Winds of Change

For most of this past week, I could have swore that in the last entry I said I was ready for the heat and humidity to head south. I even thought I was more specific and asked for the humidity to leave and that it could remain warm to even mildly hot, that it was the humidity that bothered me the most. Well somewhere in the communications, the messages got crossed, because this past week was cooler, even cool enough at times a sweatshirt was needed, but still very humid. To tell you the honest truth, I don’t know which is worse in my opinion; hot and humid or mild and humid. Hot and humid is no fun while outside- unless you are at the beach or lake. Although with hot and humid, at least one can get inside into the air conditioning (most can anyways) and the air conditioned air is . With mild and humid, there really is not much escape. The air is already at a comfortable temp, so air conditioning is not needed and would only make things too cold. If ran, it really does not even remove the humidity. So everything is just sticky and clamy. 

Sunday started out like the other days. Cool, but humid. Your bare arms stuck to everything and it was just not very comfortable. Nora, Grace and I were busy in the morning and then in the afternoon took to the pool. There was a mix of clouds and sun and temps in the 70’s so it was comfortable to be in the pool. Then while were swimming, the humidity dropped like a rock. It was easy to tell, because all of a sudden, the 70’s felt chilly because the lower humidity allowed the water to evaporate off our skin more quickly and that cooled our skin down. So we stayed in the water for a while longer and then got out into the brisk, dry air.

The good news is that the less humid air looks to stick around for the rest of this week and most of the weekend. We may see a bit of mild humidity occur on Saturday, but currently, dewpoints only look to get into the low 60’s. If this forecast holds, then the rest of the week will be my perfect late summer weather. A mix of sun and clouds, temps in the 70’s and comfortable humidity. 

The main action this past week for me was continuing to work on the office. The ceiling did get done and the one wall is also covered in the left over cedar shake that was in one of the old sheds on the property when we bought it. I need to stain the shakes and then put the flooring in. Last will be the trim and then it will be up to the apartment to get some stuff done there. THEN, finally, I will be able to devote my time to the shop, getting it in full working order as well as putting the rough sawn lumber that we cut last summer onto the walls and getting it stained.

The Houghton county fair was also this week. Our tradition has been to go the first day it is open, Thursday and to get there not too long after the gates have opened. The crowds are not too bad yet and they also have slightly discounted prices that day, but whew, that fair is getting expensive! Maybe I’m just getting old, but 12 dollars for adults and 7 dollars just to get inside the gates. Then rides are 5 bucks a piece, or you can purchase an armband for 25 bucks that gives you unlimited riding for the day. If there was an abundance of rides, I would not think that price is too bad, but there were only around 4-5 rides that fit the bill for Grace and her friend Flora. Two others were too intense, although they were tall enough to go on them and the rest were kiddy rides. There was a climbing wall that if you made it to the top, you won a prize, but that was 10 bucks! The food was no bargain either. 4 dollars for a bottled water (that was warm) and 5 dollars for a slice of pizza (that was cold!). OK, I’ll stop my rant, but holy wa! One of the unique things to this fair was that we drove to it with the air conditioner on in the truck and with the heat on as we were driving home!

The girls did have a lot of fun and I did tell Grace I would pay for everything but the games. She had no problem with that and played a game or two and even won a small prize! The handful of rides they went on gave them a good thrill and they both always came off the rides with big smiles. About that climbing wall, yes, Grace did give it a try and I paid for here to try. I was hoping for some kind of a payback for the rock climbing class she took this summer at Tech! Haha, just kidding. I knew she really wanted to give it a try and I really wanted to grant that wish. So the wall at the fair had 3 sides to it. Each had a different level of difficulty. The climber had three chances on each side and it they made it to the top of any of the sides, then they one a small stuffed animal. The wall did not look that hard, however, Grace was in her sandals and not climbing shoes. She had been walking around in the sand and gravel of the fairgrounds, so the soles were slippery. Lastly, the wall itself was that worn, weathered fiberglass that was extremely slippery. There were hand/footholds but they were fairly small. They start the climber out on the hardest side first, then to the middle and end with the “easiest”. Poor Grace really struggled with the slickness of the wall on the first two sides, but rested and took her time on the final side and ended up making it to the top and hitting the button that rang a bell, signaling she was a winner. One of the cool things for her was that when she started, no one but Flora, her dad and I were watching, but as she went higher and higher, more and more people were watching her and she was able to notice that and fed off of it. Pretty neat that she fed off the attention and did not get more nervous. She never said anything about it until I told her about how more and more folks watched her as she went up, to which she replied that it gave her more will to make it to the top and was not arrogant about it. I am a proud poppa.

 Changing gears, the dry weather has accelerated the color change in the trees a bit. We are nowhere close to any kind of real color show, but there are splashes of orange. That was a pair of maple trees, but it is really the birch trees that are turning the most. I would say that 50 percent of them have fully changed and the rest are at some level of change. I have no idea if this will be a good year or bad for the colors. If I had to bet, I would go with an off year and probably a bit early. We continue to get missed by much of the rains. Sunday a line of sever storms work through just about all of the western UP, but the eastern half of the Keweenaw (including Jake) saw just a few drops.

Friday was a cloudy and windy day. The winds were from the east-northeast, which is the prime direction to build waves along the shoreline of Jake, so Nora, Grace and I took to the golf cart and headed to the beach to catch the wave action. No matter the mood of the big lake, the lower entry and beach are really a beautiful site. It was cool to watch the waves hit the breakwall at the entry and as this video shows, the waves would bounce off the wall near the shoreline and then back out to encounter the incoming waves. I’m not sure if you saw it, but at the beginning of the video, there is a seagull that is flying into the wind and is stationary. Grace gave it a try, but did not get airborne.

After hanging out at the beach a bit, we headed up the road to the look out of the cliffs. Lake Superior is such an impressive and humbling body of water. Even though the waves were only around 5-6 feet high, they and the wind still created a sound similar to a landing jetliner and even some pretty good thumps when they hit the sandstone cliffs.

Today was Bleau’s last day of summer vacation. He has had the summer off from going to school, but tomorrow is back to work for him. School does not start until Tuesday or next week, but the teachers return for in-service days tomorrow and Wednesday and Nora wants to get him back in the groove of things before the kids arrive. So it was off to Lake Superior this afternoon to get a good scrub down. He really has become a great dog as he has grown a bit older. He is only 3, but listens and obeys nearly perfectly and his wild side has backed off too. His only Achilles heal is food. If he is eating something he should not, he is deaf to any verbal correction. On the plus side, food is also a great motivator and will get him to come every time! He handled his bath in the big lake like a champ. He stood still as we poured buckets of water gently over him and gave him a good scrubbing with our hands and the shampoo. At times he even seemed to enjoy it!

As we drove to the beach, there was a big work barge from the Army Corps of Engineers docked at the wall. The water at the beach was pretty warm, so after we went back home and dropped Bleau off, Nora and Grace returned to the beach to swim, while made dinner. They stopped to take a picture Grace in front of the barge and then a bit later, the barge and it’s tug had made way and Nora snapped a shot of them.

So my excitement for winter continues to grow. It’s funny, the first few years my yearning for winter and the big snows hit a crescendo and then after maybe four or five years, it started to slowly wane. My love of snow never waivered, just the excitement for it to come. In the past 3-4 years, it hit an all time low. I believe this was because I was just so sick that I knew I would not be able to do much in it, so I was sort of your generic snow lover waiting for winter to come. This year I am feeling much better and with good fortune, I will be feeling as good or better once winter sets in. So my excitement for the beauty and fun of winter is already quite high! I know I still have at least a little over two months before it would even begin to look like winter around here, so I am not climbing the walls, but I have found myself going through some of my old pictures and also perusing the web for pictures and videos of big snows. With that thought in mind, I will leave you with this one from 2014.

Good Night from the Keweenaw..