FOHI News, Voluntary service

Opening week at Hog Island

I’m writing from Hog Island, where we have just finished our opening week of FOHI volunteering. We had as many tasks as the Muscongous has water, but our brave volunteers dove in head first, making amazing changes to the island in just a few days.

Helen Walsh watering the new plants

For example, Loretta Victor and Phyllis Coelho swept and vacuumed every corner and windowsill of every cabin. Gaye Phillips worked on the linens and the room notebooks, with some help from her husband Robert. And when Robert wasn’t helping with the books, he could be found fixing smoke detectors or in his favorite spot, next to the Hobart dishwasher.

Lynn Stroud swept the entire Fish House and then moved right on to the Port Hole. In the garden, Helen Walsh planted  brilliant purples, yellows, and oranges, colors suggested by Phyllis, who was inspired by the buoys on the Fish House. Eric “Elder” Eichorn mowed the grass and raked up the clippings, working until the lawn looked, as Robert Phillips said, “like we could play croquet out there.”

Over at the Port Hole, Sue Schubel power-washed the decks so that our visitors won’t slip on them over the summer. In addition to all these projects, our volunteers also moved furniture, made beds, cleaned the newly-remodeled Crow’s Nest, washed windows, hung curtains and planted flower boxes.

A good night’s sleep and good food for all

And here’s some exciting news for all of you visiting us this summer: The island has new mattresses! But before you could sleep on them, somebody had to move them into the rooms. So that was a task for our FOHI volunteers.

Sue Schubel carried several mattresses all across the island on her head, showing strength equal to that of her Viking hero, Egert. Meanwhile, Eric and I had the easier (and more fun) task of flinging the old foam matresses into the attic. Many of the volunteers also worked to lengthen the bed frames, so that our taller vistors will be more comfortable here.

New mattresses for the Port Hole

When we weren’t working, we enjoyed food prepared by Chef Janni Laberge and his assitant Kory Kwasow, such as a delicious Asian stir-fry and a wonderful apple crisp. We also played a Maine-trivia game and even set up a ping-pong table. On Friday, we had lobster night, of course, complete with chicken, steak, tons of appetizers and of course, lobsters!

Good news

At dinner, President Juanita Roushdy shared some wonderful news National Audubon had accepted FOHI’s business plan and FOHI will be able to fulfill its promise of giving Hog Island $50,000 for FY 2011 – the first of FOHI’s annual supplemental income to Hog Island. Additonally, she presented all the volunteers with a beautiful sea-green t-shirt, designed and printed here in Maine, with “FOHI Volunteer” on the back.

The FOHIs kept working up until the last second, with many of them remaining until lunchtime on Saturday. And then, at the very last second, we had one of our most interesting projects of the week: Eric Snyder, with help from some volunteers, installed a video camera near the Osprey nest. So now, we can watch their activity, at all hours of the day, from a TV recently installed in the Bridge. Could this be the beginning of reality TV on Hog Island? That remains to be seen.

But one thing is for certain: The island is picture perfect, all thanks to the Friends of Hog Island.