Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lilac season....

It is lilac season in New England. I missed them all the years I lived in Memphis. It was possible to buy lilac bushes there, but keeping them alive was a neat trick. Here they literally grow like weeds. Their fragrance is heavy and singular. I like to roll down the window on back road drives and drink in the perfume. The season is short but sweet. And simply lovely.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spring beauty...

We have had several days of cold, damp weather. A bit on the depressing side, to be honest.
As I left work today, I found myself focusing on the grey weather. Then something caught my eye... this beautiful, perfect Luna moth. The span of its wings was as wide as the palm of my hand. This discovery was a lovely reminder of the beauty that surrounds me, no matter the weather.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An oh so picture perfect New England scene...

I caught this shot of two lobster men setting traps on Memorial day. The gulls ghosted the boat, screaming for scraps. On this perfect spring day, the light spangled off the water, seals bobbed their dark heads amid the waves, and we drank in the scene with all the thirst of people who have been too long indoors over the winter.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day...

My father, David S. Waters, was a WWII veteran. When I was a little girl, dad was a member of the local Legion. Each year he would take me for a ride in his white convertible and we would pick up a big box of small American flags. We would then go to the Boxford, Massachusetts cemetery and decorate the graves of all the veteran's. The mosquito's would be fierce, but I would ignore them to scramble over rock walls and into the limbs of sprawling fir trees to tuck a flag on the grave of each veteran. How I treasured this time with my father. On Memorial Day, he would don his Army uniform, (which he still fit into!) and march in the local parade. How proud I was of my handsome daddy, carrying a gun or a flag. I especially liked it when he carried the gun and shot the volley over the silent graves. Boy Scout's would play taps on shining bugles... one scout we could see, the other would be hidden in the woods, the notes he played echoing forlornly over the headstones.

After the volley was shot in memory of fallen comrades, I would scramble with other children to pick up the brass casings of the bullets, still hot from the gun barrel. I still have a few of these treasures tucked into the drawers of my jewelry box.

Today Chris and I took the ferry from Rockport, Maine, out to Vinal Haven. Serendipitously, we arrived just in time to see the local small town Memorial Day parade. A marching band of impossibly small children played, and a group of Veteran's from many branches of the service proudly marched. I was flooded with memories of my childhood. The smallest kids carried bouquets of flowers and wreathes studded with remembrance poppies. They marched to the harbor, where music played, a preacher prayed, and the children tossed the wreaths and flowers into the ocean. From there the parade moved up to a veterans memorial obelisk. There was more music, more prayer, and the placement of wreaths on the memorial. The honor roll was called out by an elderly veteran in smart uniform. The flag snapped overhead against a robin's egg sky. I was awash with gratitude. And memories.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Psssst.... guess what?

We added to our menagerie today. Two Katahdin sheep. The plan is that they will keep our back yard manicured this summer. So far, they are nibbling steadily. The dogs don't know what to think. Stay tuned to see how this experiment works. I can tell you they are mighty cute.

Garden season...

I spent the most perfect day yesterday, puttering in the yard and putting gardens in.
My veggie garden has sweet peas, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, potatoes, onions, squash and sunflowers. I have an extra row and will have to decide what to put there. The possibilities are mind boggling!

I also put in my annual herb garden. Rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, dill, parsley and more. I tossed in some nasturtiums and a back row of dwarf sunflowers for color. A gentle rain came last night to help get the seeds and plants off to a good start. This morning my world smelled like damp earth and the air was full of birdsong. I have the whole, entire day ahead of me, full of possibilities of spring time delights.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is my brother's birthday. Here he is, on the left, with his sisters. It's a bit scary how much we all look alike, more so as we age. From left to right: Dana, Debbie, me and Donna.
Some of my very happiest childhood memories involve time spent with Dana. Here are a few; digging worms for his first business, "Water's Worm Works," (he'd wait until I had a whole handful, then tell me, "You have a 'skeeter on your face." I'd then smash my face with my worm-filled hand and have worm guts all over me.) Then there were the hours we spent driving. Dana had an old Mustang, and I vividly remember riding shotgun on the cracked leather seat. He would drive at high speed, sailing over the bumps in the road and taking corners to the inside. It felt like we were going very fast. I remember thinking, on those rides, that I could possibly die at any moment. I didn't like that idea, but I would console myself that if I did die, at least I'd die happy. I was always so happy when Dana spent time with me. And spend time he did... he'd plunk me on the bar of his bicycle and peddle me all over town. He and his friends even took me on vacation with them when they were big guys renting a cabin on a lake and water skiing for hours on end. Of course, he also teased and tormented me endlessly, shoved me in the pool more times than I could count, and gave me charming nick names like "Burr head."
But what is boils down to is that Dana has been my hero since I was a wee little kiddo. And he still is. He is honest, hard working, reliable, dependable. He is a good husband and a wonderful daddy. He influenced my taste in men, and my sweet husband reminds me in many ways of my kind, gentle, smart and talented big brother. Happy birthday, Dana. I am so glad you have ME for a sister! >grin<

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life is bustin' out all over....

A baby mouse, only 7 days old, was found in the driveway at work. Near no possible nest. Cassie, a co worker, took on the challenge of raising this tiny creature. She has fed him, (him being dubbed Figaro Vermin Mouse) every two hours round the clock. Although all information says it is nearly impossible to keep a baby this young alive, Cassie has succeeded. His eyes and ears are open, he is energetic and thriving. Cassie is a wonder. That is all there is to it~

Monday, May 18, 2009

Eating Ferns....

In Maine, we go crazy for fiddle heads in the spring. These tightly coiled baby ferns are a special, edible type, harvested from damp, wooded areas. They are delicious. I saute mine in olive oil and garlic, then steam them until tender. They are a bit like eating fresh asparagus. Rachel and I delight in them, Chris finds them "icky."

Sunday, May 17, 2009


There is an abandoned house on my street. Raccoons romp through it, and bats use it as a safe haven when they are not flying over the night-clad pond in search of supper. Hanging behind the broken glass are curtains. The curtains fascinate me.

A woman once called this place home, and carefully chose the fabric to frame her view of the world. I wonder if she knew, as she hung them, that they would remain long after she was gone? Did she picture them, rotten and threadbare, billowed by both gentle breezes and gale winds?

Today my adventurous niece, Aimee, and I screwed up our courage and peered in the windows of this shell of a home. Things were as the lady of the house left them; a can of Chock Full 'O Nut's coffee elbowed up to a lovely antique tureen on the kitchen counter. The sink was stacked full of dishes. The wooden four poster bed in the tiny back bedroom was carelessly made, a stack of books on the bedside table. Floral wallpaper hung in peels, and oddly, a can of gasoline nestled up to the easy chair in the living room. In the garage, a hand-made ladder climbed up to a hay-filled loft. Ancient tools and a old oil lamp hung from the rafters.

Outside, a wall of mature lilac bushes bloomed profusely, perfuming the air with an impossibly sweet scent. I wondered if the lady of the house had planted the original bush, looking forward to first flowers.

As I drank the scene in, camera in hand, a gentle wind blew past the blossoms, through the broken window glass. The old curtains stirred as if lifted by an unseen hand.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Particular joy...

One of the earliest signs of spring here in Maine is the song of the Spring Peeper frog. These wee creatures boast very loud voices. They congregate in boggy areas and fill the night air with their mating songs. My mother taught me how to listen for the peepers when I was a little girl, and I still feel a thrill when they crank up the orchestra on chilly spring nights. Sometimes they sing so loudly they wake me. I listen drowsily until the happy sound lulls me back to sleep. Spring peepers... a particular joy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

4 sisters...

Today would have been my sister "Dicy's" birthday. After her death each of her siblings received a small portion of her ashes. I scattered my portion into a flower bed I created under a beautiful flowering crab apple tree in my front yard. I planted daffodil, jonquil and tulip bulbs in the garden. Each year during the time before, during and after Dicy's birthday, the garden is a riot of color.

I took this photo of the four daffodil's clustered together in that garden, and when I saw it I immediately thought, "Four sisters." Our family consisted of 5 children, four sisters and a brother. It is hard to believe that one of us is gone....

Happy birthday, Dicy. Your garden is as bright, colorful and full of life as a memory of you should be.

More painting!

Rachel painted this room for me as a Mother's Day gift, who could ask for more?

We spend most of our time here, and we call it the "snuggery." I put the room back together on Monday, hung the curtains and the art work, etc. I also polished up the wood stove and washed the windows. The door here is blue, but it now boasts a fresh coat of soft green paint, which looks a whole lot better when it is opened, which it is all summer long. Next, the KITCHEN!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mount Stepmore...

When we were looking to buy this house, there were a couple of glaring problems. One was the roof, old and shoddy. Another was the front steps...they were a home-made concrete monstrosity, crumbling and Ugly with a capital U. They were also HUGE, steep and just awkward. We had the roof fixed, but the steps have continued to vex me. On Mother's day, Chris and I took a sledgehammer to them, and made a wee dent. They were made with concrete, old brick, and lots of steel rods. I had to grin... my dad used to build things with concrete, and I could almost hear him saying, "I pity the guy who tries to take THESE down." These steps could have been built by my dad.
Chris rented a demolition hammer and spent several hours after work smashing away at the ugly old steps. I stood on the sidelines and cheered. (Chris said, "As a guy, it is rare to have a woman be happy when we DESTROY things." HA!)
Today, to celebrate the almost-gone steps, I painted the doors to the house and garage moss green, instead of the Caribbean blue they have been the past two years. Chris hated the blue, and the neighbors were prone to commenting on it in an unfavorable tone. I liked it , but also am fond of the new, soft new green. And I will love the new steps we are having installed, too.

Monday, May 11, 2009

They're baaaack..!

I put up a hummingbird feeder yesterday around 2:00pm. By 3:00pm I had two hummingbirds fighting over the nectar. I hung the feeder at the entrance of our home, and will delight at the zooming antics of the tiny birds all summer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

That gawky teenage phase...

The chicks are a month old now, gawky "teenagers." They are growing adult feathers in spots, still downy in other spots. Out in the yard, scratching and pecking, they look like miniature ostrich, all legs and feet.
These three still push up under their mama's feathers when they sleep. Today I saw her sitting in a pool of sunlight, trying to nap. The chicks were all under her, jockeying for the best position. The end effect was that the poor, drowsy chicken was rocking about like a rowboat on rough water. It seems even mother chickens suffer sleep deprivation when they have babies about.
~Happy Mother's Day~

Paint projects

This weekends project, repaint and "spiff up" the downstairs guest bath. Fresh, clean, white and bright. Makes me happy!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ride 'em, cowgirl...

Ever since I bought my mid life crisis horse last summer, I have been looking for a good saddle for her. We bought a very inexpensive one to get started, and then the hunt was on for one that fit both of us, (not an easy feat!) and was affordable. Some of the saddles I looked at cost more than the horse! I found this model two weeks ago at a second hand tack sale... it is beautiful, well made, and I got it for far less than new. Yesterday Chanel and I took it for a test drive. It was a perfect spring day, and our first real ride of the season. The new saddle made a world of difference. Yee haw!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Factoid of the day...

The poetic term for a bunch of crows is a "murder." No scientist calls them that, only poets. Scientists would call it a flock.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The "awww" factor...

This is Rose (a Dexter cow) and her brand, spankin' new calf. I arrived on the scene mere moments after he was born. I was able to see his first wobbly attempts at standing, his first steps, and his first trip to the "milk bar." What a miracle it is that a baby cow can be up and on the go within moments of birth... and how do they know about the whole nursing thing? As a friend of mine said, "They must get directions from a higher source." It is magic, and was a privilege to witness.

Dreams come in all flavors...

Years and years ago I decided it would be fun to learn how to make really good pizza at home.
It was a small thing, this desire to be a great pizza chef... and really of little consequence, but I never did follow through. Until recently. Lately we have instituted "Friday Night Pizza Night."
Every week we have been making pizza... a different flavor each time. I even bought a very nice pizza stone, which is fun to use and works great!
This weeks pizza included a garlic cream sauce, seasoned shrimp and lots of gooey cheese. The aroma of it cooking and the taste of it dancing on our tongues was amazing. This is an example of a small dream deferred... I am glad I didn't put it off any longer! Dreams come in all shapes and sizes and flavors, and I think we owe it to ourselves to trot them out and give them a spin. They can be delicious.
What small dream have you been putting off?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Livestock guardian dog...

People who farm or "homestead" often have livestock guardian dogs. These dogs, (breeds such as Great Pyrenees or Maremma's, etc.) are raised with the animals they are destined to protect.

Dazzle the poodle (very much raised "in house!") has taken over the job of chicken guardian dog since the new babies have hatched. She stands, by the hour, just watching as the chicks potter about. She does not get too close, does not annoy the mother hens, she just hovers and observes. You can see the look of joy on her face in this photo... she is having the time of her life. We have lost one chick, I think to a hawk. I fear if Dazzle were not on duty we would have lost far more.

My polka dotted poodle is earning her keep guarding the flock.
And she looks pretty funny doing so!