Life In Progress

I will not confuse my career with my life.


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Nectar

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The hummingbirds are rightly preoccupied with the huge honeysuckle bush in the garden. Even so, I hung the nectar feeder out last week and saw my first customer belly up to it the other day. With all this hot weather, I thought it was time to refresh the feeder yesterday. The package of hummingbird sugar stated that it had no artificial coloring but when I dropped it into the water, there were some interesting pink swirls to contemplate.

Now it’s time to park myself on the front porch, sip coffee and watch for hummers.

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A Good Breeze

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Summer is on my mind. Probably because we don’t have a/c in our old New England farmhouse. Oh, we’ve gotten good at when to close and open windows and shades over the years to deflect the sun and the oven-hot rooftop breezes. Even with strategically placed fans sleeping for the handful of really warm nights in Maine can present a challenge.

Plenty of porch time is my solution. By early afternoon, the sun has finished baking the front decking and a good breeze begins to traverse the length of it. A cool fruit smoothie, a new Davis Leatherworks tooled notebook (a gorgeous, US-made version of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook), toys to play with and plenty of pets with Mr. Wonderful made for a perfect holiday at home yesterday.

Mister, mister, mister!

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Free Time

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It’s finally summer in Maine — I’ve been waiting for comfy porch weather and it’s here in spades. I love the afternoon breezes that keep that side of the house cool, the porch is perfect for hanging around, sipping iced tea (read: beer), drawing in a sketchbook and playing with my toys like any other respectable grown woman would do with her free time. A few weeks ago, I had Stego, the expanding dinosaur sponge in a gladiola vase. Fun to watch him grow and to sketch his progress. Now it’s Stella the sea star in the spotlight. Stella and some kid’s toys I found on the walking trail. Finders keepers, kids. Oh, okay, I’ll put them back on the trail when I’ve had my fun.

The last rain storm washed away the rest of the pine pollen and I no longer have those pesky allergy symptoms dogging me, so I’m one happy camper.

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The Cure

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The photo within this photo was taken by Gregory Rec, Portland Press Herald, Portland, Maine.

The sun is back! We have lingered on the western-facing deck the past two afternoons to soak up some rays — really just an excuse to take the cure: Hang around doing nothing, drink a few beers and act like it wasn’t still winter in Maine. This morning the light in the stairwell was so beautiful I had to try to capture it in a photo.

The photo below was taken Friday afternoon. The Cabin Fever Snow Pile Races snow pile is still massive but pithy and not strong enough to withstand races anymore. This afternoon will likely present another fine opportunity to take off my fleece sweater, roll up my jeans and bask in the warm March sun and perhaps enjoy a brew … or two.

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A Thousand Thanks

Snow Auger has a saucy attitude about his  commanding post on the back deck. We'll see what the coming rain does to his cheeky angle!

Snow Auger has a saucy attitude about his commanding post on the back deck. We’ll see what the coming rain does to his cheeky angle!

Although the New England dig out is ongoing, the 2013 Blizzard is history. Onward and upward, right? Not so fast… it started snowing lightly here in South Windham, Maine a couple of hours ago, but this is supposed to turn to rain, rendering our stately 35″ of fluffy powder into a cement-like sludge.

Yesterday, after shoveling, I rewarded myself with some snow play. I got out our new, squeaky-clean garden trug and used it to mix water into light, puffy snow so that I could slap this Snow Auger onto the deck pedestal. I still long for a nicely behaved storm with proper snowman snow — heavier stuff than we’ve gotten these past couple of storms. Yes, the risk of power outage rises with heavy snow; hence my humble request for a nicely behaved storm… too much to ask? My need to sculpt snow creatures is not yet filled!

When I heard the weather report this morning, I envisioned a big drift of snow just outside the second floor bathroom window. Old house rooftops with snow drifts are begging for ice dams and structural compromises so I got the roof rake out at 8 a.m. and scraped what I could from a shed roof we’d neglected to shovel yesterday.

Afterward, I allowed myself to sit outside for a few minutes and gaze at my Snow Auger while sipping a mug of steaming tea. A thousand thanks and multitudes of gratitude for the people who keep us safe during winter storms: law enforcement, fire fighters, all those who plow our roads, respond to our emergencies and the brave medical personnel who drive in dangerous conditions to work in our hospitals. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Out Like a Lion

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The rain and wind have made it to Maine. The haughty Snow Wizard is melted down to a stump of its former glory. When we got a couple of inches of snow Monday night, I shoveled the deck snow onto the formerly fabulous and icy Cabin Fever Snow Pile, thinking that the snow in the tracks would protect the ice in the chutes. Against all odds, I had dreams of races this weekend. Now it looks like sulking will be my major activity.

As I took a few photos a little while ago, I heard a vivid rendition of the Wicked Witch of the West’s line run through my head: “I’m melting, melting. Oh, what a world, what a world.”

It feels so much like late March here. Late March is when Maine finally gets the legendary “in like a lion” aspect of the month. But, January — out like a lion?


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Snow, Sublime

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Snow Wizard took a hit this week, sublimating with the sub-zero temperatures, gusty winds and bright sun. This afternoon we repaired the snow pile enough to be able to hold Cabin Fever Snow Pile Races tomorrow but I’ll have to make several trips out with the spray bottle to ice it up after sundown. Am in disbelief and dismayed at our trend of less and less snowfall each year here in the northeast. We didn’t get a flake from the last storm and there’s ice/rain in the forecast for next week. Hope the weatherman’s wrong!


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Snow Fun

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I hand washed the car today, right in the driveway. Hatless, gloveless and wearing an unzipped light jacket over my jeans and fleece sweater. In January. In Maine. The temps were in the 60s, the birds were singing and the sun was out — I couldn’t bear to return to the dry, stale indoor air, so I sat on the back deck with the cat in the waning sun. Fidgety, I got to making snowballs with the sublimating snow pile and a lightbulb went on in my head. The snow was perfect for making snow creatures! The sun was behind the trees when I got done, so I only had time to snap a few shots with my iPhone. Not as crisp as could be, but the crescent moon actually showed up in one.

This evening, Soft-Serv Snow Wizard made me smile every time I peeked out the sliding doors at him. It’s supposed to start getting cooler again so maybe he will stick around long enough to enjoy some company. And I will get to have more snow fun.

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Behind the Eight Ball

Spring is forging ahead, whether I’ve had time to clear the walkways and cut down  last year’s plants. I’ve managed to work in the front garden a couple of times, mostly so I’m not frightfully embarrassed for people to see just how far behind the eight ball I really am.

This morning was so gorgeous that I wandered out to admire those front gardens and was surprised at how good they looked. Last year’s tedious weeding and deadheading in the ajuga patches has paid off this spring. The mild winter didn’t hurt, either. The honey bees and bumbles are frequenting the ajuga in almost frightening numbers this year. Too bad there isn’t some edible/medicinal fruit from that plant, because these plants are seeing serious pollination action. Mr. Wonderful joined me for my promenade. I have had some very productive gardening hours accompanied by this beautiful cat, who almost never does anything wrong.

It makes me feel a little guilty, but I’m secretly pleased that it’s supposed to rain buckets tomorrow in southern Maine. That way, I can make my yoga class plan and do some work around the house, inside, of course. By “work”, I am referring to the fact that I have a brand new homespun book press and have made one book so far and am conjuring my next book binding project. Maybe a garden journal?


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Glinda

Dramatic clouds lowered yesterday afternoon and I watched a rain shower progress toward the west in the southern sky. When I took this shot, police cars and fire engines were racing south on Rt. 202, their echoing sirens amplified by the Presumpscot River corridor. As I sat surrounded by the sounds of emergency vehicles and this dynamic vista, I sent out a prayer ‘for whom the bell tolled,’ so to speak.

Later there was a big bonus when I off-loaded my photos and saw that there were orbs in nearly every picture. Now, orbs fascinate me. Logically, I know that they are created by refracted light and camera lenses, but I love to ponder the alternatives. Plus, what about orbs in photos that aren’t taken in sunlight? Are they elemental beings or spirits of loved ones watching over us? Is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in The Wizard of Oz approaching?

Maybe these were the results of my prayers. What do you think?