Traditions

Well, first I must apologize for not keeping up with the journals. You know what they say about best laid plans. 

To be honest we’ve been really really busy. I’m not sure if this is a coping mechanism or just how things have worked out. But, either way we didn’t have a day over Christmas break where we didn’t have company or some commitment in town. 

I find myself thinking about all the things John has missed….or should I say the things we’ve taken part of or experienced without John. Skating competitions, student of the month, Christmas, and the list goes on and on. 

Traditions…..most people have them…I know a few who don’t love traditions….I could never understand that before but now I do. .I’m realizing now just how many traditions we had together

Over Thanksgiving we talked about Christmas and how we were going to handle the holidays. Gracie and I decided that we were still going to bake all our cookies/candies, decorate the tree and take a Christmas family picture. I didn’t bake one single thing. 

Thanksgiving came and went and there sat the tree. Each opportunity we had to put it up, I’d ask Gracie if she wanted to put it up. I was met with “I’m not ready mom” for weeks. 

My aunt Ginny flew in from California for a few days and while she was here we decided it could be put up. The placement of the tree had already been a discussion with John before he passed. John Dee loved Christmas! So he was already planning in November the tree spot in the new house, exactly which cookies he wanted (since he was really watching his sugar I had decided to not do all the varieties) and what he had on his Christmas list. 

We had planned to put it in the den and rearrange the space just a bit to make the tree fit. So I decided to check out the den around Thanksgiving and measure to see where everything would fit. But, when it came time to move the couch Gracie was visibly upset saying, “we can’t change the den”. When John broke his neck in September he was so limited. That’s when the nightly movie sessions began in the den with him and Gracie. OK so we won’t change the den around to make the tree fit. We can adjust.

My aunt and I decided on a nice spot in the living room and assembled the 20 year old tree while Gracie was at school. When she returned I was able to coax her into putting up the lights. That was once John’s job and in 2019 he taught Gracie the tricks to a nicely lit tree …squinting one’s eye to make sure every inch was covered with lights and all. About a ¼ of the tree was lit when Gracie decided she just couldn’t do it. The last few months have taught us many things, and one of them is not to sweat the small stuff. So we threw the rest of the lights on the tree and called it good. It wouldn’t be a green lit trunk and white lights adorning the tree this year, that’s ok. We had a tree up and that felt monumental. I’d like to tell you the tree was decorated with music playing and festive activities but not this year. There the tree sat….and sat…..for weeks. So I’d turn the lights on until one day it was simply too sad looking. I made the decision I was decorating this darned tree even if I had to do it alone. Which I did. And that was ok.

Our first Christmas as a couple was 2002 and I wasn’t living in the Keweenaw. John sent me a package with a note. The note talked about how he wanted to start a tradition of gifting each other ornaments every year. He said, “the good news is here is your first ornament. The bad news is now you need to go out and buy your man one”. So every year for 21 years we exchanged ornaments. Then when Gracie was added to the Dee clan, she would receive ornaments, including a Texas ornament we picked out before we were matched with her birthmom. The last few years Gracie started to give both John and I each an ornament. So we have alot of ornaments from our tradition that started in 2002. 

Some of you might be doing the math and thinking John passed away before Christmas so clearly that would be 20 years of exchanging.

When I returned from Rochester it took me many days to unload his suitcase. But, one day I just decided if that was the only thing I would do that day, it had to be done. So I turned on one of his favorite songs, Andrea Bocelli’s “Fall on Me” (yep…John started to love Andrea’s music when he was sick in 2021). I cranked it up, gave myself a good pep talk and unloaded his things. I decided that everything needed to be washed. It was then as I was putting his socks away that I opened the drawer and found a white box. My heart skipped a beat because I instantly knew he had already picked out my 2023 ornament. I opened the box and there was a wooden angel ornament. Never….ever…..were any of my previous 20 years of ornaments angels. The last tangible gift John gave me. 

Back to the sad undecorated tree. I knew the tree this year was to be filled with only our exchange ornaments. And filled it was. Filled with wonderful memories. The year John and Al won the golf tournament at Sandy pebbles, our first married Christmas, our new cabin, the year we both waited too long to pick out an ornament and were left scrounging for what we later would look back on as the ugliest ornament ever….. All these little treasures hanging on the tree. One thing I noticed was that once the tree was up and decorated I had a friend in the living room. The first Gracie has spent a significant amount of time in the living room since November. 

Christmas eve we went to a neighbors house for a gathering. I almost didn’t go because I decided to color my hair. Ha…there is a reason you shouldn’t make decisions with a sad heart. I figured it was safer than a tattoo at this point. And nothing a good hat couldn’t cover! 

Christmas morning we had decided to just have the two of us in the morning for presents. Gracie is so sweet that every year she’s always exclaiming, “dad you go…mom it’s your turn to open”! She’s so much like John that way. Loves to receive gifts but also loves to give and bring someone else joy. The afternoon my Aunt Phyllis and John’s brother Jim came over for a few hours and we did some crafts and puzzle building before heading over to a friend’s home to visit for a few hours. 

The 26th brought a deep sigh and the feeling of doing something really big…..relief. We had survived our first Christmas.  Sounds dramatic I know….but, that’s the truth. 

The week between Christmas and New Years was another busy one. The weather was crazy and beautiful. We decided one sunny day to go for a spin. Another tradition….driving the “loop”. We stopped at our friend’s place and took it all in … .Rabbit Bay, the big lake, the sunshine felt incredible! Gracie found herself exploring the beach and left behind a pile of beach glass for our friend Sally. Moments like this fill us up and keep us going. How could it be this sunny and mild on December 29th? Here’s a front yard shot from that morning

On New years eve we had invited our friends over to spend the night for new years. I secretly didn’t want the year to end. As terrible as it was, I didn’t want to start a new year without John. So when our little friend Milli asked if she could spend the night sometime, we thought this was the perfect opportunity. And I’m so glad we did. The kids had a great time. The moms had a great time. We had our traditional fireworks but this time we moved them out to the road. How cool to be in the middle of the road, black night sky and not see a single car. The kids loved it

As I type there are hopes for some snow in the forecast. I sure hope it happens. Not only for all of us snow lovers but for the business owners. I’ve noticed some trailers in town so the lack of snow hasn’t kept everyone away. Usually this time of the year the gas stations are full of sleds filling up, restaurants crowded. It’s a shame to see the area not bustling with folks. I sure hope things turn around. I’ll admit that this mild weather felt like such a gift. The sunshine is such a mood boost and not needing to worry about moving the snow. Sweet relief. 

You know what else is a mood boost? Friends! I have been blessed with THE best! Gracie was out of town for the night with robotics so I had a girlfriend come over for a girls night. Ladies, we need to normalize grown women sleep overs! I mean kids can do it, so why not right? 

I’ve had many coffee dates with one of my dearest and closest friends who either calls or texts me daily and has since November 14th. Another group of ladies came out for the day. We laughed, ate great food, went on a hike, and saw the big lake. Another friend invites us over to her home with her family at Christmas. I’m just so very thankful for all the ladies in my life! 

On another note the AL cam is back up and running. The outside plug seemed to be the issue. I promise I’m not losing it, but when I went over to the shop I said out loud, “OK John Dee help me figure this out”. I think the sunny heart is John’s sign that he was there helping me. 

My brother Joel and his Navy buddy Bryan were here just into the new year. It’s nice to have visits on the horizon and I was really looking forward to having the guys here. They did a few chores for me and I only cooked one meal. I felt a bit spoiled! The nights are still hard and I sleep better when I have my family around. 

As I finish this writing we did get snow! And lots of it. I’m so happy for the local business folks. Gracie and I were in Eagle River WI for the weekend for figure skating camp. While we were there we froze our hindends off, the web site went off line, passed the 2 month mark of John’s passing, Gracie passed her dance test, and we drove home in a snowstorm. The camp took place in the “Cube”. It was -1 on Sunday and the “Cube” was about the same temps! I think we are all still thawing out. It makes me so happy to see this smile on Gracie’s face. We make such great memories with our skating friends. When I rec’d word this morning that school was called off, it felt like such a gift. 

With no school today I knew I had to get out the tractor and do the first plow of the year. Let’s just say it took me 3 times the amount of time it would take John. That includes texting my neighbor to ask him questions along the way…..how to engage the auger on the snow thrower attachment being the most important. I had a feeling I’d forget something. I had to laugh when I rec’d the text back, “I’d recommend going in low speed only”….haha! I took his advice and all went well. It doesn’t look pretty but it’s a start. The biggest learning curve is keeping it close enough to the ground but not too close that rocks go flying. 

So here we are, a new year…..Our wish for you all is a year filled with great health, happiness and lots of time with those you love the most. 

 

John Dee


John Dee….that’s what I called him. John Dee let the dogs out. John Dee how are you? John Dee I love you…..I don’t know when I started referring to him in full name fashion but it was a long time ago and it just rolled off the tongue so it stuck. 

Over the years John created this magical space for snow lovers of all kinds. And in doing that, he formed a family. Some members of this family, had never met John or other members. Yet, each week and with most each day, you all kept coming back. The journals, the forecast, the cameras but I also know it was because of the family. Checking in to see what’s new with each other or where each of your adventures had lead you. We’ve lost members of this family, watched people get married, have babies, recover from accidents, celebrate victories. We are family.

John and I drove to Rochester on Sunday, November 12th. Before we left we were sitting with my cousin Amy in the living room. John appeared in the living room and I said, “how are you John Dee”? He replied, “great”! I was a little surprised by this response as he had a tough week. Lots of anxiety over his upcoming trip to the Mayo clinic. I went over the week with him, trying to pump him up that this would be a breeze. No big procedures, just lots of appts, blood work and what we jokingly called the “45 second” treadmill test. Knowing that he’d never make it longer than that. So to hear, “I’m great”….was exactly what I needed to hear. We could do this! Amy is here to take care of Gracie and we will be home in no time. 

We had started to listen to audio books during our long drives back and forth to the clinic. Our choice for the trip to Rochester that Sunday was Matthew Perry. At one point in the book Matthew speaks of being in hospital alone. No family. No visitors. I reached over and touched John’s hand and apologized for all the times he was in hospital alone. See this was our agreement. As long as he was stable, I was to stay home with Gracie. Keep things as “normal” as possible for her. I know there were times when he needed me or just wanted me there, but we stuck to the plan almost always. I’m thankful for that moment on Sunday to tell him I was sorry he was alone all those times.

On Monday we were to be at the clinic at 6:20 am – 4 pm. First stop, the lab. John was having problems doing any sort of physical activity so I offered to push him in the wheelchair since we were going from one end of the mayo to the other. I offered this in the past and he always declined. Not this time. We arrived at the lab and John went back to get his blood drawn and came back to the wheelchair. When a man appeared and said, “Are you THE John Dee”? John looked up and said, “I guess I am”. The gentleman shook his hand and said he had been following the website for years. Kevin wished John well and went on his way. Things like this would happen often when we traveled to MN and WI. Strangers stopping him to shake his hand, take a picture with “John Dee” and ask about what the winter would be like. One of the the things I loved most about John is he never got a big head. He was so humble and kind. 

Monday proved to be a long day. But, we made the best of it. We shared funny videos and laughed. Sometimes people would give us a look like how can these two be laughing at such a time. One of our appointments was to meet the transplant coordinator and watch a movie on what to expect when you get a new heart. After watching the clips John said to me, “usually I can see myself in these but this time I can’t”. That sent me right into a panic….”John Dee what do you mean? Like you think you won’t make it to get a new heart”? John replied, “No….I’m a tough SOB. I just won’t need it for a long time”. I’m not able to share all the events but there were many comments or things that came up the 24 hrs before his passing that still shake me a bit and make me feel like he must have known his health was failing quickly.

There was one dr’s office that we were in and out of throughout that day. As I pushed John in the wheelchair and joked about being pooped from pushing him around all day, we approached the counter where the receptionist was. I had leaned down and kissed the top of John’s head and said, “let’s blow this joint”. We smiled and the receptionist commented on how nice it was to see people smiling. 

Our plan was to grab a bite to eat, hit the grocery store and then turn in. We had a nice dinner but John wasn’t hungry. He hadn’t been hungry since being in the hospital 3 1/2 weeks before hand. Nothing tasted good and his appetite was almost non existent. Over dinner I checked the results of his 45 second stress test and blood work. We were surprised to see some of his bloodwork had actually come into a better range. Some that hadn’t been in a normal range for many many months. Finally, maybe things would turn around. Like they always did. He always beat everything that came his way. So we celebrated and went to the car wash where we had a discussion about the weather. Talking about what my prediction was and if he was still sticking to his ideas for this winter. I told him, “it’ll be mild and the lake will stay open and it’s going to snow buckets. We’ll have lots of snow days and stay in cozied up around the fire place in our new home”. He smiled and said, “the only thing I agree with you on is the mild part”. 

We finished up at the grocery store where I busted him in the bulk food candy aisle and he talked me into ironically enough, “Johnny pop” popsicles. Popsicles were a staple in our house the last month of his life. 

I was sitting on the couch working and he was in the other room directly across from me. I could feel someone staring at me. I look up and there’s my John Dee looking at me. I said, “what”? His reply, “can’t a guy just look at his wife”? Can’t a guy just look at his wife. One of the last sentences he ever spoke to me. Can’t a guy just look at his wife. 

By morning John was gone. God’s last gift to John on this earth was no more suffering and a peaceful exit. How could he be gone? My mind just couldn’t grasp how my husband…..my best friend…..our daughters “popsio”……how could he be gone. Just like that.

Remember now we are all family right? 

As I was surrounded by police, medics, etc. I realized I was all alone. All alone in a town 7 1/2 hours away from my daughter….my support systems….everything. I didn’t know what to do. But, I knew I needed to leave Rochester and get home as soon as I could. I’d soon learn there is so much of dealing with losing a spouse, that you just don’t know what to do. Uncharted territory. 

I was having a bit of a hard time thinking, yet I remembered that Dave and Rosanne B from the website lived in Rochester. My first gentle nudge from what I believe is John. I reached out to Dave and Rosanne and Rosanne was there with me within 10 minutes. I was so relieved to see her….not my best friend….not my sister…..but, a part of this community…this family. Dave and Rosanne had a plan and Dave would drive me home. Mostly in tears and silence. I’m so thankful for both Dave and Rosanne. 

Hardly anyone knew that John had passed. I was fearful that word would get out and that Gracie would hear. I had asked my coworker, friend and social worker at school to meet me at the house. Gracie knows her well and really likes her. As I got closer to home, what I was about to tell our daughter was sitting so heavy on my heart. I was about to change her whole entire life. Forever….her life was going to change in one sentence. I’ll never forget those next few hours. How I wish they never would have needed to happen and that her dad was here with us. But, that wasn’t to be. 

I’m not sure how you feel when you are 14 and lose your dad. The best dad there is! Not a slouch, not a drunk, not a selfish dad…but, a loving, supportive, fun, best dad. Since John’s passing which is just 2 days shy of 4 weeks, I’ve lost count of the people who I know or have met who lost their father at a young age. It started first at the hotel that morning. Another sign to show us she will be ok. All these folks miss their dads, wish life would have been different but they are ok. Hope……there’s hope that we will be ok.

Once word was out on Thursday, I could not believe all the messages, emails, and social media posts. I knew John had touched alot of lives but I had no idea the amount. No idea. It was a mild week weather wise, so I sat on the front porch reading posts for what seemed like hours. I always felt John never really got the recognition he deserved for what he did for the tourism and snowmobile community in general. I hope that John was able to see or feel all the love that was sent his way. 

I wish our last 5 years together wouldn’t have been filled with so much sickness. Ever since 2018 we had been on this sickness cycle. Things would be good for a few months then something would happen. A unnoticed 99 percent blocked artery, a tree to the head, afib, and the list goes on. I was so grateful that people were sharing pictures of John healthy! I had forgotten….how could we have forgotten all the good years of a healthy life? But, we had. The sickness consumed us. Every day was hard for John. Yet he never complained. Never. Blood work, drs appts, meds, hospital stays…..Looking at in now, I can see that we were in a very critical space. I don’t know how we were managing but we were. Now I can see it wasn’t pretty. We weren’t able to do the things together that we loved. John wasn’t able to snowmobile or hike. But, most importantly John was fighting for his life. He had told me not to long ago, “I do this only for you and Grace”. 

John Dee was not afraid to die. Don’t get me wrong he wanted to live desperately. But, he wasn’t afraid. He was only afraid to leave us behind. He worried about us. His girls being alone. 

So many good things have happened in the last few weeks. Things that show us we are loved….we are watched over…..we will have the help we need. My family for starters…..my brothers couldn’t get here fast enough to help me. They stay with me, made sure I was set for winter, skated with Gracie….I have the best family who has just really been by my side through all this.

People are telling me “I felt compelled to help”……”I can’t explain it but I needed to reach out”…….this is John Dee…..he is nudging. He is making sure his girls are taken care of. Bill from Route 12 and the go fund me was the first of many people to do amazing things to help us. Keith….poor Keith…..he called me right away when he heard. So many tears. Listening to me cry and try to figure out how John could be gone. Skylar….Scottiking….all reaching out. What can I do? What do you need? Family……all these friendships started right here from JohnDee.com. 

I was driving down the road the other day, decided to take the long way as I was listening to John’s playlist. When suddenly my low tire light came on. Nooo! Normally, I’d call John. So I quickly called my neighbor who is a mechanic. He said, “turn around and come here”. I was losing pressure SO fast and almost 15 miles from town. So I asked him at what pressure level should I stop driving. So off I was….praying….please please let me get to Rob’s. I knew I wouldn’t make it so my prayers turned into please please let me make it to Mikes. I pulled into Mike’s driveway just in time. What was in my tire was a rock that looked like a tiny shark tooth. It was about 1/4 inch in length. Long story short Rob got the tire off, in the truck, I got the tire to the shop and repaired. The next day I was thinking about how thankful I was for my neighbors. But, wondered why that had to happen when I’m already feeling a bit like there is no space for anything extra. When it hit me. That happened to show me I am supported. I can do hard things. It’s going to be ok. 

Many have asked, “how are you and Gracie doing”? The straight answer is every day is different. Gracie is sad and missing her dad terribly. She wears his watch and his sweatshirts. Anything to feel close to him. Those two were so so close. The typical daddy daughter relationship. As a mother, it breaks my heart that I can’t fix this for her. I can’t take away her pain.

The other day I only cried twice….once being in Ace hardware. So I just don’t know when it will hit. Sometimes all it takes is a smile from a friend or a simple, “how are you”? And the tears of sadness just don’t stop. This house is so empty feeling. I’ve had lots and lots of company and people always staying with me so that helps. Yet, it still feels so empty. The void that John left is incredibly huge. There are memories of him everywhere…..a picture, something he built, his clothes. Every turn a memory. When I feel really sad I try to remember that he is great right now! No longer suffering with that old tired sick heart. He’s whole and new. You know we always believed he’d beat this. I bet some think well he was sick….this shouldn’t be a surprise. Well, he was sick but we always had hope…..faith…..that God would heal him. Someone reminded me the other day that God did heal him. He’s healed now. 

On our anniversary in October I had put on facebook that the road has not always been easy but I’d choose John over again. No truer words. This pain……all this is worth it to have been loved by him. We had such an amazing, fairy tale life for so many years. Not everyone has this and I’m so grateful. 

I’m going to try my best to live like John Dee……every moment was a gift to him. He took nothing for granted. He was kind. Gentle. Forgiving. Loving. Generous. Do what brings you joy. Be kind.  

I was thinking about this journal alot this week and went back and forth about what I wanted to write. How many of you remember ALL the times he wrote cloths instead of clothes?! hahaha…..that always made me laugh. 

Before I close I wanted to express my thanks to you all. Thank you for the gifts, the emails, the cards, the support. 

Also, Gary filled you all in a bit on what’s next. Gary has been a huge help! The show must go on. John worked way to hard and for too long to not keep John Dee up and running. 

I have a few current issues that I’m hoping will get resolved quickly…..one being the AL cam was up and running yesterday but today is back out of commision. My neighbor and friend Tim is helping me with this. And I need to figure out how to place banner ads on the webpages. I have an email into a local guy who has worked with John in the past. We missed each other last Thursday but I’m hopeful maybe tomorrow we will be able to figure a few things out. He said he’s willing to help so hopefully soon. 

Also, if you ordered John Dee com stickers……I see you! I just can’t find the stickers! But, I’m working on that too. 

My friend Lisa is helping me with the facebook page and lots of other behind the scenes things. It’s going to take a village for a bit but once things get squared away we’ll be great.

I forgot to talk about the weather! Oh my gosh John would be so cranky right now if he were here! So cranky! It’ll come. It always does. I think it was 2016 we had green grass the first few days of December and then we were slammed. I was chuckling at a few posts where people were saying, “now you are in heaven John bring on the snow”……I secretly think he’s determined to have his final seasonal outlook pan out 🙂

Good night from John Dee’s snow country!

 

 

 

End of an Era

Hey everyone, it’s Grace. It’s taken me a while to be able to sit down and write this, but it’s time. As you’ve all heard by now, my dad, John Dee, passed away.

Originally, this post was going to be about his life, following the course of him growing up, going to college, moving up north, starting a family. But then, I realized that you all knew him. He started this site years ago, and you’ve all come to know him through it. So, I’m not going to waste the words introducing you all to a man you already know.

Instead, I’m going to talk about him. The real him. My dad was so much more than words on a page can describe, so much more than a list of dates and events that shaped his life. There’s a line from one of his favorite songs (Chicken Fried, by the Zac Brown Band.) There’s no dollar sign on a peace of mind this I’ve come to know. I think that this idea is one that my dad took to heart. 

Yes, he was a meteorologist. But it was so much more than a job for him. It was his passion. It was what he loved, and so it was what he did. From the day that he first got sick, my dad knew that life was a gift. He never wasted a second of it. No, he made each and every day count, doing the things he loved, no matter his condition.

My dad loved woodworking, he loved nature, he loved the snow. But most of all, my dad loved a good laugh.

And life is too short. My dad knew this, and he embraced it. I think that’s what made him love it so much. No matter where he was, how he was feeling, and, sometimes, what the doctors (and us) told him, he got up in the morning and set out to do what he loved. That is the last, and greatest, lesson that my dad taught me. That, no matter what, you’ve got to stand up and live your life to the fullest. 

Dad, we will see you in the trees, we will see you in the sun, and, most of all, we will see you in the snow.

Good Night from the Keweenaw..

-JD

 

Here We Go!

First, my apologies for be absent. I did have full intentions to write last Sunday, but got trapped at the Mayo Clinic again. Nora and I traveled there on the 16th for some tests on that day, as well as into Tuesday and Wednesday. All went well with the tests, except they were not happy with the functions of my heart and kidneys, so I got admitted Wednesday afternoon and spent the next 7 days in the hospital. They were successful in getting the numbers for both organs to a level where I could return home. So we left Wednesday afternoon, got part of the way and the rest of the way on Thursday.

So missed the full color stage of the trees here in Jake. They were very close when we left town on the 16th, but with a lot of rain and some wind, by the by the 26th, the trees were pretty much sripped of the color foilage.

What I did not miss was the first legit snow. We did get some frozen precip a few weeks back, but it looked more like sleet. That was not the case yesterday, there were a few flurries around noon and then the snowfall increased to a steady light to moderate clip. It was enough to coat most of the vegetation, but barley. All we got was a coating, but the higher terrain in the Keweenaw had a few inches fall. None the less, it was so wonderful to see the fakes delicately dance their way to the ground.

I really love the first snow of the season, especially in the cases when the trees are not totally stripped of their leaves, allowing for the autumn colors to contrast with the greens of the evergreens and white of the snow.

Today, my brother came over and helped me get the blower on Big Red, as well as a few other things to be ready for the winter. I can sure say that I’m so happy that I do not have to cut firewood for the heating. While that changed several years ago, I am grateful each and every cold season starts without that colossal job!

So I guess that about covers it for this one. Now that the Mayo trip is over and the pre-winter chores are done, I can get back into the shop and renew my work on the rest of the cabinets. It sure would be great to get them done before Thanksgiving, but am not up against some hard deadline. Dr’s have told me to slow it down some and that is what I will be doing from here on out. As hard as it will be to change habits that have been going for 57 years!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..
-JD

Life is Good

Well, well, well. Greetings and salutations by friends. I’m usually a pretty happy camper, but right now I am unusually happy. Why, you might ask? Well it is a combination of factors. One factor is that we are currently in one of my favorite times of the year. Smack dab in the middle of autumn. The leaves are peaking in color, the days are cool, the nights are crisp and the skies are a special shade of blue. Gone is the atmospheric humidity that causes the sky to be a less vibrant color of blue in the summer time.

Secondly, all of the Dee’s are gradually starting to feel like the new home is our home. I think we all needed some time to make the adjustment. I know I still don’t feel like it is 100 percent our home, but certainly higher than it was just a few weeks ago. We still have quite a bit of decorating to do, things like pictures other items that will sit on tables and other pieces of furniture. Hard to believe in a little over a month, we will be getting ready to decorate it for the holiday season!

The final, but not the smallest reason why I am in particularly good spirits is that I am free from the neck brace I had to wear for the past 4 weeks. I never complained about having to wear it, as it was a small burden to have to bear, compared to what could have been the case. I met several persons who said they had to wear theirs for many months. There is also the possibility that I could have needed surgery and worn a “crown”, the device where bolts go into your skull to keep the neck stabilized, of course there was also the possibility that I could have bought the farm, so to speak.  

I will say that the brace was not too much of a deal for me. The biggest downside was that I could not drive, so I always need to have someone drive me to things I needed to go to. I could also tell that I was not getting as restful a sleep at night that I was accustomed to. I did sleep, but I felt tired when waking up and many days could not shake the tiredness I had when I started the day. Friday was my first night without the brace and I awoke on Saturday to feel quite rested and felt pretty good the entire day.

So I don’t have a ton of stories to tell or pictures to share, as I laid pretty low the past few weeks. I can say that the colors between Houghton and Jake are not quite yet at full peak. They are getting closer and closer to it and my guess would be in another 2-4 days they will be. Here is a shot of Jacobsville Road a few miles from our house. I did swing by White City Beach to snap a picture of the lower entry light, the blue skies and shimmering surface of Lake Superior. The crazy days of summer have gone and taken the sun worshipers and swimmers with them. The beach is largely quiet now and will remain that way until the warm temps and summer break comes next year.

We have not yet had any snow fall up here, but there was a pretty good hailstorm in Calumet Thursday afternoon. Enough to sprinkle the ground in white. I also do not see any snow in our forecast, which is all fine by me. Snow in October is pretty useless, does not last and can also be followed by a less than average snowier winter. It can also be a real pain in the rear to try and get the before-winter chores done!

We did have some kind of frozen precip fall last night. Nora snapped this shot of the top of our grill, with some frozen pellets on it. So I would suspect that we had some ice pellets fall overnight. There were some lake effect rain showers that happened in the central UP yesterday, plus our overnight low temp was 33 degrees.

It was a pretty healthy apple crop down here in Jake. I cannot say how it was in other areas, but we also have quite a few still hanging in the trees. I wish that such occurrences foretold a snowy winter, but I have never observed that connection to play out. We also have our golden raspberries ripening up. They are just amazingly good. They taste like raspberry sugar cubes. There are several varieties in the patch. One ripens in late August and early September, another a few weeks later and the final one here in the early to middle part of October. They seem to be unaffected by cold temps, as the the leaves remain green and the fruit ripens even after a hard freeze. It’s a nice ritual to stop and eat a few right off the vine when traveling to and from the the shop and house. We are not the only ones that are enjoying them!

So that covers it for this one. Hope you all have a wonderful next week or two, or three as might be the case!

Good Night From the Keweenaw..
JD