Baragastan

Beaver dam close to our house.
Beaver dam close to our house.

We are now installed in our house in Alberta,  Baraga County, which I called Baragastan in one of the Woods Cop Books. having gotten here a week ago Sunday, and only in last day or so been able to establish WiFi. Still no reliable phone coverage, but MTU allegedly building their own tower this summer. We shall see. Beautiful spot in the hills about 8 mile south of L’Anse, an old Henry Ford sawmill, which the Ford Motor Company gifted to Michigan Tech in 1954. The 60th anniversary of that will be celebrated this summer, sheer serendipity that we are here for it. I have signed contracts for the next collection of short stories, Harder Ground, to come out next spring. And contracts for republication of TAXI DANCER, THE BERKUT, and THE DOMINO CONSPIRACY, all of which should show up in the next 18 months or so, and  with that, Globe-Pequot/Lyons will be the publisher of all my stuff.  This September will see publication of Bapat #2, MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN. Next Grady Service, #10, to be out fall of 2015. So right now I am busy with the next Woods Cop book, working title of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY and having great fun with it. Got 30,000 words done before we came up here, and am now in mid-book range of telling the story. Every day we get out to explore. Lonnie walks Shaksper and I amble the hills and the cricks and hollows checking brookie water for when the waters recede. This is absolutely beautiful country. With a brook trout lake and creek on the property and the Sturgeon River a mile or so south of us with trails through the woods or via US 41. It’s occurred to me that most Americans see too much from vehicles, and having a view of something at 55-75 mph is not the same as hiking carefully and slowly up into the hills where you are engulfed by natural smells and sounds. Liesl Schillinger in the NYt on May 11 wrote, “Travel by foot leaves and imprint on the memory, and slows down time for a precious moment to associate with little known creatures,” She may have attributed this to trekker-hiker Helen Thayer; my notes are cloudy on the attribution. Surprise. My handwriting, never good, grows progressively worse. Here we are, with all our stuff put away and now we have to make a run to Noobs to get the rest out of storage. This will happen tomorrow. So far we are quite happy here. Last Saturday we drove over to Marquette for Snowbound Books’s 30th anniversary shindig, only an hour away AND we saw our first moose of summer on the way home. What follows is a gallery of photos from the area for your viewing pleasure, all of these taken over past few days, most of them this afternoon during a two-hour hike. My friend and former lacrosse teammate and linemate David P. Wagner will have his second Rick Montoya Italian Mystery will be out in September. The title is DEATH IN THE DOLOMITES. Lon is reading it now and I get it next. Dave is a terrific writer and his series is a winner with a memorable background. Having lived in Italy as a kid, I’m probably  prejudiced. Look for it from Poisoned Pen Press this fall. Promo aside, the gallery follows No particular order. I’ll be posting pictures all summer and soon hope to have some brook trout to display. Over.

David P. Wagner's Second Rick Montoya Italian Mystery, Death in the Dolomites.
David P. Wagner’s Second Rick Montoya Italian Mystery, Death in the Dolomites.
Our house and the buds mean blackflies are not far behind.
Our house and the buds mean blackflies are not far behind.
Eagle shroom
Eagle shroom
Fine evidence of something ahead.
Fine evidence of something ahead.
More evidence
More evidence
Evidence to keep me moving downstream.
Evidence to keep me moving downstream.
Beaver dam several miles up into the hills, one of a string of them.
Beaver dam several miles up into the hills, one of a string of them.
Keweenaw Bay still has some ice but this is the best fishing of the year.
Keweenaw Bay still has some ice but this is the best fishing of the year.

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Chuckles of the rockpile
Chuckles of the rockpile
A nearby stream.
A nearby stream.
Rocky country, careful walking required.
Rocky country, careful walking required.
Woody debris, cover for trout.
Woody debris, cover for trout.
Fish hotel
Fish hotel
The scream, as interpreted by a pileated.
The scream, as interpreted by a pileated.
Da Scream, close-up.
Da Scream, close-up.