Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Flurry of Wild Life

A unusual day here at the Light. We have been battling the temperature and the water woes (on and off) this week and this morning and early afternoon saw the most unexpected thing of this bizarre winter season.

The temporary line had broken on Wednesday morning.  I had been able to take a good, hot shower. Haley was able to brush her teeth.  Julie arrived to find the taps dry. With the temperature around minus 6 with the wind chill, and the source in the shade at our neighbor's house, I was sure this was another frozen line episode. 28 out of 33 days we had either a complete or a partial interruption of service. It has been that kind of cold. We were getting kind of good at the kind of camping where you can sleep in your own bed.

Yesterday, with more melting, and a crowd around for the delivery of a new donation, (more about that at a later date), it was revealed that the line was possibly frozen but also broken at one of the connectors.  I patched it up as the snow began later yesterday. Some electrical tape, some luck, and we had water back flowing. It is a good feeling when you can flush at will.

This morning, out of luck. The repair had not held.  I attempted to recreate what I had done the day before without success.  It was time to hit the hardware store for ideas and a new kit.

Returning from the hardware store and assessing where to start, I was stopped by a visitor who asked me if I had seen any deer around the house.   From time to time you see one in the marsh I replied. He told me one had just torn down the beach, then he showed me the tracks.  I decided the hose repair would have to wait a little bit and headed for the house to grab a camera. From there the destination was the Tower.

This is the first glimpse of my own little trip to Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

I got a few pictures from the Tower and decided I needed to get a little closer to the action.  Taking myself to the Revetment, I got these shots. 

We had ourselves a short staring contest. I won. About this time, my good old brother in law arrived as we had a plan to work on a project together today. He joined me and we watched unbelieving as this deer made its way onto the Big Jetty.  There was a scary moment as the animal seemed to disappear into the ocean on the left of the rocks. Amazingly, the deer scrambled back up and made its way to the elbow.

You can just make out his head in the middle of the frame.

At this point I had a telephoto lens on the camera. I had taken some video with my phone that I will try to edit and add in tomorrow. The twist that was coming was a total bolt out of the blue and it had four of us reeling. ( A couple walking had joined John and I.)

The deer dove into the water. And swam to First Cliff.

There was a brief pause with about 25 yards to go where we all hesitated. The deer seemed to stop, to tread water, then he started again for the jetty.  He rested for a little more than a minute, bounced up, headed up toward the street, then sat and rested again. It was phenomenal. None of us could believe what we had just seen. The whole episode lasted roughly forty minutes.

 And what about the water you ask.  In no time at all, with Johnny serving as the much needed extra set of hands, we had the two pieces knit together and water running in the house.  I did a dance not unlike this one.  Substitute water for fire and you have it.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dry State

Despite excellent efforts from all concerned water remains unavailable at the taps in the Keeper's Cottage here at Scituate Light.  We have become expert on the bucket generated flush.

Wednesday an attempt was made to steam the ice from the frozen water line.  The steam reached 21 feet out into the yard, (near the rose bushes on the ocean side) where it got hung up on a water department shut off. 

Thursday saw the Water department run a temporary line from a neighbor's house.  We were more than grateful to get some dishes done and a hot shower. After roughly 90 minutes that line froze too.

We had filled up every available bucket prior to the freeze and got through Friday with a run to refill the buckets at the Little Red Schoolhouse. Today saw another refill at the GAR Hall. 

One picture to wrap up this tale of woe. This is the piece of ice in the hose that connected to the Cottage from the neighbors.  Temperatures are expected to remain quite low well into the coming week. We will refill our buckets and visit my sister's for showers.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Water Mystery

Today began with Julie being able to wash the dishes and make her morning pot of coffee.  Since about ten o'clock though the water has been at a trickle.  We have made due and I have made trips under the house to take a look.  It seems to be improving a bit at a time. When I shut everything else off I can get a meager, but hot, shower going.  The toughest part was the fight through the drift that buried the bulkhead.

We have been here six full years today.  What an education it has been.


The wind is  the enemy today.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Adding Up

Storms have been in line for several weeks now with no end in sight.  We had one significant tidal event as well.  Snow is up to the sky and as I write there is a dune out in the parking lot I would have to dig through to get a car off the Point.

The big tide was January 26 into the morning of the 27th.  The tide was measured at 14.46 ft. We had never seen a higher one here in our six years. Some rocks were rolled into the yard from just beyond the fence but otherwise there was no damage to be found.  Once again thanks have to go out to RDA and their team who built the wall. It did all it was asked to do and then some.

One unexpected complication was that power was shut off by the Town in anticipation of not being able to service Cedar Point due to the tide. We were asked to evacuate and only ran the generator between tides as a result.  It got very cold once again and I feared losing pipes. You can see in one picture we resorted to sleeping in the kitchen as it was the warmest room that night.  In the end only one section down stairs split. Julie was here when it happened and shot into action; she shut off the water and laid on the towels. Tom Galligan and crew took care of the repairs within a few hours and even brought heat back into a room that had seen pipes split two years ago.  I had managed to nurse the generator and a short gas supply enough to keep everything else from freezing up. Many thanks to my neighbor who helped me get more gas, Don Jacobs, and to Don Ferreira, for a push when I was stuck in a drift coming back.

Here are some pictures of the aftermath of that storm.

This is far less debris than a tide of this height would have brought us before.  This could be driven through easily without any damage to a car.

We have had several other snow storms on top of the big tide and shoveling snow is one way to get in shape in a hurry.  I have been thinking a great deal about my predecessors here of long ago and as a result there will be no complaining.  When I think of John Prouty or Frank Cushman rowing across the harbor, melting snow for water, eating God knows what from a steaming pot in a fireplace, I just keep shoveling and shut up. My neighbors have had it much harder as these pictures will hint.

The snow is still falling and blowing around right now.  These are some of  cool things (pun intended) you can get when that happens.

I need to update the blog tomorrow with more information about the new cameras.  I have heard that people are frustrated by the images and think I can clear that up.  Here are a couple of shots that show what I can see with them.

What I like about the camera is the ability to double click and generate one of these images. (Double clicking again returns you to the four channel image)  I also love seeing the light turning at night.  I think you get the sense you are in the Light with these images which was my goal all along.

That said,  I am working on bringing the old cameras back into the mix.  One has been placed in the very small window that looks over harbor.  Another is at the platform level that we allow guests to visit.  The harbor view looks like this:

The platform will let you pan the four windows and even see the stairs. I can already consider families waving to Mom at home from this level of the Light.

Consider the cameras a work in progress but be thankful all the same.  I know I am thrilled to have the big one in place.  I was in Worcester this past Saturday and I was checking in on the storm's beginnings on my phone through the Hank Stahr Camera.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Year, New Look

A great number of changes are introduced as we close in on a complete 6 years here at Scituate Light.
The color is the soft green of Irish memories.  The new gadget is an unbelievable act of generosity from two daughters on behalf of their dad's memory.  The Hank Stahr Memorial camera is live for those of you who visit here.  To access it, first read about Mr. Stahr and his love for Scituate and then head through the link on that page using the user name and password.  You will not be disappointed.

The new layout is meant to better highlight the photography here.  We are going to be diligent at providing more and more tales of life at the Light when life is not so busy that sitting here and pounding at the keyboard isn't an extravagance.  The old place continues to teach us a great deal and we continue to figure out ways to share it.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas brings out the Creative

On the top - a Gingerbread house made by long time friend of the blog, Julie Turner. On the bottom - Mat Brown works his magic.

Hope all the visitors here enjoyed their day yesterday and we wish you a successful and happy New Year.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas is Knocking on the Door

The Christmas wreath climbed the Light in a gale yesterday.  I had put together a kit to make the installation easier than it has been in years past and I would say that helped a ton. What hurt was a wind that pushed and turned the wreath around like Nureyev as it made its way up. Once the untangling was seen to, the rest was a snap. 

On an unrelated note:  I believe I will have the cameras back on line by this coming Thursday.  The new router is on its way and with a fiddle here and a wiggle there, I should have all three back streaming.

Flying Santa will touch down on Saturday December 14.  The time is fluid so I will leave it out for now. What is known is that the jolly old elf is expected before noon. This is always a great time for the little ones and for me. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Knocked Out

A power outage last week took out the cameras.  I have been pressed into service in a couple of out of town settings and did not check out what was working and broken until yesterday.  The router in the the middle of the whole network is broken and in transit to be replaced.  I will see if I can reset the cameras at some point. It could be Wednesday as school has first dibs on my time until then.

I have been able to get on all three cameras from school until today.  I am hearing that others are having problems and will do what I can to take the work out of the process.

A reminder:  The Scituate Historical Society will hold its annual sale on Saturday November 29, 2014 from Noon to 4:00 at the Maritme and Irish Mossing Museum. Author Ted Clarke will be signing his books. Swing by and pick up an offbeat gift for a history buff.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

View from the Top is back (Maybe)

The cameras are live though I have had trouble getting them from time to time with all three browsers I have tried.  At school I have all three without a hitch.  Here at home, it has been hit or miss.  This is a shot taken with Lighthouse01 this morning.  Lots of wind and a moderately high tide combine in this picture.

The panning camera requires a user name (history) and a password (scituate). I find that it works best with Firefox or Chrome.  The other two cameras work best with Firefox.  If you use Chrome try to add the extension that mimics Internet Explorer.  If you use Internet Explorer, check your settings for compatibility mode.  I found that brought them in for me.

I am working on getting them to record and when I do I will put some of the recordings up.  I had hoped to have a much improved camera but that opportunity looks like it has gone by the boards. With some patience maybe the chance will come around again.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Just a Heads Up

I swapped routers this week as the one I had in place was two generations old.  I upgraded and the signal all around the house is markedly improved.  The downside is that I have yet to match the cameras with the new router.  I have worked on it all week and have yet to put together the formula that will make this mess the delicious frappe I want it to be.

Lots of wind this week and plenty of noise but no water or debris over the revetment.  While other parts of Sand Hills and Humarock (I was there today) took a hit with seaweed and stone, we were as clean as a hound's tooth here.  Next time someone tells you government doesn't get anything done, remind them about the wall here.

Had to put the heat on for a bit as the wind tore around and I am pleased to say the new windows seem to have made a difference.  It was great to be able to sit on the couch and not have the curtains blow around your head.

I had visitors last Saturday scouting the site for an independent film.  This is a project that was first brought to my attention three years ago.  I had a very nice visit with one of the film makers and her friend. The plan is for shooting to take place here next July.

Lots of feedback from an article marking our five year anniversary here at the Light in the Scituate Mariner.  The link to the article is here.  Thanks to Chris Bernstein and his son Abel for getting us in the right light.  I shared this article on Facebook and had more than 5000 see it in a few days.  Students were telling me I was Facebook famous.

Since the last blog post we also had a part in the Army of Two 200th anniversary dinner. More than 100 people enjoyed the hospitality of the Barker Tavern.  Honoree Sis Dowd stole the show when she led the crowd in an impromptu sing along.  Thanks go out to all the volunteers at the Schoolhouse for their work, to Carol Miles for helping me so much with my research, and to Carolyn Bearce who donated several wonderful prizes for the raffle.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Gift from the Town

Guests to Scituate Harbor will find a gift from the Town of Scituate upon their arrival. Check your hip pocket.

A WiFi network has been established in the last few weeks covering the inner and outer harbor and the Lighthouse park.  We got to play a small part in the occasion.  A few pictures tell the story.

These cobwebs are from a trip under the kitchen to help run the new ethernet line from the Cottage to the Tower.

A second line was run from under the house to an access point by the main door.  It is the gadget that looks a great deal like a light but is instead a path to the Internet.

Things got tied together in the office by my desk.  I think I understood every second word.  There are parts of the process that continue to mystify me.

The network connection is called Scituate WIFI.  No password is required.  I expect a lot of Instagrams of Scituate Light to make their way onto the World Wide Web.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Couple of Things to Share

We will begin and end with an unusual photograph:

The camera apps that come with cell phones continue to offer us new ways to look at familiar places.  This one was shot with something called Photosynth. (Remember to click on it for a full view)

We had several guests here over the course of the summer that I failed to acknowledge here.  Cousins Kellie and MacKenzie stopped by out of the blue and, as I am crazy for my cousins, I was thrilled that they took a page from my old playbook and dropped by.  The next generation of cousins is in good hands by all indications.

Susan and Mike Ahearn visited but I missed them as I was in the attic at the Little Red Schoolhouse counting up the way too many books that we have up there in inventory.  I offer Susan A Sorry I missed You and a Glad I was Able to Connect Later.

September is a week in and that has school back in session.  Portrait photographers are out in force and over Labor Day weekend there were at least seven weddings that arrived for ceremonies and for pictures.  It was as full a time here as I can remember.  The beach, the jetty, the parking lot, the wall, and all the benches were jammed to capacity.  There was a big time buzz in the air.

The Scituate High School Class of 64 spent two hours here yesterday.  I had a great time and I will go on the record to note that not one of them looked like the years had been unkind.  You would scarcely believe any of them got out of school when John, Paul, George, and Ringo were lighting up the charts.  

Bill Wronski of ayacht technology solutions spent parts of two days here installing the essentials for public wireless access in the harbor and the parking lot.  It is not turned on yet but the bones are there and in the near future the switch will get thrown.  I thank him for letting me pick his brain while he programmed and wired.

Improvements to the web cams has been an ongoing project.  The Arecont company sent out two representatives to demonstrate a couple of cameras and some amazing software.  I hope to see that project through before too much longer.

I wrap with the second promised photograph.  Our Hannah took this one with an app on her Iphone:

How cool is that!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Super Moon

Remarkable crowds here tonight to a full moon rising.  A quick estimate would put the group between 750 and 1500 across the past few hours. Another well behaved group too.  The flashbulbs were as many as at the Red Carpet before the Oscars. Julie took to the Tower for this shot.  

A perfect day for the beach and I have no doubt that there was a long line for ice cream all across town. August is the best of the summer.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2014 Luminaria

I have fallen behind on blogging.  I will try to catch up more regularly.  I want to share that we are working on a significant upgrade to the web cams.  I hope that will be in place soon.  I have had some trouble getting on the cameras in place now unless I use the Firefox browser.  Give that a try if you are getting held up.

There hasn't been much in the way of news here.  No bad behavior that I can share in this setting without being subject to a libel charge. The biggest topic of discussion is the McDonald's Ad that features shots of the light in the open and the close.  I was filmed but not featured.  I hammed it up too much I guess.

Some wonderful guests on private tours, from as far away as California. The Open House days have been fast and fine.  Lots of great questions from kids and adults.  As always I learn a lot.

A water line project has come off without too many hangups and thanks go out to Dan Smith of the Department of Public Works who, as he did with the seawall project, has kept the arrow pointed in the right direction without a touch of ego or histrionics.

The gardens are lush and only two people have walked into the house believing it a public place.  Win some and lose some is the rule.

There is a terrific interview done by the Scituate Mariner at this link. Tour of the Lighthouse  They somehow overcame the fact that I am in it.

Here are some photos from last night's Luminaria. The tiniest nudge of the tripod brings out some cool colors. Remember to click on them to see them in full screen. I am going to get good at this again. Check back.