December 29-
    Well, this journal will mark the end of an era- so to speak. I am not talking about the year 2013, although that would bode true as well. I am talking about the era of writing the journal from the cramped quarters that has been my office for the past 7 years. Yes, that is the tiny little space that has served as the world headquarters for and Global Weather Monitoring. It's been cozy for sure and in reality, I cannot complain too much. My commute is usually done in sweat pants and a sweat shirt and I never have to fight traffic or battle the weather. Once Nora and Gracie leave for the day, I have my own private bathroom and never have to go out for lunch if I don't want to.
    Yesterday, we moved the bedroom over to it's new digs in the addition, which freed up that room to serve as my office. I spent part of the day today taking down two partition walls that served as closet walls. All it needs is a fresh coat of paint, a chase built around the pex tubing, some new trim and probably even some new carpeting. Tomorrow I plan to do the painting and then I plan to use Tuesday afternoon and all day on Wednesday (have the day off) to move everything down into the new space. I am REALLY looking forward to getting into a bigger space. I will even have an office with a window! Imagine that, a meteorologist with a window in their office! Actually, the plan is to replace that window with a larger one next spring/summer. 
    At any rate, if all goes as planned, this will be the final entry that gets written from the loft. There will be a bit of wiring to do. I need to fish phone lines and network cable into the new space, but that is about as complicated as things will get. The rest will be unhooking computers, monitors, keyboards and printers and moving them down to the new space and re-hooking them back up. I am going to re-use the desktop that I have now, for now, but plan to build some custom office furniture and cabinets in the not too distant future.
    That work that we did yesterday and today was the first real work that I have done on the addition in about 2 weeks. We were out of town from the 21st through the 26th and things were pretty hectic in the week prior to that. In fact, there has not been a whole lot done in the past 3 weeks or so, but I am going to take advantage of the New Years Holiday and Nora being home until the 2nd to get the office moved and then utilize most of my free time to finish up what still needs to be done- mainly the doors and drawers in the Kitchen.
    As mentioned, we headed south to spend Christmas at my moms with my whole family. Folks traveled in from places like Oklahoma, Seattle and Tampa as well as Nora, Gracie, the pups and I from the UP. We really lucked out with the weather, as the day before we headed south, they had a pretty bad ice storm and the day after we arrived they got around 7" of snow. We sure do get spoiled up here with the way the crews take care of moving snow off the roads and even the parking lots and walkways. To get a foot of new snow up here is no big deal and most of the time the roads are clear during the height of the storm and a hour or so after the last flake falls, you would he hard pressed to even know a big storm hit. On Sunday, we went out to do some shopping a few hours after the storm had finished up and I was surprised to see how many roads had not had a plow on them yet. Even a major highway! Not bragging here, just amazed at the difference between the two locales.
    Anyway, Gracie had a blast hanging out with her grandma, uncles, aunt, nieces and nephew. She pretty much went full steam ahead all day and then crashed hard in the evening. The list of activities included, but were not confined to: building a ginger bread train, learning how to play chess (we skipped checkers all together), sledding on the hill at the park next to us (here is one of her uncles showing off just before Millie took him out for showboating) and picking ice cycles to make an ice cycle sculpture. That was all in just the first half of the first day there!
    After being out in the cold, it was time to snuggle up with grandma to warm up- spot the rosy cheeks? Once warm, it was time to do some needle point with grandma. Just a note to uncle Jim and cousin Holly, Nora downloaded a chess game for her iPhone and Gracie was playing it the whole way home. I am not sure what all went down, but I did hear her using terms like the Queens-Gambit, Benoni-Defense and the Stonewall-Attack. Just a heads up the next time you sit down to play her.
    Christmas day was loads of fun for her. All of her relatives gave great presents and she even had Santa follow her down to grandmas and drop off something for her there. The look pretty much says it all. Even the puppies got a nice Christmas treat from Santa, they have been exceptionally good doggies of late.
    The weather for the trip home was also pretty good. We had a tiny bit of light snow around the Portage WI area and then ran into some lake effect snow the final hour of our trip, but none of it was heavy enough to cause any real problems. Once home, we unpacked the truck, slapped a frozen pizza in the oven and then after eating it all up, we moved onto opening presents. Actually, once home, the first thing we did was to go and see what Santa had left under the tree for her up here at our house. The funny thing is, she did not even see it at first, but rather ran right to a present that Nora and I were giving to her that had caught her eye before we left. It actually took a bit of hint dropping for her to look elsewhere and see the three story Barbie Dreamhouse, complete with 2 working elevators, a flushing toilet, door bell, shower and thousands of tiny little pieces. But once she noticed it, nothing else much mattered for quite some time, as she loaded it up with her Barbies and had a blast. 
    We were able to coax her away from the dreamhouse long enough to open up the rest of her presents, which provided another "the look says it all". Gracie also helped me unwrap some of my presents and here I am reading the saying on one of them. For those of you that had a hard time reading what the words were, it said; "It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all of the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." - Anonymous. 
I think my wife knows me pretty well, don't-cha think?
    Other than that, not much else is going on. We had some nice mild temps yesterday. Got all the way to 30 degrees. It sure was nice to be able to only have to load wood into the boiler one time in a 24 hour period. I was fully expecting the snow to slide off the shop roof, but no such luck. Looks like the next warm spell we have, I may need to put a heater in the attic of the shop and help the process along. There is quite a bit of snow up there.
    We are back into the deep freeze. It is 2 degrees as I type and temps are still slowly falling. It has also been snowing since around 10 pm last night. We picked up around a foot and a half of snow while we were gone from the 21st to the 26th and then picked up a fresh 3.5" overnight and another inch or two today. It looks like the snows will keep falling most of this week and there is the potential for a big storm next week. We have officially picked up around 140" of snow here in the Keweenaw as measured by the county road commision. That is nearly 100" more than we had last year to this date. Quite the difference!
    I know that some in the central Midwest are bumming because they finally got enough snow to play in with the storm on the 22nd and then had to watch enough of it melt Fri-Sat to shut things down. The good news is that it looks like snows this Wed-Thur will more than make up for what has been lost in areas like IA, southern MN, WI, MI and northern sections of IL, IN and OH. Not locked in stone just yet, but things are looking very promising.
    So other than reminding you all that registration for the ride-in is open and the event is less than 5 weeks away, I guess that will cover it all for this one and this year. Have a Happy New Year! and see you in 2014!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

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December 22-
    'Twas the night before the night before the night before Christmas! There's a couple of creatures stirring, but hopefully none of them a mouse! Actually, I am hoping that things are pretty quiet at the house right now as we are down south visiting Grandma for Christmas.
    It was another pretty snowy week, but not as rambunctious as the week before. None the less, we are on something like day 32 with at least a trace of snow having fallen and are over 100" for the season. The week ahead looks to be pretty snowy as well. So it's only going to get deeper.
    While I was too busy to do any riding, the trails that I passed by were all in mint condition all week and I can only imagine the fun anyone had riding on them this week. On our way down, there was very good snow all the way to around Mass City and then it did thin out a bit south of there, but still enough to ride, all the way to around Wausau or so. A bit more has fallen and more looks to fall this week, so the masses of snowmobilers will be be able to be spread out for the period between the holidays and it should be pretty excellent riding just about anywhere one chooses to in the Northwoods by later this week.
    With the snows piling up on the roofs as much as it has the ground, I got up onto the wood shed roof this week and cleared the snow off of it. That was the roof that I was most concerned about, as I never got a chance to double up the re-enforcement from the damage done last spring when the snow slid. It is re-enforced enough to hold snow that is sitting on it, but I am not confident in a big snow load sliding off of it and the side sheering force that makes.
    So I climbed up there with shovel in hand and got going on things. There was actually a bit more snow up there than I had thought while looking at things from the ground, so I was glad to have decided to do the clearing. The woodshed roof is about 40 feet long by around 15 feet wide, so it is a bit of a chore to clear it all off, but Mother Nature had actually created a situation that eased the burden of moving the snow. A few weeks ago, we had a storm that gave us a bit of freezing rain. That created a crust that sat about a foot above the surface of the roof, but also allowed me to break off chunks of snow and slide them off the roof, rather than have to lift all of the snow off. 
    As I was doing that, all I could think of is how lucky we are that we do not have avalanche areas up here, or it would have been pretty nasty up here the past week or two, with that crust not holding all the new snow we picked up.
    The other thing that happened this week was the guys came by to put the finishing touches on the dormers. They actually had to start the process by clearing the snow away from them and then it was not the nicest of conditions for them to be working on, but in my defense, I was ready for them to do that work back in September, they were just too busy and then things turned wet in October and snowy in November, so they just decided to wait until enough snow was on the roof to make things easier to walk around on.
    I actually got up on the roof before they showed up for the second day of work and cleared the snow away from the other dormer, as well as from off the foyer roof, most of the addition roof and I was even able to climb around a bit on the steep 12/12 pitch of the cabin roof to clear some of that off. I am having my doubts that those roofs will ever clear themselves, perhaps with a decent warm spell, otherwise they will need to be manually cleared.
    They did finish up the dormers by early afternoon on Thursday and after looking at unfinished dormers for so long, it actually looked a little weird to look at them finished! Just like all the new looks to things with the addition though, we will get used to it and enjoy it!
    I did not to a whole lot on the remaining work to be done. Work was busy, I had to shovel the roofs and also get ready for the trip south and holiday. I do have plans to get on things pretty aggressively once we get back later this week. That is unless we have some epic snows to play in this weekend, then the plans might have to change.
    So as we head into the second half of the month and get ready for Christmas, things sure are beautiful in the Keweenaw. Everywhere you look, the trees are completely and heavily flocked in snow. This is the look out our living room window. Pretty rough huh? It has sure been a winter to remember so far. I have no idea what the rest will be like, but have a feeling that the rest will also be one to remember. With that said...
Good night from the Keweenaw..

Merry Christmas from the Dee Family to You!

December 15-
    Well, not much to talk about. No new snow and pretty dull around here. NOT! Holy Wha! With the exception of the bitter cold in the past week to ten days, I would rate this winter as a perfect 10 so far. My idea of a perfect winter is to have a fairly mild autumn, then around the middle of November, have it get cold to start freezing things up and a bit of snow to whiten the ground. Then as we work through Nov into Dec, let it dump. And dump it has. Since I last wrote a week ago, we have picked up 37.5" of new snow. For the first 14 days of the month, we have picked up 62" of snow and for the season we have picked up 79" of snow. That does not even include the 3-4" that have fallen since this morning, when I last took measurements. Dat's a lotta snow maun!
    Needless to say, much effort has been made to keep the driveway and parking lot clear and the road crews have also been doing an awesome job. On Tuesday, we had a small scale Bayfield Bomber hit. For those of you new to this term, it is when winds are mainly out of the west and all other conditions for lake effect snow are good and the Bayfield Peninsula off to the west of us causes a convergence of the winds. That convergence of winds at the surface helps to cause lift and thus enhances the clouds and LES production. They are fairly rare, but so far this winter, we have had 3-4 of them impact different areas of the Keweenaw from around Painesdale north. Here is a satellite image from this past Tuesday as my neck of the woods sat under the bomber. Look for the solid band of clouds that extends from the central Keweenaw west to the Bayfield Peninsula. 
    Snowfall rates within this band of heavier snow were around 2 1/2-3" per hour. Here is a shot of the front of the house during the period of heavy snow. Here is a shot of Huck after being out in the snow for less than 60 seconds and here is a shot of Huck and Millie enjoying the snowfall. They sure do take after their daddy! 
    We did brave going to town to make a bank and post office run. Here is a shot of highway 41 in downtown Mohawk during the bomber. Here is a shot of a side street near the post office. Visibilities were down to a few hundred feet and the was not much wind under the main banding, although winds on either side of the main band were blowing pretty good.
    The main band of heavy snow was only around 20-30 miles wide and sat over us for just a few hours before breaking up. We did pick up around 7-8" in those few hours and had a 24 hour total of 14.4" Tuesday. Skies from around Houghton south were clear while we were getting hit so hard.
    So it was not a full blown Bayfield Bomber. The biggest one I have ever seen happen actually happened before I even moved here. It was about 40-50 miles wide and extended from just north of Houghton to just past the tip of the peninsula. It lasted for nearly 12 hours and while I was not here yet (moved up around 5 months later), I did talk to some locales that remember working in Houghton and having only a few inches fall, only to return home to find that around 3 feet of new snow had fallen while they were gone to work. So needless to say, I like Bayfield Bombers! Although they do only impact a very small part of the UP snow belts, so that is the only down side (I do like it when other get hammered too!).
    Yesterday was the only day in the past 7 that I did not HAVE to move snow. There was an inch or two that could have been moved, but truth be told, I really needed a break! As much fun as it is to get nearly 40" of snow in a weeks time, it also is a lot of work to move it around. I do have plans to make that job easier starting next season, even toyed around with the idea of getting this puppy for this season, but would rather get through the final build stages, get the mortgage set in place and some bills paid. The bucket on the front is a quick connect/disconnect and I would also get a PTO driven snow blower for the front. The solid cab would also be a must. Stay nice and warm and not have the snow blow back in my face anymore! Something to dream about for next year.
    Anyway, the snow has really been piling up. Not just on the ground, but on everything. There has also been enough wind to create some nice drifting. Here is a shot of a corner of the house and here is the side of the second floor roof. The shop looks like it was frosted with a thick coating of whipped cream and the house is sure looking like something you would see on the front of a post card. I went riding yesterday (more on that in a bit) and was too lazy to put the sled back into the shop. Now I have to brush off the 7-8" of snow off of it first, then can back it off the truck and put it into the shop.
   The snow ghosts are appearing all over the place and the powder hounds have been having lots of fun too. Even the back of my truck needed a good shoveling out so that I could load the sled into it. So winter is here in full fashion and it is looking like this will be the kind of year that makes us earn our reputation as the snowiest place in the US east of the Rockies.
    As mentioned, I did get out for a ride yesterday, but also Friday afternoon. Here is a shot of the gang gathering at our place to head out Friday afternoon. If it looked cold in that shot, it was. Only around 5 degrees and it did not warm from that level at all. As I pulled the sled out of the shop, it occurred to me that this was the first time that it actually would be touching the snow. The odometer read 0.0 miles. I guess the boys from Rt 12 did not want to take it for a joy ride on the grass before they delivered it! :)
    All the fresh snow, cold temps and steady grooming have allowed the trails to be put into awesome shape. All week I have been looking at freshly groomed trails. Usually this means that the groomer just went by, but things were so quiet up here this week, it could have been the case where the groomer went through hours ago. 
    Usually we have the "perfect storm" of events happen to really make it a challenge to keep our trails in great shape early in the season. We are usually one of the few places early in the season with enough snow to ride on. Plus, many times, the riders come before the base can really be locked in, so we are just trying to keep things in shape, rather than get them set before the riders arrive. Then sometimes mother nature does not cooperate, with much new snow or perhaps even a thaw that can take it's toll on the trails. Not this year. Tons of snow, almost no traffic and very cold temps have allowed our trails to be set up in mint condition and we got to experience that on Friday. That was a shot of the trail just south of Mohawk and here is a shot of the trail just north of Mohawk. We did encounter some traffic the further north we went, but nothing too crazy and the trails were as flat as pool tables all the time we rode. Even did a little sight seeing, although it was so cold, you did not want to stop and sit around and do nothing outside for too long!
    Yesterday, I traveled south of the bridge to ride with the gang. We took off from Twin Lakes and spent the day in the bush. The snows were deep there too and the woods were in full Keweenaw Camo. This was pretty much the scene we were treated to all day yesterday. It was a little warmer yesterday, which made the rest breaks a little nicer too. It was a fantastic first two rides of the season. Nothing broke, nothing bent, just a little chilled. This season is off to a great start and it looks like we will have some of the best conditions for the holiday period we have had in many years. I know that areas like the WI Northwoods need just a few inches of snow to take them from marginal to good and it looks like they will also be getting it in time for the holiday period. So this looks like the year to head north during the holidays... for a change!
    The work on the addition slowed to a crawl this week. A combination of moving snow 2-3 hours a day, the website getting very busy and me playing Friday afternoon and all day Saturday kept me from doing too much. I did manage to get the bar top done, as well as the rest of the stone backsplash above the hood. I think there were a few other small things, but to tell you the honest truth, I cannot even remember what they were! Funny to think I actually had ideas that I would get it all done by Thanksgiving! It is amazing how much time the small stuff is taking. Although I am still in the take my time and enjoy it mode of work and plan to stay there until things are done. I am not too sure how much will get done this week, as there will be snow to move, and holiday preparation to do as well. There really is not much more left to do and if I can get a 4-5 day window where I can dedicate 4-5 hours a day to get things done, I should be able to finish things up. I have a feeling that it will be more of a case of a few hours here and a few hours there and probably finish up in January sometime.
    The girls have been busy too. I don't know how many dozens of cookies they have baked in the past few days, but there are tins and tins (and tons and tons) of cookies sitting on the counter. Grace is really taking to the baking well. She sure does love helping Nora and is getting pretty good at knowing what to do and even the terms. I have heard things like "ramekin", "water bath" and "flowering the surface" used in the past day or two. She even has the baker look down.

December 8-
    Whew, what a week! Full of snow, progress on the addition and even some Christmas activities. On Monday (seems more like a month ago!), Tyler and Nate came to help me finish up the stonework on the fireplace. We had a good system going, with both of them up on the staging, taking measurements and fitting the stone, then handing the stone to me to get cut. They really had me hopping! It seemed like every time I came back with one stone, another was being handed to be to be cut. We made good time and by mid-afternoon, we had all the rest of the fireplace chase covered up and everything all cleaned up as well.
    It did not take Nora and I long to be putting the living room back together, as we both really loved how it was set up. I did have some trim work to finish up in the area, but I think by around Wednesday, we were putting things back in place. I spent the rest of the week finishing up all the rest of the trim. So, other than a few pieces here and there that will go up once the last bit of drywall is put up and finished, all of the trim work is done.
    Yesterday afternoon, Nora and I hung the TV over the fireplace and so the living room is pretty much set up. The wires in that last picture from the TV will be going into a chase that sits behind the TV and travels down through the chase for the fireplace, so they will not be seen. We just need a longer HDMI cable and an extension cord for the power cord. I was planning on building a pretty simple mantel for the fireplace, but after getting the TV up and in place, both Nora and I think it would be better not to. I do plan to build a simple cross out of cherry and hang it above the TV, probably around 2/3rds of the way to the top.
    I plan to get into this weeks weather in detail in a bit, but can say that it was bad enough up here on on Thursday that school was cancelled. Actually, at the time the decision was being made, things were not too bad. We had picked up around 7" of snow on Wednesday, then it changed to sleet and freezing rain for a bit, but was only snowing very lightly in the early morning. The forecast did call for lake snows to intensify and for the strong winds that were blowing at the time to continue all day, so things looked go go down hill.
    The forecast verified and then some. We only picked up a few inches of snow up this way, but Houghton and Hancock picked up around 8-10" of fresh lake effect snow during the day on Thursday and there were some spots that reported even more. The winds were probably as bad as the falling snow though. We had gusts to 40-50 mph pretty much all day. Nora went to go to the post office in the afternoon. It is probably less than a 10 minute round trip. After 15-20 minutes she returned and said that she did not even make it to town! She said it was snowing and blowing so hard, that she could barely see past the front of her car. So she found a safe spot to turn around and came home. I do know that when she took that trip, we were experiencing some very heavy snows. Probably a few inches/hr. It did not keep up like that for too long, probably around 20 minutes and we picked up an inch or to in just that short burst.
    With schools closed and it snowing and blowing so hard, the girls thought it would be  good day to stay in and decorate the house for Christmas. So while I worked on my regular work as well as the trim work, the two of them broke out the tree and other decorations and got to putting them up. We really have not picked up many new Christmas decorations, so even though the place was pretty well decked out before the addition, things look a little thin right now. Although we all love the decorations, so I am sure we will be picking up some more soon and maybe even loading up with after Christmas sales stuff. I know one thing we are looking to get is a bigger tree. We go with artificial and the one we have had for years is a nice one, but only around 6-7 feet tall. It fit very well in Lake Linden and in the cabin, but now looks puny in the addition, so the plan is to get a 9 footer on sale this year for use next year and many years to come.
    Friday was a 2 hour delay for the schools up here, so the pups and I did have the place to ourselves for most of the day. I finished up with the trim work on the second floor and then on Saturday we went into Calumet to pick up some baking goods and to see Santa. Gracie was a little, no a lot, timid and we were not even sure that she was going to go up to him to give him her note and say hi, but we were able to coax her up and she gave him her note and also whispered in his ear what she wanted from him this year. So cute and so unusual to see her being timid!
    Yesterday afternoon I got to putting in the under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. I though the kits I got were to be hard-wired into the electrical system, but they actually came with plugs that also served as transformers. One might think that would have made things easier, but I had already pre-wired a circuit with a switch to control all of them, so I needed to add some boxes and outlets on that circuit. So it took a little longer and thus I was not able to get going on the backsplash as I had intended, but I did get going on the backsplash first thing this morning and was able to get most of it done by the late afternoon. I say most of it, because initially I had thought I would just stop when I reached the underside of the hood, but then when I stepped back and saw the area above the hood without the rock, I immediately knew it would need rock too. So that will be tomorrows project! So I guess getting back into the wood shop to finish off the cabinet doors/drawers will have to wait another day. But other than those two things as well as attaching the butcher block where we still have some OSB on the countertops, all that is left to do is the doors/drawers for the cabinets. It's almost hard to believe!
    After coming home with the supplies, the girls got busy making some Christmas treats. Gracie has really taken to helping out Nora in the kitchen and it is really neat to see the two of them working together. I think it is really one of Nora's dreams come true for Gracie to be helping out in the kitchen, as I know she holds some very fond memories of her helping out in the kitchen as well. I like the end result! :)
    So as mentioned, we have picked up quite a bit of snow. All told, since Monday, we have picked up 24 1/2" of snow and as of this mornings measurement, we had 19" on the ground.  It has also been snowing nearly non-stop since Monday as well. It did snow non-stop from Wednesday morning through around 10 am this morning and it just started to snow lightly again about 30 minutes ago.
    The snow clearing on Thursday was pretty rough going. Not only was it the first clearing of the season (always some surprised with that), but the snow that fell on Wednesday was a pretty wet and heavy type, then we had the sleet and freezing rain and then a sharp drop in temps early Thursday. We went from a temp of 34 at 1 am Thursday to around 15 degrees by 10 am. So there was about a 2" thick, hard crust on top of the 7"+ of snow to clear. Plus, the stuff below the crust was actually still wet, so that made things even more interesting and to add more fun to the equation, the winds were blowing at 35 mph and gusting to 45-50 mph.  Oh, and I had forgotten to give the old trusty Ariens a pre-season check, so the drive system was a little lose and it would not work in reverse or 1st gear and would jump in and out of second. All told, it took me around 2 hours to clear the snow on Thursday morning, when it should normally have taken me around 30-40 minutes. I have since adjusted the drive system and she works like a dream now! Here is a shot of me having fun Thursday morning.
    The pups have been loving all the snow. It is so fun to watch them get all excited and chase each other around. One would swear that they have some of my DNA in them! Even with the cold temps, as I clear snow, they either play with each other, or just lay on the driveway and watch me work. They sure are built for winter. Here is a shot of them the other morning before we went on our walk. Here is a shot of one of the snowy roads we walked on the other day. It sure looks and feels more like early January out there, rather than early December. I think a lot of the locals (me included) have forgotten what a real start to winter is like around here. The past few starts to winter have been so mild. I will add that the past 2-3 weeks have been unusually cold and the past 10 days or so unusually snowy, but still, a lot more like it should be than the past few starts to winter. 
    The forecast looks to hold more where this came from. As mentioned, we are getting a bit of light system snow right now that will continue overnight. Then tomorrow, probably the second half, the combination of some favorable upper air conditions and a wind that looks to be out of just the right direction looks to produce a band of heavy lake effect snow that currently looks to impact areas from around Houghton or Calumet north and continue into the night. If things pan out just right, it could mean a lot of snow for us in a short period of time. Although the heavy band it likely to let up by Tuesday morning, the LES looks to continue through Thursday at least. So we will be well on our way to a very snowy December and there is no thaw seen through the 23rd of December at this point. There is also some system snow seen from time to time for much of the Northern Midwest, so this may be a holiday period to remember for snow-play across the Northwoods of the Midwest.
    I guess I am running out of time for tonight. I got a late start and woke up at around 3 am this morning and could not get back to sleep, so I am starting to fade. However, I do have one important announcement. If you did not catch the note on the main page, the registration for the Ride-In is now open. It was late this year, but still plenty of time to make your plans. I know I am already looking forward to the event and have not even put a single mile on my sled yet. Plenty of snow for me to ride in, just too busy and too cold! Next weekend for sure!!!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

December 1-
    Bon Hiver! Bon Hiver! I am not sure how long it has been since I used that phrase, but probably a while. Translated it means "Good Winter". I guess I have a little French Canadian in me somewhere. 
    Winter arrived for much of the UP (and Northwoods) this week. First in the form of some system snow that fell early in the week with a cold front and then LES belts got hit the middle of the week. Strangely enough, we here in the suburbs of Mohawk did not see as much as some others. It seems even the banana belt of Jacobsville did better than us with the LES earlier in the week. The two hot spots for snow were the Twin Lakes area that picked up around a foot of snow Tuesday night and Wednesday and then the far northern tip of the Keweenaw, where Copper Harbor picked up around a foot and Lac La Belle around 8" on Thanksgiving. I was hoping either of the snow events that occurred this week would hit us good, but no such luck. I am not too worried about things as the differences in LES distribution seem to even out as we head through the season. 
    I did not have a lot of high hopes for the stuff earlier in the week, as it was a NW flow event and good old Isle Royal can really mess up the banding for us with that direction of wind. Not always, but it seems like the early season stuff is impacted more for some reason. The island actually causes the low level winds to split around it a bit and thus the air is diverged as it gets past the island and that is the exact opposite of what one wants when trying to produce heavy LES. The opposite occurs for areas like Twin Lakes. Where the air is being pushed around the island, it converges with the air that is not impacted by the island and that causes convergence to occur. That converging air helps the air to rise and thus can enhance the LES. 
    The band that hit the tip of the Keweenaw Thanksgiving Day was also due to converging winds, but not because of a landmass, but just because of the way the winds were set up across the lake. The models actually picked up on this a few days in advance and also indicated it would would hold together and slam us too, but that was not to be the case. Such is life in the land of lake effect snow. An area 20 miles away can get nailed and you see sun. We did get some snow (more on that in a bit) from that banding and I also was thankful in a way it did not hit us hard(more on that in a bit too).
    I do often wonder how much more snow we would get up this way if Isle Royal was not there. At times of frustration, I have wanted to assemble a team of people with pickaxes to head up there and take the island out. Of course that would be an impossible feat and though I have never been there to witness its beauty first hand, I know enough about it that it would be a tragic loss of beauty. For what it is worth, I figure we would get around an additional 40" of snow a season if it were not for Isle Royals detrimental effect on LES production for the Keweenaw in a NW flow regieme. 
    I also wonder how much snow the Huron Mountains would get if the Keweenaw were not here. I know with little doubt that if the Keweenaw were not here, I would most likely be living in the Hurons! I speculate that if there were no land from say Baraga to around Ironwood and all other things being equal, then the higher terrain of eastern Baraga and western Marquette would probably see over 400" a year on average, maybe close to 500". Give them a WNW wind with good LES conditions and they would get pummeled due to the change in elevation. With no land to the west of them, they would also get it good with a west or NW or even a bit of a WSW wind. As it is now, a NNE wind hits them the best. They also do very well during a system snow event- due to the elevation changes.
    So can you tell I have snow on the brain? Well, it is December 1st. Time to be able to get out and ride if we have enough snow. If I were desperate enough, I could have gone as we have around 5-6" on the ground, but I am not at that point. Plus, the forecast is looking better and better for some decent snows in the coming week. Still some pretty big question marks for both the system snow later Tue into Wed and then the LES for the Thur-Sat time frame, but the potential is there for as little as 2-4" or as much as 8-12" of system snow and then as little as 2-4" or as much as 1-2 feet+ of LES by the end of the week. So yea, I have snow on the brain!
    Earlier in the week, my feelings on snow were more bittersweet. Bitter in the sense that I still have work to be done and really need to get it done before I start playing too hard. Sweet, because...well, you know me and snow! At this point, I am close enough to being done that I say: bring it on! Especially if the bulk were to hold off until later in the week!
    In the construction department, we did make some decent progress. On Monday, we had three of us working on the stone for the fireplace. I did the cutting and then handed up the pieces to Tyler and Nate, who were up on staging to fit and then attach the rock after I cut it. We did manage to basically use up all the stone we had by the end of the day on Monday. There were a few small pieces left, but not enough to justify mixing up a new batch of mortar. So we cleaned up and called it quits. 
    We made it around 3/4's of the way up and with the holiday on Thursday and us hosting some family for the holiday, we just decided to call it quits for the week. More stone was cut at the supplier on Tuesday and the local distributor I get it through drove to get it on Wednesday. I then picked it up on Friday and Nora and I brought it into the house to warm up this morning. So we are all set to have Ty and Nate return tomorrow to work with me to finish things up. 
    I did work on the trim work the rest of this week and was able to get all the doors and windows done on the first floor, as well as all of the doors for the second floor and also got most of the pieces made for the second floor windows. I was able to get all of the base molding done and some of the wall and ceiling trim on the first floor done, so I figure once we finish up with the stone work tomorrow, I should be able to finish the trim work by around Wednesday. Then get onto the kitchen to finish things off. With a little luck, by the end of the weekend of the 9th/10th, I should be sticking a fork in things. But, that is not a deadline! Just a casual hope.
    With some of Nora's family coming for Thanksgiving, we did temporarily set things up in the living room close to how they will be when we are all done. I say close because the TV will actually hang from the fireplace and the furniture will be slightly different, but things will be very close to how they are in that pic. We have already returned things back to "construction mode", with the furniture cleared out and staging/drop cloths set up.
    It was also very nice to be preparing a nice big Thanksgiving meal in a much larger kitchen than we had. I guess I should really say it was nice for Nora, as she did around 90% of the cooking, but I helped where I could! It used to get a little sketchy at times with the previous setup. Especially at the moment when everything comes out of the oven to cool a bit before being eaten and the turkey is being carved up. The countertop space was pretty limited! Not so anymore. In fact, we were able to use some of the island countertop as the staging for the food. One of the things I enjoyed the most with the new kitchen is the dual dishwashers we have. Just kidding! That was the pups enjoying their dinner with a few pieces of turkey mixed in. We do have a dishwasher as a result of the kitchen remodel, but just one...and it did make clean up much easier.
    In the last journal, I forgot to mention that our issues with the countertops were resolved very nicely. A representative from the company came up on the 19th and was able to fix everything that was wrong. Nora and I were very surprised that he was able to fix everything and in such short time and were also very, very happy with the results. I can also add that the person that came up said his brother in-law was a fan of the site. Small world!
    As mentioned, it was a very snowy Thanksgiving for areas near the tip of the Keweenaw and I anxiously flipped from web cams to satellite imagery to radar imagery to look for any signs of the band of heavy snow to start moving south as indicated by the models. We did get into the banding, but by then it had weakened considerably and we only picked up around an inch. Here was what things looked like at around 1:15 and here was an hour later.
    A tradition that goes back a long way was broke on Friday. For as long as I can remember, it has always been a tradition to put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. The thought and temptation was there this year, but with the construction work left to do to make some dust, we thought it would be best to just wait. So hopefully by Tue or Wed, we can be putting the tree up. A few years back, Nora had picked up a small 3 foot tree that she thought she might setup out side. We never did, but did keep the tradition kind of alive when Nora and Gracie put that smaller tree up in Gracie's bedroom. They both had a ball decorating it and here is the proud little girl standing in front of her tree. She is very excited for Santa to leave some presents under it too.
    So while the snows have not gotten too deep up this way just yet, it still has felt very much like winter around here. We had some pretty cold temps in the past week to ten days and the plows have been out running and clearing the snows that do fall. The woods have been kind of off limits to the pups and I for the past 2 weeks, but this morning we trounced through the 5-6" of snow on the ground for our morning walk. At the groomer barn, a few of the machines we use to groom the trails up this way are sitting, all ready to go. I would suspect that if we get the middle to high end of the snow totals we are suppose to get this week that they will be running by the end of the week!
    I even dug out the poor old ATV from it's coating of snow yesterday. Show you how busy I have been all summer. I never even took the plow off of it from last season! Plus, it normally gets stored in the shop. The battery was going on it last year, so I had to replace that. Plus, despite the fact that I did use it this August to help spread a load of rock around on the driveway, it was very stubborn to start. I did finally get it started and ran it for a bit. 
    Earlier in the build season when we were digging the footings for the posts for the foyer roof, they hit a drain tile that we had put in last Autumn as part of the work for the foundation and retaining wall. So Wednesday evening, the contractor stopped by with a mini-excavator and dug a trench to put the drainage tile back in. I was hoping to use the ATV and plow to put the dirt back in and it helped a bit, but things froze up pretty good and I had to break up much of the dirt with a spud bar and then push it into the trench with the plow. At any rate, I think I got the engine all loosened up again and she is now sitting all nice and cozy in the shop, ready for duty when duty calls.
    So I guess that about covers it for this one. With a little luck, I might have some snow-play shot for you next week!
Good night from the Keweenaw..


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