Friday, September 26, 2014

Color Report!!!

Okay, so when I was younger, I used to never want to admit that I was wrong.  Well, I learned that honesty out-weighs pride, so let me admit this:


Whew.  That felt good.

Here are a couple teasers for you if you can't make it, or to light a fire under your bum to make the drive.

Colors at Lake Manganese

More of the above

So I drove to Houghton yesterday.  I was unsuspecting of the color change as I endured the tunnel of trees.  Holy eye orgasm, Batman.  It was like a time warp back through the 80's.  The hot pink, electric tangerine, neon yellow and florescent magenta were about all I could handle without a sensory overload.

Plus, these colors just surround you.  It's not like a spot here or there.

Now you're going to drive through Houghton and up most of the Covered Stretch and be all, "Amanda.  We didn't see any neon explosions like you said."  Well, it's all in that last 10 miles, friend.  So worth it.

The Houghton area is more of a royal theme.  Gold, crimson, plum, ruby and copper.  Still beautimous in its own right.  

But here's one thing you are lucky about.  I brought a recording device with me on the drive just in case.  So I even have a video for you.

Okay, that's my good deed for the day.  What will yours be?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bean, Beans

Happy Fall!

However, this week is supposed to bring some pleasant weather.  Like 60's and sunny until Monday.  We'll take it.  Perhaps I should say Happy Summer!

I thought the weekdays would be quieter than they are.  I thought Duce and I could just roam around town without a leash or a care crossing the road.  Nope.  Not quite yet.  People are here chasing colors, mountain biking, living in RVs and doing whatever else they came to do.

And the past weekend was well attended.  I told you about the Chili Cook-off, and some of you actually came!  Thanks for introducing yourself.  How cool.

The event itself had a record number of people show up for the festivities and a record number of chili entrants.  Gosh, I think there were 26 chilies.  I'm glad I was not a judge because there's no way I could fit all those samples plus cornbread and pie in my compromised stomach space.   Judging looks like tough business anyway.  See?

The judges: sniffing, tasting and scoring chili

One of my favorite bands, Frank an da Beans are in the back there jamming out.  The event also pressed fresh cider, and offered Brickside beer.  There were two amazing cheese trays fresh from Wisconsin and 9 gallons of chili from the Gay Bar, so no one would hunger.  And just look at all those entrants ready to scoop samples of their concoction!

Most of the chili entrants

See that in the background?  That's sunshine.  It was a beautiful day.  And see that guy stirring in the red sweatshirt?  That's Jay.  He won first place in the traditional competition.  Way to go, Jay!  He also brought the cheese from Wisconsin.  Now that's good karma.

After the winners were announced, Powers of Air took the stage.  Here's a photo of I-don't-know-what-song, but our bassist's wife took it.

Our band -- Powers of Air

Gosh, it was almost 9pm before we were done performing.  It was a good experience for us... we learned a lot from our mistakes!  And if anyone ever fesses up to shooting some video, I'll post it for you.  They say we sounded good.

This was really an awesome event.  Make plans to come next year.  Third Saturday in September.

Moving on.

So there's this fall trail running fest at Mount Bohemia in early October.  I think it's the first year they are doing it.  Info is below.  I bet the leaves will be beautiful for that!

Mount Bohemia's Trail Runs

Color Report
So let me get a couple fall pics up for you.  Pipe down.  I know you've been waiting.  Yes, I'm psychic.  Please be careful what else you think around me.

Looking southwest from partway up Brockway Mountain

That one was taken the 19th.  I can't say it's too exciting there yet, but check out this one from Lake Manganese, compliments of my friend Bruce L.

Fall at Lake Manganese

Now that's getting pretty stunning.  I'll have to get up there myself!  

Here's a handy dandy chart I found from Lake Superior Magazine.  I would put stock in this.  Now you can plan your vacation.  Happy now?

Lake Superior Fall Color Chart

So, 4 more weeks until my baby is predicted to arrive.  After the people and before the snow, I like to say (fingers crossed).  I know sometimes I post late, but if I post really late, you can assume I am on suckling, diaper and no-sleep duty.  Give me some time, and I'll be with you as soon as I can.  Trust me.  If I am crabby, you really don't want me to write a blog anyway.  Then I'll tell you what I really think.  Ha!

So wish me luck with that!  Even though I tease myself about it sometimes, just know that I am really looking forward to becoming a mother and learning about life all over again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spooks and a Moose!

Saturday was... wow.  As I walked around to do my normal Harbor life business, I marveled at all the cars and people and bikes and such.  Is there an event going on in town?  I wondered as vehicles lined the main street and all possible parking areas.

What was odd was that it wasn't even a very nice day.  It was gray and chilly.  But it wasn't raining.  What else is odd is that I'm telling you about this and I still have no idea if there really was an event.  Perhaps a small one, but I just chalk it up to a Saturday in September.  I forgot how busy they can be.  That's a good thing for now.

Speaking of Saturdays in September, I may as well add on to the Chili Cook-off event with the Fort Wilkins Spoo-tacular.  They are decking out the Fort in a haunting fashion, and their annual geocaching event is going on as well.  Schedule follows below.

Spoo-tacular events

Ah yes, another one of my pictures with reflections off someone's glass door.  This one happens to be the general store.  They always have the most posters.

And as we approach this cooling weather and fall-like atmosphere, the wild edibles are changing.  

When I wander through Clyde's field, I try all the different apples that have dropped to the ground.  I try to memorize which ones are my favorite, and which ones the deer can have.  I'm not harvesting, just grabbing a snack as I meander.

The choke cherries are out too.  Man it's a great year for them.  If I wasn't so darn lazy right now, I would pick and pick those suckers.  But nope.  Sure seems like a lot of work.  I don't feel too guilty though.  I have lots of choke cherry wine aging in my cellar.  I think it will be ready to sample sometime after this little one comes out of my belly.

Plums too.  The plums are ripening.

We are lucky to have escaped the chances of frost so far.  The community garden is still producing, though some plants are a bit shocked, I'm sure.  It's interesting to hear that Houghton may get a frost overnight, but "along the shore" we are still 5-10 degrees warmer.  Oh, that lake.  She certainly has her perks.

So get this.  There is a moose in Copper Harbor.

A what???

A moose!  Yes!  It's been sighted at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge trying to play golf without a cart.  Here is a picture I found on the KML's facebook page.

The KML moose

That is definitely a moose, and definitely the lodge's golf course.  What a beauty.  If I get ambitious, maybe I'll sit up there and wait for it to come.  I'm kind of a jinx for moose though.  I would probably just end up getting eaten by squirrels.

But, it looks like a good fall tourist attraction!

Color Report
On my drive to town Friday, I would say that the Covered Stretch is less than 10% changed. The maples that have transitioned sure are beautiful, but it's still mostly green.  The lakeshore M-26 is green too.  Even closer to Houghton, I would say there is no significant change.  And just a handful of trees are actually brown.

Okay, okay.  Enough for now.  I'll see you next week on whichever day I have the energy!  Thanks for your patience with me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Luckily I Took Pictures...

Power went out a couple times today.  Then it was on a couple times, and who knows what will happen anytime soon?

Come on, Brain.  Come on.  The people want a post here.

So, yeah.  Today is one of those days they write songs about.  I even hope to write a poem about it (once my brain is capable of going beyond everyday tasks).  

In an effort to celebrate the high winds, big waves, bone-chilling rain and lack of electricity, my little bun and I went out to Hunter's Point.  

It was definitely windy and cold and wet.  The video I took proved my timing to be a bit anti-climactic.  Not even worth the bandwidth to upload.  But I thoroughly enjoyed the lush hike to the tip of the Point.  Here is the best wave picture I got.

Waves at Hunter's Point 9/10/14

The lake was (and still is) really agitated.  She can be such a beast at times.  It's a good thing the Queen IV wasn't scheduled for Isle Royale today.

On the way back, I found some little friends.  I've been seeing mushrooms everywhere lately because it's been so wet and cool.  If I had my normal level of curiosity, I would start learning mushrooms this fall.  They have been quite spectacular.

Fungi in the woods

On Monday, I sought out to capture the full moonrise because I knew it would come up near the lighthouse if I sat on the Harbor Haus dock.  While the sun sank and I got chilly, the geese came around.

Geese and The Gap

I also got swarmed by a flock of seagulls.  It was really something as they came around from all directions.  I didn't have any food, and I'm not really sure what stirred them up.  Neat experience, though.

Then I got chillier and chillier as I waited for the moon.  I didn't think the clouds would hide it because the horizon was somewhat clear.  Just at the moment when I thought, I bet it's gonna be really cool, I saw a glow ascend from a low strip of clouds.  The moon!  I watched in awe as it crowned.

And then it hid behind a cloud in the layer just above.

So here's a picture of the middle of the full moon.

Moonrise 9/8/14

That's East Bluff in the far background on the right side of the shot.  It was a beautiful night.  And the clouds looked all purdy too, so here's one more of the evening.

Facing north during the sunset

Earlier in the week, I took some other pictures from around town.  Boy, am I glad I took pictures.  I don't know if my words can create them as well right now!

Gladiolas in front of the Gas Lite

Though they don't have a scent, I LOVE gladiolas.  I remember, growing up, that my parents always had a rainbow of these beauties around their garden.  This is one of the few domestic flowers I would actually go through the effort of planting.  It could be a nice project for the little one and I in the spring!  Remind me I said that, will you?

And at the Brickside Brewery, Project 49918 is exhibiting the Beginning of the Road collection.  It gets some cool comments when visitors realize that they have met some of those people on the wall.  I am just glad that snow is gone now....

"Beginning of the Road" Exhibit

Yes, I know it's a bit blurry, but that's how things usually look in the Brickside.  Ha!  Unless you can't drink beer!

I also wanted to show you this because I am proud.  This is my first professional book review done by Charlie Eshbach.  He is a long-time Keweenaw resident, naturalist and author himself, so his opinion holds some weight around here!  Thank you, Charlie and the Keweenaw Traveler!

Book review by the Keweenaw Traveler

Having trouble reading it?  Try clicking on the image.  Still having trouble?  Pick up your printed copy of the publication around the UP for free!  It's great for visitors and locals alike.

Wait.  I have to put a different hat on.

Our band, Powers of Air, is scheduled to play the outdoor gig at the Chili Cookoff September 20th!  We are sharing the stage with Frank an' da Beans -- one of my favorite funky dance bands in the area.  Music starts around 4pm, and I think we're on around 5:30pm.  Please view the poster below for more details.  

And for heaven's sake, make some chili to bring!

Chili Cook-off time again, baby!

Color Report
Well, I haven't been down the Covered Stretch lately, but I'll go on Friday.  Whatever leaves are still hanging on the branches that haven't blown off the trees are mostly green, I would imagine.  But this cold snap could change things.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Switching to September Mode

Yesterday, around 6 pm, I walked down the main drag to tend to my garden.  Suddenly, I was stopped in my tracks.  I couldn't believe what I saw.

Or perhaps it was what I didn't see.

Cars and people.  Bikes and dogs.  Gone, gone, gone.  I could have stood on the yellow lines of U.S. Highway 41 without a passing car for quite sometime.  Even the parking lots were empty and sparse.  What a contrast from the weekend.

Labor Day Weekend.  The big shebang.  The final final for this little town.  And it's over.

Sunday, for the Bell's Beer Copper Harbor Trails Fest, I was in charge of (among many other things) hauling coolers, cups and tables to the aid station up at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.  To accomplish such a task, I had to drive my car -- something no local wants to do on such a day.

Putting through town in second gear, I felt like I was in a parade.  Speed was slow, cars were bumper to bumper and kids were running across the road.  I just took deep breaths and enjoyed the chaos for what it was.

On the way back down, the cruisin' was pretty smooth until the last 1/4 mile before the blinking light.  Keweenaw County's sheriff's officers were orchestrating traffic as the racers crossed the highway there.  I was in no big hurry, so, once again, I just enjoyed the hubbub and watched the racers pedal vigorously.  

Once I parked my car in my driveway, I wiped my brow, grateful not to drive for the rest of the weekend.  My traveling from then on would be by foot... and my feet were sore by the end of it all.

Sunday's weather was surprisingly spectacular.  The sun dried some slick spots on the trails and kept people's spirits up throughout the day.  The event went well.  Again, a HUGE thank you goes out to our dozens of volunteers, donors, racers and everyone who helped make this event successful.  It's a big undertaking, but it seems to be worth it.

So now what do I do with myself?  Take a nap.

But first, I'll share a couple pics my hubby took of the downhill event.

Racer launching over The Flow

Crowds cheering on the riders

Did I take any pictures?  Nope.  I was too stressed out running here and there to make sure this and that were ready to go.  And I couldn't even reward myself with a Bell's Black Note Bourbon Barrel Stout.  I suppose the smell of it was rewarding enough.

Before I exit this topic, I should inform you that if you are interested in seeing more pictures and stats from this weekend, go to or visit them on facebook.

So I'm not working full-time right now.  I have plenty of little jobs to keep me busy and lots of volunteer work to do, but I'm not "tied down" six days a week for 10 hours a day like usual.  You would think that I have plenty of time to pick berries.

Sadly, that is a farce.

Picking berries with a lead-filled basket ball on my tummy is no easy task.  I pretty much gave up at the end of July.  But here is the kicker: people look at me and say, "I can't believe the bilberries this year.  They are like nickels, and there's so many of them!"

Yeah, yeah rub it in.  My picking days are done for the summer.  I got what I could already.  And besides, the berries give me instant acid reflux.  But I eat them anyway.  Ah yes, life it is a-changin'.  But it's a good change, and I am excited for it.

Well, Happy September.  This month brings different clientele to the area: older couples, couples without kids and the like.  Table occupancy in the restaurants goes from a "party of 12, no wait, 11 and a booster seat" to "just the two of us... can we sit on the main floor?"  But nonetheless, the weekends will be busy.  Especially when the leaves turn more.

Color Report
I would say the Covered Drive is still only 1% color.  It's beautiful color too.  I'll let you know more as the weeks go by!