A View From the Field

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October, 2004

 

October 31

Well, October is history, and this is Halloween and Reformation Day, and I won't be here much longer. Sigh.

 

That's probably why I've been stuck in my book instead of sleeping at night. I usually do something like that when I'm not happy about something. I didn't quite make it to the time to set the clocks, but I didn't sleep very good anyway, even though my eyes felt like they were crossed by the time I turned out the light. It was very noisy, more than usual, because I had the window open about 2", and that was probably part of the problem: the wind was from the north, which catches that window, and not only was it noisy, it was cold. Finally, I did shut the window, and that helped, but it wasn't a good night. 

 

My little furry friend didn't help at all. He apparently got a mouse and brought it to the bedroom, but it scooted under the night table in the corner and apparently stayed there for several hours. After all had been quiet for some time, Buster went out into the great room and started howling, I think from frustration. And a while after that, evidently the mouse ventured out, because there was some skittering in the hallway and a really triumphant "Meow!", the kind many cats make with their mouths full when they are bringing you a present, which means, "I got it!" He went into the kitchen, though, and I think the mouse escaped under the fridge. Before I leave, I guess I'd better pull out the fridge again and make sure there aren't any bodies under there.

 

I actually got up at a relatively early hour, considering when I went to bed, and went around setting clocks after I clicked "yes" on the computer...really, there ought to be some way to make the time change automatic! The only way I could handle it was to turn off daylight savings time while I'm not here, but that would mean the time would be an hour off during April, and it isn't worth it. So the first Sunday in April next spring, there won't be any pictures. Sorry.

 

After a rocky start when I changed batteries, the atomic clock (in the weather station) picked up the change just fine, thank you, and since the internet time clock was offline (probably from too many hits), I was able to set the calculator-clock pretty accurately from it. Yes, I have far too many clocks! Oh, and I guess I forgot to set my watch. Tomorrow.

 

The weather was rather ugly. The wind had died down, but there had been rain, and the temperature was in the mid 30s, where it stayed all day, and it was cloudy and dark and dismal, so I ignored it. There were still some waves, but it takes them a while to die off after a blow like we had.

 

I did some embroidery...only 3 more colors and the backstitching to do...and I'm nearing completion of bracelet #5. 

 

This evening, I decided to cook up the beef country ribs I have had all summer and, if there are any left, freeze them cooked. It's been a while since I've done any serious cooking in this kitchen, and I decided it would be good to get that over with before I attack the cleaning job. Since the ribs have to be browned before they go in the oven, they do a job on the stove, but then, when I start slinging around mashed potatoes and gravy, that makes more of a mess. Now I have some nice comfort food to eat, which tasted really good, and I can attack the kitchen tomorrow. The onions I got from Hughes are wonderful, very sweet and not strong at all, but my garlic had all gone bad, unfortunately. but garlic powder worked OK. Especially when one lives along, one needs things like garlic and onion powder and dehydrated green peppers around for just such situations.

 

In the meantime, I had a long series of conversations with two of my e-friends about topographical maps and aerial photographs, and I finally ended up sending (after two abortive tries) a picture another friend took of this end of the harbor from the Copper Harbor overlook. I haven't published that picture, partly because it isn't mine, and partly because it makes the house look like a mansion, which it is not. I finally had to shrink the size of the file, because PastyNet apparently wouldn't take the original 1.73mb picture outgoing, even though it was sent to me here. So now Phil and Sewell not only know exactly where my house is, they know exactly what it looks like. Since the chances of either of them ever getting here are small, I thought I'd satisfy their curiosity.

 

So now the leftovers are packed away in the fridge, and the picture is sent, and it's dark and cloudy in the field...and as soon as the Prelude & Fugue in D minor ends (the real one, on pipe organ), I will trundle up to the north end and read a while.

 

October 30

Well, in spite of my intentions, I started reading while I ate my dessert, and it was after 1 am  before I got to sleep. As a result, I slept forever and missed another morning rainbow. This one wasn't very bright, so while I saved the picture, I won't publish it. It happened while the rain was down at the east end of the harbor and before it got here.

 

It rained hard overnight, but the sky was really bright because of the moon above the clouds, and that got me thinking about Wednesday night. While I didn't see the eclipse, I certainly did experience it, because it was pitch dark all the way home, but later in the night, after the eclipse was over, the sky was light through the clouds.

 

This morning, around 7 am, it was only partly cloudy, and the moon  was shining brilliantly in my bedroom windows. When I went to the bathroom, I could see Venus shining over the garage, and it looked like there were only a few clouds in the sky.  It got cloudy later, and there was that squall around 10:30, then it cleared up again for a while before the clouds rolled in. There was wind during the squall, but most of the morning and into the early afternoon, the wind was calm. Then around 2 pm, it began to blow, and it's been in the 20+ mph range ever since, although it's switched around and is now out of the northeast, and the lake is roaring.

 

My day was rather truncated, but I did some embroidery and worked on bracelet #5, began the cleanup of the kitchen and finally got my clothes folded and put away...now that the laundry baskets are filling up again. So I guess actually did accomplish something.

 

I think Buster staked out the kitchen all night long, because he didn't sleep with me, but I don't think there were any more mice. They do get the message after a while, although they forget between spring and fall. Anyway, he is still energized by his playthings and he has been driving me bonkers.

 

This evening, Shirley and I had a rather earlier dinner because Mariner is having a Halloween party tonight. She is going, as are most of her kids, but I bowed out. Halloween just isn't my thing. They are even having live music, and I heard the guitarist warming up and he sounds pretty good. I hope there is a good crowd, but they can get along without me. Anyway, I finally had their blackened salmon, which turns out to be excellent, and I'm sorry I didn't have it before. So that was nice.

 

In case anybody is wondering, they are thinking about keeping the King Copper Annex open this winter. Apparently Mariner has so many reservations for the snowmobile season (Christmas and afterward) that they think they will need extra rooms for the overflow. The number of reservations is really good news. Apparently all the hard work Donny and the trail grooming crews did last winter is paying off. I don't think Shirley will stay here all winter - she rather likes her house in Hancock - but Cindy wants to stay in the harbor, and she can keep the Annex open, and Shirley will probably be here for the weekends.

 

I wish I could say the same.

 

Well, not only is the wind blowing and the lake roaring, the temperature, which peaked in the mid 50s around noon, is now down to 40 and dropping, so I think I will trundle off to the north end and read some more...hopefully, not all night.

 

It's a dark and noisy night in the field.

 

October 29

Twenty one days. Sob!

 

I knew it would happen eventually, but when I went to bed last night, everything was all quiet, and it was through the night, although I had to open the window a bit around midnight, because I was so warm. It was very foggy outside, and after a while I could hear the rain coming down, too.

 

Around 4:15 I came to as Buster said "meow" in a strange tone, and that was followed by skittering and thumping...the first mouse of autumn.  Apparently first he took it into the bathroom, although I didn't realize that until this morning, then he brought it into the bedroom, where it hid behind a box for a bit. So I turned on the light and put on my glasses and got a piece of kleenex and between us we cornered the mouse, and I picked it up and put it out on the deck, where it ran down the stairs and over the edge. I think it was OK. It was a cute little thing, and when it was sitting between the black monster and the humungous monster, I really felt sorry for it.

 

All the activity made it hard for me to get back to sleep, but eventually I did, but at 5:30 there was more thumping and skittering, so I got up and went in the bathroom, where a couple of seconds later, Buster appeared with the second mouse by the tail. I was happy to see that he has discovered it's easier to hang on to them if he gets them near the base of the tail. So I got a kleenex and went after him, and darn if he didn't take off down the basement stairs, stopping a couple of times to make sure the mouse was still moving. I looked down, but it didn't seem like he was coming up soon, so I gave up and went back to bed. He immediately came back upstairs, but he dropped the mouse in the kitchen, where he played with it for a few minutes longer, until it finally apparently figured it could get under the fridge.

 

I'm pretty sure that's where they are getting in, because there's no other place around where they could hide on their way in or out.

 

I slept in this morning, and actually felt pretty decent today. Buster's activity left him wired, and he drove me nuts all morning, until he finally gave up and went to bed in my bed. Geez!

 

I've been wondering when we would begin to get the mice again, and this is it. I have some ultrasonic repellers on the way for when we leave, but in the meantime, I guess I am going to have to put up with the Mighty Mouser playing with mice during the night.

 

When I got up and went in the bathroom, I discovered that stuff had been moved around, and one of my slippers was in the middle of the floor, and there was mouse doo all over , including in my slipper. How he got the mouse out of there, I don't know (and don't want to, I think). They do tend to leave little trails behind them, or they did last winter, but I think this one just had the **** scared out of him. It does seem amazing that one little mouse could have that much stuff inside him.

 

Anyway, I took my time about breakfast on a very foggy and moist morning, then I wrote some checks, did some embroidery, and went off to the post office. When I got back, I finally bit the bullet and started trying to clean up the papers, magazines and books that have been avalanching all over the office for the past few weeks. I made a good start at it, although I still have a lot of piles and the desk is unreachable. At least I've made a start at it.

 

Oh, yes, and our friends at SBC had a major failure in their digital lines sometime overnight, and they didn't get it repaired until after 2 pm this afternoon. That was why there was no livecam shot until then. Charlie had a message on the support number, which is how I found out about it, after I had rebooted two or three times and redialed innumerable times.

 

Buster has another mouse...at 10:50. Rats.

 

Anyway, about the phones. Apparently it not only affected data lines, it affected 800 numbers, too, so there wasn't even any way I could call them and complain about it. Once a phone company, only a phone company, I guess. They just don't seem to care very much about customer service, especially to a remote area like this one where not many people live. Does not make me love them.

 

So that is the story of the day, and it seems like I am going to have to put up with thumping and skittering around all night tonight.

 

The temperature, by the way has been rising all day. It was about 50 this morning, and is now around 56, but the fog is supposed to get thicker overnight, and there may be some rain, too. Late fall in the field.

 

Well, it was quiet and foggy in the field, until the mouse...

 

October 28

The day started out pretty hopeful yesterday, with another gorgeous moonset which the camera caught. It wasn't quite so clear - you can see the clouds in one shot - and the moon was much further to the north than it was Tuesday, but at least we got it! The morning was mostly sunny, but not long after noon it clouded up, and the rest of the day and all night was very cloudy...not even a hint of clear sky. As a result, not only didn't I see the eclipse, I didn't see the moon at all.

 

I've often said I am deeply suspicious of all scheduled events, because very likely something will come up to make it impossible to see them. And the next lunar eclipse isn't until 2007, I think. Rats. To give you an idea of what the sky looked like, I saved the last picture before dark last night.  Pretty ominous, eh?

 

Yesterday evening was a real adventure. As much time as I've spent up here, I had never been east of Calumet. I've never seen Calumet Waterworks or Tamarack Waterworks or anything else over there. So I took off down to Calumet and followed the very good directions Ann had written. I'd like to drive there when it's sunny and clear, because a mile or so down Tamarack Waterworks road, you are up on the top of the spine of Keweenaw, and you have a fantastic view of the lake. 

 

Sedar Bay (yes, that's it's name - it's named after the original landowner, whose name was Sedar) is a nice section of the shoreline, with a sand and pebble beach and not a hint of the huge rocks we have here, but the area has been subdivided into rather small lots. Ann's house is a very nice one with beautiful views of the lake from two levels. She has a wonderful collection of pictures and things, and she has done a wonderful job of organizing and hanging, since she moved kit and kaboodle in March. Of course she still has a lot to do, but really, she has everything really under control. Much more than I do.

 

She is also an excellent cook, and we had a wonderful dinner...I suppose you'd call it comfort food, but it was perfect for the occasion and the temperature. We were, of course, talking all the time...and I finally left a bit after midnight. I'd say it's a girl thing, except I've certainly done the same with men. When you are in congenial company, it's hard to stop.

 

I have to confess I was pretty tired when I left, but that only showed up in a little more problem than usual with glare. The trip home was a real adventure, because it was pitch dark - cloudy and no moon and no streetlights to speak of. I have never driven US-41 after dark before, and I was very grateful that I was the only person on the road, both from Sedar Bay to Calumet and from Calumet to Copper Harbor. It was nice to see that anywhere there are road signs or steel barricades there are reflectors (very bright reflectors!), and I knew all along why the road commission is so careful about keeping the road striped. In order not to outrun my bright headlights, I would have had to go about 35 mph all the way home, which I did not, but I did take it a bit more easily than I usually do in daylight. And because there wasn't anybody else on the road, I could shade the curves a bit, which made it easier. 

 

But let me tell you, it's dark out there!

 

I got home about 1:10, and by 1:30, I was in bed, and it didn't take me long to get to sleep, although I did have some interesting dreams and I was up several times. Buster slept with me all night: this is the first time he's been left alone in the house when I was coming back the same day, and he didn't like it, but he was asleep when I left.

 

Needless to say, I got up very late this morning, and the day was a rather lost one. It was cloudy all day, and the temperature has been stuck at about 48 for about at week. It was really dark today, but when the sun set, there hadn't been any rain yet. I did a little beading and a little embroidery and I unloaded the dishwasher. As soon as I finish this, I'm going to be taking my bath and going back to bed. Even I am not used to being up quite that long, especially when I have to be alert at the end of the day!

 

It was cloudy and rather hazy at Sedar Bay, so I didn't take any pictures there, but one day I want to go back when it's sunny, because Ann's view is a most satisfactory one. What I envy about her location is that she is under 5 miles from Calumet, which means she can easily get there or to Houghton without making a big production out of it. It's a much better location for a permanent home than mine.

 

So that is the tale of my two days, and I hope I don't start making a habit of not doing a journal every day, but the computer was off when I got home, even if I'd been awake enough to write anything.

 

It's cloudy and dark and quiet in the field tonight, and I'm going to take advantage of it.

 

October 26

Oh, rats!

 

We had one of the most spectacular moonsets I have ever seen this mornihg. From about 4 am till shortly after 6 am, the moon hung over Porter Island, almost full and bright and gorgeous and lighting the bedroom. When it got near the horizon, it turned beautifully golden, and there was a wide golden road across the water right to my bedroom. It was sooooo  pretty!

 

And when I got to the office, rather early, the computer had come up screwed up completely and all there was, was a green screen!

 

Oh, rats!

 

Well, it's one of those things I'll just have to remember and you'll just have to take my word for. I know you can't ever count on mechanical - or electronic equipment, but gee, at least this once it could have worked right! I'm sorry, bur even though I know that, I just was not about to get up and trundle down to the office and check to make sure it's working properly. For fifteen years, I was on call and frequently had to haul myself to the computer in the middle of the night to diagnose and fix a problem. I promised myself that when I retired, that was the last time I'd do it. Actually, I think this is the second morning in a row it's been screwed up: yesterday, if I recall correctly, the dialup definition had been set to "never dial a connection". I guess I go through phases like this, and I still have no clue why it happens. Fortunately, when I'm not here and all the computer is doing is running the camera, it doesn't happen quite so often.

 

While it was a beautiful morning, clear and just over freezing, there were clouds in the west that soon covered up most of the sun and except for right around noon, the rest of the day was cloudy. The temperature toppped out in the mid 40s.

 

I marked my absentee ballot and took it to the post office and did embroidery - no beading. Sometime during the day, I decided it would be nice to wear the vest I was working on last spring but never did the finishing, but I'm not going to make it. All the edges are crocheted, and my usual problem with yarn crochet has surfaced: the second joint in my right thumb gets to feeling like there is a pin stuck in it after a while, so I have had to stop. I could try changing the way I hold the hook, but then I'm afraid my tension would change, and I'm having a hard enough time making it look right anyway. I've done a lot of crochet - including a 90" round tablecloth - but as the arthritis in my hands has gotten worse, it seems I can only crochet with thread, not with yarn, anymore. That's too bad, because I have a couple of really pretty afghans I'd like to make. I hold my hook like a pencil, but I've tried holding it like a knife and that doesn't relieve the pressure on my thumb. Besides, it changes the tension and makes my stitches look different.

So I'll have to do the crochet in small doses, which means it won't be done by tomorrow.

 

So that was my day, and I guess I can say I accomplished something. I did finally wash the dishes while I was warming up my dinner, so at the moment the kitchen is in a state where some cleaning might be done.

 

However, last night I got in bed early and read a while, and I think I'll do the same tonight.

 

Whether we'll be able to see the eclipse tomorrow is really up in the air. The NWS says not, but the Clear Sky clock says there should be a window of  clear skies for at least part of it. That will be interesting to see.

 

Right now, it's cloudy and nearly calm in the field.

 

October 25

I'm pleased (I guess) to report that my hands-free headset for my cordless phone works wonderfully...even if I'm on the phone for four or five hours...

 

Yesterday was a pretty non-descript day, with mostly clouds, temperature around 50 and a brisk northwest wind...my favorite kind. I did some embroidery and some beading and sort of looked at the avalanche on the floor in the office. The number of catalogs is getting out of hand again.

 

I made pork chops for dinner and enjoyed them, and around 8:30 or so, I called Debbie. I hadn't talked to her since I was in Detroit, and I wanted to know how her situation was progressing, especially since she had emailed me about an address for her witness list.  Well...suffice it to say, I finally got to bed around 2 am this morning. I figured the best thing I could do was just let her talk. She's doing all right, but a lot of things are still up in the air in her life, and she's the kind of person who needs to talk about it. I should own that AT&T line by now!

 

While I was sitting comfortably with my headset on, I finished bracelet #4 and started #5, so I actually accomplished quite a bit, even though I wouldn't have stayed up that long if I hadn't been on the phone. It is really nice to have a long conversation with out either my ear or my arm or both getting terminally sore and having both hands available to do something. I guess my right ear must be more deaf than the left, because I can't use the phone in my right ear at all. So my ear and arm and hand and everything else would get really sore, and besides, there are a lot of things I can't do one-handed.  I like it so well that I will get another one for the other house. While my beside phones have cords, I like the cordless one much better, because it's a modern phone with caller id built in, a call log and a memory, amongst other things, besides being portable.

 

As a result of my late start, it was almost noon when I got up today. The temperature hung in just under 50 all day, with more strong northwest winds. It was alternately cloudy and sunny as successive bands of clouds came over with bright sunshine in between. There were little whitecaps on the harbor, which was beautiful dark blue when the sun was out.

 

I spent quite a long time embroidering something for Wednesday, and it's getting done. I haven't done any beading today. I also was going to do my absentee ballot today, but from my results with Ma Jongh, I decided to postpone that until tomorrow. My brain was a bit fuzzy today.

 

I have now determined that Buster is allergic to lamb as well as beef, but as a result all the files I had stored next to the printer got decorated this morning. Poor Buster...it certainly isn't his fault, but I do wish DC had managed to teach him that if you're going to barf, get on the floor - quick! He slept all day in my bed, and didn't come to see me again until after dark. Poor Buster!

 

He was funny last night. Starting at about 11:00, every half hour or so, he would come into the office, twine around, and holler at me. This is becoming a frequent scene, if I stay up very late. The actual reason is that when I go down to the bathroom, I get out his brush and give him a good brushing, and he really loves that, especially if he can rub his chops on the brush. When it gets to 10:30 or 11:00, he wants his brushing, so he can go to bed! He is more of a creature of habit than any other cat I've ever had.

 

I don't think he'll have that problem tonight. I expect to be in bed real soon, after I bathe and probably change my nightie, which I never took off today. I was also hungry all day, which frequently happens when I'm tired.

 

So that is the reason there wasn't a journal last night - I was still on the phone when the computer shut down - and I really didn't have much to report anyway. I'm only a bit sorry I didn't get out to get a picture of the mountain in the sun today. The trees at the shore are now completely turned, and the contrast between the bright gold birches and the dark green evergreens is very vivid when the sun is out. From the weather forecast, I gather that the NWS really doesn't know for sure what's going to happen tomorrow. It could rain and it could be partly sunny. So we'll see. However, they are now pretty sure that it will be cloudy Wednesday for the eclipse. I can only hope they're wrong.

 

It's a quiet night in the field, and I'm going to bed!

 

October 23

Yesterday was a pretty day, with clouds and sun, enough sunshine that Buster got to sleep in it for most of the morning, but it was very windy, with the wind out of the south between 25 and 35 mph all day long. It was interesting to see the water being blown toward the north. The temperature didn't get out of the low 50s, so I didn't go out.

 

Along about 6 pm, I decided to eat in and turned on the oven to do a pizza...and the power went out. So I called it in, along with everybody else, and I waited. It turns out that what happened was, a transformer in town blew, and in order to replace it, they had to turn off all the power. It was on the line that comes out here anyway. Along about 9 pm, I decided it was a long term outage, had a bowl of cereal for dinner, and went to bed. I did manage to scrounge up enough water to brush my teeth, but that was about all.

 

Around 10, the power came back on, and I went around and set all the clocks, but I decided bed was a good place and went back to sleep. At 11:30 or so, bleep! it went again. I called UPPCO, and the guy who answered said, "Are you sure? We were just there!"  Yup - no power in Copper Harbor, or here or the lighthouse. A few minutes later, the dispatcher called..."Are you sure? We were just there!" Yup, I'm sure. A couple of minutes after that the crew chief called "Are you sure? We were just there!" also "Just where is Woodland Road?"  Yup, I'm sure, Woodland Road is the road to the lighthouse, which doesn't have any power either.

 

Actually, I felt sorry for the crew - they must just have gotten home after replacing the transformer.

 

That one lasted until about 2 am. This time, I only set the clocks in the bedroom and bathroom, which drive me nuts when they blink. At about 3 am, it bounced, so I set the clocks again.

 

Shortly after 5 am, the lights bounced six or eight times, leaving me holding my breath, because by that time the computer would have turned on, then they went off completely. UPPCO must be tired of hearing from me. That one lasted until 8:20 or so, and things have been pretty stable ever since. The wind has now died down to about 10 mph, so I guess we're safe for this time.

 

Anyway, in case you were wondering why there was no journal last night, that's why.

 

Shortly after the lights went off the first time, it started to lightening, and that continued at intervals till midnight or so, but it was far away, because I could just barely hear the thunder. Around midnight, it started to rain, and it rained hard until almost 2 pm this afternoon...nearly 2" so far! 

 

With all the lights off, and the thick, low rain clouds, it was so dark that I really wonder if even Buster could see, although he must have been able to, because he did use his tray overnight. He didn't like it all very well, though, and he kept close to me for most of the night. He particularly didn't like the lights bouncing on and off this morning. He likes things to be normal, and they definitely weren't normal.

 

Even though I'd been in bed for a long time, I had been wakeful because of the power, so I slept an hour after the lights finally came on. When I got to the office, much to my delight and surprise, the computer seems to have come through in one piece, and it came up and started sending pictures as soon as there was power. That was a relief!

 

Today was a cloudy and mostly windy and rainy day, but the temperature has been slowly rising. It started out around 50, and it is now around 55, so it's really not bad outside so long as it isn't raining. I think the worst is over now, and it should be a bit nicer for the next few days.

 

I have to say I'm a bit annoyed about the power. The tree butchers were through last year, and clearly they didn't do a bit of good for anything except north or west winds. This one was solidly out of the south, and while they can be excused for the transformer, I don't think the other two outages should have happened. I do wish my generator worked, but I'm just not in a financial position to get into that right now.

 

Oh, well. Otherwise, I did some embroidery, and some beading, and picked up the kitchen a bit...just a bit.  Tonight, I met Shirley for a nice dinner at Mariner. The dining room is closed, but they are serving full meals in the bar, and it was good. She is celebrating the essential end of the season. Although the motel isn't technically closed yet, she didn't have any rooms rented today, and she is enjoying the freedom.

 

So that is the story of our interesting storm. It appears that Houghton and/or Hancock has had a failure tonight, because the radio station is off the air, but all is serene up here.

 

Now for a nice hot shower...

 

October 21

Along about 4 am this morning, the fog rolled in, and even the lighthouse disappeared. When I got up, we were still socked in, although most of the fog lifted by 11 or so. The temperature dropped into the upper 30s, and it eventually warmed into the low 50s, but the wind was light and from the south, so if you were out of it, it was really very nice. While the sky didn't ever clear completely, there was some sunshine.

 

My lunch was just outside Eagle River, and the drive down M-26 was very pretty. The trees along the lake are now pretty well turned, and there was a lot of color, but again it was the kind of thing I could only have shown with a video. At one point, the car in front of me came to a halt and pulled off the road because he had just startled two fairly small does who had run away into the woods.

 

 Lesley has a wonderful home site, but currently they are living in the guest house, and there is a huge dune between the house and the lake, and one can only see the horizon out the windows that face north. When the house is finished, they will have decks right up on the dune, and the view will be exceptional. Anyway, that's why I didn't take any pictures...yet. Unlike the terrain along the lake here in the Copper Harbor area, which is mostly rock, the shoreline in the area between Eagle Harbor and Eagle River is beach, a combination of pebbles and sand, and whether any particular stretch is pebbles or sand depends upon the lake and the wind.

 

We spent a very nice afternoon, and I drove the Brockway Mountain drive on the way home, but again, didn't take any pictures. On the land side of the mountain, the trees are past their prime and so look mostly brown, and from a distance, the lake side hills look mostly yellow from the birches. Every so often, along the side of both roads, I would encounter a brilliant red maple or oak, but most of the trees were yellow to orange.  There were a couple of places on the mountain where there were packs of crows (ravens?) flying around and either playing or going after each other, I couldn't tell which. Both M-26 and the mountain drive are pretty at any time of year, and it's a shame I don't get down there more often. Oh, well.

 

Anyway, I went directly to the powder room when I got home, and looked out the window...to find a spike-horn buck nicely bedded down behind the breezeway. With the wind from the south, it was probably nice and warm back there, and there's lots of white sweet clover to lie on. Unfortunately, he saw me when I got up (I almost said "jumped", but I don't do that), so he had moved when I went back with the camera, and he headed north, so I did, too, and I finally caught up with him in the closet. Of course, I was taking a picture through the screen again, which is why it isn't the best. He's a pretty good looking fellow, I think. I hope he's wise enough to stay in this area through the end of November. Right after I took that picture, he jumped forward and I lost him, but when I came through the kitchen, he was in the garden, nibbling on some weed out there, and he took his time about wandering off.

 

For most of the evening, it looked like this was going to be another dud of a sunset, but when I looked out the south window just after the sun set, there was a lovely peach cloud, and a few minutes later, I noticed that the webcam picture looked interesting, and when I turned around there was fire in the sky. It started out peach and pale yellow, but that's how it ended up. That's why I try to keep the camera at hand, so I can jump (figuratively, of course) up and run (figuratively, of course) outside and try to capture these things. We haven't had very many really good sunsets this year, so I was very happy to be here for this one.

 

And much as I envy people with a clear view of the lake, where there were a couple of big, empty lakers going up toward Duluth, I do love my sunset view. Now, Ann, the lady who lives at Sedar Bay, may have both, but I didn't even know that area existed when I bought this lot. Anyway, it was a lovely end to the day.

 

Buster was asleep on his boxes when I got home, and he smelled Angel the Himalayan on me, so he had to come and sit and be scratched, and he was most put out when I started working on the bracelet, which I did until I couldn't see the beads. I've now stopped the camera, so after I have a bite to eat, I will do some more.

 

Now the first quarter moon is shining, inside a hazy cocoon, in the south window, and all is well in the field.

 

October 20

I think it was cloudy all night last night, but there wasn't any fog. The temperature only got down to 45, but there was a tiny bit of rain between 2 and 3 (couldn't prove it by me - that's what the NWS says).  The day was partly cloudy, less so in the morning, but there was some sunshine, which was nice. The temperature got jsut over 50, but there wasn't much wind for most of the day, and it was nice out.

 

I got up late, after a night of weird dreams, and got right at the bracelet, although I only got part of it done before I went to the post office. I put the rest of the closure on afterwards, and since I've talked so much about it, I thought I'd better take a picture. In case you wondered, that's not for sale, and I'm not sure whether I will make another one. I have some other things in mind to do first. I also worked on bracelet #4, but didn't get much done on it.

 

I guess my social life hasn't come to an end; tomorrow I'm going to lunch in Eagle River, and next Wednesday, to dinner at Sedar Bay. Very interesting. I will be taking the camera, and if the people involved don't mind, I will at least try to take some pictures of their view. Every one is different, and they're all great.

 

And on that subject, my correspondent in Phoenix gave me a heads up about a beautiful sunset over San Francisco bay this evening...since we didn't have a sunset here, it was nice to watch theirs, which was very satisfactory. Thanks, Phi.

 

So that was another quiet day in the field, and I'll be heading to the north end soon. Thirty days left.

 

October 19

It was a dull, cloudy day with a temperature that hung in the low 40s and a brisk southeast wind, making it raw and not very pleasant to be outdoors.

 

I got up early, because I knew if I went back to bed at 8 am, I'd never get out of the house, but it was nearly noon when I left. Despite the clouds, the drive down to Houghton was really pretty, but again, it was so dark, pictures wouldn't have come out, and besides I couldn't decide where to stop...a 45 minute video of the drive to Calumet might have shown it. It's been a pretty year, and while south of the harbor, the trees are past prime, the gale didn't do as much of a job as I thought it might.

 

What was interesting and startling was that from the Mountain Lodge all the way to the top of Quincy Hill, there was snow on the ground, sometimes several inches. The Mountain Lodge golf course was covered when I left this morning, but it had all melted off when I came back, although I didn't notice much melting in other places.  All the roads were clear, however - the plows had been out and in spots it looked like they might have sanded a bit, too.

 

I made all my stops, including a short one at Econo Foods, and I got everything I intended to get except squash. Apparently the cold summer wasn't good for the squash crop either - or even the pumpkins. I got a beautiful bunch of onions and half a gallon of fresh cider, which is delicious, but that was all.

 

The only problems I had were that the filter for the water system was $15, and the one for the fridge - egad!! - was $50, plus $6 or $7 more for an adapter, since GE stopped using Culligan filters and started making their own, which of course don't have the same connection. And they told me it's not possible to get the Culligan filters anymore. I will probably change the water line filter every year (actually, it's not my choice - Tom will probably just do it), but believe me, I won't be changing the one in the fridge every year! After four years, the old one is still flowing, although I think it probably needs changing by this time.

 

Everybody at WalMart was ga-ga over the bracelet, and they told me that the man who found it wanted to leave his name in case I didn't pick it up. They had stashed it away in the back office to keep it safe, and they demanded identification before they'd give it back to me. Well, it's not that good! It is pretty, but really...

 

I got a new headset for the cordless phone, which will work much better and be much more comfortable. Now all I have to decide is whether to take this one to Detroit with me or get another one. For $15, I guess maybe I can afford two.

 

I had a nice lunch at Ming Gardens, as usual, but I was still full from breakfast and I had to take some of it home with me. It made a good dinner. Yum. While I was waiting for my food, I decided how to fix the clasp on the bracelet, but it's going to mean pulling out a lot of beads and finishing the ends over again. Tomorrow.

 

Then I stopped at Econo Foods for a few things I missed last time, and another jug of orange juice, so I won't have to go south again for a couple of weeks.

 

The other sticker shock I had was the price of gas. At most stations between here and Houghton it was between $2.15 and $2.18 a gallon - ouch! - and the only thing that was more remarkable is that diesel is actually a few cents more, like $2.20 or so! Was it really so long ago that the car companies were pushing diesel cars because diesel fuel was so much cheaper? Ha! Not anymore! The station at Econo Foods had gas for $2.08, so even though I didn't need much, I topped off the tank. They don't sell diesel, and the pumps are totally automated - credit card only, and I don't think there's even an attendant on duty.

 

Then there was the ride home, and the clouds were thickening so that it was hard to remember that it was only about 4 pm. I guess that we're getting to the part of the year where the sun is so low in the sky that by that time of day it's beginning to set already. My automatic headlights were on most of the way home.

 

Instead of stopping at Hughes on the way south, I stopped on the way home. They had freshly squeezed cider and a few tomatoes and root veggies but not much else. They said their last day open will be Thursday, and among other things they will have green tomatoes and probably mark everything else down. I've never eaten a green tomato in my life, and the only thing I know to do with them is bread and fry them, which isn't good for my tummy or my arteries. So I guess I'll just pass and wait till next year.

 

So that was my quick trip. I am going to have to remember to take off my coat in WalMart. I've never been in such a hot store, and I was dripping by the time I got out. Right after I got here this spring, I got a really nice heavy fleece jacket from Mariner, after it was too warm to wear it, of course. It was perfect for today...The fleece is smooth on the outside and sherpa on the inside, and I think it has some sort of wind barrier, which makes it really cozy...outside. Inside, I almost melted. Especially at Hughes Farm, which is up on the ridge, there was a really cutting wind, and it didn't come through.

 

I must also note that Ace Hardware had a wonderful selection of winter gloves and mittens, including a really nice looking pair of stone colored calfskin mittens lined with fur or sherpa or something. I didn't even price them. I think my deerskin mittens with the sherpa liners are still in the truck, and if I need anything warmer than gloves, I can wear them. What I should get is a pair of cheap, warm gloves to wear when I pump gas, so I don't wreck my good leather ones.

 

Now it's getting late, and I absolutely do need to bathe tonight, after all the sweating I did today, so I will toddle up to the north end and do that.

 

It's cloudy and calm in the field tonight.

 

October 18

Not only was it quiet all night, but the clouds parted occasionally and I could see stars, a nice vision after all the days of clouds. It turned out to be a pretty day, with puffy clouds sometimes closing over the sun and sometimes letting it shine through, and because the wind was out of the east, the harbor looked almost completely calm. Only it wasn't very warm. The NWS said it bottomed out at 30, but the thermometer in the tree said 28 when I got here this morning. That was all right - I did have to go to the post office, but not anyplace else. Besides, there was enough sunshine that it got quite warm in here.

 

Even though it doesn't get all that cool in the house at night, Buster has been spending most of this nights cuddled up to me somewhere. When I woke up this morning, I was facing the windows, and he had his back to my back, and he complained piteously when I moved him. In all his nine-plus years, I have never been able to convince him that if he would only sleep on the left side instead of the right side, I could get up without disturbing him. Oh, well. It was time he got up, too, although he did get up and take a turn around the house (probably down the basement then by his food dishes) at 5:30.

 

DC finally got used to my later hours after I retired, but Buster never has. We got up at 6 am when he was a kitten and he'll always get up at 6 am. Some cats can accommodate to changed conditions better than others. I'm just glad he likes it here, and I wish he would get a bit more used to the trip to and from.

 

Anyway, my morning was spent on the computer, because John Dee got back from his honeymoon and had a very long journal entry with a ton of pictures, including some of the snow at the "higher elevations" over the weekend, and I wanted to read and see all about it. Then George Hite had a journal entry, and I enjoy his writing so much I wanted to read that, too.

 

I did have a few plans for the day, but all I accomplished was to change cat pans. I needed to go downstairs to get the water filter, and I wouldn't go down without taking care of poor Buster. Fortunately, with only one of him, the trays don't get quite so bad as they did with two.

 

I needed to get the filter because in the middle of the morning a nice girl from WalMart called to say they seem to have found my bracelet (when she said "it looks homemade" you will understand why I can't sell that one!). In the meantime, I had decided to return the hands-free headset I got for my cordless phones, because it has an over-the-ear hanger and with my glasses and all I can't get it to stay over my ear. Besides, I need to get new filters for the main water line at the Calumet Ace (which I have very carefully stayed out of this year, because it is a very well-stocked hardware store), and I need to stop at Kirkish Furniture and get some filters for the water system in my fridge, which has never been changed. The water still runs, sort of, but occasionally the ice looks a bit brown.

 

So since I don't need any foodstuffs this week, I thought I would take care of all these other little errands, and maybe stop at Hughes Farm and see if there are any delicata squash yet. There are a few "must dos", and we'll see how much else I get done.

 

I did finish bracelet #3 today, and started #4, and I really think that while these look hand made, they don't look home made. There's a difference.

 

I had hoped to clear out the breezeway a bit, but while I brought in a couple of bags, I will have to leave most of that until Wednesday. I need to take inventory and begin to draw down the stash. I was going to bring in the wine, of which I seem to have accumulated quite a bit, but with the cold weather, the breezeway is now at the ideal temperature for cooling white wine, so I think I'll just leave it there. I need a wine rack. Actually, I need shelves, but I haven't decided exactly what kind to get for there. I don't want basement-type steel units, which are what I have with me, so I need to do some poking around and see what there is.

 

So now it's time to to the evening thing. I've been eating cheese and crackers and American Spoon Foods relishes, and I don't think I want anything else, so I will toddle up to the north end, take my bath, and read a while again.

 

Just before it got completely dark, the clouds parted and there was the crescent moon peeking in the south windows. I don't see it now, so either it is about to set or it's clouded up again. It's quiet in the field tonight.

 

October 17

The gale blew on all night long. The waves crashed and howled and the wind gusted against the house, and I could tell when we got those 50 mph gusts, because the whole north end of the bedroom creaked. It began to abate, slowly around 6 am, but it wasn't until this afternoon that the wind finally got down to more reasonable speeds. What a wonderful gale! They really don't come much better than that!

 

The seas at the mid-Superior buoy never got much above 12 feet, but at the east Superior buoy, they reported almost 16 feet for a while.

 

As my mama used to say when the wind blew and the seas crashed, "Pity the poor sailor on a night like this!" I hope all sailors were in safe havens for the past two days. Wow!

 

I stayed up late and got up late again, and I was just contemplating what I was going to do for the rest of the afternoon when - bleep! - the power finally went out. I think every person in Copper Harbor called UPPCO, because I had to wait about five minutes and the guy who answered the phone said there were 20 people behind me. I think it's actually a good idea to call them, because then they know the extent of the outage. This one only lasted a bit over an hour and didn't cause me much grief, except as an annoyance. I have to set four or five clocks after every one and run a check on the fridge.

 

When it came back on, I was either embroidering or folding underwear, and I finished what I was doing and got dressed before I came back to the office. When the power went out, I hit the master switch on the computer circuit (the one really good thing the flaky electrician did for me), so it and the camera didn't come back up until about 3:30. While they've been really good about not letting the power surge lately, you never know, and I'd rather wait until it appears things have settled down and I can oversee the power up...so much have I learned from my years as system administrator.

 

A while before the power went out, I heard something hit one of the upper windows in the great room hard, and when I looked out the office windows, there was a little downy woodpecker lying on the deck. It was lying with its feet in the air, and I thought it was dead, but after a while, it turned over and I saw its head move a bit, although it lay there for a very long time. Just before I headed to the north end to get dressed, I looked up, and it was clinging to the slider screen. It still looked dazed, but I figured if it had managed to fly up to the screen, it would probably be OK, and when I came back, it was gone.

 

I don't know what the answer to that problem is except not to have the windows, which, of course, is unacceptable. At least this fellow was only stunned. 

 

It was a cute little bird, and not much bigger than the purple finches that have been frequenting the feeders lately. I don't know what it was doing when it hit the window. I didn't think woodpeckers hawked bugs. The other birds that have been around are the juncos - the snowbirds. I'm glad to see them still here, because when they do leave, that will mean it's winter for sure, and I'm not ready for that.

 

The temperature has hung in at 37 for about the last 24 hours, at least at the NWS station. It was colder here yesterday, but today I agreed with it. With the heavy clouds, it has been really dull and dark, although right before sunset today, I could see some thinning of the clouds, and a little color in them. Not much, but better than the last couple of days.

 

When I woke up this morning, I spent a while watching the waves come in between Porter Island and the lighthouse. From the bedroom, I can see the pile of rocks at the east end of Porter Island, and the waves were hitting them and throwing spray probably ten feet into the air. That is too far away to get good pictures of, and it's much more fun to see it in action anyway.

 

Besides folding and stashing away the underwear, finally, I worked on the bread cloth, and started the third color, and I nearly finished bracelet #3. I could finish it tonight, but I think I'll just wait, because I wasn't doing too well when it got too dark.

 

Since I couldn't go to Harbor Haus tonight, I had my leftovers, and they were good. So now it will be the end of next May before I have any more whitefish...or any other lake fish, for that matter. They have spoiled me, and now that I know how good it can be when it's really fresh and cooked right, I just don't eat it anyplace else. When I eat fish in the big city, it's ocean fish, which in general isn't so delicate as whitefish.

 

I've been meaning to mention that I've been turning off the camera when it gets dark lately, so that I can turn on the lights in the office and you can't see what a disaster it is in here. After that last picture, with the light from the public dock in a black background, it won't change until sunrise tomorrow. There is only one light tonight...the second light that has been on in the evenings is Harbor Haus' floodlight, and of course, that won't be on till next spring. Things are winding down in Copper Harbor.

 

So that is another quiet but interesting weekend. I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures of the waves. I guess I just don't have the right attitude for a photographer. The idea of going out on the beaches and standing in that 35-45 mph wind with the wind chill in the low 20s just didn't seem exciting. I probably wouldn't have gotten much anyway, except by accident. In those conditions, my eyes water so badly I can't see anything. The last time I tried it, last year, I got some wonderful pictures of a leafy branch.

 

It's quieting down in the field tonight.

 

October 16

My goodness! What a wild and hairy 24 hours it has been, and it seems likely to go on for another 24 or so. The wind rose all night long, and by this morning the lake sounded like a freight train right at the crossing. It has rained and snowed and blown with unabated fury all night and all day. For most of the afternoon, the wind has been in the 35-45 mph range, although the last NWS report had gusts to 48 mph. Now, that's strong! The temperature has been in the 30s, although the NWS says high 30s and my thermometers have said around 34 all day long. The rain has been constant, and every so often a squall of snow showers will come through, usually blowing horizontal. There are breakers on my beach and whitecaps all over the harbor, and the lake has been beating on the shore. It's very noisy.

 

I had to go out briefly this afternoon to go to the post office, and it was really nasty out, so I came home and decided to hibernate until tomorrow. Shirley didn't blame me.

 

Around 6:15, I got kicked off the internet and when I tried to dial back in, for nearly an hour I got a busy signal, then I couldn't get my userid to validate. I called Charlie, and it was good that I did, because he didn't know there was a problem. He called back later to say he had had to power fail all their equipment to reset it, so I suspect there were some power glitches as well as a serious SBC problem. There may have been some power problems around Houghton, because WGGL went off the air in the middle of "Prairie Home" and the airport weather station was only reporting temperature for quite a while.

 

So that is the story of the day. It was just too nasty out for me to go and try to take pictures. Sorry about that. Maybe tomorrow. The weather buoy in the middle of Superior was most recently reporting waves of just over 11', so it is pretty bumpy out there, and by all indications it's supposed to continue until this time tomorrow.

 

I shut down the camera when the phone line dropped, and the last picture uploaded was from 5:30, but it didn't make much difference, because there was so much water on the window you couldn't see much down the harbor anyway. And besides, for most of the day, you couldn't see beyond the fort anyway because of the rain/snow/fog over everything.

 

So I alternately surfed the web, while I could, and worked on bracelet #3, which is now over half done. Buster has claimed the box my stuff from Stevens Point via Seattle came in, and he has been curled up and sound asleep for most of the day except when I was on the telephone. Several times he wanted to sit on my lap, usually when I had the lap desk with the beads on it.

 

I read much too long last night, and started off the night by shutting the window...with the wind out of the north and the temperature in the 30s, it was too cool to leave it open. As a result, at intervals I got hot and drove Buster nuts by thrashing around and getting out of bed. Maybe I can do better tonight? I do think I will go and read some more. That's a comfortable way to end the evening.

 

So the surf is up in the field and the lake and the wind are howling around the house, and it's warm and cozy inside. I do love gales!

 

October 15

Well, five weeks. Sob!

 

I went to be early, but I was having temperature problems for most of the night, so I didn't sleep all that well until after about 6 am this morning. Maybe I'll do better tonight.

 

It was another dull, cloudy day, and it spit rain most of the day. The temperature stayed in the low 40s, and the wind has been slowly and steadily rising all day, and it has now become northerly at about 17 mph. The forecast is for it to continue to rise to gale force tomorrow, from the northwest, with gusts to 50 mph, and waves to 15'. Hm. We'll see what happens. If it really looks like the surf is getting that high, I will try to go and take pictures. I do love a good gale!

 

Of course they are now saying there may be some snow accumulation, but I will still be surprised if that happens along the shoreline. That big, angry lake is a wonderful heat sink, and its temperature is still in the high 40s. So I suppose it will just rain here, and maybe sleet a bit.

 

I ended up not doing much of anything, I must confess. There were some magazines to read and I did a little embroidery and a little beading, but not much else.

 

Oh, yes, the second package arrived today. So now I have to write "return to sender" on it and give it back to the post office. Gad! And what I got wasn't all that great anyway.

 

I had the last fish at Harbor Haus tonight, I think I'll ask Shirley if she wants to go tomorrow, but otherwise, I won't go. It wasn't very busy. After last weekend, the tourist trade sort of fell off a cliff. It always does that eventually, but it was several weeks later than usual this year, probably due in part to the good weather. So now we can settle down to our fall snooze.

 

If the gale pans out, I'm glad I got the pictures I did, because most of the leaves will be blown off by the wind. Brockway is turning quickly now, and my road is very pretty, but it's hard to get good pictures of the color when it's so dark.

 

So Buster is lying on my lap looking sleepy, and I think I will go up to the north end and read a bit after I take my bath, then we will cuddle down under the quilts and listen to the wind and the surf. Those are good sounds to go to sleep to.

 

October 14

Well! What a horrible night. Apparently sometimes I can eat rouladen and red cabbage and sometimes I can't. Last night was one of the "can't" nights, and I had a terrible time. As a result, it was after 10 am when I got up this morning, and I didn't do much except email and funnies before I ran off to lunch at Harbor Haus.

 

Lunch was a lovely bowl of bean soup and a piece of Grandma Dyson's pie - made with hazelnuts instead of pecans. Yum. Just what my tummy wanted. Plus a lot of good conversation. Very nice.

 

I'm pretty much over it by now, but I'm still really tired, so I expect to hit the hay real soon now.

 

The dire weather forecast was a dud, as usual. The wind did blow, and the lake did roar, all night long, but there wasn't any snow and there wasn't  even any rain. It blew all night long, but around daylight, the wind dropped to almost nothing and stayed there all day. It was a dark, cloudy day, and the temperature didn't get much over 40, but there wasn't any precipitation.

 

Now they are calling for a gale  from Friday night through Saturday, which will be exciting, if  it happens. I like gales.

 

As a result of my late morning and social activities, I didn't get much done today, although I finished bracelet number 2 and started bracelet number 3 this afternoon. They are going fairly fast despite the little glitches, and I even managed to start the third one with not too much trouble. I still haven't figured out what causes me to have such trouble sometimes...but then, sometimes I'm all thumbs and sometimes I'm a little spastic, so I suppose that's it.

 

Oh, I'm forgetting. I finally processed the pictures from Tuesday. They are OK, although as I thought, they came out a little dark because of the cloud cover. I picked two of them to publish. The first picture is on US-41 some ways south of Lake Medora (the Medora pictures just didn't come out), and the second one I took on my way home at one of my favorite color spots - just a few feet down the Burma Road, which is a logging trail that cuts across, eventually to the Estivant Pines, from just south of the Mountain Lodge. Sometime I'm going to have to drive down it a ways. In the old days, they said it gets pretty awful pretty fast, but they've been logging  there in recent years, so it may not be too bad.

 

Speaking of that, I met some nice ladies at Harbor Haus last night who are staying here for a few days, and they said they started out on the Mandan Loop Road from the end of US--41 and had to turn back because it got so terrible a couple of miles in. Of course, they weren't driving an SUV, but they seemed to think it would take an ATV to get through that part of the road. I was sorry to hear that, but since the weather isn't likely to be too good for the next few days anyway, I've rather revised my notion of trying to get out to the East Bluff this year.

 

Brockway is quickly turning color, but it's been so dark the webcam doesn't show it at all, so I may try to get a picture or two of that. Tomorrow is the middle of October, and I have only five weeks left...

 

It's cloudy and dark in the field tonight.

 

October 13

Hey! Surf's up! The freight train is not very far behind the garage!

 

It started out cloudy and calm this morning, and the temperature climbed just over 50, then the wind started to pick up, and by 4 pm it was between 20 and 30 mph from the northeast, the temperature was dropping and the lake was howling. There were some nice waves breaking on the south shore of the harbor, too. The Temperature is now down to just over 40 and the wind is 30-40 mph, still from the northeast. We have had a few sprinkles, but mostly it's just wind. Now, in the middle of the roaring, every so often I can hear WHAM! as a particularly large waves hits the rocks. I do love that noise. It's wonderful to go to sleep to.

 

I ended up not doing much today, unfortunately. There were a few things (oh, yeah - I forgot!) I wanted to do, and I just didn't. Well, it'll all be there tomorrow. I fixed up the bracelet and worked some on it, but I haven't finished it yet. 

 

I have been reading a new book...well, it's not new, I've had it for a couple of years, but only now have I gotten to it, and it's interesting enough that I just kept on reading until I had to go to the post office. It's called Near a Thousand Tables by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, and it's a sort of informal history of food, cooking, and eating. It's a good read, although I have to admit that in spots I've had to resort to the dictionary: the vocabulary is a little beyond my usual reading. Anyway, it got so interesting that I finally just had to tear myself away, because I hadn't been to the post office since Saturday.

 

One of my misdirected packages arrived, and I think it's the one that went to Seattle. The barcode, so far as I could determine, was miscoded "99189" rather than "49918" - for some reason it slipped one digit to the right. Gee, I thought you had to be able to read to get a job in the post office? Anyway, it's here at last, and I suspect I may get another one, too, since they said they were going to reship it.

 

Tonight I was back at Harbor Haus, and I left the bedroom light on, and by golly, you can see it!  The office lights would be even brighter, but I didn't want to leave those on and mess up the camera, although it was so dark and night fell so abruptly that it probably wouldn't have mattered much.

 

It was cloudy and dull all day long, and at intervals it would get really dark, and then there was some fog, then it would brighten up a bit. I was trying to bead while I listened to All Things Considered, and at that point it was dark enough that I had a hard time seeing what I was doing. I've mentioned before that if it gets that dark, the camera is just going to have to put up with the lights in the office, although the other alternative is to pick a good picture and just shut it down, like I did when I got home tonight. I'm not planning to not do anything just because of the camera.

 

So that was my day, and it's going to be a hairy night in the field tonight, although with the wind out of the northeast, mostly it will just be lake noise, which means I should sleep really well.

 

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

 

October 12

Here I am sitting here staring at the screen when I could be sitting in bed reading. I did that last night for too long, but I couldn't stop right in the middle of an exciting part.

 

It was a bit warm in the house last  night, but finally I got the right combination of covers and slept pretty well, except for two or three very weird dreams. I was up before sunrise this morning...not hard, when the sun rises at 8:05 local time!  

 

However, I diddled around forever and didn't get out of the house until after noon. The color is pretty much at its peak, I have to say, in most places south of the harbor, and my impression of it is sort of dull gold. There are a few oranges and an occasional red, but mostly gold. The dullness may have been partly because the sun was muted behind some very interesting high cirrus clouds that persisted all day. While It only got to the mid-50s here in the harbor, it was in the mid 60s in Houghton, and rather nice, actually.

 

WalMart is proceeding to turn the store into a super-store, and there are barricades and trenches and things all over the place, which means that unless you have a handicap sticker or are very lucky, there are no parking places close to the building. That didn't help me at all. However, I got my birdseed, my antifreeze (for filling the traps), and my weird little battery, size "N", as well as the usual TP and a few goodies. 

 

Unfortunately, I left my bracelet there. I was wearing it when I went in, and I don't think I had it when I went out. Live and learn, I guess. Using a dress snap, even a big one, isn't going to serve as clasp for those bracelets, especially the wide ones. I did call when I got home, in hopes that somebody sweeping the floor will find it, but I think it's probably gone. I didn't like the way it came out very well anyway, but I put a lot of work into it, and It's too bad to lose it.

 

I've been in that mode lately, though - dropping things, leaving things behind, and spilling food down my front. I've used one shirt every time I've eaten out lately, including today.

 

Lunch was good, except that was where I realized the bracelet was gone, and it was nice and quiet in Ming Gardens. And I got out of Econo for a reasonable amount, for a change. My freezer is chock-full, so I'm not stocking up on things. I like to leave some food in it, but there is a lot to eat before I leave.

 

I stopped for gas, and that was sticker shock! It was 10 a gallon more than the last time I got it. Actually, there was a Holiday in Calumet that had it for only $2.05, but they only had a sign on the south side, so I didn't know that. I didn't need too much, only 11 gallons, but I thought I'd better get it rather than wait for the price to go up some more. In everyone's talk about the toll high oil prices are taking, they never stop to consider what it is doing in a mainly rural, mainly low-income place like the UP, or what it may be doing to the tourist industry. That doesn't seem to have bothered anyone over the past several weeks, and we can hope the price will go down before the snowmobile season starts...or at least by next spring!

 

I ended up not taking too many pictures of my trip, mostly because the lighting wasn't the best, and they are all still in the camera. I will try to get them processed tomorrow.

 

I actually ended up sitting here reading about wine. Several years ago, when the Merlot craze hit, I tried some and didn't like it, but I think I may have been closer to chemo and my taster wasn't right. I tried a bottle a couple of weeks ago and liked it, so I decided to be brave and try a Syrah. That's nice, too, but more tannin-y. So I read some things about them, then I got wondering why wine.com doesn't have any German wines at all, and ended up at some guy's German wine page. It wasn't too interesting except that I learned why Harbor Haus doesn't have leibfraumilch as their house white anymore...according to this gentlemen, that is a junk wine, made with the leftovers from all the other wine making. Figures. It certainly is more variable than any other wine I've ever tasted.

 

Anyway, I am not about to turn into a wine connoisseur.  To begin with, my sense of taste just isn't good enough, although I do seem to know the good stuff when I drink it. And besides, I am not about to consider actually drinking something that costs $30 a fifth or more. I like plebian things like white zinfandel and lambrusco...although I've had a couple of pretty good Rieslings lately... And I still prefer whites to reds.

 

So that was my day, and I came home hot and tired, so I think I will go and take care of those things.

 

It's beginning to cloud up in the field tonight...

 

October 11

It was another beautifully clear night, with a temperature of about 48 all night long, but somewhere around sunrise, it began to cloud up, and there were high cirrus clouds all over everything all day, although for part of the day. they didn't interfere too much with the sunshine, and it looked like they might be going away at sunset. As a result, it wasn't as pretty a day as yesterday, but otherwise it was about the same, with a temperature that got into the middle 50s and winds that were mostly calm. Nice.

 

I finished one bracelet and started another, but I had the same problem I've had before - the first one started fine, but I had an awful time with the second one, and besides, when I ran out of thread and went to attach a new one, I messed the whole thing up and am ending up ripping back an inch or more. Grr.

 

Otherwise, it was a quiet day, and I did go to Harbor Haus for dinner...duck breast - yum! It was a lot quieter there tonight than it was last night, which was nice. There was a moderate sized ship out in the lake, and the harbor was all silvery blue and calm after sunset. I haven't seen just that color before this year, and it was nice and calming to look at.

 

The days are getting awfully short, only about 11 hours now, and that is the only thing I don't like about the weather we've been having...there's not enough daylight around to enjoy it. Oh, yes, and I have only about 5 weeks left here, and I really don't like that!

 

The weather does look to cool off and rain (or snow?) toward the end of the week, so I will have to do my scouting of the leaf change on the way to and from town tomorrow. Running out of orange juice again, as well as sunflower seed. 

 

There don't seem to be that many birds around, but the squirrels are munching down as much seed as I can put out for them. And yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in the ugly chair watching the smaller chipmunk (who is not nearly so small anymore!) gathering up seed on the deck until his cheek pouches looked about the size of two unshelled walnuts. It almost looked like his head was so heavy he could hardly lift it! The chippies are cute, but I'm getting down on the squirrels again. I may have to resort to my hot pepper spray after all. And when I go out to chase them away, they sit there and look at me like they think I'm coming out with food for them! Or maybe I should get one of those squirrel feeders with the corn stalks. I just rather doubt that a squirrel would eat corn rather than sunflower seeds!

 

So that is all I have to report. I have been sitting here debating whether to work on the bracelet or call it a night and do some reading.

 

There should be some stars in the field tonight.

 

October 10

It was a beautifully clear night last night. I think I could see two stars at the far end of the Little Dipper's bowl, instead of just one...that is, without my glasses. Frankly, I was more interested in sleeping, and it was a great night to sleep. The temperature got down just below 40, but then it warmed up and it was near 50 when I got up. 

 

Anybody who checked in with the camera before about 9:30 saw last night's shot, however, because the line definition got set to "never dial a connection" again - and for the life of me, I can't figure out how! I don't remember exactly what I was doing yesterday, but I didn't think I did much on the computer at all? So, OK, I'll check it before I leave the office for a few days and try to pin down what the *(#%@$ is causing the problem. Geez, as if it isn't enough that I have to remember to run PURGIE and shut everything else down before I go!

 

Anyway, you all missed a fantastic morning, but except for the movement of the sun, and the car on the overlook at 7:30, it looked exactly the same all day long...blue, blue skies, blue, blue water, and no wind at all. Oh, my! It doesn't get much better than this.  The only quibble I have is that it could have gotten a bit warmer...it got to about 60, but it dropped off pretty fast after 5 pm. I opened the doors, because all that sun heated up the house pretty good, and I noticed it seemed a bit chilly after 5, but it wasn't until I got in the car to go to dinner that I realized the temperature was down to just over 50. No wonder it felt chilly!

 

I embroidered a bit, but I spent most of the day working on the bracelet, and I'm pretty close to done with it. Unfortunately, somebody else wants one, too, so at this rate, I'll never catch up! And Chris said that Friday, when she was wearing hers, she could have sold a bunch of them. I'm not sure very many people realize the work that goes into making one of those things. I have pretty sore fingers tonight, from pulling the threads tight. However, my mousing thumb feels OK, so I guess that's a good thing.

 

I've said before that one thing I enjoy about working in the office is that I can look up and out the windows and watch the little birds and the harbor, and this was a good day to do that. I actually felt like I wanted to go someplace, it was so beautiful, but  I couldn't decide where to go, so I didn't. Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday. One day this week I have to go to town, but I'd also like to just mosey around and take some pictures while the color is good. At least the next two days are supposed to be just about as nice as today, and maybe a bit warmer. Wow! What did we ever do to deserve this?

 

Nobody can believe how many people are in town. Harbor Haus was nearly out of food tonight. Their menu was as short as I've ever seen it. Of course they still had plank style whitefish, sauerbraten and rouladen, as well as their skirt steak with whiskey butter sauce, which I had, although I think they were running low on spicy mushrooms, since I only got two. Anyway, it was good as usual. Chris said they were just laughing about the crowds...there wasn't anything else they can do.  I'm thinking about going tomorrow and Wednesday (for the last fish) and avoiding the weekend, but we'll see. I do love that place, but actually I can only eat that way a certain number of times before my tummy rebels. But this is their last week...

 

I'm running out of superlatives about the weather, but I'm enjoying every second of it anyway...and the stars are shining in the field again tonight.

 

October 9

I guess I was wrong about the clear skies last night. It was blowing a gale, and about the time I went to bed, the rain was hitting the front windows full force again. It was a tad noisy to sleep, and I didn't think I had, but I must have, because when I woke up at 1:30, it was dark, and I do mean dark - not a light in the house, or in town or even the lighthouse for a while. It must have happened while I was asleep, because the UPPCO guy who answered the phone was pretty grumpy when I called.

 

So Buster and I cuddled down in the nice clean bed under the quilt and kept ourselves warm with our own body heat. I'm sure I heat him, too, although he wasn't sleeping particularly close to me, more like beside me. Sometimes he was completely under the quilt and sometimes either his nose or his ears were sticking out, but he was very comfy, and so was I. When I had to get up, it was a might chilly, and of course I couldn't flush, but otherwise we just ignored it.

 

When I woke up around 8:30, it was all back again, and it had been for about 15 minutes. I wonder if they just waited until it got light to find and fix the problem. I'm also curious that I didn't hear the "eep" of the cordless phones, but I guess I'm just getting used to them.

 

It was still pretty chilly in the house, so I got on my fleece robe and went around setting clocks before I took a deep breath and came into the office. Well!  Somehow the driver for the camera had gotten lost. I don't think it had anything to do with the power failure, because it was shut down when the power went off, but rebooting and going back to midnight didn't do a thing, so I had to unplug the camera, reboot the system without it, and plug it back in. It worked fine all day, but the power failure plus that are the reasons why the first picture for this morning was at 9:00.

 

It was still pretty cloudy, windy and cool then, with a temperature just under 50 and a 20 mph wind out of the north, but by about 11:00 most of the clouds were gone, and the rest of the day was brilliant sunshine, strong winds and cool temperatures. It never got much over 50, and I think it was one of those days where you could be roasting on one side and freezing on the other. The lake was pretty, though, and the harbor was actually more green than blue for some reason, with lots of whitecaps. Almost overnight, it seems, the mountain has started to change color, and I understand down further it is nearly at its peak. I will have to do some scouting while the weather holds.

 

I did some embroidery, then I tore the ends of the bracelet apart and put them back together correctly, after changing my mind about the clasp. I closed it with a big snap, and that seems to be working just fine.. I wore it to dinner. Then I started one of the four in the special order. They will go much quicker.

 

There are so many people in town that I actually made a reservation at Mariner tonight. We had to wait a long time last week, and I didn't want to do that again. Shirley was in a good mood, and we had a nice dinner. It was even nicer when Peggy told me that somebody bought three of the bracelets she had. It was probably somebody who heard about them here, but that's all right. Support your local webmaster...

 

After sleeping in bed all night, Buster spent most of the morning in the sun on the desk, and when that got too hot, he moved into the great room on top of the boxes of trims that have been there all summer. I guess I'll have to wait a while before I put that stuff in the plastic boxes I bought, or Buster will be disappointed that his perch is gone. He likes it there because he can see all around, I think.

 

He is sitting on my lap now, making it really easy to type, and I think we will head down the hall as soon as I publish this, then go and watch the stars in the field tonight.

 

October 8

Sometimes things go along OK, and sometimes...

 

When I finally was ready to fall into bed last night, I discovered that Buster had barfed all over my sheepskin bed pad and top sheet, so I had to partially unmake the bed and sleep without the sheepskin. I guess I didn't realize quite what a difference it makes. Even though my bed has a soft pad on the top of the mattress, by the time I got up this morning, both my hips were sore.

 

I had trouble getting to sleep because first Buster kept walking behind my head on the pillow, down the left side, over my hips (with all four feet hitting my hips, of course) and up the right side. So I chased him away. He came back, of course, and did it again, and acted like he was going to settle down, except that by that time I was lying on my right side and my hand was under the covers, which he found irresistible, so I had to chase him away again. Gad!

 

I stumbled out of bed around 9. Before I even went down to the kitchen, I threw the sheepskin in the washer, then I stripped the bed and washed both sheets and the sheet blanket. I wasn't quite ready to do the quilts, but they need it too, so I may do those one of these days.

 

I guess it was actually raining by the time I got the bed sort of put back together and turned out the light, but it apparently stopped shortly thereafter and started up again around 8 this morning. It was pouring when I got up, and it rained pretty much  until noon.

 

I met Nancy for lunch at Harbor Haus, and the rain stopped as I was driving in to town, and the rest of the afternoon was just cloudy, with a few times where the sun looked like it might almost come out, and times when it got really dark. Around 6 pm, a huge storm came up, and it rained as hard as I've seen it for a couple of hours. According to the NWS, 0.42 inches of rain fell between 6 and 7, and I would believe it. I'm not sure if there was some little hail, or the rain was just being blown against the windows so hard, but it was quite a show. No thunder or lightning, but lots of big raindrops and really strong winds.

 

Along about 7, it began to clear up in the west, and the sun began to show right above the hill through the clouds. I really wanted to get a picture of it - it was really neat - but it was still raining hard and blowing, and I normally don't stand around in the rain unless I have to, especially when the temperature, which was about 63 when it started to rain, had dropped to 53. I did snap a couple of pictures with the webcam, but there was so much water on the window that there really isn't much to see except a sort of pinkish glow. This is the best one, and it's not very good. I'm sorry the water on the window is so obvious to the camera.

 

It did stop raining sometime after 8, but it's still very windy. They say there may be more rain overnight, but the last glimpses I had of the sky before it got dark, it looked pretty clear out to the west.

 

Well fortified by my lovely lunch, I began putting the bed back together, and I decided that it was time to rotate the mattress. I can't flip it because of the soft pad, which is only on one side, but it was time to turn it end to end. What a job! That thing weighs a ton, and of course there are very few things more ungainly than a mattress. After I got the under sheet and the sheepskin pad on, I came into the office and took a rest, but later on, after the second load of wash was dry, I finished putting on the covers, so now it should be all ready for me to dive in. Whew!

 

I did do some embroidery this morning, but it ended up that I sold both of the remaining copper and silver bracelets, one to Nancy and one to Chris, which got me excited about the beading again, so this afternoon, I got at the Ojibwa pattern and finished the main part. I had an idea I want to try for a clasp, but when I started on that, I screwed up one end and had to cut it off and, since I couldn't find the end of the thread, I had to reinforce three or four rows before I could start the tab for the clasp. I don't know for sure how it's going to work, but altogether, between the thread and my repair work, it's not something I would consider selling anyway, so it's a good thing to practice on. The pattern is pretty, I think - everyone at Harbor Haus thought so, too - so I may do some more eventually, using better thread. It's wide enough that it takes a lot longer to make than the others, but then, I can charge a lot more for it, too.

 

This morning, while I was checking my email and funnies, Buster, who was sitting on the laptop, started to urp! again, and I practically had to throw him on the floor to keep him from barfing all over my keyboard. I'm not sure what his problem this morning was, but it turns out that last night, after I took my dishes into the kitchen, he licked the plate my steak had been on, and beef just does not agree with him at all. It may have carried over to this morning, because he seemed fine this afternoon. He was an interested spectator while I was turning the mattress...standing in the middle of it. He thought it was great fun, but I shooed him away when I started putting the sheepskin pad back on. His idea of helping me to make a bed isn't mine at all.

 

For quite a while, from before I left for lunch until it began to rain hard, he was sleeping beside the open east window in the office, and I really can't blame him. There is just nothing in the world like the smell of wet Keweenaw woods, so clean and pure and full of pine and cedar...I can get a real high by just breathing. It was warm enough this afternoon that I could get the full effect, and oh, my! What a wonderful perfume!

 

So it was a moist day in the field today, but I did accomplish a few things.

 

October 7

It was a nice clear night last night, but when I got up this morning (finally) it was cloudy, and it was mostly cloudy for most of the day, until around 3 pm, when a  band of clear sky came over, and it was wonderful. The temperature never got below 57 and it got up to 68 or a bit more, and it was delightful to have the doors and windows open.

 

Then along about 6 pm, another band of clouds came over, and there wasn't a sunset, but there was this. It's really strange, but these last few days are the first time in a number of years when I have seen those beautiful rays through the clouds. At the same time, the first year I was here, we had some nice sun dogs and other curious cloud phenomena that we haven't had since, and this year, while the camera caught one early morning rainbow, I haven't seen any. So in any given year, I can spend a great deal of time looking at the sky and never tire of seeing something new.

 

I diagnosed the problem with the bread cloth, and when I realized what had happened, I decided it will just have to do. Otherwise, I would have had to rip out one whole side that I had just stitched (only one color, but it was a lot of stitches). It won't be noticed, I'm sure, but on one side the side motifs are one stitch down from where they are on the other three sides. Too bad, but not a disaster. So I began the second color and made a bit of progress.

 

I will never complain about sunshine, but it is making me change my usual habits a bit. In the morning, the sun coming in the south windows is so bright it reflects me into the computer screen and makes it hard to see, and in the late afternoon, it is shining right on the screen and I can't see anything at all. I have been reading in the morning, but the sun on the pages is so bright I sometimes have spots in front of my eyes when I go to the kitchen. I've been embroidering in the afternoon, but I keep having to move my chair so that the sun doesn't shine right in my eyes. Cuts down on production somewhat. I'm afraid that pretty soon I'll be complaining about not enough sun, so I'll enjoy every minute I can.

 

Oh, yes, and while I was embroidering and all that, I did three loads of wash, the last of which is drying right now. I suddenly realized that the underwear drawer looked rather empty and the laundry bags looked rather full, so it seemed it was time to do something about that. Of course, I will still have to fold and put away, but at least everything is clean again.

 

When I came into the great room on the way to get my breakfast, around noon, I discovered a pretty little yellow-rumped warbler dead on the deck. I'm sure it was hawking insects around the upper windows and ran into one. Various birds do that frequently, unfortunately, but it very rarely does them any permanent damage. I was sorry to see that, but at least it doesn't happen often.

 

I spent a while on the telephone this afternoon, searching for a magazine I hadn't been getting and a package that hadn't come. Apparently the magazine had lost my change of address, and the package somehow got routed to Seattle. The post office demons strike again... Tomorrow, I have to call the propane company a third time, because I still haven't received a statement from them since June. They changed computer systems in May or June and apparently completely screwed up my account. I am only sure that things were worse before computers.

 

Buster was so delighted to have the doors open this afternoon, and he spent quite a long time stalking the squirrels on the deck. He really is bored and lonely, unfortunately. I'm glad to be able to give him - and me - a little more fresh air before the cold weather comes.

 

So it's cloudy in the field tonight, and we may get a bit of rain overnight and possibly tomorrow, but the temperature is supposed to stay relatively warm. The NWS has reported that September turned out to be the warmest on record at Marquette, and the first time September was ever warmer than June and July. The statement was really quite amusing, because it was clear that the guy who wrote it was just astonished by the weather for the past six months. I won't say I was astonished, but it certainly was interesting.

 

There won't be any moon in the field tonight.

 

October 6

I did get to bed early last night, and I think I actually slept too long - I felt groggy all day. The moon was still shining, although it's getting pretty weak as it nears third quarter, and the prediction of winds was wrong. 

 

Today was another one of those days, not a cloud in the sky, a brisk wind for most of the afternoon, and blue, blue, blue! It was so beautiful that I spent most of the day just watching it. The temperature got just over 60, and it was a really lovely day.

 

I have been having a lot of trouble with my right thumb, from too much mousing, so today I determined that I was going to rest it, and I think I have finished the first color on the second half of the bread cloth. I say "I think" because when I got through placing the last motif, I seem to have one thread too many between it and the corner, but I haven't yet figured out what I did wrong. That's one of the things that are driving me nuts about this thing.

 

Oh, yes, and wonder of wonders, I finally took a trip to the dumpster...with seven bags of trash. As the guy who minds the compactor said, I had more than the general store! So at least that stuff is out of the house and I can start over again. I almost didn't do it, because my back was acting up, but I just got tired of seeing all those bags, and all the assorted trash I was waiting to put in another bag, lying around. So that's done.

 

Tonight there was Harbor Haus. They are closing on the 16th, and it is amazing how many people there were tonight. I have been there about this time of year on a Wednesday when there were not more than two or three tables in use. Tonight there were even a couple of parties still waiting when I left.  So that is good news for the fiscal health of Copper Harbor.

 

By the way, my drink was paid for by an anonymous admirer of the website, and I want to say thank you, whoever you are, and i wish you'd introduced yourself. I don't bite, and I would love to have thanked you in person. I think it was a double.

 

And that was another perfect day in the field. The stars are shining on us tongight.

 

October 5

Today is the 92nd anniversary of my father's birth. And that reminds me that we stopped coming up here for the last week of September and the first week of October because the weather was so iffy, and we didn't very often see the height of the color anyway. He loved it here, too, and I'm really sorry that he didn't live to at least know that I had a piece of paradise. He died in 1983.

 

And that reminds me that in 1984, I had just had my mastectomy. I had it right before the study came out that said that lumpectomy plus radiation was just as effective as the modified radical mastectomy I had, and my surgeon - who had already saved my life once - didn't recommend lumpectomy. They've learned a lot in thirty years. He also wasn't in favor of breast reconstruction as part of the mastectomy, and after the problems I had healing, I never investigated it. So I am one of the Sisterhood of Amazons, and I have struggled with falling shoulder straps and heavy, hot garments ever since. However, I didn't have, or need, any follow-up treatment at all, and I can say I was cured of that cancer.

 

I was up early this morning, after not sleeping at all well. Part of it was that I knew I had to get up early, and part of it was that I made a bad decision to close the window in the window seat entirely. It did not get nearly as cold as they predicted, at least here - just a tad under 40 - and the wind was very light for most of the night, so I should have left it open...among other things, I was hot.

 

It was clear and moonlit for most of the night, so I was surprised to see, when I woke up just before sunrise, that it had clouded over. The little part of the eastern sky I could see was pumpkin-orange when I got up, but it faded pretty quick. And when I came into the kitchen, Brockway and part of the West Bluff both looked like the trees had turned golden overnight! I decided to reserve judgment, and in fact, the color was just the rising sun shining on them. It's still green except for the small, stressed trees in the understory.

 

I had a nice visit with Adam, because the first thing he did with the garage door was to show me how to disconnect it from the operator - I should have known that pull cord was for something, and it's trivially simple - and after he raised and lowered the door manually several times and reconnected it to the operator, it worked fine. I have no clue what the problem was, but whatever - he fixed it. He didn't fix the latches on the slider doors. After looking at the situation, he decided that was a job for the glass company, which I thought all along. The windows are great, and the doors are pretty good, too, but the latches are junk. I also gave him a copy of the catalog I got last year with hinges in it, and maybe now I will get the hinges for the laundry room doors? Stay tuned.

 

All this was before breakfast. I really felt like going back to bed, but instead I did some embroidery. All the mail was at the post office this afternoon, so I took care of that and wrote some checks, which I should mail before noon tomorrow, although I hate to make multiple trips to town.

 

There was a clear period through most of the middle of the day, with some nice sunshine, before it clouded up again. Sunset was nothing to write home about, but I did notice that the sun is now setting in the notch to the south of Brockway. It certainly does move fast at this time of year! The temperature got up to just 60 for a bit, so our frigid days are over for the time being.

 

Buster gave up a hairball sometime this morning, and he acted like he didn't feel very well today, which I guess is understandable. Of course he ran when the car came into the driveway. Poor kitty! I think Adam grew up with cats, and he certainly doesn't dislike them, but Buster is just too afraid of strangers, particularly men. I do wish I knew what happened to cause that, but I'll never know.

 

So that is the day, and I am so tired I think I will be going to bed early tonight. I know I say that nearly every night, but between writing this and getting it published, plus usually a bit of fooling around on the computer, it rarely happens. Tonight it will.

 

It seems to be a bit cloudy in the field tonight.

 

October 4

The wind blew from the north and the lake howled and it was a good night to sleep, but unfortunately I had some indigestion, so I didn't do a very good job. The clouds weren't totally covering the sky, and especially after the moon rose, I could see the white clouds against the dark black sky. There was even a star or two at times. There was also a handful of sleet that somebody threw against the window around  3;30 am, but it lasted just a minute or so, then the sky cleared up again. The temperature did get down below 40, but just barely. So much for our freeze and snow for last night.

 

Today was what I would call partly sunny, with a lot of puffy clouds in the sky, but also some sunshine, and the sky behind the clouds was just incredibly blue. The wind blew hard all day, although it has died off as the sun set, and the temperature never got much above 40. It was a mite chilly when I put out the bird feeders, but that didn't keep the little birds away.

 

I got the dishes washed and I did a lot of embroidery and I served as a pillow for the cat, and that was the extent of my activities for the day, except to call Philippe to find out who is servicing the garage door opener when it breaks. So Adam will be out tomorrow morning, early, which means I'm for bed, early.

 

Oh, yes, and I wrote some checks and went to the post office to discover that the mail hadn't come when the post office was due to close. If that happened often, I would complain, I think. There are a few things, including a bill that is due Friday, that I'm looking for with some anxiety.

 

As for the birds, there are nuthatches, chickadees, blue jays, a flock of house finches and some juncos (they haven't left yet), as well as a few unidentified sparrows. Some kind of bird I couldn't see well enough to identify was hawking bugs on the east windows of the office, and at one point was clinging to the screen. Unfortunately, it was right behind the center bar of the window, so except to say it was little and brown, I can't tell what it was. The bugs hang around the windows and doors at this time of year, I suppose because it's a tad warmer there. As a result, the birds have easy pickings, and I let a lot of flies into the house.

 

The sky late this afternoon reminded me more of winter than of summer, but we did have a fairly decent sunset, all things considered. It is supposed to get cold tonight - frost in the interior - then warm up into the 50s tomorrow and be nice for the rest of the week. So this is our little cold glitch that always happens around now, and I'm hoping that the color season will be a nice one. The color is apparently developing very slowly, although the cold will help it along. I will have to do some cruising around to see it.

 

So it's cold in the field tonight.

 

October 3

The wind blew again, but I didn't hear much from the lake last night, and it didn't get below 45, but it was good sleeping weather. It was cloudy all night, but it was light out, from the moon behind the clouds. Most of today was cloudy, too, and there were a few spits of rain, not even enough to wet the ground. In the middle of the afternoon, the wind picked up remarkably, and now it is blowing at a sustained 20 mph, with a temperature just under 50.

 

They are still insisting that it's going to get cold tonight and it may even snow tonight and tomorrow morning, but I'll believe that when I see it.

 

It was a good day to hunker down, and I did. I played with the computer until my hand got so sore I couldn't mouse, then I got at the embroidery and made some good progress, although it's one of the most boring projects I've undertaken lately. If it wasn't for a gift, I'd probably just forget it.

 

Around 5:30, I had to bring the bird feeders in, because I was afraid that if the platform feeder didn't blow away, it would crash into the window. I felt sorry for the little birds who came around later, when the wind died back a bit, so I poured the seed out onto the deck. I hope the little nuthatch couple who were picking around the deck got some nice sunflowers.

 

The sunflower feeder that I put out after I took in the thistle feeder has been a real success, partly because the opening is big enough that somebody, the birds or squirrels, can get all the seeds out of it. I will have to figure out a place to hang it next summer when the finch feeder is out. Most of the birds around these days just want sunflower seed, although I did have a flock of house finches this afternoon who will apparently eat anything. I guess tomorrow I will have to get dressed when I get up, because it's likely to be cold out, and I want to be sure to get the feeders back out as soon as I can.

 

This cold weather is forecast to last through tomorrow night, then it should warm up a tad. I knew the beautiful, warm weather was going to end sometime, but really, it didn't have to end with quite such a jolt!

 

Dinner was at Harbor Haus tonight, and of course it was good, but they had a special rotisserie half a chicken, which was so big I brought home enough for at least two meals. Besides, they had gratinee potatoes with it, which are yummy. They are a lot like my mother's old scalloped potatoes, except that there is a bit of onion in them, which doesn't hurt at all. Yum. Unfortunately, there's only one meal of those left.

 

I have the bad habit of people watching and listening when I go out to dinner by myself, and I had occasion to think tonight that it's a good thing Ron is in the kitchen and doesn't know what's going on out among the customers. One woman at a neighboring table ordered sauerbraten, and before she even tasted it, she threw salt and pepper all over it! Now, I'm sensitive to salt, because I don't eat very much, but believe me, Ron's sauerbraten does not need any extra salt...or pepper, for that matter. Oh, well.

 

Anyway, it was pleasantly busy there tonight. The other thing that interested me was that even though it was cloudy as the sun set, and there were clouds over the harbor with very pronounced virga under them, for about five minutes, there was one little part of the East Bluff that was turned red by a ray of the setting sun. It was a neat phenomenon, and not for the first time I was sorry I didn't have my camera. It's amazing what you see when you look...

 

There was also a middle-sized laker going by, and before it disappeared behind Porter Island, it was dark enough that we could see all its stern lights. That's one of the things I miss about not being on the big lake. Oh, well. It's a pretty good view from the field, I guess.

 

So now I will publish this then go off and pull up a warm cat. He did sleep with me most of the night last night, so I guess as it gets cooler, I will have a more constant bed partner. He isn't the best - he tends to be wiggly, and he frequently picks a spot which is not exactly comfortable for me. For most of the night, he was on my left, under the quilt, which was all right, but later, he tucked himself into the place behind my knees on the right, which means that when I have to get out of bed, I have to get rid of him first, and he doesn't like that. DC at least always picked his spots on the lee side, so he didn't have to get up when I did...and then he did anyway, because if he followed me into the bathroom, he got petted. Buster doesn't usually do that. If he's on the left, he stays there, and if he's on the right, he hits the floor with a thump and goes off. Funny little critters, cats.

 

So it's dark and cold and windy in the field tonight, and autumn is upon us.

 

October 2

The wind blew and the lake howled and along about 3 am or so it began to clear up, and there was some moonshine in the field before sunrise this morning. It was a very windy day, with whitecaps on the harbor most of the day, and the temperature made it just to 50. It actually wasn't too bad, so long as you weren't out in the wind. I had forgotten how nice it is to smell the cold, fresh air off the lake.

 

I did get some embroidery done today, by forcing myself. It was easier because all the playing I've been doing on the computer has wracked up my hands, particularly the right one. When I wake up, my right thumb sort of cracks when I bend or unbend it, and it hurts. In fact, my whole hand was sore this morning, as well as parts of my left hand. I suppose it has something to do with the dampness of yesterday, but I've been mousing too much, I think.

 

It was fun to watch the harbor today, with all the whitecaps. Most of the day was nearly clear, with just a few little clouds here and there. Oh, and by the way, it did not snow last night. They are predicting a possibility (30%) of snow late Sunday night and Monday morning, but I'll believe that when I see it. They are also forecasting 40 mph winds for about now, when the actual wind is about 8 mph. During the summer, the NWS wasn't too far off the mark most of the time, but now that it's cooling off, I'm afraid they are reverting to Chicken Little mode, and it really annoys me. I will be very glad when John gets back on the air, although that won't be till November 1 unless it starts to snow significantly in October.

 

I rather hope that doesn't happen. I would have to make a decision and possibly bail out early if it began to look like the road might close before the middle of November. I don't mind a little snow - after all, a couple of years ago, I left in a blizzard - but I don't want to get trapped here. Finding a snowplower in an emergency might be hard.

 

Anyway, that's not going to happen. We always have a cold snap around this time, and usually it warms up again after a week or so, not like it was last week, but into the high 50s and low 60s at least. I do love this time of year.

 

I guess one laker took refuge over by Bete Grise overnight, according to the discussion on Pastynet. I can't blame him. I don't think the waves got up to the 12-17 feet they were predicting, but I imagine they were in the 10 foot range overnight.

 

The wind was nearly out of the west, which means that it wasn't quite so noisy around the bedroom walls - it's the northwest and northerlies that make it sound like the siding is falling off - but the lake set up a good howl, which is only now dying down. If the wind does pick up, so will the lake, although if the wind veers southwest like they're predicting, it won't be so bad, because that begins to get almost onshore.

 

It was cool enough that Buster slept in the sunshine of the south window all morning, and that sunshine warmed the office up very nicely, thank you. I had always toyed with the idea of having solar heat, and it turns out that I do in spite of myself. It only doesn't work so well in the winter because there isn't much sun then...remember those six weeks or so last January and February when it snowed every day?

 

I am happy, for the sake of my friends, to report that Copper Harbor is jumping again this weekend. In fact Shirley and I had to wait almost half an hour for a table at Mariner tonight, and King Copper and Mariner are full. That's a lot different from the past three years, and I'm glad to see it. The summer was cool enough that there weren't the usual number of visitors in town, so it's nice to see them all here now.

 

The color should be coming along, so I may have to take a cruise down US-41 this week to see how things are coming. I think it will be a while before it peaks, but one never knows.

 

So that is the news from the field, and there is moonshine on the field tongiht.

 

October 1

Sigh.

 

Do not like to write that date.

 

It was cloudy all night long, although I could tell there was a moon up there because it was pretty light outside. The temperature started out over 60 and it's been dropping off ever since. According to the NWS, it's 43 now, but my thermometer says 38 - the first time for that since last spring! It started raining around 10:30, and it has kept up all day long with little letup...almost half an inch so far. Yuck. Not a nice day at all.

 

I would have ignored it more, except that it was so dark I couldn't do much craft work. I did some embroidery, but that's about it. If it stays like this, you will just have to get used to seeing at least my daylight lamp on during the day, because I really do need to see, and as my cataracts grow, I need more and more light to do craft work. I need to try to finish the bread cloth, because the recipients are back in town for a while. I wonder if I'll make it?

 

I haven't checked back in the journal, but it seems to me that most autumns we have a spell of weather like this, then it dries out and warms up a bit. I certainly hope so. I had about all I need of dark, dreary, damp, cold weather in May and June.  That trough that kept us cold all summer long is back in place, however, and if it stays where it is, we're in for it. It will be interesting to watch.

 

It didn't keep the little birds or the squirrels and chipmunks from visiting the feeders, and I swear I saw a female goldfinch today. I thought they were all gone! The squirrels always give me a chuckle when it rains. They arch their tails over their heads like little furry umbrellas, and I suppose it does work, sort of channeling the water off the end of the hairs. They get kind of ratty looking after a while, though.

 

So nothing much went on today, and it's cold and wet in the field tonight.

 

Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM