I know! I know! (Slapped
self on wrist) I've been a very bad blogger lately. Very bad! I'm chock-full
of excuses, however.
We took that 16-day road trip in April - to
Florida and back with a lot of meandering in between. When you take a long road
trip, you need to spend time getting ready for it. When you return, you need to
spend time recovering from it. Am I right?
I'm still suffering from the effects of that
sinus infection which began while on said trip. Yeah, 7 weeks now and counting.
We hit a deer on the way home from that same
trip. Uh huh, less than 50 miles from our driveway. New Vehicle = New Deer. That
was a headache.
Other headaches - better known as migraines - an
unfortunate part of my life.
Washing windows. It's Spring in the Keweenaw! Although
we do have at least one remaining snow pile, some dandelions just popped up
Getting "lost in the woods." That's
what happens many mornings when we sit in the great room for our morning chat with
our cups of coffee. We often find it difficult to pull ourselves away from the
view outside our sliding glass doors. There's just too much happening out there,
folks! Various critters are walking past, leaves are beginning to fill out the
trees, hummingbirds are returning, and then there's that sky - our beautiful
Keweenaw sky! We get totally engrossed with watching trees swaying in the
breeze, looking for pileated woodpeckers when we hear one pounding away at a
tree, and counting goldfinches at the finch feeder.
Mostly, though, it's daily life that gets in the
way. You know, being wifey!
I do have one additional excuse, however. Some of you know that
our family is interested in genealogy, and we've done lots of work on it in the
last 25 years. Mom & I spent most of our vacation time for years -
traveling and researching our family history. Now I use the computer; however,
my limited gigabytes at the new house prevent me from doing as much as I would
like. On our way home from Florida, I was contacted via email by a long lost
relative. I'm talking LONG LOST - like we never even knew she existed! I'll
call her "K." K and I share a GG grandfather who died in 1913. She
contacted me because of our Ancestry.com DNA match. K was adopted back in the
1950's and has been researching her biological family. Can you imagine how
excited we were to share our knowledge with her? Beyond thrilled! My late uncle
was a master researcher & writer and compiled our facts into big thick
books he distributed within our family. I've acquired more facts since he
passed away, but most of our knowledge is in those books. I have copies of
those books on my computer hard drives, on CD's, and on USB flash drives. I
just had to take the time to separate out the info that pertained to K's ancestry
(including my updates), copy it onto a CD, and mail it to her. I wish I could
explain how it felt to give someone the knowledge of her family that was more
than just names on a computer screen. When I read the following sentence she
wrote to me, it moved me to tears: ". . I'm happy beyond belief because it
just helps me fit into my skin better." And then there was, "I'm so excited about all of this, I'm just vibrating!" Priceless.
One of the most interesting parts of these books is the
Civil War section in Volume 2. The GG grandfather and GGG grandfather I share
with K were both in the Civil War. My uncle used the actual pension records of
our soldiers to tell us what they were doing during the Civil War. Others may
know that an ancestor was involved in the war - may even know the regiment and
the dates they enlisted and/or mustered out. They may even go so far as to
check out the battles that particular regiment fought in, but that still won't
tell them if their ancestor was actually "present" for that battle -
if he was sick or wounded, etc. That information can only be obtained through
their military pension records (or maybe some rare diary). Armed with the
information I shared with K, she can take the text and corresponding maps with her
to Shiloh, Tennessee - find the very spot where her ancestors in the 77th Ohio were
camped on the battlefield near Shiloh Church and the stream where they got
their water - and picture the events as they unfolded that day. Then, she can
make her way down to Pittsburgh Landing and sit on the bank of the Tennessee
River where our badly wounded GG grandfather waited for several days for the
ship to arrive to take him away for medical treatment. It's a very moving
experience. If he had been killed that day, she and I wouldn't be here. Shiloh
is an especially great battlefield, as it's still out in the country and
preserved so well - no big city encroaching upon it. So many other Civil War
sites are preserved only with a simple marker or a square block of grass in the
middle of a modern city. I have some Shiloh photos coming up on the blog in the
next few days, and I'll share more about our recent trip to Shiloh in the near
Anyway, that's what I've been doing here in the Keweenaw,
and I'll sincerely try to improve the frequency of my posts. No more slaps on
the wrist, as I bruise too easily!
Or at least one is back! Maybe it's the advance guard checking to see if those folks in the Keweenaw are going to feed them again this year.
You betcha, little one! Sorry that photo isn't very sharp, but I had to hastily grab my camera when we spotted this little hummer about 9:30 this morning. I was down with a migraine for the majority of the day yesterday, but I did have a few vertical moments and asked Mr. Cut Off to put out one of our hummingbird feeders late in the afternoon. We spotted our first hummer on May 19th last year, so I was hoping they would be back sometime this week. Nothing around us is blooming yet. Our grass is still mostly brown and we even have piles of snow here and there. Isn't it amazing that a little hummingbird is able to find this one small splotch of red in the middle of miles and miles of forest? We counted over 20 at one time drinking from multiple feeders last year, so more will surely be on the way soon. By the way, if you're looking for a sturdy feeder, we've had the most luck with this model and it's one of the least expensive. It's just under $6 at Walmart - doesn't leak - easy to clean.
In anticipation of the upcoming hummingbird season, I made this printable last week.
Summertime IS hummertime!
Of course, it doesn't look just like a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, but I like the bright colors for my summer decor.
I made this printable as a 5x7, but you can always play around with the proportions a bit and print another size.
If you would like a free copy of this printable, click on the following link: Hummingbird 5x7
We get a lot of enjoyment out of watching these busy little birds every summer. Glad to see they're on their way back!
UPDATE: I just looked up and spotted 2 at once! Yay! (12:35 p.m. - 5/15/17) All is well in the Keweenaw.
After sharing the video of falling ice at the end of last Thursday's post, I thought you might want to see some falling water today. These photos and the two videos were all taken back on April 23rd. We knew more water would have been rushing over our local falls earlier in the month, but we were on vacation when that was happening. It's nice to see the falls at any time of year. Although the day was overcast and we still had a little snow in the trees, I always appreciate the view as we head down into Eagle River on Hwy 26. The darkest blue/gray area just above the trees in the center is Lake Superior.
Eagle River Falls is located near the center of Eagle River. Turn right just after you cross the bridge, park near the bridge on the right side of the road and walk over the foot bridge to view the falls.
I've said it before, but I think I could stand there all day and listen to the sound of the water.
Next, we headed up Hwy 26 toward Eagle Harbor. Jacob's Falls is located between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor. It's on the right - just off the road - so you can pull over and view it from your car window (or park and walk over to it). This one is much smaller than Eagle River Falls.
Click on the next link if you would like to hear this one.
This is the last of 3 posts featuring ice storm images from last week's storm. I've already shared images from last Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. Today's photos were all taken on Saturday morning as the brilliant sunshine and warmer temperature caused the major melting to occur. Ice was literally falling out of the trees! It was gorgeous! These shots were all taken from inside the house. Remember to click on any photo to see larger versions.
Some of the smaller branches were already bare.
Icy trees against a blue sky! Love it!
Icy trees over the garage roof.
More icy beauty.
Having my morning coffee in the great room.
Aside from the beauty of that morning, I also wanted to share the sounds we were experiencing. I opened a window in the dining area and shot some video. It was so much louder in person, but you'll get the idea. Watch and listen for the ice falling. Click on the following link: Ice Storm Melting
As I was editing photos today, I realized that I really had too many to fit into one post, so this will be the 2nd of 3 posts featuring ice storm images from last week. The first post, Ice Storm Images 1, had photos from Wednesday and Thursday. Today's photos were all taken through the windows of our house on Friday.
It was snowing so hard about 4:00 on Friday afternoon, and I was very concerned that all the new snow on top of the ice was going to cause us to lose power again. The forecast was also calling for increased winds overnight.
Thankfully, it didn't continue to snow for very long. By 6:00 p.m., the sun was peeking in and out and the temp had climbed up to 40°.
The icy trees looked gorgeous against the backdrop of the blue sky!
The sun and 40° temp caused some of the ice to melt which took a bit of weight off the trees before the winds increased that night.
Can you believe that ice? Remember, click on any of these photos to see them larger.
It was difficult to pull ourselves away from the windows!
The real melting began the next morning. I have those photos and a cool video to share with you in the next post. All is well in the Keweenaw.
In last Wednesday's post, I mentioned that we were having a good old-fashioned ice storm. It was a doozy! (Not 1976 doozy, though!) I forgot how many times we lost power on Wednesday and Thursday, but the longest outage was the first one that lasted 8 or 9 hours on Wednesday night. Believe me, we were very thankful for the local utility crews who were working so long and hard for several days. This is how the maple tree outside the dining room window looked on Wednesday afternoon.
Here's the ice on one of our huge pine trees.
Even our exterior flood lights were coated.
This one looked like a tree of spun glass.
And I felt kind of sorry for this small pine. It was drooped over like an old man.
Most of our pines were so weighted down with ice that they resembled closed umbrellas. Mr. Cut Off and I did not sleep well on Wednesday night. Not only were we without power, but we kept hearing the sounds of tree limbs breaking and falling to the ground. It was pitch black - not a light in the sky. Was that huge pine near our bedroom window still going to be standing at daybreak? Thankfully, yes. It lost some limbs, but it continues to stand. How many trees would be down across our driveway? Thankfully, none. Lots of limbs, though. Speaking of limbs. Mr. Cut Off had to clear all those from the driveway before we could go anywhere. Since Thursday was his birthday and we wanted to meet friends at our favorite restaurant to take advantage of his FREE birthday dinner, we ventured out. I was able to get some shots of our ice-covered world with more drooping trees along our route. The scenery was what I described as "hauntingly beautiful." The photos simply do not do it justice.
There were many spots where it was obvious that crews had been working to clean up fallen trees encroaching upon the roadway.
It continued to snow on top of the ice while we were in the restaurant making for a hazy trip on the way home.
These trees looked like they were bowing as we passed by. Maybe they were; I do share a birthday with Queen Elizabeth! 😉
There are 2 interesting things going on in the next photo. First, you can see ice on the antenna of the loaner vehicle we were driving. Our Traverse was in the body shop. That's a whole "nuther" story I'll save for another time. Secondly, we were meeting a utility truck. There were actually 2 utility trucks, as another one was following close behind this one. Mr. Cut Off joked that they were probably just leaving our road - that we had probably lost power again. Funny, but true!
When we arrived home, the clock on the stove showed that power had just been restored 12 minutes earlier. It had been off again almost the entire time we were gone. Good night to go out to dinner, huh?
These last 2 shots are from the road we live on.
Can you spot the 2 fallen trees that the crews had cleared from the road in this last shot? (Hint: There's one on each side of the road.)
I'll be back tomorrow or Wednesday to share some beautiful shots taken on Friday and Saturday. Blue sky and ice melting also made for some cool video! All is well in the Keweenaw.