A View From the Field








July, 2006



July 31

Something strange happened while I was busy living my life. i got to be 65 years old. I can't believe it! How could I possibly be that old? I certainly don't feel like it. It would tend to depress me, except that five years ago, I wasn't sure I would ever make it to this year.


It was pretty late when I got to bed last night, as usual, but I slept long and hard. Once, when I got up, I could see lightening in the north, but the squall stayed north of us out over the lake. And at 8:30 this morning, when I got up and went right back to bed, there were a couple of rumbles that sounded like the mother of all motorcycles starting up, also out over the lake, and that passed by.


The temperature was still pretty reasonable - in the low 70s - when I finally did get up, but the wind started to blow out of the southwest, in the 15-20 mph range, and it warmed up fast. In fact, it was so windy that I didn't put out the bird feeders until around 4:00. Right about then, we hit our high of 91. Then the wind stopped (really - went calm) and the temperature started dropping, and by 5:00 it was in the low 70s. That's why I love this place. It did warm back up a bit, into the high 70s, because there wasn't a consistent lake breeze, but it's dropping now, and it looks like it may be a good sleeping night again.


That was a purely local phenomenon, by the way. It was still 91 in Houghton until after 8:00, and it has now dropped only to 88. And that is the advantage of living beside the big, beautiful heat sink.


It looked for a while that we were in for some rain, and there may still be some, but the squall that was over Isle Royal and apparently headed right for us has now somewhat dissipated and headed off toward the northeast. It is cloudy, though, and anything might happen.


I had invited the nice people I had dinner with Friday to join me, and we had a lovely dinner at Harbor Haus, and that was fun. And just a little while ago, Arthur (my cousin in Virginia) called, and that was lovely, too, so it has been a nice day altogether. 


I guess I will get used to being a real senior citizen eventually.


July 30

Well, I did it! I actually found the top of my desk and the computer desk! I won't say it's neat around here, but it is perceptibly better.


I was wakeful in the middle of the night, and while I was sitting staring at the floor, I decided that today I would finish sorting the small batch of beads I had been working on and put them all away for a while, then I would tackle the office. I now have three bags of trash, and I'm not through. But the desk and the computer desk are clean and cleaned off enough that I can use them. I worked from right to left, and I stopped right before the sewing machine. Of course, there are piles all over, but they are neat piles, and I know what's in them. The desk surfaces are black Formica, which means they are easy to clean up.


While I was working on that, I was watching an area of rather heavy rain that came across the far western part of the lake, heading southeast. For some time it looked like it would hit us, but it went quite a way further south. Houghton got some light rain, and we didn't get any. The rain was associated with a stationary front that was right over us, and moved back and forth a bit. So long as that front stays south of us, we're OK. It was humid but not very warm - the temperature varies between 70 and 75 and the dew point was around 65. Not bad, considering the forecasts, but not a day to do any heavy work.


Late the afternoon, the rain clouds went away, and it was nearly clear at sunset. Last night, after I posted this thing and went out to get the bird feeders, there was a very nice crescent moon in the west, that the camera caught, but the pictures aren't very good. Too wide an angle and too grainy. The moon was there tonight, too, and it showed in the last picture, again too wide angle, making it look very small, and too grainy. It was pretty to watch, though, sort of pale gold, and it made a dim yellow path on the water.


I almost forgot to mention that the camera driver got hung up yesterday, and even though the time changed, the picture never changed all day long, until I rebooted just in time to catch the last of the sunset pictures. I don't know why it does that, but every so often it will happen. Since it was  a Saturday, I doubt anybody noticed. It was fine today.


They are predicting that even we, here in the northwoods, will have very hot temps tomorrow and Tuesday. I do hope not, but at least some of us will get to go to Harbor Haus and enjoy their air conditioning. I decided to go for the party tomorrow, and it should be nice.


So that was my day, and I actually accomplished something I can see.


July 29

It was a good night to sleep last night, and I did. As the temperature dropped, I went from the sheet to the sheet blanket to the comforter, and when I got up this morning, I shut most of the windows in the north end. I seem to be getting the upper hand on the cellulitis, and my legs weren't nearly so itchy and prickly for the second night in a row. It looks better, too, and some of the blisters are going away.


The temperature dropped from 70 at midnight to 57 at 10:00 this morning, and it wasn't until 8:00 tonight that it approached 65 again. There was a light northeast wind for most of the day, and it was a bit cool, but nice for a change. It was cloudy for most of the day, but late in the afternoon, it cleared up and it has been a beautiful evening, even though there is a cloud or two in the west. 


I did up the pans in the sink, and I sorted beads again. This batch has a lot of the clear crystal and pale turquoise beads I want, unfortunately, so I may just keep on sorting. Or I may put it aside for a while and use some of the beads. We'll see.


Tonight was dinner at Nancy and Chip's, with the rest of the people they gather with in the summer, and it was very pleasant. They are a wonderful host and hostess and I like all of them. 


Buster greeted me like I had been gone forever, rather than about 3 hours, but he will have to get used to this. It happens once in a while.


In the middle of the night last night, for reasons that weren't apparent on shore, the lake began kicking up quite a bit. I could hear it, with the bathroom window open, and I kept wondering why that happened. I guess there were squalls out over the lake, but there wasn't much wind and very little rain - just enough to dampen the deck - here. There were still some nice breakers when I got to Chip and Nancy's tonight, but now it has all calmed down again. It is neat to hear in the night. I wish there was a way I could pipe in that sound when it's so cold out that I have to have the windows shut, and it's the thing I enjoy most about summer. 


So now to bed, maybe at a reasonable hour?


July 28

I did get to bed a bit earlier last night, but I did not sleep well. I was having a hard time with the temperature. The sheet blanket was too much and just the sheet wasn't enough, and besides, the wind was blowing. Around 5:00 the wind did finally drop, but then around 8:00 the temperature started to rise from its overnight low of about 71. At 9:00 Buster routed me out of bed, and by that time, the temperature was 79 and the wind had shifted around to the northwest and started to pick up.


As I've said before, Buster doesn't like wind, and he made a pest of himself all day.


The temperature peaked at 82 between 10:00 and noon, but the wind had picked up into the 15-20 mph range and the dew point was in the low 50s, so it was actually quite comfortable. The temperature dropped off into the middle 70s later on, but unfortunately the dew point started rising, and now that the wind has dropped to almost nothing, it isn't very comfortable again. 


There were stars out last night, but not very bright ones. Too much water in the atmosphere, I think. But when my eyes adjusted to the dark after I turned out the light, there was a very definite light glow in the north. I actually got back up and put on my glasses, but most of the glow was behind the trees, and I was not about to walk (or drive) over to Pebble Beach to look. I just checked the Solar-Terrestrial Dispatch, and there were three sightings, one from Minnesota last night, so I wasn't dreaming. It was fairly bright, but it didn't get above 30 in the sky. So I went back to trying to get to sleep.


My main activity of the day was paying the month end bills and taking them to the post office. There were a bunch, and it took a while.


I did sort beads for a while, and I finished the first pass through the little beads, although it seems I missed a lot of the medium sized ones, as I usually do. There is just no way to avoid that unless I consider each bead individually every time I go through them. I did a bit on separating the uglies (yellow, orange and gray) and the metallics from the little beads, and as I suspected, there are a lot of the same beads as there were in the other kilos. There seem to be more reds and fewer turquoise, as well as a lot fewer pearls, in this batch, but that may be just because I have only started the sorting. I am thinking about not going much further right now, and starting some jewelry.

We'll see when I am not so tired.


I talked to Chip (Nancy's husband) tonight, and apparently there will be some sort of gathering tomorrow night at their place. Suzanne had mentioned going to the Mountain Lodge, but I'd bet Nancy will have her way. Chip suggested a solution to the bookshelf problem that I hadn't even thought of, so I will have to talk to him further about that. He agrees with me, though, that I don't want pre-finished shelves, because they warp. They sure do, and I have had enough experience with both pre-finished and plywood shelves to know what I want. So that has been fruitful already. 


I noticed, when I went into the kitchen a while ago, that the sun has now moved south of the white pine in my neighbor's yard, so it is well started on its inexorable march south.


So even though it's a bit early (for me), I think i will try to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight and haul myself back to human hours. I hope there won't be so much wind tonight, so that I will be able to sleep a little better, and Buster won't be such a pest.


July 27

I don't know what possessed me last night, but I just didn't want to go to bed. So it was 2 am before I did, and I got my full 9 hours, so this is another truncated day. I would have said I slept well, but I was definitely overtired, and I didn't feel very robust today. So I did the usual nothing. 


I am managing to keep the kitchen sort of neat. I keep forgetting that if I put the dishes in the dishwasher the day after I use them, and I don't leave stuff lying around on the counters, it is much neater and nicer. I will try to remember. Of course, tonight there is a broiler pan in the sink, which I will have to take care of tomorrow. 


I actually cooked something to eat tonight, wonder of wonders. I had an old steak that had gotten buried in the freezer, but was surprisingly good in spite of that, and the very last of my beets from last fall. This year I must try to get more beets and freeze them. They freeze very well, and I like beets. I think I was planning that last year, then I ate them all, or something. I only had a very small serving left, but they were good.


The weather...oh, yeah. The temperature was around 65 all night, and it got up to about 74 today. By the time I got out of bed, it was getting warm, so I opened up the bedroom and the south windows in the office. There has been hardly any breeze for the past 24 hours, and the dew point has been between 60 and 65...read very humid. Even the effort of eating makes me sweat. At least it isn't 85, and I have ceiling fans.


Since I had no intention of going out today, I broke out a pair of shorts and a sleeveless top and my flip-flops, so I was as comfortable as could be. My feet didn't seem to swell more than usual, which was good, and my legs felt better for most of the day. I really should have put my feet up, but it's hard to do that and do anything at the computer or the desk. 


I am making good progress on the sorting. First I took out all the really big beads, then the medium ones - 6/0, I think. I am almost done with the 6/0s. which leaves all the little ones and the tiny ones. There are beads in there I want, but I think I will stop for a while after I finish the 6/0s and use some of the ones I have already sorted. I keep thinking about clear crystal with matte crystal...either a helix or maybe a snowflake bracelet. We'll see. I want to try some clear monofilament, which will be an interesting experiment. None of the published designers use it, but I don't know why. From a design standpoint, it would be the best thing to use with clear crystal beads. So we'll see.


I forgot to mention that I ran into Cindy yesterday, and Shirley's week in Marquette has been the disaster we were all afraid of. They started her treatment on Monday without giving her any anti-nausea meds, and when she reacted, it took them four hours to decide what to do about it, or apparently even find a doctor to order the meds. They ended up admitting her to the hospital, but the only way they could do it was through the ER. I guess Tuesday and Wednesday were a bit better, but all of that is just simply outrageous. In this day and age, there is absolutely no reason to allow a person to vomit for four hours...or even once. At least now we have a strong argument. She was afraid if she went somewhere else, they would want to do the bone marrow biopsy again, which they might, considering. However, I don't believe (and I'm speaking from experience here) even a bone marrow biopsy is anywhere near as bad as what she went through on Monday.


I know Cindy is outraged, and so am I, and I hope Donny and the others are, too. She needs to be someplace where they know what they are doing.


I think I will just reboot the system before I publish this. It has been acting like it's low on resources for the past hour or so, and I might just save myself some pain by rebooting first. Oh, the joys of computing!


July 26

What a yucky night and day! It didn't get particularly cool last night - around 70 all night - but it was very humid and there were a couple of little rain showers, which didn't help at all with comfort. And it was around 70 with a dew point around 65 all day. Everything feels damp, and the towels haven't dried at all. Yuck.


It didn't keep me from sleeping very much, however. And right after I got up this morning, I was sitting by the open bathroom window when I heard something that sounded like a hiss or a sneeze, and my local deer heaved herself to her feet at the back of the drain field. Something had startled her, because she stood at full alert with her ears going in all directions for several minutes before she slowly walked off into the bushes. I don't think I startled her, because she was looking toward the road mostly. I haven't seen her lately, but evidently there is a spot at the north end of the drain field that she has claimed as one of her sleeping spots. It's even more protected now because there is a good stand of tansy there. I would never have known she was there if she hadn't stood up, and a month or so ago, I could see her when she was lying down.


That was about the only excitement of the day, except for the checks in the mail. Evidently American Express was screwing around with their customers' accounts, and they finally settled with the SEC and NASD, to my benefit. I had gotten a letter from them a week or so ago, but I still get so much garbage from them that I ignored it until today. When I read it, I trotted right off to the post office, and there was my money. Pennies from heaven, as they say. I wanted to tell Terry about it, but I couldn't get hold of him. Terry, if you read this, call me please.


That all made me rather cheerful, despite the handful of bills that also were stuffed in my box, including one that took about two weeks to get forwarded and is now technically late. Needless to say, I got on the phone and changed my mailing address. There will probably be a number of those things before I get it all straight. It's one more reason I hate to move.


The bead sorting continues. the other kilo of beads does have a similar selection of small beads in it, including some more of the pretty gold metallic ones, and I saw a few turquoise and a few pink, so I guess I will sort some more, although I'm getting an itch to use some of those beads to make something.


So now there is a cool, damp breeze coming in the east windows (even though the NWS says the wind is from the west??) and it's time to call it a day.


July 25

I was up far too late last night, but I did get the sorting to the point where I finished it today. Then I separated the really big beads from the fairly big beads and took out some drops (they are cute) and some real uglies. I decided to look at the kilo that was in unopened packages. It looks like the big beads are pretty much the same, but the little beads may be completely different. It was getting too dark to see by that time. I will look at them tomorrow.


One of my E-friends, stopped by for a few minutes with Buster's favorite cat food (thank you again, Rose!) and we had a nice conversation. She is a serious birder, and she has seen birds I'll never see, but then, she is out in the woods early in the morning, whereas I just don't make it.


The weather was so-so. There was sunshine and clouds, and the temperature for most of the day was in the 70-75 range. However, it was very humid - dew points in the middle 60s - and around 5:00, there was a sudden jump to 84! It's dropping off now, but it's still humid. there was not much wind, and it came from all over. Now there is a line of showers and storms coming toward us from the southwest, so we may have rain overnight. It wasn't the best day, weather-wise.


I am still tired, even though I (supposedly) got my full 9 hours' sleep. I was wakeful. Part of the problem is that it has been so humid for the past few days that everything feels damp and clammy, including the bedding. Part of it is the cellulitis, which is still keeping me awake at times, although it isn't so itchy anymore. Now it prickles, and that is nearly as annoying. I am treating it with ointment, and I will just have to be patient with it.


So now to bed, hopefully before midnight!

July 24

At least I made it into bed before midnight last night. I slept rather well in spots, but I have a nasty case of cellulitis (however did that happen??), and in the middle of the night my legs got so itchy I couldn't sleep. Right now, they are both stinging like crazy. However, eventually it did settle down to the extent that I could get back to sleep. 


It was cloudy almost all night, and a couple of times that I was up, I saw a few flashes of lightening, but did not hear any thunder. I had closed the porch door, because the weather forecast said it was going to get cold last night, but early in the morning, it was so warm that I attempted to open it.


At that point, a 15-20 mph wind was blowing in, and first it closed the door, and when I reopened it, it slammed the bedroom door. So if Buster had had a notion to come in and join me, he couldn't have. By the time I got up, the sky had cleared, but the wind was still blowing at 20-26 mph, and it was in the low 70s. Tolerable.


I haven't yet learned to predict when the weather forecast for the nightly lows will apply here. Usually, but not always, there is less variation in temperature between day and night here than, say, in Houghton. Last night they were predicting lows in the mid 50s, I think, but it certainly never even approached 60 here.


I didn't put out the bird feeders until about noon, when the wind had shifted to the northwest and dropped to almost nothing. The temperature had dropped into the middle 60s - no surprise there - but without much wind, it was pretty nice. Then an unscheduled cloud bank rolled over, which lasted a couple of hours before it cleared up again and it is now lovely again. The weather around here is so much fun.


I unloaded the dishwasher (!), and put my two dirty dishes in it. But the big thing was: I washed. I was down to my last pair of jeans, pretty much, and the pile of underwear was getting rather low. So I washed three loads, the last of which is almost ready to go into the dryer. I will have to wash nearly  half of the tops over again. I have been eating rather messily lately, and there were grease spots on five or six tops that didn't come out. I should have let them sit after I pre-treated them, I guess, but I have been dissatisfied with the detergent I'm using. It is also true that Eddie Bauer cotton knits just are very difficult to get grease out of. I was going to sell most of my old woven cottons for tops, but I am starting to rethink that. When I am on Champine in October, I will have to go through all that stuff and consider what I might keep to make summer shirts out of.


Along about 4:00, Mac came by and took the tractor out for a spin. I've been wondering how long he could stay away from it. Actually, one of our neighbors on Lake Fanny Hooe has a tractor almost like ours, and he was able to show Mac some things about how it works.  Or at least that was his excuse. It is a much nicer thing than the one they used last winter, as well as being much bigger and more powerful. It has at least a 4' blower on the front, which should make it much easier to do the road...probably in most places two swipes will do it.


I did sort beads for a while and discovered a more efficient order to sort them in, so that is coming along fairly well. It turns out that there are a lot of chalk white beads, as well as a lot of clear crystal and matte finish crystal, and I have been thinking about summer jewelry...There aren't as many of the pale turquoise transparent beads as I'd hoped, but there may be enough to do a bracelet or two. And then, I have another kilo that should have something like the same assortment. I thought I would take that out of the bags it came in and just look at it, and put it in ziploc bags, which are much sturdier. And if there are more transparent turquoise, transparent blue, and pearl, I may have to sort them, too. I guess I hope not. It's time to begin using some of the stuff I have mined.


So that was my rather quiet and mundane day. I have just put the re-wash load back in the washer, but I don't know if I will get it dried tonight. Tomorrow, it's sheets and towels, then I have to put all that stuff away. Yuck. However, it should be done for another three or four weeks. When I think that for all the years I worked (33) I washed clothes every Saturday or Sunday, I certainly have backslid. Oh, well. Things like that aren't so important anymore.


July 23

I was really late last night, and I guess I had a rather restless night, so I slept very late this morning. Even then, I didn't get all the sleep I needed, so I will try to do it again tonight.


It was clear during the night, and I could see the two end stars in the Little Dipper's bowl, but by the time I made it out of bed this morning, it had clouded up, and it was a cloudy, dreary day. The temperature did get up to 68 for a while, but it seemed chilly, and around the time I left for dinner, it started to dribble rain. There was never enough rain to wet the deck under the bird feeder tree, and eventually it stopped and the wind picked up. It's now down to 62 or so, and it is supposed to be a cool night, with possibly more rain, although so far most of it has been south of us.


I actually accomplished something today. The kitchen was such a disaster it was unsanitary, and it finally got to even me, so I cleared the decks - nearly a whole 30 gallon bag of miscellaneous stuff - washed the dishes and cleaned the sink and counters. It hardly looks like my kitchen right now, but it's nice to have it clean (or cleaner, I guess) for a change. I must try to do better. It was really yucky in there.


So that was about the extent of my activities. I ate brunch so late that I wasn't hungry for dinner, and I did sort beads for a while. It was really too gloomy for that kind of activity, though.


After dinner, Buster sat on my lap, first in the desk chair then in the ugly chair,  for a long time. When he finally went away, I hauled out the embroidery for a change, and I worked on that by the light of the daylight lamp, which may have been visible in the camera pictures. If so, I'm sorry, but I wanted to be able to see what I was doing, and just sitting and knitting didn't appeal. I even made a little progress on the angel.


And that was a rather truncated day, and it is my intention to jump into bed soon and try to get caught up on my sleep. Of course, that depends upon whether I can get this to upload easily or not. We'll see.


July 22

I was late again, but not as late as I'm going to be tonight. It seems I just can't keep from sitting and thinking before I got to bed, and time passes. Tonight, I was reading, and listening to the quiet, until I drove Buster crazy.


It was a lovely day today, sunny and cool for most of the day. The official temperature only got to 68, but there was almost no wind at all, so it was nice out. I could probably close the windows now, but I'm not going to, even though the temperature now is in the middle 50s. It will be another good night to sleep.


So I did my little nothings, and the list of things I'm not doing is getting longer all the time, but that's all right.


Dinner tonight was with Shirley and two of her daughters, and we had a good time. She will be going to Marquette tomorrow evening, and she may or may not be back next weekend, depending up on how they decide to do the treatments. So I wished her my best, and I am praying for her. It isn't going to be fun, and all we can hope is that she can tolerate it and it works.


When it began to get dark, I sat in the ugly chair with a cat on my lap for a while, and when he went off, I started reading as well as knitting. Not long before I got up, he decided he wanted to sit on me, and he did everything he could think of to make me put down the book. He ended up lying in the box of yarn for the knitted afghans, kicking several skeins on the floor while he settled in. He really doesn't look very comfortable, but he is still there.


So I got up and turned on the lights and began to bring in the bird feeders. When I went to reach for the big wooden one, which had gotten turned in a strange direction, there huddled on one corner was a little tan squirrel with big black eyes. He was frozen there for quite a while, but finally, he took off into the tree. I missed his move, but I am sure it was a flying squirrel, because no regular squirrel would have jumped in the direction he went - down and toward the trunk. I wish I had seen him go. He is a real cutie, and I'm sorry I had to interrupt his dinner, but I really don't want to leave that feeder out overnight. It may be sturdy enough to survive falling eight feet or so, but it would be just my luck to have it break. And besides, I do not want to start feeding a bear. I had heard some strange noises outside, that sounded almost like something splashing into the lake, but I'm pretty sure it was the squirrel. Ah, the joys of living in the woods!


So that is all the excitement of the day, and it's time to head up to the north end.


July 21

Same old story about bedtime. I ended up sitting in the bathroom, staring at the floor and thinking about jewelry and shelves. So it was late when I got to  bed, and it was very late when I got up. I didn't see any stars when I was up in the night, but the thin sliver of moon had risen over the trees, and I didn't see any clouds around it, so I guess it was at least partly clear, but not very good seeing.


It did get down below 55, not during the night, but around 8:00 this morning. By the time I got up, it was mostly cloudy and there was very little breeze at all. It was a day when I should have gotten out and sprayed, but I just didn't feel up to it. I got up with sort of a headache, and it felt like a good day to do nothing, which I did.


It eventually cleared up, and the afternoon was sunny and nice, with a temperature that eventually got to 75. While I was at dinner, the wind shifted around from the north-northeast to the northwest, and it picked up briefly to 17-27 mph. It has died down again, and the temperature has fallen into the upper 60s, so it looks to be another good sleeping night.


This weather is wonderful for people like me, who can't tolerate heat. Come on up - it's dead around here, and we need the business.


Well, it's not quite dead. I have a lot of neighbors right now, and mostly they are nice quiet people and all I ever hear are kids laughing...except when they go away and leave their dogs out. Yesterday a dog barked continuously for two hours, and today, there were two of them. Funny thing, they didn't bark at the same time. One of them was worse than the other, but when he shut up, the other started. I guess there are some dogs that just cannot be trained not to bark, and both of these sounded like the little, yappy type who drive me nuts anyway. Fortunately, I think both belong to people who work and are  on their vacations, so in a week or so they should go away.


Oh, yes - I was at dinner. Around 6:30, Shirley called from Mariner and said, hey, where are you? I was really surprised, because when we talked, I didn't think she would be back until tomorrow. However, whatever her appointments today were, they didn't last long, so she had lunch with her friend in Hancock and Donny brought her back  this afternoon. Her car is still in Hancock, but somebody in the family will bring it back over the weekend. She is still going to Marquette on Monday, or rather, Sunday night, but I really wish she wouldn't. It sounds like it's more for the hospital's sake than for hers.


Anyway, it was nice to see her, and she is still feeling good after having gotten blood and platelets, so that was nice.


When I got home, I pulled out and restarted the bracelet, but my hands felt like all thumbs, and I didn't get very far on it. I do have to sit down and think about what sold and what didn't, and make a list of things to make. If I can keep at it at all over the winter, by next spring I should have enough for a nice display. I hope so. I'm not charging very much for anything, considering the work I put into it, but nine or ten pieces can add up to a nice chunk of change...enough for some more beads. I guess that was my original thought, to make enough to fund my stash building. Maybe it will work, after all?


So now it's late again, and I feel the need for more sleep.


July 20

I didn't get to bed all that early last night, although it was earlier than the night before, and it was a good night to sleep. The temperature actually peaked out at 77 at 2 am, and it has been dropping slowly ever since, and is now down to about 65. There was a light breeze all night, and I did pull up the sheet blanket sometime during the night.


I was up around 4 am, and the handle of the Big Dipper was just visible behind the trees...the Dipper is trying to get a bowl full of Lake Superior water...but the moon had just risen above the trees in the east, in some clouds, and I couldn't see Polaris.


I just kept right on sleeping, and didn't get up until 10:30. It was a beautiful sunny morning, with a light breeze from the north, and the temperature was around 70. Can't ask for much more than that.


I realized that it was time to write some checks, so I attended to that,  and I finally hooked up with Peggy, and we settled up between us. She took everything I had made, so now I have the money for more beads...actually, I think I've already spent that. However...


I also got the news on Shirley, and it isn't good. The treatment just zapped her platelets completely, so they have had to discontinue it and give her more transfusions. The doctor is planning to send her to Marquette on Monday, but the family wants her to go to the Marshfield clinic, which is better known for cancer treatment, or to Mayo, which is certainly renowned. If she has to go out of the area, better she go to a place with a good reputation. 


And she called me tonight. She sounded very tired, and she had apparently been sleeping, but she still isn't sure what she wants to do. She is planning to come back to the harbor on Saturday, and I hope the family can get together and decide their next course. One of the ladies in town as offered to go with her, so I hope that will help decide her.


So all that is a downer, for sure. I would certainly go to a place with a good reputation, and I told her so, but that decision is up to her and her family. All I can do is pray.


I sorted beads for a while tonight, and I started another experimental bracelet, Besides the pretty pale turquoise transparent beads, which I haven't gotten to yet, there are some equally pretty pale pink pearls, which I need to something with. 


Peggy loved the necklace, so I will be doing more of those, a little longer and with clasps. She was talking about putting together a display "by local artist"...ahem. I never claimed to be an artist, just an artisan. However, if she wants to do that, I need to come up with a lot more stuff. All the twisted blue necklaces but one have sold, so I can do more of those, this time with 20 lb test fishing line, so they don't break. And I have a few more new things I'd like to try.  So maybe this will work after all. Nothing like a little cash to inspire me...


Last night, I had to reboot the computer before I could upload this successfully, and the same thing could happen tonight, so I guess I'll get at it. It is supposed to cool off tonight, which should mean good sleeping again. Zzzzzzzzzzzz...


July 19

I got to bed too late last night, and even though I slept well, it wasn't nearly long enough. i was comfortable with the porch door closed, but I really didn't need to close it, since the temperature stayed at 68 all night. Tonight I will leave it open. It seemed to be more windy than the weather station reports, but then, when the wind is from the southwest, they are shielded by the hills, whereas I'm more out in the open.


Anyway, it was clear, and there were stars, but I didn't stop to look at them much . Zzzzzzzzzzzz....


It was a really lovely day today. It was nearly clear almost all day long, and while the temperature got up to 79. there was enough of a breeze that it didn't seem too warm. Zzzzzzzzz...


Which is about what I did. I went to the post office, and the bills I was waiting for came, and otherwise I did not much. One of these days I will have to do something...


I have been meaning to mention some things I've been hearing. The other evening when I had the bathroom window open, I kept hearing something that sounded like a low but rhythmic growl. I have no clue what that was. I have had the window in the powder room open and occasionally the window in the closet, both of which look out on the septic tank, and in the middle of the afternoon, I keep hearing a low, quiet sound like the cork being turned in a wine bottle. I suspect that is a toad maybe?


And for the past week, in the mornings I have been hearing lots of high-pitched, urgent cheeping from the bushes north of the house and occasionally from the trees south of the house. I gather that something has fledged and is a bit stressed about it. This afternoon, a chickadee up in the feeder tree, I think, was singing his song. The notes are similar to his call, but it doesn't have the urgency of the call. I haven't heard that in a while, and I guess it means all was well in his little world.


Sometime early in the morning, Buster caught something, but it didn't live long, and he didn't eat it. He made a mournful "mrow", like he was disappointed. This morning, I discovered that it was a vole, which is smaller than a mouse and evidently not so fast and not so tough. At least he didn't eat it, and there wasn't any blood, but I did have to pick it up and put it in the trash, but either vole is not so tasty as mouse or he has learned his lesson after throwing up two. Time will tell.


That's all right. I don't want voles in my house, either, and Buster is still be best mouse trap I have ever found. He was hungry for breakfast, and while he slept most of the day, he did look quite satisfied with himself. I guess he knows what his job in this house is.


So that is another idyllic day in the field, and just maybe I can get to bed a tad earlier tonight?


July 18

The temperature got down to about 60 last night, which made it a very good night to sleep, and I did. I think there were some stars, but I didn't spend much time looking. It was a beautiful day, too, clear and sunny with a light breeze from the north. The temperature got up to about 76 late in the afternoon, but there was still enough breeze that it didn't feel too warm. There was a large dark cloud in the west at sunset, and I don't know quite what that bodes, but it was a lovely day.


I didn't do much again, but that's all right.


I have been meaning to mention the smell of summer. Each season has its own peculiar, strong, lovely smell around here. In summer, it is the smell of sweet grass and pine and cedar, when the sun warms them up. It is heavenly to just breathe. After it rains, and everything is wet, it is even stronger and lovelier. Of course, at this time of year, there is occasionally the smell of campfires from the fort, but it's been warm enough lately that I haven't smelled much of that. I can get high just breathing sometimes.


Buster clearly likes it as much as I do. He has been sleeping under the east windows of the office quite a bit, and in the morning, he lies in the window, between the frame and the screen and just basks in the sunshine. I know he is much happier when the house is opened up, so long as it's warm enough. I think he was sleeping in the closet again last night, because there was a breeze coming in off the porch.


There was some noise during the night that made me suspect he might have gotten a mouse, but if so, he dispatched it with no apparent aftereffects. It could have been a bug, too, but I wasn't about to jump out of bed and find out what he had. he knows his business thoroughly by now.


Tonight I sat in the ugly chair and read for a while, which was nice, although it probably messed up the last pictures from the camera.


And now it's time for bed again, and it looks to be another good sleeping night.


July 17

I was tired when I went to bed last night, and I thought I would sleep well, but I didn't. It was warm and humid and windy (at least out here), and whenever the sleeping conditions change so rapidly, it takes me several days to acclimate. It seems that the temperature actually rose all night long, topping out at 84 around 8:00 this morning. I did wake up then, thinking it was rather warm, but I went back to sleep. By the time I did finally get up, the temperature had dropped back to 72, on its way down to 64, and the wind had shifted to the north, and my left hand, which had been out side the sheet, was cold.


Not that I'm complaining a bit, you understand! The dew point was still pretty high then, but it has dropped all day long, while the temperature settled down in the 70s. When it did get up to 77, late in the day, the dew point was about 50, which is very comfortable indeed.


I was a bit groggy from lack of sleep, and I had a little headache this morning, so I had another quiet day. I did do some reading, and I sorted beads. I finally realized that there are some light turquoise transparent beads in the assortment that go beautifully with copper. However, when I started to try to get them out, I realized that I have to remove several other colors - pink, green, and black, especially, before I can successfully get the turquoise ones. So I started on that. I also want to do something with those pink aurora borealis beads, but they are smaller than the copper ones. There are a huge number of rather large pale green silver-lined beads that I need to think about, just because there are so many. I have three bags (1.5 kg) that are nearly the same assortment, so if I can get all of them separated, I should have enough of the really pretty beads to do something with.


The day turned out to be a beautiful one. The clouds of morning disappeared without dropping any rain on us, and it was sunny and clear and breezy all day, and the sunset was apparently a nice one, although I wasn't paying attention. I can take lots of this kind of weather.


So now I think it's time to try this sleep thing again. I will need to close most of the windows in the bedroom, and I might even have to pull up the quilt tonight, but all that means is that I should sleep considerably better.


I am still having trouble with the bites on my toes. It appears that I actually have two bites on my second toe, and in the middle of the night it got so sore and itchy that I had to get up. Treating it with Cortaid and Sarna seemed to settle it down, and it was OK until about an hour ago, when it began to itch and sting like crazy again. Tonight I may try the Adolph's again and see if that helps.  


That is one of the hazards of wandering around outside (even on your own deck) in flip-flops and shorts. I also have probably half a dozen bites of various sorts around both knees. Most of them are mosquito bites, I think, although there do seem to be a couple of black fly bites, too. These days I can't get close enough to my toes to see what is really the trouble there, but from the way it feels, I can only guess it's black fly. However, there was no way I could stand to leave my jeans and walking shoes on when it was so hot, and I wasn't going to put them back on to bring in the bird feeders! Oh, the dilemmas of summer in the northwoods!


When I went to get the feeders tonight, it was beautifully clear and Jupiter was shining brightly in the southwestern sky. The moon is getting small and rising late, so maybe there will be stars tonight. If I can stay awake long enough to see them.


July 16

It was an active night. I woke up about 3:45, and I noticed that there was almost continuous lightening on the western horizon, too far away to hear any thunder at all. After I took a walk, I watched it for a few minutes, because I don't think I've ever seen any more lightening, but then I went to sleep, and woke up again around 4:15. The lightening was still continuous, but some of it was a third of the way up the sky. Still no thunder at all, but it was neat to watch. There would be a flash up in the sky, followed by a flash down by the horizon, and that went back and forth continuously. It was amazing.


Sometime after then, the phones went "bleep!" three times. The wind began to rise, and just to prevent rushing around in panic, I shut most of the windows in the bedroom. It wasn't too bad, with the ceiling fan on. Around 4:45, when it began to rain and the wind began rising to the extent that I had to shut the porch door, I decided that it might be a good idea to shut down the computer, just in case, so I came down to the office and did that, and shut the south window, too, because if it rained in there, it would get my papers plus the printer. I also shut the window in the closet, because my jeans were plastered up against the screen, and I could feel a little mist coming in.


All this time, there was continuous lightening, only after it began to rain, I could hear rumbling of thunder. It seemed to be a long ways away, and there was so much lightening that I couldn't correlate the lightening to the thunder well enough to try to get a distance. Buster was not pleased. He did not like all that weird light flashing around, and of course he doesn't like wind at all.


At the same time, the two black fly bites on my foot (yup, I got another one, on the second toe) were so itchy they were driving me crazy, so I got up and put some Adolph's on them. That helped enough that I did eventually go back to sleep. It became apparent that the storm was going south of here, and pretty fast, too, and before I got back to sleep, the lightening, which had finally let up a bit, was east over the end of Keweenaw.


So I slept a little more, and woke up about 5:45. The rain had let up by then, and when I looked outside, the sky was full of orange clouds, and some of the most interesting clouds I've seen in a long time. Curiously enough, it was clear over the lake. Even though there was still some lightening, this time over in the west, I decided it was probably safe to start up the computer again, so I came down to the office and did that. The camera software shows a current view, updated every couple of seconds, of a part of the picture, and even though it was nearly dark, in it, I could see the lightening. That storm went south of us, too, and it didn't rain.


While I was here, I logged on to the Weather Underground and took a peek at the local radar, and I could see what was going on. There was a huge bright red area (meaning severe storms) from Marquette east and covering the entire peninsula, and behind it were some long thin streaks south of the Keweenaw peninsula. The whole thing was moving due east, so it became apparent what had happened, and we had clearly been on the northern edge of what must have been a humdinger of a storm.


Having satisfied my curiosity, I went back to bed and didn't get up until after 10:00, by which time it was much cooler (high 60s), and clearing up. The wind was from the north, mostly. It was still very humid, and it stayed humid all day long. The temperature was around 72 all day, and there was very little wind, from the north mostly.


It actually cleared up this afternoon for a while, but right after I got home from dinner, it clouded up. There was a storm cell north of Duluth that was moving toward the southeast, and I could hear thunder from it while it was still over in the west end of the lake...it never ceases to amaze me how far sound will sometimes travel, and it puzzles me all the more that I heard very little last night. The rain probably got to Houghton, but the whole thing petered out south of Houghton, and it didn't even rain here. There was a ray or two of sunshine right at sunset, and it was a pretty one, but it is still too far north to get any decent pictures.


I was so wakeful during the night that I just didn't get enough sleep, so I was a bit groggy and I didn't do much today. I ate the rest of my prime rib for breakfast (brunch?), and of course, I couldn't give Buster any, which disappointed him. I made up for it by having strawberries and ice cream tonight and giving him quite a bit of that. The bowl is so clean, you'd think I'd washed it. Buster likes ice cream, and it agrees with him.


Before the ice cream, I sat down in the ugly chair and finished the afghan! Yay! I started to work in the loose ends, but that is boring, so I stopped. At least I've finished the crocheting. And it is pretty. When the sun comes out, I will try to get a picture.


So now it's off to catch up on my sleep, I hope, and I hope there are no  more light shows tonight.  I did enjoy that, even though my eyes kept dropping shut. That was not only the most lightening I've ever seen, but it went on for an incredible length of time. And it's so much fun to watch it coming from 40 or 50 miles away. While this morning I wished I looked east, last night I was very glad I face west.


July 15

Hot is relative, I guess, just like everything else. The temperature overnight was about 72, with a breeze, and I slept very comfortably, thank you, with most of the bedroom windows closed. The temperature sensor was working today, and for most of the morning, while the NWS station was reporting low 80s, I had low 70s with a good wind, which was very comfortable indeed. In fact, it was a pretty nice day until around 5:00, when the wind dropped to nothing, and here, at least, the temperature rose to about 85. So when I got home from dinner, all sweaty, I opened most of what wasn't open and turned up the fan in the office, and sat quietly. Along about 9:00 the breeze picked up again, and it is now quite comfortable, even though it is still in the upper 70s. I don't know what I would have done if it had actually gotten into the 90s. Melted away, probably.


So I did not much and enjoyed it very much. I did make a small attempt to straighten the kitchen, and I washed and hulled two quarts of strawberries. I was going to have strawberries and ice cream for dessert, and I stopped and got ice cream, but I was too full from dinner, half of which I brought home with me, so I will just have to wait. I did try a couple of berries, and they are very good. If I don't hive out from that, I will say my one-time allergy to strawberries was caused by the antibiotics and not the berries (it's a long story).


I slept very soundly last night, although I did have one of those weird dreams again. I guess I should have gotten up when Buster yelled at me, even though I didn't want to.


The skies were mostly sunny until late in the afternoon, then a dark cloud came up from the west. It did have rain in it, but if any fell, it was south of here, and it was clearing up a bit when the sun went down. I just went out to bring in the bird feeders, and I saw a very distant flash of lightening to the south. The storms are down around the very bottom of Houghton and Baraga counties, but they are quite strong. We have clear skies. So much for trying to forecast anything for the entire area.


Once it, and I, cooled down a bit, I worked on the afghan again, and as I suspected, I ran out of mint yarn. Fortunately, I bought a skein when I got the mauve, so maybe tomorrow I will get it done. It is pretty, but I hate hassles like that, and I fired off an email to Mary Maxim about how disappointed I am.


This moving the bird feeders twice a day certainly is a pain. Yesterday when I took them out, I got a black fly bite on the side of my hand, not far from the last ones, and last night when I brought them in, not only did I bring in a mosquito, something bit my big toe (since I was wearing flip-flops). It feels like it, too, might be a black fly bite. I have been trying to do everything in three trips, but I still haven't gotten a good system. The two platform feeders and the big wooden feeder are too heavy to carry in one hand (so I have a hand to open the door with), and to avoid spilling sugar water all over the place, I bring in the hummingbird feeder by itself.


The platform feeder on the ground, plus raising the other one a bit, has seemed to help. There is still one chipmunk who gets into the big feeder, but there haven't been quite so many squirrels in the hanging platform feeder. Besides, I have enticed a few chipping sparrows. I am going to see, tomorrow when I go out, if I can raise the big feeder somewhat to try to keep the critters out of it, too. Probably I can't keep the squirrels out of it, but maybe I can discourage that chipmunk (the big guy) from crawling right into the bin to fill up his cheeks.


We seem to have a couple of small and skinny squirrels, so maybe somebody had a successful birth, at least so far. And while I haven't been looking a lot lately, I haven't seen the mom squirrels recently. I wonder if they are starting on their second brood?


I am happy to report that Shirley has been feeling well and is quite upbeat about her therapy, which starts Monday. It is a shot in the stomach, and someone who was going through it says it will wipe her out. She has been cheerful because her platelets are up, and she credits it to the pineapple, but she forgets that during one of her appointments they gave her a shot of something in the stomach, and she did get platelets last week, too, and I'm wondering if that is more likely to be the cause. Her other blood fractions are still down, however, so she will have to have blood before her treatment. I am most interested to hear how it goes.


So there is another day. It's summer for sure, and the problem is, I'm not used to it yet. If I'm lucky, I won't have to.


July 14

I got to bed late, and I didn't sleep very well. It had nothing to do with the temperature (in the low 70s), because there was a nice breeze. When I woke up the first time, it felt like something was hacking at my left knee, right below the kneecap, with a hatchet. It took me some time to realize that if I laid with my leg bent, like I was sitting, the pain went away, but in the meantime I thrashed for a couple of hours.


I was up right about sunrise, and not for the first time I wished I had a clear view to the east. I first noticed a streaky cloud in the west that was a beautiful pink, and when I got to the bathroom, there were lots of streaky clouds (altocumulous, maybe?), pale apricot, against a pale turquoise sky. Those two colors go together fabulously. It was over in about 10 minutes, but it certainly was pretty.


I went back to sleep for a while, but I got up at around 9:30. So I didn't get my full allotment of sleep, and I need to get to bed earlier tonight.


It was pretty cloudy when I got up, and when I looked at the weather map, there was a very strong yellow and red line, north and south, west of Houghton, and heading in our direction. It began to blow shortly after 11:00, and by 11:30, it was pouring rain and blowing and thundering. It rained for about an hour, and again I am puzzled by the NWS station, which didn't report any rain at all until 2:00, by which time it was all over. I don't know what the problem with that weather station is, but it isn't very reliable. Believe me, I have a picture of the rain pouring down right over it at 11:30.


There was one very loud crack of thunder, that Buster didn't like at all, and the broadband went down. After talking to Shirley and to Clyde (the postmaster), that bolt of lightening hit something right around the King Copper Annex, pretty close to the post office (Clyde's arm hair stood on end). It blew out seven TV sets in the King Copper Annex, as well as the transceiver on the fish house. Otherwise, it wasn't a very violent storm, mostly just rainy, with very little other lightening. 


The temperature dropped from 78 to 66, which was really nice, and after the storm  passed, it began to clear up. The NWS station claims it got to 80 at 8:00, but I find that rather hard to believe. The afternoon was clear and sunny with not much wind, but what there was came from the north-northwest...my favorite direction. It was almost perfectly clear at sunset, and the temperature is dropping into the comfortable range again, and the humidity has dropped at least for the time being.


I can't report any outdoor temperatures here, because my outdoor sensors have both gotten water leaks, and since the last rain, the one in the tree has been reporting either "0FL" or a totally spurious temperature. Before the rain, it had gotten up to 40, but when it came back on afterwards, it said something like "-7".  If it ever starts reporting right, I am tempted to put it in a ziplock bag, but I'm not sure if that would skew its readings, too. I know it's 5 years old, but that shouldn't happen. It means that when it's humid or rainy, or in the winter, it doesn't read at all. It wasn't exactly cheap, and I really don't want to have to get a new one. I'd rather save those pennies for a really good, full-functioned weather station to attach to the computer.


I played with beads, and finally got to the post office, and had dinner with Shirley. A typical day in the field...except that with the broadband problems, I must have rebooted the computer a dozen times, and it was down for quite a while. I was on dial backup for a while, too, and when it was time to switch back to broadband, I had to shut everything down again to reset it. So it was a typical summer day, and I'd really like to kill that mosquito that came in with me before I trundle up to the north end. They seem to like my thighs and rear, and they wait until I'm asleep before they zero in.


July 13

I'm trying hard not to gloat. All day long, they were predicting southwest winds and temperatures in the 90s, and I think that's how it was down in Houghton. However, here on the shores of Mother Superior, the wind was from the north-northwest, and the temperature for most of the day was in the low 70s. It dropped into the 60s around noon, for some reason, and it got up to 81 briefly, around 8:00 when the wind dropped. I turned on the ceiling fan and put on my shorts, and I was fine. It was a lovely day, mostly sunny, with that lovely cool breeze off the lake. I really feel for everybody south of us.


I'm trying not to gloat, because I know we'll get ours eventually. The heat isn't supposed to break until sometime next week, and if that breeze turns around to the southwest - look out! For today, I was most grateful to be here, and I celebrated by doing nothing again.


But that's all right, because Adam and company aren't coming Saturday after all. Something in his real business is going on, and he has to tend to that first. So it will be the first weekend in August before they can come. Maybe I can be ready for them then? I sure am not now.


I was going to go to the post office today, but I didn't even do that.


According to the NWS, the wind was from the southwest almost all night, and the temperature rose to 75 around 5:00 this morning, but then the wind shifted around to the north and the next reading was 62. I didn't notice any such fluctuations, and it was a lovely night to sleep, too, with only the sheet blanket over me. It feels like tonight will be just as nice. There are only two or three nights a summer, usually, when the temperature doesn't drop or it's too humid and it's uncomfortable to sleep. Mostly, it cools off very well after dark. We'll hope that continues.


So that is all there is, and I am certainly having the lazy days of summer around here.


July 12

I did crash last night, but after about 2:30, I didn't sleep very well. Don't know why, except that it might have been a bit warm in the bedroom. Anyway, I was wakeful, and then around 8:00, Buster decided it was time I got up. I held out till 8:30, then gave up. Now he is telling me it is time to go to bed (which is true).


I had an allergy attack about the time I got up (now what's blooming??), and I was stiff and sore all day, so I didn't do much except get the car unloaded. It would have been a good day to spray the weeds, but I didn't feel stable enough on my feet.


It was clear and sunny and there was almost no wind for most of the day. Now a southwest breeze has sprung up, which will make sleeping nice. The temperature was sort of up and down all day, getting up to 80, then dropping back to 70 when the wind shifted to the northwest, then back to 75 when the wind dropped again. Now it's down to 69. It did cloud up some at sunset.


So I got all the stuff out of the car and into the breezeway, and I sorted beads. The second sort is going much faster than the first, because there are far fewer beads to look at. Some of them are difficult, though. There isn't much obvious difference between the very dark green, very dark blue, and very dark purple, and it helps to have sunshine, so I stopped when the sun went down. Possibly I can finish up tomorrow. OF course, I keep finding a few of the ones I'd already sorted, so I will have to go through that pile, but it isn't very big.


Buster was most happy with the temperature. He slept behind the sewing machine on the two winter nightgowns I never finished patching. That window is open, and he seemed to enjoy the warm breezes. So did I, actually, although it did get a bit warm for a while. 


So now it's off to bed, and maybe I can be a bit more productive tomorrow.


July 11

Well, I am tired, and even though it's early, I may deprive the birdies and other critters of their last few evening seeds and take in the feeders so I can go to bed. So there.


I was up early this morning - 8:00 - because Buster wouldn't let me alone. I do not know what his problem was. I didn't get an early start for town, but that was all right. 


I'd forgotten to freeze the ice packs, and I must remedy that. I think everything made it back OK, but that's because it really wasn't too warm today. If it gets hotter (and it will), I will need them.


I had a very leisurely trip to town, mostly because I ended up behind a bunch of Road Commission vehicles who were in no hurry at all. One pulled over at Mac Frimodig park - the nice little park where the Medora River leaves Lake Medora - but the other one took a very long time to decide he was holding up traffic. Then there were the very law-abiding motorcyclists, who stopped at the Cliff Bar...well, you get the idea.


It was a frustrating trip, too. Wal-Mart didn't have any sunflower seed, and nobody had any of Buster's favorite dry food. Econo will see if they can get it for me, but it figures. We finally find a kind of food he really loves, and everybody stops selling it. Just like Buster.


I think I have mentioned before that they don't cool the stores around here like they do in the big city. It was hot in Wal-Mart, as it usually is, and I had to do a bit more walking than usual because I needed some calculator batteries. So I was hot and sweaty and tired by the time I got out of there.


I wasn't hungry, though, so instead of going to eat, I went right to Econo Foods. Well. My feet were sore and my left knee was even sorer, and I needed some stuff that meant I had to do more walking there than usual, too. It didn't help that the nice young woman  who was going to help me find some things that were missing expected me to follow her around the store...


Shopping for food once a month induces a kind of sticker shock, but I keep reminding  myself that this is pretty much a month's worth of groceries, after all. I did get lots of stuff that won't last a whole month - veggie trays and fruit and deli meats, and things like that. The summer fruit is starting to come in, and I loaded up...two kinds of nectarines, Ranier cherries, and two quarts of local strawberries (at $5 a quart, by the way!). If they don't give me hives, I will say my allergy to strawberries was induced by my allergy to penicillin. I have hopes. I like strawberries - not as much as raspberries, but pretty close.


By the time I left Econo, I was exhausted.


Gas has gone higher again, but I was able to get it for $2.99 a gallon at Econo's Shell station. That was about the minimum. Elsewhere, it seemed to range from $3.03 to $3.10 a gallon. That's enough to make me drive down to Baraga to fill up, although that seems rather self-defeating...drive 90 miles or so one way to get a tank of gas? I guess "we" are just coping, however, since it doesn't appear to be interfering with the tourists.


Because of the strange driving, I hadn't been able to use the cruise control all the way south, and of course, I can't use it on the covered road, and by the time I reached it, I had a horrendous cramp in my right calf that made my trip back close to agonizing. The only type of car I might be able to drive comfortably all the time would be a sports car...like a Corvette...but that is so impractical around here that I wouldn't get one even if I could afford it. No way could I get a month's worth of groceries...or two window sashes and a screen door...in one of those! Unfortunately, my Corvetting days are over forever.


I didn't unload the car until ATC had started over, and I didn't finish it, because my feet and knee started to bother me again. I had occasion to stop suddenly enough to spray bottles of Tommyknocker cream soda all over the back of the car, so that, and my purchases at Wal-Mart will just have to wait until tomorrow. I've gotten hooked on high-end soda, but those little paper cartons they put the bottles in are difficult. I guess next time, I'll have to tell them to put them in bags, much as I don't need any more bags.


It should have been a nice day, but it was humid enough that it wasn't. The temperature here rose dramatically from 55 to almost 60 when I got up (no wonder I was hot!), and it stayed around 72 for most of the day, with not much wind at all. It got into the upper 70s in Houghton, and although there was a pretty good east wind, it was humid enough to be uncomfortable. There was a high cloud cover for most of the day that kept down the sunshine, and that was probably a good thing, although the car heated up enough that I had to use the air conditioning for a while. Now it is in the upper 60s around here, with just about calm winds and some light cloud cover, although it is supposed to be a clear night.


So now I have enough orange juice to last a while, and some other good things to eat (particularly for breakfast), and I am exhausted, and if I can get this thing to behave itself and load tonight, I am going to bed early. I need a bath...I was sweating like a horse again...but then I can crash.


July 10

I'm going to finish the crochet on that afghan tonight if it's the last thing I do. So this is a bit early again.


I did sleep well last night, with a few dreams about beads. I was awakened this morning by Adam (at 9:00, and he had every right to have expected me to be up by that time). It seems it's OK to wire around the low water alarm, but I'm going to want to talk to him a bit more before I let him do it. What we do about the leaky shower door is still up in the air. And he and a bunch of people are coming Saturday to clean my house, basement and upstairs. Yie! I'm not sure I can be ready for that by Saturday! I've been postponing a bunch of things I should be doing.


So I did a few of them today - traded clean for dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and began to fill a bag with newspapers and catalogs that were clogging up the office. The desk is still a mess, but maybe I can do something about that before then. at least we can walk across the office floor again, which is nice.


It was a cool day in Copper Harbor today. The temperature was 55 for most of the day, although with the wind dropping, it has now risen to 60. But it was mostly sunny and there wasn't much wind all day long.


It was a day for telephone calls. Cynthia called to say that my rugs were ready, and would I please send money, and late this afternoon, the realtor called to say somebody wanted to show the house tonight. Well, that's nice. I finally got around to going out to the realtor's website and look at the display he has on the house, and I guess it's all right. The pictures are so tiny it's hard to see much, and some of the views aren't what I would have done, but maybe it will intrigue people. I keep hoping...


It's not my house anymore, and it is more of a burden than an asset, and I do wish it would sell quickly. But we'll see.


So now I am going to sit in the ugly chair and crochet and hope I get around the last round of the afghan. It is perfectly calm and lovely right now, a good evening to admire the harbor.


July 9

Well, it's early, but I guess I'll do this now and then sit in the ugly chair for a while (where Buster now is).


The temperature was still 78 when I went to bed last night, and despite what the NWS reports, it was quite windy, but it was comfortable to sleep. Around 3;15, I woke up, and I could have sworn I heard the alarm going off. So I got up and went down the hall to the basement door, and the alarm was not going off. However, I could still hear something that sounded just like it. While I was in the bathroom, I experimented a bit and discovered that the noise is actually in my head. Apparently having to go down where that extremely loud noise is to turn it off has further messed up my ears (I have tinnitus anyway), and every so often, I will hear that alarm noise like it was in the distance. Well!


So I went back to sleep. I was up once again, but while the temperature had dropped into the middle 60s, there was no wind at all, but sometime betwen 6:00 and 7:00, all of a sudden the wind began to blow hard...the NWS is reporting 15 - 33 mph, but I would say higher, from the northwest. That made the low 60s feel really cold, so I shut the bathroom window and the porch door, and shortly after 8:00 it began to rain...and rain...and rain. The total between 8:00 and 1:00 was .85 inches, which is a substantial amount of water. By noon the temperature had dropped to about 52, so even if it hadn't been raining in, I shut up the entire house. The rain ended around 1:00, but it's been windy, raw and cold all day. The lake is speaking loudly and the wind has been between 15 and 20 mph all afternoon. 


It was a nice day to mostly ignore the outside, so I finished the sorting I was doing (I may do some more on what is left of that bag of beads), and I strung the necklace I was thinking about. Here it is. For all the cheap beads, I think it came out rather nice, and in spite of the color, it's something I would wear. I didn't put a clasp on it, because I wanted to get it done, and putting on a clasp is going to require some thought, unless I get a two-strand clasp, which would mean buying some more stuff. It goes over my head, which is a large one, so I think it will fit most anybody.


It was a little quieter in Harbor Haus tonight, and they had ribs...enough for four meals! So I am well supplied for dinner this week. It was fun to sit and watch the waves roll in. That's not something one gets to see very often in the summer. I am curious that the NWS says the wind is from the northeast, because at Harbor Haus, the flags were strung out straight toward the east, which means a brisk west wind. I've said before that that NWS station is not in the best spot, and this is just another indication.


When I got home, I started working on the tubular netting bracelet I was working on before I got sidetracked, and after doing 3", I decided I didn't like it and cut it all apart. It just didn't look very good, and if I'm going to spend that much time on something, I want it to look nice.


It seems that second two-hour watering of the septic tank has filled it up enough to stop the alarm, thank goodness! My ears will probably continue to ring for a while, but there have been no alarms since last night. I still say that if the tank is supposed to be refilled immediately after it is pumped, somebody should have told me so. I couldn't do the entire fill at once anyway, just to spare the well pump, but if that's the way it's supposed to be done, I could have started earlier. Sometime I am going to have to go out into the internet and see what I can find out about the basic care and feeding of a septic tank...or get Adam to tell me. Nobody I've talked to seemed to know anything about what to do after the tank is pumped...maybe I'll have to write it myself.


So even though it is early, I will get this published and go and be Buster's pillow until it gets dark. The barometer bottomed out last night and is now rising, but you wouldn't know it by him. He has been lazing around all day, and it was that kind of day. The Isle Royal Queen was late getting in tonight, and I can certainly say I'm glad I wasn't coming across the lake today. It would have been kind of hairy, as well as pretty cold. It was good to have a nice warm house from which to view the field, and a nice warm bed to cuddle into tonight.


July 8

Sometime early in the morning, I think about the time it was getting light, Buster found a mouse. He chased it around for a while, then, when it was dead or nearly so, he brought it to me. I looked down to find him on the throw rug with the mouse hanging by its tail. And after I turned over, he proceeded to eat it. I knew that was what he was doing, although he only smacked once. And about an hour and a half later, it came back up.


So I now know for certain that he is eating the mice, and since we got back from Detroit, his delicate stomach will not tolerate them. I wonder how long (if ever) it will take him to realize he'd better not eat them. When he has reacted badly to cat food in the past, eventually he stops eating it.


It's kind of a shame. That is what cats are supposed to do with mice, and it's a neat way to dispose of them, if they stay down. I'd rather he did it than me. I can hope that this is only a passing problem, and eventually he'll be able to eat them again, but I don't know.


Anyway, he didn't feel very good for most of the day, Part of that may have been that the barometer has been dropping, and he was recovering from his strenuous activity, but his tummy seems to have been bothering him, because he didn't eat much.


If this had happened in the city, I would have worried that the mouse was poisoned, but up here in the wilds, I sincerely doubt it.  At least he eats the whole mouse. My mother had a family of cats that just ate the heads, of both mice and birds. So she would find decapitated bodies lying around in the garden. Yuck! Either all or nothing at all, I say.


Anyway, the temperature all night long was right around 68, with a southwest breeze, which was ideal for sleeping with the porch door and the bathroom window open, and it looks like tonight may be about the same. It was an interesting weather day. It was partly sunny when I got up, I think, and nice, then around 12:30, it clouded up and rained nicely for about an hour. The temperature dropped 9, and it was cool enough that I didn't mind having to shut all the deck-side doors, and in fact, I shut the porch door to the kitchen, too. When the rain stopped, it began to clear up, and the temperature bounced right back up to 72, and it rose until about 8:00, when it reached 79 and was nearly calm for a while. Then the wind picked up again and while the temperature is still 78, there is a nice west wind, 9-17 mph, and it's a lovely evening.


The sky is clear but hazy, and the nearly full moon is shining way in the south, sort of pale golden. It is so low that it is behind the red pine, but I saw it when I went out to bring in the bird feeders.


I didn't do a lot again, although I am getting to the end of sorting the beads, at least the part I had planned to do. I was toying with the idea of going on to completely sort the entire bag, but I think I will go back to that necklace with the amber beads, since I do plan to see Peggy on Monday, and I'd like to run it by her.


The alarm waited until 7:30 to go off today, which was better, but still to early, so I gave up and ran water. I only ran it for two hours this morning, because the pump seemed to be lugging, and I don't want to break my well pump. The alarm went off again while I was at dinner, so I ran another two hours' worth of water into it, and we'll see what happens tomorrow. At least it shouldn't go off in the middle of the night!


Dinner was with Shirley again, and she is feeling much better today, after a long night's sleep. Her daughter, who was with her at the doctor's last week, came up to bring her car back, and she had been taking notes during the appointment. It sounds like the kids have decided she is going to do the chemo, or at least try it. She can stay with that same daughter, who lives quite close to the hospital.


It isn't going to be fun...five days on, two days off, then two more days, and repeat in a month, and they won't know how it's working for at least six months. She won't lose her hair, but she will be weak. They keep saying it's not chemo, but if it cycles like chemo and it acts like chemo, it's chemo. Poor Shirley. However, the alternative prognosis isn't good at all, so I suppose she will have to agree.


While we were eating, another one of my readers came over and introduced himself, and we had a nice conversation. He lives in Marquette, but his heart is in Copper Harbor, so we understood each other. 


When I got home, I sat in the ugly chair and Buster sat on my lap for quite a while, so I guess he is getting back to normal. Then I read and knitted until it was too dark to see. 


The hummingbirds are still hitting the feeder hard, but there weren't many other birds today, except for two chipping sparrows who found the feeder I put on the deck and were most happy with the little seeds. I put it in the platform feeder whose chains got lost in a gale last fall, because then I can bring it inside. Putting it right on the deck means I have to leave it, and besides, the wind blows it away.


When I sat down, there was a squirrel in the tree who was saying "cheep...cheep...cheep" rather loudly. That is a sound they sometimes make when there is danger, but this one kept up the noise even when he started to eat, and he had to eat quite a bit before it stopped. That made me wonder if maybe he had the hiccups? I don't know if squirrels (or other critters) can get the hiccups, but that's the only reason I can see that he would be going chomp, cheep, chomp, cheep while he was eating. Very strange. Eventually it stopped, and he seemed to be OK, but it made me wonder.


Also while I was sitting there, some of the loudest engines I've ever heard were going up and down the road over by the fort. I have no idea what in the world they could be, but they certainly destroyed the peace of the evening, and it must have been even worse at the fort and in town. One of the things that is so wonderful about being here is how quiet it can be, and I have no sympathy at all for people who don't understand that and don't care how much noise they make.


Now, however, all the sound is the wind, and the rubbing of the water against itself, and that is just fine by me. So Buster just told me it's time to go to bed (or at least to the bathroom and brush him), and I guess he's right.


July 7

The alarm went off at 4:15 this morning, but I don't think it kept me from going back to sleep. It was another clear night, but it wasn't very transparent...there was a kind of haze in the sky that continued today and finally turned into clouds.


It was already 77 when I got up, but around 11:00 the wind picked up a bit and it dropped to 71 for a couple of hours, after which it went up again and eventually topped out at 80. There was enough of a northwest wind that it actually wasn't too uncomfortable until I got back from dinner, when the wind dropped off.  It has switched around to the southwest now and picked up a bit, so it is quite nice now, especially since the temperature has dropped to 70.


The moon is shining brightly in the south windows, and when I went out to bring in the bird feeders, it made a bright road on the end of the harbor. It is so far in the south now that there aren't any spectacular views, but it is pretty when I can find it. However, there has been a cloud out over the lake all evening, which interfered with the sunset, and they are saying there might be a shower overnight.


Hmm. I have all the east windows in the great room open. Well, it's not likely to come from that direction anyway. I always shut everything on the deck side of the house, except for my bedroom, when I have those windows open, just to not provide a temptation for any critter that might happen along. Back when we first moved in, our first bear did peer in the great room slider, but I think he was looking at Buster, who was looking back. And the door was shut, so he was not tempted to come through the screen. I don't ever want that to happen!


I had to write a few checks today, but otherwise, I played with beads until it was too dark to see, then I sat in the ugly chair and read and knitted. I still have to finish the crocheted afghan, but it was warm enough that I didn't really want that big thing on my lap...so I put a 4" three-ring binder there instead.


I did get to have dinner with Shirley, although that was iffy for a while. It seems she had to go to town to get platelets today, and that procedure makes her so sick she couldn't drive home, and when she got here, she took a long nap. She wasn't hungry for dinner, and she was still pretty shaky when I drove her home. I am not sure whether she is reacting to the benedryl they give her, or to the preservative in the platelets, but whatever it is, it's not pretty. She seems to think the nurses reported it to the doctor, and I certainly hope so. I am trying to teach her how to be a proper patient, but it's hard. To so many people of her generation, the doctor was next to God, and you did whatever he or she said, and you never complained or asked questions. I'm trying to convince her to do both, but I don't know if it will take. And I do know how hard it is to speak up when you feel lousy. Been there, done that, and I learned better.


I will see her tomorrow, and I'm hoping she feels better by then. The doctor wants to try her on chemo (does not cause hair loss), and she will have to decide by next Wednesday. It won't be fun: she will have to go five days in a row every four weeks for almost a year, and I'm sure they will want her to come in in between for blood tests and doctor visits. God, I know how that is! Your world shrinks down to just you. But if she can tolerate it, and it works, it will be helpful. I know what I would do, but that has to be her very own decision, and as a friend, all I can do is support her in whatever she decides. And pray.


While I was sitting in the ugly chair tonight, I watched a parade of chipmunks and one skinny squirrel come to a platform feeder that I just left on the deck. It does seem to be helping keep the squirrels out of the hanging feeders, at least a bit, so I guess I will continue to fill it. The two littlest chipmunks are so cute, and so scardy, and everybody chases everybody else away, although squirrels seem to be higher in the pecking order than chipmunks. One of the little guys still seems to be opening the sunflower seeds on site, and I wondered if maybe he was storing some of the pieces in his cheek pouches, but he does spend some time chewing, so maybe not.


There was also a parade to the hummingbird feeder, including some very small hummingbirds, so I guess the first brood has fledged. Everybody was chasing everybody else around there, too, but that could be partly getting ready for the next brood. The little ones will light and sit more than the bigger ones, too, so I guess they don't have quite the stamina of the adults yet. I always did like little things.


I am getting near the end of the bag of beads I opened, and although it has taken far too long to sort it, I have come up with some really interesting  beads. I do know what I might do with the huge white ones with red stripes, but I'm not sure of all the colors yet. Red, white and blue is patriotic, but it's also rather garish sometimes.


Hmm, the moon just went behind a cloud, and it's time to call it a day.


July 6

I made it into bed a little earlier than lately, and I just crashed for 3 hours, which is about my limit. When I began to come to, I was having such a wild and interesting dream that I made myself stay at least half asleep for a while longer. That dream would make the basis for at least a couple of fantasy stories. It wasn't bad at all, just very vivid and very interesting. I had just turned over, with the idea that I would probably have to get up, when the alarm went off...3:19. So I got up and hauled myself down to the basement and turned it off. I didn't sleep quite so well after that, but I did well enough, thank you.


It was a pretty clear night, and I was almost able to catch the dim star where the handle and bowl of the Big Dipper meet without averted vision. 


When I did get up this morning, a little earlier than lately, it was a beautiful sunny morning with a nice breeze that felt fairly warm, and I felt invigorated. 


I decided this was the day to change my address, but fortunately, before I headed to Mohawk, I checked the Secretary of State's website, and I was glad I did. It seems the office in Mohawk, which is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is closed between 12:30 and 1:30. So I didn't have to rush away: I could take my time.


So I went out to the Social Security Administration website, and discovered that I could change my address online...whoopee! However, it took me two tries, because as seems normal with government forms, there wasn't enough information to fill it out correctly the first time. Interestingly enough, after you have confirmed the change, they shuttle you off to a survey page, where you get to say how easy it was to do what you intended to do. It was a pleasure to hit the "no" button a few times.


When I got up, the temperature was over 70, with a nice northwest breeze, and it was about 73 when I finally set off south...perfect for leaving the car windows open. There were also some very slow travelers on the covered road. The Keweenaw County truck was nice enough to pull over for us, but the guy in front of me waited until we got to the 55 mph sign before he realized that I wasn't exactly out for a scenic tour. 


I am interested that the SOS website said it is 18 miles from Copper Harbor to Mohawk, but there is a sign in Phoenix that says it is 20 miles from there to Copper Harbor. Somebody is confused, but I didn't check the actual mileage. It took me about 40 minutes, portal to portal. Nobody can go really fast on the covered road.


That turned out to be OK, because the office in Mohawk obviously keeps Copper Country time...they were just opening the doors at about 1:35, so I was the third person in line.


The person behind the counter was just as nice as almost everyone I've found around here, and she knew exactly what to do and answered all my questions. I got a new license picture taken, and I got to repair my signature.  When I got my last license, it was the day I got out of the hospital in 2002, and while I was waiting at the SOS office, their computers went down, so by the time I finally got my picture taken, I looked, frankly, stoned, and I have never written such a shaky, awful looking signature.  I thought I probably should appear in person for the change of address, even though I could have renewed my license by mail otherwise. So that turned out well enough. I think it's the earliest I've ever renewed my car registration, but that's all right. Now all I have to remember to do is put the tab on my plate.


Then it was off to the bank. I have an account at a local bank that I don't use much, although I do cash checks there occasionally, and I did need money, so I took the opportunity to change my address there, too.


There are a lot of pains involved in moving. I still have the bank benefits department to go.


Although it was 73 in Copper Harbor when I left, it was 77 at the Mountain Lodge, and it was 82 when I left Mohawk. So I used the air conditioning for the first time this year. However, when I got back to the covered road, I turned it off and opened the windows, and it was a delightful ride back. 


I decided that to celebrate, I would indulge in an ice cream cone, both because I hadn't had much breakfast and I was hungry, and because I haven't seen George and Brenda this year. So not only did I get to meet George's brother and his wife, but I got to meet their mother. Apparently they had been talking about me, and George's brother (Carl or Karl?) uses the website to keep in touch with Copper Harbor. Their father was the teacher in the school for a long time, and they grew up here (lucky them!). Sorry, but I can neither pronounce nor spell their very Finnish surname.


Anyway, I got my yummy Jilbert's ice cream (amaretto cherry Mackinaw Island Fudge...talk about overload!), and talked to people for a while, then it was time to go off to the post office, where my box was stuffed so full that I could hardly get everything out. I keep forgetting that the first week or so of the month, I need to go more frequently, because all the magazines come in then. I also got two nice packages, and when I got home, UPS had delivered another one.  And I have enough reading material for several day.


So I worked on the beads for a while, then there was a knock on the door, and one of my readers had sought me out. I don't advocate that, because this is a private road, but it doesn't usually bother me too much. We had a nice conversation, and that brings us to right before dinner, which I have now finished. 


So I am now almost completely an official resident of Copper Harbor. I called the insurance agent when I got home to get that taken care of, and tomorrow I will call the benefits department at the bank. After that, I have to find out how to switch my homestead tax credit (no hurry - the summer tax bills have already been processed), and change my address with my doctors, which I will do in October when I go back to Detroit. Then I think I will make the change of address permanent at the post office, although I will have to consult them about that.


I find this a profound and nerve-wracking change to make. I am finally admitting that I have committed to living here full time, and part of me is really nervous about cutting all my official ties to my old home. On the other hand, I had to do it sometime, and having to renew my driver's license was a convenient jumping off spot. And I had really decided to live here before last winter. Muddled, I guess you'd say.


There certainly is a part of me that wants security, but I have always sort of let it all hang out, from the days when I would do a system update in the middle of the night with the hope that I would have the computers running again before morning (only once or twice in 15 years that they weren't), to when I told Dr. Voravit at U of M, go for it (the stem cell transplant), even though I was having hysterics at the time. I simply cannot face the idea of living a safe life on Champine Place, where I do not want to be anymore , and know that I could have been here if I was brave enough. If I am lucky, I will never have to move back to Southeastern Michigan.


Now, if only somebody will buy my house...


By the way, when I got back here, the temperature was still around 73, and it felt so good! It was in the 80s in Copper Harbor, but that wonderful lake breeze kept it very comfortable here. It did sort of cloud up late in the day, and there wasn't much of a sunset, but it seems to be clearing a bit now. The sky has turned gray-blue, and the moon is shining in the south windows, sort of pale apricot colored. It was a beautiful day, and it looks to be a beautiful night.


So that was my lovely day, and it looks to be a lovely night, too.  It's official.


July 5

Another lost day. I was up at 3:00, of course, turning off the alarm, and I wasn't ready to get up when I woke up at 10:30, but Buster was nattering, and the sky had cleared up nicely, so I did.


I accomplished almost nothing, except to talk to Adam...who answered "don't know" to all my questions, but he will try to get me some answers.


Apparently there is a low water alarm in the septic tank, and I can't understand why that would be, so he will try to find out, and also if it can be disconnected (and what consequences that would have). His only suggestion was to run water for three or four hours, essentially to fill up the tank, which I may do. Running the water like that does clear it up a lot, as I found out with the humidifier last winter. I don't know what consequences it might have for the well pump, but I'm really getting tired of that alarm.


The weather was very nice. It was apparently cloudy at sunrise (couldn't prove it by me), but it cleared up by 10:30, and the afternoon was lovely, except for some clouds in the west at sunset. The temperature eventually got up to around 70. and there was a moderate northwest wind.


As it got dark, the more-than-quarter moon is shining in the south windows. I forgot to mention that when I went out to bring in the bird feeders last night, the moon was leading Jupiter across the sky, and it was leaving a nice trail on the water.


The bird feeders got out late today, because I had to fill them all, and I had to get a new sack of sunflower seed before I did. The birdies were not happy. The hummingbird feeder was also empty, and I sort of forgot about that, until I had a couple of hummers looking in the window to see if I was here. They do learn fast! I have put out some mixed seed, to see if maybe I can attract a few different birds. The goldfinches will evidently eat anything, and there was a rather happy chipping sparrow on the deck later. They don't eat sunflower seeds, but they do keep coming around, hoping to find something good.


I discovered that I have two squirrel moms. One of them jumped right into the big feeder while I was standing there, and the other sat on the end of a branch looking at me. And the chickadees started calling the moment I came outside, alerting the whole neighborhood that lunch was about to be served. I wish I could leave everything out overnight, but once the bear was here, I'm afraid to do that till fall.


So everybody will have to live by my schedule. Maybe I can get to bed a little bit earlier tonight. I was thinking about going down to the Secretary of State office in Mohawk tomorrow and change my address on my driver's license (which comes due this year) and my registration. I think It's probably time to officially state that I am a resident of Copper Harbor, even though the other house isn't sold yet. But I don't want to be too late going there, because it is only open one day a week (or maybe two?) and sometimes there is a lot of activity there. That will at least start the process, and then I can begin to notify the SSA, the bank, and anybody else who comes to mind. There are a lot of pains involved in moving. May this be the last time, please!


So that is all there is.


July 4 - Independence Day

I got to bed so late last night that I had to have a snack before I went, and I was up several times, so I am rather groggy now. But, oh, well.


Because of that, I didn't do much but play with the beads again. I decided to continue on the bag I was working on, because there are some fascinating beads in the mix that I have no idea how one might use. one is crystal with red stripes, lined in green, and another is crystal with black stripes, lined in hot pink. Or again, chalk white with blue stripes, either 4 or 8 stripes. Now what in the world you would do with beads like that, I don't know, but they're fun to look at. The yellow ones with black stripes would make good bees, oriented in the proper direction, but I sometimes wonder if anybody has ever found a really good use for some of the other strange ones. There are also some really beautiful metallic gold beads, called "Charlottes", which have a flat spot ground on one side, so that they sparkle much more than a regular round bead. I hope I get enough of those to do something interesting with. Trouble is, I have to sort them out of a 500 gram package which contains all sizes from the ones I mentioned last night, to some that are a quarter-inch in diameter. The sorting is hard on my eyes, and I really have to work in good daylight to see the colors and finishes.


I actually put on something other than blue jeans to go to dinner...white jeans. I haven't had them on in several years, because they didn't fit very well. Well, they fit fine now. I don't have a scale here, so I can't tell if I've actually lost weight since the end of March, but from the way things fit, I think so. Amazing what shaking my bootie can do. Anyway, I picked Shirley up and we had a lovely dinner at Harbor Haus. Curiously, tonight there was a lull around 7:00, and 6:00 was a zoo. The exact opposite was true on Sunday. So all I can say is, if you're in town on a holiday weekend and you want to eat there, you'd best make a reservation, even for one.


I was a little disappointed in the crowd when I drove home. Last year (when we were fogged out) cars were parked almost out to the wastewater treatment plant, and so many people were wandering around town that driving was a real chore. That wasn't true this year, but by the sound of the crowd during and after the fireworks, they must have come in later this year.


(Whoo! I just hit some combination of keys and wiped out the entire month! Fortunately, "UNDO" works!)


So I got home at a reasonable hour and played with the beads until my eyes were crossed and it was too dark to see. Buster was frustrated, but then I sat down in the ugly chair and he got to sit on me.


It wasn't even dark yet when my neighbors (who must have arrived yesterday?) started setting off their own fireworks. They were quite respectable for an amateur event,  but they're from Illinois, and I think their laws are more lax than ours are about what kind of fireworks you can buy. I wasn't too pleased when I started hearing sizzling sounds right over my house, but apparently there was no damage, and they were pretty.


The real fireworks started about 10:45. I wasn't sure when they would start, because usually the Isle Royal Queen does a moonlight, and they wait until the boat comes back, but tonight they apparently had their party in the harbor.


I set the camera to take a picture every 3 minutes, so there are several shots, some OK, some where there was nothing going on. Here is one  that was OK.


The only way to really catch the action would be to manually hit "capture" when something good happened, and the problem is, if I'm at the computer, my line-of-sight puts the fireworks behind the great room wall. So we caught a few, and we missed a few. Next year I might try setting up the Nikon, but I'm not sure exactly where to put it to get the best view. On the porch would be great, but then I'd have to shut down the webcam, because otherwise I and the Nikon would be blocking the view. We'll see. One year when I was living in Room 33 (with my mom) I set up outside and took some pretty good pictures on film, but it was buggy, and when you're taking pictures with a film camera, you miss most of the action. I'd rather watch.


It was a lovely night for fireworks. The day was cooler than yesterday, with a temperature that varied between 60 and 65 and a rather brisk wind out of the northwest. It was under 60 at show time, but the wind had dropped off, so I imagine it wasn't bad at all in town. It was lovely here. And the lower temperature no doubt kept the bugs down.


There were a couple of new fireworks this year. One opened up into a ring (red), and then a fuzzy white patch appeared in the middle of it. That was cool. The coolest one, and there was only one, I'm not sure exactly how it was put together, but from here, it looked like a sphere inside a sphere, each cut in half at the equator, and alternating red and green. I wonder how they do that? The show went on for nearly half an hour, and this year they had a "halftime" extravaganza as well as the ending one, when they set off a dozen rockets at the same time. One picture from the camera caught part of that, but it was a bit unfocused because the light was moving so fast.


So that was my day, and I think this year was the best one for fireworks since I've been here. The camera, remember, has such a wide-angle view that everything looks a lot smaller than it is. I got a great view this year.


Buster was not impressed. When my neighbors started setting off their display, he was interested for a while, but by the time the real show began, while he did sort of look out at it, it didn't excite him. Too far away, I guess.


And that is the only problem down here, which I think I've remarked upon before: I am about 1 miles from Copper Harbor proper, which means that the light and the sound are disconnected. The sound arrives seven or eight seconds after the light, which frequently means I hear the sound after the light is gone. I still haven't gotten used to it. I had the door open tonight, because I love to hear the "boom" echoing off the hills, but it was strange to hear the sounds so long after the light.


However, I'll take what I can get. I would not have been a happy camper in town with all those people. Crowds make me uncomfortable, even more so now that I spend so much time in my splendid isolation. It's the reason why, even though I love fireworks, I've never seen the show in Detroit, and I think I was about 12 the last time I went to the ones Grosse Pointe Woods puts on at Parcells school. When I was living at Shirley's motel, that was a wonderful place to watch from inside, even though I missed the higher ones. My location now is pretty much ideal, so far as I'm concerned.


And now It's time for bed, and I expect to sleep long and hard tonight and maybe catch up on my sleep a bit.


July 3

It's tomorrow already, but I wanted to finish what I was doing...not that it was all that important. I didn't do a lot today.


I was wakeful until the septic alarm went off, then I slept fairly well, doing my best after 6 am, as usual. 


It was a lovely clear night. When I went to bed, the moon was setting over Brockway, and there were lots of stars. Apparently sometime after it began to get light, it clouded up a bit, at least according to the camera. I seem to remember quite a lot of sunshine, but the skies were hazy. The temperature varied between about 67 and 70 all day, and there was a brisk wind from the northwest. It was nice, but the wind was cool enough that I ended up with the office all closed up.


I decided to get out the beads to do a necklace I've been thinking about, but I ended up getting sidetracked and just played with beads all day. Those beads are fairly large ones, but then I got into the seed beads, and oh, well. The package I was looking at has the smallest beads I have ever seen. It would take about three or four of them to make a 14 bead, which is only a millimeter big. Some of them were still on a thread, not much thicker than a hair, and I have no idea what kind of a needle one might use. They do have holes, which is even more amazing. They are so small that they keep getting into the holes of the bigger beads and getting stuck, so I spent some time separating the big beads from the little ones. Also some of the uglies. I haven't decided whether to continue sorting this package, which has some interesting colors in it, or go on to another.  Or do something else entirely.


I can report that the bugs are not all gone. When I took the feeders out this morning, I got a bite at the base of my hand (right where I rest it on the keyboard when I'm typing, of course). It has taken me all day to figure out exactly where the bite was, but from the itch on my wrist, I knew I'd been bitten. One of the things about black fly bites is that frequently they don't itch exactly where the bite is, and another thing is that it can take 12 hours or so for them to develop a lump. In the meantime, you keep looking in the wrong place for the bite.


So that's about all I have to report, and it's high time I went to bed!


July 2

I don't know quite why I was so late getting to bed last night, but it was 1:00 before I turned out the light. That was OK, because I got to turn off the septic tank alarm before I got undressed. Today it went off after noon, so I suppose tonight I will have to get up and fix it after I'm in bed. Stupid thing.


The wind was blowing rather briskly, and I played a couple of games last night, and when I got ready to leave, I was surprised to see that it was raining. We had another nice shower between 11:00 and midnight, and while it was cloudy and very humid all night, it didn't rain anymore. There had been one flash of lightning around 11:00, but I didn't hear any thunder, so I thought it was all way out in the lake, although the radar showed a storm cell right over the end of the peninsula. With any kind of downpour at all, the rain flowing off the roof and down two stories makes quite a racket, but a nice one to go to sleep to.


It was cloudy when I got up this morning, but the sun came out eventually, in a sort of hazy sky.  Between 11:00 and 12:00 the wind was coming in the east window, but about 12:30, it abruptly changed direction to the northwest and picked up into the 15-25 mph range, where it stayed until about 5:00 before it started to die off. The temperature was in the low 70s until then, when it went up to around 80 for a while before dropping back. Toward sunset, it got nearly calm. It was really very balmy all day, and a particularly nice evening.


I took advantage by not doing much all day. Oh, well. Dinner at Harbor Haus was especially nice, even though about two dozen cheerful people descended upon the room I was in about halfway through my meal, and by the time I left (around 7:00) there was a 30 minute wait for tables. The town is filling up. Not only did I have a very good fish (marlin, the first time I've ever eaten that), but there was strawberry shortcake with organic berries and Bavarian cream for desert...to die for! Needless to say, I brought half of my dinner home so I could have dessert. And this is the first time I've had decaf coffee out since I swore off caffeine. Harbor Haus uses Starbuck's coffee, and they brew it strong. I was very interested in the sensation...or lack of sensation...of drinking coffee that strong and flavorful and not having my heart start to pound. Quite weird. Every time I took a sip, I expected to feel my heart start up, and it didn't. So I guess if I have dessert and coffee goes with it, I can have some.


When I got home, Buster was quite at ease in the ugly chair with his head in the sun. So I picked him up and sat down, and he sat on my lap for quite a while. I think I am a little warm for him, though, or maybe a little uncomfortable, because eventually he moved to the footstool, although he came back a couple of times. I worked on the afghan, and I have now started the last two rows, which are pale mint green. However, plain crochet, especially that much of it, is awfully boring, so eventually I laid that aside and read and knitted until it got too dark to see.


I guess the hummingbirds have finished their nesting, because they are coming back, not quite in the numbers I had before, but more than there have been for two or three weeks. There were more goldfinches, too, and a chickadee or two came to the feeder you can see in the camera. By the way, I didn't move that feeder up because of the view. I moved it up to attempt to keep the squirrels out of it. It hasn't worked completely, as you can see  in the pictures, but that is only one squirrel, and it doesn't get into that feeder every day. So it stays full a bit longer. The squirrels were quite fractious, and they were chasing the chipmunks, too.


When I brought everything in for the night, there were a few clouds in the northwest, but the nearly-quarter moon was shining brightly behind the tree, and the air was balmy.  I did bring in a bug or two, but that can't be helped. I think possibly the worst of the black flies is over with. They like cooler weather, and it's been warm enough that I think they are dying out. Not that I'm going into the garden with out protection, but it won't be so easy to get carried away. Now the mosquitoes are another thing altogether, and you couldn't get me to go out behind the house or up the driveway in the evening. They don't call them "Keweenaw eagles" for nothing.


So that was a nice day, and maybe I can get to bed a tad earlier tonight. I know I say that frequently, and I almost never do, but I'm tired tonight. It won't be really early, because it is nearly 11:00 now, but maybe it won't be 1:00 again.


Just about the time I was bringing the feeders inside, they started shooting off the cannons at the fort. This weekend is, I think, the Civil War encampment, and sometimes they shoot off the cannons during that. Every year it's a little different, though. I remember the first year we were here, there was so much cannon fire that poor DC thought they were shooting at us and he went away and hid. Buster doesn't like it either. Those noises are too loud, and they echo off the hills most satisfactorily. I could do without them, too, but I guess I can endure a couple of days each year. Someone around here has some screamers, and I think I'd rather hear cannon shots. But then, I've never understood the allure of firecrackers and things like that anyway. Now, the professional fireworks, yes, but that's different, and now I'm a couple of miles away from them, so usually I see more than I hear.


So that is all there is for tonight.


July 1

I had a wakeful period during the night - reason unknown - and while I was awake at 8:30, I decided to go back to sleep, and I did. Curiously enough, Buster, who has taken up residence in the basket of (formerly) clean clothes I haven't put away in the bathroom, looked up at me, saw that I didn't have my glasses on, and went back to sleep. He can clearly tell the difference, and he apparently knows that when I don't have my glasses on, I'm not getting up for good. Anybody who thought cats are dumb animals...


About the time I got up at 8:30, it started raining, and we had a respectable amount of rain between then and 10:30, when I did get up.  Now, if we'd have that  much every two or three days, it would be perfect. Hey, I never said this was paradise.


It was a bit like that this morning, though, warm and humid. And again this morning, I was thinking the septic tank alarm wasn't going to go off, when it did, around 11:30, I think. I really must run some water and try to get the thing filled up so that will stop, especially since it is cycling around and soon will be going off in the middle of the night again. 


I did determine that the reason I couldn't get hold of Adam is because I had written down his phone number wrong, but now there's not much use in calling him until Wednesday. We need to talk.


I was sitting at the computer, around 12:30, thinking that I was hungry and maybe I should just have the rest of my fish for brunch, when all of a sudden, the wind began to blow hard from the northwest. It's a phenomenon I've only experienced here - one minute it will be nearly calm, and the next minute the wind is whistling around the corners. I'm pretty sure they were underreporting it for most of the day, but they did finally say it was 18 mph gusting to 36 mph. I would have said out here, it was in the 20-35 mph range all afternoon. That was good, because the temperature got up to 79, but with the wind, it didn't feel anywhere near that warm and it was pretty nice. I do get tired of the wind, and Buster doesn't like it at all. When it started to blow, he was sleeping under the east window in the office, and as soon as it started blowing, he got up and went away, someplace where it wasn't windy. DC was the same way and even more so. He would go hide in the closet when the wind blew.


So since my day was somewhat truncated, I didn't do much except for a little crochet.  I have now started the last color, and it's getting to be a long way around . I have three more rows to do, so it will be done soon, then all I have to do is weave in all the yarn ends. That's the trouble with these projects that use a lot of colors.


I should say that the skies did clear up eventually, and at sunset there were just a few clouds in the sky, and the moon was shining brightly from behind the bird feeder tree. There is a cloud over in the west now, but I don't know how much of a problem that will be.


It was fun to see whitecaps on the harbor for a change, especially after the sun came out. The wind is dying down now, which is nice, and it is supposed to be a little cooler tonight, although I doubt it will get into the middle 50s.


Tonight there were four squirrels. One was the guy with the docked tail, whom I haven't seen for a while. I guess he isn't a really close-by resident and he doesn't come every day. Mom is still really hungry, and she had a problem getting anything tonight, with two guys in the big feeder and one in the platform feeder, and there was a lot of cheeping going on for a while. I had never noticed it with the black and fox squirrels, but the red squirrels we have here are very vocal and they can get very noisy. Spoils the peace of the evening.


Dinner was with Shirley, and three of her daughters joined us, which was very nice. I haven't seen them for a while. They are here for the weekend, doing some work on the house Cindy lives in, and preparing a float for the parade Tuesday. They also had smorgasbord for the first time this year. No prime rib, but enough other goodies to make up for it.


Oh, and I'm forgetting. When I looked out the bathroom window, when I got up, there was my big doe (I think it's a doe) grazing in the drain field. I was fascinated that even though she had her head down to the grass, and she was eating, she seemed to know I was looking at her, and she raised her head and looked back. I wonder how they know that? She wasn't looking in my direction at all when I started watching her, but she knew, like my eyes were shooting darts at her back. She is a very large, well0fed looking animal, one of the largest I have seen, which is why I'm not entirely sure of her sex. However, I think most of the bucks around here have a sort of dark, fuzzy line of hair down the front of their necks, even when they don't have antlers. And I have no idea when a buck starts to grow his antlers. One of these days, I should go out into the internet and see if I can find out more about the intimate lives of deer. 


She moved off down the drain field and out of my view, but she looked quite calm and at home. Evidently the grass or whatever that grows over my drain field is particularly succulent. I wish she and her friends ate tansy and spotted knapweed. And I'm rather glad they don't seem to like lupine, daisies, or coreopsis, which is now blooming.


The rain did it for the peony, and the daisies are going, too. So we are progressing into real summer. Some of the grass, I noticed, is starting to turn brown. Part of that is lack of rainfall, and part is just that it has made its seed for the year. 


I have always enjoyed the progress of the seasons in a domesticated place, but it's even nicer in the wilds, I find. Now, if I can only get rid of that knapweed and tansy...


And it's July, and I am officially a "Medicare recipient," which is a depressing thought, except when I remember that six and eight years ago, I was wondering if I'd ever make it to 65. Being so old is better than not. I'm not 65 yet, by the way. I still have 30 days to go before I have to face that milestone. I haven't decided whether to throw a party or hibernate.



Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM