December 2014

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January,   February,   March,   April,   May,   June,   July,   August,   September,   October,   November,   December

The Nones of  
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly, I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Leonore --
For the rare and radiant maiden who the angels name Lenore --
Nameless here for evermore.

-- Edgar Allen Poe (1845)

Edgar's poem begins at midnight on a "dreary" December night, not unlike tonight. A storm is brewing and eventually a Raven, supposedly seeking refuge from the storm, enters the narrator's chamber through a window. After that, the mood of the Narrator deteriorates rather rapidly. The tone of the poem is mournful, melancholic.......even plaintive. The Narrator, already stricken with grief before the Raven stepped in, slowly gets worse until a form of madness sets in. As I type, it's about midnight and I just read that poem for the many-eth time in my life. Ya know, because of the cold, the long hours of darkness, the nearness to the end of the year, holiday blues, etc, etc, etc, a few days of being alone this time of the year can do that to a person.......if he isn't careful.

PS:   Did you know that the above poem is the reason that the Baltimore NFL team is known as the Ravens?
December 2nd   It was 5 above zero this morning, 12 below zero yesterday morning, and still what the Farmer's Almanac calls "mild"(!?). It appears to be warming up a little bit anyway. The ice has been moaning and groaning and popping and snapping and booming and cracking for quite some time now.......I love it! There are now three ice fishing houses on LBL.
December 3rd   The Swallows fly at midnight!
December 4th   The ice in the area where the front porch normally sits is just a tad short of 11 inches thick at the moment. Last winter, which was very cold, it was only 12 inches thick on January 9th. I don't have very good records on the subject but I believe this is the thickest I've measured this early in December. The norm would be 4 to 8 inches.......and in some years the lake wasn't even totally frozen yet.
December 5th   We've had a little snow on the ground since November 9th, but not very much. If we don't get another foot or so soon, the guys who work for Scooter's Septic Service will all buy new boats and pick-ups next spring.
December 6th   It's a tad below zero this morning and we've had several of these already this fall. A year ago tonight the temperature dropped to 27 below zero and we had temps of between 20 and 30 below zero (and often colder) virtually every night for the next few months. It was a cold cold winter and it would be nice not to have a repeat of that this year. By the way, a 5th ice fishing house appeared on LBL yesterday.
Pearl Harbor
I see this sort of thing occasionally and I never really know how to interpret it. You can't see it very well in the photograph to begin with, and the lines obscure it even more (click HERE) but this is a possible explanation. Incidentally, the picture was taken from my living room window:
  • Some critter (appearing to be a rabbit) came around the house going toward the lake, then turned and headed south (left to right in the picture) along the sidewalk between the house and the lake (the red line).
  • Another critter (the tracks look sort of like those of a cat, but who knows?) was "walking" from the lake toward the house (the blue line).
  • Suddenly the rabbit (if that's what it was) took a left turn toward the "cat-like" tracks, then immediately did an about-face and, at a faster pace, headed toward the house and then around south side of it going west (the red line again).
  • In the same area, the cat-like creature appears to have broken into a run (the blue line again) and the two sets of tracks are intermingled for several yards until I can't follow them anymore due other tracks, mostly human.
As I said above, the red line follows the rabbit tracks and the blue line follows the other tracks. I don't know if they were made at the same time (but the direction and apparent pace of both sets of tracks appear to have changed near the same spot) nor do I know how to interpret them even if they did. If they were a cat (or whatever it was) and a rabbit why would they have been chasing each other? One of the problems is that I didn't discover the tracks until they were old and somewhat eroded.

Happy 7th anniversary to Florio's Grill and Tavern in Cohasset.
December 8th   The annual LBLR Company Christmas Party, ie, drinks and munchies for the cleaning ladies and their spouses, was yesterday afternoon. The attendees were Tara, Cindy, and Sandy (Monica couldn't make it) along with their spouses Milo, Dave, and George (and of course me as the 7th usual). Click HERE.
St. Ann's Day   In the winter of 2011/2012 I used the snowblower for the first time on January 25th, and even then the snow wasn't very deep. It's beginning to look like this year may be similar. I certainly hope not.
December 10th   An old English Proverb says that "A fair day in winter is the mother of a storm", and we have some fair days just ahead of us, as per the weatherman anyway. Of course it's not quite winter yet either. Does that make a difference, do you suppose?

Yesterday was St. Ann's Day. Have you started you Holiday Lutefisk yet?
December 11th   You notice a lonely but peaceful sort of silence when you walk through the woods in the wintertime.......a muffled kind of quiet. It's not all that different than what you experience when you walk across the lake on a cold winter night, even though one is an "enclosed" feeling and one is an "exposed" feeling. In both cases, you want to stop walking, even stop breathing, to savor the silence. Click HERE.
December 12th   I have nothing to say.
The Ides of
December (Saint  
Lucy's Day)
I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night's festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.

-- John Donne, A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy's Day, Being the Shortest Day (circa 1617)

Besides being the Ides of December this is also Saint Lucy's Day, which is important for two reasons:
  • Saint Lucy's day was long thought to be the longest night of the year, and back in the 1300s it actually was. Even in Donne's time it was within a day or two of being the longest night of the year. That all changed with the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, which occurred somewhere between 1582 and 1918 depending on where you lived. Britain and her Colonies (which included the New World) made the change in September of 1752, nearly a hundred and fify years after Donne wrote that mournful poem, thus causing the longest night to occur several days after Saint Lucy's Day. At that time Benjamin Franklin wrote: It is pleasant for an old man to go to bed on September 2nd, and not have to get up until September 14th.

  • More importantly, today is the traditional day for one to enjoy Swedish Gl�gg and Saint Lucy's Buns. Click on the links to see the recipes.
December 14th   But for the presence of a calendar, one would think that it's the middle of April rather than the middle of December. A year ago we were waking up to temperatures in the 20s below zero; this morning it was almost 40 above zero. The Farmer's Almanac says "sunny, then snowy periods, seasonable", when actually it has been dark and dreary, there is no snow, and it's unseasonably warm. Are you loving this Jamie?
December 15th See December 12th (above).
December 16th   None of these ski tracks were made by me, but it's good to see them nonetheless. Maybe I'll make my own tomorrow. We'll see. Click HERE.
December 17th   Happy Hanukkah, which began at sunset last evening.
December 18th I said this a few years ago but now is a good time to repeat it. If you visit Grand Rapids often then you already know this, but if not, here's an easy way to save money. When you come to Grand Rapids (which includes Cohasset and Deer River) always fill up with gas before you get here.......and when you leave here, always try to have just enough gas in your tank to get to the next town (ie, arrive with a full tank and leave with an empty tank). It has been my experience over the years that almost 100 percent of the time the price of gas in Grand Rapids, Cohasset, and Deer River is the the hightest in the state and it's the same price at all the stations. No matter which direction you go from here (north, south, east, or west), the price of gas will go down; sometimes only a penny but sometimes 10 or 15 cents. You'd be astonished at how much money I've saved over the last 20 years by following that simple rule.

PS: No one, but no one, is stronger on "buying local" than I am. Even if the price is lower somewhere else, I still advocate buying local. BUT (and this is a big BUT), when a group of local gas station owners over many years continues to "rip off" the local population for no other reason than the fact that they can get away with it, they don't deserve our loyalty.
December 19th
        Wine flies when you're having fun.      
December 20th Here's something you can't see from LBLR in the summertime: a sunset. Click HERE.

Just for the record: This morning I blew snow for the first time this fall. There wasn't much, but it needed to be done.
The winter
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way for the darkness soon to come.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way for the world to go cold and lifeless.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way for the longest night of the year.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way for the sun to return one day, bringing with it the glorious light.
-- Patti Wigington

Happy Winter Solstice to one and all!!!!!   (And Happy Birthday to Colleen as well.)
December 22nd   Even though it has been unseasonably warm recently, the ice thickness has increased by two inches over the past two and a half weeks. It's now up to 13 inches.

17 Swans flew over LBL in two separate flocks within a few minutes of each other this morning. One was headed Northeast and the other Northwest. What's up with that, I'm wondering.
December 23rd   Skiing is not possible anywhere now, not even on the lake. Look at this mess. Click HERE.
Christmas Eve   Most places in the state are having a brown Christmas Eve, but Christmas Eve is nice whatever the weather.
Christmas Day   A happy Christmas it is that can give us back the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!
-- Charles Dickens (1843)
Boxing Day   A good day for that's what Deb and I did. Fuu-uun!!!
December 27th   Snow last night for you down-staters, but here we sit.......with nothing.
December 28th   Back in the deep freeze again, but not all that bad and not for long (as per the weatherman). The Farmer's Almanac says it will be "snowy and very cold" for the rest of the year. Those two things don't usually go together, but COME ON SNOW!
December 29th   Last September Linda Aaker sent me a picture of the sunrise on the fall equinox on her street in Onida, South Dakota. A few days ago she sent me a picture, taken from the same place and direction, of the sunrise on the winter solstice. It's interesting to see how far the sun migrated to the south in those three short months. Click HERE. Thanks Linda.
December 30th   No comment.
New Year's Eve   Good bye, Old Year!
And with thee take
Thanks for the gifts to every land
Thou broughtest in thy bounteous hand,
And all that thou hast taught to hearts thy
Lingering steps forsake.

                    -- Bessie Rayner Parkes (circa 1855)

On this evening it is befitting to offer a simple toast (or two), hence:
Here's to the past (clink!).......and here's to the future (clink!).

Click here to see the other months in 2014:
January,   February,   March,   April,   May,   June,   July,   August,   September,   October,   November,   December

Click HERE to see the Chronicles for other years.

Click HERE to go to the LBLR Home Page.

If you have any questions or if you'd like something mentioned here, send me an e-mail and let me know.