Big Abe

Big Abe

When we were watching Dan’s movie, Blow the Man Down, there was a scene where one of the actresses was cutting the head off of a fish. Dan explained that he had to go to some effort to acquire a fresh fish with its head still attached. Up above is a photo of a fisherman’s normal procedure, where they clean the catch before they reach port. The three fisherman on-deck are busy cleaning their day’s haul and tossing the excess waste overboard to the hovering gulls. Mine!

While Anne and I were supervising the roofers, Dan and Britt were filming with their drone. They first redid the Clyde’s shoot, this time with an upbound boat, then they revisited Point Iroquois. They ended their flying off of the beach at sunset. I think that they iterate, learning as they go and always trying to improve.

This morning Anne was looking out at the beach and thought that she saw Betty. Dan didn’t think the person looked like Betty. I think that no self respecting Finlayson ghost would appear in broad daylight. Finlayson’s are traditionalists. Their ghosts would only appear at night, as all good Scottish ghost do. IMHO

We first filmed at Raco, doing longer runway shots then before. After the batteries recharged, they filmed Mr. Bill doing donuts in the water with his motorboat. Finally, they launched with a delayed supper, for a beautiful sunset. In anticipation of tomorrow’s bad weather, they plan on doing more processing.

Basically, this afternoon was a beach day. The first one that we’ve enjoyed in too long. We all convened with Anne and Bill at their back bench for the afternoon. I had to peel layers, as the sun heated us up. Anne and I eventually began walking the beach. We only walked the short end, where CJ, husband of Lisa, the local lighthouse keeper was burning brush. It’s hard to believe that only last summer, he and I rode our bicycles out to the Dancing Crane and then after a brief repast double-timed home. Racing the storm, we outpaced it almost to the Birch Point Loop, before it pelted us all the rest of the way home, it could have been electric.

Gale

Gale Warning Flags

The Soo set their gale warning flags for the St. Mary’s River, from Point Iroquois down to Drummond Island. We’ve got wind, we’ve got waves, we’ve got a lake boat hove to in the parking lot, but we don’t have any beach left. So, not a beach day, but we have a nice fire to keep us comfy and warm. Last night, thunderstorms swept out across the lake, serving as our electrifying substitute for the normal evening sunset display.

While the waves on the beach don’t look all that much higher than after a normal blow, they must be though, because the waves are reaching all of the way up to the beach grass. I got the kitchen porch stove going well enough that I could continue to feed it the wood from the downed birch branch. We were all huddled around the kitchen table, heads down into our various devices. It was toasty warm there, especially after I heated up a batch of tater-tots for snacking on.

With the ongoing gale, Anne convinced me that it was safe to walk the road and then into the swamp. We walked to the end of the beach, past the old lighthouse keeper’s place and then onto Cedar Point Row. We walked that road up to what would become 5 Mile. We headed west and found the Jim Finlayson Trail. We walked the short part that ran along a bluff. On the Winding Ridge end of the trail we ran into Mr. Bill, who accompanied us over to Birch Point Loop and then back to the cabin. It was a long walk and the kids were a little worried for us. We did see what could be bear footprints, but didn’t see any bears.

We re-watched the movie that Dan worked on, Blow the Man Down, which seemed somehow fitting considering the weather. With his running patter, it felt a little like inside Hollywood. I hooked up Rey’s wedding speaker to give the movie’s soundtrack a fighting chance. With pauses, the show ran an extra hour. It was fun, part Hollywood, part home movies. Afterwards, I asked him my big question, who was sleeping with whom? And… 

A Birder’s Guide To Everything

Downy Woodpecker

Hello, my name is Mark and I’m a birder.
Hello, my name is Anne and I’m a birder.

This being the first of the month, all of my subscriptions have new baubles to entice. We watched, A Birder’s Guide To Everything, which just dropped on Amazon. This movie resonated with us. Earlier, today we were photographing little birds, as is our want, when Dan and Britt came down the path to the beach and remarked at all of the little birds that were all about. Then they saw us trying to take their pictures and had to laugh. 

This coming-of-age comedy features a band of high school misfits who have banded together over birding. A chance encounter and a blurry photo lead this intrepid band to believe that they have sighted an extinct duck and the chase is on for the rarest of bird sightings. Starring Ben Kingsley, this mostly unknown cast leads us on the hunt for this mystery bird, all the while navigating a difficult phase of life. This sounds stereotypical, maybe even trite, but it was delightful.

For us birding is a late in life endeavor. It is a pastime that has developed out of writing this blog. Its daily need for new photographs has given wing, sort-of-speak, to this hobby, which has taken flight. We’ve taken birding classes, bought birding books, even upgraded our optics. All in pursuit of the elusive avian.

Dan and Britt took their mechanical bird out today. They went to Point Iroquois Lighthouse to film. They got permission to fly there and shot a little video there before the wind came up, but they definitely plan on going back again to shoot some more. Later, they found a way to drive onto the Raco tarmac and have asked us to be their stunt drivers on this closed course, with our much newer car.

Anne took me out behind the woodshed and beat me or at least that’s how I feel now after stacking two cords of wood. We moved the old wood out of the way first. Then the wood man showed up with the new wood. Anne, Dan and I eventually got it all stacked again, but I’m going to feel it tomorrow. 

I called the roofer to get a feel for when the porch roof might be laid. It turns out that the crew that is trained to work with our roof system are out-of-town for a few weeks. So, there will be no new developments on that front for a while, but we are still on the schedule and it hasn’t started to snow yet. So, don’t worry, yet. There have been no new signs of any roof leaks either.

Mr. Red T Rodent Es-squirrel hasn’t been seen or positively heard from all day. Maybe when we saw him, he saw us and thought, “Oh, it’s those people again.” He might be planning on coming back later, after we’re gone. Unless the wind stops blowing, we might not hear him again anyway, it covers a host of sins. 

Captain Midnight

Captain Midnight

That’s my new nickname for my nemesis this summer, also-known-as the squirrel. A good villain needs a good name. I’ve been unsuccessful so far with capturing this criminal mastermind, who is guilty of trespassing, vandalism and disturbing the peace, but I have dealt several devastating blows to his crime syndicate by knocking off his minions. I’m speaking of mice here. I’ve rat trapped three and all in the loft, which makes me wonder how many are scurrying around on the main floor? Fortunately, none as of yet have attempted to play pinochle on my snout.

Actually, Captain Midnight comes from a long running adventure series that began on radio in the thirties, graduated to serial movie shorts in the forties and ended up as a TV series in the fifties. I watched a few of the movie shorts and they are cheesy enough to bait a rat trap with. Cheese? I’ll try that next.

I did put two more mousetraps out, but I’m not sure that I baited them correctly. These are conventional spring-loaded traps. I don’t think that the new traps that look like roach motels are working at all.

And no the water on the clock is not from the roof leak, it’s PhotoShop. After all the rain it was very humid and the weather service had issued us a heat warning. Coming from Saint Louis though we just laughed. You call this hot?

In related roof news, just before bedtime, we heard a huge noise. No it wasn’t Captain Midnight related, but a huge birch branch had fallen on the porch roof and then landed on the ground. There was no wind, so maybe it was hung up from before? This morning we cut it up and added it to the new birch woodpile. There are several more such branches that have been broken off, but still remain high in the tree. These other branches aren’t larger than the one that fell.

Partly Sunny

Partly Cloudy

Saturday was a hot, humid and breezy day. I think that the high point of the day came when Anne and I waded the short end of the beach. It was in the heat of the afternoon, but neither Anne nor I were feeling any of that, because we were knee deep in Lake Superior. There was also a pretty stiff wind in our faces that added its extra cooling. Not to mention the Clem Cuddle Hopper look it gave by bending the brim of my hat back. In the grand scheme of things it was really all that warm. It certainly wasn’t Saint Louis hot. Although Canada has put out a heat warning.

You do get a workout pushing water for a while. When I was younger, I always used to poo-poo this wading as exercise. It was then popular with the older generation. Now that I am a member of the older generation, I can better appreciate its efficacy. Still, it was a cooling way to workout.

In the evening we enjoyed a delightful video, Troop Zero on Amazon. Its been out for a while now, but this is its perfect venue and Anne was the perfect movie date. Set in 1977 Georgia, it follows a misfit band of children who want to join the Birdies, read Bluebirds of Campfire Girls fame. Their leader played by rising talent Mckenna Grace wants to join, because the prize for winning their annual jamboree is a spot on the gold record that the satellite Voyager will carry out of our solar system. Jimmy Carter was president then. In her youth Anne tried the Bluebirds, but it didn’t take. What if she had found her own Troop Zero?

Sunday dawned with the distant rumble of thunder. Heralding a rain that entrained to become a flash-flood, even here at the cabin. The roof leak returned, this time with a vengeance. I put a towel down that Anne soon replaced with a bucket. Looks like about a quart in it now. No wind this time like when it last leaked, so we definitely need a new roof.

Green Tunnel Road Underwater

Infrastructure Week! Road commission meeting today, just in time to see the creeks rise after 2+” of rain today. The mosquitoes are going to get a whole lot more fierce. I bowed out, but Anne went. The long and short of it is that they’re going to do the work in the fall, long after I’m gone.

The squirrel is still around, but not much new to report. I think we need a new strategy. Otherwise the squirrel is going to run out the clock. Any ideas?

Flamboyant

Brilliant Royal Poinciana (Flamboyant)

Picture sour cream and onion dip, but instead of dipping with potato chips, imagine chicken cutlets flattened and broiled to the consistency and shape of crispy thick homestyle chips. Snack food served up as the main course. To aid with this delicious deception the thoroughly hammered chicken is covered with panko, but not just any old panko, but a spicy barbecue variety. Anne found this recipe from the New York Times, printed it and then handed it off to me. It really was quite easy to fix and made for a new and unusual dish and let’s face it, my cooking repertoire could use some shaking up from time-to-time.

Our marching campaign has continued unabated, walking daily to get us some exercise and also to get us out of the house, at least for a little while. This being the short weekend, more people are also out and about. Making social distancing more of a challenge than on those long weekend days. Not to worry though, we just switch sides of the street or if both sides are already taken, we then walk down the middle of the road. Add to this almost drunken wobble is our search for shade. June is warm enough that crossing the street for better shade is a thing to do. In the end, we ping-pong back and forth adding dozens of extra steps to what would have been the straight and narrow.

We watched the new murder mystery Knives Out. This somewhat tongue-in-cheek whodunit sports an all star cast, all wrapped up in a Victorian mansion. It features Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc, with his atrocious attempt at a southern accent that makes him come across more like an Inspector Clouseau rather than a Hercule Poirot. In the end the movie is less an exercise in guessing who the guilty party is, not the least because during its theatrical release earlier this year its director Rian Johnson let loose with a major spoiler or two. Not only did he let loose with a clue on his own movie, but he also outed what had been an unofficial trade secret of the film industry. It turns out that Apple has no problem with movies using their products as props, so long as the characters who are using them are good people. Apple doesn’t want baddies being seen with their iPhones. To this end, I kept scanning the movie, looking for anytime a cell phone was used. As it turned out that wasn’t really necessary at all.