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October through November

Day 52  -  Wednesday, November 30,  2011

“Dark & Stormy”

At 11:35 am it was dark.  Like “night-time” dark.  And stormy.  The windows were rattlin’ and the doors were shakin’.  And every one of them could blow out a match.  Pretty crazy.  I did head down to the Boathouse about 3am to check on The Hardy Boys boat, ( The Ilsa Lund), which was fine as the wind was really out of the south, and so she was pretty much protected.

 

 

Most of my day was spent on more “winta” logistics, and not one fisherman went out today.  I had the lights on all day in the Keeper’s House, and then at around 3pm the rain stopped and the sun came out, which was then on the opposite side of the island, and was catching the tops of the breakers on the eastern side.  Amazing.

Tim, Kathy, myself, and others continue to try to put the remaining pieces together to make this work.  I have a high tide at 12:30 pm tomorrow and need to get off the island for provisions and Christmas stuff and building supplies, depending upon our budget.  We remain unbelievably challenged funding wise — we have raised over $10k in goods and services but need to raise another $10k (roughly) before the end of the year.   We have received some big gifts, but mostly it’s the $25 dollar donations, from individuals, through PayPal and checks that really have been making this work.    Amazing what a bunch of small donations and a lot of people can do.  And of course we’ve received a few sizable gifts from some individuals and corporate.   Several more schools have come on board (even though we have yet to really reach out to them and educators yet) and lots more interest from the press and media.  More corporate partner interest too, which is critical.  Hope everyone reading is well, and enjoying these posts.

Please share this, and “like” us on fb (top of the page).

(Pictures are bigger if you click on them)

Good enuf.

 

Day 51  -  Tuesday, November 29,  2011

“Tired and Frustrated”

It’s a short post tonight.  I am beat.  And it’s been a frustrating day.  We paid for a premium subscription to Skype four days ago and it’s still not working.  I love skype to skype but the ability to call numbers for money is messed up.  Frankly, it’s owned now by Microsoft and the fact that you can’t call anyone is ludicrous.  Only email and so far, after four responses, they are lousy.  Also the old fridge is not working, and there’s a bunch of other stuff going on that is also frustrating.

On the other hand, the moon is a fingernail and beautiful.  I have reached out to incoming lobstermen and they’ve reached back, via radio.  There are lots of  good things going on but I need to take a few hours off, for the first time in weeks.  I hope everyone understands.

More tomorrow.  Gale warnings are in effect.  Should be gusts up to 40 kts tonight and tomorrow.  Oh, and I found a perfect shell today, which is rare.

Thanks and share.  It’s all Good Enuf.

 

Day 50  -  Monday, November 28,  2011

“Box 11″

 

 

 

So it’s even more official now…I now have a PO box.  I had to, as apparently “General Delivery” only works now for a month or so.  I think there were many years where everyone was “General Delivery”.  Now we’re about to stop Saturday postal service.  So Connie, who runs the post office for at least the next three years (hopefully or they’ll probably close it down – along with her new mate Abbi) thought I should have a special box number and decided it was “11″.  I’ll take it. One of my best friends favorite numbers is 11, (Kevin Burns),  and given the fact that this year is “11″ it’s probably pretty special.  I should have taken a picture of it but I don’t have anything in it yet.  My Mom sent me a box filled with special stuff including a couple of  books on slow cooking, and I picked up my Wall Street Journals, as I probably won’t get off the island for at least a day or two.  So the address is:

Bill Kitchen, Little River Lighthouse, Little River Island, PO Box 11, Cutler Maine, 04626

That may be the coolest address I’ve ever had.  And I have to say that “31 E. 31st” on Manhattan was pretty nice, for 15 years.  So this is kind of fitting.  Oh, and “Day 50″ is kinda cool too.

Thanks again to the women of Chesapeake, who left me with homemade cookies! (and made me feel like a part of my home having lived 5 years in DC and spending a bunch of time in Baltimore, Annapolis, etc).  And Joanie from A2Z who gave me a hair dryer, hot pink, so that I can shrink the window insulation film,

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Jeremy and Josh, who gave me a proper anchor and 12 fathoms of rope so I could anchor in the harbor if (when?) I was in trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I so rely upon so many people to make this project work.

I am tired, as nice as it is out here.  I look forward to getting the basic logistics done so that I can focus on The Endeavor project and direct my attention to the educational side, and Tim and Kathy can focus on the magazine and the things they need to to stay afloat.  The weather was again unseasonably warm, but crazy windy and rough.  Seas were peculiar today – big rolling waves but not linear at all…appearing docile but in fact quite powerful…dangerous, just not easy to spot.  I am thinking about re-naming the Hardy Boys boat “Ilsa Lund“, and have made perhaps the best soup I have ever attempted from the leftover Thanksgiving bird.

It is sometimes, already, a little challenging being on the island alone, but I’m sure it will get even more so.  All the fishermen are bringing their traps in, although no one went out today.  Some will work on their own stuff, some will chop wood, some will build with wood, and some will dive for the next three months, for sea urchins.  More on that another post.  But that’s crazy.  Even the fisherman (who truly risk their lives every day) say so.  And btw, the snap at the top was this morning, which having woken up (and stayed up) at about 5am (unusual for me unless I was still up or had some crazy tee time, (rare in truth, but the only other reason at the time)), was amazing, although I now seemingly get out of bed at 6:30 am, having spent 3am till then on and off, awake, sort of asleep, not really wanting to miss anything but also wanting to go back to sleep — , listening/hearing the radio of the fishermen. That too will change.

I went back in and got the camera, took the first shot and said, “oh my gosh…just keep shooting, as many shots as you can, as fast as you can – this is amazing.  but right after the first shot the sky changed…and it was gone. I saw it though.  And you get to see a wee little bit of it.

I’d really like a White Castle Cheeseburger please.

Share. Thanks.  And Good Enuf.

 

 

 

Day 49  -  Sunday, November 27,  2011

“A Visit From ‘The Great Pumpkin’”

 

 

 

 

10:55 am and Tim had called me at 9am to tell me that the (I’ve now decided they’re called the “Lighthouse Lickers”) were coming over.  I met them last night over skype while they are on holiday and stopped at Tim and Kathy’s for the night.  More about that later.

So they leave.  It’s getting increasingly windy, and as I’m getting them off the float, I spy a pumpkin, floating directly toward the Boathouse cove.  Really?  So I see them off and they arrive safely back in the village.  I am determined to wait for it (the pumpkin), to reach the float and after 45 minutes I realize that it’s not going to reach the float.  It may however reach The Boathouse.

The tide is incoming and it’s not yet HW (high water, or, the highest tide) until about an hour.  I decided to take another load of pellets up to the house, then the table and other “stuff” stored in the Boathouse that I have foraged in the forest over the last week or so…moss, lichen, shells, sticks, shellfish remnants, wood, sea urchins, things that have washed up on the beach (I think that’s called ‘flotsam’), and rocks – oh yeah, most importantly rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, I come back down to The Boathouse, top of HW,  and there’s the pumpkin, right between the rails, just bobbing up and down.  Having made a journey that I’d like to think started on Halloween night, and took some 27 days.  “The Great Pumpkin”…came to Little River Island…to the Lighthouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the aftermath…yes the underside has been eaten by I’m sure a variety of sea creatures and is “beautifully” not intact.  There is indeed beauty in death…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well it’s howlin’ right now.  10:30 pm est.  The windows are rattlin’ more than I ever remember and it’s clear that I’ll have to do a whole lot more to “insulate” this house.  Heck, you can hold a match up to almost any door or window and it will straight blow out!  And I know from experience that there’s absolutely zero insulation in the walls, ceiling or floor.  (oh and that’s one of the reasons we need more help – donation, sponsor, and PR wise).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, (which Tim smartly suggested I begin to organize into weekly folders, which is spot on), my Mom and her partner Irwin sent me a new Carhartt jacket to keep me warm as most of my outer-gear is more suited to snowboarding or skiing.  Here’s an old cartoon that Tim uncovered that kind of speaks to the subject…(as with all pics posted on this journal, if you click on them there’s a caption, and you can make them bigger – and sometimes you can click on them a second time and make them really really bigger…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Otherwise, brought up 20%+ of the pellets AND got them in the cellar.  Which took a whole lot of work given that the cellar is a total disaster.  Made much progress down there – trying to make room for 2 1/2 tons! of pellets, and I realized I need a space to cut, build and fix stuff, because when it’s zero degrees outside I’ll have to do it indoors.  So I’m building that out and continuing the awful job of insulating every single one of the pipes.  I didn’t think it would be any big deal but I have to say it pretty much is very lousy.  (pictures to follow when it’s done).

So these four wonderful women, who are are from the Maryland area and two of them are twins -  Paula and Lauren Liebrecht, along with Sandra Sableski and Anne Puppa,who had spent the night at Tim and Kathy’s while they freely volunteered to spend hours on a mailing, folding, stuffing, licking, which is why I call them the Lighthouse Lickers (ok that’s where I’m wrong – self sealer envelopes and stamps were employed…).  They are, as I understand it, principals of the Cheseapeake chapter of the United  States Lighthouse Society and if they didn’t invent The Lighthouse Challenge, they’ve certainly been one of the most influential groups of people that have ever been involved with it.  They are giving and gifted, and I am grateful for people who are willing to give their time, and moreover, to be truly passionate about something.  Anything.

 

 

 

 

 

And with me…

 

Well they were all going to come out to the island today.  Weather, as I said turned a little dicey and only two of them came.  And they loved it.  It’s always great to have guests here, and that will be the primary focus of The Endeavor…being an on-site learning program.  I look forward to having hundreds of kids out here over the next year, providing them with a dynamic and unique learning opportunity for almost any subject, and hopefully getting them excited about lighthouse history and preservation in the process, and creating a new resource for educators all over the planet.

Ok, got to go now.  It’s been a usually very long day, I’m making soup from the Thanksgiving bird, listening to Secret Agent radio on SOMA fm, and have a big day, again tomorrow.  Wow it’s Howlin’ Wolf.  Hope you will help us any way you can, and the easiest way is “liking” us and sharing this.

Thanks and Good Enuf.

Day 48  -  Saturday, November 26,  2011

“Familiar Sight  -  Stunning Light”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traps out of the water…  Lobster traps.  Thousands of them, here in Cutler alone.  On boats, on wharfs, on trucks, and more and more frequently, in front and back yards.  Piled twelve feet tall and sometimes 80 feet long by 30 feet wide.  Nope, it’s not somethin’ you see much of…except for now, and then sometime in March, when the lobsters come back and the weather settles, they’ll be thrown overboard and back in the water.  Yes, they’re no longer “fishin’”, they’re just “haulin’”.  And many of the fishermen find themselves a bit torn by the whole process.  On one hand no one wants to stop making money.  On the other hand, they’re tired, even having been blessed by a benevolent Autumn.  Ayup, the lobsters are burying down for the winter, headed for further waters, and the slim price being paid on the docks does not come close to covering the cost of crew, fuel, bait, salt to preserve the bait, boat and trap maintenance, and of course time.  Some of these guys have gone from 400+ lbs. to 50 in a week.  It’s a tough living, but I believe a righteous one.  I wonder what they all do over the next three months – both Captains and Crew.  I will discover that in time.  Below, a now familiar sight on the swaying road both in, and out of Cutler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today was another challenging day as Tim and Kathy “double-handedly” delivered the new fridge we had to purchase as a result of the first storm.  Turned out to be significantly more challenging than we thought for the three of us, even as weather was on our side.  They successfully re-plugged, then launched the Mac boat and loaded the “reefer” on the bow.  How I’m not entirely sure.  They got it to the island, although almost lost her as the wakes from the plowing lobster boats, (that couldn’t get home fast enough), rocked the dock and floats.

 

 

 

 

 

“The Icemen Cometh”

And I have to add that I was a bit disappointed to discover that many fridges, (perhaps most) no longer come in giant cardboard boxes like when I was a kid, and as such I would not be on this island, building a spaceship of the future, filled with blankets, tin pie plate steering wheels and coat hanger antennas.  I’ll have to settle for cold food.

I could not however have done it without them.

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed my wifi (not to be confused with the DownEast expression “Wif” for ‘wife’), which was down since Thanksgiving, again thanks to Axiom Technologies and one of their great Tech Crew (on a Saturday even), Ben.  Couldn’t have him walk me through anything because the only mobile connection is on the Boathouse side of the island, (as some of you know), so he sent me a detailed email to print out under a direct connection.  That’s customer service!  Worked perfectly.  And I’m increasingly aware that like being sailing offshore, usually several things go wrong every day.  The key is staying ahead of it, which hopefully over the next three days of no “events” ,and some coming bad weather that will not just keep me on the island, but will keep all others off, I will catch up on.  The snaps below are just another example of not just how colorful it is here naturally and culturally, but commercially as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a funny thing to share — I have figured out that the small, maybe 5″ diameter piles of wood-type stuff that I have lately seen scattered along the very edges of the catwalk (some call it the boardwalk and say that the catwalk is outside the top of the tower but I call that the gallery – I’ll have to find out), is actually where the small red squirrels that populate Little River Island sit and eat the tiny 1″ pinecones that ‘drop from heaven’ this time of year.  They literally take each “leaf” apart, eat the seed, and leave the rest in a tidy pile.

 

 

 

 

 

I miss Deb and the kids, and the rest of my family too, but had a wonderful conversation with my Dad this afternoon, who’s one of my best friends.  Immediately after hanging up with him, (it was a mobile conversation not a skype), I looked down and underneath the dock was a perfectly preserved and just fallen feather from one of the two Eagles that live on the island.  How very appropriate as since I was a small kid, my Dad always had a thing for Eagles.  It was a special moment.  Here it is… (btw, you can click on all the pics to make them bigger).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, please “Like” us on Facebook (top of each website page), and help support us by passing The Lighthouse Endeavor along to family, friends, and any potential corporate sponsors and foundations you think would be interested.  Thanks and Good Enuf.

Day 47  -  Friday, November 25, 2011

 “Two Tons Of Thanks”

It was brisk at 7:30 this morning but within a couple of hours I was breaking a sweat.  Maine Woods Pellets was kind enough to donate two pallets worth of 40 lb. bags of the finest pellets made in Maine to the village boat ramp at 8am, where a small contingent of dedicated volunteers were waiting to help me get them over to the island.  EBS Building Supply once again graciously provided free delivery.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hardy Boys boat wouldn’t start electrically and eventually I got her started with “the old-fashioned pull”.  The engine sounded kind of funny and she had a surprising amount of water in the hull, most of which had collected in her stern, some of which I know came from the hole on her port side that we had affected a temporary fix on while we wait for an aluminum patch kit.  I bailed her out and headed across the harbor noting just how beautiful Cutler was in the snow.

 

Tim and Kathy tried to launch the Mac boat however upon arriving at the ramp realized that the snow had frozen in the hole that the plug goes in and so we had to scratch that idea.  With only one boat (the smallest one), and a short crew of helpers this was going to be a long morning.  My sincere thanks to Tim and Kathy, Ken Britton, Ray MacKeen, Richard Knight and Laura Knight.  I later determined that the strange sound in the Hardy Boys boat was not the engine at all but some pellets that had gotten lodged in the bilge pump, which was probably trying to run for the last 24 hours and that drained the battery.  The sheer number of logistics and challenges to living on this lighthouse island can be a bit daunting.

I did the driving as we set up a fire brigade to pass the pellets to the boat, while Ken waited for me on the island side.  All told about 10 trips and four hours, but we now have two tons of pellets stacked in the boathouse, which I will have to get across the island and loaded into the cellar.

After I brought Ken back to the village and picked up a couple of packages that had been sent to Tim and Kathy’s for me, I loaded them into the dock cart and headed for the Keeper’s House.  Well the catwalk has some real steep parts and remained covered in ice.  It was all I could do to make it up.  Wow is this going to be an ongoing challenge over the winter.  I’m really looking forward to getting the Stabil-Icers that 32 North has sent us!

I continue to marvel at the number of emails I received yesterday wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving from people I don’t know who are simply supportive of The Endeavor project.  Truly mind-blowing.  Hundreds of people from dozens of states and several countries!  That really went a long way to making me feel a little less lonely and isolated, especially on a holiday.  I would have preferred to have Deb and the kids here but the storm prevented that from happening.  I will do my best to answer every one of them over the next few days.  And WCSH, the NBC affiliate in Portland ran the TV segment not only on last night’s 6p and 11p news, but also several times during the morning show.  Thanks so much for their support as well.

Tomorrow we will try to get the new fridge out to replace the one damaged in the first storm’s power loss, and I will try to figure out what’s going on with the wifi router, which was knocked out in the second storm’s power outage.  I will also work on continued funding as I prepare for us to remove the dock floats, which will give me an even narrower time window to get off and back on the island, weather permitting, during the winter.  That I am most certainly not looking forward to.  And here’s a snap of the Granite Oil House, built with stone from the original Keeper’s House.

We’ve moved the Facebook “Like” button up to the top of each page on the website so if you’re on Facebook, please “Like” us.  It’s very helpful to the sponsorship and fundraising process.  In the meantime, please share this website with friends and family.  Thanks.

 

 

 

Day 46   -  November 24, 2011

 “It’s All About The Thanks”

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you reading this.  I have spent much of today reflecting on not just my overall life, but the turn it has taken, again, and how I’m here.  I am indeed blessed.  In fact, the last couple of days, despite being out of power, heat and refrigeration at times yesterday and today, and my router out so I am now bedroom-tethered to the wonderful Axiom connection, I think just how blessed I am to be here.

And it was the first Thanksgiving to be had here in forty years.  How many there were over the years between 1847, always a “family” lighthouse, and then until the early 70’s, when the Coast Guard left.  This house missed it.  Dinner was a small bird, cranberry sauce, olives, home-baked corn muffins, peas, gravy, stuffing, and I believe a sweet potato (or perhaps a yam – I have to figure out the difference).

I am completely overwhelmed by the 60+ emails I have received today wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving.  Of those, I think I actually know two people.  The rest are people from Virginia to Michigan, Washington state to Kentucky, Florida and Louisiana, and many other states.  I am truly taken by the outpouring of support from so many people that I don’t know, that just love lighthouses, and are involved with lighthouse education and preservation.  I am truly shocked.  Thank you.  I will respond to each and every one of you, but it’s been a busy day, and as I said, no internet for a big part of it, and I did a phoner interview with the Portland NBC affiliate TV station which ran at 6p and should run at 11p tonight.  Thank you very much Don Carrigan and everyone at WCSH TV.    Here’s a link to the short online story.  I hope to have a video link to it tomorrow.

http://www.wcsh6.com/news/article/180374/2/Thanksgiving-alone-at-a-lighthouse

Cooking dinner was a special treat today, as was just the fact that there’s snow, and ice and cold.  It was crystal clear, about 28o and I could see the island of Grand Manan, Canada, about 9 miles away.  It is much like looking at Long Island from southern Connecticut – long and wide.  However much of this side of Grand Manan is massive cliffs and today they sparkled white with snow, especially as the sun set behind me, and in front of them, even from this distance.  It was a view I had never seen before.  And a massive tanker motored by – I just happened to catch it.

 

We are having 2 tons of pellets from Maine Woods Pellet Company delivered to the village boat ramp by EBS Building Supply tomorrow at 8m, and are only expecting a few volunteers to help get one hundred 40 lb. bags over to the island.  It will then be up to me to get them from the dock to the Boathouse, then across the island and down into the House cellar.  No worries.   It’s all doable.  Once again, I rely upon Tim and Kathy, although a number of folks are out of town or just plain busy with the holiday.  Completely understandable.  As for the pic below, really?  there is stuff like this?  naturally?  just amazing when you think about it…

We still need a generator, an engine for the smaller skiff (winter boat), survival suits to travel in, and a whole boatload (npi) of winter provisions.  There are lots of ways to help support this which include tax-deductible donations, corporate matching, donating goods and services we need or can sell, points, miles, etc.  And if you know of any teacher, class or organization that would like to reach out to us or that we can help, please give them my eddress – Bill@TheLighthouseEndeavor.com.  The more people we have involved the better.  Thanks, and again, a very happy Thanksgiving to all.

 

Day 45  -  Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“Catch-Up”

 

 

So sorry and I’ll get better at this.  Just been so busy trying to prep for “winter”.  My list of things to do is very long.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this.  Even today.  No power from 6am to about 3pm.  Now on.  Still cold in here though.  Snow, wind, rain, duck (and yes i know it’s “duct” but everyone says “duck”) tape on windows and doors.  Got some great pics yesterday (below).  Will have a video part from Sean soon.  Coast Guard is changing its policy with us and no longer going to pay for electric.  More money we need to raise.  Lots of stuff going on.  Oh, and I think Tim is trying to steal the new Carhartt jacket my Mom and Irwin sent me.  He flagged down the UPS guy and got him to leave the package.  Told me he has a jacket for me but it’s very old and worn…More on everything later.  Sorry about the delay.  I am the most blessed person on this earth.  Today, while 25 kt. winds, sideways snow, and no electric, this is the most special place I’ve ever been lucky enough to stay.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  As always, please share this and “like” us on facebook.

Thanks.   And btw, if you don’t know, you can click on any of these photos and make them bigger.

Also, you can “subscribe” to this journal, by clicking the RSS button below, so it just tells you when I’ve written something new and it comes to your in-box.  Magic.

I’m able to do this thanks to Axiom and Susan Corbett, which have given us internet and connected us to the rest of the world, and Tim and Kathy, who continue to devote lots of time to this instead of their business, Lighthouse Digest Magazine (which you should subscribe to), and frankly, many people in Cutler.  And I’m listening to somafm.  “Secret Agent” radio.  love that!  (Right now it’s playing The Theme From Peter Gunn by Henry Mancini and I’m playing it as loud as it goes, because I can  –  because I don’t have any neighbors)  and you should check it, cause it’s just the best i-radio station ever.  Snaps are below…(make them big!)  and I try to only put snaps of the day up…these are all from yesterday…nice … and rare to get more than one pic a day that I like, and want to share.  Yesterday was special.  (I think I like my boot the best…and the pic at the top of the post — yeah, worth going back up for)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 42  -  Sunday,  November 20, 2011

 “Duck, Duck, Soup” and “Wickie Wickie”

 

 

Sunday, 6:15 am.  I can already tell what’s going on.  The VHF radio, channel 13 (what everyone in this area monitors), has been ‘a-chatter’ for the last few hours and despite the fact that it’s Sunday, most of the lobster fleet has gone out.  This has everything to do with the fact that it’s been lousy weather for the last few days, and is expected to be for the next few, other than an iffy forecast for Monday.

It is clear they are tired, and done.  They have been “fishing” for the last nine months and the weather is changing after a decidedly long and unusually mild Autumn.  “Fishing” is not so much determined by what day of the week it is, but by the wind, sea, tides and the immediate condition of your boat.  Oh, and of course by the cost of fuel, bait, and salt to keep the bait, and perhaps most importantly, by the “Dock Price”…what is being paid for lobsters off the boat, before they go anywhere, and are graded, classed and shipped, and then magically end up on your table.

The economic equation has now changed, as the catch cannot exceed the return.  I have watched many boats starting to haul strings of traps for the last time this year, where they will sit in a yard, or maybe a warehouse, stacked high until March.  As the water gets colder, the lobsters head out, burrow and basically hibernate.  Where do the lobsters come from that you might eat between now and March?  They are stockpiled in pounds.  Some in natural seawater, and some in tanks.  They are kept at a very low temperature so that they go into a fairly dormant state, and also don’t have to be fed, which is key.  They also don’t fight because they are already “banded” on their claws, and like I said, they’re just chillin’, in the truest sense of the word.  Perhaps that’s where it comes from…

While calmer than it’s been, it’s still not particularly safe for me to try to get on and off the island, unless it was an emergency.  I set about finishing the laundry, which is in its final drying stages draped about various pieces of furniture around the house and fully cleaned the new pellet stove from EBS Building Supply and that the Branch Manager, Brent Hartford installed while I assisted.  It’s burning much better.  I had also cleaned the terminals on the tractor and charged the battery overnight and it started right up late this morning!  Will have to watch it for a few days to see if we should get a back-up but money is so tight, and we’re really only focused on safety and survival.  A little back-breaking work won’t kill me.  Began to clear out and organize the cellar, the only room in the house that in the 3 summers I’ve been here I haven’t paid much attention to.  In fact, my only thought about the cellar was not to make it worse.  I am now deep in it.  Got some more of the pipe insulation done, lots of org’ing, and storing pellets.

So here’s the “Duck, Duck, Soup” part…The cellar has a 5’ 11” clearance at best, and I am 6’ 1”.  That means I duck, tuck, crouch, dip my head, bend my back, etc. no matter what I’m doing down there.  Add a 40 lb. bag of pellets on your shoulder that you’re stacking on a pallet and it gets tiresome.  The tight, curving stairway makes it even more so.  Nonetheless, I am loving every minute of it.  I still have about 15 bags down in the Boathouse to bring up, out of the 52, but am a little behind due to the tractor problem.  And I’ve got two tons coming from Maine Woods Pellets later this week, weather and holiday permitting.  Yes, I had soup for dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the “Wickie, Wickie” part…  Not to be confused with “wiki” (a whole new meaning of the pronunciation but collective either way), “Wickie” was a term used for Lighthouse Keepers, as they had during a certain period in their technological history to change the wicks in the lighthouse tower as part of their regular duties. (The Coast Guard still calls them “lamps” even though they now look like brake light bulbs, but more on this another time.)  I also did this for a couple of weeks when I was blessed enough to spend time at a couple of the Dune Shacks on the tip of Cape Cod.  That was the only light available, as there was no electricity so one was relegated to oil lamps.  So anyway, a couple of the household oil lamps I have I re-wicked and filled with oil.  I’m a “Wickie”, sort of.  This is part of number 3 on the “Power Outage – Safety Redundancy Program” we have initiated.  And “wicked” (one syllable), is not to be confused with “wicked” ( two syllables and a decidedly MA expression).  English can be so challenging, even for a first language…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I laid some more fir boughs to continue “banking” the well and worked a bit on the website putting up our corporate sponsor logos, for which we are very grateful.  We have lots more to do to get me prepared for winter and begin our outreach to educational institutions and other org’s, but first the priority is the safety and preparedness for this to work over the next 4 months.  I also hope to have a video piece from Sean’s work in the next few days and if you haven’t yet watched the 4 minute video, under “video” on the left hand navigation bars of the site, please do – just wait for it to load then watch.  As always, please share this unique project and let anyone know they can reach out to me at bill@thelighthouseendeavor.com.  We are grateful for all the support that’s come in, but definitely need more, as there’s a lot of “front loading” to this project for the winter.  (And that can be no more than sharing it with others, and “liking” us on facebook).  Hope you’re enjoying being a part of it.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 41  -  Saturday, November 19, 2011

“A Long Walk”

Yes I know the whole “I walked to school three miles a day, in the snow, with no boots, uphill both ways”.  I can appreciate it.  The tractor is not working and I am continuing to move brush for banking the well, logs, and bags of pellets across the island from the Boathouse pulling a cart.  And yes, it is uphill, and downhill both ways.  It makes me think how hard it used to be to do this on a dirt path and with a wheelbarrow, not all that many years ago.  Ok, so the Coast Guard had several guys, but the families that lived here only had that – family.  Tim sent me a pic of a lighthouse in Farallon, CA where as you can see, the walk was daunting to say the least.

Laundry, housekeeping and house improvements were a big order of the day and I am quite pleased with the shelves made from timber that washed ashore and logs Terry and I cut down.  I suspect they did a lot of this too – just made use of whatever the ocean served up.  Treasures indeed.

 

The wind was pretty raging today and waves that swept across my front lawn view had their tops blown back as they charged on unaffected.  It did however prevent me from heading into the village to attend a hastily scheduled board meeting of the Friends Of Little River Light.  Disappointing not to be able to attend but safety has to be the number one concern at all times, especially over the winter months.  Nonetheless, the board continues to support The Endeavor project, for which I am very grateful.  And there was an odd “meeting” of birds taking place right off the front yard for a few hours of this crazy surf.  Not sure what they were doing but I’ve never seen a collection like this before. (sorry for the less than stellar snap – you can click on all these snaps – some get better and some get worse…)

 

 

 

We have added new sponsors including a great specialty food company of which my friend Jack Acree is EVP, Saffron Road, and we look forward to a great partnership with them.  I urge you to look for their tastys in the supermarket.  Pretty sure they are at Whole Foods, among others.  Will keep you posted on that.

 

 

 

 

Dinner was some smoked herring, which I’m developing a taste for and because I now wear “Dickies” work pants, (something I never thought I’d be caught dead doing but I really love them now), I noticed their branding slogan.  “Dickies.  Work.” Being a marketing guy I have to say I love this!  and it’s so simple.  Just great.

Splurged and had a magically delicious breakfast to start the day.  I don’t think any of the fleet went out today.  Saw a few seals, which is always a treat.  Grateful for everyone’s help and encouragement.  Please “like” The Endeavor on facebook, donate anything if you can (the list seems to grow as to what we need), share this, and most importantly if you know any teachers or classes that would like to somehow be a part of this, even at these early stages, please feel free to contact me at Bill@TheLighthouseEndeavor.com.  Big thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 39  -  Thursday,  November 17, 2011 and… 

Day 40  -   Friday,  November 18,  2011

 

“Toeing The Line and other stuff like that”

 

I’m not sure when I first learned that “Toeing The Line” was not “Towing” which for some reason I thought it was.  I’m pretty sure I was out of college and trying to be an adult.  It means “conform to a rule or standard” and I’m not particularly sure that I’m eligible on either count to title this post as such.  However, there’s a pun involved, which I am entitled to.   Nonetheless, here’s a link to the wiki def: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toe_the_line

Pretty much everybody was out yesterday (by that I mean Fisherman), and pretty much nobody was out today.  Why should that matter to you?  Well, on the off chance you were eating lobster tonight, or more accurately probably Saturday night, they didn’t come from here.  Funny how that works when you think about it.

They are definitely tired.  They are finished with the 9-month season and ready to pack it in. I will miss the chatter on channel 13 on the VHF radio.  Here are some clips I wrote as they were  being said, mostly between 3am and 8am , as best I can spell them…

 

 

 

“You theah?”

“Ayup, what’s up my beautiful blushing bride?”

“Did you feed the dog? “

“Ayup”

“Then I won’t believe her when she says she hasn’t had breakfast”

 

“Yeah, funny, he walked right off the stern – thinkin’ he was right backed up to the float”

“Went home and took a hot showah, had breakfast again, and stahted ova’”

 

“Get yoah checkbook out”

“Cash is ahright too”

“I’m not too tight”

 

“Just liberate the crabs, ‘ain’t wouth sellin’ ‘em at this price”

 

“Kenny, you off shoah today?”

“Nope, you got ‘em all to yuself, scoop ‘em up”

 

 

“You there dad?”

“That you Bobby?”  (they really know voices on the radio)

“Ayup”

“Happy birthday fella’”

“You’re seven now – mom lettin’ you drive to school today?”

“Nope, but I’m drinkin coffee”

“Well you should be”

 

I will miss this talk over the winta’, and the “string of pearls” (an airline expression that when you look out over LaGuardia or JFK airport, or any airport for that matter, and see a string of flights coming in – same thing – you can see a string of lights, lobster boats, out before sunrise, like a string of pearls…)

 

I did some laundry, and thought I had time to hang it out because I don’t have a dryer here.  Woke up this morning to frozen pants and sweaters hanging on the line.  Not workin’ out so good.

 

Got two tons of pellets donated from our newest corporate partner, Maine Woods Pellets!!!  We approached them because we found out they made the best product and if you don’t think there’s a big difference in pellet quality you’re wrong.  Deb has had a pellet stove for six years and there’s a big difference.  We thank them for their support, and Scot and Robert in particular.

 

We also just added a great small company  -  32North.com which makes slip-overs and shoes for walking on ice.  STABIL-icers.  They gave us a discount on my overalls and are sending us some slip-overs free.  Thanks guys, and Dee Dee.  These will be incredibly valuable as even this morning, and tonight, the catwalk was like walking on an ice rink, except it’s on a 30 degree slope, up then down.  I will write more about both of these great companies later but if you have a pellet stove, or have to walk on ice, check them out.

www.32north.com

www.mainewoodspelletco.com

 

Oh, and as Deb pointed out, my reference to the “tattered old flag” is incorrect.  As Johnny stated, it was a “ragged old flag”.  Thanks girl.  And I almost forgot to mention, I’m not much of a “sweets” person, or cereal, but if it is, it’s always Lucky’s, The Capn, or The Shreds.  I splurged and went with Lucky.

 

We are still in a “mission critical” mode, as we need to figure out what we’re doing with the floats and the dock finger, get a generator, an engine for the skiff and winch , provisions for a month or two, and cash, and a bunch of other things.  As usual, please share this with everyone you think would have an interest.

 

“Good Enuf”

 

Day 38  -  Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“Getting More Traction Every Day”

 

 

The sky was crystal blue as was the water for the first half of the day, then both turned a steely grey.  It’s now raining, pretty hard and should for most of tomorrow.  Most of the fleet went out today and it’s clear they’re tired.  The chatter on the radio was “yeah, lets just leave the traps in the water and come back next year.”.  Wow is that crazy hard work.  I am trying to raise more money and get some funding for wood pellets, generator, fridge , skiff engine, and provisions.  We’ll see what comes in tomorrow.   More then.  Please share this.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 37  -  Tuesday, November 15, 2011

“Swingin’ With Norb Part 2″

I wasn’t supposed to work with him today but he went out “haulin’” early in the morning and decided the weather was just too rough.  You have no idea what these guys go through to put lobsters on your table.  He came back in and called me to work, which I happily obliged.  Worked most of the day, then headed into EBS Building Supply to pick up a few things, and saw Brent there, which is always good.  (Below is a snap of the ’51 firetruck converted to a dumptruck, which is gorgeous btw)

 

 

 

 

 

Made some shelves out of the trunks Terry and I cut down (fir and yellow birch), along with some timber  that had washed up on the Boathouse shore, and island rocks for bookends.

It remains unseasonably warm, for which I’m grateful.  I continue to focus on raising funds and “friends”.  Please forward this to anyone you think would like it.  Thanks.

 

 

 

Day 36  -  November 14, 2011

 “Swingin’ With Norb”

OK, so I’ve gotten behind in my posts.  My apologies.  It’s been crazy busy.  So much to do to prepare for the winter and continue raising funding for the Endeavor project.  I spent most of today working for Norb on the mainland, building the garage.  Here’s some snaps…

Also, a big thank you to all Veterans for serving.  I didn’t have to.  I am grateful to all who have.  I put a new flag up today, and will move the “tattered old flag” (thank you Johnny Cash), to the Boathouse.

 

 

Day 35  –  Sunday,  November 13, 2011

“It’s Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas”

 

 

With the whine of a 40 year old McCulloch Mac 10-10 chainsaw, (Terry’s “first significant purchase” in his early twenties), we set about cutting and clearing the stand of seven trees that were hanging over the catwalk from the storm last week.  The culprit was a 30 year-old fir tree that laid into several other firs, a white birch, and a prized yellow birch as it started down.  The group had slipped about ten feet over the course of the week but still was propped by a few trees on the other side.  As Terry began taking them down, and I proceeded to stack and pile them, the smell of pine began to fill the air.  I could only think of Christmas, and that a Christmas had not been celebrated on this island for forty years.

 

I grouped the piles by tree type, putting the logs in their own stacks, set aside the limbs with lichen on them for later craft projects and as per Terry’s instructions, laid the fir limbs in a separate pile for “banking”.  Banking is piling 15” stems of green fir limbs in a two-foot high pile that will collect the snow and provide a thermal barrier.  Terry suggested I do this around the well opening and over to the house to keep the well a little warmer than it otherwise would be.  I will load them into the tractor trailer, bring them up and arrange them accordingly.  “Banking”.  Another new thing learned.

 

It remained unseasonably warm although the sea was large.  And there hasn’t been any fog or sea smoke in weeks, maybe a month.  I wonder if that’s always the way it is seasonally as it seems that June and July has them more days than not.

Terry did an amazing job and made quick work of it.  We also discussed the possibility of only taking out the two floats and leaving in the finger dock, which would help me a great deal.  My tidal window would still be only a couple of hours but weather permitting, it would at least allow me to tie up to something before shutting the boat’s engine down or starting her up.  This would make a huge difference in safety and access, which will be key both for provisioning and getting guests on and off the island.

 

The pellet stove from EBS Building Supply is running better and better although I’m only running her on the two lowest settings, and basically for practice.  The ambiance is nice too and I think my favorite part is the reflection of the fire on the beautifully restored pine wood floors.

I continued to bring bags of pellets up from the boathouse and did the usual chores around the house, and worked on the Endeavor.  We are making some progress with funding and donations but still have so much more to do before the real winter weather sets in.  We have been extremely lucky.  I’m working for Norb tomorrow in the village and will share more then.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 34  -  Saturday November 12th, 2011

“Swingin’ Hammers”

 

It’s definitely windy, and a bit chilly too.  I have re-started the stove after waking at 3am to check it and saw that the firebox was filled so I turned it off.  It will take a while to get to know “her”.  Each pellet stove is different, as is its installation, and pellets are too.  Breakfast, stretching, then a boat ride in to the harbor to work at Norb’s, where we are building a garage for a car or two and his newly restored ’51 Ford firetruck turned into a dumptruck.  He can magically turn almost anything into anything else it would seem.  That’s his dog Casey in the pic, who is one of the largest dogs I’ve ever seen, and now likes me. :)

I appreciate the work, even though right now it is critical to The Endeavor that I focus on fundraising and logistics.  But Norb is a special guy and he too is constrained by the upcoming weather to get this done so I feel a need to help.  Frankly, he has helped me and this project a lot and I will be needing his help over the winter for sure.  It was hard work, a lot of swingin’ hammers and carrying newly milled lumber, some 2x6x18s.  While I was elsewhere they mounted a main beam of just cut hickory I think, that weighed over 500 lbs.  Crazy that they can do this sort of thing and I’m fascinated that they know how.

I worked until the tide said I couldn’t (3pm) and they took the Hardy Boys boat back to the island.  Worked there on  house prep and then on Endeavor work.  Terry is coming over tomorrow so we can clean up/cut down the trees hanging over the catwalk.  I will be happy when I get a few days to focus exclusively on The Endeavor.

These are a couple of shots at dusk, looking east out over the front yard.  The clouds just looked interesting to me.  Amazing how it can all change in a single minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 33  -  November 11, 2011

“11.11.11”

I was awakened by an unexpected radio call from Tim and Kathy a little after 7am – I think.  I’m not sure any of the fleet went out today.   I don’t think so.  Certainly didn’t look like it after I had dressed in foul weather gear, put my breakfast on hold, headed across island, into the Hardy Boys boat, bailed her out a bit after last night’s storm, and headed into the harbor.  It was rainy, swelly and windy, and expected to be more of the same throughout today.  Last night was blowin’ like crazy and in fact I had to hold onto the porch railing simply when standing outside.  The sea continued to pound all day today as the rain chose to only appear intermittently.  I gave them the extra battery to the rented sawzall I had somehow forgot yesterday, at the wharf and headed back to the island.  40 lb. bags of pellets to the house on every trip is going to be the norm.  Monitored and worked on the newly installed pellet stove.  Ultimately I shut her down, re-siliconed some of the venting ductwork, cleaned the pot and re-fired.  That was around 2pm and now it’s almost 11pm and she seems to be running fine and much hotter, which is good.

Every so often I can see a passing freighter.

 

Continued work on outreach and funding and the focus at the moment is cash donations, two additional tons of pellets, a generator, a motor for the skiff it would appear, water and money for extended winter provisions.  Of course there’s lots of other stuff but those are the priorities.  The half fallen trees across the lower catwalk seem to have slipped further toward the ground and Terry and I will have to chainsaw them during the week.  That should be an interesting process.  Also I am having problems with my portable power supply which I have to see if it’s fixable or I have to get another one of those – $100.  Working on the mainland tomorrow for Norb, building the garage although I am constrained by a six hour tidal window.  Tomorrow that means I have 9a-3p  –  high tide is at noon.  (Please share this journal and if you haven’t already, please “friend” The Endeavor on facebook.  Thanks)

This wondrous scene of autumn leaves among the tall grasses in the front yard caught my eye as it reminded me of a string of butterflies…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 34  -  November 10,  2011

“Little River Light Burns A Little Brighter!”

The rain was on and off all day, as were the seas and wind, until about 4pm.  It was fairly dark by then, being the earliest land mass in the US, and since then it’s been pretty steady.  Not crazy, nor is the wind or seas, but definitely “afoot”.  This system has now arrived after flirting with me all day.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings, as I’m planning on not getting on or off the island for the next two days.  And that’s with the docks, floats and Hardy Boys boat.

 

However I do have heat!  As agreed, I met Brent Hartford, our primary partner in our now official partnership with EBS Building Supplies, (sort of like a Home Depot but with ten stores in Maine), at 7:30 am. at the village boat ramp.  We spent the next five+ hours installing the new pellet stove in the living room, which he had kindly offered to do for free!  Installation had a few hitches but was ultimately spectacular and running great.  Not only will this be the safest and most viably green solution for us, but it also adds a bit of ambiance to the house, and looks very period if you will.

We finished with a bit of extra tide time and as promised, I had steamed up some lobsters last night and then made the best version of my lobster salad yet — a hint of lime juice was the new addition and it was boy howdy good.  I then brought him back into the village – it had calmed some from the last outburst of weather, and headed in to meet Tim and Kathy at A2Z Convenience to return the sawzall.  Fortunately I brought a lot of my tools up here so that’s all we needed additionally.  Filled them in on the wonderful news.

Drove the fifteen minutes back to the village, stopping to spend a few minutes talking with Norb on the wharf who was unloading Nick’s lobsters and forklifting them onto the waiting truck.  I had no tide left so I had to go — I’ve only got about three hours either side of high.  Came back and put another bead of silicone on the stove stems and ran her again.  She’s been running ever since, not because of the temperature, but because I’m supposed to.  Wow is this just great.  Really a special addition.

Clean up of debris, tools, etc took a bit but necessary.  This is not unlike a boat – not so much from a space standpoint as it is from a protocol/danger/efficiency standpoint.  Everything has to have a place, and be in that place.  Discipline is key, and has nothing to do with freedom or spontaneity.  All can exist simultaneously.

Unfortunately the weather prevented me from watching (and shooting) the full moon rising over the water at dusk.  There will be more.  Also, I discovered that at least on some weather sites radar, I don’t even show up!  I’m apparently outside the band.  That’s funny right?

All for tonight and goodnight.  Oh and thanks.  And did I mention that we still are in Mission Critical fundraising time for the next couple of weeks?  Just sharing this is supporting this.  And ok, now it’s really, really blowin’…and rattlin’…all of which is really really good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 33  -  November 9,  2011

“Trucks and Tractors”

Another jam packed day and another clear and crisp one.  It remains unseasonably mild and benign.  Breakfast, shower and stretching (I’m a bit sore from hauling all those pellets but I’ll get used to it) – better than hauling coal in a wheel barrow across the island…On a dirt path.  Emails, outreach, some household chores and then off to meet Tim and Kathy at the village ramp to pick up a tool I need for tomorrow that they rented as well as some short provisions.  Quick turnaround and I pulled up alongside Nick (F/V Phantom) to talk about the docks, floats, fishin’ and thank him for the use of his front loader yesterday.  He told me it was a tractor.  “I have a tractor” I said, ” That’s a truck.”  “No” he said.  “You have a lawnmower with a trailer on the back.”  Funny right?

 

I’ve seen the two eagles out almost every day for a week now and it never gets tiring.  They live on the island and had an eaglet last year.  I’m not sure if this is the two parents or one and their offspring.  They sure are tough to get a picture of but I’ll get a clear one some day.  I watched one of them riding the thermals and drafts for at least five minutes and never once flapping a wing.  Just a slight dip left, a barely perceptible roll right and it occurred to me that this is perfect for the lesson plan development list – this example, in this context, is perfect for teaching the principles of physics, science, aerodynamics, meteorology, etc.  It’s this kind of platform and plan that we’re building out here.  Very exciting.  The snap above is an incoming airplane this afternoon.  It happens.  Not often but it happens.

 

I’m not sure if I mentioned but yesterday while driving the Hardy Boys boat loaded with pellets we noticed a suffering of structural integrity (aka leak) at one of the seams in the hull – in fact, water was coming in and I could actually see sunlight reflecting off the water outside right through her.  Tim had some great stuff you spray on and it turns to instant rubber.  It does the same if you get any on your hands and takes about a month to get off.  I put several coats inside and out, took her for a test run and she seemed (or seamed) to be solid.  We’ll still put an aluminum patch on her whenever one of the marine places in town gets them in stock.

Moved more pellets, checked the charge levels on all the tools and flashlights (something I try to do every two weeks), worked online, and steamed up some lobsters to then make lobster salad for our program partner Brent from EBS Building Supply, who will be on island so that the two of us can install the stove.

 

 

 

 

 

The moon is almost full and having risen as the sun was setting, it was unusually bright.  As it got darker she started to spill her silver across the ocean in front of me.

Day 32  -  November 8, 2011

“Little River Light Will Soon Burn A Little Brighter”

 

 (Note: It seems this post of yesterday was lost so I’m rewriting, albeit far more briefly.)

Wow a truly great day today as we crossed another critical threshold in our efforts to launch this endeavor – heat in the Keeper’s House!  We have secured the support of another partner who at 8am this morning delivered to the village ramp a 120 lb. capacity pellet stove, along with a f

ree ton of pellets!  A big thanks to EBS Building Supply and Brent Hartford (Branch Manager).  We’re looking forward to continuing our great relationship and appreciate their vision and support.  I also want to thank “Little River Lobster Company” for showing up with a forklift and a driver – and their lobster rocks!

We also had a phenomenal turnout of volunteers including Tim and Kathy, the indispensable Terry Rowden (and Nick’s front loader – F/V Phantom), Ken Britton, Richard Knight, Delia Farris, Jim Sherman, Ray MacKeen, and our new neighbor Kurt Potter.  Made for short work having all those hands as we took six trips – 3 in the Hardy Boys boat and 3 in the Mac, plus one more for the almost 300 lb. stove, which we got across the half mile (uphill and down) catwalk and into the living room.  We also loaded the ton of pellets into the boathouse (we need two more tons for the winter and we need them in the next week or so before we pull out the floats and dock), which I have begun to transfer across island to store in the cellar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to the post office for the first time to receive a package from my Mom and pick up my WSJ subscription transfer.  Kinda fun to get mail here and the woman manager there is just great.  Rearranged the living room to accommodate the stove and worked on The Endeavor (fundraising), and the enormous number of things I still have to do to logistically prep for the winter – not the least of which is how am I going to get on and off the island and in what?  Remember, we have 16+ feet tidal swings and no dock – just rock.  Other mission critical elements include replacing the storm-damaged fridge, a generator, 2 more tons of pellets, full provisioning, etc.  It has been a shockingly mild autumn but how long will it last?

Hope you enjoy the pics and please share this with everyone you think would be interested in supporting us.  Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 31  -  November 7, 2011

 

 

 

 “Welcome Home”

That’s what Tim and Kathy said to me as they left the dock in the Mac boat this morning, after helping me bring another carload of gear onto the island.  Kinda crazy to think of it that way.  But this is my home for the time being.  “Everyone’s” Lighthouse, but for now,  my home.  And on this island, we will build an education platform, and program, unlike anything that has ever been done before.

 

I arrived and Tim and Kathy’s last night around 8p after the 6+ hour drive from MA, which I always seem to tire of after the fourth hour.  The last five days have been jam-packed and pressure-filled.  But, as is always the case, time moves steadily and what you get done, you get done.  We left the house at 8 this morning with The Hardy Boys boat in tow after wrestling with a just-enough-flat tire on my car.  Picked up some Fix-A-Flat at A2Z Convenience, who always take special care of us (nice counter btw), and we headed to the town ramp.  Tide was high.

The harbor was glassy, The Hardy Boys engine (just tuned up to the tune of almost $500!) never sounded better.  The Mac boat started right away and I was beginning to get the feeling that things were “right”.  Anyway, Tim and Kathy (maybe I’ll start referring to them as “Timathy”) have been dedicating so much time to this.  I am grateful.  And a number of my friends are starting to do the same – (thanks Bob Raidt, Jamie, Victoria, Sean, Casey…).  The day was spent unpacking, organizing, reorganizing, and further moving in.  A bit surreal for sure.  Brought lots of new things for the Keeper’s House, the majority of which came from Deb, and a bunch of stuff that I just will need.  This ranges from a printer (which is necessary), to a crock pot (which should finally be useful after sitting dormant for about five years), to a porthole-framed mirror that I will have to restore but is quite stunning as it is (top snap).

I am meeting Timathy at the ramp at 7:30a, then expecting the pellet stove to be delivered from EBS at 8, and a half dozen volunteers to help getting it on island, and then across the island, along with one ton of pellets.  Installation has been volunteered by a lobsterman and EBS, so hopefully we can get it done by the end of the week.  This unusually mild Autumn will not last.  Lots to do this week, on the house, the grounds, the cellar insulation, the website, and fundraising outreach.  It really is pretty nuts to stop and think that I’m out here, and the challenges that will assuredly come.  Oh, and the snaps are Timathy on the ramp, the flowers (errant snapdragons that somehow survived the snow), the captainly mirror, other stuff I brought up, and the first box of Christmas ornaments to be brought onto the island in at least fifty years!  That is pretty special.

 

 

 

 

Day 30  -  November 6  2011

It’s Sunday and we’ve turned the clocks back.  That means that it will be getting dark pretty early on the island.  In fact, earliest on the entire east coast.  We had to postpone the pellet stove delivery due to gale force winds on Friday and Saturday.  This is going to be a frequent challenge as the weather will impact a great many trips on and off the island.  The delivery is now scheduled for Tuesday morning to coincide with high tide.  We will hopefully have a number of volunteers to help with both the stove and the first ton of pellets.  We still need to figure out how and when we’re going to get it installed.  I am headed up today with another carload of stuff – clothes, supplies, things for the house, etc.  I will stay at Tim and Kathy’s tonight and we’ll head out to the island tomorrow morning.  I’m very much looking forward to getting the rest of the logistics figured out so that I can soon turn the majority of my attention to fundraising and reaching out to schools and other organizations.  I have to say though, I’m a little anxious about the whole thing of being alone on the island for so long, and away from Deb and the kids.  Natural I’m sure.

Day 29  -  November 3  2011

Yesterday was crazy back in MA trying to get a million last minute things done, get some more gear, and take care of lots of errands.  Today will be the same.  Not getting to spend the kind of time I’d like with Deb and the kids unfortunately.  Won’t get everything on the list completed but hopefully the most important things.  Saw a short experiment Sean did with a tiny bit of footage he shot while on island and it was pretty amazing.  Looking forward to sharing something when I get his ok.  That snap up there is of one of the reservoirs I pass going to pick Deb up at school.  Just took it yesterday afternoon.  Yes, MA is quite beautiful.  Planning on an evening post tomorrow when I can report on pellet stove delivery and what we’re doing about the storm blown-out fridge.

Day 27  11.1.11

The first of November.  All ones.  I like that.  Must mean something good.  Snow stills covers the lawn in mottled patches and I actually had to shovel parts of the catwalk so that the tractor can go back and forth.  Nothing runs like a deere except when its snowy and icy.  Tim and Kathy had brought me a couple of shovels a few days back and just in the nick of time.  I can see that there were some advantages to just having a path there, like they used to before the catwalk was built.  It gets awfully slick.

In looking back on this first winter storm adventure I realize how close we came to losing the Mac boat.  I was bailing as fast as I could and the water was crazy cold and was getting in my gloves and boots.  But there was no choice.  This was a short window and getting shorter.  Clearly I was being watched over because it could’ve turned out badly, on a number of counts.

A lot of fishermen are out today although the chatter on the radio has subsided in the last hour or so.  It’s almost noon.  Plenty of them are not so happy today as they’re wondering if the season will come to a premature end.  Usually they’ll be finished for the season and all gear in by Christmas.  I’m meeting Tim and Kathy at the ramp at 12:30 and Shasta The Lighthouse Dog and I are driving back to MA for a few days of necessary errands and another carload of stuff for the island.  I will try to maintain posts while away.  Just a lot of things to do in a short period of time – the majority of them relate to The Endeavor and the extended preparations that go into an extended stay such as this.  I’m also looking forward to seeing Deb and the kids, who I really miss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 26  10.31.11

“When you’re dog tired, do you need more than a catnap?”  – Kathleen Finnegan

Yesterday was a challenging event, but a great one filled with lessons and wonder and beauty.  So the wind blew harder than any time I’ve been here, (but not as hard as it certainly will over the next few months).  It eventually changed to snow in the early afternoon and the island and forest was never more beautiful.  I had continued work on insulating the pipes in the cellar and then the power went out.  Making it down across the catwalk, which was now icy and slippery, I was headed to the Mac boat to take her into town to pick up the portable generator in my car.  Upon arriving at the dock I was stunned to find her taking on water and her starboard aft quarter completely under water.  She was taking on more as I stood there.  I quickly started bailing but it was coming in faster than I could bail.  I freed her from the dock lines and was able to spin her around so her stern was facing shore.  I started bailing again but with a falling tide she was quickly aground.  I called Norb on the radio to get his advice and he was very helpful.  The tide speed is truly amazing here and I’m beginning to understand just how  fast it is.  I secured her with several lines and finished bailing, and would have to wait six hours to move her.  In the meantime, I was running the new kerosene heater in the house, which I had unpacked and started just prior to the power going out.  I only had one container of kerosene and learned that that will only last about eight hours, on low.  Will have to stockpile so many things for the winter.  Got back to the house, the power came on for about an hour, then went off again.  The kerosene heater ran out and it started getting awfully cold.  Shasta had a blanket and I was wearing long underwear, pants, and snow pants, etc.  I didn’t open the fridges and tried to be as conservative as possible with everything else.  Called Cynthia (Terry’s wife) on the VHF as that was the only communication I had — everything else was dead, and asked her to call Tim and Kathy to call Deb and say I was OK.  Weathered the night, coldly, and made it through till morning.

The power came back on around 2am, as did the heat.  The main fridge however did not seem to make it.  The light comes on when you open the door but it’s not running.  Now another thing we need to raise money for and buy.  I also really will need a reach-in freezer.  Wow, so much stuff we need.  Heading down the catwalk to the boathouse I discovered a stand of seven trees, three of them birch, that came down in the storm due to the falling of a single large pine.  They are laying over the catwalk and will have to be chainsawed down.  Have been having some internet problems today so that is why the post is late.  Also decided to go to MA tomorrow instead of today for a whole bunch of other reasons.  House is reasonably warm.  Have food.   Shasta The Lighthouse Dog is great, and donations have started to come in, but boy howdy do we have a long way to go.  Also, a welcome to Jonesboro Elementary School 4th and 5th graders and their teacher MaryEllen Henderson Day, who are now following these posts and will soon come out to the island!  I look forward to it.  Axiom internet has remained great btw!  Thanks.  And thanks to everyone who is making this a reality, especially Tim, Kathy and Deb.  (Please see the gallery for additional snaps…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 24  10.29.11

I’ll start with a snap of Shasta, The Lighthouse Dog, who somewhere got, or was given by someone, (I suspect Andy), a pancake.  Mmmmm.  Breakfast of Champions.

OK, that’s just hysterical. In a flat way.  npi.  and worth blowin’ up.

She’s a very happy dog.  Who wouldn’t want to be The Lighthouse Dog?

Busy day again. Lots of prep for the coming storm.  Decided not to go back to MA today, as the storage space I am waiting on was not yet vacant, and I still had lots of work to do to continue insulating the pipes in the cellar, etc.  I used to call it a basement but now I call it a cellar.

I’m actually starting to call it “Suppa” too.  And not “Dinner”.

Life is funny.

Wow what an arduous job.  But coming along.  Also swept the leaves off the entire 900′  boardwalk, as they would get wet and freeze tonight and that would make the tractor virtually ineffective.  Tim and Kathy got me some supplies in town including gas ($$$) and some additional pipe insulation.  Met them at the ramp.  Can’t believe that they continue to do all in their power to make the Endeavor happen.  They are truly dedicated.  Thanks to Jeremy (Charlene Gail) for coming out when they had a flat tire on the trailer, taking out the Hal boat.  We cannot do this without the fishermen.  Not a chance.
The storm is coming.  Deb has 7 inches already.  The wind has picked up here big time (8:45p).  Still feels a  bit mild though.  I have the electric heaters running and can fire up the new kerosene heater if needed.  Thanks for the donations that have come in.  Could not do it without you either.  Hoping EBS will help with the pellet stove next week…

The new issue of Lighthouse Digest is out and starting to arrive at homes.  The initial response is most promising, although we have so much funding we need to raise.  We’ll get there I think.  If you don’t subscribe, you should.  It’s a great pub.  Go to www.lighthousedigest.com

So we are now expecting 2-3″ of snow here, and perhaps more importantly, 50-60 kts.  Hmmm.  I don’t think i’ve seen that yet. 45 yes.  Well, we’ll see what really happens.  T/K brought me two snow shovels too!!!  There haven’t been snow shovels out here in 50 years!  Very exciting!  I only hope I have an opportunity to use them tomorrow.  And I’m dying to take pics here in the snow!!!  I have battened down the hatches, everything is closed up tight and put away.  Keep you fingers crossed that it’s actually a storm.  And don’t worry…I can always retreat to the tower.  It’s been there for 164 years.

Oh, and thanks to Axiom, I’m listening to a little online radio – kickin’ some chicago blues tonight.  Loud.  OK, actually really loud.  (makes me think of my pal skip).  But there ain’t no one here but me and Shasta The Lighthouse Dog.

For …miles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 23  10.28.11

Well the plan had been to go back to MA today or tomorrow for three days.  Have to deal with a storage unit and some other stuff.  However it does not look like the weather is going to cooperate.

It’s been a couple of days since my last post and I will try to not have that happen again.  Just been crazy busy.

Monday the Coast Guard came for a routine check – they are just great, and it’s always great when they stop by.  They truly don’t have to really help us now but they do.  If I was younger I’d sign up.  What a great thing that would be, even though my Dad was in the Navy I think I’d sign up for the USCG.  Talk about an adventure!  And the last time we had to paint the tower a whole bunch of them showed up to help!  If you think that the USCG doesn’t still care about lighthouses, you’re wrong!  They do, and I’m not sure what we’d do without them.  Just great to know they’re always here.

Worked for Norb all day Wednesday, on the mainland, and it was some tough, hard labor.  A guy was coming in the afternoon to knock down one of his “sheds” so that we can continue building a 20×20 garage for his ’51 dumptruck, which as I mentioned before, is gorgeous.  Was in town Tuesday with Tim and Kathy getting a bunch of supplies to insulate the cellar, pipes, heaters, hot water heater blankets, etc.  We also met with the branch manager and further discussed a partnership/sponsorship with the EBS chain.  The artists/filmmakers from DC left yesterday after 8 days on the island.  I’m thrilled that they liked it as much as they did, and they’re convinced they have great material.  We’ll know in a few weeks.

Spent most of yesterday and today trying to get the cellar insulated and made great progress, but it’s an awful job.  Got most of the pipes done and got solid foam in the windows.  Tim and Kathy came in this morning to take the Hal boat out of the water and not a moment too soon.  I picked Kathy up in the Mac boat (the Hardy Boys boat engine is fixed albeit at $475, but not yet in the water).  Man, we need to raise more money…  As we got back to the island docks the Hal boat was taking water over the transom and it was raging in the harbor.  I was bailing and then we spinned the boat around so her bow was into the wind.  We set her up to tow in and Kathy, myself and Shasta brought her to the ramp where Tim was waiting with the trailer.  Wow, it was pretty hairy for a bit there.

Anyway, an early winter storm is coming and it would seem as if it makes more sense to stay till Monday.  We’re actually expecting snow, which of course I’ve not seen here.  Between not yet having the pellet stove (heat), and the portable heaters, and insulation not fully finished it would seem to make sense to stay.  I’ll make a final decision in the morning. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 18  10.23.11

The main road through Cutler, (there is only one), doesn’t so much wind as sway.  It swayed on down towards the harbor, logging all of maybe a mile in length, ending at the town circle where the 2 ton bell from Little River Lighthouse now sits in the center.  Some flew here for today, more drove, some took their boat, and a surprising number actually walked to the village church from their homes.  If you live here you can walk.  There were cars.  And trucks.  Trucks with the name of their lobster boat decaled on the back of the cab window.   “F/V Misty Dawn”.  Which means “Fishing Vessel” Misty Dawn.  And most were in the church by the time I arrived.  The Honor Guard stood outside for one of the last surviving soldiers of WWII.  The air was damp with sea and the sky was mottled gray.

I stood in the back of the church, not wanting to take a seat from someone who had a far greater right to it than I.  Heck, I had only spent a handful of months here over the last three years.  Yet I was welcomed at this intimate gathering of an exceptional town in America, that was celebrating the life of its Patriarch.

Family members and a few townsfolk read passages and poems, shared music and anecdotes, and it was indeed not just a window into this man, but a window into this village I believe to be so special that I am committed to The Endeavor so it can be shared.

Jasper C. Cates Jr. was 86 when he died.  His direct ancestor was one of the first four settlers of Cutler Maine in 1789.  It turns out he was responsible for so many wonderful things.  And while I have come to know a bit about him, I met him once even, I did not know that he almost left here, some sixty plus years ago for California due to a lobster blight, and didn’t.  But the two that impact me most directly are his saving of thousands of acres along the Bold Coast (my northeastern view from the island), and in fact, his campaign to save this very Lighthouse.

This morning I affixed to the rails of the gallery deck, then unfurled, the 30’ flag off the lighthouse tower.  I then walked across the lawn and lowered the poled flag to half-staff.  I walked to the front porch of the house andrang the bell affixed to the side three times.  In honor of Jasper C. Cates Jr., otherwise known as Cappie, and Junior.

Thank you Cappie.  And thank you his family.  A greater legacy I don’t think I’ve known.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 17 10.22.11

The film crew and I stayed up late.  Wow are they two very interesting guys.  Could talk to them for hours on end.  And I did.  Got up a few hours later to an amazing sunrise and a busy day.  Was picking up Tim and Kathy at boat ramp at 6:30 am.  They brought, and made breakfast and they sat down with Sean for some documentary interviewing.  It was a grand morning and the island is better when they’re here.  I went in and picked up Dave and Cheryl Corbett (Dave is a Keeper ancestor and on the Little River Light board and Cheryl is very active in volunteerism here).  They made the six hour drive from MA just for this – amazingly committed.  And Cheryl brought some homemade pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup and beef stew!  We all sat around, Sean recording, while the four of them shared thoughts, histories, stories, etc.  Tim and Kathy had to get back so I took them at 10:30 and at 3p (the earliest we could get out on the tide), I took Dave and Cheryl back.  Sean shot lots of stuff today and while it took up the majority of the day it’s very important.  Picked up some lobsters from Nick on the Phantom.  We all got some work done back at the house, the boys took naps and I did some work online.  Andy awoke and fetched two buckets of sea water and I steamed them up.  Once again, the best lobster I’ve ever had.  Another crazy busy day tomorrow.  I will go to bed very grateful for the confidence and conviction so many people have in The Endeavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 16  10.21.11

Stunningly clear blue sky and bright sunshine electrifying the ocean froths as it has now cleared, but the wind remains stiff and the seas have grown.  Unseasonably warm.  I headed into Cutler solo, in the Mac boat, to meet Tim and Kathy at the boat ramp at 9:30, awaiting the arrival of the students from one of the area colleges at 10.  10:30 and still no group and we’re flat out running out of tide.  I move to the wharf.  The group arrives and it’s decided to postpone until Sunday morning when they should arrive in the harbor, this time on a sailboat not in a van.  Tim and Kathy gave me a second foul weather gear top, lighter weight and better fit.  I went back to the island and Sean and Andy were off somewhere, doing something, creative.  Did some stuff around the house then headed down to the Boathouse to do some maintenance work.  There was Sean shooting and Andy doing what I was not sure.  He was balancing rocks on rocks, in a row stretching down to the water…low tide.  Sean was taking stills and had set up the video to record 150 frames over the next 2 1/2 hours, as the tide would come in and ultimately topple all but the three just out of her reach.  The three of us and Shasta of course, headed in to the harbor to again meet Tim and Kathy, pull the badly listing Mac boat out of the water, drain her of what turned out to be a shocking amount of water in her hull, and reset the plugs with a special glue.  Both eagles came out to circle a few times over our heads and then grab dinner.  After a gamble on a short “dry time”, we rode around the harbor shooting more stuff for the documentary, which will now probably turn into a couple of art pieces, and a documentary.  Sean and Andy made an excellent dinner.  We then took the telescope out, training it first on The Seven Ladies.  Amazing.  Oh yeah I saw a shooting star with a spectacularly long tail last night.  I’m picking up Tim and Kathy at 6:30 tomorrow morning (again a tide thing), so that they can spend some camera time talking with Sean.  And much to do regarding PR, marketing, website, filmmakers, edu, and of course…heat and access logistics.  Here are a few snaps from today of artists and “builders”, Andy and Sean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 15  10.20.11

So I got up at 7:15 and the storm was still pretty blowin’.  Went across the island to check on the boats, which were fine and protected due to the northeast wind, and called Norb (pronounced Nob) and told him I wasn’t comfortable coming in and hadn’t yet put the new battery in the Mac boat (three boats – Hardy Boys – my favorite, and the Mac Boat and the Hal Boat).  Nob was ok with that. Spent the next six hours working on the Endeavor and then a couple on household things.  Wind and rain slowed, then died although seas increased.  Sean was out filming and shooting most of the day despite the weather, (he’s done a lot of extreme-condition filmmaking around the globe).  Around 3p told Nob I could come in, left Shasta at the house, took Sean and Andy, and went in on the Mac.  All good.  Walked the 1/2 mile to Nob’s and they went into Machias for provisions, lobster, and stuff.  I worked for/with Nob for a few hours in one of his “shops” which is actually designed to hold full lobster boats.  Amazing.  We are building a 20×20′ garage for his newly restored (i think) ’49 fire engine pumper that he tore off the back and fully restored, then putting a dumper on the back, with hydraulics.  Crazy, but one of the most beautiful and cool vintage autos of any kind I’ve seen.  Sean and Andy didn’t get back till after 7:30 — pitch black although now lit up with stars and the milky way.  We loaded up the Mac, fired up the flashlights, and headed back to the island.  Spent the next hour, after feeding Shasta, holding various flashlights and floodlights around as Sean was focused on getting all sorts of crazy exterior night shots.  Can’t wait to see them.  Clam chowder and salad for dinner.  Bangor Daily News story today was great!!!  And yes, we’re still struggling to raise donation funds, and figure out how to solve the heating/pellet stove/generator issue, and the boat access without the docks.  We’ll get there.  Support and circumstance continue to improve but we’re running out of time.  Until tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 14  10.19.11

Slept with one eye open all night, waiting to hear from documentary filmmakers coming from DC.  They arrived at 7 am and I headed out to meet them.  Engine in the Hardy Boys boat broke down again and I rowed in from half the harbor.  Fortunately it was very calm although the tide was against me.  Brought them out, with Shasta, and we did a slow run around the island, to give them some perspective of where they were about to be.  And because I knew the weather was going to change.  They loved it but had to crash for a bit, having driven straight from DC.  I worked on the project, and a few things around the house to prepare for the storm, then took Sean along to meet Tim and Kathy to pick up a new battery for the Mac boat, which seems to have died.  I am engine-challenged at the moment.  Spent about an hour on Norb’s wharf with him and the fishermen, which was great.  And they are really supporting The Endeavor.  Had dinner with Sean and Andy and they are again crashed.  Got a few new donations today including a $500 one, which I’ll write more about later.  Holy cow!  Much needed and very grateful.  Also the press release that Tim wrote up and sent out has been picked up by the Bangor Daily News for tomorrow!  Wind has risen alot in the last 30 minutes and we are ultimately expecting seas of 11-12 feet.  We’ll see.  I hope so.  Would be great.  Here’s a snap of Sean today…

Day 13 10.18.11

OK, more now.  Wind has been picking up all day.  So have the seas.  Talked to a few friends, via skype, which is nice.  Met Tim and Kathy in town on boat ramp to pick up some provisions…mostly water and some soups and stuff.  Hardy Boys boat engine actually worked, but Mac boat battery is dead.  Have to deal with that.  8 trips from dock to tractor, and then take everything to other side of island, to Keeper’s Cottage.  It’s 30 minutes to high tide and the water is really rolling…also got my first “mail” here, from my Mom, which is special.  love her.  Got to do a few things around the house and then get back to work on the Endeavor project.  I have firmly decided that I am no longer the chicken at breakfast but am now the pig, for better or worse, and for the next few weeks to try to make this work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lets start with sunrise, which after a mere couple of weeks is rising at least 30 degrees to the south of where she rises June through Sept.  Pretty wild cause during that period she rises directly in my view from the bed.  I am now actually better understanding the changing of the earth’s axis during seasons and how that is further affected by how north one is also.  Here’s a snap.  More on the day later.

 

Day 12  10.17.11

First day home, and back on island.  Slept late.  Sean Blue is now not coming till Weds and we’re supposed to have some rough weather.  Now officially being called a Nor’easter.  Hmmm..  Continued organizing a ton of stuff and just finished mowing the lawn.  Hard but the best lawn I’ve ever mowed.  Gorgeous day today, although strong seas and wind.  Autumn is filled with crimson and wheat and daffodil yellow.  Oh, and had a crazy big bat on the boardwalk last night, which was incredibly cool.  Shasta is happiest when she’s here.  Maybe more later. 

Day 11 10.16.11

Spent the last week back in MA, readying for my return.  So much to do.  Working on website and sponsorships, and organizing stuff.  Headed back up yesterday and there was no doubt it’s Autumn, one of my favorite times.  The foliage was amazing and I got to Tim and Kathy’s around 4pm.  Brief stop to say hello to Shasta and then down to the boat ramp.  Unloaded a carload of gear and Terry picked me up in the Hal boat.  Water a little rough but we made it by night fall and I got everything into the cottage.  Organized a few things but was exhausted.  Pasta dinner and went to bed.

 

Day 10  10.7.11

I am readying to head back to MA for a few days.  Many things to do there including Dr. appts., home stuff, and getting winter clothes as it’s getting cold!  Did the housekeeping, unplugged the electric heaters, locked everything up.  Terry is going to pick Shasta and me up in the Hal boat and take us into Cutler.  I will drop Kathy’s car at their house and Cynthia will drive me into town to pick up my car, having been repaired.  Had a group of 5 “cackling” geese on the lawn for a few hours today.  Cackling Geese are similar to Canadian but have shorter necks.  Never seen them hear before.  And an all black bird that makes this crazy almost electronic phone sound.  I will have to find out what it is.  Left Machias around five and got home around midnight.  Long drive.

Day 9  10.6.11

Thursday and another crisp blue autumn day.  Continued to work on the website, which is coming along nicely.  Scheduled our first educational event today!  On Saturday Oct 22nd a group of students from Washington County Community College will be sailing in and will spend half a day on the island – learning about nautical navigation, lighthouse history and preservation, and hopefully being inspired to follow one’s dreams and do what you truly love.  Seanie will be here still then, so he’ll be able to shoot it and Dave Corbett and his wife Cheryl will be here too.  Dave’s father grew up on the island as the son of the last lighthouse service keeper here before the coast guard took over.  He has wonderful stories to share and will add a lot to the student’s experience.  This is the kind of opportunity I want us to be able to offer many educational groups and other organizations.

Day 8  10.5.11

OK, today it’s cold.  45 makes it cold I think.  Windy too.  But gorgeous.  Worked on website, blog and networking all day.  A lot of outreach.  Thanks to Matt Griffin and Rich Whitney for getting the site together.  Stayed on island.  A lot to figure out before I head to MA Friday for a few days.  Skype is a nice addition.  Had multiple conversations today.  The ocean now looks different.  It looks like winter.  It’s a different color or hue now.  Darker blue.  House is still warm enough with just the electric heaters, but won’t be for long.  Dinner was lobster bisque and cheese and crackers.

Day 7  10.4.11

Worked online in the morning.  On the Endeavor.  Waited for the tide.  Wind was blowing like crazy again today.  And raining.  But pretty warm – mid 50s.  Rode the Mac boat in around 3p and went to A2Z (convenience store).  Joanie was there, and Bobbie Jo.  Picked up a few things and came back.  Worked more.  Dinner was chicken breast with artichoke marinara sauce over tortellini.  All good.  Watched pilot episode of Terra Nova on hulu.  Pretty good.  Slept poorly.  Shasta slept great, as usual.

Day 6  10.3.11

Chatter on the radio was fairly incessant from about 3am on.  But I won’t turn it off.  So I sleep with one eye open.  Cleared up by mid-day.  Yogurt and craisins and blueberries for breakfast.  Shasta is still limping in the am.  Worked on sending the document and video package out first part of the day.  Shower and other stuff.  Sorted out the recyclables and bagged them and brought them to the boat.  Left Shasta again and fired up the Hardy Boys boat.  Seemed fine, even in reverse but when I put her in forward she died.  Only about 40’ from the dock but tide was incoming and I was being drawn away.  Was certainly not going to call for assistance two days in a row.  Rowed like crazy for 30 minutes to get back to dock and took the other boat, the Mac boat into town.  Had to go to post office and redemption center, where I was promptly redeemed.  Back into Cutler and went to Jeremy and Charlene’s house – talked about project and other things I need to do to be safer on that boat and harbor passage.  I need a proper anchor and line, along with a flare gun.  I have a radio, strobe, oars, life jackets, knife, etc.  He’s going to help me with that.  Was heading back in and rode by to say hello to Nick, Captain of the Phantom, who was with crew on one of the floats weighing today’s catch.  Said hello and he asked me if I’d like a couple of “bugs for supper”.  I said yes and he tossed them onto the deck of the Mac Boat.  Off I went, stopping to make a visual check of the quality of kale growing on the abandoned salmon pens, as I’m hoping to make a business venture out of their harvesting.  Quality looked great – I’m no expert, and then the light got all glinty and I stopped to shoot some shots of a buoy which I think I might have gotten one good one.  Which is great.  Walked back to the cottage, fed Shasta, carefully made my way down the rocks in the front yard to fill a bucket with seawater to steam the bugs – lobsters.  Did some emails and work and I will soon eat, then do some more project work.  Listening to CBC radio, which is much more globally focused than US radio.  Hmmmm.  A whole nother subject.  Dinner – lobster, olives, broccoli, and some home baked bread from a friend.  Oh, and “weatha” is coming for Weds and Thurs.  …

Day 5  10.2.11

It’s Sunday so nobody’s going fishing.  It’s also blowing like crazy, probably a good 20-25k out of the northeast and raining a bit.  Blowing so hard it knocked the double Adirondack chair that sits out on the lawn clean over and that’s pretty hard to move with two people.  Decided to head into town to meet with Adam to learn more about wrinkling – that’s harvesting periwinkles at $1 a pound.  Left Shasta behind, which turned out to be smart.  Assessed the harbor conditions and figured I could manage it.  Got halfway across in the Hardy Boys boat, a 14’ Lund with a 15 hp Yamaha and the engine died.  Couldn’t get her re-started and I started being blown pretty quickly to the southwest side of the harbor, which is the unpopulated side.  I tried rowing but the wind was too strong.  It became apparent that I was headed for a band of rocks and no matter how hard I rowed, that was my impending destination.  I never walk out of the cottage without the handheld VHF and so I radioed for help.  Not a lot of folks have their radio on on Sunday but on the second try John from Rebby’s Mistress responded.  He and his son Jordan were on their way, coming from about 3 miles away.  Rowing with all I had I was trying to get past the trajectory that would throw me against the rocks, repeatedly, and probably swamp the boat.  That would land me in the water, in which I would maybe have 5-10 minutes of strength assuming I survived being slammed against the rocks.  Now it was just a matter of time.  I radioed again and John’s wife repeated they were on their way.  As I was about 50 yards short when I spotted a small skiff headed in my direction.  By the time they reached me I was about 25 yards from the protruding rocks and maybe another five minutes short of impact.  Wow, a good dry run so to speak.  In fact, if the wind had been coming from the west I would’ve been blown out of the harbor into the ocean and quickly out of radio range.  I’m very cautious and conservative but I did make a couple of mistakes I won’t make again.  Always take the windward side of the harbor so that should I have engine failure I have more time.  Secondly, if the wind is blowing out to sea, don’t make the trip!  Thirdly, I need to get an anchor with about 100’ of line on it so that I might be able to secure myself from going anywhere.  I do have an airhorn, whistle, first aid kit and knife onboard, and always have a life jacket on before I even step off the dock.  But I learned some great lessons today.  They towed me back to the island and it just goes to show how this community of fisherman support each other.  The whole thing could’ve turned out very differently without their swift response.  Spent the rest of the evening putting a few final edits on the Endeavor document and finally fixed the closing slides on the Endeavor video piece.  Dinner and bed.

Day 4  10.1.11

Raining and grey all day.  I love that.  Not foggy though.  Shasta’s front leg seems a little better.  Had Blueberry coffee and scrambled eggs, rye toast for breakfast.  Worked on TLE document most of the day.  Finally finished it to where it’s “good enuf” although I am pretty happy with it.  Made some changes to the animoto video but it wouldn’t take the text slides I made up for the end.  I tried it four times.  Hmmmm.  Can’t figure this out and don’t want to have to wait till Monday for assistance.  Continued working, had leftover pasta dinner.  Watched the first two episodes of The Playboy Club on hulu, which I loved.  I have such a fondness for the mid-century period.  Wind has been picking up.  Still not cold though.  Got to figure out how to raise some money fast.

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