A.A. Milne’s opus about the shipwrecked sailor, who couldn’t get around to actually doing any of the survival projects that he dreamed up, ends thusly: (see framed version behind the ‘auxiliary tool closet’ in the living room)
“And so in the end, he did nothing at all,
But bask on the shingle, wrapped up in a shawl.
I think it disgraceful the way he behaved,
He did nothing but basking, until he was saved!”
Most years, that’s pretty much me at Haversham in the summer, all boating and basking. But on rainy/foggy days when that is not in the cards, one runs out of excuses not to do anything useful, and some halting progress can be made.
First, some important stuff:
After Waste Management failed to manage our waste reliably last year, on the recommendation of Harvey and Sarah Perry, we have hired T&J Sanitation this year. Communication is not T&J’s long suit, but persistence (by Suzanne, among others) has paid off, and they are now collecting on Wednesday mornings. Recyclables (glass, metal, plastic and clean paper) can be co-mingled, but separated from garbage. If there are issues, some contact info:
The Verizon land Line went from scratchy to unintelligible to dead this summer. Annie eventually got through to Verizon service, who said that they no long support copper lines, but would install a new fiber optic line at the same service cost, which they have done. The remaining problem is that they failed to include the battery backup that allows it work in a power failure. We had one, and it didn’t. But at least it does work when the power is on, which is an improvement. More to come.
Faithful old OWL continues to serve, leaking a little, but only needing a pump-out once a day, not once a Pond crossing. Thanks to the Kress family for getting her launched and rigged. The young Brothers Kress were concerned about rumors that OWL was going to be dumped in favor of a younger, better looking, model. She won’t last forever, but with a rebuilt mast step and all that nice varnish work (thanks, Madge and Nanna), there are no such plans in the short term. One thing to consider might be divesting ourselves of the Precision, and getting a 2nd Beetle to ease the inevitable transition. OWL’s sidekick HOOT got her first coat of topsides paint since launch. Inside still to come. The Sunfish both need TLC, and we need to dump (literally) some dead boardsailers, that don’t even work well as SUP’s.
The OGRE guys had trouble with their hatchery this spring, so have only been able to fill about 25 floating cages this year, instead of the intended 125 around the Narragansett Bay and salt pond shorelines. We made the cut, I think because we e-mailed them saying that the kids (of all ages) here learned a lot from the process last year, and were hoping that they would be back this year. They are, and some OGRE staff will be back periodically to check on things. They ask that we NOT turn them over this year, possibly because too many people cut themselves to ribbons on the shells. In mid July this year the set oysters were about the size of deer ticks. Last year they were the size of quarters in August, and silver dollars when they were removed (and placed in good habitats) in November. They have ‘lost’ a few in the area between the two Perry docks (Periscope and Harvey & Sarah), so we can watch what happens in the wild locally.
Next, some rainy day stuff:
It seems that the big red beast breathed its last this spring in a cloud of blue smoke. It could no doubt be repaired, but after about 30 years, enough is enough. After a look at what Home Depot had to offer, Nat and I went to Pat’s Power Equipment in Charlestown, and were sold on a two wheeled ‘weedwhacker on steroids’ that was touted as easy to manage, hard to damage (on rocks, etc), and well suited to holding greenbrier and sumac at bay. Which is a good thing, because the greenbrier and sumac that Nat, Pete, and the landscapers had so nicely cleared (last fall and Memorial Day) was already knee high after only six weeks! Nat and Willy (the weedwhacker) had it all cleared again in just over an hour, having to replace the whacker cords just once. Willy does throw debris in all directions, but he seems to be a really good replacement for ‘big red’. Those who are interested can check him out at: www.patspower.com/pages/Brochures/UnitDetail/122184
The Kress clan made a valiant effort to do some mowing, but ‘Little Green’ mostly gagged and wheezed and stalled. Nat started diagnostics, and we soon discovered that the air cleaner was plugged so solidly with grass, seeds, and misc. crud that it is a wonder that any air go through at all. If a small gas motor gets fuel, air, and a spark, it pretty much has to run, and now this one does, too.
Pierre and Bub
We did another beta test of Pierre (the power washer) with a hose and a bucket. He seems to need a head of water to stay primed, but he again cleaned the slime off the ramp very nicely. (Someone is going to get seriously hurt slipping on that stuff if we aren’t careful). But he needs a source of fresh water, since he would corrode away really quickly on a salt water diet, and Madge kindly produced Bub (her retired rain tub), which Nat set up behind the boathouse door. (You will notice that most of the initiative and actual work on all these projects came from Nat. I mostly offered free advice and encouragement from my rocker on the porch). We got some rain gutter materials to fill Bub, but those need some wedges to install level. So a still work in progress, but with promise.
Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
Annie did all the procurement, I put eight screws in various walls and ceilings. There are now three working smoke detectors, one on each floor, and two extinguishers; one at the bottom of the steps to the 3rd floor, and one under the coffee shelf next to the stove.
Bub (the tub), awaiting a rain gutter and a hose, to supply Pierre (the power washer). And to rinse salt water off stuff, and to irrigate whatever we can get to grow between the boathouse and the ramp that might help prevent more erosion.