First, my apologies for my supreme delinquency in posting the twelfth and final day of my Isle Royale trip.  Shame on me for my sloth – it will be forthcoming.  I had it 90% written and my browser crashed with that work unsaved and I simply didn’t want to rewrite it again with everything else that has occurred recently.  Also, I just don’t feel like doing pics – so just build the images in your mind, ok?

I’ve been reluctant to post about these things because so many of them – they’re personal in a painful way and because there are so many other people’s feelings involved.  But my mind keeps running in the same circles and it seems that I’ll get nothing else accomplished in this arena without letting some thoughts out.

My cousin’s husband died.  We all die and I’m one of those persons who believes that the manner of death is unimportant – it’s how you live that matters,  But this was a particularly hard death for me in that I know it’s so hard for her.  He was so young.  And she’s even younger widow.  And their child is not even 2 years old.  They knew it was coming and did what they could to prepare.  And part of the tragedy is that can never ever be enough, no matter how much you do.  He was a good guy taken too soon.  I met him only once but he treated her and their family well.  From the many online posts I have seen he had many friends and will be greatly missed.

Markey went to a home.  And ran away.  Mid October it was time (again) to get the pin removed from his leg.  We went in and had the procedure.  The exit wound closed quickly and had no complications, however his use of the leg fell off instead of increasing.  It was a major source of concern for us.  Prior to making arrangements to take him back to the vet I spoke to the director at the Humane Society.  He was already earmarked for adoption and the adopters had PT skills – for animals, even!  They’d been visiting him regularly and made the commitment to take him home.  The decision was reached to move him to their home and they would take over his care and PT.  One of them is a vet tech so it was a great fit.

A few days after he went to their home, he chewed through his lead and vanished in a ten minute window.  Since then we have helped to look for him every day.  We’ve put up flyers.  We’ve posted online.  He’s on the radio.  His owners put out food, bedding and recently a live trap.  No luck.  We go out and look for tracks, call, leave treats in places he might be frequenting, pick up shed fur, and try not to lose hope.  At times we’ve found signs but it’s been days since we reasonably think we’ve seen any fresh indication of his presence.  It could be argued that he’s not our responsibility but try to tell that to our hearts.

It snowed.  And our house is simply not ready for winter.  I’d gotten slack.  The lakeside porch interior needed painting badly.  I bet it was last painted in the 70’s.  Last winter it was dreadfully cold and it will be again this winter but I’d vowed to make it better by sealing some of the 10,000 cracks between the the panel boards with latex paint.  Also, a lot of paint was peeling from moisture around the windows last winter and that simply had to be repainted to protect the wood from more damage.  Finally, despite having 4 huge picture windows the weakest barrier to the elements was that we only had a single storm door between the interior and the exterior last winter.  That has to be remedied as well, compounded by the fact that there’s no framing in place to mount a second door – it has to be constructed.  Yay!

I wasn’t the only one who seemed caught by this first snow.  After driving out to hunt for Markey I made it to our shop about time to open up and I wound up shoveling in front of our place plus four other businesses because no one else was out doing it yet.  I’m sure they’d have gotten to it but I was out there shoveling anyway and we have good neighbors that I don’t mind shoveling some snow to help out.  My point is that even though I was behind what would normally be my shoveling time no one else was any faster.

There’s exterior painting to be done.  I’d gotten started on that after returning from Isle Royale and got completely derailed when a ladder footing sank into soft soil and spilled me along with a gallon of paint from several feet up.  I escaped with painted clothing and shoes and a bruise on my shin that was quite painful for a couple of weeks.  If it’s warm enough and dry enough tomorrow afternoon I’ll give that a go.  If not – it probably won’t be done due to weather constraints; it’s too cold.  Average highs in November are in the 30’s.  Records are in the 50’s.  So – No pressure there.

I’ve got the storm windows up but I have to put up vinyl and plastic inside and out around both porches.  That’s a couple of days worth of work.  I can get it done in the afternoons if Jess watches the shop and weather isn’t too bad.  Wouldn’t be a concern if I didn’t have all the other things to worry about.

We decided to use some foam insulation panels here and there to improve our comfort at home this winter.  We’re going to cut them to fit below window level and place them against the walls in places where we could feel the cold radiating in so badly last winter.  The air temperature difference from center of room to exterior walls was 20 degrees at times.  When ice forms inside your house it’s a concern.  Yeah, it happened around windows.  Noticeable, to say the least.  So that needs doing, too.  Again, not a major concern but it’s an allotment of time and energy to be disbursed.

We do have plenty of wood, though.  I’ve still got a lot of pine, oak and maple from our July storm damage that I haven’t cut up yet.  And I’ve got maybe 6-8 cords split, stacked and dried.

Should be enough if we don’t have a record breaking winter.  Seasonal forecasts have trended towards saying it’s going to be warmer than average this winter.  I’ve been saying colder than norm.  I’d love to be proven wrong.


Fast forward a week – since I still haven’t actually posted this.  We’ve been looking all over for Markey.  He never left the area where he escaped and he was spotted there yesterday.  I closed the shop mid-day and sprinted out in hopes that we’d be able to catch him.  No dice.  After a couple of hours of stomping through the woods I helped one of his owners relocated the live trap they are using to try to capture him.  I got back to the store and reopened for a bit and then went home to work on the house as soon as Jess got in to cover the counter at the shop.  Not that it mattered much; we sold $0 yesterday.  That happens during non-tourist seasons.  Some days you just don’t see a soul all day long.  We like to be open anyway, just in case.

I hung 8 mil vinyl outside of our back (roadside) porch windows and it looks pretty good.  Nice clarity and I’m not worried about it being torn off by the wind.  With any luck it will be reusable as well.  The exterior work on those windows is 70% done.  I’ve got one side left to hang and some little spots here and there to put up lathe around the edges.  Since those wooden windows are at least 50 years old and swing open there are some huge gaps that this is closing up and the porch temperature should benefit a good deal from the work.  Since our lows are seldom dropping below 20 degrees there’s been no issue with it holding temp so far.  It stays a comfy 70 right now.  It’s the -30 days I’m working to protect from.

It snowed last night – about 1-2 inches.  Temp is warm, though – it’s around 30 degrees so many places it’s already melted.  We headed out to look for Markey about 7:00 this morning and found tons of tracks – but no Markey.  He’d paced all the way around the live catch trap but not entered it.  We were unable to actually locate his tracks leaving the area despite following a lot of tracks.  He’d been up and down the road a few times as well as in and out of the woods but we didn’t find the set of tracks that we needed to follow him.  More snow in the forecast so hopefully we will get another opportunity tomorrow.