A View From the Field








February, 2008

February 29

February is finally history. It has always seemed like the longest month to me, and in leap years, it's even longer. I don't know what it is, but it probably has something to do with the weather. Oh, well, that's over with for this year.


I was late getting to bed last night. Everything was late last night, actually, and I wanted to read a bit before I went to bed, so it was probably about 1:30 when I turned out the light. I slept very well, thank you. I think I was only up once. However, when I got up around 10:00 (I think), I just made it to the bathroom. There are some advantages to getting up more frequently.


I did not do much. I did get the car unloaded, although I had help. Mac came with the tractor, so I went out to give him his check, and he helped get the stuff into the breezeway. It was particularly nice to have him help me with the kitty litter, which comes in 27 lb. packages. I can move them, but it's hard sometimes.


And I put the new toaster oven on the counter. It fits, if I don't want to use the plugs for anything else, which I probably wouldn't. I haven't tried it yet, though. Today I had something microwaved.


I made an appointment for a haircut and an appointment to see the cardiologist. That will be for the second trip, which is OK, too. I had only one thing scheduled for that trip, which I don't like to do. I think I will try to schedule my mammogram for that trip.


Otherwise, I sorted beads, and finally got the first little batch done and started on a new batch. In the past, I have just gone through the entire kilo looking for one or two beads, then gone through it again and again for the others, but I really don't like to do that. Better to get everything out of one batch at once. There were some things I had sorted that I had to go through again to break down more, but that didn't take long. And I always seem to get one or two beads in the wrong place, so I had a chance to fix that, too. There are some really weird beads in this kilo.


The weather was such that I didn't even go to dinner. Actually, I forgot about it until it was too late. 


It snowed all day, in waves, like lake effect snows usually are, and I think we picked up 2" or 3" maybe. The temperature was around 25 all day long, and for quite a while there wasn't any wind, then between 6:00 and 7:00, it suddenly picked up into the 25-35 mph range from the north. I thought I was hearing something outside, but I had the radio on, so I wasn't sure. I guess I was. This might be a good test of my heating system, except that it isn't all that cold outside.


I promised pictures, so here they are. That is what the covered road looks like between the Mountain Lodge and Lake Medora. I thought it was rather pretty. On my way home yesterday, the wind had picked up and some of the frosting was blowing off the trees, but today's snow should have put it back on...it's pretty around here.


So that was my quiet day, and I will see if I can get this to upload with Norton running a virus scan. It's another wintry night in the field.


February 28

I think it was sometime after midnight when I got to bed - how much, I don't really know, since I steadfastly refused to look at the clock, but it was late, and the first time I woke up fully was at 7:00 this morning. I must have surfaced a bit during the night, because I had turned over. I can't turn over when fully asleep, a pattern that was set when I tore up my ankle when I was 11 or 12, and with the body pillow it's even more impossible. It's nice when I can do that without remembering it or having to get up. Anyway, I went back to sleep and got up around 9:00, I think.


With the various things I usually do in the morning, including having a nice breakfast of poached eggs on toasted dinner rolls, it was 11:00 or so before I could possibly have left for town, but Clyde had misfiled a magazine yesterday that I wanted to return, so I diddled around until after noon, then I stopped at the post office.


That was OK, since there is no way I could have done much more than I did in town. Today I had to go to Wal-Mart, which I try to avoid, but I was able to do what I needed to do efficiently, and they had a good selection of cat food. Unfortunately, Chef's Blend seems to have been discontinued, at least in these parts, just when the fur faces decided they like that one. Oh, well. That's normal.


I wanted to check out compact fluorescent indoor floodlights, since I used most of the bulbs I had in the last massive change-out, and I discovered some at about $5 a piece in packages of two! So I figure every time I go to Wal-Mart I will buy a couple of packages, and the next time I have to change light bulbs, I can begin to replace my incandescents. There isn't much I can really do to be "green" in these parts, at least with my house, but I can do that. I know the compact fluorescents don't dim, but I don't have any dimmer switches in the house. I need to get some for regular lights, too, but that can wait, since except for the one in my bedroom, I really don't use those lights much.


I had also determined to look at toaster ovens. The toast darkness switch on the one I have stopped working some time ago, which means that when I toast something, I have to watch it continuously and stop it when the toast is right, which is sometimes hard. This is the earlier model of the one I had on Champine that broke while I was there in July. They both lasted about 6 years, I guess, but I decided that cheapest wasn't necessarily the best. I had been thinking that a little bigger, more versatile model might be useful, so that I don't have to fire up the big oven so often...electric bills, you know. UPPCO electricity is extremely, disgustingly expensive, and I don't care if the whole world knows it.


So I came home with a model made by GE, which is a convection oven as well as a toaster oven, and also broils. I am a little suspicious of it, because it was the only one they had besides the display model and the box had been opened, but everything seems to be there, so I will try it tomorrow and see if it works. At Wal-Mart prices, it really wasn't too expensive. I'm not too sure about broiling in it, because of cleanup, but I may try it, just to see how it works. This will be the first toaster oven I've had that is more than minimal function, so it will be interesting.


Of course, it is quite a large thing to put on my counter, so I may have to find a new place for it. I use the counter space to the left of the cooktop a lot, and I don't know if the new oven will take up too much space. We'll see.


So then it was on to Econo Foods, where I think I got everything I went for, although it wouldn't surprise me to find I didn't. The only thing I know I didn't get was bananas, and that was because they had moved them and I didn't want to circle around any more than necessary. That is a big store, too. I did get away for less than $400, which I thought was pretty good, since they didn't have liters of JD, and I ended up with two 1.75 liter bottles.


The next stop was the gas pumps. On my way south, I saw gas for prices from $3.08 to $3.27, and fortunately the pumps at Econo were the low ones, the same price as Wal-Mart. I've heard that prices have jumped, so all I can figure is, the load they are pumping now must be at the old wholesale price. I won't complain, since my tank was below a quarter full. I get terrible gas mileage when I'm using auto 4WD.


I actually didn't feel as bad as usual when I set off for home about 3:30. I was tired, sure, and I was hot, but I was still ambulatory.


On the way home, I stopped at the Secretary of State's office in Mohawk and picked up the forms for a handicap hang tag and license plate. Even though I am feeling a quite a bit better since my massages, realistically, I am never going to get very much better, and being able to park in a handicap parking place would frequently be useful, like today, when all the senior citizen places were taken and the handicap ones weren't, or at Wal-Mart, where they have so many handicap places everyone else has to walk a mile.


It was such a beautiful day, I wish I had been able to stay home. I did run into an unscheduled snow shower on the way down the covered road, but after that it cleared up, and the only problem I had was that I forgot my sunglasses again. I really must put them back in the car, since that is the only place I really need them. The temperature did get up to about 20 here, and about 24 in Houghton, with light and variable breezes. Up on top of the hill where Econo's gas pumps are it is always windy (reminds me of both Troy and Bellville, when I was working), but elsewhere there wasn't much wind at all.


I did take a couple of pictures, but you will just have to wait until tomorrow or Saturday to see them.


When I got home, the sun was shining in the west windows, so I just sat and did nothing through all my evening radio programs, so it is very late now, and I am sneezing, so it is clearly time to go to bed. I do have to finish filling the dishwasher, but then I can crash.


So it's a quiet night in the field again, and I guess it's supposed to start snowing again tomorrow. Good thing: down in the settled parts of the Copper Country, while the roads are clear, the banks on either side are all black and ugly, and they need some new snow to cover them up again.


And now to bed...


February 27

I worked on the story for a while last night, but not long, since I was rather late in getting up to the north end. I think it was around 11:00 when I crawled into bed, but I was so out of it yesterday that I'm not sure. Today was better.


I got up around 9:00, but what with petting a cat and doing my morning surfing I was a little late for Bible class, but Bonnie had just arrived when I got to church. It was nice. We do a lot of talking besides doing our Bible study, so it was 1:00 before I got home. I don't think any cats noticed, since that is in the middle of their siesta time.


I hadn't had much breakfast so I had a little lunch (I really need to get to town tomorrow!), but the task of the day was trash, and returning the  basket to the post office. It was close, but I made it, and there was another bundle of mail. Clyde is a genius at getting as much as possible into a box.


There was money in the mail, which was nice. They pay for jury duty even if you're not called to serve - a whole $12.50, plus mileage, 20 a mile. How generous.  I doubt many employers around here are as generous as my former employer was - they paid me my regular wages when I was on jury duty. At the price of gas these days, it might just about cover the gas I used.


I do get terrible mileage in the winter, of course, because I keep the car in auto 4WD almost all the time, and that does use more gas. However, I feel much safer that way.


Anyway, I disposed of two big and two small bags of stuff, and the fridge is cleaned out as much as can be for what I bring home tomorrow.


Otherwise, I sorted beads. There are some very pretty beads in this assortment, as well as some incredibly ugly ones. Not only does it have lots of red beads, it has lots of green and lots of blue, including some very pretty sapphire blue, very shiny ones. This is the assortment that had all the teensy tiny beads in it, and I have found that I didn't ever get all of them out when I went through the first time. Those things fascinate me, and I must figure out something to do with them. They are not more than a millimeter wide and long...I mean teensy! Considering how many red, blue and green beads I've gotten out of the half-cup or so I've been working on, I am going to have lots of beads to work with, which is nice. If there are enough alike, I can do bracelets with them.


The weather was typical. The temperature hung at about 15 all day, with a 10-20 mph wind out of the northeast, and the waves of lake effect showers were short. One minute it would be snowing hard, and the next minute the sun would be trying to peek through. We maybe got two inches of new altogether.


I always enjoy watching the lake effect showers, and the camera caught a couple that I saved, which show it snowing hard over Porter Island and not snowing at all on land. See? In the first of those pictures. the sun is even shining a bit. Such fun!


So that was another day, and it's time to toddle up to the north end and get ready for a big day tomorrow. it's a quiet, cold night in the field.


February 26

What a lost day! I went to bed at a reasonable hour and I slept well in my nicely made bed. I got up around 9:00, I think, but first I petted a cat and knitted a while, then I got to reading again, and it was after 11:00 when I got to the kitchen. In the meantime, I managed to take my nighttime pills in the morning. Oh, dear. I do that occasionally, unfortunately. It isn't critical, except that I will probably be up any number of times tonight, because the morning pills include a rather strong diuretic. My mind...my mind...


I had just put a pan of water on to boil for poached eggs and I was about to go down to the office when Debbie called. It was so good to hear from her, and we had our usual long talk, so it was after noon before I finally got my breakfast. Poached eggs tasted good for a change.


But after that, I did nothing at all.


I had brought the last section of the story in the blue binder with me, because I finally figured out one thing that was bothering me about the stuff I wrote in 2006, and fixing it means splitting the front and back of one page and writing some stuff in there. With my copier and some Scotch tape, I managed to fix it so I can try to write what needs to go there.


The weather was OK. It was in the middle teens all day long, with a north-northeast wind in the 10-20 mph range, and there were a few little flurries of snow. Heaven forefend, we don't get our daily snow! It was dark and dull for most of the day and I didn't pay much attention to it.


So that is all there is, and I'm on my way up to the north end as soon as I can go.


February 25

I was late getting to bed last night - reading again - and I had a wakeful period in the  middle of the night, so I am tired now, and I don't think I will be up quite so long tonight. I did get up around 9:30, and I petted a cat for a little while and knitted for a while, then I read some more. I am almost finished with the big white binder again.


The task of the day was to finish the wash, and I did do that, but I didn't do a lot else, because I was creaky and tired. I just shouldn't stay up so late, obviously. While the wash was washing, I finished the bag of beads I was working on and started another one. This one is more like some of the first ones I did, with lots of beautiful dark red beads, but this batch has some fascinating orchid matte beads I've never seen before. There were also a few more of the lovely gold charlottes (the ones with one flat side) and I even found a few of the pink ones I liked so well. This is a huge batch, though, I think what is left of an entire kilo, so it will take a long time to go through. With all of the dark red beads I am collecting, I am going to have to figure out something to do with them. They are pretty, but hard to work with. So we'll see.


I also made up the bed and finally got the sheepskin pad back where it belongs. I wonder how long it will stay that way? I was so creaky, I'm not sure how good a job I did on the making up, but at least it's clean and better than it was.


The weather was probably part of the reason I was so creaky. It was 30 for most of the day and very humid. Very early this morning - like around sunrise - we had a little snow, so we can say we got our daily snow, but for the rest of the day, it was just very cloudy and dull. There was a brisk northeast wind, in the 15-25 mph range. Boring. I had to have the task light on all day to see the beads, and even with it, it's hard to tell the difference between dark red and dark brown, or black, dark blue and dark brown. I finally quit, since my eyes were beginning to cross.


I forgot to mention yesterday that for most of the morning, there were two ice shanties out on the harbor across from the fort. It started about 9:00 with one, then there were two, and after a while they moved around to a couple of other places before they finally left. I guess fishing must not have been very good. I didn't think most ice fishermen moved their shanties around that much, so I don't know what they were doing. I saved the pictures, but I'm not planning to publish them, because the shanties look like little black dots, and in a couple of the pictures, there was an even smaller dot that was a man. Not very interesting.


So that was a quiet day in the field. I need to go to town this week, since I'm running out of OJ and JD, but it's supposed to snow tomorrow, so I will wait to see how it is before I decide when to go.


It's a quiet, cloudy night in the field tonight.


February 24

I was in bed by 10:30 again, and boy, did I sleep! I was up twice, and while I couldn't see any stars, I could see the shadows cast by the moon, so I knew it was pretty clear overhead. I was up briefly before 6:00, and the moon was shining in my windows...so pretty!


I got up before 9:00, I think, and I really didn't want to get up, but my appointment was at 11:00, and I knew if I didn't get up, I would miss it.


I was thinking that the camera might catch the moon setting over the mountain, and when I checked the files, lo and behold, it had. I also saved the sunset picture, because that was pretty spectacular, too. So here they are. 


It was a beautiful sunny day. I finally remembered my sunglasses, and I needed them to get to my massage appointment. I feel much better. Unfortunately, Johanna is going to be away for over two weeks, so I won't get another one until the middle of March, but that will give me a chance to see how long the effects last.


When I got home, I started sorting beads again, sitting in the sun, but I also started the wash. I am getting to the end of the package of beads I was working on, slowly, and I have three loads of wash done. One is in the dryer, but the other two are folded. Tomorrow there will be fleece and towels, and I think it's time to change the sheet, too.


The weather was sunny, but it was humid, and the sun shining on the snow made it very hazy or foggy all day long. That is partly why the sunset picture is so spectacular. The temperature briefly hit 35 at 5:00, but for the rest of the afternoon it was about 30, so we probably didn't lose very much snow. There was a little wind early, but for the later part of the day, it was calm. Just a lovely day.


I really felt the need to sit in the sun and soak up the rays and make some vitamin D, so that is mostly what I did.


Now since I can't get hold of Debbie, I think I will go up to the north end and read a while before I get to bed early again.


It's a calm, clear night in the field tonight, but I think the snow is coming back tomorrow. Winter isn't over yet.


February 23

I was in bed by 10:30 last night, and I started out to sleep just fine, but around 2:30 I woke up and I just dozed until around 5:30. Drat. This time I have no clue why I couldn't sleep, unless I was a bit warm, although I didn't feel like it. So I got up around 9:30 and I'm tired.


I changed the start and stop times on the camera, so now I won't be able to turn on the lights until after 7:30. Cuts down on production a lot, for sure.


It was such a beautiful day that I wanted to be sure to catch all the sunset. The temperature got up to 26 for the afternoon, with just a little wind around 3:00, which has now gone away, and it is quite calm and completely clear. There were some clouds, but it was mostly sunny, and the house and I soaked up all those free rays all afternoon. It got up to 75 or more in the office, and I was hot, but I wasn't complaining.


I didn't do much except sort beads, and I'm getting through the last few colors of a kilo I've been working on for a long time. There are some really interesting beads in that batch, and it made me glad I am thinking about bead embroidery, because just a few of an unusual bead can work in a brooch, whereas it's hard to use them in bead weaving.


There weren't so many people in Mariner tonight, but I think Zik's was having something special going on, because there were a lot of people there. Maybe a band, like they do in the summer.


It was a quiet day, and I'm tired, so that is all there is. It's a calm, clear, gorgeous night in the field tonight.


February 22

I went up to the north end right after I finished last night's entry, and I was in bed by 9:30, in spite of reading for a while. I mean to tell you, I was exhausted! And I slept well, with quite a few interruptions because of all the fluids I drank yesterday. For some reason, when I'm very tired, I get very thirsty, and what goes in must come out...


Anyway, I was up at 8:30 this morning, so I'm tired again. I petted a cat for a long time, which made him happy, and I had a TV dinner for breakfast, so he got to lick the dish, and that made him happy, too.


The craft of the day was to do a little work sorting seed beads, and I made a little headway...not a lot, but some.  Then I went to the post office and brought back a barrel-full of my  mail, most of which will go out immediately, but there was a lot of it, and my next order of knitting needles arrived, so I think I will transfer the silk and wool sock to a long circular and see how that goes. I was thinking about it again this morning, because those #1 bamboo needles (2.25 mm) are very sharp and sometimes Buster zigs when he should zag, and I'd hate to hit him in the eye.


It was a great day to just sit and watch the outside. For a good portion of the day, it was snowing and the sun was shining at the same time, which is always fun to watch. The temperature got up to 19 for a while this afternoon, and there was hardly any wind. It was nice out. I would say 3" or 4" of snow fell, but it was as light as goose down, so it didn't do any harm.


The sun during the middle of the day was great for sorting beads by - it is even better than my daylight task light - but when it started shining in the front windows, I had to stop, because it was shining in my eyes. Not that I am complaining, mind you. It was beautiful. And it looks like it is time to adjust the start and stop times on the camera again. We have 10h 40m of daylight now, and the sun is rising at 7:45 and setting at 6:25. The days are getting longer by over 3 minutes a day now, and that is great. It was lovely to go to dinner while it was still light out.


There were dozens of snowmobiles around Mariner tonight, but not that many people inside - I heard they were all in the sauna. I don't think I would want to take a sauna with a dozen or more other people...but then, I'm not sure I would want to take a sauna at all, seeing how badly I react to heat. To each his own.


I got up so early this morning that I'm tired again, so I will go off to the north end and read a while.


It's a calm, partly clear night in the field tonight.


February 21

Well, that was a dud.


I read too long last night and didn't get to bed until 11:30. I was tired, but it didn't matter. I just didn't sleep at all. I might have dozed for a while, but there was no deep sleep. Ugh!


I got up at 6:30, and I thought I had time to do most of my morning surfing while I ate a breakfast that upset my stomach...most things do at that hour of the morning with so little sleep. I wanted to make a sandwich, just in case I was chosen, so I did that, and I wanted to wear my black corduroy jacket, but when I went upstairs to find it, I couldn't remember where that wardrobe was. Finally I found it, but I wasted a lot of time. Then there was one last stop in the bathroom, and I didn't get away until nearly 8:20.


M-26 is snow-covered all the way to Eagle River, and any of you who know that road know it is extremely winding. I don't know anybody who can keep to the 55 mph speed limit when it's clear and dry. There are a bunch of neat curves which are very close to the lake, and if one spun out, one would go right in the drink. We think somebody actually did that several years ago coming the other way.


Anyway, when I got to the courthouse, there were cars parked on both sides of the street all over the place, so I had to walk quite a way, and then...oh dear. There was a long, steep stairway to the courtroom. I slid into a seat beside Bonnie at just about exactly 9:00. Whew! I almost didn't make it up those stairs, believe me.


Anyway, when things got underway, I discovered another problem: the acoustics in the courtroom aren't at all good, and I have been having trouble with my ears for several weeks, from whatever winter sniffles I seem to have. I had a horrible time hearing anything.


So we said the Pledge of Allegiance, and we swore to tell the truth if we were asked questions...and when the judge came in and for both of those other things, we had to stand up. I was practically beside myself.


Things are a lot more casual in Keweenaw, though. Each of our names was on a thin strip of paper that was placed in a box as our names were called, then the clerk pulled out six strips. Bonnie was the first name in the box, so I figured she was safer than I was, because I was near the end. But when the names were pulled, Bonnie was called, and I wasn't. All that, for nothing!


So the judge dismissed the rest of us, and I came home. I forgot both my sunglasses and the camera, and I was very sorry I had, The sun came out while I was driving to court, and it was very strong on the way back. It was shining fully on all the neat ice castles out in the lake, and there were even some ice volcanoes, although the lake was calm enough that they weren't exploding. I would say the lake is frozen out half a mile at least, although it's deceptive, because in spots there is no snow on the ice, and it is so clear it's hard to tell if it's frozen or not. I think it was at the Great Sand Bay that there were some ice fishing tents out on the ice, but inside the line of big ice castles. Oh, well. I wanted to get home anyway.


I had some juice to settle my stomach, then I climbed back into my nightie and went back to bed. Buster was very upset about the whole morning, so when I laid down, he laid down with his back to mine and we slept together until 12:30.


I'm still tired, but I do feel some better. Pretty soon I will eat my sandwich and have some soup, and then I will go back to bed.


It was cold this morning. The temperature was about 6 and there was a west wind in the 10-20 mph range, and it was cold out there! The temperature got up to 16, but there is still that wind, and now the sun has gone behind the clouds.


I should add that I didn't see much of the eclipse last night. As I mentioned, I saw a little chunk taken out of the moon, but when I looked again before I went up to the north end, the moon was gone behind the clouds. I could tell it was still on (although not total anymore) when I went to bed, because it was very dark out, but it got bright very quick, and the rest of the night was as bright as early dawn. I'm disappointed, but at least I saw a little of it.


It was cold enough out this morning that I hauled out my full-length coat. It has a zip-out down lining, and the shell is wind (and I think, rain) proof. It has a hood and it comes down to my ankles, and it is really, really warm. I wore its predecessor (which was light beige) the last couple years I was working, when I had to walk a quarter mile across a field to get from the parking lot to the building, and the only thing that ever got cold was my face. It doesn't fit as well as it did then, but it still fits, and it's still just as warm as it ever was. I'm glad I have it.


 In a way, I was disappointed that I wasn't selected to serve, both because Bonnie was on the jury and because it was such an effort to get there, but oh, well. It was a reckless driving case, and two of the prosecutor's witnesses were 10- and 12- year-old kids. It didn't sound like a lot of fun. One juror who was dismissed started in on an unrelated story about being accosted by the accused, which led me to believe he was a difficult person at any rate, so it could have gotten messy.


So even though it's just about 5:00, I think I've said all I have to say. It will be a very early night tonight, and maybe I can catch up on my sleep?


February 20

I did go to bed relatively early last night, around 10:30, but between my nap and something I heard on the radio in the evening, I had a terrible time getting to sleep. And since it's 8:45 already, I won't be getting to bed early tonight, either. Poo. Oh, dear, since I have to be up around 6:30 tomorrow. The jury thing is on, unfortunately, and I have to be there. To get away from things like that is one reason I retired.


Anyway, I got up around 8:30 this morning, which gave me time to eat and do my surfing before it was off to Bible class, where I discovered that Bonnie has been called to jury duty, too. So at least I will know somebody.


Bonnie is still apparently reinfecting herself with the stomach flu she had a week ago, and she still doesn't feel good, so she didn't go to the ladies' handwork meeting, but a lot of other people were there, and it was a good meeting altogether. There were some lovely quilts, including the top of one that is going to be raffled off at Keweenaw Memorial Hospital, and an interesting one that one of the ladies put together which looks almost impossible until you're told how to do it.


I think that's one reason patchwork appeals to so many women. There is this canard that women aren't mathematical, but believe me, you have to have an intuitive feeling for geometry, at least, in order to patch a quilt! Anyway, that was fun. One of the other ladies had two baby quilts she had stipple-quilted by machine, and they were cute, too. I got to show off my #0000 (1.25 mm) needles, which are about the thickness of a needlepoint needle, and my "magic loop" sock.


I have a load of jeans in the dryer, and one reason is that I didn't quite make it to the bathroom when I got home. I had to shovel a few shovels of snow away from the garage to get the door to close, and I was a little late...oops! So I am sitting here in my robe, and I choked on a mouthful of water and dripped all over the place. I think I will wear a diaper tomorrow.


The weather was cold - really cold. It was 8 for most of the day, with a north wind in the 15-25 mph range. It has now risen to 12 - whoopee! It was mostly cloudy, although late in the day there were a few rays of sunshine.


And just now, I was looking out the upper back windows of the great room, and the moon was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds, and leaving rainbow halos around it. I could see that there is a dark chunk out of the lower left corner, so the eclipse is in progress. Totality doesn't start until 10:00, though, and I would have to get dressed over again to go out and see it, so I think I'm going to say I saw part of it and go to bed. At least I didn't miss all of it.


I am tired tonight, which gives me hope that I might be able to sleep? We'll see. I am so unused to having to be anyplace early in the morning that it may interfere with my rest.


So it was a nice, social day today, and I will be glad when tomorrow is over.


Otherwise, it's a cold, moonlit night in the field.


February 19

This is going to be an early night. I read until 2:45 this morning, and I got a phone call from the plumber at 8:30. I just dozed until 9:30, so I really didn't get enough sleep...in fact, I took a 2 hour nap this afternoon. I plan to get to bed very early tonight!


The plumber came, and my faucet is now fixed, with a rather large bill. We discovered that the reason I have been getting dripped on is that there was half a bucket of water in the reflector over my laundry room fluorescent light. Bill got the reflector off, and poured out the water, but now the reflector is sitting in the sink, and I will have to get somebody to put it back up for me. However, I won't get dripped on anymore.


I was so tired I didn't do anything at all today. I made a decision to pay my monthly bills online through the bank, so I spent some time setting that up. According to the bank, my telephone bill will get to AT&T by Thursday, so we'll see. I have to admit that the cost of postage is part of the reason I'm doing that, but the other reason is that sometimes I either don't want to or can't get to the post office in a timely manner. So long as I remember to schedule the payment two or three days before it's due, this will be much easier. Now that I only have bills for one house, I've had a problem remembering to pay some of them.


The weather was good to be indoors. The temperature was steady at 8 with a north to northeast wind in the 10-20 mph range, and it snowed pretty much all day. They revised the forecast while I was asleep, and we are now under a lake effect warning until sometime tomorrow. We may have had 6" of new snow since last night, but it is very small flakes and it was very fluffy.


So that was my quiet day, and shortly I will be off to the north end and jump into bed early.


It's a cold, snowy night in the field tonight.


February 18

Happy President's Day. I hope everybody who didn't have to work did something they enjoy.


I was late getting to bed last night...reading again...and I got up around 10:00 this morning. It was snowing when I got up, so I took my time, petting a cat and finishing the heel on the silk and wool sock. 


My massage left me with some sore muscles, strangely enough, but it seems to have given me more energy, which makes it all worth the stiff neck. As a result of that, I got most of my filing done...whew! I had done a good part of it the last time, but I still needed to sort a few things out, put last year's stuff in an archive box, make the new folders for this year, and sort this year's stuff. That took a while, and by the time I finished it, I wasn't very interested in attacking the taxes. Everything is in a folder, so I will get at that tomorrow. Won't Nancy (the accountant-Nancy) be surprised, if I get my taxes to her before the end of February! That is my goal. I can hope.


Then I searched out a new online magazine that I saw an advertisement for. Well...it's not exactly what I would call on-line. It comes out monthly as a pdf file which you download. But wow! I had a coupon for a freebie, and the first one I looked at had a chart (a big chart) that my usual source doesn't carry which I want. Sooo...after looking at the rest of the issues, I ended up downloading two years' worth and subscribing. Every month they print a chart that one would normally have to buy, and it seems like a lot of those are things I would like to have. And since it's published from Australia (isn't the Internet wonderful?), they have designers from all over the world, and some really wonderful patterns! So the old broadband got a real workout today, and I have enough online reading material to last me for quite a while. I only hope the charts print OK, but I don't really want to start with an eight-page one that is mostly black. It is a painterly picture of three kittens in a sewing box, and it is completely stitched.


My experience with online magazines is mixed. I subscribe to one for beading, which has gone downhill quickly in the last year, so much so that I'm not sure I will be renewing my subscription. I don't find it as easy to read magazines on the computer screen as I do in the hand, so I'm a bit ambivalent about them. On the other hand, the total number of patterns is really worth the cost.


While I was doing all that, I cooked my chicken. I had trouble with getting it done enough, again, and I am really puzzled how I managed to do it the first time. I convection roasted it and used the probe, but clearly I didn't get the probe in the right place...or maybe at the right temperature, or maybe both. Anyway, then I think I over-cooked it a bit, but it tasted good anyway. 


The weather was cold and snowy, so I didn't even stick my nose outside. It was about 14 all day long, and the wind was in the 20-35 mph range from the northeast. I don't think there was a lot of accumulation, but there was a lot of blowing. Come to think of it, if the wind was from the northeast, how come I kept seeing clouds of snow being blown down the harbor, which runs east-west? Wind currents around here are really weird.


So I actually accomplished something today. My desk is a little bit neater than it was, and the filing is pretty much under control, and that's a good thing.


It's another snowy night in the field.


February 17

It was a quiet night in the field, so I knitted until nearly midnight and finished the second red sock, then I looked at the silk and wool sock, which is on #1 needles. I got up around 8:30 this morning, because I knew if I didn't I'd miss my appointment.


I worked on the silk and wool sock for a while last night, and this morning I discovered I'd forgotten where I put the marker (again), and I stopped at exactly the right place to start the heel. How I did that, I will never know. Anyway, I did the first half of the heel.


Then after some food and some surfing, I was off to my massage. This is the first massage I have ever had, but it isn't going to be my last. I felt so good - and so sleepy! - when it was over. My muscles have tightened up a little since, and I am even sleepier, but it was a wonderful experience, and it did my back, particularly, and my hands, a world of good. I will go back again next week, and then we'll wait a couple of weeks and see what happens. 


When I got home, I felt so good, I went down into the basement to get my chicken, which didn't thaw out enough to cook, and I rooted around in the plastic barrels and found a few things that had gone missing. I still haven't found the #6 and #10 knitting needles, and I am at a loss about where they are.


When I went to my appointment at 11:00, it was dark enough out that my headlights turned on automatically, but it wasn't snowing. By the time I got out, it was snowing heavily and blowing a lot, and it snowed for the rest of the day, I think, although it may have stopped now for a while. The wind, though, was from the northeast, so there wasn't much drifting and it was warm in my house. The temperature peaked at 31 before the snow, and then dropped into the upper 20s, and the wind has been up in the 25-35 mph range. Not a blizzard, but wintry.


For the rest of the afternoon, I read some of the magazines that came yesterday and looked at some little cross stitch kits I brought upstairs.


I didn't mention that amongst the mail yesterday was a jury summons for next Thursday. I was afraid of that when I got a questionnaire last fall. I can hope they will settle on Wednesday and I won't have to go, but I'm afraid I'm in for another stint of jury duty. Drat. I believe in doing my civic duty, but I do not like jury duty. It so frequently means making black and white decisions in cases where things are not black and white. However, I will go. At least they don't want me there until 9:00, unlike Wayne County circuit court, where I and about five hundred other people had to be there at 7:45! And it might be a chance to meet a few more of my neighbors.


So that was my day, and even though it's early, I am going up to the north end and knit and/or read for a while and get to bed early. It's a wintry night in the field, and a good time to hibernate.


February 16

I read and petted a cat and knitted until about 11:30, so it was after midnight before I got to bed, but I slept pretty well and got up around 9:30. I hope I can do that tomorrow, because I have an appointment with our resident massage therapist, to try to get my back in shape.


When I woke up around 3:30, it was nearly clear, and the gibbous moon was hanging over the lighthouse, so bright and pretty! Of course that won't happen for the eclipse. Anyway, I could see Leo behind the picnic tree, and from the bathroom I could see Polaris and the pointer stars in the Big Dipper, so for a while it was clear.


It had clouded up when I got up, and it was cloudy for most of the day. It started out pretty cold - about 2 at 9:00, but then the temperature started to rise and it has been rising all day. It's now 27, with a west-southwest wind in the 10-20 mph range. The wind was stronger earlier, in the 20-30 mph range for most of the afternoon, but it seems to be dying down now. It didn't snow, and it was nice outside.


I fiddled around for most of the day, but I did accomplish one thing: I got the buffet packed. I have had all the dishes out for quite some time now, and they were beginning to bug me. It took some rearranging of the shelves, but I got everything in with a little room to spare, and I think it will be easier to get at the stuff I use most. I also got the last stuff off the top of the buffet, so now the footed bowl Arthur and Mary Ann gave me is in the middle, and my two star lights are at each end. I think it looks nice. I do want to put something in the middle of the table, but I haven't decided what, so for the time being, the basket I got as a gift last summer is there. And if you ignore all the boxes at one end, the dining area looks very nice.


I meant to get back to the filing this afternoon, but I went to the post office, and I got sidetracked with all of the mail. There were several things to read, and a couple of bills. However, I still haven't gotten my telephone bill, and I wonder if they are screwing around with it again? I do not trust AT&T.


I went to dinner, of course, and there were a lot of people there, although not like a week ago Friday. A lot of them must have been skiers or tourists, because there were so many cars, I had to park further away from the door than I have in a very long time. There were snowmobiles in my usual parking place. Anyway, apparently they are just going with prime rib on Saturdays now, and I brought enough home for breakfast tomorrow.


I am on the last ten rows of the foot of the red sock, before I start the toe, so that should be finished shortly and I can go on to more fun stuff. The foot of the second sock is always a chore, but one and a half socks aren't of much use, so I have to finish it. Since I finally located all my reinforcement thread, I think I may try to finish one of the wool and silk socks. They are on #1 needles, and that is always a long proposition, but that yarn is so soft and cuddly, I like to work in it. We'll see. I have some new yarn that I'd love to see how it works up...but one sock isn't very useful, either.


So another quiet day in the field, and it looks like I may get up to the north end really early tonight.


February 15

I don't know what happened. I know I wrote a nice entry last night, because I did some things yesterday, and now it has completely disappeared...even GoBack has no record of it. I can't imagine what I did. 


So here goes. Maybe I can make it work tonight.


Yesterday, I decided I'd better fix the screen in the bedroom, or the next blizzard and I won't have one. So I opened the window (in spite of it being about 12 and snowing) and pulled the screen back into position and, I think, got it locked down. So that is fixed.


Then I got to thinking about the window in the window seat that whistles and moans every time there is a strong wind. After verifying (again) that the panes were in position and locked, I just happened to look at the lower pane, and I discovered my problem: there is a quarter-inch gap between the window and the frame at the bottom corner! No wonder it's cold in the bedroom! No wonder I could feel a breeze when the wind was strong! So I covered the gap with a piece of duct tape, and it seems much better in there. We'll see how it goes in the next blizzard. I suppose that will mean another go-round with the glass company, but I can postpone it until the weather is a bit nicer for having windows open.


For the rest of the day, I was bored with all the projects I had going, and I didn't feel like filing or doing any of the other work I should be doing, so I tried a new method of doing socks. It involves using one long circular needle (mine is 32"), and it is called the "magic loop" method. I have had a book about it for quite a while, but to make it work, the cable on the circular needle has to be very flexible, and most of my circular needles are old and the cables aren't very flexible. However, a couple of months ago I got some new circular needles, so I decided to try it. I rather like it. There aren't any stray needles hanging out to impale a person or a cat, and while there is some manipulation of the needle to make it work, it's not more than dealing with five double points. So I worked the ribbing and a couple of rows of a new sock...and I now have five socks in progress.


Otherwise, I sat and read and knitted on the red sock for a while and got to bed about 11:30.


The weather yesterday was typical. The temperature got up to 16 early, then it was around 10 for most of the afternoon. It snowed all day, and it looked to me, when Ron cleared the driveway, that 4 or 5" had fallen. There was some wind, especially last night, in the 20-30 mph range.


I was up at 9:30 this morning. I think yesterday I slept for about 12 hours, so I didn't need quite so much sleep today. 


There was snow today, too, but not much accumulation. The temperature was between 10 and 12 all day, with 20-30 mph winds in the morning, but they had died down by afternoon and it wasn't bad out.


I finally got into the two plastic barrels that are still upstairs, and I found the yarn for the blue sweater, so I got at fixing the hole in the sleeve. And then I discovered several other holes in the back up by the neck! So my original suspicion that it was moth damage seems to have been right. I mended all the holes, and I decided this was the time to wash sweaters. I wash them in the machine, but I do it almost like hand washing, letting them soak most of the time. There are now four sweaters drying in the laundry room.


While I was sitting in the laundry room waiting for the washer to fill so I could turn it off, I got dripped on! I discovered a drip patch on the floor, and when I left the chair under the drip, there was water there, too. The ceiling in the laundry room looks really bad, and evidently there is still water up there. I wonder if something else froze that we don't know about?


Anyway, that prompted a call to the adjuster, whose name I'd gotten from my agent yesterday, and he isn't too interested in coming up to see the damage. So I will get the faucet fixed and try to get Adam to give me an estimate on the ceiling, and we will go from there. 


While all that was going on, my generator was delivered and is now sitting in my garage. They won't install it until they get some kind of gear to lift it over the rough ground, but they seem to think it might be next week. Probably a couple of weeks, the way they work, but that's all right. It will be nice to know I'm protected against power outages. When the blizzard was in force and it was 54 in my bedroom, the thought crossed my mind that it wouldn't be good if the power failed right then. I am not a worrier, so I ignored the thought, but still...


This evening, I had dinner with two friends, and we had a good time. They are very cheerful ladies, even though they have various health issues, and we had a very good time. Unfortunately, one of them has to leave tomorrow, because of the weather, but it was certainly good to see her. So that was nice.


Oh, yes, and somebody came with an end loader today and cut back the drifts, and our road is now as wide as it is in the summer, and the big trucks that need to deliver stuff to the new house will be able to get down the road...unless we have another blizzard before they get here. I'm glad I took the pictures the other day, because it doesn't look nearly as impressive now. I think somebody was out on the tractor, and he opened up the end of my driveway a little bit so the guys could get their trailer into my driveway. We have another six weeks to go, at least, but at least we're on the downward leg. This is winter in Copper Harbor.


So that is about all I can remember from the last two days and now it's time to toddle up to the north end and read a while and maybe knit a bit, too. The red sock is coming along, and I'm anxious to get it done.


It's a cold, quiet night in the field.


February 13

I was a bit later getting to bed last night, for some reason I don't remember. I think I sat and stared at the floor for quite a while. Anyway, I did sleep, and since I didn't have to go anywhere, I didn't get up until about 10:30, and I wore my sweats and booties all day. 


I needed to patch the patches on my nightie - I had another hole in the right sleeve - and once I found the sewing machine and the thread, I finished up all the mending. I had one sweatshirt and one turtle that had split where the shoulder met the neck, one turtle had part of its hem coming out, and I wanted to take he cuffs off a long-sleeve polo shirt. I didn't get the hems on the polo done, because I don't have any matching thread at hand, but I know there is some in the basement somewhere.


I love polo shirts - I think I look better wearing a collar than in a regular tee shirt - and I love Lands' End polos, except that lately the cuffs on their long-sleeved polos are much too tight. I measured the ones I took off this shirt, and while the sleeve was 10" in diameter at the cuff, the cuff was only 7" in diameter. Theoretically, that should fit my wrist if the sleeve is long enough (which it isn't), but I can't stand anything tight on my right arm, so I had one nice medium blue polo I couldn't wear because the cuffs were too tight. The sleeves will be more like three-quarter length, once I turn them up, but at least I can wear the shirt.


Then I got to work on the fair isle sweater and finished the ribbing (finally!). I am now working three rows of plain black. 426 stitches is a long way around. However, it's all knitting from here on, mostly using two colors one one row.


So that was a nice quiet day.


The weather was typical. The temperature got up to 21 at 6:00 this morning, but for most of the day it was around 15. There was a little wind in the morning, in the 20-30 mph range, but it died down in the afternoon. There were a couple of snow showers, but not much to speak of.


I guess the guys hacked away at the glacier again, and there is a rumor the guys building the house out by Ron may get an end loader to widen the path a bit so some bigger trucks can get in. All those people who thought this winter would be like the last two were wrong. This is much more typical of Keweenaw winters. According to George Hite, we're at about 195" for the winter, as of yesterday. I doubt we'll hit 300", but we do stand to get more than our 241" average.


Now I think I will go up to the north end and read a while. I am making progress on the red sock, and I may work on that, too. It's supposed to snow overnight. I opened the blinds in the bedroom, so I can see out for a change, and that will be nice. It's a quiet winter night in the field tonight.


February 12

I got to bed around 10:30 last night, but I didn't sleep well. I couldn't find a comfortable place to lie, and I kept getting all hot and sweaty...I do think I have some kind of virus. It was warm around here (wow - for a change!) but not that warm.


When I woke up around 5:30, there were stars - not very bright stars, but it wasn't completely cloudy. I could just about see Polaris, and what else I was seeing seems to have been Leo behind the picnic tree.


I woke up around 8:30, and it looked like it might be sunny, but I went back to sleep until about 9:00. And it was sunny! How lovely!


My tail had bothered me all night long, and since I got dressed (jeans), it bothered me until late in the afternoon when I put my sweats on again.


About 10:00, while I was toasting my rolls for breakfast, Ron turned up with the tractor. Apparently the hydraulic leak had something to do with snow getting forced into a place it isn't supposed to go, and it is working fine now. He cleared out my driveway very nicely. There was more snow up near the garage than I'd thought, and apparently it was deep enough near the road that I would have had trouble getting out.


I needed to get out, because I had a bill to mail that is due tomorrow (oops - I guess they figure if they get paid at all it's a good thing). So about 1:00, I took off to town, camera in tow.


This is what I saw when I got down to the low spot. Those two big drifts seem to be about 10' high. The path is narrow enough that I hit my right side rearview mirror both going and coming. By the way, a lot of these pictures are going to be strange shapes, because I cropped out the hood of the truck. It was bright enough that I was wearing my sunglasses, and I couldn't see the camera screen very well.


At the post office, I learned that it was cold all over on Sunday, and that there was no mail on Monday. It seems something froze or got snowed in down around Ironwood, so the mail never got to Houghton, and since he didn't have any mail for Copper Harbor, the driver didn't bother to come up here. Rain and gloom of night may not stop the mail, but a good, old-fashioned UP blizzard will.


After I went to the post office, I drove down M-26 to beyond Bonnie's house, but all the neat ice formations seemed to have been covered up by snow, and it wasn't too interesting, except at places I couldn't get to. The lake was actually open quite close to shore, but out half a mile or so there was a line of ice, I suppose on the shoals. It was a pretty day for a drive, though. The open water was almost blue.


On the way back, I did something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I took a series of pictures as I drove down Woodland Road. I think you can see why I like it here. The picture I called "Dr. V's Drift" is almost at the top of the hill. He put a deck on the side of his house a couple of years ago which has changed the wind patterns for the better, but in a blizzard like the one we had, it didn't do a lot of good. I'm just not sure why the sides of the trees are snow-covered where they are, since the winds were out of the due north, but I suppose they were swirling around in the trees. And that telephone pole in the second to last shot shouldn't have been snow-covered on that side, but it was. Strange. It's also strange that the wind was blowing straight across the road down in the low spot, which would have had it coming from the northwest, which it wasn't, but again, I think it hits the trees at the end of the harbor and changes direction. When I went through there Saturday night, that is where I hit the white-out, although at that time there wasn't any drifting. Of course, the wind picked up later. You can also see that the guys did a wonderful job on the road.


Besides being quite sunny for most of the day, the temperature got up to 19 and the wind was 5 mph or less for the whole day. It was nice out, but mostly there was all that beautiful sunshine! I got a lot of free solar heat today, and it's still very warm in the office.


When I got back, I read a couple of the magazines I got, then I took up the Fair Isle sweater and got about 7 rows done. 426 stitches is a long way around. I don't know how good it's going to look, but I'm treating this as a practice piece anyway. I'm still doing ribbing, and maybe it will be better when I'm doing plain knitting.


So that was my day. Buster was very happy on the floor for most of the day - it was really warm, which he loves. Now both of them are relaxed there. I would try to put down something softer, except my experience has been that they won't lie on it. Maybe a fur coat cushions the hard places a bit.


Now I am going to try to get to bed early again tonight and try to blitz my cold. At least I didn't get what Bonnie and Rich got: they had the stomach flu all weekend. So there is no Bible Class tomorrow, and I can do whatever I feel like doing.


It's a quiet night in the field, and while it's supposed to start snowing again tomorrow, at least we had one lovely, sunny day.


February 11

It was about 62 in the bathroom when I took my bath last night, but by moving fast and bundling myself in my fleece robe and slipper socks, I managed not to get at all cold. However, I was in bed by 10:00.


It was clear when I went to bed that the wind was dieing down, although the lake was still roaring away and every so often a 30+ mph blast  would hit the side of the house. The first time I woke up was about 2:30, and the house was warming up. The bedroom was over 60 and it was a little warmer in the bathroom. The next time I woke up was around 8:30, and by then both rooms were over 65, which felt downright balmy in comparison to the last day or so.


So it is all the wind, and the heating system is apparently working as well as it can.


Buster sat on my lap for a long time this morning, and he was very purry, which I take to mean, "Thanks for the heat, mom!" Buster doesn't like to be cold. While he was sitting there, I started the heel of the second red sock, so that project is coming along.


I moved a few things around in the office and put some books away, because the task of the day was to try to sew up the buttonholes of the fleece robe. I cut the buttonholes too big when I made the robe, and over the past few years, they have stretched, and most of them wouldn't stay buttoned. The night of the water leak, I went to bed looking like a bag lady, with my robe pinned shut with a couple of big safety pins. So I had to hunt up some thread and a needle, and I sewed part of the buttonholes closed. I don't know if I made them small enough, but they're better.


Then I transferred the angel from the Q-Snaps to a scroll frame. The Q-Snaps hold the fabric tighter, but I had to use a 14" x 17" frame, and I found I couldn't reach where I wanted to stitch, and I couldn't see it, either. The scroll frame is working out much better, and I got some gold done in the middle part. I didn't get as much done as I might have because I found several stitches I hadn't done right, and I took the time to put in a few I'd missed the first time around. When I am stitching on linen, two over two, I have the unfortunate habit of stitching over two on the first half of the stitch, then two over and only one up on the second half. That makes a nasty looking stitch, and there isn't much that can be done except to rip it out and do it over. I don't know that I caught all of them, but I did find several. Of course, sometimes I will go over two and up three...or several other variations, all of which don't look good. White or nearly white thread on dark fabric shows sins of bad stitching very easily. There are still some areas in the middle that I don't like the way they look, but I'm not sure doing them over would make any difference.


Probably part of the reason I do those things is that for a good portion of the time I was working on the angel's skirt, I couldn't see what I was doing, either because of the light or because of my eyes. I have now found the package my Mag-Eyes came in, so I should have the higher magnification lens, and I may have to switch to that, although I haven't had much trouble since I've been working under my task light.


The knitting and typing have made my hands sore, and my tail is more sore today than it was yesterday, so after I have something to eat, I will toddle up to the north end and try to get to bed relatively early again. 


The weather was quite calm, compared to yesterday. There was a 20-30 mph wind for most of the morning, and there was some more snow, but all that is over now, and the temperature has risen to 12. There is no wind now, and I think the snow has stopped for a while. There were even a few peeks of sunshine...not much, but a little.


It took three or four guys, two small tractors and the big tractor from the fort (thanks to Lee Verberkmoes, the park manager, for lending a hand!) to dig out the Lake Lily Glacier. I guess the roads are clear, but our tractor is still leaking hydraulic fluid, and I think that may be the reason my driveway didn't get cleared. It isn't bad - I think I can get out if I need to - but it would be nice to get it scraped off. Mac is supposed to pick up some more fluid tomorrow, and I hope he can find out where the leak is. We have a lot more winter to go. I will try to remember the camera when I go out, to document the situation.


Early this afternoon, Buster came and sat down on his paper bags, and Jasmine wanted to come in, too, and he bit her ears until she went away. So this evening, while I was embroidering and listening to ATC, she came in by herself, sat down, and took a nice bath, then she took a little cat nap. She really does want to be with me (if not close enough to pet), and Buster is just too jealous. I know I can eventually bring Jasmine around, but I'm not sure what I can do about Buster. I was afraid of that all along, and maybe it's better that I got a cat who feels more comfortable with him than with me. But she does want to be with me, and that is a good sign.


So that was my day, and I need to have some dinner before I toddle up to the north end. It's a quiet night in the field, for a change.


February 10

My goodness, this has been quite a storm!


Nothing interested me in the office last night, so I went up to the north end early, but it was a little chilly to read and my tail was really bothering me, so I was in bed by 10:00. And then I couldn't sleep.


There were probably a lot of reasons for that. My head was cold, and my nose was running. I kept getting all sweaty and I had a hard time finding a comfortable place to lie. The wind was so noisy it sounded like jets going over, and one of the screens on the front windows came partly loose, so that was banging. The wind was banging against the side of the house, and while it took a little while for the lake to pick up steam, pretty soon it was roaring as loud as it can. It was a wild and hairy night in the field.


Around 1:30, I got up and read for a little while, but by then it was too cold in the bathroom, and around 2:30, I think, I finally got to sleep, although I was up several times. I got up around 9:00 this morning, so I really didn't get enough sleep last night. And when I got up, I started sneezing, so that is explained. I frequently have a sleepless night when I am coming down with a cold. My nose has been running all day, and I really don't feel very good, so that seems clear.


A couple of times during the night I could see the lighthouse light, and once I even saw the lights of town, but for most of the night it snowed - they said "heavy snow" at Houghton, and I guess I'd call it that.


During the night, the temperature went down to -1 (here at the shore), and it stayed about there all day long, until late in the afternoon. The wind, from about 7:00 until after 10:00 am, was blowing at a steady 40-44 mph, and about 10:00 we had a 60 mph gust - I think I was in the office when that happened, and it sounded like a jet plane was buzzing my house. The wind has died down a bit now, into the 28-33 mph range, with gusts into the 40s, and the temperature is up to its high for the day - 5. There was a moderate amount of snow, but I've seen more fall in this length of time.


However, that wind...when I got up this morning, it was 56 in the bedroom and about 61 in the bathroom. Cold or no, I have to take a bath tonight. So Buster will see just how fast I can move. Brr!


The other effect of the wind is that (according to Ron - I wasn't going out today!) the Lake Lily glacier is completely filled in and apparently about 10' high. Mac got the guys out this afternoon and they got about half of it dug out before a hydraulic line on the tractor sprung a leak and they had to stop. I wouldn't doubt it will be filled in again tomorrow, but it's supposed to be a bit warmer tomorrow and the wind shouldn't be quite as strong.


My neighbors Aaron (Sorry - got his name wrong) and Amanda apparently have a drift in their driveway up to the roof of a little guest cottage on their property. I'm surprised Mac made it to Woodland Road, because there is one place between there and his house that drifts horribly. 


Oh, it's been a good storm!


In spite of how cold it is in the house, I do think the heating system is working better. Only I am considering that I should probably invest in a space heater, to keep the north end a little more habitable in this weather. I will have to poke around, maybe at Ace Hardware, and maybe at Wal-Mart. 55 is just a little too cool for my bedroom, although it didn't bother me quite so much after I got some sleep.


Buster spent most of the day sleeping on the floor in the office (remember - heat in the floor - it's warmest there) and when he went away early in the day, Jasmine came and stayed in the same place. Unfortunately, I think Buster is still jealous, and he kept chasing her away. Poor Jasmine. When Buster was away, she laid on the paper bags, and when I talked to her, she kept blinking at me. I do think she likes me, but to add to her natural suspicion, I think she's probably afraid of what might happen if Buster should find her making up to me. I will have to keep working on her. When Buster isn't around, there isn't any reason she shouldn't get some loving, too. She finally went downstairs for her siesta, but that's all right, since it is warmer down there. But I would rather have her with us, and I think she'd rather be with us.


Today was the sweats and bedroom booties day, and while I did put on my fleece jacket, I only got cold when I was hungry, which was frequently. I am fine now, since I have just had the rest of my prime rib, and I am picking on pasta salads.


My tail was very sore yesterday, and after wearing sweats all day today, I really wonder if part of the problem wasn't my jeans pressing on the soft part (and there is a lot of soft part there). It isn't pain-free today, but it feels a lot better, and I sat just as much today as I did yesterday.


It was too cold to sit in the ugly chair, and I didn't want to work, and my hands have been too sore to type much or even knit much, so I brought the angel over to the desk and mounted her in my Q-Snap frame, and I got the metallics and beads done on nearly the whole top half (the half with less to to work). She is going to be a very pretty angel, although she is rather bland in color, mostly white. Unfortunately, the way I have to work in order to see what I'm doing, I now have a sore back up around my shoulder blades. If it's not one damn thing, it's another.


Anyway, embroidery doesn't seem to bother my hands much. They are stiff, and picking up those little beads wasn't easy, but the things that make my hands sore are things that put pressure on the joints, and embroidery doesn't do that. It doesn't take much pressure to hold an embroidery needle.


Golly - the temperature has risen to 65 in the office! Maybe the wind is dying down a little? It is, but the temperature is going down, too. I think the thing to do is warm up the bathroom as much as I can using the heat lamp and jump into and out of the shower in a hurry, then cuddle up in my nice fleece robe and read for a while. Maybe my tail won't bother me so much tonight. I will probably be in bed relatively early tonight, and hope I can sleep better.


So that was the story of our nice blizzard, which isn't over yet. I just love the sounds of a storm like this: the full fury of the wind and the lake pounding on the shore is just awe-inspiring. It is always amazing to me how strong the storms are here, and I know that ocean storms are even stronger. It's exhilarating to listen to all that power unleashed. I  hope never to have to live anyplace else.


It's another wild and hairy night in the field, and winter is still in full force.


February 9

I read for a while after I went up to the north end, but I think I was in bed before midnight. I needed to get up around 8:30 and I ignored it, so I just dozed until 10:30 or so (I think - I don't remember). 


It was a quiet night in the field, and it was quiet for most of the day, too, except that it was snowing lightly, and it snowed for most of the day, although there wasn't much accumulation and the wind wasn't very high...until about 6:00, when the wind started to rise. 


On the way to dinner, I met a neighbor with a two-wheel drive van in the low spot, so I had to back up the hill. When it's twilight and it's snowy, it's rather hard to see where you're going, and I backed into the snowdrift between Woodland Road and Lake Lily Road instead of taking the rather hard turn onto Woodland. I didn't do any damage, and I didn't get stuck, but I really couldn't see where I was going. But two-wheel trumps four-wheel on our road, so I was the guy who had to back up.


Anyway, the temperature reached a high of 28 early in the afternoon and headed down slowly until recently. Now, it's 19, and the wind is out of the northwest at 21 mph with gusts to 40 mph. There was a white-out down in the low spot, although there wasn't much drifting yet. Driving through a white-out in the dark is even more interesting than it is when it's light out. I just watched the left-hand bank and hoped I didn't hit anything I couldn't see. So it's going to be a hairy night in the field, and I think our blizzard has begun.


I finally got down into the basement today, and I found all sorts of things I'd been looking for, although when I got back upstairs and went through all the stuff up here, I realized there were a few things I didn't find. One thing I need is the little yarn there was left from the pale blue sweater, so I can mend the broken thread in the sleeve, and I didn't find that. There are some charts I seem to have misplaced. I think there were some other things that occurred to me that I've forgotten now.


I did find two bags of sweater yarn (although neither of them were the yarn I have been thinking about), both of which will make nice sweaters. I did not find the #6 and #10 needles that have gone missing. I'm wondering now if there is some of that stuff in the front closet, so I will have to look in there tomorrow and see what I can find. I found a bunch more sock yarn, including another colorway of the crazy socks I was knitting. This one is black with red, yellow, blue and green, and I think it would be fun. I also brought up all the crazy striped socks on #4 needles, of which I have knitted one in each colorway. The only one I really don't like very well is what I would call Halloween colors. The rest are really nice, and it would be nice to work on #4 needles for a change, not that I really need any more thick socks. But the colors are fun, and they go fast.


This was all out of my plastic barrels. I didn't get at any of the boxes. I was able to sit on a stool and root through the barrels, and that was nice. None of the ones down there is all that heavy, and in fact, I discovered that several of them aren't very full. Maybe I can consolidate.


So then I made a swatch of one of the yarns. I know I did that before, but I can't find it. I know what I want to make out of that yarn. The other is white with pale blue and pale pink spots, and I can't decide whether to make a cardigan for summer or a pullover. I think that's why I never knit it up before. I bought it (from Lion Brand) because they called it "Detroit", although it really is sort of baby yarn. I will probably make a cardigan, but it's rather heavy yarn, which is why I'm dithering.


I tried not to do very much typing today, because my hands were horribly sore all last night and they still are, and I'm trying to rest them. The thing is, when I write longhand, just my right hand gets sore. When I type, all of both hands get sore. I really hurt last night.


Mariner wasn't quite as full tonight, although around 7:00 a lot of people started coming in, this time, mostly snowmobilers. I did get to sit with Phoebe and her friend Sue, and that was nice.


So that was my day, and I'm going to go up to the north end soon and try to get to bed early. It's a hairy night in the field tonight, and I feel the need to huddle under the covers and hibernate, although it isn't cold in here yet.


We're having another blizzard, and it sure is fun!


February 8

I transcribed for so long last night that it was after 1:00 when I finally got to bed. I didn't get up until 11:00 this morning, but I only dozed from about 8:30, so I'm tired.


I was late enough that I didn't do much but finish the written part of the story, and I wrote maybe a page. It felt good. I'm not sure if I can really continue with this story: I remember now why I sort of dropped it. All the sensational stuff is over with except for the final episode, and somehow I have to get between where I am now and the final pages. We'll see. Sometimes if I just go back and re-read twenty to forty pages, I can get some ideas. That's for tomorrow. I'm tired now, and my fingers and my tail are sore.


I did go to the post office and to dinner. The post office box was stuffed full of stuff, a lot of which I pitched. Only one bill, and a lot of catalogs, so I guess that was OK. February is such a short month that all the bills get sort of mixed up.


I was very happy to see that Mariner was jumping tonight. I haven't seen that many people in there in a couple of years. Of course, it's Winter Carnival weekend, and that helps, but there seemed to be lots of skiers and quite a few snowmobilers. People were even waiting for tables, and that's unusual even in the summer.


I have to report one small thing on the Jasmine front. Tonight I was sitting here typing, after I got home, when I heard a little squeak and a rustle behind me, and Jasmine came and sat down on the paper bag where Buster usually sleeps (I don't know where he is). She is gone now, but she sat there and washed herself for some time. So now it's gotten to the point where she wants to be with me, so long as I don't look at her. Poor little kitty. If only she knew how nice it is to be loved by a human!


The weather was nice, the calm before the next storm, I think. It got up to about 28 during the day, with almost no wind, and a little sunshine. It was nice outside, but there is a blizzard warning up from tomorrow afternoon through Sunday afternoon. I guess I'll find out if my heating system is fixed.


Speaking of sunshine, while there wasn't any kind of pretty sunset tonight, the camera did catch the sun setting over the Mountain Lodge. So the sun has come so far north that we'll have a few months of sunsets before it disappears over the lighthouse. That turned out to be a pretty picture anyway. You can see that the entire harbor seems to be frozen, finally, except for that one streak across the middle. That last blizzard did it, although I wouldn't want to walk very far on it (if I could walk).


So that is all I know, and it's time to toddle up to the north end. It's a calm night in the field tonight.


February 7

I was so tired last night that I got to bed before 11:00 (my reading took a while) and I was only up twice. I woke up around 8:30, and I could have gotten up, but I decided not. And even though I think I only dozed, and I had some strange dreams, I didn't get up until about 11:00. By that time Buster had settled down with his back against mine, and he wasn't too happy about being disturbed. Too bad about him.


I was going to go down and root around in my plastic tubs, but it was such a beautiful day that I sat in the office and transcribed all day. I did make two of the three appointments I need to make for my trip to Detroit in April, which was good. 


The weather was just lovely. The temperature only got up to 23, but there wasn't much wind, and until late in the afternoon, there was beautiful, beautiful sunshine.


Buster and Jasmine spent quite a while in the south windows. Buster was sitting on the printer, and Jasmine was curled up quite comfortably in the fleece throw I keep there. Why Buster wouldn't sit there, I don't know. Sometimes I can't figure him out. And of course, every time I looked at Jasmine she jumped up as though to run away, but when I turned away, she sat down again.


I enjoyed the sun, too, although it is still low enough in the sky that it shines in my eyes when I am sitting at the desk. We have so little sunshine in the winter that I try to soak up the rays any time I can. Vitamin D, you know.




So that was my quiet day. Maybe I can get up a little earlier tomorrow and get downstairs. I actually did go down this evening, briefly, to get some dinner out of the freezer, but I need to spend some time down there and see what I can find. 


I've been forgetting to mention that it is really getting obvious that the days are getting longer. We have 10 hours of daylight now, and the sun isn't setting until 6:00. It still rises at 8:10, but it is beginning to get light by 6:30. We are gaining daylight at about 3 minutes a day - 20 minutes a week - just about as fast as it goes. I love to be on the uphill side of the solstice.


I am almost through transcribing the part of this story that is already written, and I will be interested to see if I can continue writing it. I like it, but it isn't nearly done. For the past twenty years, my stories have tended to get really long. I've transcribed almost 77,000 words so far. One of the interesting things about it is that I finally have a better handle on how many words I get on a handwritten page, so I can better guess at the length of other stories. I've written a lot of words.


I also find that I'm getting used to Word - although I will never get used to that stupid grammar checker. Word has some nice features, like automatic spelling correction, and automatic indent with carriage return (although I don't know how to turn that on and off). My typing had already improved from writing this thing every night, but when I've been at it for a long time, it sort of deteriorates. Especially, my right and left hands get out of sync. And even though my hands get tired, they don't get nearly so sore as my right hand does after holding a pen for several hours - and I can certainly type faster than I can write longhand. It will be an interesting experiment to see if I can compose on the computer.


It is a quiet night in the field, but there is a winter storm watch up for Saturday and Sunday, so winter isn't over yet, and it won't be until sometime in April.


February 6 -Ash Wednesday

I'm tired tonight. I got to bed around midnight last night, but I was wakeful in the middle of the night for over an hour, then I got up around 9:00 this morning. So I didn't get enough sleep and it feels that way.


There was bible class, which was good, then there was Ash Wednesday service, then there was Carolyn's.


The service was lovely. Bonnie puts a great deal of thought into her church services, and they always inspire me. Unfortunately, there were five of us, including her. Wherever two or three are gathered together...


There was a good, large group at Carolyn's, and there was a lot of knitting going on, as well as a lot of talk and a lot of laughter. They are all nice ladies.


So I got home late, and Buster was very glad to see me, although I had to boot him off my lap because I wanted to transcribe for a while. I got a little done, but not a whole lot. My tail is bothering me, at least in this chair, and the ends of my fingers get sore from typing, now that I have cut my fingernails short (I have a hard time typing with long fingernails). 


But mostly, I'm tired, and since this is Lent, I have three extra things to read before I got to bed tonight.


The weather was about the same but colder. The temperature got up to 20, and for part of the day there was a moderate east wind, which made the lake speak nicely. There were a few snowflakes, but nothing heavy.


As I came around King Copper on my way to Carolyn's, I looked out at the gap between Hunter Point and Porter Island, and the second ice castle out beyond land had the sun shining on it--it was really neat. We had a bit of sunshine, not a lot.


Bonnie tells me that the ice caves and castles down on M-26 are impressive, so I will have to try to take the camera out and get a few pictures.


And now to bed. I'm tired, and it is a quiet wintry night in the field.


February 5

I'm afraid these entries are getting a bit short. I've been writing all afternoon, so I don't feel like doing much more. Besides, it's been quiet around here.


I didn't get to bed until after 2:30, somehow, and I got up around 11:00, so I did get my sleep in. I think it had stopped snowing by the time I went to bed, and there wasn't more than an inch of new.


Today was a dull, dreary day, with really leaden clouds on the horizon. The wind picked up and the lake was acting up, so there was a nice roar in the background all day. The temperature was around 32 in the morning, and then it began to fall off into the twenties late this afternoon. The wind has been from the northeast in the 15-30 mph range all day. Late in the afternoon, there were a few little snowflakes, nothing serious.


I had a thought of going downstairs and looking in the barrels I can now get to, but I got to transcribing again, and I got to some parts that I wanted to revise as I typed, and that got interesting, so I just never did. I think I got about 15,000 words in over the day. This isn't a short story.


But that was just about all I did, and that is about all I have to report. The lake will be singing me to sleep tonight.


February 4

It was after midnight when I got to bed, but I slept well, with only two wake-ups, and I got up at about 10:00, just to be ready when my helper came.


I have to say there are some of the most beautiful young men around here that I have ever seen, and two of them are my neighbors. It's nice to be a fat old lady so I can admire them without getting in trouble. And besides, they're nice, polite, and helpful.


The one today is named Erin, and there may be more about him, because he said he would be willing to help any time I need it. We got all the burned-out light bulbs replaced - three in the office, five in the kitchen and one downstairs. We got all the trash together and he took it off in his truck. We got the big boxes out of the house. And he moved the boxes in the basement away from the plastic tubs, so I can maybe find some of the stuff I put in them. He was originally going to come yesterday, but I'm glad he didn't because I had to work with him, and yesterday my tail was so sore I doubt I could have.


My tail felt really good this morning. After sitting in my chair all afternoon, it hurts some again, but not so bad as it was. So I guess it is healing, thank goodness. I can walk again without much pain, and actually the desk chair is the only one that is uncomfortable.


Then I got to transcribing the story again, and since I am into it as I'm transcribing, and I had gotten to an interesting part, I just kept on typing, although my typing was getting pretty bad before I stopped. Sometime along the way, I lost the sound in the computer, but it turns out that when I turned off the sound in Real Player (the radio station was having a hard time with its feed from NPR for a while, so I used the computer), it turned it off for everything. The assumptions some people make really annoy me.


The weather this morning was nice. The temperature was about 30 all day, and there wasn't much wind, but sometime late in the day it began to snow lightly, which I guess it is still doing. Well, we had a couple of days off.


So I guess I accomplished something today, with help. It is certainly nice to have all that trash and all those boxes out of here. Now maybe I can  make some progress on some of the other tasks at hand.


And it's a quiet snowy night in the field.


February 3

I was in bed by 11:00 last night, and I didn't get up until around 10:00 this morning, so I think I finally caught up on my sleep and I felt better today. My tail is still sore, but I think it is slowly getting a little better.


One of the stories I have been reading is one that I had started typing into the computer, and I ended up transcribing another 20 pages or so. This one is a very hard one to write, and I thought I might try completing this version on the computer to see if just maybe I have progressed to the point where I don't have to write fiction longhand. However, I have to get everything I've already written in there before I can go on. Even transcribing, I get really into the story.


The weather was rather nice. The temperature went up to about 30, with no wind to speak of, and we had quite a bit of sunshine, including the first sunset in a long time. I noticed that the sun is setting just outside the view of the webcam, so probably by the time we have another sunset, the camera will be able to capture it. Spring will come.


I also began to try to collect some of the trash that had piled up around the house, since I think I am going to get some help with it tomorrow. We'll see about that.


Oh, and I got word that the tractor is fixed, at least temporarily. Apparently there is an electrical problem with a safety switch, so the person who came to look at it just wired around it...unfortunately, he charged us $300 for the service call. And I thought February was going to be a good month! Wow!


So that is about all I know, and it feels like it's time to get to bed. I won't make it by 11:00 tonight, I'm afraid.


It's a clear, quiet night in the field tonight, but there are snow advisories out for tomorrow. Winter isn't over yet!


February 2

The only reason Groundhog Day means anything is that it used to be a Cross-quarter day, or Midwinter, although this year I think that's Tuesday. At any rate, even though it might be only about six weeks till the spring equinox, We undoubtedly have nearly two months of winter left.


I sat on the ice pack and read last night, and when I went to bed, my tail felt much better. However, it was sore again this morning and sitting on the ice pack then didn't do any good...except that I don't think I got it sealed shut, and my pants got dampish. I am on it again. I do think my tail feels somewhat better today, but there are things, like getting out of a chair and getting into a chair and doing stairs, that are still painful, and the area feels stiff when I walk. I am also screwing up the rest of my back because of the way I have to sit.

So I didn't do anything but read today, so I have very little to report.


It snowed lightly for most of the day, although I don't think there is more than a couple of inches of new down. The temperature got up to about 29, and there was only a little wind out of the southwest. Very dull.


There weren't quite so many people in Mariner tonight, although I saw a couple of locals I haven't seen for a while, and met some new members of my fan club, which was nice. I had blackened salmon for a change, since they had the same steak on special that I had last night. It's a good steak, but I don't need it two nights in a row. I've been eating too much beef lately anyway.


So that is all there is, and I will read some more before I try the bed thing again. It's a quiet night in the field, and it's snowing again.


February 1

I don't remember doing much before I went to bed last night, a little reading, maybe, and I think I was in bed before midnight, but don't quote me. I managed to warm the bathroom up to about 68, which isn't the greatest, but it's tolerable to step out of a bath at that temperature.


I woke up around 8:30, but I just didn't want to get up, and as a result, the plumber was here before I was dressed. He said 9:00, right? So while he was waiting, he shoveled off my porch, which I thought was nice of him.


I think I have heat again. First Bill discovered that the overflow tank (which he replaced once, probably two years ago? I have to check) had developed two corrosion holes in it, which he had never seen happen before. When it leaked, it leaked all over the main control housing, and he said the transformer was damp, so he replaced that, too. And I insisted that he replace the zone valve for the second floor. He determined that the cold water line in the bathroom had ruptured, but he didn't fix that, since I am waiting for an insurance adjuster. At least this time, most of the bill was parts, not labor, but it certainly put a dent in the budget. However, I do have heat, although it wasn't a day to test that.


I mostly stayed sitting, although my desk chair is not the best one for my sore tail. About all I did was process January's journal and go to the post office, where there were some nice toys to play with. I am always shocked when I re-read my journals. This time I even misused "it's", which is something I am extremely sensitive about, and there were a couple of other nasty errors that I try to avoid. Oh, well. Even though I do try to proofread each entry before I publish it, sometimes I miss things.


I did go to dinner tonight, where I talked to Sam, who is a world-class skier (he owns the Keweenaw Adventure Company), and Johanna, who is a massage therapist, and I am now sitting on an ice pack. It's hard, because I can't sit back and that hurts the rest of my back, but already my tail feels better. Both of them recommended ice, and if it had been warmer around here yesterday, I might have tried it before, since I'm sure there is some swelling back there (how one could tell with all the padding I have, I don't know). I also have a tentative date with Johanna for tomorrow morning to see if she can loosen up all those tight muscles in my lower back and tush.


I actually own an ice bag. I got it way back around the time of the first chemo, when I somehow managed to sprain an ankle. How one can sprain an ankle without twisting or falling, I don't know, but I sure did. Anyway, I tried using the ice pack things they give you in the outpatient surgical facility for use after surgery, but I discovered the hard way that it isn't wise to try to crush the ice after it's in the bag, and they all sprung leaks. They did cure my ankle, though.


I'm not sure how much bruising there is back there, but the way it's been feeling since I did it, there must be some. I am sure my tail isn't broken, although that doesn't matter much, since there isn't anything that can be done for that kind of injury except let it heal. Besides decreasing any swelling, the cold sort of numbs the area, so it doesn't hurt as much.


The weather today was the calm after the storm. The temperature got up to almost 30 and there was almost no wind for most of the day. It was cloudy and gray, of course, but rather nice out.


I actually went down into the basement this afternoon. I'm not quite sure how I made it, but I was hungry, so I got one of the small things I got from Schwan's, and I brought up a couple more binders to read. One of them is a story I had started typing into the computer, but I didn't get very far (44 pages typed). The other is an earlier version of one I already had up here. So I will have something new to read tonight.


Buster spent the afternoon on or near my lap, for some reason. Maybe he was trying to thank me for making it warm again. I didn't see Jasmine until late in the afternoon, although she ran away from me when I went up the hall after dinner to get my ice bag. I think they're just enjoying not being cold. Jasmine has enough padding and probably a thick enough coat that the cold doesn't seem to bother her as much, but Buster's coat, even though it thickens up in the fall, isn't ever very thick at all, a legacy from his Siamese ancestors, and he likes it hot. Last night, he was lying on the rug in the bathroom where the heat lamps could shine on him, and when I petted him, his fur was so nice and toasty. So I think they are happier tonight.


I think I am going up to the north end early tonight and sit with the ice pack on my tail and read. I didn't get enough sleep last night, and I'm tired. 


It's a quiet night in the field tonight.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM