A View From the Field








May, 2006

May 31

Another month over! How time does fly, and having fun has nothing to do with it. At least I'm ending May in the field.


I got to bed really late again and this time I caught up on my sleep big-time: I didn't get up until almost 11:00. That rather truncated the day, and I didn't do a lot.


It was a cool and mostly sunny day in the field today. The temperature hovered right around 55, with not much wind at all. There were a lot of cirrus clouds in the sky, but mostly they didn't block the sun very much.


When I got up, the hummingbird feeder was empty, so I filled it up, and now it's empty again! Those are hungry little things. The flock of goldfinches was around again today, and it looks like I will be filling all the feeders tomorrow.


I went out twice, to get the hummingbird feeder and to set it out again, and in the course of doing so, I let some bugs into the house, and I managed to get my first black fly bite of the season - right on the top of my head! Drat! It is buggy out there, and my comings and goings have let a lot of stuff into the house, including a goodly selection of house flies. I also noticed that I didn't get the screen on the office door quite right, so there is a gap at the bottom of it. I will have to remedy that.


Tonight, instead of embroidering forever and then doing the journal, I am doing the journal first, and then I will probably embroider a bit before I go to bed at a reasonable hour. Sounds good, doesn't it?


In the course of the afternoon, Outlook Express went out to lunch again, but I am getting a standard procedure for fixing that, and it didn't take a lot of time to get everything back together without losing my email (not that much of it was important). I did have a bunch of weird abending system programs after I did the rollback, but everything seems OK now. We shall see. I think I will reboot before I go to bed, just to make sure everything is clean for morning.


I also noticed that the lilacs popped open overnight, and the butterflies are happy, anyway. I saw a couple of monarchs, a yellow swallowtail and a teensy pale blue butterfly while I was looking out the bathroom window this morning.


And that's about all I know, except that I'm tired (still), and I am going to try to get back on schedule tonight.


It's the end of May in the field.


May 30

I jumped into bed and passed out,  leaving the porch door open, and not long afterwards, the temperature dropped from 66 to 53, so when I eventually woke up, I pulled up the quilt and slept very nicely, thank you. There wasn't much wind until around 6:00, so it was nicely cool in the bedroom. Buster didn't like it - he likes it warm.


Around 7:30, I was awakened by a "bleep!" and the power was out. UPPCO now has an automated power outage reporting system (they have so many), and even though I answered all the questions by pressing 1, it took longer to get through the menu than it would have to report it in person. So much for automation. Probably their system was overloaded by the number of calls they had right then.


I went back to sleep, and I think the power was out for about an hour.


Since I got to bed so late, I got up late, and it was cool enough that I closed the porch door and left it closed all day long. The temperature got down to around 50 before it rebounded, but for most of the day it hovered around 60, with light winds out of the north. I had the sliders open for a while, as well as the east window in the office, which I have now closed, because there is a rather cool breeze (from the north, over that cold, cold lake) coming in it.


It was sort of cloudy all day, with just enough sunshine to make the lake blue, and there was a rather nice sunset, with mauves and blues, which didn't last long.


I unloaded the dishwasher (!), and I emptied one of the file boxes I brought back, although haven't decided what to do with a lot of the stuff that was in it. I paid the month-end bills and took them to the post office, but the mail truck had just come before I got there, and there wasn't any mail out yet, as is usual after a holiday.


Toward the end of the afternoon, I sat in the ugly chair and embroidered . I have now finished the top half of the rose picture, and have only a cluster of leaves and a little backstitching to do. I did the other one first, because this is really the prettier of the two, and it's coming out nicely. I also enjoyed the birds and the squirrels.


The hummingbirds are flocking. There were at least six around the feeder and chasing after each other until it was nearly dark this evening. This is the mating season, and the males are chasing after the females, sometimes two or three together. Tomorrow I think I will see if I can put out the other feeder, because several times I had two or three little birds trying to sip out of the same tube, and that doesn't work very well. I was surprised that they had drained the feeder by the time I got to the office this morning, but now I see how they did it. I imagine they are ravenous by morning.


There were two squirrels chasing each other around. Those of you who have been reading this for a while may remember my remarking the little fellow last year who had a docked tail and looked like he had been badly scratched on his back. He wasn't doing too well then, even though his wounds had healed, and he seemed sort of shaky. Well, he made it through the winter. There is a little tuft of fur sticking out beyond the end of his tail, and his coat isn't quite as smooth as the other squirrel, but he is doing just fine, thank you. The other squirrel absolutely hates him, and there is much squeaking and chirring when they are both around, and he gets chased a lot, but right as it got dark he bounded into the platform feeder and chowed down. He looks like he has been eating pretty well. He's not fat, but he's  not skinny either. So that seems to have ended all right.


There are also still three chipmunks, although I didn't see them today. One is quite a bit bigger than the other two, but I think they are the same ones I had last year. 


The goldfinches are still around, although they weren't flocking quite so much today. And I forgot to mention that a couple of days ago I had a pair of evening grosbeaks in the big wooden feeder.


Over the past few days, the serviceberry blossoms have all dropped, and today the pin cherries were in bloom, and the lilacs are starting to show a little color, so spring is progressing. The maple leaves that were all red when I got here are beginning to turn green and get bigger. I wish I had been here when the first green began to show, but I am getting to see most of it. We have a wonderful crop of dandelions, and I have seen a few monarch (or viceroy?) butterflies. 


So that was my quiet day, and I  see that I won't be getting to bed very early tonight, either, but it will be earlier than last!


It smells good in the field in the spring.


May 29

It was comfortable to sleep with the porch door open last night, and it will be tonight, too, I think. The temperature officially only got into the upper 60s, but it was cooler here, at least this morning.


It was a bit confusing this morning. I opened the east windows of the office, and had to close them, because the wind was coming in there, and it was cold - under 60, I would guess. I did open it again later when it warmed up, then I went around and switched the ceiling fans to blow up instead of down, so the late afternoon was actually rather pleasant in here. The breeze is shifting - or nonexistent - now, and the temperature is falling off a bit. It peaked at just under 80, but the dew point was over 60, so it was sticky.


I think the reason the east wind was so much cooler here is that there is more land in the way of the NWS station, which, as I've said before, is not very well located to report the actual conditions around here.


There were cirrus clouds in the sky all day, but it was still sunny all day, and the harbor was blue. It is too cloudy to see Jupiter now.


Anyway, summer is here, with a bang, and all I can hope is that it doesn't get much warmer than this.


I didn't do a lot, although I got the cat food put away and I weeded out the huge pile of magazines that I hadn't gotten to before I left. Otherwise, zilch. Oh, well, it was a holiday, right?


Cynthia called late in the afternoon to get my address, and while I was talking to her, the eagle flew across the harbor, a bit west of where he usually is, then he began wheeling in circles over the center of the harbor. What a beautiful bird! We are so lucky to have them around here! 


Otherwise, the quiet was interrupted by some very contentious squirrels, who make an awful lot of noise for a little animal, and the usual suspects were in the feeders, although I didn't see much of the blue jays today.


This entry is so late because I ended up out on Amazon, acquiring an electric lawn mower, and it's been so long since I've been at that site that I spent a lot of time just looking around, and that takes time. I also got confused about expedited shipping, and ended up canceling part of the order (or I hope I did). I think I have enough extension cords to cut the grass I have to.


I must also report that the broadband was spotty all afternoon. Evidently there was some sort of failure between Pastynet and the world, and access kept going up and down. It is fixed now, I think, but pictures on the website were rather spotty after noon. There wasn't much different to see, so that was all right. I must have rebooted a dozen times before I called and found out it was their problem.


Now it is much too late, and I'm debating having a snack before I go to bed, since I ate the rest of my chicken from Friday for my only meal of the day...and I forgot to start the dishwasher, drat! 


Anyway, it was a warm day in the field, and it looks like it may be a warm night as well. Summer is upon us, a little earlier than usual. The only good thing is that if it stays warm, it may truncate the bug season.


May 28

Well, I didn't get to bed very early last night, and it was warm in the bedroom, so I was somewhat wakeful, and I slept medium long this morning. 


It was nearly cloudy and humid and quite warm when I got up, and the sun did shine, but there was a haze down the harbor and in the sky all day long. I opened up the house and immediately blew a bunch of stuff all over the great room, but I needed the breeze. The temperature topped out at about 78, and the dew point was over 60 all day long, so it felt warmer than it was. Along about 3:30, it clouded up and got very dark, and there was some thunder, but I checked the radar, and that was a storm cell that was well out in the lake, and it was isolated. After it passed by, it got sunny again, but it cooled off a bit. When I got back from dinner, I sat in the ugly chair and tried to enjoy the balmy breezes...I can take this.


Sometime overnight, I had a brainstorm. I have had all my beads in cardboard boxes sitting on a dolly for a long time, and I was getting tired of having them cluttering up the room. The cabinet they were sitting in front of was full of stiffeners that I have collected for the box project, if that ever gets off the ground. So I put all that stuff in a plastic box, even though it doesn't fit very well. Then I found that I have too many beads to put in boxes in that cupboard, so I filled another storage box with beads. The ones I really use a lot are in the cupboard where I can get at them.


I like it already, although there are still some things to do, and when I am next at Wal-Mart, I may look into some smaller boxes. When the 58 gallon box gets full of beads it is much too heavy. Of course I ran into my usual problem with boxes: nothing ever fits inside anything else. The flip-top shoeboxes that I like to store things in don't fit on the roll-out shelves of the cabinet, nor do the medium-sized baskets that are my second choice. However, I guess it will be all right.


All that rustling around at the warmest part of the afternoon made me hot, especially since I had put on a long-sleeve tee this morning. After all, last week it was cold! However, I sat quietly in the breeze for a while and changed to short sleeves for dinner, and after that I was comfortable.


Harbor Haus is open, and doing a fine business already, and everything is just as good as it ever was. I had the first fish - plank style, of course - and I brought half of it home with me. With all the leftovers I've accumulated, I won't have to cook at all this week!


I was enjoying the lovely evening when absolutely the loudest vehicle I have ever heard started running up and down US-41. I think it was a motorcycle, and it sounded like it had no muffler at all, and of course, sound carries even more than usual when it's as humid as it is. This continued for 10 or 15 minutes before it went elsewhere. The police could easily have issued a citation for excessive noise. It was horrible. There were other motorcycles later, but they weren't so loud, and eventually they all went away and we have peace again now, with only the sighing of the wind in the pine tree. Now, that's one of the things I love about this place...peace.


So I guess we have summer. I was looking at the records for today...I think we set a new one, since the old one was 75 in 2002...and I noticed in 2004 the high for the day was 33. I don't particularly remember 2002,  but I certainly do remember 2004! That was the year we hardly had any summer at all, and there were black flies in September...and we had a grand high of something like 43 on July 4th...with rain, no less.


Last year, I didn't get here until the weekend after Memorial Day, and while some people think it was a hot summer up here (I guess it was, in Houghton), I enjoyed it. One of the reasons I have all these windows is to be able to leave them open and almost live outdoors in the summer. Only it was very dry last year, and that was what finally did in my roses, I think. If it was really paradise, the temperature would peak in the middle 70s and we'd have about an inch of rain a week, all at night, of course...well, maybe not, so we could see the stars.


It looked like it wasn't too cloudy when the sun set, but I can't see Jupiter, so that haze must have thickened a bit. I think I'll try leaving the porch door open tonight, although that doesn't always work very well, when Buster starts climbing the screens...get used to it, boy. I hope it's open a lot this summer.


So that was my quiet day, although I did accomplish a little. It smells good in the field tonight.


May 27

Tonight maybe I can get to bed at a reasonable hour. I'm tired.


I got up at a reasonable hour this morning and cleaned up the kitchen a bit, but other than taking the cooler outside, I didn't do much else. That's the trouble with going to bed late.


The man came and my fridge now dispenses water like it's supposed to, which is nice. It didn't take him long to fix it, although it apparently isn't the easiest thing to access. And he forgot the bill (he said), so I can wait to get it in the mail.


It was a lovely day today. It wasn't completely clear - there were cirrus clouds in the sky all day - but it didn't interfere with the sunshine very much, and there was a nice southerly breeze. I opened up the house in the afternoon, and both Buster and I enjoyed it a lot. The temperature got up to over 70 briefly, and it felt so good.


I understand that it is really buggy if you stand around outside, so I guess it's time to break out the Off! and the bug shirt when I go out.


The dining room at Mariner was open tonight, with the lovely salad bar, although they didn't have the buffet. That was probably good, because there weren't many people there. More came in about the time we left, which is a phenomenon I've noticed in June and July around here - it stays light so late that people tend to stay out and have dinner a lot later than normal. We ate at our normal time, and I had stuffed trout instead of prime rib. It was good.


When I got back from dinner, the breeze was sighing through the bird feeder tree, and except when a crow happened by or a pack of ATVs went by on US-41 (I think they are noisier than snowmobiles!), it was almost completely quiet, just like I like it.


Surprisingly enough, there was a mourning dove cooing for a while. it came to the platform feeder yesterday, but it doesn't like sunflower seeds, and I thought it had gone away, but it was singing for a while tonight. And the loon called once.


Peace...now if only those ATVs would get mufflers and not accelerate like bats out of hell, it would be perfect.


I worked on the rose leaves for a while both before and after dinner, and when I sat down at the computer to start this entry, the setting sun turned the thicker clouds pale apricot for a few minutes and made them glow.


So we are off to a lovely Memorial Day weekend. It's supposed to get very hot south of here, but it should stay in the low 70s near the big lake, which is still very cold. I hope so. I'm not ready for high-80s yet (if ever).


Now the sunset is fading, and so am I.


May 26

I got to reading a magazine last night, in the dark, and ended up getting to bed very late, so I was late getting up this morning, and I didn't get my full quota of sleep. I don't think I'll have that problem tonight.


It was cloudy when I got up this morning, and it stayed that way until around 10:30 when the clouds began to thin out. They never really went away, but there was a lot of sunshine this afternoon. The temperature was under 50 until 3:00, and it barely got above until just a while ago, when it started climbing toward 55. There was a little north wind, which made it too cool to open the doors.


My day was rather truncated by my late start, but I actually put a few clothes away and I began loading the dishwasher, although there are still pans and the broiler pan lying around. Tomorrow morning, I guess.


I think I read for most of the afternoon? I don't remember. I did go to the post office, and I had dinner with Shirley. 


When I came back from the post office, my newspaper box was there, with the week's newspapers in it, and when I came back from dinner, there was a third one there, too, so they have finally got that straightened around.  The Mining Gazette isn't a very good paper, but it is just about the only source of local news besides rumor and gossip, so I do like to look at it.


So it was another quiet day, and I'm yawning. i was going to sit in the ugly chair for a while, but there was another magazine, and the broadband hiccupped, so that was the end of that notion.


Tomorrow the fridge repairman is supposed to come, so I guess I need to at least wash the broiler pan and get the rest of the stuff into the dish washer. Eventually I'll get everything done.


What I saw of the birds today was mostly blue jays, and one squirrel is back. I wish I'd had a video camera on the squirrel as it was trying to get into the tube feeder on that little branch that the blue jays use. At least twice it bent so much that the squirrel turned a complete summersault, and then it ran away as though it was embarrassed. After dinner, I went out to fill the feeders, and when I looked at the big wooden one, there was a chipmunk - inside the feeder, sitting contentedly on a big pile of sunflower seeds. I suppose he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. So I opened the lid and chased him away, and I was leaning right on the deck railing when he ran past me. If I'd been fast enough, I could have petted him. I know chipmunks can be pesky, but that was another magical moment.


Now the wind has died and it's almost perfectly calm and very pretty in the harbor, and I bet I'll be able to hear the bell buoy when I'm in bed. That's almost as good a lullaby as the lake singing.


May 25

It was cloudy all night last night, and it was nicely cool in the bedroom, so I did well. I got up about 5:45 to walk, and not for the first time I wished I had an east view, because what I could see of the eastern sky, it was full of apricot clouds. In the 10 minutes or so that I was up, it all faded away, though. When I got up for real, the harbor was so full of fog I couldn't see anything at all. That all disappeared by 10:00 or so, but Pastynet was having some problems with their relay station on top of Mt. Horace Greeley, and the next picture was at 10:30, by which time it was gorgeous, in spite of the dire weather forecasts and even the Clear Sky Clock.


They were all wrong, actually. There may have been a shower or two way south in the UP, but up here on the big lake, it was nearly clear all day long, with a temperature that bracketed 50 and calm to light winds from the east. It was getting a bit cloudier at sunset, but not a lot. There were interesting high cirrus clouds all day, and it was humid enough for there to be a haze down the harbor, but mostly it was lovely.


I did get the suitcases put away, although the clothes are still in piles all over the place. 


Other than that, I did not much. I took a walk down to the garden, which is a mess, as I suspected. All the roses have died, and the grass is encroaching on the rose bed. The peonies, poppies and iris are doing well, but they are pretty robust, although it appears that the single white peony didn't make it. My one phlox is still there, although it's small, and I think last year the deer got it. I have some deer repellent I will spray on it this year. I would like to see it grow. It has reddish leaves and nearly fuchsia flowers, and it blooms at a time when not much else is in bloom. There are some big weedy plants that need spraying, and some others that need digging, so I will have to get to that. 


I actually went down to retrieve the parts of the bird feeders. The white feeder is back together, but the lid of the octagonal wood feeder is gone and I didn't find the chains from the other platform feeder. I guess I can fix the platform feeder with nylon cord, but I'm not sure I can do anything with the octagonal feeder without the lid, since the hanging cord comes right up through the center and the lid keeps it straight. Now, where in the world that went, I do not know. The whole thing should have dropped almost straight down, although maybe it was out on the path and when Tom came to set up the pump, he set it on top of the retaining wall.


I do like the two wooden feeders I got last fall, except that both of them apparently have cotton hanging cords, and the one on the octagonal feeder broke, and the one on the big feeder is frayed where it rubbed on its hook. I also have one very sappy hanging hook I need to try to clean up. Paint thinner, I think. I will have to try to replace the cord on the big feeder before it breaks. It is just stapled into the inside of the feeder, so I may have to drill some holes and things like that. You gets what you pays for, I guess. Somewhere in my shipment of stuff is a brand-new smaller wooden feeder that I don't remember ever buying...maybe my mother did? And her really expensive tube feeder is still at the other house. It looks pretty cruddy, but I may be able to clean it up, and it has withstood all the depredations of the Grosse Pointe Squirrels. The wasps did start making a nest in it, and even after we cleaned that out, they kept coming back. Soap and water and bleach, I guess.


Late in the afternoon, I sat in the ugly chair and watched the sky and the birds and finished the flowers in the second rose picture. Now I am ready to attack a lot of leaves, not my favorite, but roses do have leaves.


I will have to slew the camera a bit to the south. The place I hung the three-tube feeder this year is close to a small branch, and it is a real chuckle to see the blue jays hanging upside down on that branch to pick the sunflower seeds out of the feeder. 


The hummingbird feeder is beginning to attract them, although some of them seem rather suspicious of it. I will know it has arrived when they light on the perches and just drink and drink. Mostly I think the males are here, and they did spend some time chasing each other around. Pretty soon they will be doing their mating display, which is fun to watch.


There was at least one chipmunk on the deck this afternoon. I don't know if there was more than one, and the huge one I had last year hasn't been around. There is one who can jump into the platform feeder. I haven't seen the squirrels yet, but that's probably just a matter of time.


The chickadees and nuthatches are there, but as I suspected, they mostly visit the big feeder, since it is further back in the tree. I can't show that one in the camera, or there would be no view of the harbor.


I dumped thistle seed on the deck the other day, and it is all gone. I don't know if something ate it or it blew away. The goldfinches don't usually feed on the ground.


So that was my quiet day, and it's getting really late again. It's nice when the weather people are wrong in the nice direction.


May 24

It was warm in the bedroom last night, and as a result I didn't sleep very well. I am used to sleeping all covered up, and when I first can't do that anymore, it upsets my rest. However...


It was cloudy all night, and it was cloudy when I got up this morning, and the first picture from the camera I saw was rather dramatic, with a very dark cloud over the mountain. Sure enough, shortly we had a rain squall, then it almost cleared up. That was the pattern all day long: some sunshine, and the temperature went up to 65, then it would rain and the temperature would drop to under 55. Interesting, and fun to watch.


However, I promised Keweenaw Glass that I would get my windows and screen door today, so eventually I went off. I have misplaced my keys, so I stopped at the post office to see if I had dropped them there, but no. So I have no clue where they went. I know I had them at the post office yesterday, but later in the afternoon, I realized they were missing from my pocket, which is where they belong. I have to assume they are either somewhere in the car or somewhere around the house.


I took M-26, because I wasn't sure if US-41 was open yet, and all the way west to Eagle Harbor, there was this very, very black cloud ahead of me. I had just turned onto the cutoff road when the heavens opened, with one growl of thunder. For a while it was like somebody had turned a bucket upside down on me, and it rained, more or less, all the way to Calumet. 


I got behind an excessively law-abiding guy in a blue jeep (whom I later ran into going south on US-41 when I was going north - heaven knows what circles he was going around in), so I took Cliff Drive for the first time in many months. It isn't the best paved road, and it was raining too hard to see much except that there wasn't much in the way of flowers except for the dandelions along the shoulders.


So I got my windows and door and reported that another sash has gone - one of the upper ones in the window seat was all fogged up when I went to bed last night. I turned right around and came back, since I didn't have anything else to do down there.


It had mostly stopped raining by then, so I took Cliff Drive back. There are tons o f marsh marigolds along there, but I couldn't decide where - or whether - to stop, so I didn't, and by the time I decided I should, it was raining again. I don't melt, but water isn't good for the camera.


When I got to the Eagle Harbor cutoff, the detour signs were down, so I stayed on US-41. I had passed one other dawdler, but the only guy in front of me after that was going faster than I was, so I nearly had the road to myself all the way. I don't quite have my groove back yet, but that's all right. 


Now I know where French Annie Creek is...where the barricades are on either side of the road right before the Burma Road. Oh. The reason I never particularly knew there was a stream down there is that the creek actually goes through a large culvert below the road, and it wasn't large enough to contain the runoff from the 3" or more of rain that fell a couple of weeks ago. They didn't do the best patching job, but they had to patch the entire road for about 6', and rebuild the banks. They did good to get it all done, I think. Now I'm sorry I didn't go down to see it right after I got here. It must have been a neat sight.


When I got home, I wasn't going to unload the car, but it was really, warm in here (77), so I did, and I got the screen door reinstalled, although it was a struggle. It was nice to have the air coming in for a while, but it did cool down and the wind picked up some, I also opened up the porch and put a towel on Buster's chair, and he seems quite content. When I opened the kitchen door, he came running, but he went right to the bedroom door and stood there, waiting for me to open that one, too. Why, I don't have a clue, but he wanted both doors open. Strange little cat.


While I was unloading the car, I was buzzed by a hummingbird, and when I got back to the office, one hovered over the feeder, which I put out this morning, but it wouldn't stop, for some reason. However, later several little birds came and sipped. I love to watch the hummingbirds.


There were also a house finch and a chipping sparrow who joined the goldfinches and the blue jays. The goldfinches have already eaten about a third of the seed in the white feeder, which is a lot of thistle seed! However, there is a whole flock of them. I also heard the chickadees, but I think they are probably visiting the house feeder, which I put out of camera view. I should probably move the camera to show more of the feeder tree and less of the birch. Tomorrow.


I find I am back in my old frame of mind, where doing any kind of work was a real effort, and it has been surprising me how much better I feel after 7 weeks of hard labor. I went down to the basement to check on what is in the freezer, and it wasn't hard at all. I did get sweaty while I was installing the screen, but that is mostly because right about then the humidity was nearly 100% and it was warm out there. I must keep at it.


It was also buggy. I didn't get bitten, I don't think (no itches yet!) but there were a lot of very small, slow-flying bugs around me while I was working on the door. Maybe I was moving around too much? I think I managed to keep them outside, too, but it was really critical to get that screen in now. The bugs are here! The bugs are here!


So that was my day, and I actually accomplished something. Now that the porch is open and the screens are on the doors, maybe I can get my suitcases unpacked and do something about the mess in the closet. However, right now, it's to bed. The cool, dampish weather is supposed to continue, but maybe I can keep the temperature in the bedroom down for tonight.


I love it here even when it's humid and buggy.


May 23

Well, there I go again. I was looking at a catalog, and it's 10:00. Oh, well.


When I turned off the monitor last night and looked out the window, there was Jupiter shining in the window, as big as life. It was a clear night again, and around 11:30, I can see all of Leo plunging headfirst toward the northwest horizon. Neat. 


It was another beautiful day today, although there was a hint of a few cirrus clouds early, and it actually got almost cloudy around sunset. The temperature got into the middle 60s, and there was a light southwest wind.


I didn't do very much, I confess. However, it got close to 80 inside the house this afternoon, so I opened the slider in the great room, and while I was there, I pulled up the hurricane shutters and opened the doors to the porch. It is cooling off outside now, but it was good to have the fresh air inside, and I think maybe Buster liked it, too. He was sleeping in his pile of fleece on the window seat when I opened the door, but he seemed quite interested.


As I suspected, it only took one day with the blue jays and the goldfinches were back, in force. There must have been a dozen or more around the feeders all day long. A lot of them like the thistle seed, of course, but they seem to like the sunflower seeds just as much.  I haven't seen any chickadees or nuthatches, but then, I haven't been looking at the feeders all the time. It is so neat to see those feeders just covered with little golden birds.


And that reminds me, I was on the phone around 4:00 and looking at the goldfinches, when a hummingbird flew  by, as if to say, "where's mine?" I will have to get the feeder out tomorrow for my little jeweled friends. Not only do they know who supplies the goodies, they remember from year to year. "Bird brains" aren't so stupid after all.


Tomorrow I have committed to driving down to Calumet to get the two windows and my screen door. I will take the camera, I promise, and see what I can see.


And now it is time to close things up and waddle up to the north end. I am full of steak and sugar snap peas, and I am sleepy again. 


May 22

I slept better last night, although it was warm in the bedroom, and for some reason Buster wanted to cuddle. It was a beautifully clear, calm night, and I could hear the bell buoy even inside the house. The lighthouse is on its backup light again, so clearly the problem isn't solved.


I did sleep until 9:00 this morning, and it was a beautiful morning, too, although by the time I got up, the wind had picked up into the 10-15 mph range, mostly from the north. The temperature was in the middle 30s overnight, but once the sun came up, it rose into the middle 40s, where it stayed for most of the day.


I was sitting in the office, minding my business, when goldfinches started clinging to the screens and essentially knocking on the door. I wonder how they know I'm back?  So I hustled the bird feeders out. I discovered that one of the wooden feeders had fallen down, because the string it was attached by broke, and it is under the tree, as well as the bottom of the one that broke last winter. I will get them tomorrow. For the time being, there are plenty of places for birdies to eat. The only birds that came today were a flock of blue jays, but they will show the way. They were also flying into all the windows all day long, and I don't know why. Maybe they could see their reflections in some of them, but at least one flew into the screen on the east side. I wonder if they are going after bugs? I think blue jays will eat about anything.


This afternoon, I went to the post office and retrieved a whole barrel full of junk...and most of it is junk. I have an 8" high pile of catalogs I want to look at before I throw them out, as well as several magazines and numerous pleas for money. I wonder how everybody has discovered where I hide out? So  now I have some reading material, which is nice.


I also finally got my long distance bill - the one that was sent back - and despite what they told me, they did not adjust the due date, so that may be interesting.


As it began to get dark tonight - another pretty sunset - I was delighted to hear a loon call. I went out onto the deck to see if I could see it, but except that it was someplace south of me, I couldn't really tell where it was. By that time, it was perfectly calm and quiet, and it is amazing how that bird call echoed. I am so happy to hear them. Even though I may not see them, I know they're there.


So it was a quiet day, and I only made one of the phone calls I was supposed to make. Tomorrow.


As for tonight, I'm staying up too late again. I really do find it hard to remember that even though the sky is still light, it's time to go to bed. Tonight I think I will open a window just a bit, to try to cool it down in the bedroom. The temperature is supposed to get down into the 30s again, so it should cool off.


May 21

I didn't sleep so well last night, for some reason. I was hot, it seemed, and I had a problem finding a comfortable spot. Well, that happens. The main light in the lighthouse is back on, but it still seems to be hanging up every so often. Sometime I'll track down the story of that thing. The wind slammed the house and the lake roared all night long, both sort of medium-loud, since the wind was in the 25-35 mph range. It was a rough sea, and I could hear a lot of rogue waves slamming on the rocks. It was beautifully clear all night long, and I could see lots of stars...Regulus early on, then I just glimpsed Arcturus high in the west early in the morning. The Big dipper was nice and bright.


I realized, when talking about the dim star where the handle of the Dipper meets the bowl, that when I was a kid with a telescope I learned "averted vision" so thoroughly that now I have to school myself to look directly at a dim object. Averted vision is when you look slightly to one side of a dim object. The sides of the retina are more sensitive in dim light, and by not looking directly at a spot, you can frequently see things you can't see at all when staring right at them. This works particularly well for faint fuzzies (nebulae), but it also works without a telescope for faint stars. I trained myself so well to use averted vision that I do it automatically when I can't see a star very well. Interesting, that, since I haven't looked through a telescope in nearly 50 years. Anyway, that star in the Dipper was a bit clearer last night, so I guess the sky was more transparent. All this is without my glasses, of course. If I can see 4th magnitude stars without my glasses and through the screen, I think I could probably see 6th magnitude stars if I was outside with my glasses on. It was a bit too cool for that last night, at least in my nightie!


As usual, I did some of my best sleeping between 6:30 and 8:30, but then I got up. The wind was still strong and the lake was still howling, but the wind decreased steadily all day long, and it is now almost calm again. The temperature hung in between 37 and 42, so it must have been a bit nippy out there today. I didn't check. The furthest I got was the breezeway. 


Around sunrise, I think, it clouded up, and it was a dull morning, but not long after noon the clouds disappeared to the south, and the afternoon was full of sunshine, blue skies and blue water.


I did move some boxes around in the breezeway, but I only brought in the one with my files in it and the CraftStor with the beads. The other four boxes are sitting outside the back door, right in the way, so I won't forget to move them in.


I diddled around for quite a while, but eventually, I ended up in the ugly chair with some embroidery...the second rose. I am pleased to report that my new glasses work just as well for close work as they do for distance. It's nice to be able to see clearly again, for sure.


Buster was a happy cat. He sacked out on the footstool, in the sun, and for one of the few times in his life, he was lying stretched out. Usually he curls into a little ball when he sleeps, but this afternoon he seemed to be completely relaxed. And when I got up to make my dinner, he got into the chair, of course. I had been feeling a bit chilly for some reason, and it felt good to sit in the sun, and he liked it, too. I guess he is pretty much back to normal, and he seems content. This house has lots of advantages over the other one.


It was a quiet day, and it is now time to trundle up to the north end and jump in bed again. It's good to be here.


May 20

I had forgotten just how comfortable the bed here is, and I slept long and hard. The lighthouse is on its backup light, so evidently somebody finally noticed it wasn't working right.


Today I got everything out of the car, although most of the stuff is still in the breezeway. I will have to remedy that tomorrow, because I have a bill to pay, and I do need to get the suitcases unpacked and all that stuff put away.


I actually should spend a couple of days in my closet, because things have gotten rather messy in there, but we'll see.


It was an interesting day in the field. When I got up this morning (around 8:00, amazingly enough), the sky was clear and the sunshine was pouring down. There wasn't much wind, and the temperature was around 50. Around 10:00 the wind picked up and it began to get cloudy, but the temperature went up to 62, and between 2:00 and 4:00 it rained, the temperature dropped and the wind got into the 20-30 mph range. It started out from the northwest and has now shifted to the north, and the official temperature is 41. There was a real nip in the air when I came out of Mariner after dinner.


I had dinner with Shirley, which was nice, although my chicken  was underdone, and I will have to cook it tomorrow. What was cooked was good, and it was nice to eat real food for a change. There were a few people in Mariner tonight, including a couple of very loud groups who left before we did, but it certainly isn't busy.


Buster has settled in. He is now fast asleep under the east windows , not far from me. He spent a lot of time looking out the windows today, and I think he is really happy to be back here. Me. too.


I did want to wrap up the trip north with a few things I left out yesterday...and one thing I kept forgetting to mention about the trip south.


On the way south, on March 31, between Indian River and Gaylord, I passed two flocks of wild turkeys in the grass along the side of I-75. One was a small flock, but the other had about 12 birds, and one male was displaying as I passed. He looked just like those brown or black Thanksgiving turkeys they show pictures of. I'm not sure whether I'd ever seen wild turkeys before, but I certainly know I'd never seen one with all his tail feathers spread out and his chest puffed out.


I didn't see any turkeys yesterday, but there were a fair number of vultures circling overhead at various places.


While spring is far advanced in southeastern Michigan, from about West Branch north, it is still early. Even in the lower peninsula the serviceberries and the wild cherries, as well as the other fruit trees, are still in bloom, and the leaves are just coming out on the trees. I enjoy seeing the pale green and reddish green in contrast to the dark evergreens.


It was very windy at the Straits, and I could see the whitecaps from the bridge. There was also a ferry out there, and I don't think I would have wanted to be on it. It was rough. I didn't see any lakers, but I had to tend to my driving, because they are already closing lanes and beginning to paint. I guess they are painting all the time, but I was a bit surprised that they started so early.


Along M-28, especially in the eastern UP, where the forests are mixed hardwoods and conifers, the forest floor was a carpet of white trilliums. There were a few places west of Marquette where they grow, too, but in most places, there are too many cedars and it's too swampy. Anyway, it was a pretty drive.


There is one place, between Newberry and Seney, where they are repaving, by tearing up the entire road and re-laying it. The roadbed, where they had smoothed it, was actually smoother than the old road was, but just as our convoy passed by, a truck came in the other direction spraying water on the road. He didn't spray us, but all that water turned the top layer to muck, and you should see my car! My nice clean car is now dirtier than it was before I had it washed. Rats. Well, at least I got rid of all the salt, and I can now start on a new layer of grime.


I was thinking, as I passed Lake Michigamme, that the last time I saw it, it was covered with ice. Yesterday, I passed it while the sky was clear, and it was a lovely shade of blue.


Speaking of water, all the streams and the ditch that parallels M-28 on the Seney Stretch are about as full as they can be without overflowing, although Munising Falls seemed to have contracted to its summer size. I didn't get a good view of it, because I was following a jerk who was going into town to go grocery shopping and was in no hurry at all. And I was too busy driving to look at Scott Falls when I passed it.


Here at the end of Keweenaw, the early flowers are just beginning to pop, and the trees are just beginning to leaf out. There are still some gray patches on the mountain where the leaves aren't out yet.


It looks like my one Jack Pine is going to bite the dust this summer. It was iffy last year, and the winter wasn't kind to it. It's a disappointment, but i will wait until it's really dead to remove it. It is a bit close to the garage, but until last year, it had seemed to survive the construction. I haven't been brave enough to look at the tree over the pond yet. That was a very beautiful birch that was in the way of the construction, and it has been dying by inches ever since. It is the only birch on my property that isn't coming up from the roots, so when it goes, it's gone, and I will miss it.


The white peony has sent out a bunch of shoots that are about a foot high, but I haven't investigated what else there is growing in the garden. I think I am in time to blitz the tansy and the hound's tongue (among other things) with the gallon of Finale (Like Roundup only better) I found in the other garage and brought back. However, I'm not going to be doing much gardening when the temperature is in the 40s and the wind is blowing half a gale...I can't use weed killer when it's windy anyway. It is supposed to warm up a bit next week, and then we'll see.


We are having a pretty but very wintry-looking sunset tonight. No pictures, because not only is it too far north, I am in my nightie already, and it's cold outside. Some of those clouds look like lake-effect snow clouds!


The sun is setting so late now that I am having my usual summer problem of thinking it isn't late enough to go to bed. It is, and I will, and I hope I won't get out of the habit. Getting up relatively early has advantages.


Oh, I almost forgot - there were stars all night last night. It wasn't pristinely clear, I don't think, because I couldn't see the star where the handle of the Big Dipper meets the bowl, which I think is the dimmest of the dipper stars. I usually test the seeing by the Little Dipper, but it is pointing up toward zenith now, out of my view from the bathroom window. It was nice to see stars. The west was rather dim - Regulus had set and  Arcturus wasn't within my view yet...but I could see something out there, which is more than I could say in the city.


And it smells good. There is the sweet smell of spring flowers and the fresh smell of the woods, so that even when it's cold, it's good to breathe. 


Already my allergies are better. I only coughed once last night, and my nose didn't run badly at all. I'm sure part of the problem on Champine was the dust and mildew we stirred up with the packing, but that isn't the whole story. There is just a lot more stuff down there that I am allergic to. It's nice to be able to breathe again.


I didn't mention that sometime a couple of weeks ago, I got the cellulitis back. It isn't a bad case, and I've been treating it regularly, but it's back, and I don't know why, unless wearing trouser socks when I got "dressed up" brought it on. Apparently I'll be living with that for the foreseeable future. What a pain.


So I think I'm pretty much caught up on my random thoughts. It's good to be home in the field.


May 19 I'M HOME! I'M HOME! I'M HOME!!!!

And it certainly feels good.


I didn't sleep as well as I'd hoped last night. I forgot that my current sleeping pills are half as strong as the old ones were, so I have to take two. I did take the second one at around 2:30, but it didn't work as well that way, and I had the feeling I was just dozing for most of the night.


I had to walk at about 6:30 this morning, so I just got up. I conned Buster again, poor fellow. He came into the bathroom for his morning pet, and I closed the door on him, then I hustled him downstairs and into his carrier. He was not happy. However, that simplified things for me.


Because almost everything was packed, except for the barrel bag , the carrier and a few odds and ends I came across, we left at 8:20 this morning. It's been a long time since I've gotten away from either house that early, and except for the traffic jam at i-696 and I-75, that was nice. It took me about 40 minutes to get from Champine to Crooks Road and I-75 (where I worked at one time), which is about right for the morning rush. From then on, it wasn't bad at all, despite all the construction on I-75.  There were a couple of places where it was down to one lane, and it seems like I am always the last guy in a pack behind some super-lawful idiot, even though there were only a couple of places where I actually passed workers. MDOT has the very bad habit of setting pylons and speed signs for eight or ten miles when they are actually only working on one or two miles.


We made it to the bridge by about 12:30, I think. It started sprinkling in northern Oakland County, and it rained until Bay City. The rain was actually mostly very light, but it was enough to cause a lot of spray. North of West Branch, the traffic thinned out to almost nothing, which was nice.


It was windy, and all along I-75 it was a cross-wind, which meant it took some concentration to go in a straight path. Traffic was minimal in the UP, and by the time I got to the construction zones on M-28, they had quit for the day...I don't think they work after 3:00 on Fridays, at least in the UP.


It began to clear up west of Munising, and for a while the skies were almost completely clear, although another cloudbank came over Keweenaw, and it was only partly sunny. The washout on US-41 is still there (Shirley says she has heard several stories about how long it will be closed), so we had to take the Eagle Harbor Cutoff road and come into Copper Harbor on M-16. I'm not so familiar with that road as I am with US-41, and I'm afraid I gave Buster a rough ride.


Buster was not a happy camper. He howled for half an hour, then at intervals afterward. He did sleep for most of the afternoon, with only a peep occasionally, until we had to turn off US-41. Then he got so upset that I think he threw up...I haven't checked the cage yet.


We pulled into the garage at 6:50...10 hours, which is pretty good with all the construction going on, and taking M-26 is slower than the covered road.


As usual, I had to haul Buster out of the cage, but when I set him down in the house, he said, "Oh, look where we are!" He doesn't hold it against me...he sat on my lap for a long time, and is now perched on top of the printer looking out at the darkening sky. He is definitely a high-maintenance cat, but he really does have a very good disposition, and he loves his mama. Now he is on  my lap again, which makes it interesting to type.


I have only unpacked less than half the car...the suitcases, the food, and the computer, mostly. There are a few things I stuffed someplace that I haven't found yet, but tomorrow I will get the rest of the stuff out, including a lot of tote bags full of...whatever...and I will wash Buster's throws. I think he will probably be sleeping with me tonight, like he has been lately.


So we made it, and I am very glad to be back in the field, and I am tired. It was warm in the house from the sunshine early today, and I was sweating profusely before I had everything unpacked, so I will have to shower in my lovely shower. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, when I had to haul my legs into the tub on Champine and try not to stub my toes on the enclosure. 


I'm home...


May 18

It's early, but I want to get this done, get the files copied, pack up the laptop and get it into the car, and go to bed!


I was up early this morning again, and with the electrician here, I was exhausted before 10:30. The non-grounded outlets were not the ones I thought, but two two-into-six that my mother apparently put in. Then there was a broken plug in the bedroom, a couple of missing covers, and the one in the living room where a plug tine had broken off in the receptacle. In the meantime, the other guy re-routed the air conditioning cable on an angle, so that is taken care of.


The contractor called, and I discovered that the guy who wrote the violation report is actually the electrical inspector, so some of the things (like the painting and the tile) may be over-reaction. I think I imparted to him that we need these things done soon, but we'll see.


After the electricians left, I went to the drug store, the bank, and the gas station...and it is quite a shock when 17 gallons of gas costs $52. It may be a tad cheaper at self-serve stations, but I indulge myself when I'm here..


Then it was home, and I ate my lunch at the computer. Eventually, I got myself upstairs and began to pack the car.  Cynthia turned up a while later, and with her help, we did the whole job in about an hour. Wow! I would have been totally exhausted, and it would have taken me three or four times longer. That car is really packed, and there were some things I had to leave for later, like the liqueurs from the cellaret, and a few other things that will just have to wait for next time.  All that remains are the laptop and its case, the barrel bag, and a few odds and ends. The cooler and my lunch bag are even in the car. It's so nice that it's so early that I had myself a JD and some deli salads, and while I move the files, I will have a sub and another JD, then I will (maybe) get to bed early for a change.


Buster was confined to the porch while we packed, and he was not happy, but he likes Cynthia, and he forgave us once we let him out. Poor Buster. He knows what is about to befall him, and he is not a happy camper. I do wish I could tell him that this will probably never happen again, but he doesn't understand sentences.


It rained most of the night, and it was cloudy, with a few periods of sunshine. The temperature just barely got up to 60, and most of the day it was in the middle 50s.


In Copper Harbor, it was one of those days when it was clear out over the lake and there was a cloudbank over the land. The cloudbank broke up after noon and there was a lot of sunshine this afternoon. The temperature was in the middle 40s, with about a 15 mph wind from the north.


So that was another busy day. I hope to get away pretty early tomorrow, since I am not doing anything about straightening up the house. Don't be alarmed if there isn't a journal tomorrow night. There are 6 or 7 weeks of files to move to the other computer, and it depends upon how I feel and when I get home whether it will get done tomorrow or not. If I don't do it tomorrow, I'll catch up on Saturday.


We're going home! Hurrah!


May 17

I was up too late last night, too, but I was up in time to see the cleaning lady this morning, and we got that settled, as much as it can be. Two people for 10 hours. That's the minimum I would say. It's been a long time since the house has been cleaned.


So I got to bible class, and it was nice, even though there weren't very many people there. I stopped at the grocery store and got lots of good things to eat, although they didn't have any penne pasta salad, which was a disappointment. I was about to start filing when Cynthia arrived, and she did the curtains for me, while I started packing. I think all the file boxes are about as well packed as they can be, and there are three crates packed. The liqueurs from the cellaret are in a crate, but they need to be padded against bumps. The ice packs are in the freezer. I think I might make it. Cynthia will be back tomorrow for a short while to put up the last of the curtains and help me get the car loaded.



After she left, I swung by the car wash, and to my surprise, in spite of the sunshine we had this afternoon, it was nearly empty - I drove right in. So the last of the winter's salt and sand is gone. I did notice, a while ago, that somebody keyed my driver's side door, and I will have to do something about that. Maybe I can get a little touch-up paint. It's a small thing, an upside down "L" about an inch on a side, but it does need to be fixed before it starts to rust. It could only have happened in a few places - most  likely in the parking lot the church shares with the supermarket. Is there any wonder why I want to get out of here? 


The weather was partly cloudy here until about 5:00, and the temperature got up to 73, but then it clouded up and started to rain lightly, and there are thunderstorm watches out. It was nice to have the doors open while I was cleaning the oven, though. It's supposed to cool off again tomorrow.


In Copper Harbor, it was cloudy and 50 with a 15 mph wind out of the northwest. Yesterday afternoon was nicer.


I guess the rest of the week is supposed to be partly to mostly cloudy, with temperatures in the 50s to 60s but not much chance of rain. Not bad travel weather, actually.


Tomorrow at 9:15 or so, the electrician is coming by to correct my violations, which is good. However, I couldn't get hold of the contractor, so I don't know where the rest of my list stands. The electrical was the least of the problems. Then I can go to the bank and the gas station, and then it will be time to pack. 


I am going upstairs early tonight and try to get the suitcases as packed as I can. I acquired a large barrel bag with (not very good) wheels before Christmas, and that is making the packing a lot easier, since I can fit a lot of leftovers in it.


Buster knows what's up, and he wants to sit on me all the time, I think to try to keep me from doing what I need to do. I wish I could tell him that this is likely to be the last time he will have to take that horrible car ride, but while he understands some individual words, (things like "no" and "go", curiously enough), he doesn't understand whole sentences very well. I'm sure he will be happier in the field, since most of his hidey holes here are gone, and he keeps looking around the basement in a most puzzled manner. Well, it's almost over.


The field is waiting for us.


May 16

I stayed up washing far too late last night, and while I slept pretty well, it wasn't long enough. I sort of fiddled around for most of the day, I'm afraid. I did pay a couple of bills, took them to the post office and put in my change of address (one of these days I'll get to mark the "permanent" box!), got stamps and stopped at the locksmith to get some more keys made. I seem to be passing out house keys like candy lately.


I also got a couple more keys to the garage door opener, since there were only two for lo these many years. That is a very small, well-worn key, and I had to take them back to have them redone because they didn't work the first time. They're all right now, though.


I finally called the cleaning service, and the lady will be here tomorrow at 8:30...gack! However, that will let me get to Bible Class one last time and put in my change of address at church, too. I will stop at the grocery store and lay in my lunch for the trip north and a few other things. Then all I should have to do Thursday is feed the car.


Cynthia is supposed to come tomorrow afternoon, and we are going to wash the curtains and drapes in the living room and dining room. The rods for the ones in the living room are right up at the top of the bay, and I have an awful time reaching up there for as long as it takes to get them down and back up again.


I rewashed the two tees that didn't get clean, and whatever I spilled on one of them snagged a hole right in the front. Maybe I can repair it, because it's small, so I will take it with me. It is a pretty shade of cranberry red, one of my favorite colors. I also washed the towels, and they are in the dryer now. The curtains from the two driveway side windows are being washed now. So long as DC was with us, there was very little sense in bothering, because he decorated them every time I did. The carpeting (and the walls, I'm afraid) have been piddled on so many times that he smelled other cats and wanted to cover up that scent...every time I had clean curtains. Buster isn't that way, so I think it's safe now, and anyway, I would like clean curtains for any prospective buyers who come in.


The weather was wet. The temperature was around 60 all day, with light winds, but it drizzled or rained lightly most of the time. Not nice.


In Copper Harbor, it was cloudy this morning, around 50 with light winds, but as the afternoon wore on, it cleared up and the wind is now blowing in the 15-25mph range from the northwest. It was nice to see the sun for a while, if only in the camera.


The rest of the week, including Friday, looks to be partly sunny, with a slight chance of showers, but it probably won't rain on our parade, so that is good.


Now the curtains are over the line, the towels are drying, and I must go and try to sleep fast. Tomorrow will be early and strenuous.


May 15

Well, the good news of the day is that I didn't have to have the sewer dug up. 


That was a neat experience. It reminded me of my colonoscopy, only on a larger scale. They feed a camera down the sewer on the end of a long wire, and it sends back pictures of what it sees. When it first went down, the sewer was full of water, which is wrong, but after the camera pushed some big wads of toilet paper into the city sewer, it started running off, and we got a really good view of the whole thing. Almost everywhere there is a joint (every 3 feet) the line is partially clogged by calcium carbonate deposits, not surprising with our hard water, but nowhere was there anything to indicate a break or collapse or anything.


And my family was right all along: the tap into the city sewer is kitty-corner across the yard from where it opens in the basement, about 50 feet from the house, right under the lilac. So there. The guy who went out 112' was cleaning out the city sewer, which is 6' wide and surely didn't need it.


Eventually, the calcium will clog it up and it will have to be replaced, but for the next few years, an annual snaking out should keep it running freely. We don't know what the problem was last week, unless the first cleaning wasn't thorough enough. So the people who did the work will provide a written report, and we can add that to the dossier on the house.


I've been washing. I was down to two pairs of clean jeans, and the supply of underwear was getting low, too, so I am now on the third load. Tomorrow I will have to wash curtains. When the water from the first load drained into the laundry tub, I nearly had a fit, because it overflowed into the other tub and a bit onto the floor, but it turned out that a couple of rags had fallen into the tub and blocked up the drain. So I bailed for a while until the water was low enough to fish out the rags, and everything has been fine ever since. Whew!


And I promise to try to use less toilet paper.


Brad, bless him, came to supervise the job, and he went off with the violations list, and after talking to him, it doesn't seem all that bad. It will cost some, and I may have to have the ceiling in the front bedroom painted, darn it, but unless the chimney is falling down, it won't cost an arm and a leg. They are also going to pursue with the inspector whether I really need the tile replaced in the laundry room. I don't see why just removing the loose tiles isn't good enough.


This afternoon, Terry came and assured me that I am still solvent so long as I don't go on a buying spree, and when I do sell the house, so long as it's within the next three years, I should be OK for the next ten anyway. So that is a relief. He is a very upbeat person anyway, but he assures me I am doing the right thing, even though it's costing me a bundle to do it.


So now I can set about getting ready to go home. Buster would probably like it, too. This afternoon, he wanted to find a place to sleep near me, and all his favorite places have been taken away. He won't go into the cabinet full of rags, probably because it still smells like sick DC.


The weather here was, frankly, miserable. The temperature was around 55 for most of the day. There wasn't much wind, sort of drizzled all day long. Yuck. Something set off the air-raid sirens in Grosse Pointe Woods around 9:00 this morning, but it must have been the idiots out there misinterpreting something, since there wasn't even a thunderstorm warning. I know they thought those sirens were a good idea, but I can only recall once or twice when they went off when they should, when there was a tornado watch. Every other time, it's either the monthly test (at 1:00 on the first Saturday of each month), or some screw-up. Today was clearly a screw-up.


It wasn't much better in Copper Harbor. It was cloudy and about 45 all day long, although it has now risen to 55, with not much wind there either. It rained briefly overnight, but there wasn't any rain today. There was a bit of fog, though. Yuck. And this weather seems to be going to hang on in both places all week. Yuck.


So that is about all I know. Hopefully nothing else will break, and I'll be out of here on Friday. It's time. The field is calling me.


May 14

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. At least one day a year, people try to acknowledge what you are doing every day.


I didn't sleep as well as I'd hoped last night, but I think it was the cool, humid weather. Both hips were sore, sometimes at the same time, and whichever side I lay on, I had sciatica on the upper side. So I thrashed a lot. I will have to try it again tonight.


We sang three easy things in church, including "Blessed Assurance", which I love. The last hymn was "Beautiful Savior", which I can't sing. That's one they'll have to sing at my funeral. I tear up just hearing it. It was rather amusing, because although there weren't a lot of people there, both the first and last hymns are old-time favorites, and I could actually hear the congregation singing. That doesn't happen very often. There was communion, which was good, since it will probably be a while before I get to take it again.


When I got home, I felt I should be doing something, so I unloaded the wash baskets and tried to organize my clothes...at least I got them into piles. I was looking for a few other things I haven't seen lately, and I did find the antique beaded handbags, but it looks like the antique black beaded dress has gone missing along with the cut crystal vase. Both those things really disturb me, because so far as I was aware, everyone who has been in the house has been trustworthy, and someone would have had to search to find either item. Oh, dear. Some things do fall into the black hole and turn up later, but neither of these seems to be that kind of thing.


I cooked tonight, a chicken dish that I haven't had in too long, and it tasted really good. It came out better than I'd thought, since the chicken breasts were still frozen when I put them in the oven. This one I eat over noodles, and I do love noodles. It also served to use up the last of my noodles, so they won't go bad. When I go upstairs, I will have to put it away, but at least I'll eat for the next two days.


The weather in Copper Harbor was about like the past few days. There was a little rain - not much - temperatures in the mid 40s, and the wind was perfectly calm for most of the afternoon. It was very foggy this morning and it's getting foggy again this evening.


Here, the temperature did get up into the 60s, finally, although it was cooler for most of the day. There were sprinkles this morning when I went to church, again when I left, and between 7:30 and 8:00 this evening, we had a very nice thunderstorm and half an inch of rain. So far the basement is dry.


I did a little crocheting, but then I hauled out the shrug I was knitting on and did a few rows. I guess I really do prefer to knit, although I enjoy crocheting doilies sometimes. I have not done enough crafts since I've been here.


Tomorrow the sewer excavator comes early, and I'll find out what the damage there is, and I will pass the inspector's report on to the contractor and find out what the damage is there. 


I'm more than ready to get out of here.


May 13

I decided to take the day off, so I did almost nothing except finish the band on the tablecloth and start the band of flowers. It's been so long since I worked on the thing that I forgot which way I was adding them in, but I've figured it out now.


Brad called this morning to inform me that the next step in the sewer saga will cost me a minimum $570, but that's for up to 4 hours' work. They need to send a camera and a detector down the sewer to try to find where the break is, and I suppose they have to pay for all that high-tech equipment somehow. And there's really nothing else to do at this point. So far the sewer is running, but I don't know how long that will last, and I have to do a lot of wash over the next few days.


We also discussed the violation report, and I feel some better about it. If they handle the repairs, they will hassle the inspector to find out what he's talking about. 


The weather here was only marginally better than yesterday. It rained only lightly, and the temperature was between 50 and 55 all day long. It felt cold in the house, but that may have been me and not the temperature.


In Copper Harbor, it's beginning to get a little better. There was almost no rain, even though it was cloudy all day. The temperature was between 45 and 50, and there was almost no wind for most of the time.


This lousy weather system is supposed to hang around for most of the week, however, and if I do leave on Friday, I will most likely see rain.  I've seen that before, so it doesn't bother me too much, although it does tend to slow things down.


So I vegged out and I will be going to bed early again tonight, and maybe I can get caught up on my rest. My legs are still stiff and sore, but that could be on account of the weather.


It's time to go back home to the field.


May 12

What lousy weather we're having all over Michigan! I'll get into that later.


I did sleep well last night, for sure, although I was having trouble walking, the couple of times I was up. I got up - reluctantly - in time to let the painter in, and he finished up the kitchen. 


It was nice to have a slow day for a change. I crocheted on the table cloth and I have only about 1/6th of the current band to finish. The trouble with round tablecloths is that the circumference is equal to pi times the diameter, which increases quickly. The last round of this band is mostly single crochet, and there is a lot of it. Then when I've finished it, I can begin to make, and add in, 57 flowers. And there are at least four more band to go. 


The one tablecloth I finished was fun, because even though it alternated bands of round motifs with bands crocheted around, each band was different, so just about the time I got fed up with what I was working on, I could do something different. This one alternates bands of flowers with bands crocheted around, and it's not nearly so interesting. I think I started it about 20 years ago, before I found the pattern for the one I finished. On the other hand, it's nearly mindless, which is nice.


Anyway, except for a couple of phone calls, and a quick trip to the pet supply store, the only interesting part of the day was taking Buster to his doctor. He does not like that! First I had to flush him out of his hidey-hole. The move deprived him of most of his hiding places, and he has been spending most of his time upstairs for the past two days. The only real difficult places are under the twin beds in the front bedroom, and fortunately, by moving one bed, I managed to smoke him out.


Of course he howled all the way to the vet. He knows what being in the carrier means, and he does not like it one little bit. Being mostly Siamese (even though he's black), he can howl with the best of them.


However, he has learned that it's best to submit in the doctor's office. We got him weighed (11 pounds - up 1 lb. from last year!) and his claws clipped with not much problem. He objected, softly, to his shots, and when I put the carrier back on the exam table, he walked right into it. We've been doing this long enough that he knows the routine.


The doctor agreed with my diagnosis that he is forming a cataract on his left eye, but it isn't obscuring his vision too much yet. The only reason I noticed it is that when he sits on my lap, particularly in the field, his left pupil dilates more than the right one, which is a rather disconcerting thing to see. It doesn't seem to be interfering with his ability to see or catch mice yet, so it's just a thing to note. Eventually, if he's lucky enough to live that long, he'll go blind, like my sweet Silkie did, but if he's in one house only, it won't even be very much of a problem. Cats are much smarter than some people give them credit for being, and they definitely know all about their homes.


Buster was quiet on the way home (amazingly enough), and he has clearly forgiven me already. That's one of the things I love about cats. If they really love you, as soon as things get back to normal, they forgive you for all you did. The only thing bugging him now is the two fans in the basement, and I'm sure he'll be fine as soon as they're turned off.


The only additions to the saga of this house is that a sewer repairman will be here Monday morning at 9:00, and I got the report from the inspector.


I guess I won't even say much about the latter. I have never seen such a ridiculous bunch of stupid nonsense in my life...like wanting smoke detectors at the tops and bottoms of each stairway, in the hallway outside each bedroom and inside each bedroom. For heaven's sake, already!  I won't go into all the other 15 items on the list, but I never saw anything so stupid. Unfortunately, it's likely to cost me $2k to $3k to satisfy them.


I will be calling my friendly contractor, as well as the inspector, since there are a number of things I don't understand...there are several places where he just refers to "a bedroom", and I have no idea which of the three bedrooms he's referring to. However, the contractor won't be back until Tuesday, and neither will the inspector. This is the same frustration I experienced when I sold my first house. If they would cite me for items which were really serious problems with the house, I wouldn't mind, but all these things are totally non-issues. Except that I can't get a certificate of occupancy without them.


If anybody has any question about why I'm getting out of here...

The weather is still really yucky all over Michigan. Here, the temperature hung in the upper 40s all day long, with frequent light showers. Bad.


In Copper Harbor, it was worse again. The temperature has been around 36 for the past two days, and they have had nearly 3" of rain. US-41 is closed between Lake Medora and Copper Harbor, because French Annie Creek (I don't know exactly where that is - all my Keweenaw maps are in the field) has overflowed and washed out part of the road. This isn't unusual. The same sort of early-May inundation happened a couple of years ago. The only difference was that that year I was already there.


I hope they have the road reopened by Friday. I don't really fancy having to drive from Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor along US-26 in the dark. That is a lovely road to cruise along on a sunny day, but it is even more windy and twisty, and in some places it is perilously close to the lake.


Now the weather statements they issued earlier are gone, so I  can't even review them. 


Wow, how I wish we were there!


So now I have had two double-Jacks, and I am about to crawl up to the upper story and see if I can get a really long night's sleep for a change. The big push is over, only the nagging details are left, and I want to get out of here!!!


May 11

Wow, what a day! I believe I said that before this week. And to top it all off, I had this entry all written, and when I tried to save it before publishing it, the entire computer hung, and I lost the whole thing. Wow!


I did sleep very well last night, fortunately, but I wasn't ready to get up to greet the painter this morning. However, I did, and while he was doing his thing, I made an appointment to get my hair cut this afternoon and take Buster to his doctor tomorrow afternoon.


We had nearly an inch of rain overnight last night, and I was really afraid to go down into the basement to see what had happened. However, the realtor called to say that an agent from another firm wanted to preview the house around noon, so I decided I'd better go see how bad things were. Well!


There was an inch of water in the entire front of the basement, and it was beginning to get into the back part. Fortunately, besides the bookshelves and three file cabinets, only casters and the surge suppressor were on the floor. I poured the water out of the surge suppressor, and it was working fine. The computer never went down, although it has been acting a bit cranky.


So I put in a panic call for the sewer guy and hauled out the shop vac to see if I could get some of the water up. It was soon clear that my little 4 or 5 gallon shop vac wasn't going to do the job, so I called Brad at the contractor's office and he came with a large shop vac. We were making good progress on the water when the drain from the laundry tub started backing up out of the floor drain there, and then the whole thing stopped.


Fortunately, while Brad was trying to figure out what to do next, the sewer guy arrived. He is a piece of work, for sure, but he knows his job. He reamed out the sewer again, and it began to flow, but it wasn't until he snaked out the storm trap that the water went down in the front room, leaving a much cleaner floor. When he pulled his snake back from the sewer, however, there was clay on the bit...oh, woe. I was afraid of that, because there was one place where the motor on his snake began to lug and nearly stalled out. So I am going to have to have part of the sewer dug up and replaced. I don't think it will be the whole thing - I certainly hope not! - but it will be an expensive piece of work.


After the sewer guy left, Brad, bless his heart, vacuumed the floors dry, then he set up my little fan in the front room and went off to get another one for the back room.


I had had to postpone my hair appointment, so I went off to get my hair cut, after changing my clothes - clean jeans this morning! - and when I came back there was a fan blowing into the back room. Unfortunately, he couldn't find a dehumidifier, but the fans will help.


Later, Cynthia and her husband showed up to get the last load of trash out to the curb, and they moved the living room and hall furniture back where it belongs. The living room looks very spare and much bigger without the one chair and the big speakers in it.


The real estate agent liked the house, and she thinks her clients will want to see it. I won't even hope it will sell that fast!


However, Cynthia and I will probably start some of the sorting of the rest of the stuff next week, if I can stand to do that anymore.


My legs were feeling pretty good when I got up this morning, but they now feel nearly as bad as they did Tuesday, and I'm exhausted.


The weather was yucky. It didn't rain much more, but it was dark and humid and cool. The temperature was in the middle 50s all day with some wind.


It was even worse in Copper Harbor. The temperature was around 36 all day long, with 25-40 mph winds from the northeast. It started raining around 9:00, and it is still raining. Yuck.


I felt really sorry for poor Buster. He beat it this morning when the painter arrived, and since there was water - gack! - in the basement, he went upstairs, and probably hid under a bed all day. First there was the painter, then that horrible machine that has traumatized him so badly in the past, then two very loud vacuums. And tomorrow he gets to see his doctor! His nerves will be completely shot. He needs to get back to the field for good and just relax and regroup.


So do I.


In the excitement, I forgot that he is nearly out of canned food, so I will have to go to the pet supply store tomorrow, probably between the painter and the vet.


All this activity is much more than I care to have, and I hate to have to always be referring to my planner to see what I have to do next. It will be good to get back to the field. I hope to be able to leave a week from tomorrow, but with all the sewer stuff and getting the house ready to show and all that, I don't know.


Now I am ready to haul  my poor bod up to the second story and crash again. This is really too much for me, even though my jeans fit better, and I've taken in a notch in my belt. I need to sit and stare at the lake for a while.


Well, maybe pretty soon...


Never a dull moment.


May 10

I slept like the dead last night, except for a couple of hours between 2 and 4 when my legs, hips, ankles and feet were so sore I couldn't get  comfortable. I don't know what internal cycle  causes this, but eventually it all went away and I could have slept forever this morning. 


The inspector was due anytime between 9:30 and 11:30, so I hauled myself up in time to get downstairs before 9:30. I'm still not walking very well, and I'm still sore. My feet were still sore this morning. It didn't help that it was a very warm, humid morning.


The inspector showed up at 9:35, moseyed around the house, checked that the three pronged receptacles in the kitchen were grounded, then went around the outside of the house and garage and went off saying he would send me his report...and it was only 9:50! 


So I jumped up (having had my orange juice and not gone to the bathroom), grabbed my bible, and ran off to bible class. Pastor had just started his devotion when I arrived, and another person came in after me. I was certainly glad to be there.


Then it was off to the grocery store to get some edibles and some wine, and I was home by 11: 45. That was just as well, because I had misunderstood when the realtor was going to be here. I was sampling my deli salads (all good) and contemplating a seafood sub when they showed up.


There is now a "For Sale" sign on my front lawn. I really never thought I'd see that, and it leaves me conflicted, as I knew it would. This is, so far as I'm concerned, my natal home (even though I was 7 when we moved in), and no one but my family has ever lived in this house. My father, my mother, and DC all died here. On the other hand, there is my place, waiting for me in Copper Harbor, and as yesterday so graphically proved, I couldn't stay here forever anyway, because of the stairs. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.


The realtors say they think just getting the carpets cleaned and a thorough housecleaning will be enough for now, although I will wash the curtains and drapes where they have been desecrated by generations of cats. So I will try to get that set up so that Cynthia can oversee it, and I still plan to leave a week from Friday...the 19th, and only a week later than would be normal.


The house will be on the internet, at www.richkolb.com in a week or so, and after it is spruced up, they will take pictures to give an interior walk-through.  Of course, it will be in the multiple listings, too, for both the east metro area and for Oakland County. If anybody wants a moderately priced house about a mile from the lake in a quiet neighborhood (for the city), on a large lot, take a look. If you've read this journal, you know about some of the potential problems, but I have tried to maintain it as well as possible and I've done all the structural renovations necessary to keep it in good condition.


So that is over with. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the computer, and it is high time I went to bed. The painter will be here tomorrow morning to paint the woodwork in the kitchen. 


I was going to try to take Buster to his doctor tomorrow, but instead, I think I will try to get a haircut. My hair has apparently been growing at a great rate, and I'd like it trimmed before I leave. Buster will have to wait, maybe until Friday, which won't bother him at all.


The weather here was the kind I want to get away from: not terribly warm, but very, very humid. The temperature got into the low 70s, and it was mostly cloudy. It apparently started raining lightly about 6:00. Yuck.


It was yucky in Copper Harbor, too, but there it was cold and foggy. The temperature was about 55 at midnight, but it has been sliding ever since, and is now 39. The wind has been rising to over 15 mph, and the next few days are supposed to be pretty bad - cold and rainy or maybe even snowy, although most of the snow is likely to fall south of Houghton. Oh, that we were there! The weather doesn't matter.


It's supposed to be cool and rainy here, too, for the next few days, but here, "cool' means 50s, not 30s.


So that is the day after, and two more tasks accomplished, and I will work on the rest. I hope the cool rain doesn't affect my legs too much and I can start on getting the house and me ready to leave.


Oh, that we were there!


May 9

I didn't sleep well last night, no surprise, but I think part of it was that it was warm in the house. I had just awakened when Cynthia called me at 8:15, so I jumped up and out of bed. 


Buster cooperated by going out to the porch after he ate, so I shut the screen door on him. He was not pleased, and he let us know it. The only thing is, as he gets older he has to sleep more, and he finally decided he wasn't going to be stuffed in a carrier or thrown in a crate, so he settled down. Cynthia spent some time with him this afternoon, and that helped, too, but he was glad to see his mama when I finally let him out.


It turned out we had plenty of time to finish the packing, because the truck didn't arrive until noon...and it was a full-sized semi. It took them a bit over 7 hours, and since there were only two of them, they didn't dawdle. I think the only thing I forgot was the birdbath, and we have another chance at that. The final total is probably around 13,000 pounds, mostly books, we think.


Cynthia stayed in case they needed something, but as it turned out, she had gotten things arranged well enough that they didn't need much. So we cleaned the fridge and some cupboards in the kitchen, and threw out a large amount of very old packaged stuff which wouldn't be any good at all. My cupboards are barer than they've ever been. We also got some of the stuff I'm taking with me packed up, so that I can see how much room I have for other things.


I am totally exhausted. Even with Cynthia, I ended up doing a lot of walking around and stair climbing, and it feels like it. I think I will sleep tonight.


The weather was beautiful. It was sunny again, and not windy, and the temperature eventually got up to about 70, warm enough to have the back door open and smell the lilacs. Aaahhh...


It wasn't so nice in Copper Harbor. It was cloudy all day long, and there was a respectable amount of rain around noon. The temperature was around 55 except when it rained and it fell to 50 for a while. There wasn't much wind there, either. I was glad to see the rain. We needed it. Tomorrow it shoudl get here.


So all the stuff is gone. The house is still a zoo, but we'll get it straightened out eventually, and it looks very austere with nothing in it. So now I can get my meetings and stuff out of the way, and then I will be free to go...the end of next week, maybe.


Now I need to take one more trip upstairs and crash.. It's done. Wow.


May 8

Aack, what a day! I had postponed the packing of the slides (all of mine plus all of my dad's) until almost 3:00, and I went up stairs to the potty before I began. When I came down the stairs, what did my wondering eyes perceive but about inch of water in the center part of the front of the basement...right where the boxes were! I knew it couldn't have been there long, because I would have seen it before. So I started hauling boxes around and called for help, because no way can I lift those boxes of records and books. One of my contractor's guys was not far away, so he moved the heavy stuff, and I moved the rest, to get it out of the water, which was in a pool about 4 feet in diameter around the drain. There wasn't any water anywhere else in the basement, except a little seepage in the back corner of the back room. I can't imagine what has broken now.


So instead of Cynthia and me finishing up the packing, we had to repack about 10 boxes. The worst casualty was a box of my papers for 2003-2004, far too new to throw out, which was sitting right over the drain. I caught the rest before there was much damage, and there wasn't any to the books or the one box of records that was in the way.


This was not exactly what I had planned for, and now I am really concerned by what the inspector may say. I will hope it dries out before he gets here, and I will try to sweep up the muck and stuff that got onto the floor. Oh, woe.


And I guess that does it for my dream of a finished basement at the other house. Whatever this is, it is going to cost me, I'm afraid.


Anyway, the movers will be here mid-morning tomorrow, and I hope they get everything loaded by dark. About now, I will be glad to get rid of it all.


Again, the weather was too nice to be stuck in the basement. It was clear, and the temperature got up to 72, with light winds in the morning, although they picked up in the afternoon.


In Copper Harbor, it was cloudy all day, although it didn't appear to rain. The temperature got up to 69 briefly, with no wind to speak of. It was interesting that for a while the temperature was warmer in Copper Harbor than it was here. I guess it is supposed to rain tonight, and it has been so dry that we really need it. The rain is headed south and east, too, and I hope it gets here, but not not until after tomorrow.


So that was my not very nice day, and I'm exhausted, so it's off to bed with me. Tomorrow will start early and be a long day. I'll be glad when it's over.


May 7

I'm still tired, even though I slept pretty well last night. 


Church was nice. Today was Good Shepherd Sunday, and we got to sing some very nice hymns and things, but there wasn't communion at 10:45, so we got out early. I came home and spent some time reading a couple of magazines that came. I did get the chairs put back in the kitchen (I wish people would put things back where they find them), and I pulled out the stuff from the porch that will go with the movers - an antique wicker rocker, the cat furniture, and what we've always called the "fernery" - an antique wicker plant stand.


I discovered the other day that the Mother-in-law's Tongue that I have had for 30 years or more finally bit the dust, and I thought it was because it wasn't watered, but when I took the pot out of the fernery, I realized that the opposite is the case - it was over-watered and rotted out at the roots. While I never paid much attention to it, I'm sorry to see it go. When I lived on Hillcrest, it lived in an east window that faced a white wall, and one year, it had a flower. I never knew Mother-in-law's Tongues could flower, and it was a really weird one. Well, I think that is probably one plant I can replace if I want to.


I came downstairs with the intention of packing the slides and accessories, but I was just too tired. So that will have to be tomorrow.


The weather here was nice, but cool. The temperature hung in at around 55, with not much wind, and it was clear and sunny...much too nice to be stuck down in the basement.


In Copper Harbor, it was sunny all day. The temperature dipped down into the upper 30s in the early morning, but it got up to about 53 with very little wind. It was too nice a day to be stuck away in this dirty town. Well, not much longer...


So now I will try to get another good night's sleep and spring into action tomorrow. Buster is running out of canned food, and I don't know if he has enough to last till Friday or not. If not, I will have to run out to the pet supply store in the morning, then pack my (actually, mostly my dad's) slides.


We're getting down to the last gasp, thankfully.


May 6

Tonight it's 7:00, and I'm going to bed soon. I am tired. I got to bed too late last night and had to get up too early this morning, and wow! It was a good thing I did everything yesterday, because I was pretty useless today. The ladies came for a while, and got some more packing done, but Cynthia is going to have to come back to finish up. The laundry room and the shed are picky stuff, although there wasn't all that much stuff in the shed to take. It looks like more, because I'm taking the steel shelving from it. It actually is a storage room behind the garage, and it's about 9' x 12', with a window and double doors, and I wasn't using it very efficiently, as it turns out.


So I fiddled around and did a few things, but certainly not much, and I'm going to bed.


The weather here has turned cool. It just got to 54, but there wasn't much wind and it was sunny. It was good to work in, but not so good for sitting around. 


In Copper Harbor, it was cloudy and dull, and the temperature got barely to 45, but the winds were calm for most of the day. It looks like it may clear up overnight, though.


Well, I guess we'll make it, but we're coming down to the last gasp and there are still things to do. 


May 5

It's 10:00, and I have just finished packing the last (partial) box of books. It's not taped yet, because there is a lot of room left in it. My hands are sore and I'm tired.


I didn't sleep quite as well as I might have thought last night, although I did pretty well. I was up a number of times, and I think part of the problem was that I was stiff.  However, I was up in time to let the painter in.


It seems we had a slight misunderstanding. I thought he would know to paint the doorframes in the kitchen, and he didn't think I wanted them painted...so I ended up with white walls and sort of cream doorframes. He will be back sometime next week to do the doorframes (at extra cost, of course). Oh, well. It's been a while since I've had any painting done, and I guess I always assume people are brighter than they are.


I was pleased, when I went to get the trash barrel this morning, to see that finally, after two weeks, I have some teensy grass blades sticking up in the front. There are so many pear petals on the ground in the back that I can't tell if it has germinated there, too. So that is good. The problem is going to be to try to find somebody who can keep the new grass watered after I leave. I'm not about to postpone my leaving just to coddle some grass. I've always had sort of a love-hate relationship with grass anyway.


I had already started packing when the ladies arrived today, and since there wasn't much left for me to sort, I let Carolyn help Cynthia pack in the laundry room and I attacked the books. My goodness, I have a large library. It comes home when I have to handle each book. I haven't counted the number of boxes, but there must be at least 60. This isn't the first time I have had to pack my books, although there are more this time than ever before, of course. Every time I do it, I wonder why it isn't possible to standardize the sizes of books. It is really hard to pack a book box efficiently because of all the differing widths and heights. I kept ending up with little 3" x 3" columns in one corner. I did well with the old small paperbacks (4 boxes), and with some of my many Dover books, but elsewhere, it was a problem. and there are two, the National Geographic Atlas and a picture book of galaxies, that won't fit in a book box any way at all. So anyway, it's done. Whew.


The weather cooled off today, especially in Copper Harbor. There, it started out cloudy and then cleared up nicely in the afternoon, but the temperature hung in the upper 30s all day. There wasn't much wind, but there was no doubt a bite to the air. Here, it started out clear, then clouded up, and the temperature got up to 65, which is the average high for this time of year. There wasn't much wind, but it was cool enough that, even though the door was closed to the dining room, having the sliding door open to air out the fumes from the paint made the furnace keep running. Finally, I turned it off, just to keep from trying to heat the great out-of-doors. At the price of natural gas these days, I don't need to waste it.


Cynthia will be back tomorrow, and I think we can probably finish everything up. What a job this has been! Am I glad it's over with, or nearly over with! Tuesday will be a hard day, but then it will all be gone, and we can worry about getting things arranged to show.


And I'm tired. I need to be in the field.


May 4

I slept like the dead until about 5:00 this morning, then just dozed...not really enough sleep at all! But I was up and attem when Mark came to begin the painting.


The kitchen looks better already, I have to say, much brighter. White paint fades to a kind of yellow-brown (or it used to), and I'm not sure if the last coat of paint wasn't put on by the guy who always mixed brown with his white. He is coming back tomorrow for the second coat, and on Saturday to remove the tape.


I descended to the nether regions and packed 24 or 25 boxes of vinyl records and books...and my hands and shoulders feel like it! In the middle of the afternoon, after Mark left, I took a short side trip, because it seems now you have to appear at city hall and pay in advance to get the inspector to come. I scheduled it for Wednesday, quite forgetting about Bible class, but oh, well. There is one more class after that, and I will most likely get to that one.


I also visited the bank (this is an incredibly expensive exercise), and the garden store to get a new sprinkler. The garden store was hard, because they have all their spring plants out, and I saw all sorts of things I'd like to have in Copper Harbor...pansies and geraniums and hibiscus and who knows what else. However, there is no way I can carry all that stuff back with me, so it was no use even thinking about it. I've shopped at this garden store forever, and I was surprised to see that they have expanded their shelf space incredibly. Whatever you want, most likely you can get it there. In the face of all the "big box" stores around these days, I imagine that is how the small ones survive. However, my parents got topsoil and supplies from Allemon's, and they've always been there, and I think probably the grandsons of the original Mr. Allemon are running it now. I do hope that eventually I can find something like that in Keweenaw.


When I got home, I had a little lunch, then descended again and finished aff all the boxes that Carolyn put together yesterday. However, I also did a few experiments, and found that, on average, I'm getting approximately one shelf per box, there were about 55 shelves not packed, and we only had 32 boxes. So when Cynthia called to say she was indeed coming to take out the trash, I told her we had a crisis in boxes. Thing is, the guy who did the estimate had no way of knowing how much heavy stuff there is, and that we would be using 'way more small boxes than medium or large ones.


Anyway, after hauling those heavy books and records around all day, my hands are really sore. I had to do a lot of the work standing up, which actually didn't bother me too much except that my toes, where the neuroma is, hurts  again. And I am very tired. About one more trip up the stairs will be all I can manage, but I do want to take a shower tonight and soak my shoulders and hands in hot water.


The weather was much too nice to be down in the basement, for sure. It got up to about 73, with lots of sunshine and moderate winds. The lilacs are in full bloom, and it smells so good around here. Unfortunately, when the lilacs bloom in Copper Harbor, it is usually too cold to get the full effect of their scent. However, it almost always smells good in Copper Harbor (except when somebody is burning something noxious).


It was an in-and-out day in Copper Harbor. There was a lot of sunshine, but in the afternoon, puffy white clouds started showing up, and there is a big dark cloud in the northwest that is going to mean we don't have much of a sunset. The temperature reached about 50, and there was a brisk (20-25 mph) wind out of the northwest that was raising whitecaps on the harbor for a while. Oh, how I wish I was there!


So I guess things are progressing as well as possible. I wish I could pack all the books myself, but then there is a lot of other stuff I should be sorting that I wouldn't be. Every time I go through the books again, I find lots that I bought and haven't read yet, and lots that I have read and liked that I want to read over again. I don't buy much fiction, by the way. Besides all the needlework books (some good ones long out of print), I have a good library of history and biography and more plant books that I knew I had. I also have a fair number of books on writing and the English language. All these things are interests of mine, and I am feeling the need to go on a reading jag again...but first, I'll have to figure out what to do with the books and get them all unpacked.


So that was a busy day, and even though it's very early, I am going to crash.


May 3

I did better last night, and it was a good thing.


Mark the painter came before I left for bible class, but he was gone before I got back. He sanded down the mud and primed it, and tomorrow he will do the final coat. It looks better already, just without all that loose paint hanging down.


Everybody seemed in a jolly mood today at bible class. However, we were studying Isaiah 38, where the king gets sick and complains to God, and the words reminded me so strongly of my mother when she realized she had a terminal illness. God works in mysterious ways, but I still don't really understand why she had to go so young (she was not quite 76). Until she got sick, she still had more energy than I did then. Oh, well.


Then it was home to a quick lunch of goodies I got at the store and we plunged down into the basement. We have only two more shelving units to go through in the laundry room, and then the packing can start there. In the meantime, Carolyn packed up all the odds and ends and moved a lot of stuff out of and around in the front room of the basement so the packing of  books can begin. I will start that tomorrow and try to get as far as I can. That leaves laundry room and the shed to pack. I'm not sure they can get it done on Friday, but we'll see. The more books I can pack tomorrow, the better, so I will try.


After an early dinner, it was off to choir practice, and everybody there was really cheerful. We spent a lot of time laughing. That is the last rehearsal, and the choir sings three more times, mostly easy things. Unfortunately, the members start to drop off at this time of year, but things like choir, bible class and Sunday School have always stopped before the end of May at our church. So I will be able to sing twice more. My high Gs were in place tonight, curiously enough. I guess talking a lot gets my vocal chords lubricated, or something.


It was a really beautiful day today, although it got somewhat warmer than is seasonal. It was sunny with not much wind and the temperature got up into the middle 70s...aaahhh! In Copper Harbor, while it started out cloudy, and there was a little rain early this morning, the afternoon and evening were beautiful, and the temperature was between 55 and 60 for most of the day. The wind picked up into the 15-20 mph range during the afternoon, although it has now died away, and it has switched back to the northwest, where it belongs.


The pear blossoms are beginning to fall, and I hope there are some left to take a picture of tomorrow. They come down a petal at a time, and it looks like it's snowing petals. I left the car out, with the windows open, and the seats were full of petals when I went to choir. So I guess I'll have to get the whole car done when I get it washed...whenever that is. The lilacs are out, and the whole neighborhood smells heavenly with the fragrance of spring flowers.


So it looks like we may make it in time for the movers after all. I have a bunch of errands to run tomorrow, however. I need to go to the bank, and my old, old flip-flop sprinkler finally has given up the ghost, so in order to keep the front seed wet, I will have to run to the garden store and get a new one. Nuts. I'd hoped not to have to do that. I have one in Copper Harbor, and I don't think I really need two, but I won't leave any really good garden equipment here...however, that's for the next phase.


And now I'd better crawl up to the upper story and crash.


May 2

It wasn't such a good night last night. Probably I was warm, but mostly I got to thinking about everything that was going on and wondering if we'll ever make it. We will, but it will be tight. The movers will be here next Tuesday, so we have to be ready, like it or not.  Anyway, I was awake from about 2:00 until almost 6:00, so I wasn't at my best today.


I walked around and made a list of things I noticed, and so when Cynthia got here, we did a walkthrough. I think things will be ok, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.


While they worked upstairs on getting all that stuff together, I attacked the corner at the bottom of the basement stairs, and that is all sorted and ready to pack...or throw out. Tomorrow I think that if Cynthia isn't available to start on the laundry room - where I need her - I will start packing books. I'm not quite sure where I will put the boxes, but I'll figure that one out. And I can do books on Thursday, when she won't come.


Mark the painter came and mudded up the places he primed yesterday, and tomorrow he will sand, then he can begin the actual painting, so that will be taken care of.


Then it is Terry the financial advisor, Rich the realtor, the city inspector, and Buster's shots. After that, I'll be free to go. I don't think I'll make it by Mother's Day, but maybe the week after. Cynthia has volunteered to oversee cleaning, any wall and carpet washing that needs doing, as well as a run-through to get things neatened up. Bless her. I have about had it here.


The weather wasn't very inspiring. It wasn't cold - between 55 and 60 here and 55 in Copper Harbor-  but it was dark and cloudy both places. It rained in the harbor this morning, and here for most of the afternoon. Yuck, but we really need the rain.


This evening, I finally called Shirley back. She called me on Good Friday, and I just didn't get around to returning her call. She sounded good, and things are going on in Copper Harbor, and her granddaughter is getting married this weekend, but it's still early in the season. It's the time of year I really love it in the harbor. Drat. Well, next year...


So the DSL went away while I was on the phone, and when I got it back, I couldn't connect to my music, so I will just publish this and go to bed. So there. Poo.


And I miss the field more every day.


May 1

I slept well last night, and it seems like I can do well on 9 hours' sleep a night, provided I actually sleep. It's when I'm up half a dozen times a night or I lie awake for two or three hours that it gets to be a problem.


So I arose at 8:30, because I didn't know when Cynthia or Mark the painter were coming, and I ended up sitting around and waiting for people. 


Mark came first and scraped and primed the places in the ceiling where the paint was peeling off. The good news about that is, the peeling is from incompatible paint, not water damage. Whew! The best guess is that somebody put oil paint over latex without priming first. It doesn't surprise me. We've had various painters, some good and some not so good, over the years. Like the one who painted my bedroom closets with oil paint. Never, never let anybody do that! After 13 years, the inside of my clothes closet still smells like oil paint, and probably all my clothes do, too. He is the same one who painted over the wall plugs, which is my criterion for the worst of painters.


Anyway, Cynthia didn't turn up until after noon. She said she would be here today, but she didn't say afternoons only. The packing is coming along, I think almost everything upstairs is packed, and they brought some of the stuff downstairs just to have a little more room. I think we may make it, although she had forgotten about the CDs.


I actually didn't do very much. I moved things out of the kitchen so that Mark could paint, which involved a lot of standing and messed up my right foot as much as my knees. So I came downstairs and got most of the magazines packed (of course, they never fit evenly into the available boxes). I finally got around to folding my wash, and found that, as usual, the grease stains hadn't come out of the Eddie Bauer stuff. There was also a pair of jeans that hadn't come clean. So I rewashed them, and I had to wash one T-shirt twice, but everything is clean now, except for the stuff that had gotten down the chute since I washed (hmm, should have washed that, too...). I began on the old cabinet that is at one end of the basement and has a huge pile of old towels on it. I need those towels. There were some that had gotten dirty, and I found a few more pieces of my nightgown fabric, so I washed all that, too, and I piled up the towels more or less neatly. There is a bunch of stuff on that cabinet that I will have to decide what to do with, but my legs and my foot were really sore, so I didn't do a lot.


The weather here was nice, but there were some clouds that made it not too sunny. The temperature got up to 70 for a while, with a nice wind. In Copper Harbor, it was 55 and mostly cloudy all day, although on toward sunset there was one of those cloud formations that hang over the land, while the lake is clear, frustrating everybody.


This morning, I was going to try to take a few pictures of the spring flowers, since there is a good chance I won't see them again, but the batteries in the camera had died. I'm beginning to wonder if there is something wrong with the camera again, because I don't think it used to do that. Well, tomorrow. A few petals are beginning to fall off the pear tree already, and I do want to get a picture of the pear blossoms, at least. 


I may try to take a sprig of the gooseberry with me. There is one sort of out in the middle of the bed that isn't too big. I don't know if it will survive in Copper Harbor, but I want to try. I would miss that lovely fragrance in the spring. The quince is in flower, too, and I will look at that with the thought of taking a piece of it. And the hostas. Hostas are so expensive to buy, and I've never understood it, because they grow like weeds. Where in the truck I will put all this, I don't know, but I want to try. I apparently have a gallon and a half of Finale, which should do a job on the weeds, even if they are getting big. I don't like to use chemicals, in general, but there comes a time when nothing else will do.


So that was a quiet Monday, and it's time to crawl upstairs again. I wonder if I'll ever get out of here.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM