Well, it came...The
seasons first snow. And even though we are only a week into astronomical
autumn, I feel compelled to wish you all a Bon Hivar, or Good Winter.
Of course the snows did not stick around too long and any snows this early
are not going to, but still, for a while, it looked like winter was here.
Personally, I am hoping for a round of warmer weather to settle in for
a week or so because I have lots of outdoor chores I want to get done before
the real chill of autumn and winter sets in. It was interesting to
see who got the snow and who did not with this batch. Looks like
it was mainly the western UP and far northern sections of WI. I checked
radars and web cams and did not see much in the way of snow outside of
those two areas I just mentioned. A sign of things to come?
Well actually, I have not found too much correlation between the seasons
earliest snows and what the rest of the season brings, but it is interesting
to note that the places in the UP getting hit the hardest around Christmas
time also seem to get hit the hardest the rest of the year. So we
still have a few months to try and figure out who in the UP might be the
favored local for LES.
Today's early morning
forecast (5:30 am) was a tricky one, as I saw the precip out over the western
lake getting ready to hit us, but had no clue what form it was in.
To make matters even worse, had I even received reports of what the precip
was, these early season events can be snow for one area and 2 miles away,
just rain. Elevation makes a big difference. So I had to play
it safe and call for a "mixture of rain and snow" to fall, but in reality,
it was mainly snow. The first flakes hit at about 6:30 in the morning,
just as I was doing my first live weather segment and were actually mixed
with some sleet. That activity continued until about 7:30 and then
tapered off a bit. By the time it got brought out, there was still
some remnants left, so I made the AL
Cam snap a shot before it was scheduled to, just in case that was all
that we were going to get. I was afraid that by 8 am, when the cam
starts to automatically take shots, rolled around, all the evidence of
our frozen precip would be gone. Quite frankly, there was not much
at 7:30, but you can see a few patches on the ground and the biggest sign
is the white on my neighbors roof in the background.
The precip started
back up and for awhile it was a rain/snow mix, but then changed over to
all snow and actually came down pretty good for a while. After taking
care of the things I needed to for the morning work, having breakfast and
taking a shower- Nora, the hounds and I piled into the truck to head up
the hill to see how much was on the ground in the higher elevations up
by Calumet. They always do much better than Lake Linden does in these
early season storms and a few late season storms to boot. The drive
up the Calumet Hill
actually got a little tricky with the snows coming down at a faster clip
than could be melted off by the residual heat from the summer. After
making our way through Laurium and then into Calumet I decided to swing
home via the Golf Course Road. Before getting to the golf course
we passed an old
barn slowly getting covered in a fresh blanket of snow (fsv).
I guess I can call that photo "Early Snow in the Keweenaw - 2003".
I have always wanted to find a suitable moment to capture the beauty of
that old barn and I think that this morning was as good as any. We
got to the golf course and surprisingly there was noone out taking in a
round. :) Although I suppose it might have been pretty
hard to see your ball given the fact that the visibility
was only about 1/4 mile.
We got back down the
hill and headed back up 26 to get to Lake Linden but could not help notice
the steam rising off the Torch Lake. Sensing another photo opportunity
I pulled into the Village Park and hopped out to snap a shot of someone's
sailboat shrouded in the snow and fog (FSV).
I suppose I could call that shot "Double Lake Effect". With both
lake effect snow and fog occurring. Just like the golf course the
beach was also pretty quiet, except for a
few lonely seagulls. After the beach we arrived back home safe
and sound. As the snows started to taper off Nora grabbed the camera
and snapped a front
of house shot. Just to prove that we really did get out first
trace of snow, actually it was about 1/2" and up in Calumet they had about
1". It pretty much stopped snowing at about noon, but I am eyeballing
a new disturbance that looks to swing through tonight and early tomorrow
that could get things going again.
I was actually glad
that the snows stopped as they were really so slushy that it would have
made for a sloppy afternoon walk with Nora and the hounds. As it
was we had a delightful walk along the road that runs north from the Calumet
Waterworks. It was chilly, and along the lake shoreline, there was
a stiff breeze, but the road is protected by about 200 feet of dense forest
and the winds along the road were very light. At times the sun would
peak through the clouds and after having my spirits lifted sky high by
the first flakes, I did not think it could be possible to lift them any
further. But walking with Nora and the hounds down that road made me feel
like I was as close
to heaven (FSV)
as I could get without actually being there. How did I ever get so
On a pathway leading
down to the beach, I spotted some remaining
piles of snow. I was actually surprised to see some snow down
there. The areas right up against the lake are usually the last to
get any snow with these early season events. The "warm" waters of
the lake create the marine layer (a warmer body of air) and it usually
melts the snow before it can reach the ground. There must have been
some pretty good lift going on with this morning's snow event to be able
to put snow down right up against the lake. As we were climbing back
into the truck to head home from the north shore, I spied a
flock of Canadian Honkers on their way south. They were actually
flying south and seemed to be pretty determined at that!
I have just one last
shot to share with you. It was taken two days ago before all the
excitement of the snow came. Nora, the hounds and I went out to the
school forest for a walk and I wanted to show the
extent of the colors. Starting to get underway out there, but
in other spots they are really quite well along. Driving out to the
north shore, we came along a spot where they were about 70% changed.
Looks like the peak will be pretty much on time this year and I would put
it in the Oct 6-10 time period. This weekend will provide some pretty
good color in spots, but I think the following weekend will really be the
weekend for the show. I hope to be able to get out to Keweenaw County
in the next few days to see how things are progressing up here. Until
Good night from the Keweenaw..
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It's a day not
fit for man or beast. Temps in the mid 40's and a steady rain.
Even the hounds know that we will not be going outside today and don't
seem to mind much. Nora, on the other hand, said that it is a good
day for baking! I'm not one to argue with such a beautiful, smart
and talented woman, so she is in the kitchen making some cookies!
With the smells coming from the kitchen right now, I think I am going to
end up liking this day after all!
The weather is definitely
the topic of the day, not just today, but previous days events and the
events to come. On Wednesday, we had a good old November gale blow
through, with winds sustained at 35-45 and some good wave action.
It has actually been quite a while since I have been to the lake while
a big blow is going on. I missed the one a week ago and winds were
stronger then, but promised Nora that we would head to the lake on Wednesday
to take in the winds and waves. As I just mentioned the winds on
Wednesday were not as strong as they were on Friday, but were still quite
formidable, especially walking along the shoreline near the Calumet Waterworks.
The wind was picking up the sand and whipping it into our faces and it
kind of stung. When we finished the walk the hounds had lots
of sand stuck in their coats. It was neat to walk along the shore
line and watch the big waves come in. Each one is different and it
is fun to guess which wave will travel furthest up the beach. I did
manage to snap a shot looking south towards the north
entry to the Keweenaw Waterway. (fsv)
The north entry was actually the other place I wanted to take Nora to see
the waves. The reason is, it seems to have deeper water just off
shore that allows most of the bigger waves to make it to shore before breaking.
In other parts along the north shore, the water gets fairly shallow and
the big waves out in the deep waters of the lake break before reaching
the shoreline. So while the waves near Calumet Waterworks were in
the 3-6 foot range, the waves at the north entry were quite
a bit bigger. (fsv)
I'd say they were likely running in the 7-10 foot range, even some that
were 10 feet+. As a person dedicated to bringing you the best shots
and most dramatic happenings in the Keweenaw (ya right!), I risked life
and limb to go out onto the breakwater a bit and shoot a
video. I really need to figure out how to compress those videos
more so that I can shoot longer ones. That little bit of video is
almost 1 1/2 megabytes! Anyway, it was amazing to me how much stronger
the winds were out on the breakwater. I did not go that far out as
I could have lost my life had I been where the waves were hitting it, but
the winds were so strong that I did almost get blown off the breakwater
a few times. I would have been ok- cold and wet, but in calm water
and been able to climb out without battling 10 foot waves at least.
I have a feeling that we will have a few more big blows before the winter
kicks in and will try my best to get some more shots.
Yesterday was a pretty
nice day with temps in the upper 40's and some sunshine. So I decided
that it would be a good day to head out and set
up the trail cam. Things went pretty
smoothly. It was great to be doing it in fairly warm weather and had
I brought the right extension power cord I would have had to say that it
was a perfect success. It was great to have Nora along to help with
carrying things out there as well as the aiming of the cam. The new
cam has better resolution as well as a zoom feature. I may need to
do some tweaking of it to make sure it is properly focused, but I think
that it will be a better image than I had last season. I am also
using a larger image size. It takes more time to download, but provides
a better view. So now you can watch the colors change and the first
snows cover the ground.
Speaking of first snows,
we sure do look to have a great chance to see it early next week.
I heard that Negaunee and Ishpeming already saw some flakes Wednesday night
and if what the models say will happen early next week does happen, I would
not be surprised at all to hear about someone in the LES belt of the UP
picking up a foot of snow. Quite a chunk of cold air coming in Mon-Wed
of next week and the rest of the parameters needed for LES also look to
be in place. The Keweenaw will probably just get a mix of snow and
rain, with some higher elevations possibly picking up some accumulation,
but these early season events are not good for the Keweenaw. Still
it looks very good that our first flakes of the season will fall early
next week and that is a good thing. You folks in northern MN and
northern WI might see a few flakes too, but probably more flurries than
accumulating snow as the majority of the moisture will be gone by the time
the cold air arrives.
The color show continues
to creep along. You can certainly follow the show on the trail cam
now and I will point the AL Cam towards the maples on the side of my yard
as soon as they start to pick up some color. But the main color change
has been my grass, going from brown to green with the steady doses of light
rain we have been getting for the past 2 weeks. I am actually glad
it was able to green up before having to endure 5 months under snow.
So I guess that gets
you caught up in things up here. I have actually still been busy
with stuff, more website related than other business. Seems like
everyone starts to think of the winter at this time of the year and that
means that they are thinking about my site too. Lots of new businesses
will be added for you all to be able to use in both the banner and northwoods
directory. Some are in and some have to be added, but I just really
want to thank all of you for helping to support the site by patronizing
the businesses that advertise on the site. I have turned away some
businesses that have nothing to do with snow, the UP, Northwoods or even
outdoor activities, because I want to keep everything on topic on the site,
including the advertisers. The way I see it, it is a perfect 3 way
relationship. I win because I get some money from the advertisers.
The advertisers win because their ads are seen by potential customers of
theirs and you all win because you are given more exposure to things that
might interest you or places to stay or eat up here. So please keep
supporting my advertisers and let them know where you heard about them.
That is the most important and I know many of you do because I get it reported
back to me from the advertisers and they return year after year.
It actually makes me feel really good that we have this win-win-win scenario.
Well, enough of that...Take care and...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Boy, do I feel
like a slacker!!! Almost a week and no new journal. I have
been pretty busy, trying to get things all geared up for the startup of
the winter version web site. The latest project has been to get the
trail cam up and running again. Over the summer, I did purchase a
new cam. It has better resolution and also has some other nice features,
such as zoom and advanced image controls, so I think that the image that
gets posted will be far better than was getting posted last season.
I am still playing around with the settings on the software, but hope to
have it up and running by the end of the week. It will be great to
be able to do the setup in the warmer weather and also great to have Nora
be able to help me with the aiming of the cam as well.
The weather has provided
some excitement up here in the past 6 days. When I last wrote, I
was in shorts and the next two days saw temps reach 80 degrees. The
cold front hit early in the AM on Friday and we dropped our temps about
20 degrees. By Friday evening, the temps were in the 50's and winds
were howling at 40 mph, with gusts to 55 mph. A lot of the folks
up here thought it was due to Isabel, but it was not. Just a good
old fashion autumnal storm over Lake Superior. Nora and I went to
dinner and then came home and relaxed on the couch. We talked about
going to the lake to view the waves, but I kept getting sucked deeper and
deeper into the couch. I wished I had gone, as I talked with some
locals that said the water and waves were as high up the shoreline as they
have seen in many many years. Speaking of Isabel, I have seen two
photos floating around on the internet that were supposedly taken of the
approaching hurricane. Both look to be legitimate photos, but are
of severe thunderstorms, not the hurricane. If you have not yet seen
them, I have them for you to see (hopefully I will not get into trouble
for posting them, but I do not know the photographer(s), so I cannot ask
permission). One is of a
ship approaching the storm and the other looks to be taken
on land. Both are shots of wall clouds extending off the bottom
of severe thunderstorms. Hurricanes actually have their clouds extending
out ahead quite a distance from the eye. In Isabel's case the storm
had a radius of about 250 miles. So I guess what I am trying to say
here is that a hurricane does not approach like a thunderstorm does, the
weather actually goes down hill fairly steadily for hours before the eye
of the storm arrives. Had that ship actually been closing in on the
hurricane in that shot, the waves would have been about 25-35 feet high
(waves were actually 50 feet high when the storm was a category 5), enough
to roll over the top of the ship for sure. Plus, I am by no means
an expert on transport ships, but that looks to be a lakes freighter, not
an ocean going ship. At any rate, I just wanted to clear up that
little misunderstanding that is floating around the net.
As mentioned, last
Wednesday and Thursday were very warm up here, with temps hitting 80 degrees-
beach days to be sure. On Wednesday we headed down to White City
Beach and enjoyed having the place to ourselves. We walked over to
some relatives of Nora's to say hi, but they were not home. On the
way back, I snapped a shot of the south
entry light. As you probably saw in that shot, the winds were
blowing pretty good that day and were blowing pretty good the next day
too. That helped to take any discomfort out of the 80's we had.
Plus the temps did cool off nicely in the evenings, so it was good sleeping
weather with the windows open. The next day we headed out to North
Betsy Beach for our afternoon adventure. There was an interesting
event happening in the sky, some Altocumulus clouds were rolling overhead
and precip was falling out of them. Altocumulus clouds are up pretty
high in the atmosphere and the air is cold enough there for the precipitation
to be frozen. So, the precip that was falling was snow.
The snow did not even get close to reaching the ground before melting and
had it made it that far down, would also have melted. But I can say
I saw the first flakes falling in the Keweenaw! I will not count
that in my "firsts and lasts" section though! However, it may not
be that long before the first flakes are seen. Once chance is this
Thursday and a better chance is this weekend. Actually, it may just
be rain in the Keweenaw, but some of the inland areas could see some flakes
or even graupel (a snowflake that has melted into a tiny ball of slush,
then refrozen). Northern MN might see some flakes either Thursday
and this weekend. Might that be a sign of things to come? Well,
I did do a seasonal outlook and you can find it in the forecast text section.
Back to the day at
North Betsy...The hounds enjoyed a swim and I just took it easy on a beach
chair, occasionally tossing the stick into the surf when Burt brought it
to me, or watching Nora toss the stick for the hounds. There were
still some blueberries hanging on and Nora picked a few and gave the hounds
a treat. Baileys
is particularly fond of blueberries. After about an hour at the
beach, soaking in the early autumn rays, we headed back home and got some
Friday was plenty cool
enough for a walk in the woods, so that is where we went. Saturday
was a busy day for me, I had a golf tournament (yep, still playing golf
up here) and then met up with Chris and Marlo from the White House Motel
for dinner. They are living in Chicago now and having some folks
run the motel, but they come up from time to time and we try and get together
when they are up. Saturday morning, Nora, the hounds and I went out
to the property to do some exploring. We went to some places we had
never been before and found a big old white pine growing, so Nora had the
hounds and I pose in front of it. Not quite what you would find
in the Estivant Pines or sections of the old growth in the Porkies, but
still neat to see a tree like that on my property. It was still pretty
healthy too. Nora and I both decided it would be fun to start making
some walking trails out on the property and that may become a regular event
on Saturday's- weather permitting.
Today we took a walk
in the woods again. This time up on the tracks the snowmobile trail
uses. Something strange was seen out there- puddles!
Yep, we are finally getting rain again. In fact, twice as much rain
has fallen in the past 9 days than fell in the previous 9 weeks!
This is a good time of the year to get some rain, as the woods would otherwise
be very dry and prone to fires. Plus it is too cool to get the bugs
going too much anymore. So I don't mind walking around some puddles
while on our walks. Another feature to our walk today was some trees
and limbs down from the winds we had on Friday. Not a lot, but
a sign of things likely to come this autumn, with the gales of November
and October coming. As far as the color show goes: after what looked
to be a strong and early start, things have slowed down some and it looks
like we will probably be pretty close to the seasonal peak of Oct 4-8.
The woods do have some splashes
of color and more and more trees have at least lost their pale color,
but I seriously doubt that we will be too early with the color show this
year. One last bit of excitement happened on our walk, I shot
my first buck of the season! Looked to be about a 4-6 pointer.
But seriously, I am not a hunter myself. I personally have no problem
with the activity, just cannot find it in me to pull the trigger (I like
my meat already packaged in plastic wrap!), but I am thinking about setting
up a stand on my property to try and get some shots of whatever might come
along. The way I see it, if I can shoot it with a camera, I could
have shot it with a rifle and that will give me the bragging rites along
with all the other boys at camp this fall.
Well, I can sense that
a lot of you are starting to get the winter itch. Guest shots are
starting to come in, the Ask John has picked up and so have the e mails.
It will start to feel more like the winter is approaching in all of the
Midwest later this week and weekend. The geese have started their
southerly fly bys and it should not be too long before some flakes are
captured by my cam or even some of the cams in the NCN. I'M READY!!!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
I am still wearing shorts and have been doing so for the past several days,
I think I can declare autumn officially started here in the Keweenaw.
I know there are those out there that like to stick to the official "celestial"
first day of autumn which is still one week away from today, but I go more
by the weather than the exact position of the suns rays in the sky.
A stronger indication of the season change is the fact that Nora has taken
all of her summer clothes down into the basement for storage and has brought
up her winter ones. I think that pretty much seals the issue!
In other weather news we finally got some rains over the past day, in fact,
it rained all day on Sunday and was a bit chilly too. Our totals
from both Friday's and Sunday's rain was only about .70", but it has helped
to green my lawn some and with the .25-.75" we could see Thursday, I may
just have to start cutting the grass again! Have not done that for
a long time. Even though we could hit 80 tomorrow, I am seeing our
first snow potential in the forecast. It is way down the road, not
until Sept 26th or 27th, but October 1 is the average first day of snow
up here, so it sure is not an impossibility. We might not be the
only ones to get snow during that event either. The way the models
are indicating things to pan out, areas of northern MN and northern WI
could also see some snow. Won't that get the juices flowing!
Nora and I had a good
time with my brother visiting. He likes to do a lot of hiking and exploring
and between Nora and I, we kept him pretty busy. Even the rains did
not get in the way all that much. We did take the camera along on
all of our exploits and have lots of shots to share with you. Our
first expedition was up to what we call North
Betsy Beach. Last Thursday was a warm day with temps reaching
to 83 and dewpoints in the low 60's. There was a strong south wind
that day which made North Betsy even better- and on shore breeze.
We probably spent close to an hour out there letting the hounds and my
brothers two dogs get some swimming in. Dinner time was closing
in, so we headed back and all 7 of us chowed down.
Friday our plan was
to head up the Estivant Pines near Copper Harbor. I had to work which
meant that we could not get up there until the afternoon and the afternoon
forecast promised rains so we decided that Nora and my brother should go
up there in the morning and take in the giant pines before the weather
turned sour. The forecast did end up verifying with the rains starting
by about 1 pm. However, the weather was plenty good for their trip
through the Estivant Pines. They took some pictures and I was surprised
to see the amount of trees that have come down. One looks to have
come down due to a severe thunderstorm and maybe even a lightning strike.
It looks to have been broken off about 20 feet above the ground and the
tree next to it was all burned. They came along another of the
downed giants and my brother thought it would be a good place to take
a little nap. I have to say that after seeing that shot, one
thing that came to mind was what a waste of wood, letting that tree just
rot away. I realize that it will decompose in time and resupply the
forest soil with nutrients, but the wood from that tree would be absolutely
fabulous to build furniture out of. It is old growth white pine and
is just not available any more. The old growth trees have very tight
growth rings and that makes the wood extremely stable. I could not see
the full size of the tree, but there was a bunch of money laying on the
ground right there! Nora also managed to capture some of the changing
colors out there.
After the E Pines,
they headed up to the top of Brockway, where they said the winds were about
30-35 mph sustained, with some higher gusts. I believe them as I
don't think I have ever been up there when the winds were not blowing pretty
hard. I have been up there in the winter when it is pretty hard to
stand! While on top of Brockway, they did take a few shots.
Here is one looking south towards Lake Misquito...er Medora.
Through the haze they also captured a shot of a freighter
making it's way upbound to some port at the western end of Lake Superior.
On Saturday, my brother
and I headed south for some sights in southern Houghton County, central
actually, but to me it seems like anything south of the Bridge is southern
Houghton County! Anyway, our destinations included Prickett Dam,
Silver Mountain, the Sturgeon River Gorge, Sturgeon River Falls and then
the Baraga Plains. For the past several weeks I have been mentioning
how dry it has been up here, but this should be a good example of just
how dry things have been. Here is a shot of the Prickett
Dam Back Water. Those were tree stumps that are usually buried
under at least several feet of water. In fact, it looked like the water
level on the lake was down about 10 feet. The boat launch was closed
and here is a shot
that I took at roughly the same location last year at this time.
Another interesting fact is that this spring the water was so high from
the spring melt and a heavy rain that they were a little concerned, so
it has really dropped a ton since then! They had one of the gates
opened slightly and that was allowing the water to drain out pretty quickly,
probably a little faster than it was coming in anyway. I am just
speculating, but I suppose they want to keep the water flow on the Sturgeon
up because it is such an important fish and other wildlife habitat.
After that we piled
into the truck and headed up to Silver Mountain. The events of this
day were pretty much the same that the hounds and I did at the end of last
September so I knew where to go and what to expect. There is nothing
too dramatic about Silver Mountain. The views from the one side are pretty
neat and last year I was hoping that the old fire tower still noted on
the map would be there but it has been taken down, probably quite a while
ago. Still, you can get some nice views of the Silver and Sturgeon
River Valleys and the Prickett
Dam Back Water. The colors were really starting to change up
on the hill and I snapped a shot of my
brother and his dogs getting ready to head down one of the sets of
stairs they have to help you make it to the top. With all the leaves
on the ground, for a moment, it really felt like autumn. Speaking
of stairways here is a
shot of one taken from the bottom. You actually cannot see the
top of it as I was actually standing at the top and the point of the picture
was to show me at the top. Oh well!
The next stop was to
the Sturgeon River Gorge and the falls there. I figured that even
with the drier weather, there would be enough water going over the falls
that it would be worth the trip and I was right, it was a
pretty sight. However, the water flow was much less than was
occurring last year as can be seen in this
shot. That neck of the woods is really some pretty country.
The river flows through the Sturgeon River Wilderness. I'm not sure
just what is and is not allowed in there, but I do know that no motorized
vehicles are not allowed in the wilderness. This was a shot taken
just below the falls, looking
down stream. For the next shot I climbed up and above the falls
and took a shot looking up
stream. One last stop in the Sturgeon River Gorge area to take
in the overlook at the Bears Den, no shot from there this year (I forgot
the camera), but here is a
shot taken from the Bears Den last year.
My brother, his dogs
and I returned home pretty well worn out. Nora was not feeling all
that well, so she stayed home with Burt and Baileys, but all 7 of us did
manage to take a walk later that evening. Since my brother got to
see the bookcase that I built for him, I can now show
all of you. That is not the shot that I wanted to use, because
it does not really show the detail that really sets that case apart from
others, and that is the sides. The shot that showed the sides did
not turn out, and by the time I knew it was bad, the case was gone.
Anyway, the detail to the side was made by forming panels out of 9 strips
of different length wood that made a southwestern style "cutout" in the
panel. It was not a true cutout because the openings were not actually
cut out of a solid piece of wood, but were formed by the different lengths
of wood. If you look close at the picture above, you can sort of
make out the cutouts. It was made with all wood to wood joints and
the only fasteners used were the brads that hold the back of the case on.
We had to wrap it up pretty good so that it would not get wet in the rainstorm
that he drove through all the way from here to his place outside of Milwaukee,
but he did say that it arrived dry.
So I guess that gets
you pretty caught up in the goings on up here. The walleye tournament
was a big success. The state record was not broken so no one won
the 1 million dollars, but it sounded like all the participants loved the
area and want to do it again next year. That would be great as it
really gave a shot in the arm to the local tourism economy for what is
usually a slow time. After I finish this I plan to take the AC out
of one of the windows and will do the others this Friday. I suspect
that the flannel sheets will be put on the bed soon and a fire will be
built in the fireplace soon as well. Gonna get chilly up here pretty
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Good old mother
nature is really testing my patience on the final departure of summer weather.
The past 3 days have been in the low 80's with humidity up there, with
dewpoints in the low 60's. Not exactly torturous and not breaking
any records, but still 15-18 degrees above average. The nights have
been cooling into the upper 50's, so that helps a little. I am just
glad that I saw this coming and did not remove my air conditioners!
Although I do believe I may pull them this weekend. Cooler air is
headed in by Saturday and there looks to be just one day of warm temps
possible for next week, so it may just be time. I think this is the
latest I have kept them in since moving here. I have been very busy
with work related projects and that is why I have not done a journal until
now. Plus, my brother arrived yesterday and was a little busy getting
ready for him and then did not want to have him spend his first evening
with me writing a journal. He and Nora are walking to the store right
now, so I have a few minutes to get the journal started and then will find
some time to finish it this evening.
I spent some time browsing
the internet for web cams out in the Rocky Mountains yesterday. They
were getting a little early season snow storm and I figured that it might
be fun to see some flakes fly, even if they were not out my window.
My first stop was at the Grand Targhee ski resort in western Wyoming.
I suppose that if I could not live in the Keweenaw, then that might be
a place that I could call home. It is not all foofy like most ski
areas out west have become. They average about 500+" of snow a year
(something I could handle with no problems!) and have very nice summers.
Anyway, here is a shot from the base
of one of their ski lifts. Nice. My next stop was to a
place that I have been to skiing, it is the Little Cottonwood Canyon just
to the east of Salt Lake City. This shot was actually taken at the
base of Snowbird
Resort and I skied just up the road at Alta. I could probably
live there too, but they really are not allowing any development in that
canyon, so I am out of luck. Even if they were, I could never afford
the price of the land, let alone to build a home up there. They also
average about 500" of snow a year and the year I went they were a little
down, but when I was there in March, they still had 14 feet of snow on
the ground. I checked some of the cams from Alta today and there
was still several inches of snow on the ground. Nice.
So I guess you could
say that I sort of got my snow fix, for now anyway. I really hope
to have seen my first flakes of the season in person in a month from now
and I have a feeling that I will have. With the weather the past
several days, it seems strange to think that it could have already snowed
here by now and that 6 days ago we had frost form on the cars and rooftops.
I did get one chore done in preparation for the cold season and that was
to drain the pool and pack it up. I wanted to use the water in it
to water the lawn, so I let it sit for a while without the chlorinator
in. That was a little bit of a mistake, as the water really greened
up quickly. It took about a day to drain it and when I started draining
it, the water was just a little green. By the time the final bits
of water were leaving, the water was really green and really stinky!
The water did not even make a dent on my lawn, so next year I will just
keep the water free from algae and drain it somewhere where it will not
kill the grass or anything else. That will spare me the nasty job
of having to clean up the pool before I put it away.
On Sunday, Nora and
I were invited to a fish boil out at Lac La Belle. Not at the lodge,
but at a private residence. I am not a big fish person, but thought
it would be nice to socialize and meet some new folks, so we headed out.
The location of the gathering was actually right above the Haven Falls
Park so I walked up to the edge of the falls and snapped
a shot. Not much water going over that fall right now!
We have been so dry, only about an inch of rain in the past 8 weeks.
They also had a sauna out there and Nora being the Scandinavian she is
decided to hop in
for a little bit. Actually, it was not fired up and the main
reason we even went up to see it was that it was a very unique sauna, it
was portable. I actually thought that was a great idea.
You can take it out to your summer camp or hunting camp and use it there
and then bring it home and park it in your back yard and use it there the
rest of the year. It was actually plenty big in side, it could probably
fit about 6-8 people very comfortably. I may have to build one of
those some day. Actually I have already been instructed by Nora that
the new home out on the property will have a sauna.
Even with the warmer
temps, we have been sneaking into the woods with the hounds. In the
shade, it has been comfortable enough so that we can take our afternoon
walks out there. There are more signs
of the pending season change out in the woods, even if the weather
does not seem like it right now. Of course, the majority
of the trees are still green, but more and more are starting to get
some color in them and it really seems like they might be a little early
this year, not a lot, but maybe a few days. It will be interesting
to see what some cooler temps will do to the color progress.
This past Tuesday may
have been my last regular golf day. I suppose if the weather is good
next week, I may get out, but we had our league banquet that night and
also the "Greenskeeper's Revenge" tournament. This is a tournament
that they have at the end of the year where you scramble (for those non
golfers the way you play a scramble is to allow both players to hit their
shots, then the players determine which is the best shot and then both
hit from that best shot. You then do the same with every shot the
rest of the round). They also do all kinds of strange stuff to the
places where you are to tee off from and also the hole placement.
For example, on the first hole, the tee box was about 50 yards to the right
of the normal location and the hole was not even on the green for that
hole. There is an old green that is to the right of the current green
and they used that for the pin placement. Here is a
shot of the tee box and "fairway", the tee box is between the two red
balls at the lower left and the hole was up and over the tree line to the
left. If that were not enough, they did not trim the grass on the
"green" as low as would normally be done, so it caused the ball to jump
all around and to be hit much harder than you normally would hit it.
If those were not enough, they added one more obstacle to the mix and that
was to guard the hole with some wire
hoops. Believe it or now, Al and I actually got a 4 on that hole,
which was par. The next hole's tee box was not in too difficult of
a position. I think I even managed to put my drive out to where I
would be happy to on any given day. Once to the hole, we were putting
for a birdie, but they placed the hole right on the
slope between the upper and middle tiers of the green. That alone
would present a challenge and my putt actually hit the hole and would have
gone in, but they decided to do a little something extra to the hole and
put a false plastic
bottom in it about an inch below the surface of the green. So
not only did you have to have the right aim, but you had to have the exact
right speed so that the ball would just barely make it to the hole and
drop in, otherwise it would just roll out the other side and then because
it was on the hill, would roll about 4-5 feet from the hole. Our
birdie putt on that hole turned into a triple bogey (3 over), having to
5 putt. The real kicker to that hole was that if we had managed to
see a little note that they had in the left sand bunker, we would have
known that if you hit your ball into the bunker, you could then put your
ball 1 foot from the hole, which would have been close enough to put it
in with just one try! What a day to not hit it into that trap!
You can bet that we read every note on every other hole! The only
hole with an elevated green was used for the
decoy flags. The rules were that you could not go up to the hole
to see where the hole was, so you just picked a flag and hoped that was
the right one! One of the other dirty tricks was to place the
tee box right at the back edge of the tee platform. That causes
your back foot to be about a foot lower than the ball and your right foot.
Not an easy shot either. On that hole they were actually pretty generous,
on a few others the tee box was right at the back edge.
I have been saying
how loaded the apple trees have been this year and I (actually Nora) took
a few pictures to prove my point. I have been saying how there are
some trees where the limbs
are just about ready to break due to the load on them from all the
fruit. I think that limb would have broke had some of the apples
not reached the ground first. In some cases, it is just amazing how
much fruit is crammed into one small area. Perhaps it is mother
natures way of preparing the wildlife with a good set of meals before an
exceptionally snowy winter! One can only wonder.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
may argue, I'd have to say the weather in the past week or so has been
just about as perfect as you can get. Temps in the 60's and low 70's,
low humidities and a mix of sun and clouds. Even Tuesday's 81 did
not feel hot as there was a fresh breeze and the dewpoints were in the
upper 40's. Plus, with the longer nights coming into play the temps
at night are cooling to great sleeping levels every night. We even
had a frost occur this morning, mainly on the autos and roof tops, and
it was more of a frozen dew than a frost, but still mother nature created
ice this morning! Actual air temps dropped into the upper 30's and
you could see your breath. Today we did warm into the mid 70's so
it was not cool for long. Anyway, if you ask me, the end of August
and first 2-3 weeks of September are the best time of the warm season to
be up here, no bugs, warm days and cool nights and usually a lot of sunshine.
Plus, you pretty much have the place to yourself, as the tourist season
has trickled down to almost nothing.
Another thing I just
love about this weather is to be able to have the windows open all day
and all night and be comfortable. That is one thing I miss about
the winter and summer, having to keep the house all bottled up. Seems
like the air gets stale, especially in the winter. I have yet to
take the air conditioners out of the windows, although I do believe I have
the day out of windows sighted. It is one week from today.
We look to be in the 70's and maybe even hit 80 this weekend, which can
be warm enough to use the AC, especially in my office, with all the machinery.
Then we look to cool a bit for Monday and probably Tuesday as well, then
warm for Wednesday and maybe Thursday, but during the day Thursday a front
looks to move through and then that will be all she wrote as far as any
summer like temps are concerned. I suppose we can still get the stray
upper 70 and low 80 all the way into the first few days of October, but
no humidity and the overnight temp is also cool enough that the house will
remain cool through the day, even if it does get warm outside. So
that is the weather report from the Keweenaw. No snow yet, but some
is actually being forecasted by one of the models for the weekend of the
20th, but that is a long, long way out and I will believe it more when
it is about 8 days away, not 15! In any case, it is nice to see the
rain/snow line slipping further and further south and actually being forecasted
for our area, even if it is too far out to have much faith in. I
would think that in a month, we should have already seen our first snow,
or at have it forecasted to occur within the next 5-7 days.
We were cool enough
the other day to take a hike up Mt Ripley. I did wear shorts and
a T-shirt and Nora had wished she'd done the same, as the sun was strong,
but the air temp was probably in the 60's. Nora and I have been taking
fairly regular evening walks. They are about 2-3 miles in length
and we walk at a pretty brisk pace. The hounds stay home because
they could not keep up with us at that pace or make it that long without
having some pretty serious sore joints, so the hike up Ripley was not as
hard as past climbs have been. We did stop once, but we could have
made it all the way to the top without the break. We did bring the
hounds and they did great with both the climb up and down. Strength
is really not an issue with them, it is the endurance and speed.
While I would never want to climb the big peaks like McKinley, K2 or Everest,
every time I hike up one of the "hills" we have around here and take in
the view, I can see why those that do make the climb to it. At the
top of Ripley, you have an eagles eye view of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge
and Houghton. Using the cameras zoom, I was able to close in on the
courthouse and it's brand new copper roof. They used a chemical
to turn it green, just like it would after a period of time, but I think
it would have been kind of neat to see it all shiny copper colored first,
then let the weather turn it green. Oh well, maybe there is some
reason they pre treated it before installing it. Looking
off in the other direction we had a birds eye view of the north end
of the Portage Lake, the southern end of Point Mills and even the Huron
Mountains way off in the distance. The nice thing about hiking up
a hill or mountain is that the way down is less strenuous, at least for
the lungs and circulatory system, but can actually be harder on the legs.
Big news in the garden
department was the picking of a ripe watermelon and the opening of the
sunflower heads. Yesterday I decided it was time to pick one of the
watermelons. It had been the same size for about 3 weeks and had
a pretty hollow sound to it when I hit it with my knuckles so I took the
plunge and cut it from it's vine. The variety was the type that does
not get real big and has a dark green color to it. I was glad that
we kept the little tag that came with the seedling because we then had
a picture of what the ripe melon should look like. Otherwise I would
have thought that these things were never going to get big enough to pick.
Here is a shot of me
in the kitchen with the melon that was taken just moments before I
nervously cut into it to see if it was ripe. I was very relieved
to see a nice red
flesh inside! Nora and I both had some for a treat before dinner
and I plan to finish the rest off this weekend. I don't know if the
others will make it before a frost comes. I think two of them might
be about 1-2 weeks from being ripe and the other is at least 3 weeks.
But I can say that watermelon can grow in the Keweenaw! As mentioned
the sunflowers finally headed out. The plants are huge, standing
about 10 feet tall and the
flowers are about 8-10 inches in diameter. Pretty cool plants
actually. It is amazing how they were able to withstand all the winds
this area has. I don't know if we will be able to harvest any seeds,
that will also be a race against time. Nora has actually stopped
picking the cucumbers, we have too many of them already and she does not
want them to rot in the fridge. We have bags of green beans and raspberries
and blackberries in the freezer too. All we need now is some livestock
and we can skip the grocery store! All joking aside, it has been
fun having a garden going this year and will be fun to add to it next year.
Not much else has been
going on up here. I have been busy working on the bookcase for my
brother. I finished the construction Wednesday and completed the
finishing process this afternoon. No pictures of it yet, you will
have to wait until he sees it first, then I can show you all. I am
very happy with it and think that it really looks hand made. Certainly
not something you would find in a department store or even a furniture
store. That is always my goal when I build something, to do it in
a style and manner that sets it apart from factory furniture, even to the
untrained eye. To the trained eye, it is very clear that this was
not factory furniture, with almost every joint a wood on wood one like
mortise and tennon or dovetail and not held together with nails or screws.
The next project is actually outdoors and is a little fence for the far
side of the house, I plan to get that done tomorrow and then one indoor
project to help with some office storage, some fixtures to help out in
the woodworking shop itself and then it should be about time to put the
woodworking on hold so I can play in the snow!
For you fishing fans,
the Professional Walleye Tournament hits town next weekend. It is
billed as the super bowl of fishing tournaments so that is pretty cool
that they are having it here. The SDC (where MI Tech plays hockey)
will host the weigh in shows. I hope all goes well. I guess
that most of the pros are already in town and finding their secret spots.
As a bonus, if the state record is caught during the tournament, the one
who lands it gets 1 million dollars. I'm not that big into fishing
(probably because I am not that knowledgeable at it), but I do think it
is really neat that the Keweenaw waterway was chosen for it.
Well, I guess that
gets you all caught up for now. In a few weeks, I will have some
color photos to share with you. Some of the trees are just starting
to turn, especially up in Keweenaw County. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Happy Labor Day everyone!
I tried to do one more journal before the month ended, but fun times got
the better of me and I ran out of time and energy yesterday. This
weekend has been warmer than was anticipated, at least Sunday and today
were. I am not really complaining as it has still be pretty comfortable,
with highs in the 70's and dewpoints in the low 50's. But I would
also have not minded highs in the 60's. The warmer air for us is
all part of a major flop on the part of the models for the weekend.
They all over anticipated how strong the high building in from Canada would
be, so all the rains across MO, IL, IN and OH that were not really suppose
to happen are also the result of that high not being as strong as was indicated,
thus the rains were able to advance further north. If the high had
been as strong as it was indicated to be (I almost said "suppose to be"),
all the rains would have been shunted down across the OH River Valley.
I guess the farm fields across MO, IL, IN and OH needed the rains, so they
were a good thing, but too much of a good thing for some areas.
I'm glad that I did
not jump the gun and remove the air conditioners from the windows yet.
I ran the one in my office yesterday afternoon, as the sun comes into that
room in the afternoon and the computer equipment can throw quite a bit
of heat out as well. I just leave my computers running 24/7 and turn
the monitors off when I am not in the office, but the computers themselves
throw out a lot of heat. Nice in the winter time but a real challenge
to keep this room cool in the summer, especially in the late afternoon
and early evening with the sun blaring in.
Both Friday and Saturday
were cool days, in fact, it was so cool that I was able to wear jeans on
the afternoon walk Saturday. You have to understand that I can wear
shorts in the wintertime outside for a while and still be comfortable.
I would be more comfortable with something full length and warmer, but
can go with shorts for at least a little while in the winter. So
it really does need to be cool for me to want to wear jeans and last Friday
and Saturday were cool enough for that. On Friday, Nora, the Hounds
and I went out to the School Forest. I figured with the cooler temps
and winds, I would be comfortable in jeans and a sweatshirt and also the
bugs would not be an issue. Turned out to be right on both accounts.
It was great to be back out there as it is one of my favorite spots to
both hike and ski. We still have a few months (weeks?!) before any
skiing will be taking place, but are entering into the prime hiking time
for places like the School Forest. It was as pretty
as ever, and the hounds immediately remembered where that area and
the way down the trail. The bugs were basically non existent
as well which made the walk out there even more enjoyable. We even
decided to stop and pose for a "family
picture". Notice the jacket Nora is wearing and the fact that
the hounds are not panting to keep cool? This is really a great time
of the year, still very comfortable weather to be outside, but also most
of the bugs have cycled through and are really on the outs. Some
dragonflies and an occasional deerfly, but nothing to a bothersome level.
Plus, the dragonflies actually prey on the other flies.
We happened along some
of the blackberry
patches that are out in the School Forest and had a little snack.
Nora and I ended up going out to my secret spot Saturday evening and picked
nearly 2 gallons (7 quarts) in about and hour. We nailed them right
at their peak and actually did not have to stray more than about 20 yards
once we got into one of the main patches. Please do not ask me where
this secret patch is. If there is one thing I have learned while
living up here, that is keep the secret berry patches to yourself.
The fact that this patch is so easy to get too also makes it that much
more important that we keep it under wraps. Tell just one person
and then they will tell a few and before I know it there will be tons of
folks out there and no berries left to pick. I did see some other
tracks out there so others do know about it, but they also seemed to just
hit the easier bushes to get too. A little deeper looking and you
hit the motherload. Anyway, Nora has already made one batch of jam
and is going to make another tomorrow, plus we had a cobbler for dessert
tonight and there may be left overs even after all that.
Saturday morning Nora, the Hounds and I went up to the property in the
morning and had a look around some more. There was a pair of deer
up there and Nora tried to get a shot of them, but the Hounds and I spooked
them and they ran off before she could snap a shot. We further familiarized
ourselves with the land and I further tried to imagine just how to situate
the buildings, but it seems like just when I get the idea of how I want
things I see a reason to change my mind. This time around, I changed
my mind because the way I had things laid out, the home would be too close
to a stand of cedars. I do not want to encroach upon those cedars
for two reasons: 1) They are pretty trees and I do not want to destroy
them and 2) Cedars also usually mean wet ground and while the ground was
dry now, I could tell that it does get wet in there and that is not a good
place to have a home. So, I will have to adjust the placement of
the home about 50 feet or so, no biggy, but it is funny how I just cannot
nail down the exact placement of things yet. Very unlike me, I usually
can picture things very easily and pull the trigger very easily.
I still have plenty of time though. Don't plan to build anything
for at least a year, maybe more.
After getting back
from the property we decided to start up the sleds. It was cool enough
and not too early in the morning so we uncovered them and fired them up.
Well, at least one of them. I forgot that I had run the gas out of
the PolCat about a month and a half ago. I need to have the seat
done again and since the gas tank is part of the seat I wanted to run all
the gas out of it. Unfortunately, I did not remember that until about
30-40 pulls on the starter cord later! Thankfully it does not have
the compression that the RMK has or I would have keeled over of a heart
attack for sure! Even though we did not start it up, Nora
still enjoyed sitting on it and imagining 3 feet of fresh powder surrounding
her. I was able to get the RMK started in just 2 or 3 pulls and it
was nice to take in the blue
smoke, if even for just a short while.
Yesterday, Nora and
I took a long evening walk, starting out at the trail head for the trail
down to the mouth of the Gratiot River. The trail on the north side
is now just for non-motorized traffic only. You can still use the
trail on the south side of the river to get there by vehicle. Anyway,
it is probably just shy of about two miles from the parking area to the
mouth. A nice hike, all downhill on the way to the lake, so all uphill
on the way back, but none of the hills are really all that challenging,
so not too bad. We basically had the place to ourselves as it was
not too far from sunset. Lots of bear sign on the trail, but we did
not see any actual bear. Nora saw one crossing US 41 right near the
property last week, but I have been shut out so far this summer.
Anyway, the hike down was very pretty and the reward in the form of scenery
once you are at the mouth defies
Nora needs to get the credit for that shot, as well as this
Feeling a bit insecure about the fact that she probably snapped two great
photos I asked for the camera and took a shot of the shoreline
looking south (FSV).
But, she still kicked my fanny with her shots. It is great to have
someone to help supply shots for the journal.
While not out berry
picking, or hiking, or starting up the sleds, or playing some golf, I have
also been busy in the shop working on the bookcase for my brother.
He arrives in 9 days and I will have it done for sure by the time he arrives.
I actually have maybe an hour or two left of construction and then will
need to stain it and topcoat it. I'm glad I had an extra day off
from work this weekend because we sure did squeeze in as much as we possible
could in the past 3 days. I think I will sleep very well tonight.
Good night from the Keweenaw..