A View From the Field

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November, 2005

 

November 30

Well, November is history. I think I try to hang on to every moment because they are going by so fast. Sometimes I wonder if I got up earlier, the days would seem to last longer, but I doubt it, because I still need at least 10 hours' sleep, so if I got up at 7:00, I'd have to be in bed by 9:00 anyway, and that would cut the evenings.

 

When I got to the office this morning, there was a hourglass on the screen, and the entire machine was hung. This time it was a part of Norton, and what caused it to hang is totally beyond me. Everything was OK when I left last night. Weird. 

 

So anyway, the first picture was around 10:30. You didn't miss anything much, though. The view was the same all day - cloudy, dark, and with intermittent light snow squalls. The LES (lake effect snow) machine is working, but not in high gear, partly because it's so cold. The temperature has slowly fallen from 25 at midnight to around 20 now, but there isn't much wind. While there has been some snow for most of the day, there has been hardly any accumulation, except for a nice drift right in front of the office slider. Figures.

 

I actually like this weather, not that I was out in it much. Somehow, the clean air makes it much more comfortable here than in Detroit. One reason is probably that in Detroit, any wind at all gets magnified by the buildings and when it whips around a corner and hits you in the face, it can be brutal. It would have to be a lot more windy (which I'm sure it will be) here to feel like that...or maybe I'm getting used to it, if you leave out my hands and feet.

 

I guess I accomplished most of what I intended today. It was hard...sweeping floors is hard work, at least for me, and my back was acting up. I got most of the flies swept up, most of the trash out (although as usual, I forgot the fridge), and most of the kitchen counters cleaned. I have a bit more to do there, the sink counter and the floor, but I think it's under control, more or less.

 

I did spend some time (finally) putting together my log holder, and now I have a call in to Williams-Sonoma, because there was no picture of the final thing, I had thrown out the catalog, and it just doesn't seem right. The instructions were, to say the least, brief, and some parts of it don't seem to fit just right. However, it will do. I wanted to do that, because I wanted to get the box out of the great room. It's still there, but it will go tomorrow.

 

I rushed some and exhausted myself, because I wanted to get to the compactor before it got dark. It is unlocked all the time now, which is good, because it was about 5:15 before I got there, and I had six bags to toss in. Some were huge and light and some were small and heavy (the catalogs). So even though everything I wanted to pitch didn't get in, most of the trash is now gone. A good job. I have to go to the post office one last time tomorrow, and I may just put the rest of the stuff in a bag and take it then. Hmm...Not a bad thought.

 

So now I am taking a dinner break while one of Buster's fleece throws and one of my tops are washing, then I will do the dishes so that the dishwasher isn't packed full when I get back (I hate that). I guess we'll make it.

 

There is supposed to be snow on Friday, but then, there is snow every day, so I guess I will plan to leave then, unless I simply can't get myself together tomorrow. It may be a slow trip, but oh, well.

 

My goodness, how I hate to go! Part of it is just that long drive, with the cat howling in the back, but the longer I am here the less I want to leave, and that's how it is.

 

So it is another dark and snowy night in the field, and I don't want to leave it.

 

November 29

It sure was nice not to have to fight FrontPage very much to get this uploaded last night, even though I had to start it twice. Now if I could only discover why it does what it does, and how to get around it.

 

Anyway, I got to bed at a reasonable hour, but I am beginning to think about the leaving, so it took me a while to get to sleep. Once I decided what to do today, though, it was all right. It was warm in the bedroom, but that was all right, too.

 

My goodness, my fingers aren't coordinating very well tonight!

 

Anyway, I didn't get up early, and I didn't start early, but I did accomplish something. I got to the post office early and turned in my package, my bills, my change-of-address and Miranda's bill and had a conversation with Clyde before I came back.

 

I had decided that the task of the day was the breezeway. There was so much stuff that needed to be put someplace, including a lot of empty bags. It is all pretty much sorted out, except for the stuff I brought back in August (and some stuff I brought in June!) and never brought inside. That is now in the hallway and will be put someplace tomorrow. Trouble is, I brought all my flannel up here, and I think I will take a couple of pieces back, along with the patterns, and see if maybe, just maybe, I can get a couple of nightgowns cut out. Now all of my flannel nightgowns have rips in the right sleeve, so it is high time for some new ones. If I can get some cut out, I can sew them here when I get back, maybe.

 

Anyway, tomorrow is cleaning, including a trip to the dumpster, and Thursday is packing. I think it might work.

 

It was a good day to turn inward, I must say. The temperature started out at around 45 at midnight and it has been dropping all day, slowly through the night (it was still 39 when I got to the office), then quicker through the afternoon, and it's now in the mid 20s. It started out raining more or less heavily, and around noon the rain began to turn to snow. Even though there hasn't been enough precip to register at the NWS station, it's been snowing lightly all afternoon, and I suppose it still is. The only fortunate thing is, the blizzard that hit the far midwest seems to have fizzled, and we are apparently not going to get dumped on.

 

My attempts to do anything were hampered both by my back, which was sore, and by Buster, who wanted to sit on my lap all the time. I think he thinks, in his fuzzy little mind, that if he keeps me from doing anything, we won't go. Sorry, Buster.

 

So it's now later than I thought it was, and it's time to trundle off to the north end again. It's a snowy, blowy night in the field tonight.

 

November 28

Wow, what a night, and what a lost day! I was on dial backup when I uploaded the journal, and for whatever reason, the upload of all the image files went just like clockwork...very slow clockwork, like three and a half hour's worth! Since I knew that if I left it and went to bed, it would crap out (Murphy's laws and all that), I stayed and watched it...until about 2:20 this morning! So I jumped into bed and slept until nearly 11:00 this morning, which essentially shot the day.

 

I did make a few phone calls and got some address changes squared around, I think. And that was about it.

 

I went to the post office, and forgot the bills I paid last night, but that's all right, because my new boots were there and they are too small too (gad, what's happening to my feet?!), so they will have to be sent back. There were a lot more catalogs to throw out (any women's clothing catalog that calls a size 16 an "XL" gets pitched without a further glance), so it was just as well that I didn't get the trash collected.

 

The main reason I didn't try to get all the trash together is that it was raining, sometimes only a drizzle, and sometimes quite hard, all day long. There was a lot of fog and the temperature started out around 40 and rose for most of the day until now it's officially around 46. It was a good day to look in the other direction, although I should have filled the bird feeders. Tomorrow.

 

Now I hope to get a very early start at the sleep thing, and maybe an earlier morning than before, and while I eat, decide what has to be done and what doesn't over the next three days.

 

As usual, I'm trying to ignore what I don't want to do, but it has to be done after all. Even knowing I'll be back in a month doesn't help at this point, it only makes it a bit easier to get ready. But it's always hard, and I always don't want to do it.

 

It's dark and drizzly tonight in the field.

 

November 27

The reason I didn't sleep very well last night was obvious - I was hot. In fact, I was so hot that in the middle of the night, I got up and put on my cotton nightie. That helped, but it was still warm...or I was. 

 

The reason was that the temperature outside was around 35 all night long, with southwest winds that started out brisk but soon fell off to nothing. The temperature continued rising all day long, and is now (officially) 41, it is nearly calm and very foggy and rainy. I think I'd rather have a blizzard.

 

I did manage to accomplish a little today. My desk is (or was) as clean as it's been in some time. The filing is done except for the financial stuff, and that will be done before I go to bed. Mostly there is a lot of stuff to throw out, but I have to look at it all, of course, before I throw. Those were the two things that were bugging me. There is a lot more to do, but that chore (which I really hate) is done.

 

I was working on the desk when I got a call from Peggy inviting me to a birthday dinner for Shirley, so of course I went. It wasn't all the kids, but she did invite the Twarziks, too, so we had a nice time, although I confess I was late. I am going to have to get back into lets-be-on-time mode before I get to the big city, believe me.

 

As I mentioned, it was a misty-moisty, warm, rainy day today, and when it got dark, it began to get really foggy. Slipping and sliding up the hill in the dark and the fog was interesting, I have to say!

 

I did manage to get a couple of addresses changed - the few that really need it - just before the broadband went down, so I am now on dial backup again. After I upload this, I will try the broadband again. On average, though, I don't think I have as much trouble with the broadband as I used to with the phone line, so I really can't complain. When I think of all the links it takes to get from Calumet to me, it isn't surprising that it hiccups every so often. Sometimes it's just a transient thing - it went down last night, but rebooting fixed it - and sometimes it's something somebody has to work on. We'll see this time.

 

So that is all I know, and I will get this uploaded and start on the basket of stuff that needs to be sorted...wouldn't it be nice to be disciplined enough that I did it every month? Fat chance. There are some new tricks you can teach an old cat, and some tricks you can't.

 

It's warm and quiet in the field tonight.

 

November 26

For some reason I didn't sleep very well last night, so I'll try it again tonight and see. I did get up at a fairly reasonable hour, but I didn't do much...unloaded the dishwasher and put away all the pots and pans and shoveled the front porch.

 

I shoveled the porch because around 2:30 this afternoon, Donny and Tom arrived and in about 10 minutes had the tree and all the rest of the larger debris off the deck. When I went out to say hello, it was so nice out that I thought I might as well shovel. The snow is light and fluffy, and it was a lot easier to shovel than the last time I did.

 

There was actually a lot of sunshine today, and the temperature got up to around 28 with not much wind, so it was nice outside, and it got nice and warm inside. If there is any sunshine, this house has pretty good passive solar heat...

 

This has been a year without many good sunsets, so I thought I would share two pictures from tonight. They're not spectacular, but they're nice. I'm sorry I had my back to the door at about the time of the 4:55 shot, since it looks like there were some nice crepuscular rays as well as some color. Oddly enough, the next two pictures were blah, then came the 5:40 shot, which I did see. Actually, it looks better in the camera than it did in person. So who can tell? Anyway, here they are.

 

It always frustrates me when it looks like there are clear skies just over the horizon. I can remember many a day when I was vacationing here that the clouds would be thick over the land, and we could see the clear skies and sunshine over the lake.

 

So time's a-wastin' and I really must do something tomorrow. It doesn't help that the Thursday holiday got my sense of time completely messed up, and I keep forgetting that this is only Saturday, and I can't do any telephoning until the day after tomorrow. So maybe I can get the filing done tomorrow. At least I will aim for that. I won't be distracted by going out for dinner, either, although it was nice to eat with Shirley one last time...for a month.

 

And that is all there is. it's another quiet night in the field.

 

November 25

Since I keep getting a tic in the corner of my eyelid, I think I will get this done and trundle off to bed.

 

In case anybody wondered that there weren't very many updates to the camera during the middle of the day today, I'm sorry. I had to recover a good version of Outlook Express - again - and between moving the files and numerous reboots because of the buggy software, then trying to recover my email files, which was successful, I think, I had the camera down for about 2 hours.  I did manage to rebuild everything, and I learned how to recover the email files individually, so I guess it was all a success. Quite a pain, though, and since I didn't want to leave it by itself, it was 1:30 before I ate my first meal of the day.

 

Not that there was a lot to see outside. The wind has died down, and the temperature has gone up to a high of about 23, but all day long little snow squalls kept moving across the harbor. There wasn't much accumulation, because it was that fine sandy snow that packs down, but it was pretty steady.

 

I did get the dishes, including the pots and pans, washed, but they aren't put away yet, but that was about the extent of my exertions. 

 

Tonight I ate with Shirley, Donny and Peggy, which was nice, Shirley tells me I really missed something by not driving down M-26 yesterday, and I was sure I had. The roads weren't bad at all, but evidently the waves were truly impressive, and there was enough spray that all the trees were frosted. Oh, well...

 

While I was recovering the system, I went through a few of my pile of new catalogs, but I need to sort out the old ones and downsize the pile a lot. I'm sure there will be another 12" pile when I get back. Unfortunately, I saw the dining table I really want for the great room...$1600. A little beyond my budget right now, darn it. And that's without the chairs. Oh, well. It is the first glass-topped dining table I've seen for sale since 1993 or so. However, now I've decided just to use the one from the other house. It was a nice thought..,

 

And that is about all I have to report. Its' a quiet, cold night in the field. It felt so good when I came out of Mariner tonight and took a breath of that clean, cold air. Since there wasn't any wind, it didn't even feel all that cold. How I love this place!

 

November 24 - Thanksgiving Day

I do hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, doing what you love most.

 

I did...nothing much.

 

It was a wild and hairy night in the field, and it was a wild and hairy day as well. The sustained winds have been gale force since yesterday, with a peak at about 43 mph at 11:00 this morning. The temperature, fortunately, has been rising, from a low of 9 at 5:00 to a high of 25 now. The lake is still roaring away, and even now the winds are 33-40 mph. WE didn't get nearly as much snow as I think they did further south, but it's hard to tell, because it's all that fine, sandy stuff that comes down when it's really cold, and it was blowing so hard that surfaces that would normally be covered are scoured nearly bare. I do know that there were waves of LES snow squalls, one after another, all day long. One minute you could see the mountain, or at least the town, and the next it was all white.

 

I didn't sleep very well last night, and I think part of the problem was the noise of the new humidifier. It's not noisy, per se, but I'm just not used to any noise at all inside the house. As a result, I could only hear the lake when I went into the bathroom, which I did more than usual. I could hear the wind, especially when a gust slammed into the north side of the house. True north is off the corner of the bathroom. but it was hitting pretty hard through the night. The other neat thing, which I love about these storms, is when a rogue wave would hit the rocks with a loud thunk! amid the general roar. 

 

I think I have the temperature situation under more control, although I could have used some auxiliary heat in the great room during the day. If I keep the office door practically closed, it does get warmer in here, and if I eat before I'm ravenous, I stay warmer too.

 

The humidifier, other than its noise, is a real success. I had been having trouble with my nose, which yesterday meant that all day long I smelled something that smelled like hot rubber. Sometimes it's tobacco smoke, or some other unpleasant smell. That is gone now, and I think just sleeping in a well-humidified room will solve my problem. When I get back here, I will try to get another, smaller humidifier for the office, and that will solve my humidity problems for this year.

 

The other problem with the humidifier is that while the package says it holds enough water for 24 hours (2 gallons), it was nearly empty by the time I got up this morning. I don't know if that will continue to be the case, but if so, I will have to fill it twice a day. I've tried the sink in the bathroom, and I tried the hand shower in the tub and neither worked very well, so I guess I will have to fill it in the laundry room. Live and learn. So long as it keeps me comfortable, I will cope.

 

Since I didn't sleep very well during the night, I got up late and didn't do much...so much for my desire to do a chore a day. However, this is a hollday, right?

 

I did cook, and I ended up with a real feast. The turkey breast is very tasty but tough, and it made a small amount of very tasty gravy. So there were mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, buttered beets, and delicata squash...and i forgot my salad. Tomorrow. I had quite enough to eat. And Buster put his lick of approval on everything by licking the plate and even eating some of the turkey. We do like turkey.

 

I'm glad that I didn't invite anyone for dinner, because my timing was terrible. The squash and the beets took much longer to cook than I thought, so the turkey was cool and the potatoes only warm by the time I ate. I should know better: squash and beets can be warmed up, but some things have to be hot.

 

I also have a huge number of dirty dishes and dishes full of stuff, and a stove that is even dirtier than it was, because everything boiled over. Well, now I can get it all cleaned up, since I doubt there will be much more serious cooking for the next week. I also indulged in using both ovens...the first time I've done that...so that I could bake the squash at a higher temperature than the turkey. It's a good kitchen to cook in, and it would be even better if it was cleaned up before I started.

 

I usually save my rumination on how blessed I am for New Year's Eve, but I must say, I am so blessed and so thankful. I have my Savior, I have my health again, and I am really going to get to live in the place I love most. There may be more glitches on the way, but it will all work out the way it's supposed to. I have a very great deal to be thankful for.

 

I spent some time this afternoon sitting in the ugly chair, knitting and watching the snow squalls come through. So this is a blizzard in the Keweenaw. I think I can handle this. I am just going to have to see that both Buster and I have enough food ahead that I can hibernate for two or three days if necessary. I'm sure it will get more interesting as the snow gets deeper, but nobody up here clears snow until it's stopped anyway.

 

I still love to hear the lake. The higher the waves, the lower the pitch of the roaring, and it has been a really deep, bass roar since yesterday afternoon. I do wish I could have gotten out to take some pictures, but with the wind and conditions that were near white-outs happening every little while, I decided it would be better just to stay here.

 

As usual, the NWS started out with incredible predictions of wave heights (and I mean that literally), but they have now scaled back to 15 feet max, and I doubt they got that high at the shore. Twelve feet, yes, I can certainly believe, and the pitch of the roar indicates that. I'm sorry the humidifier drowns out that wonderful lullaby.

 

I do hope any lakers out on the lake took shelter yesterday morning. There were a few out there on November 9, and all I can say is, they should have known better. You do not play around with Mother Superior when she is in that mood. Jeff Coltas said yesterday that somebody went up on top of Brockway (I hope he stayed in his car!) and during that storm on the 9th, there was one small laker who was trying to go north to Thunder Bay, and he was having a really rough time. Idiot. The Edmund Fitzgerald might have been a fluke, but these days everybody should know better.

 

The blizzard is supposed to last through noon tomorrow or so, but now the temperature is rising and the winds are abating a bit, apparently enough to let the temperature inside the house get up into the comfortable-to-warm range.

 

So it was a quiet Thanksgiving Day, with good food, and not much else, and since I didn't sleep very well last night, I think I will try to get started early again tonight...after I put all the food away and put the pots and pans to soak...and wash the dishes.

 

It's still wild and wooly in the field tonight.

 

November 23

For various reasons I don't remember,  I was very late getting to bed last night, so I was late getting up, and not as much got accomplished as I dreamed about. About as usual.

 

When I could see outside, I noticed that I couldn't see the lights on the public dock, and I couldn't for most of the night, so I knew it was snowing, although the wind was very light and the temperature gradually rose to about 30, where it stayed until around noon today. 

 

Then the temperature rose and the wind went nuts, and here we are in a true November gale.  The temperature briefly rose to about 36 before it dropped off, and now it's 24 and the wind is steady at 34 mph with gusts to 47 mph from the north. Wow!

 

A "storm" is even stronger than a "gale" and the forecast is for storm warnings overnight, so we haven't felt the full force of it yet. It is snowing lightly, because I can't see the lights, but mostly it's the wind.

 

I got the car unloaded, but the stuff is still in the hallway, and I didn't have a chance to get the trash together, although I got a start on it. I have been drinking a couple of kinds of wine that come in beautiful cobalt blue glass bottles, and I had accumulated quite a number of them. I finally decided that, pretty or not, they have to go, since I don't have a bottle cutter, and besides, I don't have a clue what I might do with them. I can always get more. So the kitchen counter is somewhat cleared off, and I have a bag that is only about half full but very heavy because it's full of glass.

 

After I went to the post office, for another ton of catalogs, and to the Gaslight for milk and some new salad dressing, I did get outside and pulled down the shutters over the porch screens. I should have done that yesterday, but there wasn't much snow to clear out, so it didn't take me long. The temperature was still in the middle 30s, but the wind was nearly 30 mph from the north, so it was an interesting time to be outside. My worst problem was that the gusts kept trying to push the snow shovel down the porch, so long as it wasn't right on the deck. I am sure I'm not getting the full force of the winds, because of the trees between me and the big lake, but it's strong enough, and I can hear the lake roaring already. It will be a good night to sleep.

 

So the hatches are battened down as much as they can be...and I discovered that the slider didn't get closed completely the last time it was opened, so I took care of that. I really hate having the shutters closed. The porch doors are full light doors, and there is a window in the hallway that opens on to the porch, and when the shutters are down, it is really dark in the kitchen and hallway. However, since I eventually expect to have some rather nice, if old, porch furniture out there, I am just as glad to have them, because otherwise I would have to remove the furniture every fall and replace it every spring, and that stuff is heavy.

 

Buster does not like this weather. He keeps coming up to me and complaining and all he wants to do is sleep on my lap, and he looks unhappy. Too bad about him. I don't want to be mean to him, but he is just going to have to get used to it, since this is going to be our permanent home. I do think that part of his problem is that he is anticipating that we will be leaving, and that worries him, too. I wish there was something I could do to make him more comfortable, but I don't know what it would be except to stay permanently in Detroit, and that would make me miserable. I'm willing to do some things for my pets, but not that.

 

I forgot some comments on the trip to town yesterday. There is still a lot more snow from the Mountain Lodge to Quincy Hill, especially in the woods, and one thing that i noticed that made me happy is that while it was pretty dirty in Hancock, up in Keweenaw County, even right alongside the road, the snow was still nearly white. They use more sand and salt further south, and there are more big trucks going down Quincy Hill than there are here, so the snow stays nice and white. There were some very respectable piles in Calumet, where some people evidently cleaned up their entire front yards. So they got a lot more snow than we did, and it didn't melt like ours did.

 

I took Cliff Drive going south, and that was a mistake. There was still some stuff on the roadway that looked half melted, and there were places that could have been wet or could have been icy, it was hard to tell with the sun angle so low. I felt much more comfortable coming back, when I went through Mohawk. There was some wet on the roads, but they were completely clear of snow or slush. At this time of year, Cliff Drive is not such a timesaver as it can be in the summer, and the road is kept in better condition. Note to self.

 

I think there was something else I forgot to say, but I can't remember it now, so that will be for another time.

 

My exertions of yesterday and my late night have left me tired, so I think I will call it an early night tonight. I'm sure I will sleep well to the roar of the lake and the howling of the wind.

 

It's a wild and hairy night in the field tonight.

 

November 22

Well, I slept long and hard, and I didn't get up early, so it was late when I started for town, but I decided I'd better go today. Tomorrow will be a zoo. It actually wasn't bad, either in Wal-Mart or in Econo Foods.

 

It was after 1:30 when I started for town, but oh, well. I'm not much good for any more shopping anyway. The only thing about going so late was that I decided not to stop for lunch, so i didn't get much rest time. 

 

There was one thing I was thinking about getting at Wal-Mart that I didn't, and now I've forgotten what it was. Instead, I got enough yarn (black and white and black-and-white) to make another hat and a scarf to match. I like the hat I made last June so much that I want another one with a matching scarf (how I'm going to do that one, I don't quite know yet...just get out the needles and play around, I guess). Mostly, I got a humidifier for the bedroom and a couple more inside doormats. I need one at the door to the breezeway, and I know I will need one in the office when the deck gets snowy. I also picked up a boot mat, which I will probably put outside the breezeway door.

 

Then it was off to Econo, and I got everything I wanted except some fresh salad dressing. Yes, I plan to have a salad Thursday, all by myself, as well as a turkey breast, beets, squash, potatoes and gravy, and the whole thing. I did content myself with just a breast. The fresh turkeys were all Honeysuckle, which are now injected (how disappointing), and besides, Econo doesn't carry Pepperidge Farms stuffing mix, which is where I prefer to start my turkey stuffing. So it won't be quite the same, but it will be all right. Besides, I love turkey in practically any form.

 

I also got some meat to stock the freezer - some beef to braise, some nice meaty spare ribs, and lots of ground beef. While I will pack the ground beef as patties, I will be able to haul out a pound or so to make something like chili, as well as having a nice hamburger on an onion roll, which I also got. I laid in several loaves of my favorite bread, and lots of orange juice, although that will go to Detroit with me.

 

Then there was the JD...I wanted some for here, and I believe I was practically out at the other house, so I wanted some to take back with me, and after I got that, I ran across a gift pack with a fifth plus two very nice rocks glasses...sooo...

 

Anyway, the stuff I got at Wal-Mart is mostly still in the car, except for the humidifier, and the breezeway is even more full than it was before, but I will start taking care of that tomorrow. The breezeway has become an auxiliary ice box since it got cold, which is very handy. I don't think it's below freezing out there, although I must remember to put out my other thermometer just to see.

 

And I remember what I forgot to look for at Wal-Mart: the temperature in the breezeway is perfect for wine, so I wanted to get a wine rack to consolidate my wine out there...but I forgot. For the future, I guess. I may look around when I'm in Detroit, or in the catalogs. I want one that holds a dozen bottles of wine or so, but it doesn't need to be really fancy. 

 

Anyway, the shopping chore is now done, and I can begin to work around here. I am hoping to do one chore a day, at least, which should mean everything will get done before a week from Friday. Knowing me, that will be hard to do, but we'll see.

 

So now it is late, and I do need to take a bath before I crash...

 

Oh, the weather! It was a rather interesting day. The temperature was between 20 and 25 all day long, again colder than it's ever been when I was here, and there were great puffy gray clouds in the sky most of the time, although in the middle of the afternoon, it was nearly clear for a while between 3:30 and 5:00, after which the dark snow clouds rolled in again. The wind wasn't bad, mostly from the north, although now it has swung around to the southwest. There is a winter storm warning out from tomorrow night through Friday morning, and now they have upgraded it to a blizzard warning from tomorrow night through Thursday night. Gee, if it pans out, it will be my first blizzard! Of course they are warning about power outages, so it could get cold in here, too. 

 

How exciting! And how sad for the people who want to travel for the holiday. Well, that's winter in the northwoods, I guess.

 

Now, however, it's just cold and quiet in the field, the calm before the storm again.

 

November 21

I had some thought of going to town today, but last night I spent much too long sitting in the bathroom staring at the floor and thinking...a bad thing to do in any case. As a result, I got up late and didn't do much. I did get the bird feeders refilled, but that was about it.

 

It was a mostly cloudy day, with a few bright spots but no sun. The temperature hung in at around 40 until 3:00, and it's been falling off ever since, and is now 27 at the NWS station and 23 here. The discrepancy is probably that there is a north-northeast wind at 25 - 40 mph or higher...the NWS station is somewhat sheltered from that direction, too. Anyway, the lake has been singing loudly all afternoon.

 

It was still 40ish when I went out to the feeders, but that strong north wind made it pretty cold on my deck, and I didn't stay long.

 

I did wash a load of fleece, which is now drying on the drying rack (I don't put my fleece clothes in the dryer - a tip I got from Malden Mills, and which seems to help).

 

Buster wanted to sleep on my lap all day, but when he used my right arm as a pillow, it kept falling asleep, so I finally had to boot him out. 

 

Last night, I had come back into the office for something and when I turned on the lights, one of them blew out. That is the third one in the office, but I haven't lost any anyplace else. Sort of weird, but if the pictures I got while the house was being built mean anything, this room was the one everybody was in all the time, and I suspect they left the lights on all the time they were here, and probably sometimes when they weren't. A friend had warned me that canister lights burn out quickly, so I am prepared, but so far that hasn't been the case, except hereee. Now I need to climb up on a stool and replace it. The last time I was on a stool (when I closed the window), I did OK, however, so  I will have to remember to do that.

 

Otherwise, it was another late November day, and our little warm spell seems to be over, and there is supposed to be more snow on the way. We'll see. It's a good night to sleep to the big lake's lullaby, so I will.

 

November 20

A short one  tonight. I was more or less awakened by the phone this morning, and it was Jackie, telling me that no one had raked the leaves in my front yard and it was a mess...at great length. Oh, dear.

 

I did fold clothes and put some of them  away, and I washed towels, but that was about it.

 

It was a dark day, with thick clouds, but the temperature stayed around 35 all day, with light winds. Now, with the wind from the west, the temperature is slowly rising again. That is a strange thing - I've never lived anyplace where the temperature rose as the sun set. It's been doing it a lot lately, and I find it strange.

 

It was warm enough that most of the snow in my yard and on my deck is gone, so I guess this week we are supposed to start over. However, it will be over freezing for the next couple of days, so any snow that comes down will probably melt, at least here in the harbor. About the higher elevations, I can't say.

 

So that is all I know. It was a nearly lost day, and it's time to put it behind me.

 

November 19

I knew the temperature was rising, but before I went to bed I went around and turned up the thermostats anyway. So of course, I was hot all night ling and I didn't sleep well, partly because of that and partly because my pressure points all hurt. I got up before I wanted to this morning when it became apparent that I was too uncomfortable to sleep. So I was sleepy all day long.

 

It didn't help that I had a sinus headache for most of the night and most of the day. I think that's because the humidity around here has gotten down below 30%, which is much too dry for me. When I was at Wal-Mart the last time, I investigated room humidifiers, and they had quite a selection, all most reasonably priced. So when I go to town this week, I will have to get a couple, one for the bedroom and one for the office. That ought to help.

 

The temperature here was over freezing all night long, so all our pretty frosted bushes had lost their white coats, and there was more melting than I would have thought. My driveway was an awful mess this morning, but as the melting continued, it got better.

 

I decided it was high time I washed, so I started that, and then I got brave and went out and shoveled off the front porch. About 6" of very wet, heavy snow had accumulated, but the ice was mostly gone, and I could get the door open enough to get out. It actually wasn't much of a job at all, I'm glad to say, and I didn't even work up a sweat, which is most unusual for me. The worst problem I had is that I was working mostly right under the drip edge of the roof, and since I'd forgotten about that, I got rather wet, enough that I had to change my fleece overshirt. I should have put on my slicker, but once I was out there, I just decided to do it. I don't say I did a perfect job, but it's a lot better than it was.

 

The last load of clothes is in the washer now, so most of that chore will be done. 

 

When it was so cold in the house yesterday, I partially closed the door to the bedroom, and I had intended to leave it that way overnight. However, I discovered that my little furry friend hasn't forgotten that I've closed him in the bedroom when I was trying to trap him and stuff him in the cage, and he wouldn't come in either the bedroom or the bathroom all night long, even though I eventually opened the bedroom door and left it open all night long. What a long memory he has for bad things! We'll see what he does tonight.

 

I will have to reset the thermostat in the bedroom, because it was just too hot in there overnight, and when it cools off again, we'll see. The only trouble with having multiple set-back thermostats is that resetting them is a pain in the rear. However, it's supposed to be pretty warm for the next couple of days, and I do want to sleep.

 

It was a dreary day, but the temperature rose to around 40 before falling back a bit, and there wasn't much wind until late in the afternoon, when it shifted around to the north and is now 14-22 mph. However, everybody insists it's going to be even warmer tomorrow. We'll see.

 

There was a slight hiatus there while I rebooted the system. FrontPage never releases its memory, so after using it for a few days, it chews up all the memory there is, and nothing worked for a few minutes. Stupid program.

 

Anyway, I don't have much else to say. The snow on the deck is almost all melted away. I think that the wind probably is mostly responsible, but I'm not going to complain. I wasn't looking forward to shoveling that drift in front of the door. Our road must have been interesting to drive on earlier in the day, but by the time I went to dinner, it wasn't very slippery anymore and it was down to the pebbles in a lot of spots. I am glad to have that 4WD, though.

 

So now I have only about two weeks left before I have to go south, and I don't want to go in spite of the fact that I'll be coming back in a month. I just want to stay here. Too bad it's too far to commute.

 

It's rather warm and rather moist in the field tonight.

 

November 18

I finally left FrontPage updating something last night, and when I came into the office this morning, it was still updating...clearly in a loop. I am beginning to think I may have to find a new web design program...what a pain!

 

Anyway, it took me a little time to get to sleep last night, but once I started, I did good. Around 6:00 this morning, I woke up, and there was the moon, shining in my windows, looking very cold and blue.

 

It actually was warming up, and it was around 25 for most of the day, with not much wind, and it wasn't bad at all outside, although I wasn't out much. It's now up to 28 and seems to be rising, so maybe it will be a tad warmer tomorrow. I do wish it would thaw so I can do something about the ice on the porch.

 

However, it was cold in here, at least at the south end. So I pushed up the thermostat in the office and partially closed the door, and that has helped a lot. I will have to take the hold off soon, but I think closing the door helped.

 

Of course, you know that when you have a cat, you can never completely close a door. I've left it open enough that he can come and go. I also closed off the bedroom, because it was only 60 in the great room all day. I did reverse the fans, both in the office and in the great room. I don't think it did much good in the office - just made it drafty - and I can't tell about the great room. I may have to set the thermostats up a bit.

 

I always knew keeping it warm, especially in the great room, was going to be a problem, with all the windows, and it seems I was right, although the bedroom and bathroom seem to be all right. I will just have to fiddle around some...and get some wood.

 

I was sleepy, for some reason, today, but I did make a start at getting the office, which is a total disaster, back into shape. I kept getting sidetracked looking at some of the catalogs that came this week, but I do have a start on it. Time is passing, and while it won't be such a chore as when I'm leaving for five months, there are still some things I need to do to try to leave things in order. I really hate leaving a place in a mess, because it's so discouraging when I come back to it.

 

This evening, there was dinner with Shirley. It wasn't busy in Mariner, except that Lydia brought about 15 girls, on a basketball team she is helping to coach, back for a sleep-over. That could get interesting, and the regular bartender fled screaming, I think.

 

There was a little bit of sunshine early this morning, but it didn't last long. It was nice to see, I must say. And tonight, when I came out of Mariner, there were a few flakes of snow on the car. I keep hoping we'll have a little thaw, but it doesn't look too hopeful. We'll see.

 

And that is another cold night in the field.

 

November 17

It was a late night last night, and a late morning this morning, but that was all right. I did do a thing or two.

 

Early in the morning, there was a period of partly-clear skies, and the nearly-full moon was shining on my bed, so bright and blue. It was beautiful, but it didn't last long.

 

I am still enjoying the beautiful trees, and the whole area is just as lovely. I made it to the post office today - and returned the third pair of boots - and it was a lovely ride. There wasn't more than three or four inches of snow here, but it fell on top of rain or sleet or something which then froze, so one has to be a bit careful driving and walking. I put the car in automatic 4WD and just went. Probably I was in 4WD on our road, because of the hills, but it's hard to tell. Alll the trees and bushes are coated with white, and hardly any of it has fallen off, except right in front of the house, where the wind was strong.

 

It is cold! This is January weather, not November weather, for sure. The temperature at the NWS station was around 20 all day, but it was 14 here for most of the day, until it went up to 16. For a while the wind was strong, but it has died down, and every so often there would be a little snow squall, nothing to leave much accumulation, and it is light and fluffy, as is usual when it's cold. It was mostly cloudy, but it was bright, and there was even a ray or two of sunshine a couple of times during the day. 

 

So I got out the down parka and my new hat - which works really well - and my mittens, and I should have put on my longjohns, except that I didn't feel like getting completely undressed. My feet weren't too cold in wool socks, but it would be nice to have something that covers my ankles. One of the things I wanted to bring back when I went south in October was the boots I bought last year, but of course I didn't go. I now have a pair of snow boots on order from L.L.Bean, and maybe they will fit. I hope so. This has been a real pain.

 

When I got back from the post office (with a barrel full of mail) I thought I should shovel off the front porch. Well! It seems anyone who wants to come into my house will have to come in through the garage. I knew there was a drift of snow across the porch in front of the door, but it seems that under the snow there is a drift of ice, and I can only open the door about 12". So I gave up on that. The breezeway door is drifted shut, too, and unless it thaws in the next two weeks, it will probably stay that way all winter long.

 

I was going through my mail when Chip Sestok called to invite me to dinner, so of course I went, and we had a very nice dinner and a very nice time. They are such nice people! Unfortunately, they missed the storm on the 10th, but they got here in the middle of the one on Sunday, and they were here for the one on Wednesday. Of course, it got dark as soon as I got there, and I was most surprised to see a line of lakers going up toward Duluth. I guess they are still picking up grain.

 

This is really early for it to be quite so cold, and I keep reminding myself that November (or even December) doesn't determine what the winter will be like, just like June doesn't determine what the summer will be like.

 

Coming home was interesting. Mine were the only tracks on the road all the way through town, although there were three cars at Zik's, and there were fluffy snowflakes coming down. It was so dark and the snow on the trees changed the way everything looked so much that I was nearly disoriented. However, I did find the road, and in the dark, in the light of the headlights, it is a real fairyland. We have packed the road down pretty well, and only in my driveway is it a bit deep. There is also a drift right in front of my garage door, which figures. The one place I need to get out of  is the one place it will be deepest. The ice under the snow has already packed down a lot of the bushes around Lake Lilly, and already it looks completely different than it did a week ago.

 

Buster expressed his displeasure when I got here by yawning at me, but he is actually glad to see me back. He would be much happier if I never went anywhere. Now he is telling me it's time to go to bed, and I think he's right.

 

It's winter in the field tonight, for sure.

 

November 16

I actually did make it to bed around 11:30 last night, and while I could hear that the lake was kicking up a fuss, if there was any precip at all it was rain. The NWS says it started around 10:00, but if so, it was light drizzle. I was really thinking it might miss us, as so much rain did last summer.

 

I woke up around 12:30 to take a walk, and I noticed that it was very light outside, and when I looked out, there was a light layer of snow on the ground. So, I thought, we are going to get it anyway. I was up an unusual number of times during the night, and there did seem to be a lot of snow on the trees, and from the sounds around the house, I deduced that the wind had shifted to the north. There seemed to be a lot of stuff on the screens, too, and there was about 2" of snow on the deck railings. Around 3:00 we had a brief power failure, which didn't do any harm. 

 

I was thinking of doing some things today, but when I woke up around 8:00, I decided that was too early, so I went back to sleep. When I woke up again, my bones were sore, so I decided to get up...and the power was off. Oh, here we go again...

 

There were so many power problems that UPPCO was making people call an alternate phone line, and the person I spoke to seemed to be saying that there were, as they say, "widespread power outages". Oh, dear. A few minutes later, neighbor Ron called to say that the culverts area was tull of bowed-down bushes, and he had discovered that they had canceled school in Calumet.

 

By that time, I'd had a chance to look around and my, goodness, what a storm we had! We hadn't gotten too much snow - 3" at most - but it seemed apparent that toward the end it had turned to rain again, and every tree and bush and twig was covered with a coat of white, like an ice storm but not clear. It was truly gorgeous! Still is, actually. There were dribbles of ice on every screen and window in the house, so evidently the wind had been really swirling around. Anyone who saw the morning picture (which lasted all day) knows that the branches of the pine were bowed down over the window. When I saw all that, I was not in the slightest surprised that we'd had a power failure. That stuff on the wires could have brought them down without anything falling on them.

 

The temperature, which had been above freezing for most of the night, had dropped down below by that time. I know there was a crust on top of the snow, because the squirrel was running around on it and not making a dent.

 

I did get to see some of the drifting problems I will have on the deck, and one drift is right in front of the office slider. Not surprising, when the wind was whistling right down the deck parallel to the house. So I will probably end up keeping my snow shovel in the office...

 

I sat in the ugly chair and read and knitted while I had my orange juice, and I actually managed a rather nice breakfast, although I had to scarf it down pretty fast to keep the eggs from getting cold. I even managed to toast my English muffin by buttering it and frying it butter-side down in a pan. Not bad at all. 

 

Buster was not a happy camper. It wasn't particularly cold in here then, but it was quiet, and he knew even before I got up that something wasn't right, and he didn't like it at all. He sat between my legs on the footstool for a while, and then he went off. I think he hangs out in the closet when it's cold, although I haven't determined what shelf he's sitting on.

 

The temperature was dropping all day long, but slowly. Around 2:00, I decided that even if I couldn't do much else, I could do some telephoning, and I had just discovered I had called the wrong department when the phone went dead. Egad - no power, no phones! What next?

 

So I started sorting papers. At 2:45, the power came back on, and so did the phones. There are batteries in the switching station, but they have gone dead before now, and I suppose that is what happened this time. However, the batteries in my cordless phones (two of them!) both went dead, too. I can use them if they are in their cradles charging, so I called the people again, got a really helpful lady, and...Buster got tangled up in the headset cord and pulled the phone out of its cradle! And there went that call. The third time, I didn't get someone quite so helpful, but I did finally  get my questions answered.

 

This is benefits signup time, and I was curious to know how they would handle it when I turn 65 next July. The nice lady Buster interrupted answered that one quite satisfactorily. I hope it's less confusing than this drug benefit thing, which I'm not sure anybody could figure out.

 

I'm happy to report that in spite of the low temperature and the wind, which was 24 mph sustained with gusts to 39 mph when the power came back on, the temperature in the house had only gone down to 64. That was getting a mite chilly, which drove Buster back onto my lap, but I thought it was pretty good after 7 hours. It's now up to a comfy 70 in here again now, and the worst seems to be over.

 

Even though the NWS didn't report any precip, all day long about every half hour or so another lake-effect squall would come through and the mountain would fade out. That was all snow, of course, but they were light showers and didn't accumulate much. It is neat to watch the other end of the harbor fade out as the squall comes through, then reappear when it's over.

 

So winter has come to Keweenaw with a jolt, and I'm afraid this is all for autumn. The next few days at least are supposed to be cold and snowy, although I don't think there will be a huge fall in the harbor. There is another winter storm warning out for today and tomorrow, and there is snow in the forecast for every day for a week (as far as they've gone).

 

The "higher elevations" apparently got 8"-10" in Keweenaw, although there was a lot more south of us. Marquette set a new record amount of liquid that fell - 1.52" for the storm, although that only translated into about 13" of snow, since it was the wet and heavy variety. Heaven knows what it would have been if it had been the fluffy kind we get later in the season. They are predicting another 3"-6" overnight, so it ain't over yet.

 

I keep reminding myself that winter is coming to the Keweenaw late this year, and I shouldn't be surprised by it. I must say, though, that this is a bit nastier than the stuff we've had in past years. This snow is so wet and sloppy that it has just coated everything, and I imagine driving will be fun for the next few days.

 

And yet, it was so beautiful to see trees! The evergreens are so lovely when they get their white frosting, and the birches and all the bushes are just as pretty, with every twig having its own white coat. Maybe before it all goes away I can get a few pictures. It was nice to sit and just look out today and admire the lovely wintry scene. All the dried out weeds are bent over and almost covered, and it really looks nice in the backyard again. Tomorrow I really must go to the post office, and then we'll see how things are.

 

So winter has come to the field, and it's time to hunker down under the comforters again.

 

November 15

Last night it was reading. I'm reading out of the white binder again, and every time I do it amazes me. I wrote the parts I'm reading now in the late '80s, after I owned the property, but long before I was staying here for more than three weeks at a time. The location of the story is nearly in the wilderness, and there are so many times that what I wrote then about times of year I'd never been here have been exactly what I have experienced since I've been here. The accuracy of my imagination amazes me.

 

Anyway, that keeps me reading, sometimes far longer than I should, which I did, so I ended up sleeping for a long time and not doing anything at all today. Oh, well.

 

We are sitting on the edge of our first winter storm warning. They have been pushing back the time of arrival all day, but sometime overnight or tomorrow, we should begin to see an appreciable snow cover, the first of the year. I'm still a bit skeptical, as usual. For a while, it was raining around Duluth, but that has nearly stopped, and while it's raining south of us, and out in Iowa it's sleeting, it really doesn't look like it's going to get here. Of course, it could move north overnight, but we'll see.

 

The wind is up, but it's from the east, so while I can hear the lake, the wind (14-22 mph) isn't bothering me at all.

 

The broadband was down for a while this morning, while Charlie and Jonathan worked on the connection between the fish house and the Mountain Lodge,  but it's been fine for the rest of the afternoon. I keep hoping one of these days I'll be able to copy all the image files to the server and be done with that pain. When it times out, it leaves one file empty and I have to copy it by hand, and of course, since the copy never completes, FrontPage thinks none of it has run and starts it over again the next night. A pain for sure.

 

I readjusted the hours of the camera again today. Daylight is only 9 hours long, and there really is no reason to upload all those black pictures.

 

Maybe I can get to bed early tonight. I've had the feeling I'm fighting a little cold all week, and it would be good to start my sleep earlier. We'll see. I am doing this early again, but once it's dark, not much more of interest usually happens.

 

We're waiting for the snow tonight in the field.

 

November 14

Wow, talk about getting screwed up! The journal and the webcam pictures uploaded just fine, but for some reason not known to me, the pictures of the tree didn't. They're out there now. Then FrontPage embarked upon copying all the image files...again...but somehow, I had a good connection and it looked like it might complete. I hung around until midnight before I left it and went to the north end. I was just about to turn off the lights when the power stuttered enough to reset the clocks, and I thought, oh, boy, there goes my upload. I was right. The computer had rebooted, losing everything! Arrggghhhh...

 

I didn't get to bed until around 1:00. It was still fairly noisy outside, but it got quieter and quieter all night long, and by morning everything was nearly calm. I rolled out of bed around 10:00, and just as I did, the propane truck pulled up to fill my tanks. I wanted to talk to the driver, so I hustled on my clothes and went hiking across the backyard before I even fed Buster or had my orange juice. I really didn't need to be so fast, but that was all right. I got to talk to Dennis while he filled both tanks. I just wanted to make sure he knows I'm staying, and he did. Apparently Ron told him last spring. But we had a nice conversation. It's been several years since I've seen him, and he is a very nice person. I think so many people are like that up here because for so much of the year everyone is so dependent upon everyone else.

 

So it was 11:30 before I made it to the office, only to discover that the camera was down and the website on the server was screwed up. I thank everyone who told me about the pictures - I appreciate it very much. So I tried the broadband again - it was still down - and prepared to do my morning surfing. However, when I called up the camera page, which is my home page, the screen was black! Egad! I had had to reboot several times, because something came up hosed when the power bounced, and everything was running like molasses. I had to kick it hard to get it together again.

 

After another re-boot, the software couldn't see the camera. So I scratched my head a bit and swapped out the new cable...and it came up and has worked just fine for the rest of the afternoon.

 

I did call PastyNet again, and found out that someone was on his way to work on the fish house, so just a while ago, I rebooted again, and the broadband is back. Talk about relief...I think it is still taking errors, but it's mostly up.

 

It turned out to be mostly a lost day, however. Once I disconnected the new cable, I didn't do anything more with it. I will have to fool around with it some more, but for the time being, I'm going to let be. Enough, already.

 

I did call the electrician, and he is going to try to get somebody out here. Of course, he is going hunting, but he may have an employee who isn't. It is just the thing to do around here to go to camp, even if you don't actually hunt deer. So you don't expect much service from practically everybody from at least the 15th to the 20th.

 

Since I got a rather late start, that was about all I did. 

 

The weather was cool - stuck at around 37 - but there wasn't much wind, and late in the day, there were a few rays of sunshine. I guess we are in for our first real snowfall of the season over the next couple of days, but those things are so iffy, I will believe it when I see it. It actually wasn't too bad out this morning when I went to talk to the propane guy, because there wasn't any wind.

 

I am doing this very early tonight, because I don't trust it at all. However, it's a quiet night in the field, and I think I will probably fold very early, too.

 

November 13

It was a lovely, quiet night, although it was cloudy, and it was a lovely, quiet morning. In fact, the temperature was about 50 until 10:00 this morning, and the wind was light. Around 11:00 the wind dropped to almost nothing. And then...zowee! Between 12:00 and 12:20, the wind shifted around to the north and increased from 7 mph to 20 mph and building. The highest so far reported by the NWS station was at 6:00, with 45 mph sustained and 62 mph gusts. now that, folks, is a gale! I haven't felt the full force of it, because it is directly from the north, but I've certainly heard it! When those 60 mph gusts come, they slam into the house like a hammer. It seems to be abating a bit now, down to 29 - 36 mph, but it's a long night ahead.

 

So far, the house is intact, and the bird feeders are intact, although I did take the platform feeder in, because it looked like it might sail away at any moment. That was rather interesting, actually, because it was raining on the deck except right in the corner by the office, so I went out, grabbed the feeder, and went back in without getting a drop of rain on me. 

 

However, we did have a 2 hour power failure, between 4:30 and 6:30, which is why the last update of the camera was at 4:30. I was suspicious of the power, so I didn't turn on the computer again until after 7:00, and by that time it was dark. In fact, it was dark by 6;00.

 

The lake is roaring like a freight train again. Unfortunately, with all the drops on the window, it wasn't possible to get a good picture of the harbor, but with the wind from the north, our end is fairly calm anyway. The gap between Porter Island and Lighthouse Point is solid white again, but there weren't the amazing whitecaps that there were on Wednesday.

 

I finally processed the pictures. Here are two I kept from Wednesday that show just how hairy the harbor was

 

There was more rain today, and at times it was clear that it was rain mixed with snow, or sleet, or something else pretty miserable. I suppose there will be show overnight, and somebody reported to the Pasty Cam that south of Houghton they had an inch on the ground. The big heat sink is still keeping us warm!

 

I also processed the pictures of the tree on the deck. They aren't the best pictures, but I think you can see my problem. The trunk at the lower end is at least 10" in diameter, and from top to bottom, it's about 20' long - from the bedroom wall to the great room wall. It needs to be cut into pieces before there's a prayer of removing it. You can also see that there are birch branches entwined in the pine, but those I will keep for kindling. If I can get somebody to get the tree out, I will have them cut the birch branches into 18" lengths, which will be easier to handle.

 

So it was a neat day, and I spent most of my time just watching and listening to it. It wasn't quite dark when the power went out, so I moved into the ugly chair and read and knitted until it came back up again. Instead of trying to read by flashlight, I put batteries in my Mighty Bright light (the one from last year, which has an incandescent bulb) and that worked very nicely, thank you. This year, I got one that has a daylight bulb in it, but while it shows colors better (I can tell the dye lots if my floss), it isn't as bright as the other one. So now I have one to use to embroider and one to use to read. Not so bad.

 

Buster had to come and tell me that he does not like all that noise! He was also happy because after the power returned, I checked the answering machine at the other house, and I had three good messages, two of which I had to call back, and he loves it when I am on the telephone, but now he as gone away again to whatever hole he hides in when it's stormy.

 

So it was an exciting day, and it will be another good night to sleep, with the lake roaring and the wind howling and me all safe and cozy in my bed.

 

November 12

In spite of the hour when I went to bed last night, I actually got up at a rather reasonable time, because I expected somebody to come. Of course, nobody did, so I had a quiet day altogether

 

It started out rather sunny this morning, but the clouds began to move in late in the morning, and there were a few sprinkles while I was at dinner. The temperature actually got up to 55 for a while this afternoon, and the wind was nearly calm for most of the day, making it really nice outside. Of course II i didn't take advantage.

 

I guess it was the calm before the storm. We are supposed to have another storm tomorrow, with snow, and gale-force winds overnight tomorrow night, but I don't think it will be quite as hairy as Wednesday was. George Hite has an interesting piece on the storm. You can read it at http://eagleharborweb.net/. I gather that it really was a very respectable November gale. The PastyCam had some wonderful pictures of the lake, which almost - almost - made me sorry I didn't go out and take some pictures myself, but when I remember that if I had, I would have had to park my car at Lake Lilly road and walk home, I guess I'm just as glad I stayed in.

 

Instead of processing pictures, I played with the computer again today, but I have put all that aside now, and I really am going to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight and sleep for a long time.

 

Dinner was very nice tonight. Peggy and her daugter Lydia and Red Twarzik joined us, and they are all lovely ladies (Lydia is 16), so we had a really good time. Buster wasn't happy, because I was a little later than usual getting home, but that's just too bad. I don't really go out hunting for socialization, but I enjoy it when it happens.

 

So that is all there is. There might be a thunderstorm tonight, but the action isn't supposed to start until tomorrow morning. You will understand if there isn't a journal tomorrow night - it means we had another power failure. I do hope not, but you never can tell. At least I don't have to worry about a tree falling on the house...it's already down!

 

So it's a cloudy, quiet night in the field.

 

November 11

It's actually tomorrow morning, but I will try to get off a short entry. I got to playing with the computer (no, not games) and just didn't want to quit. Oh, well.

 

I didn't sleep exceptionally well last night, partly because I had slept so long the night before and partly because I seem to have had a slight attack of gout in my left bunion, which was so sore it kept me awake for some time.  So I went out into the internet this morning and read that one suggestion for keeping it at bay is to drink lots of water, so I did that, and it seems to be somewhat better tonight. 

 

It was a beautiful night and a very beautiful day, although it didn't get as warm as predicted. There were only a few little cirrus clouds in the sky for a while this afternoon, but late in the day it got completely clear again. When I went into the kitchen a while ago, though, the moon was shining through some high clouds. The temperature got up to just under 50, where it still is, but there was hardly any wind at all and it was nice to be outside.

 

So I went and inspected the front of my house, and I'm happy to report there was no damage except a little to the screens on the porch (however, more had been done by some five-toed critter who tried to climb the screen... I wonder when that was?). There is an awful lot of debris on the deck, some of which I can collect for kindling. The pine will have to be sawn into pieces in order to move it. It seems to have been about 10" in diameter where it broke off, and there is at least 25' lying on the deck, so it's a bit too big to just haul away in one piece. I still can't believe my good fortune that it landed on the deck and not on the house! Somebody was looking after my interests, for sure!

 

It was nice to sit in the office and soak up the warmth of the sun - I surely do have solar heat in here! But the little birds were looking for something to eat, so I spent some time outside hanging bird feeders in the tree. I filled the remaining intact platform feeder with squirrel food, which is a mixture of lots of corn kernals, sunflower seeds, and a few unshelled peanuts. I had just hung it up when a little chickadee flew onto the feeder, grabbed a sunflower seed and flew off. Then the whole flock started calling, I guess to tell everybody that I was outside and the food was coming! They are such cute little birds.

 

I hung up the gazebo feeder where the other platform feeder used to be, and first thing, a nuthatch lit on the edge and grabbed a seed or two. So I guess everybody has his own favorite feeder. I don't know if the squirrels will eat the squirrel food, but I know the blue jays like all those things, and somebody else has been eating that combination...maybe my flying squirrel(s).

 

Shirley and I ate dinner at Mariner tonight, and I'm happy to say there were a few more people there than last Friday! Their special was linguine with meatballs and tomato sauce, and it was a good dish for a late autumn night. Peggy makes a good spaghetti sauce, and the meatballs were little, about the size of walnuts, and very tasty. It was a good dinner. I might also say that the menu at this time of year, including the specials, are very modestly priced, which is good.

 

So I came home and continued playing with the computer, and it is now later than I will admit and my eyes are about crossed, so I will wrap this up. I did take a few pictures of the tree today, but they are still in the camera. I also saved a couple of shots from the webcam on Wednesday. I will get all that published one of these days.

 

I may wait until I get my wireless back, though. It seems like the people who own the fish house changed the locks before they left this fall, and neglected to give a new key to the person who is supposed to go inside and reset the gear after a power failure...so any of us who get our signals from the fish house are S.O.L. until Charlie finds another place to put the gear. I could get my signal from Mariner, but I don't know how to change that. So I will be on dial backup for a while, I think. Fortunately, it has been behaving itself fairly well. I will have to change it to automatically reconnect, though. It didn't do that this morning, and that was the reason the camera was so late getting up. I don't think I'll be up very early tomorrow, either, and I know i'm not the only person who likes those early morning pictures.

 

So it's another quiet night in the field.

 

November 10

I will start this early, although after sleeping for about 13 hours, I really don't feel the need to go to back to bed really soon.

 

First, please excuse no journal last night. The power was out here, and the broadband is still down...but in order. Let's see if I can remember what happened.

 

Tuesday night began OK, but by 8:00 the wind was rising into the 15-30 mph range. from the south. It stayed that way for most of the night, but around 2:30 the power went out. Of course, I said, and turned over. I was awake around 3:30 when it came up for about 5 minutes then bounced five or six times (shudder!) and went down again. 

 

Right at that time, Buster found a mouse. After the power went down again, I toddled down to the office, noting in passing that Buster was staring into the corner of the living room where the fireplace meets the wall. So that must be where at least that mouse came and went. I flipped the wall switch for the computer. I didn't want to risk the possibility that the computer might be damaged.

 

That time, the power stayed down until about 5:30, I think, although I was reading watches that are still on daylight time, so I'm not sure. So I set the clocks a third time and went back to sleep. Evidently about 10 minutes after I went back to sleep, the power went down again, but not for very long. I noted in passing that the wind had shifted around to the west, but it was still in the same range.

 

I got up around 8:30, I think, thinking it was 9:30, and the power was on and had been for 2:40. Conditions were about the same, and in fact, the temperature had hardly dropped at all - it was still in the low 40s. I was beginning to think our gale was a dud.

 

However, by 11:00, the NWS station was reporting gusts up to 38 mph, and it was much windier here, with that northwest wind battering the house. I started hearing thuds and thumps on the front side of the house, where chunks off the half-dead birch were hitting the house and the windows. I had gone up to the north end to the bathroom when I heard several very large and alarming thuds and thumps, but casual glances out the window didn't seem to show anything.

 

By noon, our gusts were 50 mph, the bird feeders were being dashed around, and there was some light rain, as well as more thuds. Sometime around then, I took a good look out the windows and discovered that the dead pine I have been wanting to cut down had broken off about 4' from the ground and now lay on the deck, parallel to the railing! Talk about dodging a bullet... The wind was from the northwest , 30 - 55 mph, and if it had been much more westerly, the tree would undoubtedly have fallen right on the house. Whew!

 

Around 2:30 (I think), my neighbor Ron showed up to report that a tree in my neighbor's yard had fallen on the wires, and the tree seemed to be on fire. After thinking about it for a few moments, I called 911 - the first time I have ever done that, anywhere - because it was going to take a coordinated effort between the fire department and UPPCO to get everything under control. We walked over to the slider to look at the tree, and I heard something, and when I looked back at the computer screen, the power was out. This one was certainly due to the tree, and it affected only those of us from my house north.

 

Ron said that he had put some stuff over his water line and septic tank, with bricks and a canoe to hold down a tarp, and he had spent some time already fetching all the stuff out of the ravine beside his house, including, I think, the canoe. That's one reason I think the NWS station was reporting low on the wind speed.

 

Anyway, by the 4:00 report, the sustained winds were over 40 mph, with gusts to 55 mph. One of the best gales we've had in years! All but one of the bird feeders, and my thermometer, had blown out of the tree, but would you believe, some poor little birds still tried to get into the remaining feeder to get a seed or to. Not all of them were successful, believe me!

 

According to the NWS station, the peak of the storm was between 5:00 and 9:00. Earlier in the afternoon, there were some very light snow flurries, being blown horizontal, of course, but there was no accumulation, and the temperature was still in the upper 30s. BY 6:00 the wind had turned completely toward the north, which, as I've mentioned before, did shield the house from the worst of it.

 

After calling UPPCO and having a conversation with neighbor Mac, and discovering that we were way, way down the priority list, I fashioned a soup and sandwich dinner and tried to read for a while, but reading by flashlight was making my eyes hurt, so around 8:30, I decided to go to bed. I did manage to brush my teeth with bottled water, but I couldn't even wash my face. Yuck! 

 

I might mention, that it was cold in the house all day long. It eventually got up to about 67 in the office, and it was OK in the bedroom until the power went out. When I went to bed, it was about 63, so I got out a flannel nightie, some wool socks, and my fleece robe, and huddled under my covers.

 

I went right to sleep, so I guess I needed that. The banging of the wind and the roaring of the lake - the freight train was awfully close last night! - didn't bother me in the slightest. They got the power back on at about 9:45. I looked at the blinking clocks and the bright lighthouse and thought, "that's nice", and went back to sleep, after taking off my robe.

 

The wind was abating by then, and it continued to do so all night long. As is normal at the end of one of those things, it became partly cloudy, and for a while I could see the very bright quarter moon shining in the window, and lighting the clouds.

 

By this morning, it was all over. There has been a wind all day, and the temperature never got much over 36, but the lake is quiet again and late this afternoon, the wind dropped to almost nothing, and the sun came out. It was nearly clear at sunset.

 

There was a report from a laker 47 miles northwest of Grand Marais (Michigan, I think) of sustained winds of 74 mph, and one 7 miles southeast of Copper Harbor (where the heck was he? Maybe in Bete Gris bay?) of 55 mph sustained winds. So it was an honest-to-goodness November gale, not unlike the one that sank the Edmund FItzgerald 30 years ago today.

 

I can also report that particularly Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, it was incredibly dark. I couldn't even see a hint of my hand in front of my face, and I couldn't see the white walls of the bathroom. I mean dark! It was better last night because of the moon, and we got the power back  before it set.

 

I don't know why I slept until 9:30 this morning, but I did. The first thing I discovered is that the wireless is down. There is a report that a Coast Guard tower (40 feet high) near Central was toppled, and I have the horrible feeling that it was one of the links between here and Calumet. If so, it might be a few days before I'm off dial backup.

 

Anyway, I was dawdling around wondering what to do when the body shop called to say that my car was ready. Of course I wanted to get it right away! It actually took me a while, though. 

 

I did want to see if I could retrieve the bird feeders while it was still light. I found all the feeders, but the hook and one set of chains for one platform feeder are missing. I was rather shaky today, so I will try again when it's not quite so cold. I think I can probably rig up something to hang the feeder from, but I'd really like that hook, or it will mean that I have another extension hook with no end on it.

 

I also wanted to try on my bibs before I left, so that I could take them back if they didn't fit. I am pleased to report that they fit about as well as any men's pants fit me. Fortunately they have suspenders to hold them up. I don't know whether people usually wear jeans under them or not, I'm guessing not, in which case they would be even better, and I guess I'll have to layer my fleece tops over the suspenders. My boots came while I was gone, too, but I won't try them on until tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, I will be outfitted for the winter?

 

When I got down to Lake Lily, I found Mac brushing out the road, so of course I had to stop and talk to him, all about the storm and the winter and the snow plowing, and everything else. 

 

The rest of the trip down and back was mundane. There wasn't much traffic, and the only problem I had was driving right into the sun on the way down. I think my car is fine, although I didn't do a final inspection, since I wanted to get back before dark.

 

The sky was clearing on the way down, and it was beautiful when I got back here. I think it is going to be a fairly clear night tonight, for a change. My thermometer says it's 26 in the tree (I put the thermometer back out when I got home), although it's 30 at the NWS station. That is right beside the holding ponds, and it wouldn't surprise me if the water in the ponds makes it read high at this time of year. Tomorrow it's supposed to go up into the 50s, and the gale will be just a memory.

 

Some observations. When I went by the holding ponds on the way south, I startled two does right outside the fence, and on the covered road, I drove right past a quail who was pecking at something right next to the pavement. So there were a couple of critters. There are a lot of trees down in the woods along the covered road, and there was enough debris that I think maybe some may have fallen on the road, although they had been cleaned up. Down further, along Cliff Drive and south, it didn't look like so much damage had been done.

 

So while I really don't feel too much like going to bed, I am going to wallow in my shower tonight, and then I may read in bed for a while.

 

The debris from the birch will make wonderful kindling for my fireplace, and Mac said he will send someone over on Saturday, I think, to see about removing the downed tree and also the other one I want cut down. 

 

I got to thinking about the generator again, but the electrician won't be available until tomorrow afternoon, so I don't know when, or if, I'll get that worked on. I also want to call about firewood, and get that taken care of.

 

I was a bit concerned that it got pretty cold in here with the wind, even when the power was on. Of course, the windows aren't completely windproof, and they don't have nearly the R-factor of the walls. I may need that fireplace. However, I was cozy enough in bed, and Buster may even have gotten a bit warm. The one unpleasant thing about it is that, as I knew before, once the house cools off, it takes quite a while - four hours or more - to warm it up. I like the radiant heat under the floor, but it does respond very slowly. However, by 2:00 I had warm floors, and it was comfortable this morning.

 

One of the reasons it's been so cold in the great room and office lately may be because I never took off the hold that was on the thermostats. I thought I did, but I might not have, so I've checked that for sure, and we'll see what happens. The wind does make a difference, for sure.

 

So that is my last two days, and that is the reason there was no journal last night and not very many updates to the camera yesterday. I'm sorry you missed it - it was a wonderful gale. The entire gap between Porter Island and Lighthouse point was white, there were not only whitecaps on the harbor, but when the wind gusted, it was blowing the waves into spray. If other things hadn't intervened, it would have been a wonderful day to get out and take some pictures, but I can't get the car out of the garage when there isn't any power, and besides, the wind chill was pretty low. 

 

It sure was fun to be here, even with the power out. When that wind beats against the side of the house, I can easily imagine it tearing off siding or even part of the roof. I will inspect tomorrow. And I do love to hear the lake when it roars like a freight train right outside the window. I don't think Buster likes any of that, but it was such a calm summer that he'd forgotten how noisy it gets when the gales come. He kept wandering around complaining to me, and he acted like he was nervous. Poor Buster! 

 

It's a calm night in the field tonight.

 

November 8

I will start this early, and see what happens. I was late again last night, because after the journal and another 20 or so files copied and it hung up, I made the mistake of trying it again...bad idea. I won't do it tonight. I think eventually I'll get everything copied, but it surely is a pain. And there isn't anything wrong with the files on the server: it's just that FrontPage loses its mind when the time changes, and evidently there is very little, if any, error correction in its FTP routine. What a pain!

 

As a result of my late night, I was late getting up this morning, and late doing everything else, but eventually, around 1:30, I started for Houghton. I had toyed with the notion of going to Wal-Mart first, but I decided I was late enough that I'd better go to the collision shop first. 

 

So I am now driving a Mercury mini-van. It's not a bad car, actually, except that there isn't enough room for my legs, and it's several years old - it dates from the time when they tried to give us automatic seat belts, and these things hang in the middle of the seats and are a real pain. Another bad idea some do-gooder tried to foist off on the driving public. However, it will only be for a few days, and it actually is a very good handling car...I didn't have to change my driving habits on the curves at all.

 

Then it was off to Wal-Mart, to return the bibs, and wonder of wonders, they had a bunch of 2Xs...I hope they fit, because they don't have 3Xs, and if I have to go surfing the net for some, I'm sure they will cost me more than $20. I will try them on tomorrow.

 

I also indulged myself in a couple of new bird feeders that I don't think the bottoms will fall out of. I had toyed with the idea of putting them out, especially when I saw how empty the current feeders are getting, but with our gale due to arrive tomorrow, I decided to wait. I may put the bigger one where the three-tube feeder is, because it has a place for suet, and it might be fun to see in the camera. We'll see. It weighs a ton, even empty, so I will have to put it on a really strong branch.

 

I started back around 4:00, arriving here at 5:00, and now I will wait to hear from the shop. They seem to think my car will be ready before the weekend, wihch is good. I have wheels, but they're not my wheels, so I am not entirely comfortable. However, I pointed out the place on the lift gate where the paint has bubbled, and the estimator agreed with me that that is something that really has to be done, even though it will cost me at least $100. I think I probably backed into the bricks at the back of the house on Champine and broke the seal on the edge of the lift gate, and after almost 5 years, it is beginning to show. Since I expect to keep that car at least another 5 years, I guess it behooves me to get this attended to. The other thing was the scratch along the back door,  which only needs to be rubbed out with rubbing compound, but the guy said they would do that for me. So I should have a spanking new-looking car for the winter.

 

The weather was blah again. While it was in the 30s around midnight, it warmed up to around 45, where it stayed all day long, with almost no wind. It was a rather bright day, and occasionally the sun tried valiantly to shine through the clouds, although it didn't make it. They still insist that we are in for a real November gale tomorrow - gale force winds, snow showers, 12 foot waves, and so on. Goodie! The only change in the forecast is that whereas before they were saying most of the precip would be rain, now they seem to think it will be mostly snow. There are some light rain showers around now, and there is even a chance of a thunderstorm after midnight, before the wind starts to build. it should reach its height in the afternoon tomorrow and then slowly diminish. What fun!

 

Buster and I had some of my Schwan's stuff tonight - stuffed chicken breasts - and they weren't half bad, except that I didn't notice any ham in the one that was supposed to have ham stuffed into it. Anyway, we both thought they were quite tasty, and that makes up for having to put them in the oven...the toaster oven. It only took half an hour or so to cook them, so that wasn't bad at all.

 

So while it is quite early now, I will get this published and try to get to bed at some reasonable hour. I'm tired, and we have the calm before the storm in the field tonight...

 

November 7

It turned out to be a very late night last night. I started the upload after I completed the journal entry and moved over to the ugly chair, and when I moved back, at 11:00, I discovered that it had hung up at around 9:30 and never completed. The journal did load, but someone pointed out to me that at some point an image file had gotten gotten its end-of-file set to zero and so wasn't showing. So I tried to fix that...and tried...and tried...

 

I finally got a few files to upload, including, I think the one that got zapped, then I quit for the night...at about 1:30. Whew!

 

Needless to say, when I finally got to bed, I slept for an entire three hours (about all either my body or my bladder can stand), and when I woke up, Mars and two bright stars were shining in the bedroom windows. I wasn't sure at the time, but the two stars are Capella and Aldebaran...Taurus was setting in the west. It wasn't really clear, although I put on my glasses and I could see a few stars, and the bright ones kept blinking in and out - scattered clouds, I think.

 

When I got up this morning, finally, it was cloudy again, but the wind was nearly calm all night, and the temperature hung around 40. There wasn't a lot of wind today, either, and around noon the sky became partly clear for three hours or so, and the temperature briefly got up over 50 before it clouded up again.

 

I was to tired to attack the window, but I did schlep the two pairs of boots to the post office. As I was bending down to pick up the boxes, I looked out the office windows and discovered, to my horror, that the bottom of the big feeder was gone, and of course it was empty! Something mighty heavy tried to get into it, for sure! When I came back from the post office, I went down under the tree to pick up the pieces, and I'm afraid the feeder is pretty much a total loss. One of the tubes had cracked into pieces, and the whole feeder full of seed was on the ground. Well, even though I like the way those feeders work, now that I've had three of them break, I won't be buying another one. And the three-tube one was pretty expensive.

 

I think the pieces of the feeder spooked the critters, because it wasn't until after I took them away that the blue jays and squirrels attacked the pile of seed. I know there was a squirrel scolding me when I was under the tree, but it didn't look like there were any shucks at all. I bet there are now! The squirrels and jays left the feeders that are still hanging strictly alone for the rest of the afternoon, which made the little birds pretty happy. I may have had something other than chickadees and nuthatches, but the sun angle was such that I could only see silhouettes, so I don't know what they were. Buster and I had a wonderful time watching the teensy chipmunks gleaning on the deck, too. Apparently they are low enough on the pecking order that they can't get into the seed under the deck.

 

On that subject, both the squirrel with the docked tail that I had early in the summer and the large chipmunk with the docked tail that I had later on seem to have disappeared. The squirrel, I know, didn't seem to be able to jump very well, and it seemed to have some scars on its side, so I suppose it fell prey to something over the summer, and I guess the same thing happened to the chipmunk. I think that was the only big chipmunk there was, and now I'm down to the two teensy ones. They do seem to be growing, but right now they aren't much bigger than mice, and I don't know if they know enough to survive the winter. Maybe they do, because they are really spooky, but they seem to be eating the seed they find and not taking it back to their nest. I'm sure I will never be without either chipmunks or squirrels, but these are my chippies, and I would hate to lose them.

 

After I brought the broken feeder in, I decided to try a few things with FrontPage, but after an hour and half a dozen re-boots, I gave up. I hope this file loads. I really don't know what the problem is, but clearly it is losing track of something. I managed to get a few files to move last night, but every time I try to copy the entire folder (2100 files), it hangs up. This afternoon, every time I got about halfway through saying "NO" to "do you want to replace this file?" FrontPage abended, leaving 85% of memory tied up behind it. Thus the reboots. It might have something to do with the number of files in the folder, or it might be something else, but I've certainly never had this much trouble with it before.

 

Oh, yes, and on the off-chance there were helpful changes, I tried to do a Microsoft Office Update, and that hung the whole computer! This just was not my day, I guess.

 

So I moved to the ugly chair and knitted through ATC, Marketplace and Fresh Air, then I read for a while and knitted.

 

When it got dark there was a yellowish quarter moon shining in the south windows, but it disappeared behind a cloudbank a while ago. 

 

I guess tonight and tomorrow are supposed to be quiet, then all hell will break loose. They are predicting rising wind and maybe thunderstorms for tomorrow night, then we are going to have a real November gale on Wednesday. They are predicting winds to 60 mph and waves building to 15 to 20 feet. Now, that I will have to see! It's been a while since we've had a real, all-out gale. I don't think the waves get that high close to shore (usually), but I will try to keep track of the mid-lake buoys. It was just about this time of year that the Fitzgerald went down, so it could happen...

 

After the extremely calm summer and fall we've had, some real excitement would be fun.

 

So that is how it is in the field, and I will keep my fingers crossed until this is loaded.

 

November 6

If the camera shots looked cold today, it was because it was cold - our first really wintry day. It was a rather quiet night, but the wind picked up around 5:00, from the northeast, and by mid-morning it was blowing 25-30 mph. Sometime in there, we had our first snow squall, a light one that didn't accumulate at all, but for a while, there were definitely flakes blowing around. The temperature actually dropped overnight, and for most of the day it hung in right around 35...with that wind, the wind chill was in the 20s. Around noon, the wind shifted to the north, and later, around 5:00, it began to veer northwest and the temperature began to rise. It's still not balmy - the temperature is 42, and the wind is 21-28 mph from the north-northwest. 

 

I jumped into bed without a bath last night - the rule being that I'm not going out the next day, and I did bathe the night before. My hair begins to look pretty blah when I don't wash it, but since I had no plans to leave home today, I figured, why not? 

 

I was late getting to bed, because FrontPage is still trying to copy the pictures, and it is having the very devil of a time doing it. It keeps losing an FTP response somewhere in the middle and hanging up. I tried it three or four times, and even rebooted, then said to hell with it and went to bed. Sometime, it will work, then I won't have this aggravation until April.

 

I did sleep good, including some time on my right side, although I had some weird dreams that I don't remember now. I am prone to weird dreams in brilliant, full color - in fact, I don't remember ever dreaming in black and white - and some of them are really weird. When I am upset, I also occasionally have very vivid nightmares...haven't done that lately, though, which must mean my mind is fairly settled. 

 

Anyway, I arose around 8:30 and took my time about things. Buster was not ready to get up when I did, but I needed to go to the bathroom anyway, so I got up.

 

Sometime this afternoon I tried on the boots that came Friday...they are even smaller than the other ones...and my bibs...they don't fit either. So tomorrow I will be sending back two pairs of boots and Tuesday I will take back the bibs and hope Wal-Mart has gotten some 2X or 3X ones in. 2X would probably fit, but if I can find 3X, I may get them, just because they will be looser. It was disappointing, but I guess I wasn't too surprised. The boots were a  real disappointment; I had hoped the wide width would be wider, even in the different style, but they actually are possibly less wide than the medium width in the other style. And that is the trouble with trying on shoes through the mail. I still like the boots, and I think I will just order a pair of 11s with zippers and be done with it. I'm pretty sure they will fit.

 

After all that activity, I sat in the ugly chair and knitted for a while and read. I worked on the pale blue sweater for a while, because I can see myself needing it, but it is excessively dull...just around and around with no changes...and the balls of yarn are only 63 yards long, which means every 11 rows I have to work in a new ball. I did make some progress, though, and one of these days I will finish it. After trying the bibs and getting something to drink, though, I picked up the afghan again. At least every so often there is a stitch to increase!

 

I spent quite a while watching the dark gray lake-effect snow clouds blowing by, and there were a few birds in the feeders. I really wonder where all the birds I had in past years have gone? The jays...or maybe a nocturnal visitor...have done a job on the squirrel food, so maybe Tuesday I will get some more. Somebody likes it, apparently.

 

I had the rest of my spare ribs from Friday, and while Buster thought they smelled good, he didn't want any...I guess Mariner's barbecue sauce isn't quite as good as Harbor Haus's. I like it, though. I got a whole rack of ribs Friday, just so I could bring some home.

 

It is really early for me to be doing a journal, but I want to sit in the ugly chair tonight and read and knit, and it would be nice if I could get the website all updated. We'll see.

 

It was a bit of winter in the field today, but the crescent moon peeked out from behind the clouds for a few minutes, and tonight is supposed to be partly cloudy and not too cold, and it may be some warmer tomorrow. If it is, I shall have to take myself in hand and at least start the window.

 

November 5

After processing all the Octobers yesterday, I thought, why stop now, so I processed all the Novembers today. I was reading October 2004, just now, when I realized that I have a very good reason to start this relatively early tonight.

 

Last night was the night when FrontPage took it into its head to copy all the picture files to the server, and of course it hung up. After trying it twice, I just said, forget it, and went down the hall. I didn't want to reboot, because Norton was doing its weekly virus scan, so I left that running.

 

I seem to be sleeping well again. This seems to be a cyclic thing, and I'm in the "good" part of the cycle right now. It was cloudy and not very windy, and the temperature was right. I even slept on or almost on my right shoulder for almost two hours, so that is progressing. It was sore when I got off it (but that's been going on all summer), but as soon as I got up for a bit then turned over, it was fine.  I am thankful for small favors.

 

I did have to pay a few bills today, but except to play with the journal files, that was about all I did. I like to play with the computer, and all my games have been boring me lately. 

 

It was cloudy but not particularly dark all day, and the temperature was stuck at right around 40. There wasn't much wind, and it wasn't too bad out, although there were a few sprinkles on my windshield when I came out from dinner.

 

I'm happy to report there were a few more people in Mariner tonight than there were last night, thankfully, and even a few hardy souls walking around town this afternoon. Almost no stores are open, though, so there weren't many touristy things to do except sit in the bars.

 

I began to realize, after reading all the Octobers and Novembers, that I do tend to repeat myself, especially at this time of year...the days are getting very short...it's getting very cold (although not this year)...I don't want to leave...I will have to try to do better. I also realized that for some reason I have had far fewer birds this fall than in the past. I haven't seen a purple finch all fall, and in past years, I had a flock of them in October. But then, this year was the year of no critters. 

 

On the bird scene, I have been puzzled to find that goldfinches are supposed to be year-round residents of this area. Most of mine disappear sometime in October, although there are one or two hanging around. I think I've been saying they were females, but it turns out that you can't really tell much difference between the sexes in the winter. Anyway, it's a puzzle.

 

Something has been eating the squirrel food I got, but not my red squirrels. One of them sits in the platform feeder full of sunflower seeds, and another seems to prefer to jump into the feeder that's visible in the camera. Don't ask me why. Squirrelly.

 

Tomorrow i must try to do something other than play with the computer. I do have four more weeks here before I have to leave, but there are some things I'd like to do, too.

 

So now I will grit my teeth and try to get this thing published (along with all the pictures). By the way, if ever someone is looking through the galleries and sees a page or a picture that isn't right, please let me know. The site is too big for me to check every page anymore, and I would appreciate your help.

 

So it's another cool, breezy night in the field.

 

November 4

I've just spent the entire afternoon processing October from all the years I've been here, and now I can't remember what happened yesterday! Not much, I think.

 

I think it was cloudy all night, and I slept well until around 8:30. It was another inauspicious day. We had some rain between 5:00 and 10:00 this morning, and it was dark and dismal all day long. The NWS station showed a constant temperature of 41, and my thermometer said 39. When I went to dinner tonight (in the dark, at 6:00 - I hate that), it was just cloudy, but there was some drizzle while we were inside.

 

We were the only people in Mariner all evening, although I think somebody pulled up to the side door just as we left. I mean it's really, really dead in Copper Harbor right now. I like it.

 

I got started on the journals because I remembered that I had never processed October on Tuesday, then I decided that if I'm ever going to get everything converted to Word, I am going to have to work at it, so I did 2001, 2002, and 2003. I did all of 2004 sometime last winter, thankfully. Now, if I can do all the back months when I process each month going forward, by next year, I should be in a position to think about printing them. I don't want to publish, exactly, but I would like a printed copy for my own use. I still find it easier to leaf through a book than to look through a computer file. Working on the word files, black letters on a white background, just about did my eyes in.

 

So now that was done. My Schwan's order came, and I should be set for quite some time on that, and my new boots came, although I haven't tried them on. I need to decide on which pair (if either) to keep this weekend so I can return the other one, and I need to try on my bibs to make sure they fit before I take the car to Houghton on Tuesday.

 

Maybe tomorrow, I can do a bit of work on the kitchen. The dishwasher is half unloaded, and the counters need some attention. Housework is never done...

 

In reading over the old October journals, I realized that we really had a very warm, if cloudy, month this year, and it's still rather warm. In past years, we'd had snow in October, and at least one real gale. So this year was very mild and quiet. I can also see myself getting progressively more upset at having to leave in the middle of November as the years passed. There were some fun things in there - particularly in 2001 and 2002, we had some exceptional northern lights displays. 

 

I'm not looking forward to doing Novembers, though. Not only is there the leaving, but in 2003, DC started to get very, very sick in November. He was still doing all right in October, but he declined really fast, and of course, he died right after we got back to Detroit. Lovable as Buster is, and much as he tries, I still miss DC. He was one of those friends that I may never really get over. And it still hurts to read about him in the journals.

 

So it was a quiet day, and my eyes hurt, and as soon as I manage to publish this, I will waddle off to the north end. The wind has died down, and it's dark and quiet in the field tonight.

 

November 3

It was late when I went to bed last night, although I don't remember what my excuse was. I was really tired, but when I'm that tired and achy, it just takes a lot of time to do anything. However, once I got started, I did good.

 

It was a clear night, surprisingly...the stars were shining in the windows all night long, and I could see Polaris and the two end stars of the Little dipper, and Cassiopeia, and around 5:00, Mars peeked in my bedroom window. It was rather noisy, though, with a northwest wind in the 15-25 mph range. I have found, though, that the wind is the second best lullaby, next to the lake. Of course, the lake was also singing.

 

I was rather surprised when I got up around 9:30 to find it was all clouded over, the wind had dropped, and so had the temperature. It was apparently around 50 all night long, but it dropped into the low 40s around the time I got up, and it stayed there all day long. The wind has picked up again, but now it's coming from the east, which means it's quiet here, except that apparently there is a branch of the bird feeder tree that rubs against the house. I will have to check that out, maybe tomorrow.

 

I found I was still pretty achy from my exertions yesterday, and my back has been bothering me rather more than usual. However, I did accomplish a few things.

 

Last week, when I was trying one of my Schwan's selections, I discovered that evidently I brought one of my 2 quart Corning Ware casseroles here when I moved, but I left the glass cover in Grosse Pointe. I have the plastic cover, but there are times when I want the glass one...like if I put it in the oven. I also brought about twice as many plastic covers as I have any use for here. Really weird. The casseroles have always been stored over the cooktop and exhaust fan in Grosse Pointe, so I did the same here, and I have regretted it ever since, because that cabinet is a lot higher here. So this morning, I moved the broiler pans from a lower shelf into a drawer under the ovens and moved all the casseroles, their tops, and the cradle, onto that lower shelf. The cupboard over the cooktop is now empty, but that's all right: eventually, when I consolidate everything, there will be things I don't use much to put there.

 

I had put the extra plastic covers on the very top shelf, so I had to get out the step stool and clamber up onto it, and my first thought was to take those extra lids back to Grosse Pointe, but then I thought, why do that and have to move them back here? So they will go with the cassaroles.

 

How I ever missed the glass lid for that big casserole, I just do not know. I know none of those got broken in the move, so when I get back in December, I will have to take inventory and, I hope, bring a lid back with me. That is one of the bad things about having two houses, for sure. It will be so much better when there is only one, even though I'm sure all the empty shelves in the kitchen will be packed full when I'm done. Not to mention the basement...

 

This afternoon, I refilled the bird feeders. The blue jays were shrieking at me this morning, but that's too bad. They'll get theirs tomorrow. I put out another block of squirrel food, and one squirrel took one peck at it and went back to the sunflower seeds. I don't guess squirrels, especially my little red squirrels, are used to corn. The jays love it, though.

 

I filled the feeders by bringing the bucket of seed to the feeders, instead of vice versa, and I'm surprised and gratified that the camera didn't catch me bending double in front of it. I did it late enough that the jays didn't come back, but the squirrels, chickadees and nuthatches were all back, and I think a squirrel chased one of the chipmunks away.

 

I forgot to mention that yesterday, I saw several snow buntings flying away from the road...the first I have seen in several years. The first couple of years i was here, they flocked along our road, but I haven't seen them here yet, and I only saw them three at a time yesterday. I don't know if they are eruptive or not, but I suspect so. And I think the juncos are gone.  So the fall migration looks to be complete.

 

I rather hope there will eventually be more birds...and more interesting birds...at my feeders this winter, although only having to feed them every five or six days is nice. I suspect, though, that once the snow is down, I may see lots of interesting things. I hope so.

 

I spent the later part of the afternoon sitting in the ugly chair knitting and looking out. I never get tired of looking at my view, no matter what the season and what the weather. Buster sat on my lap for a while, but the afghan is getting rather large to hold both him and it.

 

So that is today, and it's getting late, and I'd like to get to bed before midnight, please. 

 

Tonight, it is a dark and noisy night in the field.

 

November 2

I did sleep well last night, on all sides, I think. I still can't do a full 3 hours on my right side, but I'm getting there. So I got up at a fairly reasonable hour this morning. I had to go to town, since I poured my last glass of orange juice, but I took my time about it.

 

The first stop, of course, was Wal-Mart, for bird seed, among other things. After some searching around, I found men's snowmobile bibs, and got a pair that might fit, although I haven't tried them on yet. The salesman recommended fleece lined jeans, and I was tempted to try them, but they didn't have any 42x32s which I think is about the size I would need to fit my hips...and, of course, I'd have to reshape the waist. I'm not surprised that the big sizes went first: there are a lot of big men around here, and probably some big women like me, who sometimes have to buy men's. I know the first jeans I ever managed to buy, 30 years ago, were men's. That was back in the days when women's jeans were sized two or three sizes too small (that is, if you wore a size 12 in slacks, you wore a 16 in jeans), and nobody believed that large-sized women would ever want to wear jeans. Well, surprise...

 

Not only do big women wear jeans, small women do not like to be told they have to buy two sizes larger in jeans than in other clothes.  Two sizes smaller, sure, but not bigger. I would really like to know the story behind that sizing, but it's an odd quirk in the fashion industry that probably not too many people remember unless, like me, they remember everything (except what happened yesterday).

 

Unfortunately, as I passed through the fabric section, I found two pieces of light-weight fleece in colors that I've not seen anywhere else - dark plum and aqua - at an incredible price. It isn't the best quality fleece I ever saw, but it would make a nice layer, and in two of my favorite colors. I am basically a blue person, but I like all the colors from that side of the color wheel, from red through certain shades of green. I do not like - or wear - yellow, orange, or yellow-greens. I hate orange with a passion (except on trees), and yellow makes me look like I just died, as do some shades of brown. Anyway, the only problem I see is that while I was able to get thread to match the plum, I couldn't get a match for the aqua, which is quite intense. Wal-Mart has a very limited selection of thread, and now that JoAnn's is closed, I guess I will either have to get my thread in Detroit or try to find it on the internet. I will, however, raid my stash when I get back to Detroit: I like that color well enough that there is a finite chance that I have some thread that will do. In the meantime, I can consider just what to make out of it.

 

I managed to miss the office supply department, which has been moved from near the front of the store into the back, but since I splurged on material (which I definitely do not need), I guess that's just as well.

 

Anyway, between the fabric, the bibs, two boxes of kitty litter, 25 pounds of sunflower seeds and all kinds of corn and callus pads, I had quite a load.

 

I guess I haven't said much about my feet lately, except that they hurt, partly because I think my shoes are a bit small for my swollen feet. I had been having an awful time with the bunion on my right foot, and a couple of weeks ago I discovered why: first, I grew a corn right on the tip of the bunion, then somehow I grew a blister under the whole thing. Believe me, that hurt! I have always had sensitive feet anyway, and when my feet hurt, I hurt all over. So I wore slippers for a while when I was staying in, and I have been covering the whole bunion with a callus cushion made by Band-Aid, which I guess they don't make anymore. I'm running out of them, so I had to find some others. We'll see.

 

The callus cushion, which I can wear for a week or more at a time, since it's waterproof, took care of the corn, and I took care of the blister. It has been much more comfortable lately, and I hope to keep it that way.

 

By the time I got out of Wal-Mart, not only did my feet hurt, my knees hurt, too, and I was all sweaty, of course. So it was off to Ming Bistro, which was OK...not great, but OK. As it turned out, I wasn't very hungry anyway, but I sat until I cooled off and felt better.

 

The next stop, of course, was Econo, and I had quite a basket full before I got out of there...enough that, when it was packed, it took up two baskets. I got help getting it into the car, which was a good thing, since I was a mess from the waist down by that time. However, I think I got everything I meant to get. There are a couple of things I need to ask about, but by the time I checked out, I was too tired to do that.

 

One thing I did discover is that they do carry pastrami, so I got some, and it is better than most that I've gotten at Farmer Jack. I just had a nice hot pastrami on an onion roll, and it was good.

 

The only thing that apparently isn't being made anymore that I love is pepper loaf. There are still several kinds of lunch meat being produced, but it's been maybe six or seven years since I could find pepper loaf. Oh, well. Pastrami will do.

 

My next stop was the gas pump, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that gas has gone down to a minimum $2.45 a gallon...of course, since the summer vacation time is over with. There is still a spread, from $2.45 to $2.50, but that is a much more reasonable price than a month or so ago.

 

Then I could start for home, thankfully.

 

I must report that almost all the leaves are down, except for the oaks, which are still brown. The tamaracks are all golden, and everything else is gray-brown with the dark green of the evergreens. It's really rather dull at this time of year. There are still leaves in the harbor, but they are falling fast now. 

 

The Keweenaw Road Commission took down all the brown signs around the first of October - awfully early, I think, and now they have closed all the roadside parks. MDOT does that on November 1 every year, and I really think that is earlier than necessary. We've had a few cold Octobers and Novembers since I've been here, but nothing cold enough to freeze the cisterns under the outhouses. I may have to write them a complaint.

 

The other thing the Keweenaw Road Commission has been at is putting up the sticks to mark where the road is. They have some nice metal markers on the ends of the metal barriers, but where there aren't barricades, they plant thin saplings about 5' to 6' tall, so that the plows will know where the road curves are. I've always thought that was a pretty bright and cost-effective idea. There certainly are enough saplings and long branches available, for free, and all they have to do is collect them - and I doubt anybody in the road commission minds being out in the woods to do it - and plant them. You know winter is coming when the branches are planted, and you know it's over when they're gone in the spring.

 

The weather was nondescript again. It was cloudy, but not excessively so, and the temperature, which started out in the low 40s this morning, got into the upper 40s or low 50s by afternoon. There was a rather brisk wind, but it wasn't too cold or anything.

 

I was tired enough when I got home that I sat around for a couple of hours before I fetched everything out of the car, although the breezeway is getting pretty packed. I will have to do something about that one of these days. I had some trouble finding everything that needed to be refrigerated, because I had a packer who must be new, and being a guy, he didn't know what needed to be kept cold and what didn't...so he packed my frozen pizzas, my eggs and my butter in regular bags. I caught the pizzas and the eggs, because they were on top of a bag, but I had to hunt for the butter, and it was soft by the time I found it. Some people are dumb beyond belief.

 

Anyway, that is done, and I have enough orange juice and muffins for quite a while. I may have to shop again before I leave, but mostly because I'm still toying with the notion of making my turkey here this year. We'll see.

 

I do still have to try on my bibs, but if they don't fit, I will be back down there next Tuesday, and I can return them then. I hope not.

 

And that was my busy day, and it's time to trundle off to the north end and see if I can repeat my nice sleep of last night.

 

It's cool and dark in the field tongiht.

 

November 1

It's amazing...2005 is almost over. Time does go faster as one gets older, but it also means there are fewer years left to live. I'm so excited about the idea of actually living here in my favorite place all the time that I just don't want it to end...

 

Hopefully, even though I have to go back to Detroit in December, since it won't be for too long, I won't get completely bent out of shape like I did last year. At least I won't be there for more than about 4 weeks!

 

I misspoke last night, by the way. FrontPage had not copied the website Sunday night. It did it last night...and it had a horrible time of it. I think I had to restart it at least 6 times, and it wasn't until the second time after I rebooted that it finally completed. It didn't copy any of the pictures...that will happen tonight or sometime in the next week. I'm starting this early tonight, in part so that I won't be up forever if it does it tonight.

 

As a result of that fiasco, it was very late before I got to bed, and I was tired enough that I slept for a very long time once I got there. As an aside, I think I was sleeping on my right side, or nearly on it, this morning. So, while I still have some pain in my shoulder at times, I guess I'm making progress. I will have to talk to Nancy. At this point, a good massage might solve the entire problem.

 

I wasn't too happy when I saw that the clock said 10:20 when I woke up, because I had planned to go to town today. I am nearly out of orange juice, so it's time to go and restock. However, it was nearly 1:00 by the time I got through eating, and that would have meant I wouldn't get back here until after dark, so I didn't go. Tomorrow, for sure.

 

Actually, I was glad to be here, because around 1:00, the sun came out, and the afternoon was nearly cloudless.  It was a beautiful afternoon to be here, and I enjoyed it...doing practically nothing but soak up rays. By sunset, it was cloudless, and I think tomorrow is going to be nice, too, because the sky was very red after the sun went down. It wasn't the kind of picture to save, but it was pretty. The whole horizon turned dark orange for a few minutes. I was glad I was here.

 

I do hope to be back here before sunset tomorrow! I'm planning to make it an early night tonight, which is why I'm writing this before 8:00. Even if all the pictures get copied, I should be able to get to bed by a reasonable hour.

 

The temperature stayed at 45 all day long, and has now plunged to about 38 - that's what a clear sky will do for us! The wind was in the 20-25 mph range this morning, but it died off this afternoon, and it is now almost calm. It wasn't bad at all today.

 

Instead of going to town, I went to the post office, and it was rather nice out. As an aside to self, I also saw Sonny again, and asked him again about cutting down my dead trees. He said he'd be here Thursday, since I'm out tomorrow. We'll see. The word is that he is dry, but he clearly has other issues. He is just the paradigm of the kind of person who inhabits this corner of the world in greater numbers than most other places except the dark corners of the inner cities. I feel sorry for him, but if he won't do my work, I will have to get someone else. He is one of the few people I trust to cut down the dead pine behind bedroom - he is a good logger and he can make a tree fall just in the direction he wants it. That tree has been dead for three or four years, and I really don't want it to come down on my house in some blizzard this winter.

 

So then I came home and soaked up the rays until sunset.

 

So there is another month before I have to pack up and go. I almost thought about leaving early tonight, when I read the monthly newsletter from church, but...no. I won't go until I have to.

 

So it's a nice clear night in the field, and maybe I can get some sleep?

 

Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM