Summer Caretakers Come Aboard

I’m so happy to be back in Maine.  Cyndy and I are once again back on the island, thanks to Friends of Seguin Island Light Station (FOSILS), spending a week with the new summer caretakers Mitchell Thorpe and Patty Sullivan to do what we can to help them settle in and find their way and take over this coming Memorial Day weekend.  They are going to have a fantastic summer and I know you will really enjoy meeting them and having them show you around; so come on down!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

It was mid-tide and calm when we gathered in Popham at the dock.  There were 16 volunteers from FOSILS and two boats to go out for the day to open the island for the season.  Captain Ethan DeBery’s boat pulled our dingy and a skiff that was donated which will be exhibited on the ways in front of the boathouse.

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It was a scramble getting out of the boats, transferring supplies, water, gas and people with several trips in the dingy, onto the shore, over the rocks and up the stairs on the beach to the tram where we loaded everything for two trips up to the top and a lot of hauling in the process.  We were very careful operating the tram; it’s old and in need of repair and only used on rare occasions such as this.

Everyone went to work with assigned tasks including starting up the power, getting the pump going to fill the cistern, cleaning and unpacking, mowing, taking the grates and plywood off the windows and unpacking and setting up the museum items.  I didn’t get many photos because I was too busy myself unpacking groceries and vacuuming the keeper and the guest quarters.  Mitchell and Patty will post shortly on the FOSILS website with more details.

In the evening we snacked on cheese and crackers, sautéed scallops for appetizer and baked haddock with steamed fiddleheads.  I think we were all in bed by 8!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Starting the day early (the sun rises at 5 and sets at 8!) I could think of nothing better to do than make blueberry muffins which we ate for breakfast before I could even get a photo.  Then we dove into so many tasks it’s hard to remember.  Rick Mayo had done a great job on the sit down mower up top (the grass was almost knee high) and DD Morong with the push mower down below on the big Saturday workday, but all that had to have a second go just do distribute the massive clumps of grass.  And it was just a first rough cut as we say in the film industry.  I went to work with the sit down mower while Patty and Mitchell used the push mowers and the weed whacker.  And there was a patch on the front lawn that no one had gotten to the day before.  It was a tough row to mow!

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But when it was finished, it was worth all the effort.

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I stopped for a break around lunchtime and couldn’t find anyone, so I scarfed down a bowl of oatmeal leftover from breakfast with fresh blueberries.

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The first visitors of the summer arrived in a sailboat and for them, it wasn’t the first time that they had been the first visitors for the island.  The three of them stayed for lunch around the picnic table and hiked the North Trail.

There was still so much clumped grass, what was underneath would have suffered if we hadn’t all pitched in and spent the afternoon raking.  I didn’t get a shot of it before I mowed, but I was fascinated by the grass growing on the helipad.  You can’t really see it here but the weeds along the brick letter “H” had tiny red flowers that weren’t anywhere else on the lawn.

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Cyndy whacked weeds on the Lighthouse trail, while Mitchell did the trail to the Cove and mowed the picnic/camping area with the push mower.  We righted the antenna as well and fixed the sump pump which we found overflowing in the morning.

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We didn’t even finish before exhaustion and muscle fatigue set in so we all headed indoors for tea.  I keep my brother and sister appraised with texts and photos along the way and seeing all the work we did, my brother’s comment was “so much for your Sabbath; have a great work day!”  Patty put together the White Dinner consisting of broiled cauliflower with calamari penne pasta.  And thanks to my friend Lenny, just back from Italy, fresh parmesan cheese from Florence.

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We thought we wouldn’t see much of a sunset but in the end, a sliver shone through a break in the clouds at the horizon.

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Then, as spectacularly as the sun had set in the west, the moon rose up in the east.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

After a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs and the last of the blueberry muffins, while waiting for the dew to dry off the mowed grass enough so that we could finish the raking, we headed off to inspect the condition of the north trail with clippers and signage in hand. There were some swells out of the east but beautiful warm sun allowed tee shirts and shorts for the hike.

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The iris in the bog; the loop that goes down from the North Trail, are about to bloom.

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Toward the end of the trail, you can look back into the cove.  A Red-winged Blackbird was keeping watch.

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And the gulls were everywhere in the sky and perched on rocky outcroppings.  They have paired up (they mate for life) and were beginning to build nests.  One pair got an early start.  The crabapples are in blossom and the blackberries are just about to pop.

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Mitchell and Patty seem up to the challenge and are sure to have a great summer.

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Coming back we were famished and feasted on a terrific salad Patty put together with the last of the leftover baked halibut and hard boiled egg.

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After the last of the mowed grass was raked up top and disposed of,  we finished up down below:  cleaning the public composting outhouse, taking the last of the plywood off the Donkey Engine House windows, whacking weeds and cutting grass.  Mitchell tackled the Cobblestone Beach Trail with the weed whacker.

Then it was time for dinner.  Mitchell grilled citrus chicken and onions on the barbecue, Cyndy steamed asparagus and there was strawberry rhubarb cobbler for desert.

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And another unforgettable sunset.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We woke to fog and then the rain so busied ourselves with chores indoors.  Patty and Mitchell cleaned and set up the gift shop.  Cyndy swept the tower and put away clean linens.

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Tomorrow Mitchell and Patty go ashore for supplies.  I’ve been working on this post while prepping a pot roast for tomorrow.  Baked chicken Shawarma with roasted potatoes and salad for tonight.  And if Cyndy didn’t eat it all, the last of the cobbler.

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2 Responses to Summer Caretakers Come Aboard

  1. Anne says:

    Thanks a million for all your hard work and beautiful photos and prose. Much appreciated by those of us ashore.
    Anne

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