Well, the past week has definitely been one of typical January weather in the Keweenaw. Lots of cold, lots of snow and lots of wind. It seems that the flakes have been falling more minutes than not for just about all of the week. We did have some sun pop through from time to time as well, just to sort of let us know it was still there above all the clouds and falling snow. 

Such was the case Tuesday morning. This was the sight as I looked left coming out of the front door of the house on my way to the office. “Red skies in morning, sailors take warning”. The old mariners saying, meaning when you see red skies in the morning off to the west, it means a storm is coming. Probably not always right, but also probably not a bad relationship to be mindful off. The red skies are created by the rising suns rays being refracted and reflected by ice crystals and/or water vapor making up the clouds of an approaching storm from the west.

That warning ended up being valid, as we had snow commence by around midday and then keep up pretty good for most of the day and overnight and we ended up with around 6″ of fresh snow, as did much of the Keweenaw from around the lift bridge north. Some areas even saw as much as 8-10″ fresh.

A bit later in the week, I took a drive up north to my old stomping grounds in Keweenaw County. I did not go any further north than Mohawk, but also ended up in Greenland by later in the afternoon, so I did get to see quite a bit of the lay of the snow across the Keweenaw. The way things seem to work, the snow we have on the ground is close to doubled by the time I am just 8-10 miles north at the Dreamland Bar. The depth increases a bit more by the time I get to Lake Linden, but only by around 10-20%. On this trip, I headed up through the valley and the snow typically gets a bit deeper the further north I go in the valley and then at the valley, I have to climb the Copper City Hill, which raises me about 300-450 feet in elevation. That rise in elevation is all that is needed to put me into the true deep snow country of the Keweenaw. On average, Copper City will have around 2 times as much snow on the ground as Dreamland, which equates to around 4 times as much on the ground as here in Jake.

The mathematical formula seemed to be pretty much spot on by the time I got up to the top of the hill and into Copper City. The snow banks there were a good 5-6 feet tall and it felt really good to be traveling through the deep snow country. It immediately brought back the memories of regularly driving through there in winter. I did take the turn in Copper City that put me on the #6 Road that heads to Mohawk. That is the road we used to live on and the banks there were around 3-4 feet tall. Not because of less snow, but because the plows can travel faster and push their snow further away, rather than just up and in. A final turn onto Old Joes Road took me down the road I would take when walking the dogs on the 3 mile loop and also travel in Big Red to go and clear the ice rink in Ahmeek. All great memories!

Snow not nearly the snow in Jake as in Mohawk, but it is a “satisfactory deep” in Jake. I would love more. I would love to be able to watch it snow those big lake effect snow bombs more, but at least the snow is deeper than a foot and that is quite nice to look at.

Bleau has been enjoying the snow. Romping around in it and running the fence line trying to see if he can get any deer to play “cops and robbers” with him. So far none of them have, but they have learned that he cannot get past the fence, so some of them do not run when he comes at them like a bat outta hell, barking like there is no tomorrow. he others that do run do not go very far, just far enough it seems to let his voice not be as much of a nuisance. Kashi is much happier to just go out, do her business and come in. This indoor living has really hit her sweet spot. She spends most of her day on her blanket on the carpeted living room floor or on the couch, napping with one eye open! She is the sweetest dog we have had and never does anything to get herself in trouble. She is living the good live and knows it and that makes all of the human Dees joyful, as that I all we ever want to do for all of our dogs. I am starting to get the itch for a lab, but am going to hold off until Kashi passes. Her health is still perfect, with just a bit of stiffness in her hind quarters, so the lab could be a ways off yet. When the time comes, I may ask the help of you, my friends, as we will be wanting to do a rescue, rather than get from a breeder. Only for the simple fact that we want to adopt a dog who is without a family and give him the full Dee family dog treatment! There are not a lot of rescue organizations close to us and we were watching the Chicago Lab Rescue, but turn out you have to live close enough to them so they can do visits and check in to make sure the adoption has been a good thing for the dog.

My main reason for going to Greenland late last week was to pick up a cordless electric snow thrower. I had actually gotten one from Lowes online, but it ended up crapping out on my after going around 50 feet. I spoke with two tech support folks at snapper who were very nice, but it was their conclusion that the unit was defective in some manner. Pat’s in Greenland had the unit I really wanted to get, but could not find one ready to ship locally or on-line, so made the 90 minute trip south to pick up the Ego unit. It is just a single stage like the Snapper was, but has two large batteries rather than one. That gives it a lot more power and longer running life.

Yesterday when the snow had started to taper of some, Grace and I took the blower out onto the ice rink to give it a try. There was about 10-12″ of snow on the ice and the Ego had very little issues moving it. The wind was a different story, as it would whip the snow all around, including my face and the area I had just cleaned. Grace and I kept up with the clearing, but it did not take long to reach parts where the ice was not thick enough to hold fast and it cracked. This made moving the snow more difficult to move as I had to bring the bottom of the blower up, so that it would not chew into the ice or worse, chew into the plastic liner. We got about 1/3rd of the rink cleared and the batteries were nearing the end of their charge. I was really working the blower hard with the amount of snow on the rink so I was actually impressed with how long the batteries lasted at full power. They only took a little over an hour to go from nearly dead to a full charge too.

So I will clear the rest of the rink off bit by bit this week and then move on to putting more water on it to make the whole rink usable. Hopefully that will not take too long, as I no longer have my previous method available.

Today Grace had some important testing for her figure skating, so we all went down to the SDC at Tech and watched her and others go through their moves while the judges did their thing. Grace and her friend from the Calumet Figure Skating Club both passed their tests, so now it is on to prepare for a program competition, which is similar to they type of competition you see in the olympics. There is also going to be a spring skating show involving all of the skaters in the Calumet Figure Skaters Club that she will be learning a couple of routines for. It would be great to have our rink in full running shape to give her another place to practice.

My final picture is of the street gang I came upon while driving home the other day. I don’t believe I have seen so many deer on the road in one spot in my life. They were right next to the home of someone that feeds them through the winter, but I don’t even remember seeing that many in his yard at one time. There were even more that cannot be seen in the picture because they are hidden by the curve in the road.

That covers it for this week. The week ahead looks a bit quiet for snow early, but then some chances for snow in many areas by the end of the week and next weekend, so it looks like this good, but not epic winter will continue to do its thing!

Good Night From the Keweenaw..