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?"

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 ...