A View From the Field








August, 2002


August 31

Somehow while I wasn't looking, the last day of August arrived.


Last night I came close to a minor disaster. After I took my bath, I sat down on the commode for one last time, and when I went to lever myself up, I didn't realize there was water under my right foot. As a result, my toes went skidding hard into the tile at the edge of the shower and sending a shock up my leg to my hip. I caught myself on the cabinet and ended up sitting half on the seat and holding myself up by my right arm. There was no serious damage, but my toe, my knee and my hip were extremely sore all night, and my knee still bothers me when I start to stand up. Times like this when I wonder - briefly - about living alone.


Anyway, I didn't sleep very well, so when the pain finally went away and I could find a comfortable position to lie in, I slept late. 


DC stayed with me all night, and the Buster finally rediscovered his former favorite sleeping place on top of the dresser. Maybe it's because I washed that fleece blanket along with all the other ones the other day and it was nice and fresh smelling. Who knows? I've noticed that cats tend to pick a spot and stick with it, and sometimes they change spots as though they had forgotten about the old one. This is the first time Buster has slept on the dresser all summer, and last summer it was his favorite place of all. Strange little beasties.


I left the porch doors open all night, and that gave me enough extra air that the bedroom was comfortable all night. The temperature was already 65 when I got up, and I don't think it got much cooler than that all night, with a southerly breeze.


This morning was clear but hazy and it stayed that way all day, although when I came home from dinner tonight, it was clouding up. The temperature got up to the low 80s, but with the breeze it was a wonderful, sleepy, lazy late summer day when all I wanted to do was sit and smell the air.


Somebody emailed me a suggestion that I take pictures of the garage-in-progress, which I confess had slipped my mind, so here they are. I have to confess the roofline of the breezeway is sort of weird, but with the door so far off the ground there wasn't much else they could do. It would have looked worse with that high roof going all the way over to the garage.


While I was out behind the bedroom, I took a look at the weeds growing there, and found a few flowers. There was also a butter-and-eggs, but I didn't get a good enough picture of it to publish. In spite of the winter cress and in spite of my germination problems, I did get some nice flowers, so i will get some more seed and try it again next year. I should order the seed, but it will be late October or early November (after the first freeze) before I will sow them. This year, I will sow by hand and try to pick a day that isn't so windy. What you can't see in the picture of the back of the garage is that Adam and his backhoe really did a number on a large area that was full of perennials that wouldn't have bloomed until next year, so I will have to reseed that area anyway. 


The other thing you can't really see in the pictures is that because of where the garage is, I don't have to worry about blinds or shutters in the powder room. The garage shields that window from the road.


I am not sure I am really happy about where the garage is and how it looks, but since I didn't have the architect draw it when he did the house, we just had to do the best we could. It will be all right, and I don't really spend that much time looking out the back windows anyway. The advantages of the breezeway for storage, for a way to get to the garage in the rain, and for ground floor unloading of the car is so great I will just have to get used to it.


Well, Norton Antivirus system scan just fired up, so I will get this published and enjoy the soft summer breezes from my bed.


August 30

It suddenly hit me this afternoon that this is Labor Day Weekend. It's early this year, but still...


I was awakened to pounding this morning, and I now have most of a roof on the garage. There are a couple of sheets of plywood left to go on the roof, and they have to attach the breezeway roof to the garage roof, but it's beginning to look like something. I know they have to put steep-pitched roofs on buildings here because of the snow, but all I can see in the garage is all that wasted space...I'm not sure if I can get them to put at least a partial floor up there or not. It could be useful.


I sort of ignored the pounding and actually got up late. Buster disappeared, of course, but DC stayed right by me and complained. He didn't go off to sleep for a while until I got back into the bathroom, and when I went to the office, he trailed along. He clearly doesn't like to hide, but he's leery of all the noise and the big tromping feet, so he counts on me to protect him.


It was foggy when I got up, and as the morning wore on, thick fog came into the entire harbor, actually clouds at water level, because you could see the tops of the trees over it. That finally cleared up sometime after noon, although it's still hazy. The sky has been almost clear, except for the haze, all day, and the wind has been pretty much from the south and very light. As a result, the temperature got over 80 for a while, although it's already dropped back to 70 or so.


I'm writing this early tonight, and maybe I'll even get to bed at a reasonable hour.


I had a busy day today, even though it started rather late. I had put off cleaning out the cat pans far longer than I should have, so the first thing I did was that. It is a job, and I end up bending over so much it is really hard on my back. I had to sit down after I emptied the pans and before I washed them out, and I sat quietly in the office for a while after I finished. Sometime I'm going to have to figure out what to do with all the used litter, but I'd had enough when there was clean litter in the pans. I wonder if they've noticed yet?


I finally decided that I had had enough with the mess in the office, and I spent most of the afternoon cleaning that up. There are still some piles, although not many, and quite a few file boxes of stuff, but it is much better than it was. The desk is near enough to being clean that I only have to move a few things when I want to clear it off completely, and I can walk in and sit down without dodging piles and boxes and stuff.


I had just cleaned off the desk and gotten the surface clean when Buster appeared, and the first thing he did was to lie down full length on the end closest to the door. I don't think he's ever been able to do that before, and he wanted to make sure I knew he noticed. He is a funny little cat.


Over the weekend, I hope I can do something about the boxes and crates in the great room. If I can get that stuff put away, maybe, just maybe, I can move the sofa back where it belongs and  plug in the lamps. It's getting dark early enough these days that I need more light than I have when I leave the office at night.


I have always known that there isn't enough light in the great room at night, but the only place I could have put lights was in the ceiling fans, and I just didn't want to do that, so I have to rely on table lamps. Since I don't spend any time there, and I knew I wouldn't, I didn't think it would be a problem. The only trouble I have is getting between the office and the kitchen when it's dark, and that would be easier if I could get rid of some of the stuff in there. Maybe tomorrow.


It seems the baby heron didn't get all the frogs, because I could see a couple of them from the deck today.  One of these days, I will have to drain that thing, and muck it out, but I think now I will wait till it gets cold. I knew when I put it in that it was a mistake, but now it's there, and sometime I should try to do something with it. For the time being, it's frog haven. That's fine with me - I won't have to worry about breeding mosquitos.


It is such a beautiful evening, I'm strongly tempted to enjoy it by going to bed early. Lovely idea...


August 29

Golly, it seems hard to believe August is almost over! How time flies...


When I woke up this morning, it was foggy over the harbor and it never cleared up much all day. There was some sun, but it was hard to see down to the other end.  I saved the 8:15pm picture, just because it has so many pretty colors in it. For once, the webcam caught the colors pretty much as they were, and they were nice.


The temperature never got over 70, and for most of the day there was no wind at all (a "dead clam", as my daddy used to say), and this end of the harbor was like a mirror. Good thing it wasn't warmer.


I guess I fiddled around for most of the day. I started trying to make some sense out of the office, but I didn't get very far. I will have to do something tomorrow. 


The memory came, but it finally hit me that when Radio Shack sent me a shipment confirmation yesterday, they said the antistatic strap was being shipped Airborne - and Airborne is the company that doesn't deliver here. I checked the tracking number, and the package left Appleton, Wisconsin for delivery - which means they put in the US Mail. So I paid a bundle for a delivery option that doesn't come here. I called them up and told them so, and asked for my money back on the expensive shipping. If I had known that overnight delivery was by Airborne, I never would have chosen it. But the thing has already been sent, so now all I can do is wait for it to arrive and hope it comes soon and the computer doesn't die in the meantime. 


The fan was speeding up and slowing down all day long, and sounding very alarming, so we'll see what happens.


I decided to wait until my tomatoes ripen a bit more before I cook the zucchini, but I did have one of my cucumbers for dinner. It was big, but when they are fresh and crisp and not waxed, like these are, I eat them like bananas, and without peeling them. It was so crisp and sweet it seemed like a completely different vegetable (fruit?) from the ones I get in supermarkets.  We always picked ours when they were smaller, but then we were eating them ourselves, and this one was really good.


I am a little surprised that things like tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers seem to grow so well around here, although it is warmer down between Calumet and Lake Linden than it is here on the north shore. I'm so glad to know about Hughes! All I'll have to do is try not to buy too much at once, because it will spoil if I don't eat it.


Apparently either the trusses didn't arrive or they arrived late in the day, because I didn't hear from Arend Builders at all. There was some possible rain predicted, but apparently it all went south of us, as usual. So I will leave the office windows open tonight and probably have to come running down the hall sometime in the middle of the night. It seems to work that way.


So that was another lovely quiet day in the field. And it was really quiet - I had the doors open, and when I stood in the slider, all I could hear was a little lapping of water. It's so quiet it makes the cpu fan sound exceptionally noisy.


What good weather to sleep!


August 28

I had finally put the computer to bed and was getting ready for bed when I heard some thumping around and thought, oh, no. I went down the hall, turning lights on as I went, and when I turned on the floodlight beside the great room slider, a little bear, the same one I saw in the woods, was going down the stairs toward the north. One of the thistle socks was on the deck in front of the sliders. I checked the tree, and both thistle socks were gone, and one of the shepherd's crooks was hanging by its crook.


Sometime later, after I was in bed, he came back and ate the sock, as he had apparently done with the other one. I hope he had indigestion. He also tipped over both hummingbird feeders and probably lapped up the nectar as it ran out.


The only thing that worried me a little is that I had forgotten to close the slider, and Buster was evidently standing inside watching. It would be so easy for even a little bear to tear through the screens and get in, not to mention what he might do with Buster. When he went off toward the north, he looked over his shoulder and gave me a very dirty look, like I was interfering with his dinner. I also discovered that the workmen had left some garbage by the tool van and he had torn into that, which made a very fat little chipmunk happy, too. 


So that was the excitement over night.


It wasn't quite so cool in my bedroom last night, so I didn't sleep quite so well, and I practically got kicked out of bed this morning by two hungry cats. When I got up, it was cloudy, but it cleared up and turned into another beautiful day, with temps in the 60s. It is supposed to be clear tonight and tomorrow, then maybe rain. Not that we don't need it, so long as it's at night and it doesn't interfere with the trusses and putting the roof on the garage.


I goofed off and spent most of the afternoon playing with the thread book, and I think I now have my version in shape. I can't justify buying a full-sized paper cutter for this house, so I'm not quite sure how I'm going to print it up to see how it looks.


All day long, I smelled ozone in the office, which, I've smelled before, so I think something has been going haywire with the power supply for some time. Maybe, if I'm really lucky, the rest of my packages will come tomorrow, then I can try to get this thing fixed before it dies.


I have to mention that sometime in the middle of the afternoon, I was moving the cpu around and pulled the cord to the camera, so for half an hour or so it was taking wonderful pictures of the pine tree. I fixed it when I realized what I'd done, but it isn't pointing in exactly the same direction as before - it's a little further to the north. That means that Venus is almost at the right edge of the picture. I will try to remember to adjust it tomorrow. The shepherd's crooks are still attached to the deck railings, but since the hummingbird feeders were emptied, I took them in, and I may not put them back for a day or so, just to discourage my hungry friend.


I went to dinner at Harbor Haus tonight and ran into one of my neighbors and her guests who invited me to sit with them, so I had a nice social time. Also a very good dinner - duck - as an antidote to all my veggies of yesterday. 


Since somebody may show up at an early hour tomorrow, I will get this published and get to bed.


August 27

It was not warm in my bedroom last night and I slept very well, thank you, and very long, so it was rather late in the morning when I took off for Hancock. It was a frustrating ride down the covered road behind two RVs and someone who was evidently just learning to drive (and who drove me crazy until I finally passed her). Also, they are building and fixing culverts south of Calumet and the road was down to one lane. The flag people at the ends of the one-lane section seem to feel it's not worth letting traffic through until there are thirty or forty cars, so there was quite a wait.


However, I made it, and got my blood drawn. I've been curious about where Campus Street (or is it College Street - I'm not quite sure) goes, so I continued west from the hospital. It ends at Elevation Street, which I recognized because it goes right beside the old High School, so I ended up where I wanted to be without backtracking. Sometimes it pays to explore.


The area between the hospital and Elevation Street is a nice one, with a lot of new (possibly manufactured?) homes and offices. Not many trees, though. I had thought all of Hancock was old houses, but clearly that isn't so. I'm glad I went that way for several reasons.


I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics before I went to lunch, and they are doing things to M26 out by the mall, too. They have cut out blocks of the cement in the middle three lanes and are replacing them. I have no idea why - so far as I can recall, they weren't in bad shape. Anyhow, the road there is down to one lane in each direction with a forest of day-glo cones to negotiate in order to turn left. Another real mess.


Lunch was nice, and I stopped at EconoFoods and got a few more things than I planned on, but decided I needed. I headed north around 2:30, but I've been seeing a sign that says "Veggies" on the corner of the road to the Calumet Golf Course, and I was curious, so I turned down that way. That is a strange road, with lots of 90 turns around the golf course, then it turns to gravel. If you continue to the other end, you pass the access paths to Hungarian Creek and falls. Anyway, about five miles from US41, there was a driveway with signs on it - and "open Tues, Thurs, Sat 11-4", which is why sometimes I've seen the sign and sometimes I haven't.


The signs are for Hughes Farm, and apparently they grow organic produce, and I nearly went nuts. They had tomatoes (not quite ripe enough, but pretty good nonetheless), cucumbers, two kinds of sweet peppers and half a dozen kinds of hot peppers, zucchini, and a whole bunch of other things. They have the first Yukon Gold potatoes I've seen in this area - those are my favorites! There was kohlrabi, which I haven't seen since my dad grew it in the garden at Champine (I don't quite remember how my mother cooked it, but it was good). There were beets, several kinds of greens, several kinds of fresh herbs, and sweet corn. I didn't buy all that - I decided to save something for next time.


I did get three ears of sweet corn, which I had for dinner, and it was some of the sweetest sweet corn I've ever eaten, very likely picked today. While the newer varieties of tomatoes don't compare to the old-fashioned ones, there certainly has been an improvement in corn since my dad had to stop raising it in the backyard because of the raccoons.


I am now trying to decide which of my recipes for tomatoes, zucchini and onions to make, the one with noodles or the one with rice. What a lovely dilemma!


When I got back, my first package from Gateway was here, and when I opened it, egad! I don't just have a new fan, I have a whole new power supply I have to install! It has more wires coming out of it than I've seen in years! I opened the instruction book, and the first thing it said was that I need an anti-static bracelet. Since I've not had to fiddle with hardware in a long time, I don't have one of those, so I had to surf around and find one. It should be here in a couple of days, by which time my memory upgrades should also be here. Since I pulled the cpu out from under the desk and opened the windows, the fan has settled down some. It is still noisy, but it isn't slowing down and speeding up like it was for a while. Maybe it will last until I get everything I need.


There will be some downtime for the camera, possibly Thursday if everything arrives. It will take me that long to get the desk cleaned off and ready for disassembling the cpu. I want to read the instruction book a couple of times before I start changing out the power supply! I think I will have to do something like exchanging one wire bundle at a time, if its possible, just to keep them all straight. A new adventure, to be sure! Stay tuned.


Today was a good day to shop and all that. I woke up just after sunrise and it was clear, but there was a line of clouds in the west, and when I got up for real, it was gray and cloudy and the temperature was in the upper 50s. It never got much over 65, even down in Houghton, and it was still pretty cloudy when I left there. As i drove north, it cleared up (as frequently happens). There are still clouds in the sky, and Venus isn't visible tonight, but it was nicer here when I got home.  


It's going to be another cool night, good for sleeping, and I think I will go and do that.


August 26

It was warm in my bedroom last night, so I didn't sleep so well, but after I heard the workers arrive, i slept for another hour. They did some things today, including pouring the concrete apron in front of the garage and breezeway door, but now they can't do much until the trusses arrive, which will probably be Thursday. So DC and especially Buster won't have to run away and hide for a couple of days.


In the middle of the afternoon, DC came out of whatever hole he was in, and started hollering at the top of his lungs. They both like it that things echo around here, especially in the great room. He was just complaining that he was being disturbed. It did give me the chance to wash the fleece throws that they lie on, and I managed to get a lot of the hair out of them, although the navy blue ones still look sort of heathery, full of white hairs. DC sheds like no other cat I have ever known.


I actually spent most of the day on the telephone. I had gotten a bill from AT & T on which they had charged me $2.14 for every minute I charged to my calling card while I was in the hospital. I used the calling card because I didn't think I could use my cell phone (which actually was wrong - I could have), and I thought the calling card was cheaper than having the calls charged to my room. Wrong!  Since I was on the phone for almost 6 hours in those two weeks, I had a rather amazing bill. We got that straightened out.


Sometime during the afternoon yesterday, I noticed that something in the computer was making a very loud grinding noise (for a computer). It was still there this morning, and I finally deduced that it was one of the fans. Since the last thing I want to do is melt down my PC, and it is still under warranty, I called Gateway...and spent the next two hours on the phone, mostly on hold. It paid to tell them I'm supporting a website, and I should get the new fan in the next day or so.  I also broke down and ordered more memory for both the desktop and the laptop. This computer doesn't show signs of memory pressure very often, but the laptop does, and the Champine computer does most of the time.


After that, I attacked the thread book, and I think I have it mostly together, finally, except to get the answers to the seven emails I sent Carey. If I'm going to do something like this, I like it to be as correct as possible, and that turns out to be a problem. Most of the distributors of thread are terrible about keeping their websites up to date (if they have any at all), and that means I have to go scrounging around to try to find lists of the new threads and their names every time I do an update. All of them seem to have typos in their web pages, too, which doesn't help at all.  


About an hour ago, I finished up the thread book and turned around and looked out to see a really bright sun dog to the south of the sun, so bright it was reflected in the water. Since I was pretty sure the webcam wouldn't catch it, I ran outdoors with the Nikon and snapped a couple of pictures. I'm glad I did, because by the time I got back to the office, it was gone. Here is the picture. Those wispy clouds are ice crystals, and when they get strung out like that, sometimes there are sun dogs. There wasn't one on the north side of the sun. I thought it was a neat phenomenon.


It never got much over 65 all day today, but there wasn't much wind and it was nice. Most of the day was perfectly clear, but before sunset there were clouds in the west. Now that it is getting dark, they are mostly gone, and Venus is hanging over the hill.


While there have been clear skies lately, it has been rather humid and the water vapor in the atmosphere has not made for the best seeing. Venus is twinkling, and it shouldn't be doing that, as high as it is right now.


That's all right, because the temperature is now down below 60, and since I have had the porch door open all day, it will be nice and cool in the bedroom and really good sleeping tonight.


Tomorrow I have to trundle off to Hancock to get my blood drawn and see if I can get some fruit, as well as have a nice lunch. I hope the PC fan will hold out until I get a chance to change it out, which won't be until Wednesday at the earliest.


So now I will have a little pizza (if it ever gets hot), and toddle off to bed.


August 25

It was another beautiful night to sleep and another superb day. The sky was so blue, with not a cloud in it, and the water was so blue, with a little breeze out of the northwest rippling it a bit. The temperature was around 70 all day,  until around 6pm when it warmed up a bit, but it's back down now. How beautiful to just sit and enjoy!


I did make a small effort to begin to sort out the office, then I spent several hours on the thread book - and got one of the tables corrected. This is not going to be a quickly executed project!  Maybe by the time I go back to Detroit in November, there will be something for Carey to look at.


The temperature for most of the day was low enough that the cats wanted to sleep in the sun. The problem is, they both wanted to sleep in the corner of the desk under the south windows, and DC got there first, and I had to be quite firm with Buster - and move a bunch of stuff - to keep him from bugging poor D to death. Later in the afternoon, it got too hot for Buster and DC moved to the end of the couch in the great room. I didn't think it was cool at all, but they seem to like to soak up the rays, at least when the temperature is under 70. DC can take more of it because he's mostly white. When Buster lies in the sun, his fur gets almost too hot to touch sometimes, but he seems to like it.  


They pick their spots depending upon the time of year and the position of the sun. When we got here in the spring, nobody was sleeping on the desk. Buster's favorite place then was the box with the pictures in it at the bottom of the stairs (pretty weird - I don't know how he could get comfortable), but he hasn't slept there for a month or so, because the sun isn't shining there any more. Later in the fall, DC will spend the afternoon in the ugly chair, in the sun, but so far, it's been too hot for him. Me, too.


There keep being little signs of autumn coming. This afternoon a flock of ten or fifteen Canada geese were getting some flight training - take-off and landing - at our end of the harbor, with accompanying noise. That means their molt is over and their flight feathers have grown back in, and it seems to me it's a little early for that. Whether it means anything about the fall and winter to come, we'll just have to wait and see.


I did do some wash today - which  reminds me, the last load is in the washer and there's a load in the dryer. I will have to do something about that before I go to bed tonight.


I also hung out a couple of thistle stockings today, then forgot to see if they got visited or move the camera. Tomorrow... I do want to hang out the regular feeder, too, because if the geese are flocking, pretty soon some of the birds will be migrating. The hummingbirds are still here, and they seem to like one of the feeders better than the other, which puzzles me, since they're identical so far as I can tell.


Well, Venus is hanging in the west, and it's nearly dark, so I will hang it up, too.


August 24

Oh, my, did I sleep...and sleep...and sleep! I think maybe there was a rain shower sometime before dawn, but you couldn't prove it by me. I heard something, but I didn't even raise my head to see if I could see it. I had one cat all night and another for part of the night, but Buster is not a good bed partner, and I had to kick him out after a while (he is now sitting on my right wrist as I try to type, which isn't exactly easy either).


By the time I got up this morning, it was clear and sunny and beautiful, and it has been a lovely day, with just a cloud here or there and temps that only got up just over 70. Just my favorite kind of weather.


It must have gotten cloudy, because when I woke up around 4am the moon was shining brightly, but the camera didn't catch a thing. Maybe it will as the moon gets older and starts setting more to the north. The view of the moon over the hills and the path of the light on the water is something I would like to save.


I didn't do a whole lot except make a big mess in the office, and I still have some things to unpack, but it's mostly cat food and people food, so it will hold. It was so good to just be here that I just sat and enjoyed that.


There aren't so many people in Copper Harbor this weekend, which is a relief to me, although my friends in the tourist business aren't too happy. I think it has something to do with so many schools starting next week. People who have kids in school have things to do around home before they start. Shortly it will quiet down even more, and I will like that.


It seems that even in the week I was gone, the days have shortened, and there is now under 14 hours of daylight. That's the only disadvantage of September: it gets dark so early. Soon, however, the sun will be setting in the camera picture, and I'll be able to see and capture the beautiful sunsets.


So off I go to bed again. 


August 23

Well, here I am back in my  summer home, all safe and sound and well greeted.


I didn't mention that yesterday in Detroit was humid and yucky, but this morning was tolerable. I really don't like to get up before it's light out, but I got to bed early last night and slept well...except that I got up a 4:30 and it seemed like I had just closed my eyes again when the alarm went off at 5:30. However, I got up and did my thing and left at about 7:45.


That meant that I hit the rush hour at the intersection of-75 and I-696, so it took me a while to get out of town, and there was a lot of traffic all the way north. It drizzled off and on until I was north of Flint, and it was cloudy the whole way until I got around Mohawk, and it was - and still is - beautifully clear in Copper Harbor.


The late summer flowers - goldenrod and queen ann's lace and  asters - were out and in the Hiawatha National Forest at the east end of the UP, there were a few maples starting to turn color. It did occur to me that the downside of not going back to Detroit until November is that I won't get to see the color in Hiawatha. That part of the forest is mostly hardwood, and the color can be spectacular. Well, I'll just have to make do with the colors of Keweenaw. (HA!)


It was around 70 when I got here, at 6:30, and it is now cooling off nicely. It will be a good night to sleep, and I'm sleepy.


There were all the usual weird drivers, especially on the two-lane roads, but there weren't so many RVs coming north. I guess the tourist season is winding down. I followed a bunch of real weirdos out of Hancock, but by driving like a maniac on the Cliff Drive, I got around them, and I only had to pass one guy to have the covered road all to myself. It's not that I drive it so fast, but I am familiar enough with it that I have my own rhythm, and it seems to be different from anybody else that I have ever followed.


I opened all the windows in the car when I got to the covered road, and just breathed deeply of the wonderful scent of the Keweenaw woods, and by the time I got here, all the nasty pollution of the big city was gone. Even when it's not too warm, the woods smell so sweet!


The breezeway is built and partly roofed. It looks kind of funny, because the roof is at two levels, but once it is finished, I think it will be all right. It won't be completely obvious that it was an afterthought.


I didn't go to dinner, because I ate pita wraps all the way north, so as soon as I get this published, I can go and luxuriate in my wonderful shower and snuggle into my nice big bed with my cuddly cats. It's so good to be back, and so good to know I have three more months to be here!


August 22

While I almost hesitate to say anything, it looks as though my days of frustration all came together and this week has gone pretty well. This morning, after not sleeping well all night, I got up early and got my car in and had it back by 10am, so I was able to get cat food and something good for me to eat tomorrow and be back home before noon.


I packed up two crates of non-perishable food, organized most of the rest of the stuff, and got a call from Debbie. It turned out that she was going to be in my neck of the woods taking her son to his friend's house, so instead of both of us going to Troy to Beni Hana, we went together to Fishbone's. It was a little late for lunch, so we both had our dinner, and in fact I brought enough home to have another dinner.


I got to give her the "Caregiver" bear from the Relay for Life campaign that I've had around since sometime in April and haven't ever been able to give her. Under the circumstances, I thought it was fitting.


We had a nice visit, and after she dropped me off, I topped off the gas tank and loaded up everything else I could. I didn't bring much home with me, so I don't have much to put in the car and a lot of it will have to wait until tomorrow.


I'm writing this at about 7pm, so that I can get it uploaded and move the files back to the laptop before I pack that up. This is becoming a pain, especially the internet files. Fortunately, I'll only have to do it one more time for six or nine months.


The only thing I didn't do was call the post office complaint number to tell them first class mail was delivered here sometime last week. I will have to call them, but I just didn't feel up to it.


I am finding that unfortunately, if I have to get up early to do something, I lay awake all night getting ready to get up early. This is not the way to be at one's best. Tonight I will take a sleeping pill, even though that means I won't sleep good tomorrow night. I need to be rested for the trek north, for general reasons, but especially since I may run into some rain between here and the bridge.


It will certainly be good to get away from this place. When I went out to get the cat food this morning, it was clear to me from the traffic on Mack Avenue that I94 must be closed between Moross and Eight Mile Road, and when I talked to Jackie, she said it was and  had been since rush hour this mornkng. There was a robbery at a restaurant on Kelly, and the robber took off down I94, where he crashed. He started waving a gun at everybody, and was shot dead, but in the shooting one police officer was shot in the leg. The news says the freeway was shut down for four hours while they investigated.


I had several reactions to that. When they shut down the freeway, it becomes quite evident just how many people there are in this area. There are stop lights every two to four blocks on Mack, and it was taking two to three red lights to get through each intersection. All this took place within a couple or three miles of my house, and the casualties were taken to St. John Hospital, which is about two blocks away. This is getting to be an unpleasant place to live. There are too many people and too much crime.


Keweenaw looks better all the time. Now, it's not paradise, and crime doesn't stop at the bridge by any means, but there are so few people and so many more law-abiding people (so long as you leave them alone) that it's really pretty peaceful, especially compared to Detroit.


It will be good to get back to my warm cats and my great view.


August 21

I sort of crashed today, and as a result, I was too late to get my car done, so I'll have to do it tomorrow, and try to get to the gas station early.


I did get my nine hours in, but when I woke up my eyelids were all puffed up and I've been sleepy all day. This is delayed reaction to the long drive Monday, and as I recall, when I'm in good shape, it's usually two days later that I feel the effects. My eyelids get puffy as a result of using my eyes with so much intensity. Usually around home, especially in Copper Harbor, even when I'm embroidering, I pause and look around and look outside, so I focus at different distances. Also, I don't move my eyes around quite so much as I do when I'm driving. The rest of it is just my peculiar body. It takes two days for it to react to the stress of the drive.


My CT scan was this afternoon, and the result of drinking two liters of barium in four hours has not been pleasant. I know they have to put a lot of laxative in it so that people with elimination problems don't get completely bound up, but I don't have that problem, so I now have stomach cramps and I've been up the stairs several times this afternoon.


In fact, my pizza is in the oven and my drink is upstairs, because I forgot until I got back here that I need to do a journal, not that there's much to say.


The weather is still nice here, with temps in the low 80s, no humidity and sun, but I guess that's going to end tomorrow, with something like the rain there has been in Copper Harbor all day. There, it was 60s and rain, which is the weather that's not good for my arthritis, so it's good that I'm here.  Apparently it will clear up both places by Friday, and I will be fleeing a return to the heat here.


I did have time to find a couple of things I had been looking for, but tomorrow while the car is being fixed, I will have to spend a while cleaning up the kitchen, which already looks like it usually does when I'm here full time, plus the stuff I brought home with me. Fortunately, I didn't bring much with me and I'm not taking much more back, so packing the car won't be too much of a problem.


Tomorrow, in between getting the car oiled and lunching with Debbie, I do have to visit the pet supply store and a grocery store for a few items. There are a couple of flavors of cat food I can't get in Houghton that I want to take a good supply of back with me, and I find I like store-bought sandwiches better than my own.


Slight hiatus while I said hello to my neighbor, Charlotte, and admired their guinea pigs.


I am still getting used to the idea that I really don't have to come back here until I move back. This is how it was supposed to be, but after a year and a half of having to come every month or two, it's all new to me. I don't mind the idea of one trip back per summer, just to move stuff back and forth, but doing it every three or four weeks gets old quickly. And I won't lose a minute of the best time of the year!


So I am in a pretty cheerful mood, and I will get this published so I can go to bed early.


August 20

Well, that turned out all right. Dr. Lehman said I seem to be fine, I don't need to come back until I move back for the winter (Yeaaa!), and we will continue to watch the PT/INR weekly for a while. I actually don't mind that, since it gets me out of the house, and maybe I can mosey around the lower part of the peninsula a bit.


It turns out that they have a gadget in the office where they poke your finger, take about three drops of blood and put it in this thing about the size of a thick book and out comes the PT/INR. While I don't like to have my finger poked (and sometimes in the winter, they can't get blood out of it), that is a lot better than taking a whole tube of blood. So many people take coumadin that it wouldn't surprise me if in a few years the patient will be able to afford to buy one of these devices himself and monitor his own blood. Diabetics can already monitor their own insulin levels, after all, and this is sort of the same idea.


That turned out so well that I went on out to see Carey (finally!) and spent a bundle as usual.  She also informed me that it is time to get ready to publish a new and updated thread book. The thread book pre-dates the journal. It is a little booklet, about the size of a credit card holder, that has checklists of all the colors of almost all the embroidery threads on the market that are used for cross stitch and counted thread embroidery. I created the first one for my own use, because I needed a purse-sized list of threads and colors I already have, so that when I am buying for a project I don't get more, especially of really expensive threads. It also has a list of the seed beads that are commonly used. Carey saw it and thought it was a saleable item, so we published it. It's nothing to put bread on the table, but there are quite a few people who like it. The only problem is that the manufacturers keep coming out with new colors and discontinuing old ones. I think we published it in 2000, and it is now seriously out of date.


The version of Microsoft Publisher I own has some serious bugs in the handling of tables, and we've decided to make some changes in sorting order, all of which means I have a lot of work to do, and I've been putting it off. Now Carey is finally running out of the old book, so the time has come to begin to attack the project again. Having to keep the book current was the only reason I hesitated to sell it, but since I still keep my own copy, I would have to do that anyway, and I've been procrastinating. Now I will have to start playing with the computer again.


I feel lucky that if I had to come south, it was this week, because the weather is really nice. It was sunny and not humid and the temperature got into the lower 80s when I was on the road - it wasn't that hot here. The rest of the week is supposed to be about the same, although we may have some rain tomorrow. 


I prefer to sleep with the windows open rather than with the air conditioning on, even though it is noisy around here, and one of my neighbors' lawn cutters come much too early in the day. They arrived around 9:30 this morning, which was early only because I went to bed so late last night. And that is later than they used to come: when I was sick the first time, they were showing up at 8am, and that at a time when I needed 12 hours' sleep a night, and they have some of the most incredibly noisy equipment I've ever heard. 


I was in the basement last evening, but today I heard the cicadas. They aren't as loud around here as they used to be, because they inhabit the deciduous trees, especially elms, and ever since the old elm in the next yard was taken out, there aren't many places close by for them to live. This may be an off year for them, and I may have missed their peak time. It seems to me that I always used to first hear them around my birthday, so they may be on their way out.


I haven't heard any crickets, which is surprising. I wonder if the extremely dry June and July kept them from hatching or something, because normally by this time of summer they should be really noisy.


Those are the night noises I miss in Copper Harbor. There are cicadas and crickets in the lower parts of Keweenaw, but for some reason, they don't seem to get to Copper Harbor. I heard spring peepers in the spring, and I've heard birds, probably nighthawks, but this time of year is very, very quiet. Strange.


Tomorrow I get my CT scan, and I'm hoping to get up early enough to get my car to the garage and get it back by the time of my appointment. It is somewhat overdue for an oil change, and that's the other task I had set myself while I am here.


Thursday I will meet Debbie for lunch and pack up the car, and Friday I'll be gone again. A short trip but a good one.


August 19

This will be a quick one, since it's actually after midnight. As usual, I had all sorts of problems getting the files transferred from the laptop to this computer. It seems every time I solve one problem, I get another one. This time I was able to use the USB cable, because I found a set of articles I printed off last spring on trouble shooting it. However, apparently I had some corrupted files, and it took me a couple of hours and a lot of beating on the computer to get my mail files moved over.  Well, maybe I have things settled down now.


I had forgotten how fast the DSL is, and it's probably just as well or I could never stand the connection in Copper Harbor. This is nice. I read all my comic strips in about 10 minutes instead of the 45 minutes it usually takes.


I don't think I slept very well last night, partly because Buster kept either walking over me or around me, and partly because I didn't take a sleeping pill. I thought I was tired enough that I didn't have to take a pill, and certainly I wasn't keyed up about the trip, but I was restless. Oh, well.


I got an early start this morning, and I could have left around 7:30 except that I had an envelope for Adam and I wanted to talk to him about the generator, and he didn't show up until 7:45. I rolled out of the driveway at just after 8am, which is pretty good.


The trip south was uneventful, if boring. There was more traffic than I like, but I got in with a pack of cars going 65 in the UP, so I made very good time to the bridge. There was a lot of traffic on I-75, too, but it was going pretty fast most of the time. It was a pretty day to travel, with white, puffy clouds in a blue sky and a temperature around 70, even here in Detroit.


Crossing the bridge was interesting. There were clouds over the UP and clouds over the LP and it was perfectly clear and nearly calm over the Straits. Very interesting phenomenon. For some reason, there were no workmen on the bridge today, so all four lanes were open. That was nice.


There is a lot of construction going on, as you might expect, and in fact, I missed my checkpoint at Birch Run because the whole southbound side of the freeway is torn up and traffic is running in both directions on the other side with only concrete barricades and no shoulders between. Since traffic was bumper-to-bumper and I was behind a turkey who kept riding his brakes, I had to pay attention to the road. I think the Birch Run exit was open, but I never saw it. Oh, well.


I missed the rush hour in Flint and in Detroit, although there was a slowdown on I-75 right before I-696, as usual, and I pulled into the gas station at around 6:30. Getting gas on the way home worked so well the last time that I decided to do it again. Unpacking the car was easy, because I really didn't bring much with me. 


My new slider in the kitchen works wonderfully well, as does the screen. There are some nice roses in the garden, and the soil looks wet, like it may have rained overnight last night. There was a pile of mail that Jackie brought in, including a couple of important bills, so I will have to call the post office. I had hoped to avoid that this year.


There was a call from the Doctor's office to remind me of my appointment tomorrow, and I was just as glad they did, since I thought it was a couple of hours earlier than it is. Good thing, too, since it is now 1:30 and I haven't been upstairs at all.


So I will wind this up. I'm in Detroit, darn it.


August 18

What a storm we've had over the past 36 hours!  It started with a thunderstorm Saturday morning, and just as I was about to plug in the coffeepot, at 9:15, the power went out. I went right downstairs, and as I strongly suspected, turning the switch "on" did not start the generator. Whatever happened to the switch, it doesn't work at all.


By the time I had finished eating breakfast (instant coffee, but the stove burners turn on quite all right with a match), the thunder had rolled away and the wind started blowing. Anything you may have read at NWS sites bears very little resemblance to the wind I was experiencing, since the local weather station is in a fairly protected site near the fort. I would say the wind was blowing 30 - 40 mph during the morning, and as the day wore on it got stronger and stronger.


At 2:15, the lights came back on, but at around 5:30 they went off again, for about an hour, then they came on. I had decided not to eat out, since the town was a zoo between the art fair and the power failures, so I fired up the oven and put a pizza in it. The pizza was not quite done when the power went off again, but by leaving it in the hot oven for a while, it got cooked through.


In the meantime, I was sitting in the ugly chair, watching the wind gusts come across the harbor, tearing the tops off the whitecaps and throwing spray up in clouds. I guess the gusts by that time were up around 50mph. It was neat to watch.


I went to bed early, mostly because I couldn't see after dark, but none of us slept too good because of the noise. My guess is that between 11pm and 2am, the gusts must have been at 70mph or more. Nobody will ever know, because the weather station was dead for most of the night, but believe me, it felt like it was rocking the house!  None of us were happy campers. DC laid beside me in bed and went to sleep - I mean, we have to get our priorities straight - but Buster kept roaming around and bugging me.


Around 2:15am, the lights flickered on for about 15 seconds, but it wasn't until 4am that I began to see the lights in Copper Harbor. Mine came back on at 4:15. The first thing I did was flush the toilet, then I settled down to try to get some sleep, although it was still so noisy that was hard.  The wind was clearly dying down, and by the time I finally made it out of bed, it was back to 30 - 40 mph.


Today has been absolutely beautiful, from the time the sun first hit the trees across the harbor till now, mostly clear with puffy white clouds, and temperatures in the low to mid 60s. The wind has been dying off slowly all day, and it is now just a nice breeze.


The thing about yesterday that I found weird is that to look out at the weather, it looked like it should be cold and miserable, but the temperature actually got into the low 70s, so if you could find a sheltered spot, it was a nice day to be outside. The wind was all from the west, so when I went over to Pebble Beach to see the waves, it was almost calm at the picnic table, and there was nothing much to see in the way of breakers. I should have gone down M26, but I figured everybody else would be there, and I opted out.


The first time I went downstairs Saturday morning, when I looked out the windows, there was a small, young blue heron standing at the edge of my pond, and while I was watching him, he caught himself a frog. He spent most of the day there, mostly with his back to the deck stairway, and I suspect there aren't very many frogs left in my pond now. He was only about 18" tall with his neck extended, so he was clearly this year's chick. I don't know why he picked such an exposed spot to hang out, and around 3pm he left.


When the lights went off the second time, I decided to see if I could get the generator to work manually, so I crawled down under the deck, and nothing I did would make it come on. I am now pretty sure, having looked at it, that the wires from the switch and the trickle charger somehow got partially disconnected the last time I ran the generator, so the switch doesn't work, and neither does the trickle charger, unfortunately. I think what I have now is a dead battery in the generator. Now, I won't begin to speculate why a generator which is supposed to provide emergency power would have a battery in it that won't hold a charge indefinitely, but I'm beginning to wonder. At any rate, it has lost its charge since the last time I used it, about 6 weeks ago, I think, and since the trickle charger is disconnected from it, too, there is no way to start up the generator. This is a dumb situation. I will just have to wait until Adam gets here tomorrow and tell him, but when the electrician (not the one responsible for this kludge!) gets here, one of his tasks is going to be to get the thing wired up so it works right and works reliably. That is a pretty expensive boat anchor I have under my deck right now.


Anyway, that made me so mad it undoubtedly contributed to my inability to sleep.


Today, the first thing I did after breakfast was take a bath! I really felt scrungy, and clean skin and clean hair made me feel much better. I have been intermittently cleaning, the bathroom and the kitchen mostly, and setting aside the things I want to take. Fortunately, I don't plan to take much except some clothes and things to do, and one box of books and magazines. One of my e-correspondents came by and we had a nice conversation.


It has been an exciting couple of days, and the reason there was no journal yesterday is that the power failed for the last time before I could write it, so this one will have to do double duty. I am writing this before 5pm, and I will get it uploaded so I can transfer files to the laptop for the trip to Detroit. The plan is to go to bed early tonight so I can get as early a start as possible tomorrow, but since one of Adam's friends forgot to get the envelope with the next payment in it, and I need to talk about the generator, I have to wait until he gets here before I can go. I will try to do an entry tomorrow, but that depends on when I get to Detroit.


Just one last aside - in writing this, I've discovered that Microsoft's dictionary knows how to spell kludge, but it doesn't know how to spell scrungy. Strange, just like some of the other additions and omissions I've found in it.


August 16

I had just finished uploading the journal last night, and when I turned around to look out the windows, there was an extremely bright cloud right over Brockway that actually looked like a sun dog. It was luminescent and there was a faint but visible rainbow on the right-hand edge.  I rushed out to take pictures, but much to my disappointment, what I saw wasn't captured by the camera. The pictures are neat, but the real thing was wonderful.


I think it was a sun dog, and the cloud was made up of ice crystals. The only reason there wasn't one on the north side is that there weren't any clouds there.


You can see, as I mentioned last night, that there are clouds on the horizon, and before it got got dark, they had built up and covered all the stars.  During the night, they went away again, and I actually put on my glasses about 3am this morning to sit in the window seat and look out. I could see fifth magnitude stars easily, and even through the screens I could catch a hint of sixth magnitude stars. I was using the Little Dipper as a gauge, and I could see most of it.


I was actually looking to see if there were any northern lights, and I think if I could have seen right down to the surface of the lake, there were some, but they were all behind the trees. That isn't unusual; most clear nights here there is some brightening right at the northern horizon, and these may have gotten 30 or so up. Nothing to particularly brag about.


I will keep an eye out tonight, because the sunspot group is still visible, but the weather forecast is calling for thunderstorms after midnight, so if I see lights, it is more likely to be lightening.


I also finally processed the pictures I took of our very red sunset on Monday. It was even redder than the pictures show, but I just love the color reflected in the water. There is a color of Waterlilies overdyed silk called "Teak" that has those colors in it (except for the yellow), and it's no wonder that's one of my very most favorite silks. Something could be made of that, if I ever decided to do some of my own embroidery designing.


This morning, the pounding wasn't too bad, so I didn't get up until 8:30, which is more like my usual hour. Evidently the first thing they did was to unblock the drain in the middle of the garage, because when I got up, the water was gone. The cement is still very dark gray, but it can be walked on. I guess, actually, that down in the big city, they spray white paint or something on new cement to make it look white. We'll see what color this is when it's completely cured, not that it matters.


I now have the walls of the garage, and it is a very respectable size. I will be able to get lots of stuff in there. That will be nice, because I have a lovely garden cart with bicycle wheels that I've never put together because there really isn't room for it in the basement.  By the time I get back here, next Friday, all the walls should be up, as well as the roof of the breezeway.


I finished "Remember 9/11" today, and it is a very elegant sampler. It was interesting to do, but I'm glad to be over it.  All the white and cream thread made it really hard to see. Tomorrow I can start on something new.


I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to make sense out of the office, and I succeeded to some extent, and collecting the trash. I think at least once a month I should go through the magazines and catalogs and pitch those I don't want any more, and I packed up a file box of stuff to take to Detroit. The rest of the piles are a little neater, I think.


The sun is now setting at about 9:10, so it is beginning to get dark (at 8:45), and the first quarter moon is shining in the south windows. Just like last night, there are dark clouds building in the west, so it looks like no Venus tonight.


The wind was quite strong all day today, out of the west, and it was sunny with puffy white clouds and whitecaps on the harbor. The temperature didn't get over 70, which is just fine with me! The wind has now shifted around and is coming in (very lightly) the back windows of the office, so I guess I will have to close them before I got to bed tonight, just in case it rains. The sunset is nothing - too many clouds in the west, although the wind seems to be from the southeast, just like the weather said it would be.


There is a high wind warning for tomorrow afternoon and evening, with sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph and gusts to 60 mph! According to my little black book (where I write such things), that's a gale, the first one of the autumn.  It doesn't smell like autumn, and it doesn't look like autumn yet, but there are these little signs that keep showing up. Of course, down in Detroit, the temperature is in the upper 80s and will be all week. Not my kind of weather at all!  


Unfortunately, the really high winds are supposed to be mostly at night, but if it actually happens, I may take a run down M26 and see if I can take some pictures.  The marine forecast said the waves may get up to 13 feet! That's really fun to watch, if it happens during daylight. I know the big lake will be speaking loudly tomorrow night, and I always sleep good when it does.


So that's what's happening in the field, and it's time to trundle off to the north end.


August 15

It was another 7:30 day, and it came much too early! Although maybe not. I was having a very vivid nightmare, and the banging around woke me up from that, but I certainly wasn't ready to get up!  One more day, then I can sleep!


When Adam and company got here this morning and woke me up, it was horribly dark and threatening - so much so that they considered calling off the cement. Fortunately, they waited, and by the time the truck got here, the sky was lighter and shortly it was clear and blue and sunny. 

So I now have a bunch of cement. The drain in the middle of the garage isn't draining, but I don't suppose they expected to have to use it so soon.


I did some embroidery, then took off for town about 10:30. It was a lovely morning, sunny and mid-70s, and I drove the whole way with the windows open, breathing in the sweet grass and drying foliage of late summer. Each season has its own peculiar smell, and this isn't early summer and it isn't autumn either. It was wonderful. The smell of sweet grass is one of my favorites. 


I got my blood drawn and went on to WalMart to pick up a few things, including a bare-floor duster that Ann Anttila recommended, and which looks like it will work really well. It seems to attract cat hair particularly well, and all the corners seem to be full of cat hair. It is called a Swiffer, which is a weird name, and it has removable cloth-like covers, so when one gets especially dirty, I can just throw it away. Not too environmentally friendly, but handy. I also got a string mop, which I think will cover more area than a sponge mop.  This is my first time to really live with bare wood floors, and it is taking some time to get the right equipment to deal with them.


By the time I got out of WalMart, it was really dark over the hills. I went on to Ming Gardens, and had a very nice lunch, and when I came out, it was beginning to rain. By the time I got through in EconoFoods, it was raining rather briskly, and it continued all the way home. 


This is apparently the height of the height of the tourist season, and I came all the way from Cliff Drive as the last of five cars and a motorcycle following a guy towing a trailer. There was an amazing amount of traffic going the other way when I was coming home, too, and a lot more people in WalMart and Econo than last week. It's probably because it's the 15th of the month.


Anyway, I had to unload the car in the rain, and then it stopped and cleared up, or so I thought. There is a nice stiff breeze out of the west and the temperature is in the 60s. About 6:30 or so, another dark cloud passed over and it rained hard for about five minutes, then that passed, an the sky is clear again! There are a few clouds over in the west, but they don't look like rain-type clouds so far.


When I looked at the radar map, the rain looked like it was in ridges or waves, and evidently between the waves the sky is perfectly clear. An interesting phenomenon.


I really hope it stays relatively clear all night, because there is an Astro Alert out for northern lights tonight and tomorrow night. I will take any and all chances to see northern lights, and particularly now, when I have to go south on Monday.


Yuck. I am not looking forward to that. While there are an awful lot of people in Copper Harbor right now - and I don't like that - the weather has been really great, and I would like to be here while they are building. I guess I won't miss too much, though, because while they can do the breezeway and the walls of the garage, they can't do much else until the trusses for the garage appear, so they expect to have everything done that they can do by Tuesday, then I won't see them for a couple of weeks.


So now I can try to do some cleaning and sorting to get ready to leave, and right now, even though it's pretty early, I am going to take off for the north end and try to get some sleep!


August 14

I don't know for sure whether they were earlier this morning than yesterday, because I didn't look at the clock, but it seemed like it. I had gotten up at 6:45 and just started to go back to sleep when the noise started. Then when they had routed me out of bed and gotten me started, they all left around 11 o'clock. Grr.


Tonight I plan to do a fast entry in the journal then jump right into bed. I need more sleep than I've been getting.  Tomorrow I have to get my blood drawn again, so I will leave them to the cement and hope it doesn't rain.


Other than deciding where the doors go and how they open, I didn't do much today. I made the other two scissors keepers and worked on my embroidery, and I might be able to finish it tomorrow. I want to take it to Detroit with me, but I want it to be done when I go. I have just a little cross stitching to do, then some eyelets and the beads. Not a whole lot of stitching.


I haven't done much cross stitch in the office and I'd forgotten that the light coming in the south windows is just as good to stitch by as that coming in the north windows. I could tell the difference between the white and cream threads. The ugly chair would be more comfortable, but it was occupied for most of the afternoon, and when the sun shines, it shines right on the chair late in the afternoon.


Today was a pretty nice day overall. The temperature stayed in the lower 70s and it started out perfectly clear. Now, however, it is cloudy, and the weather forecasts are predicting possible rain. No stars tonight, I fear.  I did see the moon, around 5pm, high in the south, but I doubt I will see it set. The view to the west doesn't look very inspiring right now.


That's just as well, so I won't spend sleep time looking out the window.


August 13

Well, if I thought they were early yesterday...today it was 7:30 when the sound of pounding woke me up. Ugh.


I wanted to sleep in because around 1am I woke up and when I was back in bed, I noticed a flash that wasn't the lighthouse, and I spent the next twenty minutes or so watching a wonderful thunderstorm that stayed out in the lake, mostly so far away that I couldn't hear the thunder. There was lots of wonderful lightening, though, including two huge bolts that hit the lake. It's been a long time since I've seen any lightening hit the lake, and it's always fun.


I was reminded fondly of the night in room 33, at least 15 years ago,  when there was an even bigger storm further out in the lake, and mama and I pulled back the drapes and sat and watched the lightening bolts hitting the lake in bunches for a good half hour. My mother loved thunderstorms as much as I do, and that was certainly the most spectacular display I've ever seen.


Anyway, this morning, the thunder moved away to the east and I thought we were going to miss it entirely when the heavens opened and I had to go running around closing windows and doors before I could go  back to sleep. So 7:30 came awfully early.


The prep work for the cement is almost done, and the cement will be delivered Thursday, so things are progressing about as fast as they ever do in these parts.


I had thought to go to bed early tonight, but a friend I met through the website, Ann Anttila, called and we had dinner together. She brought pictures of her new house, and it is a really lovely one. So we had a nice chat, and I won't get to bed early.


It was cloudy and cool most of the day, and while the weather forecast said it would clear up tonight, it hasn't yet, so there is still no moon and no Venus. I guess I will just have to be satisfied with the nice lightening of last night. And of course the meteors were drowned out by the rain. An amateur astronomer should really live in the desert or on top of a mountain, because otherwise it's impossible to plan on being able to see any scheduled events.


I moved some stuff around in the office today and swept up a ton of cat hair, then I made a few more scissors fobs. I will try to take some pictures tomorrow. I still find beads are addictive. Once I start playing with them, I don't want to stop. 


I decided on what embroidery projects I will do next, and prepared the fabric, even though I haven't finished the current one. I did get all the cream stitches done this morning, so I'm making progress. At least the builders have learned to leave me alone in the morning.


This is mama's birthday, so the storm this morning was fitting, I thought. She would have been 85, if she'd lived, and I don't suppose she would have been very happy about it. But I do miss her still, particularly when I see something I know she would have enjoyed.


So I will get this published and try to get some sleep tonight.


August 12

Bright and early this morning, three guys showed up with an endloader, a chainsaw and various building tools. DC was nervous but he stayed with me. Buster disappeared totally until after they left. I would dearly love to know what happened to Buster when he was about 3 years old that causes him to freak out when people come, especially workmen.


They cut down three dead and two living trees. The living ones were both red pines, and nice ones, but they were growing right where the middle of the garage is. I hate to lose trees, but I had to sacrifice something. Even though the two other pines were dead, it really looks weird without them. I was so disappointed that they died: they sort of defined the driveway. I'm afraid, however, that all the heavy equipment driving over their root systems just was too much for them.


The forms for the garage are almost laid, and there is a big pile of sand in front of where the garage door will be.  The breezeway is going to be a strangely shaped room, because the garage is at close to a 45 angle to the house. However, if it wasn't, I would either have lost a lot more trees or not been able to attach it to the house. I still wish I had made the garage part of the original plan, but that's long over with and we will do the best we can.


They will get the concrete in and frame up the walls, then they have to wait for the trusses to come, so I will have a half-built something sitting there for some time.  That's the trouble with building.


I also discovered that I had slightly misread the contract and I needed more money than I thought, so since I couldn't do automated transfers out of my savings account (I thought), I tried to get hold of a person at telephone banking...and somehow got lost on hold for an hour!  When I called back, I got somebody right away, so who knows what happened. I also discovered that my inability to do transfers was simple to fix instead of hard to fix, and now I will be able to do it myself, either by phone or online.  Sometimes it depends upon who you talk to, and the lady today had clearly worked for Bank One (as different from NBD) for some time and knew more about the way they structure accounts.  So that was nice.


I brought my embroidery into the office for a while and I am finally working on the last band of the memorial sampler. The word "remember" is in very large letters, but over one thread on 32 count linen, and it took me three days to get it done. I had it recalled to mind how difficult it is to rip out stitches on such fine work, too, but I finally got it done, along with two narrow, simple bands, and I started on the bottom band. This is going to be a very elegant sampler, but since it's mostly white-on-white, I'm not sure how I will take a picture of it. The picture on the graph is horrible, quite dark in order to show some of the stitches, but as a result the actual colors aren't clear at all. It may not be possible to show the difference between white, cream and ecru in a picture anyway. I know in some kinds of light, I can't see the difference between the white and the cream.  It's pretty anyway, but I will be glad to get it done. It's been hard on my eyes.


I actually cooked this evening.  First time all summer.  I had bought some cooked shrimp, with the idea of making one of my shrimp casseroles, and just never got around to it. I didn't want the shrimp to go bad, so I used most of them. This has rice and a sauce made with mushroom soup and melted cheddar cheese, and it's good, but before I was done, I had a bunch of pots and pans dirty that now have to be washed up. That's the trouble with cooking. However, I have two more meals packed up in little casserole dishes all ready to pop into the microwave, so I shall eat well all week, even 

at home.


The weather was a mixture of sun and clouds all day, and fairly comfortable so long as one wasn't working. There was a nice breeze for most of the day, and the temperature topped out at around 78. It is pretty humid, though.  All the thunderstorms went south of us, as usual, and are now east of us, but it's still cloudy in the west. We are having a pretty, red sunset which for some reason the live cam didn't catch at all. I took a couple of pictures with the Nikon, but I have to process them tomorrow. Both cameras tend to overexpose a little and wash out sky colors, so I have to do a little repair to show what I was seeing. I tried that with the cam pictures, but they were so bright that it didn't work.  Maybe the Nikon pictures will be better. Stay tuned...


Unfortunately, the clouds in the west mean there won't be any views of Venus and the moon - but of course, since it's something I really wanted to see and capture. And there are enough clouds that I won't see any meteors either. That seems to be a rule of my existence, and I only see sky phenomena when I'm not looking for them.


Now it is dark, so I will publish this and toddle off to the north end.


August 11

 This is turning out to be a severely truncated day. It was cloudy when I went to bed, but when I woke up at about 2:30, the stars were out, but I didn't get to look at them much. I developed a little intestinal upset which kept me in the bathroom until after 4am. So when I woke up around 8, I pulled up the quilt and went back to sleep...until 10:30!


After a leisurely breakfast - blueberry pancakes - and some time working on my embroidery, I finally got dressed around 2 pm!


It has been a really pretty day, with a 20-plus mile an hour wind for most of the day and clear skies or puffy white clouds, and when I went to dinner, the sky was completely clear, so I began to hope for some meteors. By the time I got home, however, serious clouds had moved in from the southwest, and the radar map shows a band of rain right over the Wisconsin-Michigan border. The clouds must be the northern edge of that, and now it seems pretty obvious we won't see either meteors or Venus and the moon tonight. Drat.


The temperature stayed in the low 70s all day, and with the wind, it was actually cool enough that I shut the slider and the kitchen door for a while. The wind has dropped to nothing now, so it feels warmer.


While my tummy is back in order now, I still feel kind of blah and tired, so I think I will go to bed early tonight. I wake up enough times during the night that I can periodically check the sky to see if it's cleared up. Right now it looks more like we might have some rain. The camera shows more clearly than I can see it the line of thicker clouds approaching from the southwest. All the radar maps I can get are too old to show what's happening right now.


I fooled around with the little loops on the sweater for a while before I gave up. Every time the fabric stretches or contracts, something pops out, so I fear I will never be very happy with it. I started a new knitting project today, a summer shell in a very nubbly yarn that has blues, greens, aqua and pink in it and huge slubs every so often. It's not really easy to knit in, but it is going to be pretty, I think, and it shouldn't take long to make.


The breeze has dropped to  nothing and right now it is perfectly quiet here in the field. I think I've mentioned that I miss the cicadas and the crickets, but they are noisy, and it is so nice to hear nothing but maybe the lake lapping on the shore and occasionally the bell buoy. John Dee mentioned he hears crickets in Lake Linden, and the other day I heard a rather anemic-sounding cicada in a tree in the ravine behind Ming Gardens. I also heard cicadas when I stopped across from Scott Falls on my way north. Clearly, they don't get up to the north shore, because I've never heard either one here.


It is so peaceful! It all but puts me right to sleep, so I think I will call it an early day.


August 10

Last night was  a lovely night to sleep, with a good wind coming in the porch door and the window seat windows all night at just the right temperature. It started out clear, but before Arcturus got half-way down the windows, it clouded up.


Today was a mixture of clouds and sun and haze, and the temperature probably got a tad over 80, but with a good breeze all day long, it was a pretty nice day for August.


I experienced again one of the delights of living with a 2 mile field of view this afternoon. Between 5:30 and 5:45 a dark cloud appeared over Brockway, and all of a sudden it was raining really hard on the mountain and in Copper Harbor town, while it was almost sunny and perfectly dry here. The squall only lasted a few minutes before it moved across the harbor and into the big lake, with sunshine behind it, but it was really neat to sit and watch from out here. Unfortunately, the camera missed most of it, too, since by the time it took the 5:45 shot, most of the rain and all of the dark cloud were gone.


After the rain was gone, I could clearly see the sun shining on two stretches of the road up Brockway that are usually invisible from here. That was neat, too.


When I got back from dinner, it cleared up, briefly, and now it is cloudy again, although in the last camera shot the sky looked like it was painted by one of those 19th century romantic poets. However, it's clear we won't see many stars tonight. Rats.


I did save a picture from last night, however, to show Venus setting in the west. The moon is new right now, but tomorrow or Monday night, if we're lucky, we should see a thin crescent moon right beside Venus. If the camera captures it, I'll try to save it. 


The weather forecast says tomorrow will be sunny, so maybe we'll get to see something. However, the weather forecast also says rain after midnight (that is, Monday morning) and all day Monday, so there go our chances of seeing the Perseids. As I recall the last time I saw them was when I was 12 years old or so, and somehow it's usually cloudy where I am.


There was a slight pause there, while I closed the slider. That black cloud in the 9:30 picture was full of rain, which is currently falling on us rather briskly, and the rain, even when it doesn't come in the slider, splashes up off the deck. Another slight pause, while I checked and closed the west window in the window seat, where it had rained in enough to dampen one of the fleece blankets I keep there. I don't know how long this is going to last, but it's a nice rain, and maybe I won't have to water the roses tomorrow.


I finally finished the sweater, except that every time I look at it I see more loops of that horrible yarn that need to be pulled inside. It is going to be a pretty sweater, and a warm one, but the yarn was so difficult I'll never be really happy with it. It annoys me when i spend so much money for some materials that turn out to be less than perfect. Patternworks would have taken it back when I complained, but I had already wound it into balls by that time, so I kept it. I think, though, that I won't be so stubborn if I run across a problem with expensive yarn again.


On that subject, I have been contemplating my stash (at a distance, of course, since it's all at Champine) and I've concluded that it will have to be something truly extraordinary for me to get any more yarn for a while (seems to me I've heard that song before...).  At least so far, I haven't seen anything I can't live without, except maybe some sock yarn.  I've had my go at the multi-strand sweaters on huge needles, and I don't much like working with them. I have some pretty multicolor stuff for a summer shell, and some fantastic plum-purple chenille, and I brought back the rainbow stripe sweater-in-progress, so if I decide to knit more sweaters, I'm amply supplied. Besides, I'll be going back to Detroit in a week, so if a mood strikes me, I can get something else.


I guess I didn't mention that I finished one sock and started another one while I was in the hospital, so I can always knit socks.


Well, it sounds like the rain is gone, so it was just another squall, and we may have those all night long. It's dark now and time for bed.


August 9

The sun was back today, although after noon there were some light clouds, and the temperature got up maybe into the low 80s for a while. There was a nice breeze for most of the day, however, and it wasn't very humid, so it was actually a pretty nice day, a good one to just sit and let the breeze waft over me. So I did.


I had some hint that it was going to be a nice day, because at about 5:30 this morning, Buster was bombing up and down the hallway making as much noise as he could by stamping his feet on the floor. It never ceases to amaze me how much noise such a little beastie can make when he wants to - and when he doesn't want to, he can be perfectly silent.  


Both cats like the bare floors, because it's easier to stomp, and when they are coming to see me, they like to give notice. My first cat, Dennis, did that, too, but he weighed enough that he could stomp on the carpet, and since Silkie wasn't heavy enough, she warned me by catching her claws in the carpet as she walked when she wanted me to know where she was. So I guess this is a constant in cat etiquette, that they like to announce their presence to their owners, who are pretty deaf by cat standards.


On the other hand, DC just snuck in and said "M-roww", which is "Hi, I'm here, and I want to sit on your lap" in his particular dialect. He is one of the most vocal cats I have ever known, and he has a wide repertoire of words, including one that sounds like - and means - "Out!", or rather "oooouuuut!", since he frequently draws it out. That is his complaint when I am outside and he is inside and he wants to be with me, or the sun is shining and the day looks nice and I haven't opened the sliders. That last usually happens in the early spring on Champine, when it's a pretty day but it's still cold and he has been cooped up all winter with no fresh air.


Buster isn't so vocal. He just comes and stomps on me when he wants to instead of asking. DC is more polite.


The clouds are scattering and we may even have a view of Venus in the camera tonight. It may be the last for a few days - it's supposed to be cloudy and showery over the weekend, of course, since the Perseid meteors are supposed to peak. The climate seems to be conspiring to keep me an armchair astronomer. Even though it's been clearer this summer than it was last, there still haven't been enough clear nights for me to justify the outlay for a telescope. Someday, maybe, but clearly I won't be able to use it much. There were a few days last week when I watched Arcturus set while lying in bed, but there has been a lot of haze in the atmosphere for most of the summer. My other excuse is that almost anyplace I would put the telescope, I have an obstructed horizon, especially to the north and east. Well, they're excuses. Someday I'll break down and get it.


If it stays this cool, I will finish my other sweater on big needles in a day or so. This one is a pullover, and really heavy, and it's been a sore trial to me, since the yarn is a combination of three thin yarns and they weren't wound together properly. I started out thinking I could just bury the long loops of the dark yarn, and now that I am nearly done, the loops are poking out all over the yoke. I pull them in as I see them, but I'm not sure they'll stay. I hope so, because the main color yarn is a periwinkle blue mohair that I really love, and this will be another sweater I can wear in cold weather without a coat. After this, I'm going back to smaller needles.  Supposedly, these thick yarns that are so popular and work up on really big needles make the knitting go faster, but I find it's slower, even though there are fewer stitches. Manipulating the big needles and thick yarn just takes me longer.


It's nice to be able to work on a mohair sweater in August. Only for a while around 6pm when the wind dropped did my hands get sweaty, and that didn't last long. Besides, I can knit and look at the internet or read or look out the window.


So I did.


August 8

It was cloudy and dark when I left for Hancock this morning. 


Before I left I called Philippe and told him I've decided to do the garage. Might as well do it and get it done while he has time and before the price goes up. The price will go up anyway, because there are a couple of changes I want to make. It also would be really neat to put the same light fixtures I have at the front door on the garage, but I'm not sure if I can find the order from Michigan Chandelier to check the style and price...and they may be too expensive. We'll see.


Anyway, it was a little warmer this morning, and a little more humid, and very cloudy when I left. The clouds thinned out as I went south, and when I got to Hancock there was hazy sunshine and it was getting warm.


After I left the hospital, I decided to (finally!) check out the Keweenaw Co-Op, about which I've heard but I had never had just the right time to go there. I was a little surprised that it is quite a small place, full of bulk foods and organic grains and things like that.  They have a nice little deli, and some cheeses I can only get (occasionally) in Grosse Pointe. They also have quite a selection of wines that I didn't take time to really investigate. I got a sandwich at the deli that I haven't eaten yet and some marinated tomatoes and mushrooms that are to die for.  I was a little disappointed that they had a very small selection of fruits and vegetables, and no local fruit.


Since they didn't have some of the things I needed to get, I headed toward Houghton - and the bridge was up for the first time I've seen it in a couple of years. You could tell it was tourist season by the two to three-block double line of cars waiting to cross. They raised it for a sailboat and a Coast Guard boat that went through at the same time. Unfortunately, where I was in line, there were trees between me and the bridge, so I couldn't actually watch it come down.


Before I went to EconoFoods, I decided to check Ming Gardens, on the off-chance it had reopened. I had been having a sugar low all the way to town, so since it was close to 1pm, I wanted to eat.  Wonder of wonders, they are open, and from the lack of cars in the parking lot, apparently a lot of people don't know it yet. What a delight! I'll get to have my Chinese fix when I go to town.


As I was coming in, the Twardziks (of The Pines fame) were just leaving, and Adam Arend was eating with a friend of his in the next booth. The Copper Country is a small place.  Anyway, I had a lovely lunch.


By the time I got to EconoFoods, I had forgotten half of what I went for, so I came back without eggs. Fortunately, I can get those at the General Store. I got fruit, since I've been doing without for a while. I still haven't found a place to get local fruit, like raspberries.


By the time I left Houghton, the temperature was around 80 and it was humid and not very pleasant, especially in the car with the sun beating on it. However, north of Calumet, it cooled down into the 70s and I opened the windows. They had been mowing the roadsides, and it smelled of sweet grass, one of my favorite smells.


Evidently they are installing new water mains and sewers in Calumet, so US41 has been closed from M203 to the 6th Street Extension all summer, which is a pain, but at least today I got to get around a really strange driver who followed the detour while I cut around it. Very unfortunately for my blood pressure, I came up the covered road behind a terrible driver who refused to pull over (they never do), but with the windows open it wasn't too bad a drive when I could enjoy it.


By the time I got home, it was beginning to clear up a little here, and now there is mostly a thick haze in the sky and the breeze has picked up a little, so it is as nice as it's been all day.


I did take the camera, but I didn't really see anything worth stopping to take pictures of. There are a lot of black-eyed susans out and marsh thistles in the low spots - and there's no way I could get close enough to take pictures of them anyway. I had toyed with the notion of coming back via Five Mile Point and M26, but it was too cloudy to take pretty pictures of the lake. I will have to do that sometime soon, because I haven't been that way for over a year, and besides I've heard a rumor that the Jam Pot carries Still Waters pasties, and I want to lay in a supply. Maybe next week.


When I got home, the hummingbird feeders look like they've been used, but while I was watching, the birds were hanging around and perching in the tree but not eating. Don't know why. Unless the bear comes, I will probably try to put out some of the seed feeders over the next few days. Adam says they will start the garage - actually clearing and leveling - on Monday. I must remember to take a "before" picture.


So that was my day. Another day in the field.


August 7

This was one of those quiet, cloudy days with no wind and no sun that we sometimes have around here. It's frustrating, because from Harbor Haus, I could see that it's clear out over the lake, both to the north and to the east, but with almost no wind, the clouds are all over us. I've seen days like this many times before when I wish the wind would push the clouds just a couple of miles south. So far, no such luck, and there is essentially no wind at all, so it will probably stay like this all night.


Tomorrow I have to go to town to get my blood test, but what, if anything, I do after that depends a lot on whether it clears up or stays cloudy. This time I will try to remember the camera, anyway, just in case I see anything.


The temperature was in the middle 60s all day, and right now it is totally quiet, and the bay is like a mirror. It's times like this when the computer fan and the fridge - and the ringing in my ears - seem incredibly noisy and I wish I could turn them all off, the ringing in my ears especially.


There were so many hummingbirds at the feeder at Harbor Haus that I came home and filled both of mine right up. I hope the bear won't find them.


And speaking of the bear...When I pulled over onto the wrong side of US41 to get my newspaper out of the box, I thought I saw something black go into the bushes on the north side of the road, so when I turned down Lighthouse Road, I stopped, and found myself looking at a young black bear, about 20 feet away and very alert. I don't know that I've ever seen a bear with his ears quite that pricked up, and it didn't add to his beauty, since they are large and attached by a narrow part. He looked pretty piggy, frankly. I think bears are related to pigs somehow.


This was just a young guy, not very big, and after looking at me for a moment, he sort of skipped away and started to chow down on the berry bushes, and totally ignored me when I drove away. My hope is that there are enough berries and other things growing in the woods that no bears will try to get at my feeders again, at least for a while.


It has taken about half an hour for the first hummingbird to find the feeder. Now there are two. I should apologize to them. Just the other day I read that hummers have such a high metabolism that they have to go into a state of semi-hibernation at night just to make it through till morning. So even if there are a lot of flowers around right now, the feeders still help.


There is a female sitting on top of one of the hangers just now, resting and looking around in all directions. They are so tiny and so exquisite, I just like to look at them.


Copper Harbor is just bulging with people right now, which is great for the tourist businesses, but I don't like it at all. It's hard to drive down the street to go to the post office, and I have to be really careful when rounding curves and turning corners because there seem always to be people walking or riding bicycles down the middle of the street. At least there's only about three weeks of this left, and I won't be here for one of those weeks.


So that's all the excitement in the field today.


August 6

There's a cloud in my sky this evening, but I think they are fair-weather clouds, so I won't complain too much. Especially I won't complain when most of the day was completely clear and the temperature never got out of the low 60s. What a fabulous stretch of weather we've been having! And according to John Dee, it should go on for sometime more. It really makes up for all of the hot, humid stuff we had earlier in the summer. Now, if this will only last into September...


What I notice distinctly is that my body has completely acclimated to cool weather. I have been wearing short sleeved shirts, and while I won't claim I'm completely comfortable, I don't feel cold either. That has to be the reason the hot weather, particularly in Detroit, hit me so hard. My body just isn't used to heat. In fact, I've been in cold-mode since this time last year.  I wonder if not getting used to the hot weather for several years would make it harder to do? Not that I have any intention of experimenting.  I like this.


This was a quiet day, again. I embroidered for a while, and moved stuff around in the office for a while and worked on my current sweater. I am still pondering whether to do the garage this year and I haven't come to a conclusion yet. It won't get any cheaper, but considering the state of my investments, it might be safer to just sit on that money for a while.  On the other hand it would be nice to get the building phase of the house completely done.


So I will ponder some more.


The shortening days are getting really noticeable now. The sun is setting around 9:15 and not rising until after 6:30. It actually makes it easier for me to go to bed at a reasonable hour, but I miss that hour more of daylight we had a month ago. In fact, the days are shorter now than they were when I got here almost three months ago. Pretty soon the sun will creep out from behind the lighthouse, and the live cam will be taking pictures of sunset again.


Where does the time go? With the exception of the last two weeks of July, of course.  And I only have about three months left to enjoy things here. I guess there's never really enough time to be in a place I love so well. Not that I've been doing anything, I've just been being here, and that's enough.


August 5

It was another wonderful night to sleep and another beautiful, cool, clear day today. I didn't see any more northern lights, although I was up several times during the night. 


By the time I got up this morning - a little earlier than yesterday! - it was cool enough in my bedroom that I had cats plastered to each side of me. I guess tonight I'd better pull up the quilt, since it's supposed to be even cooler tonight. I had left the great room slider open a few inches, but the thermostat is right beside the door and so the heat in that zone came on. I noticed it when I stepped into the kitchen in my bare feet and the floor was warm. Tonight I will see that the doors and windows are closed, except for the one in my bedroom.  I think I've said before that I like it cool in the room when I sleep, so I can pull up the covers and make my own environment under them. Imagine being able to sleep under a down comforter in August! Now that's my idea of bliss!  


I don't think the temperature got over the mid-60s today, and already it's under 60. What a great night to sleep! It's supposed to start out clear again tonight, so I'll have to keep an eye on the sky.


This afternoon Adam came with the quote for my garage and breezeway, and now I have to decide for real whether to do it or not. It's a lot of money, but I'd really like to get it done this year. It will mean I'll have to be pretty careful about what I spend for the rest of the year, but maybe it's worth it. One easily gets used to spending money, I find, and it's hard to stop.


He wanted to look at the pond, and I got him to look at the pump from the lake, which worked just fine, thank you. I don't know what its problem was before, but there isn't one now.  When we looked in the pond, we discovered that it has frogs - at least four frogs. The water is all green and icky, because it's just been sitting there, but the frogs seemed quite happy. We filled it up to the top, and I don't think the frogs are quite so happy now, but we need to find the level where the leak is, and it's evaporated a lot in the past month, with all the sun and dry weather.


Adam also showed my how to get into the generator - duh! But I'd never done it before. I decided we wouldn't play with it today, and it wouldn't surprise me if the next time I try to turn it off at the switch, it works. Things seem to be going like that.  They will also try to find the leak at the top of the basement window.


He would like to have had me sign the proposal then and there, but I need to sleep on it. Besides, all of Bank One's telephone and online banking services have been essentially down since Friday and I can't make any transfers of money. What an inconvenience!  They apparently did some software changes and really screwed things up. From what my inside sources said about them, it doesn't surprise me one bit. Good old NBD was a little more careful and a lot more able. If I can't get at my money by tomorrow, I'm going to be upset.


So that pretty much took care of the day. I didn't get a chance to take any more pictures - or even go to the post office! Now I will enjoy the rest of the evening and go to bed watching the sky.


August 4

I seem to be sleeping an extraordinary length of time lately, but nothing in the morning would have inclined me to get up early. It didn't rain, but it was cloudy and dull. So I slept until 9:30 again, and I took my time about breakfast and embroidery. Sometime in the middle of the morning, the clouds started to part, and the afternoon was really lovely, sunny with a northwest wind and a temperature that didn't get over about 70. I could take a lot of weather like this!


I thought maybe Walter Hassig would drop by this afternoon, so I scuttled around and tried to neaten things up, without much success. I guess the piles are sort of consolidated, and I have a more or less open space in the middle of my desk. I also decided to do some wash, but I put the first load in the washer and promptly forgot it until late in the afternoon, so I am now trying to catch up.


Short hiatus for the next load. This got me thinking about how one alters ones habits to new situations. Back in the dark ages, when my mama was teaching me how to wash clothes, we always did the sheets and towels first, because the water was hottest then, and we did the dark and delicate things last, because they didn't need much hot water. I still do that on Champine, just from force of habit. But here, I have started doing my jeans first, then the dark cottons, then the white things, because the more water I run, the less brown it is, and the less it will stain the whites. My underwear still has a yellowish cast to it when I leave in the fall, but the towels and bath rugs seem to stay nice and white. The washcloths don't, but that is another problem altogether, and I am planning to soak them in OxyClean to see if I can get them white.


When I started shopping up here, I was interested to see that it does not seem possible to buy white towels and washcloths - ecru is the nearest thing. Now I understand why. I doubt I am the only one with a brown-water problem.


I think that eventually the water will get clear or almost clear, but I've been told it can take several years to run out all the sediment and dissolved minerals left over from the well drilling. Since I don't actually use that much water, it will probably be a while.


It was such a nice day that I walked around outside a bit. I found the shepherd's crooks and put them back on the deck railings. They just slip over the railings, with no clamps, so they were easy for the bear to knock down to the ground. I also rescued the hummingbird feeders. They are intact, so apparently the bear was smart enough not to crunch glass.  One of the yellow bug strainers is missing - and there isn't a chance of finding it, even if it isn't inside a bear - but that was the only damage I could see. I have washed them out and tomorrow morning I will fill them again.


While I was standing below the deck putting the shepherd's crooks back on the deck, a hummingbird came by, looking at the empty feeders. So I can take a hint. I figured they would miss them. I think I'll wait a couple of days before I do anything about the seed feeders, though. Get into it slowly.  Since there hasn't been anything around to eat for several weeks now, maybe the bear will forget.


I also took a few pictures of my wildflowers. Tomorrow I may take some more, because a couple of the first ones didn't come out right. The dark red poppy was gone, but that pretty pink one was still in bloom. I certainly hope those poppies reseed themselves. They are really pretty. I can see that there are a lot of lupines and probably some other perennials I don't recognize that are growing but won't bloom until next year. I wish I could get rid of the winter cress and give them some more room, but I'm not about to start weeding my weeds. I think the wildflower experiment has been enough of a success that I will invest in some more seed (and believe me, it's an investment) and try to fill in the bare spots. That will also mean I'll have more annuals next year, too.


It is hazy down the harbor now, but it looks like it might be pretty clear tonight, so maybe there will be some more northern lights. The sun is still kicking up a fuss on the side facing us, so even though there haven't been any more Astro Alerts, there could be something to see. People with cameras got some really good views, but they were mostly green. Sometime I may fiddle with one of the cameras, but for now, I just enjoy looking.


So that is all the news from the field.


August 3

First off, there have been a couple of glitches with the camera over the last couple of days. I had to take it down yesterday afternoon to receive a fax (two phone lines are enough!), and while I thought I brought it back up again, I didn't check thoroughly, I guess, and it didn't update for the rest of the afternoon. Then Pastynet did some maintenance overnight and it wasn't possible to upload anything for a while. Everything seems to be fine now, though. The picture isn't exactly stunning, because it's cloudy and we're expecting rain.


It was clear when I went to bed last night, but it clouded up during the night and I didn't see any more northern lights. I decided to sleep in this morning, so the Ameritech repairman woke me up (in person) to ask me if my lines were OK and when they had come up. His story was that when the power failed, the lines went to battery backup and the batteries failed, but that doesn't quite agree with what I observed, so what the real problem was is anybody's guess.


Anyway, all the aftermath of the last storms is cleared up, so they are predicting we will have more tonight. There is a big system coming in from Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, but whether it will actually get this far north isn't clear yet. We had a few drops of rain from the last one - enough for me to decide not to try to take any pictures, but that's about it.


It was cool and cloudy all day, and the temperature didn't get out of the middle 60s. That's all right with me, but the sight of all the skinny little kids in their short-shorts at dinner nearly gave me a chill. It's a little cool and damp for shorts and sandals, to my mind. I don't care if it is the first of August, this is the northwoods. The mosquitoes are pretty bad, too, so my choice would be to cover up.


I think there were more kids than adults at Mariner tonight, and while I think it's wonderful for people to travel and bring their kids to see Keweenaw, I really hate going out at this time of year. It was noisy and pretty much a zoo. It was good to see so many people for the sake of the businesses, but I'm not comfortable in such big crowds. It was good to withdraw to my splendid isolation.


The cats, particularly Buster, have been very clingy all day, and I'm not sure why. The annual Civil War reenactment is going on at Fort Wilkins, and a little while ago they were shooting off the cannons, but that's as noisy as it has been all day. Maybe the guy pounding on the doors this morning got Buster out-of-sorts. Who knows? If I could read his mind, I'd be a much better mama to him. Usually things like people knocking and guns going off only bother him for a short while, but I guess he is still a bit traumatized from my long absence.


So am I, I guess. I'm finding it hard to get reoriented. Yesterday I even forgot to get the mail. I did not forget to take my pill again, however. It seems I will do that once with every new med I get, then I get it right.


I do not know what is walking around outside the front door right now (if anything), but Buster is staring out the window like there's a parade of squirrels and chipmunks going by. Chances are if I got up to see, there wouldn't be anything at all there, and he'd look up at me as if to say, "and what do you see?" DC has never done that, but I've known other cats who did, and I often wonder if they aren't having hallucinations. Nope, the parade is over, so now we're going to settle down to some serious cleanup.


So it was a quiet day, and we'll see what tomorrow brings.


August 2

Ah, the pleasures of living in the northwoods!


Shortly after I completed yesterday's entry (and couldn't upload it), I noticed that both the lights in Copper Harbor and the lighthouse were back on, so I hiked down to the basement to turn off the generator. I flipped the switch (which is an ordinary brown light switch) to off...and nothing happened. 


I got in the car and went to town. Jeff Coltas, of the General Store, said that the phones were on and off, so I dropped that, since I didn't want to drive up the hill after dark, and that's the only place a cell phone works. Tom Boost was doing something in his garage, so I consulted him to no avail. The switch had worked for him. When I got home, I climbed down behind the house, under the deck (fortunately, there is enough clearance so that I don't have to crawl!), only to discover that the front panel of the generator opens with two key locks...and I don't have any keys. 


By that time, it was after 10 o'clock, and I was getting tired. I decided to just leave the generator on overnight and worry about it in the morning. I couldn't switch back to UPPCO power, because the generator will burn out if it doesn't have a load on it. I figured that running it over night wouldn't hurt it much. I did notice that every time the water pump cut in, the lights dimmed, even though it is supposed to be an 8000 watt generator.


I turned off the light around 11:30, and when my eyes adjusted to the dark, I realized that the whole sky was light, as light as it would be with a full moon behind a thin cloud cover, and I could see streaks moving without my glasses. It was the northern lights, and they were so bright that I even turned off my nightlight!  I thought about going outside, but it was cool and windy and there are still mosquitoes, and I could see something from my bed, so I turned over and went to sleep. It was a beautiful show, all kind of pearly pale bluish white, and it went on most of the night, although by 3:30, the glow was just showing over the trees. 


What a lovely welcome home! I haven't seen any northern lights for over a year, and this was a nice display, just like the Astro Alert said. I didn't see any color, and there wasn't as much motion as I've seen before, but it was so bright! It seems to me there was a good display this time last year which I missed because I never looked out the window.


It was beautifully clear and windy most of today, with whitecaps on the harbor, and some occasional puffy white clouds. The humidity is gone for the time being, and it was an altogether beautiful day with a high temperature of about 70. Just my kind of weather!


Since the phone lines were still down and the generator was still on, I went into town this morning and called phone repair, on a pay phone that doesn't recognize Ameritech's repair line as a toll-free call, and had another chat with Tom. His suggestion was to turn off the main propane line.


When I got back, I looked for a valve in the propane line to the generator, but I didn't look outside, so I couldn't find it, and I just turned off all the propane for about 30 seconds. That finally killed the generator! Phew! And it didn't come back on when I turned the propane back on, although the boiler did. So that solved that problem, not quite the way I wanted it, but at least the thing was off.


I had left a very frustrated message on Phillipe's phone mail, but everything, including the phone line, was back up by the time he called me back, and he as promised to do something so that the generator isn't quite such a jury rigged device.  He doesn't have any keys, either, so where they went is anybody's guess.


It is now a gorgeously clear evening, the wind is dying down, and the weather forecast says it will get down into the 50s tonight - the perfect sleeping temperature.


After being gone most of yesterday, I had two cats just clinging to me most of the night. I'm afraid that just about the time I have to go south again (the week of August 19), they will be settling down, and my leaving will freak them out again. I have to get my blood drawn every week, and that won't set well, either.


So that is the end of my little adventure for the time being, and the weather is so beautiful, I just want to sit and enjoy.


I find I'm still a little confused about what day of the week it is, but it's really easy to lose track of those things in the hospital, so I guess I'm excused. The house is an incredible mess (I'm good at that), what with everything I've brought in and left lying around, but maybe I can begin to work on that now.


With all the excitement, I haven't had time to get out into the yard and take any pictures, but I will try to do that before it clouds up tomorrow. There was a beautiful red poppy blooming today. I also need to do some wash, and I totally forgot about the mail run today. I'll get back in the swing of things sometime.


It was an adventuresome two days, and I have now learned something else new about my house. Upward and onward!


August 1

What a wild and crazy day!


At a quarter after six this morning a truly awesome thunderstorm moved in. I had to scurry around to close all the windows and doors, and the wind was so strong I almost couldn't get the porch doors closed, even with my weight against them. There was thunder, lightening, rain so hard I couldn't see the lake, hail, and extremely high winds. I had two extremely clingy cats, even though they're not usually too bothered by storms. And no power. The storm lasted over half an hour, then I went  back to sleep.


When I woke up a couple of hours later, there was still no power. I managed to put together a pretty satisfactory breakfast, because my cooktop is gas and I can light the burners with a match, although I had to make do with instant coffee. 


As I was trying to wash up (which reminds me, I never washed my face this morning! Yuck!), I realized I had forgotten my coumadin last night. I seem to run on autopilot at bedtime, especially since I was late last night, and I just plain forgot I was taking something new. Oh, my.


I called Lehman's office, and they said I should still have the blood drawn, so I threw the cooler in the car (in the rain) and headed for Hancock. It actually cleared up around Lake Medora, but I could see, when I got to Quincy Hill, that more storms were on the way.


The blood draw at Portage was fast and efficient, and I had to stop at the gift shop, of course.  As I left, it was beginning to rain and storm again, and by the time I got to Erickson Feed in Houghton, the rain was coming down in buckets. I've seldom seen it rain harder. They have a tin roof with no insulation and the noise was so loud it was hard to hear. I did get a couple of bird feeders and some thistle socks, so I guess I will try the bird feeding thing again.


From there, I went to Office Max, because when I got back here, the printer said one cartridge was the wrong one and the other was empty. I like to stay one cartridge ahead, so that if I run out of ink at a critical point, I'm not stuck. I also got a few other things (of course). When I got back to M26 from Erickson, the rain was coming down again, and after sitting in the car for a few minutes, I decided to go in. After walking about 50 feet, I was soaked, and my hair was dripping down my neck. That rain lasted over half an hour, enough time for me to get into big trouble, of course. I try to stay out of office supply stores.


My next stop was supposed to be Ming Gardens, but when I got there, the only vehicles in the parking lot were from a construction company, and one of the men told me that what he said was a tornado had come down the hill, hit some duplexes, tore part of the roof off the restaurant, demolished one building, tore half the roof off the Frito-Lay warehouse and pushed over a semi. I don't think it was a tornado. John Dee says there are straight line winds and shear winds that can do almost as much damage, and I think that's what happened.


Anyway, there went my nice lunch, and a lot of other people's too. I wish them well, and I hope they get back together real fast. That is a good place to eat.


I went on to Econo Foods to get a few things I needed, including a sandwich, and started back for home.  It rained hard for part of the way to Calumet, where I got gas, and while it dribbled for the rest of the time, there were no more storms.


There was also still no power in Copper Harbor, so when I got home, I trekked down to the machine room and had the pleasure of throwing my huge switch for the first time (Tom did it the last time). I am now running on generator power, and I may be on it for a while, because the message on UPPCO's emergency phone line was that they had no idea how long the power would be out, but it was likely to be for quite a while. I'll know when the lights in Copper Harbor and the lighthouse come back on.


Around 6 o'clock, there was a distinct end to the clouds, it cleared up, and it got very windy. The sunset has been really pretty.


However, the last straw was that the phone lines are now out. I can't get dial tone on either phone (so you probably won't read this until August 2). I wanted to get the entry in, but I won't be able to upload it until tomorrow. I was thinking about taking my cellphone and trying to get hold of Ameritech, but it's getting dark now, so I think I will just forget the whole thing until morning.


I'll continue the saga tomorrow.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM