Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A horse is a horse of course of course

Today Spartacus, a horse I've met out here in the country, was being quite a horse, talking loudly enough in his own way...incredible that he is actually quite the beauty when he isn't playing games.

He was pretty determined not to show the quite imperial side of himself today

From the barn we headed to the woods, where there was a little fellow resting. Perhaps hiding gold is harder than it sounds?

Down at the creek, the water was really running strong. There were some magical blue dragonflies around, but none that wanted to stay still long enough to let me capture them in the camera. Which is not a bad thing...

This is a little blurry, but I like it because it sort of felt a little blurry

It was afternoon and the light was...magic

So of course I tried again for clarity...

and then again...and then the batteries died so what you see is what you get

Before we got out here, we were driving around Camden and Belfast (I think) and were down on these funky roads by the sea (and I didn't even know it WAS the ocean - I've seen some big lakes around here and it was foggy and wow! it's the ocean? Oh boy! Yes, I felt like an idiot) with some wonderful little houses all along the way. Phil says it used to be a pretty run down area, with a chicken processing factory where there is now a beautiful green space. Not anymore. The little houses are quaint and tidy, with the sea in their backyards...but of course, I was more fascinated with the wooden boat building businesses.

The builders were nice enough to let me take photos...and drool on their shaved wood curls

 How she feels to me

I think this might be the wrong mast for the dinghy...

A couple of beauties

This truly is a place of beautiful boats and dramatic coastlines and I'm lucky to have the chance to see a slice of it and be able to share it. It's not Culebra, but the same love of the sea lives here, in a different form, and resonates with me in the same heart and soul place - just a different level. I hope it does for you too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beauty and the Beasties

Being a coastal area, seafood is a big deal here, in both catching it and selling it. Being as I may never have an Apalachiacola oyster again, naturally I'm interested in all things oyster up here. One name you see displayed on restaurant menus is Glidden Point oysters, which appear to be the gold standard. I didn't know if what we had a couple of weeks ago were Glidden Points or not, but when Phil and I got the yen for briny goodness on a shell a couple of days ago, we decided to go on a quest for whatever kind that was.

Phil knew where the Glidden Point oyster farm was located...well, not the farm exactly, which is located in the river, but the buildings. He'd never been there before. Off we went down River Road, a very perfect two-lane road, lined with woods and plain old wonderful homes and barns and glimpses of the Damariscotta River, to find the place.

There it was! A good sized, but not ridiculous, house, with an outbuilding and then a little garage looking building with the doors wide open, all painted a cream color, crisp and fine, with a beautifully trimmed yard. Not fancy, just...clean looking. We went up to the garage like one and realized it was a little store. A store for oysters and clams. One side held bi-valve type paraphernalia - t shirts, shucking bibs (embroidered with motto -  "You don't win friends with salad" - which made me like the place even more than I already did. On the other wall was a simple two door glass refrigerator, with buckets of oysters on one side and clams on the other. The only odor in the air was of the trees outside.

The oysters were in buckets assorted by size. Yep, these were the babie monsters we'd had before, except these were even fresher. Even more extraordinary was the fact that it was run on an honor system! Really. There was the scale, the little box for money (an old check book box). Prices were clearly marked. A guy came in who worked there and we talked awhile while he bagged our two dozen select - we were feeling greedy - and he told us a little bit about the operation, which is family owned. You can read about it here.

Another sign I liked was one explaining how to use the honor system. Across the top in shocking yellow on a black 'white' board runs the line - Sorry we are open. I looked at it once, then twice. The guy said the family went on a holiday in Mexico and saw the sign everywhere, so they decided they wanted to use it...that if no one was there, they'd still be open, on the honor system. It's a beautiful thing.

And if you like oysters, you'll think these are beautiful too. If not, move away from this page immediately, because beauty, in this case, really is in the eye of the beholder. Here, I'll even give you a chance to leave, by putting up a photo of the female ruby throated hummingbird. Fair warning!

Alrighty then! Oyster lovers, prepare to drool.

Just so you get an idea of scale, this plate is bigger than the ones at Susie's restaurant!

We had to take a couple of hours time out after the first dozen, which we ate over the sink, using the 'you open one, I'll open one' method, except that Phil opened most of them  - opened with the newly purchased oyster knife. And we still managed no stabbings! The second dozen went onto plates and were savored in a more civilized manner...

Ok, on the half shell dislikers, you can come back now. Because the ruby throated hummer came back and gave me one more good shot of her lovely self.

Today we are off to the country. I'm hoping to see an old friend of mine who has a place up here in Maine (I'm wondering if everyone does). As I've seen this guy in settings from Jost Van Dyke in the BVI's, through island to Stateside boat deliveries, from Spain where I worked first mate on a boat to his captain, to Florida and North Carolina, where he had a place 20 minutes in the woods away from my brother's cabin, it figures he and his wife are also in Maine. Another state, another Frank sighting. Ayup!

Is it Tuesday already?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Maine miscellany

First, I DID get another chance at the ruby throated hummingbird! And I saw his girlfriends as well, but they were too elusive for me to catch on pixels...this time (and it's pouring right now, so I'll be inside awhile - just wanting to relate to you all at home, who seem to be in the clear for another while! Yippie!)

I continued the lazy theme throughout the day yesterday, but at one point I did get off my butt to go for a walk in the woods down to the river. It isn't a deep and dark wood, more like an abandoned park wood, with deep leaf litter and plenty of fallen trees both large and small - some so small I could push them over - so of course, I did. But the river is timeless, its age marked by the rocky shores, worn smooth by the rise and fall of tides over a few eons.

For some reason rocks have a real appeal to me. Every time I walk the beaches of Culebra, I have this fleeting regret that I never studied geology - those rocks tell stories worth understanding, if only to respect the wonder of our earth,  and take a hint at the value (or valuelessness) of time.

Rocks here, in their vastly different setting, seem so different...even while so much the same.
And now, into the woods and on to the river. Or vice-versa.


BIG crystals

Natural shelving

Escargot on the rocks

Barbie and Ken's Hobbit House - complete with running water

That black thing is a funky river plant left by the tide

Fallen, still beautiful

I think this is fake

I love the ferns here!

Hanging on anyway...for now

We all fall down

Mushroom view of the floor


Of course there is more where that came from, but I'm off to do something else. Like make more tea. And then to work. I love that word! Remind me I said that.

Bonus photo! Elena Jahn on Monhegan Island 
(Laurie was there for a photo workshop and they got to meet up on another rock)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lazy Sunday

 Awake at 4, I went back to sleep about an hour later and wow! This is the warmest morning yet since I've been here, at 68 degrees. Even at 4, I was walking around outside barefoot and only the dew on the grass made it a little too cool. Oh dear, am I undergoing the much vaunted *acclimation* I've been told about? I think not...the basement is cold still!

I plan on doing not much today. Maybe trying to get another shot of this guy, a ruby throated hummer, so very different than the ones in my yard at home, but really fun and beautiful, though I confess to thinking my yard hummers are much more exotic and jaunty looking.

The up close view from my chair on the porch - 
some bones and shells from Culebra mixed with Maine

Just a reminder for those missing Culebra views (like me) - you can always find good ones on Bill Kunke's blog, along with what is happening weather wise.

After you finish the crossword, you can read my favorite hummingbird poem. Have a sincerely good Sunday! Do something soothing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Partial Lunar Eclipse, and lots of weird weather

In Maine, we're going to just miss seeing the partial lunar eclipse tonight because the moonset time here is just plain wrong! But on Culebra, if the sky isn't covered in clouds and it isn't raining, something of a rarity these days, you should be able to see the eclipse for quite awhile. I hope so anyway.

This month's moon is called the Strawberry Moon - "Full Strawberry Moon – June This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon. Also because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June . . . so the full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry!"

Around here, strawberries are a big deal right now. You can drive along most days and see people sitting on the roadside, card table and umbrella set up, with those green thick paper boxes full of berries. They range between 3 and 5 dollars a box and are about as good as a berry can be. Apparently the crop is in very early for Maine, but what is normal about weather anywhere anymore? Not much. Right now it is 60 degrees and expected to reach the 70's today. Jeans and socks, yes, sweat no.


 We now have our first named tropical storm, Alex. I can barely stand to think about what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now without grinding my teeth - all we can do is watch and wait. Along with the system to Culebra's east...hopefully *only* a rain event...but are you ready????


Good morning, Mr. Raider

Friday, June 25, 2010

Too many pictures because of too much Wow

Windjammer Days is a biggie around here. So when the morning broke with serious rain, it was not welcomed with anything but a feeling of 'oh crap'. Except, it got better. By the time we were ready to go out on the photo tour boat, it was not raining but foggy. Ghost-like fabulous, really.

There were windjammers and lobster boats and islands coming out of the fog as our awesome captain brought us gently around each boat, each island, with a steady, not boring background of history and salient points of interest. It extraordinary ride. Even with the competing photogs - there you would be with the perfect photo and suddenly an arm would extend right into your viewfinder. But all in all, that was a rare thing and with such a great captain, we all had a chance to get great shots. Which really, was the problem. I have well over 500 shots to go through and I want to post 300 of them. But I can't and won't, don't worry!


No engines in many of the windjammers...a push is needed

Our Captain, Bill - Thanks so much!

At dusk, there were fireworks, lots and lots of fireworks. Here are a couple of them. It was aahh and oohh time...and I did.

All in all, another great day and night in Maine!