Keeper’s Log

July 11 – Lantern Room Coming Along

Barb reporting in again on her, Tom & Marty’s activities:

8:30am temperature 62 degrees. barely enough wind to flutter the flag.

Humidity low.

Last night we had a nice thunderstorm between 12-4 with lots of rain. Stars were out at 4:30am but there was still a lot of wind.

This morning after a hearty pancake breakfast with sausage and Canadian bacon we worked on wire wheeling the cast iron panels in the lantern room. We worked until the batteries ran out for the tools. We cleaned up and Marty took pictures to document the work.

This afternoon I mowed and trimmed. The guys had other maintenance things to do.

Dinner was garlic parmesan pork chops and rice pilaf. Everyone is going to bed with a full belly. I took a solar shower after dinner and it felt so nice, I was so dirty and dusty.

8:30pm temperature 62 degrees F

Wind on this part of the island-none. But you can hear the waves breaking on the other side of the island.

Life if good on South Fox Island.

Wind-driven waves

Exploring the condition of the frames needed to hold the lantern room glass

Results of wire-brushing the cast iron lantern room

July 10 – Progress and weather

Another log from Keeper Barb

“Temp at 7:30am 64 degrees

Wind SSW about 15 mph
Humidity “up there”

The flag was “just a flying” most of the night. We had a couple of shutter dogs on the lighthouse that were loose and several shutters banged most of the night. Those were adjusted later today as we are expecting winds up to 40 mph tonight.

Currently, 7:30pm. Winds are about 23mph out of the SSW. Temp is 72 degrees and it is comfortable.

This morning we finished pulling panels in the lantern room. This afternoon we lowered them down from the lantern room. The sun had come out at lunchtime and it was brutally hot up there this afternoon. Slow and steady wins the race.

Tom finished the summer kitchen back deck. He started setting the foundation with crushed zebra muscles and flat rocks.

Dinner tonight was Venison steaks, fingerling potatoes and pickled veggies with taffy cracks for desert.

The waves are so big today we had to pull the pump we use to draw water way back off the shoreline. This morning we started with a few waves rolling in. Tonight we have 3-4 footers. They look and sound great.

Everyone is tired after a very labor intensive day. Hopefully we all can be rocked to sleep by the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.”

July 9 – Initial reflections from Barb

Keeper’s Log 7/9/23. Day 2 for me. (Author Barb Falkenhagen)
Temp this morning, 64 degrees.
Winds, none.
Humidity, tolerable
This morning we replaced the missing plexiglass in the new structural tower.
After lunch I worked with Marty Rosalik doing demolition in the lantern room of the 1867 tower. They are checking the rust jacking on the cast iron. This multi year task has begun and will continue one step at a time to restore the longevity of the tower. So far it looks pretty good.

Thomas McBride worked on the summer kitchen fitting framing for a deck and the screen door that Catherine brought out yesterday.

7pm temp is 69 and the wind is enough to gently fly the flag.

Life is good at the South Fox Island lighthouse. Looks like the weather may change tonight.

July 8 – Team Turnover

Bear the boat is on the way. Dan and Jeffrey are leaving and Barb is coming out. The solar installation was a great success. Now we need to write up an operation manual. Tom & Marty stay on for their second week.
In week one we used gasoline in the John Deere, water pump, and a half hour of generator for the power saws in Fog Signal (shop).
All the battery powered tools, cell phones, and portable inverter boxes have been solely charged by the sun.

July 5 – Solar Success!

Per Marty Rosalik “South Fox major project number one is complete.

Solar panels are charging the eight 100-pound batteries. The 4000 Watt inverter is running. A. Couple small details and an operation manual to do.

In the morning we set up the big ladder and go after the Skeleton Tower. Some old solar equipment up there. Going to see what is still good.”

June – Portico Roof Repaired!

The slate roof has been failing on this Assistant Keepers Quarter’s portico for some years. The flashing was damaged, tiles missing, wood exposed. With the eventual reroof of the building remaining TBD, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) approved using asphalt shingles as an interim solution.

Volunteer Jim Greenwall took on this job on his recent stay. Thanks Jim, Mike & James for your work this week.


June – Season underway

Teams have been out removing stone from around the boathouse, clearing brush in anticipation of solar panel installation, painting and doing a variety of carpentry projects. In the photo below, Jim Greenwell installed a trellis recreated by Doug Noren over the winter.

This is the front of the Assistant Keeper’s Quarters and one of a number of projects to return the building to its historic appearance.

August 27 – Island Shutdown

Langs were picked up this afternoon and dropped off in Leland. The station is closed up for the season  and all closeup procedures followed. All equipment, wagons and solar panel stowed inside, batteries, trash and gas cans off etc.  Buildings locked. Additional projects included painting floor of summer kitchen, cleaning hillside and repairing water pump.

August 24 – More painting projects

After the weekend crew returned to shore, Keith & Ally remained to spend the rest of the week on their own before being picked up next Saturday. They have been sending pictures regularly via a borrowed phone. Their first painting project was painting the new basement entry.

August 21 – Painting and more

Lovely weather for our trip out to South Fox on Saturday morning–fun to see the Langs, long-time camper-keepers, experience a new way to arrive on the island via tall ship–with an experience to steer along the way. Enjoyed having the riding mower and cart to transport our gear up from the landing site to the buildings–what a difference that has made! We opened the buildings and settled in, finding the new bedding luxurious, although Keith and Ally opted to camp up by the Fog Signal Building–they love the sunsets and the lapping of the waves lullabies! Following our usual fabulous food (thanks, “Cookie” Kathy Sanders for organizing and cooking), we sat and shared island stories until dusk.
A bright and early start to Sunday began with Cookie’s breakfast of eggs, sausage, fruit, yogurt, and croissants–to say nothing of enough coffee even for me!–we dispersed to our various plans of attack. The Langs cleared the path down to West Beach (for the intrepid only, as my ankle will attest), Cathy Allchin and Linda Posler painted the front room in the 1867, and Kathy Sanders, Pete Koeppen, and Naomi Stadt tackled the parlor–first, moving all the furnishings to the kitchen and then generating vast quantities of paint scrapings.
After lunch, the team continued with lead remediating paint to the walls and part of the ceiling, while Linda braved spraying the poison ivy and Cathy cleared the new path and beach obstructions. Can you say tired and hot? What else to do but don the bathing suits and head down to the remains of the dock, finding a new “hot tub” pool perfect for a bracing dip. Several of us ventured down the newly cleared path to the West Beach (sliding down the dune at the end), and Kathy Sanders cooled off on that sandy beach. We convinced her not to cook, so we had a lovely “pick-up” supper of crackers, spreads, and fruits, followed by an early bedtime. Lots of activities for the team with a median age of … <ahem> 68 or so?
Sunday morning was devoted to closing the station, buttoning up the assistant keeper’s quarters while Keith and Ally worked on the bulkhead door (christened “Dorothy’s door”). (Incidentally, while they were clearing brush Sunday, they located Leader’s grave marker, which had gone missing during the winter storms.) We found and attached the shutters for the lean-to (with only minor cursing), put away our tools, cleared up the kitchen, and covered the bags of cement. A calm day on the bay, with a very easy transit to the dinghy and Champion for the homeward journey.