Skill-Building at the Burrows Island Lighthouse Restoration

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( August 27th, 2014 )

Burrows Island Lighthouse

“Come out and help restore Burrows Island Lighthouse this summer! We’re gearing up to make huge strides this season and we have projects for every skill level, from beginner to master carpenter, [from] novice tasks [to] advanced tasks.”

Burrows Island Light Station

I emailed Kitty McKoon-Hennick, of the Northwest Schooner Society, and the woman behind the restoration of Burrows Island Lighthouse, and asked if I could sign up to volunteer as a beginner/novice, as I don’t have any carpenter or contracting experience. She basically responded, “No worries. Perfect opportunity for some skill-building.”

Burrows Island Lighthouse

So for two weekends this summer I volunteered to help restore the Lighthouse, the Keepers’ Quarters, and the Boat House of Burrows Island. I brought along my work gloves, a few tools, and my attitude that I was going to learn something new, and do something useful.

Burrows Island Light Station

My first task…well this was not that new for me, but definitely helpful – tearing out blackberry bushes and other invasive plants. This actually required two pairs of work gloves to protect my hands from those nasty thorns. Throughout the two weekends, I basically did some yard work.

Then for my new skill-building…putting up tar paper and insulation on a wall that would become a bathroom in the Boat House. Cutting and stapling and fitting the pieces. Kind of like a puzzle. Climbing a ladder to reach the high parts near the ceiling. Thinking how cool this was that I was making a place warm. That was the first weekend I volunteered. By the time I went back, a composting toilet was installed in the area I insulated, so what I did was being put to good use.

Burrows Island Lighthouse Painting

Burrows Island Lighthouse Painting

I have painted before in my life, so my next task wasn’t total skill-building, but what made the painting I did great fun was using the same green color paint that had been used to paint the window frames over 100 years ago, as the Burrows Island Lighthouse and Keepers’ Quarters were built back in 1906. (Well, I know it wasn’t the same exact can of paint used, but it is the same color.) Before I painted, I needed to prime some of the window frames as well. What I also loved about this job was the scenery. I was on the deck of the Boat House overlooking the water of Rosario Strait, the hillside of Burrows Island, and the islands beyond. Listening to the small waves roll in, hearing the boats go by, and eavesdropping in on the sounds of birds. What a relaxing way to do some painting.

Burrows  Island Lighthouse Keepers Quarters

I also carried some wood from one area to another so that the advanced carpenters could start rebuilding part of a roof that was rotting. I helped tear out a few old floor tiles and wall coverings (more skill-building). And I took pictures.

Burrows  Island Lighthouse Keepers Quarters

With the help of my husband, we took down an old information sign about the lighthouse, and put up a new one. My husband did tasks like mowing the grass, lots of invasive plant removal, unloading and carrying supplies and tools, and some exploring for creating a new trail up the hillside behind the lighthouse. One of the weekends, one of my sisters joined us to help out as well, and to learn some skill-building herself.

Burrows Island Light Station New Sign

Burrows Island Light Station Information Sign

I love lighthouses, so much so, that I have been known to travel just to see lighthouses, and I even got married at one. And by doing this volunteering, it is a fantastic way for me to get more up close and personal with these buildings and lifestyles that so intrigue me. Also, being able to camp out next to the buildings on an island under the two full moons we had this summer put the icing on the cake to my skill-building weekends at the Burrows Island Lighthouse.

Burrows Island Lighthouse Tent

Burrows Island Lighthouse Sunset

Sweet Travels!

If you are interested in volunteering next summer to help restore the Burrows Island Lighthouse, whether a novice or an expert, please contact Kitty McKoon-Hennick at kitty@nwschooner.com. (Tell her Debby sent you!)

Here is a link for more information as well: Burrows Island Lighthouse-Northwest Schooner Society

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Big Trees in the Cotswolds

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( August 13th, 2014 )

Cotswolds England Big Trees Green

We were on our third day of walking in the Cotswolds when I realized how big the trees were. Now, I’ve seen plenty of big trees in my life before – I hike in the mountains where there are forests of trees; I’ve seen the Redwoods in California; and we even have a gigantic maple tree in our front yard. But through this no-more-than half-mile stretch of our walk that day, which happened to be on the Cotswolds Way between the villages of Stanton and Stanway, I realized that these were types of trees that I had never seen before. And they were big.

Cotswolds England Big Trees Green

Most of these big trees were green…

Cotswolds England Big Trees Green

Cotswolds England Big Trees Green

Cotswolds England Big Trees Green

Cotswolds England Big Trees Green

But some were red…

Cotswolds England Big Trees Red

Some were flowering…And made a nice foreground for some cows…

Cotswolds England Big Trees Flowering Cows

Even the trees that no longer had their leaves on were big…

Cotswolds England Big Trees No Leaves

From then on, I noticed big trees in the Cotswolds on other days of our walks…

Where they made good shade for some sheep…

Cotswolds England Big Trees Sheep

Cotswolds England Big Trees Green

Many churches had big trees next to them…

Cotswolds England St Oswolds Church Widford

Cotswolds England St Oswolds Church Widford

Cotswolds England St Oswolds Church Widford

Cotswolds England St Andrews Church Coln Rogers

And they say that these big yew trees framing a door at St. Edward’s Church on Stow-on-the-Wold inspired J.R.R. Tolkien…

Cotswolds England Stow on the Wold Church Yew Trees JRR Tolkien

In seeing all these big trees in the Cotswolds, I unfortunately never did think to climb one. Nor did I think about what it would be like to have a tree house in one. I don’t even know how old these big trees were. Or what variety of trees they were. But I do know one thing about the big trees in the Cotswolds…

They made my husband seem really tiny…

Cotswolds England Big Trees

Cotswolds England Big Trees

Cotswolds England Big Trees

Sweet Travels!

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Our Days Walking in the Cotswolds (and some Scenery)

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( August 4th, 2014 )

We thank Thee, Heavenly Father, for all thou providest in this good place in which we live – the rolling Cotswold country with its lovely stone to fence the fields and build our homes and barns. The Cotswold Prayer of Praise

Cotswolds England Scenery

Cotswolds England Scenery

A typical day for my husband and me started at 7:30, waking up to the sound of our alarm, and to the unique cooing sounds of the doves of the Cotswolds. By 8:00 we were eating our Full English Breakfasts at our Bed and Breakfast, usually consisting of bacon (which was more like our ham), sausage, eggs, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, baked beans, toast with butter and jam, cereals and yogurt, tea and juice. I tend to eat vegetarian when I travel, so we saved my meat items for my husband, along with some sandwiches and other food that our host prepared for us, as a snack during our day walking in the Cotswolds.

Cotswolds England Scenery

Cotswolds England Scenery

By 9:15 we were picked up by our pre-arranged taxi service which would take us to the beginning of the day’s walk. By 10:00 we were walking. Through fields and villages. Through crops and towns. Stopping for at least at hour at each church, lingering to appreciate the artistic interiors, and to observe the historic graveyards. We ate a picnic somewhere. We stopped to enjoy the scenery of the green landscape, and to look at the views of the rolling hills. It was beautiful.

Cotswolds England Scenery

Cotswolds England Scenery

We passed through gates and fences and stiles. We followed paths and roads. We looked for our directional signs, while following our pre-printed walking instructions. We appreciated the old “dry stone walls,” some built hundreds of years ago with no mortar or cement. We photographed the historic honey-colored homes and buildings. We felt like we were taken back in time.

Cotswolds England Scenery

Cotswolds England Scenery

Cotswolds England Scenery

We walked from three to ten miles a day for 11 of our 12 days, as one day in the middle we were driven around to give our feet a rest. We strolled from towns called Stanton to Chipping Campden. From villages called Guiting Power to Temple Guiting to Snowshill. From Coln St. Denis to Coln St. Aldwyns. Names such as Broad Campden, Batsford, Blockley, Bibury, Bisley, Burford, Buckland, Bourton-on-the-Hill, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Broadway. They all had such great sounding names. The Duntisbournes, Daglingworth, Swinbrook, Farmcote. And more. I know we visited no less than 39 churches during our days in the Cotswolds, so we must have visited no less than 39 towns and villages as well.

Cotswolds England Scenery

Cotswolds England Scenery

We meandered through fields of sheep, pastures of horses, cows, even bulls. We hiked up and down some rolling hills. Through crops of the current growing vegetables or wheat, and the bright yellow of rapeseed. Next to planted flowers and gardens, wildflowers, and flowers literally climbing the walls of homes and buildings. Through open grassy areas, and forests of trees.

Cotswolds England Scenery

Occasionally a river or stream flowed its way as part of our scenery. And the classic red phone booths. And once we even passed by some prayer flags.

Our days also consisted of eating in local restaurants, cafes, or pubs. We looked through an occasional museum, or did some browsing in small shops. And a few times, we were even invited into someone’s home, to either look at their garden or the interior of their historical home – these were the most treasured moments.

Cotswolds England Scenery

Cotswolds England Scenery

Cotswolds England Scenery

We would continue walking till either we reached the town we were staying in for that night, or where a pre-arranged taxi was waiting to take us to our next Bed and Breakfast.

Cotswolds England Scenery

We mostly had blue sky and sunshine, and high clouds, during out walks. We experienced only minimal rain during our whole trip. If it did rain, it usually only lasted a few minutes, long enough for us to get our rain jackets out of our daypacks, and by the time we put them on, the rain would stop. Although one time, it did rain quite a bit more, and fortunately we were already in a restaurant eating lunch. And twice we did see rainbows.

Cotswolds England Scenery

Our evenings were spent going out to a nice dinner, wandering around the town we were staying in, perhaps visiting another church. Eventually we drifted off to sleep, looking forward to our next day, waking up the next morning to the sounds of our alarm and the cooing doves of the Cotswolds.

Cotswolds England Scenery

Sweet Travels!

Footpath Holidays organized our 12 day walking journey in the Cotswolds, and provided a small discount on our total fees. All opinions in this blog are my own.

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