Navigating

We leave for Seguin Island Lighthouse sometime over the next few days. Initial plan was Tues but by late last week, I started to watch the weather and saw strong north winds and high seas in the forecast. It still looks that way until at least late Wednesday.

This is the way it goes. We have been island caretakers for five different islands and they all have their sweet spot. North winds don’t work for Seguin because they create waves onto the rocky beach. We learned that over the years. Our first time here, the skies were blue and crisp, looked beautiful, but it came with a north wind. We waited a week.

Baker’s Island has an exposed beach and a rocky landing. Especially fun with cats. For many reasons, including the fact we don’t currently have any, we no longer travel with cats.

Shirley, Baker’s Island

Deal Island, Tasmania, in the Bass Strait, was the roughest. There’s always a west wind and you pound into waves for four hours from the east unless you catch a plane. The boat ride off island has always been lovely.

Protection Island, Washington and Five Finger Lighthouse had tides to contend with. We could only leave on a medium tide in Protection and Alaska had 25 foot tide changes so no boat could anchor nearby, it was a scramble on and off the rocks.

Alaska ferry
Alaska Quest

So while I have coffee at home in the Adirondacks, where there has been frost on the ground every morning, I check the weather update and contemplate another wet boat ride. It’s always worth it.

Transition

We are getting ready to head to Seguin Island Lighthouse for a couple of weeks. I conscientiously enlisted a Catsitter to watch cute little Elli.

Tim went backpacking for a couple of nights and while he was gone she died unexpectedly. Healthy during the day, dead overnight. Life is like that.

Because it’s so close to our departure, the catsitter has become a housesitter and they are still coming (which means I still have to clean the fridge).

They won’t have to cook for him, whose call is , “who cooks for you”, but I came across this beauty in our backyard. He was hanging out on a branch near an owl house made for a much smaller owl.

I just stood with him quietly in the woods very peacefully.

Fall is in the air. This tree’s color popped out at me.

Colors haven’t changed in the hills yet.

Nor at ye olde homestead with the cutest sheshedbeeshed, which still needs a foundation skirt and interior shelving.

I see kitten(s) in our future. (Don’t tell Tim).

Imagine

I am starting to see things again. Not woowoo visions but interpreting reality a little differently. It is mostly centered around bees at the moment. On Deal Island, in the past, the rock formations spoke to me.

When I had to make the decision of which way to hang the door on the bee-shed, this knot made the decision for me.

You have to admit you see a bee flying at you. So the door went up and the shed is finished. My “weekend” project took three months and ran behind schedule and over budget. But it provided hours of learning and much welcomed activity as we moved in and out of PAUSE. I may have a little post construction depression (PCD).

It’s easy to see why because it is the cutest shed I ever built. Tim gave me some bee decor for our 14th wedding anniversary and it is the perfect finishing touch.

Now the bees are sending me their own message. Something about a dog.

My daughter lacked the vision but here it is.

Lake boat

When we sold our last sailboat, Tim thought he was free of boats but I had a vision of dragging a small boat around the Adirondacks and zipping around in its many lakes. Sparky met the bill – small, a little funky, cute as a button, and reliable. She is a 50 year old Starcraft Sprint with her original Mercury 50 outboard. She has already outlasted one truck. Now Eddie takes her for her rides (Eddie because he is an Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer, 33 years her junior).

If anyone can replace a windshield on Sparky, please let me know.

She has been in at least 10 lakes with us. Yesterday we ventured to northern Lake George from Rogers Rock campground. It was a perfect day, warm, sunny and not crowded except for two loons that got a little close.

We dropped anchor off Vicars Island and Tim swam his usual mile, I did a little less and while I procrastinated getting in the water, they swam close and started singing. What a treat.

I swam for a bit then clambered back aboard (actually the hardest part of the swim because the ladder leans into the V- hull), and lounged on the pull out seat.

We wrapped it (and perhaps summer) up with soft serve ice cream. Just what I dreamed.

Ins and outs, ups and downs

I asked my grandson to draw me a maze. Oh ye of little faith. Needless to say I cracked the code.

My bees go in and out of their hive through a 1 inch entrance. The small opening helps them maintain the hive temperature in the 90’s. Looks like there will be a line to get in later.

Tim invited me to join him on a camping trip in the mountains. Weather forecast was favorable (and he couldn’t find anyone else to join him) so I said why not.

The weather was perfect. We had a leisurely hike in to our campsite. I stopped and smelled the roses, or all the funghi at work in the damp woods.

The next day we planned to bushwhack (bushbash in AU) up a small mountain with beautiful views of the High Peaks.

Anyone remember Gilligan Island’s “three hour tour”? It began with me belly flopping on a stream crossing. I cried “ girl down” but no real harm was done.

Then came the uphill bushbash. Our little hike lasted 9 hours! I was poked, scratched and snagged and my sweater was in tatters by the end of the day. The views were quite nice though for the few moments we enjoyed it.

We slept well that night. The next morning we got our creaky bones moving and hiked up to a place called Summit Rock with a nice ledge to rest after scrambling over and between boulders, some as large as a car.

We saw two sets of rock climbers dangling from these cliffs.

Then we returned to our campsite, had a cup of coffee and hiked out just before dark. We covered 22 miles and I have the battle scars to show for it.

And here is my view sitting in the comfort of my living room chair at home.

Gotta go up and down, in and out for the fun of it.

Close the door

One of my Covid projects is almost complete. My she shed, bee shed, which I could have purchased for way less than I spent to build, is almost complete. I am $1600 in the hole but have learned so much if I want to build another or perhaps a tiny house.

It has a window but still needs a door.

It keeps the rain out so I have already started storing things in it.

Hive equipment fits nicely and my tools and work gloves spent a few nights nice and dry in the shed. But some critter decided to hang out there as well and thought my work glove was a good dinner.

So I guess I have to get around to closing things up. Trim is now up, waiting to be stained and then the door. Woohoo.

Most importantly it has kept me out of trouble and made the days go by quickly.

Fall is just around the corner. I hope to get at least one frame of honey from my bees this year before I tuck them in for the winter.

While we camped…

Covid hit our small rural community’s nursing home. I checked my messages before climbing into my sleeping bag and my son told me there were 24 new cases. My town has about 1000 people so that is significant. Today the number is in the 40’s and three people have died. We personally are back to shutdown.

This cloud descended this morning at home.

While we were still oblivious we enjoyed a kayak camping trip. We found a great island site, swam, parked, sat by the fire, and dined on freeze dried delights.

In preparation for camping this summer, I bought a new Coleman fold n go camp stove but I cannot recommend it. One of the ignitors failed (don’t tell them but I finally fixed it myself) and I am not getting anywhere with their warranty department. A month goes by before I get an email response. I received this today.

Joelyn at Coleman? Come on, this has to be made up. Who else works there? Roman? Herman? Roland? We’ll see next month.

Get out of town

After five months at home, I finally took two trips to see my kids. Luckily they are both sort of drivable. I tried to remain dehydrated for the long drives to reduce pit stops. I brought all my food from home so I would not need to shop. Both are located in low infection rate regions. When I returned from my visit with the grandkids I holed up (down) in the basement for two weeks to social distance from Tim.

For some reason, it was still acceptable for me to cook for us on the grill or my outdoor Coleman stove. I couldn’t have done this in winter.

I still had plenty to keep me busy at home. My sheshed is coming along. The trim tidied it up and the roof is shingled – on the hottest day of the year.

My bees weren’t happy with the heat. They are doing well, best I can tell, and defending the hive. Look at this invader they killed. I still don’t know what it is. Maybe a carpenter bee? Definitely not a murder hornet.

I’ve had two stings, both times because a bee got caught in my clothing. Made me wonder if naked beekeeping is a thing.

Chipmunks seem to be all over the place and I’m usually greeted by a few critters on my drive to work.

It looks to me like a seahorse made its way up to cabin and left its mark in the dew.

These seagulls were keeping their distance at the beach. So nice to be near the ocean with the sea breeze and waves. Kids are playing in the sand as if all is well with the world. Let’s hope so.

My garden grows

I haven’t had this much time at home to focus on my garden in a long time. And it has paid off. I’m sure the bees helped too.

Our apple tree is even producing misshapen apples.

I have two more days left of basement living to complete 14 days of social distancing. Quite a few grasshoppers were trying to join me there.

I sent them packing.

Here we are

And so lucky to be where we are.

Pause continues and now I am living in the basement for a couple of weeks. It is well worth it though. I snuck out to see two of my grand darlings who live a long drive away. Now I keep Tim safe by keeping my distance. I don’t know when I will see the little ones again because after my visit they resumed day care for everyone’s mental health.

Thank goodness the weather is nice. It’s like camping. I have a cooler in the basement and a Coleman stove set up in the porch.

And there is plenty to do. My wildflower field has finally taken and the pollinators visit often.

My veggie garden never looked so good and there is always the shed to work on. Tim helped me with the roofing panels. Next step is to shingle it. I have to learn how to “snap” a straight line. I hope trim covers all my measuring and cutting errors. As my daughter the engineer told me, “Little bit a caulk, little bit of paint, make a painter what he is and carpenter what he ain’t”. Love it.

The little boat brings much joy. We have explored several lakes with it. An island camping trip was jinxed and cancelled, but we took a day trip yesterday to Upper Saranac Lake instead. We found a great bay to swim in and the weather was perfect.

We’ve been swimming about a mile every other day. Great tension reliever. I have an mp3 player that works in water that I love to listen to.

This island had one building, a chapel. Boat access only.

Our outing was followed by a sandwich from our favorite deli, curbside pickup only, and a soft serve ice cream enjoyed at this park.

The drive home was regaled with a full moon rising over the mountains. I am enjoying all the outdoors because I don’t intend to gather indoors until vaccines become available. In the meantime, as my new hero Dr. Fauci says clearly and often, avoid crowds, wear a mask and wash your hands.