Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All The Pretty Buoys

Earlier this summer, while out in the boat, I began to notice, really notice~pay attention to the lobster buoys scattered all around the bay. Of course you always see them: there are lots, and they are always there (in summer, anyway, not so much as it becomes winter). But, this time I began to look a little more closely, noticing particular colors/patterns that I liked.

Each lobsterman creates their own color scheme and paints all their buoys in that color scheme. No two lobstermen can have the same color scheme; this is how they identify their buoys and more importantly, their traps.

This one is a lovely purple and white; I have always wondered if it belonged not to a lobsterman, but to a lobsterwoman....

My noticing sort of began as I kept seeing a red, yellow and orange buoy. They were all over the area we were out in, and I thought they were especially nice.

I then got the idea of documenting a bunch of buoys, because some of them are so very pretty.

So, a few nights ago, Ray and Milo and I headed out around 6:00. Alden was off with his friend Charlotte, at Tunk Lake. It was not necessarily the best buoy-photography conditions: setting sun and slight chop to the water.

Note the brushstrokes you can see on this one.

Nevertheless, we had a great little boat ride. For me, fun to do more noticing and try to get decent shots; for Ray, it was a good boat handling project, trying to get me positioned just right to take the pictures I wanted.

These ones are all tangled together. I suppose someone will need to come along and untangle them before pulling up the attached trap(s).

I got more decent shots than I wanted to post here, so, some more pics from our little buoy tour are up at flickr.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My mom's garden: Currants

Currants. Another one of my mom’s slightly crazy fruit-growing projects. Like the gooseberries. Only, really, I think, way prettier. I think the colors on these are just fantastic.

Note: these pictures were taken, and these berries were harvested, several weeks back, around July 24th. I’m just only now getting to posting about them.

They are over in the corner of the garden, netted in in the same protective enclosure as the strawberries. Milo quickly figured out where the strawberries were, and would head over there and start ferreting around, trying to find a few ripe ones, slipping his little hands under the net (sadly, I don’t think I ever really managed to get any good strawberry pics). Interestingly, he also quickly seemed to know that the currants were not at all something he wanted. “Those are not yummy to me.”

What exactly you do with currants, I am not sure. I have a feeling that even mom is a bit at loose ends with them, not quite sure what to do.

There was some sort of a fruit dessert, I think, a reddish purplish mush which I believe I tasted on night #2. It was okay, I guess, but did not exactly knock my socks off, but you know me, not a fruit dessert person. I think there may also have been some jam produced from these berries. We’ll have to see what Anne says.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Around the Place

Just a few pictures from around the place, while I get my feet on the ground (we are recently back from a nearly a week away, at 31-Mile Lake for Matt’s wedding. Pics on flickr, if you are interested).

Some of the library signs. The children love the open/closed sign. Competition sometimes arises over who is going to get to “flip the sign” when it is time to open or close the library. Even Milo wants to get in on the action, although really, he is not yet quite capable of managing it. Not without help, anyway.

The new green and white paint. It looks just great. Coming to consensus about exactly what color green it was going to be was no small task. Luckily, I was not involved. The library has a board of directors, and they duked it out last year. We just got to watch, as they painted a bunch of different patches on the back of the building, just outside our kitchen~back door, and then mulled around, in small groups, considering the merits of each color combination (they were working with the green and white both, although it was the green that was the real issue).

note Milo's feet, reflected in the left hand pane.

The andiron owls. Two of them, at the end of the two fireplace andirons. Ray hates them, and hucked them out back during our first summer here. Hucked is probably not the right word, as they weigh about 50 pounds each. Dragged them out back, I suppose. Then, someone wanted them, and my mom, who was dealing with things after we left, had to go thrashing around the back yard/underbrush looking for them. Now, we leave them in the fireplace, even though they don’t fit with Ray’s fire-building aesthetic.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good Book Finds: Ruth Sawyer ~ The Enchanted Schoolhouse

Books just end up on my desk. I am not always sure where they came from or why they are there. But, I look at them, of course, mostly just so that I can figure out where to re-shelve them. But, then, sometimes, I look twice.

A book called The Enchanted Schoolhouse, by Ruth Sawyer, ended up on my desk the other day. I am familiar, just a little, with Ruth Sawyer. She is one of those Maine authors (making her confusing, here, as she could be filed in several different areas: local authors, juvenile fiction, etc.). I am pretty sure I read a book or two of hers way back in the day. But, it’s been a long time.

I picked this one up and flipped through the pages, and was struck by the illustrations. They looked oddly familiar.

from The Enchanted Schoolhouse:

I thought for a minute, and then realized who it was: Robert McCloskey, you know, of Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, and Make Way for Ducklings fame.

Aha, I thought. That’s it. He’s the illustrator. And, furthermore, I thought, it totally makes sense. He’s a Maine author [illustrator], and she is, too. I flip to the front to find the credits and confirm my realization….

Only to be proved wrong. Illustrator: Hugh Troy. Hugh Troy? Who the hell is he? And, how can I be wrong???

I flip a little more, and discover this dedication.

This only deepens the mystery. Okay, she clearly has some connection to McCloskey. I sit around scratching my head for a little while. Here are the facts:

*Robert McCloskey was the father of the characters he wrote about in so many of his books, Sal and Jane.
*Ruth Sawyer was the grandmother of those very same girls.
*Ruth Sawyer is not McCloskey’s mother. Why, you ask? A little Wikipedia research, and, later, further study of some of the other books we have here of hers, reveals she is the wife of some guy named Albert Durand.

I finally come to this conclusion: Ruth Sawyer must have had a daughter who married Robert McCloskey, and was then Sal and Jane’s mother. Phew.
from One Morning in Maine, the mother and Sal and Jane in the kitchen:

A few more pieces of Ruth Sawyer trivia:

*She’s actually pretty famous, at least in my book-award-world view. Won the Newbery for a book called Roller Skates, in 1937.
*The library has at least five books of hers, in addition to The Enchanted Schoolhouse:

A Cottage for Betty
Roller Skates
The Little Red Horse

I think I will try to get Alden going on reading some of these. They look like the kind of books he might like…

I still don’t know the answer to the question that started me on all of this: why do the illustrations in this book look so much like McCloskey’s?

boat scene from The Enchanted Schoolhouse:

from One Morning in Maine:

Maybe it’s just me; maybe it is that pen and ink style; maybe McCloskey was influenced by Troy (I’m assuming he’s younger, given the family/generation conclusion I came to). If so, interesting then that McCloskey became so famous, and I’d never heard of Hugh Troy.

One last thing: another book of Sawyer’s, Daddles, illustrated by a third person – Robert Frankenberg, also has slightly familiar looking drawings. Maybe it’s just the time period they were all working in…

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My mom's garden: "I am eating your lettuce"

Lots of lettuce growing in my mom’s garden, some red, some green. I started trying to do some up close and personal lettuce photography. That was when I found the slugs. Funny little things. Having themselves a good meal, in there, in the lettuce.

So, I tried to photograph them. They were actually a little easier to photograph than the lettuce, for some reason.

I think my mom was a little irritated that I was happily snapping away, photographing the slugs rather than getting rid of them.

Still need to figure out how to get good pics of the lettuce – they really are very pretty, all in a row, red and green and leafy…

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Eat local: Blueberries

Suddenly, they are getting ripe, and there are a ton of them. Bumper crop. Banner year. Whatever you want to call it.

It seems weird, as in, early. I mean, it’s still practically strawberry season (pictures of the strawberries in my mom’s garden possibly forthcoming).

But, they really are ready, at least some of them.

I went out in the early morning, and picked enough for breakfast.

Then, later in the day, went out with Alden, Hunter, and Milo. I offered Alden a quarter for every half cup he picked. He picked just that: a half cup. Once he had earned that quarter, he was done.

Milo pretty much grazed the whole time, talking about “ripe” berries and “juicy” berries. Anne also showed up.

Some of those berries went towards a blueberry lemon upside-down cake. More about that later, maybe.

Some of the berries are already frozen, ready to be enjoyed in pancakes on a cold Maine winter morning…

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Waiting for the Dems...

One of my mom's cousins is very active in the county Democratic organization. She approached mom and asked if they could use our house as the location for a fundraiser for the local Democratic state House of Representatives candidate.

The big house got cleaned top to bottom. Never a bad thing.

The cousins came and decorated in the morning before the (late afternoon) event.

Milo thought the streamers were really fun to play with. I had to keep steering him away so that he didn't tear them off the porch railing.

It was a perfectly beautiful day.

Unfortunately I missed the bulk of the party, due to my epic Ellsworth trip. All the pictures here are from the morning, when Milo and I were down at the house.

I did, however, make it to the tail end of the party. And, in fact, Milo and I had a brief conversation with former Senator George Mitchell, who was an esteemed guest of honor at the event. That was cool.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My mom's garden: Gooseberries

This post is really about the photographs, and me with the macro lens, because, to tell you the truth, the gooseberries do nothing for me.

Sorry, Mom.
Partly, it is just the fact that I am not a fruit dessert person, and the gooseberries tend to appear in these crazy fruit desserts (like "gooseberry fool"... whatever that is). I am not sure what else you can do with gooseberries, I think they are way too sour for eating straight up.

I think there is some backstory about the gooseberries, but, I cannot now recall it. I do know that my mom LOVES them, I mean, really, I think she is quite obsessed with them. Maybe she can fill in a bit here, about what it's all about, and defend her obsession.
But, Ray and I, we just don't get the gooseberries.
I had fun trying to photograph them, though, and I think these pics came out okay.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eat local: lobsters

My cousin Mardi is married to a guy named Clif. They are both great and are currently spending a lot of their time lobstering. Did I mention that they are in their 60s/70s?? The energy these two have is amazing and wonderful to see. (Mardi is actually my mom's first cousin, so, she's one generation up from me).

Two years ago, Clif took Alden out lobstering with him; it was a great treat for Alden.

Clif and Mardi have recently upgraded to a new boat.

I bought some lobsters from them earlier this week.

Steamed them up.

And, made yummy lobster salad. Three lobsters, picked just the big claws and tails from each; added a little mayo, mustard, celery, scallions, dill, and lemon. Eaten in sub-rolls. A good meal for Ray, Anne and me (with Anne contributing a bottle of wine. Thanks, Anne.)

The dill in the salad was given to me by a local neighbor/friend, grown in her own garden.
No pictures of the finished product, as the camera batteries chose to die during the meal preparation.