Monday, September 29, 2008

Simply lovely

After a weekend of heavy rain, this spot of brilliant blue was stunning in my garden. I just had to share.

That's my girl...

This angelic looking thing is my daughter, Rachel. I adore her with every fibre of my being. I think she is shaping up into a remarkable young woman. Rachel is a college student, and recently got a job working as a personal care assistant in a retirement home. Interestingly enough, I had a similar job when I was her age.

She has just completed her first 4 days of bathing, feeding and cleaning up after elderly people. She called to tell me all about her work. I remember this work is hard, and sometimes sad, and often rather icky. She didn't complain a bit about any of that. She did, however, have me wishing for some Depends undergarments when she said, "Mummy, I love you way to much to ever put you in a place like this." These are the sort of words that warm a mothers heart! But then she finished her thought... "I'll SHOOT you first!"

That's my girl.

Soul food

I grew fennel in my herb garden this year. I have never in my life actually cooked with fennel, but it was so pretty I had to plant it. It grew to be almost 6 feet tall, with reddish, ferny leaves. It looked a bit like Cousin It from the TV show The Adam's Family, towering over the rosemary, dill and tarragon. I probably wont cook with it even though I grew it, but it provided food for my soul and made me smile all summer long...


When I was a little girl my dad told me that someday he'd buy me chickens, and turn my old play house into a coop for them. He never got around to it, despite my begging. So, for 40 years or so, I've been wanting chickens. I decided I had waited long enough and this summer added 4 Silver Laced Wyandotte's to our menagerie. They are named Henrietta, Chickita, RoBirda and Layah Rufflebutt. Also know as "the ladies." I get the biggest kick out of watching them hunt for bugs, and listening to the funny chicken noises they make outside the kitchen window. If I had known I would get this much enjoyment out of some "yard birds," I would have gotten them sooner.
When I decided to go ahead and buy chickens, I did some research, and chose this breed with much deliberation. They are large birds (6-8 pounds) and are good year round egg layers. They are docile, and very cold tolerant. That last bit is handy here in Maine. I also think they are just lovely to look at. Many people buy their chickens from large hatcheries. Normally there is a minimum purchase of 25 birds, and I only wanted a handful of hens. I fretted and stewed, wondering how would I ever find this particular breed and be able to just buy a few. One day I decided to do some detective work. I called a woman I knew from a writers group that I used to attend. I remembered she had chickens. She gave me the number for the secretary for the mid-coast poultry association. I called her, and in about 30 seconds flat she gave me the number for a man who raises this type of bird, and lived less than an hour from my house. Within about 10 minutes I had lined up the purchase of the ladies. Isn't networking wonderful?
To make it even better, I told friends of mine about my plan, and they generously gave me an old ice fishing house they were no longer using. Chris and I spent a happy day converting it to a cozy coop for the girls. I am (very) anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first eggs. It should be any day now. Ladies... let's get on that!

Early fall welcome...

This summer I wanted a cottage garden feel for my flower beds. This is the view as you approach my front door. Somehow the peeling paint and tired steps seem perfect with this in the fore ground!

Silk purse sessions

Yesterday my husband Chris and I had what we call a "silk purse" session. We both spent all day, side by side at our kitchen table. Our laptops were humming away on the red checked tablecloth and we spent most of the day writing. The term "silk purse" refers to the fact that we are being creative, trying to make something grow out of nothing... nothing but our efforts.
At days end we were tired of sitting, and he had a great idea. A hurricane was brewing out at sea, and if we drove to Pemaquid Point, we might view some spectacular waves. When we got there, the waves were indeed amazing, 10-15 foot swells smashing on the rocky coast. And then I turned and saw this view... a fragment of rainbow by the lighthouse. Breathtaking.
I guess God was feeling creative, too.

New beginnings....

There is an old saying, "when you cut your own wood, it warms you twice." Those who have actually cut thier own wood know that in reality you are warmed more than twice by this exercise. There is the original cutting, then the splitting, stacking and hauling... all warming you before the wood is ever burnt.

On a crisp evening last week I grabbed a log to toss on the fire. Luckily I noticed that this log was festooned with the crysalis of a Monarch butterfly. I set it on the deck railing and watched all week. Saturday morning the green color of the chrysalis had faded to clear, and the pattern of butterfly wings was clearly visible. When I got home Saturday night this beauty was sitting inches above the now empty sack. This particular log warmed me in many ways, bearing the gift of this butterfly!

It rained all night, and the butterfly stayed right there. Mid afternoon on Sunday the weather cleared briefly, and the butterfly took off, a flitting orange shard over the autumn meadow. It amazes me to know that this delicate creature will now navigate thousands of miles from Maine to Mexico. It makes any challenges in my life seem rather insignificant!

With that story I welcome you to my blog. When I was learning vocabulary, the word "blog," did not exist. Yet here it is, and I have one. My goal is to share fragments of my life, play with words and pictures, and tell a tale or two. I hope it warms you.