It’s quiet…too quiet.

About 90 minutes ago, Nora and I returned from dropping our little girl off at her first summer camp. There has been a lot of nervous energy flowing through this house the past few days and now suddenly, all is quiet. This is not the first time that she has spent the night away from home. She has had a couple of “sleep overs” at uncles houses, but this will be the first time she will be gone for more than one night. It helps mom and dad to know that she is only around 15 minutes away, but it is going to be an interesting week for us all. I can’t wait to hear about all the fun she has and the the milestone that she crossed by being away from home for so long.

It was a nice week up here. A very typical summer weather pattern, with mild and mostly sunny days and cool, but not cold nights. We have picked up some rain from time to time as well. In fact, today was an all day soaker. We awoke to rains falling and they kept falling steadily until around 4:30. It has been chilly too, with temps hovering in the low 50’s. The kind of “summer” day that reminds us that we live in the Northwoods, on a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water that is still in the 30’s. The rest of this week was spent in the upper 70’s to low 80’s and it was just beautiful.

As far as the bugs go, I am happy to report that the black flies have not been too bad. I would be lying if I said they were not a problem at all, but I was even in the deep woods on Friday afternoon and again yesterday morning and was not bothered by them much at all. I have a feeling that the mosquitoes might be an issue this week, with all the rain we got today, but it is also suppose to be cooler this week, so perhaps they will not be too bad. Plus, they are never a problem in the full sun. Only heavily shaded areas, or when the sun is just coming up or going down. I also heard from someone that the biting flies, also known to some as beach flies or fish flies, hatched this week. In fact, it was that report that kept us from going to the beach Friday evening, but Nora got more than a few reports from her friends that went to the beach Friday evening and were not bothered by them, so we braved the beach yesterday afternoon and were rewarded by a biting fly free experience. So while they have been an issue in some spots, it is not a widespread issue. That is all good news, as quite frankly, in about 2 weeks, we will be done with June and the “bug month”. That is not to say we will be bug free, but will be mostly left with mosquitoes in the favorable spots and then some deer and horse flies at the beaches, but nothing that would keep you from going or doing something.

It’s hard to believe that in two weeks, the month will already be over and we will be into the July 4th holiday weekend. The schedule of happenings was kicked off this weekend with Bridgefest in Houghton/Hancock. We did not partake in any of the activities, but they had some wonderful weather for things. Next week is Pasty Fest in Calumet. Hopefully the weather will be much better for that than the category 5 hurricane they had blow through as things were getting ramped up last year! I will never forget that one… Seeing the skies turn darker and darker in the west, then being pulled aside by the head organizer of the event to check things out on a laptop they had at the event and seeing a bow echo screaming across the big lake, heading straight for Calumet! All I could do was to tell her to get the word out that the weather was going to get really nasty and folks should seek shelter. Then Grace, Nora and I made a b-line to our vehicle and just barely made it before the torrential rains and 60 mph+ winds hit.

So I did finish the project I had been working on for the office and as promised, have some pictures to share. But first, I want to share how things looked before I even did any kind of remodeling late last summer. That shot was taken as I was getting ready to do the demo, so all the walls had been cleared of things, but the rest was pretty much as it was. Then the remodel took place and changed things very nicely. However, if you look closely enough at that last picture, you will see a rather crude desk made of a sheet of plywood. This is the new look. A nice, well organized desktop, even a bit professional looking. I run 5 computers for my work duties, 4 of them are laptops and one is a desktop. All are now housed in drawers that sit underneath their respective monitors. I am a big fan of the Greene/Greene style of architecture, so did a little bit of playing around with some of their ideas in my work. One of the features in their style was called the “cloud lift” and can be seen in my drawer fronts. I decided to take things a bit further and actually put profiles into the drawer fronts, to give the 3D effect of billowing clouds, rather than just give the effect of clouds by scalloping the edges of the piece. I’m sure someone else has already done this, but I have never seen it and plan to incorporate it into more of my works down the road.

I still have some free standing pieces I want to make for my office, but for now, I have things to the point where I can move onto other projects. I actually did just that this week and have gotten the next one about 95% constructed. I did have some help with it. In fact, yesterday around midday, I was working on it and Gracie was sharing her time between me in the woodshop and Nora in the garden. One one of her trips into the shop, Gracie asked if we could go to the beach so she and the pups could go for a swim. I mentioned to her about the biting fly report, but said if her mom said it was OK to go, then we would go when I finished up some more work on the project I was working on. She had already cleared the idea by upper management, so I said that we would go pretty soon. With that, she was off and running for the door, to tell Nora I thought. She might have, but there was something else she did. When she came back into the shop, she was wearing her swimsuit! So she grabbed some tools and got busy helping me get to my quitting spot. For those of you worried, that swim suit was OSHA approved!

So we headed to the beach and it took a matter of seconds for the doors of the truck to open before all three of the kids were in the big lake swimming. I was a little surprised that Gracie went in as far as she did, as the water temps are still only in the upper 30’s! The pups are pretty well insulated from the cold water by their fur and only requirement for swimming is that the water is not frozen solid! As mentioned, the bugs were not an issue at all and it was nice to be at the beach again. The pups and Gracie had a blast playing with each other and it is even more fun now that she is old enough to actually interact with them by tossing the fetch into the water, or the ball down the beach.

After the fun at the beach, we came back home and I went back into the shop to do some more work. By dinner time, I had reached a good stopping point and it was staring to really take form. If you are wondering what the heck it is, it is a nice big swing for the screened in porch. It will actually hold a twin mattress, along with a couple of humans or perhaps a human and a couple of big old Labradors! Gracie and I did a bit more work on it today and it is now around 95% towards being fully constructed. All I need to do is add a couple of cross supports and the plywood to support the mattress and attach the hardware to hang it. We are going to paint it, so that will need to be done before hanging it, but the mattress has already been ordered and I am sure we will be picking up some nice pillows for it and hopefully I will be able to give you a full report on how it works in next week’s entry. The only down side I see to making it is the fact that it might discourage me from wanting to work on the rest of my projects the rest of this summer!

So I guess that gets you caught up on everything going on up here. Even though today was more like a day in October, summer is here for sure and things are just beautiful. Tons of wildflowers are popping up and the berry bushes in the woods are also full of flowers, which means a good berry season is on its way.

Even though my dad is no longer in this world, I know he can read these words… and does. I would like to wish him a happy Fathers Day and let him know a single day does not pass without me thinking of him and the everlasting love he shared with me. He is truly my hero. I would also like to wish all the other hero’s out there a happy Fathers Day. I hope your lives are as blessed as mine has been!

Good night from the Keweenaw..