clouds and more rolled in

We have had 3 beautiful days, sunny, with a light breeze, but finally are getting some Maine weather. After several days of crystal clear blue skies, clouds and moisture moved in ahead of a cold front.

That’s an amazing part of this 360 degree view: being able to watch the weather roll in. Two scheduled groups of visitors, overnight guests and a working bee, were cancelled.

That didn’t stop a group of 10 or so kayakers from paddling in as part of an outdoor leadership training. We briefly met one of their guides in 2008, June 22 to be exact, when he appeared with a group that navigated here through pea soup fog by gps and the sound of the foghorn.

Yesterday the foghorn came in while Tim was practicing his keyboard. These days sailors have to request the foghorn by using channel 83 on the vhf radio and clicking their heels ( or the mic button) three times. We can’t see the cove from the house and were visited by three Coasties who were here to test the foghorn and take an inventory of stuff they are going to take off the island by helicopter.

One never knows who will pop up here.

And then the sun set.

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.

Loving home

Friends came to town and we spent the week exploring the Adirondacks with them. I always wonder why we travel so much when we love where we live. Ah well, the adventurer in us all.

We hiked long and short hikes, up mountains, around lakes and through some mud. The views make it all worthwhile.

view from Nun-Da-Ga-O ridge

I spend a lot of time looking down, watching my feet and there is a lot to see there as well. It has been a wet summer and mushrooms flourished.

Back on the home front, I was hopeful I would get to see a monarch chrysalis. Our yard is covered in milkweed. We saw a few caterpillars sampling the leaves but none hung around for us to watch.

But as the DH always says, “There is no such thing as paradise”. Despite the pandemic and uptick in cases, a local music festival brought lots of visitors to town; we got out of dodge and headed to the Great Camp Sagamore.

It is situated on its own lake, which unfortunately was only about 62 degrees f. We chose to swim anyway, Tim with a wetsuit, me, without. I figured I had about 30 minutes until hypothermia set in. I swam close to shore just in case and was fine, but slow for my swim. As soon as I was finished, I got out of my bathing suit and put on wool leggings, a wool shirt, cashmere sweater and fleece. It wasn’t enough. I was shaking so hard, I couldn’t bring my lunch to my mouth. I headed for the shower instead and a ten minute steamy shower did the trick.

I came out of the shower to find this creature on our bed. I walked around it and didn’t see it doing much, then I wriggled the blanket, nothing. Jokester DH had found a fishing lure and thought it would be a nice surprise for me.

We returned home to our peaceful cabin. Now it’s my turn to make sure the bees are fed for the winter. There was not enough honey for me to take another harvest so I put the boxes with partially filled honey frames below the larger brood boxes. I think they will clean them out and move the honey up to the brood boxes over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I am also feeding them sugar syrup. So far I have given them 30 pounds of sugar in a syrup mixture and more to come.

Wildcamera

I’ll weigh the hives in a few weeks to make sure they have enough food to last the winter.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the view from home.

Coyotes sing for our supper

Heard from our front porch

It’s a jungle out there. We hear coyotes most nights, deer snack on our shrubs, rabbits keep the driveway clean of clover and greens, and I am not sure what the snakes do, except cause me to let out a shout whenever I see them.

Fawn feeling right at home
Snake in the shrubs

Summer is flying by with so much pent up activity taking place. But at the same time the Delta variant is surging. Stay safe, get vaccinated.

Wildflower garden

Our wildflower patch turned out to be mostly black eyed susans, which are pretty nonetheless. The honeybees aren’t interested. Our untended field is just as pretty.

Note the cute bee-shed she-shed still standing
The morning glories reseeded themselves

We clearly needed a vacation from our busy schedule. Tim booked a little cabin on Lake George and we brought Sparky along for the ride.

Headed to another swimming bay

We swim when we can and are just chillin’, sometimes literally. I’m wearing a wool cap this morning. I decided to try my hand at jewelry making this trip. It’s another hobby that travels well.

Les Bijoux

It is surprisingly relaxing just getting out of your own environment. There are no overhanging chores waiting, so the mind can wander: watching ducks, looking at clouds, and taking daytime naps.

And there’s always another boat ride on Sparky.

I’m in the honey

My first harvest is in! The process is pretty straight forward but too sticky to photograph.

First, I selected frames that were completely full of honey and capped by the bees with wax. The bees know when the moisture content is just right. I only took six frames from one of my three hives. I “encouraged” the bees to leave the frames with a stiff shake and a gentle brush.

The honey house was ready with a honey extractor, wax uncapping knife, 5 gallon food grade bucket and lots of jars. The wax is sliced off the honeycomb, then two frames are centrifuged and the honey is flung to the sides of the extractor drum where it slowly drips downward. Turn the frames over and repeat, and repeat.

Next the honey, which still had bits of wax in it, is poured and filtered into the 5 gallon bucket and from there is poured into individual jars. The label design came later.

There were about 8 quarts of honey, after the 1/2 cup I licked off my fingers, and it’s worth its weight in gold. Given my investment, that comes to about $275 a quart. Now I know why it is called liquid gold!

Everyone needs a road trip now and then

And this jeep does it with style, with a crocheted wheel cover.

We went to a show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and had some time to explore the Park, take the waters, and swim in a beautiful pool.

Last weekend, we visited Gloucester, MA for a dear couple’s 50th anniversary party. A fabulous thunderstorm rolled through our first night and hung directly overhead for quite a while. Very dramatic. We don’t get thunderstorms like that in the Adirondacks. The mountains catch them before they can reach our “Pleasant Valley”. The grey weather persisted through the weekend.

Next time we’ll be more careful about reading the fine print in an Airbnb listing. The first night, while it stormed, we both rolled into the middle of the little pull out couch‘s mattress. Tim took matters into his own hands and moved it to the floor for the second night. One of us slept beautifully.

There’s a good chance a group of my bees are enjoying their own road trip. One hive may have swarmed. They were gathering and talking about it for a couple of days.

I’ll inspect their hive this weekend to see if there is still a queen present, or in the making. In the meantime, I sampled some of their honey. It was light colored and delicious. I can hardly wait until they share it with me.

Can you carry (canoe carry)?

I have a dear friend who loves the Adirondacks even more than me. She and her family were here last weekend and proposed a canoe trip. Really a canoe circumnavigation of several lakes with four fairly long portages, a nice word for long walks lugging your boat. I think the paddling was about 10 miles and carries totaled about 3 miles.

We brought our two kayaks and also brought wheels. It was still pretty hard getting over the portages. My kayak weighs about 42 pounds and Tim’s is around 60 lbs.

By the end of our seven hour journey, I could barely get myself out of the boat. It was too cold to swim but I managed to get wet anyway. I flipped the boat getting in and dumped myself in the water. Very graceful.

Taking a break
The happy family
We made it

When we got home, we looked up lightweight canoes. But really, I love my kayak, which I bought in 1996. For a long time, I considered it my best leisure investment. So we’ll just have to avoid the carries.

and the living is easy

Summertime in the Adirondacks is stunning but brief. The growing season is only four months but is packed with beauty.

An evening boat ride with friends on Lake Champlain

Tim is already swimming in the ponds. I hesitate, to his dismay: too cold, too windy, too many weeds reaching for my legs and arms. And now I have heard snapping turtles ply these waters. I’ll wade in soon when the deeper lakes warm up.

My local beekeepers’ group met at my hives last week and declared they are doing fine. All three have queens, are laying eggs and gathering honey. That means one hive raised a queen all by itself.

They selected an egg, plumped it up with royal jelly, she hatched, took her maiden flight, mated with a few drones, and made it back to the hive without getting picked off by a bird or dragonfly. And there she will remain for the rest of her days.

Honeybee on milkweed

Perhaps I will get at least one jar of honey in July. This nectar bloom is short and sweet.

Purple clover down the road

We moved to the Adirondacks in the winter of 2009 after only coming up in the snow. How lucky to find summer is even better.

Field down the road
Common merganser (?) under the bridge

the benefits of being flexible

We had hopes of this year’s maiden voyage with kids and grandkids on Smokey, the 1971 Starcraft Sprint boat previously known as Sparky. We drove an hour to a lake located midway between us, launched her flawlessly, started her up, but the tell-tale, otherwise known as the pisser, wasn’t shooting water.

Kids were already in the boat, eager for an adventure. We tinkered a bit, to no avail. Since we couldn’t be sure the engine block wouldn’t overheat and crack, we came up with plan b. And all concurred.

Picnic at a great playground then off to a rock waterfall you can ride, followed by dinner at a brewery and a minor, minor league baseball game. A good time was had by all.

I’m happy to report a minor fix at home solved the problem while I wait for parts for this 50 year old engine to arrive.

I headed south to New York City to meet up with dear friends from med school. My plan was to ride the bus for mass transit. In theory, this was a good idea, the MTA app even reported the number of people on the bus.

Alas, due to midtown traffic, it took forever and I was late for a meeting with a former colleague. So I walked – 12 miles one day – or took the subway. All were masked and tried to social distance.

Manhattan is growing. There is a new park called Little Island on the west side, built on one of the old piers. We viewed it from the roof of the Whitney, where I learned how to calculate the temperature from crickets. It worked!

We ate at a rooftop restaurant that somehow was louder than most indoor spaces. The food was good and the view of the skyline and overhead was lovely. But the din was unbearable.

As soon as possible, we headed to a quiet, excellent Sicilian restaurant, Norma, where we really had a chance to catch up without shouting.

And we took the family out Smokey this weekend. She peed like a champ!

inspired by nature

Sunsets are guaranteed to happen every day, some more beautiful than others. We only have to marvel at them.

The palette inspires my weaving.

I am making more napkins on my table loom. We lost one of the two I made in Maine this winter so now I am making six for home.

My band weaving group is going to meet again after more than a year apart. I was inspired to try a 3 heddle technique on my inkle loom. I had to correct a few threading mishaps but now this will be easy weaving while we chat away the afternoon.

Aran meets Japan

I’m using a Japanese stitch pattern to make an Aran style baby sweater. Similar but different. It seems more delicate and lacy.

Kaleidescope quilt blocks

Down another rabbit hole. I am trying a new quilt technique where you cut 6 (or 8) identical triangles and arrange them into a hexagon. I use a hinged mirror to predict the outcome and plan the layout.

I try to create a little something every day. And keep a sense of wonder.