Snowflakes, Sawdust and Vitamin D

Welcome to May everyone! Whew, we finally made it! There is just something about the month of April that I do not like. I suppose almost all of it has to do with the weather and what is going on up here. In most years, we are melting off the winters snow in the first 7-10 days, then spend the rest of the month in rains or snows and a few sunny and nice days. Not too many sunny and nice days this go around, so it seemed to make it extra hard to endure.

But alas! we have made it to May and the weather seems to be coming around a bit as well. Looking out the window Tuesday morning, one would have not thought that it was May 2nd or that the weather had made any kind of a turn around, as we had another snow event. Not a lot. Schools were not called, nothing delayed, but just more teeth clenching smiles from the locals. Monday was not picnic either, with a cold rain for most of the day.

Wednesday was a bit of a turn around day for us, with sunshine breaking out in the afternoon and temps almost hitting 70. We made it to 67 and I suspect that a few folks a bit south of us might have even hit 70. The day was so nice, I spent a lot of it outside, just taking things in. When the girls got home from school/work, we had dinner and then donned some hiking shoes and gloves and went to clean the trash from the sides of our road. I started my morning walks with the pups again and noticed that just about all the snow was gone from the ditches and no vegetation had come in yet, so all the junk that had found its way into the ditches was fully exposed and ready for the picking. So Gracie and I did the picking, while Nora and the pups helped point out things and cheered us on. Truth be told, I don’t remember doing it last year, so there was a fair share of stuff. We ended up with two full garbage bags and even found some pieces of cars that were too big to fit into the bags- things like the broken part of a front spoiler or tail light. Its a little sad that so much trash ends up on the side of the road, but I guess it could be worse and it sure was nice to walk the road the next morning and see nothing but nature.

There were other clean ups this weekend. I know they had a community clean up at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge on Saturday, our local ball field was cleaned up and groomed yesterday as well. Gracie is not going to play baseball this season, so we did not even know it was going on until I drove by on my way to an appointment yesterday and saw them working. Today, there is a clean up going on at the mouth of the Gratiot River and I have seen volunteers cleaning trash from the sides of the highways for the past week or to. It is awesome to live in a place where so much volunteering still goes on. I am certainly not picking on the more populated areas, as it is a different story. Just that it is great to see folks step up and take care of things themselves, rather than rely solely on a government entity to do it.

The rest of the week lent itself to some pretty nice weather. Mostly sunny skies and temps in the 50’s for highs. Just about all of the snow in our yard had melted by Friday, so I took advantage of the nice morning weather to do a little cleaning up of our yard. No trash, as we keep up with that on a regular basis, but the melting snow had revealed all the sticks that the pups had brought out of the woods and played with all winter. So I spent about an hour, raking and picking up sticks from the driveway, playground area and area where the pool goes. It is amazing to me how many sticks those two knuckleheads will bring out of the woods. I almost filled an entire wheel barrow. I gotta say though, even tough they are just sticks and all part of nature/living in the woods, it did look nice to have them all picked up. It also gave a bit of fuel for the wood boiler. What I saw after tossing the sticks into the boiler made me crack up. Out comes Millie with the next stick! She must have sensed that might have not been the thing to do at that moment, as she did bring the stick over to me and I was able to toss it into the boiler and then we all went inside and I gave her and her brother a treat for keeping me company while I worked.

On Saturday morning, I made use of some free time and good weather to cut up the rest of the firewood that was piled up in reserve. There was about 10 logs in total and the cutting was made pretty easy by picking the logs up with the forks on Big Red and bring them over to near the boiler and cutting them at a comfortable height. I think we have enough to get us through the rest of the heating season, which should be ending in another week or so. There are a few dead falls in our woods that I will cut up to keep the boiler going to heat our hot water for the rest of the month and early June and then have several options to get enough wood cut up to heat the hot water and pool for the summer season and then we say good-bye to the boiler!

While cutting the wood, I stopped for a moment and looked up and just admired all the beautiful blue sky. It has been an unusually cloudy spring and of course we do not see much in the way of sun from mid-October through early March, so we were overdue for some sunshine. It may be my imagination, but I swear that my mood was not only uplifted by being in the sun we had the second half of this week, but that even after coming inside, my mood is better. The good news is we are getting into the sunshine season for us. The big lake really is a cloud eater and I know there are periods in the summer where I seem to almost wish for a cloudy day…just to break things up. We’ll see how that goes this summer.

I was also treated to a beautiful view of another nature while cutting wood. I had some “helpers” out with me while mom did spring cleaning inside and looking over to check on them just about brought a tear to my eye when I saw this sight. I just had to take a picture, as words could not describe she scene. What I did not see while taking the picture was the rays of sun appearing in the shot due to the camera lens…as if the three of them were basking in heavens glow.

As you could see in the blue sky picture, the trees are still bare up here, but some of them have had their buds burst. Soon all of them will be having the buds burst and in another couple of weeks the woods will be turning green. The grass is starting to green up around here and this years strawberry crop in Nora’s garden is coming to life…or at least the strawberries are. So far so good with the bugs. I did actually encounter two black flies the other afternoon, but they were just the advance guard. The main invasion force will be here in a few weeks. Gracie did pick up a tick while we cleaned the side of the road, but it had not attached itself and so far Nora, myself and the pups have been tick free.

Yesterday afternoon we took to the woods for a walk. We hit one of the hiking trails and were treated to a pretty waterfall on the Jacob’s Creek. The woods were also very beautiful, even without the leaves on the trees. Perhaps even better, as it allowed more sunshine to get through and help keep the chill of the temp in the upper 40’s from bothering us. We even came across a remaining patch of snow. Somewhat remarkable to be still finding snow given the fact that winter basically gave up bringing us much new snow around here the 3rd week of February. Speaking of snow patches, I did pass by the Laurium Glacier yesterday and snapped a shot of it. Still going pretty strong and looks to have at least 2 weeks left, if not more. My guess (which does not count) was May 18th. I thought I would be way too late. Looks like I will be close!

So I guess that about covers it for this one. Hard to believe that the next time I write, we will be almost half way through the month of May!

Good night from the Keweenaw..