February 22, 2015-
    Could it be...? Is this an actual Sunday journal? Yup! The pneumonia is on the way out and I am back to about 90%. Nora is on the rebound and Gracie is her usual 110 percent. Hopefully this will be the last of the illnesses for this season.
    I guess the main story this week has been the cold. In the last entry I mentioned the cold last weekend. It did let up a bit early in the week, but came back full steam on Wednesday and Thursday. Closing schools in much of the UP, with temps below zero and wind chills below -25. My temperature dropped below zero at 1 am Wednesday morning and did not rise above zero until around 11 am Friday morning. That is 58 hours straight of being below zero.
    We had another, brief letup for later Friday and Saturday, but then temps took the plunge late Saturday and here we sit at a balmy -8 with wind chills of 30-40 below. It looks like we will have another quick bump in temps for later tomorrow into Thursday and then one final round of arctic air for Wednesday and Thursday, before temps will start to warm more towards average (low 20's for highs) by the weekend and into much of next week.
    The damage from the cold air has certainly been done though. The big lake is pretty much frozen over. There are a few small pockets that are still open, but nothing that would produce LES for any Lake Superior snow belt and given a couple of nights with calm winds and bitterly cold temps (of which we look to have a few in the next 5-6 days), I would not be surprised to see the big lake reach 100% frozen. Right now it is around 94-95%, with most of the "open" water along the north shore, as we have some strong north winds shoving all the ice south. 
    Despite the bitter cold, the road crews have been out doing their thing. It has been another one of those winters where the have been kept busy each and every day. If they are not plowing snow off of the surfaces we drive on, then they might be winging back the banks to lower them for better visibility, or pushing back the corners for better visibility or maybe using the snow-go to remove as much of the banks as possible, so that new snow can be pushed into that space. The latter was the story on Thursday, when the snow-go was out, moving the snow into dump trucks so they could go and haul it off to the dumping area. All while temps were solidly below zero. It never ceases to amaze me on the job they do moving snow all season long.
    So we all were feeling good enough yesterday and when combined with the cabin fever and temps in the low teens, headed out to do a little touring of the Keweenaw. We did not go too far as neither Nora nor I can do a whole lot before running out of steam. We did take a trip to the north shore of the peninsula to check out the frozen lake. Here is a shot from "ground level" and there is a panoramic view from the beach at Eagle River. Of course, the best way to see the total lake ice coverage is from the air, or perhaps even space, so here is a satellite image, along with a computer derived ice cover chart, courtesy of the good folks at the NWS- Marquette office. That little doughnut hole north of Munising has pretty much closed up today. 
    What is even more amazing is that the lake is more ice covered at this point this season than it was last season at the same time. I believe that this is due to a number of factors. First, we had ice in the lake until June this last summer. Then summer itself was cooler than average, not allowing the lake to "warm" as much as I might normally. Third, we had a very cold November. The cold November did not cause any ice to form, in fact just about 3 weeks ago, there was little ice on the lake. However, the cold November did send lake temps to late December or early January levels. So here we sit. Frozen lake and no more lake effect snow. I guess the only bonus point will be that forecasting for snow in our locale the rest of the season should not be too difficult!
    After looking at the worlds largest fresh water ice cube yesterday, we then went over to see the deer herd in Eagle River and to feed them pieces of bread from a loaf we had stashed away in the freezer for quite some time. They are no strangers to humans this time of the year and a little one was even bold enough to almost take a piece out of Nora hand.
    One Tuesday, it was time to say good-bye to the vintage Polaris that was restored for the ride-in raffle. It is now on it's way to a good home in Pennsylvania.
    I did not get any chance to ride this week and am not sure I will much this week as well. At least during the work week. I have some catching up to do on Monday and Tuesday. Temps look to be too cold for this old softy Wednesday and Thursday and Friday we will be taking in the start of the Copper Dog sled dog race. I do have plans to ride on Saturday and right now, the weather looks to cooperate.
    I am not sure how many miles are on the sled loaned to be from Rt12, but cannot imagine there are too many. Not that I have not enjoyed riding the sled when I have been on it, but earlier in the season, I had the M outfitted with the latest and greatest from EZ Ryde. They have come out with a suspension that pivots much like the t-motion from Skidoo, but retaining all the positive aspects of the previous edition of the EZ Ryde. 
    I have to admit, I was not sure what to expect from this new suspension. I guess my 2 main worries were that it might make the sled roll over too easy and/or that the positive aspects of the previous version would be compromised. Neither fear came true. Instead what I found was a suspension that made it a little easier to get the sled to initiate a side hill, but more importantly hold the side hill. The old style of M really was great for being able to hold a side hill. There seemed to be a very large "sweet spot" in which you could side hill. The new chassis from Cat was not much harder to initiate the side hill, but it sure seemed like the sweet spot was shrunk significantly. What the Carve from EZ Ryde did to the new chassis was to open up that sweet spot again. To me that did two huge things. First, it gave me more confidence on the sled. To me I think this is more important than any other mod could do. More horsepower is a help, but with a lack of confidence is not much of a help. Same thing with the weight of a sled or another modification you can make. More confidence makes for more fun and also allows me to challenge myself more. 
    The other big thing for me was that the larger sweet spot allows me to work less to hold a side hill. I am not an old fart by any means, but am no young buck either. Combine my age with the two open heart surgeries and I do tire quite quickly when out riding. So anything that is going to allow me to hang onto my energy as much as possible is also a good thing. 
    So the only "problem" is that I have two sleds that have very strong reasons for me to ride: The Rt12 sled because it is brand new and the miles put on it do not work against me... and the "old" standby that has some new life to it. Not a bad problem to have at all.
    So I guess that about covers it for this one. Have a great week and stay warm!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

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February 17, 2015-
    Ok, let's try this again. I am starting to respond to the antibiotics, but man-o-man, it is like an infirmary around here. Poor Nora has come down with a nasty cold in the past 24 hours, last week Gracie was out most of the week with pink eye, then both Gracie and I had separate Dr's appointments in Marquette on Wednesday. On Thursday, I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold and by Friday was really starting to feel it. Things went down hill more on Saturday and Saturday night I did not sleep well and woke up several times short of breath. 
    Gracie and Nora had gone to Marquette on Friday and stayed until Sunday morning to be with some of Nora's family. I stayed home with the pups, but had it in my mind that as soon as the girls got home from their little trip, I would head to the hospital to get checked out for pneumonia, as I have had a version of it before and the symptoms on Sunday felt the same. The tests confirmed I did have pneumonia, so I was sent home with some antibiotics and an inhaler to help free up my breathing some. 
    Yesterday I felt even worse and was already scheduled for a follow up with my primary care Dr. He changed the antibiotic I was on and that seems to be doing the trick, as about 90 minutes after taking the first dose of the new antibiotic, I was feeling better and have felt better today than I have since around Friday. I still will be taking it easy for the next few days and will let the healing take full hold, but am grateful to have been able to catch this in the early stages and to have good health care up here. With my medical history, I am one of those folks that have a thing like pneumonia become very serious, very quickly.
   The funny thing is, Sunday's entry was not going to be a very long on in the first place. With Gracie being home sick all but Friday and the family taking the trip to Marquette Wednesday, there really was not much opportunity to generate material. The poor pups are on day 8 with no regular exercise. I do let them play while I am out loading the wood boiler in the morning and evening, but we have not taken a walk since February 8th! I promised that I will make it up to them, but it looks like we will have to wait at least a few more days.
    The trip to Marquette was a bit of an adventure. Nothing too crazy, but the weather was pretty poor both coming and going. In all the years I have been going to Marquette from the Keweenaw, I do not ever remember a time when both trips were bad, or even all of one trip was done in poor weather. But Wednesday we had snow and some blowing snow to contend with the entire day. We even had to stop for a freight train, also something I have never had to do in all my trips there. So my question is... go back and look at that picture one more time and tell me if you would pull all the way up to that solid white line before stopping! We were probably a good 30 feet from it and it felt like we were almost too close to the tracks!
    Anyway, the trip went safely. I got a good report from my cardiologist and Gracie found out that she is allergic to dogs of all things! Both Nora and I think it must not be a severe allergy as she has never shown any really bad signs. She is also allergic to some pollens and that does show itself in those seasons. None the less, we will be keeping the house better vacuumed and will not allow the pups into her bedroom.
    The weather has been the big story around here for the past 5-6 days. Last week we got some light snows from time to time, but nothing too serious. That is until the arctic front passed through Friday around midday and produced a healthy band of lake effect snow. We actually were in some pretty decent LES for most of the morning, but it really came down for around 60-90 minutes. Even though I was not feeling the best, I did brave the elements to capture a picture of the snow coming down. I figured that a video might do it even more justice, so I shot not only one video of the snow dumping, but two! It was coming down at the rate of around 3 inches per hour when the picture and videos were shot. Not the heaviest snow I have seen fall since moving up here. That would be what I call "choke snow", which was actually double that rate at 6"/hr and I had to put my hand over my mouth so that I would not choke on the snow when I took a breath! I have been lucky enough to experience choke snow twice in my time up here.
    Not long after the front passed, the arctic air dumped in and sent temps plummeting. We never got above zero for a high on Saturday, plus we had very strong winds. They were blowing at 35, gusting to 50 here on the peninsula and at 45 gusting to 62 on Stannard Rock in the big lake around 60 miles north of Marquette. At times, visibility was down to just a few dozen feet. I had to make a run to Calumet and shot this picture while waiting at a red light in town. I was second in line behind the SUV in front of me and could barely make out the stoplights. If you look close, you can see one almost directly above the left hand side of the SUV and the other directly above the right hand side.
    Many of the roads in the central UP were closed. One of them being M-28, which runs along the lake between Marquette and Munising. I even read a report of some snowmobilers that became stranded on that stretch of highway Saturday! So it was a doozy, that's for sure!
    The winds calmed and skies cleared, which allowed much of the western 1/2 of Lake Superior to freeze up and also our temps in the Keweenaw to get down into the 20's below zero. The next batch of arctic air is moving in as I type and schools are already planning on being closed tomorrow and might have to be on Thursday as well, due to wind chills of -25 or greater.
    So needless to say I was pretty bummed to see all the ice on the western end of the big lake. It is not 100% locked in, yet. But this next round of arctic air will only freeze it up more. When that happens, I would just assume it become spring. Not in the way most Midwesterners thing of spring like sunny, warm days with blooming flowers. I am talking about Keweenaw spring, which is temps in the 20's and low 30's for highs, some decent spring snow storms and glorious spring riding! I am not going to hold my breath for that in the next 7-10 days at least!
   I guess that gets you caught up on things. Sorry for the delay, but these things happen!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

February 15, 2015-
    Here we go again! I am going to have to postpone tonight's entry as I just got back from the hospital and they said I have pneumonia of all things. So I am going to take my meds, rest and let the body do it's thing. Sorry!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
February 9, 2015-
    Cripes! I am getting dangerously close to being out of time tonight. Part of the perils of starting work at 4 am! Anywho, I am getting a late start and have lots of pictures and stories to tell, so I better get at it and might also be a bit more brief.
    It was a fun week. Kind of weird to not have some big project looming over my head, but I am slowly getting used to the feeling. I did get out to play some this past week. Some snow shoeing, snowmobiling, checking out snow statues and even a hockey game!
    On Friday, I met up with friends down in Twin Lakes and we headed out for a nice ride. It was just three of us, but was still lots of fun and for the most part, three is enough manpower to be able to get a sled unstuck or out of a sticky situation. We did not go too crazy, but found a nice little pond to do some carving on and also some hills to climb. All sleds and riders made it safe and sound out of the woods, so it was a successful day. Actually, it was quite the fun ride. OK snow, but fabulous terrain and great friends is all I need to have a good time. Actually, I do not even need the fabulous terrain, just good friends.
    On Saturday, Gracie and I had a Daddy/Daughter day. We headed to Houghton for lunch and then took in the snow statues at MI Tech. It was Winter Carnival weekend, so all the statue building was completed by Thursday morning. The weather was so-so for viewing. It was actually snowing pretty good and very windy, but the temps were not too bad, in the upper teens. Gracie and I were bundled up pretty good for the elements and had a fun time walking around. The campus was really buzzing with folks taking in the statues. Probably as busy as I have ever seen it during carnival. Perhaps the other times we went were not prime time viewing or perhaps this was just a busier than average carnival. At any rate, there were a couple of dozen folks at each statue.
    The paraphrased theme to this years carnival was: Places to go to get away from the cold and snow on the Tech Campus. So that last shot was of a statue depicting the Taj Mahal. Here is one of the Coliseum in Rome, complete with horses and a chariot. This next one does not really need any explanation of what it is, but I am wondering if the theme was to go to space to get away from the cold and snow, or perhaps Cape Canaveral. I am guessing the cape. There was one of a shark about to take a bite out of a surfer. Most of the statues are cordoned off to keep folks from damaging them, but this was allowed visitors to go up and get their picture taken, so Grace went up and got next to the shark. The Eiffel Tower was also a theme for one of the statues. It looks like it might have needed a bit more engineering to get it to sit perfectly upright, but I really should not be critical, as I have never built a snow statue!
    There was one that I am not sure of where exactly it was suppose to be, the falling snow did cover up many of the descriptions fabricated by the statue builders, but it was of some western area, perhaps Yellowstone or maybe Yosemite. In any case, it had some really cool sculptures of wildlife. There was an eagle, a moose and either a bear or wolf. It looked more like a bear, but also looked to be howling, so you can be your own judge on that one. There was also a statue (or more properly put a grouping of statues) that depicted an arcade, with air hockey games and some other arcade type games. One of them was the shuffle board type game found in bars or arcades, but instead of the pucks, there were two guys sending kids down it. One would slide the kid, while the other would catch them at the end. Of course Gracie HAD to do that, so here is a video of her.
    All of those previous ones were right on the Tech Campus, mixed in with the buildings. Some of the biggest ones are done on the front lawns of the Fraternities and Sororities. Delta Sigma Phi is right across the street from the Tech Campus and always has a good and big one. This year it was a 2 and three story rendition of the Grand Hotel. The TKE statue was the grand prize winner this year, but was way at the other end of the campus and despite the fact that Gracie and I dressed for the elements, the trudging through the 4-5" of snow and battling the 30 mph wind whipped snow had begun to take its toll, so we decided to skip that one and just head back to the truck. On the way back we did stop long enough for Gracie to pose in front of one of the biggest trees I have ever seen. I am not sure what kind of tree it is, but the diameter of the trunk has to be close to 8 feet, if not more. 
    There is also a fraternity that builds great statues every year and is located across the Portage Lake Waterway, so Gracie and I drove over to see it and she snapped a picture of me posing in front of it. There was also an ice carver doing his artistry in downtown Houghton, so while stuck in the traffic jam, I snapped a shot of him busy sculpting
    All the while Gracie and I were on our date, Nora was with a friend at a program of some sort. So when we were done, we hooked up with Nora and then Gracie went home with Nora, while I stayed in the big city to take in the second game of the Tech/Bemidji State match. Like a few years back, I got to sit in the press box with the announcers calling the game. Tech one both games and also the trophy that goes to the team with the most combined points for the weekend match up. Here is a shot of the ceremony to bring the trophy out, just getting underway.
    After a nights rest and getting my Sunday work out of the way, I hooked up with my friend Dave and the two of us took to the snow up my way for some riding. We picked up around 2" Friday night and then another 7.5" from Saturday morning to Sunday morning, so there was a fair amount of fresh snow to play in. We made our way up to one of the higher knobs in Keweenaw County. It had been logged recently, so at the top, the snow was pretty wind scoured, but just below the top, we found around a foot of fresh to play in. We managed to stay out of trouble for most of the day and then on our way home, I came up with the brilliant idea to see where a set of tracks heading off into the woods (down no trail, just through the trees) and over a drop in the terrain went. We both are not sure why the tracks went down there, except to perhaps trap some unsuspecting snowmobilers for life. What was at one point about a 15 minute ride through the woods to get back to my house turned into a fun little climbing/digging/climbing/digging event that lasted about an hour, but we did manage to get out of the hollow and back home. Here is one last shot of one of our "quieter moments" yesterday.
    As mentioned, I did some snow shoeing this week as well. I do not know why I did not think of this sooner, but my morning walks with the pups down a few of the roads in the neighborhood has been transformed into a morning snowshoe through our woods. It really works out much better, as the pups can be off leash the whole time and we do not have to worry about a vehicle losing control and taking us out. Plus, while walking down the country roads is nice, walking through the untamed woods is even better. The pups even do a great job of leading the way.
    I also spent a little bit of time tinkering in the shop. Nothing too dramatic, just some cleaning and straightening up. I do plan to get going on some new work benches and cabinets for the shop and then a bench for our foyer. The pups love to join me in the shop and were anxious to get started on the next project!
    On my way back from Calumet one day last week, I decided to swing by the golf course to see how things looked there and well... it looks like they will not be getting the carts out of the cart barn any time soon!
    The last bit of news I have to share with you is that Gracie started piano lessons last week. One of Nora's close friends is a piano teacher, so we got Gracie signed up. She has been anxious to start and really took to it amazingly well. I took (had to!) several years of piano lessons and it was at a time when playing sports was WAY more interesting. So I did not apply myself too hard, but wish I knew how to play now, as I do love the sound of a piano playing. I am hoping that Gracie will stick with it and serenade me in the evenings with her talents. For now it is just the basics, but is still beautiful to listen to and even more beautiful to watch.
Good night from the Keweenaw..

February 8, 2015-
    Just got back from taking Gracie to see the Doctor. Everything is just fine, but it is creeping up on this old guys bedtime, so will have to wait until tomorrow to write again. Sorry!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
February 2, 2015-
    Well, I think my feet are finally starting to touch the ground when I walk. What a weekend, what an event. When asked how things went, I am telling everyone: "As good as they possibly could" and that is the honest truth. If given the chance to change anything about the weekends events, I would choose not to. Perhaps only to be able to re-live it a few more times. 
    Starting with the pre-party at the Mosquito Friday and ending with the final good-byes on Saturday, things happened in an almost Zen-like fashion. Friday night the Bug Bar was packed and Scottiking did an awesome job on the DJ equipment, playing awesome tunes for us all to enjoy, as well as spinning up the songs requested by those brave enough to grab the microphone and sing. He also emceed the raffle and 50/50 events. All told, the fund raised for the Make-A-Wish Michigan at the Mosquito were in excess of $3000! So that brought the totals raised between the Bear Belly and Bug Bar to over $5000!
    As those two totals came in and knowing that the raffle for the restored vintage Polaris sled was closing in on 1000 tickets sold, I was starting to get the feeling that we were going to beat last years record fund raising of $18,400. The question was by how much?
    To tell you the honest truth, when I set out to get rolling on this final event, I really did not have to goal to beat last years number. I just wanted it to be the most fun and most memorable event ever. Turns out, we did all three.
    I still have to triple check my numbers, but have Nora and maybe a third check them, but right now it is looking like $ 31,393.10 was raised this year! There may even be a few donations that come in in the next few days, so I guess that number could go higher, but I have added up all the income and only have two expenses and that is the number I come up with. So a huge congratulations needs to go out to EVERYONE that made the event such a success. Not just the 123 that attended the event, but those that could not and sent in donations, plus those that purchased the 1036 raffle tickets for the Vintage Sled. The sled was won by a gentleman named Andy from central Pennsylvania. I spoke with him today and he was absolutely thrilled that he held the winning ticket. It was 525 and was sold at M & M Powersports in Hancock, just a few days before the event. He was in town riding and actually had left earlier in the day on Saturday to head home to PA. He is arranging for the shipping of the sled to PA as I write.
    So to the formal thank you's (I pray I do not forget someone, but if I do please let me know). I would first like to thank my beautiful wife Nora, who not only helps me with the behind the scenes work, plus the registration and handing out of shirts at the event, but also for putting up with me in the months leading up to the event. I am sure that there are plenty of times when the words "for better... OR WORSE" echo in her head! Thanks Sweetie, you are the best! Secondly, I would like to thank Lori Sleeman/John Stachler. Lori, who has played a huge role in the organization and prize collection for every event and John, who came up with the idea over 10 years ago and has also been a huge help in the organization and prize collection in the past 10 years. I need to thank Kathy B, who helped Lori with things for many many years and Helen who stepped in this year to be Lori's right hand gal. 
    Troy and Cathy at the Lac La Belle Lodge need to be recognized for all the hard work and generosity that they have contributed in the past many years, as do the previous owners of the Mosquito Inn, Don and Donna Jarman who hosted the pre-party for several years before handing over the reigns to the current owners Shellie and Andy, who did an awesome job this year. I already mentioned his name, but Scott Hennessey, has done a great job with the DJ work at the pre-party, as did the staff at both the Bear Belly and Bug Bar at all of the events!
    Special recognition needs to go to Kelly Anderson and Adam Mercadante for their all of the hours they put into the sled restoration. It was truly a work of art once finished and was a huge part of this years success.
    I am still working on the official list of donators to this years event and hope to have it posted in the next day or two. I will be sure to put a link to it on the site and mention it again next week in the journal, but please take the time to read through the list. It is quite long, but the persons and businesses that donation really do deserve the recognition as what they donate are a huge part of the success of the event. 
    I do not include the persons that come to the banquet itself, as I do not ask the permission to post their names, but I can say that there are many that have been coming for at least 7-9 of the past 10 and other than the helpers, only one that has been to all of them. I have gotten to be great friends with him via the site and I believe that being the only one (that I know of) that has been to all 10, he deserves some special recognition. So Skylar...thanks!
    Ok, so I gave the totals and thank yous. How about some pictures? Here is a shot of the ballroom as things were getting going. Some visiting and some bidding on the auction items going on. We had two sleds attend the banquet this year. The vintage Polaris fully restored and a Z 120 graciously donated by Rt 12 Arctic Cat (the same great folks that send me a sled to play on every year).
    Another huge prize donated for the silent auction was a 21 hp 32" Ariens snowthrower from Pat's Motorsports. Both the Z 120 and the snow thrower fetched some big bucks and will be enjoyed and used thoroughly by those that won them. There were a ton of other great prizes donated for both the silent auction and the raffle. A couple of neon signs, one for Budweiser and one for the Red Wings. Lori Sleeman also painted a beautiful Northwoods scene and included the restored vintage Polaris in it. It really caught the eye of Kelly, who restored the sled) and I was happy to be able to make sure that Kelly went home with that picture.
    My old riding buddy (yea right, in my dreams!), Chris Burandt sent an autographed riding jacket over to us to be auctioned off. The jacket came complete with some battle scars from riding the woods of Colorado. Pretty cool to have something that he actually wore and not just signed.
   One of the items that I really was hoping to win was a Michigan Tech Hockey Jersey autographed by all of this years team and coaches. They are a very good team and do have the potential to win it all and I would not be surprised to see the coach inducted into the Hall of Fame for all of the success he has brought the program so far and will bring the team in future years. The silent auction does end at a designated time and I was the time keeper, so I had my brother help me out by standing there to sign my name to try and be the winning bidder, but time did not work in our favor and the winning bid came from someone else. The neat thing is that the winning bidder was a 1977 MI Tech alumni and was as thrilled about winning the jersey as I would have been had I been the winner. So it all worked out for the best.
    Just before closing out the bidding on the silent auction items, we all sat down to a wonderful meal prepared by Chef Eric and his staff. Food is not the main reason why anyone would attend the event, but a great meal like that sure does help to make the event a success. 
    Once the dinner and silent auction were completed, we played the two hands for the poker run. There are stops for businesses on the north and south side of the lift bridge and each end represents its own hand. Typically I have been able to get by with using just one or maybe two decks of cards, but this time it took 4!
    After the poker, it was time to let the raffle team do their stuff. In the past, this has been the only part of the banquet that I felt really needed some polishing up as there are lots of prizes (probably close to 100) that need to be raffled off and in the early years, the raffle could go on for hours! The team this year really had things going like a well tuned engine and Susie was able to call off the winning numbers in rapid fire fashion and the entire raffle probably took less than an hour.
    It was then time for one final group picture of everyone at the event and then Kelly did the honors of drawing the winning ticket for the vintage Polaris.
    So ended the 10th and final SnowFest event. I was having so much fun that I did not want it to end and based on the fact that most folks just sat in their chairs for a few minutes after the event was concluded and then proceeded to hang around for even longer to chat made me think a lot of them did not want it to end either.
    I feel so blessed to be able to be part of this event in the past 10 years. It is just filled with good persons doing good things year after year. That is what I will miss the most for sure, to be able to be involved with so many good, kind and generous persons. The exact people that I like to surround myself with... So for all of you that have been a part of things for the past 10 years, I am forever grateful.
    One final thing. I had the honor of partaking in a special project for last years Wish Family. As I am sure most of you know, the Wish Child, Brody, passed away before his wish could be granted. The family was hoping that since his wish could not be granted that some money raised by the Make-A-Wish could be used to acquire a park bench to be placed in or near the local school where Brody would have attended to memorialize him. Understandably, the Make-A-Wish really needs to stick to their mission statement and not venture down other paths of charitable work, or it would be impossible to draw the line when it came to such things. So they contacted me to see if I might be able to help out acquire a bench and I decided to build one myself. So I spent the first 2-3 weeks of January in the woodshop working on a bench for Brody. I was assisted by the Woodshop in Calumet High School to have some custom engraving done and this was the result. Here is a shot of Brody's family sitting on the bench at the banquet Saturday.
    So as much as I wanted to share all of this wonderful news yesterday, I just felt like all the adrenaline had been sucked out of me the past few days/weeks and just wanted to be more rested to do the stories justice. Hopefully I have accomplished that tonight. I did have enough energy to tag along on a snowshoe adventure with Gracie, my brother Jim and the pups. We trekked out to see how Old Granddad was doing and enjoyed all of the nature around us both coming and going.
    I am looking forward to a lot more nature adventures the rest of this winter and in the seasons, years to come!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

February 1, 2015-
    I am going to take a day of rest and hold off writing until tomorrow, but the final ride-in was nothing short of spectacular and could not have gone any better. Check in tomorrow for the full story!
Good night from the Keweenaw..


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