A View From the Field








August, 2005

August 31

So August is history. It turned out to be a pretty good month after all.


I was in bed at 10:30 last night, the first time in a while that I've gone to bed that early without actually crashing. And despite being up at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 4:30 and 6:30, I actually slept fairly well, and I got up for good at 8:30 without having someplace I had to be. So I guess I'm going on winter hours, or at least fall hours.


All my walking around was a good excuse to look at stars, and they were out very nicely last night. The Big Dipper is gone behind the trees, but the Little Dipper is up there, and I could see the summer stars setting. At 6:30, it was beginning to get light, and the crescent moon was lighting the glass block window in the shower. I suppose I should have put on my glasses and looked out, but it seemed like too much trouble.


It was too pretty a day to stay in bed. When I got up, the harbor was nearly calm, and the temperature was around 60. Between 8:00 and 9:00, it went up to around 65, and that was about what it was all day long, with hardly any breeze. It was pretty humid, and enough dew condensed on the roof that the deck looked almost like it had been raining. The humidity is still high, but except that the towels never dry out, it isn't so noticeable when the temperature is in the 60s.


It was clear for most of the day, although a cloudbank came through around noon, but that went away after a while and the rest of the day has been pretty nice.


Someone emailed me about the 7:20 camera picture this morning (thanks, Pam), and it was so pretty that I saved it for the permanent archive. This is it. I didn't actually see that myself, unfortunately. The trees aren't turning color or anything, it's just that the sun just peeked above the trees - its official rising time was 7:09.


It seemed strange to have so much time, but I didn't take very good advantage of it. It was still noon before I finished breakfast, and I mostly diddled around, although I did make some headway on the bracelet. I also tore out, for the second time, the start of a glove, after I realized I had intended to do it on #2, not #1, needles. 


I have Reynaud's syndrome, which means I need to keep my hands and feet well-covered so they won't get numb and sore. I do wear mittens when it's really cold, but I thought they might be even warmer if I had a pair of thin wool gloves to wear under them. Besides, I've never actually made a pair of gloves, and I thought it might be interesting. Now, if I can just get started right... I was having counting problems both times, but I thought I might finally have solved them when I discovered the needle size thing. Oh, well. I'll try it again sometime.


So now it's getting dark again, and Venus is out, but Jupiter isn't yet. There are a few clouds in the west, and they are predicting that part of the night will be cloudy. So it's time to toddle off to the north end, pull up a warm cat, and see if I can get used to keeping real human hours.


Stars are shining on the field tonight.


August 30

I guess I am more attuned to the setting of the sun than I thought. If the sun has set, it must be time to go to bed, right? 


I had a much better night last night, I'm glad to report. I was awake for a while, but it didn't seem to bother me so much. It was cooler outside, and I was able to keep my temperature more even. It may have been because I got to playing a game and didn't get to bed until midnight or so, too. We'll see, because I don't intend to do that tonight.


I had another lost day. Sigh. 


When I got up this morning, it was mostly cloudy, but around noon it began to clear up, just like the Clear Sky Clock said it would, and the afternoon was a pretty one, mostly sunny, with a light breeze from the northeast. The temperature for the past 24 hours has been between 60 and 65. Again, that big heat sink is kicking in. There was a lot more variation in Houghton.


The goldfinches are back at the feeders, now that I have refilled them, and the hummingbird feeder has gone down a bit, although I didn't see any birds myself. Looking back through my old journals, it seems both the finches and the hummingbirds leave here around the second week of September. I'll have to try to keep better track this year and see for sure. I think I will know when the time comes, because both of them swarm the feeders in flocks, then one day they're all gone. I think the heron chased them away last year, but there doesn't seem to be a heron this year, so maybe I'll get to see them stoking up for the long flight.


The sunset tonight wasn't particularly red, but for a while the entire western horizon was orange. Of course, it was all washed out in the camera. Now, just 20 minutes or so after sunset, Venus is shining over the Mountain Lodge. Jupiter is supposed to be up there, too, but I can't see it yet. They are supposed to be very close together right now, and this has been the first time in several days that we've had a clear western horizon. So I guess I need to go sit in the ugly chair until it gets all dark, and see what I can see.


Ah! About five minutes later, and I do see it, and they aren't all that close together at all. Jupiter is above and to the left of Venus, and about the distance of the two stars in the bottom of the bowl of the Big Dipper. Very pretty sight. By next week, they are supposed to be within 1 of each other. I shouldn't mention that...it will probably be cloudy at sunset for the whole week. Anyway, it's a pretty sight to see hanging up there just where the orange sky shades to gray-blue. There are a couple of little clouds, but nothing to block the view. Nice way to end the day.


It's clear and cool in the field tonight.


August 29

Another early night. Gee.


I was so tired last night that I crashed without taking a bath, but around midnight I woke up with the back pain and the neck pain both back...the only good thing was my knees were OK. I thrashed around until about 2:30, by which time I was so exhausted I had a headache, and it would have taken more than a few aches to keep me awake. However, I was up four or five more times, and when I decided it was time to get up for the day, I was still tired. Still am.


I'm not quite sure what the problem is, except that it has been cool and damp since I've been back, and that tends to cause aches, and the temperature is in the region where I have a hard time getting the temperature in the bed just right.


So I will try it again tonight, with bath, and see if I can't get a decent night's sleep for a change.


I did almost zilch again today. The only thing I have to report is that I refilled the bird feeders. I exchanged the big hummingbird feeder for the small one, because the birds don't seem to like the big one very well this year for some reason. I had noticed that one of the thistle socks was totally empty, and I thought that was just because the goldfinches are flocking, but when I began to fill it, I discovered that what had been a small hole caused by whatever pulled it down last spring had become a 2" rip, and probably there is a lot of thistle seed on the ground under the tree. So I sewed up the rip. Normally that would be cause for a new thistle sock (they're cheap), but the goldfinches won't be around for too much longer, so I will make do and get a new one next spring.


The weather was pretty nondescript. It was cloudy all day, and gray, although there were some interesting clouds over the mountain at times. The temperature probably got into the middle 60s. There was a mostly northwest wind that got up to around 15 mph before dying back.


I have noticed that the NWS station frequently reports "variable" wind directions when the direction is certainly not variable out here. All I can guess is that where that station is located, between the sewage holding ponds and the harbor and not far from the maintenance building, the wind tends to swirl around a lot more than it does out here. I keep hoping that eventually there will be a weather station here, too, and then I can prove how poor their reporting is. The NWS claims they don't own the station, by the way, but I haven't been able to find out who does own it.


All it takes is money...and I ordered my fireplace tools and log holder today. If I plan to run my fireplace this winter, which I do, I need tools and a place to stash wood. Of course, I also need wood... Unfortunately, my weather station and my telescope keep being pushed down the priority list by other, more important things.


So now it is dark, and it's time to attack the bed again.


August 28

I'm doing this early again. 


It was nice to sit in the ugly chair and knit, and I did it until I was knitting by feel and I was so tired I could hardly hold up my head - about 9:30. I started out all right, but sometime after midnight, I woke up with a pain in a certain place in my lower back that usually spreads down my sciatic nerve, and after thrashing around for a while, and disgusting Buster, I hauled out the heating pad and laid on that for a while. That helped, but I still couldn't get comfortable. Both my knees ached. I ended up sleeping until about 9:30, and when I woke up, Buster was lying right beside me, with his nose almost on my nose. I guess he is happy I'm back.


I didn't do a lot today because I am still tired...maybe tonight I can get all the pieces in order and do better? However, I brought in my suitcase and the file box of papers I took with me, and I got the knitting yarn and nightgown material I brought back packed into storage boxes, although they are still in the breezeway. So I didn't do nothing.


I read one of the many magazines that came last week, then I worked on the bracelet, and I only have about 2" to go.


It was a nice day to sit and watch the world go by. There was a strong breeze from the northwest for most of the day, and while there were some fair weather cumulus clouds, it was mostly sunny. The wind was whipping up some good whitecaps on the harbor. That's always fun to watch, but especially when the water is so blue. The temperature has finally gotten to 70, after starting out in the low 60s this morning.


When I got back from dinner, the sun was shining directly on the desk where I have my beads. It wasn't doing that last week, so it's moved quite a bit in the past few days, and there is only 13 hours of daylight now. Even if I hadn't seen the analemma, I would still have the feeling of sliding down a slippery slope at an ever-increasing pace, toward the time of year when there will only be 8 hours of daylight here. You may see a lot of pictures of the inside of the office this winter, but more likely, I will just turn the camera off when it gets dark. 


Actually, I haven't decided quite how to handle that. When it is dark and snowy outside, I will need light even during the day, but I don't want to totally mess up the picture with reflections. I guess I'll just have to fool around with my Daylight lamp and my little task light to see what will give me enough light to work without messing up the picture. I don't intend to confine myself to knitting all winter long.


So now the sun has almost stopped shining on the ugly chair, and when it does, I will move over there and watch night come before I try this sleeping thing again.


I just went back over this entry and deleted almost all the instances of "nice". It was a nice day, but no need to overdo...


It's windy in the field today.


August 27

I'm back.


I didn't get an early start, although it was better than Monday. I did wake up at 6:30, but I was so tired that I went back for another couple of hours' sleep, and since it takes me a couple of hours to get the final stuff done, it was 10:00 before I started out.


The good part of that was that I missed the morning rush hour from Detroit through Bay City, and while there was a lot of traffic, it wasn't bumper-to-bumper and it was moving pretty well. All of I-75 was pretty good, actually. While there was some construction, they change things around for the weekend so that there are three northbound and only two (or sometimes one) southbound lanes, so that was no particular problem. I was annoyed by the 12 or 15 miles south of the bridge, though. They are evidently reconstructing shoulders, but they were working on the southbound side, and all there were were barrels, and they had covered most of the signs - all except the 45 mph signs. Of course almost everybody treated those signs like they weren't there, but it does give one a prickle of conscience to be going 75 mph in a posted 45 mph zone. Just following traffic, officer...


I got into the UP late enough that the construction on M-28 wasn't much of a problem, either. I had contemplated trying US-2 to US-41, but there is construction there, too, and I don't know that route at all, so I opted for the one I do know. Quite a bit of what I ran into on Monday was over with, except for one one-lane bridge with a traffic signal - no problem - and the area between Seney and Munising where they are repaving and widening. The problem there was the traffic directors. There must have been half a mile of cars before we were let through, and when we got to the other end, there were almost that many there, too. I do think more frequent turn-arounds might make things go more smoothly.


And then, after our long line of cars got past the construction, the guy in front (why does this always happen?) was going fast and slow and fast and slow...if you think 55 mph is "fast". I was behind a gas tanker who was really trying to make time, and I just stuck to him all the way to Munising, where we managed to sort ourselves out.


Of course, I hit Marquette pretty much during rush hour, but it looked to me like a lot of people had left work early, and that wasn't a problem. The rest of the trip was pretty good. There were a few slow drivers, especially coming north from L'Anse to Houghton, where they always are, but I managed to get around them pretty well. I was following a frat guy there, and even though he was trying to go a lot faster than I was, he turned into his house right in front of me in Houghton.


I pulled into the garage at about 8:30. So that was 10 hours, and I think that's pretty good for all the construction there was...and some rain.


When I left Detroit, it was clear and about 73, and it stayed clear and got up to about 79, except at the Big Mac and the eastern UP. It was clear but quite hazy at the bridge, but I could see some of the pretty aqua shoals on the north side, and there were whitecaps - coming from the east - on the straits. Don't know that I've seen that before, either. 


Between Munising and Marquette, it clouded up, and there was one light shower on US-41 west of Marquette. About the time I hit the covered road, it started to rain lightly but steadily, and the road was wet, but not enough to slow me unduly. Just enough to mess up my nice clean car, of course. It's not as bad as it was when I got to Detroit, but it's pretty dusty and rain-spotted in back now. Oh, well. Exceptionally clean cars up here make me nervous anyway.


As I was unlocking the door to the house, the phone was ringing, and it was my window washer, Mark, wondering if I wanted the windows washed this year. I had to put him off. Unfortunately, I have other places for my money this fall. I'd love to see him, and I know he likes to spend the day here, but oh, well. Anyway, we had a nice conversation, during which I was really glad I was wearing Depends. I had just grabbed the nearest phone, which has a cord.


Anyway, when I did get to the bathroom, I took off my jeans, as well as changing my undies, and put on a pair of sweat pants (sort of). All I unloaded from the car was the perishable food and the totebag with my pills and stuff. After I had that taken care of, I poured myself a nice double Jack, got some of my deli salads, and collapsed in the office. Since there was only one mail file that needed to be moved from the laptop, I decided to catch up on my usual surfing, but when I tried to open IE, I got a message that there wasn't enough memory. Huh? The camera was still working just fine, but obviously, Windows ME has more data leaks than I was aware of - there was only 11% free memory. Sigh.


After I fixed that I read my email and my funnies, although I couldn't look at a lot of my daily pictures, because it was dark. About 9:50, I decided it was too dark in here, and I turned on the lights, so the picture on the Bridge Cam and my Livecam page all night long was of the inside of the office. First time this year. But I was tired of sitting in the dark.


Very shortly after that there was a knock at the door - ieeee! The windows were shut, and I hadn't heard anyone drive in, but there was a car in the drive, idling (shame!) with its lights on, and when I answered the door, there was one of our friendly Sheriff's Deputies. Very nice young man.


It seems that sometime during the week, my neighbor two doors north had a window broken and something was taken from his house. What, I don't know, because the Sheriff wasn't talking. Anyway, he was going around to try to find out if anybody had seen or heard anything. He asked my name, and when I told him, he recognized me...it seems he looks at the camera, too. So I guess I'm famous? When I told him I had been away, he did a circuit of my house to see if all was well. It is, and nothing is missing. So we had a nice conversation, during which the door blew shut and locked me out. Since I had changed pants, I didn't have my key. Fortunately, the breezeway door was open, and I had unlocked both locks when I went in the back way, or I would have to have asked the Sheriff to go in the basement door (which I forgot to lock), and let me in. How embarrassing. I was too tired and sore to care.


After that, I was so tired and hot and sticky - the humidity was essentially 100% - that I went up to the north end to take a nice tepid bath in my wonderful shower and crash. Whew!


However, that's not the end of the story. Buster was so glad to see me that he made a nuisance of himself all night long, meowing and plucking on the porch screens and walking around me in circles. So I didn't sleep very well at all. I can't blame it entirely on him. I never sleep well the night after I take a sleeping pill anyway. He did finally curl up on the bed with me this morning, so we slept in a bit.


Today has been a very pretty day, mostly sunny with temperatures around 70 (plus or minus 3 or 4), and a light north wind. It is clouding up a bit now, and they are predicting some more rain tonight and tomorrow. I did not much except to move all the stuff from the car to the breezeway and get my mail. I did go to dinner, but Shirley was chained to her office and couldn't go, so I came back quickly, and I decided to do this early then sit in the ugly chair and drink JD and knit and watch the world go by.


A few odds and ends I forgot to mention. I had a terrible time with my allergies all the time I was in Detroit. I just did not want to run the air conditioner when the temperature outside was so nice, and I paid. I had a couple of morning sneezing fits, and every morning I woke up with my eyelids all swollen and teary. It began to clear up after I got north of West Branch, and it's been fine since I've been here, even though ragweed and those things do grow here. It's not nearly so bad as in the south. So there's another good reason to stay here.


After having no trouble at all moving files to the laptop, from the laptop the Champine computer, or back to the laptop, I never did get a clean move back to this computer, although I tried several times. Every time I tried, it would crap out near the end and freeze both systems...and I mean frozen, so that I had to do a hard reset to reboot. How weird. So I only think I got everything moved. I actually didn't modify more than a couple of files in Detroit, so I think some of what it was trying to move is stuff that has accidentally gotten left on one system or another and shouldn't be there. Keeping three systems in sync is harder even than keeping two.


Anyway, I loaded Zuma on both the Champine system and the laptop, and while it messes up the Champine system, it doesn't appear to bother the laptop, although I didn't play it very long. Using the touchpad to play it isn't easy. I guess I'm not surprised, because when they started life, both the desktops were identical, although they've parted ways somewhat since.


So that is the story of my trip home, and I'm very glad to be back and away from that dirty, stinky place with too many people.


There is bliss in the field tonight.


August 25

I'm going to try to do this right quick, and hope that I've patched up the system well enough that I can get it done and get the files moved. I finally had to remove the CD from the system altogether. When I turned the computer on, it came up just fine, and I'd been doing my thing for half an hour or more when the system froze. And froze. And froze. Finally, I tried to move the files, and it froze again, so I went into safe mode and removed the CD. After two more reboots, I'm here. Whew! Eventually, I'll have to try to reinstall the CD, but before I do I want to open up the case and make sure everything is seated correctly, etc.  It appears to be heat related, which means it may actually be the controller, in which case, I'll be calling Gateway. Maybe not till December, when I have a little more time to work with it. Gad! Computers! How did I ever get into this?


Anyway, I'm otherwise pretty ready to go. The car is partly packed, I got everything I wanted except for vitamins, my hair is now under control again, and it's time. I want to thank the lady who told me she had gotten my Cranberry-Almond Crunch cereal at Krogers - she was right, that they now are carrying it again. I almost didn't see it, because the shelf was almost bare. So I bought two boxes. I don't eat it often, but it doesn't seem to go stale or anything (heavens - what's in that stuff???).


The vitamin thing I will attack online when I get home.


It was a lovely day today, both here and in Copper Harbor. It has gotten up to about 79 (at least at the airport) here, but there is a nice breeze and it isn't bad at all.  However, now it's beginning to cloud up. In Copper Harbor, it was clear and got to about 75, and it hasn't clouded up yet. According to everybody, I may run into some rain tomorrow, but oh, well. I'll run into everything else, too, so it might as well rain.


I remember vividly one trip back in 2001, when I was doing it every month, when it poured all the way across M-28, which was being constructed then, too, and I and about 30 other people got in a huge line. There was a mammoth RV ahead of us, and everybody believed he was the one who was speeding up and slowing down and generally driving like a complete idiot. Several hot-heads even passed all of us, even though you couldn't see a thing coming in the other direction. When we got to Munising, we discovered that it was not, in fact, the RV at all, but some poor woman ahead of him who never should have been on the road...she was clearly terrified. I felt sorry for her, but I also felt strongly that she should have known she shouldn't be out on the road in those conditions and pulled off. I, and everybody else, I think, was grinding my teeth before we got sorted out and got out of the rain.


Anyway, I won't anticipate. 


Under any circumstances, there isn't likely to be a journal tomorrow, but I'll just have to see how I feel when I get there. You may hear from me before Saturday, and you may not.


So that is about all I know, and although things seem to be working better now, I'm not taking any more chances. I will get this uploaded and get the files moved, then I'll see how it is.


I'm going back to the field!!

August 24

How exciting. I seem to have lost my CD-ROM drive. I was listening to the radio and playing Bookworm when I began to hear funny clicking noises from the direction of the computer, and I noticed that the select light on the CD was on, and when I pushed the eject button, the whole system froze. After several abortive attempts to reboot, it came up, with the CD writer disabled, and there is no CD in my device list any more. Oh, dear. Good thing I'm not backing up to CD, isn't it? I suppose I should pursue this now, but I don't feel like it. I don't need the thing right now, and I have other things to do. We'll just have to see what happens either in October or in December, when I will be here for a month or so.


I didn't want to get up this morning - oh, how I didn't want to get up!  However, I did, and I managed to get the car to the garage and get it greased and oiled. While that was going on, I collected all the paperwork I could find for the lawyer...the whole shebang filled a file box...and I discovered that I had indeed left something in Copper Harbor, which I will have to send to him. Oh, well. It isn't vital for the moment. He has enough to begin work now.


So I put on a pair of slacks and drove across town to West Bloomfield and left the box with the lawyer, talked to him for a few minutes, and drove back. There is too much traffic and too many cars around here.


I probably should have run one of my errands when I got back, but I was too tired, especially after I had to wiggle the garage door to make it go all the way up. I think all it needs is oil, but I can't do that, so I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about it.


And I was planning to go to bed early, but Debbie called and it is now 10:15, so I won't make that, either.


The weather in Copper Harbor was nice, with lots of sunshine, although it was clouding up some around sunset. The temperature was in the mid 60s, with a light wind. Here, it was sunny and nice all day, although the temperature depended upon where you were. Here, not far from the lake, it topped out in the mid 70s, but when I left the lawyer's office, it was over 80 on that side of town. That's one reason I prefer it here.


So that is all I know, and I'm yawning. Tomorrow will be a rather busy day, running errands and packing the car, so it's time to haul myself up the stairs.


August 23

Well, I made it.


I got up fairly early yesterday morning, but I fooled around long enough that I didn't start out until about 10:45. I knew it was a mistake, but I really didn't want to leave. Besides, it was a beautiful morning, and I just wanted to enjoy it. Oh, well.


When I got to L'Anse, I knew it was a mistake to have gotten so late a start. They are resurfacing US-41 from the Bishop Baraga shrine to the top of the hill, which is bad enough, but they are also laying sewer pipe, and close to the new bridge over the Falls River, they were digging a very big hole in half the road. Unfortunately they are using flag men to direct traffic, and as usual they are totally incompetent. They let northbound traffic through until there was about a mile backup going south. Several people had turned around and gone the other way, because it looked like they were just not turning things around. Traffic coming toward us was extremely sporadic, and there were quite a few times when it seemed like they could have let us through. So we sat around for about 10 minutes. I made the mistake of not turning the engine off, too.


That turned out to be only the beginning. They are repaving or widening (or something) about 80% of M-28 from Marquette to M-123, including several places where the road is down to one lane, and several places where it looked like they just hadn't bothered to pick up the cones. It took me over 6 hours to get to the bridge. Whew!


I-75 wasn't much better, except that I came down late enough in the day that work had stopped and we could totally ignore the speed signs. I just followed traffic. It took me about 4 hours from the bridge to here, which isn't too bad, actually.


However, that made it 9:30 by the time I pulled into the driveway, and I had to unload the car. Around 10:30 I was eating warmed up duck and wild mushroom risotto and drinking JD, and it was nearly midnight before I got to bed. For various reasons, including trying to keep my temperature stable, I didn't really sleep all that well until after 6:00, and I awoke just before 9:00 with about an hour to get to the doctor...and a pair of knees that just do not want to work right. Whew!


However, the doctor visit turned out pretty well, more or less. Dr. Lehman decided not to do any cat scans now, but to wait until October. Not that I want to come back in October, but then I can come in on Sunday, see him on Monday, get the scans done on Tuesday and get the results by Thursday. The catch is that if they see anything, I'll have to stay and have a PET scan, with the same scheduling problems we had in May. 


That means that my fears about my schedule this time were unfounded. I stopped at the Food Emporium to get some good things to eat - the sandwiches I brought to eat yesterday weren't so hot - and I got gas. Then while the files were moving to the desktop and Norton was updating on both systems, I dug out all the paperwork (or almost all) the lawyer wants, and tomorrow I will drive (!) out to West Bloomfield to meet him and leave everything with him. In the morning, I will get the car serviced. Then I have Thursday to get my hair cut, lay in provisions for the trip north and pack the car. Someplace in there I'd like to get the car washed, too, and I did want to go out to Kroger to see if they have some of my vitamins and other stuff I take that I've run out of. So I won't be idle, but how I could have scheduled all that around CT scans, I don't know.


Then I can go home and collapse.


Oh, yes. Shortly after I left Newberry, a warning light came on the dashboard saying "SERVICE 4 WD". Since I didn't stop after that, it stayed on all the way here, but when I turned the car off, it went away. This afternoon when I went to get gas, I got Chet to put his sensor on the computer, and it had not stored any codes. No codes at all. So what that was all about I do not know. Whatever it was, it didn't cause me any "performance problems", as they say. I got lousy gas mileage in the UP, but that was because of all the time I spent sitting in line, and I will just have to turn off the engine while I'm waiting in those lines.


Because, you see, there isn't any way to get from here to there. I checked the MDOT site this afternoon, and there are about 90 road projects in the state this summer, 16 in the UP. I wanted to check out an alternate route from the bridge to Marquette - US-2 to US-41, which is a bit longer, but might work - but it turns out that there is just as much work along them as there is on M-28. And really, there's no way to avoid I-75. So I guess about all I can do is hope to get an earlier start Friday and endure.


I got awfully sleepy around Newberry, but I got a liter of real Coke - sugar and caffeine - and that solved my problem. Didn't bother my heart, either. So when I need it, I guess I can have it.


The weather yesterday and today in Copper Harbor was about the same: clear and mid-60s. Nice. Too nice to be away. But then, it always is.


The clear weather held till Marquette, then it got like it was in Copper Harbor on Sunday: cloudy and about 63. That wasn't so good when I had to get out and pump gas, but otherwise it was good weather to drive in. Two or three times down I-75 there were a few little raindrops on the windshield, but nothing to even wet the ground. There was a spectacular sunset, somewhere around Bay City, I think, but unfortunately I was headed east or southeast by that time and I could only catch glimpses of bloody-red clouds in the rear view mirrors.


It was in the mid 60s when I got here (I think), so that I could open up the house, which was good. It was a bit humid, but most of my sweating was because of my exertion. It got maybe into the low 70s and was still cloudy today, which is very tolerable temperature, in my view. I guess it's supposed to warm up through the week, but only Thursday afternoon looks like it might bother me. Friday is supposed to be the warm day, and I'll be out of here then. 


My observation of the city is, it stinks. I've mostly noticed the engine fumes and the smell of rotting garbage, but there are other nasty odors around most of the time. And I will also say, after following a few old diesel trucks yesterday, they can't clamp down on diesel emissions any too soon. I did always wonder how they managed to get away with making car emissions so tight and ignoring diesel emissions when it's been clear to me for years that they are just as bad a source of pollution...not to mention the smell.


On happier topics, the roadsides are pretty dull at this time of year. There is some goldenrod, but even the spotted knapweed is through blooming. The milkweeds are going in the swampy areas. However, it's been so excessively dry in the eastern UP and the northern lower that the maples are turning much earlier than usual. Not a lot, of course, but there were more tinges of color in the trees than I've seen in mid-September in prior years.


The sun sets about half an hour earlier here than it does in Copper Harbor, and the day is shorter here than it is there, still. I guess it will be that way until the equinox, and then the northwoods will get a lot darker a lot earlier and stay that way a lot longer. I wonder if they are allowing an opt-out on the extra-long daylight savings time that is supposed to take effect next year? I really fail to see why they think that will save energy. I wonder if there are really any scientific studies about that.


So it's now getting dark, and I am full of nice deli salads and JD, and as soon as I publish this, I am going to take a nice shower and crash. I need to keep human hours this week, so I'd better get an early start.


I miss my field already.


August 21

Well, it's early, and I've done nearly as much as I can do. There is some sweeping to do, and I want to get as much stuff in the car as I can, but I'm tired.


I'm tired because at about 1:30 this morning, I woke up with a very bad pain in my back, sort of between the places where I have the arthritis. So I sat in the bathroom for quite a while, then I laid on the heating pad for quite a while, and along about 4:30, it had subsided enough for me to go back to sleep. I think I must have sat in a draft yesterday, and I'm not helping my cause by keeping the windows open today.


So as a result, I got up rather late and very creaky, and did my thing and ate my breakfast before I sort of started doing what needs to be done. I tried almost all day to update Norton on the laptop, but bad as the phone line was when I stopped using it, it has gotten a lot worse. I would call SBC tomorrow, except that my neighbor Ron told me a story about having the splitter on his one phone line die, so I will have to wait until I get back, crawl under the table, and plug the phone wire (and I may use a brand new wire) directly into the laptop, just so I can rule out anything like that. It was so bad that this morning I couldn't even bring up my home page, but all day long it kept crapping out in the middle of those long downloads. I think the phone line on Champine is probably still all right, so I'll just have to do the updates there.


I plugged a corded phone (I keep one around for just such emergencies) into both lines, and I could hear static on both, on the computer line especially. Then the wind shifted from west to north, or nearly north, and I could at least get online, although uploads just didn't go. Oh, well. Bless the lovely wireless! I guess my alternative is to get an ethernet card for the laptop and an ethernet hub for the house. I'm not very well acquainted with ethernet, so if any of you out there know about it, I'd appreciate any information you may have.


There were also some hiatuses in the camera, because I was checking the way I repositioned the webcam and I inadvertently turned off automatic capture. Sorry about that. Not that you missed much. I noticed that the last time I moved the camera, it was way off level, and the sideways horizon was beginning to get to me. I think there is some kind of groove in the tripod head, because it seems to end up in exactly the same place every time I adjust it, no matter where I really want it. I do think it's a tad straighter now, though. Having the railing to line up the viewfinder is helpful, if I take the time to use it.


It was not a nice day today. The sky was cloudy, and the wind was over 20 mph all day long, first from the west then from the north or nort-northwest. The temperature hung in at just about 60, but I think the wind chill was down around 45. I know they don't report wind chills when the temperature is over about 55, but they could have today.


Just about the time I got to dinner, there were a few rays of sunshine, but they didn't amount to much, and now it is cloudy and cold again.


Tomorrow is going to be a tad warmer, but it will be a good driving temperature, at least until I get south of Grayling. It's been warm in good old Detroit, and it's supposed to be warm all week. 


I really, really hate to have to leave my field, but I've got to do what I've got to do. That is a long drive, for sure, and I will be running full speed all week, especially if I hope to come back on Friday.


By the way, there is unlikely to be a journal tomorrow, unless I get an earlier start than usual, so don't anybody panic if there isn't an entry.


So now it's time to put this to bed and get started transferring files.


There's weepin' and wailin' in the field tonight.


August 20

I ended up not sleeping very well last night, and although I did pretty well between 8 and 10 this morning, it wasn't enough, so I'm off to bed early tonight - really!


It was cloudy all night, but I could tell that the moon was up there, because it was light outside, about like it is in the city. I found myself remembering the night, in 2001, I think, when I woke up to see the clear sky so bright it was casting shadows of the window frames in the bathroom...a truly spectacular northern lights display. We are heading for solar minimum now, so light shows are becoming increasingly rare, and will be for the next two or three years.


At the time I saw that show, and the others we had in 2001 and 2002, I really didn't know what was going to become of me, and I wondered at the time if I would still be around to see the next solar max. Now I'm a bit more sure I will, and I'll be here through the winter, to watch them when it's dark most of the time. We don't have much clear weather in the winter, but when we do, it can be spectacular.


As a result of getting up so late, I didn't do nearly as much as I hoped to today, but oh, well. At least the stove side of the kitchen, which was the really gross side, is clean. The other side is mostly just messy. I have a lot of stuff to put away, and that isn't quite such a chore. I also got the cat food stashed away.


So I did accomplish something. Not much, but something.


I also made and stuffed a knitted catnip mouse for Lesley's Himalayan, Angel, who loves catnip.  Buster made himself scarce when she came, even though she didn't come inside, so he missed the catnip, but I think he smelled it, so I relented and gave him some tonight. He doesn't go bonkers with it, but he rolls in it until he is covered, and right now he is sitting in the middle of what's left, looking slightly spaced out. It's been some time since he had any, and I think it's good for him now and then. His catnip mouse is knitted but not put together.


It was another pretty day. There were a few clouds in the morning, but they soon disappeared, and the sky was blue and clear for most of the rest of the day. The temperature got up to about 74, like yesterday, but today there was a very strong northwest wind that whipped up some very nice whitecaps on the harbor. The wind is gusty, but it gusted up over 25 mph at the NWS site. It was windier than that out here. Now the temperature is dropping fast, although I don't think it will get quite as cold here as they are predicting - under 60.


Tomorrow is supposed to be cool, around 60, and it may rain. I can take the rain, but I hope it doesn't stay that cold, or I may have to close the east windows, and I had really planned to leave them open while I'm gone. When it's fairly warm and sunny, it gets very stuffy in here if the windows are shut, and I've noticed having them open solves that problem. We don't usually have winds from the east or southeast when it's cool, so it's comfortable in the house.


So that's about all that went on today. Tomorrow, I will try to do a journal early, so that I can move files to the laptop earlier than the middle of the night.


The moon will be shining on the field tonight.


August 19

Well, that was interesting. I didn't get to bed until 2:30 this morning (don't ask me why), and when I got up at 10:30 or so, I felt energized. Maybe I sleep too much?


I had several tasks for the day: wash the dishes, wash clothes, and get all the trash to the compactor. All done. The last load, of towels, is in the dryer now. I still have to fold underwear, but I can do that in the morning. I needed to get that load washed and dried, because all my summer nightgowns were in it. 


I carted off six bags of trash to the compactor, including three that were extremely heavy. Of course, there are some more newspapers already, but I think I got everything else pretty much out, including some stuff in the fridge that just had to go.


Now, tomorrow, maybe I can get the stove cleaned up? I have been frying pork sausage on a back burner, and the back spash is as gross as the counter top. So that will be a job. The trouble with that one is that I have to stand up to do it, and it usually does a job on my back. Maybe I can also get all the rest of the groceries stowed away. Most of that is Buster food and wine, I think. And the boxes are still in the great room. Well, I won't be idle.


So I guess I really can do some housework when I have to, but it is my least favorite kind of work. I always have hated to do anything that I know will need to be done over, and housework heads the list.


This evening I had dinner with Shirley, as usual, and we had a nice conversation, although it got pretty hot in the restaurant.


It didn't really get too warm today - it topped out around 73, but the humidity was high, so that every time I did anything, I started to sweat more quickly than usual. The sky was mostly cloudy all day long, although when I got back from dinner, a red ball of fire was hanging over lighthouse point. I didn't try to take a picture. From experience, I've learned that the sun will overpower the background and wash out all the color in it.


That was, by the way, about 8:15. The sun is setting before 9:00 now, and rising almost at 7:00 am, which gives us only about 14 hours of daylight, and of course, we will lose two more hours in the next month. Sigh. This is the time of year when, even though we may have some more warm weather, it feels like the summer is really over.


It has been so dry that some of the more stressed trees are beginning to turn color, and I've noticed just in the past couple of days that leaves on the thimbleberries are yellowing out. We did get quite a bit of rain (nearly half an inch) Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but it wasn't enough and it's far too late to have much effect on vegetation now. Besides, the berries are through bearing and they have not much else to do but store up a bit more energy before it cools off.


This is always a bittersweet time of year for me. Oh - and this is a day of remembrance. 22 years ago today, I went to my parents' house (where I am now living in Grosse Pointe) after work to find a note on the back door saying go to Cottage Hospital emergency. My dad had made himself a martini and sat down in his easy chair to wait for my mother to come home, and he fell asleep. Permanently. What a way to go. He had been suffering from congestive heart failure and had gotten weak enough that we had decided not to come to Copper Harbor that year, but the Saturday before, my mother's birthday, we had gone out for dinner and he seemed fine. I think he may even have made it to church the next day (eerie that even the days of the week are the same this year). 


I'd like to go that way, but I'd just as soon be sitting in the ugly chair when I fall asleep.


My mother always said she dreaded August, even though her birthday is this month, because so many bad things had happened in her life in August. And looking back through her diary of significant events, I guess that was true. She always felt that if she got through August without anything horrible happening, she was set for the rest of the year. I guess I could feel the same, but it hasn't ever hit me that hard. Horrible things have happened to me in most months, so one isn't worse than any other.


So that is another day in the field, and I think it's rather cloudy out tonight. No moon to shine on us.


August 18

It rained lightly for most of the night, and it was good sleeping weather, so I did. The skies were cloudy all day long, although there wasn't any more rain, and curiously, the wind was mostly out of the east, when there was any wind at all. A most unimpressive day.


And I don't have much to report.  I moved a few things around the office, emptied another blue box, and that was about it. I did finish the sock I've been knitting on, and I was intending to start a glove, but I discovered that I had put that box in the closet on the bottom, so I couldn't get the yarn out.


And that was about it. Not only didn't I want to do anything, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to eat, which means I need something before I go to bed, and what that will be, I don't know.


It's dreary in the field tonight.


August 17

Well, this was a nondescript day.


The sky was clear for most of the night, and I noticed that it was still almost completely dark at 5:00 am. However, when I got up, around 9:00, it had clouded over. It wasn't dark clouds, but there wasn't any sunshine.


I got up and did my usual fiddling around, and I had just decided it was time to eat breakfast when Lesley arrived, so instead of breakfast, I had lunch. That wasn't all bad.


While she hauled rocks, I moved books. I had just thrown a bunch of books onto a shelf last fall, but this year I brought more than one shelf worth of craft books, so I had to sort everything out and move it around. It makes much more sense now, as well as being somewhat neater. I discovered several books that I bought last year (and prior years) that I haven't read yet, so I won't be out of reading material very soon.


While I was moving books, I also moved some of the boxes, so that I will have room for the last two, which are still in the great room. In the course of doing all that, I pulled the cord for the camera and moved it, so that for about 45 minutes, it was taking a not-very-good picture of the tree. Oops! Fortunately, I noticed it, and moved it back where it belongs. I think I actually have it more where I want it for the fall and winter, a bit to the right and a tad lower than it was before. You can see more of the deck, but that is how I want it for when the snow flies.


So that was about all I did. Things are looking a bit better. Maybe tomorrow I can get the boxes moved, then I can start on the kitchen and hope I have time to do the floors. If not, oh, well.


The temperature made it up to almost 70, with a south to southeast wind, but it never cleared up, and around 8:00, it started raining lightly. The temperature has dropped to around 60, and if I wasn't going to bed, I'd have to close the office windows. The breeze is damp and cool. 


For the next couple of days, there is a chance for rain and thunderstorms, and the temperature will be a bit warmer - wonderful! My favorite weather - warm and humid. Yuck. However, it looks like I might have decent weather on Monday, which will be good. The one time I had to drive through hard rain, it took me over 11 hours to get here, and that's too long.


So now it's to bed again. It's dark and damp in the field tonight.


August 16

Now  it's my hips and my ears. Anyway, I was up at a reasonable hour this morning, but it was a while before I did anything.


Lesley said she would be here this afternoon to pick rocks, but she was late, so in the meantime, I unpacked the first clothes box which, most conveniently, contained the rest of my jeans (the small ones) and my tops. Later, I unpacked the other one, which had fleece tops, my parka and some books. So the boxes are now empty, but I only threw one of them down the stairs. Maybe tomorrow I can get the rest of them out of the middle of the great room, as well as a bunch of other empty boxes that need to be moved. It shows how dirty the floors are, but it will be nice to have that stuff out of the way.


Then I started on the office, and I'm making progress on that, I more or less found the desk in front of the computer, and the piles on the desk are a lot smaller. So I'm making some progress. I guess I'm leaving the worst tasks -the kitchen and the floors - for last, as usual. However, it's only Tuesday.


The night started out clear, but it clouded up while I was sleeping, and around 8:00 this morning, there was one grumble of thunder and a brief shower. I thought it was earlier, but the windows and deck were still wet when I got up, and the NWS report says it was between 8:00 and 9:00. The clouds began to break up around 10:00, and the afternoon was beautiful but a bit windy. The temperature hung in about 65 all day, but it has now plunged into the middle 50s. It should be a good night to sleep.


The moon is peeking out from behind the tree, and it is getting rounder every night. It's full on Friday.


Apparently the water in the harbor is as warm as I thought it might be, and Lesley says she saw a crayfish, which is most unusual, since they need warm water. However, all those high temperatures and sunny days must have done something, and the wind was pushing the surface water in this direction today.


We went for dinner at Mariner, and I finally got my honey parmesan chicken, which was very good, and I brought more than half of it home, so I will have something to eat. Lesley's daughter Meg, who has been working at Harbor Haus this summer, was with us, and she is a nice girl, so we had a good time. 


Lesley will be back tomorrow. She has already discovered that moving rocks isn't something you want to do for more than an hour or so, and she is just picking and making piles. Wait till she has to haul them up the hill! While it would have been fun to pick some of the rocks for my fireplaces, I'm just as glad somebody else did the moving. Besides, they did that in November or December of 2000, and I was otherwise engaged with chemo and shingles at that time. Thanks to the guy who did the stonework, it came out very nicely anyway. Its principal color is reddish brown, but that is the color the rocks are around here. 


So that was a day when I seem to have accomplished something, and it's time for bed again.


There is moonshine in the field tonight.


August 15

August is half over already! Wow!


I didn't sleep so well last night because both my hips were sore, and I don't sleep unless I'm on my side. Maybe I've been sleeping too much, I don't know. So I got up before 9:00 this morning - a new record for the recent past.


Not that I took much advantage of it. I did get the dishwasher unloaded, and I did cat pans, so those were two things.


Otherwise, I enjoyed a rather nice day. The official temperature got to 78  this afternoon, but it wasn't that warm here, and there was a wind out here that was much stronger than the 10-18 mph they were reporting at the NWS station. It was from the west or northwest, though, and the station is protected from that direction. There were a few nice whitecaps on the harbor, and everything was blue, blue, blue! There were a few little clouds at intervals, but now, after sunset, it's quite clear and the gibbous moon is hiding behind the tree south of the office.


I did a bit of beading, but that's all on that topic.


While I wasn't looking, the hummingbirds have nearly drained the feeder again, so tomorrow I will have to refill it. They are clearly through with their nesting for the year, and they are hanging around and feeding up for the big migration. I hope I don't miss it.


Buster just does not like wind. He was on the boxes in the great room - one of his favorite places, because he can see all around - when I opened the slider, and he immediately complained and then left, probably for the bedroom. However, when I sat down to eat the rest of my fish from last night, he turned up, of course, and he got his share. He certainly is a spoiled brat cat.


My friend Lesley is going to come sometime tomorrow to begin fishing up rocks from the harbor for her fireplace. I don't think she understands quite what a job that's going to be, and I'll be interested to see how she does. I don't think there will be a problem...there are rocks for all the fireplaces in Keweenaw and then some on my beach and in the shallow water offshore. I wish I could help her. I'd love to go wading in the water, but I'm afraid I couldn't be much use. I don't walk too well anywhere, especially on pebbles...of course, those pebbles are from the size of my fist to the size of my head, which only makes it harder. However, my fireplace is so lovely, she wants one like it, and I don't blame her at all. I like all of my house, but the fireplaces are surely the crowning glory, especially the one in the great room.


On that subject, I have found a set of fireplace tools that includes a small log holder, which is exactly what I wanted, and I will be ordering it sometime soon, maybe while I'm in Detroit. Then the only thing standing between me and fires in my fireplace will be getting wood. My neighbor Ron says that birch bark is the best fire starter of all, and I have lots of dead birches around here, so all I will have to do is peel off a nice selection of bark and collect up all the small twigs and branches that fall off, and I will be ready to start fires. I'm looking forward to that. Phillipe reported that the chimney draws well, and I'm sure the blowers work just fine, so I should be able to heat the great room and the office mostly with the fireplace. 


I haven't ever had a fire in my fireplace, partly because I left so early, but also because getting the wood and the tools together was more than I cared to undertake. And if  I'd gotten tools, I wouldn't have been able to get this nice thingie that will enable me to keep some wood in the house, too. Everything comes when it's supposed to.


So that was my quiet day, and maybe tonight my hips won't be quite so sore and I'll sleep better?


The moon is beaming on the field tonight.


August 14

Another day with not much to report. I was wakeful during the night - I think I was slightly cold - so I slept late again.


The morning was a bit cloudy, I think, but by the time I got up, it was clearing up, and the afternoon was almost completely clear. The temperature got into the upper 60s and there was quite a wind for a while this afternoon. When I went to dinner, there was a cloud almost over my house, and it was interesting to watch. The wind was out of the northwest, and it was still quite strong, but the cloud was moving just about in the opposite direction. Weird.


I did do a very little bit of beading, but that was the extent of my activities for the day.


It was a quiet day in the field.


August 13

Today would have been my mother's eighty-eighth birthday. It's hard to believe she's been gone for twelve years. I still miss her terribly, but I had occasion tonight to reflect again how blessed I was to have a mother who was also a friend and whom I knew never had anything in mind but the very best for me. That doesn't seem to be the norm, but I don't know what I would have done with the kind of mothers some of my friends have had to endure. Besides, my mother was a wise woman, and I miss her advice.


I slept so long last night that I missed this morning's meeting by a mile, but that's all right. The people involved will see that the proper action is taken.


I do feel somewhat better today, although my legs are still creaky, but all I managed to do was dishes.


It was another lovely day in Keweenaw, although it was cloudy through the height of the meteors (and, I understand, some northern lights), and it started out cloudy this morning, but it soon cleared up, and the afternoon has been beautiful. The temperature was in the middle 60s all day, and there was a nice northwest breeze. Now, a bit after sunset, there are a few clouds to the south and a quarter moon beaming in the south windows of the office, and otherwise it's clear. Lovely.


I had dinner with Shirley tonight. Her daughter who was visiting from California left this morning, so she was relaxing. While we were eating, a couple came up to talk to her, and it seems they look at the website, so I met another two of my silent viewers. It's truly amazing how many people look at the site. So that was nice. I've met more nice people through this site!


I'm hoping to feel more like doing something tomorrow, because I have a lot to do before I take off for Detroit. And much as I don't want to go, I keep reminding myself that once I'm back here, I probably won't have to worry about that until December, which is nice. I guess I can't complain too much if I have to go south every three months.


So that is all there is, and the moon is shining o n the filed tonight.


August 12

Wow, today was a lost day! I was so tired last night that I slept exceptionally well, and long, and I had a cat beside me for most of the time. I'm not sure exactly what Buster's problem is. It could be several things - I'm not doing something he wants, or it's been a bit cooler lately, or just maybe he remembers that this is the time of year that I usually leave him for a week. Cats do remember things like that. I'll never forget the second year we were here, when in the middle of October, DC took to sitting in the cage, which I had in the house that year, as if to say, "Isn't it time to go?" Of course, he was exceptional. But I have no doubt that Buster remembers my August trips. His way is to try to be exceptionally sweet, on the off chance I won't go. Of course, he should remember that it didn't help him much last May - it just postponed the inevitable.


When I finally did get up, I was so sore and creaky that I just didn't want to do any of the things I'm supposed to be doing. The list is getting long.


Sometime during the night - between 4:00 and 5:00 we had a short rain shower, and it was cloudy when I got up this morning. The sky did clear up later in the afternoon, and sunset was interesting tonight. There was a bank of what I think were stratus clouds over part of the harbor, being blown into waves by the wind, and they were very pretty. Of course the camera didn't see it, because the sky was very bright, and I just didn't feel like getting out of the ugly chair and taking a picture of it. I guess I should have, because it was pretty. The wind is now blowing rather strongly from the west, and the sky is at least partly clear, because I could see the moon reflected in the back windows of the great room. The temperature never got below 65 last night, and it never got over 73 this afternoon - just perfect.


So I diddled around, and had the slow breakfast rather late, and did not much. I did go to the post office, but that was it.


There has been a family at my neighbor's to the south for the past couple of weeks. I think they are the ones I've referred to "the screamers" in past years (and been castigated for it). One of them is still a screamer, to the extent that I really wonder if he or she doesn't have a sore throat all the time...either that, or there is a budding opera singer in the family. I mean, that kid is loud and high and constant. However, they have been having a wonderful time, and they certainly keep reasonable hours. There has also been lots and lots of giggling from there, and I don't mind that. Anyway, I just happened to notice that the kids were out in the harbor in a rubber boat this afternoon, and boy, do I envy them! They were having a really wonderful time, and since at least one of them was in the water, I guess the temperature is pretty tolerable this year. I've always said this is a wonderful place to raise kids, and it's also a great place to vacation with kids. I only don't envy their mother. It can't be much of a vacation for her.


So that is all there is, and it's time to go and sleep some more. Maybe tomorrow I can get started on my tasks for the next week?


it's breezy and mild in the field tonight.


August 11

I actually did go. I didn't start out until 11:30, but I went.


I woke up when the boat left, but it was clear that I'd better not get up then, or I'd be sorry later, so I turned over and slept until 9:30, then I did my usual morning thing and gathered my stuff together (which reminds me, the camera and my purse are still in the car), and eventually I started off.


It was a nice morning, about 73 with a light wind and sunshine, and although it was somewhat warmer in Houghton, it wasn't uncomfortable at all. If I was uncomfortable, it was because I'm so out of shape that the walking left me sweating like a horse.



Hughes Farm is open, and I real over-bought again, but their produce is soooo good. I will eat well next week.


Wal-Mart has closed off the old entrance (and the temporary entrance) and the old parking lot and has opened part of the new entrance and the new parking lot, and everything is farther apart than it used to be. I never did find the food or paper products (geez - I forgot to get toilet paper!), but I got most of what I was after. They have settled the pet supplies and I was able to get Buster a good selection of canned food plus a new dry food to try. 


Then it was off to Ming Bistro, and it was pretty good today. I never have been too fond of their egg rolls, and the ones in the buffet have too much roll and not enough filling, but the other stuff was good. I was able to sit for quite a while and relax, because I think the waitress forgot me.


However, I needed enough odd stuff in Econo Foods that I had to do more walking than usual. All supermarkets that I know about put pasta and that stuff in a different aisle than rice and that stuff, but Econo's aisles are so long that there was a lot of walking. Besides, I needed some things I don't usually have to buy, and I had to do a lot of searching. I was really dragging my tail behind me when I left.


Then I had to get gas, but I sat while the tank filled. The low price is now $2.48 a gallon up here, which is still a shock. It's not nice to get a bit over 13 gallons for what I used to pay to fill up the tank. However, it doesn't look like it will be getting any better anytime soon, so I guess I'll just pay, and I guess it was good that I did, so I'm prepared for the trip back to Detroit. Even though I seem to be getting pretty good mileage at highway speeds, it will still take a tank and a half (about 40 gallons) to get there...$100, more or less. What a good reason not to go often.


I started home about 4:00, and except for a cramp in my right leg, made it without trouble. There was a lot more traffic in both directions than usual, but not too many slow drivers, or at least I met them when there was a place to pass, except for the caravan from the Mountain Lodge to Copper Harbor and the guy who went 25 mph all the way from the blinker to my road...he went on, at the same slow speed. Apparently some people can't see well enough to read speed signs or to see that there are people climbing their tails. And you wonder why I call them tourons? I don't think he even noticed when I veered off to the wrong side of the road to get my paper from the box. That sometimes startles people, but not that guy.


While I was gone, something apparently startled Buster, who was sleeping in my desk chair. I keep two towels on the chair when I am wearing short sleeves and shorts, because I stick to the leather seat and plastic arm rests. When he took off, he apparently caught his claws in the towels, and I found one on the floor and the other in the great room. I guess I'll have to bring back the claw clipper and see if I can clip his claws a bit (that should be a trip!). Otherwise, he was glad to see me.


Apparently the temperature was pretty steady all day here, although it clouded up late in the day.


The roadsides aren't very interesting at this time of year. There is some goldenrod and a few Queen Ann's lace, and since the road on either side of Cliff Drive is boggy in spots, there are various milkweeds. The asters haven't started coming out yet. There is a big patch of virgin's bower down by Lake Lilly on our road, and I saw several patches of that. It is actually a rather pretty vine, with frothy white flowers, but it climbs all over everything, and I can imagine it would be a noxious weed if it began growing in the wrong spot. It doesn't seem to bother the black alders and dogwoods much, but it could smother any thing less vigorous. There are some pictures of it in the gallery someplace, I think.


I might also mention that there is quite a crop of spotted knapweed in my field. That is a noxious weed, and invasive, too, but I noticed this morning that the butterflies really love it. There was a monarch and also a little orange butterfly enjoying it in the side yard this morning. So what am I to do? The tansy seems to attract what I think are bees, but I can't tell for sure, since they are small and I couldn't see that well through the screen.


And for some strange reason, FrontPage isn't flagging spelling errors tonight. What next?


So that was my day, and I'm exhausted and my feet hurt, but I did what I needed to do. I only didn't get the only cold cereal I really like (something by Post called Cranberry-almond), and now I wonder if it's been discontinued, too? I seem to have that problem with things I like but don't eat very often. I will have to check at the food emporium when I'm in Detroit.


So that was a hard day away from the field, and I need to go to bed.


August 10

My excuse today was that Hughes Farm will be open tomorrow. Tomorrow I have to go to town, no matter what. Buster is running out of food and I am running out of orange juice. So it's time.


I had plans for the day, but as usual, nothing came of them. I did some reading and some knitting and I finally put the sticker on my car license. I figured 10 days was long enough to wait...and besides, I'd better have it on when I go to town, just in case.


It was a lovely day to just enjoy. The temperature spent most of the day in the upper 60s, although it did get just over 70 late in the afternoon. There was a light breeze from the northwest or north, and it was mostly clear until late in the afternoon, when some high clouds sort of dimmed the sun for a while. At sunset it cleared up, as it often does, although there was apparently a lot of haze out over the lake. Anyway, the moon and Jupiter and Venus all came out during twilight. The moon is off toward the south now and pretty soon it will be out of camera range. I didn't save a picture, because in the one where there was some light left, it was behind a tree branch. In the later ones, there are just some white spots in a black picture, and that isn't very interesting.


I notice that the hummingbird feeder is getting hit harder than it has been all summer. I guess the hummingbirds are now through with their nesting and the feeder is a convenient place to stop. I think I've read that they feed their chicks mostly small bugs, which may be why they weren't coming to the feeder for a while. I only hope they don't depart while I'm in Detroit.


I'm hoping to get a longer hanger at Wal-Mart tomorrow, and then I can hang one of the larger feeders where it will be harder for the squirrels and chipmunks to get into. Last night a desperate little chipmunk tried to get into the platform feeder, missed, and was so upset or scared or something that I think he fell out of the tree. I like the chipmunks, and I think they are cute, but they apparently decided that it was their mission in life to empty the really big feeder, and they pretty much did. Not many birds were using it. So I guess I will hang out the old one, but in a different spot, and save the really big one for winter.


So now the stars are shining in the field, and it's time to go.


August 9

When I went to the north end of the house last night, I opened all the windows in the bedroom, because it was very warm in there. The wind was blowing quite hard. I was sitting by the open window in the bathroom when I began to hear "rumble!" very far off in the distance, but fairly persistent. Rumble!


I did my thing and got into bed, but just about the time I turned out the light, the wind picked up until it was blowing the bedcovers around, so I had to get up and close the windows. When the lights were off, I could see lots and lots of lightening, mostly out over the lake. Then it occurred to me that the south window in the office was open, and if rain blew in there, it would hit the printer and the answering machine, not to mention all my bills. So I got up again and trundled down to the office. It was good that I did, because I had forgotten to turn off the floodlight again...and I'd forgotten to close the slider! Oops. Guess I was in a hurry to get to bed.


That taken care of, I settled down to watch the show, and it was a good one, although, curiously, with the windows closed, I couldn't hear any thunder at all. However, pretty soon the lightening was coming over the harbor and there was some thunder, and finally, rain. Sometime after that, I fell asleep.


I woke up during the night and it had cleared up enough for me to see Vega peeking through the tree branches. I was awake so late, because of the rain, that I turned over and went back to sleep when the boat left this morning, and I didn't get up till 10:00. I'm going to get 9 hours or more no matter what, at least most nights!


When I got up it was pouring rain again, and it was quite cool but sticky. It stayed that way all day long, although eventually the rain stopped, and around 7:00 there was a ray of sunshine. The temperature hung in at about 67 all day long, with nearly 100% humidity, so it wasn't a very nice day. For some reason, I thought it was still warm, so I started out in shorts, but even before I ate, I changed into my jeans and long-sleeved shirt.


The foliage outside never dried off, and when a breeze wafts into the window, the smell is absolutely heavenly. It always smells good here, when it smells like anything at all, but it is particularly strong and wonderful when the woods and fields are wet. Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!! I can get high just breathing.


Obviously, with the rain, and with the hour I got up, I didn't go to town. Tomorrow is supposed to be a nicer day, so I will try to go then. In fact, I didn't do very much, although I wasn't quite so groggy as i was yesterday. My main activity, which is ongoing, is to slowly get my email address changed from ameritech to pasty.com for those commercial emails I want to receive. This is a pain, by the way, but I guess it's no more onerous than changing my snail mail addresses. I haven't quite decided whether to renew the DSL in Detroit when it comes due, but just in case I don't, I want to begin quiescing that address. The problem is, in order to get a reasonable rate on the DSL, I have to renew it for a whole year, and I'm not sure it will be worth it next year. I don't get quite 56kb on my pastynet dial-up connection, but then I keep asking myself how much time I'll be spending there? We'll see.


So now it is dark and cloudy outside, and it is time to try to get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can get out of here at a reasonable hour tomorrow.


It's damp and cloudy and it smells good in the field tonight.


August 8

My goodness, what weather! Only today that wasn't a good thing. The temperature in Copper Harbor got up to 92, with, fortunately, a rather brisk southwest wind, and believe me, around 6:00 or 7:00 it wasn't pleasant here. When I am sitting doing nothing and sweat is dripping down my forehead, it's hot. Fortunately, right after that, as the sun got low, it began cool off, and it's now in the middle 70s, and the only problems are that there isn't much wind at all and it's quite warm in the house. When the breeze blows the cool air in, it's fine. Up, wind!


It didn't help that I felt groggy and logy all day. I got up around 9:00, only because I'd been having a potty dream (amongst other strange ones), and I didn't want to wet the bed. I should have gone back to sleep. However, it was getting warmish in the bedroom, so I stayed up.


After fiddling around for a while, I actually did something today! I got my ledger up to date, and it was a good thing I did. I had written 264 instead of 284 for one bill, and so I thought I had $20 more than I had, which meant I had to erase all the balances in my checkbook from the first week of July onward and recalculate. I hate it when I do that! And besides, I stared at everything for fifteen minutes before I realized what I'd done. Oh, well, it's corrected now and everything is up to date.


Actually, on the financial front, the day started out pretty good. I had called the people who do the gardening on Champine, because they had charged me for 128 ounces of fungicide (at $2.50 an ounce!) and that just didn't seem right to me. So this morning, when the guy in charge of the gardeners called (he had been up here last week!), he assured me that they had only used one ounce of fungicide, diluted in a gallon of water, and I did not in fact owe them $320 for fungicide! That relieved my mind, let me tell you!


So then I called the hospital to ask if they had billed me twice, and while I had to wait a while, the answer to that was, yes, my payment and their bill crossed in the mail.


All of that was nice news, since taxes on Champine are due this month, and I was beginning to wonder where the money was going to come from. I haven't analyzed the second quarter yet, but I do seem to have been spending more than I should have. Oh, well, that's the usual case.


Anyway, having the ledger updated makes me feel more comfortable. 


Late in the afternoon, when it was hot, I worked on the new bracelet for a while, but the light late in the day isn't the best to be working on something with copper and copper lined crystal beads. It's hard to tell them apart in some lights, although the result looks just fine.


Buster has been bugging me lately. He keeps coming around an meowing and i can't figure out what he wants. Last night, he had settled down in bed very nicely, when he heard something out on the porch, tromped over me, and harped on the screen. So I got up, put on my glasses and got a flashlight. He was crouched in the middle of the porch like there was something really exciting outside, but there wasn't a thing there. I believe in his eyes and ears, but sometimes I think it's all in his head!


I had the rest of my duck breast for dinner (it warms up just fine, thank you), and of course Buster wanted some. He did a good job on what I gave him, plus the rest of the gravy on the plate. He is getting terribly spoiled, but he is such a little skinny thing that I like to see him eat, and if he doesn't like it very well, he just won't eat. Period.


After the sun set, the little crescent moon was hanging in the sky, and the camera got a really good picture of it.  Jupiter is supposed to be somewhere in the vicinity, but it isn't as bright as Venus, so it isn't visible.


As you can see, there were a few clouds in the sky, and there were cirrus clouds for much of the afternoon. They are predicting cooler temps and maybe some rain for tomorrow. I will have to see how I sleep tonight and how things look in the morning. I do have to go to town this week, but it doesn't have to be tomorrow. Wednesday or Thursday will do just as well.


I had gone to the post office and stopped at the store to get some eggs just as our fire tanker truck screamed out onto US-41. Since Jeff is (I think) the fire chief, although he didn't go with the truck (he followed it), Kelly knew all about it. It seems there was a 5000 acre brush fire down by Rice Lake, and Copper Harbor's was the eighth fire department to be called. The rumor was that they were evacuating Big Traverse and that area. With the woods and fields as dry as they are, it didn't surprise me much. Besides, there is a guy who owns property down there who, a couple of years ago, started a conflagration early in the year trying to prepare the bogs for his blueberry bushes...in other words, there are some real idiots around. It's good, from our point of view, that the wind was from the southwest, which means it would blow the fire out into Keweenaw Bay. A south wind and the entire peninsula would have been in danger.


By the way, the guy who started that fire a couple of years ago had to pay restitution to the fire departments who responded. If he did it again, I could see the possibility of jail time, maybe? Some people have no judgment at all in those things. Only remember, I'm just guessing. Tomorrow's paper should tell the tale.


I do feel for all those guys who had to fight the fire. Think of them, in this hot weather, in their protective suits, hauling hoses around and digging trenches! I have to say that I have the utmost respect for volunteer fire fighters. They don't get paid - it's pure community spirit that makes them volunteer, and every so often they get into a really ugly situation. And we who live in the boondocks would be in sad shape altogether if they didn't volunteer. 


which is why I will probably widen my driveway if they tell me I have to. I certainly hope never to have a fire of any kind, but if I do, I want to make it easy for them to get into my property. That came up at the annual meeting, by the way, so I'm waiting for my letter. I like the entrance to my driveway the way it is, but I do admit it would be hard for a really large fire truck to get in.


So that's what's going on in the field, and I hope it's cooled off enough to sleep!


August 7

My goodness, what weather! It could hardly be any better. it was apparently fairly warm overnight, although the reported 77 for most of the night was warmer than it was here, and there was a brisk wind blowing, so it was a wonderful night to sleep, and I did.


The temperature has actually been falling very slowly all day, until now it's about 70. The wind was brisk, and it reached a high of over 20 mph around 3:00, but then it began to fall off. When I went to dinner, it was still brisk, but it fell off abruptly to nothing around 6:30, and it has been calm and clear all evening. In spite of the weather forecast, the wind was out of the northwest all day long, although just now it seems to be shifting around to the north or maybe even northeast. The dew point, which was very low all day long, is now rising, unfortunately, and it's getting humid again. But still, it was a perfectly gorgeous day.


I actually didn't do much with it. I put my boxes of beads on a dolly, which will be useful, and I beaded a little bit. After dinner, I sat in the ugly chair and knitted and read until I couldn't see the yarn in front of me. As twilight deepened, all of a sudden there was a teensy crescent moon in the west, followed a while later by Venus. The camera did manage to catch it, although the picture isn't very good. Not enough pixels, I'm afraid. It was a very pretty sight, especially a bit earlier when the sky was still a bit blue. Unfortunately, the sky was bright enough that it overpowered the moon in the earlier camera shot. We should be able to see some moonsets in the camera starting this month and for the next two. Saves me having to get up at some ungodly hour of the morning.


I must report that Harbor Haus was as busy tonight as any Sunday I've seen all summer, with lots of people waiting in line. I'm glad to see it. I've been eating at 6:00 this summer, which tends to be a bit less busy than later. Besides, I get to see the isle Royal Queen come in.  I also got to see at least one of Chris and Ron's sons and either a friend or his brother snorkeling in wet suits. One of them was pretty good at doing backward summersaults off the pier railing, but the other one missed it so badly that everyone in the restaurant who saw him chuckled a bit when he did a perfect backward belly-flop. I guess with the wet suit it wouldn't sting quite so much. So we were entertained as well as fed.


And that is about all I know. I think tonight will be almost as good a sleeping night as last night was. The breeze coming in the east windows feels nice and cool. So far, the forecasts of hot and humid weather haven't been true for Copper Harbor, and I certainly hope the same is true for tomorrow. After that it may cool off a bit, and I really hope that's true, since I have to go to town, probably Tuesday.


It's a lovely, starry night in the field tonight.


August 6

It's early, but after last night, I need that. I didn't fall into bed until after 2:00, for some reason, and I got up shortly after the boat left this morning, so I wouldn't have gotten a lot of sleep if I'd slept, but I didn't do very well until after 6:00. Not enough.


However, I got to the Norland Association annual meeting, and it was just as well that I went. There were a lot of people there, for once, and it was not too contentious, considering. Nobody felt one way or another about keeping the road open, so the four of us who are committed to it are going full speed ahead. It seems that the fellow who bought Gus Koerschen's barn keeps a tractor with a snow blower on it, and he has offered to let us use it to blow out the road, so that's the plan. The two men involved full time will do most of the blowing, and I think they will probably be keeping my driveway open, too. So that is all good news, and it's as settled as it can be until the snow flies.


My only problem was that the acoustics in the Copper Harbor Community Building aren't very good at all, with lots of reverberation, and I had a hard time hearing. It was a variety of the same problem I have in places with lots of people. However, I think I got all the important stuff.


It was good to meet some of my newer neighbors. Some of them, at least, seem to be a lot more laid back than some of the older ones were, which is a good thing altogether, in my view.


So I got home around 1:00, and spent the rest of the afternoon beading, finishing Nancy's second bracelet. I've now started another using the blue background, but this one will have copper and copper lined crystal beads in the pattern. I like that combination, and I think it will be pretty.


I need to report that the two of us Norlanders and one other guy who caravanned into town had a heck of a time getting there. The Copper Man Triathlon started at 9:00 this morning, and there were cars parked on both sides of the road almost all the way from the fort entrance to the 30 mph sign going into Copper Harbor. I think in past years I've stayed off the road on the morning of the Triathlon, but people who have been out said the crowd was much bigger this year. Sam Raymond organizes that, and he has done a wonderful job. It makes a nice amount of money for the town and gets it some good publicity as well. Seeing all those well-conditioned people running and swimming and biking made me tired. It was finishing up when I came back, but there were still a lot of people around, including a lot walking on the road, which is dangerous. That's what the nicely groomed trail back in the woods is for, people!


It was a beautiful day. There were high cirrus clouds in the sky, with lots of mare's tails, but the temperature spent the night around 68 and it got just over 80 in the afternoon. However, the dew point was down around 50, and there was a nice breeze for most of the day, so it was really quite comfortable, so long as you weren't in the sun and you weren't running and biking. It's now down to around 73, and it's a truly beautiful evening, with a nice red sunset and just enough high clouds to make it interesting.


In addition to the Triathlon, the encampment is still going on at Fort Wilkins, and they have been shooting off the cannons again. Fortunately, that doesn't bother Buster like it did DC. When I went by the old gate to the fort this morning, there were two sentries standing at it in Civil-War era uniforms and guns with bayonets. Kind of cool to see them. Some year, I'd like to take in at least part of that encampment. Since the Fort was populated by families, I presume there are women involved, too, in 1860s dress, and maybe even kids. I'm not into that myself, but it might be fun to see.


So it's been a really busy weekend, and it's not over yet.


On the weather front, it has been interesting to me to watch the moderating influence the big lake has on our weather. Not only has it not been nearly so warm here as it is down in Houghton, the nights haven't been nearly so cool. It was down into the 50s there this morning, a good 10 cooler than here, and it got warmer this afternoon, too. I like living by the big lake.


I think I saw the baby hummingbird today. It still looks rather fuzzy, but it has learned how to drink nectar. And mom and dad hummingbird are preparing for the next brood, chasing each other around and flying almost touching, around in spirals, straight up and straight down. I'd seen the males' courtship dance before, but I hadn't ever seen this, I don't think. Now I know what that guy was doing who was flying in tight circles under the feeder last week, while mom was eating. She chased him away then, because she still had chicks in the nest (or a chick, I guess), but now that she's free, they've been dancing together all afternoon.


I also found a just-fledged goldfinch sitting on the side of the platform feeder looking rather confused this afternoon, so that is over with, too, and the finches are coming back to the feeder. For the past week or two, I've hardly seen any, and I suppose they just found other sources of food, since my feeders aren't out early in the morning. I don't think the goldfinches have more than one brood, so they'll just be hanging around and enjoying life until it's time to migrate, which I think is in early September. If they go while I'm in Detroit, I'll never forgive Dr. Lehman.


So that is all I have to report, and it's time to drag myself up to the north end and crash. I doubt I'll have much trouble sleeping tonight.


August 5

It's getting late, and I've had too much JD, but I'll try to get this written. I'm supposed to get up in time for a 10:00 meeting, and that's not easy. We'll see.


I didn't actually sleep as well as I'd hoped last night. I keep forgetting that the forecast for nighttime temperatures in the mid-50s doesn't apply here on the shores of Mother Superior. It never got below the mid 60s, and I had closed up the house pretty much, so it got warm in the bedroom.


For a good portion of the night, I had a bed companion, although he didn't cause me much problem, except when I wanted to get up.  It didn't even bother him too much when I started thrashing around.


Of course, as usual, I got my best sleep between 6:00 and 10:00 this morning, but that didn't bother Buster. He just settled down and slept with me.


It was a really beautiful day, clear and sunny, with a brisk northwest breeze for most of the day, although not so strong as yesterday. There weren't any whitecaps on the harbor today. The temperature, which was steady in the upper 60s all night and until about noon, got up to about 75 this afternoon. The dew point was very low, so it was a lovely day altogether. 


I celebrated by not doing anything. I did pay a few bills, and I went to the post office, but otherwise, I mostly surfed the internet and played games. Late in the evening I sat in the ugly chair and read and knitted.  I have a little light called the "Mighty Bright Craft Light" , so when it got dark, I decided to see if it would work to read by, and even though it doesn't seem very bright, it worked fine. Even better, it didn't register in the camera, which was my idea when I got it. This one is supposed to be a "daylight" light, so I should be able to bead by it, too.


Sunset was actually very pretty, with a few clouds in the northwest turning the horizon very red. I watched Venus set into the clouds, and I could see Jupiter in the southwest. Very pretty indeed.


I stopped at the general store to get milk and pancake mix, and I also got some pretty good salads (potato, cabbage and macaroni), and I snacked on those. As a result, I didn't feel like eating out, and it was 10:00 before I threw a a steak in the broiler. It always seems like overkill to heat up the big oven for a steak that takes 8 minutes total to cook, but I don't think it would work in the toaster oven. It was a nice little steak I got last year (at full price - I usually try to get my steak on sale), and it was nice and tender, and since I started broiling it when it was frozen solid, it wasn't overcooked.


Poor Buster thought he wanted the juice, but he has been having tummy problems (he almost barfed on the desk this morning), and he simply can't tolerate beef, so I wouldn't give him any. He was most disappointed. Oh, well.


Oh, yes, I'm forgetting. i had turned around to watch the harbor when I saw a strange-looking hummingbird perched on the deck railing. When a female hummingbird came to eat, the strange one kept going after her until she flew away. When I looked at it with the binoculars, (yes, I have a pair of 7x35 binoculars that will focus down that close), it looked all fuzzy all over - a newly fledged baby! It can fly just fine, but it hasn't figured out eating yet, and it was bugging its mama to death for something to eat. Not only is it fuzzy, it looks rather large, so I think it has a store of fat to keep it going until it gets the hang of eating by itself. At one point, it and its mama went spiraling up into the air over the feeder, facing each other and flying straight up. I wonder if the guy who invented the helicopter had spent time watching hummingbirds? Anyway, it was an interesting example of tough love. Mom can't continue to feed it, because if she does, it will never learn to eat on its own. It's so much easier to let mom do it! I'll be watching to see how it does over the next few days.


So that is all I know, and if I'm supposed to get to the meeting at 10:00, I'd better get up to the north end pretty quick!


August 4

I'm starting this early tonight, because I think it's going to be a good night to sleep, and I think I may get an early start on it.


I didn't sleep well again last night. It was windy and warm, and I had a hard time getting the temperature right. I eventually had to close most of the windows in the bedroom because the wind was blowing right on my back, but even that didn't help much. Besides, Buster kept coming in and shouting at me. I don't think he likes wind. Anyway, I finally got to sleep, but I awoke abruptly about 8:30 to find it was raining and blowing hard, and it had cooled off dramatically, so I took a walk, then got under the comforter and slept very nicely until about 10:00. That helped.


When I got up, it was cool - mid 60s - and very windy. The wind had shifted around to the northwest (my favorite directon), and he sky was clear, but the humidity was close to 100%. There was still water from the rain on the windows and the deck, and it really wasn't very comfortable.  However, the dew point has been dropping all day, and while the temperature did get into the 70s, the wind has been in the 18-30 mph range all day long. That made for some pretty whitecaps on the blue harbor, but I've had all the front windows and doors shut all day long. 


What a lovely relief! This was a really pretty day, with temperatures just the way I like them, although I confess I don't like the wind very much either. It certainly was nice to have it cool enough to eat a good breakfast and dinner. What I really enjoy is the low humidity. I could actually have done something without dripping.


Needless to say, I didn't. I need a good solid night's sleep before I'll be able to do that. I did a little beading and read one of the magazines I've gotten recently, and that's about all. And I don't expect to be up very long tonight.


Exactly what the weather will be like for the next few days depends somewhat on who you read, but I think it's going to be pleasant and not humid into next week. I do hope so, because I've procrastinated long enough, and I need to go to town next week.


It was clear and pretty all day, but now a few clouds have appeared from the west. I think they will probably dissipate around sunset, and there should be stars tonight.


I must say it certainly is a relief. I suppose we will have some more hot and humid weather through the month, although I certainly hope not. We've already had enough of that this summer. 


Buster had come in and sat down on my lap in the bathroom this morning when he abruptly jumped off my lap and ran off. I heard thumping down the deck, and when I got to the door, I saw two black labs running down the beach. I have to say that annoys me. Dogs are supposed to be kept leashed around here, and I particularly don't like it when they come up on my deck. They are big enough that they could easily get through the screens if they wanted to. However, I guess all of us follow the deed restrictions only when we feel like it, and fortunately things like that only tend to happen in August.


And that's about all I have to report. It was a quiet and comfortable day, and I'm tired.


August 3

I didn't sleep quite so well last night, even though I started earlier. First, about the time I was going to step into the shower, Buster came prancing into the bathroom, proud as punch, to show me his mouse, which he dropped. After chasing it around for a while, I gave up on it and did my thing and went to bed. However, he recovered it sometime later, and apparently he took it into the bathroom again, because one of my slippers, which live under a small stand in the corner, was in the middle of the floor this morning. I don't know the ultimate fate of the mouse, because I didn't find any bodies. Anyway, Buster slept all day, in preparation for tonight...


It was a good day to do that. The temperature never got below the mid-70s last night, which wasn't my problem, but the dew point has been steady at 68 for the past 24 hours, which means it's been more than just damp. By the time I got up this morning, the temperature was over 80, and it was so foggy down the harbor it was hard to see the mountain. It's been like that all day, as well as being rather cloudy. Probably that was just as well. The temperature got up to 85 (officially) before it abruptly dropped back to the mid-70s. Radar showed some light showers that went north of us, and I guess that's what cooled it off. It was pretty nasty there for a while. Now everything just feels wet.


It is supposed to cool off tomorrow, and be less humid as well, but we shall see. If it is, I might take a fast trip to town, although I can get what I really need at the general store. It would be nice just to sit around and enjoy some reasonably cool, reasonably dry weather for a change.


I was thinking yesterday that the last really hot summer we had was 2001, and I didn't tolerate that well at all, but of course, I was still recovering from the stem cell transplant, and it's a lot harder to tolerate hot weather when one is sick. This summer has been at least as hot, I think, but I seem to be bearing up better.


I didn't do a lot, though. I beaded some, and I moved a few boxes around and finally located the calendar I stand on top of the monitor, and I hauled out a bag full of newspapers and magazines, at least as far as the breezeway. I was glad I hadn't decided to go to the compactor when the trash truck from the fort pulled out in front of me (and a very slow neighbor!) as I was going to the post office. It was so full, I doubt there would have been room for my trash afterwards. The campgrounds are evidently full.


Tonight Debbie called, and that was nice, so I sat in the ugly chair and knitted while we talked. It's been a hot summer in Detroit, too.


Late this afternoon, I heard something that sounded like a just-fledged bird, but I had the radio on, and by the time I turned it off, whatever it was had gone away. This is the season.


So now it is getting dark, earlier even than usual because it's so cloudy. Radar shows there are some thunderstorms in Minnesota, west of Duluth, but it's debatable whether they'll get here, since the front coming through seems to be moving northwest to southeast. I'm debating shutting windows before I go to bed, but except for the great room (yup, I finally broke down and opened the front windows this morning!), I think I'll take my chances.


It's cloudy and humid in the field tonight.


August 2

I must say the world looks brighter after a good night's sleep. I didn't get up this morning until it started to get hot, but maybe part of that was that Buster curled up next to me and took his morning siesta there. He wasn't up against me, but he was there.


It was a hazy, humid morning, and it was already over 80 when I got to the office, although how hot it actually got today depended upon where you were. The NWS station reported 86, but it was over 90 in the tree. That was mostly because there was no wind at all for most of the day. I was making my own wind with the fan, and I was actually not very uncomfortable until I ate a hot meal, then I started to sweat. By that time, after 8:00, the wind was picking up, and now it's pretty nice, if damp.


Again there are thunderstorms south and west of us, and I heard one distant boom, but it doesn't look like they are going to make it here. In fact, they aren't moving much at all, and they've been stalled over Ontonagon for quite some time. There is a small patch of rain west of Isle Royal, but that seems like it will miss us to the north.


We need the rain, but I almost hope we don't get it, because the house is almost completely opened up, and I really don't like having to rush around slamming windows closed. With the wind, however, it will probably be comfortable in the bedroom again tonight, and that's good.


What I didn't like last night, and I hate most about this very humid weather, is that my towels felt damp before I even used them, and of course they don't absorb as well, and I won't be surprised if they are still damp tonight. And no, I will not take fresh towels every day! I might resort to putting them in the dryer, though.


I did get the dishwasher unloaded today, and I finished the bracelet I've been working on, the copper and silver one with the blue background. Since I had those beads out, I started another one in the same colors, but this one will be for Nancy, and it's about an inch shorter than the others. However, with the storms clouding up the skies, it got dark rather early, so I didn't get far on that one. I sat in the ugly chair and knitted while I cooled down from dinner, but it might be nice to get to bed a tad earlier tonight, so I started this.


It was actually a good day to bead. That doesn't take enough effort that it would cause me to sweat, so long as I keep my legs out of the kneehole of the desk. I didn't get to the post office, but I thought I might. I decided, after observing the people in various restaurants during this hot weather, that since nobody else seems to care how they look, I don't either, so I put on shorts and flip-flops (nice ones). These are walking-short length, a bit longer than my jean shorts, but still my ugly legs and flipper feet are all hanging out there...not to mention my fat knees. But like I say, it doesn't seem to bother anybody else to look like that, so I guess I might as well fit in. It sure is more comfortable.


I had a nice conversation with my neighbor Ron, and while I was talking to him, a pair of loons surfaced around a hundred yards off the beach, fishing. That is the first time I've seen loons at this end of the harbor in a couple of years, and I was very happy to see them. They didn't stay long, but it was nice to know they're there. I'd heard them earlier in the summer, but it's been a while since I've seen one.


Speaking of hearing things, when I went out to bring in the feeders last night, there were a couple of crickets singing over toward my southern neighbor's yard. I couldn't believe there weren't crickets around here, but I guess they need warmer temperatures than we've had for the past couple of summers. Or else, I just had the house shut up and never heard them. What I haven't seen for several years are lightening bugs. The first couple of years I was here, I would see them from the bathroom in the side yard, and I would have thought this was a good year for them, but I haven't seen any so far. Maybe later this month. They are neat, and they remind me of the years right after we moved into my house in Grosse Pointe, when there was a lot of undeveloped land around us, and we had lightening bugs almost every summer. As the area continued to build up, they disappeared, and that was a shame.


So high summer is here in the field. Tomorrow is supposed to be, if anything, hotter, but then a front is scheduled to come through and bring the temperature down to a reasonable level again. If it does, I may go to town Thursday. I have a little list, and Buster is getting sort of low on food. However, we can last until next week, if necessary.


 So that was another nice, quiet day in the field, and maybe I can get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight?


August 1

Well, another month is history.


I had to pay for my nice dinner last night. Around 3:00 I woke up with a rather shaky tummy, and when I turned over rather quickly, I got dizzy. So I was up frequently and moving slowly, until I finally took some Rolaids, and then I was able to sleep a while, at least. I still felt rather shaky when I got up this morning, and I still do, but there haven't been any more dizzy spells. Very strange.


I actually was awakened by the phone. My friend Lesley called to see if I would do lunch, which of course I would, so instead of breakfast, I had Nachos at 2:00. Evidently, my tummy is back in order, even if my head isn't. We had a nice chat. 


When we came out of Mariner it was getting rather warm, and it was very warm here, because there was no wind at all. The temperature apparently got into the low 80s, but the dew point was very high, and there was no wind, which made it sticky and uncomfortable. My feet were particularly warm. So I came home and took off practically everything, opened up the house a bit at a time, turned on the fans, and slowly began to cool down. As it got dark, the breeze sprang up a bit and it's just beautiful out, although it's still pretty humid.


It was warm in here, so I sat around. I tried to sit in the ugly chair, but that was between 4:00 and 5:00, and the sun is beating in the slider at that time, and I was coming to a slow boil, so I moved back to the desk chair and actually got some beading done. I need to get those bracelets to Peggy so she has them for the August traffic. Grunt.


About the time it was getting too dark to bead, I decided I could eat the rest of my fish from last night, and of course I had to give Buster some. He had been hungry earlier, but he didn't like what I gave him, so he was most interested in my fish, and he actually ate quite a bit. I certainly can't say much about his taste in food.


Then it occurred to me that this is the beginning of a new month, which means moving the journal to a new file, so I did that, and I also took the time to process it into Microsoft Word, minus the pictures, so that part is done. I can't remember if I did the Publisher bit with the stuff I processed at the beginning of July, so I'll check that tomorrow. It takes some time, because I usually read through it to see what errors Word has come up with and correct the ones that are really wrong. That's mostly two spaces instead of one and periods instead of commas. I've been writing this thing so late that I have a hard time telling the difference, and FrontPage doesn't do extensive enough grammar checks to find the wrong ones. I suppose the thing to do would be to learn how to create these pages using Word, but I'm getting lazy. This works, after a fashion. There is also the problem of the lower case "I". FrontPage flags it with a teensy red underline that is hard to see, whereas in Word, it's underlined in green, and that's easier to see. Oh, well. No one has yet written me to complain about my spelling and grammar.


So now I think everything is ready to go, and the idea of a nice tepid shower is beginning to grow on me.


By the way, to follow up on last night, the rain never did come anywhere near here, although someplace south of Ontonagon got over an inch. It was clear and pretty all night long. When I was up just at the beginning of morning twilight, I could tell that it seemed cloudy, but that was gone by the time I got up. The rest of the day was nearly clear, with a high, hazy layer of clouds. It cleared up after sunset, but there was enough haze that Venus isn't visible. Jupiter is in the southwest sky, and I can see that.


Now the temperature is dropping nicely, and I do need to go to bed.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM