A View From the Field
A misty-moisty kind of day, with some (not much) sun and clouds and some rain. A typical July 31. I woke briefly around 6am, and the dawn turned one particular cloud the loveliest shade of pink. At 7:30, the rising sun lit up the mountain across the harbor, and when I got up, around 9am, it was pouring rain. Typical of the entire day, actually. It rained again sometime, hard enough that I had to shut the slider (after the floor was wet, of course), and a third time while we were at dinner, but in between there was some sunshine and patches of blue sky. Right now, shortly after sunset, there are more patches of blue off to the west, and the Clear Dark Sky website is predicting no cloud cover, but not very good seeing (high clouds or haze, probably) tomorrow. The temperatures were mostly in the mid 60s, but so was the dew point, and it felt warmer than that. It was the kind of day when the towels don't dry at all. Not my favorite weather, but at least it's tolerably cool and the smell of the woods after the rain is still enough to give me a high.
I talked to Arthur while I was eating breakfast - very nice of him to call - and had a lovely dinner with Shirley, and for the rest of the day I did not much.
Tomorrow will have to be different in that regard, because it is my last chance before I leave to get the trash to the compactor.
I find myself rather pensive, contemplating another birthday, but if I take the time between my last one and today, it's been a pretty good year. This year, things happened to my friends, but not to me, for a change.
I dislike birthdays because they remind me that I'm getting older, but on the other hand, under the circumstances, it's nice to be here to have another birthday, and this year finds me in good health and feeling pretty good for the first time in a while (since summer of 1999?). I'll take that as a birthday present any day. Of course, I still don't have my stamina back, although even that does seem to be coming slowly, but I feel like I have more energy than I have in some time. Just because I haven't been doing anything doesn't mean I don't feel like it - it's more a bad habit I've gotten into over the past couple of years.
So now I will try to get to bed a bit earlier than I have been, and tomorrow I must try to scurry around and gather up as much trash as possible, do the cat pans, clean the kitchen, wash, and pack up the stuff that has to go south with me. Good thing I have three days!
All is peaceful...and grateful...in the field tonight.
I awoke briefly at about 6am to hear rumbling, which got steadily louder, but the center of the storm never got nearer than about a mile out in the lake. Unfortunately, the thunder continued for almost an hour, then I went back to sleep. When I awoke for real, it was pouring rain, and I guess it had been since the thunder. So the birdies didn't get fed until after 11am, when the rain finally stopped.
When I opened the slider to take out the feeders, I got a whiff of one of my favorite odors of all - the smell of the piney woods when they are all wet from a rain and the humidity is near 100%. There is nothing quite like it, and it just transports me with delight. My nose isn't what it used to be, what with all the chemo and the years, and I find that shortly my nose gets so saturated with the smell that I can't detect it anymore. But every so often there is that one big breath, and it's one of the things I love about living here.
Even though it didn't rain, it was dark and gloomy all morning, but eventually it began to brighten up, and between 2:30 and 3:00 it actually got quite clear, although there was a lot of haze in the air. It was so humid all day that there was still a puddle on the deck late this afternoon. The temperature was around 70º plus or minus a couple degrees, all day, and there wasn't much wind, so despite the dampness, it wasn't a bad day at all, and I had the back doors open all day.
I guess there will be intermittent rain for the next several days, so I have a good excuse for not doing the outdoor work I said I was going to do, and I can begin (maybe) to make some sense of the mess in here and set aside the things I want to take to Detroit.
Except for the thunder, it's very quiet in the field...
I have not much to report today. I didn't sleep very well last night, for some reason...I had checkbook covers on my mind...so I got up late and didn't do very much.
The skies were clear for most of the night an into the morning, and it was a lovely morning, with the temperature in the low 60s and a very light breeze, and it stayed that way most of the day, although it clouded up some. There was sunshine through the clouds for most of the day, so the only difference it made was that the harbor wasn't as blue as I like it.
I cooked tonight, and when I sat down to eat my dinner, I was dripping, and I couldn't figure out why until just now, when I looked at the temperatures for the day. Between 7pm and 9pm the temperature was 68º and there was no wind. With the sun out, the house got very warm, and so did I.
Tonight it is supposed to cloud up and rain - poo! If that is so, with the wind out of the east, I will have to close up the house. I actually had the office window closed for most of the day because that wind and 62º temperature made me really chilly, and it's getting like that again.
Well, tomorrow is another day.
A year ago today, I finally got out of the hospital and spent several hours sitting in the Secretary of State's office to get my driver's license renewed. I've thought about doing it over, because the picture looks like I was stoned and my signature is so shaky it hardly looks like mine at all. Fortunately, I haven't had anybody try to use it to identify me.
I must say that even though I haven't been doing a lot more than I did then, I certainly feel a lot better. I think what happened is that I spent most of the rest of the summer just sitting around, and it's become habitual. Now, of course, I'm procrastinating, because I want my trip to Detroit to go away, which it won't. Clearly some things I thought I wanted to do won't get done. Oh, well.
Some of the embellishments for my box project came today, and I spent a while admiring beads...and had part of a hank break into my lap. Now I must think up some things to use all those pretty baubles on. I will probably dream about that tonight.
It didn't help much that after I was in bed, I kept hearing people talking not very far away, but not close enough to hear what they were saying. Also, the toilet in the bathroom started acting up, so every time I used it, I had to take the lid off the tank and stop the water manually. I don't know why it did that, and it seemed to have recovered this morning. We shall see. New-fangled toilet works are quite a bit different from the old kind I'm used to, and I'm not sure there is anything much I can do to adjust it. I did what I could, and maybe it will work.
So it's time to haul in the bird feeders and put away the rest of my dinner, after another quiet day in the field...
It was indeed a lovely night for sleeping, and I did so, very well, and hard enough that I got up at 8:30...and then blew it by sitting at the computer forever. Oh, well.
It was clear all night long, with lots of stars, but no northern lights, and it was another perfect morning, all blue, with a nice northwest wind blowing. In mid-afternoon the clouds began to gather, and it was quite cloudy at sunset, although I notice from the last camera pictures that it seems to be clearing up again. What do you bet that if I get that telescope, the rest of the summer will be cloudy?
The temperature settled in at around 70º, plus or minus a couple, and for most of the day the wind was out of the north-northwest at something over 15mph, which meant that at intervals there were some little whitecaps on the harbor. The wind has now backed off some, as it usually does at sunset. Just beautiful.
This morning when I put out the bird feeders, I noticed something again that I've forgotten to mention. The water makes noise. It's not the lapping on the shore, and it's not the noise of the wind in the trees, it's the water rubbing against itself when the wind blows, and it is a neat sound, sort of like a far-off waterfall. As the wind rises, it gets noisier, of course, and when it really begins to blow, the lake starts to speak ever more loudly, until it is so noisy you can't hear someone speak over it. But this was a soft, busy sound, that happens when the wind gets over about 8mph. I love to listen to it.
It was warm enough to stand in my nightie and listen this morning, but not warm enough to eat on the porch. I will leave the table out until Labor Day, but I wouldn't be unhappy if I don't get to sit out again. I love the cool weather!
I actually did do something! There was a birthday card from Carol, one of my mothers, the one with the liver disease, and so I called her, because I was wondering how she was doing. The last time I talked to her, she wasn't so good, but today she was fine, and she has even racked up her back helping another church member with her husband. She is slowly learning to take it easy, but it's hard for one who has had so much energy and done so much for so long. We had a long conversation, and that was very nice. Carol is one of the reasons I would never want to completely cut my ties with Grosse Pointe.
Then, late in the afternoon, when I decided I wasn't hungry enough to cook, I got almost all the stuff out of the breezeway and stashed away all the food...finally. I discovered I have totally overbought Tropicana orange-cranberry juice, and I have plenty of canned tomatoes and mushroom soup to do some cooking. I also have enough cat food to last for quite a while, although there are a couple of varieties I will stock up on when I am in Detroit...the guys like variety, and darn their hides if they didn't decide they like the two varieties of Alpo I can't get at all here...grr. Now I have to put the paper goods and cleaning supplies away and push the kitty littler down the stairs, and then I can rearrange the bird seed and sweep the platform outside the door. So I accomplished one of my designated tasks.
Now it is getting late again, and even though I have just made a path for DC to get onto the counter under the open window, it is another great night for sleeping, and I will haul in the bird feeders and go north.
When I went to bed last night, the porch door was open and the ceiling fan was on, and I was wet. Around midnight I turned off the ceiling fan, and around 1am I shut the door. I would have pulled up the quilt, too, except that the bed was full of cats. It cooled down nicely, thank you.
At 1am and 2am there was a glow in the north, and at 3am there was so clearly some action going on in the sky that I put my glasses on and watched out the bathroom window for almost half an hour. I think I saw rays and bands and puffs and the whole bit, except that it wasn't very bright and it was so close to the limit of my eyesight that I'm not totally sure what I saw and what I thought I saw. I finally went back to bed, and at 4am there was nothing.
That half hour did break my rest, and after I finally pulled up the quilt, cats or no cats, I would probably have slept for quite a while, except that at 8:30 somebody was out on the road with what sounded like a small chain saw. I guess there was some damage from that five minutes of strong winds we had last night, but geez! Eight thirty on Sunday morning, for heaven's sake! When the DNR is awake the whole harbor is awake.
The temperature was just under 60º when I got up, and it was cloudy, but pretty soon the light northerly wind blew all the clouds away and it turned into another perfect day altogether. The temperature peaked out around 65º, and the breeze was light and lovely. So beautiful!
I didn't do much but enjoy it, but tonight I will shortly go to bed and try to goad myself into action tomorrow. I have a number of things to do before I go south. I think I postpone them both because some of them are things I don't like to do, but also because I somehow hope that if I don't get everything done, I won't have to go. Ha.
So it's a lovely evening in the field, just right for sleeping.
I didn't sleep very well last night. It wasn't that it was so extremely hot, because it wasn't (well...it didn't get below 70º all night), even though I had the porch door open all night, but it was extremely humid. Everything, including me, felt damp and icky. So I slept very late, and after my orange juice, I wasn't hungry, so I ended up not eating my first meal of the day until 2pm. The nice thing was that for the first time this summer it really was warm enough to sit on the porch, so I moved the bistro table and one chair out and ate there. That was nice. It is still damp and icky, and the only saving grace is that the temperature never got out of the low 70s. With no wind to speak of, however, it is not pleasant. They are now predicting the possibility of severe thunderstorms, and it certainly is thunder weather, even though the cloud cover isn't thick.
I have the ceiling fan on in the office and the windows open, and so long as I don't do anything the slightest bit strenuous, it's semi-tolerable. I am just so grateful that this is only the second time this summer we've had weather like this, and it should go away overnight, and it should be cooler and less humid tomorrow. I hope.
Despite today, I still say this has so far been one of the most beautiful summers I can ever remember anywhere. Most of the time, the temperature and humidity and sky conditions have been absolutely perfect. Days like today just serve to remind me that down in southeastern Michigan, it has not been a perfect summer - first cold and rainy, then hot and humid and rainy. Yuck.
As I write, I am beginning to hear some far-off thunder grumbling, and the clouds to the south are thickening up.
It was cloudy all night, so I didn't get to look for northern lights, but there is now an AstroAlert out for today and tomorrow - apparently there is a coronal hole that is spewing stuff in our direction. According to Environment Canada, it should clear up later tonight, after midnight, so if they are right - and they are more right than the NWS - there's a chance I might see something.
I haven't said much about Attilla Danko and Environment Canada, I don't think, but I've been watching the site since the end of May, and it's impressive. There is a meteorologist at Environment Canada who is not only predicting the level of cloud cover for all of North America, he is also predicting sky transparency and, as a result, "seeing" in the astronomical sense. Attilla Danko is an amateur astronomer and pretty impressive programmer who takes the EC data and creates a neat little graph for any given location (you have to give him the location), showing cloud cover, transparency and seeing for the next 36 hours, more or less. He had submitted an article to Sky & Telescope, and when I got here, I took a look at his site. The nearest location he had then was Marquette, so I emailed him and asked him if he could add Copper Harbor. He was more than willing to do it, and I've been watching ever since.
The results are impressive. Attilla's home page is http://cleardarksky.com/, and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in weather. He has links to EC, and one of my winter tasks will be to follow them and investigate more thoroughly. There have been a few days when i could quibble with the results, but most of the time, when they say the sky will be clear, it is clear.
While I have been typing, the thunder has gotten a lot closer, to the south, and it is now beginning to rain a bit. (Short hiatus while I shut the slider and moved the bistro table). Of course, the phone line dropped, so now that the thunder has moved away to the south, I will have to take care of that. The wind is rising now, too, and the phone does not want to connect, so we shall see what happens. I like to look at local radar while this is happening.
Local radar seems to indicate that the line of thunderstorms runs from Ontonogan to Keweenaw Point and is southeast of Copper Harbor, and there doesn't look to be much behind it. The wind just picked up, so I brought in the bird feeders, and I must say there are small people warnings out right now, as well as a nasty looking cloud over Brockway. Intermediate save here, just in case! There is nothing I hate more than having typed a page or two and have a power failure wipe out the entire thing. Based on my experiences last year, if there is a power failure, I will immediately throw the main power switch to the computer and wait for things to blow over.
Weather in Copper Harbor is so much fun!
The only other thing of note that happened today is that when I finally went back to the kitchen to make my brunch, there was a ship leaving the harbor. Not a big ship, but bigger than the Isle Royal Queen II. As much as I could see of it through the fog, I think it was the Star of Keweenaw, which is an excursion boat out of Houghton. Until just a few minutes ago, today would have been a wonderful day to be out on the big lake, since the winds and waves were calm...and I just happened to think, about half an hour before this squall blew through, the Queen went out for her sunset cruise...that must be interesting. She is a bit small to be out in a blow.
So now it has all passed over and it is nearly calm again. I love it.
Now, if those strong northwest winds they're predicting will kindly kick up and blow all this humidity away, I'll be a happy camper.
I'm finishing this shortly after 9pm, and I as soon as I upload it, I will make tracks to the north end and try to do better in the sleep department tonight. I don't like feeling groggy all day long.
The first time I got up last night (or early this morning) the sky was clear and there was a definite glow up about 30º in the sky. It was hard to tell, though, what was northern lights and what was clouds, and the clouds won eventually. It wasn't a spectacular display anyway, but it was nice to see the glow.
When I got up this morning, the sky was clearing, but that only lasted a while and the heavier clouds moved in and the rest of the day was rather dreary. Until about 1pm the wind was quite strong, but it died away and the rest of the afternoon it has been "a dead clam" as my daddy used to say...hardly a breeze stirring. That wasn't what the weather forecasters were predicting, but it was nice anyway. Perfectly quiet. The temperature started out in the mid 60s and made it up to just about 70º. With the lack of wind, it was a good thing - it could have been miserable otherwise. As it was it was a very quiet, dull day.
I sort of caught up on my embroidery, even hauling everything down to the office. As a result I discovered that embroidering too long does the same thing to my eyes as playing with the computer too long does, so I hauled out the sweater and did some knitting, while enjoying All Things Considered, the view and the birds and small critters at the feeding station.
If it's the same squirrel, she has had her babies and she has discovered how to get into the feeder and get the seeds out. So long as she doesn't bring all her relatives, I don't mind too much, except that she chases all the birds away. I seem to have a family of teensy, skinny chipmunks. One day three of them were here together, but since then, I have only seen one at a time. They drive Buster crazy, because they move so fast and they're just his size. You should see him crouched down on full alert when one runs by.
I wish they would come by more often, because otherwise, he is bored to tears and he is bugging me. When he isn't watching chipmunks, he wants to sleep on my lap, using my right arm for a pillow, and that makes it rather hard to do anything. When I'm not doing what he wants, he flaps his tail hard on my leg, and most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. So today I kept him off my lap most of the time, so he kept coming up and whining at me. I like DC's attitude much better: he'll take what he can get. If he wants to be loved, he'll come up and sit by me and maybe meow, but if I don't make a lap right away, he just goes off and lays where he can watch me. He is too accepting, and Buster is too demanding. Someplace in the middle is much better.
Speaking of DC, he surprises me sometimes. At least twice a night, he jumps up on the window seat and looks out the window - at what I have no idea - and around 6am he leaves the bed and spends some time at the south end of the house. I think he is looking out the windows, and he certainly does notice the critters. He is just wise enough to know he doesn't have to stalk them, because they are outside and he is inside. I think he is one of the smartest cats I have ever known...and he even knows a few words of English, which he uses in entirely appropriate circumstances. What a cat! What a shame he's so old.
It has occurred to me that now I might as well wait to order the telescope till I am in Detroit, at the earliest, because if I order it now, it can't possibly come before late next week, and if I order it next week, it will come when I'm not here. So I have a while longer to mull over my financial situation. After my week with filters and pumps, I don't know.
I am beginning to get clutched up about going south, but that's a normal thing. I know I have to go, and I probably would even if I didn't have to see doctors, but I really don't want to go. My field is where my heart is, and it has been ever since I bought the property...18 years ago.
I also spent some time after I went to bed last night mulling over boxes and the advantages of the stuff I got to stiffen them, but I'm afraid any experiments will have to wait until I get back from Detroit. There are some things I need to take with me, and some things I really need to do before I go, which will keep me busy for the next week. Anyway, I think I've solved the problem of the things I didn't like about the boxes in the book, so that made me happy. When I'm in Detroit, I may have time to survey my stash for a few more things to create boxes from. I don't want to get too much stuff here, because I'll lay you odds I want to take it all home with me. We shall see...
So that is all the news from the field. I have finished my pizza and almost finished my drink and it is getting dark quickly, so it's time to close up and head to bed...
It finally got to me. I spent so much time putting together an online catalog order last night that I just got it into the system when the computer shut down. That's 1am, so I went to bed.
Yesterday was another perfect day - not a cloud in the sky, temperature in the low 60s (here) and a light wind. So beautiful! Most of the night was pristinely clear, too, but by 1am I was too tired to really enjoy it.
Uncle George (that's the plumber's Uncle George) came yesterday, and after listening to the pump, he decided something was broken inside it. We talked, and I decided to have him put in a new pump on the existing holding tank, rather than sink a pump into the harbor. He hadn't known what the situation was, so he didn't have one with him.
I got up fairly early this morning, but I was finishing my breakfast when Uncle George returned with the pump. I could have slept longer, but I knew he'd be here early. He is in the well business, but I think the other well driller gets most of the business, so he doesn't have much to do. So now I have a new pump, which I guess works just fine - time will tell. The good part is that Uncle George knows about pumps, and he stocks parts for this pump, so if anything happens to it, all I need to do is call him.
Of course, since Monday, I have written checks for about $800 for all this stuff, not exactly what I had in mind right now. Also, I have absolutely no excuse at all not to start on the garden and (finally) finish draining and mucking out the pond. When I discovered that by putting an alternate hose on the pond pump (gad - I have pumps coming out my ears!) We could almost drain the pond, I thought that the little electric pump I bought was wasted money, but it turns out not. The pond pump (which runs the waterfall) still leaves about 4" of water in the deepest part, so I will have to use the little pump to get that out, then, if it doesn't rain, let all the goop dry out so I can get it out.
Before I start digging out the weeds - ahem, wildflowers - I need to assemble my composting barrel. With all that excessively sandy soil, no way am I not going to use all the vegetation to make soil amendments. By next year, it should be about ready to dig back into the soil. Maybe I will get at that and the cat pans tomorrow. It would be good to get the plants in the ground before I go south, and that's in just over a week...gaak! Gives me pains in my tummy. I do not want to leave, even for a week.
Today I didn't feel like doing much, so I moved things around in the office, and at least neatened up the piles some. Oh, yes, and I took all the keycaps off the keyboard and cleaned out the cat hair and various sticky messes that had dropped between the keys. I simply cannot not eat when I'm at the computer, and Buster would prefer it if he could spend all his time using my lap and right arm for a pillow. So there was a lot of cat hair and lots of crumbs, as well as some sticky spots, under the keys. I've noticed lately that some of the keys just weren't behaving well - hard to push and a bit sticky - so it was time to clean up. It wasn't as bad as the last time I did it (after using it for a year and a half!), but it definitely needed cleaning. Typing this is a lot easier than it has been lately.
The day was a lovely one, by the way, a little warmer than yesterday, upper 60s almost to 70º, but there have been a lot of high clouds all day. It wasn't cloudy enough to interfere much with our sunshine, but the intensely blue skies we had yesterday weren't much in evidence, and the harbor was more teal than blue. The wind was stronger, too, from the northwest, and it raised some little whitecaps for a while this afternoon. It was still a very pretty day, and I had the west side doors open all day, a most unusual and delightful thing for this summer. Now the sun is casting coppery rays on the trees, and soon it will set.
If anybody wonders, the camera had some problems today. One of my correspondents decided to send me an 8 megabyte email, forgetting that my connection speed is only 28.8kb, and it grabbed the entire bandwidth for at least half an hour. It was actually more like two hours, because I tried several times to get it to go away, and I rebooted the system several times, and generally fooled around before I gave up and let it come in. While the message was coming in, the camera couldn't get a byte in edgewise and it kept timing out, so the updates weren't as regular as usual. Fortunately, it wasn't a day when there was much activity in the harbor. I must remember to do something with that email and compress the files tomorrow.
So that is all the news from the field, and see? I really don't need to update the journal every day. I probably will try, though, because when I don't something always happens that I forget I want to comment on.
The birdies will have to make do with an early evening tonight, because as soon as I have this updated, I'm off for the north end.
I was listening so intently to Mozart that I almost forgot that I needed to do a journal. Oops. And I need to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight.
When I awoke this morning, It was mostly cloudy and the temperature was in the low 50s. I didn't sleep very well last night - too much the night before, I guess - but I got up fairly early and moved around at a fair pace, because I wanted to go to town today. For a while, it looked like it might clear up, then around 9:30 there was a short but heavy rain shower. By 10:00, the sun was trying to come out.
As usual, I didn't get away until almost 11am, but half a day of shopping is about all I can take anyway. As I started south, the sun came out, and there were big puffy clouds in a beautiful blue sky. It was in the upper 50s when I got to Houghton.
I spent some time - and some money - in JoAnn's, and when I came out with my goodies, there were droplets on the car, so there had been a shower. I had planned to go to Office Max, but I was already so tired - and I had a sore foot - so I passed on that and went to WalMart instead. It turned out that I got what I wanted in Office Max anyway, as well as some more goodies and paper goods. By the time I got out of WalMart, I was totally wiped out and my hair was dripping from my sweating. So was the car and the pavement - it had rained again.
The next stop was lunch, however, and by the time my nice Chinese lunch was over, I was dried out, if not revived. Econo Foods was next, and I was a bit more modest there. I'm getting to the point that I don't know what to cook again. However, in the summer, they have two pound packages of Volwerth's Sausages not frozen, and I decided a while back that the next time I saw them I would get a package and freeze them myself. For one thing, it's a lot easier to get into my zipper bags than their packages.
Then there was loading the car - I keep wondering, when I tell the packer to put the "cold stuff in plastic" how come my milk and juice end up in paper - and by the time I crawled in myself, I was exhausted and I had very sore feet, not to mention the pain in my right middle toes. I thought the pain was because I had decided to wear a newer and tighter pair of Reeboks (but nicer looking - the old stretched out pair are gross), but when I took off my shoes when I got home, I realized it was probably because I had pulled up my sock too tight and it constricted my toes which always causes that pain.
So I shucked the sox and put a pair of Keds on bare feet, and the pain is gone. The bottoms are another matter. And I'll lay odds that I have leg cramps all night.
How I am ever going to get walking again when either my feet or my knees - or both - are so painful, I don't know.
Anyway, by the time I started home (close to 4pm), the sky had completely cleared up and the temperature in Houghton was nearly 70º. Totally gorgeous. The temperature dropped steadily all the way north, and it was around 65º here when I got home, with a pristinely blue sky and a light wind from the northwest. Ahhh! It was warm in the house from the sun, so I opened it up for a while, but the breeze started to get right cool when the temperature dropped below 60º. What a beautiful afternoon it was!
There are still daisies in bloom on US-41 and Cliff Drive, but the black-eyed Susans are out, and anyplace there were once people living, there are everlasting peas - sort of like sweet peas but hardier and not so fragrant. There is actually one of those growing out of the mine rock path in my garden, which I would like to rescue and replant, if I can. They are really lovely. Some old roses were in bloom, too, including one I wish I could take a cutting from. One of these years...
One nice thing is that we have had enough rain this summer to keep the woods and fields nice and green and lush, and driving through the woods is a delight. I'm sorry (in a way) that it was too cool to keep the windows open and smell that woodsy smell I love.
About all the goodies I bought. I got a book a week or two ago that had a novel way of constructing boxes for embroidery. Now, I am a box freak - or a container freak - and for a long time I have wanted to try my hand at embellished boxes. However, I need a course in remedial gluing before I can attempt to construct a cardboard box covered with fabric. I just cannot glue without making a mess of it and getting it all over. This method involves no or very little gluing, just sewing, which isn't a problem for me, and it really got my creative juices running. Unfortunately, all my supplies, which I have been amassing over the past years, are at the other house, and I suspect that I won't get into the really serious stuff until I get back there, but I do want to experiment and get the method right before I dig out my stash of Christmas ribbons and box of unusual embroidery threads. Part of the supplies are still on order, but pretty soon, I should be playing with boxes...Stay tuned.
Well they are now playing "Dawn on the Moscow River" (Moussorgsky), another favorite, and the twilight is almost gone, and I'm getting hungry, so I will get this published, fetch in the bird feeders, and collapse into my bed.
I went to bed at shortly after 9pm last night, and finally got up around 10am this morning, and I feel quite all right again. Of course, I was up about every hour from12:30 onward, but that's normal, and I'm used to it. I must confess, though, that when I finally got up, both ears and both hips were getting rather sore.
When I woke up at 12:30, it was pouring rain, and from the look of the deck this morning, it must have rained most of the night, although not quite so hard. It was quite cool this morning, in the lower 50s, and very dark and dreary. At intervals, it would get even darker, but it didn't rain any more. The temperature never got above the mid-50s, and it was right chilly around here. It's at these temperatures that the humidity makes a difference, and it was very humid all day. The wind was also mostly from the north, and that is chilly, too. I was looking at the water temperatures in the lake the other day, and it has never gotten out of the low 40s yet this summer - no wonder it's so cool here!
John Dee, in his journal of yesterday, was saying how hot it was down in Lake Linden, and from his description, he might be living in another universe, rather than 40 miles away. While he had hot and sunny, we had cool and foggy. If he's hot, he should just come up and sit on the north shore for a while. However, he also said that this has been his idea of an ideal summer, and there I have to agree with him. What a summer! Of course, we've had a few days like yesterday and most of today, but we've also had a preponderance of sunshine, low winds, and comfortable temperatures. I've said many times before, I can always put on another layer, but there is a limit to what I can take off, even out here in my splendid isolation.
Most of today was dull and dreary, but around 6pm, the skies started to clear, and it is now clear enough for me to wish for the telescope...again.
The telescope may have to stay a gleam in my eye, however, because the plumber was back today and installed a filter on my main water line. I have really gotten fed up with brown water, and no matter how pure the water is, sometimes I felt like I could taste the silt. He also tried again to fix the pump into the lake, and couldn't, so he is sending his uncle with a well pump, which we will sink in the lake, and we will just write off the piece of junk I have. Warning: don't get your water pump from Ace Hardware. So now I will have to scratch my head even harder before I order the telescope.
The plumber came this evening, which completely messed up my schedule. I have just eaten something, while I was writing this, and it's almost 10pm. However, I will obediently trundle off to bed as soon as I have this uploaded, so maybe I won't be too late. I'd like not to start the late-night thing again, at least until I have a reason for it.
I will say, however, that I think my late nights are somehow related to my little upsets the past two weekends. I've noticed in the past that when I was starting to come down with something, frequently I would start staying up later and later until I finally got sick. I have no idea why my body would do such a thing, but I know it happens. Contrary mind, contrary body.
So off I go, on a beautiful evening in the field.
Like it or not, tonight I'm going to bed early. About 2am I woke up with a very unsettled stomach, and while nothing came up (down, yes), I sat for quite a while until things were back more or less in order. When I got up this morning, more stuff happened, and there was no way I was going to eat my regular Sunday breakfast. I finally settled for cold cereal - something I almost never eat - and lots of water.
By noon, i was unsettled but getting hungry, so I had a bowl of soup. Needless to say, by dinner time, I was getting pretty hungry, but Harbor Haus took care of that nicely, thank you. I did have to bring some of my dinner home, because I'm trying to go light for a while.
Around 4pm I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open, so I got half undressed (with my wallet and keys in my jeans pockets, there's no way I can sleep in them) and took an hour and a half nap. That got me through dinner, but as soon as I finish this, I'm going to bed, birdies or no birdies. The feeders are almost empty anyway.
When I went to bed last night, the sky was pretty clear, but during the night it clouded up and it was dull and gray this morning...and around 10am the fog rolled in. Apparently right after I started my nap, it began to roll out, leaving nearly clear skies at 5:30, but then it started to cloud up again, and now there is very little blue sky at all. When I was up during the night, I could see an occasional flash of lightening a very long ways away - no thunder - but it didn't drop a drip of rain here. According to the radar map, there is a line of storms southwest of Houghton, and extending out into the lake, so we may yet get some rain. Temperatures hovered around 60º all day, with not much wind.
So this was pretty much a lost day, and I will try to recover it tomorrow.
I woke up around 6:15, among other times, and when I looked out I thought again that I wished I were back in room 34 with an unobstructed view of the sunrise. There were little puffy clouds in the sky and the bottoms of them were all pink and peach. It was a beautiful sight. When I finally did get up, the puffy clouds were gone and the sky was full of high cirrus clouds, lots of mares' tails and interesting wisps. That went on for most of the day. As usual, it didn't interfere with the sunshine, and there was a breeze out of the west for most of the day. The temperatures topped out in the mid 60s, at least at this end of the harbor. Another lovely day.
The clouds were very interesting to watch, and they probably indicate that a weather change is on the way, and they are predicting rain for tomorrow.
Since I got up late, I didn't accomplish much - a little embroidery, filled the dishwasher, paid some bills, and wrote the kind of note I hate most.
A lady from my church, who always sat behind us with her daughter when we went to early church, died over the holiday weekend. She was a nice lady, and she leaves her only daughter, who isn't in very good health and lived with her. I felt I wanted her to know I knew about her mother's death, but I always feel inadequate when I have to write that kind of note, and I always feel the results are kind of hokey. I only hope it doesn't sound that way to the person receiving it.
Dinner was at Mariner, and Shirley made it this week, so that was nice. I spent several hours putting together an online order for some beads. It really gets frustrating to search an online catalog at the slow speed of my phone line, and besides, I had just gotten everything together when the line dropped. Fortunately, most websites don't drop a session right away if nothing happens (if they did, my half-finished order would have gone away while I was at dinner), and I was able to complete the transaction when I got back on. The first thing I did, though, was to print out the order, just in case.
I keep hoping one of these days I will hear form pastynet that they have figured out the wireless connection to Copper Harbor, but so far nothing.
So that is pretty much all that happened in the field today, and it's late. I've given up trying to get to bed early.
I was in the process of uploading last night's entries when the computer shut down...oops! That meant it was 1am this morning, and it was too late and I was too tired to fiddle with the timer and bring it back up to make sure the upload had completed. As it turned out, when I checked it this morning, it had, so I was lucky.
Tonight I must get to bed at some reasonable hour. I'm shifting forward again, and since I finished eating my first meal of the day (the slow breakfast) at 2:30 this afternoon, it's time to stop and cycle back. I missed a good part of another absolutely fabulous day.
When I did get up this morning, it was perfectly clear, with a little breeze from the northwest, and a temperature in the upper 50s. Some clouds came up later, but mostly interesting cirrus clouds, and nothing to block the sun at all. The temperature topped out in the low 60s. I guess tomorrow is supposed to be about the same, maybe a bit warmer, but then there may be some rain for a day or two. I can stand rain every so often, but it is a shame for the working people that it seems to be happening on weekends.
Anyway, I can only hope that the rest of the summer is like this. It's really been fabulous. While there have been some warmer temps further down the peninsula, there have only been one or two days - several weeks ago - when it was warm and humid enough to be uncomfortable. That was the only time I've had to use the ceiling fans, and I haven't moved the bistro set onto the porch because it's been too cool to sit there. My kind of weather, for sure.
I am really thankful I'm here, though. Detroit has had some hot and humid weather, and evidently Hurricane Claudette, after it became a tropical depression, tracked right through southeastern lower Michigan, with rain and high winds. Yuck. I've been through those things, both in Detroit and in Philadelphia - as well as a hurricane in Philly - and I can do without.
So nothing much happened in the field today, and to bed I go.
I didn't see the moon and Mars. I didn't wake up until 5:30, and besides, it was cloudy then. Oh, well. It frequently seems to happen that when something good is supposed to happen in the sky, it's cloudy.
I woke up again at shortly after 6, just before sunrise, and not for the first time I was really sorry I don't have a view to the east, because the undersides of the clouds were bloody red. It was probably a spectacular sunrise, but if you think I'm going to throw on my clothes and go rushing up to the top of Brockway, think again. I couldn't have made it before it was over, anyway. By about 6:30, the clouds were gone, and the whole western horizon was peach. Well, instead of talking about it, I'll show you. It's not exactly what I saw, and I didn't see the sun rising on the hills, but you can see that it was beautiful.
By the time I got up for real, the sky had cleared except for a few cirrus clouds and it was another beautiful day in the field. It was pretty cool - mid 50s - and it didn't get much over 60º all day, but there was lots of sunshine, a nice northwest breeze, and it was lovely.
There was no wildlife to report, except for the itty-bitty chipmunk who kept running back and forth along the deck from the feeding station to the steps. I have to believe that he uses up any energy he gets from the seeds just running back and forth.
The birds are waiting for me in the morning (especially when I'm as late as I have been the past couple of mornings), and I can hear them twittering and singing in the trees. As you can see from the third picture, the goldfinches were there in droves. They're eating me out of house and home.
On the subject of the birds, I forgot to mention that yesterday when I had the window open, it was pretty clear from the high-pitched tweeting and the chickadee sounding off that a brood of chickadees fledged yesterday. Mom and/or dad sounded pretty nervous about the whole thing, and it's a wonder the kids weren't hoarse after all the peeping that went on.
So summer is moving along...sigh...and since this is being written even later than last night (it's actually tomorrow already - sorry), I will stop here and do my chore then toddle off to the north end.
I seem to be rotating my schedule forward again. I went to bed late, got up late, and it's now even later than it was last night. I just find it really hard to stay on a 24-hour schedule, it seems.
As a result, the entire day was sort of backward. I talked to the financial guy before breakfast, the embroidered until after 2pm, got the clothes folded and put away (finally!!), and ate at Harbor Haus.
It was quite cool last night, and as a result, it was a great night to sleep, snuggled under the quilt. I would really have rather stayed in bed this morning, but the guys were hungry, and the day was beautiful. When I awoke this morning, the sky was pristinely clear and the temperature was in the middle 60s, with a northwesterly breeze. Just perfect.
Breakfast was lovely - blueberry pancakes and sausage. The blueberries were good, and apparently enclosing the pancake mix in a sealed plastic bag keeps it from getting stale, so it was very nice. Unfortunately, there were too many carbos in it, and I had a sugar low a couple of hours later. Apparently I still need a high-protein, low sugar breakfast or my body rebels.
I was embroidering like mad when I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and a very large, very healthy-looking doe stepped out of my neighbor's trees and ambled across the drain field. There seem to be more deer around this year than usual, and even my neighbors (who have had their house here for almost 40 years) agreed. Obviously deer don't like daisies, or I wouldn't have a field full of them.
Later in the afternoon it began to cloud up a bit, but not with rain clouds, and it was beginning to clear when the sun set. I just recalled that I am supposed to get up around 4am tomorrow morning to see the moon and Mars very close together. We'll see. Sometimes I do wake up around that time, but I don't know if I want to put on my glasses and go down to the south end for a peek. Mars has been rising so late and so far south that I haven't seen it at all yet this year.
Nothing in my fridge appealed to me to eat, so I went to Harbor Haus for what turned out to be an extremely leisurely dinner. While it was nice and quiet on the first floor, there was a rather raucous party of 20 upstairs who not only increased the noise level, but also held up everybody else's meal while they were served. However, I didn't mind, since I didn't have anything much else to do this evening, and I came home stuffed to the gills with lake perch and wild mushroom risotto - the third time this year I've had it.
The temperature got into the 70s this afternoon, I think, and it was 75º in town, but by the time I got back here, it was 10º cooler, and despite what the NWS station claims, it's under 60º here now, and I'd say the wind was stronger than 8mph.
So that was my nice day, and it's time to call it a day.
It was a noisy night in the field last night. About the time I started toward the north end, I could hear a few far-off grumbles of thunder, and shortly the wind started to blow a gale. That continued for quite a while, and there were more far-off rumbles, although I couldn't see any lightening. After an hour or so, the wind either shifted or died down a bit, but then there was rain. I'm not exactly sure why all that bothered me so much - usually I can sleep through the wind - but probably it was in part because it was warm in the bedroom. I can sleep uncovered, except for my feet, but the temperature was a bit lower than I'm comfortable without any covers, and a bit too high for even a sheet. So I slept rather late this morning.
When I awoke, it was still breezy and cloudy, although the rain had stopped, and the temperature outside had dropped to the low 50s. About the time I put out the feeders, it got very foggy, then it started to rain. That stopped around 11:30, and by noon the clouds were breaking up. Most of the afternoon was gorgeous, with clear skies, a brisk northwest breeze, and temperatures in the mid 50s. It's been a while since I've seen breakers on the south shore of the harbor, but they were there today. Northwest winds are my favorites. Now the sun has just set, and the entire sky is pearly gray with some mauve and apricot in the west. Another wonderful day!
I couldn't decide what to eat for breakfast (a not uncommon problem these days) so I made the four telephone calls I had written down before I ate. The financial guy didn't call me back, the book club thing is straightened out, I think, they can't schedule my CT scans until next week at the earliest (for the first week of August??!!), and I finally got the plumbers wife, and he finally called me back. So I got mixed results.
After I ate, I sat and looked through all the books I got a day or so ago, then I embroidered for a while, so I was late getting back to the office. One of these days I need to fold all the wash I did last week, but the idea of sitting in a little room on the east side waving my arms doesn't appeal to me much. Time to take myself in hand.
Just after I got up this morning, I was peering at the sky when the eagle soared out of my neighbor's trees off toward the north, and a while later, when I was in the office, he soared over my head and off into the trees south of Lake Lilly where (I understand) his nest is. I gather he was late this morning because of the rain and fog. I suspect I'm not up in the mornings when he usually makes his morning rounds. I do love to see him.
I spent a while watching the wildlife on the deck today. The larger of the chipmunks hasn't been around lately, but there is one little, puny guy, not much bigger than a mouse, who spends a lot of his time scrounging the seed that birds like the nuthatch throw out of the feeders. He is so cute, but so little!
A squirrel has found us, too, and after watching for a while, I am fairly certain I have a female squirrel with child. She seems awfully bulgy down right above her hind legs for an otherwise pretty skinny squirrel, and I think I saw the hint of a couple of nipples. She is a red squirrel, which is a little thing (much smaller than a black or gray squirrel), with a chestnut back and a white front. I was interested to watch her move, because she doesn't walk or run like the bigger species do - she hops. She is a cutie, too, and I would love to feed her, but I don't want all her sisters and cousins and aunts, so I guess I will let be. She finds a few seeds on the deck, but frankly, it appears neither her sense of smell nor her eyesight is very good, because she literally tripped over a couple of sunflower seeds before she found them, and then she missed another one a couple of inches away. She keeps jumping onto the railings and peering longingly at the feeders, but they're just out of reach, and I guess she isn't quite the acrobat the Grosse Pointe squirrels are, because she won't try to jump onto the feeder and hang by her legs, which the bigger guys would, and do.
I'm sorry to say that the daisies are beginning to go, at least the ones that came out first. It will be a while before they are all gone, but some of the flowers outside the bathroom windows are beginning to wither and turn brown. The yarrow is starting to come out, and amazingly enough, I found a couple of sprigs of sweet william along the driveway. Now that is another plant I would love to get growing! I will have to take a walk around one of these days and see what's new. There are a few more tickseeds coming out, and something I think is a perennial snapdragon (not butter-and-eggs, which, I've been told, can be invasive). Time for another survey of the property, but I'd like to do it when the wind isn't quite so strong so I can get some pictures.
So that is the view from the field today. While the temperature yesterday was nice, I much prefer the blue skies and blue waters of today, even though it was cool. I can always put on more clothes...
I am pleased to report that several long sleeps have apparently zapped my cold, and except for a bit more drippyness than normal, I'm just fine again. I'm also pleased to report that I finally got all the trash to the compactor - three big and one little bags. Of course I am already making more...
It was cloudy enough all night long that the moon wasn't very visible at all, and for a while this morning it looked suspiciously like it might rain, but that passed and the sky lightened and the wind died down, and the rest of the day has been just sort of gray. For a short time this evening a band of clear sky passed overhead, but it's now clouded up again. The weather people are insisting there will be rain tonight, and there is an area of heavy rain down in northern Wisconsin, but it looks to me like it may pass south of us. The temperature has been in the low to mid 70s all day long - a nice day to keep the doors open and air out the place.
And that is about all the news there is. It was a quiet day and I expect to retire early again tonight and hope that if it does rain, it isn't noisy. I am making pretty good progress on my new project, and I am still agonizing over the telescope.
Oh, I finally remembered what that last whatsit flower is: it's a tickseed coreopsis. It's one of the flowers in the wildflower mix, and there are a number of them around the yard, although they are nearly drowned out by the daisies, which have taken over everything. Actually, I rather like living in the middle of a sea of daisies. I will be interested to see whether they come back next year. Some new things are poking their heads up, too, but I haven't gotten any pictures yet. I find it interesting that the wildflower seed clearly got spread over places where I didn't sow it, but as I remember the day I sowed, in November 2001, was a windy one, and from where things are growing, it's clear they blew away from where I thought I put them. It's much to late to sow the seed I got this year now, so all I have to do is decide whether to plant in the fall again or wait until next spring.
It also interests me that most of the really colorful (red, pink, blue) flowers in that mixture are annuals. Apparently they have to be striking in order to get pollinated. I'm disappointed that the bachelor buttons and Shirley poppies apparently didn't reseed themselves, because they were really pretty. This year, besides the daisies along the driveway, there are the purple phlox and some wallflowers, which are bright orange, and a coreopsis or two. It's a pleasure to turn into my drive, or at least I find it so.
So that's about all I know, and I will wrap this up for the evening.
Well, it's been another one of those days. When I was a very small child, my mother liked to listen to operetta while she worked around the house, and I've been thinking lately of one aria in waltz time that began "Golden days beneath the sun..." I have no idea what work it was from and I can't remember any of the rest of the words, but it certainly describes how I feel about the weather we've been having.
It was partly cloudy all night, and while it was clear this morning, there have been a few clouds all day, and this afternoon there have been a lot of high cirrus clouds and mare's tails, but not enough to keep the sun away. While I love the perfectly clear days, the partly cloudy ones are much more interesting, and partly cloudy sunsets are a lot more dramatic, at least in these parts.
The clouds didn't keep the moon from shining brilliantly last night (full moon is today), and since I was a bit wakeful during the night, I got to thinking about that. The moon is full in the southern-most zodiac constellations these days - Libra, Scorpius and Sagittarius for the past three months - and that means it never gets over 20º above the horizon 'way up here in God's country. It skims the trees south of me and isn't visible until quite late in the night. It's in the places where the sun is during the winter, and it's no wonder it's so dark here then. Around 3:30 this morning it was shining on the harbor and turning all the water bright, but it's so low in the sky! That made it a lot more comfortable to watch the eclipse in May, since I didn't have to crane my neck. Before I leave in November, it will be riding high, and it will be up for a long time all night. It's just the usual lunar cycle, but it makes a real difference this far north.
I didn't sleep very well last night - I kept having a problem getting my temperature right - so I will have to try it again tonight.
However, when I got up this morning, it was so lovely and warm - mid 60s - that I could take out the bird feeders without putting on a jacket, and there was so little wind that I opened the doors before I started cooking. If there is any breeze, I have to keep the doors shut or the wind practically blows out the burners on the stove. That's one reason I still want a pair of barroom doors between the kitchen and the great room. Maybe this summer, I'll get them.
By the way, when I took the feeders out, I saw evidence that my little furry visitors were here overnight. There had been quite a bit of seed on the deck when I was out there last evening, and it was all gone, and besides, there was a suspicious little puddle right in the middle of the otherwise dry deck. Clearly my raccoons aren't housebroken! So even though it's sometimes a chore (like in the pouring rain), I guess I'll just have to keep bringing them in every night and taking them out in the morning.
The birds seem to be getting used to the schedule (such as it is). I can hear them whistling in the trees when I go out, and I walked almost into the feeding area this morning and they didn't fly off. I walked out because when I was there with the feeders there was something swimming in the harbor, but when I got the binoculars and went back, it was gone. Most likely from its size, it was the loon.
The loon was also fishing off Harbor Haus's dock this evening, but he didn't stay long. I had a lovely dinner, but unfortunately, I dropped a bunch of it on my front, and since it was lignonberry sauce (like cranberry), I immediately took off my clothes, spotted the red spots, and threw them in the washer. Having a first floor laundry is a real treat. However, now I won't be able to go to sleep until the dryer is done.
Oh, how lovely is the evening...
So that is the view from the field tonight.
This will be short and early tonight. I woke up this morning with what is apparently a little cold - undoubtedly the result of my having eaten lunch at Ming Gardens Tuesday without washing my hands - and I want to put it to bed early and see if I can keep it from becoming something big.
When I awoke this morning, the sky was mostly blue and the sun was shining brightly into the east windows. There was a little breeze out of the northwest - my favorite direction for wind! - and it was just beautiful again. My kind of weather! the temperature stayed in the upper 50s all day, pretty much, with a diminishing wind. There have been some clouds, but it is supposed to clear up after dark.
That got me thinking about the telescope again, and tomorrow I will have to get out my calculator and checkbook and do some serious soul-searching. If I'm going to get it, I need to get it soon or I will miss a lot of what I want to see with it this year.
So it was a quiet day. I did a lot of embroidery, and finally got working on the sweater again, but I really didn't feel like doing a lot. It was a good day to just enjoy the weather again.
Dinner tonight was rather truncated. Shirley couldn't make it - she had rooms to rent and no traffic - and I discovered when I got to Mariner that half the dining room was reserved for a class reunion - class of 1958. They were a jolly bunch, for people older than I am (but not by much!) and they all looked quite prosperous. The school systems, particularly Calumet's, are all excellent in this area, and evidently these folks have made the best of it. However, they were a bit noisy for my taste, and I didn't want to get caught in the buffet lines with 40 people all trying to eat at once, so I ate quickly and left. The acoustics in Mariner's dining room are rather live, and there were a couple of ladies who had apparently been in the bar a while who were shrieking a bit too loudly. I don't like to put them down, because they looked like nice folks and they were clearly having a great time, but I wasn't exactly in the mood to be a spectator to it tonight.
So there isn't much to report from the field, and I will take in the bird feeders before the birds are ready and see if I can't sleep myself out of my cold.
I didn't get to bed early last night, but I did get up at a reasonable hour. I can always blame it on the cats. When it's after 8am and I wake up, they assume I'm going to get up and feed them. So I did.
This is the morning of the slow breakfast, but by not long after noon, I was dressed and moving. First, I finally cleaned the sink and counter in the bathroom. I should have done that when I got here (or before I left last fall), and it finally got to me. I began gathering up the trash, and I got all the cat food stowed away. We don't have s very good selection, but we certainly have enough.
I never did get to the trash compactor. It didn't stop raining until after I decided I didn't want to go in the rain, and by then it was too late, but I did get three bags of trash tied up. Tomorrow I will move them to the garage...what a delight it is to have that garage! I found that picking up things and stuffing bags and doing some floor cleaning was really hard on my back, so I could only do a bit before I had to rest, and sometimes the rest became a bit long.
Besides, I had an invitation from my neighbor Walter Hassig and his daughter Diane for dinner, and it was to be early, so I had to get ready for that. Since it was icky out, I wore my jeans, but I had to change my top to something a little nicer than a tee shirt, and I actually wore jewelry (a chain with a charm on it) for the first time since I've been here. This is really a casual place. The charm is a little loon with a baby riding its back, in silver, designed by a local person. I like it and it's quite appropriate for the area, I think.
They are pleasant people, and we had a nice dinner at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. I haven't been there since the association dinner last fall, and I can report that the food appears to be good this year. They've occasionally had a problem in that regard, but all is well this year.
The weather was...well, yucky...for most of the day. It rained until after noon, and it has been dark and cloudy and very windy., with temperatures in the low 50s most of the day. The poor little birds are hanging onto the feeders for dear life while they peck, although it hasn't kept them away. Even the hummingbirds are eating mostly at the spigot on the lee side of the feeder, just to avoid being blown away. It's amusing to watch the goldfinches feathers get ruffled by the wind. I thought the female goldfinches were bright when I first put out the feeders, but they are getting almost as yellow as the males, with just a wash of pale green on their backs. I understand they don't begin to nest until the thistles start to bloom, so they must be gearing up for their courting period. It's possible they're pairing off, too. There was one pair sitting on a pine branch that I wish I could have gotten a picture of, but they moved too fast. Pretty little birds, but I'm a little disappointed that they and the chipping sparrows seem to be just about the only birds at the feeders.
Just now, I looked out the south windows and the sun has come out from under the clouds and turned the trees to...copper! This happens occasionally at sunset up here, and it is always just beautiful. The camera didn't catch it, because it's too dark, and it will be gone before I can get outside.
So maybe the weather forecasts are a bit off, and it will clear up tonight. I wish it would - there is an aurora watch out for the next 36 hours or so, although the moon is almost full, and that will make it hard to see. I am so glad I got to see so many auroras last summer, because with the sun declining from its maximum, there will be fewer occasions in the future. But it would be nice to have just one more year.
So that is the view from the field tonight. I actually feel like I accomplished something today. Amazing.
July is speeding by, for sure. I keep having the feeling I'm missing something...
I got to bed relatively early last night, and I slept late this morning, and I feel much better, thank you. There were some more crazy dreams, and I still wonder how in the world my mind makes some of those connections. Fortunately, none of them have been nightmarish, so when I wake up, I am just left shaking my head.
While I was at the north end doing my embroidery after breakfast, all of a sudden, Buster started howling like there was something wrong with him. It went on for so long that I had to get up and go see what his problem was. When I went into the great room and called him, he came bounding out of the loft and down the stairs, talking at a great rate, but it certainly didn't seem like he had a problem. I didn't go upstairs to see if there was anything there, but I think he was just a little wacky this morning.
The weather was cloudy and cool, in the low 50s, for most of the day, and about 5:30 it finally started to fain, and the temperature has now fallen below 50º. Yuck.
I was scrolling down looking for a º to copy (which I didn't find, of course - I never do) and I remembered the strawberries. They're just as good as they were last night. The only way they could be better is if they were at room temperature, but they wouldn't keep at all then. And so far, no hives.
I keep trying to make some sort of order in the office, and it just isn't working, but tomorrow I am going to try to get the trash together (I know, I've said that before). I'm not quite sure why I find it such a chore, but it certainly is. Good thing the back of the truck is big.
It's getting dark early tonight, and I'm going to have to fetch the bird feeders in the rain, so I will get at that. Rainy nights are good for sleep.
Wow, I didn't want to get up this morning, and I didn't do anything except wash clothes. No, the trash did not get done. Friday is another day. I got up late, but even that didn't help much. I guess I overdid yesterday, but if I don't push myself sometimes, it will only get worse. Besides, I've suspected for years that all the MSG in Chinese cooking sort of gives me a hangover. It's worth it.
Today was a sort of blah day weather-wise, too. It was cloudy for most of the day, temperature in the low 60s, with an east wind. I guess they changed their minds this afternoon, and we're supposed to get some rain overnight and for the next couple of days. Since our last rain fizzled out, it's probably good.
I awoke briefly at about 6:15 this morning, and saw a sight which unfortunately the camera didn't catch. It was cloudy and not very light, but the rising sun was shining on the other end of the harbor and it turned the trees to gold. I could have sworn it was October. The camera shot was so dark that even when I fiddled with it, I couldn't bring out the color. Some things only the human eye can see. It was a nice sight to go back to sleep on.
So the last load of wash is waiting to go into the dryer, and as soon as it does, I'm off to dreamland. I need to catch up.
I've been meaning to mention that a week or so ago, sunrise slipped over 6am and is now getting later every day. We're still having 15 hours and 45 minutes of daylight, but we're on the downward leg. I do enjoy the long days...or at least the late evenings!...and I miss them when they're gone. It will be a while before days are obviously shorter, however, and that's good, too.
Summer has its compensations, however. EconoFoods had some locally-grown strawberries (at a ridiculous price, but oh, well), so I bought a quart. Some years ago, as a side effect of a reaction I developed to some antibiotics, I became mildly allergic to strawberries - I would get a hive or two on either my hands or my feet. I've more or less avoided strawberries ever since, even though the last few times I ate any, not much happened. I decided that if I was going to hive, it was going to be for a good reason, by which I mean the luscious locally-grown strawberries that are red all the way through, not those horrid white things that are tough and tasteless. These lived up to their billing. Also, I am doling them out a few at a time, rather than sitting down and eating the whole quart at once. Oh, but they were good! Last year, I sort of missed the strawberry season up here, since I went south on July 15 and didn't get back until the 30th - and that's the season. If Econo hadn't had any, I was going to have to go hunting, because I really wanted my strawberries this year. I'm hoping one quart, spread over several days, won't do me any harm. Mmmmmmm.................
They also had some pretty fine rib-eye steaks on sale, and some asparagus (from Mexico, but oh, well...), so I am full of good things tonight.
So that is the view from the field, cloudy and cool.
The best laid plans, and all that. I didn't quite make it into bed at an early hour last night, because after I did the journal, I called Debbie for an update, and we talked for two hours, more or less. I didn't sleep good, partly because I was having a problem with temperature. It was really blowing too hard to have windows open, and the temperature dropped quite a bit overnight, so every so often, this cold breeze would waft over me and make me cover up, then it would stop and I would get warm. So there were more wild dreams, and I really didn't want to get up this morning.
I did get up and attem as much as I ever do, and I started for town around 11. I knew it was going to be a bad day when, after I left, I thought I had left my list at home. So I got what I remembered at JoAnn's, got mostly cat food and bird food at WalMart, and had a very nice lunch at Ming Gardens. At EconoFoods, when I got out my checkbook (at the checkout counter) there was my list, and I forgot my coupons until after I had paid. It was a slow trip back, because I was behind two RVs all the way up the covered road, although I think actually the really slow driver was the car in front of them. I might as well get used to it, because it will be that way until late September.
It was a day for contemplation. While I was eating lunch, I was seated facing a lady who was lunching with two companions, and I couldn't help remember what my mother always told me when I made nasty faces: if you do that long enough your face will freeze like that. This one had a mouth that turned down. Now I know that gravity will do that to a degree, and this lady wasn't young, but believe me, this mouth turned down because its owner had spent a very long time frowning. It was unfortunate, because when she did smile, she wasn't bad looking at all...it's just that she clearly doesn't smile very much. I've always pitied people who have such a negative attitude toward life, because they're mostly making themselves miserable, and because it always shows on their faces. I also pity the people around them who have to put up with that frown all the time. I try to avoid people like that. At least her lunch seemed to please her.
Driving from Ming Gardens to EconoFoods, which is about three blocks, I got behind a lady who was driving exceptionally timidly, but I thought I understood when she made right for the handicapped parking spots. They were all full, so she waited, with her turn signal on, as the first car in line pulled out. Just as she was about to turn...it would have been a u-turn and she probably would have had to do it in stages...a younger woman whipped around from the other direction and right into the parking place - and pulled out her handicapped hang-tag and hung it up after she was in the spot! Neither the poor old soul she had cut off nor I could believe she had actually done that, because she was not nearly so handicapped as I am. In so many ways things are kinder and gentler up here, and I had hoped we wouldn't have people like that here. That's a big-city trick. I got a fairly good spot, but the old lady was still wandering the parking lot trying to find a place where she didn't have to walk far when I went into the store. I wonder where the parking police are when you need them.
Anyway, it was good to get back to my splendid isolation.
Oh - the weather. It was much cooler today, low 60s mostly, although it got into the upper 60s in Houghton this afternoon. It was partly cloudy most of the time, with a stiff breeze, and it was actually pretty nice. It has cleared up quite a bit since sunset, and it is cooling off quickly. The forecast is for under 50º tonight. That's all right with me. Sleeping is better when it's cool.
So now I have even more stuff stored in the breezeway that needs to be put away, and tomorrow I absolutely must deal with the trash...and finish the wash. So since it is now nearly midnight, I will stop all this and toddle up to the north end...
I'll do this early tonight, and try the early-to-bed thing again. It didn't work last night, because some of my neighbors were using up their stock of firecrackers...until after 11pm. Then around 1:30 I woke up and had to close the windows because it looked like we might have a storm. However, except for a little wind and a few sprinkles, most of the action was two or three miles out in the lake - far enough away that while I could see the lightening, and there was a lot of it, mostly I couldn't hear the thunder at all. That did break my rest, however, and I had several very interesting dreams that woke me up. As a result, I didn't get up until 10am, then I sat around until almost noon before I ate breakfast. After a small start on my new project and a trip to the post office, it was dinner time...a real lost day, for sure!
I almost ate out, because Mariner had chicken done a way I really like, and I'm hungry for roast chicken (this with honey and parmesan, a really nice combination), but I was too tired to even do that.
The weather started out very dreary this morning, and there were a few sprinkles of rain as I was putting out the bird feeders. The birds were waiting in the trees, I think, because they were in the thistle feeder almost before I got into the house! The clouds started breaking up around 11am, and the wind picked up to gusts almost 30mph from the northwest. For a while there were pretty, puffy white clouds in the blue sky, but most of those disappeared by 2, and except for the wind, the rest of the afternoon has been gorgeous. The temperature has been in the low 70s all day, and I wish I could have opened up the house, but it was far too windy.
I did start to do the laundry, although I keep forgetting it and it waits a while before going on to the next step. The laundry station was overflowing, and that's a sure sign it's time to do something...sort of like the chute being full to the second floor on Champine. I won't finish it all tonight, though.
Tomorrow the plan is to go to town, because I'll run out of orange juice if I don't, and I have a couple of stops in mind. Whether I can actually do JoAnn's, WalMart and EconoFoods in one day is another question, but I'll try. It's supposed to be cooler but sunny tomorrow, which is good. It can get plenty hot in Houghton, and I guess it has been lately.
Not so hot as it's been in Detroit, though. It's been hot and rainy and stormy and totally yucky there. It is so great to be able to summer in a place with comfortable temperatures! Of course we've had a little rain - we need it - but most of the time I've been here has been some of the most wonderful weather I have ever imagined. Doesn't get much better than this, in my book!
So a lost day in the field...
Well, our wet weather fizzled out again. When I got up this morning - very late again - it was cloudy but not too dark and quite warm. In the course of the day, it cleared up and the wind shifted and cooled things down, and as has been usual lately, our high temperatures are occurring in the evening - around 70º. Nice. It has also cleared up nicely, thank you, although there may be some thin, high clouds. I don't know how good the seeing will be. They are still promising rain for tomorrow morning. I'll believe it when it happens.
I got up very late, as I said, and ate breakfast - brunch, really - even later, and spent most of the day finishing Autumn. As soon as the light is right, I'll take the last two pictures. My, but I'm glad to have those things done! I'll be even happier when they are attached to their mounting boards.
So tonight I plan to sack in early and rest my eyes, which feel like they are out on stalks. Too much close up and not enough far away today, on top of being tired when I woke up. Getting the temperature right is a problem these days.
I finally got my lamb chops at Harbor Haus tonight. It was much nicer tonight than Friday, actually - busy but not so full of large loud parties. However, I guess I'm really getting old. There was a party seated three tables away from me which included a little girl of about four or five who kept wanting to go outside, come inside, go outside, come... The slider is down at the end of the room where I was seated, and it doesn't slide very well, so her mother kept having to open it for her. When I left, they were out in the swing, and mom was talking to her. I couldn't help but think that when I was that age, if I'd tried a stunt like that, I would have been told to sit down and shut up in a tone of voice one didn't ignore...and I wish parents these days would do the same thing. It really does disrupt things when a small child is wandering around amongst the other tables in a restaurant.
It didn't help my mood that before that group came in, there was a little boy of maybe three who was actually pretty good except he was a shrieker, and I find that disruptive, too. When I was that age, I was told, by people one didn't disobey, that particularly in public, children were to be seen but not heard.
Like I say, I guess I'm getting old. I have even less toleration for little kids who are let run than I used to. I suppose I will annoy some people with my attitude. Of course, I never was a mother, and I probably would have been a terrible one anyway.
So it's clear and sunny in the field again, and that's nice.
The fireworks were worth staying up for. I temporarily reset the camera, and I caught three pictures. They aren't especially good, because the webcam isn't very good in low-light situations, but you can get a hint of what I saw. I set it to capture every 5 minutes, but next year, if I remember, I will set it at 2 minutes, because there was a lot going on. There were even a couple of pieces that, when they exploded, were the outline of a heart, in red sparkles. Most of the rockets didn't really get very high, which may have been because of the temperature and humidity. However, Shirley said that this year there was a rule in place that they had to be set off only by the fire department, and none of the firefighters had any experience with fireworks, and none of the guys with experience setting off fireworks (which they have been doing safely for years) are in the fire department. Some more bureaucratic nonsense, most likely.
There was also a nice little moon, about halfway between new and first quarter, but it was above the field of the camera. When I got into bed, it was leaving a wide swath of light on the harbor, and it was beautifully clear all night long...oh, for that telescope!
I don't know how it could get any better, but this morning was tops, so far as I am concerned. I slept late, although it was a shame to waste such a beautiful day. When I got up, the temperature was in the middle 60s and it was so gorgeous, I had to run out in my nightie and take pictures. It hasn't been this beautiful since the day (in 2000) that I took the picture which is the background for my home page. Totally incredible! And it was like that for most of the day, until after 5pm. Then the leading edge of a front started dropping down from Canada and the lake, and I guess it will probably rain either tonight or tomorrow. Well, into each life... It's a pity it has to be on the holiday weekend, though.
I promised flower pictures. Yesterday, I went out into the daisy field to take some better shots. It continually amazes me how many daisies there are this year, and I love looking at them. I had some unfortunate luck with some of the flowers I tried to take yesterday, but I did get a good one of the peony. I thought a different one bloomed last year (although I could be wrong about that - I was about the iris), so I may have two white peonies. I guess I'll just have to wait and see if the others bloom.
When I went out to dinner tonight, there was a new flower blooming alongside the path that leads down into the garden. It must have blown there from the wildflower seed, and I would say it's a calendula, except that they aren't hardy. Anyway, until I can find the wildflower seed catalog, this is a new whatsit. It may be a type of sunflower. Anyway, it is very bright and cheerful against all the white daisies, and it is going to have quite a few flowers. It's nothing I'd want in my garden, because it is sort of a prostrate plant that sprawls all over, but I do like it where it is. That part of the yard is just pebbles with a layer of mine rock on top, and it is amazing to me that anything will grow there.
So that is the report from the field tonight. I am just wallowing in every beautiful day we have. It's hard to believe we could have had so much fantastic weather already this spring!
While I'm waiting for the show to begin, I'll get off a short entry. I'll recap the fireworks - and I have a few flower pictures - tomorrow.
All night long, the skies were clear and starry, but along about the beginning of morning twilight, the clouds rolled in, and I was a bit anxious when I got up. That was a bit earlier than I really wanted to, but my sinuses started draining and making me cough, so I figured it was useless to try to go back to sleep...especially when DC started purring in my face.
Friday is the morning I have to wait for breakfast - wait for the sausages to defrost and the French toast to absorb all its liquid - and it was still cloudy when I was through. It didn't start to clear up until around 2:30, then the clouds all blew away and it is as gorgeous an evening as you could want. The temperature even got into the middle 70s this evening in Copper Harbor, although it's about 10º cooler here.
Shirley had a lovely, if extended, dinner at Harbor Haus and when I drove her home and started back toward the east end, it was getting hard to drive down the streets with all the cars parked and the people walking around. These are mostly Keweenaw people, though, and they are pretty well behaved until they get too much boos in them (that won't happen until after the fireworks). Shirley didn't think so, but I'd say there are a lot of people in town! Also a lot of cars. It was good to get back to my little haven.
After it cleared up, I spent a long time sitting in the ugly chair embroidering, and one more push should get me done with the center band of "Autumn". Of course, I cheated a bit and did parts of the next two bands also, so when I finish the acorn bottoms and the lozenge-shaped flowers (seeds?), I will be on the downward side.
I took a walk around the garden (weed patch, actually), and the peony that is blooming is white. The third poppy was white, too, but it didn't last long enough for me to get pictures. The dinky Siberian iris have come and gone, but the ones that survived are all the dark purple ones I like best. Even though it was only around 60º around the house, it was very warm in the garden. I will have to bear that in mind...but the best time to be out in it is before I get up in the morning.
The daisies continue to amaze me. It's been years since there have been daisies like these and I love to look at them.
So that is all from the field for today. More tomorrow.
After working so well for so long, the phone line seems to be snakebit lately. It got the first picture, then hung up completely with an error box on the screen until I restarted it, and I was quite late this morning. I have not a clue what its problem was this time. It works fine when I am watching it...but if you think I am going to get up at 5am to watch it, think again.
I think I've figured out why the first picture is at 5:15 or so. I think I have the timer set to cut the power between 1am and 5am EDT...12 and 4 EST. This has two purposes. It saves a little wear and tear on the hardware when it's dark outside, and it serves to reload the operating system. Windows ME clearly has some data leaks in it, and if it isn't reloaded regularly, eventually the phone line software stops working altogether. It's frankly just too much of a chore to reprogram the timer for daylight time. We're not missing much anyway, and soon it will be pitch dark at that time.
It was cloudy and nondescript when I finally did make it out of bed this morning...it was a really nice dream and I wanted to hang on to it as long as possible. It looked like it might even rain. However, around 11:30 the clouds started to break up and they soon went south (really!) and left us with an absolutely gorgeous day except that the harbor was full of fog for most of the afternoon. The sun didn't stop shining on the land, and the temps were in the upper 50s with very little wind. My kind of weather.
I think I fooled around for most of the day, though. I read a couple of magazines, stopped by to see Shirley and confirm our dinner date for tomorrow and see her new computer (very impressive - all black).
I really meant to go down to the garden and look around, but I just never did. Not enough sleep, I guess.
So I will cut this short, haul in the bird feeders, and try to start a bit earlier tonight. Tomorrow will be late. Because twilight lasts so long, it's usually about 10:45 before the fireworks start, and since the noise would keep me awake anyway, I will just sit in the ugly chair and watch them. It's a much better show from King Copper, but I just can't handle the crowds.
When I went out to bring in the bird feeders last evening, there was the thinnest crescent moon hanging over the lighthouse. Unfortunately I never will remember that I just can't hold the camera still enough to take a picture, even when I'm resting it on something, so unfortunately there are no pictures. At one point in my life, I was steady enough that I could take short time exposures hand-held, but no more.
It was clear and starry for most of the night, but it must have started to cloud up around the beginning of morning twilight, and it was dark when I woke up, just before 8. I would like to have gone back to sleep, but I needed to take a walk, and besides, there had been a momentary power failure (the phones said "bleep" and about two seconds later said "bleep" again) and I knew I'd have to set all the digital clocks. I also wanted to check the computer, which, as it turned out, hadn't felt a thing. Strange. While I was in the bathroom, all of a sudden the wind started to blow a gale and it got darker still. By the time I got to the kitchen, it was beginning to spit rain, and I decided I was not going to try to get the feeders out, since the birds wouldn't be out in that wind anyway.
I did check the Weather Underground, and there was a big blob of rain coming across Lake Superior aimed pretty much at us. Actually, the heavy rain mostly hit south and west of here, in Houghton and Ontonogon. It did rain hard, but there wasn't any lightening. While a couple of birds came looking for the feeder after the wind died down a bit, it was raining too hard for me to go out then.
I was back in the bathroom when one huge crash of thunder hit almost overhead. It sounded like somebody dropped something very heavy at the top of the stairs, and it rolled down to the bottom. After that, the rain pretty much stopped.
Eventually I got dressed and moved the embroidery to the office, and seeing that the deck was nearly dry and the wind had abated, I took the feeders out to hang up...at exactly 11:22...oops! So now you've seen what I look like. I doubt there will be any better pictures forthcoming. I did have to fiddle with that picture, by the way - the original was too dark to see much. You can also see that the clouds were starting to break up.
The sun came out around 2:30 and lasted for a couple of hours, then a new cloud front rolled in and it is now dull and gray again. They are saying we could have more rain, and there is a big area in northern Minnesota, but I think most of it is moving due south, so that should miss us. There is a stationary front hanging right over Keweenaw right now, but John said this morning that it doesn't have a lot of moisture in it, so rain isn't really likely.
So that was the fun of the day. I got a lot of embroidery done. I had forgotten that when I am working in a frame, it is really helpful to sit at the desk where I can rest the top of the frame on the desk and the bottom on my gut (or my belt buckle) and not have to hold it with either hand as I stitch. Since I stitch with one hand under and one hand on top, that makes it go faster. And no, I can't get an embroidery stand in even this bathroom! It's slow going anyway, and I am getting anxious to get done and go on to other things.
I also wrote the first-of-the month bills, which is a chore I prefer to do as few times a month as possible.
After being rather wakeful yesterday, the guys were socked out today, which leads me to suspect there may be some more heavy weather. They are usually pretty good barometers. Buster has taken to sleeping a lot on the ugly chair's footstool, so he can wake up and check the feeding station occasionally. He is still absolutely fascinated by the chipmunk. DC started in the ugly chair, but for some reason I don't understand, he moved to the great room where he has been sleeping on one of the chairs for the bistro table, which has a fleece top of mine in it that I had planned to do some sewing on. Now, of course, I'll have to wash it first.
Temperatures were mostly in the middle to high 50s, which was nice except too cool to have the slider open. I say again, it would be lovely if the entire summer could be like the past 8 weeks have been...yup, I'll have been here 8 weeks on Friday. Hard to believe.
So that is how things are in the field today.
The beginning of a new month. Time passes so quickly...and it doesn't matter if I'm having fun or not.
It was another glorious day in the field. The temps got into the upper 60s and it was clear for most of the day. There are some clouds now...now that the weather forecasts say it is supposed to be clear all night! What weather! I knew it could be like this, and I knew if I came long enough I would get to enjoy it. Wow.
I am a bit disappointed that the 4th doesn't look to be the best...but the way it is shaping up, we could be lucky and not get any rain at all. That, too, has happened. The fireworks are kind of neat when it's cloudy, but if it's too humid, they have a hard time getting any height on the fireworks.
I didn't get any more sleep last night than the night before, since when I got to the bathroom, instead of taking my bath and going to bed, I embroidered for a while. However, I woke up late and felt a lot better today than yesterday, so I don't know what the problem was. Maybe it was something in the air, because all three of us felt kind of blah yesterday, and we all are much better today. DC was positively frisky, and he was awake a lot longer than usual today.
Buster got his exercise late this afternoon. We seem to have one brave chipmunk, who will come up on the deck to get the seeds the birds drop out of the feeders. I wonder if it could possibly be the same one who attacked me several years ago? That's doubtful, since I don't think chipmunks live very long, but I wouldn't be surprised to know this one is an offspring, since it is extremely brave. There is also another one, which I saw the day I was sitting under the deck inventorying my plants, which is the littlest, skinniest thing you can imagine. The brave one is big and well-fed and extremely cute.
Anyway, it was up on the deck this evening, and Buster was enthralled. Every so often, however, it would spook and run down the deck to the steps, and Buster would take off after it (inside the house, of course) full tilt. He did that three or four times, I think, which I feel is good exercise for him. He was going to be funny a few minutes ago and climb the bookcase, but I intervened, an now he has curled himself into a ball on the desk and looks like it's time for a few zzzzzzzzs. Buster has calmed down a lot since he was a kitten (he was 8 in May), but he is still wired for a cat of his age, and there is just no way I could manage to keep things stirred up enough to keep him interested. The birds and the chipmunks are helping a lot.
While I was making my dinner tonight, there was a great deal of twittering and "seep" noises coming from the trees in front of the porch, so I got the binoculars, but it was sort of like trying to see out of the top of my head to see what was in the trees. I think, though, that after an absence of a year or two, the cedar waxwings may have returned. At least some of the noises sounded like them, and as much as I could see of a couple of the birds looked like it. Some of the other twitterings were undoubtedly the flock of goldfinches...you may have seen them in the feeders...and there were probably some warblers in the trees, too, because I saw something take off after a bug.
Otherwise, it was so incredibly quiet again tonight. A breeze has sprung up now, but earlier it was quite calm and the harbor was almost flat. Sometimes when it is calm, there will be little ripples on this end of the harbor, which I think are caused by the current which comes in where the channel is between the lighthouse point and Porter Island.
We shall see if it clears up, although from the satellite map, it should. Last night was so clear I got together my shopping list for the telescope (although I didn't order it yet). At one point I thought maybe either it had clouded up or there were some northern lights, but I put on my glasses, and the Big and Little Dippers just jumped out at me. I really can't see very well without my glasses on, which is why it's so amazing that I can see any stars at all.
I hope that the arrival of the telescope doesn't bring in a cloudy period. One reason I didn't get it last summer was that so much of June and July (when I was here) was so cloudy. We had some clear nights in August, when there were spectacular northern lights, but between Labor Day and when I went back to Detroit in November, the weather was just awful altogether, and mostly cloudy. This year has been so spectacularly clear that I am encouraged to think I might actually be able to use the telescope if I get it. We shall see.
So another glorious summer day in the field. And it's July.
Last updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM