A departing gift

We had a short stay on Seguin this year but it delivered plenty of joy. The trails were in great shape and we walked them all.

We dripped in fog for days – not a good time to try to dry newly spun yarn or laundry. A gale came through with winds of 40 mph. We dined out aboard a sailboat and we tucked the island in. The lens sparkled brightly even with its new solar powered LED light.

Friday, our last full day on the island, began with fog, which turned to rain, and ended with double rainbows at sunset. What a treat.

Islands always give more than they take.


We leave for Seguin Island Lighthouse sometime over the next few days. Initial plan was Tues but by late last week, I started to watch the weather and saw strong north winds and high seas in the forecast. It still looks that way until at least late Wednesday.

This is the way it goes. We have been island caretakers for five different islands and they all have their sweet spot. North winds don’t work for Seguin because they create waves onto the rocky beach. We learned that over the years. Our first time here, the skies were blue and crisp, looked beautiful, but it came with a north wind. We waited a week.

Baker’s Island has an exposed beach and a rocky landing. Especially fun with cats. For many reasons, including the fact we don’t currently have any, we no longer travel with cats.

Shirley, Baker’s Island

Deal Island, Tasmania, in the Bass Strait, was the roughest. There’s always a west wind and you pound into waves for four hours from the east unless you catch a plane. The boat ride off island has always been lovely.

Protection Island, Washington and Five Finger Lighthouse had tides to contend with. We could only leave on a medium tide in Protection and Alaska had 25 foot tide changes so no boat could anchor nearby, it was a scramble on and off the rocks.

Alaska ferry
Alaska Quest

So while I have coffee at home in the Adirondacks, where there has been frost on the ground every morning, I check the weather update and contemplate another wet boat ride. It’s always worth it.

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. 

Island hopping

We are on the road again. We headed to Long Island to go to my son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower. That kept me busy before-hand finishing up lots of projects.

There’s nothing more fun than working on baby items and imagining the soon to be, new little bundle.

I made a quilt, crocheted a blanket, knit a sweater, and a Halloween costume, and wove a 6 yard baby wrap.

We wrapped it all up and started our journey  south. Our first stop was Long Island. We headed out to Fire Island where we lived one winter.

After the baby shower festivities and a nice visit with family, we hopped on a ferry and started our journey north.

  We spent a night with “old” friends at a camp on a lake in Maine. Wonderful. Heard a loon, canoed in the dark, swam in the morning and ate challah bread french toast. 

Then off to Seguin Island after provisioning at the local Shaw’s. Luckily we packed light because the tram isn’t running. We got everything ashore and up the hill without a hitch and had lobster for dinner. 



 I slept like a baby to the sounds of wind, the bell buoy and waves breaking.  

Island hopping

We had a chance this fall to return to two lighthouses we tended in the past. First we headed off to Bakers a Island in Salem, MA.  We knew it when.  Now the grounds are cleared, the lighthouse is freshly painted,  both keepers’ houses have been renovated and the public can once again visit the island thanks to Essex National Heritage Trust, the National Park Service and volunteer caretakers.

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Next we headed north to Seguin Island, Maine.  We arrived as the summer caretakers departed and the foghorn was mistakenly blowing.  We settled in and hiked the trails with good friends. After dinner, as we got ready to play a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit,  we lost all power to the island.  The light went out! And the backup lights didn’t come on.

After checking out the boathouse at the bottom of the hill, the whistle house at the top of the hill and all their circuit breakers,  we made calls to find out which power company supplied the island and contacted them. In minutes, coincidentally (?), the power returned.  You can imagine the phone call.  We don’t know our zip code, account number or name.   They were impressed we were calling from a lighthouse though.

But the light never came back on.  So we contacted the Coast Guard, who maintains the light, left a message and went to bed.  This morning, while volunteers arrived in pea soup fog to tackle several projects, the Coast Guard walked us through some troubleshooting to no avail. They stopped by  for a visit today and got things working again. Now we can rest easy and enjoy the sunset.







Can’t resist a contest

It’s true. I occasionally buy lottery scratch off cards and have won as much as a new card…and so on. I received a contest offer in my inbox today, I couldn’t resist. Halcyon Yarn is offering the chance to win your “wishlist”.

I think I need an inkle loom, my home grown dyes didn’t work, and, since I have been a Seguin Island caretaker for 5 years! I “need” to weave the placemats they designed for the catalog they shot on the Island when I wasn’t there!!!

So, here ‘s my wishlist I share with you.

I encourage you to enter too, even though that puts you in direct competition with me. What the heck, someone ought to win.

Until then, I’ve been knitting, weaving and even spinning and oh yes, my son got married and had a gala event!

These two hats headed off to my daughter yesterday for two friends who requested an orange bearded hat and a black hat with electric. I think I met the requirements.

For some reason, I had fur yarn and knit the Rather Fun Bearded Hat with a crocheted hat, Chunky Men’s Hat, both of which were free, fun patterns. The other is a variation of Wurm.



I still have yards of warp on my table loom and have been playing with a Swedish weave structure called Krokbragd. I was unimpressed initially until I realized my pattern was actually on the reverse side.

Expected and unexpected visitors

Let’s start at the end. Another glorious sunset on our last night on Seguin.

A work party from the Navy painted the boat house, moved timbers and disassembled the precarious scaffolding. We moved roof shingles from two buildings off island by dinghy. I’m exhausted. I even took a quick swim at the end of the day.




Somewhere in the middle of the day I was invited aboard a boat and had sushi! Fresh bluefin tuna. It was delicious. Then more people arrived and I showed them around the lighthouse.

As we settled in for the evening, there was a knock at the door. One of the guests managed to beach himself just after high tide. Looks like we have an overnight guest.


A burn, blackberries and boats


Low tide was around. 7:00 am and we started the day with a burn. We notified a fire dept in CT but they had no idea who or where we were. The local fire department wasn’t interested.


I foraged for blackberries to make a cake , clafouti, flan? It was pretty good. Plus there are great views of the lighthouse from the blackberry patch.

Tomorrow, a group of volunteers is coming out to get old roof shingles off the island and to scrape and paint the boat house. Platforms were put in place and I was nominated as the safety person. I added lifelines and roofing shingles for traction. My daughter, who is a bona fide safety person, was horrified.




Cruise ships passed by while I worked.


Tomorrow will be hectic so I said my goodbyes to the island tonight. Until next year.




Time to get creative


Our time in paradise is quickly drawing to a close. Food stores are getting thin so meals become more creative. Stale,homemade, no-knead bread became garlic croutons in a delicious tomato basil salad.

This week I signed up for the NY times cooking app for recipes. Butter is short so cookies and scones are out. We had creme brulee the other night. Easy to do when there’s a plumber ‘s torch handy.

Tonight I tried a chocolate pudding recipe from Florence Fabricant. I strongly encourage you to try this. We happened to have all the ingredients on hand. I stirred and stirred with a whisk on the stove and suddenly, as if by magic, it was pudding. No eggs; milk, cocoa, sugar and cornstarch. I threw in a little cayenne to kick it up a notch.

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Then, as if by magic, we were able to see Mount Washington, which is 86(!) miles away.



Dinner out

Seas calmed and the group of students and teachers arrived under sail in the harbor this morning. They did some trail work, took a tour of the lighthouse and hosted us for dinner aboard their wooden boat.

They were delighted to be here on land because they have been sleeping on the boat; last night at a mosquito ridden anchorage. 7 bodies arranged on an open deck!


Tim and a former caretaker erected (no snickering, Tim) staging in preparation for this weekend. A group of Navy people from the Zumwalt have volunteered to scrape and paint the precarious side of the boathouse.


After our dinner out, we returned home to this.