I am just very lucky to have some great beaches within a 15 minute drive and others within a 30-45 minute drive.  Plus the drives to get to the beaches are all very nice as well.  It's not like I have to fight traffic on a crowded freeway or fight for a place to park once I arrive.  The view down the beach is great, but so it the view out to sea.  Those were the Huron Mountains, about 20 miles away.  About 40 miles beyond them sits Marquette.  That's where we went yesterday.  I had felt a bump on Burt's back and wanted to get it checked out.  Turned out to be a fatty growth (I hate to even use the term tumor!) that the vet said is not life threatening.  If it gets big and uncomfortable, it can be removed.  I'm just glad it was nothing serious.  I sure wish that I felt good about using the local vet, but the trip to Marquette is much more enjoyable and seems a lot shorter with Nora along.  She even drove most of the way, as I am not suppose to drive either.
    Well, I suppose that gets you pretty well caught up in things up here.  Now that the 4th is over, things have slipped into quiet mode.  Down Chassell way, things will be revving up for the annual strawberry festival.  Don't know if we will make it down there, but I am sure that we will be making good use of the local strawberry crop coming into readiness.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
July 6-
    I'm getting another early start today, that way I can be assured that I will be able to finish this before running out of steam for the day.  It's weird, the surgery that I had was not that big of a deal, but yet, my body is still running out of steam by about 7 in the evening.  That is part of the reason why it has been almost a week since I last wrote.  The other reason, I guess, is that I have been fairly busy, with the 4th of July activities and what not.  The weather has been very cooperative, with not a lot of heat or humidity.  Today is getting a bit warm and humid, almost to the point that I would call uncomfortable, but keep in mind, that would be a temp of about 80, with a dewpoint anywhere higher than the low 60's!  I am keeping track of how many of those types of days we will have this summer and are up to 5 right now.  For most other areas in the Midwest, I suppose it is about 5 days that the weather has not been like that!  So far, this really is the most mild summer we have had and the forecast for more looks pretty good.  I was a little concerned on Friday, when the models were all saying hot and humid for the end of this coming week, but they all changed and it looks like 60's and low 70's for us, with dewpoints in the 40's and low 50's.  Perfect weather.
    The garden is starting to fill out more, the tomato plants have a few flowers, the pepper plants are getting ready to put out some peppers and last, but not least, the raspberries are in the process of filling out their berries.  I am going to have a huge crop of raspberries this year.  I have a feeling that we will be wondering what to do with all of them.  Nora wants to make some jam and I will be sure to put them on my ice cream, cereal and even my waffles.  I think that the monks in Eagle Harbor even buy berries, so if we have some that we just don't know what to do with, we can always sell some.  I'm really looking forward to next year, with strawberries and blueberries.  The stores are starting to stock local strawberries and one of my neighbors gave Nora and I a basket of strawberries from their garden.  Nothing like fresh off the plant fruit.
    I got two bits of good news on Thursday.  At about 12:30, the Fed Ex truck pulled up and delivered my digital cam that was being repaired and it works just fine (lots of pictures forthcoming in this entry).  The other bit of good news came from the Dr.  I went in to have things looked at and the stitches removed and he said that the pathology report came back with all good news.  The melanoma was completely removed and was even shallower than the biopsy had indicated.  The skin graft has taken and that is healing very well and the majority of the things taken off my back were not cancer, but just exotic moles.  The one that was biopsied and indicated basil cell cancer was verified as basil cell after being removed, but the others were just moles.  Better to be safe than sorry.  So now I am on the road to full recovery.  The Dr wants me to take it easy for a few more weeks, so that the skin graft can fully heal.  I even get to take a shower Tuesday!  But no walking for at least a week, probably more, so that is a bit of a bummer, but it sure could be worse.
    As mentioned, the Fuji camera is back and works just fine.  It is really great to have it back and it came just in time for me to be able to take some shots of the 4th of July festivities here in town.  I really do not use that term festivities loosely either.  For those of you who have not been to the Keweenaw for the 4th of July, you really should come.  It is classical small town America pride and patriotism.  I hope that I do not sound a little cornballish here, but it is really great to be able to take part in what happens up here every year during the 4th of July.  It is actually the true homecoming for those that have moved away as well.  Even the grocery store shelves get a little bare at this time, with all the visitors in town and all the celebrations going on.
    My first picture with the Fuji was taken while I waited for Nora to get us some sodas from DeMar's Market for the fireworks.  We were parked on the main drag out in front of DeMars and Al's shop and the way the late evening sun was reflecting off the spires of St. Joseph's Church caught my eye and thanks to the zoom on this camera I was able to capture the sight for you all.  It really is a pretty building and I am a bit embarrassed to say that I have yet to even be inside!  I do know that it is very beautiful inside and will check it out sometime soon.  My next shot also made use of the cameras powerful optical zoom and is of the guys out on the sands, setting up for the fireworks.  We did have a font row seat for the show, as we went over to be with Nora's brother and his family at the campground.  I think we ended up being about 200-300 yards from where they were actually shooting them off and no one was in front of us.  I forget if I had this camera in time for the 4th of July last year, but I figured it would do a pretty good job with them, as the less expensive Polaroid had done a pretty good job.  The tricky part with taking pictures of fireworks is to try and get them centered in the frame, as you don't know quite the exact time and spot where they will explode.  I got lucky on my very first try.  You can tell it was early on in the show, as the sky was not even totally black, a bit of Navy in the lower right.  The fireworks are always good in town and lots of visitors are surprised by how good they are, especially for a small village like Lake Linden.  The show went on for about 35-40 minutes and included lots of the big ones.  Nora's favorites were the kind that explode and then rain down for about 10 seconds, so I captured one of them for her.  The last shot was of the "Grand Finale".  We were actually a bit too close for the camera to be able to take it all in, but not too close to enjoy in person.
    The fireworks are just a small part of what happens in town on the 4th.  Another big part is the parade.  This years was pretty big and took about an hour to complete.  We had a good seat for them, grabbing a spot at Al's shop.  The nice thing is that it is right at the start of the parade, so you get to see everything first and are the first to see the end, so you can get a head start on clearing out.  It is such a neat feeling to be at that parade.  To see both sides of the main street through town filled with parade watchers, American flags on all the light posts, lots of red, white and blue being worn by the parade watchers and participants and to recognize lots of the folks in the parade.  The entries in the parade are nothing like you see in Macy's or the Rose Bowl, but they sure are genuine and pure.  And what would be more genuine in a 4th of July parade in the UP than a snowplow?  Maybe a float involving snowplows?!  Pretty hard not to think about snow up here, even at the 4th of July!  Of course we have a few clowns bringing color to the parade, even the Postal Service gets into the act.  Perhaps that is why the mail has been a little slow around here lately?
    For the most part, the folks watching the parade just stand and politely watch it, occasionally waving to friends they see in the parade and catching the candy that is thrown to them from the participants in the parade, but two entries caused spontaneous applause by everyone watching and I really was really moved by that applause.  The first was a float created by the Calumet Township Fire and Rescue and the other round of applause came when the Nation Guard rolled by.  That was something that really caught my eye a few years ago on my first fourth of July living here in Lake Linden-  how high the level of Patriotism is.  I do not mean to say that folks elsewhere are unpatriotic, but I doubt that you will find much more patriotism anywhere else in the country.  I suppose living in such a beautiful part of the country, it is hard not to feel that way.  I know my level of patriotism and love of country has risen a ton since moving up.
    I suppose if you were to pick a day to have a structural fire in Lake Linden, the 4th of July would be as good as any.  There sure would be no shortage of equipment on hand to help put it out.  Thankfully, none of the pieces of equipment were needed that day, but there probably was about 30 pieces of equipment in town for the festivities.  All but one of the departments (Houghton FD) up here are volunteer.  The end of the parade is always marked by the passage of the Lake Linden VFD.
    So things are starting to quiet down now.  Driving through town, I saw some open sites at the campground and traffic is not as heavy as it has been (no more waiting behind more than 2 cars at the stop sign!).  Lake Linden is returning to it's sleepy little self for another year, which is just fine with me.  God bless this little village and God bless America!
Good night from the Keweenaw..