What a difference
a day makes. There are many places on the planet for which the saying
"If you don't like the weather...just wait a day, and it will change"
is very true, but I think that there are only a handful of places where
the changes will be more extreme. Yesterday was sunny, temps in the
upper 70's and maybe even a few low 80's, a gentle breeze. Today
is cloudy, light rain, fog, temp of 45 degrees and winds of 25 to 30 mph.
Makes me really glad our golf league was yesterday and not today!
When I went to bed last night, I could have almost benefited from having
the air conditioner in, but by the morning, the house was plenty cool and
I could have actually used the heat. I have yet to turn the heat
on, but may actually build a fire when I am done with this journal to try
and take some of the chill out of the house.
Other than the change
of weather, not much else going on up here. Nora left on Monday morning,
but will be either here, or on her way in 14 days, so saying good bye this
time was not as hard, but still not fun. We had a nice walk in the
woods on Sunday evening with Burt and it will be great to take those walks
every day beginning in two weeks. Baileys is still not able to do
all that much walking, but she is progressing. It may take another
month before she is tagging along with us on the shorter walks, but I can
tell she is making progress. Nora and I performed a little vehicle
swap, as I noticed a problem with one of her tires Sunday evening.
Seeing as though she was planning to leave for down state early Memorial
Day and no tire shops were open when I noticed the problem and I doubt
there would have been one open Monday, I let her take the Blazer back to
Port Huron and she left me her car. I was able to get her car fixed
yesterday, so I have a reliable vehicle, but not one that will allow me
to get up to the lumber yard and get the wood needed to perform the projects
I have left to do. I actually may be able to get the wood, using
two car carriers that I made when I was driving the Honda, so we'll see.
If not, no biggie, I can use a little break from the shop.
I suppose the biggest
news I have to share with you all is the fact that the Laurium Glacier
melted Monday. On Sunday evening, it was on it's last legs and Monday
afternoon was gone. It hung in there though, lasting longer than
the previous two years. So congratulations to "taford". As
I was updating the "firsts and lasts" page, I noticed that the last accumulation
of snow occurred on April 3rd and and the last flakes we saw were on April
3rd. That is pretty unusual and also longer than it seemed.
For some reason, it seems like we had seen snow later than that.
All the previous years, flakes flew at least until the third week of April.
I think it is pretty safe to say that we are done with out snow for this
season. It is not impossible for us to get snow after this date,
but the forecast does not indicate it to occur through the next 10 days
and by the beginning of June, it is pretty safe to say we are done.
Some time when I am feeling ambitious, I will put together a comprehensive
historical weather page, showing just about every type of snowfall statistic
for the Keweenaw that you would even want to know, at least going back
to the late 40's. The data before that is a little suspicious, if
you ask me.
If it seems like I
have been jumping around a lot in this journal, it is because I have a
terrible case of writers block and the past three paragraphs have taken
me about an hour an a half to write. I just can't seem to latch on
to a creative thought at the moment, so have been just spitting out anything
that comes to mind. I am sorry that the journals have been lacking
for the sights of the Keweenaw. The main reason is really because
of Baileys. If she were better, then we all would be taking some
nice walks in the woods and on the beach. As mentioned, that will
all be changing in a few weeks or a month or so, so hang in there.
I will try my best to be able to get out when I can and capture some shots.
I had to send the new camera back in for repairs. I called the Fuji
Factory center and they said that my problems were definitely due to the
camera and not the software. They also asked that I send the camera
to them and not the repair shop I had been sending it to. After all
my bad experiences with that other shop, I had no intentions of ever sending
it to them again! Hopefully I will be getting it back in a week or
two. At any rate, I guess I am about out of things to ramble about,
so will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
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busy times. Nora arrived on Thursday night and I have been pretty
busy since I last put out a journal last Monday. I had to get the
house all cleaned up, grass cut, and also was hoping to finish the kitchen
hutch I was building. I had made up my mind as I was constructing
it that I would not worry if I did not get it done by the time she arrived,
especially since I started it less than 2 weeks from when she was going
to be arriving, but things went fairly smoothly and I actually put the
finishing touches on it a few hours before she arrived. I say things
went fairly smoothly, but there are always some glitches, especially when
I design the piece myself. If I am just making it from already drawn
up plans, then it is just a matter of following directions and thus very
few problems arise. But when I draw up the plans myself, I usually
do not go into great detail, just sort of coming up with the overall dimensions
of the piece and the dimensions of any of the other elements that need
to be a specific size. Otherwise, there is usually a bit of "in the
process" design work done and that was sort of the case with this piece.
The only major glitch was that one of the drawers was made too large, so
I had to cut it apart, resize the pieces and then put it back together.
Second time was the charm and most everything else when well. Even
the finishing, although there was a moment, when I thought the top would
have to be redone. I do not work with polyurethane all that much
(I'd rather use a hand rubbed oil finish on most pieces) and initially
it looked like the finish was all uneven and would have to be sanded even
and then a new top coat put on, but while drying overnight, it leveled
itself and in the morning was nice and flat. At any rate, enough
talking about it for a second and have
a look at it.
The case, door, and
drawer fronts were made with cabinet grade plywood and poplar, while the
top and drawer pulls are hard maple. It was made and finished to
match the existing kitchen cabinetry that was refinished a few months after
I moved in. I know that using plywood may sound like a cheap way
to go, but when building a large case, such as this piece, it is the best
way to go. Plywood is very stable and thus will not shrink or expand
or even warp that much. And you can also choose a type that has the
outer most veneer to be in a wood of your choice. Mine was just one
that would paint up well, but I have built other large case pieces that
used cherry and oak veneer on the outside, so it looked like the panel
or piece was one solid piece of cherry or oak wood. I then chose
poplar for it's stability and the fact that I takes a coat of paint very
well. I don't know how many of you caught my use of door in the singular
tense, I did mean that, the hutch actually only has one door, and that
is the one on the left. The one on the right is actually a false
door and is actually all one piece with the drawer front above it.
The two combine to make one
large drawer that conceals the trash bin. That's one of the neat
things about designing and building my own furniture, I get to incorporate
features like that into it and make it a truly custom piece. All
the other drawers and doors are what they appear to be, but the two lower
drawers in the middle were made to size so that they could house the plastic
bins used to house the dogs
food and treats.
Nora loves the fact that the case now holds the microwave, so that more
kitchen counter space is freed up. I like that fact too.
So I now only have
two more things to build before she arrives. A pedestal for the bed
that will have drawers for cloths and stuff and some storage shelves in
the basement for seasonal cloths and other nick nacks. Both of those
will be pretty easy, the bed pedestal will take about two day's to make
and the basement storage rack a few hours. Then I'll likely take
a little breather and get ready for the summer's major project and that
is the fireplace mantel, hearth and bookcases, cabinets. I have been
wanting to get that done for some time now and there are actually a few
things I want to do to my workshop to get it further up to speed before
I start in on that. It will really be a focal part of the entire
house and needs to really be constructed flawlessly. Oop, I almost
forgot, I also promised Nora a gardening work bench for her birthday, so
that will be in the works soon too.
Speaking of gardening,
Nora's green thumb has already started to have an effect on my yard.
Yesterday we created and planted two small gardens. They are sort
of half moon shaped and we planted some perennials in them. She might
also throw some annuals in them once she moves up. Those two small
flower beds were just to sort of get her feet wet. She loves to garden
and we will be adding a nice vegetable garden and I can see a lot more
flower beds going in as the years progress. I am looking forward
to having a different color than green around here and am excited to have
the bulbs we planted yesterday pop up and color the yard. My raspberries
are filling out nicely and I am looking forward to a bumper crop of them.
My bush total increased by a factor of 5 last year and I now have about
28 bushes that will provide berries this summer. I also planted some
blackberries on the property and hope they come up as well. They
will not likely provide fruit this year, but will beginning next year and
then continue on and on and maybe even spread as the birds and bear will
eat the berries and then spread the seeds a few hours later!
I got the new camera
back from the shop. It is working as far as turning on and taking
pictures, but now I cannot get it to talk to my computer, so I cannot download
the pictures I took. I have tried removing the drivers for the camera
and reinstalling and even reinstalled the software that comes with the
cam and nothing worked. I think that something is still screwed up
with the cam and will be sending it back in. Just not to the place
that has sent it back to me not working twice now! Somehow I get
the feeling that they might not be too qualified to fix the camera I am
sending them. I did take some pictures with it that I wanted to share
with you all, but they are trapped in the cam right now. One of the
pics was of the Laurium Glacier, taken just this morning. It is still
hanging in there, but is on it's last legs that's for sure. I'd have
to say that it has less than a week left, maybe just a few days, but already
it has lasted longer than the previous two years I have been keeping an
eye on it. I will have to make daily checks on it now to make sure
I get the correct date of it's departure. But, if you are one of
the 7 lucky people that picked a day between now and next Saturday, stay
With Nora here, I finally
broke down and got out of the neighborhood. Baileys is still not
up for much walking. She is putting a little more weight on the hip
she had operated on, but since her other hip is also in not the best of
shape, she really cannot go too far and I have not been pushing her either.
The Dr's said that the dogs really know how much to do and not to do and
she will just determine how much she wants to exercise it. She does
have the go ahead to do as much as she wants though. So since she
has not been going on much of any walks, Burt and I have stuck pretty close
to home, just walking around the neighborhood. Today though, we piled
in the car and headed to a beach that Nora told me about, but had never
been to. She calls it bare butt beach. I did not get to see
her bare butt and she did not get to see mine, but I suppose that can wait
for another day. However, it was a great
beach, with a mix of white, sugary sand and some sand stone rocks.
The woods go right up to the beach, with no man made objects to spoil things
and the water does not drop off very quickly either. The thing I
liked the most about it is that it is tucked away in a forgotten part of
the Keweenaw, and does not look to be the type of place that gets many
hounds did not waste too much time getting their feet and other body
parts wet. The water was still a bit on the chilly side for this
transplanted Yooper (still reports of ice on the lake to the south
of our location!), but Nora did brave the water, at least up to her ankles.
Needless to say, I am going to be selfish and keep this place to myself,
or at least the directions on how to get there. I am sure that we
will be going there a lot this summer and in summers to come, so there
will be lots more pictures from BBB, although they will all be clean, no
Tomorrow we have to
go to one of Nora's cousins graduation party. We went to the actual
graduation yesterday evening. Then Nora will be heading back to lower
MI early Monday morning. BUT, and that is an important but, she will
be turning around in about 2 weeks and coming back up here, and that time
it will be to stay! I almost cannot believe that this time has finally
come. Almost 7 months of phone calls and staring at her picture,
punctuated by our occasional face to face visits. We made it, time
to reap the full rewards! Can't think of a better thought to end
Good night from the Keweenaw..
My how time
flys...I cannot believe that it was 5 days ago since my last entry, seems
like only yesterday! Not much has happened since I last wrote, the
grass is even greener, the trees are filling out and the black flies are
starting to get nasty. I must clarify something, when I speak of
black flies, I am speaking about the tiny gnat-like bugs that like to bite
you near the hairline and back of your legs. Many locals up here
call them noseums. The noseums I am used to are the ones I would
encounter while in Florida with my family. They truly were so small
that you could not see them, but you could sure feel where they had bit
you. The noseums or black flies are big enough to be seen and certainly
be felt. I have yet to be officially bit by one, but have had to
dig a few out of my ear, which is always a special treat. For some
reason, they also like to fly directly into your ear, and don't seem to
be too shy about continuing on inside if you do not get to them right away.
The only good things about the black flies are that they do not like bug
dope, cannot handle the wind and usually disappear for the most part by
early July. Everyone talks so much about the misquito and how it
could be classified as the "UP state bird", but so far, I have yet to experience
a bad misquito season. I must add that I am seldom in the bush at
sunset or sunrise, but to me, the misquito problem is bigger down south
where I came from than up here. Now watch, this summer we will be
swarmed with the little buggers!
In the last journal,
I spoke a bit about the flooding in our immediate area, but there was a
catastrophic event that took place in Marquette County and the city of
Marquette. For those of you that check other UP based web sites,
I am sure you heard all about it and maybe some of the others that only
frequent my site for UP info heard about it. The event did make the
national news. What I am talking about is an earthen dike giving
at the Silver Lake basin. Before I go on, I can explain that the
there is a river in Marquette County called the Dead River. It starts
in the Huron Mountains, about 30 miles to the east of Marquette and about
15 miles north of Champion. Along the river, there are several dams,
which thus create lakes, or storage basins. I am not sure of the
total number of dams on the river, but I counted at least 4. The
dam that creates the Silver Lake basin is the second largest and created
a lake that was probably at least about 700 acres, maybe more. Early
last week, after all the heavy rains, a dike on the Silver Lake basin gave
way and a torrent of water rushed down stream. I have some aerial
photos of the damage done. They are all courtesy of the City
of Marquette's Public Service Announcement website. I am not
totally sure if it is ok for me to use them here, so if I find out that
I cannot, they will be removed. There are many more on their site
and you can go to that site to view all of them. The first shot I
"borrowed" from their site is of the dam
at the Silver Lake Basin. As you can see, it held up just fine.
You also get a feel for how much water was drained from the basin in that
shot. The next shot is of the general location where the dike
was breached and the washout just down stream. Here is one last
shot of the water
leaving the Silver Lake basin. Not too much damage or destruction
just yet, but the Silver Lake basin in pretty much wilderness area.
The first man made object it encountered was county road 573 and it appears
to not have had much trouble taking
that out. Here is another shot of the damage
done down stream of the blow out, but upstream of the Hoist Dam.
The flood of water
then encountered the Dead River storage basin, which is created by the
Hoist Dam, about 6 miles west of Marquette. That dam also held, but
there had to have been some very tense hours as the water rose and soon
started piling over
that dam. Had that dam given out, it would have been a disaster
that not even Hollywood could have dreamt of. A good portion of the
city of Marquette could have been taken out with that rush of water and
there most certainly would have been loss of life. As it stands,
I believe there was no loss of life (except for any wild life that might
have been caught in the flood) and I have not even heard of any injuries.
There was some pretty serious property damage done at the Dead River storage
basin, with lots of lakeside
homes and camps flooded. Here is one of the more
fortunate ones. As mentioned, there are several more dams on
the river and the next one in line was the McClure Dam and storage basin,
about 4 miles west of Marquette. It is a much smaller dam and basin
that the previous two, but still very
important that it held. Here is a shot of the turbulent
water down stream of the McClure. The flood was far from over
in creating damage, especially as it encountered the north end of the city
of Marquette and all the infrastructure there. This is a shot of
road 550, the main drag north to Big Bay. The washed out bridge
on the right is the old road that was being used as a bike path.
That bridge held, but the one that carries Lakeshore Blvd. over the Dead
River did not.
That road is the one that will take you north to Presque Isle Park.
That road runs parallel with the lake shore line and that is where the
damage to man made objects stopped, but all the silt and debris carried
down with the floodwaters filled the upper harbor and boating is not allowed
there for the time being.
Another problem caused
by the flooding and one that might outlast many of the other problems is
the Presque Isle Power Plant was flooded. It sits just upstream of
the Lakeshore Blvd. bridge that was featured in the last shot. So
it had to be shut down and remains shut down. That means that the
UP lost a very important electrical power generating facility and according
to the new media up here, much of the UP is flirting with rolling brownouts
due to the load on the other power plants. In addition, the Cleveland
Cliffs mine in Marquette County was shut down and most of it's employees
laid off because it got it's power from the Presque Isle Power Plant.
The power plant is expected to have 2 of it's 9 generators back up in about
30 days, and the power companies up here are all rushing backup generators
to the area to help take some of the load off of the existing ones.
It will be interesting to see if our electric bills goes up because of
So other than that,
not much has been going on up here! I meant to take a shot of the
Laurium Glacier on my way back from the bank today, but I forgot my camera.
But trust me, it is still hanging in there. I would say that it has
at least a week left, perhaps a bit longer. So far about half the
field has been eliminated and more will fall before it finally gives in
to the sun and warming temps. I will have to start making daily checks
on it soon though, so stay tuned!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
This will be
a short one for sure, but I did want to get out a journal, as today is
the 4 year anniversary of me moving up here. In fact, it was about
4 years ago to the minute that I pulled the moving truck into the driveway
and began the exciting, but laborious task of unloading the biggest moving
truck that U-Haul has available! I did manage to get the truck fully
unloaded, with the help of my dad and we both collapsed and ordered a pizza
from the Loading Zone II. In some ways it seems like more than 4
years, but in other ways it seems like much less. I guess it can
be like that for anything: jobs, relationships, careers! The weather
is not too different from what it was like 4 years ago, clear blue skies,
temps in the upper 60's to low 70's, light winds and low humidity.
A perfect 10 in my book. We had similar conditions yesterday and
look to see the same for the rest of this week and into the weekend.
I could actually go for 3 months of this stuff, with maybe some rain overnight
from time to time. If that were the case, I would always be excited
for summer. Unless I am planning on going swimming, you can keep
the temps between 65 and 75 and the dewpoints in the 40's or 50's.
Perhaps the Keweenaw will see a cool summer this summer. The past
three sure have been hot ones, especially last year. At any rate,
the weather has been absolutely perfect. I washed the truck inside
and out yesterday, removing a seasons worth of stamp sand accumulation
from the floors. Today I am going to go and play my first round of
golf, so that is why I am racing to get this done and also why I know it
will be a short one.
I guess the nice stretch
of weather we are having is our reward for enduring what we did this past
Sunday and Monday morning. As I wrote in the past journal, the weather
Sunday was very nasty. It poured rain all day and we had steady winds
of 35 mph. with gusts to the upper 50's. I picked up 2.35" of rain
from Sunday morning through Monday morning. That on top of the .35"
we had on Friday really caused some flooding problems. I am sure
that many of you who read my journal also check some of the other web sources
of info on what is going on up here and already heard about the flooding,
but for those of you who did not hear, I guess I can capsulize things.
Here in the valley, things were not too bad. The Traprock did rise
rapidly Sunday night, going up about 5-6 feet in less than 12 hours.
It did crest about a foot above flood stage, but thankfully that is below
the level were the flooding becomes pretty serious. I guess all the
years of flooding in the past have trained folks as to where they should
have structures and where they should not. Persons in Baraga county
were not so fortunate. The region picked up 5" of rain over the weekend
and I would not be surprised if the higher terrain in the Huron Mountains
saw even more than that. That caused the Linden creek to overflow
it's banks, that caused the local drainage system in L'Anse to become overwhelmed
and flooding occurred in sections of the downtown area. 3 feet of
water covered the high school football field and a road in the downtown
area was washed out as a culvert washed out below it. There were
also many road washouts in the rural areas, so many that L'Anse schools
were canceled Monday. Here in Houghton and Keweenaw counties, there
were a few washouts. One of the more notable ones occurred on M 26
where the road cross the Garden City creek. We have returned to normal
in most cases, the Traprock is back down below flood stage as it the Sturgeon
and most of the other creeks.
The rain sure did help
ease the fire danger and the grass is growing, I'll probably have to make
my first pass with the mower in a few days. The trees are starting
to fill out. Not a lot, but many of the buds have been broken and
there is a hint of green on the hills. In not too long, the trees
will be all filled out and summer will officially be here.
With the beautiful
weather, it has really been a challenge to be in the wood working shop
in my basement, but I do have a project to finish in the next week, so
I have been forcing myself down into the dungeon to slave over the kitchen
hutch. Actually, it is not that bad at all, but it is still pretty
cool down there. The basement is actually a very comfortable place
to be in the heart of the summer, but right now it is a bit chilly, especially
since I am wearing shorts and t shirts because it is so warm above ground.
I was asked if I would share some shots of my shop and thought that I could
grant that request. It is probably a good idea to have a photographic
record of all that is down there anyway, just in case something happens.
So I took about 8 shots and will share them with you, it is a bit messy
right now, as I am in the middle of a project, but I guess it will present
that "used" look! I am fortunate to have a large basement and I make
use of almost all of it for my shop. This is the most space I have
had for my shop ever and the only thing I would change would be to allow
access to the outside via a set of doors in the foundation wall.
Plus, I would like to do away with the support columns, or at least move
a few of them around to afford me more room around my tablesaw. Other
than that, and the fact that the windows are up above my head, I am very
happy with it. Here is a look at the
overall layout, taken from the bottom of the stairs. In the far
left of the picture, you can just make out the wood storage area.
That is where I store the wood for future projects as well as any left
over from previous projects. Here is a shot of the wood
storage area, it can hold about 200 board feet of hardwood and about
3-5 sheets of 4 x 8 plywood, depending on the thickness.
Just in front of of
the wood storage area are tree
of my tools used to dimension the wood, or cut it and trim it to size.
Those are the Delta 10" table saw (with biesmeyer fence), my jointer (not
a Delta as mentioned in the ask John, but a Grizzly) and the Delta 12"
portable planer. The other tool used to cut and form the wood to
it's proper dimension is the Ryobi sliding compound miter saw (SCMS).
That can been seen off in the distance in the previous shots and the next
two shots provide a better look at it. The next shot is of my free
standing workbench. Sitting on top of the workbench is part of
the hutch that I am working on. It is a frame and panel piece of
one of the ends, all glued up, clamped and drying. Below the table
top is the oscillating spindle sander. That tool is used to sand
curves on a piece. It does not get used a lot, but when it does,
it is a very handy tool to have. In the background you can see the
SCMS and the tool benches on either side of it. The benches on either
side also house most of my hand tools, both powered and non powered and
also lend support to the SCMS when I have long pieces to cut. In
this shot you get a better view of the SCMS
station and can also see a good example of my central dust collection.
Building custom furniture creates a lot of dust and wood chips and I have
a machine that sucks air at the rate of 600 cubic feet per minute.
The wood working machines are all hooked up to that dust collector via
galvanized heating duct work and flexible plastic tubing. I can then
use gates in the tubing to block off sections of the tubing to allow the
suction from the dust collector to be concentrated on the tool I am using.
Some dust still gets by the dust collector, but it does capture about 80-90%
from each tool. There is a saying among woodworkers that you can
never have too many clamps. I'd have to say I can agree with that
statement. There were a few times when I ran out of clamps during
the production of the last project. With 21 drawers to glue up and
clamp, my supply
of clamps was not enough. The last two shots are of tools that
I use to either shape the dimensioned lumber or create the indentations
or protrusions (rabbits, dados, mortises, tennons, dovetails) that help
the two pieces join together and become one. I use very few fasteners
in my work. By fasteners, I mean nails or screws. Over time,
both nails and screws will pull out, while a properly formed mortise and
tennon joint can last forever, or at least the life of the piece.
The project I am building at the moment will completed and the only screws
will be used to hold the top on as well as the drawer slides and pulls.
All other joints will be wood to wood and held in place with woodworking
glue. At any rate, here is my homemade
router table, with the dovetail jig hanging above it. In this
shot I show the last of my three stationary tools, the bandsaw, drill
press and hollow chisel mortiser, plus a very full garbage can!
So that is my shop.
I am just about done with the construction of the hutch. I hope to
be done with the construction this weekend and get onto the painting, so
that I can be done by the time Nora arrives for her brief visit Memorial
Day weekend. I see that I am out of time and just about out of pictures.
The last shot I have is of the Laurium
Glacier, taken this afternoon. Still looks like about 2 weeks
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Day all you moms! Hope all of you have a nice and relaxing day today
and that your sons, daughters and husbands all wait on you hand and foot!
I believe that my mom might be spending this day without any of her children.
I am up here, my older brother has to work and my sister lives in Oklahoma,
so that just leaves my younger brother, who lives in Chicago and has no
reason not to be up here, but we'll see! Anyway, we have gone from
a "very high" fire danger to a flood watch. It has been pouring rain
since about 2 am this morning and my rain gauge is already over flowed
the 1" measurer and is working on the 2-11" container. I do not have
any worries that it will over flow the 11" container, but it will be interesting
to see how much rain falls. Not only is in rainy, but it is very
windy. The winds are howling out of the north at 35 mph, with gusts
to 50 mph. If it were not so nasty, I would likely head to the north
shore to take a look at the angry lake, but it is really so nasty out there
that in a matter of seconds I would be soaked to the bone. Some things
are just not worth it!
The power flickered
a few times and I have a feeling that some folks lost their power for a
little bit early this afternoon, as the radio station I was listening to
stopped broadcasting for a period this afternoon. Thankfully the
power did not go out for long enough that I had to go around and reset
all the digital clocks in the house! The weather has certainly kept
us inside all day today, the dogs are really testing their bladders!
It has not slowed down the birds to the feeders much though. I just
looked out and saw 7 out there. I guess they need to eat. It's
been interesting though, a gust of wind will hit and really give them a
ride on the hanging feeders. I actually did see a gust of wind blow
one bird off the little house type feeder at the top. I'm not sure
if they like the weather all that much though, as they sure are fighting
at the feeders more then they normally do. Perhaps the foul weather
has them in a bad mood as well. We did have halfway decent weather
yesterday and I was able to get the rest of my spring yard work done.
I had a few leaves to rake from the front bushes and then fertilized the
lawn. I wanted to get the fertilizer down ahead of all this rain,
but I bet I will be cutting it by Wednesday!
I found out that the
Calumet Golf Course opened up Friday and had thought about getting up there
for a round yesterday, but got too busy with my yard work. Plus it
was a bit chilly in the afternoon, so it would not have been the best weather
for golfing. It looks like the weather will be improving a bit by
the end of this week, so I guess I should get the clubs up out of the basement
and clean them up to get ready for the season. Nearly impossible
to think about golf on a day like today though.
Not much else going
on up here. Baileys is continuing to recover nicely. She has
gone on some short walks and the required time for her to keep the incision
clean and dry is up and she can also run now, so the first nice day we
have, I will likely take them to the beach as swimming is the best exercise
for her. On Friday, I finally finished the project I have been working
on for the past 6 or 7 weeks. I suppose it is not really that big
of a deal to all of you, but working on it has been such a constant element
in my everyday life for the past several weeks, that I figured I may as
well share it all with you. Plus I guess I just feel the need to
show off my handy work. So without any further fan fair, here is
latest creation. I now have a place to store all the tools that
have been floating around the garage and the house. I think it turned
out well, but it was also a ton more work than I had expected. The
construction was about the work load that I thought it would be, but the
finishing, or painting in this case, was a lot more work. I have
never built anything with so many drawers and I do not plan to ever again!
20 drawers means 20 drawer fronts, 20 drawer backs, 40 drawer sides, 20
drawer bottoms- all of which needed to be primed and painted mind
you, 40 drawer slides and 20 drawer pulls. Oh, and that also meant
having to fit and mount 20 drawers! So if you got tired of reading
20 drawer whatever, just think of what it must have been like to actually
do all that! The neat thing is I now see it every time I pull into
or out of my garage, plus I have the satisfaction of knowing I built it
myself. The other nice thing about building it myself it the fact
that I can customize it. For instance, the right top drawer in the
bottom chest is made to hold 1 gallon jugs like antifreeze
and 2 cycle motor oil. As a side note, the chain on the left hand
side is not part of the chest, it belongs to the shelves in the background.
I did not rest too long though, I have already started in on the next project,
a hutch for the kitchen. That too will be customized to hold the
garbage can, the dogs food, treats and medicine as well as the microwave
and bread maker. Freeing up some kitchen counter space and hiding
thing like the garbage. Then it is off to the bedroom where I will
build a stand for the bed that will also house some drawers for cloths
storage. If that were not enough, I will also be building some storage
in the basement for some more stuff. I'll make this house suitable
for 2 humans and two dogs to occupy yet!
Well, I guess I have
come to that part of the story where I have no more story. I apologize
for not having much to say, but with the weather and Baileys still recovering,
we are just not doing that much exploring. That will change for sure
in just a few weeks, as Baileys will be recovered pretty nicely and the
three musketeers will have become the four of hearts and I am sure that
a lot of exploring will be going then. Nora is looking forward to
seeing things that I have talked about in my journals that she did not
see when living up here and she said she has some places to show me that
I have not been to yet. The future sure looks good to me!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
the horrible weather elsewhere in the Midwest as well as the Plains, I
feel very fortunate that we have had some really nice weather up here.
Almost too nice. How can it be too nice you ask? Well, the
Keweenaw has two main fire seasons. One is in the autumn, when all
the leaves come off the trees and before the snows fall and cover them
up. All that dry leaf matter on the ground can make the forest like
a tinderbox. The second fire season is in the spring, when all the
snow melts and exposes those leafs from the fall. Usually there is
enough rain in the spring to keep the forest from becoming too dry and
then by about the end of May, there has been enough new growth and all
that green plant matter causes the fire danger to drop significantly.
Occasionally we have a dry spring and then the woods are like a tinderbox
once again. This spring is just such a dry one. Already there
have been several small fires in the Keweenaw and quite honestly, I consider
it to be a bit of a miracle that there has not been a large fire somewhere
in the UP yet. On my way back up from southern WI last weekend, I
passed some DNR field stations, each one has a little sign designating
the fire risk in the area and as I got into the UP, they all read "Very
High". I had never seen that condition before. I have seen
"Low", "Moderate" and "High", but never "Very High". The good news
is that it looks like a bit of rain will arrive by tomorrow afternoon or
evening and then a bigger rain event looks to occur Sunday and into Monday.
So if that forecast verifies, then our fire risk will drop significantly
for at least a few days. It does not take long for things to dry
out this time of the year. The hardwood trees are still bare and
the sun is very strong, so in just 3-4 days, a soaking wet ground cover
in the woods can become tinder dry once again. Hopefully we can get
to about the 20th or so of May and things will be greening up enough to
drop the risk a bit, regardless of the rain we get.
This morning, I decided
to go into my past journals and see what was going on up here last year
at this time. I had forgotten that on this very day last year we
had a bit of a snow
storm. I picked up about 2.5" from that storm, but I do remember
the higher elevations picking up 5-6" because we were all hoping the Calumet
Golf Course would open up in a few days and all that wet snow set things
back almost a week. I don't think the course is open just yet, but
I bet it will not be long. A few patches of snow were still up on
the course last weekend, but the rest of the course was pretty dry.
With temps in the 50's and 60's and lots of sunshine all this week, I bet
things are just about ready to go. All the other courses in the region
are open, including the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. It will be nice
to get out and smack them around. This is actually a fun time of
the year to play. The trees are still bare, so that makes things
a bit easier to recover from a shank, the air temp is not hot, so it is
usually pretty comfortable to play and there are no bugs out yet.
I am still waiting
to get my good camera back. I sent it back in before I left to go
south for Baileys surgery and got worried that it would return before I
got back. The UPS will many times leave the package on my front stoop
if I do not come to the door and I was worried that it would rain and soak
the camera, so I called them to say not to ship the camera until May 1.
Well, I think that since I asked for the the delay in shipping, they forgot
to even get on to fixing it. I called today and it was not ready.
The guy sounded very apologetic and told me he would see to it that it
got on the fast track to being fixed. It will be nice to have that
cam back. Not that the old one does a bad job, but the new one has
the zoom and does take better pictures. I suppose that is a pretty
weak excuse for only having one picture to share with you tonight.
Although the other excuse is that we are not doing any exploring in the
woods due to Baileys still recovering. I suppose we could just hop
in the truck and do some exploring and take some shots that way, but it
just does not seem the same as walking through the woods and being up close
and personal with the environment. At any rate, the one shot I have
to share with you all is of the Laurium
Glacier. It was actually taken this past Tuesday afternoon, so
I am sure some melting has gone on since then, but it still was pretty
Not much else has been
going on up here. I have been busy finishing up a rather major woodworking
project. I started it about 6 weeks ago and with the exception of
when I was down south, have been putting at least an hour or so into it.
I even put some time into it when Nora was here and she even helped a bit.
I plan to put the finishing touches on it tomorrow and will take a shot
of it and reveal what it is in a future journal. Need to keep the
suspense up and keep you all coming back! Once I finish that, I have
two more I need to get done in the next 5 weeks. It will be 5 weeks
from today that Nora will arrive and those two other projects are designed
to give us some more storage space. They are not nearly as involved
as the one I am just finishing up and I may actually be able to finish
the construction of one of them by the end of next week, then put the finish
on it in a few days and get on to the other one. Baileys will likely
be able to start doing some meaningful walking in a few weeks and I do
not want to have to be in the shop when we could be walking in the woods
or on the beach. Others up here are doing a lot of yard work.
Last autumns color change and subsequent leaf drop came about 10-14 days
late and the snows came early, at least the accumulating snows that then
stick around for a while did and the result was that many yards were not
able to be cleared of the fallen leaves before the snows came and stayed.
If memory serves me correctly, I had one day to get my yard cleared.
It is not a big job, but I was able to see that the weather was going to
allow me just that one day to get them raked and hauled to the road so
that the village crew could come and haul them off. Many others in
my neighborhood did not take advantage of that brief time afforded to us
and are doing their spring and autumn yard work now. The poor village
workers really have a lot of piles of yard waste to come and get, but everyone's
yard does look nice!
Well, I guess that
just about does it for another time. It is really great to be back.
Yesterday evening as I was talking to Nora on the phone, I was sitting
in my bedroom with the hounds and we had the sliding glass door open and
the screen door closed. All was quiet, except for the chirping of
some birds and some singing of some frogs in the Hammell Creek. It
was not late, probably about 8 pm. But that tranquil moment reminded
me of how much I love this area. That was not an unusual moment,
in fact, I bet if I went and sat by that open door right now, I would experience
a similar setting- but that does not make it any less special. Especially
after being further south where it seems like there is always some kind
of noise being made. Whether it be cars going down the highway, a
lawnmower, leaf blower, boat or maybe even an airplane, it seems almost
as if people down there can't live without some sort of man made noise
going on in the background. It's not that I am against a persons
right to be able to do the activity that makes the noise, not at all.
But it is so nice and so relaxing to be able to just sit and hear nothing
but a few chirping birds or singing frogs. I am really looking forward
to taking the hounds (and soon Nora) into the woods and being the only
ones for miles and miles. That is what it is all about and one thing
that makes this place so special.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Home Sweet Home!
Land of rock hard, green bananas! It is very nice to be back.
I came to the realization of what a stress free life I live up here.
I mean I do have some work related stress, but I guess after 12 years of
that I am used to it and it does not have much of an impact. However,
the stress of Baileys surgery and being away from my main office was really
hard on me. I don't think I have taken as much pepto bismol, tums
and aspirin in the past year as I took last week. My parents should
be sainted for putting up with me!
The trip home went
well and Baileys is doing very, very good. She is putting more and
more pressure on the hip that was operated on and is scooting around the
house just fine. It is just amazing to me that she can be using it
so much so soon after the surgery and even using it at all, based on what
they did. The doctors did say that she could use it as much as possible
and actually said the more she uses it the better. I also have to
do some physical therapy with her. She does not like that so much,
neither did I when I had to have it done, but it is important. She
cannot go very far walking right now, so Burt has to make some sacrifices
right now. Burt and I did sneak out for a short walk this morning
and I will try to take him on some more, but Baileys does not like to be
left alone at all. As I mentioned, she is the life of the party and
really has to be involved. Burt is more of the laid back type and
is really the sanity glue that holds us all together. I am just so
glad that her recovery from this operation was so much better than when
she had her knee done.
I really do not have
a whole lot to say, but figured I would let you all know that we made it
back safe and sound. I was a little surprised to still see a few
patches of snow on the ground on my way up. Most of the snow is gone,
but a few piles still remain, but only in the heavily shaded areas.
When I left, there was still a bit of snow in my front yard, but that is
now gone. Also, on my way down, there was still a bit of snow in
the woods down by Toivola and Twin Lakes, but that was mostly all gone
on my way back. I will be getting up to take a look at the Laurium
Glacier very soon and will have a shot for all of you.
Today I went from winter
mode to summer mode, draining the gas out of the snow thrower and filling
up the lawn mower. I did not want to jump the gun with the snow thrower.
A storm can always sneak in at the end of April and give us enough snow
that it has to be moved. I suppose that even in May it is possible,
but I will take my chances. I did fire up the lawn mower, but will
not have to use it for at least a week. The grass is greening, but
not growing much. I think we actually need some rain and warmer temps
before we get too much growing of the grass. The rains look to come
this week, but not much warming. Also part of the switch from winter
mode to summer mode was the taking down of the bush protectors and the
snow station. The bush protectors held all winter, so it looks like
after three years of various levels of failures, I finally have found success.
In place of the snow station, the bird feeder is up. No birds have
found it yet, but that should not take too long. Hopefully we can
get the color show going, with indigo buntings, yellow finches and that
little red one too.
In just 5 more weeks,
Nora will be packing he bags for the move up. I am starting to get
pretty excited for that. I think that now that Baileys surgery is
over and she is doing well, I can focus on Nora's pending arrival for good.
I think the next 5 weeks will go pretty fast. I actually have quite
a bit to do and with the weather improving, we will be getting out as soon
as Baileys can do some meaningful walking. I went up and took a look
at the Calumet golf course. It looks like it is just about ready.
The greens need to green up just a bit and also look like they need a trimming,
but I did not see any water in the favored wet spots, so it will probably
not be too long. Portage Lake, L'Anse and the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge
are all open, so I hear. I forget when opening day was up in Calumet
last year, but I think it was pretty late, due to the cold and wet May
Well, I am afraid that
I am out of things to say and I suppose that is just as well, as all the
fresh air and activity I had today has made me sleepy. So until next
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Well, this is
definately a first! A new month and I did not start a new page.
However, as most of you know, I am on the road, in my "branch office" and
my resources are a little more limited. I could actually do all that
is needed to change months and all, but my time is a bit limited and I
figured when I get back to my "corporate headquarters" I will get things
all straightened out.
As you might have also
realized, my plans to do the journal where I describe my move up and experiences
of making the transition to the UP life will also be put on hold.
Truth is, soon after I arrived, I began to get quite stressed out about
Baileys. First the pre-op jitters, then dealing with the thought
of her sitting alone in the kennel at the vet the night before the operation,
then the operation itself and then the wait to go and get her. She
was operated on Tuesday afternoon and I was able to go and get her Wednesday
afternoon. When I firwst saw her Wednesday, she was in a lot of pain.
I could just see it in her face and in her mannerism, even her front paws
were in a constant clinch. She did a little better when she got back
to my parents place, but was still doing a lot of crying. I was all
prepared for a long night of trying to make her comfortable and about 8:30
she climbed up on the couch, fell asleep and did pretty well until 3:30.
That is only about a little over an hour from when I have to get up and
work, so I did not miss much sleep at all. She was in pain and crying
off and on from about 3:30 this morning until about 8:30 this morning and
then like magic, she has been doing excellent since about 8:30. I
can see that she has discomfort, but not what I would call pain.
She gets around fine and is already starting to bear weight on the leg.
As I type, she is sound asleep on the couch and it looks like we are over
I was planning on having
total hip replacement done to her, that is where they remove the ball of
the femur and replace it with a metallic one and they also line the socket
of the hip with a plastic cup. However, I was told of complications
with that surgery and also told about a far less troublesome surgery where
they just remove the head of the femur and let the muscles build in and
stabilize the joint. It seems impossible that the joint would be
any use not having the femur connected to the hip, but I was told that
the dogs do remarkably well, even being able to run. Since there
are almost no complications I opted for that route. She may still
have to have the other hip done, but only time will tell that. For
now we will concentrate on the recovery from this surgery. She is
basically free to do anything she wants. The more exercise the better,
that way the muscles will not get stiff and will also build in around the
joint that is no longer a joint. I guess I never have to worry about
her dislocating her left hip anymore!
One thing is for sure,
she is truly the life of the party between the three of us. Anyone
that has met her will agree, that she really is the most social and most
fun loving. Not to say that Burt and I are sticks in the mud, but
when compared to Baileys, we cannot even hold a candle to her. It
is wonderful to have the life of the party back and to have our "family"
We will be returning
to the UP on Saturday and are looking forward to it. Sorry I am going
to cut this short for tonight, but am sort of hitting the wall from all
the weeks activities and feel the need to hit the hay.
Good night from southern Wisconsin!