A View From the Field
It didn't help when John Dee, in his journal of last night, started comparing the weather to the summer of 1988. I was here over the Fourth that year, and that was the year my thermometer said it was 105º on the Fourth of July.
It wasn't quite that hot today, but it did top out around 92º here in the field, and I think it was hotter in town. I took a nice sleep for about 45 minutes this afternoon, then I had a nice dinner in air conditioned Harbor Haus, and after I commemorate the end of the month, I am going to indulge in a tepid shower and go to bed early again.
They keep promising that it will cool off over night and be much nicer tomorrow. I keep waiting for the wind to shift, but so far, it is still out of the southwest. According to the NWS, it's not very strong, but that weather station must be down in a hole. It's been quite breezy all afternoon, which is the only thing that has kept it from being totally unbearable.
It would probably have been sort of comfortable on the porch, but I would have had to move a chair and find something to do. So I stayed in the office.
According to the flags at Harbor Haus, the wind direction was quite variable, but it never switched around to the west while I was there. I can hope that it it does sometime this evening, or it will be a most unpleasant night.
For some reason I thought we had some hot weather about this time last year, but in looking back at my journals (which have a lot of gaps in them), apparently it wasn't until the first week of August that it got like it is now. I really hope it gets it all out of its system now!
well, I've reported on the weather, and I won't complain any more, I'll just go to bed.
Summer came to Copper Harbor today, and I don't like it one bit! The temperature rose slowly all night, and it was 70º when I got up this morning. It would actually have been a good morning to eat on the porch, but the table and chairs are still inside, so I just opened the slider (after I finished cooking - the wind does nasty things to my gas stove), and enjoyed.
However, it didn't stop there. It got hotter and more humid all day, until it was 88º or so with 68º dewpoint, and that is downright nasty. I got really sleepy, but I figured it would be even hotter in bed, so I had a coke, which strengthened my Advil and made me feel much better.
Along about 5:45, the wind shifted northerly and the temperature dropped about 8 degrees in 15 minutes. It's now under 80º and while it's still humid and the wind has now dropped to nothing, with the fans on, it is at least tolerable. I would really like to run off to the north end and take off all my clothes, but actually having something on sops up the perspiration.
It's supposed to be bad again tomorrow, but mostly further south. I hope the weather forecast is right. This is the weather I did not come here for!
Phoebe, who has actually been home for a week or two, came by to say hello and good-bye, as she is off again tomorrow, and we sat on the deck and nearly got carried off by the big flies, and I also got a couple of new black fly bites. Evidently my pheromones attract bugs (as well as animals). So in spite of the fact that it's not totally comfortable, I will have to wear the bug shirt when I go out in the garden for the next few weeks.
I had been going to go down into the garden and take a picture of my iris, which is actually a deep bronzy maroon, but it was too hot and too buggy. I don't think it will be gone by tomorrow. I remember picking the iris specifically, and at least this one seems to be a winner. The peony isn't out yet, but it should be shortly.
By the way, I am convinced something is wrong with the NWS station. It is now reporting 71º as of 7:45, but my thermometers all read around 76º or 77º, even when I went by the place near the fort where I think it's located. It's cooled off, but not that much.
I was hoping we wouldn't have any weather like this this summer, so now I hope it's a short term thing and we don't get any more.
All the heat has made me really sleepy and really in need of a tepid shower, so I will just trundle off to the north end. I saw a couple of new wildflowers today - well, one of them isn't wild, it's a garden escape - but it was just to nasty out. Maybe I'll get to take some pictures tomorrow.
It is cloudy and looks like it could blow up a storm, which would be nice except that I would have to run around like a maniac and close all the windows. A good thunderstorm would cool things off nicely.
It wasn't sunny, but it wasn't foggy either this morning, so that was a nice change. The temperature stayed in the 60s, and the dewpoint was under 60º by a bit, so it was a tolerable day, although there was very little wind.
I forgot to mention that last night as I was eating at Harbor Haus, an eagle flew across the harbor to Porter Island. He was being hounded by a couple of seagulls, so I wonder what he was up to. At least I have seen the eagle and he is there.
On my way home last night, there was a mom duck (mallard, I think) with six ducklings on the south side of US41 by the sewage ponds. The were walking on the gravel shoulder awfully close to the road, and they must have crossed the road to get where they were. Just another example of bird brains. That's certainly not where I would take my ducklings!
This afternoon, I took the weed whacker downstairs and whacked a few weeds. It is rather heavy, and the weeds are pretty high, so I didn't do much. It wasn't so warm down in the garden, but there was no breeze and the flies were atrocious. Most of them were huge things with red eyes - horse flies or deer flies, or something. I was wearing my bug shirt, so I didn't get bitten, but they were annoying, and it isn't exactly easy to see with the hood over my head.
It seems I am going to have one little peony (white) and one iris (dark purple), and that's it. None of the other peonies, poppies or iris are big enough to bloom, but it seems to me I remember it took a couple of years for the last peonies I got from Jung to bloom, too. Except for the Siberian Iris, there is not a sign of all that other stuff I planted last fall, so I guess I can try again. It could be that the deer ate some of it, but I don't think so. I just don't think all that stuff survived the winter. Oh, well, next year...
I had dinner at Mariner with Shirley, which was nice. Mariner has added a few things to their buffets which makes them even more interesting. Last Saturday there were tacos, and tonight there was smoked whitefish and cold marinated trout. Yum.
I guess it's supposed to warm up over the weekend, which is too bad, but there is supposed to be a breeze, so hopefully it won't get too bad here. And it is supposed to cool off a little by the time I have to go to town on Tuesday.
I keep hoping for weather like I remember having here in the spring ten years ago or so - cool and sunny and very low humidity - but so far no such luck. Seeing haze in the harbor all the time gets boring after a while. It makes me wonder if these things are cyclic or there really is a change in the weather going on. The jetstream has been way up in Canada for quite a while now, and that means we are getting all the warm, humid air out of the south. I could do without.
Things are getting quite crowded in the Harbor, which is good for business, but not so good for trying to just live here. It is really nice to be able to retire to my splendid isolation.
When I woke up this morning, the fog was thick in the harbor, and it was actually sometime late in the afternoon that it finally went away. For some reason, I'd always thought fog was accompanied by calm winds, but there were 15mph winds all day, until after 6pm, when it finally calmed down. They were out of the northwest, which means we were getting the full advantage of the cold lake again, which is nice.
I didn't sleep very well last night, so I kind of moped around all day, but a nice dinner at Harbor Haus has restored my spirits, and I feel better now.
Only the tourists are here, the tourists are here! There was a crew at the next table who looked like the last people on earth who should ever go to Isle Royale, but that's what they're going to do tomorrow morning. They will be staying in one of the lodges, but looking at them, I find it hard to believe they're up to any strenuous hiking, Well, it takes all kinds. I wonder what they'll think about the island.
The black flies seem to be abating, but now we have the larger flies - house, sand, deer, horse, etc. When I sat in the powder room, I kept hearing a tapping noise, which I finally deduced was all the flies outside bashing themselves against the siding. It sounded almost like hail! And they were clustered all over the screens - outside, thankfully!
It reminded me of several summers when this was still only a field, and I would come out and sit in the car and embroider. That sounds odd, but it is really a very comfortable seat, and the light is superb. The only thing was, along about 3 or 4pm, I would get driven back to the motel by clouds of biting flies that swarmed into the car. I think they are sand flies, which I have also encountered on the beaches in the spring. They don't raise welts, but they will drive you absolutely bonkers, biting at your ankles.
I also got a mosquito in the house, and I was too slow to catch it until it landed on my hand, all ready to take a nice big bite. Splat! It's really hard to go in or out without letting something into the house, although there haven't been any flies yet, and I think the mosquitoes come in in my hair.
I didn't do any weed whacking, because the instructions said the battery should charge for 24 hours, even though it indicated that it was fully charged when I got up this morning. Tomorrow I will finish putting it together, don my bug shirt, and try it out. Curiously, in all the instructions and blurbs on the box, nowhere does it say how long the battery should last before it needs to be recharged. With the amount and length of the grass I have to cut, it'd better be a long time!
The only other thing I should mention is that the camera was offline for about an hour, from 4:15 to 5:15, because somebody said she was going to fax me something and never did. I figured that by 5:15, she would be off work, so I restarted the camera. You didn't miss anything.
After I published last night's entry, the sky got really cloudy and dark very suddenly, and I guess there was a nice thunderstorm over Lac LaBelle. It was very cloudy when I went to bed, but it didn't rain here until sometime early in the morning, since the deck and the car were wet when I got up. Watching the weather around here is lots of fun.
So that is another quiet day in the field and I will toddle off to try to catch up on my sleep tonight. I don't think it will be hard.
As I was getting ready for bed last night, just before sunset (the sun sets at nearly 10pm theses days), there was lightning over the mountain, and the whole western and northwestern sky turned peach and orange, with sort of blurry dark clouds overhead. The storm passed mostly out over the lake, but it was a really interesting sunset. The wind was still strong when I went to sleep.
When I got up this morning, it was a beautiful, sunny morning, so beautiful it was tempting just to stay home and enjoy it, and maybe take a few pictures, but I really needed to get the weed whacker, so I loaded up the coolers and took off.
It was beautiful all the way down to about Ahmeek, although it was getting partly cloudy. By the time I got to Calumet, it was cloudy, and it stayed that way all the time I was in Houghton. I only went to EconoFoods, and got a few things that I had forgotten or run out of since the last time I shopped.
I did take the camera, but by the time I hit Cliff Drive, it wasn't very pretty, and the only things blooming were daisies, buttercups and hawkweed, anyway. There were some kind of bush with big white clusters of flowers, but since most of them seemed to be across a ditch, so I didn't stop.
I didn't feel very well after I shopped, so I decided to stay for lunch at Ming Gardens, and I felt much better afterward. I do like Chinese food!
It was cloudy enough when I left Houghton that I took off my sunglasses, but before I reached Calumet, it was that bright-cloudy which makes me squint with my regular glasses but is too dark for the sunglasses. I thought that was hopeful.
They are doing something nasty to US41 through Calumet, and the road is closed to through traffic from the Sixth Street Extension to M203, and all traffic has to go through town. Not pretty. I hope it's not going to be that way all summer!
Coming back north, there were the usual slow drivers, including the guy in the van I followed all the way from Phoenix, who not only wouldn't go over 40mph but hit his breaks at every curve. I know he knew I was behind him, and after a while, there was another car behind me that was driving like it was late for tee-time at the Mountain Lodge, but the van never even slowed down like he might pull over. Some people are just very inconsiderate.
Anyway, the clouds began to break up around Central, and it was perfectly clear in Copper Harbor. Just beautiful! It's kind of breezy, and this was one of those days where I could really see the effects of the wind over the cold water. The car thermometer said it was a little over 70º, and by the time I got home, it said 62º! The wind is out of the north-northwest (and 18mph - a mite brisk!), so I am getting the full effect of the natural air conditioning. Of course, it was hot in the house, with the sun beating on it all day, so I opened the slider and the back window in the office, and I just now closed them: it's down to 58º.
DC said hi, and welcome home, and he ate, but he is back in the bedroom where that wind isn't blowing on him. He has never been one to sit in the sun, although he does like to sleep behind the bathroom door on Champine, when the hot air is blowing on him, but I think as he is getting older, he feels the cool more, and he likes to be warm. On the other hand, I think that one reason he hasn't been sleeping on my lap since it warmed up is that I'm too warm. So Buster hogged my lap until I finally had to tell him I wanted to do my journal.
A couple of loose ends. I managed to rename the "Keweenaw 2002" page after I added the link to the gallery, so it was inaccessible all day. Sorry about that. It works now. This is the first time in a while that I've added more than one page to the site at a time, and I need to get back into the swing of things. Someday, I hope to set up the 2001 pictures the same way, or else the Gallery page will be getting out of hand.
The other thing is, the weed (ahem - wildflower) I've been calling wild mustard, is actually called "Yellow Rocket" or "Winter Cress". It is a member of the mustard family, but there are lots of them. This one is a nasty alien weed. Apparently it grows rampant where ever my topsoil came from, Trap Rock Valley, maybe.
I noticed, on my ride, that the leaves have finally turned their dark summer greens, and the underbrush is growing up nicely, so the woods and hills look like summer now. It will be late August or September before they start to shade to yellow again, but that yellow is entirely different from the spring yellow-green. This seems to be a big year for daisies, which are so pretty in masses, but this time of year one really has to go hunting for more interesting wildflowers.
And since I got one new black fly bite on the back of my neck yesterday and another one today, this is not exactly the time of year one wants to go blundering around in the underbrush! There aren't so many as there were a week ago, but they're not gone yet!
So that's another day in the field. It's still hazy over the harbor, but the dewpoint was under 60º today (John Dee is right - that's a good cut-off point) so it wasn't nearly as unpleasant, even when it got warm, as it was earlier in the week. I'll take this weather any time!
Wow, now I remember why I never added a lot of the pictures I took last summer to the site! What a pain! However, everything I've taken this year so far is now accessible through the gallery, at the link "Keweenaw 2002", which is where you will find the thumbnails.
I didn't sleep very well last night, and I have a stupendous neck ache, which I'm beginning to wonder isn't from too much mousing (seems I've heard that song before...). The trackball mouse is wonderful for my hand, but for some reason I had the keyboard tray too low - just above my knees - and the mouse tray too far away, and with the cool, damp breezes blowing in for the past few days, I now have a very sore neck.
It wasn't the most inspiring day, either, although it was cooler than yesterday and sort of open and shut, and while it was hazy down the harbor all day, the fog burned off while I was eating breakfast. It did sort of clear up while I was embroidering, but of course by the time I decided to go out and try out the refurbished camera, it was cloudy. Poo.
I wanted to go out today because even before I saw them, I figured the lilacs should be going, and they are, but you can still see that I had a great show. You can also see that my wildflower experiment didn't do much good, and you can see a few hints of pink in the big juniper, which is where the wild roses are blooming. Even though the lilacs are at the end of their run, they still smell heavenly, and I frankly spent some time just breathing.
I also spent some time peering through them, because there was something flitting around on the other side that buzzed loudly - more like a grasshopper, not a hummingbird - every time it moved. I never did see what it was, because as soon as I got close to the bushes, it moved away on the other side, I have no idea what it could have been.
I came close to getting a picture of a black swallowtail butterfly which was resting on a log, but it saw me and flitted away. I've seen big butterflies, the yellow swallowtails and the monarchs, frequently lately. At least they seem to like the mustard!
There is a mustard plant in front of the juniper in that last shot, but it isn't very clear and they are beginning to go anyway. The daisies and bladder campion are coming out, but I didn't take any pictures. You've seen daisies, and the campions aren't out enough to get a good picture. Pretty soon, though.
I did take some close-ups, to make sure I have the camera set up right. Here are two rose flowers, and one very happy bee. Here is a portrait of one rose. When I look at the pictures, I can just smell their wonderful scent. It amazes me that such a simple flower can perfume the whole yard. It's heavenly, especially when it's humid like it's been lately. The wild roses also seem very deep pink this year, too. I don't know what causes the colors to vary, but perhaps it has something to do with the hazy sun and that they came out so quickly. In spite of all the "landscaping", there seem to be quite a few plants, and they will grow and seed.
I'd say the camera is doing quite well, thank you, and it is very easy to turn it on and off, just like it was when I got it. This shutter release seems a bit better than the first one, too. There is a halfway-down position that locks in the exposure, which was hard for me to find on the first one, which is now very obvious. That's good - there will be fewer wasted shots. Not that I've ever come close to using the 119 the flash card can store, but If I were to take off cross-country, I can see that I could easily take 70 or so - two rolls of 36 exposure 35mm film. I've done it. This is so much handier!
The other interesting flower that's blooming right now, is called hound's tongue, although the reason isn't clear from that picture. It is actually a tall, coarse plant with long leaves that apparently reminded someone of a dog's tongue. The flowers vary from purple to reddish, sometimes on the same plant, and I thought the seed pod was particularly interesting. When I blew the picture up in Photo Deluxe, I could see all the hairs on the bracts, which means that the center focusing for the macro setting is working just fine.
What a relief! The ability to take the real close-ups - and save the settings to do it - is one of the reasons I bought the camera, and as anybody who has looked at the gallery can see, I do a lot of close-up photography, not only of the flowers. It would have been a pity to have missed that spider last summer.
There is one last picture. When I came in, Buster was just changing position in his favorite daytime bed. This is the box of pictures that I never got hung last year. I threw a towel over it when I left last fall, and added a fleece throw this spring, and he has appropriated that as his bed. I don't know how he can be comfortable there. He is stretched out in this picture. Usually he is rolled up in a ball with his head lower than his feet. I suppose it's my fault that I never provided him with cat beds, but probably if I had, he would have ignored them anyway.
My goodness! For most of the evening, the breeze has been from the east, although the clouds were moving from the west, but just now, the wind did a 180º, and is now positively howling out of the west! Most of the sky is still blue, but there is a pretty dark cloud covering the sun over in the west, so maybe we are in for some thunderstorms after all. If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute...
Most of the rain has been either south of us or north of us, but looking at the radar map just now, it looks like some cells are headed pretty much right toward us, and this wind could blow them up pretty fast.
So the camera is back, in perfect shape, and I can now start documenting the things I've been talking about. I am sorry there was a period where I couldn't get any close-ups of the spring flowers, although I did a pretty thorough job last year. Now my only problem will be taking the time to get them properly into the website.
I think it's time to get this uploaded and make sure the hatches are well battened down...
I didn't realize what being able to open the porch door into the kitchen was going to do for the cross ventilation in the house. Yes, the doors and some windows are open and the fan is on in the office. It's still warm in here, both because of the computer and because it is over the machine room. It did get warm this afternoon, or it felt warm, because the humidity is up around 80%, but it's not hot by any means, and it's starting to cool down already.
The camera came back this afternoon, but I had visitors, and it was too late for pictures by the time they left and I got it set up again. Tomorrow I will try to take a few of the lilacs and wild roses and a few other things that are blooming around here. I was too impatient to read the entire manual over again (it is not laid out very intuitively), but I think I got everything set up right. We'll see when I start trying to take close-ups.
It had warmed up more than I realized when I went on the mail run, and when I got back and opened the windows, there was just a slight breeze and it was all full of wild rose perfume. When I could sit and just breathe! It was heavenly.
My eyelids had felt funny yesterday afternoon, and when I went to bed last night, I realized that they were somewhat puffy, and I also had a nice rash on one arm. So I took a deep breath and didn't spray with Off! today. Fortunately, either there were fewer black flies or there was enough of a breeze to blow them away, and I didn't get any more bites. I can't imagine what else could be causing me to react, although I've never been allergic to Off! before. The rash is responding to hydrocortisone, and we'll see how my eyelids are tomorrow.
That would be a tragedy, if I became allergic to Off! I'm allergic to the scent of Skin-So-Soft, so I can't use that, and I can't very well go everywhere wearing a bug shirt!
My weed whacker is at Ace Hardware, so I will have to go to town, but my next immunizations aren't until a week from tomorrow (at 4:10 pm!), so I will be going down and up US41 a lot for a while. It's time to check in at Econo Foods, anyway.
When I woke up this morning, the harbor was all foggy again, and we had a little rain, but after that it sort of cleared up, although it is very hazy. It was nice to see the sun and some sort of blue skies for a change, and it is nice to have it warm enough to open up the house.
So that is the latest from the field, and I expect to get to bed really early tonight, to make up for last night.
When I woke up this morning, the harbor was so full of fog I couldn't see the beach in front of my house, and the fog came and went all day long, until dinner time. As I was coming back from dinner (rouladen, and enough left for tomorrow, too. Yum.), the sun tried to peek out, and now, about sunset, the sky overhead is fairly clear, although the way the sun went away, there are still clouds over the big lake.
It was a great day to craft, so I did. I think I've mentioned the sweater that I started last summer, then forgot to take back to Grosse Pointe with me. I just decided that it was far enough along that I was going to work on it until it got done, and just now I finished binding off the last front band. All that's left to do is weave in the thread ends, block it (since it's all wool, I guess it should be blocked), and sew on the buttons. Whew!
Those who say that sweaters knitted on large needles go faster probably never tried it. This one, and another one I started over the winter, are on #15 needles, which are about 3/8" in diameter, quite big for knitting needles. I find that even though there are fewer stitches and rows, the knitting goes slower than on small needles. This one is a nice fabric, though.
So it was not a lost day. It was fun to watch the comings and goings of the fog. The top of Brockway was covered all day, and sometimes I could see Copper Harbor with just some very low clouds in the low spots, and other times, I couldn't see anything. It was nice to sit in my comfortable office and do my thing.
It got warm in here, so I opened the back window again, and there is a foghorn way out on the lake. I guess the freighters use their horns because it's traditional, since they all have radar... and anybody who would go out on a day like this in a small boat without radar is just nuts.
After all the excitement in town yesterday - there was a fishing tournament - it was totally dead tonight. It is still early in the season - and buggy - but the week after next is the Fourth of July. It's true that it's been pretty cool here, but I guess it's been horribly hot down in troll-land. Even if it warms up a little next week, this was what I always appreciated about coming north the last week of June - more times than not, it was much cooler here than in Detroit. But then, there are those bugs...
So I will toddle up to the north end, and leave the rest of the sweater until tomorrow, when I can see what I'm doing.
It was nicer today than yesterday, at least until late in the afternoon. The sun was shining, and the temperature got into the 70s, but it was humid and the breeze wasn't strong enough to blow the bugs away, so it was buggy.
I don't think I got any more bites. It turns out there were two yesterday, the one on my ear and one on my temple, but neither one seems to be too bothersome.
I'm writing this a little later than usual because I had dinner with some more nice people I've met around here, and we talked for quite a while. Shirley and one of her daughters came in late, so I had to say hello to them, too. We finally left, because Mariner has a band tonight, and it was very loud. There were people dancing right in front of it, and I don't know how they could stand the noise. It was too loud in the dining room.
When I drove up, DC and Buster were both sitting in the open back window of the office, like they didn't think I was coming home or something. They are little worry-worts.
As I was standing in the parking lot talking to Shirley, it began to sprinkle, so I guess we are in for our rain tonight after all. Tomorrow sounds iffy, too, but that's all right.
The camera didn't come, so all I can do is hope for Monday. I find that, as usual, when I had it, I didn't use it, and now that it's gone, I see all kinds of things I'd like to take pictures of. Oh, well.
So it was another quiet day, and I need to go to bed.
The first day of summer was nothing to write home about. It was cloudy, humid, windless and buggy, VERY buggy all day long. I don't think the temperature got out of the 60s but with 60% or higher humidity, it felt warmer and very close. And those bugs...
I got my first certifiable black fly bite today, on the top of one ear. I probably could have prevented it by spraying my ears with Off!, but I've already practically ruined my phone in the office by using it when my ears were covered with it and I didn't want it to get any worse. I will have to remember to add a can to my repertoire of possible solvents, since it really seems to do a job on plastic. Anyway, I think that's pretty good, considering that it was a morning when, if you had your mouth open in the wrong place, you would probably get a bug in it, and I spent an hour and a half with Philippe, mostly outside.
I guess we are going to do the garage, in spite of the fact that it will cost me about $10k more than I'd hoped. I do have the money, and it will never get any cheaper. I may have to watch my spending a little more closely for the rest of the year, but then the house will be really done (except for furnishings) and I won't have to be concerned about it.
It turns out that if we place the garage at a 45º angle to the house, we only have to take down a couple of fairly scruffy red pines (and one dead spruce). Most of my little hollow will go away, but I was only saving that for sentimental reasons anyway: what made it fun to sit there when the wind blew cold out of the west is all gone now. If I watch them like hawks, they won't destroy the remnant of my pipsissewa under the big black spruce.
I had to look up the spelling, because Microsoft doesn't know what pipsissewa is, or how to spell it. It is a little evergreen groundcover type plant that grows under the trees and in the summer it has a pink, nodding flower that is one of the strangest I have ever seen. If they bloom, and if I have the camera, I will try to get a picture. According to my Michigan Wildflowers book, it is a protected species. I used to have quite a bit around here, but all the work and landscaping sort of erased most of it.
Speaking of wildflowers, early summer is upon us. There are a few daisies, a lot of buttercups, and some anemones out. The reason there aren't so many anemones along the road by Lake Lilly as there were last year is that the red-twig dogwood, which had been brushed out the previous year, has grown back and has shaded out part of the patch. The dogwood is coming into bloom, there are several mountain ashes blooming (that is a planted tree, or at least if it's in the wild up here, it's because some bird dropped seeds. It's not native). The wild roses that climb up one of my few remaining junipers are beginning to bloom, and I saw a lot along the road that are budding up. So spring came and went with a real rush this year, and I'd say we've almost caught up. Amazing.
I know most years, when we got here around the 25th or 26th, the lilacs would be going or gone, and the roses and daisies would be in bloom. This year we may be a week or so behind, but it's hard to tell, because spring was just compressed. The lilacs are very late, but the roses and daisies are nearly on time. The next time I go to town, I will have to start looking for lupine.
Needless to say, with the bug problem, I did not plant today. I think I am going to have them dig out some more stones in front of the original rose bed and fill it with the leftover dirt from last year. They can use the stones to fill up the hollow. There are advantages to having my own fill.
In spite of going to bed early last night, I didn't sleep very well. It was another night where I had a hard time getting the temperature right. Tonight, I ate out, but about as fast as possible, because there is a fishing tournament in town. For the sake of my friends, I'm glad it's busy, but I don't like it. So I gobbled down my dinner and came home.
Well, I got a little sidetracked, the temp is now below 60º, and the sky is full of peachy pink and lavender gray clouds with a pale sky blue background. I must say God can certainly teach us craftspeople a thing or two about using color! It looks like the thick clouds are breaking up, and the breeze is shifting toward the southwest, so tomorrow may be a nicer day.
I'm starting this entry a little early this evening, because we had a rather exciting morning around here, and as a result, I didn't get my full quota of sleep.
It blew hard all night long, and around 4am there was lightening and thunder out over the lake - more lightening than I've seen for quite a while. It passed north of the harbor, so I went back to sleep, but about an hour later, another storm blew through, and I mean blew. I would estimate the winds at minimum 60 mph. At one point, I thought I heard something like a door opening, and since i was afraid I might not have closed one of the many doors tightly, I got up and padded down to the great room. It sounded like somebody was throwing ice pellets at all the upper windows on the front, so we had hail, as well as a torrential downpour and lots of lightening and thunder to go along with the wind. Both guys got up and left. I don't know where they go to get away from the noise.
That lasted for maybe 45 minutes, and it took me a little while to get to sleep. I sort of came to sometime later, enough that DC started hollering for his breakfast. He knows just where to stand to make his voice echo the loudest. I looked at the clock and it was 9am. If they'd left me alone, I would have slept longer.
Then after I discovered that I hadn't unfrozen a new package of bacon, I came in here and discovered that something had changed the dialup networking - again. I am suspicious, actually, that it may be one of the MSN sites that I look at occasionally, but I can't prove it because I don't remember what I did yesterday (well - do you remember in detail every site you've surfed to today? I certainly don't!).
So eventually I got breakfasted, embroidered for a couple of hours and generally lazed around.
It was still pretty cloudy and very windy when I got up, although the wind was shifting to the southwest. While I was embroidering, it cleared up, and it turned into another fantastically beautiful day - temp topping out around 70º, mostly clear skies, with just a few high, white clouds, and 17-24 mph winds, strong enough to keep the bugs away except in the lee of the house. The wind kept shifting more and more and now, according to the Weather Underground, it's from the northwest, 8-18 mph, although with the sun setting, the wind is dying fast, and it's not gusting any more.
What fabulous weather! All I want to do is sit and breathe!
The rest of the roses came today, so I guess I will have to shake a leg and do some planting after Philippe goes.
The other good news is that apparently the camera is on its way back to me, fixed at no charge. I really didn't expect that, since I dropped it, but apparently the warranty even covers stupidity of owners - unless you drop it in the drink or from the top of a cliff! I am sure a lot of my readers really thought I succumbed to name-itis when I bought a Nikon (well - I sort of did, but it was that or a Canon, and I know Nikon from daddy's camera). I can now say, in this case at least, sometimes it really pays to go for the name brand. I also say, in my defense, there is a reason why most of the big-name professional photographers use Nikon. I don't like the old FTN very well: in those days, they were relying on their name and were very much behind the times, and besides, all the lenses connect backward, I do like the Coolpix 990 a lot, and while they've come out with two (!) newer versions since I got it, I am extremely happy with what I have.
I really want to get a picture of Walter's lilacs, which have put on a fabulous display this year, and if I don't do it soon, they'll be gone. However, I am going to have to read the manual from cover to cover - again - and set up the close-up settings all over, since it has been without batteries for several weeks. While its memory can retain settings over something like a battery change, I'm sure it can't after this long!
I was going to cook a nice dinner tonight, but I snacked on cheese and crackers all afternoon, so I'm not hungry. I should eat something before I go to bed, but I'm not sure what.
All I want to do is enjoy the fantastic weather for a while longer, then toddle off to bed.
Summer must be coming, no matter what the temperature, because I couldn't get the bedroom comfortable and didn't sleep very well last night. On top of all that, at about 7:45 this morning, everybody else in the house decided it was time to get up, romp around, and meow mommy out of bed. I guess they were hungry, or something. So I'm tired.
It was in the middle 60s when I got up - no wonder I wasn't quite comfortable! - and all day long it couldn't decide whether it was going to be cloudy or sunny. The wind was strong out of the south all day, but the temperature never got over 70º. The guys just do not like wind. DC did sleep in the ugly chair most of the day, but I don't think the breeze from the back window could get to him very much. When I got back from dinner, though, he was curled up in the chair in the great room and Buster was in the corner of the couch.
I don't like to open any more windows in the bedroom yet, because it will cool down over night (although according to the Weather Underground, not much), but I may have to.
I think I mentioned when it started to warm up in Detroit that I sleep best when I can cover up to my ears and the room is cool enough that I can make my own atmosphere under the covers. That only works if the night temperature in the room is under about 65º. Any higher, and I can't get it right. So spring and fall are usually times when I don't sleep well. Oh, well. It won't make much difference.
The hardware store called today to say that the weed whacker didn't come in today and would come Saturday. Yeah, right. However, at least I don't have to go to town tomorrow. The things I need at EconoFoods can wait until next week, and nothing else I was going to do was so earthshaking it can't wait. Philippe is coming Friday, so I would have to have gone tomorrow. I won't go south on Friday again in less than an emergency. Just as with any other area, everybody shops for the weekend on Friday and it was a real zoo (for Houghton).
So I had another nice quiet day. Tomorrow isn't supposed to be so good, weather-wise. They're predicting showers or at least high humidity and warm temps - well, 70-ish, which is warm compared to what we've been having.
I guess the bugs were out in force today, because I saw several people around the fort wearing bug hats. I think I may have brought one black fly in with me, but so far as I can tell (they always cause a delayed reaction) nothing bit me. I do spray myself with Off! every morning, sort of like other people use cologne...but it smells awful and makes me cough and sneeze.
On the mail run today, I noticed that along US41, the cow vetch is beginning to come out. That is a kind of weedy, pea-type thing, but it has very pretty purple flowers and I like it. It is particularly pretty when it and the daisies are out at the same time. I still have a couple of daisies, where nobody tore up the ground, and they are beginning to bud up. So is the orange hawkweed (sometimes called Indian Paintbrush). So the flowers of early summer are beginning to appear. It's amazing how all this blooming can get compressed into just a couple of weeks, but nature will do whatever it has to.
According to all the weather forecasts, it's going to warm up some in the next week or so, but I still have hopes for a coolish summer. I know I've been here from the 25th of June till the 15th of July when the weather was the same kind we've been having - temps under 60º and sun. Maybe we'll be lucky again. As I said before, I could do without another summer like last.
It was another beautiful day to just sit around and enjoy. It was clear and sunny all day, but a little warmer - it got up into the low 70s for a while early in the afternoon. Then the wind picked up, and even though it's from the south, it cooled down right away and is now heading for 60º. There are a few hazy clouds appearing in the west, but the wind isn't from that direction. I guess we are in for some rain over the next couple of days, but that's all right.
If it was paradise, of course, it would rain between 2am and 5am every day except when I wanted to see the stars, then the sun would come out and the morning would be breezy to dry everything off.
I don't think anybody can complain about this, though. Well, I suppose somebody could, but if they want hotter, they shouldn't be this far north. With the wind, the bugs were nonexistent again, and that was nice. Maybe they'll all die off while it's windy. I know that happened last year.
Today there weren't many birds, It seems they come every other day, about. When I came into the office this morning to check the camera, there was a little squirrel sitting in the big feeder tray having a nice breakfast, and I had to open the door and slam it to chase it away. Then the little thing sat on a branch near the trunk and squeaked at me! So I squeaked back, and finally it went off down the tree. I guess I wouldn't mind one squirrel, but if these little red squirrels are anything at all like the black and gray ones in Grosse Pointe, if I fed one, pretty soon it would bring all its relatives, and my intention was not to feed all the squirrels on Lighthouse Road!
I woke up too early this morning and evidently everybody else was hungry, so I got up. I think I'll go to bed early tonight and try to catch up. I was kind of tired all day, so I didn't do much but enjoy the weather.
I did finish Strangers and Sojourners this morning, finally. It turned out to be rather dense, very confusing, overly detailed in some places and it left out a lot. The author jumped around in time much too much and with no warning, so in one paragraph he might be talking about 1864 and in the next he would be talking about 1840, maybe on the same subject and maybe not. A lot of people seemed to appear without explanation, and some of them were referred to only by last name, like I should know who they were. And yet one of the principal figures in the 20th century union battles appears with no background at all that I could see. I think all the facts were there, probably, but a good editor would have been really helpful.
I was a bit embarrassed that the last act of the company - union conflict was being played out when my parents and I started vacationing here, and certainly I didn't know anything about it. Since they never mentioned it, I guess my parents didn't either. Not that we ever saw anything untoward, but I certainly understand, now, why everything in the southern part of the peninsula seemed so much more prosperous in the '60s and '70s, then seemed to fall apart rather quickly in the late '70s. It certainly did.
Even though I had to take history in school, I don't remember any teacher ever talking about Michigan history at all, and what little I picked up was by osmosis and mostly was about the founding of Detroit by the French. It wasn't until long after I moved back to town that I found out that the land both my houses were built on was originally French strip farms, which started at the lake and went all the way to Mack Avenue. I still don't know when they were sold off and subdivided. I do have the original deed to Champine (a document an inch thick!) in the safe deposit box, so I will have to check it out sometime. I do know that Beaupre and Champine and Moross are the names of some of the original settlers.
And of course, nobody down in southern Michigan would have talked about the history of the UP. I wonder if they teach Michigan History in school these days? I shall have to ask around. Now if it was Pennsylvania or Texas, of course every kid would know all about it, but I don't know about here. It's too bad, too, because at least some kids (like me) would be really interested in the history of the piece of land they live on. Much of the very early history of the UP is pretty romantic stuff, with the French-Canadians and Ojibwa and Douglass Houghton, who drowned off Eagle Harbor. Kids like stuff like that, or at least some do.
I haven't decided what to start reading next. So instead of staying up late doing that, I will toddle off to bed.
I realized, after I went to bed last night, that I had started to tell the tale of my mysteriously disappearing nightlight but never finished it. In the morning, I tried the light again, then two others, before I realized that all the electric things in the bathroom - including the clock-radio and the phone - were off. Then I looked at the grounded plug and the "reset" button was popped out. Apparently, the light in the nightlight had blown in such a way that it popped the circuit breaker. I had wondered about those "GRD"s that the electrical inspector insisted I have enough of, and now I like them. Otherwise, I would probably have had no electricity at all in the north end of the house, and I would have had to trundle down to the machine room and figure out which circuit breaker had blown.
Everything was all right this morning, and I had light all night, so it was no big deal.
This morning dawned perfectly clear and sunny with a slight breeze, and it stayed that way all day. It never got over 60º, but the breeze was light and it was lovely. It still is, with the sun setting.
I refilled the other bird feeders today, except for one hummingbird feeder which I will do tomorrow, and there was a flock of goldfinches, as well as a few evening grosbeaks, sparrows and siskins eating like mad all day. I hope I don't upset the goldfinches' normal nesting cycle: they are supposed to wait until August or so to nest, when the real thistles flower.
It would be nice to have some other kinds of birds, but this is a restricted habitat. I have heard lots of other birds around, but with the leaves on the trees I probably won't see too many of them. For quite a while last evening something small was banging away on one of the trees in the grove behind the house, and while I think it was probably a downy woodpecker, I never did see it.
I also forgot to mention that when I went outside to hang the new feeders yesterday afternoon, there was a mom merganser and four teeny-tiny ducklings in the water in front. She was quacking - well, it's not strictly a quack - like mad, and they were huddling as close to her as they could get. I think they couldn't have been hatched for very long, they were so small. They certainly can swim strongly enough.
I suppose it is too civilized around here for me to have warblers in the birches again, but maybe I'll be lucky, only I'll have to be sitting on the porch to see them, and so far, it's been much too cool to sit outside for very long.
I have been opening the back window in the office and sometimes the slider in the great room, just to air the place out. That is the one disadvantage I see to the radiant heat: there is nothing to move air around or bring new air in, so it gets very stale smelling inside when the doors and windows are all shut. It also gets very dry - when I got here the relative humidity in the office was a whopping 28%, which is really most uncomfortable for me. If I were going to live here all winter, I'd have to get humidifiers. It's also uncomfortable for the cats - when I pet them they throw sparks!
I understand it's supposed to be warming up a bit over the next few days, but it may also rain some. I'm not complaining; we've had some lovely weather, and enough rain that things will grow, and it's mostly been cool enough here to keep the bugs at bay. The black flies don't seem to be around when the temperature is in the 50s, so the worst problem is mosquitoes. They are bad, but they mostly move so slow in the cold that one can either just bat them away or squish them before they bite.
As I recall, it was beginning to warm up at this point last year, and pretty soon it got much too hot! I hope we can avoid that this year. It may not be the best kind of weather for the tourists - I mean, I think it looks pretty dumb to be running around in tank top, shorts and sandals when the temperature is 50º, but every year I see a lot of people doing that. Evidently it never occurs to them that it might be cooler so far north, and maybe they should check a weather forecast.
I also ran into a family who apparently doesn't believe in asking directions or getting local maps, last night at dinner. I noticed them because they had three of the best behaved boys - from maybe 15 down to 6 or so - I have seen in some time up here. Besides, they were sophisticated eaters. The little one had something off the kid's menu, but the other two ate from the main menu, and not steak, either. See? It is possible to raise sophisticated, polite children who know how to eat good food. I always knew it (having been one), but it seems like they are by far the minority these days.
Anyway, I overheard them telling the waitress that they had been five miles or so out on the logging trail that starts at the end of US41, because "we knew there had to be some water around there somewhere"! That's the road I've referred to as the "Loop Trail" which loops around the peninsula and comes back out at US41 south of Mandan. The closest it gets to the lake is on the north part, where it's at least a mile inland from the shore. And, of course, if you take the proper left turn, it's a solid 15 miles from the end of US41 to High Rock Bay. Horseshoe Harbor is a lot closer, but the road never comes close to it - you have to park and walk, and where you park, you'd never know there was a lake over there. Or at least that was true the last time I was there.
Now I must say that when there were more of us, we'd take off out there even in regular cars, but we had maps, and we'd been taken to High Rock Bay by a local before we went by ourselves. Even my father believed it was always better to know where you're going.
I just don't know about some people. I guess, though, that to many people the idea of just how isolated and wild it is out here is totally foreign. And I suppose people think they're safe because they have their cell phones or OnStar. I think I've mentioned that cell phone reception is spotty at best north of Mohawk, except on the top of Brockway or at the Mountain Lodge.
We went places where other people didn't go, but we usually knew what we were getting into. My father did drive into the middle of a field of pebbles and get stuck (he and I dug and put driftwood under the rear wheels and mama drove till we got out), but I always maintained there was no real way we could have known what that was like. It looked solid. And afterward we got really suspicious of smooth, flat places that weren't solid rock.
I also know that the next time we were out at High Rock Bay, several years later, that place was so totally gone that if both my mother and I hadn't remembered it (I mean, it's hard to forget things like that), I would have said I was dreaming. That's one bad thing about back-country driving around these parts: things can change so much from year to year that you can't recognize them. For example, the first time we went to Smith Fisheries (that time we walked out to the mouth of the Montreal, one of the all-time greatest hikes around here), we had to pick our way down, and back up with the sun in my eyes, a stretch of old Macadam road that was so broken up it had gullies running through it. Years later, my mother and I went out again, the year of the gale, when there were seven freighters sheltering in the lee of the peninsula, and there was a pretty good gravel road through woods and no sign of Macadam at all. Again, if we hadn't both been there, we wouldn't have believed it. So you need a very good sense of direction - a compass helps - and you pay attention to where you're going. I always got us home by the cocktail hour, but that day on the Macadam, my father was beginning to doubt it until we came out on the Lac Labelle road right where we started...
And I must say that one of the many reasons I love it here so much is all the great memories.
Happy father's day to all the fathers out there.
I went to bed before dark last night - not hard to do, when twilight doesn't end until 11pm or so - and it was still cloudy, although there was an interesting sunset. Abound midnight, I woke up and it was dark! I keep a nightlight in the bathroom, because it's so dark around here that I would either run into a wall or trip over a cat - or stand on one; DC occasionally likes to sit on the rug by the side of my bed. There was no nightlight, and wow, was it dark! It wasn't a power failure, because my clock was still on, so I figured something had happened to the nightlight. I keep a flashlight beside my bed for just such emergencies, so I didn't have to turn any lights on. I just don't like to turn the lights on after I have turned them off at night.
I looked at the nightlight, and while it seemed all right, it wasn't working, and I didn't have another bulb in the bathroom, so I had a nice dark night's sleep.
When I woke up this morning, it was perfectly clear and the harbor and the sky was blue, blue, blue. What a nice surprise.
Breakfast wasn't so hot - the ham is very salty, and I tried a new kind of bread which I don't like, but anyway. Just for the heck of it, I decided to check the computer before I headed for the north end, and it was good that I did. Something had totally confused it when it started after the nightly power failure, and it was hung with the Scandisk window open. I had to power fail it again to clear it, and when I did, it came right up with no Scandisk. Really weird. We'll see what happens tonight. I wanted to make sure anybody who was checking got to see the pretty harbor, which was blue with a few little whitecaps on it from a brisk northwest wind.
It stayed mostly clear for most of the day, although there are some clouds in the sky now, but not enough to really interfere with the sun. They did make the harbor turn silvery gray from Harbor Haus, but it was still blue out on the lake with a very long freighter going west before I left. Since I can't see the boats from here, I always like to see them from Harbor Haus or King Copper when I'm there. The wind calmed down and has been sort of variable in direction, and is now almost calm, although the clouds are still moving north to south.
Temperatures got up into the low 60s, so it was a nice day.
The visitors came and admired my house, which didn't get really cleaned, and didn't stay long. They are very nice people. I expect I will see more of Ann when she is settled later this summer. She knows a lot about the southern part of the peninsula, where I've never spent any time.
I did get the new bird feeders filled and hung out. One is visible from the camera, since I replaced one of the thistle stockings with a regular thistle feeder. Curiously enough, while the goldfinches found the sunflowers in the big new feeder almost at once, it took them several hours to discover the new thistle feeder, and they still aren't really comfortable with it. That will come. I intend to wait a couple of days before I refill the stockings, so if they want thistle, they'll have to use the new feeder.
I didn't hang the big feeder in camera range, because it is so big it would obstruct the view. It holds 5 or 10 pounds of seed, so I won't have to refill it very often. The other feeders, including the hummingbird feeders, are getting empty, but I thought I'd let them empty out before I fill them again. There are still a lot of goldfinches and chipping sparrows around, but it's amazing how much longer the feeder stays full without all the house sparrows I have on Champine. According to the bird books, there are house sparrows in these parts, but they are sort of city birds. I would expect to find them in Houghton - Hancock or Calumet, but I don't think I've even seen any in Copper Harbor. It's nice to see something different for a change.
It's another beautiful evening, and while I did some things today to attempt to clean up a little, mostly I just enjoyed the scenery. It is clear that tomorrow I will have to go to the dumpster again, although I don't think I will have five bags this time! Three, maybe, but not five.
It appears that, unless something keeps me awake during the night or I have to go to the bathroom ten times, ten hours' sleep will do me just fine, which is nice. For a while there it was more like eleven hours, and that cuts into production more than I like. If I can get to bed by 10pm, I wake up ready to go at about 8am, and it's amazing how much more I can accomplish just with an hour or two more in the morning. So I will try to do that again tonight.
Oh, I had been agonizing about how I was going to get the new camera on the tripod, since it has a stand. Well, I finally took a look at it today, and by golly, it has a regular camera tripod hole in the bottom. Duh! I guess I'm going to have to break it out and try taking a few still pictures with it or not having a working camera will drive me crazy. Once I get the software installed, I think it will just be a matter of telling Kabcam to use the new camera rather than the old one. We'll see.
I might not set it up as the live cam until the Nikon comes back, though. I can tell when John Dee is out using his to take pictures of his perambulations, because the AL Cam doesn't update. I'd rather leave people guessing and surprise them with new pictures in the journal and the gallery.
Anyway, I'm not quite ready to bite the bullet and do all the software stuff yet, but I do feel the need for the camera, soooo...
We'll see. I won't be doing anything tonight.
The crescent moon was shining in my window when I went to bed last night, but there was a line of gray clouds in the west, and by this morning it was dark and dismal, and around 9am it started to rain, heavily at times until noon, then it just dribbled until around 2pm. For a moment there it looked like it might even clear up a little, but by the time I went to dinner, it was spitting rain again. A good day to pull up a warm cat, which I did. It seems like I had one or the other of them on my lap for most of the day, and when I sat down to do this, I had to ignore DC or he would have been back on me.
It's not that I mind them sitting on me, but it's really hard to type around 13 pounds of fuzz.
After I did the mail run, he got off the ugly chair, so I sat down with my book, and pretty soon he was sitting on me. I think I'm a little warm for his taste, because he usually doesn't stay too long, although he did sleep on my lap for a while this morning. I can tell when he's cold because he buries his nose under my sleeve.
The book is Strangers and Sojourners, which is a history of Keweenaw. It is rather dense and not written as well as I'd hoped, but it is interesting and it has a lot of tidbits about the old families and towns. The author jumps around chronologically a bit too much and there are a few too many names he assumes you've remembered from four pages ago, but it's tolerable. I now know a lot about the Brockway after whom the hill was named, and his wife, after whom it should have been named. She was a hard-working, long-suffering woman, like too many of her sisters in the mid 1800s.
Anyway, despite its shortcomings, it's an interesting enough book that I'll keep at it.
I did rustle around the office a bit, and I found both the appliance controller I had misplaced (put it in a pretty obvious spot, actually, then forgot), and my best pair of Gingher craft scissors, which I had stupidly dropped in a bag of fabric, rather than putting them back in the container where they belong. That relieved my mind no end, because I use those scissors a lot, and I'd be lost without them. Too much stuff around here, as usual.
I guess I will have to rustle around a little tomorrow as well, because I may have a visitor late in the day, and while she knows the house is a mess, there are a few things I can do to make it look a little better.
Clearly, the roses didn't get planted today, and from the sound of the weather, they may not tomorrow, either. The bed is probably too soggy to dig in anyway. I will check them tomorrow and make sure they got some of the moisture, and wait until next week, when it is supposed to be drier.
So that's about all that went on today. Now it's getting windy, with the temperature in the upper 40s, and the lake was speaking when I came back from Mariner. It is raw and not very nice out. It will be a good night to pull the comforter up around my ears and sleep.
It's lilac time in the Copper Country.
I woke up around 5:30 this morning (briefly), which is before sunrise, and the harbor was perfectly calm, and in the pre-dawn light, the black hills were perfectly reflected in the water in an exact mirror image. I was so sorry not to have the camera!
When I got up, also fairly early, the harbor was full of clouds. Not exactly fog, but clouds that were not more than 20 feet from the surface of the water. I took a picture of one of those days last year, and this was the same way. Where there wasn't any fog, it was sunny, but by the time I left for town, all of Copper Harbor was foggy.
Up in the hills it was sunny, with a sort of haze of really high clouds, and a really beautiful morning, although it was under 50º. I met no traffic going south until I got to Allouez, which is where I usually pick up the slowpokes, so even though I stopped to get gas, I got to the hospital easily.
My experience with Portage Health Services was quite pleasant. It is an attractive, low, modern building, with lots of natural light inside. They seem pretty efficient, and the only time I had to wait at all was while I was in the Ambulatory Care Unit, where it took a while for the heparin to come from the pharmacy. All hospitals are like that. The nurse was very nice and she knew exactly what she was doing. There is a little capsule of collagen forming around my port, just like it did around the other one, so it isn't so easy to feel again, but she hit it square on, and I am now well flushed for the next month. I also have an appointment for August.
The hospital also has a very nice gift shop. Too nice, maybe. All hospital gift shops seem to have Beanie Babies and the larger Ty stuffed toys, so my collection of stuffed cats grew a bit. They also had some wonderful jewelery. Oh, well. It's for a good cause.
I was out of there by 12:30 and went on to the mall in Houghton, where I got my tassels from JoAnn, and also a large piece of black fabric. In my attemts to make the camera run better, I am going to try shading it with a piece of black material. At least then I should be able to turn on the lights after dark.
Then it was on to WalMart, where I turned in my defective bird feeder and got another one, as well as another, bigger finch feeder, and a few other things. I discovered the other day that I managed not to have any highlighters here - with my interest in office supplies, I just don't know how that happened!
I also acquired a pair of hair shears. I have been letting my hair grow, because I don't know what I want to do with it, but the top and the bangs are getting too long and really strangely shaped. I can handle that part myself - when my hair was halfway down my back, I cut my own bangs all the time - so I will snip away. I had intended to bring along the pair from home, but I forgot, and I can't wait until mid-July for a haircut. I won't be able to see.
By the time I had walked around the hospital, then to JoAnn's and back, I was already all sweaty from weakness, and WalMart almost did me in. Some days I can walk that far without being bothered, but some days, like today, my poor ole' bod just rebels.
So I had a nice relaxing lunch at Ming Gardens, which revived me some, before I stopped at Econo Foods and only forgot one thing I should have gotten. I was beginning to sweat again by the time I started north.
My stop at Ace Hardware wasn't so successful. They don't have the setscrew that was missing from my cup holder, so I will either have to complain to Delta Faucet's website or wait until I go to Detroit. The only gas powered weed whacker they had was huge and weighed about 15 pounds with no gas in it, which I just don't think I could handle. All the others they had were electric, and in order to use one of those I'd need about 300 feet of cord. So the nice man suggested a rechargeable electric one. It isn't very big, but it isn't very expensive either. They ordered it and it should come in next week. I will try it, and if it doesn't do the job, I'll just have to track that down when I'm in Detroit, too.
I've used electric weed whackers before, and they work OK, except that the cords are a pain. This one is cheap enough that if it doesn't work very well, I'm not out too much money.
By the time I got through in Ace, I was really exhausted, and I postponed my other two stops for when I go to pick up the weed whacker.
On the way back, all the traffic was in the other direction again, and I had a nice ride. All the marsh marigolds are gone and the first bloom of dandelions has gone to seed, but everywhere people live or used to live, there are lilacs and fruit trees in bloom. I do wish I had the camera, because there were probably apples and cherries and I know I saw a lot of pin cherries - they have a distinctively shaped spray of flowers.
From Houghton all the way to the blinker in Copper Harbor, the temperature was in the middle 60s - very nice indeed. As I drove toward home, though, the temp dropped off, and it was under 60º when I got here. The wind is from the NNW, so it was pretty buggy around the back door, but I sprayed myself with bug spray and I don't think I got bit.
I managed to get everything out of the car and the coolers unloaded before I collapsed, and for a while I had the porch door - already I really like having that porch! - and the back slider open, but the wind was blowing right in the kitchen door and it got right chilly in here before I closed up again. The sun makes it get pretty warm and stuffy inside in the afternoon, but it's too cool to leave the windows facing the wind open for too long.
Not that I'm complaining! It was a perfectly gorgeous day, right amount of sun, right temperature (so far as I'm concerned!) and it was most enjoyable. I had the windows open for part of the drive down the covered road, and it smells so good in the woods!
On the way south this morning, even though it was quite late, I saw some wildlife: what I think was a coyote ran across the road, I think someplace between the Mountain Lodge and Lake Medora; right after I left the scenic route, a ruffed grouse flushed and flew up the embankment; and down around Phoenix, there were two does standing in a field. All the deer I've seen this spring look kind of skinny and spindly, but I suppose they will fill in later in the year. If that was a coyote (and I believe it has to have been, from its color and the way it ran), that's the first one of those I've ever seen. If I was keeping a wildlife "life list" I'd have something new to add to it.
The trees and bushes are still light green, but their leaves are mostly fully out and the underbrush is filling in very nicely (if you want to see a couple of pictures of it, try John Dee's site). This is still the light yellow-green of spring, except where it has a bronzy cast, not the dark green-green of summer, but the colors are pretty and it's very restful on the eyes.
Oh, yes, one minor housekeeping comment. The camera was offline all day. Whatever changes the setting in dial-up networking did it again sometime yesterday afternoon, and by last evening when the line dropped and I should have recognized it, I was too stupid to realize it or check it. This morning I was moving too fast, so of course it was off! Gateway says to delete and re-add the dial-up networking programs, so I will add that to the delete and re-add of TCP, and one of these days I'll be brave enough to try it. I think I will install my new improved version of GoBack first, though! Also, for the sake of my public, I want to check the usage statistics so I take the machine down at a time (during the day, however) when it will impact the fewest viewers. Sorry for the inconvenience. We all missed a beautiful day.
I sat and had a double-double Jack and a sandwich while I read my email and looked at my favorite websites, and now that I have reported on my day, I will tromp off to the north end and collapse.
When I woke up this morning, it was cloudy again, and while I was in the bathroom, we had a brief, heavy shower...then the sun came out, and the afternoon was just beautiful, blue skies, blue water and gentle breezes, although I don't think the temperature ever got over 50º, or if it did, not by much. Now it is very cloudy again and almost perfectly calm. So I won't get to see Venus, Jupiter and the crescent moon together. Darn. It should be a beautiful sight.
Six roses and a box of other perennials came today, so I have something to do (heh-heh) over the weekend. I have left them under the deck, close to the house to acclimate. The roses are beautiful very healthy looking, but they're long and leggy and too big for the boxes. After I plant them, I will cut them back, so they will make roots, and I will grit my teeth and disbud them until late in the summer, so they have a chance to settle in well.
Since I was down in the garden, I took a good look at what I planted last fall. Five of each - peonies, poppies, iris and Siberian iris - are all growing, but not much else. I'm particularly annoyed by the Siberian iris, since I planted either nine or twelve roots. Well, they will multiply. I do hope I got some of the dark purple ones I like best. There was one peony, the most robust, which seems to be almost a foot in front of where I should have planted it, and I'm not sure how that happened, but it will just have to stay there. Peonies don't like to be moved, either.
I wonder what happened to all the asters, coreopsis and other stuff I planted. I seem to have left the list at home (where I never should have taken it in the first place!), so I don't quite remember what I planted, but there isn't anything there yet. I'm sort of afraid to go digging around or put anything else in the same place, because something may come up later, although about now I doubt it.
The grass is all about a foot high, and in some places there is more grass in the pathway than in the places it was supposed to grow. Well, tomorrow I will have go get a weed whacker (and a gasoline tank) and have at it. I just will not get a lawn mower. That's against my principals.
There was an email message from someone new today, and before the end of the day, she had downloaded and formatted all my journals for Word and emailed them back to me. Just what I've been wanting to do but never felt like doing all that drudge work. She also tells me it's 168 pages, which is a little more than I thought. Well, I do tend to run on. Over the weekend I will take a look at what she sent. I've thought any number of times about rearranging the old journals to start at the beginning of the month and read downward, which is a much easier way to read a month's worth, but then I thought of how much work that would be and sort of forgot it. I'll take another look at that, too.
Tomorrow I go to town, first to get my port flushed, then I have to take the bird feeder back to WalMart and get one with perches, go to JoAnn's and get my tassels and I think some black fabric to put around the camera. The cats are running out of food, and I need a few things, too, then it's on to Calumet to Ace Hardware and a couple of other places. I expect to be late.
I think I just saw the eagle soar over my house, but he was moving so fast, away from me, that my usual klutzy try at using the binoculars didn't work and he was gone into the trees across the bay before I could focus. I must remember that while my old 7x35 binoculars focus down close enough that I can see the birds in the feeder from my desk, they are hard to focus. The other pair is easier. Besides, I am such a klutz with both of them that if it's moving fast, I'll never get it into view.
Speaking of seeing things, this morning as I was finishing my breakfast, a large but skinny and still brown doe walked through the front yard close to the bank. I don't know if she came up the hill or went over into Millers', because when I got up to look for her, she was gone. So it seems I will have to try to select plants for my garden that the deer don't like.
Then, when I was out unpacking the plants this afternoon, there was a little chipmunk under the deck in front of the generator. I think he was getting the seed that fell through the cracks in the deck. They are so cute. When I came back from the post office, I had to come to a halt on our road because a very small, skinny red squirrel walked across the road right in front of me, and not very fast, either. He was smaller than the chipmunk, but with a longer tail.
I keep wondering if that is where all my lupine seeds went - and some of the wildflowers I sowed in the back, too. Well, one of the reasons I wanted to live here was for the wildlife, so I really can't complain. I think the deer are pretty tame, frankly, and that's a pity. Even though there is supposed to be no hunting on our property, the deer don't know where that ends, and besides, I've heard mutterings that some people just ignore the postings during deer season. If anybody started shooting a gun off around our houses, I'd call the sheriff, but east of here, where it's really wild, who would know?
In the middle of the night, I got the one cramp in my leg that I can't get rid of by standing up. It starts about behind my knee, and causes excruciating muscle spasms all the way down my calf, and the only thing I can do about it is wait until it goes away, so I was awake for a while. I went to dinner at Mariner (nachos) tonight, because if I stop to eat in town, I won't want to go tomorrow night, and while I was waiting for my dinner, I realized that I'm really tired. Even though my appointment is at 11:30 tomorrow, I will have to keep moving to get the car packed up with coolers and bird feeder and cell phone and all that stuff, so I will get this published and toddle off to the north end.
It was cloudy and cool this morning, but the fog was gone - the lighthouse is still there! - and the clouds were a lot higher than they have been for the past couple of days. Sometime in the afternoon, all the clouds rolled away, we had blue skies, and the harbor looked like piles of diamonds. From Harbor Haus tonight it was that gorgeous shade of light blue with only a few ripples when the wind blew. Before I finished dinner, though, the clouds began to move in, and now the sun is sort of wan and the harbor is turning gray.
The temperature topped out in the low 50s and is now back below 50º. I'm not complaining. There haven't been any bugs.
The last time it warmed up enough for there to be bugs, it looks like a black fly crawled up my pant leg and bit me just above my sock. It's been just a red mark, but now it's starting to itch. Time to get out the Adolfs.
What a nice respite from all the clouds and rain! I guess it was too warm in the office for DC, so I got to sit in the ugly chair until I went to dinner. It really is much more comfortable than either of my desk chairs. Since I finished the Emerick book this morning, I knitted on the sweater I left here over the winter. It sounds like it should go fast - not very many stitches or rows on #15 needles - but I find I knit very slowly on those big needles, and besides it's knit with four kinds of yarn at once and that takes some manipulation. I'm coming along, though - only ten or so rows to go before the bottom ribbing, and after that, just the front bands.
I really enjoyed Lon Emerick's book. It is so rare these days to find anyone who can write that well, and of course he is writing about my favorite places. My only negative thought (besides that he hunts) is envy that he can actually walk that much.
The last time we went down to our picnic spot on the Montreal River, via the Estivant Pines, was in 1989 or 1990, which I reckon is about five miles round trip, and I just about made it back to the car. At that time, my mother was in better shape than I was, but she was tired, too, and we never tried to take that walk again.
If it stays this cool and non-buggy and doesn't rain, I may actually try to walk over to Pebble Beach, which is a whole quarter of a mile away. I have to start somewhere, sometime, or I'll end up using a cane or a wheelchair, and I certainly don't want that.
Coming back from dinner, I got to thinking how much my mother would have loved this time of year in Keweenaw, with all the bushes in bloom and the late spring flowers starting. We always came the last week of June, and while we sometimes saw the lilacs, she never got to see the juneberries, chokecherries, pin cherries, and whatnot, or the carpets of trillium I saw last year. She would have wanted to be outside all the time.
The buttercups may be short, but they're there, and a small patch of anemones came out yesterday. I don't know where the large patch is, but maybe it just isn't out yet. The way this season has been, I think all the plants are confused. My back and side yards are full of wile mustard, and I don't see much else coming up. I threw a lot of lupine and sweet william seeds where the driveway turns, and I don't see one of them coming up. I guess I'll have to try again this year.
After all the trouble I had getting my port flush scheduled, the other person - the one I talked to on Friday - called today while I was at the post office, to say she had a date. I will have to call her back to be sure it's the same one the girls yesterday scheduled. Somehow, I just don't think the new Houghton office has its act together yet...
Well, I'm doing this early, DC is back in the ugly chair, and I can't decide whether to knit some more or read Strangers and Sojourners for a while. Or just go to bed. Decisions, decisions...
The fog rolled in sometime after midnight, so thick I couldn't see the lights of Copper Harbor or the lighthouse, and it is still just as foggy. The temperature has been under 50º all day, and around 8:00 or so it started to drip rain. Not a prepossessing day at all.
I had a nice conversation with Debbie around noon, the adjuster from Auto-Owners finally called about my break-in, and right before I left to get the mail, Dr. Lehman's office called to say that everything should be set up.
After I got back from the post office, I called the office in Houghton, and they had made the appointment - at 9:30 on Friday. Now, if I lived a normal distance away from the hospital, that would be quite all right, but since I have to allow over an hour to get there, it meant I would have to get up at an hour I promised myself I wasn't going to do again - except when I'm driving to Detroit. I believe I mentioned that promise sometime back in January, when I had to be at Bon Secours at 8:30 for a CAT scan. Never again. We got it straightened out, so I will go to town on Friday.
The appointment is at 11:30, which should give me enough time to stop for gas someplace where the price is reasonable - unless I use up all my quarter tank before then.
Also, Greg emailed me a bunch of pictures of the house (which took forever to download!) and now I know what I'm facing when I get home. It isn't too bad, and it doesn't look like the guy pulled anything out of drawers, but there were boxes all over the front room, and I think the cop pulled some things out of one closet when he was looking for the rifle. It turns out that I misunderstood what broke off the ceiling fan, though: it wasn't just the wood part of the blade, it is broken off right where the metal part comes out of the motor housing. They will try to get parts for it, but I may have to get a new fan. It's always something...
I read some more of the Hunt book today, and now I know she has it in for Copper Harbor. She was complimentary or at least neutral about every other place in Keweenaw. I forgot to mention her snide comment about the "cottage community" that refuses access by road to the lighthouse.
You know, I haven't seen too many "cottages" around here. And I'm quite sure that if she lived on a one-lane gravel path and had to pay assessments to keep it maintained, she wouldn't be too happy having people driving up and down the road all day, tearing it up and casing all the houses along it. I think most of my neighbors and local people are pretty honest, but I don't have any such feelings about the tourists. Keeping the road in shape is hard enough as it is, especially for the past couple of years when there has been a lot of construction traffic out here. A lot of summer residents (and summer DNR people, too) drive much too fast...well, so do I, probably.
The problem of the road is just insoluble, so all that can happen is for our board of directors to keep talking to the DNR and hope they don't get mad enough to exert eminent domain.
I straightened out the office a bit - and I've misplaced the three-pronged appliance controller I sent for. Oh dear. It will surface, I'm sure. Then after ATC, I ate pizza and read Lon Emerick - in the ugly chair! - until it got too dark to see. It's so cloudy and foggy that it got dark early.
So I will get this published and try to make it into bed before midnight.
Most of my books came Friday, and I took a trip up to the top of the mountain on Saturday, so I spent quite a bit of time reading, finishing one book by flashlight last night. The camera doesn't shut down until 10:30, and lights in the office don't make for a very good picture, since they reflect off the window and more or less drown out anything else. Well, that's my excuse.
I spent yesterday afternoon with Beulah North, a nice lady in her late seventies, who is obviously very lonely. We spent a long time talking and had dinner together at Harbor Haus (dutch). As I've said before, I think, it stays light so late at this time of year - daylight is just a tad under 16 hours! - that I keep forgetting and staying up too late.
Today, I turned the port flush over to Dr. Lehman, and I am satisfied that it will be straightened out, but it's going to take a while. However, it was clear to me by the time I got off the phone Friday that the whole thing was only going to be settled doctor to doctor. There's a lot of turf wars going on around here, it appears.
The weather hasn't been much to write about, at least here. The weekend was in the middle 60s, but mostly cloudy, hazy and humid - and buggy. Today was also cloudy and hazy, but by 1pm the temperature was up in the low 70s, and I opened the windows and doors and got some air in here. Then around 4:30 or 5:00, all of a sudden, the wind shifted to the northwest or north, and the temperature plummeted about 15 degrees in 15 minutes, and now it's under 50º. Wonderful place. We can always talk about the weather. And if we don't like it, in a few minutes it will be different.
I would like it a little sunnier and less humid, but I'll take whatever I get.
On the subject of mindlessness, Jackie found an Airborne envelope in my door when she went Thursday, which she kindly Priority Mailed to me. It came Saturday, but I missed the cut-off at the post office, so I got it today. It was some stuff from Amex that I have to sign, which I specifically told Frank had to be Priority Mailed to me here - and he wrote down my address here. So it was sent to Champine, Airborne, with another Airborne envelope inside! So not only has this taken longer than it should have, they owe me about $7 in postage fees. Just makes me shake my head.
I've been doing that a lot lately.
I packed up the camera and mailed it back to Nikon today. I took a couple of pictures Saturday, because the mountain was so green, but only one of them really turned out. This is looking up toward the peak of Brockway. Now, that is by far not the best picture I've ever taken, and I confess I enhanced it some, because the original was dark and really blah, but it was that kind of day. And it was hot, windy and buggy up on the mountain, which was pretty weird.
Anyway, the book I finished last night is the one I picked up on Saturday, called The Diary of an Isle Royale School Teacher by Dorothy Simonson, who spent the winter of 1932-1933 on the island teaching the children of a fisherman who lived there. That was before Isle Royale became a national park. It was rather simply written - I found it in a pile of mostly children's books - but it was quite interesting. Talk about remote...
I've also dipped into three of the other books I got - all about this region - and I've found two of them are very good and look to be very well written, and the other one is - well...
The two good ones are The Superior Peninsula by Lon Emerick, which is a series of short essays grouped by season about enjoying the out of doors, and Strangers and Sojourners by Arthur W. Thurner, which is a history of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The Emerick book is just a lot of beautiful writing by someone who really loves the UP. I've just begun the Thurner book, but it reads well, and although I've read bits and pieces of Keweenaw history, this will put it all in one place. I've decided to finish Emerick first.
The Emerick and the third book were mentioned by one of my email correspondents. The third book is Hunts' Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Mary Hoffmann Hunt "with Don Hunt" (whatever that means). I got it because I didn't even know there was such a thing, and I wanted to see what it was about. Well!
For starters, if ever a publication was in dire need of an editor and proofreader, this is it. I've only read parts of it (more on that later), but on nearly every page I've looked at, there are passages where evidently groups of words were either left out or dropped in, in no particular order, rendering the results totally unintelligible. It's been a while since I've had the misfortune to try to read a book so poorly published. All the others I mentioned are also published by small publishers, and none of them have had any typos or editing errors that I could see. It even has at least one instance of the dread "Page 000", where a page number was supposed to be put into a caption later and never was. Don't they use a full-functioned word processor?
Despite that, there is historical information about each area which, so far as I can tell, is fairly accurate. The author is heavily into waterfalls and campgrounds, and there is a lot of information about natural areas which appears to be correct. However, her selection of and comments on lodging and restaurants is, to say the least, idiosyncratic
The book starts out with the southern end of the Keweenaw, working north, which is, to my taste, a rather odd way of doing it. In fact, it is so odd that I skipped ahead, figuring that if I read the write-ups on places I'm familiar with (Grand Marais, Munising and Copper Harbor), I would have a better feel for how seriously to take the rest.
Grand Marais and Munising were all right, although I couldn't tell whether Welker's Resort in Grand Marais is open, closed, or maybe, because she mentions it in the introduction to food and lodging in the area but never says another word about it. I also have no idea what she means by a "full service motel", which she uses to describe the Best Western outside Munising.
However, after reading it over twice, I've decided the woman has a vendetta against Copper Harbor. She leaves the best motel in town out of the lodging list, and when she mentions it in another context she gets the name wrong. She writes fulsomely about The Pines restaurant (don't get me wrong - it's a great place for breakfast, and I really like the owners), but she gets their times of operation totally wrong. The Pines hasn't been open in the winter for at least ten years. And she consistently misspells Zik's bar.
She has Mariner North in the restaurant list, but she totally trashes it - on the sour-grapes report of one (that's ONE) "Copper Harbor worker" who called it "over-priced and ordinary". It is totally unconscionable to put such a mean-spirited comment in a published book which is the only one of its kind.
That made me so angry that I pretty much stopped reading for a while, but I had to look back at the section when I realized that she never mentions the Estivant Pines, our well-known local stand of old-growth pines that was never logged over, which is one of the nicest natural attractions of the area! Believe me, when I can walk again, that is one of the first places I plan to go hiking and picture taking. Now it's true that the road to the area is pretty bad (or it was the last time I was by there), but in just the small part of the rest of the book that I have read, bad roads didn't stop her from listing places of interest in other areas.
However, now I know how to judge the rest of the book.
It really annoys me when I run across someone who takes full advantage of a gap in information and fills it with a piece of junk. It's too bad, too, because as I mentioned, the historical and geographical information seems all right, so far as I could read it around the terrible editing.
So there. It's been a while since I've written a real vent in the journal. I'm still toying with whether to send a version of the above to the author, who made the mistake of putting her email address in the book. I doubt it would do any good. She and her "with" filled a void, and its quality tells me they don't really care what they filled it with or what anybody thinks about it.
Again, as I have for many years, I simply stand in wonder and amazement when I see people who have so little interest in what they do (except for the money) that they don't even care about the quality of their work. While the situation is different, of course, I have never written anything without trying to make it the best I could do at the moment. If it has my name on it, I want to make sure it is clear, grammatical, and spelled right...and my facts are correct. These things are a reflection of me - my children, if you will - and I want them to be as good as I can possibly make them. I have no understanding - and very little patience - with people who feel otherwise.
It is now 11:30 and quite cool (I got the hall window open today, and left it open) and I have read this thing over too many times, so I will get it published and toddle on up to the north end.
This turned into another frustrating day. Well, I suppose that will happen occasionally.
It is time to have my Mediport flushed, so I started calling around to see how to orchestrate getting the orders sent to Portage Health Services. First I discovered that either Dr. Lehman didn't talk or fax anything to the group at Marquette or they lost it. They directed me to the office they have opened in Houghton, and from there I went around in increasingly wide circles. The hospitals won't do the procedure without orders from a physician on staff, and the oncology office just isn't interested in sending the orders unless i become an actual patient. That would mean a third set of doctors, examinations, histories, blood work, and a whole lot of stuff I just don't want to get into.
By the time I got that far, it was after 6pm, so the rest will have to wait until Monday. Lehman doesn't work on Fridays anyway, I don't think.
The person in the oncology office in Houghton thought she was trying to be helpful, but it was clear to me after a while that her main message was that her office didn't want to be involved in this thing.
By the time I get it straightened out, it may be time to go back to Detroit anyway, but I will put it on hold until Monday. After yesterday and this afternoon, my ear is sore.
It was cloudy when I woke up and windy, and there had been a rain shower not to long before, but the thermometer in the kitchen window was at 50º instead of the 40º it's been for quite some time. It actually is a pretty accurate thermometer, but it isn't very big, and sometimes it's affected by being so close to the house. In the afternoon it's in the sun, if any. But at least I can check the approximate temperature without going into the office.
It got fairly warm, over 70º, for a while, but the temperature kept going up and down like a yo-yo depending upon where the wind was from and how hard it was blowing. I had the kitchen door to the porch open for a while, and the wind picked up out of the northwest and the temperature dropped and I finally had to close the door and put my sweater back on. Then the wind died down and it was warm again when I went to dinner. Now the wind is blowing quite briskly in the office windows and the temperature is below 65º.
We also had a little shower late this afternoon, but otherwise it's just been mostly cloudy and humid - and buggy, of course.
The mosquitoes are out in force (that plural doesn't look at all right to me, but the hard-copy dictionary says it's the preferred form, so, oh well). So are the black flies, any time you're out of the wind. They were awful around the post office, where I finally got to talk to Beulah North about her birdfeeders. I think yesterday I got a black fly bite on or behind my left earlobe. There is no lump, but it's horribly itchy. Since that is my telephone ear, being on the phone all day didn't help it at all.
On the subject of bird feeders, Beulah says, no, she's never been bothered by bears. She lives over on Lake Fanny Hooe. So I am going to assume I won't be bothered by bears either, until I see otherwise. Some people are alarmists.
Even though the temperatures were variable, it was nice to have the windows open today. DC likes to be warm, but Buster is sleeping on the fleece throw I put under the back window of the office, which is open, and when I went to bed last night (very early) he was curled up in the window seat.
This evening after dinner, I was determined that I was going to sit in the ugly chair, and read one of my new books that came today, so DC sat on my lap and I read until it was too dark to see. Turning on the lights messes up the camera, so I haven't been doing it. It was nice to sit in the ugly chair. It's really comfortable. However, now that I am out of it, DC has moved right back in, He tried sitting on the footstool for a while, watching the birds, but that wasn't exactly what he had in mind. I had hoped to read and knit, but it is impossible to do that with a cat on my lap, and besides, it was so dark, I had to hold the book pretty close to my face.
I guess we're in for more of the same kind of weather for the whole weekend, sort of in and out with scattered showers, but it should be relatively warmer than it has been lately. So long as it stays under 75º, with the humidity as high as it is, it will be comfortable. Otherwise, I don't know.
So it's getting dark, and it's time to trundle off to the other end...
Well. This was one of those days I hope I don't have too often.
I had just put my breakfast on the table this morning when I got a call from Jackie, my house sitter, saying that it appeared to her that the house had been broken into. Most of the dresser drawers in all three bedrooms had been pulled out, a blade had been broken off the ceiling fan in my bedroom, and the desk had been pried open. She looked around a bit, with my direction, and we determined that the only thing that appeared to have been taken was a box of change from the top drawer of my dresser.
By the time I got her settled down and called the Grosse Pointe Farms police, I had to put my breakfast in the microwave to reheat it, which meant my egg was horribly overcooked, but I did get to eat, finally. I put upon my friend Debbie to meet the police at the house and made arrangements to have the locks changed, because at that time we thought someone with a key had used it to get in, even though I pretty much trust everyone I know who has one.
The police arrived a little before 2pm and discovered that whoever had entered had come in through the window in my powder room, which is at ground level. At the time, we thought perhaps it had been left open, but it turned out that whoever it was used a screwdriver on it and broke the lock right off the window.
Apparently there was another call about the same sort of thing happening about a block away over night, so somebody was in the neighborhood, probably on foot, breaking in and looking for money. I have thought for a long time that our neighborhood was overdue for something like this to happen, since we are just as close to Detroit as the streets in Grosse Pointe Park and City where break ins are more common. Thieves in cars probably wouldn't want to come to my neighborhood, since all the little winding, twisty streets would make a getaway more difficult, but on foot that wouldn't matter so much.
I presume the house is a mess, because they evidently dusted for fingerprints, as well as footprints, and I told Debbie to leave everything open so that I can see it when I get home, but I really don't think anything else was taken. The $40 or $50 in change they took out of my dresser will give them a high, but certainly they went to a lot of trouble for not much gain.
So I spent most of the day on the phone and got a nasty stress headache which only a couple of JDs and a nice dinner at Mariner has done anything for at all.
I don't know what I'd do without Debbie! And Jackie to discover these things. And of course, it could have been much worse. All the electronics are still there, and they hadn't gotten into the basement (who would want to?) or the closets in my bedroom. Whoever it was was obviously looking for cash, not saleable items.
This is not going to make me invest in security systems or lights or any of that nonsense. I am not going to become paranoid. No one likes to be robbed, but I am just not going to get myself that tied to things at this point in my life. I will investigate more secure locks for those first-floor windows, and a chain bolt for the porch door, but that's about it. I just don't believe in living in fear of the next bad thing.
So that spoiled what was actually a really nice day here in Copper Harbor. The temperature got up into the low 70s in the afternoon, with hazy sun and a nice southwesterly breeze, and it was delightful. I opened the porch doors and swept up the sawdust and twigs on the porch, and the kitties were very interested in getting outdoors, at least until the wind picked up. They don't like wind, as I discovered last year. They like to have the windows open, and they like to smell and see the outside, until the breeze starts to ruffle their fur, then they go off someplace where there is no wind, no matter how hot that is.
I decided not to try to move any furniture out onto the porch, and along about 4 or 5 pm it started to cool down, but for a while it was perfectly delightful.
When I made the mail run, there was a whole flock of evening grosbeaks in the trees around the post office, so I guess we are having an eruption this year. They were incredibly noisy.
The window in my bedroom is open a bit, and when I woke up in the middle of the night, I'm sure I heard spring peepers. I know there are some around here, because I heard them in town last year. That is the first time I have heard them since I left Pennsylvania, because there have never been any in Grosse Pointe as long as I've lived there. They sound sort of like crickets, but it's the wrong time of year for crickets.
Some of these really quiet sounds are hard for me to hear, because I have tinnitus, and at times that strongly interferes with the natural sounds. That is most probably the result of having worked in unbaffled computer rooms for so many years, plus having inherited my father's ear mechanisms. However, the frogs were at a lower pitch than the tinnitus and I know I heard them.
When I was out on the porch this afternoon, the number of bird sounds was amazing, which shows me just how much I've been missing by having to have the windows shut. These double-pane low-e windows are also good sound absorbers, and it has to be really noisy outside for me to hear things. That means I also miss most of the sound of the wind in the pines, too, one of the most soothing sounds I know.
I'm hoping it will stay a little warmer, at least for a few days, without getting really hot. Boy, am I picky.
So that was my (lost) day. the bird feeders are empty, and my stress has left me exhausted. I think I will fill the feeders then repair to my bed...
Well, it's been pretty quiet around here. It was cold and rainy yesterday, with lots of fog, and it was foggy when the sun came up this morning, but it went away eventually, and it's been a beautiful day. It started out with a stiff wind from the west (or northwest), and whitecaps on the harbor, but the wind has been dying down all day, and now it is nearly calm.
At Harbor Haus tonight, the harbor was completely calm and pale, silvery blue, and there was a loon.
I've also seen a pair of loons fishing about 200 feet off my beach. I think that was Sunday, while I was eating breakfast. Morning with loons...
Yesterday a nice young man came and put up the shelves and toothbrush holders in the bathrooms, and showed me how to open the hurricane shutters on the porch, so now I have some light in the kitchen and the hallway. While it was warmer today than yesterday, it's not warm enough to sit on the porch.
I finally gathered up all the trash today, and got confused about when the dumpster is open, so I ended up sitting on the steps of the general store talking to Kelly and her daughter for half an hour. I wouldn't have wanted to be wearing shorts and a tank top, but with a light sweater on, it was really pleasant to be sitting in the sun, and it was still cool enough that there weren't many bugs.
It is pretty buggy around here - mosquitoes tonight - especially behind the house, but that's the price I pay for living almost in the woods.
And that's about all that's happened. This afternoon, a pair of evening grosbeaks spent a very long time in the feeder. They look to be pairing off, but for a while there were two females, so I guess they haven't settled down yet. They are a large bird, but the book says they are related to goldfinches, an d not to rose-breasted grosbeaks (which I haven't seen lately), and they have truly enormous beaks. They can chomp through a sunflower seed amazingly fast.
After that first day, the hummingbirds seem to have deserted me, but I wonder if it's not mostly because it's been so cool. In the evening, a few will drop by for a drink, but I haven't seen the swarms there were the first day or two.
It is supposed to warm up over the weekend, but it is also supposed to rain and be humid. I think I'm going to be glad I'm here by the side of the lake, because it is supposed to be cooler here.
It was about this time last year that I brought the cats from Detroit, and while it was cool when we got here, shortly thereafter, it got hotter than I care to have it.
There was a short hiatus here while I read over last year's journals. It never ceases to amaze me what I did not write. I promised myself (again) that I will try hard to write something every day, at least about the weather, so I can remind myself how it was. It was a lot warmer last year than it has been so far this year, and later in the summer we had a couple of periods of perfectly beastly hot weather - but I noted that John Dee said that happens only every 20 or 30 years or so. I hope!
I can also remember being here at the end of June and beginning of July when the temperatures were about what they are now - 40s and 50s. That seemed cold to me then, but now I'm used to it and I'll take what I can get.
I also took a lot more pictures last year. I haven't sent the camera away yet, and before I do, I'd really like to take a few shots of the juneberries and pin cherries. At the entrance to Lighthouse Road there is a large flowering tree that I think may be a pin cherry which is beginning to drop its petals, so I don't have many more days to get those shots. When I think that at this time last year, I was taking pictures of lilacs...it's going to be quite a while before they come out, at least here in the Harbor!
Over the past couple of days I've ordered a dozen or so roses (much to my delight, there are people who mail order potted roses!) All of these are own-root roses, which means they were started from cuttings, and they're going to be pretty small, but that's all right. I like the idea of plants that aren't grafted - if they die back to the ground but the roots survive, the plant that grows back won't be that horrible dark red rambler (Dr. Huey, the gentleman said today). The rose bed is so huge it will easily hold 40 or 50 roses, but I want to start out modestly, and besides, I got such a late start ordering that everyone is out of a lot of the varieties I want. The man I talked to today is from Vintage Gardens, and he was very happy to impart a lot of knowledge and some interesting suggestions about the kind of roses to grow here, and he was not afraid to warn me that certain hybrid tea roses I'd like to have are pretty tender and probably wouldn't grow here. I had a nice conversation and learned a lot.
I also ordered a few other plants that need to be planted in the spring, delphinium and coneflowers and things like that. So I will be out in the garden at the height of the black fly season, wearing my bug shirt and a heavy coating of DEET!
And that's my quiet life. Love it.
I wasn't going to even do a journal tonight, but I remembered it's a new month and I needed to do the thing with last month's journal, so that's done now.
It was a quiet day. I got the food put away, except for the birdseed, and things are a little better in the hallway. Tomorrow I will try to do a little more. It would be nice to get the cage out of the great room, finally.
The day started out sunny, but some high cloud cover came over and it was partly sunny and didn't get over the low 60s today. The wind was light and from the north, so I was able to have the end window in the office open, but when I opened the back window, the breeze was too cool.
I like having the windows open, because I can hear the birds. I heard some I've never heard before, and I really should get out my birdsong CDs and brush up on sparrow and warbler songs. I am such a klutz with the binoculars that if they aren't sitting in the bird feeder ten feet from me, chances are I'll never find them. The thing singing the strange song was in the red pine right outside the open window, and while I saw something move, I certainly couldn't get the glasses on it.
I also heard the loon one more time, from over in the direction of Lake Lilly, which I believe is where they nest. The lake level is high enough this year that they should have a nursery pool, which they didn't last year. I also saw something flying across the harbor that I think was an eagle, but of course it was long gone before I even got the glasses in my hand.
Most of the birds in the feeders today, after the blue jays were gone, were chickadees, chipping sparrows and nuthatches. I think there was a white-breasted nuthatch, but he came and went so fast it was hard to tell. The others were red-breasted. There was also a sparrow I've never seen before, which might have been either an American tree sparrow or a field sparrow, although neither is supposed to be here. I need to see it again and check it more closely against the books. It wasn't a chipping sparrow.
The hummingbirds didn't come very much today, although I refilled the feeders last night. I don't know if it's too cool, or if there is another problem.
Oh, yes, and the goldfinches and siskins.
There was a lot of haze in the harbor today. which made it hard to see down to the other end, and the evening is ending quite early, in clouds. Too bad, too, because Venus and Jupiter are supposed to be almost on top of each other tonight and I'd hoped to see them. Well - occasionally lately it has cleared up a little after sunset, so we'll see.
This morning, while I was doing my embroidery, a truly enormous flock of Canada geese - well over 100, I'm sure - headed north over the lake. Our geese here have hatched their eggs already, so those guys going up into Canada will have to work fast to lay, hatch, fledge, and molt before they start back in September. I think, from watching the geese around here, that it takes several years before they mate and settle down, and there seem to be a lot of singles in most of the bigger flocks. Anyway, it was fun to see them against the blue sky. Their formations were rather straggly I thought.
So right now it is totally quiet outside, except for the little swish of the lake on the beach, and it's tempting to turn the computer off, so it will be just as quiet in here. Instead, I will get this all published - well, after the picture uploads.
Last updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM