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…

On island

We left the deer at home to finish eating the rest of my garden. They’ll have to pass on the geraniums though. These came from Seguin at the end of a season a few years ago.

Tim suggested we drive through the White Mountains to Maine. Then he took a nap. He woke up for the hairpin turn of the Kancamagus highway.

We enjoyed a leisurely drive and made it to Bath, ME in time for my French zoom class. I am confident Canada will let us back in one day…It was fun to have a little time to roam the town.

As predicted the wind lied down by Thurs and we took our favorite lobsterman’s boat with our gear and food to the island. The new Yeti cooler performed as advertised.

Getting the gear up the hill is always a chore but Cyndy from Friends of Seguin Island helped and it went easier than I remember. Maybe it was a good plan to backpack and build up legs prior to this trip.

And here we are.

This year, through individual contributions, Friends of Seguin Island raised more than $100,000 to convert to solar energy. And it works, even in this foggy spot.

The Island had the same caretakers for the last two seasons, Debbie and Chris, and they kept it in great shape and made several major improvements: a spanking new generator shed for the spanking new generator; a plank walkway in the North trail’s swamp; a new interesting trail and a new bench on it. . Some of this was done last summer, when the electric cable failed and they had to run a generator 4 hours a day. Hats off!

Here’s to a few more beautiful sunsets in my happy place.

Taking stock

D2ED4947-681D-40C6-80AB-3D5ACCAE2087Despite world events that kept me riveted to the computer yesterday; and trying to figure out just what a Devil’s Triangle is, I managed to finish painting the pump house. The island is in good shape, even if our country is not.

The lighthouse has a window leak, a project for next year, but sparkles.

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The monarch butterflies are getting ready for their migration to Mexico. They are filling up on purple aster nectar and can be seen fluttering all around the island, especially among the wildflowers.

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We spotted another seal taking a rest in the cove at high tide.

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Today we’ll clean up and get ready to return to the “real world”. There’s a rubber band effect to time here. We arrive, acclimate and it feels like we’ll be here forever. We start working on projects, then we tackle more and then there doesn’t seem like there’s enough time.

In addition to Island work, and keeping Tim well fed, I completed my Board recertification, found a house sitter for our next adventure, reviewed patient charts and managed office issues. I’m a little too connected, especially since internet has improved somewhat. We no longer have to go up the tower or sit in the museum to get a signal, most of the time.

I did manage to  knit one very cool dude child’s sweater, a kin to the Big Liebowski’s and two adorable hats.

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Just trying to keep the people in my life safe and warm. They were all knit with Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, which I saw spun at Harrisville Designs, and is a fitting name for these times.EFC5DCC3-1D7F-492B-9200-231C1826F2E911708E5B-CE0A-4646-8EB8-265BF5B4F692

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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Small wonders

I guess it’s been damp in Maine because the mushrooms on Seguin Island are flourishing. Can mushrooms flourish? The weather station reported 183 inches of rain since January but that sounds impossible. The highest recorded wind for the year was 79 mph. I believe it because a favorite tree was lost and the boathouse dock had a section ripped off over the winter.
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I considered calling this the fungus among us but that term may be passé. Google it; it has been used by Sponge Bob, Warcraft and Disney. So…

Here’s a horrifying appearing insect that is harmless.
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It’s the american pelecinid.

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What looks like a gigantic stinger is actually an extension of its abdomen that lets it burrow and find and consume some sort of grub. Good to know. Despite knowing this, it’s still a bit horrifying.

The day was beautiful but surge was up in the cove. It didn’t matter, a group of intrepid workers surfed into the cove with Tim at the helm of the dinghy.

A dock was shored up and rebuilt, the donkey engine House was scraped and painted and sumac was eradicated from around the helipad. Here’s a view, not to be seen again, because the sumac in the foreground is caput.
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My favorite lighthouse caretaker repaired the catwalk door latch.
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The lantern’s dome was repainted this season. It entailed climbing harnesses and strong nerves. A job repeated every sixteen years, by the same person!

So things are looking pretty sweet on Seguin. Time to tuck in for a gale the next couple of days.
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Night light

Nothing is more magical than the shadows the light casts at night.

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And it is lovely during the day too.
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The fog and rain came and went all day. I occasionally heard the prolonged horn blast of a ship somewhere out in the mist.
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So we worked on rainy day projects. I did some – ahem- compost management. This entailed cleaning the fridge of old food and emptying the composting toilet tray. Always fun.

The flies had plagued us since we arrived. Not biting flies, just annoying ones. I had visions of us destroying the house’s interior and furnishings with a fly swatter. I collected several while I vacuumed. Score. Then, suddenly, they were gone. Maybe they were just testing us until we settled in. Knock on wood please.

Tim went to work on the mowers, the blades were already sharpened, so he changed the oil. If you ever are in the market for a ride on mower, NEVER buy the Gravely zero turn models. They paid no attention to the acrobatics and manual dexterity you need to merely open the oil drain plug. Even though Tim wrote down what worked for us last year, we both ended up bleeding. Shame on them. But it is fun to operate.
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Due solely to Tim’s determination, we got the job done. I think I would have thrown up my hands, cursed a bit, which I did anyway, and walked away.

The pump house may need a whitewash but my door frame held up nicely.
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Tim’s brother, who passed away last year, rebuilt the door and I want to keep it looking spiff for him.

So many memories from the last 11 years we have been here and more to come.

The very hungry caterpillar

We’ve had a chance to walk all of Seguin’s trails, which are in beautiful shape. I spend a lot of time looking at the ground and came upon this handsome devil.

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Beyond its striking size and color, check out its mouth at the top of it. It looked like a plastic disc but its about a cm wide and definitely part of the caterpillar. I am pretty sure its a luna moth caterpillar. Sadly I won’t be here long enough to see its adult form.

I think these little things we get the time to notice are the best things about our time on islands. I’m also on the search for a four leaf clover, which Tim says he has never seen. I remember many hours spent sitting in fields looking for them when I was a kid with some success. We’ll see how it goes.

Sunsets never disappoint. Seas remain rough, visitors are few and we have settled in.

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The lighthouse and quarters look spiff no matter how you look at it.

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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. 

Tom’s got something to say

Guest Blog

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I thought Lynne’s readers might enjoy learning more about the Deal Island lighthouse.

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Unlike the other lighthouses where we’ve served as caretakers—5 Finger, Alaska; Seguin, Maine; Bakers, Mass.—the lighthouse is 2.5 miles away from our house. It’s also 700 feet up and a total of almost 1,000 feet above sea level.

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Needless to say, we don’t go up every day. When visitors to the island wish to see the lighthouse, we hand them the key and wish them a good time.

The light is no longer functional and has been replaced by automated lights on 2 small, neighboring islands. Supposedly, the lighthouse was decommissioned because, being so high, it was obscured in clouds half the time. Well, that’s from the perspective of Wilson’s Promontory on the mainland, 43 miles away. Duh. In the almost 6 months total we’ve spent here, it’s been covered a handful of times. I’m sure the reason it was replaced had more to do with money. There is no place for a helicopter to land near the lighthouse and we’re in the middle of Bass Straight.

The tower houses a gorgeous first order Fresnel lens, not unlike the beauty on Seguin Island. Visitors are allowed to get up close to it, even walk inside. Unfortunately, the building is suffering. There have been a couple of major fires on the island which reached the lighthouse and cracked the exterior walls. It blows like crazy up there and these cracks allow moisture in the walls and now small pieces are starting to fall out. Grants to repair the lighthouse have so far been unsuccessful. At least, the temperature doesn’t go below freezing or it would be a pile of rubble!

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