February 27-
    Here we are, the second to last day of winter. It is starting to look a little bit more like winter up here. We had some dustings this week and then Friday night picked up around 4" of new snow. Not a ton of new snow, but enough to freshen up things and it was nice to see the trees coated in white again. Not a whole lot on the horizon either, but at least we still have decent base.
    The pups and I were actually out of town for most of the week. As I mentioned in the previous entry, Millie needed to have her ACL repaired and the vets here recommended that because she is so young and energetic she have a more specialized surgery that they could not do here, so we drove to Duluth on Monday, she had the surgery on Tuesday and then we picked her up on Thursday and drove home. The surgery went well and by the time Huck and I picked her up, most of her pain had eased. She is still on pain pills, but really does not seem to be in much pain at all and I think I will see about weaning her off of them in the next few days. The hard part from here on out will be keeping her quiet, which needs to be done for the first 8 weeks after the surgery.
    Poor Hucky is also not getting to play as much. We let him out to play, but he just does not want to play without her. So it is going to be a pretty long 7 more weeks, but will also be well worth it and I am just glad that the surgery was a success and also that she is feeling so well that she also wants to play already.
    So I really don't have much to talk about. I did bring the camera with me to Duluth and had planned to do a bit of exploring and take come pics, but wanted to be reachable on Tuesday while Millie was being operated on and then Wednesday was too darn cold and windy and Thursday I was kept busy with work stuff until we picked her up, so no pics of Duluth. It seemed like a nice enough town, probably the neatest thing was the harbor and all the lakes freighters there. It just seemed to cold and windy for my tastes. Maybe a part of that was because the motel sat up on a hill and every time I took the pups out to go potty, I just about froze!
    The rest of this entry is going to be the Gracie-EJ show. Nora took her to the annual winter outing at the Lake Linden-Hubbell School Forest. They have the cabin open and serve things like chilli, hot dogs, chips, etc. Then there are wagon rides they take folks on as well as cross country skiing, and some other activities for everyone. So here is a shot of Grace all buckled in and ready to head to the School Forest. It's so cute, she actually knows what the sun glasses are for and enjoys wearing them. A year ago, we were lucky to have her keep them on for 10 seconds.
    Once they got there, Nora says that someone came up to them and said that one of the persons that was suppose to help with the setup was sick and that they needed someone to do some snow plowing, so Grace volunteered to help out and hopped into the New Holland and moved snow for about 45 minutes. Here is a shot of her after finishing the job.
    After plowing the snow, she spotted some snowmobiles and she has really taken a strong interest in them (I grin and I type) and wanted to go for a ride. So our friend Ray took her for a little "spin around the yard". After the snowmobile ride, they all went inside to have lunch and warm up a bit. It was cold yesterday, with temps in the low teens. The school forest has the cabin where outings can take place and the students can get out of the elements while out there. It is filled with stuffed animals, many that have been taken from the land or very close. Grace loves to see the stuffed animals at places up here and here she is checking out a bear
    After lunch, their busy schedule kept up with a visit to an igloo. Actually I am not sure if it is technically correct to call that an igloo, but it was a shelter carved out of the snow. Here is a shot of Grace checking it out. She was not quite sure of it at first, but some other kids crawled inside and so in she went! I guess Nora said that she was in there quite a long time and then all the other kids left and she was still in there, so they had to send in a little boy to coax her out.
    It sure was a busy afternoon out there for the little one and she did not get in a morning nap either, so about 2/3rds of the way home, she hit the wall and was sound asleep when they got home. She did finish her nap yesterday afternoon and has really been a good girl lately. It is really fun to see her growing up. She is using the potty just about daily, her vocabulary is increasing on a daily basis and she seems to be able to understand everything we say to her, so matter what is it. She was also VERY happy to see her daddy on Thursday and seemed equally happy to see her pups. She is being very good at leaving Millie alone and seems to understand that Millie is hurt and needs to be left alone. She is even having her quieter moments. They do not last too long, but it is really cute to see her just lay down and take it easy. Especially when she cuddles up with her brother like she did this morning.
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this week. Just quick heads up that I will not be able to write next week, so the next entry will be March 13th.
Good night from the Keweenaw..

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February 20-
    It was a very busy week, but in most cases not in good ways. I will get to the details for that statement in just a minute, but before I forget, I need to make this one quick announcement. Last week I stated that because of the CopperDog 150 sled dog race, sections of the snowmobile trails would be closed for periods of time March 4-6. Seems like I jumped the gun a bit. I am on the board of directors that handles the grooming and other issues pertaining to the snowmobile trails from Toivola north to Copper Harbor and we have been working with the organizers of the CD 150 for many months to try and create a safe environment and came to the conclusion that it would be best to just close sections of the trails when it was being used for the race, hence my announcement and maps last week. The permit to use the trails had not been officially be passed by the DNR and that permit included a safety plan. It turns out that the DNR would like all the races in the UP to use the same safety plan. The UP 200 being held in the Marquette area uses a safety plan that allows snowmobiles and sled dog teams to be on the trail at the same time, so the safety plan for the CD 150 was modified to match that of the UP 200 and thus the trails will not be closed. Snowmobilers are encouraged to find an alternate route, but will not HAVE to. I have not had time to change the wording on the maps yet, but have put a note on the top of the page and will be changing the wording as soon as possible. But please note that no trails will be closed during the March 4-6th CopperDog 150 sled dog race.
    Ok, now back to the past week's fun. Monday was a pretty usual day, only poor Millie had not been putting weight on her right rear wheel all weekend, so I called the vet to make an appointment and we were able to get in on Wednesday. It turns out that she tore her ACL and needs surgery to repair it. So she will be going under the knife to get that fixed this week. Hopefully all goes well and she will be ready to play in the sand and surf and woods this spring or early Summer.
    Also on Wednesday, our temps shot to the moon. My temp as well as the official temp at the airport topped out at 60 degrees! Just to put things in perspective, the old record high for February 16th was 47 degrees and the 60 we had last Wednesday also set an all time record for the entire month of February. I was busy running around with Millie, so I was not able to study exactly what caused such a spike in temps, but I suspect that it was just the "perfect storm" of ingredients that came together to cause temps to soar. The really interesting things is that the air was quite dry and even with the record breaking warmth and full sunshine, the snow held up pretty well. I lost about 2" of snow depth from my yard and the trails less than an inch. In fact, the snow was still powdery until around 2:30 in the afternoon. That is what dry air will do for you. 
    Temps then fell into the 30's rather quickly Wednesday evening and settled at around 33 for the night. Thursday was cloudy, with temps in the low 40's. Some more snow loss did occur Thursday, but only another 2" in the yard and maybe an inch on the trail. We have been below freezing since around midnight Thursday night and have picked up about an inch of new snow today. There have been a lot of snowmobilers up here this weekend, but trails are holding up. Here is a picture of the trail just south of Mohawk taken about 30 minutes ago. I did drive up to Phoenix to take some more pics, but the camera ended up focusing in on the flakes and not the trail, so the trail was all blurred. I can say that things looked about the same or a bit better at the crossing up by Phoenix. Obviously this is not the whole trail system, but I have been up here long enough to know that given the base we had on the entire trail system, things do not look much different in all of our riding areas. If anything, the thaw and then freeze may have been more of a blessing, because it really firmed up the trails and allowed them to stay flat all weekend. Although they are grooming too.
    I can say that the sunshine on Wednesday felt really good and the 60 degree temp did too. I am not ready for the snow to go and spring to come, but it was a nice preview of things to come in a few months. We did take advantage of the beautiful weather to play with Gracie and the pups after dinner. Grace only needed a light jacket to be out- along with her shades.
    The other bonus to the warm temps was that the shop roofs cleared all by themselves. I was inside the cabin and did not see it happen, but I did hear a muffled "pop" and then a second or two of a "swooshing" noise and then the ground shook. It really did. Just amazing how much power the snow sliding off the roof has.
    Ok, so that was the positive spin to the warm temps. As I worked Thursday morning around 5 in the morning. I heard what I thought was the muffled sound of snow clearing off a roof. Only the cabin and shop roofs had already cleared. I then thought that maybe one of the empty garbage cans had been tossed up against the cabin by the wind. I went downstairs and had a look around outside, but it was still pitch black out and could not see a thing. Once it got light, I let the pups out to go potty and saw what had made the sound I heard at 5 am. It was the shelter for the wood pile collapsing! Yep, that's right, the shelter and remainder of our firewood was under that pile of snow.
    It did not collapse from the weight of the snow bearing down on it. I had shoveled it down to around 6" of depth on the roof about 3 weeks ago and it only had around 10-12" on it. Rather it collapsed because the snow decided to clear off of it. That sideways force caused it to topple over like a house of cards. I have to admit that I had not really designed it to handle snow clearing off of it. I really never thought it would, since the pitch was only around 2 or 3 to 12. I had braced it to hold up to wind stress and am proud that it had held up to 60 mph+ winds, but the force of that snow sliding was more than it could handle.|
    When I first saw what had happened through the sliding glass door of the cabin, I almost could not believe my eyes. A moment later when the reality of it all hit, it felt like I had just been kicked in the stomach. Not only did I lose the shelter, but I had the mess of cleaning it up and the expense of building a new one to deal with. The weather on Thursday was still mild, with temps in the 40's, but big changes were in store for Friday, with temps falling into the teens and winds of 60-70 mph. So there suddenly was a sense of urgency to get the mess cleaned up while the weather was good.
    When I first got out there to start cleaning things up, I was a bit overwhelmed by it all. First, there was about a foot of snow on the entire collapsed structure that needed to be cleared and the whole mess sat in a hole in the snow that ranged from 3-8 feet deep because of the roof shoveling I had done earlier. So I could not just move it off to the side, the snow needed to be moved up and out of the hole. I stood there for a few minutes to devise a plan of attack and came up with and idea that I thought would work pretty good. Since the entire shelter had been moved about 6 feet off it's footings, there was a 5-6 foot area on one side of it that was bare ground because it has been under the shelter. My plan then became to shovel the snow off the roof onto this bare spot of land and then use the snow thrower to get it out of the hole. That worked pretty good and I was making pretty good time. It was pretty mindless work, which allowed my mind to concentrate on ways to improve the operation. Then it hit me that I might be able to use the roof rake to just pull the snow of the roof to the patch of ground and then use the thrower to toss it away. That ended up working great and in just a few hours I had all the snow off the roof and the collapsed shelter fully exposed.
    Then it just became a matter of unscrewing the metal roof and dismantling any framing that had not been dismantled by the collapse. A few hours into that and I had about half of the structure dismantled. A few hours later and Nora came home and helped me finish off the rest of the dismantling and by around 6 pm, we were left with a naked wood pile and one totally exhausted fella. I had called Nora that morning to give her the bad news and to see if she could arrange to have someone watch Gracie so that we could work until dark. Not only did our sitter say yes to helping us out with Gracie, but offered for her whole family to come over and take shifts watching Grace and helping Nora and I out. Another of Nora's friends offered to have she and her family come to help us, but by around midday things were going so smoothly, that I figured we might not finish that day, but did not need any help. Sure is great to live in a part of the country where folks are so willing to put their lives on hold and instantly jump into help another.
   Most of the metal will be a total loss, especially since it has the screw holes in it from the previous mounting. So I think it will just to to the recycle yard- unless someone wants to come and take it off my hands. We were able to salvage quite a bit of timber. That was right after we were done with the dismantling, it has since been moved into the woodworking shop for storage.
   So it was a mini-disaster for us, but most importantly no one was injured (except for my strained left arm from going nuts with the clean up Thursday!). If anyone had been under that when it came down, they might not have survived. Some 2x8's were snapped like tooth picks. I have already been thinking hard about the re-design and will not only be bracing the heck out of the next one, but will actually design it to self clear as well. Guess I have added another project to the build season!
    One would think that with getting the bad news about Millie's ACL and then the wood shed collapsing, our run of bad luck would be over, but nope. As I sat eating breakfast on Friday- bam the power went out. We were having winds of 35-45 mph with gusts into the 60's and so it was not a total surprise, although I can say that the power company contracted out to have the areas around the lines cleaned up this past summer and autumn and we have never lost power for more than an hour or so since moving up here. I finished breakfast and showered and then hopped into the truck to see if I could see how widespread it was. It did not take me long to see the problem. A big old balsam fir had snapped off at it's base and fallen on the transmission line about a quarter of a mile from our house. Which meant that us and about 4 other homes were without power and the rest of the general area was fine. I did call it in right when it happened, but once I saw that it was going to be a big job (it took out the line for a run of about 6 or 7 poles) and it was only serving 4-5 homes, I figured we might be low on the priority list. 
    So I went home and did break out the generator and tried to fire it up, but of course I had not started it in probably 2 years at least, maybe more, so it did not want to start and quite frankly the gas smelled like paint thinner. So I drained as much gas out of it as I could, put fresh gas in it, but still no luck. So off to the hardware store I went and picked up some carb cleaner in a spray and also some starting spray (as a last resort). After just one spray of the carb cleaner it fired up and ran for a second or two. A second spray of carb cleaner and it was off to the races! It bellowed black smoke for about 30 seconds, but the engine kept on firing and in less than a minute was humming like it was new.
    So I wheeled it outside and hooked up extensions cords to it and ran one to the circulating pump at the wood boiler and another to the circulating pump and valve inside the house. Now we had heat. The next cord went to the refrigerator. Now we had a warm house and cold beer. Mission accomplished! Actually a third cord when to run one of my computers so I could carry on with my work and I left the 4th open in case I needed to get the heat going in the shop.
   On the way home from the hardware store, I drove by the line outage and there was a power company vehicle. It was just a pickup, but inside was a worker for UPPCO and I talked with him about the situation. He said that it was going to be a big job because line had been stripped from 7 poles and one pole would also need replacing as it was wobbling. I asked if it might be fixed that day or the next and he seemed very confident that it would be that day. So I drove home thinking that it was an inconvenience, but not a major problem We did have heat and the food would be kept fresh and the rest would take care of itself. As the day wore on and no trucks were seen at the scene repairing things, I grew less and less hopeful that we would in fact have power restored that day. All hope was lost on my way home from picking up a pizza for dinner and the site of the outage was still quiet at a little after 5. Nora had heard that AT&T had pulled it's crews off the roads (cannot be verified) and I suspected that UPPCO had done the same.
    So we settled in for an evening lit by candlelight and some games rather than TV to entertain us. It actually felt a little refreshing to not have the TV on and if it were not for the fact that I was going to have to go out in the middle of the night to re-fuel the generator and open the door to the wood boiler to let it breathe and make heat, the thought of having no power for the night was more romantic than anything. We had fun playing with Gracie and she took a bath via candle light. Then at around 8 pm, bam- lights came on an the familiar buzzing of all the electronic gadgetry in our house returned. It was needless to say a huge relief to have power back, but it was also like being taken from the "good old days" without electricity into the future in a nanosecond.
   Right away I put on my coat and told Nora I was going to head out to the site of the damage and thank the heck out of those guys for spending their Friday evening in the dark and windy woods repairing the electrical service for us and by the time I got there, they were gone! It was as if they were never there in the first place and it had all been done by magic- except for the tracks of the modified snow coach they use to make repairs in the deep snow covered woods up here. So my deepest thanks go out to the lineman that were out in those elements Friday night doing a great job!
    Yesterday went off without incident and today has been another regular old day in the Keweenaw. It has been snowing all day and like I said earlier, we have have picked up an inch or two of new snow- just enough to freshen things up a bit. The pups have spent a lot of the day playing in the yard. The vet said that it was OK for Millie to play, that all that could be damaged had been, so they are getting as much play time as possible before the surgery.
     Looking back on the week, it is certaninly not the kind you want to have to go through on a regular basis, but we survived it and it could have been way worse on all fronts. So I am actually a very grateful husband and father as I sit typing this entry.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
February 13-
    Hard to believe that February is nearly half over already. In some ways it seems like it did not even start yet. I suppose before I know it, the month will be over already. Course it is a short one!
    I guess I can start with the business end of things first. I did complete the donators list for the ride in. Please check it out and take a look at all the persons and businesses that supported the event. Without them and the team of helpers that I mentioned in the previous entry, the event could not happen. Plus it will give you a good idea of all the great prizes we have to bid on or win in the raffle.
   The other order of business is to let folks know that because of the sled dog race we are having up here, the CopperDog 150, sections of trail between Calumet and Copper Harbor will be closed at times March 4th, 5th and 6th. This is to insure the safety of snomobilers and the sled dogs and the racer. I have been working with the folks at the CopperDog 150 to help them do a little trail routing for the race and also produced some maps showing which trails will be closed at what times. I can say that with one or two exceptions for a few hours, persons wanting to ride will always be able to get to any of the destinations they want to get to, when they want to get to them, they will just need to plan ahead and perhaps take a different route than they had planned. Please note that these sections of trail are not all going to be closed at the same time, and the entire system is not being closed. I really want to get the point across that it is just sections of trail closed for a few hours at a time.
    Last years event was held later in the month and during the big melt and they literally had the last of the snow melting out from underneath the dog sled teams as they came back into Calumet. In fact, they did not even make it to Calumet, they ended the race in Mohawk. So this year they decided to bump the race up a few weeks and have it in early March. Really in an average year, we would have plenty of snow the third week of March, so hopefully they will consider moving it back to that time frame to cause less issues with snowmobilers. Plus, I plan to work with them in the off season to find more trail routing that does not use the snowmobile trails.
    I have been pretty busy this week, working on wrapping up all the loose ends with the ride in and also with the CopperDog maps, but I did get out for some skis with the pups. On Wednesday, the pups and I were all outside while I was doing some chores when Huck comes running up to me barking and carrying on. I listened and it sounded like he was trying to tell me Timmy was trapped in the well. So asked him: "What's that Boy, Timmy is trapped in a well?" and he replied with a single bark, signifying a yes. So I told him to show me boy, show me where he is trapped, so I strapped on my skies and off we went, into the "back 40", with Huck leading the way. After skiing some distance through the woods, we came to a spot where the ground had collapsed and sure enough, there was Timmy, trapped in the well.
    Ok, ok, so I did embellish the story a bit. There was no Timmy and no well and Huck did not come running to alert me of anything, but you can bet I sure was surprised when we were taking our afternoon ski earlier this week and came across the old mine shaft on our property that had partially collapsed. I found out about the old shaft before I even bought the property and had been informed by some locals in the neighborhood that it used to have an old fence around it and they even used to dump old cars into it. Then many years ago, they decided to cap it off with mine rock and every once in a while there is some settling, due probably to the old autos giving out and allowing everything to slip a bit.
    I am actually responsible for making sure it is safe, so come spring, I will likely have some more rock dumped into it. If it gets to be a regular event, maybe I will just put a fence around it and start charging admission to see the mine!
    The collapse was about 10-15 feet deep in one spot, but in an other, you could just climb the rock and get right out of the hole. It was also nearly perfectly round in shape and I also found it interesting how the sides of the hole where the hole was deepest were perfectly straight up and down, as if cut by a giant knife or something.
    Our ski trail did go pretty close to the shaft, but I have never spent much time actually standing on it and kept the ski trail off of it, just to be safe. Glad I did! Although I guess the story would have been more dramatic had the ski trail gone across the shaft and I had pictures of the trail leading right up to it! I have done a little re-route of the trail as well- just to be extra safe.
    I'm not even sure it is done sinking. It looked on Thursday that it might have settled a foot or so more than the first day I saw it and I really do not even know when the initial settling happened, only to say that the last ski I took was on Thursday the 3rd and I believe I discovered it on Monday the 7th. Oh well, never a dull moment around here I guess!
    Not much else went on up here. It was actually very cold for most of the week. We struggled many days to rise out of the single digits and did manage to get a little below zero on occasion, although we were not nearly as cold as many other areas of the Midwest for early morning lows. I have found that I am a lot more sensitive to the cold since my heart surgeries. I don't know if it is the surgeries, the meds I am now on or a combination, but I have had to adjust the way I dress for the cold and really do not even like to be out in it when it is colder than about 15 degrees. The worst is my hands and feet, although I did pick up the new boots from Klim that have more insulation in them and have yet to have really cold feet with them, although they are bulkier and ad a little more work to the equation when boondocking hard and jumping from running board to running board.
    With all the cold air, I was hoping for more snow. When it gets really cold, the flakes get really small, but we can still see some pretty good accumulations over a several day period, but this time around we only picked up a few inches from time to time. I was at first worried the big lake was freezing up, but one of the day's I got a good look at things and it is still pretty wide open. Lots of ice from Duluth to the Bayfield peninsula and Apostle Islands and then over at the east end around Whitefish Bay, but most of the rest of the lake is pretty wide open, which surprised me, given how cold this winter has been.
   It also seems like we have gotten more snow this year than the numbers say. I guess because we have not had too many big dumps, but rather lots of 2, 3 and 4" snowfalls that have totaled up to our 160"+ totals so far for the season. It just seems like I have had to move around snow a lot this season, yet the actual totals are not too impressive just yet. This week looks to be very quiet snow wise, in fact we are above freezing right now and look to be there for Tue-Thur of this week. I still have this feeling in my bones that we are going to see some big spring storms. I don't have any real scientific reasons to back this idea up, just a feeling in my bones. We'll see.
    Along with the cold this week and this winter we have had lots of wind. Maybe that is why I am hating the bitter cold more than ever this winter. Anyway, the two have combined to make it just nasty to be out for very long and I really look forward to the parts of our daily skis that are in the thick woods. Once we are in there, the wind drops off to next to nothing and it just seems way more comfortable- and peaceful.
    In a way, I am looking forward to the warmer temps. It will make it more comfortable to be outside and hopefully the snow will clear off the roofs. I am really surprised that it has not cleared off the one side of the cabin yet. The shop may take a day or so of temps above freezing, but usually even getting near freezing will send the snow off the cabin, but not on the east side yet!
    Hopefully the thaw will not hurt the trails too much. I suspect that many areas to the south of us will take it on the chin and that will send folks up this way to ride where snow still remains on the trail. So we could be in for a double whammy this week, with above freezing temps and heavier than usual traffic. I guess all we can do is get through this and hope for a good dumping after.
    I guess that about covers it for this one. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
February 6- 
    Greetings all. January is gone, February is here and the 2011 SnowFest Ride in is over and was a huge success. Before I get into the details of the event's success. I would like to give a huge thanks to all that made it possible. I am going to take the risk of listing persons by name and hope that I do not forget anyone. If I do, please forgive me as I am just trying to get a list out in this forum, but will be putting out the official thank you list in the next day or so. First I would like to thank Nora and Grace for giving me the time to do all that I had to. The past few weeks I have spent a lot of time away and they were always supportive. Next I would like to thank all that came to the event and made it what it was. The generousity of everyone that attends is just amazing. I would also like to thank Lori Sleeman Kathy Bonini and John Stachler for their prize gathering prowess and for helping with the setup of the event. There were tons of prizes this year and the hard work of those three individuals was a big reason why we had so many prizes and that as folks started arriving at the banquet hall, we were ready for them. Syd Fassen also helped to gather prizes up in Copper Harbor. Jen Sleeman and Kathy's son's girlfriend (can you guess I don't know her name!) for their help setting up and working the banquet. Kathy's husband and his friend for bartending and Big Vin needs a huge round of applause for his emcee work as well as for the great live entertainment for the evening. A big part of the event is the back country snowmobile tours and they could not be done without the help of these individuals providing their guiding services free of charge as well as having to pay for their own gas and oil for the day: Skylar Baxter, Nick Bracco, Dave Beiring, Jeff Colombe, Matt Downey, Dave Dostlar, Brian Lassila, Al Provost and Dave Sleeman. On Friday we had over 50 riders go out on rides! The owner of the Brownstone Hall, Susie came through in the 11th hour when we hit a few obstacles and Kangas Catering for their wonderful food. Last but not least, Troy and Cathy Wescott for letting me raise money while guest bartending and their generous matching fund to bring the total to $1000.
    As mentioned, there were also dozens of prizes donated for the event as well as some individual contributions. I am still working on compiling that list, but once it is done, I will have it posted on the site, so stay tuned for that and be sure to try and visit these businesses when in the area as they were very supportive of this event.
    So here is the best news of all...The 2011 Snowfest Snowmobile Ride-In raised over $12,000! The final number still has to be double checked and triple checked, but this morning Nora helped me count up the income and I subtracted the expenses and came up with a little over $12,200. That is a new record for this event and I am ecstatic. The local news paper ran a story on the event Friday and will be running another this week. So we are getting some good press too. 
    We also had a new record for attendance. We had over 150 persons attend the event. I think the new banquet facility worked out very good. It was cozy and I am not sure we could fit much more than 150 persons in it along with the tables for the prizes and food, but I liked the idea that persons could ride their sled right to the door of the hall and the food was outstanding. So I will have to discuss with my team to see what they think for next year, but I think this year things went very well.
    I did have my camera and took quite a few pictures. The crowd got so big so fast that I could not take a picture of all the items we had for prizes, but here is a shot of folks looking over the prizes for the silent auction. Here is a shot of the hall, with folks visiting with each other. Here is a shot of Big Vin playing one of his signature songs. The food was ready and waiting for us at 6:30 and it did not take long to dig in (I went back for seconds!). On the menu were (all homemade by the way): turkey and gravy, roast beef in gravy, lasagna, mashed potatoes, green beans, vegetable medley, rolls with butter and some desert items. Not sure where the left over's went, but I would have taken a plate or two home with me!
    We were fortunate to get matched with a Wish Child in the days before the event happened. His name is Ely and he came with his family. At the time that picture was taken, he was still a little intimidated by all that was going on and was shy, but did show his colors by the end of the evening. His wish is to go to Disney World and will be headed there later this month.
    One of the big items up for silent auction was a 24" Ariens Snowthrower donated by the Ariens Company and here is a shot of the lucky (and generous) winners with their prize, with Ely in the background to the right!
    Once the silent auction winners were announced, we moved onto the raffle and here is a shot of the crowd attentively listening to the numbers being called for the next prize.
    So the 2011 event is over, except for the posting of more pics on the page for this years event as well as the donators list, but again, my sincerest thanks to everyone that made this year's wish come true for a child.
    Most of my time this week was spent getting ready for the event. I did take a group of riders out on Friday, but failed to take any pictures. Today I was finally able to spend some time with the family and even though it was a little chilly, we all went out this afternoon to play in the snow. On Saturday, the one side of the cabin cleared, but the snow still sits on the east side. Looking at it, I think the cabin looks little lopsided.
    When I asked Grace if she wanted to go outside and play, she screamed yes and ran as fast as her little legs would take her to the door. Of course we had to get her all bundled up first, but once outside, she had a blast going for rides in the snow scoop and even racing down the newly constructed bobsled run in her sled.
    So this week it will be back to business as usual. It looks like the lake snow guns might start to show their faces this week. It has been pretty quiet up here the past two weeks. This past Friday we did pick up around 2-3" and the Friday night before we picked up around 6", but nothing like what hit down south. Hopefully it will be our turn this week, I am ready for some fresh powder!
Good night from the Keweenaw..


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