It has taken a little while to settle in. The keeper’s house was freshly painted with new furniture when we arrived. We spent the first several weeks in fairly intense NPS training but have learned enough about the park, its geology, trails, and carriage roads to advise visitors. Last week, we donned our uniforms and fielded questions.
Mostly people want to know : 1) how do you get to live here ; 2) where can I take the photo we see on the internet; and 3) where is a good place to eat lobster?
We are used to being “a bit more” isolated than this but are adjusting. As with many places in the park, there is not enough parking, which creates a backup on the road to the lighthouse.
We haven’t been up the tower yet but may get a chance tomorrow.
As with many lighthouses, there are beautiful sunsets and rainbows.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The fear of falling trees. I have it. I always worry about hiking when it’s windy. Hikers are killed by falling trees. Tim thinks I am ridiculous. The other day, while we were driving as a gale blew, I asked him to look up the word for the phobia. I thought it might be arborophobia, but dendrophobia is the word. We continued our drive, swam at the YMCA and headed home.
The last part of our drive is six miles along a spruce lined coastal road. While Tim was gazing off somewhere, I watched as a medium size spruce fell on the road…right in front of us!!! Moments sooner it could have been us. And that same day, a woman in another part of Maine was impaled, in her car, when a branch somehow came crashing through the dashboard. Be advised.
The past week included a trip to finally see my family, now that I am vaccinated, home to work and back to Maine. I have grown accustomed to long car trips.
I left early on a beautiful day.
I spent a few exhausting days with grandchildren then headed home to work, which was not as exhausting but not as much fun. I got home to this.
Once again I shoveled a narrow path to the house.
I took a brief look around, since I didn’t have much time to do anything. The beehive is still surrounded by snow as is my she shed bee shed that I built last summer.
I tucked it all in and headed back to Maine for the final leg of our winter care taking stint. I’ll stay in open fields when the wind blows. “Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it’s always something — if it’s not one thing, it’s another.” Roseannadanna (Gilda Radner)
The light from the full moon kept me awake for about 4 hours the other night. Turns out, 500 miles away, my grandson was also awake during the same time. If only I had known, we could have Face Timed into the wee hours. He napped, I did not.
Years ago as an ob/ gyn resident, I did some research on lunar cycles. There is a superstition on the Labor and Delivery ward that it is much busier during a full moon.
My research did not support that but I did learn that it affects ovulation. Predators conceive so their young are born during a full moon while prey are born in the darkness of a new moon.
Black ice forms spontaneously here and makes our evening rounds fairly treacherous. Luckily, it has warmed up for now and we may get a reprieve. However, the change in the weather was accompanied by gale force wind and sleet.
So I have been playing inside. My little sewing machine lived up to the task of sewing and quilting the rainbow quilt, which is now complete.
I only free motion quilted the center and border; the rest was straight lines. I included some of the fabric from his brother’s quilt.
The best part about this quilt is I plan to hand deliver it. It’s been 9 months since we have seen our children and grand darlings. It’s time.
It’s well worth it. Try to spend a few moments every day, wherever you are, looking up at the sky. It does a world of good.
A walk in nature does wonders as well. Maine trees are so tenacious their roots grow up.
And on the home front, here’s a great technique to know your pan is the right temperature to sear anything. On a medium high setting, put a tablespoon of butter and oil in the pan, when the butter stops foaming, it’s time.
There’s a New Year’s tradition downeast, wherein people hike Cadillac Mountain In Acadia National Park on New Year’s eve to see the sun rise. It is the first place in the United States the morning sun touches from November to March. Sunrise here is late but not that late. We would have had to hike at 0500 or so. We chose to see the sun drenched mountain at noon instead.
We started up a path, which looked interesting, but encountered sheer ice right away. Tim acquiesced to my fears and we turned around and walked the road to the summit instead. I don’t like ice under my feet and there wasn’t enough of it to be managed with micro spikes.
This was the view of ice we saw from the road. I could get spoiled walking in National Parks, so well maintained. There was a trail around the summit that even enabled handicapped access.
After my trip back home, Tim whisked me as far east as we could go while remaining in the United States, to Lubec, Maine and the West Quoddy Lighthouse. This has to be one of the most photogenic lighthouses if only for its red stripes. We stayed in a small cottage, where the wind shook the house but never made it inside.
On our drive to the lighthouse, we stopped and walked in a wildlife preserve, where I once again turned back after we found patches of black ice. Tim found it the hard way, he slipped and fell, but didn’t make much of it. After we got to our cabin, his wrist swelled (this wrist has about $7,000 of hardware in it from a meeting with the ice in 2018) and the next day he went to the local emergency room. He hadn’t brought our insurance cards with him so we found the numbers and drew them on a piece of cardboard. It worked.
Turns out, he has a small avulsed fracture, a piece of one of the many wrist bones has broken off. It was much less painful than the first fracture and he has full range of motion. He’s off to a specialist on Wednesday and already communicated with his surgeon back home. But he didn’t let it interfere. We hiked all around West Quoddy Head with our micro spikes and a good time was had by all.
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that this might happen, we all knew it would, but it came as a total surprise to me. I had painted during the day until my hand was a claw and quit work and walked to the point for sunset. It was windy and cold and I kept trying to tuck in under the cover of rocks while I waited. The days are already growing longer, sunset is at 4:00 pm.
I’m reminded I have to return to this site at high tide, and when it’s windy, to see the waves crash in this cut. The ground covers catch my eye, especially since I spend so much time looking at my feet when I walk on rocks.
But back to the sunset.
Here’s proof that the sun really is a star. Every shot I took captured a six pointed star.
I hiked around the point, still trying to keep out of the wind, and after I found a stable place to stand, I turned around and was stunned to find this handsome fellow.
What a treat. Full moon should make our night rounds easy, no flashlights needed.
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 Jordan Pond 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.
There were some rocks to climb at the end, as there always are, and the views were spectacular.
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.
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.