A View From the Field








October, 2002

October 31

Yeowp! I just opened my copy of the web to start this entry and all of a sudden both the top and side borders were totally jacked up!  Thank goodness I can copy down from the website, or heaven knows where I'd be!


Happy Halloween! Trick or treat, for sure!


It was a cloudy, dark, cold day. The temperature was below 30 when I got up this morning, and I think it probably topped out about 34 with a brisk northwest wind. Winter for sure. The snow didn't start until around 4pm, though, and there hasn't been very much of it so far, but it was the fine grains John Dee talks about in lake effect snows and the wind was blowing it around in clouds. Brr!


I broke out my down parka, even though I'm wearing a berber overshirt. I figured if my local resident friends were all wearing their winter jackets last night, I might as well join them and be comfortable! That is such a cozy jacket, but I don't want to be wearing it inside very much. It's sort of like being wrapped up in a down quilt, and I think Eddie Bauer guaranteed it to something like -30. I'd believe that, only my legs would get cold.


To compare to last year, I think I wore it twice up here and not more than a week in Detroit... That was a really warm winter altogether. It looks like this one isn't going to be at all!


The excitement of the day was the electrician. He was a very nice guy, and the switches in the breezeway are now white, one of the floodlights is tied into the garage door opener (it goes on when the door opens or closes and is on the same timer as the light in the opener), the plugs in the laundry room now let the cords hang down instead of up, and ... the generator is still dead and he is going to try to get some more information on it from a dealer somewhere. We don't know where the other electrician got it, the manufacturer doesn't deal with the public, and they don't make that model anymore. Oh, woe. He assured me that it will be fixed before I go home, but I'm beginning to wonder.


Anyway, everything else is taken care of, and I'm a happy camper. Now I really must start to get ready to go back to Detroit. Tomorrow...


October 30

Oops. I got to playing a game last night and just plain forgot to do a journal, so I'll try to pick up from where I left off Monday.


It didn't look very clear Monday night, but Tuesday morning was partly cloudy and sunny, not too much different from Monday. I didn't get up quite so early as I did Monday, but I got away from the house at about 10:30. I tried to take a couple of pictures of lighthouse point in the sunshine before I left, but they both came out out of focus.  With a little help from Photo Shop Elements, I got one sharpened up a bit, so here it is. Not my best effort, and I'm not quite sure what the problem is this time. Anyway, you can see what a beautiful morning it was, and that the color is a little past peak. That isn't too different from the view I see out my bedroom window when I'm lying in bed. Kind of nice, isn't it?


I got my blood drawn and decided to eat first. There wasn't a huge crowd at Ming Gardens, but that seems to be because the buffet restaurant opened yesterday. I will have to try it, maybe next week or the week after.


It turned out that I will have to go back to my former schedule of shopping first, eating, then getting food. By the time I was through with WalMart and EconoFoods, I was totally exhausted, very hot and sweaty and weak. It wasn't very late, but I was glad to sit down. Besides, the temperature in Houghton had gotten up into the upper 40s and I was too warmly dressed.


Hughes farm isn't open any more, but that is probably good, because they are resurfacing US-41 between the Golf Club road and the Sixth Street Extension in Calumet, and it's down to one lane. What a mess! I had to stop and get gas - the gauge was almost on empty - and when I went to get back onto the road, I couldn't tell which direction it was supposed to be going (the people who control that are totally incompetent), so I got off at the first side street on the Laurium side. After twisting and turning for some time (only one U-turn, at a dead end, though), I ended up on M-26, right where I wanted to be and missed the rest of the mess.


I also saw a section of Laurium. Some of the houses were not bad and well kept up, but there are apparently no zoning laws in force, and a  nice house might be next to a total wreck.  All of them were older frame houses that looked like they were built before 1960. I presume these are some of the ones I've seen advertised for under $50k.


It was beginning to get cloudy as I headed north, and there was just a little sun by the time I got back here and unloaded. But we had had two lovely days, and I can't complain about that.


Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the minute I got up the hill from Copper Harbor in the morning, there was three or four inches of what looked like pretty new snow in the woods and along the sides of the road. The road was dry, and it looked like it had been plowed, but I really never thought I would see so much snow in the woods. Some of it had melted by the time I came home, but not all, and I doubt it will until next spring. Winter is coming early this year.


This morning it was cloudy, and the temperature stayed in the middle 30s all day, but there was no precipitation, except for a couple of flakes as I was coming home from dinner tonight. I guess the rest of the week isn't supposed to be so nice. It was good while it lasted.


Today Mike cleaned up the last of the details from Arend Builders, and tomorrow a real electrician is supposed to be here, mostly to work on the generator, but also to change the switchplates and maybe hook the floodlights into the garage door opener. Maybe, just maybe, we'll get all that finished. Then all we are waiting for is the storm door for the breezeway and the two transom windows that need to be replaced in the great room. I don't think those will be done until next spring, however.


So I got to bed late last night and got up early this morning, and I'm tired, so I will shortly trundle up to the north end and sit and read and knit for a while. I'm still in denial mode, but I'm going to have to do something pretty soon or I will have an exhausting two weeks.


October 28

I could hardly believe my eyes! For most of the day today, the skies were only partly cloudy and the sun was shining!! What a difference in everything when it's bright and sunny and the sky is blue! The temperature only got into the low 40s, but there was very little wind and it was pretty nice out.


While I was eating my breakfast this morning, I saw some specks in the water, one bright white and the others smaller and dark. They were diving every so often, too. After peering at them for some time and looking in a couple of bird books, I decided they were buffleheads (a diving duck) - the male was mostly white, and the females are brown with just a little white mark on their heads. I think there was one male and three or four females, but I'm not sure of that, since I was more interested in identifying them. 


This end of the harbor was almost calm when I was eating, and it is so pretty, even at this time of year, when the leaves are going. I thought again that I should really spend more time just looking out at the harbor, like I used to do before there was a house. It's amazing what I can see.


However, later in the day, all of a sudden Buster made a lunge toward the back windows and peered out at the front door, and when I looked, there was a fairly small, mostly unstriped, dark brownish-gray bird with a white throat. It was sitting on the railing, then flying up to catch the bugs that seem to cluster around the doors and windows at this time of year. I think it was an Eastern Phoebe.


So on one beautiful day, I got to add two birds to my life list.


Otherwise, it was so nice just to sit in the sun and enjoy the view that I didn't do much of anything else at all.


Last night, I started the mate of one of the sock-project socks, but when I got the sock yarn out, I found myself looking at some of the balls Randi sent me last spring and wondering what they look like made up, so this morning I started a second sock, this one on #1 needles. This yarn is thinner than the one I just finished knitting, and things go so slowly on the small needles that I really can't yet tell what sort of pattern I will have. The yarn has dark gray, white, blue and purple in it, and it's sort of spotted and tweedy. More later, when I have enough done to see the pattern.


Unfortunately, everyone is insisting that the nice weather won't stay, and it will probably rain or snow tomorrow, but it certainly was nice while it lasted!


And so to bed. Apparently my body never got off eastern time, so now I am getting up before 8am, and it's really delightful how much more time that gives me in a day. It also means I want to go to bed earlier, but that's all right, since the sun is setting at about 5:45pm and it's dark by 6:30.  Already there's just over 10 hours of light. That's not enough, but I'll enjoy it while I can.


October 27

I thought maybe the change of time wouldn't bother me so much because it really doesn't matter when I get up and go to bed, but either it or something else left me pretty groggy today, so I didn't do much. I got up fairly early and checked the clocks and the computer - and it was a good thing I did, because the $%^&* computer got hung up asking me to check the time and never came completely up until I clicked "OK". There have been a few little gotchas in every computer I've ever worked with that make me wonder why I bother.


It was cloudy and dark this morning, but it didn't interfere with my embroidery and I finished the little bird and decided to do the other one. The first one is a cardinal and the second one is a chickadee, and they are under 5" square, so they don't take a lot of time. The actual embroidery looks a lot better than the picture on the graph, too.


Otherwise, I pretty much did nothing and enjoyed every minute of it.


However, along about noon, wonder of wonders, the sun came out, and for an hour or so we even had blue skies! I could hardly believe it. Buster immediately went to sleep on the desk, where the sun was shining, and I remembered that I promised to take a picture of the back of the house now that the addition is done. So here it is.


Overall, I think it came out pretty good. I don't really like the roof on the breezeway very much, and I wish there was an easy to make the doors black instead of brown (I was a bit surprised to discover that black is not a stock color for garage doors). You can see that my little courtyard is big enough that I can back around (if I can avoid hitting the house again!) and drive out forward. Eventually all that mine rock will get covered over with vegetation, which won't be all bad. I am toying with the idea of getting some big pots to put some small bushes in, but that's for next year. 


Now if I can just get an electrician... Oh, yes, and the breezeway door will eventually have a screen/storm on it, whenever that comes. I was also thinking about possibly getting some more of the light fixtures I have at the front door and putting them on the garage and maybe beside the breezeway door, but that's a nicety I really don't need. There are plenty of floodlights.


It was a little over 40 when the sun was out, and while it probably wasn't too nice in the wind, it wasn't cold and raw like it was yesterday.


The sun only lasted about an hour before it got really cloudy again, and when I came back from dinner tonight, there were a few little flakes  coming down - hardly enough to wet the windshield if it had been rain. The weather forecast for the week isn't too promising, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.


So that was my quiet day in the field.


October 26

When I woke up, at 8:30 this morning, it was dark...but then, I just discovered that the sun had just risen. Oh. However, it didn't get much lighter for some time. It had apparently been raining, because the deck was wet further out than the dew line, but so far as I know, for the rest of the day, it didn't do more than drizzle, and the sun actually showed its face for about five minutes this afternoon. The temperature got a little over 40 and is now headed down and while I guess there was a wind, it wasn't excessive.


It was nice to get up so early (for me). I ate breakfast in a normal fashion, in the great room, and got very close to finishing the little bird (just a little more backstitch), and it wasn't even noon yet!


Of course, tomorrow that will be 7:30, and if I get up that early, who knows what I might do?


I don't know what possessed me, except that I read in bed and turned out the light at a more or less reasonable hour last night. That's the way I like to end the day, it's just that I've gotten out of the habit.


I have about half the robe done. The fronts and back need to be joined together, and the hems, facings and buttons need to be done, but another half-day and I should have a really cozy robe to wear. It was amazing, when I put the pieces on my lap, how much warmer my thighs were. I'm not totally happy with the stitching on the robe, but since it was meant for here, nobody is likely to see it. Polar fleece is fun to stitch in, but it has its problems. Any topstitching is painfully obvious, and I have to confess some of mine isn't too straight. Part of the problem is the thickness of the layers, and part is where I had to pick out and restitch.


When I make the one for Champine, I won't put patch pockets on it, for sure. That is a recipe for disaster. More later, when I get it done.


Oh, yes, before that, I had to do a massive rollback of the computer to yesterday at 9am.  It is so nice to have the Laplink link between the desktop and laptop working right!  I had read in one of the magazines that there is a new critical update to Internet Explorer, which I thought I should probably install, so I spent an hour and forty minutes (!) downloading it. I noticed a few strange things last night but didn't think much about them. When I started my morning perambulations (I wish there were some overarching scripting language I could invoke, because I do the same things every day!), I couldn't load any .gif images. For Weather Underground, that's not too bad, but I couldn't look at half of the comics I read every day.


I called Microsoft, and they suggested the first thing I should try was to do the download over...then I discovered they have nicely written their update program so you can't do that. Aaarrggh!!


Rather than call them back and possibly have to pay $35, I moved my files over to the laptop, did the rollback to 9am yesterday morning, and moved the files back. Whew! Everything seems to be working perfectly now. I'm debating whether to do the download again or just bag it and wait till I get to Champine with the DSL link and work out the kinks there. Probably that's what I'll do.


Oh, while the rollback and the file moves were going on, I was mostly sewing, although between last night and today, I have gotten the second stripey sock to the point of shaping the toe. I won't go to bed tonight until it's done. Pictures later. They're wild.


There was an Airborne package for me at the post office today, from my friends at American Express. Somehow, I cannot get it into the minds of the secretaries at that place that Airborne just doesn't work up here - it's sent to Green Bay then mailed to Copper Harbor! And, of course, I have no way to Airborne it back.


I wonder if, back in the days before I was a gleam in my mama's eye, clerical people were as utterly mindless as so many seem today?  Probably they were, and I was just lucky to know some who weren't.


I decided I wanted some music this afternoon, and the first CD I tried to run on the computer got really strange sounding down at tracks 12 and 13. It works fine on the boom box, so I have another glitch to investigate.


After the news, I decided to stay in and put one of my little squashes in the oven - I think it's call "delicata" or something similar, and oh, my, was it delicious!  I hope Hughes Farm will be open when I go to town Tuesday. I'd like to lay in a bunch of those to take home. It is a long, skinny squash, shaped sort of like a zucchini, but its skin is pale yellow with green stripes, and it is definitely a winter squash. The meat is yellow-orange and it tastes almost like it has butter in it, very sweet and nutty. With a bit of butter and some freshly ground pepper, it is perfectly heavenly. I want more!


I also ate the rest of my beets and a nice little strip steak, and while all this was being cooked and eaten, I have been having a Schubertiad. First I heard the "Trout" quintet and the "Death and the Maiden" quartet, two of my favorites, and now I am wallowing in Mitsuko Uchida playing the Impromptus. I always say that my favorite composers are Bach and Vivaldi, with Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven next, but Schubert speaks to my soul, and sometimes I just have to OD on him.


While the first CD I played, some Renaissance sacred choral stuff, had some real problems on the computer, the Schuberts have sounded fine. I will have to try the other one  again.


Well, now I am full of steak and veggies and JD and my soul is full of sacred chorales and Schubert and I am more than content.


By the way, I just looked back at what I'd written and I really wonder who put together the Microsoft dictionary. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert are all in it, as is Uchida, but VIvaldi, Haydn, and Mitsuko aren't. Truly, truly weird. I bet Victoria isn't either (oh, yeah). How about Tallis, Lassus, Byrd, and Palestrina? (Byrd, but not the others).  Those were some of the composers on my sacred CD.


There is an Astro Alert out for possible northern lights tomorrow night, but the way the weather is, it will be a miracle if I can see them. Drat.  This dark, cloudy weather is getting really boring. The mountain and Lighthouse Point are nearing their peak color, but with no sun, it's really hard to see how beautiful they are. This has been a yellow fall, at least around here. Not much brilliant red and orange like last fall, and the oaks are mostly going brown rather than the deep ruby-red they were last year. I wouldn't be surprised if the reason was the really dry early summer we had - not so much sugar stored up. However, that's the fun of the seasons. No two consecutive falls are ever the same, but they're all beautiful.


I know the couple of sunny days I was out and about, the yellow of the leaves against the black trunks made them look like there was sunshine inside them.


Now, if only I didn't have to leave...


October 25

One last word on the "touron" question. I got an almost nasty email this morning from someone who took strong exception to my complaints about tourons.


Two thoughts:

1) what makes you think I was talking about YOU?

2) a contribution by our postmaster, attributed to his father, the late H. J. Westcoat: "Never explain. Your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway".


Only don't expect me to stop complaining about tourons.


The night started out clear, and around 1am, I looked out the bathroom window to see an unaccustomed sight: the shadow of the house thrown by the waning moon. Later on, it clouded up, and by morning it was dark and dreary again. It never brightened up all day, and it drizzled for most of the time. There was no wind, which was nice, and the temperature topped out in the low 40s. Yuck.


I suppose it's the number of windows in this house, so that I'm almost living outdoors, but I've noticed the darkness of our cloudy days particularly this fall. It would be nice if we had some "Indian Summer", but I'm beginning to believe we just won't. This same kind of weather looks to continue at least through next week.


I didn't work on the robe except to clip the notches. Maybe tomorrow. The rest of the fabric is now on the floor in the office, and DC sat on it for most of the day. The way he was acting, it reminded him of his mama. Cats can be so strange.


Well, this is the end of t-4 week. I am seriously considering not leaving until Monday, Nov. 18...just to drag it out a little more. The mail should start to be delivered on the 15th (ha!) but I have a large mailbox. Why should I go on Friday and spend the weekend in Detroit when I could spend the weekend  here? I'm thinking about it.


So it was a very quiet day in the field, and I will try to go to bed early again. This weather, where ever I am, makes me sleepy.


October 24

I hope nobody has been trying to see the sunset on the livecam, because I decided I want to see what I'm doing when I cut out my robe, which I finally got to this afternoon. In fact, here I am, and this is about the most you'll ever see of me on this site. I apologize to anyone who thought I was slim and thin and all that. I'm not. My head is hidden behind the reflection of the camera, which is all right, too. I have dark brown wavy hair, going gray,  which is just below ear-length and sort of shaggy, since I'm trying to grow it out from the all-one-length it came in as last year.


You can see that the robe is blue - a sort of periwinkle - Polar Fleece (genuine Malden Mills) and there is a pile of it on the right-hand side (which DC has since moved to the floor, along with some of the magazines it was sitting on). The red and orange thing is the beginnings of a sweater that I won't get back to until the socks are done. You can see the two bird hangings on the door, since I haven't hung them on the wall yet, and behind my rear is the sewing machine where, I hope not, you may find me tomorrow.


Actually, tomorrow at this time, I expect to be at Mariner for Friday-dinner-out.


I just got disoriented looking at the picture, since it makes me look left-handed, but remember, it's a reflection. The red pincushion is on my left wrist, and I am cutting with my right hand. I've often thought that the only part of me in good shape is my hands, although they're getting veiny and sinewy just like all old ladies' hands do (I have been able to judge a woman's age to within a decade by how her hands look).


Sunset wasn't all that interesting, with clouds in front of the sky and not much color at all, so you didn't miss anything. In fact, our forecast "nice" day wasn't so great. It didn't begin to get at all sunny until late in the afternoon, and the temperature never got to 40. It never cleared up completely, although there was enough sunshine to fade out the computer screen for some time. I didn't go out, but it was nice to bask in the warmth for a while.


I had in mind to cut out the robe and maybe even start sewing it today, but I got up late and did all my computer stuff, including 4 crosswords, before breakfast (which turned into lunch), so it was late by the time I got back here. It took some doing to get all the junk off the desk, then I had to take a five yard piece of fabric which was folded crosswise and fold it lengthwise.


Fortunately, that was one thing I could do sitting down, because I discovered that I was right about using the desk as a cutting surface - it's a great space, but it's much too low. My cutting table on Champine is something like 43" high (a little higher than necessary, but I have a draftman's chair), and the desk is only 29" high. That's great for sitting at, but not so hot for standing up. You can see in the picture that I'm bent over at a nasty angle. That just about kills my back after five minutes or less.  There is just no other way to work on a big piece of fabric.


So now it's cut out, and I don't think it will be a hard thing to put together, except that there is a lot of stitching. I hope I can get it done tomorrow. I don't need the rest of the stuff I brought to sew (two fleece tops, two summer and two winter nightgowns) but I really need that robe. I've been wearing my longest fleece jacket for a robe, and it has its problems. I will leave this one here (its pattern is something of a try-out) and do another when I get to Champine. The poor old chenille robe is on its last legs.


If I decide I want to do any sewing next summer, I think it would behoove me to do the cutting before I come here and just sew here.


By the way, I got a couple of emails today that I need to address. I never meant to hint that I thought any of my readers is a "touron".  I'm sure, from the email, that none of you ever asked "When do they turn on the northern lights?" or "When do they let the bears out?" or "Is there a bigger lake around here somewhere?" One correspondent told a story about two ladies who went running after a bear with potato chips in their hands, calling "Here, bear!".


I know, from our correspondence, that all of you are intelligent, responsible lovers of Keweenaw who might like to look at a bear or an aurora, but you know what you are looking at and what lake it is and appreciate the wild beauties of our northwoods. And I'm sure you've run into the other kind here, just like Jim Rowe (thanks, Jim, for the laugh of the day) and I have. As the lady Tuesday said, I really wonder how those other people ever actually found their way to Copper Harbor.


As for the ones who drive 25mph all the way from the fort to Copper Harbor, then speed up, I only wonder if they drive that way all the time (I steer clear of Florida license plates like the plague!). I know there are some of them out on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe at 10am on almost any weekday. And I appreciate that many people coming up the covered road don't know it or their cars the way I do and need to go slower than I do (but do they have to hit their brakes for every curve and every little hill??) 


Probably those people stand out around here all the more because there are so few people altogether, and I have had the delight of living here for a few weeks in the spring and fall when it's quiet and almost all the crazies (except the local crowd) are gone. 


If I offended anybody, I apologize. I wasn't talking about you.


While I was cutting out, I cooked my beets. They are all about 1" in diameter or less, and they are absolutely delicious. I have another meal of them. 


Sometime next year when I can legally eat greens again, I will have to try to get the sand out of the beet greens and steam them, too. Beet greens are delicious, but I decided it would probably blow my PT/INR, which I have to have checked on Tuesday, so I didn't cook them. After seeing the sink when I washed the beets, I'm not sure I could get all the sand out of the greens anyway. Oh, well, a little roughage is good for the system...


The only downside is that we are nearing the end of t-4 weeks...three weeks and I'll have to head south. Sigh. I'll just have to enjoy the rest of my time here all the more.


October 23

In spite of the fact that mommy went to bed early last night, we still had our 1am romp, which meant that mommy didn't sleep very well. Actually, I think that's the time our evening nap is over all the time, it's just that when I'm already asleep, they tone it down. However, let me rustle around like I'm waking up, and we go bombing up and down the hallway like a herd of elephants. It has never ceased to amaze me how much noise (and also how little noise) ten or twelve pounds of cat can make. 


I don't know if it was that or something else that was on my mind (what, I can't remember now), but I was wakeful during the night, so I slept until 9:30 this morning anyway.


When I woke up in the night, the sky was suspiciously light, partly because of the just-past-full moon, but also because the clouds were low and full of snow. This morning there looked like a couple of inches on the garage, and an inch on the deck rails.


However, not too long after I got up, it began to lighten up, and we did in fact have an hour or so of sunshine, very much welcomed. However, even while the sky overhead was clear, I could see the lake-effect clouds billowing up in the west, and we also had several snow squalls during the day. 


When I went into the bathroom after I woke up, there was a flock of the same little birds I have been trying to identify since I saw them on the road in Copper Harbor on Monday. After looking at all the bird books, and getting a very close look at one who was gleaning on the porch, I have decided I have been seeing snow buntings in their grayish-brown winter plumage. They are white from halfway down their wings to their bottoms, and when they fly, there are large white patches on their wings. There isn't any other bird in the book with so much white and so little striping, and even though these guys are all darker gray than the books show, they can't be anything else. Redpolls have a - well - red poll, or forehead and they are heavily striped.


I consider their presence a bad (or good, depending on your outlook) omen. I know I never saw any last year, when it was so warm. The snow buntings nest up above the arctic circle and winter down to about the bottom of the UP, and if they are here in mid-October, that means they migrated a lot earlier than they did last year.


I am sorely tempted to strew some birdseed on the deck, but I really must not, because in three weeks or so (waah!) I'll be gone and I don't want them to get dependent on it. Besides the buntings, there are juncos and chipping sparrows, both of which usually migrate south, and they aren't gone yet, and there is also a flock of geese desecrating one of the lawns in town, so maybe the buntings don't mean anything anyway.


Even though there was snow that stuck around all day, the temperature was in the mid-30s, which means that Lighthouse road was a yucky mess and I'm sure it will take more than one trip through the car wash when I get back to Champine to get all the mud off. When I went to the post office, there was still slush on US-41 from the fort on outward, but the rest of the roads were clear but wet, and there wasn't any snow on the ground in Copper Harbor proper.


That's just another indication to me that Rainbow's End has its own microclimate, and the only way I will ever define it is to get my own weather station. That's for the future, like the telescope and the new sewing machine. There was so little good viewing weather again this year that I am probably going to delay the telescope another year, and see what next year holds.


It was too messy to go to the dumpster today, so that has been postponed until Friday, too.


The weather forecasts says it may be mostly sunny and over 40 tomorrow, and if it is, I may try to get out and about, such days are so rare. Tomorrow night may even be clear, too, and I can hope for northern lights.


Much as I love it here, I can see that if I were here all winter, I would most likely be severely affected by seasonal affective disorder, which I even get in Detroit some years, so it is probably better I can't stay (I keep telling myself). On the other hand, when the sun comes out, it is so beautiful and the sky is so blue...


I have made an executive decision that after this year, I will not schedule any appointments after April 30 or before December 1, so that I have some latitude in when I come here and how long I stay. The postal service will be a problem, but so when hasn't that been true - first class mail has been delivered to Champine at least once every month I've been here. Thanksgiving is so late this year that I could (and would) probably stay another week if it weren't for the doctor and the dentist.


One last note I forgot to mention yesterday. One of the nice ladies I met has coined a new word, "tourons", for those situations - and almost all of us, whether we're in business or not, who have been here very long had one to relate - where we wonder how some tourist ever made it through their teens. I think it's about the most descriptive word I've ever heard for some of the people who flock to Copper Harbor every summer. Thankfully, they're mostly gone now.


The harbor seems to be settling thankfully into its winter quiet - except that now that Zik's at the Pines is closed, there was a really raucous crew at Mariner tonight - and it's just as delightful as it was when I got here last spring. Now, if only there were some way I could stay...


October 22

Another quiet, gray day in the field. There were snow flurries this morning, but no accumulation, and all the snow is gone except on surfaces that face north. The temperature was in the middle 30s, but there was less wind and it wasn't quite so raw today. I keep hoping for more than five minutes of sun a day.


One of the ladies in town, Carolyn, had an impromptu birthday party for the other Sharon, and I got to see some people I like a lot and I met three more very nice ladies. We had a good time, lots of laughter. Everybody is usually wrapped up in their own thing in the summer, but with everything winding down now, everyone who was in town was able to come.


I think almost all the ladies who aren't actively running businesses have time-consuming hobbies. Most of them are quilters, and there aren't any other embroiderers, but several of them do beautiful work and I like to see what they're up to. One lady is finishing a beautiful "Grandmother's Fan" quilt all in shades of blue on a white background with lots of fancy quilting patterns on the plain parts. It's hard for me not to covet it, because those are my colors.  Another has made a large number of banners, about placemat size, with a highly padded "Noel" in the middle. 


So that was the sum total of my day, but it was a pleasant one. After hearing everyone talk, I was really glad I didn't decide to go to town yesterday. Evidently there was a lot more snow south toward Houghton, and Shirley got into a really dicey situation with a logging rig and a tailgater on her way home last evening. It was warm enough that the slushy patches were really slippery and it wouldn't have been a fun trip.


I hope next Tuesday is a little better, because I have to get my blood test - the last one up here - and apparently Ming Gardens has opened a new restaurant that I may try to find.


Last night I went back to my old habits and got to bed after midnight, so I will try hard not to do that tonight. I guess I'm getting into going-away denial again...


October 21

Well, after 14 hours' sleep, I feel much better. Not quite ready to take on the world, but much better. It has always interested me that, for all the aches and pains I sometimes have that keep me awake, when I really need sleep, I don't have any of that.


I was up at intervals overnight, of course, and when I looked outside, frequently I couldn't see the lights of Copper Harbor. Oh-oh, I thought - snow. And I was right, because there was an inch or two on the garage roof when I got up. It was quite slushy, and it alternated snow and rain for most of the day. The temperature hung in around the middle 30s all day and it was dark and gray. I do hope we eventually get over this and have a little sunshine before I have to go back to Detroit.


Anyway, when I went into the bathroom and looked out the windows, there was a line of 3" three-toed footprints that started beside the deck steps and went around the corner behind the house. Whatever large bird it was, it didn't have webbed feet. It looked almost like it had landed beside the steps and took off from behind the house. I was going to try to get a picture, but unfortunately, by the time I was dressed, the snow had melted enough that the prints were pretty much gone. I wish I knew what it was. The strangest things happen around here when I'm sleeping...


So that was pretty much the excitement for the day. Maybe whatever it was will come back and I'll either see it or get a picture of its tracks.


In the meantime, I can sleep some more.


October 20

This was a really lost day and I'm starting this early. I started having gas pains during dinner last night, and I was quite uncomfortable when I went to bed, but I was able to sleep until about 3am, when I got up and I ended up sitting in the bathroom for most of the next two hours. I had some nausea, but I had a hard time getting anything up. Finally, around 6am, I began to feel better, and I went to sleep. I got up at 9:30 and fed the cats and went back to bed, and I didn't get up until after 1 pm. I wouldn't say I feel good now, but except that my esophagus keeps going into spasms, I think I'm pretty much over it. Another nice long sleep and I should be OK.


I haven't any idea what could have set this off, but I am susceptible to whatever it is. I feel lucky that I haven't had it very much this year. I'm staying in tonight - in fact, I never got dressed - and I've been putting things in my tummy very cautiously. 


Not that it was the kind of day one would want to go trekking around outside. The snow and/or rain started before I went to bed last night, and there were squalls all night long. There was about an inch of snow on the garage roof this morning...but some of the precip must have been rain, because the breezeway door is leaking. There was a 20mph or so wind out of the northwest all day and the lake was speaking loudly. In fact, there were 2-3 foot breakers washing onto my beach. The temperature here started out around freezing and got up into the upper 30s, but the windchill has been in the 20s all day.


The wind is out of the north now, and I guess it's going to continue swinging around to the northeast, which is a very nasty direction for storms. There is supposed to be a little more snow tonight and maybe some tomorrow, but not much is sticking so close to the shore.


Brockway mountain, however now has a visible road over to the top as well as one or two other places, and Brockway's Nose has snow on it. I remember seeing that last winter, too. The trees hide most of the snow on the mountain, except where the road is. And occasionally I would catch a picture of some snowmobiler coming down the road after sunset. There was one picture this morning where there was actually some sunshine for a brief while, and the south side of the mountain is white, while the north side is fall-colored. The lake really does moderate the temperatures.


So that is all the nothing that went on today, and I will wrap this up.


October 19

Another quiet day in the field, but it had its moments.


I woke up at 3:45 to discover no lights - again. This is getting old. I called UPPCO and went back to sleep. The power came back on at about 6:30, so I set a couple of clocks so they wouldn't blink at me and went back to bed again.


I woke up briefly to see a mostly clear sky with apricot-pink clouds. and actual sunshine. It was nice. Eventually, I got up and it was still only partly cloudy, and the temperature was over 40 - a lovely morning.


It began to cloud up around noon, but it didn't get really dark or look much like rain for most of the afternoon, and the temperature was nearly steady. The early morning weather forecast for tonight said there might be 12" of snow in the higher elevations, but by mid-afternoon they had scaled back to 7" at most, and not much snow around the shore. 


I was a little dubious, but when I came out of Mariner after dinner, lo and behold, it was drizzling. Not too long after I got home, I could hear pounding rain and something throwing rain or ice or something at the front windows, so it will be a good night to hunker down under the comforter.


I dug out a flannel nightgown last night, and even though I didn't  notice much difference, evidently I was just enough warmer to sleep really well.


I didn't go to the post office this afternoon, because just about the time I would have gone, I could hear revved-up engines on US-41. There was a road rally (The POR) today, and they were coming into Copper Harbor between 2:30 and 3:00. I don't think they blocked off US-41, but I wouldn't want to get tangled up with the racers. I wonder if any of them ran into a tourist leaving Fort Wilkins (just my wily little mind at work).


The rain is coming down nicely, but there isn't very much wind, so it should be a good night for sleeping, and I shall.


October 18

It was not a day to write home about. It was very cloudy almost all day, and it began raining around noon, sometimes pretty hard. Yech. The temperature started out at about 28 and never got much over 40. 


A good day to hibernate, so I did, except for the post office, where it looked like all of the past two days' mail was for me. I got back to town too late to go yesterday, and I saw the Wednesday mail being unloaded as I left the post office on Wednesday afternoon - at 3pm, when the office was closed. Clearly, Copper Harbor is not high on the USPS priority list, either. I haven't begun to look at most of what came, except to put aside the bills.  I'd rather get a few things every day.


Around 10:30 this morning, Buster acted like there was somebody in the breezeway, so I hurried up and got dressed...and I don't have a clue what he saw. So my embroidery time was truncated today. I'll have to make up for it tomorrow.


In spite of going to bed really late (or early this morning), I got up at 8:30, so I don't expect to be up too long tonight, except to finish this.


It wasn't too cloudy or dark when I got up, and when I came into the kitchen, the air was so much colder than the harbor that there were little clouds of steam rising at this end - the humidity was over 90%. It was so calm at that time that the fog was just sitting there. I'm  sorry I couldn't take a picture, but frankly, I'm not going outside in my nightie when the temperature is under 30! The end of lighthouse point is also all yellow and very pretty from the bedroom end of the deck, but I need to be dressed to take that picture, too. I will add them to the list.


No pictures of the addition yet, because of the rain, but I will keep an eye on the weather and try to get some.


It was so cold and so humid that we had an extremely thick frost this morning - the first actual frost we've had. So from all aspects, the growing season is over and  autumn is upon us. Shirley is still sure we will have our "Indian Summer" after this rain and snow nonsense is over, and if last year is any indication, we will get some good weather in a week or so.


I'm not exactly sure what I did all day, but time passed, and I met Shirley for dinner - the dining room at Mariner was open, although they didn't have the fish buffet. That was fine with me, since they had a barbecued chicken and rib special of which I brought home half. Their barbecue sauce may not be quite so good as Harbor Haus's, but it's not bad at all, and I will enjoy it once or twice more for lunch - I mean, that was a real plate full! It kept falling off the sides of the plate while I was eating, and I feel like I have barbecue sauce in my ears.


So now I have a warm cat on my lap, and I haven't much else to report, so I think we will go to bed.


October 17

I left the office quite early last night, but I ended up sitting in bed and reading (and correcting all the errors I'd previously made in the sock, including a dropped stitdh!) for quite a while, so it was after 11 pm before I got to bed, and as a result, I got up at the usual time this morning (9-ish). I was in the bathroom when the phones said "bleep" and everything went off...again.


I fed the cats and got some orange juice (I can't function without that jolt of sugar first thing), and by the time I had located the UPPCO phone numbers, the power came back on. Not a bad outage, but totally unnecessary. There was no wind, no rain, no nothing, and no reason. So before I got my breakfast, I called the business office and got a name and address to write to. It probably won't do any good, but it far past annoying.


I also did my email and one of the pc magazines wants to know what I think of their latest issue, so I read that while I ate my Vollwerth's sausages.  I started one of the little birds...upside down and backwards (on the wrong side of the fabric!), so I had to rip it out and start over. Sometimes I wonder where my mind is...


I had to go to town today, even though I was nearly as late as I was Tuesday, so I started off...and backed into the house and bent a piece of siding. I told Adam I would do that, and he wouldn't believe me and took away the concrete-filled pipes we had used to protect the septic tank. So now I not only need something - pipes or a big log maybe - to protect the house, I need a couple of pieces of siding fixed. Adam will eventually learn to take the homeowner seriously when she says she may back into the house. I knew it would happen sooner or later. I had my mind on other things and just didn't hit the brakes soon enough. Oh, well.


The day didn't look very promising, and the weather forecast was for lake effect snow showers, but as I headed down US-41, the sun actually came out. I stopped at Lake Medora and took a couple of pictures, but for some reason they came out dark and out-of-focus again. However, you can see the color. Here is the first one, and here is the second one. The covered road was beautiful, even though it's somewhat past its prime. Most of the trees turned yellow this year, and they looked like the leaves were lit from within by a golden light, which was particularly effective against some of the black trunks.


It got cloudy again, and from Ahmeek to Calumet, there were snow flurries, but nothing was sticking, and south of Calumet, it actually almost got sunny for a time.


My "other" stop was at Office Max today, to get a few more CD-Rs for when I get back to that puzzle, and some correction fluid, which I somehow never acquired for here. At least they're only making one kind, instead of one for typing and another for ink, like they used to.  But of course, I had to wander around and see what else they had. I do like office supply stores, although I must say I miss the quirky little things I used to be able to get in the independent stores. There were a couple in downtown Detroit when I worked there that I haunted.


Anyway, by the time I got out of Office Max, I was tired and hot, because I was dressed for the outdoors, so I went right to Ming Gardens, where I had a very nice lunch and recovered somewhat. While I ate, I recreated the grocery list I couldn't find before I left here (I found it when I got home, of course), and went on to EconoFoods. I must eat expensively, or the price of food is rising out of sight, because I didn't get very much and paid a lot for it.


It was 3:30 when I got out of EconoFoods, and I had hopes of stopping at Hughes Farm, but when I got to the bridge interchange, I almost gave up hope, because there was quite a backup going across. MDOT has some kind of plan to modify the interchange, but what little I''ve heard about it, it won't make anything better. What they need on the Houghton side is a multifunction stoplight, and that seems to be the one thing they won't do, for some reason not known to me. It would be a cheap and easy solution to the mess.


Anyhow, I got across better than I'd thought I would and took off with all haste (without fracturing the speed limits too badly!). I got to the farm at about 3:55, but before they had taken in the signs. They don't have much, but I got some fantastic carrots, some beets smaller than golf balls, which will be really yummy, and three interesting varieties of winter squash that I've never tasted before. The squashes are all very small, one serving each, but they keep well, so I can taste-test them. They also had some wonderful looking potatoes, and onions, and lots of herbs and lettuce, but since I don't plan to eat in any more than I did over the summer, I didn't get any. I had a carrot for dinner, and it was so sweet and good, despite being over an inch in diameter. Oh, yes, and they've paved their parking lot! For heaven's sake - pretty soon all of Keweenaw will be covered with asphalt!


It snowed hard while I was at Ming Gardens, but it quit while I was in EconoFoods, and there were only a few flakes while I was at Hughes, but when got back to Calumet, it started snowing quite hard. The roads were wet, and I certainly enjoyed my rear window windshield wiper. The trees along the sides of the road were all frosted with snow, and every twig and branch of the bare trees had a little pile of snow on it. It was like a fairyland, it was so beautiful.


It had stopped snowing when I got to Cliff Drive, but the road was slushy and there was over an inch on the sides. The trees were so beautiful, but I couldn't decide where to stop, so I stopped at Seneca Lake. I've mentioned it before, a large pond near the south end of Cliff Drive, but this afternoon, it was lovely. I had to fiddle with that picture, because it came out really dark, and it was impossible to see the detail or the color on the trees across the pond. At least it's in focus! I still haven't figured that out.


The whole Cliff Drive was beautiful, but at the north end, where the cliffs get really high (up where John Dee was a few days ago), the tops of the cliffs were hidden by clouds, and it started snowing again. It snowed all the way to the M-26 turnoff, then quit, and it had not snowed along the covered road, which was pretty even in the low light conditions.


I must mention that the temperature was between 32 (around Delaware coming back) and 40 (Houghton when I got there), and stayed around 36 for most of the time - rather nasty and dampish, frankly. At least there wasn't any wind to speak of. This is not my favorite kind of weather.


I got home around 5pm to find a very sour-looking white and gray cat sitting in the hallway looking at me through the door. In fact, he went away and only came to sit on me (forgiven!) about an hour ago. DC would only be really happy if I never left at all.


There is a little patch of snow on the north side of the breezeway, and the decks were wet, so I guess it did snow (or something) here while I was gone, At least I got to see a little more of the color. I'm sorry there aren't more pictures, but the only way to really show it would have been with a video camera, and that has other problems. The leaves were pretty, and the snow on the trees was pretty, but one view was better than the last, and I couldn't stop every few feet.


John says this cold weather is likely to last into next week, and then who knows what will happen! I thought last October was better, but I was in Detroit this time last year, and after I got back, we had a gale (and a long power outage) and snow, so it wasn't until November that the weather warmed up. Shirley claims that's typical, so we shall see.


Evidently this morning's outage jacked up something, because I am now getting socket errors when the camera tries to upload, so I shut it down and I am going to uninstall and reinstall dial up networking (AGAIN!) after I finish with this.  Only the magazine I was reading this morning had an article on Linux, and I don't want that any more than I want Windows XP, so I guess I am stuck. I had planned to do this exercise before I leave for the winter, so I guess I'll have to do it twice. They call it a data leak, but it is more likely hot-shot programmers who think it's neat to have the program change the code as it executes, and they end up writing garbage all over the program code. I remember when I learned to code for IBM 360s, that was the snazzy thing to do, and I never trusted it. The HPs and the Tandems separate code and data, and you can't write over code. That's much safer. Oh, well.


I think I will reboot before I upload this and see if that helps. Besides, it's now after 10pm (as usual!) and it's time to go to bed.


Well, so far, rebooting seems to have cured it, so I'll upload this and sign off.


October 16

My best laid plans went awry again, and I ended up going to bed late and getting up late, so I have left the radio off and I will not start a game tonight!


When I finally did get to bed, there was light behind the clouds that looked just about like it looked at 7am this morning, so I think there were northern lights last night, but mostly in the north. I can't report much on the rest of the night, except that when I got up around 4am, it was all dark.


Today was mostly cloudy, and while I was in the bathroom, and later when I was talking to Adam, a few stray flakes came down. The temperatures never got out of the 30s (at least here) but there wasn't much of a wind. By the time I came in from saying goodbye to Adam, I was chilled, but mostly in the hands and thighs, since I was wearing the turquoise polar fleece shirt I made last spring. I still say that the polar fleece Malden Mills sells individuals is much thicker and nicer than what they sell the ready-to-wear companies.


I was able to clear the decks in the kitchen and sort of organize things in the office, so that when the ladies (Thelma Holmes and Carolyn Westcoat) came to visit, the place looked semi-neat. I make no claims to be a housekeeper, but when people come to visit, I would rather things didn't look like a disaster.  Besides, since I did it, it's done and I won't have to do it again for a while.


Adam spent most of the morning here, finishing up the window and putting the handles on the doors, so their part of the thing is pretty much done. He had forgotten about the cover and hoses for the pond, but somebody is supposed to be back (for some reason I can't remember now) and they will bring that stuff, too. The electrician is supposed to be here sometime, and after that, the job will be done. I will try to take a few pictures the next time it's nice out.


Unless the electrician comes tomorrow, I must go to town, because there are a few supplies I'm getting low on.


As for the weather, it was mostly cloudy and cool, except that when the sun got low enough to blank out the computer screen, it came out and for 45 minutes, I had to do something else.  This is another side effect of our swift slide toward winter. By the time I got here last spring, the sun was high enough in the sky that I could see the screen all day. I remember this time from last year, and much as I love the sun, it usually blanks out the screen when I'm in the middle of something.


I'm hoping to get to town tomorrow, not only because I need some stuff, but because the color is swiftly passing peak south of Medora, and I'd like to see it. John Dee was out taking pictures in my stomping grounds over the past few days, but I want to see for myself. Brockway still hasn't reached peak, but it should by the weekend or early next week. It's really pretty when the sun shines on it.


I finished the little thing I was embroidering - a little purse that finishes about 4" x 4" when lined - and I'm going on to a pair of small birds by the same designer who did the warblers. These are on hand-dyed linen that has an interesting mottled appearance and should go quickly. OF all the floss I brought with me, of course I left two colors the birds need at home, and they also use some overdyed threads that I would never have thought to bring.


That is going to be the problem so long as I am keeping two houses. I've thought about leaving a complete set of DMC floss here, and eventually I may do that, but there is no way I can duplicate all the overdyed floss and all the other specialty threads, as well as the silk.  And as I knew would happen, these two birds came out in the middle of the summer and I decided they would be fun to do. Oh, well. I knew things like this would happen, and the only fortunate thing this time is that getting the supplies together wasn't hard or too expensive.


Tonight I ate at Mariner, and the dining room is closed, but after the few people there Sunday night, I was expecting that.  It was good anyway and I do enjoy Copper Harbor when it's so quiet! When I drove back, around 8pm, it was nearly dark, and there was a more-than-half moon hanging clear in a partly cloudy sky, and for the first time this year, the thermometer in the car said "ICE". It isn't that cold - middle 30s, maybe - but it's a warning of things to come. I hope it will warm up some in the next few weeks, but I don't think I'll be surprised if it doesn't.


It is still so nice to drive up to the house, push the button, and drive into the garage, which has a light on. It really makes me sorry I was so adamant about not replacing the operator on Champine when I had the garage door replaced. The new operators are much more civilized than the one my grandfather gave my parents back in the '50s. The light on the operator in the garage not only comes on when the door opens and stays on for a couple of minutes, it has a motion sensor, so if the door is open and the light has gone out and you or the car comes in, the light goes back on. Neat.


The sad thing is that I only have about 4 weeks left here. Already I don't want to go back to Detroit.


October 15

This turned out to be another one of those days. I got up late (again), and ended up on the telephone on hold before breakfast, and when I finally got back to the north end of the house, it was 11:30 and I wasn't even dressed, so I postponed my trip to town till later in the week.


It was just as well, because UPS came and I was able to give them the bad modem, so all of that is taken care of. 


It started out rather warm (mid 40s) and cloudy this morning, but the clouds didn't look much like precipitation, and it didn't. Along about 1:30, the sun came out, and for a while it was really beautiful, although the temperature had dropped to around 40 and it hung there for the rest of the day. The wind has been up around 20mph all day long, too.


By that time, I was writing checks, and of course by the time I was ready to go to the post office, the sun was gone again. Rats. The color was really lovely when the sun was out.


However, all was not lost.  I was eating my TV dinner around 7pm and looking out at the sky, and I grabbed the camera and went running outside, because this is a sample of what I saw. WOW! There was even a hint of a sun pillar. It seems from now until I leave is the time of year for the really spectacular sunsets. If this is a sample, it's going to be fun.


I am a bit disappointed that the webcam doesn't show much of the evening color, but its exposure is set by the brightest part of the sky, apparently, and that washes out most everything until right before dark.


Anyway, I noticed, when I was on the deck, that with the strong wind, it was rather chilly out there. Not the kind of day one would have wanted to be walking on a beach (although I've done it in years past).


Tomorrow afternoon, I am having visitors, so I will have to scurry around and try to straighten things a bit. I don't seem to be able to keep the office and the kitchen neat for more than half a day, unfortunately.


In view of the old "red sky at night" adage, I checked the Weather Underground, and they have indeed revised the weather forecast for tomorrow. It won't be much warmer, but the wind will be less and it's supposed to be partly sunny. Much nicer than what I was reading earlier today that had us getting snow showers all week. John Dee notwithstanding, I often think only a masochist could be a meteorologist. So depending upon my company, I may be able to get some pictures of the leaves after all.


I've noticed another autumn thing: while the deciduous trees are dropping their leaves, all the evergreens are also shedding. They never lose all their needles, but at this time of year, the road is nearly covered with the old needles they are shedding. The cedars look like they're full of rags, too, as their old needles (I guess that's what they are) turn brown and fall off. Very interesting phenomenon. I might have thought the evergreens shed all year long, but they obviously don't. There are a lot of evergreens along Lighthouse Road, and the road is nearly covered with yellow needles in spots. This is a pretty time of year.


Now it's time for bed and dreams of bloody-red sunsets.


October 14

As seems to be my habit lately, all my good intentions about going to bed early last night got forgotten. I didn't quite stay up until the computer went off, but it was close. Then, since I knew I had to get up early, I woke up at 7am and couldn't go back to sleep. So it has been a long day and I will go to bed early tonight.


I did notice, when I was up, that there was a pale whitish glow in the north, but it never got much above the trees, so all I did was turn off the nightlight. I didn't put on my glasses.


I haven't been up that early in a long time, and the clouds were very pretty as the sun began to hit them - at that point they weren't thick enough to cover the sun. That sun isn't rising until around 8:10 EDT now, and it's 'way off to the south. However, it was shining for a while this morning, so I captured the picture from the camera. I didn't go outside myself, because the temperature was somewhere in the upper 20s, and if the workmen were any indication, it was cold out there! I was dressed, but I would have needed my parka, hat and gloves, and the scene would have been gone by the time I got out.


I do think I've discovered why some of my pictures with the Nikon haven't been very sharp lately, so I will do some experimentation, if I see anything worth documenting tomorrow. Even though I don't have to go to the hospital, I do need to lay in some breakfast food, so I plan to go to town unless we are having a blizzard.


The temperatures got up over 50 this afternoon, and it wasn't bad at all. All day long the weather service has been revising its forecasts for the rest of the week. Early this morning, it sounded like we'd skipped fall oltogether and were into winter - temps in the 30s and snow - but now it seems that the temps will get at least into the 40s during the day and the chance of snow is dropping off for most days.  We had a period of real cold around this time last year, too, and then it warmed up some - well, quite a lot, actually. I'm not looking for temps in the 60s this year, though. That was just too unusual.


What with the people around most of the day, I didn't get much done at all, and I sort of fooled around for most of the time. I did clean up the inside of the microwave and wipe down the counter on the stove side, but that was about it. Where the time went, who knows?


Oh - I know where it went. I found the directions for copying some of my pictures to CD, and when I tried it, it gave errors, and I can't see any of the data. I did it twice, so I'm afraid I have pretty much trashed one of my two CD-Rs.  I guess a trip to Office Max is in order, then I can fiddle around some more. These things are supposed to be easy.


The window is in, but they are finishing the inside, so it isn't done. Most of the siding is up, so in a couple of days it should be finished from the outside and I'll take a couple of pictures. I'm pleased with the way it looks...and also the way it works.


So another quiet day in the field, and as soon as I growl at Gateway again, I will be off to the north end.


October 13

Somehow, I managed to be out and about for long enough that I've missed a couple of days of journal, and I'm going to have to stop that. I'll try to catch up, and I have a few pictures.


Friday (the 11th) dawned mostly sunny and warm, and by the time I got ready to go out, it was clear and in the middle 60s with a good south wind blowing. What a beautiful day! My adventures started out on the way to the garage. The breezeway door was open, and a large butterfly (moth?) had flown in and was beating itself against the door. After I took its picture, i tried to shoo it out, but it wasn't going, so I finally picked it up by the wings (which I understand isn't very good for butterflies) and put it out. It flew away like it was very glad to be free.


I noticed, when I went through town that the joint was jumping, but more about that later. My first destination was Lake Manganese, which is a pretty little lake that usually shows a lot of color in the fall. It looked pretty nice, even though it was a bit hazy. Here is another picture, looking more northwest. I sat on a picnic bench and just enjoyed the sun and the breeze.


I next drove down the road a piece, past the Estivant Pines road, and stopped to take one shot out the window of the beaver pond that has been there forever. It always puts on a good show. You can see a bit of the leaves mirrored in the water, although there are a lot more logs than there used to be and the water is quite low in spite of the rain we've had.


There is a nice sign at the Clark Mine now, and several roads that seem to lead down a steep hill to the tailings. It was a little damp and quite steep and I decided I had no reason to want to look at tailings. As I was getting ready to back back up the road, I looked out to my left and found myself almost on top of the old smokestack. I was too close to get the whole thing, but I thought it was a neat  bit of building. I did try to get a shot of it from further away and a different angle, but while I could see it, it was almost hidden behind a big black spruce, and the camera didn't show a thing. 


As I was turning around, I saw a patch of pearly everlasting, the first one I've seen in a long time, so of course I had to stop and take a picture. I've always liked that stuff, but I've never been able to find a way to dry it without having it shed its seeds all over everything. There used to be a lot of it along Lighthouse Road, but I'm afraid that over the years I and all my neighbors picked so much of it that it never got a chance to reseed. Too bad, because it's pretty stuff.


I continued down the road a bit, because I'm pretty sure that a couple of miles southeast of the Clark Mine, it comes to the Montreal River, and it also passes the road we used to walk on to get to our favorite picnic spot. It was awfully wet, however, and not in very good condition, and since I wanted to get to the post office before it closed, I turned around. That road is still on the list, although I doubt I'll get down it until next year. I've always wanted to know where it goes and where it intersects the road we walked on.


After the post office, I took off down US-41 to Lake Medora. There is quite a bit of color there, too, and the lake was quite calm, considering how breezy it was.  I didn't stay long because there was a couple with a dog there who kept glaring at me.


On my way to Medora I had a glimpse down the road we always referred to as the Burma Road (why, I don't know). It is a wide path at US-41, and I've been told that it eventually ends up at the Estivant Pines parking lot, but I've also been told that it gets really ugly before it gets there, so I've never been down it more than a half mile or so. I have fond memories of it, because we were there the day we decided to cut our vacation short - the only time we ever did that, but it snowed on September 22 and didn't stop until we were gone. It was miserably cold, and we had screwed up our motel arrangements and had to move to the mountain lodge into a cabin that had not been renovated and which my mother didn't like. The last day we were there, the sun came out and we took pictures on the Burma road. On my way back to the Harbor, I stopped and only drove in fifty feet or so, and saw this


Before I drove out, I took a shot down the road. It reminded me very strongly of Bilbo Baggins' verse that begins "The road goes ever onward..."


Someday I'll have to go down that road and see for myself how bad it gets.


Friday night, there was a conference of a hundred or so nurses at Mariner, and the place was a real zoo, so I sat at the bar and ate nachos and drank JD until I went home and crashed without even taking a bath. For some reason, the boos hits me harder sometimes than others...and that was a sometimes. However, it did get rid of quite a bit of the fluid in my feet, so I guess it did some good.


I was snoozing away around 3am when my dream was interrupted by a blast of static - like you'd see when a TV station went off the air - and it woke me up to find we'd had a power failure. I definitely did not hear the phones go "bleep", so I'm wondering now if this is more of the same talent that always woke me up before the phone rang when I was working. Weird. Anyway, the power came back on about 6:30, but everybody in town was annoyed by it, because the town was full, and of course all Copper Harbor's water and sewage is pumped by electric pumps too...


The reason for the outage was that the wind had risen to storm force and switched around to the northwest and it was pouring rain again. Saturday was such a nasty day, I didn't even go to the post office. Along about 4pm, however, the rain quit and it actually cleared up a bit, although the temperature was in the low 40s and it was windy.


When I called Harbor Haus, they weren't taking reservations, so I presented myself at 6:30 as usual and waited about 25 minutes...which was good, because Shirley was late, and she got there right before I was called. So I got to have the last fish after all, and it was good. We had a pleasant, if rather late, evening (we did not close down the place, although they were cleaning tables before we left).


It was really windy last night, but I guess I slept well enough that I don't recall any rain. About the time I woke up this morning, however, it began to snow - horizontally - and blow, and for most of the morning, we had snow and sleet and it was truly ugly. The temperature was in the middle 30s and the wind about 20mph with gusts. Before it finally quit, there was maybe half an inch on my new garage roof, so I guess it's been baptized. Even though it didn't warm up much, most of the snow, except for a little crust in a few places, is gone, and the sky was partly clear, with a nice crescent moon, when I came home tonight.


Tonight, I went to Mariner, where the dining room is still open, but there was hardly anybody there, and had my prime rib at a leisurely pace. It was good, too. I was just fooling around with my baked potato when Shirley and Cindy appeared, so we ate together again, which was really nice.


Instead of winding down, tourism has fallen off the edge of a cliff, and Sully decided they can close down the bigger part of the motel. Only the annex is winterized, so that is all they keep open during the winter.


Over the past couple of days, I installed Adobe Photoshop Elements (the cheap one) and slowly I'm learning to use it. It's another area that has its own jargon, and I don't know any of it. That is another reason there hasn't been a journal - I wanted to post the pictures when I wrote, and I had removed PhotoDeluxe, so I had to learn to use Photoshop. Fortunately, most of the pictures didn't need much tweaking, although I did crop the one of the butterfly (every time I got closer to it, it flew away).


I've also decided to take the plunge and write the raw picture data onto a CD. It's taking up 256mb, more or less, on all three computers, and that's space I could use. Besides, so long as it's on disk, there is always the possibility that it could get written over or changed in some way, and I want to keep the originals. That's probably for tomorrow.


I think I've covered everything, and I just had a call from Adam saying the window and the guys will be here tomorrow, at 8am or thereabouts and will I please be prepared, so I guess I'd better get all this stuff uploaded and go sleep fast.


October 10

Oh, joy! Oh rapture! The camera lives, and I am back on the desktop!  The laptop is a lifesaver, but it's not my favorite system for heavy typing...or for playing games. I have an awful time doing my jigsaw puzzle every day on it.


The modem finally arrived at about 4pm today (I guess UPS can't count - I ordered it Saturday and it was shipped Monday, supposedly for 2 day delivery...) and I plugged it in, took a deep breath, switched loads in the washer and dryer...powered it up...and voila! Everything is working just the way it was last Friday when the power went down! Whew!  I remember the feeling distinctly from when I was working - I'm absolutely certain of the problem, but I can't tell you how relieved I am when it actually works the way I expected. It's called crawling out on a limb, and even though the stakes aren't nearly so high any more, thank God it worked! The camera came up at about 5:45 and worked like a champ. So everything is back to normal. I celebrated with a double Jack.


I was strongly reminded of all that last night, because a friend, Mike, and his friend Gary, took me to dinner, and Mike and I reminisced about our days at NBD when everybody had to put up with my stressed-induced grumpiness. Mike is a wonderful guy, and it was great to see him again. They decided to come this way on my recommendation and they just love the area. Of course, they got over into the Porkies and places I haven't been yet, but they're hooked (I always knew it was contagious...).


Anyway, I just plain forgot to do a journal Tuesday, and last night was too late (they finally had to ask us to leave Harbor Haus) to do anything but crash.


Tuesday wasn't a day to write home about anyway, because it poured rain for most of the day and never got over 50, and I didn't do anything much useful except talk to Philippe and get that situation straightened out (I think).


Yesterday was mostly cloudy, but it didn't rain, and I scuttled around all day trying to make the house semi-presentable and get the trash out. I waited too long to do the trash, and I had three full, heavy bags, but the compacter was full, and the operator was just trying to get the old stuff compacted when I got there, so he let me leave the bags there and he had to put them in the machine. Anyway, by the time Mike and Gary showed up, things were about as good as they ever get around here, which was nice. I am not a good housekeeper.


Today dawned cloudy but breaking up, and finally, sometime this afternoon, the clouds rolled away and we had a beautiful afternoon and sunset. I'm sorry that the lights in the room are interfering with the last of the sunset, but I did want to see what I was eating. There. I turned them off, so the next couple of shots should be all right. It's clear - and there is a small crescent moon in the southwest - but there are dark clouds on the horizon again.


The clouds have really made a bust of our northern lights. They've been there every night, but every night there have been clouds in varying thicknesses which made it either difficult or impossible to see what was really going on. Last night it was even clear when we left the restaurant, but it clouded over quickly, so I don't think anybody around here saw much. It looks like the same thing is going to happen tonight.


This has been a lovely evening, even though the sunset wasn't much, because the harbor is nearly calm, and it's so pretty when it's like that.


I understand that the color away from the lake is slowly developing (really slow!) but it's still just beginning around here. The hill behind the Mountain Lodge is beginning to show up nicely (I think it was something like two weeks earlier last year!), and the birches and the small bushes in the underbrush are turning here, but it will probably be a week or two before Brockway is orange.


Good thing, because all the projections say the weekend and next week are going to be the pits - snow on Saturday and Sunday and clouds and rain (or snow) for the first half of next week. However, tomorrow is supposed to be glorious - temps in the upper 60s and sun. If that pans out, I will take off with the camera, I promise.


What a different fall this has been, with (according to John Dee) 8" or more rain for the past six weeks, and hardly a clear sky in between. You pays yo' money and yo' takes yo' chances.


Well, it is just delightful to have everything back together again, so I will celebrate by getting this published and (maybe) going to bed early.


October 7

In spite of myself, it was after midnight when I got to bed last night, and I konked out before my eyes were even used to the dark. When I woke up at 5am, it was instantly clear that the sky to the north was very bright, but it was partly to mostly cloudy, so I it wasn't worth watching much. The northern lights were still there until it began to get light, but there were too many clouds to see what was really going on.


It was a pretty, pretty day today. I'm so sorry the camera is down so nobody could enjoy it with me. It started out pretty cloudy, but the clouds eventually went away, and now it is perfectly clear except for the western horizon, and the sun just dropped behind the hills (when the big computer is off, its monitor makes a great mirror) . 


The night will at least start out clear, and I can hope I see something. Evidently, there is a good possibility for northern lights from last night through Thursday night. If we're lucky, we'll have at least periods of clear skies.


I have to add that the temperature didn't get out of the low 40s today, and it's down in the upper 30s already. Tomorrow is supposed to be a tad warmer but rainy. I keep hoping that at least one of these days, the forecasters will be totally wrong and we'll have some nice weather before the color is all gone.


If it looks nice tomorrow morning, I will go south with the camera, but otherwise I may not.  No use tempting my pocketbook.


Much as I wish the camera was running, it's really nice to sit in the office with the lights on, especially on a day like yesterday, which was so dark all day long. I guess people will just have to get used to seeing the reflection of the lights until I leave.


I decided I wasn't going to get sucked into the games again today - even though I discovered that I have a couple on the laptop that I didn't realize I had. So I worked on hiding the tails on the back of the second half of the coat of many colors. All those little squares leave between two and four tails hanging loose on the back, and I discovered with the other side that it's nicer if I weave them in a piece at a time, instead of waiting until the entire half-coat is done.  That was where I stopped sometime last year, but i wasn't very interested in actually doing the weaving. Since I still haven't decided what I want to embroider after I finish the little Christmas ornament I'm working on, now seemed a good time to get at it.


Otherwise it was very quiet, and I enjoyed the other half of my half duckling from last night for dinner. I will try to go to bed earlier, both in case I see some northern lights tonight and in case it's a nice enough day tomorrow to go to town. Even though I've been retired for six years now (!) I still enjoy these days when there is nothing at all I really have to do and I can fiddle around with anything that takes my fancy, including computer games.


Think clear skies!


October 6

Well, the best laid plans, and all that...It never ceases to amaze me how often the weather people are right when the forecast is bad. It did in fact start raining hard after midnight on Friday (the 4th) and it poured steadily all day long. It was very dreary, but not very cold, and I frankly don't remember what I did for most of the day.


As the afternoon wore on, the rain stopped and the wind picked up with gusts into the 30mph range, and at 6:15 or so, while I was in the middle of getting ready to transmit the contents of a newly modified Excel spreadsheet to my friend Randi, the power bounced three or four times then went down.


So I went to dinner, and met Shirley and her daughter Cindy, and we ate in the Mariner Bar, because with no light, things in the dining room were pretty clogged up and pretty slow. It was pretty slow in the bar, too, but we finally got food and stayed and talked until nearly 10pm...in the dark.


It was mighty dark here, too, so I went downstairs and discovered that the generator is in fact not fixed. I brushed my teeth with bottled water and called UPPCO sounding sort of peeved, and at about 10:30 the power came back on. It bounced a couple of times then, too.


I decided to find out how the computer was, and in a way, I was glad I did, because it had apparently come halfway up then shut itself down. It did that for me a couple of times, too, and when it came up, it informed me I had no video driver...no fancy hi-res graphics. I fiddled around with it for half an hour to no avail, then shut it down and took a bath and went to bed.


In the morning, it was sunny and windy, and it was a glorious day, with whitecaps on the harbor and fair-weather cumulous clouds all day long, and the temperature got up to the low 50s.  I ate my breakfast in the dining room and spent a long time embroidering.


Along about noon, I turned the computer on again and found that while I now have a video card, I do not have the combination ethernet/modem card. No modem. No camera. That was not the error message I was getting, so after fruitlessly fooling around for a while, I called Gateway.




The woman who answered the phone was clearly a speaker of Hindi (or maybe Urdu?) and she had an accent that did not translate well over a telephone line. Besides that, she would not listen to me and insisted that I try a number of things I had already done...then she suggested I reinstall Windows!  Arrgghh!! I guess she got the message when I said "Absolutely not, no way will I do that!"  We fiddled around for another hour or so, and she had me move the modem card to another slot (and when I tried to run diagnostics on it, it still said "cannot open port"). So she emailed me the links to the drivers and told me to reinstall them.


That meant logging on using the laptop, which got all my mail files out of sync - the only thing that saved me was that all 14 out of the 15 email messages were spam. I downloaded the files to the laptop, put them on a floppy (twice  - I evidently have a bad floppy or one that needs reformatting) and moved them to the desktop computer, which I was by then running in "safe mode". 


When I tried to install the drivers from the file, it would get about halfway through the process and hang, so at about 2:30, I had to call again and ask if that was normal (which I knew it was not). So then we had to go through all the checks and trials again, including moving the card, before the second woman (whose accent was just as bad and besides the phone line was very fuzzy) concluded that the card was bad...and they would send me one in five to seven days.


Well, of course I exploded again, since the computer is useless without a modem, considering what I use it for, so I pointed out that there was no reason why, if they had shipped the power supply in two days, they couldn't ship the modem in two days. It took some time to get that across.


For some reason, when tech support determines that the problem is with hardware, it takes an incredibly long time to get the order put through. I must have been on hold for the better part of an hour, during which I fed the cats and made a drink...and was finally able to hang up at 6:30! I figure I spent the better part of five hours on the phone with a bunch of useless people to whom it was impossible to talk.


So I met Shirley for dinner and had a big dinner and an extra drink and went to bed. Blah!


I couldn't do a journal last night, because I needed to move the up-to-date web files to the laptop. This is the royal pain of having three computers - trying to make sure I have the right files on each. 


I tackled the file question (and I also needed to move my mail files) after noon today, and for a change something worked beautifully. There is nothing at all wrong with my USB connections, I finally have Laplink and the tcp/ip ports configured right on both systems, and getting the files over here didn't take much time at all. What a relief! The internet connection is slower to the laptop by a little, but I can do most of what I want to except print, and I may move the printer cable tomorrow so I can print out my crossword puzzles. 


There isn't much else I can do until the modem card comes, except hope fervently that it solves the problem. The camera isn't configured on the laptop, and I really can't move it here, because the laptop has the unpleasant habit of shutting down every so often, and it has to be restarted manually when it does. The laptop wasn't built to be left on 24x7 (I sometimes wonder if the desktop was).


Anyway, I was so tied up with the computer yesterday that I never even got to enjoy the beautiful day. This morning, it started raining sometime before 4am and it poured all day long - again - and the wind has been building all day. It isn't going to get quite so strong as they originally thought (40s instead of 60s) and the waves aren't going to be quite so high (13 to 17 feet instead of 17 to 20 feet), but we are already having a wild and wooly night. The wind is from the northwest, which means I'm not feeling the brunt of it because I'm in the lee of lighthouse point, but the lake is kicking up a real fuss, and the freight train is roaring to beat the band. It's a real shame that the strongest part of the storm will be during the night, because I'd really love to take some pictures...


Oh, yes, I was going to take the camera to dinner to see if I could get some shots from Harbor Haus, and I can't find it. Evidently I took it out of the briefcase when I got home on Tuesday and probably left it on the desk. In the course of making room on the computer desk for the cpu case, I had to move a bunch of stuff, and now everything that was already there is totally buried. Tomorrow I must try to get to bottom again and see if I can find the Nikon.


The temperature hasn't been bad - mostly in the upper 40s - but of course, there is quite a wind chill unless you are in a sheltered spot. I guess the next two days are going to be pretty dreary, though not so windy, then there may be some clearing toward the end of the week.


That would be nice, because I fellow I worked with is going to be here for a few days, and it's always much nicer to see the sights if it's sunny. I'd like to take some pictures of the color as it comes, too, and they just don't have the impact when the sun isn't out. That is, of course, if I can find the camera...


So that has been my wonderful weekend. Tomorrow I must get hold of Philippe, because nobody told the electrician he was supposed to look at the generator, all the switchplates in the breezeway are ivory instead of white, the floodlights on the garage don't work the way I want them to, and the shower still leaks. (That list is mostly for my own benefit, so I don't forget what I want to tell him). I am also seriously thinking about calling both UPPCO and Gateway and get some names and addresses to write formal letters of complaint. Copper Harbor never used to have outages of the duration of the ones we've had this year, and Gateway's tech support used to be good.


Don't expect the live cam to be up until Wednesday at the earliest. Thursday is more like it, actually, although I won't sit around once the card comes - I'll install it right away.


Well, there's never a dull moment in the field...


October 3

Despite my best intentions when I wrote last night's entry, I did not get to bed early. There were some clouds when I went to bed, but around 5am, I woke up and looked out and there were some northern lights, mostly near the horizon, and not nearly so bright as the previous night, but definitely there. It was also quite clear.


I woke up again at 6, and there were no auroras at all - the sky was completely dark, except where the waning crescent moon was shining in the bathroom windows. It was incredibly clear, one of the first pristine nights I've had all summer. I could see all the stars in the Little Dipper through the screens. In fact, it was so clear, I couldn't tell what I was looking at when I looked up. I guess, from the star map, I was seeing Auriga, and if I'd thought to come down and look out the office windows, I would have seen Orion in the south. Instead, I went back to sleep.


I got up at 8:45, and my original thought was to go back to bed for some more sleep, but I felt all right, so I got up instead. It was a gorgeous, clear morning, and it looked good enough to go running out on the deck, but the thermometers said the temperature was in the low 30s! I don't think it frosted here, but I almost certainly did in the interior.


I ate  breakfast at the computer, then eventually went back to the north end and did some embroidery for a while, and when I finally got dressed, the temp was up almost to 50, but it never got much over that. There wasn't much wind, however, so it was actually pretty nice out.


The electrical inspector came just about the time I was going to go to the post office, so I missed that, but he noticed that not only is the garage door operator hooked up, but both controls are on a nail in the garage. Exactly what all the buttons do is not clear, so I will need some directions, but evidently it is possible to lock the door so it can only be opened from the inside or with a keypad on the doorframe. I guess some places that might be necessary, but it certainly isn't here.


The weather people are still insisting it is going to start raining heavily sometime after midnight, even though the maps show that the rain is still a long way away. So it looks like we are in for 12 hours of soaking rain - they said up to 3"!  I sometimes wonder about those people, but they are sometimes more right about their bad forecasts than about the good ones.  As the sun was setting, the clouds started rolling in, and I'm sorry to say the 8:00 picture was spoiled by the lights in the office. I just have the odd desire to see what I'm doing, and it was quite dark by that time.


I finally decided to stop playing with the computer, so I sat in the ugly chair and read while I ate the rest of my beets. DC wanted to sit on my lap - or something - but he went away, and I watched the sun go down into the clouds. It's setting south of Brockway now. It never ceases to amaze me how fast it moves during late summer and fall. Pretty soon it will be out of the picture on the left, and then we'll know it's time for winter.


Now I am going to publish this and actually go to bed and try to catch up on my sleep. If it gets cloudy like they say, there won't be anything to see outside anyway, so I can ignore all that and sleep away.


October 2

Here I was last night, bemoaning the northern lights I missed, and here I am tonight moaning because I didn't get very much sleep last night, because at 3am I was sitting in the window seat watching the northern lights...


I got to playing Bejeweled after I uploaded the website and I didn't get to bed until around 1am. As soon as my eyes began to get used to the dark, I could tell it wasn't very dark outside. I turned off the nightlight and it was clear that the sky was quite bright, and I could see something moving out the front windows. For a while I thought there were clouds, but it wasn't that. There were areas where there were no lights, but otherwise they were pretty much all over the sky, and they were particularly bright in the northwest where I have a view closest to the horizon.


These weren't the fast-moving variety. They changed slowly, and in places they were moving so slowly i had to blink a couple of times to make sure I wasn't seeing things.  There were some wide pillars, but mostly they were billowy clouds coming and going. Around 3am they got really bright, and I spent a while sitting in the window seat watching the shafts of light coming and going.


They were still there at 4am, and I'm pretty sure they were still going on at 5am, but by then it was beginning to cloud up, so all I could see was a light near the horizon in the north and to the east.  They were bright enough to reflect on the bathroom floor through the east windows, but they weren't bright enough to show any color, at least to my old eyes.


One of the (many) things I love about watching the northern lights is that they're never the same twice. I've seen fast moving, slow moving, shafts of light, ribbons of light, clouds of light and all sorts of combinations, and each time they're different and wonderful.


Last night was lovely because there was a pretty strong northerly wind blowing, and the lake was speaking, but it was warm enough that I had the east window in the window seat open.


Tonight I think I'll shut the window.  The temperature (according to the NWS) peaked at about 1am and it's been dropping ever since, and it's now around 45, with a north wind. It's beginning to feel slightly nippy. It probably won't get much cooler here by the big lake, but there is supposed to be frost inland south of Houghton tonight.


It was a cloudy, dreary day all day, but it didn't rain, and it's supposed to clear up a bit over night (maybe some more lights?). It isn't supposed to start raining until Thursday night.


Anyway, as a result of my late night perambulations, I didn't get enough sleep and I felt sort of blah all day, so I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped. I did sweep the floors in the front of the house, but I didn't mop, and I didn't get the trash together. By the time I do, it will be a major undertaking.


Tonight, I took Beulah North to dinner as a going away gift - she has to leave Saturday. She is a very nice lady and we had a nice chat over a very good dinner. Harbor Haus fiddles around with new things in the spring and fall, and tonight it was Beef Wellington, which I haven't had anyplace for 25 years or more, and it was wonderful. 


So I will get this published and try to make myself go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight so I can do something useful tomorrow.


October 1

 My, but I hate to write that!  It's hard to believe that so much time has passed!


I had to go to get my blood test today, but I got up very late and fiddled around with my embroidery, so I didn't get away until nearly noon. It was a very foggy morning, but the temperature was in the low 60s when I left. 


I can report that the color is coming.  I thought it would be, when my birches turned golden nearly overnight, but it will be at least another week before it peaks along US-41, and longer still before Brockway turns.  The interior side of Brockway, and the hills between it and Lake Medora are coming along, and there was some nice color on the covered road, but it was spotty all the way down US-41. It's too early to say whether it will be a brilliant year or not.  There were some nice reds, but the maples haven't turned enough to say for sure.


When I passed Seneca Lake (which is really just a pond) along Cliff Drive, it was foggy and perfectly calm, and I made a mental note to pause on the way back to see if  a good picture could be had in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the wind had picked up and it wasn't calm on the way back, so I did't stop.


It took me an hour and a quarter to get to the hospital, mostly because of the road work between Calumet and Hancock. I'm still not entirely sure what they're doing, but in some places they are putting in new culverts, in a couple of places it looks almost like they may be widening the road, and they are repaving a long section. It is a perfect mess, and it isn't helped by some really excessively law-abiding drivers.


Anyway, after the hospital, I stopped at JoAnn's for a couple of things. I have about 200 floss colors with me (out of the 400-plus there are), and two of the little things I want to work on -  a pair of birds on a hand-painted background by the same designer who did the warblers - call for two colors I don't have here... Well, that could happen any time, unless I bring all the colors. There were a couple of other things. I found that the walk through the mall and around the store just exhausted me, so after a nice leisurely lunch at Ming Gardens, I went to EconoFoods - I was running out of TV dinners and cat food, the two most important items.


By the time I left Houghton, it was sunny and 68. I was too late to stop at Hughes farm, unfortunately, but I thought I might find a place to take a picture on the way back. I didn't, but I was very surprised by the number of cars parked along Cliff Drive. I was also surprised by a guy who turned down it and then proceeded to drive about 50mph...usually those of us who go that way want to go fast, so I passed him. 


One of the reasons I went that way and wanted to go fast was that I encountered a guy in a Toyota who was going a sedate 25mph in the one-lane areas, then speeded up to a whopping 45mph in the four lane section of US-41. I passed him then, but I had to get gas...and would you believe, he was leading the pack when I got out of Calumet. I couldn't believe it, especially when he went 40mph the entire way to Allouez (the speed limit goes up to 50mph out of Kearsarge). Gaaaaaaaaah!


There was another guy I passed around Delaware, but I had the covered road to myself until someone pulled out of the Mountain Lodge, and from the first "Copper Harbor" sign all the way to Fort Wilkins, he went 25mph. Why can't these tourists go home?


In the interests of full disclosure, I have to say that a guy passed me as soon as we got out of the covered road this morning going down, and took off down US-41 at around 75mph (really). That's a little bit more over the speed limit (which is 55mph) than I care to drive, but there are a few locals around here who do.


The covered drive was pretty coming back, with the sun filtering through the trees, and  there was a bit of color in the hills around Lake Medora, but there weren't any vistas that were spectacular enough to stop for. I didn't get home until after 5pm anyway.


It was quite clear when I got home, but some clouds came up as the sun began to set, and it's supposed to be cloudy and cool tonight and tomorrow.


Evidently I did miss some northern lights sometime over the past couple of days, but I didn't see anything spectacular enough to put my glasses on. I figure I have to be able to notice it with my glasses off before it's worth the effort. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes not.


I will be trying to keep an eye on the trees for the next couple of weeks, but I think John Dee is right when he says the color is likely to peak around the end of next week, although by early in the week it ought to be really pretty. Brockway won't turn for a couple of weeks yet. Of course, it could be like it was last year - we had about two days of peak color then we had a gale and all the leaves were gone.


It seems to me that the entire thing is a good two weeks late this year. The kind of color I saw today was what I typically saw around  or before September 21 when I was vacationing here.  If that's true, it should be getting nice around Michigamme and Tahquamenon, because they always turn before Keweenaw does.


So I seem to be tired again, and I have a lot of putting away and sweeping to do tomorrow.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM