They’re here

My apologies for not writing last week, but had some kind of a phantom bug. Not the two that are going around, one being the barf bug and the other the flu, but just felt really tired and even dizzy. So after getting my Sunday work done, I took it easy. Felt better on Monday and then back to “normal” Tuesday.

All in all, I’d say that things are going good up this way. We have been in a pretty good snow drought here in the Keweenaw. We have picked up a few inches here and there, but it has been over 3 weeks since I have measured more than 3″ of snow in a 24 hour period and much of the region is not doing much better. The good news is that we have also not had much melting in the past 3 weeks and our base is still good. The next 10 days looks better for snow. No big storms, but a cold front looks to trail a clipper system on Wednesday and cold, unstable air behind it looks to get the lake going. The lake is basically ice-free, at least from a lake effect producing standpoint, so it will be interesting to see how well it performs. Typically by this time of the year, the lake has enough ice on it to diminish the snow making to some degree and there have been years when it was basically covered with ice. So that is the one upside to the mild winter we have had. Some more light snows are seen for late in the weekend and early next week.

My congrats to southern MN and central WI for getting your snow last night and today. Should make for some good “close to home” snow playing this week. There is more seen for northern IL, the southern 1/3rd of WI and much of lower MI for Wednesday night too. Only the Northwoods of MN and WI look to go without much snow in the next 7 days and then chances for at least 2-5 by early next week. 

Despite the lack of serious snow and cold the past few weeks, the neighborhood has been filling up with deer. Jacobsville is one of the yarding areas for the Keweenaw. There are actually many yarding areas, all of them are in the lower snow areas, where the deer can get around better and forage for food. The DNR and sportsman clubs will donate food to folks living in these areas to feed the deer and I am thinking about getting into one of those programs next year.

As many of you noticed, the woods cam was down for most of the week. A little issue with the reboot of the PC that runs it, but I got it squared away yesterday and just in time, as the deer are loving the food coming out of the feeder and there seems to be at least a few there at all times, even though the feeder only dispenses food four times a day. This morning, Nora and I watch a bunch there and there was quite a bit of tussling going on. If you ever check the cam and see a deer up on it’s hind legs, it is “boxing” or fighting another deer. Here is a shot I took about an hour ago, as I was getting ready to start this entry.

This past week was Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival week. The statue building for some had been going on for several weeks and then they also have an “all nighter” event, in which the statue has to be entirely built in just one night. Nora, Gracie and I went down to campus on Thursday to check out all the hard work. It was one of the nicer days, weather wise, for viewing that we have ever had. Seems like more times than not, it is bitterly cold and windy. Might have something to do with the fact that it is always early February and we live in the UP!

Anyway, our routine is to park in the parking lot near the memorial union and then walk around campus, taking in the statues. We did not stray from that routine this year and one of the first statues we came upon was a dinosaur with a cannon and turret on top. Seems a bit odd, but let me explain. The dinosaur was because this years theme was prehistoric. The turret/cannon was because the statues were built by the ROTC program. Another one we came across was a cool rendition of a dino skeleton. Done by the Pavlis Honors College at Tech. 

A common theme among many of the statues was the movie “Ice Age” There were many statues done with the mastodon, saber tooth tiger and even the acorn cracking the ice. Here was one that was in that theme. Of all the statues on campus, there was one that Gracie and I liked the best. It was not made of snow, but we did pose by it for a selfie.

After viewing the campus statues, we headed across the bridge to the Phi Kappa Tau house in Hancock. It had one both the overall best statue and the best in the men’s division and word had it that was not one to miss. Upon arrival in the area of the fraternity house, we were met with a bit of a traffic jam. Apparently we were not the only ones that were headed to view it. We parked across the street in their parking lot and jaws dropped when we first set eyes on the “statue”. I used parentheses because it was not a single statue, but as you can see, it was an entire village made of statues

The pictures do not really do it justice, but I urge you to back to the last shot and just slowly look over it, observe all that is going on. The bigger statues grab your eyes first, but there has to be dozens of objects made of snow and ice in it. I did take some close ups of some of the finer details in the village. Here are some fish smoking over an open fire. Here is a parrot, notice the axe and pickeroon in the background, as well as the details of the two men. They even managed to make a bowl out of ice and some kind of an animal skull. It kind of looks like a longhorn cattle skull, but not sure if they were around in pre-historic days!

I too was busy this past week with my own ice work, but it was of a different nature. Cold temps allowed me to finally get the ice rink in our backyard in decent shape. It is not 100% done, there is one small spot that needs some patch work and one corner that needs to have more ice made in it, but about 90% of the rink is about as good as outdoor ice can get.

Gracie is really into a lot of things and one of them is the moon and stars. Se informed me that this Saturday was the full moon and I happened across an article on the web that mentioned the full moon in February is the “Snow Moon”. So it was decided we would celebrate the Snow Moon with a bonfire and skating party. We invited my brother and our friends from the Jacobsville area over for the fun. We have developed such good friends down here in Jake and it makes it extra special that they have girls that are Gracie’s age. The evening was good for the party as well, with temps around 20 and no wind. Most of the party actually took place indoors, but we did keep warm hanging out around the fire while we watched the girls perform an ice skating show they put together that day.

I was the last one in after all the skating was done and when I came into the mud/utility room, I saw all the snow pants, boots and winter jackets strewn on the floor. This is not a practice that we allow Gracie to do in regular instances, but when I came in and saw all of this winter garb laying on the floor, I could not help but smile and feel a very warm feeling in my heart, knowing that some lifetime memories were made. That’s what it is all about.

Good night from the Keweenaw..