Shortly after we accepted FOSILS’ offer to return to Seguin as keepers again this year, Chris and I decided to purchase enough food staples that would, supplemented by the garden, allow us to remain on-island all summer versus going off weekly for groceries and laundry. So we purchased large-for-us quantities of canned tomatoes, cheese, chocolate, dried fruit, eggs, nuts and peanut butter from a wholesale club. Then in another level of bulk buying, we purchased huge quantities of beans; non-instant dried milk powder for drinking, baking and yogurt-making; cornmeal; flour; oats; more nuts; and seeds from a restaurant supplier. To these voluminous stocks, we added coffee, tea, honey, and a single pound of brown sugar for our entire 12-week summer (read more on sugar allotments below) plus a wide variety of spices from our existing pantry, and packed it all up for helicopter transport to Seguin.
In the post entitled Seguin Solar Panel Update, I shared a chronology of the May 20 helicopter lift from Popham Beach State Park to the island, including the transport of all those food stuffs along with the solar equipment and materials to be installed.
As I was contemplating this particular post, Chris shared with me a book he discovered here. It’s a photo reproduction of the 1902 edition of Instructions to Light-Keepers and Masters of Light-House Vessels. Chapter V. is entitled “REGULATIONS IN REGARD TO PROVISIONS FOR LIGHT-HOUSE KEEPERS, OFFICERS AND CREWS OF LIGHT-HOUSE VESSELS.” In addition to the overall diet, take a look at the weekly and annual allowances “per man,” including two pounds of sugar per week!
And here’s the invoice from our bulk purchase. Longtime readers will know that Chris is an accomplished baker and that we prefer vegetarian fare, plus fish!
We have shared our “food” story with visitors who ask how frequently we go to shore for supplies. When we respond that we’re here for the season, they ask if our supplies will hold out until the end of the summer. That’s when we reply, with smiles on our faces, “Ask us in another six weeks!” As this post “goes to press,” we are halfway through our planned time here. We’ve gone through half of some supplies – e.g. all-purpose flour; about a third of others – e.g. coffee, lentils and sunflower seeds, while others, like our baking chocolate remains untouched. Our current plan is to leave the island mid-September. I’ll provide a brief usage update just before we leave. As for drinking water, that’s another post for another time!