A View From the Field








October 2001

October 28

I'm going to do this entry in pieces, I think, because I keep forgetting something I want to write about, so while it is in my mind, I want to get it down.


What I forgot about yesterday is what happened on the way back from the mail run.  I came around the curve in front of Millers' garage (just south of my driveway), and skidded a little because I had to stop so fast. By the way, ABS brakes won't keep you from skidding on gravel - you just skid straighter.  Anyway, standing in front of me, not too far from my driveway and about to go into the woods on the east side of the road was a very respectable sized deer.  It looked fat and well-fed, and its coat was sort of grayish-brown. I guess they get that color in the winter.  It had sort of a shaggy line down the center of  its neck and chest, but at first I thought it was a doe.  But when it turned its head, I discovered that he had two little antlers, about six inches long and only one point each.  From his size, he's going to be quite a buck when he grows up - if he makes it.  If he keeps standing in the middle of roads trying to stare down the cars, he ain't gonna make it.  Anyway, after a short wait, during which we stared at each other, I took my foot off the brake and began to ease forward, and he walked leisurely into the brush to my right.  He wasn't more than six feet from the road when I passed, but I had to search to find him.


There have been deer tracks all over my yard for the past month or so, but this is the first time I've seen one in a long time.  There aren't many deer out at this end of Keweenaw, because the terrain is so rugged.  Most of the ones there are hang out further south and west, particularly around Eagle Harbor and Eagle River, where they get fed in the winter.


There was an Astro ALert out for northern lights, and, as I mentioned yesterday, the night looked to be clear, but with the almost-full moon, there was no hope of seeing anything until it set.  It set between 2 and 3 am (my times are probably off, because I didn't change the clocks until this morning).  About 3:15, I woke up and I could see without my glasses that something really interesting was going on.  I moved over into the window seat (with my glasses on), and sat and watched for almost half an hour.  It was spectacular.  There wasn't any color, but there were horizontal sheets all over, cut through by vertical spikes, and they were as bright as I've ever seen them: bright enough that I could see in the bathroom with the nightlight turned out.  There was a lot of movement, although it was slower than the last time I watched.  There was one area, almost due north, where I can't see too close to the horizon because of the trees, that started out as just a bright cloud, and slowly changed into a dark area cut through by a series of streaks that went all the way from the trees up to zenith.  I would like to have watched longer, but it was the middle of the night, after all. And with the temperature in the middle 30s and a stiff wind, I wasn't going outside!  I guess I just don't have the right attitude.


I woke up intermittently for the rest of the night, and there was stuff going on until the sky lightened toward dawn.  The Astro Alert said that it appears that we are at solar max now rather than a year ago when the  number of sunspots peaked.  Certainly there have been several very strong Coronal Mass Ejections and x-ray flares in the past weeks.  I haven't mentioned them because every time I have, it's cloudy.  At least I've been able to see something of the past two.


The display last night was bright enough that I think just a tad brighter and I could have seen color.  Some people might have, but I've noticed that my color sense isn't very acute in the dark.


So that was the excitement for the night.


Today dawned perfectly clear and beautiful, although even on eastern standard time, the sun doesn't rise until around 7:30 around here. I guess that's better than 8:30 (relatively) but it also means sunset is before 6pm.  The days are getting really short really fast now and the sun is low in the south all day.  This is the beginning of payback time for all of the really long days in the summer. The solstice isn't for almost 8 weeks, so I won't see the really short days myself. 


I certainly hope the camera works consistantly, but so far it looks like it is going to take a lot of care and feeding.  Over the next week or so, I will be trying to see what I can do with remote control, although it appears I didn't bring the Laplink manual with me, which won't help.  We shall see.


It began to cloud up a little in the afternoon, but all that meant was that I could sit in the ugly chair and embroider and see what I was doing.  It seems to have cleared up some since darkness fell, although the moon is sort of hazy.  No doubt I will be peering out the windows after moonset tonight to see if there are any more laser light shows.


It seems that as has always been usual with me, my sleep schedule never went on Daylight Savings Time, so now that the clock has caught up with me, I am getting up at a more reasonable hour (by the clock anyway).  However, I did notice that my eating habits did go on DST, so I was pretty hungry when I went to dinner tonight.  Thankfully, there is still a restaurant open where I can get some good food.


Otherwise, it's pretty quiet in town these days, and I like it.  I like it...I like it...and in three weeks I'll be at the other place.  Poo.


October 27

The storm is over, and we had a moderate amount of sunshine today.  The wind dropped all day, and it was almost calm tonight when I came from dinner.  


As for the storm, after I uploaded yesterday's entry, I did get out to Pebble Beach for a few moments, and I got a few pictures.  I didn't stay long, because by the time I took the last picture my eyes were watering so badly I could hardly see anything, and my hands were cold.  The winds were still well over 30 mph at that point, and it wasn't nice out.  At times like that, I'm particularly glad I don't live right on the big lake.  I bet it got pretty cold in houses out there when the power went out.


This morning, when I woke up, the clouds were breaking up, and for most of the day we had a nice amount of sunshine mixed with some clouds. It didn't get very warm, but the wind had died to the point where it wasn't bad.  I could go out without my down parka on.


Around 6 pm, the skies cleared, and there was a lovely sunset.  I went to dinner early, so as to miss the Halloween party, so I missed most of the sunset, too, but I did get one shot of its end.  When I turned around, the gibbous moon was floating in the southeast.  I had read Charlie Hopper's lament (he's the Pasty Cam administrator) that he hasn't been able to get a good moon picture, so I decided to see what my camera will do.  It's not perfect, by any means:  grainy and sort of out of focus, although I might be able to improve on that by fiddling around with the focus some.  But I do think I could get the rising or setting moon.  Sometime when the moon is setting, I'll have to try that.


Yesterday I finally finished the sixth bird and started on the seventh bird, so I am making good progress on the second bellpull.  It will probably take me six months to do this one, too, since three of the last four birds have seeds or berries done over one, and that takes a lot of time.  Besides, I have been spending some time on other projects during the day, so I'm not working on birds full time any more.  After almost ten months of birds, I think I deserve a break.


Otherwise, it was a nice, quiet day, and I have only three weeks left here. Darn.


October 26

Well, the best laid plans, and all that.  I was heating the oven to put a pizza in it just after 6pm yesterday, when the power went out.  I wasn't surprised.  The winds had gotten up to gale force, and all the trees that had rotted out over the summer were just waiting to come down.  What I didn't count on was being in the dark until 2:20am this morning.


So there was no journal, I had a sandwich for dinner, and I went to bed really early.


Yesterday morning, I had just gone into the bathroom at about 10am when I realized I had left my embroidery magnifier in the office.  When I came out of the bathroom and looked down the harbor, I saw the most beautiful sight.  The sun, which was just over the trees, had come out for a moment, and it was still raining down in town.  I grabbed the camera, and since there were raindrops on all the windows, I rushed out onto the deck in my robe and slippers to take a few pictures.  It interested me, later, that not for the first time, the best of the pictures was the first one I took.


No embroidery got done, and I didn't get dressed until after noon, because I wanted to upload the pictures to the computer right away to see what I'd gotten.  It turned out so good that I put it onto a web page right away, with the thought that later on I would do the journal entry and upload the whole thing.  Well...


At the time I went outside, the wind was still from the southwest, and it wasn't very strong.  All day it kept shifting and getting stronger.  For most of the afternoon, we had massive whitecaps on the harbor, but around 5pm, it shifted north, and that put this end in the lee of Lighthouse Point. But by that time, the sustained winds were in the middle 30 mph range, and it was pushing the water into the harbor so strongly that there were breakers on my beach, some of which must have been 3 feet high.  Besides, so  much water was being pushed into the harbor that it looked to me like the water level had risen a foot or more.


It rained and was so nasty all afternoon that I only went out for the mail run and to visit Shirley, then I came right home again.


I was sitting in the dark drinking my glass of wine, with a cat asleep on my lap, and it was getting darker slowly, then all of a sudden, it seemed like somebody turned the variable light switch way down, and it got a lot darker all at once.  Interesting.  I guess what happened is that the wind blew a thicker cloud over, but it happened really suddenly.


I got to brush my teeth with some of the water I had stored from last spring, but I couldn't even wash my face, let alone take a bath.  I went to bed feeling really icky and sticky all over, but it didn't keep me awake much.  It was eerie to look out, when I woke up, and see only black all the way down the harbor.  Usually I can look out and see the street lights in Copper Harbor.  Even the light in the lighthouse was dimmer, and I think now that the automatic-cutover generator I hear when the power goes out is the one that runs the lighthouse, but at reduced power.  When the power came back on, the light was suddenly twice as bright.


Of course I couldn't hear the generator last night!  Between the wind buffeting the house and the roaring of the surf, all other noises were drowned out.  The wind isn't nearly so noisy when it's coming from the north as it was during that blow when it came from almost due west.  Then it was really banging against the front of the house.  From the north, it hits at the back corner and there isn't so much area to bang on.


When I got up this morning and booted up the computer, the winds were gale force - 41 mph with 55 mph gusts (as I recall).  They've died down some now, at 1:30 - 31 mph with 44 mph gusts.  At least that's what the Weather Underground is reporting.  That is from the weather station at Fort Wilkins, and I strongly suspect it is in a rather protected location, as it seems to me that I get higher gusts here.  


The only way to prove that is to have a weather station of my own, but they are expensive, and I've spent a lot of money on electronic gadgets this year, so that is a project for next year.  Of course, when I get one, it will have to have a computer interface and I will report here on my website.  Pretty soon it won't matter if I'm here or in Detroit (hah!).


The other thing I did yesterday was to learn how to print pictures on the printer.  It works fine, and I printed both the one from yesterday and the last Pasty Cam picture.  However, it appears that there is some kind of a conflict among all the devices I have hung on this computer, and when the printer sits for any length of time, the system gets confused and can't find it.  So I rebooted at least a dozen times yesterday, because I took the pictures to show Shirley, and the one from the morning got wet.  The inkjet ink is water soluable, so it really got messed up after I put greasy fingerprints on it and then it stuck to the envelope.  Lesson learned.  I will have to figure out how to protect my prints better.   Anyway, I had to print that one over.


I'm glad to know how to do the prints, because I know people in Detroit who don't have computers who would like to see some of my pictures.  Now I'll be able to print up the really good ones.  It will also give me the impetus to use the digital camera to copy some more of my old slides.  I did have a slide scanner, but after I'd used it for a few weeks, it appears to have died, and I didn't even load the software on the new computer in Detroit.  I will when I get back there, but I think it was a real piece of junk and it's dead.  So the camera and the slide copying attachment will come in handy.


It also seemed that the live cam software was working even when I didn't have the preview screen open, so now I am totally confused again.  Just so long as I can keep it running from Detroit!


Oh, yes, and while I was eating breakfast, I got a call from my one neighbor who is still here, saying that there was a big poplar down across the road up by US41.  He was able to get the DNR people to promise to remove it, so we will see when I go to the post office today.  So it's useful to have that lighthouse out there after all.  The DNR will remove the tree because this is their access road, too.  Otherwise we would have had to scramble around and find somebody to do it for us - and pay them.


One last word about the live camera.  Please don't get too upset if it doesn't seem to be updating consistently for the next week or so.  I am going to have to get down to cases and start fiddling around with remote access from the laptop, and when I do that, there may be side effects.  All my telephones may be busy, too, because I'm going to be working on dial-in and internet access.  One of my remaining weeks is gone, and I only have three weeks left here - darn!


October 24

The current excitement among us weather watchers is the big storm we are supposed to get tomorrow and Friday.  Rain, snow (10" or more south of Baraga), high winds (up to 60 mph) and high seas (20 !?!! foot waves).  Or so the National Weather Service is predicting.  We shall see.  It would be fun to see 20 foot waves, but they may not hit until after 6 pm, according to Accuweather (which isn't very).  Anyhow, one of the things I wanted to see seems about to happen.  If it does, I will try to get myself up to go out and take some pictures, if it happens during daylight.  I'm also interested to see how the house behaves with 60 mph wind gusts.  It will be noisy, I can assure you, and the lake will sound like a freight train...a very close by freight train.


Today was dark and dismal all day, but it got over 50 early in the day, and it didn't start raining until 2pm or so (I think).  So I missed a window of opportunity to plant the peonies and poppies.  Too bad.  It's supposed to warm up next week, so I have another chance.


Anyway, it's been pouring rain for some time, and it's been coming from the west or northwest, so there have been copious raindrops on the window in front of the live cam all day. 


By the way, I shut it down after 7pm, since the view isn't very inspiring, and when I checked it this morning, it still showed the last picture of the office I took last night.  Why it does that, I just do not know. It worked fine all day yesterday and all day today (when it was running) when I was sitting with my back to it.  Why it goes out to lunch when I leave it is beyond me.  


Also, I am now an official member of John Dee's NCN or Northwoods Camera Network.  You can see his take on the picture by clicking on NCN, then on the most northerly star in Keweenaw.  It's something I've wanted to see there since he started the NCN, and since nobody else seemed interested in doing it, well...so I did.  Now all I have to do is ensure that it keeps working.


To that end, I had the camera down for some time this afternoon while I installed Norton Internet Security.  Since I'll probably have a nearly continuous connection, I thought it behooved me to protect my PC against the hacker world.  The next task, after I install the same stuff on the laptop, is to learn how to use Laplink over the Internet, and how to get complete control of the PC so I can troubleshoot from Detroit.  If I can figure that one out, I can try to run in test mode for a while.  Not that I want to.  The laptop is nice, but I like the desktop much better.  But we must sacrifice something...


All my FrontPage books came, and none of them say anything at all about automatic reload of pages or making sure pages aren't cached on remote computers.  So I will have to research those things further, too.  If anybody thought this was easy...The devil is in the details!


Oh, on another topic, the sky was fairly clear all night last night, and there wasn't a hint of any northern lights.  Of course.  Tonight and tomorrow night, when the clouds are so thick it's almost like twilight during the day, are when they will be spectacular.  Oh, well. There's always next year...


So it was a nice, quiet day, if a little dampish, and I will try to get to bed a little earlier tonight.


October 23

The day started with a "bleep", which is the sound the cordless phones make when the power goes off, and since it was sometime before 7am, it was dark.  I went back to sleep, but there was still no power two hours later.  So my breakfast consisted of juice and cold cereal - yech! Not my idea of a proper breakfast at all!


I was sitting in the office trying to decide what I could do in the dark - it was very cloudy and dismal - when we powered back up.  The PC rebooted itself, and SpyCam came back up, but since there had been an internet connection when it went down, it didn't reconnect properly...that was also probably because my connection parameters weren't set right (thanks, Charlie).  Maybe next time it will do its thing.


So I had my nice breakfast for brunch, and I felt a little discombobulated all day.  Not only that, but I spent a good portion of the day on the phone.  I determined that none of my magazines had gotten change of address notifications, and I spent some time convincing the Postal Service and their Consumer Affairs office that I really have been getting terrible service.  Then I went to the Post Office and got a very large envelope of stuff that had been left at the house last Friday.  The Consumer Affairs person tried to convince me I was asking too much, but I think I got it across that I don't think so at all.  I'm peeved.  Probably it's too late to do much this year, and I will definitely handle the magazines differently next year, but still...


I did manage to make a little sense of the terrible (so what else is new?) mess in the office, but mostly because I was looking for something, which I eventually found.


Along about 5pm, the sun began to shine, and while there were some clouds in the west when it got dark, the moon is currently shining brightly right next to Mars, and it looks pretty clear.  Maybe there will be some more northern lights, although we are sort of between Coronal Mass Ejections.  I guess they were spectacular last night, when it was, of course, cloudy here.  Since both Silver City and Eagle Harbor were clear, I'm beginning to think there's a little black cloud hanging over Copper Harbor just to make sure I don't see anything.  There is supposed to be another CME on the way, to arrive tomorrow or Thursday, when, of course, we will be having clouds, high winds and, probably, snow.  Poo!


The camera pretty much behaved itself today, but I have it down right now. Apparently PastyNet is getting overloaded and they don't want to increase their capacity until the first of the year, so I was asked to kindly log off between 8 and 10pm. I will so long as I'm here, but after I leave, I'm not sure how to go about forcing that.  I am going to register SpyCam, so I will be able to use the scheduler, and maybe I can figure something out. 


Oh, yes, and I washed clothes.  I was, amazingly enough, getting near the bottom of the underwear drawer, so I decided it was time to do a chore.  I've never much minded washing, and it's no bother at all here, because all I have to do is walk down the hall when the beeper goes off.  The water is finally looking pretty clean - I can just guess how it will be next spring!


So in spite of a shaky start, the day turned out pretty good, and I actually accomplished something.  I can almost see the desktop again, and the papers are at least all in nice neat piles.  I sorted, too, and maybe tomorrow I will file away the stuff that has to go back to Detroit with me.  Amazing.  I never would have thought it.


Now, if the sky will only stay clear while I'm in bed...


October 22

The leaves are almost all gone off the trees on the covered road and Cliff Drive.  There are a few oaks, a few confused birches, and not much else.  Particularly along the covered road, the view is entirely different.  You can see much further into the woods, and get a glimpse of the far-away hills.  But it isn't colorful any more, just the gray of bare branches and the very dark green of black spruces.  This is the first time I've seen the trees bare.


But my story of the day actually starts about 4am, when I woke up and looked out and saw things that looked too light to be clouds, especially since I could see some stars without my glasses.  There were some clouds, but I sat in the window seat for fifteen or twenty minutes watching the northern lights.  I didn't mention it before, because every time this summer there's been an Astro-Alert, it's been cloudy.  These weren't colored; I don't think I've ever seen colors, partly because the effect is too diaphanous, but there were sheets and puffs and spikes and all the neat things that make a really good show.  The Astro-Alert suggested taking pictures, and I suppose that would show a lot more color, but it would take a video camera (supposing any video camera would work in the dark) to really get the effect I was seeing.  Eventually, I had to leave it and go back to bed, but I think it kept on until nearly 6:00 (that's Eastern Daylight Time, and the sun isn't rising in these parts until 8:20 or so).


Then for some reason, I had some abdominal cramps which got me up, and after I took care of that, I went back to sleep and didn't get up until 9.  Even though the sun rose at 8:20, it doesn't get over the hills to shine on anything until almost 9, so I didn't miss much.  It is so far south already!  The harbor looks completely different with that low, yellow sun slanting through the trees.


Of course, since it was a beautiful morning, the camera had hung up for some reason in the middle of the night again, and it was displaying a beautiful black screen with the current time on it.  This is getting monotonous.  I reset it, and it has been OK ever since.  More about that later.


I started my day with one of my favorite breakfasts: French toast made my way, with Brownberry Bread and soaked through until it's almost like custard inside, and Volwerth's pork sausage.  Volwerth's sausage is raw(I get it frozen), so it takes a while and is messy to cook, but it's the best I've ever eaten.  Yum.  


Well fortified, I embroidered a number of holly berries - over one on 32 count linen.  That's not fun, but the effect is very nice.


There will be a short pause while the camera updates.  Well, that worked.


I drove down to town to get a heating pad and a few other things, and to look at web cameras.  There were several, but after reading all the boxes, I have come to the opinion that this live camera thing is something not very many people are interested in doing.  I did talk to a person who steered me in a new direction, so I will see how this is working for the next few days and maybe try a different tactic.


I have the horrible feeling part of my trouble with the whole thing can be traced back to the problems I have had with the serial port driver since I have had these computers.  The laptop works OK, but the two desktops have had troubles with Internet access from the beginning.  I even deleted and reinstalled the driver (I think that got into the journal back in May), and the problems persist.  Every few days it gets so bad I have to reboot.  This behavior does not lend itself to unattended operation.


As a matter of fact, around 6:15 tonight, I was reading email and playing Taipei and all of a sudden all the button backgrounds changed color to light blue.  When I clicked them, they looked normal, but otherwise they were smeared over with this blue color.  Maybe the trouble is Taipei?  Who knows - the game must be over 10 years old.  So I had to reboot.  I started playing it again, but I think I'll try to avoid that for a few days.  If I need Taipei, I can play on the laptop.


It was getting cloudy when I left for Houghton, but I had a late lunch/early dinner and when I started back it was quite clear.  There were some clouds in the west at sunset, but the young moon is shining in my window, a little hazy, but quite nice.  The temperature got into the middle 50s and there was very little wind, and it was altogether a lovely day to be out and about.


As a matter of fact, when I passed Lake Medora this morning, the entire lake looked like a sheet of glass.  I would have stopped to take pictures except that there are mostly hardwoods around Medora and they all looked gray and dismal.  I do see why people like to live on that lake.


I thought all the twigs on the tops of the trees were gray, but on the way home, I noticed that the paper birches have dark red twigs, and in the setting sun, they looked really pretty.


For the first time this year, I came back through Mohawk instead of taking Cliff Drive.  That isn't as bad as I'd remembered, at least at this time of year when there is no traffic.  There are only a couple of miles of slow speeds, then it's 55.  That part of US 41 looks more like a park, and it is a pretty drive.  During the summer, though, with the tourists and the RVs and all, Cliff Drive is still the way to go.  I took it this morning because I got behind a lady in a Suburban who very clearly was not used to driving such a vehicle - she was clutching the steering wheel, leaning forward, and going under the speed limit.  I was glad to leave her behind.


The weather is supposed to deteriorate for the rest of the week - rain and snow and cold - so it was a wonderful bonus to have such a lovely Monday.


October 21

It was one of those days, both weatherwise and in the computer world, when things that should have worked didn't and things that shouldn't have worked did...


When I woke up this morning, it was partly cloudy, and since the sun isn't rising until 8:20 EDT, it wasn't very bright.  The sun did rise 'way to the south, which gave some pretty vistas over the hills, and most of the day was partly cloudy and very pretty.  Along about 4:30, it clouded up, and the next thing I knew there were  raindrops on the window in front of the live camera.  That's better than flies, I guess.  


The camera was interesting.  I left it running in the foreground last night, and it updated perfectly all night.  Sigh.  After I spent the entire night drafting a letter to Intel about why I can't use it for my application...


At least once, I didn't even have the preview screen open and it appears to have updated  correctly. 


Experiments should be reproducible - they should fail in the same way.  Murphy is wonderful.  I still don't know what I was - or was not - doing.


So I got brave and tried to install the new Norton Anti-Virus and Internet Security that I just bought three (!) copies of. When I finally got that installed right (I thought), the system couldn't find the camera at all!  Heaven knows what question I answered wrong, but I had to use the "Go Back" program to back the entire thing out.  I have a feeling "Go Back" is using a ton of disk space (which I have, of course) but boy, in a case like this, it certainly beats trying to back out an install manually.  I still have no idea what I did, but I'll try it again Tuesday and see if I can get it right.


Tomorrow I have to go to town and acquire a heating pad.  I have been playing with the computer so much that my right wrist is in bad shape.  When I wake up in the middle of the night, I can't move it at all without extreme pain.  My left wrist isn't doing too well either, but it's not as bad as the right. This afternoon I was trying to embroider, and every so often I would make an abrupt move and send a shooting pain through my wrist and hand.  It's not carpel tunnel - the pain and stiffness are right below my thumb joint.  I'm not surprised, because mama had arthritis in her wrists for a long time.  It may make me have to replace the regular mouse with a trackball, though.  When I had my trackball (quite a few years ago), it was a lot easier on my hand and wrist.  That one was a piece of junk, though (I actually had two of them), and now I think Microsoft is making one which may be more robust.  We'll see.


So the current situation is, the camera works - sort of - and the weather has been good - sort of  - and my internet security isn't working at all.  An interesting day.  At least I got to enjoy the sun on the hills and the whitecaps on the harbor again.


October 20

Well, it has been a little longer than I wanted since I did a journal, but when I got back here Thursday night, I was exhausted, and last night I really crashed.  So that leaves now.


The trip to Detroit wasn't bad.  I made it down in 10 hours, for a new record, but there was minimal traffic the entire way on Monday.  I think there wasn't any rain, but frankly, I don't remember what it was like when I left here, except that the sun wasn't up yet.  It was about the same temperature in Detroit as it was here.


The color wasn't as good as I had expected.  Going down, it was beautiful around Munising and around Indian River and far past peak for the rest of the UP and the northern Lower.  It was very cloudy (or rainy?  I can't remember) around West Branch, so it was hard to tell.


Coming back was more of a challenge.  It was beautiful when I left Detroit, but I got caught in the middle of the rush hour traffic, which made it slow.  The clouds started to roll in around Flint, I think, but they were high and there was no rain until I got west of Marquette.  The color was nice around West Branch, but the rest of the drive wasn't so pretty.  What I did notice is that while all the tall trees had dropped their leaves, the understory was still in full color, so in spots it looked like the woods were glowing under the dark branches.  


The drive from Marquette to Houghton was awful.  It was raining, and around Canyon Falls, I got 'way behind another one of those really terrible drivers and had to follow her all the way to Houghton.  Slow and erratic and so bad that a semi who was behind her and in front of me made an abrupt, fast right turn into a gas station in Chassell: she must have been driving him just as bonkers as she was driving me.  Wow!  I still cannot understand why people will not pull over when they see 15 cars behind them and nothing in front of  them...or maybe, as Arthur suggested, they never do look behind them.   Anyway, it was frustrating.  Fortunately, there wasn't any traffic from Calumet north, so I got here in 10 hours and 40 minutes, more or less.


The rain stopped after I unloaded the car, of course, and the sunset was spectacular, but when I tried to use the telephoto to get some more detailed pictures, the camera was out of focus.  I'm not sure what I did that time - I'm amazed I got the one I did.  I was really tired.


Yesterday was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the 50s and a lot of sun, and so was today, except around 11 this morning, it suddenly clouded over, and the wind blew and it rained hard for about 5 minutes - and the next time I looked out, the sky was perfectly clear.   It was mostly clear for the rest of the day, and really pretty.  Very nice, when the Weather Underground was predicting rain...


A word about the live camera.  The one I have probably isn't going to work, because the driver will not update the picture when the monitor goes off (I've proved that both yesterday and today to my satisfaction).  The date and time are updated, but the picture isn't.  This is an extension of a problem documented in the SpyCam documentation, and there isn't much I can do about it, since Intel is singularly uninterested in being helpful.  I am seriously thinking about just trashing this camera and getting another one with better software.  Fortunately, none of them are very expensive.  It's disappointing, particularly that I've wasted so much time with this thing, and I won't get a chance to give it another live trial before I go home.  I am only determined to get something up and running before I leave for the winter.  Stay tuned.


So that's what's going on at Rainbow's End.  The weather is a lot better than it's supposed to be, and I still have about four weeks left here.


October 13

What an icky day.  It started out cloudy and sometime after 3pm it began to rain softly and it got so foggy that sometimes I couldn't see the mountain.


However, the live cam is operational, in test mode.  I'm still fiddling around with both it and the connection parameters, but it is posting an image every half hour, and if I can either keep the connection alive or make it dial automatically (which I don't like for IE), or keep the program from hanging up when the computer wants to hibernate, it looks like it may be OK.  I will watch it all day tomorrow, and try to keep track of it while I'm in Detroit, and we'll see.  When I come back, I am going to have to see about a little faster, more reliable connection. Of course, right now, in the dark, since I don't have the room lights on, all you can see is a black screen with one white point in the middle of it, which is the floodlight at Harbor Haus.


Speaking of Harbor Haus, we had a lovely last dinner there tonight, and it was doubly delightful for me because Shirley's daughter Sherry joined us.  She is a neat person, and she has been so busy all summer I haven't seen her at all except once to wave at.  It was fun.  It was also very good.  Their menu was somewhat limited, but everything on it was great.  I had the last fish, which is traditional.  Now all I can do is dream about marinated whitefish wrapped in bacon and grilled over a hickory fire, at least until next May.


And after tonight, it will be really dark, because their lights won't be on.  I'm seriously thinking about paying for the SpyCam program, so I can use the scheduling function and not even try to take a picture after dark.  Only I will have to be certain the dial-up function works first.


I also got a laugh at myself.  After beating on the camera thing for three weeks, now that it is pretty much operational, I found myself terminally bored this afternoon. It seems to me I had the same problem when I was working.  I would put out all my efforts to solve some problem, and once it was solved, I would miss the stimulation, and be bored to death until I found another problem to work on.  So that hasn't changed.


I think I can also say with confidence that any cognitive deficit I may have had after the BMT is gone now.  I have learned several new things this summer, and while I was working on this one, I felt no particular effort to learn what I needed to know.  That's nice, because I still have not done everything I want to with Access, and I am going to have to go back to the FrontPage documentation and try to tweak the livecam page so it won't cache and will update automatically.  Unfortunately, this trip to Detroit comes at an inconvenient time - but I think every trip I've taken has been inconvenient.  


Next year, I shouldn't have to go back to Detroit more than a couple of times.  Next year...since this last glitch, I have tried not to look too far ahead but just enjoy every day as it comes.  I can't express how much I hope that the BMT did what it was supposed to do, but it will be another year or more before I have any confidence that it really worked.  Actually, even then, the lymphoma could always come back.


But at this point in my wonderful summer, I think I can look forward to coming back to Rainbow's End next year and having another even more wonderful summer, without so many interruptions.  Maybe even a screened porch, although I haven't heard from Philippe.


I also find myself somewhat conflicted.  I love it here, but choir and bible class are in full swing and the holidays are coming up, and there are things I want to do in Detroit.  So I guess it's getting to be time to go back, and that's good.  Maybe I won't be so depressed about leaving here.


Anyway, our dinner tonight was a lovely end to the season.


October 12

Well, after another day of fiddling around with the Intel Software, and after spending some time on the phone with their tech support people, I got some advice from the PastyNet people, and we're almost there.  The picture doesn't show up on the livecam page yet, but if you click on the square where it belongs, you will see it.  Now the next challenge is to get it to show up where I want it.  We progress.  I am NOT using the Intel software, but a freeware program that PastyNet uses for the Bridge Cam.  At least I know it isn't a PastyNet problem.


It was another beautiful day, 60ish, mostly sunny with high clouds until I decided to drive up to the mountain, when it got cloudy.  That was all right, actually, because after the mail and dumpster run, I had to telephone someone to tell them they had sent my order twice and I was sending the duplicate back.  I got their answering machine anyway, but I will send the package tomorrow and I didn't want to wait until Tuesday to try to remember to call them.  Nice people but sort of airheads.  The same people sent one order to my billing address (Detroit) rather than my shipping address (Copper Harbor). Oh, my.


My big task of the day was to clean cat pans and clean out the refrigerator. Both are now done, and I can begin packing in earnest.  We are supposed to have nasty weather for the next few days, so I will have time to get everything together, I hope.  So long as I don't have to pack the car in the rain (or snow) it will be all right.


As you can see from this morning's picture, Brockway is nearly all yellow and red, except for the pines, and when the sun is on it, it is truly beautiful.  It was so calm this morning that there was even a little reflection.  There was some kind of diving bird in the harbor this morning, which surprised me, because I thought all the ducks and geese were gone, and I haven't seen the loons since August.  I only saw it once, and it dove right after I sighted it, so I'm not sure what it was.  A little later, I did see a couple of ducks flying across the harbor, so they aren't all gone yet.


The big sighting of the morning (and it almost slipped my mind) was while I was sitting in the bathroom.  I looked up, and there were two adult eagles soaring overhead against the partly blue sky.  What a fabulous sight!  What huge birds!  Unfortunately, it was a little too cool this morning for me to go running outside with no clothes on to follow them.  They do nest around here, I think in the unspoiled area south of Lake Lilly.  At least that's the direction I saw them going earlier in the summer.  It's just one of the many, many reasons why I love it so here.


I've also neglected to mention the ugly chair lately.  Unfortunately, I can't sit there much any more, because DC has totally appropriated it.  He spends most of his days there, and if I sit down, he bugs me constantly until I move or let him sit on me.  It is a comfortable chair, but I didn't buy it to be a cat bed. Sometimes if I'm sitting there, he will consent to sleep on the ottoman, but he really  wants the chair.  He is there now, sound asleep.  Humph.


There is an Astro-Alert out for possible northern lights from last night through tomorrow.  They will probably come tomorrow, when it's cloudy.  I know I kept looking when I woke up last night, and while the northern part of the sky seemed a little lighter than the west, there was nothing I could say for sure was an aurora.  It had pretty much cleared up when I went to dinner tonight, and I'm still hoping to see something this year.  The ones I really wish I could have seen were the ones two weeks ago, which were so bright they made the clouds look like the full moon was behind them.  Of course it was cloudy.


So I will wrap this up, try one more thing with the camera, and publish.  I didn't bathe last night, so I must do it tonight.  Shirley and I are going to help close up Harbor Haus tomorrow night.


October 11

Well, yesterday was nothing to write home about, so I didn't.  It was 50-something and rained most of the day. I attacked the camera problem and after talking to Intel (whose tech support people have a perfectly terrible attitude) and trying a couple of more things, I've come to the conclusion that their software simply won't work with PastyNet.  And they don't care.  If your ISP isn't one of four they have configured, forget using their camera to feed a live cam on a website.


So I am looking around for another camera, and I've emailed Amazon to find out whether I can send this one back.


Last evening I had a lovely dinner with Phoebe at Harbor Haus, and stopped to see Shirley on the way home (how good it feels to say that!).  Had to grope my way into the house.  It was pitch dark, and when I got out of the car, the Big and Little Dippers were shining overhead.  They went away behind the clouds pretty fast, though.


I had been in bed for a couple of hours when the wind picked up, and even though the reported wind speeds weren't over 25 mph, I know it was stronger than that here.  It was beating against the windows all night.  It was really noisy, and DC didn't like it very well, so I didn't get much sleep. (Note: I just read John Dee's journal, and I was right. According to the data he got, the sustained winds were around 35 mph with gusts to 50.  Around here it was gusting more than it was sustained)


This morning when I woke up, however, it had died down a little, and it was the most gorgeous morning.  Here is another picture looking out from the deck.


I had decided to go to town today whatever the weather, but I started out pretty late.  On the way, I finally took a few pictures of the end of the fall color.  It is truly amazing how fast it peaked, which must have been about Sunday or Monday.  Last night's blow practically denuded most of the maples along the covered drive.  The ground is now covered with a coat of red and yellow.  It isn't so pretty, except for the oaks, which turn the most beautiful crimson.  Unfortunately, I got back too late tonight to take a close-up.  I'll try to do that tomorrow.  there are a couple on the road to my house that are really beautiful.


I got home this afternoon, with 36 yards of flannel for nightgowns and lots of patterns for my polar fleece, as well as lots of cat food.   Not much food for me, except breakfast food, since I'm not going to be here next week.  I decided to try a couple of last gasps on the web cam, and I came to the conclusion that it simply will not work with PastyNet.  I have Emails in to a couple of people, but I guess I'm going to have to chalk this one up as a very bad buy and get another one.  Live and learn, I guess.


I had hoped to have the web cam working by the time I go to Detroit on Monday, but obviously, I won't.  Stay tuned...


Tomorrow I will have to start packing and cleaning (dumpster day), and it's actually already tomorrow, so I'll wrap this up and get it published.


October 9

Late to bed, late to rise...


It doesn't do much for productivity, but oh, well.


It was sunny and warm when I finally rolled out of bed (well - sunny and middle 50s, which is warm for this time of year).  I had a nice big brunch, while looking at the computer (first time I've done breakfast that way), then I did my morning embroidery, and that's it. Just the kind of day I like.


It became progressively more cloudy over the day, and again by the time I was ready to do the mail run, the sun was in the wrong place and not so bright.  It's now pretty cloudy, although the setting sun looks like it may be interesting.  It's peeking through a hole in the clouds - and it's way south of Brockway now.  If it looks good, I'll take a picture and post it tomorrow.  I want to get this done and published so I can go to bed early and try to get back on some sort of schedule.


I was hoping otherwise, but now they are predicting rain for Monday.  So long as it isn't snow, I don't mind too much.  I will be starting off before sunrise for the first time, and that will be interesting.  The days are getting very short very fast.  It's at this time of year - and on through the winter - when the difference in latitude between here and Detroit makes the most difference.  The sun isn't rising until 8am already, and it's only October.  Wow.  If I'm going to stay this late into the fall (and I certainly hope to!) I am going to have to have some kind of a lighted magnifier so I can do needlework after dark.


Going off daylight savings time (last Sunday in October?) will help some, but being at 47.5 north latitude does make a difference.  Also using Eastern time in close to the middle of the Central Time Zone really skews things.  It's wonderful in the summer, but not so good in the winter.


I do enjoy the mail run, at least sometimes.  I saw two people I haven't seen all summer - one who runs off at the mouth, but is very kind and cheerful, the other one of whom is an extremely negative person, and besides seems to be getting both deaf and somewhat confused.  Interesting contrast.  As I suspected, everyone who lives here and isn't in business sort of keeps to themselves in the summer, just like I do.  If you want to see somebody you have to go and deliberately seek them out.  Winter is different, because in winter everybody who is still here gets housebound and besides they have a vested interest in keeping in touch, just in case.


So another lovely autumn day at Rainbow's End...


October 8

Oops, almost forgot my journal entry.  


Not that there's much to say.  I had a hard time going to sleep last night, so I slept extraordinarily late this morning.  When I did get up, the sun was shining in an almost pure blue sky and the temperature was in the 40s - warmer than it's been for days.


When I came into the kitchen, a little hermit thrush was sitting on the deck railing waiting for a bug to come by.  He was fluffed up a bit, so it wasn't that warm.  He hung around for a couple of minutes before he flew off.


Some clouds started to creep in around 11, but they were mostly very light most of the day, and the sun was poring into the office, right on my desk.  Another new and interesting angle.


I forgot today was Columbus day (observed), because about the only thing closed was the post office.  Even my financial advisors were working.


By about 6pm, the sky had clouded up, and now it is raining, but the temperature got into the middle 50s, and right now it is only just below 50.

Nice for a change.  I didn't have to wear a jacket when I went out.  There was a strong breeze all day, but it was from the south, so there were no waves.


I never did get out to take any pictures.  Oh, well.  There will be another day. My major task for the day was to try to balance my checkbook.  It wasn't easy, because I've been writing checks for one amount and entering something else in the register.  Obviously, I haven't been too interested in paying my bills.


Well, another beautiful day.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.


October 7

Well, the snow is on the pumpkin, even if the frost isn't.  When I woke up this morning, there was a little layer of snow in all the open areas of the yard and the deck.  It had all melted by 11 or so, and the temperature never got below freezing, but it did snow.


The wind had died away to nothing by morning, and the clouds have been breaking up all day.  About sunset they mostly disappeared.  I sat in Harbor Haus and admired the sun on the east end of the harbor and on the east bluff.  The east bluff is about 80% color, I would say, and it was really beautiful.  I realized that I've never before seen the sun at that angle on the bluff - it's much south of where I've seen it before.


It never got very warm today, in the low 40s, but without the wind, it wasn't uncomfortable.  One didn't want to run around wearing shorts, but with the proper clothing, it wasn't bad... fresh, as we used to say. Very fresh.


Thursday when I was out in the woods, I forgot to mention how wonderful it smelled.  Each season has its own odors around here, and I haven't smelled any that I don't love. The smell of the fallen leaves when the sun warms them up is intoxicating.


It is supposed to warm up some this week and there may be some sun, so I will try to get out and get some postable pictures.  It's getting very pretty around here.  


October 6

Surf's really up!  The wind has been over 20 mph out of the northwest since last night, and with the temperature in the middle 30s all day, the wind chill has been under 20 all day.  I thought about going to the shore, but I guess I didn't get enough sleep last night, and I was tired.


I did take a few pictures of the waves breaking on the rocks between Porter Island and the Lighthouse this morning.  This is the best one.  There are some huge rocks at the east end of Porter Island, and the waves really break over them when there's a blow from the north or northwest.  I took the picture out the window onto what will be the screened porch, because it is the only one without a screen, and i decided I didn't want to bundle up and go out.


I used the occasion to try out my telephoto adapter, and the results were pretty good, I thought.  I will try it again and see if I can get sharper images.  Of course, it has the same problem as all telephoto lenses - it magnifies movements, too.  


So except for the mail run and dinner, I hibernated all day.  Late in the afternoon, there were a few rays of sunshine, but mostly there have been those heavy, low, gray clouds.  This morning while I was eating breakfast, there was a nice rain squall in the harbor that hid the whole other end for a while, and while I was driving back from dinner just now, some little flakes were dropping out of the sky.  Not much, but it wasn't rain.


I guess we're in for another day of this, then it should warm up some.  


It hasn't kept people home - when I got to Mariner, Laura was on the phone calling all the motels in town trying to find a room for somebody, and there weren't any.  Amazing.  This is the "color weekend" and people are going to come regardless.  It's only too bad there won't be more sun so they can see how beautiful things are.  I will try hard to get out next week and take some pictures.


For now, I'm going to publish this, then I'm going to bed early.  The song of the lake should put me right to sleep.


October 5

Today is daddy's birthday.


 I went to bed late and got up late. Sometime early in the morning, it poured rain with a strong west wind, so now my front windows aren't clean any more.  Well... compared to the way they would look in Detroit, they're pristine.  There isn't the greasy crud in the rain up here that there is down there.  But they've been rained on.


Then the clouds began to break up, and there was sun over the mountain while I was eating breakfast.  Then it clouded up again...you get the idea.  We had several short showers with periods of mixed sun in between.  Late in the afternoon, the sky cleared completely, except for one big black cloud over the lake.  The temperatures (here) topped out in the mid 50s, then they dropped off, and it is just below 40 now...clear over the land and cloudy over the lake.  I love to look at the sky.


I guess there isn't much question that there will be precipitation of some sort for the next two days.  If dinner at Mariner is any indication, a lot of people who would otherwise have been here for the weekend chickened out when they heard the weather forecast.  Some people at the next table (who had come in from the bar) were saying the word "snow" like it was a cuss word.  Personally, I don't feel that way, unless I have to drive 35 miles through traffic to get to work.  Otherwise, I think snow is pretty.  I hope to see some this fall - just so long as it doesn't happen on October 15, October 18, or November 16.


It was tempting to run out with the camera when it cleared up (about 4pm), but actually, the sun angle is all wrong at that time of day for the places I wanted to get pictures.  Morning, or at least before noon sun time, is best for both Lake Manganese and Lake Medora, and those places are where the color was really spectacular yesterday.  Unfortunately, while the sun was out on the mountain, it was a little cool and I didn't have enough time to get a good shot.  About Tuesday it looks to clear up.


They are predicting snow inland and in the higher elevations of Keweenaw for the next two days, and a hard freeze away from the lake.  We won't get that cold here, so it looks now like I won't be sowing my wildflowers until after I get back from Detroit.


The mountain is slowly beginning to change color, and either this is really late or it was really early last year, because I saw a lot of color on the north side of Brockway last fall.  One thing I hope these journals will do is let me look back and compare conditions year by year.  I certainly hope there are lots of years.


So I will publish this and try to go to bed a little earlier tonight.


October 4

It was just one of those days...


Imagine my surprise, first when I saw the moon shining in my windows at 4:30, then when I got up and looked out at a pristine blue sky!  I have to report that the sun doesn't get over the tall pines in the east until about 9:30 am these days.  Getting short, fast!


Some clouds appeared later, but not enough to bother the sunlight, and it is pretty windy: there have been whitecaps on the harbor all day.  The temperature got into the middle 50s and it was quite nice, particularly if I stayed out of the wind.


So around the mail run, I cruised around to several of my favorite places: Lake Manganese, US41, Lake Medora (they've paved the public access parking lot - ye gads, what are we coming to!!?), and the first bridge over the Montreal River.  The color isn't at its peak yet, but it's getting there fast.  There are also a lot of people around here.  More than I like.  More than I'd hoped to see this time of year.  I guess this weekend will be crazy.


So...where are the pictures?  Ha.  I got home, uploaded them, was pointing to the wrong place...and proceeded to delete them both from the hard drive and from the flash card.  So - sorry, no pictures.  The next nice day, I'll try again, I promise, and I promise to be much more careful when I click "yes".  Fast fingers strikes again.  Oh, well.


I did do another picture of the little sampler, not as good as the first one I took, but adequate.  This is slightly larger than life size:  the actual sampler is about 5" long.  I thought it was cute.


I hooked up the live camera again, and it still won't configure the upload, so I emailed Intel again.  If I don't get this resolved soon, I will call them and stay on the line until it works.  Talk about lousy documentation and lousy support...  I'm hoping the hardware is better.


Well, even though official sunset is not until 7:27, the sun has disappeared behind the mountain at 7:15, and the sky is apricot again.  I'm afraid the live cam, whenever it gets live, won't show the true colors of the sky.  In order to show the water and the land at all, I have to set the exposure to wash out the sky.  Evidently it doesn't have much exposure latitude at all.  Too bad, but I guess for the little I paid for it, I shouldn't expect a Nikon.  Now I won't complain so much about the Eagle Harbor Cam colors. Good that I have time to fiddle with it, because I'll have to set it at some exposure that works in most lights before I leave it.


They are still forecasting cold and rain and possibly snow for the weekend, so I'm glad we had this last unlooked-for day.  We'll see about the snow.  I doubt there will be any in the harbor, just cold rain, probably.  If it snows, I will try to take some pictures.  And not delete them.


October 3

Surf's up.  Plants down.  I can write a journal again.  I had talked so much about planting the plants that I decided I wasn't going to write another entry until I planted the plants.  So after squandering some more glorious fall weather, I got out in the cloudy gloom and 50 weather and planted everything I had to plant.  Unfortunately, that didn't include the peonies or the poppies, which they say they will send at the "proper planting time" - and it's supposed to snow by Saturday!  Grrr.  Just because Copper Harbor is in planting zone 5 doesn't mean our growing season isn't about the same length as zone 3's. Sometimes people just don't think.  I called the company and they will do what they can, but it apparently isn't easy to override "the system".


So, the weather.  Monday was sunny and Tuesday was cloudy and both days the temperature topped out in the low 60s.  My favorite kind of fall weather.  So I did nothing, as usual.


Well,  not completely.  I took a short time-out from the birds and worked a tiny sampler that fits an opening in a very nice clock.  It is in silk on 40 count (!) linen and less than 2" x 5".  I had to work it in a frame with a beading needle because the holes in the linen were so small.  Anything much larger and I would probably have given up.  As soon as the weather brightens up, I will take a picture of it.  Unfortunately, I can't finish the clock because I don't have anything to use for a backing board.  Maybe when I am home next, I can cut a piece.


Planting wasn't actually too bad.  The lake is acting up, but it really isn't very windy, and the garden seems to be a pretty sheltered spot.  The only parts of me that got cold were my hands and my seat.  I came in and went right into the laundry room and took off all my clothes and put them in the washer!  My seat got muddy because my little scooter got stuck in the mud and I had to get off it and scoot around on my backside - I just can't kneel for more than a couple of minutes.  My big problem was that I almost couldn't get up!  I had to scoot over to the deck stairs and haul myself up a couple of steps, then use the railings to pull myself up.  It has got me thinking about whether I really want this garden, believe me!  


Help me - I sat down and now I can't get up...


My upper back and my hands are sore, but my legs are no more shaky than usual.  


The trees on the lake are just beginning to turn color, but I get a little peek at one of the hills further south, and it is a beautiful gold.  Now that the plants are planted, the next time the sun comes out, I will have to drive down US41 and take some pictures.  That isn't likely to happen until Monday, and by then it should be really spectacular.  I wonder what Lake Manganese looks like?  Hmmm... Now if the sun will just shine again...