in one last journal before I head south. I do have plans to do at
least one journal while I am down south, so you will not be left without
anything for the week I am gone. Anyway, lots of signs of spring
around here- all the snow from my back yard is gone and most of the
snow in the front yard is gone, I have some tulips popping up through the
ground, I have seen tons of Canadian Geese heading north and the hounds
are loosing fur by the handful! I am not sure if my parents have
ever seen the dogs in full shedding form, but if not, they are in for a
big surprise! Actually, Burt does not loose that much hair and what
he has is short, so it is not much or a problem. However, Baileys
is a different story. She has lots of hair to loose and makes sure she
looses as much as possible every spring. I guess the good news for
my folks is that Baileys will be spending at least 2 days at the hospital,
maybe 3 and she will come home with one leg and hip fully shaved.
But I guess that is enough about how my dogs shed!
Our weather up here
has been easing into spring. With the exception of the day or two
we had two weeks ago, we have not poked into the 60's this month.
It seems like just when we start to get a bit of sunshine and warmer temps,
an area of low pressure rolls through and brings us cold and damp weather
again. I'm a little surprised that we have lost as much snow as we
have, but I guess the sun is pretty strong and it does not take all that
warm of temperatures to melt things off. Not all areas up here are
snow free. Yesterday the hounds and I decided to go to the north
shore for our afternoon walk. It was a mild day, with temps in the
low 50's, but also lots of clouds. We parked the car and walked to
the lake shore first to check it out. I was a little surprised to
see all the ice gone from the shoreline, but even more surprised to still
see some snow on
the beach. Actually, quite a bit of snow is still on the beach
there and there are very few areas where there is no snow. I suppose
that right up along the lake there the temps are kept in check and that
shoreline is shaded from the sun all morning and into the early afternoon
as well. Although, I think that is the most snow I have seen out
there, this late, ever (or at least in the last 4 years). Another
place with some snow still in it was where the hounds and I took our afternoon
walk today. Today we went over to the Lake Linden sands and there
was still about a foot of snow down in the
grove of pines just above the camper area. I am speculating that
this snow still sticking around can be attributed to two things.
First, these trees basically sit at the edge of the sands and the rest
of the sands is wide open, with no trees. So the snow likely is blown
across the sands and then hits the grove of trees and then is deposited
as the winds slow down through the grove of trees. Secondly, the
trees themselves likely shade the snow and help preserve it.
The third example of
winter still trying to hang on is the Torch
Lake. Still pretty frozen, but is it trying to break up.
There are sections of open water and if I were a betting man, I would say
that by the middle of next week, it will be totally open. That will
be good news for the areas fishermen and women. I suppose that there
are folks just chomping at the bit to get out and get a line wet, much
the way I start to chomp at the bit to get out and play in the snow around
Thanksgiving. I'm getting excited for my own summertime activity
and that is chasing the little white ball around the golf course.
I have not heard any news of when the meeting for the league will be.
It is not important that I go to the meeting, but I do need to make sure
I let the powers that be know I am going to play this year and do not loose
my slot in the league. It will actually be a lot more enjoyable this
season, with Nora here, I will not have to worry about getting back in
time to feed and let the dogs out. I actually have automatic feeders
for them now, so feeding them is not an issue, but I would still have to
worry about letting them out to do their business and with Nora here, I
will not have to worry about that. Don't worry, I have not made the
assumption that Nora will do this for me, we have already talked about
Not much else to share
with you, I plan to start up the summer forecasts about a week after we
get back from going down south, so that would put the start up date on
or about the 12th of May. I can say I have enjoyed my little break
from providing the forecasts for the website. It has allowed me to
get a few more things done in the morning hours and just generally relax.
However, I am also getting ready and psyching myself up to start the summer
forecasts up. I was thinking about just providing two forecasts a
week, one on Monday that would highlight things for the week ahead and
then an update on Thursday that would highlight the weekend, but think
I will continue to update the forecasts Monday Friday, but make the most
dramatic changes on Monday and Thursday, with more subtle changes in the
text on the other days. I don't have any new items for this summer,
I will still provide the precipitation forecast maps as well as wind direction
and speed maps and then the text.
The last bit of info
I have to share with you is a shot of the Laurium
Glacier. It was taken yesterday. Some folk's guesses have
already gone by the wayside and I have a feeling that guesses earlier than
the middle of May will also go by the wayside. I would have to say
that if your guess is towards the last week of May, you are in the running.
Of course, if we keep up with the cool temps and limited sunshine, then
perhaps the early June guesses will take the prize. I need to go
through the list and set up a calendar with the guesses posted to it so
I can be ready for the winner.
I guess that will do
it for now. I need to go and take care of some things before we head
south tomorrow. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
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which helps to make johndee.com
They say that
time fly's when you are having fun, I suppose that's why the 9 days that
Nora spent up here seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. Even though
the weather did not cooperate much with us, we had lots and lots of fun.
She is such a great person and we get along so amazingly well, just thinking
about it makes me smile a big old smile. We are on the home stretch
now, just a little over a month and she will be here to stay. So
even though she has gone back south below the bridge, she did leave some
things behind to remember her by. At least 30 items, to be exact.
You see, she has an strong liking for Longaberger Baskets and left me with
30 of them- all of different shapes and sizes. She did warn me about
this passion she has for these things and I did not have any problem at
all with them. They are pretty neat actually and some are actually
being put to good use already for such tasks as holding tissue boxes, the
dogs toys and even the odds and ends that seem to accumulate on one of
my kitchen counter tops. I was going to take a picture of her, surrounded
by all of the baskets, but they started to get put in the different locations
and we did not feel like pulling them all back for the shot. Anyway,
I have been looking forward to her moving up so that the house could loose
some of it's bachelor feel and even though the changes have been very minor
so far, the house already has more of a touch of class and I like the changes.
Some of the most dramatic changes will likely be taking shape outside as
well as inside as she is a big gardener and is already sketching out plans
in her head for where planters can go and where some flower beds can be
As mentioned, the weather
was not the best for her visit. It could have been worse too, I suppose,
but lots of rain some freezing rain and even sleet. There were a
few days when it did not rain or throw some other form of precip on us,
but it was also pretty cold for most of her visit. Things did not
get much better after her departure. Sunday it rained almost all
day and was cold and then yesterday we had a rain/snow mix all day.
No accumulation here in Lake Linden, but I did spot white ground in the
NCN cam for Ironwood and on my trip to Marquette yesterday there were spots
in the upland region between L' Anse and Negaunee that were coated in white
as well. Today is the first totally sunny day we have had in over
a week. It's funny, I really hate the cold and damp weather we have
in April. So much so that it is about the only time of the year that
I would not mind spending some time away from the Keweenaw. Yet,
the weather in April is not that different from the weather during the
second two weeks of October and into the first two weeks of November, and
I do not have a problem with the temps in the 40's and rain at that time
of the year. Just goes to show you that perspective is 9/10ths of
Really not a whole
lot going on up here once again. With all the rain, the Traprock
River reached flood stage yesterday morning. It did not rise much
above flood stage and did stay at flood stage very long and is already
about a foot and a half below flood stage. I was not able to tour
much of the valley yesterday, as the hounds and I had to go to Marquette
to see the vet. However, I did drive over to where the Bootjack Road
passes over the Traprock and snapped a shot of the swollen
river on it's to the Torch Lake. I love those names too; Bootjack
Road, Traprock River- don't know why, but they just seem fun to say!
The snow is just about
all gone from my front and back yards. My back yard may actually
be free of the white stuff by the end of the day, while the snow is a little
deeper in my front yard (from the snow thrower) and may take a few more
days to finally leave. I could take down the bush protectors, as
they are all free of snow, both from the top and the front, but I think
I will wait until I get back from my trip south next week. The hounds
and I leave Saturday for southern WI to spend the week with my parents.
Baileys will be going in for her hip surgery next Monday (the 28th) and
my parents live about an hour away from the vet we are taking her to at
the University of WI in Madison. I think the surgery will actually
be done on Tuesday, but they want to see her for the examination on Monday
and then she will spend the nigh there Monday and Tuesday at least.
The good thing is that I hear the recovery from the hip replacement surgery
is very quick. In fact, they say that the hard part about the recovery
is keeping the dog quiet while the surgery and repairs can fully heal.
I guess there is almost no pain and all the dog wants to do is run and
play because the pain they had from the bad hip is gone and there is no
residual pain from the surgery. So the angst I will be going through
while she is away will be worth the life she will have after all is said
and done. I cannot wait to see her be able to run around again.
As mentioned, the hounds
and I took a trip to Marquette yesterday to see the vet. All went
well with that trip, it was just their annual checkup and vaccinations.
I have mentioned in the past that while it may seem a bit extreme to have
to travel 2 hours to see the vet, I do not complain too much about the
trip (except to Nora yesterday morning!). The scenery changes quite
a bit in that two hours and that helps to make the trip seem less than
2 hours. At times the weather can be a bit of a challenge, that is
why my initial trip slated for last Thursday was put off until yesterday.
Yesterdays weather also provided a bit of a challenge at times, but we
made it safe and sound. I have been wanting to bring a camera along
on the one of my trips and show you some of the different scenery that
I get to see along the way and yesterday I finally remembered to bring
the cam, so the rest of the the journal will be about my trip to Marquette.
To see my trip back, just read the next paragraph or two in reverse!
The trip starts out
going through some very familiar territory for me, I travel down Hwy. 26
through Lake Linden, then Hubbell, Tamarack City, Mason, Dollar Bay, Ripley
and eventually into Hancock and across the Bridge into Houghton.
I wanted to take a shot while crossing the bridge, but there was too much
traffic to do that safely and did not want to take a shot of me getting
into an accident while crossing the bridge, so you will just have to imagine
that part. I then travel through Houghton, past MI Tech and then
down through Chassell. Over the Sturgeon River, past the Sturgeon
Sloghs and then up the Snake River hill into the "farmland"
south of Chassell. There are just a few areas in the UP and even
less in the Keweenaw where farming is done with any significance and the
area of Houghton County to the south of Chassell is one of those areas.
After driving through the farmland south of Chassell, the road encounters
the waters of Lake Superior at the Keweenaw Bay. It then follows
the shoreline all the way south to Baraga and L' Anse. Usually the
view along this stretch of roadway is magnificent, with the blue waters
of Keweenaw Bay in the foreground and the green hills of the Huron Mountains,
including MI's highest peaks- Mt. Arvon and Mt. Curwood. However,
yesterday the mountains
were socked in clouds and snow and the waters of Keweenaw Bay were reflecting
the steel gray skies above. You could even see some of the flakes
of snow in that last shot, but the roads were clear and the snow was not
even accumulating on the grassy surfaces.
After passing through
Baraga and then L' Anse, I leave the waters of Keweenaw Bay behind me and
the road starts a
gradual incline. It is a pretty long incline, lasting about 8-10
miles and climbing about 800-900 feet in that distance. It is at
this time of the drive that things can get interesting, weather wise, especially
on day's like yesterday, when the temps are just enough above freezing
to be melting the snows at the lower elevations. Near the top of
the incline is the historical village of Alberta. It is where Henry
Ford had a sawmill that would process the wood that went into his automobiles.
The sawmill is still there and is now a museum, but the only persons living
there now are seasonal residents that are part of that complex as well
as seasonal workers that do summer work for the state. I like think
of Alberta as the gateway to the uplands of the central UP. Much
of the elevation in this area is 1400-1600 feet above mean sea level and
higher than most other spots in the UP. As mentioned, this is where
the weather can get interesting on days like yesterday. The increase
in elevation leads to a decrease in temperature and also an increase in
the precipitation. The net result can be heavier snowfall than is
occurring in the lower elevations. Such
was the case yesterday. At times, it seemed like winter was returning,
with several inches
of snow on the ground. Thankfully the roads remained wet and
did not get slick. Interestingly enough, this area does not get as
much snow as the Keweenaw does in most winters. It sits downwind
of the Keweenaw and thus in the Keweenaw's snow shadow. It sure would
be a different story if the Keweenaw was not there. I would imagine
that seasonal snowfall totals in this area and even a little further to
the north and closer to the lake would be in the 300-400" range, with the
LES being dumped on it rather than the Keweenaw.
About 10-15 miles past
Alberta, but still in the uplands, I come to the Three Lakes area.
It is actually part of a larger area of the uplands where not all of the
water from the snow melt and warm season rain finds it's way to the Big
Lake via a stream or river. Some of that water is trapped in lakes
and swamps. If it were not for the more dramatic changes in elevation
in the forms of small mountains or large hills, this area would remind
me a lot of northern WI, with all of it's small lakes. One of the
bigger lakes in the region is Michigamme.
Some day I would love to get out on that lake on a boat. I bet the
view from the water is really neat, with the topography jutting up pretty
dramatically where the lake meets dry land. The view from land is
pretty good too, but not that good yesterday! Getting to Lake Michigamme
also means that I am closing in on my planned destination, only about 20-25
more miles to the western fringes of Marquette and the vet's office.
The lake itself is long and narrow and it's length is oriented in the same
east/west direction I am traveling, so by the time I am done passing by
it, I am even closer. So close, that in just a bit more travel time,
the relatively unspoiled country side I have been driving through changes
to the more urban
look provided by Ishpeming and then Negaunee. Ishpeming is home
to the National
Ski Hall of Fame and Negaunee is home to the Worlds
Largest Golf Ball Stuck on a Tower. Actually, that is the dome
housing the NWS dopplar radar. Shortly after passing the radar dome,
it is down the hill a bit, past the Menards, Super Walmart and then to
the "Doc's". After the Doc's, I made my traditional stop at the Menards.
I have come to the conclusion that it is a good thing we do not have one
of those, or a Home Depot or Lowes up here, I would be broke. I did
pretty good at Menards yesterday, spending less money than I could have,
but it was tempting!
So that is the trip
to Marquette from Lake Linden and also the last of my material for this
journal. I will try and get out one last journal before I travel
south, but no guarantees. However, I have already thought of a subject
for when I am away. Over a year ago, I was asked if I could do a
journal that highlights my experience of moving up and I have actually
been jotting down some notes for that topic and will write that journal
while I am at my parents. That way we will not go too long without
a journal. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
I think I should
get brownie points for putting out a journal tonight. As you all
know, Nora is here with me, so there are certainly other things I could
be doing right now. Not that I want you all to feel bad about me
writing a journal, but I'm sure you can understand where I'm coming from.
We have had an interesting weather day today. When I woke up there
was some freezing rain falling and a light glaze on everything. As
the day progressed, the precipitation only increased in its intensity and
also changed over to primarily sleet. As I look out the window, the
ground is all white again, but this time with sleet not snow. Schools
were canceled today due to the nasty conditions. It actually caught
most of us by surprise, even the road crews were not out in full force
this morning and I think that is one of the big reasons why they decided
to not have school today, as the roads were in pretty bad shape early this
morning. I certainly do not mean to be critical of the road crews,
they do a fabulous job up here. It's probably as much my fault as
anyone's, as the forecast did not call for any of the precip to start falling
until about midday today. But instead it came a little earlier and
caught most of us offguard and the road crews had to play a little catch
up, which they did and even with the freezing rain and sleet that we have
had all day, the roads are in pretty decent shape. I actually had
plans to go to Marquette today, it's time for the dog's annual checkup
and that is where I take them. However, I rescheduled the appointment
so that we would not have to travel in the nasty conditions. I heard
there was a bad accident on Highway 41 somewhere between Covington and
Three Lakes. It involved three semi tractor trailers and a Greyhound
bus, but I also heard that there were no serious injuries, so that is very
good news. I'm sure there were many other accidents up here, in fact
on the way down to Houghton this afternoon, I saw a freshly damaged guardrail.
Nora and I have been
keeping pretty busy, thankfully with fun stuff and not work. We got
all the work out of the way this past weekend, so now we can play.
Most of our activities have involved waterfalls, tis this season.
I mentioned in the last journal that Monday was so warm, that we went to
the beach. On Tuesday it cooled off considerably and was only in
the forties. So Nora, the hounds and I went up into the woods to
check out the Hungarian Falls. The water levels on the creeks and
rivers up here are pretty high, but not as high as its been in the previous
years. Even so, the middle
falls of the Hungarian River were still very pretty. The lower
falls are actually the most dramatic, but also the hardest to get a good
picture of. The best vantage point would be had by rappelling down
the side of the gorge just below the falls, but I was without my rappelling
equipment Tuesday so you have to look
through the trees to see the falls. Another unique vantage point
is achieved by hiking up the bottom of the River Valley and then looking
up from the very bottom of the falls. However, Bailey's is not really up
to doing any serious hiking and Nora did not have good hiking boots with
her, so we stuck to the regular trails. We did not even hike up to
the Upper Falls, we sort of got on the path that runs down the upper edge
of the gorge from the Lower Falls and followed that all the way down to
the old railroad grade and then back down to the truck.
Yesterday, Nora, the
hounds and I went up north into Keweenaw County and explored a little bit
of the Gratiot River. It too was running pretty good. The place
where we park and walk in to get to the river does not really take us to
the most dramatic falls on this river. But, it is beautiful
none the less. The land is so unspoiled back there and the river
just seems to carve out such as scenic path through the woods, that you
don't need any big waterfalls or even a tremendous amount of water flowing
down the river to make it a neat spot to be at any time of the year.
There are a few spots where the river takes a few drops, and the water
was falling over
those spots. But, by far the most dramatic drops are further downstream,
but again with Bailey's and her hip, I didn't want to go too far.
In less than two weeks Baileys' will have a new hip and this summer we
will be able to get back to some serious hiking. After hiking back
to the truck from the Gratiot River, we decided to take the long way home,
via Eagle River and Eagle Harbor, that way we could get in a few more falls,
namely the Eagle
River Falls and Jacobs
Creek Falls. If we had more time I would have loved to have gone
up to the Harbor and taken in the Manganese Falls and then swung by Lac
La Belle to see the Haven Falls. Plus, if the weather ever clears
up maybe Nora the hounds and I will try to get in to see the Douglas Houghton
falls. I have a friend who owns land on the north side of the falls,
so we can get in to see them that way. The other way is closed. Maybe
if the weather and time permits we can even get down to see the Sturgeon
River Falls, but I seriously doubt that we will be able to make it there,
as that is a long way off and the weather looks to be pretty nasty through
most of the rest of Nora's stay here.
Not much else going
on up here, there was a little bit of excitement in the village Tuesday
morning. The guys from the village were just finishing up picking
up the garbage when the
roadway gave out underneath the truck. It seems that a section
of an old brick storm drain washed out and that undermined the dirt underneath
the roadway, and the garbage truck fell into the large sinkhole.
Here is another image
from the other side. My thanks to Gus Linja for providing me
with those shots. They actually got the truck out pretty quickly
and by the time I had gotten there in the afternoon, all that was left
was the hole.
I guess the last thing
I have to share with you is a picture of a the
Laurium Glacier. Still pretty big. I think anyone with the guesses
earlier than mid May will likely be disappointed. I know my guess
was actually May eighth. That was made back at the end of March when
we were going through a pretty serious thaw. Judging by its size
and the forecast I'd have to say it's not going to be that much smaller
about a week from now and unless we get some really, really warm air, it
might just outlast last year's final day. The forecast is closed
for this year so now all we have to do is wait. I guess that will
do it for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Wow, it has
been almost a week since I last put out a journal. I can say with
all honesty that I did have intentions of putting out a journal earlier,
actually as early as last Friday, but I got a little surprise Friday evening.
Nora had sent me an envelope containing several smaller envelopes each
with the date on them. I was instructed I could open the first two
after 5 p.m. on the date given on the front of the envelope. The
last two envelopes I could not open until I was told. So on Friday
I went about my normal business, taking the dogs for a walk on the Lake
Linden sands, and then running a bunch of errands in Calumet, Hancock and
Houghton. I then got back about 5 PM and was just getting dinner
ready when my phone rang and it was Nora, she was calling me on her cell
phone as she most often does and told me it was time to open up the third
envelope. However I had to go into my office and be in front of the
computer when I did so. Inside the first two envelopes had been a
little poem that she had wrote about us, the third also contained a little
poem, but the last line in the poem had a sentence that read "So hurry
up already and come give me a kiss!!". I actually caught on immediately
upon reading that sentence and knew that she was up here. She sure
did catch me offguard, I was totally surprised! So surprised, that
the house was pretty much a pit. I was actually planning to give
it a pretty good cleaning on Saturday and Sunday so that it would be fairly
clean for her arrival later Sunday. I consider being caught with
a dirty house a small sacrifice to pay to have her here two full days earlier,
which also means two full days longer. I put what I was making for
dinner aside and we went out for dinner to the Loading Zone II and then
came home and had a nice relaxing evening together.
Our relaxing time did
not last too long, as Saturday was spent cleaning the house. Nora
did most of the cleaning, but I helped out as well, she ended up doing
a much more thorough job than I was intending to do and by Saturday afternoon
we were both pretty tired out from the day's activities. Sunday also
proved to be a pretty active day, as we set about getting the garage straightened
out. That job ended up being a much bigger job that I had anticipated,
but the result was exactly what I had been hoping for- a nice clean
and organized garage with room for the second sled that I hope to have
in the not-too-distant future. I purposely set the heights of the
shelves so that I can fit things like the lawnmower, snowthrower, and even
a sled underneath the lowest shelf and still have room to store things
on the shelves above. I was actually surprised that a lot of the
shelves were already filled up, I suppose in another year or two I maybe
building more shelves! Better yet, an outside storage shed would
probably be a better item to have, maybe that will be this autumn's project.
So, with Nora's arrival
Friday, I found myself suddenly a little too busy to sit down and write
a journal. Actually I was just plain too tired to do it Saturday
evening or Sunday evening. I did take some pictures last week that
I was hoping to put in Friday's journal and I guess they will be just as
entertaining in tonight's journal. The first one was of the front
of the house and it was taken either last Thursday or last Friday,
I think last Thursday after the dogs and I had returned from our morning
walk. As you can see there was still quite a bit of snow on the roof
as well as on the bush protectors and here is a
shot taken this morning with the roof clear and the bush protectors
clear and a lot less snow on the yard is well. Been losing a lot
of snow the past six to seven days, probably close to 2 ft.. Last
Thursday week we got to 64° and last Friday we rose into the low seventies.
Today we were in the mid upper seventies and I think we might have even
reached 80° in a few spots. The airport was a little bit cooler
because it was closer to the lake and the winds did turn in out of the
West by this afternoon, so that would have made them cooler there.
With temps in the seventies, it seemed to be a good idea to go to the beach.
I had initially thought that the North shore would be the place to go but
decided with winds off the Lake it might be to chilly out there, so we
headed out to Big Traverse. That turned out to be a good idea as
it was plenty warm there, so warm that Burt
decided to go for a swim. Believe it or not this was not his
first swim of the season. That actually took place last Friday while
we were walking around on the Lake Linden sands. Bailey's went for
a swim as well, but didn't last as long and had more fun sticking
her head in the sand. I'm not quite sure why she does that, but
it is a regular thing for her to do everytime we go to the beach.
Seeing the icebergs still floating around in the lake, I decided to not
to even dip my toes in the water. I'll wait for another month or so to
brave Lake Superior.
Getting back on the
subject of some pictures I took for last Friday's intended journal. I took
the camera along when the hounds and I went to the sands. We had
the place to ourselves which was not a very big surprise, lots
of open spots for campers right now. You just have to figure
out a way to clear the snow good enough to get your camper in there.
Amazing to think that in just a couple of weeks, there will be some campers
there and kids at the Beach, things sure do change in a hurry up here.
But for now, not
much of a beach, but there was some
open water starting to poke it's head out. While I'm on the subject
of the sands, I went to the meeting on Saturday where they discussed the
potential of building a golf course out there. It turns out that
it's not to be some rinky-dink set up, but rather a 7200 yd. championship
quality course. The course would have 11,500 ft. of lake frontage,
with water coming into play on both the front nine and the back nine.
It would be a true links style course, with no trees but lots of bunkers
and rough. It would also have a 320 yd. driving range that would
utilize both ends of the range as well as facilities for practice pitch
and putt. In the wintertime the miles of cart path would serve as
cross-country ski trails, and one of the cart paths would be wide enough
to serve as a 50 ft. wide right-of-way for snowmobiles. The course
was designed by a professional course designer who has won many awards
and I believe designed over 120 courses so far in his career. Obviously,
there are a lot of things that still need to be worked out before the course
becomes a reality. Things like what could pay for it as well as the
exact features to the course, but it sure seems like they are in the right
track, and with the course being of the design that it would be, it would
not really be in competition with the other courses in the area, it would
be a much higher end facility and anything the U. P. has to offer.
I guess the only downside might be that the sleepy little village of Lake
Linden might not be as sleepy in the summertime. I'll keep you all
posted on the events regarding this. It sure would turn out to be a huge
thing for the village if it in fact became reality. For those of
you living in the village and reading this and could not make it to the
meeting, the course would not be built using funds raised as a result of
increased taxes within the village. They are looking at other avenues,
including grants, bonds and private financing.
The last thing I have
to share with you, is a picture of the sap
boiler and action. The conditions we had late last week were
ideal for the running of the sap, actually a little too ideal, as the guy
who collects all the sap could not keep up. Some of the buckets got
so full that they actually fell off the trees. So he had to remove some
of them just so that he could keep up with the buckets that were still
on the trees. As of last Saturday he had already made 28 gal. of
maple syrup and that boiler has been going full steam since then.
It will be interesting to see how many gallons he makes during this round.
So I guess that will
do it for another one, Nora is in the kitchen making some cookies and I
think she needs a guinea pig to test them, so duty calls!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
out the window this morning at close to 2 ft. of snow on the ground and
a temperature reading of two below zero, it's hard to believe that in just
about four weeks I'll be cutting my grass and maybe even playing some golf.
Temperatures did warm today, topping out in the upper thirties and low
forties and with the sunshine it actually felt like spring around here.
Tomorrow we are supposed to warm to close to 50° and reach into the
50's by Thursday. We should see lots of sunshine in the next two
days as well, so that should take care of a good percentage of our snow.
If I'm sounding like I want to get rid of the snow, I guess there's a part
of me that does want to see it gone, but there is still a part of me that
wouldn't mind seeing one last big storm. My sled is still in the
shop, so there won't be any riding for me in the next couple of days and
actually I'm probably done for the season. I suppose with the warmer
temps and all the snow on the ground, there might be some water skipping
that gets done this weekend, but I won't mind sitting that one out.
Water skipping is OK, but you do get pretty wet and with temperatures only
in the forties this weekend it would be a pretty cold ride. Plus
there will be work for me to do and I plan on attending a meeting on Saturday.
The meeting is actually being held to discuss the plans to build a golf
course on the Lake Linden sands. Yep, that's right, there are some
plans in the works to build an 18 hole public golf course out on the remediated
sands. Nothing final yet, they did hire a designer and also have
the Michigan Tech school of business working on a feasibility study, so
will be interesting to see what kind of work has been done so far.
It goes without saying that I would love to have a golf course so close
to home, the down side would be that I could no longer ride my snowmobile
out there. Give-and-take I guess.
I have been keeping
busy doing lots of woodworking. My first task is to get the garage
organized. I have built six rather large shelves that Nora has agreed
to help me put up when she arrives. In addition to the shelves, I
have also been busy building a large professional type tool chest.
I suppose I could have just gone and ordered one from a catalog or even
gone to see if the local Sears hardware store has any stock, but I will
spend only about half as much money on the materials and there will be
a certain sense of satisfaction looking at the chest when it is all done,
knowing that I built it. The construction phase is actually almost
completed, the frames for the chests have been built and I almost have
all of the drawers built. I did run out of some material this afternoon,
so production was put on hold until I can get the materials needed to finish
the job tomorrow afternoon. Then, as with all woodworking projects,
the second half of the production phase takes place and that is the finishing
phase. That phase may take even longer than the construction phase,
which is often the case with many of the things that I build. The
drawer slides were ordered and will be in on Saturday, I need to get the
painting done before I can attach them, but I seriously doubt the painting
will be done by Saturday. So with Nora arriving on Sunday and then
staying for a little over a week, and then the dogs and I traveling south
for a week, if I don't finish it by Sunday afternoon, it will not likely
be done until sometime the week of May 5. I'm certainly not going
to rush things, I have learned that that is the fastest way to mistakes
and poor craftsmanship. When I first started woodworking all I could
think about was finishing the project, that would cause me to rush through
the project and then when it was done I was not as happy with the finished
product as I would have been had I taken my time and done things the right
way all the time. I have learned and now enjoy the process as much
or more than the product and the result is gallery quality furniture.
I'll be sure to take a picture of the finished product so you all can see
what has been keeping the busy the past few days or so.
As I am sure I have
mentioned before, this is really a slow time of the year for material for
the Journal. I have lost my desire to go cross-country skiing and
with the amount of snow that we still have on the ground, either skis or
snow shoes are really the only way to get around out there, so I don't
have any exciting pictures. I do have some pictures that I took on
one of the walks around the neighborhood with the hounds. I guess
you could say that the title to the round of pictures that I have would
be "the beginning of Spring". I do have to point out that my good
camera that I purchased last summer has been sent away for repairs.
It started acting up this winter and the problems only got worse and worse,
so I was forced to pack it up and ship it off to a repair shop near Minneapolis.
I have no idea how long it will take to get the camera back, but it will
not cost me anything because the camera is still under warranty.
So until further notice all of the images that appear in the Journal will
be from the old camera. The first
shot was actually taken Sunday morning as the hounds and I were returning
from our morning walk. Technically it was still looking like and
feeling like the dead of winter when that shot was taken. The next
shot is truly a sign of spring, it is a homemade
sap evaporator. As you can see it has been in use a little bit
this season but the cold temps have been keeping the sap flowing slowly.
However, with the forecast temperatures that we are supposed to have the
rest of this week, I would imagine that the sap will start to flow at full
speed and when it does, the neighborhood maple syrup maker will
be ready. The next sight of spring is actually a shot of a
car emerging from its wintry hibernation. Almost all winter long
the snow completely covered this vehicle. Not only are buried cars
emerging from winters snowy grip, but
so are the roadways. That was actually a look down my street,
towards the south and towards the center of the village. It's nice
to not have to worry about traction when driving. The last sign I
have to share with you of the emerging spring is the
emergence of my old snowthrower. It got the boot from the garage
and into the back yard in order to make room for the new one I purchased
this last fall. It's for sale- I'm currently taking bids. No
So other than the pictures,
I don't have much else to talk about. Nora will be arriving on Sunday,
so maybe the four of us will be able to get out and about and take some
pictures. Depending upon how much snow melts between now and then
maybe we can even get over to some of the waterfalls. Other than
not having to get dressed up as an Arctic explorer, I think the waterfalls
are the only other upside to spring around here. If I could, I would
not mind going straight from winter to summer. I sure do love the
fall, so I would never want to do away with that season, but spring I could
do without, at least spring as we know it up here.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
I really am
at a loss for things to say to you all tonight, but it has been four days
since my last entry and we even entered a new month, so I figured I better
put something out. Since it is not as much of a job with the voice-recognition
software, I figured I could sit down and in about an hour's time, come
up with something interesting to talk about. We have definitely slipped
back into winter around here. Not just with all the snows that came
a week ago, but with a little bit of light snow that has come this week
and temperatures that are also winter like. High temperatures today
struggled to climb out of the low twenties and an east wind blowing at
about 15 to 25 mph really made it feel more like January around here and
the beginning of April. I'm not going to complain, as I know that
the days are coming when I will be complaining about the heat. We
still have 2 ft. of snow on the ground in most places and 2 1/2 feet down
and others. So not only does it feel like winter it looks like it
The Houghton Keweenaw
Conservation District had a tree and plant sale, the orders needed to be
in by the first of April, and the plants will be ready for pickup at the
end of April. I ordered some trees this year as well as some strawberry
and blueberry plants. The nice thing is the price is right for the
trees and plants, the only downside is the quantity that you have to purchase.
My main reason for getting the trees was too start to provide some shade
for the house. Once summer comes it literally bakes in the sun all
day long and without air-conditioning is a sauna. Now, I realize
the trees I will be getting will be more like twigs then trees and it will
take many years for them to attain a height and size where they will provide
decent shade, but unless I plant now, and be patient about things or pay
big bucks for a big tree I'm out of luck. I ordered some sugar maples
as well as some white spruce. I may plant a few of the white cedars
on the edge of my property here to provide some privacy but most of them
will actually be going out onto the property that I bought last summer
and where I plan to build my dream home on in the coming years. Their
purpose will be to provide even more privacy than the land is providing
already. There will be 50 of the white spruce coming and 10 hard
maples. About 3 or 40 of the maples will be planted here along with
2 or 3 of the spruce, the rest will go on the land up by Mohawk.
The thing I just realized is that I have to pick up the trees on the 25th
or 26th of April and I am going to be headed down to Wisconsin that same
weekend, so that I can take Baileys in for her hip surgery on the 28th.
So it looks like I'm going to be a pretty busy guy just before I head down
to Wisconsin planting all of those trees!
Even though we have
slipped back into winter, the dogs have gone into spring mode, and are
starting to shed their winter coats. It's a rather slow clip right
now, but I'm sure that in not to long it will be coming out in handfuls.
Spring is actually full of many things that seem to aggravate me and that's
just one among many. I certainly don't blame the dogs for their shedding,
it's just one of those things. However it's no fun having to sweep
up and vacuum up dog hair on a daily basis and it also is not much fun
to brush them out on a daily basis either. Some other issues I have
with spring is the mess that it makes up here when all the snow melts.
Things sure do get wet and messy and it's hard to keep just about anything
clean- floors, cars, clothes, automobiles, you name it! I look very
forward to the first or second week in May when things finally dry out
enough that life can get back to normalcy. I suppose that since we
are still so cold right now, our period of messy times could be shorter.
Last years was pretty short, I think that in the course of about two weeks
we were able to get rid of about 3 ft. of snow, and then did not have to
worry about too much messy weather after that.
It will be interesting
to see if I get any more riding in for the season. My sled is over
at Al's shop, I decided to just let him put it back together. It
was all stuff that I could have done myself but I have been pretty busy
with some other chores. I know that Al has looked at the sled, and
could fix it in probably a days time but I told him there was no big rush,
so it could be a week before I get it back. It was interesting what
I had to do to it so that it would be able to be driven down to his shop
yesterday. I picked yesterday because we picked up a couple of inches
of snow and the plows did not run, so there was enough snow on the roads
to get it down there without tearing up the track or carbide's. However,
due to the right hand ski suspension being rather torn up I had to use
a combination of plastic ties, a nylon hold down strap and even some baling
wire to get that right ski to be strong enough and track well enough so
that I could limp down the road to Al's shop. I got her there OK,
but should have really taken a picture of it as it sure was goofy looking.
Al wanted me to mention that his sled is for sale, he rides the '03 900
Mountain Cat 151". I don't know how many miles it has on it but if
I had to guess, it is probably somewhere around 1000. He told me
that he would let it go for $6500. Seems like a great deal to me,
and I have actually been tempted to pick it up myself, but am working on
a few other deals. If those two not pan out and Al's sled is still
available then I may just be riding it next season. Of course if
any of you are seriously interested, let me know and I can put you in touch
I don't know about
the rest of you but I still am watching a whole lot of TV, channel surfing
between the news stations to catch coverage of the events in Iraq.
I don't know why I find it so fascinating, I suppose it's because it's
something that does not happen very often, and also the fact that at times
I am able to watch a battle going on live. Thankfully it has not
impacted my ability to work, but I don't believe I've watched as much TV
in the past year that I have watched in the past two weeks. I'm grateful
that things have been going so well for us so far and am cautiously optimistic
that all could be over soon.
I have also been getting
down into my woodworking shop in the basement recently. I have started
to get ready for Nora's arrival this June. There is not going to
be a major transformation that takes place prior to her arrival, but this
house seems to be set up best for a single person or maybe even two separate
persons having their own rooms and closets and whatnot. So some of
the things I am working on and will be working on up until her arrival
are to provide more storage space for clothes and other personal belongings.
She's actually coming up a little over a week to visit for a little over
a week and will be bringing the first load of personal belongings, she
has told me that she does not have a lot and I believe her, but I want
to provide her with as much space as possible and make her feel at home.
We both are getting very excited for her to arrive for good. With
us having a long-distance relationship for the entire time we have known
each other so far, sometimes it almost seems impossible that she will actually
be here to stay in not that long. I almost can't imagine how great
it's going to be to have someone go for walks with me every day, share
meals with me and all the other things I have been doing solo for so many
years. I'm even looking forward to having a woman's touch added to
the decor of the house. It's definitely lacking in the softer side
and creative side of decorating, so I look forward to that.
Well, my hour is just
about up, and I am out of things to say anyway, so I guess I may as well
sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..