Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020


Hasn't this been a run of days? Months? Whew.

School is back in session and I am back in place in front of students for four of the five days with one set aside for remote learning, planning, and correcting. There is a good deal of anxiety present in the adults I work with but the students are more frustrated and confused than anxious. The routines of the school year are strong tent poles for their lives. The prolonged election brought its own anxieties and confusion. Whew.

Around the Lighthouse things quieter than they were all summer but for an ongoing sewer improvement project. The course of action for the cottage has not been determined yet and there is a chance that there won't be any digging or replacing of the lateral to the sewer main. I am crossing my fingers as providing a new lateral would mean digging up the sidewalk that runs by the north side of the house and the likelihood of it being replaced with one of equal quality is small. 

The whole of this sidewalk up to the Etrusco stone would be torn up if the lateral has to be replaced. The contractor is seeking to avoid that by checking the line with a camera fed in from the main. Cross your fingers that this will find a solid pipe in no need of replacement.

The most unusual event of the last few months was the landing of a hawk in the yard and its capture and vivisection of one of the seemingly million rabbits that have come to nest in the rose bushes and (I think) under the stacked boardwalk. 

Julie got this amazing photograph.

What she did not see and what I will not share was that the hawk had captured a rabbit and is resting on top of it.  The hawk moved to the boardwalk with its prey and proceeded to recreate a scene from a horror movie. We got some pictures of that too but this is a family show.  Cleaning up the mess was a task that fell to yours truly and I don't recall that responsibility on the original agreement when we moved in.

Tomorrow or Saturday will be the day for the wreath to go up on the Tower for the Christmas season. I will put up a finger and judge the wind. The ropes are ready to go and I think I will rerig the bow to last for more than two weeks this year. Come on back here as I will be posting pictures as the process unfolds.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Got Here Earlier

The last of the new cameras arrived early and has been installed. This is the first snapshot taken with it. You can find this camera listed as Both Sides in the list. I was going to call it Watch a Wedding as this is where all that action takes place. We had two yesterday.

This shot will be a good one for storms. You will see the wave action on both sides; hence the name. One broken camera has become three new cameras and I have one that I have out of service that I will find a new home for in time. I have some ideas to work through and we will have another in the mix.


Friday, August 14, 2020

New Looks

 You lose some; you win some.

The Harbor 180 camera burned itself out some time ago and I have been trying to replace it since. My first purchase was a very similar camera that I could not get to boot on. Had to return it after a great deal of experimentation with different cables and ports. You lose some.

The win some part of the story began two days ago. It happened to mark the 12 year anniversary of Julie and I being appointed Lightkeepers. I got a camera that is a slight upgrade from most of the cameras we have available here. I worked out a placement at the top of the light. Looking North is the designation. 

The second part of the project began today. I used the cable that used to serve the 180 camera and mounted another slightly better than we have used before camera. This is the new Lighthouse Beach camera you can find at the top of the posts. 

The final part of the project will be to replace the original camera, labeled Around the Horn, with a camera that will be mounted next to the weather station on the kitchen wing. This should cover the big jetty with a lot of detail. That will probably happen two weeks from now.

So one super duper camera has become three upgraded cameras. There is one more port in a router for one more camera but the only angle I haven't covered is right in front of the light. I would need a very sturdy camera to bear the wind and the weather that you find there. I will be looking.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


The numbers are out of this world.  Early in the morning; late at night; every step along the way; the numbers are astronomical.

What numbers am I talking about you ask?  I am talking about guests to the Light, the beach, and the jetties. In a period when stores, movie theaters, concerts, and ball games are off limits, the Lighthouse is the destination of choice.  It has gotten so popular that each night I pray for rain to slow things down a little. 

I have heard people at 4:45am. I have gone out at 2:30am when I was awakened by two guys and a girl playing music in front of the Tower. I told them to go wake up the rich people in Minot.   I had a whole family having breakfast at 5:30 one morning. The teenagers had no idea I could hear everything they said from my bed. Three women who were older than I am inadvertently shared their latest news from the gynecologist. I didn't know how to get away from it fast enough. You can hear everything anyone says on the rocks while inside the house.

The town attempted to cut down on the numbers by taking a lane of parking out of service with some Jersey barriers. No luck there. The remaining spots are full up all day and all night.  

Roughly 50% percent are masked. I went out twice in the last week to run people off and found groups masked and photographing the planets and the sky in long exposures. Two young women were actually reading the plaques by cell phone light. Another group was singing until I asked them how long they planned to sing so that I would know how long I had to stay up. All are apologetic. I tell them they have nothing to be sorry for and that sorry doesn't help me anyway. I don't need sorry, I need a night's sleep.

One couple a little younger than I am was sitting just in front of the Light with a camera set up to catch the comet of a few weeks back. I explained that I could hear them and saw his eyes wonder what he had said that I had heard. They were very quiet after that.

We get big crowds when there is a big moon. Julie caught it just right the other night. We will have another big mob on Friday for the annual Luminaria. I am getting the milk jugs out of the basement when this is posted.

After a certain time of day, 9am there are very few people here from town. You can hear their questions and their answers and it is pretty easy to figure out they have never been here before. They read the Downton stone, the Army of Two plaque, the banners and the Etrusco signs and hopefully pick up a little to share. Many photograph the banners so that they can get the blog address for the web cams. If you are one of the guests, welcome, and I hope you take a tour through the blog archive for more photographs and musings.  Just go home by 10:00 please. After that I can get a bit testy.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

July 2020

After a long lapse the blog is back up and running. It has been 11 months since a post and there is a good deal to review.

The last post indicated that things were quiet here as Haley had gone to Australia for a term and I had a blockage in my ear that wasn't going away.  Both have resolved themselves. Haley is back in DC, working at Starbucks and online with an internship with the Smithsonian. My ear cleared up but it took chemotherapy to do it. The blockage was caused by a good sized mass in the middle of my forehead caused by lymphoma. 6 months of treatment began in January and I am good to go again. There were some side effects that were a drag but overall I was cared for by a remarkable team with remarkable skills.  Being sick takes a bite out of you but that is in the past. I am feeling better and better with each passing day. The hair is coming back.

Around the Light the biggest change caused by the pandemic is the absence of the boardwalk. In order to discourage congregating the boardwalk was left disassembled in the yard. Perhaps we gain another year by taking a year off. The crowds have been as big as ever despite the absence of an easy path by the harbor. The Town attempted to cut down on crowds by blocking off a row of parking spaces in the lot but the numbers have been as high as ever all the same. 

The gardens have flourished. My sister Lee and Julie did back breaking work in the spring to clean up the beds and even introduce two new ones. There were some swings and misses but I think we have plants in places they will thrive now. A member of the Beautification Committee, Mary Tennaro, saw to it that mulch was delivered and she did her share of weeding prior to laying it down in the garden by the flagpole. She also saw to it that flowers once growing in a Town Hall garden were brought down here for us to transplant.  She has long tended to a memorial garden here and brought all that know how into the mix.

We started with these beds in May. Got them cleaned up and let the weather and the water take us on a ride.  As always clicking on an image will bring you a bigger version of it.

These last few photos are of new gardens that were begun when some dying bushes were removed. It freed up room for some more perennials and a few annuals. Next year I will have even more time to work on it. Lee and Julie got it started and we tried hydrangeas as a anchor plant but they were getting too much sun and had to be moved. They are over by the house now and doing much, much better. This is an example of where Mary T's expertise helped us out.

To say I was supported by friends and family throughout being treated is the understatement of the day. Not a day went by without a card or a note.  I was sent a lot of puzzles and got a couple done. My brother shared a picture and a note with my favorite center fielder. 


It was pretty cool to be in so many thoughts and prayers and I don't know where to begin to express how grateful I am.

In other Lighthouse business I am trying to repair one of the web cams. Turns out it rusted in the wiring and I should have a replacement for the 180 cam inside of two weeks. The others are up and running and when they are not it is usually because power has dropped out and they need to be reset. I get to it within a day as a rule.

I am also working on improving the weather station reporting here. I may need some time to figure that out but there should be a working link for at least wind and temperature in the upper right hand corner.

Julie has a raised garden this year. My sister and brother in law were instrumental in making that happen. 

The banners and signs are back in place and it remains rewarding to see how many stop and read them. It helps tell the story and there is nothing I like more than story telling. We also have a new sign on the house with the street number. We had a few grocery deliveries hung up because the driver couldn't find a street number.

I am on Instagram as well with Lighthouse and family photos. The tag is @bobgallagher44. The blog site has changed which photographs I can make available here and Instagram looked like a good option.

School looms as it did when I wrote last here. No one knows what it will look like. I got a delivery of face shields and masks yesterday and have been preparing to teach remotely along side classroom teaching. A second monitor has been added to the computer array.  Software has been vetted for usefulness and easy student access.  We will try to move them along and bring them to their own perspective on our history and the issues of the day.

I will be more diligent here. One final gift we were given is a new grill from my sister in law. The little one on the left is a new one I bought in the spring and that was assembled by my overworked brother in law. The one on the right is fancy and we took a ride to Rockport to pick it up. 

 As I have gotten better I have found myself watching a lot of cooking shows. Most of the stuff is stuff I would never eat as it is either good for you or very spicy. Some however, is grillable. This corner is a place to try stuff out. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Late Summer 2019

You can hear the difference as it winds down. Or most of you can.

This summer has been noteworthy for me as I have dealt with a blockage in my left ear for nearly the whole season. Fluid in the middle ear has pooled and remained caught there despite several attempts at treatment. I have some hearing some of the time; I have little hearing from time to time. Hopefully a Mass Eye and Ear visit in October will resolve this trick or treat aural nuisance.

The second noteworthy mention is that it is the first summer without Haley here. She is doing a term in Australia, Brisbane to be precise. November will see her return before wrapping up Junior year back at American in DC.

So it has been different. Quiet for both reasons described above. We took up puzzles to break up the time and that has been fun.

The Quarterdeck was one of the projects.


Another was old Volkswagen Bugs in Cuba.

The most recent was a puzzle of classic books.

Reading a wide variety of books has been the main activity here. Mysteries, histories, novels, general non fiction. The highest recommendation would be for a history of the 1936 American Olympic crew team called the Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. This was an amazingly well told story, deeply sourced, heartfelt right to the end.  Well worth your time to take a trip back in time with this writer and this subject.

An engineer has been engaged to at last evaluate the structural integrity of the lantern room here at Scituate Light. There had been several false starts as contact was made but appointments were never held. Rivermoor Engineering has sent its best to help us out. More on that project will be shared as it evolves.

The last few weeks has also seen attention paid once again to the web cams. There is a new one labeled Harbor 180 that can pan and zoom from the edge of the light to Jericho beach. I was thrilled to get the deal I got on it and thanks go out to Johnny C who came through with the ladder I needed to make it happen.  

The placement of the Harbor 180 camera meant that I could repurpose another one. That is now the Uptop 4 Way Camera. That offers four perspectives from the Lantern room.  The user name remains viewer. The password is history.

From the Harbor 180 camera.

From one of the Up Top 4 Way camera views.

School is back in session on Tuesday with the meetings that kick off the year. Wednesday we see some students and Thursday we see them all. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Rockets Red Glare

Her is a little slice of the bombardment of the South Shore on July 3, 2019. Imagine if fireworks were legal in Massachusetts. The pictures below were taken by Julie - neat stuff.

And here is a brief video of the action.

Thanksgiving 2020

 Whew. Hasn't this been a run of days? Months? Whew. School is back in session and I am back in place in front of students for four of t...