Friday, June 18, 2010
Taking advantage of the beautiful balmy weather and the fact that France and I managed to put the new belt on the sit-down mower, I went right out early to cut the grass. Most of yesterday, until late afternoon, was overcast and rainy so it was the perfect opportunity to fix the mower. I’m sure it took much longer than it should have, but we wanted to do it by the manual step by step and when we had it all put back together there weren’t any pieces left over so I guess that’s a good sign.
I’m still a little concerned about the screech it makes when you turn the key and after I’d finished, I didn’t think it had done such a great job. Maybe the blades need to be sharpened. How do you do that? Actually, I should have waited until the lawn dried off a little. It was still really wet and not much grass shot out of the mower as I putted along; most of it just clotted up inside. It does look a lot better than it did. You can practically watch it grow!
We were spiffing up the place because Captain Ed Rice was due at 12:15 with four people who were on a lighthouse tour. They really wanted to see Seguin. It’s a first order Fresnel lens original to the current structure from 1857. It never fails to impress, no matter who you take up there. Especially when you open the tiny door and lead them out onto the catwalk at the top. The view is spectacular.
There was a father from Philly and his daughter who was covered in tattoos of a text in Hebrew, and a couple from California south of San Francisco. They only stayed an hour and by special arrangement with the Friends of Seguin Island, we met them in the dingy to take them ashore. France rowed two trips both ways. I had a quick dip just as we saw the boat in the distance and we swam again once they left. It really feels good, especially after you’ve worked up a sweat mowing glass.
There’s a little catbird that hops by at the bottom of the steps, early in the morning, from the porch of the museum where I sit and catch up on e-mail. It’s the only spot I’ve found with good internet reception. He looks up the steps at me and I look back at him and we stare at each other for a short time until he hops away or flies off. Today he came back at one point and landed on the handrail coming up the steps. We looked at each other for a while and then he took off directly at me! I put up my hand and it reversed course and flew away. What if I hadn’t put up my hand? Was it going to land on my shoulder and chirp in my ear of peck my eye out?
Then on the beach in the cove (low tide) there was a gull high at the top of a tree in what looked like it could have been a nest, but at least a perch, started making a racket, so I tried to imitate the sounds. Suddenly this one took off and headed straight at me! What’s going on here? I didn’t think he wanted to say hello so I flapped my arms and waved my safari hat and it made a big circle and landed back on the perch. So much for talking to the animals.
After a snack outside in the sun at the picnic table, France went off to whack more weeds on the north trail and I baked a blueberry pie in preparation for Jamie and Sol’s visit. I had a little leftover dough and couldn’t resist making the little lighthouses with a rusty cookie cutter I found hanging on the brick wall in the kitchen, which I cleaned up as best I could. They’ll be more appealing no doubt from shortbread.
It’s so hard to describe life here other than to say every aspect of it is just so fresh: the air, the views, the smells and the sounds. My friend Chris called yesterday from my neighborhood in the East Village in Manhattan while on the street, from his cell phone. I could barely hear his voice for the sirens blaring and all the chatter of people passing him by. How will I ever go back to that? While the pie was in the over, the back door from the kitchen was open and there was a breeze going through the house. You can always hear the ocean. The birds chirping and soaring and the vistas are something I will never forget. Ellen just called from Seattle from the car; she and David were headed for a weekend on the Pacific. She said I sounded like I was twenty years old. I told her I feel like I’m eighty; a twenty year-old in an eighty year-old’s body.
Michael, is there a tension adjustment on the belt? It could be too loose. Maybe there’s some belt dressing in the donkey shed, or you could ask Captain DeBery if he has any. http://www.ehow.com/video_4426965_sharpen-riding-lawn-mower-blades_.html
Keep reading. We replaced the belt. Now I need to sharpen the blades!
Fully understood. “I’m still a little concerned about the screech it makes when you turn the key . . ..” Belt dressing or tensioning might keep it from slipping, if it’s what’s causing that screech. My dad used to have an ancient tube of a waxy kind of stuff that he’d put on machine belts. Nowadays, I think everything is spray on. You already were a jack of all trades, but now even moreso. I bet that you won’t want to leave the island come Labor Day!
Let’s not go there. The old belt was definitely loose and the new one makes it run. I’ll ask Dave next week to check out the noise it makes when you turn it on and investigate how complicated it might be to sharpen the blades.
Beautiful “Still Life” photo of the blueberry pie and such. I would totally hang that in my kitchen!!
Absolutely agreed. Many great shots. If we can’t get Lenny to come, maybe you should join me, Debbie, when I visit Michael and France at the end of August.
Now there’s a plan!