What a week! It flew
by, a ton got done and I am ready for it to snow! Truth be told, I would be
fine with 50's and sunshine for another 2 weeks, but if it were to snow, or
rain, it would not crimp my style much. On Monday, I got busy building the
lean-to for Big Red. Things went pretty smoothly. I guess all my
construction work in the past 5-7 years has give me a bit of experience.
That and the fact that on Wednesday, I had some
professional help, as she had an early release day. By Thursday, the
side wall was up and the roof was too and it was, for the most part, weathered
in. Still quite a bit of work to do, but I think with putting in 2-3
hours a day, it will be done in a week or two.
I am going to use the same spray foam insulation I used
in the shops and it is arriving tomorrow. I also want to strengthen the roof
rafters with some plywood glued and nailed in place to the 2x10's. For those
with a keen eye spotting the precarious situation where the roof rafters are
tied into the tails of the trusses for the shop, I will be putting in some
vertical supports there and also some plywood gussets to make that section
more bullet proof. Then a front and rear wall and garage door, along with
some lights and it will be done. But the bottom line is, being weathered in
at this time of the year is a huge thing and affords me a lot of peace of
On Friday afternoon, part of the wood cutting cavalry
arrived and we took to dropping a few trees that were right next to the
boiler that I wanted to drop. They dropped
with perfect precision and then had their tops removed and trunks cut
into cordwood and neatly stacked into the woodshed.
Saturday saw the full force of the cutting crew on site
by 9 am. Saws were
soon blazing, woodchips flying and wheelbarrows full of cut logs were
heading into the shed to be neatly stacked to the rafters.
The late and wet spring, followed by an unusually cool
and wet summer caused the load of wood to show up with an abnormally high
amount of dirt on it. It did sit in our yard for around a month and a half
and the rains that fell in that time did wash off the dirt pretty nicely on
the exposed surfaces, but there were still lots of dirty logs to be cut.
Dirt is not a friend of a chainsaw. It will dull a blade faster than almost
anything else. So I put myself
on power washer duty. The power washer worked well, but not perfectly,
so there was quite a bit of blade
sharpening done yesterday.
Even with the delays caused by the sharpening, the crew
of 12 were kept pretty busy cutting, tossing,
hauling and stacking.
Around 4 hours later, the final
logs were being processed into firewood. The stacking job was done with
such proficiency, we were able to stack all 16 cord, plus the three we
dropped/cut Friday, into the woodshed with
room to spare. So where
logs once stood piled 8-9 feet high, there is bare
ground once again.
Things went so smoothly and the fact that I don't think
that I even touched a saw, moved more than one wheel barrow of wood and
stacked more than a half dozen pieces, makes it hard for me to comprehend it
even happened! I am being serious. I think it will take a few trips to the
woodshed and see all the wood stacked in there for it to officially sink in
that all of our firewood for the season (I hope!) is done...Money in the
bank. My HUGE thanks to The
Wood Cutting Crew of 2014. Some Angels do wear canvas and denim!
My smoker took a fatal blow last winter with a snow
dumping off the shop roof and went to the great smoker land in the sky, so I
could not treat the crew to brisket and pulled pork, but did come up with
something that I thought would be nearly as rewarding. I ordered up a box of
baby back pork ribs that were delivered Thursday. Friday morning I
pre-cooked them to bone-sliding-doness and then back into the refrigerator
to be finished off on the grill Saturday. So with around 45 minutes left in
the cutting, I broke off from the wood cutting, fired up the grill and caramelized
up 15 full slabs of
ribs. Nora made some baked potatoes as well as some brownies and cookies
for dessert and the I believe that all of the crew left with full bellies.
The weather could probably not have been any better for
cutting wood either. Temps were in the 50's with a mix of clouds and sun and
a stiff westerly breeze. I do not even want to think about what it would
have been like to have to do all that work in a pouring rain with temps in
Actually, the weather for most of this week was quite
good. Perfect autumn weather for my
morning walks with Millie and Huck. We even hit 67 degrees on Friday,
although earlier in the week, clear skies and calm winds led to some chilly
mornings, including a heavy frost and even the first spotting of some
night ice Tuesday morning.
It's hard to believe that there are only 5 more days left
in the month, which also means 5 more days until Halloween. Gracie's costume
is well in the works and it looks like the weather will be OK, but not
perfect. Today, we went on the hunt for some pumpkins. Not as late as last
year when we were left with only baking pumpkins from the grocery store, but
either the regular farm was not doing it this year, or we were too late. We
did manage to find some at a local fruit/vegetable stand. Gracie wants to
use three small ones to spell the word Boo and then one larger one to carve
in a more traditional method. So here
she is posing with her three smaller ones.
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Plans for
this week include setting up the raffle page for the antique sled, setting
up the registration for the ride-in and perhaps watch some flakes of snow
fall from the sky by later in the week. Oh, and keep chipping away at the
lean-to for Big Red. I also plan to fire up the snowfall forecasts early
next week (not this week). Won't be too long and the site will be going full
speed ahead again!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly
This will be a short
one for sure and anyone coming just for the pictures can stop reading any
further as I don't have any, sorry! We busted out of town Wednesday morning
to go visit family and also take in the Milwaukee Snowmobile Show. We just
got back on the island a bit ago and have finished the process of unloading
and unpacking. So the trip is the main reason for no pictures and also for a
short entry this week.
As nice as it was to see my family, I just cannot get
over the feeling of joy I have once we return home. It really is
indescribable and just rings home how lucky I am to have found a place that
embraces my soul so much. Even on a day when we return to temps in the low
40's, a battleship gray sky and some light rain, I still feel this is the
most beauty I have seen for the past 5 days.
So the show was nice and it was even nicer not to have to
work it. I did not really need much, so mainly just walked around with one
of my brothers and some friends. I am typically not one to complain, but I
really did not like the layout of the show this year. In the past, they
really seemed to try and have isles that went from one end of the show to
the other and this year, many of the isles ended somewhere in the middle,
which made it hard to navigate and I think also caused us to miss some of
the vendors. I know if I were a vendor, I would certainly be saying
something to the producers of the show, as I think that could end up being a
real problem if continued. Otherwise it was nice to be at the show and get
the mind thinking more about the snowmobile season and to bump into some
nice visitors to the site.
So with leaving on Wednesday morning, I did not get too
much work done this week. I was able to finish up with the woodshed, so it
is all ready to accept the wood that will be cut this weekend in the wood
This week I hope to be able to at least get the roof of
the lean-to done. That way the weather will not have a big impact on further
construction with it. I do have some other things going on this week, so I
am not sure that I will get the roof done, but we'll see.
I also plan to get the registration for the Ride-In going
this week. The snowfall forecasts will hold off for another 2 weeks, but I
do plan to resume them either November 3rd or 4th. I did post my seasonal
outlook this past Wednesday and despite trying to tell folks to not take it
too seriously, there were those that chose not to. I'm really not too sure
why, but I am not going to lose any sleep over it either.
So I guess I am going to keep my promise with this being
a short one. The week ahead looks to be pretty busy, so I should have more
to say and pictures to share with you next week. Until then...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Let the gales of
November roar! We are
ready for them! The final bit of work needed to be done to get the
generator hooked into the house's/shop's power supply was done on Tuesday
and it was fired up and tested and ran like a champ. Then yesterday, I heard
what sounded like a muted motor running and at first could not figure out
what it was. I opened the front door to hear the generator going through its
self test. We have it set to do that self test every Saturday at noon.
While I really do not wish for a power outage, as it
would bring hardships to those without back up power, it is a huge relief to
have that generator in place and all ready for action. I have my computers
on a battery back up, so in the event of a power loss, they will not go down
while the system makes the transition from municipal power to the generator.
The generator will fire up after 20 seconds of sensing no power and then
takes a few more seconds to break the connection to the line in from the
power company (so that the lines near by are not energized while a power
crew might be working on the lines, thinking they are dead) and send power
to the house. So if all goes as planned, the loss of power while they did
the final wiring of the generator on Tuesday was the last time we will ever
be without power for more than around 30 seconds!
On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, I finished up getting
ready to pour the slab for Big-Red's lean-to. Thursday morning was spent
with a bit of anxiety, as I got through my morning duties and mentally
prepared for the concrete truck to arrive at 2 that afternoon. There are a
number of reasons why I would never want to do concrete work for a living.
The big two are that it is really heavy work and I am just getting too old
to do that day in and day out. The other reason is that once that truck is
on its way, there is no turning back and no room for mistakes. Unlike
working with wood, you cannot re-cut a 2-by that was cut wrong. Concrete is
a "one chance to get it right" kind of thing.
So the truck showed up right on time and I was ready.
Other than having to move some concrete by wheel barrow as well as pulling
it with a concrete rake at the early going, things
went surprisingly well. That is...until I came up around 2
feet short of mix! They say always order more and I did order more than
I had calculated I needed, but there was a low spot in the grade that ended
up being lower, and thus eating up more concrete, than I had accounted for.
It was too late in the day to do anything about it Thursday, so on Friday, I
headed out to rent a
mixer and picked up 20 bags of Quickrete and got busy filling the hole.
There were no surprises with that activity and I was able
to finish the job
and even have 5 bags of mix left over to return. All the while I was doing
that, the pups stood
guard over a squirrel in trees behind the house. They actually stayed in
that same position for over 20 minutes. If you have ever met Huck and
Millie, you know that is something highly unusual!
So with the slab poured for the lean-to, it was time to
switch projects and get the wood shed repaired. If you don't remember, two
winters ago, I had a bunch of snow on the roof of the woodshed and the
forecast called for a chance of rain. Rather than risk having the roof
collapse under the weight of the snow and then the additional weight of the
water from the rain, I knocked down an overhanging drift that was holding
the snow on the roof. The drift calved off, the snow slid off the roof, but
the horizontal force of the snow sliding caused the 4x4 uprights to snap.
Not all of them, but several. So I was able to stabilize things right away
and got through last winter without fixing it (was too busy building the
addition), but really wanted to get it repaired for good this warm season.
The first thing that needed to be done was to get the
structure straight up and down again, so I hooked up a
heavy duty nylon tow strap to the spot on the shed that had the most
lean to it and hooked the other end up to a
come-along that was hooked up to another heavy duty tow strap that was
anchored to a sturdy maple tree. The process went very well and by the
time I had cranked the come along as far as it would go, the lean was gone
and the shed was straight up and down for the first time in around 18
The plan was to then sister in some pressure treated
6x6's to all the posts, not just the ones that were snapped and all would be
good- in theory. I was able to get the 12
foot 6x6's set in place and some of them still need a bit more work to
tie them into the existing structure. I also got the 6 foot 6x6's in place
and they just need to be tied in and once that is done, then the wood shed
will be all ready for business. That business will take place in 2 weeks as
there is a pretty big crew showing up to cut, move and stack the firewood.
Speaking of the firewood, Millie
and Huck did a nice inspection job the other day.
This past Thursday was the 10th anniversary of Nora and I
getting married. I had the slab to pour and Nora had some things going on
Thursday afternoon as well, so we decided to hold off the celebrating until
Friday, when we all would have more time. So Friday after work, we all got a
little gussied up and headed up the highway towards the tip of the Keweenaw.
We are past the peak of the colors, but even so, the trip through the "covered
drive" portion of highway 41 was beautiful.
Our destination was the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, a very
neat place with very good food. The manager there really turned things
around when he took over several years ago and I would place it among the
best restaurants to eat at while up here. Plus, the
view is magnificent.
We had a very nice meal, Gracie
performed the toast to mark the occasion and we had a fun and memorable
time celebrating 10 years of marriage. Before leaving, we posed for a
nice family picture and then headed up to Copper Harbor to pick up a
picture we had purchased from Steve Brimm at the Eagle Harbor Art Fair back
in August and then turned around and headed back home. This time being
treated to a different, but no less impressive, version of mother
natures color show.
The weather this week was pretty typical for this time of
the year in this neck of the woods. Earlier in the week, we were treated to
some frozen precip, including snow
and some sleet.
By today, temps rose into the low 60's, with beautiful sunshine, which Nora
and Gracie too advantage of to move some leaves and cut the lawn.
So that about covers it for this one. I am feeling pretty
good about the progress made this week and the fact that I have only an hour
or two to finish the wood shed repair and then a few days of work to finish
the lean-to for Big Red. Then cut the wood and fill the wood shed and winter
Speaking of winter, I do hope to get my winter outlook
done by the 15th (this Wednesday), so if you are interested in that kind of
thing, be sure to check in!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Welcome to October
everyone! It sure looks and feels like October up here. After last weekends
record highs, we sank like a rock on Monday, recovered some for midweek and
then sank late in the week. We even had our first bout of wintry precip up
here yesterday and today. Most of it was a mix of rain and snow, although I
did travel through a pretty good snow squall in Painesdale yesterday
afternoon and we also had a pretty good sleet shower this morning. No
accumulations this way, but there were some accumulations in MN, WI and
other parts of the western UP.
Before I get too far into things, I received some new
pictures of the raffle sled for this years Ride-In. It sure is looking
good and also strongly reminds me of one of the first sleds I ever rode. The
first two sleds our family owned were Johnson's, but then we pick up a pair
of Polaris Colts from my uncle. The
TX 340 that has been restored is a little different from the colts, but
there are also some strong similarities, especially the color and graphics.
That seat and tank
also look very similar. It sure will be neat to see it in person.
Although I am not particularly enjoying the wet weather,
I am enjoying the cooler temps. After the 80's we had last weekend, I
finally became ready for the cooler temps of autumn. I am not quite ready
for true winter temps, but it is nice to have to wear a jacket when outside
and even nice to light up the fireplace from time to time.
It was a pretty hectic week for me. Nora was out of town
from Sunday through Tuesday, so it was just Gracie and I and the pups
manning the fort for a few days. It did not put a crimp in my style too
much, although the mornings did get a little crazy, trying to finish up my
work, then feed us breakfast, get us both ready for the day and then her to
school on time.
With my spare time Monday, I helped make the final
connections of the wood boiler, get it filled up and running. Unfortunately,
we had some air locks in the system that I tried to address a bit Monday
evening and again on Tuesday morning, but to no avail. So I called in the
pro and he came over and got things going for us. So as the saying goes, where
there is smoke, there is fire and where there is fire, there is heat...and
unlimited hot water! Maybe that is why I am fully comfortable with the
Monday and Tuesday would have been pretty nice days to
get out and take some pictures of the colors, but was too busy getting the
boiler and heating system going. By Wednesday, the weather had started to
turn a bit and both Thursday and Friday were not too great for color pics,
while yesterday was downright nasty!
So I never did get out and take an official color tour
this year, but none the less, I was able to take some pics of the show right
outside our front doors. I am not sure when this
picture was taken, but it does look like I took advantage of a brief
window of sunshine. My guess is that it was earlier in the week, as the tree
in the foreground that is orange, is now bare.
I sure wish that I would have taken some time this week
to tour the region, but I sure am thankful that we live in the beautiful
woods and can just take shots
like this with one foot still inside the house! Although some trees have
already turned and some even have dropped their leaves, I think our woods
are still a few days away from full peak. I took this
panoramic shot around midday today.
Since that shot was take, most of the rock has been moved
by big red. I used it to form a nice bed for the concrete slab for Big Red's
lean to. The plan is to pour that this Wednesday, then fix the woodshed and
then after that, get the roof in for the shelter. I figure that I can fix
the woodshed in almost any kind of weather and once the roof is on the
lean-to, then the weather will not impact future construction on it either.
My hope is to have the woodshed repaired and the lean-to roof done by the
end of next week.
On Friday, the cold front passed through and then strong
west winds developed behind it. We waited for a little bit and then all
piled into the car to head down to the big lake to see the waves. Even
though the winds had only been going strong for a few hours, the wave action
had already gotten pretty impressive and the
big lake was all churned up. Gracie
and I braved the strong winds and chilly air, while the pups stayed back
with Nora- who had brought only a light jacket.
When we got home, I ventured into our own woods a bit and
looked for some interesting shots- since I had the good camera in my hand
from the lake visit trip. There really was not much to shoot, as the skies
were a battleship gray and thus the colors were highly muted. I did look up
to watch the tops of the trees sway heavily in the strong winds and decided
that I would try a longer exposure shot to see what kind of an effect it
would give with the tree tops blowing in the winds. Nothing
too special, but since I am hurting for material, I decided to include
it in this weeks entry! I guess you do get a sense of motion in that shot.
Back to the old drawing board I guess!
So I think that about
covers it for this one. I have ended the warm season forecast graphics and
will be starting up the snowfall forecasts in early November. The hope is to
sneak in the Seasonal Outlook before the 15th and I also plan to get the
registration for the Ride-In going by the last week of this month, as well
as start selling the raffle tickets for the sled. I have already started to
get a few prizes donated for the ride-in and if you or someone you know
would like to donate a prize, it is never too early!
Good night from the Keweenaw..