Monday, July 18, 2016

Wow ... it has been a while

I must say, I admire people who can blog all the time. I do not seem to be good at it. I blog for a while, then either grow busy or find what I write boring, and stop. So what is new since I last blogged?

We continue to love living in the House on the Cove, and being not far from Baby Bear and Boo Boo, who are expecting their first child very soon ... I suspect all our lives are going to change in ways we cannot envision when that happens. Baby Bear and Boo Boo are going to be phenomenal parents.

This summer (2016) I paid someone to dig a flower bed for me, and I bought and planted flowers. I also was able to encourage my grandmother's peonies to bloom for the first time in Maine. These flowers were first planted in West Virginia in the early 1900's, and then transplanted to Virginia, and finally brought to Maine. The store bought flowers looked good at first, but not so much now. I am not certain what the difficulty is, but I am told to be patient and see what happens next year. There is a flower bed down the road with many of the same flowers I have, and it looks fabulous. Mine? It is struggling. Perhaps that one is watered - I have not been watering of late and it is dry here. The fox glove seem to like it. The poppies, not so much. The heather seems to like a bit of water. The lavendar likes a bit of water, too. I am thinking some parts of the plantings need to go away. And I need to work on other parts. One needs to be patient with flowers. Oh. The blueberries I planted are starting to ripen. They are not as sweet as local wild blueberries. Oh well. Maybe they need to find another home. When it cools a bit, I want to dig another bed for daffodils and iris. And I want some more colored echinacea, and fewer white flowers. It looks like we will have abundant black berries this fall. Yum!!

I visited in North Carolina for an extended time in 2014 - 2015 to help with care for my mom. One of my sisters lives there and provided us all space to be, my other sister was there for much of the time, too, and my brother came as he could. Together, we provided Mom love and care as she made her final journey. She is missed. Our journey together was a special blessing that we shared.

I ran a half marathon in fall 2015. That was a challenge and was fun. I am grateful to Kristy Sharp who formulated the training plan and provided a training group with which to run. The women were all supportive and fantastic.

Papa Bear continues his work with computers and cameras. He is quite good at both.

We went to Europe with dear friends and took a river cruise that was fabulous in summer 2015.

And we take courses on occasion - we love the Geology courses taught by Duane and Ruth Braun via the Acadia Senior College.

Today I applied a new template to this blog, so I am hoping older posts are still readable. And I might try to do another post when something interesting happens.

Remember: just because you disagree with someone does not mean they are stupid or mean - different opinions help to keep the world interesting. Let's treat each other with kindness, respect and love. It makes the world a better place when we do.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Welcome back!

It has been a while, it seems, since my last post. Life here on the Island continues to be fabulous. We have had many adventures since February 2012. I attended my first Easter Vigil (an all-Island Episcopal service that is held each year at a different parish - I think it is now my favorite service of the year.) In summer 2012 we sold our home in Virginia (which necessitated a trip there to complete our packing and moving - we will be grateful forever to our housekeepers who took fabulous care of our home and made it exceedingly easy for us to do what needed to be done). Post-house-sale we had a garage built, purchased two kayaks and Mama Bear visited with friends from SIGUCCS in Memphis in the fall (PapaBear stayed home to take care of The Cat). Winter was grand with enough snow for snowshoeing! Mama Bear took many classes (Hebrew scriptures, writing, Norse mythology, and more singing). Papa Bear defended the trash can container from The Squirrel and from The Snowplow!! Ultimate victor: PapaBear!! This past spring Mama Bear and Papa Bear went back to Virginia to visit friends. Mama Bear then went to see her mother in West Virginia, and what was to be a visit to help her go to North Carolina to look at potential places to live turned into a several week visit to help her recover from pneumonia, travel to NC to look at places, travel back to WV to pack, travel back o NC for her move, and unpack. She was a trooper, my siblings were saints, and we accomplished her goal of living close to my sister, being on one level, having her dog with her, and being allowed to smoke in her one-bedroom apartment. She and the dog walk daily - sometimes several times, they are learning the mores of the community, as well as making friends. Papa Bear did an heroic job of taking care of things on the home front. Recently we journeyed to Boston to see Baby Bear and BooBoo. We loved the meals we shared, visiting with BooBoo's parents (who recently moved back to family in Boston), and having fun going to an Indigo Girls/Joan Baez concert (MamaBear) and a game at the Brockton Rox (PapaBear). On the way home, PapaBear purchased a new camera he had been thinking about for a long time. Summer is here and promises to be busy, too. The church yard sale is complete, the Quietside Festival will happen soon, MamaBear and PapaBear have been helping a local parish with computer/network issues (which has been great fun!) MamaBear is doing a Psalms class on Tuesdays, is in two book clubs, and a couple other groups that meet irregularly. MamaBear recently read Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris and found it fabulous. Good times, good friends: come see us sometime!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scenes from Winter

While we do not have pictures of feet of snow to share with you (because there is little snow at the moment), we thought you might enjoy seeing some signs of winter here on the Island.

Sometime, usually after Columbus Day but before Thanksgiving, floating docks are removed from the water and stored on dry land.

Sometime between late August and before November 1, non-working boats are pulled from the water and either stored indoors or, as is the case with these boats, shrink-wrapped and stored outside.

Lobster pots are stacked on shore and docks until warmer weather returns.

Another dock stored for winter - this one should be easy to return to the water!

All the fire hydrants have these flags on them, to allow them to be found should the snow become deep. These flags are present year-around. With many people using wood and kerosene and oil to heat their homes, there are almost daily news stories of fires that have destroyed homes.

While some of Acadia National Park is open, some parts are closed. These parts are clearly posted.

Southwest Harbor is largely empty of boats though the bobbing white balls hold the promise of a mooring for a vessel when the weather warms.

Bass Harbor, on the other hand, still has fishing vessels present.

Cedar trees along roadways have burlap on the roadway side, and hay bales. This protection helps to keep the road treatments, piles of snow, snow plows, etc. from damaging the trees during the winter.

Markers like these appear along roadways and driveways. They are used to indicate edges to snow plows.

Norwood Cove, a shallow, still, salt water cove, is frozen - until the water becomes deeper near the point.

Lakes - even large ones (this is Echo Lake) - are frozen. Ice fishing rigs are everywhere. The flags bent over mean that there are no fish on the line. The reels are under the ice, and as a fish begins to run with the line, the flags pop up to alert the fisher people. Some people take SUV's onto lake surfaces. If thin spots in the ice or open water are encountered, people die.

Huts provide protection from wind, and sometimes a stove to help make things warm. These sheds are simple - there are sheds that are much fancier, with cheerful colors and shuttered windows.

The Cat loves it when we raise the blinds in the morning. She will sit on the sill, watch the activity on the cove, and allow the heat from the registers beneath the windows to keep her warm.

I think our favorite part of our winter is the beauty of this place - the infinity of the water in all its forms, volumes, and colors, and the amazing sunsets that close the daylight.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Holey Socks!

We are learning many new customs this winter. One of the customs here on the Island is that in winter you remove your street shoes when you enter a home or building. It is done, of course, to keep the sand and salt rock and ice and wet and whatever else you may have on your shoes from damaging the floors. And so many carry slippers or sandals with them as they go about, and remove their boots and put on their "inside shoes" as they enter a dwelling/business/library, etc. Others simply make it a point to wear warm and whole socks whereever they go. We are finding people here to be practical and considerate, as this practice indicates.

This picture is of our new boots resting by the front door. We bought them for our snowshoe adventures, that have yet to happen because we have had insufficient snow. While we await the opportunity to snowshoe, we have used our boots when we have shoveled our walkway and the car parking places. We are using the basement as our "mud room" - entering on the concrete floor, removing our wet things there, then carrying them upstairs to dry and warm. We, too, are trying to be practical and considerate.

Wreck-less Driving

Winter progresses. This winter we have had some snow, some wind, some rain, some cold, some warm. We have had nights in the single digits and days where it never got out of the teens. We have had wind that has howled with a prolonged and fierce song. We have had small amounts of snow that made everything pretty. We have had days in the 20's and 30's and even a few that have made it to the 40's. The Cat still goes out on the porch, but not for nearly as long nor nearly as frequently, opting on some days to simply sit in a window (over a heating vent) and watch the cove. Locals have told us this weather is considered a mild winter.

While we have been enjoying the weather, it has not been so kind on the roads, where water from the rain/melted snow seeps into a crack, freezes, thaws, freezes, thaws and pretty soon, there are pot holes. I have noticed that drivers tend to avoid these creations. I have noticed of late that I avoid them, too. Some choose to drive just to the left of the center line to try to avoid them. That approach mostly works, as most pot holes (though not all) seem to congregate on the sides of the road. The approach fails when there are oncoming cars.

Other drivers (myself included) try to drive in their own lane, but swerve where we know the pot holes to be, which works pretty well, unless a new hole has formed. The good news is that the holes seem to start small. On roads that were paved last summer, there are almost no holes. I am hoping that the places with huge pot holes are slated to be re-paved next summer, and, if not paved, then well-patched.

The holes depicted here are from Tremont Road. They have a certain beauty when you are observing them through the lens of the camera on your smart phone, a beauty that is somewhat difficult to appreciate when your car is jouncing through/over them.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The cold comes and goes

We know we are having a mild winter for this part of our planet - daytime temperatures have been mostly in the mid-40's (Fahrenheit), with the occasional cold day. Our temperatures differ from those farther inland because of the temperature of the ocean water here. So even though the mountains have snow, we often do not. And even when we are warmish, just a bit inland (the nearest town) can be MUCH (20 degrees or more) colder. Today it is raining. The wind has been from the south, so it is warm (mid -40's). Earlier this week we had howling wind from the northwest, and it was cold (never out of the teens and low twenties - yes, we know it can get colder.)

Our experience of the cold thus far is that the tidal cove tends to freeze near its edges at low tide. In places, the water seems to freeze mid-stream (much like a waterfall can do) as it is running to the cove floor and out to the ocean as low tide approaches. Then, as the tide rises, the ice is lifted, melts at bit, and what remains floats giving a lovely white spatter - much like a fancy moving lace collar - to the edge of the cove at high tide. The gulls do not like to land on the ice, so they are crowded into a smaller area at low tide, which seems to lead to disputes about who can be where.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear have been impressed with the way people here take care of each other. Sawyer's Market made 15 turkeys available to the Westside Food Pantry at its distribution before Christmas. People registered for a drawing, and were delighted at the time of the drawing (you had to be present to win.) These people were happy for everyone who won, whether they personally won or not. One woman cried when she won - she is working, her husband is not, they need food assistance to help make ends meet. Another woman declined the opportunity to register - she said she would not need a turkey, and others would. These people share what is available.

Mama Bear has been cooking. She has tried one of the recipes from her fall cooking class - it turned out well. It was a Bolognese sauce that went with pasta, a Bechamel sauce and freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese.. We had a romaine lettuce, spinach, green onion, dried cranberry, freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese, glazed almond salad dressed with an olive oil/balsamic vinaigrette dressing and fresh bread with the meal. She will be making another recipe from the class for New Year's Day. It is a pork loin with a port wine fig sauce. Let us hope it, too, turns out well.

As this year ends, we hope all will find peace and comfort in the new year, with abundant opportunities to live, to laugh and to love.

Christmas 2011

'Twas a couple days before Christmas 2011 when cold and wet arrived at the same time to give Mama Bear and Papa Bear some snow just as they were departing for Baby Bear and Boo Boo's. The Cat waved good-bye as they left, content with her caretaker and happy to avoid the snow, the cold, and the car. The snow endured as they journeyed south ...
at least until they became closer to their destination, where it disappeared. That evening, Boo Boo and Baby Bear joined Mama Bear and Papa Bear for a fabulous dinner at Abondanza II.
Christmas Eve was spent making dessert for Christmas Day (cinnamon-sugar pie crust sticks and homemade apple pie). The New England Patriots cooperated with the spirit of the day by winning their game, and then Papa Bear and Mama Bear joined Baby Bear and Boo Boo on "The Family and Friends Tour." We first went to a home where many of Boo Boo's father's family gathered. We then went to a home where many associated with an "almost family" of Boo Boo's gathered. At both homes we were warmly welcomed, enticed to sample the incredibly delicious food, and share in the obvious abundance of love and joy that brought these people together.
Stockings were hung and everyone went to sleep. Stockings were filled to the top! Presents appeared under the lovely tree!
After opening the stockings and then feasting on popovers with strawberry rhubarb jam from Sea Biscuits Cafe, cookies, pie crust sticks, and hot drinks (tea/coffee/cocoa) we settled down to open the presents. Everyone was delighted by their gifts. And Papa Bear received a treasure trove of Angry Birds items! (What you see in the picture has been augmented by an Angry Birds bookmark from dear friends!)

Baby Bear then went to work preparing our evening feast - roasted duck (with crispy skin and succulent meat), a cherry-balsamic vinegar reduction sauce, potatoes cooked in the duck drippings, and brussel sprouts with bacon, onion and garlic. The rest of us sustained ourselves with tabouli, hummus and fresh pita (continuing the tradition from the day before) - YUM!!

We watched Christmas movies and enjoyed being with each other.

The loveliest angel kept watch over us all from the top of the tree!

The following day Boo Boo and Papa Bear went to The Hall at Patriot Place while Baby Bear and Mama Bear went ice skating. It was the first time Mama Bear had ever been on ice skates and, with Baby Bear's excellent assistance and advice, she managed to avoid falling and to have fun! She is eager to go again should the opportunity present itself.

Goodbyes were said, sleep happened, and the journey home to the House on the Cove was uneventful, except for lunch at Antonia's Pizzeria in Freeport, Maine - Antonia's was a delightfully wonderful surprise!! Mama Bear had a really good cheese steak sandwich and Papa Bear had a good hot pastrami sandwich. We may stop there again should we be in the area. The Cat was glad to see us, reported that she had had a fun Christmas, too, and that she really appreciated her presents and treats.