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.

Home just in time

High peaks color

We returned home and were greeted by the trees just starting to change color. We peep while going about our regular activities, often at high speed.

Used to be an iconic red barn here here
Pretty even at 55 mph
Headed downhill to Cascade Mountain
My “fishing hole” where I have never caught a fish
Fire Island Lighthouse

And finally, a lighthouse. I joined my daughter on Long Island and we walked the barrier beach to this beauty. Tim and I spent one winter on Fire Island (heaven) and this was our backyard view!

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.

Small treasures and big sky

We’ve been busy, shutting down the island in earnest. We often have helpers for a couple of days but the seas did not cooperate this year.

We still find plenty of time to enjoy all the island offers. We spent a couple of hours in the cove that other morning and I found treasures combing the beach.

I tossed this guy back into the sea because he was still alive. I found more snails cavorting and a piece of green sea glass – bingo!

It has been a wet year. The weather station recorded 100 inches of rain! Good for mushrooms.

I heard a strange bird sound the other morning and we found a pair of peregrine Falcons admiring the fresnel lens.

Wonders never cease. A few cold fronts skidded by, hence the lack of visitors, but they created interesting clouds.

And, of course, sunsets.

And sunrises.

Where did all the sea glass go?

Recycling works. In years past it was easy to scavenge sea glass from the sand in the cove.

Not this year. It’s slim pickings. I only found one piece of clear (the most common) this morning.

This is my bounty for the week. And I was hoping to make some jewelry.

Mostly interesting rocks. It is not due to lack of crashing surf.

Back to knitting, weaving and braiding.

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.

Off with a splash

I am not the most graceful person getting in and out of a dinghy on a rocky Maine beach. In my defense, I was weighted down by a drybag on my back with our electronics. As I was climbing aboard the stern, the boat bucked, and with my legs and arms already in the boat, my butt and drybag landed in the water. It was an impossible position to get out of myself and Tim had to haul me aboard. Another memorable dinghy moment. One year, the dinghy flipped and we had to bob for apples in the cove.

We finished getting the grates up before the island closers arrived.

The departure day was perfect, clear, dry and crisp. The lighthouse was tucked in and would shine all alone for the winter.

Aldo Leopold bench we built in 2008

Visions

The fog has lingered for several days There is a gale blowing now and it should tidy things up a bit. We’re battened down. Such drama. Boats in the cove looked like ghost ships and Pond Island seems to rise out of the mist.

Even though we have been coming here for 12 years, I still discover new things. This old man rock on Cobblestone Beach is a new vision.

Need some help?

This lovely rock weed pops around the beaches. Sweet little yellow flowers, different from goldenrod.

A couple of seals have been resting during low tide at the cove.

We went to the workshop, Whistle House last night and once again saw how nice it is to return to the lighthouse at night.

Goodnight moon…