We want everybody to have a safe stay at our house. However, We live in a bit of a wilderness area that is exposed to storms, so it is useful to provide information that could help to prevent an accident. I don't remember ever getting hurt in Mystic, even in the days without cell phones and the only standard rule was "be back for dinner." Our guest have shown good judgment and parenting skills. Here are some tips to keep it safe
We have never had a security issue at the house such as thefts, break-in etc. However, the world is changing and we want to do everything we can to protect our home and our guests.
Front Door Digital Lock - keeps track of everybody who goes in and out. There is no common key that gets passed around. Every guest has a unique PIN that only works during the time they are supposed to be there. If an incorrect PIN is entered, I get a text. If a repair person has to get in, they get a temporary PIN and they know that their arrival and leaving times are logged. We hire only reputable people to work for us, but it doesn't hurt to make sure that everybody realizes we take security seriously.
Smoke Detectors - We have smoke detectors that are continuously monitored by our alarm service. There are several fire extinguishers readily available as well.
Driveway video - There is a motion activated high def video camera that views the parking area. If somebody shows up when the house is supposed to be empty, we know about it. It has never happened, but we don't take chances. The video clips are stored both on and off site. We have had one instance where a guest asked us to review the clips. The back window of their car had been blown out while parked in the driveway. They didn't see or hear anything. However the tape clearly shows our landscaper starting up a weed whacker in the driveway and simultaneously the window imploding. The landscaper wears hearing protection and did not appear to notice the damage. Thanks to the video, there was no argument and the landscapers insurance paid for the repair.
I've cycled at least a thousand miles in the areas around the House without a mishap. There are lots of cyclists in the area so drivers are used to seeing people on bikes. However, drivers can have visual impairment, and distractions such as texting. Here are some tips I've developed after 20 years of riding
1. Assume every driver is a crazy person who wants to hit you.
2. Always ride with a headlight and a tail light. Yes even during the day! Make sure they are super-bright. Flashing lights are more noticeable and extend battery life. Don't even think of going out without lights. A driver with poor vision can easily fail to see a rider with dark clothing. A driver who can't see a bright flashing light right in front of them will have already crashed. Many lights are USB rechargeable, which is great except I always forget to charge them
I love this Cateye light that runs on 2 AA batteries
3. Use a rearview mirror like this. It takes a little effort to get it adjusted. I adjust it so that the 11:00 spot on the mirror is pretty close to the 11:00 spot on my left glasses lens Keep an eye on cars behind you; if they aren't moving out to give you room, start looking for a safe place to bail out. Assume every driver is distracted.
4. Wear High viz clothing like this. Dark clothing on a bike is stupid beyond description. Don't even think of doing it
5. Select your routes carefully. Narrow roads, guard rails, and fast roads are bad. Parked cars are bad, doors can suddenly open.
6. Let your family track you with apps like Road ID
7. Don't hug the curb, especially on blind curves or hill crests. This only invites the "squeeze play," and puts you dangerously close to the road edge
8. Go slow downhill. Take downhill blind corners slowly. Cars frequently swing wide on these turnsDon't cut the corners and always be on guard for tightening radius turns.
9. If people are riding behind you, keep straight and steady; assume that they have drifted too close and their wheel may be overlapping yours. Announce stops, road hazards, with voice and hand signals. If you see a car coming up from behind yell "Car back."
10. Always wear a Helmet and Gloves. Why gloves? If you fall, you will likely put your hand down to break your fall. This will drive gravel and dirt into the palm of your hand which can be very difficult and painful to remove. I never ride without both gloves and helmet
11. Walk your bike across RR tracks. The slightest bet of grease or water turns a RR track into super slick rail that will slam you down before you know what happened. It is not just a little skid that you can recover from. It is also very easy to get your wheel wedged in line with the track. It is possible to ride across them at a perfect right angle, or hop your wheels over them, but the penalty for failure is stupidly high.
Exploring the water areas and beach is great fun for children of all ages. I spent endless hours as a child paying on the beach, rocks, and water around the house. There are so many creatures, plants, and things that are hard to categorize. However, BE CAREFUL!
Water safety should be pretty obvious to everybody. Watch children and pets. We had to scoop our blind dachshund out of the water when she walked off the dock! The seawall and front yard get a lot of abuse from the weather, so be careful for trip holes or crumbling rock. Wear water footwear, and don't go barefoot. We believe the water in front is safe, although we have never tested it. My Grandfather swam off the dock at high tide all the time, and the water is probably cleaner now. People eat and harvest oysters just off our beach and have not reported any illness. The beach areas can have things washed in that could have sharp edges or points. The rocks are slippery and have sharp barnacles, so be careful.
There are coyotes, mink, fox, and fisher cats in the area. We have seen them but never had any issues and we would like to keep it that way! Always keep your dog on a leash and supervise children at all times. A guest took this picture of an animal in the front yard that we think is a mink.
Ticks and diseases associated with them can be a serous heath problem. The island has a very active tick control program, but you can't be too cautious.
Prevention is the first line of defense. An Insect repellant with DEET 15-30%, Picaridin 20%, or Oil of Lemon eucalyptus 30% is highly effective. Here is a nice review of many products.
You can spray clothes with this permethrin spray to kill ticks
It is important to find and remove ticks as quickly as possible since disease transmission is time dependent. Here is how the CDC sys to remove them
If you do find a tick on you, remove it and consider antibiotic treatment. I have gotten 1 tick and I took a single dose of Doxycycline 200mg. I am not allergic to this antibiotic, so the risk of taking it was extremely small. I am a doctor, but not your doctor, so I am not offering any advice on what you should do. Here is what the CDC says