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Archive for the ‘Island caretaker’ Category

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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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.

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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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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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