The Dining Room
with its old
"fire-breather"; it's
firebox full of pin
(and larger) sized
holes, affording  
views of the burn
flames and a danger
to the whole
keeper's house. It ,
together with the
old kero heater that
I had picked up at a
yard sale for the
farm (insert above)
placed  in the
adjoining "Winter"
Kitchen, was my
source of heat for
the first two years.

I patched the holes
with high
temperature stove
compound and
painted the then
rusted stove with
"Rust Converter".
The latter was a big
mistake. Looks great
here, but the
Converter  wasn't
intended for high
Should have read
the directions (no

Fire is a huge threat
out here. No running
water. The old
house is a tinderbox
and the island is
covered with peat,
which could literally
burn underground
for months if a fire
took hold.
Tired of shivering, spring and fall (and a few cold summer nights), I
replaced this old "fire-breather" (in my third year)  with a new
woodstove, which heated the whole house and had a firebox big
enough to throw heat almost 'til morning. But getting it onto the island
and into the house was a major proposition. Strong backs and a couple
of winches. I couldn't bring myself to throw away the old fire-breather
(nor anything else on the island), however,  and placed it in the shop
(not hooked up).
                                               Tuesday  10 September 1996 (continued)

The second objective I set down for myself last winter  was to improve procurement of basics:  water for
drinking,etc, and
heat for cooking, and refrigeration for food........done with (a) rewiring pump, hooking up to
new 12v battery and pumping water (up from cistern) to attic (tank)......(then) gravity feed (down) to faucets and
new Katadyn filter to purify for drinking, and (b) hooked up propane stove and refrigerator (installed by previous
Quite an improvement over last summer ('95) when I had to haul drinking water from land in 5 gal jugs, cook w. a
one burner kerosene stove, and keep perishables chilled w. 5 and 10 pound blocks of ice from town.
The third objective (I set down for myself last winter) :
kick back and relax - just really beginning to do this a
bit now.  
SO many projects.
Later, 1998, three-burner, high-powered
kerosene cookstove, hand-built for me by the
Amish to replace my one burner kero, table top
cooker and the gas stove installed by the
previous owners. Oh, what luxury it is.

#62-823  black & white 3 burner cookstove, 75 lbs.      $715.00
#331-X    Replacement wicks - one dozen @ $7.50           69.50
Color literature                                                                            Free
Repair parts list                                                                          Free
#62-2BB  Full size oven                                                         147.00
#H601-762  Oven thermometer                                               5.50
                Total due                                            $ 937.00    
I first arrived here this year at the end of April (almost five
months ago! WOW).  But, up until last week, it seemed
like I was always on the go - physically or mentally, or
I am really settling in now!  And spend virtually no time
anymore wondering or worrying about  getting on or off
the island. Improved access helps. So do the weeks I
spent at sea in the Atlantic in a leaking 36' sailboat in late
October, 1992 (dodging hurricanes and gales. No matter
what the sea conditions are out here, I know the island is
not going to take on water and sink).
I've made some headway out in the shop. Cleared the long work bench, bought and installed an old,
big, heavy vise (what a big plus), and semi- organized paints, brushes, tools, materials, etc. Still much
to be done out there to reduce the incredible clutter. Problem is I don't like to throw any thing out,
and out here it seems none of the prior owners did either. There are huge piles of Sunday New York
Times Book Reviews out there, dating back to the 1950's, taking up space and causing the shop floor
to sag under their weight in one corner.

This was the first year that I planted a garden here. It was an experiment. I placed it next to the
outhouse where the old henhouse used to be. Generally excellent results with radishes, lettuce,
onions (except I lost 3/4 of these when the rhubarb, planted in 1939 by Bernice Richmond, grew to 5
feet tall and shadowed them), carrots (even without thinning because the peat is so soft), and peas.
Beets, spinach, zinnia flowers, and sunflowers all complete zeros. Pumpkins started out well, then
wilted and disappeared despite plenty of water
                                 The Shop
Right- interior after "organizing" ( you should have
seen it before!)
Bottom - exterior looking east. I'm in the process of
staining the outside and installing  a window  for better
cross ventilation. I cut a hole in the wall and used an
old window I found in the shop after thinking about it
for a year. My hesitancy was based on the fact that the
shop had  consciously been built without a window
there more than 100 years ago. I couldn't figure out
why. Everything else about all the island's structures
(including locations) reflected very careful thought
and planning. I kept wondering if I had overlooked
some reason for the absence of a window  there.
Frankly, I'm STILL curious!
Tuesday 10 September 1996  continued
New wood stove in
dining room (left), and
old firebreather (right)
headed for storage in
shop, 199_.
"There was a good deal to be done and,
privately, the ship-wrecked sailors were glad
to be left by themselves for the doing of it.
        Arthur Ransome, Swallowdale