Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here is a photo from Isle Royale. This is where I volunteer with Sierra Club doing trail maintenence each summer. This photo is of Rock Harbor, the place where The ferry boat docks, and where the lodge is, for those who don't backpack ( it's pretty expensive). I have been the cook for the group the last few years, trying to find ways to make oatmeal or soup mix more interesting. We go at the end of August, but the weather can range from hot to cold and wet pretty quickly. Lake Superior is awesome in the true sense of the word. When taking the 5 hour ride over from Houghton, Michigan, I often think of the fact that this huge expanse of water is all that's left of even more awesome glaciers.

And here is a photo of a section of trail after we have cut back all the brush. It looks neat and inviting after we are done, but with the hundreds of miles of trail, It is hard to get to each section often enough to keep it looking this good. The Park Service is on very tight budget, so the only have a few rangers that work trails.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

getting all the BTUs out of the wood

An omen of things to come. One thing I plan to plant at the farm is sunflowers. Maybe dozens, maybe acres of them, we'll see. And of course, much bigger than this one. It is a cash crop in the Dakotas, who knows, it might grow fine on our ridge top field. This weekend we met with the farmer who leased the field last year, and discussed future plans. He didn't sound too interested in going organic.

This is the Russian wood stove in our Wisconsin place. It has over 1200 bricks in it. The exhaust flow path serpentines up throught the furnace, heating the mass of bricks. It is supposed to radiate heat for hours after it is up to temp and closed in. We will bring wood up next trip, and give it a trial run.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

road trip to Chicago

Four of my brothers came up from Indiana to visit and see some of the Chicago music scene. We went to the Harlem Avenue Lounge, a blues venue. The band that night was ok, but more funky jam rock than blues, and pretty loud. It's all good though, live music is the best. We mostly hung out and talked of past times and caught up on recent events, so the music was background.

Thanks again to them for making the trip, and trying to keep family connections. (and sleeping on air mattresses).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

This photo is from our backpacking trip to North Manitou Island, in Lake Michigan. The ranger office there gets primary power from this large PV array. They used to use deisel generation, which cost a lot in fuel and maintenence, as well as detracting from the wild nature of the island. Our trip was fun, and the Island is an easy backpack outing.