The Magic Forest

I don’t think that many reading this have the same problem as me, but right now, I am having a very hard time getting my head around the idea that tomorrow is May first. After a week that will filled with cold, snow and ice and is finishing off with a bit of snow still left on the ground in spots, it just does not seem like tomorrow we will awake to the month of May. Quite honestly, it is not even this past week, the past two weeks have seen more wintry weather occur than spring and the entire month of April did not provide too much in the way of pleasant spring weather.

I have always said that if I had to choose a time period to leave the Keweenaw for a few weeks and be almost anywhere else, it would be April, but I guess old Mother Nature just wanted to show me how un-useful for outdoor activity it could really get around here. At least 4 years ago when we had all the snows and finished off the month with 2 feet of snow still on the ground, we could still play in it!

A cold rains is on its way as I type and should be here in not too long. Those rains will fall steadily through tomorrow and then mix with or even change fully to snow late tomorrow night into Tuesday with some minor accumulations possible. Then it looks like a day or two of cool, but dry weather and perhaps a nice warming trend into the weekend.

The change over from April to May is a pretty significant one weather wise. I guess it could be compared to the change over from October to November, only the opposite. Meaning in April we see snows fall in just about every year- especially at the beginning of the month. There is still the chance for a big snow event. Then as we work into May, we may still see some snows, but almost never a big storm and there are years where no snow falls in the month of May. October can see some snows, but almost never a big storm and there are many years where no snow flies…at least until the very end of the month. Then as we work into November, snows are an almost guarantee and by the end of the month, snow is more common than rain.

We did get enough snow, and ice, to shut down schools this week. Wednesday was a nasty, all day rain, with temps in the mid 30’s. Then Wednesday night, the precip changed over to snow and by Thursday morning, we had picked up an inch or so of snow and some ice. The forecast called for a considerable amount of snow and ice Thursday, so schools were called off. It was a wise call, as we got about a half inch or so of freezing rain, then another inch or so of sleet and then a couple of inches of snow. That made roads quite nasty and a good reason to keep kids off of buses and the roads.

The precip mostly ended by Thursday night, but we did still have a few snow showers into Friday. In addition to the snow in the air Friday, there was a pretty solid pack on the ground and it really felt and looked a whole more like mid November than late April around here. The wood pile is still shrinking, but not gone just yet and with a little luck will hang on long enough for me to go find some dead falls that have fallen since this past autumn. I’ll then get enough piled up to heat the pool and our domestic water through the summer and then will say bye to the wood boiler for good. Yep, I cannot remember if I have already mentioned it, but we will be installing a gas fired boiler for the house and another for the shop and no more dealing with all that firewood. I am thinking about putting a wood stove with sealed combustion chamber in the wood shop, so I can use it to bump the temp in there up to a comfortable working temp, rather than burning propane, but that will not take too much and I will probably be able to get by with stuff I find fallen in our woods.

Saturday broke out with clear skies, calm winds and the snow still on the ground, so I thought I would take advantage of the nice weather to fly the drone. So with Nora meeting up with a friend for the morning, Gracie, the pups and I piled into the truck and headed up the highway to a spot I thought would be pretty good to fly and shoot some footage. On our way there, we encountered a section where a lot of ice had accumulated with the storm at the end of the week. The spot was right near the snowgauge that Keweenaw County has just SW of Phoenix.

With the clear skies and sunshine, the ice on the trees really sparkled brilliantly and both Gracie and I remarked on how beautiful the landscape was. This spot was only around 5-7 miles from our house, so it was amazing to see how much more ice had accumulated there than at our place. I was a bit pushed for time, as I wanted to get Eagle 1 airborne before any winds kicked up and made flying not possible. So I did take some more pics, but did not spend the time I would have normally spent with such beautiful scenery to capture. This is one of my favorites with the sun at my back and the silver of the ice contrasted against the deep blue sky. The view across the highway was equally impressive with the sun lighting up the tops and edges of the trees. So with the ice melting and falling off the limbs of the trees in chunks and as water, I snapped this last shot and then headed to the intended flight area.

Once at the spot I wanted to fly the drone, we all piled out of the truck, I got the bird all set for flight and lifted off. I went to start to record some video and realized I could not because I had forgotten to put the memory card back into the drone! So we all piled into the truck, zipped home and then back and tried again. The second attempt was successful and I have uploaded the video here. As mentioned, I was a little pressed for time and so I did not put too much attention into making sure that all of the camera settings were set just right, so the video is a little washed out with the bright sunshine and snow on the ground, but I also spent some time editing 3 separate videos into one and cropping out some of the less interesting footage, so I hope you all enjoy. Keep faith the quality of the videos from Eagle 1 will improve!

At first, when Gracie heard that she was going to have to come with me to fly the drone, she was not too excited. She seemed to be content to stay in her pajamas and play in her room, but once we hit the magic forest her spirits soared and she had a great time on the trip. Not surprising to me, as she really is able to make the most out of any situation. She even spent some of the time climbing trees. What a Keweenaw Girl!

Good night from the Keweenaw..