Thursday, October 28, 2010

before the frost

i was thinking about what the outdoors looks like before the first frost. in the fall, frost can surprise us one morning as it sneaks in and turns everything brown and brittle. these are a few glimpses of what was, and what will be again.

as the cold weather approaches, we can at least think about warmer weather by directing our thoughts toward spring and what we'll plant next year. but first, here in maine, before we feel the warmth again, we have to slowly make our way through the snow and wind and ice. winter is beautful. just be sure to wear toasty layers of clothes (think L.L.BEAN) to enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


it was the cooling hour, just when the rounded red sun sinks down behind the azure hill, which then seems as if the whole earth is bounded, circling all nature, hushed and dim and still, with the far mountain-crescent surrounded on one side, and the deep sea calm and chill upon the other, and the rosy sky with one star sparkling through it like an eye. -lord byron

what is life? it is the flash of a firefly in the night. it is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. it is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. -crowfoot quote

serenade in red
haiku by dorothy holmes

red velvet sunset
serenades the earth and sky
opera in red

photo credit

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

putting the garden to bed

it's that time of year again. we have tons of leaves to rake in our yard, so i tackle them a little at a time. i am very fond of my small i-push-it-myself mulching lawn mower. it does a great job, and i get in about 2.5 miles of walking each time i mow the lawn. most of the leaves are cleaned up not by me, but by my hard-working mower. i mow over the leaves and then rake up any little piles the lawn mower spits out. it is much easier raking small bits of mulched leaves than it is raking big piles of regular leaves.

i also mow over some of the trimmed (any big stalks removed) flower beds - the mower is small enough so i can get into little nooks and crannies - and i toss in some extra well-mulched leaves on top of the beds. it is a good way to start putting the garden to bed for the winter. in this picture, i like how the leaves on the lawn look like pieces of fall colored confetti. did you know that the first confetti was not colored paper confetti? confetti (same root word as confectionery) was originally sweets and nuts coated in sugar, or candy wrapped in colorful paper. the sweet nuts and candy bits were then tossed at celebrations and carnivals.

Friday, October 22, 2010

portland head light

the day we drove to portland head light in late september was the last hot day of 2010. it was 84 and sunny, but a thin fog bank was hovering out over the ocean. we got to hear the slow, mournful wail of the foghorn, which is located right beside the lighthouse. i enjoy a bit of fog, and the low repetitive "hooooo" of the foghorn. to me, standing on the shore, foghorns somehow sound cozy and comforting. mystical. a little spooky. out on the water foghorns are, of course, a dire warning to sailors, signaling the perils of the rocky maine shoreline. but as long as the sound doesn't get too close, a foghorn's muted announcement of the stoney coast's presence will always be a comfort to mariners as well.

the fog began to lift. as we walked on the trails along the shore, we saw all the usual maine sights. there were sailboats and seagulls enjoying the salty sea. bits of white on blue. there were people, young and not-so-young, busy building tall cairns with small loose stones down on the giant rocky outcroppings. chunks of gray on gray. there were two young men technical climbing on a sheer face of cliff. spots of orange and red on gray.

that day was a perfect maine day, just the way we like it. have a nice weekend everyone!

Friday, October 15, 2010

yay maine

when ed was growing up in new jersey, his family always drove to maine for a long vacation in the summer.
on one of those seemingly endless drives, when ed and his three siblings were still quite little, they were making the journey across the bridge over the piscatauqua river from new hampshire into maine. half-way over it, they passed under the green maine state line sign. suddenly, ed's mother shouted out "yay maine!" the joy and relief of finally being in maine was just too much to keep contained, and needed to be expressed by a loud cheer.

from that day on, whenever ed's family passed that sign and drove into maine, the "yay maine" yell could be heard loud and clear from everyone in the car. the tradition has continued to this day in our family. since the time our kids were small, we have always delivered a firm "yay maine" shout. today, when ed and i are alone in the car, i still say "yay maine!" out loud. i confess, even when i am alone in the car, i utter those two words quietly to myself. yay maine. a little benediction which expresses my happiness about going back to the place i love.

it's friday, and the weekend is here once again....have a good one!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

a glass half full

today i ask you this: is the glass half full, or half empty? it is interesting how different people answer the question. in my whole life i have always seen the glass as half full. i can't see it, or think of it, any other way. the glass is NEVER half empty. i remain forever the optimist in all things. i tend to see the positive side to issues, be they weighty, worldly dilemmas, or simply the day-to-day problems and snags we all encounter.

there is a story behind that glass, by the way. during my recovery period after foot surgery, ed would always make sure i had a fresh, tall glass of simple, cold, tap water (in addition to making sure i had a hundred other small things), my favorite, which in our case comes from a delicious, deep well. on this day, the glass remained untouched for part of the day-i must have had some juice, too-and all those bubbles formed. that was not sparkling water in the glass, and it certainly was not so fresh anymore! but i'm glad i didn't drink all of it, because now i will always remember this: how nice it is when someone takes the time to be considerate, and do [a hundred] little things for you.

note: foot surgery is not fun. it is nasty. but it is the people around you who care who help make the recovery time magically pass in the blink of an eye...well, kind of the blink of an eye...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

maine colors

colors, colors, colors....just a couple weeks ago, the colors really started to get all heated up. the trees had started out with a few dabs of dusty reddish-brown. now look at all the crazy reds.....

and yellows and oranges! the maine colors are unbelievably gorgeous. we have the best fall foliage colors around here, although my daughters in vermont would argue they have the best colors. of course, as the name of the season implies, the leaves are already sailing through the air to the ground, helped along by the rain and wind. still, the range of fall colors is beautiful, even spread out all over lawns and yards.

and that, my friends, is just ONE of the reasons i love maine.....

Friday, October 8, 2010


one day i grabbed a piece of chalk, went out in the yard, and wrote some words. i wrote on trees, boards, wooden chairs, stones that line the garden, and pathway stones. i got a little carried away. i took pictures of my graffiti which are bound to turn up on these pages someday-how about today?

anyway, for me, words are fun. words frequently make me want to SMILE. pick a word, any word, and write about whatever pops into your head. one little word often inspires more words. wordplay a bit: persnickety...roiling...redolent...captivate...compel...verve...whoosh! mulling over a single word can be a good way to jump start the brain and get some thoughts moving around. i am fond of making lists, all different kinds of lists, but especially lists of words, in little notebooks. you can grab a word off the list if you get stuck; it helps you to express, voice, say, declare, announce, tell what's on your mind....

and, of course, i like to write. yup, soon the yard was filled with scribbles. then it started to rain, and all the words washed away.....anyway, remember to SMILE right now: it's friday and the weekend is just about here....have a good one!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

the last vegetables

one day recently i was walking around  in the vegetable garden at my parent's house, and i helped my dad pick some of the season's last vegetables. there were still some beets, tomatoes, kale, and peppers left to harvest. it started to rain while we were pulling and plucking, so we quickly tossed the veggies in the basket and headed up to the house. unfortunately, we discovered that some of the tomatoes had a little rot on them, or even holes bored into their skin. we salvaged what we could (some of the spots were quite small and could just be trimmed off), and tossed out the yucky ones. no need to mourn for the lost tomatoes, though. according to dad, this year's harvest was unbelievable. lots of boiling, seasoning, and then freezing tomatoes for future use as sauce and soup stock has already taken place. we just have to be patient and wait until next year for fresh tomatoes right off the vine again.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

shells, sponges, corals

small treasures from faraway places

 long walks along the shore, whether here in maine or in faraway tropical places, open up a world of discovery, a revelation of treasures:
 birds, dolphins, sponges, rocks, driftwood, corals, sea glass, shells... some of these treasures are small enough so they can even be dropped in your pocket and carried home....

i have been scooping up stuff from the seashore for a long time. many of these shells were found in sanibel island, florida. the sponges and coral are from the virgin islands. these are some of my best little treasures....i like to keep them displayed in clear glass bowls around the house.

the shells contain memories, each from a different time away from home. within the smooth spirals are thoughts of happy moments from the past.

i love the different shades of brown and tan and orange. it is interesting that shell color is determined, to a great degree, by the diet of the inhabitant. funny to think of these shells as little homes for sea creatures. what i can hold in my hand was actually, once upon a time, a snuggly mollusk living room, with a small opening at one side to allow the little creature to peek out to search for food.

even more intriguing are the line, spot and zigag designs that make up the exterior decorating schemes of these tough, portable living spaces. amazing that such intricate beauty kept a single life form safe from hungry predators and the rough violence of the surging sea. at last, the shell is abandoned, outgrown, and finds its way onto my palm....