Back on Track

My apologies for not writing, but things got crazy busy and it was all I could do to keep up! I will do my best to try and remember everything I wanted to say in last weeks entry.

Recapping the weather, we have had a bit of everything in the past 2 weeks. Snow, rain, sun, cold and warmth. The most common weather type has been cold or perhaps chilly. Lots of highs topping out in the 40’s. In fact, since October 14th, we have had only on day where the high was in the 50’s, two days were in the 60’s and all the rest were in the in the 40’s. Counting today, that makes 12 out of the last 15 days with highs only in the 40’s.  We had an inch or two of snow on the morning of the 20th and have had some “spits” of snow 3 other times in the past 2 weeks. The majority of the trees went bare with strong southerly winds on the 18th and we are solidly in the “in between” season. Technically still autumn, but with the trees bare and chilly temps, it looks and feels like we should be in the midst of deer season. That will be coming in just over 2 weeks.

I am getting excited for October to draw to a close and November to arrive. I really enjoy the progression of the holidays, starting with Halloween, then Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. There is just something about the holiday season that adds to the grin on my face. I think a lot of it has to do with seeing Gracie get all excited for the holidays.

So going back to the week prior, I had to travel to Ironwood on Thursday the 18th to give a talk about weather at the Cold Iron Brewing Co. It was a fun event and quite a few people came out chat about the weather. Many good questions as well. The only down side was the fact that I spent the second half of the day and deep into the night on the road. We warmed to 65 degrees that day and also had quite a bit of sunshine. I was able to enjoy things until early afternoon, but then had to hit the road and head west, southwest. To add insult to injury, a trip that usually takes around 2 hours and 5 minutes became a 3 hour trip, due to bridge repairs going on near Mass City and west of Bergland. Both did not have very good options for re-routes, at least from a distance standpoint. My day started at 4 am on Thursday and did not end until 1 am Friday.

Grace and Nora were able to take advantage of the nice weather and headed down to Jacobsville/White City to enjoy the late afternoon temps in the 60’s and sunshine. I have to admit that I was a little jealous of them being able to make such good use of the beautiful weather, but was also very happy for them and to see them having a great time together. Grace continues to amaze me with her maturity and also her connection to her world. It took me over 30 years to be able to open my eyes to things I was missing, yet were all around me and I get the joy of watching Grace take it all in before even reaching the double digits in her age.

Bleau joined the girls on their little afternoon adventure. Things are going pretty good with him. We are all still trying to figure each other out. Just like humans, each individual dog has their own personality and thus has their own set of things that bother them and motivate them. It is very clear that food is probably the number 1 motivator for Bleau, but we do not want to fall into the trappings of giving him a treat as a reward for everything. It has also become very clear that he is extremely head-strong. Thankfully he is smart and head strong and not dumb and head strong, so we do not have to worry too much about him putting himself in a situation that is dangerous. However, if he does not feel like doing something, you are in for a long battle to get him to do it.

Probably the coolest thing about him is that he somehow seems to know what is job is going to be and has accepted it with all his heart. He goes and spends 1 half day at the school every week. When word gets out that he is in the school, there is practically a line out the door to see him and he greets each student with love and enthusiasm and is also very well mannered. There are a couple of students that have taken a particularly strong liking to him and he will actually try and sneak out of the office to see if he can find them. However, he was in a classroom visiting the students in the class and when it was time to go, he knew he had not said hi to three of the students and made a point to do just that before leaving. I am very glad to have seen some of this beautiful behavior, as it has earned him a lot of forgiveness when it’s just me and the dogs home alone all day!

While I dearly missed being with the girls on their trip of the 18th, sometimes I think it is more enjoyable to view the pictures when I have not been there. Case in point, Nora snapped this dandy of Grace practicing her drama and while I was not there, I can let my imagination run free and picture in my mind the events that possibly led up to that shot.

The wind, waves and low hanging sun combined to produce a really cool pattern in the sand that Nora captured very well in this shot. That looks like it could be made into a painting or something. Mother nature sure can produce some wonderful works of art. All we need to do is open our minds and hearts to seem them all. I wonder how many I am still missing each day!

The final picture that I “borrowed” from Nora to use in the entry is probably my favorite from the outing. Nora actually texted me some of those shots while I was away and I was able to view them while grabbing a bite to eat before the presentation. I made my heart swell with joy to see the two of them having such fun together. They are both very special girls and to see them bonding and having such fun without me makes me very happy.

So after arriving home shortly after 1 am Friday, it was a short sleep in order to get up and be ready to send the troops out to work on the snowmobile trails that Friday. I had to go to Marquette for some minor surgery, so was unable to partake in the field work, but the trailboss, Brian and I had met a couple of times prior to the work session and had come up with a list of things that needed to be done. We both also picked up supplies for the work that needed to be done and I am very grateful to all of those that came up to help out. It still amazes me that folks will travel from as far away as Indiana to be put to work! I realize that there is an upside to being in the Keweenaw and the free lodging offered by the Trailside Lodge and Lac La Belle Lodge adds extra incentive, but that is still a wonderful thing for all of those folks to come up and help.

A few weeks back, I talked about a new bridge that went in on trail 124. Part of the work session jobs was to put railings up on that bridge and sign it properly. We sent a crew of only 3 persons out to do that job, but they said that they had it done in just a few hours. Here is a shot that includes the third worker! All of the work that we had planned for the weekend was accomplished and that has left us in pretty good shape for the upcoming season. Some more signing and brushing needs to be done and there are sections of culvert arriving in the Keweenaw tomorrow to repair one of the wash-outs just north of Lake Linden. All of that work is being done by professional contractors, be it the DNR’s operators or a third party. That washout will repaired this week and that will open up the village of Lake Linden to the north via trail. It will also allow folks to get to 122 that runs from Lake Linden to Gay. So the only closed sections this winter will be the trail from just south of Lake Linden to just north of Dollar Bay and both Freda loops. All other trails will be open.

Along the lines of getting ready for the snow to fly, the region received its first shipment of salt and when I say shipment, I mean shipment! Winter does not mess around up here and we do not mess around with handling it. That was just one load of salt that arrive. The other came last week. Keweenaw county has also been busy putting the sticks in the ground to mark obstacles on the sides of the roads for the plow operators. That is a sure sign that winter is not too far away!

For those of you planning to be up in the Keweenaw during the weekend of the 9th-11th, the Bear Belly Bar and Grille will be hosting a fish fry on the 9th, starting at 4:30 and running until 8:30 pm. It is an all you can eat affair and Nora and Grace will testify to how delicious their fish fry’s are (I am not a fish eater). The cost is $13.95 for adults. All of the proceeds will be going to the funds the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club is raising towards the building of a new groomer barn. We are getting closer and closer to reaching our goal and it is hoped that maybe by as early as next summer, we can get going on the construction.

I think that about covers it for this one, other than to say that the snowfall forecasts will be starting up very soon. Perhaps as early as this Thursday if some of the snow that is forecasted to fall in the Midwest remains in the forecast. Otherwise for sure next Monday, the 5th. The final picture that I have to share with you is of Bleau and Old Granddad. We are trying to take at least one walk in the woods a day, sometimes two. Huck and Millie still get around just fine and enjoy romping through the woods and Bleau is learning the ropes from them and having a blast doing it!

Good night from the Keweenaw..