A View From the Field









July, 2004

July 31

Sorry for no journal last night, but I just got lazy, and nothing much happened. The day started out beautifully clear, but as it wore on, it got cloudier, until it was completely gray at sunset. No moon. The temperature hung in the mid 60s all day long. 


Instead of doing a journal, I decided to finish the copper bracelet, which I finally did, with difficulty. I kept breaking beads while I was doing the finishing, and ended up having to redo one end, but I got stubborn and decided I wasn't going to bed without finishing it.


While I was relaxing with a game of Collapse, around 11 pm, there was suddenly a loud crash of thunder, and after some more thunder and strong winds, the heavens opened, and we got a very nice rainfall which appeared to go on more or less all night long. Since there was no possibility I could sleep through the thunder, I stayed up, and as a result, it was very late when I got to bed.


It was still cloudy and dripping rain when I got up this morning, but around 11 am, it began to clear up, and the afternoon and evening have been pristinely beautiful. We had quite a wind blowing for most of the day, raising whitecaps on the harbor, but it has died down as night came on, and it is now almost calm again and very beautiful.


I did not much today, either, except to start a bracelet in green and blue beads with a zigzag of copper through it...same pattern as the others, but different colors.


This evening, I had a celebration. Nancy and Chip and some new friends, Suzanne and Paul, joined me for dinner at Harbor Haus. We had a lovely time. I figured it was time to celebrate. I have embarked on a new year.


Today is my 63rd birthday. It doesn't seem possible, when I think about it, that I could ever be that old. I certainly don't feel like it, and I hope I don't act like it. However, it is certainly a day for me to give thanks, for another year of life and health and blessings, I am still well, and even if I don't have my old strength and stamina back, I have much more energy than I've had for almost four years. I am living in the place I love best, doing the things I love to do. I've met a lot of nice people this year, which has certainly prevented me from turning into the hermit of Copper Harbor. There's not much more a person could ask, so far as I'm concerned. I am truly blessed.


It was just an accident that my second "birth" - the transplant - happened almost exactly halfway between birthdays, but it's worked out well. I don't plan more than six months in advance anymore, so I can celebrate my birthday today and my re-birthday in January...six months apart.


And I can step forward into my 64th year with confidence. God has been very good to me, and that won't stop now.


The blue moon is rising over the field.


July 29

I didn't have a very good night last night. I got to bed very late, had two allergy attacks, one early and one late, and a black fly bite I got Monday on my left hand got so itchy I couldn't sleep until I put some hydrocortisone ointment on it. The bite is just about between the ring finger and little finger knuckles on my left hand, and it had formed a nice little blister which I intended to leave alone until it healed. Well! That was some sort of super-fly. When I got up this morning, I had a huge thing, about the size and shape of half a miniature jelly bean, on my hand, and it was so full I was afraid it would burst and I'd have a real mess. So I performed minor surgery and drained it, and I had to drain it again this afternoon. What would have happened to it if I hadn't done that, I'm not sure. I've had other messes with black fly bites,  notably one I remember distinctly on my shin many years ago, but I've never had anything just like this happen. 


Black fly bites affect me strongly, obviously, and most of the ones I've gotten this year have blistered, but not quite like this. I got one last weekend on the back of my right arm, where I have no feeling from the mastectomy, and it itched like mad anyway. Not quite sure how that happened, either. That one and another on my forearm I managed to get under control with Adolf's Meat Tenderizer, but it's harder to keep that stuff on one's hands, and while I tried it, apparently it didn't take.


The black flies are actually a lot fewer than they were around the 4th, but if there is one in Copper Harbor, it will bite me, apparently. I think I got this bad one, and another on the same hand, at the post office.


I hadn't planned anything big for today, and it was just as well. I did get the last load of wash done, and some embroidery, and I'm nearly halfway done with the copper and green bracelet. As I do more beaded bracelets, they go faster, it seems.


Around 4 am this morning, we had a nice little rain shower, which would only have been better if it had lasted longer. It was cloudy when I got up, with temperature in the upper 60s and a wind which got stronger from the northwest as the day went on. The temperature topped out in the low 70s and by noon the clouds were blowing away to the south, and they disappeared almost entirely a couple of hours later, leaving a very beautiful day indeed.


It was a noisy day, too. The wind in the trees and the moving of the water kept up a constant low roaring outside. I didn't keep the slider open because the wind was too strong, but it was pleasant in here, too. I do love sunny days.


So now I plan to toddle up to the north end and try to get a bit more sleep than I did last night.


The stars are shining on the windy field tonight.


July 28

Well, time marches on, and we're nearly done with July. Sigh. The only thing that gives me any consolation at all is that when I get back from Detroit, I will be halfway through my time here (14 weeks), and I will have another 14 weeks to go. It's not long enough.


My desire to get to bed early last night was thwarted by a telephone call, but it was a nice one, so I didn't mind much. When my eyes got adjusted to the darkness, the sky seemed very light again, but I couldn't see any activity, so I went to sleep. It continued to be light all night long, but again, there was no perceptible activity, so that didn't keep me awake. In fact, nothing did, and I got up rather late this morning.


It was a lovely sunny morning, but I could see some clouds in the north, and they kept coming all day, until late in the afternoon it got cloudy. I really hope that means something: we haven't had any rain in 3 weeks, and we need some. It was already in the middle 70s when I got to the office, and the temperature topped out at just under 80º


Besides tracking down my errant prescription, my other task of the day was to wash, and I am doing the fourth load now, which means I won't get to bed very early tonight, either. Tomorrow, there will be a load of towels and things, then that will be done, either until right before I leave for Detroit or right after I get back, depending upon what I wear.


Wearing was a problem today, and I ended up in shorts, although my legs are in no condition to be seen in public. I need a shave, which isn't hard, but my right shin, where all the bites were, is still red and peeling and really looks ugly. That's all right: I don't look good enough in shorts anyway that I want very many people to see me.


Also, it's supposed to be a tad cooler tomorrow, which would be very nice. After such a cold spring and early summer, I am less accustomed to any amount of heat than usual. I guess I can't say I was really uncomfortable today, but what I did wasn't strenuous enough to break a sweat, even on me. Besides, with all the windows open (first time this year) and the fan on, it was rather pleasant in the office. The wind died for a while late in the afternoon, and I noticed it was hot on the porch, not surprisingly. It faces west, after all, and the grove of trees in front of it don't really protect it from the high summer sun, but they do tend to block light breezes. So I stayed in.


I finished the copper and blue bracelet, too late to take a picture, so I will try for that tomorrow. The design is the same as the green one, but the light beads are crystal AB, which gives it a little bit different look. I like those beads, but the AB finish gives them a slightly bluish tinge that I don't think would go so well with the green. Now I want to make another green one (or maybe even two), and then I think i will go on to other things.


I did a bit of embroidery, finishing the top of the back wing of the angel, which wasn't very big. Now I can start on the forward wing in earnest, and that will take a while, I'm sure.


Well, sunset was at 9:30 tonight...we are losing about 2½ minutes of daylight a day now, so daylight is noticeably shorter than it was a month ago. Darn.

And it's cloudy enough that there isn't any moon tonight, so if there are any fireworks, it will be the lightening type.


So it's a cloudy night in the field, and maybe it will rain.


July 27

Again, when I got into bed and my eyes began to adjust, I thought the sky looked pretty bright, but it was later than it should have been, and I was tired. I woke up at about 3 am, and the sky was really bright, but without my glasses, it looked rather uniform - no fireworks. At 4:15, however, even without my glasses, I could tell that something was going on, and it certainly was. There were streaks morphing into curtains, very bright spots, formations coming and going, and an altogether neat display. I didn't go out, but I watched from the bathroom window for 15 minutes or so until it seemed to die down, although that could have been because dawn was coming on. I think I probably could have sat up all night and seen neat stuff, but one has to sleep sometime, and I was determined to get to town today.


I was up early, and it was a glorious morning, rather warm, sunny, and perfectly calm. The harbor was like a mirror, and I think the lake was, too. Much too nice to have to head south! I dawdled, looked at the computer (you know that if I hadn't checked it, there would have been a green screen!) and embroidered a bit. Strangely enough, it feels good to be doing plain cross stitch for a change. I finally got out of the garage at around 11:15, but that was all right.


I think it was about 71º here when I left, and calm, but it was 76º at the top of the hill and 78º when I got to Houghton. Lake Medora was a beautiful sight, also a mirror, and there must have been fishermen on it, from the number of cars at the public access parking lot.


This is the time of year when the roadsides are beginning to get dull. The bladder campions are mostly gone, the daisies are going, and the goldenrod and other late-summer and fall flowers aren't out in any quantity yet. This year, with all the rain in May and June, everything is very green and nice, although I have noticed that the bracken doesn't seem to be as tall as it sometimes gets. Maybe that's the cool temps?


There were four cars parked by the side of the road at the trail leading to the Cliff tailings, so the rockhounds were out in force. Boy, it must have been wonderful on those bare piles with the sun beating down! Whoo! When I came back, there were cars parked at the trail leading to the Cliff Cemetery, but that makes sense, too, since that is an interesting historical site.


There was traffic, but until I got to Calumet it wasn't bad. There was a blockage in Calumet, where it looks like they are laying new sewers or water lines along the curb lane of US-41, but the big problem was at the top of Quincy hill, where the beginning of the new 4 lane road will be, and for whatever they were doing, they had the road down to one lane for half a mile or more. Going down, it wasn't much of a problem except for one very slow driver, but coming home it was a hassle, since I left Houghton around 4 pm and it looks like a lot of people quit work around then.


They are still working on M-26 from the Bridge to Sharon Avenue, and that is sort of a mess, too, and it's beginning to look like, as I suspected, all that construction isn't going to do much for the basic problems of the bridge approach. However, I will reserve my judgment until it's done.


I haven't been to Office Max in a couple of years (I think I.ve mentioned that I deliberately avoid office supply stores, just like I avoid fabric stores and yarn stores), but there were a couple of things I wanted to look for. In Grosse Pointe, I have a wonderful old-fashioned paper cutter, like the ones they used to have in school when I was a kid. I'm terrified of it - always have been, with that huge and very sharp blade - but I've used it a lot, making my thread book and my little book of prayers and things like that. I had decided that I need one here, too, but then I discovered that the $30 Staples wanted for it is actually cheap compared to Office Max's prices. I got one that will do for cutting up jewelry tags, but I'm still mulling over getting one at Staples while I'm in Detroit or going to their website. And no, it's too bulky and heavy to haul back and forth.  However, I got something adequate for my current cutting tasks that makes neater cuts than I can with scissors, and I picked up a few other things I had been thinking about. I felt I was rather modest.


So at WalMart, too. My main splurge there was a couple more fleece throws for Buster. Eventually, I think I'll be able to leave some here and some on Champine, which will be helpful. He loves to sleep in them, and I use two to cover the cage when we travel, as well as several for the inside of the cage. They're warm and cuddly and the wash wonderfully. They did have all three colors of floss I need (with almost 260 colors that I brought with me, there were still three I need and didn't bring!), which was nice, and the selection of beads and findings wasn't good.


I also discovered that they carry my Thomas's English Muffins at $1 cheaper than Econo Foods has them (when they have them). I know lots of people do not like WalMart, and there are things I dislike about them, too, but the fact is that, around these parts, it's the only place to go to get the cheapest prices on paper goods, cleaning supplies, and now English Muffins. Unfortunately, they don't carry Brownberry bread - yet. I guess I have a hard time justifying spending $1 more (or more) on things, like toilet paper, I use tons of, just to make a statement about a retailer. Sorry, my financial condition isn't that good.


Anyway, I had a good lunch at Ming Gardens, just about the time my feet gave out and I was getting hot enough to melt into a little puddle (the inside of the car was an oven!).


Then it was off to Econo, where I did get my bread, but I couldn't find any frozen vegetables I liked and frozen potatoes come in packages that are too big, but I got some things I needed.


When I left Econo Foods, the temperature in Houghton, especially down by the canal, was 85°, which is too hot! Fortunately, the air conditioning in the car does work, and I was cooled down enough by the time I stopped for gas in Calumet that I rode with the windows open for the rest of the way home. It was only 79º in Calumet anyway, and as usual, the temperature dropped all the way home. My thermometer said it was about 71º when I got home, although the NWS site had it below 70º. I think they were wrong. And the wind was still calm, although there had been a little breeze while I was gone.


I left the porch doors open, besides the window in the office, and it was quite comfortable in here, although I opened the doors and turned on the ceiling fans just because I was overheated from unloading. It's lovely now...70ish, calm, and beautiful. The moon, now getting quite gibbous, is peeking out from behind the pine tree to the south, and it's another beautiful evening. It looks like it might be clear enough to see the end of the auroral storming tonight. The sunspots that were belching the CMEs are rotating around to the back of the sun, so it will quiet down again for a while.


After I got home, I got a recorded message from the mail order pharmacy, saying they had not filled my prescription...those people are completely out of control...so i guess I will have to call Melissa at the doctor's office tomorrow and make sure she faxes the correct prescription immediately. What a pain! I discovered that the antihistamine is available over the counter, but neither WalMart or Econo Foods had it all by itself and in the right strength, so I have to get the prescription filled. Grr.


It also looks like I'm having a party Saturday night...at least 7 of us. That will be nice, and I'm looking forward to it. Harbor Haus will be delighted, too. I think I can splurge once a summer, especially this year, when I've eaten off other people so much.


Now I am tired, really tired, and sticky and yucky, and the moon is shining on the field.


July 26

I think I must have misread the information about the CME. It's tonight there may be something to see in the sky. It hit us around 7 pm EDT this evening, so there may be auroral storming all night long. And tonight, it may be possible to see something if it's there. The cirrus clouds never really dissipated overnight, although they were gone by this morning, and there wasn't much to see at all. Magnitude 2 stars was about all, and they weren't very bright.


I didn't sleep very well, either. It was absolutely calm all night long - the harbor was like a mirror. I had a hard time adjusting the covers to the temperature. It was a bit too cool for no covers, but the sheet and sheet blanket were too much, so I woke up a lot and had a couple of really, really weird dreamsm. more of those where I wake up thinking, "Now how in the world did that connection happen?"


It was a beautiful morning, and around 9:30, the wind picked up, suddenly, like it does sometimes, and that made it too cool to have the office doors open, even though the temperature hung at about 70º all day long. There was plenty of sunshine, and the sky was blue enough to make the harbor blue. Lovely.


I got some more embroidery done. I am working on wings, and I recall the last angel I did, the wings seemed to take forever. This angel has less wings and more dress, but still, it takes some time to get them done, and they are the top part of the picture.


Then I got to work and collected all the trash, and finally got all the nonperishable groceries stashed away in the pantry. My excuse was that I wanted to see what I have before I go off to town tomorrow, but honestly, I was just tired of seeing all those partly-full bags in the breezeway. See? It even gets to me eventually. I still have to sit down often, because of my back, but I did manage to get done what needed to be done.


I had sent in a prescription to the mail order service 10 days or so ago, and I hadn't heard anything about it, so this morning I called and went around and around with the woman on the phone, who finally said I would have to have my doctor's office call and find out what the problem was. So I did that, but it seems I gave them the wrong information, because just as I was about to leave for the post office and compactor this afternoon, someone else (not very polite) called me to explain the problem, and to tell me the doctor has to call before 5 pm tomorrow afternoon (why, he didn't say). I had a package to send, so I couldn't hang on hold with the doctor's office then, and of course, when I got back, I was on hold for 10 minutes or more and never did get to talk to a person...maybe they'd all gone home at 4:30? So I ended up leaving a message, and if I haven't heard from them by the time I leave for town tomorrow, I will call them again. The prescription service claims they faxed the doctor on Wednesday and called on Friday, but the physician's assistant I talked to said not, so I don't know where the problem is. Now, why they received the prescription on the 16th and didn't bother to try to contact the doctor until the 21st (if they did), I do not know, but now they say it "has to" be resolved by 5 pm tomorrow. Real nice people to deal with.


So I took to my beading, and I'm about two-thirds through with the copper and blue bracelet. it actually goes pretty fast when I put my mind to it, although I can't do it when it begins to get dark.


Baby bear didn't show his face today, but that may be because one of my neighbor's kids is here with their family and a strange little dog that looks like a Doberman but is only about 12" tall, and is a barking fool. It keeps coming over to my driveway and barking at my house. I suppose it's because it can smell cat, but I never did appreciate barkers. Then, just before sunset, it came up onto the deck and was sniffing around under the feeder tree. I suppose it smelled bear there. It does go home if I tell it to, but it barks an awful lot. Buster is somewhat interested...this is one of the few dogs he has ever seen that is anywhere close to his size...but I don't think he likes the noise, either. The people are really nice people, and i would hate to have to remind them that dogs are not allowed to run free in our sub, but this one is annoying.


For the second night in a row, there was a bloody red sun over Lighthouse point, and for the second night in a row, the digital camera just wouldn't pick up the color. I'm a bit puzzled, because last fall, I got a really good picture of sunset over the hills to the southwest, and I can't see all that much difference, but it keeps washing out the colors. The sun doesn't look that bright to me,  but I guess it must be. I'll keep trying, except that I have to walk down almost to the shore to get the angle I want.


So that was my day. It's nice to have empty wastebaskets, and all that's left to do in the breezeway is sweep up the birdseed. Now the quarter moon is shining brightly in the south windows, and it's time to try this sleep thing again and see if I can do it better tonight.


Oh, how lovely is the evening, is the evening, calm and still...in the field.


July 25

About 12:30 this morning, I realized that the moon was setting over the mountain, and I decided to try to get pictures of it with the digital camera. I didn't - in order to do that, I will have to set the exposure and f-stop  manually, and I don't know enough about how to do that to do it in the dark before the screen goes blank. However, when I was outside, it seemed to me that the sky was awfully bright. Looking up, I could see streamers of what really looked like clouds overhead, so I ignored it and prepared for bed. Big mistake.


When my eyes adjusted to the dark, shortly after 1 am, I realized that the sky was really bright, and that it also had brighter patches in it. I put my glasses back on and looked out the window seat, but it is sometimes hard to see the real subtle stuff through the screens, so I got my robe and slippers and my red flashlight and went out onto the deck. Wow!


There were rays all around, emanating from zenith, and in the north and northwest there were curly curtains. At one point, a bright ray went all the way from behind the trees in the north almost to zenith. It was the best display of northern lights I've been able to see in more than a year, and darn it, I missed most of it! I came back in at 1:30 because I was really tired, and the display seemed to have slacked off for the moment, but I understand it continued on and the sky was light all the time until actual dawn. I will say there wasn't any color that I could see, not that it means much, with my eyes, and a lot of the moving effects were on the limits of my visibility, but it was really neat.


I understand there is a good chance of it happening again tonight, but if we're going to see it, the high cirrus layer that is turning the sky white right now will have to disappear. That is possible, because I think it's due to humidity, and after night falls, that sometimes disappears, if we're lucky.


It was a beautiful morning, when I got up, at a relatively early hour, considering, and it was a fantastically beautiful day. The temperature got into the middle 70s, but there was a strong northwest wind that actually got me pretty chilly before I got dressed. There was lovely sunshine for most of the day, mostly blue skies, and blue water. About as perfect as a day can get. I was able to have the doors open all day long, although Buster slept in the closet, because he doesn't like wind.


I didn't do much, I confess, just some embroidery, but I did empty the north end wastebaskets and swept behind the toilet in the bathroom...finally I've gotten up all the birdseed the mice hoarded. I also cleaned up the mess on the floor in the office and emptied the wastebaskets there. All this is in anticipation of a trip to the compactor tomorrow, finally!


I was playing games this afternoon, and something screwed up the computer so that it hung up totally while I was at dinner. Fortunately, it didn't happen much before I got back, so nobody missed much, and it didn't hang in the middle of uploading the webcam, so that should be OK. However, when operating system programs abend and take the whole machine with them, I do get a bit upset. Whatever caused it is beyond me.


Baby bear appeared around 5 pm today, I think, snuffing around the deck and peering in the great room window and the office sliders, like I would feed him if he looked really appealing. I chased him back down the tree. If he continues to come around, I will have to keep the finch feeders and hummingbird feeders in, and I really don't want to do that, because they are being visited a lot. Baby was going to sniff the finch feeders, but I chased him away, and I know there wasn't much of any thing else for him to see, so I think he came back more as a habit than anything else. We shall see.


The wind is dying down now, and the sun is dropping in the northwest, and it is a truly beautiful evening once again. I do plan to get to bed early tonight for sure, but I will be up during the night, and we shall see what we see.


Talk about perfect weather in the field...


July 24

There weren't any northern lights last night that I could see, so that CME must either have missed us or hit us before it got dark.


I got to bed late again, but I didn't sleep very late this morning. I woke up at about 8:30, having to take a walk, and decided against going back to bed. So maybe I can get to sleep earlier tonight? We'll see.


It was a beautiful morning, clear and 60-ish, with a light north wind. It did cloud up somewhat, but for a while in the morning, i was treated to a sight I haven't seen very much - the shadows of fair-weather cumulous clouds moving over the hills across the harbor. it was pretty. For a while, it was nearly all cloudy, then it began to clear up again, and now it's quite clear, with the high cirrus clouds that we seem to have a lot of around here. It's a beautiful evening. The temperature here was in the low 60s all day. Perfect!


Did I make much use of my extra time? Not much. I embroidered a bit, finished the copper and green bracelet and began packing it for shipment, and started a copper and blue one to sell. I'm getting tired of doing that design, and soon it will be time to go on to something else.


I am also feeling some eyestrain, and in fact, I was using my magnifier most of the day. That helps - I can actually see what I'm sewing, which is nice. It's probably time to put aside the seed beads and work on something a bit bigger.


When I walked into the great room this morning, Baby Bear was just starting down the deck, and he saw me, and flew back to, and down, his tree. He looked a little guilty, like he knew he shouldn't be here. I haven't seen him all day, but since it's the weekend there has been a lot of traffic on the road, and that might have discouraged him. I did hang the finch feeders and the hummingbird feeders, which were well-visited. In fact, there was a female something-or-other - I think a female grosbeak - who kept pecking on the finch feeder trying to get at the seed. I don't think she got much, because her beak is too big to fit in the tiny hole, and I feel bad about it, but I'm not going to give in now. There were a lot of hummingbirds, and a lot of hummingbirds chasing other hummingbirds around. I suspect the first brood has fledged, and it's time to begin the second, and they are fighting for territory and mates.


Among the things Clyde has in the back room at the post office (besides the beautiful Ojibwa beadwork) are two or three hummingbird nests, which are little down-lined cups less than 2" in diameter. It still amazes me that something can be so little...and so trainable. If I take in the feeder before they think I should, I get buzzed, and I've learned to put the nectar feeder out first, because if I don't, I get buzzed then, too. They know I'm not a flower, heaven knows, but they have learned that that humungous human gives nectar. Buzzzzzzz!


When Baby broke the other feeder, I thought I was going to have to buy another one, but I forgot that a couple of years ago, when I had the raccoon problem, I bought one just for the bee guards (the yellow things over the nectar tubes), so I have a new and unused glass jar that will fit the bottom, which is unhurt. That's good, because I'm going to town Tuesday after bread, mostly, and now I know I won't have to spend money for another nectar bottle.  Later, I discovered that sometimes Ericsson Feed has just the bee guards, but before I learned how to discourage the raccoon, I had used all I had.


Ah, the joys of living in the woods!


It's a pretty evening, it's too dark to bead anymore (or read or knit, for that matter), so I will haul in the feeders and toddle off to bed.


It's another lovely moonlit night in the field.


July 23

Well, Baby Bear has defeated me. I will not be hanging the big feeder or the platform feeder out until after I get back from Detroit, and while I will try to leave the thistle feeders and the hummingbird feeder out, I won't be surprised if I have to take them in, too.


For various reasons, I got to bed much too late last night, and got up much too late this morning...I'm free-wheeling again. I actually didn't see the moon, but the camera caught it. 


When my eyes got accustomed to the dark, it looked suspiciously light in the north, but I was too tired to get up and check, but when I got up around 4 am, there was definitely a lightening of the northern horizon. Unfortunately, most of it was behind the trees, so I couldn't see what it was all about, but I'm sure I can record the first northern lights of the summer. There is apparently an enormous sunspot (visible with the naked eye, with protection, of course), so I'm not surprised that something was going on. We may have had some before, but it's been so cloudy, I haven't seen them. I just checked the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch, and a CME is going to arrive here with in the next few hours, so I will have to peer out the windows tonight, too. I do love northern lights!


It looked like there were lots of stars, too, but I resolutely ignored that.


When I finally made it out of bed, it had clouded up again, but shortly after I rebooted the computer to correct a green screen, it cleared up and turned into another perfect day. I don't understand why the camera behaves perfectly normally when I get up early, but when I get up very late, it's always screwed up. Doesn't seem fair.


So back to Baby. Since I was so late, I was in the office when he appeared the first time, and I was able to get him to go away, finally, by growling at him. My growl is rather high-pitched - I've always wished I had a deep bass growl like DC did - but I managed to get the message across.


I hung around the office until close to 3 pm before I went up to the north end to do a bit of embroidery, and about 3:25, I heard a thumping on the deck that sounded very much like bear, followed by some other thumping that didn't. I looked out the window and saw Baby go off toward the drain field, and when I got back to the office, there were two young men in my yard looking for Baby. It turns out that they are my northern neighbor's kids, who had been out in a boat, when they saw Baby in the feeder. One of them jumped into the water (!) and slipped and drenched himself, but they got the boat onto the shore and came up. The one who was doing the talking said it was his mother who chased Baby off the porch, but I didn't see her, so I'm not quite sure what actually happened. I do know I couldn't have moved as fast as whoever was thundering down the deck (the deck magnifies sound).


I had just returned from the post office when Baby came back, and I had a terrible time chasing him away, and he came back fairly soon. The next time, I collected the sunflower feeders while he was still in the tree, and I guess that gave him the notion that there wouldn't be any more food, although he was nosing around the metal finch feeder. He has shown no interest whatsoever in the thistle sock, which I don't quite understand.


Oh, yes, and on one of his visits, he launched himself off the railing into the tree, and the resulting earthquake dislodged the hummingbird feeder and broke it. Good thing I have another one, because the hummingbirds were swarming around again. He isn't interested in that, either - it was just a fluke that when it dropped off the hanger, it broke. The last time he did that, it ended up sitting on the deck. I'm not sure how it happened anyway.


So I poured out all the rest of the seed from the two feeders onto the deck, which of course brought him back once more and made the squirrels happy, and that is going to be the end of the regular seed until I get back from Detroit, which will be around August 15. That should be enough time to discourage him. I will see about the other feeders, but in any case, sometime before I leave for Detroit, I will take those in, too, sooner if he keeps coming around, or later if he doesn't. By the time I get back and set out the feeders again, if he comes back, I think I can convince the DNR that he is indeed an orphan and needs help.


So I didn't get much embroidery done, but I have almost finished the bracelet, and I would, except that I'd like very much to get to bed a bit earlier tonight than I did last!


The sky is almost dark now, and it is going to be a perfectly gorgeous night, one of those when I wish, I wish, I wish, I had a telescope to spend the night peering at the universe. However, since I've been here 11 weeks, and I can count the clear nights on my fingers, I console myself that it would be worse if there was a telescope sitting in the garage rotting away from disuse. I'd still like to have one someday, but the fact of the matter is that under normal conditions, there are few enough clear nights that it wouldn't get much use. That's the downside of living in the far north.


I must also report that the black flies aren't all gone. As Shirley said last week, if there is one within five hundred feet, it will bite me, which is true, but yesterday sometime one bit me on the ring finger of my left hand, and today, one got me on the inside of my elbow, through my shirt. Nasty!


The temperature just got into the low 60s today, which is fine by me. With all the sunshine and a gentle breeze out of the north, it was a lovely day. It's supposed to get down into the 40s tonight - with the clear skies, I guess so - which will be good sleeping. Ah, the joys of a Canadian High!


So I will try to toddle off to bed soon, and report back tomorrow if there's a light show.


It's a beautiful summer night in the field.


July 22

I was going to go to bed without showering, but when I felt my neck, it was sticky from sweating when it was hot, so I bathed anyway and got to bed very late. I never really looked out the windows, where the camera caught the setting crescent moon, all hazy. During the night, which was very windy, the front passed through, and  before dawn I was seeing stars - lots of stars, including both stars at the end of the Little Dipper's bowl, which means I could see 3rd magnitude stars without my glasses. The Big Dipper was horizontal, and all I could see was its handle. The rest was behind the trees. It was nice to see a clear sky for a change.


However, sometime between 4 am and 7 am, it clouded up. I was awake at 7 and decided that was too early to get up, considering when I went to bed, and the next thing I knew, the phone was ringing, and it was 9:30.


The phone call was from my doctor, himself. I called the office yesterday to make sure I didn't have to schedule any cat scans for when I was home, and he indicated that since the last set had been substantially normal, and I feel good, and I don't have any obvious lumps, if his exam doesn't find anything, I won't need any more scans until next spring. Wooo-hooooo! Much as he tries not to be, he is a really great guy. What we both were thinking, but not saying, was "Three and a half years and counting...so far, so good."


The next call was from the bear trapper at the DNR. I was most surprised to hear from him, but he was helpful. He says they want the feeders kept in for at least 10 days, to discourage the bear, before putting them out again. Then, if he comes back, they may have to act. I assured him that if he acted like a normal bear and only came around at night, I wouldn't be concerned, but I'm worried about his well-being, since he's so young and uneducated.


So what I have decided to do is leave the feeders up for about another week, then take them down. The week after that - three weeks from now, I think - I'll be gone to Detroit, so I'd bring them in anyway. Then, when I get back here, I can hang them out again and see what happens. That is, unless Baby begins to come around three and four times a day again.


I really didn't want to take them in today, but Baby was around about 5 pm, and I had a devil of a time chasing him away. He sat in the tree huffing and chomping his jaw for quite a while before I got him to leave. I eventually hung the finch feeders out again, and I could have hung them all out, but it was too much work. 


I put out the hummingbird feeder, because I had a whole flock - I'd say 10 or 12 - hummingbirds today, and they only left when they'd drained the feeder dry. Maybe the latest broods fledged? Who knows? It's two months too early for them to be leaving. It would make sense. They haven't been around  much for several weeks, but according to the books, they feed their chicks mostly insects, and there are flowers blooming that they like, especially the vetch. Anyway, I will have to tend the nectar feeders for the next few days, for sure. It's really fun to see them. They buzz around the feeder like a lot of big insects, and kick each other out of the feeding tubes. You wouldn't think such a teensy thing could be aggressive, but they sure are. I can imagine that a peck from those long, needley beaks will hurt.


That, plus a very little embroidery and some work on the bracelet, was about all I did today. Tomorrow I simply have to collect up all the trash and deliver it to the compactor.


Oh - the rest of the weather. Eventually it cleared up and got sunny, but the temperature only got into the low 60s. It was heavenly. There was a light north breeze, enough to make the lake sigh, but not, like overnight, begin to speak loudly. At sunset, it was perfectly clear, with the lovely moon hanging in the southwestern sky. So pretty! I could take a lot of weather like this, but on the other hand, all the rain has been really good for the vegetation, and even a couple of my stressed-out trees are beginning to look halfway decent. I hope it doesn't stop now.


It's a beautiful night in the field.


July 21

Another good night's sleep, and I seem to be getting caught up - finally! I debated getting up at 8, and decided I might as well. So I filled the feeders and put them out, had my breakfast, and went back to the north end for some embroidery.


I had plans for the day, but since it was already 68º when I got up, and it kept getting warmer, I ended up not doing much. It topped out just over 80º, then the wind shifted to the north, the temperature dropped 10º in ten minutes - really, I was watching my thermometer - and the rest of the afternoon was in the pleasant low 70s with very little wind from who knows where. Actually, the NWS station was reporting wind from the WSW when it was coming in my east windows, so maybe it was circling around the harbor? Anyway, it was beautiful.


It was too beautiful to spend doing what I did - about an hour chasing my tail around MSN. I canceled my dialup subscription in February, since I wasn't using it at all now that I have DSL and PastyNet, but much to my surprise, the email account didn't go away. Almost all I get on it is spam, but every so often there's a good ad, and there is one person who, for some reason, can't reach me on any other account. About a week ago, I suddenly couldn't get connected anymore. It looked like some sort of authentication problem, and I'd had that sort of problem intermittently with MSN for years, but it didn't go away, so today I called. After talking to four people, including someone from India who had no idea what I was talking about, and getting disconnected without knowing what number I'd been transferred to, I finally discovered that they have decided that free accounts are not going to be able to access email the way I always had, and instead of telling me that, they just pulled the plug. So I am now getting net-based mail from MSN, and I don't like it one little bit. It is slow, cranky, and buggy. I'll give it a month or so, then I may just tell them to cancel the entire thing. 


In the five or six days since I'd been able to access my account, I had accumulated something like 110 messages, not more than three or four of which were anything but downright spam - debt consolidation, drug providers, male enhancements, a few offers of fake diplomas, and some porn sites. The new law hasn't decreased the amount of spam I get, although the porn advertisers are, in general, being much more careful with their emails. I think I've only seen one or two porn pictures since the "can spam" act went into effect. Oh, yes, and I have to add, the Netherlands lottery, of which the latest wrinkle was to say it came from Microsoft! Such junk!


Anyway, it's taken care of for the time being.


The big thing was, while I was hassling MSN, with my back to the open slider, baby bear showed up and ate all the sunflower seed out of the feeder! And I never heard him!


So after I called the doctor's office to find out if I need cat scans or not, I called the DNR again, and got the same lady I talked to last week. She said the same thing - don't feed the birds. Well, guys, I want to feed the birds. I like to watch them, Buster loves to watch the squirrels and chipmunks, and people who frequent the website like to watch them. So I guess we will just feed the birds. I was supposed to get a call from the bear trapper, but he hasn't ever called, so I guess he doesn't want to talk to me. I really do not think there's a mama bear. All the other bears I've known come prowling around between a bit before sunset and a bit after sunrise, and this little guy comes in the middle of the day, so I have to believe he doesn't have a mama to tell him he's not supposed to to that.


I got several nice suggestions from efriends, but I don't think any of them quite fit my situation. One is to hang the feeders high up, but there isn't a place around here where I can do that and still see them or show them in the webcam. My eaves only overhang about 12", and the office is only one story high anyway. If I hung them from the great room eaves (and how would I get up 2 or more storys to do that?), nobody could see them anyway. 


The other suggestion was to put something like ammonia soaked rags under or on the tree. That has merit, except that due to an unfortunate incident in chemistry lab when I was in college, ammonia makes me sick, so I can't use it, and besides, if I used it or any of the other repellents, I'd also be repelling the squirrels and chipmunks, which I like. The squirrels are a bit noisy, and they eat a lot, but there are only two or three of them. Not only are the chipmunks cute, Buster just loves to watch them, so I don't want to chase them away.


So I guess we'll just have to cope. So far baby bear doesn't know about thistle seed, and he prefers sunflower seeds, just like all the birds and squirrels do. Unless I hear from the DNR, I guess when I'm here, I'll count on chasing him away, and when I leave, I may just have to take in the feeders.  


I would like to know if bears can taste capsicum. I have some red pepper spray I was going to use to discourage the squirrels, and if it would discourage baby bear, I guess I'd use it. I know it works on squirrels; it's saved my tulips from the squirrels at Champine for many years, until this year they all remembered and didn't touch them!


Well, it was a beautiful day, hazy down the harbor and warm and humid, but beautiful, and it produced the first sunset picture of the summer. It wasn't the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen, but it was nicer than most we've had lately. The sun is still setting behind the pine on the right-hand side of the picture, and it will be a while before I can see it even from the north end of the deck, where I took this picture. You can see how calm it was, and the colors were lovely. Some of my favorites.


So now the "calm" wind is blowing in the east windows, and it's cooling off very nicely - down to 64º - so it will be a good night to sleep, and tomorrow is supposed to be cooler. I hope so, I had things I needed to do today, like collect up the trash. All the wastebaskets are full to overflowing. Of course, I can't take them to the compactor tomorrow, but I can be ready for Friday.


It's summer in the field.


July 20

Last night for the first time, I went to bed with the porch door open. It was so calm outside, and so warm inside, that it felt good. I had to close it during the night, but still, summer is progressing. It was foggy almost all night long, including one time when I woke up and couldn't even see the light from the lighthouse or the lights of town. When I woke up this morning, it wasn't foggy, but it was cloudy, and the clouds pretty much lasted all day, although they thinned out in the afternoon. The temperature got into the middle 50s overnight, and it probably topped out just over 70º, at least up at the mountain lodge. Another nice summer day.


I put out the bird feeders this morning, like I said I would, and I know I had some goldfinches and hummingbirds, as well as a squirrel or two and the chipmunks. Unfortunately, I also had baby bear.


I spent the afternoon with some nice people I met through the internet, so I wasn't here when he came. He ate everything out of the platform feeder and at least the sunflower seeds out of the big feeder. So now I don't know exactly what to do. I didn't see him all the time the feeders were in, but he didn't go away, either, and he has apparently been checking things out from a distance all week, even though I didn't smell him or see him.  He came back again after I got home - as if I'd fill the feeders after I knew he was here!


I guess I will have to call the DNR again and consult. I really want to feed the birds...and the squirrels...and the chipmunks. I really do not want to feed a bear of any size! So we'll see.


I got some work done on the setup of the new embroidery project, and even got half of the first row stitched this morning. After carefully trying to baste over four threads and under four threads up the center, to ease my counting, I discovered that I'd miscounted about an inch from the center, so most of my hard work was for naught. Foo. I might as well have taken half-inch stitches.


After I got home, I got a bit done on the latest bracelet, so it wasn't a completely lost day, craft-wise.


I did discover why I've been having to get up so often in the night. When I went to take my pills, I discovered that I'd taken the morning pills last night and hadn't taken the evening pills at all. Fortunately, none of that is life-threatening, but it annoys me when I do it. They are even in different pill dispensers of different colors to make it easier. Fortunately, between trips, I have slept well, but I when my rest is disrupted every hour, of course I don't get as much proper sleep as I need. Maybe better tonight.


So now the shades of night are falling fast and a light breeze has sprung up, possibly from the west, and it's time to toddle off to bed.


July 19

Talk about the lazy, hazy days of summer! It was pretty cloudy when I got up this morning (before 8 am! A new record!), but soon the clouds began to roll away to the southeast and the sun came out, and oh my! The temperature got up into the lower 70s for a while, and there was quite a wind for a while, even raising a hint of a whitecap or two on the harbor (the blue harbor!), but that has died away, and the wind has dropped, too. I turned off the radio just to listen to the quiet, and there was nothing except a not too close woodpecker drumming on a hollow tree. What a day!


I celebrated it by opening up the house and working on my beading. I finished Ashley's bracelet and got tags on everything for sale, and I've now started another green one. I have only found three more green beads of the right shade and size for closures, so that will be the most I can do. Ha-ha. Actually, I hope not to do that many. I don't want to get stuck in production of just that design, much as I like it. I have some other ideas to try, including an adaptation of the Indian pattern.


I didn't do any embroidery. I needed to prepare the pattern, by drawing in the center lines, and since it is a single folded sheet, I wanted to tape the folds to keep them fresh, but I ran out of tape at the north end. Finished taping, but didn't pick up a needle. Maybe tomorrow I can baste in the centers and find my starting point, and then I'm off and running. Looking at all those white stitches with occasional pale gray in the wings almost turned me off, but the last angel I did, I did pretty well with the white-on-dark stitching. White, more than any other color, shows up the inconsistencies in my stitching, and I find it a real challenge to do a good job. These angels are not meant for close-up viewing, but people do, and I want it to look as good as possible.


There were actually a couple of jet skis on the harbor today, but they didn't get down into our end, which was nice. With all the cold weather we've had, I would think it's a bit chilly to be out on a jet ski! And it could be serious if one fell in. Oh, well, no sense, no feeling, as my mother used to say.


When I opened up the house this morning, the wind was quite brisk, and the harbor was sounding off. The sound of the water rubbing against itself can be quite loud when the waves are in motion. That's what makes this evening so special...not even any lapping on the shore. Total silence...except for the boat in the distance.


Since I have not seen - or smelled - even a trace of baby bear since last Wednesday, I am planning to hang the feeders tomorrow. This afternoon, there was a hummingbird peering in the slider looking for his nectar, and of course yesterday there were goldfinches looking around, too. I hope that either baby bear has found his way back to his mama or has become nocturnal, so he won't be hanging around here during the day. We shall see.


Imagine my surprise when I surfed to the PastyCam, to see the picture I took the day after the fourth last year as the picture of the day! They warned me that they don't necessarily take just the latest pictures out of the gallery. This is the picture. It's one of my favorites, too. That is what the harbor looks like when the humidity is low and a front has just passed through. There was a lot of disinformation about the road out in the comments section today, and I was tempted to clarify, but I decided not. No need to stir up that can of worms.


Somehow, even though I got to bed early enough last night, it was a night of trips to the bathroom, coughing fits, and weird dreams, so I don't feel like I slept very well. I guess the only thing to do is try it again.


Blessed silence rules the field...


July 18

That worked so well last night that I think I'll try it again. I was in bed by 10:30, and I slept very well, with only one small coughing fit, and got up at 8 this morning, feeling well rested. That gives me a lot more of the day to waste, but at least I'm not wasting it sleeping.


It was another day like yesterday - high clouds, bright skies, but no real sunshine. It did get a bit warmer today, into the middle 60s, and the wind was calm most of the day. They are now saying it may rain overnight. This certainly is a wet year so far! It's good for the lakes, but not so good for the tourists.


I put aside the bracelet for most of the day, and I also decided that I don't want to try to do the hemstitching and needleweaving on the blackwork sampler, so I have folded it neatly and put it away. I may well have done all I'll ever do on it, but since I mostly do those things for the process, not the product, that it's not finished won't matter much.


I uncovered the sewing machine and overcast the edges of the fabric for the next project and pulled the floss for it, finding that, of course, there is one color I don't have with me. It always happens. I hope WalMart carries it, because I don't really want to go to JoAnn's. It isn't possible for me to go to that place for one or two skeins of floss, and I'd rather not be tempted. Fortunately, the color I'm missing is only used in some small places on the angel's face and hands, so it isn't really critical. If I didn't usually work from the top down, I'd just wait till my trip back to Grosse Pointe. Somehow, when I do these angels, I want heads on them as soon as possible, so I suppose I'll get the floss somewhere.


Anyway, I am all ready to start tomorrow. I did get a couple of inches of the bracelet done, and I now only have an inch or so, plus the clasp, to do. It was a nice quiet day to do things like that. 


I also found my "Mighty Bright Craft Light", so if I do end up stitching at night again, I will have the light to do it by.


Yesterday morning, when I was in the bathroom, I noticed a new, rather large, rather bright yellow flower, and when I went out, I found another one beside the driveway. They are tickseed coreopsis, and they're rather pretty flowers. When I saw the one beside the house this morning, the flower was facing northwest. When I came back after breakfast, it was facing straight up, and by the time I was done in the bathroom, it was facing south, where the sun is. I'm sorry I wasn't in a position to take pictures, because it was rather neat. I know certain flowers move around to face the sun, but this is the first time that I can recall seeing one in motion.


I was sitting in the office when I looked up and there was a male goldfinch clinging to the screen on the south window, trying to peck at it like he thought there might be a seed in it, and later on, there was a pair of them in the pine, looking around sadly for the feeders that aren't there. Darn bear! I will wait until Tuesday morning, then they are going out again, and we will see what happens. I have not seen hide nor hair of the bear since Wednesday evening, after I brought the feeders in, so maybe he has given up and changed his spots. I haven't even smelled bear for a couple of days.


It was a quiet day in the field, and maybe it will be a quiet night, too.


July 17

This is probably going to be short, and it's early, but I stayed up until 2 am finishing the bracelet...which I will probably give to Peggy to sell, and make another for the mail order. I need to get at least one of those before the general public. I did take a picture, which turned out pretty well, I think.


Part of the reason the picture was so nice, besides the neutral background, was that the light was very bright but not sunny. There were high clouds over the whole sky all day long, but it was very bright out. The temperature got into the low 60s with a light breeze. It would have been a good day to be outside.


I was rather wiped out, however. I got up at a fairly early hour, in spite of my late night. I thought about it when I woke up at 8:30, and decided to get up and do something, then go to bed early tonight. So far, I'm on schedule.


I got about a third of Ashley's bracelet done. Someone knows what that's about, and I won't say more about who it's for. I'm using cobalt blue beads and crystal AB (aurora borealis - a sort of rainbow finish) beads, and I do like the color combination. I'd like to get one of those to Peggy, too, but unfortunately, I can only do one thing at a time, and it appears to be taking something like six to eight hours (depending up on how much I screw up) to make one. 


Since I don't frequent art fairs or bead shops, these are about the first peyote stitch pieces I've seen, especially any made with pretty good beads, and I have to say I'm enchanted. Of course, they would be even more beautiful with the extremely uniform Japanese cylinder beads, but first off, those are very expensive, and secondly, they don't come in the bright shades of copper that I like. Eventually I'll probably dip into my stash of Japanese beads, but these from the Czech Republic are coming out very nicely, thank you. There is a certain lack of uniformity in the Czech beads, which, for example, makes the copper metallic side of the bracelet come out slightly scalloped, but I don't think that detracts from the overall impression of the piece at all.


Oh, and I forgot to mention, when I went to bed last night, it was so foggy outside, I couldn't see the lighthouse light. That was gone this morning, but it has been hazy across the harbor all day. If it was much warmer, it would be unbearably humid, but as it is, it seems quite pleasant.


So I'm about ready to crash, if I can get this thing to upload in any kind of time.


It's bedtime in the field.


July 16

I rather crashed when I finally got to bed last night, and I didn't get up until after 10 this morning. Making up for my bad nights the past few, I guess. I feel much better today, although my usual tests of my mental acuity seem to show I'm not all back together yet.


Before I get into that, I forgot to mention a few things about my trip to Houghton yesterday. The roadsides are still quite colorful. Where the lupines grow, they are still in full bloom, and I saw an antique rose bush or two. The daisies are still in bloom, and the bladder campions are out. South of Mohawk, there were some early goldenrods and a few black eyed susans and wild sunflowers. The last bush to bloom, the  maple leaved viburnum, is now blossoming, and I suspect it is responsible for the sweet smell I detected at intervals. Of course there are buttercups, and red and yellow hawkweeds, too. This is the last of the show, and the roadsides will soon be dull until the fall colors come in. The daisy bloom was pretty good everywhere, just as it was in my yard, but it's clumpy this year rather than solid. So that's what I saw.


One reason I was in no hurry to arise this morning was that it was pouring rain...again. It rained rather hard until after noon, and it was very foggy for most of the day, so it was a pretty dull day. The temperature got up to just about 60º, with a light north wind, which was just fine by me. I did get a bit chilled sitting around in my nightie, but that's to be expected.


i was sitting at the computer contemplating the start of my breakfast, when Debbie called, and we had a long conversation. She is not having the quiet, trouble-free summer she hoped for, and that's all I'll say about it.


I worked on the blackwork sampler for some time, and I've decided to refer to it as a "historic sampler interpretation" rather than a "historic sampler reproduction". There are just too many things I know don't match the original to call it a "reproduction". That's disappointing, because usually the author did better. I'm also thinking about doing the rest of the blackwork motifs and skipping the hemstitch and needleweaving, because she really screwed that part up. What I see, even in the terrible picture that came with the book, bears almost no resemblance to the instructions, which are terrible in themselves. I have a few things to do before I decide for sure, but I just don't feel it's necessary for me to beat my head against a wall like that.


When I went to the post office, I mentioned to Clyde that I was doing beading, and he hauled out a genuine, antique Ojibwa beaded band. I have never seen genuine Indian beadwork up close and personal, and this is really beautiful. Some that I've seen pictured is rather garish, but this isn't at all. it's done in size 14/0 beads (read: small, about 20 per inch) in white, opaque dark blue, transparent dark red, and transparent turquoise. I think it was woven on a loom. The pattern is a nice one, sort of a stylized feather, and I am going to try to adapt it to some of my beadwork. Dover has a book on Indian beadwork that I've resisted, and I may have to break down and get it, just for some of the patterns.


So I came home all full of new ideas, and graphed the pattern out in both peyote and square stitches, and I'm thinking while I work on the current bracelet. That one is nearly done. Probably another hour will do it. It's tempting to stay up and finish it tonight, but I guess it would be better to gt another good night's rest.


After the post office, I went to visit Shirley, and while she is fine, Cindy is sick now, so it seems everybody is having problems this summer. So I came home and buried myself in my crafts.


I guess the weather is supposed to improve over the weekend, and I hope so. I've gotten used to the sunshine, and I missed it today. It got dark enough early enough that I had to turn on the office lights.


I didn't see baby bear, but I wasn't looking very much, and the camera didn't catch him either, so maybe taking in the feeders will work after all. I'll give him till Tuesday, then I'm going to try putting them out again, and we'll see. I hope he gets back to his mama.


And that is all I know for today.


At least there's peace in the field.


July 15

My, my, it's the middle of July already! Where does the time go?


It took several tries to get the whole website uploaded correctly last night, and afterwards, I decided to submit the two bear pictures to my PastyCam gallery, and that took forever, so I didn't get to bed anywhere near as early as I'd hoped. The night appeared to be cloudy, or at least I didn't see any stars when I was up.


It was clear when I got up this morning, at a relatively early hour for me. Since I didn't have to put bird feeders out (darn!), I didn't have to get dressed before breakfast, and it felt good to go wandering around in my nightie for a change. I'd better get used to the getting dressed, though, because I expect to feed the birds for the rest of the year here, and over the winter, too.


My allergies fared pretty well overnight, although I did sneeze a few times this morning. The problem is, normally I would have been taking my meds morning and evening, and that would keep some in my system all the time. It takes several days to work up to that, and I haven't gotten there yet. I will use up the one that works tonight, so I guess I'll go back to my stash of the really old one they took off the market a couple of years ago. There's no point in even trying the new one (which was very expensive, I might mention) because it clearly wasn't doing anything. So I go around sniffling with an itchy nose and watery eyes. I've sent in the prescription for the good one, so hopefully it will be here soon. 


I really didn't know I was allergic to pine pollen, because in prior years, I'd started the two-per-day regime long before it came out and I didn't have any particular problem. Oh, well. Snnfff...hack, hack!!


It took me a while to get out of the house, but I did indeed make it to town today, and this is the last time I will go on Thursday. I couldn't get any bread or English muffins, because that vendor comes on Mondays and Fridays and they were on special this week. So now I have the impetus to go on Tuesdays like I used to, and I'll have to go again the week after next, because I don't have much of a stash, particularly of English muffins.


Besides, the place was a zoo. WalMart was, too, but that's always true. I wonder when they expand the store if they're going to put their aisles farther apart, because now, if there is somebody parked in an aisle, you can't get through. I got birdseed and toilet paper and a new mop, but I still had the feeling, when I left, that there were things I wanted that I didn't get. Would you believe they're putting out their school supplies already? I mean, how early can you get?


The last time I was there, they had some big storage barrels at a good price, but they were stacked together and I couldn't get them apart. Well, today they'd taken them apart and raised the price, but they are so big that way that I couldn't figure out a way to stack them in my basket. In view of my mice, I think it would be a good thought to put the craft stuff I leave here in a safer place, even though they didn't destroy much.


Lunch was good, as usual. I finally ate Sechuan, which I really like, but I've chickened out every time I've been to town. And as I was leaving, I met my neighbors two doors down, coming in for lunch, and they had baby bear last night, too. I mentioned taking in the bird feeders, and I hope they caught that. We'll never get him to go away so long as there is food anywhere around here.


I needed to stock the freezer a bit, and I was appalled at the price of meat...not just beef, which is terrible, but all meat. Wow! How to put a dent in the wallet! However, the summer fruit is beginning to come in, and I even got some local strawberries. I have to be cautious about strawberries, but the local ones are sooooooo good that I will take my chances.


I was really tired by the time I finally got out of Econo, and it was rather late, and there seemed to be a lot of traffic. The Season, I guess. I also ran across a lot of excessively legal drivers, which made my trip rather long.


Going to town, I took a trip through Laurium, since they are still working on US-41 in Calumet. That is a nice little town, but I knew there was no way I could figure out how I got around, so going home, I went through Calumet. It really is a pity they have to tear up the whole road (it is down to one lane with flagman) right at the height of the tourist season. Eventually, they'll start paving the whole stretch from M-26 in Calumet to Mohawk, and that will be fun, too. Probably in August, when everybody wants to be in Copper Harbor.


It was a lovely, sunny day today, but it was hot in Houghton. My thermometer got up to 81º, which wouldn't have been too bad outside, but the inside of the car quickly got over 100º and I was miserable. It was in the upper 70s all the way back, until I came down the hill into Copper Harbor. The thermometer in the car reacts quite slowly, but it plummeted as fast as it could, and when I got back here, it was a lovely, balmy 65º, and it felt soooo good! I opened up the house, although it really wasn't too warm in here, but it was nice to air it out.


Good old Mother Superior! While I like this entire area, I'm not sure I could handle being further down the peninsula, at least without air conditioning. The wind was from the northwest and pretty strong until just a few minutes ago, and that saved us. When the sun is shining, the wind is apparently fueled by the heating of the land close to the cold water (and it's still cold!), and as a result, it usually dies down around sunset. Actual sunset isn't for another half hour, but it's getting cloudy, and at any rate, the sun is too low to do much heating, so the wind has died almost completely.


So I made it home, and I got the stuff in the fridge that needs to be there. In the late afternoon, I worked on the bracelet and wished the feeders were out. I'm about half done. I'm thinking about putting it aside for a while tomorrow and trying to get the stuff together to take to Mariner. I've diddled around enough, and I think I have a ballpark idea of what I want to charge. I just need to get little tags made and a list of prices together. So maybe I will do that tomorrow.


Tonight, I'm very tired, and I think I will toddle off to bed as soon as this uploads (which could be a while) and try to get another good night's sleep.


It's quiet and cloudy in the field tonght.


July 14

Bastille Day? Usually NPR mentions things like that, but nobody did that I heard today. Not being French, it doesn't make too much of an impression.


I got to bed at a most reasonable hour last night. When I left the office, it was foggy, but by the time I'd bathed and all that, the sky had cleared and the end of sunset was very pretty indeed. I noticed, as I was falling off to sleep, that the lighthouse light was out, which was interesting. They got it back on about 2 am, but in the meantime....


About ten days ago, I started taking a new allergy medication, and for a while I thought it was working fine. About midnight last night, I finally determined that, in fact, it wasn't working at all. I might as well have been taking a sugar pill. I should have divined that in the morning, when I sneezed my head off. Add pine pollen to the list of things I'm allergic to. So I routed out the few last pills of my old med and took one, and I slept much better for the rest of the night.


I know the plan was to go to town today, but when I got up, not only was it a pretty day, I had the fuzzy head that comes from uncontrolled allergy attacks, and I just decided I didn't feel good enough to drive that far, so I stayed here and enjoyed a very lovely day. The temperature got into the upper 60s, and there was a nice breeze from the northwest, which meant it was nice to have the doors open.


I stuck to my plan to leave the feeders in until around 2 pm, when I just wanted to see some birds. Baby bear was around in the morning, and for once I was thinking fast enough to grab the camera. The pictures aren't perfect, but they'll do. Unfortunately, he came back shortly after I hung the feeders out. I knew he would. He was around after I went to bed last night, too, thumping on the deck.


After chasing him away and thinking over the situation, I called the DNR and talked to a nice lady, and this evening is the last time you will see the feeders out until sometime next week, if then. I should have taken them in this afternoon, but I love the birds so much, I decided to wait. It seems, however, that the only way to discourage bears is not to even let them get a whiff of any kind of food, and the only way to do that is not to put out any birdseed for several days running. I knew that, deep in my little heart of hearts, because the first year I was here, after that bear crunched all the bird feeders, I stopped feeding the birds and he went away eventually. 


However, the lady took my name and number and said she would tell the bear trapper, because if baby bear is still coming around after there has been no food for a number of days, it probably means he is an orphan and he will have to be trapped. They don't like to trap cubs, because their traps are made for adult bears and could injure a cub, but they fully understand the nuisance factor, and besides, I know this little fellow is too small to make it through the winter without help. I guess I'll just hope discouraging him will send him back to mom.


I just made myself a sundae with Jilbert's ice cream and American Spoon's Fruit Perfect sour cherries, and it was great, and besides, Buster thinks so, too. He loves ice cream - I guess most cats do - and we have it all too seldom, or when we do it usually has chocolate in it, which is poisonous to cats.  So he has now left the dish so polished it looks like it doesn't even need washing. Yum.


The other friend I showed the bracelets to emailed me to say she wants two, and would have bought the one when I showed it to her if I'd had my act together enough to give her a price,  so with some difficulty in the starting, I began the first one. This time, my tension is just fine, thank you, and I'm almost back to where I was last night when I got out the scissors. These things have nearly 1000 teensy beads in them, each one sewn in separately, so it will take some time. This time I'll try to take a picture before I send it on its way.


My fuzzy head is almost cleared, I'm happy to say, but I think the rain and humidity of yesterday rather settled the pollen, too. So the plan is to get to bed nice and early and not to cough and blow all night long, and take off for town at a reasonable hour tomorrow. We'll see.


It's clear and breezy in the field tonight.


July 13

Well, I tried for almost two hours to upload the journal last night, and finally I just gave up, but it was a lot later than I wanted to be up. While it wasn't uploading, I made three bracelets with big beads on elastic, all three of which came out pretty well, I think.


It was warm in the bedroom, but that didn't interfere much with my sleeping. I got up rather early because of my date, and shortly after I arose, I had a horrible allergy attack on top of my cold, which left me feeling rather groggy for the rest of the day.


When I went to put out the feeders, I discovered that the bear had been by overnight, and had broken another branch of the pine tree, and in breaking it off, I discovered the reason for my allergy - the pine pollen came out overnight, and as usual, there is a ton of it, yellow stuff all over everything, including the harbor.


I had a nice lunch (really late breakfast - Harbor Haus doesn't start serving lunch until noon), and  met a very nice lady, who has a lot of the same interests I do. We had a lovely afternoon, and before she left, she bought the copper peyote bracelet - my first jewelry sale!


I noticed, while I was driving to lunch, that there was a very black cloud over the mountain, and while we were eating, there was a nice rainstorm, with a bit of thunder, but by the time we started for the house, the sun was out again. Sometime later, we were standing looking out of the great room slider when there was a tremendous crack of thunder right over the house, and there was another black cloud over the point, but the rain didn't amount to anything.


Unfortunately, the phone line got hung up while we were away, so it missed the pictures of the bear eating almost all the seed out of the feeder. I'm wondering now if we didn't interrupt it when we drove in, because he came back to finish off his meal, so my new friend got a good look at him. He really does understand "Go away!!!", and my friend can attest to that. Since I  have been here and watching the feeders, the bear hasn't been back, of course.


The morning was extremely warm - it was 74º and very humid when I put out the feeders, but just after my friend left, the wind shifted to the northwest, and it has cooled down nicely. Just a little while ago, the harbor suddenly filled up with fog again, and we are now completely socked in. What a day of contrasts! This afternoon, with the sun and clouds, the sky was really beautiful. The temperature has dropped back into the 50s again, so it will be much better sleeping tonight.


I hope to start sleeping a bit earlier tonight, because I'm tired and sort of foggy myself. I always forget, when I say that, that it takes half an hour or so to upload the journal, more if there are pictures, provided it goes well. I've had connection problems all day, and I just rebooted a bit ago, so I hope there won't be a problem.


Since I sold the peyote bracelet before I even got a picture of it, I got out the stuff to make another, and I had it almost half done when I decided I was doing a lousy job - something about my tension is really off - so I just cut it all apart, and I will start it over the next time I can see...with the clouds and fog, it's been a bit dark to stitch since about 8 pm. I really don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I'll try it again and see if I can do as nice a job as the first one.


So it was a nice social day in the field. Tomorrow I must go to town and get orange juice, bird seed, and something to eat, so there probably won't be any bird feeders out: I hate to disappoint the birds and squirrels, but I really do not want to feed a bear, even a baby bear.


It's a foggy field tonight.


July 12

I forgot to tell the tale of the day for yesterday. Back in 2001, I was spending many evenings sitting in bed reading and knitting a sock. When it was time to turn out the light, I would drop the book and the bag of knitting on the floor, and one morning, I took it to the office to knit there. Someplace between the bedroom floor and the office, I lost a needle. It was a size 1 bamboo needle, so it wasn't really obvious, but it totally disappeared. Fortunately, I had another.


I searched that autumn, and I not only searched, I cleaned and moved furniture the next spring, without finding the needle. It is natural in color, so it would not blend in with the floor. I was willing to swear it wasn't there.


Yesterday morning, I was sitting in the closet, which is also my dressing room, putting on my shoes, when I looked up, and what should be resting in the middle of the doorway but my needle! Where it went, and how it got back there, I simply can't imagine. I presume Buster found it, but I'm not even sure about that, since it was lying parallel to the door, and right in the middle. I thought this house was too new to have ghosts (except cat ghosts), and until now it didn't seem to have developed a black hole, but that's certainly what seems to have happened. Anyway, I now have my needle back. The lost is found, even if the mystery isn't solved. This sort of thing happens to me a lot, and I never consider something lost in the house to be gone forever, because every so often the black hole will belch and spit something back out to me.


When I went to bed last night, the stars were shining, and I think they were still out when I got up in the night, but this morning, from about 6:30 onward for most of the day, I was totally fogged in. There were very few times I could see the mountain. However, above the fog it was sunny, and the camera caught one of my favorite phenomena - the fog rolling in at the other end of the harbor.  The temperature made it into the low 60s, but since there wasn't any wind, it was nice enough that I could have the slider open, which Buster really enjoys. I smelled bear a couple of times, but didn't see anybody.


I slept in this morning, sort of accidentally. I was awake at 7, and that was too early, and the next time I woke up it was 10. I had hoped that would help my cold, but I still don't feel so hot. It will just have to run its course.


I didn't do a lot, but since I will probably have a guest tomorrow, I actually got out the mop and mopped up the sticky spot in front of the office slider. That was partly because it was drawing ants, and I just don't want ants in my house if I can prevent it. I also waved the mop at the kitchen, but that doesn't seem to have done much good.


On the subject of mops, when I moved in, I bought a string mop that has a gizmo to wring it attached. All the strings were attached at the bottom of the mop, so they formed loops. When I took it out to use the first time I mopped, I noticed most of the strings were disconnected, so it's unusable, and I thought that was odd. I let it dry out, and when I looked at it today, it appears that the mice were at it, and chewed through most of the strings. So when I go to town, probably on Wednesday, because I'm running out of orange juice, I will have to see if I can either get a new head for this mop, or a new mop. Sponge mops are OK, but I'd like a string mop that covers a wider area, and I don't want to invest in a wringer if I can avoid it.


I finished the necklace I was stringing when it got dark last night, and it came out OK, but I don't like the color combination as well as I thought I would. I guess blue and pink, even nice blues and nice pinks, just don't appeal to me very much. Maybe somebody will like it.


I hauled out the cheap big beads I had fiddled with earlier and put together a clear and white stretch bracelet that came out pretty good. When it got dark, I was trying to string a blue and turquoise one from a selection of beads where there are no two alike, so the bracelet will have to have every bead different. I don't know that my eye is good enough to do those things well, but we'll see. The stretch cord is fun to play with and easy to string onto.


So now I will toddle off to bed and hope I get up earlier tomorrow, since i'm supposed to meet someone at Harbor Haus at 11, and this morning, I wouldn't have made it.


The sun was shining on the field today, even if it was foggy in Copper Harbor.


July 11

Sorry for no journal last night, but I got home so late that I didn't do much but bathe and fall into bed. I missed the bear, who turned up around 10 pm...which reminds me, it's almost time to take in the feeders. It's a fine line between the time the birds go to bed and the time baby bear shows up. I wish he'd go home to mama.


Yesterday was a glorious day altogether, mostly sunny, with temperatures that got up into the mid 60s, finally.  The only thing that made it less than wonderful for me is that after another bad night, I realized that my problem is that I've come down with a cold. Not a bad cold, just enough to make me feel blah and cause my sinuses to drain and make me cough. Blah! Anyway, the evening was a delight, baby bear notwithstanding.


During the day, I did manage to get the other two necklaces remade, and they are now much nicer, so I would say I accomplished something.


When the guys finally brought me home, the sky was nicely clear - not spectacular, but clearer than you'll ever see it in Detroit - and it was full of stars. A nice end to a nice evening.


I slept much better last night. For one thing, I was exhausted, and for another, when I started coughing, I ate a cough drop - like, duh.  That's why I brought all those things with me. I will do the same tonight, and see if I can't get over this in a hurry.


When I got to the office this morning, I discovered that the dialup had never made a connection, but it seems everybody was rising late today, so hopefully nobody noticed. I discovered that some people had forwarded the Friday cam pictures of the bear to pastynet, so they appeared on today's discussion page. That was a nice blurb for the camera, I thought, so I referred them to my picture of baby bear. If anybody missed the camera before 10 am this morning, I'm sorry.


The sky had clouded up by morning, and it was warm (mid 60s) and humid and looked threatening to rain, although it never did. The temperature sat in the upper 60s all day long. The winds were calm all day, and the harbor was so pretty! The only problem was, the bugs are still here. I poked my head outside to put up the feeders, and when I came in, I felt something on my neck, and when I wiped it, it was blood. So I have another black fly bite on my neck. Oh, dear.


The afternoon brightened up, and  sunset has been rather pretty. I really diddled around most of today, since I still don't feel great, but I did start another necklace. Now that I've figured out how to use my cord twister on bead strings, I want to stay in practice.


I went to Harbor Haus again tonight, and they had a special beef kabob that was wonderful, so I ate well again.


Since I missed a day's journal, I have tried to make up for it by processing all the photos I took Thursday. The page is here. There are comments, so you can follow them yourself. I will only add that the couple of pictures I took of the grounds show how lush the weed (and wildflower) growth is this year, in spite of the cool temperatures. Rain and lots of light will do wonderful things.


So now I will toddle up to the north end and see if I can cure my cold with sleep.


July 9

Just about the time I was going to fold my tent and quietly crawl into bed, the radio station started playing Beethoven's Third Symphony, which I love and haven't heard in a while. They seem to do that sort of thing frequently late at night. So instead of jumping right into the shower, I turned on both radios - bathroom and bedroom - and while it was playing, I finished graphing my interpretation of the next pattern in the sampler. I went right to sleep, but I was wakeful, for some unknown reason, for about three hours later on. I can report that the clouds were gone at 3 am, and there were stars, although nothing spectacular. I did see Polaris for the first time in quite a while, but it didn't jump out at me without my glasses.


Eventually, I got back to sleep, but I got up at a relatively reasonable time this morning anyway. but what with the bird feeders and the slow breakfast, I ended up eating after noon. I have been putting a bit of American Spoon Foods' Lemon Curd between my slices of French toast, and it doesn't do it a bit of harm. Yum.


Afterwards. I went back to the north end and embroidered the motif I'd graphed, which finished the seventeenth band. While I was there, I heard some thumps and other odd noises, and at one point, Buster appeared, hollering like he wanted to tell me something. But there have been a lot of odd noises around here lately.


When I got back to the computer, somebody emailed me to say it looked like there had been a bear at the feeders, and indeed, the platform feeder was empty, the sunflower seeds were half gone out of the big feeder, and the hummingbird feeder was sitting on the deck (how the heck did he do that?). The picture showed what looked like the silhouette of a head with its nose in the feeder. That was at 1:45. At 4 pm, he appeared again, this time walking on the railing, and it was clear he's a little bitty thing. This isn't the same bear I had earlier in the summer. The picture after this one, by the way, shows me looking over the deck to try to see where he went. He was back around 5:30, and I decided it was best to just take the feeders in, except for the metal thistle feeder. Well, he came back at least twice more, and it finally occurred to me that it might be possible to get a better picture of him. Well...it's some better. I took it through the two windowpanes, and you can see a reflection, and I had to fiddle with the brightness...it was at around 8:15, and the light wasn't the best...but you can see that I do indeed have a bear cub. His nose is pointed up and away from the camera, in case you wondered, and the picture shows the back of his head.


I don't know where his mama is, but he needs her. He is not very woods-wise, and he is completely unafraid of people, which is bad.  Loud noises don't affect him, either, which is also bad. He isn't smart enough to know he can crunch the feeder to get the seeds, and he doesn't know about thistle seed at all. However, after the second or third time, he now knows what "Go away!!!!" means. He didn't want to...he whined and growled as he went down the tree...but he went. My neighbor's little mini-poodle came over and barked like mad at him, and he didn't know what that meant, either.


Oh, yes, I was walking around on the deck within three or four feet of him. It probably wasn't very wise, but he's just a baby, and he doesn't know he could do me real harm. I'm still bigger than he is, so he isn't threatening at all. If he keeps hanging around, I may call the DNR and consult with them about what to do with him. He's just hungry, and he's too young to know all the wild places he might find food at this time of year. I really wonder what became of his mama.


So that was the excitement of the day. The weather was just delightful, for a change. The temperature got into the low 70s and it was mostly sunny, with the same kind of clouds we had yesterday, but it was so nice to have the doors and windows open. Bears don't smell good, by the way, and their scent stays around after they leave. I'd wondered what the nasty smell I noticed when I last had the east windows open...and that was it. But today it was just too nice and too warm to shut things up just because of a smell.


The wind has been minimal since yesterday afternoon. Last night, the lights of town were reflected on a harbor that was nearly calm, and when I was awake in the middle of the night, I could hear the bell buoy, something I haven't heard very much this year. The harbor was calm again this morning, and our end was just like a sheet of glass.


My next embroidery project came in the mail today, a big angel, done in mostly white on dark blue linen. I will finish the blackwork, but I feel the need to get back to the rhythm of cross stitch in hand, without using a frame, and I feel like getting into something big. I actually have two angels, and both are very pretty, but the white one appeals to me more. She is called "Angel of Dreams", and I think that's an appropriate one to add to my collection of Lavender and Lace angels.


I was fiddling with one of the bead necklaces...yup, I decided to do them over, and then had so much trouble I wondered why, when I got a call from a friend I worked with. He is a really nice guy, and ended up here because he'd been camping over by Grand Marais and felt the need for a roof over his head after the nasty weather we've had lately. So I'm getting to go to Harbor Haus tomorrow with two people I like a lot. This seems to be the summer of the visitors, for sure! And Tuesday, I'll be back there for lunch with another lady I met through the website. My goodness, and I thought I was the hermit of Copper Harbor!


So after my wakeful night last night, I'm tired, and it's late, and that is all I know. 


I think summer has come to the field at last!


July 8

The sun is shining! The sun is shining!


Of course I went to bed too late last night, and despite being very tired, I had a wakeful period around 4 am, so once I got back to sleep, I slept forever, which has rather truncated my day. 


When I went to bed it was raining, and I think it rained more or less hard all night long. It was foggy when dawn came, but by the time I made it out of bed, the nice north wind was blowing the last of the clouds away. There was a haze of high cirrus clouds, which made the sky pale blue rather than dark blue, but the harbor was blue and the lake had stopped roaring. The clouds thickened gradually all day, until now, it's mostly cloudy again. The temperature got into the upper 50s, which was a real relief. I find anything under about 55º is a bit chilly, especially when it's damp and rainy and windy.


My day hasn't amounted to much, and I never touched the embroidery, which is rather unusual. I was finally making my breakfast, around 1 pm, when Tom knocked at the door to say that the pump had been replaced and worked, and we can get 50 psi out of it, which is the minimum my pond vac needs. So we shall see. He also reported that the mosquitoes were out in hoards, not that I was surprised. I think the worst of the black flies are over, but all the rain has been perfect for mosquitoes.


Rather late in the day, I grabbed the bug shirt and the camera and headed out into the yard. I took a ton of pictures, which, I'm sorry to say, aren't quite ready to publish. I will get at that tomorrow, when I decide how to arrange them. There were also a number of older pictures in the camera, almost all of which were awful, including one I can't imagine what it was supposed to be. While today's pictures will have to wait (I got up to the letter "q", however many that is), I won't leave you pictureless. 


You may remember my story of the eagle, the night Chip and Nancy and I went to dinner back in June. It turns out, I did get something. After adjusting the lighting and cropping heavily, here is the eagle in the tree. I don't consider it a good picture, but I'm thankful I got anything, under the circumstances. It can't be blown up any more, since what you see is at the limit of the pixels available. While I was trying to get the camera reset to high resolution, he flew away, and I got a lovely picture of some blurry pine boughs and sky.


It was indeed buggy, and I was glad for my bug shirt. I also must remember, the next time I go out with the camera or to do something in the garden (which really needs something!), to tie up my hair. When I bend over to take pictures, it gets all in my face and pretty soon, not only can't I see anything, it's in my eyes and in my mouth and...yack. I found I was pretty shaky on my feet and away from the wind, it was rather warm out. Maybe tomorrow, I can experiment with the pond vac.


Buster was happy with the sunshine, and spent the late afternoon sleeping on the ugly footstool. Not only is it in the sun, but the teensy chipmunks (all three of them, I'm glad to say) were running around getting the seed, so he only had to open his eyes to be entertained.


I did   not much, although I am beginning to add to my pricing lists and get the information together that I need to price my jewelry. I also looked at the last three twisted necklaces I made, (short hiatus to reboot, because Kabcam had gone bonkers, and it was apparent that the software had gone haywire again) and I'm mulling over the idea of redoing them...a third time. I finally figured out what the problem with them is (I used only one strand of beading thread, rather than two...duh! I should consult my notes sometimes), and I'd really like them to look nicer. I will sleep on that one.


As soon as I publish this, I will go to bed. I was playing Collapse on the laptop today, so I don't have to do it anymore, and I feel the need for a good night's sleep.


The sun was shining in the field today! 


July 7

Wow, and I thought yesterday was an awful day! Today was even nastier, raining hard most of the day, with a temperature that hung in the middle 40s and a 20 mph wind out of the north. The lake was speaking...the freight train has been running over on Pebble Beach since the middle of the night. It was a dark and stormy day, and it's getting dark awfully early again tonight, so I think I will try to get to bed early. I like to listen to the lake when the surf's up and I'm lying all comfy in my bed. I don't think Buster does. He's been clingy all day.


Obviously, I didn't get into the garden today. It really is a shame - the peonies will probably be ruined by the rain, and that plant really put on a show. I also really want to find the perch for the bird feeder.


So I did my usual not much. I started the last motif in band 17 of the sampler, and discovered that the person who did the charting did her own thing, and pretty much completely ignored what the original looks like. I think I know why...it doesn't make much sense...but I think maybe I can do better. I started it this afternoon, and I'll work on it tomorrow and see what I can do. That is what is making this sampler so frustrating: the picture with it is pretty awful, and even so, I can see that the charts are frequently not like the original at all. The woman who did the charting (who shall remain nameless) is a weird woman, but I'm really thinking she must have been ill in 1997, because she published two German samplers and screwed up both of them. She is usually better than this at accuracy. Oh, well. I will see what I can do, with the really bad picture she supplied with the charts.


I had to leave off today because I had to go to the post office with a couple of bills, and there were a couple of my favorite magazines, which took care of the rest of the afternoon. One was my beading magazine, and now I have another new stitch to try...well, it's not new, but I haven't done anything with it. Only not today: It's so dark I doubt I could have seen to do anything in here.


The phone line has been acting up all day, and I will warn a certain person who emailed me that while I did write a reply, you won't get it till tomorrow, I don't think, because there seems to be a problem sending mail tonight. Having to reboot a couple of times reminded me that I had a question I want to ask Symantec, and then I discovered that in order to ask it, I needed to download a "little" 3.8 mb file, which is taking around half an hour at the speed of my line, and is interfering with the camera. Oh, well...not much to look at outside anyway. It's ugly there.


So this will get up loaded once the download is complete and I get the camera running right.


The lake is roaring in the field tonight.


July 6

I slept so hard I had to dream about it to get up and go to the bathroom. That hasn't happened in quite a while, and it always amuses me when it does. Fortunately, I've always awakened in time, but I worry that someday I won't. Actually, most of the dreams are about searching for a clean ladies' room in a place I've never been before. So I jumped up, kicked the cat out of bed (and he protested) and scuttled into the bathroom as fast as I could.


It was a good night to sleep, and I could have kept right on this morning, but I don't want my hours to get skewed any more than they are already, so I got up at a relatively decent hour.


There wasn't much to get up for. It was cloudy and dreary and cold, and sometime in the afternoon it started dripping rain. The temperature never got over 50º, and night came early. I brought the bird feeders in so fast that I didn't even sniff.


I finished the second motif in the band sampler and started the third one, and I worked a bit on the little Spanish sampler. I was able to complete the part I had so much trouble with yesterday, so that was good. Otherwise, I did not much else to report.


I didn't make it under the deck before it started to rain, but I am going to have to go down there, because last night while I was away, one of the squirrels pulled the perch out of the feeder again, and I can't see it from the deck, so I'm going to have to go down and root around. I think, if I find it, I may use a little dab of glue, and see if that will keep it in place a bit better. I'd like to get down there anyway, because one peony, which has gone bonkers, is in full bloom. It is either white or very pale pink, and I want to see it and sniff it and probably take a picture. It amazes me that it could grow so much in two years. None of the others have. One peony and one iris have never bloomed, and I am going to have to investigate that, too. They may have gotten buried too deep. It would be good to pull some of the quack grass out while the Siberian Iris are in bloom, too, when I can tell the difference between them. However, I'm not going rooting around in the garden in the rain.


I haven't mentioned the state of my meadow behind and beside the house. There aren't nearly so many daisies as there were last year, although there is a nice clump around the well head and another back over the drain field. The rest of the meadow is more mixed this year. I am very happy to say that a lot of blue lupines have taken hold, and with all the rain, they are making a very nice show. Around the driveway, I have an interesting mixture, including daisies, wild phlox, wallflowers (which are an extremely vibrant orange) and, happily, sweet william. Some of the mixture I planted had sweet william in it, but this is the first year I've had any flowers to speak of. I want to sniff them, too. All the rain has made the growth very lush and green. I seem to have a large amount of tansy growing all over, and since I know there wasn't any in the wildflower mixtures I bought, I have to guess the seed was in the dirt that was put down. I don't really mind them, they are rather pretty in the fall, and their foliage is pretty, but they tend to be invasive, so I am going to have to watch them and hope they don't take over. The lupines and daisies are much nicer, in my opinion. Anyway, it's fun to look out the back windows these days and see what I can see.


I mostly ignored the weather today, although I had to go to the post office in the rain. It wasn't worth spending any time on. There are still a lot of people in town, I'm glad to say, but if it stays this nasty for too long, they'll all go away. The real tourist season is only between the Fourth and Labor day, and that doesn't give townspeople a lot of time to make a lot of money.


This morning I remembered that I was eating in tonight, so I took out my pork chops and had a nice dinner. Now, of course, I have to put away the rest so I will have something to eat all week.


So that is all there is on a dull, damp day in the field.


July 5

Well, after getting up to see the show, I had a hard time getting to sleep, so when I got up this morning, rather late, I was groggy, and if my lack of success at playing any games is an indication, my head was full of cotton. It sure felt that way. So I mostly sat around and did nothing, although I did clean the toilets and wash the rug beside my bed.


I discovered that my fuzzy head was a general problem when I tried to work a bit on another one of the reproduction samplers, and ended up redoing the same two inch square about four times. It does count strangely, but not that strangely!


It was a relief to go off to dinner. I met a new friend from the website, who was here with her kids, and who is a very nice person, and we had a long conversation. She has a daughter who was in a bad car accident as a baby, and she's one I want to keep contact with if and when I have to hassle the authorities again. So it was a nice evening, although Buster is sitting on my lap now, telling me I went and left him for a long time and he doesn't like it. Poor Buster.


It's too bad the weather today wasn't yesterday. It was cloudy this morning, but it cleared up by 10:30 or so, and the afternoon was really pretty. It was cold, though - the temperature stayed in the low 50s and it has now dropped to 45º, but there wasn't much wind, so it was pretty pleasant. It certainly was pretty.


So it was a quiet day in the field, and I hope I have better luck sleeping tonight. When I went to get the bird feeders, it was quiet and smelled good outside tonight.


What a lovely night in the field.


July 4

I have been in Copper Harbor for the Fourth of July every year for twenty years now. I've seen cold weather and thunderstorms and wind, but I have never seen so miserable a day as today. The temperature barely made it over 50º, it rained and was foggy most of the day, and it was generally ugly. They had the parade, such as it was, in the rain, and I have no doubt they had to cancel the children's games: the kids might have enjoyed playing in the mud, but I doubt their mothers would have been happy.


I did get to wear the sweater with the flag on the front that I've had for three or four years and never had occasion to wear...in general I don't hold with having outfits I can only sometimes wear once a year, but the sweater was cute and it was cheap.


Otherwise, I got up very late, ate breakfast very late, and did very little except some embroidery. I did create a logo for the jewelry and started printing up some tags:


Oh - this one doesn't have the "Rainbow's End" on it, in the same font I use for the titles on the site. Anyway, it's not terribly professional, but it will do for a start. The idea is to attach a tag saying what materials are used in the piece. It's not terribly important for the glass beads, but I want everybody to know when I use gold filled and sterling silver and real semi-precious stones.


In the course of scanning the image in, I managed to do something that totally hung the computer, to the extent that I had to turn it off and reboot to get it straightened out. I'm afraid that the software HP provided with the multifunction machine has some severe bugs in it...when I checked, there were seven or eight instances of the program running. No wonder the poor machine got confused and hung up! Printing is usually better, although it's caused me some problems too, occasionally. Too bad, because the hardware is great.


It ended up just Shirley and me at dinner tonight, and it was a zoo at Harbor Haus, which I was glad to see. There wasn't the usual crowd in town when we went, but it certainly was beginning to fill up when we left. I was glad to see that, so long as I could withdraw to my splendid isolation. 


I took a nap when I got home, and I'm sorry to say I screwed up the camera, so I only got one picture of the fireworks. It did catch the beginning of the final show. I'm really sorry there wasn't more. The humid air made the rockets go a lot higher and expand a lot bigger than last year, and it was a very nice show. I missed part of it, because I was fiddling with the camera, unfortunately, and the only place in the room I can see the show from is right behind the camera. What I saw was lovely.


Buster didn't like it, nor the amateur show my neighbors were putting on. They come up from the Chicago area, where it is apparently easier to get fireworks. But they make loud noises, and Buster doesn't like loud noises, so he ran away.


So now I am tired, and since I took my bath when I got home, I can now crawl into my little nest and drift off...


Loud doings in the field tonight.


July 3

 I guess I'd better write this before I have to reboot again. I'm not at all sure what is causing it, but I'm beginning to see why the hiatuses in updating the picture during the last part of the winter. Everything came up just fine this morning, but by late in the afternoon, while the connection was still up, the software couldn't complete the upload. There isn't a particular error, so I have no clue about what the problem is, but the symptoms are the same. I just rebooted the second time, but this might be my fault - I played a quick game of Collapse an hour or so ago.


That was about the way the day went. I woke up very late this morning, and it was partly cloudy and 69º already, which was nice, because I could open the doors. It was time to refill the big feeder, but in moving things around I dumped the platform feeder over on the hearth. I finally got most of the seeds brushed off this afternoon, but to to a complete job, I will need to break out the vacuum.


I just brought in the feeders, much to the chagrin of the little red squirrel in the platform feeder. I threw some seed on the deck, which I hope he finds. He is so tame that if I wanted to, I could reach out and touch him when I go outside, and as often as not, he runs toward me instead of away. Of course, squirrels aren't real smart, either.


I was filling feeders in the breezeway this morning when, in the course of shutting the door to the garage, I tried to kill a very large mosquito and ran the middle finger of my left hand into the door, cracking the nail. Drat. I was going to cut them, but not until after my social engagements. I don't like the look of one short nail, so I cut them all off. Typing is much easier, and I think most craft things will be, too. I found, a good many years ago when I started using terminals with keyboards, that long fingernails get in my way too much to bother to keep them. Last night I was typing with the ends of the nails, but if they got much longer, I would be catching the key above the one I wanted to hit, and I make too many typing mistakes without that. Frequently, especially late at night when I usually do these things, my right hand and my left hand get out of sync and I type (as I just did) things like "suually" or other even less intelligible strings of letters. It's too bad, because even with all my arthritic bumps and swellings, my hands do look better when the nails are long. They're just too useless to put up with.


Eventually I finished the first motif in row 17 of the sampler and the dividing band underneath it and barely started the second motif. There are four altogether in this band, so I am slowly making progress. The last band is going to take some doing, because it has one huge motif, a bunch of smaller ones, and the entire right side is a series of fancy hemstitched bands. That will be a trip. I haven't done much needleweaving, and I don't know if I can maintain the proper tension. We shall see.


This afternoon, I put away the blue iris beads and tried to rearrange my desk a bit...not much, just a bit. I  found the notes I'd made on the cost of the beads, so I will be trying to price my creations and get them to Peggy as soon as possible...whenever that is. Pricing is going to be hard. With the semiprecious stones, I can pretty much figure the cost, but I don't know quite what to do with the seed bead stuff. The beads are, in general, not very expensive, and some of the ones I used are very cheap (nice, but cheap), but I do think the results are worth more than $3 or $4, because I put my time and thought into them. The woven bracelets, of course, took hours, probably six or eight total, to do, so they should be priced accordingly, but I don't know exactly how much I can ask. I know the woman who had the boring bracelets at Art in the Park last summer was asking something like $25 for her wide bugle bead bracelets, but I don't think I could get that for mine...I don't think she could either. Well, I'll come up with something, and if they don't sell, we'll just mark them down.


So I just puttered for most of the day, and now it's time to go to bed again. 


The weather has turned cloudy, and there may be some rain, but at last it's warm enough to open up the house. It got into the low 70s here (the NWS station was way off again), with a light more or less south breeze, and it was really a very nice day. in spite of the lack of blue skies. I wonder why, if the wind is coming in the back windows of the office, the NWS says it's from the WSW? I've often wondered that. Those windows face a bit south of east. Very strange. 


However, after a bad start this morning, with ATVs on the road and somebody setting off firecrackers, most of the day has been blessedly quiet, and now the only sound is the soft sssshhhhh when the wind rustles the trees. Just the way I like it.


Peace reigns in the field.


July 2

I think it was partly cloudy overnight, but the moon was so bright that there weren't any stars visible. It was another glorious morning, warmish and calm and lovely, and I have had the slider open all day long. It's cooling off now, but it was nice to have the breeze coming through. Having the slider open probably interferes with the quality of the pictures from the camera, because it's taking its shots through four panes of glass and two argon gaps, which cuts down the transmissibility quite a bit. Sorry, but you'll have to get used to it. It got partly cloudy in the afternoon, but it seems to be clearing up again now, and according to the clear sky clock, it should be fairly cloudless all night. Seeing will be lousy, though, because the moon is full tonight.


This morning was the morning of the slow breakfast, so I got a late start, and I stopped embroidering when I had to rip out half an hour's work. The stitchers of some of the original samplers clearly didn't believe in ripping, but I do, and I was off by a whole stitch. So I ripped it out and then quit. I spent some time working on the blue iris bracelet, which is still a trial. The threads keep getting tangled, and I had to take a knot out of one strand. I had to take a knot out of a strand of silk embroidery thread, too, and I'll be darned if I can figure out how that happens.


Tonight, I finally got to show Peggy the jewelry, and she really liked it. She particularly liked the copper bead bracelet and the lapis necklace. But she thinks it's worth a try to sell all the stuff. So I will try to get some tags together and some prices, and I guess I'd better put the blue iris away and work on some of the other things...gray necklaces and cloisonné necklaces, for two. I really don't know if it will sell, but she didn't think it looked too amateurish, so I guess it's worth a try. Another thing she liked was the one I put together from the glass stones in cages...they come that way, and all I have to do is link them with jump rings...and the result is cool. The one I did was with gold, but they're now making the beads with silver, too. And they're pretty cheap, so I can get more. The peyote stitch bracelets are more of a problem. They will probably sell, but they take a fair amount of time to make. I don't want to be under the gun about this stuff.


Before I give the stuff to her, I will try to take some pictures. My new bead tray is gray, and it's a good background.


So that has put me in an "up" mood, and I will go off to bed and dream about beads.


The wind is sshhh-ing through the trees in the field tonight.


July 1

A new month, already!


I couldn't tell you the sky conditions last night, because when I finally got to bed, I slept until gray dawn was creeping over the harbor. From the look of the moon when I left the office, however, I think it was clear.


It was an awesome morning when I finally woke up, perfectly clear and sunny, with a light wind from the north. Fantastic. It stayed pretty much clear all day long, too, and while there was a cloud or two on the horizon at sunset, I think the night is going to be clear. The temperature got into the upper 50s, but with not much wind, it was lovely.


I took advantage by not doing much at all. There was some embroidery, and I added a few rows to the blue iris bracelet. It will come out all right, but I'm not sure it's worth the hassle. One needle with four yards of thread is hard enough to handle, and two are a lot worse.


Since the wind was from the bedroom end or slightly toward the back of the house (it doesn't face exactly due west), and the sun had heated the office up to 80º, I had the slider open late in the day, and just a bit before sunset the loon called once. A bit later I looked out, because I heard a small boat horn, and there he was, right in the middle of the harbor...and he dove just before the idiot in the boat drove right over where he had been.


My feeling about most of the people who own power boats was formed in my childhood on Lake St. Clair. Most of them are of the same mindset who drive snowmobiles at 85 mph and ATVs at 75 mph. In my world, those people wouldn't be permitted to touch any kind of a motorized vehicle at all.


The guy tonight was, thank goodness, going very slowly, but he had no business being down in this end of the harbor anyway, and that was the first time I've seen a loon down here all summer. He's not likely to be back.


The only trouble with the weekend coming up is that all of a sudden the town fills up and people are running up and down our road all day long, and maybe they will even be setting off the cannons at the fort (although they didn't do that last year). It rather interferes with the peace and tranquility of my little corner of the world and I resent it.


Oh, well. Peace reigns in the field tonight, at least.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM