Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
June 29-
    It's been a busy 4 days!  So busy that it seems like I last wrote a month ago (so much has happened) and also that I wrote a day ago (time has flown by).  When I last wrote I was getting ready to go the the fund raiser for the American Cancer Society- the Relay For Life.  For those of you who have never been to one of those I suggest you go in the strongest way.  I cannot think of a better way to feel alive- really alive.  Seeing the thousands of luminaries (bags with candles in them that honor someone who has either survived or died from cancer) as well as all of the people out there walking the track you can't help but feel alive.  I'm not talking about the fleeting joy you feel when your favorite sports team wins, or you get a raise.  I am talking about a feeling that completely absorbs you, goes through you and circles back around to make a few more passes through you.  There are very few things in life that can actually make you feel that way and I think it is something that everyone should get to experience as often as they can.  You don't have to make a donation, you don't even have to walk the track if you don't want to.  Just show up and view the event and I guarantee you will be moved beyond words, maybe even to tears.  So keep an ear and an eye out for the Relay for Life in your neighborhood (they happen all over the country), I guarantee you will not be disappointed you went.  There is nothing on the TV or at the movies that can make you feel that way- I promise.
    So anyway, I met up with Nora at the relay and we walked a few laps and then sat for a while.  They then have a special ceremony up here called the "Survivors Lap".  I am not sure if all relays have this ceremony, but it really is a neat thing.  It starts out by having all the local survivors of cancer walking down the track for about 50 feet while accompanied by a member of the local ROTC color guard.  As you start the short walk you speak into a microphone and give your name.  Many of the observers clap for each survivor as they make the short walk.  All the survivors then gather at the end of the short walk and they all make a full lap around the track in a single group.  Here again, the track is lined with others at the relay and they all clap as the survivors walk by.  I think that they said there were 190 survivors in the group this year.  I am sure that there are other survivors up here, they just have not been fortunate enough to experience things. As the sun sets, they have the luminary lighting ceremony.  This is where a torch travels around the entire track via different survivors handing it off to one another.  As the torch passes each section of the track, the luminaries that line the track are lit.  Each luminary represents someone that has either survived or been taken from this world by cancer.  Here is the one that Nora designed for me.  I am actually a 2 time survivor and the first one is really nothing short of a miracle- so I have been told by Dr's now.
    After the luminary lighting, I hung out with Nora for a while longer and then headed home as it started to get really dark and chilly out.  Nora had signed up with others from her place of work to actually walk in shifts all night.  Some day maybe I'll pull the all nighter, but they do not allow dogs- even those that have survived cancer, so I took on the duties of coming home and tending to the dogs.  Nora did take a shot of the of luminaries illuminating the edge of the track as the sunset.
    The excitement for the evening did not stop upon arrival at our house.  When I walked in I saw that one of the dogs had gotten into one of my leather belts and had chewed and swallowed a large portion of it.  I figured it was Baileys because she had actually gotten into one of Nora's leather sandals a day or two before.  Baileys then proceeded to get sick about a half dozen times in various spots in the house.  I was actually so tired and most of the spots where she had gotten sick had been sitting on the carpets for long enough that I just decided to take care of it in the morning with the carpet shampooer.  We all fell asleep, but at about 3:15 in the morning Baileys started to get sick again.  She then proceeded to get sick about every hour until the sun was up and beyond.  None of the belt was coming up, so I figured there was probably a pretty big problem with her, so I called the vet as soon as they opened and they instructed me to come in so they could take a look.  The x-rays revealed that her stomach was all filled up with the leather material and it was not going out in either direction, so they needed to operate to get it all out.  So Baileys spent most of Saturday and all of Sunday in the hospital.  The surgery went well and they were able to remove all of the belt and then some.  She must have gotten into more than just the belt and part of that shoe.  I am thinking that it might have actually been two belts.  She recovered very well and Burt and I were able to go get her yesterday while Nora finished her day at work.
    Her stomach was stretched so much that it was actually bruised and the organs around her stomach were relocated a bit.  So she needs to take it easy for a few weeks and let her stomach heal up as well as let the rest of her insides stabilize.  That is going to be the hard part, as she feels great and wants to run around and things of that nature but can't.  All of her other surgeries involved some sore of joint repair, so it was natural for her to take it easy on it.  So far she has been great about not licking or biting the incision, so she has not had to wear the lampshade (e-collar).  She is also on a special canned food and cannot have her regular treats, so that has been a bit of an issue to get around.  Thankfully she loves plain pasta and that is perfectly fine to use as a treat.  The past few months sure have been a crazy time for these poor pups.  The strange thing is that neither of them have ever had any problems with chewing on things they are not suppose to, even as puppies.  I am speculating that the steroid they had her on to combat the allergy was the culprit.  They said it might make her more hungry and thirsty and even after finishing her meals, she seemed hungry.  She is off the steroids for now and we are dog proofing the house as well.  Once is enough of that!  I am just grateful that we were able to remedy things.
    So other than the relay on Friday and driving back and forth from Marquette on Saturday and Monday, we have not been up to that much!  Sunday was spent worrying about Baileys, doing the work I have to do on Sunday's and then we had a birthday party for Nora's grandmother.
    The weekend was as cool as promised and Nora was just about froze to the bone after her all nighter up at the Houghton High Track Friday night.  As has been the case across most of the Midwest today, we are a little closer to the seasonal averages and actually look to go a little above by tomorrow.  It does not look like a major heat wave, just some low 80's before cooler air arrives by Thursday.  Yesterday was about perfect- a few clouds, temps in the upper 60's to low 70's and a little breeze.  Today is not too bad either.  It's hard to believe that the summer solstice has already come and gone and the minutes of daylight are already lowering.  In just 2 months summer will basically be over for us in the Keweenaw and we are just a little over 3 months from the color season and our wedding day.  Something tells me that time is going to fly by!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
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June 25-
    Brrrrr, where did summer go?  Actually, you will not get any complaints from me with this weather, but is sure does feel like the end of September up here, not the end of June.  Yesterday it almost looked like it was snowing.  If it had been a month ago, or we had not had a layer of warm air right near the surface, it would have snowed.  As it was, we had a bit of drizzle, with temps in the mid 40's.  On our morning walk I actually could have benefited from some gloves.  My hands were actually a bit chilled when we got back.  It did warm a bit by the afternoon, with a few peaks of sun.  Today is a bit warmer too, we are pushing 60 degrees!  I think that if we had had some hot temps before this, it might seem even more like autumn.  Some of the locals have their wood furnaces going, I can smell burning wood on our morning walks as well as in the evenings.  We have not had to turn our heat on through all of this chilly weather.  It seems like we get just enough afternoon sun to heat the house up.  The mornings have been chilly inside the house, but not any chillier than they are in the winter, so I just wear my winter work cloths rather than the summer attire of shorts and t-shirt.
    With the cooler temps, I decided to brave the woods for our afternoon walk on Wednesday.  Everything actually went well actually.  I was not expecting much of a problem from mosquitos as they are usually not that bad where we were walking.  The black flies were giving me a bit of a worry, as they are still a bit of a problem on the golf course and where we were walking, they can be a problem too.  Well, no problems with them.  The last hurdle to get over was the deer and horse flies.  Horseflies are not that much of a problem in the woods, but there have been plenty of times that we have been harassed by deer flies up there.  As luck would have it we did not see one deer fly and there was only one horse fly that came to buzz us at the end of the walk.  A quick swat with my hat sent the message that were not interested in what it was offering and it took off to find another victim.
    So yesterday the hounds and I took to the woods again.  Walking the tracks, only going a different direction.  Same result, a beautiful time with no issues from any flying insects.  A few bumblebees, but they seem content in buzzing in on a few close passes just to see what the heck we are.  Once they realize we have no pollen to offer, they fly off and leave us alone.  It's nice to be able to get into the woods and enjoy them this time of the year.  Usually at this time of the year we are picking which beach we are going to go to because the temps are too warm to do much by take a wade in the water.
    Feeling emboldened we headed off to the school forest today.  Things started out well, we got out of the truck and headed up the road that leads into the land.  We encountered a few mosquitos about 5 minutes into the walk, but nothing that posed a reason to turn around and abandon our walk through that neck of the woods.  As fate would have it, just about the point that we were halfway into the walk and about as far into the woods as we were going to be, they came and swarmed us.  It was one of those situations where you cannot open your mouth or they will get in.  The only saving grace was the fact that because it was so cool, I was wearing long a sleeved shirt and long pants.  I was also wearing a hat that came in handy to swat them.  I still ended up with some bites on my neck and face.  The hounds did OK, their fur coats were too thick for the mosquitos to get through.  The one exception was where Burt had his recent surgery.  The hair there is coming back, but still a bit thin, so I made sure to swat any that were trying to get to him via that area.  We made it back out of the woods ok, but I don't think that we will be venturing into the school forest until the end of the summer and the bug season has tapered off.
    The bugs were so bad that I could not even stop to take a picture.  If we stopped, they would just find us that much quicker.  So the one pic I already shared was the only one I have to share and I am pretty much our of things to say.  I know what you must be thinking right about now... Nora! Nora! Nora!  Well, she is still at work and then I will be joining here at the relay for life, which is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  I partook in that event two years ago, but was too busy having cancer cut out of me during last years event.  It is a nice event and the community really gets involved.  Last year they raised over $130,000.  For an area with a population of about 25-30 thousand people, I think that is pretty incredible.  Really says a lot about the generosity of the population up here.  Makes me proud to be part of it.
    So it looks like I have come to the end of another entry.  I can hardly believe that the 4th of July weekend is next weekend already.  I guess it won't be too long that we are talking about Labor Day weekend and then autumn and the first snow!
    Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
June 20-
    In the last journal I started out by talking about how I may have been living a lucky life in the past 4 summers up here with the bugs.  They have backed off a bit, the black flies are running out the peak of their season.  We have probably about another week to ten days and they will not be as big a nuisance.  The mosquitos are still going pretty strong and we are now getting into horse and deer fly season.  The winds have been blowing pretty hard, so the beach flies have not been too much of a problem.
    The other thing that I must say that has been a bit misleading up here the past 4 summers has been the temps.  Moving up here I was obviously excited for the winters we have, but I was also looking forward to the nice cool summers- at least when compared to the summers in the Chicago area.  While it was cooler than Chicago, especially my first summer.  However, the past few summers we sure seemed to be warmer than I thought it would be and warmer than the averages said we should be.  We would be having highs in the 80's pretty consistently and yet our average highs for June, July and August were in the low to mid 70's.  Plus the humidity sure seemed to be higher the past few summers than I thought it would be.  The locals were not much help, as they never really complained much about the warm temps and humid conditions.  At any rate, I knew something was amiss when I would see our daily high consistently run in the upper 70's to mid 80's and look a the average high for that day and see a number in the low 70's.  Well, this summer seems to be evening the score.  Today we actually rose into the mid 70's, but I can count the number of days we have been in the 80's on one hand and can probably get by with two hands when counting the number of days we have been in the 70's.  You know me, I am not complaining by any means.  I would rather have to put on a wind breaker or sweatshirt than try and keep cool.
    Of course we are only about 1/3rd of the way through the summer and some folks might even say that summer has not even started yet (astronomical summer arrives in a day or two), but it looks like the next week to ten days will bring more cool temps so I am a happy camper.  Temps this week actually look to be more autumnal than summer like.  If it were winter, we would be staring down the barrel of a lot of snow.  This time of the year it means high temps in the low to mid 50's by Wednesday.  It could snow in areas of Canada just to our north and the winter time rain/snow line will actually be to our south by Wednesday afternoon, but no snow for us, at least I don't think so!     So, with summer struggling to even arrive, it's hard to believe in two months the summer will be just about over and I will be getting excited for the first chill of autumn to arrive.
    I am sorry that it has been almost a week since my last writing, but things have been busy the past few days.  Thursday the hounds and I took a trip to Marquette to see the vet.  Baileys had been dealing with an allergy.  She was biting her paws something fierce.  Actually, I think that it first started about 3 years ago.  Once the snow melts, she does not like to walk in the yard very much and would lick and bite at her paws.  It was never really that bad and actually would go away by the end of May, but this year it never fully went away, so off to the vet we went.  They gave her a shot while we were there and some pills to take home and so far so good, she is not biting her paws anymore.  The other nice thing for Baileys is that she is really starting to come into her hip surgery.  She is running around now and just seems to be so much more comfortable with her hip.  With Baileys running around and Burt doing just fine, they are playing like they did when they were pups and that is so great to see.  With all of their joint problems since they were about one, it is great to see them both getting around so well.  In fact, Baileys and Burt are both slimmer than they have been in a long time too.  Burt's bump on his back has not come back yet, so that is good news.  If it does not come back in another 2 1/2 to 3 months we should be out of the woods.
    On Saturday, Nora's two brothers arrived with her niece.  She is going to a bible camp in Eagle River for a week, so they made the trip up here with her.  It was nice to see her one brother again and meet her other brother for the first time.  They all get along great and we had a fun time.  They could not stay long and actually headed back today.  None the less, they were able to get in some fishing and that leads me to a special treat for you all.  Nora went fishing with them, while I took the hounds for our afternoon walk.  She took the camera along and got some nice shots, so I was able to convince her that she should write some in the journal.  I cannot make any promises that she will do this again, but we can all enjoy this special treat.  So without further adeu...here's Nora.
    First, I want to start off by letting you all know that John has been bugging me for about 6 months to write a journal for him.  My standard answer was always, "I really don't have much to say".  Well, in order to tell my small tale I was sort of cornered by John.  He said if I wanted to brag I needed to write.  So the decision needed to be made.  Hmm...bore the pants off some people or have the opportunity to gloat.  Well, as you can see I'm taking the route of bragging.   I do have one "must see" picture and a few that I think may be interesting so I think I'll just start with yesterdays activities.  As John said, my brothers Jeff and Joel and my niece Laura arrived around 10 am Saturday morning.  They had been up all night driving but since they would only be here for 24 hours they wanted to make the most of their time.  After we all went to visit Grandma June we sat down to figure out what the agenda would be for the day.  The first thing on the list was visit Jacobsville.  There has always been an unspoken rule in the family and that is whenever you visit the UP you must go to Jake.  And you don't go because of pressure but go because a trip to the Keweenaw is not complete unless you go to Jake.  We all have such wonderful memories of Jacobsville.  So Jeff, Joel, Laura and myself loaded up the car with our fishing poles and off we went.  During our travels we spotted a good sized deer so I stopped and decided to take a picture.  Only to find out the batteries were dead!  I was really disappointed and something in my gut just told me that there would be a Kodak moment before the day was through.  We continued on and our first stop was the boat launch.  We got out our gear and started fishing.  Jeff and I were on the dock for about 5 minutes and then out of nowhere soared the most beautiful eagle.  It soared all around us.  And then circled around and flew right above us.  So close that you could see the talons!  It was just really something to see.  Of course the whole time I'm thinking if I only had some fully charged batteries in the camera.  Well, after about 30 minutes and no bites we headed for the pier.  As we were getting out of the car something caught my eye and as luck would have it there sat a brand new pack of batteries!  Yes...maybe that "moment" would be captured after all.  We all settled in our "spots" on the old pier, watching the eagle soar some more over head.  It was just a perfect day weather wise.  It was rather windy but the sun was shinning bright and the temps were perfect.  We fished for at least one hour without a bite.  Well, if any of you fish you know that it's not always about catching the big one but the time spent with your fishing buddies.  You see my brothers and I started fishing together when I was about 4 years old.  One particular time my dad, Joel, Jeff and myself went fishing behind the old YMCA in Port Huron.  I sat on my dads' lap, he would cast the line and I would real up.  Well, the boys were older than me so they had their own poles.  Well, to make a long story short my dad had two upset boys and one really happy little girl by the time the day was done.   I had caught my limit of walleye and the boys well......ummm...nothing....notta...zilch..It's funny because I still remember Joel saying, "She is NEVER going fishing with me again".  And to tell you the truth it was many, many years before they even asked me to go.   And to be honest even this weekend Joel said,"Hey sis fish off the end of the dock." And my reply was,"Oh yeah..put me somewhere without a bit of action".  So 28 years later there's still that fear that the boys will be smoked by their little sister again.
    OK back to the present.  We had a nice time just relaxing by the water and talking.  When suddenly I had a real nice bite.  At that very moment I secretly thought to myself that yes, after all these years I can still out fish my brothers! So what do you think?  Not bad for a girl huh?  So you all may wonder were the guys happy that someone finally caught a fish or would they be secretly wanting to throw me in the water?  Oh I think they were happy to see me excited but I also think a good ol' push in Superior would have done me some good.  OK so doing the "I caught the only fish dance" may have been a little over kill but I couldn't resist. What I should have done was run the video on the camera so you could have heard and saw the two of them muttering to each other under their breath, trying to figure how deep I had my bait.  Did I happen to mention that Joel owns a tackle and bait shop in Port Huron? I suppose it's little facts like that which make my victory a little sweeter.   Well, it may not have the biggest fish ever caught but it sure was alot of fun to catch and gave me the opportunity to have a little tease with my brothers.  For the record they are both great fisherman and I could learn alot of tricks from them both!
    So 5 minutes after I caught my fish the guys said they had enough(go figure huh?) and we headed home.  On the way we spotted a few interesting things.  It really does make me wonder what happens to a person that they leave their home with all their belongs inside and even a car in the garage.  Never to come back again to retrieve these things.  I snapped my first picture of this garage and car about 10 years ago and it really has fallen quickly the past few years.  I'm not sure what it is that intrigues me so much about this picture.  Probably just the mystery of the owners and what happened to them.
    Warning!!Warning!! If you see this sign in the Keweenaw you better obey!  I would have to say that the person who posted the sign means some serious business!!  Well, that is it for me.
    I hope everyone enjoyed that special writing, I can't promise any more from her, but hopefully she will feel inspired again sometime.  I have one last shot to share with you.  Nora, the hounds and I went to the beach today.  Except for the fact that the water temp was probably in the upper 40's, with the sun, sand and crystal clear water, we could very have been in the Caribbean.  I will try my hardest to write again before another 6 days pass.  Who knows, maybe some snow shots!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
June 14-
    Bugs, bugs, bugs!  I think I may have been living a lucky life my first 4 summers up here.  They were on the dry side and I think that may have led to a false representation of how the bug situation really is up here.  Of course, maybe this year is just an anomaly or I am just being more sensitive to them this year.  What ever the case may be, the bugs have been having a pretty serious impact on what we do up here recently.  On Saturday Nora, the hounds and I headed up to the property to check out things and see how all of our planted trees were doing.  As we entered the deep woods of the property it was as if the mosquitos were just waiting for something warm blooded to arrive so that they could swarm and attack.  We did not last more than about 2 minutes in there before being ridden out of the woods with our tails between our legs and hands swatting all the little nasty creatures.  Now, to be fair about things, it was just a few hours after sunrise, which is one of the more popular times for mosquitos.  Plus it has been very wet, so it is possible that the conditions were just prime to get attacked.  I do remember going in there in previous summers and having to deal with them as well, but nothing like we experienced this past Saturday.  I can see us having to have more than one of those mosquito magnet type things going pretty much 24-7 once we live up there.
    Yesterday we decided to take a walk out on the beach near 5 mile point and were attacked by flies.  I am not sure of the official name of them- friendly flies, beach flies or stable flies, but they are about the size of a house fly, but love to bite!  They really go for the backs of your legs and the worst thing about them is they are quick.  I can swat a mosquito, black fly, horse fly and deer fly, but those things are just as fast as a house fly.  I thought they might be a little less numerous on the beach itself, but was wrong.  At one time there had to have been about 30-40 of them on the backs of the dogs and just about as many flying around their heads.  They really seemed to be most attracted to the dogs, but did not ignore us either.  I got a few bites and we high tailed it off the beach and back into the truck to find another place to walk.  We ended up walking out on the Lake Linden Sands.  There was enough of a breeze to help keep them away for the most part and there is just not as many out there in the first place.
    So it looks like a lot of our afternoon walks will be taken out on the Lake Linden Sands for a week or so.  The biting flies that are on the beaches actually wane in a week to ten days.  I do remember them in previous years.  Our first year up here we went out to Misery Bay about this time of the year and were swarmed by the same flies.  I remember thinking "Now I see why they call this Misery Bay!".  Then about 2 years ago, I remember going out to the beach near the Calumet Waterworks and getting chased off by the flies.  I also remember braving the beach about a week or so later and they were not nearly as nasty.  Of course there was the infamous friendly fly outbreak of two years ago.  A rumor was going around that the DNR released those flies to eat the big tent worm outbreak of three summers ago.  Of course a rumor can travel around the world before the truth can even get it's foot out the door, but eventually it was learned that the big friendly fly outbreak of two years ago was because the tent worm outbreak the year before helped feed the friendly fly crop and led to a bigger crop the next year.
    One thing is for sure, I am hoping for some nice cool temps and cloudy conditions so that I can comfortably wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt for golfing.  Bug dope works pretty good, but not as good as covering up as much skin as possible.  It actually looks like the forecast could cooperate.  We are in the low 60's right now and there is a decent breeze.  Similar conditions look to occur tomorrow.  Actually much of this week and into next looks to be on the cool side.  You won't get any complaining from me!  I did put the air conditioners in the rest of the windows on Saturday, but they will likely remain off for the next week to ten days.  I'm wondering if it will even be worth it to put up the pool Nora gave me for my birthday last year.  With much of the rest of June looking to be cool, that gives us July and the first 2-3 weeks of August to realistically be able to use it.  We'll see.  If I see a hot pattern developing, I'll get it out and filled.
    Well other than running from the bugs, we have not been doing anything too exciting.  All my major projects are now done and I am going to be on cruise control for the rest of the summer.  I do have to build my brothers Christmas/Birthday present which is a bed frame.  I may also build a craftsman style bookcase for the living room, but other than that I plan to just spend the summer enjoying things- especially once the bugs back off for a bit.  Bridgefest is this coming weekend, then the 4th of July holiday will not be too far behind.  Then we sort of settle into the hear of the summer and I know in about a month, I will already be looking forward to the cooler days of September to arrive.  Of course there will also be the final planning for the October wedding to do, so I don't think I will be bored.  I do not have any pictures to share with you.  Hopefully we will be able to find some interesting shots for the next journal.  I also want to thank those still waiting for their guest shots to get up for being so patient about things.  I think I still have about 25-30 to do and promise I will have them done before the snow flies this autumn!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
June 10-
    A week!  Wha!  I had no idea.  For some reason I thought I had done a journal on Sunday.  I don't know where the time is going, but it is flying by.  When I went to download the pictures I looked at some taken this past weekend and thought they were old, so I almost deleted them!  Good thing I checked and saw that I had not done a journal since last Thursday.  So I have 21 shots to share with you.  A little less than half of them are actually of the fireplace remodel - YES,  IT'S DONE!  The rest of the shots are of the great outdoors in the Keweenaw, so at least the weeks wait will be worth it I hope.
    For those of you living to the south of the Keweenaw please do not take this personally, but I sure do love it up here when the winds blow from the north!  In the winter that usually means snow and in the summer it usually means cool and dry air.  On Monday we had a bit of a heat wave occur.  The day actually started out cool and cloudy, with temps in the mid 40's and an east wind.  A warm front moved through, we had some showers and storms with it and then temps shot up like a rocket.  Our high Monday at my house was 91 and the dewpoint had risen into the mid 60's.  That's pretty sultry for any local in the Midwest.  That is also quite a warm up for such a short time.  Temperature changes of 45 degrees in less than 12 hours are pretty unusual and they usually occur to the cool side.  So to get a 45 degree warm up in less than 12 hours is very rare- almost unheard of.  When I went to bed Monday night at about 9 pm the temp was still 89 degrees and the dewpoint was 66.  Glad I put the AC in the window Monday afternoon!  Funny thing was I had to take the plastic off the window in the bedroom before I could put the AC in.  Only in the Keweenaw!
    As mentioned I did manage to get the fireplace remodel done.  The shelf standards arrived Tuesday and I got some work done Tuesday before heading off to golf, but the main work was done yesterday.  I dug back and actually found a shot of the fireplace area taken a few years ago, before I had replaced the screen.  So that will be the true "before" shot.  However, I also took a "before" shot before I started this remodel, so you can see the difference just the new screen made.  There were some other differences in the old and new before shots.  One of them being the little decorating touches.  The glass doors are also nice as I do not have to worry about sparks starting the house on fire if I decide to go to bed.  I don't leave a roaring fire unattended, but even a smoldering fire could kick out a spark that could jump through the old screen and the glass doors will stop that.  Anyway, another thing you can see in that second before shot is my stereo sitting on a small table.  That is actually my first woodworking project ever.  I did it about 25 years ago while in 7th or 8th grade.  It was built so well it lasted all the moves over the past 25 years and even supported a fish tank at one time.  Actually, it was built rather poorly and I have no idea how it lasted so long!  When it came time to throw it away, I was able to break the legs off with no struggle.
    The next shot was taken while I was in the middle of the demolition.  Demolition is usually lots of fun and this was no exception, except for the fact that I did have to be careful with the new fireplace screen and surrounding brickwork.  Here is a shot of the fireplace area once the demolition was done.  About a week or two later I had finished the new tile work (not really seen in this shot) as well as built the pedestal for the new hearth and even had the drawers and cabinets done and was fitting the drawers.  Here is a shot of things when the drawers were all fitted and mounted and you can also see the new tile.  About a week later, things were starting to really take shape when the hearth arrived and was put in place.  I also had much of the cherry wood put in place.  Things were then put on hold for about a month while I waited for the shelf standards to arrive.  As mentioned, they came in two days ago and I was able to finish things up.  As is the case with many things I build for myself they are not only for looks, but functionality.  In this case we got tons of storage in the drawers and shelves.  The drawers are now busy storing all of our CD's, DVD's and VCR tapes.  I also designed it so that we can store firewood underneath the hearth.  We still have some shelves to fill in with pictures or Longaberger Baskets and we want to get either a nice snowscape picture to put above the mantel or maybe even a neat copper sculpture.  So what about those shelf standards?  Why did I wait almost a month for them?  Well as you can see, they are unique in their looks and also quite a bit stronger than other standards available or even just using pegs and holes.  So that project is done. I actually spent a few hours listening to the stereo again and staring at my handy work.  It's weird, it actually makes the room see larger, especially wider.  I will leave you with one last before and after pic combined.
    With the warmer weather earlier this week we have been spending our adventure time at the beaches.  Sunday Nora the hounds and I went to Bare Butt Beach (location a secret) and had a nice walk.  It is amazing how much cooler along the lake it is this time of the year.  I made the mistake of not bringing a jacket and by the time we were heading home, my hands were blue from being so chilled.  Nora was smart and brought a jacket so she was comfortable and of course the hounds will not get chilled, so we did stay there for about 45 minutes.  We tossed the stick for the hounds and also walked up the shoreline a bit.  That beach has some interesting things going on on it.  There are all these mini sandstone cliffs that trees are either about ready to fall off of or even have fallen off.  There was even a small waterfall that cascaded out of the woods and over the sandstone bluff, splashed onto the beach and into the big lake.  It is just so neat to come across things like that up here.  No fanfare.  No parking lots for cars or busses, no signs or sidewalks.  Just a little creek working it's way to Lake Superior.  In some spots the water that has already seeped into the ground flows out of the sandstone and the constant dripping of moisture allows mosses to grow on the rocks.  Here is a shot of the hounds and I near one of the collapses of the sandstone bluff.  The storms come in and the waves erode the beach and the base that is supporting the bluff.  When enough support is removed, the bluff comes tumbling down.
    Monday was the real steamy day up here so with the winds out of the southwest we chose to go to the north shore.  The combination of the sultry air and a frigid Lake Superior created thick fog along the shoreline.  The fog only extended in a few hundred feet and was not very high as you can tell by the sunshine creating the shadows in the last shot, but still a weird thing.  Burt did his usual fetching of the sticks and Baileys did her usual exploring of the shoreline.  Here is a shot of Baileys coming back through the fog from one of her explorations.  The temperature difference between the lakeshore and areas inland was 25 degrees on Monday and that difference actually occurred in the distance of about 1/4 of a mile.  Sure is nice to have places we can go up here for cool and comfortable conditions on hot days.  I am also glad I got the AC into the bedroom Monday afternoon.  Slept like a baby in comfort Monday night.
    On Monday Nora and her friend Mary went for a walk.  More like a hike!  They started just outside of Hubbell and walked almost all the way to Dollar Bay and back.  Nora brought the camera along and took some shots. But, she insists that you all do not want to read her writing so I am bestowed with the job of trying to describe what she took pictures of.  Sometimes it can be a challenge as when I take a shot I am actually thinking about how I am going to fit it into a journal.  She says that she just takes the pictures to have and is not doing it especially for the journal, but most of them are too good to leave out so I include them.  It's just sometime I am at a loss on how to fit them into my writings.  Anyway, they walked along the tracks that run from LL through Hubbell, Tamarack City, Mason and then down to Dollar Bay and eventually to Ripley and Hancock.  I have walked much of that section of tracks at one time or another and it is really pretty.  You are walking through the woods for much of the time, but also have the Torch Lake on your one side for most of the way, so at times you have a very pretty view of the lake.  Your travels along that stretch of tracks will also bring you by the dredge beached just north of Mason.  They took a little side trip that took them out onto the Hubbell sands.  Just like the Lake Linden sands that were fixed up a few years ago, the Hubbell and Mason sands were also fixed up.  Looks like they spotted some Sand Hill Cranes enjoying the fixed up Hubbell sands.  Looking north from the Hubbell sands you see the Torch Lake in the foreground, followed by the farmland of the Traprock Valley, with the higher terrain of Keweenaw County in the background.  Nice shots sweetie!
    Well, I think that about covers it for today.  This is almost like a Friday for me.  The markets are closed tomorrow, so that means that my main work is now done.  Thus, I have decided to take the day off from the website forecast as well.  I really should have taken the day off from the radio work too, then I could have slept in.  OH well, it will be nice to only have to do the radio work and then be done and free.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
June 3-
    I am going to get a quick one out.  I have been having some busy days and today is another.  The hounds and I just got back from the beach and I am going to play golf at 6:30, so I need to get this done, then make dinner and be up to the golf course in time to hit some balls and then play at 6:30.  I do have some things to talk about, some pics to share and it has been 5 days since I last wrote, so I figured I would try and sneak a journal in.
    First off, we did get the final report back on Burt and nothing changed.  The tumor removed was a grade 2 soft tissue sarcoma.  However, my Dr. faxed me the pathology report and there was a number to the Dr that performed the pathology, so I was able to call her and ask some questions I had.  There is a bit of good news to share.  I asked a host of questions to the Dr. in Colorado that did the pathology and the last one was how long might we expect Burt to be able to survive and her answer was that she thought that he actually has a great chance of outliving this problem, that something else could very well take him years from now.  The reason for this is because the cancer he has is likely to be confined to the area where it first developed.  Being a grade 2, it has only a 20% chance of metastasis (the spread of the cancer to other organs).  Being that her examination showed that there were the cancer cells up to the margin or cut marks, she stated that there is a good chance for reoccurrence.  However, it is possible that the cut mark was the one made to separate the sample sent to be biopsied from the piece taken out of him.  In that case then the entire tumor could have been removed and the chance for reoccurrence would be very low.  She said that even if reoccurrence did occur, it would mean that he would undergo another surgical procedure to remove the tumorous cells.  My Dr. would likely be more aggressive with what he removes in order to try and get everything and then the surgery might be followed up by radiation therapy to try and kill any cancer cells that were left behind.  That process may have to be done several more times if the cancer keeps reoccurring, but that would still mean that Burt has years to live rather than months.  As with anything in life, there are no guarantees, but at least the odds seem to be in favor of him being around for a while longer.
    I also went on the web and did some research on what he has/had and what I came across seemed to verify what the I was told by the pathologist.  The "magic" time for him to be considered to be free of reoccurrence would be in 3-4 months.  So if he has not has reoccurrence by Sept 15th, then I think another miracle was given to the Dee household.  When I think of all the bullets that the hounds and I have dodged in the past 2 years, it really is something.  Especially since all of them would likely have been fatal if not caught when they were or soon after.  I guess I could feel like we have been cursed for having to dodge the bullets in the first place, but I would rather choose to feel blessed to have been able to dodge them.
    On Memorial Day, the winner of the Laurium Glacier contest came to collect his prize.  That is not a requirement to receive the prize, but his name is Kevin and he grew up in Lake Linden and is now living in the Green Bay area and comes up to visit many times a year.  He said he would be in town for the Memorial day weekend and said he could just stop by and save me the postage.  So he came by in all the rain (2.16") on Monday, picked up his prize and tried it on for size.  Sorry about the blurred quality of the image, it looked good on the cameras viewfinder when we reviewed it.  At any rate, here is another shot of the prize.  Yes, I have finally ventured into the marketing of johndee.com waters.  Actually, I was approached by a father and son team about 8-10 months ago about the idea.  I told them how I had been thinking of doing something like that, but just did not have the time to undertake it.  A few months later, I received a box of goodies from them and a business proposal.  I was impressed with what they sent and their proposal, so we are in business together.  I am not going to get into the details of the business deal, but they will be handling all of the production, manufacturing and shipping.  They will also be rolling out an on-line store where you will be able to do your shopping.  I will get a percentage of the sales and I actually felt a little weird about getting money just because of my name, so I have decided to turn all my share of the sales over to the Copper Country Humane Society.  They are currently in the process of a fund raising campaign to build a new facility.  It really is a neat story.  Their current facility is grossly outdated and over taxed.  A very generous Dr donated lots of land to the humane society to build on as well as have a place for the volunteers to be able to take the animals for walks.  The local community has stepped up with the fund raising campaign to generate the $400,000 needed to build the structure they want.  So far they have raised over $350,000 in probably less than a year.  For a population as small as ours, comprised of folks that are not exactly swimming in wealth, I think that is just incredible.  I have no idea how much money I will be able to send their way via the johndee.com wear, but I know that every cent will be put to good use, even after the $400,000 has been raised.  I am not completely sure when the online store will be up and running and your 1000's of orders can be places, but I will be sure to let you know as soon as it is.  You can be sure that there will be links to the store as well.
    The weather did manage to clear on Tuesday and has been nice yesterday and again today.  In fact, today is a 10 on my scale.  Temps in the upper 60's, dew points in the low 40's and nothing but cobalt blue skies.  I think we are very deserving of weather like this, May was a challenging month for all of us.  Not much sun, temps in the 40's and 50's and a fair share of rain.  On Tuesday and yesterday, the hounds and I took to the north shore.  It had been a long time since we walked out there and it was nice to be back out on that beach.  The hounds seemed to be happy too and lost no time checking out their favorite sniffing spots.  Sometimes I am really amazed that they will remember all of these places we go to, even if it has been almost a year since we were last there.  We headed south and walked the beach some.  I tossed the stick and they jumped in and fetched it.
    Lately we have been spending more time on our afternoon adventures.  I have to shamely admit that the past few months I had gotten into the habit of just "getting it over with" because I was "busy with other things".  Well, that has all changed and the other things are now taking a back seat to the more important things in life like enjoying our beautiful surroundings and having as much fun as we can.  With that in mind after our walk on the beach, I asked Burt and Baileys if they were ready to go and got a resounding NO from them, so we took a little walk along the road that runs parallel to the shoreline.  As you can see, the trees are really starting to fill out around here.  I bet in another week they will be in full canopy.
    Yesterday we headed north from our parking spot.  We followed the beach for a while and also went up onto the bluff and followed it for a while.  I figured if the bugs were bad then we could head back out onto the beach, but they were not that bad so we followed the edge of the bluff for maybe a mile and then headed back.  Yes, the views from the bluff were as pretty as that picture was the whole walk! On our way home from the walk yesterday, I spotted some snow.  YES SNOW!!!  There is still snow in the Keweenaw!  It is up at the Calumet High School.  It is where they piled it up during the winter.  The pile is still about 6 feet deep in spots, so it will be there for a week or so more.  Snow in June...wha!  Maybe next year I will have to have a contest as to when that will melt!
    Today the hounds and I headed over to the other side of the Keweenaw Peninsula.  I think it is so cool that in about 15 minutes I can be at either side of the peninsula.  We have a few different spots that we can go to on the east side, but the beach at Big Traverse is the closest so that was our destination today.  The day was perfect to be out there.  Not a bug to be had, clear blue skies, a gentle breeze blowing and the three of us.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been to have Nora there.  Next week...that is her early week.  The hounds did lots of swimming, I tossed the stick into the water lots and a great time was had by all.  Since Nora was not there, I felt it my duty to take a nice macro photograph.  Here is a shot of some wild blueberries budding out.  Looks like a pretty good crop to me.
    On Tuesday evening I went to a meeting of the Keweenaw Point Advisory Committee.  In a nutshell it is a committee that was setup to draw up recommendations on how the land that the state purchased recently should be managed.  I feel this is a very important issue and also feel like the media has totally dropped the ball on covering this topic, so I am going to be putting forth a great effort to try and keep the public as informed as possible.  I am actually just putting the finishing touches on a section to my website that will contain all the information I can gather on this topic.  I have about an hour left to do, so hopefully it will be up by later tomorrow.  A link will be found to it via the front page.  I encourage everyone to check it out.  There will be an avenue for you to voice your opinion and I also think it is very important that as much public commentary is given with regards to this.  It does not matter that you do not live here, nor do you even have to live in MI.  However, if you do live in the Keweenaw or even MI, keep this in mind.  Your tax dollars paid for the purchase of this land.  The persons recommending how it is to be managed are largely non-elected officials.  So either speak up now, or there will be very little recourse once all is said and done- no one to throw out of office!
    The last two items regard photos.  Someone was asking for a front of house shot.  I was actually waiting for the trees to fully fill out and would then post my "summer shot", but since you asked and Nora was kind enough to go out this morning and take one, I will post it here.  I will update the actual front of house shot in the AL Cam in a week or so, once the trees are fully filled out and it looks like summer up here!  The other shot is of the shelter box I was given by the National Weather Service in Marquette.  I thought you all might be interested in seeing what it looks like.  The legs are actually buried about 18" into the ground!  So it is not going anywhere.  The shot is looking at the front and the front actually faces north.  The front can open up and you can access the instruments that way.  The instruments inside is really nothing more than the temp/hyrgo that sits inside a plastic housing, so I did not see the need to show that.  On the right hand side of the top of the shelter you can see the automated rain gauge.  That will come down in the winter and the snow station platform will go on top and be used to show the 24 hour snowfall accumulation.  As mentioned in the last journal, the AL Cam will be repointed to put the shelter box in view once the snow season returns (just a little over 4 months!).
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this time around.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -