Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's Not Too Late

It's not too late for you to join us on the 4th of July in Copper Harbor. Steve and I will be in the parade at 10:00 a.m. Here's a photo of a few of the items we'll be using to decorate ourselves and our golf cart, but we won't show you everything yet.

We're going to pass out the "GOD BLESS AMERICA" flags. Oh, I just realized that the Uncle Sam hat left glitter on my floor. I wonder what it will do to Steve's head? Shhhh, let's not tell him!

It rained again last night, so we don't have a basement floor yet.

All is well in the Keweenaw anyway.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Firsts

It wasn't raining last evening, so Cocoa excitedly jumped into the back of the truck, and we drove to the Calumet Waterworks Park.

Pollen was floating on the water, but she enjoyed her first Lake Superior swim of the summer.

All the rain we've had has given us a healthy mosquito crop, but we enjoyed our first Lake Superior sunset of the summer.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

P.S. The Construction Page was updated on June 27, 2013.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rained Out

We had a fairly steady rain today, so the cement guy couldn't pour the basement floor. It looks like it may continue to rain off and on through Tuesday or Wednesday. Well, we're not going to worry about it, as we know the Lord is in control. He has proved that to us many times through the years.

I was able to get all our frozen thimbleberries made into jam. Did I mention it's our favorite kind of jam? Yum.

Lastly, Cocoa had her annual checkup yesterday. She weighs 95 lbs., her teeth are amazingly clean, and the Vet said she is very healthy. She had to have 2 shots, but she handled it like a trooper. I always feel bad that her checkups tend to happen when she's shedding, so she never looks her prettiest when she's there. Her coat will get darker as the summer progresses. 

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Goodbye, Old Friend

When I was still working, a friend of mine gave me a coffee cup as a Christmas gift. It came in a cute little box that I still use as part of our Christmas decor. It wasn't just a coffee cup. It was the perfect coffee cup. 

It was the perfect color - not too dark inside, so it was easy to see how much coffee was in the cup while pouring. It was the perfect size - not too small and not too big. It was the perfect weight and a little larger on the bottom, so it wasn't easy to knock over accidentally. It never stained or chipped - the perfect coffee cup.

I used my perfect coffee cup every day while I was still working, and I made sure to bring it home with me when I "retired." Since that time, I have used it every morning for my coffee. There was a snowman on it, but that didn't matter. I used it during every season of the year, because it was. . . the perfect coffee cup. You'll never know how many times I've looked at that cup and thought of my friend. It often caused me to send up a quick prayer for her while I was using it. Beginning tomorrow morning, I'll have to use a different coffee cup.
Goodbye, old friend. I'm not sure a suitable replacement will ever be found. Don't worry, I'll keep praying for Barb. She would be impossible to replace!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Counting in the Keweenaw

The cement man is planning to work on the property on Thursday! We'll keep you posted as to the progress.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Keweenaw Gold

Some folks refer to thimbleberries as "Keweenaw Gold." I guess we would have to agree, as we both love the jam made from these berries, and it sells for about $10-$14 per 9 oz. jar. Since we first tasted thimbleberry jam and realized thimbleberries were growing in abundance on our property, we've talked about making our own jam. That was impossible until we moved here, as our trips never seemed to coincide with picking time. We were thrilled with the crop we harvested last year. We even had a little help from some of our friends who were visiting and from Steve's granddaughter, Grace (although she ate almost all the berries she picked!).

The thimbleberry plant develops beautiful white flowers first.

The pink berries grow in clusters.

They're ready to pick when they soften and turn bright red.

You gently pull the hollow cap of the berry off the stem - it looks sort of like a thimble.

We were really busy during thimbleberry season, so I cleaned the berries and got them in the freezer. 

Since Steve stays away from sweets and breads after the first of the year, I was in no great rush to get the jam made. He has allowed himself the occasional bran muffin since the end of April and will now begin indulging in the occasional slice of homemade bread or burger on a bun. Thus, it was time to get started with jam production.

It doesn't take very long to make a batch of jam. I somehow managed to thaw the exact amount of berries to fill the 24 jars I had in the house. I know I have more jars somewhere - probably in one of our storage units - but it could take hours to find them! It was easier to stop at the store after Church this afternoon to buy 24 new jars. We'll need them if we pick a bigger crop this year anyway. I should have enough frozen berries left to fill all the new jars with this crop, so jam production will continue tomorrow. 

We're really going to enjoy our first batch of thimbleberry jam, and we'll save a lot of money by not buying it from the local shops this year. Now, here's what you've been waiting for - the money shot!

I'll have more construction news for you soon. All is well in the Keweenaw.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Waiting Patiently

Not much news to report on the construction front. We're waiting patiently for the construction permit (probably tomorrow) and the cement guy (this week?).

After waiting patiently for warmer weather, it was finally nice enough to get our flower pots out last Thursday.  Steve even mowed the lawn in Calumet again today. Here's a photo of Cocoa - waiting patiently for her beloved master to finish the job.

Cocoa absolutely loves going to the property with Steve. When she hears us in the kitchen getting our coffee in the morning, she excitedly jumps up to look into the kitchen window. She knows the routine:  2 dog biscuits and a good head rub from Julie, eat the biscuits and wait patiently to see what will happen next. You can see the disappointment on her face when she discovers that it's a "stay-at-home day." However, when she figures out that it's a "go-to-the-property day," she goes crazy! "Does Cocoa wanna go buh bye?" The kangaroo impression and the yelping begins! She can't wait to hop onto the bed of the truck.

Once in the truck, she settles down and waits patiently for Steve to get behind the wheel. As they get going, she stands up and moves from one side to the other - depending on what she wants to see.

I get such a kick out of watching them head down the street with Cocoa's tail wagging happily. She got an unexpected treat yesterday. Steve doesn't normally go to the property on Sunday, but he took the truck to the self-serve car wash and decided to take her along. She sniffed out the area while he washed the truck. What a good dog.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pre-Construction Activities

That sign describes what we've been doing for almost 10 years since we purchased our property near Eagle Harbor. It sometimes seemed as if the big dream would never be fulfilled, but we kept the faith, and kept plugging along.

Things are getting exciting now! The pre-construction phase has kicked into high gear during the last 2 weeks. Remember, the basement walls were erected in June of 2007. The basement floor hadn't been poured and the walls hadn't been backfilled, so Steve had to remove some vegetation from inside the basement and from the trench around the exterior of the basement walls. You can see one of the piles created during that process in this shot - near the base of the trees in the foreground. This photo is directed toward the back of the house that will be mostly glass. The bump-out will be the great room.

As you know, we had an unusually late Spring with a rapid meltdown. The excavator thought the dirt inside the basement was a bit spongy and suggested we install some tiles for drainage. So, Steve got a good workout while digging a trench around the interior - about 10-12" deep.

That was a lot of work.

No wonder he was hungry when he came home for dinner!

Memorial Day gave us the opportunity to take a trip to Menards in Marquette - 2 hours away under the best of circumstances. I enjoyed the scenic waterfall at the brief stop we made at the Phillip A. Lynwood Roadside Park.

We spent a record 7-1/2 hours at Menards, but we saved "big money" as advertised.

Our bones were weary, and the sun was setting as we drove back home to Calumet.

Our excavator and a 2-man crew met Steve on our property on Wednesday.

They went right to work using the Bobcat to begin backfilling our basement with sand we had purchased 3 years ago.

You can see the small compactor in that last photo. Here's a side shot of the great room bump-out. Our sand piles are in the background.

The tile was set in place in Steve's trench.

Stone was hauled in.

Stone was dumped in the trench.

Next, went the sheeting.

More dirt on top of that.

Here's a better shot of the sandy backfill. You can see how much has been added.

This shot shows you what's left of our sand piles. It should be enough to finished backfilling the walls when it's time to do that.

That should catch you up on the pre-construction activities. More to come!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

May - Snow to Hail

I really meant to get this post written last night, but I ran out of hours in the day again. Life has been busy. The month of May 2013 started with SNOW and ended with HAIL. I thought I would show you how the month progressed. Here's the view from the kitchen window on May 2.

The snow melted, and the birch tree began to spring back to life by May 16.

By May 24, the same tree looked like this.

Although it still isn't in full leaf, it was creating some shade by May 31.

May 23rd brought us a lengthy visit from Mr. & Mrs. Goldfinch.

Steve first mowed the lawn on May 5th last year, but it wasn't needed until May 28th this year. The dandelions popped up the next day.

Yes, I know the old fence is still there. It will go away--I promise!

Although the last day in May started out warm and beautiful, it ended with a cool thunderstorm with hail.

We were thankful our vehicles survived without dents.

It's now June, and this will be another very busy month for us. We're starting construction on the new house soon. If you'll notice, I started a CONSTRUCTION page in the left column of this blog. I'm planning to describe the construction progress in this regular area of the blog, but I'll also post photos of the progress on the CONSTRUCTION page with brief descriptions (kind of the Reader's Digest Condensed Version). Just click on "CONSTRUCTION - Photo Log" (at the bottom of the list of "Blog Pages") to get to the updates on that page. The excavator was working with Steve on the property this week, so I have some "pre-construction" photos to share with you. I'll try to do that tomorrow.

All is well in the Keweenaw.