A View From the Field









June, 2003


June 30

The end of another month. Good heavens! I don't know where the time goes...it must be while I'm sleeping.


I'm sorry for all the early risers out there that the camera wasn't updating again. The phone line had gotten reset to "Never dial a connection" again. Now what the devil was I doing yesterday?????


It was clear when I went to bed last night, and it was a star-filled night and a beautiful, clear day. It was a little warmer today than yesterday - low 60s, probably, with a nice west wind to keep things moving, and it was lovely. For some reason, the NWS is reporting temperatures in the upper 60s this evening, while my remote sensors are 10º cooler. The breeze coming in the window feels like my thermometers are right. I don't know what their problem is, but frequently the official report is quite different from what I can see and feel. Strange.


It turned out to be a nothing day, for some reason. Even though i went to bed at a reasonable hour last night, I got up late and fooled around long enough that I ended up eating brunch instead of breakfast, and I did not one thing except for a little embroidery all day. Don't know why, but I was tired and lazy the entire day.


Unfortunately, town is beginning to fill up, and it was hard to get to the post office today for all the people walking almost down the center of US-41. It didn't help that there was a big RV parked alongside the road, almost hanging out in the middle of it. And people looked at me like I was the interloper because I wanted to drive down the street! I wasn't even driving fast. I really don't understand the attitude of some people...but I've been over that ground before.


The buzz is that the bugs are on the way out, at least the black flies, which is what the locals refer to when they say the "bugs". There are plenty of mosquitoes and there were house flies at the general store. I'm not sure the report is right - something bit me on the leg through my jeans last week, although that may have been a mosquito. There was one in the house last week, too.


The problem is that when I go out, even when I have a hat on, the black flies and mosquitoes get into my hair and I bring them inside with me. I should try to brush out my hair before I come in, but I usually forget, and then I see little black things flying around.


Well, the NWS to the contrary, it's cooling off nicely now, and I will try to take advantage. The view from the field is calm and lovely tonight.


June 29

It was cloudy all night and into this morning, but it certainly didn't look like it might rain, and between 10 and 11 this morning the clouds started to break up. It took a while, but eventually the skies became almost entirely clear, and the sun shone brightly on the blue water...ahhh! The temperature stayed in the low 50s all day, however, and there was a brisk breeze out of the north. My kind of weather, for sure.


Not that I did a lot. I embroidered for quite a while, and I fixed the lamp. As I suspected, somehow the inside of the socket had gotten pushed down too far, and all I had to do was take the socket to pieces and put it back together and it works fine. I don't know how it got messed up - that lamp is nearest the back of the house and I used it a lot last year so I could see my way through the great room without stepping on a cat.


While DC is usually fairly visible, since he is mostly white, Buster just disappears when it's really dark, and I've already kicked him once this summer, when he was sitting in front of the bathroom door when I came out in the middle of the night. I have a rather dim nightlight in the bathroom,  but I have never turned the lights on after I was in bed in less than an emergency. I prefer to wander around in the dark if I can. But as I've gotten older, it takes longer for my eyes to get used to the dark, so if I've been in a lighted area, sometimes I have to use the lights or a flashlight to see where I'm going. 


It got amusing, because I acquired a selection of little flashlights of various shapes, and I keep them in the office. Eventually they'd all end up in the bedroom, and I'd have to bring them all back. It's light so late these days that I usually leave the office while I can still sort of see, at least to get to the kitchen. I do frequently have to use the floodlights to bring in the bird feeders. Otherwise, I turn lights on and off as I progress north toward the bedroom.


Anyway, Buster knows very well that I can't see in the dark, and he also knows enough to stay out of my way when I am stumbling around the house, so what he was doing that got him kicked, I don't know. Fortunately, it was with a bare foot and I didn't hit him hard, but maybe it taught him a lesson.


Otherwise I did the usual nothing today. It was a pretty day, and it is a very pretty evening.  Yesterday afternoon I took a picture of my field of daisies, then I forgot to upload it to the computer, so there it is. It appears that daisies turn their faces toward the sun, so I really should take a picture in the morning, but you can see that the field is all white. Someplace in my huge stash of old pictures, I have another one from almost the same place that I took at least 15 years ago that looks just about the same. As I said the other day, I don't understand the dynamics of daisies. I will be really interested to see if they come back next year. I know the year after the last picture, there were hardly any. Very strange.


It's quite humid outside today (although it's cool enough that that isn't obvious), and I just looked over toward the Fort, and there is a thick haze over the west campground. It's that time of  year - they're here! i seem to be allergic to wood smoke, so I hope the wind doesn't shift. Right now, the wind is entirely calm, and it is another one of those incredibly lovely evenings.


I will sit in the ugly chair and enjoy it for a while, but I will try not to be quite so late as I was last night. I was restless and I had several of my strange and vivid dreams. Dreams seem to have an internal logic that makes perfect sense while I am in them, and no sense at all when I am awake, leaving me shaking my head and wondering where in the world that came from. I don't give dreams quite the importance some people do, but it's kind of fun to see what will come up out of my unconscious next. However, when I'm dreaming vividly I'm not sleeping so well, and as a result, even though I woke up late this morning, I was tired and a little groggy all day.


So now the ugly chair and the sunset beckon, and I will enjoy my view from the field again.


June 28

One of the fun things about living at the end of the world like I do is that the weather frequently bears no resemblance to what's going on further south or what is forecasted for the area. Last night was a good example. It was beautifully clear all night long, clear enough that I could see the Big Dipper and a good part of the Little Dipper without my glasses. There was also sort of a glow behind the trees, but I would have had to have a clear horizon to the north to see what was actually going on. That kind of northern lights are a frequent thing around here, actually. Most clear nights, there is a glow right at the horizon, and sometimes it gets 20º or 30º up in the sky. Unfortunately, the trees are that high, too, so I don't get to see anything much from my current location. It was also clear enough that besides seeing Arcturus itself, I could see a lot of the other stars in Boötes, too. Kind of neat without my glasses on (and I should emphasize that my eyesight is really terrible).


I woke up right about 6am,  a pretty normal thing for me - I guess it's a relic of all the years when I had to get up then to go to work - and when I looked out the windows, what I saw looked pretty nearly like this. I saved the picture, because I didn't think too many people would be checking the webcam at that hour of the morning on a Saturday. The sun had risen about five minutes earlier. I am eternally grateful that I don't have to get up and get going at that hour, but I am also grateful that I frequently wake up then, because sometimes I get to see sights like that. I guess nobody really wonders anymore why I love it so much here.


By the time I got up for real (at a more realistic 8:30), the sun had burned off the fog and the clouds had disappeared and it was a fantastic morning. It was a little chilly outside - low 50s - but there was very little wind, so it wasn't bad at all. For most of the day, the sun shone between beautiful white, puffy clouds, but it has now clouded over, and they are insisting there may be rain tomorrow. It's possible - there's rain around and south of Duluth - but it's also possible that it will slide off south of us and miss us. I guess we're in for a day of clouds, though. Drat. It's so much nicer when the sky is blue...which should happen Monday.


I ended up spending most of the day embroidering. I finished Summer and started on Autumn, which will take a while, although I did get a good start on it. By the way, I changed the link in the gallery to point to a page which eventually will have all four pieces on it, then link to the individual pictures. That way you will be able to see the four of them together, when I'm done. I will also probably take new pictures when they are mounted, because as you can see, they've gotten quite a bit out of true because of all the diagonal stitching. I'm hoping a good pressing and a good stretching will straighten them out, since I can't use any water on them (that being the reason I got into this in the first place).


I had a very nice dinner with Shirley and her daughter Mary and got home late, so it's time to fetch in the bird feeders and close up for the night.


June 27

The shades of night are falling fast, so I guess I'd better start writing. I think I've mentioned before in these pages that one problem with the long days we have here in the northwoods in the early summer is that I am so used to going to bed after dark that I keep forgetting that it doesn't get dark until nearly 11:00. The sun doesn't set until 9:52 or so, and twilight is long and beautiful...but it's the middle of the night before it's dark. It isn't that I have a problem going to sleep when it's light out, it's just that I forget.


We actually got to see the sunset tonight, and the clear blue sky again, and that was nice. However, it was cloudy and in the low 50s all day with about a 10mph wind out of the northwest...a bit chilly for the end of June, but just fine with me. I put on a sweatshirt and was quite comfortable.


This reminds me of other Junes when I was here, and I much prefer it to the heat and humidity we had earlier in the week. I can do without that any time!  It also reminds me of the problem I used to have when I vacationed here the last week of June and first two weeks of July: when it was cold, it seemed I packed for warm weather and ended up having to buy sweatshirts, and when I packed for cold weather, it was hotter than blazes. I didn't get it right until I packed for everything, which made for an awful lot of luggage and clothes I didn't wear. It's so much nicer to be here and just have to scan the shelves after I consult the weather. I have three or four tops hanging on the clothes tree, so after I consult the weather - and take out the bird feeders - I can just grab the appropriate one.


It was a tad chilly when I took out the bird feeders this morning, wearing only my nightie and a jacket. It's the thing I've always hated about wearing a skirt in the wind: the wind always blows up underneath the skirt. Brr.


I embroidered for quite a while this morning, and I am now in a position to finish "Summer" tomorrow. "Autumn" is the last one, and it is almost all double running stitch, which means a frame, which means slow. I will take a picture of "Summer" as soon as it's done and the light is right.


I did do some sweeping today and some furniture moving, and I discovered that somehow over the winter something happened to the socket of one of the lamps in the great room and it's impossible to screw a bulb completely into it. I took off the lampshade today, but I need tools and a little time to take it apart and put it back together again, so I will try to do that tomorrow. I think I got the rest of the furniture back where it belongs. However, I ended up not having the time to go to the trash compactor, so that will have to wait until Monday.


Philippe came this afternoon, and I am going to finally get my swinging doors between the great room and the kitchen (I think), and he will try to get the hinges. So that will be taken care of, I think. It may take all summer, but it will happen. We also looked at the outside of the north end of the house, and there was no damage in the wind. Apparently the flapping I hear when the wind is high is because there is a little vent on the side of the upstairs wall that flaps. Oh.  So now I won't worry about it.  We didn't see anything that could have gone "clang" against the corner the other night, but it didn't leave a dent.


I also discovered that I have quite a number of blue lupines coming into bloom in the back yard, sticking up above the daisies, for which I am very happy. I do love lupines, and blue is my favorite color. I noticed yesterday that they are out down around Houghton - it was a real temptation to drive down toward Baraga on US-41. Not only are there fields of lupines, but this year looks to be a good one for daisies, and there are old fields down there that look like they are covered with snow when the daisies are out. My field of daisies is in bloom, but it was too cloudy and windy to get any pictures today.


The weekend looks yucky - cool and cloudy with possible showers -  but it should clear up and warm up a bit next week. That will be nice, because I really am going to have to work in the garden. However, I did discover this afternoon that the bugs are still with us, especially in the lee of buildings, and they are still biting, especially on the top of my head. So it's hat and bug spray and long sleeves when outdoors. I probably would wear the hat and long sleeves anyway, because I tend to sunburn easily, and I don't need that, too.


Early this morning when I was up, it was quite cloudy, but it looked suspiciously like there was some light in the north, so I guess we were clouded out of some northern lights. I will watch again tonight.


The view from the field is clear and calm tonight, so I will go up to the north end where I can lie in bed and look out at it.


June 26

Well, I made it to Houghton, but it wasn't easy. I didn't sleep good again - first it was warm and damp, then the wind picked up to the range where it rattles things. However, I got up around 8am, which is early for me, and applied myself diligently to breakfast and loading the dishwasher. Then...when I tried to start the dishwasher, nothing happened. After pushing a few buttons, I looked behind me at the clock on the ovens, and it was blank. Power failure. I must say, it's the first one since last year, but it came at a rather inconvenient time for me.


Of course, I can't flush the toilet or run water to wash my face or brush my teeth, because the holding tank only holds a couple of gallons, and when the power is out, there's no pump. I keep a few gallon jugs of water around, and I used some of that to at least brush my teeth. I do feel greasy and yucky when I can't wash my face in the morning! I'm certainly not as greasy as I once was, but all the oil isn't gone, thank goodness. Keeps the wrinkles to a minimum.


Oh, yes, and the garage has an electric operator. I was embroidering and trying to decide whether to hassle the generator or find the instructions for the garage opener and see how to disconnect it when the phones all said "bleep" and the digital clocks all started to blink. I think the power was off for about an hour and a quarter, which Shirley and I agree was pretty good for UPPCO, with all the wind (10-20mph).


So with all that, I ended up not leaving until 11:30. I was a little embarrassed, because I got behind somebody on the covered road whom I took for a touron, and when I finally passed her, it turned out to be one of our local citizens, and not an elderly one, either. I hope she doesn't take offense, but she was exceptionally cautious. The rest of the trip was fine.


I had to do most of WalMart, including the garden section, because I was looking for several things, most of which I couldn't find. They have very good prices on cat food, but as I sort of suspected, their selection is spotty and they don't restock real fast. They were out of short stakes (the wind blew the blue iris and one poppy over). I have a yen for roasted chicken my way, so i looked for a roaster, which I found, but they didn't have a rack for it. So I guess I will just have to be satisfied with Mariner's baked chicken, which is good, but it's not my way.


Viewers of the live cam will be happy to know that I acquired a squeegee. The other day, after the rain stopped, it was so humid that it took a long time to dry off the window. Besides, I can see that that window is getting rather dirty. Normally, I don't do windows, but I can try to keep that one clean. There was some other stuff I needed...and some I didn't, as is usual when I visit WalMart. Unfortunately, I will have to go every time I go to town, because their prices on paper goods and cleaning supplies are just too low. I will have to try to control myself.


Then it was a good lunch at Ming Gardens, which I refused to rush. It seemed to me the portions were a bit larger today, and it took me a while to pack it all away. I also needed to rest. I was hot and sweaty and my feet hurt by the time I got there. WalMart is a big place!


So is EconoFoods. I have pretty much figured out where everything is now, but of course I had to do the entire store. I remembered when I got home that I forgot to lay in some more crackers...plenty of cheese, but no crackers. Instead of eating three real meals a day, I frequently just have a snack of crackers and cheese in the middle of the afternoon.  I like Carr's water crackers, and our general store doesn't stock them...of course. However, I got most everything else I went for, I think.


At both WalMart and Econo, I got so confused looking at all the laundry detergent that I couldn't remember what I use (really). However, I'm not out of that, so there was no harm done. Evidently WalMart doesn't believe in dishwashers, because there were no dishwasher detergents at all, just plenty of hand washing soap. Oh, well. I'll be going again in a couple of weeks.


It's hard to believe next week is the Fourth of July. How time does fly...


The weather today was nice, by my standards...the temperature got into the middle 60s in Houghton, which made the wind quite tolerable, and there was even a little blue sky here and there. It apparently hung around 60º here in the harbor. With the strong west wind coming right off the lake, it would be surprising if it got warmer. When I got home, it was thickly cloudy, but there is now a bit of blue sky showing again. While all the cool, calm weather we had was just delightful, the wind has blown the bugs away, so maybe tomorrow I can get down to the garden and stake up the plants...on the other hand, Philippe is supposed to show up late in the afternoon, so maybe I'd better scuttle around and at least get the great room put back together.  We shall see.


I do want to get out and take a picture of my field of daisies. They are all in the area north of the house and in front of it, where the last time it looked like that was over 10 years ago. I don't understand the dynamics of daisies at all.


I do know it will be a good night to sleep, and I expect to start real soon, serenaded by the wind.


June 25

Sorry, no pictures today...nor much else either. We had our requisite 4am storm, but it wasn't much and it went mostly north over the lake. However, another one came through around 7:30 and it was violent. I was very glad I'd closed up the house last night, because the winds were swirling around so much it would have come in everywhere. The winds were so strong that the windows and doors at the back of the screen porch were wet almost to the top. There was lots of lightening, too, although none hit the water. Most of the flashes were in the clouds, of course, but there were three or four very strongly branched bolts on the bottom of the clouds. They were interesting shapes - almost fractal forms.


Unfortunately, that disruption of my rest, on top of the night before, left me totally wiped out. I know I said I was going to Houghton today, but it was rainy and hot and I was so tired, I decided to postpone it until tomorrow, when it should be cooler and a little less rainy However, tomorrow is a must. I'm running out of breakfast food again.


I promised myself that if I didn't go to town, I would do something around here, and I did. The kitchen looks as good as it has since last summer, except for the floor. I will try to do some sweeping, at least, on Friday. I have to confess it's times like this when I wish I had a tiny little kitchen. However, when I start whirling around with the pots and pans, I am just as glad it's a big place.


It stopped raining around 10am, and it eventually cooled off some, but it is still so humid the towels aren't drying in 24 hours. I liked it better last week. It's been dull and cloudy all day, but for some time the wind was strong enough that there wasn't much fog. I was just looking at the NWS summary for the past 24 hours, and it's interesting. The wind has been swinging back and forth between southwest and northwest all day long. For a while it was calm late this afternoon, and now it's blowing a bit again, but it's hard to tell the direction.


So I am going to bed soon and try to catch up on my sleep before the next storms come through.


June 24

Oops. I discovered when I got up this morning that I had forgotten to shut the slider in the great room. That was a problem, because at about 4:15 this morning, we had a real humdinger of a thunderstorm, which lasted until 5:00, with as high winds as I've ever experienced here, torrential rain, and fantastic lightening and thunder. One lightening bolt must have hit the harbor water, because it left a wide trail right across my retinas which lasted a minute or so. If it hit, it was down by the fort, so there was no danger to me, but it was pretty close, excruciatingly bright and very noisy.


As a result of the disruption of my sleep, I got up late this morning, and when I saw the weather, I decided to chicken out and go to town tomorrow. When I got up, the temperature was over 70º and it was very humid, and it looked to get real warm real fast, which it did. It was over 80º at 1pm, then a line of storm cells passed south of us, the wind shifted, the temperature plummeted (it's now around 55º), and the fog rolled in. The fog has been coming and going ever since.


The white iris was out this morning, so here is its portrait. A nice reader of the site suggested that the blue iris is "Victoria Falls", so I finally dug out the order list, and in fact it is. The white one (which I forgot I ordered) is "Christmas Time". It is a very pretty flower, but about half the size of "Victoria Falls". I may or may not have lost "Beverly Sills", since there is one iris that isn't blooming this year, and I seem to recall (my mind isn't very good these days) that I put "Beverly" closest to the pond. I don't plan to take any chances, however.


I also determined that the big coral poppy is probably "Pink Ruffles", although I certainly wouldn't call it pink, and the little wine colored one is "Patty's Plum".


I got into all of that because I had some conversations with Jung and finally ended up doing a complete inventory of what they sent me, a lot of which is dead. Evidently either one or two boxes never got here, although one was sent last Wednesday, so it may yet come. I'm not sure what will come of the entire thing, because the person I talked to was rather vague. I don't think I should pay for the dead stuff.


The same correspondent who suggested the name of "Victoria Falls" also gave me a couple of leads to iris growers, so I spent the rest of the day happily in the world of iris, wishing I had 1) an acre to plant and 2) unlimited funds. Some of those varieties are $40 a piece!


Back in the dark ages when we were all young and strong, but after the raccoons took care of my dad's vegetable garden, my mother put a good portion of the back part of the yard on Champine in iris. This was in the '50s, and while they were beautiful, they were extremely susceptible to iris borers and the borers finally got to both my mother and the iris. There was a huge iris garden someplace over on the west side of the metro area that we went to a couple of times and just wallowed in all the lovely flowers.


Anyway, seeing all the beautiful varieties there are today reminded me how much I love iris. I have a couple of places where I can put some, so I ordered a catalog from a grower who has won a lot of medals lately, and I will try to control myself. I keep reminding myself that while iris are very beautiful, they mostly only bloom once, in June, then they are just green and not very pretty. At least the roses, if they grow, will bloom all summer.


The rain did the roses a world of good, and a couple of them are putting out thick stems. The so-called "topsoil" I got is mostly sand, and all I can do is hope for sufficient rain until I get my pump fixed. Oh, yes, another boat anchor.


Well, the fog is now impenetrable, it's cool and clammy (temperature 53º and dew point 52º), and there's another line of thunderstorms over about Duluth which is supposed to get here sometime tonight. and II plan to retire early...oh, yes, and shut the slider before I do! It's cool enough that I don't have to worry about leaving doors and windows open anyway.


So that's the view from the field (such as it is).


June 23

The clouds moved in overnight, and I didn't sleep very well, because I was having a hard time regulating my temperature. I don't think it got below 65º all night long, and when the wind dropped and the humidity went up, it wasn't very comfortable - too cool to be without covers, and too warm for very many. However, when I woke up around 8am, "we" assumed I was getting up, so I did.


It was cloudy but not particularly dark, and perfectly calm. In fact it's been calm all day, until just now, when there is a very small very strong thunderstorm cell down in the middle of the peninsula that is growling and causing winds, but it looks to be moving about due east, so it might not even rain here.


When I looked out the kitchen window, the blue iris was open, and so, it seemed, was the wine poppy, so early in the afternoon, I went down to investigate. Here are the pictures. The iris must be at least six inches high, and if I just put the tips of my spread-out fingers together, I could probably enclose it. Spectacular! Unfortunately, I have no idea what it's name is. The wine poppy looked like a real dud when I looked at it. It is very small, about two inches across, and a rather dull color that doesn't show up very well, like the coral one does. However, when I looked at the picture, I decided it has merit after all. The third poppy with blooms was sort of tipped over like something half stepped on it, but its buds won't open for a while yet. In one of the pictures of the iris, you can see the bud of the other one in the background. It looks like it might be white, although I don't remember ordering a white one. Apparently I lost "Beverly Sills", so I guess I'll have to order another one this fall. I would also like a dark purple one.


The storm cell has passed south of us, but just in case, I think I will shut the windows tonight. All is quiet in the field, again.


June 22

When I got up this morning, there were some clouds, and I thought it wasn't going to be a very nice day. Well, I was wrong. It was already in the middle 60s when I put the feeders out, and it warmed up from there, until about 5pm, when it topped out at around 82º, with full sun and a hazy blue sky. Then the wind shifted and the temperature dropped almost 10º, and now it's just beautiful.


I looked out the kitchen window into the garden when I got there, and low and behold, the first poppy opened overnight. So later in the day, I went down into the garden and took a few pictures. That poppy is about 6" across, and it is just spectacular. Another one, which looks to be sort of mauve, will be out in a day or so, and the blue iris is just taking its good old time about coming out. I am so glad to have gotten a few poppies established. They are sometimes hard to start, but once they're in, so long as they aren't moved, they will last forever, just getting bigger and bigger. I wish the flowers lasted longer, but they are really spectacular early summer flowers.


Otherwise, the heat made me so sleepy I didn't do much else today. I hope we aren't in for a lot of that kind of weather, even though it really wasn't very humid today. I have gotten so used to cool weather that anything over about 75º and I'm miserable. It was certainly too hot and sunny in the garden to do any work today.


When I washed my hair last night, I discovered a strand attached to my ear (I think that's where it was) by a glob of dried blood, and when I turned over onto my right side in the night, there was something on the back of my neck that was so bothersome, I couldn't sleep that way. So the black flies aren't gone yet. I think I've gotten these bites at the post office. I haven't been wearing my hat there, and there are a bunch of bushes right next to the ramp (since I don't do stairs too well. I use the handicap ramp). I've been pausing on it, because on the other side of the bushes is a lilac that I can only smell, and I've been enjoying the scent.  I guess I'll have to be more careful about covering up and moving fast. They must have burrowed through my hair. I guess the season is coming to an end and they're getting anxious...


Last night turned out to be an exceptionally clear one, and tonight is supposed to be clear, too, then the clouds move in for a day or so. I have the awful suspicion that when I finally get the telescope that will put an end to the clear skies...things tend to work that way. But on the other hand, I didn't think I would see the eclipse, either.


So that is summer in the field.


June 21

Happy summer. Summer astronomically began at just after 3pm this afternoon, and it was about as summery as I care to have it in Copper Harbor, Not that it was bad...it was just beautiful, temperature in the mid-70s with a light breeze, cloudless skies, and sparkly waters. Wow.


I had a nice dinner at Mariner, and now the temperature has dropped below 70º and the wind has picked up a bit, and there are a few clouds on the horizon. Still beautiful.


I guess the string is about to run out, although tomorrow should be nice, but a little cloudier, and sometime early next week it may rain. That would be a good thing. It's pretty dry, actually, and a little rain would be welcome, so long as it doesn't last too long and doesn't get too humid.


I guess the boats I saw come into the harbor last night were for a fishing tournament they held today, but fishermen are usually pretty quiet and there wasn't any noise. Town was jumping tonight, but I went to dinner late and there weren't many people in the dining room. They were all in the bar for the awards and the live band, which was loud enough I could hardly hear Shirley talk. It's a wonder everybody in the country isn't deaf. It was nice to get back to my quiet field.


It has been so quiet here that hearing the wind is nice for a change. What a difference from last year, when the wind blew constantly all summer long. I wonder what combination of climate causes things like that to happen, but I don't imagine anybody really knows. 


The cats have been especially somnambulant all day long, which usually indicates a change in the weather. My furry barometers.


Well, my copy of the new Harry Potter book was delivered today and is sitting on my desk. We shall see how long it is before I can't stand it and start reading. It's 870 pages long, so it will take a while to plow through, and if the other books are any indication, I will want to do it in one sitting. I will have to pick my time. At some time, I will want to go back and read all the books again, but I think I will wait until all seven are in print. That is a series to savor.


I didn't do much today. I am working on the middle band of "Summer", which is wide and has a lot of stitching in it, and I cleaned the toilets and used my pumice block to scrape all the rings off them.


There are some thin mauve clouds in the southwest, so that means the sun has set and it's time for me to set, too.


June 20

Words fail me. It was another superlative day, a little warmer than yesterday but just as fabulous. When I got up this morning (a little earlier than I wanted to, but "we" evidently decided it was the time) the harbor was a mirror again, and it was quite pleasant outside - mid 50s and no wind at all. It continued to be calm all day, until about 8pm, when a little breeze sprang up, although I'm not entirely sure what direction it's from. The official temperature never got much over 60º, but it was more nearly 70º here. 


I finally got the plants down under the deck and opened the boxes. The roses look great, but the stuff I got from Jung...well, time will tell. Maybe tomorrow I can start digging out the winter cress and daisies.  The winter cress is all over, and about three feet high, and it seems most of the daisies are in the wrong place: I even found a tiny Siberian iris growing up in the middle of one. It's going to bloom, too.


While I was in the garden, I kept smelling something besides the lilacs, and I finally realized that enough of the wild roses are out that I can smell them. It will get better, too. 


Otherwise, I just enjoyed the weather. I spent a long time tonight sitting in the ugly chair knitting and watching the birds. Earlier in the evening, there was a loon fishing about half a mile out in the harbor.


I was a bit dismayed when about six small power boats came into the harbor this evening. I hope they won't disrupt the quiet over the weekend. I know there will be ATV's - I heard them today. I have no especial dislike of power boats, ATV's or snowmobiles; in fact, I think all of them would probably be fun to use. However, I have a big problem with the people who do use them, who want to go as fast as possible and make as much noise as possible. Not only is it dangerous, it's clear they have absolutely no regard for anybody else in the world, who may not like all the noise and dust (on the roads) or waves (on the harbor). I almost hesitate even to mention it, but so far this year, there hasn't been a jet ski on the harbor. I suppose there will be before the summer is over. The idea that anybody might prefer quiet is beyond these people...if they think at all. Probably they don't.


Tonight I am absolutely going to bed early, birds or no birds. I guess if I can go out in my nightie to put the feeders out, I can do the same to bring the feeders in.


It's peaceful in the field tonight.


June 19

I'm not exactly sure what came over me. Hopefully, it is just a passing phase, and if I sit quietly, it will go away...I got up early (for me) this morning, ate breakfast right away, did my embroidery and got into the office at noon. Instead of sitting down at the computer, I got my hat and my camera and went out to the north end of my lot. I said I wanted to capture the lilacs while they were in full bloom, and I did. I really appreciate all the work Walter and his sons did back in the '60s. I strongly suspect all the flowers are on my side, which is a shame for them, but I certainly enjoy them!


I think you can see that it was another day that defies superlatives, although when I went out, the temperature was only about 50º and there was a brisk northwest wind blowing. The result was that it was one of those days where you roast on one side and freeze on the other, depending upon where you are and what direction you're facing. I had a sweatshirt on, and by the time I came in, I was very warm and sweaty, but if I had been more lightly dressed, I would have been frozen. Even 10mph winds are frigid at 50º! That's all right...I'll take everything I can get!  It should be warmer tomorrow, and that's all right, too. I just keep three or four different shirts going and try to pick the most appropriate.


I was hot when I came in because I actually walked around that quarter of my yard for the first time in a very long time. It's not exactly the best part of the area, except for the lilacs. Parts of it are pebbly, and parts seem to be almost solid rock, covered with lichens and a few anemic bearberries. I got warm because footing is not the best out there, and I'm not too steady on my feet anyway. I was down by the cliff edge near the lilacs, then I walked across between the picnic tree and the tree at the edge of the cliff (the thick one you can see in the webcam), past the place where my mother stood on the ant nest while spotting for me the day I was trying to take pictures of the loons with the 400mm lens, and into the garden the back way. 


Things in the garden are looking good, and the weeds are growing like...well, weeds. One of the poppies is going to have several flowers, and two others will have one each. One of the iris is showing a little color, and it appears to be a medium dark blue. One of the peonies may have some flowers, but neither the peony nor the iris that bloomed last year will this year. There is going to be one flower on the anemic little Siberian iris


The blue-eyed grass flowers were all gone, which I expected, since they seem to last only a day. I walked up the incline, and after sitting on the steps for a few moments, I continued down the driveway and got a picture of the wild phlox. Then I came in and sat down for a while and had a drink. It wasn't quite like walking on the sidewalk.


I regret to report that it's still very buggy.  I was well-prepared with bug spray and my hat, so nothing bit me outside, but I think I brought a few flying critters in with me, and it feels like one bit me on the top of the head.


It's actually hard for me to tell sometimes whether or not I have actually been bit, because when things start flying around me, I start to itch in all the appropriate places. Most of the time lately, it's just been a sympathetic itch. 


What a beautiful day it was...still is, for that matter. I'm doing this quite early (for me), because when I get up early, I have to go to bed early. I will probably get the bird feeders in around sunset tonight. That's a bit early for the birds, but that's too bad.


The breeze has dropped now, and the harbor, especially this end, is just like a mirror, with the golden light of sunset shining on the trees. What glorious weather! So I will go to sleep dreaming of the smell of lilacs...


June 18

By the time I went for the bird feeders last night, the temperature was in the high 50s and the fog was gone, but before I climbed into bed, the fog had rolled in and it stayed that way until after 9am this morning. Then it cleared up and it has been another one of those days...except that right now there are clouds passing overhead, that nobody predicted. I will trust they go away so if there are northern lights I will be able to see them.


I need to cut short my embroidery to take a picture of the lilac hedge between me and my neighbor to the north. They are in full bloom and they are of several different varieties. Walter told me they bought some, but they also dug up some from abandoned houses back in the 60s. They run from even with my house to where the cliff drops off to the shore. The nice thing is that with all the northerly winds we have around here, they have seeded on my side of the property, and there are little bushes growing up all over. Whether they will ever get big, I don't know - the ground is pretty pebbly there. I need to go and smell them, too.


The cow vetch along the road between the fort and town is coming out, the daisies are beginning to bloom (and the winter cress go away!), and beside the entrance to my road there are a few early wild roses in bloom. So I guess we have passed over from late spring to early summer, so far as the wildflowers are concerned.


Cow vetch is a purple vine, and when the daisies and buttercups are in bloom the three of them make the roadside really colorful. There are some kind of flowers, maybe some wiled phlox, and something else I don't recognize at all, growing along my driveway, from the wildflower seeds I sowed in the fall of 2001, and this year, the rest of the perennials should bloom, too. It will be interesting to see what I get. There is one lupine beside the deck steps outside my bedroom that I am most anxious to see. That's not the best spot for a lupine, since they prefer more moisture, but I think they're tough. We'll see.


After my run-in with the black fly the other day, I haven't been out in the garden again.


It's taken three days, but I think they guy who was grading the road is finally finished. It's certainly not like a real road, but for a logging trail, it's pretty smooth. I can go 20mph the entire way without worrying about breaking something, either in me or the car. I am most interested to see how long the grading lasts. They laid down several loads of mine rock, and I think they did a much more thorough job this year, so we shall see. Eventually it all washes out, and we are left with the humps and hollows in the underlying bedrock, but maybe this will last a while.


Oh, yes, the temperature today was in the middle 50s all day with a light north to northwest wind. Lovely, lovely weather indeed!


While I was eating my dinner, Buster started bombing around, then there was a huge crash, and he disappeared. A little later I found him curled up in one of the bistro chairs (the table and chairs I got for the porch) on my jacket, looking quite chastised and embarrassed. He evidently careened into the mover's dolly, which was slanted up against the wall across from the basement door, and he knocked it over. It looked like the crash scared him more than it did me. I don't know exactly what gets into him every so often, but he kind of goes nuts. By the time DC was 8 years old, he had settled down a bit more than that.


So that is the view from the quiet field.


June 17

Well, it didn't rain, but there wasn't much sunshine, either, and the temperature just hung in the mid 50s all day. Then, just a little while ago, all of a sudden, a gust of wind blew, the temperature dropped eight or nine degrees, and the fog rolled in. that lasted for half an hour or so, then the fog rolled out. Wonderful weather we have around here. Every so often one of those gusts of wind come by. I would love to know where they come from.


I've seen it be perfectly calm, then blow half a gale for ten minutes, and be perfectly calm again. It all has to do with the big lake, I'm sure, but it's mighty weird.


They are predicting a possible thunderstorm for a bit later this evening. That would be nice. I enjoy thunderstorms in the harbor, especially when the thunder echoes off the hills. It's another time when I wish I had more of a view of the big lake. There's nothing quite so awe-inspiring as seeing bolt after bolt of lightening hitting the surface of the lake.


Which brings back another night when my mother and I sat in Room 33 and watched a heavy squall pass by a mile or two out in the lake, with four and five bolts of lightening hitting the water at a time. Not a drop of water fell on the harbor, but it sure was hairy out in the lake!


I love this place, and I can't believe I'm really so lucky as to be living here, but part of the reason it's my favorite place is all the good memories...almost 40 years' worth now...of the great times and laughter and love I shared with my family. None of us was perfect by any means, and neither was our family life, but when we were here, it was always great. I will always be sorry my mom and dad couldn't have shared the house here, but I treasure the memories of the times we did have.


When I see my mind slipping down a route like the above, it doesn't surprise me at all that I have such weird and wonderful dreams. Mind is amazing.


So far as the real world is concerned, I packed away the cat food and a few other things today and got the chair and the two plastic crates out of the middle of the kitchen floor. It should be a bit easier to move around in there now. Otherwise, it was a slow day. 


I guess it's supposed to be cloudy all night tonight but clear up tomorrow, and the sunspots that didn't produce northern lights at the end of May are coming into view again and still burping x-rays toward us, so tomorrow and Friday nights there could be a light show. 


So I guess the thing to do is sleep long tonight and get ready. The temperature should be ideal.


June 16

I've run out of superlatives. All I can say is that it was another one. Today got a little warmer, and in fact, around 7pm, when the wind dropped, it was officially 74º. I opened the slider in the office, and I even turned on the fan. I am going to have to see about getting the little table and two chairs out onto the porch, although with what wind there was from the south, it was a tad warm out there around dinnertime.


Most of today's observations were aural. Early in the afternoon, I heard the loon calling for the first time this year. It sounded like it was across the harbor, although I couldn't see anything, and it's really hard to get a bearing on a loon call anyway. Then while I was reheating my dinner, I had to turn off the radio, because some kind of woodpecker, was drumming. The hummingbirds were buzzing around the feeder all day (I guess it must have run out of nectar rather early yesterday - at least it was completely dry when I took it in last night!), and when I went out to determine whether I actually remembered how to use the camera, I was buzzed by one very impatient hummer.


As to the camera, I think I have it straight, but I will have to try it on something other than the other side of the harbor to be sure.


I got to bed late last night - too much Bookworm - and I didn't sleep very well. I think I was warm, but it's hard to tell, since the symptom seemed to be that both my ears were sore. I know I had more strange and interesting dreams. My mother once said, when she was a little older than I am now, that she didn't like to sleep in because of the dreams. I don't know what she dreamt, but I find some of the weird things that come out of my subconscious are fascinating. Leaves me wondering where in the world that came from! So I slept in this morning.


I did start "Summer" and got a little more than three of the corner bands done. This one may take longer, because it has a lot of double running stitch so I have to stitch it in a frame, and that's slower. We shall see.


I promised myself that I would do trash today, so I gathered up all the stuff that was lying around and hauled it off to the compactor (which was full of flies - yuck!). When I came home, I walked into the kitchen, and was quite shocked to see that the counter between the sink and the fridge had empty space on it!  I have got to figure out a system to keep an orange trash bag ready, so I will throw away the plastic bottles and cartons. They take up too much room in the wastebaskets, so I have been just leaving them around (and walked right by one at least six times before I finally saw it!), which clutters up the counters no end.


Now all I have to do is clean up the stove again (I am an exceptionally messy cook!) and the kitchen will not look too bad. It would be nice to put away all the stuff in plastic bags, but that will come.


I brought my horizontal hand cart up to the breezeway so I can move the plants down under the deck, but I didn't do that, because on my way home, I discovered that the black flies are not all gone and one had taken a chunk out of my forehead under my hair and left blood flowing down my face. So when I go out into the garden, I shall have to prepare. It was hot down there today, anyway.


Of the 14 roses I planted last year, I seem to have lost three, which is pretty good, considering how little care they got. The peony that bloomed last year and the iris that tried to bloom aren't going to this year, but one of the other peonies looks like it might, the other two iris  that survived have buds, and three of the four poppies have huge buds on them and look very healthy. I know I've seen the most spectacular poppies in this part of the country. They evidently like it cool and sunny. The fourth poppy looks pretty puny, but I will move some of the mulch away from it and maybe give it a little fertilizer and see. I have the horrible suspicion that the poppies that will be growing are not the ones I particularly wanted.


Only one Siberian iris survived, and it looks very puny. Near it was some blue-eyed grass (I must try to get a picture) and some enormous wild daisies. I said I like daisies, but I think I will have to excise these from my garden bed, or they will take over everything.


Apparently I was not the only person who noticed that our road was in pretty bad shape, and today someone was out here with a grader and some mine rock, and it is really much better, although he didn't do such a hot job on the hill. The grader is still here, though, so maybe he will be coming back tomorrow. It was nice not to have to drive like I was OUIL in order to avoid the potholes, and the drive was pretty smooth. Unfortunately, it won't last. Traffic and running water will do their work, and  by the time I leave it will be just as bumpy as it was when I got here.


For the rest of the afternoon, I just sat and enjoyed. The cooler weather was lovely, but I do like it warm enough to have the windows and doors open...but 75º is just about as high as I want to go. It's cooling off nicely now, and I hope the bedroom is cool, too. DC may like it warm, but I don't.


So that is another outstanding day in the field.


June 15

Besides, it keeps getting better and better! Not only was it a sunny day with very little wind, but the temperature peaked out in the low 70s for the first time. It was glorious, in spite of some high clouds, so glorious that I just sat and wallowed in it. It hardly seems right that we should have such a long stretch of what I think is perfect weather! There may be a little rain next week, but this should continue for at least tomorrow. 


I did finish the embroidery I was working on, and I took a couple of pictures of the last two pieces. You have to remember that neither of these has been blocked, so they are kind of rumpled looking, and I didn't hang them up with a level, so they aren't straight. Anyway, here is Angel Procession, by Teresa Wenzler. This is the piece that took me so long to complete. The small picture doesn't show all the quarter stitches and things. Here is Spring, by Catherine Strickler of Indigo Rose. This is the one I finished (for the second time) this morning. The thread in the big diamonds ran when I washed the first one, and it just didn't look good. I don't plan to wash this one. With a good pressing and a good stretching on the mounting board, it should look all right, and much better than the first one. Tomorrow I will start on "Summer".


I had some notion of going out and taking some pictures later this afternoon, but I didn't like the light. I need to do some experimenting with the camera to see if I can figure out (again! I think I did this last year) what I need to do to make sure my scenes are really in focus. I am beginning to wonder a bit if maybe it's the camera?  So I have to experiment.


Anyway, the light was all wrong at 6pm, but then I looked out the kitchen door and there was Buster, sitting like an Egyptian statue in the sun. He moved before I could try again. Black cats are terribly hard to take pictures of, because their fur just seems to absorb all the light. Buster has a very shiny coat, however, so you can see something. I'm not sure why, but he almost always sits, lies, and sleeps with everything as tucked in as it can get. In this picture, his tail is wrapped tight around his side, and the end curls up over his haunch. He sits that way a lot. When he sleeps, he curls himself into the tightest possible ball, with his front feet over his rear feet and his tail between his legs, and sometimes with his head turned upside down. I know he didn't learn all that since he's been with me, but he is just an excessively neat cat. In the bright sunlight you can see a bit of a brownish shade to his coat. While the long, shiny guard hairs are all perfectly black, his soft undercoat is actually very dark brown and black stripes, but you have to get close when he is lying in the sun to see that. I believe there is a lot of Siamese in his ancestry, which comes out in the shape of his head, the curl of his tail, and his voice. He is also the most self-centered cat I have ever known, another Siamese trait. But he is very loving and sometimes very funny.


The last picture I have to share is one someone pointed out to me, for which I thank her. The camera finally caught a crow standing on tippy-toe with his head in the feeder. They know when I'm around and fly off, but I was someplace else when that picture was taken, so he had his fill. It surprises me that they are around the feeding station at all, since last year, they weren't. I don't know if the excessively cold winter did something to what they usually eat (whatever that is), or they're just lazy. However, putting out "no crows" signs wouldn't help much, so I put up with it. You can also see what a pretty morning it was.


There were a few clouds in the sky at sunset, but tomorrow and Tuesday are supposed to be just as lovely as today. That would be nice. Then there will be a little rain, and then it will get beautiful again. John Dee is predicting warmer weather for next weekend. I hope that doesn't happen here. These past few weeks have been just perfect, so far as I'm concerned.


So it's time to fetch in the feeders and toddle up to the north end again, to dream about clear blue skies, clear blue waters, and bright green trees. Aaahhh!!


June 14

This is getting boring to talk about. Not that it's boring to experience.


When I went to bed last night, the fog was so thick that not only could I not see the lights of town, I couldn't see the lighthouse!  The moon was lighting up the fog, and for a while it shone in the windows, but mostly it was very foggy.


However, when I got up this morning, it was another fantastic day, a little cooler than yesterday, but beautiful blue skies and beautiful blue waters.  The temperature barely got over 60º, at 8pm, but for most of the day it was in the middle 50s with either a light north wind or no wind. Once, the fog rolled in for a brief time, and it just did that again, although both times it didn't last long. Just unbelievably perfect weather! It can last all summer, so far as I'm concerned.


Nothing much got done, except for some embroidery. I actually brought the project to the office, and I think I have three more little bands to do, so it will probably be finished tomorrow, then I can go on to the next one. I spent a lot of time looking out the windows. The report I have is that it is very buggy still, so that is my excuse.


I stashed away the pots and pans I washed yesterday, and I actually had to wash dishes because the dishwasher was full, and I couldn't get everything in it. Very strange, but I don't think this dishwasher packs so well as the older one on Champine. Usually, I do dishes when I run out of cat dishes, and very rarely is the dishwasher full. I'm not quite sure what happened this time.


I had just finished hanging up the bird feeders this morning when I heard something like a motor running, and when I turned to see what it was, there was a male hummingbird about three feet behind me. He was in the sun, and I have never seen the green of his back and the red of his throat so well. They seemed to glitter like they were made of little jewels. He is a very pretty bird.  I seem to have a real flock of goldfinches, at least six pairs, and they were in the feeders for most of the day. The little birds scoot when the blue jay or the crows turn up, not that they aren't faster than the bigger birds, but they just don't trust them. I know both jays and crows will take nestlings when they can get them, so I suppose that's the reason.


The shades of night are falling fast, and it feels like I used my eyes too much today, so I will stop.


June 13

Friday the thirteenth, and another incredibly beautiful day in Copper Harbor! My mother was born on a Friday the 13th (of August), so I've always considered that a lucky day. Today was certainly gorgeous! Maybe nature is trying to make up for some of the not-so-good weather we've had since I moved into Rainbow's End.


When I awoke, rather late, after a truly beautiful dream  which ended as I was part of a choir singing a lovely Latin motet (that I have never heard before - interesting phenomenon) with lots of Lauddate Dominum" and "Jubilate Deo", it was rather cloudy but it didn't look rainy. The sun soon began to peak through, and the temperature was in the low 60s - the first time it's been that warm so early so far.  Around noon the temperature peaked out in the mid-60s, then the wind dropped and switched around toward the north, and the temperature has been dropping ever since, until now it's below 50º. Another reason to love the big lake! The sky soon cleared up completely, although it was somewhat hazy this afternoon, since the humidity is quite high. It has been a fantastic afternoon!


It ended nicely, thank you, with a message from the Weather Underground apologizing for my upset and telling me that the offending picture had been removed. So, it turns out, have all the other pictures that the same person uploaded, and he/she got a nasty little email from the Weather Underground. They did say it's sometimes hard to tell who is the author of an image, which is true, especially when the person doing the uploading doesn't say anything at all about themselves. One might assume that "Captured from webcam" as a caption on an image meant the uploader's webcam. And that was why I complained.


I rather expected that outcome, since all the other interactions I've had with those people have been first-class. So as a result, I relented and uploaded half a dozen of the pictures I like most. I didn't send them the picture that had been deleted, because, as I said last night, I don't consider it really worthy of what the webcam can show.


So far as my other accomplishments for the day, I finished the center band of the embroidery piece and most of the next band, so the rest will go quickly, although I guess it will take about 10 days to do each one. Rats. And I washed all the pots and pans from this week's cooking. The next time I went into the kitchen and saw the sink with nothing in it, it was quite a shock. I also spent quite a while sitting in the ugly chair, knitting with a black cat on my lap and drinking my JD. If I hadn't had my country ribs, I would have gone to Mariner tonight, because the dining room is open, but it was just too nice to sit here and look at my view.


It is now nearly sunset (at 9:53, for heaven's sake!) and nearly calm. There are some clouds in the west over the mountain, but most of the sky is beautifully clear. Seeing won't be so good tonight, because the moon is only one day from full. Until the clouds came up last night, it was incredibly bright, shining in the front windows.


So I will call it a day (just as the radio starts playing brass music!) and toddle off to the north end.


June 12

I am happy to report that there was no pitter-patter of little feet outside my window last night, and we had a long and peaceful sleep. For the early part of the night, the moon was very bright (about three-quarters full), but it set behind clouds, so I assumed it was cloudy out. Well!


When I got up, it was another absolutely gorgeous morning, not a cloud in the sky, everything all blue and new green, with a temperature in the low 50s. It just gets better and better!


It did start to cloud up around 2pm, but currently, the clouds aren't wall-to-wall,  and right now, the sky is rather pretty. I guess it is supposed to rain tomorrow, but oh, well. And the high temperature was in the mid-60s, for the first time. Very, very nice.


It would have been even better if I'd taken advantage of it, but I didn't, except to enjoy the harbor and the lovely breeze. I did begin to fill the dishwasher and put yesterday's pots to soak, but there were some bills to pay and some packages to open. Tomorrow is another day...


There are apparently several crows and/or ravens hanging around the feeders, and sometimes they get their beaks in, but they keep a wary eye out, and they seem to be able to tell when I am watching them. Buster doesn't bother them, but they bother Buster. Why he is so attracted to big birds, I do not know, but when he sees a blue jay or anything bigger, he squeaks and chatters and gets really excited. He watches the little birds, but only because they move, I think. 


The hummingbirds I saw yesterday are really hanging around the pine, and I wonder if maybe they are going to try to nest here. It has its advantages: so long as I take the feeders in at night, there's a ready source of nectar, and it's a pretty good tree. The "Birder's Handbook" says they do occasionally nest in pines. I will have to (carefully) look around and see if I can find a nest. That would be exciting.


I was a bit perturbed to discover a picture from the webcam of last night appearing in the photo gallery of the Weather Underground. I certainly didn't contribute it, and I have no idea how it got there. It ticks me off, because those are my pictures, and I haven't decided whether I want to contribute them to the Weather Underground or not. While I know, since the web is universally accessible, anybody can grab off an image, it annoys me when somebody else decides one of my images should be contributed to a third party. At least it was a webcam shot, and not one of the other pictures, but still. Anyhow, I fired off a huffy email to WU, and we'll see what they say. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can see on the pages that tells me who "rozebudred" is or provides an email where I can contact him/her. So I am annoyed. While it was nice that he/she thought my picture was pretty enough to contribute (although it wasn't the nicest one, in my opinion), frankly, my dear, I'd rather do it myself. And, of course, he/she gets the credits, rather than me.


So that is the view from the field, which is now getting pretty cloudy...


June 11

Ah, the joys of living in the woods! Around 2:30 this morning, I was wakened abruptly to loud thumping on the deck outside my window, accompanied by loud squeals. Before I could move much, the thumping stopped, but the squeals continued out into the side yard. I now think Mr. Coon is more likely Mrs. Coon, and she brought the kids along last night to show them all the good spots where you have to check for dotty old ladies who forget to take in their bird feeders. The bird feeders were in, even though I had to go out in the fog and drizzle to do it. It would sure be fun to see the squealers, but I'm not sure how I could do that without staking out the feeding station all night long. The only one who probably knows is Buster, and he ain't talkin'.


Anyway, that broke my rest sufficiently that the only reason I got up at the usual time was that I had abdominal cramps, probably as a result of a large helping of asparagus plus the first raw fruit (a nectarine and an apricot, neither very good) of the season. After i got that taken care of and had breakfast, it was already late, and frankly, I didn't feel very good. So I ignored all my good intentions.


The fog was so thick all night long that I couldn't even see the lighthouse (no great loss), and it lasted until 9am or so before the sun burned it off and revealed an another absolutely awesome day. When I took the bird feeders out, my nose was running too much to take a deep breath, so while I was cooking this evening, I went onto the porch and breathed deep.


I don't know that I've mentioned lately that one of my great joys of living in this place is how it smells - or doesn't smell. When the wind is off the lake, like today, or when it just starts to rain after a dry spell, everything smells so good I could almost hyperventilate. That's especially true when it's cool, like it was today. The temperature was in the mid-40s almost all day, and it was a pleasure just to breathe. The downside to that is that when the wind comes over Ft. Wilkins, or somebody drives by in an old truck, I can smell that, too. It was strange for a while, because I was smelling things like pipe tobacco and cigars (from where, I don't know, although there is some construction going on out here), and when my neighbors were here, I could smell their cigarettes. And occasionally when it's damp and the wind is light, I can detect the unpleasant odor of diesel from the lake, and burned gasoline from the ATV's and motorcycles on the road. There are days like yesterday and today, however, when there is nothing but the clean odor of fresh water and new woods. Ahh!


Shortly after I put the feeders out this morning, I glanced out, and there was my raven sitting on the post near the feeder, stretching his neck and eating seed. Ravens must know people don't like them very well, because he saw me...I could see him cock his eye in my direction...and he flew off right away. When I put the feeder where I did, I didn't expect anything quite that big to try to eat out of it.


Late this afternoon, while my country ribs were cooking (a success, by the way - the first time I've used the oven for anything but steaks and pizza) I sat down in the ugly chair to knit and enjoy the view. There weren't a lot of birds, but I did see a hummingbird doing his mating dance, a deep U back and forth, like he was attached to a string. I think the female kept trying to peck him, because he kept flying off, but he was persistent. She is probably just playing hard-to-get, or her hormones and his haven't peaked at quite the same time. A little later, of all things, there was a downy woodpecker in the feeder! The book says they do eat seeds, but he was having a hard time. He kept pecking at the cylinders, or a little later, he was clinging to the bottom of the feeder, which is metal, and pecking at it. Even when he got his beak into the hole, he kept pecking at the back of it instead of dipping into the seed. Not the smartest bird.


I have a camera strap that has areas to cross stitch (25 count over one, which is why I haven't done much on it), and I was going to put a cardinal and a blue jay on it, but after watching the feeders a while, I think I am going to do a chickadee instead of the blue jay. I admire chickadees. They are teensy little things, but they are smart and fearless, and they usually get what they want. My kind of bird.


So this has turned out to be a quieter day than I thought it would be. I'm hoping there are no coon races on my deck tonight. The plants I ordered from Jung came today, and the kitchen is a disaster again (a scullery maid would be very useful), so I have a few things to do. If it stays as cool as it has been, the bugs won't be too much of a problem, and I need to plant, after I clean and put away groceries.


So I will call this a night, and sit in the ugly chair until I can haul in the feeders, and then to bed...


June 10

It's the end of a dreary, foggy day, and I have not much to report but that. The weather was cloudy and nearly calm for most of the day, with temps in the low 50s. There was a dribble of rain starting around the time I went to the post office, and around 3:30 the fog started to roll in until the harbor totally disappeared. Night feel early.


I seem to have an "on" day followed by an "off" day and today was the "off" kind, and I really didn't accomplish much except the usual embroidery.


i did get a little bottle of red wine - the general store sells splits, and Kelly tells me they do quite a business in them during the summer. It is convenient for me, since I don't expect to use very much, and I don't drink red wine. However, I just didn't feel like getting into the braised beef this afternoon, so I will try it tomorrow. Tonight, I had a large helping of fresh asparagus and a steak from the freezer. 


I am now waiting until one of the fleece throws dries, because I forgot that when Buster licks the juice off the plate, it comes right back up, and unlike DC, who finds something on the floor to barf on, Buster does it where ever he happens to be. The next time I have steak, I will try to remember not to let him have the juice. 


He has a sort of delicate stomach anyway. There is one kind of dry cat food that he just loves that I had to stop giving him, because after we got here last summer, he simply couldn't keep it down. Some cats just are that way, but Buster is the first one I've had, and I'm not used to it.


I forgot to mention yesterday that after I got home, I was looking out at the deck when a very large bird landed on one of the posts of the deck railing. He was only there for a minute, but I am pretty sure it was a raven. He had a tuft of feathers under his chin at the base of his beak where the Peterson guide shows an arrow, and he was very large indeed. I would like to see a crow and a raven side by side sometime, to compare them, but that guy was most likely a raven. I think the other ones who have been investigating the feeding station are probably crows.


There were not many visitors to the feeders today, that I saw, and I doubt there were any hummingbirds, especially late in the day, when it got so damp. It was just one of those days where we all felt like sleeping. The cats did, and shortly, so will I.


Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and a bit warmer, so there will actually be a view from the field again, instead of a wall of white. That will be worth looking forward to.


June 9

Today was a much nicer day, although it was cloudy and breezy when I got up this morning. I decided to go to Houghton, after I drank the last of my orange juice. I sometimes eat strange things for breakfast lately, but I cannot get off the launch pad without my orange juice, and I like the kind that isn't made from concentrate. A long time ago I decided that at least with the things I find essential - orange juice and toilet paper are two  of them - I am not going to try to cut corners.


I didn't get an early start, but there was almost no one on the road. I had to pass two cars going down. From Cliff Drive south, there are apple trees and pin cherries, for sure, in blossom, and a lot of other trees with white flowers, and the closer I got to Hancock, the more the lilacs were in bloom. I guess lilacs must be a universally desirable flower, because obviously the people who settled this area planted them. There are some huge bushes, and there are places where they have gone wild and filled up fields.


Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures, even though I took the camera. To have taken any pictures of what I saw, I would have to have forded ditches, and with the rain, they were wet and mucky, and I am just not that good on my feet. Sorry. I may poke around some along the north shore and see if I can find some that are accessible.


My first destination was WalMart, and I had a long list of things I wanted to look for. They don't have any pond maintenance equipment and not a very good selection of pots, but I did finally find a sewing basket (not a box), in a nice navy blue, and they had very good prices on some of the cat food my guys eat. Their prices on toilet paper and Kleenex are much better than the supermarkets', too, so I came away with a shopping cart full of stuff.


One strange thing I didn't sort out very well when I moved here were kitchen spatulas. I guess I didn't have very many narrow ones, the kind you use to clean out a can, and the cheap, non-heat-resistant kind get old and crack and need to be thrown out anyway. Nobody just sells the narrow kind, but I did get some more heat-resistant ones, which will be useful. I may have to lay in a couple more just before I go back to Detroit and take them there.


However, my attempt to find pots failed. I really would like a 1½ quart, a 4 quart, and a 6 or 8 quart pot for here, and a 6 or 8 quart one for Detroit, and I don't want to pay a fortune for them. However, it appears that all of those sizes are non-standard these days, and I haven't been successful in finding them yet. It may take a trip to Birch Run next winter for me to find them. I may never find the 1½ quart one. That is an old Club aluminum pot we inherited from Cousin Marie, and I don't believe they make Club aluminum any more.  Too bad - that is the perfect size to cook rice in. The 4 quart one I have in Detroit is Revere, with a (dirty) copper bottom. When I acquired the smaller Revere pots for here, at Birch Run, I opted for no copper, because they are so hard to keep clean, but at the time I didn't remember how often I use the 4 quart one. I know 6 and 8 quart pots are considered pasta pots (which is what I want it for) or stockpots, but the smaller sizes are hard to find. My stockpot is a 12 quart one, and I love it, but it's a little big to use to cook pasta for most of my recipes. Well, someday I'll find them.


So with all the odds and ends I wanted to pick up, I ended up having to walk around the entire store, and that really tired me out, although I must say not as much as it did last year. Slowly, I'm coming around. They did have a few pieces of porch furniture this year, very reasonably priced, and it wasn't bad looking except that all the covers were tan (reminds me of two years ago at KMart, when all the covers were sage green!). Tan is just not one of my favorite colors, and besides, it wouldn't go with the gray siding on the porch at all. So I will move my little table and two chairs out there and use that if I want to sit on the porch. Right now, the table and chairs are at various places in the great room, the table has a lamp on it (somebody moved all of my furniture around over the winter and didn't put it back), and there is a fleece top on one chair that the cats are sleeping on. I would be just as happy if it never warmed up enough to need the porch, but I expect it will, eventually.


I probably shouldn't have gotten the sewing basket, but it's something I've been looking for since I moved in here. I have one (my mother's) at Champine, and I just decided I didn't want a wooden box like most of them are now. The only thing about this one that isn't as nice as the old one is that instead of the entire inside top being padded, there is only a little bitty pincushion in the top. However, that's minor. This is navy blue and the outside top has a cute print of cherries on navy. I like to keep all my hand sewing stuff in one place, so I can move it around. So now I have my basket.


Then it was off to Ming Gardens for a good - and rather late - lunch, Sechuan today. I took my time eating, and I was nearly recovered by the time I left, which was good, since I had to attack EconoFoods next, and that is about as big as WalMart.


I didn't have to do every aisle this time, like I did last, but I ended up having to retrace my steps when I discovered that beef country ribs have hit Keweenaw!  This is what I use to make my yummy recipe (oops - I forgot I need red wine for that, but the general store has that), but it has such good gravy that it needs mashed potatoes, so I had to go back to the produce department and hunt down some Yukon Gold potatoes, which they actually had!


That did not quite make up for the really meager selection of cat food - they've downsized their canned cat food department considerably - and only one six-pack of Thomas' English Muffins. I was disappointed. Last year, I was able to get pretty much everything I wanted, including extra large Kleenex, at EconoFoods, but they've done some rearranging and downsizing in some departments. There is another Econo in Lake Linden, I think, and I may have to try that one, as well as a couple of other places. Ugh. Food shopping is not my favorite task, and to have to visit several markets is a real pain.


So I packed up the car and headed home. Again, a lot of the stuff I got is out in the breezeway, but I will have to buckle down tomorrow and see if I can get it all put away. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, so that will be a good task. I also have to decide whether to make a shrimp dish, which was my original plan for eating this week, or get a bottle of red wine and do country ribs.  I guess I'm inclined toward the ribs (which are actually boneless, by the way) because that is a good cool weather meal, so I might as well do it while it's still cool. We'll see.


The temperature got into the low 60s in Houghton, with some nice sunshine, and it actually felt warm. It's amazing how one can acclimate to temperatures. The further north I went, the cooler it got, and it was just about 50º when I got here, but there was sunshine. It was a lovely evening, but just about sunset, a light cloud cover floated over, which is now gone, and the evening looks pristinely clear. I do love this weather! The sun had warmed up the house considerably, but all I had to do was open the slider and the kitchen door and it cooled down real quick. Natural air conditioning is nice, too.


I wasn't hungry when I got home, but I could use a little snack now, so I will have to go raid the fridge when I finish this.


It was about three weeks ago that I last went to town, which was when the leaves were just barely beginning to peek out on the trees. They are fully out now, and the underbrush along the covered road is so thick you can't see into the woods anymore. The leaves are still light green, and in some cases, they still have a reddish tint to them (reddish-green leaves sounds like a contradiction, but they really are). I enjoy the differing colors of the forest at various times of year. Now everything is new and light green. In a few weeks, the trees will darken to their summer colors, which are very cool and restful...then in September, they will start to put on their fall display. I couldn't live far from the water, but I do enjoy having the trees around me. 


I do enjoy the drive from here to Houghton and back, particularly when there isn't any traffic, like today. Only the last eleven miles of US-41 are designated the "scenic route", but actually the entire drive is pretty. The thing that makes the covered road special is that they haven't cut back the trees to the extent they have further south, so in many places the branches meet overhead. It is also one of the windiest, twistiest roads I have ever driven on, which is fun, and it's so pretty you don't mind that you can't go much over 50mph for the whole route.


So that was my strenuous day. I was tired when I started the drive home, but not so exhausted as I was last year after I had to do both WalMart and EconoFoods on the same day, so I am encouraged that slowly but surely I am getting my strength back. After it stops raining, I will have to try a little more gentle walking around here and see how it goes. Surely I can get to Pebble Beach and back!


So that is the news from the field for today.


June 8

As I said once before, when the weather goes to pot around here, it really goes. I woke up once during the night, and the moon was shining brightly in my windows, but it went away, and later I could see the fog as the lighthouse light slewed around. The freighters out on the lake were sounding their foghorns regularly.


First off, I forgot to mention that when I got to bed Friday night, lo and behold, the lighthouse was in business again. Apparently they were waiting for parts, and they finally came in. I have a love-hate relationship with that light. On the one hand, it's part of Copper Harbor, and it's different when it's not running. On the other hand, it's much darker and easier to sleep when it's out, because it blinks right into my eyes - every six seconds - when I lie facing the front windows. However, it is cool to watch it when it's foggy, and I can see the cone of green light sweeping across the harbor. When I get the telescope, I may have to make myself a shroud to keep it from blinking into my eyes.


It still amazes me that, with all the electronics on the big ships these days, they still sound their foghorns when it's like this. I suppose it's to warn little boats that don't have any radar, and most of them don't do it continuously. I've also noticed that the horns have a much higher pitch than they used to. When I was a little kid, we lived in Grosse Pointe Park, which is down where the Detroit River opens up into Lake St. Clair, so the freighters were packed in pretty tightly when they passed by. In those days (back before the earth's crust cooled) I don't believe they had radar, either, so when it was foggy, they sounded their foghorns every few seconds. Thosee foghorns were all very deep bass notes, down below low C. Over the years, it seems the horns have gotten a higher pitch. At least all the ones I've heard today have been at least an octave higher than the old ones.


The fog ebbed and flowed all day long today, although I could never see town, and sometimes I could barely see the drop-off at the front of my garden. It didn't start raining until late in the afternoon, and then it only dribbled a bit here, enough to wet the decks, but there were still dry spots on the road when I went to dinner. Very uninspiring weather.


It didn't keep the birds away from the feeders, however. Another thing I forgot to mention is that for the past few days, I have had a red-breasted nuthatch coming after the sunflower seed. Everybody likes sunflower seed. I get a chuckle out of this guy. He is a little bitty bird, just barely bigger than the chickadee, with a longer beak. He is very picky about what seed he wants, so he throws the other stuff over the side and sometimes swished his beak back and forth across the seed hole. The blue jays love him, because after he goes off, there are always some seeds on the ground. He is a nervous little critter with fast, jerky movements, and he flies away at the least noise, but he is really amusing to watch.


The other amusement today - and I had mixed feelings about it - is that I had a couple of crows on the deck. Or I think they are crows. I can't tell the difference between a crow and a raven, but then I've never seen them side by side. Anyway, with the fog, it is hard for them to find food, so they stopped by here. Buster gets really excited when they land on the deck...he doesn't have enough experience to know he wouldn't fare well in a confrontation with a bird that big. Just before the 12:47 camera shot, a big crow landed on the railing out beyond the hummingbird feeder, and just after the picture snapped, unfortunately, he hopped onto the post that is close to the feeder...and darned if he wasn't nearly big enough to stretch his neck and stick his beak into the feeder! I wish I could have gotten a picture, but he was gone in a second. I think the crows know people don't like them and don't like them butting into the little birds' feeding stations, and they fly away at the least sound or movement. I know crows have their place in the woods, but I didn't set up my feeding station for anything that big, and I'd rather they stayed away. I think it's just because of the fog, but we'll see.


Besides the fog, the temperature was in the middle 40s all day, but with very little wind. Not exactly the nicest kind of weather, so I was happy to pretty much ignore it. I thought it might be going to clear up, because the kitties were quite rambunctious this morning, rushing around and pounding their little feet on the floor. At one point, somebody took a flying leap at the rug beside the bed and sent it skidding across the floor...such fun! However, they konked out after that, and I didn't see them for the rest of the day except when dinnertime came. Even DC got into the fun, so I have to conclude that he feels all right.


The trouble with cats is that unless they are really sick, it's hard to tell if they're sick. DC usually hangs around me and he purrs a lot...he even purred when I gave him the empty butter dish to lick this morning...but that's really nothing new. He's been that way since I got sick. So I can't tell if he isn't feeling well. He eats well and eliminates well, and they both drink water frequently. When I get suspicious, I try to think of how his behavior has changed, and I can't say that it has. So who knows?


So that was my nice, quiet Sunday, and as soon as it's dark enough to take in the feeders, I will toddle off to the north end and ignore the weather. Tomorrow should be better.


June 7

Because the phone line has been behaving itself, I didn't check it this morning, like I have been since I've been here, so of course something I did yesterday set the properties to "never dial a connection". Very sorry for anyone who tried to visit the site this morning.


There certainly wasn't anything much to see. It was cloudy and dark and sort of blah this morning. When I went out to get the bird feeders last night, the deck was wet, but it was nearly dry this morning, so while there may have been showers and thunderstorms someplace south of us, there certainly weren't any here. As the day wore on, however, the sky lightened, and around 5:30 or 6:00 there was some blue sky to be seen. According to my new predictor, based upon the Environment Canada data, it will be clear until about midnight, then cloud up for tomorrow. It is nice to see the sun, even though it wasn't gone for too long.


I actually had a lousy night last night. It was probably the nachos. I went to bed late, and I kept having really weird dreams. Around 8:30 I had to jump out in a hurry to keep from wetting the bed. Since the furballs were looking at me like it was time to get breakfast, I stayed up, even though I would rather have gone back to bed. So it will be an early night tonight.


I am making great progress on the first of the three embroideries I have to do over, and I'm now ready to start the center band, which is the widest and most complicated. According to my notes, it took ten days to do this piece in 1999, but I don't think it will take that long this time. That's good, because I really want to do something else, which I began setting up this afternoon. 


Other than that, I didn't do a thing. I need to awaken peacefully and move slowly or I am out of sorts for the entire day.


I spilled hummingbird nectar all over the floor while taking out the feeders this morning, so I tried my new floor washer. It is the same idea as the Swiffer, but it is made by Pledge, and when I decided I needed a wet one, I picked it because it is cheaper than the Swiffer. Bad decision. The wet towels work just fine, except that they don't last very long, so they are anything but economical, but the handle on the Pledge mop is very thin and bendable, and I don't think it will last long. However, it did clean up the nectar. 


I am just going to have to break down and get out the wet mop and the Spic'n Span and have at it, because the one thing I learned is that the floor is very dirty. The instructions were to mop it with water and vinegar, and let me tell you, even if I did that every day, there is no way just water, even with vinegar in it, could possibly clean that floor. Since I am anything but a compulsive housekeeper (more like a compulsive non-housekeeper), there is no way in the world I am going to wet mop almost 1600 square feet of floor every day, or even every week! And that's just the first floor.


I've come to the conclusion that these men who do construction have a very badly skewed idea of what a woman does and should do around a house. I mean, like all I have to do, and all I want to do, is clean my house. Ha. Fortunately, I don't have a significant other, because if I did, and he voiced that attitude, my answer would be, if you want it done, do it yourself.


However, now I know the magnitude of the task, so I will be working myself up to at least doing the kitchen floor. The rest of the house will just have to get done whenever...or never.


I went to Mariner to have some real food tonight, and the place was a zoo. There were at least two groups of mostly thirty-something men, apparently half ATV-ers and half bikers, and they were rather rowdy. However, except for the noise, they left me alone, and I did have a good meal, but they only had two servers, and they were really running. I didn't let it rush my meal, however, and I enjoyed it.


So now I will watch the end of the sunset - the sun isn't setting until 9:45 EDT now! - and then I will try to get a little more sleep tonight.


June 6

In spite of what all the forecasters were saying, most of today was absolutely beautiful, with far fewer clouds than yesterday. However, there was a wind form the northeast, which comes in from Canada  right over the lake, and the temperature here in the harbor never got over about 50º until the clouds rolled in and the wind dropped around 5pm. I had to close the window, because that breeze coming in was downright chilling.


This was almost a lost day. It started late, and Friday is the day I usually have my favorite breakfast, French toast and sausage, and I have to wait until the sausages are unfrozen and the bread has soaked up all the milk and eggs. So it was quite late by the time I went back to the north end, then I got into the new project, and by the time I was dressed and ready for the day, it was 2:15!  My, how time flies when you're not looking!


I did get the dishwasher unloaded and the dishes put away, and I packed up a trash bag with boxes I got yesterday...however, I got to the compactor at about two minutes before three, and it was still padlocked. Rats. So we are on summer hours! Off season, they leave it closed but unlocked, but with the campers starting to invade Fort Wilkins, I suppose it's just as well. I buy my orange bags, so I contribute to the upkeep of the compactor, but I know some of the people passing through would just heave all their stuff into the bin...some of them will even leave a bag alongside the road or drop it in the woods. Now, why you would camp if you felt that way about the woods, I don't know.


I went down to Mariner tonight, and when I got there I wondered if they were open, because there was not a car in front of the place. There were a couple of people inside, and I guess having my car there convinced  some other folks that they were open so there were six cars or so there before I left. That's not good for business, but I like it that way. I finally got my nachos. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I've ended up having to eat something else every time I've been there, but tonight the special dinner was just fish, so I pigged out. Now that I've had my nacho fix, I'll last until fall. I guess they are planning to reopen the dining room next weekend, which will be the middle of June (!!) and Father's Day (I think - not having a father any more, I don't pay too much attention).


Now it is quiet and sort of gray outside, and the last few birds are in the feeders. On the subject of birds, when the window was open, I could hear that the blue jays are in their mating season. They have a couple of strange calls they only use when they are mating, and I heard a lot of that this morning. This winter was apparently a very good one for jays, and a very bad one for pine siskins, of which I have not seen one since I put the feeders out. Last spring, there were almost as many of them as there were goldfinches. Strange. The hummingbirds are coming regularly - not all the nectar gone from the feeder has dripped out while I was moving it, although a little rain will be good to wash the sticky stuff off the deck.


The other thing I wanted to mention is that the tree at the head of the road that I took the picture of is now pretty much over its bloom. It came out and went quickly this year, so I'm glad I caught it when I did. The juneberries are still out, and I can see flower heads on the lilacs, although they haven't opened here yet. At several spots along the road there are patches of forget-me-nots. They are such a pretty shade of blue, and there are enough that there is just a haze of blue alongside the road in spots. 


When it was still and a little warmer a couple of days ago, there was a swarm of dragonflies - very little dragonflies - around Lake Lilly. I don't understand dragonfly dynamics, but before the house was here, the field used to be full of them in the summer. Since I've been living here, I haven't seen very many at all. Maybe they need more open space, or maybe they'll come back after a while, now that the upheavals of building are over. i would like to encourage them: dragonflies eat lots of other bugs, and anything that eats black flies and mosquitoes is a friend of mine. Besides, they're cool bugs to watch.


I have seen one little blue butterfly and quite a few medium-sized white butterflies, but the big guys - the swallowtails and monarchs - haven't gotten here yet. Sometime in the next couple of weeks they should arrive, I think. One of these years I may be able to get enough interesting flowers growing around here to attract lots of butterflies.


So spring is progressing at a great pace. The presence of the big lake has made our season a lot later than even around Houghton, where the lilacs are apparently in bloom already, but that's all right. I'll take as much of the lovely cool, clear weather we've had for the last four weeks as I can get! If the whole summer was like this, I'd be a happy camper indeed.


So that is the view from the field tonight.


June 5

Sometime between 4am and sunrise, some high clouds moved in, and they hung around all day, although they didn't dim the sunshine much. The nice part of the day was that there was a fairly brisk northwest wind most of the time, which kept the temperature cool and the bugs at bay.  I guess we are in for some rain over the weekend, but it's been a while since we had any, so it's about time.


The big news in this corner is that I finally finished the thing I have been embroidering for so long.  Once I figure out where to hang it up, I will try to get a picture of it. It is called "Angel Procession" by Teresa Wenzler, and it shows six angels with musical instruments marching across the piece, with a bejeweled frame around the whole thing. According to my notes, I originally started it in the summer of 1997, and I abandoned it when I got into chemo in March of 1998 - it was just too complicated for my fuzzed-out mind. I worked briefly on it in 1999, then it turned into a genuine UFO (unfinished object) at the point where I should have started the fourth angel's wing. It has been gnawing at my mind for some time, since I was more than half done with it, so in March of this year, I picked it up again. It is a pretty piece, but in my opinion, it is entirely more complicated than it needed to be. It uses 74 shades of floss and 8 metallic blending filaments, and it has 85 symbols. One big problem was the number of quarter stitches, where you go over one thread intersection. The wings had nine symbols using seven shades of floss and one blending filament, and very seldom was a quarter stitch the same color as the one next to it - and they were all shades of off-white! Besides, the chart was hand drawn (copyright 1990), and it had been reduced to 12 squares per inch, which meant that I ended up having to use a magnifying glass to see the symbols, and I had to reproduce the backstitching from the model picture, since it didn't show on the graph. It was alternately too complicated (the wings) and too boring (the frame), and I am very glad it is done! It will be a long time before I do another piece by that designer. I've done two of her things, and in my opinion she is a sadist, and she trying to make them as difficult to do as possible...much more difficult than is necessary. The effect, while pretty, is simply not worth the effort. And if you visit her site, you can quote me.


After my efforts of yesterday, I sort of took the day off and did not much - some knitting is all, and I started one of the pieces I have to do over. These pieces are about 6" square, using a lot of special stitches in bands on the diagonal, so it actually goes faster than it looks, since many of the bands are quite small. I hope to get the three of them done and mounted so I can give them to Carey when I go south in August. I got one corner done this afternoon, but I was working without my glasses, which causes eyestrain and sometimes makes my stomach queasy. At least I have a start on it, and I can dive in tomorrow.


While I was embroidering and listening to the news this afternoon, Shirley called and suggested we eat at Mariner, where they had roast beef - what I would call pot roast - so I had a nice dinner of somebody else's cooking.  And it was good to see her. There is some kind of a convention going on, mostly at the Mountain Lodge, so while a lot of motel rooms in town are full, it's still nice and quiet.


Today my clothes tree arrived, so now I won't end up throwing my clothes on the floor any more. I guess clothes trees aren't very popular these days, because I've known since I moved in here that I needed one and only this spring did I find one. It is wood, not brass like I wanted, but it also wasn't as expensive as a brass one would have been. So these days when I have three different weights of tops going, I will at least be able to hang them neatly out of the way, after I get it put together. This 72" thing came in a little box about 18" long, which I haven't opened yet. I will be interested to see how it goes together.


And that is about all the news from the field, and the sun has now set, and so will I.


June 4

One beautiful day after another. It's just incredible. I don't know that I can remember such a long stretch of fantastic weather since I've been coming here. I guess it will come to an end, at least briefly, on Friday. My only regret is that it is so buggy that I have chickened out and pretty much stayed inside. A rugged pioneer I am not.


I captured a picture from the camera yesterday morning, to give you some idea of what I see when I wake up in the morning. My view from the bedroom is a bit different, but in any case, it's a great thing to wake up to. Curiously, I seem to sleep mostly on my right side, so I have to turn around, but basically, that's what's outside my window.  Yesterday it was calmer than it was this morning, so there was more reflection.


Twice during the day today, I saw the loon fishing. The second time was late this afternoon, and this end of the harbor was a perfect mirror, and I could see where he was underwater several times because he left rings on the surface along his path. One time he was so close I thought I might catch him in the camera, but he dove before I could get it, and I think he was going north, because I didn't see him again.


Last evening when I was closing things up, and again now, I can hear spring peepers starting to peep. There aren't any very close to my house, because it's pretty dry around here, but I can still hear them.


And late this afternoon the camera caught an interesting sight. When I first saw the picture, I thought the bird was a hummingbird, and it may be, but of course it was gone when I looked out the window, so I'm not sure. The resolution on the webcam just isn't good enough. But I thought it was a neat shot.


About the camera - I don't know how reliably it was updating the website today, because I've been having a terrible time keeping the phone line connected. I'm not sure why that is, unless the nightly power fail isn't working again. Tomorrow (when I can see) I will have to investigate more thoroughly just what is programmed into that snazzy timer. I don't know why the line would be bad now, with the weather so good. A puzzle.


I actually accomplished something today. To begin with, I have my embroidery project to the point where about 1/3 of the beads are attached. Wow, I'll be glad when that's done! Then I gathered up all the trash and heaved it into the compactor. So all my wastebaskets are empty again and I can start to fill them up. And I cleaned out the cat pans. My furry friends will be grateful.


At this point, with all the trash out of the house, I think I can begin to try to clean out the kitchen and the hallway and move what needs to be moved into the breezeway, and then (horrors!) I can scrub the kitchen floor, which really needs it. All this doesn't need to be done by the day after tomorrow, but i will try to do something every day, and eventually it will get done.


I did spend quite a lot of time just looking out the windows today, because the harbor was so serene and beautiful, But that's the reason I'm here, right? I have rarely seen it so lovely.


So that is the view from the field...serene and beautiful.


June 3

It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do for me...close to eleven hours, I think. Besides, it was another fantastically beautiful day. Today, we didn't have so much of the high cloud cover that we've had lately, and there was mostly blue sky and blue water and sunshine all day long! Wow! I guess this will come to an end for a while at the end of the week, but boy, has it been great!


All the sunshine made it very warm in here, so I had the windows open most of the day. The wind is from the east, and very light, but it does get a bit cool when the temperature is in the middle 50s.


I spent a long time embroidering and looking at the sky, and I am now on the very last lap of that big, long thing. Just twenty inches or so of backstitch and all the beads, and it will be done. It's time for some smaller projects!


The plumber turned up this afternoon, and I can now attest, from personal experience, that it is incredibly buggy. With the wind from the back, it was very warm and still in the garden, and there were hundreds of black flies circling around both of us. I had used lots of deet, and either the plumber had, too, or he has lived in this area for so long that they don't bite him. He said there are lots of mosquitoes down by Lake Bailey (why am I not surprised?), but we didn't encounter any of those. Probably if I had sat on the deck tonight and enjoyed the view of the harbor, which is just as still as a mirror, I would have had mosquitoes, too, although it has cooled down again, which does lay them to rest somewhat.


Anyway, I got so warm out there that I had to come in and change to a lighter top. I also seem to have brought a few black flies in with me, on my hair, I guess, although I haven't seen them since I came in.


Well, I never said it was paradise.


After taking a night off, I cooked tonight, an old recipe of my mother's called pork sausage Creole. I had been wanting to try it with Volwerth's pork sausage, and it turned out pretty good, I think. It's one of those recipes that uses a lot of pans but is easy to put together, except that once you start, you end up in continuous motion for about half an hour. Anyway, it was a success.


After that, and all the other cooking I've done since I've been here, the kitchen is an absolute pigpen. I didn't do a lot, because the floor really needs scrubbing, but I did get the cooktop area cleaned up, and the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded. I usually unload it the morning after I do the dishes, and why I haven't been doing that, I don't know. It's much easier that way. I forget.


Anyway, it seems the small tree growing right beside the pump house is not another serviceberry, but a pin cherry, with very pretty flowers, so tomorrow I will have to try to capture it. I really need to do some work in the garden, because the winter cress is growing most luxuriantly all over, but it was just too hot and buggy today. Hopefully, one of these days the wind will turn to the west or north (and not rain) and I can get out there with a shovel. I did notice that I've gotten my wish and a wild daisy is coming up between an iris and a peony. I like the white daisies, but the hybrid varieties don't seem to be very winter hardy, and the wild ones are. It looks like I may have a few little peonies, too, and some iris, which is nice.


Oh, yes, and late this morning when it was calm and quiet around here, there was a solitary loon fishing in our end of the harbor. So now I have seen all my favorite birds, as well as some new ones. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't see the loons.


Tomorrow, without fail, I have to go to the trash compactor. I figure I will have at least four full bags, and I need to get that stuff out of here. It would be nice to get on a little better schedule, and go once a week, maybe, but we'll see.


So it is now getting dark, and it's time to close up and toddle off to the north end. Even if it wasn't supposed to go down into the 40s tonight, with a hungry critter around, I'm going to have to be careful about leaving the doors open at night. The coon didn't do too much damage to the aluminum screen, but the doors and windows are nylon, and I have no doubt he could rip right through them. So off to bed.


June 2

What an active, exciting night we had!  I went to bed rather early (for me), thankfully, because at 1:20 I was awakened by what I first thought was Buster scratching on the footstool in the great room. The legs of the footstool are not quite level, and when he scratches on it, it rocks and makes quite a racket. Poor Buster, he gets blamed for everything. As I came to, I realized that the scratching was going on far longer than Buster ever does, he is wise enough not to do it when I'm asleep, and besides, it sounded more like something scratching on screen - yikes!  I jumped out of bed and got on my glasses and turned on the light on the screened porch. Fortunately, while the fan controls are in the kitchen, there are light controls at both ends of the porch.


I saw a brownish rump walking away from the screen and a minute later, there was a little masked face peering in the porch door, looking like he expected me to let him in. He had his paws on the crossbar of the screen door, so extended he was about 3' high. The light didn't bother him at all.


Eventually he gave up and continued down the deck, and I followed him and turned on all the flood lights from the central panel. I know the electrician thought I was nuts when I asked for this panel with ten switches on it, but this is the second or third time I've needed to use it. By the time I got to the office, he was nosing around the leavings from the birds. He is a good sized raccoon, and he most certainly does not look weak or underfed. In fact, he looks fat. At first, I was going to rap on the window, then I thought I might get a picture, but as I turned to get the camera, he was over the deck railing and on his way. The floodlights didn't bother him, either. I gather that he isn't a youngster and he has been around and knows about people and lights and things. Anyway, that leaves me with not very many options to induce him to go elsewhere, since I have no plans to acquire a large dog.


I put the birdseed on the porch last fall so that it would freeze and kill the meal moths in the sunflower seed, which it did, and then this spring when I raised the shutters, I discovered it was very convenient to leave the buckets there. Last night when I took down the feeders, I just left them on the porch, and I also spilled some hummingbird nectar, and I'm sure Mr. Coon smelled all that and saw the feeders. So now I will have to move the buckets with the seed in them and sweep the porch, and when I take in the feeders, I will have to bring them inside. What a nuisance. Last summer, I had the seed in the closet in the hallway, but that was messy and I have something else there now, so I guess I will have to move the seed to the breezeway. That breezeway is going to become a mess, and I am trying to decide whether to build cupboards or erect shelves or what.


So I climbed back into bed and spent a while thinking about what I have to do with the birdseed, and hoping Mr. Coon didn't do too bad a job on the screens (he didn't, although there are scratch marks, and they match some I found on the door when I got here and didn't know who had made them).


I woke up again around 2:30, and when I looked out, the sky was all white...from the bathroom I could tell that not only were we having northern lights, but they looked very interesting, so I got on the glasses again and peered out the bathroom and window seat windows alternately for half an hour. When I first looked out, there was a streak of bright light across the sky from horizon to horizon, about 40º up in the sky, with intermittent vertical spikes extending up to zenith. As I watched, the western end of the streak broke off and first changed into a beautiful scroll with spikes coming out the top, then later, it broke up completely into a series of vertical lines. At the same time, the entire streak was moving up, until it finally passed out of what I could see from inside over the house. I could feel the breeze in the open window seat window, and it was just a bit cool to go running outside, and besides, I might have run into a raccoon. There wasn't any color that I could see, the whole thing was grayish-white.


So I went back to bed about 3am. I woke up again around 4am, and the whole northern sky was white again, but it didn't look like there was much structure to it, so I didn't bother with my glasses. I was up again at 5 and 6, but by that time it was light and looking to be another beautifully clear day, except for the haze we have been having lately.


I was going to try to sleep in, but I woke up around 8:30 and my nose started dripping, so I got up and hustled the bird feeders back out onto the deck. That is a pain, but it beats worrying that Mr. Coon will pull them down and break them, or having to refill them every day anyway.


So that ended up being all the excitement for the day. I wrote the above before breakfast this morning, so that I wouldn't forget anything important. It was a good thing I did, because I was wiped out for the rest of the day. Did nothing at all except move the birdseed and sweep the porch. Today was supposed to be the day I gathered together all the trash and went to the compactor, but I didn't even do that. By the time I get there, the whole back of the truck will be full.


It was another lovely day, with lots of sun shining through high clouds and a light breeze, this time from the east. The clouds look to be starting to thicken, but all the forecasts say it will be clear again tonight. I will try to watch. Stay tuned.


The trouble with taking the feeders in at night and not putting them out at the crack of dawn is that the birds don't like that so well, and I didn't have very many today. It was breezy this morning, and that may have made a difference.  Somebody has been eating, because the seed and the nectar are going down.


The disadvantages of feeding the birds came home to me this afternoon. All afternoon there was a very scruffy-looking redwing blackbird hanging around the feeders. I looked at him with the glasses because he had his shoulder patches completely covered up, and I was sorry I did. He has a broken upper mandible, and his lower mandible has grown quite long. This evidently isn't a new injury, because he has learned to turn his head upside down to scoop up the seed, but I see why he looks scruffy, because he has no real way to groom himself. 


Now I know that nature is pretty raw, and these things happen, and even worse things. I know that. I don't feel the need to be exposed to it, however, just like I don't need to visit the slums of South America or India.  That is just not my thing. So I wish the poor bird would go elsewhere, but I doubt he will, if he stays in this area. He has a much easier time eating from the feeder. Anyway, that did not make my day.


I am hoping for a little less excitement tonight so that I can get some uninterrupted sleep. Even when I have to get up every hour, if everything is quiet and dark, I go right back to sleep, but if I have to rustle around at all, like I did last night, my rest is broken and I need to sleep longer. I might have been able to go back to sleep this morning, but I would have had to get the drip in my nose under control, and that looked like it would take some time. Besides, it was a really pretty morning and I wanted to see it.


All the birdies seem to be gone from the feeders now, so I guess after I publish this I can take them in and toddle off to my nice, comfortable bed.


June 1

Another quiet, lovely day in the field. It was a bit warmer today than yesterday, which was nice, and there was a brisk north-northwest wind blowing for most of the day. I arose rather late, because it seems I was up about every hour all night long, and I was thinking about telescopes. I finally decided it's a bit premature, and after that it was easier to get back to sleep.


It was a clear night, but there wasn't a hint of northern lights. I have decided, after looking at the sky maps, that what I have been watching set is Jupiter, which is a bit ahead of Regulus, and much brighter. I could see the BIg Dipper, and later in the night, Vega was overhead...all this without my glasses.


One bit of cleanup. I forgot to mention the birds of the day for yesterday. When I went to the post office, there was a woodcock cooling his feet in one of the puddles left over from the rain...I suppose he knew that worms sometimes get caught in the puddles. I scared him out of the puddle and chased him up the hill, and at one point, I was right beside him. Woodcock indeed. I knew there must be some around here, but they are shy and don't usually come out on the road.  That reminds me of the time in Seney, when we started down the trails through the refuge and had to turn around because some idiot in a camper had fallen off the road, blocking it. I was the lead car going back, and not very far from the visitor center, I had to stop, because a mom woodcock was leading her babies across the trail. It was the cutest thing. The chicks looked exactly like the mom, except they were about a quarter her size, and the whole procession crossed the road in single file. One of those photographic memories I will never forget.


Anyway, the other bird of the day was sitting in my feeder a couple of times. I scoured all seven of my bird guides, and I finally concluded that it is a blue grosbeak. In the feeder, with the sun behind it, it looked very dark gray, with a reddish-brown wing bar (of course he was on the far side of the feeder so I couldn't see all of him). He had a big, light-colored, conical beak. One guide mentioned that blue grosbeaks can look black in low light conditions, and otherwise, he fit the description. The only thing is, according to all the maps, blue grosbeaks aren't even supposed to get into southern lower Michigan, so this guy was seriously lost. However, there isn't another bird in North America that is uniformly dark blue-gray, so that is what it has to have been. I don't think it came back today, but I didn't spend a lot of time watching the feeder.


I did fill all the feeders. The critter emptied the big feeder completely last night, so I filled it up, and I set out a hummingbird feeder - which had at least one visitor. Tonight I will take in the entire bunch, and the birdies will just have to wait until I'm ambulatory in the morning to eat.  Now I understand one reason why my mother always got dressed before breakfast, but I just can't get used to doing that. It's just too comfortable in my nightie. So I will probably wander outside with a jacket over my nightie and hang out the feeders in the morning.


I do enjoy lying in bed after sunrise and listening to the birds. They make enough of a racket that I can hear them even with the windows closed, and I still have the one bedroom window open. The only thing is, I sometimes wonder if it's really birds. I have serious tinnitus, and sometimes it's hard for me to discern what is coming from inside and what is from outside (of my head, I mean), but my tinnitus doesn't usually cheep, and most of what I hear is cheeping. I hear it on Champine, too, but that's because there are dozens of house sparrows roosting in the spruces and my neighbor's arbor vitae hedge. I didn't think I'd hear it here, but I am close enough to the trees a the back of my lot and my neighbor's lot to hear it. Only here I think it's probably chipping sparrows and other little birds.


I also enjoy lying in bed and looking out at the blue harbor in the morning. What a nice view that is to wake up to!


So that is a quiet Sunday in the field. It's June already, and I have been here for three weeks. Too bad I have to count the days.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM