Wet and Sticky

That is the theme to the snow this past week. I am not complaining, I will take snow of any kind over rain or freezing rain and quiet frankly, given the pseudo-El Nino going and the upper air pattern it has presented to much of the US, I am even more grateful. 

Most of the northern Midwest should be grateful too. It was not the best snow to play in, but it could have just as easily been rain and destroyed the snow pack across much of the northern Midwest. We picked up around 8″ of snow since Wednesday and some of the higher terrain picked up even more. 

I do feel sorry for the folks that made the trek up here to ride this weekend. We had nearly perfect conditions last weekend and through most of this week and then the warmer temps and traffic took their toll. It was too warm to run the groomers Saturday, so that was the worst day by far. They have gone out since and trails are coming back around. While daytime highs still look to be fairly mild this week, they will be staying in the 20’s and overnight lows look to be in the low 20’s, so grooming will be going full steam ahead and will also hold.

On Friday, I walked out onto the ice rink in the back yard and nervously scraped the snow off it with my boot. I was worried that the warm temps and wet snow had done some damage to it. I did keep the snow on purposely so that it might protect the rink from any non-frozen precip we might get. None of that came, with all falling as snow, but was pleased to see the ice was good underneath. So I fired up Big Red and cleared the snow. A little later that afternoon Grace and my Brother laced them up and took to the ice for some hockey. Initially they just passed it around and my brother gave Grace some good tips on handling the stick and puck. Then it was on to a quick little game. Poor Gracie had a stick that was too short for her, so my brother let her use his, but it was a little too long, so we will be looking for a relatively inexpensive wooden one to cut down. Despite the stick issues and the fact that she had never played ice hockey before, she did quite well and watching the two of them have so much fun was worth all the hours put into the rink. I can’t wait to get out on the rink with Grace tomorrow afternoon when she gets home from school. 

Saturday was the annual Keweenaw Snowmobile Club’s bonfire. The weather was quite agreeable, with temps in the low 30’s and a steady snow falling all day. The big hit of the event was one of our PistenBully groomers. Folks were able to climb up into the cab and check things out. A little later in the day they popped open the “hood” and the rear deck so that folks could get a look at the power plant and all the other parts that make these pieces of machinery do their thing. We put on a pretty good spread of grub too, with hot dogs, brats, chips, hot and cold drinks and some home made desserts, including two marvelous cakes

Today, the Dee’s enjoyed a nice breakfast, which included some natural, organic maple syrup courtesy of our neighbors down the road that make and sell it. Once they have their supply all re-stocked, I will be sure to let you all know how to get it, as it was THE BEST maple syrup I have ever had. I have to admit that I have tried many different brands and never really preferred them to the gunk you get from the name brands. However, this stuff was so good, I don’t want to go back, but for the next 2 months I will have to, as we have just the one bottle.

Anyway, after that, I did my usual Sunday work for my other meteorological services and then we all went for a walk in the woods and road. Before heading out, I grabbed the “good camera” so that I would be better equipped for any photo opportunities. Funny how when I have the SLR, I suddenly feel compelled to take a lot of pics. When I am with just my cell phone, it seems like I will just pass by them and not bother to stop and take a pic. The SLR also can take pics that the phone can’t, so that plays a role in the shot taking amount. Anyway, the rest of this entry will be short on writing, but long on pics.

We started out around the house. Our bird feeder is extremely popular with the local chickadee crowd. Many of the other types of birds do not even over winter up here, including our state bird…go figure. I spotted one in the tree and snapped this shot before it flew off. A little lower in the tree, I spotted another beautiful chickadee and snapped a picture of it. Before I left, yet a third beauty showed up and I was luck enough to capture a picture!

Up high in a Norway maple in our front yard sits a nest. It is not being used and I am interested to see if come spring it gets re-used. I have no idea what type of bird built it either. Just across the driveway is a string of fir trees and these two pine cones clinging to a snow flocked branch caught my eye.

Around the back side of the house we then went and I thought you all might get a kick out of this old wheel or perhaps pulley hanging on the back of the garage shop. Reaching the back of the yard, I turned to take a picture of the house, as I don’t remember sharing with you that view.

Grace never struggles with fun things to find to do. She just makes the most out of any situation she is in and fully loves the outdoors. This shot is just one example of the things she does while we are out on a family walk. Others are climbing trees, or using blow downs as a balance beam…and the list goes on! What is a family adventure in the woods without a family selfie, right? The deer seem to be growing in numbers as the winter progresses. No surprise at all, I just was expecting them to start showing up in big numbers sooner. In any case, their routes through the woods are very well marked by their prints in the snow.

The second part of walk was done on the road. Not much of a difference in the beauty seen or quietness either. Just better footing, although our road does not get plowed every day, but is taken care of very well when there is enough snow to make travel difficult. Gracie switched from walking to riding once we hit the road. She discovered that she can ride her bike in the winter and snow, as long as the surface is firm enough. She did very well riding her bike in the snow and I may even have to take a shot at it, as long as it is not too cold!

Huck always likes to get ahead of the pack and blaze the trail, even when we are just walking down the road. He is still getting around very well for his age and ailments, but is smart enough to take a load off when he has to wait while we are stopped and fiddle for a while. Just down the road from us is the Jacobsville Community Center. Home of “coffee hour” every Sunday evening after the evening church service near by. There are also monthly meetings of the Jacobsville Community and bingo every Wednesday evening in the summer and early autumn. This time of year, it quietly sits in the snow, waiting for the feet and voices of the Jacobsville community to fill it’s halls. It will be nice to have the seasonal residents back in the area. I was just getting to know many of them before they headed off to warmer climates for the winter. Although I am also fully enjoying the solitude that winter brings to Jacobsville too!

That about does it for this one, time to ride back to the garage, relax for the evening and get ready for another week!

Good night from the Keweenaw..