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Not a bad commute

Here we are back home on the range (ridge); really neither. The leaves are almost at their peak. I attended a conference in Burlington, VT last week and got to see the sun rise over the Green Mountains of Vermont. They were anything but green and the lakescape from the bouncing ferry was pretty nice.

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Another day I headed south for work and could see the leaves changing over a local pond. I’m lucky I get to work on time with all these distractions.

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This week I am trying to resume walking the two miles to and from work in preparation for our next backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon. I’ll probably be too lazy to add 30 pounds to my pack but will keep walking the walk.

Birds abound at home. We have at least one pileated woodpecker, northern flickers, chickadees, barred owls, goldfinch, sparrows, thrush, hawks. What we don’t have are pigeons. Yet a mile and a half from home, not exactly an urban area, they abound.

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Hope they keep to that old, decrepit building.

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Woman of Seguin

There was a recurring theme floating in my head the whole time we were on Seguin. (Tim, sign off now, you are sick of this). Life on a remote island still has so many similarities to the fictional documentary filmed in 1934, The Man of Aran, a favorite of mine. It follows the daily life of a small family eeking out a living on the remote island off of Galway.

I relate to the woman in the movie and believe it could be renamed:
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We are an equal and active participant in the hard work island life entails.
We lug things up and down the “rock”, always with good cheer.
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We are involved whenever boats are launched off the beach, regardless of the conditions, and sometimes get drenched to our necks. And laugh about it.
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We wear slipper-like shoes to climb the rocks and trails, to walk in the water, and to fish off the cliffs. They used ballet-like leather slippers and I wear Mary Jane crocs. Same thing.
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So I propose a new documentary, let’s call it:
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We returned home yesterday and took the dinghy through a wall of water to get to our trusty lobster boat and ride ashore. I got fully drenched in the process and the replacement keepers’ food took a bath when a wave washed over the dinghy.
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One of the neighbors came down to the beach to wave goodbye.
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Even on the last day, on our tenth year at Seguin, it revealed something new to me. The concrete base I painted highlighted initials carved into it from 1959. I guess I will have to come back another time and figure out whose they are. Or to whom they belong. And get ready to lug all our supplies back up the hill.
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Just passing by

5E666643-3461-4450-B347-0B3718BC0D8B91077D2A-5E7D-4777-B575-ADB2D8F58FBEWe applied the finishing touches to the Tram Engine House yesterday and it looks spiffy. Tim did more of the ladder work than I, but groundwork has its issues too.

While we sat on the porch with the last of our cocktails, a small city floated by.

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Another popular way to leaf peep along the coast of Maine. Later, I saw another ship further off shore, both were headed downeast.

As long as it is moderately calm, lobster boats haul their traps. Last night at 03:00 there was a boat hauling traps, under the moonlight, a half mile south of the island. Maybe they had big plans for the daylight hours.

The Monarch butterflies remain in large numbers and I love when they fly in a loose swarm around me.

Now, I want you to make the sound of a plane buzzing close by; something like mmrroowww, or perhaps vrooom. This is what we heard as we made breakfast in the kitchen. We looked out and saw a small prop plane buzz our clothes line.

And of course, we’re just passing by too.

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

Making do

Islanders are great scavengers and sometimes hoarders. We stayed on an island in Alaska where no object (trash), no matter how big or small, rusted or not, was ever removed.

Yet when you need a specific item, it’s nowhere to be found. Take the sink here for a example. It leaks. We have multiple packages of sink washers and “o” rings in the shop. But the sink is a new-fangled Moen  model that doesn’t use washers! Instead, it uses an easy to replace (only if it’s already on the island) plastic cartridge that is known to wear out every couple of years.

But our water is precious and we can’t bear to see it drip down the drain. We have to pump it up to the house, store it in a cellar cistern, which directs it to a pressurized tank. A drip taxes the whole system.  While we wait for a replacement cartridge, I found that by moving the handle with the defective cartridge just a bit, the leak ceased.  Since we can’t stand there all day, I found a surrogate: Tim’s vitamin bottle. E5D303D5-C1AE-4E10-9D3D-FE7C83AA5455And as for those washers, I am knitting a sweater and needed four stitch markers. “O” rings and flat washers, which I like to call square “o” rings, did the trick nicely.

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We bring Kindles to read, usually loaded with books. I also listen to audiobooks. I maintain lists “to read” on my Audible and Goodreads sites but sometimes rely on the “available now” offerings at the New York Public Library.  So this week, I listened to Amy Schumer’s autobiography, probably not something I would have done otherwise. I related to some of what she wrote about herself growing up but perhaps more about her relationship withwhat she had to say about her mother.

Just about dinner time, we lost power as the wind picked up. Since this has happened before, this year we brought our camp stove. We had shrimp pad thai for dinner with sugar snap peas and didn’t miss a beat.

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The fog horn went to its default, on  so cozy. We went up the lighthouse and confirmed the coast was without power too, we could only see the adjacent lighthouse on Pnd Island flashing. During dinner, while I was thinking about food management without power, the fog horn stopped and the lights came back on.

While the wind blows outside, I am listening to Annie Proulx’s Bird Cloud – from my list. I can relate.

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Island sightings

Yesterday was so clear, we saw Mount Washington, 86 miles away, most of the day. It shone at sunset even with a lazy shot from the dining room, looking out past the lighthouse.

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Two seals washed up in the coves earlier this summer. In addition to the cute little, live baby seal we saw on our first couple of days, there has also been a large, dead, harbor seal in the cove. With today’s full moon, I thought it might go out with the high tide. No luck. Midnight’s high tide is higher so my fingers are crossed. The birds have been scavenging it and it is quickly decomposing. There has been an “Unusual Mortality Event” this summer with hundreds of seals washed up on beaches in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Many have been infected with an avian flu and/or seal distemper.

I called Fish and Wildlife just to report it and the biologist I spoke to needed a photo to be able to document it and count it. We have been giving it a wide berth for many reasons but I approached it for a photo, which is not included here. Instead, look what I found on the driftwood right next to it, a seal!
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Today Tim got me to paint the Engine House, despite my procrastinations.  Tim has done all the scraping, which I despise, ( I don’t despise Tim’s scraping, I despise scraping) and lots of the painting, and I have done lots of painting. My hands and wrists are sore. But we want to get as much done, hopefully all the white, before we leave. Looks pretty nice already. I can’t let it interfere with my knitting though. For you knitters out there, today I cut a steek in a sweater, which means I purposely cut a sweater I am knitting down the middle.
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The lighthouse dome shines after this summer’s paint job.

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Sunset never disappoints.

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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