A View From the Field








August, 2003


August 31

It's hard to believe August is gone already. My, how time flies! And my mama assured me that the older I get, the faster it will seem to go. Wow.


The sky last night wasn't transparent enough for me to consider going outside, although I could have, since it didn't get under 60º here. I opened the east window in the window seat and that gave me just enough air and cool to be comfortable, so I slept remarkably well.


When I awoke this morning, the sky was all blue and the harbor was blue with whitecaps, and it was gorgeous again. In the course of the day, some clouds came over and disappeared to the south, but now, at sunset, the sky is clearly all riled up, with high clouds streaking west to east and low puffy clouds under them and apparently that's how it's supposed to be all night. Sunset is lovely, as usual when there are some clouds, but since the sun is still setting over the lighthouse, I don't have a really clear view of it yet. It's moving, though, and quite soon sunset will appear in the camera. Fall is coming, if it isn't here already.


The wind was quite brisk all day long, which was a good thing, because the temperature got into the middle 70s anyway, and without that strong wind, it would have been dreadful. As it was, it was a truly glorious late-summer day, and even now the breeze is nice and warm and lovely. I can stand mid-70s  weather when the dewpoint is low, which it surely was today.


Sometime during the night last night, DC had a coughing spell on the bed (usually he gets off first) so I thought it might be a good idea to wash the bedcover, which needed it even before, and while I was at it, I stripped the bed, washed the sheets and pillowcases, and turned the sheepskin pad end for end. I find making beds exhausting, especially the big heavy mattress on this bed, but it was high time I did it. So now the bed is all put together again and nice and clean, and all ready for me.


DC's coughing spells concern me some. He sounds like he is about to choke, but all that comes up is a little mucus and hair. He has one every couple of days. Otherwise, he seems to be doing fine, so I'm not sure how serious this is. Poor D.


I didn't manage to finish the section of embroidery today, because I found I had made a couple of mistakes in a leaf and I had to fix that. Tomorrow for sure I should turn the page and start on the fourth section.


For the rest of the afternoon I played with beads. Not the most stimulating exercise, but I want to sort out some of the pretty little dark red beads in my three kilograms of mixed beads. Trouble is, I keep seeing other pretty beads and wondering if I should go back and pick out the rest of those...I could end up working on the same 50 grams forever. I've also noticed an interesting phenomenon. The beads range in size from 3 or 4 to the inch to 25 to the inch, with some bugle beads thrown in for spice. If I pour a bunch of beads in a flat box and shake the box until they are scattered all over it, the big beads and the bugle beads come to the top, and the teensy tiny beads are on the bottom. 


I think I remember something I read in Science News a while back that probably has bearing on this phenomenon. What I think is happening is, since all the beads (except the bugles) are more or less round, they shake down so that the little beads fill in the spaces between the bigger ones and push the really large ones to the top. The bugles don't fit in at all, so they float around on the top, too. Interesting to see this in action. Also interesting is that there are some people (mostly guys) who spend their entire lives fiddling around with the mathematics of things like this and other even less practical problems. I always have enjoyed math, but the idea of making pure mathematics my lifework just didn't appeal. Math is a tool, like a calculator or a computer. I liked the kind of work I did because I had the feeling the results had some bearing on the real world (somebody could get money out of an ATM, for instance).


Anyway, I sorted beads until my eyes started to cross, and after I finish the 500 grams I'm working on, I'm not sure I will do anything with the rest for a while. I really should be using a magnifier, and I'm just stubborn enough that I'm not, so my back gets sore and my eyes get sore. But those beads are sooo pretty...


Copper Harbor is kind of a zoo today, because not only is it the holiday weekend, the Fat Tire race (mountain bike) was today, and it sounded like they were having live music in the park tonight. There were blow-hards and whiny women and kids in Harbor Haus and not enough wait staff, because all the kids have gone back to college, and while my dinner was very good and not rushed or anything, it was a bit too riled up for my taste. I will be very glad when there aren't quite so many tourists in town.


So now it is getting dark (so early!!), and I think I will just take an early bedtime again. I find, even though sleeping in daylight doesn't bother me (after all, I do it every morning), I am more interested in going to bed at an early hour when it gets dark early. I don't have the corresponding urge to get up early when it's light early, however. Anyway, I need to try out my nice clean bed. I may even splurge on a clean nightie (hmm, time to wash underwear, I think).


So peace reigns in the field, and August is over.


August 30

They were all wrong, and they have all (except for John Dee, who doesn't forecast on weekends) have changed their tune. When I got up this morning, there were a few clouds in the west, but most of the sky was clear and blue, blue, blue. A few puffy clouds passed over while I was embroidering, but most of the day was completely clear and beautiful. there was a bit of a wind blowing, and for a brief while this afternoon, it got fairly strong, but for most of the day it was lovely, cool day, with the temperatures in the low 60s until very late when it inched over 65º. Lovely. Just my kind of weather.


Tonight looks to be quite clear, but it's supposed to get down close to 50º, so it will not be a night to be sitting on the stoop in my nightie. Actually, last night was relatively clear all night, but sky conditions weren't the best, so far as I could see without my glasses.


Actually, I might as well have gotten up and gotten dressed at around 3am, for all the sleep I got. It was another night when I was having trouble with temperature, as well as sore hips and ears, so I got my best sleep after 6am. Apparently it was enough, though, because when I finally did get up, I felt just fine.


The goldfinches have been eating so much seed lately that I put out two sock feeders, but I guess the combination of the wind and the new stuff spooked them, and not as many came to eat today. There haven't been as many hummingbirds, either, but that is most likely the wind. It's too bad there isn't a sheltered place where I could put the hummingbird feeders and still see them. 


So I have almost completed the third section of the roses, and I played with beads, and that's about all I did. I find not having anything particular I have to do is addicting, and I enjoy it thoroughly.


Tonight, I ate with Shirley and her daughter and granddaughter joined us for a nice meal. I guess there is a well-known band playing at Mariner tonight, so everybody was there...except me. I came home. When I saw them bringing in the amplifiers, I decided to opt out. My hearing is already too fragile to subject my ears to amplified guitars.


So night is falling in the field, and the crescent moon is setting over the mountain, and it's time to head toward the north end. Peace reigns in the field.


August 29

Surf's up -or it was!


It wasn't that I wasn't tired, because I was. However, around 11:30 the wind picked up (despite what the NWS says) and it was noisy around here - between the wind and the surf, there was a loud roar for the rest of the night, and I didn't sleep very well. Curiously, last summer, when we had a lot of wind and surf, I could sleep quite well through the whole thing. This summer has been so calm that I'm not used to the roar of the lake with a 25 mph wind behind it. Instead of westerly winds, they were out of the north and northwest, and the surf was pounding on outer side of the lighthouse peninsula. There were even breakers on my beach. It was clear to partly cloudy all night, though. The surf was really up, and for one of the few times this summer.


Eventually I made it out of bed, and eventually I had breakfast and finished the leaves and started on the next rose. The state of my gasoline supply was concerning me, and when the skies cleared, I decided to take a trip down to Allouez for gas and back up via Five Mile Point Road and M-26. I haven't been that way in a couple of years. The temperature was only around 60º, but the skies were nearly completely clear, and the lake, when I got to it, was blue, blue, blue.


However, before that, I had to endure the sticker shock of filling my tank with gas (and it really wasn't that empty) - at $1.90 a gallon. Gack!  Gas is always a bit higher up here, because of transportation costs, but that was thirty cents a gallon more than it was when I came north the first week of August. Oh, well. I'm actually not using that much gas, and with any luck, by the time I need to fill up again, the price will have subsided. I have noticed that somehow the price always skyrockets right before a major driving holiday, and of course this time they have a built-in excuse with the blackout. B - ahem. Think of a nasty word. You will have a hard time convincing me it isn't just another ploy to gouge the average driver.


So I took off down Five Mile Point Road. The guy in front of me decided he was going the wrong way and turned around, so I had the road to myself. There is a place where you come around a corner and start down a hill and there is the lake in front of you - and there it was, as blue as could be. The waves were pretty good at Five Mile Point Beach - or what I think is the beach - but I'm sorry to say, I didn't stop. For one thing, there were people across the road at the manufactured house, and for another, I misguaged my timing, and I wanted to get back to Copper Harbor before 4pm when the post office closes. Oh, well.


When I started out of Eagle River, I remembered that one reason I wanted to go that way was to stop at the Jam Pot and see about pasties. Yes, they do have them, and a very friendly monk with a grizzled beard down to his waist was very talkative, especially when I mentioned that I had walked on the beach before the order bought the property. We had a nice conversation, but it took a while, and only several other people (including a couple that made me look thin) coming in let me get away with my frozen pasties and a loaf of banana-nut-cranberry bread that I need to try before I go to bed. The smells in that place are enough to make you start to drool.


Anyway, I should have known then that I'd never get back here in time, and I should have stopped and taken pictures at several places, because the surf coming in on the blue, blue lake was really pretty, even though it was subsiding by then as the wind dropped. Because, as I was heading out of Eagle Harbor (after wondering again where George Hite's place is), i got behind three tourons, all of whom believed that the road was so twisty that they had to go very slowly. Now, M-26 is no road to make time on anyway, but there are stretches where it is relatively straight and there is nothing to see but trees, where one could go a bit faster than 40mph.


So I didn't get to the post office until about 4:05, and Clyde is most punctual about closing his window. I think he was still there, but if so, he wasn't talking to customers. The outside part is open until 5pm, however, so I did get my (not very interesting) mail.


It was a beautiful drive anyway, but I was forcefully reminded - once again - about how much the vegetation has grown up since the first times I drove that road, back in the '60s.  Then, you could see the lake almost all the way from Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor...but then, you could also see out to the east from the Cliff Drive, and there was no vegetation on the cliff at all. It's good to see things growing, but it does interfere with the scenic drive.


So tonight, I had a nice pasty for dinner. PastyNet pasties are always good, but they aren't always the same. The batch I got last year on Champine has too many potatoes and not enough seasoning, and this batch has just a tad more pepper than I would like. However, it tasted really good, and DC even had a little taste of the meat. And no, I do not eat mine with ketchup. I prefer them unadulterated, although I've thought about gravy. And besides, I have five more in the freezer. Yum. If the sweet bread tastes as good as it smells, that will be a yum, too.  I could go nuts in the Jam Pot.


Well, I was just about to wrap this up when I looked at the last camera picture, and low and behold, we had shot the moon! So I went running outside with the camera, forgetting as I usually do that I'm not steady enough to take slow pictures even when I brace the camera on the deck railing. However, I did get a couple of nice shots of an extremely satisfying twilight. I'm sorry they aren't sharper. Unfortunately, there are few enough chances for me to take evening pictures that I haven't been able to really learn how to set the camera to do that. By the time I took those pictures, grabbed a piece of nut bread (very good) and came back in to the office, the moon was practically gone behind the mountain.


The first picture was taken from almost the same vantage as the camera, and the second was taken from outside my bedroom. You can see two cars coming down from the top of Brockway.


Anyway, it looks to be a very clear night, so eventually I may have to decide whether to go out and freeze my butt (it's 55º and dropping) or just look out the windows. The Weather Underground, however, says it's going to cloud up and rain before morning anyway, so I may not have to make a decision. Tomorrow and Sunday nights are supposed to be better. We'll see. The Clear Dark Sky chart says it's going to be clear for most of the night, but the sky isn't going to be very transparent. We shall see...


There was moonshine on the field tonight...


August 28

Well, all my plans were for naught. I was about to step into the shower last evening, rather early, when, with an eep! and a beep! the power went out. After I called UPPCO, I brushed my teeth and took my pills and went to bed. It really is dark in these parts when there is no light at all and it's cloudy. I had a hard time of it, but finally I went to sleep, and awakened around 11:30, a couple of minutes before the power came back on. I jumped out of bed and into the shower and in 15 minutes I was back in bed. However, it was one of those nights where I couldn't get the temperature right and I wasn't comfortable and all the rest of it, and I did not sleep well at all.


I made it out of bed around 9:30, and I really didn't feel very good. I started the coffee and took the bird feeders out, then went into the office to check on what might have happened to the computer in the power failure...and everything was dead. It took me a few minutes and a couple of trips down to the basement before I actually realized the power had gone again. Since I had coffee, I made an omelet, which I can do on the cooktop without electricity (start the burner with a match), and about 11:00 the power came back on.


By that time, I realized I didn't feel up to driving to Houghton. While I was fussing around with the computer and the clocks, at noon, the power failed again, so I went off to the north end to do some embroidery. I noticed, when I looked out the window, that there was an extremely black cloud out over the lake, and the wind was blowing hard. Pretty soon, the cloud was almost over us, it was thundering and blowing really hard, and the rain came. It rained for maybe 15 minutes, then stopped and the winds died down a bit, so I continued to embroider, and the leaves are almost done. There was no use even thinking about going out, because as I've mentioned before, I have an electric operator on the garage door which would have to be disconnected before I could get the car out. I had my chance, between 11:00 and noon and blew it.


There was no more rain, and actually, it got fairly bright out, although it was partly cloudy. I moved back to the office eventually and did some beading, and just as I was about to call UPPCO again and ask them how long they expected the outage to last, the power came on again - at 4:00. So far everything is on, but the wind isn't as strong as they are predicting for tonight. We shall see.


The first thing I did after the power came on and I got the computer up and running was to load the dishwasher to get the dishes out of the sink and wash the frying pans. Remember, I can't run water when there is no power, because it is pumped out of the well by an electric pump. So at least the kitchen is fairly navigable. I will have to get eggs at the General Store tomorrow, but other than that, I can manage through the weekend, and I think I have enough gas to last and still get to Allouez Amoco (or BP, I guess it is now) on Tuesday. Assuming, of course, that the power stays on.


So if anybody noticed that the camera wasn't updating today, they were right. Everything here was down for the better part of the day. It wasn't a particularly engaging view anyway, dull and dark and cloudy. There were a few interesting pictures after the power came back on, because several cloudbanks came through, with some partial sunshine in between, and the sun managed to shine through, all red, just before it set.


So now it is getting dark, and I will try to get my bath in and jump in bed before the lights go out again...


A dark day in the field.


August 27

I did get into bed at a reasonable hour last night (10:30), but I had trouble getting to sleep, and around 11:30 I got up to visit the bathroom. Sometimes I find that just getting up and moving around is enough to make me comfortable enough to sleep. However, when I looked out the window, the Big Dipper fairly jumped out at me, even without my glasses. I could see not only Polaris but some of the other stars in the Little Dipper, and I thought it might be a good night to take another look at Mars. Well!


I got on my slippers and took my red flashlight, and as I walked down the hall beside the stairway, I glanced up and I could see Cassiopeia and the Milky Way through the screen! So I grabbed the binoculars and went out on the back (front? my front door is at the back of the house) stoop. Oh, my, what a night! I went around to the corner of the office, and I could see the Milky Way all the way from Perseus rising in the northeast to Sagittarius, which was balanced on the front of its teapot spout on the top of the hills, and it was bright. People who have lived most of their lives around here probably think that's the way things are, but I haven't seen the Milky Way very many times in my life, most of which has been lived in polluted cities. To heck with Mars - it's just a bright star in the southeast, if you don't have a telescope. The limiting magnitude was close to 6.0 - I could see the two stars that form the fourth side of the Little Dipper's bowl - and there were so many stars I had my usual trouble orienting myself.


I tried to see some of the spectacular nebulae that are north of the spout of the Teapot, but that was too close to the horizon. However, I could see the Great Rift in the summer Milky Way clearly, and I could see where the northern side sort of peters out in Aquila and Ophiuchus (see, I can even spell these things, even if Microsoft can't). It was so beautiful!


Eventually, I did get oriented, and I found the Great Square of Pegasus, which was in the southeast, very high in the sky, and I traced Andromeda, and I got to thinking...and looking...and I did, I think for the first time in my life, see the Andromeda Nebula with my naked eye (and checked with the binoculars - I could even see some of its nucleus with the binoculars). Then I looked a bit north and I also saw the Double Cluster in Perseus without the binoculars. I didn't look for Hercules and the Great Cluster, because it was on the way down in the west, and I'm not sure from what part of the deck I could have seen it, but I'm sure I could have if I'd looked.


Mars is really spectacular, not only because it's so bright, but it's also in a pretty dull part of the sky and it looks like a beacon light sitting up there. However, without a telescope, there's not much to look at except how bright and orange it is.


I have seen a few nights here in the past that were clearer, but not many. Even though there was a stiff wind blowing, the stars were very steady, with almost no twinkling, even in Sagittarius.


I think I sat and looked for about 45 minutes, and twice I went to the corner of the office to look at the part of the sky from Cygnus and Lyra south to the horizon. Looking at Sagittarius is neat, because when I was a kid, it was behind the house and also over Detroit, and I never could see it very well. It's interesting to know I am actually looking at the center of our Galaxy...not that there's anything to see, since it's behind thick dust clouds. And it's sort of a thrill to look at the Andromeda Galaxy and know I am actually able to see something so very far away.


The wind started to try to blow my nightie over my head - I think the temperature was in the middle 60s, which wasn't unpleasant at all, since that's the temperature I'm used to - and I was beginning to get a fatigue headache. Besides, DC came to the screen door and said "Meow??" - like "What the hell are you doing now?", and then Buster came and hooked one claw in the screen and couldn't get unhooked. That posed a bit of a problem - how was I to get in with the cat as part of the door? - but I managed to catch the claw with my fingernail and push it back through the screen, then I banged the door enough to make him scram and went in.


Curiously enough, I went right to sleep and slept for almost four hours, which is about my limit without a trip to the bathroom, then I went back to sleep immediately. I recall from my youth that a while looking at the heavens is the greatest calming influence I know. I'm so glad I actually did go out last night, since it looks like we're in for a day or two of clouds.  I am going to have to figure out some arrangement so that I can go out when it's a bit cooler than it was last night without getting all dressed. If we have a good autumn, this is when the skies should be clearest, and the summer stars are still high in the sky...or if I get enough of a yen to go out in the early morning, I should be able to see some of the winter stars, including Orion, and the winter Milky Way.


It seems that from the parking lot (that's what I call the driveway and the rest of the area that's covered with mine rock), I should be able to get a reasonably good view of a lot of the sky and still keep the lighthouse out of view. So, whenever the telescope becomes a reality, I should have a place to do some serious viewing. In the meantime, I can wallow in the Milky Way and see all the things with my naked eye that I never could in polluted Detroit.


Today was a rather quiet day, and a lot cooler than yesterday - the official temperature never got over 60º and there was a brisk north wind for most of the day. There were some puffy clouds this morning, then the high hazy cloud cover we've had a lot of this summer moved in. For a while the sun was sort of covered up, but for most of the day it was shining. I ate breakfast late and didn't do a whole lot all day, and I plan to have another early bedtime to get ready for my trip to town tomorrow.


And the stars were shining over the field...


            Then, oh my God, when I, in awesome wonder,

            Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made...


August 26

SBC experienced a regional failure last evening, so it wasn't just sloth that led to there not being a journal. Not that I had a lot to say. Nor do I tonight. However, onward...


Both yesterday and today were breezy and at least partly sunny, and today the temperature flirted with 80º, I hope for the last time this year. With the strong westerly winds, it wasn't uncomfortable, however, and most of today was beautifully clear. There are now a few high cumulus clouds coming in, which may well disappear as night approaches.


Today I had all the doors open, and while DC doesn't like the wind, it apparently doesn't bother Buster a lot. A while ago, I put a towel on one of the chairs on the porch, and he has spent quite a bit of time there, enjoying the great out of doors and all the little critters running and flying around in the trees. I think DC spent most of both days in the laundry room, which is about the only place there isn't much wind.


Today I had planned to go to town, and I went to bed quite early last night to prepare. However, it was very damp (lots of fog) and coolish, my hives were extremely itchy, I had rubbed a blister off my bunion and it hurt, and I couldn't get the temperature right. Nasty night. So finally, after I shut the porch door, I went to sleep and slept late and felt sort of blah all day. 


Town will have to wait for another day, probably Thursday. I need to lay in some supplies, and I'm running low on gas, which I won't get at the one station in Copper Harbor because it is too expensive. I want to go on either Tuesday or Thursday, because I want to take a side trip down to Hughes Farm and see if they are open and they have anything to sell. The "veggies" sign hasn't been out this year, but I don't know if that means they don't have anything or they just aren't advertising. We'll see.


Yesterday, I finally hauled the trash off to the compactor, and I was interested that it started cycling a load inside while I was tossing my bags in. It sort of looked like the same mechanism that I've seen in garbage trucks, and it may be, but it's bigger and I suspect it compacts stuff more than a regular garbage truck. I didn't stay to watch it - it's not my favorite spot in town. That's where all the flies are this summer.


Today I did not much of anything except work on my embroidery and my beading until my eyes started to hang out of the sockets. What's nice about beading is that I'm sitting at the desk and I can look up and see the view and watch the birds.


In spite of the wind, there were birds, including some hummingbirds. They are so tiny I imagine they have a hard time flying into a wind like we're having, but the deck railing does break the force a bit, and they're hungry! So are the goldfinches, and the thistle feeder  has been emptying out very quickly.


With the wind so strong (17 to 28mph right now), there are some waves breaking on the south shore of the harbor. The pretty little clouds are moving fast, and it looks like it's perfectly clear in the west. Of course, last night looked like that, too, and around 11pm, the lighthouse faded out completely as the fog rolled in. Somehow, I don't think that will happen tonight. It won't matter, though, because the low is supposed to be in the low 50s, so I won't leave the door open. Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler, and Thursday it's supposed to rain. While I don't enjoy loading supplies in the rain, I think that will be the day for it.


Like it or not, summer is coming to an end. The CLK kids went back to school today (that's Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw). I may not be so anxious for fall and winter as John Dee is, but I do enjoy September and October when the weather is decent. Last year was awful - rain and cold for at least six weeks, then it started snowing. It's a shame the winter didn't live up to its promise in November and December. The lake is lower than ever, I think, and it's about time we started filling it up again. But it would be nice to have a true Keweenaw Autumn first.


So that's about all there is to report from the field, even after a day off.


August 24

Today we had a bit of almost everything, so far as the weather was concerned. Around 7:30 this morning, there was a thunderstorm that didn't amount to much, and it was cool (low 60s) and cloudy all morning. Around noon the temperature started to rise, and around between 3 and 5 the wind blew like crazy, then there was some sun, and first the temperature went down then it went up. The sun just set and I can't really tell how clear it is, but the haze over the mountain is a lovely shade of peach.  My goodness. Well, it didn't hail and it didn't snow and there weren't any tornadoes, but otherwise there was a pretty good cross section of Keweenaw weather.


I didn't do very much again, except for some embroidery and some work on my beads, and it seems like I spent a lot of time picking beads off the floor. I am going to have to put a towel or something in my lap when I am beading, just to catch the stuff that falls off the table. I tried a few things with the green beads and I can't decide what I want to do with them, so I went back to my other project.


As to the embroidery, apparently I am about halfway done, or at least halfway down the strip. It's hard to tell because the pattern miscounted the length, but I did some stems today and that put me into the second half of the project. I think it will be pretty, even though the roses would have been nicer if there had been some backstitching in them.


The birds were flocking around the feeders all day, and after not bothering the hummingbird feeders yesterday, they did a good job on them today. I saw some sort of scruffy, spotty birds that I think are just-fledged goldfinches, which were eating out of the big feeder.


This weekend was surprisingly quiet in Copper Harbor, nice for me but not so nice for the business people. The newspaper brought up the "no school before Labor Day" controversy again, which I still think is stupid. It seems especially stupid when I see how quiet things are now. Somebody remarked that after August 20 people are preparing their kids for school and not looking to travel, and I think that would be true no matter when school started, before or after Labor Day. The end of the real "tourist season" is at hand, and there's not much our wonderful legislature can do about it unless they decree that school can't start until after September 15 (wouldn't that cause a tizzy!). 


I've always wondered what we're paying our legislators for when the day school starts is all they have to worry about. 


There will still be some action around here for over a month, as the people with no children take their trips and the color season starts. It will be quieter, but it won't be dead until the end of September. I'm not sure whether there were fewer people in the area this summer or whether I just stayed more out of the way, but they didn't bother me quite so much as they have other years. There were the usual tourons strolling down the middle of US-41 (oh, you mean this isn't the Copper Harbor pedestrian mall?) and down Fifth Street (or whatever it is) toward the Post Office, and there were some excruciatingly slow drivers between town and the Fort (oh, you mean the speed limit isn't 30mph all the way to the end of US-41?), but maybe I'm getting used to the whole thing.


It did help that I discovered that I don't have to go to the post office every single day - every other day will do - so I didn't have to encounter the traffic every day. I have a lot of mail when I do get there, but Clyde is an expert at packing a box...although the other day something fell out on his side as I was fishing things out on mine. And I had enough stuff to eat in the house that I haven't had to go to town since I came back from Detroit - I'll go Tuesday.


There were a few nosy people in cars, a few nosy people in boats, and only two jet skiers, just about a week ago. It did seem like there were a lot of motorcycles around this year, and they make a lot of noise. There wasn't a bivouac at the fort this summer, or if it was, they didn't set off the cannons, which was good. DC and Buster didn't like the cannons. Some of my neighbors have screechy kids and yappy dogs, but none of them were here for very long, so most of the time it was nice and quiet.


Actually, this has been a really wonderful summer, the past week notwithstanding. There may or may not be another couple of warm days next week, but that will be the end of it. There wasn't a lot of wind, there was a remarkable amount of sunshine, and yet there seems to have been enough rain to keep things green. Most of the time the temperature was comfortably cool. I do hope we have a nice autumn, too, but maybe I'm asking too much.


I've forgotten to mention that there are a few crickets around here, who sing when the temperature is warm enough. I do miss the cicadas, but they were starting when I was in Detroit, so I got to hear some of them. They aren't so near since the big elm was cut down, but to me they were always part of the hot, lazy days of late summer, and when I was a kid I used to love to lie in bed and listen to the males sawing away and the females saying "tick...tick...tick..." Actually, it wasn't until a year or so ago that I found out that the ticking was the females saying they were ready and waiting, but it makes sense. The males always began singing a week or more before the ticking would start.


However, I keep reminding myself that we had no air conditioning in those days, and there were some awfully hot summers in the '50s and '60s. Besides, it is so noisy and so polluted there now that having the windows open at night is no fun at all. Not like here, where it smells good - really good these days - and there is almost no sound at all except for a cricket or two and occasionally the ringing of the bell buoy...Who could ask for more? Or less?


So that is another golden day in the field..


August 23

I went to bed very early (for me) last night, and all night long the stars were blazing down and the temperature was in the middle 50s - just right for sleeping, and did I ever!  When I awoke this morning, the sky was purely blue and it was gorgeous, but shortly the clouds started to move in and most of the day was rather dull. The wind has died down, and the temperature never got out of the 60s, all of which was just fine with me. It could have been sunnier, but I'll take the cool temperatures. Evidently there was some rain further south, but it really doesn't look like it's going to get here.


I did manage to do a bit of picking up in the kitchen this morning, and unloaded and started to reload the dishwasher. There comes a time when the clutter gets even to me. I finished the next rose flower, and now I have three or four inches of leaves and stems to do. This afternoon I got out the blue and green beads and started playing with them. Oddly enough, today I could see them without my magnifier. I think it has something to do with enough sleep.


There weren't quite so many hummingbirds around today (of course, because I hung out two feeders), but they are still around, and still visiting. I guess I can have the feeling I'm priming them for their long trip south.


Then there was a nice dinner with Shirley, and now I'm ready for bed again. The weather people have rather backed off their prior predictions, and now it looks like it should be nice and cool all next week. I can't believe next weekend is Labor Day, although of course it's early this year. It hardly seems like the summer could be over so fast.


So it's been another nice, quiet day in the field.


August 22

The best laid plans, and all that. I was finishing a rather late breakfast this morning when the woman who is building west of Hunter's Point showed up (I had invited her) and we had a nice long conversation, but that sort of messed up my day, and I ended up not doing much. 


It was a beautiful day altogether, and a lovely day to show off the best of my views. The temperature was in the upper 60s except for a couple of hours when it crept over 70º with a northwest wind between 15 and 20 mph, and not a cloud in the sky until very late this evening. So the sky was blue and the harbor was blue with whitecaps and altogether it was gorgeous. If I'm going to have visitors, I much prefer they come on days like today when they can see the very best view.


Nancy had the family pet with her, a miniature parrot (in a cage, of course), and since it was a bit cool for a tropical bird, we ended up inside, and DC came out and was just fascinated by this thing in the cage. He obviously noticed her bill, because when she made a move toward him, he moved fast in the opposite direction. The parrot had never seen a cat before, and I know DC had never seen a caged bird, so it was a bit interesting. The parrot actually would like to have gotten out of her cage, but we all agreed that wouldn't be a good idea in a strange place, especially one so big.


Anyway, the rest of my day was sort of a nothing. Late this afternoon, I sat in the ugly chair for a while, and I noticed that the fresh bottle of hummingbird food I put out this morning is practically empty. Then I saw at least six hummingbirds around the feeder, including one that was half again as big as the others. Now I wonder if maybe something fledged today, but it also may be that they are beginning to flock before they head south. Anyway, I plan to put out two feeders tomorrow and see what happens. I just checked the camera archive, and at 3:47 this afternoon, the bottle was three-quarters full, and the wind hasn't been strong enough to tip it over (the deck isn't damp, either), so somebody has been doing a job late this afternoon. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Since I'm taking everything in at night, the only problem will be that I'll have to make two trips with two hummingbird feeders.


Whether it warms up again early next week depends upon who you talk to. John Dee seems to think it might, and the Weather Underground doesn't. One time when I hope John is wrong, but so long as the wind is off the lake, it should be all right here. It certainly was lovely today, although the wind was a bit strong to have the doors open except intermittently. I can cope.


Another lovely day in the field, and I think I'll try to get another good night's sleep.


August 21

I actually started out to sleep really well last night, but at 1am the first storm moved in. It had lots of lightening and thunder and rain but not much wind. At 2am the second storm came in, and it had lots of wind and rain and not much lightening. So we got a couple of flavors. After that, it was so horribly humid that I did not sleep well for the rest of the night. Maybe tonight...


This morning started out just as ugly as yesterday had been, but around 10:30 the wind began to blow half a gale from the northwest (my favorite direction) and it blew most of the clouds and all the humidity away. The temperature was actually in the mid 70s for most of the day, until it started to fall off after 6pm. With the high wind (20mph with gusts higher) it felt cooler, and just lovely. Aaaahhh! Relief! With a little bit of luck, that'll be the end of it.


Tonight I will be able to pull up the quilt and be really comfortable for the first time in several days. DC will be happier, too - he can sleep with me without getting his fur ruffled.


The only other bit of news is that what I was calling mosquito bites aren't, I've decided. It's hives. Whatever could cause them, I don't know, but somebody suggested it might be the heat. I suppose that's possible, since I'm just not acclimated to these temperatures. The only other thing it could be is grapefruit juice, and I've drunk that for years with no ill effects. We'll see, if it cools off. I will wait until this outbreak subsides, then try the juice again and see. The old scientific method...


It looks to be a wonderfully clear night tonight, and I just checked the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch and they say there is a mid-level aurora watch out until the 26th! So I guess I will be peering out the windows tonight at every wake-up call. That would be nice - it's been a real quiet summer so far as light shows are concerned, and I was hoping to see some before I leave in November.


Sigh. The days are counting down. I have less than three months left. So I will have to hope for good weather and try to enjoy each day.


And that's how it is in the cool, windy field.


August 20

There was a light show of a different sort last night. I shut down the things I was doing on the computer rather abruptly when it thundered right overhead and went running around shutting doors and windows. It was a good thing, because it poured like somebody had turned a bucket upside down, and there was one bolt of lightening that must have hit the water right off Pebble Beach with the loudest crack! you can imagine. Buster had bolted at the first thunder,  but DC stayed with me, and at that crack, he looked up at me as if to say, "Is it all right, mom? Should I hide?" I assured him he was safe, and while I was showering, he went to sleep on the tub platform. Let nobody say he isn't a laid-back cat!


Right after I turned off the lights, another storm came through, but this one was a mile or so out in the lake, and it was a doozey. For about half an hour, it thundered almost continuously and about every other thunderbolt hit the lake. Wow, what a show! I didn't see it as well as I might have (with my glasses off) because Buster was lying right beside me, on full alert except when his ears went sideways. Buster used to try to act cool, but he isn't and he just does not like loud noises from whatever source. That was another instance when I wished I was still living in Room 34 and had an unobstructed view of the big lake. It must have been wonderful.


All that reminded me again of my mother and the night we sat together in Room 33 and watched for almost 45 minutes (in the middle of the night) as a terrific storm went by about two miles out in the lake, with almost all the lightening bolts hitting the water. That's another indelible memory of this place.


Anyway, the storm passed away to the northeast and I went peacefully to sleep...and sleep...and sleep...and I finally rolled out of bed at 10am. It had cooled off so that the temperature was just right to sleep comfortably with just a sheet and sheet blanket over me.


When I awoke this morning, it was clear in the east and...well...dubious...in the west, the temperature was up to 74º again, and it was very sticky. I wasn't hungry, so I sat around and ended up having company before I ate breakfast...one of my neighbors, the nurse who works at Bon Secours. Nice girl, like all Walter and Elaine's kids. It began to look pretty stormy out, and radar showed a storm cell headed in our direction, so she left because she needed to pack her car to start back for Detroit tonight (I guess people with young kids all drive at night). The storm gave us some wind, a bit lower temps, and about five drops of rain, just enough to make me close the sliders and dampen the towel on the footstool.


That storm exited, and the skies cleared and it was beautiful until I was halfway through dinner when the next clouds started through. They've even issued a tornado watch, but the storm cell is still over Minnesota not even at Duluth yet, so it will be a while. So far, it's even still mostly clear, and it looks to be another beautiful sunset.


It hasn't been all that hot, but it's been terrifically humid - in the 80% to 90% range, and that just isn't comfortable. However, behind tonight's light show is supposed to be cooler and less humid temps, which should last through the weekend. And as John Dee keeps saying, September isn't far away, and that should bring the end of the heat.


I still say this summer has been about as perfect as it can get this side of heaven. I never thought we could get through the whole summer without a week or two of heat, and I've found this almost tolerable. The thing is, when the windows are open, I can smell the outdoors and listen to the birds. The few drops of rain on my wildflower field left it smelling almost like perfume today. I've never smelled just that smell before, and it was heavenly. I think it was partly the tansy and yarrow and partly the brown stalks of the earlier wildflowers. Then this afternoon, the loon was calling for quite a while on the south shore of the harbor, and just as I sat down to write this, it was singing from Lake Lilly. Things like that I just don't get with the house closed up, and besides, it gets smelling funny in here after a while.


So I have spent the day enjoying the sights and sounds and smells of the field...none better.


August 19

There was no light show. There were some high, thin clouds, I think, because I couldn't see many stars, although the moon was out. For the first time, I slept with the windows open and the fan on, and I was quite comfortable, although DC deserted me after a while. He just does not like wind of any kind. The temperature never got under 72º.


This morning, it was cloudy and threatening and humid as well as warm, and it wasn't pleasant at all. In the course of the day, it got up over 80º before the wind shifted more to the northwest and brought the temperature here, at least, down under 70º. It still isn't very comfortable, because it's very humid.


It seems that after threatening all day, it may be about to thunderstorm. There are rumblings to the east and the south, at least. Thunderstorms at night are neat, because I can really see the lightening, but there are a lot of windows open in the house, so if it does start to rain, I will have to go running around and shut things up. Radar shows a rather strong storm right off the end of Keweenaw Point, but I think it is moving east. There may be some more stuff coming in from the west, so I will close up the south end before I go to bed.


The nice thing about having the windows open is that I can smell all the good smells and hear all the good sounds. The downside is that I could also hear my neighbors, and it was so humid their voices were carrying quite well this morning. However, for quite a while this afternoon, a loon was calling somewhere out in the harbor. I never did spot it, and I always wonder if it isn't somebody making like a loon, but I think this was real. I could also hear the goldfinches singing in the pine tree where the feeders are, and that was neat.


I took care of some business this afternoon and went to the post office, but otherwise, I tried to move as little as possible, since every time I do something I immediately start to sweat. It did cool down enough that I could put my jeans back on: it was either change pants or take everything out of the pockets, and it was easier to change pants. Men know what I mean.


I almost never use a purse when I'm here in Keweenaw. If I take it in the car to keep my checkbook and sunglasses handy, when I leave the car I take what I need and put it in my pockets. As I've gotten older, my handbags have gone from nearly tote-bag size to clutch purse size to nothing up here. When I was younger, first I wracked up my elbow carrying a purse on it, then I wracked up my shoulder carrying a purse on it, and I've been downsizing ever since. If I need my planner and some knitting, I take a little canvas tote. Purses are just encumbrances, and if I could do without completely, I would.


I did get a good-sized space cleaned on the desk, and things are in a bit neater piles so I can find them (I think?), so at least that's done.  Tomorrow I can go about messing it up again.


Well, the thunder is still rumbling all around, so I think I will start closing things up and toddle off to the north end. It seems cool enough that sleeping should be all right without everything opened up. A rumbly night in the field.


August 18

It wasn't clouds. I turned off the lights at about 11:30 last night, and as my eyes acclimated to the dark, I realized that the sky was very bright - like moonshine be hind thin clouds - but it was concentrated in the north. I immediately put my glasses back on and peered out the bathroom window, and while I thought I saw some movement, there wasn't much, and I was a bit puzzled, because there had been some clouds at sunset. At 2am, the sky was still light, but there was not much movement, so I still wasn't sure what I was seeing. However, at 3am, moon or no moon, there was no question that I was witnessing the best auroral display of the summer. There were spikes and bolts and puffs and rays and even a ribbon or two, all moving very fast up toward zenith. Wow! What a show! I stood at the bathroom window for about 15 minutes, while a cat behind me kept saying "Meow?", like "What the devil are you looking at?" Turnabout. He has stared out the window with great excitement until I was sure a parade was passing by and not been able to see a thing. Anyway, eventually I went back to sleep - I was sleeping very well, thank you, despite the interruptions. By 4am the show was over, but oh, my, what a show it was!


At both 11:30 and 3 I toyed with the notion of going outside to really see what was going on and decided against it - I just don't relish the thought of a big mosquito bite on my soft tush - and I'm glad I did. It seems when I brought the bird feeders in last evening, I got two nice bites, one on my neck and the other on my thigh, through my jeans. Keweenaw in August may be OK during the day, but the mosquitoes aren't gone yet, and they're hungry!


As it turned out, the temperature rose steadily all night long, and by the time I tumbled out of bed and put out the feeders, it was 73º or so, and it just kept on going up. It peaked out at around 84º, but with not much wind, it has not been a nice day here. It was sunny and pretty, but it's really warm in the house, and until just a while ago, all the spots in the breeze were also in the sun, so I stayed in. I finally opened almost all the windows and the door in the office, and with the breeze from the west, it's helped some, but then I ate dinner, and now I'm dripping. If the later pictures from the webcam look a bit fuzzier than usual, it's because it's looking through four panes of glass and two argon spacers instead of just one set. It's enough to make me go dive in the lake, but that's too much work to get ready.


I just looked at the camera pictures, and if you happened to catch it between 10:02 and 10:17 this morning, you got a beautiful picture of me in my nightie, with my hair all frowsy and my face all red, hanging up the feeder. I saved the shot, but I don't intend to publish it. It's a beaut.


According to the Astro Alert that came out this morning, there was a CME that hit us last night, and there should have been an auroral display, but they think it's past now, darn it. Of course, I won't stop peering out the windows when I get up in the night. At least I can see stars, because it's supposed to be fairly clear again tonight, although not very transparent, and I can hope for another display. As the sun gets further away from solar maximum, these lovely nights will come at less frequent intervals. That's why I almost always make sure I look out when I get up in the night. Oh, I just checked the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch (http://solar.spacew.com/index.html) and they say the  disturbance is decaying more slowly than normal, and the area of disturbance is closer to the equator than usual, so there seems to be a good chance I'll be seeing something again tonight. Can't wait to go to bed...


I also noticed that the sun is setting before 9pm now and not rising until a few minutes before 7am...rats. We still have over 14 hours of daylight, but that means the summer really is coming to an end, despite our having the warmest weather we've had all summer. It has been so wonderful, I really hate to see it end. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.


The sun has set, and the birdies are gone, so I will try to get the feeders in before it's quite dark, then I can trundle up to the north end and wait for the light show...


August 17

It was another wonderful night for sleeping, but I didn't do so well - lots of very weird and unsettling dreams - maybe because of my rather large dinner? Anyway, I got up this morning feeling not very rested, and so it went for most of the day. It was another lovely day, with the temperature in the low to mid 60s and either high clouds or no clouds. 


Around 2pm, the fog rolled in over town, but it was clear as could be at this end, because what wind there was was from the east.  It had mostly cleared up by 6:30, although there are some low clouds over the mountain. There was a lovely sunset, out of the camera, of course, and it was behind the trees so I couldn't even get a picture of it with the Nikon. I guess the western forest fires have something to do with it, but from now until I leave in November there should be lots of beautiful sunsets, especially after the sun begins to set in the camera's range. Right now, sunset is still over the lighthouse.


I think Pastynet had a glitch around noon today, by the way. I couldn't talk even to my own website, so for about an hour there were no camera updates, and I noticed that the Pastycam page didn't get updated until later, and when it was, there was some stuff missing. No explanation, but I imagine they were doing some sort of upgrade that didn't go particularly well. Such things happen in the computer world, and Pastynet is about as reliable an ISP as I've ever found.


I spent some time this afternoon trying to make some sense of the office and sweeping up the remaining beads (and a lot of crud) from the floor. I still only have an area about a foot square to work in, and things keep getting pushed precariously toward the back edge of the desk(the back edge of the desk does not hit a wall, and things that go too far west end up on the floor). Actually, when I'm seated at the desk, I face almost the same direction as the webcam does. I must do some more rearranging tomorrow so that I can try to do some work. Bills are coming due.


I also spent some time looking for the necklace design that I know I saw, and I don't have it here, so I must have seen it when I was in Grosse Pointe - but where? It will probably drive me nuts until November. I do know that I looked at quite a few books and maybe some magazines while I was there, so it must have been in one of them. Ah, me. I knew I liked the design. I wonder why I didn't flag it and put it aside?


On my way home from dinner tonight, I got to face some headlights (the sun wasn't down yet, but it was getting dark), and I'm sorry to say it appears that driving in the dark is going to be, shall we say, interesting. I would say that the cataracts have definitely progressed, and I wonder if that is causing some of the eyestrain I have been feeling lately. I have been doing quite a bit of close work, but not that much more than usual. Well, I have no plans to cut short the rest of my 13 weeks here. We'll get home somehow. I can still see fairly well in the dark so long as there are no lights.


I noticed during the night that the days of the moon lighting up the sky are coming to an end - it didn't rise until after midnight, and it wasn't very bright, so I could see stars. Around 4am, I looked out toward the northwest to see Vega shining over the lighthouse. It doesn't look like tonight will be so clear, although one can never tell. The clouds do tend to disappear after dark. The Clear Sky calendar says it won't clear up until about 4am, so we'll see.


It's a lovely, quiet night in the field, and I think I will go and see if sauerbraten results in any better dreams than prime rib buffet did.


August 16

It was a wonderful night to sleep last night, it's supposed to be even better tonight. It was fairly clear for most of the night, and the moon was shining in the porch, but when I awoke this morning, it was cloudy and in the middle 60s. Much more my kind of weather. There was no wind to speak of, and it was nice. Sometime in the late morning, the clouds started to go away, and the rest of the day was lovely - sunny and mid-60s all day. My kind of weather, for sure.


I finished the second graph (of five) of the roses, and I did take a picture of the bracelet, which is unfortunately not all in focus. I thought I was focusing on the front, but the camera clearly didn't do what I expected. I will have to play around with that a bit more. Anyhow, I thought it was a nice bracelet, for my first attempt at that bead stitch, using pretty bad beads. While some would have you believe otherwise, it really isn't necessary to use the most expensive beads to get a nice result.


After I went to the post office, I found a place to park (amazingly) and took a turn around Art in the Park, which is on this weekend in Copper Harbor. There were quite a few people and exhibiters there, and I saw some very nice things. There were a couple of very good jewelry makers, including one lady who imbeds pieces of butterfly wings in acrylic, set in sterling silver, and another who strings beads. I also saw a couple of bead knitted purses in another booth. There were several potters, a weaver, a couple of photographers, and the same glass blower I was entranced by two years ago, among others. I guess I even missed a couple, but I walked as far as I could. I saw a number of things I liked, but I didn't buy anything. One potter had some nice bowls with a pretty blue (of course) glaze, but I couldn't decide which shape I liked. The glass blower had some cobalt vases, too. The problem is, I don't know exactly where I would put any of the things, so I decided to pass. One could really go nuts in a place like that, and I just decided to control myself.


I did get to dinner with Shirley tonight, which was nice for a change, and that was about the extent of my day.


This afternoon, I began looking through the two magazines and two books I have here for a particular piece of jewelry that I know I saw after I got back, which would be perfect for a particular big sterling silver bead I have at home, and I couldn't find the directions. I know it's there: I know I saw it; now all I have to do is find it again. Things like that drive me crazy. When I was younger, I had no problem remembering where I saw things I read, but I guess the old mind is just getting too full of stuff these days. 


Now it's late again, and the bird feeders aren't in yet, so I will wrap this up for the night.

August 15

I didn't sleep very well last night, which you will understand when I say that the temperature never got under 70º, and despite what the weather service is reporting, there was considerable wind. It's been such a quiet summer, I'd forgotten what a noise it makes when it's from the west or northwest and it goes whipping around the house. Eventually, it died down a bit, at least until after I got up. It started in the low 70s and rose all day long, hitting a high of 87º - not my idea of a lovely day! It was strange weather, actually, because the wind was out of the west, and usually that keeps the temperature down. Not today. And then...at about 6:10, all of a sudden the wind  shifted direction to north, blew hard, the temperature dropped 20º, then the wind dropped. Aaaahhhh.....relief! For a moment or two it was very foggy, then that went away, too. It's lovely now.


It may take more than five minutes, but at any moment the weather may change drastically, for the better, or for the worse. I love it. There was a thunderstorm 'way north over the lake, and I heard a couple of rumbles of distant thunder, but although it's cloudy, there doesn't look to be much chance of rain here. According to radar, the line of storms is south of us now, but there doesn't seem to be much precipitation in them.


It was so warm I didn't do much again. I did finish my bracelet, but didn't get a picture of it yet, then I decided to try to sort the beads I had poured out by color instead of jut putting them back in the bag all mixed up. That is a tedious job, and it was harder than usual because there are really two shades of red - one the very dark almost garnet I used in the bracelet and another lighter, not so pretty red, but whether I could tell the difference depended upon the angle of the bead. I was actually looking for the very pale green transparent matte beads that nearly match the face of my pocket watch, and I discovered there are two shades of green, too - light and dark. The pocket watch is actually supposed to just hang from a belt loop, I think, because it doesn't have a chain, but I'd like to make some kind of chain for it...I mean, what are the watch pockets in "five pocket" jeans for, anyway? I almost always wear my tops outside, so whatever I do will have to be quite long, but that's all right. I'm thinking.


I did get to wear a pair of the shorts I bought this year, and at least one thing from Eddie Bauer is quite satisfactory - a pair of jeans shorts. I've always wanted a pair, but only recently have they been being sold in my size. Then I had to wait until they went on sale, since I can see no reason whatever that a pair of shorts that fall about 4" above my knees should cost 50% more than a pair of long jeans. I've had a lot of trouble with Eddie lately, and one thing I've learned is never to buy something at full price. I've also learned that if an item goes on sale very early in a season, there's something wrong with it, Fortunately, I have enough clothes to last the rest of my life if I never buy another thing except underwear and jeans (which I get from Land's End). That's no fun, but I've really scaled back my clothing purchases in the past two years. The jeans shorts fit well (better than their long jeans - weird) and are very comfortable.


Actually, I had hoped the entire summer would be cool enough that I wouldn't get to wear any shorts, but I guess one day is tolerable...sort of.


I am even more grateful than usual that I'm here rather than in Detroit. It was another intolerably hot day today there, and after searching several news sources and lists, it appears that Grosse Pointe Farms still has no power at all. How horrible it must be! I would have to sleep in my bedroom, upstairs, because there's no room for a cot in the basement, if I had a cot, and besides, I'd have to go upstairs several times a night to the bathroom. And that's another problem...I don't imagine there is much water there, since the Farms purifies its own water (then sends the sewage to Detroit...interesting). That would make for a real problem with toilets, not to mention drinking. Those things would probably never have occurred to me until I lived here, where I do both my own water and sewage, and it is all moved by electric pumps. So, I'm sure, is the Farms' water. They are saying it could take the rest of the weekend to get power restored to the entire area. Oh, my. I remember when the Moross Road transformers melted down, in weather just about like this, and the Farms pumping station wasn't on the emergency support list. Generators to run the pumping station would be rather expensive, I'm sure.


I just looked at the weather there, and it's down below 80º, but it's very humid, and there is an ozone pollution alert out, besides all the other problems. How fortunate I am to be here! This is just another reason to add to the list.


I heard one commentator tonight mention that it's weird that southeastern Michigan (apparently south of a line from Lansing to Port Huron, although I haven't found a map of the affected area) is involved in this thing, since it actually isn't supposed to be part of the grid that failed. It will be really interesting to see what the ultimate cause of the failure is, and why Michigan was involved.


Sleeping should be better tonight, the bird feeders are already in, and I will get this published then trundle up to the north end and enjoy the cool.


August 14

This is probably about the warmest day so far this summer, but it wasn't very humid, so it was actually a pretty nice day. It was cooler where ever the NWS  station is than it was here - my thermometers said it got into the upper 70s, but the wind was from the northwest, when there was any, and it was the kind of day I just wanted to sit in the shade and let the breeze waft over me. Aaahhh.....


It probably has something to do with my going to bed so late last night and having to jump out at an earlier hour this morning than I wanted to with a cramp in my leg. DC thought I was getting up, but I decided not, and went back to sleep, sort of, for another hour. I lazed around all morning and ate my breakfast after noon on the porch, which was lovely. It did cause some confusion, but it didn't stop DC from begging.


DC likes cheese, especially cheese that has melted and is a bit warm. He prefers cheddar or American to Swiss, but since I have been eating cheese omelets lately, he thinks every time I have breakfast that he is getting cheese...or ham. When there is cheese, I give him some, but I don't want to give him too much. So there is now a little greasy stain on the porch boards.


The rest of the day was the usual stuff, although I did pay some bills and take a fast trip to the post office. I haven't mentioned that when I returned from Detroit, I discovered that the part of US-41 from the blinker in Copper Harbor to the end of the road (I think) had a nice, smooth new blacktop coat. It was sort of a mess Monday, because they were grading the shoulders, but they're gone now, for a while. They widened the blacktop considerably, which will no doubt be nice, but they still have to stripe the new road and replace all the road signs. It certainly is nice to drive on, and there was one place, right across from the DNR houses just before the bridge over Fanny Hooe Creek where even the slightest rain caused a huge puddle that is now filled in and evened out. I was glad I didn't have to try to negotiate it while they were laying the blacktop, however. It is still a pretty narrow road and it gets a lot of RV traffic.


I almost went to the dive shop to see if I could get some swim shoes, until I remembered that I have two pair of tennis shoes - old-fashioned Keds like we used to wear before there were athletic shoes - and the care instructions say to wash in the washer and dry in the dryer, so certainly I should be able to go wading in them! 


I was thinking about wading because today was so warm and tomorrow is supposed to be possibly warmer. With the wind coming across the Harbor, theoretically it should be pushing the warm water into our end, and my feet could use a good cooling off anyway. Whether i actually attempt it, with my walking stick in hand, of course, I don't know yet. It depends upon how hot I get tomorrow. The water certainly looks inviting.


Instead, I almost finished my bracelet. I had to stop before I got the loop end of the fastener done because I couldn't see what I was doing. I will finish it up tomorrow morning while my French toast is soaking.


The sun is setting just after 9pm these days, and it does make a difference. This is the time of year when the sunset time changes most rapidly. I'm sure last week it was setting about 9:15, so we have lost 10 minutes in about 5 days. I remember, after I started vacationing here at the end of June, that I always regretted that the days were so short when we returned in September and the weather was usually much better. It doesn't seem fair. It also means that from now on, I'm likely to come back from dinner in the dark or late twilight.


I'm counting on being able to drive in the dark, at least until I get back to Detroit in November, but when I was looking at the moon and Mars the other night, there was a big flare around the moon and a little flare around Mars, so my cataracts are certainly continuing to develop. I mentioned it to Lehman, and he didn't seem surprised. Between all the chemo, and all the steroids that accompanied it, I took lots of stuff that can cause cataracts. His attitude seemed to be, and of course he's right, that that's a problem that can be fixed. It's a near thing between killing the cancer and killing the organism, and I will begin to believe medicine is really making progress when that isn't the case anymore. And I have to admit that cataracts are a minor aftereffect compared to heart and lung damage...or a recurrence, which we both don't think will happen soon. I will find out next week how things are now.


So it is now dark, and I will try to trundle off to bed at some reasonable hour tonight. Last night, it was music again.


The view from the field is hazy but beautiful.


August 13

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been 86. It's hard to believe she has been gone for 10 years. How I wish she could have seen this place and enjoyed the summer we have had! I know that if she had been able, she would have had the garden absolutely immaculate, and she would have been spending most of her time out of doors. Oh well.


At one time I would have been outdoors all the time, too, but in the six years I have been sick off and on, I have developed some even more sedentary habits than I had before. And it's hard for me to change my ways when I really do enjoy what I'm doing. 


Today, I embroidered and beaded until my eyes felt like they were popping out of my head. The next rose is done and tomorrow I start on leaves again, and I have only about half an inch left to do before I have a beaded bracelet. I also caught the cloth with the loose beads on it and scattered them all over the floor, so sometime I will have to do some more serious sweeping than I did today. Not that they are such expensive beads - quite the contrary - but I just hate to lose anything perfectly useful.


I also enjoyed another incredibly beautiful day. The temperature was in the middle 60s most of the day, until around 6pm it slid over 70º for a while, with almost no wind and almost no clouds. It still seems hard to believe we could have such an extraordinarily lovely summer. Other places have been very hot or very wet, or both, but up here on the shores of the big lake, it's been perfect.


It may warm up a bit more than I like tomorrow and Friday, but I still trust the lake to keep us comfortable. There is a possibility of rain on Sunday, but an occasional rain is good for the land.


Last night I was a bit late turning off the monitor (which is all the light I have in the room), and when I looked out the window, there was the full moon and not far to its left was Mars, bright and red. So at least now I've seen Mars. The moonlight was pouring in the windows all night long, and I had some hope that the camera might catch it this morning, but it is too far south, and from the camera's vantage point, it set behind the pine tree. As it moves away from full, it will be moving north, and maybe we'll see it yet. I'm sure that if I could point the camera in that direction, I could see Mars, too, but I would have to put it in the south windows, and there isn't anything much else of interest in that direction.


So that is the view from the field these days - just superb.


August 12

It's late, but they're playing Franck's D minor symphony, which I haven't heard in a very long time, so I'm listening.


It was another beautiful day in the field, a bit warmer than yesterday, with a slight east wind. The temperature got into the upper 60s with lots of sunshine, although there were some high clouds at times. Gorgeous.


Late this afternoon Phoebe showed up with her dog, who had something in her fur that needed washing off in the lake, and she had a packet of information about Hunter's Point. I have probably mentioned that before, but it's getting critical. Copper Harbor is trying to get a grant to purchase the part from the west end of the harbor to the end of the point, and in order to do that, they need as much support from the community as possible. A lot of people in town and tourists have voiced their support for the project, but the organizers have only collected $14,000 (against $190,000 about, to buy the parcel) so far. They need help, and they need it before September 1, so they enlisted Phoebe to talk to non-business residents.


I am sure that some of those who read this thing are familiar with Hunter's Point, and I hope some of you will see fit to contribute. There is a  nice website, http://www.hunters-point.org that has all the important information about the area as well as how to donate. 


I think it's a shame that Keweenaw has come to this, but the fact is that developers are buying up any desirable property, particularly lakeshore property, and building on it. In order to attempt to preserve a few of the nicer natural areas, groups are having to buy the property back from the developers.  I wish there was a way to prohibit that altogether.


By the way, one of my correspondents is building there, and I hope my feeling doesn't hurt hers. In my world, real estate developers would be banned entirely. I've never heard or seen anyplace where they did any good.


So we have to try to preserve Hunter's Point. Sigh.


Otherwise, it was a very quiet day, and it is a nice quiet evening, and it's high time I got to bed.


August 11

When I awoke during the night, there was a strange sound and it was a while before I realized that with the brisk northeast wind blowing, it was the lake speaking, not loudly, but definite. That's been a rare sound this summer with all the calm winds we've had. It was also a little chillier than I'd expected. I think it got down to 60º. For a good part of the night, the moon was shining brightly in the windows, but at a very low angle. There must have been some clouds, because it went away quite a while before it set.


However, when I awoke this morning, all was blue and clear except for a few clouds toward the west which eventually went away, leaving another perfect day. The temperature didn't get over 64º, which suits me just fine, although I did have to close the office window. And since they're predicting that it might go below 50º tonight, I don't think I'll leave either the window or the porch door open. I do have one side window in the window seat open, but that doesn't usually cause me any discomfort.


The birds are slowly rediscovering the bird feeders, starting with the hummingbirds. A couple of times this afternoon, there were two or three of them dancing around over the feeder. I wonder if they are starting their second broods or something. They still look like little ballet dancers to me when they hover straight up and waggle their little tails. There were a couple of goldfinches, and the baby chipmunks are back...I think I almost caught a couple of them boxing late this afternoon.


Our postmaster is an expert at getting as much as possible in a post office box, and I took out about a 4" pile of magazines and catalogs, along with the usual bills. There were a couple of packages, too, so I was glad I'd taken a plastic crate with me to keep it all together. 


I spent quite a while working on my beaded piece this afternoon, only stopping when it was getting too dark to see and twice my thread got all knotted up. It interests me, when I am embroidering or doing beadwork, that I will go along just fine for as long as several hours...then all of a sudden everything goes to pot and I end up knotting the threads and having to rip stitches. That is a good signal to stop...also when I can't tell the difference between the red beads and the blue beads. I have about half a bracelet done, and I'll see if I can take an adequate picture of it when I'm done. It's not perfect; even if the stitching was perfect, I'm using some cheap beads that I have a lot of just to get the hang of the stitch (and every time I think I've got it, all of a sudden it all falls apart). However, it uses translucent matte cobalt beads and shiny dark red beads and it's rather pretty, or it will be when I'm done.


At long last, I called the company that sells the telescope I decided to get...and it is backordered until the end of September. I think that's trying to tell me something. The person I talked to suggested I check back every two weeks or so to see if there's been a change in the backorder date, but even then I'll miss most of the Mars thing, and the question I will have to ponder is whether it's reasonable to get it at the end of September, just as it's getting cold and I'll be leaving in six weeks. Probably it doesn't make much sense to do that, and I should really wait until next year. Sigh. I guess deep down I knew from the get-go that I shouldn't be buying that expensive a toy this year. 


Fortunately, most of what I want to see in the sky won't be going away in the next several millennia, so all I will really miss is Mars. That's too bad, because I saw it in 1956 with my little cardboard-tube reflector, which was the last time it was anywhere near as close as it is this year (this year is the closest for something like 60,000 years), and I did want to see it again. Neither my binoculars nor my Navy surplus spotting scope is anywhere near as powerful as even my little reflector was. Oh, well, one of these nights it will rise above the trees at a time when I'm looking for it, and at least I'll be able to see that it's there.


So the sun has set on a beautiful, perfectly clear sky, and I think it's time I set, too.


August 10

After 12 hours' sleep, I felt a lot better, but I'm tired again. My rest was somewhat interrupted by a rain shower sometime early in the morning, accompanied by a couple of soft rumbles of thunder, and by a certain cat who either wanted to sit beside my head and purr or meow at me. My rule is to try not to get up until my tinnitus stops pounding in my ears when I wake up, so it was 10am by the time I rolled out of bed.


It was quite cloudy this morning, but it was nearly 70º with a nice northerly breeze, and as the day wore on, the clouds cleared up some, although they have moved in again. The temperature got up into the low 70s, with the nice breeze, and altogether it was a lovely day, although yesterday and today have been about the warmest all summer.


I guess it was warm enough, because my neighbor's kids were swimming for about an hour. I felt better about it because dad was in there with them. Probably it's quite safe, because the water is very shallow in front of our houses, but it isn't really warm, and a little kid could easily get a cramp or even  venture out too far. 


I'll have to test the water one of these days. I have two bathing suits I've never worn, and for all the time I've spent around here, I've never tried to swim in either the big lake or the harbor. If I can't do it in August, I can't do it at all.


I sort of muddled around all day again. I spent quite a while embroidering, and I started playing with beads, but around 3pm I began to have trouble seeing the beads, so I'll have to try again tomorrow. Besides, the stitch I'm trying is difficult and a bit frustrating. So there is a pile of seed beads on a washcloth in the middle of my desk, just to remind me I'm in the middle of something.


I really should spend some time getting the stuff off the desk - the space I have to work in has contracted to about a foot square, and it keeps getting smaller.


It seems like the week the birds spent without the feeders have turned them off, and very few birds have visited the feeders over the last two days. However, if I have patience, I'm sure they'll come back, and I don't want to stop now, because I want the feeders out when the migration starts. However, the thistles which are the goldfinches' favorite food are blooming, and I understand this is the time of year they nest, so maybe they are just busy. I know the birds are still around, because I could hear them even in the rain this morning.


I noticed on my way home from dinner tonight that the asters are in bloom, which is always a sign that autumn is coming, and the bilberries are ripe. After a few years when they were decimated by some kind of blight, the thimbleberries have made a comeback, and with enough rain this summer, the bushes are loaded with berries, although they're not ripe yet. I would love to find a place to pick raspberries, but that's just a wish. We'll see.


So high summer has come to the field, and that means autumn can't be far behind.


August 9

Well, I really crashed today. I didn't sleep well last night - I think I was over-tired, and of course, I had taken a sleeping pill the night before, and that means I usually don't sleep the next night. So I was blah all day long. I did get the car unloaded, but everything I brought back isn't put away - far from it. 


Otherwise, I just sort of sat around and enjoyed a perfectly gorgeous day and looked at beads. When I got up this morning, the sky was almost completely clear and the temperature was in the middle 60s - my kind of weather. It got to about 70º, with a nice northerly breeze, and later this afternoon there were a few high clouds in the sky, but overall it was fantastic. What a welcome home!


In the week I was gone, most of the daisies are gone, to be replaced by yarrow, tansy, spotted knapweed (which is pretty in small doses), Black-eyed Susans, and St. John's Wort. The daisy plants are still there, but the petals are gone and the centers are turning brown. So we are in the late summer phase. Sigh.


A further sign of that is that I noticed that the sun is setting right behind the lighthouse now, and soon it will be setting in the webcam picture. So autumn is on its way.


When I was a child, I always felt like summer ended on my birthday (July 31). Of course there was another month, because I never went back to school before Labor Day, but somehow that didn't count. And certainly here that seems to be the case. John Dee maintains that meteorologically, autumn begins the first of September, and that's the way I feel about it. With any luck, however, August and September will give some really clear skies at night, and, I hope, a bit warmer temperatures and less rain than we had last year! 


Monday is the half-way point of my stay here, and I'm sorry to see it come. This has been all the summer anybody could wish for.


Well, I was too tired even to go out to eat tonight, so I'll call it a day and drag my poor old bod up to the north end. It's great to be home.


August 8

Here I am all safely back in God's country, and we are all really happy about it. Hug a house. Hug two cats.


I don't care how much sleep I've had, I still hate to get up at 6am. But I did, and everything went OK until I ran into Charlotte as I was just about ready to close up the house...and that took 20 minutes. Actually, I should thank her, because I missed the morning rush hour and breezed through the really yucky part of my trip - from Grosse Pointe to Saginaw.


The weather was mostly cloudy, around 68º, and terminally humid, and my hair was as wet as though I'd just washed it by the time I set off. I think the only thing I forgot was the butter in the butter dish and a small amount of bread, but I haven't completely unloaded the car yet, so I'm not sure about the bread (I also forgot butter when I left here, so that seems to be my "thing" - it could be worse). When I stopped for a pit stop, I had to check and be sure I had put the tote with my pills and stuff in my suitcase, but I think I did.


I much prefer driving in cloudy weather, but this was a bit difficult because it was sort of off and on, and I must have changed glasses half a dozen times, and besides, right at the top of the Zilwaukee  Bridge, I went through a very heavy rain squall. That was the last, however.


The Straits of Mackinaw were gorgeous, sunny and blue, blue, blue. It is a real temptation, when it's that beautiful, to stop in the middle of the bridge and just take it all in. The view looking northeast past Macinaw Island is a very pretty one indeed, and while there has been a lot of building on the shore west of the bridge, it seems east and north the trees still come right down to the water. So pretty!


My trip through the UP wasn't exactly fun because of (it seemed) a large number of drivers just dawdling along, but as it turned out, I made it in 10 hours and 10 minutes, which is a new record...slightly over 60 mph average speed. I don't usually dawdle on this trip.


It was 75º through the central part of the UP, but when I got close to Marquette, it went down to about 68º and it was foggy along the shore. As I headed west and north the clouds began to break up, and they disappeared entirely by the time I hit Houghton. Getting through Marquette wasn't much fun - I hit it at around 4pm, and there was a lot of Friday night rush-hour traffic...with the usual tourons snarling up the works.


However, I had the road almost completely to myself from Houghton north until I was almost to the Mountain Lodge, which was a delight. It was warm enough that I opened all the windows and breathed deep of that pristine air (which, from my open doors and windows here, is full of wood smoke from the campers. Yuck.) The drive through the covered road was so beautiful, with the sun setting in the west and shining through the green, green trees...then down into the harbor and the blue, blue lake.


Hug a house. Hug two cats. I'm home!


I arrived at 7pm, and apparently just missed Shirley - rats - and discovered that somebody had inadvertently turned off the garage. That was all right, because I had to pee, and I had to greet the kitties, who were just delighted. All I've taken out of the car are the necessities - the cooler, the suitcase, the computer, my purse, my briefcase, and my embroidery. Tomorrow is quite soon enough for the rest of it, especially that Sterlite box with the two kilos of seed beads in it... When I arrived, the temperature was 68º, and it was pristinely clear. There was a small northerly breeze, which is dying down now, It is a totally gorgeous evening, just what I needed to welcome me home.


I am trying to decide whether to eat some more lawash wrap slices or have my Italian sub (the other one was packed with mustard, of all God-awful condiments!). I'm not really hungry. I'm tired and yucky from sweating, and even after all I've said, I don't think I've been able to express how glad I am to be here in my lovely field!


August 7

Wow, tomorrow I get to go back to the cool, quiet north country! Will I be glad!


I'm writing this very early so that I can move the files back to the laptop and get that packed up. The car is partially packed, I have everything I want to take with me (I think), and I'm ready!!


This morning, it was my own lawn service at 7:30, for heaven's sake! I went back to sleep, however, and got up quite late. Maybe, if I can get to bed early tonight, I won't be quite so tired tomorrow and the drive will go better. 


It's hot here, at least compared to Copper Harbor, and humid and I don't like it at all. There are too many people, too many cars, and much too much road work going on around here - although that isn't peculiar to this area. I need to get back to my cool temperatures and my splendid isolation.


Fortunately, Farmer Jack wasn't too busy in the early afternoon, and I got everything I wanted except for a Philly cheese steak for dinner...and I just remembered that all the batteries I bought are in a bag in the fridge. Oops!


I didn't mention that when I came in Monday night, a bunch of batteries were dead or dying, including the ones in the programmable thermostat. Now, if I can remember how to get the thing apart, I can change those before I leave. Hmmm... The clock in the kitchen, the clock in the basement, the caller ID thingie in the basement...well, you get the idea.


So tomorrow I will be on my way north. I may or may not get a journal published tomorrow night, depending upon how late I get there and how tired again, so don't anybody panic if there's silence until Saturday.


August 6

I wanna go home! This place is conspiring against me!


I got to bed too late last night, and slept like the dead with only two wakeups, but as I was taking care of the second one, at just before 8am, somebody started a lawn mower - a very loud lawn mower. Fortunately, it didn't last more than about 15 minutes, and I went back to sleep, but for heaven's sake! Before 8am?


On the good side, I did get quite a bit of embroidery done, and after I started drinking my barium (which nearly made me barf), I located most of the rest of the stuff from upstairs that I wanted to take back, as well as everything from the basement. The trouble with the basement is that every time I start rooting around down here, I think "I wonder what's in that box?" or "I wonder what's in that book?" and I tend to get sidetracked. However, I persevered and gathered the things I wanted. I would like to have located and looked through the boxes marked "pillow backing", but that will take too much time. I will have to make do with the fabric I have up north and wait until I get back for the winter to look for more.


Then it was off to the hospital for the CT scan, and I'm beginning to dread that. The technician had to poke me three times before she could get the IV to run, and she ended up with the catheter in my left hand. In the meantime, when she disconnected the line into my right arm, which refused to flow, she sprayed me all over with that sticky stuff. Apparently there was some pressure in the line, and it sprayed all over me. Oh, woe. It's a good thing I wash my hair every night! So instead of half an hour at the hospital, it was after 3:30 when I finally got out.


After some thought, I decided that the way to handle my schedule was to visit the pet supply store and Kroger's today. Then the only thing I have to do tomorrow is see Farmer Jack, for sandwiches to take back and probably some upscale lunchmeat and cheese. Then, if I can make connection with Debbie, maybe we can lunch, or I can visit Carey before I start packing the car.


So off I went, and I got all the cat food I wanted. Since I got such a late start, I didn't hit Kroger's until 4:30, which was a bad time. There were a large number of sort of dazed-looking, very elderly people wandering around (now why would someone at least my age be buying six cans of canned yellow beans? With her cart parked in the very middle of the aisle?)


Before I left for Copper Harbor, I was at Kroger's one day when there were people completely rearranging most of the aisles, and today I encountered the results. Some of it made sense, but some of it doesn't. They exchanged the crackers and cookies aisle so that instead of being able to make a short foray to get what I want, I ended up having to walk the length of the aisle to find my crackers. And this is supposed to make me buy something else? I don't think so.


I was taking a fast trip up the frozen dinner aisle when I saw the back of a head I recognized - my neighbor, Charlotte, was looking for something to feed her husband, since her kids are at camp. I hadn't seen anybody around (as I mentioned the other day), and there was some work being done around their house, so I was glad to see her, but that turned into a half-hour conversation as we caught up on everything that's been going on around here since I left. They are not planning to move. She has just decided to go with bare floors, and they needed refinishing, so she got someone in to do the whole house, and he has been dogging it.


I think I may have mentioned that I have even more problem standing for long periods than I do with walking (this has been going on for quite a while, and it's due to my arthritis), and I was hot and sweaty and sore before I finally got out of the store.  However, the car is now partially packed, with all the stuff that didn't need refrigeration, and a couple of things I meant for here and got confused about. Tomorrow. 


So my reasons for coming are mostly taken care of, and I descended to the basement to cool off and look at my View...to discover that the telephone line in Copper Harbor had crapped out. It took about an hour of fiddling to get it back up, so if you happened to check between 5:45 pm and about 7:15, the picture didn't change. Too bad, too, because it's a lovely evening there. Temperature about 68º, and mostly clear, but foggy. It is humid, but at that temperature it usually isn't really uncomfortable. Not like here.


It was in the low 80s here today, with dew points in the 60s. Not very comfortable at all. I wanna go home!


Things are coming together, however, and with any kind of luck I can finish up what I want to do tomorrow. I'm writing this early (about 8:30) and since I've already had my pizza, as soon as it uploads, I plan to trundle up to the second floor, and after I find out why I have a sore toe, I will wash the glop out of my hair and sail off into dreamland...


The field looks better all the time.


August 5

First off, I made it safe and sound - 615 miles in 10 hours, 15 minutes, which is about as good as possible. 


I got to bed late Sunday night, just because there was so much left to do, an while I got up early enough Monday morning - 6am - I was moving really slow, and I didn't get away until 9:20. At my last pit stop before I left, DC came in and, with his whiskers hanging down, said "meow" very quietly - sort of "good-bye" and "darn" at the same time. Poor D. He'd only be completely happy if we lived on Champine and I never left - ever.


It was cloudy most of the way, but spotty, so that I had to change glasses any number of times. I think I went through some rain in the UP, but I don't remember where. 


It was beautiful at the Straits. There were some clouds, but not much wind, and it was sunny enough that the water was blue. However, from Gaylord to Linwood, it rained, and around Linwood, it poured as hard as I can ever remember seeing rain. I was following a red truck that was doing all right for a while, and I just kept close enough that I could see him. If he had hit a brick wall, so would I have, but a safe distance behind him, I couldn't have seen him. After the rain  let up, he chickened out, so I left him behind. I do not drive slowly.


It turned out that because of the rain, I drove straight through from Newberry - 366  miles, according to the odometer. I had eaten while driving in the UP, so except that I could have used a Coke after my juice gave out, I wasn't hungry. I did have water.


One good thing about leaving so late is that I missed the rush hours from Saginaw south. There is a lot of ugly construction, especially around Flint, but everybody was totally ignoring the speed limits, and at the time of night I hit it, there were no workers anyway.


Then I got to the Moross Road exit of I-94. In the continuing refurbishing of I-94, they have finally gotten to Moross, which is also 7 Mile Road (sort of). Well! They have torn down the center part of the overpass and jury-rigged two thin lanes in either direction, and you have to turn right and go half a mile before you can turn left and pass over the bridge. I think, when I leave, I am just going to go out to 8 Mile and get on the freeway there, even though I hate that entrance ramp. Hopefully, they will be through before I come back in November.


What is weird is that while the Grosse Pointe News has been writing about all the people in the Woods and Harper Woods who are up in arms about all the traffic on Allard Road, which has an exit ramp, they have said not one word about the Moross overpass being torn up, and this has been going on since not long after I left. I wonder about the slant of both the newspaper and the people living on those roads. I also noticed a lot more traffic leaving St. John Hospital by the back route and heading out Mack Avenue than is usual. But that was today.


Anyway, I stopped at the gas station on my way home (pardon - to Champi ne) and it looks like the car is finally getting broken in, because it appears my gas mileage was up around 20mpg or more (I haven't calculated the exact figure  yet). I'm sure part of that is because I didn't have anywhere near a full  load this time, in fact, the portfolio with my embroidery and my suitcase kept rocking back and forth and rattling. Now ye who drive small, efficient cars might not think much of that, but to one whose lifestyle dictates a full-size SUV, that is a big deal. It meant that I pulled into the gas station with just under a quarter tank, instead of breathing fumes with the "low fuel" light on. A lot easier on my heart.  366 miles on 13/16ths of a tank of gas. And I expect it to get better for a while. By the way, I have never driven a car that got better mileage at 55mph than at 65mph, for what that's worth.


So I actually got here and unloaded around 8pm, and frankly, I was totally exhausted. With only about 7 hours' sleep the night before, and a sometimes hairy drive, I'd had it. My homecoming was interesting: my neighbor has all her furniture either in the garage or on the porch, and is evidently having the entire house painted. I hope it isn't because they are planning on moving. They have been good neighbors. But I wonder where they are staying while all this is going on. He was here for a while during the day (he's a lawyer and frequently works from home), but I wonder where everybody else is. 


My welcome to my southern home was the sound of a cicada. I guess there are cicadas in the southern part of Keweenaw, but there aren't any in Copper Harbor, and I miss them. They are the "sound of summer" so far as I'm concerned. However, it was about 80º and extremely humid when I got here, and I was as wet as if I had run under a lawn sprinkler. I never did like this weather.


When I got the car unloaded, the next thing I wanted was a nice double Jack on the rocks, and I opened the freezer to find...no rocks! My house sitter had kindly stopped the ice maker so that it wouldn't be full of yucky old ice, but she forgot to restart it. I can attest to the fact that Jack Daniels on ice tastes better than Jack Daniels mixed with cold water -- at least there were a couple of bottles in the fridge. The fridge I have here is really primitive by the standards of Rainbow's End, because of the size of the opening I have to put it in. I keep hoping one day to be able to fix that.


I can also report that ground coffee, even if in a vacuum packed can, that has been in the fridge for a while, tastes just as rancid as as if it had been left open to the air. So don't put your coffee in the fridge unless you are going to use it soon. It's OK in the freezer, unless there is air in the can, and then the top layer can be bad. Bah! It will be better tomorrow.


I went to bed pretty early, considering, and slept like the dead for about 5 hours, after which I had a terrible time.   I couldn't get the temperature right or my position right, or something, and I was awake for quite a while in the night. Of course, I had to get up this morning, because my appointment with Dr. Lehman was at 10:00. I should know better. I finally woke at 8:30 (I think I've mentioned that I do my best sleeping between 6 and 9 am). I made it, but I had to push.


Dr. Lehman is fine, and so am I, so far as he can tell.


After a quick stop at the bank to move money around, including some into my wallet, I came home. Either my lack of sleep or the weather had left me not hungry, so I spent the rest of the time before my CT scan appointment upstairs. First, I found my watch, which I had inadvertently folded up in the bedclothes last night, then I discovered a few things - my church envelopes and my #1 knitting needles - I had misplaced and left behind. I gathered together some of the beading things I want to take back with me, and decided, after reading a couple of books, to suspend thinking about a necklace using a really beautiful sterling silver bead until I'm back here in the winter.


I had to wait for my CT scan because of en ER patient, but I had my knitting with me, so that was all right. And I had the same technician who had sprayed IV fluid all over me last winter - she remembered me, too, and I don't imagine she will ever forget me. This scan went fine.


I had thought I might visit Carey this afternoon, since she is open late on Tuesdays, but when I got out of the hospital, I was just too pooped to drive that far, so I stopped at the drug store instead, then came home and fired up the computers and transferred the web files to the desktop. I had to update the Norton Security files on both computers, and I was about to go get some dinner when Debbie called, and we had one of our  usual two hour conversations. She is fine, but even busier than usual. 


So tonight I will be getting to bed more around my usual time.


Tomorrow, the rest of the CTs are at 2;15, which is too bad, especially if I get up late. There won't be too much time to do anything else, if I get up late. I need to go to the pet food store, two supermarkets, and see Carey, and I'd also like to see Debbie. I guess Carey gets dropped if I get crunched. There area also I bunch of things around here that I have to search for and gather up and pack into the car. Whew.


I did locate one missing item. I thought, last spring, that I had left my mother's recipe box at Rainbow's End, but when I got there, it wasn't there at all. I looked around a little for it last night, then I realized where it was - by the computer, in the basement, because I had been scanning recipes for my "working set" booklet, and when I got bored with that, I just left it downstairs. I wish I had looked to my left, with eyes that can see, last winter when I wanted something from it. Oh, well. I've always known there is too much stuff in this house.


As to the weather, in Copper Harbor it was in the middle 60s all day and there was some sunshine...rats! Just my kind of weather. It was pretty humid, but in the 60s it's not so unbearable. Here, it was the pits. It got up to around 80, which would have been tolerable, except that the humidity was in the 80% range here, too. Yuck.


So there are too many people and too many cars doing too many weird things in this place, and I can't wait to get back to my splendid isolation. It's not nice away from the field.


August 3

Well, it started late, and I haven't packed clothes or anything like that, but the kitchen, including the floor, is relatively clean. I have a kind of neat self-wringing string mop, which really does go faster than a sponge mop. I have most of a box of stuff to go back, and as soon as I finish this and upload it, I will start transferring the files to the laptop and finish gathering together the rest of the stuff to take. What a pain. How I hate it.


The day was a good one to be turned inward toward the house, however. It was another foggy, coolish day, and the temperature hung right around 60º all day long. It was a terrible day to wash floors, with the humidity at about 100% all day. Even now, about 2 hours after I finished, there are still a couple of wet spots on the floor.


I have a very unhappy cat on my lap - DC - which is making it really interesting to type this. How do they know? I wish I knew. I've done things like this (except pack boxes) before and not gone away, but somehow, they know what's happening and they do not like it.


As I was going through the junk on the desk to gather the stuff to take with me, I found (again) my license tab and registration, which was supposed to be put on the car on Thursday. Oops! I can probably drive around here with expired plates, but I sure wouldn't want to try driving 600 miles, so I went right outside and stuck the tab on the plate. I really ought to email the Secretary of State's site, because when I got the tab, it was in three pieces and I wasn't able to stick it on very well as a result.


I had a very nice dinner at Harbor Haus, but the place was a zoo. This is the time of year when it's tempting never to eat out at all. Last night Mariner was just as bad. This is the height of tourist season, and it seems there are always parties of 12 or 15 or 20 trying to eat, sometimes without reservations. And there was a guy behind me who must have been either a professor or a doctor, whose voice carried all over the restaurant. From the lack of response of his companion (wife?) I think he was embarrassing her, too. Ah, me, the tourons again!


This morning when I put out the bird feeders, somebody next door was throwing rocks at the flock of geese, who were swimming away like they really didn't believe it. I noticed when I was out in the garden yesterday (checking the hose and the plants and turning off the pump) that something, I think probably deer, has eaten the flowers off my white coneflower and all the leaves off something I have been nurturing since spring because it looked like it might be a phlox with variegated green and red leaves. I was going to try again to get purple coneflowers, but it looks suspiciously like they are not deer-proof. I haven't seen a deer in the garden this year, but I know they're around. I shall have to study my neighbor's garden more closely...she seems to have found flowers the deer don't eat.


Once I begin transferring files to the laptop, by the way, it is quite possible that the phone line will go out to lunch. That's happened before, but at least tonight there's nothing much to see (nothing at all to see right now).


So I am getting prepared to go. Tomorrow morning will be a rat race, and remember I probably won't do a journal tomorrow night.


So that's one last view from the field, before I head for the big, hot city.


August 2

The impenetrable fog continues. For a short while this afternoon, I could actually see Porter Island, but now it is buried again, although at least I can see some of the water. For most of the day, I couldn't see beyond the beach! Not only is it foggy, but the temperature hung in around 58º with a cold and dampish breeze out of the north or northeast (the NWS says "variable", but it's been blowing in the office window all day).


My task list for the day was too long, of course, but I got the bathroom cleaned, filled my pill dispenser, did some wash and took care of the cat pans. I think I can do all the rest of the necessities tomorrow, but I'm probably wrong. We shall see what gets done. I do need to clean up the kitchen, at least the counters, and do a little sweeping. There had been crates and bags of empty cans in the hallway forever, and I finally got all that stuff out into the breezeway. It's really nice to be able to walk down the central hall to my bedroom without dodging something. There is still a folding chair there, but possibly I can figure out something to do with that.


I was interested this morning to notice that even in the fog and dreary darkness, the birds are up and singing as soon as it starts to get light. I enjoy listening to them, especially since they are a little way away in the trees. On Champine they are in the spruces right next to the house, and sometimes it gets really noisy...house sparrows are noisier anyway.


Well after some waffling, it looks like the weather for my trip south will be OK. For a while I was afraid I would have rain the entire way, but now it looks like it may only be raining in Southeastern Michigan. It isn't fun to drive in the rain at all, but if I have my choice, I would rather have dry pavement in the UP where the roads are all two-lane, and take rain on the freeways.


I think the guys know there is something up, but they will really be upset tomorrow when the packing begins.


My plan, by the way, is to do a journal early tomorrow, then back up the files to the laptop. There won't be a journal Monday, but I will try hard to get one out on Tuesday. I need to move the files to the computer on Champine anyway, for backup.


So now, as soon as the last load of clothes dries, I'm off to bed, I hope a tad earlier than last night.


August 1

I didn't sleep very well last night. I think I was warm, and I was certainly creaky. As a result, I had lots of weird dreams and I got up late. Or maybe it was the amoretto soufflé?


Shortly after I went to bed, Copper Harbor disappeared and soon the lighthouse did, too, and all night long the fog was impenetrable. For about 45 minutes shortly after sunrise, it cleared up, but then it came rolling back in, and the picture in the camera was singularly uninspiring all day long. It was also dark and dismal and cool. The temperature hung in at about 58º all day long, and so, by the way, did the dew point, which made the relative humidity 100% all day. Yuck.


This is a strange time of year to have this kind of weather. However, it isn't hot, so I won't complain. Besides, it makes my hair curl.


Not only did I get up late, but I got to fiddling with the computer...actually, I wanted to check the amount of my pension, which prompted me to try to do some estimating of the income and outgo (outgo being greater than income for the next two months - this is not good.), and I didn't eat until nearly 2pm.


Surprisingly enough, once I got going, I managed to gather up six bags of trash and get them to the compactor. So I accomplished something today. Among other things, I threw away probably three dozen brown paper grocery bags that had barely been used, a real shame, but there were far more than I can use here, and I will get more if I want to take some more back to Grosse Pointe. They are good for saving pop cans, and in Grosse Pointe, I use them to organize the newspapers and bottles to recycle. I also pitched a bunch of empty boxes in various states of disrepair, and the rest was the usual empty bottles and cat food cans. There was one heavy bag of outdated catalogs, but the rest were light enough that I could pitch them into the compactor pretty easily. So that part is done.


Then I got back at the computer again, and when I finally began to get really hungry, I realized it was 10pm and I hadn't eaten yet. Well, I am cycling forward again. I will have to cycle back over the weekend, because I want to get an early start Monday.


This is good weather do housework - I'm not tempted to sit and look out the windows - except that it is too dark to clean very effectively. We'll see what happens tomorrow.


So it is now the end of another dampish day in the field, and it's time to fold my tent and quietly steal away.



Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM