Home Again

 

Passed a couple of really big milestones this week.

1) Today I finally was able to bring the boats home.

 

 

The Melonseeds have been away rooming in Doug Lawson’s rented garage for well over two years – since a month after the house fire. We needed our shed to store what could be salvaged from the house while cleaning and construction progressed.

 

 

Even after the basement was cleaned out from two feet of sooty water, and purged and repainted, it was temporary storage when we moved back in, until remaining projects got sorted out.

 

 

So Doug gratiously offered to space with his boats about 20 minutes away. We’ve had four boats, plus kayaks, two or three lawn mowers and wheel barrows, etc., all crammed into that two car garage ever since.

Then, of course, we got hit with this little thing you may have heard of – a worldwide plague – which has lasted over a year.

So before I could re-home the boats I had to clean out the shed. To clean out the shed, I had to first clean out the basement. Done, and done.

 

 

 

 

Also, after a year of doing nothing, I’m out of shape, so this project required some concerted hammock time to finish.

 

 

2) And, fortuitously, I was able to schedule my first dose of the anti-plague vaccine last week. Apparently, I’ve been drafted by Team Pfizer. Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play!

 

 

 

Weather was great today, so Doug and I met over at the garage and extracted my boats. Looked just like we left them – a fine dusting of pollen the only sign they hadn’t been on the water a few days ago. And home they came.

 

 

 

 

It’s been a harrowing couple of years, no question. Today, for the first time, it’s starting to feel normal again.

And good.

Looking forward to time on the water again very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Doug!

Chasing Ghosts: A Short Documentary Debunks a Long-Held Theory About What Pollinates the Ghost Orchid | Colossal

Swamps are such amazing places, and when not maligned and drained, are mercifully neglected.

CHASING GHOSTS | OFFICIAL SCREENER | © GRIZZLY CREEK FILMS from Grizzly Creek Films on Vimeo.

In their quest to identify the pollinator of the ghost orchid for the first time, a team of explorers, photographers, and filmmakers spent three summers standing waist-deep in alligator- and snake-laden water, swatting air blackened by mosquitoes, and climbing to sometimes nausea-inducing heights. They came away with a startling new discovery – and an even deeper love for Florida’s wildest wetlands – revelations that may help to conserve both the endangered orchid and its shrinking home.

WINNER, ‘ECOSYSTEM’ SHORT FORM – JACKSON WILD MEDIA AWARDS

WINNER, ‘SCIENCE IN NATURE’ SHORT FORM – JACKSON WILD MEDIA AWARDS

WINNER, ‘LIVING FORESTS’ – WORLD WILDLIFE DAY SHOWCASE

Produced by Grizzly Creek Films in partnership with bioGraphic:

https://grizzlycreekfilms.com/​

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* Instagram: @grizzlycreekfilms @biographic_magazine @bendicci @carltonward @peter_houlihan @macstonephoto

 

Source: Chasing Ghosts: A Short Documentary Debunks a Long-Held Theory About What Pollinates the Ghost Orchid | Colossal

Comet, Big Dipper, Cedar Fencerow

Comet Neowise

 

Emily out in Oregon encouraged us to get out and look at the comet. It’s been beastly hot and buggy. We have not been enthusiastic.

But they just mowed the big hay field, making tick-free walking possible for the first time in months, so last night we took a stroll and it was well worth it. After a few minutes for our to adjust to the dark we could see it clearly, and it grew brighter as the twilight faded.

This photo was a 10 second exposure taken with my old Canon camera. I managed to save it from the fire, though it’s blackened all over. Couldn’t save the tripods, so I propped it on one of the hay bales and a bag of black beans.

Some more from the series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Wrong

 

“There is a way of being wrong, which is sometimes necessarily right.”

Edward Abbey – Desert Solitaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After ~ January 2020

Terri and I have a lot of people to thank. We’ve had so much support from near and far throughout this year, and we don’t know what we would have done without it.

 

 

 

 

Last week we started sending out progress photos in emails, but we don’t even have contact information for many of the people who came to our aid. So I’ll be posting those photos here, along with a lot more as time goes on, more than is practical to send in emails.

We were able to move back in a few days before Christmas, a year and a fews days since the night of the fire. The house isn’t done, but it’s close, and we can continue the work more easily and comfortably now that we’re back. The yard is still a total wreck, complete with dumpster in the front yard and debris littered about. We’ll get to that soon.

Meanwhile, the inside is amazing. We still mourn what was lost, but that gets easier every day. Easier still, because we’re so pleased with the results of all the hard work.

Here are some before and after photos. In some cases, even the before-fire before for reference.

 

Living Room two days before he fire

 

Living Room the day after the fire

 

Living Room now

 

 

Living Room. The fire uncovered a doorway we always suspected was there originally.

 

Same wall with the doorway restored.

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Window before the fire.

 

 

 

Kitchen Window today

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had just finished the renovation two months before the fire.

 

 

Same view today

 

 

The sunroom a few months before.

 

 

Sunroom today. The arched ceilings are gone, but it’s full of light again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things We Saved: Sails, a Jewelry Box

 

The floors got refinished Friday, so we had to stay out of the house all weekend. This finally made some time for a chore postponed for a year now – washing the Melonseed sails.

Jim Drake, a fine boatbuilder and fellow sailor in the Old Bay Club, got in touch shortly after the fire, so soon I think there was still steam rising from the snow. He asked what he could do to help.

The night of the fire, the fire marshal generously offered to take us into the house to retrieve anything of value. We were so numb we couldn’t think. He went in and pulled photos off the walls, and found Terri’s handmade jewelry box, black as ebony, and brought them to us. I could only think of one thing – my sails, stored in the basement where the fire started.

We went in by the basement door wearing headlamps, and waded  through shin deep sooty water, still raining down from the floors above. By the light of the headlamps I could see gear and tools and wood bobbing around in the black pool. The shop looked like the hold of a sinking ship. We grabbed the sails rolled up in Tyvek, and carried them out into the yard.

In daylight the next morning, I could see that, miraculously, they had not been scorched, but were covered in soot. When I heard from Jim, maybe even that day, the only thing I could think of was this boatbuilder friend might be able to figure out how to clean them.

And he did. A short time later a box arrived from his sail loft, containing two pounds of special cleaning powder and a set of simple instructions. For a year now, the sails and the cleaner have been stored in Doug’s rented garage, waiting for me to attend to it. Besides being consumed with house construction, the prospect of trying to clean the sails, perhaps only to find them beyond saving, was enough to put me off. With move in day coming in less than a week, and the wet floors keeping other tasks at bay, seemed like it was now or never.

They soaked in a tub of hot water with the cleaning solution overnight, stirring with a soup ladle every few hours. This morning I pulled the plug. Trying to rinse them from outside the tub was a full contact sport, like wrestling a jellyfish. I finally gave up, stripped down, and just got in the shower with them. Which worked out well, but I will spare my gentle readers the photos of that particular step.

They hung from the rope swing out in the wind and the sun all day to dry. I must say, they look almost as good as new. Cleaner than they were before the fire. There are only a few faint smudges left, adding character. I’ll always remember where those came from.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, and Terri’s jewelry box? Another friend, fine cabinet maker Todd Leback of Vaneri Studio,  took on the task of restoring it and sent a photo. It looks like the original birdseye maple again.

 

 

Two more things to make our Christmas a lot more cheerful.