Making do

Islanders are great scavengers and sometimes hoarders. We stayed on an island in Alaska where no object (trash), no matter how big or small, rusted or not, was ever removed.

Yet when you need a specific item, it’s nowhere to be found. Take the sink here for a example. It leaks. We have multiple packages of sink washers and “o” rings in the shop. But the sink is a new-fangled Moen  model that doesn’t use washers! Instead, it uses an easy to replace (only if it’s already on the island) plastic cartridge that is known to wear out every couple of years.

But our water is precious and we can’t bear to see it drip down the drain. We have to pump it up to the house, store it in a cellar cistern, which directs it to a pressurized tank. A drip taxes the whole system.  While we wait for a replacement cartridge, I found that by moving the handle with the defective cartridge just a bit, the leak ceased.  Since we can’t stand there all day, I found a surrogate: Tim’s vitamin bottle. E5D303D5-C1AE-4E10-9D3D-FE7C83AA5455And as for those washers, I am knitting a sweater and needed four stitch markers. “O” rings and flat washers, which I like to call square “o” rings, did the trick nicely.

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We bring Kindles to read, usually loaded with books. I also listen to audiobooks. I maintain lists “to read” on my Audible and Goodreads sites but sometimes rely on the “available now” offerings at the New York Public Library.  So this week, I listened to Amy Schumer’s autobiography, probably not something I would have done otherwise. I related to some of what she wrote about herself growing up but perhaps more about her relationship withwhat she had to say about her mother.

Just about dinner time, we lost power as the wind picked up. Since this has happened before, this year we brought our camp stove. We had shrimp pad thai for dinner with sugar snap peas and didn’t miss a beat.

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The fog horn went to its default, on  so cozy. We went up the lighthouse and confirmed the coast was without power too, we could only see the adjacent lighthouse on Pnd Island flashing. During dinner, while I was thinking about food management without power, the fog horn stopped and the lights came back on.

While the wind blows outside, I am listening to Annie Proulx’s Bird Cloud – from my list. I can relate.

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Blown away

Today is a beautiful fall day off the coast of Maine. A high pressure blew in last night. The weather station is on the fritz so I don’t know the maximum speed here but the house hummed.

I love windy places where you can see weather fronts move.
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Seas build, no visitors can land and it is a great day to do laundry.
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The weather prevented a couple of friends from getting out here today but that’s island life.

I pack much lighter than in the past, partly because the tram needs repairs and isn’t running. This means Tim sees the same clothes and I do a little laundry.
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We pack our gear and food as best as we can and haul it up the hill to the keeper’s quarters. Tim definitely lugs more than me and does all the water transport.

My cooking has simplified too. We no longer have dessert AND coffee break every day. I have passed the point in my metabolic life when I can do this and not continue to grow.

While we had grilled organic, grass-fed, happy steak our first night, we have also had not so organic franks and beans and even freeze dried backpacking food. In my defense, we are going to the Grand Canyon in November and I am trying out new food. What better place than here.

I didn’t tell Tim this until after dinner. He thought the shredded pork in a sweet and sour sauce with rice was “interesting” but as camp food it was pretty good and is a keeper.

I had another American pelecinid encounter; this time on the screen door of the kitchen.
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Not as scary when there’s a screen between me and it.

We have some painting and trail projects today. I’ll brush my hair, maybe, and watch the clouds pass overhead.
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Why be a lighthouse caretaker?

I had an epiphany while mowing for several hours yesterday. I ran into the typical problems: mower hard to start until I got the nack; wheel fell off and I had to hunt the fresh mown grass for it; and the shooter kept falling off.

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The morning was glorious and we had lovely visitors, they arrived and left early because the weather was predicted to change.

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And it did. The wind picked up while I finished the lawn and I had my aha moment. My hair was whipping in my eyes and mouth, the fog horn was blowing and the flag was flying straight off the pole.

I love offshore lighthouse caretaking for the extremes of weather I get to experience. Strong wind and gales, pea soup fog, crashing waves, rainbows and amazing sky. I explained this to Tim in the afternoon and then, as if to prove my point, a front blew by last night.

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Here’s the real time Radar imagery.

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