Wearing a new target

A bit over a month ago, we still had several feet of snow on the ground and given the fact that it was the third week of April, it was pretty much a given that much of it would melt in a matter of a week or two. So the threat of flooding was very real. Not so much for our house, but for others. The threat was not a guarantee, but the deck was certainly loaded in favor of it. Through the destiny that only nature can provide, we were able to aggressively, but also in a controlled manner, do a way with most of that snow without any serious consequences.

There were some swollen rivers to be sure, but as each approached the tops of their banks and prepared to flood the surrounding areas, a 1-2 day cold snap would set in and halt the melting and allow the river levels to lower to where they were no longer a threat. That scenario played itself out on more than one occasion and before long…all the snow was gone and the treat for flooding with it.

Since the last of the snows melted off, we have continued to be blessed with plenty of sunshine. Some days cold, some warm and a few almost hot, but the reoccurring feature has been the lack of clouds. All know that clouds are needed to produce rain and thus we have also not had much rain at all. Typically a good thing, but at this time of the year, all of the dead vegetation from the previous growing season is still lying on the forest floor. That dead vegetation is also just as dry as it was before being buried under the 300 plus inches of snow we had fall this winter. The woods are trying to green up, but with it still being the third week of May and also very dry, many of the plants in the woods are still in a state of brown.

So all of this leads to threat #2. Wildfire. I almost hate to type that word, or think about it, but the fact remains that we are currently in a high fire risk state right now. Unlike flooding, our house sits in the middle of the woods, so in the middle of what could be a raging inferno. Knock on wood that we have not had any wild fires near our house and we also have some very talented and dedicated folks at the DNR and local fire departments that are able to put down the few fires we get a season up here in the Keweenaw. However, as anyone with knowledge or experience in wildfires can tell you, there are never guarantees.

The forecast going forward does not hold too much rain for us either. We could see some rains at the onset of the Memorial Day Holiday weekend and quite honestly, as unfavorable as rain would be for having fun outdoors, I think I would still welcome it. All we really need for our risk to drop significantly would be for a good soaking and around 7-10 days to pass. The trees are opening their buds, as are the bushes in the woods and even some ground vegetation is beginning to sprout, but still need some time and water to fully fill out. So I will not dwell on the threat, but will be grateful if or when the risk drops.

A few paragraphs back, I mentioned how all of our snow had left a week or more ago. That is not quite 100 percent true. The very last of it melted Friday. The snow that slides off the north side of the shop roof typically piles up to a depth of at least 8 feet. The pups, Grace and I have all used it to get ourselves up onto the shop roof in the winter. It also does not get full sun for a good portion of the day, so tends to stick around longer than most of the rest of the snow in our yard. By Friday afternoon, this was all that was left of the 8-10 foot deep pile. It ended up melting before the sun set that evening. So we are now officially snow free. I do not have any fresh pictures, but the Laurium Glacier is still hanging around and I suspect it has at least a week left.

The warmer weather has brought back the avian creatures. The woods are alive with the sounds of all sorts of songs. Some spotting of the robins happened a few weeks ago. Since then, there have been goldfinches, warblers and even our favorite…the hummingbird. Just the other day, I had to hit the brakes on the truck hard, as there were two having a mid-air dogfight right over the driveway. From the reports I have heard, the predator migration up at the tip is going very strong, with plenty to see on top of Brockway Mountain. Even some of the local schools are having field trips to check it out.

This past Friday was bike-to-work day, but since Nora would not allow me to ride my bike in the house, I got to ride to school with Gracie. I do have to say that we did not ride the entire 7 miles to Calumet. It is not so much the distance as it is the two long uphill portions that we would have had to walk our bikes up! Plus, Gracie is not quite ready to be riding the shoulder of Hwy 41.

Not much else has been going on. I keep waiting for the weather and my time schedule to come together in a way that will allow me to fly the drone. I do have some places I want to go and get video of, so be sure to keep checking back.

I also have been doing a bit of woodworking the past few weeks. Last autumn, the journal was filled with stories and pics of the utility room addition I was doing. It was able get it all weather tight before the weather got too nasty. I then was able to get most of the inside done so I could move on to other projects, but there were a few small things that needed to be completed before I gave it my stamp of approval. I was able to get those things done a week or so ago and now I can finally show a picture of the finished product. The work table has a flip down front that can be put up to make it larger when needed. I believe a few shelves might also be put up some day, but for now we really do not need them!

I also finished the bookcase for Gracie, but will save showing it to you until next week, just to be sure I have at least one thing to share!

Good night from the Keweenaw..