Last week we ended by running off to batten down the hatches – and it was good we did… Tropical storm Elsa sent buckets of rain our way and this rock of an island called Seguin got pretty soggy! However our sturdy 164 year house never let a drop of rain enter. And we were rewarded with a view of our first Seguin rainbow. As the storm moved east and north, the sun just lit everything up for a beautiful evening!
Now, we didn’t actually batten down any hatches. This phrase began in the late 1800’s when the navy prepared for storms by fastening down canvas over doorways and hatches on their ships with strips of wood called battens. We just closed doors and windows – my, how easy life has become!
In the last week, we have had only 3 days which were partly sunny. Between rain and the famous Seguin fog, we are not getting a lot of outside chores done! Remember the list of things we haven’t gotten to? Well. During those 3 days of rain over the 4th and adding the latest weather, we had been working on that puzzle. It took 10 days of either rain or evenings, but success! Now, we were warned we would find it challenging and with over 500 small wooden pieces, it proved itself. I dare you to make your next puzzle purchase a wooden one!
We also are doing a bit of historical reading and finding ourselves viewing life on Seguin a bit differently. Those late 1800’s and early 1900’s seem a little closer. “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife”, an autobiography, was written by Connie Scovill Small in 1986 when she was in her 80’s. She and her husband spent 24 years (1920-1948) as lightkeepers on the Maine coast, 4 of which were on Seguin. An eye-opener to read first hand experiences in this very same house starting in 1926. So much the same, yet oh so different. (They did have a working tram to carry their supplies up for them – definitely a struggle in 2021!). The kitchen had a black iron stove and a sink with a hand pump. There was a door directly into the lighthouse. There were 3 lightkeepers w/families on the island. Before long they had regular deliveries of coal, but when they first arrived, their only source of fuel, after burning the boxes in which the books were packed, were stones found on the beach, identified as coal, washed by the sea, many years after coal vessels had been wrecked on Seguin! Ahhh – gotta love our solar!
Connie had to wash and iron the linen lens cover by hand – no easy task at 12‘ long and 4 sections 6‘ wide – would’ve been a deal breaker for me – lol. I’m guessing the “I don’t think so” for Rick may have been having to row the 2-1/2 miles to Popham – sun or storm. And they had some wild storms in the winter! Thank you Cap’n Ethan!! We still have the snakes that kept another Captain from visiting, but we don’t encounter many. And we still have the amazing views she describes – from the catwalk, seeing the many coastal lighthouses light up at sunset for one. And my favorite – “I opened the outside tower entrance door which looked over the north part of the island at Popham Beach and the entrance to the Kennebec River”. Still a breathtaking view. But I refuse to compare their experience of finding a body floating in the Kennebec to our finding a decapitated seal on our beach this week…‘nuff said about that. Although I must publicly thank one of our visitors who valiantly lassoed and dragged aforementioned seal out to sea…
As you may suspect, weather is constantly on our mind – and in our recent reading.
It was a hurricane that killed more than 6000 people. Rick is reading about the worst hurricane on record, not long after the Weather Bureau Service was formed. He is reading the book “Isaac’s Storm” by Erik Larson. It was Galveston, September 8, 1900. In those days the weather was the weather. If ships were lost at sea and people died, it was just the way things were. It was a time in our history when the word hurricane was avoided for concern that it would cause panic. And now most of us track these world wide events daily.
Rick’s dad was a meteorologist – during WWII and later in Alaska. We have always been proud of that fact, but never really realized all that he did and how it impacted others lives. He would have enjoyed this book. As Rick is reading he is discovering the deeper meaning behind words like barometric pressure, understanding how high pressures and low pressures are formed. He is now using this information to help us figure out what kind of weather is ahead. Although as we sit and listen to the fog horn, we wonder, when will it lift?? Oh yes – one of the foggiest places in the world!
Unbelievable. We are 1/2 way thru our Seguin adventure. What a mix of comfort and sadness. Comfort because we have settled into such a wonderful routine. Sad to think about our time here ending. This 1/2 mark came so fast, we just know Labor Day will be here quickly. We’ve had some amazing visitors on our last few sunny days, but I will save those stories for next week. One of my photos shows a poem hanging on the wall in the dining room. We share her thoughts.