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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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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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