Snow here and there

I left Tim in Maine to shovel out wet, sloppy snow. I had my own work to contend with back in the Adirondacks. The northeaster hit us worse than Maine and we got about another foot of dry powdery snow, which landed on top of about 8 inches of crusted snow. I returned to work for a couple of days, but the storm shortened my work day and lengthened my time at home.

We have someone plowing our driveway but with no thought as to how one would navigate the mountains he creates. I spent a good amount of time getting reacquainted with the snow blower and wore a hole in one of my gloves that I now have to darn, darn.

I created only the paths I needed to navigate to the garage, the woodpile, the electric meter and the propane fill. And did some hand digging as well. It looks like a rabbit warren now. And I spent a lot of time jockeying cars around. I was too tired from my second vaccine to ski and a snowshoe to the cabin plum tuckered me. But it was beautiful.

The night before I left, the local coyotes were in full force. I decided to wait until morning to load my car!

Coyotes in the field, although they sound like they are in the driveway

My trip back through the Green Mountains of Vermont was spectacular, if not a little nerve wracking on the mountain road that winds along the river. The trees were completely white but I was not in a mood to stop and photograph them.

Now I am back and happily ensconced in our townhouse in Acadia. Tim left some shoveling for me, so sweet.

My phone played a cruel trick on me this week and reminded me of lovely Deal Island in Tasmania, where it never snows!

How can this bee?

It’s cold in the northern Adirondacks, -15 degrees F this morning with about a foot of dry snow on the ground. My bee hive was prepped for this before I abandoned it and went to Maine for most of the winter.

The tilted cover shielding the entrance prevented the snow from blocking it off. Miraculously, I listened with my stethoscope and they are buzzing and humming inside there. How can it be? They are maintaining a temperature of 90 degrees in a small cluster. What a wonder!

Speaking of stethoscopes, I received my second Moderna vaccine and I know I mounted an immune response. I slept for 16 hours the following day. Well worth it. The one time, other than childbirth, I was happy to feel crook.

Happy cows?

I wonder which one produced this albino calf? I thought it was a sheep at first glance.

There and back

I committed to return home to work a couple of days a month. I should be committed. It has taken ten days of travel and quarantine and three Covid tests to work two days. Needless to say, I won’t be working in January in the hope that travel restrictions may eventually ease again, they have to right?

Before heading home, we took a lovely hike in Acadia proper, around Lake Juniper and up the South Bubble. It included a at least a half mile or more of “board” walk. There was a lovely bridge around the inflow/outflow?

Beaver activity was evident.

Pacman tree

There were some rocks to climb at the end, as there always are, and the views were spectacular.

South Bubble, Acadia National Park

We drove by the Thunder Hole, but the tide wasn’t quite right. We heard little burps instead but will return again two hours before the high tide. A low cave captures air and then releases it in a burst of sound when conditions are right.

This is one of the few working boats we have seen since we arrived in Maine.

There were some gnarly trees along the way.

Determined to take root

We returned home to one of my better quiches. I don’t have power tools in the apartment in Maine so I made a pie crust by grating the butter. It was pretty crisp.

Then I hit the road for the eight hour journey home. The ride went by fast, as I drove through the White Mountains of NH and the Green Mountains of Central VT to arrive home to our mountains in the Adks.

To my shock and dismay, critters quickly moved in. When the cat’s away… This porcupine came lumbering out from under my front porch. I think he thought he was invisible by ducking his head on the other side of the tree he climbed.

He left plenty of sign: footprints all over the deck and some scat!

We had problems with mice in Eddie, our 2004 Ford Explorer, all fall. I had to replace Eddie’s battery this trip (in 8 below 0 temp) and checked the glove box where I had placed a dryer sheet, to dissuade the mice. A few droppings but…they had eaten the plysplit woven key holder I had left in the car. It was shredded and unwoven.

While I did my laundry, I looked for the handwoven bag that holds the clothes pins. I found it in the outside basement alcove, also eaten.

As I reflect on it, this must mean my textiles have good taste, or at least taste good. I cut away the shredded part of the bag and put it back in the alcove in case it comes in handy for a mouse house.

Pregaming

My to do list is done. I set some crazy goals before we headed to our new volunteer gig at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park.

I finished: two more quilts for grand children and one for a friend’s wedding; a lace shawl that had been in the works for two years; hats for coworkers’ kids; and a few woven scarves. The scarves were really a test to see if I wanted to bring the table loom to Maine. I did and did.

As usual, I spent about ten days getting projects together to bring with me and half a day to pick out and pack my clothes.

And we’ve moved into our new quarters. All is well. Today we picked up a humongous order of groceries and took a look around. We can hear the waves crashing from the apartment. We took a hike that almost caused a panic attack when I had to climb down steep, wet rocks, right in our backyard, a National Park!!

We’re downeast, as many of the business names remind us, but nowhere is isolated enough from COVID-19. We had negative tests before arriving in Maine but another Park worker is in quarantine due to exposure so we have our first week off to explore.

Time to make the pizza

We took a nice walk in the woods last week to Boreas Pond. The road was washed out in the same storm that knocked out our bridge. This meant we had to walk the whole 13.5 miles round trip. It was a beautiful day, so why not?

At the pond, we were greeted by circles of ice and a zeppelin cloud floating overhead. We enjoyed lunch and napped before heading out. The ice and snow we had to contend with on the way in had melted but we were no faster leaving. Couldn’t make a pizza that night because it takes a couple of hours to get the embers just right and the oven hot enough.

It will be a beautiful place to explore by kayak next year if we don’t have to portage the 13 miles!

Last night I made pizza in the oven I built a few years ago. Nothing better. Sun sets at 4:30 so I cooked by headlamp and may have been a little giddy.

The pizza cooks in 90 seconds and is fun to watch. I used my telescope while I waited for the fire to be ready.

Actually I was making sure the whole structure didn’t burn down because flames were licking the outside of the oven. I have a laser thermometer and although the oven floor was 800 degrees f, the roof didn’t get hotter than 140.

One day I will line up things to bake: bread, pie, roast, with one fire. One day.

And then he said this,

“Oma, when will you come to my house so you can sleep with me and have a campout?” And just like that, I’m crushed. I don’t know when…

So I try to distract myself instead and make things and take long walks in the woods. I’m completing a batch of quilts for the grand darlings now that they all sleep in their own beds, even if it lets them wander in the night.

Shark quilt
Elli inspecting a quilt top

And a couple for the adults as well.

Just like I “read” two books at a time (one is an audiobook), I generally have about three projects in the works: a quilt, something on the loom and a project on my knitting needles for the evenings while we watch movies.

Tencel scarf on the table loom
Hands spun, hand knit scarf

We leave soon for the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park for the winter. What to bring, what to bring? I’m not talking about clothing. We’ll have boots, skis and snowshoes. Oh and a bathing suit to wear in the local pool. That’s always easy.

Which of my many fiber tools? Always knitting needles. Perhaps my portable table loom with premeasured warps? Or a sewing machine? And what about my spinning wheel? Oh my.

This is the first time we can drive to a caretaker gig and it boggles my mind. No dry bags, no dinghies, no planes. I may need limits.

Feeling the love

We remain pretty isolated at home. Our location makes it easy.

A view of home from above

Except for campfires with 2-4 people, we don’t see anyone. Entertaining at a fire is one of those times it’s best to shower afterwards. Interesting concept.

Even from afar, my grandchildren’s light shines on us. After my cat Elli died, I received the sweetest sympathy card, complete with a paper cat puppet.

And I’ve been featured in show and tell. “O” is for Oma and “Q” is for the Quilt with a lighthouse Oma made.

“Q” is for the quilt Oma made

Makes my heart sing.

On island

We left the deer at home to finish eating the rest of my garden. They’ll have to pass on the geraniums though. These came from Seguin at the end of a season a few years ago.

Tim suggested we drive through the White Mountains to Maine. Then he took a nap. He woke up for the hairpin turn of the Kancamagus highway.

We enjoyed a leisurely drive and made it to Bath, ME in time for my French zoom class. I am confident Canada will let us back in one day…It was fun to have a little time to roam the town.

As predicted the wind lied down by Thurs and we took our favorite lobsterman’s boat with our gear and food to the island. The new Yeti cooler performed as advertised.

Getting the gear up the hill is always a chore but Cyndy from Friends of Seguin Island helped and it went easier than I remember. Maybe it was a good plan to backpack and build up legs prior to this trip.

And here we are.

This year, through individual contributions, Friends of Seguin Island raised more than $100,000 to convert to solar energy. And it works, even in this foggy spot.

The Island had the same caretakers for the last two seasons, Debbie and Chris, and they kept it in great shape and made several major improvements: a spanking new generator shed for the spanking new generator; a plank walkway in the North trail’s swamp; a new interesting trail and a new bench on it. . Some of this was done last summer, when the electric cable failed and they had to run a generator 4 hours a day. Hats off!

Here’s to a few more beautiful sunsets in my happy place.

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).