Going Green-Part 1

Howdy strangers! It’s me, almost live and in the flesh! I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I last wrote. I am pleased to say that my absence was not due to health issues, but rather a very busy daily schedule. We are nearing the completion of the new house and tasks relating to that occupy a large portion of my day. Then, by the time the evening rolls around, I find myself just too pooped to do anything else but relax with the family. I must admit that I am also pretty worn out as I type this, so I have a feeling that this will be a two-part entry, with me writing part two tomorrow.

So the last time I wrote, we were still struggling to get any kind of late spring or early summer weather going. The trees were still void of leaves and even the grass was struggling to turn green. Heck, I was even talking about driving past snow still in the woods on my way to and from Marquette. Well, the nice weather finally kicked in around 10-14 days ago and has not let up. The grass turned it’s deep green color of spring around two weeks ago and I did the first cutting of it a week ago. The trees also began to burst their buds around 10 days ago and are now just about 100 percent filled out.

The other event that happens around this time of the year has taken place and that is the bugs are out. At first it was the blackflies, followed by the mosquitos. The blackflies have seemed to die off for the most part, but the mosquitos are as bad as I can remember in my 24 years of living here. You really almost can’t spend more than a few seconds outside before being attacked by a swarm of them. They are so prevalent that, it’s impossible to go from the outdoors to the indoors without bringing several with you.  They are even a problem in the midday sun, which usually is not the case. 

We actually have been very dry for the past 2-3 weeks, so it is surprising to me that they are still so numerous. I really do not know why they are such an issue now, but I do hope that they will die off soon. We don’t have much rain in the forecast for the next 10 days, so hopefully their breeding spots will be going away. Obviously mosquitos and summer in the UP go hand in hand, but what is going on right now is quite unusual by everyone’s standards.

In a way, it’s actually advantageous that the bugs have been so bad that it deters me from wanting to be outside. That has made being inside the shop, working all day on the kitchen cabinets, even more enjoyable. Around 3 weeks ago, the material for the cabinet boxes, as well as for the doors and drawers arrived at our local lumberyard. So I had to wait for the weather to get nice and for the roads to be dry to go and get everything. That day came, so I went down and loaded up the truck with the materials and headed home.

The materials were loaded into the truck by the workers at the lumberyard, but the thought of unloading all of it and bringing it into the shop by hand did not sound like anything fun. So I employed the services of Big Red to do most of the heavy lifting. A friend and I slid the plywood from the back of the truck onto the forks of Big Red, I then carefully got the forks and the sheet goods right next to my assembly table and we just had to slide them off onto that table. I only started breaking down the sheets into the varying parts for the cabinets, but with my tracksaw and some nifty aftermarket guides, the going has been smooth, accurate and quite speedy. I only have two more sheets to breakdown and then can move onto the assembly of the cases.

One of the reasons why the sheet goods sat in the shop for around 2 weeks before I started breaking them down is that I wanted to work the bugs out of the process by building and assembling a “prototype”. I was glad that I did, as there were a few bugs to work out and I was able to work through them without stressing over the fact that I was using material slated to be used for the final product.

Another reason why it took the two weeks to get going on the actual cabinets themselves is that I had the opportunity to use our contractors mini-excavator to clean up the spot the old house sat on. The main goal was to take the chunks of the concrete from the old foundation and use them as rip-rap in front of my friends cabin. The cabin sits right next to the lake. Erosion over the years has caused most of the land that was between the cabin and the lake to disappear. A few years back he had a secondary foundation built underneath it and that has survived the past few storm seasons, but this last season did see the lake erode some of the land on the other end of the cabin. So we loaded the concrete pieces onto a trailer, brought them over to his place and then used the mini to put them into place. Our work will not completely stop the water from getting to the cabin, but it will absorb a ton of the destructive energy the waves have as they reach the shoreline.

So we were able to kill two birds with one stone, er, maybe it’s chunks of concrete. He got some free protection from future storms and we got rid of the chunks of concrete for free! Here is a shot of how things looked when I was done moving the concrete and filling in the site of the old home a bit. The site of the old home has been filled in even more by the contractor using their bulldozer and I will share pic of that with you tomorrow.

The third reason why there was the two week delay is because I spent three days on a trip to the Mayo Clinic last week. Not one due to anything new, just a 6 month checkup with my cardiologist. I drove down on Wednesday, had tests on Thursday and Friday, a consultation on Friday and then returned back home late on Friday. Looks like I will be headed there at the end of this month so that they can get me restarted on a med and then another trip soon after so that they can insert a device that will measure the pressures in my pulmonary vein to give them a more accurate reading on my hearts pumping function.

As mentioned, the woods have turned their beautiful green for the summer. Even though the mosquitos are currently holding domain over the woods, their reign will come to an end and we will be able to get into the woods and enjoy the beauty of the UP hardwoods. Gracie and I did try to take a bike ride over memorial day weekend, but my bike was acting up and we nearly got eaten alive! The issue with my bike has been fixed and Friday will be the last day of school for Grace, so I have a feeling we will be taking to the woods in not too long.

In addition to the woods greening up, the weather has become quite suitable for beach going. Here is a shot of Grace, my brother and his dog enjoying White City beach during the memorial day weekend. With the warm up happening, the creatures of the woods are also out and about. We have not had any sightings of creatures other than a few deer, but my brother did have a visit from a black bear recently. 

The other thing the warmer weather has brought is the snowbirds. They came back one by one, but for the most part, Jacobsville is at it’s full summer population, which is about double that (or more) of the winter population. To celebrate the return of all of our neighbors, a Memorial Day picnic was held at the community center. It is so wonderful to live in a small, close knit community like we do. Everyone is friends with each other and we are all willing to help each other out when needed. Between the beauty of the area and the close knit community of it’s people, Jacobsville really is a slice of paradise.

Good Night from the Keweenaw… and talk to you tomorrow.