Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rain, rain, rain.   But not flooding and not freezing so guess we shouldn't complain even if the ground in places is a bit soggy, as in enough to ruin a good pair of NIKE 811s, my favorite shoes.

The drive through the marshes today as I went to lunch with the Scarborough Seniors, showed yet a new pallet of colors.   The new green coming up around the old brown which is now much darker and taken on a reddish hue, and the taller nearly black stalks left from the hardier reeds, tell us regardless of the unseasonable chill in the air, rebirth is happening.   The random neck and head of an egret here and there are like punctuation marks in the middle of a sentence.  Nature seems to take care of the Maine salt marshes in a way the Everglades in Florida doesn't enjoy.   We almost never have a burn to turn the scene to black.  The highway is never closed because of the thick black smoke the way it is from the sweeping fires beside Alligator Alley.   The winding canals with their mucky sides at low tide and their over-flowing banks at high tide, might well keep a fire from getting out of hand I suppose.   Although in 1947 when the fires swept to the ocean in Kennebunkport, neither marshes nor canals stopped the rolling fireballs until they had consumed all in their path.

The ocean was at half-tide, incoming, grey and a bit wild.   Three hardy surfers were out there trying to catch a good wave.   There were a lot of swells but it was too early in the tide to produce really good curlers.   One of the men rode a small wave in, came ashore and after stowing his board atop his white oversized pick up truck with a business logo on the side, peeled out of his wet suit and went on his way.   I suspect since it was that time of day, he was on his lunch hour getting a quick fix of his favorite pastime.   Skinny to begin with, he looked like a walking stick in his skin-tight, all black neoprene garb from head to toe.   But I got a good look and he looked incredibly happy, not the grinning kind of ecstatic happy but just really happy-with-life happy.   

Plants to put in the ground, some seeds from two years back I am going to toss in to see if they still have life, and digging up a dandelion that wants to drive a rose bush out of existence,  I am going into the last of May and early June with what I hope will be a "happy-with-life" look.   Maine is a good place to live and truth be told, I am pretty happy in what I am told are my "golden years."

Have a happy day.   

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Long winter - welcome spring

It seemed winter would never move along so Spring could settle in, but in the last few weeks great mounds of snow at the edges of parking lots and on the edges of the roads in the country (away from the coast is "country) have melted away.   As usual the sand from road care was left behind along the edges of the roads, and the sweepers which creep along picking it up scatter nearly as much dust as they gather.   Not to mention the traffic tie-ups they cause crawling along at 5 miles per hour.  Anyway, the ducks are back in the pond; Mrs. in her best brown feathered dress and he in his fancy full colored tux.   They paddle around in the pond, occasionally going under, and he waddle up the bank and cross the road for a daily constitutional.  That worries me.  I don't know why they cross the road when their pond is so safe and handy.  

The turkeys, which entertained us all winter coming for their daily ration of corn and seeds, have now withdrawn into the trees to sit on their eggs.   The Toms are no longer waking us at day break.   All winter there was one very small hen who never quite fit in the flock. She often laid in the sun while the others pecked around.   Now she is the only one I ever see, all by herself.    The deer came regularly and decimated a lot of the trees and shrubs.   I was hoping they would really eat more of the tree behind my house as I think it needs to be taken out anyway.   Well, maybe we need to keep it so she will have something to munch on next year.

The fountains are back in the pond.    The marshes are full with tidal excess and the grasses flooded with water and populated with tall white egrets and occasional great blue herons, short legged herons and geese, are changing to that beautiful gold that reflects the sun and comes just before they get green with summer heat.   I remember when farmers used to ted that marsh grass for fodder.   No one bothers now to do that.   So it lays flat in the fall, and becomes the soil, eventually, for more of the same.

It is beautiful and I am grateful for another spring to enjoy it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

From the Northeast corner of the country,  watching summer wind down, the kids go back to school and the tourists return to their home states.   Some believe it is the most beautiful time of year, for me I find it the time to at least THINK about cleaning out "stuff."   So, in the throes of that inspiration I decided to start on books.   Four book stations - two filled with nothing but music - are just too many for my age.   SO, starting with one, I began reading William Safire's ON LANGUAGE and spent a half hour chuckling over such things as finding a female word for "macho"; and "literally Illiterate".
I put that book into the keep to read more of pile.   Then there's Caroline Myss, PH.D. book, "Why People Don't Heal and How THey Can."  Lot's of interesting chapter headings like "Chakras, Astrological ages, and Forms of Power."   WOW!   Maybe I should read more of that.  Keep pile.
"The Needlework Book":   Coffee table sized::Chapter One: The Pleasures of Needlework.  Well, I do knit and I can embroider, maybe the other pile.  NOTE:  I only have two piles: Keep and Don't Keep.
Sock Doll Workshop.  Adorable little dolls made from basic sock patterns.  I have lots of scrap yarn, maybe I'll keep that one for winter projects.  Hope Hanley's Needlepoint:  Maybe if I learn to do that I can finish the "Little Biscuit Girl" piece my son brought home from France.  I started it about three years ago and put it away in favor sitting at the organ and playing some "40's and 50's music.

Well, Depak Chopra.  I thought he was the smartest man I ever knew and attended two of his local lectures.   Bought his 12 part lecture series on cassette tapes, and two of his books (one was a novel).
Don't keep.  Oh, another craft book or two.   One has a yellowed drawing of a clown clock that I think my sister must have created.   Was she going to make a clock?  Hmm.  Cute children's creations, very simple things.   Some patterns I might use for kids' pillow cases or something.  Keep that one, but the other one, Country Fabric Crafts, that can go.   But here's a four leaf clover pressed between pages 102 and 103 in a sheet of waxed paper.   Maybe today will be my lucky day.  Or does it only work on the day you find it?   Well, most of the morning has gone by, and here I am with seven books, only a couple in the 'DK" pile.   Here's a collection of Robert Frost's poems.   I really should read more of him, even though he is not my favorite poet.  I like simple rhyming things like Mary,Mary quite contrary.  Oh, and just now I see the old nursery rhyme book from my father's childhood.  Now that's a keeper.  And so it goes, and now the sun has come out, and I am no longer interested in staying indoors working on uncluttering.  There'll be a rainy day someday for that.

Maine in late summer is so lovely.  The air is lighter, the evergreens have matured to a rich deep green;
the summer flowers are giving us their last effort with hibiscus blooms as big as saucers and hydrangeas with varying colors from deep lavender to dry rusty rose.   The geese are moving south, and the little black birds are gathering by the hundreds and fly as one.   I think I'll go enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

According to Murphy's Law --------

According to Murphy's Law, if you plan for something it doesn't happen.  
The Ground Crew came in this week and did what that professionally refer to as "snow relocation procedure" or, in common-speak, moving the snow banks back from the streets to make room for more snow.

My neighbor says, according to Murphy's Law, this preparation will assure that we don't get any more of the white stuff this year.   On the other hand, the weatherman man is standing as I write, on a street in Washington DC, only a few hundred miles south of Scarborough, Maine, with snow falling on his hatless head and the wind whistling through his ears.   Yep, right through.
Only a couple of days ago he was saying nothing was coming our way for the foreseeable future.   

So,  the patio is nearly bare, the exposed lawn in the back yard is greening a bit, and the sun is warm at midday, but -------snow tonight and tomorrow?  Maybe.

I have been to the shore a few times lately.   It's interesting to see the changes along the beach.  The washed up sea weed is black as death; there is a ton of litter churned up and delivered from who-knows-where.   There are men with buckets and rakes gathering the hen clams that surface this time of year.   The summer eateries are posting opening signs.  Some of the Scarborough summer eateries are Ken's, Bayley's, and the Clam Bake.   All have been in business for many years and are each knows for their special attractions.  Bayley's also has a retail seafood market where you can be sure the lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels and fish are fresh and clean.   Not to advertise for any of them, but you cannot beat seafood right out of the ocean.

All of the turkeys have survived the winter and it seems at least one Tom is among them. He was observed showing his authority this week, as well as his plumage.   By my calculations there may be as many as 100 poults this spring.
Of course, the foxes and coyote may influence the count by mid-summer.
The deer herd seems to be stable at six, but that could mean a doubling this spring.   Five of the herd are does.   

I am suffering pre-spring blahs, I guess.  I want to tell the politicians to just shut up and go to work; I want to hear more music and less noise; see more sun and fewer clouds.  I want plants to begin to bloom and leaves to come out. 
In desperation, I bought a gardenia plant which needs a lot of water and light. 
I put it in my sun room and placed a bottle of water nearby so I wouldn't forget to tend it.  It still is turning yellow, losing its leaves and the buds don't seem to be progressing.   On the other hand, I have a four foot tropical green plant which is not supposed to blossom, and it recently surprised me by developing a tall spike which, while tightly closed all day, opens with a fuzzy flower at night and has a scent like night blooming stock.  

Enough running on.   Maine is on the verge of spring, daylight saving time, and perhaps an Easter Parade.   Already I feel better.


Friday, February 22, 2013

When is enough enough?

What fun this winter has been - and we aren't done yet.    Tonight the forecast is for another storm Saturday night into Sunday.   The slight break in the weather has given the ground cover time to shrink and in some places disappear completely.   The turkeys can walk on top of what's left because there is a hard crust.   Even the resident coyote can make his rounds without sinking in.   His coat is beautiful and his eyes are bright.   But the turkey flock is still at 21 so he's not eating at their table.
the deer herd seems to have picked up a coup;le of strays, and the buck is now watching over five does.    Recently they were at the entrance sign eating the shrubbery poking up through the snow.  Some of our residents are not going to be happy about that, but if my memory is correct, they needed to be trimmed anyway.   

Today was nearly 40 degrees in Portland.  I went to Kettle Cove, an ocean side park, with a meatball sandwich and a bottle of ice tea.   Nick and I shared our lunch and then we took a walk on the beach.    The tide was at dead low, and may be a neap tide as it was rally low.   There is a lot of seaweed on the beach,  winter cold and the fact that it's dead has turned it black and crisp.   There were several families of school age kids - winter vacation in most Maine schools.   Two boys with long staffs were practicing some martial arts moves, and doing a lot of tumbling and leaping about, brandishing their weapons.   When they were performing on the rocks I was a bit envious.  There was a time in my memory when I leaped around on the seaside rocks, never thinking of taking a fall, or making a misstep and ending up in the water.   Seeing them today made me think of how my Mom must have felt watching me.   They weren't my kids, but their fearlessness gave me shivers.

Last summer my nephew and his four year old son were visiting.   The youngster wanted to go on the rocks, so his dad went with him.   I saw him crouch and heard him say "You see those black rocks they are the slippery ones.   Stay on the gray ones that are dry so you won't  fall."   Of course, eventually the little one got onto wet rocks, and sure enough, he took a fall.  I heard his father say unsympathetically , "Well, I told you the black ones are slippery, didn't I?"  With a tremling lip the little one nodded.  Good lesson I guess as long as there weren't any serious consequences.  

I heard someone on the radio today comment that the weather forecast used to be a three minute comment at the end of the news   Now it's "BREAKING NEWS" and FIRST ALERT WEATHER WARNING" for a Maine snowstorm.   Spring is not far away and meanwhile the ponds are frozen (but not the big lakes)  and the hills have plenty of good powder, packed or otherwise, for the skiers and boarders.   


Saturday, January 19, 2013


We are enjoying our annual roller coaster ride up and down the weather map.  The temperatures go from the low twenties one day to a high of fifty-nine the next.   But hang onto your hats because the prediction is low teens to sub-zero in the next few days.   This means we have to make good use of the good days and enjoy our indoor warmth on the cold ones.     

We have had a couple of significant snow events.  The "Ground Crew" did a lousy job, leaving a couple of inches of packed snow on the driveways for an early storm and didn't come back to clean up.   Then we had a nice thaw so the bare driveways emerged.  Then we had another storm, and the plows came and did little better.   They threw sand in clumps in front of the door, which they say they have to do for insurance compliance, but they also threw it on the door step, which they are not obliged to do.  I have put a sign in the door now asking them not to sand in front of the door.   This is not "sand" as beach sand or even sand pit sand; this is gravel as in what the trucks throw at you when you follow them on the highway.  A person could turn an ankle on some of it.

A limb has fallen behind my condo.  I am grateful it was not the whole tree.  Mr. Cardinal sits in the top of that tree in the summer, telling all the others this is his territory.   There have been a lot of leafless limbs at the top for as long as I have lived here.  I hope he can find another as I enjoy his cheerful song.

The Ladies of the Creek met for lunch.  It was the same day as my music friends meet here, so I was among the missing.  The next one in February will be no problem as it is an afternoon event - coffee and cookies in someone's home.   Getting together is new for this community and seems to have struck a positive note.   Nice in the winter to keep everyone's spirits up. And the gossip flowing.

My daughter-in-law says her horses are snug in their blankets with lot of hay.   They have access to the covered run-in and several sheltered areas, but often prefer to stay outside.   Big round-about devices hold bales of hay for them to feed on.  It's a good life for them.

The animal shelters are full of needful animals, big and small.   A fire at one recently left them short of blanket, toys and supplies.  Maine is responsive to pleas for animals so they are getting replenished.  I made a contribution of toys and supplies including some shampoo, toys and harnesses.   My friend was taking over some blankets, towels and other items.   

From Maine

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Snow Caps

Maine has enough snow now to make the 'boards, 'bilers* and skiers happy so in my world, enough is enough!  I would be happy in my old age to have enough cold days to preserve what they need, and enough warmth to melt my driveway and lower my heating needs.  There are snowcaps on the fencepost tops, on the cones that cover the rose bushes and on St. Francis head. The mounds from shoveling and plowing have been freshly covered with new snow.  And the Presidential Range of mountains, visible from the high points in the area, as glistening with a snowcap which will last until summer.  A trip to the Western Promenade is well worth the gas and time when the weather is clear.

When I woke this morning there were scattered flakes drifting down, but within an hour they had become sparse and the sun was taking care of the few that had landed on the patio.  I waited a bit to put Nick out.  He was lethargic and apparently didn't have an urgent need so the two of us just took it easy for a couple of hours.   Nick has not been feeling well.  Too much holiday activity, I think,  He was petted and played with and all that wiggling apparently set off the arthritis in his back and neck so that even bending down to eat was painful.   He is stubbornly difficult to medicate, so I have been concocting hamburg, olive oil, spices and a little honey in a skillet, pounding his pill to a fine powder, and mixing it in. Poured over a portion of his dry food has him fooled for the time being.  If he catches on to that ploy I have no more tricks in my apron pocket.   He found the pill in the peanut butter on bread tidbits and now he won't touch peanut butter anything.   He found it in a hamburg patty and spit it on the floor, much to the amusement of a visitor who has as dog that is very compliant about medication.

Anyway, all the places along the roads where I enjoy seeing the water running out of little crevices now have icicles.   They are pretty.  I dare not pull to the side of the road to take a picture.  They are always in narrow or busy areas like turnpike ramps where the state cut through the glacial rocks to make way for men too busy to bother to go around natural obstacles like rock ledges.   The watershed by the Scarborough exit - which had a beaver house a couple of years ago -  is frozen over.   The beaver houses were removed after some do-gooder busy-bodies reported them to the state wild life people.
They said it was a safety issue.   I'm not sure if they were protecting the beavers or the people.

The turkeys, all 21 of them, were crossing the street by the entrance sign.  Several were on the right, more on the left, but in the middle of the road were three having an argument about which way to go.
I stopped (I don't mind and I don't blow my horn because it confuses them even more) and another car stopped behind me.  We spent about three minutes when car #2 blew it's horn and just as I expected, some went one way, some the other and some that had already crossed changed their minds to recross.
If you look at a turkey from the neck down, they are really beautiful with a lot of irridescent colors in their plumage.  But if you look at them from the neck up, well, not exactly ugly, but certainly not pretty.  Like ladies with beautiful clothes and plain to homely faces. But  those Tom's, they look at the beautiful feathers and not the faces.  Which is nature's way of ensuring the population.

Our deer also cross the road with abandon.  I am really afraid for them, and the unlucky driver who at dusk can't quite discern their dun colored coats until it's too late.   There seem to be three does in the herd unless I am seeing different groups.   Maybe we'll get a look a handsome stag one of these evenings.   Incidentally, Nick challenges the turkeys, but he has little to say when the deer go through. He just stretches his body out to get a better look, no threatening  bark, not even a little  woof.  They are  after all, much bigger than he is.

January is already a week old and I am no longer thinking about any resolutions that might have passed through my conscience.  That's a little ahead of schedule actually, as I usually make it to MLK day at least.  I did begin a "feel good" routine I heard about on one of TV's PBS programs: you can change your negative feelings by taking 45 seconds each morning to "appreciate" some thing - not the usual things but something that you might overlook in your ordinary thankfulness.  So today I am thankful that my computer is behaving and my shower has clean warm water of which I am about to take advantage.