Sunday, June 26, 2011

Interview with the Bell Buoy

I thought I was going to have to find a canoe and paddle out to the bell buoy.  Instead, I biked out to my old stomping grounds at the lighthouse, and found him floating in the calm waters with a muffled ding.  I conducted the interview from the rock in the picture below.  The buoy is in the upper left corner.  He was not even a football field away.

Before I begin, I want to fill you in on a little history that we share.  While I lived on the Norland Trust for four years, I often went out to the lighthouse for a jog or hike.  I would always blow a kiss to the bell buoy.  Our meetings were brief, but heartfelt.  What can I say?  We enjoy each others’ presence.  I was glad to see him today over such calm waters.

Me: Good morning, Bell Buoy!  Nice to see you again!

Bell Buoy: Ahoy!  Mornin, Angel!  It’s been weeks since I seens you last.

Me:  It has!  Hey, can you hear me okay out there?

Bell Buoy: Clear as a bell, Love.

Me: Great.  I want to let you know that my readers voted for you as the character from my book that they want me to do an interview with.

Bell Buoy: That’s mighty fine of them.  Seems they gots good taste.

Me: I guess!  How’s the weather been treating you so far this year.

Bell Buoy: Ay, she’s beens a wicked one so far.  Some days me dinger dings so loud I feels my metal’s dentin.  

Me: Ouch!  I believe it!  Just the other day I heard you when I was all the way up at Lake Manganese.  That’s like two miles from you!

Bell Buoy: Me sounds got to carry far as it can, Matey.  That’s why I’s out here!

Me: True.  Would you mind explaining a little about your purpose here on the Big Lake?

Bell Buoy: I’d loves to.  I gots a few of them.  One is me dinger.  On the real foggy days, me sound lets the ships know where they ares when they hears me bell.  See, I gots one tone: ding.  Ding, ding, ding.  The bloat down at Eagle Harbor, he gots three tones, like a “do, re, mi.”  Three bells in his dinger.  I’s embarrassed to say, but sometimes I gets dinger envy -- I wishes I could play songs like that. 

Me: Well, I think you  have a great dinger.  And like you said, that way the ships know where they are; you just have your own special sound.

Bell Buoy: I appreciates you tryins to flatter me.  It works.

Me: Good.  What about your color?  

Bell Buoy: Well, I’s red and white.  That’s another way the captains knows.  Red and white means Copper Harbor.  Plus I gots this little “CH” on me likes a name tag.

Me: Can you tell me a little about your placement here?

Bell Buoy: Indeed.  You sees Porter’s Island?  All alongs that ridgeline bes the ridge right under the water.  That bar extends almost the whole way to the lighthouse where you sits so pretty.  Any ship that enters through here gots to enter by me and in line with the range lights alongs the shore of the Harbor.  That way they’s guaranteed a safe entry.  Ay, I’ve seen some smaller boats trys to cut across the rock.  It shivers me timbers when I watches them pass over the ridge.  

Me: I believe it!  A person would have to have a tiny boat to want to chance that.  But it does add a lot more distance to come all the way to the east side of the Harbor to dock at the west end.

Bell Buoy: That ain’t somethin I cares about.  I’m just the landmark.  They wants to boat out here, they haves to abide by the rules.  

Me:  Well put.  So how long have you been out here?

Bell Buoy: Since spring.

Me: Right, but how many years have you been floating on this spot dinging your bell?

Bell Buoy: How’s I supposed to know?  I ain’ts a math whiz.  

Me: Well, it’s not really math, but you don’t know how many years you’ve been out here?

Bell Buoy: What’s the point?  Every year they brings me back up from the Portage Canal.  Sometimes me gets a new paint job.  Alls I know is I’ll bes out again next year, so adds one more.

Me: Okay.  Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know about you?

Bell Buoy: Ay.  Don’t climbs on me.  I ain’ts a swimmin buoy.  I means, if you’re a cute dame, I’s a life raft, but alls I gets is men jumpins from their boats to climbs me.  It ain’t safe, I tells ya.  Don’t risk it.

Me: Good advice, I suppose.  Now I’ve been really curious about something.  I know you live on the water, so I’m not too surprised,  but where did you pick up the pirate language?

Bell Buoy: Yarg, what’s a pirate?

Me: It’s a -- oh, nevermind.  It’s been a pleasure speaking with you on this beautiful day.  Enjoy yourself out here.  I’ll be listening for you!

Bell Buoy: You bets, me Angel.  Come visits again soon.  

Ding.  Ding.  Ding.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

And the Winner Is...

82 votes!!!  I'm flattered!  Thanks for voting.  I'm a bit surprised that the bell buoy won, but I am excited to get out there and pick his brain (figuratively speaking, of course).  Please just give me a day or so, as I have a long shift today.

It will be worth the wait, I promise!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Covered Stretch in Green

Have you ever driven down the Covered Stretch of Highway 41 in the summer?  I have been fortunate to not go to the Big Town for two weeks, so I haven't seen this stretch in its summer prime until today.  Man, is it green!  

Tall grass lines the edges of the asphalt.  Bushy ferns, saplings, berry bushes and other shrubs fill the ditches.  The forest floor is covered in foliage.  The trees themselves are vibrant green -- making a green tunnel.  It's like driving through the rain forest (though I’ve never done that).  The last time I can remember driving through so much green was on our trip out west as we drove south on the west edge of Oregon.  Sooo green and lush.
And dotting the sides of 41 today were yellow buttercups, orange hawkweed and daisies.  As I approached Lake Medora, I came across the thick patches of pink and purple lupines too.  They are so tall and graceful.
It’s funny because the ride to Houghton takes me an hour, and I always dread “wasting” that much time in a day.  But in reality, it’s a good time to sort through my thoughts and take a few deep breaths.  Plus I listened to some NPR (the only station that comes in in my car) and found out some of what is happening in the world.  Wow.  Ignorance is bliss, I tell you.  I thanked my lucky stars today that I live where I live: in peace.

Other than that, we’re still waiting for summer weather up here.  I just bought some sweaters for work today.  Sweaters in June!  Though the air is cool, the days are long.  A few nights ago, I went for a jog after I got out of work at 10 pm.  A lovely little twilight run!

Tomorrow is the longest day of the year.  We’ll have light on the horizon of the lake until midnight.  Well, woo hoo!  Happy Solstice!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pick a Character!!!

I wanted to update you on the process of my book, Little Slices of da Harbor.  Nothing has happened!  I've been too busy!  Ha!  That's okay.  I'm still on schedule.  I knew this was going to happen... it's summer.

But I would like to share some of its essence with you.  Instead of infringing on my copyrights by posting the actual stories, I would like to give you the opportunity to meet a character from the book in a different way.  And YOU get to vote on who it will be!  Once the polls (on the top left corner of the home page) are closed, I will conduct an interview with the winning character for you to read and get all excited about.

Sound like fun?  You better believe it!  Now let me know who you want to hear from!

Fundraising in Town

I would like to give a shout out to all the businesses and volunteers in da Harbor.  You see, Copper Harbor isn’t your normal “city” with a Chamber of Commerce and paid city employees (well, maybe a little bit).  It runs mostly on volunteer hours and goodwill giving.

Last Friday night was the annual Copper Harbor Volunteer Fire Department Spaghetti Dinner.  Many businesses donated fabulous prizes for the silent auction.  All the bakers in town baked their yummiest desserts for the bake sale.  The Mariner North donated their facilities to host the event.  And the firemen themselves sold tickets and bussed tables.  All this was done to help fund our fire and rescue team.

Wednesday night was the annual Queen IV Fireworks Fundraiser Cruise.  $15 tickets at the door (of the boat) went directly to paying for the extravagant firework display held the evening of the Fourth of July.  Again, most of the town’s stores, motels and restaurants donate prizes for our raffle boxes.  Passengers brought an appetizer.  Everyone had a merry time (unless the waves got to them).  We even pulled along side a 1,000 foot freighter.  That thing was as long as three city blocks!  Again, this was all for the fireworks, which bring up hundreds of tourists each year.

So yes, we’ve been busy already.  Even if not so much at work yet, surely volunteering.  The tourists are coming, though.  We’ve had a few already.  And with the weekend here, we’ll be moving quickly.

The weather has been sunny, but slightly cool.  I am bundled up in a hoodie right now, but there are worse things in the world.  Like swarms of blackflies!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Old and New Friends

Have you ever suddenly realized you have changed only after revisiting a place of your past?  I am now in my fifth house since I moved to Copper Harbor in December, 2005.  My second place of residence is right next door to where I live now.  When I lived in cabin # 12 at The Pines Resort, I had my favorite path to walk along Lake Fanny Hooe for solice.  Leisurly, I walked that path again last evening.

I felt much more appreciative of what was around me.  Though I used to basically go out to my favorite sitting spot by the lake with my notebook, last night I paid more attention to what I saw on my way there.  Along the way, I saw a few wildflowers for the first time this year: rose (and I got down on my knees to sniff its romantic fragrance), starflower (which I have so far only admired in the books), buttercup, orange hawkweed, thimbleberry (which looks ready to burst forth!) and cream peavine (which is toxic, but has a sweet fragrance).

So not only did I get to meet some old friends and make new ones, I revisited myself.  Pardon me for getting a little personal, but I caught a glimpse of how I was when I first moved up here.

I remember not feeling like I had the time to talk to people at the post office, on the street, in the General Store, etc.  I always thougth, How do these people have the time to stand around and talk all the time?  I have to get things done!  You know what?  As far as time in a day is concerned, I have less now than I did then, but that internal “rushing” feeling has faded.  Life is unsatisfying when I feel that I always have to hurry to my next chore.  I have learned to take the time to smell the flowers and talk to my friends.

Ah, I absolutely love living here.  I relish in the moments I take to remember why.

I have also seen some other flowers and plants lately.  Some I had to look up in my handy dandy guides, but some I remembered from last year.  I feel proud when I can identify a plant without having to reference it.  I’m learning!

Some of the plants that are flowering lately are the wintercress, bunchberry, heartleaf arnica, gaywings, forget-me-not, choke cherry and sarsasparilla.  The ferns are also unfurled, so the paths through the woods are green to the edges.  I was wondering how all that brown was going to go away. 

This land never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Northern Lights and a Book Well Written

Guess who was out Saturday night: the Northern Lights!  Some friends and I watched them at about midnight from my new porch.  What a glorious sight.  They were the white ones that did slow shooting peaks higher and higher as they spread horizontally across the sky.  The moon was smiling on us too.  What a night!

All is well, otherwise.  Not too many visitors in da Harbor during this week.  It's kind of that lull time before school is out.  Plus the weather has had periodic storms.  It's nice to have the rain, but not if you're camping!

I do want to tell you that I finished writing my book.  As far as I'm concerned, at the moment, I plan to call it "Slices of da Harbor.  Copper Harbor, Michigan" because it's from the perspective of so many people, places and things around the area.  I hate to say that the project is on the back burner since other schedules have taken over, but I'm proud that I got it written before my creative juices are squirting elsewhere.

My next step is finding a publisher, and I have some ideas to query.  As far as printing quantities go, if you know of any one (business or other), who would be interested in multiple copies of such a book, please let me know, so I can estimate the quantity amount.  I'm really excited about this project, and I hope you are too!

Okay, I better hit the sack.  Another busy day tomorrow!

Friday, June 3, 2011


I said I'd tell you when we're moving in, and we're moving in!!!  That's all for now.  I've got to get back to packing.