It’s funny, I had actually started this entry Thursday afternoon, mainly the title, but also jotting down a few thoughts. It was to be titled “Saved from the Brink”, to reflect how my attitude was saved from the brink of utter disappointment by the snows we got Friday and the weekend. Perhaps a bit of wishful thinking and a whole lot of assuming the forecast would pan out. Well, as fate would have it, we had an absolutely ugly Friday with rains all day and temps around 35-36 degrees. That weather actually did more damage to our snowpack than all the warmer days in the past 10 leading up to it. I have come to the conclusion that there is NOTHING GOOD ABOUT RAIN IN THE KEWEENAW IN JANUARY. Nothing.
It’s also interesting how such a disappointing event can pale in comparison to another event. I was over at the shop, in my office, Friday afternoon when I got a call from Nora. Upon answering, I could hear frantic voices and crying. A split second I said “hello” and immediately Nora said something was wrong with Dune, she thought he was dying. I raced over to the house and upon entering, I found both Nora and Grace huddled over Dune, the other dogs looking on and right away I could see he was not breathing. I gently shook him and pleaded with him to breathe. I thought I felt a faint heart beat when I had my hand on his chest, but then it seemed to go away, so I laid my head on his chest sideways so that my ear was right against his chest and I could not hear any heart beat. I repeated the shaking and then listening for a heart beat a couple of times, but still nothing. Dune had died.
We are not sure of the cause, other than it was very sudden. I guess the two sled dogs were barking, so Grace went to check on them and to quiet them down. Just as Grace got there, she heard Dune whimper for a brief moment and then laydown and stop moving. She called Nora over and that is when I got the call. We suspect that the suddenness of his death was likely due to either a heart attack or stroke.
We all laid next to him for a while and whispered to him how much we loved him and how good a dog he was and then Nora and I loaded him into my truck and I took the long, sad drive to the vets to drop him off to be cremated.
Even though he had not been with us too long, in the 8 months we did have him, we sure got to see what a loving dog he was. He was way more shy and timid than his pen mate Kashi, especially with me. After we brought him home, I must have tried for a full month to get him to feel comfortable just being close enough to let me pet him. He did warm up to Nora and Grace much more quickly. Once warmed up to me, I was able to strengthen the bonding process and by the end of the summer, we were old pals for life.
Even though fully comfortable with me, he was always a momma’s boy and a Gracie’s boy. Although, I think he was a bit more of a momma’s boy than a Gracie’s boy. He could take a kiss as good as he could give them out. He earned the nickname “Swiper”, as he had a knack for finding things to grab, scuttle back to his window seat in the utility room and chew them up. Socks seemed to be his favorite target, or perhaps they just presented themselves in higher numbers than anything else, although anything was fair game, as Gracie learned with her plate of chicken nuggets.
So we are back down to 3 dogs. Nora reminded me than when we had to put Burt down, we both agreed no more dogs. Since then, we have had 5! They do get in your blood! The joy of having them far outweighs the sadness when it is time to say goodbye. They are the very essence of unconditional love. So long Dune, you were a sweet, sweet boy and we will meet again.
It’s was another pretty quiet day in the weather department. No snow until the rains of Friday changed over to snow Friday night. I did not snow hard enough to accumulate to more than a wet coating by Saturday morning. We did have snow showers occur off and on all day yesterday and the same has happened today, but again, nothing more than a dusting. From a snow lovers standpoint, this winter has now officially been the worst since I moved up here, perhaps the worst I have seen since coming up here since 1991.
Earlier in the week, I believe it was Tuesday, there was a beautiful site in the Houghton/Hancock area. Overnight, dense fog had formed in the valley that forms the Portage Waterway between the two cities. The fog was there for much of the period between midnight and sunrise and air temps were actually in the mid to upper 20’s. Please do not ask me how millions of tiny liquid droplets that cause fog can remain a liquid with air temps below freezing. It’s a full week section in atmospheric physics and saturation vapor pressures! Anyway, it happened and once the sun rose, anyone driving down in that area was treated to a magical icy view. When the fog droplets contacted an object such as a tree, it instantly became ice and attached to the tree. So all of the trees were heavily frosted with hoar frost. I did not get the chance to drive up there to take any pictures, but I did spy some of mother nature and old man winters handiwork via the webcams at MI Tech. Here is a shot of the lift bridge with the frosted trees in the background. The fog and resultant hoar frost was really confined to the lower elevations of the immediate Houghton/Hancock area, as Dollar Bay did not get it and even up the hill in Houghton at the tech ski trails there was no frost. I guess that’s as flocked as the trees in the Keweenaw were suppose to get this week!
So, what does the forecast hold? Well, no big dumps of snow. It does look like a couple inches will fall Monday and Monday night, the same for Tuesday and Tuesday night. Later Wednesday through Thursday could bring a more serious LES event, but still staying below the double digit range. By next week at this time, the models are indicating an area of low pressure to bring significant snows to most of the northern Midwest, essentially north of a line from around Omaha NE to Alpena MI. Long way out to have a lot of faith in, but would put all of the Northwoods and even areas south to that OMA-ALP.
So that about covers it for this one. It’s funny, I typically have gotten into the habit of now posting pics of snow in the journal, unless it is a news worthy snowfall. I feel like even a few inches of snow would be news worthy this season, so I may have to keep my photo taking devices handy at all times in the next week or two!
Good Night from the Keweenaw..