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Archive for the ‘Deal Island, Tasmania’ Category

Our departure date is set. The new caretakers arrive Wednesday and we leave Thursday. We’ll get to sleep in the new bed we built for the visitor’s house when we move next door.

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We shoveled and swept sand from the jetty road since we had 116 mm if rain in May. I also found a dead possum and tossed it into the tussocks. Let’s just say I had to shovel the loop of intestines as well. No such thing as paradise. I hope it wasn’t this cutie pie who wanders by our sunroom every night.

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We’ll be busy these final days cleaning and moving. Our food stores worked out surprisingly well. We didn’t run out of anything. I bought too much jam and feta cheese but that’s OK. We are making dinner for the new crew tomorrow and I have to work out what to cook with supplies on hand. Probably a pasta bake, fresh bread and apple pie.

Tim submitted our final report to the ranger and I added a photo of my kitchen improvement. The corner of the stove exhaust fan can surprise you at times.

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I finished the body of my shetland shawl and grafted the two pieces together with the kitchener stitch, can you say “knit, purl, purl, knit” 210 times!?

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Now I’m knitting the edging. It will be lovely. It’s soft as a cloud and warm.

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Now I’m off to clean and do laundry.

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Me and the Deutscher. We haven’t given the lighthouse equipment names but this one goes by the manufacturer’s name. The Deutscher is an industrial strength lawnmower. He and I took a walk yesterday to mow Winter Cove, which has about 6 km of mowable track and lots of hills. It’s my favorite track to run, although I covered more distance mowing because many areas had to be covered three to four times.

When I got back to the compound, I headed down to the jetty and caught the sunset.

Today I stripped the bathroom floor to reseal it. I had to leave a puddle of the stripping solution on the floor for about ten minutes. When I returned, to my surprise, this skink was lounging in the puddle. Before I could get my camera, it hopped aboard my makeshift mop and I escorted it outside. How did it hear about the puddle, I wonder.

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I know. I can’t help it. I have a grade school sense of humor. Our travels yesterday took us down to Squally Cove to cut up a couple of downed eucalyptus and she oak trees on path.

I brought my new walking stick with me to bolster my confidence on the slippery downhill portions. My walking stick appeared suddenly when the sponge mop broke off from its rusted base. It was a little long, not tres chic, but did the trick.

I did keep my eyes to the ground though and found some lovely mushrooms.

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My favorite tool name is the come-along. It’s a device used to pull things together. Sort of like a hand held winch, often used in fence building. I needed to do a small fence repair and searched the workshop for one, to no avail. Instead, I saw this two piece thingy with chain hanging on the wall called a Strain-Rite.

Sounded like I was in the ballpark, but couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to use it. So I googled it and there it was with videos demonstrating its application. It’s made in New Zealand and was just what I needed. So I put it to work to straighten out a fence.
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Here I am working on another fence project during our eight day gale.
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The wind howled for days and it rained sheets. The weather service said we had hurricane force winds for a couple of days. Luckily, the only major mishap was a tree, which fell down in the compound, very near our water supply. Tim made short work of it. It was a Casuarina, used as a wind block near the house. It looked like it was bleeding where the bark pulled away.

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A wallaby convention on the lighthouse road.
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We cleared the drains a few weeks ago and got to see how well the runoff worked. It did, but we had to pick a lot of branches off the road.

The garden took a hit. I lost most of the arugula, and tomatoes. Oddly enough, some green bean plants I was getting ready to pull seemed to enjoy the storm and sprouted new flowers. I’ll clean up and replant today.

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There’s always a silver lining.

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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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Guest Blog

20150509-112559.jpg

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

20150509-112400.jpg
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.

20150509-112821.jpg
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!

20150509-112216.jpg

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The cradle, house, doors, windows, trees and I will rock. As predicted, the wind has whipped up. We measured sustained winds over 40 knots with gusts over 50. Our trusty wind gauge shows it.

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No true damage, small branches down, except the garden has suffered from the wind and salt water that has sprayed it. Unfortunately for the garden, these winds are here until at least next Thursday! I’ll keep rinsing and propping and protecting my fragile seedlings.

So we worked on indoor projects, food, fiber and woodworking. The double bed frame is almost complete. We have to test how close we want the slats for the foam mattress. It’s always interesting when two control freaks work together on a project, but we ultimately jelled and did good work together.

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On the food front, I tried two experiments and they both worked. I wanted to see if I could make yogurt from the probiotic supplement, Culturelle. I recommend it to my patients all the time as a great source of lactobacillus acidopholus, also found in yogurt, so I thought why not. A quick Google search showed that it might be possible. I made it the same way I make yogurt from starter (which is just 1/3 cup yogurt). I boiled water, added the milk powder (delicious whole milk powder is readily available and inexpensive in Australia, why not in the United States?) and let it cool to 115 degrees f. Then I opened one Culturelle capsule and tapped it in. I preheated a wide mouth thermos with boiling water, emptied it and added the warm milk – probiotic mixture and let it sit overnight.

I only tested it with two cups of milk, which I don’t think was enough to keep warm in the large thermos and although the flavor was good, it wasn’t firm. So I used some for a cucumber salad and saved 1/3 cup to do it again with a liter. It worked and is delicious. Plus one capsule costs less than a dollar so it may be economical too. I’ll try to use it again as a starter in a couple of days.

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Next I made potato chips in the microwave. I have a gadget at home, thin mandolin and silicon baking tray, but alas it’s 16,418 km away! And Tim was out of chips. So I pared thin slices of potato salted them and placed them on a tray with ridges. And nuked them until they were lightly brown and crisp in two minute intervals. I checked the in between and turned them once. They were crisp, salty and delicious. Next time, I’ll try a little vinegar too.

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Somehow, I have managed to knit, weave and spin with very little accessories. My shetland lace shawl is more than a yard long and past the halfway point.
20150507-073744.jpgI’m enjoying spinning cotton on the little charkha book loom and have used my cotton yarn in inkle and tablet weaving projects.

Just trying to stay warm until the wind stops blowing. Waves were crashing at least 100 feet up the cliffs, not really captured in this photo. And yet, another pretty sunset.

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