A View From the Field







February, 2006



February 28

It's the end of February already. I've always said February is the longest month, but it certainly has gone by fast this year. Maybe it's because I'm where I want to be and I'm doing pretty much what I want to do?


Not that I did much today. I caught up on my sleep nicely. Ron came around to clear the snow about 7:00 this morning, and I heard the tractor, took a little walk, and went back to sleep. I seem to have been having some very pleasant dreams, although I don't remember what they were.


He came back before noon, and he not only shoveled as much as possible off the front porch, he shoveled a path to the breezeway door, which was nice, because the garage door guys went in that way. They came, did their thing, and were gone by 2:15, so I got to the post office, and it was a good thing, too, because there were packages galore. I guess my fingers have been busy this month.


Herrschner's finally marked down a couple of cross stitch pictures I've been looking at for a year or more, and they came. I have my eye on another one which is quite new, so it will be a while, but when I can get a kit that retails for over $20 (sometimes over $30) for $7.47, I can be patient, especially since I have too many kits already. One is a cat, and one is an eagle silhouetted against the moon, which is really cool, except that it's done on black cloth. That is a good project for the sunny days of summer, when I can see what I'm doing!


So I had some new things to play with late this afternoon.


I noticed, during the night, a star or two shining amidst the clouds, and when I woke up this morning, it was nearly clear outside. There were some high cirrus clouds for most of the day, and it began to cloud up toward sunset, but there was lots of sunshine, which was great for basking. I soaked up as many rays as I could. The temperature was only around 16 for most of the day, although it has slowly risen to over 20 after dark, and there was a 15 mph or so wind out of the north. If I was out of the wind, it was nice out. When I went to the post office, that north wind was rather brisk. However, I wasn't out in it for too long.


So now my garage door works maybe even better than it did before...I think they probably oiled the wheels, too. They didn't present a bill before they left, so Ron and I will be waiting for that.


The only thing is, I haven't seen Buster in a while. I guess he appeared when I got back from the post office, but I was throwing packages around, and then I was busy with their contents, so he went away, to pout, no doubt. I'm sure he was not happy with all the men who were around today, even though none of them came into the house at all.


So now I have whiled away the time again, and it's bedtime once more. It would be nice if I could get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow, so that I can eat something before church.


February 27

I think I've figured out what my problem is. I've gotten so used to eating after dark that I've been waiting too long, especially when I have to cook. It was after 9:00 when I ate last night, then I got to looking at bead catalogs again, and I jumped into bed at 1:30! Much too late! It didn't help that Ron called at 9:30 this morning to be sure I didn't need the garage door opened before he took Trevor to the doctor, and after talking to him for a while, I decided I might as well get up. So I'm really tired not, and it will not  be that late when I get to bed tonight!


Let's see...I looked at the bead stuff again, but I didn't spend any more money. The place I used to get my Japanese cylinder beads from has a new, very nice, website, but I think they've raised their prices, too, and now it turns out that the place I get my gemstone beads has better prices,  and a better selection. 


I  haven't used any of those beads in any jewelry yet. They are absolutely beautiful and very regular, but more expensive than the Czech beads, and I'm not sure whether I could get my money out of them. I'm thinking about a few things, though. I keep looking at that little packet of very pale aqua transparent beads with a rainbow finish (also called aurora borealis or iris, depending upon who you talk to and when). What a lovely color that would be for the background of a summer necklace or bracelet!  Hmm...


Anyway, I did manage to remember two of the several phone calls I wanted to make today. I have an appointment all set up for April to get my crown, and the man will be here tomorrow to fix the garage door. The other calls aren't, I guess, as important, because I keep remembering then forgetting them. It's getting so I'm going to have to start carrying a pad and pencil around my neck wherever I go to write down things as I think of them.


I may not get to town this week, like I had planned, but that's all right, too, because I keep forgetting what I want to get there. Tomorrow it's the garage door man, and Wednesday, Shepherd of the Sea Lutheran Church is going to have a little service for Ash Wednesday...and at 1:00 in the afternoon, when I can actually get there. Their Sunday service is at 8:30, and no way can I make that, at least not yet.


So I started warming up my dinner around 6:30, and I had just brought it into the office, with a nice glass of red wine in one of my balloon glasses, when the glass tipped over and 8 ounces or more of wine went all over the floor...aaaaaahhhhhhhhh! I went for the bucket and mop, and the floor is now at least a bit cleaner than it was, but it was a real shame to waste so much of one of the red wines I really like - Redwood Creek Syrah. Darn. There's a little left in the bottle, but not enough for a real drink. Darn.


I carry my meals around on a tray, and since it is a plastic tray, I put a placemat on it. I learned the hard way that putting a hot plate directly on the plastic cracks it. However, the placemat makes a rather unsteady base for glasses, especially glasses with long stems. Maybe I'll have to rethink this.


Oh, the weather. The temperature was 16 all day, with a wind that started out around 10 mph and is now up to 17 mph again, from the north. We had a few snow showers, but nothing to accumulate very much - maybe half an inch total. It was rather chilly outside, as I discovered.


First I was running around the garage, measuring the door height and the height of the railing that needs replacing, then I just remember that I took a few pictures this afternoon. First there were some crepuscular rays, then we had a little ruddy sunset. I opened the door to take them, to try to eliminate that source of possible problems, and it was right chilly. 


However. I do think I may have discovered one reason my sun pillar shots were so poor. It seems I had accidentally cranked up the telephoto into the digital range, which smears out the pixels. I'm not sure that's the whole problem, but it certainly has something to do with it. The pictures I took today weren't nearly so close up, but if any turn out OK and are in focus, I can just use PhotoShop to crop them. They are still in the camera, though, and that will just have to wait for another day.


It's another winter night in the field, and I'm going to bed. Now.


February 26

I got to bed late last night, and it will be late tonight, too, but oh, well.


I forgot to mention that yesterday the temperature was around 16 all day with north winds in the 20 to 30 mph range - not really very nice out!


I was fooling around with bead catalogs last night, I guess, and that kept me up, but once I got started I did a good job.


It was nice to wake up and look outside this morning and see sunshine. The wind dropped off to nearly nothing overnight, and while the sky wasn't pristine, it was clear enough to show sunshine. That lasted pretty much all day long. The temperature got up to the mid 20s, and I suspect for a while it wasn't bad outside.


However, then the wind shifted to the north, picked up into the 25-35 mph range, and it snowed hard for a couple of hours. The wind was so strong that I suspect the only problem will be drifting - there wasn't really that much accumulation. Then the squall went off toward the south and by sunset it was partly clear again, but still windy. How I do love the weather here! While it was blowing, when I could see down the harbor, the wind was whipping up snow devils all over the ice and blowing clouds of snow off the trees and it was pretty hairy out there. Then the snow came in, and for an hour or more, I couldn't see anything beyond the deck railing. How much of that was new snow and how much was blowing snow isn't clear. It got dark before I could check the driveway.


I can't be a lot more specific about these things, because it was a bad computer day and I ended up losing a lot of the pictures (which I just realized I can download from the server - so I'm doing that). The computer wasn't working very well this morning, and sometime in the early afternoon, it hung up completely. When I tried to reboot, it kept abending during startup, which isn't nice at all. I finally had to do a GoBack to last midnight to get it straightened out. I did lose a confirmation of an online order I put in last night, and the day's pictures, but nothing of real consequence.


I'm just glad I'm not trying to use this system to do serious commercial work. This isn't an ME problem: this is a basic hardware problem, where sometimes the files just get corrupted on the hard drive, and I don't care what Windows you're using, it's going to happen. Frustrating and annoying, but not life-threatening.


The other old business is a laugh I've had the past two days. Friday night, there was a guy at Mariner on his way out to his snowmobile who was moaning and groaning about how cold it was (it was, but he had snowmobile clothes on). Last night, the guy with the cellphone had been up to the top of Brockway, and he said it was mighty cold up there (I can imagine, with the temperature 16 and the wind in the 20-30 mph range!). I only wonder what the devil they think they want? You don't get snow with warm temperatures, for heaven's sake! Well...late in April sometimes the guys can go snowmobiling in their shorts, but that's not usual either. I mean, this is winter and we're at 47.5 north latitude. You expect it to be balmy?


Buster was moping around today, so I gave him some catnip, and now there is catnip all over me, too. I think he needed a little tonic. I must make him a catnip mouse.


The only other casualty of the day is the tooth behind the one with the crown. I was chewing on a rather crunchy piece of chocolate for desert and I seem to have chipped one partial side off the tooth. It doesn't hurt or anything, but I will be calling the dentist tomorrow to make an appointment for April, and I suspect I will need another crown, darn it. Unfortunately, my teeth have been filled so much for so long that as I get older, I'm afraid this will be happening again. What is amusing is that this tooth is not one of the ones we were watching at all. So you never know. I hope it doesn't get sore, but I will be trying to be careful of it for the next month or so.


I spent some time doing another bead order - this one for seed beads - then I got down some of my pattern books to look for inspiration. I was also looking for patterns for little boxes, and I did fine a few of those, but I'm still fooling around.


Oh, I also cooked - my beef country ribs, and they were very good, thank you. Now I have to put them away. And it is after midnight, and I'm tired. It is a windy but so far not snowy night in the field.


February 25

I'm for bed early tonight. Last night, I got to reading a catalog that I realized I hadn't looked through, and it was 3am before I got to bed. It's a big catalog, and it's only half or less of the stuff the bead company carries. I found a few things I want to remember, so that was good. However...


It wasn't snowing when I went to bed, but it started about 5:00 and snowed pretty much until 3:00, after which we had a little intermittent sunshine until sunset. And I just noticed that I will have to adjust both the wakeup time and sleep time for the camera. We're gaining daylight fast now. and pretty soon we'll be at 11 hours.


Since it was Saturday, the road didn't get cleared until late in the afternoon, and unfortunately, one of the guide rails for my garage door was a casualty. Ron swung the tractor around in the garage and he was so concerned about not hitting my car with the blower that he hit the rail with the scoop on the other end. So now the door is closed, and I'm not sure I can get it open. However, that may be better than having it open and not be able to close it, if we have more snow, which we will. Monday I will get on the phone and try to get ahold of Adam and find out where the garage door came from and how get somebody to come and replace the rail. It's always something...


I spent most of the day working on a bead order. However, when I got it down to what I really thought I wanted now and it was still $400, I decided to think it over a bit more. There are several things I want to do, and unfortunately they all take beads. And that doesn't include more seed beads for my bracelets. Well, I'll just have to pare away at it. 


I did really want to do some gemstone bead necklaces with carved mother-of-pearl flower pendants (which I have had for several years now), but gemstone beads, at least the kind I like, are getting more expensive all the time, not to mention the price of gold and silver! I'm sure I could get a good price for them, but first I have to buy the materials and make them up.


Also, Nancy wants a necklace with stars in it, and I wanted to get a selection of beads to let her select the color she likes best. And that costs, too. Oh dear. 


The bead company does discount, but only for pretty large orders, and while that works for glass beads (10 of something may actually be cheaper than 9), it doesn't work with gemstone beads. The really low prices don't start until 25 strands, and 25 strands at an average $5 a piece is still expensive. I'll figure something out, and I may just have to save the gemstones for later.


Any, eventually, Ron hit the doorframe and I went off to dinner, which was very good even though I was alone. There are still a lot of both snowmobilers and skiers in town, which is good. I was talking to a couple of guys who had come from Eagle River, Wisconsin, stayed in Calumet (grr!) and came on to Copper Harbor. That is a long day!  I noticed them because the one guy was trying his cellphone, and of course, we don't have cellphone service here yet.


So I came home all full of stuffed whitefish, and had another conversation with Ron, and as soon as I finish this I am going to bed!


It's still winter in Keweenaw, folks, and it sounds like it's going to continue.


February 24

It didn't snow much, if at all, last night, and it didn't snow at all today until right around 4:00, but it has been snowing ever since, lightly. There was only a half inch or so when I came out of Mariner tonight, so it's not accumulating very fast.


I had the slow breakfast this morning, for the first time in a very long time. It went down really well, and I didn't get hungry three hours later, either. Maybe I just don't know when I'm hungry anymore. Anyway, that was nice.


I paid the rest of the month-end bills and trotted off to the post office, where there were some new packages of fun things. I continued both to look through the stuff I have with me and my beading catalogs, and I haven't decided what to do next, so I spent some time working on my little rose picture. It does feel good to have one needle in hand again, so I suspect that the next project will be sewing, embroidery, or beading...maybe all three. We shall see.


Since the Sestoks are leaving again on Sunday, I wanted to get together with them, so I invited them to dinner tonight, and we had a lovely time, as we always do. I like them both, I also got to meet Johanna, who is our resident massage therapist, and is a very nice girl, too. So we had a nice dinner and a nice conversation and it was fun. 


When we came out, there was just a little snow on the cars, and it looked to me like the plow had been by, so my trip home was a good one. Apparently the Sestok's road is in terrible shape, since it hasn't been plowed in a month or more, and getting out is and exercise in how to drive a 4WD vehicle. I hope they don't have a problem with the people who said they planned to keep the road open.


Now I am sitting with a cat on my lap and a JD in my hand, and when that is done, I will trundle off to the north end. It's a snowy, wintry night in the field tonight, but there isn't much wind, it's from the east again, and it is really nice out.


February 23

It started snowing at maybe 3:00 this morning (I don't quite remember) and it was still snowing when I got up at 9:30, but right after Mac came around and cleared the driveway of 4" or 5" of snow, it stopped, and it was cloudy to party sunny for the rest of the day. Right around sunset, a big, black cloud came over, it snowed hard for about five minutes, then the cloud went off to the south. The last picture of the day was a tad early tonight and you can see the cloud. I didn't save that one.


The picture I kept was from about an hour earlier, because the sun is now in the camera view - when there is a sun to view. Here it is. I missed it in person, although I was aware of the sunshine, because I couldn't see the computer screen. I thought it was a nice picture, besides heralding spring-to-come. Those black clouds are lake effect clouds, and they are all full of snow, and a while later, they dumped on us.


Before that, there were a couple of minutes when there were some nice crepuscular rays from behind the clouds, and I did take a picture, but it's still in the camera. It didn't last long.


The temperature was right around 20 all day long, and while there was a fairly fierce wind from the north for most of the day, it died down around sunset, and has now begun to pick up again. I didn't mind staying in.


Let's see...I did everything except for what I should have done. I did promise Nancy I would get my taxes to her, and that means filing, which I hate. I washed the dishes and I actually cleaned up the stove! Wow! That was a mess. I realized when I was done that I had forgotten about the exhaust hood, which is gross, but by that time my back was killing me, so it will have to be done another day. It's nice to have a clean stove, though. And the other side is in a little better shape...not much.


I looked through the blue boxes - I have to do that every so often just to remind myself what I have...and moved some things around in them, and I spent some time trying to get together a bead order that will give me some of my ideas to work on and not break the bank, which is a tall order. There are so many beautiful beads and so many things I'd like to try...


Weil, I didn't sleep very well last night, and I didn't take a bath, so I have to do that tonight, and it's time for bed. It's still winter in the field, for sure.


February 22

There was a little snow overnight, I guess, and a little before noon today, total about 2", it looked like, but not enough to need plowing again, and this afternoon it was bright overcast and the temperature got up to 28 witn no wind to speak of, so it was a rather nice day.


I didn't sleep very well last night, for some reason. Maybe it was because I didn't go to bed with anything particularly in mind, so my mind just went in blank circles all night. Who knows? Anyway, I did get up around 9:30, so I seem to be getting back onto a more human cycle again.  I had plenty of time to do my morning surfing and eat something before it was off to the ladies' meeting this afternoon.


We had a really large crowd today, and it was nice, although the one I hoped wouldn't be there, was, and I ended up sitting mostly beside her. 


And Nancy was there! She and Chip snuck in last weekend in the middle of the blizzard, although they only got as far as Calumet on Saturday. And they're leaving this weekend. However, I suppose a week in Copper Harbor is better than nothing. I probably won't see them for any length of time, because their road is a mess, and I don't have the makings in the house for a decent dinner. Hmm... I'll have to think about that one.


Anyway, it was nice to see everyone, and the one I don't care for is a wonderful quilter, and she had just gotten a bedspread back that she had machine quilted, and it was very lovely, a block sampler in shades of mostly blue with natural. She has about the best color sense of any of our local quilters, and both quilts she showed us were lovely.


One thing I find about the quilters is that I'm not the only saver of fabric. They all do, and besides, they all go to any fabric store they can find anywhere they travel. Probably drives their husbands crazy, but oh, well. Now, I can relate to that, even though most of my stash is clothing fabric. You have to be involved in one of the fabric-oriented crafts to understand. Of course, I also collect yarn and cross stitch patterns and kits and...and...and...Just call me a packrat.


So that was my nice social day, and it will be good to veg out tomorrow. Maybe I can get the other two nightgowns patched, and Nancy got me thinking about boxes again...




February 21

It's amazing what a difference being warm enough in bed can do for a girl. Actually, I may be a bit too warm at times, but then I get up and take a little walk, and I'm fine. I did sleep well, although it was a night of very vivid, weird dreams. And I was up at a reasonable hour this morning, although I don't think I actually accomplished a lot.


I finally worked in all the ends on the blue sweater, and I discovered that the bottom wants to roll more than the bottom edge, so it will have to be blocked.  I am so used to knitting acrylic sweaters that I keep forgetting that wool needs to be blocked. It's a nice sweater anyway, and I'm sure I will wear it a lot.


I wrote another check and went to the post office, and it turned out we got two mail deliveries today. Clyde stopped at the post office this morning on his way to the Harbor and picked up what there was - and it was a lot - and then the regular delivery guy arrived around 3:00 with the rest. Of course, I didn't get the second batch of first class mail, but I got several packages and another ton of catalogs, as well as some useful things, like my bank statement.


Amongst the packages was my light bulb changer, which, if it works as advertised, will mean I won't have to try to climb up on a ladder to change my canister lights anymore. I haven't opened that one yet, because it's rather large. 


I also broke down and bought a roasting rack, since it will be a while before I move one from the other house. This one is nice - non-stick - and shaped so that I can roast a chicken or turkey on its breast if I want to. I'd like to try that with a turkey, since their breasts frequently come out pretty dry. Actually, I really would like to try roasting a turkey in the convection oven. I do a pretty fair job in a regular oven, but I bet it would be even better in the convection oven, moister and juicier. Well, not for a while. But it's nice to think about.


I also made several phone calls. The county clerk is supposed to be sending me a letter explaining the change in street numbers. That will be good, because I think the mortgage company is just sitting around waiting for me to do something. 


My accountant knows I am here, and she will be receiving a package from me one of these days, if I ever get my filing done. We had a nice conversation.


I have not been able to get water out of my refrigerator for a week or so, and so today I followed the directions in the manual and held the dispenser pad down for a long time, with the result that I had a flood on the floor in front of the fridge! Yuck! The floor is a bit cleaner now, though. So I called the local repair people, and had a long talk with a nice repair guy. The problem may be that the tubing is frozen inside the door, which apparently is a problem with GE fridges, and can't be fixed. Or the problem may be elsewhere. He seemed to think a fitting in the bottom of the fridge may have come loose, which I could check, except that I would have to get down on the floor on my hands and knees, and I'm not sure I'm up to that. Maybe I should, though, and also check to see if I can find out where the piece of rubber that fell out of something while I was unloading the cooler when I came back from Detroit goes. I forgot to mention that to him. It's amazing what you find out about your appliances when something breaks that you should have known before you bought them.


I think there were a couple others, but I can't remember now.


The weather was actually rather nice. There was a snow flurry or so this morning, but the rest of the day was just high clouds, with temperatures in the low 20s and almost no winds. It was nice out. When Mac came by to blow out the driveway, i went out in just my heavy (felted) sweater, and I wasn't cold. I guess it is supposed to start snowing again, but at least we had a little respite today.


The harbor appears to be completely frozen over, finally, although some of that ice is probably pretty thin. And the banks are getting higher all the time. After only 48" of snow (officially - that's at Mohawk) in January, we've had 39" so far in February, according to George Hite, who is back in Eagle Harbor, and apparently doing OK, although he isn't talking much about it.


So that was my day, and I am going to see if I can continue this earlier to bed and earlier to rise. It's nice to have a long period of daylight. I was able to bask in the sunshine for a while in the early afternoon, and I think I needed that.


So all is well in the field.


February 20

I was minding my own business, doing a little embroidery, and talking to the plumber, when I looked at the clock, and - whoops! - it's 9:30 already1 Past my bedtime! So now we know how I manage to stay up so late. I will try to do this fast.


The cold house is over, thankfully, but mostly because it's been warmer outside (in the 20s) and the wind was nearly calm all day. Now it's nice and warm. I actually did an overkill on the bedroom last night and ended up turning the thermostat back to 64, after I which I slept long and hard. So I actually was cold, and that was why I couldn't stay asleep. Makes sense.


This morning, I finished the afghan and worked in all the ends, and it turned out very nice, I think. I will try to get a picture of it (as well as the whatsit) one of these days. I decided to let my hands rest for a while before I attack any more knitting, so I worked at setting up some little embroidery kits I got lately - one is of kittens, and the other two are roses.


In my first house, I had a "cat wall" with lots of embroidered cats grouped together, and I'd like to do the same thing here, maybe on the wall of the stairway to the second floor, or maybe down the hall to my bedroom. I also want to do a "rose wall", to group all my rose embroideries together. The roses are particularly nice, but they aren't very big, so they should go fast.


And that is about all I did. I did cook tonight, and I still have to put that away.


The weather was so-so. The temperature was in the low to mid 20s all day, and there was almost no wind, There were light snow showers on and off for most of the morning, until about 1:30, then it stopped long enough for Ron to blow out the road and get rid of the drifts, then it started again, very heavy, and I guess it is still snowing hard. Ron said that at about 8:15, it looked like 4 or 5 inches had already fallen. So it's not over yet. This is heavier, wetter snow, because of the temperature, and it will be yucky.


However, it is nice and warm in the house...almost too warm in spots. I had a discussion with the plumber, and he agrees that something isn't right, but what it is is hard to say. It may be zone valves again. He did suggest that the next time it gets so cold, I should crank up the heat in the basement, which I usually keep around 60 and see if that helps the first floor. It should, I would think. Hydronic systems are actually much more efficient when the pipes are buried in concrete, and warming the basement should help with the first floor. He also said to keep him informed, and if that doesn't work, he will come out when it is cold and check out the system. Evidently zone valves can fail in any number of ways, so I will have to learn about that.


As to the strange behavior of my toilet, his suggestion on that is that the air vent may be plugged from the snow. I don't know where that vent is, so that, too, is possible. And the registers that I don't have yet do have dampers in them, which will enable me to divert more air to the great room and less to the bedroom and prevent my windows from fogging up. So that was all right. Since I've never lived here through the winter before, it stands to reason that some new things would come up.


So that was my day, and it's past my new bedtime.


February 19

It still hasn't stopped.


I did not sleep well last night. The temperature in the bedroom didn't get down below the 64 the thermostat was set for, but I was up every hour or so, and I ached. Upon reflection, I think I was cold. It didn't help that I was finally doing pretty good and  got a phone call from Ron asking if I planned to go out this morning...or today at all, so that they could do the road later in the day. That turned into an hour on the phone, and by that time I figured I might as well get up.


I was bothered all night by the bathroom. I turned up the thermostat to 90, but the temperature hung at 66 until this morning, when it slo--oo--oo-wly inched up to 69 and stayed there. That in spite of the fact that the wind was from the west, and it wasn't hitting that side of the house at all, and I had the door almost closed all night long. The floor, which is tile, should have been warm or even hot, and while it wasn't icy, it wasn't very warm, either.


Then I got to the office and discovered that the temperature here was 61, even though I had left the door almost closed. So I turned that thermostat up to 90, and it is finally 67 in here, which feels almost balmy, but that must have something to to with the temperature outside being up to 23 or so.


I guess I have a few things to talk to the plumber about.


I guess I needn't say that it blew all night long and it blew all day long, and it's still blowing. And snowing. From the pile on the railings by the front door, it looks like we got maybe 4" overnight, and another inch or so today, although it was blowing so hard that sometimes it wasn't easy to tell what was coming down and what was getting moved around.


Unfortunately, I can't tell how strong the wind really was, because it was mostly from the west, and the NWS station is very sheltered on that side, so it was reporting wind speeds that were clearly wrong, by 10 mph or more. I mean, they would be reporting 9 mph when the snow was being blown horizontal out here. I guess there was some severe drifting on the road, but I didn't talk to Ron when he came around 3:00 to clear the driveway.


I was actually not too cold, although I was stiff and sore. I had longjohns on under my sweat pants, and a thick sweatshirt with my Mariner North jacket (the one I wear as an outdoor jacket when the temperature is in the upper 20s) over it, and wool socks. My hands did get cold, and I got chilly when I was hungry, but mostly I was all right. 


It turns out that the warmest room in the house was the laundry room, because I left a load drying last night when I went to bed and I left the door closed. It was probably over 70 in there. So I did the rest of the wash and spent some time folding, and that warmed me up nicely. 


Otherwise, I knitted and looked at some of the magazines and catalogs that came yesterday. I am on the last row of the afghan, although I was held up because I dropped something and had to pick up a bunch of stitches - right where the increase was, of course - just about the time it was beginning to get dark, and these rows are all black, so it was really hard to see. It looks like I got everything back together OK, although it isn't pretty. I hope nobody will notice very much. I am really anxious to get it off the needle now and see what it really looks like. It's been so big for so long, it isn't possible to tell what it looks like anymore.


So that was my day, and I am tired enough that I think I am going to bed early tonight, after taking a hot shower. I also exchanged comforters on the bed, so I will be sleeping under the heavy one for the first time. If that doesn't do it, I will try both of them and put a fleece throw over my feet. My back is bothering me, and I have a stiff neck, and as I recall, the same sort of thing happened to me a couple of times at the other house when I first got back there in November and forgot I had the lighter quilt on the bed. We shall see.


Buster was my bed companion for most of the night, and for once he was pretty quiet. For some time, he slept beside me, under the quilt except for his head. Eventually he did go away, and he spent the day in the closet on the throw on the floor. Apparently that gives him more heat than the basket. So I guess I can take the basket out and have some more room to move around in my closet?


I can see the lights on the public dock, so evidently it's stopped snowing, but from the weather forecast, that's just temporary, and this is supposed to keep on for at least tomorrow and maybe Tuesday as well. Now, this is more like winter in Keweenaw!


February 18

Now it doesn't want to stop. Not that I'm complaining, mind you; it's exciting to watch. It was a very cold, windy night with temperatures under 10 and northwest winds in the 25-40 mph range, and while the temperature has risen a tad - it's over 10, finally - and the wind seems to be dropping a bit and shifting to the west, it was a very cold, windy and snowy day.


It was obviously all lake effect snow: one minute we'd be in the middle of a blizzard and the next minute the sun would be peeking through. The snow came in waves, and sometimes was accompanied by gale-force winds. I guess lake effect snows do form bands, and we certainly saw them today.


They are saying we're in for at least another day of this, and even though the winds have dropped a bit, it was snowing nicely when I came back from dinner. I don't think we've really had that much snow here - 8" or 10" maybe, although with the drifting it's hard to tell for sure. I understand there's been a lot more in the "higher elevations" between Houghton and Delaware.


I guess the winds overnight did a job on the roads, and there were drifts in places we haven't had drifts before, but that's all to the good. We need to get a handle on where the bad places are. I talked to Ron today and he said that Mac was going to see if Ace still has some snow fencing, so maybe we can put some up in the worst places. Mac and Ron are both on the big lake, and they are a lot further out along the road than I am, so they get much more drifting than I do. My biggest problems are down by Lake Lily and up at the top of the hill, whereas they get it from all sides along the roads that parallel the lake. Well, live and learn. At least we haven't gotten snowed in yet this year!


I did a few things again today. I got to bed at 9:30, like I wanted to, although I had a little trouble getting to sleep. I guess I'm just not used to going to bed so early! After I finally got to sleep, I did sleep pretty well, but with lots of walks. I got up at 9:00 because my sinuses started draining, but that was enough time in bed.


I finally finished up my 2005 ledger. So now I need to get at the filing, and then I can get my tax stuff together. It's rather critical, since I'll be sending the stuff to my accountant this year, and I don't want to wait too long. I did write some checks, but when I went to the post office, I was so occupied by getting my outer clothes on that I forgot them. Drat. They wouldn't go out till Tuesday, anyway, so maybe I can get them in the mailbox before then. I did another couple of rows on the afghan, and I did three loads of wash. I would have finished that up, except that I kept forgetting that I was washing, so I'll have to do the white stuff and the fleece tomorrow. The first load is always the jeans, although the water has cleared up enough that that probably isn't necessary anymore, and they take forever to dry, so the next two loads are rather backed up now.


And I was cold, but not, apparently, as cold as Buster was. I finally got the temperature in the office up to 65, but it's 61 in the bedroom and 57 in the great room. I suppose I could crank up the thermostats, but I really hate to do that, with the price of gas the way it is. I am just wearing more clothes, and Buster will have to hang out in the closet, or, as he is now, on me. I closed the vertical blinds in the bedroom, which I hate to do, but there was so much snow on the screens that it really won't make much difference. Last night it was snowing so hard for most of the night that I could barely see the lighthouse anyway, so I if it makes it a bit warmer in there, I guess I can cope. I could also switch comforters, if I am cold tonight. I have never slept under the heavy comforter here, and mostly I don't need it, but we'll see.


So that was my day, hunkering down against the cold. Going outside wasn't much of a problem, since I have plenty of warm stuff to wear, but it's hard to use the computer or write with mittens on, and my hands tend to get cold. 


So now I will try to get another early start on sleep and see if, while it is cold and windy, I can maybe, just maybe, get my day switched around a bit.


Dinner was with Shirley, of course, and Mariner was full of both snowmobilers and skiers, all of whom seemed pretty happy, so that was good. I will have to eat alone next week, since Shirley is going on a short cruise from San Diego down to Mexico with her best friend. I will miss her, but I think it will be good for her.


So that is a cold, wintry night in the field.


February 17

We're having a blizzard! It's really exciting! This wasn't supposed to happen, as of this morning, but along about noon, the wind began to blow and the snow showers began to turn into something more, and it has been snowing hard and blowing hard ever since, with temperatures that dropped from 15 to 6 now, with a north-northwest wind blowing 29-37 mph.  


It's cold out. The wind chill is -17, and the wind will blow you away if you're not careful. So I have longjohns and a wool sweater on, and I wore my winter hikers and my parka, with my wool gloves under my mittens and my hat, and I could have pulled up my hood if I'd been out very long. The snow crunched under my feet, and it was wonderful. If I'd been out for very long, I'd have wanted my bibs, but otherwise I was quite comfortable.


Temperatures like that always make the wind feel like it has little knives in it on my face, and it freezes the snot in my nose, but otherwise, I like it.


I did feel good today, because I was in bed at 9:30 last night and I didn't get up until 9:30 this morning, so even though I was up a lot, I caught up on my sleep. I didn't do much but read and knit and watch the snow come down, but that's all right.


Maybe it was partly because I had a nice nightgown with no holes in it to wear last night? I did have a stiff neck, which I think comes from how I was sitting yesterday, but it seems to have gone away now, so whatever I was doing then, I didn't do it today.


I didn't go to the post office, but I will have to go tomorrow, since Monday is a holiday.


The only thing I don't like about this weather is the length of time it takes to go to the bathroom and the length of time it takes to put on and take off my outer clothes when I go out. Reminds me of girding up my loins...


The wind has also made the house rather chilly, although I finally almost closed the door into the office and it is warmer now than it was when I left for dinner.


The road was in pretty good condition when I came back from dinner. There was some minor drifting, but the worst problem with the northwest winds is that down by Lake Lily, where we get the full sweep down the harbor, the snow was blowing around so much it was practically a whiteout. Good thing that stretch of road is straight, because I wouldn't want to go off into the banks even in my truck. So either we haven't had as much snow as it looked like, or it has all blown someplace else.


This is great - it's what I came for! 


Buster is not impressed. He only got up once today, and I was knitting, so he couldn't sit on my lap, and after complaining a bit, he went back into the closet. 


I do intend to write a bit, but I also plan to get to bed early again and see if maybe I can keep this up. It was nice to get up at a relatively early hour today and still feel good.


So it's a wild and hairy night in the field, and winter isn't over yet!


February 16

I managed to make it into bed by midnight last night, and I managed to work most of what I wrote on Monday into the story in the right order, so that was good. However, I didn't sleep very well. I was up a lot, and I hurt in various places at various times, so I wanted to sleep in this morning. So wouldn't you know, Debbie called me at 9:30 this morning to tell me the latest in her ongoing divorce saga.  So I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted, and I'm tired.


I noticed when I was up during the night that there were snow showers for most of the night, including some heavy enough that I couldn't see the lights on the public dock, but along around 3:00 or 4:00 this morning, the clouds were light enough that the moon was casting dim shadows. So it was a typical lake effect night.


By morning, the wind was from the east, and it's been that way almost all day. The temperature stuck around 19 all day, and it still is, but the wind is now in the 30-40 mph range and is from the northeast, which means the lake is howling again. There were a few snow flurries during the day, but not as much as they said, at least here. I think in the higher elevations, there was probably more snow. At least the Houghton airport was reporting snow for most of the day.


I didn't go out - there was no reason to. However, the desk is now as clear as it's been since June, and I have two nightgowns with intact sleeves, so I did accomplish a bit today. 


The nightgowns weren't exactly easy, since I was working inside a rather confined space, but there are now some fairly neat patches over the holes. Flannel is not a very strong fabric and it wears easily, and all the holes were actually on the grain, where the weft threads had split and sort of shredded. I'm sure that before these patches wear out, I will have gone through the seats and I'll have to make some new ones. This will do for the winter, though, especially when I get the other two patched up. The sewing machine worked just fine, I'm glad to say, although I did do a fair amount of stitching on one sleeve with no thread in the bobbin, a problem I have every so often.


I had managed to acquire an 18" x 6" rotary cutting board, and that was the perfect thing to slip inside the sleeve when I was pinning down the patch. I wondered, when I ordered it, if it would be useful, but it turns out that was only one place where it will help. The other is when I get to my fringed fleece throws. And it was cheap enough that I didn't feel guilty about buying it.


There are also only six rows plus the bind-off left to do on the afghan, so maybe I can get it done for the sewing circle next week. This one I really like, by the way. There are a few colors that aren't my favorites, but with 15 colors, it's the kind of thing I enjoy working on. With some, it's the process, but with others it's the finished item. This one has been both.


I am so tired that I really think I may just give up and go to bed and not try to write tonight. Besides, it's a cold, windy, wintry night in the field, and a good one to cuddle under the covers and listen to the song of the lake.


February 15

So I wrote and wrote and didn't get to bed until 2:00 again. I'm going to have to try to do a bit better tonight, because I'm tired, but that may be hard. I picked up my messages on my other answering machine and an old family friend has been moved to a nursing home. Oh, dear. I'm hoping the person who called me will call here this evening, so I don't have to wonder all night.


I might add that she is 88, but she has been doing really well until now. It never ceases to interest me that even if an elderly person doesn't go out much, she is much more likely to have something happen to her in the winter than in the summer. I wonder why that is.


That was a downer at the end of what ended up being a pretty good day. I have found the sewing machine, and I have used it, and it works, and it sounds like it doesn't need oiling yet. I can tell, usually, when it needs oil, because it starts to grind a little. It was humming along just fine while I was zigzagging the edges of some cross stitch fabric. 


Now the task for tomorrow is to begin patching sleeves, which isn't going to be fun, since I'll be working in a rather confined place, but it seems I will get it done before the sleeve falls completely out of the nightie I've been wearing.


I had done most of my cleaning and gone to the post office, and I wanted to change my pants and shoes, and when I walked into the closet, Buster was back in the wash basket on top of the other nighties and one of my fleece tops. That one is a red and black buffalo plaid short pile, and I'm not surprised that he likes it, being a cat. He seems to like red, too. So I took it and the nighties out of the basket and replaced them with a fleece throw and a sweatshirt that have been on top of the dresser - a place he doesn't lie much anymore. The sweatshirt has been lying out because it has an attached collar, and the collar was sewn in with clear nylon thread that is so scratchy that I will have to do something about it in order to wear it, and I have enough other things to wear. We'll see where he sleeps now.


The floor in the closet seems particularly nice and warm, and of course, there isn't any breeze or anything in there, so that is why he has taken up residence - his winter bedroom. DC used to like it in there, too, but he always crawled up onto a shelf behind some of my clothes. So my closet is the kitty bedroom.


The weather was very wintry today. The temperature fell slowly through the teens all day, and it is now 11. The wind was in the 15-20 mph range for most of the day, although it's fallen off now. And there were intermittent snow showers for most of the day, with a few rays of sunshine in between - typical lake effect. There wasn't much accumulation, although that may change tonight or tomorrow.


In checking the camera archives, I noticed something that I don't think has ever happened with this camera before: all the pictures between 5:00 and 7:00 are identical except for the timestamp. I only noticed it because i checked the 7:00 picture to see when the last picture was, so I could turn on the lights, and the picture was light, while the scene out the window was dark. I don't know how in the world that could happen, but I did reboot, and I'll be watching a bit more carefully for the next day or two. That used to happen with the first camera, but it had very poor software, and I haven't seen it since. Most strange.


So now I will write again and hope to hear from Linda, then I will go and hibernate for what looks to be a very cold night in the field.


February 14

After I uploaded last night's journal, I put pen to paper again, and I had written six or seven pages (they aren't very big) when I realized that I had skipped a day in the chronology, and what I had skipped was extremely important. Soooo...I copied a little over a page and started off again. I'll be able to use what I wrote, eventually, provided I can get the transition to work. And that is the disadvantage of not writing on the computer. However, no matter how much easier it may be, I just can't write fiction on a typewriter.


It was after 2:00 when I got to bed, but I still got up around 10:30, because I had to, so I just stayed up. 


I actually did accomplish something today. I can almost - almost - get at the sewing machine, with the exception of a few baskets I need to move around. The books are in the bookshelves and a lot of odds and ends are sorted out. There is still a huge pile on the desk (on the left side this time), but I can even walk across the floor without tripping over something! So I make progress.


I also fiddled around with the computer today, and I spent quite a while organizing and purging my personal files so they might be a bit easier to find. I discovered a lot of stuff that was out there two or three times, the artifact of having three computers which are very seldom in sync, so I fired up the laptop and deleted all my personal files (including, accidentally, my wallpaper file).


However, before I got to copy the files over, I got involved with JoAnn's website, and spent 4 or 5 hours looking at it. I could have done the same thing in a real store in less than an hour, but we don't have one of those anymore. The reason I went out there is that I discovered that I seem to have left all my sewing machine oil in Detroit, and I need some here. There were a few other things as well, of course. That's one of those places I can never get out of without spending money.


I guess I will have to start my sewing without oiling the machine, though. I think I oiled it last spring (?), but it should be OK, since I haven't used it much. I also discovered that you apparently can't get the grease I am supposed to use on the gears anymore, so I have a question into Singer about what I'm supposed to do about that.


There was a little snow this morning, then it was just cloudy and a bit breezy, although the wind was shifting around a lot, from the southwest this morning to the north tonight. Around 8:00, it was up in the 32-41 mph range, although the reports are that it's calmed down a tad. I am beginning to think that weather station just reports the last wind speed it recorded, not what happened in the previous hour. Anyway, that explains why the lake is speaking rather loudly. 30 mph winds from the north tend to whip things up in a hurry.


It was snowing when it got dark, and it's supposed to snow overnight, so maybe we will finally get some reasonable snow? I hope so.


So now I will try to spend a little time at my writing. I have discovered that my formerly beautiful handwriting has completely gone to pot, and besides, my hand cramps up very easily when I'm holding a pen. I want to see if I can fix both of those things. I know after the first chemo, one of the drugs had done a number on my peripheral nerves, and I could hardly sign my name, so I started writing, and while it looked pretty bad for a while, it did get better after a while. I hope I can do that again.


So it was a quiet day in the field, but I am a little happier about what I see when I look around the office.


February 13

I got to bed a bit earlier last night, and I got up a bit earlier this morning, and that was nice, not that I did anything with it. I don't seem to be able to string two days of doing something together  yet.


It was snowing when I got up, and it snowed off and on into the afternoon, then the low, gray clouds started to break up, and it was sunny and partly cloudy for most of the rest of the afternoon. The temperature was between 21 and 24 all day long, and thee was a 15 mph or so wind from the north until just recently, when it dropped off to nearly nothing. It was a nice day out.


I went to the post office, partly to mail a letter but mostly because I needed to stop at the store and get milk Then I filled the bird feeders, and that took a little while. My new waterproof gloves are also very warm, I discovered, so that turned out all right. Too bad they're bright blue, which will look charming with my red parka, but oh, well.


So I knitted, and that was about it. I now have 11 rows left to do, and each row is getting really long. I figure I have over 700 stitches on the needles now. What interests me is that in knitting, some of the quarters seem longer than the others. I don't think they are, but that last quarter of a row seems to have twice as many stitches as the others. Mind is funny.


I also need to mention that after I uploaded this last night, I took pen in hand and, for the first time in six or seven years, I wrote fiction - about 9 pages worth. I could have done more, except that it was getting on toward midnight, and besides, after knitting all day, my right hand was so stressed that after a while, it got too sore to hold the pen. It felt good, and I intend to do some more tonight. Anybody who might read it would be able to tell, without seeing the dates, that it had been a while, just from the style of the writing, but that's all right. By the way, for the past 20 years or more, I have always put a date at the beginning of a section when I started it. For a long time I only needed the month and day, but it soon became clear that I need the entire date.


I am certain that for the first 40 years or so that I wrote, I was doing it as an escape from the real world to a place where I could control things to be the way I wanted them, and that's part of the reason why I haven't done very much in quite a while. When my mother was sick and died and when I was sick, reality was too close and too grim, and I couldn't break away, and after that, for a while, anyway, I could actually say things were going the way I wanted them to go. Not that they aren't now, but that was a really lovely universe I invented, and it's still pleasant to get back into it. I can't say how long it will last, but I do like to write. This journal or blog (I hate that word, for some reason) or whatever it is has satisfied my desire to write for some time now, but I feel I want to get back into the fiction again.


I'll also point out that I can't write non-fiction longhand, and I can't write fiction on the computer. Don't know why, but that's just how it is. I need pen and paper to write fiction. Since there is no such thing as a program that will recognize a whole page of handwriting, that means that nothing I've written will ever get on the computer and won't ever be published. Probably just as well. It's too close to my heart. But on the other hand, when I see some of the stuff that is being published, I'm sure I have things that could be, although not without a lot of work on my part.


So that is another quiet day in the field. We had an inch or two of snow this morning, and they are predicting more for the rest of the week, but this just looks to be a dry winter altogether in the Keweenaw. Maybe it's better that we work into it slowly.


February 12

Hmm, Lincoln's birthday.


I crashed last night, but once I got into bed, I didn't sleep very well. I was up a lot and I had indigestion (or maybe it was in the other order?). I did sleep between 8:00 and 11:00, and I do feel better than I did last night, but I'm still tired. Maybe I can try it again tonight with better success.


It was snowing lightly when I got up this morning, and it dribbled snow until abut noon, and after 2:00 it cleared up. The temperature wavered between 22 and 25 all day, with a moderate north wind. It was probably pretty nice outside, but I didn't stick my nose out.


I spent most of the afternoon moving piles around, and there are now four Sterlite boxes stacked outside the door to the office, the floor around the desk has been swept, and slowly, ever so slowly, I'm working toward the sewing machine. Haven't made it yet, though.


Around 6;00 I started my chili stew, and while the meat and veggies were cooking, I remembered that the water has ceased running in the "beverage center" of my fridge. I though it might be because the filter had gotten clogged, and I remembered that a bypass plug came with the fridge, so I decided to try it. Well! First I had a horrible time getting the old filter out, then I had an even worse time getting the plug into place. It's at a very bad location up in the right hand back corner of the fridge part, and I had a shelf pretty close to it. I ended up having to take the shelf, and everything on it, out, and I still don't know if I got the plug in right, although there didn't seem to be any water in the fridge. There wasn't any water out of the spigot, either, so I guess I will have to call for service. I like having that chilled water available, even though I do use bottled water. Thing is, I don't know if the ice maker will make ice, and that would be a real tragedy.


Anyway, I got myself all sweaty fiddling around with it, and I had to sit down for a while, and all that meant that it was time to add the tomatoes, beans and spices before I was ready for that, so I had to rush. It did turn out pretty good, though. I made about twice as much macaroni as I need, so now have to decide whether to throw some away or do something else with it. Macaroni and cheese for breakfast? Hmm...


While I was dicing green pepper, I happened to look out the window, and there was a little red sun pillar over the hill, but by the time I got the camera and got to the window, it was gone. Drat. It wasn't very bright, but it was very dark red and rather nice looking. Of course, the webcam didn't even pick up the red undersides of the clouds.


I have been meaning to mention that the days are getting noticeably longer. We now have over 10 hours of daylight, and we're gaining over 3 minutes a day. It isn't so noticeable in the morning - the sun is still rising around 8:00 - but it didn't set until 6:10 tonight.  Where I really notice it, though is around 4:00. A month ago, it was already getting dark then, and now it's not. The sun's altitude at solar noon (1:05 here) is 29 and it's moving quickly north. Pretty soon it should clear the bird feeder and gum up the camera at sunset. It's much nicer than the 8 hours of daylight when I got back here, and nice for me that we've gained most of our daylight in the evening.


So time is quickly passing, and I haven't done very much yet. Pretty soon I'll have to go back to Detroit, darn it. 


Anyway, at least I did do a few things today, and that was good.


February 11

Of course I got to bed late last night and got up very late this morning, but it turned out to be a better day than I've had. I finally finished reading the second book (up to where it stops in the middle), so there was nothing to distract me. I have also started the border color on the big afghan (black) and I have 15 rows to go. Long rows, but not many.


After I finished my reading, I attacked the piles of catalogs and magazines, and I now I have 4 30 gallon bags of catalogs (and a few magazines) to take to the dump, as well as one medium bag of other stuff, and the office is beginning to look a little bit better. I still have piles of books to put away, but it is nice to be out from under all those catalogs. I still had some from last summer, and I discovered one whole pile that I got right before I left for Detroit and another pile I got right after I got back, neither of which I had looked at. Since most of them are the ones I get every two weeks or month, they almost all went out. A good job done.


The weather was bright-cloudy and mid 20s with a moderate north wind and numerous light snow showers. I would say there might be an inch of new snow down, but no more. Not enough to bother with.


Dinner was with Shirley tonight, and I was a little earlier than last night, since there was no sunset. Mariner was dead. There were apparently a lot of people in town overnight last night, but it seems they all left before breakfast this morning. I guess it has to do with Winter Carnival, but it's a bit hard to understand why they wouldn't stay through tomorrow.


The barometer is falling, and I would have known it even without the weather station, because Buster slept the entire day. He might have stayed away because he heard me rustling around the office, but he didn't even show his nose, and when I went back to take off my clothes, he yawned at me. He came and sat for a while, but now I think he's back to sleep.


So that is Saturday in the field. Maybe I can get back on a reasonable schedule now and get some things done. I hope so.


February 10

It started out to be another day like all the rest, but I actually accomplished a few things, amazingly enough. I think it was the sunshine.


The day started out perfectly clear and cold - 5 at 8:00. I wasn't there then, of course, but Shirley mentioned to me how cold it was when she went to breakfast.  Between 9:00 and 11:00 the temperature rose to 29 and that's where it stayed for the rest of the day.  From noon to around 2:00 there were clouds, but then they went away, and the rest of the afternoon was beautiful,  so sunny I had to put on my sunglasses when I went to the post office. Around sunset the clouds began to roll back in, and I missed the best parts of the sunset, even though I was half an hour late for dinner. When I came out of Mariner, the moon was shining brightly, but there were snowflakes coming down, too, and we're apparently in for snow for the next few days. However, it was a nice day to be in the office.


I didn't find the paper I was looking for, and I have no idea where it may be, unless it's in some box in Detroit. However, I looked through a lot of stuff, and I have actually gotten the desk partially cleared off. Of course, there are piles and baskets full of catalogs and magazines all around the sewing machine, and stuff all over the floor, but one thing at a time. I did get all the filing into one basket, and now I only have to begin to go through it. My most least favorite task, for sure! I even filled one small (30 gallon) trash bag. I can already see where several more are going to come from.


There weren't as many people in Mariner tonight as there have been, but I think that's because the Winter Carnival is on down in Houghton, and while people have to stay in Copper Harbor for that, they are spending their time further south. There were a goodly number of snowmobilers, most of them older, and I was happy to see a number of women among them. Surely I can't be the only woman who thinks snowmobiling would be fun!


Of course, I did get some knitting and reading in, and there will be more, but at least I moved the piles around!


When I went to the bathroom, there was still moonshine in the sky, so the snow hasn't hit us yet.


February 9

Another lost day. I was so late getting to bed this morning and so late getting up that I didn't do a thing all day - just knitted and read. Blah.


It was a bright-cloudy day, and in spite of what Environment Canada said, the sky never really cleared up, although there was a bit of sunshine for a while. There were some high clouds over everything that shut out the blue. The wind was almost calm, and while the temperature got up to 25 for a while, it's now down to 11, and with no wind, there is a film of ice over most of this end of the harbor.


There wasn't any sign of a sunset tonight, of course, since I was ready with a fully-charged camera.


I did manage to begin to collect all the filing into a basket, which cleaned off the desk a bit. Maybe tomorrow?


February 8

I am so mad! Around 6:00 tonight, for three or four minutes, there was the most beautiful blood-red sun pillar over the hill, and the camera decided that was the time to declare that its batteries were dead...even though I don't think they were. So I quick changed batteries, but it turns out that it takes a while for it to recognize that the new batteries are in place, and by that time the sky was just gray. Rats! 


I know I should have changed the batteries, but I really didn't believe they were that run down...and I'm still not sure I do, since they charged in 3 hours or less. Well, I'm sort of stuck with that camera, so I guess I'll just have to cope.


I really wanted to get those pictures, too. Not only was it spectacular, but several people had sent me suggestions about why the last ones were so out-of-focus, and I wanted to fool around. I really should dig out the tripod tomorrow and set it up so I can just jump into action the next time it happens. The weather we've been having is good for sun pillars, and I'm sure we'll have some more.


I didn't get to bed early last night, and I was rather routed out of bed this morning by Ron calling to tell me he had buried the tractor in a snowbank and I might see it when I went down the road. As it turned out, he got someone to help him get it out before I left. I think he just needed to unload. I'm not too sure I trust his driving abilities very much, after that!


Today was the ladies' sewing circle, and it was a bit different group today, some of the same people as last time and some different. They are all nice ladies anyway, although some of them are rather noisy. Cheerful, but noisy. So that was nice.


The consensus seems to be that I should just lay the whatsit over the back of my couch and be done with it. I guess I will, but I'm going to have to think it over before I sit down and weave in all the ends. Even if it had been the size the pattern said, I don't think I would have known what to do with it.


The weather was rather nice. There was only a little sun, but it was a bright day, with a temperature in the low 20s and quite a moderate wind. There were a couple of little snow showers during the day, but nothing to leave any accumulation. 


I saw the moon this morning right after I went to bed, peeking in and out of the clouds, and when I went to get my dinner, it was shining brightly in the back windows of the great room, way high in the sky.


So that was a nice day, and I really should go to bed, but I'll probably read instead.


February 7

I think I have finally realized why I've been getting to bed so late - other than reading and knitting. I tend to diddle around until Fresh Air is over at 8:00, then I  eat, then I want to sit around and read a while before I do the journal...and by that time it's at least 10:00, or later for the past few days. Well, now I know why, but that doesn't mean I'll be changing my habits.


This morning, I got into bed about the time the moon was setting, way to the north where the sun sets in June. It wasn't a completely clear night, and I didn't stay awake very long to watch it, but at least now I know where it was - right over the house. Maybe I should have put a bunch of skylights in the roof of the great room? Just kidding, of course. 


Anyway, I didn't get my usual amount of sleep, so I was sort of groggy all day long. It was a cloudy but not dull day, and I think there was a bit of sunshine for a little while, although it didn't register on the camera. The temperature got down to about 20 then slowly rose to 25. The wind has abated somewhat, although it's still in the 20-30 mph range, from the north. The lake is still fussing rather loudly.


I guess I didn't do much. There were a couple of magazines to look through, and I did sew the seams of the whatsit, but I didn't really get started working in all the yarn ends. I can't sew the seam so you can't see it, so the results weren't exactly what I hoped, but then the whole project was sort of a learning experience, and I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with it. I thought I would take it to the ladies' sewing circle tomorrow and see what suggestions I get. 


Now that project is done, and I'm not exactly sure what I want to do next, so I let my hands rest for today. They were really sore when I got up this morning. There was some tension involved in doing the decreases, and I ended up on a 16" circular needle, which is somewhat hard to handle.


So maybe, just maybe, I can get to bed a bit earlier tonight, although I do want to read for a while. At least I'm getting this done earlier than usual lately.


February 6

I didn't get to bed early last night and I won't tonight. Last night it was just reading, but tonight it was because I finished the whatsit. The last part isn't exactly my best knitting, but I don't think anybody will notice the places where I had to decrease 4 stitches because a few rows earlier I had only decreased 2 instead of 3. Oh, well. It's done. I still am not sure what to do with it. It came out a bit smaller than the 60" x 30" it was supposed to be because the gauge (which I didn't notice until just the other day) is simply not possible to achieve with that yarn and those needles. I should have used #9s, but I started it a long time ago, and I'm most certainly not going to rip it all out!


So it's maybe 54" x 27". That's shawl size, but it has triangular points on the long sides that would make it hard to wear, and besides, the colors (green, pink and purple and black) really don't go with anything I wear. The colors are a problem: I like all of them individually, but together they are rather garish even though they are heathered yarn. I suppose I will just throw it over the back of a chair and hope Buster doesn't get his claws caught in it too much. I did get to try the techniques I wanted to try, although I won't be done until I figure out how to sew the two seams. And I do still have to work in all the ends of yarn...fewer than the original directions, but still plenty.


Anyway, the knitting is done.


Around 8:30 this morning, someone blew out my driveway a bit, and I heard it and turned over and went back to sleep. The wind blew all night and all day, in the 25 - 40 mph range, and that caused a lot of drifting, especially out along the lake, and between the hill and US-41, where the road actually turns nearly west. There wasn't any further drifting today, but I guess it was pretty bad this morning. The road is in great shape, actually, so good that the propane guy is going to try to get out here tomorrow and probably top off our tanks. He won't get a better chance.


The wind finally blew all or most of the clouds away around sunset, and it seemed to be pretty clear when it got dark, although I couldn't find the moon, which should be up there someplace. Slowly, tomorrow, the wind is supposed to die down to the 15-25 mph range, and it shouldn't start snowing again until Wednesday night. The temperature was around 25 all day long, but the wind chill was pretty low, of course.


I did go to the post office, which was a good thing, because I lot of mail apparently came in on Saturday and today and my box was stuffed. An order I wasn't sure had registered also arrived, so I had some things to play with this afternoon.


That is one reason it was so late when I finally finished the whatsit - I was doing other things besides knitting for most of the afternoon.


It was nice to sit in the sun, which is now shining in the sliders, even though the sun itself is still behind the bird feeder. You'll see it pretty soon, I think.


So that was my day, and I really do need to go to bed this morning.


February 5

Wow! I need to go to bed! I was up later than ever last night, and I got up around 10:30 this morning, when Mac came to blow out the driveway, and I need sleep. I was reading again, and I stayed up to finish an episode, and that made it too late.


The lake was roaring all night long, and it still is, and now the wind is up to 34-43 mph again. The official temperature has been around 20 all day long, which puts the wind chill down around zero. The thermometer in the tree, which has begun transmitting again, said between 16 and 18, but I don't know if that's because it is just reading low, or because it's very close to the tree trunk, or if it really is that much colder out here. It looks it, with the wind blowing the snow around. Enough snow has fallen to fill in all the tracks on the deck, but that's probably not more than a couple of inches. Almost any time I looked outdoors, there were little snowflakes coming down.


I started the other end of the whatsit, and I have a few rows done, and I packed up a couple of plastic boxes of fleece, but otherwise I didn't do anything. I didn't feel like doing much.


Along about sunset, I noticed the clouds beginning to turn peach, so I sat and watched for about 20 minutes, and right around 6:00, I began to see this. That is the first really good sun pillar I've ever been able to get a picture of. It was really neat. The pictures are still enough out of focus that they don't satisfy me, and I really don't know why they are. I even tried to get the automatic focus to hone in on the top of the hill, but it didn't work. It disappoints me. It isn't because of long exposures - the longest was 1/30 second, and I should be able to hand-hold at that shutter speed.


The webcam didn't show anything of all that color in the sky, which makes me wonder again what I've missed by not being here in the winter before, but oh, well. This year seems to be making up for it.


So now I have to get this all uploaded and crash. The lake is still roaring, and the wind is still gale force out of the north, and it will be a good night to huddle under the covers and sleep.


Speaking of that, this morning I woke up and Buster was lying behind me, and when he heard my breathing change, he stretched and pressed his back right into mine. That was a nice feeling to wake up to.


So it's cold and noisy in the field tonight.


February 4

It didn't snow last night after all, it only blew, but it started early this morning and snowed all day. I'd say a couple of inches fell, but it's hard to tell because of the wind.


I went to bed late, of course, got up late, and now will be going to bed late again. I need to haul myself back onto a better schedule.


I knitted and read today. I did get out a couple of plastic boxes to put some of my new stuff in, but that was as far as I got on that. I finished one end of the whatsit, but it was late enough when I did that I haven't started the other end. I fooled around a bit with trying to connect the sides of the squares without sewing, but it didn't look right so I gave up.


Dinner was with Shirley, and it was extremely busy at Mariner tonight, with a lot of large, loud groups. I  was glad to see it, but it was good to get out of there. Mariner has very lively acoustics, and with my little hearing problem, it begins to annoy me after a while.


It was a rather cold day today. The temperature was in the low 20s all day long, and the wind was in the 20-30 mph range from the north. It has turned northeast now, and the last report was  36-41 mph...a lovely winter gale. The lake is roaring most satisfactorily, and it will lull me to sleep.


The wind has cooled off the temperature inside...my nose is cold. For a cat, that's a good sign, but not for a human, I think. I was cold enough when I went to dinner that I wore my down parka, for only about the second time this winter. Weird weather! 


The good news is that I now have a pair of very comfortable black sneakers. The bad news is that I think I am going to have to send the hiking boots back. Even though they are all the same size, the boots seem a bit small, especially since I want to wear fairly heavy socks with them. However, I'm really happy with the sneakers. I've been trying for five years or so to get a pair of black sneakers that are comfortable, and I had just about given up when I saw this pair and decided to try one more time. They actually have rather squared-off toes, and that is how my feet are shaped, and they seem to be wide enough and have a deep enough toe area to accommodate my big fat feet. The laces aren't long enough...so what else is new? All it means is that I can't tie them nicely. I'm thinking about trying to get a white pair just like them.


I also figured out the mystery of the toilet. Ever since my humidifier was installed, every so often, for no apparent reason, the water in the toilet bowl in the powder room would go glub-glub-glub and all drain away. Finally, today, I was in there when it happened and now I know what wasn't connected right. Because the basement floor is below the level of the septic tank, I have a holding tank and sump pump in the basement floor. That is what they are draining the humidifier into, so every now and then it pumps a bunch of water up into the septic tank through a 4" pipe. And every time that happens, the water drains out of the toilet bowl. Hmmm...sounds to me like a chat with the plumber is in order. I don't really think it's sanitary to have the toilet bowl nearly empty.


While the snow advisory was canceled, it is supposed to continue to snow lightly through Monday, and it will be cold, so I guess we are finally in for some real winter again. Only now, we're on the downward leg. There is 9 hours of daylight now, and every day is almost 3 minutes longer than the day before, so we are sliding swiftly into March. Winter isn't over in March here, but there is a lot more daylight. I have been very glad to see that the dark days don't seem to have affected me much at all, but it will be nice to see the longer days, and pretty soon the sun will be setting within the webcam field, when we can see it.


So that was another day...quiet inside, but definitely not quiet outside...and it's high time I got to bed.


February 3

It's Friday again...actually, it's Saturday as I write this, but you know what I mean. And it hasn't started snowing yet.


I arose at a fairly reasonable hour this morning, considering when I got to bed, and I did not much but knit and read. Buster finds that rather frustrating, especially as the thing (whatever it is) I'm working on gets bigger, because he wants to sit on me, and things get congested around here. 


It was a gray day, and while the temperature started out around 35, like it was yesterday, around 11:00 the wind shifted around to the north and began to rise and now the temperature is 25 and the wind is out of the north at over 20 mph. So even though it didn't snow today, it will be starting before morning, I'm pretty sure. The lake is roaring nicely in the background already


I did get to the post office, and I had lots of packages, including my Yaktrax and my shoes. I've looked at the Yaktrax, but not the shoes. Yaktrax are rubber-band-like gizmos you put on over your shoes that have traction bars on the bottom. They are nicer than spikes because they don't mess up finished surfaces, like wood floors, quite so badly as spikes do, but they give you added traction on snow and ice. After some of the ice we've had this winter, I decided I needed a pair just to give me some security.


Tonight I had dinner with Shirley, as usual, and that was pleasant. There are still a lot of snowmobilers in town, although when one big group came in, somebody asked them how the trail was, and they said "pretty bumpy, but the groomer was out". We really need the snow.


So that's about all I have to report, and I suppose I should go to bed sometime tonight. The song of the lake will help me sleep, for sure.


February 2

Well, well. I got to knitting and reading - I finished the first pink side - and before I knew it, it was 2:30 in the morning. I jumped into bed, but I was up around 10:30, so I'm tired now, for sure.


The day started out cloudy, but around 1:00 it cleared up and the afternoon was beautiful until about 4:00 when the clouds started to come in again. The temperature got up to almost 35, and the wind shifted around to the south, but for a while it was quite strong. it's dying down again.


So here, anyway, the groundhog saw his shadow...which is a big laugh. We've got two months, minimum, of winter left around here, more if we're not lucky.


I was sitting and knitting this afternoon when a car pulled up outside, and, for heaven's sake, there was a lady in a minivan who was delivering for FedEx! I was glad to get my package, but she shouldn't have been out here. That became clear when she started out for Marzke's and got stuck. So I called Kelly at the Gas Lite, who called Jim North, who apparently pulled her out, since she wasn't there when Marzkes came home. I don't know why anybody would think the entire road was like it is up by US-41. And I'm still a bit surprised she made it up the hill.


Anyway, I got my package, which included two books, so I spent a while looking at those. Makes me really want to dig out the sewing machine, believe me!


It was pretty cloudy at sunset, but as the sun went down, the western horizon began to turn peach, and around 6:00, I just happened to turn around, and I saw this. That's the best sunset I've seen in a year and a half at least. And the webcam didn't even give a hint of it! I'm sorry the pictures are blurry. I did take them through the window, but that's no excuse. I'm apparently having trouble getting the Nikon to focus again. I'll try to do better next time. It sure makes me wonder what I missed all the winters I wasn't here.


So that was a very quiet day, and I will have to discipline myself and go to bed tonight. It's cloudy in the field again, and we're supposed to be getting some snow.


February 1

So now it's February. Amazing.


I don't think I made it to bed very early last night. I finished the purple square and started the next part, which knits together what I just finished and two more green squares. This is modular knitting, so you sort of build it up from one square. Now I'm knitting on what amounts to three squares attached by two sides, which means every row is pretty long, but there won't be any sewing. The way I'm doing this isn't according to the directions or the color pattern, but it means I will only have to sew two seams, instead of a whole bunch. I've decided I don't like the colors very well together. The light and dark purples don't really match - one is plum and the other is light purple - and while either the purple or the rose goes with the green, they don't go with each other. Oh, well, it's the process, isn't it? I've been wanting to do these three and four square constructions since I read Horst Schultz's books, and while this is a little bigger than his, it serves the purpose.


I do think the sky was partly cloudy when I woke up around 2:30, but I didn't put my glasses on, so I don't know for sure what I was seeing, and I was too tired to wonder. I didn't get up until 11:00 this morning, so I did get my rest.


It apparently started snowing around 6:00, and I think we had an inch or so before it stopped around 1:00. I do suspect that the last hour or so was more like sleet or rain, or at least that was what was on the windows. The temperature got  up to around 34. Around 2:00, the wind shifted around to the northwest and began to blow, reaching 23 - 29 mph around 7:00, and it is now dropping back a little maybe.


I had to take a quick trip to the post office this afternoon, and the roads were good. The snow was heavy and gluey, so traction was good. There were tracks in my driveway that I think were bunny tracks, as well as a regular road of little prints across the driveway and around the office - to the feeder tree, of course. And down the middle of Woodland Road, coming from the lake and taking off toward Lake Lily Drive were what really look to me like the trail of a bobcat at a slow lope. I didn't stop to investigate the individual prints, but the trail pattern looked pretty suspicious to me. One of these days, we'll catch sight of him. If there are bunnies around here, I can understand why he's coming around. All of the prints looked like they were made after the snow stopped, so they were pretty fresh. Evidently whatever it is isn't too much afraid of us, and he probably appreciates that we're clearing the road.


So that is about all I know, and it's getting toward bedtime again. It's amazing how fast time passes.


Last  updated 08/25/10 09:02 PM