A View From the Field







March, 2006





March 30

Well, it's time to do this and finish off the evening.


I actually got up rather early this morning, but I diddled around, apparently, and it was after noon before I started doing anything. First off was the cat pans, which did need changing. Then I collected up the trash - it ended up being 4 bags, and I missed a few things - and a fast trip to the post office to mail a bill and tell Clyde I wouldn't be back today. I dropped off the trash and stopped at the Copper Harbor Mercantile for a sub for tomorrow and a pasty for tonight. Adam drove by as I was coming out, so we drove home together.


That turned into a two hour talk-fest, as it usually does. However, he is going to replace my pond pump with a more reasonable one and take the humungous monster off my hands, which is good.


The news on the basement project is not good - over $50k - and then I got an email from Mac this evening to say he had bought the tractor - $12.5k to be split between the three of us. Oh, this is going to be an expensive year, for sure! I didn't give Adam a definite "yes", but I really don't see what else I can do. To put all that stuff in the basement as it is would be about as useful as selling it all, and there are things in there I want and want to be able to get at. I will think it over and talk to Terry about it, but knowing me, I'll probably do it.


After Adam left, I diddled around a bit more, but the car is pretty much packed, I think. I am taking five file boxes, only one and a half full, and six crates, only one full, with me, and I bet they will all be bulging on the trip back. Neither suitcase was really full, which made it easier to load them, and there isn't much but orange juice, eggs, and a little cheese in the cooler. 


Buster is most upset, as you can imagine. He knows very well what moving all that stuff out means, but I don't think he knows yet whether he's going or not...either is pretty bad. I had to evict him from the closet, because he had taken up residence on a pair of jeans I wanted to take with me.  He has been running around crying and trying to sit on me any chance he can get.


It doesn't seem like I'm taking much, but for a month I really don't need all that much...oh, I forgot a pair of shorts! I'll stuff them in my tote, if I remember them. Actually, now that I have the nice barrel bag, I probably will use that. I did leave a few summer tops there, and if it's cooler, I have tons of sweatshirt sweaters and turtles. All my dress clothes are there...except for a pair of navy dress pants. I guess I will be using the barrel bag. Good thing I'm writing this. And two pairs of not-quite so casual shoes. Hmm. I'm making a list. 


The weather was nothing to write home about. The temperature was in the high 40s for most of the day, and it made it to 50 for a couple of hours, but the wind got up to 20 mph before it dropped back to nothing, and from noon onward, there were little spits of rain for most of the afternoon. However, it wasn't bad with the garage door open, and it's easier to see by outside light than with the dim lights in the garage.


So I guess that's all there is. I doubt there will be a journal tomorrow night, since I will be driving in rain the whole way and it will probably be a slow trip. So don't anybody panic. I also need to purge all the files on the other computer and copy everything from the laptop, like I did last week from here to the laptop, and that takes a while. Keeping three computers in sync isn't exactly easy. Once we are all here, I'll have a wireless network and the problem will be solved, pretty much.


To any new readers, yes, the camera will be on while I'm away, and yes, I will keep up the journal. I couldn't do without my Copper Harbor fix when I'm not here, and I hate to get out of the habit of journaling.


So that's it. I guess I'm almost ready to call it a night, after I copy the files hither and yon, and after another JD. Oh, how I hate to go!


March 29
I need to get this done, so that I can move some of the files to the laptop tonight, which should save me some grief tomorrow.


I didn't sleep very well, because I was having trouble getting my temperatures right, but I made up for it by sleeping long. There were stars all night long, which was nice, although when I got up this morning, there was a little haze down the harbor that never went away all day. Warm air and cold water, you know...


The temperature got up to 48 this afternoon, with light and variable winds, and there was sunshine all day, although there were increasing cirrus clouds, especially toward sunset. It is supposed to be partly clear tonight, so we'll see, then it will cloud up and rain all day Friday, all the way from here to Detroit. Oh, well. At least it will be too warm to be slippery, and the car might get washed off.


Let's see, where am i? The kitchen is clean, and I washed dishes so that there won't be a huge load on Friday. One of the dreariest things I know is to come into a house late and tired and find the dishwasher full of dishes. The blue box of papers is packed, and I have a few things in another blue box, which I will probably add to tomorrow. There are always odds and ends. The CraftStor with the beading supplies is packed up, although I haven't sealed it yet, just in case, and my beading lap desk is taped up to go. The various bags of knitting are ready. I have three other blue boxes and six crates to take, mostly empty, for the stuff I need to bring back. The cage is in the car.


Tomorrow will be crazy. I need to clean out the fridge and get the trash to the compactor, get gas and something to eat, I hope, pack the cooler (oh, yes, the ice packs are in the freezer), and pack the car. The suitcases are the last thing, but I don't think I will be taking a whole lot, mostly jeans and underwear, and a few knit tops. However, the fridge guy may come, although I didn't hear from him, and Adam will be coming in the middle of the afternoon with the quote for the basement.


Having the plumber here is convenient. He sees a lot of Adam, and he never fails me. Every time he's been here, Adam has called either the same day or the next day. Otherwise, I fear they would forget about me and my little job.


I didn't hear from the bank, so that deal is almost definitely off. I suppose, on principal, I should make them give me the loan, but they are such a pain to deal with that I just don't want to bother. I will poke around when I'm in Detroit and see if I can find someone who really wants to loan me money.


Oh, yes, and I went to the ladies' meeting this afternoon, and there was a different and congenial group there. I took the jewelry and they all liked it, and I was knitting on my shrug, and they liked that, too. Shirley even came for a while, and a new lady, the wife of the manager of the fort, was there, and besides she brought eclairs. Yum! She is also into animal rescue, so I mentioned that I might be in the mood for a friend or two for Buster. We'll see where that leads.


Then I came home, unloaded the dishwasher and finished packing the office stuff. And I am tired. And I don't want to go.


I was thinking this evening that in a strange way, I'm sorry to see the snow go. It was really pretty around here. And yet, I certainly hope I make it back before the leaves come out on the trees and the early flowers bloom. I love to see the leafing out. Well, every season has its joys around here, and while fall is still my favorite, I love them all...except maybe bug season. And some year, I'll get to see the snow all go and the creeks run in earnest, and that will be great fun, too. Mac is hot on the trail of a tractor, so that end is under way. And I have another wonderful year to look forward to.


March 28

As it turned out, the plumber didn't call until after 9:00, so I got almost my full complement of sleep. I changed to a cotton nightie last night, and I was much more comfortable. It was rather warm overnight, but it didn't seem to keep me awake very much.


I did watch Saturn follow Castor and Pollux across the sky, and Leo followed them. It was a very clear night. I don't know if tonight will be clear or not - the forecasters don't agree - and there were some clouds at sunset. They did give the camera a picture with some really interesting colors. I confess I missed it in person - I was otherwise engaged.


The temperature just barely got below freezing overnight and it got up to 41 this afternoon. There has been no wind at all to speak of for the last 24 hours...well, longer than that, actually. It was nearly calm all day long.


The plumber put an air vent in the pipes from the sump pump and the toilet, and the water seems to be staying in the toilet bowl much better. I think he still doesn't know why it was doing that. I don't think he knows what is wrong with the heating system, either, but I have two new zone valves, and we'll see if that helps. And I now have no money. Zone valves are expensive, and so are plumbers' hours. However, I think things are in a bit better shape. And I now have registers on the vents from the humidifier, instead of just holes in the floor, which looks much more finished.


This afternoon, I finally attacked the office. I emptied two blue boxes, which I will take south empty. I keep thinking of things I want or need to bring back, so I will go with empty boxes and crates and come back with full ones. I filled two more storage boxes, and I began packing the Craftstor with beading supplies. I can actually see the top of the desk again, and I can almost see the computer desk. There is still quite a pile around the sewing machine, but I'm not sure I can do much about that.


The temperature in the office got up to 80 again, and with all my rustling round, I got so hot (even though I'm only wearing a tee on top) that I opened one of the east windows...open window for the first time this year! That's pretty early even for Detroit.


Unfortunately, when I opened the window, I inadvertently pushed the upper sash down a bit, so when I closed the window, it wouldn't lock. I ended up having to kneel on the counter in order to get enough purchase to close the window, and I can report that my knees are at least as sore as they were last fall when I had to do the same exercise with the south window. Actually, if I'd known when I opened it that I was going to have to do that, I would just have opened the upper sash and been done with it. However, it did interest Buster, but not excessively, because there was a little cold breeze coming in. It certainly was nice to have the fresh air coming in for a change. I might have opened the great room slider, too, but it was braced shut, and  I didn't want to bother.


When I came into the office this morning, there was a flock of little brown birds around the feeder and the deck, and after taking a good look at them with the binoculars, I determined that they are common redpolls, which are not common at all. They are cute little stripey birds, some with pinkish breasts, and a bright ruby-red spot from between their eyes to the tops of their heads. The ones with pink breasts are males. I knew they should be around here, although Peterson says they are "uncommon and irregular", but I'd never seen them before. They winter here and breed up in the arctic, and just as a guess, they are hitting the feeders to stoke up before they start their flight across the lake. They were around most of the day, and I'm afraid they kicked out my regular chickadees and nuthatches. There was also a female goldfinch who is beginning to turn yellow. So the birdies know. Spring is coming.


So now the office is getting a little neater, and I have actually started gathering the stuff to take back with me...which reminds me, I need to fetch in the ice packs and get them frozen. Tomorrow, I will put the cage into the car, and then I can start loading the empty boxes. Darn. I don't want to go. Well, I'll have another couple of nights in the field.


March 27

I think there were lots of stars in the sky last night, but I didn't put on my glasses to check it out. I crashed.  I was awake briefly around 8:30, and I was hoping the camera would preserve what I saw - and it did. Now, is there any more serene view in the world than that? I saw a lot of that last summer, but this view has the rime of thick ice around the edges of the harbor...how glorious!


Eventually, I got up, and it was a truly glorious day. The temperature got up to 46, and the wind was nearly calm all day long. It was a nice day to be outside. 


i paid a few bills and ran them, and my change of address, to the post office, and I filled the bird feeders. A nuthatch lit on one feeder right after I filled it, but I was only about a foot away from him, and he flew away without getting anything. However, the chickadees were flying around the tree calling all the time I was working, letting their friends know dinner was ready. I think I saw an almost molted goldfinch a bit earlier, but it flew away before I could think to put the glasses on it.


I did get all the wash done, or I hope I did. There was one sweatshirt that I ended up washing three times, because the spots on it wouldn't come out. I hope they're gone now. I've always had trouble with Eddie Bauer cottons. Greasy spots just won't come out of them. I don't have that problem at all with Lands End, and I don't know what the difference is. I have a lot of Eddie Bauer tops, and it's a good thing, because lately their prices are going up, their sizing and quality are going down, and it's been a long time since I've bought much from them except for Debbie.


It got really warm in the house today, what with the warm temps outside and all the sunshine...in fact, the temperature kept rising, and it is now 80 in the office, for heaven's sake! No wonder I was sweating after I made my dinner!


I had a lot of broccoli left from my veggie trays (not my favorite when raw), so I did my super-simple chicken with broccoli-cheese soup and fresh broccoli. There wasn't as much juice as I remember, but it is a tasty dish and I enjoyed it. The broccoli will all get gray when it's reheated, but that's all right. It still tastes good.


I was going to try to make some sense out of the office, but I never got around to that. Tomorrow, maybe.


Now I must go to bed, because the plumber is going to call me around 8:00 tomorrow and come out in the morning. I hope he can solve my problems, and it will be nice to have registers on the ducts from the humidifier.


It is a beautifully clear, calm, warm night in the field. It's not supposed to start raining until Thursday night, of course, just in time for me to leave, but maybe the rain will wash some of the crud off the car? I don't want to go.


March 26

Well, after I wrote last night's journal, I got to reading a magazine, and it was 2:30 before I got to bed. So today was rather truncated, and I took my time about doing anything. Now the third load of wash is in the dryer, so I am making some progress. I beaded a bit, and I like the new bracelet, my take on a pattern from a book I got. 


The weather was glorious again, copious sunshine and calm winds for most of the late afternoon. The temperature got up to around 38 and the winds were under 10 mph all day long. I was heating with solar heat for most of the day.


That turned out to be a good thing. I was starting the third load of clothes when I discovered that I didn't have any hot water, and when I climbed down to the basement, the pressure in the pipes had gone to zero again. So I opened the fill valves, and the boiler immediately came on, and in fifteen minutes or so, I had heat again. I could tell when the pipes got hot. Slowly, I'm getting to know my heating system. So I put in an immediate call to the plumber, who wasn't home. 


I had been neglecting to call Debbie, so I thought this was a good time to do it, and thankfully, I found her in good spirits in spite of the soap opera she is living, and we had a nice three-hour conversation on my dime. In the middle of it, the plumber called back, of course, and he is coming Tuesday, I hope, to look things over. I'm afraid he is as puzzled about what is going on as I am. But he installed it, so he should fix it, right? I'm also glad I bought call waiting for this phone - I'd never used it before, and I couldn't remember for sure that I had it, but it sure did help.


In the meantime, it took the usual long time to dry my jeans, and I discovered that I'd apparently managed not to set the wash cycle right for the third load of clothes, so that load is now in the dryer, with the laundry room door shut. I'm not quite sure what I did, but I was distracted with Deb and plumbers and Buster and things like that. The rest of the wash - underwear and towels - is for tomorrow.


I ate "breakfast" late, a nice hamburger with American Spoon Sweet Tomato Relish (yum!), then around normal dinner time, I finished off my veggie tray, so I actually didn't eat dinner (a TV dinner) until after 10:00. I am off my schedule. 


However, this week is going to be a wild one, so I guess it's just as well it starts out slowly. Tomorrow I will finish the wash, and I really must do something about the piles of piles in the office. I need to go through the catalogs and magazines (again!) and try to get them into some kind of order, and I need to get the desk cleaned off. I've decided to take some beading stuff with me, since I seem to be in that mood, and I need to empty out a CraftStor to put it in. Overnight, something really emptied out the bird feeders, so I need to fill those tomorrow.


I guess I have my work cut out for me, and it's certainly time to go to bed now. I think it's clear in the field tonight. At least Sirius was shining in the window before I turned on the office lights tonight. And I'm savoring every minute I'm still here.


March 25

I didn't pay much attention to what was going on outside last night, but it was absolutely clear when the sun rose this morning. Unfortunately, we don't have camera shots of that, because when I rebooted last night, I forgot to check to make sure everything was all right, and it wasn't, so we had a black picture until a bit after 10:00 this morning, when I got to the office and discovered what was going on. Some of my icons didn't load, either, which is usually a good sign that something is screwed up, but I didn't notice that either. I guess I was in a hurry to get to bed or something, although I fiddled around long enough that I didn't go early.


Anyway, there was not a cloud in the sky all day, and the house was heated by solar heat. The temperature hung in at 35, and for most of the day, there was a 10 mph wind out of the northeast. Gorgeous.


The snow is going fast where the sun hits, which doesn't include the hill yet. Elsewhere, it's messy, with muddy ruts and slushy ruts. No 20 mph drives through. 


I ended up not doing much. I got the dirty dishes into the dishwasher before the fridge repairman came. And I drove two hooks into the wall on either side of the office door. I wanted them to match, and besides, the one that was on the right side wasn't centered (how I did that, I don't quite know). So now the seasonal banner is hanging and so is the foxglove banner. I think it looks nice. There are a lot of narrow pieces of wall around this house where a bellpull shaped banner might go, which is good, because I have one that is ready to be finished and some others I'd like to do.


Otherwise, I kept thinking of things I wanted to do and not doing them.


The fridge repairman came and inspected the bottom and back of the fridge and discovered that the water line from the pump to the water dispenser has cracked in two. He didn't have a repair kit, so he will have to come back, I hope before I go. It's probably going to cost me a bundle, but I liked that water dispenser, and I want it to work.


Ron came by and was kind enough to take my mail to the post office, so I didn't have to make two trips to town.


Mariner was jumping tonight. One of the sororities at Tech was having some kind of party, and there were a lot of other people eating in the bar, who were going to be kicked out around 9:00. We had a nice dinner, and we said goodbye, just in case I don't have time to stop during the week.


So that was a rather dull day. The siskins are back again. I hope that not feeding them for a month doesn't chase them all away. When I get back, however, I will be putting out the thistle feeders again, so that should be a draw. I've noticed the crows making a great racket and the bluejays sounding their mating calls, so they know. I haven't seen many goldfinches around, so I suppose they are off someplace molting, and when I see them again they will be neon yellow (or at least the males will be). 


So I think I will bead a bit, then get another good night's sleep. Tomorrow I have to start the preparations, with the wash.


March 24

It was snowing when I got up this morning, but it stopped by 10:00, although there was a little squall around noon and another around 5:00. In between we had a little sunshine and some clouds. The temperature was 34 all day, and the wind was around 10 mph out of the north. 


The snow is going. The road is a slushy mess, with deep ruts, some of which go down to the roadbed. The hill isn't too icy yet, but as I said to Ron, it's too bad we can't go over it with a roto-tiller and break up the ice underneath the snow. Everybody I've talked to seems to think the thaw is here. So do the local road commissions, because they've put the load restrictions on the roads already. 


I found that out because I finally schlepped the 10 trash bags to the compactor, and with the kind help of the guy in charge, I got rid of all that. There will be another load next week, but I hope not more than a couple of bags. There are actually two compactors on site, which should take us pretty much through the end of the load restrictions. Good thinking on their part, I thought.


In between I beaded, but my frustrating week continued. I got to within an inch of the end of the twisted herringbone bracelet when I noticed that something seemed wrong a few rows back, and when I ripped back to that spot, I discovered that the thread had gotten cut. That happens occasionally, when a bead has a sharp edge on the hole. So I had to rip back some more in order to get enough thread to end off, and when I tried that, I managed to break a bead even further back. I ended up ripping out everything I'd done today. I've finally gotten a little further than I was, but I'm not going to finish it tonight like I should have. I do like the way it's coming out, but the stitch is hard on my fingers. 


Dinner was with Shirley, and we had a good time ranting to each other about things we've been involved with. I was a little late getting there, because I had to change my pants at the last minute when I couldn't quite make it to the bathroom...I'd drunk a 12 ounce pop and a 16 ounce bottled water and thought I could last until I left. I should know better. And I had just put on a clean pair of jeans this morning! 


Maybe that is the end of my frustrating week. At any rate, it's the end of the day for me.


March 23

It was a night of strange dreams, and it was a frustrating day. I don't remember the dreams, except that when I woke up from them, I thought "now, that's strange", and went back to sleep. I had just gotten to the office this morning when I got a call from NetBank, saying that the appraisal came out all right (although they low-balled it considerably, which they usually do for a second mortgage), but now they felt the need for a full three months of bank statements instead of just one. Arrgghh!!


That meant that I had to copy the backs of two statements and then fax 15 pages over a regular long-distance line (no toll free this time), and something happened after 9 or 10 pages, and I had to fax the last 6 pages over again. Grrr.


I am coming to the conclusion that NetBank really doesn't want to do this loan, and they are hunting hard for any little thing that might enable them to refuse it. They can't find anything, so they are trying to frustrate me enough to make me withdraw the application. They are doing a good job. What they know about me, they know I will not run up a big balance and pay lots of interest, so they're really not interested. However, it's illegal for them to refuse me out of hand. I might sue. I worked for a well-run, ethical bank long enough to know how the other kind operates. 


I did tell them that if the loan isn't closed by next Thursday, they can forget it. I will be interested to see what they do.


That got my blood pressure up and wasted most of the morning, since I had to try three or four times and clean the rollers on the automatic feed before I got the fax to go through. 


Then, after I finally got some breakfast and began to settle down a bit, the fridge repairman called to say his car had died and he couldn't come, so how about Saturday? That's not critical, but I really had planned for today. Now I will have to try to keep the kitchen nice and neat for two more days.


So I spent most of the rest of the day beading, and my twisted herringbone bracelet is coming along. It is turning out better than I'd expected, sort of by accident. The copper beads are just a tad bigger than the blue and green ones, so in this stitch, the copper ones end up sticking out more than the blue and green ones, all with a very nice, tight twist, and it looks neat. I still have a couple more inches to go, because the stitch goes slowly and uses lots of thread, but maybe I can finish it tomorrow. After a while, all the yanking on the thread makes my hands sore.


The weather was rather nondescript. There was a little bit of blue sky early, then around 9:30 there was a little snow squall, after which it partly cleared up again. That lasted until about 4:00, when it started snowing again, lightly, and it is still at it. I don't think there was any accumulation at all. The temperature was steady at 31 since last night, and the winds are down in the 10-15 mph range, still from the north.


So that was my quiet day, and it's time to trundle up to the north end again.


March 22

The lullaby of the lake worked like a charm last night, and I slept well, despite having a left arm that was so sore I couldn't lie on it. I have no idea what caused that, but it seems to have worked itself out now. Probably I had been sleeping on that side too much. I did manage to keep the water out of my ears, and it was nice to have my normal (not very good) hearing back again.


It was a cloudy night, and when I woke up this morning it was snowing  lightly, and it continued to snow lightly for most of the day. I don't think there was much accumulation - an inch at most, The temperature was between 30 and 35 all day long, and the wind has slowly died down to between 15 and 20 mph, still from the north. So winter isn't over yet.


One of the many things that has impressed me about winter weather around here is the narrow range of temperatures.  Unless there is a definite cooling or warming trend, the temperature doesn't vary much over the course of 24 hours. Down in the interior, it definitely does. Our great big heat sink tends to even out the temperature variations around here. I think it is keeping things a tad warmer, too. On the other hand, in the summer, it keeps us cool, although there is usually more variation between day and night...thankfully, sometimes! Even if it gets quite warm on a summer afternoon, as soon as the sun begins to set, the lake takes over and very rarely do we not have a cool night. If we didn't I'd have to consider air conditioning, for sure!


I didn't do a lot today. I unloaded the dishwasher and began to reload it and I washed the pots and pans that were in the sink, but that's about it. Tomorrow I must get that stuff put away before noon and wipe down the stove, because a ,man is coming to look at the fridge. I can't remember if I mentioned my problem with the water dispenser, but it isn't working, and when I called the repair people, the person I talked to suggested that I get down on my hands and knees and peer under the fridge to see if there was a problem there. I thought about it for a while, but even if I did that, I probably couldn't see a problem, because I have a hard time seeing when my head is upside down. So I called back, and the person I talked to this time was much more amenable to coming out, and he is coming sometime tomorrow afternoon. I hope it can be fixed. I got used to having that water dispenser and I miss it.


For the rest of it, I read a while and beaded a while. I finished another bracelet. This one is just copper and silver, and it is a stitch that works up really fast, although I couldn't get the tension I wanted. However, I do recall when I was working on a thin peyote tube that I can't get tight tension on that either. So they are a little sloppy, but they do seem to hold their shape, and the result was pretty good. The bracelets Shirley brought back from Mexico had a closure something like mine, except they had just used a wad of seed beads instead of a large bead. I decided to try that, and it came out OK, but I need to try to figure out a way to make a ball that is less of a jumble. So I'll have to try that again. I like it, because I don't have any copper or silver beads that go with the seed beads, so it would be better to use them for the closure. So I guess I accomplished something. Now I have gone back to the one I abandoned for the copper/silver one. This one is taking much longer to do, but it looks like it will come out all right.


When the sun set it was still snowing, and they are saying it could snow lightly all night, so it will be a dark night in the field tonight.


March 21

Happy Bach's birthday to everyone. Johann Sebastian Bach, that is.


I just woke up from reading the latest bead catalog (only 600 pages) and realized that the lake is kicking up a real fuss again. The morning was rather quiet, with temperatures around 25 and winds around 15mph, but as the afternoon wore on, the temperature rose to slightly above freezing, and the wind has risen into the 30-40 mph range (the NWS calls this "breezy"), so now the lake is howling and every so often there is that "thunk!" when a rogue wave hits the rocks.


IT turned out to be a rather lost day, except to write some checks and go to the post office. There was enough reading material there to keep me happy for the rest of the day, including the bead catalog I have been waiting for, with the cheap stuff (glass and plated metal) in it. it's enough to drive me crazy.


Other than the wind, the weather was rather cloudy for most of the day. There was a ray of sunshine around 5:00, but not much else of note.


I was making a not-very-good breakfast when I sat down for a minute, and when I looked out the window, the eagle was flying south to north across the harbor. I don't know where they have been all winter, but they certainly have been active lately. I think it was today (the days sort of run together) that there was an actual flock of nuthatches in the feeder tree. It is very interesting to see what happens when a crow comes close and begins calling: there was a squirrel in the big feeder and a nuthatch on a branch, and they both just froze in place when the crow (or raven? I can't tell) called, and they didn't move until they were sure it had flown away. I guess crows will eat anything, including squirrel or bird, if they can catch it.


I decided I wanted my ziti anyway, even though the only pasta I have around is macaroni, and it turned out pretty good, I must say. The only difference is that I can eat the ziti with a fork, whereas I ate the macaroni with a spoon. So now I have a washboiler of pasta with tomato sauce and Italian sausage to keep me happy for the rest of the week. And a messed up kitchen again.


After fooling around with my ears last night and getting both of them plugged up, I am beginning to think perhaps part of my problem is with plugged Eustachian tubes...at least this morning yawning widely and burping seemed to clear things up. I am going to stop fooling around and just try to keep the water out of them and hope this mess clears up. I do not like not being able to hear!


I want to hear the lake when it is howling, and I will certainly be doing that tonight. It is sounding like a rather hairy night in the field all of a sudden.


March 20

Well, so far there hasn't been any negative feedback to last night's diatribe. I thank everyone for their positive comments.


I just learned that there won't be a sewing circle on Wednesday, because Carolyn is still recovering from her flu, so it will be May before I see the ladies again, I guess.


I read for a while, but it was too late to do any writing, so I went to bed. The skies were clear for most of the night, and the fading moon cast long shadows when it finally rose after midnight. However, it was cloudy this morning, and for most of the day. Late in the afternoon, some sun started to show through the clouds, and I preserved the Equinox Sunset. The temperature was around 25 for much of the day, and the wind has been slowly decreasing, finally. It certainly blew hard for a long time! It's between 10 and 15 mph now, and while I can still hear the lake, it has calmed down considerably, and the harbor was nearly calm, as you can see from the sunset pictures.


I can hear again. About two weeks ago, I accidentally got water in my right ear while washing my hair, and I couldn't get rid of it, but for quite a while, I could sort of jiggle my ear and still hear. Last night, I decided some action was indicated, so I used my earwax removal kit...except that everything I poured into my ear stuck, and I couldn't get it out and I couldn't hear at all out of that ear for most of the night. On top of that, I managed to get water in my left ear, too! So by morning, I was desperate. I learned the hard way, some time ago, not to manipulate my ears too much, but this was an unusual situation, so I cut a piece of my jewelry wire (fortunately, I didn't have to use the sterling silver or gold filled wire!), and poked away...and now I can hear again! I will be applying the earwax removal stuff again tonight, because there is still something in there, but it is a real relief to have my ears opened. I really don't hear that well anymore, but it's usually better than that!


I played with beads for most of the day, and now I have a couple more interesting little bits of stuff. One is a spiral, which I like a lot, but it takes a lot of beads and  al long time, so I stopped and started on my other idea. I mentioned I'd tried something the other night that didn't work, but I had another idea using the same stitch, and this one is coming out well enough that I'll finish it. It is a tube, copper with little silver dots in it, and it will make a nice bracelet. It's rather soft, because I just can't get any tension on the beads, but it does look nice.


Now I'm considering whether to write a bit or just bag it and go to bed. I may take some knitting up to the north end, so that I have something to do while my earwax is being removed. Hmm, that sounds good to me.


For dinner, I was going to have ziti with Italian sausage until I discovered that I don't have any ziti. Poo. So I will have to make other plans. I took a bunch of stuff to the downstairs freezer and I noticed a package of pork chops, so maybe I will do that tomorrow. 


I need to begin to straighten out the office (I simply can not keep this place neat, no matter how hard I try!) and gather a few things to take back to Detroit with me. My, but I don't want to go!


I don't know if I mentioned that I brought the seasonal banners with me when I came back after Christmas. I like them so well that I decided I want them where I will be most of the time. The winter banner had been hanging, so today, after 1:20 (when the sun crossed the equator), I took it down and hung the spring banner. These are white-on-white, mostly, with cheater hardanger (no cutting) for the letters. There is a little scrollwork between each letter, and one letter in each banner has an appropriate flower in it. Winter's flower is a blue carnation in the "E", and spring's is a purple pansy in the "G". I made them while I was in chemo the first time, and I really like them, so it is nice to have them where I can see them. They displaced the summer floral bellpull (the one with the foxgloves), and I need to put up a hook for that on the other side of the office door. 


In order to clear that spot out, I moved the storage boxes to behind the sofa. I really don't want to take that stuff downstairs, just in case I ever get a loan or a quote and finish the basement. There is still too much stuff around the great room, but it does look at tad better than it did.


So now I think I will go and clean out my ears and get a good night's sleep. The weather is calming down in the field.


March 19

When I turned out the light last night, I looked out the windows and there was Orion balancing on his left leg (Rigel) over the mountain. Rigel was hidden again, but the rest if him was visible. Taurus should have been there, too, but from inside the screens, with my eyes not completely adjusted, I couldn't be sure I saw it. I think I saw Aldebaran and the Hyades, but I closed my eyes and went to sleep. The moon rose late, but it was bright and really lit up the snow. It is way in the south now, so I can see the shadow of the house the way I would have seen it if there had been any sunshine in January.


It was a pristine, clear day, too, with hardly a cloud in the sky. The temperature actually got up to 34 late in the day, and the wind is still blowing hard - 24-32 mph for most of the day. The sunshine heated up the house remarkably: it was 75 in here around 5:00, and I was hot. However, I'll take all the free heat I can get.


I spent most of the day embroidering and finished the first of the two little roses. It turned out nicely, I think. I started on the second rose, but my left index finger started to get sore from poking the needle into it. Even though it's a blunt-pointed needle, it does poke my finger, and in the past, I've had it wear a groove almost through my skin. I decided to give it a rest, and I read through what I had written on my book back in February (and discovered that I had written all the dates "05"!). It's too late now to start writing, but I'm thinking about it.


It's not that I've given up on the beading. I fiddled around with an idea last night that didn't work, so I decided to give it a rest for a while. I'll get back at it.


About the time I got hot, I decided to cool off by filling the bird feeders. That did help, but the exertion made me hotter. And another feeder has bitten the dust, at least temporarily. The little white feeder had a movable bottom on it, so that it could be used for regular seed or thistle seed, and when I took it down to day, the bottom was missing. I suppose it is under the tree somewhere, but with the snow, I can't see it. So that is part of the second feeder I'll be looking for when the snow is gone. I lost the chain for one of the platform feeders in a gale last fall, and the weeds were too high then to find it. I'm sorry to lose the little feeder. The birds seem to like it. Oh, well. One of the squirrels must have gotten creative over the past few days.


I was embroidering when I got a curious phone call this afternoon. Evidently some out-of-town friends of one of the quilting ladies had been reading through my journals for the past couple of months, and misconstrued and misinterpreted some things I said about the sewing group. Oh, dear.


One of the pitfalls of blogging (I hate that word, but that is what this is - a blog) is that people do seem to misread and misconstrue what I write. This isn't the first time. Anyway, the lady was very upset, to the detriment of her blood pressure, and I'm not sure I managed to get her calmed down. Why in the world she would ever think I was referring to her, I do not know. And I don't know why, because I said someone had good color sense, that would imply that no one else did. That isn't what I said, and it certainly isn't what I meant. She also took umbrage that I said there is one lady in the group I don't care for too much.


Now, look here. This is my website, maintained by and paid for by me, and this is a free country and a free internet. I have every right to write anything I want to write. And yet, any time I say anything the slightest bit negative about anything (except the Detroit metro area), I get chewed out, either by email or in person. This is not paradise. There are people in it: some are friends, bless them; some we like who don't like us; some we don't like who like us; with some the dislike is mutual; and some are just there. Nobody likes everyone they meet. Some people irritate us extremely. I see no reason not to say so when that happens to me. It's not like I named names. I didn't and I won't.


I refuse to apologize for anything I write here, except for factual errors. To those who talked to the lady today (and anybody else who fits the mold) I have some advice. First, be sure you understand what you are reading. Do not read into my words meanings that aren't there. If you don't like what I write, tell me. I have an email address, but don't expect me to be sympathetic. I have a right to my opinions just like you do. Don't go around spreading gossip about things you have misconstrued. And finally, if you don't like what I write, stop reading the journal. Nobody is making you read it. If you are sniffing around for juicy tidbits of gossip or opinions I write that you can turn into gossip, shame on you.


I do not often write negative things, but I see no reason to keep my opinions to myself, especially on these pages. Nobody likes everybody they meet, and everyone makes those opinions known somewhere. Some women tell their husbands. Some tell a best friend. I occasionally tell the journal. I am not a negative person, and I like or at least tolerate most of the people I know, and yet some people seem to think I should not write anything but good things and nice things and sweet things. Baloney. This is the real world, people. If you don't like it, don't read it. If you do continue to read it, and you don't like what you read, tell me, and don't spread gossip about it.


I'm not sure there will be a sewing circle this week, because Carolyn has the flu, but I will be interesting to see what happens if there is. I'm not sure how many people in it read this thing, and whether they misunderstood what I said, too. If they got it second or third hand, heaven knows what they might think.


Anyway, all this is not going to change my writing habits very much, and I can only hope that it doesn't get so blown out of proportion that it interferes with my interactions with people in town. And that's a view from the field.


March 18

I was up too late last night, too, but I did sleep well for most of the night. I woke up around 8:00, decided that was too early, and sort of slept after that, during which I made a pretty comprehensive list of the stuff I will be moving from the other house. I wonder if we can get it ready to ship by the end of April? That's a lot of stuff.


Anyhow, when I did get up, around 10:00, the sky was clear and the lake was roaring away, and the day was another gorgeous one. Where all the clouds and flurries they were talking about went, I don't know, but I'm not going to complain. The temperature wasn't all that warm - in the mid 20s for most of the day, although it now has risen to 30 - and the wind was in the 20-30 mph range, with a few gusts to 35 mph, from the north. However, it was another day of glorious sunshine. Around mid-afternoon there were a few puffy white clouds, but they didn't amount to much, and sunset was perfectly clear. When I came home from dinner, Sirius was shining brightly in the south.


The NWS is only willing to concede us "partly cloudy" tonight and "partly sunny" for tomorrow, but Environment Canada says clear all day and all night, and they are usually more accurate on cloud cover. So it looks like another beautiful day. I guess we're beginning to make up for the cloudy mid-winter months.


I took advantage of the sunshine to sit in it and bead, and I finished another bracelet. Peyote stitch really does go faster than other stitches, even when it's odd-count and has that weird turn in it. I will take a picture. I'm calling this one the "Copper Harbor Winter" bracelet, because it has blue for the lake and sky, green for the trees and silver for the snow, all framed in copper. It came out rather well, I think, although the side with the easy turn is a bit wavy. Those copper beads just are not very uniform, and I am not going to spend hours with a caliper trying to sort them by size! I finished it just before I went to dinner.


However, I did take some time off, first to have the slow breakfast, for the first time in ages - it tasted very good, thank you - and then to attack the breezeway. All the stuff that is supposed to be stored in the house is now in the house, and the wine, boos, pop and water, flavored and not, is all stacked fairly neatly along the back wall. I did miss one bag full of empty pop bottle containers, but that's minor. What a relief! It is nice to be able to walk from the garage to the house without fearing I will fall over something in the dark. The sun shining in the windows is warming it up a bit out there, but not a lot, I don't think. It was still cold enough that my olive oil had congealed and the juice bottles sweated when I brought them in. I knew how handy that place is for storage, but until it got cold, I didn't realize how handy it is to have an auxiliary fridge out there. I could use the porch, too, but I'm less certain about critters there.


While I was beading, Buster apparently went to sleep on the couch in the great room, which was in the sun, and suddenly I heard a very sorrowful "mroow!" from out there. I called him, and he came running, which he frequently does, and he was ready to be petted. He didn't seem to have anything wrong, so all I can figure is that he had a nightmare. I know cats dream, and I know sometimes they move their legs and tails like the dreams aren't very pleasant, but I don't recall seeing a cat awake abruptly from a nightmare very often. DC did once, when he was asleep in the ugly chair, and it was apparently so bad he never slept there again. Poor little Buster. At least he has his mama to make over him. I haven't had mine in a long time.


That strong north wind means the lake has been roaring all day long, and there were whitecaps of varying sizes on the harbor all day, too, as well as breakers on my beach. The floating ice is all down right at the end of the harbor, and with the wave action, it was roiling and churning like a bowl full of pudding. At one point, this end of the harbor was full of little tiny whitecaps, just barely showing on the surface. I don't recall seeing just that configuration before. Of course the harbor was Superior blue all day long...so blue, and so beautiful! 


So that was my day. I hope to get to bed a tad earlier tonight, but the beads are still out, and I have a bunch of different stitches I want to try with them. However, nothing is started, so I may be safe.


It's going to be a clear night in the field tonight, with moonshine and starshine and the lake singing its lullaby in the background. What a place! How I love it here!


March 17

I stayed up far too late last night, playing with my beads, but I got up at a more or less reasonable time this morning, so I am tired. I think it was cloudy for most of the night, so there were no moonset pictures today.


While it started out cloudy, the clouds parted by noon, and it was another really beautiful afternoon, although the temperature was around 22 for most of the day, and there was a brisk north wind. Toward sunset, the temperature was slowly rising, and so was the wind. Now, while the NWS station is reporting 17-25 mph winds out of the north-northeast, from the fuss the lake is kicking up, I would say that's an understatement. The lake is roaring nicely, and every now and then I can hear a loud whack! as a rogue wave hits the rocks. 


The shoreline out here is mostly rocky, with only an occasional small, pebbly beach. Most of the houses are 12 or more feet above the water level, which is probably just as well when the waves are as strong as they sound tonight.


I played with beads for most of the day, too, but I put aside the red thing I was working on last night. It was beginning to make my hands hurt. The thread has to go through each bead four or five times, and I frequently have to resort to a pair of pliers to pull the needle through the last time. So I got out the copper beads, as well as the blue, green and silver beads, and I am now making a bracelet using the central part of Clyde's bandolier. Last year I made myself a bracelet using my interpretation of the entire thing, but it is too wide in size 11/0 beads, but just the center part is a nice width, about the same as the rest of my bracelets. It's coming out nice, and peyote stitch goes much faster than square stitch.


Dinner was with Shirley, and that was nice. I had fried fish, which was good, but I had to take some Rolaids when I got home. I simply cannot eat fried anything. I never could, actually, and now that I have a gallstone, it's even worse. However, antacids do still work. It tasted good for a change, so  on rare occasions, I just have to splurge.


The sunshine is eroding the snow, even with the low temperatures, and the dunes are slowly going away. According to the weather forecasts, we're not done with the snow yet, but it sounds like they are just predicting the possibility of lake effect flurries, and it won't amount to much. Of course, I have had a change of perspective since Monday.


When I was living in Pennsylvania, back in the dark ages, we would occasionally get one of these things, and the town I lived in was just helpless. If there was less than 6" of snow, they didn't think it was enough to plow, and if there was more than that, they didn't know what to do with it. There were a couple of times I can remember when the drifting on one side of a hill between me and my job was about 20' high, right across the main road, and it took two days for them to get one lane opened, and a week to clear the road completely. Now, I know that was an extreme case, but I also know it would never take that long in Keweenaw. Yoopers are prepared for that kind of snow, and they know what to do with it.


So winter is still with us, regardless of the calendar, and it's time to crawl into bed and listen to the lullaby of the angry lake.


March 16

I finished the bangle last night, and it came out rather well, I think. It's pale pink and pearl, which is definitely summer stuff, and it's rather pretty. I will take a picture sometime. I managed to sew it together nearly invisibly, so it really does look like a bangle, and the size 11/0 beads makes it not too thick or chunky. However, it kept me up rather late.


It turned out to be another beautiful night, full of moonlight, and the camera came thorough again, with more moonset pictures. I still love that sight.


It was a beautiful morning, too, although there were a few more clouds than yesterday. It didn't interfere much with the sunshine. The temperature here was around 25 all day, with a 10 mph wind from the north or northeast. 


I got up before I wanted to because I really had to go to Houghton today, and I got off around noon, I think. I kept running across people wandering down US-41 like they were in a fog, which was a bit frustrating. The covered road is still pretty bad, although the snow is melting in the sunshine. Where the trees are thicker, the road is still covered with packed snow, but the sun is melting it in spots, leaving chunks of ice and slush and water. I don't think anybody is going their usual 55 (in the 45 mph zone, of course), but the 35 or less that the guy in front of me was going was really slower than necessary in most spots.


From the Mountain Lodge all the way to Calumet, the drifts and snow piles are amazing. It looks like the drift at the Lake Medora public access was close to six feet deep. The Road Commission must have had fun clearing that, but they have done a commendable job, and the banks are cut back to the edge of the shoulders in most places. From Mohawk south, where there are houses along the roadside, the snow piles are 12 or more feet high in places, but down there the snow is all black and ugly. 


I was interested to see that Cliff Drive is closed. The last time I was down to town, it had been plowed, but this time they just put up barricades at each end. There were a few tracks around the barricade and down the road, but it's not a trip I would have wanted to take. I usually use Cliff Drive in the summer, but mostly to avoid the tourists who go through Mohawk. At this time of year, it isn't a bottleneck.


From Delaware south, US-41 was clear and dry, so that part of the trip went fast. There weren't very many people in either Wal=Mart or Econo, which was good. I just did what I had to in Wal-Mart - prescription, birdseed, more storage boxes and two spools of thread - so I wasn't very tired when I got out. I had eaten right before I left home, so I didn't stop to eat in Houghton. I got a minimum of stuff at Econo, and picked up the eggs I left there the last time. Then I got gas and came home. I got back before 4:00.


When the sun is shining, like it was today, it is such a satisfying view to come down the road into town and look over the harbor. Today it was almost navy blue, with some little waves between Hunter Point and Porter Island, and a rim of bright white ice all around. There is a bit of floating ice in the harbor which keeps getting pushed around depending on the wind. Yesterday I think it was all down at our end, but today it must have been at the west end.


So that was a fast and successful trip. I even got back in time to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine, although the sun set in some clouds and there wasn't much of a sunset.


I started a new bracelet in a different stitch, and except that I messed up the pattern and had to cut out three or four rows - it isn't a stitch that can be unraveled very easily - I have made some progress. This one is garnet beads with a matte black pattern in it, and while it is completely different from the "Copper Harbor" bracelets, it's rather pretty. I have been enchanted by those silver-lined garnet beads from the time I got them: they are really pretty. There isn't very much contrast between the two beads, but you can see the pattern, so it will be a bit more understated than it sounds.


However, it's after midnight again, and I am reverting to my old habits. I get working on something and I just don't want to quit.


I guess that's what happened today, so I will now trundle up to the north end and see if there's a moon again tonight. They keep saying not, but we'll see.


March 15

It was a beautiful, clear night, although the almost-full moon was so bright I couldn't see many stars.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the luster of midday to objects below.

And it sure did. It was beautiful, and on toward morning, it was shining right in the bedroom windows on us. I was asleep when it set, but the camera wasn't, and here is the spring moonset. I know there are pictures of this almost every spring and fall since I've been here, but I still think it's one of the nicest views the camera catches.


It was a perfectly gorgeous day, too, with hardly a cloud in the sky, strong, bright sunlight, and a strong northwest wind raising nice whitecaps on the blue, blue, blue harbor. That's always beautiful, too, but the contrasts are especially nice when the harbor is rimmed with ice. It certainly is now! The temperature got into the upper 20s, but the wind was in the 20-30 mph range for most of the day.


On toward sunset, there were some clouds forming in the west, and there wasn't much of a sunset, but the night is supposed to be mostly clear, so there is a chance we may see the moon set again tomorrow morning. It's full today, so I certainly hope so.


The appraiser finally got here at about 11:50, and she is doing a really detailed appraisal. I want a copy of that thing. She even wanted the house plans. However, that took a while, so I was late for church, but it turned out that I was the only person there, so I had my own private church service again, and afterwards, Bonnie and I spent a couple of hours just talking about our religious and other experiences. I had already decided that I wasn't going to try to go to town today, so that was all right. 


Buster didn't think so, but he never thinks so when I am gone even for a few minutes. Then I got to working on my beading, and the bracelet is getting finished. This one is for me, so it has to be rather long, and even longer because I've decided to make it a bangle - no closure - so it has to fit over my hand. It's turning out all right, but those pale pink beads are a real trial. When the light gets bad, I can't see them on the off-white bead mat, and I ended up having to use the magnifier. I did discover that I can see a whole lot better early in the day, no surprise.


Otherwise, I tried to soak up as many rays as I could. The clear skies are supposed to last through early morning tomorrow, then it will cloud up again and there may be a little more snow.


I got my first look at the drifts, and they are impressive. The entire low part of the road, between the harbor and Lake Lily, drifted over about 3' deep, and I can easily imagine it being five or more feet deep if nobody had been clearing the road. It really is pretty, though, so clean and white and smooth. 


John Dee said last night that this is one of the biggest blizzards in the seven years he's lived here, and I can believe it. While I guess the official total for Keweenaw is 18" at Mohawk, Delaware reported 22", but they always get hit harder. And we didn't get the worst of it. South of Houghton, a couple of places reported 32"! That's a lot of snow in 24 hours. I know records were broken at Marquette, and I'm sure they were here, too. I'm so glad I was here to see it! It sure was fun, even though it was a lot of work.


So that is the view from the field tonight, and I'm looking at another early night.


March 14

The final crowning glory of our blizzard was the 8 hour power failure that began at midnight and finally ended just before 8 am.  I went to bed fairly early, but the noise that the power going down makes woke me up briefly. Otherwise, I was snug in my bed mostly, and the temperature only got down to 60 in the house, although as usual, it took a very long time to warm up. 


The power failure zapped the broadband (which it always does), so there weren't any pictures until I reset everything, and those big, heavily laden pine boughs were still blocking the view until I got tired of them late this afternoon.


Actually, we were all gratified that the power came on when it did, since the county didn't begin plowing the roads until 4:00 am, and normally that would mean it would take another 8 hours to find and fix the break. It must have been an easy, obvious one. And, I must add, UPPCO is going for an 8% rate increase in Michigan, and the last thing they want is for irate customers to be writing the Public Utilities Commission. I may anyway - their rates are atrocious. However, that's another story.


Anyway, the snow finally stopped not long before sunrise, and by the time I got up it was just blowing. The snow was all gone off the office windows - I think the wind sublimed it overnight - but the view was still mostly of snow-covered pine boughs. The drifting was amazing enough that I took a few pictures. The first two are of the big drift in front of the office. You will notice that it drifted halfway up the window of the great room, and the other one was halfway up the deck railing. Amazing. And the wind was still blowing. I'm wondering what a bit of snow fencing on the deck might do.


The third picture, which is a really bad one, was taken through the back windows of the great room, at the garage. I just wanted to document the height of that drift. It turns out, it was a ridge, too, and on the other side of it, up against the garage door, it was only about 12" high. Then it got up higher than the first panel of the door! And you can see where it is at the breezeway.


The final official total at Mohawk was 18", and Ron took his tape measure along when he went to fetch his car. He measured a 36" drift down at Lake Lily, and Mac says it was probably 40" in the driveway at the top of the hill, where Ron's car was parked. On the flat, it seems we got about 18", too. To compound the problems, there was a tree down, about halfway up the final grade of the hill, but between them, Ron and Mac have managed to get that out of the way.


Evidently between them, Mac and Ron spent the entire day clearing the road. I waited till 3:30 before I called Ron, just to make sure everything was on track, which it was, and around 4:00 Mac came with the tractor. I went out and moved some of the snow away from the garage door and smoothed down the drift so that he could attack it with both ends of the tractor (there is a scoop in front, as well as the blower on the back). It wasn't easy, because he was blowing stones out of the driveway for much of the time, but I can now get out of my house. 


It was quite a blizzard. On the one hand, I wish it had happened in January, when the snow would have been a lot lighter and easier to move, but on the other hand, this may be the last blast of the winter, which is good, if true. We now know we need a little bigger, little more powerful tractor, for starters. And we have an even better idea of where the drifting will be and where we will want snow fencing next year. I do wish I could figure out how to counteract the drifts in front of the garage, but I really don't know where they come from, unless it's that the wind flowing over the roof just drops its load on the other side. Parts of my driveway didn't have more than 4" on it, and there aren't more than a couple of inches on the roof.


They have been predicting lake effect snow for all day and through tomorrow noon, but we haven't seen a flake yet. I don't know where that went, since the wind is out of the northwest, and we should get it if anybody does. The temperature has been very slowly rising through the upper 20s.


So that was fun. Now it can go away, please.


I spent most of the day embroidering, although I did throw a ton of empty boxes down the basement stairs, and I dusted and swept the great room, not thoroughly, but I think I got up most of the dead flies. There were at least as many as there were when I swept before I left in December. It was hard, because my back was bothering me. Now tomorrow, I have only the orange bags to move. There are two still open, to catch the last of the stuff, and I'm not sure whether I'll get the ones full of catalogs out of here before the appraiser comes, but oh, well.


When Mac came, I went out and moved some snow, and it was a good time to be outside. The wind was strong, but in the courtyard between the house in the garage, it was really quite pleasant. After he left, the wind started making the platform feeder swing so wildly that I was afraid it might hit the window. It is attached to the branch that was blocking the camera, so I captured it and brought it in, then I knocked the snow off the branch and all over me, of course, but now not only is the camera view unobstructed, I can see my view again.


Late in the afternoon the clouds started breaking up a bit, and we had a spectacular sunset. Besides the beautiful color, notice where the sun went down. It's almost at due west now, which it will reach next Monday, and we are now enjoying 11 hours of sunlight. I hope we have a sunset on Monday, so I can document that.


I had some thought that I might take the whole load of trash to the compactor tomorrow, but it seems that I will probably be taking a fast trip to Houghton instead. I still have cellulitis, and I have used every last drop of my antibiotic cream, so I called the doctor and they faxed a prescription, which should be there tomorrow. I hate to go too long without using it, because it does seem to be working. I know one of the ways I get the cellulitis, though. I got this one by wearing long johns with tight cuffs that irritated the skin on my left leg. That isn't the only way, but that's certainly one way. I got it just after I got back in January the same way.


I am going to have a busy, busy Wednesday, it seems. So I will get this published and make it another early night.


March 13

Special Weather Statement 
Expires 3:00 AM EST on March 14, 2006

Statement as of 7:04 PM EST on March 13, 2006

... Snow plows pulled off the roads in Houghton County and Keweenaw

Due to blizzard conditions... the Houghton County Road commission
has pulled all snow plows off the roads in Houghton County... and
the Keweenaw County Road commission has pulled all snow plows off
the roads in Keweenaw County. Snow and blowing snow... reducing
visibility to near zero... has made it nearly impossible to see
roadways. Travel is impossible across Keweenaw County and Houghton
County tonight. 

The Houghton County Road commission expects to resume plowing
around 5 am EST Tuesday. The Keweenaw County Road commission
expects to resume plowing after 4 am EST Tuesday morning.


I've been hoping to see one of these things this winter, but I sure didn't expect it to be in the middle of March! About 11:00 this morning, they canceled the winter storm warning and replaced it with a blizzard warning.


There was a little snow between 2:30 and 4:30 this morning, enough to just barely cover the roof, and there was only a little coming down when I got up. I did the bathroom first thing, and sort of ran the Swiffer around the floors, thinking that it was such a dull, cloudy day that any dust wouldn't be very obvious anyway.


The weather forecast was ominous, but when the appraiser called to say she was canceling out, while it was snowing, it wasn't snowing hard - here. It was worse in Houghton. However, it just kept coming and coming, and the wind kept rising and rising...At 8:00 pm, the wind was 36 mph out of the north-northeast, with gusts to 50 mph. It peaked (so far) at around 7:00, with sustained winds of 44 mph and gusts to 51 mph! That was when they pulled the plows. The barometer seems to have hit bottom, however, and the snow has slowed down a bit.


The snow is wet and heavy, and it is weighting down the pine branches, and the winds were swirling around the house so much that almost every window in the house is covered with snow. It's particularly bad on the patio door where the camera is, because that is the end of the line for the wind, and it hits the pine tree and swirls around right at the end of the deck - and all over the window. I opened the door a couple of times to see how things were, but I would have had to shovel the drift in front of the door before I could clean the window, and I just decided it was too much effort for something that would get covered up almost right away anyway.


Because the camera view got obscured around 2:00, I decided to take a few pictures with the Nikon, just so you could see how it is outside. The first picture was the only way I could show you how much snow there is on the deck - close to 12", I think. And remember, last night, it was dry and bare. The next two pictures are sort of what you would have seen out the window, if you could have seen out the window, around 6:45 this evening.


With the wind from the northeast, while it's been pretty noisy around here, and the snow was swirling around all over, it hasn't hit the house very hard, and it's been pretty comfortable in here all day long. The lake has been kicking up a real ruckus, and I can imagine it's nearly deafening at Ron's and Mac's houses. The temperature started out at over 35 last night, and it has fallen steadily all day, but it is still around 26. That's why the snow is so heavy. It's really pretty to see, but I don't know whether it's good for the trees.


Ron tells me they called school in Calumet at 11:00 and sent the kids home, but Trevor didn't make it until an hour after his estimated ETA, so I bet Tom had a real fun trip back to the harbor in the bus.


This isn't the end of it, either. The system snow will be moving off to the northeast, but there is supposed to be plenty of lake effect snow behind it. This is what January is supposed to be all about.


It's so much fun! It certainly wouldn't be fun to be out in, especially in a car, but when this happens in Keweenaw, they pull the plows and everybody just shrugs and goes into hibernation for the duration. As you know, I love big winds anyway, and I don't mind at all if they are accompanied by big snows.

I celebrated by not doing much. I messed up the stove royally when I made my breakfast (oatmeal for the first time in ages) and I cleaned that up, as well as the microwave when both my milk and my maple cream (which isn't cream at all anymore - it's like concrete when it's cold and thick syrup when it's warm) boiled over into it, but I cleaned them both up right away. And I did the powder room, and even scrubbed the calcite ring off the toilet. Otherwise, I did a little knitting, which bored me, and some more embroidery. it was a good day to do nothing.


Just before the window got all obscured, there was a flock of little birds at the feeder, trying to get a last seed or two before they found a safe place to roost. I really feel sorry for them, but I guess they'll cope. When I am out cleaning the window tomorrow, I will have to fill the feeders, too.


I had several nice e-conversations with people who noticed and wondered about the camera pictures.


In order to get tonight's pictures out of the camera, I had to finally unload everything that was in there, so there are some shots of the sky from February 12, February 23, and February 27. Not spectacular, maybe, but there are some nice cloud formations, and some good reds. So now the Gallery is all up to date.


I think it will be a good night to cuddle under the comforter and pull up a warm cat. Tomorrow, maybe I can get the window cleared off, and all the boxes down the basement and all the trash bags into the garage. The appraiser will be coming on Wednesday, I hope, but the snow situation should certainly be under control by then.


It's a wild and hairy night in the field tonight, for sure!

March 12

Last night was entirely too late, so I am going to try to do better tonight. I finally made it into bed at around 2:00, and the moon was shining brightly in my windows, but that didn't keep me awake at all. I only got up around 9:30 because the sun was out, and I wanted to enjoy that. 


I did. It got really warm in here, but Buster and I spent most of the morning and midday soaking up the rays. He was sleeping, and I was knitting. I knitted until I started having problems with the pattern again. The thing is, with the fancy yarns I'm using, I can't see the pattern very well, and I'm used to deciding what to do next by sight. So I embroidered for a while, until it got dark. I'm doing leaves now, and they aren't so interesting as flowers, but I'm making progress.


The wind last night was hitting the front windows nearly straight on, and George Hite confirmed what I suspected, that it was a lot stronger than the NWS reported until around 4:00 am, when it dropped back a bit. I think it began to veer more northerly, too, although the reports don't say that. That NWS station isn't very accurate for winds from the southwest to northwest, and that includes the direction as well as the speed.


It was still windy today, but it was coming more out of the northwest, in the 25-35 mph range, until about 5:00, when it stopped. I do love the weather around here. One minute it can be blowing a gale, and five minutes later, it's nearly calm...or vice versa. The temperature got up to about 45 for most of the afternoon, and it was sunny and lovely, although the clouds began to thicken up after about 3:00, and there wasn't a sunset.


The NWS is in "the sky is falling" mode. I saw one forecast that was predicting 12-15" of snow over the next 24 hours, and I know that's bunk. I guess they are so afraid that somebody will get on them if they underestimate that they always grossly overestimate the precipitation. We are going to have a winter storm, and snow is certain, but 5-10" total is a more reasonable estimate. Here in the harbor, it's not likely we'll get that much.


I certainly hope we don't. The appraiser is supposed to come tomorrow, and I really, really want to get that over with.


Ron was out today in the tractor, smoothing down the ruts before the storm, and he was kind enough to do my driveway, too. The part that is perpendicular to the shoreline drifts rather badly, and I had put some rather deep and squiggly ruts in it over the past couple of days. The part that is parallel to the shore is bare, except for right in front of the garage door.  So that sets us up for the new snow, which should make it a bit easier to get around, so long as it doesn't drift too badly.


I actually did a little. I got two more bags of trash into the breezeway, and I cleaned up the kitchen, except to sweep the floor. Wow! I still have to do the bathroom, and that would need it whether or not I was having company, but I will just have to get at that tomorrow. Another reason to get to bed early. There are still six trash bags in the house, but whether I get all of them out or not is questionable. I can try.


It is really nice to have the kitchen nearly pristine, I must say, with almost everything off the counters, and everything nice and clean. I didn't cook, of course, but I had leftovers from last night, so that was all right. I haven't decided what I want to eat next anyway. I doubt I can keep it anywhere near like this until I go.


Since it's Sunday, I was wearing my sweats and my slippers, and I noticed something that makes me understand my foot problem a bit better. After I had been standing for a while, my toes got really sore. I have peripheral neuropathy in my toes from the chemo, but it just hadn't occurred to me that the soreness is one reason my feet hurt so much when I walk and stand. I guess that finally having some shoes that fit for a change has gotten my feet back more to the way they should be. I do know that I have to take off my shoes at night lately, because the socks rubbing my toes just drives me crazy, and I know they aren't tight or anything. 


I guess I will start taking the vitamin B6 again and see if that helps at all. I stopped taking it last summer because I was having an elimination problem, but that hasn't gone away, so I guess the B6 wasn't causing it. The aftereffects of the chemo have fortunately not been major, but they do bug me.


So that was my day, and I will go and sweep the kitchen and then go to bed. 


It's a dark and gloomy night in the field tonight, and I think we can expect some snow before morning. Winter isn't over yet!

March 11

Oh, I didn't.


I was knitting and thinking it's time for bed, and I couldn't remember if I'd done a journal or not. It was or not.


It was partly sunny when I got up this morning, and it stayed that way into the afternoon before the clouds rolled in. When I went to dinner tonight, there was a very black cloud off in the southeast, but it went that-a-way and didn't bother us at all.


It was a beautiful day, if you weren't a snowmobiler. The temperature got up to around 46 in the afternoon, and there was a rather brisk wind from the south. It has cooled down to 40 now, and the wind has shifted to the west and picked up into the 15-25 mph range, but the sky has apparently cleared up, just like Environment Canada said it would and the NWS still says it won't.


I didn't do much at all, especially what I should have been doing. Oh, well. It's not going to go away, and it will either get done before the appraiser comes or it won't


I did read a magazine and a little beading and a lot of knitting. I decided to knit after dinner because I thought that would be more mindless than beading or cross stitch. Boy, was I wrong! I am starting a new garment, a "shrug" made of such fancy yarns I doubt I'll ever wear it, but it was a good chance to try some yarns I hadn't used before. Be warned: those fancy "trellis" or "railroad" yarns do not work well with pattern stitches. The stitches are very hard to see, and since the yarn is very slippery, it's easy to drop something.  The shrug is on #15 needles using two strands of yarn together, and the pattern is really a very simple one - the old afghan "ripple" pattern. Somehow, I have had a terrible time remembering where I am in the pattern, and I end up increasing where I should be decreasing, so I've had to count every row or two. Probably I should have stuck to the beading, since I do think I can still count to five.


So I should have gone to bed a while ago, but I wanted to at least use all the yarns once, so it's late, and Buster has been nattering at me for quite a while.


The bird scene is heating up with the weather. The siskins were back again, and around noon, I looked up from my reading because one of the little squirrels was making a kind of chattering I've never heard before, and as I looked, an eagle soared across the harbor, quite low. To me, he was just above the deck railing, so he was actually probably level with the ground out side. He didn't appear in the south windows, so I wonder if he landed on the ice, or if he went into the trees I can't see from here. It has been a while since I've seen one, and it was nice to see him around. I know the eagles are there, but they do their own thing and sometimes I won't see them for months.


Mariner was dead tonight. I guess almost all the snowmobilers have given up hope and gone home or something.


Well, this wind is bound to blow something up. The latest forecast has deleted all mention of precipitation for tonight and tomorrow, which is just as well. We were worried that rain would turn the hill into a luge run. Wind will be much better, and evaporate some of the standing water, as well as some more of the snow. The forecast for snow from Sunday night through Tuesday is still looking pretty certain, so maybe the ruts will get filled in or packed down or something.


The other news of the day is that the Alderman property is for sale. It is a rather nice house out along the big lake, where the last permanent residents lived, but both of them are dead and the remaining family is too scattered and too busy with other things to be able to use it. There have been several showings already, but we are hoping, probably fruitlessly, that we might get another permanent resident out here. It would help us a lot, and now that the realtors know somebody is keeping the road open, that might help our cause. The house is not a cottage, and people have lived in it all year round.


So that is all I know, and it's past time for bed. I think there may be a star or two in the sky this morning, as well as some nice wind and wave noises to lull me to sleep.


I just turned around to see if I could see what all the noises in the feeder tree were, and the stationary half of the patio door is actually pulsing. 20-25 mph? I don't think so - more like 25-35 mph, I'd say. Oh, for that weather station...


Dream on.


March 10

It was before 9:00 again this morning, even though I didn't get to bed until midnight. I had to walk, and the sun was shining, so why not?


The clouds moved in by noon, and the afternoon was bright cloudy, and around 4:00 the sun began shining in the slider again. According to the camera, sunset was perfectly clear. I was at dinner by that time, of course, but when we came out, a rather hazy moon was shining brightly overhead, and I could see Sirius and Rigel in the south. So there will be a few stars tonight. The temperature was in the upper 30s again all day, with no wind at all for most of the time.


The road is a perfect mess. Anywhere the sun hit it, the snow has softened up to the consistency of soft sand, except slipperier, and anybody who has driven on it has left deep ruts. It was perhaps even more interesting when I came home tonight, because the temperature had dropped a bit and it was firming up and getting a bit crunchy. Anyway, it was a slow ride with a lot of side-slipping. I think the guys should have gotten the tractor out today to see if they could have smoothed it out while it was soft, but I'm not doing the blowing, so what do I know?


Ron had warned me it was bad, so I didn't go out until dinnertime. It was bad. It may be even worse tomorrow, because they are predicting rain, but on the other hand, that may melt down some of the ruts. I can hope.


I guess I didn't do much with my early morning. The office is in a little bit better shape, but that's about all I did, I think. Well, some days I have more energy than others.


I did do a little beading. My idea for using the pale pink beads didn't work out, so I decided to try them in an African helix, with pearl beads for the spine. That is working better, but they really need to have a white background behind them, like being embroidered. So I guess I will finish this bracelet and then save them for the box project. They might look nice on the ivory dupioni silk I have stashed away.  


That's right - I got all the new beads filed away and the beading stuff stacked in an orderly fashion, and I got one basket of stuff emptied out and put away. There is a lot of stuff in here that I would be thinking about taking downstairs if I didn't hope I was going to be able to finish the basement. So it will be cluttered for a while. I guess that is just the state of my life. It's a minor miracle that I have managed to live here for five years and the bedroom and bathroom aren't full of clutter. However in this house, it's all down here in the office, where I spend most of my waking hours.


I forgot to mention yesterday that I was watching the bird feeders, and I had a small flock of pine siskins. It's been so long since I've seen them that I had to resort to the bird books to identify them. It's good to see them, and I hope they stay around. I'm tempted to put out some thistle seed, since it seems clear that they don't like sunflower seeds very well. Too big for their beaks, I guess. If all the feeders hadn't just been filled, I'd put out some mixed seed and see if they like that any better. There were a couple around today, too, as well as a flock of blue jays.


The birds evidently spend much more of their time roosting when it's cold outside, and they are much more active in the warmer weather. The blue jays are a real hoot. There was this one guy in the platform feeder, which has a mixture of corn kernels and sunflower seed in it (that's supposed to be squirrel food - not my squirrels!). He was slashing back and forth with his beak and throwing a lot of seed on the deck before he found just the right morsels. Fortunately, somebody will eat what's on the deck, too.


Speaking of that, I discovered yesterday when the snow melted what it was that Mac's dog was rolling in. It figures. Apparently one earlier time when they were on the deck, before the last snow, one of them left a pile behind, and the melting snow partly uncovered it. That is a habit I guess all dogs have that I just do not understand. Buster was just incredulous. It's no wonder his eyes were like saucers. Anyway, there is this stuff on my deck now. I am hoping that either it will dry up and get blown away or melt away in the rain. If it dries up, I will take care of it, but otherwise, I can only hope it melts, or I will have to haul a hose up there and wash it down.


I will have some cleanup to do when everything dries up - not till I get back in May, of course. I expect most of the birdseed will blow away, but there is a lot of debris left from the tree that came down, and I will have to sweep that away. That's a future, though. Right now the deck and everything on it is thoroughly soaked, and it would be hard to sweep anything.


Even here in God's country March and April are not the most beautiful of times. Everything seems sort of dirty and bedraggled. The snow is black, except in the woods, and all the stuff that settled on top of it is on the hard surfaces as they open up. It's wet and drippy even when the sun shines. Of course, it's worse in the city, with all the debris that gets thrown around and blown around. I imagine it's really ugly down in Detroit now, and I'm not looking forward to going at all. Well, one of these years...


So that wraps up all the loose ends I can remember, and I think I will call it a night and go see how many stars I can see. I know there will be dark shadows and white snow with the moon lighting up the night.


March 9

I actually got up before 9:00 this morning! Whatever is going to happen? However, now I'm getting sleepy again.


It was a foggy, moist night, and it was a foggy, moist day, and tonight looks like more of the same. The temperature has been hanging nearly steady in the mid to upper 20s and there has been no wind at all for most of the day. Not very inspiring. It has been warm enough that the road is beginning to get really mushy, and I made some pretty deep ruts when I went to the post office. I was also sliding around in a most interesting manner. I guess we'll just have to hang on for a few more days before we get this out of our system. I do hope it snows before it gets cold again, or we'll have a real mess on our hands!


I spent most of the day working on my ledgers and my summaries and getting the last stuff printed out for the accountant, and now the tax stuff is in the mail system. I'm glad to get that out of my hair, for sure. I tweaked the ledger some and the summaries a lot. It seems like I do that every year, in an effort to make everything easier to see and work with.


I was really dreading looking at last year's summary and seeing what the bottom line was, but it turned out that I did really well, for me. Even with things like the sewer and the car and the high price of gas, the bottom line was smaller than it's been in a very long time. Too big, but better. That made me feel a bit better. It wasn't so much fun, but I managed.


That all took up most of the day. I did get a call from an appraiser, who will be here on Monday to look at the house. It would behoove me to do a bit of cleaning before she gets here, I think. No need for her to see the huge pile of cat hair in the corners of the bathroom, or a few other things I can fix. Well, I have three days. It would also be nice to begin to get the orange bags out of the house and at least into the garage, if not into the car and into the compactor. I probably have too much stuff for one trip by this time. So I guess I need to do something other than play. It would actually be good, because I Like to leave the house semi-clean when I leave for an extended period, and the 31st is coming up soon, unfortunately.


So that was my day, and I think I will embroider a bit more before I trundle off to the north end. Buster has been somnambulant all day, and that's how I feel, too.


March 8

I did it. It's not complete yet - I still have to get the stuff off the computer and write a cover note, but otherwise, the tax stuff is together, and the rest of the filing is done! What a relief!


I was up enough times in the night last night that I'm going to switch quilts before I go to bed tonight. However, as is usual with me, I did fine between 6 and 10:45. I was awake around 8:00, when somebody came by with the snow blower, but I decided that was too early to get up. Big mistake. I went back to sleep and didn't wake up until 10:45, feeling groggy and having had a really weird dream.


I think I've mentioned that for some years, starting about now, I would begin to dream about this place, and somebody was always trashing it and turning it into a bed and breakfast or a restaurant or something. Well, the one this morning was about the other house, and the person doing the changes - which were really horrible - was my mother, even though I know that never would she have done such things to the house. I also dreamt that I was sleeping in my own bed (although it had gotten moved into the corner of the bedroom)  and I was so groggy I couldn't keep my eyes open. Now if that isn't weird...


Anyway, I eventually made it up and I had time to drink my orange juice and read my funnies before I had to run off to lunch. Carolyn, the lady who hosts the ladies' group, suggested that beforehand we should meet for lunch at the Copper Harbor Mercantile. That is the place across from the Gaslite Store, where they have gas and a deli inside. The owners, whom I've met, are really nice people, but things are slow in the winter. I will be back, and I think so will a lot of the other ladies. The food is great. Christine makes great soup, and apparently a lot of us had quiche, which had spinach and artichokes and mushrooms and bacon, and it was really, really good. I know I'll be stopping in when I need a deli fix, for sure!


So that was pleasant, then we had a very nice afternoon, since almost all the nice ladies and none of the other kind were there. There wasn't much crafting going on, but there was a lot of talk and laughter. 


Buster looked pretty sour when I got home, but he forgets that if we were at the other place I'd be gone a whole lot more than I am up here.


So I bit the bullet and sorted out the rest of the stuff I left from last night. All the 2005 stuff is now in a file box, and all the 2006 folders are created and in the blue box. The tax stuff, with the exception of the pages on the computer, is all neatly organized and stacked. I even made out the address label. I am dreading getting the last pieces off the computer, because it means I'll actually have to look at how much money I spent last year. Tomorrow is soon enough for that.


I left in such a hurry this morning that I just took a sock to knit on, but now that the paperwork is under control for a while, I'm probably going to start a bracelet...something new and different. It will be pearl and pale pink beads, and square stitch instead of peyote. I found a pattern I really like that doesn't translate into peyote, and in my bead order was a hank of very pretty pale pink beads, as well as some off-white pearl beads. So we'll see what happens. I still have two nightgowns to patch, and I have been dreaming about fabric-covered boxes again. The creative juices are beginning to flow again, thank God! 


Of course, in a couple of weeks, I'll have to put all that aside and get ready to go south. Oh my, how I hate to even think about going, especially with what I have to do when I get there! However, it has to be done, so I have to go.


The weather was yucky, frankly. Sometime during the night, the lights of town faded out, so I gather we had some snow that stopped around sunrise. The temperature got into the upper 30s, with not much wind. The temperature has been above freezing for the past 24 hours or more, and things are beginning to get mushy, although our road is still pretty good. The crunch will come when the temperature finally goes back below 30 and everything freezes up. I'm not looking forward to that.


So now I will try to get to bed a tad earlier than usual, after I switch quilts. It's a dank, damp, misty-moisty night in the field.


March 7

Well, I'm not done, but at least the 2005 stuff is separated from the 2006 stuff and most of the 2005 stuff is in a file box. I'm fairly sure I have all the tax stuff in one place. However, the 2006 stuff is all sitting on my desk, and it's too late tonight to start on the file folders, so I guess it will sit until tomorrow.


When I turned out the light last night, the quarter moon was shining right on my pillow, and it was so bright the lighthouse looked dim by comparison. It shone in on me until sometime early in the morning, when it finally disappeared behind Lighthouse Point. There were stars, too, but the moon was already bright enough to wash them out pretty well.


I wasn't too late getting to bed, but I was up several times during the night, so I slept late this morning. I think it's time to switch comforters back again, because I was hot, but if I do, you know it will get cold again. Besides, the light-weight quilt really needs to be washed. Since that involves drying it at low to no heat, it takes a long time, and I have to start early to do it and get it back on the bed. Soon, though.


I did manage to attack some of the other piles in the office, and things look a little bit better. Not a lot, but a bit. The bad part of wanting all my stuff around me is that I really need to have a room the size of the great room to have it in. There are a lot of boxes around, too, and I need to get that stuff into the basement.


I had another go-round with NetBank today. Last week, they wanted proof that I had income beyond my pension, so I quick faxed them the paperwork...and today I discovered that they were having system problems and they never got it. That was last Wednesday, and only today did they get around to calling me. So I faxed it again...twice, just to make sure. They got it, and that's all right, but now they've decided they need an appraisal. And I applied for the loan on about January 15. I am about to give up and tell them to take their loan and shove it, I'll deal with somebody else. But we'll see. It's getting frustrating.


The only reason I'm not frothing at the mouth is that I haven't heard from the builder, either. So clearly, when I ship my stuff up here, it's going to have to stay in storage for a while. There is no way the basement can get finished if it's full of all that stuff. I don't think anybody who hasn't seen it (Cynthia and Debbie, mostly) has any conception of what kind of stuff we're talking about here.  However, as I know well, things never move fast in Keweenaw. I'd just like a little assurance that they are moving.


I didn't go to the post office, but I did fill the bird feeders, and I had another magical moment. I was standing right beside the feeder you can see at the edge of the camera picture, and I was getting ready to fill the feeders down in the tree, when a little nuthatch flew into the feeder, and said "seep!" very quietly, sat for a moment while we looked at each other, then picked up a seed and flew off. He was not a foot from my head, and I could see all the little feathers on his head. I could have reached out and touched him if he'd stood for lt. Clearly the little birds know me and know I mean them no harm, and I am the source of good things.


Earlier in the morning, there was a not-so-magical moment. One of Mac's dogs got up on the deck again, and the melting snow evidently uncovered something that smelled just delicious to him, because he pawed and rolled in it for several moments. I don't know what it could be, although there is some black stuff in the snow. I'm not going to investigate too closely, because dogs do like to roll in really nasty stuff. Buster was sitting in by the east windows, and he looked out at the dog, and his eyes were as big as saucers. I'm sure he was thinking the same thing I was:- "There's a dog on our deck!"


The weather started out fairly clear and  sunny, but it clouded up after noon. The temperature got up to just over 35, where it still is. The sun over the past couple of days has melted almost all the snow on the deck, except for a couple of drifts. I could have cleaned it off, because the drift is right in front of the office slider, but I figured it will go away eventually. There is a winter storm advisory in effect for overnight, so I guess our good weather is at an end. Unfortunately, it isn't likely to be all snow...there may well be rain and freezing rain mixed in, which may do a job on the road. However, it's still early March, which is still winter in the Northwoods.


So that was my day. I didn't do as much as I should have, but at least I got something accomplished, and I'm a step closer to getting the taxes together. So now to bed, and I don't think there will be any starshine or moonshine in the field tonight.


March 6

It was cloudy last night, but that was all right, because I mostly slept. I did see the moon behind the clouds right after I turned out the light, but there weren't any stars.


I was late getting up, and that was all right, too, because I guess we had a little snow flurry early in the morning.  Right around the time I got up the sun started to shine, and the rest of the day was glorious. There were a few little clouds occasionally, but the sun just poured in the windows. Buster was quite content: he got to sleep on the desk in the sunshine all morning, although he did end up curling around the answering machine with his head on some papers as it moved around. The boiler hardly ran at all, and late in the afternoon, the temperature got up to 77 in the office - a little warm for my winter clothes!  By that time, Buster had moved onto his paper of catnip, which was also in the sun.


The temperature outside did get up to 34, which wasn't bad considering all the sun and the almost calm winds. I had to go to the post office to get a priority envelope, and I am happy to say that the road is holding up well. There are a couple of ruts on curves, but there isn't any ice yet.


So I wasted another day. I started out to try to clean up, but I got sidetracked, and I never did accomplish anything except to get my chicken cooked. That oven is almost too easy - I hardly feel like I'm cooking at all. You put the meat in the oven, stick in the probe, push a few buttons, and after a while it beeps at you, and the chicken is done. It's a pretty good chicken, too, I must say. I did roast it breast down, I think (it was hard to tell which end is up), but I haven't tried the breast meat to see how it turned out. Roasting it upside down did let some of the juices run out of the cavity, but I boiled them up, so I can have gravy if I want it. And that was all there was too it.


This chicken was defective, though. It only had part of a liver, and no gizzard or heart at all. I suppose most people just throw those things away, but I don't. I like them.


After dark, there was a star twinkling in the window that I think was Sirius, but it seems to have disappeared. I don't know if that means it's clouding up or it just moved out of sight. It should be clear for part of the night, at least, but it's supposed to be cloudier tomorrow. 


For tonight, that's it.


March 5

This will be short and early. I fiddled with graph paper and pencil until all hours of the night, and my hand was sore from holding the pencil. There are a few graphs I want to try, and a few more I want to convert, but I've come to the conclusion that I will simply have to start using square stitch, just because it isn't possible to get the effects I want with peyote. Or I might try herringbone, which has more texture to it. Time to haul out the beads, I guess.


I didn't do much at all today. I did get up fairly early, but I was tired and nothing seemed too interesting. The mess in the office has gotten intolerable, so I will have to get at that tomorrow. I realized that for sure when I lost the eraser I was using. I know it's in this place, but I certainly can't find it. There are piles of stuff all over the place, and it all needs to be gone through so I don't throw out anything good...or something like a bill. Time to sit back and do something, I guess. Tomorrow.


I went out into the kitchen to start my dinner, and as I turned on the lights, two bulbs blew at once, leaving me with no light at the north end of the kitchen.  I recently acquired a pole with ends that purport to enable one to change any light bulb up to 11 feet high. It has four or five ends to choose from. However, when I tried to remove the second light bulb the other day, the obvious optimum tool broke, and I was left trying to use a suction cup that doesn't hold very well. I did manage to get all the bulbs out, but I was muttering under my breath all the time. And putting in the new ones was worse. I keep having the feeling that the new bulbs are just barely screwed in and might fall out at any time, even though they all light. I was sweaty and tired when I finally had light in my kitchen.


Then I discovered that the chicken was still frozen, so I put it back in the fridge and had the rest of last night's dinner instead. Tomorrow I will try to remember to take it out early so it can defrost before I cook it. I wasn't hungry anyway, since I'd spent most of the afternoon munching away on one of my veggie trays. I guess of all the things I might munch, that's the best.


I took a look at the broken tool and I think I may have fixed it, although I won't know for sure until I try it again. I am rocky enough on a ladder that I really don't want to have to use one to change these light bulbs. I know where the builders spent most of their time that winter they were working here: in the office and the kitchen. I have now had to replace 12 light bulbs between the two rooms. The two that blew today were the last old ones on the front side of the kitchen. Now all I have to do is wait for the ones on the other side to go. I do like the canister flood lights. They give very good light, which my old eyes are needing more and more. However, they are expensive (the cheapest I can get them is at Wal-Mart for two for $4.88, and most are much more than that), and they aren't the easiest things to change. It appears that the socket is in a strip of metal which isn't firmly attached to anything, I guess so that it can be spotted on something, and when you push on the bulb, the whole socket moves up into the canister. Weird. However, that's over with for a while.


The weather started out gorgeous. There were stars last night, but there was apparently a lot of haze in the sky and it wasn't very good seeing. The haze was still there this morning, so the sky was only pale blue, but there was copious sunshine until the middle of the afternoon, when the clouds began to move in. There wasn't any sunset at all.  The temperature got up to 32, and the wind was light and sort of from all over. I suppose that between the temperature and the sunshine, the snow pack softened up quite a bit. However, it's supposed to cool down a bit tonight, and maybe start to snow or drizzle or something through tomorrow morning, then get partly sunny again.


There is some possible snow later in the week, but also some rain, and the temperatures look to be warming up. I think it's a bit early for that, but then this has been a strange winter altogether.  I always hate it when March is warm - that frequently means we're in for a hot summer, and I could do without. However, we'll see.


So that was my quiet day, and I'm yawning, so it's time to trundle off to the north end. No stars tonight, I guess.


March 4

It wasn't as clear last night as I'd hoped. There were a few stars, but not many, and I could sometimes see puffy clouds in the sky, so I slept.


Tonight is going to be a late one, but it is supposed to be clear out, so maybe I will see Orion again? I hope.


It's going to be late because I have been playing with bead graphs. I brought with me a couple of books of Medieval counted patterns that people have collected from pictures and clothing and other artifacts, and at least one of them has some very nice borders which I thought might be converted from square to hexagonal. Not all of them work, and some of the nicest patterns are really too wide for bracelets, but I've graphed some very interesting possibilities. Makes me itch to break out the seed beads.


I did take needle and thread, but it was to see if I could reproduce the little beaded beads in Shirley's necklace. I can, pretty much, but it isn't quite as easy as I'd thought it would be. Keeping the thread tight is a problem, and even with 4mm beads, the entire thing is only about 8mm wide, which makes it a bit hard to hold onto. I made three, and they were successful enough to encourage me to try a necklace. So I don't know for sure what I will work on next.


That is after I get my filing done and shovel out the office (again).  It's getting pretty deep in here.


It was a beautiful day today. The sun shone for most of the day, and the temperature got up to about 28 briefly. There was a moderate wind from the northwest, but not enough to be bothersome. I sat and soaked up the rays while I did my graphing, and it was so pretty outside. It was also pretty nice when I went to the post office.


It isn't so pretty on US-41 anymore, because all the sand and salt have turned the banks  brown and ugly, but back here in the woods, and on the sides streets in Copper Harbor, the snow is still glistening white. Against the blue sky and the dark green and black trees, it was really lovely. I like snow. I doubt that even if I could do my own snow moving, I would really change my mind.


Mariner was really jumping tonight, with lots of snowmobilers, mostly young couples this weekend. Shirley and I had to sit way back in a corner under the TV, but it was nice to see so many people.


Only one thing troubled me a bit, and I don't like to jump to conclusions, but as one party was leaving, one of the guys was looking for something in a pocket of his jacket, and he pulled a lot of stuff out and set it on the table, including a plastic bag of white powder. I have no idea what it was, but that's the first time I've ever seen anything like that.


So now Buster is raising a fuss, because I didn't go to bed when he wanted me to, so I guess I'd best go. There really is star shine in the field tonight.


March 3

After I turned out the light last night, I let my eyes adapt a bit, and when I looked out the windows, there was Orion standing on his left leg (Rigel) right over the mountain. I think if I'd gone to the great room, I probably could have seen Sirius, too, but I'd done enough walking for a day, and I was tired. The stars weren't quite as bright as they were Tuesday night, but they were there, and they stayed there for most of the night, although I did notice a cloud or two on toward morning and when I got up, it was cloudy again.


I did sleep well, and as a result, I got up at 9:00 this morning...really early for me! I took my time, however, and it was after noon before I got the rest of the stuff out of the car...and incidentally discovered that my eggs hadn't come home with me. Of all the things I could have forgotten, that is probably the least problematic, since I can get them at the Gaslight store any time, but it is annoying. So I called Econo, and they wrote my name down in their book, and I will get them the next time I shop.


Now the breezeway is so full of bags I can hardly get to the garage, but I felt like I'd done enough for today. That will have to be tomorrow's task. There is a lot of stuff that needs to be brought into the house, and a lot of bags can be consolidated. I have several empty bags that held wine bottles. The trash situation is getting to the point where I'm not sure I can get it all in the car, so sometime soon I will have to take care of that.


But then I went to the post office, and all my beads came, so now I have lots of new toys to play with, so much that I'm not quite sure where to start. So I did a little embroidery.


The weather was good. The temperature was around 23 all day, and the wind was out of the north at around 14 mph. It was either bright cloudy or sunny for most of the day. Toward sunset, the skies did clear up nicely, and there was some sunshine in the office, and it looks like there was a nice sunset. When I came home from dinner, there was a thick crescent moon floating high in the sky.


Dinner was with Shirley, and it was good to see her. She enjoyed her trip, and she brought me a little ceramic box shaped like a turtle, with a miniature turtle on one of its legs. It is really cute, and it was very nice of her to think of me. She also bought a bead bracelet that has given me ideas. It has a clasp something like mine, except that the bead at the end is made out of seed beads sort of clustered together. I will have to try that. There are a couple of colors I haven't worked with because I couldn't find big beads to use as closures.


So we had a nice dinner. Mariner was jumping tonight, with lots of snowmobilers and lots of skiers. There were two vans parked outside with "Leelenau.com" painted on the sides, and I wondered what Glen Arbor was doing in Copper Harbor? Skiing, I think, although I couldn't identify the group. There were also two dads and three kids in snowmobile gear, including a pretty little dark-haired girl who couldn't have been more than 8. It was really cute to watch dad bundling up the kids when they got ready to leave.  Get 'em early, that's the idea.


Oh. I forgot to mention yesterday that my new black shoes were a great success. The bottoms of my feet were sore, and my neuroma was a bit sore, but not nearly so bad as usual, and that was about it. No sore toes or bunions or anything. It's amazing what having shoes that fit can do for the feet!


I also discovered this morning that the car wasn't the only thing covered with a thick coat of brown guck. The backs of both legs of my jeans and the heel of one shoe are, too. That is a combination of the snow and the sand-salt mixture they use to treat the roads, and it makes a terrible mess. It's almost enough to make me think about getting out the hose...almost. For one thing, I couldn't find the hose bib, which is under about 3 feet of snow, and for another thing, the temperature is only 24. I don't think I've ever had such a dirty car.


So now it's time to toddle off to the north end and see if I can put two good nights' sleep together. The stars are shining on the field tonight.


March 2

Oops! I forgot that I had to do a GoBack sometime recently - either last night or this morning - and when I looked at the web on this computer, I was back at the end of February. Of course, there is a faithful backup on the server, so now I'm back together again. FrontPage will have a fit, but that's OK. At least I didn't lose anything.


I went to sleep before my eyes acclimated last night, and when I finally woke up, three hours or so later, I could see stars. They weren't quite so bright as the night before, but they were there, and I eventually watched Capella set. Around 5:00, the clouds began to move in, and it was cloudy when I got up this morning, and there was an occasional snowflake coming down.


I had to think hard and long before I finally decided that this was the day to go to Houghton. I really didn't want to go - when I got up I was headachy and tired, and I really wanted to go back to sleep. In fact, I dozed until I really had to take a walk before I got up. I hate that lousy feeling, because I had it almost every morning for all the years I worked, and it tells me I didn't get enough sleep. The feeling wears off eventually, usually, but the first hour or so I'm awake isn't fun.


Anyway, after looking outside and checking the weather forecast, I just decided this was the day. I was getting low on orange juice and chicken and I really wanted to get some more 58 gallon boxes for the stuff that's around here. I am getting tired of the two cardboard boxes that have been sitting in the great room for at least three years. Buster likes to sit on them, but I think he'll sit on the plastic ones, too, if I put something soft on top. I don't want to take any of that stuff downstairs, in case I really do get to do my basement. So for a while, the great room will be a storage room. Oh, well.


Anyway, I got away around 11:30, which is pretty good for me. The covered road is about half covered with packed snow, so that part of the drive was slow. There was a rather brisk wind this morning, and now I can see why everyone always mentions the drifting at Lake Medora. The place is the public access parking lot, and while there weren't any actual drifts, the snow was blowing across the road pretty good right there. About the only other thing I encountered was a truck cutting back the banks. Traffic in either direction was almost nonexistent.


Speaking of banks, they are quite respectable. There were places between Delaware and Calumet where they were up to the bottom of the road signs. In Calumet, they are awesome, frequently 10 feet high or more. It's beginning to resemble those places in the Detroit freeway system where the road is below the surface and there are walls on either side of the road. OF course, these walls are white and gray and sometimes brown, depending upon what they've been putting on the road.


The covered road had been well sanded, and from Delaware south, it was just wet going down, and dry by afternoon. It did take me longer than usual to get to Houghton, but that was because of the covered road.


So I ran around Wal-Mart and got a bunch of stuff, and I didn't feel too bad when I left, until I had to push my cart through the layer of snow in the parking lot. They haven't done the world's best job of cleaning it, but that seems pretty universal. I kept getting hung up on spots where the snow had cleared away and then there was a bump. However, eventually I made it to my car. Next time I go, I may just leave my cart by the door and pull the car up there. I don't have a handicap sticker, but anybody can see from the way I walk that I'm at least somewhat disabled.


Then it was off to Ming Bistro, where I didn't eat very much, but at least this time, I knew I wouldn't so I didn't take much. They had a new appetizer-type thing that has a little crust like an unsweetened donut and is filled with some kind of creamy stuff with onions and maybe some kind of seafood...it was delicious! 


The only trouble with not eating much is that I don't have enough time to just sit and relax and regroup. So I was tired when I went off to Econo. Then I had to stand at the customer service counter and again at the deli counter, and I had to sit down for a few minutes to get my legs working again. I probably over-bought, but that's all right. The freezer still isn't full. I may go again, right before I leave for Detroit, just to get some stuff to tide me over until I can shop there, but we'll see.


I was really exhausted and my cart was incredibly full when I got to the checkout, so I got a package pickup again, and a nice young man helped me load up, and he seemed quite surprised when I tipped him. I'm grateful.


Then, of course, I had to get gas. The Econo station didn't have the lowest prices today, but I didn't want to hassle with that. The only problem with that station is that it's right out in the open, and I forgot that I should pull in facing west and not east. There was a rather nasty wind, but I wasn't there very long. Last fall, I bought a pair of fleece gloves to use when doing gas, so I didn't ruin my leather gloves, and they are quite warm. 


Then I could take off for home. I did get hung up in the "rush hour" traffic, but my worst problem with that was getting behind somebody who was apparently having such an interesting conversation on her cellphone that she would sit where she was when the traffic in front of her pulled up. It didn't take long, though, and I passed her on the bridge. Traffic coming back was a little heavier than going, but that wasn't bothersome. Most of the people on the road were going home from work and they tend to go fast, even around here.


I did have a little cramp in my right leg which made the drive not completely comfortable, but I worked it out when I got home. The nonperishable stuff is still in the car, because I was really tired when I got here, but I had gotten so much frozen stuff that the coolers wouldn't close, and I wanted to get that all put away.


Buster would have made me think I'd been away for weeks, and while I was catching up on my email and listening to the radio, he went to sleep in my arms.


The weather was mostly cloudy, except right around sunset, and the temperature was between 20 and 25 all day. Except when I was out in the wind, it wasn't bad at all. The sun is setting right in that low spot to the south of Brockway now, so it is hurrying north. There was a little red and yellow right as the sun went behind the hill, but not enough to warrant pictures.


So now that chore is out of the way, and I I have enough storage boxes to take care of most of the stuff that needs storing, and I can go back to my splendid isolation. Maybe I can get the junk out of the office (again), too. I do have a lot of meat to freeze, and the car to unload, but that will come. There is a nice (a tad bigger) chicken in the fridge for Sunday dinner. Buster has enough food to last him a couple of months. So it was a productive, if expensive, day.


And I can go to bed and sleep forever, once Beethoven's Sixth (one of my favorites) is over and this is uploaded. They say it's clear in Houghton, so I will be interested to see if there are stars tonight, too.


March 1

When I finally turned out the lights last night, I shortly discovered that there were stars in the sky - bright, clear stars! How lovely! I did manage to miss Orion standing on top of the mountain, and I'm not sure if I just wasn't looking at the right time or there was some cloudiness over toward the west. Anyway, every time I got up, I could look up and see Polaris, and I watched Capella, Castor and Pollux and Saturn set. Before it began to get light, I could look up and just spy Regulus through the tree branches.


It had clouded up by sunrise, but later in the morning, it began to clear, and when I went to church and when I got out, the sky was almost clear, and it was beautiful. The temperature got up to around 23, but there was almost no wind at all, so it was a very nice day altogether. Late in the afternoon it began to cloud up again, and I noticed on the radar map that there are some green patches down toward the Wisconsin border, so we're not likely to get two sunny days in a row.


That's a shame, because I really should go to town tomorrow. I guess I'll see how early I get up tomorrow and what it looks like then.


I ended up getting up early (for me) this morning because of a phone call, and I really wasn't ready, but I figured I'd better get up then or I'd have a problem getting to church.


Church was nice. There were ten of us total, and I find I can't sing quietly very well, but oh, well. Nobody else did either. The little chapel Shepherd of the Sea has a piano that has a CD and floppy reader, so we had mostly organ music to accompany our hymns. And we had communion, which was nice.


I'm not sure I completely hold with the ELCA stand on communion - or at least the way they approach it in this church -  but I did feel that I was properly communed, and that's what matters. And I will also say that I think the Missouri Synod errs too much on the other side.


Then I came home and read my mail and enjoyed the sunshine that was pouring in the house and warming things up. Buster enjoyed it too, I think, but he didn't feel like sleeping, and he didn't quite know what to do with himself. He needs some mice or some companion cats, I'm afraid.


The bank is still diddling around with the home equity thing. Don't believe anybody when they tell you you are pre-approved. I called them six weeks ago, and they still haven't got things under control. I ended up looking at some things I got from Wachovia Securities, too, and they don't have it under control, either. I keep wondering where all the good banks have gone.


Anyway, in trying to find the things I needed for the Home Equity, I did manage to begin to sort my tax stuff out of the rest of the junk. I still have a lot to do, but at least there are two piles now instead of only one, and I suppose that's progress. If I don't end up going to town tomorrow, I will just have to take myself in hand and work on that.


Besides watching the stars last night, I also had a lot of nice dreams, so it was a pleasant night, and it was a shame it ended so early. Tonight I will try to do better.


So it's March in the field, and in a little over four weeks, I will have to go south. Oh, how I don't want to go! Already.


Last  updated 08/25/10 09:02 PM