Stuck in Reverse

Given all the real problems the weather has caused some in the US and neighboring countries recently, I am not going to complain about our weather, but I am not going to rave about it either. It seems as though we are either cold and raining or hot and humid…and maybe raining! Currently it is in the hot and humid phase. I also know that for many reading this, I am preaching to the choir. Our upper 80’s and dewpoints in the low 70’s does not compare to the low 90’s and dewpoints in the low 70’s, but we are running nearly 30 degrees above average and it is about as common to have upper 80’s up this way as it is snow this time of the year.

Needless to say the weather has been the talk of the locals. Going out and about the past few days, I have yet to hear someone say that they are loving this weather. It varies from downright complaining to being wishful it were cooler, but thankful it is not snowing. I have to say that I am running somewhere in between. I am really fed up with the humidity and less so the heat. I do long for sweater weather, but am good with it not snowing yet.

The forecast does look a whole lot more late-September-ish, starting with a bit of a cool off by tomorrow and a more serious cool off by the second half of the week. It even looks to get almost cold enough for snow by around Friday…almost.

As far as me being prepared for the cold to arrive, well…it is a mixed picture. I was able to get the roof on the addition this week. With a bit of help from Big Red, I was able to get the rafters up early in the week, then the sheathing up a day later and the metal on by Thursday. I have just one small piece of flashing to put up before I can say the roof is 100% done, but quite honestly, all would be good if that piece did not go up until spring, but it will get done first thing tomorrow. In addition to that final piece of flashing, the end walls will get completed and then the Yooper-siding (house wrap) will go on. A door will be next and then it will be weather tight. I have the spray foam all ready to go and will do that before it gets too cold and then the pros will arrive to move things around and then I will finish off things like the flooring and walls.

The wood boiler has been sold, but is still on site. It’s funny how old habits are hard to break. I have been able to get a little more used to not having to worry about keeping it filled with enough wood to heat our water. However, for around 11 years, it was a habit to look at the smoke rising from the chimney, or lack there of, to gauge if it needed wood. I actually got good enough to just be able to look at what was coming out of the chimney to determine if it were not only making heat, but if there was enough wood in it, regardless of if it were making heat or smoldering. The first thing I still do when pulling into the parking area is to look at the top of the chimney of the boiler to see what its situation is. Perhaps it will take having the boiler no longer there to finally break that habit!

The pups kept me good company while I was working on the addition this week. They really are at a great age. Too old to be getting into much mischief, but also young enough to run around and have fun if they want to. Quiet honestly, I think most folks watching them play would think they are more like 3-4 years old and not almost 9. They each have their own routine while I am busy. Millie sits on the driveway, or nearby where I am working and will keep a keen eye out for something to chase like a squirrel or chipmunk. Upon seeing one, she is off in a flash and darting through the woods to try and catch it. So far, she has not been successful, but I am not about to put money on that streak continuing forever. She may be turning 9 in a few months, but he afterburners still work as good as they ever did. Huck is a little more laid back. He will join the chase if it looks like there is a reasonable chance to catch the critter, or if he is just pored from laying around and the chase looks like it might be fun. Huck’s other main activity is to forage for food. Not that he needs it, but he just like to eat. Who doesn’t right? Anyway, the target for his snacking raids has typically been Momma’s garden. He knows where all the good stuff is and will be happy to help himself to a few tomatoes a cucumber or two and any green beans that might be hanging on. This week, he discovered that apples really do grow on trees! I’m not sure if one fell off the branch and hit him on the head when he was underneath the tree, snacking on one that had already fallen, or if he just happened to somehow notice that there were quite a few hanging from the branches of the tree. In any case, his new trick is to jump up and grab hold of one that is hanging low enough, pull it off the tree and enjoy it. I almost got a picture of him in the act, but the camera did not boot up in time and all I got was him sauntering off after getting one.

As I mentioned in last weeks entry, the color change has slowed to a crawl the past 2-3 weeks. I can only speculate that the warm temps we have had in the past 2-3 weeks has helped that to occur. In any case, we are still easily 10-14 days away from our peak in areas from Houghton to Copper Harbor. On Friday, the pups and I got out between thunderstorms to take a quick morning walk and I snapped a shot of this maple in the process of changing. I used that tree as an example of what about 80% of the trees are like up here. Some change, but still a long way to go. So next weekend will probably provide some decent leaf peeping, but I would guess that the main color show weekend will be that of the 7th-8th, with the peak probably coming a day or so after.

I guess one bright spot to this mid-summer like weather we have been having is that it has not been accompanied by mid-summer insect problems. We had enough cold in late August and early Sept to do away with them. No mosquitoes have been bothering me as I work, nor has any other insect. A few bees are still flying around, but if I leave them alone, they will do the same to me. So my guess is it would be prime time for camping, for those that held on and did not pack things away. The warm and wet weather has also caused a pretty big mushroom crop to pop up.

Yesterday, the whole Dee clan (including pups) paid a visit to Marquette. I had an appointment there, so the girls tagged along to do some shopping. The pups joined us because we did not want to leave them alone in the house for 8-10 hours. It was a hot one in Marquette yesterday, so we had to take turns leaving the car so that either Nora or I were in the vehicle to be with the pups with the vehicle running and A/C on. It worked out pretty well. I know my turn in the car ended up being around 2 hours long, but we were able to find a nice shady spot and we all took a nap.

On the way to Marquette, we decided to stop at an attraction that I have driven past probably a few hundred times, but have never stopped. It is the Bishop Baraga Shrine on top of the hill at the foot of Keweenaw Bay. It sits on top of a bluff and is also partially hidden from view by trees, but if you know where to look you can see it as you drive between L’Anse and Baraga. I have always thought it to be a bit of an odd structure. Not the Bishop himself, but the blob of copper he stands on and 4 arms supporting that blob. I could not find any notation as to why it was done that way, but can say it is pretty impressive once you get right up to it and look into the Bishops eyes. As mentioned, the shrine sits atop a bluff and the view from it is equally impressive…if you ask me.

So I guess that about covers it for this one. I most likely will not have any pictures of snowflakes that fell this coming week to share with you, but I am sure there will be some color shots and a more autumnal vibe to the entry. After all, it’s gotta come eventually?

Good night from the Keweenaw..