Being Thankful...


... to me, it is a good time  to express gratitude when someone goes a little above and beyond on a normal there such a thing as a normal day?

Living on an island, a normal day is hard to find when one is traveling by ferry. Just this past Saturday, northwest winds kicked up and only the first boat 10' to 12' seas no less...November is like that.  But then, things are always interesting for the ferry crew. No matter what time of year...
Whether landing at the Potato Dock...or hangin' with a young passenger on a Friday night boat.

A big Thanks to the crews of the WIFL...for putting up with me/finding space for me ...even when I don't want to back the Jeep on the boat, I forget my keys, or I'm driving Lew's truck and there's barely room.

Coming Up...Winter Time!*

Winter Ferry: Make reservations now... the ferry line will start utilizing reservations Dec. 21 but the reservation book/log book is available now. Call the ferry office!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great week!


Island Thoughts...Patriotic

Different people have different views...on Patriotism....expression can be quite various.
This Winter on the Island, creative minds and hands gathered  to make a distinctly significant contribution to those who have served our Country.Quilts of Valor and Under Our Wings were the resources. Contributions and materials came from Island organizations and individuals to make this effort happen.
Ellen Graf spearheaded the project as the Quilts of Valor Coordinator. Sievers School provided the location.Most of the quilters worked in teams.A "rookie" with a Quilts of Valor "coach"...countless hours were spent...planning...cutting...sewing...learning...I was fortunate to be able to visit the Sophie Studio at Sievers School as the teams prepared to put finishing touches on their work this Spring.After the March session, the quilt tops had been sent throughout the state to be assembled by volunteers using longarm sewing machines. Binding was the order of the day at this session in May.
Ellen demonstrated the process.Everyone chose from the same materials...... it was amazing to see the wide range of designs!Carolyn Foss has written about the Quilts of Valor Project in the online Sievers Newsletter. For more information,  Click here  to see the posts for March 12 and May 3rd as well as to see more of the completed quilts! 

 Yes... this Project will continue next year! The goal is to create ten more quilts...adding to the eleven produced this Winter... beautiful!  To make a donation to the Island Quilts of Valor Project, contact Ellen directly at 847-2484. 

Take Note...

•Red Barn Opening Picnic Friday July 5,  6 pm  w/ the Hagen Family Singers 7:30 pm

•Almost Maine - Island Players Summer Show - July 5, 6, 7 @ the TPAC 7:30 pm Advance tickets are available at the Red Cup and the Rec Center.

Rock Island: Saturday July 6 - Friends of Rock Island will hold their Annual Picnic...lots of activities...all are welcome!

Blessing of the Fleet, Saturday July 6 - 11:00am Ferry Terminal


Laura Sawosko will perform her original music at TPAC on the Green - Tuesday, July 9 @ 7 PM.

Have a great week!

Winter : odds & ends

Lots of things do happen in this quiet time.  The start of the year is Organizing Time for me.Let's just say it's a little more than a few dishes and a couple of books.  Where did all the mess come from? I thought I could manage the kitchen clutter but the other day I opened the frig and was shocked...the food seems to creep/appear in "dribs and drabs"...suffice it to say it is back under

 There will be no "after" staging shots. Suffice it to say, my schedule seems to have switched....I now do some Summer chores in the Winter. Organizing - while ongoing - is one of those things that kicks into a higher gear. 

It is so exciting to get fresh cleaning supplies ...notice a new set of dish/counter towels...No, it does not take much to make me least in January!

Another activity is "Fixing Things" ...Today? Looks like the grill needs a part or two replaced. Hopefully, the parts have been shipped and received and this job will need only one - or two - trips to the Mercantile ...and the Merc will still be open. We are serious grillers.

The January thaw has allowed for more chopping wood...and more wood...getting colder we will need it. 

Look beyond the truck and do note that there is still water in Figenschau Bay.

Photo from the 8 AM ferry this past Thursday...there is some ice...The Richter is ready and the Potato Dock.

Planning Ahead

Down Florida Way?  The annual Washington Island-Florida Picnic will be held on George Washington"s real birthday, Friday, February 22, 2013. This year the picnic is moving south to Naples. It will be held at Cape Sable Lakes clubhouse at 100 Cape Sable Drive. This is located just south of Radio Road between Livngston and Santa Barbara Roads. Anyone connected with Washington Island is invited to attend. Gather between 11 and 12 with the potluck served at noon. Bring your own plates, utensils, beverages, and a dish to pass.

Mark your calendar for the Island Party...The 2013 Island Party theme will be "Turn Back Time". This is the 60th year of Island Parties and the celebration will reflect the first Island Party in 1953. Save the date, April 27th.

Have a great week!


Winter Doings

A few years ago, the late Jay Hagen presented a talk on behalf of the Island Archives Committee. The topic centered on "What do we do in the Winter"...lots of laughs that night...that was Jay...what he said was so true. (That performance was taped and is available for purchase on DVD through the Archives at the Community Center. I do recommend it.) I get many questions from our Cottage guests on what happens in the Winter so I thought I would do a series on Winter Doings .... last week the dredging and winter travel prep was up.

There are a few activities coming that may make that travel to plan ahead...

Pygmalion - Fishing Derby Weekend -

7 PM ----- Friday, February 15th
2 PM -- Saturday, February 16th
7 PM -- Saturday, February 16th

The members of Island Players are busy as the preparation for the winter show, Pygmalion, moves forward. I think the best part is the preparation given the smiles, titters, and giggles I see/hear around the Island at this point...  

Rich Shereikis wrote a telling interview for a Fall Observer issue:

"The real rewards of putting on a play don’t lie in the performances, according to Dave Ranney, who has directed a number of popular Island Players productions. “I really believe most of the fun of putting on a production are the rehearsals,” he says. “It’s a creative, collaborative process, where we work together to create a work of art.”To enhance his actors’ involvement in that process, Ranney listens to them, communicates with them and encourages them to put their personal stamps on characters and scenes.(Observer 11/15/12)Howard Scott has been cast as Henry Higgens and Anna Gibson has the role of Eliza Dolittle. I can't think of a better duo! Pygmalion is the classic tale of wily Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle and her transformation into a “proper lady” at the hands of the arrogant dialect expert Henry Higgins.In doing research for this post, I found it is the 100th anniversary of this timeless story and companies as near as Chicago and  as far off as England have productions this Winter. Shaw's Pygmalion was also the basis for the popular musical My Fair Lady.The photo above shows Eliza and Professor Higgins from the My Fair Lady company now on stage in Sheffield, England....hmmmm.... Yes, I can see Anna and Howard in these roles.

What do we do in the winter? Well, these folks are having fun ....and working hard.

Have a great week!

Upcoming - January 23 at the TPAC:

Washington Island Schools teacher, Lisa Cornell is scheduled to present seven high school students  who will be performing “Persuasive Speeches” in a public forum January 23, from 6-8 P.M.



Winter - A team effort

It is an interesting time of year on the Island... in some ways slower, quieter...

but in other ways, things are humming along. One thing on my mind is the ferry dredging progress. Up front, this is my version of the events and I am not a professional concerning water issues. Hence, I have hesitated to step into this area but since this sort of transportation is essential for the Island, here goes. It has been at a steady/urgent pace over the past several weeks with what seems - to me - just two days off at Christmas.The crew from Roen Salvage are here working with their barge. An excavator and dump trucks from Mike Kahr's Death's Door Marine arrived the day after Christmas. Mike arrived last week fresh off another job on the water at Fish Creek. Okay...I just had to include this photo...I hope Mike doesn't was a Kodak moment for me.Dump trucks carry the clay,stone, sand, muck, etc. from the barge at the Potato Dock to Julian Hagens's gravel pit. A hearty, conscientious group of Islanders drive those trucks. As I recall, since New Year's, two shifts from Roen have been in place.Hauling starts around 6:30 am carrying the softer material from the night digging and continues through the day into the evening with matter from the "hardpan" portion. As an example weather-wise, this afternoon it was sunny with the winds at 24 mph with gusts of 33mph - and the crew was out there at work. I am impressed to see how many different people, groups, entities have come together to make this project possible. This spirit of teamwork is evident in other places on this Island as well. It is one reason why I have chosen to be here.I could see skim ice in Detroit Harbor as we arrived on the afternoon ferry last Thursday so time is of the essence. We were on the Washington. The weather will dictate how long the Washington and the Eyrabakki can operate. They have a shallower draft, the portion of each vessel that is submerged,  so the lower water levels are not as much of a challenge for these two ferries. The "regular dock" can be used - for now. I have heard the Roen crews are hoping to work til/ finish on the 8th.A couple of other interesting facts......The rates will not change in 2013. The Board of Directors for the WIFL voted to maintain the current rates at the November meeting. Given the impending use of the Arni J. Richter as the ice sets in, I thought I would have to come to grips with the return of side loading.I remember when this was the custom on the former ice breaking ferry, C. G. Richter. But today I found the excavation will allow the Arni J. Richter to load as it does at the "regular dock". It looks like the amount of digging completed will allow truck traffic as well.Ticketing? Ticketing will be on a portable tablet-like system. According to what I see on the NOAA website, the weather could be above freezing for most of this week and once the temperature drops it will take some time for the harbor to ice over. I hasten to add there is a learning curve here. It will be a new process or challenge for all of us. Glad to see there is some time to continue to work on everything. Last year, the harbor was frozen over /ice breaker was needed about six weeks  Speaking for myself, I am thankful for the efforts I have observed. My thanks to Hoyt Purinton for allowing me to take some photos. This is going to be an interesting Winter, but then the Winter is always interesting on the Island...Over the holiday, I found I couldn't get away from low water levels. I come from a town in Southern Illinois located on the Mississippi River. St. Louis was a stop for us this Christmas and the water was in the news there, too.

It is day to day as to when commercial traffic on the Mississippi could cease given the troubled section south of St. Louis to Cairo. The photo above (from Reuters) shows crews clearing river-bottom rocks as well as what they call rock pinnacles as the water recedes near Thebes, Il, 150 miles south of St.Louis. Water from at least two lakes nearby has been released into the river but it may not be enough. The other negative is the forming of ice in the same area. It's known as "ice bite" - ice taking a bite out of the flow of the river toward the Gulf.

*At Alton, I have watched the flow of the Mississippi...the highs...the lows...sometimes harsh...but it has always been steady so this is interesting, too. Maybe living alongside water has helped me to understand, accept, respect life on the water here as well. Not sure how I would cope in a land-locked area!

 Up coming --

Center Stage

**Here's another team effort on the Island ...actually this is just a portion of this team...The Island Players team that is. The group hosted their first "Center Stage," an afternoon of humor through staged readings on Sunday. Held at the Rec. Center at 2:00, monthly performances will be held on the first Sunday of the month through May.  Complimentary refreshments are available at intermission and members of the audience are invited to try their hand in a reading during the second half of the program.



Lastly, this is a team that needs no introduction yet is an integral part of Island Life. Next Saturday - the 12th - The Packers meet the 49ers in San Fransisco @ 7pm. Go Pack!

Have a great week!


Photo Credits: *The Telegraph **2012 Island Players Center Stage

Getting Ready....

Just seems like yesterday...
... Lew was getting Mockingbird ready to go in for the season.  Now, the Boat is out of the water, the Cottage is asleep, for the time being, and......the Garage is the main event.  Getting the snow blower in place means a major decluttering.  This is an annual Winter prep happening...getting the garage to a state where two vehicles and a snow blower can be housed...a challenge at best!I want to decorate for the Holidays...but first one has to get outdoor things stowed for the Winter...and then come inside to undecorate/dedecorate (what is the word?) divest (?) so there is room for the Winter a good cup of coffee comes in handy!Yes, I said Winter could be a holdover from my teaching days that is, decorating by season...the Winter lasts so long, the days are so short, and the cold wears on a person so...I tend to turn to light reflecting, glistening items that can stay out til at least Valentine's Day. How do you manage to get through...decorating...the Winter...What works for you? Share your ideas in the comment section below!Best Wishes  toward keeping the Meaning of the Season in mind...

Upcoming Events in December:

3rd - Ferry Schedule moves to 4 trips a day!

3rd & 4th - Auditions for Island Players Winter Play, Pygmalion - School Commons - 7:00 pm

4th - Season of Lights @ Mosling Recreation Center - 6:30 pm

9th -  Bethel Builders Cookie Walk @ the church - 2:00 pm

14th - Christmas Bird Count on the Island

14th - Christmas at the TPAC - 7:30 pm

So, welcome to Winter - this is what all this preparation is about! Congratulations go out to the Island's Melody Walsh...another great photo...this time on the cover of this month's "Wisconsin Natural Resources" promoting that magazine's Great Lakes photo contest........her first cover photo! Melody took this photo on the East side of Rock Island State Park. She submitted this photo in 2010. The person in the photo is Erik Lucia President of the Friends of Rock Island State Park. 

The 2013 photo contest deadline is February 1, 2013. Consider entering! I will be happy to send on the details.

Have a great week!