Autumn’s Chill

My apologies for not writing last night, but I got caught up in some work in the new utility room and Nora and Gracie returned from a play later than was expected and before we knew it, it was more like bedtime than anything else! The utility room is still not done, but is getting there. A few more pieces of flooring to do, all of the ceiling and then building a work table/utility tub and that will do it. The drier has already been re-located and the washer will get moved tomorrow, then the old utility room will be able to have the new flooring put down. It would be nice to have the new utility room and the remodel from the old utility room into a pantry completed by Thanksgiving, but I am not going to stress out about it. The pace of this project has been much different from just about all of my others, much slower, but it has been way more laid back and less stressful too. It is also turning out nicely and cannot wait to show you the finished product.

So as the title to this post says, it has been quite chilly recently. Much more like the end of November than the beginning, but I don’t mind. We have received several rounds of snow since I last wrote, but I still have not had to personally move it around. In fact, I have been so busy with other projects, I have yet to even mount the blower on Big Red. Not that it is a huge or time consuming job, but I would like to have it ready to blow snow before I have to and waiting this long is really taunting mother nature!

We did have a white Halloween as expected. Not only was there some white on the ground, but a tiny bit in the sky late in the day too. Early in the day, the pups and I took to our woods for a walk. It was a very enjoyable moment, with the sun just rising above the horizon and the ice/snow both on the ground and still clinging to the branches. There is just something about the first few snows of the season that make the woods so beautiful. Perhaps its the excitement of it being one of the first snows of the season. Or perhaps it is how the snow quiets everything down so much more. Or perhaps it is the fact that one can still travel through the wood on foot without sinking up past their knees. Or…perhaps a combination of all of those and a few others. In any case, the walk last Tuesday morning was an extra special one and full of unexpected, yet simple, beauty. For sure another one of those “man am I so lucky to live here” moments, including returning back to the home to see what a beautiful surroundings the house is in.

A little later in the day, I met up with Grace, Nora and some of their friends in the midst of trick or treating in Calumet. I had arrive only about 10 minutes since they got started, but already they had their buckets 3/4 full of candy! How did they make such quick work of things? Well, Calumet had their first annual Trick-or-Trunk, in which they closed off a portion of the main street in down town and let folks park their cars on one side and hand out candy from them. Plus most of the businesses were also handing out candy, so in a very short time, the girls were able to be off to the races in candy acquisition. Grace went has Cleopatra this year. After making the rounds in downtown Cali, they went and hit some of the residential sections and filled up those buckets twice over.

On Friday, I was invited over to the groomer barn to check out some of the maintenance that was being done. Nothing out of the ordinary, but I had never seen all that they do in the pre-season work up on each machine, so it was neat to see the machines all apart and being worked on. One of the first things they do is to remove the tracks, so that they can get all the bearings and suspension components of the track assemblies, plus the interior components of the drive line. Things like the snowplow blade and other exterior components are re-painted and each cab gets a fresh coat of wax. So I left with a better idea and appreciation of all that happens in the pre-season prepping of the groomers.

Another wave of snow arrived Friday night and continued into Saturday. We picked up just a few inches of fresh snow, but it fell on top of an existing snowpack and really whitened up the forest floor. There is also a mini battle that goes on during the first snows of the season. That battle is for dominance of the woods. Many of the berry bushes and some of the other smaller plants are still hanging onto their leaves, as if to try and prolong some semblance of the warm season, while the wet and heavy snow clings to the leaves and does its best to try and defoliate the vines. Typically the first few battles are won by the plants, but eventually the winter will give the knock out blow and command things for the rest of the season.

I had strong suspicions that the snows we received last week were much less than some of the higher terrain did. Web cams in the high country to the south of us showed heftier snows having fallen and a report from a friend who went to some of the higher ground in Keweenaw County also verified deeper snow on the ground, so the pups and I headed up the highway a bit and then off onto a county road and into the high country to see for ourselves. We did not even have to get off the highway and head into the true “high country”, as there was quite a bit more snow at the highway level northeast of us. By the time we made it to the higher elevations, the snow was deep enough that I did not even risk pulling the truck off the road and onto a logging road, so we just parked on the shoulder and walked down the logging road a bit.

I did not bring a measuring tape with my but estimated the depth on the ground to be around 10-12″. Not enough to bury stumps, but enough to give them a nice white hat. Certainly enough to ride in, but I had other things to take care of and did not even think seriously about riding, although some brief, flirting, thoughts sure did run through my mind! It has been such a wet autumn, which was preceded by a wet summer, which had followed a wet spring, that the woods are full of puddles. So the snows are kind of a mixed blessing, pretty to look at, but also not so good for taking care of the wet conditions in the woods. This is not a shot of a path through the woods, but rather a creek, but it does show how much snow was on the ground.

We made our way back down to the highway and just before getting there, came across the snowmobile trail. It was covered in a pretty solid 5-6″ of dense snow and could have probably been ridden as well. There would have likely been a few water holes to traverse and even some plow banks to have to get over. We did get a bit of rain Sunday morning, along with temps in the upper 30’s to around 40, so there was some snow loss since those pics were taken. On the plus side, we have been below the freezing mark for over 24 hours now and look to remain below that mark for the next several days. Ice has already been forming on all the puddles I have come across in my travels today and will continue to form/thicken all week. Not that all problem spots will be taken care of or even hold until winter sets in for good, but it is nice to have some cold temps and no precip occur for a few days to get the freezing ball rolling.

I guess that about covers it for this one, looks like kind of an uneventful week for me, but I am sure there will be something to talk about next Sunday!

Good night from the Keweenaw..