Uncharted WaterS

I feels a bit strange writing to you all. It is a very rare occasion that the main topic in my world is the same as the main topic in the world of all who are reading this. I believe the only other time was the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I certainly hope that you all have been able to avoid this sneaky bug. The UP has seen the virus arrive here. I believe there are only 3 or 4 active cases so far. As I was typing this, the first case in Houghton County was announced and none so far in Keweenaw County. A man from Gogebic County passed away earlier this week from the virus.

The Dee’s are pretty much hunkering down in Jacobsville. I did go to Houghton to pick up come prescriptions on Friday, but was able to do it through a pick-up window and thus did not have to enter the store or even get out of my vehicle. Plenty of disinfectant was applied to my hands and even the contents of the bag once they were out. Our family is far from being frightened or paranoid, but do not want to catch it either and hand washing is a very simple thing to do and something we do very regularly during flu season. So our lifestyles have not changed much at all. 

I would have to say other than limiting my trips to town to only the essentials like food or medicine, it is pretty much business as usual for this old buck. I have always been a home body, so avoiding social gatherings is nothing I am missing!

As mentioned in the paragraph I wrote last week, we were suppose to go to Florida for spring break. It was to be a pretty grand affair. We had not been on a family vacation in 9 years and lots of struggles have happened since. We actually booked everything but the flight back in August of 2019. We were very luck to have the property owner refund our money for the house we had rented. We were going to swim with the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon and they too gave us a full refund. Our airline tickets were turned into vouchers, unfortunately they have to be used before Jan 1, 2021, so we will see where we end up. Wish they would have been a year and we could have just re-done our canceled vacation.

Last Friday we paid a visit to some friends that raise and race sled dogs. They have 12 or 14 dogs, but some are nearing retirement age. It was fun to walk through their space in the yard, they are all so friendly and love to get attention. Grace had a ball saying hi to all of them. Here she is with a pair, Kashi on the left and Dune on the right. If it were not so much work and I were younger, much younger! I think I could see myself with a team. Maybe not for racing, but for fun. I have only ridden in the sled and not stood up and been in control, but it really is a magnificent thing to be part of. Maybe in my next life!

The next day was sunny and mild, so Nora, Grace and I went tree hunting. The storm before Thanksgiving took down a ton and we were wanting to harvest some cedar to make fence posts out of. We are going to fence in our backyard so that Huck and Bleau can run free without fears of them running off. Both would very likely come back once they felt like it, but we do have both coyotes and wolf down here and that could pose a problem if they were to stumble upon a pack of either. Nora’s brother bought a place down the road from us this winter and had 3-4 cedars fall during the storm. We went over and cut the tops off of them down to where they were too big to be used as fence posts. I plan to return once things dry out and cut the rest for lumber. We were able to fill the back of the truck, but not long after decided to just use steel fence posts! Cheaper and no need for a hole digger. There goes my chance to get a hole digger for the tractor!

Grace has been handling the stay-at-home order like a champ. She has always been able to entertain herself and Nora and I do make sure that we engage with her as well. Being an only child living in the sticks only makes it that much harder for her. However, she has been having fun baking, reading, building things with her 3-D printer and many other things (some I will talk about in a bit). Her first baking project of the sah period was a giant chocolate chip cookie. It did not last even 24 hours in our house, but Nora and Grace made a sheet version yesterday and it has been sustaining us so far. Nora has been busy in the kitchen making pleasantry’s as well. Today she made up several loaves of white bread as well as several loaves of banana bread

Grace and I have also been busy with some projects of our own. She is building a fort at the friends house. They call it the “pallet house” as the walls are made of old pallets. It is actually quite large and has some interior walls to make rooms. No roof yet, but they have their eyes on some old metal roofing and siding for that. I have been getting regular updates on it’s progress and on Friday I was able to see it first hand. Quite the project they have going! Reminds me of things I did when I was growing up. Of course as a boy, I called them a “fort”! Earlier in the week, she mentioned how they wanted to have a table for the pallet house and if we had any materials they could use. I said I bet we did have some materials, but asked if she wanted to work with me to build it and excitedly said “YES!”. So we got started a day or two ago and finished the construction today. Grace is going to paint the legs and stain the top. I don’t know who enjoys both of us working in the shop together, but it is also a lot of fun to explain to her the building process and why I do things the way I do. All the design credit goes to her. She had it all in her head and was able to draw and explain how she wanted to me.

Late in this winter, Grace started to climb up on the roof of the shed in the backyard. Her and some friends even built a fort of sorts. The snow has been gone from the roof for a few weeks now, but she continues to go up here. Sometime to read a book, sometimes to just sit and watch the wildlife and the other day I found her up there with a stick and the Swiss Army knife she bought with chores she has done. I guess you could call her- and I am sorry for this but…The Whittler on the Roof! Maybe I should get a ladder out there and join her on occasion. 

The weather this week was fairly pleasant. Not very warm, with highs only in the 40’s, but we did have quite a bit of sunshine. On Wednesday we took advantage of the sunshine and afternoon temps in the upper 40’s to head down to Nora’s cousins place and pay a visit to the big lake. It was a little breezy there, so we were glad we overdressed for the weather inland. The pups really enjoyed the walk to the lake and Huck took his first swim, albeit brief. So brief I could not get my camera out fast enough to get a picture. Still great to see him moving so well and wanting to swim in 33 degree water at his age. He and Burt are the two coolest dogs I have ever known. So fearless, but yet so kind and gentle. Watching him climb up on some shore ice and look out to survey his surroundings was quintessential Huck. I think Grace was a bit jealous that Huck found such a cool place to go before she did, so as soon as Huck departed, she got up there!

She snow is going down here in Jacobsville and we have some bare spots beginning to show up. Mostly under the trees where not as much snow made it to the ground. In other spots it is almost a foot deep still. The melting snow has led to run off and the shop and house are almost on an island, as there are drainage ditches on either side of them, as well as along side the road. The rain today only brought their levels up more.

Yesterday, Huck and I took a walk in the woods. I thought that I might get luck and find some sheds- antlers off of the bucks. No sheds were found, but Huck found three deer carcasses. The first was old and likely pre-winter. No teeth marks, but that does not mean it did not die from a predator. The next was much fresher and still had meat on it. Again, no teeth marks, but something for sure had been eating it! The third was also pretty old. It sure is interesting and a tiny bit concerning that these were all in close proximity to the house. I am not worried about myself or any of the dogs when we are with them, but is a big reason why we want to put the fence in. 

I guess that covers is for this one. Please stay safe and I will “visit” with you all next week.

Good night from the Keweenaw..