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Thursday, July 3, 2014

July activities

Tuesday July 1 - Spanning the centuries - 8 year old Cassidy Burns uses a 21st century battery powered tool to sharpen a writing utensil invented in 1795 at our 1873 St. Helena Island light station.
Thursday July 3 - Materials have started arriving at our campus in Mackinaw City for the complete replacement of the roof at our St. Helena Island light station. Here we see this morning's delivery of 5/8" saw-cut cedar shingles, breathable membrane and ice and water shield.
Thursday July 3 - Materials continue to arrive for the St. Helena Island light station roof replacement. Shown here are five 10 foot by 36 inch sheets of copper which will be cut on site to be used for flashing. Historically accurate lighthouse preservation is a costly undertaking.
Thursday July 3 - We had visitors from the Grand Rapids at the St. Helena Island light station this afternoon. They were able to motor directly in and tie up at our new dock - something they never could have done at the old dock, even with the elevated water levels.
Thursday July 3 - Long-time volunteer Mark Vandervelde assembles a gas grill at our St. Helena Island light station this afternoon. Great eats are in the offing for The Fourth!
Thursday July 3 - Earlier this evening, Mark worked behind the boathouse building a bench to go on the end of the newly extended dock at our St. Helena Island light station.
Friday July 4 - With the Mackinac Bridge seven miles behind them, volunteers Michelle Vandervelde and Lori Jenks toil this morning to clear the area in which the roll-out dock will be stored for the winter season at our St. Helena Island light station. Thank you for your hard work - rest assured that it will be greatly appreciated by the dock removal crew later this season.
Friday July 4 - MaryAnn and Michelle are up to something in the dining room at the St. Helena Island light station this afternoon. 
Friday July 4 - MaryAnn runs the pieces of the project through the sewing machine for her next step in making today's mystery item at the St. Helena Island light station. 
Friday July 4 - Sewing weights into the hems of this afternoon's mystery project at the St. Helena Island light station. MaryAnn has been sewing since the age of four. She learned this skill on a treadle machine that belonged to her grandmother

Friday July 4 - The St. Helena mystery items are just about done. Here Michelle and Lori are folding them, getting them ready for use while Keeper Joseph Fountain looks on from behind.
Friday July 4 - The mystery is revealed! Being that it's July 4th, our volunteer keepers at the St. Helena Island light station have a great view of both the Mackinaw City and St. Ignace fireworks displays from the open door of the boathouse. The only problem is that it is a particularly buggy year, and Principal Keeper MaryAnn spent the afternoon sewing screens to go in the boathouse door opening so the gang can watch the display in comfort!
Friday July 4 - We had some evening visitors pull up at our new dock at the St. Helena Island light station this evening.. As is the case with all visitors, our volunteers gave them a full tour. Here, we see them in the lantern, bathed in the glow of the sinking sun. We are happy that word is spreading that we now have easy access for visitors with their own boats! We are proud of the work we have done and hope to share it with as many people as possible.
Friday July 4 - While our volunteers at the St. Helena Island light station get a great view of both the Mackinaw City and St. Ignace fireworks at either end of "The Bridge," they brought along their own island-safe "fireworks" in the form of colored glow sticks.
Saturday July 5 - Good morning from the St. Helena Island light station - Heaven on Earth!
Saturday July 5 - GLLKA Executive Director Terry Pepper narrated an eastbound Shepler's Lighthouse Cruise this afternoon. Judging from the smiling faces of the folks on the upper deck as we rounded Bois Blanc Island headed for Poe Reef, a great time was had by all. If you have not yet taken one of Shepler's Lighthouse Cruises, you are missing out on a great afternoon of blue skies, lighthouses, endless horizons and fun. And you just might learn something about lighthouses you did not know!
Saturday July 5 - St. Helana Island light station volunteers Michelle and Mark Vandervelde get "up close and personal" with the island's flora. Wonder what they could be shooting!
Saturday July 5 - Their quarry - the elusive Cypripedium reginae - the Showy Lady Slipper. This patch has reappeared for the past few years, but is particularly abundant and beautiful this summer.
Saturday July 5 - St. Helena Island light station volunteer keeper Lori has an amazing ability with a hand-held router, which she elegantly displays here while routing the back of a bench the keepers have been making to grace the end of our new dock. This is the second such bench the crew have made, the first one being blown from the dock in an 85 mph wind storm on July 18 of last year. This one will be bolted in place!
Saturday July 5 - Hogan works on a ladder which will be installed on the new dock at the St. Helena Island light station. Because the dock is in clear, deep water, everyone looks forward to swimming from it, and a ladder with which to climb back onto the dock will make the experience that much more enjoyable.
Saturday July 5 - Keepers Mark (in the water) and Hogan (on the dock) install cleats on the surface of the new dock at the St. Helena Island light station to which the new ladder will be attached. Look at that crystal clear water - we can't wait to dive from the dock when we head out with the roofing crew next week
Sunday July 6 - Keepers Mark (in the water) and Hogan (on the dock) install cleats on the surface of the new dock at the St. Helena Island light station to which the new ladder will be attached. Look at that crystal clear water - we can't wait to dive from the dock when we head out with the roofing crew next week
Sunday July 6 - Mark and Hogan pose in front of the temporary shelving they built and installed in one of the niches at the base of the tower at the St. Helena Island light station this morning.
Sunday July 6 - With the shelf completed in the niche at the base of the tower at the St. Helena Island light station by Mark and Hogan earlier this morning, Principal Keeper MaryAnn set about moving critical safety supplies that are kept at the base of the tower onto the new shelves from their various prior locations.
Sunday July 6 - Moving items onto the newly built shelves in the niche at the base of the tower at the St. Helena Island light station allowed Principal Keeper MaryAnn to organize the radio/weather station in the lower window alcove. Now, everything is neat and readily accessible when needed. Great job folks!

Sunday July 6 - Tomorrow is the big day when we move around.10,000 lbs. of material and equipment out to the St. Helena Island light station for the contractors to replacing the cedar shingle roof on the lighthouse dwelling. With a walk of almost 500 feet along the dock in Mackinaw City to the UNGLY ANNE which we have chartered to carry the material to the island in two trips over the day, we needed some way to transport everything along the dock to the boat. Thanks to the continuing generosity of our members and supporters, today we were able to purchase and assemble this pair of 54” X 28” carts. With removable sides and a capacity of 1,000 lbs. each, they will save a lot of backs tomorrow, and will become a welcome addition at St. Helena Island where they will fit the 30” wide concrete walkways and be used for transporting luggage, water, propane and the innumerable Rubbermaid tubs we transport every season


Monday July 7 - We started the day at 07:00 where we face off with 2 ½ skids of 5/8” cedar shingles and rolls of ice and water shield which had been delivered to the back parking lot of our Mackinaw City office the prior week.

Monday July 7 - Mike and Bob preparing to unload the first of the four trailer loads it took to transport the shingles and ice and water shield from our office parking lot to the dock.

Monday July 7 - Historic contractor Mihm Enterpises arrives with their truck loaded with more shingles, cedar breather, scaffolding and tools. Here two of the Mihm crew remove a large sheet metal brake they will use to bend copper sheeting to create historically correct roof flashing.

Monday July 7 - Everything was then pulled out the 500-foot dock to the UGLY ANNE, and carefully loaded on board the retired Maine lobster boat in order to achieve good load distribution. Here about half of our first load has been stowed on board.

Monday July 7 - A shot out the stern of the loaded boat as we made our way west into lake Michigan for the 8 mile trip to St. Helena island.
Monday July 7 - After tying-up to one of our permanent moorings off the island, MaryAnn and Hogan came out to meet us in our two Zodiacs, and the process of moving everything to shore was underway. Here we see a nice load of shingles making its way to shore.
Monday July 7 - With the Mackinac Bridge as a backdrop, MaryAnn and roofer Billy carefully handling a combination load of ladders, shingles, ice and water shield to the island dock.
Monday July 7 - After UGLY ANNE's second trip out to the island, the lighthouse dock was well stacked with all the materials and supplies.
Monday July 7 - Over the remainder of the evening, the island volunteers transported everything 300 feet up the walkway to the lighthouse. Much of this heavy stuff had to be handled 7 times to get it out to the island - Loading onto the trailer at our office; loading onto carts for the trip out the dock, unloading from the carts onto the dock, passing from the dock to the UGLY ANNE, passing from UGLY ANNE to the Zodiacs, passing from the Zodiacs onto the island dock, and finally by cart from the island dock to lighthouse. A big THANK you to our wonderful volunteers MaryAnn, Lori, Hogan, Mark, Michelle and Mike and to Captain Chris and crew member Amber for their landmark work in moving all this material. AMAZING WORK EVERYONE 

Tuesday July 8 - With rain and cold in the forecast for the next couple of days, one member of the roofing crew at the St. Helena Island light station started the morning by removing the old 1/2" cedar shingles from roof over the covered way. Not surprisingly, they found some rot in the rafters in the area against the tower, and will need to remove and replace a few rafters before they can begin installing the new 5/8" shingles. It seems that nothing in historic preservation is ever as easy as one hopes.

Tuesday July 8 - Meanwhile, the other two members of the roofing team at the St. Helena Island light station set about removing the existing 1/2" cedar shingles from the summer kitchen roof. Happily, it appears that the rafters and decking are in good condition in this area, and installation of new heavy duty ice and water shield, a breathable mesh underlayment and 5/8" shingles will be able to start soon.





Tuesday July 8 - Meanwhile, the other two members of the roofing team at the St. Helena Island light station set about removing the existing 1/2" cedar shingles from the summer kitchen roof. Happily, it appears that the rafters and decking are in good condition in this area, and installation of new heavy duty ice and water shield, a breathable mesh underlayment and 5/8" shingles will be able to start soon.

Tuesday July 8 - Today, Lori finished her hand routing of the new bench for the dock at the St. Helena Island light station by painting her wonderful handiwork. This bench will make a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the rising sun. The "#2" at the upper right indicates that this is the second such bench she has crafted, the first having been washed away during the major storm of July 18, 2014.
Tuesday July 8 - This morning was the final morning a week of volunteering on St. Helena Island the incredible team of Mark, Michelle, Lori and Hogan, who have been coming to the island for many years. Here, Hogan sits on the dock waiting the arrival of the Shepler's motor vessel HOPE, which was heading to the island to pick up the foursome and return them to the hubub of the 21st century. Saying goodbye to the island is always a bittersweet moment for our volunteers.
Tuesday July 8 - Lori approves of the new carts we purchased for use at the St. Helena Island light station. They hold a lot more than the wheelbarrows we had been using, and they are much more stable when moving around the light station's concrete walkways.
Tuesday July 8 - The Shepler's motor vessel HOPE pulled into the bay in front of the St. Helena Island light station as part of a westbound lighthouse cruise at 2:30 this afternoon, and the station Zodiacs with MaryAnn and Pan at the helms pulled up alongside one after the other. Here, Lori and Michelle have already climbed the ladder, and Hogan and Mark are about to follow, with all their gear passed up behind them.
Tuesday July 8 - Coming all the way from New York, Donna is our latest volunteer at the St. Helena Island light station. 75 years young, Donna climbed down the ladder from the motor vessel HOPE to join MaryAnn in her Zodiac for the trip to the lighthouse dock. As she turned and sat on the gunwale of the Zodiac, the 70 plus people aboard the Shepler's westbound lighthouse cruise gave her a round of applause. Here she watches from the Zodiac as she contemplates the adventures to come over the next week.



Wednesday July 9 - The mother and daughter team of Marilyn Vits and Linda Carroll Greene are half way through their two weekend period as volunteer keepers at our Cheboygan River Front Range Light. They are enjoying themselves so much that they have already signed up for the same two weekends next year. For information on this fun and rewarding opportunity, check out: http://www.gllka.com/cheb-volunteer.html


Wednesday July 9 - This morning, the Mihm Construction crew installed roof jacks and staging on the main dwelling roof at our St. Helena Island light station in preparation for stripping the old shingles from the roof. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they find the roof decking and rafters to be in good shape, so we can immediately install ice and water shield and begin installing the new shingles.


Wednesday July 9 - As the roofers remove the 25 year old cedar shingles from the St. Helena Island light station, our volunteers keep busy maintaining a fire on the beach a long distance from the lighthouse to dispose of the shingles. Anybody want some S'mores?
Wednesday July 9 - Today, as seen from the tower gallery, the south side of the roof on the main dwelling at the St. Helena Island light station has been completely stripped and roof jacks have been installed on the north side in preparation for tear-off tomorrow. Once the north side is stripped, the roofing crew will be ready to begin installing the cedar breather and 5/8" saw cut shingles. Thankfully, the roof decking on the south side was found to be in great condition.
Wednesday July 9 - What does the roofing crew at the St. Helena Island lighthouse do to unwind after a hard day's work? They brought their own boat at the end of the day Monday, and with tonight being the first beautiful evening since their arrival, they are heading out to try to catch some smallmouth bass. Hopefully they will be successful and everyone can enjoy fresh fish for lunch tomorrow.
Thursday July 10 - We had three groups of visitors stop by the St. Helena Island light station today. The folks in this boat hailed from Nebraska, and put their boat in at St. Ignace and made the ten mile run out to see the island.
Thursday July 10 - When we left the island at 5:00 PM, the roofing crew at the St. Helena Island light station were starting to install the new 5/8" shingles on top of cedar breather on the north side of the dwelling roof. They expect to have the job complete next Wednesday and we plan on removing all of their gear by boat on Thursday. Stay tuned.
Friday July 11 - The Mihm Construction crew continues shingling the north side of the dwelling roof at our St. Helena Island light station today.
Saturday July 12 - The roofing crew finished shingling the north roof of the dwelling at our St. Helena Island light station late Friday evening and then left for some R&R. We expect them back on site Sunday or Monday.
Sunday July 13-  MayAnn Moore, principal keeper at our St. Helena Island light station was busy this morning making some adjustments to the anchors which secure our roll-out dock to the lake bottom.
Sunday July 13 - With the work crew back on the job today, work is underway on installing cedar breather and 5/8" cedar shingles on the south roof of the dwelling at the St. Helena Island light station. A beautiful day in The Straits of Mackinac.


A short video of the roofing crew at work
Sunday July 13 - As the shadows grew at the St. Helena Island light station this evening, the roofing crew were rapidly approaching the ridge on the south side of the dwelling. Tomorrow, they should reach the apex and install the ridge cap. Then they will likely move on to the roof of the summer kitchen.
Sunday July 13 - When the roofing crew returned to St. Helena Island light station Saturday evening after a day away from roofing, it was clear what Billy and Mike had been up to, as they brought a couple of nice smallmouth bass with them (see inset). Here we see these beauties dancing on the stove - giving their all to a great supper for a hungry crew.
Monday July 14 - The roofing crew at St. Helena Island light station reached the ridge line of the south side of the roof this morning. Check out that beautiful copper step flashing against the chimney. It wont stay that way long!
Monday July 14 - Back in 2012, 12 year old Taylor Anderson heard we needed money to re-roof our St. Helena Island light station. In early 2013, Taylor held bake sales in his yard and raised $200, which he presented to us when he and his Mom came to volunteer on the island late last summer. Here roofer Billy Mihm holds a special shingle which he was about to install on the kitchen roof today. THANK YOU Taylor. You are an awesome young man.
Monday July 14 - The wonders of modern technology - even at our isolated St. Helena Island light station ... At 6:00 this evening our Executive Director Terry Pepper)received an email with this photo attached from principal keeper MaryAnn, informing him that the roofers needed five more tubes of this caulk. A 20 mile drive to Petoskey after supper, and the tubes are in-hand. MaryAnn will make the two mile run to the north shore in one of our Zodiacs tomorrow morning where I will be waiting to hand them off to her so the work can continue uninterrupted. Life is good.
Tuesday July 15 - From tour leader Fran Jehrio, here is a photo of the participants in our overnight excursion to see the lighthouses of Isle Royale last week. They group is standing in front of the SEA HUNTER III, which we chartered to take them to and from the island from Grand Portage, Minnesota.
Tuesday July 15 - While it is raining here in the Straits of Mackinac today, the roofing crew at our St. Helena Island light station are working on the roof of the covered way which connects the dwelling to the tower. If all goes well,they will complete the job tomorrow and if the weather cooperates, we will remove them and their equipment from the island on Thursday.
Wednesday July 16 - As shown in this photo taken by MaryAnn this evening, installation of the new roof at our St. Helena Island light station is complete. Tomorrow at 8:00 am, we head out to the island to remove the crew and all their equipment. The new roof looks beautiful, and will hopefully last us another 30 years. A big thank you to everyone who helped us put this important preservation project together.
Wednesday July 16 - Another view of the finished roof at the St. Helena Island light station from. A beautiful Wednesday evening in northern Lake Michigan
Thursday July 17 - The weather this morning in The Straits of Mackinac was perfect for our trip out to our St. Helena Island light station to bring the roofing crew and all their equipment back to the mainland. We took the opportunity of a very calm morning to make a test run of bringing the UGLY ANNE up to our new roll out dock. Next year we hope to offer day trips out to the island using this dock, and today's flawless test proved the potential.

Thursday July 17 - Volunteers Karen, Lee, Judy and Gary arrived at our St. Helena Island light station on Tuesday via Shepler's Westbound Lighthouse cruise. Here the foursome take a break in the shade by the lighthouse tower after working the afternoon loading and pushing wheelbarrow loads of beach gravel to improve the path down to the new dock.
Thursday July 17 - Here is where all the stone ended up that Karen, Lee, Judy and Gary loaded into wheelbarrows and carried down to the beach. This improvement will dramatically improve access to the dock for the remainder of the season. Thanks for your hard work - we would be nothing without our wonderful volunteers. Give it a try - volunteer at your favorite lighthouse!
Friday July 18 - It appears that it is not only boats that appreciate our new dock at the ST. Helena Island light station. This morning, a North American River otter decided the dock would make a great place to catch a a little sun.
Tuesday July 22 - A beautiful red sunrise this morning serves as a harbinger for changing weather as the barometer drops through the rest of the day. The weather for Wednesday looks better, which is a good thing, since we plan on taking out the participants in four day our Silver Clay workshop on a westbound Shepler's lighthouse cruise.
Tuesday July 22 - Nora Lemonds working in our "al fresco" dining room painting signs for the St. Helena  light station showers showers.
Thursday July 22 - Greg Lubin gets up close and personal with one of the snakes with whom we share St. Helena Island.
Tuesday July 22 - Kathy Lubin shoveling rocks to build up the pathway leading to the new dock at St. Helena Island.
Tuesday July 22 - Larry Cunningham and Greg Lubin cutting brush.in the area where the new St. Helena Island dock is stored for the winter.
Tuesday July 22 - Mary-Jo Cunningham removing "messages of greeting" from the new St. Helena dock left by the local seagulls and Canada geese.
Tuesday July 22 - Sandy Kohn and Jennifer Tregembo hauling and spreading stone to widen and smooth-out the path to the new dock at St. Helena Island.
Tuesday July 22 - Cilla Laula clearing brush from the winter dock storage area at St. Helena Island.
Wednesday July 23 - Sometimes, you just can't win! After Mary-Jo scrubbed the dock at St. Helena yesterday, it seems that every gull in Lake Michigan decided to sit on the dock today, each providing its own personal decorative signature.
Wednesday July 23 - With a boat load of visitors arriving at the dock, Larry Cunningham set about cleaning the dock for the second time in the last 24 hours.
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Wednesday July 23 - At the start of today's westbound Shepler's lighthouse cruise, we dropped of six people who will be participating in a workshop at St. Helena Island during which they will learn how to make Silver Clay jewelry. Here, jewelry maker Rosemary Gould leads the first workshop session in the station boathouse. We look forward to seeing what these folks end up creating over the coming days.
Saturday July 26 - Attendees of our silver clay jewelry workshop gather for a group photo behind their creations in the kitchen of the St. Helena Island light station yesterday. Jewelry maker Rosemary Gould, who lead the workshop can be seen at the center. From what we hear, everyone enjoyed the workshop so much that a follow-up is being discussed for next summer.
Wednesday July 30 - After the fog burned off this morning and with calm seas, St. Helena Island light station principal keeper MaryAnn decided it was a perfect opportunity to load one of our Zodiacs and make a run to the north shore to drop of items which needed to return to the mainland. It also represented a perfect opportunity for her to provide some boat handling training to Carrie and Peggy, two of our island volunteers.
Wednesday July 30 - a year ago on July 18, 2013, a major storm in the Straits of Mackinac. With winds in excess of 85 miles an hour, it toppled a large number of trees at our St. Helena Island light station and blew a northbound semi on its side as it crossed the Mackinac Bridge. A little over a year later, we are still recovering from the storm on the island. This afternoon, Principal keeper MaryAnn Moore moved yet another in a seemingly endless stream of wheelbarrow loads of downed timber to the beach for burning.
Thursday July 31 - At 1:00 o'clock this afternoon, GLLKA Executive Director Terry Pepper drew the winning ticket for our raffle to climb to the top of the Mackinac Bridge. A big THANK YOU to everyone who purchased tickets. The money will be used in supporting our lighthouse restoration, preservation and education initiatives.

Thursday July 31 - So where is MaryAnn taking that cart through the woods at our St. Helena Island light station, and what is she up to?
Thursday July 31 - This afternoon, St. Helena volunteer keeper Carrie was busy scraping the eaves on the St. Helena summer kitchen this afternoon, in preparation for repainting.
Thursday July 31 - Meanwhile, MaryAnn was still making her way through the woods at St. Helena Island with her cart in tow. I think I see a Honda generator and some power tools in there, and that sure looks like one of our privys in the background.
Thursday July 31 - Ah - MaryAnn is cutting a new top for the base of one of our privy's. Undoubtedly, not one of the most glamorous tasks to be undertaken at our St. Helena Island light station, but one for which many people will be extremely grateful! Thanks a million MaryAnn, you are the best.

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