Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Model of Percussion

The wreath remains in place.

The blizzard predicted hit as predicted. While we often recall the times the weatherman gets it wrong rather than right, this time the forecasters had our backs. Nearly every window is bocked with snow blown through the screens. Those that have storms are covered in ice. There is a glaze over the big windows on the Tower that diffracts the gray light as it tries to get in. I will take a look tonight to see what it does to the lighthouse lens as it spins.

I was just out working on the driveway in a scouring wind. The snow is frozen in clumps that I tried to throw up in the air so that the wind would take it toward the ocean. The drifts are being pushed to the south as the gusts have been out of the north and up to 58 miles per hour. You would believe the snow to be hail as it pings off the coat. All night we could hear it upstairs along with a gigantic bass note from the ocean. It was a model of percussion. There would be a pattern of tips and taps on the roof followed by a boom of bass like you might hear on the highway when passed by a seventeen year old in a Firebird. The cottage seemed to vibrate with each thrum.

Blizzard #1 is in the books.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Wizard with the Blizzard

Why don't they give storms like these names?

We have a blizzard coming and the winds are the first phase. The bow on the wreath is nearly off (again) and the TV crews did a three second stand up on the rocks about 5 minutes ago before running for cover. Jules thought it was lightning ahead of the storm. The shovels and the rock salt have been dug out from storage and we are sitting back, crossing our fingers about holding on to the lights. We have plenty of blankets though, love our PB & J's, are sitting on 10 pounds of fudge made with my mother's recipe, so all things considered, we are set. These are the nights we have been waiting to see. There is magic in the air.

And it might make my wreath disappear.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ho Ho Ho


Flying Santa is a crowd pleaser.

The annual visit of Flying Santa to Cedar Point just wrapped up minutes ago. For eighty years now Flying Santa has visited Lightkeepers by plane and by helicopter. For more on the story visit Friends of Flying Santa.

A very grateful group met with the Jolly Old Elf and had photographs taken while sharing candy canes.

A funny comment overheard as kids climbed in and out of the aircraft: "You can see Santa any day at the mall, but when do you get this close to a helicopter?" Try this link to see the landing.

Thanks to the Scituate Highway Department, the Scituate Fire Department and Officers McLaughlin and Steverman of the Scituate Police Department. Thanks also to Linda Martin for the photograph of our family.

Photographs by Julie Gallagher.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Its Beginning ...

To look a lot like Christmas here at the Keeper's Cottage.
A quick hit today just to pass on a few pictures as we decorate in anticipation of Flying Santa's arrival on Saturday. (Also - let me know if you saw Haley on TV the other night)



Friday, December 4, 2009

On the Catwalk


Spent some time up top this week.

Hanging the Christmas wreath was on the list of 39 things I signed off on to do when chosen to be the new keeper. I certainly had seen it done and had the good sense to buy the wreath early in the hope of good weather giving me an easy time to put it up.

The process began last Saturday morning. The wind was down at 8:00 am and I got the ropes out to rig the wreath, laying them out in the yard and measuring out where I thought I wanted the wreath to fall against the tower. Having tied some knots to hold those measurements, I went up top, got the door to the catwalk open, creeped out there, dropped the ropes, and pulled the wreath up top. Gloves were a must; I found out the hard way by not having them on as the big green circle of pines made the trip up.

There were two causes for caution while out on the catwalk. First, the wind had picked up in the half hour or so I had been working. That brought the temperature down some and made the gloves even more necessary. (I had come down to get them) The second cause was that the catwalk is metal. I have only been out there a few times and each time in summer when the metal was warmer and seemed to have more texture. In the cold it seemed a little slick.

I got the wreath strung along the lines I had laid out while in the yard. A cord wrapped and knotted at the top, call it at 11 and 1 on the clock face, and then looped and tied again at the bottom at 7 and 5. I weighted the ends of the line and dropped them over to tie off at the bottom. There was a hang up with one that slowed me down a bit, but by five after 9 I had it up. One more trip up top let me adjust one of the top cords to center the wreath, another somewhat daunting trip on the catwalk as I found out that there is a pitch on the parking lot side; slight but real or at least an optical illusion that makes leaning down to adjust a knot on that side a more interesting (euphemism for shaky legged)task.

Thursday was very windy here on Cedar Point. Gusts over 50 miles per hour greeted me in the morning, knocking my glasses off of my head and blowing them down the driveway before I got in the car to go to work. A check on the wreath showed that it had taken a beating over night in the wind. The bow was gone and the lines I had set had become tangled with the flagpole line that climbs the tower. I came home that afternoon, consulted with David Ball, and headed back up to clean up the mess.

The wreath had not been set tight against the tower. I had set the lines inside the posts that rise from the catwalk rather than set them outside and that had allowed the wreath to spin and to tangle. Just as I had unwound all the ropes Dave came along to coach me through the last few steps. Though it was a little windy up on top, carrying off every third word Dave sent up, it was warmer and moving on the walk was easier. At least I was more confident while the adjustments were made left and right. My thanks to David.

So as of Saturday December 5,2009 the Christmas wreath is properly installed on Old Scituate Light. Flying Santa will be here next weekend and it will be my honor to welcome him to the Point. One of the very first posts on this blog included the pictures from Flying Santa's visit last December.

You might describe the year like I just described the trips to the catwalk, tentative and instructive at first, increasingly confident as time has past. We have learned a ton, made mistakes and cleaned up after them, gotten more right than wrong when it was all said and done. Christmas in this cottage is going to be great.