UP dangers

The Botanist planted and nurtured barberries at each corner of the cottage, so I had to trim them back so we could access the structure for painting and staining. Now I have a whole wheelbarrow full of barberry twigs that needs to be buried somewhere so no one will step on them, since bare feet abound in these parts.

In fact, Cousin S’s currently suffering from barefoot vulnerabilities: a hornet stung her!

Hot water!

The plumber finally got to us, and zip-zip, the new water heater is online!

It’s effectively a mini normal electric water heater, with a 3.85 gal tank. He installed it so we can completely remove it, dump it, and store it where it won’t freeze. Yippee!

Now, we have to get the electrician over to install its own leetle plug, but for now, we’re using an extension cord and walking with our feet held high.

I won’t get my first hot shower, however, until after I get more painting, etc finished this afternoon. Ah, well!

Dog’s life

Sometimes, in that post-Victorian life-of-leisure style, we have cocktail hour here at the “farm” and multiple households unite for a “snort.” Today we perched on the bluff above the lake, very civilized, and chatted and laughed for quite a while. Bored with our conversation, I guess, and with his poodle playmate ensconced on a lap, the puppy trotted around checking smells and eventually found a dead soldier and mauled it about for quite a while….

Dewy morn

For, I believe, the first time since we arrived in good ’ol Luce County this summer, we had dew this morning. Between that and the quick shower yesterday morning, maybe the tide (may I say that?) is turning on this summer dry season.

I’ve done a dawn photo session looking through the orchard, across the field, and at the woods and sun every summer since I got a digital still camera in 2002 (and at least once before with a film camera), and the results vary by camera and conditions (of course). This year they’re on balance somewhat drab, but still compelling with judicious framing and cropping. I picked this one of the apples, to remind myself how late in the season we are here this year (usually we’re here in July), and as a reminder to pick some of the good ones for apple sauce!

These quiet dawns are one of my special pleasures while I’m here….

Sweet pea

The staining and painting operations continue, although we had a brief shower this morning, followed by wind that made things just plain difficult.

A few of the sweet peas decorate the orchard. I tried to shoot a backlit pod, and instead got part of a backlit leaf, with an interior structure like fine lacework—but just a bit of it….

Staining underway

staining in progress

Yesterday, the Handiman (a temporary handle) picked up the 5-gallon bucket of stain we had the hardware store order for us, and today he began the staining operation.

I’ve done only a modest amount of housepainting, but never staining. The stuff is thinner than paint, and goes on differently. It’s difficult to manage due to its runniness.

Potentilla blooming

Next to the door, the Botanist planted a potentilla years ago. They survive these northern winters and bloom most of the summer—if they have sufficient moisture. We’ve been putting much of the dish-washing water on this one, and it’s got some blossoms finally.

Beach fire

Last night after a fine potluck meal (the first maize from the Provider’s garden, the first applesauce from the old orchard—thanks Cousin M), we adjourned to the beach donning sweatshirts (most of us) along the way and pulled up chairs around the first beach fire of the season for me. Finally, the hot weather is abating and we are back to the typical summer UP evenings, when it gets cold enough that you want more than a t-shirt when you sit outdoors after sundown and listen and tell stories and laugh.

Laurel and her friend Rachel sang a cappella for us all. They started with “Me and Bobby McGee”—excellent and very moving! I think Janis would have loved their rendition!

Technical info: JCB just introduced me to MarsEdit for composing my blog texts, so I can avoid directly using WordPress, which had been giving me fits. So far, I’m loving it. Recommended!

Today’s vocabulary:


a fast-moving brownish insect, a type of bristletail, that frequents warm places indoors (thank you Apple Dictionary)

Sunflowers & bats

Why do we perceive sunflowers as offering a happy face to the world? I think we react to their vibrant color and stunning size, and perhaps even their tendency to follow the sun in its daily circuit, and feel a positive vibe.

Or something.

For those keeping score, last night jcb removed a bat from our bedroom for the second time this summer. Tada-dada-dada, Batman!

Sleeper stopper


Yesterday we saw both the water-carrying choppers reported as being used for the Sleeper Lake(s) fire, apparently headed for refueling at the Newberry airport. Winds today are gusty and seem to be shifting directions. It must be hell on the fireline.