The US Coast Guard and a coffee break

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Another foggy day on the island, at least as our morning started.  It was trying to brighten up on the eastern horizon but we were not going to hold our breath!  I am starting every morning by checking my phone for text messages to find out if we may have visitors arriving on the island and this morning a text was waiting for me from USCG.  They were bringing a crew by boat mid-morning to trouble shoot the main light and stage more equipment for the fog horn upgrade.

I was so excited, guests with appetites!  First thing I thought of was what could I bake them for a coffee break?  Final decision – Cinnamon Roll Muffins.  This recipe was a big success this winter in the mooring field in Vero Beach, FL where we spent the winter on our sailboat, Scout.  I would wake up in the morning, bake a batch of muffins and dinghy to the surrounding boats to go along with their morning coffee.  Brian complained he tried to fix the light and he didn’t get anything special, and I have the USCG coming out and they get homemade muffins.  I set the coffee pot up, mugs out, hot muffins on the plate, I was ready to meet these guys.

They arrived as we walked down to the beach and the next thing we knew there were 4 guys in orange on the beach carrying a lot of equipment and their boat was tied up to a mooring. The crew out of South Portland spent the morning working on the main light, double checked the emergency lights and batteries, gave Brian some secret handshake information on ways to resolve the light problem in the future and yes, they ate my muffins.  I even rowed the dinghy out to the 2 boat guys and gave them a thermos of coffee and some muffins.  I love this job! Hopefully they will be back soon to finish up the fog horn repairs, it may take a few days to complete.  I offered to feed the crew while they are here, already figuring out the volume of food you need to feed 4-6 young men. I may need to up the provisions over the next few Wednesdays to be ready for the invasion.

The Coast Guard has landed
Here is a piece of the foghorn upgrade, I am so glad I didn’t need to carry that up the hill
Two of them made a very wet landing, not much chance these were going to dry out today
First they need to disassemble the old metal pieces of the foghorn, each piece ways about 500 lbs

Someone had to climb up and inspect the emergency lights on the tower
As work went on up the hill, Tara rowed out to the boat to offer hot muffins and a thermos of coffee.
Making sure a picture is taken of the boat crew
Daryl and Ryan were appreciative of the coffee break
A hot departure, the boat zoomed in on a wave, equipment was put on first, then on next wave 4 guys jumped on and off the went

The rest of today has been completing a few blog posts, crossing off small tasks from the to-do list and drinking hot tea to keep the chill out.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.  Don’t use muffin papers, the papers will not peel off the muffins (experience talking here).

2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ cup sugar

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

 

Topping and Filling

1 cup brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1 ½ cups chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

3 tablespoons melted butter

Frosting

2 oz. cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk

A dash of vanilla or maple syrup

 

Mix together the topping/filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the muffin dry ingredients together, combine the wet ingredients until well blended and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.

Fold in ½ of the topping/filling into the muffin batter.

Spoon about ¼ cup of the batter into the pre-greased muffin tins.  Top with remaining topping/filling, gently press down on topping to adhere it into the batter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes, and gently remove muffins to cooling rack.

Combine the frosting ingredients.  Spoon into a small baggie, twist closed and push frosting into a corner of the baggie, snip a small hole in the corner and pipe the frosting onto the muffins.  Best if served warm or they can be microwaved for 10-20 seconds to reheat.

 

Guests today – 0

Guests total – 27

US Coast Guard – 6

East winds, calm-8 mph, overcast, 48 degrees outside and a toasty 65 inside

The last civilian keepers’ family visit the island

Sunday, May 28, 2017

As a gorgeous day was dawning, we received word the family of a former Lighthouse Keeper, Clarence Skolfield (1936-1046) were arriving on island before 9am.  This took a lot of coordination getting 16 people from Popham to the cove and then onto the beach.  Many dinghy trips later, all 16 had safely arrived on island, and just a little damp around the edges.  This was a fun family, they had many reasons to celebrate: a new Harvard grad and a birthday as well.

Descendants of Clarence Skolfield pose for a picture at the tower doors

As the first group was safely ashore, I offered a quick nature walk along the Cove Trail to Cobblestone Beach to show off the gull and duck nests.  The group continued onto the Cobblestone Trail, while I went back up to the top of the hill to get ready to give tours of the tower and answer many questions.  One of the guests commented that the day was truly a Chamber of Commerce kind of day, blue skies, green grass, warm temperatures and an ideal setting to visit.

16 family members enjoy a gorgeous day on the island

I have come to realize when the island is visited by a few people, it is like a CrossFIt workout for the keepers.  Dragging the dinghy down to the water, rowing back and forth thru surf, a quick hike up the Lighthouse Trail to greet our guests, multiple trips up and down the lighthouse tower stairs, then trying to sneak some grass raking in, next a jaunt back down the Lighthouse Trail, pull the dinghy back down to the water, row everyone back out to the launch, wave a hearty goodbye, to drag the dinghy back up and one more walk up the trail to go clean and close up the tower for the next day.  Ahhh, that nightly cocktail is much appreciated after a great workout.

Guests today – 16

Guests total – 27

Memorial Day 2017

Monday – May 29, 2017  Memorial Day

The morning was a pea soup fog kind of morning, we could sort of see the water but the fog and light mist made the island feel cold and unhospitable.  We were fairly convinced there would be no visitors today, the fog was just too thick.

In honor of Memorial Day, our US flag was to be flown at half-mast in honor of the men and women who lost their lives protecting our freedom.  We spent some time reading up on the flag protocols to be sure we were honoring this tradition in the correct manner.  I never realized when a flag is flown at half mast, it is to be flown at full mast and then lowered, with the same sequence followed at sunset.  Making sure our flag is flown correctly every day is something we take seriously and will do our best to carry it out daily.

As we suspected, it was a quiet day on the island.  Yes, we spent more time weedwacking trails and raking more grass, but that is now the norm in our day.  My blisters have blisters from the amount of raking we have done in the past 10 days.

The dogs did their best to stay warm by ‘cocooning’ in the blanket on the couch in front of the heater, they do have the life!  They were only willing to make an appearance when a potential treat was offered or they could beg something from us during lunch.

Since our nor’easter on Friday, the main light in the lighthouse was out and the emergency lights were on.  After spending time on the phone with the US Coast Guard trying to trouble shoot the problem, Brian was unable to get the light to stay on for more than 2 minutes before the circuit popped.  The result was no main light, a foggy day, and the USCG would be out sometime this week with a crew to work on the light and start the updating process for the fog horn.

The afternoon was spent in comfy fleece (multiple layers) and sitting with the dogs in front of the heater.  It was a lazy afternoon of solitaire, knitting, and listening to a little country music on the satellite radio we finally have working.

Today’s recipe will be one you should keep around for the end of the summer when the garden is producing zucchini in record number and you are stumped as to any other ways you can eat zucchini, I present to you Zucchini Potato Pancakes.  I put this recipe together last week and froze half which I used last night as a side dish.

Zucchini/Potato Pancakes roasted in the same pan as our Parmesan baked chicken

Zucchini Potato Pancakes

1 medium zucchini, shredded

1 package of dehydrated hash browns that had been soaked in hot water per the package instructions

¼ onion, red or white, finely chopped

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6-8 tablespoons of flour

1 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp of black pepper

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

Any other spices of your choice

Mix the zucchini, hash browns, onion, eggs and garlic.  Stir in 6 tablespoons flour, baking powder and seasonings. The batter should be fairly stiff, if it is too wet add the additional flour.  You want the mixture to stay in form when placing in skillet.

Heat a large skillet and use 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in pan, once melted together, turn the heat to medium heat.  You do not want the butter to smoke or burn.  Place a heaping spoon of the batter into the skillet, do not crowd the pancakes in the pan, make several batches, cook on each side 2-3 minutes until golden brown.  Remove to cookie sheet in keep warm in oven when finishing the next batch.  Drain the used butter/oil mixture and start with new butter and oil, cook next batch as described above.

I made enough for leftovers and I froze them when cooled in a Ziploc bag.  Last night, I pulled them from the freezer, placed in the pan with the rest of the dinner, cooked at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  If the pancakes had a chance to thaw first, I would have only heated them for about 15 minutes to crisp them on the outside.  The end result was the zucchini potato pancakes were as good as leftovers as they were freshly made.

Guests today – 0

Guests total – 27

Temps hovered at a raw 48 degrees, gentle mist or dense fog for most of the day.

NW winds 15-20 mph

 

Recipe – Cheddar Cheese Biscuits with a twist

May 28, 2017 – Recipe
I love to bake, it is soothing and allows me to share a little love with others around me. My dad was a master baker in the Fall River/New Bedford, MA area for over 50 years, and even he had short cuts at home when short on time but wanted something fresh from the oven. My short cut for over 30 years has been Jiffy All Purpose Baking Mix, like Bisquik but with a better flavor and is made by a New England company out of Chelsea, MA. Last night, Brian and I were just worn out from our day but we love to sit down for a hot dinner and discuss our day, this has been a large part of our day while cruising on our sailboat over the past 3 years. I needed to come up with a quick meal without much effort, the result was baked macaroni & cheese, and cheddar cheese biscuits with a twist.


Cheddar cheese biscuits with a twist
Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1 cup Jiffy Baking Mix
Fresh oregano chopped
1-2 cloves of freshly chopped garlic
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1/3 cup milk (may need a little more depending on how dry the mixture is)

Mix all above ingredients. This recipe makes 4 drop biscuits perfect for a couple’s dinner. I like to use parchment paper when baking, helps with the cleanup. Drop the biscuits on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.

Here is your chance to create a simple biscuit, Brian loves spicy food, that is why the jalapeno is added, I would rather have a sweet biscuit so an alternative to all the other add ins, you could try some honey and maybe a small amount of cold butter added into the batter.

Hope you enjoy!

Opening day is here

May 27, 2017 – Opening Day

Our day started out as a gloomy overcast day, my thought was no visitors today.  But it was our official opening day and we were ready to great anyone who joined us.  The new US flag was raised along with the Sequin Island Flag, and the tower and museum were open and waiting.

Opening day with the US and Seguin Island flag

I took a hike down to the Cove to check on the dinghy after an astronomical high tide late last night.  When I got there, the dinghy had been pushed about 20 feet farther up the beach and the Cove was full of seaweed, logs and other floating debris.  If we had arrived into the Cove this morning on our sailboat, we probably would not have tried coming ashore it was such a mess. My habit when down at the Cove is to walk the Cove Trail around to Cobblestone Beach and check on all the life just waiting to hatch, it is becoming my favorite spot on the island.  It also gave me a few minutes to treasure hunt for sea glass.  I was lucky this morning and found 2 large pieces of blue glass, still waiting to find a piece of red.  All nests were still egg bound, no hatchlings yet.  I realized while walking the trails, we haven’t cut these trails since last Sunday, and they were in a definite need of sprucing up.

Brian ended up cutting Cobblestone Trail, look for the blue speck in the middle of the green

Pulled the old push mover from the Engine House and I have named her the Green Hornet.  The old mower sounds like a very tired soul but it pushes through anything.  After 2 hours of cutting, the Cove, half of the Lighthouse Trail and the campsite are beautiful once again.  Brian’s goal this morning was to weed whack around the perimeter of the yard and to try to clean up around all the boulders and if time permitted to move on to the Cobblestone and South Trail.  It started to warm up and dry out a little by noon which gave us a perfect work day to get things done.

I spent an hour raking the clumps of grass around the house, my hands were blistered and my back was exhausted.  At this point, I decided to get Old Bessie (the riding mower) out and make another go around with her.  My plan had been to be finished by 3p and give myself the afternoon to sit and relax.  After all of that raking beforehand, when I finished cutting there seemed to be twice as many clumps of grass as before, a little disheartening.

A yawl sailing around the island

At this point, the sun was shining, skies bright blue and the island was just waiting to have her picture taken.  I got the real camera out, instead of my phone and started documenting how beautiful this gem is.  There were sailboats sailing around the island, the lobster boats were out, and the MS Independence cruise ship went by the south point of the island.  I will not get tired of taking pictures of this rock out in the bay.

The Oil House
Fort Popham, a view from the lighthouse
The museum is ready for visitors
My Washington is a faint outline on the horizon
Fat Albert, the pine and tower viewed from sunset beach

A view from the helipad
The 3rd bell on the island, manufactured in 1858 and returned back to the island 2 years ago from the US Coast Guard Station in Boothbay Harbor
The sun was brilliant for the opening day of 2017
The historic tramway, only one functioning in the state of Maine
A view of the sled of the tramway

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Whistle House
The helipad, the arrow points to true north
Cobblestone Beach

 

Suddenly, one of the sailboats turned into the cove, I was so excited, we were going to have guests.  Ran up the Lighthouse Trail to make sure everything was open and ready for them, I panicked trying to remember all the facts for the tour, lights were on and doors open.  I was ready, but after 45 minutes still no one came up the hill.  Oh well, maybe next time.  As I started to think about dinner, my first official guests arrived.  They were Jon & Cricket Seidman from Milton, MA and they are weekenders near Georgetown.  They try to visit the island every opening day.  Also, along for the visit were their son and 2 family friends.  New pins were added to the maps in the museum, Lima, Peru and Tulsa, OK.

Our first official visitors for the season
Our visitors arrived in the Cove for lunch and then joined us up the hill for a tour

They were the perfect group for my first tour, engaging and funny and encouraged me as I relayed what I have learned about Seguin over the past few weeks.  As we ended our visit, they promised to come and spend a few more days here over the summer.

As our day was winding down, we decided to watch the sunset from the tower.  It was warmer up their than on the sunset bench, temps were dropping into the 40’s.  The tower may be the go to place for sunsets from now on, WOW!  The privilege of being able to do this at our will is the best gift anyone could give the Flanagan’s.  Thank you to the Friends of Seguin Island Light for saving this beauty for us to enjoy.

Saturday sunset from the bench
Sunset thru the prisms
Sunset from the tower

Winds from the NW at 5-10mph

Overcast in the morning and spectacular sunshine in the afternoon

High Temp was 55 degrees

Guest today – 5

Season total – 11

Opening Day Preparations

May 26, 2017 – Final Preparations for opening day

Today has not been the most hospitable day on the island, we have been experiencing a spring nor’easter with winds gusting to 68 mph and about ¼ inch of rain since this morning.  This gave us a chance to make sure the museum, gift shop and lighthouse are all ready to receive guests in the morning. The marine weather forecasts for the island are not the greatest over the holiday weekend but we all know forecasts are a 50/50 gamble, so go ahead and plan a visit to us.

View of the lighthouse from the North Trail

Brian and I walked most of the island this morning to make sure all is safe and sound, the only area that is not ready completely is the North Trail.  The rain has left about 10 inches of standing water on the cove side of the North Trail Loop and the rest of the trail still needs to be cut down, but it is passable for an amazing vista of the northern point of the island.

When we did a walkthrough of the museum and gift shop, there were a few leaks that needed to be cleaned up, but the museum is all set and the gift shop’s shelves are stocked and looking great.  The lighthouse is looking its best, especially since Ken, one of the Wednesday Warriors, painted the steps to the tower.  The only issue at this point is with the power outages through the day, the main light is out but the 2 emergency lights are lit and a call has been placed to the US Coast Guard to help us reset the light.

The tower all cleaned up for the first tour of the season

 

 

 

The gift shop is ready for business
The front room of the museum

There will always be more work to be done, and I am keeping a running list as we go around and see a task that needs to be done, slowly through the summer we will make a dent on the list and of course add more to it.  As we close out our first week on the island, we hope we can figure out a routine of sorts but right now everything is so new and the weather is not helping us get the outside done.  We have also come to the realization that we may not have enough warm clothes when we have multiple days of rain in a row.  Everything is wet and it is too damp and cold for the wet clothes to dry, maybe something to consider on Wednesday when we go ashore again.

Phin and Pickles chose to hide most of the day from the wind and rain

This evening I will go over the historical data for my tours of the lighthouse, maybe get some knitting done and have a chance read the new Sail Magazine I downloaded on my Kindle.  Brian is spending some time getting our Sirius Satellite Radio working in hopes we can listen to our evening news cast. Dinner is still up in the air so no recipe tonight, but fear not, I will have one tomorrow!

Our first day off island

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Our first day off the island….

The Wednesday Warriors were due to arrive at the Cove at 7am and we needed to be ready and waiting with our gear in the dinghy for their arrival.  This was our first time making sure we had the empty water jugs and gas cans, the weeks garbage, our dirty laundry and bags for shopping.  It all seemed easy when we started the day, but the hard part comes when we get back in the afternoon. As the launched entered the Cove, Brian and I hopped into the dinghy and rowed out to the mooring to transfer our things into the launch and then make sure the supplies the Warriors brought got loaded into the dinghy for the trip to shore.  It was a crazy kind of organized and will only improve with experience.  The joke at the launch was we must be coming back after our day off because our dogs were left on the island, Cyndy promised to watch them for us during our time off.

One of my favorite things to do is to bake and have a chance to share the goods with others.  The Wednesday Warriors will be my captive audience each week.  I set up a coffee break station for them with homemade Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  This will be a fun diversion for me over the summer making sure I have something waiting for them to snack on.  Look for the recipe at the end of today’s blog.

When we finally got back to Popham, we felt like kids in a candy store, so many choices of things to do and not sure where to start.  First order of business is coffee and if breakfast happens to be part of the deal even better.  We left our travel mugs in the van and didn’t have the caffeine start to our day like we are so used to.  The Southgate restaurant in Bath was our first stop and will most likely become our favorite breakfast stop, eggs were cooked perfectly for Brian and my blueberry waffle was yummy. As we talked over breakfast we put a plan together for the day. Chores, then fun (bike ride) and then provisions, to be back to boat by 4pm.

The Merry Meeting Trail was a great introduction to our neighboring towns
This part of the multi-use trail runs along Route 1. We lived in Connecticut before moving aboard our boat and longed for a similar trail along the Merritt Parkway to make our commute to work more enjoyable.
Brian ready for a ride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead boring all of you with the chores part of the day, I thought I would show you a little bit of our bike ride through Bowdoin and Topsham.  We found a great multi-use path that runs parallel to Route 1 and then meanders through Bowdoin College and into Topsham.  We kept the ride short, 15 miles, because we didn’t think to bring our bike clothes ashore with us, next week we will remember.

Along the Merry Meeting Trail
Brian crossing over Route 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After getting the bikes back on the van, we realized we had more time to play.  Reid State Park was our next destination for a little beach time.  As we arrived at the park entrance, the rangers were very friendly to the point where I asked nicely if we could pay the Maine Resident fee because we are technically Maine Residents for the summer out on Seguin Island.  The agreed to give us the discount.  We walked the cliffs and the beach for a short time and will come back to hike more of the trails, unfortunately, we were running out of time and didn’t want to miss our 4pm ride.

On our way to Reid State Park
Tara on the cliffs with Seguin Island in the upper right corner

 

The beach at Reid State Park

Now the hard part of our day begins, unloading 3 full water containers and 3 gas cans along with all our provisions on to the dock, then into the launch and eventually onto the beach back at the island.  The tide was changing from low to high as we started heading back which presented our ride back as very bumpy but the Cove was protected from the wind which allowed the dinghy transfers with a minimum of wetness.  It has now occurred to us, all our stuff needs to be carried up the hill, the tramway only gets used on our move in day.  Yes, complete exhaustion hit us around 5pm but the eggs and bread arrived in the kitchen without damage. As we waved goodbye to the Warriors, the realization of being alone on the island hit us, it is now sink or swim until next Wednesday.

Low tide at the dock at Popham, very little water. Good thing Captain Ethan knows the local waters because it did not look like we were leaving the dock.

Brian and I enjoyed a quiet dinner and readied ourselves for our sunset routine, beautiful scenery and then lowering the flag for another day.

Our first solo meal on the island after a long day of play off island

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

½ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

1 large egg

1 cup flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Beat butter in a large bowl for 1 minute, mix in sugars, salt, and vanilla, beat for another minute, then mix in egg until well blended.  Stir in flour, baking soda, chocolate and nuts.

Drop by tablespoon onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, cookie should be golden around edges but still soft in the center.  Cool on rack for 2-3 minutes then transfer to wax paper to finish cooling.

This basic cookie dough recipe can be used as a base for many other combinations, I like using it for White Chocolate/Macadamia Nut Cookies as well.

 

The Fresnel Lens are sparklie!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I will start todays blog with a little story of our trip over on Saturday morning and how an unfortunate loaf of bread gave us an amazing breakfast this morning.  As we were getting ready to load our provisions onto the launch bringing us out to the island, I handed Brian our loaf of bread and asked him to put it someplace where it won’t get squished on the trip over, no problem, right?  Fast forward to lunch on Saturday, I went to make sandwiches and asked Brian where he put the bread, a puzzled look from Brian was my answer, who knows where it ended up.  I improvised lunch with English muffins but it will now mean I need to start baking bread until next Wednesday.  When I finally had a chance to sort through the rest of our belongings on Sunday night and found a very squished loaf of bread on the bottom of the bag holding our foul weather gear!  This loaf was not in any shape to be used for sandwiches but I am a frugal sailor and had a hard time throwing it away.  The story fast forwards to today and a warm French Toast Casserole served for breakfast.  I will add the recipe at the end of today’s entry.

Today started out with Cyndy giving Brian and I lessons on how to use the riding lawn mower, it seems a little complicated until you get on and play with it a little while.  This amazing machine (my new best friend) has a zero turning radius and can be very sensitive.  It finally occurred to me it is a lot like driving a horse and buggy, which I did a fair amount when I was younger.  We both had a chance to practice driving around the pump house but the grass was still too wet from the overnight to give it another cut.  The lawn mower will just have to wait a little bit before I get full control of it.

Tara’s new best friend, the riding mower

Our task list today included cleaning the 1st Order Fresnel Lens in the tower.  This can seem a little overwhelming when you realize it is the only functioning 1st order lens in Maine and 1 of 3 on the east coast.  As we climbed the tower with bowls of warm water/vinegar and our rags, Cyndy gave us a sample tour so we can be sure we are ready to great our first guests.  Brian and I worked as a team on the outer prisms and Cyndy took the inside light.  It is amazing how much grime came off on the rags, but the prisms were beautiful when we were done giving us a rainbow lightshow with the sun shining through the light.

Cyndy cleaning the inside of the prisms of the 1st order Fresnel Lens
Brian’s distorted image through the prisms
It is very handy to have a tall person to clean the higher level of prisms

 

Tara gets the low prisms to clean or is she sitting down on the job?
A rainbow of colors as the sun started to shine through the lens

The sun came out finally to help dry up the grass and trails.  Brian started to work on the North Trail which over the winter had a fair amount of wind damage with branches and berry brambles laying over the path.  He started with the weed whacker, then the pruning shears, and finally just used the branch loppers for the rest of the afternoon.  This trail on a good day takes about a day of weedwacking the path but with the extra work, it will be a 2-day project.  Again, our goal is to have all trails ready for opening day on Saturday, hopefully the weather will cooperate for the rest of the week.

The Coast Guard Helicopter landing area, there is a brick outline of an arrow pointing north, difficult to see with so much grass covering it, by next week it should be easily seen from above

As Brian was out trail blazing, Cyndy and I started another pass over the lawn with the push and riding mower.  It is unbelievable the grass is so lush out here on the island, maybe a horticulturist needs to study it and market the grass seed as a disaster resistance strain of grass, most golf courses would admire this grass.  It is wind, sun, and salt damaged all year long but it is the softest grass I have felt under foot.  The two of us worked all afternoon to get the helipad cut, front lawn cut and raked and another inch off the rest of the grass with the riding mower.  It will need another cut and raking before this weekend to make it look presentable for guests.  The good news is that Phinneus (our dachshund) and Pickles (our 3-legged Chihuahua) are loving having grass to run on after living the past 3 years on our sailboat.

Phinneus is our 15 year old dachshund. He is truly a mama’s boy and is known on the sailboat as a butthead, always in trouble.
Pickles is our 3-legged Chihuahau. She knows she is a princess and is now considering Seguin Island as her kingdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a long day of hard work but our opening day list got a little shorter.  Again, we shared a lovely dinner with our new friend, Cyndy, who is going back to the mainland tomorrow afternoon and we will be on our own for the first time.  Both exciting and scary but we can’t wait for the next step in our adventure on Seguin.  Brian and I are organizing ourselves for our first day off the island which starts at 7am tomorrow morning when Captain Ethan picks us up in the Cove.  But before all of us say goodnight, we need to sit out on the sunset bench and witness another breathtaking sunset and look up to the tower to admire how bright our light shines out to any passing ship after spring cleaning from this morning.

Another beautiful sunset as seen from the sunset bench
The clean prisms added a certain sparkle to the lighthouse at sunset

 

French Toast Casserole

1 lb of bread cubed (you can use a very squished loaf of bread)

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick of butter

2 cups milk

6 eggs

2 tsp of vanilla extract

Cinnamon to taste

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan, stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes.  Pour melted mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Place the cubed bread into the pan.  Beat the milk, eggs, and vanilla together and pour over the bread cubes.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  At this point, the baking dish can be covered and put in the fridge for the overnight or at least for 2 hours before baking.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees and remove cover from baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  I would also recommend adding a layer of bananas and pecans before adding the bread for a healthier option.

I served with warmed maple syrup……Oh so good.

Monday…

Cloudy and calm morning to start our day with the forecast calling for heavy rain in the afternoon. Temperatures started in the high forties and rose to the mid-fifties by noon.  Figured with Cindy still here, her and Tara would clean up and set up the giftshop and museum in the morning as I did odd jobs and organizing a toolbox to keep basic tools at the house. Day remained dry into the afternoon so we set about cleaning Clivus restroom and clearing hiking trails. Had to fix broken hose that runs to the boathouse so we had water to clean the Clivus. We called the work day done at 1600 and started dinner prep and then a well-deserved shower. Wind increased from the south and rain started in earnest at 1800 just before we all settled down for supper.

It is only our third day but we feel a sort of routine starting to take place. Coffee and breakfast then start the day’s chores on our list adjusting them for weather conditions. Break for lunch then continue with chores until late afternoon.

 Tara after weedwacking trail.

 

Then we take showers and all sit down together for supper. Will feel lonelier at supper when Cindy returns to the mainland later this week. We settle down for the evening listening to music, reading and catching up on our media.  We feel tied but not rushed knowing we should be done with the Lighthouse opening work by end of week. After this week things should become even more routine with most chores being keeping up the grounds maintenance.  

First few days on the island…

Wow, what a crazy few days we have had, but a good kind of crazy! Brian and I have been waiting for the day when we finally arrived on the island for almost 6 months and this past Saturday was the big day.  As sailors, we watch tides and multiple different weather forecasts to give us a better idea of what we are going to face on our daily travels. Of course, the wind and a high tide was forecasted for Saturday morning to make it a bumpy ride out to the island and a wet landing in the cove. We were off on a “rocky” start but nothing was going to put a damper on our excitement to step foot on this rocky island out in the ocean.

Bright and early Saturday morning we packed the van with all our provisions and followed Cyndi down Rt 209 to Popham Beach to meet the Wednesday Warriors and Captain Ethan to make the 20-minute trip out to Seguin.  Brian, the dogs and I were greeted with smiles and laughter from the 6 volunteers that woke up early to make our first day on the island go as smoothly as possible.  We unloaded all our provisions and belongings on to the dock to load into the launch and hope most of it arrives to the island in one piece and dry.  I think the hardest part of the morning was convincing Phinneus and Pickles the ride was going to be short and the boat would not be heeling over at a 30 degree angle the whole time as on our sailboat.

Captain Ethan’s boat motored us safely into the Cove and the transfer to shore by way of dinghy began.  

It was not an ideal landing but nothing was destroyed along the way!  It was high tide (no beach to land) and the waves were surging on shore but Anne (one of the volunteers) safely maneuvered all our belongings, dogs, water jugs and people ashore.  Next order of business was getting everything from sea level up the hill to 125 feet above sea level. The dogs and I started up the hill so I could get them settled and come back down to help but half way up the trail and the view stole my breath away. I needed to stop and just look at what nature was giving me as my back yard for the next 4 months, incredible.

Saturday was a quick study of all things Seguin, tramway, donkey engine, catwalk, water pumps, wells, cisterns, composting toilets, and the location of everything, yikes! The volunteers have been opening the island as a group for years and worked like a well-oiled machine and Brian and I tried to absorb all that was taught. My day mainly consisted of cleaning the care keepers house and staying out of everyone’s way and Brian got to play with the group getting the tram running.  The tram could make 2 trips up the hill with all the water jugs and our belongings which saved many hours and future sore muscles of carrying everything up the hill.

  Wednesday Warriors getting a break!

In the first 4 hours of being on the island, the grass was cut, all systems started and inspected, hurricane shutters down and spring cleaning started in the gift shop and museum.  Only one malfunction from over the winter and that created a small water leak in the guest cottage, but was soon fixed and the puddle was wiped up before any damage was done to the hard wood floors. By early afternoon, the volunteers needed to head back to the mainland and I went down to the cove with dogs to see them off and take my first turn at rowing out to the launch.  The water had calmed down and the tide had gone out giving me a nice sandy landing area.  All went smoothly until I realized I was alone on the beach, Brian and Cyndi were up at the house and I needed to drag the dinghy up the beach to the high tide line!  Made it half way but admitted defeat when I reached the rocks, another trip up the hill to have Brian come back down to help!  This is the best boot camp for weight loss anyone could imagine, there is no shortage of cardio available on the island.

The island does not officially open until Saturday, May 29th but on our first day on the island we had 6 visitors, 2 kayakers from the mainland, 2 sailors that picked up a mooring for a short visit as they were delivering a boat to Connecticut, and 2 guests from a small power boat.  Not bad for not even being open yet!

At the end of Saturday, we felt at home, had a warm dinner with Cyndi and the dogs (I forgot to mention Cyndi’s dog Grady, a 185 lb Newfie/St Bernard Cross) and felt we had about a 25% grasp of our life here for the summer.  Saturday nights sunset was spectacular, almost nature’s way of celebrating our arrival here for the summer.  We could see a snow-capped Mt Washington on the horizon and the sun set directly behind the mountain.  Brian and I have seen many sunsets on our 3 years sailing the east coast and the Bahamas, but this will absolutely be considered one of the best we experienced. Afterwards, the flag was lowered on our first day as the 2017 Care keepers of Seguin Island.

Sunday morning arrived all too soon but with a cup of coffee in hand we were ready to face the never-ending list of chores.  Today’s goal was to get the grass cut near the Cove and Tram, clear out the Cove Trail, make sure the campsite was ready, finish taking down the hurricane shutters, cut the grass at the helicopter landing area and get the Cobblestone Beach Trail cleared. With the 3 of us working, we had everything completed by 3 pm when we declared and afternoon of laziness.  This also included hot showers for everyone because the cistern was finally full enough for us to use.  The afternoon was spent reading, knitting and catching up with Facebook. As Cyndi and I lounged around with the dogs, Brian was kind enough to cook dinner.  He agreed to make one of my favorites, a spicy sausage stir fry.  As we sat around the dining room table with a great dinner, we put together Monday’s plan of chores and went through more of the weeks agenda.  It turns out we will have a day off from the island on Wednesday but so too will Cyndi go back to the mainland, when we arrive back Wednesday evening we will be alone for the first time on the island.

After dinner, we finally climbed the light house tower to watch the sunset.  The steps were painted on Saturday so our trip up had to wait a day.  The view was beautiful and the clouds were filling in on the horizon for the expected rain on Monday. Cyndi gave us a few quicks highlights of the tower and the Fresnel Lens and I am hoping I can absorb as much of this information by Friday when our first tour of 14 people arrives. I am still learning the names of all the buildings and the use of each, I have yet to walk the North Trail, maybe Thursday with my trusty friend, the weedwhacker, as company.

We end day 2 with muscle fatigue, a full stomach and a sense of wellbeing that we were meant to be here on Seguin Island for another Flanagan adventure.   

Thank you for your support!

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