A View From the Field








August, 2008


August 31

And another month is history. Sigh.


I went up to the north end rather early last night, but then I got to - wonder of wonders - writing, so it was after midnight when I got to bed. I think my reading of other people's writing has gotten my creative juices going again. We'll see how long it lasts.


I was tired when I got into bed, but it was one of those nights. For some reason, I just could not sleep. I guess I should have opened the porch door, but I didn't feel hot most of the time. I thrashed around a lot and was up a lot, and I didn't have much deep sleep. I was dreaming most of the time. Bah!


I got up around 9:00, I think, and after I did my mandatory 8 rows on the sock, I wrote some more. And I intend to try still more tonight. No use spoiling a good notion.


When I got to the office, it was already 75, and our promised hot day was well on its way. It was clear and sunny, and for a while there was a strong breeze from the southwest, but unfortunately, it petered out in the early afternoon, and the temperature got up to 85 at 4:00. It was hot. It was even hotter in the house, so the office and the back windows of the great room are all open. The temperature did drop off after that, and it is now a pretty comfortable 78 with a nice little breeze coming in the south windows. It's supposed to be hot tomorrow, too, so I will leave the windows open tonight and hope it doesn't get too cool.


I am not comfortable in this kind of weather. I don't like it when I sweat when I'm sitting still and not doing anything. As it happened, I was doing something, although it wasn't very strenuous. I finished two tan necklaces. That involved searching everything in here for the findings I thought I had - which I never found - and getting together what I need to finish the ends of the necklaces, getting the string and hole punch for the tags, and then putting everything away when I was done. I just sat quietly for a while after that.


While I was sitting quietly, the computer began to overheat, so I had to haul it out from under the desk, which I hate. It didn't settle down until I finally opened the south window and got the breeze. The more I watch it when it gets warm in here, the more I am sure that is what happened to the other one: the motherboard got fried from being overheated too much. I didn't have the Intel monitor then, so I never knew.


So instead of playing a game, I read a magazine, which was OK too.


Sometime around then, I decided not to go out to dinner tonight, so when I got so hot, I changed into shorts and a tank top. I left my compression hose on, which must make a charming sight, but nobody saw me. I started out with my rubber thong sandals on, but my feet swelled so much they were hurting my toes, so now I have my men's sandals on. They aren't beautiful, and like many of my shoes these days, they are too big, but they are comfortable and cool.


I almost got a picture of a very red sunset, but unfortunately, I was too late. Besides, the sun is setting right behind the end of lighthouse point, and I don't have a clear view of it. Sorry. There are a few clouds in the sky, and it was pretty, but it was over fast.


The sun is moving south fast, but it has to, to get from the end of lighthouse point to the second notch in the mountain by the equinox. And we are losing daylight at 3 minutes a day - about as fast as it gets. Sigh.


Among the things that I forgot to commemorate this month is my father's death on August 19, 1983...25 years ago. Somehow, it seems longer than that. A lot has happened since then. I am only sorry he died before he was 71, and I never got to know him as well as I would have liked - if that was possible. He was an extremely internalized person and hard to get to know. Since I have learned more about PTSD, I really think that was his trouble, since he spent 3 years of World War II in the navy in the Pacific, on an LST, which has to mean he was under fire.


Anyway, that was my quiet day and my quiet month, and it's a lovely night in the field.


August 30

I did not do it again. I turned out the light by 10:45. I didn't go right to sleep, though, because I began to hear thunder and see lightning, but most of the storm cell was out over the lake, as frequently happens. It apparently rained lightly until about 2:00, and it was so calm and humid all night that there was still water on the screens when I got up at about 10:00. It cleared up by the time I got up for the first time, and I could see Polaris for the rest of the night.


It was a gorgeous morning, clear and sunny with not much wind. The temperature eventually got up to 71 late in the afternoon, although for most of the day it was in the high 60s. There was a little wind from the north for a while, but it has mostly died down now. All the sunshine and light winds meant it got up into the upper 80s inside, so I even had to turn on the fan in the office so I didn't come to a boil while I ate my dinner.


I went to the post office and returned my barrel, and now I have some more things to read - a bunch of magazines arrived. I spent most of the afternoon making another tan necklace, this one with four strands, and I like it a lot better. The first one looked a bit skimpy to me. I didn't do the clasp. Instead I began another one, which I will finish tomorrow. Then, depending on how I feel about a third one, I will either do another or I will put clasps on both. Before I do the clasps, I have to see if I can find my gold end caps. I know they are in this room, but the last time I looked for them, I was in a hurry and I couldn't find them, so I had to use some smaller ones that didn't work so well. Knotting together eight strands of 20 lb test Fireline makes a large knot, and I want the big end caps that cover both the knot and the ends of the strands. By the way, I am using 20 lb test, doubled, to make sure I don't have the embarrassment of having another one of these necklaces break. 


So I beaded and watched birds and things. A few goldfinches came back, and the hummingbirds were apparently around, although I didn't actually see any of those. There was some activity down on the deck where I couldn't see, and this evening there was some sort of altercation out there that I ignored. Squirrels, I think.


Buster did not feel well today. I could tell this morning when I petted him that he wasn't happy. He didn't even come and ask for his breakfast, and for most of the morning all he wanted to do was sit on me and purr loudly. Late in the afternoon, I heard him barfing, although I don't know where yet, and then he went to sleep on the light blue chair. I hope it was just a hairball. It came on him so suddenly, though, that I suspect that is what it was. He has a very delicate stomach, and hairballs really bother him. He gets them even though I brush him, because he sheds a lot and he is an extremely clean kitty. In fact, I think it was because he is so clean that Jasmine started to keep herself clean, too. She wasn't so good about it when she first got here.


So that was my quiet day. I had a thought about going up to the top of the mountain tonight and see if I could see Mercury, but I decided not to waste the gas. There were a lot of people in town today - oh, yeah, it's Saturday - and I felt it would be better to just hibernate some more.


Now it's time to toddle up to the north end again and try to get to sleep early again. It's a cool, calm night in the field.


August 29

Oh, dear, I did it again. I got to reading a section called "Women, Sex and Gender" which turned out to be longer than I thought, and it was so interesting I just kept on until the end. So it was very late when I got to bed, but I don't know exactly when, because the number in the bathroom looked so outrageous, I didn't look when I got into the bedroom. It could have been 3:00 or it could have been 4:00.


I got up around 11:15, and from the way I feel now, it was probably 4:00. I petted a cat and knitted a sock, and I haven't touched the book all day, except to bring it to the office with me.


I didn't do much, I'm afraid. I rustled around the desk a bit, and moved the angel back to the vicinity of the ugly chair, and I finished the bracelet I left undone when I took the rest of them to Peggy. I packed up the rest of those beads. Before I leave beads altogether, though, I'd like to make one or two more tan necklaces, so I got out those beads. I also moved all the filing into (or onto, really) the basket where I have been stashing that stuff since April. I guess it's time to do a little filing.


I was planning to go to Mariner for dinner, but I got so tired while I was beading, I decided it was too much work and had a TV dinner instead.


It was a pretty day. It started out very clear and ended up rather cloudy, but there was a lot of sunshine. It got quite windy for a while around noon, from the north, with some whitecaps, but the wind died down pretty quick and it is now calm. The temperature for most of the afternoon was around 67, although it did hit 73 briefly. The sun set behind a cloudbank in the west, and I notice there is a squall just north of us over the lake, so there may be a raindrop or two before it clears up again.


So that was a quiet and rather truncated day, and I'm going to bed.


August 28

I think I will attempt not to read anymore tonight. My eyes are getting all sandy, which is a good indication they have been over-stressed.


I read after I went up to the north end last night, and since I had to take a bath, it was after 2:30 before I turned out the light. Ugh. I was awake about 9:00, but that just didn't seem like enough sleep, although I only dozed until about 10:00. So I'm tired, as well as having sandy eyes.


I did a little knitting and a little cat-petting and read some more, and I finished the book. It was a really good one, and I'm glad I read it, but it certainly could have had bigger print. I hope I'm not at the point where I need to consider the size of the type before I buy a book! Anyway, the slant of this one was quite different from the first one, even though they cover pretty much the same timeframe, and I am beginning to see, among other things, where the seeds of the Reformation came from. One other thing I liked about this book is that some mention was made of places like Scandinavia, Poland and Hungary, which were there, too. And the writer paid more attention to the visual arts and the people than the first writer did. He also, in several places, mentioned where he thinks more research needs to be done, any topic of which would make a pretty good PhD thesis, if one could get access to the sources. I don't know how much of that stuff is online, and besides, I can't read even modern French, German or Italian, not to mention the ancient versions.


One thing neither writer mentioned at all was music, which I think is a shame. There was definitely music being composed during the Middle Ages, besides chant, and I think I have some of it in my record library. However, in a book of a little over 300 pages and covering over 300 years, I suppose not everything can be covered. One of these days I will have to see what I can hunt down on music.


Anyway, I have started the third book, which more or less covers the time 1648-1815, and it is going to be a good one, too, although its author has another, completely different slant. It's fun. What am I going to read when I've finished this one? Not that I have to worry for a while, though, since it's almost 700 pages long. At least the type is a little more readable.


Otherwise, I put dirty dishes in the dishwasher and I went to the post office, where I was embarrassed by the amount of mail, including four big packages.  So I have a few new playthings, although I was disappointed that some of the playthings I ordered were discontinued. Sigh.


It was a so-so day. When I woke up at 9;00, it was raining and I could hardly see down the harbor. That had stopped when I got up for good, but we had another short shower while I was reading, for a total of just over a quarter inch of rain. Thank you very much, all moisture is welcome. It was cloudy and very humid until about 4:00, when it cleared up nicely, although there was another cloudbank in the west at sunset. It is still very humid. the temperature hung at around 65 all day, but there wasn't much wind that started out from the southwest and swung around to the north before it died down. The humidity meant it felt warmer than it was.


The days are getting very short. We have only about 13 hours of daylight now, and the sun is setting at 8:38, which seems ridiculously early, compared to the past months. I was awake at sunrise this morning, 7:05, which caused a brief orange glow in the east before it got completely hidden by the clouds. Days haven't been this short since the middle of April, and I'm not used to it.


So that was my day, and although I will take the book with me, I will try hard not to read anymore tonight and rest my eyes for a while.


It's a calm, humid night in the field.


August 27

It's tomorrow already...oops!


I jumped into bed last night without a bath, and I had only two wakeups all night. The second one, about 4:30, there was a little, bright waning crescent moon shining in the bathroom windows. It was a beautifully clear night. I could see Polaris and both stars at the end of the Little Dipper without any problem.  I got up around 9:30, I think, and after I petted a cat for a while, I finished the heel of the sock and started on the leg, although I didn't get very far. Eight rows or so is about all I can do in a reasonable time in the morning.


It was a lovely morning, although there were a few high clouds in the west, that were around all day long. There was a brisk west wind, in the 15-25 mph range. The temperature got up to 73 for a while, although it was in the upper 60s for more of the day. It wasn't warm enough to completely open up the house, but I had a couple of doors open, just to keep it from getting too hot in here. It's a breezy night, and the NWS insists there is rain on the way.


I spent most of the day reading again. The new book is even better than the last one, although I learned a few more new words, including a couple that I had to look up online. At least I can do that. Heaven knows where the unabridged dictionary and the OED are in the basement. This book has the smallest type I have seen in a very long time, which makes it hard for me to focus sometimes. I have permanent floaters in both eyes, and when I am tired, they bother me when I'm looking at something light colored...like a book with very small type. It's not likely to keep me from reading some more.


I did get everything except the birdseed out of the car, finally. There really wasn't much, just a lot of bags. The person who packed my order put one roll of toilet paper in each paper bag, and one six-pack of flavored water in each paper bag...then he put two half-gallons of JD and a 3 lb bag of potatoes in a single bag. Well...it doesn't take a university education to pack grocery bags for a living.


I also finished unloading the dishwasher and I will start reloading it tomorrow. It's really easier and more sanitary if I can put the dishes in right after I use them, although I do have a few plates soaking. Something got onto one plate that didn't wash off, so I'm soaking that.


I cut up my melons. I discovered that most of the skin of the cantaloupe had gotten moldy, so I lost a lot of it, but some of it is OK, and the honeydew is just right. I guess what I'm going to have to do if I want melons is pick one that isn't too green and ripen it at home. That isn't as good as nearly vine-ripened, but we don't get melons like that here.


I was late bringing in the bird feeders tonight, and when I went outside, either or two or three flying squirrels skittered up or down the tree. I didn't really see them - they move much faster than red squirrels - but I caught them out of the corners of my eyes running up or down the trunk. One of them didn't move out of the deck feeder until I started walking toward it. And while I was sitting here, reading by the light of my task lamp, something hit the screen that sounded bigger than a moth, so I guess it was a bat going after some of the bugs.


Speaking of bugs, either last night or this morning, I acquired what I think are four mosquito bites on my left hand and arm. Or I hope they are mosquito bites, because one of them is right on the scar from one of last year's black fly bites. They itch like mad, but one of them has stopped itching already, and maybe they'll go away in a day or so. So the bugs aren't gone, they've just gotten a bit less. I do believe the black flies are gone. In the fly kingdom, all we have now are the pesky house flies that always bedevil us at this time of year. They drive me nuts, but they don't bite, they just get into everything.


So that is all there is for today, and it's time to toddle up to the north end and try not to read too long.


August 26

Well, I got to reading my book, and it was after 2:00 when I finally turned out the light. I got up about 9:45, but my morning knitting was cut short when the Health Department arrived to test my drain field. I knew they were coming today, but I didn't know when. So I didn't finish the heel, but I'm close.


It was a lovely, but cool morning. It was warm at the front stoop, because the wind was from the southwest, but it was in the middle 60s on the other side.


So I talked to the guys, and had my breakfast, and eventually I washed up the pans I had left to soak in the sink, and put away the chopping stuff. Still later, I partly unloaded the dishwasher.


In the meantime, I read my book some more and moved stuff around in the office. I have had a basket full of the cross stitch charts I have acquired in the past year or two, and I finally moved them to a blue file box. Eventually they will get taken downstairs and added to the many, many charts down there. I've acquired a bunch of nice pictures of cats (and one of loons) that are completely stitched and larger than 8" x 10" - lotsa stitches - that I would dearly love to do, the loons especially, but I want to finish the angel first. Oh, well, so much to do and so little time...


I just finished my book, and like I said, it was dense but interesting. I learned a couple of new words which I will certainly never use...the four and five syllable ones that convey some precise meaning necessary only to scholars. I also dropped some of my dinner on a couple of pages. Some of my stories are set in a world somewhat like parts of that period, and since I will need to rewrite them, it is interesting to get some more background ideas. I will say, though, that not many (if any) authors could handle writing fiction about political situations as complicated and confusing as things were then. I certainly can't. And I'm glad I don't have to take a test on it.


So I will start the other book on the same period. It turns out that the third book is about the period 1648 - 1815, so I will wait on that one. I really would like to read about the intervening eras, but Penguin hasn't published those volumes yet. It seems to me that down in the basement, I have a series that they published 40 years ago also on European history, and I was never able to get the entire series of those, either.


It's also gotten me thinking that I should go back and re-read Durant's Story of Civilization again. I know I read the volumes about the middle ages and renaissance, but I don't remember much about them now. 


As I just wrote to a correspondent, I have had a passion for history since I was a young teenager. The only thing is, I sometimes feel guilty about reading instead of some of the other things I should be doing, even when I'm reading something as edifying as medieval history. It probably won't keep me from doing it, though. What I need is probably a nice sweater to knit on while I read. Hmm...


It was another beautiful day, clear and sunny all day. There was a period of strong winds this morning, but they died down by 11:00. The temperature finally got up to 73, with not much wind at all, and it was lovely to have the doors open. Now it's cooling off again, and it's time to close things up.


So that was my quiet day, and it's a quiet night in the field.


August 25

It was after midnight when I got to bed, and the first time I woke up was at 7:45. That must be some kind of record. I need to drink more water. However, it was around 9:30 when I finally got up, so there was no knitting and a very truncated cat pet before I was off to my massage.


It was a beautiful morning, and I felt much better after my massage. I even left the garage door open in case I decided to get the stuff out of the car. No such luck, but I did begin on the kitchen. I'm beginning to get the counter cleaned off, and the dishes are all in the dishwasher to run tonight. However, there are food processor containers and chopping devices on the draining board, and two large pans in the sink, because I cooked.


I couldn't let the beef ribs go any longer, so I hustled them into the oven around 4:30. That meant I ate rather late, but I had a lovely dinner of beef ribs on noodles and asparagus. Yum. And I will eat well for the rest of the week. I don't think the amounts of ribs, noodles and gravy are going to come out right, but we'll see what happens.


So I did do something today.


You may have noticed that there are no ads in the areas today. This morning I received an email from Google saying my site had been disabled because my account "posed a significant risk to our advertisers". I'm not quite sure what that means, but I think it means my friends have been too diligent in clicking on the ads. So I can't win. I have appealed the decision, but I'm afraid it won't go anywhere. I have a hard time understanding their logic. They want to advertise, but if too many people click on the ads, it poses a "significant risk"? C'mon! Stay tuned.


It was a beautiful day, but cool. There were a few little clouds in the morning, but most of the day was beautifully clear. The temperature hovered around 65 all day, with hardly any wind. I left the office door open all day, and I opened a few other things late in the day, because it got quite hot in here, as is usual when the sun shines. Someday, I'd like to investigate harnessing some of that free sunshine for purposes other than solar heat. I wish there was more of that in the winter, not that it would matter much when the sun is only 18 above the horizon at noon.


Jasmine particularly was just delighted that I opened the window onto the porch. I think it was too cool for Buster, but Jasmine likes to be outside enough that a little cool weather doesn't bother her very much. She went out immediately, and when I first saw her, she was crouched down staring at something on the deck. My little huntress.


This afternoon, I looked out the east windows to see a butterfly flitting around the windows. There haven't been very many butterflies this summer for some reason, maybe the cool temperatures. And a little later, there was a hummingbird at the window. I don't know if it thought it could fly through the room or something, but it hovered there for a few seconds before it realized there was a barrier. Except for the chipping sparrows still feeding their fledglings, that is the critter report for the day.


This evening, I started one of the books I got a week or so ago. This one is on medieval history, and while it is rather dense, I think it is going to be interesting. I know, I have strange taste in books. I don't read modern fiction at all (except for an occasional mystery). I enjoy history very much, and the Middle Ages are a period that I have never sufficiently studied. It was never covered in any history class I ever took in school, and until lately, there weren't very many books on it that I could find. This one was published in 1968 originally, but it wasn't available in paperback and I didn't have access to good bookstores then, either. Now there is Amazon, which seems like heaven to me, and there are other online bookstores, too, although I don't visit them much.


Anyway, I got three books on medieval history, and it seems I started with the right one, which is an overview of the entire period. My only complaint is that it is too short, but maybe the other two will fill in the gaps.


Now I must toddle up to the north end and go to bed. It's a cool, clear night in the field.


August 24

I think I was in bed around 11:00 last night, and it was a good  night to sleep, with a strong wind from the north. While it was cloudy when I went to bed, it cleared up later, and early this morning I saw moonshine in the bathroom windows. I was up around 9:00, and I did some knitting.  I have one more repeat of the front stitches to finish the heel, then I can go round and round on the leg. This one has gone relatively fast, because I have set myself to do one repeat - 8 rows - every day. I even got the knitting bag as far as the kitchen, but I didn't bring it into the office.


I should have. I ended up doing nothing but a little surfing - put together a big order from one of my favorite needlework catalogs, then closed the window on it. Nothing there I really needed.


It was a beautiful day, clear and sunny all day. There were a few puffy clouds occasionally, but they didn't stay long. However, it was cold. When I got to the office, it was in the upper 50s, and the high for the day was 64. With that strong north wind - in the 15-25 mph range all day - it was cold. So the house is closed up, except for the one little window in the bedroom. While I was dressing this morning, Jasmine was looking out the porch door longingly, but I don't think she would have liked it out there.


When I went out to put out the bird feeders, there was a teensy crescent moon shining up in the northwestern sky - and this was about noon. I don't know where the moon went. Wasn't it just full? I don't know where the time goes. Sigh.


I washed the two pairs of jeans I peed in, and folded the towels that have been in the dryer for a week. I kept looking at the kitchen and walking away. It is a complete disaster. I should run the dishwasher tonight, but it's not going to get done. I have to take a bath, and I have to get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow, because I have a massage. I keep going back to Johanna, because I really think it makes me feel better, mentally as well as physically.


So that is all there is, and it's now a clear, cold, nearly calm night in the field.


August 23

I was in bed before midnight again, and I was up a number of times during the night. I woke up around 3:30, I think, and noticed lightning, and then more lightning and thunder, and then I noticed that it was raining nicely. The center of the cell was out over the lake, but not more than a mile or so away. The interesting thing about the thunderstorms we've had this summer is that not many of them have been accompanied by high winds. Last night's certainly wasn't. It was windy, but not more than it had been before. However, sometime before 4:00 somebody turned a bucket upside down on us, and it rained hard for quite a while. The total for the night was 0.4", which is quite respectable.


As frequently happens after a thunderstorm, the temperature plummeted to the low 60s. When I finally got up, around 10:30, I think, it was downright chilly in the house, even though I had closed all the north windows earlier. So I closed the porch doors - having discovered that I forgot to close the one from the kitchen last night - and it was still chilly. I even had hot cereal for breakfast, and I was still cold.


Part of the reason for that was that the temperature was around 65 and there was a northwest wind in the 20-35 mph range, which continued all afternoon. That is the reason the bird feeders didn't get put out.


It was a pretty day, at least for most of the time. There were clouds in the sky, but they were mostly fair weather clouds, and there was a lot of sunshine. There were lots of whitecaps on the harbor, and there were substantial breakers on my beach. 


Now the temperature has dropped into the low 60s, the sky has clouded over, and the wind is still blowing, although it is more westerly now. That is one direction where the NWS station simply does not give accurate readings, so I am ignoring it. The wind has not died down very much.


I made some progress on the sock this morning, and I got some more reading done. The only other thing I did was to put my rolling stool together. I think it is going to be a really nice thing to have, provided it will hold my weight. We shall see. I didn't cook today, but I plan to tomorrow, and I will want to use it. It will also make it a lot easier to use the desk as a cutting board, if I ever get around to that.


I forgot to mention that I came into the office sometime yesterday afternoon to find a little gray mouse running around. It skittered under something before I could do anything about it, and I was muttering about my mouse catchers being elsewhere when there was work to be done. I also told Buster about it last night in the bathroom. And then, when I came out of the bathroom, I looked at the bedside rug, and there was a little gray mouse, neatly laid out, and looking like it was fairly newly killed. Somebody left me a present. I wish she had eaten it, although I appreciate the thought. I flushed it, and I made sure to thank Jasmine for it when I saw her today. So even though she won't let me pet her and she won't act like a regular house cat, she does appreciate living here, and she tries to thank me as best she knows how, poor thing.


It was cool enough today that we were sleeping upstairs, in the sun, if we could manage it. I don't know where we were yesterday.


So that was my quiet day, and it's time to trudge up to the north end again. This should be a good night to sleep - a cool, windy night in the field.


August 22

I read until around 11:30 last night, but I was drinking water again, so I was up any number of times. I was up around 3:00 and I realized it was raining lightly. It continued to drip until nearly 9:00, but we didn't get much - 0.06". Darn. We need a day or so of steady rains. It may storm tonight, but that doesn't do much good, since it drops a lot in a short time and probably most of it runs off.


Anyway, It got to just under 65 overnight, and the temperature began to a high of 82 at 6:00 this evening. There was a nice southwest wind all day, which was nice, but it was very humid, and that made it rather uncomfortable - uncomfortable enough that I didn't do anything.


Well - that isn't quite true. I took a look at the heel of my sock this morning and realized I had screwed up the pattern on the backside, then I messed up when I ripped it out, and I had to go back to the pick-up row. Then I stopped. That took me an hour and a half, and I was getting frustrated. So although I got up early enough, I didn't get to the office until noon.


In the afternoon, I took out a doily I had been crocheting years ago and tried to do a few stitches, but my left hand was so sore, I really couldn't do anything. In crochet, you hold the thread and the work in your left hand, and in thread crochet, you have to hold the work very firmly, and it just wasn't working.


Even though I didn't get all sweaty, this warm, humid weather makes me feel blah, and besides, I had an allergy attack in the middle of the afternoon. One trouble with the southwest winds is that they blow all the pollen from down in Wisconsin up in this direction, and my nose knows. The other problem, of course, is that they blow the heat up from the south.


I can't complain, and I won't. Until now, we have had a very cool summer, and summer wouldn't be summer if we didn't have a little warm to very warm weather. This isn't as hot or as humid as I can remember.


However, it did prevent me from going to Mariner for dinner (they aren't air conditioned, I don't think), and it prevented me from cooking, too.


So I caught up on my reading. There were several copies of Science News that I hadn't read while I was in bracelet mode, and I just finished the last one. There are a few other things in the pile, but tomorrow is another day. So no reading from the blue binder tonight, but I got my reading in for the day.


So that is all I have to report, and it's time to toddle up to the north end. This weather makes me sleepy, too. It's a cloudy, breezy night in the field.


August 21

I started the heel of the sock last night, but I was still in bed by 11:00, and I slept relatively well, with dreams. I had been so thirsty after I got home that I drank a lot of fluids, so I was up any number of times overnight, including one where I just about made it to the pot. When I start dreaming that I might not make it, that's time to wake up and do something about it! I got up around 10:00, which should have been enough sleep. I finished the bottom of the heel and started the back, and I think it will turn out all right, although I don't think I will ever use that heel again.


It was a warm day, for us. The temperature got up to 77, and the dew point was steady at about 60 all day, so it is rather humid, but there was a nice southwest wind in the 10-20 mph range all day, so it was tolerable, at least here. It was warmer in town, and the UPS driver commented on how hot it was, so wherever he had been, it wasn't so nice. I guess I'll take the winds and drifts in the winter so that I can have my nice breezes in the summer. It was mostly cloudy all day, though, and it looks like there is some rain headed our way. That's good. When I passed the Smokey the Bear sign in Allouez yesterday, it said that the potential for fire was very high. Most everything still looks very green and nice, but we haven't had any appreciable rain in quite some time.


I have been listening with amusement to a lot of cheeping going on in the feeder tree. I had been hearing that for quite a while over in the grove behind the house, and I guess the chipping sparrows have fledged, because they are over in the feeder getting seeds poked down their open beaks. I think mom and pop are trying to show them how to do it themselves, but it doesn't seem to have taken yet.


The kitties know the weather is changing. Buster spent the entire day curled up in a nest he has made for himself in the corner of the window seat, and Jasmine may have been in the basement all day - I don't know where she was. In fact, I wondered if she had gotten out. It seems I left the front door open last night, and I am having trouble getting the screen door to latch. One gust of wind this morning made it bang a little, which was when I discovered it was open, and I wondered briefly if Jasmine had pushed it open and gotten out. I think she is smarter than that, though. She may not trust me too much, but she knows she is in a good place.


But about the time Buster got up - around 6:00 - she showed up, too, so we are all safe and sound, if a little sleepy. They are strongly influenced by the barometer, and the barometer has been dropping. It would be good if it rained.


So I did not much, so little that even though I have lots of good things to cook, I had a TV dinner tonight, along with some of my deli salads. The imperishable food is still in the car. I tried two different things on my feet today and neither felt very good, and then I wet my pants, so I got undressed.  I need a day to rest up from my exertions. What I will do tomorrow, who knows.


Anyway, it is a cloudy, breezy and warm night in the field, and I am planning to go up to the north end early and maybe tonight I can do some reading.


August 20

I made it into bed before midnight last night, and I did sleep well, although with some interesting dreams that I have no idea where they came from. I was up in the middle of the night and was interested to see no moonlight, so I guess it clouded up after I went to bed. I was awake about 8:00, but I decided that was just too early, so of course, it was 10:00 before I got up for good. Then it was the last repeat on the toe of the sock - I can start the strange heel tonight or tomorrow - and I had to do my morning surfing, so I started for the garage right after the generator started its weekly test at 12:30. 


That thing is not quiet, which I suppose is because it is so large. Fortunately, up at the north end of the house I can't hear it, at least with the windows closed.


Anyway, I knew it was going to be a warm day, but I really had to go today. I drank all but a dribble of the OJ this morning, and heaven forefend that I don't get my OJ.


There was a lot of traffic on the road, but the rebuilding of the culverts at Aetna Creek is done, at least on US-41, so there were no slow detours. I had to pass a couple of dawdlers, but that was all right.


The wildflowers of high summer are out or coming out. I saw black-eyed Susans, which are a good sign, as well as a lot of other stuff I can't identify positively. There were several places where there seemed to be a nice selection of flowers, but I didn't stop, because they were all either in or on the other side of the ditch, which means there is no way I could possibly get to them.


It was much warmer in Houghton - upper 70s when I got there. I decided to cut my shopping short. I stopped at the feed store and laid in some more birdseed. For some reason, I seem to have used a lot of mixed seed this summer, and 40 lbs of mixed seed doesn't seem to go as far as 50 lbs of sunflowers.


Then it was off to Econo, where it was clear that everybody knows about the Wednesday senior discount. I ran across more groups standing in the middle of aisles talking than I have ever seen before and all the handicapped and most of the senior citizen parking places were taken. The summer fruits are in, as well as the veggies, so I will probably OD on nectarines, plums and melon. I tried a few apricots again, but they just don't have the flavor, probably because they are picked green. I did find a couple of melons that had some sweet smell at the stem end, so I will leave them out for a few days, and maybe they'll be all right.


I have always loved melons, but they have to be ripe, and most of the ones we get around here aren't. I still remember the summer I was sick for the first time. I couldn't eat much, but I discovered that my stomach felt a lot better if it was kept full, so I would cut up a melon into chunks and eat until I was stuffed. That was 1998, and it was the last summer I can remember when the melons were really exceptional. Egad - that was 10 years ago already! It seems like 10 centuries. Of course, I was still living in the Detroit area then.


Anyway, I got everything I wanted, I think, except that there were no specials on steak, so I am going to have to cut down on the number of those I eat for the next month, but I did get some other things, and I noticed that the packages of chicken breasts have gone back up to 1 lbs again. Just the price has gone up. There were some frozen things they didn't have the last time I shopped that they had today, so that was good.


I approached the checkout with trepidation, because I could hardly push the cart, but I was pleasantly surprised by the total. I expected it would be over $400, but it was a lot less than that. The trouble with living alone is that it's hard to try to save on food. Of course, I have a Schwan's order coming on Friday, and I will get my eggs and milk at the Gaslite, but it was still good to have a reasonably sized order. It is worth my while to shop on Wednesday - the discount is only 5%, but that does make a difference, and it helps a lot.


Trouble is, if I want to start getting veggies at Hughes farm, I won't be able to go on Wednesday, because they are only open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. So we'll see. Somebody is selling organic produce in Copper Harbor on Fridays, and I will have to check that out.


The next stop was gas, and I was pleased to see $3.80 a gallon. That is still outrageous, of course, but compared to $4.15, it's a good price. I didn't need much, but I filled up my tank. My strategy has been to try to keep the tank full, since the price may be higher the next time I go. And I haven't been driving very much...only 180 miles since July 16. Since nearly 100 of that has been to town and back, I have been sticking around home even more than usual. That's OK, I like it here, although seeing all the wildflowers made me at least dream about wandering around the peninsula a bit. Probably I won't. I have things to do here, and besides, there's the walking problem.


I left for home a little after 3:00, and I am not sure what was going on in Houghton, but there was the most terrible traffic I think I have ever seen. They were lined up almost two blocks to get onto the bridge. So I decided to go around and approach from the other direction...and it was bumper-to-bumper through the middle of town, too. Strangely enough, it seemed to be only there, though. There was a lot of traffic on M-26, but none on the cross street (my street - Sharon Avenue). Very weird...unless maybe Tech and Finlandia are starting classes soon.


I finally got across the bridge, and all the traffic was right in town. There wasn't much going north, so I made it home, although with the tie-up in Houghton, it took me more than an hour. Whew!


Then I had to unload, although there are still things in the car. The person who packed my order distributed my veggies and fruits over four or five bags, so I had to hunt through everything to be sure I got what needed to go in the fridge. I had to make a trip downstairs with the overflow from the freezer, too.


So I am tired. I just remembered I didn't take the pork chops downstairs - drat! I don't think there is room in the freezer up here for them, and since I got beef country ribs, I want to freeze the chops. This isn't the best time for braised beef ribs, but I've been hungry for them for quite a while. They need mashed potatoes, though, and I didn't have any. Now I have something called Yukon Rose potatoes - which I will be interested to try. I like Yukon Gold potatoes, and I think this one is like that except with red skins. We'll see. I also got some colored peppers, with the idea of making a batch of tuna macaroni salad. We'll see about that, too. If it's coolish, it's beef, if it's warmish, it's tuna-mac.


The weather was lovely for summer. The temperature did get up to about 85 in Houghton before I left, but when I was sitting in the shade in a breeze (while I was pumping gas), it wasn't half bad. I had all the windows open all the way home. That's one of the nice bonuses of having short hair. It smells so good in the woods with the sun on the evergreens. Doing anything raised a sweat, of course, but then, I sweat very easily. It was partly cloudy until late in the afternoon, and there was kind of a haze in the sky - still is - but there was quite a lot of sunshine. It wasn't very humid, which made the difference. Curiously, it was cooler in the higher elevations than it was in the Harbor, but I think that is because what wind there was came from the south or southwest. It was 78 when I got home, but I had left the doors open, so it was quite comfortable in the house. It is cooling off a bit now, but it's a lovely evening.


When I got home, Jasmine was on the porch, lying behind one of the posts, looking quite comfortable. That kept her mostly out of the sun and mostly out of site from outside, although her legs and tail were sticking out. Buster had to come and sit on me to tell me he missed me and he was glad I came back.


So that was my day. Since I didn't go to Wal-Mart and I didn't go to Office Max, I came home without any new toys to play with, but oh, well. I have some coming by mail. I will probably get my cardstock on the internet. Even having to get things from the post office is easier than having to shop in person.


I wore my Crocs, and my feet fared much better than they did in shoes. They got hot, bottoms got sore, and my toes were a bit sore from the socks rubbing them, but nothing like they were from rubbing on the sides of the shoes the last time I went. So that is a partial solution to the foot problem. When it gets cool, I will have to go back to shoes, but my feet don't swell so badly then anyway.


The days are getting shorter quickly. We have under 14 hours of daylight now, and very shortly the sun will be setting in camera view, especially if I ever get the camera pointed right again. It keeps moving to the left, and I don't know quite why. Maybe tomorrow I can fix that. Anyway, we are losing daylight at over 3 minutes a day now. I love fall and I like winter, but I do miss the long, long days if May, June and July, even though they get my sleeping and waking hours all out of whack.


I've mentioned before that sometimes I wet my pants. When I was shopping for vitamins on Amazon, they had this ad for something like a sanitary napkin except with a super-absorbent filling, for just that problem, so I decided to try them. Wow! They are wonderful. I would have had a real problem today if I hadn't been wearing one, since I was way at the far end of Econo, opposite the bathrooms, when I couldn't hold it any longer. Walking around with obviously wet pants is a humiliation I just don't feel I need, and I really hate diapers, especially in this weather, when they are hot and sticky. Problem solved. Solution delivered to the door, almost. Very nice.


Now it's a lovely night in the field, and I think I will go up to the north end and wash off the sweat. It's still in the middle 70s so it will feel good to air-dry again.


August 19

All my fiddling around meant it was after 2:00 before I made it into bed, but I got up at 9:00 anyway, so I'm tired now. I wish this journal was in some sort of format that I could easily click through. I often wonder if my need for sleep isn't cyclic...as well as some of my other bodily functions. Sometimes I seem to need a whole lot more sleep than other times.


Anyway, it was a beautiful day again. The temperature only got up to about 65, and while there was about three hours of winds in the 10-20 mph range from the south, for most of the day there wasn't a lot of wind, and there was a lot of sunshine, and it was lovely.


I think I've discovered where some of my birdseed has gone. It's not all the chipmunks. Several times this morning, I caught a crow - or a raven, I can't tell the difference - scarfing down sunflower seeds as fast as he could get them in his crop. He (or she) is a big bird, and needs a lot to eat...and also, there was something over in the red pine south of the house, going "ca-ca-ca" all the time. I guess it was a fledgling, and it was mom or pop on the porch trying to keep it fed. Well, they have to live, too.


There have also been new blueberry-colored splotches on the deck every morning, so I guess our resident bear has been visiting. He probably licks up the seed that has dropped on the deck, but he's not getting very much there. A good rain will wash off the deck, but right now it's not so pretty out there.


I did something! Yeah! I began the difficult task of clearing the decks in the office. I have made some order out of the computer desk and the area between it and the sewing machine, although I still have a lot of stuff to move and put away around the sewing machine. And the floor between the two desks is nearly free of stuff. Amazing! I didn't think I could do it! I have gotten a lot of catalogs lately (when don't I?) and most of them could be thrown away. There are still lots under the computer desk, and maybe I can get them bagged up before Friday and haul them off to the dump. I tend to keep catalogs, thinking maybe one day I will read them, and every so often I just have to get ruthless.


It's nice to have a little more room to move around in here, and when I get the project cases full of samplers out of the way, it will be even better. One step at a time.


So that was my day, and I think I'd better go to bed. I must go to town tomorrow, and it would be nice to get a relatively early start.


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


August 18

Well, I got to bed before midnight last night. It was still in the 80s outside and it was warm in the bedroom, but after I got settled down, that didn't bother me a lot. I woke up around 3:30, and there was a moon shining in the south and lightning flashing in the north, so far out over the lake that I couldn't hear any thunder. And the wind had picked up to nearly gale force, at least here. The NWS station didn't report it, but it sure was windy here. Before I got back into bed, the moon had gone away, so I closed the one extra window I had opened in the bedroom and the bathroom window. By that time the temperature had dropped to 78, so it wasn't so bad. A while later there was one growl of thunder, and we had a short, heavy rain shower. That dropped the temperature below 70, and I went back to sleep.


I could tell it had cooled off even more when I was up around 6:45, and it was even cooler when I finally got up around 9:00. I was right. It was only 63 when I got to the office. It was still very cloudy, and it was actually rather nasty out. Or I thought it was pretty nasty then. It got nastier later, when the temperature dropped to 57 and a brisk wind in the 15-25 mph range started blowing from the east. I closed the office window because the wind coming in was just too cool.


Later in the afternoon, the clouds blew away and it got nice and clear, which it still was at sunset, and it got warm in here, so I opened the window for a while, although it is closed again.


What's fun about living here is that we can have the warmest day of the summer followed by the coolest day we've had in probably six weeks. If you don't like the weather, just wait a while. They are saying it is going to warm up tomorrow, and it might get very warm on Wednesday. We'll see.


I didn't do anything except surf the web for some food...I guess it's time to go to town again. The cupboard certainly isn't bare, but I'm running out of the things I like to eat. 


I had the rest of my nice fish for dinner tonight, and Buster had some, too, which he enjoyed, and I think Jasmine came along after him and ate the last couple of pieces and licked the dish while I wasn't watching.


I was glad to see Jasmine. After she whined at me yesterday, she went away and I didn't see her at all until this evening. I don't think she liked the wind. Of course, I probably wouldn't either if it felt like it was about to pick me up and carry me away. Buster didn't like it either, but his reaction was to get even clingier than usual. 


So that was my quiet day, and I will be late to bed tonight. I think it's a clear night in the field, but we'll see when I bring in the bird feeders.


August 17

It was late when I got to bed last night - sometime after midnight, for sure, but I did sleep, in spite of it being warm in the bedroom. I just adjusted the covers a bit and off I went. I was awake around 7:30, but that was clearly too early, and Mac woke me up at 10:00. He wanted to use the tractor to pull a stump, so I needed to open the garage door. That was OK, it was late enough to get up anyway. I had to fill the pill dispensers today, so that took some time, and I didn't get my quota of knitting done. Maybe tonight.


I threw the towels in the washer before I did breakfast, so they are clean, and that is nice, although they are still in the dryer. I just remembered that I have to do the dishes tonight, so that will make me a little later.


I spent most of the day surfing Amazon. I am going to have to see if I can put their ad on my web pages, too, just to get back a little of the money I spend with them. However, I've discovered that their prices, even with shipping, are sometimes even better than Wal-Mart for some of the over the counter drugs and minerals I use. You have to buy some of them in large quantities, but that's fine if you are taking them all the time. And besides, they deliver to the door.


I was doing nothing much when Adam called, and could he do the rest of the weed whacking? Well, sure. He got a new blade for his weed whacker that really worked well, but when I was watching him at it, I thought a scythe would really have been better...or a tractor with a brusher. It was such a good spring for things that the tansy in the back was over 4' high in spots. Amazing. It is all whacked down now, and after seeing it in progress. I'm beginning to think the thing to do is just spray the entire yard, kill everything, and start over. We may just do that next spring.


It was the warmest day of the summer. The temperature got up to 86, and only a strong wind kept it from being intolerable. The wind has been in the 15-30 mph range for most of the afternoon, from the northwest, more or less. It was nearly clear to partly cloudy all day. At least it kept the bugs away, except in the garage. The little biting houseflies that bugged me so much when I was vacationing here are out, and they are horrible.


The only trouble with the heat around here is that it peaks late in the day and it takes until sometime early in the morning for it to drop off to a reasonable temperature. It is still 82. Fortunately, it is supposed to be much cooler tomorrow. However, I will be able to stand in the open doorway when I get out of the shower and air dry for a change. That will be nice. It's one of the little things that's so nice about living in the middle of nowhere.


It was nice to go to Harbor Haus and eat dinner in air conditioning. It was fairly busy there, and at the next table was someone who was regaling her dinner companions with everything you ever wanted to know about the Keweenaw, complete with hand signals. I know the problem, since I've had it myself, although I don't go with the hand signals so much. Anyway, I learned a couple of things I didn't know. Dinner was good, of course, the only trouble being that my waitress was the person whom I think was responsible for ripping off my credit card last summer. We'll see what happens this time. I will definitely be keeping an extremely close eye on my card balance over the next few weeks.


The kitty cats do not like the wind. Sometime during the afternoon, Jasmine came into the office and stood there positively whining at me, and Buster kept coming in and wanting to sit on me. Sorry, guys, there isn't anything I can do about wind, and when it's this warm, the house will be opened up. We don't have air conditioning here.


So that was another quiet day, and it's off to the north end, via the kitchen.


It's a windy, partly cloudy night in the field.


August 16

Well, it turned out to be a rather crazy day, computer-wise, and this won't get uploaded until sometime tomorrow, but I'll write it anyway, so as not to get out of practice.


I was in bed by 11:30, and it was a bright night, with the full moon on a thin layer of clouds. I could see my summer star, vaguely, but nothing less than first magnitude. Not that I spent much time staring at the sky. I was up only once, and I got to see the nearly full moon way off in the south. I got up around 9:00, because I had to walk again, so it was a nice early morning.


It was a windy morning, too, with whitecaps on the harbor and some haze, and about 10:00 we had a handful of raindrops. That was all the rain, but it was cloudy and windy - and warm - for most of the day. The last time I got to check the temperature, it was 79, with winds in the 15-30 mph range. It has cooled off a little, and the wind has dropped almost completely and it's nice.


I actually did something! I put the first load in the washer on my way to the kitchen, and now all the clothes are washed, dried, folded, and almost put away. I will put away the underwear and nighties when I go up to the north end to bed. Amazing.


I also put all the pots and pans away, except for the one I used for breakfast, so that got done. The kitchen is still a mess, but my back wasn't feeling too good, so I saved the rest of it for another day.


I don't know what brought on that spurt of activity, but it's nice to have all that done.


I washed all four pairs of compression hose, so I didn't have any to wear today, and while it felt wonderful to have my toes hanging out of a pair of flip-flops, my feet and ankles are huge, and that isn't comfortable. Well, I'll get them back under control tomorrow. 


I have several pairs of flip-flops, but I keep going back to the old rubber ones. Somehow, they are the most comfortable. By the way, flip-flops are another thing I knew about for many years before they got fashionable. I've worn them since I was a kid, and I've worn out many a pair of rubber ones. I've even done yard work and digging with them on. It's the best solution I've ever found to not wearing any shoes and still having something to protect the bottoms of my feet, which are sensitive.


For some reason, I was thirsty all day today, so I was actually drinking water - water and ice out of the dispenser on the fridge - and it tasted good. My water has a brownish tint to it, although the filter in the fridge takes out most of it, but it has no taste that I have ever been able to sense. It makes me nearly gag when I go to Detroit and have to try to drink that stuff with all the chlorine in it. Yuck. It's one of the good things about living in this part of the country.


Oh - the computer problem. Around 8:00 this evening, suddenly I couldn't connect to the internet, so after doing all the usual things, I tried to call PastyNet...and when I did, I had no dial tone on the phone. Eek! So I checked with the corded phone, and then I put the corded phone on the computer line, and it was OK. Sooo...that must mean the problem is in the house. Then I remembered that I got a phone call this morning and took it on the phone in the kitchen, which is for emergencies only. It is a cheap, weird phone, and I really should replace it with the one I use for checking problems. Anyway, when I hung it up, I didn't get it into the cradle properly. I wondered, because what I was hearing, besides a hum, sounded a lot like wind and water.


So when I finally got PastyNet, there has been another cable break, maybe at the same place as the other one this week. Heaven knows when it may be fixed, since it's a weekend. I think I am going to put in another complaint to the FCC. Two cable breaks in one week is just unacceptable. We need another cable into this area, so if one is cut, we still can get to the outside world. It affects more than just the internet and long distance - we have no 911 service, either, since that is dispatched out of Marquette. And that's serious. There are a lot of people in town this weekend, and things happen. Besides, when PastyNet is inaccessible, nobody is clicking on my ads and that's money out of my pocket.


I had the house open for most of the afternoon, and the warm air sliding over me was just heavenly. It's been a cool summer, and it really is nice to have some warmish weather for a change. I understand it is supposed to be too warm tomorrow, but so long as there is a breeze, it will be OK, and maybe I can open up the house.


Now it is time to trudge up to the north end, after I bring in the bird feeders. It's a warmish, cloudy night in the field tonight.


August 15

Eek! The Ides of August! I can't believe it's halfway gone already. I sure do know how to waste time.


I got to bed by about midnight last night, and I got up around 9:00 for a change. I guess I've caught up on my sleep. 


I was awake briefly around 4:45, but the moon was too bright to see stars, and when I looked at it, there was this big orange setting over the Mountain Lodge. It was beautiful.


It was a beautiful morning. I was awake at about 6:45, which is just about sunrise these days, and I discovered there is a house about halfway up the mountain, which was reflecting the rays of the rising sun from its windows for about five minutes. It was incredibly bright. While I really enjoy living right on the water, that would be a close second, in my view. If the house was situated right and built right, you would have a perfect view of everything from southeast through southwest, and you could see as much of the lake as is available...not to mention the northern lights on the horizon. Well, I picked my spot. I don't think that parcel was for sale when I bought my lot, and besides, in order to get the full views there would have to be a lot of stairs.


It was a beautiful morning again, a bit coolish, and with a little wind for a change. There were some high cirrus clouds for most of the day, but they didn't interfere with the sunshine very much. The temperature was in the upper 60s for most of the day, with a north wind in the 10-15 mph range. Lovely!


I didn't do a lot. I went to the post office, where my mailing from Google had finally arrived, so now I can get paid, although I won't see anything until the end of September...they're as bad as the Social Security Administration. Thanks to all of you, if the clicking keeps up, I should be able to supplement my income nicely. I can't thank you enough.


I did do something: I finally washed up all the pots and pans that were lying around and put all the dishes that were lying around in the dishwasher. Now, the next task, tomorrow, is to put all those pots and pans away and collect up all the trash that needs to be thrown out...then maybe my kitchen will begin to take on a little order again. Unlikely, but possible. The stove needs cleaning again, too, but I don't know if I'll get to that.


I toyed with the idea of going to dinner tonight, but Art in the Park is this weekend, and people were setting up booths when I came back from the post office, so it would be a zoo at Mariner, and I just don't feel I want to be involved in that. I really don't like crowds. So I stayed home and had a frozen pizza.


Now I am sneezing again. It's hay fever season. Even though I don't have nearly so much trouble with my allergies here as I did in Detroit, some ragweed still grows here, and once I get started, the smell of the wood smoke from the campground makes me start sneezing. If it continues, I will have to bring a bottle of allergy meds to the kitchen or the office, so I can take one in the middle of the day. I still take chlortrimeton, which I have used since I was a kid, and it still works for me, but the kind I can buy over the counter isn't time-release, so I have to take it about every 4 hours when the allergies are bad.


Speaking of that, one of the small side effects of having my weed whacking done last weekend is that when the sun shines on the cuttings, it smells like sweet grass - one of my favorite smells. 


I think the chipmunks have finally discovered the bird feeder on the deck. I filled it to overflowing yesterday, and it is just about empty tonight. The squirrels don't eat that much. I have seen several very small chipmunks in and around the feeder, and of course, they aren't eating most of what they carry away. They pack it into their cheek pouches and run off with it to their burrows, so they can get away with a whole lot more than the squirrels do. I will have to sit in the ugly chair tomorrow and watch to see what they do. Oh, well, they are cute, and they keep the kitties occupied.


Jasmine was feeling really jazzy this morning, bouncing up and down the hallway, but then both she and Buster got pretty sleepy, which means to me that we may have a change in the weather. They are pretty good barometers.


So that was another quiet day, and it's a lovely night in the field.


August 14

I got to bed around midnight, and I got up around 9:30, but I didn't go to town. It was such a beautiful day, I just stayed home and enjoyed it.


It got cooler than I thought overnight - down to 52 - but it warmed up to 68 in the afternoon. There was hardly any wind all day, and almost no clouds at all, so it was just lovely. It did get hot in the house, from all the sun, but oh, well. There was a little breeze from the east for part of the afternoon that kept it comfortable in the office.


So I fiddled around and did some surfing and otherwise just enjoyed being here.


Now there is a lovely gibbous moon shining in the south windows, and the temperature has dropped into the middle 50s again, so I will trudge up to the north end and close the porch door before I put myself to bed.


It's a glorious late-summer night in the field.

August 13

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been 91. She had two good friends, the same age, who are still alive, and when I see the shape they're in, I think it's probably better that she didn't live. But I'm still sorry she didn't ever get to look out the great room windows.


I got to writing last night, surprisingly enough, and it was nearly 1:00 when I got to bed. I was awake around 3:30, and there were stars, and besides, I saw two meteors! One is a possible, that I caught just out of the corner of my eye over the trees to the north, but the other one was for sure. It was high overhead and I saw it clearly in the bedroom windows - without my glasses. So I can say I saw a little bit of the Perseids. They peaked yesterday morning, and I forgot about it until later in the day. I wasn't about to go running outside and see if I could see any more, but it was nice to see a couple. It's been forever since I've seen a meteor...like 50 years or so.


I remember when I first got interested in astronomy, going out on the deck behind my bedroom with my mother and dad and watching the Perseids for several years. It was always buggy, but it seemed like it usually took several hours for the mosquitoes to rise to the second story, so we had a window there where we didn't get eaten alive. And, of course, in the Detroit area, the sun sets earlier than it does here. 


That would have been back in the early '50s, when there wasn't as much pollution anywhere, and there were no lights to speak of to the north and east, which were the directions I could see from the deck. There were even a few amazing nights when I could see the Milky Way. Now it's hard to see any stars at all there.


There still isn't much time to see stars around here, since it is beginning to get perceptibly light by 4:30 or so, but it was nice to see a few.


Anyway, I didn't get up until 10:30, and after petting a cat and knitting my 8 rows, it was getting late. I had some idea of going to town today, but by the time I finished doing what I usually do in the morning, it was really too late. So I stayed home, paid a few bills online, did a little embroidery, and not much else.


It turned out to be a pretty day. It was rather cloudy this morning, but it cleared up in the afternoon. The temperature got up to 69, with a light wind from the east. Looking at the weather history, though, the wind was from the west all night, calm for several hours, then picked up from the east - a complete turnaround. Now it's gone back to the west.


So that was my quiet day, and it's time to toddle up to the north end again. If I can get to bed a little earlier, maybe I can get up earlier and go to town tomorrow. I've missed senior day at Econo, but I have a coupon for 15% off at Office Max, and I'd like to use that to get some more card stock for my note cards. We'll see. I won't run out of OJ until next week, so except for the coupons, it isn't critical that I go this week.


I want to thank everyone who is clicking on the ads. The tallies have gone up considerably, which is very helpful to my cause. Please take the time to keep clicking!


It's a quiet night in the field, and there is a gibbous moon way off in the south, shining brightly.


August 12

I read for a while last night and got to bed around 11:15. It was a pretty clear night, although I didn't see much of it. I was awake around 8:30, but that seemed sort of early, so I finally got up around 10:30. I'm not quite sure why I need so much sleep lately, but it seems right.


I indulged in a nice breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausage, but it was after 1:00 before I had it, so it might be called brunch or lunch or something. It was good, anyway.


I was doing the end of my morning surfing when things suddenly got extremely slow. That was happening last week, but I thought we were over it. Then all of a sudden, everything went away. I could get to my website, but there were no ads, and I couldn't get anywhere else. I called PastyNet, and the lines were busy, so I did all the usual things - rebooting, power failing, etc., but nothing worked. When I called PastyNet again, they had put on a hasty message saying there had been a major cable cut to the whole western UP...wow! 


I've known for some time that there was only one telephone cable coming in this direction...


Wow! We're up! Hallelujah!


Anyway, to continue, I guess there aren't enough telephone customers in the Western UP to warrant two cables on two different routes, but I certainly don't agree with that. Remember, here in Copper Harbor, we don't have cell phone service...you have to go up to the top of Brockway to make a cell phone call. So we are effectively completely cut off from the world if that cable is cut.


Anyway, I embroidered for most of the afternoon, and I did make some progress on the angel, but I still have a long way to go.


It was another nice day, although it was partly cloudy all day long. The temperature hit a high of 77 at 4:00 pm, and there was almost no wind all day long.


I got pretty steamed up. It was in the 80s in the office, and I decided to cook tonight - pork chops with onions and mushroom soup, one of my favorites. It was good, but between the heat and the standing, I was dripping when I finally sat down for my dinner. I even turned on the ceiling fan.


It is interesting to me that the NWS station wasn't down. I thought it communicated by telephone lines...but maybe they were OK between here and Marquette.


By the way, I just checked Google, and thank you, everyone! I got 204 clicks today, which is just great! That's on only just over 1000 visits. I appreciate your support more than I can tell you. It seems like I'm not the only one who wants me to be able to stay here and keep the camera running and write these funny little journal entries. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Please keep it up.


So that was another quiet day, and now I can upload this and toddle off to the north end, after I put the rest of my pork chops away.


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


August 11

Well, I made it into bed before midnight last night, but that's about all I can say. When my eyes adjusted, Arcturus was fading in and out, so it wasn't so clear then, but later on it got clear enough to see the end stars in the little dipper and a couple of nearby stars in Draco. 


I didn't get up until 11:00. That should have been enough sleep, but I feel tired again. Maybe eventually I'll catch up. My mother's theory was that you could get too much sleep, and that might be true, too, except that the last time before 11:00 that I woke up was much too early by any standards.


It was a beautiful morning, and I'm sorry I missed most of it. I worked a repeat on the fruit salad sock (8 rows), and had to pet a cat a lot. I'm not sure what has gotten into Buster now, but he is exceptionally loving again. Strange little kitty. 


While my breakfast was heating up, I unloaded the dish washer. I wish I could get myself to do that all the time, but by the time I got to the office, my back was killing me. And I forgot to put out the bird feeders for quite a while.


I guess I didn't do a lot today except go to the post office, and now I have some new history books to read...or to add to the list of things I want to read. I still haven't gotten the thing from Google they said they mailed on July 31, so there is no way I can get paid.


I haven't mentioned the ads, because I was waiting to see how they would work out. It's not bad - I'm apparently averaging around $!9 a day, and that's on only an average of 69 clicks a day, out of something like 1600 visitors who might view the ads. Ahem. Any help would be appreciated. I know that some of the pages seem to have the same ads all the time, and some of them don't seem very relevant, but still. 4% isn't much.


It was a beautiful day, although lately there have been a few clouds in the sky. The temperature got up to 69 around noon, then dropped back a tad, and there was only a very light wind mostly from the north. It was clear and blue and lovely.


This evening I've been doing a little bit more embroidery on the angel, although hassling that frame is beginning to annoy me. I may have to take it out of the frame and take my chances. I think I've done all the back stitching and long straight stitching anyway, so it isn't so important, if I can make the metallics work. It's going to be a very pretty thing when it's done, and I'd like to finish it, seeing has how I think I've been working on it off and on for three or four years.


However, now I think maybe I'll toddle up to the north end and read a while. It's a lovely, quiet night in the field, and it would be nice to sit in bed and watch it.


August 10

Well, I hope I don't do that again. I'm not sure why, except that everything seemed to be late yesterday, but it was 3 am before I got to bed this morning. I didn't get up until 11:30, but that still wasn't enough sleep, and it's time to go try it again, maybe longer.


I worked on the fruit salad sock this morning, and finished the toe and did the first repeat of the pattern. I think I am going to like it. I think there is something wrong with the pattern for the heel, but with my impaired ability to visualize a pattern, I will wait until I try it to say that for sure. I love that Maizy yarn, and this is going to turn out to be a nice color for summer. Buster was disgusted with me, because I wanted to knit instead of pet him, but he got a good petting anyway.


I didn't do much. The dishwasher is pretty much ready to run tonight, and that's about all I did. I decided to work on the angel again, and by working at the desk, I managed a bit better. Too bad - the ugly chair is much more comfortable - but I just can't manage the frame when I'm in that seat. It's hard at the desk, too, but manageable. There are more metallics in the bottom than I thought, and it's really tempting to try to do it in hand, but I don't think it would work. Anyway, I did make some progress.


The weather was beautiful again. It was clear and sunny and lovely. It was a little cooler than yesterday - in the middle 60s, peaking at 66 - and the wind was about 9 mph out of the north. 


I noticed that it was very quiet next door today, and I don't think the kids were outside at all. I still wonder what happened with the boat. They got the outboard running again, but I think they put the boat away after that.


So that was our quiet Sunday.


It seemed to be getting dark rather early, and I noticed that sunset was at 9:11 tonight, and we are down below 14 hours of daylight now. I wrote in one of my stories that this is a bittersweet time of year. The weather is just beautiful, but this is about the end of it, and soon we will be in autumn. I have enjoyed the weather, although it was a disappointment not to be able to have the house opened up all summer. However, I never had to get used to hot weather, so it won't be such a jolt when the cold comes.


The breeze coming into the office smells of pine and sweet grass, and wood smoke from the campground, and it is a good time just to breathe and listen to the quiet.


So now I will take myself up to the north end - promise - and try to get to bed at a semi-reasonable hour tonight. It s a lovely night in the field, and the quarter moon is shining in the south windows.


August 9

I read until about 11:30 last night, and I drifted off to sleep. I was up several times during the night, and around 4:00 this morning, it was clear enough outside that I could see both stars at the end of the Little Dipper. However, the next time I was up, around 6:30, there was a deck of clouds covering up the sky. That apparently cleared up by about 8:30, but it was 10:30 before I got up, and by then it was a glorious morning.


I rushed the Buster love-in a bit, because I didn't know when Adam would arrive, but apparently he slept in, too, because around noon he called to say he was running late. That was all right; I was ready to get up, but if I'd known he was going to be that late, I might have eaten something else for breakfast. Oh, well.


Eventually, I went out to the garage to put my license tab on  (I'm only nine days late - oops!) and unpack the weed whacker. I used it a bit, but there seems to be a problem with the line feeding, which I will have to play with further. I did weed whack some, and I found a little Deptford pink trying to grow amongst the tansy, so I got out the camera and took a picture. The flower is about " across, but it is so pink it's noticeable. It's nice to know the macro settings are working, because it was so sunny I could hardly see a thing.


Adam turned up while I was doing that, and he set off to cut down as much as he could. He finally ended up having to use a blade on his weed whacker, and he was back working toward the drain field when it got so dull he decided to give up. I do think he got most of the spotted knapweed cut down. The trouble with that stuff is, it's pretty. There is just much too much of it. And the stems of the tansy are so tough it takes a lot of work to cut through them. There's a lot of that, too, and it's not pretty, or at least I don't think so.


Anyway, he worked hard for about three hours. I tried the weed whacking, and it is hard work. I will look at what he did and I might try a little more myself. This won't get rid of the stuff there is there now, but it might prevent it from spreading any further. At least I can hope.


When I got tired and sweaty, I came in and remembered I had gotten my jewelry supply catalog a while back, so I hauled that out (it's almost 1300 pages!) and started looking at it. And that's why I'm doing this so late. It took hours to read through. I like to do that, though, just to have a good idea of what's there. While most things were in order, every so often an item would be totally out of place, and those were some of the most interesting things of all. I got to thinking again how I wish I could start working with gemstones and gold and silver and Swarovski crystals, but the prices are just beyond my means.  Oh, well, maybe someday.


It was a beautiful day, and a wonderful day to be working outside. It was sunny, and there was a 10 -15 mph breeze out of the northeast. The temperature was around 60 all day, but it felt much warmer, especially in the sun. When I went to get something to eat (finally), there was a quarter moon shining brightly over the Mountain Lodge and leaving a nice glitter path on the harbor. I can hear the water swishing against the beach, so it's not totally quiet, but it's nice.


My neighbors next door seem to have increased in number (and number of dogs), and this afternoon they launched a small boat with an outboard and an inflatable boat behind it. I am not sure what happened, because I wasn't watching closely, but about five of them got into the boat and went out maybe 200 yards into the harbor, and the next thing I knew, they were all in the water and the boat was upside down. Egad! I can't imagine what they did. It took some work, and somebody had to come out in the inflatable, but they finally got back to shore and righted the boat. It has been very, very quiet over there ever since.


Like I say, I don't know what happened, but I should think it was a sobering experience. Fortunately, the water has warmed up enough that they weren't in dire danger, and they weren't all that far from shore - not over the deep places, I don't think - but still. I can imagine the moms are giving the dads a few choice words tonight, or I hope they are.


It sounds like they may have gotten the outboard working again, but I hope they are a little more careful the next time they go out.


My mother learned about boats and water from her grandfather, and I always paid attention to what she said...and I think I know what she would have said if she had seen that escapade. Lake Superior is a cold lake and it's very treacherous, even in the confines of the harbor, and one has to respect it at all times. I don't know if the first responders or the sheriff have a boat in the harbor, and I don't know how fast they might have been able to respond to a 911 call.


So that was my day, and I will assess the damage to the weeds tomorrow. Now I think I will toddle oft to the north end and call it a day.


August 8

So today is 08/08/08. Numerology. There will be four more of these, then none for another century.


I turned out the light at 11:30 last night, and when my eyes adjusted, there was Arcturus shining in the window, so it was a clear night, although not as uniformly clear as the past two. When I was up during the night, sometimes I could see both stars at the end of the Little Dipper (second and third magnitude) and sometimes I could only see one a few seconds later. But there were stars, and  I glimpsed Vega riding high in the northwest.


I did sleep well, although a couple of times I woke up from weird dreams, and I finally made it out of bed at 10:30. That should have been enough sleep, but I'm tired again now, and it's not that late.


All my good intentions went by the board, because I spent a good part of the day on the telephone. Both calls were very pleasant, but they were long. Then my neighbor to the south - a son-in-law came and introduced himself, and we had a nice conversation, and after that, the Schwan's truck appeared and talked me into replenishing some of my frozen things. And that was about all for the afternoon.


I looked at the sampler, and when I started the next color, I realized I had miscounted very close to the beginning, so I had to rip out most of what I'd done. Drat. I guess, instead of doing all the dark pink, I should have worked everything in that part before I went on. I guess that's what I'll do when I get back at it. That happens to everybody. I made an assumption about a count in one place, and I was wrong. Anyway, I got beyond that point before I stopped for dinner, and the next time I will be more careful.


It was a beautiful day, although there were more clouds today, and it is supposed to be cloudy all night. There are a couple of light squalls out in the lake, the last time I looked at radar. It might even rain here. The temperature got up to 75, although for most of the afternoon it was in the low 70s, with quite strong winds, which have now gotten into the 15-25 mph range. 


There were a few brave birds, mostly hummingbirds. I will have to refill the feeder tomorrow. I think they are through breeding for the season and are just hanging around until it's time to start south, so from now on, I should see a lot of them. The birds don't visit the feeders so much when it's windy, and I can't blame them much. It's hard to hang on when the wind is blowing that hard and the feeder is moving around.


I started the Maizy sock this morning, and I realized there was something wrong with the pattern, so I had to go hunt it up on the net. I still think there is something wrong, but it's better than it was. These are going to be rather jazzy socks, but it still sounds like they will be interesting to knit. If the heel doesn't turn out right, I will just fall back on my trusty old short-row heel and be done with it.


Adam is planning to come tomorrow and weed whack, and I will have to work with him, at least part of the time, I think, so it should be early to bed tonight. The tansy and the spotted knapweed are all in bloom, so this is about the last chance to get it cut down before it goes to seed.


That was my quiet day, and it's a nice night in the field, even though it is a little bit cloudy and windy. The temperature is very comfortable, and that makes all the difference.


August 7

I embroidered for a while again last night, and started a new band that has five colors in it. Putting in the foundation areas requires a lot of counting, but once I have that finished, I don't think the rest will be hard. Just a lot of little stitches.


Anyway, I dropped into bed around 1:30. When my eyes adjusted, it was clear out, but I was so tired, I didn't even think about getting up.


I woke up around 9:00, and I was not ready to get up, but I had to walk, and it was another beautiful morning, so I did.


I finished the Tofutsies sock! So that pair is done, and now I can start on a pair of Maizy socks. The pattern is called "niblets" and the color is called "fruit salad", which is a pink background with rose, yellow and purple spots. The combination should be interesting. Besides, it is knit toe-up, and it seems to have a squared-off heel, so I will be interested in seeing how that works.


Anyway, because I worked so long on the sock, it was 10:30 before I got to the office. And then the fun began.


I was surfing along, when all of a sudden I couldn't get any .gif images to load. Oh, dear. I had that trouble several years ago, and it was because my copy of Internet Explorer had gotten corrupted. So...I started doing GoBacks...and back...and back...I finally got back to the reboot before I published the web last night, and I still couldn't get any .gifs...and I knew it was working then. So I recovered to where I was when I started having the problem, shut the whole system down, rebooted, and...well, I could read my funnies and most everything was OK except for the Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD). Everything was loading faster, too, so my working assumption is that there was something wrong outside my computer. What, I do not know.


That wasted the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon. I had two tasks for the day: put away the cat food, and pick up the kitchen. I accomplished both, eventually. I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and threw out a lot of stuff. I really should schlep what I have in trash off to the compactor tomorrow, just to get it out of the way, but we'll see how that goes.


So I ended up not embroidering today, except for a couple of stitches. I had been having such a problem seeing the 36 count fabric that I decided to put the next-highest magnification lens in my MagEyes, so I had to check the results. Oh. At least today, I can see much better at 2x than I could at 1.6x. So slowly I can see my accommodation degrading, not that it surprises me.


My eyes are sore enough from lack of sleep that I think when I do get back to the embroidery, I won't have a problem, and I will try the 2x lens when I get to the angel again. The only problem is, the higher the magnification, the closer I have to work to the cloth, and after a while I have a problem sticking the needle in my nose. But there's no point in trying to do it if I can't see. I know I had a terrible time (at times) when I was doing the hard work on the angel with not going through the right hole with my cross stitches. The 2x lens should help. I will have to hunt down the one for the MagEyes I use at the ugly chair (I have three, and thank heaven for them!).


I went to the post office and stopped at the store to get a few things I needed. I can have potato salad and cole slaw again, and I got a couple of bananas so I can have some cereal for breakfast. I am running low on yogurt, and they have that in the summertime, so I got that, too.


 My new pill holders came this afternoon, and that was another trip. I think these are the same brand I have been using for ten or more years (and they are getting pretty grungy), but now they come with color-coded lids for morning, noon, afternoon and evening. Well. I have been using two - one for 28 days of morning, and one for 28 days of evening - and I wanted a third one for the stuff I keep forgetting to take. The old ones were all clear and all blue, so I could differentiate between morning and evening by color, which is most convenient. I could write on the new ones, but I'm sure I would keep grabbing the wrong one (even with the two colors, I occasionally take the morning pills in the evening or vice versa), so I wanted all the lids to be the same color on each unit. I can't quite accomplish that with only three, but one row of purple won't be confusing. The problem is, they had put them together so that the blue tops wouldn't fit in the bottom part and the yellow and pink tops wouldn't fit in the top part. It was nice that in these things, each set of tops is separate. But I ended up having to cut some notches in some of the lids to get them to fit where I want them. It took some doing, but I now have three holders that look the way I want them (except that some of the writing is upside down) and when I run out of pills the next time, I can fill them up and have them work the way I'm used to. The new ones also have shaped bottoms to the compartments, which should make the pills easier to get out. I think it took longer to explain what I was doing than it did to get them fixed up.


It was a beautiful day, mostly clear and blue, with a brisk wind in the 10-20 mph range. Between 7:00 and 9:00 this evening, there were gusts up to 25 mph, but now it is dying down again. The temperature was in the lower 60s this morning and in the upper 60s this afternoon. A bit cool to have the house opened up, but nice to be out in.


I didn't pay much attention to the feeders today, but the level in the hummingbird feeder is going down enough that I know they are hitting it hard. As for the rest, I don't think so. Strange, although for the seed eating birds, this is a good time of year, and I suppose they like variety.


So that is about all I know, and tonight I am going to bed at some reasonable time, hopefully before midnight.


It's another lovely, clear night in the field, and we should have a moon and stars.


August 6

Instead of going to bed like a good girl, I sat and embroidered until after 1:00. Oh, well. I should have stopped a while before I did, because I had to rip out the last part I did. While I was sitting there, I began to be bugged by a bug I must have let in when I was bringing in the bird feeders. It is the biggest bug I have had in the house lately, around an inch long. It was a very strange bug, and it bothered me so much - I tried to squash it twice to no avail - that I finally got out the camera and took a picture. While that isn't a bad picture of a bug that was flopping around on my instruction pages, it doesn't do it justice. It was copper-colored all over, even the ribs on its wings, and it was sort of metallic looking. I have no idea what it is, but that's not surprising, since I'm not really up on bugs. It kept landing on things, including me and my cloth, and frequently when it landed on the paper, it overshot and did almost a summersault before it could get itself upright, and it kind of flopped around a lot. It isn't there today, so I guess it must have succumbed overnight.


It is also nice to know the manual settings I programmed into my camera seem to be working and I can take macro shots.


Anyway, it was after 2:00 when I got to bed. When I turned out the light, after my eyes adjusted, I could tell it was a very clear night, almost clear enough to tempt me to go running out to look at the sky again...but not at 2 am, thanks. 


I got up around 9:15. That wasn't nearly enough sleep, but I had to walk, and it was another beautiful morning, rather breezy, but nearly clear and blue and sunny. It was like that for most of the day, until recently, when a rain cell went by out in the lake and gave us a few drops and a lot of wind. The temperature was in the low 70s until the rain came by, and it has now dropped to 62, and the wind has died down completely. At its height, the wind was in the 15-25 mph range, strong enough to raise some whitecaps on the harbor.


In the middle of the afternoon, I suddenly noticed a very small boat out in the harbor, running back and forth. It was rough out there, and while it didn't seem to bother the two occupants of the boat, no way would I have been so foolish as to be in such a small boat when the waves were that high. I think they got home safely, but the boat was being tossed around pretty badly. Some people just have no sense at all.


Except to pay a few bills, which I haven't mailed yet, I spent most of the day embroidering, and it felt good. I finished the band I was working on last night and started the next one and made good progress on it, although I had to rip a lot and I haven't finished it yet. 


I determined that the sampler I was thinking about when I dug this one out has disappeared. I know I rather abandoned it near the end, because the directions for the last bands didn't match what I saw in the photograph at all, but I think I could reproduce them from the photo...if I could find the piece. I have no idea what happened to it. I do have two storage boxes in the front closet with embroidery stuff in them, and I can look in those, although the last time I did, I don't recall seeing a sampler. It may have gotten taken down to the basement in one of the storage boxes, but in order to hunt it up, I would probably have to go through 15 boxes...and it might not be there. I wish I wouldn't do things like that, but when I was filling those boxes, I just sort of threw stuff into them without trying to sort it out. I don't think it got taken to Champine, or I hope it didn't because I haven't found the project cases I had there. So I will work on the one I have until I get tired of all those teensy stitches. 


Oh, yes, and I finished the foot of the sock and started on the toe, so I am almost through with the Tofutsies socks. The next pair won't be on #1 needles, for sure!


It was too windy for many birds, although I did have quite a few hummingbirds. I can't see the deck from the desk, so I don't know how many squirrels there were. There was one there when I went to get my dinner.


While I was publishing the picture of the bug, I did the one of the moon that the camera caught. It's not great, but you can see how bright it was from the glitter path on the harbor.


So that was another quiet day, and I will try hard not to stay up so late tonight. I find counted satin stitch is addictive, and besides, once I get started and get the rhythm of the part I am working on, I just don't want to stop until it's done. 


It's a mostly cloudy night in the field, and there might be a little more rain coming our way.


August 5

It was just after midnight again when I turned out the light. However, today, it was after 10:00 when I got up. I have had the door to the porch open for the past couple of days, and it keeps the temperature in the bedroom much more to my liking. I was surprised, when my eyes adjusted, to see Arcturus over in the west - briefly. And sometime later, when I got up, I could see parts of the dippers in the north. So apparently it wasn't completely cloudy all night.


It was a glorious morning when I got up, and it was a beautiful day. There might have been a cloud here and there, but mostly it was clear and blue. It was also quite windy in the afternoon, with north winds in the 15-30 mph range. That made it much cooler here than in town, and in fact, I had to close the door to the deck for a while. The temperature was in the low 70s all afternoon. Our great heat sink is in operation again, making the nights warmer and the days cooler and keeping the difference in temperatures to a minimum. Eventually, I opened the door again, and it has been lovely.


The task of the day was to fold and put away all the clothes that were sitting around in wash baskets, and I did that. I was going to do some other things, but oh, well.


The other tasks were to go to the post office and vote. Several of my packages were there, and I was most annoyed to find that the soap and vitamins I ordered from Amazon were packed very badly, and in fact, the liquid soap had leaked. Grr. I did email them, and got one response which, as usual, completely misunderstood what I was saying. You know, I guess these companies have to outsource their customer service operations to countries with lower wage rates, but the least they could do is be sure the people they hire can understand English.


The election was a primary, but there were several millage (would you believe that word is not in the MS dictionary? Sheez!) proposals on the ballot that I felt were worth voting on. We have a strange law called the Headlee amendment in Michigan, which can result in operating expenses for local governments going to zero if they are not periodically voted on. Grant Township needs some kind of government (not a lot, but some), and we certainly need fire protection. So I felt it necessary to vote, even though the partisan part of the ballot was rather empty. I was voter number seventy, out of 224 registered in the township, which everybody seemed to think was a good number for a primary election. 


When I was there, I ran into Mary Ann, who does various things around there, from cleaning the building to supervising the elections, and we had a nice chat.


When I got back from town, after I looked at my mail, I dug out another one of the reproduction samplers and I've been working on it, although I know why I quit the last time. This one is done on 36 count linen (that's 36 threads per inch), which isn't easy to see at any time, and the band I am working on is done in two very pale shades of yellow, all over two threads, but the counting is weird. The fabric is antique white, so the contrast in this band is nearly nonexistent. I was having a hard time seeing what I was doing, so I had some dinner, and then, surprisingly enough, everything cleared up. It's still very hard to see, but I am making progress. Of course I am using magnification. I could see it without my glasses, but that always gives me a headache. It is worked with silk, which I love, and it is going to be a very pretty thing if I ever get done with it. That isn't the one I was thinking about last night, but I don't know quite what happened to that one. I will have to dig through my projects and see what I can find.


After the sun set, there was a lovely crescent moon setting over the mountain. The camera caught it, but the pictures aren't really all that good. The moon is about six pixels big, I think. I did save one picture, and maybe I will publish it sometime.


Now it is time to head north. It's a lovely summer night in the field, and we should have stars tonight.


August 4

I turned out the light shortly after midnight last night. Around 4:00 am, I woke up and started hearing thunder, and there was lots of nice lightning, although as usual most of the storm was out over the lake. We got a shower, but not a whole lot of rain fell. It just made it very humid.


I got up at 8:30 because I had to walk, and I decided to stay up, since I knew if I went back to sleep, I'd never get to my massage. I had time to do my morning surfing before I went off to my massage, and I feel much better for it. After a while, my back gets all tensed up, and Johanna pays special attention to it.


She was late, though, so it was 1:00 when I got home. I felt like doing something different, and I tried a couple of things. I knitted on the new afghan for a while, but that's pretty boring. I tried to work on the angel, but I discovered that I won't be able to use my floor frame. It just doesn't fit in the space I have available, and I can't see my chart and the cloth at the same time. In fact, I have a hard time getting the cloth close enough to my face to see it at all. After hassling the frame and losing a washer and a knob, I finally gave up on that. I will have to try leaning the frame on the desk, even though that means I won't be able to sit in the ugly chair.


Way back in 1986, I was one of the first group to start a Spanish sampler that Kay Montclare reproduced from a Victoria & Albert Museum piece. It is an enormous thing, 55" wide and probably 72" long. I have worked on it off and on ever since, and I am about two-thirds done. It is mostly counted satin stitch, although there are a lot of other stitches in it, including some drawn thread work. One of my favorite stitches is counted satin stitch (blackwork is a close second), and every so often I go back to it. I have been looking longingly at the box it is in for quite a while now, so this evening, I hauled it out and worked about 3" of one border. It is done on Glenshee linen, which is about my favorite fabric, and there are some really beautiful patterns in it. It is still available, by the way, from The World In Stitches (my friend Randi), as are six or seven other samplers from the V&A, of which I've done three or four. Trouble is, Kay was working from a black and white picture, so she made up the colors as she went along, and they bear no resemblance to the original at all, but they are pretty.


After Kay sold TWIS to Randi, she continued to do reproduction samplers, and I have collected most of them and completed several. Some are detailed and confusing enough that I probably won't ever do them, but I am almost through with a small one in counted satin stitch using silk (my favorite thread), and I've started either one or two that are all blackwork. I like to do cross stitch, but my real love is other counted thread stitches...which reminds me, the German sampler hasn't turned up, I don't think. I wonder where it went? It must be in this house, but that's not saying much.


Anyway, I enjoyed my time with the needle tonight, even though I dropped a needle and a threader on the floor and I can't find them. I do think I will probably give up on that border I've been working on and try something else for a while. There is a big, confusing center section that I am going to have to attack one of these days. Or I may get out the little silk sampler and work on that for a while...so much to do, so little time!


It wasn't a very nice day. The temperature zigzagged around 70, and there wasn't any wind, but the humidity was over 75% all day, so it was sticky and icky. The skies were bright-cloudy, and there wasn't any more rain after that one shower.


Somebody pointed out to me that there were four ravens on the deck railing about 8:00 this morning. They come for the cracked corn that is in the birdseed mixture. While I was sitting in the ugly chair, I watched several squirrels (including one that looks quite pregnant) and a couple of chipmunks at the feeder on the deck. The chipmunks are lots of fun to watch. I don't know how they manage to stuff their cheek pouches so full - one of them had so much in his that his cheeks were wider than his hips.  There have been a few chipping sparrows, but they have been disappointed, since I didn't put any small seeds out in the last batch. The hummingbirds were regular visitors, but there weren't very many other birds. I wonder where they have all gone?


I have a neighbor to the south these days, who has three kids. Today they got to go in the water late this afternoon, and if the giggles and laughter were any indication, they had a great time. They bothered me a bit when they were little, because one of them was a screamer, but they have all settled down, and it's nice to hear kids having fun.


So that was my quiet day, and it's past time to toddle up to the north end. It's a quiet, dampish night in the field tonight, but it doesn't look like it will rain.


August 3

Before I went up to the north end last night, I began hearing what I believe were several coyote pups howling at the world. It only lasted about 5 minutes, but it didn't sound like any dogs I've heard around here. Even the sound the pups make isn't very pleasant. Ah, the joys of living in the Northwoods...


I started re-reading the blue binder last night and turned out the light around midnight. I need to go back and try to split the section into two parts, but not tonight, I think. I had the left ear - right hip thing last night, so I was wakeful in the middle of the night. It's curious to me that eventually those pains always go away, but sometimes it takes a while. 


So it was around 11:00 when I got up, and I knitted on the sock for a while. While I was knitting, I saw something fairly heavy hit some branches over at the north lot line, and when I looked at it with the monocular, there was a not-very-old robin eating pin cherries. Its breast was reddish but still stripy at the bottom. I know we have robins around here, but I've never seen or heard them before. It is rather strange that I've never heard them, since I'm frequently up (if briefly) when they usually sing their morning song. So now I've seen them.


For some reason, I didn't feel very well today, so I didn't do much. I need to put a few more things in the dishwasher and run it overnight. 


I felt like knitting, but not on anything I'd been knitting on, so I hauled out the Lion Brand Homespun afghan I started last year. When I got the kit, I didn't like the colors, so I replaced the browns and golds with blues, but then I got tired of it. I really didn't like the way it was coming out; instead of being round, it was going to be octagonal. The last issue of Knitter's magazine had a pattern for knitting an afghan like the crocheted one I did a while back, which is a circular ripple pattern, and I decided it might be fun to do my Homespun afghan like that, even though the gauges are totally different. It meant I had to copy the entire pattern and add the color changes to it, but I got that done, and I've gotten almost to where I was when I started ripping out the old one. I think it is going to be interesting. Homespun isn't a very easy yarn to knit with. It splits easily and the stitches don't slip through the ones in the row below very well, so I'm not sure how nice the knitting is going to look, but it will be OK. It's lumpy yarn anyway. I think my new colors are going to work out. The only one left that I don't like is a rather orangey-coral, but that will add some spice to the thing.


Anyway, I spent the afternoon sitting in the ugly chair knitting and looking at the sky and the water.


Not that there was a lot to look at. It was a beautiful morning when I got up, nearly clear and blue, with a temperature that was already 75, with a very light or nonexistent wind from the south. It went up from there, peaking at 79, which was a little warm for me, but I'm not going to complain, with the doors open and all. It has dropped back to under 70 now, and the sky had pretty much clouded up by 4:00, with a deck of nondescript altostratus clouds. To our south, there was a big area of storms, but it went southeast over Lake Michigan and missed us altogether. It might rain sometime tonight, though.


Then after dinner, I got to reading Science News online until my eyes began to go crossed. I do not like to read on a CRT. I believe I've said that before. I especially don't like it when the text is something like 8 point. However, Science News is only coming out every two weeks now, and I'm not sure how many of the little tidbits they have online get into the print magazine - that's one reason I'm reading it online, so I can compare it to the print version. They do have a couple of blogs that I know don't get into hard copy, which have had some interesting things in them.


Anyway, the headache I have now is different from the one I had all day and is centered behind my eyes, which tells me I have been staring at the tube too long. I think it has something do do with wearing progressive bifocals and trying to find the optimum place to look through. 


So it is time to go to bed, because I have a massage tomorrow, which I need, and I have to get up and get going at some reasonable hour.


It's a quiet, cloudy night in the field (except for the mosquito flying around my head) and it's time to go up to the north end.


August 2

There were several things I wanted to talk about. Let's see if I can remember them all.


I didn't read and I didn't knit, but it was still around midnight when I got to bed. I had to get up around 3:00, and when I looked out the window, it was even clearer than the night before. Out the front windows, I could see my summer star, Arcturus, in the west. In fact, it was so clear I fleetingly thought about running outside to look at the Milky Way - but I didn't. I'm not a good astronomer; sleep comes first.


I got up around 10:00 this morning, feeling much better than yesterday. When I walked into the bathroom, there was the biggest beetle I have ever seen clinging to the screen. It was about an inch long, with a huge abdomen. While I was sitting there, it crawled all the way to the top of the screen, and it wanted to go further, but the trim and siding baffled it. It was in the upper right corner of the screen when I left. I wonder if it is still there? I wished I could have seen the top side of it, because its underside was pretty uniformly black. That's the disadvantage of looking at things on the window screen - you only see their undersides.


While I was knitting and enjoying the beetle, I noticed something whitish moving out on the edge of the drain field, and when I looked with the binoculars (well - that pair is a monocular; one of the sides has had its prism or mirror or whatever move out of alignment), it was a deer - the fawn some people have seen around here. It is getting pretty big, but its back is still spotted, although the spots are beginning to fade. It didn't stay long. It wasn't very windy, and the flies were obviously driving it crazy, so eventually it went away, giving me a pretty good look at it. But it didn't just walk or run - it was jumping and dancing around, just like a little kid. I think they sowed grass seed over the drain field, and while the tansy has a pretty good hold, there is still a lot of grass around there, and clearly deer like grass. I wonder where its mama was.


So that was a nice start to the day. It was also very sunny and pretty this morning. Later in the day, some clouds started moving in, but there was still lots of sunshine. The temperature got into the upper 60s, peaking at 69, and while there was a little wind earlier, there has been none at all since 6:00 this evening. It's a pretty evening, even though the sun set behind a cloudbank.


I didn't do a lot. I moved the July journal to Word, which always takes a while, to read through it and correct the typos. Last month it was a consistent replacement of commas with periods...sorry about that. My eyes, you know. There were also some repeated words I missed when I read through the entries. I wish there was a good way to do these things in Word, but when I do, I trash the left border, which I just don't want to do anymore.


I went to the post office, where none of the packages I've gotten notified about has come in. I got out fast: the Copper Man Triathlon was today, and there were a lot of people in town.


I was going to do some weed whacking again, but my back is bothering me - again - and besides, it was time to do something about the kitchen. I got the dishwasher sort of loaded to run tomorrow, and I washed the pots and pans and cleaned out all the trash I had left on the counters. It doesn't look good, but it is a bit better than it was.


Then I had one of my flatiron steaks and some of my yummy strawberries for dinner.


Now it is time to bring in the bird feeders and toddle up to the north end. I might write a little tonight, or I might start reading the blue binder again, with the thought of breaking out the chapters. Hmmm...I have picked the yarn and pattern for the next pair of socks, so I could do that, too. All these decisions!


August 1

Well, that was a rude way to start my 67th year.


I read off the end of the white binder and started writing, so it was a little after midnight when I got to bed. About 3:00, I woke up with severe abdominal cramps, and I spent the next two hours in the bathroom, running off, mostly from the bottom, although I did keep having bouts of rather severe nausea and sweats. When my gut finally settled down, around 5:00, my nightgown was wet, but I was so cold, I had a hard time getting back to sleep. I can't sleep when my feet are cold, and they were like two chunks of ice. Finally I did get back to sleep, and I got up around 11:00, but I still don't feel very good and I never got dressed all day. One of the nice things about living in the middle of nowhere is that I can go out to feed the birds in my nightie, although eventually I put on a robe, too.


While I was sitting in the bathroom, between cramps and nausea, I was looking outside, and this is about the first time all summer I've seen the stars. I could see Polaris and the two end stars of the Little Dipper, and the handle of the Big Dipper. That got me thinking. When I moved in here, the trees were enough lower that I could see the entire Big Dipper when it is down below the pole. Now, I can't do that anymore. When I got up and craned my neck, I could see Vega up in the northwest. It was a very nice, clear night. I know trees grow, and I wouldn't ever cut them down, but I do wish I had a better view of the northern sky. Oh, well.


I can't imagine what caused my problem. I did eat much more than usual, but that shouldn't cause the problems I had. For the first year or so after the stem cell transplant, while I was rebuilding my immune system, I had that problem a lot, but I think it has been two or three years since I've had it. Strange.


So I felt puny enough that I didn't do anything today, which is too bad. There are several chores which really need doing. I read a couple of the magazines that have been lying around for a week or two.


Then late in the afternoon, a nice lady stopped by. She had been out on her family's property picking bilberries, and just stopped to introduce herself. That was nice. And Buster came out to meet her, and she is a cat person, so she was delighted that he is so friendly and so pretty. I wish I could get a good picture of him, but he's black...


I wasn't hungry, but I did eat, and while I was eating, Debbie called to wish me Happy Birthday, and we had our usual long talk...until she got the second call from her boyfriend. She seems to have been dating a lot lately, which is nice for her. Her teenage sons and her ex have been causing her all sorts of problems, so we had a lot to talk about.


However, it's much later than I had hoped to start this, because I have to upload from FrontPage tonight, and that always takes a lot of time.


The weather was a bit of everything. We had a nice thunderstorm between 8:00 and 9:00 this morning, although as usual most of the thunder was out over the lake. Then it warmed up to 68 briefly before it settled down in the middle 60s. It got breezy in the afternoon, with a 15-30 mph wind from the north. Now it is nearly calm. There were some clouds for most of the day, but it finally cleared up completely around 7:30, so there will be stars again tonight, if I'm around to see them.


Now I really need to wash off all the sweat, get a clean nightie, and crash. I am very tired and I still don't feel very robust. I took enough Imodium that I don't think I will have any more of those problems, and now all I need is time and sleep.


It's a lovely clear night in the field, and I will be off to bed as soon as I can get this thing to upload.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM