Getting another late
start today and for the same reason as last time. We have had 2 1/2 days of
beautiful weather and tomorrow looks to be OK as well. Warmed into the 80's
yesterday and again today.
In keeping with the theme of the holiday weekend and to
not work too hard, this will probably be a shorter one. I did want to write
tonight though, so that tomorrows work load would be a little lighter for
It's funny though that just a few years back, temps in
the 80's would have caused me some grief, especially with working outdoors,
but ever since my two heart surgeries, the heat does not bother me as much.
The cold does not bother me any more than it used to as well, so I am
thankful for that- especially living were we do!
Speaking of cold, the NWS in Marquette keeps some awesome
records of our past weather and every month, they send out a recap of the
past month, as well as any interesting tidbits about the weather in the past
few months. This latest report said that the period from December 1 through
April 30 was the all time coldest for Houghton, with a departure from
average of 8.1 degrees below. That may not seem like a big number, but in
reality, for a 5 month period, that is a HUGE number. Typically by the time
you are out to a 5 month period, departures will be more along the line of a
few degrees. They also said that Lake Superior rose 3" in the month of
April and stood at 3" above the historical average for this time of the
year and was 16" higher than it was at this time last year. That's a
lot of water to raise the height of a lake like Superior 16" in one
year. The ice cover this past winter likely had a big role in that it did
not allow as much evaporation to occur, but we also had a lot of moisture
fall (in the form of snow mainly) in the basin this winter. I guess the
bottom line is that the lake has a pretty full belly right now and I would
imagine that some folks that had to drop their piers because of low water
levels the past few years have had, or will have to raise it this season.
With all the nice weather we have been having, all the
Dee's have been doing a lot of work outside. I have been busy getting all I
can get done on the screened in porch and I was able to get all the inside
work done and yesterday Nora and Gracie helped me put up the exterior
siding. The screens will come in late on Wednesday, so weather permitting, I
will be able get them put up on Thursday and then be done. I did encounter a
few black flies this afternoon while working, so hopefully they will not get
too bad before we can get the screens up.
This past week, I also put Big Red to use in helping me
move the scaffolding. In all the hustle and bustle of the building last
autumn, I never put it away, rather I just leaned it all up against the
shop, underneath the roof to protect it a bit from the elements. So rather
than take each piece one by one to move it, I was able to put the forks on
Big Red and have her
move everything for me. I have quite a few projects lined up this summer
that she will be able to help with.
With temps in the 80's, Gracie was itching to play in the
sprinkler, but both of ours did not survive the winter so well, so Nora
picked up one specifically designed for playing in and both yesterday and
today, Grace had a
blast playing in it.
Even with all the warm temps and the fact that it is
almost June, we still had two piles of snow left around the house. The first
was where I had piled it up with the ATV plow and the blower. At one point
it was over 10 feet high. This morning it
was around 2" and by around 3 pm this afternoon, it was gone. The
other pile was on the back side of the house and was simply where the snow
fell off the back side of the addition roof. It never got exceptionally deep
there, probably around 6 feet deep, but it was shaded for much of the day,
so melted more slowly. It too was around
an inch or two deep this morning and is now gone.
I have not been by the Laurium Glacier in a few weeks,
but Nora went by it a few days ago and said it was still a long way from
melting. So it looks like it will be down to those with June guesses that
will be the winners. I will try and get a picture of it this week.
So I guess that about covers it for this one. For those
of you wondering when the summer forecasts will start up, I think I will
start June 2nd. That is a few weeks later than is usual, but I have been
having some issues with my internet service (which I seemed to have been
able to resolve), which kept me from starting it earlier and this coming
week I will be ramping up some of the activity with my full time weather gig
and do not want to toss too much onto the fire at once. So hang on, just a
week and a day and they will be going.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day everyone! and...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly
Getting a later start
than is usual, but for a very good reason. We finally had a perfect spring
day today, with temps topping out around 70 degrees and lots of sunshine. We
pretty much spent all day outdoors, both playing and working. I will get
more into that in a minute.
I can say it was sure nice to have such an awesome day
today. Even yesterday was beautiful. The snows melted all week and on
Wednesday, I took a look at a high resolution, false color enhanced
satellite image to see where there was still some snow. Our yard and woods
were bare, but I knew that the higher terrain up in Keweenaw County must
still have had some snow and the
satellite imagery showed just that with the white color on the image
over the last 1/3rd of the tip of the Keweenaw. Looks like there might have
been a bit of snow in the general vicinity of Toivola when that shot was
taken as well. Even though there were some clouds in other spots of the UP
when that shot was taken, I have been looking at the same source for that
imagery for a few weeks and have been watching the snow depart the ground
across the rest of UP as well as the ice melt in the big lake.
As mentioned, our yard was bare on Wednesday, but mother
nature could not let it stay that way, as the flakes started to fly Thursday
afternoon and when we woke up Friday morning, there was a
fresh inch of snow down on the roofs. The driveway managed to hang onto
enough heat to keep it bare and I had to use my truck to travel to town
because our internet was out, but the
woods were all coated in snow.
A few flakes were still flying until around 8 am Friday
and then they stopped and it did not take long for that snow that had fallen
to melt off and the ground to dry up as well. A good thing though, as
Saturday was the annual spring ATV ride. The usual group members were
actually split into 3 separate groups this year, but we had Dave, his
daughter Jenna, and then a local friend Mark and friend I have made through
the website, Kris. It would have been fun to have some of the others along,
but they had already made their plans and I am also glad that the ride did
not grow into one with 20 or ATV's/side bys, as big numbers can lead to more
trouble than fun.
hit the trail around 10 am from my house and it did not take too long at
all for us to find a
bit of snow to slog through. With the recent snow melt, the creeks were
still quite swollen and made for some
fun crossings. Of course there were some mud holes to try out and get
stuck in- as Dave
It was a perfect day for an ATV ride, with temps in the
60's, low humidity, a mix of sun and clouds and little to no dust. Things
were actually quite a bit drier than I thought they would be. I dressed in
my traditional rubber rain suit, but in reality, did not really need it at
all. I guess had I wanted to get a little crazy through the puddles, or play
a game of splash the other riders, then the suit would have been needed, but
most of the others were not wearing the full rubber gear and I did not want
to get them soaked, so stayed dry myself too. Even though things were drier
than I had expected, they were not dry and we did find plenty of mud to play
in, water holes to
cross, as well as hills to climb and vistas
to take in.
However, with the exception of a few patches of snow here
and there, the first few hours were spent not riding in much snow, so we
decided to head to some of the high country to see if we could find some
more serious snow to play in. Even though we did not travel too far up into
the tip of the Keweenaw, as soon as we started to get into the higher
terrain, the snow
became much more plentiful. So much so that the trail started to look
more suitable for snowmobile than ATV. We encountered a little hill that
was pretty well buried in snow and a few took a run at trying to make it up.
Kris was riding our bike with the big tires and winch on it, so I borrowed
it to try and make it up the hill. I almost made it before getting
hung up. I was able to get myself turned around with the aid of the
winch and headed back down the hill, but that was as far as we could go on
that trail, so we double backed and took some routes that were less covered
We made it back to our house by around 5:30, all safe and
sound, a little sun kissed and pretty worn out. But as many of you can
attest to, it was a good exhaustion. We put the bikes away, got out of our
muddy gear and chatted for a bit, then went in and had some dinner and it
was not too much longer that Kris and I called it a day and headed off to
Gracie and Nora did not sit still while we were on our
ATV ride though. They headed down to the Jacobsville area to check in on
Nora's grandparents gravesites and to do some exploring. They found
themselves at Bare Butt Beach, where Grace
got to try out the new beach toys that Kris brought up for her. Nora
also spotted a
commercial fishing boat working the edge of the ice on Keweenaw Bay.
Nora and Grace also told Kris and I that they had seen lots of wildlife on
their trip to Jake. Here is a picture of a
porcupine and here is a
bald eagle they saw. Both of those were taken with a smartphone, so that
eagle sure was close!
So as mentioned, today was a beautiful and busy day. It
was already 51 degrees when I fed and let the pups out at around 7:30 in the
morning. That is typically the coldest time of the day and it was already
warmer than we have been in most of the days this spring, so I could just
tell it was going to be a nice one.
We had breakfast with Kris and then said good-bye as he
headed back to the Minneapolis area to re-join his family. Then we leashed
up the pups and all of us went for the morning walk. Upon getting back, I
finished up my regular Sunday work and then Gracie and I headed out to move
the rest of the uncut firewood closer to the wood boiler, while Nora planted
some flowers. The firewood moving went quite well, thanks to the
help of Big Red. We were able to pick up a bunch of logs at a time with
the forks and then move them off the driveway and over to near the wood
boiler. That helped to serve two purposes. First, no more wood chips will be
put down on the driveway and then have to be cleaned up later and secondly,
the cut wood will be nice and close to the boiler! I was hoping to be able
to move the wood like that way back in late March or early April, but the
weather had different ideas.
After getting the firewood moved, I moved onto finishing
out the tongue and groove in the screened in porch. I had worked on the
screen porch for much of the week when I had time. There was actually some
wiring that still needed to be done Monday and Tuesday and then I got to
putting up the tongue and groove Wednesday and Thursday and was able to
finish up the T/G this afternoon and then Nora, Gracie and I put together
the furniture for the porch and by the time all of that was said and done,
it was time for a nap!
Truth be told, Gracie was only faking it for that shot, but I think we ALL
will be sleeping pretty soundly tonight. Lots of fresh air and physical
I still need to put the exterior siding up, trim out the
windows and install the screens, but with a little luck, that will all be
able to get done this week. The screens have to go up last and I really
would like to get them in before the bugs arrive. We have had a few mosquitoes
pop up in the past few days, but they are not too bad yet and it is the
black flies that I am really trying to beat to the punch. So wish me luck! I
can say that I think that screened in porch will be getting a ton of use
once it is all done. In fact, a few journals may even be written from it.
So I guess that about covers it for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Happy Mothers Day!
Well, it appears as though spring has finally taken hold around here. Much
of the week was spent in cloudy weather again, but temps were much warmer
and we have had two beautiful days back to back today and yesterday, with
temps in the 60's and sunshine. I even have shorts on as I type this! Ok,
maybe that was too much info, but it sure is nice to have the sunshine and
On Monday we took the pups in for their annual lube, oil
and filter and both got a good report. Millie is a perfect weight for her
size and Huck could stand to loose a few, but the vet said that he is
actually average sized for a lab his age. They got all their shots and made
sure to say hi to everyone at the vet office.
The warmer temps has really set the snow to
melting. We are now down to just patches in our woods as well as the piles
that were created by plowing. On Tuesday we had a school millage to vote on,
so that afternoon, the pups and I hopped in the truck and headed north to
Eagle Harbor to vote. For some reason that is where they have our township
vote, even though Eagle Harbor is in a different township (but same school
district). It was a pretty nice day, so we took the long way through Eagle
River, stopped off at the falls to
view them rage and then headed to the
beach for the first time all season. It's funny how the pups can just
know what we are heading out to do. I probably mentioned the word beach
somewhere in my conversation with them as we were getting ready to head out,
but as we headed down the highway to Great Sand Bay, they got more and more
excited and bounded out of the truck when I opened the door to let them out.
It sure does my heart good to see them romp
around on the beach and have such fun. Last summer the fun times were
pretty limited for them. They did not complain, but I sure did feel guilty
for not being able to take them to the beach or out into the woods as often
as we usually did. Anyway, they had a blast chasing each other around on the
beach and even had some patches
of snow left to cool them down with. I was actually surprised that they
did not go for a swim. They did wade
out into the water and took a couple of sips of water, but no full
immersion. Sure the water was probably just a few degrees above freezing,
but that has never stopped them in the past. I guess they might actually be
After voting, we headed up into the higher country to
check out the snow there. The trail
crossing we came to still had enough snow on it to ride, but from the
road, I have seen spots on the trails up this way with no snow on them and
once you are south of Calumet, pretty much all the trails are bare. As we
climbed further into the high country, the snows got deeper and deeper and
at one point we reached a point where there was still a
solid 2 feet on the ground, with some spots looking more like 3 feet on
the ground. It actually looked so good, I was half tempted to see if I could
scrounge someone up to ride with me, but decided not to. Although it would
have been a fun ride. We could have gone anywhere we wanted! As I drove
home, an idea popped into my head about how awesome it would be to take a
spring snowmobile ride in the morning and early afternoon and then toss the
sleds into the back of the trucks and head down to the beach for a cookout
with my riding buddies. So that is now officially on my bucket list. In most
years we have the type of conditions where there is still plenty of snow in
the high country, with the beaches clear, the main trick will be to have the
weather be cooperative on a weekend to make it happen.
On Thursday, I picked up Gracie and she was all happy to
show me how well she
could ride her bike after having the winter off. I have a feeling that
the training wheels will be coming off this summer and once she gets the
hang of that, a new bike will probably be in order. That one is getting
pretty small, but I think the smallness will be a benefit when she learns to
ride it without the training wheels.
We had some big thunderstorms both Wednesday night and
Thursday night. Wednesday nights activity brought over 1" of rain and
tons of lightning and thunder. We even had a bolt strike so close that the
flash and boom happened at the same time. It also made the clock radio by my
bedside buzz (even though it was not on) and I swear it even did something
to my pacemaker- momentarily. I was fully awake and a split second after the
lightning strike hit, I felt my heart flutter or jump or something and it
was not because of being startled by the lightning and thunder. I was
startled, but the feeling I had was a lot more like the feeling I had when
they tested the pacer and purposely made it make my heart beat faster than
it normally would. The feeling I had did not last more than a couple of
seconds, but was very real. I did do some research on the internet to see if
what I had experienced had any other occurrences and did find a couple of
others that said they too experienced something similar. While there was no
official declaration that it would happen, it seemed like there were a few
persons qualified enough to say that the EMP (electro magnetic pulse)
generated by a very close lightning strike could cause the pacer to do some
strange things momentarily. Anyway, all is good with the pacer and me now
and I am not pacer-dependent, so even if it totally died on me, I would be
Speaking of my heart, it was just 3 years ago yesterday
that I got to take my 7 1/2 hour ambulance ride to the Mayo Clinic and that
means that this coming Saturday will be the 3 year anniversary of my second
open heart surgery. Boy, it sure seems like it was a lot longer than 3 years
ago that that happened!
With the second heavy round of rains Thursday night,
combined with the warm temps most of the week, the input into the creeks,
streams and rivers was incredible. I was checking the readings from the
gauge on the Traprock River early Friday morning and it was off like a
rocket. The NWS was on the ball and issued a flood warning for the Traprock
and once I was done with my morning work, I headed down in the truck to
check things out. My first stop was where Angman Rd passes over the river.
They put in a new bridge there a few years back and I believe that they
raised it as well. A good thing, as the
waters were high enough to no longer pass freely underneath it. A little
north of the bridge, the ground was low enough that the
river was flowing over the roadway.
When the river floods, it does not cause major problems.
A few of the roads do get covered with water and there are some homes down
near where the river dumps into the Torch Lake in Lake Linden that can have
some yard flooding and I suppose the basements flood too, but I have yet to
see any home inundated by the high water, although this
camp sure was close!
My second stop was where Cemetery Rd crosses the river.
This is the spot where the river gauge is located. They also put in a new
bridge here back a few years ago and they may have raise it as well,
although the waters
there were just about ready to flow over the bridge. The brick structure
in that last shot was part of the river gauge and the aluminum boom in the
water was the gauge itself. When that shot was taken, the river was at
around 10.6 feet deep, which was just shy of the all time record. An hour
later, the gauge did report a new all-time record high of 10.8 feet.
Interestingly enough, the old record was on May 10th (one day later), back
in the record snow year of 78-79.
Here is a shot of the
other side of that bridge at what the locals call "Bekkala's"
swimming hole. Not a very good day for swimming, although this
muskrat did not seem to mind the conditions. I drove down to Lake Linden
to see how things were faring down there and other than some yards flooded,
nothing too exceptional seemed to be happening, so I headed back north.
Before climbing out of the valley, I shot over to see where the river flows
under Woodbush Rd and there too, it was high
enough to be flowing over the roadway.
Nora stayed home from work on Friday because she was not
feeling so good, but by the end of the day, she felt well enough to be able
to take a ride with us to go and check out the Eagle River Falls once again.
They were cranking!
I am not sure if that is the most that they have been flowing, as there was
an April many years ago that we had a lot of snow melt and around 4-5"
of rain at the same time, but if they were not at an all time high, they had
to have been close. Even the usually timid Jacobs Creek Falls up the highway
from Eagle River were rocking
As mentioned, the weather was quite nice both yesterday
and today. So we got busy taking care of some spring clean up. I pulled the
blower off of Big Red and put the loader on the front. Nora and Gracie took
on the challenge of cleaning up the screened in porch. Technically it is not
screened in yet and is not even finished yet. I figured I would either try
and finish it up in the autumn before winter set in for good, or get to it
in the spring. The problem was, we ended up with a lot more snow in there
than I though we would get. So at one time, we had 2-3 feet of snow piled in
there...all on top of a bunch of stuff I did not know where to put in the
hustle and bustle of finishing up the main parts of the addition last
autumn. The girls
worked hard though and got all the junk out and it is now ready
for me to finish. In fact, I am going to switch gears and that that all
finished out, along with the screens, before the bugs come and in time to
enjoy it. Then get back onto finishing up the kitchen.
Today we all got out pretty early to enjoy the day. Temps
were already in the 50's by mid morning and we had clear blue skies. Gracie
made up a hopscotch field and she
and Huck took turns play that for much of the morning. Huck is better at
it than I thought he would be! :)
This afternoon, we all took our official first walk in
the woods. It was absolutely perfect for it and we all actually had wished
that we had put on shorts and t-shirts. Even so, we all had a great time and
it was fun to watch the
pups dash up and down the trail and Gracie try her best to keep up with them.
Nora spotted a pretty
big buck rub from last autumn and the pups must have smelled something
up in this tree, because they
both climbed right up to investigate. Gracie thought that all that tree
climbing looked like fun, so once the pups hopped down, she
got up there.
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Things are
finally changing around here from winter to summer. We still have some snow
to go and a lot of puddles to dry up, but soon the summer fun will be
happening in earnest!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Happy May? Really? Is
it really May? Could have fooled me and just about everyone else in the
Keweenaw. Talk about a nasty run of weather. We have been in a thick
overcast for 7 days straight. At punctuated by fog (very dense at times),
light rain, drizzle and even some
snow flakes. The snows did not amount to much around here, although the
higher terrain west of Marquette did pick up a few inches on Thursday. Our
high temps for the past 7 days have been running in the upper 30's to low
40's. Pretty much the exact type of weather I hate the most.
The mud month is the only time period where I think I
might be happier living somewhere else. The only thing that helps to get me
through the mud month is the fact that we usually have some very sunny and
mild days. So this week has been exceptionally hard for me to stomach. To
add insult to injury, as I sat down to do this entry, the clouds suddenly
broke and as I look out my office window, I see a beautiful blue sky and the
sun shining down. So this is a real commitment for me to be sitting inside
writing this, rather than out taking in the sunshine.
Part of the reason I am not outside is that we have to go
to an AWANA awards program for Gracie this evening, or I might have put off
the entry until later today, but do not have that luxury today.
I am a silver linings kind of guy and there have been the
silver linings to the weather we have had this past week. Even though the
thought of more snow is not that appealing at this stage of the season, I
STILL get excited when I look out and see flakes flying. I guess that is the
sign of a true snow freak. I am sure most others felt their heart just sink,
but for some reason, mine fluttered. Plus, I would rather deal with some wet
snow that will melt off almost instantly, than a cold rain. At least the
pups and I can take in a walk when it is snowing and refrain from it when it
is raining, especially a cold rain.
The other bright side to the dull weather was that
I was able to get some work done on the addition/remodel. I was able to
finish up all the trim work in the addition and kitchen, which meant that
all the major wood working was done inside the house. Which meant that I
could finally take all the tools that have been sitting on a
temporary storage shelf in the foyer and move them back into the shop
and then take the shelving unit down. So the house is now completely free of
the tools I used to build it. My HUGE thanks to Nora for putting up with
them in the last almost 12 full months! It sure is nice to come into the
foyer and not see all those tools sitting there. Both from an aesthetic
standpoint, but also psychological one, as I am not constantly reminded of
the work that still needs to be done. There is still some cabinetry work to
be done in the kitchen, but I even got some of that done this week and plan
to keep chipping away at the work left in the kitchen and with luck be done
in around 2 weeks. Then I just need to finish out the screened in porch and
all will be done!
The final silver lining- and I am starting to dig real
deep here- is that on Tuesday, the final bit of snow finally melted off the
roof of the addition. So for the first time in around 6 months, we had no
snow what so ever on
our roof! As you can see, there is still some piles left from the last
dumping and where I have moved it around via ATV/plow and snow thrower, it
is still over 8 feet deep in spots. However, there is some sunshine seen in
the forecast for this week and even some temps in the 50's to near 60, so it
will start to fast now. I do not know when it will all be finally gone, but
I suspect that in about a week, most of it will be gone from the woods and
then the bigger piles I have will be gone in a week after that. The sun is
so strong (about as strong as it is in early August) that if given the
chance, it really melts the snow off quickly.
Even with the more limited snow melt this week, the
rivers still rose. The Sturgeon River in Chassell was flirting with flood
stage all week and the Traprock
River got pretty high, but managed to remain a foot or so below flood
stage. On Tuesday, the whole family took a car ride to the east side of the
peninsula and this was the look of the
Tobacco River just northeast of the hamlet of Gay. I have often wondered
if anyone ever shoots down that river on a kayak when it is running hard.
There are some pretty good rapids on it.
Our main purpose for heading out to the eastern side of
the peninsula Tuesday was to observe a strange phenomena called an ice
surge. That is when ice that is still floating on a body of water like a
lake is moved by strong winds and the ice actually gets shoved up onto the
land. It is somewhat common on the inlands lakes of MN, WI and lower MI, but
pretty rare up this way. Sunday night and Monday we had very strong east to
southeast winds and those winds caused some of the ice that was floating to
the east of the Keweenaw to pack in along the shore and pile up. Here is a
satellite image of the ice piled up against the eastern side of the Keweenaw.
Now, from 1000's of miles from space things may not look
so dramatic, but you get yourself right up and into where the shove
occurred, and it is a different story. Here is a shot of the
shove as seen from Big Traverse. Traveling a bit south, the impacts of
the shove got more dramatic and actually started to cause
some damage. That was an out building, a sauna I believe, that was
damaged in the last shot and here is another
view of that same building. It was actually a pretty short stretch of
the shoreline that was impacted by the shove. I had heard about the shove
and seen some pictures before heading out and quite honestly, I was
expecting to see a lot more area impacted than I did. Thankfully, it appears
as though all of the structures used for living were sparred by the ice,
one was a close call!
Some of the ice was the consistency of an icee that you
might get in the summer to cool you off from an ice cream vendor, while
other pieces were chunks several
feet thick. From the talk around town, no one can ever remember seeing
such a thing happen up this way, at least to that extent. Just another
rarity from a rare winter, I guess.
Last week I had some pictures of damage done to some of
the trees up this way and this week, with the snow melting off of around 1/2
of the septic field, I was able to walk around with the pups one afternoon
and have a look at our own damage. The first thing that caught my eye was a
large branch on the peach tree that had been snapped and also the fact
that the tree itself is leaning around 60 degrees to the left. So the limb
will need to be removed and the tree more properly shored up. Sound like
maybe a good job for the tractor :). There were also some fir trees at the
edge of our yard that had been snapped
off towards their top. Not much that can be done to them.
Speaking of a job for the tractor, I have my first real
big one for it as soon as all the snow melts. That is to dig some trenches
and lay some train tile to help drain the area of driveway between the house
and shop and also provide some drainage from where the lean-to will be built
to store the tractor. I also plan on widening the driveway just a bit. Not
cutting down any trees, but using the backhoe and loader to widen the area
that can be used for the driveway and then to spread some mine rock down.
So I guess that about covers it for this time around. It
looks like I might have finished in time to be able to get out and take in
some rays of sunshine before we have dinner and then head to Graces program.
I will leave you with one final picture and that is of the
Laurium Glacier on Monday. It's a monster! I have never seen it this
big, even in the dead of winter. So for those of you that guessed any day in
April for it to melt, you obviously did not win and I suspect that anyone
with a date in May will also not win. I just cannot see how I will melt
before the end of this month. Then again, nature never ceases to amaze me!
Good night from the Keweenaw..