Well, the final entry
for September is here. The way this September has gone, it feels more like
it is the final entry for August. More well above average temps this past
week, with a bit of humidity to boot. However, our "Autumn Front"
is heading towards us from the west and will be here later this evening and
once it passes, it looks like that will be it for summer. We could still
have a mild day, but not one after another for 7 days straight. Along with
the cool off, it looks like we will be getting an inch or more of rain and
some 50 mph winds. Glad I have all my outdoor chores done- more on that in a
Before I go on and forget, I need to mention that there
will be no journal entry next Sunday. I'll be out of town and not able to
update. I guess I deserve a day off every once in a while! So enjoy this one
and then hang tight for two weeks.
I saved the Grace update for last the past two entries,
so I think I will put it in early this week. She is doing pretty good. She definitely
has colic. It starts most days around 5 pm and lasts until a little after 8.
Last Sunday was the worst episode she has had yet. She screamed at the top
of her lungs for 3 1/2 hour straight. I could not believe that her little
vocal chords could even hold up that long. I know if I tried to scream like
she did, mine would give out in less than a minute! The rest of the evenings
since Sunday have been much better. We have been using the Gripe Water when
she is having a particularly rough episode and it seems to work pretty good.
The rest of the time we just have to bounce her a bit and keep her in a
cool, dark and quiet room. It's amazing how fast it starts up and how fast
it ends. Almost like turning on and off a light. We hear stories about other
babies having colic and it lasting 7-8 months and Nora and I both pray it
does not last that long. Others have said it lasts 3 months, which would be
a whole lot better for all involved. We'll see!
She has gotten big enough to be able to ride in her Baby
Bjorn, so that is where she has been going when we take our walks. I
plan to get a jacket large enough to go around both of us. Then I can bundle
her up and keep her inside the jacket next to me and go for winter walks. On
day's it is brutally cold or very windy we will keep her inside and not
expose her to those elements. Here
she is with me and the pups on our Wednesday walk. We walked a section
of the snowmobile trail, you can see some of the trail markers behind
She is definitely becoming more aware of her environment
and it is getting easier and easier to get a smile out of her. I have yet to
get a picture of her in full smile, but this
one was pretty close. Here is another that just missed, but is still
darn cute! Of course it is not all fun and games. She does have her
other moments. Although outside of her colic period, she does not cry
unless she is hungry or needs a diaper change, so she is a very good baby.
In other news, the color change continues to progress. I
think we are at around 20-25% right now and should be at peak color in two
weeks. Some areas are more turned than others and some of those areas are
not too far away from each other. The area where
we walked on Monday did not have much change going on. We drove through some
more color on Tuesday. Here is a shot of the colors
a little bit further down the road. Like I say, we should be at peak in
around two weeks. Things really go quickly the last 4-5 days of the change.
I also am sticking to my guns in thinking it will be a good show this year.
Perhaps not the best we have ever seen, but better than average.
We still have had plenty of beach weather this past week
and the pups have been getting in lots of swimming the past week. We have
had the beaches to ourselves, which is nice with two wild Labrador pups.
Here is a shot of them
both bringing the stick back to me. Thursday was a
picture perfect day for the beach. If that picture looked like it was
nice out there, it was. I just kept thinking the whole time we were there
how lucky we are to live in a spot that we can go to areas like that anytime
we want. The only thing that would have made it better is to lay down and
take a two hour nap, but the pups would not have been too keen to that idea
I am sure!
Been busy cutting firewood this week too. In fact, in the
past 2 days I have spent a total of seven hours cutting and stacking wood. I
did have help all of those seven hours as well. The two boys that helped me
out the past two weekends helped me out for two hours yesterday and then my
older brother and mom came up yesterday, so he
and I cut for an hour yesterday and then four hours this morning and the
result is it is done!
Here is the pile for
this winter and if it is a really cold one, then we have this
for backup. Just kidding of course. Those are the piles to get us
through the next 2 months or so. The snow will not be an issue in that time
frame and it is easier to have it close by the boiler, plus it was easier to
stack it there than inside the shelter. However, speaking of the shelter, it
is just about full to
the rim with wood. We have about 15-16 cord of wood in there and that
will be enough for us to get by in the next two years. I cannot explain how
nice it feels to have all that wood cut and stacked. Cut and stacked
firewood is like money in the bank to me and right now the bank account is
So now it is time to kick back and relax a bit. Not much else
needs to be done to prepare for the winter. The plow will need to go on the
ATV and the snowthrower needs to be fired up and be made ready. Of course
the sled needs to be gotten ready too, but I have around two months to take
care of all of that.
I guess that gets you all caught up for this week and
again, no entry next Sunday.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
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This sure has been a crazy
summer. We could hardly buy a summer like day in June and July and here we
are at the end of September and we just keep having one summer day after
another. As we go deeper and deeper into September, I can feel the
atmosphere struggle more and more to produce the summer weather though. We
even had a 24 hour period of autumn weather here Friday and early Saturday.
Friday saw temps in the 60's and we had low 30's for the predawn hours on
Saturday, but then shot into the upper 70's by later in the day on Saturday
and are in the upper 70's today as well. The humidity has been noticeable,
but not out of hand with dewpoints in the low 60's for the most part.
Not a drop of rain has fallen in the entire month of
September though and there is not more than a sprinkle seen for us for the
upcoming week, so we will come very close to not seeing a single drop of
rain fall for the entire month. Perhaps we will even end up with a big old
goose egg for the month. It does not seem to be impacting the vegetation too
much. Everything is still pretty green. I am watering the lawn to keep it in
good shape to handle the long winter, but trees and bushes are not browning
up. There are more splashes of color starting to show up, but still mainly
splashes with about 10-15% of the trees having some color. That seems to be
about on par with an average year. We still have about 3 weeks to peak and
it seems like we are only at about 50% changed just 4-5 days ahead of the
peak. I still think it will be a good color show. Perhaps not perfect, but
much better than the previous years. The weekend of the 10-11th should
probably nail it for peak in the majority of the Keweenaw.
The summer weather has kept us going to the lakes and
beaches with the pups most of the week, although Tuesday was a bit cooler
and less humid and we took
to the woods for our afternoon walk. The pups sure have grown accustomed
to our daily schedule. They know right when we are going to take the morning
walk and when it is time to head out for the afternoon adventure. All I need
to do is push my chair back from the desk and they bound up and are all
ready to go. I sure to enjoy watching them have fun on our adventures. It is
just like Burt and Baileys when we first moved up here. All full of
energy, excitement and wonder. They love to explore as much as Burt
and Baileys did as well. I sure hope Gracie will like to explore with us
As mentioned, there are more and more splashes
of color starting to show up, but the woods are still 85-90% green right
now. About a month ago I came across a blackberry patch in the woods and the
berries were so small that I thought it would be very lucky if we saw them
ripen before a killing freeze hit. Well, we
made it! The crop is not that good this year. Lots of bushes, but not
too many berries. It was a banner year for the thimbleberries and the
raspberries were ok, but for some reason the blackberry crop was down. Still
found enough on our afternoon walk to satisfy my cravings.
I managed to cut up and stack the remaining firewood from
last years delivery and got the area all cleaned up. It's amazing how much
sawdust is created. I think I hauled around 20 wheel barrel loads to our
little burn pit. On Wednesday, the metal roofing arrived and I got busy
putting that up after dinner. The sheets were light enough that I was able
to place them myself and I ended up getting all of the sheets up before the
sun set that evening. I was not able to get all the screws zipped in
Wednesday night, but spent about 45 minutes on Thursday getting them in. It
sure was nice to sit back and look at the
shelter all ready to keep the snow off the firewood. With the remaining
wood from last year all cut
and stacked in there, we probably had enough wood to get us through
January or maybe even Valentines day- depending on how cold a winter it is.
However, as the say goes: there is no rest for the weary- the
next load of wood arrived on Thursday. It was only a single load, 9.5
cord. Last year we got 17 cord, but that would have been far too much for
this season. In fact, I think between what we had left over and what we got
on Thursday, we might make it through the next 2 seasons. It was pretty cool
watching him unload
all the wood. He just swung the clamshell around where ever he wanted it
like it was an extension of his hand. At one point he even picked up a
little foot long piece of wood and tossed it over by the boiler for me to
burn. I don't think it took him any longer than 15 minutes to unload all
of the wood and he was even nice enough to keep the pile rather short,
rather than tall, with the risk of the logs falling when I cut. You can't
see in that last picture, but the pile did extend almost all the way to the
back corner of the shelter.
Once he was done unloading, I let the pups out and they
immediately ran to see the new wood pile. Of course to them it was not a
pile of firewood, but rather a
new playground to play on. On Saturday I got to cutting and had my two
helpers show up to help me stack the wood. We worked for around 2 hours and
then they came again today and we all worked for another 2 hours. We pretty
much work at the pace of one cord an hour, so between yesterday and today,
we cut around 4 cord and almost halfway
through the pile. We also have plenty
of wood for this season and are well on our way into the heating season
of 2010-2011. And it's all safe and secure under the shelter!
After cutting wood yesterday morning, Nora, Grace and I
took the pups to one of the inland lakes for an afternoon
swim. The afternoon was perfect for such an excursion with temps in the
upper 70's, just a touch of humidity and a fresh breeze out of the south.
Everyone had a good time enjoying the late summer weather. On the way back
home I snapped a shot of the
trees starting to show some color. This was actually more color than is
going on in most areas up here.
It just popped into my mind, so before I forget I want to
remind everyone of the snowmobile trail work session we are having up here
in the Keweenaw October 23rd and 24th. There is free lodging being offered
for the workers at the Pines in Copper Harbor and the Lac La Belle Lodge in
LLB. Just be sure to mention you are with the trail work session when you
make your reservations. We will also be providing free lunches both days and
a free dinner on Saturday night. You do not have to attend both days, we
welcome any help we can get. You also do not need an ATV or even a 4 wheel
drive truck/SUV. There will be trucks going out with room in them. Tools are
not required either, but if you want to bring a chainsaw or post hole
digger, feel free. Last year was the first year that we held such a work
session in the Keweenaw and it went really well and we all had fun. It's a
great way to get out and see the backcountry of the Keweenaw before the snow
flies and also a great way to help out the Keweenaw Trail Services which is
the entity that is responsible for the trails up here. If you have any
questions, feel free to e mail me, but I hope to see as many of you up here
as possible. Always some work to do!
Last week I saved the Grace update for last and I thought
I would do the same this week. She continues to inch her way out of the
"newborn" status and into the "toddler" status. I am
actually not sure what officially designates the toddler status, but to me
it is when they are more than just an eating, pooping and sleeping machine.
She is much more aware of her surroundings than a few weeks ago. She still
sneaks out a smile from time to time. Gas is still an issue and she seems to
have developed true colic. She gets fussy in the evenings for a few hours
for no clear cut reason at all. It goes away like turning off a light around
8-8:30 every evening. There is a position that we can hold her in and bounce
her a bit that seems to really help, but we will be glad when this passes,
the poor little girl.
When not having her rough time in the evenings or hungry,
she is just a little
angel and as cute as she ever was. We took her on the walk with us
yesterday morning, but with it being so chilly out, Nora bundled
her up almost like it was winter. I forgot to mention one other time she
gets a little crabby, and that is when you try and take
the remote away. It has started already!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Wow, September is almost
half over. Seems really hard to believe. I guess that's what happens when
Labor Day happens as late as it possible can. Plus we have had pure summer
weather for the entire month as well. The past week we had highs in the
upper 70's and low 80's, with fairly respectable humidity levels. Dewpoints
have been rising into the mid to upper 60's almost every day as well. It has
not been what you would call "unbearable", but a bit warm for my
tastes and especially too warm for this time of the year. Now is the time of
the year when I usually start to hit the outdoor projects that need to be
done in preparation for winter pretty hard. The days are usually comfortable
and early mornings and late afternoons or early evenings are nice and cool.
Not so this September. It does cool off some in the overnight period, but by
9 am the humidity is already jumping with the sun's rays causing that
moisture flux from the ground to the air.
With that said, I have been busy making firewood. This
is all that remains of the pile that
we started with last September. I have another load coming this week
(hopefully!) and with what is on the ground in that picture and is already
stacked in the wood shed, we probably could make it through most of January.
The load coming this September will not be as large as last years and I
really hope to get it all cut and stacked in the next 2 weeks. Hopefully the
metal roofing for the shed comes early this week and I can get that put
The color show is just starting to appear up here. I
would call it more "splashes
of color" rather than a true show. Some areas seem to have a bit
more color than others, but nowhere that I have been in the past week was
more than around 5-10% changed. It looks like the peak for our neck of the
woods will be around on time this year, which is around Oct 8-14th. Very few
trees are turning early, so it should be a pretty good show this year. It
will be nice to have a good show as the past two years were a little off
because of summer drought.
I was actually out of town earlier in the week and
thought I would be gone for most of the week and is why I took the week off
from producing forecasts. It turned out I came home a day after leaving, but
was too tired Wednesday to put anything out and figured I deserved Thursday
and Friday off. I will be doing the forecasts for the next 2 weeks and will
then take a break the last few days of September and all of October to get
ready for the snow season. There are some pretty big things in the works for
the site this upcoming snow season. So big that I cannot even promise that
they will be in place by the time the snow starts piling up, but hopefully
they will and I can all but guarantee that you all will be pretty impressed
with what is being done. I also hope to have a new discussion board put in
place in the next month or two. I want to keep the look much as it is, clean
and simple, but need to upgrade to one that has features such as easier to
post pictures and search. I will also likely expand upon the topics a bit,
especially the classifieds that have really taken off. So while it may seem
like nothing is happening, much is actually happening behind the scenes. So
You know how that saying goes: "When given lemons,
make lemonade"? Well, I guess this week we could have tweaked it a
little and have it say: "When Mother Nature gives you beach weather,
head to the beach!". That is exactly what we have been doing all week
since I got home. School is back in session, so the families that would
normally be populating the beaches are all back in school and work, so the
pups, Nora, Gracie and I have had most of the joint to ourselves. On
Thursday we found
ourselves at the North Shore with a tiny bit of an on shore breeze
helping to keep things very comfortable. Of course the coolest spot to be
was in the big lake, which is exactly where
the pups spent most of the afternoon. We did walk down the beach a bit
to a little estuary and they swam in it for a while too. Huck did some
launching, although I did not capture any of them while he was in the air.
The best I could do was a
shot taken upon impact. But you can tell he hung some air time by the
undisturbed water between the shore and where he landed. While the pups were
swimming in the estuary, an adolescent
bald eagle flew by overhead. We see a lot of them up here, but I never
grow tired of seeing them.
Yesterday being a Saturday and a beach day, we found most
of the more popular spots not only taken, but packed. The two more popular
spots at Great Sand Bay were as full of cars as I have ever seen them at any
time. You name it, fourth of July, Labor Day, Christmas, New Years... but
seriously, there was not a single place to park in that area, but we were
not planning on stopping there. Our plans were to head up to Cat Harbor and
while there were a few families there, we were able to stake claim to one
end of the beach and let
the pups swim. Nora and Grace sat and watched and Grace even put
back a few while at the beach.
Speaking of Grace, I guess I saved the best for last with
my update on her. She continues to make some improvements in her gas and
sleeping. We have some good days and bad with the gas, although it seems
like she definitely has less gas and even her worst days now are better than
her average days in the past. There are some feedings where she does not
burp at all and is comfortable afterwards. So she is either learning how to
drink without sucking in air or the combination of the bottles and formula
are working. With the less gas pains, she is sleeping a little better. She
does spend a few more minutes awake during the day than before, but they
really are minutes. It is not that she sleeps all day and is awake all
night. It is more the fact that she sleeps when tired and is awake other
times. So she may be awake for an hour or so and also while feeding and
burping and then will sleep for 1-3 hours. However, she is starting to be
comfortable on her back as well, which is nice because we can start putting
her in her crib to sleep and maybe that will lead to longer sleep periods at
The biggest news with regards to Grace this week is that
she is really starting to notice things going on around her. She will watch
the pups and will look at Nora and I and Friday morning she even smiled her
first real smile at Nora. I heard about it and came over and she smiled
again for me too. Talk about excitement! Funny how such a small thing like a
babies first smile can turn your whole world upside down. Of course Nora and
I then spent the next 30 minutes trying to get her to smile again so we
could take a picture of it and all she would muster for us was sticking
her tongue out at us. I hope that is not a sign of her willingness to be
So I guess that about covers it. For those of you waiting
for the cooler temps of autumn to arrive. It looks like we will get some
tastes of it the middle of this week, next weekend and then perhaps the real
deal the second half of next week. Perhaps even the seasons first snow
flakes for areas of the Northwoods. I am ready for that!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Welcome to September everyone.
This summer will be known for a lot of things, mainly it's coolness across
much of the Midwest, but one things is for sure, it is going out in style
for most of the region as well. We are on day 8 of picture perfect weather
and look to have around two more, perhaps three before things turn cooler
and wetter. I can say that the past 3-4 days have been a touch warmer and
more humid than I would care for, with highs in the upper 70's and dewpoints
in the low 60's, but it still cools off nicely at night and the cool off
happens a lot faster at this time of the year than it does in June, July and
most of August. We start to cool off around 4-5 pm and by 8 or 9 it is cool
enough for good sleeping. It also does not warm up until around 11 in the
morning, so that means we only have the warmest temps for 5-6 hours, rather
than the 12+ we have in the middle of summer.
It's been a pretty busy week up here. I was busy working
on a project (more on that later) as well as helping Nora with Gracie when I
can and of course taking the morning walks and afternoon adventures with the
pups. On Tuesday we headed to the beach. The pups had their usual fun
fetching sticks and the tennis ball. Huck found a spot to launch off of and
had fun doing that.
There is a little underwater rock ledge there that he runs up to and then
launches into the deeper water beyond the ledge. He really loves to do that
and I love to look at the pictures of it so much, I figured that I would post
another. Kudos to Nora for taking those action shots. Of course Millie
did a lot of tennis
ball fetching. She also likes to fetch the stick in the water, but for
the most part, I toss
the stick for Huck and then the tennis ball for Millie, then wait for
them to bring them back, reload and do it all over again!
Gracie made it to the beach too, but spent most of the
time snoozed out.
Here is a close up of
the little girl. She has been sleeping a lot lately. I would have to say
a good 18-20 hours out of the 24 hour period in a day. We took her to the
Dr's for her one month lube and oil (wellness exam) and she put on one pound
and grew one inch in the two weeks between her two appointments. So I guess
all the sleep she is getting and all the formula she is downing is not going
to waste! Speaking of formula, the new one we changed her to about a week
ago has made a huge difference. She did have a not so good night last night,
but they did get better and better as we worked through the week. So we have
a much better solution than we had a week ago. We still need to burp her
every ounce or two as we feed her, but she does burp much quicker than she
used to and is much more comfortable as a whole. Thanks to all that offered
up their advice last week!
After the busy time at the beach, we all came home and
relaxed. Some a bit
more than others. Huckie really loves his little sister! Millie too!
On Saturday we headed to the beach too. This time it was
White City way at the far southern end. Nora actually has relatives that
live down there and we stopped by and hung out on their beach. Just as we
got to the water's edge, the
Keweenaw Star came rolling out of the south entry (FSV).
It was a beautiful day to be at the beach, warm temps, sunny skies and even
the water was pretty warm. I did not bring my suit, but had I, I would have
gone for a swim for sure. Needless to say the
puppies did their fair share of swimming. Even little
Grace dipped her toes in the big lake, although did not like it much and
retracted her feet away from the water as fast as she could! So fast I
missed it, but you can see the proof dripping off her toe into the water. I
am sure she will enjoy real swims next summer, but we had to let her see
what it was all about this season too. We tried
posing for a nice family picture, but the pups did not completely grasp
the concept, so we gave up having them in the shot and had just the
human side of the Dee clan in the shot.
Today would have been another good day for a beach visit,
but I was busy working all morning and then we had something to do around
midday and just did not have enough time to get to one of our secret spots.
There are plenty of spots within about 15-20 minutes, but it being the
Sunday of Labor Day and a very good one for the beach, they would likely
have lots of folks at them and the pups are not quite ready for crowded
beaches yet! So we took to the woods for our afternoon adventure. There were
some clouds and it was not too hot or humid to be walking in the woods and
we all had a good time, including the
pups. Of course they have fun in just about everything they do.
So I am sure that you all have been sitting on the edge
of your seat to find out what this "project" I have been working
so hard on this week was. Well, it is a
shelter for our firewood. As you can see, it is not quite done yet. The
metal has been ordered for the roof and will be in in about a week and I
will be putting up some plastic tarps on the sides for this winter and then
will put wood up on the sides next season. There is a nice bed of crushed
mine rock for the logs to sit on and it will be very nice to never have to
dig out the next round of wood for the boiler again. Plus, thanks to some
help from Nora's brother and his son, we cut some fire wood in the coolness
of this morning and stacked
it in the shelter. Still a lot more to go before winter sets in, but we
still have at least 2 months before winter sets in and making wood is much
nicer in the coolness of the autumn.
So I think that about gets you caught up in the goings on this
Good night from the Keweenaw..