It is just me, or did
this April take a long time to end!? When I look back at the first entry and
see that it included our exotic spring break trip to Duluth, that seems like
a lot longer than a month ago! Oh well, one more day and she is history.
I'm not sure where this one will go as I have some
material, but not a ton. The weather has been it's typical April, fickle,
self. On Thursday we picked up about
an inch of Yooper bug repellent and then today it is 60 and sunny. Most
of the rest of the week has been in the 40's for highs and 20's for lows and
we are dry. As I have mentioned in the past, we have two main fire seasons.
One in the autumn and one in the spring and both are due to the dead plant
material in the woods. A long spell of dry weather only worsens things and
that is where we are at right now. We are still a few weeks away from the
main greening of the woods, so hopefully we can get enough rain and folks
can be cautious enough to prevent any major fires from happening. With the
snow melting so early this spring, it has also made the "mud
month" (period fro when the snow melts to when the woods green) longer.
Speaking of the mud, our gang took it's annual spring
ATV ride this past weekend, but it was significantly lacking in mud and
much more mellow than in years past. I missed last years ride as I was stuck
in a hospital bed at the Mayo, but every other ride was a pretty wild one-
filled with lots of splashing through puddles and challenges as to who can
go through the deepest mud and/or water hole. This years event did not has
as much mud, thanks largely to mother nature, but also was missing some of
the usual suspects. For one reason or another, several of our regular riding
crew were missing in action. As a result, it was a much more relaxed ride,
but still fun.
It was a
great day for a ride though, with clear blue skies the entire day and
temps topping out in the upper 40's. As much as we usually want the spring
ride to be full of mud, puddles and even some snow, we also like the weather
to be dry and not too warm or cold. So from a weather standpoint, we were
fine and dandy yesterday.
We did manage to find some nice
water holes to play in though, thanks largely to the step-brother of one
of our gang. He owns some land where an old stamp mill used to be and there
are water holes there- no matter how dry it has been. Some
were deeper than others and not everyone partook in the wet fun, but I
would have to say it was probably the highlight of my trip.
Not much else happened this week. I spent Tuesday and
Thursday coming and going from Marquette. Tuesday to get my pacemaker
checked out and Thursday for my annual check up with the skin Dr. Both went
well, but that trip pretty much uses up an entire day, so other than taking
my usual morning walk with the pups, I was either in the truck or in the
Dr's office both of those days. It would have been nice to coordinate the
two visits to the same day, but I am just glad to have those visits behind
The woodworking project is creeping along. Not a lot of
work was done due to my traveling this week, but I did get the sides and
front/backs made for the drawers. All that is left is to make the drawer
bottoms, assemble the drawers, make the false fronts for the drawers and
edge band any edges that will be exposed. Then put some stain and a couple
of finish coats on it and it will be all ready to go. With a little luck, a
week from now all I will have left is the staining and finishing to do.
Nora and I have also been busy commuting back and forth
from the Laurium Glacier. The warm days and cool nights have made it a
little easier as all we need to do is check in the late evenings as it is
getting cold and if it has not melted, then we know it will not the rest of
that day as the temps are at or below freezing and will be until around
midday the next day. Nora did go and check around mid morning today and it
was close, but not yet gone. I plan to check later this evening to see if
today was the day. If not, then I would be surprised if it makes it past
tomorrow as it is getting very close.
I guess that about covers it for this one...Talk to you
all next month!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly sponsors
Sometimes when I sit
down to write, it seems like just a few days have gone by since I last wrote
and sometimes it seems like weeks. I suppose there are a number of factors
as to why that is so, but today it seems like it has been more than a week
since I last wrote. In fact, as I was preparing the photos for the journal,
I had to stop and think if some of the ones I was going to include of the
weather happenings up this way on Monday really happened just 6 days ago.
They did and I am here to talk about them. We had a bit
of winter weather return to the region on Monday. Not as much winter weather
as folks in northern MN got to see Monday. Some areas there saw double digit
accumulations occur. For us, it was just a couple of inches of the white
stuff- enough to cover
The snow was not the only weather event going on up here
Monday. We also had some very strong winds. There were storm warnings up for
the western end of the big lake, with waves of 20 feet common and isolated
to 30. So after my work was done for the day, the pups and I hopped in the
truck and braved the icy
roads to make our way down to the big lake to see what kind of a show
mother nature was putting on down there.
The winds were blowing out of the north-northeast, which
is a slightly different direction than they usually blow when they are
blowing hard. None the less, as we headed down the hill and the lake came
into view, it was a mix of it's normal deep blue and streaks of whitecaps.
With the winds out of the northeast and the off shore reef, I figured the
waves would not be too big at Eagle River and that
was true. However, just up the road a piece, the shoreline takes on a
more easterly trajectory and that allowed some of the
big rollers to get closer to shore and be photographed. It's sometimes
hard to capture the true size of the waves during a storm. The last photo
had some reference in it with the tree and boulders, but in an open water
shot like this,
monsters can end up looking like your average run-of-the-mill wave. For what
it is worth, the wave in that last shot would have probably rolled over most
of a single story ranch home.
A little further up the road, the coastline gets a lot
more ragged, with little in the way of beach and mostly scenarios where water
meets rock. Each time I got out of the truck to snap a photo, I was met
with some of the rawest weather I have ever tried to take a picture in.
Temps were around 24 degrees, it was snowing and the wind was blowing around
35-40 mph. For safety sake, I left the pups in the truck, but they
kept an eye on me too, to make sure no trouble be felled me.
The raw weather also left it's mark on objects near the
waters edge, as the spray from the waves coated trees, rocks and even
buildings in a layer
of ice. Before heading back into the comfort of the heated truck, I
snapped one more shot of the
angry lake and was glad that I was not out on it in a boat- of any size!
With that thought in mind, when I got home, I checked a
website I check from time to time called marinetraffic.com to see if there
were any ships out braving the storm. There were a few, but they were all
doing their best to hide from the storm. The Coast Guard ship Alder was in
Bete Gris Bay, taking advantage of the protection that the Bear Bluffs and
the rest of the Keweenaw provides. 2 transport ships were hugging the far
northern shoreline of the big lake and the rest were all in port.
While I sat cozy inside the cabin, checking the status of
ships on Lake Superior via the internet, the
pups were doing their best to take full advantage of what might be the
last snowfall of the season. We'll see on that one.
By Tuesday, the storm was all over. The winds had died
off to a gentle breeze and by the afternoon, the skies had even cleared.
That melted off most of Monday's snow and what was not melted off on Tuesday
fell victim to a
steady all-day rain on Wednesday. It was such an ugly day on Wednesday,
I would have stayed in all day, but we had to pick up Grace from the sitters
early and the pups were also anxious to head to town to check out what was
waiting for us at the post office.
As ugly as Wednesday was, I was thinking how nice just
one day of that would be in the summer. Not that our summers are hot and dry
or anything, but we generally do not see an all day soaker occur and the
past several summers have been pretty dry- at least at times. Now watch, we
will have a bunch of all day rains this summer, now that I said that!
The week finished off pretty nice, with mostly sunny
skies for Friday and yesterday and yesterday I got out for a short ATV
ride with a friend from the site. We did not have a lot of time
allocated for the ride, but none the less were able to take in some very
pretty Keweenaw scenery, such
as this waterfall. We also were able to find some waterholes
to have to go through on the trails. Which bodes well for next weekend,
which is our gang's annual spring ATV ride. We usually try and do it when
there is still some snow left and the puddles are at their largest, but that
all took us by surprise when we should have still been riding in March. So
it does not look like there will be snow around for our spring ATV ride, but
there should be plenty of water holes.
I have also been getting out into the woodshop a bit this
past week. Not as much as I would like (which may not even be possible,
given how much I love to be out there), but enough to put a solid dent in my
latest project- a bed
stand for our bedroom. Needless to say, we are really crunched for space
in this cabin of ours, even more so with the pups and Gracie. So in order to
eek out a little more storage space in the bedroom, I am building this stand
which will include space for 7 storage drawers underneath. For those
woodworkers out there, I may have something of interest for you all. It is
my single stage dust
collector. You can read
more about it here, but the short story is I upgraded to a more powerful
two stage machine and this one is no longer needed, but works great.
I guess my final word for this entry will be that the Laurium
Glacier is still around. I went by on Friday evening and saw that it had
melted some since my last visit, but that it still had a few days to go. So
I will be checking it every day this week and I guess the big questions is;
will it last until May. Quite honestly, I am amazed it has lasted this long,
given the strange weather the past few months.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
It will be interesting
to see where this entry leads us. We are still at the time of the year where
little is happening up here. In fact, many of the tourist related business
are either shut down or on very limited schedules right now. Of course our
economy up here in the Keweenaw is much more diverse than just tourism, so
it's not like the area is a ghost town with stores closed, but you do need
to be sure that some of the more tourist related businesses in Keweenaw
County are open before you make the trek.
As for the Dee's, we have been chugging along. Not much
exciting to report on. All of our health is good, although I still battle
some days with tiredness and a bit of fluid build up. It seems to be brought
on by either lack of sleep and especially having a cold. I caught a cold
back in March and still have a bit of a cough now and then and I think that
is what is causing me to still have days when my energy is low- like today.
It is not anything like last year at this time when every day was like this,
so I am not too concerned and I also was feeling this same way back in late
Dec and early Jan and went and had a full round of looking at and the Dr's
said my heart pumping function was just fine and that I probably just walk
the line between feeling 100% and feeling off and it does not take much to
push me to the feeling off side. I suppose if in another couple of weeks I
still do not feel good pretty much every day, then I will put in a call to
the big guns at the Mayo and see if they have any ideas, but for now, like I
say, I do have my very good days too. I just wish they were all like that as
I hate not having energy to do all I want.
The rest of the family sure has energy- especially Grace
and the pups. The pups got their annual lube, oil and filter in early March
and were a few pounds heavier than they should, so we have trimmed their
food back a bit and also are back to taking our regular walks now that my
leg healed and Huck has lost 3 pounds, while Millie is a bikini model, five
pounds lighter! I think all the chasing squirrels and chipmunks is helping
too. They will run around for an hour straight chasing them if they can-
especially Millie. She is the hunter of the two. Huck just does what ever
looks fun at the moment.
Grace is entertaining us all too. She is a little over 2
1/2, going on 13! A pure sweet heart, but also her own person and as head
strong as anyone I have ever known. I have no fear that she will be pushed
around in life, but I fear for how soon I may be not be able to keep from
being manipulated! She is trying hard already, but luckily Nora and I are
able catch what is happening and stay one step ahead.
She is still as fearless as ever and her new thing on the
playground is to get a running start and superman (or superwoman) onto the
swing and then fly through the air. I tried to get a picture of her
completely airborne on her way to the swing and could not time it properly,
but here is one that
was pretty close.
All of this daredevil stuff scares the beegeebers out of
Nora, so the other day I taught Grace to say in her best Austin Powers
accent "Danger is my middle name". I might have to back off that
one though as this little girl does not need any confidence boosting at the
moment! When she does get hurt, she pretty much shrugs it off. On Friday,
she was climbing on the wood pile and slipped. She did not fall far and did
fall on her feet a bit and then onto her bum, but she also got some nasty
abrasions on her back. I mean, anyone would have been writhing in pain.
Graces initial reaction seemed actually to be mad that it happened and be
mad at the pain. She did cry a bit, but then about 60 seconds later was onto
the next adventure. Her favorite saying upon recovery from an injury is that
she is "rough and tough and plenty good looking". That was
actually a saying of my dads and it brings me great joy to hear her say it
and I know he is looking down from the heavens with great pride.
Grace is also really getting into work. Nora and, to a
lesser extent, me have been doing some spring cleaning around here.
Yesterday it was beautiful out and we all were doing yard work. Grace really
wanted to pitch in and help. Today was inside cleaning and Grace was
actually a little upset that we were not going to be washing the windows, so
we let her wash the front sliding doors. The pups
The weather has been a little schizophrenic, wit some
days in the 60's and then others in the 40's. Yesterday was the 60's and
tomorrow looks like some snow will fall. It's actually not that unusual to
have either at this time of the year and I will take it over tornados or
even high heat and humidity. Even the cooler temps are warm enough for us to
get out and do something and it is still too cool for bugs.
I swung by the Laurium Glacier yesterday and it is still
there, although I think by later this week, I will need to start keeping a
close eye on it. It probably does not have much more than a week to ten days
left- unless we stay cold and/or get much new snow.
So other than that, I guess that is all I have to report
on at the moment.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Happy Easter Everyone! Before
I get into the meat of this weeks entry, I am happy to report that the AL
Cam looks to be alive once again. My apologies for it being hit and miss for
so long, but one of the "automatic" windows updates through the
operation of the camera I was using into a tailspin. It had to do with the
drivers and when I went to update the driver for the cam, it did not work at
all. So I picked up a new cam back when snow was still on the ground, but
the replacement required me to be outside for much of the work as well as
open up the chase that the camera cable goes through to get from outside
into the house. All things that I would much rather do when the weather was
a bit nicer. So I tried to let the cam run from time to time, but what would
happen is when things went bad, the whole computer would just suddenly
reboot, which is not good when I am in the middle of doing very important
We had all that warm weather back in mid March, but still
had snow on the ground and then things got kind of chilly again, but
yesterday we hit 63 and it was sunny, so I went about finally replacing
things. All seems to be going well so far. It is a newer cam, so it has a
higher resolution, high def actually, but I am running it at a slightly
lower res to save bandwith. Still a nice clear pic though and hopefully it
will run on autopilot for a long time to come like the previous one did.
Since it has been two weeks since I last wrote, I do have
quiet a bit to share, including 27 pictures. Most of them are of Gracie with
a few being the pups and some of the woods as such up here. So sit back and
relax, this will probably be a long one!
Going back about 11-12 days, the weather was still a
little crisp out, but warm enough to get out and play, so we all headed out
and Grace got some saddle
time in on the swing given to us last September. She still loves that
playground as much as the day we got it and I am so glad that she likes to
play outside. That is the way I grew up (limited TV, you played outside) and
I was hoping that she would like the outdoors as that is a big thing of what
makes living in the Keweenaw so special. Of course the pups get all excited
when we are getting ready to go outside and are very good at
entertaining themselves while Nora and I play with Grace. Although we do
pay with them as well and Grace is getting involved with that play time with
the pups as well. It will be really fun to see Grace play with the pups in a
Besides playing on the playground, one of Graces favorite
things to do is to climb. She will climb anything there is to climb and I am
planning on making her a little toddler climbing wall on her playground
soon. In the mean time, she finds any tree that looks like it will be good
for climbing and will use what
ever method is best for the job.
It seems like more than 5 weeks ago, but the very early
part of March came in snowy. In fact, the snow depth the day I left for WY
(March 4th) was the deepest depth we had had all season and probably the
deepest depth in a few seasons. The unprecedented thaw in mid March took it
all away, but the month could not finish without one last bit of snow and on
the morning of the 30th we had a period of light snow whiten
the ground. Certainly not enough to play in and it all melted by mid
afternoon, but was enough to remind us all of where we live and to give the
locals something to grumble about.
My absence last week was due to a family trip Nora,
Gracie and I took for spring break. No Florida this year. We are trying to
save our pennies to start the new living quarters for us this autumn, but
more on that in another entry sometime.
Nora and I still wanted to get away and take Grace to
someplace fun and what's the next best thing after Florida for spring break?
Duluth! Well, maybe not the next best thing, but it does have things that
would entertain Grace as well as Nora and I and was a cheap alternative, so
that is where we went. We stayed at the hotel that has the waterpark inside
it (more on that in a bit) and also took in the aquarium and zoo. Plus we
spent some time in the mall and I spent some time at Acme Tools :)
The aquarium was nice and pretty impressive for a town
the size of Duluth. I am used to the Shed Aquarium in Chicago with all of
it's fresh and salt water exhibits, but Duluth's is primarily a fresh water
one, with just a few salt water tanks. Anyway, Grace had a ball looking
at all the fish. Here is a shot of her
and I overlooking the harbor and their lift bridge (I think the
Keweenaw's is better looking). Here I am pointing
out to her where our house is on a map of the Lake Superior region
(wouldn't mind having a map like that in my next office!). Here is Grace
checking out the tank with fish like musky and sturgeon in it. They say
you are never too old to learn something new and I learned that there are
freshwater stingrays. The Duluth
Aquarium had one and you could actually pet it. It actually liked to be
pet as when Grace leaned over the tank, it started to climb up the side of
the tank to get closer to her. Pretty cool! Pretty cool that Grace was
completely fearless to stick her hand in there too!
After the aquarium, it was decided by a unanimous vote
that we should get some ice cream, so that
is what we did. After the ice cream, I took Nora and Grace back to the
hotel and they got in a nice nap. I went to a really neat tool store called
Acme Tools. It is setup for professionals and I had a ball there. I am a
total tool junkie. That would be my true addiction. I can never have enough
tools, but try very hard to see if it is possible! They don't go to waste
though, I have built our house with them and build our furniture with them
and fix our toys with them. Still, I am a total tool freak and that store
was awesome to be in! Good thing it is not any closer, or I would be there
at least once a month! In a few years, I can see us going to Duluth, Nora
and Grace dropping me off at that store and then heading to the mall for few
hours! The really good thing about that place is that on my next stop in,
when I buy too much to bring home in the vehicle, they have trailers you can
buy to put all the stuff in and bring home! OK, enough of that.
The view from our hotel room was pretty cool, it
overlooked Lake Superior, which on Monday was really rough, with a stiff
breeze out of the NNE. Several ships left port while we were there and it
was interesting to see them leave port, then anchor for several hours just
outside of port, before moving on. Not sure why they did that, perhaps to
secure the hatches before heading out onto the open waters. Here is one
such ship anchored out in front of our room.
The main reason why we chose Duluth was for the waterpark
in the hotel we stayed in. I know the Dells has probably the premiere indoor
waterparks in the country, but they are a bit much for Grace at her age
right now and we did not feel like putting up with all the masses and not be
able to take advantage of all the rides, so the smaller park in Duluth
seemed to make sense. Grace
had a total ball and is still talking about it. Her favorite thing to do
was to climb up the
rope ladder to the tube slides, avoiding the
waterfall that would occur from time to time and then head
down the tube slide to make a
big splash at the bottom. She did this almost the entire time we were
down at the park and Nora and I took turns being the glutton that had to
take the dousing from what we nicknamed "the bucket from he-double
tooth picks". It was a giant bucket on top of the tube slide setup that
would fill with water and then dump
out every minute or so. A lot of fun if you are a kid wanting to splash
around in the water, but probably against the Geneva Convention if you are
an adult just there to make sure your kid does not get hurt or drown on the
The waterpark also had a "lazy river" a pool
with basketball hoops and balls and then two big tube slides. Grace and I
did go down the one big tube slide once, but only once. They did not allow
her to wear her swim floaties and I had to sit with her on my legs and not
on my lap (we were on a double tube) and it was pitch black inside the tube,
so I could not see where the next turn was and thus could not anticipate
which way to keep Grace from flying off my legs. I was able to keep her on
my legs and not off the ride, but not a ton of fun for dear old dad-
although Nora said I should have seen the smile on Graces face as we came
out of the tube into the landing pool. I am learning that the more
terrifying something is for the average human being, the more fun it is for
Grace. I just hope we can stay out of the emergency department for a few
more years at least!
The next day was a day to visit the zoo. Sometimes it
pays to be a meteorologist as the day we went to the aquarium it was cloudy,
about 45-50 degrees with a NNE wind of 25-35 mph- not a good day to be
outside for too long and the next day was around 60, sunny with just a
gentile breeze. Perfect to be outside. Again, the zoo was not spectacular,
but pretty impressive for a city the size of Duluth. I think Graces favorite
part was watching the
groundhogs run around and scurry into their holes. And no, I don't think
it had anything to do with the fact that they are my competition. She also
enjoyed feeding some
After the zoo, we headed east and back home. Duluth is
really not that far away, right around 4 hours or so. We stopped for a snack
and to fill up with gas in Superior and then Grace was lucky enough to sleep
just about all of the rest of the way home. She started coming too around
Bruce Crossing and was fully awake by around Mass City, which is the final
hour of our trip. We had boarded the pups at our friend's kennels- Top Dog
Kennels and even though they were only there for about 3 days, the pups were
really happy to see us. Of course they get excited to see me when I run into
the post office for 60 seconds! Gotta love a dog!
Nora had the rest of the week off and Grace also stayed
home from the sitter the rest of the week. I worked both in Duluth and when
we got home, but did get out with the family to enjoy the weather the second
half of this week.
We took to the woods the other afternoon and of course Grace
did some climbing and more
climbing an then into
the woodshed to do some more climbing. Sure shows how times have changed
when she actually ASKS if she can go into the woodshed? :) Of course it has
not been all fun and play. While out in the woods, we had a visit from our
neighbors dog, Hannabelle. She is actually a sister of Huck and Millie from
the previous litter. She must have heard us in the woods and came to visit.
Huck and Millie love to play with her and we had fun visiting with our
neighbor and watching the
three pups play. Hannabelle is the bigger yellow on the right.
With all of the snow gone (almost), we did some spring
yard work and it is really neat to see her
excited to do work. Only 2 1/2 years old, but already has a pretty good
work ethic. Not the pups. We asked them to help, but they just looked as us
with this disappointment that we were picking up all the sticks that they
had spent all winter pulling out of the woods and into the yard! So they took
off into the woods to find some more!
This was the first Easter that Grace could look forward
to the bunny coming. She got into the egg hunt right away and found all of
them before the morning was too far along. She also did not waste anytime biting
the head off the chocolate bunny.
So that just about covers it. As mentioned, just about
all of the snow is gone. Here is a shot of the Laurium
Glacier taken this morning on our way home from church. Looks like
another 2 to maybe 3 weeks left- all depending on the weather. Here is a
shot of the Allouez
Township Glacier (where the snow piles up next to the shop) taken a day
ago. I would say it will be gone by Tuesday.
Good night from the Keweenaw..