Archive for the ‘Maine’ Category

Eli 3rd at State Championships for wrestling, more snow, some quilting

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Well, I can tell I’ve been really busy when I realize how long it has been since I’ve blogged!   Maine’s Wrestling State tournaments were last weekend, and we are Class B. I am thrilled to say that Eli wrestled the best he has ever wrestled and came in Third!  AND–massively huge and loud DRUM ROLL Please!   The CAMDEN HILLS WRESTLING TEAM, well over half of which is Freshman and Sophomores (though Varsity is mostly Soph-Jr-Sr), WON STATES FOR THE THIRD TIME IN A ROW!   (and you betcha I’m shouting!) For such a young team to do so well is just amazing.  As usual, the rest of the state hates Camden, mostly because we keep winning.  Everyone said we couldn’t win last year, but they squeaked through with a 3-point victory.  This year it was a 24 point margin!   And for Eli to do so well as a Sophomore!   WOOT! More below…

Camden Hills Wrestling gets a THREE-Peat, winning Class B Maine State Wrestling Championship!  Well done lady and gentlemen!

Camden Hills Wrestling gets a THREE-Peat, winning Class B Maine State Wrestling Championship! Well done lady and gentlemen!

There has also been snow, more snow, more snow, and more snow coming.

The view heading out with the dog this morning, looking north.

The view heading out with the dog this morning, looking north.

And on the way back up the driveway.  Our house faces north, facing the prevailing winds, so not much left on this side of the roof.  It is hard because of drifts to guess how much snow we've got, but I'm guessing an average of about 18 inches.  At least it is warm--we're up to 30 degrees!

And on the way back up the driveway. Our house faces north, facing the prevailing winds, so not much left on this side of the roof. It is hard because of drifts to guess how much snow we’ve got, but I’m guessing an average of about 18 inches. At least it is warm–we’re up to 30 degrees!

And I’ve been busy quilting, again, something I’m not at liberty to share until after jurying some time this summer.  Sigh.  It just pains me not to show in progress.  Maybe I’ll take a photo of a heap of pre-fused fabric just to be a wicked tease?  Anyway, here’s my week in pictures.

Eli pins a kid from Fryeburg (lovely town on the western border of the State) to get into the Consolation Finals (meaning he would place 3 or 4).

Eli pins a kid from Fryeburg (lovely town on the western border of the State) to get into the Consolation Finals (meaning he would place 3 or 4).

It seems all of us parents have good-luck things we do.  I wear a C. Hills fleece vest to all his sports events, and I take photos of Eli warming up and getting ready for his next match.  Most are totally worthy of being deleted--I just need to take the photo to have good juju!  But here's one of the kids and coaches on the sidelines (with the Belfast coach on the left).

It seems all of us parents have good-luck things we do. I wear a C. Hills fleece vest to all his sports events, and I take photos of Eli warming up and getting ready for his next match. Most are totally worthy of being deleted–I just need to take the photo to have good juju! But here’s one of the kids and coaches on the sidelines (with the Belfast coach on the left).

Eli wrestled Belfast's (neighboring town) Michael Mcfadden for 3rd/4th.  Eli (and many of the rest of us) are pretty sure that he had Michael pinned, but the ref didn't call it.  Still, Eli won by Major Decision (more than 8 points, I think final score was 15-4).  Michael is a class act--told Eli he was glad his last high school match was against Eli.  I didn't get a chance to shake his hand at the meet so I Facebook messaged him (he and Eli are FB friends), to say congrats and he said the same thing to me.  Let's all wish Michael the best of life!

Eli wrestled Belfast’s (neighboring town) Michael Mcfadden for 3rd/4th. Eli (and many of the rest of us) are pretty sure that he had Michael pinned, but the ref didn’t call it.

The customary shake before the ref raises Eli's hand.  Still, Eli won by Major Decision (more than 8 points, I think final score was 15-4). Michael is a class act--told Eli he was glad his last high school match was against Eli. I didn't get a chance to shake his hand at the meet so I Facebook messaged him (he and Eli are FB friends), to say congrats and he said the same thing to me. Let's all wish Michael the best of life!

The customary shake before the ref raises Eli’s hand for the win. Still, Eli won by Major Decision (more than 8 points, I think final score was 15-4). Michael is a class act–told Eli he was glad his last high school match was against Eli. I didn’t get a chance to shake his hand at the meet so I Facebook messaged him (he and Eli are FB friends), to say congrats and he said the same thing to me. Let’s all wish Michael the best of life!

And on the podium--Eli doesn't often smile this big even when he's done well, so I'm really happy to see him SMILE!

And on the podium–Eli doesn’t often smile this big even when he’s done well, so I’m really happy to see him SMILE!

As for the other part of the week:  Shadows on snow this morning.  I need to do some "Winter" quilts.... I just love the season!  So crisp and bright and beautiful!

As for the other part of the week: Shadows on snow this morning. I need to do some “Winter” quilts…. I just love the season! So crisp and bright and beautiful!

And the giggle moment, Pigwidgeon in snow after morning walkies.   He could still walk it (not too deep, path not shoveled at the time), but definitely belly marks in the snow.

And the giggle moment, Pigwidgeon in snow after morning walkies. He could still walk it (not too deep, path not shoveled at the time), but definitely belly marks in the snow.

 

One of the things I love about winter is seeing critter tracks in the snow.  Of course, these are likely mouse prints on our deck...which means we probably have at least one or a few additional residents.  Hmmm.....

One of the things I love about winter is seeing critter tracks in the snow. Of course, these are likely mouse prints on our deck…which means we probably have at least one or a few additional residents. Hmmm…..

And more tracks on the snow heap in the corner between the kitchen/Eli's bedroom and the master bedroom.  I *think* they may be getting in the vent that is below the water spigot.  Will deal with that in warmer weather!

And more tracks on the snow heap in the corner between the kitchen/Eli’s bedroom and the master bedroom. I *think* they may be getting in the vent that is below the water spigot. Will deal with that in warmer weather!

Tomorrow we head off to All-States Wrestling Championship.  This is a first in Maine.  There are three “Classes” of schools (based mostly on size, though the logic of who is which class and how big the schools are and how a school can be Class A in one sport and Class B in another defies comprehension).  Some years, the top two or three in one class could easily beat the champion in another class.   But in the past the State Champion for each class would go to the New England Championships.  This year there will be a “king of the mountain” wrestle-off of the top four finishers in each weight class in all three classes.  Eli is a  long shot to qualify for New Englands, but it should be a good tournament with the best wrestlers in the state.  And on Friday, Eli finally gets WAFFLES for breakfast!  It’s been a long season without our Sunday treat!

Snowy Owl!!!!!

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

About a month or so ago, Eli came in from the yard and said “Mom, what bird would be all white with brown spots?”  The only bird I could think of was a snowy owl, but we are way too far South of their normal range, so I dug out my Peterson guide and went through the entire thing.  The only all-white bird with brown spots was the owl.  Asked Eli: what shape head and beak?  “I don’t know, it was flying away from me.”  Then a few days later on NPR there was a report of many Snowy Owl sightings in Maine this winter…. and we had one in our yard, and I had missed it.

Snowy Owl at Clarry Hill, Union, Maine

Snowy Owl at Clarry Hill, Union, Maine

Then my friend Kathy told me she had SEEN the snowy owls at Clarry Ridge in Union, about 12 miles from our house, and told me how to get up to the ridge, which by the way is freakin’ unbelievably gorgeous blueberry barrens with a 360 view that goes for miles and miles and miles.  So after a wonderful lunch with Gail and Louisa at Boynton McKay in town, I decided to explore and hope for the best.

The blueberry barrens are this incredible russet color in autumn and winter.  There is SO a blueberry barrens  quilt in my future.  And maybe dyeing fabric.  Soon.

The blueberry barrens are this incredible russet color in autumn and winter. There is SO a blueberry barrens quilt in my future. And maybe dyeing fabric. Soon.  We are lucky to look out from our house (about 8 miles as the crow flies from here) and see barrens on the hill opposite.

Clarry Hill is apparently part of the Medomak Nature Preserve , and it is in the middle of a hilltop of blueberry barrens.  I wasn’t a hundred yards up the path that I was taking pictures of the late afternoon light picking up the incredible colors of the barrens:

How GLORIOUS is this color?  Looking to the west-northwest to Appleton and Union

How GLORIOUS is this color? Looking to the west-northwest to Appleton and Union.  I want to dye fabric these colors…..

It was so glorious I didn’t mind that I didn’t see an owl.  Then on my way back to the car I saw a woman with binoculars scanning and she had a camera hanging around her neck, too, so I asked her if she was there for the owl.  And she pointed one out to me…at that point s/he (the owl) was behind me to the left:

See that white spot in the tree?  That's my first view of the snowy owl!  Gotta go log that into the margins of my Roger Tory Petersen guide!

See that white spot in the tree? That’s my first view of the snowy owl! Gotta go log that into the margins of my Roger Tory Petersen guide!

I took several photos, had a lovely chat with Hilda L. from South Hope, then headed back to the car after taking MORE photos of the blueberry barrens.  Talk about wanting to head straight to the dye-pots!   Anyway, I get in the car and start backing out when out of the corner of my eye I see movement:  a snowy owl (Hilda told me there are at least two and possibly three up there) landed in the tree just up from the parking spot!  So I took a bunch of photos, then moved down the drive a bit and took MORE photos.  And was lucky to snap the owl stretching his/her wings a couple of times!

From the small parking area (on bare rock at the end of a short dirt road), I caught sight of the owl.  I had to use digital as well as optical zoom so these aren't terribly high res photos, but WHO CARES?

From the small parking area (on bare rock at the end of a short dirt road), I caught sight of the owl. I had to use digital as well as optical zoom so these aren’t terribly high res photos, but WHO CARES?

I sat there long enough that the owl started moving its wings--just getting comfortable I guess as it didn't take off.  I LOVE having digital instead of film because I can take a bazillion photos and luck into a couple like these!

I sat there long enough that the owl started moving its wings–just getting comfortable I guess as it didn’t take off. I LOVE having digital instead of film because I can take a bazillion photos and luck into a couple like these!

How AWESOME are those wings?

How AWESOME are those wings?

I inched down the dirt road a bit to see if I could get an angle for a shot that didn’t have twigs between me and the bird.  Here’s the view from the care before zooming:

From the road looking up the hill with the lens at wide angle setting.  Isn't Maine beautiful?

From the road looking up the hill with the lens at wide angle setting. Isn’t Maine beautiful?

More flapping...I LOVE seeing the wings!

More flapping…I LOVE seeing the wings!

And just a bit more flapping...look at his floofy legs!

And just a bit more flapping…look at his floofy legs!

And I'll confess to a little photoshop to lighten the shadows on this one.  The owl was backlit by the setting sun, so I lightened the shadows.

And I’ll confess to a little photoshop to lighten the shadows on this one. The owl was backlit by the setting sun, so I lightened the shadows.

This has been a glorious day:  order for a pattern this morning, some artwork and art lessons, lunch with friends, Joshua calls me and wants to see me because he got a haircut (photo on Facebook timeline), I see Ashley (his girlfriend) because she works where we went to lunch and when I went to pay she hands my card back to me and says no, I took care of it (THANK YOU  you sweet thing, you totally do not need to do that!), ran a couple errands, saw the owl, got great photos, then get home to a pair of sandals I ordered from Zappos (they are green, how could I resist) AND a new duvet cover—we’ve had one new duvet cover in about the past 15 years, so I figure we’re due, and it was on sale, and I love it and it totally cheers up the bedroom.  So I am HAPPY!   Here’s to you being happy, too!  Life is GOOD!

 

Snow Day and record cold

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Well, I don’t know about for the state of Maine, but for us personally this is definitely the coldest weather we’ve ever been in!   Last night when I went to bed about 10, this is what the weather station showed!

At bedtime last night.   Wind chill went down to -34, but thankfully not down to the -40 predicted!  I can hardly believe I just typed that...this is Minnesota weather, not Maine!

At bedtime last night. Wind chill went down to -34, but thankfully not down to the -40 predicted! I can hardly believe I just typed that…this is Minnesota weather, not Maine!

It was a little less wind chill when I walked the dog at 9 pm, and I tell you it was seriously Nanook-ette of the North in terms of clothes.  Dog wanted to come back in ASAP, but once he got the idea that he was **not** going back in until he peed, he got to it right quick.   This morning, Paul decided he needed to shovel the walk before taking the dog out (I just waded out in top-of-knee-deep snow and the dog sorta swam out).  In half an hour the path will be blown full of snow again, but this will give you an idea of depth and drifts:

Why am I reminded of Sysiphus?  All that snow hubby is shoveling will get blown uphill toward our neighbors, and more will fill in the trench!

Why am I reminded of Sysiphus? All that snow hubby is shoveling will get blown uphill toward our neighbors, and more will fill in the trench!

So what do you do when snow, wrestling meets and what not are cancelled?  Why finish up on a much-delayed postcard swap:

My cropped version of Henri Matisse's Purple Robe with Anemones

My cropped version of Henri Matisse’s Purple Robe with Anemones

I’m on a small group called Postmark’d Art (site here), and every several months we swap and can pick our theme for the trade from several choices.  I immediately wanted to do Matisse and the cutouts, but I was slow and the other four did cutout type cards, so I opted to paint.  I learned that my fabric paintbrushes stink for details (sigh).  I also learned that the next time I decide to do a postcard swap and individually paint four cards someone needs to smack me upside the head.   Seriously…I spent three full days on these… nuts! Well, at least a large part of several days.   I’m just glad they are done, apologize for the bumbling faces, and hope some new brushes (THANK YOU Susan Brubaker Knapp!) will help when they arrive.

And if you ever want a laugh, watch a dog in winter booties.  Can you read the expression:

Seriously, Mom, you DID this to ME?  Your beloved pug-love?  ME?  WHY?  I am beyond humiliated.....

Seriously, Mom, you DID this to ME? Your beloved pug-love? ME? WHY? I am beyond humiliated…..I feel so betrayed……

And then:  Ha HA!  I'm not as much of a walnut-brain as you think I am, Mom!  I can deal with Velcro.  Well, at least until you come wrap it tighter and I can't get the end seeing as I don't have a snout!

And then: Ha HA! I’m not as much of a walnut-brain as you think I am, Mom! I can deal with Velcro. Well, at least until you come wrap it tighter and I can’t get the end seeing as I don’t have a snout!

With that, I’m going downstairs (hoping the power lasts…looking good so far) and working on the back of Joshua’s quilt and maybe even putting in some miles on the exercise bike!

 

The Aftermath: the river birch is toast

Friday, December 27th, 2013

The power is back on (though it went out every day since Monday!), the house is warm, Christmas was glorious, and Maine continues to be beautiful in even the most wicked weather.  MAJOR KUDOS to the electric crews, not just from CMP (Central Maine Power) but from neighboring states; they gave up their Christmases at home to restore our power!

The river birch is a goner.  Sigh.  When we cut it down in spring (well, when Max cuts it down) I'm going to see if I can harvest some of the bark to keep and use for mixed media.   So beautiful.....

The river birch is a goner. Sigh. When we cut it down in spring (well, when Max cuts it down) I’m going to see if I can harvest some of the bark to keep and use for mixed media. So beautiful…..

News stations are saying this is the worst ice storm to hit Maine since ’98.  Outages covered from the midcoast to central Maine, with 87,000 without power–that’s about 7 percent of the state population!  Our electricity went out Monday at about 2 pm and stayed out until about 6:30 pm Tuesday (Christmas eve).  It stayed on several hours during which we all quickly took showers, washed dishes etc. (need elec. to run the water pump).  As soon as we went to bed, though, it went out again.  At 9 a.m. Christmas morning, though, the power came back on a full day before they expected!

The lowest portion of our drive way this morning while on dog-walkies.  Notice the trees bent into upside down "U" shapes on the left.

The lowest portion of our drive way this morning while on dog-walkies. Notice the trees bent into upside down “U” shapes on the left.  Those are not “weeping” trees; they are totally bent over trees.   Chances are good, though, that once the ice (under last night’s snow) comes off, they will straighten back up (more or less).

Additional freezing rain led to significantly more damage on our property.  The gloriously lacy and beautiful river birch (above) bit the dust, splitting completely down to about 6 feet.   The big, robust maple also had significant damage, and at least a dozen trees on the edges of the woods surrounding us have broken-off tops.

The maple at the top of the driveway took a bit hit, too.  The leader (main trunk, at the top) broke off about 20 feet down and fell uphill.  More branches are bent, and many broken.

The maple at the top of the driveway took a bit hit, too. The leader (main trunk, at the top) broke off about 20 feet down and fell uphill. More branches are bent, and many broken.

Paul and Eli pulled downed branches and Eli even climbed up a little ways into the tree to saw down some small, easily-reached branches so they wouldn’t break more branches and also to get them out of the place where Alex needs to plow the snow-heap!

A day or two ago (they are running together already!) Paul and Eli (the latter in jammy pants, flannel shirt, new heavy boots and Elmer Fudd hat) moved broken branches so Alex's plow won't have trouble.

A day or two ago (they are running together already!) Paul and Eli (the latter in jammy pants, flannel shirt, new heavy boots and Elmer Fudd hat) moved broken branches so Alex’s plow won’t have trouble.  We’ll deal with cutting up and tossing the branches (kindling?) in spring!

Morning walkies, as usual, offered great photo ops:

Tree bent over!  Temps are supposed to go above freezing  (a little) this weekend, so maybe some of the ice will melt.

Tree bent over! Temps are supposed to go above freezing (a little) this weekend, so maybe some of the ice will melt.

Looking towards Appleton Ridge over the neighbor’s house:

From the top of the drive.  On the far left are two trees next to an arbor that allows passage from the downhill meadow to the large meadow.  We think the top of the second (rear) tree broke off, but snow is too icy to try to get over there right now.

From the top of the drive. On the far left are two trees next to an arbor that allows passage from the downhill meadow to the large meadow. We think the top of the second (rear) tree broke off, but snow is too icy to try to get over there right now.

Remember those chopped off willows I shared a short while ago...another photo, thinking Thermofax screen!

Remember those chopped off willows I shared a short while ago…another photo, thinking Thermofax screen!

Looking up the driveway.  The maple is right at the top of the drive, the birch just to the right (between the drive and hour)

Looking up the driveway. The maple is right at the top of the drive, the birch just to the right (between the drive and hour).  Good news:  house doesn’t need painting.  Bad news:  house is hulkering brown.  When it DOES need painting it will be gray with white trim like the garage!

And the river birch (SOB), looking uphill with the house behind it.

And the river birch (SOB), looking uphill with the house behind it. Got a good close up photo of the tangled branches that may also become a thermofax screen.

After shoveling the walk and sweeping the deck, found Pigwidgeon footprints on the deck...love this!

After shoveling the walk and sweeping the deck, found Pigwidgeon footprints on the deck…love this!

And then the sun came out:  can you say GLORIOUS MAINE?

From the living room porch, with deck roof and icicles overhead, shadow of house in the foreground.

From the living room porch, with deck roof and icicles overhead, shadow of house in the foreground.

Next post:  Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then

Christmas in a Small Town and Angel Escalators

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Yesterday on Facebook I posted a youtube link to a favorite carol.  Then I decided it might be fun to post here, as well, and every day for the coming week share one of my favorite carols from my Christmas Vocals playlist.  I have more pieces that are instrumentals, but I’ve decided that while the instrumentals are great in the background (like at Christmas dinner), I prefer SONGS–the kind with words where I can join along (at least when alone in the car so I don’t break someone’s ears!).   Today’s carol is a new one, by quilting’s own Ricky Tims.  I’ve lived in small towns since 1998, and I can’t imaging going back to living in a city (even a small one) or suburbs.   Love the scale of life, the pace of life, the unexpected joy of running in to someone I know.

And photos from yesterday and this morning.  We have a glorious lot of snow this year before Christmas, so yesterday I walked the dog down our driveway (which is long, 3/10 mile) to the mailbox so I could shovel out the plow heap and get mail.  This was the view along the way down:

Walking down the driveway.  Our house is in the middle of a large rectangle.  The other lots are on the outside, ours is in the middle, so we have a 3/10 mile driveway that is a narrow strip between the two neighbors, then it makes an "L" around the bottom of our lot up to the house.  This is on the bottom of the L, looking to the straight part between the log house on the right and the  other one (hidden) in the woods on the left.

Walking down the driveway. Our house is in the middle of a large rectangle. The other lots are on the outside, ours is in the middle, so we have a 3/10 mile driveway that is a narrow strip between the two neighbors, then it makes an “L” around the bottom of our lot up to the house. This is on the bottom of the L, looking to the straight part between the log house on the right and the other one (hidden) in the woods on the left.  The willows had grown from shrub to Godzilla (each one) and were threatening the swallow cars on the driveway, so they got a major buzz cut recently.  LOVE the look of the stubs (and fear not, they will recover and grow with wild abandon again).

After clearing the plow pile by the mailbox, on the way back up the sunlight streamed through the woods (now on the right as you walk back uphill) and lit the beech leaves.  I LOVE how the leaves refuse to let go all winter, only dropping when new growth pushes them off.

After clearing the plow pile by the mailbox, on the way back up the sunlight streamed through the woods (now on the right as you walk back uphill) and lit the beech leaves. I LOVE how the leaves refuse to let go all winter, only dropping when new growth pushes them off.  There is a quilt in the tenacity of the beech tree.

My favorite tree, a very old, prolific apple.  It is on the right as you walk uphill (left looking down, as here).  This tree is SO going to be a quilt!

My favorite tree, a very old, prolific apple. It is on the right as you walk uphill (left looking down, as here). This tree is SO going to be a quilt!  Maybe this winter if I don’t goof off!

And this row of evergreens planted by the former owner on the property line.  Usually we have wind with the snow, so don't have the frosted look too often.

And this row of evergreens (opposite my beloved apple tree) planted by the former owner on the property line. Usually we have wind with the snow, so don’t have the frosted look too often.

And taking a step or two beyond the apple tree and looking uphill, you see the big meadow, the hedgerow/stone wall in the middle left, there's another meadow (i.e. not-mown place) and the house at the crest of the hill.  Midday in Maine as we approach the solstice.

And taking a step or two beyond the apple tree and looking uphill, you see the big meadow, the hedgerow/stone wall in the middle left, there’s another meadow (i.e. not-mown place) and the house at the crest of the hill (just to the left of the sun). Midday in Maine as we approach the solstice.

And this morning from Route 131 in Appleton, looking southeast.  Isn't that sky and sun and rays glorious?  When I was about 4, we returned to the US from Argentina and stayed with my gramma a while.  I had to go to Sunday school and learned all about angels.  I also saw escalators for the first time (early 60s) and was enchanted as they didn't have those where I had lived in Argentina.  I wondered how angels got from Heaven to Earth, then say the sun rays and figured they must be escalators for the angels.  So forever after, Angel Escalators--even my kids know that's what they are.

And this morning from Route 131 in Appleton, looking southeast. Isn’t that sky and sun and rays glorious? When I was about 4, we returned to the US from Argentina and stayed with my gramma a while. I had to go to Sunday school and learned all about angels. I also saw escalators for the first time (early 60s) and was enchanted as they didn’t have those where I had lived in Argentina. I wondered how angels got from Heaven to Earth, then saw the sun rays and figured they must be escalators for the angels. So forever after, Angel Escalators–even my kids know that’s what they are.

Enjoy your holidays.  Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season distract you from the beauty around you and the joy of being in a place and with the people who make life wonderful.

And for those of you not on FaceBook yesterday, here is yesterday’s, Emmanuel God With Us by Amy Grant, which my dear friend Deborah Boschert shared with me years ago and has become a favorite.

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