A View From the Field








September, 2004


September 30

Well, September has come to an end. Sigh. Only about seven weeks left in the field.


The moon looked a bit muted last night, I guess because of clouds, and it was too cloudy and it set too late to see this morning, so I guess we'll just have to make do with what we have.


It was partly cloudy all day, although the temperature got into the mid 60s. The weather forecast for the next few days looks really dire...I guess we are in for our October cold snap. I hope it doesn't totally screw up the color. They are even predicting some snow mixed with the rain in higher elevations...that would be from Calumet to Phoenix, mostly. Not exactly nice, but I knew the beautiful weather we've had in September couldn't last forever. If we're lucky, after this period, it will get a little warmer and be nice again. I hope so.


I jumped out of bed at close to 8 am this morning, for some reason I don't know, so I had a nice long day. I am pleased to report that I finally finished one half of the bread cloth. I was bound and determined to get the rest of the backstitching done today, so I did, and made a small start on the second half. I don't know quite why this thing is taking me so long to do, except that it's repetitive and therefore boring. I must try to do better on the second half. It needs to be presented soon.


I also did a little beading, but not much else of note. I did spend a couple of hours looking for a medium-weight robe, which I didn't find. The polar fleece is good only for really cold weather, and there are times when I need something lighter but more than a nightie. I guess I will just have to resign myself to getting dressed in the morning, eh? I really should: for one thing, getting shoes on my feet before they begin to swell keeps them in shape better.


I do have a picture to share. Late this afternoon, a bit after 6 pm, there were quite a few clouds in front of the sun, and this is what I saw. Talk about crepuscular rays... It was really beautiful, and I took several shots with more or less water before I got that one. I like it. But then, I'm a sucker for crepuscular rays.


So that is the last day of September. It's cloudy in the field tonight.


September 29

I can't say I slept well last night, and I can't say why I didn't. Really weird. However, the moon was so bright I probably could have read by it, in a pristinely clear sky. And much to my delight, it set in view of the camera again this morning, I'm sorry the moon got cut in half in that first picture, because it was a good one otherwise. Maybe we'll see it again tomorrow? There are a few clouds in our sky now, but according to the Clear Sky Clock, they're supposed to go away by midnight and not reappear until around noon tomorrow, so maybe...


Today was another fantastic day, a bit warmer than yesterday, but not much. The temperature topped out at about 60 here, but it was sunny and gorgeous, with a brisk northwest wind for most of the afternoon. Late in the afternoon, there were a few clouds, but not much to interfere with the sun. I guess it's supposed to get pretty cold tonight (didn't I say that yesterday?) but we'll see. It was under 50 when I got up this morning, but it warmed up fast in the sunshine.


I had a nice lunch at Harbor Haus with another e-friend, who is a very nice lady, and has moved up here permanently with her family. Lucky her! Anyway, I expect to see more of her.


The big deal of the day actually started yesterday. When I got home from town, Outlook Express couldn't contact any of the servers where I have accounts. I thought it might be a problem at Pastynet, although they don't have very many, but the same thing happened this morning, and when I checked with them, they were OK. Sooo.....


When I got home from lunch, I backed up all the data, including all my email files and the camera files, to the laptop, took a deep breath, and did a GoBack to yesterday morning. Boy, how I hate to do that! It took quite a while to backup and restore the files, and I had to have the camera offline all the time I was doing it, so if anybody noticed that the camera wasn't updating for a couple of hours this afternoon (actually, 2 hours), that was the reason. Once again, I just don't know what I would do without GoBack! 


Evidently, when I shut down Outlook Express yesterday morning, it got corrupted, and if I hadn't been able to go back and get the last good copy, I would have to have downloaded it from Microsoft...shudder! The last time I tried that (at 28.8kb), the download didn't go right and I ended up with an unusable Internet Explorer, so I haven't tried to do any Microsoft updates since. That's one reason I would like to get my wireless broadband sometime...so I can update my software. But oh, well. What I have works pretty well...usually.


As a result of my social life and my computer problems, I didn't do any craft work today at all. While the computers were doing their thing, I was reading the new jewelry catalog that came today...it's an inch thick and full of all the prettiest beads and things! So I will have to catch up tomorrow, maybe.


So that was another day in the field, and the moon should shine on us again tonight.


September 28

The only reason I couldn't see the moon before I left the office last night was that it hadn't climbed above the trees yet. It was so big and so bright that again it washed out all the stars, and for the second or third night in a row, i could see a hint of green in the foliage by moonlight. What a moon! What a night! The farmers could have harvested for 24 hours.


But the best part came this morning, as it was setting over the mountain. I didn't see it in person...I was sound asleep and having a nasty dream about that time...but here is what the camera saw. Now, that's what I call a bright moon! That last shot is a keeper, I think. I may have to print it up for my non-computer-literate friends.


It was a cool night, and good for sleeping, but I had some trouble finding a comfortable spot, and then there was that dream...hasn't happened for a while.


It was a cool day, too. The temperature never got over 55,and for most of the day there was a brisk northerly wind that put a bit of bite in the air. This morning, there were a few little, puffy clouds, but they soon disappeared and the rest of the day was as clear as only the Keweenaw can be. It was a great day!


I got up early enough, but I took my time, reading my comics and determining the sharpness of my mind with a few games of Mah Jongh, and I didn't get away until noon. 


That was long enough. They are still working on the roads, but by driving through at that time, I didn't run into many roadblocks, because it was the lunch hour. The new paving from Mohawk to Calumet is going to be very nice indeed. I like driving on new asphalt.


The color is coming along, but I rather agree with the comment in tonight's Daily Mining Gazette that it's only about 35%, if that. When you get to the overlooks, you can see a general orangish tinge to the hills, but most of the trees are still mostly green. I would guess we'll hit the peak along US-41 around the end of next week, maybe, with the north shore turning later. It still is shaping up to be a good orange-red autumn.


Most of the flowers are gone now, except for a few Queen Ann's Lace and goldenrods. What is truly amazing is that most of the bracken is still green! I've never seen it so green so late. It looks like it will take a real frost to start turning it brown. The interior south of Houghton may possibly get that tonight, but it probably won't get below 40 here, then the next couple of days will be warmer, in the 60s. But it's supposed to stay clear until Friday. This has been a fantastic stretch of weather!


I didn't think I walked more in WalMart than usual, but it seemed very warm inside, and I was sweating profusely when I got out. Ming Gardens was good as usual. And I had pretty much a plan for what I needed at Econo Foods, although I was really hot and tired when I got out of there. There is enough stuff in my freezer that mostly I got breakfast food and a little cat food, although I got lots of things to drink. The unattended gas pumps at Econo still have the lowest prices for gas ($1.98/gal), so I gassed up there. This time, I picked a pump facing north so I could see the screen, and that made it easier to understand what I was supposed to do.


When I come from Ming Gardens, I typically drive to Sharon Avenue (yup, that's its name!) and cross M-26 directly to Econo Foods' parking lot. However, today when I got there, the entire road was blocked off for repaving, and the traffic was driving (slowly) on the shoulder, and it looked like people going toward Econo weren't going to get their fair time, so I had to turn around, find a side street, then make a left turn at the light. Traffic was horrible!


And when I left Econo, just before 4 pm, it was really, really bad. I think it took me half an hour to get from M-26 and Sharon Avenue to the Hancock side of the bridge. Not only was M-26 down to one lane in each direction, it turns out that they are working on the bridge approach from the east (the US-41 side), and Sheldon Avenue pinched down to one lane right before the bridge. Egad! I could certainly tell that school is back in session. I don't believe I have ever seen such traffic before.


Curiously enough, when I crossed the bridge, all of a sudden it was all gone. I don't know where everybody went, but it was nice, except for the guy in the old pickup who was driving down the middle of the street in Hancock...and the guy two cars in front of me who came almost to a stop every two blocks. 


The roadblock I had run into in Calumet on the way down was gone, but from the M-203 intersection all the way to Ahmeek they had US-41 down to one lane...they're doing shoulders now...and again the amount of traffic was astonishing. However, everybody but me went to Mohawk, so I took Cliff Drive (fast) and got ahead of all of them, so from there to the harbor, it was an easy drive. 


The only problem I had was that my right leg went into a terrible cramp, and it wasn't until I was north of the construction that I could use the cruise control long enough to curl it up until it uncramped. This is a new thing, that has only happened once before, and I don't like it one bit.


Unloading the car almost did me in, but the perishables are all packed away now and the rest of the stuff is safely in the breezeway. One of these days, I'm going to have to clean out that breezeway.


IT was just as pretty when I got home as it was when I left, and Buster was very happy to see me. The temperature is now down into the upper 40s, and I think it's going to be another wonderful night to sleep.


The moon only rose around 8 pm, so it isn't above the trees yet, but there will probably some more camera views of it setting tomorrow morning. As for me, I'm off to the north end, where I will pull up a warm cat and enjoy the cool weather.


The moon will be shining on the field again tonight.


September 27

Well, I read for quite a while last night, and when I turned out the light, the moon was washing out all the stars it was so bright. Along about 4 or 5 am, however, it seemed to be sort of dimmed, and I guessed that it was getting cloudier. I guess I was right, because the camera caught it setting, and it's easy to see that it is sort of hazy. It was probably yellow to the eye, but the camera turns that red, and it does make kind of a neat picture. If it's clear for the next few nights, I may get a lot of pictures like that. We'll hope so.


The weather was interesting today. When i got up, it was pretty cloudy and coolish, but for a while it looked like it might clear up, but I kept hearing a faint rumble in the distance. The radar showed a line of storms coming across the lake, and sure enough, around 11:30 the sky got very dark, and the heavens opened for a few minutes. The temperature hung in the 50s all day long. The curious thing is, the maximum temperature for the date was at about 4 am, nearly 70 (no wonder i was hot!), with a strong and gusty wind, and it has dropped steadily since then. I think maybe that was the end of our really warm weather for the year. Rats. Just when i was beginning to really like it!


I diddled around all day, as usual, although I did do some embroidery. I also finally got most of the trash gathered up, although I didn't get to the trash compactor. I'll just have to stash it in the garage until Wednesday or Friday. When I should have been in the kitchen, I spent some time cleaning the computer's keyboard. Between the fact that I frequently eat at it, and the furball I live with, it was really gross, full of fur and cracker crumbs and some drips of sticky stuff. It types better now. And between 7 pm and 8 pm, I finally got the kitchen cleaned up except for the floor. I would like to do the floor, but I think I'll go to bed instead. I do need to go to town tomorrow.


I will take the camera with me tomorrow, as always, just in case there is some color or some other interesting thing to see. 


I just looked for the moon and I don't see it, which may mean it's gotten cloudy. We'll see later.


It's cool and a good night for sleeping in the field.


September 26

The shades of night are falling fast, so I will begin this and maybe get to do some reading tonight.


I didn't read last night. I fiddled around with Collapse until it was too late to do anything but go to bed, so I did. It was a beautifully clear night all night long, but there was so much moonlight that not very many stars were visible, and the moon didn't set until 5 am this morning.


At about 8, I woke up coughing, and by the time I got through in the bathroom, I decided it was such a beautiful day I might as well get up. That made for a nice long day, and I did a few things. Mostly, I just sat and looked, but I finally got all the clothes folded and put away - now that it's just about time to wash again! - and I washed dishes. Tomorrow, come what may, I absolutely have to attack the kitchen and get the trash out of here. We'll see how much of that I get done.


It was another perfect day in the field, with no clouds in the sky except for a couple of contrails this morning, a nice westerly breeze, and temperatures that topped out in the low 70s. That is still my idea of perfect weather. There were a couple of clouds on the horizon around sunset, but they seem to have gone away now.


I had my usual nice Sunday dinner at Harbor Haus, at one of my favorite tables, with a perfect view of this end of the harbor, and besides, I had a perfect view of the almost-full moon rising in the southeast. I know that the moon looking so big when it's close to the horizon is an optical illusion, but it sure is a nice one. Full moon is actually not until Tuesday, but the Harvest Moon looks full for four or five days, and it was just beautiful as it rose over the East Bluff. I followed it home, but it's a bit too far east to show in the office windows yet.


It's amazing to get up in the night when the moon is full around here, and see how bright it is shining on the harbor and the field. And when it gets into the west, it shines in the windows and it's so light I can walk around and not trip over anything. Having clean skies even makes the moon brighter.


The weathermen are waffling again (I'm sorry John is taking this time off!), but now it seems that it may not be quite so warm as they thought for the next week. It won't be cold enough to damage our record, I don't think, but it's possible that this is the last warm day of the year. Stay tuned...


So now to the north end.


The moon is smiling on the field.


September 25

Oh, my, oh, my! What weather!


I sat and read for quite a while last night, and it was very windy and making a great racket at the corner of the bedroom, but it didn't keep me awake at all. It was partly cloudy for quite a while, but after moonset, it began to clear up, and the sky was full of stars until dawn broke. I was awake right around sunrise, and I could see that neat blue shadow that I think is the shadow of the earth on the atmosphere. It's one sure sign that the sky is clear.


And oh, my, was it clear! There was not a cloud in the sky all day long, and it was blue, blue, blue! Besides that, the temperature got into the upper 60s, with a nice northwest breeze. It was another perfect day in the field.


So I enjoyed it. I did have to take a fast trip to town with a letter before breakfast, but after that, eating, reading, embroidering and beading, I could look out the windows and just drink in all the blue sky and blue water. Wow! And I understand tomorrow is supposed to be just about the same.


When I came home from dinner, the gibbous moon was hanging in the southeast, and the atmosphere is so clear that it was blue-white rather than the yellow-white it has been lately, and there were already a few stars in the sky. Of course, the Summer Triangle is in the west now, and those stars are bright enough to show up before it's completely dark.


Town is jumping. When I went for the mail this afternoon, there were probably 30 Corvettes parked up and down US-41. There is a Corvette club that comes up here every year, and I think they had a picnic or something in the park, and they were gone by tonight. All those pretty cars! I've always wished I could drive one on US-41 and M-26. It would be a real rush to drive something that handles that well on all those curves! (For those of you who don't know me, I owned two Corvettes back in the '60s and '70s, and I've never lost my love for them. It's just that they're totally impractical for my current lifestyle).


Mariner was so full we had to wait a few minutes for a table - the first time all summer! - and there were two huge tables of Harley riders, one of which included some truly unique looking characters. 


It's really nice to see so much activity at this time of year. For the past three years, town has been dead after Labor Day, so much so that Mariner's dining room was closed. I don't remember when the last time was that the dining room was open the last weekend of September. 


Of course, the weather has a lot to do with it. John Dee, in his September 24 journal entry, confirmed that September is shaping up to be the warmest on record in Keweenaw, too...and besides, its mean temperature is higher than June, July and August! All of which means this is one of the weirdest weather years on record. I can't wait to see what, if anything, that means for the fall and winter! Besides everything else, we're not getting our equinoctial gale this year. Really, really strange. And I don't hear anybody complaining a bit. Everybody is just enjoying the bonus of another month of warm weather. It probably won't ever happen again. I only hope it doesn't give us a horribly hot summer next year. And I will say that it could have been warmer and drier in May and June - June particularly, and the first 10 days of July, were the pits. Weather like that is when I am particularly grateful that I have a nice warm house with lots of windows so I can sit inside and be warm and dry and do my thing.


Oh, yes, and daylight is now less than 12 hours long. That's the only problem with September. Well...not the only one. I only have eight weeks left here. That's the other.


So I think I will go do some more reading now, and sleep dreaming about blue sky and blue water and stars...


The moon is smiling on the field tonight.


September 24

Contrary to the weather forecasts, it was clear all night long, in fact, very clear, almost enough for me to put on my glasses. However, it was also a wonderful night to sleep, and I did, for quite a while.  The wind picked up later in the night, and it's been gusting into the 20mph range all day long.


What continually amazes me about clear, windy nights here is that very seldom does the wind interfere with seeing. Back in the dark ages when I did astronomy from the deck outside my bedroom, windy nights started the stars twinkling so badly that it was nearly impossible to do anything. That doesn't seem to happen around here. Strange.


Anyway, by the time I made it out of bed this morning, while it was clear and sunny in the east, the strong wind was blowing a band of clouds over. IT was a neat sight - the sun was still shining on the house, but over in the west, it's very, very dark, and around 11 am, we had a brief, strong shower. It tried to clear up after that, but the sun never really came out, and it was rather dull for the rest of the afternoon. They claim it will clear up later, but right now the moon is shining brightly through a thin layer of clouds, so I think it will be getting clear soon.


i accomplished a few things today, putting and taking the dishwasher, getting a modest amount of embroidery done, and finally cooking my pork chops with Spanish rice. I figured I might as well cook, since now the stove is in such a terrible mess I will have to do something about it.


It was a sleepy kind of day, actually, and I think I am going to sit and do some reading before i sleep tonight.


According to the weather forecasts, yesterday may have been the last warm day of the year, although that does seem somewhat debatable. At any rate, according to the NWS, in Marquette, at least, this has been the warmest September on record, and they are saying temperatures will be above normal for next week, too.


What an interesting year of weather this has been! It's fun, though. I don't think I'd be happy in a place where the climate was essentially the same all the time. Here, you just never know what will happen next.


So that is all there is, and the moon is still shining on the field.


September 23

It was one of those days...


It was mostly clear most of the night, but when I got up this morning, there were interesting cirrus clouds in a clear blue sky, and lots of sunshine, and that's the way it was all day long. The first clouds I saw out the bathroom window were some very long and well-developed mares' tails, but they dissipated and then there were some baby mares' tails, and it went on from there. Nearly all the forms in my weather book occurred sometime during the day. So I spent most of the day just watching the sky.


The temperature was heavenly...it got into the mid-70s, with a light south wind, so I was able to open up the house, which Buster liked. He likes to watch the chipmunks (which are back) and little birds on the deck, but mostly when he can hear them, which means when the door is open. He also likes to sit on the porch, and today was a lovely day to do that, too.


I can't say I accomplished very much - the embroidery is coming along, and I printed up my little prayer book and bound it, although as usual when printing many pages on two sides, about half of the first printing got screwed up and i had to print it over. I think what really happens is that the ink sticks a little when there are a lot of pages, and the result is that they don't feed right on the second side. That's what happens when you do manual two-sided printing, but when I'm creating a book, I want printing on both sides of a page, and otherwise it saves paper. It does annoy me when I ruin as many pages as i did this time, however.


Most of the clouds were gone at sunset, which was nice and red, belying the forecast of rain later tonight and tomorrow, and now the moon is shining beautifully clear in the south. So after enjoying the day thoroughly, I will enjoy the night just as much. I keep thinking that one of these days our "summer" is going to come to an end, and I want to enjoy as much as there is left as much as I can.


There is moonshine in the field tonight.


September 22

Well, it's official - summer is over. Not that there seems to be any difference in the weather or anything.


It was a cloudy night, and most of today was cloudy, too, with a temperature that hung in there around 60. There wasn't any wind, though, so it was actually not an unpleasant day. 


I decided that since Harbor Haus is only going to be open for about three weeks longer, I'd better go more than once a week if I want to sample all the goodies one more time, so I did. 


I wasn't paying much attention to the sky while I was here, but I noticed as I was driving into town that the clouds seemed to be breaking up. While I was there, the sun set, and I'm really sorry I missed it. It must have been a spectacular one, because the sun was shining right in my northerly neighbor's windows and making them look like there was a fire inside, and the reflection was so bright it was reflecting back into the water of the harbor, which was very calm at our end. 


Then I got back here, and noticed that the sky had cleared completely and the half moon is shining in the south windows. I also noticed that the phone line crapped out right about the time I left, and there were no updates after 6:30. Very fortunately, the program saved the pictures here, so I have two to share with you. They are both on the same page. The first picture is the last one that got uploaded until I rebooted, but I thought it was so spectacular I would save it. I do love crepuscular rays, and these were some good ones. I wish I had thought to look outside about then, because I probably would have gotten something even better. The second picture is the one you never saw, which shows the sun hanging just above the mountain. It must have been beautiful. That notch, by the way, is as close to due west as you'll get.


I did quite a bit of embroidery this morning, and I had thoughts of really doing something today, but I made the mistake of eating the wrong thing for breakfast - sometimes I can tolerate cereal and sometimes not, and this was a "not" - and about the time I was going to start rustling around I got a horrible sugar low, sweaty and queasy and shaky and all the rest of it, and I had to quick eat some protein and sit down for a while. However, I did at least finally get my underwear put away, and the clean clothes are in the closet, but not folded and stashed yet. My stuff came from UPS, too, so I started working on an update to my little prayer book, and that took the rest of the afternoon. I also snacked on some American Spoon Foods relishes with goat cheese, like they suggest, and it was good, but I actually like them better with sharp cheddar. Anyway, I will have to be careful about how much of those things I eat and try to stretch them out a bit. My, but they're good!


it was quiet in Harbor Haus tonight, which is fine with me. However, when I got there, it appeared that all the tourons had appeared at once. There was a long-body truck parked right in front of the doors, so everyone had to walk around it to get in, another truck parked parallel to it, which is parallel to the wall of the kitchen, so that nobody could park in one of the handicapped places, and two other cars parked parallel to the trees on the west side of the parking lot! The staff said there and been weird parking all day long. I do not understand how anybody could conceivably think any of those places was a parking place. It was good that they weren't busy, because the two cars parked parallel to the trees effectively took up about six or seven regular head-in parking places. Sometimes I wonder about people...They were all gone when I left, but there was a van parked in one handicapped place that I don't believe had a handicapped tag.


On that subject, I've always just said, oh, well, I suppose they are handicapped...in the head.


Anyway, we all had a good laugh about it, since it didn't prevent anyone from coming in who wanted to.


So that was the first day of autumn, and the moon is shining on the field tonight.


September 21

The night was clear all night long, and this morning was another gorgeous day, with only a few clouds coming up in the west, and a nice breeze out of the north. It did cloud up as the day wore on, and around 4 pm, it got very dark and the wind picked up, and the temperature went down, but it hasn't rained yet. There are little showers around, but I don't know if any will hit us. The temperature got up close to 70 before it dropped, and it was nice enough for a while to open up the house.


I did quite a bit of embroidery today, but I am doing the backstitch outlining on half of the bread cloth, and that takes time. I finally had to quit because I found a mistake, but I don't have all the floss in the office (it's down at the other end), so I had to stop.


Otherwise, I watched birds. I think the goldfinches snuck off on me, sometime last week, and the hummingbirds are gone, too, although I wasn't attentive enough about feeding them to be sure.  Now I have a whole flock of nuthatches, chickadees and blue jays. The nuthatches surprised me, but I think they are hitting the feeders because none of the pines around here fruited this year. Apparently the red and white pines only set fruit every two years, and this is the off year, in spite of the copious quantities of pollen they produced.


Anyway, the nuthatches are fun to watch. They slash away at the seed until they find one they like, they hang upside down on the chains of the platform feeder, and sometimes they peck at each other and the chickadees. They are amazingly tame. One sat in the tree this morning while I was hanging up the feeders, and he wasn't more than two feet away from me. I could see the wind ruffling his feathers. I don't think he's more than 4" or 5" long.


The heron hasn't been around, so I can hope he has gone off, too. I think there was a little chipmunk on the deck, but I only caught him out of the corner of my eye as he raced across the deck.


So that was my nice, quiet day.


Now I will go and read a while before I call it a night.


No stars in the sky in the field tonight.


September 20

Let's see, was I supposed to do something today? Probably, but never mind.


For some reason, my rouladen and red cabbage didn't set quite right last night, so I was up a number of times during the night for rather longer than I usually am. To compound my tummy problems, I had some kind of crick in my right shoulder for a while, as well as a sore left ear, which means I have to sleep pretty much on my back, if possible. Anyway, along about 6, it all cleared up and I did get a few hours' good sleep. So it will be early tonight, I think.


It was another warm, windy day, with temperatures up into the low 70s and a gusty southwest wind. However, the clouds started moving in by the time I got up, and it was rather cloudy all day. It wasn't enough to  make it dreary, just enough to make the sky and water grayish.


I did embroider, but I didn't bead, and I read some of my latest magazines, but that was about it. One of these days I will have to do something. It would probably be good for me.


The bite on my thumb is beginning to form its blister, so I know what that is, and it will just be very itchy for the next couple of days. I'm not so sure about the one on the back of my hand, which isn't quite so itchy and is a bit sore, but it's probably a black fly bite, too. That added to my discomfort last night, I might add. One good thing about the wind is that it blows most of the bugs back into the woods, although when I use the powder room, whose window looks out behind the breezeway at the garage, it's simply amazing the number of bugs flying around. I seem to keep letting brown moths into the house, too.


This has been a really strange year of weather for sure, and I don't remember when it was so buggy in September. It's also been some years when it was so warm this late. The equinox is Wednesday, and if I recall, in prior years, it had cooled off by this time. It also looks like we aren't going to get our equinoctial gale this year, either, although some rain is predicted for the end of the week. This part of September I know a lot about, because I've always been here at this time...for at least 30 years. We've occasionally had some warm, even very warm weather, but around the equinox it usually goes to pot. It looks like this year will continue being different even in that.


So I will try to trundle up to the north end early tonight, although the crankiness of the phone line may not let me.


It's cloudy and breezy in the field tonight.


September 19

I read for quite a while last night, but it didn't make me sleep any better. I don't seem to be able to put two good nights together. Comes with getting old and not running a sleep deficit anymore, I guess. Also not being sick.


Anyway, once I did get to sleep, I did OK, apparently, because a couple of times I woke up stiff from having not moved.


It was at least partially clear all night long, but not enough to knock the eye out. It was another beautiful, sunny morning, a bit warmer than yesterday, and windy. Apparently there were some clouds around sunrise, but when I got up they were mostly gone. Throughout the day, there were high cirrus clouds, not enough to interfere much with the sunshine. The temperature was in the low 70s most of the day, with a brisk wind out of the south. It's still windy, but when I came out of Harbor Haus after dinner, there was a nice crescent moon in the southwest.


I did some embroidery, and some beading, although again I seem to have been pulling out as many beads as I was putting in. I'm not quite sure what my problem is. It seems I spent most of the afternoon doing two online orders. I wanted to try the online site of my favorite bead catalog, but I think, after the amount of time it took  me to create the order, that I'll probably be ordering by phone again after this. I had a rather large rebate check from Staples, so I wanted to put in an order with them before it expired, and that was a trip. In the middle of it, the phone line went to pot and I had to reboot the computer, and when I got back on, they had deleted my order, so I had to go search out the items all over again. Arggh!


Otherwise, I enjoyed the beautiful weather. Now we are having our summer, when it will be over all too soon! Oh, well, I'm not one to complain about cool weather. The only downside I can see to it, really, is that the bugs have never gone away. Besides the black fly bite I got Wednesday, yesterday sometime, I got two more bites of some sort on the same hand. They are both driving me nuts, and I suspect at least one of them is a black fly bite. It takes a couple of days for them to develop and the blister to form, and in the meantime, I itch like crazy. The one on my upper arm was apparently a mosquito bite, because it's starting to go away already.


So it was another lovely day in the field, and I think i shall go read in bed again. That's a nice way to end the day, and I'm enjoying it.


September 18

That was so nice last night that I think I'll do it again. I took my bath, and crawled into bed and read until my eyes were closing, then I fell asleep almost at once. Eleven hours later...well, there were some short periods of wakefulness, but not much. 


The sky was cloudy when I went to bed, but around 4 or 5 this morning it had cleared up, and when I finally woke up, it was a perfectly beautiful day. The temperature sat around 60 all day, and there was a very light breeze, if any, which left parts of the water just like glass...blue glass. And blue skies. So beautiful!


It's supposed to get a bit warmer tomorrow, but still be clear and a little more breezy. I can handle that. Pretty soon it will be cooling off, so I want to enjoy having the doors and windows open as much as I can. There aren't much finer days than today.


And tonight when I turned in the driveway after dinner, there was a pretty crescent moon hanging in the southwest. It's still down there now, very close to the west bluff, but it's apparently just out of camera range. It looks sort of like a slice of orange now, and soon it will be gone for the evening.


Oh, yes, and I will only be here about nine weeks more. I hate it when that number gets less than 10.


So I embroidered a bit, beaded a bit (although I seemed to be pulling out as much as I put in), paid a few bills, and generally enjoyed the lovely weather.


I don't think the heron came up on the deck today. When I put out the feeders, he was under the tree and he flew off, and I'm not sure he came back. There was a big crow (raven?) on the deck pecking sort of sideways at some of the seeds for a while, but I don't think he got much. The crows seem to move around and today was my turn.


There seem to be a reasonable number of people in town this weekend, and Shirley said she was comparing this month to last year, and this year is better, which is good news. I don't know if that will be true of all the businesses in town, but at least some of my friends will have a decent summer.


There is starshine in the field tonight.


September 17

This was a day when I was content just to be, and as soon as I finish this, I'm going to trundle up to the north end, take a bath, and sit in bed and read...maybe for the rest of the night. Don't know why it happened, but, oh, well.


It was an absolutely gorgeous morning, sunny, cool, and not a cloud in the sky. The temperature was under 50 when I got up, and it never got over 60 all day long. It was clear for most of the day, but it began to cloud up after 4 pm, and at sunset it was completely overcast. Boo.


I was sitting at the computer when I saw the reflection of something outside. When I turned around, this is what I saw. I jumped for the camera and took a picture through the screen. I've cropped it rather heavily, because I didn't think you needed to see the doorframes or all the rest of it. It isn't as clear as it might be because of the screen, but you can get the idea. He flew away before I could do anything else but snap a shot with the webcam, so somebody might have seen it. He is so nervous that I'm afraid I won't be able to do better. If I move inside, like to get into the unscreened part of the door wall, he will have flown off before I move two feet.


I need to mention that it was pretty clear last night, not pristine, but not bad, either, and around 3 am when I got up, the trees to the north were being backlit. I didn't try to see much, but it's nights like that when I'm sorry I don't face north. Something was happening around the northern horizon, and I couldn't see it!


I did see Venus this morning, about 4 am, but I think there was some haze in the sky, because she wasn't as brilliant as usual. This is the time of year when, if I was still living in room 34, I would wake up to see Taurus and the Pleiades in the eastern sky, and I think this year, if I were there, I could see not only Venus, but Mercury close to the horizon. I guess I really should have my house on top of Brockway, so I have a clear horizon in all directions...and If I lived up there, my bedroom would be round or hexagonal and on top of the house, even though I'd have to do stairs to get there. One can always dream. and this is a pretty good alternative.


So that is all I know, and it's cloudy and cool in the field tonight...and I'm having a terrible time typing!


September 16

It was a wild and hairy night in the field last night! Wow! The NWS reports don't (as usual) tell nearly the full story, since the wind was coming from due west. The NWS station is shielded in that direction, and the field is not! The wind started to pick up right around midnight, and it howled and rattled around the house all night long. The NWS has it peaking at gusts of 43 mph around 4 am, but believe me, it was blowing over 30 mph and gusting higher than that here much earlier! Didn't keep me awake much, though.


I was awake around 3 am when the phones went "bleep!" and the power went off in all of Copper Harbor, including the lighthouse. The lighthouse emergency light came on a while later, but it was just incredibly dark around here (again, or maybe more so than the night before), and as usual it was really weird to look down the harbor and see nothing!


I went back to sleep, and sometime later, Buster came by and cuddled down under the quilt on my left. He looks so cute with the quilt pulled up to his ears and just his nose sticking out. With the wind the way it was and the outside temperature in the middle 50s, it was getting cold around here!


Unfortunately, I had to make three trips to the bathroom while the power was out, and I had awakened and was contemplating another walk when the phones said "bleep!" again and the power came back. It was 9 am. As to the bathroom, Buster went in with me, and put his paws up on the toilet seat and looked at all the stuff in the bowl as though his nose was curled up. He is an extraordinarily fastidious kitty, and he doesn't understand that I can't flush when there isn't any power. If that sounds funny, the holding tank only holds two or three gallons, and the well pump and the septic pumps are all electric.


It was cold in here! The temperature in the office was only 63, which is a bit chilly. It was only bearable because the wind had blown away all the humidity. Usually. the office is the warmest place in the house, because it is right over the boiler, but of course, the boiler was off for six hours.


Needless to say, with the wind that strong, I didn't even consider putting out the bird feeders today. I think the hangers are still in place, but just barely. the long one, which holds the platform feeder, was getting blown almost horizontal for a good part of the day.


It was beautiful, though. There was a lot of sunshine, and there were tons of whitecaps on the harbor, which was an extremely dark blue-green. When I got near the north windows, I could hear the lake roaring quite nicely. Storms are such fun!


Hey, anything that blows away the kind of weather we've had for the past few days is fine by me! It's not that it was all that warm, but I have come up this morning with another black fly bite on my hand, and I have a thing on my right upper arm that I got Tuesday night which looks like I got a smallpox vaccination (remember those?)...I think it was a very hungry mosquito. What I don't understand about that is, I have no feeling in that part of my right arm, because they clipped the nerves when they did my mastectomy, but despite the fact that you can poke me with needles forever and I won't feel it, the bug bites itch! Now, how can that be? In fact, the black fly bite is in the part of my hand that is numb, and I know it, because I tried to put some ice on it and I couldn't feel a thing, but it itches like crazy. Really, really weird!


It was a beautiful day to embroider and bead, so I did. Not so much embroidery, but I'm working away at the beading, although I've had to pull out a few things and I didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped. The bracelet is shaping up very nicely, but since it's nearly twice as wide as the others, it's taking twice as long to do. It didn't help when I pushed the eye end of the beading needle into my finger...so now I'm using a thimble for protection.


I enjoyed the sunshine, while Buster slept on the other chair, although later in the afternoon when the sun was pouring in the front windows, he moved to the ugly chair's footstool, his favorite cool weather afternoon site. The sun just pours onto him, and I don't know how he can stand it, but he likes to be warm.


There were some clouds for part of the day, most of them pretty white, puffy fair-weather cumulous, but around sunset it cleared up completely, and finally, about two weeks after it started to appear, the webcam got a picture of the sun setting. It has been really cloudy around here at sunset lately, so I haven't been able to follow its movements toward the south. I'm hoping to do better from now on. By the way, it set at exactly 8:00 pm tonight, and it is only above the horizon for 12 hours now. almost 3 hours less than in June. Since we are so far west, we see it mostly at night, and does it make a difference! Winter is just around the corner!


Last night was mostly cloudy and noisy, but the wind is dropping to reasonable speeds now, and I think it's going to be mostly clear and cold (mid 40s) tonight. So Buster and I will cuddle down under the quilt and stay warm.


Starshine in the field tonight...


September 15

I got up all innocent yesterday morning, and then Shirley called to say that she had just discovered that the CHIA (Copper Harbor Improvement Association) dinner was last night and would I go? I couldn't very well say no, since she had already ordered my dinner!


It was generally a lousy day yesterday, alternately cool and warmish, but very cloudy and humid. The temperature topped out in the low 70s early, then hung in around the mid 60s for the rest of the day.


It took me a while to find the place (Mariner for a change), but the dinner was good, and I brought half of it home with me and just finished it - just as good the second time! There were lots of people there, including Charlie Hopper, and we made a date for this morning.


Oh, yes, and before I leave yesterday, the CME turned out to be a dud. Even while it was semi-clear Monday night, there wasn't a hint of a light show, then it got cloudy.


I was late getting home last night, and Charlie said he would be here about 9 am this morning (first he said 8, and I nearly croaked!), so I didn't do a journal last night. There wasn't much to report anyway, except that a good time was had by all at the dinner.


As a result of that and anticipation of an early morning visit, I didn't sleep very well at all, and I got up at 7:30 this morning. It was nearly unheard of, and Buster was very excited. I don't know if he thought something was going to happen, or he was just glad to see me up at what he considers to be the proper time for rising.


During the night, we had a rainstorm and when I woke up around 5, it was so foggy that I couldn't see even the lighthouse. What a yucky day! Except that it was pretty warm. After all the cold, humid days we've had, it's really rather strange to walk out into 60-something degree weather, fog or no. And I do have to say, when the breeze came in the window, it smelled so heavenly I nearly got high on it.


It was under 60 this morning, and very wet, but it got into the mid 60s again today, very wet.


By getting up so early, I was able to make the office look semi-habitable before Charlie got here, which was good. He arrived with all his equipment, and the first thing we found was that the fog had descended to the lake and it was so dense he couldn't see the public dock, which is where the local transmitter is. I showed him how to find it, but he never could find a signal from it. He doesn't know why this keeps happening, but I'm beginning to wonder if somebody, somewhere just doesn't want me to ever have broadband here. The next step is to get Jonathan out here with a ladder and see if they can catch a signal from somewhere on top of the house. If they can't, I may really be out of luck.


By the time he left, I was getting really hypoglycemic. That doesn't usually bother me, but if I get up early and I'm really tired, which I was this morning, it can happen if I don't eat within a certain time after I get up. However, a nice, leisurely brunch solved my problem.


So I did some embroidery, then, after another conversation with Ferrell Gas about the bill I haven't received (they totally screwed up my account when they converted to their new billing system), I got out the seed beads and started in again. This time, I'm playing around with the old Ojibwa pattern, and it has promise, although odd-count peyote isn't my favorite stitch. The result is good enough that I have the awful suspicion I'm going to be doing a lot of it.


About the time I got thinking about dinner, it got very dark out, the heavens opened and started growling at us, and we had a nice little thunderstorm. The last crack of lightning, not far to the east of the house, effectively zapped the phone line for about half an hour, making me wonder if I was going to end up going another night without a journal. Finally I had to reboot, and by that time it came back.


In the meantime, we had one of those things that no camera can adequately capture. When the storm began to move off to the east and the sky lightened, the entire sky and atmosphere turned golden yellow. It is the most beautiful thing, and it happens at least once a year up here, but it's so ephemeral that there's no way to capture it. It was wonderful. Even Buster, who had spent the entire afternoon asleep on the other chair, woke up and looked around.


After that faded, and it started to lighten up, I looked off in the west, and I just had to go running out to catch a picture, right around sunset. This is what i saw. Wow! Talk about the golden evening brightening in the west... You can even see some crepuscular rays from the setting sun. The webcam didn't catch that at all. The computer was rebooting while I was outside, but the west was too overexposed to see what I could see.


So that was my last two days. I don't have any broadband yet, I'm beading again, and the office looks considerably better. I am beginning to (finally) collect up the bags of trash to take to the compacter, but it was too wet to go today, so I guess it's Friday.


The wind is supposed to shift and rise to gusts of 50 mph (impressive, but I keep thinking about Ivan...just another reason not to live 'way down south!), and it's supposed to clear up, which will be nice. After about 2 am this morning, when it was very cloudy and beginning to get foggy, it was so incredibly dark around here it was like being in the black pit. Good for sleeping, but I was tempted to turn up the nightlight. Tonight may be better, although it may be noisy.


So it's a bit damp and clammy in the field tonight.


September 13

When I tried to upload last night, it wasn't having any, so if you tried to read the journal before about 10:30 this morning, it wasn't updated. Sorry about that, but this phone line has been being particularly cranky lately. There was a picture yesterday, so be sure to check it out.


As for me, I went to bed at a fairly reasonable hour and slept for a long time. I did have two coughing fits, but I managed to keep them more or less under control with cough drops. I hate those things - Sucrets - because they taste terrible and they leave a bad taste in my mouth, but they definitely work, and better than anything else. Bleah!


Anyway, it was warming up nicely when I got up, and I was able to leave the doors open all day, and wear my shorts one more time. The temperature here got to the upper 70s, but there was a fairly brisk wind from the southwest, which kept it comfortable. The day started out clear, but it became more cloudy later, which is too bad.


The excitement of the day is that there is an AstroAlert out for northern lights now, the first one in a long time. At first, it was supposed to be later tonight and tomorrow, but they apparently didn't get the speed right and the CME  evidently hit earth about 4 pm. So, of course, the sky is nearly cloudy, and it's supposed to get more so later. 

Other than that, I didn't do much at all today. I'm still feeling a bit under the weather from the cold, and it was just nice to sit and watch the birds or the computer. It was foggy at sunrise and hazy for most of the day, but as the clouds began to move in, there were some pretty sky scenes.


The heron didn't show up on the deck, but he was around, because he flew off when I closed the great room slider late this afternoon. I wish he would take up residence elsewhere, because pretty soon the goldfinches and hummingbirds will be getting ready to migrate, and I want them to come here to stoke up.


So I will get this uploaded and run off to the north end and try to get the lights off quickly, just in case there's something to see outside. I keep hoping for at least one more good light show this year.


Frustration reigns in the field.


September 12

It turned into a late night again last night. I'll have to stop this. Maybe tonight. It wasn't helped when I woke up coughing at about 5 am, either.


So as a result, I didn't do very much today. Embroidered some, did some reading, and looked through a catalog. Not much.


It was a rather peculiar day, one we haven't had many like, thank goodness. It was cloudy and dreary all day, but it didn't rain, and the temperature got stuck at 56. Late in the afternoon, the sun tried to come through, but it hardly made it until right before sunset. I did get a couple of shots of the sunset, and I decided to unload the camera, since there were pictures in there from late August. I'm not posting all of them yet, but here is tonight's sunset.


We've had a lack of pretty sunsets this summer, I must say, although I do have a few interesting pictures that I will get to eventually. The problem has been that we've had a lot of really red suns, and the camera just washes out the color completely. In most cases, I've found it sees pretty much what I see, but the sun has been just too bright to register as really red. Of course, the webcam is worse in that respect. I've been disappointed, so I haven't taken the time to add most of them to the website.


I was interested to show tonight's pictures, though, just to illustrate how far south the sun has come. The webcam washed out the sun altogether, so it didn't show what I wanted everyone to see. The sun is in fact setting in the webcam picture now, and it apparently has been for a couple of weeks, maybe, but most of our sunsets have taken place behind a band of clouds on the horizon, so you couldn't see anything.


After finding a less windy place yesterday, the heron was back again today, although the camera didn't catch him on the deck railing. I didn't either, because when I moved, he flew off. When I went out to get my pictures tonight, however, I discovered that he has been haunting the deck down by the great room doors and the stairs. There were two big, nasty splotches of whitewash (ahem!) on the deck there. I know why he's been there: the little chipmunks live over in that direction, and usually they run down the deck when they are frightened away from the bird seed. I suppose the heron thinks he might like chipmunk for lunch. I hope he hasn't gotten it. I will have to pay more attention to what's going on outside the great room in the next day or two and see if I can either capture him in the camera or shoo him away. He is really cutting down on the numbers of little birds and little critters at the feeders, and I don't like it.


I'm pretty sure he is a young one, because he's not very big, and curiously enough, he has kind of a brownish or rusty cast to his feathers. I have no doubt, though, that he is a great blue heron. He's just not very great or very blue yet. Many years ago I took pictures (some of the few I ever took with my 120 - 600 mm zoom telephoto lens) of an adult heron in a pond at Seney, and he was nearly five feet tall. Unfortunately, I didn't get the film scanned before the scanner broke (or I think it broke), and I haven't tried it since. Maybe this winter. The software is still on the laptop. 


So except that Buster wanted to sleep on my lap all day, there's nothing else to report. Tomorrow is supposed to be a nicer day, but we'll see.


It's cloudy and cool in the field tonight.


September 11

That day again. There was a bit less about it on the news tonight than there was last year, and I suppose next year will be even less, until all they do is note the date, like Pearl Harbor, or JFK's assassination. We should never forget it, but we shouldn't wallow in it, either.


Anyway. I got to bed late last night (so what else is new?), and it was even later when I gave in and ate a cough drop so I could sleep. When I woke up, three hours later, my right ear, on which I had been sleeping, was all clogged up and I could barely hear out of it at all. It was still clogged this morning, but over the course of the day, it seems it has cleared out. That is the second really annoying thing about this cold. The first, of course, is that I start coughing the minute I lie flat. I didn't do much coughing during the day today, which was a step forward.


The weather was a bit interesting, too. I woke briefly around 8 am, just as a nice little rain squall came through. It was cloudy and fairly warm when I eventually got up, but the deck had dried up. Then, around noon, it happened again, accompanied by some hefty winds. For the next couple of hours, the edge of the cloud bank was just north of us, so while it was cloudy in the south, it was clear in the north, out over the lake. The wind picked up and we had whitecaps on the harbor. Eventually, the clouds blew away to the south and the evening was nearly clear, except for some clouds on the western horizon. The temperature made it, briefly, into the upper 60s, so it wasn't bad at all outside. It's clear out now, I think, but they are saying it will be cloudy and foggy tomorrow morning, and a lot cooler. We'll see about that.


I did my usual fiddling around, and since I didn't feel like doing any crafts, I finally got around to loading up the jewelry inventory program I bought a couple of months ago, and I spent the rest of the afternoon entering data. Among other things, it has a place to store pictures of the items in the lists, so I will have to fool around with that. I may try just scanning some of them, since the scanner is supposed to be pretty high resolution. More on that in the future.


I was gratified to see that in most cases, I had calculated the costs of the finished pieces pretty well. Particularly with the bead woven bracelets, the cost of the materials is minimal, and it's the labor that makes the difference. And I will also say that if I even charged minimum wage for my labor, nobody would buy anything. It's kind of fun to fool around with a new program for a change. This one is really nice for data entry and costing out items, but I have had some troubles with the report functions. I'm not going to start complaining yet, because I've only used it for a few hours, and that without reading the whole manual. It's possible the problem is with the operator.


This evening I ate dinner with Shirley, which was nice, except that neither of us had much to say. She did indicate that Mariner is likely to close the dining room next week sometime. It's really slow in town, and they usually do close it. Of course, it's still possible to get the dinner menu in the bar, but there isn't any salad bar there.


That's the other thing I noticed: it's very slow in town. It always is the week or two after Labor Day. That was the reason I used to take my vacations then. and I enjoy that part of it. However, it's not good for my friends in the business, and since this year wasn't a good one anyway, it's probably even slower than usual. Heaven knows the weather isn't any worse than it was all summer long, but visitors don't know that.


These days, I hate to see September come. It means I only have 10 weeks left here. Sigh.


So now I think it's time to toddle up to the north end again and see if I can trick my head into not dripping, at least long enough for me to get to sleep.


There are stars in the field again tonight.


September 10

Sorry I skipped a day, but it was just too late when I got home last night.


I did get to town yesterday, but it was late, and I was late getting home. It was a beautiful day, clear and almost calm, and I would rather have been here, but I was running out of things. I didn't get to Houghton until nearly 1 pm, so it was after 5 when I got back. The temperature got up over 70 in Houghton, which felt hot, at least in the car, but it was only in the mid 60s here. After I unloaded the car, I ate dinner at the Sestoks, and afterwards, Nancy and I talked for a long time, so it was after midnight when I finally got to bed.


Unfortunately, I didn't sleep very well either night. My sinuses are still draining, and I was coughing and blowing a lot. Wednesday night was beautifully clear, so every time I got up there were stars to see. Last night was partly to mostly cloudy, so far as I could tell. Sometimes I could see a few clouds, and sometimes I couldn't. While the little waning moon was visible Thursday morning, this morning, I saw it shining in the window for a bit when I got up, then it went away.


There was actually quite a bit of sunshine today, although the clouds were gathering. There were some very pretty cloud formations this morning.


Both yesterday morning and this afternoon, I was sitting in the office when something big hit the stationary window  When I turned around, there was my little heron. Both times, he moved so fast there was no possibility I could get a picture, even though the camera is right at hand. I'm really disappointed, but he can move a lot faster than I can.


Why he keeps hitting the window, I'm just not sure. It doesn't seem to bother him, even though he makes quite a clunk! when he hits, then he walks off and flies away. Really weird.


The birds and small critters are beginning to get used to having him around, although the chipmunks are still wary enough that all the seed hasn't been being cleaned up off the deck. The squirrels have finally decided that if the heron is under the deck, he isn't going to go after them, so they have been around, and today I had quite a few other birds. I think the nuthatches raised a family, because now there are three, and I saw all three of them at once today. Since they all look alike, I can't tell who is who. 


So now another week is gone, and it's close to the middle of September already....


Time seems to pass awfully quickly in the field.


September 8

Now, last night was mostly calm...I could see the trails left by the lights of the public dock in Copper Harbor in the water...but it wasn't as clear as advertised. Even the moon, when it finally rose this morning, had a halo around it that wasn't from my eyes. The temperature was nearly steady in the low to mid 50s all night long and all day long, too. Not bad, I think. It was clear this morning, and it was a lovely, sunny day, with a few puffy white clouds at times and a few high cirrus clouds at times. At sunset it was perfectly clear.


I spent the day mostly coddling my cold again. It's getting better, but every so often I will erupt for no particular reason. My cough is still dry and hacky, which means I'm not there yet. To add to the general misery, it seems that I got a black fly bite on my hand Monday in the parking lot at Harbor Haus. It doesn't look like it's going to make quite so big a blister as some of the other ones have, but it itches like crazy. The only thing that itches more than black fly bites are hives. I want to avoid breaking the blister if I can, because they heal better and faster that way, but it's hard because it's so itchy.


I guess the theme for the past week or so is going to be stalking the elusive (or illusive, maybe?) heron. He was on the deck railing this morning, before I was awake, and today, he spent nearly half an hour on the railing in the middle of the afternoon. Of course, I was at the other end of the house, getting dressed at last, and I went right out the door afterwards, to get to the post office, which no doubt is what scared him away. Drat! Well, at least the camera never sleeps. I probably won't get to see him tomorrow, either, because I have to go to Houghton. I'm running out of orange juice again, as well as a number of other things. Well, the camera is on the desk (although I will take it along tomorrow, just in case), and one of these days, I will be sitting here when he is.


When I see him on the railing, it's clear how small he is. He must be this year's crop. According to the bird books, an adult great blue heron is about four feet tall, and no way is this fellow that big yet. He certainly does look like master of all he surveys, however. I guess he figures my garden is his personal hunting grounds. I have no doubt there are frogs in the pond again, but the remaining squirrels and chipmunks seem to be holding out pretty well, so I'm not sure what he's eating. Herons do migrate, so I suppose one of these days he will be gone. I'd really like to see him in some way other than when he flies off. Even as small as he is, he has an impressive wingspan.


On the crafty front, I did about an inch of my trial bracelet and decided I didn't like it and cut it apart. So there. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next. At least one of the people who emailed me about bracelets never got to Mariner, so all my rush may have been for nothing. I've said before that I don't want to start making to order, and I'm really not too sure I want to sell over the internet at all. I want to do enough of this to make a little cash, but I have no desire to make it a full-time job, because then it will be a job. Besides, if I do decide to sell over the internet, it won't be from this website. I'll set up another one just for that.


I did do a little bit of embroidery, mostly putting in the stitches that I'd left out the first time around. I certainly didn't pick the easiest pattern for the breadcloth!


When I went out to get the bird feeders, Arcturus was shining high in the northwest, so it looks like tonight will be clearer than last.


It's cool and calm in the field tonight.


September 7

The wind howled all night long, but the sky was beautifully clear, and it didn't keep me awake much. The only thing that did keep me up was coughing and blowing, and I ate a lot of cough drops. I also slept in quite a bit this morning. 


It was a beautiful day, but cool and windy enough that I didn't put out the bird feeders at all. The temperature just barely got over 60 late this afternoon when the wind started to die down. It's moving around to the west now, but it's a very light breeze. There was a lot of sunshine, with some puffy white clouds, and lots of whitecaps on the harbor. Blue, blue blue!


I more or less veged out again, although I did get the dishwasher unloaded. I tried to do some beading on my new idea, but both my hands cramped up so badly that I had to stop. Embroidery was OK, and I did some of that, but mostly I did nothing much. It was a good day for doing that.


It looks to be another beautifully clear but cool night, and since I have nothing much to report, I'll leave it at that.


The stars are shining on the field again.


September 6 - Labor Day

It was a much better night last night, even though it was noisy and I was up about every hour, including a slight stomach upset. I did manage to sleep in between, and I slept late this morning. My head still feels stuffed with cotton, and at intervals I will have bouts of blowing and coughing, but it's better.


When I got to the office this morning, I discovered that the dialup definition had been changed to "never dial a connection" again, so there were no pictures uploaded before 10:30. You didn't miss anything much - it was rainy and foggy before then. I do wish I could figure out how that happens!


Around 4 am it started pouring rain, and that continued until 8 or 9 - I don't know exactly how long, because I was asleep when it stopped. It was nasty, not very warm and very humid, when I got up, but after a while a bit of sun peaked through, and that was better.  Then around 1:30, the sky got very, very dark, and I had the excitement of watching a heavy squall come across the harbor. And I mean, it poured, and it blew, and I was glad I was safe inside the house. As the squall moved off, the wind picked up behind it, and we have had 20 - 30 mph (probably higher, here) winds all afternoon. The sun came out, the clouds blew away, there were whitecaps on the harbor, and the rest of the afternoon was glorious indeed. I think that squall was on the front, and now that it has passed through, the temperature and humidity have dropped, and summer is indeed gone.


I actually didn't do much except wash dishes, and Buster was very happy, because I let him sleep on my lap most of the day. He'd like it if he could do that most days, or at least whenever he wants to. I think the wind made him nervous, and he wanted to be close to me. The temperature is supposed to be in the mid 50s tonight, so I may have a bed partner, too.


The bird feeders look like they got used more than I would have thought, because for most of the afternoon, they were swinging in such big arcs, I almost brought them in. I should have brought in the hummingbird feeder, because all the nectar has spilled out. That's all right - it was time to change it anyway. No hummingbird would brave the winds we had anyway. There is a squirrel in the platform feeder, and as soon as he vacates, I will bring things inside. I imagine the birds were hungry by this afternoon, but they really had to hang on by their toes to eat.


So today is Labor Day, and the summer is really, truly over. It was an interesting one for me. I can't remember when I've been as social as I was this year. I met a lot of people I like, apparently some better than they like me. That was nice, although I'm content to be hermit-like. 


The weather was interesting, for sure. According to the paper, this was the third or fourth coldest summer on record at the Houghton County Airport. That didn't bother me, but the eight weeks or so of cold rain we had in May and June weren't much fun. July was beautiful, at least. August has been on and off. I do hope September and October are nice. We deserve it.


The rain has been good, all things considered. I was looking at the dock at Harbor Haus tonight, and the water is up to within six inches of the orange paint, which means we gained several inches over the summer, and that is a good thing. The trees stayed green, and even the bracken hasn't browned out this year, which is truly amazing. The maples do seem to be starting to turn earlier than usual, but if they are indicators of what is to come, it will be a beautiful color season.


I discovered that I can apparently make a modest amount of cash from my jewelry, which is nice. I also discovered that it takes a long time to make one of those bracelets, and it doesn't do much good for my hands. So it will be interesting to see how long I can keep it up.


I still have ten weeks, more or less, before I have to migrate south. That's not long enough, but it's good.


And the stars are shining in the windy field tonight.


September 5

My sleep problems are now explained. When I went to bed last night, I had a very sore throat, and I didn't sleep at all well. It seemed that I could breathe in just fine, but when I tried to breathe out, something was blocking my throat, and only swallowing or clearing my throat would get rid of it. That is not conducive to a deep sleep! So I have acquired my summer cold. It seems I get two a year, and this is the summer one. I think it's more like a sinus infection, or at least my sinuses feel like they may explode at any moment.


Dr. Smith prescribes a large JD, followed by a warm shower and an early bedtime. I may not feel better, but at least I should sleep better.


It wasn't exactly the nicest day today. It was cloudy and hazy all day, and the temperature didn't get over the low 70s, with the dew point nearly matching the temperature. I found I was chilly enough that I had a sweat jacket on all afternoon, after I went around the house and started closing windows and turning off ceiling fans. Yuck. Around 5 pm, somebody dumped two small buckets of rain on the house, but otherwise all the rain and storms have either gone south of us or north of us.


However, I do have another camera shot to share. Now there should be no question at all that my feathered visitor is a heron. There isn't anything else with that silhouette. Since he does seem to be perching on the railing around sunrise, if I didn't have this cold...or if I feel better tomorrow, I may try to sneak up on him and get a better picture with the Nikon. He is a cool bird. In fact, the picture looks almost like something out of an Egyptian tomb. I don't think he's fully grown, however, since the adults tend to stand 4 to 5 feet high, and he isn't that big. He does have an impressive wingspan already, however, close to that of the eagles, and when I startle him, he goes flapping off either up or down the shoreline. I haven't seen him come back yet, but he does, and  when he does, he drives the squirrels crazy.


I do have to report that one little chipmunk is still around. I think there were two in the spring, but lately there's only been one. They have figured out that if the heron is under the deck and they come up the steps and  across it, he can't get them, and there's always good food on the deck.


All that got me thinking about my mother again. When she was a young girl, she spent summers with her grandfather on an island in the St. Clair Flats. He was a first generation American - Grosspa and Grossma came from Germany in the 1880s to 1890s - and a lot of corrupted German and (curiously enough) Yiddish got passed down to my mother. That big bird, especially in flight, was a "Shikepoke". That's a completely phonetic spelling - have no clue what the original German may have been. I nearly crashed into a bridge at the bottom of a hill on M-28 one time because one flew across the road right in front of us. And I can't tell you how thrilled mama would have been to have one on our very own deck. I know she would have been up long before sunrise sitting like a statue in the office hoping to see him in person. I'd like to do that, too, before he decides to take his leave.


Well, the squirrels are quarreling over who gets the last crack at the platform feeder, and it's time to haul the feeders in for the night.


By the way, thanks to everyone who pointed out the pictures to me this morning. Especially when there's one as good as the one I posted, it would be awful if I missed it, and sometimes I forget to check the camera folder.


It's misty-moisty and foggy in the field tonight.


September 4

I thought I had everything settled last night so that I would sleep more comfortably, but nope. Around 2 am I turned off the ceiling fan and closed the window closest to the head of the bed, and that helped, but I still did my best sleeping after 7 am. Buster didn't help. He has been just wired since the house has been opened up, and he kept bugging me.


Because it's against my principals to get up so early, I missed the heron, but the camera never sleeps. It turns out, although you have to turn up the brightness a lot to see it, that he was facing the camera. I would love to have gotten that shot with the Nikon, but no doubt he would have seen me inside and flown off anyway. Or at least I can console myself by thinking that.


The temperature got down to the mid 60s last night, with a southwest breeze, but it was in the 70s and climbing by the time I got up, and it topped out at 80. At least today there was a nice breeze for most of the day, from the south or southwest, which kept the office very comfortable. So I fiddled around and did not much again. Since I was going out, I put on my jeans (I don't go off-site in shorts except in emergencies), but I couldn't stand the idea of socks, so I finally got to wear my sandals for the first time. They're not bad, although I don't think I'd want to take  a hike in them. I seem to have very sensitive skin on my feet, and they rub in two or three places. But my feet stayed cool.


Mariner was a zoo tonight, which I guess is a good sign for the last weekend of summer, but it was crowded and noisy. Shirley and I had a table by a window, so we were cool, and we had a leisurely dinner, which was nice. They have live music tonight, a big band - 9 or 10 people - and except for the loudness and the female singer (who was flat) it sounded like pretty good stuff. We were glad to get out of the crush.


I have been nursing a scratchy throat all day, which I thought was due to my allergies, except that now it is downright sore, so I think I will trundle up to the north end, have a throat drop, and see if I can get a better night's sleep tonight. It annoys me to toss and turn.


Of course, while I was tossing and turning, I thought about another thing to try with the copper beads. However, I've been giving my hands a rest for a few days. My thumbs and middle fingers were pretty sore after I finished the eighth bracelet. And today I was so late that I never did do any embroidery. Oh, well.


So it's quiet and the crickets are singing in the field tonight.


September 3

It was the first warm night of the summer, and as a result, I didn't sleep very well. I've mentioned before that changing temperatures upset my body, and this was the first night that I could sleep without covers, and it clearly felt weird. It didn't help that Buster was wired, for some reason. The porch door has been open before, but this was the first time I can recall that he could walk out and it felt just as warm as it was inside. According to the NWS, the temperature bottomed out at 71.


By the time I made it out of bed, the temperature was headed toward 80 and it was clear it was going to be a hot one. It never got much over 80, actually, but the winds were nearly nonexistent, which made a big difference. It got really warm really fast in the house. Then, around 6 pm or so, the wind shifted around to the north and it cooled down to the low 70s...which felt surprisingly chilly after our 80s. I don't know why the NWS keeps saying the wind is from the SSW, when it is coming in the east (which are actually northeast) windows of the office, right off that cold, cold lake. Ah, relief!


I have most of the house opened up, and most of the fans on, and when I realized the wind direction, I opened the back windows of the great room, which was really, really warm. I had opened all the windows in the bedroom earlier in the day. And also, for the first time that I can recall, I closed the vertical blinds, just to try to keep the heat of the sun out of the room. With the wind in the direction it is, I'm sure I won't have any trouble sleeping, but I didn't want the room to get too warmed up.


In my shorts and tank top, with my hair done up in a clip, I didn't feel too warm at all until I started doing something about dinner. That was another thing I've planned for four years - I made a tuna-macaroni salad. Unfortunately, I left my recipe at the other place (since I haven't made one in a good many years, it isn't in the working set yet), and besides, I discovered that I didn't have much macaroni left, but it turned out pretty good anyway. I used the humungous green pepper I got at Hughes, and I have never tasted a green pepper that was quite so sweet, almost like a red sweet pepper. Yum.


I saw the heron this morning, and the squirrels kept telling me he is still around, and while I was putting my salad together, I looked out the kitchen windows, and there he was, walking through the weeds behind the garden. As soon as I had the salad in the fridge, I hurried to get my camera, and I went very quietly out the porch door, but by the time I got there, he was gone, I have no idea where. It sounds like he's back, from the squeaking going on in the pine tree. Apparently the squirrels just can't get the idea that wearing themselves out squeaking only makes it more likely they will get caught. Well, the intelligence of squirrels isn't very great anyway.


The hummingbird feeder finally had a couple of visitors today, including one just now.


The only trouble with hot weather is that I really do not like to do anything, because I sweat copiously with the slightest activity. So I didn't do much. I did unload and partially reload the dishwasher, and I gathered up some of the trash that had accumulated on the counters (the baskets are pretty full). The idea of getting into hot water to attack the broiler pan didn't appeal, however, so it's still in the sink.


I just went out to examine the sunset, and the sun was brilliant, ruby red as it descended into a cloud bank (cloud bank? that's not supposed to happen!). I tried to take a picture, but the contrasts are too great and the sun just came out a white ball. I don't know what the answer to that problem is. A lot of my sunset pictures (which I haven't posted) this summer are like that.


The wind coming in the back windows felt rather cool, and when I checked the temperature sensors, I discovered that it's 66 back by the garage, and 73 in the feeder tree. Sleeping may be good tonight after all!


While yesterday was a lovely day, today was mostly too warm. The only thing that consoles me is that this is September, and while we may get some more warm weather, it won't last more than another two or three weeks. If this happened in June, I would be worried.


Oh, yes, and the sun is setting in the gap between the lighthouse and Porter Island. Pretty soon it will be in camera range again as we rush toward the equinox at 3 minutes and something a day. Daylight is only 13 hours, 13 minutes now, and soon it will be a lot less than that.


It's perfectly quiet in the field tonight.


September 2

The night wasn't nearly as clear as it was supposed to be, so there was very little moon, but I wasn't awake much to see it anyway. When I stay up that late, I usually sleep like the dead. 


I did finish the bracelet last night: by the time I got through with the main part, putting on the ends was only half an hour's more work, so I did. Then I stared at the floor in the bathroom for too long before I finally made myself go to bed.


This morning, when I finally decided it was time to arise, the harbor was full of fog, which also wasn't predicted, and it was 11:00 before it lifted and the sky started to clear. The afternoon has been beautiful, gorgeous, perfect...whatever else I can say about it. The temperature got close to 80, but there was a nice breeze from the southwest and the sky was clear and blue except for a few contrails. Sunset was lovely, and I did take some pictures, but I haven't processed them yet.


On that subject, I finally discovered another quirk of the camera. When a set of batteries wears down, I immediately recharge them while I use the other set. However, I've noticed that when I insert the new, supposedly fully-charged batteries, the "low battery" indicator still comes on the first time I turn on the camera, which made me wonder what kind of junky batteries I had, that lost their charge just sitting. Well, it turns out that the camera remembers the last battery state before I turn it off, and it takes a while for it to determine that the new batteries are charged. Dumb. So now I won't immediately panic when I change batteries.


I actually did a few things today, in spite of my determination not to. I moved some money and paid some bills, and tagged  and inventoried the eight bracelets and one necklace, which I dropped off at Mariner  on my way from the post office. I spent a lot of time fiddling around with the Ojibwa pattern, and I think I have a version I will try...in odd count peyote. And I caught up on some of my reading. The pile of magazines has gotten out of hand. Tomorrow, maybe I can do something about that.


Mostly, I just enjoyed the weather. I put on my shorts and flip-flops, and I breathed a lot.


However, the critter saga continues. This morning, when I went outside to hang up the bird feeders, a young blue heron took off from underneath the deck, which I thought was rather interesting. Sometime later, the squirrels went absolutely bonkers, sitting in the tree and on the railing and cheeping at the top of their lungs, in the manner that means "FOE! FOE! FOE!" So finally I went out onto the deck to see what the problem was, and the heron flew away again...and twice more, before he went elsewhere. Right around sunset, one of the squirrels went bonkers again, and when I went out on the deck to try to capture the sunset, there went the heron!


I am afraid he has discovered that not only are there probably frogs in the pond, there are lots of chipmunks and squirrels, and probably mice, around here because of the birdseed. According to my Birder's Handbook, herons eat small mammals as well as fish. Strangely, they don't mention frogs, but I know herons eat frogs because I saw one with hind legs sticking out of his mouth. And the squirrels don't make that noise for the fun of it. The place under the deck between the tree and the generator has some nice soft grass on it, and it's quite protected, and I suppose he thinks it's a fine place to nest. He isn't a really big heron, although I guess it must be the one the camera caught, since I haven't seen any others.


I guess when I bought this property I was too much of a city girl to have any notion of what living in the woods really means. I'm beginning to get the idea. It seems every other week there is a new and interesting critter...which will probably try to eat the other critters.


I'm a bit disappointed about the heron, though, because he has frightened away the little chipmunks, if he hasn't eaten them, and Buster loves to watch them scurrying around on the deck. So do I. Well, maybe next year, there will be a new crop. I've watched these guys for a couple of years, and they apparently grow pretty slowly. I've also seen the number dwindle from three to one. It's a big, scary world out there when you're only two inches long! The big chipmunk is still around, although his tail is awfully scruffy. He has finally determined that he can make the jump from the railing into the platform feeder. I think he was cheeping at the heron for a while, too.


So that is the news of the day. It certainly is getting dark fast these days! Sunset was only at 8:30, and now, at 9:00. it's nearly dark already...civil twilight is only half an hour long now!


I just went out to fetch in the feeders, and there was a lonely cricket chirping over toward the south. I haven't heard many of those around here, and it's one of the sounds of summer for me. Then, when I went into the kitchen to start my dinner, Buster was out on the porch, meowing at me. This is his kind of weather, too!


The cricket reminds me that there were no cicadas when I was in Detroit. Their hatching is somewhat controlled by temperature, too, so I suppose they were really late this year. In a typical summer, they start singing either right before or right after my birthday - another sign summer is almost over. 


Besides the cricket, all I could hear was the sighing of the wind in the pines and the lapping of the water on the shore...a night like this is about as close to heaven as I'll get, hopefully for a while.


It's heavenly in the field tonight.


September 1

Sigh. I always hate to write that date. Summer's over, and the time left until I have to go south is getting shorter and shorter.


So I stayed up and finished the spiral rope bracelet last night, and put away all those beads, and got out the ones for the next project. Then I went to bed and slept long and well. It was cloudy for most of the night, with only a little moonlight peeking in at times.


When I finally got up, I discovered that the computer had not loaded right, and sometime between 5:15 and 9:47 this morning, the definition of PastyNet in the dial up properties had gotten set to "never dial a connection"...the first time this year that's happened. It evidently happened sometime yesterday, because no pictures were uploaded until I rebooted and reset it. Very sorry to anybody who checked the camera early this morning. Of course, these things never happen when I'm up early!


So I fooled around and beaded for most of the day, and I decided I don't like Power Pro as well as Fireline, although it probably looks better with the copper beads, since it's a sort of medium green and quite thin. I won't use it for peyote again, but I didn't decide that until I had a couple of inches done on the new bracelet and was stuck. It's about two-thirds done now, and after I do this I'll continue and see if I can at least get everything but the ends done tonight.


The weather was nothing much to talk about. The temperature hung in the middle 50s all day, and it was cloudy without much breeze. This evening I guess there might have been a bit of wind but it was light and from the south so the bay at this end of the harbor was like a sheet of glass. Tomorrow and Friday, they are calling for warm and mostly sunny, but we'll see. That would be nice for a change.


Buster had something new for breakfast this morning, which he liked but which didn't like him, and after he got rid of it, he spent the rest of the day curled up in my bed. Right now, he's on my lap, rather unhappy that I'm typing instead of paying attention to him, but oh, well. He simply can not eat any canned cat food with beef in it. I think there's one dry food like that, too. He is the first cat I've ever had with a sensitive stomach, and it makes it difficult. I always feel bad when I give him something that doesn't agree with him, and besides, I had to wash the bedside rug.


I think tomorrow, after I finish the current bracelet, I will do tags and inventory and pack up what I have for Peggy. That will take care of the weekend's visitors, I hope, and I can go on to other things for a while.


Right after sunset tonight, there was a big hole in the clouds over the mountain, but the picture showed the light in the office, so I didn't save it. I guess I will have to check the dialup configuration carefully for a few days, just to make sure that doesn't happen again.


It's cloudy and quiet in the field tonight.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM