A View From the Field








October, 2003

October 31

The last day of October, and two weeks to go. Sob!


It was another one of those days when I could have turned the camera off and nobody would have noticed: dark, dull, and gray all day long. The camera didn't even manage to catch very many birds today, although they did eat most of the seeds. The temperature was steady at around 41º with a wind that kept wavering in direction and speed. Around sunset, it began to get really foggy over the harbor, and when I went out to get the bird feeder, there was a nasty mist, heavier than fog, being blown in from the north. Yuck.


It was a good day to stay in and veg, and I did. Not that I got up so late or anything, I just didn't feel like doing much and I didn't. I am slowly doing some wash - the only problem with doing the jeans first is that they take forever to dry - and I think I neatened up the piles in the office a bit. 


Actually, since the camera showed the same scene all day, I should have, and installed my new Norton Security package. If tomorrow is as boring as today, I may just do that. It needs to be installed on the laptop, too, and to do that, I think I shall have to disconnect the desktop from the phone line: one of the new "features" is that it has a "product activation feature" which I suppose needs the internet. Just another way somebody is trying to subvert the rip-off artists and making things difficult for the rest of us. Yes, I did buy three copies of the software, much as it pained me to do it!


So there is nothing much to report from the field tonight, except that the kids are getting nervous and I am getting sad because we are going to have to leave soon.


October 30

You can tell how I felt about today, I think, from the fact that this morning, instead of minimizing the camera software window, I stopped it, so from 10:15 to 4:45 there was no new picture...and like yesterday, it didn't make a bit of difference.


I got to bed after midnight and didn't wake up until 3:30, and I may have just missed our one good peek at the sky show. The clouds were bright, like they were backlit, and there was a bright glow in the north, but it was almost immediately covered up by a very thick dark cloud...and that was the last of it. Rats. Of course, I checked at 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30, then I slept until almost 10. I could have gotten up much earlier, but I was having a very vivid and interesting dream (which I've forgotten), so I kept going back to sleep. There is an internal logic to my dreams which bears no resemblance to the logic of the real world, but it seems to make sense at the time, and these dreams were in technicolor.


Not that there was a any particular reason to get up. It was raining lightly when I put out the feeder, and it continued to rain most of the day, so even if the picture had been updating, there would have been no difference except for the birds. I saw a downy woodpecker fly into one of the birches while I was outside, and his coloring, which looks so vivid when he comes to the feeder, is perfect camouflage when he is clinging to a birch. He was at the feeder briefly, as well as the flock of chickadees and one very wet blue jay. I know it was raining, but that guy looked like somebody had turned a bucket upside down on him. Maybe the teensy birds can dodge the raindrops better. The temperature was just under 40º all day. Not nice at all.


I redid the basket band to about where I was yesterday when I started ripping, and knitted on my crazy sock, and otherwise did not much. It was that kind of day. About the time it was getting dark, I started trying to work on another of the little things I want to do, but white thread on white fabric in the twilight just doesn't work very well.


I stopped at the general store on my way back from the post office and I discovered that I'm not the only one out here. My neighbor two doors north is here, and to hear him talk, he's been here pretty constantly all summer. I don't know - a couple of times I went by there and his truck wasn't there. Some people define "here" differently than I do - I think he made numerous trips to his winter home. However, it was nice to see him.


He (David) and Jeff from the store and I got into a discussion about the telephone outage of the other day, and it turns out it was more serious than it appeared. All our township emergency services - the fire department and the first responders - are dispatched by telephone, so for twelve hours, if there had been an emergency of any kind, we would have been in big trouble. So, I think, would SBC, because I certainly know that if I needed emergency aid and the telephones were dead, after the crisis passed, I would be talking to a lawyer. There is a roundabout way, through the state police and the county sheriff, that the emergency people could be dispatched, but the problem would be getting word to the police.


Oh, the joys of living at the end of the world! However, we all, including Jeff's daughter, agreed that it was worth it just to be here, even on a day like today. Copper Harbor isn't down to its winter census of 78 yet, but there probably aren't more than 150 of us in Grant Township right now. Just the way I like it.


Tomorrow I would like to gather up a few bags of trash and haul it off to the dumpster, but we'll see what comes of that. There is also wash to do and a dishwasher to unload and reload. I am planning to get to bed earlier tonight, so maybe, just maybe, I'll be up earlier and have a longer day.


It's really soggy in the field tonight!


October 29

This was a sort of lost day...at least I've lost track of what I did. Weather-wise, it was totally uninspiring: the temperature hung around the low 40s all day with dismal gray skies and not a lot of wind, except for a couple of hours this afternoon (which I didn't notice much). Around 6pm it drizzled a bit. Blah.


I guess I did do some rearranging in the sewing room, trying to get rid of some of the junk, find a few things, and make some piles of the stuff that will need to go to Grosse Pointe (shudder). Well, at least the piles have moved around.


Otherwise, I seem to have unmade stuff. I had done quite a lot on the basket band, but when I started the outside row, which is buttonhole stitch, I became convinced that the thread specified in the pattern was entirely too thick for the fabric. Sooo....I cut out all the stitching I had done, and tomorrow I will start over with thinner thread. I also discovered that I shouldn't have centered the band vertically, or if I thought I did, I miscounted, because the way I was doing it, I would have been buttonholing on the exact edge of the fabric, which is hard, to say the least. So that was a lost morning of stitching.


Then, this evening after dinner, I was looking at one sock that I have been working on sporadically since last spring, and I realized that it was too wide. and would be sloppy once I wore it...so I ripped out about 5 inches of knitting on #2 needles. I will start it over with the right number of stitches once I finish the crazy sock I am working on now. For some reason not known to me, I only brought one pair of crazy socks, and they are a very good weight for cold weather, so I need to finish another pair.


Except to wash dishes, write a few bills and go to the post office, that's about all I did today - not much accomplished. Tomorrow I really must start going through the papers and sorting out the stuff that goes south, the stuff that stays here (not much) and the stuff that goes out.


I guess I don't even need to mention that the clouds were very thick last night, as they will be tonight, and there is no chance of seeing any northern lights, should there be any. The sunspot that spewed out the big one is still facing us, and there is a good chance it may belch some more, but there is also a good chance we won't see clear skies for a week or more. That's the trouble with this time of year in Keweenaw. And of course, by the middle of next week, the moon will be a factor, since it is full on the 8th...and then there is that eclipse. I'll keep hoping, but I'm getting skeptical I'll be able to see that, either.


The clouds are thick over the field.


October 28

I didn't take the day off, really I didn't! I was fiddling around after dinner last night, when all of a sudden, at 7:45, the telephone line dropped, and when the computer tried to reconnect, there was no dial tone!  I tried my voice line, and there was no dial tone there, either! Well! I tried again, periodically during the evening (yup, I went to bed rather late), but both lines were dead, dead, dead. Since I couldn't upload it anyway, I figured there was no particular reason to do a journal, so I didn't, and I was mildly annoyed, too, because I have pictures. So let's start from yesterday morning and take things chronologically.


While it was apparently cloudy at sunrise yesterday (couldn't prove it by me), by the time I woke up, the last of the clouds were blowing away and it was a beautiful, sunny late-autumn morning, with no wind and a quite acceptable temperature around 40º. In fact, it was so beautiful that I grabbed the camera and ran out on the deck before breakfast. I must explain that since it's been coolish in the morning - like for the past month or so - I've been getting dressed when I get up, so I don't freeze my butt off when I take the bird feeder outside. So I was quite well-dressed to spend a few minutes outside on a sunny, cool morning. Here is what I saw


As you can see, there is still a good bit of color in the Harbor, but Brockway particularly is always the last place the trees shed their leaves. That seems true of Lighthouse Road, too. While some of the birches and most of the maples have fallen, there are still a few with leaves, and the oaks and the underbrush are just now coming into their full color. There is one birch, either almost on my south lot line or in my neighbor's yard that still has its full coat of golden yellow leaves. While it was a yellow autumn altogether, some of the birches have turned a much darker shade of gold than they usually do, and some have held their leaves remarkably well. So it was a really pretty day.


Clouds started moving in around 11:00, but it was still partly sunny until after 3:00, when it got really cloudy. Around  5:00, a particularly dark band of clouds came over the mountain. I saved the last picture of the day because it shows a particularly wide variety of clouds, including that big gray one over the mountain.


I had started defrosting a package of pork chops Sunday before Shirley called, so I cooked last evening, and I had just finished my dinner and was thinking of starting the journal when the telephones went away. I fooled around, played some games, worked on a sock, and generally diddled. Sometime around 9 or 9:30, quite suddenly, it sounded like somebody threw a fistful of hail at the south windows, and it began to rain. It pretty much rained all night, and fairly hard at times. 


When I checked the NWS site for Copper Harbor today, I discovered that they use the telephone to upload their hourly readings, because there was nothing from them between 8 pm last night and 8 am this morning. Interesting. They did report that we had almost half an inch of rain overnight, which is a respectable amount.


I checked the telephone periodically, every time I woke up all night, and it was still dead, even at 6 am. However, when I awoke around 9, there was dial tone! Whee! I didn't feel like driving up the mountain in the dark last night, so I had been more or less planning that, if there were still no phones when I got up, I would take the cellphone, which I charged up overnight, and trek up the mountain where I can use it (I think - I've never tried). 


I was really glad I didn't have to go up the mountain, because it was raining hard and horribly foggy when I got up. However, I ended up mucking around outside before breakfast anyway.  While I always check the Weather Underground to see what the official temperature is, as well as the wind speed and direction, I always check my weather station to find out what the temperatures are here, too. Depending upon the wind, among other things, sometimes I agree with the NWS and sometimes I don't. However, when I looked at the #1 sensor this morning, it said nothing. #2 was working fine. #1 is in the bird feeder tree, and #2 is in the black spruce in front of the garage. Sometimes in the summer, there can be a difference of 10º (or more, if the sun is shining on one sensor) between the front and back of the house.


Anyway, I wanted to know what had become of #1. I peered out the window, and it was clearly not hanging on the branch on which I put it. Since it was raining cats and dogs and little fishes, I put on my slicker, took the feeder, which I hadn't put out because of the rain, and treked down the deck. The sensor was lying upside down (I hoped) under the tree. Hmm. I wonder what little critter thought that might be food and got mad when it wasn't?


I wanted to make sure the sensor was all right, so off I went, down the deck stairs and around the tree. When I picked the sensor up, it was reading correctly (about 38º), so I'm not sure why it couldn't transmit. Since I was halfway up the incline already, I went around the back of the house and in the front door, which consternated Buster totally, and back out the slider. I have hung the sensor in a different place, hopefully where it is harder to push off, but it's not really where I want it. I didn't feel like leaning out over a very wet deck into a very wet tree to put it back where it was. I really got my before-breakfast exercise!


Following that, I spent a couple of hours embroidering, and I have finally finished the rose bellpull! Whew! Also yuck. It will look just fine when it is pressed and mounted, but it was still a disappointment to me, and that made it really hard to finish. Am I glad that's over! I have any number of cute little things - a band for a basket, a cover for an Altoids tin with matching scissors pocket and fob, and a bunch of little square Just Nan things - to keep me busy until I get back to Champine and consider what to embroider next.  I feel rather like I did after I finished the birds, that it is time for a bunch of small projects, but we'll see. Bunches of my small projects need finishing into ornaments, scissors fobs, and so on, but that requires the sewing machine, so we'll see where that leads.


So now we are nearly caught up, and one two-day entry has been about as long as two daily entries. The weather hung in around 40º all day today, with no wind to speak of, dark and dreary and rainy, although the hard rain stopped after noon. The next few days are supposed to be about the same, with some of the rain maybe mixing with snow, but the closer we get, the warmer the predictions seem to be.


Anyway, a pox on the clouds. Last night, the sun belched forth a flare of the greatest magnitude in this solar cycle, which is already impacting earth, and which might (or might not - after last week's fiasco, you should read how careful Solar Terrestrial Dispatch is being!) cause a real color and light show tonight and tomorrow night. Of course, we are totally socked in, and there is very little possibility of seeing anything, if there is anything. Rats. I did so want to see another show before I go back to the big, light-polluted city! By the way, there is so much interest in this that it appears spacew.com has caved in under the pressure - I keep getting "cannot find server" when I try to access it.


I think that's a good thing - not that spacew is down, but that there is so much interest. I guess Mars started it, as well as what northeastern city dwellers saw in the sky during the blackout last summer. If it isn't just a passing fad, a lot of good could come of it, including more attention to light pollution (and other kinds of pollution) and support for the space program. NASA wants to turn the Hubble telescope off, but if there is enough of an outcry against it, they'll have to leave it working until the next generation telescope gets into orbit.


Short pause while I cleaned my glasses - the spots in front of my eyes were spots in front of my eyes.


Let's see. I have been forgetting one more facet of Keweenaw life that I observed again on my trip to town last week. The Keweenaw County Road Commission has prepared for winter. Every fall, around the middle of October, they take down all the nice brown signs that mark spots of interest, like Garden Brook and the Copper Harbor cemetery. The only one that's permanent is the stake that says "Mandan", which they had to install because every year somebody would steal the moveable one. They even take down the Cliff Mine sign board, which is huge. And all along the roads that are plowed, where ever there is the beginning or end of an obstacle at the side of the road - the bridge over Fanny Hooe Creek, the white posts that mark a culvert, or a steel barricade - and at the middle of every curve, they have planted  a 6' sapling stake. That's a pretty ingenious and removable way of marking the sides of the road for the plows, so they stay on course and don't run into anything. It's always the final sign that winter is coming, and sometime after I get back here in the spring, usually shortly before Memorial Day, all the stakes will go away and all the signs will reappear. Then I know summer is coming.


Of course, sometime next week, they will also close all the roadside parks with outhouses, which is a sore point with me. It's not that cold yet, and it seems to me they could leave them open until after hunting season. Getting from here to Seney Stretch without having an accident is always an interesting proposition.


So now I guess I'm caught up on everything I had in mind to say. I will peer hopefully outside every time I get up overnight, but everyone seems in agreement that we will be completely clouded over tonight, darn.


It's soggy in the field tonight.


October 26

It was a noisy night in the field last night. There was a 15-20mph wind blowing out of the north, so the lake was speaking, the wind was howling and there were waves breaking on my beach. It didn't keep me awake, however. 


When I awoke this morning, at what to me was 9am and what to the world was 8am, there was about a quarter inch of snow on the deck, the garage roof, and some leaves outside. So the weather forecasters were right. Pretty soon, there was a rain shower, and the snow went away, but it was a raw, cold day all day long, with no sun at all.


I have developed the habit of checking the computer while I drink my juice, and when I turned on the monitor this morning, the whole thing had hung up on the "check date" box, so if anybody looked at the camera before 8:30, that's why it wasn't updating. I swear it didn't do that last year, but there we are.


Besides that, the atomic clock in the weather station didn't get a good signal from Denver, and it was about 40 minutes fast. I'm hoping it will correct itself tonight. Denver is a long way away, but clocks on the east coast get good signals, so the only other thing I can guess is that the hills, which do have a lot of metal in them, are interfering with the signal. I had hoped that by putting the clock on a bookshelf, I could get it high enough to receive the signal, but apparently not. So we'll see about that.


Even though I got up early this morning, it was a kind of lost day. I cleaned up the kitchen a bit and washed the rainbow sweater, but otherwise I couldn't decide what I wanted to do, so I didn't do much of anything. It's amazing how much time I have when I get up that early!


I conclude that I never really went on Daylight Savings Time, so I will probably do better at getting up at a reasonable time now that it is over. However, DC at least did go on DST, and he was hungry at 4 pm and I had to feed him at 5 pm. That, I guess, is the old schedule we used to have in Grosse Pointe, and the time on the clock means nothing at all to me.


I had a nice conversation with Shirley today - she is feeling better - and we had dinner together tonight, which was nice. She is getting excited about moving into her old house in Hancock, which should happen almost any time now. I think she will enjoy not being on call all the time this winter. And she has promised she will go to Mayo and try to find out what's wrong with her.


When I told her I would be eating at the usual time, I really forgot it was actually an hour later than usual, and of course it was pitch dark by the time I drove in to Copper Harbor. On my way in, I saw a deer that was about to cross the road, but it turned around and went back into the bushes when it saw my lights. Then on the way back, at almost the same spot - across from the sewage ponds - I encountered a raccoon in the middle of the road. I hit the brakes (and every time I have to do that, I am so grateful for the ABS brakes!), and it went off toward the other side of the road. I can see why so many coons are hit on roads, however, if they frequently stop in the middle and stand looking around.


We only have about ten and a third hours of daylight now, and that just isn't enough, so far as I am concerned. Interestingly, Detroit only has about 20 minutes more right now, so we are nearly even again for a while, before Copper Harbor gets down to just over 8 hours in the middle of winter.


On my way home, there were some little sprinkles on my windshield, and I noticed a few things falling out of the sky that were white, so we may get some more snow. Sometime this week, I should go to Calumet, but I will just have to see what the weather is like.


So it was a quiet day in the field.


October 25

I wrote last night that I was going to leave the bird feeder out, but I had no sooner uploaded that than I saw the feeder moving suspiciously, and when I turned on the floodlight, there was my coon. I grabbed the camera, but he took off the minute the light went on...in fact it looked like he was doing a belly-whopper off the porch railing, although he landed on his feet on the deck, running. Probably he will be too fast to capture in the camera.


I had just written somebody that it was another cloudy night when I shut things down for the evening and started for the north end. When I looked out the great room windows, there was Mars, shining brightly through the upper windows, and when I looked out, it was perfectly clear. 


Before I got undressed, I wanted to verify that, and I discovered that my old eyes are causing an interesting phenomenon that I've observed before this summer: when I turned out the lights, there was a red afterimage in my eyes that was almost perfectly accurate. I could see the outline of my legs, even though I hadn't been looking at them when the lights went out. (Speaking of which, the first canister light just failed). It's a really weird feeling. Frequently I'll lie in bed and be able to see the outline of the window frame, even though it's pitch dark and I wasn't looking at the frame when I turned off the light. Otherwise, it takes me much longer than it used to for my eyes to acclimate to the dark. That's definitely related to age.


Anyway, it was clear and starry when I went to bed. I scanned the northern sky before I got undressed, and didn't see anything that looked like northern lights, so I did my usual routine and went to bed. I woke up around midnight, and it was still clear, and there was still no light show, and the wind was rising.


I woke up again at 1:30, and there was a cloud bank moving through the north. and while it seemed a bit backlit, it wasn't very bright, and there was nothing in the part of the northern sky that was still clear.  The wind seemed to be dropping off, too. However in the southeast...I peered out the closet window and Orion and Gemini were just rising above the garage on their sides,  with Castor and Pollux just visible behind the trees, and above them Auriga and Taurus were glowing brilliantly in the eastern sky. I couldn't see the Pleiades from my window, and I didn't see the Milky Way, but that could have been mostly because of my angle - I was sort of peering around a corner to see what I saw. Anyway, the southern half of the sky was extremely clear and the stars were wonderfully bright. I don't get to see the winter stars very often, and Orion particularly is so beautiful!


I awoke again at 3:00 and 5:30 (yup - every hour and a half - you would have thought I'd set the alarm), and while the sky cleared completely again, there wasn't a hint of light in the north. So there - no northern lights.


I think I was awake around 7:00 or 7:30, but by that time, the sky was beginning to lighten some. I woke again around 8:30, and I had just decided to turn over and go back to sleep when something started harping on the porch screens, causing Buster to jump out of bed...me, too, but I had to put my glasses on, and by the time I got to the door, whatever it was was gone. It sounded like it was probably my coon coming back and climbing the screen to see if he could get over the top. The screens are black on purpose, and I don't suppose he could see them very well either.


By that time, the sun was beginning to climb above the trees, and it looked to be a perfectly gorgeous morning, so I got up. One of the first messages in my mailbox was a really interesting one from the Astro Alert guy complaining that the media had totally hashed up a report NASA had written and completely misunderstood the likelihood of northern lights last night, and in fact, while Germany had seen some, nobody else had. So there. It was all a stupid false alarm. Rats. Although I wasn't as disappointed as I suppose a lot of other people were, since I know something about the vagaries of nature.


There is still a possibility of some activity, because there are two huge areas of  the sun that are belching forth stuff and will be facing us all week, but according to all the weather forecasters, we are likely in for a lousy week with rain and snow mixed and uniformly cloudy skies. Rats again.


Anyway, most of today turned out to be really lovely. The official temperature got to 48º, although my thermometers didn't go that high, and around 3:00, the clouds began to cover up the sun completely. I have saved one picture from the camera to show you what can happen here. Around 5:30 there was a break in the clouds, and some really neat effects, including some crepuscular rays which I didn't think either camera would see. However, I noticed that underneath the mid-level clouds was another layer of gray clouds, moving fast and with fuzzy bottoms, like the virga. By 6:00 when i went to feed the cats, while the west was still light, the north was incredibly black, and this is what the camera saw. I mean to say, that was a really thick, really black cloud! You can see the virga in the part of the cloud over the mountain. Shortly thereafter, some sprinkles started coming down, and it was sprinkling when I went to dinner. It was still sprinkling when I came  home, but the last camera shot before dark, while it was dull and gray, wasn't nearly so dark as that one at 6:00. It certainly was lovely this morning! I sometimes think I appreciate the sunshine when there hasn't been any...but then I think about all those perfect days last summer. 


I spent some time after I went to the post office at the North Station, talking to Jody, who owns it. She is a nice person and I haven't seen her in a while, so we had a nice chat. I was interested to see that although I was getting sweaty after standing for an hour and a half, my legs weren't cramped up very badly, so maybe, possibly, I am slowly getting my legs back. That would be nice. I actually saw several people I know, so it was sort of like old home day, which was nice. Jody will stay open on weekends, I think, but the Sheas are shutting down today, so slowly but surely Copper Harbor is going to sleep.


The dining room at Mariner wasn't open tonight - no surprise there - but I had a good dinner anyway and I enjoy it when it's not so crowded.


I have to confess that I don't have anything to show for my early rising, except that I am going to bed earlier than usual tonight. Tomorrow I gain an extra hour anyway, and I really enjoy it when i can go through a time change without having to worry what time it is. Now some of the clocks - bedroom, bathroom and my watches - will be set back, and I'll just ignore the rest of them. The computer and my weather station will adjust automatically. When I got that weather station I thought the radio controlled clock was sort of a gimmick, but not any more. I like it: at least there's one clock in the house that always shows the right time!


So it's dull and drippy in the field again.


October 24

I had uploaded last night's journal, and I was sitting with the lights on and working on a few squares of the coat of many colors when I looked outside and saw the light reflecting on the bird feeder. It seemed to be moving in a rather peculiar manner, not having anything to do with the wind (of which there wasn't any). I flipped on the floodlight (there is a central panel, plus a switch at every door - really handy!) and there, seated comfortably on the deck post, was a medium sized, and very chubby, raccoon, picking the sunflower seed out of the feeder and chowing down. I banged on the window, and it ignored me, and I actually had to open the door and shout before it walked down the railing and left, not very quickly. I brought the feeder in, because it really did not look like it needed my sunflower seeds.


Of course, that meant I had to hang it back up in the rain this morning. Since it cooled off, I have been dressing before breakfast (which is probably good, because otherwise there have been days when I probably wouldn't have gotten dressed at all!), so all I had to do was put on my slicker, but it was pretty yucky.


The whole day was pretty yucky, actually. Except that the fog moved in and out, the camera picture didn't change at all - dull, gray and dreary all day. There were birds occasionally, but that was all the change. Sometimes there were raindrops on the window and sometimes not.


Actually, I think it stopped raining around noon, and except for a few sprinkles, it was just dull until around 4pm, when it started again. I think I will leave the feeder out tonight, coon or no coon. It is not nice out! The temperature hung in at about 40º all day, although there wasn't much wind.


I did spend a while embroidering, and I have maybe an hour's worth of work left on the last flower, after which it's all leaves and stems. So I guess I will get that project done before I go south after all. 


I re-washed the ruined sweater, and I think I managed to pull it out a bit more, but it will never be like it was before I washed it. I also washed the wormy sweater, carefully, and although I won't know until after it's dry, it looks like I may have locked in the chenille so it won't worm any more...sure hope so!  I began working in the ends of the rainbow sweater, and after it gets dark enough for the camera, I will turn on the lights and do some more. While I don't enjoy working in ends, this isn't as bad as the coat of many colors, and I should be done shortly, then I can wash it...I dragged the cuffs on the floor all the time I was doing the ribbing, and, well, you can tell how dirty my office floor is, even though the cuffs are black.


I am sort of casting around for the next project, at least the next knitting project. Since I finished reading both of my own books, I haven't started anything else, and the yarn I brought with me is mostly summer-type yarn that doesn't interest me too much now. While I do have to start sorting and packing, I am just not constituted to do that all the time, so I need something to keep my hands and mind busy. Hmm...


Somehow, I have gotten incredibly messy about making my breakfast, so I cleaned up the stove and washed all the dried scrambled egg off the counter...again...


I got up really late again this morning - there seemed no reason not to - but I keep remembering that Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, and then my rising and setting times will be more reasonable. I conclude that I've never really gone on DST at all, which is a problem I've had for quite a long time. The only thing that's nice is that now it doesn't usually matter, at least here. In Grosse Pointe, there are appointments and functions that are at set times, and it's assumed one will be there on time. 


I wish there was some way I could get myself to get up earlier, at least in the summer, because early summer mornings are frequently so beautiful, but I've never been a morning person, and I guess I never will be. I will not do what my mother did and set the alarm clock. I just rebel at that, even when I have to set it. So I will continue to free-wheel and hope I can make my appointments when I have them.


Of course, next year, if I am lucky enough to get the telescope (I know, I know, I said that this year, but notice I'm now saying "if") I may turn into a true night person and sleep all day. Trouble is, if it's as beautiful a summer as this one was, I'd really rather not sleep at all, and that doesn't work either. Well, that's next year.


So it is a icky, drippy evening after a dark and dank day. The Clear Sky Calendar says it may clear up after midnight, which means I will have another chance to look for northern lights. There was a brief period this morning, about 2 am, when I could see Polaris out the bathroom window, not very brightly, but that didn't last long, and there was nothing going on in the north at that point, at least here. The CME actually hit around noon today, so there may be nothing tomorrow morning either, but I can hope. There were northern lights up there last night, but I think mostly in Alaska again. 


The only thing hopeful is that there are two huge active regions on the sun right now, so there may be more belching in the next week or so, and some night it might be clear before the moon gets too bright. It would be so great to see another really good display!


Well, it's a drippy night in the field tonight.


October 23

It was another nondescript day, and there wasn't even a ray of sunshine to break the monotony. The only difference today was that around 10am, a brisk north wind sprang up, which by 4pm reached 24 mph with gusts over 30 mph, and the lake was speaking loudly. The wind is dropping now, but for a while there it was pretty choppy on the lake.


I wouldn't know what it was like before 10am. When I went to bed last night, I had a tummy ache, but it didn't seem to keep me awake much, and after I took some Rolaids around 3 am, it gradually went away. I did have to pop another Imodium this morning, but everything has been all right since. What brought that on is beyond guessing. it does almost seem that my tummy is getting more sensitive rather than less as time goes on. I will have to discuss that with Dr. Lehman when I see him. Anyway, there seemed no reason to get up around 8 am, which was before sunrise, so I didn't.


I worked on the rose, and I should finish the third color tomorrow, and I finally finished the knitting on the rainbow sweater!  Whew!  I put it aside after that, but I will have to get at all the loose ends hanging out, and then I will have to wash it: it's been dragging on the floor too much lately, and it's getting rather grungy. I did go to the post office to mail a couple of things, and I can verify that it was not very nice out.


Of course it was cloudy all night last night, and from the latest pictures at the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch, there was a nice display of northern lights last night, visible in Alaska and Quebec. Poo. There is another CME on its way, which should hit tomorrow night, so all we can hope is that the forecasts of "partly cloudy" are right. The Clear Sky Calendar for Copper Harbor says it should be clear but not exceptionally transparent after about 1am. Boy, I hope so! I really want to see another light show before I got south, and this is probably about the best chance I'll have.  So we'll see.


I am looking around the office realizing that I have to begin the sorting and packing routine, since three weeks from tonight, everything has to be packed up and ready to go.


It hardly seems possible that it's that time of year already. The time certainly has gone fast and sweetly. Well, next year is another year, and I can look forward to that, at least.


While I was knitting, I spent some time looking out the windows, and Mrs. Cardinal is still here, and she has learned to get into the feeder, although she is a bit large for it. She is a very dainty, dignified eater, not like the blue jay, who gobbles down as much as he can get into his crop as fast as possible before he flies off. I wish I could put some seed on the deck for the cardinal, but almost certainly the chipmunks would have cleaned it up before she arrived. I am a little concerned about her, too, because usually cardinals come in pairs, even at this time of year, and she is clearly all alone. There are some people in town who feed the birds in the winter, so maybe she'll be all right if she stays. This is a bit beyond their advertised range, but since the range has been moving north for quite some years, it seems possible that they have finally made it across the Lift Bridge. I do like cardinals.


It's a noisy, cloudy night in the field tonight.


October 22

The lake was speaking loudly for most of the night, but as morning came, it died down, and it was another dull, gray, blah day, with temps stuck in the low 40s and no wind at all to speak of.


I woke up at 9am and just turned over and went back to sleep. I guess it was partly because for some reason I went to bed quite late last night. I get to fiddling around in the office, and time passes, I guess. I did sleep well in my lighter weight nightgown, although I had to boot various cats out of bed a couple of times when I woke up. I don't know what's up now, but everybody, Buster particularly, is getting awfully clingy. I suppose he knows that that horrible car ride is coming up, but who knows? I can frequently intuit what a cat is thinking, but he's harder than most.


Anyway, I finally made it out of bed and ate a late breakfast, then I actually started the third color in the last rose. Slowly, ever so slowly, I'm making progress. Maybe it will be done before I go south. I certainly hope so!


I also did some work on the rainbow sweater, and I just have a few more rows of the bottom ribbing to do before I can start working in all the loose ends.


While I was knitting, however, I was looking out the window, and I've now seen the third bird who shouldn't be here - a female cardinal hung around the feeder all afternoon! She didn't seem to know how to eat out of the feeder, even though the chickadees were coming and going all the time, so I don't have any idea where she came from. There was also a downy woodpecker, briefly.


I forgot to mention that earlier in the week, on the way to the post office, I flushed a snow bunting in the low area around Lake Lilly, although I haven't seen the flocks we had last year. Of course, it hasn't been as cold as it was last year, either, even where they summer, so I suppose they're waiting.


I did capture a couple of pictures. I looked out just shortly after sunset, and there was a perfect monochrome scene. I am rather upset with that picture, because no way is it in focus. I have an email in to Nikon, but I haven't heard back from them. I was even more upset when I discovered that, except for the camera angle, the webcam had actually done a better job of capturing the view. That was about five minutes before the one I took with the Nikon. Looks cold, doesn't it?


It actually isn't all that cold. With any kind of wind it would be miserable, but it was so calm today that it wasn't half bad to be outside with just a sweater on. 


What I love about being able to see all the sky is that even on a dull, dreary day like today, the clouds were really interesting. A couple of times late in the afternoon, a bit of sun almost peeked out once or twice, with a few crepuscular rays, but it was gone so fast, I would have had to have been outside with the camera on to catch it.


It sure would be nice to have some clear skies. The sun is belching forth again, with two huge naked eye-visible (with protection, of course) sunspot areas and associated flares and CMEs and all that, which means we are likely to get some nighttime light shows in the next week or so, provided there aren't any clouds. I sure would like to see some before I go south. And of course, there is another lunar eclipse on November 8, which will be much higher in the sky, and I'd like to see that, too. Well, I can hope, and peer out the windows every time I get up at night. Right now, all the forecasts are for continued cloudy. Rats.


So that was my nice, peaceful day in the field.


October 21

It was a dark and stormy...day? Well, not really very stormy, but it certainly was dark and dull and dank. The clouds were thick over the land, although a couple of times there were tantalizing peeks of clear skies over the lake, the temperature was in the mid-40s all day, with a brisk north wind. Yuck.


My experiment with a lighter nightie worked pretty well, although I decided to try an oversized tee shirt that was hanging on the back of the bathroom door, and it isn't quite the right shape, so tonight I will go back to one of my custom made models. I slept pretty well until about 4 am, when I discovered a cat on either side of my legs with about a foot of nicely flattened covers between them, so that either I curled up in a fetal ball or my legs felt like I was in a vise. That lasted a while before they got up for their early morning walk. A couple of times when I woke up in the night, I could hear that it was raining rather hard on the deck.


Even though both cats know we don't get up at 6am anymore, they do, and I think they just wander around the house for a while. I woke up just after 8am and decided against getting up, and finally made it out of bed at 9:30.


Of course, that meant that I didn't start for Houghton until almost noon. The road was wet in spots, and there actually was a little drizzle along the northern part of Cliff Drive. I really appreciate at last having a rear window windshield wiper, because the car throws up all sorts of spray when the road is wet. I also ran across a couple dump trucks going in the opposite direction, and they leave an amazing amount of spray in their wake.


Most of the leaves are down, except right around the Harbor, where it was quite pretty. There are still some oaks, a very few confused birches, and some underbrush with leaves, but it looks a lot like it did last spring when I got here, except that the brown brush hasn't been beaten flat by all the snow yet. It's getting to be the dull gray and brown season again, where all the color comes from the evergreens. What color there was along Cliff Drive came from the tamaracks, which have all turned. I still think tamaracks are pretty, even though they shed their needles, but they grow into huge trees and they need to be near water, so I guess I won't ever get to grow one here. There isn't anyplace to plant one near the water that wouldn't block either my view or my neighbor's view.


I had intended to skip Hughes farm, but the "veggies" sign was out, and I was too tempted. So I have lots of Delicata squash and lots of beets, a little lettuce, and some of the last tomatoes. While it would be nice to take the squash home raw, I don't know how well it will keep, so I think I will cook quite a lot of it and freeze it. Likewise, the beets. I can take some south with me - use it instead of ice packs - and leave some here for next spring. Yum.


What with my late start and my stop at the farm, I didn't get to Houghton until nearly 1:30, so I ate first. I was gratified to see that I wasn't the only one, nor the latest one, eating at that time, but there weren't many of us, and I can see why they have closed the restaurant between 2 and 4. And if I'd known for sure how late I was going to be, I might have waited and had dinner.


WalMart was next, and I had written a list with most of what I wanted to get, and I've been around that store enough that I'm getting to know where things are. It was curious to see the Christmas shop open just down the aisle from the Halloween costumes. I ignored that. I had hoped to get another granite pot to take south with me, but they were all out. I expect to make one more trip to Houghton, so I will check again then, but if they don't I will try good old Damman's and hope they have one. I think I got everything else on my list, which was nice.


Of course, I was sweating like a horse by the time I checked out. I've decided it's not only that I sweat every time I exert myself - it actually is hot in there, especially in the back corners where the crafts are. I always have to check out what they have back there. 


Besides, now that the rainbow sweater is getting done, I took a look at the buttons I have for it, and decided to get some new ones. The old buttons are  in rainbow colors, sort of, but it looks to me like either the green and purple ones were off-shades or they have faded, and I just decided I didn't want a pea-green button on my sweater. Besides, there was no orange. So I ended up with shiny black buttons. Rainbow would have been nicer, but there's a good chance I'll never find them, and since there are buttonholes, there need to be buttons.


Then it was off to EconoFoods for some breakfast food and kitty litter. I was really surprised when I got out of there. I was hot and tired and thirsty, but my legs and feet weren't nearly as sore as the last time I went to town. I don't know why. It would be nice to think maybe I'm finally gaining a little strength, but I'm not too hopeful. Anyway, while I didn't unload the entire car when I got home, I could have. That's nice. Maybe I'll be able to pack up to leave without killing myself.


Not that I want to.


The only thing about eating so early is that now I have to eat again. I'm waiting until the sky outside is totally dark, which it will be by the time I finish this, before I turn on the light and gnaw on a chicken bone. 


Last night, when the chicken was heated up, both cats set up a fuss for some, and DC surprised me. I tried to give a few pieces to each, and DC ate his so fast and stuck his head under Buster's nose before he could even taste his portion. Turnabout, I guess. Buster has done that to DC many a time with other people-food, and D just decided he was going to get the chicken. I think Buster was so surprised he didn't even protest.


Since I wasn't here today, there are no birds to report about, but the feeder emptied out nicely, so I guess everybody including the chipmunks were here. I came home with a 25 lb. bag of sunflower seed, which will hopefully last until I leave and have a bit left over for next spring. They are hungry birdies.


Oh, yes, and I forgot to mention that as I turned down toward Hughes Farm, a rather large deer crossed the road a ways in front of me. I didn't see its head, but it looked a bit large for a doe. That's one of the few deer I've seen this fall. Apparently they ate everything interesting in my yard, so they haven't been coming around.


Well, it's now dark, and I do want to wait a while after I eat before I go to bed. 


The lake is speaking loudly to the field tonight.


October 20

First off, let me apologize to any early accessors of the webcam. Somehow, and I really don't know how I did it, I managed to access the MSN logon screen yesterday afternoon. What I had forgotten is that the first thing that pesky piece of garbage does is to hijack the default internet connection. So the first thing that tried to come up this morning was that same logon screen. Grrrr...pretty soon now, I'm going to get into "add/remove programs" and never have to worry about it again.


It was compounded by the fact that I didn't fall out of bed until almost 11am this morning. That started last night. I had just picked up the neckband on the rainbow sweater and knit two rows when I realized that in order to be consistent, I had to do it a different way. That meant un-knitting two rows and re-knitting. I only did the row I wanted to change, but it was after midnight before I trundled up to the north end. Grrr again.


Then there was a night sweat around 3am that kept me awake intermittently until after 4, so when I finally cooled down and got back to sleep, I just didn't want to get up...and didn't.


I don't read anything into the night sweats except that I'm of a certain age and the temperatures have been rather warm at night for this time of year. It's not alarming, just annoying. Believe me, I haven't forgotten what a real disease-induced night sweat is like, even though I haven't had any since 1998.


Anyway, I got a terribly late start today, later than usual, so production was way down. I did work on the embroidery a bit and I did finally finish the neckband and pick up for the band around the bottom...287 stitches for 14 rows, and I hate ribbing. Oh, well, that will be all the knitting on the sweater and all that will be left is to work in all the loose ends. I think I have figured out how to take pictures of the sweaters, so if we have some sunshine, I'll do so.


We actually did have some sunshine today, until about 2pm, and the temperature actually got up to 55º briefly. Then the clouds and the fog started moving in, and the temperature went down into the upper 40s, and the rest of the day was very misty-moisty, dark and blah. The dewpoint is within a couple of degrees of the temperature, and for most of the afternoon the top of the mountain was lost in the fog...sometimes the bottom of the mountain, too.


I think tonight I will opt for a lighter nightie and hope that helps. I have mentioned several times in these pages that spring and fall are always difficult times for me to sleep, since the temperature may change so drastically, and no heating system I know about can successfully work. I like it warm during the day...and having it cozy in the bathroom when I bathe is delightful...but I need  it either quite cool (with covers) or quite warm (without covers) at night, and that's almost impossible.


I will try to get an earlier start tonight (it's not 8pm yet) and see if a light nightie and an early bedtime will help. I do need to go to town tomorrow...I have a long list for WalMart, since I didn't go there the last time I was in town.


I am beginning to accumulate pork sausage to take back with me, although otherwise, except for pizzas, I will be trying to draw down the contents of the freezer before I leave for home. I like to leave a few things here, so I have something to eat when I return (Ah! When I return!), but right now, it's pretty packed. I see one more trip, in a couple of weeks, to make sure everything is just so.


We had more chicken and vegetables tonight, and I had two cats who wanted some...and I didn't know DC could move so fast anymore. I tried to give Buster some, too, but DC ate his and shoved Buster out of the way before he could get more than a taste. Poor Buster. But he's done the same thing to D on many an occasion, so I don't feel too sorry for him.


I heard from my friend Nancy, who is building at Hunter's Point. Her husband was here last week, and yesterday had a pile of 16' drywall boards fall on him and broke his leg. It doesn't sound like a serious break, but still...What a shame! I'm not sure they'll be able to get back to watch the drywall go in, which is always a fun thing.


I am not a worrier, and I don't go around anticipating the nasty things that can happen to a person, but I have to admit it has occurred to me that one of the disadvantages of living out in the middle of nowhere all by myself is that something could happen to me while I was here alone. Right now, there isn't anybody else out here at all, I think. I do believe we have 911 available,  but that means I would have to get to a telephone.


Anyway, the advantages far outweigh any possible disadvantages by far. It is so lovely and quiet! There are hardly any tourists left in town, and it's so peaceful!


So now I want to get at least one row of ribbing done before I fold for the night.


It's a foggy field tonight.


October 19

Ugh. What a night! I was almost asleep, in the middle of a dream, when Buster walked down the bed behind me and stepped almost on top of me and woke me up, then he proceeded to bug DC and bug me, and it was after 3am before I got any more sleep at all. Since by that time DC was lying right where the small of my back comes if my back was to him, I was just not comfortable, and it was nearly 6am before I started my serious sleep for the night. Even though I didn't get up until 10:30, I was rather groggy all day long. Ugh.


It was a middle 40s, cloudy day most of the day, with no rain and not much wind, but not very interesting. Along about an hour before sunset, a clear patch appeared in the west, and we had another nice display, but that only lasted a few minutes, and then the color all went away. 


Since I got up so late, I read and knitted until I began to have a real sugar low, and I didn't finish breakfast until after 2pm. When I went back to the north end to wash my face and brush my teeth, somebody had left a pile on my bedside rug. I don't know what possesses him (DC) to do that, and thankfully it doesn't happen very often, but I took it as a hint that his litter trays weren't very good.


They've been worse, but they definitely did need changing, so I took care of that, and I washed the rug (which I forgot, and I have only just now put it in the dryer. Since it's a very heavy rug, it will take a while to dry).


In the meantime, I finally got to the cuff of the rainbow sweater, and I may get that done while I am waiting for the rug.


Because I ate my first meal so late, I didn't start my second until after 6 pm, but it was worth waiting for. I finally got my roasted chicken, my way. I used the convection oven, and it did a nice job, but I can't say it was any faster than a regular oven. I cooked the chicken for the first half hour on its breast, and I think that really did make it much juicier and not so dry. I'll see when I really get into it. My habit is to eat the wings first, then the legs, then the meat on the carcass. This chicken also had a lot of liver stuffed inside it, so DC and I had an early appetizer. How he does love liver, especially liver sautéed in butter! So do I, actually.


While I was doing the chicken, I also baked some of my delicata squash. They are really good. Cutting them in half and baking them cut-side down is really better than trying to cook them whole, although the skin is tender enough that getting the meat out of it isn't easy either. I've steamed winter squash a couple of times, and I don't like it quite so well that way. However, doing them in the microwave, whole, is not the answer. They have entirely too many seeds, and it is entirely too hard to get the seeds out of a cooked squash. Anyway, I also cooked the beets, and they are just as good as the last bunch, even the one the size of my fist. If I bought a beet that big in a supermarket, or even in a fruit market in Detroit, it would be strong-flavored and woody. These were all mild flavored and sweet and good.


So I had a lovely feast, and there is plenty left to keep me happy all week. Yum. Yum, even though my nice clean kitchen is pretty badly messed up.


While I was knitting and reading today, I was also looking at the bird feeder. The bird (or birds) of the day was two male downy woodpeckers, who stopped by for a snack. One of them had no problem at all with the feeder, but the other one must have been a little retarded, because he had to sit on the deck post for a long time and crane his neck to figure out how to get in, and when he did, he pecked on the tube for a while before he found the feed hole. They are pretty little birds.


I forgot to mention yesterday, that when I took the feeder outside yesterday morning, I noticed a commotion in the water about a hundred yards down the bay, and next thing, a kingfisher was flying into the top of my birch tree. He was vocalizing, so I suspect he missed what he was going after. I know he's around, because I saw him early in the spring, but I haven't seen him all summer, probably mostly because he gets up earlier than I do. He hangs out in the birches looking for little fish in the shallows.


It certainly looks dark down the harbor with Harbor Haus's floodlight turned off. It will get darker, too, because I don't think all the lights on the public dock are left on all winter. The harbor is settling down to its early winter snooze.


Well, I'd like to finish my cuff, and not much else has happened around here. I noticed Mars glowing in the south when I went out to get the feeder, so it's at least partly clear tonight.


Another quiet night in the field...


October 18

You can never tell. Last night, not only was I too warm, but my lovely fish gave me indigestion, and I didn't sleep at all well. It was compounded by a cat who decided he wanted to sleep right against my middle...in the middle of the bed. That messed up the covers and my normal place to sleep and didn't help at all. If it had been Buster, I'd have booted him out, but it was DC, and I won't do that to him. So I did my best sleeping after 7am.


It stayed warm in the house because the temperature outside was in the middle 40s all night, with not much wind, and that makes a big difference. I do like the radiant heat, but it isn't perfect any more than any other kind is, and I've never lived with a heating system that works well when the outdoor temperature is between 4oº and 55º.


It was nice to come into a relatively clean kitchen this morning, I have to confess, and I actually cleaned up a bit and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I also cleaned the bathroom. I discovered that the last time I did that, I was wearing a very pretty blue tee, and after I sprayed Clorox CleanUp on the sink, I leaned over it and now my pretty tee has a couple of bleached out streaks right across the gut. So this time I tried something else, and it seemed to work pretty well. I also cleaned the mirror, and I discovered that the drops of water drying on the inside of the shower door have gotten firmly attached, and I am going to have to find some kind of calcium carbonate dissolver that will get it off and not ruin the glass.


The temperature got into the low 50s for a short while in the early afternoon, but most of the day was in the mid 40s again. Although it was cloudy when I got up, we had a couple of hours of hazy sunshine in the middle of the afternoon, which was welcome, but late in the day a thick cloud bank started moving in off the lake, and it may even rain tonight. Well...I think the NWS is in the mode that if there is a cloud - any cloud - in the sky, it might rain. We shall see. John has been taking a few days off, and I will look forward to his Keweenaw forecast tomorrow. He's still much righter than anybody else.


For dinner, I had a reprise of the Last Fish, and it was just as good as last night. Better, maybe, because I had eaten a huge salad before my entree came and I was already getting full. The "reheat" button on my microwave is pretty gentle, and the fish wasn't overcooked. And for dessert, there was more chocolate pecan pie, which was yummy even without the whipped cream. Yum.


Tomorrow, I am going to attack the convection oven again with a chicken, and I have beets and delicata squash to cook, so that will be yummy, too.


Oh, yes, and there was the disaster of the day. I read the directions with my washer, about the "handwash" option, and so I threw my lovely, soft wool sweater in and turned it on. I'm sorry to say, I now have a partly felted sweater. It didn't shrink or anything, but it is definitely somewhat felted, and it will probably be thick and stiff rather than soft and cuddly. Well, I guess you win some and you lose some. I did like that sweater, too, even though it's a bit too warm for most situations. I hope it will be wearable, but I won't know until it dries, which will take a couple of days, probably. It was my own fault, and I obviously won't do that again.


Otherwise, I knitted and read, and I am doing well on the last sleeve of the rainbow sweater. I really want to get that done and over with. I've had it lying around for several years, and it was time to finish it.


I think it is going to be cloudy again tonight, so there won't be any sky show to look at and maybe I can sleep better.


Peace in the field.


October 17

Four more weeks...twenty-eight more days. Sob.


My suspicion proved correct, at least last night. I put on a flannel nightie, and I slept like a baby...with the usual interruptions, of course. None of the interruptions kept me awake long, however, and nine and a half hours of pretty much uninterrupted sleep left me feeling very well, thank you. Such a simple thing...and so easy to forget. I need to keep my temperature within certain limits at night, or I don't do well at all, and with the temperature outside at around 40º or slightly below, when the setback thermometer kicks in, it gets a bit chilly in here. I like that, so long as I have enough covers to keep everything from the neck down toasty warm...but not too warm. Very picky body I have.


Since I didn't start until midnight, I didn't get up until 9:30 this morning, but that was all right. I got to have the slow breakfast (French toast and sausage), check my email and the weather and do some embroidery, and still I was able to gather up all the trash - four bags full! - and get to town before the post office closed.


There were a lot of birds today, and it seems we have a real flock of female (and maybe juvenile) purple finches, a flock of chickadees, a couple of nuthatches, and the bird of the day was a goldfinch in winter garb (female, I think). 


In between, I have continued my running battle with poppa chipmunk, who is a real pig. He gets his cheek pouches so full that his head is three times its normal size, and he is so tame that a couple of times, if I was a little faster on my feet, I could have goosed him. I ended up throwing branches at him, which scares him away for a while, and then when everything is quiet, he comes back. In the meantime, as soon as he is gone, even if I'm right beside the feeder, the chickadees are back. I do like them. 


Our chickadees (and a lot of the other birds) are on the small end of their size ranges, and the chickadees and nuthatches particularly are really tiny. The nuthatches are a bit shy, but the chickadees have no fear at all. they're fun.


Last night, after I finished the journal, I worked on the sweater, and I finished the body, and today I started the sleeve. That won't take too long, because as it gets longer it also gets smaller around, so it goes fast. Then I have neck and bottom ribbing to do and a whole lot of loose ends to work in. Anybody who looked at the camera between 8 and 8:30 would have seen a colorful pile on the desk, which is the sweater.


I am doggedly working away at the last flower in the bellpull, but my heart isn't in it. It will be good to have that done and get on to something else, something small, I think. I have a bunch of interesting small pieces to work on, and it will be nice to finish something in a few days.


As for the weather, it wasn't worth talking about. After looking like it might be partly cloudy this morning, the gray clouds moved in and it was dull and 40-ish all day long. No rain, but no sun, either. Blah!


Tonight I went to Harbor Haus for the last fish, and while it was a bit busier than it was Wednesday, it was still nice and quiet. The last fish was as good as the first one was, and it was so huge I brought half of it home for tomorrow. I confess, I had desert - chocolate pecan pie, one of my favorites, and somehow I got a double-sized piece of that, too, so I will have the last fish dinner twice! Maybe that will keep me satisfied until Memorial Day.


Oh, yes, and I had a short talk with Shirley. She is back in the Harbor, and she sounds fine, although it's clear she is still weak and not entirely well yet. Her girls were going to haul her down to Mayo next week, but she is still taking antibiotics, so she has managed to postpone it until November (probably much to their disgust). I certainly hope she goes, although, frankly, the results are not likely to be positive, so I suppose she isn't looking forward to it. I still believe it's better to find out what your problem is, even if it's not good, rather than diddle around and worry and maybe end up in worse shape because of it.


So that is all the news, and it's a quiet and cool night in the field.


October 16

It blew all night long, and it didn't start dying down until after 11 am - and I mean it blew. For a good part of that time, the sustained winds measured at the NWS station (which, as I've mentioned, is somewhat sheltered) were clocked at 28 mph...with gusts. It was pretty noisy in the field.


That didn't keep me awake a lot. I did spend some time thinking about soft boxes again and had another idea for decorating them. This could turn into something.


I was wakeful between about 3 am and 6 am, and I am beginning to suspect the reason is, I was cold, or at least my temperature was a bit lower than is quite comfortable. I am still wearing my short-sleeve cotton nighties, and I think tonight I will switch over to a flannel one, and see if that helps. It's supposed to get rather cool tonight, so it will be a good test.


The NWS was backing and filling again. Now instead of snow and rain (and temperatures well below freezing inland), it's supposed to be partly cloudy and just freezing inland and around 40º here. All mention of snow is now gone from the forecast, and it's supposed to warm up into the 50s again next week, although it may be wet. We shall see. According to the Clear Sky Clock, it will be clear all night here, and cloud up some tomorrow. 


It was actually a very pretty day. While there were a few periods where it was mostly cloudy, for the greater portion of the day, there were those puffy white clouds playing hide and seek with the sun. While the wind was up, there were whitecaps on the harbor, and when the sun was shining it was a nice blue-green color, a lovely contrast to the gold and brown and green-black of the mountain across the way. Around 4:30, the part of the sky overhead and to the east cleared up , and there was just one line of clouds in the west, which are now almost gone. It made for another lovely sunset. I hope you don't get tired of looking across the harbor. I certainly don't. Very rarely do I see the same thing twice.


I cleaned up the kitchen some, finally. It isn't perfect, because I have decided to do some rearranging in the cupboards, but at least the stove side has clean counters once more, which is nice.


I also finally started the last rose in the bellpull. That has really turned into a drag of a project. I've done other things that took as long - consider the birds - but this one, I guess, is bugging me because it's not coming out as nicely as I'd hoped. It will be OK, but not great, and it's certainly taken a long time to do. I think I started it in June. Whew!


Otherwise, I continued to try to make some sense of the office, and I think I may be making some progress. At least I have a very full, very heavy orange bag that needs to be removed, tomorrow, I hope! That was partly prompted by my realization, when I was in JoAnn's last week, that I had not received two of my magazines. Before I called and started raising Cain, I decided I'd better go through the piles and be sure I just hadn't missed something. I hadn't. One of them had messed up the date to switch over the address (which I never would have suspected except that they sent a renewal advice to Grosse Pointe), and the other one had screwed up the entry so badly that they have had my subscription on hold all summer. So I begin to get over my problems with the Post Office, and I have trouble with the subscriptions...it never seems to end. These are two magazines I read, pretty much cover to cover, when I get them. Oh, well.


I was able to spend some time reading and knitting. I'd rather like to finish the striped sweater and get it over with, so I am working on that again. That also gives me time to watch the birds and other critters. The bird of the day was a male purple finch...which made me realize it's been a very long time since I've seen one on Champine, if ever. I know they're there as well as here, because the females are rather distinctive for brown stripy things, and I've seen them regularly. They were around here yesterday, so today they brought dad...and the girls kept fighting, whether over him or what, I don't know.


I also got my exercise, because the big chipmunk was in the feeder again, and when I looked at him and saw that his cheek pouches were as big as his head, I decided he'd had enough. I actually moved the feeder for a while, but that didn't keep him out, so I kept chasing him away...and he is amazingly tame. If I wanted to, I think it would take very little effort to get him eating out of my hand. Just what I don't need! The last time he tried it was really funny, because he came creeping along the branch that is just under the feeder, like, if he hugged it tight, I couldn't see him. I actually had to go outside and practically move him to make him go away. I'm sure he'll be back. In fact, when I started shouting at him, he almost seemed to think I was going to give him something!


The chickadees didn't like all that, but they are so tame they were eating out of the feeder, and off the railing when I put a few seeds there, when I was standing a couple of feet away talking to them. They are such cute little things, and completely fearless. I like chickadees. 


I have a camera strap that I have been trying for several years to embroider a couple of birds on. Originally they were going to be a cardinal and a blue jay, but after observing the jays - they are big, noisy bullies - I have decided the other birds will be chickadees. They are by the same designer who did the warblers and the loons over my fireplace, and they will be very nice. Unfortunately they are done over-one on 25 count fabric (read: very small) and I will have to take myself in hand to finish them. Someday...


So that was a rather nice day, and it's now altogether dark, so I can turn on the lights in here and get the feeder in for the night.


Clear skies in the field tonight...


October 15

Well, I made up for all of it last night. I turned out the light at around 8:30 and although I had a bit of a problem falling to sleep, and I was wakeful for a while during the night (not long), I mostly slept until almost 10 am this morning. I guess that will catch me up.


Not that there was much to get up for. The sun rose over the harbor, but it immediately disappeared behind the clouds, and except for a couple of minutes, it never came out all day. It was dry until around 4:30, when we had a rain squall, and it has been squalling ever since. While I was at dinner, there was a big one over the lake, and a lot of virga over the east bluff, and a few of what looked like snowflakes on the patio at Harbor Haus. The temperature hung in the mid-40s all day, with a brisk northwest wind which has now picked up into the 20 mph range. Most unappealing.


The town is dead, finally. There weren't more than a dozen people in Harbor Haus, which I like a lot, but they find pretty boring. So now I've had my lamb chops, and I have a reservation for Friday to have the last fish. They close Saturday. Then I can start cooking for myself.


With such a late start, I didn't get much done except to pay the outstanding bills. I had hoped to get the trash together, but that will just have to wait until Friday.


I'm putting together a list of things I want to get at Walmart, but I think I will wait until next week to go. Nothing is so critical that I have to run down there tomorrow...or I don't think it is.


The birds of the day were a couple of female purple finches, which must be coming through, since I haven't seen any at all during the summer. According to Peterson, they summer here and winter in Southeastern Michigan. The red-bellied woodpecker must have been on her way through, too, or lost, since I didn't see her today. Watching the birds is a good thing to do on a day like today.


In fact, after the shower at 4:30, I went out with a squeegee and wiped off the window where the camera is. Not only did that get rid of the raindrops, it cleaned off the outside of the window pretty well. I am going to have to do the inside, too, but I may wait until I move the camera.


So it was a quiet, dull day in the field, and that was nice.


October 14

It's been a rather active 24 hours in the field, unfortunately. I awoke around 3 am with a very uncomfortable tummy and proceeded to spend the next three hours, more or less, in the bathroom. I even had to fetch the bucket out of the laundry room. When I was finally done with all that, I went to sleep and didn't wake up until after 10am, and I wouldn't have gotten up then, except that I knew DC would be hungry. Eventually, I ate a small breakfast and began taking Imodium. I still am.


It did mean I missed most of the clouds. By the time I was ambulatory, the sky was beginning to clear, and the afternoon was beautiful again, although the temperature was only around 50º. The wind wasn't too strong, though. Not that I went out after I hung out the bird feeder. I figured it was best to stay close to the facilities.


Other than that, and being really tired, I feel fine now, and in fact, I felt fine when I got up this morning. I'm afraid my trouble is that there is something in the soil that Hughes Farm grows its carrots in (salmonella, maybe?). I had this same problem, only even more violent, last year. I tried to be careful to peel the ones I ate last night, but they had gotten kind of limp and I'm afraid I missed a couple of spots. Next time, I'll try to be even more careful, and I changed the setting on the vegetable drawer to high humidity, hoping to keep the new bunch of carrots crisp.


As a result of all that, I spent a good part of the day just watching the birds, and it was worth it. I was in the office right after I hung out the feeder when a woodpecker came and started pecking on the surface of my deck! At first, I thought it was a flicker, but after I looked at it, I knew that was wrong, because the whole back of its head was red, and its back was black and white narrow stripes. Its face and front were sort of golden colored. So I hauled down the bird books, and discovered that there was (is) a female red-bellied woodpecker eating at my feeder. Shortly thereafter, when the deck was clean, she learned how to get into the feeder.


This is the second time this year that a bird that isn't supposed to be here has come to the feeder. In the spring, it was the blue grosbeak. Red-bellied woodpeckers (by the way, no way can you see the red belly in the field) are not supposed to be anywhere north of the lift bridge, let alone at the north end of Keweenaw.


She's been around all day, eating like there was no tomorrow and apparently she is even higher in the pecking order than blue jays, because they have been leaving when she appears. In between, numerous chickadees, numerous juncos and three little and one big chipmunks have been foraging around. There were probably some other birds, too, but I couldn't keep my eye on the whole scene all the time. I did shake some seed onto the deck again, and it was as cleaned up in about an hour.


Around sunset a few clouds appeared in the west, but after the sun set, they all evaporated, and the Clear Sky Calendar was right - it's pristinely clear right now and Mars is still shining in the south (a lot dimmer than in August, but still very bright). Unfortunately, the sunset isn't up to the quality we've come to expect, but that's all right. I'll take clear sky. It's supposed to cloud up after midnight, and for the next few days I guess it won't be very nice, with the possibility of a little rain and/or snow and cold temps. Oh, well. Still, on average, this has been a gorgeous year.


As to our not-so-hot color season, I've heard a couple of reports that southeastern Michigan is really nice this fall, and I wonder if possibly it has to do with all the rain they had that missed us? It seems possible. While they had some dryness early in the summer, they also had a lot of rain when the fronts came in from the northwest and missed the Western Upper completely.


Anyway, that's about all there is to report. I will be going to bed very early tonight to see if I can catch up on the sleep I missed last night. I've observed that if I don't get at least some sleep in the 2 am to 6 am time slot, it really wipes me out for the day, no matter how late I sleep in.


It's clear and cool in the field tonight.


October 13

When I went to bed last night, the moon was rising and shining through the clouds, but it was fairly cloudy all night, and there weren't any stars or much of a shadow. I could see the clouds lighted from above, however. When I woke the first time this morning, it was cloudy, so I turned over and went back to sleep - with weird dreams - and when I woke up again, there was an upper atmosphere wind pushing the last clouds away to the southeast. Most of the day was beautifully clear and sunny, with a temperature in the low 50s and no wind to speak of.


The clouds began to roll in again around 5:30, but not so much that there wasn't a lovely sunset. I will just never get over being able to see all the sky in a glance like that. As a big-city girl, I had never really seen that, or been aware of it, until I got here. It makes sunsets in Grosse Pointe all the more disappointing: I can see just enough around the houses and trees (and billboards and hospitals) to know what I'm missing, drat! That house faces southwest, so sunsets, particularly in the winter, are partly visible through the front windows. 


I have to sit and take in the sky seriously, because in 32 days I will be heading south. Drat.


I tried to make a little sense out of the piles in the office today, but I must confess I didn't make much headway. I left off the beads when Buster walked through the sorting trays. DC did that yesterday, and it must have looked like fun to see mama screeching and jumping up and down. Fortunately, Buster didn't do quite the damage DC did, but I decided not to do any more today. I've discovered I really can't sort very well at night, since I can't tell the difference between the black and the dark blue beads. I will try to get through what I have poured out of the bag, then I think I shall have to pack that away to be done when I get to Champine.


My whole point in starting to sort again was to find some black beads to go with the beautiful dark red ones I had already sorted out (of one kilo only - I still have two kilos to go) with the idea of maybe making an amulet bag. While I do have some of the right size black beads, I don't think I have enough, and besides, I started weeding out the uglies and the weirdos again, and the bag I am working on now has a large number of the most beautiful pink transparent beads, so I am sorting out those as well as the gold and clear crystal. It just takes a lot of time and it's hard on the eyes. And it doesn't help when a cat walks through the entire mess.


I saved three interesting pictures from the camera today. The first one is of me shaking seed out of the feeder before I hung it up this morning.  My hair really looks like there's no gray in it at all. Amazing, but I guess most of the white is around my face. I could never dye it, because it is dark brown with gold highlights, and hair dyes don't come that color. The picture certainly shows that.


The second picture shows a new critter in the feeder, I think. It was a hairy woodpecker, which surprised me a bit, since the bird books don't say they eat seeds. He certainly was, and he has a real advantage over the blue jay (who appeared later). He can cling to the feeder much better than the jay, and he can brace himself with his tail, as you can see. His tail is curled under the feeder, and he was quite stable while he gobbled up seeds. He didn't seem to be so picky as the other birds. That thing on the deck railing I think is a bird alighting. A later picture, which I didn't keep because it wasn't so interesting, shows flapping wings all blurry. I didn't notice anything there, but the woodpecker stopped by several times, so I might just have missed it.


The third picture is the sunset shot, where you can see how far the sun has moved just since last Wednesday. It's fleeing south fast. I took the sunset picture with the Nikon because as usual, the webcam didn't catch all the colors.


I am further amused today by the NWS backing and filling on the rain and snow situation. Now it might rain and there might be a bit of snow mixed in on Wednesday and Thursday. A far cry from the absolutely dismal predictions they were making at the end of the week. It's one thing I like about John Dee's forecasts - he is usually very moderate in his predictions, so if he says it's going to rain in Keweenaw, you can be pretty sure it will. He's saying a "slight chance" of rain - lake effect showers, he calls them. That's something that only happens in the spring and fall (in the winter it's lake effect snow), and I still find it neat. The wind picks up moisture from the lake and drops it on us. It does look like it might be fairly cloudy for the rest of the week, which is a shame. I don't think the wind blew away all the leaves.


So it was another quiet day and it's a quiet night in the field.


October 12

It was a wild and noisy night in the field last night. About the time I was uploading last night's entries, suddenly the wind picked up and a blast of raindrops hit the south windows like someone had thrown a bucket of water at it, and it poured rain for most of the night, I think. It was all right while the wind was from the south, but around 11pm it switched around to the west. The NWS says it was only between 15 and 20 mph all night long (with gusts, of course), but the weather station is very protected on the west, and I know it was between 20 and 30 mph here, just from the noise. Brockway may break some of the force of the wind across the lake, but the harbor is 2½ miles long, and when the wind is from the west, I get its full force. And it was in full force, last night and for most of the day.


The sky was clearing by sunrise (at 8:02!), and most of the day was completely clear and sunny. Unfortunately, the camera didn't catch the whitecaps on the harbor all day, but suffice it to say there were breakers on the beach. It was so windy, as a matter of fact, that I didn't even put out the bird feeder today. I figured the way the wind was, no little birdie was going to be able to cling to a perch anyway, so there was no point in it. Sorry, birdies. Tomorrow.


I actually got up at a reasonable hour this morning (about 8:30) and ate breakfast at a more or less reasonable hour. It was nice to have a day of reasonable duration. I did a little wash (for various reasons, I had gone through three pairs of jeans and about six tops in the past week), but otherwise, I sorted beads and looked out the windows.


Tonight was Harbor Haus, and it wasn't too much of a zoo, like it apparently was last night, but my waitress was harried, because she had one table of seven and the rest of us came in all at about the same time. I think they will be glad to close down, which is next Saturday. After having my ribs, the next item on my list was tempura perch, which they had tonight. Now all I need is lamb chops and the last fish (plank style, of course), and I'll last until next May.


I've watched with great curiosity as the weather service (John took a long weekend) has pushed back and moderated the horrible weather forecast for this coming week. It will be cooler, and there will be some rain, but right now, it doesn't look like it will last more than Tuesday night and Wednesday, then it will be sunny again. If the NWS was graded on the accuracy of their forecasts for more than a day or so, they'd flunk big time. I don't know what their problem is - John is much better. Anyway, at this point, it does not look like we will have a week of rain and snow and cold temperatures, so that is about all one can ask for at this time of year.


The wind has died down for the time being, and the sky was clear when I came home.


It's quiet in the field tonight.


October 11

Well, I screwed that up royally. I had almost finished tonight's entry when I began to wonder why I was having such a time staying connected to the internet. There was also a text box on the screen that was there when I went to bed last night, which was odd, to say the least. The digital timer is on the floor under the desk, and its buttons all stick out. It seems it's really easy to kick a button with my toe and either turn it off (which I've done several times) or kick the mode button - and "ON" is the next setting to "AUTO". Unfortunately, to reset it, I have to cycle through "OFF", which I keep forgetting...and you can guess the rest. I've now put it further back under the desk, where I can't hit it, and positioned it so that the buttons face toward the wall (not very close to it). Maybe that will work. So back to what I was attempting to write.


Early to bed doesn't necessarily mean early to rise, at least in this house. I turned off the light at 8:30 last night, and pretty much went right to sleep. I awoke around midnight, a normal occurrence, or maybe a bit longer than normal, and when I got back in bed I started hearing something, either a buzz or a growl, it was hard to tell with only one ear. It didn't seem to be coming from inside the house, but again, that was with one ear. Of course, it didn't happen when I had both ears open. Eventually I got up and padded down to the great room, and I was glad I did, because I had left the slider open, and it wasn't that warm out. There was a gorgeous moon riding high in the sky, and it was blue-white the way it should be. It was so light out, everything cast wonderful shadows.


Eventually I decided that what I was hearing was a rather large fly, kept awake by the moon, but not in very good shape, so it wasn't moving much. Then I went back to sleep. There were the usual interruptions, and I woke up around 8am, and when I looked out the window, I saw something like this,  only a lot prettier, with pale pink clouds around it. I was tempted to get up and grab the camera, but I was just too comfortable, and shortly afterwards, it sunk into the haze in the west and was gone. And I went back to sleep. 


I finally rolled out of bed around 10am, and it was another beautiful, sunny day, although quite hazy and breezy. The sun held up until around 1:30, and then it got cloudy and breezy, but the temperature peaked out in the upper 60s, so it was really lovely.


Since Monday is a holiday of sorts, I went to the post office today, and there were so many people in town, I decided to hide out in the field and eat the rest of my ribs for dinner. They were just as good as yesterday, and DC likes Harbor Haus's barbecue sauce.


Which brings me to the bad news of the day. Shirley is still sick, and she has been in Hancock most of the week, staying with her friend. She had a few tests and is taking antibiotics, and I guess that slowly she is feeling better, but for some reason, her doctor canceled the other tests she was supposed to have. I really don't think she gets very good medical care at all, and the whole thing is very worrisome.


Buster was very frustrated today, and he drove me batty. I can't do much but play games when he is sitting on my lap, and I was sorting beads for most of the day. As a result, about every five minutes he would come in and yell at me. He wasn't sleepy, and DC was asleep, and there was nothing much outside to interest him, and he was bored, and he wanted to sit on my lap...so I got yelled at.


I brought the magnifier I use for cross stitch to the office, and that is about the best solution to the problem of seeing the beads. It's still hard on the eyes, so every so often, I look up at the bird feeder and down the harbor, and that is restful. I saved a few camera shots of some of the critters who are raiding the feeder. I'm not sure whether there is more than one blue jay, but the one in the picture knows exactly how to get his beak in to fill his crop. I do believe it's only one chipmunk who is big enough to jump from the deck post, and he gets in there and fills his cheek pouches to overflowing - it's amazing how they will stretch. He is a sassy little critter, too. I pounded on the window and he totally ignored me. If I open and slam the slider, he runs away for a minute or two, but then he is right back.


I toyed with the idea of moving the feeder higher, but he has to live through the winter, too, and the chickadees and nuthatches seem to be getting their fill. The littler chippies have to run around on the deck looking for things that have spilled, so I hope the big fellow will share his stores with his family.


It's now getting very cloudy and windy, and there is a wall of rain headed our way. Whether we will get it here depends on exactly what direction it goes and how much rain it drops west of here. It's only supposed to rain tonight, however. Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler and very windy, but there may be some sun, and next week is supposed to be much cooler, again, with possibly some more rain. I'll wait to see what John says about that on Monday. I guess if we kept having one cold week followed by one warm week, I wouldn't complain a lot, although they'll have to go some to match last week's weather. What a week!


So that is my quiet day - I did wash dishes and potholders  and straightened up the kitchen a bit. I seem to be over my exertions of Thursday, finally, although my legs and my toes are still a bit sore. I hope to get to bed early tonight, too, but with all the sleep I had last night, I'm not sure how well I'll do...and there probably won't be a moon to admire. We'll see.


It's windy in the field tonight.


October 10

No new pictures today, even though it was another to-die-for day. I sort of crashed today. I was trying to upload some pictures to various sites last night, and as a result it was almost 1am before I got to bed. One indication of how tired I was is that I took this morning's pills rather than last night's (they are each in their own color coded pill dispenser, but that didn't make any difference). One result of that was that since I didn't take an antihistamine or any Tylenol, I wasn't very comfortable and my sinuses were draining all night.


I finally rolled out of bed around 10, because DC explained to me that if I didn't he was going to sit beside me and whine until I got up. And I didn't eat breakfast (?) until 1:30.


Otherwise, I just sat and enjoyed. The temperature stayed around 70º all day, with a southwest breeze, until it finally dropped to nothing around 6pm. There was not a cloud in the sky, although it was hazy all day, and it was good just to be.


Harbor Haus finally had baby back ribs tonight, so I went, and it was so busy that I went early. That was great, because I got to see the harbor perfectly calm and that shade of pale silver-blue that it doesn't get very often. None of the other people eating seemed to look out at all, but most of them can be excused for not knowing what they were missing. The ribs were just as good as I knew they'd be, and I had to bring half the rack home (who can eat a whole rack of ribs at one sitting? Not me!)


I also noticed, as I was waiting, that the east bluff is almost fully turned, and it, too, is very yellow this year. There are some red trees and bushes around here, but even most of the maples are yellow rather than red.


I guess I didn't mention that at the beginning of the week the birches along my north property line were still mostly green, and overnight they turned dark gold. John Dee mentioned how fast the color turned this year, and I certainly agree. It's been amazing. And whereas the past two years, it sort of went in stages, this year everything seems to have turned at the same time. It's amazing. Even the oaks, that were so late last year, are red, or mostly orange, actually.


Now, if it would only do that when the maples were red, it would be incredibly spectacular. But I guess I can't have everything. I'll give a lot for weather like we've had this week. Outstanding.


I guess it is supposed to rain and turn cold again, but every day they push back the start of the rain a bit more. Originally it was supposed to start today or tomorrow, and now it's been pushed back to tomorrow night, and we're supposed to have another warm day tomorrow. I'll take it!


The only thing that isn't perfect is that I have only five weeks left here. Oh, how I wish I could stay! But John seems to think we may have a snowy winter this year (I hope so, for my friends' sake), and that means I have to get out  before it starts.


Now I am full of ribs and JD and I am going to bed early tonight.


It was a glorious day in the field.


October 9

Well, the best laid plans, and all that. I uploaded some of my pictures to the Pasty Cam Gallery last night, and since they're mostly from this year, and I've been saving them uncompressed, it took about an hour and a half to upload seven pictures, and then I had to figure out how to make them visible. So it was after midnight when I got to bed.


I had finally gotten to have my rouladen for dinner, then got talked into a chocolate Kailua Bavarian Cream for desert. Unfortunately, the combination of red cabbage and chocolate Bavarian Cream didn't go well together and I had indigestion all night, which meant I didn't sleep very well.


I rolled out of bed around 9, and when I checked my email and the Pasty Cam, low and behold, not only was the 9/14 sunset the picture of the day, Charlie had captured a cam picture of the moon setting! So I had to comment on that, and thank him, then I had to check the archives. When I did so, I discovered that the picture he caught was only one of six - the camera had caught the entire sequence of the moon setting over the hills! I put it together as a coherent sequence, which I think turned out rather neat. There is, by the way, the possibility of a repeat for the next three or four mornings. Full moon is tomorrow, and if the weather predictors are correct, we should see that one, too. If it's adequate, I'll post it here, too. Saturday and Sunday are forecast to be cloudy, but I can hope.


By the way, I was watching part of that, too. It was actually a lot brighter than the camera  caught (I'm still not sure how it reacts to various light levels), and the path in the water was a lot wider. I didn't see it go behind the hill, but for as long as I saw it, it was still golden yellow, and if what I saw of the sky tonight is any indicator, so will tonight's display be. That was the only thing that consoled me about being wakeful.


Eventually, I made it out of the house, at around 11:30. I just don't seem to be able to get out any earlier. The covered road was pretty, but my impression of all the leaves I saw was that this is a yellow and brown year - there's not much red at all out there. I took a number of pictures, of which only two came out well enough to post. I'll get to that third picture.


The first picture was taken on US-41, someplace south of Medora. I actually stopped at the public access on Medora and took several shots, and they all came out out-of-focus. I know I didn't do anything different - in fact, the other day, I actually took some perfectly good scenes with the close-up manual settings. I simply cannot understand what it is about Medora - and Lake Manganese - that I can't get the camera to focus there. 


I know it wasn't me, because the second picture was of the cliff behind the Cliff Mine location: I was standing right beside the sign. It's fine, in focus right down to the pixel level. The Medora pictures wouldn't have been too good anyway, because it was another hazy, humid day and things far away were sort of blued out. I do have some filters for that camera, but I don't know which, if any, is the one I should use to cut the haze. I need to re-read the instruction book.


When I left here this morning, the temperature was about 68º and it was sunny, with a hazy sky (sorry, John, that's what it was) and a few little clouds. The clouds went away shortly, and as I went south, the temperature got into the middle 70s. 


I stopped at Hughes Farm. They still have tomatoes, beets, carrots, and lots of those wonderful Delicata squash, as well as leaf lettuce and apples. I got quite a bit of squash, and after I left, I realized that I don't have to worry about it keeping, really - I could cook it and freeze it. Hmm...but that's for Tuesday.


The view from the lookout on top of Quincy Hill was really pretty, but I was in traffic, and besides there were two big RVs parked there. Besides, I had left Copper Harbor so late and went so slowly, looking for photo-ops, that I was running late, and I was bound and determined to eat at Ming Gardens! I got to Houghton around 1pm, so I ate first, since I would probably have missed closing again if I'd shopped first.


I ignored WalMart today, and went to JoAnn's instead, looking for some stiffening for my box project, but I ended up with some other things as well (of course, what else is new?). Unfortunately, to find the things I was looking for, I ended up going around in circles a couple of times, and when I left there, my legs and particularly my feet were feeling it. That's the reason why, if I can, I like to stop and eat between shopping stops - it gives my legs time to rest.


Apparently I looked so tired when I went through the checkout at Econo that the checker suggested I get a carry out. They have a place you can drive up to and somebody will load your car for you. I agreed, because, among other things, I had two 28 pound boxes of kitty litter. And my feet, particularly the toes of my right foot, were excruciating. Sometimes that happens when my sock gets pulled up too tight, so while I was filling my gas tank, I took my shoe off and pulled down the sock toe. I don't think that was the problem - I think it was, as usual, a shoe problem. Shoes, even men's shoes, are just not made to fit the shape of my feet, which have very squared-off toes.


When I left Houghton, it was 82º on M-26 and down by the bridge. I had all the windows open! It's nice to live in a place where I don't have to worry how messy my hair is, because there was a good south wind blowing. I wish I could have stopped in the middle of the lift bridge, because some of the best color I saw all day was at Mt. Ripley. However, that's something one just doesn't do, especially since the getting-out-of-school traffic was starting.


The temperature started dropping as I went up, and at the top of the hill, it was 79º, and it dropped steadily all the way home.


I noticed, on Cliff Drive, that a lot of the trees looked like the leaves had gotten heavily frosted or even frozen, especially the maples, and turned brown instead of colored. I stopped and cased Seneca Lake, but most of the trees on the other side seemed bare. The change in sun angle didn't make much of a difference in what I saw on Cliff Drive, and curiously on US-41, there seemed to be more color on the west side. However, on the covered road, I noticed any number of those little side paths that seemed to open up into pretty clearings. I may have to do some more exploring tomorrow. The sun was shining mostly on the north shore of Medora, and of course, there isn't any public stopping place along the road where I could have gotten a good picture - and the hills were pretty brown anyway.


It was good to see the lake again, and it was all blue and hazy, more like summer than fall. I forgot to mention yesterday that the tree butchers are in town. I got a letter from UPPCO earlier in the fall saying that they were going to be doing tree trimming. Of course they hired Asplundh - all utilities do. The wires between Copper Harbor and the fort (at least) really do need brushing out, but it looks to me like the crews working up here are just as incompetent as the ones who butchered the trees in Grosse Pointe (same guys, maybe? Probably not). I hope they don't come down our road, because I have a nice little spruce that is growing up right underneath the wires that I'd hate to lose. And the last time they brushed out down in the Lake Lilly swamp, they made an absolute mess of it that has only now grown back. So I like red-twig dogwood. Sue me.


I was so tired when I got home that all I unloaded from the car was the perishables and my fabric purchases. Tomorrow is another day. I immediately put on a short-sleeve tee and thong sandals. My feet still hurt, but not so much, and my calves feel like they can hardly hold me. They guys were glad to see me, but the house wasn't too hot inside, since I had left the porch doors open. The temperature when I got here was a perfect 72º, and the sun was shining.


Since we've been having such nice sunsets lately, I kept an eye on the west, and just when it was sitting on the hill in the notch, I captured this. Some of the things the Nikon will do just amaze me. I was first attracted to the sunset because I could see the sun reflected in a calm patch of water, then the color was just amazing. The webcam metering must be entirely different, because it didn't capture the color at all. By the way, that was not retouched. That's just like it looked to me. And about two minutes later, it was gone.


It's also amazing how far south the sun has moved since September 26. It won't be long before it's out of sight from the webcam.


So that was my day. With not enough sleep last night, I think I will toddle off to the north end early tonight. Although I could upload those pictures...I've also uploaded some to the Weather Underground gallery, but I don't like their editor's choices and I think people who rate the pictures are too hard on them. Besides, they are more oriented toward weather pictures, whereas the Pasty Cam is all about the UP.


When I went out to fetch in the feeder, the moon was behind the tall trees on the south side of my lot, still looking golden yellow, and Mars was twinkling through the haze.


It's spectacular in the field tonight!


October 8

The clouds began to come in tonight, but oh, my was it another beautiful day!  When I got up this morning, it was gloriously sunny and warm - or at least 63º felt warm to me - and a bit hazy across the harbor. However, Brockway is beginning to turn color. It will get better, but this is what I saw. The oaks and maples are finally starting to turn around here, and some of them, at least, are quite red. The birches have only begun, however.


I still don't understand the order of leaf turning. Some years, the birches have turned yellow and begun to fall before anything else has any color at all, and some years, the birches are last. Very strange indeed.


Since it was a nice sunny day, I sorted some more beads, and I finally dug out a magnifying glass on a stand, which helped a lot. It's taking quite a while to sort out what I want, since I'm taking out all the black, all the crystal and all the gold beads, as well as a few others. It's particularly hard to see the crystal ones, since they're clear glass. Well, it gives me something to do while I'm looking outside at the view.


A cloud covered the sun for a while this afternoon, and there were some coming up in the west when I went to dinner, but while I was waiting to be served, I looked off toward the east, and the almost full moon was rising just north of the east bluff. When I first saw it, it was kind of a shadow in the blue gloom, but as it rose, it turned the most beautiful golden apricot and left a trail of the same color on the water. Absolutely fantastic!


There were some clouds up there, though, and it was coming and going by the time I came home. Apparently, however, there's a lot of water in the atmosphere again, and unlike the past few nights, the moon is golden instead of white. Doesn't make it any less beautiful, though. It also makes me want to go to Harbor Haus every night and time my going to when the moon is coming up.


When I checked the camera images when I got home, the clouds actually gave me a perfect picture of the sun setting in the notch. It really has moved fast, and pretty soon it will be gone from the camera view. I will wait until after that happens before I move the camera.


I forgot to mention that the temperature topped out at around 71º early in the afternoon. I had all the windows and doors open, and it was glorious. Then the wind shifted to the east or northeast or something, and the next thing I knew the thermometer was reading 59º! One had best enjoy the moment, because it never lasts long. Now the wind is calm, and it's a lovely night.


I hear that the color is beautiful on the covered road, and I do plan to go to town tomorrow (not enough orange juice to last the weekend), so I will take the camera and see what I can see.


The only downside of the warm weather was the flies and ladybugs, both inside and outside the house. Thankfully, there were more outside than inside, but it was pretty buggy on the porch for a while. I would love to know how they get in, since it is not my habit to leave doors standing open. I wonder if their larvae crawl through little openings then hatch, or something. It's really weird. There are also a number of dead flies in the great room that I never saw flying at all. It's all very strange.


Well, I will get this posted and trundle off to bed, hoping to get up early tomorrow. I have a busy day planned.


It's beautiful in the field tonight.


October 7

What a fantastic day! Not a cloud in the sky all night or all day, temperatures up to about 64º and very little breeze...oh, my! This could go on for a long time, so far as I'm concerned.


As a result, I spent most of the day just enjoying it, and didn't do much at all. I was able to open the doors and windows and air the house out without freezing to death, and that was good, and it was good to smell the fresh air and hear the lovely sound of water rubbing on itself, punctuated occasionally by a raucous blue jay or crow, but nothing else. When the sun set, right in the notch on the south side of Brockway, the sky was lovely, and shortly I could see Mars shining in the south, and the moon came up above the trees. 


I had to bring the bird feeder in, because it was clear that the critters were here during the night and ate most of the sunflower seeds. I don't mind feeding the little critters, like chipmunks and squirrels, but I don't feel I'm responsible for raccoons. Of course, that will mean I'll have to run out and hang it back up before breakfast tomorrow, but I'd have to refill it anyway if I left it out. I may refill it anyway, since somebody seems to have eaten quite a lot today, including all I dumped out on the deck this morning. 


The blue jay appears to be doing the same thing the chippies are - filling his crop with seeds and flying off. I don't know if he's hoarding them or not, but he's taking away an awful lot of seeds to just be eating them. He is a real sketch when he clings to the feeder and gulps down those seeds!


I meant to mention that for the past couple of days, I have been seeing woodpeckers for the first time since spring - downys and hairys. I know they were around during the summer, but apparently when they are nesting they stay in the deeper woods, and now they are investigating my birches. Since the bark is peeling off even the birches that are still alive, I'm sure there are a lot of bugs. It also may be that bugs that were flying when it was warmer are just sitting now - I know the warblers are hawking around the house as they usually do at this time of year - so maybe there are more on the trees, too.


Buster is fascinated by the warblers. There is something about the way the house is built that causes a lot of bugs around the front door and the east windows of the office, and he spent some time today crouched by the windows looking up at the little birds. I don't know what birds they were - little brown guys - because they move too fast for me to possibly see them. On the few occasions when I've seen them in the past, most of them are confusing fall warblers anyway.


I did manage to crawl out of bed earlier this morning, but something had occurred to me over night and I started sorting beads again before breakfast, and never did get much else done. Oh, well. This is the kind of weather I just have to sit back and enjoy, because it won't be around much longer.


It's lovely in the field tonight.


October 6

Oh, well, the best laid plans, and all that... It wasn't that late (around 11) when I crawled in bed last night, and I really slept relatively well, but I went back to sleep at 7:30 and didn't wake up until 10:30 this morning. That certainly puts a crimp in the day! I had hoped to do a bunch of things, but except to wrap up some stuff to return and pay a couple of bills, I ended up doing not much. It occurs to me that I had two JDs at Harbor Haus last night, but that doesn't seem enough to account for my sleepiness.


I did enjoy the day, however - how could one not? It was incredibly clear all day long, with not a cloud in the sky, and none of the high hazy cirrus clouds we had most of the summer, so the sky was blue, blue, blue, and so was the lake. The temperature got over 50º, with a light breeze, so a fleece jacket was all the cover necessary to be outside, but I didn't.


I think it might have been that I ended up with too much sleep, but I sure didn't feel like doing anything, and I felt sleepy all day long. So I shopped the computer and knitted and tried to make some sense of the office, which is out of hand again. I didn't make much headway at that. It's getting really bad, and even though it's nearly six weeks until I go south, I need to begin to get some order around here. I may even (horror of horrors) have to do some filing, since the three inch file jacket I've been keeping my paid bills and correspondence in has gotten incredibly overstuffed, and it needs to be sorted out. There is stuff here that needs to go south and some things I brought here that need to stay. And I need to try to get the craft stuff into some kind of order and decide what to leave and what to take along. It makes me tired.


Tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice, I think, and a lot warmer, so maybe if I go to bed early, I can get up at a decent hour. I was thinking of going to town, but the only thing that will determine when I go is orange juice. If it's warm, maybe I can get outside? We'll see.


It was totally gorgeous in the field today.


October 5

Today is my father's birthday. It was too bad he had to die so early - he was not quite 71 - because he would have enjoyed what has happened here so much. He was a quiet man, but he loved Keweenaw as much as my mother did and I do.


A new friend, Nancy, who is building with her husband in the development west of Hunter's Point, dropped in last evening, and we had a nice long conversation. When she talks about all the decisions involved in their building, it brings back memories, for sure!


So it was rather late when I got to bed last night, and since both ears and both shoulders were sore, I really didn't sleep all that well...I made up for it by sleeping very late. During the night, I noticed that there were stars, and at one point, the moon was shining on a cloud  bank and lighting it (it's between half and full right now). 


When I did get up, it was gorgeous, with sun and puffy white clouds. However, I did discover I missed a gorgeous sunrise. It was so lovely to see the sun!


I took my time about things, but around 2:30 or 3 pm, I drove over to Chip and Nancy's homesite. That area is really lovely, with rocks right off the shore. The lots are 140' wide, which is very generous by today's standards, and they are quite deep. Their house is much further from the shore than mine is, but since they face due north, it's probably just as well. If they were closer they would get the full force of the winds off the lake, whereas where they are, there are some trees to break the force of the wind. We walked down their little trail almost to the rocks, and I took a few pictures of their view.


Every time I have occasion to see lots right along the shore of the big lake, I find myself conflicted. I love my view, and my location is a fairly sheltered one, but there certainly are times when I wish I had an unobstructed view to the north and northeast...especially when the northern lights are hiding behind the trees.


As you can see from the pictures, the clouds were disappearing to the south by the time I got there, and by the time I got back home, it was almost totally clear here, and it still is.


What a joy to see the sun and the clear blue, blue, blue sky! It wasn't all that warm - around 43º with about a 10 mph wind out of the north - so that I wanted a jacket and gloves and I should have put my hat on, but it was just a wonderful day to be outside.


It was lovely at dinner, too, to watch the sun disappear behind Brockway and the mauve gloom of evening rise into the clear sky. When I came home, the moon was shining in the south, to the right of Mars, which is still the brightest star-like object in the sky, although it isn't as bright as it was in August. 


When I got home this afternoon, Buster was lying full out on the couch, in the sun, and when I went into the office, he came in and went sound asleep on the ugly chair's footstool, right in the sun. He was soooooo  comfortable! He stayed there until right before I went to dinner. 


While I was sitting there, the birds were hitting the feeder really hard. I had poured a scoop of seed on the deck this morning, and it was all gone, although the birds and chipmunks were foraging around. The sun apparently drew bugs to the front of the house, too, and I identified a yellow-rumped warbler (one of the confusing fall warblers) who came to rest under the railing for a moment. They are confusing, but this one had too much yellow on its rump to be anything else. The big blue jay kept trying to get seeds out of the feeder, and he is really funny to watch. There were the usual chickadees and nuthatches, but not so many sparrows this afternoon.


I had to stop doing everything but knit finally, because the sun was shining right in on me, which meant I couldn't read, and it was shining on the monitor, so I couldn't use the computer. Not that I'm complaining. I enjoyed basking in the sunshine, too. There wasn't a really good picture from the camera, but it's clear that the sun is now south of Brockway and setting right in that notch between it and the next hill south. Ah, me, it's still fleeing south at a great rate! Pretty soon it will be out of the picture on the left.


By the way, about the time I leave, when I am about to take down the feeder, I will aim the camera somewhat toward the north, which may bring the end of lighthouse point into it. I can't move it any  more toward the north, because the corner of the great room is there, and I'm sure nobody is interested in seeing a piece of wall in the webcam picture. I may start fooling around soon. When lighthouse point is in the view, every so often, at night, the camera will catch the light as it sweeps by the window, and that is kind of neat.


So it was a very pretty day, and all the fresh air has made me sleepy.


The sun was smiling on the field today.


October 4

I went to bed before 10pm last night, and while my beets, squash, tomatoes and cucumbers got me up several times in the night, and for a while I was sore all over, I actually slept pretty well. You couldn't have proved it by me when I finally decided it was time to roll out at 9:45 this morning. I guess it's the weather.


Which has been nothing to write home about. There were a couple of showers or drizzles, a small bit of sunshine, the wind has been out of the north at close to 20 mph all day, and the temperature has been in the lower 40s. Yuck.


That makes it all the more amazing that town is full. There were fleets of ATVs around this afternoon, and Mariner was jumping tonight. Unfortunately, I had to eat by myself, because Shirley has evidently had a nasty bug for the past couple of days. I talked to Donny, her son, so I decided not to call until tomorrow, because I don't want to bother either her or Sully at this hour. 


There wasn't anybody in Mariner when I got there, but shortly thereafter, people started coming in by the fours and eights and twelves, and it was full by the time I left. It doesn't help much that the hostess and most of the waitresses are brand new, but actually I got good service. Since I had eaten beef all week, I opted for sautéed shrimp instead of the buffet, and it was good. I'd sort of been waiting until the dining room closed to get some of the things off the menu that I like, but I just didn't feel like the mish-mash I usually eat off the buffet.


Which got me thinking. For the past two years, by the middle of September it was so dead around here that Mariner closed the dining room and didn't open it back up. 2001, of course, was zapped by 9/11, but I'm not sure what the problem was last year. The weather wasn't any worse than it has been this year. And this year, the place is crawling with tourists. Very strange, but really nice for my friends.


According to all the weather prognosticators, it is supposed to warm up into the 50s or more next week, and maybe be a bit sunny. That would be really nice. I'd like to get out and take a few color pictures, and I should do something in the garden this year, if only dig up the white coneflower, which is growing almost on top of a peony, and which I don't like well enough to leave there. I should also take in the hose, so Tom doesn't have to do that. I'm about ready for a little nice weather.


Today, I had two sick cats. DC had two coughing fits this morning, didn't want breakfast, and spent most of the day lying on a dirty pair of jeans on the floor of the closet, looking miserable. I don't know if it was what he ate or that DC was sick, but Buster barfed all over the newspapers on the floor of the office (so I won't get a chance to read the last couple of weeks' public safety reports and obits in the Grosse Pointe News, or the Mining Gazette for the last several days). It may just have been breakfast. Buster has developed a very sensitive tummy, and he can't eat things with beef in them at all, and I suspect he did. However, with him, it's hard to tell.


About the only thing I could think of to do for D was clean litter pans, so I did that, although he used one before I emptied it, and he actually asked for dinner and ate a bit of it. He was waiting in the doorway when I got back from dinner, and he just sat on my lap for a few minutes. His nose is pink, and he looks better, so whatever it was, maybe he's getting over it. I hope. I'd really rather wait until we get back to Detroit to take him to the vet who has all his records.


As for the rest of the day, I finished the rose I don't like and started on stems and buds and leaves - the last roses. I dropped my breakfast all over the fleece robe this morning, so I washed that. The washer and dryer here really spoil me. The dryer has cycles that really work, amazingly enough, and drying the fleece on low heat left it just as nice as though I'd air dried it. The washer has a "had wash" cycle that I need to try, because I have a sweater I brought with me dirty, and I'd hate to take it home dirty. Besides, if the hand wash cycle really works, washing wool sweaters won't be such a god-awful pain and I may do it again. After some things I've read, the wormy sweater might benefit a lot from being washed, and I want to try it.


Otherwise, I knitted and read and looked at the package of beads and findings that came today and watched the birds. When I got up this morning, the wind had knocked the bottom of the feeder off the lid, and it was lying on the porch with a chickadee and two very happy chipmunks in it. The chippies were really upset when I hung it back up and they couldn't get inside, even though there were seeds on the deck. I must take it in tonight and fill it tomorrow, and I may be nice and throw some seed on the deck. If I do it early in the day, it will all be gone by dark. Something isn't right about the way I have been putting the lid on the feeder lately, and I must investigate that a bit more. 


Late this afternoon, there was a chippy scavenging around on the deck, and when I looked at him through the binoculars, his cheek pouches were just bulging, even though he was chewing up a sunflower seed. I suppose he was gathering stores for the winter, although I'm not really sure they do that. Anyway, he really looked funny. I've also noticed that the teensy, skinny chippies I had earlier in the summer are a bit bigger and not at all skinny anymore, so between what they can find around the garden and what falls from the feeder, they're evidently doing pretty good. It was really funny to see the one sitting on the deck post trying to figure out how he was going to get into the feeder after I hung it back up.


There are still several varieties of large sparrow-type birds around that I can't identify, which is frustrating, but for one thing, they never stand still long enough for me to get a good view of them...unless it's with their hind ends toward me, which doesn't help. Now besides the flock of chickadees, I seem to have a small flock of exceptionally small red-breasted nuthatches, all of whom visit the feeder often.


So that is all that happened in the field today, and I think I will make it another early night and hope I feel less sleepy tomorrow.


October 3

Well, six weeks from right about now, I should be pulling into the driveway on Champine. Sob!


I went to bed much too late last night, and I had forgotten how much of a diuretic beets are, so I was up any number of times during the night, and I didn't get up until late. It was just as well - it was an entirely uninspiring day.  I was up around 8am, when it was pouring rain, but that was pretty much the end of the rain for the day. There was one short squall later on, but it didn't amount to much. It was dull and dreary and mid-40s and very windy all day. The last report had the wind from the north at 28 mph, which is good and strong.


They are predicting possible snow mixed with rain for the next two days, then next week it is supposed to warm up and not be so cloudy. I certainly hope they're right, and that the wind hasn't blown all the leaves down. I noticed, during the brighter periods today, that Brockway is beginning to look a bit yellow, although the west bluff is still green, but even there, suddenly you can tell the difference between the evergreens and the deciduous trees. I suspect that down on the covered road and around Medora it's probably getting toward peak. It just isn't as pretty without the sun, though.


So my day ended up being truncated enough that I didn't do much but read and knit, and I expect to get to bed pretty early tonight. I finished reading the blue binder and have gone back to the white binder. These are the last two pieces of fiction I wrote. Neither is finished, and they are both pretty long (pretty good, too, in my opinion). 


Evidently all the fiction writing I did over the years was my escape from a reality I didn't like very well, up to a point. I didn't write anything between October 1992 and July 1994, during which my mother got sick and died (in May, 1993), and I was having a particularly tough time at work. After I retired, the stress was mostly gone, and I haven't felt the need for an alternate world. Besides, now I have the journal, and I can report on the real world. It's interesting to me how my mental processes work. I hate to give up on the fiction completely, and I hope to get back to it eventually, but for now, I just read and re-read what I've written. The blue book is a 5" three-ring binder, and the white book is a 4" binder which is overflowing. Another curiosity of how my mind works is that I can't write fiction (or even edit it, it seems) on the computer, and I can't write non-fiction, like the journal, longhand. Very peculiar indeed, but that's how it is.


And of course, I can't write and knit, so I've been reading while I work on the rainbow sweater. I have two more stripes on the right-hand side and the right sleeve to go, so I'm making progress. I'm also making progress on the rose bellpull, but not really fast. I am at the point where I am filling in the pink rose with the color I don't like and can't see, so I gave up on it pretty fast today (my excuse being that I wanted to go to the post office).


So that is all the news from here. I spent some time laughing at a blue jay who was bound and determined he was going to get sunflower seeds out of the feeder, and he is just too big, so he spent a lot of time floundering around on the perches. He's a persistent bird. A couple of the sparrow-types I can't identify were back today, and I still don't know what they are. I think it has something to do with the late-summer molt and the duller colors they are in the fall, but I don't know. There may have been a couple of white-crowned sparrows around today, but if so, they are either young or a bit different from the ones last spring, since they don't have the startling white stripes on their heads. Oh, well. It breaks the monotony...if there is any.


The waves were crashing on the south shore of the harbor this afternoon, and there were breakers on my beach. There must be a real shoal about half a mile out in the harbor almost directly in front of my house, because frequently there was one breaker right there, It's further out and a bit south of the shoal you can see when the sun is right. Someday, maybe I'll get out there in a boat (or a kayak?) and see for myself.


It's windy in the field tonight, and the lake is howling again.


October 2

It was pretty hairy outside, as I mentioned last night, when I went to bed, but I could tell, through the night, that the wind was abating, and by about 9 am it was almost calm. Through the night, I could see stars outside, and I think I could even see a haze behind Cygnus which must have been the Milky Way (without my glasses, of course). It was really pretty when I got up this morning, but it was even prettier earlier. Sunrise was at 7:51 this morning, which is getting pretty late.


It was pretty out this morning, with mixed clouds and sun, and a pretty sky, but in the early afternoon it began to cloud up and the wind began to rise a bit. There was a brief shower around 4 pm, and some drizzle a bit later. I guess it's supposed to rain tonight.


I was rather late getting up because I didn't have a very good night last night. This house turns out to be so well insulated that it doesn't cool down very quickly unless it's really cold out or the wind is really strong, and neither was true last night. The temperature has hung in there right around 40º for the past couple of days. So in the middle of the night, I was all hot and achy, and tossy and turny. I made up for it this morning.


I had just about finished my breakfast (but not my magazine) when Arthur called from Virginia Beach. I was very glad to hear from him and find that they weathered the hurricane quite all right, although they were without power for five days. He got a generator the night before the storm hit, so except that he had some trouble finding a gas station that could pump gas, they were in good shape. Anyhow, we had a nice long talk.


He did point out to me that a Pasty Cam picture I had missed, back on September 12, about Hunter's Point had resulted in some very nasty posts, including a flame attack on me. I was glad I missed it, because there were several, including one woman's two-post diatribe against every retail establishment in Keweenaw, and the one about me, that would have made me angry.


The person who attacked me evidently skims the journal, picking out only what he/she/it wants, and clearly totally misunderstood a number of things. The entire post should have been written in green type, since it was clear to me that a terminal case of jealousy was at the root of it. And of course, he/she/it did not even give a valid email address. In my opinion, such a nasty flame attack posted in a public forum like the Pasty Cam, without an email address, is extreme cowardice. I don't post very much in public forums, especially my opinions, and if anybody who reads this site takes exception to my opinions (which are solely mine, and to which I am entitled) my email address is posted. He/she/it seemed particularly upset that I railed against development, even though I live in one, calling it hypocrisy (which he/she/it couldn't even spell correctly).


I thought I had made it perfectly clear that Norland was subdivided back in the late '50s or early '60s and I merely took advantage of an existing situation. There were quite a few houses already here when I got my lots. If I had any quarrel with the original North who subdivided it, he was dead.


I guess I haven't ever mentioned that shortly after I bought this property in 1985, I got on the Norland Association board of directors. Just about then the Norland Trust was trying to disband, and they decided to subdivide and sell off the interior areas (across the roads from the lakeside lots). I was part of the group that collectively bought up all that land and wrote the deeds and restrictions that make my share run with my lakeside lots, thus ensuring that the interior will never be broken up and developed. I own a 1/10 share of the land across the road from me, and I am one of the 32 or 35 who collectively bought the Pebble Beach lot and turned it into a park and picnic area. So I felt I had done as much as I could (since cash wasn't easy to get in those days) against development in Keweenaw. If I ever won one of those super lotteries, I would start buying all of Keweenaw I could, with the expressed purpose of preventing it from being developed.


Anyway, as you can see, the entire thing annoyed me extremely. I am not a jealous person myself and I have a hard time understanding those who are motivated mostly by jealousy. I've observed that most of them are unpleasant or even obnoxious people that I try to avoid. This one was flaming me without having even part of the information he/she/it needed to have a constructive discussion. I was most gratified that no one responded to the post, but in fact it seemed to have stifled discussion, since there were only four more posts after it, on other topics entirely. I wonder if the person is a land developer? Or maybe he/she/it recognized themselves in some of my descriptions of tourons?


As it happens, development at Hunter's Point wouldn't spoil my view, since it's behind Porter Island. However, there are endangered plant species there, some of which I have found and photographed over the years, that need to be preserved. They're not in the gallery (yet) because sometime just after I started the website, my cheap film scanner apparently died, and I just have never gotten around to trying it again. All those tons of pictures I took over 30 years of vacationing in Copper Harbor (when Hunter's Point was one of the must-do walks) are either slides or negatives, and a lot of them may never see the light of day again, unfortunately. I'd like to see the sidebells and shinleafs and snakeroots again myself. Maybe next year...


So it's now nearly dark, and it's dark, so I will haul in the feeder to fill it, and post this.


It's October in the field...


October 1

Oh, dear, I hate to write that!  It means there are only six weeks left before  I have to go south.


It has been an extremely active day. When I went to bed last night, there were a few stars out, but they quickly went away, and the lake was speaking quietly for most of the night as the wind rose into the upper teens. For some reason, even though I didn't stay up late last night, I didn't get up until 9am this morning, and as I was sitting looking out the north window, snowflakes started flying by. Shortly, the deck was covered with ice, and the snow turned to rain. The wind, by that time, was howling down from the north, and it was up in the upper 20mph range all day, with gusts in to the middle 30s - a nice autumnal gale! For a while it would rain or snow, then it would look like it was about to clear up, and the next thing I knew it was snowing again. Nothing stuck, except for a glaze on the deck which quickly went away, but it was snowing hard, particularly around 4pm this afternoon.


I thought I'd better go to the post office today, and I was running out of eggs and pork sausage, so I trundled into town. On the way back, I continued out to Pebble Beach again, but I only got one picture good enough to post. Trouble was, with the 28-35 mph wind right in my face, between the spray on the outside and the tears on the inside of my glasses, shortly I couldn't see a thing. I think, looking at the picture again, that there were probably drops on the lens, too. I tried to get some more pictures facing east - they would have been spectacular - but since I couldn't see what I was aiming at, there were tree leaves in the way, and I never did get a picture of the shore. Drat. However, it was cold enough that I wasn't going back to take more, and besides, I would have needed a snowmobile helmet to shield my face enough to see what I was doing. Needless to say, the lake has been howling all day long, and it is really kicking up a fuss now. They are saying 5 to 8 foot waves tonight, and I think they were all of that this afternoon. I mean, it's hairy out there!


I went to Harbor Haus for my good dinner, and right at sunset, all the clouds right above the surface of the lake turned bloody red. Then some lower clouds came in front of them, and I could see the virga - they were full of snow. However, there was a fire in the fireplace and I was right beside it, and dinner was excellent, so I came home all full and cozy.


I just looked at the camera archives, and I must share the picture that was taken right after sunset. I'm sure it was prettier than that, but I can't be two places at once. Even though clear, blue skies are beautiful, I think the sunsets are a lot more interesting when it's partly - or even mostly - cloudy.


So it was another good day to hibernate, which I did. I recovered my second (and now only) lens cap for the NIkon, and I immediately hunted through my stash of braids and trims to find a piece of black cord, and it is now firmly attached to the camera strap, so that when I take it off, I won't put it in some pocket and lose it, like it appears I did with the other one. I still haven't totally given up on finding the other one, but I probably won't, since I think I've been through all the pockets in the house.


So now it's October, and it's a hairy night in the field...


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM