Recently, the keepers have been experiencing some problems with drones on the island. We wholeheartedly understand that visitors want to capture the natural beauty of the island. We encourage visitors to take pictures and videos in order to remember their time on the island. However, the use of drones is prohibited on the island as it is not only a disruption to the wildlife but other visitors as well. Please consult the Island Guidelines for more details.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – So simple ice cream recipe
Happy Flag Day! And wait for it……..we are leaving the island for a day off on an actual Wednesday! The wind is light, air temperature is warm and I am in shorts at 7am awaiting the launch, yeah.
The Wednesday Warriors arrived in full force bright and early to oversee the island while Brian and I had a much-needed mental health day which included a 25-mile bike ride from Portland to Falmouth. We get plenty of exercise on the island but for us a nice ride on beautiful bike lanes along the Maine roads is better than any therapist. It must have been a good ride because my camera did not come out once during our day ashore and if you ask Brian, that rarely happens.
Now I have written in the past about my need for chocolate and I have been baking away to keep my sweet tooth satisfied, but as the warmer temperatures hover, I need my summer ice cream fix. I don’t think ice cream will travel well from the mainland so I needed a quick and easy recipe for ice cream and sure enough I found one and it is delicious. This recipe is very creamy and rich, I won’t even discuss calorie counts with this.
When I got back tonight, I whipped up a batch of Oreo/Chocolate Chip/Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream and it is oh so good!
Basic Ice Cream Recipe
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed evaporated milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
Pour the sweetened condensed milk and whipping cream into a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer for about 5 minutes until peaks are formed and stay in position. Gently mix in your added treats, use your imagination and go wild!
Pour mixture into a Pyrex dish and cover, freeze for 3-4 hours before serving.
I hope you enjoy and I think next week I may bring back some fresh blueberries from our day off to try homemade blueberry ice cream.
Since June 1st, I have lovingly trying to get a vegetable garden thriving in the not so hospitable environment of late spring on the island. When we were landlubbers in Connecticut the rule of thumb was don’t plant anything outside until after Mother’s Day, but if I wanted anything to harvest before we leave after Labor Day, something needed to be done. On one of our off-island days, I bought the seeds and a few seedlings to give it a go out on the rock! The garden is one of the first things visitors see when they look down from the tower, it most likely was an old cistern for the cottage. I wanted it to be something interesting to look at, functional and tie to the surroundings of the island. I staked it out first with twine into wedges, it looked good, but I wasn’t satisfied. Final decision was small rounded rocks from Cobblestone Beach to use as dividers, our backpack now became the norm while I walked the paths to check on the seagull nests. It took about 8 trips to make the outlines and to get the rocks I have been using as name markers as well. With yesterday’s warm temperatures and many trips with a watering can, the seeds have sprouted and it looks like there may be fresh veggies on the island this summer. The 2 hints I can pass on to future keepers: the wind chill during some of the early June nights is at the freezing levels, make sure all seedlings are protected (lost a watermelon plant), and I don’t think Impatients are a plant to do well here but the Petunias are thriving.
I took a walk around the Cove to Cobblestone to check on the seagull nests today. I bring the pruners with me to make it seem like I am working cutting back the trails when all I really want to see is any new seagull babies have hatched. I was rewarded with an hours old hatchling today, its nestmates still have not hatched but it will be any day now. Brian laughs at me because I call all the nests and hatchlings mine but I have become protective of the island’s birds and am in awe of their lives out here.
After lunch, Brian went back to working on the push lawn mowers, they are in desperate need of tune-ups and I was determined to finish sprucing up the birdhouse. There was a lot of scraping down of paint, sanding, and once I decided to match the roof to the cottage’s roof, I needed to get rid of a lot of lichens/moss from the roof shingles. When finally done, it looks great now how are we ever going to raise this monster back up!
Tonight, was one of the first nights we could sit outside comfortably to watch the sunset, the wind was light and there was still a warm air mass from the mainland. It was gorgeous as always and gives each of us a chance to reflect on our day and how we changed our world just a little. I wanted to share Brian’s thoughts of the sunset:
Not everyone would like to be stuck on a small island for six days a week for an entire summer. There are disadvantages for sure.
Want to go to the movies? Not happening. That great summer street festival you always attend? Not this year. Let’s go sailing? No but can watch a lot of sailboats sailing around the island. Want to hang out with family and friends this summer? Hope they are adventurous and want to travel some.
But there are some great advantages to living a summer on a small island.
You will never have to worry about forgetting your car keys or wallet while on the island. Your not going to be driving anywhere and there is nowhere to spend money for the six days your on island. “Island Time” becomes the normal schedule. There is a lot of work to upkeep this island but we do the work at our own pace making sure we spend time with visitors and taking in in the beauty we have surrounding us.
We have no reason to rush. Things happen or not depending on the day, weather and tides. As on our sailboat what we love best is that we always make time to enjoy the surroundings that we have around us. The land, water and all the creatures that are part of it. Most of all we take time for the sunset. It is the gift we could never disrespect because it has more value in our life than most our possessions. It represents a day that we have been given to see all the beauty in it.
It turned out to be a busy day on the island today, we had 10 visitors (and 2 toddlers) while the mainland had a few extremely hot days for June. The wind was blowing a gentle cool breeze over Seguin all day, it was warm but only in the mid 70’s. The fun of being the care keepers is getting to meet a wide assortment of people and a chance to get a brief glimpse into their lives.
We had a family of 4 vacationing from New Hampshire staying at a cottage in Popham Beach, the high school age sons had just finished school for the year. Also, a group from LL Bean with 2 little ones came out for a picnic and gorgeous views, it was fun watching the toddlers run around on the lawn giggling. And then at the end of the day, we had 2 gentlemen arrive by power boat and were going to spend the night on one of the courtesy moorings. One of the men was due to graduate from Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Saturday, and these few days were his last before starting work full time.
While the list of yard maintenance is always present, sometimes you just need to take a moment and play a little. Brian found a kite from a previous keeper and decided it was the day to fly it near the tower. It was fun watching it flutter (and fall) near the lighthouse for an hour of fun time.
One project Brian has been contemplating since we got on island is the crooked birdhouse in the front yard. He realized it was standing at an angle because the wood was rotted and the wood around the bolts was cracked. Between the 2 of us and a rope, we successfully lowered the birdhouse to the ground. Turns out this birdhouse weighed a lot and still no birds were living in it. We finally managed to get the house down to the Whistle House so I could scrape and paint it while Brian figures out how to put it back up safely. This may require a few stronger hands to get done, maybe some help from the Wednesday Warriors?
Even the dogs decided the warm change in temperature was meant for serious sun worshipping on the rocks off the kitchen, they melted. A nice change from wearing the sweaters I make them wear!
The wind was howling for most of the day. The Hart family was safely on their way bright and early to avoid the winds that were predicted for the rest of the day. We assumed there would be very few people adventuring to the island so off we went to show our friends, Debbie and Gerry Connolly the trails around the island and the nests of gulls and Eiders as they hatch. The 4 of us ended up hiking along the Cove Trail along the shore line to Cobblestone Beach. I could check on the hatchlings from this past week as well as the incubating eggs for the Herring Gulls and the Common Eider. As we walked along the trails, Debbie and I tried to figure out the foliage surrounding us. A little overwhelming.
As we walked along the shoreline, I found a newly hatched Eider nest. The eggs must have hatched in the past 24 hours because on my sunrise walk yesterday, it was a 5-egg nest. I was fun to share this information with friends, and Gerry even identified another marine bird for me, but I don’t I will find a nest and eggs.
When we got back to the house, we saw our flag flopping in the wind with one part of the flag halyard detached from the flag. On a boat, this would give me a chance to climb the mast to retrieve the halyard end but on a flagpole, it is a totally different plan of attack. Brian and I seem to play MacGyver regularly on the boat, fix a major issue with string, duct tape and some sort of pole! This is where a joke should be posed, how many people does it take to retrieve a US flag from the flagpole without it touching the ground? The answer: an environmental engineer/sailor, a Canadian builder from Nova Scotia, his wife to document the event with pictures and a Veterinary Manager who by default is the smallest person to climb the ladder! Our creative tool is a boat hook from the engine house at the cove, and old aluminum gutter and a role of duct tape. This gave me an additional 20-foot reach to snag the flag and pull it within reach of us. The wind was of no help but eventually we succeeded in retrieving the flag and securing it to the pole for the rest of the day.
The rest of the day was windy and cold. The mainland was handling record setting hot temperatures, but with the wind blowing around 25-30 mph, we were relaxing with blankets, books and the space heater.
We did have 2 visitors today from a personal power boat. The couple had come last year as well to climb the tower and today they wanted to hike the trails.
The sunset was ok. I know, we have a chance to watch the sunset from all angles on the island, somehow it should always be spectacular but it was just ok! No problem, we again had great company from our friends and we had homemade ice cream for dessert, in my opinion and perfect ending of a weekend.
The weather has not been the greatest out on the island for the past few days, in fact, it makes all the stories of summer in Maine being 2 weeks in late July very believable. The temperatures have stayed in the 50’s with a brisk wind all week. Not the best conditions for guests to visit us.
We have kept busy with grass cutting and trail clearing, but you are probably tired of hearing about how great the riding lawn mower is! I thought instead I would show you more about one of my new obsessions, seagull hatchlings.
I have watched the seagull nests since the second day I was on the island and finally this past week I have been blessed with seeing hour old hatchlings as well as getting to see one as it was hatching from its egg. In fact, this morning as Brian and I walked the trails (yes, in the rain again) the 4 hatchlings I have seen all week, are all very fluffy and healthy. In one nest, the 2 eggs hatched 2 days apart and the size difference today is still amazing.
The Common Eider’s are hatching as well. There has been one swimming in the cove with its mom all week. The flock of Eiders seem to buffer the baby as it swims around the rough waters, there always seems to be 2-3 adults in its proximity, a good community to raise a baby in tough conditions. The funny thing is the difference in the nests from the Eider to the seagull. The Eider nest is usually in a protected bush/grassy area and the eggs are beautifully warmed by a nest of downy feathers and the seagull nest is right out on the cliff with grass as the bedding but little to no protection from the weather! Evolution is an amazing thing.
Brian has kept busy by organizing the different work areas and is having fun doing it on a rainy day. One project he took on was repairing the original distance sign which was slowly falling apart. Luckily one of the recent wind storms blew in a great log for the base of the sign. The downfall is in came ashore in the cove and needed to be carried up the Lighthouse trail to the top of the tramway. Nothing is ever easy on the island. The result is a work of art, he even made sure all of the compass headings are accurate for the locations are on the sign.
Our Wednesday day off was postponed again this week because of the sea conditions, we woke up Wednesday morning to swells 6-8 feet going across the cove, there was no way we were going to make the crossing safely let alone try to get our dinghy off the beach to meet up with Captain Ethan. Thursday morning was a little better and off the island we went. The negative of this was the weather was only going to get worse by the afternoon. Our fun day off plan of biking in Portland was quickly changed to running around to get all our errands done and meet back at the dock at Fort Popham by 2pm. It was a wet and very bumpy ride but we did it! Brian and I have figured out that as much fun as a day off the island is, once arriving back to the island with all our provisions we have the chore of hiking everything up 125 feet above sea level. It seems we are doing this while soaking wet! A damper on a day off. Brian wrote on his Facebook page:
“Our only day off the island for the week started off bad. After a wet ride in, we had to return at 1400 instead of a normally 1600 planned because of rough sea states and tides. Then it seemed everything we wanted to do on shore took forever. After getting wet again on the return trip to the island, we totally messed up our dinghy landing. We were grumpy, wet and tired and we still had to carry our weeks provisions up to the lighthouse cottage. Why do we do it? Here is the answer, nothing good in life is free!”
As I write this blog entry, it is 57 degrees, raining and the cold seems to be a tough thing to battle. But why are we doing this gig for the summer? Because we are surrounded by beauty no matter where we look, we have a better view from the top of this rock than most can ever dream of and even on this dreary Friday morning, I am looking out at a local lobster boat working the traps, and occasional sunbeam is shining off the top of Mt Washington and the forecast says we will have 3-4 days of sunshine coming up. I wouldn’t trade this morning for one anywhere else.
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.