Drained the dining room cistern yesterday by using a hose siphon led to the rocks below the grass.
Simple. The kitchen cistern was another story because it is lower. I couldn't get a siphon going by
sucking on a double length of hose. I racked my brains on how to empty it (without draining directly into
the basement through the gate valve at the bottom of the cistern). FINALLY, about noon today, I came
up with an idea. I ran a hose from the drain pipe connected to the 12 volt electric pump down to the
rocks below the grass, closed the valves to the attic tank and the dining room cistern, opened the
valve connecting the pump to the kitchen cistern, and hooked the pump to the 12 volt battery. PRESTO!
Now, I knew the battery would go dead before the cistern was pumped dry (and I didn't have the time or
desire to de-winterize the gas generator to recharge the battery) - ie - estimated 600-800 gallons
remained in the kitchen cistern. At 4 gallons per minute, up to 200 minutes or 3 hrs 20 min would be
required with the 12 volt electric pump. WHAT TO DO? Shut off the pump! Not needed once it got the
siphon process started! It worked! (However, while that solved the battery problem, I didn't have 3 hrs
to wait. So, just before closing up and leaving, with about 200 gallons still in the cistern, I put several
boards in the cistern water to provide "give" for the ice when any remaining water freezes.
(Reminder to myself: dining room cistern has a LEAK -------> skim coat inside w. cement in spring or with
another type of sealant).
Billy climbed into kitchen cistern and unscrewed the screw on the check valve at the end of the hose
leading to the kitchen hand pump. This drained the valve, hose and pump. (Screw replaced ----> ready
for spring. Except top needs to be put back on kitchen pump. I removed it in a failed attempt to pour
non-toxic RV antfreeze in. All it did was overflow, of course, because the pump and hose were full of
water until Billy released the check valve below).
One thing Larry and I did that was not on my list - ie - removed tops from faucets on 2nd flr sink and
poured in non-toxic antifreeze. Larry thinks water from there down to the music room via pipes was
what froze last winter and created the leak this spring (which flooded the music room when water was
pumped up into the attic tank). I don't think that was the cause. But, doesn't hurt to be safe.
Pulled about 50 carrots. Many, many left in ground. Oh, well. Can't do everything!
Bob Collier came by. He put together a nice loose- leaf binder with photos of the construction of the
pier, ways, etc, together with detailed instructions on raising and lowering the ramp. He also put
together a nice tool kit for use in the process (which I left in the boathouse together with 'Little Sister'
and my little, light, white fibreglass pram and the new garden cart. Hope everything is still there in the
I am very pleased with Bob Collier and his work. However, we need to come up with a better system for
raising and lowering the ramp. I think Bob agrees. The present system is too complicated, takes too
long and is too hard on the arms (ie - endless cranking of the two winches).
Ramp comes up for final time tommorrow. Ramp and float will go to Bar harbor for the winter. I've asked
Bob to stencil "WHL" on both ramp and float. He said he would do so.
FRI 19 SEPT, 1997
Today has been one of my favorite days on Mark Island. Awoke about 1:30 a.m. last nite to the sound of
an owl not far from my bedroom window. I think he (she) was on the peak of the shop roof. I thought it
was a Great Horned Owl by its hoots. Sure enough; when I walked down toward the tidal pool south of
the tower after breakfast, I saw the tell-tale sign of a great horned owl : a dead seagull missing its head.
Cute 'little' birds, those great horneds!! (the rest of the seagull was intact. I've seen the same thing at my
farm over the years with my chickens the prey.) They like the tender parts - eyes and brains - and leave
the rest! Picky! But, I guess they can afford to be - given their deadly hunting prowess.
Owl. 25" from
head to toe.
Photo, courtesy of
Guide to Birds).
Saw a snow white gull-like bird (but, much bigger) at the top of the fir tree by the old wind tower frame
when I came out of the shop. It immediately flew away. Looked it up in my bird book: a "Glaucous Gull". I
think. 28" wingspan. "Native to the artic and sub-artic potions of Alaska, (but) winters in the northern
U.S.". Quite a predator. Captures and eats plovers, small ducks, songbirds and fish (also feeds on
"garbage.......and even bird droppings".)
Just thinking about a couple of things I read. The blue whale has the loudest call of any creature on
earth. The sound of its call exceeds that emitted by a rocket being launched. A polar bear downwind
from a human can smell the scent from a distance of TWENTY (?) MILES. Wolves communicate with each
other by howling. Why aren't they confused by echoes from their calls? Wolves howls are emitted at the
precise decibal levels which do not produce echoes. A Grizzly bear's sense of smell is believed to be 100x
stronger than a Bloodhound's. Pretty neat.
Table from "Instructions to Light-Keepers and Masters of Light- House Vessels", 1902:
THURS 17 OCT 1996 continued
Kitchen pump (water from
cistern), table top kero cooker
(nice and simple), and both
with kitchen mannequin in hat.