Island hopping

We had a chance this fall to return to two lighthouses we tended in the past. First we headed off to Bakers a Island in Salem, MA.  We knew it when.  Now the grounds are cleared, the lighthouse is freshly painted,  both keepers’ houses have been renovated and the public can once again visit the island thanks to Essex National Heritage Trust, the National Park Service and volunteer caretakers.

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Next we headed north to Seguin Island, Maine.  We arrived as the summer caretakers departed and the foghorn was mistakenly blowing.  We settled in and hiked the trails with good friends. After dinner, as we got ready to play a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit,  we lost all power to the island.  The light went out! And the backup lights didn’t come on.

After checking out the boathouse at the bottom of the hill, the whistle house at the top of the hill and all their circuit breakers,  we made calls to find out which power company supplied the island and contacted them. In minutes, coincidentally (?), the power returned.  You can imagine the phone call.  We don’t know our zip code, account number or name.   They were impressed we were calling from a lighthouse though.

But the light never came back on.  So we contacted the Coast Guard, who maintains the light, left a message and went to bed.  This morning, while volunteers arrived in pea soup fog to tackle several projects, the Coast Guard walked us through some troubleshooting to no avail. They stopped by  for a visit today and got things working again. Now we can rest easy and enjoy the sunset.








It was harder for me to settle back into my “old” life than it was to leave it for several months (except for being apart from loved ones). Schedules demand our time, utilities can’t get it right – we still don’t have functioning internet. It was better when we were 60 miles offshore and expected less.

But here we are. I got socked with some viral syndrome for ten days upon our return. So much for being cooped up on three planes, with hundreds of other passengers, for more than 28 hours. At least my 21 day incubation period has passed without anything serious.

And now – I’m back!

My peonies waited to bloom until I got home and the garden needed lots of trimming. It was strange to see how well the lilacs bloomed by the number of withered blossoms.


I finally found most of my fiber stash, which was hastily, but neatly, put away before we left. I was eager to make a holder for the Majacraft wool combs I had acquired in a yard sale but was reluctant to use freehand. These babies aren’t for the feint hearted and I’m certain my tetanus vaccine is up to date.

Yesterday was the day. I remembered seeing a clever holder for Valkyrie combs at my dear friend’s studio in Lachlan but couldn’t picture the design, other than remembering it was elegant.

A brief google search resulted in some photos and here’s my version from materials on hand. It needs a little tweaking but works just fine and combed alpaca is luscious and spins like buttah.

Three pins secure the comb on a board which can be clamped to a table. I embellished by including a holder for the diz and crochet hook used to pull the fiber into a long thin fluff of fiber.

It soothed me to comb and spin some of a beautiful alpaca fleece. Once I have enough, I’ll venture into dyeing with Greener Shades dye

Tim’s having his own fun. He really enjoys playing piano and brought a full size keyboard to Deal Island. When we got home, he learned a friend was selling his beautiful Steinway grand piano. Now it’s Tim’s. I got to watch its move via the cellar stairs into the basement. It fit, and now sounds and looks – grand!



We spent five more days on the beautiful island, Tasmania. Gale winds if 60 mph found us here too. We stayed in Launceston and swam daily in the beautiful 50 m city pool.

We caught up with friends, had other people cook for us and generally reacclimatized to civilization. And what do we return to? A prison break, 50 miles from home, that made the Tasmanian paper! Hmm. At least it will be summer. It is with mixed emotions I bid farewell to Tasmania.

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