Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shopping at the Port Wing Christmas Bazaar

The shopping place to be today was not at Target, Walmart or some other "box," but at the annual Christmas Bazaar at the Port Wing Town Hall.  Sponsored by the Monday Evening Club, the hall was full of arts and crafts vendors, bake sale tables from the First Lutheran Church and 4H, raffles for prizes, and lunch, of course.  My favorite stop is the wreath lady. We usually buy two, but I almost missed out this year.  Only one little wreath was left when I got there, and I was happy to give it a home!  

And...later this afternoon I learned that my name was called for the raffle and I won a nice spruce-scented candle.  The season has begun!  Don't forget the Lutheran Church lutefisk dinner on Saturday, December 13th.  Lutefisk, potatoes, cream sauce and/or melted butter (depending on whether your background is Swedish or Norwegian), lefse...and Swedish meatballs for the lutefisk-phobic!  I really like it but I also grew up having it every Christmas.

And speaking of lutefisk, during Older Daughter's phone call home on Thanksgiving, she asked if we could try making lutefisk while she and her husband are here during Christmas.  I again will attempt to channel my mother and other relatives who have passed on and see what we can turn out!

It was a pretty bleak scene down at The Lake this morning.  The sun tried to shine from time to time, but these pictures are pretty gray.  
 That larger speck out there is one of the commercial fishing boats coming.  It was much warmer today, so it was no problem standing on the pier watching it come in.
 Getting closer.
 And there's the Judy.
I'd probably regret it if it ever happened, but I'd love to go out on one of these boats and see what it's like out there "in the middle" of The Lake.  What could happen?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 - Winter comes early to Lake Superior

After a quiet Thanksgiving Day today, we got out this afternoon to enjoy the last of a beautiful day of sunshine.  The temperature was down around 10˚ F or below so it was pretty chilly on my walk out on the pier to check out the ice situation.  To see this much ice in November, even at the end of November, is very strange.  

Both commercial fishing boats had been out today, so the ice in the channel was stirred up enough to create these ice circles in the marina channel.  I should have taken a video of this because they kind of jostle around, bump into each other, and form rounded circles.  Pretty cool.

 That layer of clouds out there is most likely lake effect snow.   We've had a dusting of lake effect for the last few days after an actual snowfall of a couple of inches.  The town plow came through again and we're all cleared off until the next batch of snow.

Looking to the east we can see that the ice is already building up in the bay and along the shore.  

On Tuesday my neighbor, David, took this picture of the ice caves along the Apostle Island National Lakeshore.  Looks like conditions are already forming for possible treks to the ice caves later this winter.  Usually he is on his standup paddle board, but this time I think he got this shot while on his snowshoes.  

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Seeing the Presque Isle entering the Port of Duluth

Yesterday, under a cloud of more lake effect snow (but not like Buffalo!) and some icy roads, we made a quick trip to Duluth for a probably unnecessary doctor's appointment.  Turns out I really did break my toe on the second day of our October trip out to Boston to see Ellen.  I "played through the pain" at the time but made a trip to "Ortho" now for them to tell me that, yes, it was broken, but there was nothing to be done for it except wait for it to heal.  So, back home again. we were leaving the hospital, there was a GIANT ship out in the Duluth bay and it was heading for the entrance to the harbor.  Time to speed up the car and get down to Canal Park to see it up close!

It was the Presque Isle and it was steaming straight into the opening between the two piers leading into the harbor.  There is a lighthouse at the end of each pier.  The ship/freighter doesn't look very big from here, but she is 1000' long!  That big cloud behind the lighthouse?  That's lake effect snow falling on Port Wing!

Getting closer.  See the ice?

Starting to see the length of the ship.  Almost as long as the pier!

One lighthouse is at the far left at the back of the ship and it's almost up to the one on the right.

Seeing ice so high on that top deck makes you wonder about the waves out in the middle of Lake Superior.  Reminds me of Deadliest Catch?

The wind was blowing so hard and cold so I took this picture below from inside our car.  It's passing between the piers and was almost to the Lift Bridge.  Several people were out watching it and Leann wondered if some of the crew would be out waving like they usually do in better weather.  And they were there!  See the little figures standing on the deck?
And, NO, I didn't get it actually going under the bridge!  I guess the cold froze my photographer instincts, because I never even thought about it. bridge!  Sorry.

But, back here in Port Wing today, we have this beautiful sunset.  Looking to the southwest, the channel is full of ice chunks again (seems like yesterday that I was rejoicing that all the ice was finally gone!).

And to the northwest the horizon is glowing.  Look at those beautiful pastels!

And the marina at sunset.  I love it here!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another first! Snowshoes in November!

Come on up and bring your snowshoes!

It's just the right amount of snow, so we celebrated the beautiful day by snowshoeing up to the meadow.  It really is a mind warp to think that it's only the 16th of November and we have all this snow and cold.  I mean, really cold!  I think it's supposed to be single digits tonight.  That's January weather!

But, as they say--and I HATE this expression--"it is what it is" and here's what we found today.

Just follow the trail up to the meadow:

I'm still enthralled with all the apples hanging on the trees.  Most are getting pretty frozen and misshapen by now.

Yellow apples in the midst of the snow.

Red AND yellow apples, white snow, green trees and blue sky!  Cool or what?

At first glance I thought these were tire tracks on our trail, but no.  Animal tracks, two sets.  Maybe they were walking down the trail together?

And we have benches!  I won't guarantee it will always be brushed off, but if you get up there soon...

We liked all the different tracks in this view.  Some were definitely deer but some sets were from creatures lower to the ground...we could see they were dragging through the snow.

And this one MIGHT be this year's Christmas tree!  Close enough to pull it on the sled.

After the hike, always nice to have home in sight.

And back down by The Lake late this afternoon, those lumps out there that look like ice chunks are really fluffed-out seagulls basking in the sun...and most of them are facing the sun while they are out there.  Smart!

Well, that was fun today.  We'll have to do it again tomorrow!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sunshine after the storm

On Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday it snowed and snowed.  The first two days was the actual storm and dumped about a foot of snow; the last day was lake effect snow, the result of very cold air blowing our direction across a still unfrozen Lake Superior with the resulting frost landing here--and points east--as snow.  You may have already heard about Gile, Wisconsin, and their 50+ inches of snow over the last few days.  They are over in the REAL snowbelt!

Then comes storm recovery time.  Yesterday I made the first trip out of our driveway since Sunday after the plow came one more time and Leann made a couple runs with our new--bigger--snowblower.  I took the usual trip down to The Lake and saw this:
 Yes, that's ice already with one open spot in the middle.  These are just the backwaters of The Lake, but this increases the possibility of more ice caves this year!  Maybe we can be ready for it this year.

Here's the same view late this afternoon.  Notice one of the fishing boats is gone.  They can do a back-and-forth maneuver to break through the ice and get out onto The Lake.  And, yes, that's the sun!

We also made a trip to Ashland today for an eye appointment and noticed these icy bushes along the edge of Chequamegon Bay.  It looks like the waves were washing up pretty high on those stormy days.

Under the right conditions, the combination of wind, cold and water can make some beautiful things!

And tonight we had or first deer come to our feeder for some dried corn cobs and apples.  And...we have LOTS of apples!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This is us saying, "Already?"

We weren't ready!  We had a couple Christmas trees picked out but hadn't settled on THE perfect one.  Now we won't be able to get to where the good trees are!  We'll have to settle for a Charlie Brown tree closer to the house.  And we haven't done any decorating outside yet.  But...the first storm is underway and I'm sure we can deal with whatever the rest of November brings.  (Those hunters will have a hard time trucking through all this snow though.  And so will the deer.)

So, below, this is me thinking, "Yes!  It started!"

And this is visiting friend Judy saying, "But I really like to shovel!"  And her smile confirms that! 

This is both of us saying, "Well, we got that part done.  Now we just need the town plow to come."

This is the town plow guy thinking, "How in the heck am I going to turn around in this driveway?"  

This is me remembering the great gardens we had this summer. 

This is me thinking, "Maybe I'll do the rest another day!"

And this is us saying, "But isn't it pretty!!"
And it really is!

P.S. We ordered our onion plants for next spring.  Only 6 more months...

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's ba-a-a-a-ack!

Seems like yesterday that we put all this winter stuff away, but even though it's only November 10th, winter is back with a vengeance--including the snow, wind AND cold!  So, I dug out our snowman measuring stick.  Since I couldn't get it jammed into the already-frozen ground deep enough, we'll need to remember to add about two inches to whatever amounts show on the yardstick.  Oh, goodie!  Snow!

I knew it was coming but I just couldn't believe it would be so bad so early.  We are right on the dividing line between the predicted 8-12 inch area and the 12-16 inch area to the east.  I guess we should be happy we aren't in the 20+ inch area in Upper Michigan.  How are things there, JRMcF??

This was the view this afternoon walking out to get the mail.

This was the view later this afternoon when darkness was falling.

This was the Lake on Saturday when big winds were blowing in hard from the northwest.  Maybe that should have been a sign of stormy things to come.

Fortunately we have this cool, new, big snowblower that we just figured out how to start on Friday and Leann managed to wrangle over from the old garage to our house.  UNfortunately, it's a wicked powerful thing to manage, and our main equipment manager--Leann--is back in Rochester at Mayo with sister Kristi for another PET scan prior to her upcoming cancer surgery on December 1st.  (Her PET scan results were good today; doctors are all very positive!)

So this morning, while listening to the radio and hearing the wild predictions of snow depths, I decided I needed to get our other smaller snowblower going.  Doing that required a little jug of 2-cycle oil to mix with the gas which required me to make a trip to Iron River, 15 miles to the south.  So, wisely or not, four of us nutty women slow-drove our way in the snow--fortunately not much had fallen yet.  And then later I found out that Jessie in The Store here in town always carries 2-cycle oil...didn't need to make the trip...oh, well!
But I'm ready!  And I know what I'll be doing tomorrow morning!  If it starts.....

Monday, November 3, 2014

What a difference two weeks away makes!

Yes, we've been traveling...a major road trip!  Our main destination was Boston to visit Younger Daughter and see the sights, and we did that and had a great time.  A first visit to Boston is overwhelming with the combination of all the history and culture, combined with all the possibilities for shopping, restaurants, city tours and harbor cruises.  And we filled our days with all of those things!  We parked our car at our B&B and then she helped us get from place to place using the "T", the Boston subway system, along with lots and lots of walking!  Remember the Kingston Trio song about the M.T.A. and Charlie who "couldn't get off of that train?"  Well, Charlie is a key symbol for the "T" and we rode the trains using our "Charlie Card" all the days we were there.  We had a great time in Boston!  More about our trip another time.

We left here on the 22nd of October when Port Wing was still in the middle of beautiful fall weather.  We returned home yesterday to signs of major winds and everything definitely looking like November.  Much had changed in two weeks.

No, that's not snow, although they had some snow in the last week.  That is milkweed fluff (seeds and carrier fluff) from our remaining milkweed plants.

Here they are still connected to the pods on the plants.  Yes, it's true...I really enjoy milkweed plants in all their stages!

And here is what's left of our herb beds.  The summer savory is surprisingly purple, a couple kinds of oregano, some nice rosemary and parsley like crazy!  I think we have more tabouli in our future.

We planted this before we left.  It is our first attempt at planting garlic.  We got some tips from our friends up the road and a key point was to get the bulbs planted either before or after October 12th.  And because we couldn't remember if indeed it was before or after, we decided to plant them right ON October 12th.  Stay tuned...

Big changes up in the meadow, too.  The trees are still full of apples, but now looking a little strange with all the leaves gone.  The word is out that we have lots of apples up there so now people are asking about getting some for deer apples.  Hunting season, you know.  It's coming soon!  Time to get out the blaze orange jackets.

So...we're glad to be home again!