Monday, October 27, 2014


When I was a little kid my mother bought a set of wrought iron furniture for our porch. There was a sofa, two easy chairs, a coffee table and side tables, and a glass topped dining table. She was so proud of that furniture; it was a happy time. Over the years the cushions were recovered and the furniture painted, but it was always beloved. The arrival of summer was heralded by the furniture being brought up from the basement to decorate the porch, and many happy meals and laughs happened there.

When we moved to this house, my sister (who bought the family house and inherited the set) kindly sent me the dining table from the set for our wonderful new porch. I love the way it looks,and treasure the memory of my moms happiness and fun times around that table. However, recently when we turned our porch into my grooming studio there was no longer a place for the table. I tried it on the deck, it was too big. I moved it to our front room, where it sort of worked, but not really. Again, too big. I had about made the decision to find the table a new home.

And then, a few days ago I came downstairs to see this sight.

The chandelier over the table had decided to take a dive sometime in the night, and smashed the glass topped table into a bazillion smithereens. It took me a moment to grasp what had happened. Meanwhile the dogs were tap dancing around wanting to go outside... and I was worried they would slice their little paws on all that glass. I got them outside and tackled the project of cleaning up the mess. Giant shards were stabbed into the wooden floor, tiny flecks were jammed into the spaces between the boards. It seems my decision had been made for me. The out of place table was badly broken.

Letting go of things that we are firmly attached to is hard, even when we don't have a need for them anymore. I have to remind myself that the happy memories are not permanently attached to the "thing." The table can go grace another persons home and the happy times from my past can still live on in my mind.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pot luck and pig roast...

Just across the pond from our house is a beautiful old farm called Dear Foot Farm. Today they held their second annual neighborhood pot luck. It included a pig roast, and even had a "bean hole." This is a uniquely New England tradition, so I am told. Beans are baked in a cast iron pan, buried in a hole in the ground that has been lined with hot coals.

The day started off overcast and windy, but around noon- just in time for the event, the sun burst through the clouds.

Besides the incredibly delicious roasted whole hog, there were other cute pigs.

Inside the beautiful old barn there was an impressive array of pot luck food... crock pots lined up full of delicacies such as moose meatballs, soups, stews,chili, casseroles, cakes, pies, warm home made rolls, bowls of fresh made salsa and mounds of chips. The barn rang with chatter and laughter as people heaped their plates with good food. The roast pig was incredible... moist and tender with amazing flavor.

Just outside the barn there was a wonderful steel drum band.

There were lots of activities for kids... pumpkin carving, face painting, making apple cider, playing with hula hoops or croquet.

The last flowers of summer rubbed shoulders with pumpkins and gourds...

Small town living. It doesn't get any better than this.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Magical experience...

I recently had a pretty amazing thing happen. I wish someone had been there to witness it and capture it on film, but if someone else had been there, maybe it never would have happened at all.

It was Sunday. I walked out to the pasture for a moment to visit with the goats and horse. The sun was warm, the day was lovely. Next to the shed that shelters the hoof-stock, I have two large wooden thimbles from the local cable company. We have screwed a piece of plywood between them to make a bridge, and the goats like to hop up there to play or rest. On a whim I sat on one of the thimbles, enjoying the quiet morning. Chanel, the horse, approached me and leaned her big head up against my chest. I put my arms around her neck and rubbed her, feeling so fortunate that she trusted me enough to come snuggle. Then Luna goat joined her, nibbling on the knee of my pants and rubbing her head on my leg. "Wow!" I thought. "These animals are seeking me out to give me affection. How magical is this?"

Just then Ella goat hopped up next to me. Her black coat was warm from the sun, and she very deliberately lay down beside me, pressing the side of her body closely against my hip. She lay there, snuggled close, chewing her cud very contentedly. The horse was still there, Luna goat, too, asking for affection. And THEN, as if I could not feel any happier, Celeste goat hopped up behind me. And she, too, laid down. I leaned my back against her side, totally happy. I was completely surrounded by my animals, and they were peacefully, calmly, sweetly communing with me.

I thought back to my childhood. Ever since I hatched I have loved animals. Craved their companionship, longed for their trust. If 8 year old me could have glimpsed my future... if she could have seen herself in a sunny Maine meadow where goats deliberately arranged themselves around her for a peaceful rest... well, she would have wanted to hit the fast forward button to speed through all those in-between years just so she could experience this one, crystalline, perfect moment. Magical.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Autumn drive...

My husband and I so enjoy a Sunday drive. We don't take them every week, but when we do, they are a treat. Today dawned cold and frosty, but the sun soon warmed the air and we embarked, sunroof open and holding hands.

First we dropped off a pan of macaroni and cheese to a friend that just had surgery. Then we meandered down Route 1, enjoying the scenery, until we found one of our favorite places to eat, the Slipway in Thomaston, ME. They make fried sea food an art form. Turns out it was the last day they'd be open for the season. We continued to ramble along, and drove through Damriscotta, an adorable little village, which was hosting a pumpkin festival. There were people and pumpkins everywhere, and a festival atmosphere.

That happened to be near my favorite local ice cream joint... Roundtop, where they make peppermint stick ice cream that dances on your tongue. So we stopped in for a scoop. The sign said they close for the season on Tuesday. More good luck for us!

A bit further down the road we saw that a big flea market we have not visited in ages was up and running.

I was tempted to buy this very cool coal shovel, but resisted. I mean, really, what would one do with a funky shovel? It is the last flea market of the season. And we didn't miss it.

And the road continued, with more beautiful sights.

Then home for a nap and chores and a wonderful supper. A soul-satisfying Sunday.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October happiness...

I am so pleased with how our little house is looking. We have tidied things up quite a bit... but of course there is always more to do. Still and all, every time I drive up the road and see this place sitting steadfast on the corner, it makes me smile. There are so many things that turn the corners of my lips up.

For example, Earl Gray, the FairWinds Grooming Studio mascot. He has donned a sporty Halloween bandana. When hunting season comes he plans to switch to camouflage or blaze orange. He's all about fashion.

Every day, when I go out to my little studio to welcome dogs and cats here for grooming, I am awash in happiness. This space... with its light and views,flowers and favorite things, with soft piano music playing and the ducks and chickens and goats and pony right outside the glass... this space where animals are calm and quiet, and new friends come in the door... where people help themselves to coffee or tea and a fresh baked goodie and settle in on a wicker chair and sigh and rock and say, "Oh this is nice. This is so peaceful." I am in love with it. Every bit of it. And I am so very, very happy being right here, right now. I am trying to remember to allow myself to feel the happiness and treasure every moment of it.

Tomorrow we plan a 'leaf peeping' drive. And maybe a lobster roll or a cup of good chowder somewhere. There will be pictures, I promise!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fall cookin'...

I love fall food. Stews, roasts, soul-warming casseroles. My daughter assembled this meal today while I was finishing up work. A chicken raised right here,tucked into a wonderful cast iron dutch oven and surrounded with butternut squash grown in our garden. A drizzle made up of honey and herbs tops the whole thing and it cooks up so fragrant and fabulous that the whole house has a mouthwatering scent for hours. Autumn chicken it is called... and it just wouldn't' taste the same in August.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A little whimsey...

I stained the pony shed white a few weeks ago, and fastened some very funky hay forks along the top. The structure is not a thing of beauty, though it is very functional, and the stain and tools made it look much tidier, but more stark at the same time. I thought it might be nice to use a bit of the blue paint from the house doors and do a little something decorative along the front. Then I had an idea... one of my customers is an excellent artist and she is more that willing to barter.

I didn't really know what I wanted... I was thinking of a little border design. But I tossed caution to the winds and asked my friend to do what she wanted.

She said, "Your taste is a mixture of traditional and whimsical," and then she created this while I washed and groomed her two dogs.

The colors and design? They make me grin.

More grinning ensued when my daughter said, "Let's go apple picking!" when the grooming was done.

We followed these directions to the letter.

Then there was the pretty drive home.

With a final touch of whimsey when we found a flock of pea fowl clogging the road. I'd say it was a fine day.