Thursday, May 6, 2010
The phrase “water, water, every where, not a drop to drink” has run through my mind a couple of times. Even though we don’t get that much rain and don’t collect rainwater the saying doesn’t apply here. The water is very fit to drink here. I know it may sound gross, but the bath and drinking water come straight from the lake. He told me that no one has ever gotten sick in the seven years that he’s had the island. He’ll even reach overboard from the boat and scoop up a ladle full if he’s thirsty.
Monday morning was a lazy morning and a later breakfast – pancakes, yumm! We came in from doing stuff outside and started thinking about lunch.
“Let’s take a picnic lunch and go to Wheeler Rock and the boiler.” Hugh suggested. He had mentioned a couple of times that we should take a trip over there. Wheeler Rock is a low-lying rock a couple miles away that a wooden steam barge, the Rhoda Emily, had shipwrecked on in 1918. The boiler from the boat still sticks up above the water line and is often visible from our dock. At the spur of moment we quickly made peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches on bread he baked a couple days prior. The last two oatmeal raisin cookies went in the bag and a couple oranges and some chocolate. And off we went — to Canada!
Wheeler Rock is just on the other side of the international boundary. It is next to Kitchener Island and Cockburn Island, Ontario Canada. The gulls were constantly squawking and screaming as we drove around Wheeler. Lazily drifting with the current we ate our lunch while we went around Kitchener. Hugh got thirsty and pulled out his ladle.
“You have to go pee don’t you?” Hugh suggested a little while later.
“No, why?” Not understanding the implications of his question.
“Well I’m going to have to go soon if you don’t.”
This didn’t make much sense to me.
He then pointed out a stand of extremely tall native grasses on Kitchener. He was wanting an excuse to pull ashore and walk around.
“Well I might have to go sometime…”
As we walked around admiring the tall grasses Hugh handed me the binoculars. “Here’s a new one for our list.” There were three turtles sunning themselves on a log in the pond we had just walked up to. They seem totally unaffected by the clamoring of the his and her Canada geese. Since I’ve been here I’ve seen gulls, Canada geese, mallards, golden eye ducks, American mergansers, cormorants, ravens, buzzards, great blue heron, sand hill crane, yellow-rumped warbler, crows, flickers, pileated woodpeckers, snowshoe hare, red squirrel, two types of Fritallary butterflies, Karner blue butterfly, white tailed deer, and a night hawk, which isn’t really a hawk.
A night hawk is more like a woodcock and hunts insects at night. It has a funny call. Late one evening we were walking back to the house and heard it. Hugh told me what it was as we stopped to listen. A minute later I saw it tear through the sky after a bug in the dim light. If Hugh hadn’t told me what it was I would have thought it was a strange flying bat. And yes, add to the list of wild life midges and bats. And no black flies, yet. The black flies are out on Drummond Island, but they aren’t making their presence known here on Shelter Island. We get a lot of wind so that keeps them down.
Back to Kitchener Island… We approached the grasses to be stopped in our tracks by a thing that sounded large. It came towards us from the center of the grass. Hugh suggested we skirt around the grasses to see if and what might come out, hopefully on the other side. We heard a bit more rustling and then nothing. In the distance we heard a bass drumming of wings — grouse. Then there were two grouse drumming. But nothing came out of the grass. We thought we might see muskrat, beaver, or another goose, but nope. Peering into the grasses I noticed sunlight glinting off something. Using the binoculars revealed a turtle. Could it have made the noise we heard? I don’t think so. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to wait until next time to find the grass monster.
“Gosh, I’ve done it again, I’ve kept you from your writing.” Hugh says lovingly, knowing I hadn’t done much writing that day, while sarcastically expressing how much he’s enjoyed all that we do together. I told him that I was happy to sacrifice my work to try to find the grass monster and a couple more puddingstones.
The boat ride back was a chance for me to continue my watercraft education. The wind had picked up while we had been on the leeward side of the island. Waves were now about one to two feet high. It was nothing to be concerned about, but it made the ride much bumpier than earlier. I peppered Hugh with questions about dos and donts in rougher waters. And heard a couple more tales of strong seas.
When I was packing to come out to Michigan, I asked Hugh if I should bring my passport. So, even though he had said no I wouldn’t need it, I did get to take a trip to Canada.
This morning has been productive, in a manner of speaking even though the wind was strong and chilly. It was only about 45 degrees out this morning. The wind picks up a lot of strength as it’s blowing out of the south. It can travel a long distance unencumbered because it is coming from the south over a large amount of lake.
We walk past the west bay when we go to and from the north dock. This last week Hugh has had the boat parked there, so each morning I’d go by it and see which of the gulls, geese and mallards were around. This morning, I saw Hugh off at the east dock, the one closest to the dock. Walking from the house to the east dock and back wasn’t enough of my “morning cup of joe” wake up walk, so I had to extend it. Even though it was cold I needed to go see the west bay. A mallard and a gull were brave enough to face the strong wind and low water. Brrr, okay time to go back in. The sun was still being hidden by thick clouds that threatened rain. Although my spirit wanted to go for a walk, the weather and lack of any particular goal made the warm wood stove very inviting.
“Let’s get some work done this morning and let things blow. Then maybe the sun will pop out like it did yesterday and then you can do something outside in the afternoon.” That sounded good. Enjoying the rest of the warmth of this morning’s fire I got online. The booster antennae that Hugh set up makes all the difference with getting a signal. My Verizon broadband has been working very well. Although in Baltimore I enjoy the speed of FIOS, the broadband has been very quick. Much quicker than AT&T.
So I checked email, did some research on the feng shui bagua. I wanted to confirm which corner of Hugh’s house is which. Also on my list this morning was to research flights for future travels back and forth – B’more and here. Easily done! I called AT&T and cancelled my service with them. Fortunately they have a 30 day period where I can cancel with no early termination fee. Done. And last was to call Delta to find out if I could get exit row seating for my flight back to Baltimore.
“Sorry that’s only for our ‘Medallion’ members.”
“Oh, well, it never hurts to ask.” With a couple more flights out here I might make it to Medallion.
All that was “left” to do was get some more tea, a cookie and write.