Flying By

I don’t know about you all, but this summer sure seems to be flying by for me. I suppose it’s because of the buy schedule I have, but it seems hard to believe that July is already half over. As I look forward into the second half of the season, I really cannot see it slowing down, perhaps even going faster. It sure seems like it has not been 2 weeks since I last wrote and maybe that is why I am not writing every week right now. The weeks go by so fast, I forget to write. If you are buying that story, I have a bridge I can sell you!

So when I last wrote, we were 2 days shy of Independence Day. That has obviously came and went, so I can share with you the festivities we had in Jake. As has become a tradition, around the midday, we have a parade. Probably the shortest parade in the country, both in participants and in length, but it’s also a lot of fun. This year the parade was led by Mike on the bagpipes and then followed up by some of the kids (and kids at heart) on their bikes. we also had a classic Datsun convertible and an old army jeep. We decorated our golf cart and Grace drove it, while I was the passenger.

After the parade, we have a potluck picnic. Last year the weather was horrible on the 4th, with temps in the 50’s and rain. So the potluck picnic was held inside. This year it was perfect and was held outdoors. The first two were also held outside and on our front lawn and we will be returning to our place for next year and as many more as we can host…weather permitting.

The other main news is of course the continuing house build. The builders are on the home stretch. All of the landscaping has been done, more on that in a bit. Most of the plumbing fixtures have been installed. Here is one of the things I insisted the new place have. Ever since it got fully plumbed, I have been wanting to try it out, but we are still waiting for power to be brought to the house. I could run an extension cord from the temporary power setup to the boiler and fire it up, but will just be patient and wait for the power company folks to do their thing. Actually, we are both waiting on the sub contractor to dig the trench and lay the wire. Then the power company comes and does the connections.

The stone for the fireplace has begun to get installed. It’s a little further along than in this picture, but still has about 80% to be done. It is really looking nice and will really enhance the look of the living room, plus be a wonderful feature when the weather gets cold. We all loved the fireplace we had at the last home and this one has all the same features, but is a bit larger.

Now onto the landscaping. Two weeks ago, the did all all of the landscaping behind the shop, where the new septic field was built. It actually sits directly next to the one for the shop, but they are separate systems. Last week, they did all the landscaping around the house, which included spreading topsoil over the dirt what was there, planting seed and covering it all with straw. At one point, I was really wanting to use sod, but Nora was wanting to avoid the cost and go with seed. So we made a deal, there was a new home built on Bootjack Road last year and they planted seed. We agreed to use their lawn progress as a guide as to which way we should go. Well, much to my surprise, their seed sprouted and filled in quite well and they have a pretty full lawn. So that is why we went with seed. It was really good we did too, because I watered the seed late last week, not even the entire front yard, only about 35% of it and ended up sucking our well dry! It has since recharged, but had we gone with sod, we would have likely lost of a lot of it by not being able to water it.

The watering I did late last week got some of the seeds to sprout, but the rains we got a few days ago was great and has gotten most of the yards around the house to sprout. We have more rain on the way Wednesday and Thursday of this week and that should get the rest going and give enough moisture to allow for some growth too. Even though the seed was planted around 10 days ago, here is a shot of the front yard. As mentioned, the area behind the shop was planted around a week before that around the house and has had more time to get going. Here is a shot of it. The bald spot in the middle is a low area that had some standing water in it. We still have a good amount of topsoil left over, so in late August or early September, I plan to fill in the low spot and plant seed there.

Another thing the crew did as part of the landscaping was to put down some really nice gravel for our driveway at the house. Most of the gravel that you get up here is spoil rock from the copper mining. It makes for a pretty good driveway, especially if it has a lot of “fines” in it. Fines are very small particles that range in size from a kernal of wheat to a grain of sand. They help to lock in the smaller pieces. The gravel we got was pieces all smaller than a marble and mostly fines. It also seems to have a limestone kind of characteristic, by getting well compacted as vehicles drive over it. It also is the color of limestone, so looks pretty nice too.

The final piece of landscaping they did was to relocate the “red shed”. Previously the shed sat in the back, right corner of our backyard. However, since the new home was built back further away from the road, the red shed was sitting right at the end of the driveway and we really did not care to have it there. So they were able to skid it up onto a trailer and drive it over to the shop, where it was placed near to the shop, but away from the snow clearing zone.

I wish I could say that I am on the home stretch with my contribution to the new house, but I’m not quite there yet. I am working my way closer and closer to it, but still have a good chunk of work to do. I forget where I was when I last showed you pics of the cabinets, but as things stand right now, I have all the face frames done and about half of the drawer boxes built and installed. To give me some credit, in actual time needed to finish the drawer boxes and mount them, I am way past halfway. That being because to build the boxes it only takes around 35-40 minutes. The time needed to figure out their exact dimensions and make sure that those dimensions are correct takes even longer. So I have actually built and installed one drawer for each cabinet and now all I need to do is to go into assembly line mode and use the dimensions for those drawers on the remaining.

I believed that I said these cabinets would have some special features, some of which I have never seen done with kitchen cabinets and others only on high end cabinets. One of the features that I have never seen done is the use of “cloud lifts” on the bottom rail. This detail was something invented by the brothers Greene and was used in a lot of their Greene and Greene furniture. I gotta admit, I almost abandoned the idea. It probably took me half a dozen tries on scrap stock before I finally figured out the best technique and another 3-4 tries before I was in the groove and satisfied with my results. I also have to say, it was such a joy for me to master the making of these features and I really had a lot of fun making them once I was good at it. They are things I will want to include on furniture pieces I make in the future and it will be nice to be able to just whip them out, rather than feel intimidated them. 

The weather up here has been mostly good to magnificent. We seem to be avoiding a lot of the rain that is impacting other areas of the eastern 1/2 of the US, while getting just enough to keep things from drying out. ost other days have us in sunshine and temps in the 70’s to around 80. Friday was one of those days, the temp was around 80, with a bit of a breeze and as I sat in my lounge chair, taking in the big lake, I thought to myself it just does not get any better. I do not say this or share the pic to try and brag or cause jealousy, only to illustrate just how wonderful this place is and to take the opportunity to say just how blessed I am to live here. It really is a dream come true!

We are also at the magical time of the year where the fruits of the Keweenaw become ready for consumption. We have a sweet cherry tree in our front yard and it was mandatory that it not be removed or even hamed in any way while tearing down the old home and building the new. The crew did a great job of seeing to our wishes and it is now rewarding us with some beautiful fruits. I spent a few minutes under it this evening and picked enough to snack on and share with the dogs. Bleau must have remembered what they smell like, because when I got into the house, he was wanting to take them right out of the pocket of my hoodie where I had put them for transport to the apartment!

In a few weeks, it will be time for the blueberries and raspberries and then at the end of August the blackberries. Mother nature really does produce the best candy.

I believe that gets you all caught up for now. Until next time…

Good Night from the Keweenaw..