Transition

We are getting ready to head to Seguin Island Lighthouse for a couple of weeks. I conscientiously enlisted a Catsitter to watch cute little Elli.

Tim went backpacking for a couple of nights and while he was gone she died unexpectedly. Healthy during the day, dead overnight. Life is like that.

Because it’s so close to our departure, the catsitter has become a housesitter and they are still coming (which means I still have to clean the fridge).

They won’t have to cook for him, whose call is , “who cooks for you”, but I came across this beauty in our backyard. He was hanging out on a branch near an owl house made for a much smaller owl.

I just stood with him quietly in the woods very peacefully.

Fall is in the air. This tree’s color popped out at me.

Colors haven’t changed in the hills yet.

Nor at ye olde homestead with the cutest sheshedbeeshed, which still needs a foundation skirt and interior shelving.

I see kitten(s) in our future. (Don’t tell Tim).

Lake boat

When we sold our last sailboat, Tim thought he was free of boats but I had a vision of dragging a small boat around the Adirondacks and zipping around in its many lakes. Sparky met the bill – small, a little funky, cute as a button, and reliable. She is a 50 year old Starcraft Sprint with her original Mercury 50 outboard. She has already outlasted one truck. Now Eddie takes her for her rides (Eddie because he is an Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer, 33 years her junior).

If anyone can replace a windshield on Sparky, please let me know.

She has been in at least 10 lakes with us. Yesterday we ventured to northern Lake George from Rogers Rock campground. It was a perfect day, warm, sunny and not crowded except for two loons that got a little close.

We dropped anchor off Vicars Island and Tim swam his usual mile, I did a little less and while I procrastinated getting in the water, they swam close and started singing. What a treat.

I swam for a bit then clambered back aboard (actually the hardest part of the swim because the ladder leans into the V- hull), and lounged on the pull out seat.

We wrapped it (and perhaps summer) up with soft serve ice cream. Just what I dreamed.

I’m a poster child for self isolation

First of all, self isolation is something we often do by choice. It’s not quite the same when it is necessary and lives are in danger. But … I am already well versed in bread and yogurt making. My victory garden plans are coming together and now I have bees and can call myself a beekeeper.

Since my initial setup, I generally let them bee (hehe) but had to make a grocery run for them! to make more sugar syrup while we waited for pollen to appear. I hope they appreciate it. Here’s what they have been bringing back to the hive.

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Look at those pollen packs. Yesterday, I finally did my first hive inspection, it’s been cold here and I didn’t want to chill them, and I have been a tad nervous. So I started my smoker, suited up and took the hive apart to inspect. First minor disaster was that the nuc package I bought (5 frames of bees already started) had been cemented to the bottom of the sugar water feeder so when I took that off, 4 frames came with it. Not ideal but I made do. I scraped away extra wax and inspected. And it paid off. First I could identify drone vs worker bees. I saw pollen and maybe honey in the cells. And when I got to the original nuc frames, I saw eggs!, larvae! and THE QUEEN!! Ok she was marked with a big blue dot that made it easier to find her but I was stoked nonetheless. Besides that meant I hadn’t accidentally killed her yet. So I put everything back together and will decide if I have to make another sugar run.

I have proven that it only takes six weeks to establish a habit. My daily walks are of utmost importance and now I always make time for them. I realize how lucky I am to be able to go outdoors during this time. Our son in NYC has not left his apartment since March 9!!! Our daughter in DC is an essential worker in construction and only goes to and from work in her car. So hard for them. I am able to walk for hours without seeing another person. The other day, this was one of three horses that came running up to me as if they were greeting an old friend.

We’re also lucky to be able to walk to view points like these.

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I have tried to take control of my life by organizing the house, tidying up and getting rid of things. I just learned that since I started selling items on eBay in 1999, I have sold $9,000 worth of goods, including one old car. So I sold some more. And I cleaned grout, definitely over the top, but who puts white grout in the kitchen. I bought a brush to use with the drill and it made easy work of it. Some parts came out better and now…

Adventures in cooking continue: Latvian piragis, gnocchi, doughnuts, pumpkin pie…and the waistline shows it despite those walks.

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I have sewn masks for family and friends and have tried many different types. I like the fitted with ties, elastic bothers my ears but I also made some button bands for the back of the head.

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And I knit, weave, sew and quilt. I made this darling baby quilt yesterday.

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And finished my tee shirt quilt a few weeks ago. We used it for quite a while before I tucked in all the ends.

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And then I went over the top. I made a video for the grandkids, which may have only confused them as to my sanity but I was trying to recreate a Charlie Chaplin magic trick. Don’t judge me too harshly.

Staying alive.

 

Our own island

450A7A28-502C-491D-BC2F-E6F7F7CB9458That’s what it feels like at home. We are well stocked with the usual provisions- flour, butter, eggs, milk, coffee, but no chocolate. By default we gave it up. We’re only missing the ocean.

We are complying with New York’s PAUSE order. I work a bit at home. I get outside for an hour and a half a day and walk/run, listen to books, nature, practice french. I go offline a few hours every day.  My kids brag about grubhub and food (and wine) delivery in urban areas. Not here. We’re on our own.

I’ve been creative in the kitchen: irish soda bread 82B95CD2-34E0-427F-BB8F-4818DACC61B5and corned beef, rustic white bread, donuts, pecan pie. They will have to roll me out of here.

We’ve been retreating to the cabin, which brings solace.

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I’m ticking off my list of house projects, knitting, spinning, and quilting.

This little guy makes me laugh.

We wait. Thinking of those who have been touched by this and wishing them well. The mountains will remain.

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Lost my voice

I try to remain upbeat. No news is good news. Worldwide. And then wordpress lost my draft of this post. I persisted.

We spent Christmas in Quebec City where the first of the season’s viruses coursed through me. I missed dinner at my favorite restaurant where Tim dined alone. Instead, I watched the movie Madagascar in French in our Airbnb. Cartoons are a great way to learn a language. There is so much physical comedy and pantomime. No photos from that trip. I did manage to order a sandwich completely in French though.

Our bridge work at home continues without causing any hardship. Where there was one, there were two, and now there is only one again. We are using the new temporary bridge. The old temporary bridge has been taken apart.

My daughter and I compared cranes at job sites. She won.

Cold weather moved in. I hunkered down. We are celebrating the holidays with the extended family next week so I have been making and creating. Weaving really provides solace these days. Chinese dumplings will be on the menu.

And I knit a clock! What fun.

The cabin provides a nice escape and the views are wonderful.

We have had enough snow to cross country ski from home. But it’s getting warmer this weekend, with heavy rain and flooding in the forecast. The first test for our temporary bridge.

I’ll hold my tongue.

Home sweet home

We have internet! A big change from Deal Island.

After 45 hours of solid travel, we made it home. Our flight off the island was rough. It was windy and the pilot warned me my head might hit the ceiling. It didn’t and Tim managed to get a beautiful parting shot. One of my favorites. It shows the magnitude of the cliffs, the sea and the beautiful lighthouse, now partly painted.

We spent a day on lovely Flinders Island. It really is as beautiful as Deal Island, only with a few more people.

Next stop Launceston, Tasmania, where we visited old haunts: the Cataract Gorge, The Aquatic Center, Museum and the best hamburger joint around (twice). I also had my first flat white not made by me! So pretty.

Then our journey began. We flew to Sydney where we had a nine hour layover. We made good use of our time. We visited my favorite dumpling place and then we toured the Harbor. Never fails to delight.

Then 20 hours of flying…Followed by a six hour drive home. And we made it. After a week, I am beginning to adjust. And home is pretty sweet too.

Ihave hundreds of photos from Deal I was never able to upload. I will gradually get them online, until our next adventure.

So many new skills

I hardly have time to apply the old ones. My holiday crafting is officially over. Now I am only left with: a birthday quilt, with only a small amount of binding to be sewn; new baby and sibling gifts; a wedding afghan; leggings for painters; two bathing suits for me; and recover a set of boat cushions. Then it will all be about travel projects for out next trip to lovely Deal Island!

Tim gave me a refresher course in the chain saw and I have been cutting the wood down to size for the wood stove and splitting it. My only two compaints are the chainsaw is a little heavy and I need a girlie chainsaw helmet with ear protectors. Tim’s tends to slide down over my eyes. Could be a problem.

Next up are my mad plumbing skills. I replaced our kitchen faucet. Kohler boasts it should be a homeowner project easily completed in under an hour. I guess that would be the case if all the parts worked. But alas, I resorted to eBay and two parts were defective. How did I know this? After my first installation and trial, we had a fountain in the kitchen. At least the plants on the windowsill got watered. After many false starts – under the sink, turn the water off, try something else, turn on the water – drip, drip, drip, I identified the culprits. Luckily I still had the old parts and with them installed, the faucet now works beautifully. There may have been some cursing under the sink in the process.

Yesterday I got to use the snowblower because we had about 4 inches of snow. That got me thinking about organizing the garage. And go to the dump. When Tim mentioned his piano needed “voicing” I put my foot down. I’ve had a lot of days at home and about and have really enjoyed them. We went for a walk at Heaven Hill in Lake Placid. Lovely trails – with micro spikes – and beautiful views.

Here are some shots from closer to home. Iron mountain looked lovely down our road, covered in snow.

And my poor little pizza oven sits across the driveway, unused and looking lonely. I painted a face on the door so when I look at it, it looks back at me. Next summer…

Why do we ever leave?

It’s hard to say because where we live is so beautiful and peaceful. Our county has the second lowest population density in New York, so we aren’t driven away by the crowds. We have mountains and lakes and a hand built log cabin. I’ve been following the current Maatsuyker caretakers on Instagram and they summed it up quite well. It’s for the simple life unhindered by schedules. A typical day includes lots of time to create: music; weaving; knitting; and food. There’s always plenty of time and energy to exercise. And time to read and reflect on nature, seascapes, and sunsets. We try to maintain it at home but it’s much harder. I work a few days a week, as beautiful as our home is, we live far from family and travel to see them. Life gets in the way of life?

But here we are.

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Tim tears me away from my knitting and weaving to take walks, ride our bikes or swim.

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We visit family and friends.

657DA3B8-0F07-4AD0-B550-33470A6DD101A90358FB-0B21-4011-A804-A354DECE187BI find inspiration in our local color.

IMG_4511IMG_4513And try to keep it simple.

The weather is mostly fine

As in, “Wasn’t yesterday’s weather just fine?”.  I think that is how they would describe it in Australia, sunny, pleasant temperature in the 60’s and, did I say, sunshine! Makes a world of difference. Today there is pea soup fog but it should lift before we plan to go ashore to see Sequim’s production of the play, The Gin Game. Quite a Sunday in store for us.

Yesterday’s patrol was a delight. Lots of seabirds, seals, and mountains. I politely shooed a fishing boat away that was too close to the island for the wildlife’s comfort, 200 yard buffer around the whole island. They pleaded ignorance, hmmm, and complied. We investigated an object with a very straight black vertical stripe. At first I thought it was a tent on the beach! We got closer, looked from different angles and because it was so straight. Tim finally reckoned it was a shadow cast by a log hanging over the top of the rock. Disaster averted.

 

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Loon


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Eagle lookout


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Rhinoceros auklet and tufted puffin

Things I would like to have in the kitchen but don’t are a rolling pin, pie plate, muffin tins and a baking sheet.  I am such a princess. A chilling bottle of wine always serves well as a rolling pin, thank you Malcolm and Margaret; we have a thin round baking sheet, which is likely to burn my cookies; I’ve been using a square pan with some good pie results, except the other night, when in a stupor I sprinkled baking soda instead of cornstarch over my apples; and muffin tins may be essential for popovers. Which of these are really essential. None really. I’ll see how my mood is when we are ashore. Skip the rolling pin for sure.

I’ve learned about another weird chemical reaction, I haven’t worked out the formulae but a have an inkling. Not for the weak of heart. We can’t drink the well water because it is very high in nitrates. It’s clear, doesn’t smell and is fine to wash dishes, shower, etc. That’s one compound in the formula.  The next is urochrome. You may not have heard of it but it’s the compound that makes pee (urine – uro) yellow and is from the breakdown of bile in our blood. I think an oxygen molecule from the nitrate latches on somewhere to urochrome and changes its structure. Well when the two mix, like in the toilet, urine magically turns clear. Very odd. How will I know if I am well hydrated or not? Lucky for you, I will not post a photo to illustrate this concept.

We got tired of using paper napkins so I wove two with cotton thread I had on hand and my 4 inch pin weave-it loom. Not ideal, but they work. They are the first pin loom weavings I have sewn together. As someone said, these little loom squares are like potato chips, you can’t just weave one. They are so cute and take about 15 minutes. What do I have but time?

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I took a walk before dinner to enjoy the views. There were two eagles and two northern harriers checking me out. I keep my glasses and hat on! And I have no intention of watching Hitchcock’s “The Birds” again until we leave her.  I was traumatized the first time I watched it because the next day I went out to sell Girl Scout cookies for my Brownie troop and birds were just waiting to attack me.

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