Saturday, December 29, 2012

Meteor Showers

A photographer named Kevin Jordan asked if it would be possible for him to come to the Lighthouse and to shoot the meteor showers a few weeks ago.  I gave him my most sage advice on where to go and set up and he sent me the results.  They speak for themselves.  He does not need any pointers from me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Getting Worse

I took some time this afternoon to clean up the walkway and the yard.  Below you will see the before and after shots.  I have more to do and I will try again in the morning unless it gets too cold for there to be any fun in the work.  The restraining stones I mentioned several posts back are in worse shape than before and the larger seawall has eroded dramatically to these eyes in just a few days.  The pavement buckled just before the entrance to Rebecca Road and when I just walked the length it was apparent that the wall is moving just as the big stones are.  In one spot, where fortunately the Town placed the bulk of the rubble, the wall could be two feet lower than it was just three days ago.  I hope that there is an awareness and a contingency.

That gap may not look like much but it is the key to the whole wall.  If that keeps rolling back into the beach then the others will began to move like a seven year old's teeth.  Scituate veterans remember the Point when no such wall existed.  We could be going back to that.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sloppy Day Photos

Recall that you can click on each photograph to see it in a bigger format

Another Post Christmas Mess

Bigger winds and more erosion will bring in the new year here.  With a wind that shook the beds upstairs for several hours last night, whatever we will eventually call this storm has made a mess in the yard an hour before the high tide and has offered up waves that are breaking in the parking lot.  This is already a bigger mess than the last hurricane was.  I will be heading up into the Tower to check things out from there.  The good news is that no news crews and very few photographers are on hand.  The cold is a blessing I guess.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Tools for the New Year

The blog is gaining a cousin as the Scituate Light now has a Facebook page.  With several big projects ahead and the need to get the word out to as wide an audience as possible, I set up a page several days ago.  If you are a Facebook user check it out at:

One of the projects is a book that Carol Miles, Mat Browne and I have been working on since the summer. Legendary Locals of Scituate will offer a sampling of the talent and dedication this small town has offered to the United States over the 375 years since its founding.

The other project is the brainchild of a neighbor, Richard Wainwright.  Mr. Wainwright has written a children's book with elements of fantasy and history, all set here on Cedar Point.  Haley is the title character, The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter. Linda Martin, Mr. Wainwright, Julie, and I all contributed photographs.  There is remarkable artwork and a compelling story as Haley manages to go on a quest without leaving the Point.  More information will be shared in the coming weeks.

I am off to the Tower to reset the cameras.  I had moved one for Flying Santas visit and I need to get it back on spot for the next show.  I remain hopeful that in 2013 we will have a camera that a guest could control from home.  Yesterday, I logged onto to the cameras and listened in to the wind.  I heard this drumming that got my attention until I checked from the window in front of this desk and saw that the drumming was the flag rapping against the copper top of the Tower.  I had had the flag at half staff all week in memory of the children and teachers lost in Connecticut.  With their funerals complete, I returned the flag to full height this morning.

I have been moving a fair amount of stone this week as the beach is lobbing up pebbles, skippers, boulders, and bricks to be shoveled off the walk and back to the beach.  The Town has been steady in getting the rubble off the road but my gardens are full of sand and rock that I will have to pull out in the spring.  Its all part of the deal, though I am concerned we could get back to a spot where there is just too much for me to move.  The big restraining stones at the top of the Tower still have not been reset and there is an open door for the beach to be washed over onto the walk.  The ideal would be to see it fixed before the work gets complicated by another ton or two of granite and beach rock.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Great Tradition Continues

Flying Santa arrived on Cedar Point today just after noon.  Continuing a tradition that now dates back 83 years the Jolly Old Elf flew in accompanied by the preeminent Lighthouse scholar, Jeremy D'Entremont.  It was a pleasure for all as you will see in the video clip below.  Watch the calm and then the storm as at least 300 children rush for their moment with Saint Nick.  We were honored once again to play a part and grateful for the wonderful gifts we received.

Note the open mouth - Is this really happening?

Should I not have the opportunity to get back to the blog before the 25th, all of us here at Scituate Light wish  all of you, where ever you may be, a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Round Midnight

I promised pictures earlier and I am a man of my word. This first one was taken at high tide through the windows at the top of the Tower.  At the bottom of the frame you can see a hint of color in the water.  There was a mud that was sluiced around. Some of it is pasted on the kitchen windows even with the later rain we have had.  It was a color I associate with wall paper paste and guacamole and the same consistency.

This second one is a composite of the Harbor at around 10:30 this morning. You will want to click on it to enlarge it.  The small jetty was awash 90 minutes before the tide.  In 1991 the capstone to the jetty was washed away and I watched all morning thinking it might happen again.

This is a shot similar to the view from the web cam moved from the Harbor side to the north. You can see the waves climbing the beach and the debris making its way toward one of my doomed gardens.  Remember you can click on these photographs for an even bigger image.

Back up top for a look at pure fury.  
You are seeing the reflection of the window glass along 
with what we could describe as a flick of Sandy's finger.  

Jessica Bartlett of the Globe contacted me late this afternoon and asked for my impressions.  She did a terrific job capturing my mood and the frustration that these storms bring out.  The link to her story is here.
What I shared with her is what I led with when I began writing yesterday.  Too many come out and put themselves and their kids in danger.  It is flat out bizarre behavior from this vantage point.  

This young lady takes her picture with her phone - a huge smile too - the wind was blowing 40 miles an hour.

This guy decided to skip stones across the parking lot.  He and his buddies were standing at the most vulnerable spot on Cedar Point.  Again one is photographing the other.

Too close up by the Tower - our man from the middle of the skipping stones photo gets soaked to the skin and knocked on his tail.  His friends picked him up and then they walked knee deep through the parking lot.

I watched this happen in horror.  The entire family had followed this woman up on the wall when they might have just turned around and headed back up Rebecca Road.  I have wondered about the conversation all day. Is he asking her for a fishing rod? Is he asking how deep or how cold the water is?  Are they planning Thanksgiving dinner and he is asking if they can invite his mother? Mashed or roast potatoes?
I felt so bad for these kids because it was surely not their idea to take a the poor man's tour of Venice today.

A final shot shows the big jetty awash at the height of the tide.

As I finish this I see flashlights on the walkway and I am imagining trying to have a broken ankle set tonight.  The wind has shifted to the southeast and the tides are currently running 2 plus feet over expected.  That would put us on track for a twelve foot tide at midnight.  This afternoon was just under 13 feet.  There will be raking and shoveling to do but we'll have met the vandal and took her best.  

The First One Flinches

The first tide has past and while it has made a mess I haven't seen any danger.  No more than two waves made it past the shed and into the yard and none approached the wall on the other side of this desk.  I spent the last hour in the Tower taking photographs of the dumbest people you will ever see.  Parents with pre schoolers were out in plus forty mile an hour winds.  One teenage approaching the Tower got knocked on his tail by a wave which took him 25 feet down the walkway.  I will post the pictures later if the power holds.

One Tide Down, Two to Go

Last nights tide left little if anything to pick up.  I got up a few times in the night for a look around and was thrilled to discover the wind just picking up around 4:00am and no debris in the road at all.

This morning the waves are long from the northeast.  Rollers that remind me of August after a storm when you would head to the beach and body surf until your shorts were full of gravel.  The undertow out there could take a buffalo out.  The rolling I heard last night is missing right now.  It could be masked by the wind or the tide is just shifting to come in and set up those pins again.

I am going to take a run up into the Tower in a little bit and I may adjust the web cam looking north to get a bit more of the road in the frame.

There are two fifty to sixty pound boulders that I am looking at as I type.  They are sitting on top the seawall directly parallel to the Tower.  I have been thinking that I should take a permanent marker to them and see if I can find them when this dance is danced. It would be interesting to me to see how far the sea takes them.

We are very grateful that power continues to be available.  It is cold enough here that the heat came on with the thermostat set quite low.  That I will cross my fingers on.  More after the noon tide if the power stays up.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Here It Comes

TV crews have the ocean side beach lit up like noon time covering the beginning of the beginning of a real one. The waves are pretty fantastic despite the winds being moderate to tame.  There is a rolling you hear when they get turning over the stone that is like being in a thousand lane bowling alley taken over by hyperactive octopi.  We have prepared as best we can and recognize there will be a mess to be cleaned up by the end of the day tomorrow.  School is out and I have already answered emails telling students the test is still on for Tuesday if we get back in then.  Haley did her math homework.  Before and after pictures will be up at some point in the morning. Check back.

Red Zone

My own version of a hundred year storm may be on tap.  I have moved the web cam that shot into the harbor back to a northeast position to watch it happen.  I have taken several "before" pictures, screwed in some plywood, kept some in reserve for the unforeseen.  I will be writing a sub plan in a few minutes in case I should not be heading to school in the morning.  I would guess if I can't go then a lot of Marshfield won't be able to go either but I like to show due diligence.  I am hemming and hawing about where to put the car.  I have wondered if up on the grass might be a good idea.

So tune in to the cameras as they become available.  Lets hope that the fog up there isn't too thick on the glass.  Lets hope too that the ridiculous numbers that have shown up in the past and put themselves in harms way don't show up this time. That will help keep the blood pressure out of the red zone.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Revolving Door

Lots and lots of visitors to the Lighthouse since the last post.

We held two more open house dates in August and September which saw a preponderance of adults visit and one more kid discovered in the refrigerator.  We had had our first in July and perhaps the word got out that the thing to see on the tour was the amazing collection of salad dressings we keep on the door.

My sister Christine joined the effort during the September date.  She pitched in with the usual stalwarts, Peter and Barbara Whitfield, my sister Lee, and Jules.  More and more we noticed groups of adults going from site to site and gratefully, there was less of me talking and more people asking questions.  These are long days and the Whitfields are amazing in their endurance.  We are so very lucky to have them join us.

With the shirts and books and signs and props put away we gathered around the table in the yard for a dinner Christine and Lee put together.  My brothers in law joined us and we looked up to find my cousin Lynne trucking up the driveway.  Some very nice hours in the Indian Summer light.  The only thing that went wrong that day was the Patriots score.

Thanks to John and Christine for the shot from the Tower.

We noted the anniversary of the utility room being renovated with a visit from a library group organized by the one time caretaker here Betty Foster.  She suffered through more broken pipes than anyone and survived the Blizzard of 78 here so she had a greater appreciation than most for how much improved that room is now. We made it a point of emphasis with each open house to ask people where they were from and to thank them if they lived in town for the support Town Meeting has offered projects here at the Lighthouse.  It is a beautiful thing now and the discoveries of a year ago have become valued additions to the tours.

Records kept by Simeon Bates show that the first order for oil for the newly lit Scituate Light was placed in October 1811.  We are now in year 201 at this location and because of the work done by Shawn Harris getting Smith Boilers to donate a new one here I have not had to order any yet.  The new system seems to burn infinitely better and for that I am thrilled.  Shawn probably has his doubts about it now as he is my source and I have seen a great deal less of his trucks now that the new system is in place.

Another group in town for a visit came from France with former Foreign Language department head Patricia Jaquart.  Julie and Haley enjoyed that visit and Hales got a chance to take her burgeoning mastery of French out for a spin. Better her than me I think.  No one was a worse foreign language student than I was.  This was a second group as Madame had a set of travelers here in August as well.  Selectmen John Dannehy joined in on that tour and I was able to show him some of the work done in the past three plus years.  I was very grateful for his time and I think he was grateful as well.

Two weeks ago we had a remarkable visit from the great grandson of the last Jetty Light Keeper, John Francis Cushman.  Chris Hall and his wife visited from New Orleans and donated some material I did not know existed.  While I was aware of a set of logs dealing with supplies and inventory in which Keepers Prouty and Cushman detailed the weather and the big storms, it turns out that there were another set of logs in which Frank Cushman went into even more detail.  Chris Hall has donated these log books to the Society and the Society is likely to seek funding for their preservation in the manner that the others are currently undergoing.  It was an amazing donation and it has me begging the question, could there be others out there kept by John Ensign Otis Prouty?

Just last Monday Julie had a wonderful visit with a family from California.  The Schotts, Tom, Shirley and their granddaughter Jessi had contacted the Society back in August while planning a trip east to visit their son in western Massachusetts.  Jessi had read a book about the Army of Two and her grandmother wanted the opportunity to take her to the horses mouth.  Julie loved having them here and Jessi was the brightest seven year ever here.  It remains a thrill that this place can connect us to so many wonderful people whom we would never otherwise meet.  We have begun to keep a log of our own that our guests are signing as they visit.

That morning began in a unique fashion as there was a portrait being done far out on the rocks on the ocean side just as the sun was coming up.  A young man negotiated the slippery path out and the photographer managed his way out too with flashes popping and reflectors reflecting.  Our cat made his way out there too.
I am sure it was a remarkable photograph but it surprised me no end to hear anyone at that hour and then to have the artificial lightning bouncing around outside while I was shaving.

Yesterday we had guests from Sweden here as one time Scituate High School Class of 1977 exchange student George Fieber and his wife Lotta joined the Evans clan of Scituate once again at the Lighthouse.  I remembered George from our high school years and he and his wife were delights to have with us.  Cross another country off the map in our attempt to cover them all.

Several members of the Scituate Historical Society, including your blogging Keeper, have contracted to write a book on the famous and infamous of Scituate.  We will be soliciting photographs by letter to the families of those nominated.  We know that our judgement will be called into question when the final result arrives next summer but we loved the idea of yet another Scituate history book and a chance to focus on the diverse accomplishments and diverse personalities of this amazing small town.  If you have a unique photograph of a political, business, or non profit leader please consider contacting me at  All photographs will be returned once scanned and any donations will be noted in the text of the book.

These two swans made an appearance on the beach just the other day and Julie caught them with the telephoto lens.  As I noted there are tons of portraits being done here and I wanted to caption this one this way.  "Which one of us was the ugly duck?"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Catching Up

It dawned on me the other day that I never reported out on the Annual Heritage Days weekend. Time to catch up.

Heritage Days begins with the lighting up of the coast on Friday night.  The Luminaria brings neighborhoods together to participate and Cedar Point sent its best.  Betty and John Kincaid stored the bottles all summer long and a crew fills them with sand and candles in the afternoon. Peter and Linda Martin with their son Peter, led the charge around 5:00 with the milk bottles and candles for the Jetties and the beach.  Haley was out there too, with Sophia and Charlotte and Kristen and lots of other neighbors.  The wind was up and I had my doubts about how many we would be able to get to hold the match but the vast majority burned all night long.

As I was working my way down the beach around 8:00 to light my share, I ended up in conversation with a mother, her daughter and her daughter's husband.  The senior member of the trio was a Mrs. Burton, formerly of Scituate and returned to visit after many years.  They shared with me their story of a tour of Etrusco on the day it came off the beach in November 1956.  Mrs. Burton's husband, Richard, (an easy one to remember) was part of the team working on re floating the ship.  Mother and daughter recalled dinner nearly on the table when Richard arrived home with word that they were going to have to drive to Boston to pick him up as he was going aboard ship now that the team had had success at last.  Once in Boston both were taken aboard.  The younger recalled it being a dirty and unpleasant tour until they made it into the captain's berth.  There the wood work was polished to perfection and the appointments were impeccable.  I kept up the questioning as long as I could as I was unbelievably excited to have stumbled into this story.  All those years later Etrusco has still got stories to tell.

Saturday and Sunday saw the Lighthouse and Tower open for tours once again.  There was scarcely a breeze on Saturday and on Sunday there was a gale.  Peter and Barbara Whitfield took their usual places and were joined on Saturday by my sister Lee and on Sunday by Nancy Fay and her nephew Ben.  I can never thank them enough for pitching in.   Haley headed up to the Bates House where I am pleased to report they had a new high mark set for visitors at an open house.

The crowds were of a reasonable size and that let me tell more stories than usual on Saturday.  On Sunday I took a step back and tried to take more questions rather than lecture.  The guests did not let me down either as I was asked many things that don't often come up.

One of the great surprises of the day was a question on a ball cap I keep in the office.  It is from the USS Enterprise and was a gift from a naval officer once of that ship and now on staff with the Joint Chiefs.  It turns out that his sister in law and her family were on the tour and it gave me a chance to let them now how much I miss Patrick's correspondence.  One of these days he will come through and we will get a picture of the two of us in those hats.

The next open house is here on Sunday August 19th from 1:00 to 4:00.  Visitors are asked to donate $2.00 and there will be t-shirts and sweatshirts available as souvenirs.  There are also books on Scituate history, mugs, prints and Christmas cards.  Come on down and support the Light and the Society.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I know, I know ...

The router at the top of the Light has died.  This puts the cameras out of commission until I can find a replacement and get it installed.  It could be the long cable that takes the signal from the top to the connection by my desk is cooked as well.  Tests will begin today and repairs will be as timely as possible.

Update:  Tests have determined it is the long cable that snakes under the kitchen, down the runway, and up the Tower.  Repair date to be determined.

Update 2:  We are back up with both cameras.  There was a faulty cable along with the originally burned out  router.  I had a back up for both and once again you can get a glimpse of this storied harbor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Night News

In the middle of a tremendously fun band of thunderstorms I thought I better note that the web cams are down because of an earlier set of thunderstorms that burned out my router.  I will be on the case tomorrow and hope to have the kit back in place then.

In other news I would like to reveal that the lobster that adorns the garden has been named 5 Eyes.  
Getting glasses for him is going to be a challenge.  Thanks to Dave Ball for the name.

We hosted an open house here Sunday and just over 200 visited from 1:00 to 4:00.  Thanks go out to the team supreme of Julie, Lee Coscia, with Peter and Barbara Whitfield.  It was gusty out there and a  tent went flying over Barbara's head on its way to the parking lot.  I enjoyed being able to share the renovated Utility Room for the first time and the response from young and old was terrific.  Heritage Days are the next opportunities for the public to tour the Cottage and the Tower.  Come and see us on August 4 and 5.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Don't Lose That Number

A weekend heatwave brought a tremendous crowd to Scituate Light.  Some behaved and some did not.

We get guests on the beach and guests all around the Tower and the Jetties every day.  The numbers are incredible.  We have the greatest conversations on the fence and in the yard.  We see old friends and meet new ones.  Most people are good guests; they clean up after their dogs, they recognize the limits we have to place on access, they admire the Light and wish us well taking care of the site.  And as I noted, the numbers are incredible.  There could be one thousand people here on an average day.  Posing for pictures, walking the seawall, grabbing a hot dog, pacing the dog, reading the papers. All of these things happened here this weekend and in all that I  haven't a complaint.

But, (and you knew this was coming didn't you,) there is another list of activities that happens here that I can not applaud.

On Friday night I had to phone the police at around 11:00 when a group formed around the Tower and onto the Big Jetty that was determined to share a play by play account of the various indignities that exist when drinking beer and not having access to a restroom coincide.  Girls voices visited me as I was reading, at a pitch that shook the glasses in the cabinet, with nouns and verbs I would rather not hear next to each other if I have to hear them at all.  I have gone out to groups like these in the past and moved them on myself.  At the  end of the summer especially, groups meet here to add one more memory of the old home town before a new chapter begins some where else. This was different in that words were exchanged at a high decibel level that ought not be exchanged at all.  There was a shamelessness to the behavior. I considered going out with a camera to take some pictures until I recognized that there was no way to embarrass such people.  They had crossed over into another universe from mine; one where you could apparently be both physically and verbally disgusting en mass.  Scituate Police moved them on very quickly. I asked that they send the message that this is not the place for that alternative universe to reappear.

Saturday morning we had a great set of guests as an old friend and roommate of my brother brought his extended in laws to the Light. I got to practice for next weekend's open house and take some questions as we moved from the Utility Room with its new displays through the office, the runway and at last, the Tower. It was a wonderful visit for us and we hope for them.  Later in the day we caught them again as they headed out on a chartered boat for a cruise. It was a  perfect evening for that and a great day all around.

Sunday saw lots of weeds pulled up, gardens watered, a gutter repaired, and even a swim.  We had a ton of company all afternoon and we enjoyed all of it.  I sold a few shirts from a table set up in the yard as a fund raiser for the Cottage and the Tower.  I poured through a classic mystery, listened to the Sox.  There were all the elements in place for another perfect day.

Then the power went out.  It was nearly 9:00 when we lost it and we got our flashlights in place and read a little bit.  Around 10:30 it was time to go up to bed and call it a nearly perfect day.

When the power returned, the sound of computers and microwaves waking up, woke me up.  At about 3:00 I let the cat out, noticed a skunk in the courtyard by the office going to town on the clover, and, as I was heading back up to sleep, I heard something in the yard. At first I thought it was someone on the roof of the runway.

Window by window I checked, and as I went, I turned on some lights.  As I flicked on a kitchen light, I saw someone run across the yard and duck through the fence.  I came to the conclusion that there had been someone sitting in the Adirondack chair that I sat in all afternoon while I read. I began to wonder if the car break ins I had read about on Seaview and Scituate Aves had moved down to the Point.

That had me up and wide awake.  It was approaching 3:30.

I did not want to overreact.  I don't like to call and in the three plus years we have been here I have called all of four times prior to this weekend.  I want cars to come when I call but recognize that human nature being what it is, if I call once a week, they may not come as fast as I want them to.  I got a flashlight and went up stairs where I could scan around the Tower and the Jetty.  There didn't seem like too many voices out there and I only saw one car in the lot.  I decided this could be a couple using the wee hours of the morning to advance their relationship.  I was partially right.

By ten minutes to four it was quiet again. The lone car was still in place but I couldn't see any one or hear anyone. I had checked the door to the Tower, I had checked our cars.  The kayaks were fine. The flashlight and the flicking lights seemed to have done the trick.  I was just getting back to bed when I heard two voices approaching the car.  Oddly they did not get in and drive away.  The two of them began to wander toward Rebecca Road.  I decided I had to call again.  I told the dispatcher all that had transpired and that I couldn't go back to sleep until I knew that this wasn't a crew breaking into cars.

Down the street rolled three cruisers.  It was after four.  The couple was back at the car and greeted the officers like it wasn't four in the morning and it was as normal a thing in the world to be in the Lighthouse Parking lot hanging around.  I began to think the alternative universe had returned.  (I was also rooting for the skunk to play a role.) Inexplicably the two didn't get into the car and drive away.  I had only been partially right.  There were actually four of them and the driver and his femme fatale were missing!

The first young lady, (lets call her Doris, for the Doris Day voice she used when greeting the police) began to call out for her missing chauffeur.  Her partner was a young man making the continually perplexing fashion choice of boxers pulled up to mid chest and shorts dropped down to mid thigh. (I always think that kids dressed this way look like old men getting undressed.) We will call him Stanley Kowalski  as at one point he tore off his t shirt like Brando in Street Car Named Desire.  She was now using the voice of a thousand cigarettes and language that would make a prison guard blush.  It was ten after four and we have gone back into the twilight zone.

She called for him for about five minutes straight, using the voice of Vito Corleone with a head cold and the language of a deranged rapper trying to empty the cursing dictionary of all its adjectives.  I did not want to think about what he might be doing so I pulled the pillow over my head and began to catalog all the things I knew he was not doing.

He was not:  Solving Pi to a repeating decimal, chairing a Mensa meeting, debating the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, gathering records needed to be considered as Mitt Romney's VP, writing a thank you card to his aunt, flossing his teeth, training for the Olympics, learning the Boy Scout pledge, writing a book, reading a book, researching the Higgs Bosun particle, trading recipes, trading baseball cards, playing Monopoly or home asleep.

He was also not:  Panning for gold, auditioning for Broadway, raising the Titanic, developing film, recovering from surgery, buying the world a Coke, renewing season tickets, parsing his words, playing Roulette, running laps, felling trees, digging ditches, or saving the whales.

I had many more but I began to entertain thoughts that I was crazed by sleep deprivation and that all of it was nothing but a bad dream.  Then I heard the laughing.

Doris and Stanley had at last been joined by Romeo and Juliet of the Jetty.  With their arms around each other they lolled across the parking lot in the halogen glare of the dark before dawn.  With a great deal of cheer they made their way to the car and at last took leave of Cedar Point.  In some ways a scene of great innocence and in others a trip to a maddening place where there isn't any sort of recognition that life can be anything better than coarse and animal.

I could do without this kind of visit.  I could do without having to watch the growing pains of the shameless and phony Doris and Stanleys of the world, seemingly raised by filthy mouthed wolves who see every place they go as an outhouse or brothel.  I did in fact get back to sleep in time for another amazing sun rise to wake me up. My first thought this morning:

Wouldn't it have been great if the skunk played a bigger role in the story?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On the Fence

I have been away from the blog of late, though it has been on the sidelines of my mind frequently.  I kept thinking that I needed to get back to the routine of sharing the tales of this place and how could I fit it into the chores and the work related responsibilities that have monopolized the time.  With Summer School registration in place, I have a few minutes to catch up.

The calendar tells me that it has been three weeks since I jumped in here with an apology for letting the cameras blink out.  Since then we have had a mix of weather that has had an impact on life on the Point.  A twelve foot tide with a wind pushing brought stone and sand onto the walkway and into the road just as I was noticing the cameras were down.  The hardest hit was to the gardens around the parking lot and in the small courtyard in front of the office from which I type.  Neighbors lost a great number of plants and vegetables as well.  The salt in the air turned plants black that were otherwise untouched by the ocean.  It was a bad run of luck as Memorial Day weekend had seen the annual clean up of the Point and the planting of geraniums and marigolds to go along with the perennials I had put in place last year.  Things were looking good here until a freak tide turned back the clock.

The last few weeks has seen a recovery.  Julie and I went out the next day and shoveled off the walkway.  The Town sent some trucks down initially to get the big stones off the road and later, a street sweeper, to get the sand that was strewn across the parking lot.  I turned over all the gardens and got some fresh water into the roots of the perennials.  Some still did not make it though the daisies and the sedum seem unkillable.

An island garden as you drive off the Point was especially hit hard.  I worked on that one a while before I realized what it needed was a concentration of plants rather than the spread out approach, and a planting of grass around the rest.  I will be showing you the progress of that one as the summer continues.

There are some success stories. Hydrangeas are out in front of the cottage in pink and blue. A transplant from Hart Park came back to the flagpole garden.  Dave Ball donated a Lawson rose to the yard arm that holds up the blue and white Lighthouse sign.  That has seen significant new growth.  What had been a vegetable garden by the kitchen door is now a booming perennial garden that I will be able to steal from for a long, long time.  Everyone of those plants is loving the long days of sun and the big drinks of water they get when we rinse off from the beach.

Horticulture set aside, we have also had some guests of note. 

On a Saturday morning a few weeks ago I was working with the weed whacker when I stopped to meet a guy at the fence who knew more about fishing this coast than I ever will.  Spenser was waiting for his son to finish the ACTs and ended up swapping fishing stories with me.  Originally a Somerville guy, he was as jealous as anyone I have met at my luck having this spot. "A sweet gig", I believe was the exact quote.  He got that right.

Julie's sister and her husband have been making regular visits as well.  Fridays are set aside for them and for their dogs who take a swim and want to take another.  I have been setting up a pop up tent in the yard and as a result we are all out there much more often.  As kids we had no notion of the sun being damaging.  Call that lesson learned.

A neighbor has let his house to a couple originally from the Azores.  The gentlemen guest is responsible for this work of art.  Gathered entirely from objects he found on the beach and assembled seemingly in minutes. I watched two teenagers over the weekend slam on the brakes, park the car, hike up the side of the seawall, then walk around gauging this sculpture.  They were far from the only ones to do so.

Two sisters from the Regina Laudis order of Connecticut were in town and Julie invited them in to the Cottage for a visit after watching them cool off in the first tough heat of the year.  Both were wonderful visitors with a great many questions and a real enthusiasm for the Lighthouse.  We don't know for sure if it is the first time two nuns climbed up the Tower, but lets say that it was.

Finally, a student of mine named Nick Staples surprised me with a gift as the year closed.  Created by his father it is a perfect fit for the garden outside the kitchen door.  I officially kick off the contest to name the lobster. Winners will be announced in a later posting.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Light, Camera, .... Oops

The cameras are back up and I apologize for letting that chore get away from me as we finish up the school year.  Two more papers and entering the comment line on the report card will wrap the year.

 Next up is Summer School,  two and half weeks away.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Another Remarkable Gift

This morning as we celebrated Mother's Day here on the Point, there was a knock on the door.

Mark Poritsky, son of longtime Point resident Ray Poritsky, had brought us a gift.  His father, a Brown professor and illustrator of anatomy texts, had a painting at his cottage.  Mark wanted us to have it.

He explained that it was a bit different from most of the work his father had done before and that the family attributed the differences to the onset of illness.  We hung it up immediately and thanked him profusely. 
 It is different than most and it is here.  We are so, so, lucky.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Shifting Views

With the winter behind us and Easter here, it was time to move the web cam facing north back to the Harbor side so we can watch the basin fill up with boats.  One lonely sailboat stayed on a mooring all winter long and soon it will have company. Check out the link above.

Full bore Spring in here. This week there was a beautiful sailboat, under sail making its way out and back in. The floats are in as of yesterday at Bulman's Marine and in Cole Parkway. Julie was remarking just how quickly bulbs and forsythia have bloomed.  I put in an hour or so yesterday morning and got half of the garden around the flagpole cleaned up.  With a little bit of Preen to knock down the weeds and some razzle dazzle with a few perennial cuttings, that garden will be ready for a dose of geraniums and marigolds in May.

My main goal today was to get the top of the Tower back in shape. A bird somehow made its way in and trashed the place with seeds and some sort of purple berry.  Our neighbor Gerry Houghton, DBA GBH Electric,  had had to go up there to replace the light this week.  Sometime on Tuesday night it blew out.  I was embarrassed that he had to work around all the guava so it was up top with screwdriver and vac to knock the place back into shape.  While there I decided to rework the cameras.

One of my targets was to see if the camera would pick up the newly operating windmill on the Driftway.  I had a shot where you could see it spinning but it was very faint.  That will be one of the new parameters for the next camera.  People checking in on the blog will have to be able to spin the camera to pick up the turbine. This is a picture I took from the road overlooking Peggotty Beach.

While people are still bundled up as they walk, the numbers are going up and soon the houses out here that get shut up for the winter will be opened up again.  This morning began with the annual daybreak service for Easter and the minister's voice floated in on the breeze to the bedroom.  I heard him say that the service would begin at 6:14 and my second thought was, 'It takes all kinds.' I will not share my first thought. I was telling someone yesterday that the when this event was held the first year we were here I awoke to a sound I could not place. The crunch on the rocks was like a million crackers being stomped on at once.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Three Years and Counting

The Point has been as quiet as the skies and posting for the sake of posting is not really the point.

We have been here three years now.  The rewards of the place have deepened considerably and they were already considerable from the start.  This is a place I know now; a place that when I hear a bang my mind's eye  can provide the damage. A place where each creek in a step is familiar, each light in a window is a time of day to the minute, each rotation of the light is a deep breath before sleeping.  This cottage and this tower and these grounds fit me (I think all three of us) like the oldest pair of slippers and the worn out jeans and the moth eaten sweater and the brutalized baseball cap that you would never, ever, ever think of throwing away.

The history has become a part of us and we hope us a part of the history.  The celebration last year and the work to resurrect the shed and the utility room were like a movie road trip that reveals some unknowns about the characters and resolves itself with a new kind of bond.  I can see the flowers to be arranged in the gardens already.  I can see what I would like to do with some dicey spots in the kitchen.  I can see it is time for a paint job in places and I can clean this place from top to bottom in about 30 minutes without cracking a sweat.  And in case it sounds like I am getting jaded, let me assure you that every morning and every night there is another chance to notice the blue of the ocean, (yesterday the blue of a Bic pen cover) or the less than flame, more than  orange color of the sun in the west, or the more than murmur, less than rumble of the water on the rocks out front here as they remake the ocean side beach one more time.  It is a constant sensory extravaganza, sound, sight, smell, the knock around of the wind the other night had the house shaking again nearly as bad as the first week we were here and I was seasick in bed. The place is in my bones, and yet it is still teaching me something, still exciting, still a challenge, (birds got into the Tower and trashed the place; a purple red berry mess all over the auxiliary light), still a place to plan and share and care for, be diligent about. I don't get sick of the old stories and I know I am going to get some new ones as the season changes and the crowds thicken.

Pretty fast three years I'd say. Lots to do and lots of growing.  Thanks for checking in from time to time to see what's going on.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

No Corn Cob Pipe or Button Nose

As the snow less winter continues to unfold, I was struck today by how quickly accustom we have become to it. Low temperatures are still the rule but a clean track for the cars, no banks to struggle to see around, and a whole set of different muscles we haven't had to use at all, has made this as memorable as a winter with drifts up to the eaves.

People are out and about.  Today a women in 2 inch heals walked all over the beach at low tide photographing rocks and impressions in the sand.  Kids have been photographed on the sea wall; some bundled up against the wind, many not so bundled up. Yesterday I saw a rabbit cross the road as I was driving off the point.  What he and his brothers are eating right now is anyone's guess.  (Grass I planted last fall is green but there isn't much of it.)  There is a filler plant in the garden by the flagpole that seems to have grown since the fall though; I noticed it today when I considered going out there to weed.

That's the kind of winter it has been.  The Groundhog isn't back in the hole yet with his feet up and I am thinking about weeding. The New England Fatalist in me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will March be the craziest month ever?  The Blizzard of 78 began 34 years ago tonight and today there is a moon that matches the light in the Tower. Are we destined to pay some kind of a price for being able to clean up the yard and go the dump in a sweatshirt?  Haley headed across the parking lot in slippers and no socks today and I only  winced a little.  The cat has spent nearly every night out and if there are rabbits around then he has probably had his share of mice to chase.  Its weird.

A year ago there was five feet of snow on the ground and my boots were getting old.  I had a new bag of salt at the ready and three shovels for each of us.  Maybe the history lesson is that you never can tell.  Or maybe March will shut me up about the weather.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Long Time

The blog has been on the back burner as the day jobs have stacked up.

It has been pleasantly quiet on the Point.  The holidays passed, basketball resumed, I have thought that this small task and that have not been worthy of a report.

One project that has emerged is a collaboration between Julie and I with some photographs she is taking.  On their own, they may be the basis for the Historical Society calendar for 2013.  We are going to tackle that challenge with some help from our friend Nancy. 

What I have been fooling with at odd moments is adding in some special effects to the raw material of Julie's shots.  Here are some examples:

The goal has been to enhance the light or the bring out a detail through cropping. They are pretty good to start.  I am having fun learning how to put them through the software to a different advantage. 
Remember that you can click on any picture to make it bigger.

Getting the Work Done

A lot is in place for the summer and that is the result of many having put in some time. Lets start with the boardwalk. It remains a very ...