Back in Black

Yep, I’m sure most of you guessed what the title of this entry is about. They are back. Those nasty little creatures dressed all in black and buzzing your head. The black fly’s finally showed up in earnest this week. All it took was some consistently warm temps. Our highs for early in the week were still cool, but then by the second half of the week we rose into the upper 60’s to mid 70’s every day and that was enough to bring the buggers out in full force. As is typical with every black fly season, some places are worse than others. For some odd reason, they have not been too bad in our immediate area. By that I mean our yard and parking area. I have been harassed pretty bad on my morning walks with the dogs, especially if we stop for a moment. I don’t know if they have just not hatched fully in our immediate area or if we will just get lucky. In either case, I am enjoying being able to be out and about in our yard and driveway area and not have to run inside for fear of my life! The best news is that they have a limited shelf life and in about 2 weeks will already be on the outs and in 3-4 weeks should be totally gone until next season!

The warmer temps also caused the green to fill completely out. Our woods are now in full summer fashion. That is quite a change from just a few weeks ago. It sure is nice to look out and see the beautiful woods all filled out again. We have had to re-train the pups that they cannot go too far into the woods again. They are allowed to go as far as we can see them and in the winter, that can be several hundred feet. In the summer, maybe a dozen or two.

The early summer flowers are also starting to fill out. Mostly the ones that are very small and close to the ground, including the dandelions. However, it won’t be long before all the other beautiful summer flowers we have up here appear. The lupine will probably be starting to show up in another week or to and the other that comes to mind are the daisy’s. We even have some wild roses that grow in spots up here. On our walks, I have spotted a fair amount of wild strawberries. Some of them in spots I have not seen them before. I am not about to divulge where, as they are like gold up this way. Imagine all of the sweetness and flavor of a full sized, domesticated strawberry (the ones that you get at the stores or roadside stands) packed into something only about 1/4 of the size. That is a wild strawberry and the only thing better than eating them fresh off the plant is to have them in a jam.

Our own strawberries are also in bloom. Not full bloom, but that is fine, I like it when they are staggered and then they ripen at different times and can be enjoyed for a longer period of time. Man, all of this talk of berries has me really anxious for the season to get underway up here! We are so blessed to have places where we can go to either get freshly picked berries, or pick our own. We still have some fresh-frozen from last season and I suppose a pie or two or three would be a good thing to have to use them up to make room for the upcoming seasons harvest!

The girls have been busy this week getting the garden ready for planting and planting as well. The latest update is that everything is in the ground with the exception of some zucchini and one or two other vegetables. I think we might also be putting in some more berries. Not sure what just yet, but probably blueberry and maybe strawberry. We have a pretty good supply of raspberry and blackberry bushes growing in our woods.

That last pic was actually taken from inside my wood shop. I have been pretty busy in there, working on the shelves for my office and have the lower shelves done and installed. The upper shelves are pretty much done, I just need to hand the drawers and then hang the shelves themselves. I was hoping to have them all done by this writing, but fell just short. So next week for sure and with a little luck, I will also be done with the next project on the list. I cannot remember if I said what it was going to be or not, but will refrain and surprise you all. The only hint I will give is that will get a lot of use, once it is done!

As I mentioned in a previous entry, it has been a lot of fun to be in the shop working with no strict deadline. At one point, I thought my dream scenario would be to live off of income made from this website and woodworking. I am starting to back off the idea of the woodworking. At least as a full time gig. I would not mind having some commissions to do at a relaxed pace and perhaps that will pan out someday, but I think having the pressures of having to complete jobs in a specific time to have the income would not make it fun anymore. Or at least as run and relaxing as it is now. I can get out there, start working and lose all track of time. Sometimes I will look at my watch had it has been 2 hours since I started and it only feels like 20 minutes. I also feel a real sense of calm while I am out there. The biggest bonus is that the pups have really turned into what I call “shop dogs”. Ever since they were pups, I have been bringing them out there, but up until the past month or two, they always seemed more content to go back into the house and chill while I was in the shop. Now, they love to just hang out with me and relax and if they feel the need, do a little playing around like they were in that last picture. If I could only get them to clean up the messes that they make, it would be a perfect scenario!

The warmer temps have allowed us to spend a bit more time tooling around the neighborhood. The other day, Gracie was wanting to ride her bike around a bit, so she hopped on it and I followed her with the SxS. We did not venture too far, for fear we might get eaten alive. Not by bears or wolves, but by insects, but they were not bad. It was so cute to watch her ride her bike down a logging road. I have often wondered what it would have been like to grow up here. I know I would have had a blast with all the fun things to do outside, I just wonder if I would have taken it for granted and ended up leaving the area in search of bigger bucks. We’ll never know and with a little luck, I will never leave this place.

The bike ride took us to “Burt’s Pond“. So named because it is the pond that Burt and I would frequently walk to and he would go for a swim. I cannot go by that little pond or even see a picture of it without thinking of him and what a good friend he and Bailey’s were. I am now lucky enough to have two equally good friends. Huck will pretty much follow me around anywhere I go and is only content if he is by my side. Even if it means just taking a nap beside my feet. Sweet Millie is more content to go and hang out where ever she feels most comfortable. Most of the time it is the bed, although lately, she has been spending more and more time next to my feet as well. I am so glad that their health has been so good. In fact, when folks watch them run around and play, they are amazed at the fact that they are now 8 1/2 years old.

So it is safe to say that summer has officially arrived in earnest up here. Soon all of the festivals and celebrations will be going on each weekend. Bridgefest will be happening in a week or two, then 4th of July, then strawberry fest, then who know’s what else! Looking at the forecast, it looks like we might even by-pass the 80’s and go from 70’s on Thursday and Friday into the 90’s for the weekend. I know I am keeping an eye on things and have “penciled-in” plans to put the pool up this week. It would probably be the earliest that we have done so, but I would much rather put it up in cooler temps and then catch the heat, rather than have to put it up in the heat itself. Both the girls seem to be excited at the prospect of the pool going up- especially the one that has her last day of school this Friday!

I guess that about covers it for this one. Have a wonderful week everyone and…

Good night from the Keweenaw..