Sunday, March 28, 2021

What a difference a day makes: from spring back to winter

Yesterday I only worked a half a day on the book. I finished incorporating all the comments and suggestions from the reviewer manuscripts that have been returned thus far. I am still waiting on four to be sent back. This is not at all an issue since there is no timeline. What is most important is that the final draft be as good as it can be. It will not be perfect. Some people will wish other rocks were included. But it is the best book I can produce on rock identification — I gave and am still giving it my all. Thanks to everyone who has helped in the process. Thanks to others who have given their support and encouragement.

The past 24 hours has been interesting. Yesterday was the first day I spotted robins in my yard. There were at least a half dozen, as well as many other birds. There is still considerable snow in the woods and on the flat in most places. However, during the winter the predominant northerly winds blow a lot of the snow out of my front yard. Thus, the shallower depth of the snow in my front yard causes it to melt away faster than in most other areas. The birds take advantage and access the bare ground to feed each spring.

Here are some views out my window this morning. Over night we received 4-5 inches of wet heavy snow.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Grand Sable Dunes,deer, and book update

Last weekend I took time out from working on the new book to hike in the Grand Sable Dunes. It was very windy with sustained winds 25 mph and gusts up to 40 mph. Yes, I got sand blasted. But temperatures were in the 40s and it was sunny, so I headed out. There is enough snow melt now and the road commission has done some road plowing, so I was able to drive all the way to Sable Lake. I wanted to get an hour of hiking in, so I wondered around the ridges and south facing slopes where the snow has melted. In the dune valleys the snow was still deep in places, so I stayed away from these areas since I was just wearing my hiking boots.

Sable Lake still was covered with ice. Given how warm it has been all week, I will have to check now to see if the ice has melted and dropped.

Looking north toward Lake Superior.....

This double dune is where my kids began developing their ski jumping skills.

The deer are back in my front yard.

Adobe now has monthly subscription plans for InDesign, so I decided to use this software to lay the book out for publishing/printing. The previous books I used a shareware software, Scribus, which worked fine. However, my printer prefers InDesign files, so I decided to get up the learning curve. I have received review copies back from several, but not all of my reviewers. Yesterday I met with my main editor/proofreader. We went through the manuscript page by page, which took almost three hours. Over the last few days I have been editing the review draft (the Word version) incorporating the changes from one of my two geology editors. He did a very thorough job reviewing the geology information and photographs. It took me two 12 hour days to incorporate his changes. Today I will add the edits from my proofreader. To get up the Adobe learning curve, I have successfully transferred the beginning pages, introduction, and chapter 1 into InDesign. I will wait to transfer the remaining chapters until after I have received all the review drafts back, which will probably take another couple of weeks. I am hoping to send the files to the printer by the end of April. If I meet that goal, the shipment of printed books will happen by June. So far the feedback from the reviewers has exceeded my expectations. Whew! This has been a project!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Hike from my house to Sable Lake Boat Ramp and beyond

Yesterday afternoon was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the 40s and full sun. My friend, Barb, and I decided to venture out from my house and hike to the Sable Lake boat ramp. It is probably a two-mile trek one way.

Spring has definitely sprung. Snow melt is underway.

Snowmobiling appears to be over. You can see the severely degraded snowmobile trail on the right side of the photo below.

The road to the boat ramp has been plowed, but is still ice covered.

I love the drainage area next to the road. There are shelves of billion year old Jacobsville sandstone that creates waterfalls.

There are also icicles.

The forest next to the boat ramp.....

Then we headed out onto the ice still covering Sable Lake. I love this view of the Grand Sable dunes.

We sat on a log and enjoyed the sun.

There were cracks in the ice.

Heading back....

View of the Grand Sable dunes through the trees.

The plowed snow banks were up to eight feet tall!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

School Forest Hike

The last few days I have transcended to my artist mode. I am making a custom stained glass window (no agates) for my son and daughter-in-law. I am also hearing from some of the book reviewers. So far, the feedback has been extremely positive! That is always good news after a massive effort to research, compile, and write one of my books.

Yesterday I went on an hour and 20 minute hike in the school forest with my friend, Barb. The snow pack has reduced to that point that at least on the groomed trails we were able to hike without snowshoes. I did not take many photos since we were into hiking at a good pace.

Wide bend of the Sucker River. The river is still socked in with ice.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Sable Lake Overlook and Sable Dunes Hike

On Saturday temperatures were in the 40s with a brilliant sunshine. There was a brisk wind from the NW, so my friend, Barb, and I decided to hike down the road from Sable Visitor's Center to the Sable Lake overlook.

Dinner was a stir fry of scallops, shrimp, mahi mahi fish, potatoes, and veggies in a cheese sauce.

View of Sable Lake during dinner.

After dinner, we started walking back toward our car. This hillside on the edge of Grand Sable dunes has had significant snow melt.

Some brave and crazy snowmobilers take a short cut across the ice.

To get extra exercise, we headed up into the dunes. A group of snowmobilers came by as we started up the dunes.

While in Marquette, I bought this beefy set of crampons. They are amazing -- best set I have ever had.

Because they fit over the entire front of your boots, they are less likely to come off. I have lost several Yak Tracks over the years. It was time to move up in quality.