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Archive for the ‘Island caretaker’ Category

Our walk around the Dingle peninsula, also called the Kerry Camino, continues. There are more sheep than cattle here and lots of mud. The innkeepers ask us to park our boots at the door rather than tramp inside with them.

I’m not guaranteed to shed pounds on this trip, despite 13 + mile days, because of the hearty breakfasts we eat, but I am bound to lose a few toenails. There’s no avoiding getting wet feet with all the mud. We’ve been very lucky with rain after our first day, only light showers. Today I didn’t even need rain pants.

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I still stop to admire the sheep. Today we walked through several grazing fields with sheep. One sign was a little disconcerting though. It advised us to walk into a field but watch out for the bull!! I certainly did.

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We stopped at a church from the 12 th century yesterday and at a pool of water today with some historic and probably religious significance.  Oddly enough, the trees get decorated with all sorts of things – socks, earrings, a pack of cigarettes. Not sure about this custom.

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We passed a townhouse yesterday on our way into Anascuel that reminded me of ones I have seen in Queens, NY. There, two owners of one house don’t always agree on paint color and you will see I house with each half painted a different color.  Here the owners couldn’t agree on whether ivy should be allowed to cover the house.

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To each his own.

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Is that the verse? I wonder if the Irish have as many words for rain as the Inuit have for snow. We were reassured that yesterday there would only be showers, not rain per se.  One man we met walking his old dog said there could be ten squalls or perhaps none until night, you never know. That’s Ireland for you. Here’s what the radar looked like,  chicken pox, with little squalls all over the place. Not like home where we often get one huge formed storm system. But we are not home, are we?

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The first couple had hail and strong winds. That hurt! And they were in the first hour of yesterday’s walk. Then we mostly had showers, quick bursts of rain and wind. The walk was through a bog – read miles of mud and puddles – that were unavoidable. I had water sloshing in my boots, which at least prevented blisters. We took a lunch break during a bright spot in the weather. I changed into dry socks only to walk through puddles for the next couple of hours. Gaiters might have helped.

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And to think we are here in early Spring to miss mud season at home. May have to rethink this.

The skies were dramatic and there were long views over the Lee River at the start of our walk along the Dingle Way, which was an old pilgrimage walk. I’m rereading some of John O’Donohue’s work, my favorite was Anam Cara, which is on my bookshelf at home. He reminded me to breathe.

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We’ve seen many breed of sheep along our walks and often walk through fields with animals since all of the land is privately owned. We saw this colorful flock near the village of Camp. Dyed in the wool?

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And at the end of the day, I had a sunburned, hail beaten, windblown face.

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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.

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IMG_4219We left Seguin Island in calm seas and pea soup fog. The first and only thing I was able to see during the three mile boat ride ashore was Fort Popham, at the very end of the trip! But we were in excellent hands.

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Fort Popham from the road

The drive home was beautiful, especially when we saw the Adirondack Mountains.

IMG_4288But how quickly we got caught up in a whirlwind. I worked two days, arranged financing, bought a car, rented a house for the family vacation, and mostly unpacked. Tim lined up a Captain’s job on a schooner next summer and then we were invited for the crew’s end of year sail. It was perfect though; steady breeze, gorgeous sunset, mountain, and good company.

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We feel like we didn’t even miss summer at home. It has been warm and sunny. No pea soup.

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Photographs only show one aspect of island living. From the moment we arrived, I could hear the bell buoy ringing when the waves rocked it. Today I felt, rather than saw, the fog roll in. First the sun’s warmth disappeared and then a cool dampness followed. Happily I have nothing to report about smells or tastes.

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Island work. When you can’t call a plumber, just make sure you have enough hose clamps on hand. I started the process of filling the cistern in the keeper’s quarters and found water in the pump house after I had started. Two pipes don’t quite fit together, so I adjusted things a bit and added another hose clamp to the gang.

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The system is designed to be drained but this is a bit much. And the water has so much iron in it, I couldn’t wear my shoes back in the house for all the rust in the water I stood in.

But it was another beautiful day in paradise. Yesterday we mowed, I got to ride the crazy lawn mower without a steering wheel. It takes a little getting used to but can spin 360’s effortlessly, which makes it easier to avoid hitting rocks.

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Rides sweet but is a royal pain to change the oil, which we did earlier this week. Definitely not mechanic friendly.

Look at how nice the lawn looks.

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I bet the sun will set today despite the fog.

 

 

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Human and others. Fall migration has begun. Seguin Island is loaded with Northern Flickers. They are kind of bashful and elude my camera. Here is one sitting on the sunset bench.

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Monarch butterflies are starting to flutter through. I spotted a mink and my siting was confirmed by 3 young men in the know. Apparently it caught its own ferry here,  log, big wave? Some other critter nibbled on my bag of flax meal. The island has been without mice or rodents but at night, once the light is out, the kitchen fills with crickets. I had to go back in and turn on the light last night and had to dodge at least 15 crickets on the floor. Tim insists they ate my flax.  Hmmm.

Fair weather has also brought visitors and it is a delight to share this magical place with others. It brings joy to all who see it, especially us.

The bathtubs are shining by Seguin standards but you might dispute it if I posted a photo so just imagine pristine tubs. Being the good lighthouse keeper’s wife, I also deep, deep cleaned the refrigerator. On Tasmania, I took unusual pleasure in using the old floor waxer to polish up the linoleum.

Sunrise and sunset keeps happening. The sun is setting 18 minutes earlier than when we arrived 2 weeks ago. I can’t speak to the sunrise but I have caught it on at least a couple of occasions. Yesterday was one.

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Looks like I have to deep clean some outside cobwebs.

This morning it rose behind the clouds.

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Here are a few indirect sunset scenes.

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Happy place.

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This morning I am literally waiting for the grass to dry so I can hop aboard the Gravely mower and shear the lawn.

 

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The seagulls enjoyed it. They found lots of treats in the mud flats.

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We caught the Seguin Ferry back to the island after the party ashore Saturday night. Seas were mildly calm although surge in the cove made our landing interesting. We didn’t have a lot to carry though.

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I’ve been working on deep cleaning the caretaker’s residence. There are several standout caretakers returning this season and I want to turn over a pristine house. The iron content in the water makes the bathtub look scary. I tried comet, bartender’s friend, baking soda and vinegar. They all worked a bit, I knew I made progress, but it still looked terrible. Along came RUST. This stuff is amazing. I could even consider a bath if the water wasn’t murky brown. We’ll do some ground work today but the island is in the best shape we have ever seen it.

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The VHF weather report provided by a local lobsterman reported the seas this morning are “wicked stupid”.

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Looks good to me.

 

 

 

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