Greetings and apologies for the long absence. I had planned to write last Sunday, but had also forgotten that Grace had an ice skating competition to be in at Marquette Saturday and Sunday. We actually got home with enough time for me to have written, but I was just out of steam!

Quite honestly, there has not been much going on up here to write about. We remain in a snow drought and even had rains last week that made a real mess out of things. With the return of freezing temps since the rains, the snowpack is almost hard enough to walk right across. I did sink in about 2-3″, but it is a real hard pack right now. Plus, in areas that were plowed, the refreeze was not to hard pack snow, but ice. Parking lots, walk ways and driveways are a solid sheet of ice.

We currently have snow falling and look to pick up a couple of inches by daybreak tomorrow. That should help with both the hardpack snow and the icy areas. The big news is the storm coming for later Wednesday into early Friday. That system looks to give us a foot of fresh snow, perhaps more. The models are spitting combined totals from the two events of around 16-18″, which would be wonderful. It would make everything brand new in the snow recreation department. 

The other good news is that we are not the only ones to get the snows with the event for the second half of this week. In fact, just about all of the Midwest north of a line from the southern border of MN straight across to the thumb of lower MI is to see at least a foot of snow, with some areas in southern MN to top around around 2 feet or maybe a bit more!

I have to admit that if things pan out as they are indicated to, this will be one of the biggest swaths of snow in excess of 12″ across the Midwest that I have seen in a very long time and perfect for all of the northern Midwest winter recreation areas. The other good news is that there does not appear to be any kind of major melt down to follow the big storm. There looks to be a few days where temps in the northern 1/2 of MN, WI, all of the UP and northern 1/3rd of lower MI run close to, or a few degrees above the freezing mark for daytime highs, but that is it. Plus there are some snows seen beyond the big storm, so as things stand right now, much of what I call the Northwoods (areas north of a line from around St Cloud, MN to Wausau, WI to Houghton Lake, MI) could see some good winter recreation conditions into the second week of March. Things can always change in the forecast, so no guarantees, but that is how things look right now.

As far as things in the Dee family go, we are all doing pretty good. Gracie’s afterschool activity list is growing shorter, so that means that she and Nora will be able to come right home from school more often. It seems like there is a period during the school year where there is something going on every day after school. I do offer to help out, but Nora declines most of the time, as she is already up at the school and may as well hang around for another hour or so.

The builders have been busy at the new house site. I know when I last wrote, they had just finished sheathing the roof, but it still needed to have the weather proofing and shingles done. The week following my last writing was frigid up here and they were only able to work one day that week. They were able to work all last week and again today and as things stand right now, the roof is completely done. The exterior and interior walls are completely done, including house wrap on the exterior walls. Electrical components and plumbing is also being put in and today they took two of the four large picture windows that we are re-purposing from the old house and put them into the new house. I meant to get pictures of things today, but every time I was over there, it was to talk to the contractors about something and I forgot. Here is a picture of the new home taken February 12th.

The plan going forward is to take out the remaining two picture windows and then begin to dismantle the old home. I suspect that some of the crew will remain working on the new place while old is coming down. For sure the electricians, as they are a sub-contractor. I know the spray foam insulation crew was scheduled for early March, so I know the contractor wants things to be ready for them, so that the place can be sealed up and then kept warm!

There will be little sadness to watch the old home come down. The longer we have been out of it, the less anyone of us has remain attached. I was probably least attached, but even Nora and Grace say that it will be great to have the old place gone.

In my spare time, I have been busy building some cabinetry for my office. Things have been in disarray since the day I moved into it and this cabinetry will go a long way towards getting rid of all the loose items laying around the office. The building of this cabinetry will also get me back up to speed in woodworking so that I can build all the cabinetry for the new house. 

So far things have been going pretty good. I did not have a whole lot of time to work in the shop last week, but was able to spend a fair amount in the shop Friday, Saturday and yesterday and have about 97% of the pieces made for the cabinets themselves. Once the cabinets are built, then comes the doors and drawers, which will be less work. Then the finish work, which will be paint this go around. I typically like to build things that take a clear finish, but my office is already full of natural wood grain, so I thought I would even things out a bit by painting these cabinets. Which also means that the best material for that is MDF plywood and not hardwood plywood. Here is stack number one of the cabinet pieces and here is stack two.

I hope to have enough time between the two builds to get my shop organized a bit more. All the machines are ready to go, but I would really like to get central dust collection hooked up to them and a few other organizational things done. We’ll see I guess!

I think that about covers it for this one. I will do my best to capture the events of the snows this week, until next time…

Good Night from the Keweenaw..