Friday, September 4, 2015

Panning Camera Information

After several requests, I have finally found the time and the way clear to change the name and the password on the panning camera.

Just as with the Hank Stahr Camera in the top of the Light, the user name is viewer.  The password is history.  Hope that this helps.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lots of Thank Yous and a Good Kind of Humble

The blog has been quiet for too long once again. Time runs away or events intercede or there doesn't seem to be as much that is newsworthy. I get away from it and then I see how the calendar has advanced and guilt kicks in. Here we go.

Normal water service was restored to the Lightkeeper's Cottage on April 9. We first had it freeze up on February 15. We were fortunate to have neighbors like Linda Martin and Lynn Ferreira help the girls and fortunate that Tom Galligan and the Water Department rigged a temporary line from Ralph and Betsy Brown's house. Lots of splicing, lots of trips to haul water from different places, lots of camping out at home.

In this picture, the line from the street has finally defrosted and a valve meant to hold it back has failed.  Fun times.

Haley and her aunt took off for Germany over the April vacation as Julie and I worked at cleaning up the cottage after the month of not having the wherewithal to do it. One of the highlights of the week was the chance to teach a third grade class from Torrance California through the medium of Skype. 15 kids stepped up and asked me a question and listed patiently gathered around their classroom computer for my answer. Thanks go out to Mr. Tim Lyne for giving me the chance to share our stories with his kids.

With the weather changing it was time to get to cleaning up. A couple of pictures tell the story. George Downton's snow shovel turned out to be pretty good for moving rocks too.

I also began a project working with a postcard collection the Scituate Historical Society was able to purchase from Marc Jacobsen with monies provided by Yvonne Twomey. I learned a ton, and seeds were sown for a talk on, not only the lessons learned from the images, but also from the notes that were included on many of the cards.

Working with these messages has been a blast to date. Some of them are quite sad; others hysterical.

April closed with my dear friends Peggy and Peter arriving on the doorstep. As they call Winetka Illinois home, this was a huge surprise. It is one of the perks of this place that people who want to find it, can find it. The Hoyts had a flight to catch so our visit was way to brief but it was a thrill to answer the door that Sunday.

May brought our first open house of the year. The numbers were manageable and my sister Lee and Julie carried me through the day. The next is coming up on July 12 from 1:00 to 4:00. 

We began to give the gardens some attention as the open house was coming on and our neighbors did an amazing job this year working around all the islands and even bringing some new spots under the green thumb.  Thanks go out especially to the Wankums for going over and above building a new garden with me and to Donny Ferreira who took on the ugly chore of cleaning up the overgrown bushes that hold the center of the Lighthouse Park. Thus far the flowers are thriving.

We also had a duck nesting along the fence all through May. Hidden in the rushes along the driveway was a mother duck protecting 5 yellow eggs for their required term. The eggs were first noticed when a gang of Scituate High School hockey players came by to help clean up the beach for Ship Shape Day. They did a super job and one gave me the heads up that we had some new quackers on the block. In early June these two were right up in the kitchen garden.

Another project on tap for the Light got a jump start with the delivery of a fog bell once in service at Graves End Light. Gary Tondorf-Dick of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology arranged for the donation of the bell to the Scituate Historical Society. It should be placed in the yard quite soon. Yet another item for which to give thanks. Thanks too go out to Russ Totman for helping us move the bell when another project emerged.

The Travel Channel filmed in the Keeper's Cottage in early June for an episode of their series, Mysteries of the Museum. The Army of Two story will be the focus. More details on that as they become available. 

Several months ago, David Ball was approached by commercial painter and Sand Hills General Store owner Dan McAdam with a fantastic offer. Dan volunteered his crew and all the materials to paint Scituate Light. On Friday June 19, the Tower was power washed. On Saturday June 20, his crew arrived on the first windless day of the year, to paint the Light. The power washing had revealed just how yellow the Tower was. When Dan and his team finished it was as white as the February snow. 

To wrap up June we had a visit from Debbie Donovan, once of Wampatuck School, and guests of hers from Japan. Debbie is now the Principal of the Boston Higashi School in Randolph and had members of the Board of Directors with her. We loved their enthusiasm for Scituate Light and their passion for the history here.  Each time we have guests from the Far East I am humbled by their manners and their grace. It is a good kind of humble too.

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.