A View From the Field








September, 2005

September 30

Good grief, September is over already!


I got a rather early start this  morning - about 8:30 - because I was dreaming about stringing a necklace and it was so pretty I wanted to know if I could do it for real. The answer, unfortunately, is no. They don't make large cloisonné flat oval and flat diamonds in pink. They don't make diamond shapes at all. So my pretty pink cloisonné and rose quartz necklace will have to remain a dream. It's probably just as well, since pink isn't a really useful color except in the summer and I'd probably not be able to get a good price for it. It was fun to dream about, though. I guess I'm thinking about stringing beads.


I spent some time reading one of the magazines that has piled up, but then I gritted my teeth and attacked the piles. I still have a foot-high pile of current catalogs (and more are coming in every day!), but I put most of the summer's magazines in a file box for storage, or threw them out, along with a huge pile of catalogs. Whew! The counters aren't clean, by any means, but they're much better, and Buster will be able to find a bigger place to sleep.


There are now four orange bags in the house, because I didn't finish sorting until late. However, Monday is another day, and eventually I'll get everything together and off to the dump, and then I can start over again. The bag of catalogs is pretty heavy, and I suppose I should get some small bags to put the next batch in. Orange trash bags come in three sizes - just at tad bigger than a large kitchen garbage bag, the size of a normal trash bag, and humungous. I don't think they sell many of the humongous ones, which are very hard to handle when full. I've always used the medium bags, because they fit my bag holder and they hold a reasonable amount, but they can get pretty heavy when full of paper.


There is still quite a bit of stuff on the floor in the office, but maybe I can get that organized tomorrow, and someday - someday! - I'm going to get all the empty boxes down to the basement. I promise. They are beginning to really bug me, but other things have been more important. 


Gee, then my house may begin to look like a house rather than a warehouse.


In between that, I had to fax things to two people (first times I've used the fax in four years, I think), and I had a conversation with GE about my refrigerator door. And no, they will not agree to replace it with one without the snack center, since that changes the model. Oh, dear. I only got this one because it has the sensor panel, which has been most useful when the power fails, but that snack center is useless and a big waste of space. It would be so simple to just change the door on the refrigerator part.


The weather wasn't too interesting. When I got up, there were two layers of cirrus clouds going in different directions, which looked hopeful, but it ended up cloudy until just before sunset. The temperature, which got down to almost 50º last night, hovered around 60º all day long, not nearly so warm as they were predicting. There wasn't much wind, so it was pleasant outside. The wind is rising now, and there is supposed to be partial clearing overnight. There were a few stars for a while last night, but not a lot. Sunset was rather nice, but not good enough to keep.


So I actually accomplished something today, and now I can go and dream about jewelry again. And September is over.


September 29

What a nice night to sleep! With the lake singing in the background and the wind blowing through the trees, it was lovely. It was actually clear or partly clear for most of the night - several times I woke up to see stars. The temperature got down into the upper 40s, and about 5:30 I closed the window, since it was getting rather cool in the bedroom and the temperature was programmed to go up around 6:00. 


When I got up, around 9:30, I think, there were puffy white clouds in the sky, but not long afterwards it started to cloud up, and the afternoon was more or less cloudy.


The temperature eventually got up to around 55º. The weather forecasts kept saying the wind would be from the northwest, but it didn't begin to shift until about 11;00, and by that time it was beginning to die down.  The temperature started down, but curiously, it is now 56º, warmer than it has been all day. Of course, the wind is now from the southwest, which would tend to make it warmer. I don't think it's going to get nearly as cool as they're predicting tonight, and tomorrow it's supposed to warm up nicely.


I unloaded the dishwasher, but my thought about sorting catalogs got sidetracked when I realized I needed to pay some bills, and I also had a bank statement to balance. That was a fiasco! It seems sometime back in August, I forgot to enter a rather large check in the register, which completely screwed everything up and resulted in my overdraft protection kicking in. That statement was in the mail today, so finally, after much erasing and recalculating, I was able to get things balanced. Wow! I occasionally do forget to enter a check, but usually I catch it pretty fast, and it's not usually for quite so much. My only excuse is that it was right before I went south, and I had other things on my mind, but I really must try to be more careful. I think things are back in order now.


That took most of the afternoon. I also broke down my last two Mastercard bills to try to see where that money went, and discovered that my trip to Detroit cost about $250 in car bills...more then twice what the trip before that did. Rather sad, I think. I don't actually spend much for gas when I'm here, because, of course, I like it here too much to go gallivanting around. I've been conserving this year, I guess, by only going to the post office a couple of times a week and only going to Houghton once every three weeks or less. Buster doesn't like the word "go" and i guess I'm getting to agree with him.


So that was the day, Buster is (or was until I looked at him) asleep all curled up with his tail over his nose, and that looks like a good plan to me...except for the tail.


September 28

It's early, but there isn't much else to do.


It was a dark night last night. I can tell when it's really dark, because I can't see the window seat when the lights are out. However, the temperature hung steady at around 63º all night long and the winds were light. Then right around 9:00, when I got up, the wind picked up dramatically and the temperature began its slide, 10º in about 2 hours - not the fastest, but certainly steady.


By the time I got to the office, the temperature was below 60º and the wind was a steady 25 mph out of the north. The temperature steadied out about 52º - the lake is still pretty warm - and the wind gusts were getting up into the mid 30s at least. The lake has been howling most wonderfully all day long, and the waves have been breaking on the south shore of Copper Harbor very nicely. There is one shallow spot about half a mile or so out (I'm not that good at judging long distances) where there have been occasional breakers. It was a dark and dismal day, and it started raining around 10:00. The NWS says it stopped around 1:00, but I don't think so. It was dripping on toward 3:00, which is why I didn't go to the post office.


For some unknown reason I was in a cleaning mood today, so first I did the dishes and cleaned up the counters in the kitchen, then late in the day, while I was talking to Debbie, I straightened up the piles on my desk, so that now I can pretty much see what's there. In between, I finished sorting the bag of beads I was working on and put all that away. I had some thoughts of starting a larger bead necklace, but I felt the need to straighten the desk first. Tomorrow, maybe.


However, if the mood is still upon me, I have piles of piles of magazines and catalogs that need to be sorted, straightened and put away. Poor Buster is really hemmed in when he sleeps under the east windows.


I cooked tonight. I had taken a package of chicken breasts out of the freezer yesterday but didn't feel like cooking, so I had to do something with them tonight. Fortunately, nothing that uses chicken takes long to cook, so it wasn't a big deal. I probably messed up my nice clean stove, and now I have pans to wash, but it tasted good for a change.


The gale warnings are still out for the lake until tomorrow night, so this is our equinoctial gale, only about a week late.


One of the many reasons I love a good fall gale is that you never know what birds will turn up at the feeders. Mostly it was the usual suspects today - goldfinches, blue jays, chickadees and nuthatches - but there were a couple of juncos and a few sparrows, including a new one that must have been blown off course by the wind. I can now add a Harris's sparrow to my life list. It is unmistakable - one of the very few sparrows with a black throat and crown, and also very large - but they nest up in the northwestern provinces of Canada and winter down on the gulf coast, so this guy is a tad east of his usual migration route.


I think I mentioned a while back that when we pulled the ethernet cable out of the window, I found that the upper light had dropped down a quarter inch or so and I couldn't lock the window. It's been whistling in the wind ever since, reminding me that I have to do something about it, but this afternoon the strong wind, even though it is from the north, was making it downright chilly and drafty in here. So I finally decided I had to do something. I had hoped that if I stood on a stool, I could push it closed, but the angle is all wrong, with 24" counters in front of the window, so finally, I took one of Buster's throws to kneel on and climbed up on the counter. I can't tell you what that does to my arthritic knees, even with padding! However, that gave me the purchase I needed, and I managed to get the window closed and locked. It is much more comfortable in here now. My knees still hurt.


At sunset, there were some low clouds that were gray on the top and bloody red on the bottom, and it really looked like the temperature should be hovering just over freezing...but not yet. I wouldn't say 52º with 25 mph winds is exactly balmy, but it's not frigid, either. They seem to indicate this is supposed to go on for another day and a half or so, so it should be fun.


I have only been getting about 8 hours' sleep, less wakeful periods, for the past couple of nights, so I think I will try to get to bed earlier tonight and sleep longer. If past history is any indicator, the roar of the lake and the wind in the trees should be all the lullaby I need for a good night's sleep.


Mother Superior is singing loudly tonight.


September 27

It was another good night to sleep, and I did, although I did have some dreams, including one about Nancy. When I woke up around 9:00, it was so beautiful that I got up, even though I could have slept some more.


There weren't any more mice, which probably didn't please Buster, but it certainly pleased me.


The temperature overnight got down to about 50º, and with all the beautiful sunshine, it got up to 70º for a while today. There was a wind last night, in the 10-20 mph range, and it kicked up a bit today, too, around noon, but that wasn't bothersome and it died down later. It was so warm that I opened the porch, and Buster was pleased by that.


I wasn't too pleased, when I discovered that there were dozens of flies out there. I managed to kill a few and I put out a strip of fly paper, but I don't think that did much good. I am certain that those flies have been in here since the fall of 2000, when they were working with the windows open before the screens were up. I believe they lay their eggs in here for several generations each winter, then the last batch lays over until the next September. They can be most bothersome, but short of vacating the place and fumigating, I don't know how to get rid of them. It's just another interesting side effect of northwoods living. Everybody has them to a greater or lesser degree.


So I fiddled around again and watched the sky go by. I finished the bag of beads I was working on, then started to look at some different ones that are more interesting. These have a selection of triangle and cube beads as well as some 14º (that's just how they refer to them - 14º are tiny, about 1mm wide). The trouble with that mixture is that the tiny ones get into the holes in the triangles and cubes and need to be pushed out, which can be easy or impossible depending upon how they have gotten wedged in. I broke a bunch of tiny ones and one triangle (a unique color that I really liked, of course). I'm working on them 100 grams at a time, and now I am removing all the orange opaque beads, of which there seem to be more than necessary. That's what happens when you buy mixtures. There are also some really pretty ones.


On toward late afternoon, it began to cloud up, and there wasn't much in the way of a sunset tonight. I guess there may be some rain overnight, and tomorrow is supposed to be very windy with falling temperatures, and they keep insisting that there may be a few flakes in with the rain tomorrow night and Thursday. We'll see about that. Anyway, our equinoctial storm is just coming a week late. Then it's supposed to get warm and nice again. Fall weather is so interesting around here.


The summer was so nice, overall, that I am most reluctant to let go of the warm weather, and it's nice to know there will probably be some more.


So now it's getting late, and it's time to try this sleep thing again.


September 26

Last night was a very good night to sleep, and I did. I opened the side window in the window seat just a bit, and that was enough to keep the temperature comfortable.  


One reason it was good sleeping weather was that it rained lightly from about 1:00 until around 5:00, and the light pattering was good to sleep to. The outside temperature dipped to around 52º during that time, which was also a help. 


Around 6:30, Buster got a mouse. He took it into the bathroom for a while then went off with it, so I got up. When he heard me, he was going to bring it back, but I chased him away. I don't know if that frustrated him or he is just getting careless, but he pretty much mangled it right after that, and I found the dead thing in pieces on the floor when I came into the the kitchen this morning. Yuck.


I hate to see the dead ones - and deal with them - but I guess it's better that he kill them than leave them alive to reproduce. It's not a nice situation.


Anyway, I got up fairly early - around 9:00 - because by that time it was turning into a beautiful day. There were still a few clouds in a blue sky, but they were fair-weather clouds, and they went away by noon, leaving a perfect afternoon. The temperature hung in at right around 60º, and the wind kicked up some whitecaps on the harbor for a while, but it was a really pretty day.


I enjoyed it, in between sorting beads. I'm nearly done with that batch, and I don't know what I will do afterwards. We'll see.


One curious thing. I was watching, late in the afternoon, when a male goldfinch was stuffing stuff into the gullet of a fluttering baby who was as big as he was. Gosh, I thought even the goldfinches had finished nesting by this time! Maybe that was just an unusually late one. It's always fun to watch that. It's also fun to watch when dad goes off to eat himself and leaves the fledgling looking on in unbelief. Somehow, in the next couple of days, the baby will learn to get his own seeds.


While the hummingbirds seem to have left early, I think the goldfinches are leaving late this year. So much for the migration of birds saying anything about the winter.


The stars are shining in a clear sky on the field now, so it's time to go and enjoy them...and hope Buster doesn't get any more mice.


September 25

I did not have a very good night last night. I was up a number of times, and I was having trouble getting my temperature right. As a result, it was another late morning.


Not that there was much to get up for. It was cloudy all day long, and while it looked like it might rain, there wasn't any. The temperature settled in at around 59º and just stayed there all night and all day. Not so nice.


I had just published last night's journal and I was fiddling around before I went to bed when I heard a "thump!" outside, so I went to the door and turned on the floodlight (there is a building code that says every door has to have a light by it, so I went with floodlights). At first I didn't see anything, but I peered at the small sunflower feeder, and there was a little black squirrel head. I don't know if it was a flying squirrel or not, but it is the first black squirrel I've seen in these parts. It was busy scarfling down sunflower seeds, and when I opened the door, it just looked up at me, as if to say, "Who are you, interrupting my dinner?" The light and my voice didn't scare it at all, until I opened the screen to go out, and then it disappeared so quickly I couldn't tell if it was a flyer or not. I'm sure that's what the camera caught silhouetted against the moon the other morning. 


I also forgot to mention that when I went out on the deck to get the feeders yesterday, there was a tiny warbler dead on the deck. I assume it must have hit the window head-on while going after a bug. I hate it when that happens, but fortunately, it doesn't happen too often. Quite a few birds do hit the upper windows, where there are no screens, but most of them survive. There isn't any answer for it, unless I were to put curtains over the windows, which would defeat the purpose for having them. But it was sad.


There weren't many birds at the feeders today, except for some blue jays. The goldfinches don't all seem to have left, but there seem to be fewer of them. What I did see were two of the teensiest little chipmunks I've seen in a long time - they weren't much bigger than mice - running around under the feeder. Yesterday I poured some seed on the deck, and I suppose they got some of that, too. So the chipmunks have procreated successfully, apparently for the first time in three or four years. I will be watching over them and hope they make it through the winter. All chipmunks are cute, but the very littlest ones are cutest of all.


I was watching the outside because I didn't feel like doing anything that took mental work, so I sorted seed beads. I started that two or three years ago, but I didn't sort all the colors, and I've been thinking I might have some use for white or pearl beads. The interesting thing that happened is that the small amount of beads that are now left (out of, I think, a kilo) are the most beautiful collection of colors that look just lovely together - shades of purple, blue, green, turquoise and pink. That will give me food for thought! I will go back and sort out those colors, too, but I wanted to get the white and red ones out first, along with a few orange and yellow. I hope there are enough of each type of the other colors that I can do something with them other than string necklaces. I'm not sure how long I will keep at this, but it was just what I needed today.


What is curious is that just before I got up this morning, I had a dream that included a fair isle sweater (that is, patterned in stripes). There was one color combination that I don't remember, but the last one had an amethyst background with blue, green, turquoise and pink patterns...


Harbor Haus is going to be open only for three more weeks - they close on October 15 - so I may well visit them more often until then. It has turned out, though, that from one point of view I have eaten their food almost twice as many times as I've visited in person, because I almost always bring home half my dinner for Buster and me. That also makes it not quite so expensive, when you consider that I get two meals for the price of one.  Tonight it was Rotisserie Duckling, and I brought home the entire breast, so we will eat well tomorrow, too.


So it's a dark and dank night in the field, and I must go and try to sleep better tonight.


September 24

It turns out that the temperature bottomed out about the time I got home from dinner last night, and it then rose to about 55º, where it stayed all night long. Sometime - I think it was probably around 4:30, the wind picked up, but it was from the southwest, so while I could hear the trees, it wasn't noisy. 


It was pretty clear all night long, I think. When I got up around 3:30, there seemed to be some light behind the trees to the north which had gone away later, but since I didn't have my glasses on, I can't tell if it was northern lights or light clouds. The little moon is shining high in the sky, and it was still casting a shadow.


It was still clear in the morning, with some clouds in the sky, and the sun tried to shine well into the afternoon, when it finally clouded up completely, and right around dinner time, It began to rain lightly. The temperature got up to about 64º, and when I went out to fill the bird feeders it felt pretty warm outside.  It did get rather dark in the afternoon and it was rather dreary, but it wasn't a bad day, all things considered.


I guess I didn't do much except start to load the dishwasher and fill the feeders. I took the hummingbird feeder in for the year and washed it out and put the extra nectar in the freezer for next year. Somehow, I had managed to make about 6 cups of nectar that never got used, but since I have had it in the fridge, it should still be OK, and it will keep when frozen.


I have also reset the camera to turn off at 9:00, since it is fully dark at that time, and I'm sure nobody is really interested in the inside of the office. One of the nice things about being here is that I won't have to set it for next spring and have all those blank pictures in the archives. When we get down to 8½ hours of daylight, there will probably be three days' worth of pictures out there.


We're just about at 12 hours of daylight now and still losing at 3½ minutes a day. Soon it will seem like it's dark all the time.


Buster was my little weather forecaster today. He didn't even wake up when I got up, so he never got his morning pet-in, and after he ate, he went soundly to sleep on the desk in the place that was in the sun when there was a sun, and he never woke up until I started fiddling with the feeders. Then he got on my lap, got his pet, and tried to go to sleep on my lap. When that didn't work, he moved to the other chair and slept some more.


Most cats I've known have been strongly affected by changes in the barometer, but Buster didn't used to be. Well, he has finally gotten to that point. Cats are even better predictors of the weather than my joints are, and all I have to do is watch how they behave. When he begins to wake up, I'll know the damp weather is over.


So it's a dark and damp night in the field, and I hope to get a little more sleep tonight, minus the very interesting dreams of last night, including a new take on the potty dream. How my mind puts those things together, I just do not know.


September 23

It was a good night to sleep in the field last night. The temperature was steady until about 7:00 tonight at about 55º, and then it took a dive down to about 47º, and it is now recovering. But what made it so nice was that the wind was in the 20-30 mph range from the north all night long, and the lake was singing its autumn song. I do sleep better when the lake is singing to me.


I think it was clear for most of the night, but it clouded up somewhat around around sunrise, and it didn't clear up until around 11:00. The rest of the day was absolutely beautiful, sunny and clear with light winds from where ever, and a temperature around 55º. That was cool enough that you might want a sweater or a sweat jacket if you were in the breeze, but if you weren't, you didn't need any outerwear.  


I got up late, ate the slow breakfast late, and did not much, as usual. Dinner was with Shirley, and she was in a good mood tonight, so it was most pleasant. Her granddaughter was hostessing, and things were a bit slow, so we heard all about the great-grandkids, who have inherited their grandfather's (that's Donny) athletic ability, even though they're something like 6 and 4 years old. 


When we stepped outside, the wind had dropped, and there was a definite nip in the air (at 50º, I guess so), but it was certainly not unpleasant. The only sad part about it was that at 8:30 it was nearly dark already.  And I'm afraid that I've seen the last of the open back windows. I haven't closed up the breezeway yet, but that's all right, since it's not freezing yet.


I had been reading from one of my big three-ring binders, and I had it over the keyboard, and when I sat down it bounced a bit and apparently there is some strange button that throws  me back to my home page. Usually that annoys me, but the picture was so beautiful I was glad to see it, and one of my correspondents had written to point it out to me (thanks, Phil). 


This is the beginning of the time of great sunsets, and I  think this was one, if the camera caught this shot. I'm sorry I wasn't around to take it with the good camera, but there will be others, I'm sure.  I haven't taken many pictures this year, and I must begin to remedy that. Well, we'll have the rest of autumn and winter to make up for lost pictures.


So now it is too late again, and it's time to try the sleep thing again. It's cool and clear in the field tonight.


September 22

Now autumn is officially here, astronomically speaking.


It was a kind of crazy day, and I need to get back on schedule. I didn't go to bed early, and I didn't get up early, and I didn't eat anything until after 3:00, and in between I didn't do anything much either.


When I did get up, it was cloudy and breezy and cool. It was 62º when I came into the office, and a while later, it had gone down to 59º, with a northerly breeze. Because of the orientation of the house, north winds sometimes come in the back windows, so before noon I had shut up the house. I hated to do it, but it was a mite cool around here, and I didn't want the heat to come on. Propane is expensive enough without trying to heat the great out-of-doors.


The temperature was steady for the rest of the day, and the wind stayed at around 15 mph, but around 3:00 the sky started to clear and the late afternoon was beautiful. At sunset it looked like it would be a clear night, which is predicted, although seeing isn't supposed to be so good. It's supposed to go down in to the 40s tonight (we'll see about that) and it's supposed to be cool tomorrow, too, but clear.


I'm almost a bit disappointed that autumn didn't come in with a gale, as has so frequently happened. But, oh, well. We'll get our share of those, too. Everybody last night agreed that this has been a lovely summer, and I have to agree. Any summer when I can leave the back windows open almost continuously from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox is a pretty nice summer. I will miss the fresh smells of the out of doors.


Obviously, I didn't do much. I did begin to clean up some of the papers in the office, although I need to get rid of a good portion of the foot-high pile of catalogs and put away some of the magazines I keep. I guess that is under way.


I was minding my own business around 9:15 when I discovered that I couldn't access the internet anymore. After four reboots and two power downs, I guess something has happened to the wireless connection the other side of the fish house. I have a little status page, and I can see the fish house on it, but I can't trace the signal back (I think I have the software, but I don't know how to use it). So I put in a call to Tech Support and brought up the dialup. After I upload this, I will reboot again and hope it's OK in the morning. Otherwise, there won't be any early morning pictures. Be warned.


Oh, yes, and I repositioned the camera. I have been a tad annoyed with where it was pointing, and I finally decided it was time to do something about it. You can see the big bird feeder, but it is aimed more toward the lighthouse now (not completely - I won't turn it that way until the leaves are down), and I think it makes a nicer picture.


So tonight I promise, I will go to bed. It's starry in the field tonight.


September 21

Don't ask me what I was thinking about, but I didn't get to bed until about 3:00 am this morning. I don't know why. However, that shortened my day considerably.


It was pretty when I got up this morning, clear and sunny and the temperature was on its way back up. It maxed out at just over 70º, but as the day wore on, it clouded up. However, the temperature was very nice, and there wasn't too much wind.


I actually did something, in spite of being tired: I unloaded the dishwasher and put away all the pots and pans. Amazing. However, I did that while I was trying to decide what to eat for my first meal - I ended up with a sandwich, which was OK but not great - and I just decided to try to clean up  a tad. Not much, just a tad.


The CHIA dinner was tonight, and it was a bit disappointing. Because it had been rescheduled at the last moment, there weren't very many people there. However, it was a good group. There are a number of new business owners in town, and a younger crew is beginning to take the lead in town, which is nice. I met the executive director of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, who is an interesting person. Shirley and I left right after the business meeting, but I guess most everybody else stayed for a while. 


The food at the Mountain Lodge is pretty good, although their salad bar isn't anything like Mariner's. There was prime rib, turkey and ham...and scalloped potatoes, so I pigged out. It's been a while since I've had turkey, and it sure did taste good.


One of the plans in the works is to winterize the Mountain Lodge and add some improvements to make it a conference center, and the chamber of commerce guy assured me that it would sell if it were available.  We'll see.


So that is about all I know, except that I'm tired, and I am going right to bed as soon as this is safely uploaded.


September 20

They were wrong about the sky last night. It was partly to mostly cloudy and windy all night long, but it was a good night to sleep, so I did. I woke up around 8:30 to find the sky clearing, with some pretty pale apricot clouds in it, and the moon shining in my windows, very high in the sky. It was so pretty I went back to sleep for another two hours. When I woke then, I was facing the windows and Buster was facing the bathroom, with his back plastered up against my back. He was ready for his morning siesta, and I had to push him out of bed to get up.


By then, the clouds were gone, and the temperature was rising fast, and it was a really beautiful day. The temperature got up into the low 70s, and when the sun started shining in the office, it got so hot I had to open the door to let the breeze in. It was lovely.


Along about noon, before I had eaten, the health department arrived and checked the drain field and informed me that there was about a foot of stuff in my septic tank and I should probably have it cleaned out. I would like to consult with Philippe about that, if I can get hold of him. I have the suspicion he may be in Munich for Oktoberfest again.


After breakfast, I loaded the dishwasher and later I finally got the pots and pans out of the sink. It all needs to be put away, but it's clean.


In the meantime, I finished weaving in all the ends in the vest and sewed on the buttons. It needs to be blocked, though. 


Early in the afternoon, Shirley called to say that the CHIA dinner was rescheduled for tomorrow night. According to the weather forecast, it will be too warm for the vest anyway, so I will have to concoct something else to wear.  I have a couple of ideas. I Don't think it will be warm enough to wear my summer sweater, which is nearly sleeveless, but I think I can figure something out.


It was such a lovely day that I just didn't want it to end. The sun seemed to set awfully quickly, and it was dark before I knew it. Not only is the sun setting around 7:50, twilight isn't more than half an hour long these days. Sigh.  Buster has been very upset that I kept sitting here and didn't go to bed, but he thinks every thing should happen on the same schedule every day, and he gets upset when it doesn't. All cats prefer routine, but most of the others I've lived with could flex a bit more than he does.


So now it is really time to go, and the stars are shining on the field, and so, I think, is the moon. What a lovely day it was!

September 19

The forecasts were wrong about last night, for sure. It may have started out mostly clear, but it soon clouded up, and there really wasn't much moonshine all night long. It didn't get very cold, either, and it wasn't windy. So there.


I slept rather well, all things considered, but I did have some time getting comfortable. Sometime, around 1:30, I think, Buster got another mouse, and I discovered this morning that he was particularly rough with it. I ended up having to clean up quite a bit of blood off the bathroom floor. And he isn't eating them - I found the remains of the poor skinny little thing by the slider this morning. If they are that skinny, I can understand why they are braving the house. I don't know why he was so rough with it, except that it scooted under the stand in the bathroom, and he had to wait quite a while for it to come out, and he may have been angry. I do hope he is a little more careful in the future. I suppose it's partly my fault, since I might have been able to capture it in the bathroom, but it was the middle of the night, and I just didn't feel like it. Maybe I'll have to be more careful with the next one - or hope he is.


Eventually, I got up, around 9:30, to discover that it had begun raining, lightly but steadily, and that continued all day long, with accompanied dark skies. Eventually I had to close all the windows, because the wind was shifting around and began to blow in the office windows. It was a really blah day.


I can say that my finger was much better today, so much that I finished the edging on the vest. However, by the time I did that, it had gotten too dark to begin working in the many yarn ends. The vest is dark blue, and it's hard to see in dim light.


The wet weather certainly wasn't good for my arthritis, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been, since the temperature was around 60º all day.


I have to apologize about the camera. I shut it down this morning because I was doing a download, and I just plain forgot to bring it back up until just a few minutes ago - around 8:30. Sorry. You didn't miss much, though. It looked just the same all day long - cloudy and dark and dreary. 


I'm sorry I couldn't have the windows open, because it does smell so good when it rains. 


The rain is supposed to go away overnight, and it is supposed to be warmer and sunny tomorrow again. That's nice. It's too early for there to be one dreary day after another.


So I have not much to report, except that I think I will try to get to bed earlier tonight and hope there isn't another mouse tonight.


Buster slept most of the day. He is certainly showing his age, and as he gets older, he is more affected by the weather. I think he was probably up most of the night looking for more live mice, and he was so tired that he was back in bed, asleep, before I was out of the bathroom this morning. The only trouble was, he wanted to sleep on me, and that limits what I can do.


So it was a slow day in the field, and it's a dark and dreary night. The lake is speaking rather strongly, it seems, considering that the winds were pretty slow all day, and it's time to trundle up to the north end again.


September 18

The weather forecasts haven't been this wrong all summer, but they sure were last night. It was cloudy, but the temperature stayed in the upper 60s with very little wind all night long. The result of that was that I didn't sleep very well, because I kept getting hot. Oh, well.


Starting around 10:00 this morning, the wind shifted around to the northwest and picked up and the temperature has been dropping ever since. It is now 60º and on its way to the low 50s, probably. It is supposed to cloud up and rain tomorrow, but we'll see about that when the time comes.


About all I did today was to finally get the wash all folded and put away, so that task is done for a few weeks. Otherwise, I just sat around. It was mostly cloudy for most of the day, and there were times when it got dark enough that it looked like it might rain, but it didn't.


I didn't work on the vest because I woke up this morning with the first joint in my right index finger all red and even more swollen than usual, and as sore as a boil. What brought that on, I don't know, but that joint and my knees are the places where the arthritis began, and I have a very ugly finger in the best of times. Now it is worse. Putting some ice on it might help except that it is almost too tender to touch. Or at least that's my excuse.


Several people wrote to suggest that my little critter from yesterday morning is probably a flying squirrel, and they are very likely right (thanks to all of you!). It seemed too big to be one of my local chipmunks, and I didn't think chipmunks were nocturnal either. Flying squirrels are, and while it wasn't very big, it was probably the size of the little red squirrels. Someday, if I'm lucky, I may see one in person.


And tonight, just as it was getting almost too dark to see, something came fluttering over the garden chasing a bug...I guess I've finally seen my first bat. I know they're there, too, and I guess I've probably seen them before, but I didn't realize what they were until now.


The hummingbirds are almost certainly gone. I think it was last Monday that I saw the last ones, so tomorrow I will take in the feeder for the season. I still have a lot of nectar mixed, and I think I will just freeze that. The goldfinches are still here, but they are clearly feeding up for their flight south. There were a couple of large flocks of geese today. And there are two white-throated sparrows pecking around the deck. So autumn is definitely under way, although the trees are holding steady, like they did last year.


As soon as the goldfinches go, I will rearrange the feeders and look into getting some suet feeders. I know we have quite a population of woodpeckers around here, and they love suet in the winter. If I'm really lucky, I might even get a pileated, and if I'm even luckier still, I might get a picture. We'll see.


Some of the clouds went away at sunset, enough so I could spy Venus, which is very far to the south now (my, she moves fast!), but the forecast has it clouding up again later, with rain tomorrow. We'll see about that, too.


I was sitting in the ugly chair reading, and I had the lamp on, and I guess I sort of messed up a few pictures, but you're just going to have to get used to that. Pretty soon I'll be able to turn off the camera earlier, and that will help, but I'm afraid I'm not going to sit around all evening in the dark.


So it is cool and a bit windy in the field tonight, and I must go and try that sleep thing again.


September 17

It was clear for most of the night last night, and the Harvest Moon, which was just about full (it's full today) was shining incredibly brightly all night long, throwing beams and shadows in the bedroom and in the side yard. I could tell, with all that light, that the sky was not very transparent, and I couldn't see any stars. The camera caught the setting moon in two shots, although it just missed the one I wish it had seen, just before the moon disappeared below the hill, when it was partly covered by some streaky clouds. I saw that just as I got up to take a walk, and by the time I was back in bed, it was gone...about 5 minutes. When I see things like that, the speed at which the earth rotates becomes quite obvious.


Take a good look at that first picture. I am practically certain that a small furry creature was clinging to the bird feeder scarfing up sunflower seeds. Since squirrels aren't nocturnal, I have to believe it was a chipmunk. I have noticed the feeders seem to be going down overnight, and I guess that is what causes it. Putting away their winter stores, no doubt. Little do they know that except for December, there will be food out all winter...that's another thing I'm looking forward to.


I got up late, because I went to bed late, and it was a lovely morning, mostly sunny with a light breeze and a temperature in the mid 60s. There were some high clouds in the sky, of the sort that usually precede more cloud cover, but it wasn't until after 1:30 that it began to cloud up. The temperature got up to around 75º with a light breeze, if any, and it was another lovely day.


I finished the edging on one armhole of the vest and started the other one, and I filled the bird feeders. Something had been eating the regular bird seed, so I filled two tubes of the feeder with that. We'll see how it goes. 


I really think the hummingbirds have gone away, and it really looks like they left about the time I went south, which, if true, is really early. The goldfinches are still here, though, and so are the warblers. This is the time of year when, for some reason, bugs tend to cluster around the house, and the warblers come out of the woods. They are darting around all day long, and frequently they bounce off the screens or the upper windows in the great room, or, I think, sometimes off the siding. I suppose they are stoking up for their trip south, too.


It is also the beginning of the fly season. It isn't too bad yet, but I have already had a number of flies, alive and dead, in the house. I am certain that they live in here and lay eggs in here and they hatch out starting now and going through at least the end of the year (I'll be interested to see that, too). The floors are always gross when I get here in the spring, covered with dead flies. I do have some flypaper strips, and I may try hanging them around and see if they help this year. This isn't just a problem here. I think most houses in Keweenaw have the same problem, and it's just one of the hazards of living here. There were fewer this spring than last year, though, so maybe eventually they will mostly go away. I hope so. Flies bug me.


Oh, yes, I also folded all the laundry except for four tees that I had to wash over. So that task is almost complete. Maybe tomorrow I can put everything away...and start over. I never have liked any tasks I have to do over and over again, although I think enough of my clothes that laundry isn't too bad. Not like washing dishes or cleaning bathrooms.


Buster was acting like there is a change in the weather coming, and I guess there is. It is supposed to be cloudy and cooler tomorrow with maybe some rain. That would be good, we need it, but I never have understood why it always seems to rain on the weekend. And unless they are all wrong, we won't see the moonset tomorrow morning. 


And that is all there is in the field.


September 16

We did sleep well last night. The moon drowned out anything else in the sky until it set around 4:00, although it did light a few clouds. It was mostly clear afterwards, although not very transparent, and there weren't any light shows.


Sometime during the night, it sounded like Buster had a mouse, but if it was a mouse, he didn't have it for long. For the rest of the time, he slept with me. While there is more to it, one reason he sleeps with me when it's cooler is that he wants to be warm, and I keep the house relatively cool at night. I do radiate a lot of heat.


It sounds like he may have another mouse right now. About every three weeks, isn't it? Yes, he does. He just brought it to me and said "mrow", then he went away with it, and knocked something over when he dropped it.


Anyway, he was hungry for breakfast, then he threw all of what he ate back up - I don't know why. So I filled all his dry food bowls, and that is what he ate. I do hope he is not eating the mice. I don't think that would be good for him.


It was another lovely day, clear with light breezes from the south, with a temperature that got up to just under 70º. Lovely. 


The sun is setting well within camera range now, and it is really amazing how far south it is in the morning when it shines into the bathroom. So autumn i upon us for sure, irregardless of the temperature.


I did not much, as usual. I finished up the wash, but I still have to fold everything, and I worked a bit on the vest. When I started doing the edging, it was my right hand, where I hold the hook, that got sore, but all the knitting I've done since seems to have solved that problem. Today it was my left hand, where I hold the yarn, that hurt, and there is no real reason that I know why it should be sore. So I did a bit, but the backward crochet goes really slow if I want to make it look good. More tomorrow, maybe.


Tonight I met Shirley at Mariner, and we had a nice dinner and a nice conversation. Of course, I ran out of the house so fast that I forgot to take the bracelets, but I think Peggy was in the kitchen anyway. I will try to remember to take them tomorrow. My mind, you know.


Sp that was my quiet day, and the mouse apparently escaped (when I saw him, Buster had the thing's front end in his mouth, it was upside down, with its hind legs and tail hanging out. Gaack!), so now we can go to bed and watch the moon making shadows in the field.


September 15

Wow, the middle of September already! How time flies when you're getting old!


I didn't sleep very well last night. I was up six or seven times and for a while I had a problem getting comfortable. It was a good chance to check the sky, but the moon is too close to full, and it didn't set until almost 4:00. It was fairly clear, and if there had been a show like there was Sunday morning, I could have seen it, but there was not a thing. It was nice and starry after the moon set, but no light show.


I got up at a reasonable hour this morning, partly because Buster was bugging me. I still have the east windows open in the great room an the office, and since the temperature actually got below 50º, it got sort of cool in the house, and when it did, he wanted to sleep under the comforter. But he is not a good bed partner - too wiggly - and raising the comforter to let him under disrupts my covers and wakes me up straightening them. He finally went off in disgust, and I don't know where he went.


It was a lovely morning, mostly clear and nearly calm, and it stayed clear, with only a few clouds, all day. The temperature got up to about 65º and the wind, such as it was, was from the south or southwest. 


That is something of a problem, because the upper pane of the window where the ethernet cable was dropped down a tad, so that I can't lock it, and it makes a noise like  a racing engine when the wind blows. I will just have to climb up on a stool and get it closed. If it is dropping down, that means that something isn't right, and I will have to open it all the way then close it to get it locked. Tomorrow, maybe.


Not that I did much today. I forgot until dinner time that I was going to wash today, so I am just drying the second load now, and the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. There was more to wash than I thought. I seem to have used an incredible number of short sleeved shirts in the past few weeks, mostly because of the heat. 


I also started the armhole edging on the vest. If there is a CHIA meeting, I might want to wear it, and it is fall stuff anyway, so it's time to finish it.


It looked like it might be clouding up some at twilight, and I haven't seen the moon yet, but in any case, there is going to be too much moonlight all night long to see any northern lights if there are any. So maybe I can sleep better tonight. 


So the wind is sighing through the trees in the field, and time is flying by.


September 14

For some reason, I just didn't want to go to bed last night, so it was 1:00 am when I finally turned out the light, and I slept like the dead until about 4:00. Maybe I had gotten stiff from not moving (I move hardly at all when I'm asleep - the results of torn ligaments in my ankle when I was about 10, plus various serious surgeries), but I was having a hard time getting comfortable when I began hearing thumping and banging around and a curious "mrow": Buster had found himself a mouse, and it must have been a very lively one, because he played with it for 15 minutes or more. The "mrow", I deduced, was his way of telling me he had it when he was carrying it around. Eventually, he brought it down to the bathroom, but then I thought he went away, so I got up a second time, only to find him on full alert and staring under the little wire stand in the corner. After I went back to bed, he pushed a bunch of stuff on the floor trying to get to the mouse, which was apparently way back in the corner. Then there was silence, and a while later, he came to bed with me.


I was sure I was going to find a body under the stand this morning, but there is nothing there, and I am still wondering what happened to the mouse and all its relatives.


So we went back to sleep, and we slept very well, until I what I thought was 9:30, but when I went to get dressed, I realized that I had misread the clock and it was only 8:30. So I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.


It was nice to get an early start, not that i did a lot about it. I did unload the dishwasher, and I finished the bracelet, and then I wrote a lot of checks and took them to the post office.


It was a lovely morning, very sunny and breezy, with a temperature around 60º and lots of pretty, puffy fair-weather cumulus clouds. For a while in the morning there was another very high layer of light clouds, but that went away eventually, and slowly most of the rest of the clouds have gone, too. The temperature never made it over about 64º, and the wind got up into the 20 mph range, which meant it was a fun day to watch the harbor.


When I got to the post office, Clyde informed me that he had just been told that the CHIA dinner was canceled...the Mountain Lodge had to close down because they found E. coli in the water. Well! So I went and visited with Shirley for a few minutes, and confirmed the story before I came home.


My only problem then was what to have for dinner. I had planned on eating out. So I dug the Italian sausage out of the freezer and made a batch of Zesty Ziti, which tasted rather good, thank you. Now I have more pots in the sink. It also makes a boatload, so I think I will have to freeze the leftovers.


For desert, I have been munching away at a honeydew melon I got last week. Not the best I've ever had, but not bad. Every time i do that I think about the summer of the first chemo. The chemo did a job on my stomach, and I found by experimentation that it felt better when it had something it, the only problem being to find something I could get down. Fortunately, that summer (1998) there was one of the finest crops of melons I can remember. It was also a terribly hot summer. I can remember many an evening cutting up a melon and just sitting with the bowl and a fork and packing my poor tummy with all the melon...cantaloupe, honeydew and water...it would hold. If it hadn't been for that, I don't know quite what I would have done. Then if I went to bed soon after (and I was sleeping 12 or more hours a day) I would get to sleep before my stomach emptied and started to hurt. The melon also seemed to have a soothing effect, which was interesting.


I've always been sorry that I wasn't journaling then. I tried to make a few notes, but that was when I discovered that I can't write non-fiction longhand, and I hadn't discovered the joys of Word or FrontPage. Actually, that summer, I hardly used the computer at all, since it was in the basement and I was seldom there unless I was doing wash. it wasn't until the second go-round that I acquired the laptop and discovered that I can go on at length when I'm typing. I had the phone line run up to my bedroom, and I used the laptop so much that the letters are partly worn off the keys. And I haven't stopped since...


There are a few little clouds in the west, but it looks to be a clear night tonight, and the geomagnetic storm warnings have been extended to the 16th, so I will certainly be staring out the window when I get up tonight. There wasn't anything last night, but the sun has belched another couple of CMEs, and they were supposed to slam us this afternoon, which means the prospects are good for another light show tonight. Wouldn't that be nice?


I have been neglecting some natural history observations I've made in the past few days. Sunday, right after I turned down our road, a big bird swooped down and clung to a tree trunk, and when it heard my car, it went flying off, and I saw the underside of its wings - a pileated woodpecker, the first I have actually laid eyes on since before my dad died...like 25 years? I know they've always been around in our woods, because I see the deep square holes they dig in the trees. They seem to prefer red pines. I think this was probably a female, because in the second or two that I got to observe it, I didn't see a sign of its red head, which is obvious in the male. However, I'm certain of my identification. There isn't another bird like it in our woods.


I've also seen the hind ends of the flickers lately. It is only at this time of year that they seem to spend a lot of time on the ground looking for ants. I don't know what they do for the rest of the year, but in the fall I frequently startle them as I drive down Woodland Road.


Yesterday, when there was some seed on the deck, I saw the first white-throated sparrow I've seen since last spring (actually, I didn't see them here - they were gone north before I got here). That is not a good sign, in my opinion. They summer up in northern Canada, and it seems to me it's a tad early for even one to be this far south.


I haven't said much about the trees. When I went to town last I was rather surprised by how much the trees had turned, as were several other people who have been along US-41 lately. However, I think they started early last year, too, and then just stopped for a couple of weeks. Maybe the rain we had lately will hold them until the usual peak, which is about the first week of October.


Today there were some little birds flying in front of the car down by Lake Lilly, which I think were juncos, although I didn't get much of a view of them. So the flocking prior to migration is starting. There have been at least two flocks of geese. The goldfinches have been eating like there's no tomorrow, and in flocks, too. The hummingbirds are still around, or a few are. I finally saw a couple several days ago, and the feeder has gone down a bit. Either they aren't flocking yet or they went while I was away. I don't think so, though, because I had the big feeder out, and they didn't use it very much at all.


So that catches me up, I think, and Venus is shining over the West Bluff and the moon is peeking through the trees in the south, and I think tonight I will go to bed early and sleep long...and maybe see a light show?


September 13

It was cool and clammy all night long, but that didn't bother me a lot, and it did keep Buster off the porch. Around 3:30, I think, it began to rain, and it continued for a couple of hours, not especially heavy, but steady. Just the kind of rains we really needed periodically all summer and didn't get.


I was up briefly at about 8:30, and while I decided that was too early, Buster thought it was time, and he went caroming around the house and making as much noise as the thunder, then he settled down on the bed, just about the time I decided to get up. Somehow, he has never been able to completely acclimate to my schedule, whatever that is.


Even though it hadn't been raining for several hours when I got up, everything, including the deck, was still wet, and I really don't think it ever dried up. Although we didn't have any rain during the day, the humidity was close to 100%, and nothing dried up. Since the temperature was in the mid 60s all day long, it didn't do much for my knees, either. Every time I went to get up, it felt like my knees weren't going to unbend, so a lot of the things I had thought about doing didn't get done. 


In a couple of ways it was a nice day, though. The pictures from the camera, with the fog thick over the harbor, were interesting, and every so often the breeze would come in the east windows of the office, and that smell, of wet woods and wet late summer grasses, is enough to give me a real high. One of the real joys of living here is that with very few exceptions, it always smells good, when it smells at all. Not like the big dirty city, which smells all the time and it always smells bad.


I ended up not doing a thing except going to the post office. I had a list of things I wanted to do, including wash clothes, but the only thing I did do was tidy up the kitchen a bit and wash dishes. It's getting to be about time to go to the trash compactor again, but I really need to go through the piles of catalogs and magazines before i do that.


Tomorrow is the Copper Harbor Improvement Association dinner, which is usually pretty boring, except that I go with Shirley and her family, and the food is good. I decided against trying to finish the vest - it's probably going to be too warm to wear it anyway. I have a couple of things I've never worn that may be suitable. One sees everything there anyway, from slacks to cocktail dresses. I guess when I live here full time and have my full wardrobe with me, I will probably wear something more dressy, too, although it hardly seems worth it.


I had had some ideas of cooking this week, but the dinner rather ended them. So I ate a TV dinner tonight - yuck - and I will probably do the same Thursday.


I had to turn on the office lights again tonight, because I couldn't see, so I apologize to everybody. There wasn't much to see outside anyway. It got dark much earlier than it would have if it had been clear.


On that topic, nothing showed through the clouds last night, and it won't tonight, but tomorrow night is supposed to be clear again, so I can hope for more light shows.


The other thing is, it is possible that the warm weather of the past few days is the last of the season. I don't like to be too certain of that, because it has happened before, but it seems we will be having more weather in the 60s and  more rain for the rest of the month. That would be good for a number of reasons, but I can tell you I'm not looking forward  to having to close the east windows. When they are closed, and the house is closed up, it gets very stuffy in here, and I do enjoy getting a small whiff of the lovely outdoors, even when I am sitting at my desk.


So it is another drippy night in the field.


September 12

I forgot to note that yesterday was the 9/11 anniversary. I guess others did a pretty good job on it, though.


I didn't sleep very well last night. It was a nice temperature, and the wind wasn't too strong, but it was dampish, and I think that was part of the trouble with my aches and pains. Besides, early this morning Buster decided he wanted to sleep leaning up against me, but he wanted to wiggle or give himself a good washing. He does that with so much gusto that the bed practically shakes. So I chased him away, and that hurt his feelings. I finally got up around 9:30 because everything ached. So maybe an early night tonight?


There may have been a light show last night, or at least early this morning, but it was partly to mostly cloudy, and while I did see some glows in the sky, I couldn't determine what it was. The sunspot complex continues to belch forth all sorts of stuff, from x-rays to CMEs, and it shows no signs of settling down, so hopefully, we will have more light shows. The moon is full on the 17th, and it is the Harvest Moon, which means it is up for a very long time, but believe me, the show I saw Saturday night would have come through moon or no.


On that subject, Charlie said today that he was out around the time I was watching the north, but he was watching the same sort of show in the southwest (he lives in Eagle River) so it was a true geomagnetic storm, and a great show no matter where you looked.


More on Charlie later. I try to do these things in more or less chronological order.


So I got up, and the wireless was still down, which meant it took a long time to read my funnies and check my list of webcam sites. By the time I was done with that, I was hungry, but nothing seemed good, so I ended up with sort of a club sandwich without the bacon. It was OK, but it was rather large, so it took me a long time to eat it. In the meantime, 


In the meantime, I checked with PastyNet and found that the Fish House was back up...oh, joy! Even though I didn't have any more surfing to do. 


Then Shirley called to say that the association dinner is Wednesday, and I was contemplating trying to finish my pretty vest by then, and I had just turned on ATC, when Charlie turned up.


He is such a nice man! Anyway, after some false starts, my ethernet wire is now running through the wall, and I have a utility to use to check whether it is working or not. It's working. I still have to do something about the window. The upper pane slipped while the lower one was open, and now I can't lock the window. I'll have to climb up on a stool and fix it, but not today.


When Charlie got here, I had just looked at the radar map and noticed that there was rain headed in our direction, and in fact, before he was finished, we had a few drops, although they didn't amount to much. Just before that happened, all of a sudden the wind picked up and the temperature dropped at least 10º (more like 15º) in about 5 minutes. It got really warm, up to around 85º, and since it was very humid, it was getting most uncomfortable, and both of us were sweating, when suddenly this nice, cool breeze sprang up, and it got down to around 70º...ah, relief!


When it started to get dark - and boy, did it get really dark really early - there were a few rumbles of thunder and it has been raining rather hard ever since. Ah, relief! It is now around 68º and the humidity is around 100%, but it doesn't feel too bad in comparison to earlier.


On the storm front, Charlie said that what happened to the Fish House transceiver is, apparently there was a brownout or a surge during the storm Saturday morning, and it fried the power supply. That transceiver was marginal when I got my hookup, so it was a good thing it finally went. Now it seems to be working just fine, thank you.


It got so dark that the camera is showing the inside of the office, but I wasn't going to eat the rest of my fish in the dark. Buster got his, too, and he licked the plate, but being a civilized cat, he didn't even try to get at the skin. He likes the marinated fish (trout and plank-style whitefish) from Harbor Haus, although I suspect it wouldn't matter to him if it was marinated.


It is so humid - temperature 67º and dew point 66º - that it feels warmer than it is, but I think it will be a tolerable night to sleep, and maybe I can do that a bit better than last night. Certainly I won't have to be up checking the sky all night!


It's dribbling rain in the field tonight.


September 11

I got to bed late last night, and I think I was asleep before my eyes even acclimated to the dark. When I woke up about 3:30, it seemed to me that the sky was amazingly light, like the full moon on clouds or the cloudy sky in Detroit, but I couldn't see anything in particular, and I was too groggy to do more than wonder. I couldn't get back to sleep - all of a sudden I hurt all over (this happens every so often). 


Around 4:15, I gave up and got up again, thinking that maybe sitting up for a while would help, but when I looked out the bathroom window, I went running for my glasses, and wow! What a show! It only lasted ten minutes or so, but against that very bright background, which was fading in and out, were curtains and spikes and all sorts of weird shapes, all moving so fast they were gone in a second or two. It was perfectly gorgeous, and I haven't seen a show like that in three or four years.


That part only lasted a few minutes, then it was back to the more or less uniform glow. I couldn't see any color, but that may just be my eyes. It was so bright out that I could see the side yard, and if an animal of any size had wandered through at that moment, I could have seen it. It was amazing.


Eventually, I went back to bed and to sleep, and I was up again around 6:15, and this time I got my glasses on before I went into the bathroom, because I could see even from the bedroom window that things were going on. This one wasn't so bright or spectacular, but there were clouds fading in and fading out and a few bright spikes. That lasted until morning twilight became so bright (around 6:30 or so) that the sky show faded.


Needless to say, I didn't get up until around 11:00. What with my late start and all my peering at the sky, I needed more sleep, and I'm still tired. But that was certainly worth seeing! I even toyed with the idea of going outside. The temperature was a balmy 70º with a strong southwest wind, so I wouldn't have had to get dressed. But in order to see what I was seeing from the window - it went up to zenith, and there was a lot of action in the northeast - I would have to have gone walking in the side yard, which means shoes, and I'm not that sure on my feet to go blundering into the field in the dark. So I stood at the window and craned my neck in all directions. Sooo cool!


When I eventually made it to the computer this morning, the wireless is still down, but the phone line has been working fine. There was an AstroAlert that said a CME (coronal mass ejection) slammed earth at 9:19 last evening, and light shows are to be expected through the 14th. The AstroAlert didn't get out until midnight, and I went down the hall around 11. However, I guess I didn't need any advanced warning.


I was actually surprised to see what I saw, because the atmosphere in the harbor was so hazy that I could see the beam from the lighthouse. Makes me wonder what it would have been light if the dew point had been, say, 45º instead of 65º.


Today it was warm and windy, and it was a good day to do nothing much, which I did. I worked on the bracelet a bit, but the wind was blowing the thread around so that I kept getting tangled up in it, so eventually I quit that. Then I sat in the ugly chair and read for a while. About the time the temperature got up to 85º and the wind started dropping, it was time to go to Harbor Haus, which is air conditioned.


The official high was 87º, with a dew point of about 62º, which means humid, but for most of the time there was a northwest wind in the 15-24 mph range. The wind was all that made it tolerable.


Just in the past hour or so, the temperature has dropped to 73º with calm winds, which is tolerable, but humid. The sky was hazy all day long, and it seems to be clouding up, but I would have said that last night, too. IF we're lucky, it will clear up some after dark, like it sometimes does, and we may see more color and light. Gosh, I hope so! This is exciting!


Buster didn't like the wind last night or today, and he kept asking me to turn it off. He was particularly confused when I was standing at the bathroom window peering outside and making noises. I don't think northern lights mean a thing to him, although maybe he was confused by the background light in the sky, too. He finally settled down in the bedroom on the window seat, where there wasn't much of a breeze. He was so excited by having the porch open last night that I don't think he slept much at all, so he was already at it when I got up. 


A little while ago there was a nearly quarter moon shining in the south windows, but now it is covered by a cloud. So I guess I will have my second drink and sit a while before I toddle off to bed, and hope to see another light show tonight. Also hope not to have another dream like the one I was having right before I got up this morning.


There is color and light in the sky!


September 10

First off, the camera was down all day because the wireless failed, and I really didn't want to come up on the dialup line. More later.


I was late getting to bed last night, and I fell asleep at once. I woke up around 3:00, and while I was in the bathroom, I began to see a lot of lightening and even hear an occasional grumble of thunder, but it all seemed to be out over the lake and moving east fast. That was fun, and after a while there were a few raindrops, and I really thought it was all going to miss us again.


Sometime after 5:00, the lightening started again, and the thunder said that it was quite close over the harbor, and then it began to rain. Well...2.03" and four hours later, it finally stopped. I didn't pay much attention - I was sleeping, and I continued to do so until after 10:00. However, the porch and parts of the deck were still wet when I got up. So finally we had a useful amount of rain. I suppose in some places it ran off, but out here on the pebble pile, it almost all soaked right in.


When I got to the office, there was a ! over the camera symbol, and no way could I bring up the wireless connection. The dialup was connected to the laptop, so I tried that, and it seemed to work OK, so I called PastyNet, and the guy on duty said he would look into it.


I decided that instead of using the dialup, I would just play Zuma, so I did, for most of the afternoon. A most addicting game. It's probably just as well that it has a bug in it that causes a bunch of my security programs to abend, or I'd be playing it all the time. 


Sometime around 5:00 or so, I called again and that problem had not been passed on, so I reported it again. 


I had just gotten to the office when Shirley called to say that there was a wedding at Mariner and how about Harbor Haus instead. Ha! When she came, she had her daughter Mary with her, and Cindy came along, too, so instead of the two of us, there were four of us, and it was very nice, but it left Chris laughing at our expanding table. We would have had to move if there had been anyone else.


That was very pleasant, and when I got back, there was a message on my answering machine saying that someone was working on the problem and it should be back by 8:00, Well...it was 8:00, and it wasn't so  I called again and got Charlie. It seems the lightening from our nice storm zapped the transceiver on the fish house, and the person who was supposed to reset it didn't. 


So I finally bit the bullet and came up on the dialup, which, fortunately, is behaving itself today. But talk about slow...The contrast makes it even worse.


Anyway, it was a warm and humid and mostly cloudy day. The wind has been steady from the south-southwest, and the temperature got up to 78º or so. It was a good day to do nothing, and I did. It is supposed to be warm for the next few days, but there aren't supposed to be any more thunderstorms until maybe Sunday or Monday night. 


Of course, it will be cloudy, just because there may be northern lights. I guess there weren't last night: there was a cryptic message on the Mt. Wilson camera page saying they hadn't seen anything, and I presume they mean northern lights. With the $600 digital camera they are using for a webcam, they ought to be able to catch any northern lights there are, and the camera is pointed north. They may capture all their pictures, but they don't publish all of them, so it would be just good luck to see anything.


With all the clouds it got dark early, but sunset was spectacular anyway. First the whole western half of the sky, the harbor, and it seemed, the air all turned orange (it's very hazy), and then it all turned pink. My camera caught a little bit of the orange, but it missed the pink. There is really no way to capture that in a photograph anyway. You have to be here. It didn't last very long, but it was really, really pretty.


And when I went to turn on the kitchen lights, there was a very orange sliver of a moon hanging in the end window of the great room, on its way down. The rest of the sky is cloudy.


Along about 5:00, when I was thinking about changing my pants and putting on some shoes, Lesley and her son showed up to haul some more rocks. The fireplace builder said they didn't have enough from the last time. She was going to quit after three wheelbarrows full, but the truck wasn't full, so I hope they got some more. Their fireplace is going to be smaller than mine, but it is amazing how many rocks it takes to cover a 5' x 10' area, even if there is grout.


So that was my nice, quiet day. Now I will upload this and reboot the computer to see if the wireless is up yet, and then I will toddle up to the north end and try to do the sleep thing again tonight. After last night, I have some hope that I'm getting over it, whatever it was.


September 9

It was another night of on and off, and while I was awake, I found myself thinking about an essay I should write and send to ATC...but I probably won't.


Buster has been a pest on and off all day. He bugged me before I got up, and he is bugging me now. In between, he seemed unusually full of ginger, even playing with an old catnip mouse for a while. What's got into him now, I don't know.


I spent most of the afternoon working on the latest bracelet, and it is nearly done. I decided to make the shortest one first, so I have only one more repeat to go. I do have some problem finding beads for the closure. Most of my pale blue beads are a bit too light for the light sapphire, but I guess they will look all right. Sometime I will have to put in an order to FIire Mountain, and then I may be able to find some large beads that match better. That is the real trouble with this beading stuff. No matter how much stuff I have, every time I think up something new to do, I need more. I'm not quite sure what to do about that.


The day started out just perfect, with blue skies, hardly any wind, and temperature in the 60s, and it was pretty until around 4:00 this afternoon, when it began to cloud up. The camera has pictured the inside of the office for some time, because it was so dark that I just gave up and turned on the lights. I guess it is likely to rain tonight. There is a thunderstorm cell moving up on Houghton now, but whether it will make it up here is another question. 


I guess if we are going to have cloudy skies, better now before that sunspot complex gets facing directly toward us. It is expected to continue to hiccup, which could mean northern lights. OF course, we are in the waxing half of the lunar cycle, so most likely the sun will belch when the moon is full and nobody will see anything. It usually happens that way.


Shirley couldn't go to dinner tonight, so I stayed in, too, and had a pizza for  the first time in quite a while. I was going to have some of the watermelon I bought, but I guess not.


My thoughts last night were on something I observed a long time ago and have never developed into an essay. In dealing with the world and the people in it, there seem to be two types of people: those who modify their theories to fit reality, and those who attempt to modify reality to fit their theories. The latter doesn't ever work too well, of course. I've been thinking about that again because of the fiasco in the south, and it's a really scary thing when the people in charge are the ones who attempt to modify reality to fit their theories. I find those people scary whoever they are, though. It seems that if something happens that doesn't fit their theories of how things should be, they just ignore it...even if it's a category five hurricane. I have faith that eventually the shit will hit the fan, but in the meantime they cause a lot of totally needless stress and anguish amongst the rest of us.


I was particularly appalled when our head of Homeland Security declared that he was not aware of the thousands of people in the New Orleans Convention Center (this was either the Tuesday or Wednesday after the hurricane). With all the media coverage the entire area was receiving, I couldn't help but wonder what rock he had been hiding under, and also where the lines of communication up the government hierarchy had gotten to. But that's been the problem for two weeks, hasn't it?


I very rarely comment on politics in this forum, but I really hope all the people who thought George Bush walks on water have been watching the Gulf Coast for the past two weeks.


So now it is late and Buster is nattering at me for some reason, and it's time to try the sleep thing again. I'm curious that the only night I really slept well was the night I forgot to take my meds before I crashed, but I don't think that had much to do with it. This is just one of those things...


It's cloudy and breezy in the field tonight.


September 8

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to repeat my good night's sleep. Last night it was three hours on, four hours off, three hours on. I probably dozed during the four hours, but it wasn't like a deep sleep. And there were some really wild dreams, again. I woke up while trying to explain to the officer why I was driving the little red sports car backwards...but that was only the end of it.


Anyway, I was bound that I had to go to town today, and even though I got up late and didn't feel really robust, I did, starting out around 11:30. That is probably just as well, because I couldn't do much more.


I did stop at Hughes farm, and I can report a bumper crop of cucumbers this year, some good zucchini and yellow squash, and some not-very-good tomatoes. The ones I got last time were much nicer. They have started pressing cider, so I had to have some of that - I don't really care too much for apples in general, but one half-gallon of good cider a year is nice - but the winter squash haven't started coming in yet. The report is that they are doing very well, too. If they irrigate their garden beds, I can imagine the squashes will be excellent, because the summer was so warm.


I got bird seed, which I was running out of, and cat food at Wal-Mart, but I still can't find a lot of the stuff I used to get there. They need a map of the whole place. I suspect, though, that paper goods are down by where the food store will be, and the birdseed, cat food, and fabric are down at the other end. I tried, but couldn't get, some rubbing compound to rub out a scratch on one rear door of the car that appeared over the winter, but that was about all.


Just as an aside, I had heard rumors that Wal-Mart gas was much cheaper than everyone else. It turns out that it can be...if you have a Wal-Mart credit card or gift card. Then it is $2.94. Everybody else pays $3.00. So I got my gas at Econo, as usual, but more on that later.


I also read that the Ming Bistro has changed hands, but the food wasn't bad today. I did spill the eggs from egg drop soup down my front (they are very slippery), but they haven't changed the menu, so I was able to get the things I like, mostly spicy. They have a vegetarian lo mein, and vegetarian dish with rice noodles, both of which I like, and several spicy chicken dishes that are good. 


However, Sheldon's bakery does serve food (pasties, I think) inside, so I may very well go there instead the next time. I have heard that they make an excellent 7-grain bread and excellent saffron bread, which I have never had. I think they might have a breakfast pasty, too, and if they sell them cold or frozen, I might get some, just to vary the menu.


Thankfully, I am not in the state I was several years ago when nothing tasted good for breakfast, but I don't feel like a ham and cheese omelet every morning, and my other choices are few right now. I need protein, and lots of it, when I do eat my first meal of the day, which means that cereal is usually out of the question. 


I might have to try hot cereal and a muffin with peanut butter again, but I will have to pick my time, since I've had that combination send me into a serious sugar low. My favorite way to eat hot cereal is the way I concocted at the other house, with a handful of dried cherries or cranberries in the bottom and a dollop of maple cream to sweeten it...and warmed milk, of course. But I had to stop that, because I was getting sugar lows from it every time I ate it. American Spoon Foods has very nice dried cranberries and dried cherries, and I may have to get some here and try that combination again. My sugar has been pretty good lately.


Anyway, back to the day. Then it was off to Econo, even though my feet and legs were already killing me. I guess I got most of what I wanted - minus toilet paper, again. I stocked up on frozen dinners, although they really don't have a very good selection, and got some more of my favorite frozen vegetable combination, a lot of wine, and stuff like that. 


For two years I have had a shipping box in the great room with another smaller box on top of it, full of trims that I got from a place called Home Sew. I want to put them in storage boxes, but I really wanted to sort them by type before I did, and I just couldn't find big enough clear plastic bags. Well...the Ziploc bag people, apparently feeling the pinch from the One-Zip people, have come out with ziploc bags the size of small and medium garbage bags, but clear, with ziploc closings. You can believe I pounced on those!


Now I have a decision to make. I would like to get those things packed away and the boxes out of the great room, but that pile has become one of Buster's favorite sleeping places. It's high, out of the way, and he can see me almost where ever I am. He can see me in the office or the powder room, and he was looking out the window and watching me in the garage as I unloaded the car tonight. In this weather, I leave the garage door open while I unload. A fly or two might get in, but nothing serious, and I can see better. So, what do I do? Pack away the trims neatly and get them out of the way, or leave Buster's spot where it is? Dear me!


Maybe the answer is to try to acquire one of those cat perches that attach to the windowsill, although the way these windows are made, that might not work. So I have to decide what to do next.


Anyway, I did make it out of Econo, at a reasonable price, considering how long it's been since I shopped in earnest, and I bought boos. I almost bought a small bottle of Meyer's Rum (the dark kind), because I've been thinking what would happen if I mixed it with limeade over crushed ice...mmm...Planter's Punch! That's a way to get snockered in a hurry! My daddy and grandpa used to make them with real limes and simple syrup, but I don't see why limeade wouldn't work just as well...mmm... However, there is an almost full fifth at Champine, and now I really won't need it until next summer. Meyer's Rum is more expensive than JD, I think...mmm...My mama's recipe box has a recipe for a bundt cake that has nuts and brown sugar swirled in it, and after it's cooked, you pierce it with a skewer and pour rum over it...and that makes one of the best non-chocolate cakes I know about! Mmmm....


I was really tottering by the time I got out of Econo, but I was able to sit down while I got gas. Econo-Shell, Holiday and some of the BP and Citgo stations have gas for $3.00 (or $2.999, if you must). The highest I saw was $3.10. So considering how far away we are up here, I'd say our gas prices are pretty reasonable under the circumstances. The Indian-run stations down in Baraga may be cheaper. However $53 for a fill-up (not even a whole tank) still gives me sticker shock.


Then it was homeward bound, and I sat for a long time listening to ATC before I unloaded the car. I think part of my problem with my legs is actually my feet. I do not own a comfortable pair of shoes right now, but after I took my shoes off and put on a pair of slippers, and I sat a while, I was able to unload without much problem. I do have more to put away, including some fresh pork sausage which needs to be packed up and frozen (and I was so enchanted by my big ziploc bags that I forgot to get small ones...oh, well, I do have One-zips). However, the cold stuff is stashed someplace in the fridge, so that is good, and it is getting cool enough that the breezeway, where I have had the windows open all summer, will get cool enough to keep everything else.


It was an absolutely gorgeous day. When I got up, around 9:00, there was not a cloud in the sky, and the temperature had just made it over 60º from its overnight low of 56º. By the time I started out, there were a few minor clouds, and when I started back there were a few more, but nothing to spoil the pristine day. The temperature in town was about 73º. Here, it got to about 67º. Actually, that 73º is deceptive. It was one of those days when the temperature you felt depended upon where you were. If you were in the sun and out of the breeze (of which there wasn't much), it was hotter than .... If you were in the breeze or in the shade, it was lovely. The inside of my car got really hot, but I was able to get the temperature down pretty well by leaving the windows open for a while. I usually keep the windows shut when I'm at highway speeds, because I get blown around too much, and it had cooled down so nicely before I got to the covered road that I didn't need much outside air.


I forgot to look for Venus tonight, and she's set by now, but there is a very orange moon just about to set over the West Bluff, out of the sight of the camera.  Last night was clear all night, although I have to say transparency wasn't what it could have been. We had a lovely red sunset tonight and it looks like there will be another clear night.


There weren't any northern lights last night, and that's interesting. Just before I went to bed, there was an AstroAlert, because the sun belched forth a very strong CME, although it wasn't in our direction, exactly. Some radiation associated with it did disrupt cellular communications in the south yesterday, and there was a strong enough x-ray ejection to saturate one of the detectors in a satellite. This sunspot group is just rotating into view, so if it continues to hiccup, for the next two weeks there is a good possibility that there may be color and light shows. We're just on the southern boundary for most northern lights, so we are more likely to see them than people further south. Much as we need rain, I do wish we'd preserve our clear skies for a while. A good northern lights show is one of the most mesmerizing things I have ever seen, and I'll gladly give up my sleep to watch it. Stay tuned...


So now I am very tired, and I have had the rest of my flank steak, and it is high time I tottered down the hall and called it a night. Before that, I need to reboot the computer, and I always stay to make sure that works right, because if I don't it doesn't. So that was my active day, and the stars are shining on the field again.


September 7

Well, finally I managed a good night's sleep. I don't know what was different, but after I closed the porch door, I settled down, and with very few interruptions I slept well until 10:00 this morning. There were several very weird dreams, but that didn't seem to bother me a lot. And I feel considerably better. Maybe I can do the same tonight.


It was a shame I didn't feel like getting up earlier, because it was a truly beautiful morning, perfectly clear, with a nice northwest breeze and temperature in the low 60s, but it was still nice when I got up and it stayed that way for the entire day. A cloudbank did move over in the afternoon, but it went away around 7:00, and the evening has been as pristine as the morning was, and there is now almost no wind at all. So pretty!


I was enjoying that and contemplating what to have for breakfast when Nancy called to ask if I would be interested in going to lunch with her and some of her other friends. Well, I don't turn down invitations like that! So instead of having a rather uninspired breakfast here, I had lunch at Harbor Haus with four other very nice ladies. It was very good and most pleasant altogether.


Before I went, I sat down and real quick paid a few bills, then I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. When I went back to the post office, I had a nice chat with my neighbor Ron, and then as I was about to leave, my neighbor two doors north and his wife pulled up. She doesn't spend much time here, so I had to talk to her, too, which was very pleasant. So I had a rather social day.


I ate so much lunch that I really wasn't too interested in dinner, so I finished off my deli salads (it was time to do that anyway) and sat in the ugly chair to watch the moon, Venus and Jupiter in an almost straight line parallel to the horizon. That has puzzled me a tad, because what I am seeing doesn't match the pictures in Sky & Telescope very well, until I realized that their charts are drawn for latitude 40º north, and I'm at 47.5º...and that 7.5º makes a real difference in things on the ecliptic. Anyway, it was pretty. The camera only caught it in its last picture, and then only the moon and Venus. I will be aiming the camera a tad to the north soon, because the sun is now setting over Hunter's Point, but it was good that it was aimed so far south tonight, so that I could catch that picture. 


I spent the latter part of the afternoon working on the bracelet, which is now almost half done, so that's good. It has occurred to me that I haven't picked up an embroidery needle since April or so, so once these bracelets are done, I may put the beads aside for a while. I did want to do some things with larger beads, but I may just postpone that and work on my poor angel for a while. She has been neglected for a long time.


The temperature topped out around 66º, but by the time I got back from lunch, the wind had dropped so I opened the porch door and later, the slider in the great room, and Buster was most pleased. I think he has spent most of the time on the porch, staring over the deck. I don't know what he sees in the bushes, but there must be something utterly fascinating there. He doesn't like wind at all, but when it's nearly calm, he really enjoys being on the porch.


So now it is time to go try this sleep thing again. I am going to town tomorrow, so I do hope I have a good night's sleep tonight. It should be pretty good, from all the signs. The temperature is supposed to go down into the 50s, but there isn't supposed to be much wind, so that should provide good conditions.


The stars are shining on the field tonight.


September 6

That didn't work. I guess I'm just going through one of those periods that middle aged ladies have, where their sleep is disrupted. I will try again tonight. It has to stop sometime. It might tonight, if the temperature goes down like it's supposed to...but it won't get that cold here. And maybe part of my problem last night was that it was 70º all night long, and I had the door open. It was windy, and Buster didn't like that. Although I didn't get hot or anything, and I didn't think the noise (except Buster's) bothered me. Something certainly did.


Anyway, it was a partly cloudy night. Sometimes when I got up, I could see some stars and sometimes not. When I did get up this morning, it was very cloudy and threatening looking all morning, and around 1:00 we had a brief shower. After that, it began to clear up, and the late afternoon and evening have been beautiful. There is some haze in the west, but I should be able to see Venus and Jupiter tonight, and maybe even the teensy sliver of a moon. 


However, it was warm. As I mentioned, the temperature was around 70º until about 1:00, then it climbed to 80º, and only the wind kept it tolerable. It's rather humid, too, and that doesn't help. Anyway, I put on shorts this morning, and then before I ate breakfast I got cold. But with some fuel in me, I felt better, and as it warmed up, I was glad I was dressed for summer. It was weird, again. The wind had been out of the southwest all night and half the morning, but all of a sudden, it shifted west and picked up, and we had gusts up to 24 mph around 3:00. It is still from the northwest now, which is the best direction, but it usually dies away around sunset, at least for a while. I don't think the wind is prone to those abrupt shifts in the big city, and I never seem to get used to them. If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes...


I think I mentioned a while back that I had found a pair of shorts that had been misplaced...well, they're gone again. I like them: they're Eddie Bauer's Darlington Trail Shorts, and they have big cargo pockets that make them a little more interesting than my regular shorts. Where in the world they have gone to, I just do not know. It's really weird. All I could find was the pair I had shipped to Champine last fall and just unpacked a while back. I swear, there is a black hole in my house...


I didn't do a lot today, and I looked at the computer in the sunshine until my eye got sore again. I did a little work on my glove cuff, and I started, with some difficulty, a snowflake bracelet. And that was about it.


I remembered that the reason I usually go to town on Tuesday or Thursday is so I can stop at Hughes, so I've decided to go Thursday. I have some bills  to mail tomorrow, and there is usually a ton of mail after a holiday weekend, and maybe I can get enough sleep to be useful? We'll see.


So now the sun has set again, and the wind has dropped to a light breeze, and I just saw the little moon above the haze. The sky is still too bright for the camera to catch it, but it will.


It's a pretty night in the field.


September 5

Well, happy Labor Day, everybody. I hope you all got to do what you wanted to today.


I really did crash last night - I was in bed by 9:00. I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, though. I was up at least six times overnight, and even though I pretty much went back to sleep, still that's a lot of interruptions. I finally rolled out at 10:00, and I do feel better. I've had kind of a sinus headache all day, though, so I feel the need for another early night and long sleep.


It was not cloudy for most of the night, but seeing wasn't very good, and I could tell that the same high cloud layer that was over us all day was there after about 3:00. There were no more light shows. I guess in the years of the quiet sun, you just have to grab those whenever they come and count yourself lucky.


I didn't do much today, but I did finally finish the bracelet I've been working on. That does it for copper beads for a while. I want to make at least three more snowflake bracelets - short, medium and long, the long one being for me. Then I think I will put the seed beads aside for a while and work on other things. I think. I'll see how I feel when the next batch is done.


As I mentioned, there were high clouds overhead for much of the day, so it wasn't as sunny as predicted, and I guess that was just as well. The temperature was around 65º all night, then it rose into the upper 70s, and actually got a tad over 80º around 4:00, but there was a nice southwest wind, and I actually had the house closed up until around then. It's down to 77º or so now, still with that balmy breeze. it could be a tad less humid - the dew point is 63º - but otherwise it's a nice evening, and it looks like there may even be a sunset.


They are predicting warm with a chance of thundershowers tomorrow, but it's supposed to cool down on Wednesday, so I think I will postpone my trip to town until then. I do need gas, and I'm also running out of orange juice, and I discovered that I am very low on TV dinners. I may stop at Kirkish Furniture and check out the price of upright freezers, although I think I will postpone the purchase until after this month's credit card closing date. Several people have recommended Schwan frozen foods, which are delivered to your door, and I want to investigate that, if only to have some more choices for breakfast. I don't mind cooking sometimes, but there isn't room in my fridge's freezer for any home-made TV dinners either, and as it gets cooler, I'll be wanting to make soup and maybe some other things to freeze. There is so much in the freezer on Champine that I may try to bring some back when I'm there in October, too.


I treated myself to another night at Harbor Haus tonight, so I am pretty much set for the week, since I brought half of my dinner home both last night and tonight. Last night the place was a zoo, with lots of large parties and lots of people waiting. Tonight was more like a normal Sunday night, so I guess they had two Saturdays this weekend. One thing I like about the place is that it doesn't seem to matter how busy they are, the food is always just as good. And one of the waitresses, who was there as a customer, told me she had a couple last night who read this and watch the camera and said they were there because they read about it here. I hope they were happy with their dinners. I do hate to recommend restaurants to people, especially expensive ones, because one never knows about other people's taste or pocketbooks, but I think Harbor Haus is a pretty fine place, and I count Chris, at least, as a friend, so it's a pleasure to help her and Ron out, if only a little.


When you're there, look down at the east end of the harbor and wave at the house in the middle. I may not see you waving, but my ears may get warm.


I really wanted to sit in the ugly chair when I got home, but the sun was shining right on it, so I guess I'm exiled from it until it gets cold, when it feels good to sit in the sun.


The sun is setting before 8:25 now, and there are only a little more than 13 hours of daylight. We're losing almost 25 minutes of daylight a week now, which is about the max, so we are sliding swiftly down to the dark part of the year. I don't mention sunrise very often, because I don't very often see it, but it was a 7:15 this morning, and getting later by a minute or so every day. That's payback for the lovely days of May (which I missed), June and early July, when it seemed almost like it was light all the time.


We really need rain. I've noticed lately that the leaves on a lot of the trees are hanging straight down, and on some of the small, more stressed trees, they are turning brown and drying up. Curiously enough, a lot of the bracken in more shady places is still green, but that won't last much longer. This has been an exceptionally dry summer, and while too much rain for the next couple of months will spoil the autumn colors, I hope we have more rain than we've had since June. I hate to see the trees going into winter so stressed - it means that more of them won't survive.


So the sun seems to have gone behind a bank of clouds over the lake, the balmy breeze is still blowing, and maybe, if I can get this uploaded, I can sit in the ugly chair for a while, at least, before I try for another long night's sleep.


September 4

Tonight, I may get to bed before the sun sets. I didn't go early last night, because I wanted to finish my drink slowly, so I read a magazine and it was after 11:30 before I turned out the lights.


I was awake about 1:00 and noticed a rather bright glow in the north, behind the trees, and I thought, oh, that's nice. I got up again shortly after 3:00, and when I looked out the bathroom window, I said, "Oh, wow!" and went to get my glasses.


There was a pilar shooting toward zenith, and over the pillar there were a succession of horizontal bars, starting as low as I could see and moving up toward the zenith. They were moving fast, and sometimes there was more than one. Then there was a cloud that got up to Polaris, and the pillar went away, but the horizontal bars, and a couple of little clouds, continued for ten or fifteen minutes. They looked like the rays from searchlights, except that they were parallel to the horizon, and they were moving faster than the lighthouse (and it makes a circuit in 6 seconds - thanks, Arthur). It was just the neatest thing. By 3:30 it was all over and I went back to bed with a smile on my face.


However, my rest had been interrupted again, and when I woke up at 9:00, it was such a beautiful day, and I knew that if I went back to sleep then, it would be noon before I got up. So I am really tired now, and I am bound and determined to get to bed early and sleep long.


The sky was rather clearer than they had predicted last night - I was seeing 4th magnitude stars through the screen - and most of the day today has been just as beautifully clear, with a light southwest breeze. The temperature actually did get down to 50º overnight, but it warmed up quickly, and it's been hovering around 70º all day long. Now there are some cirrus clouds in the sky, and whether or not they stay around depends upon who you believe. The Clear Sky Clock says  not, but the NWS is saying a safe "partly cloudy". We'll see. Sometimes clouds form late in the afternoon, then go away at sunset, but these are cirrus clouds, so I don't know. There were no reports of solar activity, but someone out in Alberta saw a brief, active display, too, so I was not alone.


Ever since I've been staying here, I always check the sky when I get up to go to the bathroom, and I tell everybody else to do the same. You never know when you will see something amazing. This one didn't last long, but it was worth watching. I even had a brief thought about going outside to see it, but since the temperature was down around 50º at the time, and by the time I got dressed it would probably have been over, I'm glad I didn't. Anyway, it was a really neat display, and I wish (again) I had an unobstructed northern horizon. Oh, well.


So I didn't do much at all today except to fill bird feeders, and I'm not going to be up long tonight. Sometime I have just got to get caught up on my sleep!


Buster wanted some of my breakfast, but then he spit it up, so he spent the rest of the day asleep in the bedroom. He seems fine now, though. Whatever causes him to do that, I don't know, and he never learns. If I have another omelet tomorrow, he will want some ham and cheese again.


So that is my quiet day, and I can only hope for another light show tonight. Even the quiet sun acts up now and then.


September 3

I'm writing this early, because I did not have a good night last night. I went right to sleep, and was up once or twice, and about 3:30 I started having cramps, and I spent the next hour or more sitting in the bathroom. Finally, everything that was going to come out seemed to have come, so I took a couple of Imodium and went to bed. Then I did sleep, with one break, until nearly 10:00, but I never get enough sleep when I am awake for that long in the middle of the night.


The only good thing about it was that it was a clear night, and there were stars. I was awake at 5:30 or so, and when I looked out the bathroom window, there was a definite bright glow in the north behind the trees. It was low enough in the sky that I couldn't see much (but then, I can't see much without my glasses), but it was in the north, not the east. So even the quiet sun is capable of producing a few fireworks.


It was a pretty day today, partly sunny and not windy at all. The temperature was nearly constant in the low 60s. Now that the sun has set (at 8:30 already!), the harbor is like glass. 


I didn't do much, but I made a start at sorting out the piles in the office, and I now have an orange bag almost full of boxes, newspapers and catalogs. I also got my checkbook up to date, and I determined that i did not misplace the propane bill. So I did a few things.


It was hard, because all day long, I felt like I had a burr in the corner of my right eye, and that annoys me. It is just tiredness, and it happens a lot. By winking at the planets the other night, I determined that while my left eye is now almost perfectly corrected, the right one isn't anymore, and that will cause eyestrain, more when I haven't had enough sleep.


While I was facing the harbor, I noticed fluttering in the tree, and when I looked with the binoculars, there was a mama goldfinch stuffing stuff into the gullet of a fledgling who was just about as big as she was. While I was watching, another one flew up and kicked the first guy out of the way, then it fluttered and mama stuffed stuff in its gullet, before she flew off...at which time the two fledglings moved onto the thistle sock and did for themselves. But they'd clearly prefer to have mama serve them. I don't often get to see that, and I love it.


I remember a few years back, before the  house, when I watched a mother Nashville warbler feeding her fledgling in the birch tree which is now behind the deck. That was another magical moment, as well as adding a new bird to my life list.


I suspect that mom goldfinch will start ignoring the babies in a day or so, now that she has shown them where the food is.


Something has been eating the seed out of the big feeder, but I haven't seen who it is. As I thought, though, the chickadees and nuthatches have appropriated the smaller, white feeder, which is out of the camera picture, and it looks like the nuthatches have increased over the summer, too.


I had dinner with Shirley again, and I'm happy to report that Mariner was very busy tonight, with lots of large groups, so evidently the gas price isn't keeping a lot of people home. I think it would have to come to an actual shortage for that to happen. 


Afterwards, I succumbed and went down to the ice cream shop and got Buster and me a nice dish of Jibert's best. Buster loves ice cream almost as much as I do, and he got his share. I had to pick flavors with no chocolate in them, because chocolate is poisonous to cats, but that's all right. Even Jilbert's vanilla is exceptional. So we had blueberries and cream and pecan praline, both of which were just fine to both of us.


I don't do that very often - only one other time this summer - but George and Brenda will be closing up soon, and I really do love ice cream. They are nice people, too, and I like to talk to them, although it was busy enough tonight that there wasn't much time for that. I wanted to make sure I said goodbye to them before they leave.


So now I am ready to toddle up to the north end and hope to get a decent night's sleep tonight. I do have these periods of lousy sleep, but I haven't for a while and I find it quite annoying.


Venus and Jupiter are peeking out of the last clouds of the day, and Venus is now way to the left of Jupiter, so I guess I did see them at about their nearest approach, a couple of days ago. They were actually closest on Thursday, but we weren't seeing stars that evening, with the gale blowing and all. I don't think Jupiter is moving much, but Venus is moving south at a great rate. This time she has been about the same distance from the horizon since I first saw her in June, but she has moved steadily south and i suppose she will soon disappear. A couple of years ago, at her last evening apparition, she was very high in the sky for most of the summer, and that was a pretty sight indeed. 


So that is a nice way to end the evening, and the stars are shining in the field tonight.


September 2

It was a very noisy night in the field last night. The wind was from the northwest, and it was hitting the front of the house with force. Every so often, something would go "crack!" or "creak!", and for the rest of the time, it sounded like it was trying to tear the siding off the house. The wind at the NWS station never got over 29 mph with gusts to 32 mph, but there is a lake station at Stannard Rock, which is southeast of Keweenaw Point and almost due north of Marquette, and it was reporting sustained winds of 49 mph for part of the night. I don't think it got quite that bad here, but I'd put it in the mid 30s, at least until about 3:30. Then it quieted down some, and it's been abating ever since.


Anyway, I guess I'd forgotten how noisy it can be. Besides, it wasn't very cool, so I was having temperature problems again. And just about the time I solved those and the noise began to die down, Buster found a very lively mouse, which he played with for what seemed to be a very long time. I do wish I knew where those mice go. I keep having fears of stumbling across someplace with dozens of desiccated little bodies laid out.


After that, we were both tired, and we slept until about 9:30, although I was up a couple of times and had to kick him out of bed. He was pretty tired today, too, but he got to catch up on his sleep. I didn't. So I'll try it again tonight.


The past 24 hours have seen periods of clouds followed by periods of clear skies. When I was awake around 3:30, it was clear, although the skies weren't very transparent. I actually put on my glasses, and I determined that the star I see setting just north of the tree is Altair. Vega is quite far north, behind a pine, and Deneb is still quite high in the sky, out of view. Oh. So now I know what I'm seeing after Arcturus sets. A while later, it was cloudy again. When I got up, it was sunny with lots of fluffy white clouds, and it was off and on like that all day. A couple of times it looked almost like it might rain, but no such luck.


It was windy today, too, and there were lots of whitecaps on the harbor. The Isle Royal Queen didn't leave for the island until about 1:00, and it just got back around 8:00. Yesterday, I guess they came back very early. I sure know I wouldn't have wanted to be on that boat either day! Last evening, the Mid-Superior buoy was reporting waves over 8'. I know strong stomachs run in my family (my parents were on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean when nearly everybody else, including the crew, was sick, but they weren't, and of course my father spent WWII on an LST in the Pacific), but I don't know what all the chemo may have done to mine.


The wind is slowly winding down now, and I would put it at breezy but not windy.  The wind has been out of the northwest for the entire time of this storm. And this is the first one all summer. I don't remember more than a couple of other times when there were whitecaps. Usually we have one blow sometime in July or early August, so this one is really late. I think it's fun to watch, from the safety of my house. It's fun to run down the road to the shore, too, but I'm trying to conserve gas.


On that topic, I need to go to town next week, and I'm cringing to think what I may find in the way of gas prices. Oh, well. Here, of all places, we have to have cars, and cars take gas. There may be less joy riding up and down the shoreline, and Shirley and I were speculating about what it may mean for the rest of the season. Usually this weekend is a big one, and the first weekend of October is big, too, but from what they say about gas supplies, we may have seen pretty much the last of our tourists. There were a number of campers going toward Ft. Wilkins when I went to dinner tonight, but the full import of what happened in the Gulf may not have dawned on them yet.


I ate the slow breakfast, and yes, I did unload the dishwasher, but I left a good pile of stuff in the sink that I will have to get at tomorrow...the broiler pan from last night, and my dishes from this morning. I have some new stuff to try on the broiler pan and the pan I fry sausage in, and that will be interesting.


I spent most of the day working on the latest bracelet, and I have about 2" left to go, so that is good. I'm getting anxious to work on some more snowflake bracelets, so this one seems kind of boring. I spent some time watching the intrepid goldfinches clinging to the perches of the feeders. I didn't see any hummingbirds, but that may just be that I wasn't looking at the right time.


I also have spent a good deal of time looking at the Resource Meter as I start and stop programs, and I think I'm seeing that I lose about 3% of my real memory every time a program closes. They do give back some memory, but there is that residual 3% that never comes back, and even the new utility that someone recommended doesn't get it back. While I haven't watched the process of uploading the camera picture yet, it invokes Windows Explorer to do its renames, and I'd be willing to bet I lose 3% every time it does. No wonder, when I got back from Detroit, there wasn't enough memory left to start IE! What a piece of junk!


I may be going to get my ethernet cable put through the wall tomorrow, and when I do, I think I will have to bite the bullet and at least look at some software updates. The broadband is fast enough and stable enough that I think I can do them now. It does mean that the three computers will be out of sync until December, but I guess that isn't the worst thing that could happen. After all, the Champine one doesn't have a CD drive right now.


I had dinner with Shirley tonight, and that was nice. It wasn't very busy in Mariner tonight, and I hope that is because it's Friday and everybody isn't here yet, rather than that everybody decided not to come. The Kauppis have done all right, but in general, business has been down this summer for the town.


So that is all I know, and I'm yawning. It's quieter in the field tonight, and maybe that means more sleep?


September 1

It's the first of September, and we're having a gale!


I was a good girl, and I got into bed about 10:30, but around midnight, I woke up with a very sore hip, and it was about 2:30 before it finally stopped hurting and I went back to sleep. As a result, it was 10:00 before I finally rolled out of bed, having almost made up the sleep I lost. However, it was another short day.


I've thought for a long time that I probably have arthritis in my hips, too, just because it is no longer possible for me to sit cross-legged, as I did for the first 30 years of my life. For various reasons, including some small kidney damage, I can't take anything stronger than extra-strength Tylenol, and that just doesn't do much for arthritis pain. The only thing I can do when something gets sore is go and sit someplace, usually the bathroom, until the brain chemicals finally kick in. Sometimes it takes a couple of hours.


I was most amused that my late-morning dream was about playing contract bridge. I played a lot of that in college, but it has to be 35 years since I've held a bridge hand, so what brought that up, I do not know. I was pretty good, I must say, although I was always a stronger player than bidder. Bidding depends too much on who you're playing with, but I could always count cards and figure out a playing strategy. Oh, well. It was interesting enough that I almost - almost - went out into the net to see if I could brush up on  my bidding skills. On some computer or other, I had a bridge game, but it's long gone. There is really no need for me to look into it, except that it's a skill I once had that I've just lost...use it or lose it, again.


Anyway, I woke up to a gorgeous morning, clear and sunny, with a very light wind, and a temperature of almost 70º...just perfect! I was minding the computer sometime around 11:00, when all of a sudden (these things never seem to build up slowly) the wind started to blow, and I mean, blow, upwards of 20 mph, and the gale was on. Well...it hasn't reached a gale around here, but we have had some gusts over 35 mph, I'm sure. There were whitecaps galore on the harbor, and the poor little birdies had to cling to the feeders in order to eat.


It was clear for quite a while, then the clouds started to roll in, and right before sunset - around 7:45 - we had a short shower, so that the window in front of the camera was covered with drops when the sun poked out of the cloud bank and turned the sky to orange for a while. 


It's still cloudy and very windy, and it will be a good night to sleep. I always sleep better when the wind is buffeting the side of the house and the lake is speaking loudly. The only thing that makes it not really perfect is that the temperature is still in the 60s. It's much better when it's cold, and I can hunker down under the covers and listen to the song of the lake.


Buster does not like gales, and he has been bugging me at intervals all day. I think he would have sat on my lap all day long if I'd let him.


However, I washed dishes, and you know something? The whole procedure is much easier when I load the dirty dishes as I use them, which means unloading the clean ones tomorrow morning. Maybe someday I'll learn.


Well...I used to know that. When I was working, I was very disciplined about things like dishwashers and clothes washing. The clean dishes were always unloaded the next morning, while the coffee brewed. The clothes were washed on either Saturday or Sunday, every week, and the bed was changed every two weeks, as were the towels. Then I retired, and all my good discipline has just drained away. Too bad, but the fact is, I am, and always have been, a most undisciplined person. I buckle down when I have to, and not otherwise.


I also finished the bracelet I've been working on for so long. It turned out, when I picked it up, that I was within about 5 rows of the end, so all I had to do was the decreases and the clasp. So that is done, finally, and I've started on the one with the copper background and blue and green twist. I think I mentioned that that one is difficult to do, because late in the day, it's hard to tell the difference between the blue and green beads. However, I think I have about an inch done, so I will have to get at it in the morning, when I can see better.


I actually cooked dinner tonight, if you can call broiling a steak cooking. Haven't done that in some time, but the freezer doesn't have many TV dinners, and I was tired of eating deli salads. 


While I was doing that, I noticed that the sun is now setting over Porter Island, and if I had the camera aimed better, it would be setting within camera range. It sort of slipped up on me.


Buster wanted some steak juice, which he can't have, because it doesn't agree with him, and it is now dark...really dark, because it's mostly cloudy outside. So I will get this published, and last month uploaded, then it's off to try the early-to-bed routine again.


It's noisy in the field tonight, and autumn is upon us.



Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM