Many areas claim to be the source
region of the saying: "If you don't like the weather, wait a
minute". I do not know where the first time that phrase was used, but I
do know that there are a plethora of locations around the world where it
rings true and the Keweenaw is certainly no exception. However, when it
comes to having both the worst summer weather and the best summer weather, I
think that the Keweenaw would vie for both of those distinctions. When
our weather in the summer gets ugly, it can get really ugly. Try upper 40's,
battleship gray skies, stiff east winds and a steady rain on for size. Then
wait just a few days and we are sporting cobalt blue skies, temps in the
70's, comfortable humidity levels and a gentle breeze.
Such has been the case this summer. We have had more than
our fair share of temps in the 40's with clouds, rain and strong east winds.
The temps in the 40's are courtesy of the east winds and the effect the lake
has on the air temps. We have also had days in the 70's, with sunshine and
comfortable humidity, although most locals would admit that we have not had
enough of those picture perfect summer days so far. So far...
The pattern does look to be changing and the presence of
the east winds does not look to be as prevalent as it has been for the past
2 months. We even had our first legitimate hot and humid day yesterday, with
a high of 87 and dewpoints in the upper 60's to low 70's. It did not come as
much of a surprise though and we were prepared with air conditioners put in
place. We really did not need then until later in the day and even at that,
just one window unit in an upstairs window of the "cabin"
was all we needed to keep things comfortable until it was time to sleep,
then I did run a portable unit that vents through the window in the bedroom,
although it did not need to be on the cooling cycle for too long.
I realize that it was just a 1-2 day spell of warm/hot
and humid air, as Friday saw low 80's and dew points in the mid 60's, but
the addition never really "heated up" that much. So I am glad that
we went the extra mile to use the spray foam insulation, as well as getting
rid of all the windows and doors on the west wall. Both of them look to have
reduced our need for AC to almost nothing. Today is cooler and the humidity
is dropping, so it looks like we will be free from the need for AC for most
of this week.
So that was the weather report. As for the bugs... it is
a mixed signal. The blackflys have been gone for a few weeks now. The
mosquitos were dropping off until rains last weekend and some showers this
week, then a whole new crop was born. Perhaps not as bad as the initial
round, but still worse than is typical. I have just recently gotten wind of
what I think are the "ankle biters" at some of the beaches. If
true, then they would be about 2 weeks late and also if true, then take my
word, do not go to the beaches! The good news is that the ankle biters only
last for around 2 weeks. I have also experienced a few horse and deer flies,
but nothing too bad, at least not yet.
In regular every day life, when I last left off, I was
talking about how the pool was up, but because of the weather was too cold
to swim in. Well, about 10 minutes after finishing that entry, Gracie asked
if she could go swimming. Nora and I both said yes, but that the water was
going to be cold. Of course we were saying this to a girl that was swimming
in Lake Superior while ice chunks could still be seen floating off shore, so
I guess all things are relative.
Anyway, we pulled the cover off the pool. I checked the
temp and it was around 63. Far too cold for this old dog, but not so for
Gracie. She was excited
to try out her new mermaid fins. I am sure it is the case with loads of
little girls, but she is very fascinated by mermaids and likes to pretend
she is one. So in she went. A few quick breaths as she first hit the water,
but then was swimming
around like it was bath water.
I got the heater going Wednesday morning and by Thursday
afternoon the water temp was 80-81, within the realm of when I will go in.
So Nora, Gracie and I went for our first swim as a family, although I think
both Nora and I only went in as far as was needed to stand in the pool. By
Friday the temp was around 86-87 and peaked out at 94 during the heat of the
day yesterday. Even with the heater off since yesterday afternoon, the pool
temp was 88 today. So since Friday, we have been spending a lot of time in
the pool. Every time the raft I was floating on would drift around and point
me in the direction of the addition, I would think of the crazy, crazy
summer of work I had last year. I sure do like this summer better!
We also took a walk in the woods this week. It was on a
trail that I have never been on and I don't know if it was the excitement of
being on a trail I have never been on, or how beautiful and unique some of
the features were on it, or both, but I really enjoyed the walk. There were
a few bugs, but it was not too bad.
The trail started out as most do, just a
worn path through the trees. Then we encountered a
little creek meandering through the woods that added an element of
tranquility. The next element was a
small pond and some landscaping features like a stone walkway and small
footbridge. We opted to take the trail that brought us to the "Jacobs
Creek Gorge". I had never heard of this feature and was thinking it was
probably not a very big gorge, but was still very interested to discover it.
I must say that it
started out fairly timidly, but in a short distance grew to be probably
50-70 feet deep and 150-200 feet across.
The footpath appeared to lead all the way down to where
the creek crosses Hwy 26 near the Jampot, but it was also a pretty steep
descent and the thought of having to chug all the way back up to make the
return trip to get back did not seem all that intriguing at the moment, so
we decided to turn around and head back to the trail head. All in all, it
was a beautiful little hike in the woods, and sometime when we have more
time and energy, we will follow the footpath all the way down to the
highway. Perhaps even start there, so the return trip will be all down hill.
So that just about covers it for this one. This week will
be the preparation for the 4th of July holiday weekend. There will be a bike
to decorate and then fireworks down in Lake Linden on the 3rd to attend and
then the bike parade and games in Mohawk on the 4th. Then hopefully some
more floating in the pool. I hear that the strawberry crop is getting close
to being ripe and I have seen a few wild strawberries that were close to
ripe for picking. Then it will be the blueberry and raspberries time,
followed by the blackberry. We do have quite a healthy crop of thimbleberries
in the making, but I am not much of a fan of them.
So fun times in the Keweenaw, a little sad to think that
in around 2 months, summer will be singing its swan song. Of course if we
have a bunch more hot/humid days like yesterday, then perhaps not so sad!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly
So I am back... Can
you tell anything different in this entry? Ha, ha, I doubt it, but
this is the first journal- since moving up from Lake Linden, that has been
written on high speed internet via cable. Yep, the install at the road was
completed last week and then the connection between the road and our house
was done today. It is probably going to take me a few days to get used to
the idea that I do not have to worry about how much bandwidth I use. It has
basically been ingrained in my browsing habits for the past 7 1/2 years.
Although I must say that one of the first things I did was make a desktop
icon to a streaming radio station that I like to listen to. It is out of
Thunder Bay and I can even pick it up in my truck on the regular radio when
I am in the higher terrain up here.
I also already love the new speeds. It has only been
hooked up for around 2 hours, but some of the sites I go to get satellite
and model info are so fast, it seems like they were not even downloaded. I
have a business account with the internet, so we pay a bit more, but have
speeds of 60Mbs, which is about twice the average cable speed and around 10
times faster than I had with the cell service.
So, you all will not likely notice much of a difference,
other than the AL Cam and Woods Cam will now be updating every 60 seconds. I
still need to fix the network connection to the shop to get the woods cam
going, but might even do that this evening. I might even see about another
cam for up here if I can think of a good, yet not invasive location.
It was a shortened, but still busy week last week, as we
got back home on Monday evening. Got unpacked and did a little catch-up. On
Tuesday, I did some more catch up and then got ready to put the pool up.
This will be the final year with this above ground pool we have. It has
served its purpose well, but as Gracie gets older, I know she is going to
want something bigger. I wish we could justify putting in a nice in-ground
pool, but the reality of it is, without spending a fortune heating the pool,
we only get around 3 months of use up this way. I suppose if we ever win the
lottery, then we will put in a nice in-ground with some kind of an enclosure
that can be rolled over for inclement or cold weather and then rolled back
to expose the pool to the nice summer weather.
Anyway, there are three trees that were blocking some of
the mid-afternoon sunshine from the current setup and will be in the way
with the future pool set up, so I came up with the idea to remove them
before I put up the pool for this year. I got clearance from management,
fired up the Still and also brought Big Red in to help. I suppose I did not
really need to use BR for all we did, but it really did help out with things
a bunch and turned some nasty work into work that was almost fun. Its first
task was to apply
pressure on one side of the tree to help the tree fall in the direction
I chose. I am pretty good at notching and felling a tree, I have yet to have
one go where I did not want it to, but a little extra insurance is nice! All
three went right where I wanted to and in the course of around 10 minutes, they
were all down and Millie was ready to get any squirrel that had been
taunting her and then running up them. No such luck for Mills.
The next step was to de-limb them and cut them into manageable
pieces for the wood boiler. This was the second part where Big Red came in
handy. We loaded up
the bucket and then drove
the logs over to the boiler and dumped them. The final step was to take
all the tops that we (Nora mostly) had put into piles and load them into the
back of the truck to be hauled over to a spot I have for brush. So I swapped
out the bucket for the forks and used them to
lift the tops into the back of the truck. That was probably the sweetest
part of the whole operation. We had two big brush piles. The first one was
completely picked up and unloaded with one scoop of the forks. The second
pile was almost completely picked up by the forks, but a few branches were
left behind. The unload also took some straightening out, but was still far
easier and faster than doing it all by hand. As I was taking this
next shot, I thought it would make a good one of those "caption
this". The two I came up with were..."you might be a
redneck..." or "Keweenaw Kamo- Summer edition". Needless to
say I did not have to go onto the main roads with this load!
So Wednesday afternoon I was able to put the pool up and
start filling it. It holds around 4400 gallons and it takes around 8 hours
to fill. By the time it was time to go to bed it was only around 1/4 full,
so I turned down the flow of water out of the hose a bit and by morning,
there was just a few more inches to fill and by mid-morning it was
On Thursday, the sun was shining brightly and temps were
in the upper 60's. Almost pool weather, but the water temp was around 60
degrees (up from 52 when it came out of the hose). So we did not swim, but
Gracie still wanted to play outside, so we ended up playing with the hose a
bit and soon she was asking me to squirt her while she drove around in her
truck. Now what guy would not pass up the opportunity to squirt water out of
a hose at a 4 year old, right? She had a blast, but soon started up coming
up with ways to defend herself. First by using the lid off an old copper tub
and then by adding the
protection of a basket to the mix. Despite the fact that she was still
having fun and did not want me to stop, I was starting to feel a little
guilty soaking her with that cold hose water, so I decided to improve her armament
a bit and pulled out the rubber jacket I use when going on a wet ATV ride.
It was big enough to protect both her top and bottom half and extended
our play time to dinner.
Soooo... After dinner it was my turn to suit up and
become the target for the stream of water. No problem. I also had a pair of
rubberized pants and some knee-high water proof boots to keep me protected.
I came out of the shop to
this. 'Twas a look of pure revenge. So I promptly went back into the
shop for one more piece of protection and was then tossed into
the thick of battle. It worked OK, but there was a spot right under my
chin where water could sneak by and get my chest and shirt wet and even
though the rubberized suit kept me dry, the coldness of the water could
actually be felt through it. So I braved it out, or maybe cowered
it out for as long as I could and finally gave in. She won.
Friday's high was 48 degrees! and we had rain. Not pool
weather. Saturday was not much better, with a high of 57 and some rain.
Sunday was a touch better, but the forecast was for more rain the first half
of this week, so I have kept the heater off and the pool has just
sat there with no one wanting to play with it. No sense in trying to
heat it against the cold and rain. Wednesday mornings low is suppose to be
in the upper 40's and then warmer and mostly sunny weather is seen, so the
plan is to start heating it as the temps warm Wednesday and it should be
ready to go by Thursday afternoon.
On Saturday I finally started working on the kitchen
drawers and doors. Funny how, other than the foundation, the first thing
that was started with the addition/remodel will be the last finished, but I
am glad that I get to finish with something that I love and will be best be
done without having to be rushed. 10 more drawers to make and then probably
around a dozen doors and we can call it a wrap!
That is about all that is going on up this way, but there
is some pretty special and important things going on about 400 miles south
of here. My brother was diagnosed with leukemia back in May of 2013. He went
into remission in the autumn of 2013, but then it returned this past April.
So things were put in motion to do a bone marrow stem cell transplant. When
he was first diagnosed, all of our family and many of his friends took the
test to see if they were a match and my sister ended up being a very good
match. So about 2 weeks ago she traveled from OK to southern WI to donate
her bone marrow stem cells and tomorrow they will be transplanted into my
brother. As with many things in life, there are no guarantees the transplant
will be successful, but because my sister was about as good a match as there
can be, there is a good chance the transplant will be successful and will
then rid my brother of his leukemia forever!
My sister has created a Facebook page to chronicle the
process of being a donator. She is doing this with the hope that as many
people as possible will read it and understand what is involved. The test is
a simple swab of the inside of your mouth. The donation is very similar to
giving blood. You can be a match to just about anyone, not just your family
member. If you are a match to someone, you will likely save their life and
you do not even need to be in the same locale as the recipient. I had a
friend that lives in S. WI and was a donator for someone in Germany. So I
invite you to check out her Facebook
Page, like it, share it with your friends to spread the word and
consider taking the test and get your info into the donators data base so
that you could have the opportunity to save a life.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Battling a big of a
stomach bug, so will hope to write tomorrow. - John
No problem to start
this week's entry...Happy Fathers Day dads! Hope you all are being well
taken care of and are having a great day.
It was another coolish week, with even some reports of
snow flurries Thursday night in Laurium, but also kind of dry until Friday
and the weekend, so the bug population dropped off noticeably. The blackfly
population has gone down to a point where they are not much of an issue. One
or two will still bother me if I am sitting still in the woods long enough,
but nothing like they were a few weeks ago. The mosquitoes also dropped off
quite a bit, I think because of both the dry weather and the fact that early
morning temps were in the 30's for much of the week. Hopefully the drop in
the population of them will lead to a lower number the rest of the season.
The cool mornings were very nice for the morning
walks that the pups and I take every day. A light jacket is needed, but
because it is so cool, the bugs do not bother me or
the pups. I am dreading the time when the deerflies come out, as they
always bother the pups on our walks and I have to wear one of those fishing
caps with the flaps on the back to keep them from bothering me. They love to
land on the back of my head or neck to bite.
Gracie had her first ever eye exam this past Monday. One
of the things she needed to have done to start school this autumn. She was a
little nervous as most of her doctor appointments up to this point have
included shots. Both Nora and I did do our best to tell her no shots and
that it would probably be pretty fun for her as she would get to look at
pictures, letters and numbers and tell the doctor what she saw and that was
it. She ended up having
a great time (pretty much they way she handles everything in her life)
and passed with flying colors.
Other than that, it was not a very exciting week up this
way. The big excitement for me was the fact that a utility installation
company arrived to help bring cable to our residence. The main reason for
getting cable it to improve our internet service. I rely 100% on the
internet to do all of my work, so both reliability and speed is important.
The speed we have had through the cell tower was OK, but the reliability was
a big issue. For some reason, the data side of our cell service had a
history of going down every 30-60 days and some times would take a few days
to come back up. It sure made life difficult for me when it was out.
So I was able to convince the cable company to bring the
line the 800 feet from my neighbors house to us. I have to pick up the tab
and it will not be cheap, but the money we will save in monthly fees will
pay for the installation in less than 3 years. The speed will be blazing
fast and around 10 times the speed of our current service, we will not have
a download limit and most importantly, it will be very reliable.
A subcontractor came out to
pull the line from my neighbors to our house and I was surprised at all they
did. I was thinking that they would just use a trenching machine to burry
the cable along side the road, but they actually used a horizontal drilling
machine to drill a hole under the ground the whole way and then pulled 2"
PVC through that drilled out hole and run the cable through it. We will
also have a service pedistal at the road for our service and they dug
out for that too. So hopefully this week the cable company will come out
and get us all hooked up. I know I am looking forward to listening to some
internet radio and being able to watch youtube type videos without any guilt
of running up a big bill and I am sure that we will get signed up with
things like Netflix or some of the other downloadable movie services. Plus
we will be able to facetime with my mom and other family members.
Speaking of my mom and other family members...Nora,
Gracie, the pups and I all snuck out of town on Thursday morning to head
down to my moms place. My older brother is having a bone marrow stem cell
transplant to get rid of his leukemia and my sister is his match for the
donation. She lives in OK and came up for the procedure and some other
family members were here, so it has been a nice time hanging out with them
the past few days. Plus the
views from the front deck are pretty nice too.
The pups like going to "Grandmas" because they
get to hunt and chase
all the gray squirrels that hang out around the house, plus do
cannon balls of of her pier into the lake. Gracie also has tons of fun
visiting with her grandma, aunts and uncles. She also got
to go swimming in water that was a lot warmer than Lake Superior and
even swam with the pups, riding
them in like dolphins. I had a birthday on Friday, so got to hang out
with family for that too and have Gracie
make sure I made a wish before I blew out my candles. Not only was the
13th my birthday, but was also a Friday and also a full moon. I don't really
get into too many things astronomy-wise, but I guess it is quite rare to
have a full moon happen on a Friday the 13th. So Nora took a nice picture of
the "Honey Moon"
over Lake Geneva Friday evening.
On March a little guy named "Aric" was born to
my Nephew and his wife. I have only been able to see pictures of him up to
this point, but on Friday, we all got to meet him, including
Gracie. I was interested to see how Gracie would respond to little Aric.
I did not worry at all that she would be good around him, but was happy to
see her do exactly what we said she could and could not do and even
got to hold him. My nephew is a captain in the Army and is currently in Afghanistan,
so the highlight of the time spent with Aric was watching
him interact with his dad via the video-chat service, facetime. I am
sure he knew just who he was watching and talking to, as his eyes never came
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Have a
Good night from the Keweenaw..
starting these journal entries can be a bit of a chore. Today is one of
those times. Nothing jumps right out at me to open with. The weather was
pretty non eventful. We slipped back into more of a typical pattern for the
Keweenaw in early June. Temps in the 50's and 60's and a few 70's. To tell
you the honest truth, I really did not mind the days when we only topped out
in the 50's for highs. Sort of just re-enforced the idea that we live in a
far northerly climate. Of course 70's and sunshine is pretty nice too!
As much as I love the snow, I am glad that we are done
with it for a few months. Such was not the case in the mountains of NW WY
overnight, where a
dusting of snow occurred in the Togwotee area. Of course it can also
warm into the 60's there as soon as the afternoon following an overnight
snow and they NEVER have humidity, so I could take their climate as well.
Anyway, other than around 2" of welcomed rain
falling Monday, the weather was pretty uneventful. I spent most of the week
traveling between the house and the woodshop. This week was "make the
thresholds" week. I had 14 total to make and because of the different
floor type junctions at some of the doorways and other unique things, none
of the 14 were the same! So I had lots of custom work to do, plus I had to
concoct a custom stain to match the flooring that we put in. All in all
things turned out pretty well. Here is a shot of a section of the
transition from the slate in the foyer to the wood laminate of the great
room. Here is the threshold for the sliding
door to the screened porch. Here is the threshold for Gracie's
Of course I had some help with making the thresholds, my
two supervisors were always close by to make sure things were being done
right. It's pretty cool, I use the word "shopdogs" to tell them we
are heading to the shop and they know just what that means. They then just
hang out and relax in the shop while I work. It's kind of a dream of mine to
have a woodshop in the Northwoods, building things in it with a pair of
labradors to keep me company. I am glad that they like to hang out with me.
If I am doing something that is going to be particularly loud, I either
leave them in the house or have them hang out in the front shop (there are
some heavy duty plastic hanging curtains separating the two shops) to avoid
the loud noise.
I can also say what a relief it is to not have to work
like a banshee this summer. When I look back to last summer and the schedule
I kept to get what I had to get done, I wonder how I survived. This summer I
am working at a dedicated pace, as I do want to finish up as soon as I can,
but I am also working at a much more relaxed pace as well as taking a day
off if I am just not feeling like doing any work at all. With the thresholds
done, all that is left is the doors and drawers in the kitchen and once I
get going on them it should not be more than a weeks work to get them done.
Nora and Gracie have been in Marquette hanging out and
shopping with one of Nora's friend since Friday, so it has just been the
pups and I. It worked out pretty well, as I was able to spend just about all
of the weekend getting the thresholds wrapped up and also did a few other
things. One of them was to clean out the jets in the tub. They say to do
that every few weeks and it had been a few weeks. So I followed the
instructions, filling up the tub and putting some bleach in the water. I
turned on the jets and then shot out into the shop to do a few things while
the jets ran the suggested 5-10 minutes. When I came back in to drain and
flush the tub, I got a
funny surprise. Now that's a bubble bath! Not sure how that happened,
other than there must have been some bubble bath or soap in the jet system,
as I have never seen that happen before while cleaning it. In any case, all
the bubbles stayed inside the tub area and dissipated around 10 minutes
after I shut off the valves. Tub is clean!
The last bit of news I have is that the Laurium Glacier
finally melted yesterday! I went into daily-check mode this week as it got
closer and closer. This year it became a real challenge, because the melting
took place so late, the trees in the area were filling in and helped to hide
the remaining snow. On Wednesday, there was still
enough snow to see pretty well, but by Friday, I actually had to get out
of the truck and look closely to see the
snow. By Saturday morning, there was just a tiny bit, but our temps only
rose into the low 50's all day and we also had a heavy overcast, so I could
not assume it melted Saturday and drove by it late in the afternoon and saw
no snow. So June 7th was the melt date this year, a new record and probably
one that will stand for a while.
So I guess that about covers it for this one. I did not
spend much time out in the woods this week. Both the rains and the bugs were
enough to keep me indoors for much of the week. However, it does look like
we are beyond the worst of it for the blackflies. They are still around and
still can make life miserable, but it seems to take longer for the warm to
arrive and the swarm is not as bad as it was a week ago. So they look to be
following their typical pattern of popping out in just a few days, hitting
peak around 4-6 days after being first seen and then slowly easing off until
they are gone for good around 4 weeks after first appearing. So we have 2-2
1/2 weeks and they should not be much of an issue at all. That will make the
woods and beaches a lot more fun!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Welcome to Summer!
Yea, I know, summer does not start until June 21st, right? If you have been
reading this journal long enough, you know us meteorologist folks like to be
different and classify summer as June 1-August 31. Seems to make more sense
from a weather stand point. Besides, why make the first day of summer the
day before the minutes of daylight start to get shorter?
Anyway, we have had summer weather up this way for the
past week and everything has turned GREEN!
It is just amazing how we can go from basically bare trees just a few days
ago to a nearly filled out forest today (that pic was taken just a few
moments ago). The leaves have not opened completely, but in a few more days
they will. We are also getting some rain today. The first precip since the
snows of May 16th.
Backing up a bit, we had some nice warm temps last Monday
(Memorial Day), so the Dee clan all headed to the beach in the afternoon.
While the air temps were in the low 80's, the water temp was in the mid
30's. Both Nora and I dipped our toes into the water and just about jumped
out of our shorts! The cold did not stop Gracie. She started out a bit
timidly, wading up to her knees, but soon was fully immersed in the water
and found the fun activity of riding
the pups like a couple of dolphins. Nora and I were just beside
ourselves on how she could stay in that near freezing water for so long. She
was not fully immersed the whole time, but never really got completely out
of the water either. Things were going swimmingly (pun intended), until she
missed her ride home one time. The water was still shallow enough for
her to touch bottom, but as soon as Millie swam off, I could tell that
something was not right, so I did my best David Hasselhoff/Baywatch
imitation and went out
to retrieve her. Thankfully the water was not deep enough to reach the
most sensitive parts of my anatomy, but I have to admit, in the 20 seconds
or so that it took me to walk out there to get Gracie and bring her in, my
legs were cramping painfully. So I suspect that Gracie just had too much
cold and did not realize it until it was too late and her legs just would
not work. No blood, no foul. We did pack it up and head home after that
episode. Gracie was able to get into dry clothes before we even left the
beach and then sit in the sun when we got home and was no worse for wear.
She was not even phased by the experience, although I do believe she
respects cold water a bit more!
Yesterday we rose to 84 degrees, so we all headed to the
beach again. This time to one
of our favorites on the east shore. Last week I mentioned how the water
level of the big lake was up 16" from last year at this time and was
also 3" above the long term average. It had been lower than average for
the past few years and so it was kind of weird to go there and not have as
much beach to work with, but there was still enough and we had a good
Gracie and the pups once again took to the water, but Gracie
did so in a more conservative manner. Likely due to her Memorial Day
experience, but also possibly due in part to the fact that there were still a
few icebergs floating just off shore about 1/4 mile. The camera in my
phone did not capture them, but trust me, they were there! Even though air
temps were in the mid 80's inland, right up along the lake shore, they were
in the mid 60's. Combine that with the fact that the sun was popping in and
out of the clouds and that provided for some chilly conditions for someone
wearing just shorts and a t-shirt (namely me). Nora asked me why my legs
were purple and I replied because I was cold! So while we hoped to spend a
few hours out at the beach, we ended up leaving in around 50 minutes. Still
plenty of time for the pups to get in some great exercise and Gracie to have
fun as well.
On Friday, I got another opportunity to fire up Big Red.
About 10 years ago, I picked up a used snowmobile trailer. At the time I did
not have a truck and it came in handy for moving the sled(s) around.
However, ever since I have had a pickup, I have used the bed of the truck to
transport the sled. Usually easier to load, secure and most importantly...it
stays way cleaner. So the trailer was used to help transport building
materials around from time to time, but mostly just sat unused. So when Dave
was over a few weeks ago when we went ATV riding, I mentioned how I wanted
to get rid of it and he was happy to take it off my hands. It had become
damaged this past winter due to the excessive snow load on it, but Dave has
plans to either repair the damage, or possibly part it out to make a new
trailer out of some other trailer parts he has or maybe even use the frame
to make a sled-bed for the back of his truck. In any case, we were able to
use the forks on Big Red, along with some chain to pick
up the trailer and load it onto a 3 place he had and just like that, we
were relieved of what to do with the trailer, as well as a bit of an
I cannot remember (stinks to get old) which evening, but
on one of them this week we found it to be nearly perfect for taking an ATV
ride. So we mounted the rear seat setup on one and then took off for a ride.
Gracie and I lead on one bike, with Nora following. I am glad we were
leading as things had gotten pretty dry and there was lots of dust. However,
there were also a few sections where some fun
in the mud could be had.
On Wednesday evening, the screens for the porch came in,
so Thursday and Friday I got them installed. I did not beat the arrival of
the bugs. Both the black flies and mosquitoes arrived in force this week.
Neither were too bad in the morning, but by the evenings, you really took
your life into your own hands by being outside for too long.
An interesting thing happened as the screens were going
in. With a few in and a few openings still open, the bugs started to
actually accumulate in the porch. Yesterday we hit the plateau as all the
windows were screened in, but the doorway was still open. I spent the
morning in the shop with Gracie making the screen door, but when Nora and
went in to install the door, the porch was
filled with black flies! We made short order of getting rid of them by
sucking them up into a shop-vac. Nora then helped me install the screen door
and the porch was finally done! There is actually still a few more
battens I have to put up on the outside, but the
inside is all ready for hanging out in and I liked how the
screen door turned out as well.
In fact, once we were all done with things, I got most of
my construction tools out of it and Nora, Grace, the pups and I hung out in
it yesterday evening. It was so nice to just sit there, safe and sound from
the bugs and listen to all the critters in the woods. The pups were a little
fired up to go and chase the critters at first, but soon found their groove
and just chilled. Nora and Grace put up a humming bird feeder last week and
we have had a few visitors to it since. Two have been regulars, they are a
male and female
and likely have a roost not too far away, as they seem to come and go pretty
frequently. We have also had a pair of robins build a nest in the spot
lights on the front of the shop. I swear they built most of it in just a
day about 10 days ago. At first I had thought about removing it as I was
worried about the lights possibly causing it to catch fire and also the fact
that the front of the shop sees lots of action with us coming and going from
it, but then just decided to leave it and let the chips fall where they may.
I did cut the power to the lights though- just to be safe. The momma must
have laid her eggs just a few days ago, as she has become less reluctant to
fly off when we pass by.
So the bugs are here in full force. Any hopes of this
being a mild black fly season have gone by the wayside, but in a few more
weeks, they will be on the way out. Mosquitoes are only bad in the mornings
or evenings or when really cloudy. The ticks are a big story as well. In all
of our years of living up here in the woods, this is BY FAR the worst we
have ever had them. I have probably pulled at least a half dozen off of me.
So fall, all have been crawlers and not suckers and I sure hope it stays
that way! I have not pulled any off of Millie yet, but poor Huck has had 3-4
suckers pulled off of him so far. The occurrence of lyme disease is pretty
small up here, but is not zero. So in the past we have always just been real
good about going over the pups real good after time in the woods. I have
always wanted to avoid using chemical solutions on them unless it is really
needed and I think this year is the year that it is really needed. Hopefully
as things heat up and dry off a bit, the tick numbers will go down.
My final tidbit to share with you is a Gracie-ism. Every
once in a while she comes up with a good one. This latest is a new word for
Webster. As Nora was applying sun-block before we headed to the beach
yesterday, she was doing her face, when all of the sudden Gracie chimes out:
"Ouch!, You poked me right in the snot-stral!" So there is your
new word for the day: snot-stral.
Good night from the Keweenaw..