Wow, October is almost
over. Seems hard to believe in one month we will be on the eve of the start
of snowmobile season. Up until this week it would have been pretty hard
to believe based on the weather. However, Wednesday we had our first official
flakes of snow. I know that areas up here did see flakes back in the middle
of September. I think I even saw a few flakes mixed in, but could not be
100% sure, so did not count them as the first official flakes. But Wednesday
activity left no doubt. We did not get any accumulation, but it snowed
off and on for a good portion of the day. I know even after dinner we still
had a few flakes finding their way to the ground. Those first flakes Wednesday
were then followed up by the first hard freeze Thursday morning. Hard to
believe it took until October 25th to produce a hard freeze (28 degrees
for at least an hour), but that is the truth. We did have some mornings
with a hard frost, but the air temp on some of those mornings was at or
above freezing. Friday morning, Saturday morning and this morning also
had hard freezes occur. Interesting how it takes until this late in the
season to get one and then the happen like it's no big deal.
We then got our second snow
shower event of the season yesterday evening. Just as Burt and I sat down
to relax outside a few drops of rain hit, then some ice pellets a few minutes
later and then a pretty decent snow showers occurred for about 10 minutes.
It was enough to actually whiten things briefly, but then it melted. It
must have come down a bit harder in Kearsarge because on my way back from
Calumet this morning I saw some roofs and vehicles that still had a bit
of snow on them. It looks like this Wednesday may pull more of a trick
than treat for halloween (sorry, I just could not resist that bit of corny
media talk). Rain and snow mixed, possibly changing to all snow. Of course
all the kids up here are used to that. Every halloween costume up here
comes with enough room to fit a snow suit under them.
It is still pretty far out in
the forecast, but right now it looks like about a week from now it could
get really cold up here, with high temps in the 20's and maybe some lows
in the teens and we could see some fairly decent lake effect to boot. Kind
of hard to believe with the nice and sunny weather we have had the past
4 days (minus the snow showers yesterday evening). However, this really
is a time of the year when we can have sunshine and 50's one day and 8"
of snow the next.
With all the overnight cold
temps we finally had to break down and turn the heat on inside the cabin.
As I believe I had mentioned in a previous journal I was holding off because
I did not want to heat the entire slab up, only to have it go cold again
once it got warm. Well, the truth of the matter is it did not take that
much to heat the slab up. I turned the heat on at about 6 pm on Thursday
and when we went to bed around 8, the floors were already warm. By the
time I woke up at around midnight to let Burt out the floors were really
warm and the cabin was nice and toasty. I was amazed at how quickly it
warmed up. That also meant that it did not take a bunch of energy to get
the slab heated up. I would say that it took just fractionally more firewood
than had we not heated up the slab. So I guess the moral of the story will
be that we can turn the heat on any time we want and the floors will respond
quickly and we will not be using that much fuel to do so. It is not like
I was keeping the house uncomfortably cold (Nora might argue that point
a bit), the temp inside the cabin never dropped below 65 until Thursday.
However, it is just so nice to have warm floors again! Especially getting
out of the shower. Nothing worse than stepping out of a nice warm shower
to hit a cold tile floor. Of course there are few things nicer than stepping
out of the shower and onto a nice warm floor!
With wintry weather starting
to show its face around here I figured it was time to start thinking about
getting the sleds ready for the season. Actually one of the things I wanted
to do this off season was to polish the tunnel. I almost thought that I
would not be able to get it done. I was planning on waiting until autumn
and the more comfortable temps hit do start in on it and then Burt was
diagnosed with cancer, so I put that on hold. Then when Burt seemed to
be doing OK, I took some afternoons and evenings along with a whole lot
of elbow grease and got
it all polished up. I know, I know what a lot of you are going to say.
"Looks good, but you should have done those rails too!". You are right,
but that was a whole other project for a whole other time. Plus the way
I see it, the rails are pretty much packed with snow all season anyway,
so I will not even see them! The tunnel turned out nice though and the
up side is if I am running late to meet up with the gang and cannot shave,
I can always get in a quick shave while we are at a pit stop. I
will have the mirror for it! The worst part about the whole polishing
job was the edges of the running boards. They have these tiny little teeth
that would shred the polishing ball and did not really allow me enough
room to get my fingers and a rag into, so I ended up using my dremel tool
with the felt wheels that come with it. That did the trick, but it was
very tedious work. I also polished up the aluminum parts on the front suspension
like the radius rods and parts of the steering assembly.
Then on Tuesday, Dave came over
and we ported my track. For those of you that might not know what I am
talking about, you drill out holes in the track. The main purpose for that
is to allow snow to escape the suspension more efficiently. The weight
loss is only about 1.5 lbs and it is rotating mass so that could help.
But really the big gains are that you do not carry all that snow around
in your suspension when riding in the deep snow and the track does not
have to work against all that snow inside your suspension, so you gain
a few more ponies at the track when you need it most! Dave did his tracks
last season and I know some guys out west that have been doing it for years
with no problems. I believe even Ski-Doo is doing the porting on some stock
setups they sell. In any case here is the track before
porting and here
is after. I used a 3-2-3 pattern and decided to leave the outside panels
intact, although I have seen tracks with a 3-3-3 pattern and the outside
panels done too.
The tools we used were: 2 drills
and two home made drill bits. The bits were modified
hole saw bits (sorry for the poor quality, but the camera had a hard
time focusing). What Dave did was to remove all the teeth of the hole saw
and then put a knife like cutting edge on the tip. So the bits would cut
through the track rather than saw through them. It worked very well because
the bit would get so hot it would actually cauterize the rubber in the
track as well as the reinforcement strands inside the track. It almost
looks like the track was manufactured that way. The first bit we used was
about a 3/8" one to make a pilot hole. Then we used a 1 1/4" bit to make
the main hole. Inside that bit was a 3/8" blank rod that guided the big
bit by running inside the pilot hole we drilled first.
It's a pretty good workout as
you have to push the drill pretty hard for the bit to get through. We kept
the suspension on the sled and lifted the rear end up about a foot. Then
we sat on a little shop stool and drilled away. Here is a shot of
making some large holes. We could only cut 3 holes and then had to
pluck the rubber disks out of the bit before drilling more. Dave looked
like he was having so much fun, I kept begging him to let me have a try.
Finally he relinquished the big drill to me at let
me have some fun! The truth of the matter is I offered to drill some
and when Dave said he would do up until we saw the holes starting to appear
on the other side, I did not fight that too much! Dave ended up drilling
about 2/3rds of the big holes and all the small holes. It only took us
about 90 minutes from start to finish to drill the holes. We did have to
modify the templates he had made to mark the track, but that did not take
too long either.
The 800 is now down at Al's
shop having the carbs cleaned and dialed in. The sled ran really fat on
the low end almost all last season and that is a condition I just hate
with the type of riding we do. We do not need that high end speed, but
we sure do need that crisp, immediate response from the engine at low rpms.
I had more than one close call when I went to bunny hop over something
and the engine coughed rather than burped! The only other mods to the sled
will be to add some ice scratchers and remove some outer bogey wheels.
Loose some weight and gain some more carve ability- a nice combo.
I am also happy to report that
we are all done with our pre-winter chores. We have been done with all
of our pre-winter chores up here for at least a week. Last Thursday Burt
and I went to the Lake Linden house (yep, still has not sold) to rake the
leaves. Nora joined us after she got off of work and we cut the grass and
then put up the bush protectors. The fuel tank was filled, so we are done
there until the snow starts to pile up and needs to be cleared. If it starts
to look like we are going to have a really big snow season, I might just
see about getting it plowed. Perhaps even one of my buddies with a plow
on his truck would not mind making a few extra bucks. It would take less
than 5 minutes to back blade that tiny driveway. We'll see. In any case
we are officially all set for winter.
The funny thing about being
all set for winter is that I actually have NOTHING to do! I cannot even
remember the last time I had absolutely nothing to do as far as chores.
Even this summer in which I spent a lot of time doing nothing I still had
things that could have been done. Now I don't even have them! I have actually
been quite bored the past 2 days. The big excitement for me today was when
the satellite guy came to realign the dish for my internet service. The
dish sits on a pole in the ground, but the initial installer had not put
the pole in correctly and the dish and pole were able to spin. So a different
installer (heard the initial guy has been fired) had to come out, dig up
the pole, put some "fins" on the bottom of it and then in case all of that
into cement in the ground. That pole and dish will not be spinning anytime
soon. We even got the dish dialed in a little better, so that was nice.
Anyway, I have been so bored lately that I hung out with the installer
like a little lost puppy dog! I don't think I asked too many questions,
so I don't think I was a pest, but I did have to laugh at myself a few
times for spending the afternoon out there with him.
This is also a pretty slow time
of the year for me. Both in my business and in my play time. The woods
are all bare now.
Soon the woods will be full of hunters and we will have to stay out. It
is a bit too cold for the beaches, although we usually end up going to
a beach or two during hunting season as long as the snow is not too deep.
So we are really in a sort of in between time. It may not be as pretty
as when the woods are all aglow in the yellows, oranges and reds of autumn,
or the deep green of summer or even the deep frosted look of winter, but
things still have their beauty- as illustrated by today's look at Burt's
Speaking of Burt,
he is still doing well. The lump has not returned to his neck. It has been
almost 9 weeks since the lump was removed, so I am a little more optimistic
for his future than we were 7 weeks ago when we got the news on what was
removed. However, I also know that cancer is a funny thing. It can lay
dormant for a while and then spring back full force. We are not concerning
ourselves so much with the future, choosing to make the most of the present.
We are thrilled that he as been able to spend these 9 weeks with us in
such good health and hope for as many more as we can get. He does seem
to be slowing down a bit, but it seems to be more due to his age. There
has not been much of a slow down in the past 7-9 weeks, more in the last
year. He still gets around pretty good for a dog of his age and size as
well as all the joint problems he has. The medicines he is on seem to help
a lot too as he knows when it is time for our afternoon adventure and looks
forward to it as much as he ever did. I think that's what warms my heart
the most is when I see him get all excited to head out for our afternoon
adventure. It really is "our time" and we both cherish it fully and when
Nora gets to come along it is a bonus!
My closing topic is the Ride-In.
Hope those of you that have come in the past are planning to come this
year. It is my goal to keep making it better and better every year and
I think we will be achieving it this year with the addition of "Big Vin"
for live entertainment at the banquet. I can also make the announcement
of another feature to this years ride-in. The crew from Dobson Entertainment
will be attending the ride-in and will be shooting "film" to produce a
commemorative DVD of the event. Rick is currently brainstorming ideas,
but I know we plan to go around at the banquet and interview everyone and
I know he is also hoping to tag along on some of the rides to catch some
of that action as well. We will then be sending free copies too all that
attend the ride in and will make copies available for sale to those that
cannot attend. So I hope that those of you that could not make it in years
past are giving it serious thought to attend this year. It's a really fun
time and for a very good cause.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly sponsors
Once again I have to
say that it is great to be back at home here in the Keweenaw. Nora, Burt
and I snuck out of town for a few days to visit with family and returned
yesterday evening. It is always nice to get down to see my family and a
few friends, but there is no place like home and words cannot fully describe
the way it feels when we pull into our driveway after a few days away and
a long drive. I have found that returning home is even more nice since
we moved up here into the cabin. Nora feels the same way and it is clear
to tell that Burt also feels that way. Just something about home that you
cannot replace, even if you go to places that used to be your home.
We returned to what looked to
be the aftermath of a big blow. Branches were down and we even had 2 pieces
of siding from the front of the cabin get blown off. Not sure how the wind
was able to pull off two pieces of 1 x 6 wood siding that was nailed down.
I think that perhaps the wet weather has caused the wood siding to swell
a bit and that caused it to pull away from the house a bit and the wind
was able to do the rest. There were a few other pieces that were trying
to pull away from the house and when I was putting the two that came down
back up, I made sure to tap the other loose ones back in and secure them
with some longer finish nails. So we are good as new and hopefully I will
not have to put any more of those back up ever again!
I do not have any pictures to
share this week as Nora, Burt and I left Wednesday morning and just returned
yesterday evening, so that did not give me much time up here this week
to take pictures. Plus we forgot the camera when we went south, so we could
not take any pictures of our adventures there either. In addition to visiting
with some friends and relatives I also took in the snowmobile snow that
was in Milwaukee over the weekend. I went to the show Friday evening with
my older brother and a friend that lives in the Milwaukee area. It may
surprise you to know that it was actually my first snowmobile show. Yep,
my virgin experience. I was not real big into snowmobiling before living
here. I did grow up with a few clunkers that we would try and get going
every winter in hopes that enough snow would fall in southern WI to play
in. Most winters the weather did not cooperate very well (see even back
in the 70's and 80's areas like southern WI did not have much snow). There
were a few that bucked the trend in the late 70's and a winter or two in
the 80's also would provide a weekend or two that had enough snow to play
in, but for the most part we did not do a whole lot of riding when I lived
down there. In 1991 I started taking one trip a year up here to play in
the snow and that was the extent of my riding until I moved here. So I
just did not have much of a reason to go to the shows. Then once I moved
here it just became too difficult to get down to one of the shows.
It was nice to take in a show,
but I guess I was maybe expecting too much as I was hoping there would
be more in the way of aftermarket stuff there. I had hopes of getting some
ice scratchers and also a pair of goggles from Haber. I knew I would be
picking up some copies of Born to Ride 6, which features my riding buddies
and I in it. I was also hoping to pick up some DVD's from other producers
and was able to pick up two other DVD's, but was surprised to see just
Dobson and one other vendor there selling videos.
I watched all three DVD's on
the way home yesterday. I brought Nora's laptop down so I could do some
work while down there and used that as my private movie theater on the
way back up. The Born to Ride 6 was excellent. I suppose it helps to know
everyone in it, but I really do enjoy Rick's camera work and editing way
more than what is done in the other DVD's. Those other DVD's may have better
riders in front of the camera, but Rick really has a way of making the
most of what we give him. I have already watched the BTR 6 2 times and
will probably watch it a few more times in the coming days. If you missed
the Milwaukee show and would still like to get a copy of Born to Ride 6
with my buddies and I riding up here and Togwotee, you can go to
website and pick up a copy. If you like snowmobile videos, you will
like his work. Not the head banging soundtrack either. Nice classic rock
like Arrowsmith, U2, ect.
The one downside to watching
all the snowmobile DVD's I have in the past few days is I am now pretty
anxious for the snow. Not so much anxious for the snow to come right this
instant. I know that would still be a waste and would rather it wait for
another 3-4 weeks. I am anxious for that 3-4 weeks to come and go! I see
where Togwotee picked up a bunch of snow over the weekend and I would imagine
that the ground out will probably remain white until spring. They may not
hang onto all the snow they got, but it is getting to that time of the
year when snow can stick around out there- especially what looks to be
around 15-20" of it.
So the bug has bit me. I am
now officially getting excited for winter to come. We still have a bit
more work to do in Lake Linden like rake the leaves, cut the grass and
put the bush protectors up before winter can officially start around here,
but all the work is done up here and I am mentally ready. The models have
been hinting at a taste of wintery weather to occur in much of the northern
Midwest for a few weeks now. It has always been out in the extended period,
which to me is 7 or more days out and is also a time frame when confidence
is pretty low unless the models have been doing a good job in that time
frame. So I have not bought into those ideas yet, but we are getting to
the time of the year where it becomes a trick to avoid snow rather than
get it. Tomorrow our average high will drop to 49 and by months end it
will be 44.
The woods look ready for snow
too. All the trees are bare up here in my neck of the woods. Today we took
a drive out towards the lake (not all the way to it though) and some of
the birch trees still had some yellow leaves on them out there, but all
the maples were bare there and in a few days even those birch trees that
held a few leaves will be bare. It was neat to drive home yesterday and
experience the change in foliage. Where we left in S. WI, most of the trees
were still green, with just a few splashes of color. The amount of color
in trees increased and then hit peak around Wausau and then the trees gradually
turned more and more bare as we headed further and further north. However,
we really did not hit completely bare trees until just south of Twin Lakes.
The southern UP and northern WI still had about 50% of the leaves in the
trees. I suppose this warm autumn has delayed things some.
Speaking of warm autumn, we
still have not had to turn the heat on in the cabin. Pretty amazing thing.
Even without us here for 4 days, the temp inside the cabin was 65 when
we got home yesterday. It looks like we may need to turn it on sometime
towards the end of this week, but it has been nice to not have to use as
much firewood so far this heating season.
Well, I have been sitting here
for a few minutes trying to think of something else to say and cannot,
so I guess that means that this will do it for this time around. Who knows,
perhaps the next time I write I will have some snowflakes to talk about!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Boy, hard to believe
that we are nearly halfway through the month of October already. That is
OK with me. I don't mind the month, but it does get us one step closer
to winter by being past October. The weather has finally settled into more
what we should be seeing this time of the year. We have had frosts the
past 2 mornings, although the air temp has not reached 32 yet. So technically
the growing season is still going, but Nora took all her plants down several
weeks ago. Yesterday and today were also very nice autumn days, with lots
of sunshine and temps in the 50's. I really do love those kinds of days.
They are just so comfortable to be outside in. Wear a light jacket and
you are all set.
I forgot to mention in the last
journal that this area was still so beautiful, even with all the rain and
sloppy weather we had. When I was riding the ATV last Saturday in all that
muck and overcast skies, even fog, it was still so beautiful out there
in the woods. Not too many places that you can say is truly beautiful no
matter what the weather is like. We sure are lucky to be living here. Living
I think that this will be a
pretty short journal. I have not written a short one in a while, so I guess
that it will be OK. The truth is we had rain just about every day last
week, so we did not do anything too exciting. The weather did afford some
breaks so that we could get out and take our afternoon walks, but they
were brief and it did rain for most of the rest of the days. Here is a
shot of Burt heading
back to the cabin after a walk out to Burt's Pond on Wednesday. Still
some color hanging on, but we are definitely past peak and in another few
days 90 percent of the trees up this way will be bare. For some reason
the trees down around Houghton and Hancock as well as Lake Linden are not
that far along. Must be the elevation. Sometimes I forget that we are now
living in the "higher terrain" up here. Not the highest, but a few hundred
feet higher than areas like Houghton, Hancock and Lake Linden.
Today we headed up north a bit
for our afternoon walk. We took the Cliff Drive as I noticed last week
many of the trees there were birches and had not peaked out yet. So I was
hoping they were close to peak and the mostly sunny skies would help to
enhance the color show. Looks
like we got lucky. Not striking color, but still not a bad show at
all. It is just too bad that those darn power lines run along the side
of the road, they really spoil the photo opportunities up there. I understand
the need for power lines, but it is just too bad that they do not run them
underground or somewhere else is all.
About the only other excitement
this week was we got the blazer back. It took a week for them to repair
the damage caused by the deer, but they did an excellent job and it looks
like nothing ever
happened. Actually for all the work they had to do, I am surprised
it only took them a week. My thanks to Keweenaw Auto Body in Calumet for
their hard work and quick turn around!
I have taken advantage of the
nice weather we have had the past few days to do some pre-winter chores.
Nora and I made some more firewood on Friday and then one last load of
wood yesterday. I am finally feeling like we have enough to get us through
the winter. At least the heart of the winter. If we have an abnormally
cold late March and early April (I hope, I hope!), then we may run very
close to being out, but we can always grab some from near the cabin, or
go get some from a friend who actually sells it. I took some pictures of
our wood supply for this season. The reason was two fold. One I want to
show you all, but secondly, I want to have some kind of record of it so
I can see next autumn how much we had for this season and use that info
to help me determine how much we will need. Of all the pictures I took
last summer and autumn as we were building the cabin. I do not have too
many that show exactly how much wood we had going into last season. There
were a few pictures that helped, but did not tell the whole story. Plus
at least half of the wood we had last season was very dry softwood, which
does not have nearly as many BTU's in it as hardwood does. In any case,
I figure we have about 5 1/2 full cord of hardwood and about another chord
and a half of cedar. Here is a shot of the
length of the hardwood pile and here is a shot of the
width. Here is the
cedar pile, which I hope will get us through November.
We actually have not even turned
the heat on yet and the house has never been that cool. In fact we are
still sleeping with the bedroom window open to keep it cool for Burt. He
really likes to sleep in a cool room and so do I. Last winter we would
sleep with the window open as well. I can add that now that the nighttime
temps are dropping into the 30's that the window is not open nearly as
wide as when the temps were dropping into the 40's and 50's and once the
winter sets in, then the window is barely even cracked, but we must have
done a great job insulating this place because all last week the temps
were topping out in the upper 40's and low 50's and dropping into the low
40's at night. We also did not have any direct sunshine to heat the house,
only thick overcast and we still did not have to start heating the place.
Right now it is 73 inside and 50 outside.
Well, not much else to talk
about. Looks like this week will be spent with temps running a bit above
average, so we may be able to get by without heat for another week or so.
There are signs that some colder temps will drop in by early next week
and we may even see our first snows of the season. There were a few flakes
mixed in last week and also back in mid September a few flakes were mixed
in with the rain, but the stuff next week would be snow only and not rain.
Perhaps even enough to whiten the ground. Pretty far out in the forecast
to be putting a lot of faith into, but we are certainly at the time of
the year when the first snows happen. In fact making it through October
without snow is pretty rare. Only about 15% of October do not have at least
a trace of snow reported in them. It happened 2 years ago, but that was
the only year in the past 20 that it did not. It really does not matter
to me if we have snow in October or not. October snow are like teats on
a bull. Useless. Last year places up here got 2 feet and unless you lived
here and got out for the brief time it was around. It just melted away.
I would just as soon get the first inch or two of snow sometime in late
October or early November and then start building a snowpack in the last
2 weeks of November, with a decent base (12" or so) down by early December.
And then it can snow every day until mid April!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Ever since moving up here I
have marveled at the strange and extreme weather that this neck of the
woods can have, but it is usually a single event type of extreme like a
big snow storm or big rain storm, or maybe even a big temperature drop.
However, the past year or so has provided longer term weather extremes.
First it was the mild and relatively snowless winter we had (excluding
the huge April storm). Then it was the severe drought we had in June, July
and August and now it is the rain! I am not going to complain about all
the rain we have picked up in the past 5 weeks, especially because I was
so desperate to get some just about 5 weeks ago. However, we have to be
closing in on a record for 5 and 6 week rainfall totals up here.
It rained all day Friday and
Friday night and then parts of the day on Saturday. Today has been dry,
but rains are likely for tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night and Tuesday,
maybe even Tuesday night. The rains are not little brief showers either,
but events that will last at least several hours and in many cases for
24 hours or more. The drought is over and done with and we are now in the
bonus as far as precip goes. In fact many of the rivers and creeks up here
are running at levels only seen during a strong spring thaw. I have pictures
to share with you, but there are rivers up here that you could have waded
across or even hopped across on exposed rocks just a few weeks ago that
would now likely threaten your life if you were to fall into them. Really
amazing to see the change in conditions up here and the extreme switch
in weather conditions. Sort of fits in with my idea that Mother Nature
likes to even out the score over time and why I believe that one of these
years she will make up for lost ground in the lack of snow and cold in
One of the things that has happened
with all the cool and wet weather lately has been an explosion of fungi
in the forest. In fact I do not recall seeing so many mushrooms in
the woods as we have right now. There are small ones and big ones (we saw
a couple that were the size of a basketball yesterday) and round ones and
flat ones. Red
ones and yellow and white ones. Someone who was really into fungi would
be in all their glory up here right now.
Along with the wet weather,
we have also been warm. At least warm by our standards. Today we are in
the upper 70's to low 80's, when we should be in the mid 50's. The humidity
has also been very high, with dewpoints running just a few degrees shy
of the air temperature for days on end. Even with today's temperature in
the upper 70's, the dewpoints are in the low to mid 70's. That is pretty
much unheard of in this neck of the woods at this time of the year. All
the humidity has led to lots of fog. Nora, Burt and I took a walk over
to Burt's pond yesterday and even at midday the
fog was like pea soup. In fact the fog stuck around all day long yesterday.
Thankfully even with all the warmth and humidity we have been able to stay
comfortable during the day and the night. Night time temps have been falling
into the 50's at least and sometimes into the 40's. I learned my lesson
from the last quick spike in temps we had about 2 weeks ago and closed
up the house this morning and while it is pretty warm and very muggy outside
right now things inside are very comfortable. I also am not taking any
chances and have put the AC into the bedroom window as it looks like things
will be on the sticky side tonight and no need to suffer.
We have yet to turn the heat on this
season and more often than not have actually had the windows open not just
during the day, but at least cracked at night. That bodes well for our
wood supply which we have just about completed. Although it does look like
we may need to start the heat up this week. Temps look to drop as we go
through the day tomorrow and by Tuesday we may only have highs in the upper
40's and low 50's and those would last for the rest of the week. The infloor
heat we have is great during the heart of the heating season as it is so
nice to have a warm floor. However, it is also a slower system to respond
for the call for heat. Meaning that right now the slab is cool and the
entire thing needs to be heated up before we can have any heat going inside
the cabin. In the winter the slab is always warm, so it is always making
heat and you really do not feel any lag. Plus it is always on. However,
at this time of the year you can have moments when you need heat and then
a few hours or days later you do not, so it can be a bit of a struggle
for a few weeks as you make the transition to the heating season. So far
no struggle, but I feel we may be heading into that time period this week
and possibly next. We'll see, maybe it won't be a struggle and we will
just need it and then need it from that point on. In any case, the boiler
is going as it is making our hot water so we do not need to heat all of
that water first before we heat up the slab.
The color show is still going
on, but as reported last weekend, the maples all changed before the birches
and poplar. Thus, many of the maples are now bare, while the birches and
poplar are reaching their peak. In a way I guess that is good because we
have had an extended color show this year, but in a way bad because we
never had most of the trees going at the same time. In any case there are
still some pretty
sights to be seen in the woods.
Yesterday, Skylar his wife and
daughter came up to go on an ATV ride. Being the meteorologist I am, I
was watching the radar closely in the hour or two before they arrived and
there was a big blob of rain heading our way that would have likely hit
us not long after we headed out. That looked to be the last area of rainfall
we would have to endure for the day, so we waited it out and then headed
out and did not get rained on. However, we did not stay dry either! The
trails were riddled with puddles, in fact I think that there were areas
that had more puddles
than dry ground. Some puddles are OK and are actually fun to ride through,
but it does get to be a little old when you travel 15 feet through a puddle,
then 15 feet on dry land before the next puddle is encountered. We did
find some trails that did not have too many puddles on them and it was
nice to travel them. We even lucked out when the fog briefly cleared when
we were on top of the Cliff Range- affording us a view of the valley below,
including the Old
Church of the Assumption in Phoenix. The fog was still hugging the
highest terrain up there like Praiseville Hill, the Buffalo Hills and Mt
Horace Greely and it was not long after we started our decent from the
Cliff Range when the
fog rolled back into all areas (fsv).
I said that I would be showing
you some examples of the high water up here and this
is my first example. Normally that water is about 6-8" deep and you
can just hop across that creek on some rocks that stick up out of it. Not
yesterday! That was Skylar and his daughter making their way across. Everyone
crossed safely and it was actually pretty fun to go through it. The next
example is when we were making our way from Eagle River to Eagle Harbor
and crossed the Garden City Creek. Normally this creek is nothing more
than a trickle. Something that might rival that which comes out of your
garden hose. Not yesterday!
That was about a 10 foot drop of raging water. About 2 months ago Nora
and I took a ride on the ATV to a place called "secret spot" and there
encountered one of the Keweenaw's more mighty rivers struggling
to even have any water flowing between it's banks. Not
I figure that all the swamps
have filled up and they are not able to capture any more of the water put
into them, so all of that water is now flowing into the creeks and rivers
that drain the highland swamps. The same thing happens in the spring when
all the snow melts and we get some rains. It is just very strange to seen
them all flowing so strongly this time of the year. It is nice to see these
rivers flowing so healthy and on the plus side all of that water will find
it's way into the Big Lake and raise it's levels even more, but I wonder
if the extreme flow rates at this time of the year will have any negative
impacts on the fish spawning that is- or should be going on right now.
The other potential downside to all of this wet weather could be if it
either stays wet up until winter starts, or we do not have much cold weather
before the snow starts to pile up, things could be pretty messy for a while,
with all the wet ground and high creeks being covered by the insulating
snow. Nothing I am going to worry about until it happens.
Today seemed like a beach day,
so that is where we took Burt.
He is still doing well. The lump has not returned to his neck and it seems
like no new lumps have appeared, although he has so many little fatty tumors
it can be hard sometimes to know if what we are feeling is a new one or
one that was there. Or if it is an old one, if it has grown any. So far
all seems good. He might not have quite the endurance he had a year or
two ago or even that of what he had a few months ago, but he is also getting
up there in age where any dog of his size would start to tire a little
more quickly. Plus when he starts out in the afternoon fun he does not
do it timidly, jumping
around like a pup. Not bad for an 80+ year old! I am just glad to see him
still getting around so well and enjoying life.
Not much else to talk about-
except for one last item: The dates for the 3rd Annual JohnDee.com SnowFest
Ride-In have been set. They are February 1st and 2nd, with the banquet
to occur on Saturday the 2nd. I plan to put the sign up and info pages
for the ride in up on the site tomorrow, but just wanted to give everyone
a heads up. Right now the events that for sure will be happening will be
the backcountry rides and the banquet (including the raffle), but I plan
to have some other activities for us all to enjoy and will alert you all
to them when they are finalized.
Good night from the Keweenaw..