Adios Summer

My apologies for again missing a week, but one of Nora’s brothers and his wife and grandson came up to stay with us last weekend and things were just too busy for me to sit down and write. Then, like the time before, Monday and Tuesday got away from me and I just figured I would hold off again.

So here we are…Summer is over (except for the calendar makers that call the autumnal equinox the “First Day of Autumn”). For some, things are going to start slowing down around here. For others, things will just be getting busy again. I can remember having a job that involved the summer tourist season and the big sigh of relief that we all were able to give when we went home for the day on Labor Day. A quick check with friends that own places to say or eat up here has revealed that it was a busy summer and that while they were all happy to be so busy, they were also looking forward to the slow down that happens after this weekend. Things certainly do not go dead up here. There a quiet a few folks that have either heard or discovered for themselves that much of September can be as wonderful weather wise as we have in June, July and August. Perhaps not as warm, but still not cold. Then we have the color season that will be starting up in about a month, which will keep things going for a few weeks and then things will go dead until the snow starts piling up.

Selfishly, I have to say that I too am looking forward to the slow down in things. While my life is not too impacted by the influx of summer visitors, there are more vehicles on the road and the favored restaurants can have a wait if we do not go early enough. With that said, I do not mind sharing this beautiful place with the visitors.

For those in the education business, tomorrow is the big day up here. First day of school for K-12. Nora works all summer, so her life/routine will not change much, but for the teachers and students, it will be back to waking up early and spending most of the day away from home. Gracie is very excited and a little nervous to be heading into 3rd grade. I would have to say that of all the summers she has had since starting school, this has probably been the most fun for here. Between some sports activities, hanging out with friends, having family visit, doing stuff with Nora and I and just hanging around the house, she has not complained more than once or twice about being bored.

It has probably been the easiest summer to have her home with me since she started school. She is old enough to be able to do things without 100% supervision and also has been able to occupy herself with things to do when she has to. I think this is going to be the hardest start to the school year to not have her around the house. However, I am thrilled for her to be going back and being able to hang out with all of her friends for most of the day. Living in the woods does not lend very well to hanging out with friends at the drop of a hat.

So as mentioned, Nora’s brother came up with part of his family to visit us and the Keweenaw last weekend. He is a huge lover of fishing, so much so, he owns a bait store in Port Huron MI. Nora also loves to fish (something about Norwegian blood), so it is pretty much a given that there will be a fishing excursion or two made while he is up and this visit was not exception. They all arrived Friday around noon and after relaxing and having dinner, we were all headed down to Jacobsville to do some fishing. I am not a big fan of fishing and as a result, do not even have a licence. I do not mind hanging out with them all and watching them fish, so I brought a chair, my phone and headphones and just chillaxed, listening to tunes, while I watched them fish.

Since moving up here over 18 years ago, I have had many moments where life just does not get any better. Hopefully you all have had these moments too. For me, it is a state of total bliss. I feel like I am exactly where I am suppose to be, doing exactly what I am suppose to be doing, with who I am suppose to be doing it with. That Friday evening, as I sat in my chair, with the sun slowly setting in the west, I watched my love teach Gracie and her cousin how to cast brought about one of those exact moments. I can’t remember what song was playing, but it was also perfect for the moment. Strange how we cannot live our lives like that all the time. After all… we do have that choice, but for what ever reason, we find ourselves trying to make things they way we think they are suppose to be rather than enjoying the way they are. I guess that is something for me to keep working on and I will. I will also never take those moments for granted.

One of the things that has been keeping me from doing some writing has been Grace’s soccer schedule. In previous leagues, they only played on Saturday, but now that they are older, they play on Saturday and also one day during the week. At times, those games have fallen on dates when I could have sat down and wrote. In any case, the games are getting more and more fun to watch as they kids get older. There is no longer the swarm of little ones around the ball and many of the kids are developing some very good skills. The weather has provided some challenges though, such as this past Saturday when it was 51 degrees and pouring rain at game time. The regular schedule goes through the rest of this month and then playoffs start. The playoff schedule went pretty deep into October, so it will be interesting to see what kind of weather they play in then!

We continue to have our topsy-turvy weather. The rain and 50’s on Saturday gave way to 70’s and sunshine the next day. We have had quite a few chilly mornings too. About 4 early mornings with temps in the upper 30’s and one of them provided the seasons first frost for some areas. We did not have frost, but there were a few reports of frost in the area. Typically we shut down the pool by the third week of August, but with family visiting last weekend and the weather looking to provide at least one day that would be good for swimming, we kept it up. Thankfully we had the heater, as the water temp was around 71 degrees a few days before the visitors arrived, but was near 90 when the kids went swimming in it that weekend. The forecast called for one, maybe two good swimming days this weekend, so we really pushed the limits and did not drain it this past week. Nora, Grace and I were able to enjoy some time in it yesterday afternoon, but right after getting out, we started to drain it. All but the final bit of water is out of it now and so the rest of it will be coming down in the next day or two. For as many rotten days as we had this summer, I think we used the pool more this summer than any other.

We have also had some very nice days to be hanging out on the screened in porch. They too are numbered, but we seem to take advantage of each day that we can. It is still a noise-free zone and only silent activities are allowed. Reading is the main activity that gets done, at least by the humans. Millie loves to look out the windows and look for wildlife to chase, while Huck typically takes a nap.

Gracie is an incredible reader. She can read faster than me and is reading books that are meant for persons 3-6 years older than her. She loves it and tells Nora and I that she loves it so much because she is able to pretend she is a part of what she is reading. It sure is fun watching her grow up. Another thing she has gotten more involved with is cooking and baking. Nora loves to bake and is a very good baker and cook. The other day, Gracie asked if she could make some zucchini bread all on her own and so Nora let her. Nora does supervise some and is the one putting the pans into and taking out of the oven, but for the most part, it is Gracie doing the work. Today, as I was writing this, Nora and Grace were busy in the kitchen preparing dinner. Tomorrow is only a half day for Grace, but full day for Nora, so maybe Grace and I will team up to make tomorrow dinner.

By the way, did I mention that Gracie loves to read and Huck loves to nap?

I gotta say that I am pretty excited that autumn is here. Perhaps not as nuts-o as I was my first season living up here, but I am fully ready to put the shorts away and have to put on a jacket for the morning walk with the pups. It looks like for most of this week, we will have some autumn weather to deal with, but then by later in the weekend and early next week, it looks like things will be more like summer around here than autumn. I have only had to use the AC once this summer and it was to cool down the bedroom for sleep. Today I took the vent out of the window and shut it. I am not going to put the AC in storage until we get past next weeks potential warm up. Just to be safe.

As mentioned, the mornings have been getting chillier and chillier up here. The other morning we had temps in the low 40’s. I had to run to Calumet to get some stuff for breakfast and on my way back, there was a bank of fog hanging in one of the low spots between Calumet and our house, so I pulled over and stopped to take a picture of it. Not as dramatic as it was in real life, but still something cool I thought I would share.

So with the pool being shut down yesterday and no need to heat it, I tossed my final load of logs into the boiler yesterday. The timing worked out very well, as I ran out of wood with that load. It has gotten us through the past 24 hours providing our domestic hot water and will probably last until the morning, then I will shut all the valves, let the last of the coals burn down and turn on the hot water heater inside the house to heat our water until the new boiler is in place. I have not done much work on the utility room addition at all. I am actually on hold, waiting for the propane tank that is in the spot where the addition will be going to be moved, so I can continue on with things. the footings have all been poured and I figure it will probably take me around 10 days of working on it when I have time to get it all shelled in. So then the HVAC guys can come and install the new boiler and get things hooked up in time for us to have heat when needed.

I am not going to miss having to cut and stack the firewood, nor am I going to miss having to load it into the boiler every day or stress out about having enough wood to get us through the heating season. It has been a wonderful thing to have and has done its job very well. I am sure it will go on to a new home and continue to perform its duties for many years to come. It has not quite settled in, but the end of an era started 12 years ago has come to an end.

Good night from the Keweenaw..