Happy Flag Day!

Usually when I am a day late, I apologize, but not this time! Nope, it was my birthday and in our house we get to do what ever we want or don’t want to do on that day. So I chose to spend the entire day with my two beautiful girls and enjoy the day!

It’s been a pretty busy week. Now that I am feeling better, I am able to get out and about more and even do some things around the house, shop and yard. The weather has been a little schizoid. Most of the days have been pretty nice, but we hot weather last weekend, then cooled off and we got a little rain. Midweek was mild temps and some more rain and then Friday we barely made it into the 50’s, under a heavy overcast and a bit of drizzle.

As far as the bugs go, the mosquitos are probably ranking average, which means when it is warm and sunny, you are fine. Go into the woods and you better be protected. What has popped up very quickly and with very large numbers is the deer and horse flies. They started showing up later last week and now are quite nasty. At least at our house. I’m not sure about the entire region. I know that they like to hang out in the taller grass and then take flight when the sense a target is near. They actually do more looking then picking up on a scent like the mosquitos do. So I remember reading about a very simple technique you can use to bring the population of those buggers down a lot. It came from a USDA study in which they use a sticky gel made to trap bugs on it- much like a fly strip. What you do is to hang a medium sized bucket, something around the size of a beach pail, off of a Shepard’s hook, or tree limb or similar. You coat the pail with that sticky stuff and let nature to the rest. It is important that the pail can swing in the wind, as that is what catches the fly’s attention. They also said the best color to use is dark purple or dark blue. Black also works very well, but the lighter the color the less effective. We just ordered the sticky stuff on line today, we we’ll see how it works when it arrives.

Probably the biggest event this this past week was the ending of the school year for Grace and Nora. Nora is a 12 month employee, but her schedule in the summer is a bit less demanding for her. I remember when Grace first started school, she would be so sad on the last day. Mainly because she would not be able to see all her friends every day. That has turned around and she now very much loves the summer break. I think that turn around was enhanced when we moved to Jake, as the beach is so close by and she has some friends close by and there is just lots more to do in the summer for her.

The last day of school also happened to coincide with an eclipse. It was not a total eclipse, but rather an annular and it only was really visible in just a few spots of the world. The tip of the Keweenaw was actually the starting point for it and then it traveled north across northeastern Canada, Greenland and into Russia. So Thursday morning, we all woke up early and headed to the pier at White City beach to catch it. Some friends of ours also met up with us. We all got there just as the suns rays were really starting to illuminate the sky and to our dismay, there were some clouds on the horizon that would block out the sunrise, which was the optimum time to see the eclipse. Of course with the beautiful sunrise blooming, gentle waves rolling along the pier and the sound of seagulls and a pair of bald eagles, none of us were disappointed at all to be there in that spot that morning! It even prompted Nora and I to take a “selfie“. I love how she is all dressed and ready to go to work and I still have bed-head and bags under my eyes! The life of retirement!

After waiting around 25 minutes past the sunrise time, the sun finally popped it’s head above the clouds. Our friends had brought some glasses that are for viewing the eclipse, so we all got to at least see what was left of the eclipse. I had picked up a filter for using with my digital SLR camera and even though I had a very hard time seeing what I was shooting with it, some pictures did turn out. Here is a shot of the sun with the moon eclipsing it on the lower left. That one was taken while zoomed out. Here is a shot zoomed in. So not the eclipse we were all hoping to see, but it was still pretty cool and a beautiful morning at the lower entry.

We have several traditions in the Dee family and one is that on the last day of school (which is always a half day) we all meet up for lunch. We also have been going to the same restaurant since the tradition started, that being the Hut in Kersarge. Nora has to go back to work after lunch, so it is close enough to allow that to happen and we also have always enjoyed eating there. So lunch on Thursday kept with the tradition and it was also nice to be back on track and be able to dine inside! Last year we had to get it to go and I think we ate in the vehicle. 

Another main activity for me this week was to setup the pool. I did have lots of help from Nora and Grace in the actual setting up part and then kinda took it from there. Our house is on a well here and with the pool needing around 8400 gallons of water to fill it, I did not want to run the risk of running that well dry. We also have a crock well by the house and another by the shop. For those wondering what a crock well is, it is a shallow well that fills with water a few feet below the surface. Last season, the water was around 3 feet from the surface and this year it is around 4 1/2 feet. The well then goes down around 20 feet. I used it in the winter of ’19-’20 to make the ice rink. Anyway, between the two wells, I got the pool filled in around 36 hours.

The water from the crock wells is not for drinking, although I have been told that the first people to live here did use it for everything, including drinking. Once the pool was filled, it did not really look like the kind of water one would want to be swimming in. I do have a sand filter that is sized for a full sized in-ground pool, so it does a great job of keeping the water clean and it took around 20 hours of running it to get the water clean. The other thing that needed addressing was the silt that was on the bottom of the pool. Thanks to Nora and the birthday present she got me, I was able to drop a self cleaning pool vacuum in and let it do it’s job. It does an amazing job and best of all, it does it all on it’s own. It is powered by the water pulled through it and designed to wander the pool, even the sides, and clean it. Here is a shot showing the job it does with just one swath. So today, with the pool clean, the sun out and temps in the low 70’s our fearless swimmer took her first of many swims in it. Once the gas company comes and runs a gas line to the heater next week, this old fart will be swimming right along with Grace!

We have been visited by a black bear almost every night for the past week or so. The first night, it took out the bird feeder in front of the Al Cam, the next night it took out a suit feeder hanging from a tree in our side yard. Then late last week, we were all relaxing in the living room, when it snuck up and took out Nora’s fancy bird feeder, which did not sit well with her AT ALL! That would never have happened if Huck and/or Millie were still alive. We yelled at it and it took off, but initially, not too far. So Nora snapped a shot of it. Just a yearling, but they can make a big mess too! In fact we made the mistake of putting our garbage out last night and it proceeded to tip the can over, pull two bags across the street into our neighbors woods and have a feast. Not a lot of fun picking up garbage and swatting mosquitos at the same time! The garbage will NOT be going out until Monday morning for the rest of the season.

I think that about covers it for this one. Independence Day is rapidly approaching and the Keweenaw will be full of things going on. Including the 2nd annual Jacobsville parade!

So until next time, I leave you with this treat. It was one of the magnificent views Nora had while driving to work today.

Good Night from the Keweenaw..