Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pictures of Snow

It is time for some pictures of the snow!

I got out to the Norland yesterday with Duce and Tiki.  We hiked up one of my favorite springtime trails (which I missed this spring because I don't live out there anymore.)  Although yesterday was quite wintery, it was still as magical as always.

The first snow-laden tree I saw on Woodland Road

Icicles on the branches
Who's that in the upper right?  Brockway!

The snow resting on the needles was just so... perfect

LOTS of snow-laden trees.  Can you see the trail?

Who's hiding under all that snow?...

A little fir tree!

Wow.  Thanks for being amused with me.  If you weren't, you should know it doesn't really get much better.  

On that note, I have to say thank you.  Thank you for clicking on this page now and then.  Thank you for enjoying my pictures and videos (okay that's the easy part).  Thank you for reading my words because heaven knows most people don't read much anymore!  Thank you for understanding that I am trying to share this magical place with you.  It's the least I can do for mankind.

And guess what.  Today is the last day of hunting season!  I am going to celebrate tomorrow with a climb up the mountain.  I don't even care which mountain; these buns are going UP!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goodbye Buoy, Hello Snow!

I'm not really sure what's going on here.  Since my last post (on Saturday) it really hasn't stopped snowing.  Not for long periods of time, at least.  We shoveled twice today.  Well, I shoveled, and Aaron blew the snow off with the Stihl BR600 Magnum leaf blower.  There is nearly two inches on our porch now.  If the temp wasn't predicted to rise to 50-something this weekend, I would be pumped for an early winter.  Oh, Mother Nature, you are a trickster.

I must confess, I forgot to tell you something very important about da Harbor.  The bell buoy has sailed south for the winter.  I remember the day, sometime last week, when I noticed its absence.  My first thought (besides why do I never get to watch the buoy go in or out?) was I remember the day I first heard it this spring.

It was the eve of Thursday, May 3rd.  My family came up to celebrate my and Aaron's wedding on Saturday.  My brother, sister and I started taking shots at dinner time.  We later ended up at Zik's singing, dancing and hula hooping.  It was about 3 am, and my sister and I decided to walk down Highway 41 in the almost full moon.  We were close to the water treatment plant when I heard it.  Ding ding, da ding ding.

I fell to my knees.  Bell bouy!  You're back!  I shouted (not at all influenced by tequila).  Katie!  The bell buoy is back!  I told her, as if she didn't notice me on the ground praising it already.  Spring is here!  Welcome back, bell buoy!  I love you!

Yep, that's pretty much how it went down.  The absence of the bell buoy was a much milder story.  In fact, I don't remember much about it besides wondering why the heck I never know when the bell buoy is going to change positions.

But I found out how I can.  I can just call the coast guard!  They'll be receiving a call from this young lady at the end of April.  I guess the raising and lowering process takes about four hours, but I could get some good video for you.  Please remind me about this in the spring.  Thanks.

Here is another one for you.  I already saw a snowmobile cruising by.  It was in St. Germain, Wisconsin.  I had to rub my eyes.  It had only been snowing for about 12 hours, but there was enough for those crazies to go for a ride.   Kudos to them.

I can't wait to ski.  I better get out before it melts.  But this time next week, I'll be on a tropical island!  Snow?  What the heck is that?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Punishment Blizzard

Gosh, I didn't even get a chance to tell you about last week.  Six of the seven days were gorgeous.  I mean, sunshine all day, 40 - 50 degrees and majestic.  The locals were all in good moods because the days were so pleasant.  

I was a little skeptical, though.  You know what this means, I would tell my friends.  It means we're going to be punished with a blizzard!  You don't get anything for free, especially not a week of sunshine in the Keweenaw in November.

Yesterday ended it all.  The snow started the night before.  The winds blew the power out around 9 am.  I heard someone say that we had a gust up to 70 miles an hour.  However, considering the source, I can't promise that's true.  The power came on around 4 pm yesterday.

Want to know what is unusual about all that?  I wasn't even here!  Aaron, Mr. Butters and I were driving six hours in that crap to get back from Wisconsin.  But hey, at least we had a wonderful time with his family for Thanksgiving.  I hope you had a nice one too!

Today I got to shovel for the first time this season.  Like many residents (if you ask them in August), I like to shovel.  It's a great core and arm workout.  Shoveling for a week straight?  Maybe not so enjoyable.  But for the first snow, definitely a treasure.

Here's a little comparison for you:

Down 41 in the fall

Down 41 after the last snow

Nothing we can't handle yet!

The area shown below gets pretty deep from drifting... and it's right in front of my wine cellar, so I'll keep it shoveled out.  This is part of today's work.

The path to my wine cellar, all shoveled out

I hope this spreads a little winter cheer for you.  Now LET IT SNOW!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Hunting season.  Okay, so what does that mean for me?  Aaron and his papa are out in da Keweenaw woods from dark til dark.  I have all day to spend with my pup.  But what can I really do besides write, make egg rolls and crochet hacky sacks?

I can hike to Hunter's Point without getting shot.  I can hike through Fort Wilkins without getting shot.  And I can hike through Clyde's field without getting shot.  Those are all fine places, but what do they lack?  Elevation.

I LOVE climbing hills.  I love climbing the mountains around here.  It's an awesome workout with a great view and little to no gear.  Love it.  But I can't go up the mountains safely right now.  Sure I could don the blaze orange and make the dog wear a safety vest, but it's not the same.  Plus, the hunters get upset when passers infringe on their territory.  I don't blame them.  They worked hard to sit there so quietly without a sound or scent.  I just miss my hills.

Thanks for listening.  I try not to complain, but, you know, I have to fill you in on the happenings, and that's how I feel about it!  Aaron is a hunter anyway, and he just got his young buck today.  "Easiest buck I ever shot."  Good, we didn't have to track it through the woods for hours like last year.

But in all reality, life is good!  I have time to work on many of the projects I made lists of over the summer.  I am so grateful for this time of year to catch up on what I call life.  Oh, life.  Thank you for still being here between work seasons.

On a present note, do you need a copy of Little Slices of da Harbor for any of your loved ones for the holidays?  If so, you can send me a check for $12.95 for each personally autographed copy, and I will ship your book(s) for free!  Here's the kicker: I will need to receive your request by December 1st.  I'll be on my official honeymoon in Hawaii for two weeks, and your book may not reach the recipient in time for Christmas after I get back.  (On the bright side, you will get to see my little slice of Hawaii while I'm there!)

If you haven't seen this book, you can get a free sneak peek of the winter season by clicking here.  You can send your check and request to me at P.O. Box 94 in beautiful Copper Harbor, MI 49918.  If you like, mention that you read my blog, and I'll throw in a black market F.A.Q. pamphlet too!  Happy holidays!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Catching Some Southern Waves

Yesterday was windy.  So windy that the power went out for about four hours -- at least here!

A combination of a windy day and two curious women, Aaron's mom and I, made for some unique adventures.  We drove down the Gay/Lac La Belle Road toward the south shore.

Our first stop was at Isabel, a little roadside beach with just enough room to park.  We stepped out into the light rain and high wind to walk along the shore.  This is what it looked like.

Head-size rocks along the sandstoney/slatish shore
(I tried to figure out the geology of this area to no avail.  Any answers?)

I haven't seen a shore like this on any other part of the peninsula

The sandstonish rocks washed up

A view toward the Big Lake

This tree's trunk got buried in the sand

The wind kept our steps swift as we walked south.  As the rain dampened our backs, we took in the beauty and rareness of the area.  I am always surprised to see how the same peninsula is so different on all its parts and shores.  This was a real treat.

Going back toward the car helped to soak our front side.  It was a little more difficult to enjoy the beauty when rain pelted our eyes, but we still had fun.  That's what girls do!

After that site, we found our way to Big Traverse, and parked at the mouth of the Big Traverse River.  We stopped because the waves crashing over the break wall were  enormous!  Here is a video of some of what we saw.  I apologize that my camera got spewed on, but I didn't realize until I watched it on my computer.  Also, at 40 seconds into it is, what I would call, the most impressive wave.  You'll know it by my reaction.

We stayed a bit to watch the surfer dudes catching some waves, but we were really getting wet and cold, so we went to dry off.  To the Gay Bar!

Surfer picking up a wave on the left

You'd have to be a big stickler not to have fun at the Gay Bar.  The bar itself is in a "u" shape, so everyone faces each other like at the dinner table.  

My big icebreaker was when I went to use the ladies room.  Well, there's a little door above the loo that reads "PEEP HOLE TO MENS ROOM."  Of course I had to lift it up.  I was just looking back at myself in the little mirror, but I heard some beeping noise in the bar area, and people started laughing.  Oh, boy, I thought.  I'm busted.

Sure enough, everyone was teasing me when I came out, asking if I saw anything good in the men's room.  I noticed a yellow light on the ceiling that would blink and beep when one of the ladies fell for that trick.  I did, but it was worth it.  We all had a good laugh.

Soon it was time to head back north.  But by then it was pouring rain.  Puddles and running water were on the loose!  Good thing I knew where I was going!

Since we weren't quite ready to go home, we stopped at Big Betsy.  I angled the car with the windshield facing the lake, wipers on.  We just watched the waves roll in and bounce off each other.  It was fascinating for a few minutes.  Oh, that lake... she gets me every time.

We continued north, and I realized that Linda had never been to the Bear Belly in Lac La Belle.  Never?  Never!  So I had to take her to show her where I work in the winter and where we go after a long day on Mount Bohemia.  

It was pretty quiet in there except for the thunder and lightening.  We saw a big bolt hit just across the lake, and the boom echoed immediately.  Whew!  That was a close one!

Right as we buckled our seatbelts in the car, it started to hail.  What a day for weather, and we got to enjoy all the fun parts of it!

And just for fun, here is a picture of me and Gilly at halloween: the dynamic super duo.

Super Yooper and Bait Boy

Yoooooooooooooooooou betcha!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Da Big Cities

This time I am back for real... for a few weeks, at least.  In my defense, let me say this: I didn't travel anywhere last summer (except one trip to Windsor in early July).  I only made it south of the covered stretch three times from July to October.  Now is my time to travel and remember why I love returning to da Harbor.

On the first of November, my friend Rachel and I drove to Lansing.  There we stayed the night and ate a most fantastic breakfast at Golden Harvest.  From there we went to Ohio for our first time.  Cleveland, in fact.  CLEVELAND?  Yes, Cleveland.  Because The Tragically Hip were starting their tour at the House of Blues.

We had a great time in Cleveland.  And guess what.  The lead singer, Gord, reached out and squeezed my hand!  Ahhhhhh!  My life is now complete.  But despite that, we went to see them the next night in Chicago.

Now Chicago is where I really felt the culture and pace of a "big city."  Yikes.  One hour each way on the "L" Train from our hotel to the Riviera flitted a variety pack of folks.  As I sat there amidst the echoing noise, florescent lights and people who don't talk to each other, I remembered again, how lucky I am.  

I realized that wherever I was in that city, I just beamed a plastered grin on my face.  I felt wonderful that I was comfortable in my own skin and that I wasn't racing anywhere to fulfill my daily life's duties.

The next morning, I bid Rachel safe travels on her walkabout the country for the winter.  I had to catch a plane at O'Hare to take me to Hancock.  The flight (minus my nausea) was breathtaking.  I watched the landscape change from a tangle of concrete roads to suburbs to farmland to vast nothingness to, um, well, clouds.  Thick clouds.  The Keweenaw Death Cloud, in fact.  That reminds me, I better take my vitamin D for the day.

And now I'm back!  I probably say this every year, but I forget how quiet this town can be.  A few hunters are the only people I don't recognize.  But this gives me time to do the things I love.  Speaking of, I better get out and split some wood!