First Overnight Guests

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Jamie and Sol arrived from the West bringing with them a strong wind unlike any we’ve felt here to date.  We had quite a number of visitors yesterday in spite of it and a number of beautiful sailboats in the cove including one that had been there overnight.  It’s really a joy to show people around, guide tours and tell them what we know, because you can’t help but be affected by it.  Many visitors spent time walking some of the trails.  Everyone is amazed by the view at the top of the lighthouse once you step out on the catwalk.  I couldn’t even keep the door open yesterday, once we got out there, it was so windy.

Nina and Rinehard used their dingy to row ashore from their sailboat named the Nina and were coming up the steps from the beach while I was in the Donkey House bringing the tram down in preparation for our guests arrival.  I was a little worried as they poked around underneath and around this marvel while I was operating it but since it was almost to the ramp and in place, I kept going thinking they’d see me through the window.  When I’d finished and turned it off, I came out of the house as they were standing in the clearing by the bulletin board and Rinehard was surprised that there was indeed someone here.  I replied that this thing didn’t operate itself and in defense, he remarked that perhaps it was operated from up at the top.  I apologized; it was a snide remark but I couldn’t help myself.  We walked up the path together chatting and they very much enjoyed the tour of the museum and gift shop.  She wasn’t feeling well so they didn’t go up to the top of the tower; she’d been once before.  We talked a lot about sailing and I wished France had been there to share some of her adventures with Nina.

Another couple came later in the day in a 36 foot sailboat from Yarmouth who were equally engaging.  He talked about a race he will participate in on the third Saturday in August when we might see the boats pass the island in the late evening.  I hope we see them before it gets dark.  They reach their farthest destination around midnight.

A couple of guys appeared and admitted to using our dingy to get ashore.  This means they had to nose their boat onto the shore; one of them jumped out and dragged the dingy off the rocks where we’d left it tied up to the electric cable that goes underwater to the mainland, while the other went back out with the boat to tie off at a buoy.  Then the fellow with the dingy rowed out to the buoy and they both came back ashore.  I let them know that unfortunately, the dingy was not for public use.  They had to do the whole process in reverse when they left.  In spite of it, they were very amiable about it.  I’m learning my boat etiquette slowly.

By the time our guests arrived after driving from Vermont, it was after four.  Jamie heard me talk about the lobster connection I hope to cultivate and was determined to bring some out, so he picked up six live ones at Percy’s (just two hours fresh out of the sea).  He was also aware that France was making scallops for dinner using a recipe her mother sent, so we had to go on the internet, almost immediately, to find out the best way to store them.  Indeed you can keep them for 24 hours cold in the refrigerator.  This necessitated that Jamie and Sol return to the cove to get a bagful of seaweed.  The lobsters seemed happy enough in a cardboard beer box on a bed of seaweed in the small half fridge in the guest quarters; when I went up to bring a cord to plug in the electric blanket on the king sized airbed, you could hear them inside trying to claw their way out.  France is determined to go out on the north trail when it comes time to plunge them into steaming water so she doesn’t have to hear them scream.  (This is a myth, by the way.  It’s the sound of liquid, escaping as steam from their bodies, as they hit the high temperature, not voiced agony.)

Jamie and Sol brought so much food!  We’ll never consume it all.  Sol works at Consolidated Edison in New York in the water treatment and monitoring division and is a civil engineer.  She was very interested to see the filtration system Dave installed in the basement and was very impressed.  It’s pretty sophisticated and probably the best you can install.  There should be nothing more pure than the water we get from it.  I’m anxious to see the results of the test samples we’ll bring in on Wednesday.  I’m still a little suspicious about the white foam at the top but it won’t take much to convince me that this is indeed just air bubbles.

Cat (okay, I’ve named the little catbird I see early every morning while I’m on the internet sitting on the front porch in front of the museum) hopped right up onto the top step today and stared at me.  I looked at him for a short time and then waved him off.  He flew away.  Is the bird really that curious?  Perhaps the previous caretakers fed the birds and he’s expecting a handout.  We’ve agreed not to do this.  As much as we’d love to watch the humming birds at a little red feeder outside the kitchen window, I think it’s really self indulgent.  The best thing for them on this island is to be able to fend for them selves; if we make them dependent on us, what will they do in the winter?  If we feed them, is it really about them or about us?  I’ll let Cat come closer but I’ll be sure I’m wearing my glasses.

Speaking of creatures who live off the nectar of flowers, and a wide variety of flowers are all around us, we’ve seen no bumble bees on this island.  This is worrisome.  Although we’ve heard there have been bat studies here, we’ve haven’t seen a trace of them either.  Maybe when the weather warms up and we spend more time outside in the dark, they’ll turn up.  It seems to be a North American phenomenon that both bees and bats are disappearing on the continent.  I hope it’s not the case here.

There wasn’t much of a sunset last night as clouds came in and covered the horizon and the wind turned really cold.  I asked if Jamie and Sol would assist in lowering the flag and folding it up.  Of course I taped it and we’ll have a second crack at it tonight.  It really affected Jamie and Sol had a dream about it.  It seems like such a simple thing but you can’t help but be moved by the experience.  Well, I’m moved and so was Jamie.  Perhaps Sol and France less so hailing from other lands.  I can’t put into words the emotion but it never fails to choke me up a little.

By the time we’d stuffed ourselves with scallops and asparagus and blueberry pie a la mode, polished off two bottles of Proseco and caught up on conversation, it was going on 11 and we were all beat.  Hopefully we’ll see a sunset tonight after the lobster have been consumed and we’ll have a little time for cards.

France spent a good part of yesterday pulling weeds and propping up the planks in the marsh on the north trail where the iris are in bloom.  She put some in a vase that wilted quickly but later the buds began to bloom and they keep giving and adding color to the table.

It’s Fathers’ Day and I’m going to try to call mine in Oregon.  He’s 92 and won’t remember a thing about it when he hangs up the phone but I’ll hear his voice and he’ll hear mine and for a brief time we’ll be connected once again.  How did folks survive here cut off from all the forms of communication we take for granted?  I can only pretend to imagine.

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2 Responses to First Overnight Guests

  1. Tristan says:

    If the lobsters escape and hide behind the fridge, you can put a little ramekin of melted butter and a nutcracker on one side of the fridge and they’ll run out the other way.

    • I’ll remember that for the next time. Just finished making stock from what was left of the six lobsters we devoured. Well actually, France and I ate the last one after Jamie and Sol left sooner than expected this afternoon, as a late lunch of lobster roll. Read the update for today to see what happened.

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