Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Monday, February 27, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Winter has returned with about 15.5" of snow between 10 a.m. yesterday and daylight today.  More in the forecast, too.  Steve was "moving snow" much of the day.  Are you sure we have a fenced yard?  Looks like the roof rake will be used again this week, and we won't even tell you about the drifts!  Season total is almost 170" - about 14 feet.  All is still well in the Keweenaw!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quick Trip

Due to our "Bear Encounter" and our "Lovely Drive," we neglected to write about our journey to Saginaw at the beginning of this month.  We had a window of opportunity between snowstorms, so we made a quick trip to Michigan's lower peninsula.  We took Cocoa to the kennel as we left on the Monday morning following the Super Bowl and returned on Friday of the same week.  It was so nice to spend a little time with family and friends again.  We stayed with Steve's daughter, Carrie.  We had some appointments in the area and took advantage of our time there to pick up some items that are either unavailable here or a lot more expensive.  So, the pantry is very well stocked again. 

We always enjoy our time with Steve's daughter and her kids.  Grace is especially fun!  Don't tell Cocoa, but we have to admit that we even liked spending time with their dog, a Pug named Rosebud.  Rosie is very comical.  Steve says she looks like she ran into a wall - face first.  He wants to reach down and pull her nose back out where it should be.

We had dry roads the entire trip down and we made excellent time.  Upon our arrival in Saginaw, we immediately stopped at Menard's to pick up a few items.  We even purchased Steve's birthday gift.  Can a man have too many power tools?  His birthday isn't until April, but we weren't sure we would make it to another Menard's before then.  The closest Menard's to us in the U.P. is in Marquette - approximately 2-1/2 hours away.  We then had a quick dinner at Bob Evans and made our way to Carrie's house in St. Charles. 
The rest of the week was spent at appointments, running errands and doing a couple odd jobs around the house for Carrie.  Dads come in real handy sometimes.  We also had a nice dinner one evening with friends, Bill & Lori Brady and Butch & Ann Jacobs.  Dinner came with lots of the typical laughter.  We do know how to have fun.  It was nice to see everyone at church on Wednesday evening, too.
First thing Friday morning, Steve had a haircut scheduled at his usual place in Saginaw.  He still believes no one else could cut his hair properly.  Is it really possible to mess it up too badly when you have so little?!  (You know I love your bald head, honey!)  As soon as that was finished, we hopped on the highway and headed north.  It was snowing most of the way to the Mackinac Bridge, so we weren't able to make the good time we usually do on that stretch of road.  After the bridge, it snowed most of the way home with occasional heavy snow squalls causing reduced visibility like the photo I snapped between Munising and Marquette.  Can you see the truck ahead of us in that photo?  The skies began clearing about the time we made it to L'Anse, so the rest of the trip went well.   
We made it to Houghton with enough daylight left to snap a few photos from the car as we drove through.  The students at Michigan Technological University had just finished their snow sculptures for the annual Winter Carnival.  As we traveled through Houghton, we noticed they had the lights on at the ski hill.  That's always a pretty sight.  We drove across the Portage Lift Bridge, wound our way through Hancock and saw a few snowmobilers on the trail along the road.  Then, it was up the Quincy Hill and on to Calumet.   It was not yet dark, and Steve couldn't rest with a dirty vehicle, so we stopped at the carwash for a quick cleaning.  A few more blocks and we were at the house.  We had a few inches of snow in our driveway from the week, but not enough to prevent us from pulling in and unpacking the vehicle.  It was nice to be home in the Keweenaw! 

It began snowing again the next morning, and Steve had to pick up Cocoa at the kennel between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m.  They said she did just fine up until the last 24 hours.  That's when she decided she had enough of that place and decided to send a message by chewing a big hole in her bed pillow.  They said that's a common thing for dogs to do.  They feed the dogs twice a day and walk them, but I guess it's still not the same as being home.  Needless to say, Cocoa was very happy to see Steve.  Wait a minute.  Maybe Cocoa didn't chew open her pillow to send a message about being at the kennel.  Maybe she was sending a message about her pillow.  It's brown and camouflage - not exactly a feminine choice.  She might be happier with pink bedding next time. 
It's currently 19° and snowing, and we may be in for a pretty good dumping this week.  All's well in the Keweenaw. 
P.S.  Nice haircut, honey!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Lovely Drive

Each new holiday since we’ve moved has given us the opportunity to enjoy our first one in the Keweenaw.  Valentine’s Day was no exception.  Steve suggested we take a drive up past our property, along Hwy. 26, on to Copper Harbor, and end the drive with dinner at The Hut, one of our favorite restaurants.  There’s just something so special about the wooded roads, the rocky coastline and our beautiful Lake Superior.  That scenery is one of the things we love most about the Keweenaw Peninsula.  The sky was overcast with occasional light snow flurries, but that didn't matter.  We stopped at our favorite coffee shop and ordered two to go.  We started up Hwy. 41.  Even though we’ve had over 11 feet of snow for the season, we’re still below average, and we’ve had more lulls in the action than usual.  The snow has had time to condense and melt between storms, and it came as a surprise to see the small snowbanks along the roadside even in the higher elevations.  The banks should be much higher at this time of year.  The natives say this is definitely not typical; we shouldn’t expect this every year!

The roadside snow appeared whiter and whiter as we climbed further up into the Keweenaw, as lighter traffic creates less dirt.  We drove through Mohawk and Phoenix and turned onto our road.  We were interested in seeing how big the snow mound was at the entrance to our driveway.  Although it doesn’t look that high in the photo at the right, it’s far too deep to drive through even with the truck.  The mound on the left side of the road just opposite the 35 mph sign is the driveway entrance. 

Steve continued driving to Eagle Harbor and turned right onto Hwy 26.  Aahhh, our beloved coastline!  We drove slowly and enjoyed every moment of beauty.  Somewhere near Lake Bailey, a huge deer crossed the road in front of us.  It hustled up the steep wooded embankment on our left and stopped to gaze down upon us.  We paused briefly in the road and looked up at it.  It was a monster, the largest deer I’ve ever seen.  We had to continue on - having no desire to be rear-ended on that winding road. 

The scenery changes so much with every season.  During the winter months, you can actually see quite a distance into the forest.  We could see a few old crumbling buildings that can’t been seen at other times of year.  We made a quick stop at Esrey Park.  It’s a roadside park overlooking Lake Superior with gorgeous rock formations.  You can climb the rocky steps and get a better look.  We’ve taken Corvette photos here in the past.  

Further down Hwy. 26, we came upon some ice fishermen leaving the ice.  We wondered if they were bringing fish home for dinner.  Copper Harbor came next, and we made a short stop at the public dock where we view the July 4th fireworks.  It was interesting to see how the ice had collected in that small harbor, but we could see the open waters of Lake Superior beyond.  The big lake isn’t going to freeze over this winter.

We opted to make the complete circle tour and left Copper Harbor via Hwy. 41.  That drive is lovely, too, with the road covered by tree branches part of the way.  Again, we saw a few buildings we had never noticed before.  Lake Medora was lovely, as usual, and we made our way back down the peninsula for dinner at The Hut in Kearsarge.  The Hut is known for generous portions and delicious food.  The meal didn’t disappoint!  We ordered the walleye and not a morsel was left on our plates.  It was a fine way to end our Valentine’s Day outing.  We thank God for each other and for the blessing of living in such a beautiful area.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Bear Encounter!

    Never in a million years did we think our first BEAR encounter would occur in our very own backyard in this little village of Calumet.  Of course, Steve has had bear encounters in the past on our property near Eagle Harbor, but that's to be expected occasionally in that densely wooded area. 
    Monday began quietly and routinely - just the way we like it.  Steve had plans to put the last coat of paint on the kitchen, and we were sitting in the living room.  Suddenly, we heard a loud growl coming from right outside our living room window at the front of the house.  Steve quickly opened the curtains, looked outside, and spotted the black beast moving toward a man who happened to be walking by on his way to the garage next door.  The man was backing up slowly toward the garage door keeping an eye on the animal.  He wasn't far from the door at that point and made it safely inside.  We quickly called the police.  Then, Steve put on his boots and jacket, grabbed his handgun, and went outside.  He's so brave.  No longer spotting the vicious critter, he went around the corner of our house to check on our dog in our fenced backyard.  Whew, our dog was fine.  Just then, that wild animal came around the corner of the house.  Steve had made sure to close the gate behind him, but it hopped the fence and followed him into our yard!  Steve had just enough time to open the back door to let our dog inside the back porch and draw his handgun.  The animal circled around him and had him pinned down to a small area near the back door.  Steve had his gun out and pointed.  He didn't really want to kill the beast, but he would have to shoot if it got too close.  Steve stayed very still - trying not to make any sudden moves.  The handle of the back door was within reach, but he wasn't sure he could make it inside quickly enough.  The crazed critter was growling and lunging toward him repeatedly.  I was still inside the house and heard the commotion in the backyard, so I banged on the window and yelled in an attempt to scare it away.  Steve yelled for me to call the police again.  I told the police the animal had my husband pinned in the backyard.  They said they would immediately dispatch a car. 
    After what seemed like an eternity, the state police and the village police both arrived.  The officers exited their vehicles and began knocking on doors across the street.  What?  Why are they doing that?  Don't they know my husband is in the backyard with a savage beast?  The noise of the officers on the street was enough to distract the aggressive monster, and it went around the other corner of the house to see what was happening.  That gave Steve the opportunity to dart inside the house.  Steve hurried through the house and went back out the front door to talk to the police.  The animal was still inside our fenced yard.  As the police walked back and forth and discussed what to do, I watched that critter hop back and forth over our fence from our yard to the neighbor's yard at least a dozen times. Why weren't they doing something?  I wondered what were they going to do if it hopped a different portion of the fence and got loose in the neighborhood again.  At that point, I didn't know the police weren't even carrying a tranquilizer gun.  I also didn't know they had a run-in with this fierce animal in the past.  It had bitten a jogger!  
    Suddenly, another vehicle arrived and a woman ran up to the officers.  It was the neighbor.  They actually allowed her to enter our backyard!  That's when we found out the dog was named "Bear."  The lady got a "stiff fine" for not keeping her dog under control along with a warning that Bear would be taken if this happens again.  So, that was our first U.P. "Bear" encounter!  It is currently 35° and sunny.  All's well again in the Keweenaw.
Disclosure: Some names were changed to protect the identity of those involved.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Breaking News!

First Bear Encounter Today! 
Will try to post the full story tomorrow! 
In the meantime, Cocoa finished her page.  Check it out.
Current Snow Total = 144.5 inches (just over 12 ft.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cocoa's Page

We are really busy this week, but Cocoa talked me into posting the first part of her autobiography.  Her page is the last one on the list of blog pages just to the left of this post.  It's called "The Real Pack Leader."  Simply click on the title to read what she wrote.  The sun is shining in the Keweenaw!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Peeping Pup

     Now that we're living in the Keweenaw and doing our best to become "Yooper Wanabees," we feel we should practice the local lingo.  It's a little like learning a new language.  We don't plow snow or shovel snow, we push snow or move snow.  Wait a minute. . . what's that "we" stuff?  Steve pushes snow or moves snow!  Anyway, he said he would move the snow pile outside the kitchen window.  Remember, he had to dig out the BBQ grill in order to use it on Super Bowl Sunday.  It had been buried in the avalanche triggered by the roof rake.  Well, he's a man of his word.  He moved the pile on Wednesday, but not before Cocoa (our Chocolate Lab) figured out how to cope with it. 
     Cocoa is an outdoor dog.  One of the things she enjoyed doing in Saginaw was sitting on the back porch.  She could look in through the screen door when the exterior door was open.  She could also look through the window near the fireplace, since that window was within a short distance from the floor.  From that viewpoint, she would know every time we walked to or from the kitchen.  We would walk by the window and notice her head following us back and forth.  At this house, things weren't quite that convenient, but she quickly figured out a solution.  She could put her paws up on the brick sill outside the kitchen window and pull herself to a standing position.  Then, she could peer in on us through that window above the kitchen sink.  (See photo above.)  She apparently finds us fascinating.  You've heard of "Peeping Toms?"  It has become part of her daily routine to play "Peeping Pup" with us.  When she hears us at the coffee pot in the morning, she's peeping.  When I'm getting dinner ready, she's peeping.  When I'm doing dishes, she's peeping.  Well, that huge pile of snow was right in front of the kitchen window, wasn't it?  I'm sure she wasn't happy about not being able to keep an eye on us after Steve left the pile there overnight.  She put up with it for a day and then decided she would have to conquer the pile!  (See photos below.)  There she was right at eye level.  What a smart dog.  She never fails to make us laugh.
     Anyway, the BBQ grill has been rescued from the avalanche.  The pup is happy.  It's 34°, and the sun is shining.  All's well in the Keweenaw.
     I guess I really should give Cocoa her own page.  I'll put that on the To-Do List.