Summertime

First, my apologies for not writing last week. Just plum ran out of day. I had a friend that used to use the term: “There’s just not enough time in the day” all the time. I think it was because he used to spend a lot of it just hanging out and shooting the breeze with lots of people. However, I think I can legitimately sympathize with the phrase these days. So much to do and so little time! I am not complaining by any means. I have chose to have so much to do and none of it needs to be done immediately, except for maybe cutting the grass in the backyard!

Anywho, summer is certainly here in all of it’s Keweenaw glory. We have had some very wonderful weather since I last wrote. There have been some hot days, with temps in the upper 80’s to low 90’s, but the dewpoint really did not get out of hand on those days, or really any of the other days. Most of the days have brought us temps in the 70’s and 80’s, with loads of sunshine and a nice breeze. I sure am loving how the breeze is so much more noticeable down here in Jackobsville than where we were in the woods in Mohawk. 

I have been busy cutting grass, doing things in the shop and hanging out with the girls. We have been pretty dry, but yet our lawn is still deep green and grows at the rate of needing to be cut every 5-6 days. Between our front and back yards, the yard around the shop and my brother in-laws, I am kept pretty busy with that. The shop is making progress. Slowly, but steadily. This will be my final shop, so I am taking my time and doing EVERYTHING with as much care as I can. Some things will not even be seen when all is said and done, but I am just trying to remove short-cuts from all of my work these days. That counts for any work done on the house as well.

A week ago, we woke up to a magnificent morning. So after a nice Fathers Day breakfast of bacon and Pannukakku (Finnish Pancake and is 100 times more delicious that it sound correctly or incorrectly pronounced!) We all headed to the beach to allow the dogs to get in some swimming before the crowds arrived. We had the entire beach to ourselves, which was a huge plus as the dogs just love to go say hi to anyone or anything they can and some folks just don’t appreciate a big, wet dog coming to say hi. 

Up until now, Bleau has been rather unsure about the water. Choosing to only wade up to a bit past the top of his paws. This has been a different experience for me, as I have had labs in my life for the past 25 years. As anyone who has owned a lab knows, you can lead a lab to water, but you cannot keep them out of it! Last Sunday started out no different. Huck bounded into the water to fetch a stick, while Bleau stood in the safety of the shallows to watch. But something felt different that morning. Myself as well as Nora and Grace all had the feeling that Bleau might finally reach out beyond his comfort zone. It took a bit of coaxing by Grace, but little by little, he went in further and further. He never did go in past where he could touch, but they way the beach is, that would have meant having to throw the stick further than we probably could, but he did go in up to his neck to retrieve the stick and bring it back to shore. I suspect that it will take a bit more coaxing to get him to go in over his head, but think that he will be a strong swimmer before long. 

Back on the beach, Huck did his usual fosbury flop onto the sand and proceeded to roll around until he was covered in the sand from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. I believe all of my labs have done that and always wondered why. It hit me last Sunday that is is likely because it helps to dry off their fur. The sand absorbs the moisture, they shake repeat and they are already on their way to being dry. I am not 100 percent sure as dogs do not give up there secrets easily, but it makes sense to me!

This past week, Grace and I made plans to go to the beach and Nora caught wind and joined us. The weather perfect and a slight on-shore breeze made it a great day to be there. I cannot express how fortunate we are to live not only in the Keweenaw, but in this new little piece of heaven in the Keweenaw. Grace took to the water pretty quickly upon arrival and I actually followed her lead. I did not fully immerse myself in the water, but did go up to my knees! Which was enough to cool me off and make the decision to not go in any deeper easier. The waters are warming and I have little doubt that I will go in all the way this summer. There is a buoy just off shore of Jacobsville and it is currently reading 60 degrees. Pretty warm for it not even being July yet.

In my last entry two weeks ago, I talked about how I worked with another gentleman to harvest a large red pine that had fallen last November. We had taken the logs over to a friends house that owns a portable saw mill and yesterday was the day the logs were turned into boards. It was my second experience with a portable sawmill this summer and I am still amazed at how efficient they are at cutting logs into lumber. This one had a semi-automatic loader. I saw semi-automatic as it still takes some manpower to crank a handle that reels in a cable that is looped around the log and pulls it up and onto the saw. That simple crank, cable and ramps eliminates the need for a machine to lift the log into place. Once set onto the saws bed, the log is adjusted to be in the correct spot and clamped down by some very simple, but effective clamps and is then ready for cutting.

My friend, Tim, had me back the trailer up so that it was just ahead of the saw. This was a brilliant idea. It allowed me to just lift the freshly-cut board off the log and put it on the trailer. It did not take too long to cut up the boards. 4 hours was all that was needed and we did take a few breaks as well. Here is a shot of the trailer after we had cut 2 of the 4 logs. The board were just incredible from that tree. Most were 15-20″ wide and we cut them at 12 feet long so that I can use a single board to cover from the floor to ceiling in my shop. I don’t know the exact amount of wood that I took home with me, but I do know I had estimated how much I needed, around 1300 square feet, and we were only part way through the second to last log when we hit that mark. So we cut the rest of that log and I left the last log for him to use for any projects he has. Later yesterday evening, Nora and her brother helped me stack and sticker the boards to dry. Truth is, they did almost all the stacking and stickering as I was pretty pooped by the end of the day! The boards on the very top are 1″ thick as that is the thinnest the saw can cut when you are at the very bottom of the log. They will be saved and use for something special, as they are 20″ wide and pretty much clear of things like knots and any other defects. The rest of the boards were cut at 1/2″ thick and will be dry enough to hang on the walls in about a week. I took home a 1/2″ board when I was visiting another friends sugar bush and we cut some of his dead falls. It only took a week to go from 48% moisture to 14%! Normally when you air dry lumber at an inch or so thick, it takes at least 6-8 months to dry and you also have to weight down the top so that they dry flat. These boards are thin enough that the weight of the top and thicker boards are keeping them flat.

So I guess that about covers it for this one. Have a safe and fun Independence Day holiday! Talk to you next month!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..
JD

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