Friday, August 29, 2014

Little Vacation

My parents visited for a couple of weeks, which turned into a little vacation for us--hiking and beach going and eating out and doing many of the things people come to Maine to do, but that we don't ever think about doing--lighthousing (I'm pretty sure that's a verb now), whale-watching, island-going, window-shopping.

It was fun--a good end-of-summer hurrah--and a bit exhausting. We're looking forward to a bit of a rest this weekend before school starts Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Taking a Breath

We have houseguests coming next week, so we spent most of the weekend cleaning and preparing for their arrival--

Dusting and mopping surfaces that don't usually get dusted or mopped. Sorting out weeks and months worth of toys and papers and things that tend to pile up and get ignored. I paid Z five dollars to wash my car. C even mowed the weeds lawn, which is a major endeavor and only happens one or twice a year (but I must say, it looks good!). About halfway through, consumed by dust from the kids' room, I was about ready to call our guests up and tell them to stay home. But I powered through and now we have a nice, comfy, dust-free, clean house (we'll see how long that lasts!). I even eliminated one big box of books and another box of various other junk.

Meanwhile, a beautiful, sunny weekend was going on outside. I only got out briefly Saturday, for a quick walk through the woods, throughout which I was scratched up by blackberry bushes and chased by deer flies.

Sunday evening, the bulk of the work done and an early dinner finished, I snuck out to my delimited site (the gravel pit pond by our house, which I'm supposed to observe regularly as part of my naturalist class), and settled down in a lawn chair, with a blanket to protect my legs from the bugs and my journal. Nothing too exciting was going on at the pond (no otters!), but it was nice and peaceful, with a few frogs and birds singing. Even the deer flies left me alone once I sat down. Sometimes a few moments of quiet in nature is all I need.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Around the Garden, Early August

We didn't need to go all the way to Baxter State Park to see a moose, 

When one walked right through our garden while we were gone.

(Close-up of its track above, the pair of them longer than my foot; tracks through our poor woodchuck-demolished beans here).

In other garden news, the cucumber flowers are flourishing,

Along with some beautiful borage. 

I harvested my garlic, right on time for once. Only about half as many bulbs came out of the ground as cloves went in last fall, but they're beauties.

Being one who loves flowers, but is too lazy to actually plant or take care of them, I'm loving this black-eyed Susan that sprang up under the deck.

The chard is coming along and, ever so slowly the tomatoes (about half are self-starts transplanted from the compost pile and the other half C direct-seeded into the ground. We could use some good sunny weather to get them moving along while summer lasts).

Broccoli, I think, is enjoying this cool rainy weather, however.

As are the blueberries. (These are on Blueberry Tree--the world's hugest high bush blueberry bush. I brought home 20 pounds of farm-raised blueberries last night, most of which I froze, making some into jam. Two of my jars didn't seal, and when I tried re-boiling them, on jar broke. I've had the worst jam luck this year!).

Our peach tree died over the winter, after one glorious harvest last year. Inside the house, fruit flies have taken over despite not much fruit for them to eat (oh, but that compost bowl!). They'll be happy to know I'm on schedule to pick up ten quarts of plums, which means more jam attempts (perhaps better luck!?). Any other ideas for preserving plums?

The big darner dragonflies have taken wing, and I'm starting to get that clingy, panicky late-summer feeling of oh no, it's almost over. Trying to breathe deeply. Crossing fingers for more sun and more beach days and lots of ripe goodness from the garden.

How does your garden grow?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

First Family Backpacking Trip--Success!

Our backpacking trip was really amazing. Four days of wilderness and peace and quiet, freedom from all things noisy and mechanical and electronic. The boys were troupers. They did fantastic hiking and packing. I'm a little achey and sore around the knees and calves, but chomping at the bit (straining at the pack straps?) to get out and do it again, rain, mosquitoes and all. 
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