The Chicks are growing up

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 – The Chicks are growing up

Sunrise behind the lighthouse tower

I am a morning person, Brian is the night lover.  Most of the sunset pictures are taken by Brian but the sunrise is all mine.  It was gorgeous this morning and as I was out walking the dogs, I realized how beautiful it is with the tower in the foreground.  Six weeks on the island and I have never witnessed this view before.  I hope everyone has a chance to start their day this way.

Wild Iris seen on the walk this morning

Low tide is early today, around 7:30a and gives me the perfect chance to go sea glass hunting on the beach and to take more around the island stroll without a soul around me.  It turned out even better than I could have imagined.  As my head was down looking for treasures, suddenly, I hear a combination bark and growl, yikes, not a sound I should be hearing.  A seal was sunning itself on the beach not 10 feet from me.  It makes a bee line for the water and my heartrate has a chance to slow down.  I continued around the path and I spied some amazingly cute, fuzzy creatures walking along the rocks.  The 2 juvenile seagulls were on the rocks near the nest I watch hatch on June 9th and their age is about right for the 2 I saw today to be the 2 I watch hatch.  I am utterly fascinated by these two, I can’t wait to find more.  Patty, the keeper from last year, sent me a quick message there will be a lot more on the rocks soon.

The chick in the foreground is the original hatched egg, its younger sibling is in the back ground (Friday 6/9/17)
The 3 week old chicks, hatched around June 9th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chore list isn’t too bad for today because we figured a gorgeous day would bring a lot of visitors.  I realize I need to be near the museum by 11ish to greet people instead of out maintaining a trail and when the boat arrives, both of us need to be here.

As I started my second group up to the lighthouse, I began chatting with a group and they asked where we were from originally.  I responded Connecticut, and after a few exchanges, we find out she is a great friend with our niece who still live in the town Brian grew up in, Stratford, CT.  It always amazes me how small our huge world really is.

As we were giving tours, a few schooners were sailing by the island on their way to Boothbay Harbor for an antique boat parade this afternoon.  Not bad for rush hour traffic on the island. Most of the tours were also blessed with a view of Mt Washington, 90 miles away in NH.

SV Adventure
SV Harvey Gamage
Rush hour near the island, two schooners heading to Boothbay and a tug and barge heading towards Casco Bay

The afternoon started to wind down and Brian went out to the North Trail to finish the cutting out there but one of the mama seagulls had a different plan, she would not let Brian go by the rock her baby was on.  Very protective seagulls out here, so maybe the trail will get done another day.

Mama seagull protectively standing over her chick

The skies around 4pm got dark and we could hear the rumble of thunder on the mainland and the sheets of rain were coming our way.  The weather station we have in the living room has shown us its sense of humor on windy days but today it was all about the rain, and for an hour we had a typical afternoon squall line move through and yes it was raining cats and dogs.

Raining Cats and Dogs

Guests today – 28

Guests total – 210

USCG – 6

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Wednesday, June 29, 2017 – Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This recipe has been my standard go to recipe for years, it was adapted from one of my dad’s recipes who was a master baker since the 1940’s in the New Bedford, MA area.  It is one of those recipes where you can tweak it to make it your own with mix-in’s.  I use the base recipe for White Chocolate/Macadamia Nut cookies which are also a favorite.

The best part about this recipe is the compliments you will get when you bake them for someone.  We had overnight guests this past weekend and I baked a batch to share upon their arrival.  James, the young gentleman in the group, wrote a note in the guest book; ‘Thanks Tara for the amazing cookies, they are better than my mom’s’.  High praise indeed!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup butter (softened)

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 large egg

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (or another flavor)

1 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

 

Beat butter in a large bowl for 1 minute until smooth.  Add sugars, salt and vanilla and continue to beat 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg at low speed until blended.  Stir in flour and baking soda.  Then add the chips and nuts.

Drop by tablespoon (because everyone likes a big cookie) onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes until golden on outer rim and light gold in center (this will give you a soft cookie).  Cool on rack for 2-3 minutes and then transfer cookies to wax paper for about 5 minutes to absorb some of the oils and completely cool.

 

A few hints:  Make a double batch, you will want to share some and eat some.  Also, use parchment paper in most baking of cookies, makes a huge difference.  And always use nuts with this recipe, I have tried many times to make the recipe without nuts and usually it turns out as a failure, the extra oil in the nuts must make the difference.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Sailing Friends

Monday, June 27, 2017

Today low tide was around 7 am which gave me a chance to do a little sea glass hunting before the day of chores and visitors began.  When I arrived at the cove there were 2 sailboats already on the moorings, one of the first indications this was going to be a busy day.  I did spend a little time walking along the beach and rocks and my persistence paid off, another blue piece of sea glass was the treasure for the day.  Also, the flock of Common Eider Ducks were swimming in the cove with 11 ducklings, always a good sight for me.

Eider ducklings swimming in the cove

The day could not be more perfect for a summer day.  We knew that visitors usually start appearing around 11 which should give us a few hours of time to get a few things done to be ready to greet guests later in the morning.  Today’s chores included yard and trail maintenance, cleaning the guest quarters and of course, the weekly maintenance to Clivus, the composting head(toilet) down near the cove.

Oh, living in a lighthouse is so wonderful they said, until reality hits and you are cleaning the composting head!
Perfect early summer day on island
SV Bear
SV Bentana

One of our first couple to visit us this morning were fellow sailors.  S/V Bear arrived in the cove bright and early and it turns out the first mate was a member of Women Who Sail on Facebook (I am too!).  She saw a post I made about being a lighthouse keeper on Seguin for the summer and they wanted to stop for a visit and a photo op as they sailed north towards Bar Harbor.  The best part was they gifted us with some homemade cookies, we will never turn down cookies!  As the crew from S/V Bear was relaxing back on their boat, another cruising friend hailed us on the VHF radio to say hi and to let us know they would be stopping back for a visit at the end of the summer.  It makes us incredibly jealous of everyone out sailing these great waters, but we will be up here next year with the boat to enjoy.

SV Tiny Bubbles II

Brian and I kept working in between tours and had a chance to take a breather later in the afternoon when we had a chance to sit and talk with a young family with 3 boys who have been cruising for the past year but were teachers on a Maine island in a one room schoolhouse and have decided while the boys are still young to change their cruising grounds to warmer areas.  S/V Tiny Bubbles II were a fun family and we had many similar experiences to share, they gave us some great information on Maine anchorages and we gave some advice on traveling south on the Intercoastal Waterway.  Hopefully we will meet up again in the Florida waters this winter.

Tonight’s dinner included a small offering from the garden, the first harvest of the growing season!  We had enough spinach to add to our pasta for dinner!  Need to plant another crop of spinach to have it all summer, on tomorrows list to do!

The first harvest from the veggie garden

The day was winding down and Brian and I just stopped to enjoy the weather.  We watched S/V Tiny Bubbles II sail around Small Point onto their new adventures.  This position for the summer can have its drawbacks but a little piece of heaven was experienced this afternoon.

Brian sitting enjoying the afternoon with the seagull that hangs around us in the yard most days

 

The start of sunset after a beautiful day

Guests today – 19

Guests total – 182

USCG – 6

Sunday June 25

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Let me start out writing with letting everyone know it is a perfect sunny day here on Seguin.  The sunrise was beautiful and tranquil and we are ready for a busy day.  This is a perfect day for visitors, warm, sunny and the winds are light and from a favorable direction to enter the cove.

The weekend guests arranged with Ethan to go out fishing this morning after Ethan drops off his group from the morning ferry run.  The 2 families were wonderful to host for the weekend, but there was a lot of activity to get their belongings down to the cove for 11 and they still had time to walk a few more trails while they waited.

Brian was still working on the creation of mowerstein!  He is putting a Toro engine on a Craftsman body, today should be the premier of his monster in motion! He can boast now after 50+ years of not knowing how a lawn mower actually works to becoming an expert, a new life skill he will most likely never use on the boat!

Mowerstein, it’s alive!
And it cuts grass like a charm

I decided to hang at the top of the hill awaiting the expected 20 guests at 11.  After a quick pick up around the yard and a quick clean of the historic markers and benches from the visiting song birds contribution, I sat on the front porch with my knitting and waited for the first group making the turn up the Lighthouse Trail.

The people started arriving and it was crazy busy for about 3 hours.  Brian came up from the cove to man the gift shop while I gave the tours.  In 3 hours, I climbed the tower 6 times!  I have spent hours reading the information in the museum as well as the other historical information from the surrounding areas and love giving a historical tour.  I do ask most visitors if they would like a little bit of history or do they just want to go up to see the top.  As the summer progresses, I will most likely shorten my talk but there is so much information about how important Seguin Island was in marine history it is hard to keep this history geek down!

As the afternoon wound down, the winds picked up as predicted.  Brian went down to cut the grass with the mowerstein and I started to clean up the guest quarters for next week’s guests.  It was a quiet few hours and we started to get ready to make dinner when we heard another group walking up the path.  Brian finished dinner prep while I gave a tour to 3 gentlemen from Brunswick with a physics background and were interested in the lens.  Yikes, that was a challenge, I am great with history but physics is still something I struggle with.  It was a fun tour and the 3 are staying on a mooring in the cove for the night and will most likely be back in the morning.

Dinner was great and we are exhausted.  We talked about the areas we needed to work on this week and who was going to do what.  It is going to be our first beautiful weather week favorable for visitors but also trying to manage the maintenance as well.

Sunset through the lens

Guests today – 31

Guests total – 163

USCG – 6

When it rains, it pours (inside)!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ok, let’s start out this post with the same old line, it is wet and foggy out!  The forecast is for clearing skies, but I am not holding my breath for the sunshine they are predicting.  The guests are happy and off exploring the island and that is the important part, but for them, I hope they get to see the mainland during sunset tonight.

I spent an hour up in the tower this morning because when there are west component winds there is no internet in the cottage and the only spot I can blog and post pictures is next to our Fresnel Lens.  Brian had a honey-do list of sorts for our cottage, he fixed the 2 overhead lights in the dining room and kitchen as well as a few other odds & ends to make our living a little easier here.

After lunch, Brian went down to the engine house to continue his tinkering of the 2 push mowers in the engine house.  His plan is to take the engine from the non-working mower (the transmission is stripped) and remounting it to the body of the other mower.  This is what he loves to do, trying to come up with a hybrid of sort.  Call us resourceful Yankees or cruisers but we tend to work with what we have for a better solution.  When living on an island, you can’t run to the repair shop or quickly get a spare part, you make do with what you have.  Progress is moving forward, hopefully by Sunday afternoon, he will have completed the operation.

Make one from two
The engine from the red mower will become the new engine of the green mower
The vegetable garden looking good, the pea pods are close to reaching the first support line
The spinach is almost ready to start harvesting for salads
The zucchini and summer squash are loving the foggy life on the island

I spent the early afternoon tinkering in the vegetable garden, everything is growing nicely and hopefully in another few weeks we can start harvesting, in fact we will have spinach later this week for salads. The sun did finally start to make an appearance, yeah!  I headed down to see Brian’s progress and to convince him to help carry up another water container to the cottage.  As I arrived down to the cove, the guests and Brian were all starting to head up to the top because we could see a rain line moving out from the mainland. Brian and I got the new water carrying system set up and started the walk up the hill.

As we got about half way up, we heard panicked shouts from the guests for us to hurry, there was water pouring out of the ceiling.  Sure enough, a water pipe burst in the ceiling of the museum and was pouring hot water on the floor at an alarming rate.  It is a good thing the guests are good sports and resourceful, they grabbed empty containers from the closet to catch a lot of the water and after we shut off the water to the cottage, the ladies helped me mop up the flood.  Brian ended up finding the pipe and fixed it within a few minutes.  The big problem on the island is plumbing pipes are not sweated together when they break because of the fire hazard, so they are repaired in the marine fashion with reinforced marine plumbing hose and clamps, but the clamps can come lose easily and a whole mess ensues. There was a lot of laughter and retelling of other plumbing fiascos in our lives and the result was no permanent damage was done and Brian and I faced another minor mishap without issue.

Brian working some plumbing magic
Mandy and Dianna helping with the clean up after the flood

As our plumbing emergency was winding down, the cloud line passed over the island (without dropping an ounce of water) and gave us a spectacular view of the cloud formation.  Weather is the best source of entertainment on the island.

The squall line passing the island for a little afternoon entertainment

The rest of the afternoon was very relaxing.  Hot showers finally for us and sitting down for reading and knitting.

Knitting on a sunny afternoon awaiting dinner

One of the things that keeps me entertained on the island is the ship traffic either in view or on the VHF radio.  Weekly we have two cruise ships pass the island leaving Portland.  As I was sitting down to knit, I heard the MS Independence announce their departure from Portland on the VHF.  Usually in about an hour we will see the ship pass the southern point of the island.  Another app on the iPad we play with is Boat Beacon, it is an inexpensive program to watch the ships move electronically based on AIS, Automatic Identification System.  Commercial vessels are required to have this system on board and allows other ships to identify them as well as to give information of speed of travel and direction.  We have the recreation version on our sailboat which we use a lot in shipping channels and when we sail on overnight passages.  The iPad version on Boat Beacon lets us feel like we are back sailing, so hopefully more pleasure boats that pass the island turn on their AIS so we can identify fellow cruising boats. The MS Independence appeared on Boat Beacon and I grabbed the camera and dogs and went down to the Whistle House to get some fun pictures of the ship as it passed the island.  Simple but entertaining.

Boat Beacon’s display of MS Independence
MS Independence passing to the south of the island

We set up the sunset cannon for our Saturday night ritual of celebrating the end of another week on the island.  The guests went up to the tower platform to watch the sunset as Brian and I awaited 8:25p to set off the cannon and bring down the flag on another day!

Saturday night sunset with guests on the tower platform
Sunset cannon loaded and awaiting 8:25pm
Even the eastern skies are beautiful at sunset

Guests today – 0

Guests total – 132

USCG – 6 (I hope this number grows through the summer, such nice guys to bake for)

Weekend Guests, June 23rd

Friday, June 23, 2017 – Weekend Guests

As of last night, when we went to bed, the weather was still looking questionable for having the weekend guests arrive to the island.  There was a very small weather window per the NOAA marine forecast where they could arrive.  Without knowing for sure about their arrival, Brian and I decided to hike out on the North Trail where we would be able to see if a boat was coming out from Popham.  The only downfall of the North Trail is the gulls are incredibly protective of their nests and hatchlings.  There is a lot of screeching (both from the gull and us as we are being dive bombed) going on as you walk a certain section of the trail.  We made it to the northern point and saw no boat on its way and decided to head back for breakfast and the start of our days chores.  As we headed back through the ‘dangerous’ section, I made it through without an issue but Brian had a direct poop hit to his head.  He may have used a little negativity towards the gulls and I may have laughed just a little, but it still is not pleasant having to deal with seagull poop!

The next project was to start hauling up the 5 gallon containers of fresh water we brought bag to the island yesterday.  The thing is there is no good way of getting the water up the hill, 5 gallons weighs 40 pounds and we need to climb 130 feet in elevation over a very short distance.  Ethan did give us a suggestion yesterday, he suggested we put a strong stick through the handle and both of us carry an end on our shoulders up the hill.  Ok, this was easier but it was still 40 pounds up 130 feet in elevation!  We will repeat this daily until it is all up here.

As we were heading off to get a few  other things done, Ethan’s text came in letting us know the 6 guests were on the way out and would we mind helping them ashore with the dinghy.  Down the hill we go!  As we are arriving to the beach, Ethan’s launch arrives into the cove with 6 eager people who get to sleep in the guest quarters for the weekend.  The plan was I would row to the launch and ferry back and forth the people and their belongings while Brian was ashore unloading and helping the people onto the beach.  We accomplished the transfer in 3 trips, not too bad for a weekend stay!

We all traipsed up the Lighthouse Trail with their bags and got them settled into the cottage and gave them their first view from the top of the tower.  They will have a long weekend without the best of weather forecasts but they were game and pretty excited.  After having a chance to talk with them for a while, they asked what the hardest part was to get used to living on the island.  My response was an easy one, having visitors appear at all times unannounced in the front yard, I am getting more used to it but it can be a big adjustment.   We all started to head out to different locations, I was going to take the dogs down to the beach to play and as soon as I put the leash on Phinneus, a group of 7 young men walked up the path!  The overnight guest just kind of chuckled as I greeted the new group!

The bachelor party arrived by sailboat left moored in the cove

The new group of 7 guys was a bachelor party for the wedding to be held on August 26th in New Hampshire.  They came out in a sailboat for the day from Boothbay Harbor.  They were very entertaining and fun to show the island too.  We talked about how foggy it can be on the island, and they were wondering how foggy it could get.  When we went up the tower it was blue skies and after about 45 minutes of talking and showing off the island from up above, the cloud bank came in and yes we were fogged in again!

I did finally get the dogs to the beach to play and were met by the 2 visiting families playing on the beach as well.  It was an unusually low tide because of the new moon, so the kids were playing a rock style game of basketball and everyone was enjoying the occasional pockets of sunshine.  Pickles had her chance to run on the beach and flirt with the guys and I found some great pieces of sea glass, still hunting for a piece of red glass.

An afternoon fog bank rolling past the lighthouse
A view from the Whistle House

The rest of the day was a warm foggy mess.  There was not much hope for a spectacular sunset for our guests but we still went up to the top of the tower to hope we would see a little color on the horizon.  The 2 boys took over the use of the kite and were flying it as best they could in gusty winds.

All in all, I think everyone had a good day and we will all hope for better weather tomorrow.

Guests today – 13

Guests total – 132

USCG – 6

 

 

A day off, sort of! 6/22/17

Thursday, June 22, 2017 – A day off, sort of!

The alarm went off bright and early, the weather is cooperating, we are getting off island this morning.  I have made it a habit to bake for the Wednesday Warriors for their coffee break when they are on island.  I knew ahead of time there were no volunteers coming out to the island but Ethan still should get something fresh baked.  A quick batch of banana nut muffins went into the oven, and Ethan will have warm muffins once he drops us off at Fort Popham.

The sun was shining, the wind was down and we were in shorts walking to the cove for the 7am pick up time.  We pulled the dinghy down the beach, thank goodness for aluminum bottom dinghies because we mostly drag the dinghy over the rocks to the sandy area near the water.  All our possessions are loaded in the dinghy, I check and double check to make sure the van keys are in the back pack because I don’t think Ethan would take kindly to me asking for a quick trip back to the island to retrieve the keys.  We were waiting at the water’s edge at 6:55am. As soon as we see Ethan’s boat come around Ellingwood Rock, we push off to meet him at the mooring.

Ethan mentions to us he is bringing about 20 guests out to the island today and he will be the tour guide for the group.  I had wanted to be on island when we reached the 100th guest, but it won’t be the case.  Also, we are dependent on Ethan for the transport to and from the island, and we had planned a later trip back today but was told to be ready at 2:30p at Fort Popham for our return trip.  It was a hard piece of information to take.  The weather has been miserable on the island since Friday and we were looking for a mental health bike ride today around Portland. Oh well, live on an island, right?

When we stopped at Winnegance General Store for breakfast, we put a game plan together for the day to make sure we get back to Fort Popham for 2:30pm.  Grocery shopping is usually the last thing we do during the day to keep the cold items as cold as possible for the trip back.  If no stops are needed in between, we need to make sure we leave Shaw’s at least 45 minutes before our departure time, it is a long drive back to Popham and we will still need to unload the van, park it and walk the ¼ mile back to the dock.  Today, however, we needed to fill our 4 water containers on the way back as well, so groceries needed to be done by 1pm to make it all work.

It was a busy day, we did get haircuts, the laundry was done and other basic shopping was complete.  We thought we might even have a little extra time to get lunch and eat it at the Bath waterfront.  As we were leaving Brunswick, a call came in from one of the FOSILS Board members asking if we could stop by the Bath Fire & Rescue Department to pick up the new defibrillator for the island and get a lesson on how to use it.  Another change of plans, off to Bath.

The Automated External Defibrillator(AED) is a great idea for the island.  It can take almost an hour for the rescue squads to reach the island in an emergency.  If it is a cardiac emergency, that may be too long for a successful outcome.  The AED is computerized and walks the user through a step by step instruction process to determine if the patient needs cardiac intervention or not and then had the potential to provide lifesaving assistance while awaiting the rescue squads.  We certainly hope to never need this amazing machine, but it is nice knowing we have it at our disposal.

The new Automatic External Defibrillator is now ready on the island if needed

We make it back to meet Ethan at the dock just in time and off to the island we go.  He reports he had 17 visitors to the island and all is well out there.  The nice part of landing the dinghy when the volunteers are not waiting to go back to the mainland, is the transfer of our stuff to the beach is a little more of a relaxed process.  The dinghy is tied to a mooring awaiting our arrival, we load 2 water containers in the stern and the clean laundry, I row and Brian sits in the bow for the row ashore.  Because of the surf in the cove, we need to land the dinghy stern to the beach.  Brian jumps out and grabs the laundry and water containers and carries them to the rock line as I row out to get the rest of the stuff.  Once the dinghy is full, Ethan is on his way and I row ashore. Brian is there to quickly start unloading the dinghy as I stabilize it in the surf.  Once empty, we drag the dinghy back up the beach to above the high tide line.  Today, that is a little more difficult because when we arrived into the cove there was a visiting boat tied to a mooring and their dinghy was pulled to where we usually store ours.  Oh well.

After about 20 minutes of lugging our stuff up the stairs from the beach, we make a game plan on how to get all our stuff up knowing there were guests at the top.  As I round the Lighthouse trail to the top, there are a fair number of guys enjoying an afternoon snack on the front lawn.  I greet them asking if they would like a tour of the tower and would they mind terribly if I put my groceries away first.  This is what I meant about a day off, sort of.  This group of 9 guys went to high school together in Quincy, MA some 30+ years ago and meet every year since for some type of outing.  It was fun having a chance to chat with them as we climbed the tower.

The rest of the day was getting everything put away and double checking the guest quarters for the 2 families expected tomorrow on island for the weekend.  I realize now that not many pictures were taken today but I will share with you the latest batch of ice cream made on island tonight, Kahlua Fudge with Heathbar.  Tomorrow nights dessert!

Kahlua Fudge with Heathbar Ice Cream

Guests today – 26

Guests total – 119

USCG – 6

 

Summer Solstice – June 21

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 – Summer Solstice

Today is the Summer Solstice.  It is a day where Brian and I would try to be out on our boat enjoying the sunrise and sunset on the longest day of the year.  We have enjoyed this day on Long Island Sound and as we have been cruising for the past 3 years, we also enjoyed in North Carolina.  Today is a little different, even though we are surrounded by water, our home is not swaying with the waves.  I did wake up to a beautiful sunrise, Brian very rarely is up for the sunrise on the island, it is usually just me, the dogs, and a cup of coffee.  If it is not foggy, the sunrise never disappoints, however, this morning it had a lot of pink/red in it, so again the sailor’s old tale, sailors take warning.

Sunrise on the Summer Solstice

Today was yard maintenance day.  It takes Brian and I about 6 hours to get the grassy areas cut and trimmed.  This doesn’t include any trails.  It did keep up busy on what was to be our day off and the sun was out, seas were still up but the forecast for tomorrow definitely looks like we will get a day off.  Our hopes are to get a bike ride in again in Portland along with a few chores like haircuts.

Before sunset, we made sure all empty 5-gallon water containers were down at the engine house, along with our laundry and back packs for shopping.  This week we need to fill 4 water containers, it seems we ended up with 2 contaminated last week and we were getting close to no drinking water on the island.  We now check the containers regularly and will plan ahead.  Normally we only use about 13 gallons a week for drinking and yes, all the water we drink is carried up the hill.  We are not looking forward to our return to the island tomorrow after a day off knowing how much heavy water needs to be carried up to the cottage.

You never know where a rainbow will appear when in the lighthouse tower

I received a call from the USCG group we met a few weeks ago when they were out to the island to fix out light after the storm we had.  They asked if we could report back to them about the Pond Island Light.  It was reported to them the light was out but they were hoping for confirmation from us before heading out to that island because it is not an easy island to land on.  They had the boat scheduled for the morning, but would rather know the light was out before making the trip.  I think this is so cool getting to help the Coast Guard like this!  I told them this was the first clear night we would have been able to see the island and I would call after 9pm to let them know it was dark.

Summer Solstice sunset and waiting for darkness to let USCG know if Pond Island Light is dark
Summer Solstice Sunset at the sunset bench

We went up to the top of the tower for sunset to end the longest day of the year with what we hoped would be a spectacular sunset to match the sunrise.  As always, even if it is a so/so sunset, it is great watching it from the top of a lighthouse!  We did wait up in the tower until 9pm and confirmed with the USCG in South Portland that indeed the Pond Island Light was dark.

Guests today – 0

Guests total – 93

USCG – 0

 

A little less fog today 6/20/17

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I woke up this morning to more rain and wind but not as foggy.  Will this weather please break and give us a little taste of summer. We are still hoping for our day off tomorrow but the marine forecast is not looking promising.  This morning was spent on the couch with the dogs knitting with a few extra cups of coffee, Brian doesn’t really need any if he is going to sleep in!

a rainy morning on the couch with the dogs and another knitting project
Another foggy, wet morning as I look out the dining room window

As usual, there is always a list of things to do on the island, most not very important, but it keeps us busy when there are no visitors coming out to see us, and it is not looking great for any guests today, still big swells going across the cove. The big negative of this damp foggy weather is it makes the grass and bushes growing inches overnight.  I chose to go out to make my morning loop of Cove to Cobblestone to check out the new hatchlings, always something to keep me busy and happy.  I have started to always have a pair of pruners in my back pocket on the walks because when we think all the trails are done, more growth occurred overnight.  Today was no exception, spent over an hour cutting back the new growth on the Cove Trail before even starting out to the rocks to check on the babies.

As I was walking along the shore, I found numerous egg shells out on the path away from the nests.  It was fun gathering them but a challenge to get 3 shells back along the trail without breaking.  It turns out there are subtle differences in the shells in color and spots and help me learn we don’t only have herring gulls on the island but Black Back Gulls as well.  Their shells are more olive than brown with small spots on the shells.  I have found a larger shell that is bluish white and I am still trying to match the egg shell to a possible species on the island, still need to do a little research.  After being gone for almost 2 hours, Brian called down making sure I was still alive.  I didn’t realize how long I was gone for and we do normally check in with each other for safety reasons.  I let him know I was on my way back for lunch and we could divide up chores then.

This is one of the first nests I found on the island. I was giving up hope of the eggs hatching but to my surprise, 2 of the 3 eggs were just hatching out this morning

Another happy nest with 2 of the 3 hatched eggs
Love this face!
4 types of eggs found on my walks (left to right) unknown egg, Common Eider, Herring Gull, Black Back Gull
The subtle color difference in the shells, left is the herring gull, more brown and the right is an olive color egg of the Black Back Gull

After lunch, Brian headed down to the cove to tinker with the push mower down there, it is not starting for me again and his job was to cut the grass around the boat house and the tram.  I had to service the composting heads in both sides of the cottage.  Let’s just say it isn’t a horrible job but my many years working with sick animals in a veterinary setting gave me a strong stomach for unpleasant things. We were warned about the disgusting phrase ‘poop juice’ and I was blessed to get to experience firsthand.  Without going into details, a weak stomach should never be involved in the servicing of composting heads!

Around 3pm, the text from Ethan came in, our day off is postponed again.  This is a tough call, we want to get a day away and stock up on provisions but we also want to be safe doing it.  One of the biggest issues is we are running short on fruit and veggies, if we don’t get off island on Thursday, we will truly be meat and potato kind of people.  The delay in our day off also throws off our plan to cut the grass at the top of the island to make it look good for the weekend guests.  If we cut it on Wednesday, there is an excellent chance it will need another go around on Saturday to avoid a hayfield!

The sun did finally show up in the afternoon, it was nice to finally see the outline of the mainland again, it has been a while. No need to set the alarm clock for the morning to make it to the cove for 7am, another lazy morning ahead of us.

Guests today – 0

Guests total – 93

USCG – 6

Foggy Day #4, Enough Already

Monday, June 19, 2017

It seems like the weather will just not give us a break!  It is foggy again, windy with an occasional rain.  This has been the case since Friday and the forecast is not looking much better.  We are 2 very active people and being mostly house bound for multiple days kind of makes us antsy!

Brian spending a little time with his ipad
Phinneus occupying my lap while trying to get pictures sorted out on the computer

The morning was spent hanging around reading, knitting, uploading pictures to the computer and playing solitaire.  How many more days can this really continue?  By noon, I needed to get out.  We did walk the trails, all of them and decided we might as well start showing more love to the North Trail.  We each grabbed a weedwhacker and headed out.  I started from the helipad onto the trail hoping to get to the loop sign and Brian was responsible for the loop itself.  I guess the positive of it being overcast and foggy is we didn’t overheat while working.

Tara out on the North Trail

The seagulls were as aggressive as ever, a whole lot of noise and dive bombing as we worked near their nests.  We both stay as far away as possible but mama gulls are very protective on this trail.  Hopefully we won’t need to go out there again until all fledglings are on their way.

The best part of the day was dessert.  I made a new batch of ice cream last night to sample tonight, Chocolate/Peanut Butter Swirl with Oreos.  It was amazing.  I need to keep working on the trails so I can keep eating this ice cream.  Next batch will have something to do with Heath Bars and Kahlua.

Chocolate/Peanut Butter Swirl with Oreo Ice Cream
Oh yum!

Guests today – 0

Guests total – 93

USCG – 6

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