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Monday, December 5, 2016



Monday, 8:30 AM.  34 degrees F at the ferry dock, 29 on the back porch.  Wind WNW, with occasional light gusts.  The sky is overcast but there are a few small windows in the gloom that give a faint hope of sunshine.   The humidity is 85% and the barometer is falling, now at 29.85" of mercury.  The forecast is for more of the same, ad nauseum.
   After church yesterday morning we took a ride, as we often do, through the orchard country on Hwy. J.  The orchards are mostly on the high bluffs west of Bayfield and thus are at significantly greater elevation than the little city.  
   Weather conditions are usually quite different at the top of the bluffs than in town, and yesterday was no exception, there being several inches of new snow and much heavy fog, which seemed to creep up from the waters of the Bay to find a place to reside at the top;  halfway up Cemetery Hill is where the weather usually changes.


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Saturday, December 3, 2016



Sunday, 8:25 AM.  31 degrees F at the ferry dock, 16 on the back porch. Wind variable, with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, with some fog and light snow.  The humidity is 87%, the barometer steady at 30.04" of mercury.  The forecast calls for a continuation of temperatures in the twenties and low thirties with clouds, rain and snow for the next ten days.  Same old same old!
   I just received my winter (Biboon) edition of the Mazina'igan (Talking Paper), published quarterly by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Game Commission, a cooperative research and enforcement agency of US federal, state,  and Indian authorities operating in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, all  of which include Ojibwe Indian reservations and, perhaps more importantly, territories ceded to those states by the tribes by treaty, and in which by treaty Indians retain hunting, fishing and gathering rights.  
   I have received this free publication for years, and  it is always well researched and written, with a breadth of interesting and valuable articles on natural resources, law, and Indian culture.  
   I may not agree with every perspective in Mazina'igan, but it enhances my knowledge, broadens my viewpoint and helps me to understand my Indian neighbors. 
    Subscriptions are free to US and Canadian residents; subscribe online at, or write to Mazina'igan, P.O. Box 9, Odanah, WI 54861, telephone (715)-682-6619.  I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity, you will be glad you did.


Saturday, 8:45 AM.  31 degrees F at the ferry dock, 27 on the back porch.  Wind variable with light gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, and a few snow flakes are falling.  The humidity is 84% and the barometer has started to fall, now at 30.32" of mercury.  The next ten days will be similar, with temperatures in the teens and twenties, overcast skies and rain or snow showers.  Yuck!  Where's the sun?  This is as bad as Ohio, where we lived sans sol for five years (loved Ohio otherwise, though).
   I have mentioned before that Buddy needs to be taken for an actual run every few days, or he will take the opportunity to sneak off and go solo.  Can't say as I blame him, but it is annoying.
   When he takes off he heads straight to a neighbors place up the street to chase chipmunks in their woodpile, and that's usually where I find him.  He won't come when called when on his mission, but he will come running happily, tail wagging,  to my whistle, which I have to have handy.  No use in getting angry about all of this, as that might make him not come at all.
    Anyway, we went for a run at the beach yesterday late afternoon but it got dark so quickly I had to substitute a photo from a few posts ago. The point of all this is to quote again from my favorite outdoor book, "The Old Man and the Boy," by Robert Rouark.
   The Old Man is saying how he can tell what a hunter hunts by what he watches.  
   "The duck hunter watches the sky." 
   "The deer hunter watches the openings."
   "The bird hunter watches the dog."
   I watch the dog.
   You probably are aware that Wisconsin's nearly three million votes cast in the election are being recounted, not for any substantive reason, but because Jill Stein and Hillary Clinton claim it as" their right. "
   That's sort of like saying it is my right to drive 25 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone just to aggravate all those behind me.  Well, so be it.
   But their realpolitic reason for the recount is not to aggravate but to invalidate, since they thought they could keep Wisconsin from getting its votes recounted (by hand) by the December 13th deadline to participate in the electoral college, and thereby deny Wisconsinites their 10 electoral  votes.  
   Luckily, a Dane County Circuit Court judge declared that each county could decide for itself whether to recount by hand or by scanner, so their plot to disenfranchise us cheese heads was foiled, as most counties opted to use scanners (of course the Maoists in Madison demanded a hand count in Dane County).
   The recount has been a petulant, childish and abusive tactic, foisted on the good people of Wisconsin by these left wing sore losers.  
   I don't think the voters of Wisconsin will soon forget what they tried to do.

Friday, December 2, 2016


Friday, 8:15 AM.  30 degrees F at the ferry dock, 25 on the back porch.  Wind NW, calm with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is again overcast and cloudy, the humidity 83%.  The barometer is still rising, now at 30.19" of mercury.  The forecast is for temperatures in the 20's, with overcast skies and rain or snow for much of the next ten days.  Please!
   No other fruit tree of temperate climates is as valuable to humans as the apple. It has been cultivated from prehistoric times.  Its fruit is not just a dessert, but has served as a starvation staple in times past.  
   Apples can be eaten fresh or baked.  They can be juiced, which when fermented into cider, is as good as wine or beer to drink where water is not safe.   Apple trees, properly kept, can bear apples for hundreds of years.  The last I heard,  apples still fall yearly from the tree from which Newton's iconic apple fell, over four hundred years ago.
   There are hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties of apples in the northern hemisphere and now worldwide,  as the genetic makeup of the genus Malus is very plastic.  Perhaps the olive tree is as important in human history, but I doubt it.
After Apple-Picking

Related Poem Content Details

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree 
Toward heaven still, 
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill 
Beside it, and there may be two or three 
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough. 
But I am done with apple-picking now. 
Essence of winter sleep is on the night, 
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. 
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight 
I got from looking through a pane of glass 
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough 
And held against the world of hoary grass. 
It melted, and I let it fall and break. 
But I was well 
Upon my way to sleep before it fell, 
And I could tell 
What form my dreaming was about to take. 
Magnified apples appear and disappear, 
Stem end and blossom end, 
And every fleck of russet showing clear. 
My instep arch not only keeps the ache, 
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round. 
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend. 
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin 
The rumbling sound 
Of load on load of apples coming in. 
For I have had too much 
Of apple-picking: I am overtired 
Of the great harvest I myself desired. 
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, 
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall. 
For all 
That struck the earth, 
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, 
Went surely to the cider-apple heap 
As of no worth. 
One can see what will trouble 
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is. 
Were he not gone, 
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his 
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on, 
Or just some human sleep. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016




Thursday, the first day of December, manidoo-giizisoons...the Month of the Little Spirit Moon, in the Ojibwe language.  8:30 AM.  32 degrees F at the ferry dock, 27 on the back porch.  Wind N, calm with light gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy after a dusting of snow last night.  The humidity is 88%, the barometer 29.79" and rising. The week ahead is predicted to be colder, and mostly overcast with snow showers.
   We went to Ashland yesterday and experienced several rare events:  a mink, in full winter white coat, ran across the road right in front of us just south of Bayfield on Hwy. 13... it had its dinner in its mouth; the lower Chequamegon Bay at Ashland, uncharacteristically calm, provided a good photo op of the Ashland lighthouse;  and we encountered some delightful trucker humor in Ashland on Hwy. 2, where we were pleasantly surprised by the "load" (an old metal Tonka Toy earth mover, skillfully tied down on the huge bed) being carried on an 18 wheeler .
   When bored, take a little ride.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Wednesday, 8:30 AM.  37 degrees F at the ferry dock, 32 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm at present, humidity 87%.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, the barometer 29.55" and steady for now, predicting overcast skies, cooler temperatures and snow for much of the next ten days.  We've been lucky not to have to shovel much snow as yet but that will change soon.   We could sure use some sunlshine, before we forget what it looks like.  We're beginning to feel like Seattle. 
   Downtown Bayfield isn't very large, only a few city blocks, but the street lamps are nicely decorated again this year with real balsam fir ropes and wreathes, and white lights.  As more homes and businesses become decorated we will post more Holiday photos.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016



Tuesday, 8:15 AM.  39 degrees F at the ferry dock, 35 on the back porch.  Wind W, calm with occasional light gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, the humidity 87%.  The barometer is falling, now at 29.16".  The week ahead should be cloudy and cooler, with a mix of rain and snow showers.  The dismal weather continues, like a broken record stuck in one place.
   I have been listening to a lot of rain falling on the skylights of late, a sound I used to enjoy.  Now I hear lose change and more being shaken from my pockets by an out of control US Department of Agriculture and its subsidiary Forest Service.  They haven't gotten to me or to most of us as yet to shake us down, but they are on their way.
   I knew this would happen, as I was listening carefully a couple of years ago when a new idea for storm water abatement (a far reaching concept, it turns out) was explained in  official meetings.  Basically it is this:  water runoff into sewers and onto roads is bad and should be rectified.  The cause of such runoff is man-made hard surfaces, such as roofs, driveways and roads.  So the bigger your roof and driveway, the more you should have to pay for the water that runs off your property.
   The amount of runoff is very easy to approximate; simply take the average rain that falls on your property, determine the square footage of its hard surfaces, and assess a fee for that amount of water that will run off.
   Seems logical and fair, does it not?  But what will be the fee per unit of water, and what will it be used to pay for?  Silence on that.  So we have here an undetermined amount of tax with no limits, and no boundaries on what it will pay for.  Storm abatement? Coast line management? Storm sewers? Social Programs? Income redistribution (your roof is larger than my roof, therefore you owe me)? Why not just have building codes that would set limits on hard surfaces?  Not on your life.  That would mean no new taxes!
   This, my friends, is the perfect tax, and it is imposed not by your elected legislature, but by bureaucrats in the Washington, DC swamp.  Or, almost as bad, by your Mayor and Council, eager for more money, and now hampered by caps on real estate taxes.
   Oh, this is ridiculous, and it would never happen!   It is happening now, in Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay.  But it is just a little tax, and the need is great.  And that is why it will grow, exponentially.
   I saw this one coming, and here is another one.  The Forest Service has a plan to suggest (read enforce) a ruling that all private property must have 40% tree cover (no one has ever explained to me, and I doubt to anyone at all, how that figure was arrived at).  In any case, 40%.  What if I want sun for a vegetable garden? 40%.  What about a lawn for my kids to play soccer on?  Sorry, 40%.  What if I want to plant a prairie?  40%!@*!We are the Forest Service, after all.
   And what if I don't plant my property to 40% tree cover?  We know how much sunshine your property receives.  We will tax you for whatever amount over 40% is not intercepted by tree leaves.  You realize of course that trees make oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide, and you must do your share.  All very just and fair.  Pay up.
   So, the bureaucrats now have the authority to tax water and sunshine.  At least the air we breath is still free.
   Not so fast...California is now taxing cow farts.  Let's see...Humans turn what percentage of oxygen into flatulence?