Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Snowshoes

Happy holidays to all!

I took time off from the book (of course) to spend Christmas in Baraga with my son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Jericho, and Jericho's family. Kevin and Jericho flew in from Vermont. The weather cooperated so the driving wasn't too bad, just slippery in spots.

On Christmas eve, Kevin and I went snowshoeing up by the Bishop Baraga statute that looks over Keweenaw Bay. The photo didn't come out great given that the flash on my digital camera is not that great, but it is kind of an interesting shot anyway, given the holiday season.

On Christmas, Kevin and I went snowshoeing along the Horoscope River, which is located around 15 miles northwest of Baraga. Jericho's family owns some of the land, which is beautiful. Here is one of the old barns, old farm equipment, and lawn tractor -- the old one that is now a snow holder, and a couple of snowshoe photos. While driving over there, we saw 4 eagles plus ravens etc. feeding off road kill. I've never seen 4 eagles that close up in the same place before!

Now I'm back home and working hard on the book. I have completed the challenging section on agate genesis. It should be down hill from here. Just as a teaser, below is one of the photos that will be going in the book taken by Tom Shearer. He really is a magic man. This is one of the shots of a Laguna Agate that I'll be using to discuss the infiltration channel structures often seen in agates.

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

As many of you have probably guessed, my focus this past two weeks has been the new agate book. It is coming right along. I am probably 60% complete with the writing, but almost done with the agate genesis chapter. This section has been the challenge, given the complexity of the subject matter. With the help of non-technical language, diagrams, and photos -- I think the story of agate genesis will be told in a useful and understandable way.

I did take some much needed time off on Sunday, though, to go snow shoeing in the Seney National Wildlife Refuge with my friend, Renee. Her maiden name is Beaver, so we had to take a shot with the beaver sign.

It was a cold, but partly sunny day. A few of the photos are below.

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.

Warm Greetings,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trip to Duluth plus Snowshoe Adventure

After the two day blizzard last week, I wasn't sure how the roads would be driving to Duluth, MN. I went to bring the agates for Tom Shearer to photograph for the new agate book. The roads were not nearly as bad as I thought they would be. Although there were a few cars off the road on M28, the rest of the drive was uneventful.

Tom has a similar work ethic to my own. Other than taking a break for dinner, which Tom and his wife, Sandy, were kind enough to treat me (thanks!), we took pictures of rocks all day without stopping. When we returned from dinner, we went through the rest of them so Tom knows what I was looking for with each specimen. All I can say is that he is a magic man. If you think that this agate book is just a redo of the first, think again. Between Tom's photographs and the research I've been doing that I'm in the process of reducing down to text and diagrams, this next agate book will be universes different. I am extremely excited. I don't know if I'll make the January deadline to get the book to the printer, but I'm doing everything I can.

Below is a picture of Tom holding a 25 pound Lake Superior agate from Michipicoton Island.

Although I'm working on the book all day and night, I am trying to keep up an exercise schedule. Last night, Renee and I snowshoed my property. We noticed that for some unknown reason, most of the apples are still clinging to the trees. That will make the deer happy. As the snow gets deeper, they will be able to reach the branches and eat apples all winter long. Just in case you are wondering, in my yard we have a little less than 2 feet of snow on the ground.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Blizzard

I was hoping that the heavy snows would wait until after my last road trip of the year. I am supposed to leave Friday to go to Duluth to meet with the photographer, who is taking all the pictures for the new agate book. The forecast for Friday doesn't look too bad, but in the mean time we are getting hit big time. Almost all the schools in the U.P. are closed. We've received 6 inches or so, on top of the foot we already had, with another 6-12 inches expected. Winds are blowing it around, too. I just finished shovelling a 4 foot drift in front of my garage door.

If the roads are still horrible on Friday, I may leave Saturday instead -- or postpone to next week.

Things are progressing on the book. The data base is completed and data sorted by category. In total, I have 101 reference sources and 720 sectors of information. I uniquely numbered each segment of information and saved the data without the correlating reference sources. I must admit that I am biased toward a few of the reference sources. It is best that I don't know which segment of information goes with which reference source. I'm now cutting and pasting the information segments into the table of contents sections. It is a tedious process, but I'm one third done. Then, I'll start writing.

Since I've been working all day every day, I decided to take a long snowshoe yesterday with my friend, Kim. We started at Sable Visitor's Center, snowshoed across the dunes, and then cut over toward Sable Falls. I must admit that after nearly 2 1/2 hours trudging through the deep snow, I was glad to get back to the car. It was beautiful, though. Glad I did it. Below are a few of the photos.

Friday, December 4, 2009

First Real Snow Fall

I was up late last night finishing data input for the agate book. Yea! But I also had to get up by 5:30 this morning to get everything done before leaving for my last art show of the year, in Marquette. Of course it was still dark out side. When I turned on my porch light to check the temperature, I had a surprising awakening. We were in the midst of a white out with over 5 inches of snow already on the ground! The winds have now shifted more westerly, so the Keweenaw is getting nailed as we speak. Currently, the sign is actually out. That should help my drive to Marquette. I'll be leaving shortly to make sure I have plenty of time to set up for the show in the Superior Dome, which starts tonight from 5-9pm.

Below are a few quick shots that I took before finishing my last minute details. For those of you who remember the photo I had on the web page last winter (www.agateldy.com) wherein the drift was all the way up to the roof -- the first shot is the same angle. I'll be repeating this shot over the course of the winter so you can watch the snow pile up. The second shot is looking north. You can see the lake effect clouds. The third shot is looking east from my house at some of my evergreen trees. Maybe I'll be able to cross country ski soon!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Early Winter in the Dunes

Although I have the inclination to work on the new agate book morning, noon, and night -- I've made myself hike a few days. I must admit, it is not everyday as it well should be.

We have had a few peeks at the sun, but this time of year the lake effect clouds, rain, and snow dominate the weather. Here are a few shots I took the other day when I hiked into the dunes from Sable Falls, in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Note the deer tracks. Hunting is allowed in the dunes, but you don't see many hunters up there. They cannot bring in their four wheelers, so if they get lucky and bag a deer, they have to carry it out. I loved the perfect circle -- caused by the swirling winds blowing the branch around.

We have had several mornings with snow on the ground. However, most of the time it has melted with warmer temperatures in the afternoon.

Happy December everyone!