Saturday, July 31, 2010

This is one of my favorite photos of Sean and Nancy. Hope you enjoy it as well. 

(With apologies to Pablo Neruda for a couple of changes..)

Sonnet XXXIV (You are the son of the sea)

You are the son of the sea, oregano's first cousin.
Swimmer, your body is pure as the water;
cook, your blood is quick as the soil.
Everything you do is full of flowers, rich with the earth.

Your eyes go out toward the water, and the waves rise;
your hands go out to the earth and the seeds swell;
you know the deep essence of water and the earth,
conjoined in you like a formula for clay.

Cut your body into turquoise pieces,
they will bloom resurrected in the kitchen.
This is how you become everything that lives.

And so at last, you sleep, in the circle of our arms
that push back the shadows so that you can rest--
vegetables, seaweed, herbs: the foam of your dreams.

Translated by Stephen Tapscott
Pablo Neruda

Friday, July 30, 2010


Sean left us late this morning after a swift and unexpected severe infection. He had his son and brothers and Nancy with him. Everything I want to say just comes out in a burble of I'll use this instead, for now. More coherence soon, but for the moment, thank you W.H. Auden, and thanks to Mike Hurley for finding it first.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

So much of this, losing Sean to death, expresses how I, and I think many of us who loved him, feel. But unlike Mr. Auden, I can say that much will come to good, and that is part of having Sean in my world. He'd be seriously, oh so very seriously, pissed off if we who loved him went  with that last line of thought. Maybe a bit of Tennyson works in here.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark; 

I can't stop my sadness but it will ebb...and if anything comes from knowing Sean, his passion for life and love rises to the top like sweet cream, to be used accordingly. More anon.

Culebra dog, Maine farmers

Culebra's well known dog Frank, gets adopted!! The following is from Terrie Hayward, one of the tireless workers for Animal Welfare on Culebra, explaining Frank's health care and adoption. Whodda thunk it?!

"Frankie has been in AWC care in "foster care" for about 5 months while he recovered from parasites & heartworm. He also got neutered & got all of his vaccines up to date.
We work with several other rescue organizations on the big island of PR as well as several spots in the states & Frank's new family had found him originally on a website of one of our partners.
The Boston rescue group did the home visit for us & his new "parents" Kate & Matt have another older pup, Scarlett, who is a Boston Terrier.
He arrived safely last night & was snuggled up next to Kate in the car heading home. She took today & tomorrow off to get to know Frankie & welcome him to their family!  A GREAT happy ending!!"

Frankie? Wow, he really DOES have a new life! Much thanks to Terrie, as well as all involved in getting Frank healthy and into a new home, and congratulations, Kate and Matt, on your new sato! Here's hoping Frank and Scarlett become great friends, as well as our best wishes for all of you on this new adventure. Well done, all around. Applause! Though I have to say...I will miss Frank snarfing around the cart...

Last night we went to see a wonderful documentary called 'Meet Your Farmer' (the link will take you to a site where you can watch too!), a series of vignettes with various Maine farmers around the state. There were older farmers and younger ones, small farmers and others not so small, but none huge. It was a powerful demonstration of the tenacity of these people to perserve a way of life that is hard but incredibly rewarding. All of them are associated with the, Maine Farmland Trust a group that works to preserve the land for farmers to continue doing what they do best, in the best of ways; that is to say, organically, with respect for the land and the people who consume their goods. We could learn a lot from them. If you are interested, here is a pretty interesting and in depth look at what is happening in Puerto Rico regarding organic farming. PR is held up as an example of what NOT to be doing, despite the hard work and dedication of a handful of hardworking farmers on the big island.

"Currently, five organizations on the island with a total of about 150 regular participants, promote ecological agricultural practices. They have established farmers’ markets and other direct marketing opportunities, organized workshops on organic techniques, and created a channel to lobby for government support for organic development. Yet, there are only about 10 career growers that avoid agro-chemicals and depend on agricultural sales for at least 25 percent of income. Another 20 or so retirees and hobbyists with interest in organics own farms but do not depend on farming for their livelihood. Young organic enthusiasts are pursuing careers based on providing training or landscaping services rather than producing food. Despite numerous advantages, organic production in Puerto Rico is negligible at best.

Surprised? In spite of the potential, farmers are not being helped by the current government, which would rather take away farming land and build...well, you know.

"The lack of organic production in Puerto Rico is especially curious considering that other Caribbean countries are investing in organic production to take advantage of premium prices and growing international markets. The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Guatemala are leading regional organic producers of both traditional tropical commodities like coffee, bananas, cacao, and sugar and nontraditional commodities like counter-seasonal vegetables. Organic production is also growing in Belize, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname (Raynolds 2000; Yussefi and Willer 2002). Worldwide, a recently released report found that “organic agriculture is practiced in almost all countries of the world, and its shares of agricultural land and farms is growing everywhere” (Yussefi and Willer 2002: 9). 

A tomato from my garden (it can be done!)
The article goes on to make some pretty fascinating links between American involvement in creating a 'landscape of consumption' in Puerto Rico to achieve its own purposes. Well, read it for yourselves, if you like. I personally find it yet another underlying way of understanding the place I live, but even more particularly, Puerto Rico the big island and its many sometimes puzzling aspects as to the how and why of things. It's long and it is complex, but if you have a desire to understand more than you might right now about US/PR history and why some things are as they are today, this article is well worth the time invested. For another, somewhat more positive facet of the organic farmer aspect, check out this link from five years ago. 

In the meantime, I've gotten re-excited about gardening in a more methodical fashion when I get back to Culebra. More food, more bettah!

Have a growing fine Friday! Do something fruitful.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thanks for the memories, old and new

A friend of mine I haven't seen for about 25 years came up to see me yesterday, from where she is visiting her children in Boston (thanks, Kathy, for letting Mom have the car!).

We picked up the threads of our lives while doing a bit of touristing in Boothbay and then headed to the river, both yesterday afternoon and this morning before she headed south. Janet is a rock collector, among other good things (I used to have her on my list of "coolest women I've ever known" and she's still up there, though the field has widened since I was 18 - how do I know these so very full of common sense women and am lucky enough to call them friends? Schmazin'). Laurie took this photo of us in the woods. Argh, not even tea yet. Thanks for keeping it dark, Laurie!

Here is some of what we did. But I didn't have my camera with me as we ate at the historically famous Red's Eats last night while watching an impossibly orange moon, almost still full, rise up over the trees, painting the Sheepscot River with its reflection. Janet described it looking as if some invisible being was swiftly pulling it up sideways by a thread, it happened so quickly. Those of us on the deck were awed and joyed by that most simple and seasonal pleasure. Aren't they the best ones? Oh, and the lobster roll was pretty darn great too.

This is going to be chock full of photos, fair warning! Also, in no particular order...I know you can deal with that. I know you will!

Heron in flight

Heron in flight dos

Bumblebee on a dahlia - I am not a big flower grower, but I wouldn't mind trying these!

Another bee, this one doing the hokey pokey; another dahlia (there are SO many kinds!)

Fishing heron


A pair of herons - ok, I know, enough with the herons...


Janet on the rocks

There were plenty enough rocks here for her to take a few home (sorry Andrew!)

The Little House in Boothbay Harbor - of course I love it!

House of windows...view of the harbor

Thanks, Janet, for pointing out this it edible?

Wood going back to the earth - I know the feeling

The world under a rock - in a minute, the ants were moving their eggs to safety
(this one is worth clicking twice)

Not a great shot, but the green is the reflection of trees on the still water - 
and the osprey had just caught a fish, which if you look really close, you can see...sort of

Good Osprey hunting

Jusy sayin'....we should have something like this! And I love the name

Rose hips from the wild roses...rosa rugosa

Best spiral staircase I've ever seen, in an art gallery, Coco Viva we moseyed through (the works of one artist, Monique Parry, were so vivid and fine, they were like tropical botanicals, plus lots of other great art by other artists and  fine art craftspeople...)

Top of the staircase

Still water

Janet musing

How good to have old friends who can remember back and back and back and still we can go forward to the now...and enjoy making new memories. Thanks for coming all the way up here, Janet! I'll see you in Florida, and it won't be 25 years this time!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oh! One Eagle! Two Herons! Three Ospreys! Oh My!

My post is late because I've had to sort through the almost 200 shots I took early this morning. And I want to put most of them in this post...but I won't. After I realized the eagle was going to stay awhile, probably, I hauled butt up the road, in my down-to-the-ground nightgown, back to the house to get Laurie. I did get dressed to head back...and all fowl were still present and accounted for. Hooray!

With the full moon playing tidal games, birds were out in force this morning. The bird we've wondered about turned out to really be a bald eagle! Then I saw the herons...and finally, the osprey started fishing. Oh glory. Enjoy!

These aren't quality photos, but I hope you get the idea of holy wow! The eagle was in a tree across the entire river...hence the lack of purity. And what's my excuse for the osprey? I was trembling with wow-ness! Actually, these two came out pretty well. I don't know why they look so different unless one, the top one, is immature? So, bird people (and you know who you are!), what's the story? If I look it all up I'll NEVER get this posted!


Another mushroom, Alice?

The road coming out from the river road bright with morning sun brought this lily

Monday, July 26, 2010

Today's post is brought to you by my heart (if you don't know the players, enjoy the magic)

 Thistle & bee outside the door before we hit the road.

After a slow last day of the garage sale, and a phone call from Sean, we headed to Northport to see his place up here. I had never met Wendy, his ex-wife, good friend and mother of their son Rossi, and I'd heard about both the place and the person for years - so it was something very good to look forward to all day. While Sean wasn't there, he was very much there with the four of us. Wendy made us feel right at home. Feel the love.

Wendy blowing the conch!

These are some photos of the home that Sean and Wendy built 20 + years ago. It feels like a solid house, but I could sense the water gently rocking us...

Our visit started with a few gasps at the view (Laurie has been here before and known Wendy for years, but it was all new to me except for a few photos and stories from Sean - I was wowed) and moved on to wine and homemade blueberry pie from berries that Wendy picked. Blueberries and Maine are like peanut butter and jelly...and now I understand why. Yum!

Wendy found the wood, Sean built the bannister

Closer that woodworkin'!

Who else but sailors use a hunk of lead
for a pulley weight...and that pulley?

Yes, it gets cold in Maine in the winter 
(and pretty chilly sometimes in the summer too!)

Grill, looking downstairs

I have no idea what this is, but in my imagination it is 
Indian markings on wood that is now a...closet? wall? I forget

Me, Wendy and Laurie on the deck

Shouldn't every house have a swing inside...

...and a totem pole outside?

Some more outside things I liked

In the carport...with the wood...and other stuff, but not the car

Then, as we were finishing the delicious dinner Wendy made for us, 
the moon appeared, as if the universe was just having a chuckle over us...all for love.

Thanks, Laurie and Phil, for taking us over. Thanks so much, Wendy, for your oh so comfortable hospitality (and that pie!), and thanks Sean...for being the reason we were all together.
On a harder note: My brother was in NC working on his cabin Saturday when he fell off a ladder and suffered a compound fracture of his ankle. Luckily, with no phone reception, his calls for help were heard by a seasonal neighbor who 'just happened' to be getting out of his car - from out of state - down the road (way down the road) at that exact moment. Thank you, Phil!

Jonny was med-evac'd to a Level One Trauma Center in Tennessee. He's had one surgery and will need another, but they are waiting to make sure there is no infection. His old girlfriend, still friend, Merri, who is a nurse, flew up to be with him for which I'm extremely grateful; she kicks butt and takes names on all things medical.

As of yesterday, they weren't sure when or how they'd get back to Florida, but that will happen eventually. In the meantime, if you know Jonny (and even if you don't), please send some positive thoughts, vibes and prayers his way. He's in for a long stretch of healing, and...he's my best friend. I want him up and being a pain in the butt again soon! Thanks.