Day everyone. Well, technically it is tomorrow, but I doubt I will
be writing tomorrow, so I figured I would say it today. We have been
busy up here, both with work and play- probably more play than work though.
Lots of pics to share with you and I even dusted off the video camera and
have been shooting lots of video. I actually had been meaning to
shoot video of our adventures up here so that we can look back years now
and watch them and enjoy the memories. Funny how it takes something
like all these health issues to really get me to get on the ball with that
plan. I have probably shot more video in the past 4 days than I shot
in the previous 4 years! Anyway, I plan to get as much footage of
the adventures the hounds, Nora and I take as possible and then transfer
them to DVD and make a few backups.
I can tell you all
right now that the journals are going to contain a lot of material involving
the hounds. Of course it will not be all about the hounds and will
generally be in the context of where we have been exploring, but these
journals will serve me just as much as you all in the years to come.
I already find myself going back and reading past entries to see what we
were doing either at this time in years past or even just to read things
that we were doing at other times of the year. Nora even used the
journal to find out when we first spotted the lump on Burt's back last
summer. So, the journals will contain lots of pics of our adventures
and those pics will likely contain the hounds. I am not apologizing,
just letting you all know why you will be seeing lots of the hounds in
the future. One thing that I know you all will enjoy is the fact
that the exploring bug has been awakened and we will be doing lots of that
Last Wednesday the
hounds and I headed out to the school forest to do some exploring and I
covered that in the previous journal. On Thursday the weather was
overcast, windy and temps only in the upper 40's, not the best weather
for for the beach most folks would think, but I actually enjoy the
beach on a day like that. For one we usually have it to ourselves,
another thing is the bugs are usually not a problem and neither is worrying
about getting a sunburn. Plus, the beach just seems to have a different
face on. Not an angry one, but different from when the sun is shining,
the temps are warm and it seems to have a big smile on it's face.
I guess it just feels like we are getting to know the beach a little better
than the fair weather folks do. Of course, the hounds could care
less what the weather is like when we go to the beach. Sometimes
I think that they actually enjoy the gray days more. Baileys took
enough time off from exploring to pose
for me. Burt
is not as much into posing as she is and it can be a real trick to
actually get him looking at the camera. Watching them run around
at the beach Thursday, you would never think that they have been dealing
with health issues and I was very glad that I had both the still and video
camera to capture them playing
at the beach.
There has been some
going on at Big Traverse. I'm not sure if the lighthouse is functional,
but that sure is an addition to that sleepy beach! Even with the
thick overcast, the visibility was good on Thursday. Good enough
to see the Huron
Mountains and even the Huron Islands directly in front of the mountains.
Those features were about 15-18 miles away. Of course that was with
an 6x zoom and I also did not compress the image which would have made
the islands look smaller. We ended up having a great walk down the
beach, but missed Nora. She sure does complete us all and as nice
as it was that afternoon it would have been perfect if she was there.
I am sure that we will be taking more evening walks in the coming weeks
and months when she gets home from work. Right now I think the hounds
and I need to get ourselves into good enough shape to handle two explorations
Friday the sun came
back out, but I planned to have dinner close to being ready when Nora got
home so that we could also head up to the property and have a look around
up there. So we did not travel far for our Friday afternoon adventure,
but the great thing about living here is that we do not have to travel
far at all to get to some fun spots. The woods
are continuing to fill out and with temps in the mid to upper 50's,
I figured that heading up into the woods would be a good place to do some
exploring. The blackflys are starting to get more and more numerous,
but they are the early season variety so far. I find that the early
bird variety of the black fly are sort of like the pickets for the main
charge to follow. They go out as the advance guard and just sort
of get a feel for the lay of the land and scout out the enemy. So
while they are out there and hone in on my CO2 and body heat, they just
seem to buzz around my head. In a week or so, the more tenacious
members will be out and short of covering myself in a bug net, I will be
picking those nasty creatures out of my ears, eyes, neck, and just about
anywhere else they choose to invade. Or better yet, stay out of the
woods and wait for things to quiet down by early July. The trees
are not the only things filling out in the woods. The berry bushes
are are also busy filling out in order to produce their goodies in a few
months, here is a thimbleberry
Yesterday we got a
lot of work and play in. It was a beautiful day, with clear skies
for most of the time, temps in the upper 60's and a gentle breeze.
The main event for the day was to go to the beach that Nora, the hounds
and I started going to last summer. We nicknamed it "North Betsy"
because it is north of Betsy. It has become our favorite beach even
though it is about 40 minutes away. It is really nothing special,
just a patch of sand with barely enough room to walk when the waves are
rolling in. I guess it is just one of those places with so many great
memories built into it already that even though it does not have the whitest
sand, hidden coves, million dollar views or other physical features that
make it a famous beach up here, it
is special to Nora, the hounds and I. For Burt, as long as there
are sticks to fetch
he's happy. For Baileys- some items
along the beach to sniff out and explore are a plus. For me-
maybe a piece of driftwood to sit on for a while and just take
it all in with my buddies. For Nora- well... I can't really
speak for her but she hangs out with me, so I don't think it takes all
that much to make her happy.
Speaking of Nora, sometimes
she takes a great picture, but because I did not take it, I really do not
know how to work it into the journal. Anyway, here is a shot of a
carved out of the sandstone by wave, water and probably some pebble
action. It's even filled with some pebbles. There is actually
a section along this beach where there are many of these "kettles" that
have been made. A little further down the beach we came across another
interesting sight. At first it was hard to make out what it was,
but as we got closer we could see that it was the root
system of a once proud white pine that succumbed to the elements up
here many years ago. Just another one of mother natures sculptures.
As mentioned, we have
been doing some work around here too. Nora has her gardens not only
prepped but planted. I almost finished the front steps and the weather
shelter box is painted, put together and in the ground. I even have
the instruments in and tomorrow the data from the instruments will be displayed
on the AL Cam page. I meant to take a picture of the shelter box
but it started raining in the past hour or so, so that will have to wait.
But fear not, you will be getting lots of looks at it this next winter-
it will be the snow station. I modified the platform from the old
snow station to fit on top of the shelter box and come this winter will
put that platform on top. I did manage to take a picture of the new
front steps. They are almost done. I still need to make
some pieces for the tops of the posts. I then need to do a little
sanding (removing those pesky stamps on the wood) and then stain it.
Actually Nora said she wants to stain it, so my work is almost done!
So now all I have left
to do is finish the fireplace remodel (still waiting for the parts) and
build my brothers bed frame and my woodworking projects will be done for
a little while. However, I think I have just about enough wood left
over from the fireplace remodel to build a really cool craftsman style
bookcase for the living room, so I may add that to the list too.
Well, I guess that
about covers it for this time around. I hope you all are keeping
your feet dry and that you enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly sponsors
I have a whole
host of different subjects to cover in this journal, I hope I can remember
them all. First on the list of items is some subject matter that
I had in the May 21 journal. I talked about and had pictures of some
in our group driving ATV's through water up here. It was brought
to my attention that doing that is against the law. No one in our
group was aware of that and at first I thought it was not true. After
all, all the crossings we made were where forest roads cross the creeks
or ponds. These roads get used all the time, yet no one ever mentioned
to me that it was illegal, and I have a feeling that many others that go
through those bodies of water also do not know of their law breaking.
Ignorance of the law is never an excuse, but I wanted to remove the pictures
so that I would not be giving others the wrong idea. I did want to
make a point of this though. The reason for this rule is so that
the banks of the bodies of water are not eroded by the vehicles.
It makes sense to me. So if you are coming up to ride ATV's, be careful
not to ride through any bodies of water. I can point out that the
law applies to all of MI, not just the UP or Keweenaw. WI has similar
laws from what I understand. Here is a direct quote from the MI DNR's
website - " It is unlawful to operate any ORV in or on the waters of any
stream, river, marsh, bog, wetland or quagmire." I think riding through
the puddle in the first picture of the May 21 was OK.
The second issue is
that the Laurium Glacier melted yesterday at about 6 pm. Nora drove
by it at about 4 or 5 pm and there was a small area of snow. I drove
up to check it out at about 7:30 pm and it was gone, with just a bit of
water left behind. Now, part two of this issue is that I accidentally
erased the list with all the guesses on it yesterday morning!!! I
was going through the Ask New Questions group on the Ask John. I
was getting rid of the off topic posts and by accident erased the post
with all the guesses. So I really do not know what to do here.
I am sure that someone guessed May 25th and it is also possible that that
person knows they were the first one to guess that date. So if you
are that person, please E mail me. If I get only one E mail, then
I will thank all of you for being honest. If you are not sure at
all, then perhaps it will be best to not just take a chance at it.
If I get more than one E mail, I will figure out a way to best handle that.
Nora had a suggestion and I think I will go with her idea if needed.
I am sorry for the screw up!!!! I should have made note of the guesses
on a calendar once the contest was closed to prevent this from happening.
I tried to resurrect the post with the guesses in it, but was unsuccessful.
Anyway, that is issue 2.
Issue 3 has to do with
Burt. Yesterday we drove to Marquette to get is stitches out.
They also had the preliminary report from his biopsy and it was not good
news. The biopsy indicated cancer, sarcoma in nature. I was
told that this was just a preliminary report and that sometimes the final
report comes in and is different. That is hope number one, although
I really can't see how they would send out a prelim report indicating cancer
and then say that there was no cancer in the final report. Hope number
2 is that all of the cancer was removed with the surgical procedure he
had on the 15th. If that were the case, then there would be little
to worry about. We cannot tell if the entire cancerous portion was
removed as the piece sent to be biopsied indicated cancerous cells all
the way to the median or edge of the tissue sample. However, it was
just a section of what was removed, not the whole thing. So we do
not know if the cancer cells that go all the way up to the cut mark are
the cut mark from where the tumor was removed or from where it was cut
to produce the sample that was sent to be biopsied. Hope number 3
is the fact that he lived with it for almost a year and showed no signs
of any ill health other than the lump itself. So it does not look
to be an extremely aggressive form of cancer. Hopefully the final
report will come in soon and we will get some more useful information.
For now we just need to keep feeling for the return of any lump where he
had the tumor removed. If nothing comes back, then all is well.
If a lump comes back, they go back in and remove that and take it from
Needless to say it
was not the news that we were looking for and has had me in a funk ever
since. I am not going to let it ruin things though. The way
I see it we have two choices, we can dwell on all the negative issues and
potential problems regarding this, or we can go on and live life one day
at a time and be thankful that we were able to catch it at this stage and
also be thankful for today because he feels fine and is living a good life
today. I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know that it
will come in it's own time- always does! These dogs really have taught
me to try and live my life one day at a time and that is exactly what we
are going to do with this. We may have months or years, I don't know
and probably cannot control much, but what I do know and can control is
how we handle this minute and this day. We are going to take full
advantage of the time we have together and love life and the gift of today.
That is how I have tried to live my live for many years now, but sometimes
it is hard to avoid getting sucked up into the big plans we have for our
lives. I still have those plans and will strive toward achieving them,
but there will be a little more emphasis put on today and what is has to
With that thinking
in mind, the hounds and I took to the school forest to take a nice afternoon
walk in the woods. We have been regulars at the Lake Linden Sands
the past week or so, so it was nice to get back into the woods. The
bugs were noticeable, but not so bad that we could not be in the woods.
I think in another week or so, the woods will be pretty much off limits
until after the 4th of July. It was a beautiful day, with just a
few fair weather cumulus and temps in the low 60's. With the beautiful
weather and wonderful woods to walk in, it did not take to much effort
to be in the moment. However, the school forest was not as peaceful
as it usually is. The have been doing
some logging out there and were at it today, so we could hear the equipment
for our entire walk. It was kind of weird to be out there and hear noises
other than that which nature provides. Still though with the
trees greening up and the sun shining there was not much better place
to be this afternoon. It was also pretty wet out there. I never
realized how wet that area is, I guess we are walking out there mainly
in the late summer and autumn when things are usually pretty dry up here,
or are skiing and all the wet spots are frozen and buried in feet of snow.
One puddle we came across was actually big enough for the
hounds to take a little swim in. We even spotted or first bear
track of the season, but no actual bears spotted yet.
Some tourists spotted
though! On our way to Marquette we must have passed about 20 motor
homes heading west. Not sure where they all were headed, but things
will start to get busier and busier around here in the coming weeks.
Memorial day is the traditional start to things up here, but in reality,
things really don't get going full speed until about the 4th of July.
I'm sure that there will be a few campers at the various campgrounds up
here this weekend, but half of them will probably be locals getting out
of the house for a while. On our walks at the LL Sands, we have seen
them getting things ready. The bath/shower facility looks to have
been spruced up and all the camp sites were given the good going over and
are all set for the masses.
The last bit of info
that I have to share is my project progress. I have finished all
I can on the fireplace project. All I have to do is wait for the
shelf standards which have now been pushed back even further. They
were to be in at the catalog house by Friday and now I am told next Wednesday.
I bet I could have made them by now! Last Friday I decided to start
the demolition of the front steps. My plan was to get the metal railings
out and take the wood boards off to expose the concrete. Then I would
rent a jack hammer and tear down the cement stoop on Saturday and then
start the reconstruction process this week. Well, the demo went a
lot smoother than I had figured. I even was able to demolish the
cement with just a sledge hammer and did not need to rent a jack hammer.
Nora helped me haul the cement pieces to the side of the road Friday evening
and Saturday morning I went up and got the wood for the new steps.
I was all fired up to build the steps on Saturday, but it rained all day
and I was shut out. It threatened to rain all day Sunday, so I did
not get any work done then. Monday afternoon I got to work on it
and by 8 pm had the steps and landing done. I put some more time
in on it today and am almost done with the railing. I am getting
a little fancy with the railing and that is taking me a little longer.
If I went with standard railings, I could have easily finished it.
If we can clear out tomorrow, then I will get it done then, otherwise the
weekend looks like it will have some good weather.
Well, I guess that
covers it for this time around.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Forgot to give
you a look at the Laurium Glacier. Here is a
shot from this morning. Looks like next week it may be gone.
I decided I
wanted to "clear my schedule" for the weekend, so I am once again writing
to you during the afternoon rather than the evening. I don't have
anything extra special planned for the weekend, but as busy as my past
few weekends have been, I guess a weekend without any major plans could
be considered extra special! The weather does not look to be too
great, but that does not matter. I have plenty of stuff I can do
or not do if the weather is not so great. I have actually finished
the major construction for the remodel of the fireplace. There are
a few minor things I still need to take care of with the shelves and I
am still waiting for the shelf standards. They are said to arrive
at the company I ordered them from in a week from today, so hopefully I
will have them by very early June. I do plan to put the finish on
the woodwork soon, but would like to wait for a day or days that it will
be warm enough that the windows can be open so that the fumes do not get
too nasty. It feels very good to finally be done with the majority
of this project. I am holding off my real excitement (as well as
pictures) for when it is all done. Hopefully in less than 2 weeks.
My next project will be the front steps and hopefully that will not take
more than about 3-4 days. A day or two for the demo and a day or
two for the actual construction.
Before I go on with
what has happened since I last wrote, I want to talk about something that
I forgot to mention in the last journal. While waiting for Burt to
recover from his surgery last Saturday, Nora and I got to tour the NWS
office in Marquette. We were shown all the neat equipment that they
have at their resource to produce their forecasts as well as some of the
means that they transmit the forecast. They guys that were on duty
that day were very nice and really knew their stuff. One of the things
they mentioned in our discussions was the fact that it is NOT the Huron
Mountains that block out the radar signal from reaching the Keweenaw and
large sections of western Lake Superior. It is actually a set of
hills just to the northwest of the radar site that actually are the culprits.
Looking at the pattern to the shadow, it all makes sense now. If
it were the actual Huron Mountains doing the blocking out, then the shadow
would be much smaller. They mentioned to me that when the new radar
and building housing the NWS Forecast Office was going to be built, the
NWS wanted to have things constructed at the former Air Force Base- KI
Sawyer. That location would have provided no radar shadow across
the Keweenaw and western lake. However, politics got involved with
the placement of the radar and NWS office and the airport authority won
out over the NWS and the radar and office were constructed at the Marquette
Airport. Seems plausible to want to have a radar and forecasting
office located on the same site where you have commercial air traffic.
The kicker to all of this is that a few years ago, the operations for the
Marquette Airport were moved to KI Sawyer and now the radar and NWS Offices
are sitting at what could best be described as a ghost airport! Oh
well, such is life! They also mentioned that the old radar was transported
to MTU and is currently in the Keweenaw. I knew this and you can
see the old radar dome and tower sitting in some MTU property up by the
airport. I was told several years ago by some faculty at Tech that
they needed about $ 30,000 to get the radar up and running. They
planned to use it for research. I had always thought that it would
not be very useful as a forecast tool because the old radar was not as
effective at "seeing" snowflakes as the new Doppler is. However the
folks that I talked to at the NWS office told me that it would actually
be effective enough to help fill in the blanks in the current radar patterns
across the Keweenaw and western lake. They thought that since the
radar equipment has been sitting around dormant for so long that it would
take more than 30K to get it operational now, but even if it is double
that, seems to me that someone somehow could come up with the 30-60K to
get it up and running.
So I learned a bunch
at my visit to the NWS Offices and plan to make return trips when they
have some interactive meetings with the public and media type. I
was also able to pick up the instrument shelter that I will be putting
my thermometer and hygrometer in to get accurate temperature readings.
It was in need of a fresh paint job and I have already scraped, sanded
and primed the box and am just waiting for some warmer temps to put the
top coat on it. All I need is a few hours of warmer temps and I will
be able to get that top coat sprayed on. I will get the instruments
all set up and then add the weather station data to the AL Cam page.
The current setup does ok with the humidity sensing all the time and does
ok with the temperature when the sun is down, but the temp reading gets
all messed up once the sun gets going.
Yesterday I went for
an ATV ride. As many of you may have remembered, my first ever ATV
ride was back last October when I went with Troy and his hunting guides
from the Lac La Belle Lodge. I got the invite from a visitor to the
site (and KSE regular) to join him on a ride sometime from yesterday through
Saturday, so I picked yesterday knowing that the weather would be best
that day. As luck would have it, the guides were up at Lac La Belle
helping Troy with some other things and one of them, Matt, was able to
join us on our ride and performed the guide service. Matt knows the
land in the northern Keweenaw as well as anybody, so it was great to have
him as a guide. I actually think it is more fun to just tag along
than guide, I don't have to do much thinking and can just sit back and
enjoy the scenery. We ended up going to some of the same places we
went in October and also going to some new spots. The riding conditions
were a little different this time around. We have had a lot of rain
the past week or so and that coming on the heels of the snow melt has left
puddles to have to get through. One of the nice thing to riding
in most of the Keweenaw is that there is usually a pretty solid base under
any water and mud, so getting stuck is usually not a severe problem- although
I am sure there are places where it could happen without too many problems
up here! Our travels took us to the Montreal
River. Not the mouth, but about 2 miles up stream.
After exploring some
more of the hidden spots of the tip of the Keweenaw, we ended up almost
at the very tip- Keystone Bay. It was just a little over a month
ago that I was taking my last snowmobile trip of the season to that very
spot. Kind of weird as I almost never get up that way in the first
place and then to be there twice in just over a month, one time on snowmobile
and the next on ATV.
I must say that ATVing
is fun and I sure hope to have one or two in the not too distant future,
but it still cannot hold up to snowmobiling. I guess it's partly
due to the fact that once there is enough snow down, you can almost go
anywhere on a snowmobile up here, while an ATV is still confined to areas
where some kind of path has been blazed. Nothing like blazing your
own trail through the snowy woods! Although I can see Matt and I
going on a few more rides before the snow flies next autumn!
It was interesting
to see the difference in the foliage in the woods between the northern
end of the Keweenaw and down here in the more "southerly" reaches of the
peninsula. The trees in my neck of the woods all are filling out.
Most still have a way to go, but you can definitely see leaves at the ends
of the branches. All the leaves on the trees in the northern Keweenaw
are still tucked tightly away in the buds. We could very well have
a full canopy while theirs might still be bare. All that in about
15-20 miles of distance. This sure is a unique place in more ways
Well, Nora has an early
day at work today and the hounds and I are going to meet her at the Lake
Linden park for a walk so I had better sign off for now. Until next
Good night (afternoon if you want to be
technical) from the Keweenaw..
My how time
fly's. I can't believe that it has been 5 days since my last writing.
Needless to say we all have been busy since my last writing. On Friday,
Nora and I got over and took care of the remaining brush at the property.
It is really nice to have that done, although that is just a tiny bit of
the work that needs to be done. All the standing trees still need
to be cleared and then the heavy equipment needs to come in and take care
of stumps, leveling out the build site and maybe even dig the hole for
the septic. Not sure when the next phase is going to take place.
This autumn would be perfect, but I think we may be busy with other things!
Maybe we can do some work late this summer when it cools some and the bugs
ease off. There should also be some time after the wedding that we
can get some work done. The bottom line is I am glad that we got
the clearing done that we did and can move on to phase two anytime we choose.
I am also glad for the rains we have picked up since last Wed. The
trees we planted are all doing very well and many of them might just make
I have been busy with
the fireplace remodel work. It is going slowly, but forward.
I seem to be putting about an hour or two into it every day or so.
It is almost done as far as construction is concerned. I'd say probably
about 85%. I still have to wait for the special shelf standards to
come in before the construction will be completely done, but I will be
able to move on to the finish stage before the standards arrive.
I am really tempted to post a picture of it as is, but will stick to my
guns and wait until it is done. The parts should be shipped in 10
days and it will not take more than about an hour once they arrive to reach
completely. I think Nora is just as excited for it to be done as
I am. She has been handling all the construction great and I can
tell you I will be glad when it is all done. The work I have been
doing for the past week has all be on site, which means that I have been
doing a lot of traveling between my shop in the basement and the fireplace
at ground level. I did some built in work about 10 years ago and
promised to myself that I would never put myself through that again.
A pretty short memory I guess. The problem with built in work vs.
free standing work is that with built in work you are impacted by the accuracy
of the carpenters ahead of you. 1/8th of an inch might not be that
much to be off when building a wall, but in the world of furniture, it
may as well be 3" off. Part of my design was done to incorporate
the off square issues with the carpentry, but there have been items that
could not get around that. So I make something perfectly square down
in the shop, bring it up to the fireplace, try and fit it in place and
end up having to take it back down and readjust the size and shape to fit.
I really want things to fit well, so there is a lot of trial fittings involving
ups and down between the shop and work site. One thing is for sure,
I am getting my exercise!
As mentioned in the
last journal, we had to take Burt to the vet on Saturday to get a lump
removed from his back. The surgery went well, we got him in at 8
am and by 10:30 am he was on his way home. A little groggy, but not
too worse for wear. The Dr had drawn some samples from it when it
first appeared about a year ago and found only fat. I guess fatty
tumors are fairly common in dogs, especially labs. So we did not
worry about it. Then in March Burt got a steroid shot to take care
of something on his paw and the item on his paw went away, but so the the
lump on his back. Well, it may not have completely disappeared, but
it did go down a ton. That worried the vet as he said that fatty
tumors will not respond to steroids like that. So we had it removed
and now a piece of it is on it's way to Colorado to have a biopsy done
on it. We are keeping our fingers crossed that's for sure!
I'll be sure to let you all know how things turn out with my buddy.
With the rains last
week, the grass needed it's first cutting. I think that is about
right on average. The 15th of May seems to be right around the first
time of cutting no matter what the winter and spring brings. I also
fertilized and will apply the weed-b-gone soon. Last year I did not
do much in the way of fertilizing or week control (other than hand weeding)
and the lawn is in need. I don't like to use chemicals that much
with the dogs going on the lawn all the time, but I will try and keep them
off while the chemicals are doing their stuff. Nora has been busy
gardening. Not in the gardens themselves, but in the pots.
That way we can bring them inside the garage if temps threaten. I
think the garden will get planted in about 10 days. The trees are
still pretty bare, with the leaves still just barely out of the buds.
The bugs are not too bad and from what I understand we are too far north
to be impacted by the cicadas. That's a nice thing. I remember
those things in previous years and they are nasty! The main thing
I remember about them was our black lab eating them. They were like
candy to him.
On Sunday I got my
first golf game in. I could have played weeks ago, but waited for
the home turf to open and then for the weather to get nice enough.
I actually shot better than expected and I would be happy with my Sunday
score any time of the season. I am not a great golfer, basically
a bogey golfer. But Sunday I shot 6 over par for nine holes, which
is excellent for the first time out and pretty good for me anytime of the
year. I have a meeting for the league tonight, that is why I am writing
this early today. I think they plan to start the league on the 25th.
Summer is just about here!
Well, I guess that
gets you all caught up on my doings. I do plan to go by the Laurium
Glacier this afternoon so I will take a picture of it and post it in the
next journal. The last time I went by it, it was still plenty deep
and looked like it might make it through May. It has not been too
warm since, so we'll see. Until next time...
4 days since
my last writing, that's not too bad. I really do not have too much
to say. I have been pretty busy working on my project for the fireplace.
It is coming along, but it will not be done at the end of this week like
I was thinking. The main reason is that I am waiting on some parts
that were back ordered. I wanted to use some special shelf standards
and unfortunately they will not be in until May 27 at the earliest.
I can get the project basically done without them, but it has also caused
me to not be in a big hurry to get things done. I also needed to
order some more cherry veneer plywood and that should be in in a day or
two. It is coming along nicely and the other day when I had finished
a bunch of work I could not help but stop and stare at my work for a while.
It's really going to be neat.
Another reason why
I am not going to be finished this weekend is that the hounds and I had
to go to Marquette yesterday to see the vet again. Nothing serious
or life threatening, but still something that needed to be attended to.
So yesterday afternoons work was canceled. We are going back Saturday
so Burt can have a lump removed from his back. The Dr. tested it
a while back and it showed it was just a fatty deposit, but yesterday while
we were there for Baileys' issue he felt the lump on Burt's back and it
felt different (hard) from before, so he thinks it is best to remove it
and take a look at it. Hopefully it is just a fatty deposit that
got hard for some reason.
We had some interesting
weather on our ride to Marquette and back yesterday. It was warm
up here yesterday with the official temperature at the Houghton Co. airport
reaching 86- however, several local thermometers rose into the low 90's.
The thermometer on my truck (which I have found to be relatively accurate)
read 84 when we left Lake Linden yesterday afternoon. As we drove
through Houghton and Chassell, it read 86. When we got to the stretch
of 41 just north of Baraga that runs close to the lake, the temp dropped
to 52. Then just past L'Anse, it read 91. So in the course
of about 5-8 miles the temp had risen almost 40 degrees. That is
a great example of the influence the lake has up here in the warm months.
On the way home it was still in the mid 80's, but then we ran into some
strong storms driving through Baraga to just about Chassell. The
storms cooled things off into the 60's and temps slowly sank into the 50's
We did keep the sliding
glass door in the bedroom open all last night and I don't believe I have
heard the heat kick on yet today, even though we held in the 50's for most
of the day and are now in the upper 40's- plus we had thick overcast all
We ended up picking
up about 1/2" of much welcomed rain. On the way home from Marquette
yesterday we came across a little brush fire that had burned an acre or
two just off the road near Michigamme. It had been put out by the
time I drove by it. A good thing as the winds were howling and the
ground cover prior to yesterdays rains was a tinderbox. The only
thing I can figure is that someone was not thinking and tossed a cigarette
out the window and that caught things on fire, because it was pretty much
in the middle of nowhere, or at least were some other human element would
cause a fire to start and I can't see how it would have started on it's
own. Anyway, it drizzled almost all day today and has also rained
a bit this evening, so things are greening up and the fire danger is way
down for the moment. Plus all the trees we planted this weekend have
now gotten a good drink of water. More rains look possible for later
this weekend or early next week so that will only help the tree survival
rate even more.
The rains have also
caused the grass to grow enough that it needs its first cutting of the
season. I don't know when it is going to get cut though. Saturday
we will be in Marquette and Nora and I plan to get up to the property and
do the final bit of brush removal tomorrow. Temps are suppose to
be in the 40's for highs, so that should keep the bugs in hiding and the
rains are to stop too. The trees are starting to pop their buds.
It will probably still be at least a week before there is any real cover
to the trees but we're getting there! No golf for me yet either.
Next Tuesday is the league meeting so we are getting close to that too.
I had better get a round or two under my belt before that starts!
Five years ago tomorrow
the hounds and I moved up here. I cannot remember much from 5 years
ago today, except that my dad and I spent the entire afternoon loading
the moving truck with all my belongings. I can remember almost everything
from the day of five years ago tomorrow and I bet I always will.
It was such a huge day in my life and so full of excitement. I think it
will be forever imbedded in my memory bank. As I type and look out
at the rain coming down with temps in the mid 40's, I am really glad that
we had sunny skies and temps in the low 60's greeting us for the unloading
process. Of course rain and temps in the 40's would not have dampened
my spirit at all. It has been a fabulous 5 years, better than I could
even imagined. I love this little corner of the world so much it
really is a dream come true to be able to live here. I don't know
what the next 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years holds in store, but I like it
that way. Life's a journey, not a destination.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
It's a good
thing that I ended up writing that last journal when I did. My idea
of a busy week last week was sure correct! In fact, things were even
busier than I thought they might be. This journal entry will be more
about what is going on in my life rather than what is going on up here.
Nora and I have been very busy all last week and even into the weekend.
Last week after Nora came home from work we went out to the property
to do clean up work. There were a ton of tops (of trees) out there,
left over from when the previous owner went in and had all the birch logged
out. From time to time the price of one particular species of tree
will be elevated and that is why sometimes they will go in and just log
one particular type of tree. Anyway, Birch does not do well holding
up to the elements once it has been cut down and all of the branches left
over were too rotted to burn, but still too firm to just mulch into the
ground. So Nora and I spent a few hours every evening last week,
cutting and hauling the branches off the build site and into the woods.
In a few years the branches we did haul off into the woods will be decomposed
into dirt. We almost finished the entire build site, having only
to clear the spot where the home will go. That should take us about
2 hours and then we will be completely done with that phase of the work.
The next phase will
be to get some estimates on putting in a road to the build site as well
as flattening out the build site and bringing in some mine rock as a base
for the driveway and buildings that will be on a slab like the pole barn
and guest cottage. There is quite a few trees that will need to come
down. Most of them either hard maple or some kind of a fir.
My thought is that the lumber is of some value and I might be able to work
out a deal with the person that does the dozer work and not have to pay
as much, or anything at all. I do want to keep some of the hard maple
to use as firewood for the outdoor wood boiler, but I don't want to keep
all of it as I could never burn all of it before it went bad. Plus,
there will always be a tree or two that comes down on the property that
we can chop up and use in the wood boiler.
On Friday, the trees
that we ordered from the tree sale the Houghton-Keweenaw Conservation District
came in. So on Saturday Nora, the hounds and I planted 100 trees!
Actually 97, we planted 3 of them here in Lake Linden on Friday.
In addition to the 97 trees, we also planted 10 blackberry plants at the
property. I am hoping they will spread naturally out there. But if
not I can always get more next year or help the spreading process myself
by digging a few up and transplanting them. I also planted 10 raspberry
bushes and 5 blueberry bushes here in Lake Linden. I am really excited
to see how the blueberry bushes turn out as they are some of my favorite
berries and there is nothing better than fresh picked fruits or vegetables.
We also got 25 strawberry plants that we temporarily planted in flats.
It is still a bit too early for them to be outside permanently. Temps
can dip into the low 20's without much difficulty for the next week or
two. I think that in about 2 weeks we can put them in the ground.
It will also be neat to have fresh strawberries. I doubt that the
blueberry bushes will produce this season, but I would not be surprised
if the strawberries do.
All of the trees that
were planted at the property were conifers. My main goal in planting
them was to end up with some nice seclusion in a few years. 50 of
them were Norway Spruce which is a fast growing pine that keeps it's limbs
all the way to the ground. It will end up being 50-60 feet tall,
but I am just hoping for about 10 feet in 10 years. Most of them
were planted between the road and the build site and if most of them do
end up making it then there will be no way to see the road from the property
or the property from the road. In the summer the deciduous trees
and bushes fill out enough that you cannot see the road from the build
site or the build site from the road, but it will be nice to have that
seclusion year round. I do plan to replace any that do not make it
with trees of the same variety next year. The other 2 types of trees
that we planted were Balsam Fir and Majestic Blue Spruce. The Balsam
Fir are also fast growing and will get to be about 45-50 feet high.
They can also provide some food for animals like seeds for the birds and
squirrels and even the deer will eat the needles when food is scarce.
The Blue Spruce is more of an ornamental. It grows pretty slowly
and they were planted in groups near the building site for looks only.
Depending on how the blueberries do here I may use them as ornamentals
at the property too. They are pretty bushes, being a deep green in
the summer and then turning a bright orange and yellow in the autumn.
Plus it would be nice to be able to step out my door and get some fresh
blueberries for my breakfast in the morning!
The plants all seemed
really healthy. The place that the H-K Conservation District got
them from must have really been using some root growth hormones as the
roots were about as large as the above ground portion of the plants themselves.
The Norway Spruce were only about 6-8" in height, with another 6-8" of
roots. The Balsam Fir were about 12-15" in height with equal roots
and the Blue Spruce were about a foot and a half to 2 feet in height.
So hopefully with the good root system the plant will have a good chance
at survival. We did manage to water all of the Norway Spruce that
we planted between the road and building site as well as all of the Blue
Spruce. I put a 35 gallon trash can in the back of the truck and
filled it 3/4 of the way with water and then we (actually Nora) shuttled
water from it to the trees once they were planted. We look to get
some rain tonight and then more by about Wed-Fri, so that should also help
with the survival rates of the trees.
The other 25 Norway
Spruce and the 25 Balsam Fir were just planted in a scattered nature out
in the woods within a few hundred feet of the build site. At first
we were taking time to figure out where they would go best, but by the
time we reached the last 25 or so, we were pretty much out of steam and
just planted them anywhere there was a little clearing. The holes
did not have to be very deep, but still digging 100 holes gets to be a
lot of work. Throw in the fact that the black flies were starting
to come out and bite and that made things even less enjoyable towards the
end. If the black flies are really coming out- which I think they
are as I experienced some this afternoon here in Lake Linden, then the
next chilly day Nora and I will have to get out and finish up with the
clearing. The black flies seem to be less active on the cold days.
At any rate, it will be interesting to see what takes and what does not.
In addition to all
the work at the property I have been busy all week with the wood work for
the fireplace area. I was able to finish the drawers and got them
mounted in the cases. The case and drawers are fitted into the openings
and today I was able to get some of the wood working done for where the
shelves will be. I figure I probably have about 15-20 hours of work
left on the construction and if all goes well, then the construction will
be done by the end of this week. I will continue to take some pictures
along the way and will share all of them with you when I am finished.
It's turning out good and even though I have yet to even use one piece
of cherry, I can really get a feel for what it will look like when it is
all done. I think it will actually make the room look bigger.
It will be so nice to have storage for all the CD's, DVD's and VCR tapes.
The hounds are both
doing very good, they were with us the whole time we planted trees yesterday
and I think that they were actually glad to leave. They did have
fun exploring, but then seemed to get a little bored as they never really
go beyond eyesight of us and we did not go very far, sticking pretty close
to the build site.
Other than that, I
guess there really is not much else to say. The Calumet Golf Course
opened up Friday. But as of yesterday there was still a bit of snow on
number 2!!! I wonder how many golf courses in the world have to wait
to open up until May and then do so with some snow still on the course?!
I have yet to play or even hit out any practice balls. I really want
to get my projects done and then will be in more of a mood to enjoy my
playtime. I still have the whole summer ahead of me, so there will
be plenty of time for things like golf. Still, it was neat to drive
by the course Friday and see some golfers out on it. Almost felt
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Once again I
have a moment of time so I figured I had better get on writing another
journal before I get into what looks to be a busy week and then before
I know it is has been nearly a week since I last wrote. Besides I
do have some stories to share along with some pictures. The weekend
was a busy one, with Nora, the hounds and I going out to the property to
do some marking of where we want the buildings to go. Plus we did
some exploring of the property, going to a few places we had not been to
yet. And yes I did say buildings. As in more than one. Actually
it is going to be a mini compound. We plan to build a 60 x 30 foot
pole barn a small (about 20 x 30) guest house as well as the main home.
The guest house will actually serve as the living quarters for us as we
are building the main home. Then become the guest home once we are
all moved in. The pole barn will house both my woodworking shop and
an area for storing/fixing things like the snowmobiles, lawn equipment
and any other toys we accumulate along the way. The floor will be
heated and zoned so that I can keep my wood working shop comfortable and
the other area just warm enough to keep things from freezing or allow them
to melt. It will be so nice to have a woodworking shop on ground
level. I have either had them below ground or 2 stories up.
Not much fun to haul all the raw materials down or up to the shop and then
the finished product up or down. I have actually had to finish construction
on a few of the projects outside of the shop because I would not be able
to get them out of the shop when they were fully assembled! Plus
it will be nice to have an area to work on the sled that will be fairly
warm, or at least above freezing!
I'm toying around with
the idea of building the log home myself, or at least with another up here.
He is someone that builds logs homes on the side. He is currently
building his own and I was out to see it yesterday. He uses the Scandinavian
full scribe building method, which is where you scribe the one log to match
up with the log it will rest against. You then end up with a tight
fit and basically a full log. I am not really big on using the logs
that have a flat top and bottom machined on them and then you just stack
them. I really like the rustic look of Scandinavian full scribe.
Anyway, the idea is to have him show me how to do it. From what he
has said once you do a couple of logs you pretty much know what to do for
the rest of the house. It is just a matter of choosing the right
log so that you can keep your courses within a reasonable margin so that
when you finish the walls are all the same relative height and not much
trimming needs to be done to make the walls all the same height.
The home would actually be built on his property just outside of Lake Linden,
using his tools and machinery. It would then be disassembled, hauled
up to the property and re-assembled. Once re-assembled we would then
do the roof and I would take over from there, finishing out the home while
living in the "guest cottage". The other method would be to just
pay a log home company to build the shell and put it up on our site and
then I would finish it out. Needless to say there is still a lot
of planning to do and building it myself would be a huge undertaking, but
one I would love I know. I can't even imagine living in a log home
that I built with my own hands!
As mentioned, Nora,
the hounds and I went up to the property this weekend to do a rough layout
of where the three buildings will go. Now is a great time to be up
there, with the snow gone and the bugs not out yet. Plus the brush
is still bare so it is easier to get around too. We actually were
planning to do some marking on Friday, but forgot the tape measure, so
we just just dropped off some of the materials we were going to use to
do the marking and then walked around a bit. On Saturday we remembered
to bring the tape and were able to get the guest cabin and pole barn marked.
Here is a shot of Baileys
helping me figure out where to put the first corner. Here is
a shot of the layout
for the guest cabin. As mentioned it is about 20 x 30, but that
may shrink a bit when I start designing it with a CAD program. We
will not need that much space and I plan to put the bedroom in a loft,
with my office, the bathroom, kitchen and family room on the first floor.
The layout of the kitchen cabinets will be exactly the same as the layout
in the home that way I can build the kitchen cabinets, hang them in the
guest cabin and when the time comes, just move them to the home and hang
them there. All the roofs will be metal and be pitched enough that
no shoveling will need to be done. The pole barn might need some
help by heating the loft above the work areas and below the roof and then
maybe raking the eves to get the snow to slide off, but NO roof shoveling
once I am out of this house! We were not able to mark out the main
house because we ran into some problems with the layout. Both Nora
and I did not want the view from the great room and kitchen to be out onto
the pole barn and guest home. But the way I had things designed in the
rough layout there was no way to make that work. So we went home,
I got back on the drawing board and redesigned the layout of the home to
work with the layout of the building site. On Sunday we went back
out and finished the marking of the property. Here is a shot of Burt,
Baileys and I standing in what will one day be the great room of our log
Nora came up with the great idea to take our afternoon walk out at the
School Forest. Things are drying out enough up here that you can
go almost anywhere. The lowest of lowlands are still wet and even
flooded in a few instances, but most of the school forest is high enough
ground that I knew we would be able to walk around without having to wade
through a swamp. It was really great to be back out at the school
forest. I think our last visit was either at the end of January or
early February. I don't know why we stopped going for the second
half of the winter, but we did. Things had not changed much at all.
There was a few new signs out on the trails, including the "You are here"
type. But other than that, it was the same old place, which as
beautiful as it is, that is a good thing! The hounds did not
miss a beat. It is really amazing how they can recognize things.
They knew before we even got there where we were going as they got excited
when we turned off the Bootjack Road onto the road that goes to the School
Forest. Once there it was nose to the ground to smell what has been
going on since they were last there. After all we went through about
2 weeks ago I cannot begin to explain how magical it was to be walking
in those woods with Nora and the
hounds by my side. They even managed to sit still long enough
for us to get a shot
I guess I can warn
you there is going to be quite a few shots of the hounds in the journal
from now on. When Baileys was sick, I found myself reading through
the past journals to re-live our past adventures and I know the day will
come when I will have to do it again, so I want to stock up! Back
to the walk on Saturday... It was not that warm out, but Burt still got
hot enough that when we walked by a little pond, he decided to take
a dip. I modified the saying about leading a horse to water and
is says you can lead a lab to water, but you just can't keep them out of
it! For Burt that pretty much rings true. Nora was able to
capture him shaking
himself off- kind of funny looking. With the stop motion effect
of the camera, he almost looks like he is in pain. My last photo
taken out at the school forest is of one last
remaining patch of snow. It is where the plow piled it up and
also where it sits in the shade. With the warmer temps this week
I bet it does not last much longer. After getting home and having
a nice meal, Burt
and Baileys were out for the count.
Today I drove by the
Laurium Glacier. I did not have the camera, but I can say that it
is still going strong. In fact I think it is currently as deep as
I have ever seen it at the beginning of May. I will try to remember
the camera the next time, but I'd say that if we do not have a bunch of
really warm weather it could make it longer than any of the previous years.
I don't know about making it to June, but late May might just be in the
cards this year. I sure wish I knew when it melted after the winters
of 78-79 and 85-86. I do know that in the spring of 86, there was
some snow still on the ground in spots around Lac La Belle in June.
We had some flurries yesterday. I wonder if those will be the last flakes
of the season?
Today the hounds and
I took to the tracks. The old railroad tracks that are now the snowmobile
trail in the winter. Nora the hounds and I went there over the weekend
but she was at work today, so we braved it without her. The snow
has been gone from
the tracks for a while now, probably a few weeks. Down in some
of the deeper ravines there is still a few patches of snow. It was
a great day for a walk in the woods. It's funny how I crave weather
like this when we reach September, but right now I am looking forward to
shorts and t-shirt weather that I almost think today is too cool.
But there are two, great hiking in the woods seasons. Autumn and
now. The temps are just about perfect and there are no bugs.
Hard to believe that in a month we will be gearing up for the black fly
season. Hopefully with the snow melting off a little early and the
river levels already dropping, the black fly crop will not be as bad.
They need cool, clear, running water to populate and that is the big reason
why by the 4th of July they are dropping off. A lot of the smaller creeks
that are fed by the snow melt have dried up for the season.
If you haven't already
noticed there is a new discussion board up and running. It is for
general discussions and the Ask John is strictly for weather questions
now. Hopefully this new board will lessen some of the work for me,
but also provide a good forum for everyone to have some good discussions.
Nora is helping me clean up the Ask John. We are going to remove
all the off topic questions and leave just the weather questions in there.
That will make for an easier and more effective search for a specific topic
or question. We are taking some of the most useful and interesting
off topic posts and will be putting them in a group labeled "Off Topic
Classics". I am also working on getting the weather station up and
running. Actually is has been partly going since late December, but
I am now working with the software that will allow me to display the weather
measurements it takes on my site. The software is really neat, but
like most software it needs to be played around with before becoming operational.
I also am getting a instrument shelter from the good folks at the NWS.
I do not have shade near my office, so in the afternoons the temperature
will be much too high because of the sun. Today it reported a 79.5
and I bet it never rose above 50 or 52. I'm not sure when the shelter
will be here. But I figure I will probably have it about the time
I have the other aspects of the weather station all figured out.
So look for some cool weather data displays in a few weeks or so.
I will also be starting up the warm season forecasts next Monday (the 10th).
My batteries feel pretty recharged and the warm season forecasts are not
as time consuming as the snow fall forecasts.
Well, I guess that
gets you all caught up on life here in the Keweenaw. Rumor has it
the Calumet Golf Course will be opening this Friday. I think I will
be too busy with all of my projects for about another week, but I don't
think I will be able to stay away for too long! Especially if the
weather turns nice.
Good night from the Keweenaw..