Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Friday, January 31, 2014

Snow Shots - January D

This is the final installment in the "Snow Shots" series. These photos were all taken on our property on January 9th.

This tree is bent over from the weight of the snow.

The temperature is back down to -9° right now, but it "feels like" -6°. That's better than it felt on Tuesday. There is one major advantage to being in the deep freeze so often for the last month or so. Lake Superior is 3/4's frozen over now, and there is the possibility that it could be completely frozen over this year - something that happens about once every 20 years! That ice cover obviously has a huge impact upon our Keweenaw snowfall, as so much of what we experience is lake effect snow that depends upon the warm water of Lake Superior for production. The snowflakes that are falling here lately are small in diameter, so the totals don't add up as quickly either. Thus, frigid temperatures aren't all bad!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Too Cold?

We've all heard people say, "It's too cold to snow." This month has proved that statement to be false, false, false! It has been very cold - and it has been snowing! At one point on Tuesday, I noticed the temperature was -9° and the "feels like" temperature was -47°. That's BRUTAL! Just before midnight last night, I realized we were having a "January thaw." The temperature here was 20° and it felt like 1°. What an improvement! Of course, it's colder than that now. I then looked at the extended forecast. We aren't supposed to see anything in the 20's again until February 10th - with most days hovering around the 10° mark. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. We do watch the national weather, so we know much of the country has also been suffering with cold temperatures - but most don't have 226.5" of snow.

I said I had some more impressive snow photos to share with you, so here we go. As a reminder, this photo was taken on January 7th.

Now, compare that to the next 3 photos taken last Sunday, January 26th.

Not much of a view out the living room window anymore, is there? Now, you're probably wondering what has happened in the backyard.

Crazy, huh? My grandmother used to hang clothes out on the line during the winter. Impossible here! Not enough room to hang a sock or even a washcloth!

When I awoke yesterday, I was really excited that the sun was shining. I went to the office and threw open the curtains to let in some sun. Here's what I found.

The wind had blown the snow against the windows on the back side of the house. I had to stand on my tiptoes to take the next photo of the backyard through that window.

Has it been too cold to snow? I think not! But, we're not complaining. We still love it here!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Shots - January C

Continuing our "Snow Shots" series, we have some photos taken in and around our Calumet house. I'll start with a shot taken through our office window showing the flocked trees in the backyard on January 2nd.

Next, we have three shots of the front of the house - showing the snow as it looked back on January 7th & 8th.

Steve took the next photo to illustrate the trench around the garage side of the house on January 8th. The stockade fencing was somewhere under those blobs of snow. 

Evolution of a ROOFDRIFT - January 8th:

January 11th - shortly before another roof-raking episode:

Finally, here's the reason Michigan State won the Rose Bowl.

Steve put that little guy on the coffee table during the game. Check back for the final installment in the "Snow Shots" series.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

P.S. I thought these photos taken of the front of the house looked pretty impressive. However, when I compare them to the photos taken 2 days ago, they aren't impressive at all! I'll post the new shots in a day or two. Our snow total as of yesterday is 222"!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Snow Shots - January B

Continuing the "Snow Shots" series, I have some photos taken earlier this month in Calumet. First, we have a picture of our street - one block down. My mom lives in one of the brick townhouses on the left.

Next, a view of our block.

Steve took some photos of the new truck inventory at the local Chevy dealer. Not many late night parking lot tire kickers up here!

We had a 3-day break from snowfall after those last shots were taken. The dealership took advantage of the lull to clean up their inventory. It was a great example of teamwork with a front end loader, a bobcat, shovels, brooms and lots of bodies. 

We sent those six dealership photos to our old neighbor down in Saginaw. He owns a dealership there. He sent the photos out to his employees, as many of them have to pitch in to help clean off their outdoor vehicles. It cheered everyone up! Be sure to check back for more installments in the "Snow Shots" series.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Snow management is starting to get a bit ridiculous on our street. I'm interrupting the "Snow Shots" series to post one photo that illustrates the meaning of ridiculous.

That's our neighbor's car parked on our sidewalk. I snapped that photo through our bedroom window on Thursday. A side-by-side duplex sits next to us, and the folks on the side close to us have no driveway or garage. Since parking on the street is prohibited in the evenings during the winter months, it's necessary for our neighbor to park on our sidewalk (a common sight up here). The snowbanks on our driveway look even worse. It's IMPOSSIBLE to see down the road in either direction when backing out of our driveway. You just have to creep out a little bit, creep out a little more, a little more - and go for it - a huge leap of faith!

Also, see the house across the street? That house is dark brown. The white on the siding is all snow. I have no clue where those people live during the winter, but they haven't been here since early November. 

All is still well in the Keweenaw!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Snow Shots - January A

Continuing my "Snow Shots" series, here's the first batch of January photos. First, I have two photos taken along Hwy 41 on a trip to Walmart earlier this month.

You didn't think I was going to show you pictures of Walmart shoppers, did you? It's nice to enjoy such beauty when we're just running errands. Next, Steve went through Eagle Harbor and Eagle River on the way home from the property on January 9th. He took the rest of the photos that appear in this post. Here's a shot taken in Eagle Harbor. Can you see the ice shanties on the right side of the harbor? 

He turned around after taking that last photo and captured these two deer having a snack.

Stopping at Great Sand Bay, he shot the last bit of the setting sun. 

Jacob's Falls is the subject of the next two photos. I'm surprised he found any water flowing.

As he came into Eagle River, he encountered a traffic jam.

I love the glowing eyes! This is where the deer "yard up" for the winter. The next shot shows one deer that appears to be looking both ways before crossing the road (background on the right).

The deer are so used to seeing vehicles and humans during the winter months that it's almost impossible to spook them. They're a lot smarter during firearm deer season! Check back for more installments in the "Snow Shots" series.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Avalanche

The Avalanche Warning had been issued. Steve predicted the event to happen that very afternoon. I was eagerly anticipating it, so I kept my ears open and listened for the rumble. I also looked out the window many times that afternoon in an attempt to witness the snow "give way." Unfortunately, that happened to be the day of the ham and bean soup. I was often preoccupied in the kitchen and tragically missed the avalanche. Steve came home from the property and noticed that it had occurred. Oh, the disappointment!

Here's a map showing our area of Calumet. I color-coded some of the homes, so you can refer back to this map as you read the rest of this post. It will help you visualize what I'm talking about.
Google Maps

Our Calumet house (red box on map) was built in 1968, but it's one of the newest homes in town. The vast majority of the homes in Calumet were built during the copper mining boom over a hundred years ago. Many of the homes were built by the mining companies for the workers. Some of them were single-family homes and some were side-by-side two-story duplexes, and those homes sit quite close together. We also have many large older homes built for the more well-to-do people in the community. Some of them had carriage houses next door or in the rear. Driveways were not common, but that wasn't a necessity before the automobile. Who needed a garage? As time went on and the copper industry died, the population of this entire area decreased dramatically. Homes sat empty and deteriorated. Many were torn down - especially from the 1940's through the 70's. The homeowner next door would sometimes buy the empty lot and add on to his house or build a garage. However, many homes in these Keweenaw mining towns still don't have garages because they simply have no room to build one. 

Another peculiar thing about this town is that some blocks have houses situated on the spot of land that would normally be someone's backyard. If you look at the satellite shot of Calumet, you will notice that a block may have a row of houses facing one street and a row of houses facing the opposite street - like any other town. But, there are sometimes a few other homes sandwiched in the middle of the block between those 2 rows! Why? I haven't researched that yet. I suspect some of them may have been carriage houses that were converted into homes at some point. Many carriage houses were beautiful structures and had living quarters above them for an employee's family, so it wouldn't have been that difficult to convert the entire building. 

Whatever the case, we have 2 sandwiched homes across the street from us. Directly across the street (yellow box) is a home (in great need of a paint job and other repairs) owned by a man in Illinois. We have never seen him there as long as we've lived here. Frankly, we wish he would sell it to someone who would take care of it. Immediately in back of Illinois dude's home is one of those sandwiched houses (pink box). It's basically landlocked, as it has no driveway and there's another home (purple box) within a couple feet of it on the north side. On the south side of Illinois dude's home is a blue house (blue box). The blue house sits next to the Italian Hall Historical Site, and you may have caught glimpses of it in some of my past blog photos. Blue house was sold shortly after we moved here. It was in need of work, but the new owner has been putting some money into improvements (which we appreciate). Now, the folks who live in the landlocked sandwiched house (pink) normally use the narrow path between blue house and Illinois dude's house (yellow) as their sidewalk to get to their home. Remember, pink box sandwiched house doesn't have a driveway, so I'm sure they were quite distressed to see this:

Uh oh! It looks like we're going to have an avalanche! Blue house installed a metal roof. See the narrow path on the right side? That's the path normally used to get to the pink box sandwiched house in the rear. What's happening to the snow on that side of the house?

It's slipping, it's slipping. . .  

can't believe I missed the avalanche - although some of the snow did get hung up there. Maybe I'll get to see the other side go. Notice the sawhorse blocking the path to that side of the house?

All is well in the Keweenaw. (We're above 200" now!)

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Annual Farewell

When January arrives, we must bid adieu to Christmas decorations for another 11 months. I'm always a little sad to put everything away, as I love Christmas decor. Even though I've sold lots of Christmas stuff at rummage sales and gave more to Goodwill when we moved up here, I still seem to have plenty. I actually have Christmas ornaments that have never been used since I moved back to Saginaw in 1992. It will be fun to unpack and use those things again in the new house. We knew we were going to need a bigger tree for the great room next year, and we found a 9 footer on sale after Christmas for 75% off! The ceiling height will accommodate an even taller tree, but decorating would have been more difficult. I'm not getting any younger, you know. Anyway, we're actually planning to have 2 Christmas trees in the new house, but I'll tell you more about that next December.

Since we've lived here in Calumet, I haven't done a lot of Christmas decorating. This house is too small for a large tree, so I've been using an inexpensive slim tree that we bought to use in Saginaw the last few years we were there. When I was decorating this year, I wasn't as enthusiastic as usual. I kept thinking about how much fun it's going to be to decorate the new house, and that led me to restrain the decor even more than I had the last 2 years. I didn't even unpack my Christmas dishes this year, and I normally use those the entire month of December. Still, I was sad to pack everything away again, so I waited until January 10th. Here's a final look.

On the first Monday in January, we also bid farewell to bad food. We begin our annual healthy eating plan and do our best to rid the pantry and refrigerator of all naughty food temptations. I plan our menu very carefully in December, so Steve can have one last indulgence of things he wants to eliminate from his diet for a while - like pizza, ice cream, lasagna, and his beloved "Hut Hut Burger." I called The Hut (restaurant) on Saturday, January 4, and ordered his one-pound burger and a normal-sized one for me. I added a side of fries and a side of onion rings to split. We always eat at the kitchen table, but I asked him if he wanted to eat in the living room. There was something on TV he wanted to watch (football maybe?), so he thought that was a great idea. Here he is with his TV tray (better known as a cookie sheet).

Did you see what else was on the coffee table? 
His Throwback Mountain Dew - REAL SUGAR... REAL GOOD! 
Goodbye to that, too!

No, he was not able to finish the burger in one sitting. He only ate half. He ate half of the remaining half later that evening and finished it up for a snack the next day. 

So, we've said our annual farewell to Christmas decor and our annual farewell to bad food. We'll welcome the Christmas decor back in about 11 months. Some of the bad food may see us again within in 4-6 months!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

P.S.  You may be wondering if the ham and bean soup I made last week fits into the healthy eating plan. I only used about 3/4 lb. of ham in a huge pot of soup - no bacon - but 7 kinds of beans - mushrooms - carrots - onions, etc. Steve's favorite winter dinner is a small bowl of soup with a great salad, so I make lots of soup, and we stick with the small bowl - no seconds!