It’s Over

Summer 2020…stick a fork in her. At least in the Keweenaw. It was a warm and wet one. I don’t have the specifics yet, but will soon. I know August saw around 175% of rain fall. Temps for August were around 2 degrees above average. That may not sound like much at all, but is fairly considerable for a 31 day period. 

The final full week of August was not exceptionally hot, but was humid. We had highs in the mid to upper 70’s on most days and dewpoints in the mid to upper 60’s. Every morning we would awake to a super heavy dew that would sometime stick around until 4-5 pm that day. It made for a challenge to cut the grass that’s for sure! Somehow I did manage to get all of the lawns cut.

The main reason why I did not write last Sunday was because I am lazy! But I did have a second reason. Nora’s brother and his wife were up for the week and we had been spending time with them, including last Sunday evening. So I figured I would just roll it over to this week.

Nora had to work the entire week they were here (except the weekend), so she did not get to spend as much time with them as she typically does when her schedule is more flexible. Grace did a good job of filling in for Nora. Riding her bike down to their camp a few times a day. Grace and and Nora’s brother Joel also tried their hand at catching some minnows. Not much luck, but there are not a lot of places they could put the trap and be off of private property, but also not out in the open where the trap and anything inside could have been stolen. 

The late August evenings have to be my favorite of the year. The sun is low enough on the horizon that it is not blasting you with heat. Temps are usually not too hot or cold and the bugs are all but gone. Makes for some great bonfire times, as well as sunset watching

With the pending cold season knocking on the door, the critters of the woods are all busy trying to fatten themselves up. The hummingbirds are coming back through, on their way to South America for the northern hemisphere’s winter. Deer are being spotted a lot more frequently, as they venture into areas of human population where there might be some more food for them. We have had a rafter of wild turkeys hanging around our property for a month or two. Around 2-3 weeks ago we were all going somewhere and were in Nora’s vehicle just pulling away from our driveway, when an adult turkey popped up out of the high grass in the ditch. A second later, another adult popped up, followed by one last adult and two young chicks. We stopped and watched all the action and while we were stopped, the chicks kept popping up out of the ditch every few seconds and by the time the last one appeared, there were 19 total! The other day they were roaming the yard behind the shop and I snapped a picture of them. I did not count them all, to see if they had all survived, but the chicks were nearly as big as the adults.

Grace has been taking figure skating lessons for much of the summer. The only ice up here in the summer is the sheet that MI Tech plays on, so we have been making the drive down to Houghton a couple of times a week for that. That program is now over, but we stopped in the pro shop in Houghton last week to get her skates sharpened and saw this cool chair. I would love to have something like that, only have it be a lounge chair or at least a more relaxing angle for the back rest. Still a very cool idea!

Last Friday we went to a bonfire at our friends that live in the yurt. There are still a lot of summer residents in Jake. Most actually do not leave until early to mid-October, when the temps are too cold to live in their places, which have minimal heat and no winterized plumbing. So the attendees to the bonfires are still fairly healthy and it is so nice to be able to gather and have conversation with the neighbors we have in Jake. It is really a special community, everyone loving the area so much and just being comfortable to chat about fun and entertaining topics. No friction between anyone, just friendship. We are so blessed to have all of them as friends. 

In the past, they used to have a handful of summer gatherings. Most of them organized affairs at the community center. That was not the only time the folks back then would communicate with their neighbors. Nora has told me stories of how it would take her and her grandfather 2 hours to make the last mile of road to their house, because he would stop and chat with anyone he saw out. We tend to do that too, although the conversations are a bit more brief and we make that last mile in far less than 2 hours!

Nora has been really excited about establishing some traditions in the “new” Jake community. The first was a cook out at our place on the 4th of July. Another is the Labor Day weekend cool out at the community center. So she and her second cousin who lives down the road from us got things organized for this years event and yesterday we headed down a bit early, set up the grills and a table and the residents of Jake came with a dish to pass and stories to tell. We could not have had more perfect weather. Temps around 70 and loads of sunshine. This picture was taken before everyone arrived, in total I think there was around 26-28 people that came.

So summer has sun it’s swan song. We had our first “autumnal” storm this past Thursday. I put it in quotes because the temps were still quite warm so it was not like the storms we have with cold temps and battleship gray skies. However, it did pack a punch in the wind department. The Houghton County Airport saw a wind gust of 62 miles per hour and out on the big lake. The weather station on Stannard Rock reported a 71 mph gust (just 3 mph short of hurricane strength) and a freighter just north of Big Bay reported a gust to 70 mph. 

We have a low and front coming through tonight that will bring us a bit of rain and another round of strong winds. Not as strong as Thursday’s, but still gusts to 40 mph+. I am hoping for around 4 days of good weather to be able to finish up some small projects outside. Then all of my work will be done inside. We do plan to get some new windows for the house before winter sets in and hopefully a new furnace too. Both of them can be done in cold conditions, but not the dead of winter.

The trees are still largely green up here. I am surprised at the amount of locals commenting on how they are still so green, but that is pretty much how it goes every year. We get a few early turners, trees that are under some stress to change color, but really, nothing more than a few splashes until the last 10 days of September and then the peak around the 8-12 of October. Nora and I took a drive today and did spot an early turner, it sure did look beautiful and got the blood pumping for winter and snow to come.

I have some really cool things planned for the website this season and am excited to see them rolled out. The changes are likely to be quite extensive, so they may not all be rolled out until November, but it should be really cool. I am working with a design team out of the Atlanta area that has some incredible talent and great ideas. Stay tuned!

Good night from the Keweenaw..