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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Caretaker's Concern for 4/24/2010

TCC for 4/24/10:

Nothing new for today, no photos no nothing, just old stuff:

Before there was the blog the Caretaker sent out posts via e-mail, the following is from the Caretaker's second winter on the Island:

Island Ice Report for 2/13/07:

Outside temp: 11 F
Ghetto temp: 60 F
Wind: East, 5 to 10 mph, gusting to 20/25
Sky: cloud covered
Precipitation: Snowing, yippee!

The Caretaker is still getting things together for the coming snow storm, so he will not be able to spend much time on today's report, he will elaborate tomorrow after finishing with the first round of shoveling. The Caretaker was on the ice this afternoon working on flooding it to make a skating rink. Earlier in the day he picked up supplies from his car. This morning he picked up his car from G. G.'s, the caretaker will explain about him tomorrow.
Stay warm and should you get snow--may others do the shoveling for you.

Addendum to IR 2/13/07

Last night the Caretaker returned much later than anticipated, he wasn't even expecting to return after nightfall. Unfortunately due to his late return he was not in time to get on the ice from the Three Brother Islands access before the ice eater started up. The ice eater is set to run on a timer at night so the ice doesn't get too thick it will damage the dock, but not too thin either so you can access the Lake. One problem tonight was that the ice eater covered the ice in water which quickly freezes to skis rendering them mostly useless for skiing. The other problem was that the ice in the area near shore were one can access the Lake had been broken up a bit due to the Lake lowering, so, even if the Caretaker wanted to walk through the water, he wasn't sure if the ice below the water would hold. This called for plan B. Plan B is to access the Lake via G. G.'s property. G. G.'s place is on the mainland shore on the West side of Clay Island. His place is actually closer to the Island than Three Brother Islands, but the Caretaker prefers to use his property as a point of access only in an emergency, for example, last Winter when the Caretaker went through the ice 30 feet from the East shore of Clay Island and had to break through the ice all the way back to Clay Island. From there he went over to the West shore of Clay then walked across the ice in Huddle Bay straight to G. G.'s so he could get back to his car. Another time the Caretaker used G. G.'s property was last night. G.G. wasn't home at the time the Caretaker got there so the Caretaker loaded up his sled with the important things he would need and would come back for the rest the following morning (groceries so they wouldn't freeze, and clean laundry). After packing everything up on the sled the Caretaker left a note in the door to G. G.'s house and parked his car. He then set out on the ice to head back to the Island. There was a bit of wind and the ice was making quite a bit of noise, as the water moves around underneath the ice it will push up against the ice, sometimes it pushes up lightly other times it pushes up quite forcefully. If it pushes up hard enough it can cause the ice to separate. As the water moves around beneath the ice you can feel the ice tremor and vibrate, with skis on you don't feel it as much except when it pushes forcefully. There were a few times when the tremors hit right beneath the Caretaker while he was skiing out to the Island, the forceful tremors push against you and make a loud crack. When the ice is not snow covered you can watch as veins form in the ice from the hit, when it's nighttime and you have but a head lamp you can never be sure what it's doing unless it is right beneath you. The Caretaker must say, there were one or two hits beneath him during his trip home that almost made him pee his pants. He's not admitting this, he's sharing. Yes the Caretaker was successful at self-rescue when he went through the ice last year, but when it comes to the ice--past performance doesn't guarantee anything. Going through the ice at night is pretty much the last thing he wants to do, granted the ice is almost a foot thick at this point in time, but it is still not terra firma, so when those hits come right beneath your feet and give your knees a slight buckle, it tends to raise an eyebrow at the very least. So aside from the ice tremors and the couple of times the Caretaker got blown by the wind across the ice on his skis his trip back to the Island was rather uneventful. He stowed his gear and went to bed. The next day he skied back to G.G.'s to pick up the rest of his belongings and then move his car back to his usual spot after a trip to town.

G. G. How to explain G.G? Let me put it to you this way, his property reminds one of the setting for a television show from the 70's about a father and son. From what the Caretaker can remember the general theme of the show was that the father thought the son was a "dummy" and the father had this habit of feigning a heart attack, when he did this he would state that he is going to see his deceased wife. Anyway, so that's G. G.'s property, let me relate an experience I had with G. G. last year. It was a few day's or so after I had gone through the ice, I can't remember why I was on his property this time but I was, he invited me in to his house to warm up a bit. I took him up on his offer. As for the inside of G. G.'s house, I will leave that for another time, anyway, G. G. had been outside for a bit himself and so the fire in his wood stove had died down a bit. He put a few logs into the wood stove through the top hatch. He then picked up a bottle of jug wine and beaming as he screwed off the cap said: "know what this is?"
With mild hesitation I replied, "jug wine?" Not seeing why it would be anything other than that.
"No, I use this to help get the fire going!"
"Well, I suppose that's just as good a use for jug wine as anything else."
He then proceeded to pour liberally from the bottle on to the fire. At this point I had my doubts about the flammability of jug wine when all of sudden there was a loud "swoosh" as a four or five foot flame shot out of the top of the wood stove, and then quickly died back down.
This caused G.G. to step back a bit, he then chuckled some, "guess I used a bit too much."
"That's some jug wine you got there."
"Huh. Oh, this?" He smirked, "it's kerosene."
"Oh." I said. This was the first time I met G. G. and this incident occurred within the first five minutes. At this point I started to wonder if I should be looking to make my exit and fast. However, I didn't. I stayed for a while and kept up my end of the chit chat. I must say that for a little while after the almost burning down his house incident I found it a little bit hard to concentrate on our conversation, my mind was a bit concerned with thoughts like, what on Earth am I doing here? What on Earth is going to happen next? I was mildly fearful that the next thing he was going to show me was a contraption he had been working on that involved a toaster and a fish tank or some other such sort of thing--once you see one bad idea executed you tend to be on the look out for what the next one might be. In the end nothing else out of the ordinary happened, overall G. G. is a good guy and can be quite helpful at times. However, I would probably not let him light the barbecue. Seriously though, I'm sure the jug wine incident was truly an accident and he probably had intended for the flame to only shoot out a foot at most.

Anyway, so I bring the rest of my stuff over to the Island from my car at G. G.'s and then return to my car to go to town. Town was town. I dropped my car off at my usual spot and then skied back to the Island to get ready for the coming snow storm.

After attending to all the important things I then turned to the flooding of the ice in the cove between the Island and Sloop Island. To do this I broke a hole in the ice and dropped in the sump pump that I use for watering the lawn in the summer. I ran the main hose over to the part of the ice I wanted to flood and started up the pump. I then went and got out some of the garden hoses to hook up to the valves at the end of the main hose so I could more evenly distribute the water. My theory was that if I was able to flood the ice the way I wanted to, and if it froze over before the snow hit then all I would have to do is clear away the snow after the storm and then I could go ice skating. Seemed like a good idea, so I began with the garden hoses, which being frozen stiff they are not too cooperative, they don't seem to want to go in any other position other than the one they have been frozen into. Also, some of them still had some water in them and once they were hooked up to the pump system they did nothing towards distributing the water. So, I found the ones that would pass water and hooked them up, I took one of the obstinate ones and brought it into the Ghetto to thaw it out, I suspended it from the ceiling using the pulley system for my show set up and put a heater beneath the hose. Eventually the hose became malleable and what little ice was in there turned to water. I hooked this hose up so now I had four garden hoses running. Unfortunately I could not get any of the 100 foot hoses to bend to my wishes in time so I was not able to distribute the water as much as I would have liked. At around 11 o'clock at night I shut down the pump system and pulled everything from the Lake so it wouldn't get snowed over. In the end all of these efforts were to no purpose, the snow is so thick now that I could not be bothered to shovel it, more importantly there is a layer of water between the snow and ice so the chances of a good skating surface being made are pretty much hopeless. Unless of course if I had a snow blower out here, maybe next year.

--The Caretaker

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