A bit of everything.

The phrase “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute” is used in many locations and the Keweenaw is certainly among them. Our weather can and does change by the minute, especially due to the influence that the big lake has on it, but I think a more accurate statement would be wait an hour or wait a day. This week, we had just about everything the weather can supply…except snow I guess. 

On Monday, the temp bottomed out at 42 degrees at the airport early in the morning. By around 5 pm, the temperature had risen to 93 degrees. That kind of a change in temperature, 51 degrees in around 12 hours is pretty rare in most of the world. That kind of a change in the Midwest is even more rare and when it does happen, it typically happens in the opposite direction. Cold air is more dense than warm air and can “shove” it out the the area much more easily than warm air moving the cold air out. I do not know for sure if the warming of 51 degrees in less than 24 hours is and also in 12 hours is an all time record for the airport, but I strongly suspect it in both cases. I do know that the 93 degree for a high was a new record for the day.

Interestingly, the temp here at our house only topped out around 71. We had a good breeze off the lake and it did a fine job of providing natural air conditioning. I know I complained about how the lake was keeping us so much cooler last month, but I sure am happy about what it is doing now! I had gotten the air conditioner ready in the house as well as the portable one I will be using in my office, but did not have to turn either of them on. I know if we were still up outside of Mohawk, we would have for sure.

We had also planned to go to the beach with some friends, but it was so crowded, we decided to skip the beach and just head to their place and hang out by the waterway. This was right next to where we lived in the camper last August through October. The girls had fun towing each other around using a kayak and they also both went swimming in the still chilly water. Although they said it was not as cold as Lake Superior and I believe that.

Tuesday was just as warm for us here in Jake, but the rest of the Keweenaw did not warm to what was forecasted. It was thought the temps would warm to around 88, but only made it to around 75. Some high clouds and more importantly, an easterly wind developed earlier than expected and put the kibosh on the warming. Grace and I headed to the beach Tuesday and found it a lot less crowded. I hung out while she swam or played with a girl from her ice skating program. The beach is one of the nicest in the Keweenaw and used to be pretty much unknown to everyone, including the locals, but when the Fathers Day flood 2 years ago closed all the beaches in the region except that one, it was discovered. So gone are the days when we used to show up and see less than a dozen people there on a hot summer day. Good for those that discovered it, but not so good for us. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes!

On Tuesday, I also fired up the smoker for the first time. I had ordered an automatic temperature controller and decided to wait for it to arrive before I fired up the smoker. We actually did a turkey, the first turkey I had ever smoked myself. It turned out fantastic, although it did finish up sooner than I had thought. I had planned to cook it at 250 degrees for 2 hours and then 350 for another hour to help crisp up the skin. After the first 2 hours (when Grace and I returned from the beach) the internal temp was 169, so I quickly got the smoker up to around 400 and cooked it for another 10-15 minutes to crisp up the skin. It was already pretty crispy before making the smoker hotter, but wanted to see what would happen. It did not dry out at all and was delish. I now realize why it cooked quicker than I had thought. It was a small bird, at 9 lbs and was only the breast. I really love how well the temperature controller works. Keeps the temp exactly where I want it and in addition to the thermometer for the temp inside the smoker, it also has a probe for the meat inside the smoker. I can tell that I am going to be using the smoker a lot more this summer and am looking forward to trying all kinds of things in it. One thing that will not be happening anytime soon will be brisket. I was at the store the other day and looked into picking up one and it was $125! Sorry, too rich for my wallet! I even see that Fitzgerald’s has taken it off their menu until the price comes down. It is typically one of the most expensive cuts of beef and have often wondered why, as it is one of the toughest and thus requires special cooking. Anyway, I hope it does come down in price before it gets too cold for me to be able to use the smoker.

Wednesday started out in good shape, but the clouds filled in as the remnants of tropical storm Cristobal approached from the south. The storm itself had lost it’s tropical features soon after making landfall along the Louisiana coast early Monday, but still had a decent enough circulation and rains when it passed over the UP and Lake Superior late Wednesday night and Thursday. It was the first extra-tropical depression to pass over Lake Superior in modern times and brought some heavy rains and fairly strong winds. We only picked up around an inch in our gauge, but I know there were 2-3″ totals in other areas of the Keweenaw. The center of the storm must have passed quite near us, as the signature on the plot of atmospheric pressure was very similar looking to that of a tropical system passing over. On that chart displayed, the red line is air temperature, the black line is the dewpoint temperature and the blue line is atmospheric pressure. The “V” shape plotted shows that the atmospheric pressure dropped quite rapidly and then rose just as quickly. I tried to get the coordinates for the storm, but the National Hurricane Center had stopped issuing statements on the remnants when it was in WI and thus the last coordinate they gave for the center of the storm was when it was in WI. In any case, another bit of history making weather occurring for the week!

On Thursday, the Calumet Elementary School held a little end of the school year event. Wednesday was to be the last day of school had there not been the shut down of regular school due to the virus. Typically the 5th graders get to walk the halls and have all the students in the other grades stand in the halls and cheer them on as songs play that were picked out by the 5th grade class. Sort of a graduation from elementary school program. This year they were not able to do it, so on Thursday, they invited the 5th graders and their families to the football field for an event. They had all the students sit in the bleachers at least 6 feet apart and the families were able to stand on the field as they called out each students name, their achievements and then let them walk around the field on the track. It was a neat way to end the elementary school carer for them. Only about half of the 5th graders came, which did not totally surprise me, as many families plan vacations immediately at the end of the school year. So now Grace will move on to middle school and be in the same building as Nora!

Friday I had to go to Marquette again for some more skin cancer removal. Nothing that was life threatening, but still a good idea to get rid of. Picked up a few things while there and then headed home. Our friends Tim and Lisa had invited us over for a cookout to thank us for our help with their high tunnel. It had only been about 10 days since we had been over to help with the plastic for the roof and walls, but not only had they already planted some veggies, but many of them were already germinated and emerging from the ground! So cool and it will certainly boost the amount of foods they grow for their family. They also have a large outdoor garden, as well as fruit trees and berry bushes.

So those that are reading this and are an adult, I am sure you can relate to how things change with birthday and Christmas presents when you no longer are a child. In fact, if you are like me, you might even buy yourself something and consider it a present to yourself. Mainly because it is either way to hard or way to expensive to ask someone to get for you. Thus was the case yesterday as I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my 29th birthday! A large red pine had fallen during the pre-Thanksgiving storm last year and once the snow melted and I could see it laying there all alone and in good shape, I had hoped to work out some kind of a way to be able to harvest it and use it for the walls of the woodshop. One fortunate event led to another and due to the generosity of the land owner that the tree fell on and the hard work of Clarence, the man that helps the land owner out with projects like this, we were able to harvest the tree Saturday, load the logs onto a trailer and bring it down to Tim and Lisa’s to use his sawmill to cut the logs into boards. It was even done in a manner in which the wild Lady’s slipper orchids were not disturbed.

That about covers it for this week. I will leave you with one final picture of Grace making friends with a dragonfly. Something we all should do, as they eat other flying insects, such as mosquitoes and biting flies!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..