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October 31-
    TRICK OR TREAT! Happy Halloween everyone! That little chick sure is a cute one. That shot was taken as we got ready to go out and do some trick or treating. When you live in the sticks like us, you cannot walk out the door and then go door to door. I'm not even sure if any of our 3 neighbors that love on the mile stretch of road we live on even have any candy  for the trick or treaters, as we sure don't. We have never had anyone come by and I suspect that we never will. Even when we lived in Lake Linden, a lot of kids would not walk the 1/4 of a block to get to just my house, so we got about 1/3rd to 1/2 of the kids that were going around.
    Anyway, we just drove Gracie around to some friends houses and then called it quits. At this age, she does not quite grasp the concept of the whole holiday, although I think this might be the last year that happens. Halloween weather up here is usually pretty nasty and I heard that the residence halls at Tech give out candy at specific hours, so that might be something we do in the future, that way she will not need to incorporate a snow suit into her costume. Today was not too bad though. Temps only around 40. but the winds were not too bad and it did not rain or snow.
    It was a pretty different story around here earlier this week. I suppose I do not need to tell everyone about the strong storm that blew through the Midwest earlier this week, but I can talk a bit about what we experienced. Actually, it was not that bad for us- at least as far as strong autumnal storms go. We kind of lucked out with the winds and other weather. With the low passing to the west of US, we had a southerly component to the winds for much of the storm. Our strongest winds actually occurred on Tuesday as the low was moving up through MN. Our winds were east and southeast and blowing at 30-40, with gusts to 50. I did see where Stannard Rock reported gusts to 62mph, but we really get hit hard when the winds are westerly or northwesterly. In cases like that, the "smoother" surface of the lake does not cause as much friction and allows the winds to really ramp up. I put smoother in quotes because in storms such as that, the waves will be 20-30 feet tall, but that is still smoother than the land surface with all the trees and hills. This storm produced waves as big as 26.5 feet on the north side early Wednesday morning. Most other buoys reported 16-20 footers. The low also broke the all time lowest pressure for a non-tropical storm. On Tuesday it was down to 955mb, which would compare with a strong category 3 hurricane- pressure wise. A category 4 hurricane would have a pressure of at least 949.
    We did have some trees come down, but never lost power. In fact the Keweenaw faired pretty well with loss of power issues. A few areas lost power for a few hours, but other areas in the UP and upper Midwest were without power for days. Here is a shot of one of the birch trees that came down in our woods. Actually, it was pretty hard to even see the tree in that shot, but I took it while driving to town on Thursday and could not get a good angle. It was just the top 1/2 of an old birch that snapped off. We had no tree or limb damage that came down into the yard, so we did not even have any clean up from this storm. Even so, I think I can call this storm the 4th Yooper Storm of the season and it's name was Lempi.
   Even though the storm was not that bad up here, it did keep us from taking our afternoon adventures Tuesday and Wednesday, but on Thursday we were able to head out into the woods. Not too much damage out there either, but here is a shot of the dogs checking out a tree that had come down. We actually had stronger winds on Thursday than we did on Wednesday, but on Wednesday it was snowing most of the day and the flakes were very wet, more like rain, so that is why we did not go out. It also snowed Thursday, but the flakes were dry and were kind of neat to walk in. We also had some flakes fly yesterday morning, but so far there has not been any accumulation, not even a trace. I don't have a problem with that as it is going to melt anyway, so I would just as soon have the accumulating snows hold off until it is ready to stick around for the season.
   On Friday I had some business to do back in my old stomping ground of beautiful Lake Linden by the sea. It is a cute little town and I do miss the community that was there, but we sure do love living in the woods and would never want to go back to living in the city, even a small one like Lake Linden. Anyway, with the business done, the pups and I headed over to the park and walked the path around the water treatment ponds they have there. It was still pretty windy on Friday, especially out there where you are fully exposed to the winds, but the pups had a blast running around in the fields out there and they even took a dip in the Torch Lake.
    The whole family got out for a walk today, actually both walks. However, the batteries in the camera died as we were heading out, so I left the camera at home. I can describe the woods a bit. All the trees are completely bare and there were a few puddles from the precip we got this week. There was even a little nigh ice remaining on the puddles this afternoon. For most of the week, our temps have been in the 30's and low 40's for highs, with lows in the low 30's, so it is really starting to feel like winter is approaching. Every time I go out into the woods at this time of the year, it just seems like they are waiting for winter. Everything is so quiet and bare and there is just a real sense of anticipation out there. I suppose it might have to do with my own anticipation, but they really do seem to be waiting for something. I can also say that with the colder temps, the deer seem to be on the move. They are not yarding up yet, but we did not have many visits all summer or earlier in the autumn, but just about every day, the clearing that the cabin sits in gets paid a visit by a deer or two. Gracie just loves to watch them and actually had a mini meltdown when they ran off into the woods the other day!
    Speaking of my own anticipation, it is growing. Like I said, I am perfectly comfortable waiting for the snows to come until they are ready to stick around for the season. Hopefully that will be more like mid November rather than the end of November, but if it's late in the month, so be it. I still think that even if the snows to not start to pile up around here until Thanksgiving or a little later, we are still in for a snowier than average winter. I'm also getting anxious for snowmobiling season to start and for the new sled from Rt 12 to arrive. I talked to the guys at Rt 12 a few weeks ago and it had not come in yet. I know as soon as it does, they will give me a call and let me know when it might be showing up in the Keweenaw. Only 500 miles all of last season, so I have some catching up to do. This past Friday the gang all came up to discuss our annual Rockies trip and it seemed like all of them were ready to start riding as well. Dave told me that he is going to have every weekend off this winter (barring a big storm causing him to work), so we will likely be getting out a lot and I am sure that others will be joining us. I know I have some places that I definitely want to explore and learn.
    Well, that almost covers it for this one. I do have a few more shots of Grace. Here is an action shot of Grace trick or treating in Laurium and here is a shot of her with me. With the temps turning cooler, her outdoors wear has gone from autumn-casual to Nannok of the North. I wonder what it's going to be when it really gets cold! Stay tuned, we'll all find out!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

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October 24-
    Ok, I can take a bit of a breather here. All of my commitments to Keweenaw Trails Services are over for the moment and other than replacing the trail cam set up and replacing the winch for the ATV, I can pretty much put it on cruise control until the snow flies and slow it down a bit. It's going to take a little while longer to get the trail cam up and running as I have decided to bite the bullet and get a higher end cam and also need to replace a part of the networking equipment, so that equipment needs to get ordered and sent before I can get back out there to set things up, but my goal is to get it going as soon as possible so that I do not have to be out in there in the real cold and also to have it going in time for the snowmobile season to start.
    This weekend was the annual trail work session for us north of the Bridge. Before I go on to the events with that, I need to say some thanks. First I would like to thank all that came up to help. I did not get the pleasure to work with everyone that came up, but did work with about 10 different persons in the two days and everyone worked very hard when we go to a spot that needed work done. Thankfully the weather was beautiful and I know we all seemed to have a good time getting out to spend time in the woods. I also need to thank Ken and Vicky at the Pines for providing lodging as well as lunches for everyone both days. Troy, Cathy and Dave from the Lac La Belle Lodge also need to be thanked for providing lodging to folks as well as some muffins and coffee in the morning and for being such gracious hosts for the Saturday dinner. We also had some "southenders" come up and help with the trail work. Dave and Lori Sleeman from the Wildlife Refuge Cabins made the trek north to work on trails that are not even part of the club they belong to. Pretty great if you ask me. So if you find your way up here to enjoy the Keweenaw, please try and make it a point to visit these three establishments because not only did they put a lot of time and effort into this trail work session, but they do tons of other volunteer work all year long to make sure the trails are as nice as they are up here. 
    I sure hope that everyone that came up to work on the trails had a good time. It was great to see some of you again and also great to meet others for the first time. My only regret was that I did not have more free time to spend with you all and even get out to have some fun, but it was great working along side all of you and that includes the two boys from Illinois that worked as hard as anyone.
    Now onto the details of the work session. We had received information from the DNR that there was an improper use of a chevron sign happening on trail 134, so that was one of our first orders of business. Upon arrival, it was clear that we were breaking code 1494 of section 3C in the grooming handbook. The lid needs to remain down when the seat is not in use!
   After fixing that little snafu, we got busy with the regular brushing and signing of the trails and like I said, everyone worked very hard all day long. It seemed like no matter how small the job was, everyone hopped out of off of the vehicle and pitched in
    For the most part, the trail bed was in great shape, with very few water holes to worry about, but late into day 2, we encountered one that made us at least pause momentarily to reconnoiter the situation. It was decided that this mud hole was easily passable, so me being in the lead, was the first through. Next was the "techsledder" crew. Las in line was Dave from the Lac La Belle Lodge. Seems as though he did not receive the memo about staying to the right to avoid the big rock on the far side of the mud and ended up hanging his pickup on the rock. It took a little pushing and pulling and prying, but we were able to dislodge the Dodge from the rock and he made it through on the second attempt.
    As mentioned, the weather was pretty much perfect. I was a little worried at the very onset on Friday as I had a few stray drops of rain hit my windshield as I was driving up to the lodge, but the sprinkles ended around 10 am and then by around midday the sun was starting to poke out and by the mid afternoon we had mostly sunny skies and temps in the upper 50's. Here is a shot of the Montreal River Friday morning around 11 am. Saturday started out beautiful and remained that way for most of the day. Most of the crews actually finished up around 2 pm on Saturday and so the cloudy skies in the late afternoon were not a problem as we organized all the extra signs and poles we had before heading in for the meal. 
    Speaking of the meal, it took a whole lot longer for me to re-heat the pork and brisket than I had though, but everyone waited patiently for it and we even snuck in a group photo before the grub was ready to be served. I got lots of compliments on the food and it seemed like everyone enjoyed it as there was only two sliced of brisket left and enough pork to make 3 sandwiches out of the 20 or some odd lbs that we started with. Grace and Nora made the trip up for dinner. Here is a shot of Grace and I. In that shot, she looked a little worn out, but actually, she kept going pretty strong the whole night- running around, bashfully checking everyone out. She even managed to stay awake all the way home and was still awake when I got home about an hour after Nora and Grace had made it home. She did not last long once I got home though and here is a shot of her crashed out soon after going to bed. The real proof behind how tired she was is that Nora took two of those pictures and she did not even stir with the flash going off in both of them.
   In other Grace news, we are laying the foundation to start potty training her. We figured the best way to start would be to first introduce her to the potty seat and let her get comfortable with that. It did not take long for her to grow comfortable with that environment as she grabbed for a magazine out of the rack almost immediately and went on to reading it. Without any formal training from her daddy, she had the wherewithal to go back into the rack when she was done with the first magazine. Here she is on her second magazine. So we feel pretty confident that she has the important parts to the potty task down and will be moving on to the less important things like actually going potty while in there. They sure grow up fast!
    Not much else to talk about. The weather sure feels like Halloween is coming soon and there are hints of snow for later this week. Nothing too big, but perhaps the first whitening of the ground. I am actually very happy to have the temps dropping and to some extent the skies graying up a bit. It is perfect homemade soup weather and I am ready to dust off the recipe box and start making some soups.
    Speaking of the weather, the season forecast will be out this week. I actually hope to work on it tomorrow and finalize things for a Tuesday release. 
Until next week...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
October 18-
    Feeling a little guilty here in the fact that I know that this will be a short one and that it has been over a week since I last wrote and I also met so many awesome folks at the snowmobile show that made a point to visit and tell me how much they loved the site and looked forward to the journal. I guess this is just one of those times when the situation causes the writings to be somewhat brief.
    First off, my week up here ended early Thursday morning last week, so my time to accumulate stories and pictures was abbreviated. Secondly, I have a very busy week ahead with getting ready for the trail work session and third, I have come down with a little bug that has me feeling a little off. Nothing too bad, I just have a real bad case of the slows and am achy, no appetite and a sore throat, sniffles and a cough. So my plate is rather full when it comes to other things to take me away from spending a lot of time on the journal this week.
   However, I do need to say how wonderful it was to meet so may fans of the site. Friday was just nuts saying hi to everyone. My hand was actually a bit sore from shaking hands so many times and by the end of the night I was losing my voice. Saturday was a little more relaxed in the way of visitors and I think the fact that the time to meet and greet on Saturday was more spread out helped too. However, I still kept having to stretch out my hand muscles on the way home yesterday as they were sore from so many shakes. Never in my life did I think I would meet so many folks. I guess I was thinking I might see several dozen, but quite honestly I think it was closer to a thousand. I know we gave out over 1000 trail maps on Friday and Saturday and the amount of maps given out was pretty close to the amount of persons I met and talked to. It sure made me feel good to know so many people enjoy the site and I am just awestruck at the amount of folks that took time out of their day at the show to come and say hi and thank me. Almost made my head get big, but thankfully Nora is good at keeping that from happening! Anyway, very cool to meet all of you and I hope that I get the chance again sometime.
    So, what else is going on... Well, the trail work session is going to happen this Friday and Saturday and if any of you are on the fence about it, let me just say that right now the weather looks to be awesome. This is my official local forecast for up here that I put out to my radio customers today:
So it looks like the weather is going to be very nice to be out in the great Keweenaw woods. Plus, I have picked up the pork shoulder already and will be going to pick up the brisket tomorrow. Plan to spice rub them tomorrow and then smoke them Wednesday. It's been too long since I had some of my soon to be world famous smoked pork and brisket and my mouth is watering just thinking about it. The good folks at the Lac La Belle Lodge have informed me that they will have some other items to go along with the items I bring and Nora has told me that she and Gracie will be making a guest appearance for the dinner on Saturday. So if those are not reasons enough to get up here, then I can say that I plan to have Huck and Mille along on Friday to help dig holes and carry the posts for the signs. So there you go. Tons of fun with great company and great autumn weather. Come on up! Seriously though free lodging is being offered by the Lac La Belle Lodge in LLB and the Pines in Copper Harbor for workers, so all you need to do is come on up. We will be meeting up at the LLB Lodge both Friday and Saturday around 9:30 in the morning to get going.
    Speaking of the weather, I know we were only out of town for about 4 days, but it sure seems like the weather has changed in those 4 days. It just seems more crisp out there. I took the pups for a morning walk and an afternoon walk and the morning walk was in frosty conditions and the afternoon in sunshine, but crisp weather. It just felt more like autumn than what it was like a week or so ago. No real chances for snow seen just yet, but there are hints of some flakes. Even tonight a few flakes could mix in with any sprinkles we get. After being at the snowmobile show, I can say that I am really getting in the mood for winter and snowmobiling. I am even starting to get excited about the new M8 from Route 12 showing up. The show did not have an M8 like I will be using this season on the floor, but they did have a crossfire, so I got to see the lime green in person and I like it. It will sure be a change from the more subdued graphics I have been on the past 2 seasons.
    I guess I really need to be signing off for this one. Sorry no pics, but I promise there will be some next week. At least of the work session fun, but hopefully more. I can also announce that come hell or high water, my seasonal outlook will be out next week. Looks like I will be too busy this week, but for sure next week. An early hint??? Well, let's just say that I don't think too many folks will be disappointed by what I come out with.
    Stay tuned!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
October 10-
   Ok, three "announcements" before I get onto the story telling of the past week's events. The first announcement is to remember to vote in the Pepsi Challenge for Copper Harbor. You can vote once a day and I hope everyone is remembering to do so. They did drop to 14th this past week and are at 13 right now. Please remember to vote every day as that is what it is going to take to win this. A single vote helps, but one every day from the masses that visit this site and other Keweenaw related sites is needed to win. Secondly, I am not sure if I will be writing next Sunday. I will be returning from southern WI (the Milwaukee Snowmobile Show) on Sunday and will probably be too tired to write, but will do so on Monday. Finally, the registration for the ride-in will be getting setup soon and I have to announce that the venue for the banquet on Saturday has changed. Instead of the Memorial Union at MI Tech like it has been the past 2 events, we had to move it to a banquet facility in Atlantic Mine. I have checked out the facility and it is a cool old hall left over from the mining era. It is very nice inside and will be plenty big enough. We will also be having the event catered by a business that makes some great food and the best news is that you will be able to ride your sled right up to the hall if you want. I will be making the changes to the info pages for the event on the website soon to reflect the new location of the banquet. Please note that only the location of the banquet has changed. Not the dates of the event or where things like signing up for the backcountry rides will be. So you do not have to make changes in your lodging reservations. Just show up at a different place to have fun Saturday evening. What caused this change to happen is thanks to yours truly. I thought I had reserved the Union Ballroom last spring, but did not. I went to start planning the event about two weeks ago and was told that our date was already booked. I did not want to change the date as I know folks already have reservations and vacation time booked, so I just changed the venue for the banquet.
   Now, onto what happened this past week....Not a whole lot. The autumn colors peaked and then fell to the forest floor. Yep, if you were planning on coming up here from this point on to catch any colors, you are really going to have to work at it. I was down by the big lake yesterday and there were still leaves and color there, but in the rest of the region the trees are about 80% bare. I'd say that Tuesday or Wednesday was the peak for most areas and then the leaves came down quickly. So the forest floor is very pretty right now, but the trees are naked.
    I did get out with the pups this week and took a couple of walks. Most of our walks the past few months have been on pretty level ground and I want to start working out a bit harder to get myself into better shape for the riding season, so I have started to add some hills to our afternoon adventures. On Monday we actually added quite a bit of vertical to our hike, as we took a back road that leads you to a foot path that goes to the top of the Cliff Range near Phoenix. There are three overlooks up there. Many know of the eastern most overlook. A few know about the western most overlook, but not too many know about the middle one and that is because you cannot get all the way to the top via a sled or ATV like you can the other two. The view from the top of the middle one is about the same as that from the western most, which is a little better than the eastern most. However, knowing that I hiked the whole way up makes the view more rewarding that if I had let a motor do all the work. Most times I will go out on that rock in the picture with the dogs, but this was the first time that Huck and Millie have been up on top of the cliffs and I did not have any leashes with me, so I decided to play it safe. They did seem to recognize the dangers of the cliff ledge though, which was reassuring. 
    Part of the way to get up to the top is a logging road and could be done in any kind of a vehicle, but we decided to walk the whole way up from the road to get a bigger workout and also to be able to take in the beauty of the Keweenaw woods more fully.
    After the hike, I decided to take the long way home and we traveled east up Cliff Drive to hook up with hwy 41 to get home. The colors along the road were very beautiful and it is really a neat drive to take as you travel under some pretty steep cliffs. Unfortunately there are not too many good photo ops along the way, one of the main reasons being a telephone line runs along the road and it spoils many of the views. I guess to some it would be no big deal to have a telephone pole and wires in a shot, but to me, if I want to be shooting nature, I don't want man made things like a telephone pole and line in the shot. There is one spot that does afford a good view of the Cliff Range and even a bit of the west branch of the Eagle River in it. I think I have shown you that one a dozen times since discovering it, but personally, I never get sick of looking at it. Hope you feel the same way.
    On Tuesday we hiked a different path. One that has always been off the beaten path and know to only a few locals, but that is all about to change as the Keweenaw ATV Club will be using it as one of their trails. There was some clearing done in spots and a few new signs up. I don't have a problem with that change as the ATV trail does not change the look of the trail and if more folks can get out and enjoy the backwoods up here, that is a plus in my book. Which by the way brings up a point. Not sure how many of you know this, but the Keweenaw ATV Club now has designated ATV trails up here in the Keweenaw. They have gotten easements from all land owners to legally use the land the trails go on for ATV use. The DNRE has not officially designated them yet, but all that means is that the KATV club cannot get grants from the DNRE or law enforcement from them, but it is completely legal to ride the trails. They are a little behind the curve when it comes to having a map available to show where the trails go, but for the most part, most of them use the snowmobile trails. They do have a website, so you can check it out and hopefully they will have maps printed for next season. It has been a lot of work for them to get this trail system set up for folks to legally ride and I congratulate them on all their hard work.
    Back to the walk, there are some pretty good hills in the path we took and I was able to get up them easier than I have for quite some time, so it shows that I am getting stronger, but I still feel I have a bit more to go before I am in the shape I want to be in for the kind of riding that I like to do. As I watch the pups run around full speed the entire time we walk, I sure wish that I had their physical abilities! Of course I don't know if I ever had that kind of physical stamina, except for maybe a short period when I was playing hockey in college. Three hours a day in full gear skating around can really whip someone into shape, even a guy like me!
    Wednesday we stuck pretty close to home for the walk. I was working on a new enclosure for the trail cam and could not spend the time needed to drive to an adventure spot, but sometimes our very own woods can provide some adventures. It sure did provide some pretty colors. Here is a shot as I walked out our front door and onto the deck. Here is a shot of the woods as we were walking around in them. Here is a shot of Millie exploring the "back 40".
    Thursday and Friday were spent down at the trail cam, putting up the new shelter and trying to get it running, but as you can see. No go. One of the pieces of the special networking hardware gave up the ghost, so I need to get that replaced before I move onto trying to solve the other problems it was having. So it will be a race against time and the weather to get it going before the snows fly and it is no fun to be out there working on it, but I have confidence it will be up and running reliably in time for the snowmobile season.
    Yesterday Nora went on her almost annual all girls ATV ride. Actually, the first year I took them through the bush to Copper Harbor and had Old Blue waiting for me and came home to let them have the night to themselves. Last year they could not do it because of my health issues, but this year they were able to get out and went out all on their own. So I was in charge of the pups and Grace and we had a fun time while Mom was out playing and today Nora got home a little after 11 and then after lunch we all took to the woods for a hike. It is amazing how fast the leaves come down after changing color, but in my opening to my writing this I mentioned how the trees are about 80 percent bare and here is your proof.
    So now starts one of two sleepy periods up here. The warm season tourists will be throwing in the towel and even some restaurants and hotels will be closing up shop for a month or two before the winter visitors arrive. Selfishly I will be a little happy with the roads getting a little less busy with the tourism coming to a crawl and snow birds heading south, but I do feel for local businesses that have 8-10 weeks of very slow or even no business to have to get through. So I guess for those of you that have always wanted to come up here and pretty much have the place to yourself, now is the time! The other time is from when the snow melts to around mid to late May, but if you ask me, this time of the year is better. Less mud!
    I am just about to the end of this entry, but I cannot sign off without giving the Gracie fan club something to enjoy. She is really a fun little girl. Very independent and strong willed, but I am actually happy for that, even though it means more work for Nora and I. She also loves to watch Nora and I do stuff and really does learn from watching us. She is not doing much talking yet, but like I think I have said before, when she starts, she is just going to cut loose as there are not too many words she does not understand. The best changes in her as far as I am concerned is that she is starting to want to cuddle more. Last evening when I was taking care of her, she spent a lot of time just hanging out with good old dad on the couch. Of course we had to watch baby first rather than a football or hockey game, but it was just so neat to have her want to snuggle with me for so long a time. Of course I am not the only one that has benefited from her change in wanting to cuddle. Her best friend Huck has been getting a lot of cuddle time in too. Here is another.
    So I guess that does it for this one. 
Good night from the Keweenaw..
October 3-
    Welcome to October everyone. The autumn is just flying by and I think that before we know it, November will be here and the snows will be flying. Before I go on, those that have not been to the site since last week may have noticed links to the contest that Copper Harbor is in to try and win $250,000 to get ambulance service there. It is a contest sponsored by Pepsi and every month, they give away $250,000 to the top two vote getters. It is only the 3rd day of the month, but right now the harbor is 2nd. It is free to vote and you can (and should) vote once a day and so far as I can tell, partaking in the contest does not open you up to unsolicited e mail or advertising. So there really is no risk to you and it's free and if you are a visitor to the harbor or that end of the Keweenaw, it may just end up benefiting you if you were to ever need emergency service. Currently, the ambulance needs to come from Houghton County, about 40 miles away and when the weather is poor, it could take over an hour just to get the ambulance to you and then another hour ride back to the hospital. Copper Harbor and the surrounding area does have first responders and many are trained or getting trained to drive an ambulance. Mercy Ambulance up here is willing to let one of it's ambulances be kept in the harbor, so all they need is a building, which is what the $250,000 would be for. In a way it's too bad that they were not in this contest in December or January as the number of visitors to the site is mind boggling (somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 a day) and I am sure that we could win this for them on our own, but we are not at the busiest time of the year for the site, so we need you to vote every day and tell your friends and family members to vote every day so we can win this. We really need to win this as it would be a huge benefit to the residents AND visitors to the area. So stop, take the time to sign up and vote and then make it a part of your first internet experience of the day and vote all month!
   No back to our regularly scheduled entry... I think we are pretty much at peak as far as the colors go. It does vary from location to location. Some areas are past peak, others not quite there and others right at peak. I think next weekend will still have some colors, especially as it is suppose to be mild, dry and not too windy this week, so that will keep the leaves on the trees longer. In any case, don't delay, because they do not last long.
    Well, I sure feel a lot better than a did a year ago at this time. It was a year ago yesterday that they split me open to give me the two new heart valves. I don't remember much from the whole stay at the Mayo Clinic after the operation, but I sure can remember the train wreck that last October was. I spent all but 1 Tuesday in hospitals and about 21 days total. Nora and I have spent the past few days talking about the experience and she has to tell me most of what happened. Pretty scary stuff at times, glad I did not know how bad I was! At any rate, it is all over and behind me now and I feel really good and am glad I had it done. Actually, I might not even be around had I not had it done.
   I guess the main part of this entry will be the color show. The weather was off and on this past week, so when it was good, the pups and I got out and I made sure to bring the camera with us. Monday afternoon found us in the woods briefly as I had to go to a meeting later in the afternoon, but we still managed to take in the beautiful Keweenaw woods for about a half hour. On Tuesday, we stuck close to home. I have been clearing some walking paths through our woods, so we all can take walks without having to worry about vehicles on the road, or having to get into one of ours to get to the walking place. So the pups and I spent about 45 minutes in the woods, clearing a path. The colors were very pretty out there.
    We live on a very pretty country road. All the season make the road beautiful. In the winter, the snow is piled up high on either side and after big storms, the trees are all flocked in winters white. Spring brings the first signs of green in the trees as well as the colors of the wild flowers. Summer is solid green, splashed with the reds, yellows, blues, whites and purples of summers wild flowers and in autumn, the yellows, oranges and reds take over the canvas.
    On Wednesday, Nora and Grace got the hankering to go pick some pumpkins, so after dinner we shot down to a local pumpkin farm and did some picking. Grace is at that age where she notices everything and everything is new and exciting. So to see all the pumpkins there on the ground was really exciting for her. She looked long and hard and then finally found that one pumpkin that she really wanted, so she grabbed it and carried it over to Nora. She is amazingly strong for a 14 month old! With the pumpkins picked, she decided to walk around the farm a bit, so I joined her and the two of us strolled around.
    Thursday was cooler and cloudier and with the temps cooling off, Grace figured it was time to winterize the personal water craft. So it is all put away for the season and she is tuning up the sled.
    Back to the colors, the pups and I took to the woods Friday for our afternoon walk. Things were really starting to pop and I sure am happy to be able to take it all in this year. This is my second favorite time of the year and when the weather is like this and the colors are so vivid, I am actually in no hurry for winter to come. I know it will come and is actually not too far off, so things can just stay this way for a bit longer.
    Yesterday Grace and Nora headed to Marquette to get some cloths for Grace for the autumn and winter and the weather was not so nice, so I did not take any pictures. However, I did have the camera handy as the atmosphere was very close to being able to produce some snow. In fact, Nora did say she saw a few flakes while on the way home in the higher terrain of Marquette County and I saw some splats on my windshield at times that was not a pure rain drop, but was not a pure snowflake either. It was more like a slush ball. So no flakes here yet, but we are getting close.
    Today was a much nicer day. We woke up to the first freeze, with a low a low of 31 at daybreak, but are in the upper 50's now and have had clear blue skies all day. So we took an afternoon drive with the whole family to take in the colors. I like to get off the beaten path when leaf peeping. It's not the best thing to be slowing down to 30 mph on Hwy 41, it kind of frustrates those of us that live here and are trying to get somewhere, so we took the highway at regular cruising speed and then pulled off when we came to the Delaware Cut Off Road. In the past it has been one of those roads where the color show is just breathtaking. The colors were good, but I guess not as good as I was thinking they would be. I kept waiting for that spot where the colors would be mind blowing and I could get some shots, but it never came. Soon we were at the end of the road and coming into Eagle Harbor. 
    With the pups chomping at the bit to get out of the truck, we pulled off and went to the Eagle Harbor beach to let the pups get in a late season romp on the beach and in the lake. Looking across the harbor, the site was quite impressive, with Baldy painting the backdrop for the deep blue of Lake Superior. On the way home from Eagle Harbor, we took one more side track on the Garden City Cross Cut Road and did come across one area where the colors were creating an archway across the road.
    It's funny, here we spend a good chunk of the afternoon driving around the Keweenaw to find the best colors and quite honestly, we did not have to go anywhere. We live in the woods and they are putting on quite a show just outside our windows. This is the look from the deck on the front of the cabin. Here is a look at the cabin itself.
    So that is just about it. However, the other evening, Nora had the camera out and was taking random shots of Grace. As I was going through the pictures to pick which ones I would put in the journal, I came across these and thought it would be fun to show you the different facial expressions that Grace does. The first her face is actually hidden behind her hand, but I thought it was a cute one of us wrestling on the couch. Here she is playing with Nora with that trademark smile. This is the "I'm not giving Huckie any of crackers" look. Here is the "What, it wasn't me!" look and here is the playing with her best buddy look. She is really something!
Good night from the Keweenaw..


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