On a Dime

My apologies for not writing last week, but we had family in town and then the Independence Day holiday hit and before I knew it, the week was almost over, so I figured I would just hold off.

It’s been a wonder week of weather. The days leading up to last weekend were pretty much the same as we have seen a lot this summer. Cool and wet. In fact, I think if memory serves me correctly, I turned on our fireplace one day, just to take the chill out of the house! Then, as if following some kind of command, the first of July hit and the weather changed dramatically and has been beautiful much of the time since. It still has not gotten hot enough to where we needed to use air conditioning, but one day this past week, it was close! I believe that on Wednesday, we had temps in the low to mid 80’s and the dewpoint was in the low 70’s. That is just about my threshold for having to cool things down artificially. Not so much the temp, but the humidity. Most of the rest of the days, the humidity has been a lot more tolerable and the temps have been in the 70’s. We have also seen quite a bit more sunshine. Still not quite what we typically see this time of the year, but probably more sun than clouds most of the time.

It just amazes me how the weather can make such dramatic changes with almost the flick of a switch. I can remember waiting and waiting for winter weather to arrive last autumn and then BOOM! it was lights out! Non stop snow for around 40 days! In any case, it is nice to finally have our beautiful summer weather here and it looks to stay. The pool has been getting a nice workout, especially from Gracie, who has probably used it every day in the past week or so.

As mentioned, we had family (my side) up here for the weekend before the 4th. My mom and two aunts came up to visit. My mom was the one on the left in that picture, with one aunt on the right and the other standing in the background. Neither of the aunts had been to the property since we built on it, so it was nice to be able to show them all the hard work that has been put in over the past decade or so. It is always a treat to have my mom come to visit, especially the way that she and Gracie pal around. They are nearly inseparable when ever the to of them are in each other company. My mom must go home and sleep for days after each visit, the way Gracie keeps her going!

We all kept pretty busy while they were here, making visits to Eagle River, Eagle Harbor, Copper Harbor and Calumet. It’s pretty hard not to take a new visitor to the area to the Brockway Mountain Drive. To be honest, it had been a few years since I had been up on the road when there was no snow on the ground! So I really enjoyed the trip and the view myself.

With the weather being so nice, we spent quite a bit of time outdoors, even when home. One of the activities was a game similar to corn bag toss, only you toss plastic coated washers into boxes with a small piece of 4″ PVC pipe in the center. Here is a shot of Gracie and her grandmother during an introductory/practice round. Once the real matches started, the boxes are around 3-4 time further apart. I’m not going to get into who won the whole tournament, but this is a picture of the two teammates celebrating their victory.

The three ladies left on Monday morning and we all relaxed a bit, but not for too long, as the 4th is a big holiday up here and there is lots to do! Starting on the 3rd, there are fireworks at a couple of places and we took in the ones put on by the village of Lake Linden. For the third year in a row, we went to friends house that live across the lake from Lake Linden, but are close enough to still be able to see the fireworks very well. It’s nice, because we can just sit and relax and watch the sun set before the fireworks start. Gracie even did some wading in the water. Once the sun sets, the mosquitoes come out in full force down by the lake, so this year we came prepared.

With the sun setting so late up here in the summer, the fireworks do not even start until after 11. This years show was one of the best that I can remember for Lake Linden and went on for at least 20 minutes. We then usually pack it up pretty quickly and head home, but are around 20-25 minutes from home, so we typically are laying our heads down on our pillows after midnight. For most of you that probably is not that big of a deal, but I typically have to work on the 3rd, so that means I have been up since a little after 4 that morning.

Its a pretty quick sleep, as we need to get up, have breakfast and get ready for the kids bike parade in Mohawk the next morning. Thankfully the do not do it too early, but to get everything done in time for the 10 am parade does cause us to wake up pretty early after not going to bed until after midnight! We made it just fine and it is so neat to see all the kids excited to be in the parade. Here is a shot of Grace and her friend Jakob waiting for things to start. Nora and Gracie were solely responsible for the bike decorating this year and they did an awesome job!

They start the parade up by the township hall at the north end of town and then head west a block or two to highway 41, which is blocked off for the 5 minutes or so that they kids go down it, following the police car and fire trucks. Its funny, all summer, I have been waiting for the weather to cooperate with some free time for me to be able to fly the drone and get some interesting footage and has I watched the parade roll down the highway, it hit me that it would have been a great opportunity to fly the drone and get some neat overhead footage of the parade! Next year I guess! And I do still have plans to get some good drone footage this summer and autumn and maybe even some shots in the winter, when the weather is suitable.

After the parade, everyone congregates at the park for food and the kids games. Gracie has hit that magical age where she is old enough to partake in all of the activities, but not too old to be “too old”. She took part in the water balloon toss and even the pie eating contest. Here she is putting her game face on for the pie eating contest and here she is in the heat of battle. She did not win the contest, but placed in the top 5 or so and also probably had one of the cleanest faces when she was done.

After the festivities in the park we headed across the street to friend’s house (Jakob’s parents) for a cook out and relaxing afternoon. There are lots of other things to do, like the big get together in Gay for the parade there, as well as music and food at the park in Ahmeek, but it is nice to just relax with friends in a laid back setting. After that, we have the choice of going to see the fireworks in Copper Harbor, or the newly minted (2nd year) fireworks in Eagle River put on by Fitzgearld’s. By the time we finished at our friends place, we all were ready to just chill and hang out at home.

With the weather finally coming around, the screened in porch has been seeing a LOT of action, as has the swing I built a few weeks ago. It has sort of become a thing to be the first one to claim a spot on it. There is plenty of room for more than one and there is usually at least two humans and a dog or two on it at any given time. I forget when this was taken, but some how, Huck managed to score the swing all to himself and was plenty content. Two nights ago, the girls decided to spend the night out there on the swing. It was a kind of chilly night, with temps dropping into the low 50’s, but they were plenty warm, with about 5 blankets on them. By the time I awoke, Nora had already gotten up, but Gracie was still sleeping somewhere in there. Here is a shot from a different angle proving she was really in there!

Sometimes I still think I need to pinch myself for living in such a wonderful place with such a beautiful family. They are doing road construction in Hancock and thus the driving pattern is limited to just one lane in either direction from the bridge to the first turn you make to head into town. The other day I had to cross the bridge and the traffic was lined up to the west all the way through town. The awesome thing about the back up was that everyone knew which lane was closed ahead and had gotten into it, even before the signs that said which lane to be in could be seen! The only ones that were driving in the left lane where those that were making left hand turns before the road went down to just one lane. Not one single vehicle took the left lane down as far as they could, only to merge at the last minute. I was so impressed with the politeness of the drivers up here, that I just had to snap a picture. I’m sure we are not the only the only place on the planet where such things happen, but it is so wonderful to live in a place that is one.

Another right of passage through the summer is the arrival of berry season. It is traditionally kicked off with the strawberry and then progresses through raspberry, thimbleberry onto blueberry and finishing off with blackberry. Strawberry season roared into full force in the past week and we got the call from our “suppliers” that they would have some for us on Friday if we wanted. So Nora and Gracie shot down to the farm outside of Hancock and picked up 3 flats worth of berries. For those that do not know, each flat has 8 quarts in them. So that was 24 quarts! Speaking with the folks that we get them from on Thursday, Nora was told that they were “especially good” this season. They are incredible in an average year, so we were all excited to experience an especially good crop. We certainly were not disappointed when we picked up 24 quarts of these! Believe it or not, all 24 quarts have been put to use already. One disappeared on the way home from the farm and Grace and Nora are keeping mum about that. Another is sitting in the fridge, waiting to be finished off. The others were either turned into jam, incorporated in our crepes for breakfast this morning, frozen for later use and the rest ended up in the two pies that Nora made today!

Yesterday afternoon I decided to take a quick nap before dinner, when all of the sudden, I could hear Grace bound through the front door and anxiously as Nora where I was. Nora sensed something was up and told her I was resting and asked what was up. Gracie then blurted out the words that any dog owner does not want to hear…”Huck found a porcupine!”. As I whipped out of bed and headed to the front porch to check out the damage, my mind was filled with visions of poor Huck with a face, neck or more filled with quills. The good news was that he only had about a dozen and a half, the bad news is where most of them were. Fortunately, none of them actually went into his eye. Two were in the lower membrane, as close as you can get, but still not in.

I have had dogs for over 20 years of my life and this was my first, and hopefully only, experience with porcupine a encounter. I honestly did not know if they could just be pulled out or if it needed to be done by a vet, so Nora called the vet. I like to brag about all the upside things to living where we do, but there can be down sides too. One is that none of the animal hospitals are regularly open on Saturday afternoons. They do have emergency numbers to call, but because the communities are so small, they actually rotate which clinic will be open for emergency calls on off hours/days. Unfortunately, none of the local hospitals were the emergency ones yesterday and so we had to travel the 80-90 minutes to Bruce Crossing to have them removed. The good news is that after being in the car for around 15 minutes, Huck settled in and did not seem to be too bothered by the quills. The other good news was that the vet there was awesome! For anyone reading this with pets and living in the vicinity of Bruce Crossing, I HIGHLY recommend Deepwoods Vet Service just west of Bruce Crossing. She took Huck in the back and said she would let us know if she needed help and all Nora and I heard was her sweet talking Huck, laughing with him, telling him he only had 5 more to go and in about 5-7 minutes they were back in the front room and Huck had all of them removed. She finished her work by flushing his eye, putting some antibiotic ointment in it and checking every square inch of his body for more quills. As it turns out, they can just be pulled out, but the main concern for them is to get them out as quick as possible, as they will continue to go deeper and deeper into the skin and can eventually migrate to the critical organs of the animal and end up becoming fatal. So she gave him a very thorough check and then send us on our way home. I am happy to report that he is doing just fine and hopefully never has to go through anything like that again!

So I guess that gets you caught up on things up here. This weekend, the activities were strawberry fest in Chassell and the guts Frisbee tournament in Calumet. Next week is the Bootjack Volunteer Fire Department chicken barbecue. Beyond that, I do not know the exact dates, but there is the Eagle Harbor art fair, the air fair in Copper Harbor, a couple more barbecues, Farmers Block music/art fair and more I am sure I am missing. Lots to do up here every weekend in the summer!

Good night from the Keweenaw..