Hurricane Paulette Hits the Island

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Paulette hit the island early today so the work crew couldn’t make it out for the usual Wednesday Warrior activities. And the sun was a strange colored red ball both rising and setting; I’m told it’s an effect from the fires in the west.

Cyndy and I spent some time battening down the hatches and bringing in anything we thought would blow around in the 42mph anticipated sustained winds.  Being down to just two English muffins and a couple of slices of sandwich bread, we baked!

 

 

 

We hiked out to the South Trail in the afternoon hoping to see some of what Paulette was bringing in but it wasn’t as spectacular as storms passed.  There were cormorants hanging out on a cliff and all the gulls that didn’t migrate seemed to be here as well.  We thought that strange since this was the windiest part of the island today, unless they were dodging the peregrine falcons that have recently made a home here.  They’ve been attacking a lot of the finches and smaller birds and making a huge mess, often leaving just the heads on the catwalk around the light at the top of the tower.

 

 

Candy showed me the new Cove Overlook Trail on the north trail which caretaker Chris blazed.  It leads through one of the only forested parts of the island down as far as you can see an overlook into the cove from the western side.  It’s quite special and a great addition to the trails already established here.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The cove is calm because Paulette has been pounding the other side of the island (SW) but today it seems to have passed and the wind and rough seas have subsided.

Posting has been very difficult and time consuming because of weak connections and inter-net access.  I may not do the final one until we get back to shore on the weekend.  Until then, happy trails!

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An Autumn Return in the Time of Covid-19 and Solar Power

I’m so happy to be back out on the island at the lighthouse with Cyndy doing a stint again as caretaker this fall. I’m back to my usual duties as chief cook. We’ve already had some great meals and it’s only the third day.

Friday, September 11, 2020

My Amtrak trip up to Boston and Concord bus to Bath were uneventful and quiet with good inter-net access and everyone obeying the rules.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

We were so excited anticipating the day ahead and a week back on Seguin that an alarm wasn’t even needed to get us moving at 4 a.m., still dark with a chill in the air, to do the final packing before heading out to meet the boat at 6:30. The late summer day couldn’t have been more beautiful with clear skies and surprisingly mild temperatures. Chris and Debbie, the couple who have been here on the island all summer (and last summer!) greeted us in the cove; Chris came out in the island dingy to row us to shore with all of our provisions, from Ethan’s lobster boat. We would have until he and his mate finished hauling traps for the day to chat and catch up with Chris and Debbie, before they would have to leave it to Cyndy and me to take over for the next week. I had never seen the new installation of solar energy to power the island so Chris gave us a tour and took us to the Whistle House, the island workshop and tool shed, where the Coast Guard maintains a room for the light in the tower; or did. It has been emptied out and the 1970s electronics have been replaced with the brains for the solar panels that the FRIENDS have installed.

The Guard put a small panel on a rock just west of the tower to power the new light they have installed in the First Order Fresnel lens that has sat inside the top of the tower since 1857.

I’ve never seen the Whistle House so organized and tidy; I could walk comfortably barefoot. It was sad to see them leave. Once we’d tied the dingy up on the rocks in the cove after helping them out to meet Ethan in his lobster boat, we took the trail back up top, smelling the fresh scents of fall in the air and realizing that it was just the two of us alone here on this glorious island for the next week and we were On Vacation! Once we settled in to that a bit, we set out to put together dinner for our first night: we baked halibut with cherry tomatoes.

The inter-net connection was good enough to participate in our once a week family Zoom. I gave everyone a tour around the island.

And an important part of the first night for us was watching the sunset, and fortunate for us, the breeze was balmy and the sunset spectacular. As we faced west sitting on the sunset bench high above the sea gazing at the sun with Popham Beach three miles away we suddenly became aware of the presence of someone behind us. It shouldn’t have been a surprise because there are visitors popping up from their boats in the cove often, especially in good weather (they’ve welcomed 1200 visitors this summer!), they usually don’t appear so late in the day. Then a voice said, “you’re not Chris and Debbie.” It was Rod who had sailed in, barefoot and disappointed. We chatted for a short time before he was off to warm his feet on the old cistern behind the Whistle House, on the concrete disc which had been baking in the sun all day. He was so glad he made it up to the top just in time to see the sunset with us.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

We spent most of the next morning getting a beef roast into the slow cooker and putting together a very complicated heirloom tomato pie. It was worth it!

Last night the wind kicked in and the seas rose up. Today it’s overcast and a little cooler. And the mosquitoes have adapted to daytime hunger. Ugh!

We were so happy to participate in an event we’d never seen before on the island. One of the local lobstermen passed away and at noon there was a parade of 14 lobster boats, filled with six times as many people, which motored single file around the island and then all met in the cove for a service, which we caught on our walkie talkies, and a casting of flowers and the ashes into the sea. It was very moving and I’m glad I could capture some of it and have been a witness to a very fine tribute.

 

I sent this photo to a friend and he wrote back that it didn’t look like I was working all that hard. I wrote back that it was Sunday.

The big new this this year is the installation of solar power. For more than a year after the power cable was cut off by the Coast Guard, the island was powered by generator. This spring, after 18 trips by helicopter, solar is here and running smoothly.

With solar powering the light at the top of the tower, it’s a big adjustment. The 1000 watt bulb that was powered by electricity was replaced by something that looks like an hour glass painted black on the top and the bottom. Before the light could be seen from 20 miles away; now just 14. Perhaps the oil that was used years ago was not more than that. We were spoiled by the electric adaptation I suppose. I don’t see as much of the prism effect either. It just looks sparkly and a little blue.

It was very satisfying to sit down to Sunday beef stew in the evening after our first full day on the island, and the tomato pie we’d worked so long to prepare.

Monday, September 14, 2020

 

This morning it was scrambled eggs with bacon and island made blackberry jam (from native berries). Then we put together a new recipe for summer squash casserole and were one step closer to dinner. I thought the tomato pie tasted even better the second day, reheated for lunch, which we ate out at the picnic table in the sun.

We have been doing some cleaning-up and tidying-up chores along the way so that by the end of the week, the place will be in good order for Tim and Lynne. We had thought to begin scraping painted surfaces of the Oil House in preparation for protective paint but thought it was too windy.

Instead, Cyndy suggested we take the Cobblestone Beach Trail in the afternoon, where we discovered a number of Cairns at low tide. There were some sizeable waves crashing against the rocks and it was fun to lie on the hot rocks watching the cresting waves creating shooting jets of spray.

 

We discovered evidence of a memorial on Cobblestone Beach.

If felt so good to lie down on the hot rocks.

 

Like the tomato pie, the leftover fish and cherry tomatoes was so much better the second time around. And the casserole was a hit even though the breadcrumbs went into the dish and the crumbled Ritz Crackers went on the top when it was supposed to be the other way around.

 

And of course there were more games of cards to be played and e-mails to catch up on. It doesn’t look like the crew will be able to get out this Wednesday; 45 mph sustained winds are expected. Ethan is hoping that by the weekend he can get us off. There’s no hurry: we’re on vacation!

My hotspot goes in and out connecting to the inter-net so I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post. Cheers to all! Glad to be back.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The morning was a bit hazy.  I think we may be getting a bit of the polluted air from the fires in the West.  My brother is really suffering in Oregon.  I’m glad we can stay in touch.

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A Trip Cut Short but a Great Adventure

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Alas, we must leave the island two days early as the forecast for the next two days calls for high seas.  Which meant for us, prioritizing the things that needed to get done and foregoing some things like mowing the lawn and turning the garden.  There was purple kale left, a few pole beans and some fennel.  The Wednesday Warriors arrived on Wednesday to help board up the windows we didn’t get to, stabilizing all the gas and changing the oil in the generators, mowers and weed whackers.  We started early with a discussion over coffee and fresh blueberry buckle, went to work and broke for lunch.

Since we will not be able to eat all the food we brought out, we served up leftovers to the guys and ate heartily of chicken Marsala, steak and onions and roasted potatoes with blueberry pie chef and master baker Raymond left us in the fridge.

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The Monarchs were everywhere!

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Blueberry Buckle

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May I take you to the top of the light?

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Steak with roasted potatoes.

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Cyndy and Tom boarding up the windows.

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The work crew, along with fifteen visitors, left for the day on Wednesday afternoon.

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In the evening we feasted on lobster and crab Ethan and Brook brought us fresh caught, when the Warriors departed.  There was enough left for lobster salad to feed the guys the next day on Thursday, when they came back for the final close up.

This involved draining all the water, securing the propane tanks, shutting off the electricity and locking all the buildings, including the house and tower, up for the winter.

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Fresh lobster and crab.

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Mt. Washington, 86 miles away.

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Our last day brought sunshine and a clear day with a cloudless sky and calm seas.  You’d never know that high seas were forecast; Humberto was causing havoc off the coast and the repercussions were due to hit soon, so we stuck to the plan.

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We hauled out twelve contractor bags of trash, nine empty five gallon gas cans, empty water cubes, pantry items and a cooler full of food we didn’t get around to eating including chicken thighs and a turkey pot pie.  The last big item to go was the electric range purchased some fifteen to eighteen years ago.  In August a gas range was flown in by helicopter.  Tom and Chris brought it down on a hand truck down the tram and somehow we got it down the steps, onto the beach.  It was the last thing we loaded up on Thursday and into the dingy for transport off the island.

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  Propane secured for the winter.

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In the mornings we turned on the small generator to run the fridge and in the evening we turned on the big generator down by the Whistle House which allowed us to run everything at the house except for the big heater; another reason for us to close early and not stay open until Columbus Day.  It gets cold at night into October!  This allowed us to take showers, do dishes and keep the lights on until almost bedtime and cooking on the gas range took the edge off the chill in the kitchen and dining room.

It was a long hard day but with the help of a handful of dedicated individuals, the island was successfully shut down for the season, albeit earlier than usual, and left in good order for those who will arrive in May to open up next year with the new caretakers.  Many thanks to President of the Board, Rick Mayo for his dedication and meticulous attention to detail.  Chris and Tom also pitched in on Wednesday and Greg Bridgman,  whose help every year to both crank up the water in the spring to fill the cistern from the well, and to shut it down and drain it in the fall is invaluable.  One day we’ll take a video of all he does so that others can follow in his footsteps.  Now the push begins to raise the $150,000 needed to put in solar power in the spring.  Please contact Friends of Seguin Island Light Station (FOSILS), if you are able to be part of this new chapter in the history of this historic paradise.

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Assessing the Week, which may get Shortened!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

There were many new things to see yesterday venturing out on the north trail.

The Mountain Ash was in abundance.  (We think that’s what this is.)

There were still blackberries that were sweeter than I remember, which made for a nice snack on the trail.  And the Monarch butterflies were everywhere feeding on white and purple flowers, gearing up for their long migration to Mexico.

  

New boards were laid down in the Loop off the North Trail through the bog.

Jackson was out lobstering on his Black Diamond

Debbie and Chris were the caretakers this summer.  I’m sorry I did’t get to meet them.  Chris blazed a new trail off the North trail with yellow ribbons that ends high up on the western shore of the cove looking down through the trees at the Boathouse.

There has been a new roof put on the Whistle House with tiles flown in by helicopter and the weather station us up and running again.

One year we saw the Monarchs in droves at dusk each taking the end of a branch on Fat Albert (the squat pine tree that, sadly has died and been removed).  This year, as dusk approached, they had all found one particular location on a sumac tree, where they could see the approach from both sides of the path.  It provided ideal camouflage.

In the evening, we feasted on chicken Marsala and upside down peach cake.

And the waning gibbous moon made another spectacular appearance just before bedtime.

In the morning the Monarchs were still there just waking up to either feed again, or begin their long journey.

        

The forecast doesn’t look great toward the end of the week so it is possible that we will have to leave the island early.  It means that today we really have our work cut out for us in anticipation.  Yesterday, while I baked, Cyndy got all the screens out from the basement and leaned them against the house by the windows they will each cover.  Instead of mowing the lawn we’ll go to work at that and maybe, if we get to finish out the week, we’ll get time for the mowing.  Then we also plan to clean out the public facility down by the cove.  Lots of fun today!

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Seguin Island Light Station: Generator Powered in 2019

It’s a very different experience on the island this year because the power cable that was laid in 1956 that runs under the sea has been deemed unsafe by the Coast Guard, and was shut off last spring. To compensate, generators were flown in by helicopter, which we turn on twice a day until the funds can be raised for solar. The Coast Guard put up a small solar panel to run auxiliary lights instead of the thousand watt bacon that used to shine out of the 1st order Fresnel lens. A gas stove was flown in by helicopter to replace the electric one last August. Small steps.

 

But we’re here and so happy to be once again on this little paradise closing down for the season. We’ve come ashore on Lighthouse Day so the banner was flying under the flag.  Without the use of the big electric heater, which keeps the house warm into October, the island will close early this year. We have a lot to do before the crew comes next weekend to assist in the final closing of the buildings and tower and really love every minute of it.

    

Hopefully the few hours per day that we run the generators will keep our provisions from spoiling in the fridge.  Last night’s supper was the perfect summer meal:  hamburgers on the grill, fresh sweet corn on the cob and the last of the beans picked from the garden here on the island, sautéed in olive oil with garlic.  Raymond, the chef from Oklahoma left us blueberry pie for desert.

Early to bed meant early to rise, just in time to see the sunrise, just to the right of Monhegan Island, 26 miles to the east.

    

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A BUSY WEEK CONTINUES CLOSING FOR THE 2018 SEASON

We left off on Wednesday, October 2 about to start gating up the windows of the downstairs for the winter.  But to get started on the day we first fortified ourselves with French toast with strawberries and bacon.  The bread for the toast was left in the freezer, thankfully, by T’Ann, made by her cousin Ray, the baker, we think.

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The windows of the Donkey Engine House were boarded up and with the new paint job just completed after stripping the shingles (thanks mostly to Cyndy and Ruth) and a fresh coat of green trim, it looks pretty good.

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We used to gate up the upstairs windows using scaffolding and ladders, but have not continued that practice for the last few years.  The question I need to ask is why we put screens on any of them at all.  Meanwhile:

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The seas were too rough for us to get the dinghy down and row out for the lobster Ethan had left for us in the keeper box tied to a mooring, so for dinner we had crab cakes with string beans and cherry tomatoes instead.

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Cyndy got a head start cleaning up and reorganizing the Whistle House by moving the paint that would freeze into the Coast Guard room, which because of the mechanicals inside, stays relatively warm all year round. We had not been in there since the foghorn was revamped by the Coast Guard and I must say it was left in quite a state of disarray with drawings and schematics left out and drawers opened; they must have had to leave in a big hurry.  They didn’t even lock the back door.  The fog horn, by the way, does not go on automatically anymore. The new system (MRASS) requires one to use a walkie talkie, turn to channel 83 (most of what we monitor is on channel 78) and cue five times. After a minute or two it comes on for about an hour, after which time you must repeat the process. Now there are people out there who turn it on just for fun from the sea in sunny clear weather.  And I guess since I’ve written down how to do it, you can too.

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Boarding up the Oil House, usually a simple task, did not go well and I’m not very proud of our temporary solution. We need to devise a new system for putting plywood over windows for protection from the elements because every time we do it this time of year, we make new holes in the doors and cause unwanted damage. (Lining up with the old holes is not always easy.) And at the Oil House, the new added dilemma was that neither the dead bolt lock nor the knob lock worked on the door no matter how much WD40 we juiced them with.  In the end, we simply took the screen off which we stored inside, and screwed in an “L” bracket to keep the door closed.

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Finally the winds shifted to the south and the cove was at last calm enough to get the dinghy down off the rocks and into the water. Ethan, with his first mate Brook in The Grasshopper, met us in the cove while he was working his traps to bring us a new faucet for the kitchen sink. While we were out there we managed to haul in dinner from the keeper box tied to a mooring: four beautiful and still very live lobster! The exchange was completed with two fresh blueberry muffins, which Brook gladly accepted.

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Once back up the hill with dinner and the new challenge of installation of the faucet, we went to work. After turning off the water supply from the basement to the house and the valve which suctions water out of the cistern, we had little problem replacing the entire faucet including the sprayer. It took time for a couple of novice plumbers but it went well. The new one was designed a little differently and will hopefully not freeze and burst the connection that was the leak problem in the old one. What we didn’t anticipate in the installation was how fragile the pipes are leading under the sink down into the crawl space below the kitchen. That connection came lose just as we were testing the new faucet and there was an eruption of spewing water where the break happened just below the bottom of the sink. So while I tried to stave it off as best as I could with my finger in the dike, so to speak, Cyndy rushed down to the basement to once again shut down the system turning off the water supply.

There is no way a human could crawl onto the dirt floor of the crawl space although someone must have years ago when the pipes were first installed. Short of ripping out the bottom of the sink above the floor, I was able to nudge up the pipe just enough to put a temporary clamp on it and keep it in sight and within reach. In the end, a plastic tube with wire mesh was found in the Whistle House, which we ended up substituting for the pipe piece that broke off. A temporary fix that seemed to work by drastically reducing the dripping under the sink. We’ll see what the experts say when they take a look at it. Anyway, there was a lot of cleaning up to do; at least we got the kitchen floor mopped out of the ordeal.

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A long overdue shower ensued for each of us. It was well passed 5.

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After some snacks we cooked up the lobster and paired it with the last of the heirloom tomato pie. Yum!

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Friday, October 5, 2018

While we waited for the sun to shine on the glass brick window in the tower that we needed to recalk with mortar (24 4”X4” glass blocks), we went to work turning the garden. There were still a surprising number of edibles including some mini zucchini, green tomatoes and green peppers and a few red beets. All the vegetables were cleaned and trimmed and diced into a beautiful sauté that ended up as a casserole with cheese and breadcrumbs on top for dinner. That is except for the beets which I roasted and the greens which I sautéed separately. And the last of the zinnias went into a vase on the dining table thanks to Cyndy.

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Cyndy had stabilized the gas in the mowers and after that we took the battery out of the zero radius sit down mower to take back to the mainland for the winter. Then we finished up the cleanup and organizing in the Whistle House together and in the process, left the door open and a bird flew in. All the lectures we give others about not leaving doors open for this reason and here we were: guilty of it ourselves. We tried every method available with brooms and rakes to guide the little critter out the door but all we did was terrorize it. In the end, we opened the back door as well and just went away. The bird had found its way out by the time we returned a couple of hours later.

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With the sun shinning on the window at the base of the tower, we went to work mixing what mortal didn’t get wet in our initial landing last Saturday and did a decent job of calking up the window. We started by chipping away lose pieces, taking a wire brush to what was left and wetting the whole thing down with water on a paint brush. Neither of us are masons but in the end we managed to fill in all the cracks and make it look uniform. We guess that this window is original to the tower and hadn’t been recalked in years, unlike the window at the top of the tower, which blew out in the Patriot’s Day storm of 2007 and had to be replaced. I just hope I’m not taking away loose pieces next year and doing the job over again. If that’s the case, we’ll call in an expert.

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Before mortar work.

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We took a walk down to the cove at low tide (2:32PM). Cyndy searched for beach glass while I lay on my back on the deck to catch some warm rays from the sun.

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Then we went off to Cobblestone beach to dump the lobster shells. The dead seal that washed ashore a month ago is in a bad state of decomposition and had a very unique ripe smell, not for the faint of heart. There’s one on the beach in the cove too which we can smell but haven’t yet located.

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By the time we got back, I could reach the team at Davis Instruments by phone in California to discuss what to do with our weather station, which is not working properly. We had taken it off the board it was attached to at the top of the tram with some difficulty and were now ready to pack it up and send it in for a diagnostic. The man I had spoken with in technical support a few years ago had retired but Bruce was very helpful and said he would send us a diagnostic cable. So we boxed up the whole thing and had him send the cable to the office in Bath where Cyndy will have to reassemble it and test it out when that arrives, with guidance from Bruce.

We had forgotten to eat the last of the lobster for lunch, intended for salad on some buttermilk biscuits I baked up, so instead of having the garden casserole with frozen shrimp, I made lobster scampi. Dinner was to die for!  The flies are still a huge problem but the swatter is evidence of our hard efforts to keep them at bay.

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Saturday, October 6, 2018

We both slept in and woke to a beautiful clear crisp fall day with huge rolling waves coming in from the east. I’ve never seen spray shoot up so high when those waves crash against the shore on Cobblestone Beach. It’s really spectacular. Unfortunately the cove is still a mess and we don’t know for sure yet if we’ll get off the island tomorrow or have to wait until Columbus Day on Monday.

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Cyndy went down to the Clivis outhouse to disconnect the battery from the solar panel that  keeps the fan vent going while I made up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Fortunately we’re going into winter and no one will be using the unvented facility.  When Cyndy got back, we did a quick inventory of the pantry and agreed to leave some things that wouldn’t spoil in the fridge over the winter.  The power will be shut down and there will be no electricity (except for the light in the tower) but we think they will last after carefully checking expiration dates.  But we did get the word from Captain DeBery that the forecast for getting us off tomorrow is dim so it “looks like Monday” and we get a bonus day on the island!

This enabled us to make the one dish we didn’t think we’d get to:  citrus chicken.  We cooked it up with roasted beets and sautéed beet greens from the garden.

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We were also very happy that this would not be our last sunset.

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Sunday, October 7, 2018 – BONUS DAY!

We definitely paced ourselves today.  After breakfast we dug into a little reading and writing along with a few outstanding chores such as putting away the last of the benches (except for the sunset bench which we’ll use one last time tonight), securing the picnic table on its side to the rail of the back porch off the kitchen and putting some tools away in the Whistle House.  As I was writing this blog upstairs at the desk in the twin bedroom where I found I had the most bars on my hotspot, I heard voices on the lawn and these folks appeared along with their two beautiful golden retrievers.  What a joy to have visitors on our last day.  For them, they were thrilled that we were here and could take them on a tour of the tower, the light and to see the spectacular view from the catwalk outside.

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Slowly we’re bringing all that needs to go ashore tomorrow in stages so that we won’t have that much to do.  The skeleton crew is due at 9:30 and we must shove off at noon.  Candy went down and taped up the five plastic boxes that hold the memorabilia so that in the event of the kind of wash out we experienced a week ago landing, the tee shirts would stay dry.

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FALLING INTO WINTER ON SEGUIN ISLAND

Friday, September 28, 2018

An early morning train to Boston followed by a crowded bus to Bath got me in on time mid afternoon. There were even a couple of dozen folks who couldn’t get on the bus (first come first served) and fortunately the train was on time so I got a good place in line. Cyndy was there to meet me and Sue got to the hotel just after I checked in. She was coming down from New Harbor and Monhegan Island where she’d been on vacation for a month. What a joy to have a night together. Cyndy joined us at Salt Pine Social for a memorable meal.

Saturday, September 29

Starting your day at Winnegance Country Store for breakfast should be in the cards for everyone, at least once. It was warm enough to sit outside on the front porch in the sun. What a delight! It was there that we parted company with Sue, she headed back home to New Jersey by way of Sturbridge Village and Cyndy and I went off to the Bath Farmers Market for some last minute provisions before we met Captain DeBery in Popham for the boat ride to Seguin. There were lots of fresh and wonderful things to find including sweet corn, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and heirloom tomatoes. And I found a beautiful wool hat that cost $40 (I forgot to pack my watchman’s cap)! But as a consolation, I can go on the Internet and see the little lamb, from which the wool was sheared. And the woman who sold it to me was knitting and she had knit the hat and everything else there was to see at her stand, had a big smile and was so pleasantly persuasive, I couldn’t resist.

 

It was a rough sloppy ride in. The landing was the worst ever; everything got wet. Fortunately, Cyndy put my backpack in a garbage bag which saved my laptop and camera. Lynn said there was a dead seal on the beach. We could smell it but never found it. They really blend in with the rocks. And Ethan had cancelled his tour anticipating the rough landing. I can’t imagine how visitors would have handled getting out of Ethan’s lobster boat (The Grasshopper), into the dingy and onto the shore with the waves crashing and water spilling over the bow onto them and all of our stuff. We were counting on help to carry up our stuff but after crossing paths with Tim and Lynn who were coming off after two weeks on the island with just a couple of trips getting them and their stuff onto The Grasshopper and us and all of our supplies and luggage off the boat, we were very much alone.

After we put away (dried out) the groceries and hung up our duds to dry on the line, we spent the rest of the day under the kitchen sink. Short breaks were taken to run up and down the basement stairs; shutting off, then turning on more times than I could count to test out first a likely fix, which had involved a part that had to be ordered so that all Lynn could do was prep it and leave detailed instructions before we arrived for installation. After a very long time spent with meticulous installation of the part below the hot water faucet under the sink; long story short, that wasn’t the problem (see photo). There is a tiny leak in the little horizontal pipe that connects the hot faucet to the central arm, just before it gets there. Let’s not talk about our feeble attempts to solder the leak (after spending an inordinate amount of time in the Whistle House tracking down the solder gun and supplies). Of course you first have to shut off the water. I should do a video of the basement with the dirt floor and multiple places you can easily whack your head, littered with relics of heating systems of yore.   And it wasn’t until the next day that it finally dawned on me that the leak probably came from water freezing in the pipe over the winter. It’s a thin pipe and runs horizontally. I think we need to find a new fixture with solid connections or at least some way to blow out what’s there when we drain it next weekend.

The monarch butterflies are everywhere on the island. Without Fat Albert (the squat pine tree that blew over last winter) we wondered where they spent the night.

For dinner there was spinach pie appetizer triangles and seared scallops with sautéed crimmini mushrooms.

Our Scrabble game at 260 to 261 reversed itself with the point added and subtracted respectively when I went out first to allow me to win the game by one point after Cyndy had finished ahead of me by one point!

Sunday, September 30

I cooked up some steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast and for lunch, made up an egg salad from the two boiled eggs leftover from my trip, on toasted English muffins.

And dinner consisted of fresh haddock baked with butter and corn fritters and fresh broccoli from the broccoli left in the island garden.

 

 

   

Even though I protested working on a Sunday, we did accomplish a few chores:

Weeded the stone path to the back of tower and weeded and turned most of the garden.

  

There seem to be an abundance of mushrooms this year all over the lawn.  I gathered some up.  We didn’t eat them.

      

Put away BBQ stuff in the bottom of the tower.

Boarded up Donkey Engine House. Cranked up the engine and let it run for a while.

Gathered signage and stored.

Fixed the Oars, or didn’t fix the oars. New buttons with springs had been purchased to go inside at the break where they would match up with the holes of the other half but the holes were corroded and when I aligned them (fortunately facing away from me) the little metal button popped out through the hole and sprang several feet away into the grass. We spent a long time on our hands and knees looking for it until we gave up thinking the $1.99 purchase wasn’t worth the effort and a washer at the hole wouldn’t help because there was no room for it when the oar halves were slid together.

Monday, October 1

Drizzle and rain. We kept the fog signal going. I made heirloom tomato pie while Cyndy packed up the gift shop. It’s a very involved recipe but so worth it. There is cornmeal and Manchego cheese in the crust and a layer of more Manchego, mozzarella and Parmesan and sautéed onions under the sliced heirloom tomatoes. It was so good we each had two pieces for lunch.

For dinner we had more pie along with chicken fricassee but we’d been snacking all afternoon. The evening ended with gin rummy and bed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Today it’s raining harder and the seas are still rough. We don’t expect to see anyone. Cyndy helped me get a beautiful four-pound roast into the slow cooker with carrots, celery onion and red wine which then called for a huge breakfast of eggs and bacon and leftover corn fritters and some really good bread T’Ann’s cousin Ray left for us in the freezer. That’s what we need on this island: a professional baker.

On my morning walk to the cove there was a gull hanging out under the tram that didn’t fly away when I got close.  I hope she’s all right.

Now we’re digging into some more indoor chores so while Cyndy packs up the museum, I repaired one of the chairs there which had a leg split off, with some very stiff and dried up wood glue. Hopefully I got enough on, together with the help of a couple of rubber bands while it dries, to hold it together. I’m glad I have this blog to work on so I don’t have to do what she has headed upstairs in the guest quarters to do: clean out the composting toilet! Next will put away some linens that we found still in the contractor bags they were brought out in. But first, let me try to get an Internet connection with the help of the hotspot on my iPhone so that I can post this and the photos I’ve taken so far. Tomorrow, if the weather and seas cooperate, the Wednesday Warriors would come out to do bigger chores, but we don’t expect that will happen.  The wind same up to sustained 20 – 25 mph in the afternoon.

The roast was delicious and will probably be even better as leftovers.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A new day brings the same choppy seas we’ve had for the past few days.  Ethan says there’s a hurricane just sitting off the coast not moving and it could be this way until Sunday.

 

A good excuse to make blueberry muffins.

 

Fortified for the morning, the rain has stopped and the sun is trying unsuccessfully to peep through somewhere in the overcast sky.  We’re going to get out the screens and begin boarding up the windows with the gates.  What fun!

 

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PARADISE FOUND FOR A SUBSTITUTE CARETAKER

This gallery contains 94 photos.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018, Dear Blog and gentle readers, I’m not sure when I’ll get to post this. My hot spot has been spotty at best and getting on the Internet is hit or miss. And transferring photos from my … Continue reading

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Another Season Draws to a Close

October 9, 2016

Safely ashore, and having lost internet for the last few days on the island, I can now write about our final days finishing everything that needed to be done to secure the buildings on the island and the tower for the long winter ahead.

On Wednesday, Ken Young came out to help us pack up the museum and take all the items from the gift shop off the island.  We look forward to coffee and muffins with Ken because, as the island historian, he is full of stories of how the island came to be.  He has located the foundation for the original tower and marked it with a plaque as he has done with a barn, the assistant caretaker house, taken down by the coast guard in the 1960s, and recently the blacksmith’s shop near the donkey engine house in the cove.

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In the afternoon, as Ken was leaving with Captain DeBery in The Guppy, two boats appeared in the cove and four more visitors came ashore.

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In the afternoon we stowed more things away including the charcoal grill and side tables built by Bo three summers ago and the new gas grill used by the overnight guests who stay in the guest quarters that was donated this summer.  There were guests on 12 occasions who stayed this summer.  To book the facility all it takes is a membership to FOSILS.

Dinner that night was probably the best meal we’ve ever prepared on the island, consisting of a butternut squash tart, cod cakes made with haddock instead of cod, and a side of sautéed sweet red peppers and onions for garnish.  And another sunset was not to be missed.

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In the late evening, the slim crescent moon slipped down to the horizon just west of where the sun had set just hours before and turned a deep shade of orange.  Neither Cyndy nor I had ever seen that before.

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Thursday began for us with another glorious sunrise.  The sky has been so clear all week that both sunrise and sunset day to day are fairly indistinguishable.

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I wanted to bake a fresh peach cake and the bulb in the oven hadn’t been working so I decided that before I heated it up I’d replace it.  Fortunately there was an appliance light in the dresser in the dinning room.  After unscrewing the thick glass cover, an attempt to unscrew the dead bulb only brought a spark and the glass part.  The metal base remained screwed in.  Even with rubber handled needle nosed pliers, I wasn’t stupid enough to attempt this without unplugging the stove.  The plug was behind the stove on the floor and I was stupid enough to pull the whole oven away from the wall when I later realized that all I had to do was take out the bottom pan storage drawer.  We live and learn.  Once the faulty broken metal base was unscrewed with the pliers and the new bulb screwed in, plugging in the stove turned on the light (success!) but turning off the light switch on the stove wouldn’t turn it off (failure!).  After I shoved the stove back against the wall and propped it up on the wooden shims (all without waking Cyndy) the situation seemed to self correct and I could now turn the light on and off from the switch (ta da!).

Later in the morning we boarded up the windows to the donkey engine house at the base of the tram and disconnected the power to the fan in the public outhouse.  This summer the electricity down to the cove shorted out and power was lost in the donkey engine house, the boat house and the outhouse.  The outhouse was the big problem because unless you can vent that with the fan, it’s not very pleasant to use.  Daunted by the prospect of finding a short in a thick 180 foot cable (not possible), a solar panel was installed on the roof of the outhouse.  Thanks to Lynn’s electrical expertise in hooking up the battery to the panel, the fan kicked in and all was sweet once again.

After Cyndy put stabilizer in the gas and the mower in the donkey engine house and the deck furniture to the boat house was stored within, and the big doors to the ways locked up, everything down below was finished and secured for the winter.

We then progressed to take in the screen door to the oil house and board up the window to the door, which we double locked.

Cyndy cleaned out the guest toilet and put all the paint away that could freeze into the coast guard room in the whistle house.  This room is humming all year round with their instruments and the temperature is warmer than the rest of the building, so we store paint there.

All week we’d been planning for Ethan and Lindsay to come out for an overnight.  Their week on the island last week was cut short by bad weather so it was something they looked forward to as well.  They came out with their son Larson and dog Pepper.

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We were too busy having fun and enjoying each other’s company to take photos at dinner.  Needless to say we had our fill with shrimp scampi for an appetizer with some crusty bread Cyndy baked earlier.  Next coarse was a salad of blanched chard chilled and served up with tomatoes, red onion and a honey mustard dressing.  Dinner of roasted chicken thighs over onions, garlic, thyme and lemon and leftover butternut squash tart followed.  For desert there was the fresh peach cake.  By the time dinner was over it was almost ten and we all drifted off to bed.

Friday brought the final chores before we could relax a little in the late afternoon sun.  Gates needed to be installed on all the windows downstairs.  Ken had helped us with some on Wednesday so Cyndy and I finished the rest today.  The windows on the gift shop door and to the front porch doors were also boarded up with plywood to protect them from the winter storms.  Finally we took in the screen door to the kitchen and boarded up that window with plywood and turned the picnic table on its side to keep the snow off.

Thanks to Patty and Mitchell, this years summer caretakers, there was a bounty to be harvested from the garden.

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We roasted a few of the beets and made a wonderful salad with toasted walnuts, greens and a honey mustard vinaigrette to go with sausage and peppers.  There was even a little time to bake some chocolate chip cookies for desert and to share ashore.  Somehow they taste better when you know they were baked on Seguin.

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On the final day, we were up at sunrise once again as a crew comes early in the morning to help us off the island, which this year consisted of Ethan, Greg and Anne.  We’re all trying to learn all the steps Greg takes to shut down, for it is he who knows all the details of draining the water from all the pipes in the house and those that run down the tram to the cove among other things.  The hot water must be shut down and the tank that holds the grey water emptied.  Then each drain is flushed with the hose from the shop vac and after that a solution is added to the pipes that will preventing freezing.  Then finally the electricity is shut down on the entire island, except for the line that powers the 1000 watt bulb in the tower, of coarse, which is never turned off.

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Some work has been done recently on nearby Pond Island.  The lighthouse there looks freshly painted and refurbished.  Leaving Seguin is always a bit sad.  Does it really exist when no one is there to see it?  We towed the Seguin dingy on a line from Ethan’s Guppy to store ashore for the winter and said farewell to the island in the distance.

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Once ashore in Popham, we said our final farewells and divvied up the bounty from the garden.  There were beets, carrots and enough kale to fill a garbage bag, to be shared by all.  In just the short time we were away, the fall leaves have turned even more deep shades of red and orange and we are grateful for yet another time spent in paradise and look forward to next year and a new thrilling season with new caretakers and visitors who will marvel with us at the magic and wonder of this island paradise.

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A Delayed Start to Closing the Island

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

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Cyndy and Grady and I finally got off at low tide Monday morning from Popham for the trip out to Seguin with Captain DeBery at the helm of The Guppy. It was daddy daycare day so young Larson made the trip in the boat bassinette.

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The island looked to be in great shape even though no one had been here for over a week. Tim and Lynn had left it all buttoned up for Ethan and Lindsay, but their week was cut short mostly by bad weather. The forecast looks great for this week but there could be a hurricane coming up after the weekend so we’re planning on coming off the island on Saturday.

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We dug into a few chores after hauling up our gear and putting stuff away. A part had to be installed in the public composting outhouse in the cove. There seems to be a short in the power source from the Whistle house down to the Engine house and the Boathouse, which meant that the fan to ventilate the Clivus hasn’t functioned all summer. A solar panel was installed on the roof and Lynn did the electrical work to the battery. Now she’s the sweet dream we always loved, with the most spectacular view from a throne you’ll ever experience.

A beautiful schooner sailed into the cove in the late afternoon, as the wind came up, and moored for the night. This morning, two of the crew came up to have a look around and were surprised to find Grady barking at them and the two of us enjoying blueberry muffins (just out of the oven) and a cup of coffee on the porch. They said they’d sailed by many times but never come ashore. I was glad to get a shot of their craft before they set sail although I wish I’d taken one yesterday when they sailed in and the sails were up. One had stayed down with the boat but the other fellow and his mother signed the guest book and had a look through the museum before we took them up to the top of the tower for an inspection of the 1st order Fresnel lens and the view from the catwalk of the highest (not the tallest) lighthouse in the state of Maine.

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Today we tried to install a new fan in the composting toilet in the keeper quarters but it’s too close to the wall to get at a couple of screws so we’ll have to wait until Ken arrives tomorrow with the item he’s purchased at the hardware store that we hope will allow us to complete the installation. At this point they are not sure if the weather will permit the trip. Fingers crossed, otherwise we need to use the one next door in the guest quarters. Those things are a dream when properly ventilated. If not, well, you can just imagine.

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We came out with a menu for each night and enough to feed more than just the two of us. So we have leftovers for lunch.

Sunday when we couldn’t get out, Cyndy made shrimp tacos at home with corn and black beans. shrimp-tacos

Yesterday we made Ina Garten’s Coquille St. Jacques and had portions for dinner along with sautéed spinach. I got a C- for presentation but it all tasted great. We had another helping for lunch today and there’s enough for four in the freezer.

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Today I spent a few hours in the kitchen while Cyndy packed up the gift shop. I got up early to make the muffins and later on put together Bon Appetit’s eggplant parmesan for dinner and cod cakes for tomorrow.

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The day was windy but bright and sunny so we hiked the north trail in the afternoon and brought in all the signage for the winter. We were on a roll so we did the same for all the rest of the signage on the island. Then we brought most of the gift shop items down the tram hoping that Ken makes it out tomorrow and we can send it all back with him on the boat in the afternoon when he leaves. We’re not operating the tram these days, unfortunately, so everything goes up and down by hand. Cyndy and I were quite a pair with our little cart up on the tracks wheeling down the bins of tee shirts and memorabilia from the gift shop so they are ready to load tomorrow. Fingers crossed

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It was clear as a bell when the sun set and we sat down to a delicious meal, a game of cards and a good book. We’ll, I’m doing this, but the book will come later: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolfe.

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