Eeeeeekkk!

Not for the squeamish. 

I wanted to finish painting the trim on the window that needed the extension ladder. 

  
The window on the lower left surprisingly needed a huge ladder. I thought I’d get a head start. There was a garter snake sunning itself near the water outlets yesterday and I thought I’d give it a heads up that I would be working nearby and it would be OK to leave. 

I had left the extension ladder on the ground the day before. As I stood there I heard the sound of something  rubbing on metal. THEN THE SNAKE SLITHERED OUT OF THE RUNG’s HOLLOW TUBE !!!!

  
And I got on with my painting. 

Since I am already discussing yucky things, here’s my fly trap, whose bait is getting tastier by the day. I think I caught a fruit fly. 

  
On a happier note, all days end the same. 

  

High pressure job

A cold front moved through yesterday and swept everything clean. The fly population was down for a while and the outhouse smelled like roses. 

With the dry air and clear skies, today was a beautiful day to work outside. Tim took to the trails and I painted some trim. My project was interrupted when the Coast Guard arrived to replace the ground wire on the tower and borrowed my extension ladder. When they finished, they toured the museum to get a glimpse of what life use to be like in the Coast Guard and Lighthouse Service on Seguin. 

I heard them talking about the ghost story associated with Seguin. A piano plays a key role. Tim has a keyboard in the caretaker’s quarters and I couldn’t resist.  I played a few notes, which caught their attention. 

Yesterday,I built a fly trap in an effort to at least keep them out of the kitchen.  Tim thought it was a huge success until I confessed that the two flies in the trap had been caught and deposited there – by me. 

We watched a whale swim offshore for about an hour before dinner.  We spotted it from the south trail then returned to the lighthouse and watched it with binoculars and a scope. Island life!

   
    
   
See the new copper wire from the catwalk to the ground. 

New toys

The rider mower at Seguin may have been driven off the bluff – that’s how they used to get rid of elderly equipment. Tim loves its replacement. 

  
The island is in great shape. We got reacquainted yesterday and hosted several visitors. I even convinced Tim to take a brief, brain freezing swim after we finished our work. 

   
Small craft warning and rain today. Last night’s wind speed reached 34 miles per hour. Almost blew me right out of bed. To quote a little five year old I saw at the beach last weekend, “Shiver me timbers”.

 What we won’t hear is the fog horn! Maine switched to a VHF activated system. We, and any mariner, can turn it on on channel 83. Click 5 times and the fog horn turns on.  Then click your heels and say,”I want to go home, I want to…”.

Island hopping

We are on the road again. We headed to Long Island to go to my son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower. That kept me busy before-hand finishing up lots of projects.

There’s nothing more fun than working on baby items and imagining the soon to be, new little bundle.

I made a quilt, crocheted a blanket, knit a sweater, and a Halloween costume, and wove a 6 yard baby wrap.

   
    
  
 
We wrapped it all up and started our journey  south. Our first stop was Long Island. We headed out to Fire Island where we lived one winter.

  
After the baby shower festivities and a nice visit with family, we hopped on a ferry and started our journey north.

  We spent a night with “old” friends at a camp on a lake in Maine. Wonderful. Heard a loon, canoed in the dark, swam in the morning and ate challah bread french toast. 

Then off to Seguin Island after provisioning at the local Shaw’s. Luckily we packed light because the tram isn’t running. We got everything ashore and up the hill without a hitch and had lobster for dinner. 

   

  

 I slept like a baby to the sounds of wind, the bell buoy and waves breaking.  

Island hopping

We had a chance this fall to return to two lighthouses we tended in the past. First we headed off to Bakers a Island in Salem, MA.  We knew it when.  Now the grounds are cleared, the lighthouse is freshly painted,  both keepers’ houses have been renovated and the public can once again visit the island thanks to Essex National Heritage Trust, the National Park Service and volunteer caretakers.

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Next we headed north to Seguin Island, Maine.  We arrived as the summer caretakers departed and the foghorn was mistakenly blowing.  We settled in and hiked the trails with good friends. After dinner, as we got ready to play a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit,  we lost all power to the island.  The light went out! And the backup lights didn’t come on.

After checking out the boathouse at the bottom of the hill, the whistle house at the top of the hill and all their circuit breakers,  we made calls to find out which power company supplied the island and contacted them. In minutes, coincidentally (?), the power returned.  You can imagine the phone call.  We don’t know our zip code, account number or name.   They were impressed we were calling from a lighthouse though.

But the light never came back on.  So we contacted the Coast Guard, who maintains the light, left a message and went to bed.  This morning, while volunteers arrived in pea soup fog to tackle several projects, the Coast Guard walked us through some troubleshooting to no avail. They stopped by  for a visit today and got things working again. Now we can rest easy and enjoy the sunset.

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Deal Island: parting shots

We greeted the next caretakers, Graham and Leonie, helped them unload and get settled, and then made a pasta dinner. It was a lively evening and our first glass of wine in 6 weeks!

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I know the feeling when you wave goodbye to your last visitors for the next few months. Bittersweet, but mostly sweet.

We arose early Thursday and departed Deal Island on the Strait Lady. It was the calmest and fastest crossing to Flinders Island we ever had. We saw the sun rise on the cliffs of Deal,

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a last view of the compound,

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sunrise to the east of Bass Strait,

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And sunset from Flinders Island looking west.

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A perfect ending to a fabulous three months. We met lots of interesting, hearty, brave people, took good care of the island and each other, didn’t break anything nor have to be airlifted for emergencies.

Maybe we’ll be back again.

It’s clean up time

Our departure date is set. The new caretakers arrive Wednesday and we leave Thursday. We’ll get to sleep in the new bed we built for the visitor’s house when we move next door.

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We shoveled and swept sand from the jetty road since we had 116 mm if rain in May. I also found a dead possum and tossed it into the tussocks. Let’s just say I had to shovel the loop of intestines as well. No such thing as paradise. I hope it wasn’t this cutie pie who wanders by our sunroom every night.

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We’ll be busy these final days cleaning and moving. Our food stores worked out surprisingly well. We didn’t run out of anything. I bought too much jam and feta cheese but that’s OK. We are making dinner for the new crew tomorrow and I have to work out what to cook with supplies on hand. Probably a pasta bake, fresh bread and apple pie.

Tim submitted our final report to the ranger and I added a photo of my kitchen improvement. The corner of the stove exhaust fan can surprise you at times.

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I finished the body of my shetland shawl and grafted the two pieces together with the kitchener stitch, can you say “knit, purl, purl, knit” 210 times!?

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Now I’m knitting the edging. It will be lovely. It’s soft as a cloud and warm.

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Now I’m off to clean and do laundry.

The bands of Deal Island

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Warning, the content herein is solely about fiber. If you’re not interested in fiber, talk amongst yourselves.

Since I’ve become more interested in weaving, I decided I would weave during my three month time on Deal Island. And weave I did. Without any loom! I found great resources online: backstrapweaving.wordpress.com for backstrap inkle weaving and lots of interesting techniques; TWIST, a newsletter and group for tablet weavers; and great tablet patterns from flinkhand.de

So I started with what I knew, tablet weaving and made a belt. 20150423-070310.jpgTablet weaving dates back thousands of years and patterns are created by a combination of how the tablets are threaded and then how the pack of tablets is turned. It’s really pretty fascinating because it puts a four shaft loom in the palm of your hand. When I needed more cards, I cut them out from discarded cardboard boxes.

When I ran out of commercial cotton, I spun cotton on a charkha loom and used it in in both tablet weaving and inkle weaving. I used various devices to keep the yarn stretched out while I wove, depending on the weather and on my mood. During nice sunny days, I tied one end to me and the other to either the laundry post or a vertical post near the house. Some days I sat in the sun room and attached to the lovely goose that adorns the coffee table there. https://www.flickr.com/photos/24868212@N05/17583060869/in/dateposted-public/I often got started by attaching to a door latch and a chair. And off I went.

I occasionally fashioned a backstrap from a pillowcase, but for the most part, I used an old camera case strap I found for the strap. Although I brought string heddles with me, I learned how to make continuous string heddles from any yarn, which was very handy. I found the idea for a simple tensioning device in a back issue of TWIST.20150321-232156.jpg

When my spun cotton dwindled, I turned to sewing thread and wove a couple of ribbons. I had this idea I would weave my own labels for hand knit items, and I did. I experimented with Baltic weave, Andean pebble weave, supplementary weft and horizontal stripe pick up patterns. The patterns are endless and now I want to incorporate them into larger pieces. We’ll see.

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Tidying up


Me and the Deutscher. We haven’t given the lighthouse equipment names but this one goes by the manufacturer’s name. The Deutscher is an industrial strength lawnmower. He and I took a walk yesterday to mow Winter Cove, which has about 6 km of mowable track and lots of hills. It’s my favorite track to run, although I covered more distance mowing because many areas had to be covered three to four times.

When I got back to the compound, I headed down to the jetty and caught the sunset.

Today I stripped the bathroom floor to reseal it. I had to leave a puddle of the stripping solution on the floor for about ten minutes. When I returned, to my surprise, this skink was lounging in the puddle. Before I could get my camera, it hopped aboard my makeshift mop and I escorted it outside. How did it hear about the puddle, I wonder.

The fungus amungus

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I know. I can’t help it. I have a grade school sense of humor. Our travels yesterday took us down to Squally Cove to cut up a couple of downed eucalyptus and she oak trees on path.

I brought my new walking stick with me to bolster my confidence on the slippery downhill portions. My walking stick appeared suddenly when the sponge mop broke off from its rusted base. It was a little long, not tres chic, but did the trick.

I did keep my eyes to the ground though and found some lovely mushrooms.

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