Monthly Archives: September 2014

Still enjoying my golf cart…

As many of my friends know I write a monthly column called “The Cranberry Report” for a little newspaper known as the Working Waterfront. It is a wonderful publication put out by the Island Institute in Rockland, Maine. I am honored to be able to write for them, though almost every month when my deadline approaches I am panicked as I try to figure out what to write about. I don’t write about jewelry, but I do try to convey a little of what my life is like on the tiny island where I live all year. In the past few days I seem to have gained some new readers who found my blog via my writing about our wonderful Ashley Bryan School. While I’m still struggling to find my way back to my jewelry studio, I have had other opportunities to pursue some creative endeavors. Writing has been one of them. My latest column was published on September 1 and I had some delightful feedback from it. Especially in the form of a phone call from Mr. Bunker of Mt. View Auto. He really appreciated the shout out. (As if he needed any extra golf cart business….) Anyway, here is a copy of the column from the Working Waterfront web site. Another little slice of island life. I hope you enjoy it.

Fore me! Golf cart dream comes true

 by Barbara Fernald

Used golf carts are one of the handiest modes of seasonal land transportation in the Cranberry Isles. They are a lot of fun to drive, have a top speed of about 12 mph, use very little gas, and I have wanted one for a very long time. I wrote about how close I thought I was to achieving my dream three years ago

click to enlargeBarbara Fernald
Barbara Fernald

(, only to have the dream squashed yet again by an able island mechanic and a reasonable husband.

At the beginning of the summer, though, our island car was succumbing to rust. The engine was still running well, but the chain that held it in place was starting to compromise the car’s steering ability. The car made a constant “bad” noise and it was not safe to drive.

I also won’t use my husband’s truck. I’ve driven all of his other trucks with no trouble, but his current one is so big that I have to climb two steps up to get in. The engine is powerful and noisy, it guzzles gas and the clutch is tremendously stiff. The doors are heavy and out of line so one must pull up while shutting to close them properly. I don’t have the strength for that so, even as a passenger, I am pissed off at the truck before we leave our driveway. This attitude is also not conducive to safe driving. Bruce started looking around for our next island car.

As I rode my bike to the dock one day, Donna and Henry Isaacs came up the road in a spiffy new orange golf cart. It had a roof, a windshield and a luggage compartment in the back where the golf bag holders used to be. My golf cart envy returned in a most swift and serious way. With a minimum of research I learned three helpful things: Mountain View Auto on the Bucksport road had a whole line up of colorful golf carts; gas powered carts are easier to service than battery powered; and I actually had enough money to buy one.

A synopsis of our marital golf cart conversation:

Me: Well, I’ve decided to spend my own money on a golf cart.

Bruce: You don’t need a golf cart! What will you drive when the weather gets bad? It’s impractical! What about storing it for the winter?

Me: What about fun?

Bruce: (The next morning.) OK, you can get a golf cart if you really want one.

Me: I know, but what brought you around? The argument for a little fun?

Bruce: No. It was realizing I could put off looking for a new island car.

Me: I’m going off island tomorrow to get one.

On Monday, I passed right by Mountain View Auto, overshooting my mark by several miles. I saw no line up of colorful carts that several helpful friends had described. When I actually did stop to talk to Mr. Bunker, he told me his carts were sold out. (He has sold over 20 golf carts to people in the Cranberry Isles in the past few years.) He took my number and said he would call as soon as the next delivery of golf carts arrived.

I only had to wait two days. By Wednesday I was asking him to pick one out for me and I put a check in the mail. He apologized for the fact that these carts were all white, with no fancy colors.

By Friday morning my new ride had arrived. I was a little concerned when there was only one key, but I figured I could have a spare one made the next time I went off island.

“Oh no,” said one of my friends who has had a golf cart for many years. “We tried all different hardware stores and even the automotive department at a Sears in Boston. You can’t get keys like that made anywhere.”

The thought of losing my one key cast a little cloud over my golf cart euphoria until I looked online to see if I could at least find a blank to get a new key made. It turns out that Yamaha golf cart keys are universal. I got a spare key for myself and one for my friend for less than the cost of a ride on the mail boat!

Within a week, two more golf carts arrived on the island. One was purchased by my brother-in-law, Mark, who had been in tandem with his brother Bruce in their feelings about the impracticality of alternative seasonal vehicles. (These two nay-sayers now discuss things like how to install headlights on their carts.) Mr. Bunker found Mark and Vicky a cart with a back seat that folds down to create a little luggage compartment when needed. They had to pay a little more for it, but that is a really practical adaptation, one that Bruce and I wish we had. And, their cart is red.

When Mr. Bunker told them about the color, his next words were, “Don’t tell your sister-in-law! She might be mad!” (Does he imagine we would never pass each other on the road out here?) He needn’t worry. I have not felt mad even once while driving my golf cart. I’ve wanted one for such a long time and it is every bit as fun as I imagined.

Barbara Fernald lives, writes, makes jewelry and drives her cool golf cart on Islesford (Little Cranberry Island).



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First day of school at the ABS on Islesford

It has become a tradition for parents and townspeople to gather in the schoolyard as students arrive for their first day at the  two room Ashley Bryan School. Everyone is there to wish them well, to see who the new students are, and to feel good about our special island school and its community support.

The crew from Great Cranberry arrives by boat and begins the short walk up from the dock. There are 6 students from Great Cranberry and one teacher and one aide who travel by boat every morning. This morning there were also all of the teachers for Art, Music, Phys. Ed and French. The principal was there too. It made for a solid group of educational energy surrounding the school. The inter island students were all happy to reconnect after a busy summer. All around the school yard  parents of students, and other community members  want to celebrate what a unique school  we have.

I hope these photos  evoke the anticiption that hovered in the air this morning.



There were many more friends from the community than there were students. There are 16 students in all covering every grade from K through 8 with the exception of 7th grade. It looks like it’s going to be an exciting year!IMGP6879

Teachers Lauren and Audrey asked people to exuberantly make suggestions of goals for the year and then Ashley Bryan read them out and worried that the students will have to work too hard to learn all of these things! I don’t know if you can zoom in on the list, but the suggestions are things like: Laughter, building, discovery, adventure, wonder, fun, awesomeness, cooperation and friendship.




Below, someone who couldn’t care less!


Then the kids got together for a group picture, and they insisted that all the community members get in for the second picture.

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At last the students lined up from youngest grade to oldest grade, to move into the school as they were introduced by the teachers.

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I hope everyone got the photos they wanted, else they’ll have to wait until next year to get another shot at the first day of school. Wishing a great year to all of the students and teachers at the Ashley Bryan School!



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Home from Haystack

Last week at this time I was busy in the metals studio at Haystack learning a bunch of cool new things from Chris Darway,  like how to use an oxygen reduction flame to fuse 22 karat metal clay slip (PMC Aura 22) onto copper, and how to mix up “super pickle” to etch that copper piece to make the gold stand out even more. The demo of making bezel settings on stones by dipping them in PMC 3 slip, was genius! So is the whole idea of using Elmer’s Glue and flattened toothpicks to provide a handle to work with dried PMC pieces before firing in the kiln. There are so many ideas and images going through my head that I don’t know where to start.



I’ve not been back in my studio yet and I have to be okay with that. I am an introvert who has  just spent a whole week among people with almost no time alone to recharge. Ideally, I need at least an hour alone  to balance an hour of stimulation from being with people. Simply put, extroverts gain energy from interacting with others and introverts lose energy. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to be around people or go out in the world, it just means we have to find ways to reboot the system after we’ve been there, even among friends.

At Haystack it is ALL FRIENDS and ALL CREATIVITY all the time! It was a blast and I am so glad I spent the week there. My introvert/people energy may still need to be recharged, but my creative energy is brimming, spilling over into my quiet time in the form of sketches, poetry, and remembered images. When I make my way to my studio it will be with a smile on my face and a feeling of coming home to an adventure.

I’ll be posting an album of Haystack photos on my FaceBook page. If you want to see all of them just send me a friend request (if we’re not FB friends already). If you’re not into FB, that’s okay too. I’m going to post some of my favorites right here.

Our cabin: IMGP6711 IMGP6699

The metals studio awaits:IMGP6832


Demo of PMC slip bezels and Chuck’s version of the slip bezel setting:

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Copper clay is still not my favorite medium, but it was at least humorous…IMGP6725 IMGP6731

Random class photos:

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And one of my favorite additions to this time at Haystack: Holly Kellogg and I went for a 20 minute swim every single day we were there, at this sweet little beach. (It only looks warm. The water was still about 63º just like home.)

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Good bye until next time Haystack! IMGP6835 IMGP6720

It’s time to plant myself back in my own studio, and grow.


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