The Challenges of Saving Lighthouses

This is reposted from Swallowtail Keepers Society blog. The blog is abandoned but the post is worth saving. Far more involved with saving lighthouses than I would have thought. (I did think about the weathering).

Lighthouses are usually located in the face of storms, exposed on several sides to strong winds and sea spray, frequently difficult to get to and challenging to maintain. With lighthouses de-staffed or de-commissioned, budget cuts rampant, and maintenance minimal, it is hard to see these once well-maintained structures deteriorate to a point that they begin to crumble but it is becoming all too common. The magnitude of the maintenance or restoration, and the ability to get to the lighthouse is often overwhelming. We have been fortunate with Swallow Tail that ownership has been transferred, access is challenging but better than many, and through the support of the community and access to various sources of funding, restoration work has been possible.

Unfortunately, in five months, three other lighthouses in the Maritimes have disappeared. Two collapsed during storms, the abandoned Fish Fluke Point on Ross Island decommissioned in 1963 but defied gravity for years (November), and Church Point on St. Mary’s Bay, NS, decommissioned in 1984 (March), and one burned to the ground, the remote fibreglass lighthouse at Point Aconi on Cape Breton Island (February). Fire was always a worry before lights were electrified. Elodie Foster, one of the light keepers at Swallow Tail, died from her injuries after her clothes caught fire while trying to start the burner for the light. More recently, electrical issues may be the cause of some fires because of the heavy salt presence and corrosion of electrical connections. Two electrical issues at Swallow Tail threatened to cause fires last fall and had no one been working in the lighthouse, the problems would have gone unnoticed until it was too late. Vandalism has also been a cause of some fires and has plagued locations such as Partridge Island in Saint John, and may have been the cause of the grass fire at Swallow Tail in April, 2007, which threatened the lighthouse and keepers house. It has prompted some communities to install security cameras. The ones at Swallow Tail can be viewed on the Village of Grand Manan website (www.villageofgrandmanan.com).

Fish Fluke Point lighthouse in better days.  (unknown origin of photo)

Collapsed Fish Fluke Point lighthouse as seen from the air in November 2013.

Church Point lighthouse before collapse. (from CBC.ca)

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Church Point lighthouse after collapse, 27 March 2014. (from CBC.ca)

Point Aconi lighthouse before it and the building beside it, burned to the ground in February, 2014. (from Cape Breton Post)

Collapse was not thought to be an issue at Swallow Tail but once work began last fall, it became apparent that it could have been possible. The lime had eroded out of the mortar, making the mortar crumble. The stone foundation was slowly pancaking, with the stones being pushed outward. The eight guy wires and the massive concrete floor in the equipment room were the only things holding the tower upright with probably only five large stones in the foundation carrying weight. Had any of the guy wires failed, the tower would have begun listing or worse. To fix this, all the stones were removed, one side at a time, and then returned with new mortar between the joints. The large corner stones, too heavy to easily lift, were adjusted back into place. The foundation is now functional again and should last for many more years with minimal maintenance.
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Peter Devine rebuilding stone foundation at Swallow Tail, September 2013.

During this process, it was discovered that the large wooden beam under the front door had completely rotted away. The remains of the beam were removed using a dust pan. Instead of trying to fit a new wooden beam back in a very tight space between the large immovable concrete step, stone foundation and the floor joists, a concrete beam was constructed. One of the 1859 wooden pegs, used to hold the heavy timber structure together, was discovered in the crawl space during the work, looking the same as the day it was made. This was the only spot were the heavy timbers of the lighthouse had completely rotted.

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Rotted timber beam under front entrance, September 2013

New concrete beam to replace rotted timber, September 2013.

Salt corrosion is another challenge, rusting nails so they no longer do their job. When some shingles were removed on the northern side of the bell house, the boards underneath came off as well. This was also an earlier problem with the boathouse and the entire southern wall began to fall off in large pieces as the nails disappeared and that wall had to be rebuilt. The shingles were stripped off the bellhouse, the boards renailed, and new shingles returned. Shingles on some sides of the tower were also falling out because the nails were gone. Face nailing to hold them in place during previous work only complicated the problem with water getting behind the shingles and rotting the wood. Several places on the tower, notably where the windows had been boarded up, were in worse shape than the rest of the lighthouse, even though the boards were only 40 years old compared to over 150. As the rot continued, longer nails were used to hold the shingles which further exacerbated the problem. It was very noticeable while scraping the sides where the problems were located because of the sponginess. Replacing the rotted wood and shingles where required, caulking the nail heads, plus one to two coats of primer and two coats of finish paint will prevent this for a few years. Because of the extreme weather conditions experienced on the point we hope in the future only the paint will suffer and not the wood behind.

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Northern wall of the bell house.  The nails had rusted off and the boards had to be nailed back in place before the shingles could be attached.

Areas on the lighthouse that needed repair because of water penetration causing rot.  The area around the fog horn was because of caulking and flashing failures.  The upper area on the tower was probably because of face nailing shingles allowing water to penetrate.

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Custom blade on paint scraper.

The entire lighthouse and bell house were scraped, primed and received two coats of paint.  The new shingles were primed twice.

Removing the windows in the tower in the 1970s was actually beneficial in many respects since there was little maintenance after the lighthouse was destaffed, but it changed the interior with no natural light or ventilation. Having the opportunity to return the windows to the original locations in the lighthouse was a goal during the restoration but a challenge since everything had to be built from scratch. One window could not be returned because the current fog equipment is located in that spot on the first floor. Windows from an 1849 house in Ontario were donated by the owners, who had once worked at a lighthouse in British Columbia. They were honoured to have them reused at Swallow Tail. The storms and gablets (or dormers) were new construction from mahogany with copper flashing and sills in an attempt to resist the harsh climate. The interior has been completely changed with the additional of natural light and makes it a very pleasant inside.

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Reglazing 1849 windows donated for the lighthouse.  The bottoms had to be cut down to 8 from 12 panes.  New glass was installed in each window.

Window unit – gablet with storm, all new construction.

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Windows restored on the southern side of the lighthouse.

The harsh winter weather stopped work in mid-December at the lighthouse. Work will begin again sometime in April. The windows and interior will be completed including repairing the lathe and plaster and painting, the boardwalk from the keepers house (cabled in place to protect it from the strong winds) will be built, and museum displays installed. We are hoping to have the lighthouse open again this summer. Restoration work could not have been possible without the financial assistance of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Regional Development Corporation, New Brunswick Built Heritage, Village of Grand Manan, Grand Manan Rotary Club, and generous donations.

10 Little Things you can do to Make your Bedroom Sexy

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blakeshotels.com
Source: Pinterest

  • a headboard
  • lighting
  • bedding
  • pillows
  • furniture
  • nightstand
  • art on the walls
  • drapes
  • paint or wallpaper
  • rugs

Your dream bedroom is just around the corner…. All it takes is a little redecorating and reorganizing to get the beautiful bedroom you’ve always dreamed of.

Source: 10 Little Things You Can Do to Beautify Your Bedroom | Martha Stewart

Martha has the right idea but not the same direction I’m thinking.

The most important thing in your bedroom is the bed itself.

There is nothing sexy about an old mattress or one too cheap for a good sleep. Before you spend money on any bedroom decorating take care of your practical needs. Invest in yourself with a great mattress.

Colours

Now, think about some of your favourite things. What makes you feel luxurious, romantic and sensual? Which colours work for you? It may not be the traditional red. Purple, is a great colour but don’t forget to consider blue, green, yellow and assorted shades of all the rest. The right colours will go a long way and colour is a wonderful way to set the mood and create an atmosphere.

Add the colours you want to your bedroom with all Martha’s ideas: throw rugs, extra pillows, paint your walls or furniture. Be sparing with patterns, think of them as a feature or an accent. However, even solid colours can have a texture or shine for a sexier look. You can find endless great ideas online, try a Pinterest search if you don’t know where to start, for home decorating. Your only real limit is how much you can spend. The more you can do yourself the better, but spend a little when you can’t do it all.

Details

Treat yourself to something extra special when you can. In particular I’m thinking an elegant chandelier. You need light after all. If you get lucky you could find an amazing chandelier and matching lamps for your bedside table, dresser, or desk. Consider a chandelier before other mood lighting. Do those strings of holiday lights or little pot lights really make you feel all that sensual?

Not everyone will be wild on the idea of adding mirrors to their bedroom. But, seeing yourself full length every day isn’t as horrifying as you may imagine. It can build up your confidence because you see yourself as you are rather than as you think you are. It’s also a good way to double check for stray threads, labels, and all the other little things. Plus, a full length mirror can come with a luxurious, decadent frame.

Try browsing flea markets, local artists shops for unique items (not just art for the walls but furniture, flower vases, lamps, etc.). Don’t buy something to make do or fill a space. Clutter is not going to make your bedroom sexier, just messier. Pick furniture and art you really must have! Don’t settle for less. (A great way to keep the clutter down is to move things to other rooms in your home or, give them away as gifts to good homes).

Appeal to more than just the visual senses. Throw rugs should feel good beneath your feet, or your bottom on occasion. Flowers can be nice but they aren’t reliable as scent in the room. Don’t OD on scent – find something pleasant rather than overbearing. Keep a DVD player and DVD’s available. I still like the radio myself.

This means that your bedroom should express YOU and have in and around it furniture, artwork, clothes and items that are deeply personal. An attractive bedroom with all new furniture and no real character is not sexy. Additionally, I’ve always found that women whose bedrooms express their older, mature sides are sexier than younger rooms that look like holdovers from college. Women are sexier than girls, so let go of the Victoria’s Secret PINK decor, or “my bedroom is just my crashpad” and kick it up a notch.

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Source: Ten Tips for The Sexiest Bedroom… Like Ever (And also for finding love) | Apartment Therapy

I like the ornate mirror and the way the walls and ceiling are done here. I would love an old fashioned engraved tin ceiling.

pinterest.comSource: Fireplace | Shabby chic * Romantic chic * Cottage chic * Beach chic | Pinterest | Fireplaces

A real fireplace would be great but not at all practical for me. Instead I could find something electric which only looks wood burning.

lacquerandlinen.com

Source: Anouska Hempel Revamps London’s Blakes Hotel | Lacquer & Linen

Maybe too much red. But… I really like it!

adesignideas.com

Source: 16 Sensual And Romantic Bedroom Designs | Design Ideas

I like the big mirror on the floor. A casual, simple thing but it gives the setting a little history/ mystery to be not quite perfectly polished.

homedesignetc.comhomedesignetc.com

Source: 20 Romantic Master Bedroom Design Ideas

In these I like the chandeliers and I love the clunky, solid, furniture (the bed and the dresser off to the side). I don’t know about painting the furniture. Covering the wood makes me feel guilty, but I do like the way they look once they are painted.

 

pinterest.compinterest.com

Source: Pinterest | Faux Fur, Fur and Restoratio…

I’d love to have this faux/ fake fur in my room, on my bed. It looks very lush and touchable.

pinterest.compinterest.com

Source: SEXY♥BEDS | Pinterest | Tree Bed, Beds and Trees

I also like the rustic, fairytale look. My perfect bedroom would be some combination of lusty red colours, elegant, polished, romantic but looking like something you could walk through and find in the pages of a fairytale. Secret niches, marked by a mysterious past but with a very comfortable bed.

Toleware

Toleware (from Wikipedia)

In the collectibles and antique industry, toleware refers to kitchen-related objects created from metal, typically tin or thin steel, and are often in decorative styles such as Arts and Crafts and Pennsylvania Dutch. Decorative painting on these items is common but not necessary. This style of decorative art spread from Europe (where it was referred to as Japanning) to the United States in the 18th century, and was popular in US kitchens in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The term is derived from the French name for tole painting, tôle peinte.

tolewareImage via Everyday Beauty: A Tole Tale.

Are you Afraid of the City?

I read an email list for Pagans in small towns. This is something I wrote for a discussion about agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces and large crowds, etc. The talk turned to the dangers of crowds and cities. I always get annoyed about misplaced attitudes about cities. I guess you can’t really take the city out of the girl, even when she moves far out into the small town/ rural city kind of area.

Large cities and large crowds are not that big a deal. Maybe some of you are giving yourself a phobia or hang ups. I live in a small city, Barrie, in Ontario. It is funny to me to hear people talk about Toronto (the city I grew up in) as if it were some big, bad place of sin and evil. Where everyone is in danger of being attacked at any moment. I’ve had people tell me all kinds of stuff they think about Toronto, how they will never go there… Then, I will be in a small town and people will tell me how dangerous it is to live here, in Barrie. There are too many people, it’s too big, there are street people and drunks coming out of the bar on main street…. Well, ironically, I’ve seen drunks coming out of bars in any town that has a bar. We had a car stolen once, in a small town – never in the city.

People build themselves up to be afraid. They sound weird to me. I still go downtown to Toronto and have a good walk around. It is not a big deal, I’ve never had a problem. I live in Barrie, I take the bus even! I walk right by the homeless street people. I’m not stupid and all Miss Sunshine about it, but I’m not living in terror either.

I’m not meaning to offend anyone. But, it sounds like you are painting yourself into a corner. People are about the same in a city or a small town. It’s more about how you see things versus where you are. We tend to find what we are looking for.

Like Catching Goldfish in a Rain Barrel

It’s a rainy day. So I am getting out for a walk and some pictures, somewhere. I haven’t decided yet. I’m still having my mostly cold coffee right now and watching whatever comes on TV. One channel is all kids shows and the other is all entertainment news, so far. Hard to decide which is sillier.

I am so tired this morning. I only slept about an hour yet I can’t get to sleep when I try going back to bed. Too much in my mind with this moving and packing and wondering what I am going to do until the end of July when we can move to Barrie. I’m going to have over a month of living out of the garage at Alliston.

Not literally. But, keeping mostly everything in there is not going to be nice. It stinks in there. Why do garages stink? It’s not just a garbage stink. There is a fungus, mildew stink too. I used to leave the garage doors open for hours to see if it made any difference. It didn’t. I think they build that smell right into the garage when you get your new house.

It would be ok but that smell sinks into everything. You can’t get it out of your clothes or your books once they have been infected.

I downloaded a couple of software programs to try to sort out my digital photos. None of them worked that well. Each only shows a few photos at a time. Hard to file them and check for doubles if you can only see four at a time. I never did find where the second program filed my photos. I still have the originals. It’s just a little mystery to find the sorted out ones now. I spent a lot of time I should have been packing on procrastinating with those pictures. Seems I should at least have something to show for all my wasted time.

My brother is coming this afternoon. I’m not sure what he is working on today. Likely painting and he said he was going to turn off the water. Likely he is going to spaz a bit cause I don’t have more packed up and I didn’t shuffle a bunch of boxes on the bus from the grocery store. He offered to bring some today though so maybe he won’t bug me about that. I really did not want to struggle with empty boxes on the bus, waiting for the bus in the rain mostly each day this week anyway. Soggy boxes are not the best for packing.

If I get going out there soon, in the lovely rain, I should be back in time to finally be worn out enough to sleep a bit, in theory. It’s funny how you can feel your brain and body are tired and yet you can not sleep. It’s not insomnia, just too much stressing out about stuff.

I’m kind of looking forward to the rain. I do like it. Not those really blasting days but today is a gentle rain, kind of nice. Great for taking pictures, as long as your camera doesn’t get too soggy.