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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.

Look what I found

1843371D-029B-4FC5-9640-3877E14C69033309F6EA-0F6A-4A3D-964A-827DF8407DD5All sorts of wonders. We’ve been sampling swimming spots throughout the Adirondacks and have not been disappointed. More often than not, we are the only ones there. We hiked in 5 miles to camp on a lake – I had a thirty pound pack – and were surprised to learn we didn’t need our camp chairs. The lean-to was furnished!

Mushrooms were in full “bloom”?

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And a spider made a ballooning, billowing web that caught the sun on our hike out.

We visited old friends who had a monarch butterfly cocoon in their front yard. There were amazing dots of gold on it. Susan photographed the sequence and a beautiful monarch butterfly emerged.

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Then we were off and running. Kids and grandkids came for a music festival, we spent several days at an Adirondack great camp, had less than a 24 hour turnaround at home and headed off to Seguin Island, where we will be for a couple of weeks. Always a homecoming, seeing old friends and returning to the lighthouse.

Except for a small leak under the sink and a stuck anemometer, all is well. Tim turned on the fog horn as dense fog dripped by. My clothes are damp but the lawn is lush.

We saw a baby seal swim from the rocks into the cove this morning. Although I swam in at least 5 different ponds this summer, I won’t Be swimming among the seals here. I think the sharks might be close behind. As much as I consider myself an “island girl”, I’m really a lake monster. No jellyfish, no sharks, only the occasional leech or snake.
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And then I look outside and see this!

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All fired up

The pizza oven has been very patient. I’ve been too busy to play with it. So it sat and dried.

It finally enjoyed its first fire yesterday. No pizza yet though. The chef has to experiment a bit first.

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Pizza oven #2

I built the base and made my first attempt in 2016. I wrote about it here. While the base is a little wonky, it is strong and survived even though the first oven did not. I built it too late in the season and there were freezing temperatures at night. So the water never evaporated, it froze and then when I warmed it up, probably too quickly, it melted and the whole thing collapsed. The project was like childbirth. It took me a couple of years before I was ready to try it again. But I waited for the hottest day of the year and tackled it again, with a few modifications. But the sun pointed to my mound of sand and told me it was time to start.

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Tim built a beautiful roof. Now it is protected from rain and snow and provides shelter for the chef and a place to bang your head for the pizza oven builder. Rather than dig the sand and clay again, I bought it. And I added cement, I don’t think I could bear to see the whole thing crumble again.

I began with relaying the fire bricks that make up the floor in a bed of sand. Then I built a mound of sand on top, 22″ diameter, 16″ high in the back and 10″ in the front. Next I covered the sand with wet newspaper. Very much like paper mache’ projects. In theory, once the oven dries around the mound, I will be able to scoop out the sand and paper and be left with a pizza oven.

The recipe was 1.5 parts Portland cement; 2 parts Hawthorne Clay from Sheffield pottery; 2 parts silica; and 2 parts wood shavings that had been soaked in water. It was from delftclay.co.nz

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I made it in small batches so I could adjust if it was too wet or dry. I mixed the dry ingredients, sprinkled some water and then kneaded with my hands. I probably made at least 30 batches!! I’m a little broken today. But I digress.

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This is probably a project best done with a crowd that likes to make mud pies. If I have to do it again, I will buy an oven. But, for now I will have to wait and see. Anticipation!

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It’s almost summer in the Adirondacks and my calendar is full. I’ve been here, there and will be everywhere.

This wool rug came off the loom just in time for warm weather. It was woven in double width and then unfolded.  It’s sort of mind blowing. You weave part of the top later, the bottom, then the top again and it’s connected on one side. I hope the obvious middle becomes less so over time.

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I sewed this baby quilt for a dear friend’s new grand daughter.

2E0D0B60-78F5-4D50-88B2-93B6A416877CAll while finally getting to spend time outdoors. I’ve been walking to work, in the woods, and hiking with friends and family. Summer is a glorious time at home.

F9F14C3D-6896-40D1-A69C-03E551FC03A5 But I won’t be here much.

I traveled to NYC to see Bruce Springsteen in his Broadway show. I think he was singing and talking directly to me. Wonderful!

A88C78BF-91B1-44D0-816D-9FD5EC256CAD16A8DBCF-C88C-4370-AB85-F8579F7D0F8BWe came across these Lady’s Slippers in the woods and hiked around and to the top of this waterfall.

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557F06EE-E55F-491D-8ECB-A46B5545A6A4And enjoyed ice cream from one of the many stands that open for summer.

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Next I’m headed downstate to babysit grand children for a bit, then off to North Carolina to visit that dear friend, then canoe camping with more grandchildren, traveling to Guatemala, weaving camp in New Hampshire and back to Seguin Lighthouse in the fall. What have I done?? My head is spinning.

We traveled for 20 hours on Wednesday and are gradually recovering from jet leg.   Spring is just on the brink of arriving. A strong storm blow through yesterday, with wind, thunder and lightning.  Our Davis Weather Station reported the highest wind since we’ve lived here: 42 mph. Lots of power outages.

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Our county is the one where hardly anyone has power. I was happy to use my Coleman lantern and candles last night, while we read and knit. This is the Forest Path stole I began the plane to Ireland. It’s too complicated to put down and I’ll keep knitting it. At the airport security check, they asked me if I had knitting needles in my bag.  I said I did, with two weeks worth of knitting that they could not have. They laughed, confirmed I had knitting needles and let me pass.

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We set up the generator and all is well.   Today is glorious and sunny.  Lots of birds singing,. and the woodpeckers are hammering away.  It was a long winter indoors. What I love most about our travel and caretaking lifestyle is the opportunity to spend long stretches outdoors.

But Tim needed his headlamp to play the piano today.

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And apparently we’re having company!

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