It amazes me how a small town pulls together. If someone becomes sick, there are various fundraisers to help the family, a meal chain is created and a village rallies.
We have no real emergency except we won’t be able to drive our own cars anywhere due to the bridge’s washout. Yesterday a neighbor’s friend built a temporary walkway so we can at least somewhat safely cross the gap.
One of our neighbors’ cars is already on the other side of the bridge at the repair shop. It has been offered up as a vehicle for us all to use. Another friend offered the use of their car. Our UPS driver called the house and asked if I wanted my packages left at work!
A neighbor across the road from the bridge said we could keep a car there. Construction engineers were here scratching their heads figuring out the best way to tackle this new development in the midst of replacing the bridge anyway. Obviously we would like five minutes to scoot one of our cars to the other side.
I’ll be able to at least walk to work but will probably cancel other plans. Tim will catch a ride to his concert today.
And why haven’t the bluebirds left yet?
Maybe they want to get their fill of these beautiful berries.
Travel means more time to knit. My last trip enabled me to finish a mitten and knit two hats for friends’ birthdays. It was fun to design one hat on the fly. The mittens have a clever cuff, you turn the knitting inside out after half the cuff is knit. A little mind blowing. (It doesn’t take much these days). Although these projects will only pass through my hands, many things I have knit on the road become my souvenirs and remind me of a time and place.
This little froggie is lucky I didn’t have to take the car out the other morning. He was hanging out on the garage apron. He looks a little stern anyway.
Our travels took us back to Montreal last week to see a fabulous concert by the Montreal Symphony. It was a matinee and we spent the afternoon walking around Mount Royal. The population is almost four times the number in Quebec City you feel it. No bonjours, hellos or even head nods. Every one is on their own mission in their own thoughts. Been there, done that.
Small town living is the life for me.
Monarchs are getting ready for their big trip south. Their numbers have fallen by around 75% over the past 20 years, largely due to reduction in milkweed. Our food chain depends on the birds, bees, butterflies. This is serious. The larvae need the milkweed. The adults enjoy nectar, or so it seems to me. Fort Ticonderoga and Saranac Lake shops provided plenty of nectar for the butterflies.
We’ve had frost at night. Time to hit the road butterflies.
All sorts of wonders. We’ve been sampling swimming spots throughout the Adirondacks and have not been disappointed. More often than not, we are the only ones there. We hiked in 5 miles to camp on a lake – I had a thirty pound pack – and were surprised to learn we didn’t need our camp chairs. The lean-to was furnished!
Mushrooms were in full “bloom”?
And a spider made a ballooning, billowing web that caught the sun on our hike out.
We visited old friends who had a monarch butterfly cocoon in their front yard. There were amazing dots of gold on it. Susan photographed the sequence and a beautiful monarch butterfly emerged.
Then we were off and running. Kids and grandkids came for a music festival, we spent several days at an Adirondack great camp, had less than a 24 hour turnaround at home and headed off to Seguin Island, where we will be for a couple of weeks. Always a homecoming, seeing old friends and returning to the lighthouse.
Except for a small leak under the sink and a stuck anemometer, all is well. Tim turned on the fog horn as dense fog dripped by. My clothes are damp but the lawn is lush.
We saw a baby seal swim from the rocks into the cove this morning. Although I swam in at least 5 different ponds this summer, I won’t Be swimming among the seals here. I think the sharks might be close behind. As much as I consider myself an “island girl”, I’m really a lake monster. No jellyfish, no sharks, only the occasional leech or snake.
Human and others. Fall migration has begun. Seguin Island is loaded with Northern Flickers. They are kind of bashful and elude my camera. Here is one sitting on the sunset bench.
Monarch butterflies are starting to flutter through. I spotted a mink and my siting was confirmed by 3 young men in the know. Apparently it caught its own ferry here, log, big wave? Some other critter nibbled on my bag of flax meal. The island has been without mice or rodents but at night, once the light is out, the kitchen fills with crickets. I had to go back in and turn on the light last night and had to dodge at least 15 crickets on the floor. Tim insists they ate my flax. Hmmm.
Fair weather has also brought visitors and it is a delight to share this magical place with others. It brings joy to all who see it, especially us.
The bathtubs are shining by Seguin standards but you might dispute it if I posted a photo so just imagine pristine tubs. Being the good lighthouse keeper’s wife, I also deep, deep cleaned the refrigerator. On Tasmania, I took unusual pleasure in using the old floor waxer to polish up the linoleum.
Sunrise and sunset keeps happening. The sun is setting 18 minutes earlier than when we arrived 2 weeks ago. I can’t speak to the sunrise but I have caught it on at least a couple of occasions. Yesterday was one.
Looks like I have to deep clean some outside cobwebs.
This morning it rose behind the clouds.
Here are a few indirect sunset scenes.
This morning I am literally waiting for the grass to dry so I can hop aboard the Gravely mower and shear the lawn.
We’ve had a chance to walk all of Seguin’s trails, which are in beautiful shape. I spend a lot of time looking at the ground and came upon this handsome devil.
Beyond its striking size and color, check out its mouth at the top of it. It looked like a plastic disc but its about a cm wide and definitely part of the caterpillar. I am pretty sure its a luna moth caterpillar. Sadly I won’t be here long enough to see its adult form.
I think these little things we get the time to notice are the best things about our time on islands. I’m also on the search for a four leaf clover, which Tim says he has never seen. I remember many hours spent sitting in fields looking for them when I was a kid with some success. We’ll see how it goes.
Sunsets never disappoint. Seas remain rough, visitors are few and we have settled in.
The lighthouse and quarters look spiff no matter how you look at it.
We slept little and rose early to a gale warning. Nothing materialized near us so we did our final clean up, shut off and lock down. I had to take the truck back to the maintenance shop to drop something off and flushed several eagles from the brush. They flew overhead to wish me godspeed.
It has been two months since we had any rain. One of the mule deer came down to the marina to lap up some salt water.
The seagulls will be happy to have their island to themselves and they can dirty everything to their heart’s content.
We packed and shipped our bikes and Tim’s keyboard (his source of sanity on the island), Tim swam, then we hopped a bus and ferry to Seattle. Tim indulged me and we were tourists for the afternoon.
But he managed to get a front row seat on the monorail ride downtown on our way to the airport. We’re on our way home.
They always were, the number is just getting smaller. We leave Aug 24, which is just around the corner. Before then we have to figure out how to get our bikes, and Tim’s keyboard to the shipping pick up point. We are sending them home via bike flight, which worked great getting them here.
Until then, I am bonding with the birds, deer, seals and apparently at least one elephant seal that has made its way to the island. Tim went ashore this week for the usual biathalon trip – motor boat, bike 5 miles, swim 1 mile, bike 5 miles (at least 2 downhill) and motor boat back to the island. Instead I stayed and took my usual hour and a half walk. It’s so easy to get exercise when there are no other demands for your time. Must continue this at home.
I usually spend the morning weaving and reading. Then one of us has to clean the dock, do a couple of chores, and then I walk and walk. I highly recommend it. I have been reading books by a few wonderful nature writers, they get it. Solitude and nature is therapeutic. Stopping to watch eagles soar overhead, watching how a sunrise changes in the smoky atmosphere, even watching baby seagulls spread their wings. It’s all good.
I will try to stay off the go, go, go train when I get home. Make time for things I enjoy and don’t waste time on the internet.
These are some of things I saw the past couple of days.
Another smoky sunrise. A front is moving through today and the smoke should clear. Odd that it affected the atmosphere but it did not smell smoky.
It was inevitable. Here we are, living smack dab in the middle of a seagull colony, invading their space for a few months. Tempers are high as parents try to ensure their offspring survive. And the odds are none too good. Numbers are already down around the cabin. Three have already died around the cabin. Yesterday we saw a battle outside the kitchen window when an interloper got too close to the nest.
And just look at how cute the chicks are.
Those two shots were taken with my iphone through a telescope, no easy feat.
But I digress.
Here it is … don’t go any further if you are eating.
Tim was shat upon as he cleaned the solar panels outside the cabin. YUCK!!! It has encouraged me to wear my goofy USFWS volunteer hat again. It was bound to happen. Better than being dive bombed I guess!
I heard a call from across the country from the leader of my tablet weaving group for bands to display at a show in Vermont. She sounded desperate. Any bands would do. It encouraged me to finish a couple that were literally hanging around and I’ll send them today when we head off island en route to Victoria.
We took a boat ride around the island to make sure boats weren’t getting to close to the nursing seals that are strewn along all the beaches. They blend in so well it is hard to see but here is a shot from the road.
And one from the boat. The whole gang was involved. Mother, baby, seagulls and chicks. We saw the Harlequin ducks swim over on our return to the marina.
We went to inspect a crab bouy to make sure it wasn’t too close to the island and had to do a double take. It is topped with a cheery flower. Ah Washington! Sort of sums it up right there.
That’s all from our cheery outpost on Protection Island on another gorgeous sunny day. I think we have now had about 45 consecutive days of sunshine. Who knew?
Parents always keep a watchful eye on their offspring. Even when the young appear to be independent and off on their own, there is a noisy set of eyes about. It is still not enough though. We have seen broken eggs and dead chicks right around the cabin. It’s a bird eat bird world here on Protection Island.
The smallest try to stretch their wings.
Seal pups stick close to their mothers. We’ll be out on the boat today and may get better photos but here’s one from the dock.
The mule deer and the eagles, especially, keep a sharp lookout.
Here’s the ruckuss an eagle stirs up when it flies into the seagull colony.
Tim tried to reduce the noise around the house by making one lookout less popular. Notice he’s in full protective gear.
Then three small planes flew around in formation making their own buzzing and stalling noise.
As Roseanne Anna Danna used to say, “It’s always something”.
My latest diversion is telling Siri, “I see a little silhouette of a man”. If you were a fan of Queen, tell her and see what she has to say about it.
All the residents are talking about it. Whenever I leave the cabin, the news goes out to the seagull colony around the house. Guards sound the alarm. Seagulls hop off their nests to come out and squawk at me.
There are eagle sentries all over the island. When I walk, word goes out with their screech. They perch along the bluffs, usually at least 4 near the marina, on the water tower, some fly off to tell the others.
The deer are quiet about it but they know.
The barn swallows announce every time I open the front door. Their nest is packed to the rafters, literally. Time may be near for the little ones to leave.
Actually, this is just like when I lived in downtown Brooklyn in the 1980’s. It was a very safe neighborhood, because it was controlled by the mafia. Safe if you weren’t part of the mafia because, of course, there was the occasional shooting in the local coffee shop. But it was never random. There were sentries posted on every corner, watching out, all day, all night. And this was before everyone had mobile phones. Word got out.
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” – Australian Aboriginal saying