A View From the Field

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May, 2008

May 31

I got to an interesting part of the story, and I didn't turn out the light until midnight again. Oh, well. I made up for it by not getting up until nearly 11:00. Not that it was such a wonderful morning, but the little birdies' breakfast was late.

 

When I went up to the north end last evening, I heard a couple of lakers sounding their foghorns out in the lake, so even though it seemed like it might be clearing up in the harbor, the lake was foggy. And the fog rolled in by the time it got dark, so thick I couldn't see the light in the lighthouse. I won't say all night long, because I didn't wake up for the first time until about 6:30.

 

Anyway, it was just as foggy this morning, according to the camera, and there was some rain as well. It was a nasty day again today. The temperature was in the upper 40s for most of the day, although it has now risen to 54, and there was a brisk wind from the north that got into the 15-30 mph range for most of the afternoon. The wind is dying down now, of course, like it almost always does at sunset, and the sky has turned partly cloudy, although there wasn't any sunset tonight. Yuck.

 

My day was rather truncated, but I did go to the post office, where there wasn't any mail to speak of except for a graduation announcement from Debbie's oldest son. Egad, I remember when he was born!

 

I did work on the current bracelet, and it is almost finished except for part of the clasp. This one is a helix with garnet beads as the background and gold as the spirals. I want to do another one with gold as the background and garnet as the spirals, then I can go on to other things. 

 

I guess that's about all I have to say. May is over with, and June is coming on, and nearly half the year is over now. It sometimes amazes me how fast time seems to go as I get older. My mother said that would happen, and I knew it would, but it's still a shock.

 

So it's a dull, quiet night in the field.

 

May 30

Of course, I can't just read for one hour, so it was midnight before I turned out the light. I apparently slept fast, though, and I think it was around 10:00 when I got up. That put a crimp in my proposed plans for the day, so I didn't leave until around 1:00.

 

My car is now spiffed up for the summer. They couldn't find any holes in the exhaust system, but it is still noisy, so I don't know what is happening there. It was 3:30 before I got out of the dealership.

 

Then it was off to the feed store, where the price of birdseed has gone up dramatically since last summer. The birds are as expensive as the cats! But I now have enough birdseed to last quite a long time.

 

I decided to go on to Wal-Mart, to get some more stuff to treat my elimination problem. I'm going to try something else, since the stuff I was taking has been only marginally successful. I picked up a few more birdy things, like thistle socks, that the feed store doesn't apparently carry, and a few other things as well (of course).

 

Then it was off (shudder!) to the gas pumps. I canvassed the stations, and the going rate in the Copper Country is $4.20. All the stations, including the BP way up in Allouez, had it for the same price. It isn't nice when half a tank of gas costs me $57. But what can I do? I need gas.

 

By the time I got through there, it was 5:00 and I was hungry, so I went over to Ming's Bistro and had a very nice dinner, except that there wasn't any rice on the buffet tables when I went through the line. However, there was both Chairman Tso's chicken and Sesame Chicken, as well as some other spicy dishes. And since it's Friday, they had several dishes with shrimp and crabmeat. I actually almost filled myself up on appetizers - egg rolls, crab rangoon, a little tartlet full of some kind of crab stuff, and pot stickers. I didn't know there were pot stickers there until someone else opened the lid. They are good, too. 

 

I had to wait for my bill. I fill up quickly, and I guess the waiter kept waiting for me to either eat what was on my plate (noodles, mostly) or go back for more. Anyway, it was good to eat Chinese for a change, and their food is good.

 

So I started back for home at about 6:00.

 

It was a yucky enough day that if I hadn't had that appointment for my car, I don't think I would have gone out at all. Going down, it was horribly foggy all the way to Gratiot Lake Road, after which it was just hazy. By the time I left for home, however, it was very foggy all over, and less so north of Delaware. It was an interesting ride. There wasn't much traffic, though, so it wasn't like fog in the big city, where you have to worry about coming up behind somebody going a whole lot slower than you are.

 

The temperature here was around 47 for most of the day, then it rose to 53 briefly before it started to fall back. There was a strong south wind this morning, but it was calm all afternoon. It was a little warmer - not much - in town, and the fog was thick enough that I had to run my windshield wipers slowly all the time. Yuck.

 

The leaves are showing all over, and everything is green or reddish-green, depending upon the kind of trees, but the underbrush hasn't begun to grow up yet. On the way to Mohawk, I noticed huge patches of marsh marigolds in the boggy areas, and patches of bracken beginning to poke up and unfurl. The early cherries are coming out, but otherwise, there aren't any flowering bushes in bloom yet. Where people have planted daffodils and tulips, they are out. So it's still very early spring in Keweenaw.

 

I took the camera along, but I really didn't see anything worth stopping to take pictures of, except the marsh marigolds, which were in places I couldn't have gotten to anyway. Coming home, it was too foggy to take any pictures at all.

 

Buster was very glad to see me when I came home. I think he worries when I'm gone that I'm not coming back, even though I almost always do come back on the same day.

 

So that was my day, and it's time to toddle up to the north end and read some more. Hopefully, it will be a nicer day tomorrow.

 

May 29

Needless to say, I didn't do any reading last night. I did spend some time staring at the floor, but I went to bed more or less directly, around midnight, I think. The stars were shining in the window when I closed my eyes. When I woke up for the first time, around 4:00, it was beginning to get light, for heaven's sake! While I know how short the nights are around here, it never ceases to amaze me.

 

I got up around 9:00, I think, and it was a beautifully clear, sunny morning, with a few whitecaps on the harbor. The wind picked up into the 15-20 mph range during the afternoon, but since 5:00 or so it has been perfectly calm.

 

The clouds started to roll in about that time, too, and it is now fairly cloudy, although there is a little sunshine in the northwest. the temperature hung in the low 50s all day, so it wasn't bad, but I would still be happier with a little warmer.

 

It got so hot in the office that I opened the door and a window. At first, I had the east window closest to the computer open, but there was a draft right on my left side. The last time I did that, I woke up the next morning with a very stiff shoulder, so I closed it and opened the one behind the sewing machine. That has worked better, and it is a little cooler in here now. Ah, all that wonderful, free solar heat...I'm pretty sure the boiler hasn't gone on all day.

 

I don't think I did a lot. I started working on the bracelet in progress, but I got sidetracked. I went to the post office, and met the UPS guy, who had my English muffins, so I saved him a trip by having him put my package in my car. It's fine with me. I got a couple of new books on beading that are very interesting, about beaded lace...that is, lace made of beads. I looked through them, and it will be interesting to see what comes of them.

 

I have been having trouble with my trackball mouse for quite a while now. Sometimes it stopped working, or I could move the ball all around and the cursor wouldn't move. I think the problem is in the wire where it meets the mouse, and for a while, fooling around with it would get it back to working again. It was very hard to get it to point reliably at any small thing, and the cursor would get really shaky, even if my hand wasn't. It was a real pain, and this afternoon, it got up in the upper left hand corner of the screen and wouldn't move, no matter what I did. So I went out into the breezeway and dug out the one from the computer at Champine. When I plugged that one in, it worked perfectly. We shall see when I do my jigsaw puzzle tomorrow, but so far, it seems to be working.

 

I got the trackballs back in 2002, after I got tendonitis in my wrist from using the regular mouse. I have gotten addicted to it, not so much because it's easier to point and click, but it has two extra buttons on the right side that are programmed as "back" and "forward" in Internet Explorer...and I just can't do without them. I have a regular mouse that I use with the laptop, and having to move up to the top of a page to click on "back" in IE is a real pain after using the trackball. I certainly am glad I had the backup one. I will have to be careful of it, so that it doesn't go the same way as the other one.

 

The blue jays are really late in nesting this year. When I pulled into the driveway on the way back from the post office, there must have been two dozen in the bird feeder tree and the other pine south of the house. Usually by this time they would have gone away to do their thing. I'm waiting. They are noisy and bullies and they eat an awful lot. Just now, there is a male redwing blackbird singing his interesting song and trying to decide what feeder to eat out of. I did see at least one hummingbird this afternoon when I was on the phone. And Jasmine is crouched in the open door staring out at a squirrel in the platform feeder. I am going to have to figure out some way to get the big cedar feeder turned around so I can see both sides of it. The seed goes away, but I can't see who is eating it, because they are all on the other side.

 

The glass company will be coming Tuesday afternoon, and the guy I talked to seemed to think he can fix the office screen here, so I don't have to pack up the screens tomorrow. I do have to go to town, to get my car serviced, and I am toying with going into Houghton to get bird seed and gas, either before or after, depending upon when I can get out of here. I'm just as glad I don't have to get that sliding door out of its track. I had a horrible time the last time, and I didn't get it adjusted right when I put it back in. Maybe he can fix that, too, as well as the bedroom window.

 

I got a letter from the state saying they couldn't process my refund without copies of my property tax bills for 2007, so now I have to go through everything in the 2007 box and find those. I called my accountant about it, and she had no explanation for why they did that. We had a nice conversation, though, and I was glad to talk to her. 

 

So that was my day, and I think I will go read a while again. It's a quiet evening in the field, but we may have thunderstorms overnight. We do need some rain, so that would be good.

 

May 28

I read for too long again last night, and then I had sort of a problem getting to sleep, so it was 1:00 or so before I finally closed my eyes for the night. It was beautifully clear, and when I turned out the light, I could see Leo taking a dive toward the horizon.  I was up a couple of times during the night, and I got up around 9:00, for real, this morning.

 

It was a beautifully clear day, too, although it was quite windy for most of the day. The temperature hung around 50 and the wind got up to 20 mph from the north for most of the afternoon. There were some lovely whitecaps on the harbor. Then the wind dropped, and at 8:00 the temperature jumped up to 68! Unfortunately, I wasn't out to experience it, but more about that later.

 

This afternoon, another friend came to help unpack and move some stuff, and we got quite a bit done upstairs. The clothes are all in closets, and the things that need to be in garment bags are in garment bags. I didn't realize quite how packed those wardrobes were. I only brought two, and I thought that was quite modest, until I got it all in the closets and saw how much stuff is there. Since it's mostly dresses, I will probably never wear any of it, but I would really hate to have to go out and buy something if I ever need to wear a dress again.

 

We repacked my mother's wedding dress in an acid-free box, and I got to admire it again. I remembered it as being plainer than it is. It is candlelight slipper satin, with a sweetheart neckline and long sleeves with puffs at the shoulders, and otherwise a-line, with a full train. What I had forgotten was the 2" band of seed beads and pearls from under the bosom around to a deep V in the back. It is really a beautiful, elegant gown, and her veil had a pearl beaded crown for a headpiece. Sometime I hope to find the pictures of her wearing it. She was a very pretty woman and the picture is beautiful, too.

 

Then we worked on the office a while and collected most of the trash and took it off to the compactor.

 

Mary Ann is a nice person and I think she is lonely, because her kids are all grown and her husband drives a truck for a living and isn't home much. She is a gardener and a knitter and crocheter, so we have quite a bit in common. It was a pleasant afternoon, but my feet hurt.

 

In the middle of the afternoon I got a totally unexpected call from my friends Chip and Nancy, who have finally managed to get up here. Nancy had a heart attack in early February, and before she finally had a very new procedure, she was on her way to death's door. She seems to be fine now, although it will be the middle of June before she has her stress test to be sure of that. For the time being, she is still wearing a combination defibrillator and heart monitor which is a real straight jacket, but it has saved her several times. Not until her stress test comes out all right will they let her take it off.

 

So we met for dinner at Harbor Haus, and it was so good to see them! It has been a very long time since they've been here, and an even longer time since I've seen them. 

 

Nancy looks very well, I'm glad to say, not like somebody with heart problems at all, and I've seen enough of those. She seems in good spirits, and Chip has been holding up very well under the stress. They are such nice people, and I love to see them.

 

Oh, yes, and when I sat down, Julie came with an envelope for me, in which was a very generous gift certificate for dinner, from some readers of the website! For heaven's sake! I cannot thank them enough. I never knew I had a real fan club, but evidently I do. I keep saying, I do this journal as much for my own benefit as for yours, and I am most grateful that other people find it entertaining.

 

Then Julie came back with her 4 month old daughter Olivia, who is a real darling, and that was nice, too.

 

It was a beautiful evening and there were even a couple of up-bound lakers to watch, and we think we saw a pair of loons fishing in the middle of the harbor. What I nice ending to the day.

 

Now it is getting dark and it is time to toddle up to the north end and rest my poor feet. It's another beautiful night in the field.

 

May 27

Well, I got to reading, with the idea of reading for maybe an hour, and two hours later, I finally packed up the binder. Oops! I woke up all discombobulated, at what I took to be 10:00 and which must have been 9:00. Oops!

I have a combination clock-radio-telephone beside my bed, and its buttons are right on top of the unit and don't have any interlocks on them. I know when Buster was a kitten he would walk on them and change the time. A day or so ago I wanted to play something that was on the radio, and I probably hit the wrong buttons when trying to turn on the radio. 

 

So I didn't get my full quota of sleep last night, but that's all right.

 

The sky cleared up about the time it got dark, and during the night I could see stars. I think my summer companion, Arcturus, had floated into the window view. From now until September or October, I will be able to see it at some time during the night. It is so bright and so pretty.

 

It was such a gorgeous morning I was glad I got up at a reasonable hour to enjoy it. It was quite clear all day long, and the sun was shining brightly in a blue, blue sky on the blue, blue water.

 

When I went outside to put out the bird feeders, there was a little chickadee in the tree waiting for me, and several were calling, as though to say, "Breakfast is served!". I think they come to the side of the cedar feeder I can't see. I had an abundance of goldfinches all day long, and I am happy to say most of the blue jays are gone. The bird I can't identify was back today, sitting in the feeder with one leg hanging out eating seeds. I am wondering if, whatever it is, it might be ill. I still have no idea what it could be. And at least one pair of nuthatches are around.

 

It is finally getting green! The trees are just popping out their leaves, and in a couple of days, the early flowering bushes will be out. There was one cherry on the way to town that had some flowers coming out this afternoon.

 

On my way back from the post office, where the rest of my thread came, I came down the hill to the culverts to see two Canada geese that had evidently just swum through the culvert...and with them were at least half a dozen of the littlest fuzz-balls I have ever seen! They must just have hatched, because I've never seen goslings that small before. One of the adults, mom, I expect, kept looking back and around to make sure they were all still there. It was one of those  magical moments.

 

I was so sorry I didn't have the camera, but I don't usually take it with me to the post office. Maybe I will have to rethink that. The water in the creek from Lake Lily is calm and black, and it would have made an absolutely perfect shot. Sorry about that. I'll just have to remember, and you'll just have to imagine.

 

I did get the other big box unpacked this afternoon, as well as the small box. The small box had dresser stuff, so I now have a mirror tray with some old cologne bottles on it, as well as a couple of trinkets. Now to get the empty boxes out of there, and the full boxes put where they belong, if I can figure that out.

 

The house on Champine had a huge closet in the bathroom, and I have several boxes of stuff from there that I brought up here, and now I don't know what to do with it. There isn't room in this bathroom for all that, and based on some of the other things I've looked at, I really wonder why I brought all that stuff anyway. So I guess it will end up in the basement eventually. Or in the trash compactor.

 

It was a beautiful day, but it was cold. The high temperature was 44, and it was more like 40 for most of the day. There wasn't much wind, though, so it was nice out, provided you had a jacket on.

 

I am getting really anxious to get the windows open!

 

I made an appointment to get my car serviced on Friday, and I will take the screen from the office door, as well as another one that needs to be re-screened, with me when I go. I hate to go all that way without several things to do. Eventually the glass company will come to look at the bedroom window, but they don't want to come all this way with only one service call to make, either. The price of gas is affecting us all.

 

So that was my quiet day, and it's time to go up to the north end and maybe read a while again. That seems to relax me about as well as anything does.

 

It's a beautiful calm and clear night in the field tonight.

 

May 26 - Memorial Day

I hope it was a nicer Memorial Day where you are than it was here, but more about that later.

 

I sat in bed and read until about 11:00, so I was a little, but  not much, earlier to bed. I woke up around 2:00 and there were stars, but they had gone away later. When I woke up at 7:30, we were socked in...it was very foggy. I could hear the lake making a fuss, and I thought that was strange, since it seemed to be rather calm here. So I went back to sleep, got up around 8:30, turned over, and didn't get up until 11:00! Wow! I guess I needed some catch-up again. There were the usual strange dreams, but they were good-strange, not bad-strange.

 

It was still hazy and cloudy when I got up, and I could hear the lake making quite a fuss, and I was puzzled, because I couldn't even see any of the trees moving. However, it looked like it had been, or was, raining a bit. 

 

Putting out the bird feeders in the drizzle isn't my favorite task, especially since the temperature had plummeted to about 38, but it didn't seem to bother the birds very much. When I first looked out the door, there was a pair of nuthatches pecking on the deck quite close to the doors, and all the seed that had been on the porch last night was gone. So I put the feeders out, and there have been quite a few visitors today. There was one bird, a bit bigger than a sparrow, that sat on the cedar feeder for a long time, and pecked occasionally at a seed. It was very dark brown with a pink bill, not quite the shape of a cardinal or a grosbeak. It must be a female something, but I have no idea what it may have been. I didn't see any hummingbirds, but they must have been here, because the level in the feeder is down a bit more. I confess, I wasn't looking out very much. It was too dreary.

 

I didn't do much of anything, I guess. I was going to see if I could unpack some of the boxes in the bedroom, and I did get two unloaded and some bedding washed, but the third large box was mismarked, and it has things like scarves and gloves in it. I have no idea what to do with those things, so I didn't unpack it. There are two more that should go upstairs, and one small box that I don't know what is in it. I guess my rationale is that if I get everything unpacked, I won't have to move. Besides, I am getting very tired of having those boxes lying around.

 

I need to get the boxes out of the garage, and I'd like to give them as many more as possible when they come to take them away. So I will peck away at them.

 

Actually, the cold, damp weather did its thing on my back, and there was no way I could stand for any length of time. 

 

The weather was awful. It was around 38 all day long, with a brisk breeze out of the east, and it was nasty out. It still is. I really feel for anybody camping at the fort...or Bonnie having to give the invocation at the memorial service this morning...or anybody who had planned outdoor activities for today. 

 

However, I guess I would rather be here than in Detroit, where it got up to 87 this afternoon! It wasn't humid, but still, that's way too hot.

 

When I was bringing in the feeders last night, I got buzzed by a very unhappy hummingbird, who thought I was doing that chore way too early. She got her drink, though, before I brought in the feeder. It is so neat to be standing less than two feet away from a bird who is eating out of one of the feeders! 

 

There are some white-crowned sparrows around now, as well as a female redwing blackbird (I've been seeing the males for a while). I hate to take the feeders in so early, but I don't want to wait until it gets dark, either. I want this to be a sort of early to-bed again, and maybe I can get back on a reasonable schedule. It's really hard at this time of year, since it gets dark so late.

 

So that was my quiet day. Buster and I shared the rest of my barbecue ribs and chicken from Saturday, which he enjoyed, although I think he has another hairball. So now I will bring in the feeders and finish filling the dishwasher and toddle up to the north end and maybe read for a while again.

 

It's a nasty night in the field tonight.

 

May 25

It was around midnight again when I went to bed, but it won't be that late tonight, for sure. Birdies or not, I will be bringing the feeders in after I finish this, then I am going up to the north end and make it early to bed. So there.

 

I woke up maybe around 4:00, and there were stars out, surprisingly enough. It was also beginning to get light in the northeast, which was also a little surprising, but that's how it is at this time of year.

 

I finally got up around 10:00, then I finished the toe on the sock except for weaving it together, so it was late when I got to the office. 

 

The birds are beginning to get with the program, and I had lots of goldfinches, several house finches, one chickadee that I saw, and a nuthatch or two. There aren't so many blue jays around. I think they are beginning their nesting, which means soon we won't see them at all. I didn't see any hummingbirds, but the level in the feeder has gone down, so they must be coming. There were a couple of contentious squirrels and a chipmunk or two, too, so things are coming along.

 

I neglected to mention yesterday that we are finally beginning to get leaves on our trees. It was amazing how much greener it was last night than it was Friday when I went to the post office. The flowering trees aren't out yet, but they will be soon, I'm sure.

 

It was a blah sort of day today again. It was cloudy all day, and there were even a couple of little rain showers. The temperature has finally made it to 62, but it was in the 50s for most of the afternoon, and there was no wind at all.

 

Unfortunately, that lack of wind means the bugs are with us, but it's certainly time.

 

My second annual thank you dinner went off well, although Trevor (Ron's 13-year-old son) didn't come...poo on him. He missed a good meal. Mac and Ruby and Ron are all nice people, and we had a good time. 

 

We were treated to a kayak towing a row-boat type thing to the dock at Harbor Haus, which was interesting. I'd like to know the story. This is when I miss Shirley the most: she would have heard all about it and would tell me what happened.

 

It wasn't very busy in Harbor Haus, or in town, which is disappointing but not surprising with gas prices the way they are.

 

And while I was sitting in my car talking to Mac beside his car, the bugs started swarming. I don't think I got bit, but they are around, and they are all black flies. I am certainly glad I'm not camping at the fort tonight! Yuck!

 

As for indoors, I finished the toe on the sock and cast on the second sock, and I worked on a red and gold helix bracelet. That was about it.

 

I did pick up the kitchen this morning. I have the very bad habit of leaving the larger pieces of trash sitting on the counter instead of putting them in the trash, especially once the bag in the breezeway is full, which it is. So I had a 13 gallon bag full of stuff that was on the counter. It looks much better there now.

 

So it was a quiet day, and it's a quiet evening, and I'm off to the north end, even though the sun hasn't set yet.

 

May 24

I'm not quite sure what happened last night, but it was still after midnight when I got into bed. I got up around 9:00, and that was nice. I started the toe of the sock this morning, but I still have half of it to go. It's coming along.

 

For some reason not known to me, Buster didn't come into the bathroom last night, so he didn't get his brushing until this morning. He is shedding like mad, and he coughed up a hairball the other night, so he really needs to be brushed as much as possible. He loves it, so I don't know what was going on last night, unless there was a critter outside that he was watching.

 

I finished the bracelet! For a while I was wondering if I would, since I kept having problems with the pattern, even the easy part. However, it's done, and I am fairly satisfied with it. Here are two pictures. There are two pictures because the camera was being cranky tonight. It wouldn't focus properly when the flash was on, so I took one picture without it, the first one, to show the pattern. But I wanted to show the glow of the silver-lined garnet beads, so I am publishing the not-very-good one taken with the flash. I do like those beads. I am trying to start a helix bracelet using them, and from the problems I am having, I think it's me and not the patterns...

 

It was a beautiful day for most of the day. It started sunny and clear, but by 11:00 or so there was a haze of cirrus clouds in the west and it got steadily more cloudy as the day wore on. There was sort of a sunset, but it was rather yellow and didn't last long. The temperature, though, got up above 60 for most of the afternoon, then between 6:00 and 7:00 (while I was eating) it dropped back to 57. It tried. It was nice out. There was a light breeze from the south that made me close the windows, but it was nice on the front side of the house. The barometer has taken a dive, though, so I doubt it will be so nice tomorrow.

 

The tourist season seems to have started. There are lots of cars and quite a few people around town, which is a good sign. Much as tourists sometimes annoy me, I like to see them for the sake of my friends...and me, now that I am doing jewelry. Come and stay and buy!

 

Just the usual birds were here today, but I had the office door open for a while, and the fur faces were far more excited about them when they could hear and smell them. The squirrels interested them, too. During the afternoon, there was one smallish chipmunk eating out of the feeder on the deck. I wonder what happened to the mammoth ones I had last year?

 

I forgot to mention that shortly after I put out the feeders, my dock-tail squirrel showed up, but since the others have found the seed, he hasn't been around. He did look quite robust and rotund, so I guess he is doing OK, even if everybody else chases him. There was also a female the other day whose coat was patchy, dark and light. I don't know what that was. The little red squirrels we have here don't pluck themselves like the black ones in Detroit do, and this didn't look like that anyway. It looked rather gross, frankly. I hope she doesn't have some kind of skin disease she will pass on to her offspring, if any.

 

Now the shades of night are falling fast, and it's time to haul in the feeders and toddle up to the north end again. It's a quiet, cloudy night in the field tonight.

 

May 23

Fifteen years ago this morning, my mother tried to take her last breath at about 7:30 in the morning. That was a long time ago, but I still miss her.

 

I beaded until I finished the second repeat on the bracelet, so it was rather late - again - when I went to bed, but I made up for it by not getting up until 10:00. Buster was bothering me, including rubbing his whiskers on my face, for heaven's sake.

 

He was bothering me all day, and I just don't know why. I do wish I could figure out what goes on in his fuzzy little head.

 

I was afraid I had put out the bird feeders too late, but eventually, especially after the sun came out around 1:00, the birds came. When it began to clear up, I decided this was the time to put out the hummingbird feeder, and later in the afternoon, the hummingbirds came. They were all males - at least two, maybe three - and they were very suspicious, but they did sample my nectar, and I think they'll be back. The goldfinches also came, eventually in good numbers, both for the thistle seed and for the sunflower seed. I think I may have had a nuthatch, but I still haven't seen the chickadees. I wonder where they are? 

 

I may have to take a trip to town just for birdseed! And with gas over $4 a gallon (the complaints on the PastyNet boards say it jumped 25 overnight!), that will be a costly trip. We'll see.

 

Otherwise, I beaded, and I am now working on the second end, which is about 1" long. Then I have to figure out a clasp, since this bracelet is much wider than most others I have made. It's coming to an end, finally. I really like it, but it was so much trouble, I don't know if I will make any more. Since I like the colors so well, I think I will make a couple of helix bracelets. They go much faster, and they're fun to do.

 

One of my packages was at the post office, and I now have thread, cording and zippers for the cushion project. The thread isn't really the right color, but it will do for a couple of the tote bags. So now I have to dig out and rearrange the office so I can cut on the desk and use the sewing machine. Ugh! That's one reason I haven't done any sewing for quite a while. However, since it may be a couple of more weeks before the fabric comes, I guess I have time.

 

It turned out to be a beautiful day, although it was a while in coming. It was cloudy as usual this morning, but around 1:00 the clouds rolled away, and the afternoon was perfectly clear and beautiful with only a light north wind. The downside is that the temperature hovered around 45 all day long...not very good for romping on the beach! It was nice to see all the sunshine, blue skies and blue water for a change, though.

 

When I went out to bring in the bird feeders, it was calm and about 47, but so humid I could see my breath. It is so beautiful about an hour after sunset when it's so calm. I think I heard a loon call over in the direction of Porter Island. And sometime at least a week ago, the Coast Guard slipped in and set the bell buoy, and now that is tolling softly, too.

 

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

 

May 22

Well, the best laid plans, and all that. The computer has been behaving itself quite well lately, so I should have known it wouldn't last. When I have to use FrontPage to upload the website, like I did last night, I always reboot before I do the upload. There is some resource I can't identify that gets depleted after I have been playing around all day which causes FrontPage to abend if I don't.

 

So I started the reboot, and got a non-responding task, a total hang, and I had to use CTRL-ALT-DEL to get the reboot to go. I turned my back to do a row or so of beading, and when I looked around, I was in safe mode doing a disk scan. Egad! Oh, no! What in the world...

 

When the scan completed, I rebooted, and first Explorer abended, then the camera software didn't start. So I rebooted again...This time it appeared to be OK, so I rearranged my desktop the way I like it (which isn't so easy as it sounds - I had to figure out how to make some things move), then I proceeded to FrontPage to do the upload...

 

And FrontPage had completely lost its mind and decided it had to load the entire website, not (thank heaven!) including the pictures. By this time it was nearly midnight. Fortunately for my sanity, the upload did go OK. 

 

So it was after 1:00 before I got to bed. I got up around 9;30 again, because I had to go to the bathroom anyway, but I certainly didn't get enough sleep!

 

And in the middle of the morning, the computer hung totally again for no apparent reason, and when it came up, of course my icons were all trashed again. This time I figured out what I have to do to move them quickly, and I rebooted once more just to make sure everything was more or less back where it should be. Geez. Computers!

 

I didn't do much but work on the bracelet and look at a couple of my pattern books for more ideas. I did look at the beads I had intended to use for my next project, and I don't like them as well as I thought, so I will go on to snowflake bracelets when (or maybe IF is a better word) this one is done. I just had to tear out six or seven rows because, as usual, I made an error on the row before I ended off a thread. Grr. Maybe I can get the old thread worked in and the new thread started before I crawl up to the north end. I had completed the first repeat last night, but with all the ripping I didn't make as much progress today as I'd hoped to.

 

It was another nondescript day, although this time there wasn't any rain. Even Environment Canada, which is usually pretty accurate, had this day all wrong. They had it sunny...and we didn't see a sunbeam all day. It was dull and gray and yucky. The temperature was between 40 and 46 all day, with a 10-15 mph wind out of the north. Blah.

 

I did get some time to birdwatch today, and I was happy to finally see a few goldfinches, but every time I tried to really look at them, they disappeared. I forgot to mention that yesterday I had a couple of house finches. And the bird of the day was a white-crowned sparrow who stopped by for a snack right after I put out the feeders this morning. I've heard chickadees, but I haven't seen any at the feeders yet. I'm disappointed in that. Patience.

 

So that's about all I have to report, and I'm tired. It's another gray, quiet night in the field, and I need go to bed.

 

May 21

Gee, it's only10:00 and I'm doing a journal! Imagine that!

 

Last night, I got so engrossed in the garnet bracelet, and I made so many mistakes, that it was 2:00 before I got into bed. Not good. I actually got up around 10:00, which wasn't enough sleep, either. 

 

That showed up when I wrote the two notes to my sick friends. My handwriting looked like I was spastic (and don't anybody write me to complain about my choice of words. If I want to be politically incorrect, this is my website and my journal). Anyway, I got that done and trundled off to the post office and the general store for a couple of things.

 

I did work on the bracelet, and I got another inch done, with difficulty. This is by far the most difficult pattern I have ever done. And to think I designed it myself, with a little help from a book of patterns. I am going to have to work with very short lengths of thread, because it frays badly in the little holes of the garnet beads, and because I have to rip so often. That means ending off and starting a new thread, both of which I hate, and both of which cut down on production. But I still think it's very pretty. If I decide to sell it, or if I make another one, I will have to charge more for it...like about double. The next one is going to be an easy pattern just to give me a respite.

 

The weather wasn't very good again. The temperature was in the middle 40s all day, peaking at 48. There was a wind in the 20-30 mph range from the north all afternoon, so it was a bit chilly out there. It was cloudy and dull and there were a few raindrops on occasion. Yuck.

 

I was so late putting out the bird feeders that almost no one came. I did have a redwing blackbird who just loves the seed mixture in the block in the cage. It was amusing to see him doing acrobatics while he whaled away at the block of seed, which seems to be rather hard. This morning while I was getting my breakfast there was a pair of mergansers out in front of the house. The males are so bright and mostly white at this time of year. They are so noticeable that I can understand why they molt so early in the year and turn dull just like the females. Anyway, I guess they are pairing up.

 

The daffodils across the road are just about out, but otherwise I couldn't see much movement on the leaf scene. It's just been too cold. They are saying it might warm up for the weekend, and then I expect things will begin to pop. I will try to get some pictures, although I need to fiddle with the camera first.

 

Oh! I almost forgot. After the yucky day, I was surprised to look up and see color in the west around sunset, so I grabbed the camera (actually, I dug it out from under the pile) and went out on the deck. Here is the result. Pretty, huh? The sun actually went down at that teensy bright patch on the right hand side, just to the left of the trees. That's way north of the lighthouse, and I don't have a very good view of it, but the sky sure was pretty. And despite being rather shaky earlier in the afternoon, I managed to hold the camera steady at 1/30 second. So I'm not gone yet.

 

I know I have taken pictures of a ton of sunsets, but I never get tired of seeing them. If I start doing note cards, I think I may do one set that is only sunsets. Each of them is different and they are all beautiful. I suppose if I had a clear eastern horizon, I might take a lot of sunrises, too, although that is more difficult, given my normal sleep habits. I do try to keep an eye on the sky during the day just in case something interesting happens, but that is more difficult.

 

So that was a nice end to my quiet day, and I'd like to get to bed a little earlier tonight, please. It's quieted down in the field tonight.

 

May 20

Oops! So I forgot to check the camera before I left the office last night, and of course it didn't come up right. Since I was late getting here this morning, we had about 4 hours of black pictures. Sorry about that. I will try to do better.

 

We were all in the bathroom last night, and the fur faces were dozing on the bath rug, when all of a sudden they jumped to full alert, then they ran off, I think to the nearest window. I guess the bear paid us another visit. Of course, I had taken everything in, but I did dump a little seed on the deck, which was all gone this morning.

 

I woke up about 9:00, but I just dozed for another half hour, and what with petting a cat and doing a little knitting, it was 10:30 before I got to the office and discovered the camera problem.

 

I put the bird feeders out right away, but there weren't many visitors today. Probably that had something to do with the weather, but I'm sure it also had something to do with them not being available early in the morning. Darn bear!

 

I sort of fiddled around for part of the day, but I did get the counterchange bracelet done, and I started a new one. This one is going to be beautiful but very hard to make. It is dark garnet silver-lined beads with gold. The garnet beads are some of the very few silver lined beads I really like (except clear). The glass is such a dark color that the lining just causes it to glow a bit, and it isn't as sparkly and garish as a lot of silver lined beads are. Anyway, those beads have very small holes, which has made me have to use a much smaller needle than I usually do, and they shred the thread pretty badly. It's a wide pattern - over an inch - odd count, and pretty complicated. But I have done enough of it, with difficulty, to know it's going to be really beautiful. Every so often I just have to try something different.

 

Before I got into that, though, I started fiddling with my printer. I needed to make a couple of note cards to send to some sick friends, and while I was at it, I just went ahead and made two sets of cards with six of my photos on them. They turned out pretty good, although I have a problem getting the pictures exactly centered on the cards. They're good enough that I think I will try to sell them, and if the people who are selling my stuff think they are OK, I will make some more. It's slow work, and I had to mess with the printer for a while before I got it to print nicely, but the results were pretty good.

 

It was not a nice day out. I think it was sunny early in the morning, but shortly after I got up, the clouds rolled in - much earlier than predicted - and the rest of the day was dull and dreary and sometimes dampish. The high temperature for the day was at midnight, and it was right around 41 with a north wind mostly in the 15-20 mph range from the north. There was a little rain in the middle of the afternoon and some drizzle close to sunset. Nasty.

 

It didn't do my aches and pains any good at all. My exertions with wires yesterday left me with very sore hands when I got up this morning, although after knitting a while they loosened up. I have a monstrous lump on my right index finger, which is an arthritic calcium deposit, and it really ached when I got up this morning. It's hard not to use my hands, though, so it got better later. The dampish afternoon left my back stiff, and I think I was concentrating on the garnet bracelet too much tonight, because my whole back feels stiff now.

 

Wonder of wonders, I unloaded the dishwasher that I ran last night, so it is empty and all the dishes are in the cupboard. Amazing...and nice. I can begin to load it again right away.

 

That was my quiet day, and it's past even my bedtime, so I will toddle off to the north end and let the wind and the lake sing me to sleep.

 

May 19

It was still after 11:00 when I went to bed, but oh, well. I slept fairly well, but I closed the window a bit, since it seemed cool, then I got hot. Oh, well. I got up around 9:00, after some really crazy dreams that included beads and water and some other things that wouldn't seem to belong.

 

It was a beautiful morning, and it was a beautiful day. It may have gotten cold and frosted in the interior, but it only got down to 41 here. However, it warmed up very slowly, and for most of the day it was in the middle 40s. It wasn't until 5:00 that it finally got up to 55, where it stayed, pretty much, until 8:00. There was a brisk wind, in the 15-25 mph range, from the north. It is beginning to cloud up now, and there wasn't any sunset, but it was a really pretty day.

 

When I sat down at the computer and brought up my homepage, which is the camera page, lo and behold, there were no bird feeders! Oh-oh. So I took my first of many walks out on the deck. The branch the pretty feeder was on was broken off, the thistle feeder's hanging wire was all bent up, the thistle socks all had holes in them, and the platform feeder I keep on the deck was down below it. At first, I couldn't find the pretty feeder at all. And the old tube feeder was empty. So I fetched everything in and went to make my breakfast.

 

Then I found the pretty feeder, which was down by the doors to the great room. When I brought it in, it was all bent up, too, although nothing was broken. The worst part with it was that the rain shield and the grid had been pulled down so far that it was stuck under the piece of metal that is supposed to stop it. And the cage was out of true. I think I got it back together OK, though.

 

So after I had my breakfast, I got out the tools and got to work. That is one stiff piece of wire on the thistle feeder, but I managed, with some difficulty, to get it unbent enough that I could get the lid off. Then I got at the pretty feeder, and that took some time to get straightened around, too, but it is OK. 

 

I decided that since I was in fix mode, I would put a new hanger on the big cedar feeder. That entailed putting some screw eyes inside the feeder and attaching a piece of very strong vinyl-covered laundry wire to it. The screw eyes may come out, and the branch may come down, but I don't think the wire will break.

 

Then came the problem of getting everything out again, with the branch I've been hanging most things from broken off right beyond where I was hanging the thistle feeder. It took me most of the afternoon to get it arranged the way I want it. There is another branch above that one that will hold at least one feeder, but the problem is getting it down to where I can attach something to it. I finally got the right hanger up there and put the tube feeder on it, but when I want to hang it up tomorrow, I will have to hook the hanger with another one to bring it down to where I can reach. The thistle feeder went back where it was, finally, and the place I put the socks will do, when I get some more socks. For the time I have hung a block of seed in a cage there. I didn't put out the pretty feeder or the white one I use for sunflower seed. I'm not sure where to hang them.

 

It seems clear that I was visited by a bear last night. Just from the destruction, with branches broken off and all, it couldn't be anything smaller. So tonight, about sunset, I brought everything inside. I hate to have to do that, because the little birds (of which I haven't had many yet) like to eat a whole lot earlier than I want to get up and get dressed. However, I'm not going to let a bear trash all my feeders and eat all my seed, either.

 

So I was out on the deck a lot. It was a bit chilly with the wind, but I wasn't too uncomfortable in a cotton sweater. When it warmed up, it was nice in spite of the wind.

 

Once I got the seed out, I was overrun with blue jays again. There were frequently eight or ten of them around the feeder on the deck all scarfing down sunflower seeds as fast as they could get them in their crops. One or two brave ones tried the cedar feeder, but the perches on the tube feeder are really too small for such big birds. As for the rest, all I saw were sparrows. The feeders haven't been out for a week yet, and things have been moving around a lot, so it will take several days with everything in the same place before the little birds get comfortable. Or I hope they will. I did hear a chickadee call this morning when I was picking up the debris, but I didn't see any come to the feeders. Of course, the way the cedar feeder is, they could be on the other side and I'd never know they were there.

 

All that was pretty strenuous, because I also filled the pail of thistle seed - 20 lbs - and hauled it into the office. So I mostly sat and beaded for the rest of the day. I did get into the front closet and go through the two totes full of embroidery stuff I have stashed there. I would like to get those out, but currently there isn't nearly enough room for them. There is some good and useful stuff in them, as well as a number of projects I would like to embroider sometime. I did find what I was looking for, so that was good.

 

The counterchange bracelet is about two-thirds done. I lost my concentration a couple of times and had to rip, but it's coming along. If I had worked on it all day, I would have finished it, but I find getting up and doing something else every so often is relaxing. It takes just so long to make a bracelet, and there isn't much I can do to speed it up.

 

So that was my day, and now the full moon should be rising behind the southeast corner of the office. After a couple of hours of cloudiness, it's supposed to clear up tonight and for part of the day tomorrow, so there may be a star or two.

 

It's a windy night in the field tonight.

 

May 18

I dropped into bed around 11:00 last night, and it is amazing how much better I am sleeping since I opened the window a bit. It is just cooler enough that I can get the covers right. So I slept well. I knitted a while last night and a while this morning, and I'm making progress on the sock, but I have big feet, so it will take a while.

 

I didn't do a lot today except pick up the kitchen a bit and I just finished the bracelet, and I am contemplating whether to start another one tonight or wait. I may start it tonight. It's so much easier to just pick something up if it is already started. While I have the beads out, I am going to do a counterchange bracelet in the original colors (silver and copper) before I to on to other things. 

 

The one I finished today and the counterchange one are only 10 beads wide, and finish to 5/8" wide, and they go fast. The rope and post is 13 beads wide, and not only is it wider, with the odd-count peyote there is a peculiar turn on one side that takes time to execute. Unfortunately, all the really neat patterns I want to try are an odd number of beads wide, so I guess I might as well get used to it. In between those I can whip off a 10 count bracelet or a helix bracelet for relaxation. 

 

I want to make a few of the original pattern in all three colorways, which I guess I never posted to the website. Bad me. Anyway, besides the green zig-zag, there is one with a blue zig-zag, and one in blue and green with a copper zig-zag, which I called the "Copper Harbor" bracelet. And of course, I want to make more than one snowflake bracelet, which I and a lot of other people like a lot. Some of my patterns I have adapted from books, but the snowflake is completely my own design. A bracelet a day...

 

The weather was cold but pretty. There were some clouds, but most of the day was sunny and windy. The temperature for most of the early part of the day was under 40, but then it began to rise slowly to a max of 48 before it began to drop back. The wind was brisk - in the 15-25 mph range for most of the day, pretty much from the north, although it is dying down now. I didn't stick my nose outside. That was just a bit chilly for romping around on the deck.

 

There were a few birds, I think, but I wasn't watching very much.

 

Did I mention that my neighbor to the north's forsythia is in bloom? And the daffodils my neighbor to the south threw across the road are in bud and should be out by tomorrow. So spring really is coming at last!

 

I guess the fur-faces got over-stimulated yesterday, because they were pretty sleepy today. They spent the afternoon in the great room, where it was warm and sunny, and they looked resentful when I walked through and disturbed them.

 

I splurged today and didn't wear my compression hose. I suppose I will regret it tomorrow, but it felt good, if rather strange, to be free of them. I have not had very much swelling of my feet and ankles for a while now, for which I am grateful, but I don't want to stop wearing the hose. Just every now and then I can take them off and wiggle my toes...

 

So that was my quiet Sunday, and I'm off to the north end for maybe an early to bed. It's supposed to get quite cool tonight and it may frost, although it's not supposed to be completely clear, and that will help. The nearly-full moon should be someplace over behind the computer, but I can't see it.

 

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

 

May 17

I was late going up to the north end last night, and I think I only did one row on the sock before I took my bath and jumped into bed. It was quite comfortable in the bedroom with the window open a bit, and I slept pretty well and got up around 9:00.

 

It was a gorgeous morning, with all kinds of sunshine and whitecaps on the blue, blue harbor. There were a few clouds in the sky, including one really interesting mare's tail that I wish I could have gotten a picture of. It did cloud up a bit, but it was a lovely morning.

 

While I was sitting in the bathroom, a flock of at least two dozen blue jays flew over the garage and into the trees north of here. I suppose they were at my bird feeders, and there wasn't much left on the deck when I got to the office. Like I said, they are big, greedy birds. Right now I think they are mating and getting ready to nest, and shortly they will disappear, but for the time being, I have to put up with them.

 

Otherwise, it was a discouraging day. I did get rid of the jewelry, but on consignment, which was most disappointing. And while there is even an ad out for a clerk for the gift shop, she doesn't seem to want me for that job. I don't know why, really. Her excuses are that I can't do ladders and I have a hard time with stairs. I am sure we could work around those things, and if I had to do them I might get stronger and more agile. Oh, well.

 

The new mantra is "A bracelet a day keeps the bill collector away." So I came home and after I ordered the notions I forgot yesterday, I worked on the current bracelet, and it is about two-thirds done.

 

Once I get the notions, besides working on my porch cushions, I can work on using up all the samples of outdoor fabric I ordered. I will be making tote bags out of them, and I think they will be nice. The fabric is all very pretty, even though a lot of it is nothing I would want on the furniture in my house. They will be rather expensive, though, because the fabric was about $19 a yard, and I do have to factor something in for my labor and the thread. I have enough fabric on hand for 10 bags, which is enough to test the waters and see if they sell.

 

The only good thing that came out of the day is that I may be able to sell online through a collective store that is being set up amongst some of the merchants in town. It is not up and running yet, but I did say I would love to be a part of it.

 

The problem with a small town is that everybody has his or her spot and it's hard to break in to become one of the workers. I know if somebody would hire me, they would be satisfied with my work. The only thing is to get somebody to hire me.

 

So I went back to dinner anyway, and had a lovely piece of whitefish that was so big I brought some home with me. It's probably not enough for dinner, so I may have it for lunch.

 

Jasmine has been enchanted with the birds, and this evening she was so full of energy she was thundering up and down the stairs to the loft and around the great room. How a little kitty who might just about weigh eight pounds can thunder, I don't know, but she was making a lot of noise, and squeaking all the while. She can form a proper "meow", and I've heard her, but most of the time she talks in little squeaks. 

 

Buster spent the early afternoon, when it was sunny, sleeping on the desk by the south windows. He has always loved to sleep in the sun, even though his fur gets so hot I don't know how he can stand it. Later, when he wasn't trying to sit on me, he curled up on the couch, which was also partly in the sun. I haven't checked the upholstery lately, but that couch seems to have about as cat hair-proof a covering as I've ever seen. Good thing, too. When I went to fiddle with the washer and dryer, the two of them were curled up facing each other, although Jasmine moved pretty quick to her favorite chair - the pink chair. 

 

There were a few birds, other than the jays, and I was happy to see a couple of female goldfinches at one of the thistle socks late in the afternoon. If the females come and eat safely, the males won't be far behind.

 

I did several loads of wash, mostly very small, and I washed the towels. Which reminds me, the towels are ready to come out of the dryer, and there is one more load to dry. I found I had stuffed several hand towels into one of the laundry baskets in the laundry room, which I don't look into very often. One of them is one of the towels I use to wipe my brow in the summer when it's hot, and I need that.

 

The weather was OK. It was sunny or partly sunny and very windy until around 5:00, when it got completely cloudy, and there may have been a bit of rain south of us. The temperature got up to 57 briefly, before it dropped back to 55, and, oddly enough, when the wind began to die, it took a dive down to 45, where it is now. The wind hit a max of 25-35 mph early in the afternoon, pretty much from the north, before it began to die down. It did make for some pretty pictures of the harbor before the clouds came in.

 

So that was my rather down day, and instead of trying to finish the bracelet tonight - which I doubt I could - I think I will just go up to the north end and call it a day.

 

May 16

I knitted for a while and stared at the floor for a while, so it was after midnight when I went to bed, but it was a bit cooler in the bedroom and I slept pretty well. I did wake up with a stiff neck which wasn't helped by my activities of the day.

 

I had plans to finish the wash and do the trash, but not much of that got done. I had to rewash three sweatshirt sweaters. I have a lot of clothes from Eddie Bauer, and every single piece is almost impossible to get greasy stains out of. So I practically wear them out washing them. Anyway, that did it for the rest of the wash.

 

Then there were some things I needed from drugstore.com. And yesterday I got a notice of a sale of outdoor fabrics from Jo-Ann, so I checked out the site last night, and after seeing the picture in the email and looking at the fabrics, I completely changed my mind about how to recover the porch furniture. Not only did they have some patterns and colors my other sources don't, their prices were $2 a yard cheaper than anywhere else I have looked. So I was motivated to try to get my fabric there during the sale.

 

They have an awful website. It is slow and not laid out well and navigation is a trial, but with prices like that, I had to go there.

 

The first order of business, though, was to finally measure everything, then lay out the pieces to see how much material I need. Well...for some reason I thought my mother had not used piping when she made the cushion covers I am replacing, but she did. So not only do I need covers for four seats, four backs, three throw pillows, the seats of two wicker rockers, and a footstool, I need something like 50 yards of piping. She used 3/4 inch seams on all the cushions (why, mom?) and put zippers in practically everything. My mom was a wonderful sewer, and the porch furniture was just the last of a lot of slipcovering and upholstering she had done. 

 

Anyway, when I measured it all out and added it all up, I need 16 yards of fabric. The seats will be plain navy blue, the backs will be a beautiful blue paisley (how could I resist my favorite pattern in my favorite color?) and the throw pillows and footstool will be a stripe with the colors from the paisley. I haven't decided what to do with the seats of the rockers, but they may be paisley or they may be striped. We'll see. Everything will be piped in navy blue. I was generous with my estimates, considering how hard it might be to get more material. I think it will be pretty.

 

Then, of course, I had to find thread and zippers. I have another source for those things that has very cheap prices on zippers, and I noticed that they were also selling thread for outdoor sewing, so I went to that website, and since I hadn't been there for a while, I had to look at everything.

 

All of that consumed the afternoon, more or less. I think I submitted the order for the fabric at about 6:30. Anybody who thinks it's faster and easier to shop online has never shopped for the things I buy at the places I shop. I could have done the whole thing in a store (if they'd had the fabrics) in under an hour. But the closest Jo-Ann's is in Escanaba, and it is a "smaller store" and might not have everything.

 

Of course, there were distractions. When I got to the office this morning, I discovered that the blue jays had discovered the feeders, so I put out a feeder full of seed on the deck, and the cats discovered the birds...I'm sure Jasmine didn't get nearly her full complement of sleep today. I had the east window in the office open for a while, and she was dividing her time between staring at the parade out there and staring at the birds on the deck. Even Buster got into the act, although he did have to take his mid-day siesta. He's too old for all this gallivanting around.

 

I find blue jays noisy and greedy, but they have to live, too. There was one chickadee who came to the pretty feeder, and in the middle of the afternoon, I looked up and there on the old three-tube feeder was a male rose-breasted grosbeak! He is big enough that he was having a hard time staying on the perch, but that didn't stop him. He is such a pretty bird! The second time I saw him, I decided to attempt to get a picture, so he immediately turned his back on me. Sorry, no pictures. There were chipping sparrows hanging around all day, especially when the jays went away.

 

Anyway, tomorrow I will have to see if I can repair the big cedar feeder and get that out there, since a lot of the birds really prefer it. So do I, actually, since it holds a lot and I don't have to fill it so often.

 

It wasn't as nice a day as it was supposed to be. Shortly after I got to the office this morning, I looked out and the harbor was full of fog! That wasn't forecast. It didn't last long, and then there was a little sunshine before the clouds came over. The temperature only got up to 55 for a little while in the early afternoon, and I had to close the window because when it was in the middle 40s and there was a brisk breeze from the east, it was cold and damp. Late in the day, the temperature dropped precipitously, back into the 40s, and around 8:00 or so we had a light rain shower. It was cloudy for most of the day, with a ray of sunshine here and there, and for a while it was quite calm, although the wind is picking up now from the southwest.

 

So that was my day, and I have finally solved the porch furniture problem. The only thing now is that I will have to find the time to make the covers. Oh, yes, and in order to cut every thing out, I will have to clear everything off the desk...ooohhhh!! However, it will be a week or so before the fabric comes, so I have time to worry about all that. It really is time to do something about the desk anyway.

 

And now it is a dark, moist night in the field, and it's bedtime again. This time, I don't think there is anything to distract me.

 

May 15

Before I went to bed, I turned the heel on the sock and started the gusset, so it was 11:30 before I got to bed. I didn't sleep well. It was warm in the bedroom and I kept waking up all hot and sweaty. I got up around 9:00, I think, and I knitted some more this morning.

 

I actually did several things today, none of them having to do with beads. I washed three loads of clothes, and the last two loads are in the dryer now. Tomorrow I will finish up the odds and ends. I collected all the working bird feeders, filled the pails, filled the feeders, and put them out. And I opened the shutters on the porch, although I didn't go out there.

 

It was so warm in the bedroom last night that I took the duct tape off the window and opened it. The window with the gap in it is on the east side of the window seat, and since the wind doesn't usually come from that direction, that is the window I normally open early in the spring and late in the fall when I want to cool down the bedroom for the night. I have no clue how that gap got there, but I did notice that the pin that you use to swing the window out when you want to wash it is much longer on that side and seems to be pushing the weather stripping out (isn't that one word? Microsoft doesn't seem to think so). So I called the glass company and someone should be out sometime next week to fix it.

 

I saw one bird at one of the feeders - a chipping sparrow. That's good. If it comes, other birds will come, too, although I expect it will take a while, since I'm sure they have given up on me. I am anxious to see the birds, but they need time to get used to things. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to fix the broken feeders and get them out. One is the mesh feeder, which I like to fill with sunflower seed, and the other is the big cedar house-shaped one.

 

One of the catalogs has a neat thing you put over a deck post and attach a feeder to, and that might be fun to have, too. Now, so long as I don't have critters...I don't mind the little guys, the squirrels and the chipmunks, but please, no coons and no bears!

 

It was a nice day, even though it was cloudy. The temperature was around 53 for most of the afternoon, then around 6:00 it rose to 61 and has just dropped back a couple of degrees now that it is getting dark. I have one east window in the office open, because it was hot in here, too, and the breeze feels good. There actually wasn't much wind at all, and it was calm for a good part of the day. When I went out on the deck to do the shutters, the wind was from the other direction, and it must have been over 70 out there.

 

Jasmine was delighted with the open windows, and she spent quite a while watching the parade pass by outside. I never have been able to figure out what they see, but it sure does interest them.

 

So that was my day, and it's time to totter up to the north end again. It's a quiet, cloudy night in the field again.

 

May 14

The late sunsets are beginning to skew my bedtimes again. It's really hard to think about going to bed when the sun has just set and it isn't even very dark out. So it was around 11:30 when I went last night. It was a dark and windy night, but that was good for sleeping, and I think I got up around 8:30. 

 

It was a cloudy and windy morning, too, but it began to try to clear up by 11:00, but it was 1:00 or so before the last of the clouds finally went away, and it was a lovely, sunny afternoon. I spent it with the handicraft ladies, and we had lots of fun. I took the Angel of Love, and it got the required response, but there were other things to see, too, and Red Twarzik came to sign up people to man the community center, so I had to tell them I am looking for a paying job. But we had a good time. They are all fun people to be with and we had a lot of laughs.

 

I was sitting looking toward Carolyn's bird feeders, and I noticed that the goldfinches are back, so the designated task for tomorrow is to try to get the feeders repaired and hung out. I do miss seeing the birds! So I must remedy that.

 

By the time I got home, the wind was dying back, and the temperature, which was down around 40 for most of the morning, finally got up to 55 around 7:00. It is dropping back a bit now, and the sky, which was lovely and clear for most of the afternoon, now has a few clouds in it. I had hoped to be able to go out and search for Mercury again tonight, but that doesn't look like it will be possible, since the clouds are in the west. Someday before I die, I do want to see Mercury when I know for certain that's what it is.

 

When I got home, I worked on the second bracelet, which I got about half done last night, and I finished it. Then I realized that if I use the flash, I don't need to have good daylight, so I took pictures. Here it is. I kind of like it. Since I have the right beads out, I've decided to make another rope bracelet (this one). The only one I really like is the one with the silver and copper rope. The others don't have enough contrast. 

 

Then I can go on to try some other things. I am thinking about light turquoise with a silver rope and copper post, and I made another pattern that is over an inch wide that I would like to try in garnet and gold. I am still trying to find the right pattern for those gorgeous garnet beads that are too dark for lots of things. We'll see.

 

I am still trying to connect with Peggy to give her the finished stuff, but the longer it takes, the more I'll have to give her. She is getting ready for the summer season, too, and I know she is busy.

 

I should mention that the days are just over 15 hours long now, and the sun is 61 up in the sky at noon. So summer isn't too far away, with those long, lovely evenings that never seem to end. It has been so cold this spring that everyone was complaining about it. 

 

I was just looking back over past years, because I remember at least one or two springs that were as late as this one, but unfortunately, in the early years, not only wasn't I reporting every day, I wasn't reporting the weather in detail...and situations like this one are the reason I started being more careful about both. I remember at least one year when the leaves didn't begin to come out until after the first of June...and if it keeps up, that could happen again this year. At least I didn't miss the first flowering because I was in Detroit, like I did last year.

 

It certainly would be nice to be able to open up the house. It was tempting to do that this evening, because it got very warm in here again. I am going to have to get my broken screens down to the glass company. I keep thinking about more stuff I should be doing...

 

So that was my day. I looked out the south windows , and high in the sky is the slightly-more-than quarter moon floating up there.  But now that cloud bank is coming over, and I don't know how many stars we will see tonight.

 

Anyway, it's a quiet night in the field and it's time to totter up to the north end.

 

May 13

I finished the bracelet, but it was too dark to take pictures today. And I got into bed before midnight, which was good. I didn't sleep all that well; I was warm and I kept waking up all hot. I had turned half on my back with one leg bent, about the time to get up, and Buster came and laid down right in between my legs, which was a sure way to get me out of bed. Not very comfortable.

 

The morning was taken up with a nice massage, which ended up with another possible job. So I guess I will have something to do to earn money. I may very well end up working for two or three people, which would be OK, so long as I can keep track of where I'm supposed to be, and so long as I have a day off now and then.

 

It was chilly and damp when I went out, since it was only 45, but by the time I got home, the temperature was on its way up, and it topped out at 60.  I didn't go out and experience it, because it was drizzling off and on by then, and it was windy out - there was a 15-30 mph wind out of the south. It is starting to cool down again now, and the wind has dropped to almost nothing and switched around to the north. There are rain showers south and east of us, and I don't know if we will get anything tonight or not. It was a dreary, cloudy day for most of the day, although the sun did almost peek through at least once.

 

The nice thing about the cool weather is that it has forestalled the bugs, although they're coming. I brought one into Johanna's house with me, and it flew into my ear...yuck. This is the first bug season I will have short hair, and I may end up wearing a babushka...or gallons of Off! I do not like bugs in my ears!

 

This afternoon, I finally got the kitty litter out of the car, and then I started a second bracelet, which will be shorter than the first one. I had enough trouble with the first repeat that I actually shredded the thread and had to rip back, end off, and start a new thread. Maybe someday I'll learn...However, I did complete two repeats.

 

I also cooked, for a change, and made my pork chops with onions and mushroom soup. I didn't feel like tomatoey things, so this was the alternative, and it tasted good. Buster thought so, too. I was reluctant to give him any because of his touchy stomach, but evidently pork is OK, it's just beef he can't eat. Or I hope so.

 

So another quiet day, and I think I will leave off the beads and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. It's a cloudy, drippy night in the field, and a nice bath and a nice bed sound good to me.

 

May 12

Instead of going to bed, I turned around and continued working on the new bracelet, and since then I decided I'd better bathe after all, it was 2:00 before I dropped into bed, and I didn't wake up for the first time until 7:30 or something. I did go back to sleep, and apparently went back again after I turned over and threw off the covers, so it was nearly 10:00 when I got up.

 

The morning wake-up ritual is to pet a cat and do a little knitting, and I did that before I got dressed.

 

After my morning surfing, I got back at the bracelet, and while I worked on it most of the afternoon, it isn't done yet. So I am writing this first, and we'll see if I can pretty much get it done. I'm nearly at the end. It's going to be a little longer than normal, because of the pattern, so maybe I will just wear it myself...advertising, you know. This pattern has a few gotchas in it, and every so often I lose my concentration and have to rip. I hoped I would be over that by the end, but no such luck. I do like it, so I guess I will be making more. I have two related patterns I want to do, too, so onward and upward.

 

I did get up every so often, and of course, when I am beading, I am facing the front windows, so I look up frequently, so it doesn't bother my eyes very much.

 

It was a rather nondescript day, with a little sunshine in the morning and increasing clouds as the day wore on. I guess we are in for some more rain. The temperature hung at about 40 all day, and there was almost no wind.

 

I am intending to open up the shutters on the porch one of these days, but since I decided it was time, it's been too cold to bother. I am tired of how dark the hallway is, and even though the door from my bedroom makes a pretty good mirror, I would rather be able to see out.

 

I forgot to mention that one time when I went to the powder room yesterday, I saw something moving back behind the drain field, and by staring at it as it moved, I determined that it was a deer. I wonder if maybe it is the same deer that has hung around here in the past. Several days ago, it went bounding across the backyard with a dog after it, but of course it is faster and cannier than a dog. It is a large animal, and it may be a male with no antlers. I hope I see more of it.

 

For dinner I had the rest of my fish from yesterday, and Buster got a taste, too. We both like plank-style whitefish, even warmed up...or I think he ate it. He was sitting and more or less ignoring it, and I turned my back, and when I looked again, it was gone, and both cats were running out of the room. It wouldn't surprise me if Jasmine came up, stuck her nose under Buster's and scarfed down the fish.

 

So that was my quiet day, and after I post this, I am going to try to finish the bracelet. It has taken too long to do.

 

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

 

May 11

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. I have been thinking about mine and remembering her.

 

I was tired last night, but it was nearly 11:00 when I got to bed, and I rolled out around 9:30, I think. It was a cloudy night, so there weren't any stars.

 

After I did my morning surfing - and two round jigsaw puzzles! - I got at the necklace again and with difficulty I got the flower attached. I don't remember having such problems with the first one, but it was quite a while ago that I made it. I wish I could do another one, but while I do have enough beads, the two strands don't match at all, and they wouldn't look very good, so I guess I will just wait until I can get some more beads. I have some smaller ones, and I may try fiddling with them. Hmm.

 

Anyway, after I finished the necklace, I spent some time working on a few new designs for bracelets, then I tried to organize the desk (a nearly hopeless task, I'm afraid). I got out the seed beads I want to work with, and I discovered that two spools of bead thread have gone missing. I know I saw them a few days ago, but where they are now is a mystery. Oh, well, I'll just use something else.

 

I had made a reservation for 4:00 at Harbor Haus, and I was ever so glad I had my handicap tag, because it looked like the Fourth of July around there. That was one of the most elegant dinners I have enjoyed in a long time. It was five courses, and several of the courses came on some of the neatest plates I have ever seen. Dessert was on a dish shaped like a crescent moon. Everything was arranged just so, and it was as beautiful as it was tasty. I ended up having the first fish, because they were already out of my first choice, but I will take plank-style whitefish any time I can get it. I had to bring over half of it home, because I had already eaten an appetizer, soup and salad, and my capacity isn't what it used to be. I did save room for dessert, though - chocolate mousse in a filo dough cup with slices of kiwi. Yum. Yum-yum!

 

This is a special, reservation-only event, with a fairly large price, but the proceeds go to charity...their choices are Relay for Life, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, or the Humane Society. I had a terrible time deciding which to designate, since all are things I support. I think it is very generous of them. However, since the menu is limited, it gives Ron a chance to really go hog-wild and play in his kitchen in a way he can't during the season, and he certainly did. It was wonderful. I hope I can go again next year.

 

I was home about 5:30, so I got out the beads and began on one of the designs I charted earlier. Strangely enough, I had no trouble starting the peyote stitch, which used to be my problem. However, about 6 rows in, I had to tear out one row about five times before I got it right, and I ended up ripping out another 10 rows later, because I made a mistake on the row before I ended a thread, so I had to cut and rip. Grr. Before I'm through with this bracelet, I will have the pattern down, but it has a long repeat, and it takes a while to get the hang of it. I think it will be pretty. It looks like a copper rope wound around a silver stick on a dark blue background. The first repeat is done, and it was on starting the second repeat that I got messed up. I will take a picture when it's done.

 

One of the reasons I lost track of the pattern was that I was talking to Debbie. I thought she might have the results of her tests, which she didn't, and I wanted to tell her something about my problems. So we had a nice two-hour conversation, which was only cut off because her sons were getting rambunctious.

 

The weather was hardly worth talking about. It was dark and cloudy all day, with occasional drizzle that wet the deck at one point. The temperature hung in right around 38 and there was a 15 mph wind out of the north. It wasn't very nice outside. 

 

So that was my quiet day and I'm off to the north end. I think I will forego the bath tonight and jump into bed real fast. It's a quiet night in the field tonight, but it may clear up.

 

May 10

I spent too much time staring at the floor last night, and it was after 1:00 when I turned out the light. Bad me. I think I will go to bed earlier tonight. I got up around 9:15 anyway, because every time I woke up my mind started going around in circles, and I had to force myself to think about beading bracelets in order to go to sleep.

 

There was a long pet and I knitted some before I went down to the office. Buster peed in the basin while I was there sometime during the night, so I guess I have to go down to the basement and see what's bothering him now...and cover the basin at night. He has his ways of getting my attention, but he's not so good at letting me know exactly what his problem is.

 

It was a rather frustrating day, but I did manage to get done what I wanted to do, and I also seem to have gotten the office straightened up somewhat. One thing leads to another, you know.

 

I wanted to get all the jewelry tagged and ready to take to Peggy, so in order to do that, I had to find my hole punches, which were under the sewing machine, and in order to get to them I had to move a lot of stuff that was on the floor. Then, when I looked at the tags I had printed a year or more ago, I discovered that the small ones were blue, not green, and the green pearl cotton just didn't match. So I went on a fruitless search for some green paper. I don't know what has become of the paper I printed the original tags on, but the newer package I got has a very dark olive green, rather than a pale blue-green. I probably do have pearl cotton that color, but it's down in the basement. Also, I discovered that I had been using the finer weight of ecru for ties, and I like the heavier weight better, so I had to hunt that up. 

 

So I punched holes in tags and tied strings to them and tied tags to jewelry, and I came up two tags short. Grr. I made some new tags - print, haul out the guillotine paper cutter to cut them out, punch holes, tie ties, and tie to jewelry. Whew! All the labor involved in making jewelry isn't in making the jewelry. While I was doing that, I also printed up some more of my non-business cards, which I was running out of. While I was in Detroit, several people were interested in the camera, so I gave them my card. Hey, the more hits I get the better, right? Especially if I decide to try to sell my jewelry online.

 

Anyway, eventually, I got all that done. While I was doing things like searching for paper, I emptied out two more blue file boxes, leaving only one with stuff in it. I just didn't feel like putting all that stuff in the rolling organizer I bought for it...if it will all go. My, but I have a lot of stuff that is just stuff! Anyway, I made a little better order on the other side of the desk.

 

I also wonder why it is that when you are in the middle of some organizing task, and you are completely hemmed in by all the stuff you are moving around, you really, really have to go to the bathroom? I can't tell you how many times I have had to stop everything, move a bunch of stuff, and totter off to the powder room. It never fails.

 

I want to make one more rose quartz necklace, so after everything else was done, I decided to start that. It all went fine until I was trying to tie off the second end. For one thing, I cut the cord too short, and it frays badly, but it is no trivial task to tie a knot close to the inside of the bead tip and get the beads all snugged up so they don't move. I had a horrible time, but I finally got it done, but then when I tried to put the ring on the bead tip, it broke...leaving me with a nice knot, no cord left, and no way to get a new bead tip on. Gack! So I had to restring the whole thing, and tie the knots all over again. I left a longer end this time, and it was a little easier, but not much. After I put the clasp on, I decided to quit for the day, do this, and go to bed. I can add the flower pendant tomorrow.

 

It was a rather nice day. It was sunny this morning, although pretty soon a high haze of cirrus clouds came over, which got thicker and thicker as the day went on. The temperature got up to 52, our average high for this time of year, around noon, then it dropped back into the middle 40s. There was almost no wind at all, and it was nice out.

 

I decided to take pictures of the wire-wrapped necklaces, just for posterity, and that turned into a hassle, too. First, I had left the camera in the car on Thursday. Then when I tried to use my special setup for close-up pictures, it got hung with an exposure time of 8 seconds, and wouldn't budge, so I took a number of photos that were solid white. I fiddled around with the menu for a while, but I need to get out the manual and I think I will have to reset the entire thing and start over. I did finally get some pictures, although I had to take the ones of the pastel necklace twice, since the first ones came out totally out-of-focus. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Anyway, I did finally get a few good pictures of both necklaces, and here they are. I think they are rather pretty, and that is likely to be all there are, since the beads seem to be discontinued again. They come and go, and sometimes I am not in a position to get any more when they are available.

 

While I was rummaging around the office, I looked down, and there was the bead I dropped last night, as well as the jumpring that was attached to it. The wire wrapping was rather squished, but it is soft wire and I managed to get it straightened out all right. I really think it had gotten swallowed by one of the casters on my desk chair, and it didn't get spit out onto the floor until I rolled around a lot. I found it right in the middle of the floor, where I had swept at least four times, so I know it wasn't there earlier. See what I mean about a black hole?

 

Anyway, that bead enabled me to make the jewel tone bracelet long enough for almost anybody but me to wear it, so that was nice.

 

I did get out - twice. I went to the post office, and I have a possible line on a job for the summer, at the bookstore. Wouldn't that be nice? The only thing is, I'd have to control myself or I'd spend everything I earned. We'll see what happens, but it made me hopeful.

 

Then I went to dinner. I really wanted to go, because there was a sign in front of Mariner when I came back from the post office that said "fresh lake perch". Yum! And it was yummy. It was deep fried, but the batter they make is so puffy and crisp it was easy to remove most of it, and this was fresh, unfrozen, right out of the lake, perch. It was terrific. 

 

When I went in, though, I was wondering if I would get dinner, because right across the dining area was a group of 20 people who hadn't been served yet. Apparently they just appeared out of nowhere and expected to be accommodated. So while Danny was taking their order, Bryan took mine and another table's and rushed into the kitchen ahead of the big order. And there were a number of other people there, too.

 

Sometimes I wonder about people. If they knew they were coming, the least they might have done was call ahead and warn the staff. A group of 20 isn't the easiest thing to serve, especially when things are slow and the restaurant expects two waiters and one cook (Peggy) should be able to handle things. Oh, well. At least I had a lovely mess of perch.

 

It was after I got back from dinner that I had the problem with the necklace, so I think I will call it a day and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. There are times when everything I get into goes a bit awry, and that is a good signal that it's time to stop.

 

It's a calm, cloudy night in the field, and bed sounds good to me.

 

May 9

I seem to be spending a lot of time staring at the floor lately, wondering about my finances. So it was a bit after midnight when I went to bed. It hasn't been keeping me awake, I'm glad to say. I only get clutched up when I'm awake.

 

I got up around 9:30, and I don't seem to be any worse for my exertions of yesterday. I petted a cat and knitted for quite a while. The new sock is too yellow, but it will be OK. I realized it is actually cyan, yellow and magenta, like the inks. But the yellow is the background color, with cyan and magenta blotches in it. Not my favorite, but oh, well.

 

I decided it was time to do something about pricing the jewelry I have on hand. I have a program to help do that, but the trouble with it is, I have to input every component that goes into a piece. If I was really with it, I would have input everything I got when I ordered from the bead catalogs, but of course, I didn't, so I had to go back today and add all the things that went into the pieces. I didn't do all the seed beads, because I have pretty much decided on the price I will charge for the bracelets, but the necklaces all were made from stuff that wasn't in the data. Some of it was hard, because I have been using old beads that were culled from mixtures I got by the kilo, but I decided on a price per bead, which may be too high. I don't think any of the prices are out of line, though. The highest prices are for the rose quartz and the spikey seed bead necklaces. The seed beads aren't very expensive, although I used a lot of them, but there are Swarovski crystals on the ends of the spikes. I like that necklace.

 

Anyhow, I got it done, pretty much. Now all I have to do is put tags on everything and hunt up the nice little organza bags I got last year, and then I can go talk to Peggy.

 

Maybe about a job.

 

I decided to eat in tonight, because Harbor Haus is having a special dinner on Sunday for charity, and at the last minute I decided to go. Two meals out a week is about all I can have.

 

So I got at the jewel tone wire wrapped beads, and it turns out that I am going to get two necklaces and maybe a bracelet out of them, because my jumprings are rather large. Smaller ones might have been better, but I am trying hard to use only the things I have on hand this year. So some ideas won't get tried, and some things won't look exactly the way I thought. Oh, well. I got one necklace done. The bracelet is a bit small, and I haven't decided what to do about that, whether to steal a couple of beads from the necklaces for it or just abandon it. And right now, there is a green bead on the floor that I can't find. I found all the other ones I dropped, as well as a number of other things, but the last one dropped into the black hole. I will look for it tomorrow when it's brighter in here.

 

It was a nice day today, cold but mostly sunny. The temperature was between 40 and 45 all day, and for a while there was a 20 mph wind out of the north, although it died down as the day progressed.

 

After sunset, I went out onto the deck to try to see Mercury again, but I couldn't see any stars at all. There was a nice crescent moon high up in the sky, and that was pretty, but no stars. The harbor water was swishing against itself softly. That is a lovely sound that makes me wish I could have the windows open, but not yet.

 

When I was wintering in Detroit, this was always the day I arrived here. And several years, it was just as cold as it is now. The good thing about the cold weather is that the bugs will hold off for a while, and maybe they won't be too bad. We can hope.

 

So I came in and worked on the necklace. And now I will toddle up to the north end and put myself to bed. It's a clear, quiet night in the field tonight.

 

May 8

Last night I fiddled around with beads for a long time, then I stared at the floor in the bathroom for a long time, so it was 1:00 by the time I got to bed. I got up around 9:00, I think, but between breakfast and my morning surfing, it was still around noon when I left the house.

 

It was a lovely, sunny day, although there were clouds in the sky, more so down toward Houghton. I can report that while there is still snow in the woods, it's a lot less than it was a week ago. Most of Lake Medora is ice-free, although there is still some ice around the shore. There wasn't anything to take pictures of yet. 

 

So I did my thing at Wal-Mart, and it was nice to be able to park in a handicap parking space, I must say. Among the things I got there were some lactobacillus tablets, which my doctor suggested might help with my elimination problem. We'll see...I took one when I got home, but they say it may take a little while for it to begin to work. Let's hope. I am really tired of that.

 

Then it was off to Econo, where I was remarkably restrained, I must say. I did get some good things to eat, including some nice pork chops for dinner next week, and some beef short ribs, which I put in the freezer for another day. I think I got everything I needed, and I came away for under $300, the first time in a long while that I've done that. The larder is pretty full, so I mostly had to get meat and OJ...and JD and TP, of course. And lots more yogurt.

 

I was delighted that they had both of my favorite pasta salads, including one I haven't been able to get since last summer. I hope they will continue to carry it, because I really like it.

 

I stopped at the gas pumps. The lowest price was the Econo pumps - $3.80 - but there was only about 6 difference between the high and low prices. That's still outrageous. My strategy, since the price has been so high, is to top off my tank at current prices, since the next time I need gas it will probably be higher. And I'm not planning to drive very much.

 

There was very little traffic either coming or going, and I got home about 4:30, although it was after 8:00 when I unloaded the car. There were some interesting things to listen to on the radio, so I sat and listened, with a cat asleep on my lap. Buster hates it when I leave at all.

 

It was a partly cloudy day all over the Keweenaw. The temperature here was about 41 all day, but there wasn't any wind at all, and at was nice out. It got up to just over 50 in Houghton, and there was a wind there, but still, it was a nice day. 

 

It never ceases to amaze me how one acclimates to the local weather. People from more southerly places would have thought it was downright chilly today, but after our cold winter, 50s seem almost warm. Now I know why I saw people in Houghton tanks and capris...although that is a going a bit overboard, I think. It was just sweater weather, though, and I am glad for all my sweatshirt sweaters. I have an unlined jacket that is water resistant and nearly windproof, and that is perfect for now, although I did take it off before I went into Econo.

 

Oh, yes, and as I was getting ready to leave Wal-Mart, I saw another abuse of a handicap tag. A young woman in a small car pulled up facing me, right next to the road in front of the building, and into a place with white stripes on it, which I take to mean no parking. She whipped out her handicap tag and went running into the store...there was clearly nothing wrong with her at all. You don't see that much around these parts. Most people with handicap tags or license plates need them. But every so often somebody like that will remind me why it was so long before I got mine.

 

I am becoming rather reluctant to apply for a handicap license plate. Too many people I've run across with those drive like their handicap is in their heads, and I would hate to be lumped with that sort. Sometimes I drive around in circles or do other funny things, but usually I think I drive quite all right. A little fast, but all right.

 

When I stopped at the head of Woodland Road to get my newspapers, I noticed that some of the little serviceberry bushes have swelling flower buds, and the birches have catkins, along with the maple flowers. So spring is really coming, and one of these days it will burst into bloom and everything will turn green. It is remarkable how far into the woods you can see now, with the snow gone and the underbrush not growing. It makes the covered road look altogether different.

 

It was nice to turn into my driveway and not run into birch twigs. I haven't been out since I did my pruning, and I think I did a pretty good job. However, we'll see when the leaves are out.

 

So now I have completed that chore for another month or so and I won't have to go much beyond the post office.

 

It's a partly cloudy night in the field, and it's time for bed.

 

May 7

Another night, another magazine. Sigh. I think I'm done with the reading for the time being, though, until another new batch of stuff comes in. So tonight, I worked on jewelry.

 

I had thoughts of going to town today, since I'm running out of OJ, but I got up late and finished the ribbing on the new sock, then I did my morning surfing and got caught up in downloading some stuff...and by that time it was 1:00 and to late to get done what I need to do. So I stayed home.

 

I spent some time doing some research on the web, then I loaded up another one of my organizers with the bigger beads, thread and things like that. In the course of doing that, I ran across some packages of wire-wrapped beads I had gotten a couple of years ago and never did anything with, so I decided that would be a good way to get into the jewelry thing. There are two sizes and two bunches of colors - rather large beads in summer colors, and rather small beads in jewel tones. I started with the summer colors, and I got two necklaces made. It took me a while to remember the hang of opening and closing jump rings, and I was pretty clumsy about it, but they are done. Unfortunately, I was shorted a few beads, especially pink ones, but I think I made things come out OK. I should have had 100 beads, but I Only had 95, so one necklace has 47 beads and one has 48, but it will be hard to tell the difference.

 

Then I laid out the little beads. I got all my beads in the jewel tones, but the beads are so small that I will only get one necklace and a bracelet out of them. I will work on those when I get home tomorrow.

 

And then maybe I can go on to some seed bead things. I am thinking about trying to get a bunch of the bracelets made, especially the snowflake bracelet, which everybody seems to like. We'll see what happens. I made one new pattern I'm going to try, and there were a couple other designs I only made one of. That will keep me occupied, maybe. I like to work peyote stitch, but after a while too much of it gets boring. There are also a couple of ropy bracelets I only made one of that I want to do again. I don't know if anybody else likes them, but I do.

 

It would have been a good day to go to town. When I woke up, it was raining and foggy. Apparently it rained most of the night, and it didn't stop until after noon. Then it began to clear up. The rain caused some interesting effects. The temperature hit its low between 9:00 am and 11:00 am, at 37, then it warmed up to 46 when the sun came out and the wind shifted around to the north and died down. It was a nice afternoon, although there were a few clouds in the west at sunset.

 

I actually went out on the porch after sunset, in the vain hope that I might see Mercury, but no such luck. There was a pretty little crescent moon high in the northwest, though, and I could hear the lake shushing softly, although it was quite calm in the harbor. It was nice out, and it felt warm and stuffy in here when I came in.

 

It is warm in here, from the sun this afternoon, but I refuse to complain about free heat. Anytime the boiler doesn't run all day is a good day for me.

 

It's late now, and it is high time I tottered up to the north end and got myself to bed. I think it's a clear night in the field.

 

May 6

There were another two magazines last night, so it was after 12:30 when I got to bed. I don't know if there were any stars - I suppose there were - because the first time I woke up was 5:30, and it was getting light by then. I went back to sleep, and woke up again around 9:00. I didn't want to get up, but I had to walk, and besides, Buster was making a fuss, so I got up.

 

I cast on the new sock last night and I have done a little over half the ribbing. It isn't my favorite, because it has a lot of yellow in it, but it is yellow, bright pink, and bright blue blotches. It will be a good spring and fall sock. The yarn is half cotton, half wool, and while I didn't like it when I first wore the pair I made some years ago, as I've worn them, I've gotten so I rather like them. 

 

Today was a beautiful day until late in the afternoon. It was about 37 overnight, but the sky was clear and the temperature quickly got up to about 55, where it stayed until it clouded up and started to rain, around 6:00. It was just a light shower, but I guess more is on the way. It was breezy for a while, but the wind has dropped again. It was from the west all day.

 

I didn't do a lot, but I did do something different. When I went to the post office, I took a pair of garden clippers with me, and on the way back, I stopped the car at the end of the driveway and finally, after two years, I cut back the birch twigs that were growing over the driveway and scraping the car every time I came or went. It isn't fun to drive in with the window open and get a face full of birch leaves! This was another birch that died out, and one of the big trunks had broken off and was sticking out into the driveway a bit, so with some effort, I disentangled it and put it out of the way. I think it will be nicer to come and go in the driveway now, and I tried to clip back the new shoots so that they will grow away from the driveway. I suppose I will have to prune some more when the leaves come out, but for now, I've solved my problem.

 

I also noticed that the flowers on the red maples are beginning to come out, so spring is on its way! One of the things I was sorry to leave at Champine was the maple my mother planted between the sidewalk and curb. It was a beautiful tree in all seasons, until the city came by and butchered it last summer, but it is still pretty. In the spring, its flowers are red, in the summer it is green, and then it gets red again in the fall. I have a few spindly maples on my property, and I hope they will grow and prosper.

 

Anyway, pretty soon we should see the catkins on the birches and the willow catkins, and then the spring flowering will begin. I love this time of year!

 

Other than unloading the dishwasher (amazing - the day after I washed dishes!), I didn't do much else. Sigh. There are so many things I could do that I end up not doing anything.

 

So it is a dampish, warmish night in the field, and I'm off to the north end again.

 

May 5

Last night, it was two magazines, so it was 12:30 before I turned out the light. I didn't stay awake long enough to see if there were any stars, and it was 5:15 or so before I woke up for the first time, and by that time it was beginning to get light. I was awake about 8:30, and that just didn't feel like enough sleep, so it was 10:30 when I got up. 

 

By that time, the morning clouds had gone away and it was a beautiful sunny day, with beautiful blue water. It was about 36 all night, and it has finally gotten up to 47. There was quite a wind all day, from the north. It peaked at 24 mph around 2:00, and now that it is nearly sunset, it has dropped off to almost nothing, but there were a few whitecaps on the harbor. It was nearly clear all day long, and the night is supposed to be clear, too. Stars, maybe?

 

I didn't do a lot again. I got the dishwasher nearly loaded, to run tonight. I went through all my beading doodles and copied all the bracelet patterns I have already made to one page, with notes, and I think I have finally gotten almost all the seed beads together in my rolling organizer. They are just thrown into the drawers, but I think they are sorted by color, which will help. There is a problem with those organizers. The drawer flanges are just a little smaller than they should be, so the drawers don't fit snugly into the rails, and especially when they are full, they tend to come off the rails. But oh, well. It will still be a better system than I had before.

 

I have been thinking about beading again. I don't know if I can do enough to actually supplement my income, but any little bit would help.

 

I also finally finished the Easter egg socks. I am glad to have another pair of summer socks, and I am really glad to get that pair done. They have been lying around for a long time. Now I can go on to something more interesting. I think I screwed up the Kitchener stitch on the toe, but oh, well. It will never be seen anyway.

 

In getting the beads together, I moved a few things around in the office, but it is still a real mess in here.

 

Otherwise, I enjoyed the beautiful day and the lovely evening.

 

Now I think I will toddle up to the north end, after I get the dishwasher ready to start, and begin a new sock and maybe read some more.

 

It's a beautiful evening in the field.

 

May 4

It was another magazine last night, so it was 11:30 or so when I dropped into bed. I woke up around 3:30, and it was stunningly clear out the west windows. I'm not quite sure what I was seeing, but even without my glasses, it I could see the transparency. Oh, for that telescope...

 

Anyway, instead, I went back to sleep. I was awake again about 5:15, and it was getting light already. That's the trouble with late spring and early summer around here - no night. However, there are oodles of daylight hours, so I can't complain too much.

 

It was beautiful when I got up, around 9:30. The sky was clear and the harbor was blue, and there was hardly any wind at all. Before I finished petting a cat and knitting, though, there was a haze of high cirrus clouds over everything. They persisted, and after about 2:00, it began to get more cloudy. It is quite cloudy now - no sunset tonight - but if the Clear Sky Chart is right, that will only last a little past midnight, then it will clear up again. We are nearly at new moon, so it's dark outside, too. Nice. I wonder what I will see tonight?

 

It did seem like there was a very faint glow in the sky to the north, but I'm not completely sure of that. As we get into the new solar cycle, I keep hoping to see more northern lights.

 

While I was petting a cat, the other cat was dancing up and down the hallway and all over the window seat. She is very much affected by the weather, just like I am. Then she settled down on the rug in the bathroom, near enough that I could pet her, but when I reached down, she jumped away. One of these days, Miss Jasmine...

 

Anyway, the Easter egg sock is ready for the toe shaping, finally. I will be glad to get through with those socks. I must have started them originally six or seven years ago, and about the time I began the second sock, I realized that I had done them on the wrong needles. The cotton yarn I am using is a little thick for #1 needles. Probably #1 (which is metric 2.5mm) would be best, but at the time, I didn't have any of those, so I tore out the whole sock and redid it on #2 needles. Then I got busy with other projects, and only recently did I start the second sock. The cotton yarn is wonderful for summer socks, and I'm doing summer socks now. So now I will have another new pair of socks to wear for the summer. That makes three, and that's almost the minimum number.

 

I am going to start another pair in a cotton/wool blend, because they are very handy for now and September and October, and I only have two pair of those, too.

 

Somebody asked me to take some pictures of the new socks, and sometime I will tack them all to a sheet and take a picture. I've made a lot of socks this year.

 

I'm getting really bored with socks, but they are something to do while I sit in the bathroom, and as I keep saying, they are the ideal waiting room project. So I will continue to knit them.

 

I didn't do a lot else today. I finally got all the stuff out of the car, though. There wasn't much, but when it was cold and damp, I was so stiff I didn't want to do anything. I picked up the kitchen and began loading the dishwasher, which will run tomorrow. And that was about it. I wasn't nearly so stiff today. The knees were fine, and the back only got sore after I had been standing for 15 minutes or so.

 

While it was a sunny day for most of the day, and it got quite warm in here, the temperature outside was between 40 and 45 all day and there was almost no wind. For most of the afternoon, it was calm. When I went out to the garage, I opened the door, and it wasn't bad outside.

 

As I was walking into the office this morning, a boat took off from this end of the harbor. I hope the passengers were wearing life vests! That water is cold! Later in the day, I heard a chain saw working for quite a while, working on the debris from the winter, no doubt. We had quite a few trees uprooted in the more forested parts of the area. And late today, there was the wonderful sound of the ATVs coming back from the Mandan Loop Road. Those things are at least as noisy as snowmobiles. I guess I might as well get used to it, though, since this area has so many trails for ATVs.

 

So even though it's early May, and the temperature is still low, the summer activities are starting. Somebody even went out on the road with a U-Haul and later on, I saw it going back. For the sake of my friends, I certainly hope the high gas prices don't keep the tourists away. The nice thing about living where I do is that I can pretty much get away from all that.

 

Now if we can just get rid of the snow...

 

That was my day, and now it's time to toddle up to the north end again, and I will probably read some more. I'm getting through the magazines, but slowly.

 

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

 

May 3

I was a little later going up to the north end, and there was another magazine (I have really been neglecting my reading lately!), so it was 11:30 or so before I got to bed.

 

It was another extraordinarily dark night, what with the fog and the clouds, but the lake was putting up a real fuss, which helped me sleep very nicely. I was up a little earlier than I thought I'd be, and I petted a cat and knitted for quite a while. I only have about 15 rows to go before the toe shaping on the Easter Egg sock.

 

It was a nasty, foggy and rainy morning, and in fact, it was a nasty, rainy day almost all day. The temperature was about 40 overnight and then it dropped to near 35, where it stayed all day. Early in the afternoon, there were some snowflakes, but nothing like any accumulation. Finally, about the time I went to dinner, I could see some clearing off in the west, and it has now cleared up quite nicely. It was windy all day, too, in the 15-25 mph range, from the north. The lake has been fussing, and in fact, there have been breakers on my beach all day. I don't think the waves were particularly high, but they were noisy.

 

I didn't do much except read. I packed up the things that needed to be sent off and took them to the post office, and I was glad I did, because I got quite a bit of mail, most of it junk, of course. I also converted the April journal to Word, and found a lot of nasty typos, so I read through the first two days of May and found a lot of typos there, too. I will have to be more careful about my editing. I hate typos, especially in my own work.

 

Buster wanted to sit on my lap all day again, but I was busy, so he finally took up position on the task chair, and late in the afternoon, Jasmine tried to join him. They are little cats, and the seat is rather large, but it was a tight fit, and finally Buster went away in disgust. They are funny little cats.

 

There were a lot of big parties in Mariner tonight, and the guys were running, but I had a good dinner and brought enough home for tomorrow. I think perhaps most of the people were birders, but I'm not sure. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be slogging through the woods today! It was nasty out there.

 

Oh, yes, and on the way home, my car compass suddenly appeared to start working again. Most weird. I'm afraid I may have jostled a wire while trying to figure out how to attach the handicap tag to the rear view mirror. I will have to keep checking it, and when I take the car in for its oil change, I will have them check it, too. I do use that compass more than I might have thought.

 

So now it is time to totter up to the north end and read a bit more before I jump into bed. Maybe I will see a few stars tonight? The wind has dropped, and the sky has cleared, and it looks to be a nice, if cold, night in the field.

 

May 2

I went up to the north end at 7:30, but I read a magazine, so it was 10:00 when I turned out the light. It was so good to get into my own lovely shower and settle down in my own lovely bed.

 

I slept like the dead, too. I was up a couple of times, mostly to turn over, and between 6:30 and 8:30, when I got up, I had a cat curled up beside my head. He tried real hard not to whap me with his tail. I got up because I was starting to dream about food, which is a good sign it's time to do something about it.

 

However, I petted a cat and I knitted on the Easter egg sock for a while before I got dressed and fed us. I had the rest of yesterday's breakfast, and it was just as good the second time. 

 

Except to go to the post office, where there wasn't much mail and I threw most of it away, I didn't do much. Updated the check register and paid a couple of bills online, and that was about it. There's not much left in the car, and it can hold until tomorrow.

 

It was a truly yucky day, and one reason I didn't do anything was that I was pretty creaky. It was cloudy and about 45 overnight, and in the morning, with some wind, and then it dropped off to around 40. It started to rain around 1:00, and we've had about a quarter inch. It was raining hard when I went to dinner, and it's not nice outside. Now it is rainy and foggy. The rain was coming in from the southeast, so the front windows are clear, at least.

 

It was jumping in Mariner tonight, because the birders are in town for tomorrow. I wish I could join them, because there are some interesting presentations, but I am getting very leery about people who have an overriding passion for one thing. After I read Roger Tory Peterson's book, I said to myself "I want to give people like that a wide berth!" They make me nervous.

 

And that goes for people who are too passionate about almost any hobby, including knitters, stitchers and beaders. I am very suspicious of people who spend all their time on one particular thing. But maybe that's because there are nearly a dozen things that interest me. And it's probably why I will never get to be a super-expert at any of them.

 

Actually, I am extremely suspicious about people who are too passionate - period. No matter what their passion, they seem to go overboard and way out in left field. I am much more comfortable with people who have a balanced outlook, and people who are interested in more than one thing.

 

I don't seem to be expressing myself very well tonight, but I suppose that is because I am still tired.

 

I had a very happy cat on my lap for most of the afternoon, and he is there again now, getting in my way as I type. But he just doesn't want to leave me alone. At one point, he was looking at me like "Why aren't you petting me?", and I said to him, "No purr, no pet." So he started purring again. Don't tell me he doesn't understand what I say. He may choose to ignore it, or not to believe it, but he understands me. 

 

And this morning, when he was on my lap in the bathroom, Jasmine came in and settled down very comfortably on the rug. She wouldn't let me pet her, but she let me know she is happy I'm back, too.

 

So am I.

 

So I think I will repeat last night and go up to the north end and read another magazine. The camera is set to not shut down until almost 10:00, so I have to leave the office if I want any light.

 

Daylight lasts 14 hours now, and sunset isn't until after 9:00, so in spite of the weather, we are rushing toward summer at nearly 3 minutes a day. 

 

May is always a mixed month. We may get a little snow for the next three days, then it should get drier and a little warmer next week. Pretty soon now I'll be able to open up the house and pull up the shutters on the porch, and that will be nice.

 

But for now, it's a cold, drippy night in the field and I will just ignore it.

 

May 1

Well, I'm home.

 

I was so tired last night that I went to bed at 10:30, and I did sleep pretty well. I was up a couple of times, and when I got up at 7:30, I decided to stay.

 

I had left the computer on last night, in the hope that the wireless would stay up, but it was gone when I looked at the computer. Eventually, I discovered that coverage was very spotty in my room, and if I put the computer where my head should have been on the bed, it was fine, so I did my morning surfing. That took a while.

 

When I checked out and talked to the desk person, she admitted that they were having trouble with the new system that was installed yesterday, so it really wasn't all me. Maybe next time...

 

I left Grayling at 9:45, which was a bit later than I'd hoped, but oh, well. It didn't matter. Traffic was close to nonexistent until I got to the bridge. Then I had to wait at the south end, while I watched a large end loader lift one wheel clear of the ground and almost tip itself over...fortunately, it didn't. Then at the north end, they had only one toll booth open, although when the line going north got backed up onto the bridge itself, one nice lady opened another one, so I didn't have to wait all that long.

 

Traffic was light to nonexistent in the eastern upper, too. I got to Newberry at 12:30, and I pulled into the garage at 5:00. I am glad that's over!

 

I have to say that spring is coming in leaps and bounds in the northern lower and the eastern upper. Even on M-28, the tamaracks are turning yellow, and the aspens and birches are beginning to green up. The maples are turning red. 

 

However spring isn't all here yet in the Keweenaw. While there is less snow than there was when I left, things are not beginning to green yet, and there is still a lot of snow in the woods, as well as horrid gray and black piles in spots along the road.

 

I went through Marquette at a good time, and while there were a few slow drivers along the way, I didn't have much problem.

 

There was a problem at the Indian reservation. I stopped and went to the bathroom first, but there were so many cars lined up waiting for gas that I almost got into an altercation with a big white truck - bigger than I am. Fortunately one guy noticed what was going on and pointed out another pump I could go to. I guess I got there just as the shift change at the paper plant in L'Anse let out, and nobody in his right mind would get gas anywhere else if he could help it. It was $3.55, a good 10 cheaper than anywhere else.

 

I did overfill my tank, unfortunately, but not by a lot.

 

There wasn't much traffic the rest of the way home, and nobody on the covered road. Boy, is it dead around here!

 

I guess Buster was asleep when I opened the garage door, but when I started unlocking the back door, I he came running around the corner from the bedroom. He is one happy cat, and I had to kick him off my lap to write this.

 

The weather was fairly cloudy, although I did wear my sunglasses the whole way, and it was mostly about 50, with an east wind that I could feel in the car. It was 45 all day long here.

 

Well, it sure is good to be home. It smells good, and the water tastes good, and it will be good to bathe in my own shower and sleep in my own bed. The bed last night was mushy enough that I had pains in strange places in my back and neck all day.

 

I had the rest of my Pasta Orleans for dinner, and Buster licked the sauce off the dish. Yum. And I brought half my breakfast with me, too, so I will eat well tomorrow.

 

My new teeth chew very well, thank you, and nothing hurts, so there are no high spots. 

 

I have the important stuff out of the car, and I will get the rest of it out tomorrow. I think I will be in bed early tonight.

 

So that is over, and I can look forward to six months in the field, which is where I want to be. We're happy tonight in the field.

 

Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM