Happy Saturday morning:

deep thoughts about Highways:

“When exactly do you tell a Highway that it was adopted?” ~ anonymous

Mid-week more family arrived at the lake. Crossing Michigan’s U.P., highway I-75 was closed forcing them and all other traffic off to then experience a 10-mile road repair detour. I-75 in the U.P. has a traffic flow of maybe a dozen or so cars every 20-minutes. Wouldn’t a simple traffic shift creating a short 2-way section around the construction site been much easier?

Oh well, good stuff to stew on while enjoying my morning mug of hot coffee. This morning it’s really pretty out on the water. Looking out over the cove it’s the fog-banks rising and barreling across the water which lend interest.

Heave-ho, frost-heave facts – The severe winter has caused severe “frost heave” to the cabin. I can actually see where the concrete sonotube piers lifted and then had the weight of the cabin tilt them. Not good stuff. It also caused two of the three steel I-beams which the cabin rests on to twist to the side.

Aside from the heavy snow fall it was the extended cold that did a number. I’m told that up the road the town of Chapleau had the frost line down ten feet. Down south in Wharncliffe I was talking with Rick who told me that his walk-around deck had never shifted. This year it lifted 4-inches.

Anyway, our shifting was severe enough for me to place a call to a local engineering company. With both 4th of July and Canada Day occurring this week I’ve not had a response. We’ll keep you posted.IMG_4224 (1024x768)

In the meantime, Bob-the-forester and I pooled our ‘talents’ – I helped him shim his cabin and he helped me do likewise to our deck. The only reason for the deck shims was to stabilize it after being shoved around by the thawing frost. The front piers had begun to look like a series of ‘bent’ knees. It’s now level and solid.

This only leaves our antique wooden screen door. It had begun to look like a parallelogram and some of the boards popped loose. I knew that this had occurred and brought clamps to fix the thing. “Next pro-ject”; Ihear myself yell.

So cool – and I mean that in the common current manner and not in an old timey way. A few weeks ago Paul and I tried to figure out exactly why my vintage – 1955 Johnson outboard engine had a high voltage arcing problem. After some innovative efforts the flywheel came off. The coils appeared to be fine. Eventually we decided on a tune-up kit and a new pair of plug wires.DSCF0700

That is when the fun started. Ever try to find anything for some piece of machinery dating back to 1955? Paul and I plied the search engines in any combination to find someplace useful. Nothing, nada!

Then Paul hit paydirt. Paydirt, not on the West Coast, not in Florida, not even in New England. Paydirt, just a couple of miles from his office. It turns out that there was a bait-shop where the owner also worked on old Johnson engines.

The wizened old fellow (think single tooth middle top) mumbled that, that engine was a great little motor as he shuffled to the back to get the parts. After which he then cut a pair of wires to size and spent about ten minutes to put the caps on. Turns out that placing caps on wires is more of a process that one would think; Paul watched them bring out salves, potions, lotions, soapy water, and needle-nose pliers. With all of that the old fella did the job in ten minutes or so.

Question, what will happen when all of these small “bait” shops finally close their door for the final time? All the virtual stores with slick web pages and carefully designed text and visuals don’t have a clue when you’re trying to get advice or products for anything much older than the memory of a generation X kid.

Canada Day – well I finally did it. Just prior to Canada Day I bit the bullet and purchased a Canadian Maple Leaf flag to wave from our flag pole. Our Canadian neighbors and passing boaters would just love it. Marcia would not be ‘sympatico’ with me on this, she’d call it “impulse” buying.DSCF0730

I even made sure and bought a “Made in Canada” banner. Can you imagine my shock when reading the accompanying card: “…flag should last approximately three to six months, under normal conditions.” What? Three to six short months? I do believe I felt I’d been had. The thing cost a third more than an equivalent American flag, plus please add an additional 13.6% HST tax and then it’s for just a few months of use. So wrong!

As an aside, little wind on Canada Day. My new banner could have been confused with a wet dishrag hanging from that pole.

Animal Planet – Yesterday, all day, the Loons paddled back and forth in our cove, yodeling their lungs out. I have no idea what it was all about, but it sounded great.

DSCF0701At 6:15 the past two mornings a Long-eared Owl called out very close to our place. Each morning the calls lasted for about 7 or 8 minutes, (one call every twenty or so seconds). Then a several minute pause and followed by the calls starting up, only much further away. Unlike what is normally thought of as an Owl call, the Long-eared Owl has a fairly melodic, single, “hooooo” call.

Then, in the moth department, occasionally an American Moon Moth (Luna Moth) can be spotted sitting in the morning sun. This one I thought dead; it was not.

It happened suddenly. Suddenly a woodpecker discovered that hammering on our metal roof is great fun. For several days it’s been a morning pastime for this little guy. Maybe it’ll stop real soon.

Fini – This week we celebrated several birthdays – actually I celebrated none since I am in Canada and they were not. Nevertheless, Tevita, Marin, and Kellen all had a special day. Tevita shared his birthday week with the king of Tonga with what I suspect was an over-the-top Umu.

Now I’ve got to make sure my orange shirt is neatly folded. World Cup Soccer “Group of Eight” finalist Holland is playing Costa Rica at 4:00 this afternoon. Hup Holland Hup!

Cheers.

Dirk

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