Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kayak Panoramas


      







I paddled out this afternoon and took some snapshots with a little camera we have here.  Then I worked them together in Photoshop.   Neat looks that most couldn't ever see.  Makes you want to get a boat I bet. Be sure to click on them to get the best look.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Full Days

The projects are adding up and the weeks flying by.

The  second Open House of the year took place on Sunday July 10, 2011.  Aided by Peter and Barbara Whitfield and Dick Egan, Julie and I welcomed about 160 guests through the Cottage and the Tower between 1:00 and 4:00.  It was our first effort without Haley who had a prior commitment and against the odds we managed.

Family came by on Thursday the 14th with a visit from the Hills.  Nadine, Annie, Sophie and Clark caught some beach time. We can't get enough of the cousins. And because I was working, Clark broke tradition and did not fall asleep on my lap.


Peter and Barbara returned later in the week with the Arizona contingent of their family.  Scott and Lisa arrived with four of their eight children and the pleasure was all ours. There were stories of the old Satuit Playhouse where Scott worked as did my sister Christine.  There were stories of the Old Golden Rooster where Scott may have crossed paths with my old friend the Roches. Good Scituate in the late seventies stuff. There was also an education in vocabulary as the Arizona kids had to be introduced to terms like "chop" for waves or "breakwater" for jetty.  None of those phrases are in use in the land of the cactus.


Last Saturday Haley and I took to the seas with the Historical Society on a cruise to the Cape Cod Canal.  The narration by Doug Bingham was a perfect complement to a beautiful day on the water. I was glad to have my cousin Susan on board with her husband Mike and got to chat with different groups all through the afternoon. Haley was in charge of the raffle and was at her most entertaining. Thanks to Dick and Margaret Egan for their help with that game.

The highlight for me was the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. It was an incredible campus to see from the water, inspirational, in fact. I thought of the many friends who are graduates of the Academy and was reminded of their justified pride in that place.  If there was one surprise in the day, it was that we saw so few day tripping fishermen.  I expected to see boat after boat with an anchor down and a line in the water.  They were not out there last Saturday.



Work on the shed continued Monday and was wrapped up on Thursday afternoon.  I have returned most of what will be stored there permanently to its new place.  It is as tight as a drum and as solid as a Marine's belly. Thanks once again to Chuck, Rodney, Jay and Pete.  They will be back in August to work on the utility room and put the fence back in place.

Tuesday saw two school groups arrive just around 1:00pm.  The first was a group of French students from the Sister City program.  David Givens and Patricia Jacquart were taking the group around and despite the language barrier they seemed to enjoy their time here. All of them went home with Lighthouse T shirts to help remember the visit.
The second group was from a camp in Cambridge MA.  28 kids between 15 and 6 were split into two groups with Haley handling the Tower and me sharing the history in the Cottage.  We swapped sets after 20 minutes or so and everyone got the full ride.  Having these groups here is a treat. There are conversations you would never have otherwise. There are insights into just how much people are the same and just how much kids want to strike that balance between fitting in and standing out. The people watcher in me does not have to go far.  The crowd comes to me.

One of the more interesting stories I was told over the two weeks happened in the middle of the Open House.  I was discussing the grounding of Etrusco and a gentleman who had been in the room popped back in.  He shared that he was from Paris and that he summered in Portugal. While on vacation outside of Lisbon a freighter of similar size to Etrusco ended up on the beach of his little town.  It was full of corn though and the hull breached spreading this corn up and down the coast.  One of the solutions suggested was that the corn be fed to fatten up the chickens. The chickens would not cooperate though and the beach was a mealy mess for a while.

I can't imagine another setting where anecdotes like that would fall into my life so readily.  The days are full and it isn't all work.  And that's not chicken feed.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Updates

Several images to serve as a follow up from the last post. Remember that you can click on each image in all the posts to see a larger version. Clicking the back arrow on your browser will return you to the Blog.


Harbor at Sunrise
 This is a web cam shot taken at 6:00 am as the sun comes up and bathes the boats at the moorings in a soft coral light. The next is from the same camera at 8:30 at night. The bright glow on the right is the Yacht Club.


Below is a sign that the construction of the new shed nears its completion - I will take another when I fill it up.


Varieka Construction of West Bridgewater has done a terrific job this week.  The work they did with the excavation and return of materials after the foundation was set was tremendous.  And when that nail gun gets going, look out. They came with a plan and they have followed it to the letter, even as horseflies buzzed and visitors questioned. Comparing this shed to the last one is like comparing a loaded Lincoln to a two wheeled tricycle. These guys are bona fide Pros. Thanks Chuck. Thanks Pete. Thanks to the others who spent a day on site but whose names were never shared.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moving On

Two positive developments trump one dope.

The last post included the term "web cam" in the title. We got two.

Having developed a relationship with the Raytheon Corporation over the past two years, specifically with engineers Colin Pellagrino and Tom Doyle, I have been able to get their assistance in placing two web cams in the top of the Tower.  I am thrilled about this development as it is one I daydreamed about in the months prior to being selected Light Keeper here.  Just when they will be accessible is not clear but I am linking to a YouTube preview of what is in store.

Tower Web Cam 01

The second positive is that work began today on replacing the damaged storage shed.  The pictures below tell  that story.

Tomorrow the digging begins for the new foundation.  By the end of next week The Boxing Day Blizzard will finally be a distant memory. The contractors told me today that six bent nails were all that was holding the shed to the runway. We will do better this time around.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Another Reason for the Web Cam

Bear with me readers as I figure out a way to share this story with you delicately.

There is no task that makes me feel more like an old time light keeper than washing windows. Time and again in the Light House Service inspectors' reports there are black marks against this keeper and that, on just how clean the windows were up in the Tower. Right now those big panes are pretty good but for a drop here or there from a bird or two.

Late yesterday afternoon I decided to break out the squeegee and the cloths and capture that elbow grease and vinegar feeling again. The window by the kitchen sink is always a challenge in and out. It picks up a lot of dirt when the window box gets watered and it takes the rain and wind from the east. Up and down with screen and storm; inside and outside, and the view improved. From there it was the other big windows in the kitchen with the same routine. The setting sun showed that the big window that looks out on the parking lot downstairs was as foggy as the mists of Brigadoon. That required a ladder. The ladder was recovered from the mess that is the utility room; the panes scoured and wiped to satisfaction.

As the hour approached 7:00 the numbers of visitors grew. While up on the ladder I remembered that I had promised myself I would not quit until I got the bathroom window washed. That window had been the genesis of the whole project as I opened it for the breeze in the morning and saw the neglect. Just as I opened the curtain and pulled up the shade I saw a man, my age or older, approaching the window. He was beginning to unbuckle his belt. His intent was clear. Discretion was not a choice.

"Hey!, Hey!, What on God's green Earth are you doing?", I yelled out the window. "Are you some kind of moron? This is my house!"

His wife was with him and the pair scampered up the walkway and up around the Tower.
(And isn't that a great Friday night for her. 'Honey, lets walk up to the Lighthouse and maybe I can get arrested for public indecency'.) I wasn't done yet.

I headed for the kitchen door. Finger wagging I started yelling again. "Hey!, Hey! What's your name? What's your name? I always like to know who the stupidest SOB in Scituate is!" With his neck almost breaking from counting the bricks in the Tower to avoid eye contact, and his wife grabbing his elbow like a department store detective who has just caught a shoplifter, they made tracks down Rebecca Road. Better there, I thought, than on the wall outside my office.

Then my thinking went in a million directions.

There were easily 100 people around the Point at the time.  A big group of kids and adults was on a scavenger hunt (these have become the rage around here) and I feel certain that finding the spot where Uncle Leaky let loose on the Cottage wall was not on their list of things to find.

I wondered if, on other days, his wife followed him around with a baggie on her hand as the dog walkers do.

I wondered if I had been able to get a cop here fast, could I have delayed the discussion long enough to have the guy hoping from leg to leg like a five year old after a Big Gulp and a two hour car ride.

I wondered if he only did this at historical sites the way that people take on the challenge of visiting every major league ballpark.

I wondered if he made it home.

There are nuts out there and they come here from time to time.  I had to share this and I hope I have avoided offending any sensibilities.  It was crazier than the three brides side by side, with mothers cursing.  It was crazier than the Sunday morning dog lady. It was crazier than the kid who was going to climb up the flag pole line.

This morning, out watering the flowers, I thought of a line from the film director Billy Wilder, a Holocaust survivor, "No matter how cynical you are, it is hard to keep up."  All I wanted to do was clean a few windows. For my trouble I get to chase Watering Plants off the reservation.