Well, well, well. Looks like
auntie spring has finally found us... and in a pretty big way. We did get
more snow this past week. 5 1/2" on Tuesday put us over the top for the
snowiest April on record and another 2 inches fell Wednesday night and early
Thursday, just for good measure. A visitor to the site did a little
statistical analysis of the snow data from my records and came up with some
interesting charts to show just how unusual the past 4-6 weeks have been. This
first chart plots the snow depth for the past 14 years. Interesting to
see that this year was setting records for the lowest depth in early January
and then set records for the deepest depth from around March 20th to
current. The second
chart shows the impact that this year has had on the average snow cover.
Basically showing it had little impact through the traditional snow on the
ground period, but then went ballistic from mid March on- when the snow
typically starts to melt in earnest. My thanks to Ari for those charts.
So much of this week was actually spent in more
winter-like weather, but then the warmth hit. Friday was in the mid to upper
40's and yesterday found us in the low 60's and today the upper 60's!
Needless to say that with the 60 degree temps and strong
(as strong as it is in mid-August) late-April sun, the snow has been melting
at a pretty brisk pace. It looks like we lost around 5 inches or so
yesterday and perhaps will lose as much by the end of today as well.
With all the snow melting, the creeks and streams have
been rising. There are flood warnings for a host of western UP rivers.
Closest to home is the Sturgeon River where it flows close by Chassell.
There is a road as well as several homes all in the flood plain that seem to
have problems every few years. Currently the river is just shy of minor
flood stage and is expected to rise into the moderate to possibly severe
stage before dropping some later this week. The Traprock River is also
rising towards flood stage and might get there too, although the flooding
there may just be in the minor stage. Cooler air is seen as we head through
this week, so that will slow the melting some.
In our direct neck of the woods, no flooding. In fact,
there has even been very little in the way of puddles forming. I am actually
quite amazed by all of this, but perhaps the ground was just so dry that it
is soaking up much of what is going into it. In any case, I am glad that the
rapidly melting snow is not causing us any problems at all and so far is not
causing anyone else too many problems.
Yesterday after dinner, the whole family piled into the
truck to take a quick waterfall tour. There are a couple that we can go to
see all in a pretty short period of time. The first is just upstream from
the town of Eagle River and is on the Eagle River itself. The
river was flowing pretty good, but not nearly as fast and furious as I
have seen it once or twice in the past. None the less, it was fun to hike
into through the 2-3 feet of snow still on the ground and snap a few shots
of what is known to the locals as "Ten
Foot Drop". When the river is tame and warmer in the summer, some
go there to swim in the pool at the base of the falls, but when the river is
running hard like it is now, the falls nearly disappear in the torrent. With
all the snow on the ground and not knowing exactly where the river bank sat
underneath the snow, I did not venture into a better spot to take a picture
of the river and falls. Perhaps in another entry.
The most well known (and by far easiest) falls to get to
on the Eagle River are the ones right in town. The old highway bridge sits
just below the falls and offers a very good view of them. There are two main
spots where the river flows over an old wooden dam and with the camera I had
it was not possible to get them both framed in the same shot. So here is the
left hand (or
eastern) side of the falls and here is
the western side. Back in the melt of 2001, the river was as high as I
have ever seen it. We had snow melt and a bunch of rain at the same time and
the water was flowing
over the entire dam.
After viewing the falls, we drove down to the beach. The
air was still warm enough, even right down by the lake, to hang out there
for a while. The pups wasted no time at all in taking their
first dip in the big lake for 2013. It is always amazing to me how they
do not seem to be too impacted by the cold water. I know that their fur does
protect them to some degree, but that water has to find its way to their
skin eventually and their bellies do not have too much protection. Perhaps
that is why they did not venture too far into the lake, even with the
temptation of a pair of Canada Geese neaby.
While we were at the beach, Nora and I were taking turns
with the camera and a couple came by and asked if we wanted to have a
picture taken of the whole family together. So we took them up on their
offer, minus the two wet labradors. Is this a
cute family or what? Ok, maybe just the girls, but someone has to drag
down the curve a bit. We then went back to taking turns with the camera and
Nora snapped this shot of Grace
tossing a rock into the big lake. I thought that one was cool, as she
captured the rock in mid-air.
I honestly do not have much more to share with you on a
personal level. The locals are just thrilled as can be with this weather.
Lots of smiles being worn (even among the snow lovers) and it also seems to
have gotten everyone out and about. Yesterday I had to stop at the hardware
store quickly to pick up something and there was not even a parking spot in
the lot open! This warmer weather was such a long time coming, that it was
like a huge dam just broke and sent everyone outside to play or work on
I was hoping to get out for a ride this weekend. I really
love the spring rides in the warm temps. It is a special treat to not have
to get all bundled up and also really nice when you stop to take a break.
However, I have been fortunate enough to take many of those types of rides
since moving up here and I doubt I would have enjoyed the ride as much-
knowing I had some important work left to do, so I chose to stick with the
cabinet building and forgo a ride...at least for now. I have little doubt
that there will still be enough snow to take a ride next weekend and
hopefully by then the cabinets will be done and I can blow off a bit of
steam before getting on with the addition.
The cabinets are nearly done with having the face frames
attached. I have cleared out the front shop (the one that houses the toys)
and have been moving the completed cabinets into that and arranging them as
they will sit in the remodeled kitchen. It has taken me longer to do the
face frames than I thought, but I have enjoyed the luxury of being able to
take my time and do an extra special job. A lot of the things that have been
taking up so much of my time with the face frames will probably not even be
noticed by the typical observer, or at least the typical observer will not
realize how hard it was to add those special touches, but I will, and each
time I look at them, I will be able to appreciate not just the custom look
to them, but all the hard work and attention to detail it took to get get
them that way. I suppose a lot of you are wondering when I am going to put
some pictures of my work up. Hopefully next week. I decided to wait until
they were fully completed before I would share them with everyone. Not that
I am expecting some prestigious award for kitchen cabinet making or
anything, but I just feel that they will look best when they are all done.
So hang in there and for now all you get is a picture of me
pondering how to get over one of the hurdles encountered today. I did
enjoy working in the front shop for a while with the garage door open to the
Even with the snow melting in earnest, there is still a ton on
the ground and a ton
still sitting on the slab where the addition will go. It also looks like
things will cool off as we head through this week and we may even pick up a
bit of "May snow" by the very end of the week, so I think I am at
least 10 to maybe 14 days away from getting out with the snow thrower to
clear the slab and get the building underway. And to think...at one point I
thought it might be possible to have it shelled in by mid-May. Now I am
hoping to just get started! WHA!
So I guess we will see what this week brings. Hopefully a
conclusion, or near conclusion to the kitchen cabinet project and perhaps a
spring ride or two. We'll see, always an adventure!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
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That is exactly where we find ourselves up here in the
Keweenaw. Last week I talked about how there was only one year in which we
had a similar amount of snow on the ground on that date and how there were a
handful of other years in which the depth was close. I also talked about how
on all of those other years, the depth shrank from that point on. Not this
Sunday night and early Monday morning, the snows came
again and we awoke to
6" of very wet and heavy snow. It came at a perfect time and with a
bit of surprise as to the totals and density to cause school to be called
off on Monday. I good call as the county road commissions all told the
school administrators that there was no way they could get all the roads
cleaned off in time for the busses to make their runs. So Nora had her 7th
snow day of the winter. Most winters they are luck to get 2 or 3. The snow
was so wet and heavy that I decided to chance my luck and not try and move
it off of our driveway, hoping that mother nature would giveth and she would
also taketh away.
It worked some, but by Wednesday, with another storm
threatening for Thursday and Friday, and still 3-4" of slop on the
driveway in spots, I did get out with the ATV and plow and move it off to
the sides, so that the main driving portion of the driveway would at least
have a thin base of snow on it to make it easier to move the next round.
For a while there, it was looking like that next round
was going to spare us, as we had the forecasted mix of rain, sleet and snow
on Thursday. Then the change over to all snow Thursday night to give us
5-7" did not take place. The storm had tracked a bit further to the
west and we were dry-slotted and kept in a light wintry mix. So we woke up
on Friday with about an inch of new snow and some light snow falling. The
snow did intensify soon after sunrise on Friday and kept up hard all day, as
we got into the snows associated with the upper air feature of the storm and
the snow was also enhanced by the lake effect. Add to the heavy snows winds
of 35 mph, with gusts to 50 and 60 mph (I even heard of a gust to 70mph at
Copper Harbor) and we were in a full on Blizzard. Here is a
shot of the front of the house taken at around 1pm when we were about
halfway through the snow to fall Friday and here is a
shot of Hwy 41 in Mohawk, looking north. I also had the pleasure to have
to drive down to Calumet in that stuff Friday afternoon to pick up some
things to allow me to keep plugging along on the cabinets. At times the
visibility was down to just feet with the heavy snow and blowing snow.
Conditions Friday afternoon were easily the worst they have ever been up
this way all season. And in this season of snow storm after snow storm, that
says a lot. We ended up with 13" new out of the snow Thursday night and
Schools were let out early Friday due to the poor
conditions as well.
But, when the weather gives you lemons, you make a vodka
and lemonade, right? Or something to that effect. We all just hunkered down
here at home. I spent the afternoon in the shop working on the cabinets,
wishing I could see out the windows to watch the storm, but only seeing a
solid wall of white, and Nora, Gracie and the pups hung out in the house.
The storm did have some good timing to it though as back
last week, I had made plans to ride on Saturday. When we made the plans, I
though it might be a true "spring ride" with a light jacket on and
temps in the 50's. It ended up being more like a January ride. Temps were in
the low teens when I was loading my sled into the truck and as I drove down
to meet up with Dave and Lori and the rest of the crew at the Wildlife
Refuge cabins, the roads were all snowpacked and the banks on the side of
the road freshly piled up high. If I had not known what day it was yesterday
and forced to guess, I would have easily guessed late January and not late
I even dressed a bit to lightly, at least for the start
of the ride and was a little chilled, but once we got going and started
digging out sleds, I warmed up quickly. Saturday's ride was a special treat
for me as it was done almost entirely in "uncharted waters". With
the exceptions of the trails that we used to get to the off trail spots, all
the areas were completely new to me and I just love seeing new places. Our
first stop had us overlooking
a bend in the Salmon Trout River. Did that last picture look like late
January or late April to you?!
Most of the rest of the day was spent seeking out hills
to play on. The snow conditions were kind of weird, as the rain and freezing
rain of Thursday had saturated the top inch or two of the snow and then with
temps in the low teens Friday night and early Saturday and still in the low
20's when we were riding Saturday, the old snow had a rock hard crust on it.
In spots where the wind had blown all the new snow clear, all that was left
was this rock hard surface, like you were riding your sled on a sheet of
styrofoam. It did make for some go-anywhere hero snow, but if you punched
through the hard layer and the track trenched in, you were stuck very quick,
which happened to many of us many times.
We stayed out until mid afternoon, then dropped into the
Mosquito for lunch and then I broke off from the rest of the group and
headed back up to the cabins to load the sled onto the truck to head home.
On the way back to South Range from Toivola, I stopped at the turn off to
Tri Mountain and snapped this shot of the
Bill Nichols trail Saturday, late afternoon. With the exceptions of the
trails that run through the urban areas of Houghton and Hancock, that last
picture is what all the trails up here look like. There will easily be snow
to ride on them by next weekend as well. The base on the trails is still
easily 2 feet deep. In the woods it is around 4 feet deep on the level.
With all the snow and winds from that last storm, I
though it would be interesting to see how the Laurium Glacier was doing. So
we all drove down there this afternoon, but I decided to take my snow shoes
along. In all the pictures I have ever taken of it, there has never really
been an object to give a good reference as to the true size of it. So I
strapped on my snow shoes and walked out to the edge of the drift and Nora
snapped this shot of me
standing in front of The Laurium Glacier. No joke folks, it really is
that big. Here is a
shot taken a little further back to show the entirety of it. Keep in
mind that I an standing on around 6-7 feet of snow as well. I would estimate
its depth to be somewhere in the 18-20 foot range. What makes it so amazing
is that it is ALL natural. Snow humans moving snow into the spot, or
buildings to drift around. Its just a huge drift at the end of a field,
along side the road and it forms to gigantic proportions every year. For
anyone thinking they might like to head over there and pull a cornice drop,
forget about it. You would have to travel into private property to do that.
We still have our own big snow piles to deal with at our
place. Here is a shot
of where the addition will connect with the existing home. Someday. The
snow there is still around 8-9 feet deep and actually seems to just be
getting deeper as we go deeper into April! My depth on the ground yesterday
morning was 44". That was 1" shy of tying the deepest depth of the
entire season! Interestingly enough, the 45" depth was made on March
20th. So we progressed through a whole months time from mid March to mid
April and only lost one inch of snow depth in our woods! We are 4.5"
away from tying the record for all time snowiest April. The standing record
was set back in 2007 and ALL of that snow (44") fell in the single
event in early April of that year. At one point this winter, I had my
serious doubts that we would break the 200" mark for the season and now
we are just 26.5" shy of going over 300" for the season. I have my
doubts we will actually break the 300" mark for the season- at our
place anyway. I think that up the road from us, the official count for
Keweenaw county might be just 15" shy of 300". Of course, the way
this season is going, we may just break that 300" mark.
The sentiment among most of the locals seems to be that
of pure submission. A week ago, the question I was asked the most was:
"When is this going to stop and spring weather to finally arrive in
earnest?" to, by the end of this past week being: "How much are we
going to get out of this one?". Very few locals are even thinking about
spring anymore. Sure they know it will come, but it is just too painful to
entertain the thoughts of grass greening, flowers flowering and birds chirping.
They will just embrace it when it finally happens.
And when will that come? Well... It does not look like it
will be this week. Looks like we are going to get some mixed precip tonight
and tomorrow and then accumulating snows tomorrow night. Perhaps as much as
5-8" of the white stuff. Some areas in the higher terrain between
L'Anse and Marquette may see double digit accumulations occur. Then it's
quiet, but cold, with very little in the way of melting.
I am starting to get very concerned about flooding. On
Monday morning, I took a snow core sample and measured 8.5" of moisture
locked in the current snow pack. That is before the 1.5" of precip fell
Thur-Friday. I am not that concerned for us, all of our structures are build
on concrete slabs that sit on 2-3 feet of sand. So no basements to flood and
they also do not sit in low areas. Although I am also not completely
throwing out the idea that I may have to run a pump or two to keep some
areas that puddle from getting too out of hand. I do think that some areas
up here that have not seen flooding ever, or have not seen flooding in a
very long time stand a chance to see flooding this year and those that are
prone to flooding...well... I would seriously be in the process of moving my
belongings into a storage unit and leaving only the bare essentials to get
out at the last minute. I just have this feeling that it's going to be bad,
very, very bad. On the up side, all the inland lakes and ponds will jump
back to very healthy levels and Lake Superior will also likely make a big
jump in it's levels once all the snow in it's drainage basin melts. There is
also very deep snow still on the ground in the Superior drainage areas of MN
This highly unusual persistence of wintry weather up here
also has to be taking it's toll on the wildlife up here. We typically have
bare ground, or just a few inches hanging on, by now and the snow is still
far too deep for an animal like a deer to get around in and most of the
forage for the other animals is still deeply buried. We did take a family
trip to Eagle River today to see the
deer heard there. It is one of the spots where the deer go to yard up
for the winter and they also feed the deer there to help them survive the
winter. We brought along some special treats for them and here is a shot of Gracie
getting ready to toss them a piece of apple. Here is one
of them enjoying that piece of apple. Hopefully they will be able to get
back into the woods and things will green up and they can give birth to the
next crop of hood ornaments. :)
On our way back to the house, we drove by the lake and
did see a faint sign of spring. A
lakes freighter making the turn around the tip of the Keweenaw, likely
heading to Duluth or perhaps Thunder Bay.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Happy Tax Day Eve! Not
the day I would like to be an accountant. Actually, I don't think that I
would enjoy being an accountant on any day. No offence to any accountants
out there, I have all the respect in the world for you and your profession.
It's just that I really am not fond, or very good, with numbers. I am able
to keep from bouncing my checks, but that is about as far as I am going to
go with bragging about being good with numbers.
Speaking of numbers, the snowfall totals just keep
climbing up and up. We did have an inch less snow on the ground this morning
than we had last Sunday morning, but also had about 5 more inches on the
ground yesterday morning that we had last Saturday morning, so timing of the
measurements in relation to new snow fallen played a key role in those
comparisons. The bottom line is, we did little to get rid of any of the old
snow and did pile on 8 1/2" of new snow Thursday night through Saturday
morning. Actually, it snowed pretty much all day yesterday, but was done
with any meaningful accumulating by late morning.
The persistence of the cold and snow is edging us into
nearly uncharted waters. I saw it mentioned in a daily historical fact
sheet that on April the 9th, the last significant snow hit the Keweenaw back
in 1979. For those of you unfamiliar with the winter of 78-79, that was the
record setter up here, with just shy of 400". We did go wire to wire at
full steam that season and this season are still around 140" shy of the
all time record, but it does have to be mentioned that by January 11th, we
had only picked up around 40" of snow. So that means that around 215
inches of snow has fallen in less than 3 months up here. Combine that with
the fact that we are now at the time of the year when about 50% of the years
have little to no snow on the ground and the other 48-49% are in the process
of melting off the last 12-15".
I say 48-49% of the other years, because I did take a
look back through the past snow records for Houghton County (basically the
airport up until the mid 2000's) and since the late 40's there has only been
a handfull of years when we still had considerable snow on the ground at
this time of the year. Back in 1972, there was 36" on the ground on
April 13th. By the 26th of that year it was down to 12". By the 30th of
April it was down to 4" and all the snow was gone by May 5th. In 1950,
there was 31" on the ground on the 13th, with 11 on the 30th and all
was gone by May 5th. In the record setting year of 78-79, there was 18"
on the ground on the 13th, with 4 on the 20th and bare ground by the 25th of
April. Another stand out year was the winter of 1995-96. That currently
stands as the second snowiest winter in modern times and also featured a
cold and somewhat snowy spring. I know friends I ride with now said they
took their last snowmobile ride of the season on Mothers Day, which I
believe was around the 14th of May that year. It was not a gimmick ride
either. They had to trailer to the drop off point, but then rode all day and
had plenty of places to go. In that year, the official measuring spot at the
airport had 21" on the 13th of April, with 4 by the 30th and then all
the snow had left the airport by the 5th of May.
Looking at our forecast, I would have to say that getting
in a ride in early May should be a relatively safe bet. I still have 3 feet
of snow on the level in my woods and that would likely mean that the higher
terrain up this way has 4, possibly more on the ground. We look to see some
snow arrive in a few hours, with 2-5" of accumulation before it likely
changes to sleet and/or rain overnight. There is another storm seen for
later Wednesday into Thursday and early Friday and right now the main idea
is for heavy snows to fall in our area, with the potential for double digit
accumulations. The rain/snow line is not too far off to our east and south
with that system for later this week, so it is possible things could change
and we do not get snow, but right now the idea is for snow, which could mean
that when I type the next entry on the 21st, we could still have 3 feet of
snow on the ground.
The other thing that all of this lingering snow presents
is the potential for some pretty bad flooding. There are not too many flood
prone areas up here, with all the changing of terrain and the fact that most
of the building was done in areas that are not prone to flooding. I also can
say that there is no guarantee that there will be severe flooding, but with
3 feet of snow on the ground (I measured 7" of water in that snow
Monday morning) and the fact that within the next 2-3 weeks, there is going
to be a monumental shift in our temperatures- not a forecast, just what
happens EVERY year as we go into the final parts of April and into May,
means that much of that 7" of water in the snow is likely to be
released in a very short period of time. Add to that any rain that might
fall as the snow melts and we could be talking about an input of 10" of
water into the watershed in a 10-14 days time. I am thankful that we do not
live in a flood prone area. We get puddles to form in low spots, but we have
no rivers or streams near-by that can spill over their banks and bring the
serious variety of flooding. The perfect scenario to avoid flooding would be
for sunny days with highs in the 40's and clear nights with lows in the
20's. That way we melt off a few inches every day, but then halt the melting
overnight, to allow the water to be absorbed into the system. I guess only
time will tell.
As mentioned, we did pick up 8.5" of snow late this
week. Not the biggest storm of the season by any means, but for the locals
it was like twisting the knife that had been stuck in their backs. I would
have to say that it is nearly unanimous among the locals that they are sick
of winter and ready for spring. The reactions to the storm this past week
varied from scratching their heads in amazement, drawing the shades and just
pretending it was not happening, to outright denial it was even happening.
By Friday morning (just hours after the storm had gotten its late start),
there was just a few inches on the ground and much of the buzz in public an
on social media was that the "storm had missed us". The only
problem with that thinking was that we were in hour 5 of a 30 hour storm.
Despite its late start, it did end up providing pretty much what was
forecasted by all of us "weather guessers".
My reaction to the snow was not what I had expected. I
have grown tired of it too. Not to the point that it is making me sad or
depressed. Heck, if I were not so busy building the kitchen cabinets, I
would probably be out putting tracks in the snow with my sled. However, it
is just the time of the year when we should be seeing spring like weather up
here and it is not happening and I really do feel for those that do not have
a fondness to the snow at any time of the year. I guess a good comparison to
us snow lovers would be to have 50 and 60 degree temps extend into late
November and early December.
Anyway, as the snow fell and once again painted
everything in a fresh coating of white, I actually fully enjoyed
watching it fall from the sky. It was a very similar feeling to when the
snows fall in mid-season. Not the utter joy of the first flakes of the
season or the first good storm, but yet, the joy and peacefulness of
watching the flakes drift down. I can honestly say I felt no negative
feelings towards the snow that was falling. I did not ask the pups what they
thought, but from the
way they played in it, I would guess they also were enjoying the event.
Of course the new snow and that which slides off the
cabin roof set the date for starting the addition back a few more days, but
at this point it is no longer of great concern to me when we start. The snow
will melt. It is not a question of if, but when. And we have gone past the
time when I will have much hope to get things shelled in before the black
fly season arrives. So I will just have to deal with them when they show up.
Perhaps because of the late arrival of spring, their season will be
I have been pretty busy in the shop and it has been a lot
of fun to be in there working and looking out at all the snow. However, by
late yesterday, the snow slid off the shop roof and covered up the last bit
of view I had. So for the time being, I have more of a basement shop, with no
clear view of the great outdoors.
Anyway, from the looks of the state of the cabinets when
compared to last week, one would not think I have been very busy this week,
but there has been a lot of "figuring out" going on and even some
trial and error work with inexpensive plywood going on to figure out the
exact dimensions, and thus look, to things like the face frames and the door
and draw rails and stiles. I did get all of the "figuring out"
done and have 6 pages
of cut list diagrams to help me make all the drawer bottoms, as well as
the panels for the doors and drawers and cabinet end panels. I sure am glad
to have that program that helps me generate the cutting diagrams. If it were
not for it's help, I would likely be using a lot more sheet goods and at
over $100 for a single 4x8 sheet of cherry ply, it is saving me money too.
I also will be using a considerable amount of solid stock
for the face frames and doors and drawers. Years ago, I bought a bunch of
rough sawn cherry from a local sawmill to have on hand when I build
projects. I love cherry so much that when it comes to building out of solid
stock, I pretty much exclusively use it. If I had an easy source to Douglas
fir I would probably use that too, but we live about 1500 miles east of the
closest source for that.
Today's work involved pulling some
of the rough sawn stock out of the storage racks and staging it for the
dimensioning work. I already had a
few dozen board feet of the cherry s4s (surfaced four sides) and was
able to get all of the rough stock jointed on on edge and flattened on one
face and had to stop planeing it to thickness to do some weather-related
work and write this entry. If I have the energy after dinner, I may go back
out and finish running the rest of the boards through the planer and then
can rip them through the table saw to finish out the milling process.
There is a bit a learning curve left to work with a bit I
have never used to make perfectly mitred corners for the face frames, but
once that process is learned, then I figure I have about 3-4 hours of work
to accomplish the face frames, another 2-3 hours to build the drawers and
2-3 hours to build the drawers. Another 1-2 hours to mount the hardware and
the cabinets will be done! If all goes well, then in around 2 weeks I should
be all done. I know what you are thinking 9-13 hours of work left and you
hope to be done in 2 weeks?! The problem is, I really do not like to just go
out there and work for 20-30 minutes at a time and that is how much of my
free time is working right now. I have my regular job to do and then the
different odds and ends jobs to do (including still having to move snow!)
and this week I have a dentist appointment and have to take the pups to the
vet for their annual "lube, oil and filter". I wish I could just
go out and spend 8-10 hours a day in the shop getting things done, but gotta
pay the bills too!
Perhaps I should just skip taking the pups to the vet and
see if Gracie can squeeze them into her schedule. She spent around an hour
fixing up one of her stuffed toys the other day, in
full veterinarian garb. The operation was a total success and the
patient is expected to live many more happy years.
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Before I
sign off, I will leave you with a final picture, it is of Gracie
enjoying "Bootjack Chicken" at the semi annual chicken BBQ to
benefit the Bootjack Fire and Rescue.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Welcome to April everyone! Looking outside, it would be
very hard to tell it was the 7th of April. A fresh 7" of snow on top of
the nearly 3 feet we had on the ground before that and it looks more like
the middle of winter, except that the spring sun is shining nicely now and
that is helping to soften the winter view outside right now.
Nora, Gracie and I actually busted out of town last
Sunday for a wild and crazy spring break trip to Duluth! Florida is so over
rated, as is the Caribbean or Mexico or any of those tropical places.
Besides, the beaches are full of persons and we had them to ourselves in
Duluth! Plus, we heard that they were filming the next in the series of
girls gone wild in Duluth this spring and sure enough, here is some
of the crazy action caught Sunday evening at one of the local
establishments. Or perhaps what 4 hours in the truck will do to you!
Huck and Millie stayed behind to watch over the place as
well as take care of Nora's cousin that hung out at our place while we were
gone and while we missed them while we were gone, it was nice to be a little
more footloose and fancy free. We stayed at a pretty nice motel (that
actually did allow pets), that had a pool and both Nora and I were able to
be with Grace, rather than one staying back to watch the pups.
The main reason for heading to Duluth was to shop. The
girls too to the craft stores and the clothes stores, while I headed off to
the tool stores. It was a very good thing we brought the truck! Almost
needed to rent a trailer! Actually, it was not that bad, but man-oh-man, I
sure am a tool nut. I ended up at three stores in Duluth, the Northern
Tools, the local Home Depot and then last, but not least Acme
Tools. I am sure I said it before, but as they say in therapy, it's
always good to admit your weakness, so I will say it again. I am a tool
addict. I will say that I do not buy tools that I don't have an immediate
need for and do perform a lot of research into getting the best make/model
for the best price, but it is truly my weakness. The folks at Acme like
seeing me so much, they created a special parking spot just for me. Coincidently,
it is right next to the loading dock! Just looking at that last
picture puts me in a very happy place. I think I will have to make it my
We did not stay long in Duluth. We got there Sunday
afternoon and left Tuesday afternoon, but we accomplished what we set out to
do and despite what I said earlier in this entry, the 4 hour drive is really
not too bad. Gracie travels very well and Nora and I typically switch off
driving, although this trip she drove all the way to Superior and then I
took over to cross the bridge and then I ended up driving all the way home.
It was, as usual, very nice to get back home. Especially
since we had left the pups behind. Nora's cousin has sat for them in the
past and she does an awesome job, taking them for walks and playing with
them, so I know they are leading the good life while we are away, but I am
so used to them being in my life all day long, that it is weird and a little
uncomforting to be away from them.
The schools were on spring break, so Nora had the week
off, so she and Gracie stayed home all week. I was busy playing a bit of
catch up Wednesday and Thursday and then went out to play on Friday
afternoon. Some buddies were up riding and asked if I wanted to hook up with
them, so Friday after work, I headed south to Toivola and met them at the
Mosquito and we headed out from there. The snow is still plenty deep in all
areas up here and in the mornings following cold nights, it is nearly rock
hard. The pups can walk right across it without sinking in and I bet I
probably could too. By Friday afternoon, the temps had warmed enough to soften
the snow a bit, but for the most part it was still "hero
snow", meaning it is firm enough to make a hero out of just about
anyone trying to do what ever they wanted...most of the time. We were taken
to some pretty good play spots by our fearless leader and we all managed to
get stuck more than once. I can blame two of my stucks for not enough track
(took the highcountry), but the rest were because of not enough talent. All
good though, with no sled or rider damage in the entire group and it was fun
to be out in the woods, playing
on the hills. The highcountry went home to Rt12 today, but I will be
picking up the M from the shop tomorrow and I seriously doubt that I am done
for the season. Just way too much snow still on the ground to sit out the
next 2-3 weeks without a ride. It would be really nice to get in one of
those 50 degree day rides when just a light windbreaker and base layer is
needed. I guess we will have to see what time and the weather provide!
As mentioned at the start of this entry. Winter just does
not want to let go this season. After a highly unusual, warm-spring last
year and many of the past several winters also coming to a premature end,
this one is doing all it can to hang on. In fact, we have more snow on the
ground today than we had 10 days ago! Here is a picture of the
front of the cabin from this morning.
This latest batch of snow was very wet and heavy and flocked
the woods in Keweenaw Kamo and while I really am of the mindset that
spring can come and take the snow away so that the locals can keep their
sanity and I can get on with building the addition, I am nowhere close to
being sick of looking at sights like in that last picture and this
one. I was also very happy to look out and see the
wood shed still standing. I did spend most of Thursday afternoon picking
up some materials and then fabricating some
bracing for it, but my track record with wood shed engineering is not
too stellar right now! Most of the snow that fell in the past 24 hours has
melted and slid off of it, so no more concerns for it until the next snow
comes this season, if there is one.
The new snow probably set me back another 3-4 days in the
start date for the addition. For many years (including this one) I have been
holding a contest as to when a large snowdrift just outside of Laurium will
melt (the Laurium Glacier Meltdown Contest), but perhaps this year I should
add another contest as to when I will be able to start building the
addition! They way it looks right now based on both the amount of snow and
the forecast for the next 10 days. I would be surprised if it will be
happening in the next 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. I will help the snow leave once we
get down to the last foot or so, but we still have a
long way to go until we get to that point! Those eaves are around 9 feet
off the ground.
pups did not seem to mind the snow at all. I often wonder if they
realize that the season is hanging around with such vigor this year, or if
they just take one day at a time and deal with what is happening in the
moment. I am guessing the latter, which is the best way to live life if you
ask me! The
neighborhood was very quiet and very beautiful on our morning walk as
Despite the 7" of wet and heavy snow that fell, I
decided not to bother moving it off the driveway. Before the snow, it was
about half down to bare ground and half covered with packed snow and ice.
This was the look of
it this morning. The sun has been out since early afternoon and temps
are in the low 40's, so it is already melting down and most of the days this
week look to rise to above freezing, so between the temps and the vehicle
traffic, it should be plenty worn down by later in the week, if not back to
where we were before this latest round of snow.
Of course I consider this pure coincidence, but Nora
likes to hang decorative flags outside. We have many. Some for specific
holidays and others for the time of the year. For the very early start of
the snow season, we had a "Thanksgiving" type flag flying. Then it
went to a "Christmas" themed one. That one stayed up through the
first of January and when the snows were still failing to fly around here,
she changed the flag out to this
one. The day she changed the flag was January 12th. That evening she
took this picture of
me embracing the arrival of a snow storm and the rest of the snow season
is history...until today. We dug down through the snow to the mounting
bracket (7 feet above the ground) and replaced the snow flag with a spring
one. An hour later the sun came out and temps warmed into the 40's. Well see
how this flag goes with the weather, but one thing is for sure, that snow
flag is getting put out MUCH earlier next snow season! :)
The sun and warmth it gave sure felt good this afternoon.
Nora, Gracie, the Pups and I all sat out in it and soaked up some much
needed, naturally provided Vitamin D. A
few snowball fights even broke out! If you look close enough, you can
see where Grace got hit in the forehead section of her hat. I can't believe
the ball that I packed rock hard even came apart when it hit her! Just
kidding of course. I did not even toss the one that made that mark!
With a taste of spring in the air, the girls picked up
some seeds and got a
few of them going early. They can be started up to 8 weeks ahead of
being put outside, so they should be pretty safe. Although it just seems
hard to believe that there will even be a growing season this year!
Good night from the Keweenaw..