No time to procrastinate

My to do list is getting shorter. We leave in a week to become caretakers at Bass Harbor Head lighthouse. If you are one of the 100,000! people who visit annually, please say hi.

The National Park Service acquired it from the US Coast Guard in 2020 and we will be its first NPS caretakers! Mount Desert Island is technically an island but we can drive there.

Time to clean the fridge. Meals become interesting as we eat through its contents.

Time to finish projects I can’t take with me. Actually, I will take my latest with me in its finished form. Back in March, I started weaving a queen size blanket made of alpaca silk yarn. I planned and calculated but still ran short of yarn 2/3 through and could not find more. I found some similar though, waited for it to be delivered, and made do.

Hot off the loom

I wove about 10 yards of fabric, cut it into three panels and, poof, we have a blanket to take to Maine.

Tim is in full form so I no longer am responsible for EVERYTHING!! Of course, he is already doing too much.

Sparky is sporting a new windshield but won’t be making this trip with us. He is strictly a lake boat. I found a great guy in the north country with a can do attitude and he did it!

We plan to bike the 45+ miles of carriage road in the park and I converted Tim’s bike to fit me, while he had a new recumbent bike delivered to Maine.

My car may look like the Beverly Hillbillies because I also fixed my roof rack just in case.

Off we go.

It’s never the right time

Tim and I have been caretakers in every season and weather around the world. It’s a fabulous life. I have a chance to reflect on this today while I warm up and drink my tea. I just finished snowblowing the homestead after we received an additional 14” of snow. And I may have to do it again.

Tim had a minor procedure and was told, “no heavy lifting”.

Last year, while we were at Schoodic Institute, where our one major task was to hand shovel 20 doorways, he broke his wrist, again. And we got lots of snow….I shoveled.

Two years prior, he broke his wrist in winter…I snowblowed. He had also selected the elm trees he wanted cut down for a future project. After a quick chainsaw refresher lesson, we snowshoed into the woods.,,I chainsawed. We brought them home on a sled, where they dried until he was healed and could build our bed.

It’s becoming a blur to me. Something happened just before we ordered three cords of wood…I stacked. And something else before a hill of sand blocked the road on Deal Island…I shoveled. Maybe his timing is just right! We make the perfect team.

Why island life?

Not just any island, offshore please. Ideally with only two occupants. Yesterday made it perfectly clear to me why I love these opportunities. In between putting up window grates and storing the multitude of benches that now reside here, I stared in awe at the sky as it constantly changed. Black clouds brought a little rain and then moved to the north.

From the vantage point of a hill atop an offshore island, and safely onshore, clouds, gloomy skies and rain are spectacular.

And you need clouds and rain to form rainbows. As we got ready for dinner, Tim saw a rainbow out front. I went out back to see it and watched it with the current, resident peregrine falcon.

Until he found something to hunt and flew off.

This is the view I wake up to from our bed looking south to mile buoy. There is also the sound of the wind, bell buoys flag halyards.

We have not seen any whales but the boat traffic is interesting. With a Marine Traffic app, many times we can identify the boats and ships we see offshore. It makes them less anonymous as they drift or cruise by.

And of course it helps that Tim and I usually enjoy each other’s company and work well together. I couldn’t do this without such an excellent partner.

Foraging

The island’s apple trees are loaded with fruit but located on a ledge, surrounded by poison ivy. Tim loves apple pie and may be immune to poison ivy so he set off and gathered several.

I decided to make a small “pie” as a test. It was pretty delicious.

The summer garden still has lots of basil, mint and yellow squash.

Perhaps tonight we will have escargot!

Island bound

I wish I was bound to an island but for now, we are at our home away from home, Seguin Island, Maine. The weather shone upon us and we arrived on island with only one dunking. Me of course but no harm was done, just a little bruised ego.

First glance of Seguin

I started dreading the trip about a year ago, largely because our arrival by dinghy, with all we need, is always a crap shoot. Once we make it ashore, wet or dry, our stuff – food, keyboard, clothing and knitting – then has to make it up 300 feet to our quarters.

There used to be a donkey engine and tram to haul our stuff when we were first here in 2008. But alas it no longer works. Leave it to Friends of Seguin to come up with a solution. They built a hand trolley we pushed up the tram and got our gear up the hill in two trips. Luckily there was a group of strapping young men on the beach who helped us carry our water (in 48 lb jugs) to the trolley.

Trolley at the top of the tram

So maybe I won’t dread our first day next year. Just maybe.

The island keeps getting better. It’s lush this year and the apple trees are loaded with fruit. I may try to make a pie with them. I didn’t bring any in an effort to keep the weight, ours and our gear’s, down.

We found a new type of tree on the North Trail, a crab tree!

Crabtree

The first order fresnel lens is sparkling.

And the solar led lights work fine.

The old back up lens is in the Museum. Now that the light is solar powered, no need for backup.

And the sun and moon never disappoint.

reflections on sky and sea

When we moved from our boat to a permanent home, I had one request, well actually two. The first was that I wanted to be able to see lots of sky, wide expanses to watch weather fronts sweep by, with the occasional rainbow for good luck. The second was that the kitchen be bigger than the boat’s galley. We found both but the kitchen is only barely bigger than the boat’s. And in fact, the storage on the boat was better.

Home has open sky and mountains around us. The mountains limit our views of the actual sunrise and sunset, we see it when it appears over or sinks behind them. Alas, it’s not quite the same as open expanses of sky and sea. Here on Schoodic point, we enjoy a vast view of the sky, the clouds and the sea. And our spaceship, water tower.

Even the reflection of sunset on Little Moose Island is striking.

The ice is finally all gone. The ponds in the rocks can once again reflect the clouds and sky. I’ll enjoy these views for a few more days before we head back to the mountains and home.

the sky isn’t falling, it’s on fire!

Every day for the past 5 months we “do the rounds” at Schoodic Institute. We walk the campus and make sure all is well: all the doors are shut, the lights are off and water isn’t leaking anywhere. Up until now, it was often dark and icy when we walked the mile and a half around the grounds. Now that the clocks have sprung forward, we get to do it in the light. And sometimes just around sunset.

The other night was spectacular.

who needs northern lights?

We couldn’t get to the point in time to view it over the ocean but what we saw was mind blowing anyway.

Even a shed looks striking in this light. That’s the gym, where Tim works out most days.

And then on the way home, I found a tribute to Tim and Lynne (T & L) in the grass.

The park’s way of saying goodbye as our days here draw to a close.

a day like any other

So true, If my kids ask me what I did, I can’t distinguish one day from another. Got up, ate a little, surfed too much, saw nature, created something, made dinner, went to bed, repeat. The high points of course are seeing nature and creating and I have had plenty of time to do both here.

Spring in Maine, cold, wind and fog with a day or two of sunshine to entice. We’ve enjoyed walking the local trails on Schoodic peninsula again, right out our front door.

I have a renewed interest in geology. The formations on the point give some insight as to how the earth and its shoreline was formed.

These veins of black magna rose from the center of the earth and filled faults in the granite.

When the Navy was here, they installed a fence, right into the water line, along this fault to protect their secret operations at Schoodic Point. I only just noticed that RD left their mark too!

And I sat on a wet rock and left my mark as well.

I choose to avoid the rocks covered in wet seaweed. I have been eating seaweed in various forms though. Dulse last night, some sort of fried, very salty “sea vegetable”.

While Tim enjoyed getting close to the breaking waves.

We’ve seen the first couple of boats working the waters.

When we can see through the fog.

I cook and cook…

And create…

Just another day in the life.

Elementary back stroke races

This thought just tickles me. We are taking a few swimming lessons to improve our strokes. I pretty much swim freestyle, always, and Tim does this and the backstroke. While giving us tips about our strokes, our teacher is intent on teaching survival skills as well, and the elementary backstroke, which used to be a favorite of mine when I was young, is really a survival swim. Since gliding and doing nothing is one of the most important aspects it made me chuckle to imagine a race with everyone doing nothing.

My concentration ebbed. The instructor asked me to count my strokes for the length of the pool – and I forgot to. Then when I remembered to count my strokes, I forgot to kick, because we had been working on another drill. It’s a good thing I wasn’t chewing gum as well, who knows what might have happened.

Back on terra firma, I have finished a lovely merino shawl for a friend. It is Print o’ the wave stole by Eunny Jang and the second time I have knitted it. Very satisfying. And I did memorize the patterns so something is still working up there.

Then I got carried away and decided I needed to weave a ribbon for the package. I hope to finish and mail it tomorrow.

We walked on the sand bar over to Little Moose Island which is only accessible at low tide. The day was glorious, 50’s and sunny, and we were not alone. But we always find secluded places to enjoy the sea and rocks.

I thought lobsters only turned red after they were cooked. Who cooked this one?

I saw a mitt in this rock. How about you?

Ah, how the mind wanders.

Me and my backstrap

This little loom has traveled around the world with me. It is so compact because I am part of the loom.

It is made up of a “C” clamp, a backstrap, which is, like it says, a strap that goes around my back, cards and me. My backstrap is a little crooked but it was my first attempt at weaving without a loom from an article by Laverne Waddington and holds a special place in my heart. I encourage you to look at the amazing pieces she creates with only a backstrap and dowels!

I can recall my long gone cats wandering around as I sat on the floor weaving it. A Swedish modification is the two pieces of wood on a wire I use to attach it to me and my backstrap. My modification is I no longer sit on the floor. I can always find a place to attach or tie the end of my weaving.

Those square cards are what make this a four shaft loom for card weaving.

This little device has brought me hours of fun wherever we may be. I needed a diversion last week so took it out of the drawer and wove a tencel band from a photo I saw on Pinterest.

Now what to do with it?