Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bear vs. Bird Feeders 2

I had intended to be back with this post on Saturday or Monday, but life got in the way. Mr. Cut Off's back went out on Wednesday and I came down with a severe migraine on Friday. Not. Good. Timing. My mom (retired nurse) came out to nurse us on Friday evening. In fact, she's still here. Guess she feels better being here than 17 miles away worrying about us. Well, I'm feeling much better, and Mr. Cut Off's doctor has now started him on the road to recovery - so on to our bear!

I told you about the bear who visited us on July 2nd. If you haven't read that post, click here to read it and watch the video. He completely destroyed 3 bird feeders, but he left the finch sock feeder alone. At the end of that week, he came back for a new bird feeder that Mr. Cut Off had accidentally left out overnight. Fortunately, Mr. Cut Off was able to salvage that feeder. We didn't have any feeders out for a couple of days after that, but our little hummingbirds kept doing flybys in front of our sliding doors. It's like they were saying, "What's up? Where are our feeders?" Well, that softened our hearts, and we decided to put 2 hummingbird feeders out during the day. All was fine until Thursday afternoon when the bear decided to return. He came out of that same spot in the woods.

He spotted that finch sock feeder he had passed up on his first and second visits.

Guess it looked enticing now. I can't imagine there was more than a teaspoon of thistle seed left in it.

Got it!

Check out the look on his face.

He looks like he's smiling!

One last shot before he ripped it right out of the tree!

I was able to scare him away after that with a little more window-banging and crazy person hand-waving, but I was concerned. I saw the bear lurking in the shadows of the woods for about 10 more minutes, and I knew those 2 hummingbird feeders were still outside - very close to our sliding doors. I really didn't want to lure that bear that close to the house - especially when Mr. Cut Off was bedridden with his lower back issue. Call me a coward, but I wasn't feeling quite brave enough that day to go outside and retrieve those 2 feeders without a wing man. So, Mr. Cut Off put in a call to buddy, Marty, for emergency hummingbird feeder retrieval service. Marty arrived in less than an hour and helped us out, and we haven't seen the bear since. 

Again, if you're keeping track, it's now:

Bear - 4
Bird Feeders - 1
Birdseed - 0

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Tale of the Tooth

I hope you all had a fantastic Independence Day! We sure did! We packed our bags and loaded up the golf cart. . .

and headed off on our annual trip to Copper Harbor. We love to celebrate the 4th with friends in that quaint little town on Lake Superior.

We use our golf cart in the parade and for tooling around town to visit all the shops. I'll share more about our 4th in another post, but one of the things I did in Copper Harbor this year was to take "good old #8" on its farewell tour.

What's "good old #8?"

My right front tooth!

Yep, #8 was scheduled for an extraction on July 7th, so I made sure to enjoy the final brat and the final hamburger I could sink it into. Why would it need to be pulled in this modern age of dentistry? Well, it was beyond repair. Let me explain.

The tale of the tooth begins back in the 70's when I was in high school. About a month after I got braces put on my teeth, I contracted a bad case of the stomach flu. I had a bad habit back then of not ingesting enough fluids when I had the flu. So, as I was walking across our family room headed back to the couch where I was spending the evening, I fainted. Out cold. Landed flat on my face - resulting in a beautiful fat lip and a broken metal band around tooth #8. Two other bands were out of place a bit, but not broken. A trip to the orthodontist was obviously necessary. My right front tooth was very loose, but he gently removed the band and put a new one in place - hoping the tooth would tighten back up in the socket. I had cracked the root in several places. He said the braces saved me from losing the tooth when I planted my face on the family room floor, but he also told me with certainty that the tooth would die one day. How long would it last? He didn't know.  

Years and years passed by, and nothing happened. It seemed like I had successfully dodged a bullet. Then - when I was around 40 - almost overnight - #8 decided to send me a signal by getting noticeably darker than its neighbors. An infection and root canal came next. Several more years passed before #8 decided to develop another infection. The chosen remedy at that time was to clip the root - making the root significantly shorter than it had been. We were just buying time. A dental implant was definitely in my future. That was approximately 10 years ago.

When I was brushing my teeth one day last month, I noticed that a teeny tiny pocket of infection had developed above good old #8. My local dentist took some x-rays. What looked teeny tiny was actually quite large. The good news was: Dead Tooth = No Pain! I now had 2 choices in how to deal with #8. (1) Make an appointment with a specialist in Marquette who could maybe - just maybe - buy me some more time with #8. (2) Make an appointment with a specialist in Marquette to do an extraction, a bone graft (because the bone had receded quite a bit), and a permanent dental implant. In other words, kiss good old #8 goodbye and walk around with a lovely gap for a while! Not a pleasant thought. (No Yooper jokes, please!)

I asked my dentist, "What would you do if it was your tooth?" He said, "The dental implant - without a doubt." The implant was the most expensive of the 2 options, but even IF a specialist could buy me more time with #8, he estimated it would be no more than 3 years. Of course, a bridge would be much cheaper, but who wants to grind away perfectly good teeth to hook the bridge to and hassle with cleaning that every time you eat something? I should add that dental insurance doesn't cover the cost of a dental implant - just the extraction. Cosmetic, they say. I went home and talked it over with Mr. Cut Off. He immediately pointed out that I wouldn't even be questioning which plan of action to take if I was talking about his tooth. My answer would be the dental implant. No discussion. It would have to be done. He was right, of course. That's exactly what I would say. So, I had the consultation in Marquette in June, and we scheduled the surgery for last Friday, July 7th.

We left home early enough to stop on our way for a late breakfast in L'Anse - one last meal - since I knew I'd be on liquids and soft foods for a while. If you're wondering why we had to go all the way to Marquette (about 2-3/4 hours away), it's because he's the only one in the U.P. who does dental implants. That's one drawback to living in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, I'm not a nervous patient, so I opted for a local instead of being put out. (Mr. Cut Off thought I was crazy.) The doctor assured me I would "hate" him for the 2 shots he was about to give me. I won't lie. The shots were bad, but I tend to compare everything to migraine headache pain which can sometimes last for days. Realizing the discomfort is only temporary helps. So, I didn't hate the doctor. He was very fast and very good - explaining what he was doing as he went along. He extracted the tooth, cleaned up the infection, inserted the bone graft material which had been mixed with a small amount of my blood, placed a membrane to hold it all in place, stitched me up, gave me some prescriptions and instructions, and sent me on my way.

About 15 minutes later, the numbness started to wear off - and BAM! It hit me! Severe migraine headache and throbbing neck pain. Waaay worse than the mouth pain I was experiencing - and that was no picnic. As a migraine sufferer, I expected to get a headache, but I was hoping I wouldn't. Not fun. Mr. Cut Off had to stop to buy me some water and a pillow. I took some OTC medication and tried stretching out in the back seat for a while. That didn't last long. Moved back to the front seat and reclined with the pillow and sunglasses. That worked better. Long. Ride. Home. Survived it, though!

It's now the 7th day post-op. I'm still swollen (even my nose), but it has improved in the last 2 days. I wish I could say I look like this.

but I look more like this.

She's like my identical twin! Ha!

After the swelling goes down, I'll look more like this:

Hey, gotta laugh at yourself, right?

Now, I just have to heal. I need to be especially careful these first few weeks to eat very soft foods - nothing hot - nothing carbonated. I'm already getting used to room temperature cream soups and cold coffee! The bone needs to get nice and solid before they insert the screw into it in the middle of January. Then, we'll wait maybe another 12 weeks, and the permanent tooth will be placed on the screw. Long process, but it will be permanent. I have an Essix retainer to wear in public until I get that permanent tooth. It looks like one of those clear teeth whitening trays - only with a tooth attached where mine is missing. Not exactly gorgeous - and I won't be able to eat when I'm wearing it - but we'll see what I think of it when I start using it. I have a feeling we won't be going out to eat very often. On the bright side, it should be a lot more difficult for me to accidentally bite my lip for the next 9 months! So, I'm housebound until the swelling goes down. Don't want to scare the public needlessly.

We've had a cold rain for the last 2 days, but the weather has been pretty great - a nice, cool summer.

I took a walk down the driveway the other day. Our thimbleberries are coming along, and it will soon be picking time.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cut Off put his lower back out on Wednesday, so he's housebound, too. That pain will usually keep him down for a week or so. Please pray for a speedy recovery for him.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bear vs. Bird Feeders

When we returned home from town on the afternoon of Sunday, July 2, I noticed a problem with our bird feeders. What was the problem? They were missing! Plus, the shepherd's hook that one of them had been hanging on was bent backward. Considering how securely the other 2 bird feeders had been attached to the tree, we were immediately able to deduce that a bear had visited us. The feeders were all in place when we left that morning, so we had a feeling we may have disturbed the bear when we arrived home. If so, we knew he would be back. Better charge the battery in the camera!

I began to put away the groceries while Mr. Cut Off was changing out of his church clothes. Suddenly, I heard Mr. Cut Off yell (very loudly and excitedly), "He's back! Get the camera!" I was so startled that I almost dropped the bananas! I certainly never expected the bear to return that quickly! Oh, foo! The camera was in the great room; the battery was charging in an outlet in the kitchen. I grabbed the battery and the camera and rushed to the bedroom. Foo again! Just missed him. He had also heard Mr. Cut Off yell. (I said it was loud.) Mr. Cut Off told me what I had missed. The bear had wandered back out of the woods to check for more birdseed on the ground. That's when Mr. Cut Off spotted him. When he yelled, the bear stood up on his hind legs in an attempt to determine the source of that loud noise he had just heard. He probably spotted Mr. Cut Off moving about through the bedroom window and made a hasty retreat into the woods. That's when I arrived in the room. 

Was the bear gone for good? We didn't think so. I returned to the kitchen to work on dinner - keeping the camera within reach at all times. Mr. Cut Off joined me a bit later to help cut up the avocado and egg for his salad. This is when all the glass on the back side of our house comes in real handy. I glanced up as I was setting the table and thought I saw a shadow over where the bear had been. Uh, that was no shadow. It's the bear! So exciting! I grabbed the camera and we ran back to the bedroom for a closer look. I started snapping pictures, but the bear didn't seem to mind.

Yeah, he was looking at me. Or is it a she? Beats me! All the windows were closed (if you're wondering).

I guess he decided I wasn't a threat, so he moved along - pawing at the ground to get every last bit of birdseed he could find.

He got up on his hind legs and checked out 2 of the birdhouses mounted on the trees. Unfortunately, I was fiddling with the video setting on the camera at the time and missed those shots. The birdseed must have made him thirsty, as he then stopped to get a drink out of the birdbath.

We have another birdhouse mounted on a post halfway across the backyard, and he wandered over to check that one out next. The sun was causing such a glare through the sliding doors in the great room that those photos didn't turn out. Oh well. He then started back toward the birdbath and I got some decent video of him checking out the last birdhouse we have mounted on a tree. Click on the following link to watch him in action:

Bear 7-2-17

Mr. Cut Off went out later to survey the damage and found the feeders in the woods in back of the rocks. The bear had completely destroyed the 3 tube feeders, but he left the finch sock feeder alone. Since moving out here, Mr. Cut Off has perfected his bird feeder repair skills, but these were way, way, way beyond repair. He picked up some new feeders the next day but was careful to bring them in at night. All was fine for a week until he accidentally (that's what he tells me) left one of them out one night. Yup, it was missing the next morning. Mr. Cut Off did find it, though, and was able to salvage it. The current plan of action is to leave the bird feeders down for a couple of weeks. The berries in the woods should ripen by then, so the bear should have more to eat without bothering us.

If you're keeping track, that's:
Bear - 3
Bird Feeders - 1
Birdseed - 0

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Land of Lincoln - Lincoln's Words

I've recently taken you along on our visit to Springfield, Illinois.
Old State Capitol Building

We saw Abraham Lincoln's tomb(s),

and his home,

and I appreciate the positive comments on those posts that I've received from some of you - through this blog and through email. I have a special fondness for Abraham Lincoln - maybe because he was President during the Civil War. Since I have ancestors who served in that war, I find that era especially interesting. I don't believe any other man could have served us so effectively at that time in history. 152 years have passed since his assassination, but Abraham Lincoln continues to appear at or near the top of every list of "best Presidents."

In his memoirs, General William T. Sherman wrote this of Abraham Lincoln:  "Of all the men I ever met, he seemed to possess more of the elements of greatness, combined with goodness, than any other." Isn't that a wonderful tribute?

Lincoln was truly a remarkable man - known for his compassion, his humor, and his eloquence. I remember reading somewhere that Lincoln never wasted words in his letters or in his speeches. So, before we leave the topic of Lincoln, I want to share the text of one of his speeches with you. This speech is one that is inscribed on a plaque in his permanent tomb. It's the farewell speech he gave at the depot in Springfield on February 11, 1861 - just as he was leaving for Washington, DC - about to assume the office of President of the United States - and knowing that our country was most certainly on the verge of civil war.

There are 3 known versions of this speech. It is believed that this version is the most accurate, as it was printed the following day in the Illinois State Journal, a Springfield newspaper.

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Friends, no one who has never been placed in a like position, can understand my feelings at this hour, nor the oppressive sadness
I feel at this parting.
For more than a quarter of a century I have lived among you, and during
all that time I have received nothing but kindness at your hands. Here
I have lived from my youth until now I am an old man. Here the
most sacred ties of earth were assumed. Here all my children
were born; and here one of them lies buried.
To you, dear friends, I owe all that I have, all that I am. All the strange, checkered past seems to crowd now upon my mind. Today I leave you;
I go to assume a task more difficult than that which
devolved upon General Washington.
Unless the great God who assisted him, shall be with and aid me,
I must fail. But if the Omniscient Mind and the same Almighty Arm
that directed and protected him shall guide and support me, I shall not fail,
I shall succeed. Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now. To Him I commend you all. Permit me to ask that with equal security and faith, you all will invoke His wisdom and guidance for me.
With these few words I must leave you -- for how long I know not.
Friends, one and all, I must now bid you an affectionate farewell.

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The Illinois State Journal noted, "It was a most impressive scene. We have known Mr. Lincoln for many years; we have heard him speak upon a hundred different occasions; but we never saw him so profoundly affected, nor did he ever utter an address, which seemed to us as full of simple and touching eloquence, so exactly adopted to the occasion, so worthy of the man and the hour. Although it was raining fast when he began to speak, every hat was lifted, and every head bent forward to catch the last words of the departing chief. When he said, with the earnestness of a sudden inspiration of feeling, that with God's help he should not fail, there was an uncontrollable burst of applause. At precisely eight o'clock, city time, the train moved off, bearing our honored townsman, our noble chief, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, to the scenes of his future labors, and, as we firmly believe, of his glorious triumph. God bless honest ABRAHAM LINCOLN!"

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Abraham Lincoln never did return to Springfield - until his body made the trip aboard his funeral train in May of 1865.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Reflections

BLESSED IS THE NATION WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD.
Psalm 33:12

All is well in the Keweenaw.