October 27-
    Well, I guess the big news for this entry is that the first snows of the season fell in not just the Northwoods, but much of the northern 1/2 to 2/3rds of the Midwest this past week. We actually did not see too much snow fall or accumulate. The big lake produced most of the snow that did fall, but also caused the air to be too warm for much accumulation up this way. That is pretty typical for the early season stuff. Most areas from around Houghton north will many times even see rains mix in, while snows are accumulating further inland.
    It's kind of a bittersweet thing as I love snow and would love to get it (bitter), but the early season stuff never sticks around anyway, so when it melts, it just makes a big mess (sweet). 
    None the less, it was pretty nice to see the flakes falling again. The first flakes of the season are always a bit magical to me and help to get me excited for true winter to arrive. We did get enough in our neck of the woods for the woods to turn white. The roof of the addition was also christened with the first coating of the season.
    I spend some of my time this week touring the NCN and checking out the snows falling elsewhere. Since I was not able to do any traveling around to take shots of the snow, I saved some of the images from the different NCN cams to share with you all- just in case you did not do your own NCN tour this week. Here is a shot of the Houghton County Airport between Hancock and Calumet. Looks like they got about the same as us here in the greater Mohawk area. A little further south in South Range, the trail cam was showing a solid coating of snow. The cam from Twin Lakes looked to have the same amount of snow on the ground. Someone did post a picture in the discussion board of around 5" of snow on the ground in Painesdale, along with some fresh snowmobile tracks in it! 
    The Lake Gogebic area took part in the snow and even got enough that an attempt at a snowman was made. Heading east a bit, here is a shot from Michigamme. South of there, in the Iron River MI area is the Golden Lakes state park and things were white there as well. Heading back west a bit and just barely crossing the boarder south into WI, the Land O' Lakes area was all nice and snowy. Sticking to the great state of Wisconsin, way out west in Cable, the ground was whitened this week. About the most snow I saw from the Wisconsin NCN cams was from the cam in Winchester. Looked to be around 4-5" there. Of all the actual pictures I saw of this weeks snow, the deepest came in from Mt Arvon in western Baraga county. It is the highest natural point in both the UP and all of MI at 1979 and the picture I saw last night from a smart phone of someone that was there showed around 12" on the ground. THAT really got my blood pumping as it would have easily been enough to take a ride on! I should have had the person e mail me the picture to share with you all, but I was too tired to be thinking that smartly.
    Why was I so tired yesterday evening? Well, the Keweenaw Trails Services had their annual trail work session Friday and Saturday and by the time we finished up yesterday, I was a pretty tired pup. I was pretty worried about the weather conditions for both days. Last year it poured rain for part of the time we were working on Friday and Saturday was very nice. This year, there was the threat for some rain and snow both Friday and Saturday and we did get some spits of snow, or more accurately snow pellets, but no rain and most of the time it was not precipitating, so we all stayed dry.
    When we got started Friday morning, it was pretty crisp. A light coating of snow was on the trail and temps were right around 30. It did not take long for the very light coating of snow to melt off once the sun came up. The pups came along with us on Friday to help out and spent almost the entire day running around in the woods. Here is one of their slower moments during the day. There was actually a squall of snow pellets moving through at the time the picture was taken, but they did not show up in the picture. 
    It has been a pretty woods-free past few months for them as we have been stuck around the house for all of the construction work, but they sure did not forget how to have fun in the woods and I was pretty surprised that they went as hard as they did for most of the day on Friday. Friday evening, we all got home and they collapsed on the bed and did not move the rest of the night.
    My huge thanks goes out to all that came this year. It was a pretty small crew, but enthusiastic and we got quite a bit of brushing done and had a fun time doing it. My big thanks also goes out to Chris and Sue at the Trailside Lodge for hosting the folks that came up to volunteer their labor as well as for a wonderful dinner of BBQ Saturday night.
    Changing subjects, there was work done on the addition this week. The heat was hooked up and turned on in the addition and after one minor adjustment, it is working great. I was able to nearly finish up all of the electrical. I say "nearly" as I still have to wire the master bathroom, but that is just a couple of lights, the fan, some switches and outlets and should not take me more than an hour to do. I also got the outside lighting done, so now we have some floodlights again to illuminate the falling snow. Nora and I also got the flooring done in our master bedroom and hallway to the master bath.
    Exciting things will happen this week, with my big tub to arrive tomorrow and hopefully get hooked up soon after, so I can take a nice long soak. The counter tops were to get installed on Tuesday, but we got a call on Friday saying that the material arrived to the fabricators damaged and so they needed to re-order two slabs and they should arrive in around a week or so. So we are probably around 2 weeks away from the countertops. Nora and I plan to finish up the flooring in the great room and kitchen. I will hang the interior doors and also get the master bath set up once the big tub is moved into place. I also will be heading to Marquette this week to pick up the fireplace. So hopefully it will get installed soon after arriving and then the stone work can get done. That will leave the permanent stair treads/risers, trim work and doors/drawers for the kitchen cabinets for me to do as well as the siding on the dormers and generator hook up, which will be done by contractors, and then we will be done! I really cannot envision what things will be like when they are all done yet. I suppose I have been living in a construction zone 24/7 for around 5 1/2 months straight and am having a hard time putting my head around the idea of things actually being normal! Can't wait though.
    Well, I guess that about covers it for this one. Talk to you all next month!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

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October 20-
    This will be, for sure, a very short one. We just got back into town about 2 hours ago. Finished unpacking, grabbed a bite to eat and then got some prep work done for my work week ahead. It is closing in on my bed time and I really do not have a ton of things to write about. However, I did want to say how much fun it was for me to meet all of you that stopped by the Milwaukee Snowmobile Show Friday and Saturday. I was able to keep my voice, barely, and the hand did not get too sore.
    It really is a treat for me to be able to meet so many of the visitors of this site. Everyone is so genuine and kind, it makes me very happy to be associated with such a great group of people. It also makes all the work worth while when all the appreciation is given to me for keeping up the site. I have absolutely no plans to shut things down for a long time to come, but getting such thanks of appreciation from you all really re-charges the batteries to get going for the upcoming snow season. 
    With that in mind, snows are currently flying across portions of the Northwoods and it looks like we will be seeing our first flakes of the season fly within hours. It sure will be neat to see the flakes start coming down. It is way too early to be thinking about it sticking around and the snow season starting, but those first flakes of the season are always a bit more magical than the rest to follow for the rest of the season.
    Right now the plans are to start up the snowfall forecasts around November 4th or 5th and to get my seasonal outlook out around the same time. Hopefully by then, all of the major addition work will be done and I will have the time to get the site going at full speed again. 
    Speaking of the addition, not much got done this week again. I only had Monday and Tuesday to work and Monday afternoon was spent at the dentist. Fun! That makes 2 weeks now, without any major work being done. I did get some more wiring done and also some plumbing, so there is only a bit of wiring and a bit of plumbing to get done. The main thing to get done is the flooring and if all goes as planned, it will be done this week. I do have the trail work session to organize Fri and Sat, so no working those days, but hopefully Mon-Thur will give us enough time to get the floors in.
    I will also be setting up the registration for the Ride-In in the next week or so. But if you want to be making lodging reservations, the dates are the 31st of Jan and 1st of Feb, with the banquet on Feb 1st at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine where it has been held for the past several years.
    So I guess that about covers it for now. Talk to you all next week!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
October 13-
    Greetings. I should really be outside writing this from my laptop, but too many logistics involved and I am so used to typing on the regular keyboard for my desktop computer, that I tend to make lots of typos using the laptop. So here I am, up in my little cubby hole of an office, with not even a window to look out of when a spectacular autumn day is going on outside. Oh woe is me, can you hear the violins playing? 
    It really is a beautiful day and the colors in our neck of the woods (pardon the pun) are at their peak. So perhaps I will finish up this as fast as possible and then sit on the deck for a while and take it all in.
    Before I get into the meat of this weeks entry and while I still have most of your attentions, I would like to run down the list of announcements. First is that I will once again be at the Milwaukee Snowmobile show this coming Friday and Saturday. I will be hanging out with Anne from Togwotee again, so please stop by and say hi! I know I am looking forward to seeing all those that stop by again! Secondly, the Keweenaw Trails work session will be going on Friday October 25th and Saturday, October 26th. Things will be done a little differently this year. We will be working on the trails in the Mohawk, Gay, Calumet, Lake Linden area, so we will be staging out of the Trailside Lodge in Calumet. They are offering up free lodging to anyone wanting to help out. D's Base Camp in Toivola also is offering up free lodging for workers and might still have some room. We will be meeting at the Trailside lodge around 9-9:30 to get our assignments from the trail boss and then head out. We also will be having a dinner for all the workers at the Trailside Lodge Saturday evening, once all the workers are back in. The third announcement is that I will be setting up the registration for the Ride-In soon. The dates are Jan 31 and Feb 1 and will once again be held at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. I have already been given some great prizes for the event like some Bosch Tools, Harley/Davidson leather jackets and cotton T's. If anyone has anything they would like to donate, please contact me through e mail jd@johndee.com. Fourth on the list is a reminder that the JohnDee Store will be shutting it's doors this December 1st. I plan to carry the stickers in the Keweenaw Kamo store, but do not plan to carry the shirts and hats. 
    Fifth on the list is that with the help of Nora, we created a John Dee Snow Central Facebook page. The main purpose of this page it to serve as an announcement to new/exciting events on this site. I do not plan to put any of the content of this site on Facebook, they have enough traffic going to their site already. However, I was looking for a way to be able to make mass announcements to all the visitors of the site and I thought that by creating the Facebook page, folks could friend it and then be set up to receive announcements from it that will let you know about cool things like the potential for a big storm, new cams, 73" of snow in the past 12 hours at my house...or other announcements, such as my seasonal outlook being put out. Which brings up the 6th item. I do plan to do one, but will not likely get it out before we head down for the MKE show. So look for it the last week of Oct or perhaps the first week of Nov. If you want to check out the Facebook page you can go here. Be sure to friend it and allow announcements from it.
    Well, it's been kind of a bummer of a week. Certainly not weather wise. Today is just the latest in a string of spectacular days. Nice warm temps, beautiful, cobalt blue skies and the colors growing more and more vivid as the week went on. The bummer part is that I came down with a cold that REALLY zapped my strength. Last Sunday I was really worn out, but chalked it up to the 8 hours of making wood. Monday I felt a tiny bit better and did get some work done. I even took the pups for a short morning walk. The first in almost two weeks due to my big toe mishap. I did bring the good camera with me and snapped this shot not long after making the turn off of our driveway onto the road we live on. With still feeling run down and not wanting to overdo it with the toe, we only walked down the road around a quarter mile and turned around. Here is a shot looking down the road back towards our driveway. I fell in love with this road one of the first times I ever drove down it and I am still in love with it. Thankfully, not much has changed on it since I bought the property and we put the homestead on it. Hopefully not much changes in the future, with the exception of a natural gas line installation that would run off a brand new line that is about 100 feet from where that shot was taken!
    The colors on our road and in our woods were not quite at peak on Monday when those shots were taken, but as the week progressed, they moved closer and closer to the peak reached today. Unfortunately, I just got feeling worse and worse. To the point that on Wednesday, we all came home from Calumet at around 4:45 in the afternoon. I went in to lay down and rest for a while and ended up waking up at around 9pm, only to get out of my clothes and get back into bed and sleep the rest of the night. Thursday, I did my morning work and ended up right back in bed for the rest of the morning. I had enough energy to be out of bed Thursday afternoon, but that was it. I did nothing else. 
    Friday was about the same. Spent the morning in bed and the afternoon up, but not doing much. I did manage to go outside with the pups Friday evening and take a few shots of the colors. They were getting close to peak and this is the view that greeted us as we stepped out our front door. Rough huh? Still not taking a step forward, but turning to the left a bit, was just as beautiful. I had such high hopes of taking the annual grand color tour that I was feeling a little bummed about being down and out all week and not having a bunch of color shots to share with you. Then it hit me, perhaps rather than doing some big grand tour of the peninsula to capture the big show, I could just take a short walk in the woods and capture the smaller, but still magnificent, parts of the show. So the first shot I took was of a couple of leaves that had fallen on an old cedar stump. Truth be told, I did move one old brown leaf that was covering the smaller, yellow one in that shot. Otherwise that is the way I found things there. The sun was still up, but was getting low on the horizon and was almost shinning on the leaves from below. Parts of the canopy of the woods were in the shade and others were illuminated in a way as to almost make them appear to be glowing.
    At the time I was taking the shots, Nora and Gracie were off on their own adventure with some friends. So I made sure to bring the pups with me. They were more than happy to tag along with dear old dad as he slowly meandered the woods. We did not go far, but that did not stop them from chasing each other around at full speed. It is something they have done since about day one of joining our family and it is pretty funny to watch. I tried to actually capture some shots of them in action, but they move so quickly that I was not able to get any good ones. After a while, they did slow down enough for me to snap some shots of them enjoying the woods. Here is Huck checking me out while I take a picture of him and here is Millie playing with a big old stick.
    Nora and Gracie also got out in the woods this week. I forget which day, but it was one of those ones when I was laying in bed asleep! Anyway, we have always gotten pictures of Gracie taken for each of her birthdays since she was born. This year Nora wanted to take advantage of the nice camera we now have and went out with Grace to see if she could pull off taking some professional grade shots of Grace for her entry into year 4 on this planet. We all think she was able to pull it off nicely. She took probably 50 of them and I have a handful of my favorites to share with you. I think what I like most about this one is that it is classic Grace. She has a smile like that on her face about 85% of the time- all day, every day. Ok, except for when she is sleeping. This next one is how she spends about 10 % of her time while awake. She loves to laugh and takes great pleasure in making others laugh. This next one I love just because she looks so sweet with that hat on and those big blue peepers looking at me. This one just cracks me up. It was actually a staged pose, but not the first time Nora and I have seen the skin all bunched together above her eyes! I also like it because it was taken in front of Old Granddad. 
    Thankfully I did start to feel a little better by yesterday as Nora took her annual autumn ATV trip with her friends. Every autumn, she and two friends take the ATV's and head north. Sometimes staying in the harbor and other times staying in Lac La Belle. This year it was LLB. Anyway, I was really wondering how I was going to manage taking care of Grace if I was still dealing with the severe fatigue. I woke up yesterday and did a little, but then ended up back in bed for around an hour. I then got up and felt better and as luck would have it, ended up gaining some energy for the rest of the day and today has been a lot better too. Not 100%, but way better than I felt all week.
    It is always hard for me to be sick and have to lay low. I am just not good at doing nothing for too long and it was like salt in the wound this week, with having to lay low and still having lots of work to do. I tried to not let it get to me too much, but by Thursday and Friday was really bummed because I had hoped to be just about done with all the major stuff and was not able to do much at all. I did get some work done Monday and Tuesday and again yesterday and today. Not really the kind that is easily seen, but this picture best illustrates what I worked on this week. I was able to get the great room wired on Monday and Tuesday and then got our bedroom and walk-ins done yesterday and this afternoon I got the upstairs bathroom done. So all that is left to wire is the two upstairs bedrooms and our master bath, as well as some switches for the front lights of the addition. Then all of the electric will be done. I guess we will just have to wait until we get back from the trip south to finish up the flooring in our master and the great room as well as hang the doors and do the trim. Once those things are done, all I need to do is get back into the shop and finish the doors and drawers for the kitchen and we will be done! Looking very forward to it.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
October 6-
    Welcome to October everyone! Hard to believe in just two months, it will already be snowmobile season! No snow here yet, but there sure was a heck of a storm that impacted western SD, especially the Black Hills. Nora has a friend that was headed to WY to do some bird hunting and they ran head on into the storm and were held up in it somewhere in western SD. She sent Nora an e mail message saying they had been stuck in a hotel with no power for 13 hours so far and that was yesterday evening at around 5 pm. Here is a shot of a vehicle buried in the snow in the hotel parking lot out there. I am torn as to if I would actually have wanted that here. The sled is pretty much ready to go, having last been used on the ride May 14th. All of my outdoor work is done as well, so it would not have impacted work on the addition. However, we did do some work outdoors yesterday (more on that in a bit) and it sure would have messed that up. Plus, a storm of that magnitude keeps me pretty busy cleaning up. So I guess the bottom line is, I sure as heck would have had fun riding in almost 4 feet of snow, but it would have also caused it's fair share of problems.
    Back to reality here, first off, I promise no more shots of my nasty toe. Actually though, it is looking pretty good and I would not be surprised if I end up keeping the nail. Grace and I both had a doctors appointment on Monday and I did show the toe to him and he was kind enough to go underneath the nail with a needle and drain things out for me. It did hurt worse on Monday evening and most of Tuesday, but then started to feel better by Wednesday and right now it is getting pretty close to not being an issue at all.
    It was another pretty busy week with the addition, although the doctors visit on Monday and then two board meetings on Tuesday did keep me from doing too much on those days. I did make the railings for the second floor my priority for the week and by Wednesday had it pretty well in the bag. I still need to plug the screw and bolt holes, but that can happen later on down the road. 
    I was also able to take care of the final bit of outside work to be done, which included one piece of window trim on all of the first floor windows and then some small pieces of fascia, as well as some touch up of the stain. So it is very nice to look at the outside of the house and see that all of my work is done. I keep saying "my" work, because the dormers still need to have the siding and trim work done, but that is getting done by the same guys that did the roofing. I sure love how the front doors look, I really wanted to have a warm and welcoming entrance into the addition and to me it looks that way.
    Other projects on the addition included getting some shelving and closet rods put up in Gracies walk-in and then Nora and Grace got busy getting all of her clothes put into it. Here is a happy Grace posing for us. I also got the shelving and closet hangers put up in Nora's walk in and she and a friend put in the flooring on Wednesday, so other than some base trim, her walk-in is all done and is also being filled up with clothes as I type. I guess you can figure out the pecking order in this household by viewing this shot of my walk-in! I think Millie was hunting for rats. Truth be told, Nora offered to help me get the flooring in this afternoon, but I said I wanted to get the journal done and then maybe we could get that done.
    I also need to re-do my prediction I made in last weeks entry as to what would be the final thing done in the addition. I got some good news and bad news with regards to the tub. The good news is that it was shipped on October 1st, the bad news is that Fed-Ex freight got some signals crossed and delivered it to Long Island NY! I was in contact with the tub manufacturer and they will be getting it sent over this way. I am not sure how long it will take to get here, but my guess is that perhaps by the end of this week or beginning of next week, since it only took 1 day for it to get from Florida to NY. I had wanted to actually use a tub manufacturer right here in the Keweenaw up at the airport, but they did not have any that were of the size I was looking for. That would have simplified delivery though!
    So the other bit of work done this week was this. Or should I say resulted in that. I know, the picture was just of our yard, but what you don't see is what counts. That is the two stacks of firewood that sat there until yesterday. Yep, we were able to get all 12 cord cut and stacked in one shot. We did miss Steve and Mark and it did take us about 8 hours to do, but it all got done. We really lucked out with the weather too. When I woke up on Saturday, it was raining steadily. I checked the models and they all said a steady rain would fall all day, with 1-2" falling. We all knew we would "make wood" no matter what, but thankfully, just as we got started, the rain let up and other than a few sprinkles from time to time, it stayed dry. Then as if to point out how fortunate we were, the minute the last log was cut and we were putting the tools away, it started to rain in a steady fashion again and kept up the rest of the evening. Here is a shot of the crew of local boys going at it when we were around half way done. Here is a shot of the wood stacked into the woodshed and here is a shot of the piles of wood to show they go back about as far as the eye can see. And of course, the victory pose.
    Every year that we cut, think about how fun it would be to have three good saws, two going all the time and the third waiting in back up for when the others need to be fueled up and or have their blades sharpened or changed. Then have two runners per cutter, one stacker in the wood shed and one person to get the logs into place to cut for the cutters. I am confident that we could get all 12 cord done by lunch and spend the rest of the day playing on 4 wheelers. Perhaps that can be arranged for next year. Bottom line is, I am a happy camper that the wood is in the shed. We did turn the heat on in the cabin this Friday and the heat will be hooked up and turned on in the addition Tuesday, although it has been nice and warm in there all weekend, even though our temps have been in the 50's with a thick overcast. Hopefully that means it will not need to much heating energy in the winter.
    So I know I promised that once the colors got going, I would take some pictures of them and I am not going back on my promise, but the bottom line is the weather did turn pretty poor for fall color picture taking on Thursday, so I did not make any special trips to take shots. It looks like the weather will be getting better this coming week, so I will be sure to get out and take some shots.
    In any case, the phrase "splashes of color" is often used to describe things and earlier this week, that is exactly the way it looked in our woods. It literally looked like the trees had had some splashes of yellow and orange put on them. Other trees were in full color mode and others had already passed peak and had lost many of their leaves already. Here is a shot taken around 3 hours ago, just before I sat down to start this entry.
    Yesterday, while out getting ready to cut the wood, there was the familiar honking coming from the sky. I have heard it a few times in the past few weeks, it is one of the only vocal signs that the seasons are changing. I hear it both in the autumn and in the late spring. I looked up and snapped this shot of a bunch Canada Geese in transit to warmer digs. Yes, they were flying south. Won't be long folks, won't be long.
Good night from the Keweenaw..


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