09 October 2019

Back To Blogger

When I started blogging, well over a decade ago, I really enjoyed learning all aspects of the use of social media. I had the two blogs, each with their own corresponding Facebook page, a linked Twitter account, you name it. I spent quite a bit of time trying to grow my audience, teaching myself the use of analytics, and actively participated in the blogging community. Our circumstances at the time were a bit challenging to put it mildly, and acquiring new skills, as well as writing the posts themselves, made for great, not to mention cheap, therapy.

Over time my need for therapy diminished, and with it the number of blog posts, until eventually it all fizzled out. Purchasing the two miner's homes in the UP, however, renewed the urge to write and keep you abreast of our Yooper adventures. What I don't have the time for this time around, nor the inclination, is expanding my social media skills. Due to some Blogger issues last year, I ended up purchasing a Wordpress blog and a new domain. But to be honest, I am not happy with it. I don't like how it looks, I don't know how it works, and I just don't care enough to do something about it. I overcame my Blogger troubles so I moved the handful of Wordpress posts over and am calling it a day.

I am not sure if I am going to keep the blogs' Facebook pages going. They only exist to call attention to new posts. And for that I can use my personal Facebook page just as easy. These updates go remarkably well with posts about the kid and the cat, some random funny videos and memes, and the occasional demonstration of intense displeasure with the lawless grifters that currently occupy the White House. Right?

06 August 2019

Montreal Mining Company - June 2018

We returned to the UP just about every other week last year, to work on the cabins. After cleaning the first one out, we started gutting the inside, focusing on the downstairs. Most of it was lath and plaster which was covered with wood planks in the bar and kitchen, fake wood paneling in the living room, and dodgy sheet-rock in the upstairs bedrooms.


We ripped out the kitchen ceiling, exposing a vaulted ceiling with rough cut rafters. Next we tackled the living room walls. First went the paneling, followed by the ceiling with fake wood beams, and finally the lath. The squirrel that lived in the beams was most displeased with the noise and the dust and decided to move out. It’s quite possible he has moved back in the meantime, but I haven’t seen any evidence of him.


After we cleared the bedrooms of everything but a wood stove, an antique iron bed frame, and a dresser, we set up camp upstairs with cots, blow up mattress pads, and sleeping bags we could leave behind. Once I figured out a semi-permanent solution to keep the mosquitoes out, it was really quite comfy up there. And relatively clean.


To collect all the debris, we had a thirty or forty ton dumpster delivered, I can’t remember the size but it was huge, which we filled up at an alarming speed. We made great big campfires with the wood we cannot reuse, everything else went in the dumpster.


It wasn’t all work and no play, much to Lola’s relief. We finally stopped at the Hanka Homestead, an outdoor museum depicting life of Finnish immigrants in the Upper Peninsula one hundred years ago. We used to drive by it every time we came up from Milwaukee, and it has been on my to-do list forever. It is a very well maintained homestead with several barns and a spring house, looked after by volunteers, and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the neighborhood. Bring bug spray!





29 July 2019

Montreal Mining Company - May 2018

The original idea for the cabins was to fix them both up at the same time, but that turned out to not be financially viable. Instead we focused on the house that was in desperate need of a new roof and siding. For two reasons, really: 1) without a new roof, it would not last much longer, and 2) it had a working wood stove. We contacted a local contractor by the name of Walt to quote us a metal roof and siding, as well as new windows and a driveway.



Unfortunately the price of steel increased substantially between the initial quote and our order. So much in fact, that we decided to change course altogether. We still contracted out the roof because we’re afraid of heights, but are seriously considering doing the rest ourselves. One room at a time, we will remove the old lath and plaster, and put in insulation and tongue and groove planking. New windows, new flooring if needed, and finally new siding, starting with the front because that needs it most.


We butted heads a little on the insulation. Ryan was a big supporter of spray foam insulation, while I felt using fiberglass or foam sheets would allow us to scour CraigsList and save some money. While I agree that spray foam is the superior product, it requires the whole house to be done at once. I was still making my case for fiberglass when I removed the old insulation in the kitchen, encountering a snake nest with live occupants. Needless to say, I instantly saw the light. Spray foam insulation it is.


After the initial cleaning in April, we returned in May to find the snow gone, in its place a lot of previously buried treasures. We discovered a decrepit golf cart, piles and piles of lumber, an unusually large number of utensils, and tons of beer cans and bottles. In short, more to clean up. Cleaning would be the recurring theme for the Summer of 2018. We cleaned the yard, the upstairs, and even the outhouse. We then moved the outhouse further back on the property because it’s just not that great a thing to have in your outdoor sitting area.



We had help. One of Ryan’s high school friends came up to give us a hand, bringing his daughter to keep Lola company while he and Ryan broke up the bunk beds and chucked a dozen mattresses, old chairs, and other random furniture out the window.


Progress is slow, but it is being made. And every now and then we’re getting a glimpse of what it will look like when it’s done.





26 July 2019

Montreal Mining Company - April 2018

I don’t know about you but I prefer my blog posts with photos, especially when reporting on renovation projects. Yet it is those same photos that trip me up. Because pictures need to be selected, downloaded, edited, and when taken with an iPhone, converted to a different file format. And before you know it, a year has passed, and no progress reporting has been done. That doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything, though. On the contrary.


We worked hard on the UP properties last year. Starting in April, we traveled north just about every other weekend, and cleaned our butts off. Moving from Milwaukee to Wausau the year before meant cutting our trip in half, time-wise, bringing it to approximately four hours.

During the month of April, the world was still covered in several feet of snow, making it impossible to drive onto the property. We would park on the road and slip and slide down to houses, with cleaning supplies and wood for the wood burner.


The previous owner was not able to clean out the cabins for health reasons, and he ended up donating almost everything in them to us. While that was a very generous offer, the cabins were mainly used as a guys’ hunting camp and the decor wasn’t quite what we had in mind, with the exception of the log table/bench you see below. It was put there by the miners some 100 years ago and it, and its mate because there are two, is not going anywhere. They are too heavy to carry out so we renovate around them.


We started by cleaning up the bar area. All of the windows need replacing but for now a blanket covers up the cracks. After that we tackled the rest of the downstairs area.







It wasn’t all work and no play, though. All this snow needs to be appreciated while it’s still there.







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