Snettisham 2020 - 4: Weathered in on Solstice?
June 18 - 21


Homestead in the rain

Photo Album

The forecast called for rain, heavy at times, and they weren't wrong! The wind was supposed to shift form ENE to SE in the morning, so I had in mind the idea of getting up early and making an attempt to beat that switch and the front that was evidently going to bring that rain. So I'm not sure I slept much past 5:30, though I didn't get up until about 6:40. Still, it felt early, so I was surprised when I didn't make it to the harbor until around 8:00. I didn't have much to do other than feed the raven, check the weather, walk Cailey, and throw some food in the tote. It was raining steadily, so I was overheating in my rubber raingear as I hauled two loads of gear to the boat and got everything ready, running the kicker the whole time to give it some use. We pulled away at 8:25 on an utterly calm channel. I kept telling Cailey we'd take it just as long as we could! We ran into some good patches of chop about two thirds of the way down, then it calmed again and I was again grateful. As we approached Point Arden, though, we started getting seas from across Taku Inlet, over toward Slocum Inlet. I had wondered how an ENE wind would manifest in the inlet, and I was soon satisfied as it materialized into a very brisk wind out of the Taku, kicking up steady two foot brown white-capped seas that we slid around and splashed through. Quite a tumult. Of course they built up worst in front of Arden and I was relieved to find that they dropped a bit when we were well past and, indeed, came behind us as we headed to Grand, though still keeping our speed down. Past Grave Point we were able to get back up to speed and I enjoyed the serene, misty ocean around me from the limited view of my hooded and hatted head. I tried to keep Cailey covered as much as possible when she was laying down, but I think she may have been shivering a bit as we entered the port and came against a brisk chop--more of this ENE, I guess, but very unusual in the port. It was small, but disruptive, so we headed for the far shore to seek some shelter and were successful, passing by the world's perfect eagle's nest with nearby eagle on the way. Just shy of River Point, the engine stopped because I hadn't unscrewed the lid on the fuel tank enough for it to breathe. Thankfully, for once, the fuel pumped through the line easily and we could soon see the homestead.

The tide was reasonably high and unloading was quick and easy. I anchored the boat, paddled in, finished hauling up the gear, and came inside to find the stove pilots lit and in working order. Cailey had seemingly forgotten her cold and chagrin of the boat ride and was happily chewing a hoof left out last time and did not want to come inside. We'll see how long that tank lasts, but it's a relief to find everything in order, having forgotten to turn off the propane in my anxious departure last time. After unpacking and getting the couch on the porch, I started to prep for internet work, placing the modem and laptop into a tote (on its side) to protect them from the rain, untangling cords, etc. I set up the ladder, started the generator, hooked up coax cable and power, reread my instructions, and, somewhat optimistically, went to the pointing page. It showed a signal of 70. Not a great sign, since I'd left it around 110. I first loosened the bolts on the pipe and swung it back and forth until I got the highest number I could and locked it in, per Joe's instruction. Supposedly, as long as it was in the range of the satellite, I was supposed to lock it down and do the rest of the peaking with elevation and azimuth (the latter a new feature for me). Doing so dropped the signal strength, as expected, since the dish moves with the tightening of the bolts. But the elevation failed to get me any higher. Long story short, after an hour of futzing with it, including several breaks to allow the chickadee parents to feed their buzzing nestlings (yay!), I'd maxed out at 89, the azimuth getting me a few extra points, but a far cry from the 120, or even 115, I was seeking. The weather was grim, dense rain and clouds--could that be affecting the signal so much? Amazingly, I saw that the "Next" button which had been grayed out before was now a blue button, so I clicked it. Sure enough, another screen came up and started checking off three functions. Joe had told me there would be five, so I figured more would come after these. But only the first one got checked off. The next one made 30 tries to connect and failed. After leaving it run while I prepped soup for lunch and nectar for the hummingbirds, then fetched a beer, opened Hermit Thrush, and picked up both camera cards, I finally shut it all down and gave up for the day. It was all supposed to happen automatically when I clicked "Next."


I had tomato soup for lunch with my modelo especiale, and then I laid down on the couch in the sweltering heat of the lodge. I'd kept the fire going since I'd first arrived, as we were both chilled and there were Cailey's boat bedding and raingear to dry (amazingly, nothing I was wearing underneath was wet). I read about Catherine the Great for a while and then drifted into a nap in which I woke many times, but never very fully. Cailey curled up on the other end of the couch. When I woke up, the inlet was a solid wall of white with no shoreline visible, just my boat serenely at anchor. I read a bit more, struggling to finish a book about Frances of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton. In fact, I'm back there again, the rain a constant and cozy companion on the roof, the inlet socked in, the fire picking up again unexpectedly. I just laid a fire in for later, but evidently there was enough heat to set it off again. This old lumber burns very fast, but at least there is plenty of it for now. It smells wonderful too. I hadn't seen any hummingbirds when I arrived, but at least one is coming now that the feeders are full again. I've been hearing a lot of varied thrush calls around the lodge and hermit thrushes farther away, as well as a surprising number of songs by a Wilson's warbler, who I look forward to seeing in the bushes outside. Actually, there is much to look forward to out there, when I feel like leaving this cozy lodge. For now, I am content and have no agenda, having failed at the only task I was seriously hoping to accomplish. The vegetation is so high again that you can't tell I ever weed whacked this spring, but I did not bring the machine, as there was nothing in the forecast but rain. I did bring back my push mower from the Taku, but I suspect it won't do well with the tall, thick plants. The roses have begun to bloom and I got a pink petal on my hand after smelling a sweet flower, but they are a bit hunkered down in this rain. The irises, too, are blooming magnificently and sagging a little as well.

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I had a can of chili that has been here at least a few years, and was delicious. I relished it. Cailey was so sleepy and relaxed (and possibly full from the treats she'd found outside) that she slept next to me on the couch while I ate and for a time afterwards. Only when I got up to wash my face and get ready to go to Hermit Thrush did she ease her way down and get supper. We headed out around 7:30 in the rain and soon got a fire going in the Nordic stove. I've finally convinced Cailey that she can get on the bed (a little boost helps) before I do, which is better for both of us since I seem to have all kinds of little tasks when I arrive (light the kerosene lamp, get diesel in the stove, brush and floss, change clothes, light the fire, fill the kettle, etc.). Having read most of the afternoon, I first tried to watch an episode of The Deuce, but it was raining so hard that the noise of the roof was too loud to hear over even with the volume at maximum! So I resumed reading about Catherine, taking her close to her coup.


We slept well and I noticed that the rain on the roof had diminished considerably when I woke up. I read a little in bed until the persistent song of the Pacific Slope flycatcher urged me out of bed. What I found was a very wet world under an overcast sky, and amazingly, no rain. Big drips of water fell regularly from the trees and the bushes were all bowed under the weight and the little rivulet by the shed was running strong, water seeping from the ground. I was eager to spend time on the porch watching the chickadees, but never quite could relax, I ate breakfast there, gazing in awe at the calm inlet and the brightness of the day after the gloom of the night before. Perhaps I would have a chance to test my theory about the satellite signal after all? First, though, I could see that the tide was already coming in fast, so Cailey and I took a COASST walk. An eagle was sitting on the nest, no doubt having kept the eaglets dry during the deluge. Wilson's warblers sang and another flycatcher from the mountain. The world felt magical, a little shinier after all the rain, with a million possibilities around us. It felt a bit like fishing in the fall when the world is full of life in the streams and the promise of a fish on the line, but so early in the year.


By the time I got back, I could see where the sun was behind the clouds and decided to set up the system to try for internet again. I was gratified--and relieved--to see a 120 immediately pop up on the screen. No need to mess around with the dish then, the signal was there. Now to connect....I hit the Next button (which looked different from the day before) and saw the same three actions on the screen, only this time they were all working, even the ranging. I let it run for a while and grabbed clippers, trimming back the salmonberries and currents from along the steps and up the side of the porch. I kept checking on the status, but there was no change. I kept clipping, up the path to the outhouse and eventually around the top of the outhouse roof where I'd need to work later if I wanted to try to right it. After maybe 30 or 40 minutes of trying, I changed browsers because I was getting a strange message about not being able to connect to duckduckgo because of something in Firefox. Just in case that could possibly be relevant, I tried it in Chrome. This time the ranging check appeared, which was a start, but it then went back to trying. My laptop battery was dying so I quickly grabbed a strip and plugged it in. And then clipped some more while I waited. Eventually I gave up; it was obviously not going to connect today. I was mildly disappointed, but not surprised. I have no idea what Joe will say this time.


Although it was early, I was ravenous, so I heated up some Indian food in a pouch and ate in the glorious bright and calm day on the porch. A fledgling varied thrush perched on a branch of Nigel Cottonwood before flying upriver while his mother chirped on the other side of the porch with a beak full of grubs. There were at least three hummingbirds and a spotted sandpiper passed by. I read a few pages of a new book (actually one from my childhood) and then, once again unable to relax, decided we'd better head upriver if we were going to. I rolled the kayak over from its usual place on the grass and hauled it to the river. As I sat down and invited Cailey in, a large brown vole appeared on the bow, having emerged from somewhere on the side of the cargo hatch! As Cailey perked up, I hastily backed into the river lest she simply snap him up. I paddled a few feet downriver and kept Cailey away with the paddle, intending to pull the kayak into the grass a little and usher the stowaway ashore. He beat me to it, though, running to the bow and dropping overboard while the bow was about a foot from shore. I scrambled out, but there was no sign of the vole. Presumably he swam through the sedge sticking out of the water and scampered away into the meadow. Cailey eagerly sniffed the bow and took her time climbing in.


The river seemed high, no channels showing when I looked out two hours after a -1 foot tide this morning, and covered in spots of foam or floating sand. We were able to make it farther up the grassy beach this time, maybe halving the distance to the alders. The beach grass was over head high and I was a little uneasy about treading through it, so we stuck to the flooding beach area. Varied thrushes peeped and I saw a Wilson's warbler in the bushes. I'd heard one on the walk up along with an orange-crowned warbler and a Lincoln's sparrow.


Having yelled and sung a great deal on the way in, I felt comfortable returning along the edge of the meadow, after which we moved back to the beach for the short walk to the boat. As usual, Cailey was ecstatic, playfully racing at me as I slogged back downriver. From there we poked out head into Gilbert Bay as it started to rain again and made a wide circle back home. I still wasn't excited about crashing on the porch, so I changed into dry pants and went to work on the outhouse. I brought up the jack, a couple of 16" or so rounds, and some pieces of PT lumber scraps. Pulling back the tarp revealed that the downhill corner of the top of the outhouse was a couple of inches off the ground and seemed a good place to start. I excavated a hole with my hand deep enough for a bit of lumber and the jack on top and then cranked, surprised at how well it came up. I tucked the round under that corner and repeated the work on the other side, stopping short of full extension so as not to raise that end higher than the other (the ground was higher on that side). I was uneasy the whole time about balance and making sure the outhouse was well supported and not likely to shift to one side. Once both corners were up off the ground, I shifted the jack to the center of the outhouse at the top of the door, using a board that spanned most of the width of the door to spread the pressure. Again, I was amazed at how nicely it went up and stopped half way up a full extension to move the rounds back in case the jack gave way or the outhouse slipped. I repeated this a few times, moving the jack farther under the door each time, and then on top of a round to get enough height. I brought up more rounds for that purpose and to add to the support under the downhill side. I couldn't believe how well it was working. It was hot work, digging in the ground to level and place the jack, laboriously lowering the jack by hand every time (which I think took more effort than raising it), scrambling around the outhouse from side to side to shift logs, and fending off mosquitoes and noseeums, or whatever they were (my mosquito coil ultimately went out). Once I slipped off the log I was sitting on and fell backwards down the trail, surprised to find my head several feet lower than my legs.


But up it came! Would I be able to push it the rest of the way at some magical point? Would I be able to use the jack to get it up that far? It got to the point where the rounds I were using to support it when I moved the jack were beyond the mid-point of the outhouse so I needed a support at the top of it to prevent it from pivoting onto its roof. It was up high enough that rounds weren't practical. As I walked down the path to look for options, I spotted the strange and rarely used portable work bench that normally sits on the back porch. Maybe this is its raison d'etre! I carried it up and awkwardly shoved it under the top of the outhouse, dealing with feet the buckling under it (apparently by design) and needing to support one foot with a piece of lumber to keep it relatively level. But it worked and I soon had the jack raising the outhouse up even more, forcing me to continue awkwardly moving the work bench farther in on the soft ground, first with the addition of a round and then a round plus a couple pieces of lumber on top. Somewhere in there I fetched a shovel and removed some of the soil and rocks that had fallen in the open hole in the last year and a half.  There was no evidence of waste of any kind, which was nice. Eventually I fumbled around with the jack and boards enough to realize that I couldn't use it straight up anymore, as the outhouse door was at too much of an angle. For the last extension, I propped the round at an angle with a board under one side. I was uneasy, but it never showed any signs of unbalance. The only warning sound I heard (repeatedly, alarming me each time) was a salmonberry bush snapping free of the roof it was stuck to as the outhouse rose. After carefully bracing the top of the outhouse with the work bench one last time, I crept in and pushed up the top. It took almost no effort, and a second later the outhouse stood in its place looking nearly perfect except for the very soggy front door. Once I had given it a nudge, it was totally out of my control and when it rocked a moment in place, I was worried that it might tip right on over down the hill on the other side. Very grateful it did not!


It had taken two hours to raise. The inside looked great as well and with a few seconds of effort, one wouldn't know anything had happened. When the outhouse was half way up, I'd unscrewed the metal peak piece because it overhangs the front and I didn't think I'd want to duck under it to use what I thought would be a lot more effort to push it the rest of the way up. So I need to put that on and cover it with a tarp, as there are broken gaps in the toughtex roof, all of which should be replaced. It's sitting several inches back and to the right of where it used to be, but it feels pretty solid. I made four trips down to bring all the gear and scraps away, leaving a very nice and tidy area. Having worked in rain gear, my t-shirt was soaked in sweat, so I cleaned up a little, changed shirts, let Cailey out (I'd let her inside to escape the bugs and relax the last hour or so I was working), and fetched a celebratory beer from the freshet. It felt immensely satisfying to have that outhouse standing! Not only was it an accomplishment to right a building I could not lift myself, but it took work and creativity, and it feels like a wrong in this place has been righted! It was not right to have that outhouse lying on the ground covered in ugly blue tarps.


I hung out on the porch a little longer, watching the chickadees feeding their nestlings and carrying out fecal sacks while light rain fell on the river. A wren flew by and I heard more hermit thrushes and a Townsend's warbler. This time I managed to relax a little and read until my stomach told me it was time for dinner. The bugs were worse, so I had mosquito coils burning, which seemed to cover Cailey and me. She was curled up in her bed after eating I think both a hoof and a cow knuckle buried from last time. I intend to leave one of both behind this time as well for her to enjoy on the next trip. Having had soup for lunch twice, I had a quesadilla for dinner and a cup of decaf coffee for dessert as a little front stirred the wind up and actually sprinkled my face with rain from my seat on the couch. That quickly passed and, as it was only 6:00 and I felt like going to bed, I decided to wake myself up which I did by grabbing the clippers and heading toward the other outhouse to clip back the burgeoning growth that seems to be choking that trail. I wasn't sure how much of a dent I could make, and so was surprised by the easy progress in pushing back the devil's club and salmonberries. I clipped up one side of the path, then to Hermit Thrush, and back the other side. Although the rain had picked up, I took a left instead of a right at the end of the path and clipped the trail back the other way to Hermit Thrush. I'd already clipped the boardwalk while waiting for the internet to connect earlier, so suddenly I had everything clipped back and civilized. Except of course the grass in the meadow, which looks like it was never cut this summer, but it really is too wet for that. The mower just does not handle vegetation that tall very well. When I came back, Cailey was sacked out on the floor on the edge of the blue quilt and the lodge was sweltering from the fire I'd lit--hopefully it will finish drying Cailey's blankets for the trip back tomorrow as well as my sodden pants. And here I am, about ready to pack up and head to Hermit Thrush for the night, feeling quite satisfied with the day. Tomorrow the tide is in the early afternoon, so I should have a relatively stress-free departure, perhaps around 3:30 or 4:00.

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I had a somewhat restless night with a bit of a wakeful period around 4:00, so I was a little disappointed but not surprised to find that I'd dozed myself past 8:30. I cleaned up and closed the cabin, then headed to the lodge in the steady rain that had picked back up in the night. I'd been annoyed at myself for not covering the outhouse yesterday with its big holes in the roof, so the first thing I did was head up there with the roof cap and made a poor job of awkwardly shoving and pulling the badly ripped tarp around it, leaving as much as I could across the door to help it dry out. With the addition of a rope to secure it, it should hopefully allow the inside the dry. There was about an inch of water in the trash can, which happened to be below one of the holes. I also hid a spare set of keys to the lodge and the shed, then came inside to clean up and make breakfast and tea, cleaning up the lodge and packing while the water heated. When it did, I failed in my first attempt at jasmine tea, having accidently used the larger cousin to my new favorite tea mug and making it hopelessly weak. Eventually I was breakfasted and sitting outside with a cup of tea, which I let grow a little cooler than I would have liked while I wound down the jack which I just did not have it in me to do yesterday. And then I read for a while, and drank my tea, soon wrapped in a quilt for the chill. The rain was steady, pattering loudly on the tarp I had laid out on the porch (the one I'd added to the outhouse last fall), but it fell on a calm inlet. Contemplating my trip home this afternoon, I thought again how much I'd prefer drenching rain to wind any day. I was still there when the breeze starting, first a little gust swirled the big leaves of the current bushes, then manifest in the chop coming in off Gilbert Bay. So much for calm winds, it appeared that a front was coming in.


Around 11:00 I headed out for more tasks, suited up again in rain gear. I had only two main projects for day: planting the cottonwood tree from Bullard's Landing and setting up the motion sensor cameras. The rain this morning had made my decision about possibly crossing the river again to set it up on the way out--I did not want to start my trip home soaking wet from either sweat or rain, so I needed to find a place for it. As for the cottonwood, the place I'd picked out for it last fall happens to be directly in the path of the new satellite, so in the hope that one day I'll be able to connect to it, I looked for another place, prowling along the edge of the bushes downriver and crawling through them to look for open areas like where I'd planted Nigel Cottonwood. I did find a few open patches in the middle of the berries, but they were very wet and would have required extensive trimming to allow enough light in for a tree less than a foot tall. The bushes were well over my head. While I was in there, I cut the top four feet off the spruce tree growing this side of the alder and cut down several other, smaller spruces growing nearby. I skirted the bushes upriver looking for more suitable habitat and found it even more wet; the best place I could come up with was downriver on the other side of the little alder where there was an area that seemed a little higher and drier than the sogginess around it. I dug out a pair of lady ferns and the root of a dead current bush to make my hole, tucked in front of a row of berry canes that I hoped would discourage bears from stepping on the cottonwood. It was a good sized hole, though, and was filling with water. I headed down to the river to see if there was any sand available on the rising tide and carried back a shovelful. I then brought over the cottonwood, carefully laid it aside, and filled its tub with two loads of wet sand. Rather than planting at the bottom of a depression to encourage water to collect, as I might normally do, I planted the little tree on a mound of sand. I also dug a little drainage trench from the bottom of the hole. Then I sank a number of the canes I'd cut--mostly dead--behind the tree to add to the illusion of a barrier a bear would not want to traverse, at least relative to the opening right next door.


By this time, the Ronquil was rocking at anchor and 1" seas were rolling in off Gilbert Bay, which is the weather I will not depart in, having seen what it is like at the entrance to the port in these conditions. Which isn't to say that I haven't been very wrong about my predictions quite often in other situations, but it bodes poorly for water Cailey or I would like to be on. I weeded around the roses and their resident strawberries, chocolate lilies, and, for the first time, blooming geranium. It was 1:00 then, and I put away some of the tools and took a break, meeting Cailey inside where I'd put her about half an hour before. I lit a fire and made a quesadilla for lunch, and here I sit after 2:00 wondering what to do. There are still light seas coming in off Gilbert Bay, but it has calmed down a little. I will need to make a decision fairly soon so I can clean and close up if I'm going before the tide makes it difficult to do so. So much for my stress-free departure! Actually, as I look out at the swaying spruce boughs I am thinking I will probably overnight; I do want to be home for tomorrow, but I am awfully cozy and content here and, even if the front does pass and the wind dies a little, I know that the seas out in Stephen's Passage persist longer, just without the white caps. Perhaps a departure as the boat floats tomorrow morning is in order. I have been thinking that I need to make longer trips down here, even if they are fewer--these weekends, even when they start in the morning of the first day instead of after work, are all too short.

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At 3:30 I called it and sent a SPOT OK message to the family. The breeze had picked up again and the tide was dropping. Leaving Cailey inside, I hooked up the hose and started cleaning the downriver and back walls of the lodge in preparation for staining later this year, if I get good weather for it. After projects in dense or soggy vegetation close to the ground, it felt downright civilized to just stand and spray a hose against the wall. I started on the downriver wall, spraying everything and then scrubbing a few places where algae had grown as well as the metal sheets that are now protecting it from drips. I also scrubbed the back deck, green and slick with algae, then moved on to the back wall, climbing onto the top of the bear proof box to scrub the siding where drips had allowed it to green up, and also scrubbing the rest of the siding on the box, a bit of the lower wall, and the metal sheeting protecting that corner. At 5:30 I was through and the lodge looked better than it has in years! Inside, I washed the inside of the picture window with hot water and vinegar, which I've noticed this spring is quite dirty, then saw that the kitchen window could also use it, so I washed that, and then the others, all of which were quite dirty! How do windows inside get dirty? I think it's possible I've never washed the inside of them. They look amazing. By then my supper of 2016-expired pasta was ready and eaten with relish. I read about Catherine the Great until almost 8:00, then stepped outside head to the cabin. 


It was cold in the cabin and I'd left my fleece night clothes in the lodge (to wash at home), so I slept in some of the clothes I had on, waking up again at 4:30 too warm. I got up around 7:40 and found the boat predictably aground far from water. With a -2 foot tide, that was expected, and there were standing waves here and there, but no sandbars past the shoreline, which is unusual. Perhaps the river is still high from all the rain. I immediately carried the mower and garden sprayer to the boat and fueled up, returning later with the tote and garbage. I tidied up the lodge, clipped some vegetation that was creeping into the old lumber storage area before putting the clippers and other tools away in the shed, and did a handful of other tasks before finally sitting down to breakfast at 9:00. A Townsend's warbler perched in Nigel Cottonwood and varied thrushes were around making a variety of loud calls, buzzing, plain, soft, loud. I wonder what they are up to. Chickadee nestlings are sticking their heads out the hole to cheep and look around, their white cheek patches a little gray still. Hermit thrushes were singing, and the hummingbirds (whose feeders I filled back up) were wildly chasing each other. When I was too cold to stay outside any longer, I came in and lit a little fire, then immediately went back out to work on the internet. Now that I have a signal, I thought it wouldn't hurt to see if I could use the old cable that comes in the house rather than setting everything up outside. As I write this, I've confirmed that it does work and am letting it spin its wheels while I write this. The boat now has water around it, but I pulled the anchor up the beach so I have a few minutes before we should head down there. I have mixed feelings about it. Every time I went down to the flats, the wind was a steady blow from Gilbert Bay, standing Cailey's ears up. That's not a great sign. Up here it seems to come in waves. I should probably give it a try. The internet has failed to connect, but for the first time, both the send and receive lights on the modem are lit and steady.


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At that point, I saw that the boat appeared to be floating and the anchor was not in sight, so I rushed to finish the final tasks, pulled up the kayak, and bolted to the boat. It was definitely floating, but the anchor should be much shallower. I slowed sloshed toward the boat in the general area where the anchor should be and, as I was peering at the bow to make sure that there was an anchor line attached to it (it was hidden on the other side), my foot kicked the anchor. I drug the boat back toward shore until it hit bottom, dropped off my gear, stowed the anchor, helped Cailey jump aboard, and shoved off around 11:00. We immediately hit disheartening chop and swells in Gilbert Bay. But, it was an otherwise pleasant morning and I was already underway, so I turned into the entrance to the port, enjoying a brief respite in the lee of Sentinel Point before running into what soon became smooth two foot seas. I rode up and down them for a while and tried for a signal to the marine forecast, with no luck. I was sure I didn't want to be out in Stephen's Passage where these would be four or five foot seas and, though I could raise a marine forecast there, it wasn't worth another 30 or 40 minutes bucking the seas to get there. We headed back to Snettisham and, by noon, were back at the lodge considering lunch. I spent some time outside then, continuing to try to entice the birds to my offerings of meal worms, with no success. All morning there had been more varied thrush calls around the lodge and once a fledgling flew to an adult toward the bottom of the path through the meadow. By the afternoon, this fledgling had made this area his home, foraging up and down the narrow opening in the thick vegetation. I've also seen voles cross the opening a couple of times. Once the thrush perched on the porch and I thought he might be interested in the meal worms, but he didn't approach. To my delight, a hermit thrush did fly in, flinching as he began to land nearby, but then approaching on foot, right to the edge of the dish on the porch, peering at the offerings. It seemed certain she would try one, but she turned away, perhaps caught something in the bushes, and disappeared. I finally saw the Wilson's warbler that I'd heard sing on and off and I heard an orange-crowned warbler singing farther downriver. Also unseen were the Pacific slope flycatcher, Townsend's warbler, and (I think) golden-crowned kinglets. Again I saw both chickadee parents enter the nest at the same times, and both of them fly away with fecal sacks. When I got too chilled, I came into the warm lodge, stoked the fire, and worked on making a list of the plants I could identify by working my way through the iconic Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast book by Pojar and Mackinnon.

As I got back to work, I noticed that the seas coming in off Gilbert Bay were diminishing and the day was brightening. In fact, it was beginning to look like quite a nice evening to be on the water. At 3:30 I set about closing chores again and kayaked out to the Ronquil with a more optimistic heart than I'd had before. It felt like the right time to leave. We definitely ran into chop in the entrance to the port, but more the usual sort, and we were able to turn around the points and comfortably take the passage inside Seal Rocks. There were still 2-3 foot seas all the way across Taku Inlet, but they were easy to slide over without a lot of pounding or squirreliness. It was better than the last two rides I'd had. It rained very little, but Gastineau Channel was a wall of white and, not for the first time this summer, we drove into the rain. Ezra met me at the dock to unload and I was home before 7:00 for a very long, hot shower and the second half of Anne of Green Gables.



Raising the outhouse