Really hard to believe
that it is the final Sunday of September already. I know I talked about how
fast time is going by in the past entry, but it sure is the theme again this
week. The one thing I forgot to touch on last week was how autumn sure seems
to arrive in a fairly abrupt way up this way. I can remember several years
ago, while I was still living in Lake Linden that we were in some pretty hot
temps and high humidity in early September and I was anxiously awaiting a
cold front. That front actually was marked by a fairly decent gust of wind
and temps and humidity that both dropped noticeably in the hours after the
frontal passage and we never saw heat or humidity the rest of the season.
This year, the passage was just as abrupt and even more
dramatic, with showers and thunderstorms rolling through two weeks ago and
knocking down some pretty warm temps and respectable humidity. Neither the
temps nor the humidity have been high since that front rolled through and
seeing as though it is the end September, I think it is safe to say temps
and humidity will not be getting out of hand the rest of this season.
Changing gears a bit, this week was the first since early
June that I did not have a cardiac rehab appointment to go to. I was all
excited to get lots of work done in the shop and as luck would have it, I
started feeling sick last Sunday night and have been down with a pretty bad
cold all week. It has been nothing more than the typical cold, with a sore
throat, stuffed up nose and cough. The sore throat left by Tuesday, but the
other symptoms continue as I type. The other issues is a lack of energy. At
first I thought that I might be taking the virus harder as I am still in
what would be considered the recovery period from my surgery and I also have
a weakened immune system from my battle and treatment for the cancer when I
was a kid, but it sounds like many others getting this thing is feeling the
Nora came down with it this week, but was able to fend it
off better than I and was able to still work all week. Grace seemed a little
off most of the week and then by the end of the week, her nose was running,
so she likely caught it from dear old dad as well.
So to make a long story short, I did not do a lot this
week. I did do all of my work and also took the pups on our morning 2 mile
walk, but there were also a few afternoon naps taken and lots of doing
nothing as well. I did finish up the walls and did a few more things in the
shop, but my hope was to have the ceiling and thus the main construction
done by this time and I am at least a week behind.
This week will be shortened by a day for me as well as I
head to Marquette to see about getting my defibrillator deactivated
tomorrow. I sure hope that can get done and I can start playing with chain
saws again. Actually, I also have a gas powered leaf blower and weed wacker
that I would like to be able to use again. Plus I was really hoping to learn
how to do some entry level welding. So we'll see, but I think the prospects
are pretty good, seeing as though the cardiologist at the Mayo said it would
be fine as long as I had not had any arrhythmia and to the best of my
knowledge I have not had any. I can say for sure that the device has not had
to shock my hear back into a normal rhythm. More on this next week I guess!
With the change of season underway, some of the woodland
creatures are becoming more bold in their acquisition of food. A few weeks
back, a large hornets nest that was being built next to the wood shelter was
destroyed and there really is only one thing that I can think of that will
do that... a black bear. Huck and Millie were pretty interested in sniffing
out the area the next day and ended up finding a piece of the honeycomb, but
there was not a lick of honey in it. Then the other day, we had this
fella show up on our septic field. I named him "Backstraps" as
that is what I think he will become in a little over a month if he even
lasts that long. Not because I am going to hunt him, but because he paid
little notice to us in the cabin and Nora even jumped in her car and went to
the store and all he did was keep a casual eye on her as she did that. So
either he will be careless around the road or will stumble upon a hunter
this season and the rest will be history. I had to shoo him off when he went
from eating the grass to eating the leaves off the peach tree.
Jumping back to the weather, we had rains fall for much
of the week. The same upper air low that plagued much of the Great Lakes
region this week kept us in unsettled weather for most of the week as well.
Today was the first day with sunshine in many days and it did feel good.
That is the only thing I do not look forward to in the winter is the lack of
clear skies. It does keep our overnight temps up and does bring the fairly
constant snow, but it would be nice to see the sun more than twice a month!
Anyway, we did need the rain and it also keeps us in,
which means that Nora and Gracie get the itch to bake! I sure do love it
when the aprons come
out and the mixing bowl is fired up. The treat this time was blueberry
muffins. Grace sure does love to help Nora bake and I sure do love to help
stock away what they bake! I think if I were to ever go back and re-train
for a career, it would either be a high-end builder or a baker. Kind of a
large difference in the two I know, but I really love the end results of
both. Somehow I think the builder would be way better for my health and
This weekend was the weekend that Nora took her annual
ATV trip with "the girls". This started out 4 years ago and was
interrupted by my first heart surgery, but then they were able to go last
year and she just got back about an hour ago from this years trip. They are
not gone long, but do spend the night at one of the local establishments-
this year it was Lac La Belle Lodge. That put me in full charge of the
household which is really not as dangerous as it might sound. I am not as
skilled at all the child care tasks as Nora, but can get by in a pinch and
we had fun. Between fighting the colds we had and the weather being off, we
pretty much stayed inside for most of the time. I think we ended up watching
Snow White about 17 times. I am glad that she has gotten into the longer
length DVD's, but I think I will be stopping at Target in Marquette tomorrow
to stock up on some more Disney films so that Snow White can take a break!
We did get out this morning as the weather had cleared
and Graces favorite thing to do is play on "the playground" as she
calls it. I don't think there has been a day that has gone by that she has
either played on it or really wanted to play on it, but been rained out. She
really is a little dare devil and loves to "go
fast" on all the swings. On the one swing where she is more
enclosed, we actually swing her high enough that her head goes up into the
trees! I suspect that the only thing that will stop us from going out there
is when the snow gets too deep. So thanks neighbor George for giving it to
us and also to Mark and Steve for helping me get it and set it up.
We also took a little ride in the truck today. The color
show is starting to ramp up. We are still over a week away from peak, but
there are some eye
openers going on already. This is the
look down our road from the end of our driveway. I guess it has been
cloudy for so long up here, the camera forgot how to handle sunshine as the
best colors are washed out by the sunshine, but I think it gives the picture
that we are still at about 65% pale green and 35% autumn color right now. We
headed down Cliff Drive as I thought there might be some good colors going
up there right now, but things
there were actually further behind than we have here on our property.
The good news is that things will only get better in the next 10-14 days and
I think the peak will come the second weekend of October, but next weekend
will still provide some pretty neat views to those visiting and there might
even be some colors left the third weekend.
Well, I guess that about covers it for this one. Talk to
you next month!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
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Boy, another week has flown by
and we are already 2/3rds of the way through September. I really have know
idea where the month has gone to. I suppose that happens when you are
burning the candle from both ends. It was another week, but the final week
of cardiac rehab. I went in Monday and Wednesday for the regular sessions
and then again on Friday to get some workouts to do at home. The folks there
are really great and were more than happy to spend some time with me on
Friday so that I could get some stuff to do to keep whooping me into shape.
I an very pleased with where I am right now, but still want to take it to a
higher level. I have been watching some snowmobile videos in the past few
weeks and have really paid close attention to the shape that the riders are
in and I still have a ways to go, but am headed in the right direction.
In addition to the rehab, I have been getting into the
shop to continue finishing it out as well. I did not get to spend a ton of
time in there this past week, with rehab and also taking care of Grace a few
afternoons, but I was able to get the
walls around 85% done. There is still one course of T/G to put up on the
back wall and I have a small section of the front wall to do and then other
than some trim work, the walls will be completely done. Next will be some
framing for the ceiling and then the insulation and then the wood for the
ceiling. Once that is all done, if you are living anywhere within a 5 mile
radius of me, you will here a WAHOOOO! This has really been a lot of work
for some reason and although I am enjoying it and taking my time to make
sure it is done right, I will be very happy to be done with the construction
phase and to move onto the setting up phase and then to the using phase.
The weather up here has been quite autumn like this past
week. A jacket of one type or another has been needed just about every day-
even during the warmer periods of the day. We also had our killing freeze
occur this week as well. Thursday morning we were down into the upper 20's
for several hours. Most of our plants had already decided to call it quits,
but we did still have quite a few peaches on the tree. So Wednesday evening
after dinner, Grace, Nora, the pups and I went out to pick them off the
tree. I mentioned everyone because everyone helped. The pups got a few that
were hanging low and wasted no time eating them up. We were careful to make
sure they did not eat any of the stones, but I think they somehow already
knew to not eat them. All in all, we ended up with a
few more dozen in that final picking and all told we probably had about
4 dozen that were edible off that little tree. I can say that while you
almost feel a bit of guilt pulling the fruit off this tree that worked so
hard to produce it, the tree does look happier that it is not all weighted
down by the fruit!
Friday was the Calumet High School Homecoming and while
we do not have a child in high school, Nora does work at the middle school
and Grace is just a few years away from heading off to the grade school, so
we figured we would get into school spirit and take in the parade and the
football game. I wore my Calumet Copper Kings baseball cap and Gracie wore
her Calumet Copper
Kings hoodie. The parade was fun to watch and Grace had fun watching it,
several of her baby sitters were in it and she thought it was neat that she
knew someone in the parade. Not quiet as large as other parades up here, but
I went to a HS that was probably 7-8 times larger than Calumet and I don't
think we even had a parade at all.
We ended up staying just a bit past half time. Calumet
was up 20-0 at that point and won the game 40-something to 14 against rival
Houghton. Poor Houghton, they just do not do very well in most sports. I
think the fact that many parents of the students work at Tech and thus
academics are put on a higher priority than athletics. Weird, huh? :)
Actually, all of the schools up here produce some star academics and some
star athletes and I am always amazed at the quality and caliber of both from
such small communities.
About the only other item of interest this week was the
Superior Snowmobile Club's trail work session. I went down with one of the
therapists from rehab who is also an ATV/snowmobiler and who I got to be
friends with on Saturday to help out. Fortunately for us, a lot of the work
had already been done Thursday and Friday, so we went out for a few hours,
did some brushing and
signing and then were done by lunch time. It was a beautiful day to be
outdoors, working or otherwise. Clear blue skies and temps in the 50's and
60's, so we went and sat in the sun, on our ATV's, at a spot down near the
lake and had lunch provided to us. There is also a dinner that is provided
for all the workers and quite frankly, I could have gotten off my ATV and
laid down to take a nap for a few hours, but I just did not feel like
hanging out for another 5-6 hours until dinner was served, so we headed back
north. I was able to get a few hours of work done in the shop and also got
to eat supper with Grace and Nora.
For those wanting to attend
the Keweenaw trail work session, it will be Friday and Saturday, October 21
and 22. There is free lodging for all workers provided by Lac La Belle Lodge
in LLB and also by the Pines in Copper Harbor. Be sure to call either of
them ahead of time and reserve your room. Lunches will be served both days
(courtesy of the Pines) and dinner will be served on Saturday (my smoked
brisket and pork shoulder, as well as some goodies from Troy and Cathy at
LLB). We stage out of Lac La Belle and meet around 9:30 in the morning both
days. It's work, but we do not work you too hard and a good time is had by
all in the backwoods of the Keweenaw.
Well, I guess that covers it for this one. Hopefully I
can get that construction done in the shop soon so I can start taking some
adventures in the woods with the pups.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Without a doubt, this
will be a pretty short one. First, I did not do anything too extraordinary
during the work week and then did travel to Hay Days for the weekend, which
I will talk about, but I also did not take any pictures during the work week
or at Hay Days, but do have one shot of Gracie taken today to share with you
in a bit.
I can say that the weather the past 7 days has been about
as perfect as one could every want for warm season outdoor activities. Temps
were in the 70's all week, with 80's both yesterday and today. The air was
nice and dry, so it felt wonderful to be out in the sun and also allowed
night time temps to drop off into the 50's and make for some great sleeping
weather. We even had some upper 30's for lows to start the week and that
caused me to have to break out the gloves for the morning walks with the
pups both Tuesday and Wednesday.
The dry weather all week was good for outdoor activities,
but we really do need rain. The little bit we got last Sunday has not been
enough and things are really dry around here. I am thankful that the leaves
have not fallen yet with as dry as it has been, or we would be living in a
tinder box. There are some rains coming this week and much cooler temps, so
the fire danger should drop some, but I am not sure how much the grass will
be able to green.
It also looks to get pretty cold the middle to end of
this week and some areas of the UP could even see a few wet snowflakes fly
by Wednesday night or early Thursday. I doubt that any accumulation will
occur, but the lake does look to be involved, so that can always toss out a
few surprises. I doubt that I will see any flakes as we are too influenced
by the lakes warmer temps this time of the year, but still strange to think
I am sitting here in shorts and a t-shirt right now and am a little warm,
but in just 3 days will need to bundle up almost as if it were winter out.
For those headed up for the trail work session in Twin Lakes later this week
and weekend, the weather looks to be good, with dry weather to build in and
temps to gradually warm, but still be on the chilly side.
I have been worried about our peaches making it to
ripeness before the first freeze hits, but it looks like we will make it as
they are all reaching ripeness right now. The big problem now becomes what
to do with about 2 to 3 bushels of peaches! Actually, I think we have things
figured out. Many will get eaten in the next week while they are off the
tree fresh. Some will go to friends, while others have gone into a cobbler
that is baking at the moment and if we (Nora) have time, then the rest will
get canned. If not canned, then frozen. The dogs have picked a few off the
tree already and I suppose they will get a few, but with the pits removed.
I did not get to do much with the shop this week. The
drywall was finished and I did purchase the paint, but did not have time to
paint it. The wood for the tongue and groove is also done and I will pick it
up either today or tomorrow and get to hanging it and then probably paint.
In either case, the walls should be fully done by the end of this coming
week and then the ceiling should be able to get done the following week and
then I can start to put the woodshop back together.
So I guess the second to last item on the agenda for
today is my freshman experience to Hay Days this weekend. First I would like
to thank Kris and his wife for letting me stay with them while I was down
there. It was a perfect setup for going to the event and sure uncomplicated
things for me. I did not get to partake in the big mess that happened last
year with getting to the event and parking. However, I have heard about it
from lots of folks and am glad that I did not get to partake in it! I can
say that this year was bug free from as best as I could tell. We arrived
around 7:30 in the morning and were able to drive right into the parking
area and then walk right up to pay and walk right in. Once in, I browsed the
vendors section a little, but did not have the time needed to see all the
vendors. I suppose one could see all of them in one day, but you would have
to keep moving!.
For anyone that has not gone, the event is huge, probably
about 5-8 times the size of the snowmobile shows held indoors. For as huge
as it was, they were very organized. Just about anything that could be
covered was- including tanker trucks going up and down the walking isles,
spraying water to help keep the dust down. I spent the majority of my day at
the Togwotee booth as promised and got to meet a lot of folks from the site.
I did not count, but would estimate it to be over 100 for the day easy. It
is always a lot of fun to meet the folks that come to the site and help make
it what it is and I am looking forward to meeting more at the Milwaukee show
My final item before I go take a nap is to share just one
pic of Gracie taken just about an hour ago as she was winding
down for a nap. She really loves to read books and is now
"reading" them to herself. She can't read just yet, but does know
what each book is about, based on the front picture and how much they have
been read to her, so she will turn the pages and talk about what is
happening and is actually spot on as far as recognizing what the storyline
is for that particular set of pages.
Well, time for Dadda to sneak in a nap while all is quiet
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Welcome to autumn everyone!
Another summer is gone and in the books. Much like last year, the weather
changed almost in concert with the changing of the calendar. This week
started out warm and by mid week, we even had some humidity to deal with,
but today we struggled to even warm to 60 degrees and we have had lake
enhanced clouds and some scattered showers. A jacket was even needed to keep
warm while outside today. So our first taste of autumn weather has happened,
but it looks like temps will warm some by the second half of this week and
beyond, but not get hot and the humidity does not look to be an issue
either, so perhaps the true test of summer being over will take place this
week- the removal of air conditioners from the windows.
Well, this past week has been another pretty busy one. I
am still plugging and chugging it through rehab. Only 4 more sessions. Two
this week and two next week and then I will be done! In a way I will miss
going to it, the persons running the rehab sure know their stuff and do a
great job and the others are rehab are all very friendly and we have some
laughs. The things I won't miss is the 30 minute drive there and back, the 3
hours lost 3 days a week due to the commute and rehab itself and the 200
dollars or so it costs me extra to drive the big green truck down there and
back 3 times a week. I will be keeping up with a pretty vigorous workout regime
once I am done with rehab, but will be able to do it in the friendly
confines of our compound and at a time of my choosing.
On Monday, it was still very summery up here and the
ATV's were a little dusty from the ride last Sunday, so Grace
and I decided to wash them up a little. Grace was a good helper and did
both the soaping up and the rinsing
off of the bikes. She really loves to do things like that and I hope
that it will continue when she gets older, as it will be nice to have an
extra helper around here for Nora and I!
We also had some fun this week. Yesterday it was still
pretty warm out, so before Graces afternoon nap, Nora and Grace came up with
idea to take a "nature walk" through the property. I was doing
some work in the shop, but was at a good break point and you certainly do
not have to ask the pups twice if they want to go for a walk in the woods,
so off the 5 of us went into the woods to explore nature. It is nice that
Grace is now able to get around the woods all on her own and does not even
need to be helped over a blow-down. We don't have much of a trail system and
the only real trail I did make was pretty grown in because we had not used
it at all this spring and summer. It did not matter to
Grace who trounced through the woods just fine. We made our way to the
back edge of our property and posed
for a picture next to "Old Granddad". It's a giant, old white
birch, which still looks to be pretty healthy. Normally those trees do not
live too long. Anyway, Mom wanted a close up of the two of us, so we
posed for one more picture. I'm glad we did as I think that is one of
the better of the two of us while in a pose. Then it was time to head back
and manage those darn
blow-downs! It would be remiss of me to not include some shots of the
pups that Nora took while on the way back. Here is a cute one of old-Mill-dog
and here is a somewhat blurred one of Huck.
However, I commend Nora highly for even being able to get any kind of a shot
of Huck as he is not one to stand still while in the woods. We made it back
home safe and sound and I sure am glad I have a family that loves the wood
so much, because I am fairly certain that I could not live anywhere else!
The main activity that has been keeping me busy this week
has been the starting of the "remodel" of the wood shop. I put
remodel in quotes because it is not really a remodel in the true sense of
the word, but rather an finishing out of the shop. It has been set up and
been a fully functional wood shop for the past 5 years, but was never
insulated and thus never heated. I do have the in-floor heat in the shop and
so one of my goals this build season was to get it insulated and finished
out so that I can use it all year round to build stuff. So the week started
by dismantling everything, which was a HUGE undertaking. 5 years of
accumulated stuff. Most of it woodworking related, but some of it just stuff
that could not find any other home. The list of things included several
hundred board feet of cherry that was all nice and neatly staked in the shop
that needed to find a temporary home while I did the walls and ceilings, so
I stacked it on some sawhorses under the lean-to. I under estimated just how
much cherry I had and as I put more and more wood on these poor saw horses,
I was beginning to worry if they would even hold the load- especially since
one was not on the most level of ground. I literally put the final piece on
the pile and the whole thing went crashing to the ground! The horse that was
on the un-level ground buckled a bit and that was enough to bring the hole
operation down. I surveyed the mess and decided that the wood would not
really be in any harm by not being on the horses and just covered up the one
end that was closest to the weather and all is fine.
The rest of the dismantling of the shop went very well,
although I have determined that I have a real problem when it comes to
saving scraps of wood. I guess my thought is if it is big enough to be of
some use at a point in the future, why throw it away? Well, I turned up so
many scraps that about half of them went into the wood boiler and I have not
had to add a single log of wood to the boiler all week! At one point, the
boiler was so full that I could not fit another piece of scrap wood into it!
Anyway, by weeks end, I had the dismantling of the shop done and everything
was piled into the center of the shop to give me full access to the
Even though this was a "want-to" project and
not a "have-to" project, there was a bit of a sense of urgency to
get the walls fully exposed to work on. The reason being is that I was going
to insulate them using a spray foam product. It is the same product that I
used in the front shop and it works great. It is easy to apply and when done
gives me an R-35 in a 6" wall cavity. Pretty important when you are
talking about adding another 1200 square feet of space to keep warm all
winter. The urgency arose in the fact that the manufacturer says to not use
it when temps are below 70 degrees and we are at a time of the year when
such conditions can be harder and harder to come by. I knew the temps would
hold there for all of this week, but then we would get too cool for several
days, so I really wanted to get the foam sprayed this week. That
goal was achieved. Actually it only took a few hours to spray all three
walls. The 4th wall is shared with the other shop that is heated, so no
insulation is needed.
The next step was to put down a
layer of OSB on the lower 4 feet of the walls, which also went pretty
smoothly. Then over that I put a
layer of 1/4" drywall. My goal is to have the lower 4 feet be a
finished and painted drywall, with tongue and groove the rest of the way up.
I put the OSB behind the drywall to give me something to be able to screw
into with ease. It is a shop and while most of the lower 4 feet of wall
space will be blocked by benches or tools, I will still be wanting to hang
stuff in spots and did not want to deal with the hassle of drywall anchors.
I was able to get the first coat of mud done today and plan to put the
second coat of mud on tomorrow and hopefully paint Tuesday. I have the
wood for the tongue and groove, it just needs to go down the road to be
turned into tongue and grooved pieces. Hopefully that will happen this week
and I can get to hanging some of it before the weekend. After that, it will
be onto the ceiling and then once that is done, the real fun
begins...re-building the shop exactly as I want it. The nice thing is I have
the foam insulation done, so I am not up against any firm deadline anymore-
although I do want to get it fully insulated and the heating hooked up
before the real cold arrives in a month or so.
Not much else to talk about. Even though summer has
ended, we are still waiting for our peach crop to ripen. The poor tree is so
loaded, it about ready to keel over! I'd say that we have 5-6 dozen peaches
on the tree. In many spots they are clustered
together like grapes. I did pick one and ate it today. It was OK, but
much like a store bought peach. Not quite ripe, with the sweetness and
flavor that only a freshly picked and fully ripened peach has. Once you have
one like that, you will not want to have a store bought one ever again! Talk
to you all next week- maybe Monday as Sunday will be a travel day for me.
Before I sign off, I almost forgot. I have one last story
to tell you. The other night, Grace and I were cuddling on the couch
together and just very relaxed watching something on the TV. She stopped
watching what ever it was, turned her head around and looked up and right
into my eyes and said "I Love You Dadda". Talk about cardiac
rehab! There are absolutely no words to describe how I felt to hear those
words from her for the first time- especially in a manner like that.
Good night from the Keweenaw..