Archive for August, 2007

Pictured Rocks

Lake Superior greeted us with light breezes and lovely views of the Pictured Rocks meeting the water and sky, as we hiked in what’s called the Chapel–Mosquito area. We squeezed in the hike before the assault of Labor Day visitors, and actually met only a few other hiking parties as we worked our way around the Grand Portal Point area.

I have no recollection of ever taking the tourist boat that leaves from Munising (probably deemed too expensive), but I think the time to do that is late afternoon, to catch the best light on the banded sandstone.

Two turkeys on the roadside down by Star (east of Shingleton) ignored us as we drove by on our way “out”, and a pheasant (the same one I saw several weeks ago?) clucked our return.

It’s a bird’s life.

Progress!

The Handiman (aka Handy-man aka Guru aka Genius) has finished staining! Hurrah!

He has now turned his hand to rodent frustration. He’s got some of that expanding foam, and is squirting all possible means of ingress, which means he’s been using a mirror to look up between the sheathing and the foundation, as well as crawling beneath the house (in the duh crawl space) using a light to inspect hither an yon. Kudos to the Handiman!

As to the trim, the frame has its primer and two coats. The screens have primer and one coat (mostly). The windows that open, well, they lag. Several have primer, the rest not even that.

I may just have to let them overwinter without knowing what brown can do for them.

Dry swamp

I know that’s an oxymoron, but that’s what we found.

Took a drive north of Laketon (only one house remaining), crossing the Tahquamenon at Danaher (two houses there, but too new to be part of the original town) yesterday afternoon. Encountered few vehicles, but did have to remove brush left by sloppy loggers, perhaps (sigh) as part of a road-widening project from one stretch of the road for our fine low-clearance aerodynamic vehicle (not really a woods critter).

This puddle was the only standing water left in this huge swamp-basin. Like the Sleeper Lake fire area east of here, the dry spell has lowered the water table. Indeed, I understand that the Sleeper Fire is burning below the ground surface more than above ground, and has become, at least in part, what they call a bog fire.

Rain day

Yesterday we could see the changing of the seasons in the drying of the grass and the yellowing of the maples.

This morning we’re full into fall rains, a huge seasonal jump, with no chance of painting, or at least of the paint drying very quickly.

Rain days acquired a special twist for me when I started doing CRM fieldwork. As a kid, here at the cottage, they’d been days with long convoluted card games (War was a favorite), or 500-piece puzzles on several card tables at once. This changed, as with so many things, as I entered the work-a-day world. On some jobs I didn’t get paid for rain days. And I might or might not have access to wheels. And I was probably in some dull, boring town, or where I’d already explored the even mildly entertaining parts. Living with people I already knew too well. And having already finished all my novels. Twice.

This rain day means I could work on cleaning mouse droppings from various cabinets I’ve been avoiding (ick), begin making lists for the exodus (whenever that will be), or read a novel or Mann’s “1491.” Commensurate with the cool temps and grey skies, on this rain day, I’m making split pea soup with barley and Minnesota cultivated wild rice.

The Night Manager by John le Carré

le Carré’s plots are always outstanding, but I think people often overlook his superb ideas and turns of phrase. For example (Ch. 24):

So Jonathan had retreated into his own thoughts. He had long been aware that he was one of those people who are condemned to think concurrently rather than consecutively. For instance, he was comparing the greens of the jungle with the greens of Ireland and reckoning that the jungle beat Ireland into a cocked hat.

I’ve not encountered that idea: concurrent vs consecutive thought patterns. I like it though. I do both though, I think, so is there another type?

Later update (before driving off to post)

The sun broke out just after 1pm, and maybe the humidity will drop enough for more (sigh) painting.

PS Tasty pea soup for lunch, especially with a few crumbs of bacon simmered in.

Productive labors

I felt that I rounded the bend today on this painting project, finishing the primer on the window framing and getting the first of two coats of the brown on, too. JCB’s nearly finished with the staining, and contemplating other projects. I still have to do the screens (yawn), and the exterior of the doors (not much to cover, but all slow, mostly around glass, stead hand, and all that).

Carrot tops

Diligent watering have produced these delicate fronds on the the Hunter-Gatherer’s carrots. I forgot they have those little hairy projections along the main stems.

Actually, I did have a bit of Real Content on my mind. In the NYTimes Week in Review (sorry, I compose this off-line, so no link), David D. Kirkpatrick writes about historical analogy in general, and the use of it by politicians to make what they see (or, in the case of Bush, their handlers see) as a persuasive argument for a particular policy stance. The occasion for this is of course Bush’s comparison of the Middle East situation (two wars, as I recall, but he’s just thinking Iraq), with Vietnam. Kirkpatrick’s observations include

Public officials, political scientists say, usually turn to history to justify policies they’ve already settled on.

and

Historical analogies in public statements are especially suspect.

Yes, and most political rhetoric must actually be considered propaganda, in that its purpose is to convince, and not to be a wide-ranging, well-defended argument. Sound bite over substance.

As a result, we depend on the press and other public outlets for more considered opinions. And on our citizenry to duly consider on their own. But we’re so far from that for most of the citizenry (give me credit for avoiding a rant here!) that I just have to be glad most don’t vote either!

Two moons

We held the Make Up Party tonight, the one McGrady suggested because we weren’t up here for the Fourth. The best eye-candy came from the moon, however—see the Two Moons of the UP?

No beach fire; the Gov’s put the nix on outdoor fires until…?

High points

While we’re extremely happy we’re getting moist weather—although real rain would be highly appreciated instead of this foggy-dewy stuff—it puts a damper (haha) on painting operations. In addition, I discovered that the wood filler I used just rolls right off when you try to sand it and it’s damp. Not good.

So, the Handiman decided to do some other chores, and cleaned pine needles off the roof and inspected the chimney (using the long lens of the camera, without climbing the really steep part of the roof). He reports one dead bat clinging up there somewhere. I worry about the decomposing bricks.

Maybe next year. Our card’s full for this year.

Mead Creek

Near the northern end of the Old Manistique Road that wends its way along the south side of the Manistique swamp from Germfask down toward Lake Michigan is a lovely State Forest park at the confluence of Mead Creek with the Manistique.

Although all the road-straightening and bridge improvements have removed some of the winding woods-road charm, this route remains one of my favorites. We almost always make a short stop at Mead Creek to admire the river, especially the reflections of the treeline. Sometimes we can even find a few berries to browse on, too.

This week when we stopped we found the latest change. The tiny campground loop is barricaded and marked with red “CLOSED” signs, surely a casualty of the budget-tightening afflicting the State.

This clump of birches (etc.) remain mute witnesses to the days when campers built smokey fires on this bluff, waiting for the coffee water to boil so they could head out for some early morning fishing along the bank carrying a full thermos. See the peeled bark on the right-most tree? Evidence.

Water levels are low along these reaches of the Manistique, too, although the sprinkles we got yesterday and fogginess that continued this morning brought dew, a very modest relief. So, the sun hasn’t extracted as much from the plants and soil lately, but the deficit still means the UP is dry dry dry.

At the same time we hear about flooding in northern Ohio and in I believe MN/WI, which aren’t that far away.

Finally!

The rain gods have finally smiled, and a morning that began with a sprinkle, developed into ground-cloud moistness, with bits of ever-so-tentative extremely light rain. Unless things change, it won’t be enough to really moisten the soil even an inch or so, but….

And, besides, it means: no staining or painting today!