Saturday, December 26, 2015

Day after Christmas

Sometimes I forget that this blog is about the chickens, as well as the dogs and me.  Of course not much changes in the lives of the girls, but last week I gave them a treat.  I enlarged their pen to include the narrow space between my house and the one next door.  From there they could go into the piece of fenced-in area I've made outside the back door.  They were quite intrigued by the new space and have enjoyed investigating it.  They can come up to the back door and poop  on the step........a factor I failed to consider in advance.  Still, it will snow soon and their world will become much smaller.  They may as well have a little time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.  I managed to get them all together for the picture by offering them pieces of apple, a big treat.

Today is the day after Christmas, which I celebrated in grand style.  Now we will be settling into winter.  It's late this year.  We've had not a flake of snow.  The weather report today is that snow is headed our way, but most of it will be north of us.  In fact, we may have only rain here along the coast.  The longer the snow stays away, the better as far as I'm concerned.  The memory of last winter's record-setting snowfall is still too fresh.  Kendall and I took advantage of the sunshine to visit her horse Charlie.  We groomed him and took him for a walk down a dirt road near the place where he is now being boarded.  People who don't relate to horses can't understand the pleasure we get from just being around them.  I don't understand it myself, but I was so happy for the opportunity to spend an hour or so in their company. 

Friday, December 11, 2015


Practicing loading with my new camera.....the other one gave up the ghost finally, and I can't say that I blame it.  I had tortured it to the point that it refused to work at all.  I had to buy a new one, which I hope will be at least relatively free of problems.  I still can't download pictures as easily as I could from Picasa, but at least I can do it in three steps.

This is a picture I just took from my seat at the computer.  I didn't edit it to make everything look nicer, but it's looking from the end of the dining room down the hall to the front door.  My current knitting project is on the floor........a complicated sweater pattern that will probably take me all winter to complete.  The piano seems to dominate the room, though that's not so true in reality.  I have made a pledge to practice the piano every day and so far have pretty much kept it.  I've chosen two pieces from the movie "The Piano."  They are not easy for me by any means, but neither are they impossible.  I love the music, so I don't mind hearing it over and over again.  It took me more than a week to manage the first two lines of the first piece, but I kept at it with dogged determination. In the past I have jumped from piece to piece, never really doing a very good job on any of them.  I stumble over the notes and give up.  I feel I owe it to the piano as much as to myself to dig in and really accomplish some degree of expertise.  It's been a humbling experience over my lifetime that I can't really do it very well.  I taught myself as a pre-teen, then began to take lessons after I started high school.  I have not to this day been able to overcome the bad habits I learned before I knew what I was doing.  Well, it's never too late.........or so I hope.

There is still no snow on the ground, and I actually didn't need a coat when I went out today.  I have to keep in mind, though, that the horrendous winter we had last year didn't really gather steam until after Christmas.   We all appreciate every day that we look out our windows and still see grass and dry ground.

Friday, December 04, 2015

New Pyrography

I couldn't resist posting this bigger than usual, just because it is so big in reality.....about 2 1/2 by 3 !/2 feet.  I've been working away at it for several days.  I don't get sick of spending hours at a time burning tiny holes into wood.  Go figure.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Interestingly, to me, the memory of thanksgiving that pops up first is one that took place sometime in the 80's.  It was unusually warm with no snow, like today.  Before I began to cook the meal, Phil and I decided to go out to Trahfo Farms and take a short horseback ride.  I doubt that this picture was taken on that day, but it was somewhere near it.  My beautiful BJ.

The older I get, the more difficult I find it to make the present take precedence over the past.  I wish I could muster the philosophy of my old friend Thelma, who at 89 told me that she never looked back.  As far as I know, she lived in the present until the day she died.  Her last project was to figure out how she could carry her oxygen tank and use her walker at the same time when she drove to the grocery store.  She experimented with various methods until she designed a cart that worked for her and was easy enough to get in and out of the car.  It doubled as a portable easel so she could still paint outside.  How can I not think of her and look back with longing?

Well, I try to focus on my life now, which in many ways is the best and easiest time I have ever had.   The context of my life is steady.  I am content.  Therein lies the dilemma of the manic-depressive on medication, the one who misses those extremes and longs for euphoria and pain.  Though I have never been diagnosed as manic depressive (as far as I know), I understand the pull, the desire to feel life large.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dog Walk at 4PM

My routine is to feed and walk the dogs at four every afternoon.  This time of year it is already dark, with the shortest day still to come.  We live at the very edge of the country, where the sun comes up early and sets early.  By 3:30 AM the sun is already poking up over Campobello, which is on Atlantic time.  Therefore, it is already 4:30 there.  Off and on there is an attempt by easterners to change to Atlantic time, but so far no luck.  As I walk my boys, the Canadians are probably getting ready for dinner.

The moon is full tonight, presumably hauling the ocean away as I write.  When it's full, I wonder if the pull is strongest and the tides lower.  Well, I will have to look that up.  I watch the water come and go every day with only the slightest understanding of what is going on.  I find its reflection on the water beautiful without question.  In most, if not all, things, the more you know about something the more rich its beauty becomes, or beauty emerges where it didn't exist before.

I often think about what happened to me when I took a class in music appreciation as a freshman in college.  Until then, classical music held almost no appeal for me.  Then I learned about symphonic form, and a whole new world opened up for me.  The more I learned about how to listen to music, the more I loved it.That was a gift from some long forgotten professor whose name I can't recall.

I guess I had better find out more about the moon and the tides.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Explanations, a Painting, and Some Musings

I am still having almost no success posting pictures here, which is why I am so seldom posting anything.  Instead of writing, I am spending hours at a time trying to do this.  Finally, today, I got this picture uploaded.  I started the chore last night, worked for about two hours, then gave up.  With renewed energy, I tackled it again this morning and finally got the job done.  Can I repeat it?  No.  I have no idea what sequence of events finally succeeded.

Anyway, this is my latest painting of dancers.  I can't remember if I posted the original watercolor, which I didn't like.  Yesterday I was about to throw it away when the idea struck me to paint over it.  I did so with acrylics and am fairly happy with the results.

My days since I last wrote have been consumed by planning cataract surgery.  The result was cancellation of the whole thing.  At this point, I don't want to take the time to explain why.  Actually I'm not sure myself.  Thinking about it and trying to arrange the trip to Ellsworth without being able to drive myself, dealing with the dogs because I would have to stay overnight, became too overwhelming.  The painting is the visual representation of my relieved and tentatively happy state of mind once I made the decision.

Every day when I walk the dogs I take the time to really look at the ocean.  I had learned to take it for granted.  My thinking about moving to Bangor has made me realize how much Eastport means to me.  I wonder how I ever thought I wanted to leave, and stare at the ocean with new appreciation.  There it is, always within sight.  During the first part of my life it was a rare treat to see it .  It meant at least an hour on the road even to get to a salt water bay.......over two hours to the open water.  The sun was always shining.  It was always summer. That's what I knew of it. In the first journal I kept when I first came to live in Eastport, alone, in the winter was the same day a huge storm hit the northeast. I wrote about getting to know the ocean during a winter storm.  I was quite in awe of it, seeing it in a completely new way.  That storm turned out to be quite a disaster, with electricity out for over a week or more all over the northeast and Canada.  I had no radio, no newspaper.........I had no idea what was going on.  I knew no one here.  The dogs and I were immersed in isolation, eagerly embracing the experience, which I chronicled in my journal during the short daylight hours. I still love to re-read that journal, reliving that time.  

Besides the location, I love the way of life here.  I have none of the justifiably paranoid ideas of those who live in cities even slightly bigger than this one.  Here, in the winter, we can leave our cars idling in the parking lot of the grocery store while we shop so they will be warm when we return. We rarely dress wardrobe is from the thrift shop.  No one is in a hurry, no one cares much about making money (making it hard to hire anybody to do a job).  People work at seasonal jobs just long enough to survive for a few months, then quit until they need money again.  I admire this tremendously, but most people "from away" can not understand it.  They are frustrated by the fact that the locals can not be bribed with the lure of money.  Of course, this is all changing now with the influx of people from other places, even since I have lived here.  Still, though, there exists a gulf between the two factions that makes them stare at each other with complete bewilderment, if not disdain.

I am an observer, philosophically on the side of the locals, but tainted by my roots.  I fit in neither group.  It's a place I have always been and am comfortable there.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I finally found a way to upload pictures to my blog.  After reading page after page of suggestions, I finally came across one that recommended changing over to Google Chrome.  I decided to try it, and voila!  Here I am.  I hope this ends the turmoil I have been in over the past several weeks trying to deal with the frustration of internet and camera problems, not to mention the daily worries over Patrick, furniture, doctor appointments.......and on and on. Meanwhile, I have taken time to do some artwork.  I don't remember if I posted the bottom two before.  The top one is new as of the day before yesterday.  I know I put them all on Facebook.  In any case, I am fascinated by the change in my use of pastel, particularly because I don't know what I am doing differently.  The results are quite different from what I have done in the past, though that may not be as evident in the pictures.

Before I write any more, I need to go back and read my last few posts to see where I left off in the chronicle of my daily life.  Certainly I don't want to leave out any of the minutiae that constitutes my 
days on this earth. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015


I simply can not upload pictures to this blog anymore.  Apparently Google has usurped Picasa's power to do this.  I guess I will have to find another way to use this blog or find some other site that Google approves for blogging.  See you elsewhere in the blogosphere as soon as I find a way to get back in business.  I miss my blog.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Gleason Cove

My visiting friend Josie and I took the dogs to Gleason Cove yesterday and I was amazed at what we saw.  As many times as I've been there, I've never seen the water so high or the waves so exuberant.  There are floods and hurricanes happening along the coast, so I suppose that's what is causing the high tides and surf.  Willy was of course his wild self.  Josie took a long walk along the long beach...what little of it there was.  I stayed fairly stationary with Patrick, who was unimpressed.  He did not want to walk on the pebbly shore and sulked in the tall grass at the end of his long leash.  He is not an outdoor aficionado, but much prefers a couch or bed under him.  He was sick on the way home......the fourth time in the last few weeks he has vomited in the car. 

Nevertheless the rest of us enjoyed our sojourn.  Josie, from Milwaukee, loves to see the ocean.  Even though I see it every day from my windows and on my walks with the dogs, I am still awed by it myself.  There it is, minding its own business, a whole other world right beside us.  We are trying to ruin it with our waste, killing the inhabitants and their food supply.  It does what it can and will probably survive us human beings in the end.  Meanwhile we will destroy whatever is within our considerable power, just as all extinct species have done.  We all go down hard, and we take a lot of others with us.  It's the way of the world.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pretty Pathetic Picture of the Eclipse

My camera wasn't up to the task of capturing last night's lunar eclipse, but at least I it will be a reminder of the real thing.  I imagine Thom got some good pictures, which I will find on Facebook and copy.  Right now I'm late and have to go.  I'll be back later.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I'm still here...

Man, I have had so many computer problems I haven't been able to write for quite some time.  I bought a new computer, after which I realized I also needed a new keyboard and mouse.  It took a long time for them both to get here.  Once I installed Picasa and Blogger, I am delighted to say I am back in the blog business.

The painting I've posted is a large version of a small one I did before.  It is almost as tall as I am (which is shrinking to less than 5 feet).I had fun with it thanks to encouragement from my old friend Elizabeth.  We talk every few weeks and she always inspires me to be more experimental, the way I used to be when we were both in adults in the 80's and 90's. She suggested that I make the brush strokes tell the story of the image. It's hard to see in the photo, but I splashed paint all over this, let it run, painted on it upside down and sideways.  Certainly it doesn't look as experimental as it ought to, considering how much I played with it.  I like it, though, and certainly had a good time doing it

Afterwards, I tried doing the same type of image in watercolor.  I'm quite happy with this one, too, mostly just because I was able to get some interesting watercolor effects without making everything muddy.

The dancers look happy.  Next time I think I'll forget the yellow stripes.  I meant them to stabilize the chaos of the other brush marks, but they really don't work.  One thing about watercolor, though.  You pretty much have to live with your mistakes.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Home Made Pasta

I haven't made pasta for awhile, but I saw a recipe in the paper this morning that  I thought I would make for Carrie and me while she visits.  Since it is a pasta dish, I decided to go all out and make my own.  This is whole wheat pasta, but I also made some with regular flour.  As usual, the task turned out to be much more work than I anticipated.  First I had to find my pasta machine, which I haven't used for about twenty years.  Then I had to clean the thing.  Then I had to look into the recesses of my mind to remember the procedure.  Luckily it involves only flour, eggs, and salt.  My first batch was a little dry, though It was fine when cooked.  Of course it would be, since it is cooked in water, so I needn't have worried.  The white batch was so successful that I made twice as much dough for the whole wheat......a decision I regretted about two hours later while I was still cranking the dough through the machine. 

Comic relief came as I was cleaning up and spotted Patrick taking an overly active interest in the drying noodles.  He managed to snag one, and then I tempted him with another in order to take a picture.  He is such an adorable boy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Golden Glow

Two years ago Elizabeth sent me these plants.  She had never heard of them, but my mother used to have them.  When we moved to our first house as a married couple on Parkview Avenue, I transplanted some of hers.  After a few more moves, I lost them and hadn't been able to find any since.  I don't remember how it came up, but Elizabeth ended up researching them on the web.  She found some and sent me four little plants.  Probably I wrote about this before.  Nevertheless, these flowers mean so much to me that the story bears repeating, at least in my view.  Sometimes such a small, unexpected, and seemingly somewhat insignificant event can end up being the source of lasting pleasure.  The circumstances that conspired to get these plants to me gave them a special, complicated and a little obscure meaning to me.  I'm so glad I have them.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Beautiful Day

It has taken me most of the day, but I finally figured out a way to download and then post pictures.  It's a mystery to me why my computer decided to behave so differently, and I'm not sure I can repeat the process, but I will enjoy the fact that I finally accomplished what I wanted to do.  I took these pictures from the window.  I was so impressed by the clouds.  The day is very sunny even though the fog has settled over the islands.  I presume that it is very foggy out on the water, but I've seen a few motor boats speeding by close to the land. 

The memory of last winter is still fresh in my mind.  It is disconcerting that the summer is already coming to the end.  Fall is looming, and then winter again.  Meteorologists are predicting another winter like the one we had last year, which is very disconcerting.  It seems as if this wonderful weather should last at least long enough to erase it from our minds.  We have not yet adjusted to feeling warm and comfortable, looking at the spectacular scenery we live with.  We've yet to be able to relegate last winter to a dim memory.

Of course the good weather is not over yet, and we have the pretty Fall to look forward.  Still, while there are huge portions of the United States that are dry and very hot, our summer has been relatively cool.  Extremes are everywhere. Global warming is changing the weather.  We have been in the process of using up our environment for a long time, and while some are championing the cause to stem the tide, it's my belief that we are really on the road to extinction as a species.  We are following the natural course of nature.  We have evolved to dominate other species, to become so successful that we have over-bred and over-used the place where we live.  It's happened to so many other species.  It's the way of the world, the ebb and flow of life forms that flourish as we have.  Like them, we are trying to figure out how to survive.  Of course we are using our best tool, our brain, to diagnose and solve the problems we face. But like all the extinct species that have gone before, we will fail.

How do I know this will happen?  I don't.  I expect things to go on as they are and always have been (as far as we know).  Even that is just a function of the human brain working to understand based on observation.  This is not a gloomy thought to me, but a comfortable idea that we are far from alone, far from special.  We are not outsiders.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

 This is a test to see if I can post from my kindle. This is a picture of Carrie and Jesse taken at the Bangor fair around forty years ago.  WOW.......time flies.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Low Tide

The pictures aren't as impressive as the real thing, but I was shocked to see this view as I walked the dogs down the hill this morning.In all the time I've been here, I don't remember ever seeing the water so low.  As a point of reference, the little island in the middle of the picture is normally completely underwater at high tide, the beach is almost non-existent,  The pilings on the left are exposed only at the very top.  The islands in the distance look huge compared with the way they usually look.  The tides are always impressive here, which is why Eastport is a major shipping port for cargo from Europe and Asia.  Still, this morning they seemed unusually low.  Most likely this is due to my normally non-existent powers of casual observation, but today I was so impressed that I made a special trip with my camera just to photograph the scene.

Speaking of photographs, I am finally back in business in terms of computer functions.  Yesterday I received the new monitor I ordered after the other one died, and today I got the camera cable I needed to download pictures (the old one ceased to function for some reason).  Now all I need is the ink for my printer.  I have ordered the cable and the ink twice already and got the wrong thing, but I think this time all will be well.

We finally are having what is typical summer weather for Eastport.  It is absolutely beautiful.... sunny with temperatures in the 70's with a slight breeze off the ocean.  My thoughts of living in Bangor now seem absurd.  Though the summer is short, or perhaps because it is short, it is worth the wait.  The winter seems like a vague memory, or a dream, or perhaps a nightmare that no longer has relevance in real life.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Happy, Happy Day

I have been full of regret and sadness thinking I would never ride a horse again.  Yesterday, though, I went with Kendall to see her horse Charlie.  She offered to let me ride him.With a little hesitation I decided to do it.  If I had not taken the opportunity, I would have been very sorry.  It turned out to be a wonderful experience.  I felt at home on horseback, though a little tight so that I bounced more than I should have at the trot.  I was ecstatic.

It's hard to understand or describe the effect riding has on me.  All day I felt different, younger, more physically fit, more energetic.  I swear my body shed a couple of years.  When I walked the dogs later in the day I felt like I could have walked ten miles.  My back didn't ache like it usually does after a very short distance.  This is the "upper" I had while working at the horse shelter.  I knew that since I left there I've aged, mentally and physically.  Though I suspected it was psychological, I also couldn't rule out my advancing age.  I knew that I felt better then I had in years while I worked there.  When I quit, I reverted back to the way I had felt before.  Yesterday was like a shot of adrenaline.

I'm still feeling good in the "afterglow" of the experience.  Strange, strange, strange.

So much for my hand-made sweater......

When I went to bed last night I began to wonder where Willy was.  He and Patrick are usually  waiting for me when I get there.  I always watch TV for an hour or so, and as time went by I began to wonder what Willy could be doing.  I had called him several times to no avail.  Finally he respond by leaping onto my chest and lapping my face (no surprise there).  Then I noticed that he had some red on his foot.  Closer inspection revealed red on his face, his body, and his tail.  I thought he must have hurt himself and was bleeding profusely.  His right paw was the worst, so I imagined him getting his nail caught on something and pulling it out trying to get free.  Carrying him gingerly and uttering comforting noises, I carried him into the bathroom to investigate further.  Still I couldn't find the source of the "bleeding."  He didn't seem to be in pain, either, but that could just be stoicism.  I turned on the shower, which he loves, and put him in the tub.  Carefully I tried to wipe his paw.  By then I had begun to suspect that the red was not blood......the color of it was a little off.  I got a washcloth and shampoo, scrubbed him harder and harder with only minimal success.  It finally dawned on me that he had gotten into something.  I did the best I could to get him clean, but with only minimal success.  After I dried both of us with the hair dryer and assured myself that he was no longer leaving a red trail behind him, I let him go.

Willy made himself comfortable on my bed while I looked for the scene of the crime.  My limited imagination was incapable of forming a theory.  Finally I went into my old bedroom, where I had thrown everything helter skelter in the process of moving to the other room.  On the bed, in the midst of a pile of winter clothes, sheets, and blankets I found it.  Somewhere Willy had found a tube of red oil paint, chewed it, and spread the paint all over himself and everything near him.  He had made himself comfortable on my beloved hand-knit bulky sweater that I made and have worn since I lived on Wilson St.  Luckily I am good at assessing a situation for what it is and didn't waste time crying over the sweater or getting angry with myself or my pink-tinged boy.  I took the sweater down to the washing machine, rightfully not really expecting miracles.  The picture shows the sweater after two washings.

I guess I better find that pattern and start knitting again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Evolution of the Garden

 You need only to plant a garden to watch time pass before your eyes.  I cam across this picture of how mine looked in 2008, soon after I planted the lilac I brought from Wilson St. I've been thinking about how I can tame the jungle that has grown from the nothingness that was here when I moved in.  Right now it is on the threshold of being overgrown and I'm not sure what to do. The problem is the two bushes by the walk.  I lacked the foresight to consider that they would grow so big.  I can barely walk between them now, yet I don't want to touch one leaf of their beautiful branches.  I should have put one of them on the other side of the bay window, but I certainly can't do it now.  So I worry  about it and do nothing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

And so it goes....

Here's a couple more pyrography on paper.  I did take some of them down to the Breakwater gallery to see if Cynthia would take them, which she did.  I can only hope they will sell, or at least one or two of them.  I am turning them out so fast that if I can't get rid of them it will be ridiculous to keep producing them.  It's true that they are fun to do, but I'm really not feeling very creative.  I am copying old paintings.

I know I haven't been keeping this blog up very well, nor have I kept up with email very well.  Somehow I don't seem to want to take the time.  I post pictures on facebook and call it good.  Eventually I will get my enthusiasm back, I'm sure, but I think I am taking a rest from the mental strain of thinking about and working toward moving.  Now that I have decided not to, I feel tired and in need of a mental vacation.

I did put a couple of these wood pieces in a show at Lisa's gallery, but I know they will not sell.  In fact I haven't even photographed them, but I will when I get them back.  Her show was supposed to be about spirituality, which I knew would attract pastel-hued paintings of women amid flowers and butterflies, vacantly staring at some unseen figure or thing.  Some of them would be holding birds in their arms, which would have somehow become tree limbs.  Suns or stars or moons would be inevitably hovering in the sky, possibly above a rainbow.  No doubt these paintings are inspired by a genuine feeling about women, or nature, or both, that I don't understand or find appealing.  My contribution was a nude woman standing on the outside sill of a window.  She is looking down, and her arms are spread out to the sides forming a crucifix.  The title is "Dismount."  What was my idea?  I'm not sure, but it's the same image I once did as a woodcut, so there is something rebounding off the walls of my brain that have to do with sacrificial acts, crucifixion, women as victims, blah, blah.  It hung there in stark contrast to its fellows, colorless and sad.  My motive for hanging it was a perverse need to expose the other side of being female, or perhaps the only side that I can identify with.

I have been very happy with my decision to stay in Eastport.  Everything here is bigger, brighter, more beautiful than ever before.  Until the art opening, I was actually feeling like a part of the community, smiling happily at passers by, returning the friendly waves of the drivers in the cars that went by me as I walked the dogs.  This is my home now, I thought.  Bangor is no longer where I belong or want to be.  With such ideas in my head, I decided to put in an appearance at the gallery party.  The minute I walked in I knew I had made a mistake.  The crowd, the chatter, the wine, the all reminded me of how deeply out of place I was.  I made a beeline for the door and never looked back.  Where is my place?  I don't know unless it is sitting on the couch with my dogs, watching reruns of "Criminal Minds."  There I am content, peaceful, happy.  I am loved unconditionally by my companions,  I am satisfied that I have fulfilled my role of caretaker, exceptional caretaker, of my dogs and my chickens.  They can take life and comfort for granted thanks to me.  No one has anything negative to say, no one disapproves of me.  There is no one for me to get angry with or to get angry with me.  Nobody criticizes or insults me.  No one argues.  Neither do I criticize or insult anyone. I don't get mad.  I don't criticize or feel critical of anyone or anything. I have nothing to fear. It is all so peaceful.

Friday, July 10, 2015

How my days are spent

As so often happens, I have devoted my time lately to my new toy.  The addition of a smaller tip for my pyrography pen has allowed me to create more detailed images.  I may have said this before, but I read that pyrography could be done on paper. The first one and the last two are done on watercolor paper.  The other two are on wood. I guess I prefer the wood, partly because it is a new experience.  Using paper also gives me a lot more freedom to do different sizes, but somehow it seems like cheating... or inauthentic.

Whatever, I took a couple of these downtown to the Breakwater gallery and asked Cynthia if she would take them to sell.  She said she would, so I have been working away at images I think will appeal to tourists.........hence the pictures of Eastport and Schoodic point.  Selling these pieces would be no trauma for me.  I have nothing invested in them but time. They are fun and interesting to do.  I like using my drawing skills.  Emotionally, though, I may as well be knitting mittens for a church sale.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lupine and Lilacs

I was so thrilled to see the Lupine on Dog Island on my walk that I went back to the house and got my camera.  I left Patrick home for this second walk, but Willy had plenty of energy left.  His head is just visible at the bottom of the second picture.  He loves his special walks when he's the only one, racing wildly around me with his eyes sparkling and tongue hanging out.

When I first visited Eastport years ago there were no houses in that area like there are now.  The whole world looked purple, white, and pink.  I have seen the the gigantic seasonal homes spring up, one or two a year. Gravel driveways lead through formal gardens to huge, expensive houses.  They have decks and gazebos, with many huge windows on the side of the house that faces the water.  Many of the yards are decorated with marine paraphernalia, and they all fly flags from tall poles.  For them it is always summer.  Nevertheless, the area is very large and they are not yet particularly
intrusive, at least not yet.  We are the last outpost of shorefront in Maine.  To go further east is to go to Canada.  So our summer people are of a sturdier nature.  They are willing to travel far in search of a more simple place, where the entertainment is church suppers and concerts by the local orchestra.  They like fish and chips at a picnic table.  They know the grocery store closes at eight (7 in the winter).

Slowly, though, they are changing things.  Gift shops have sprung up.  Even some cruise ships are beginning to stop here.  People who came here originally to find a quaint, small town full of poor fishermen and unemployed workers with little ambition or work ethic, are now seeing the town as a place that needs their help.  They are working hard to turn the town into the kind of place they left to come here.  Well, there is still more Lupine on Dog Island than there are formal gardens.  Deer still  roam the woods (and the streets), though their days are numbered, I think.  They seem to be getting in the way of people.  There is talk of "culling" the herd.  The deer don't know that cultivated gardens are to be left alone or that they may cause some of us to get Lyme Disease.  They believe that the earth belongs to them and sometimes cross streets in front of cars.  Sometimes a person's car needs to be repaired after it has killed a deer. 

Don't get me started.............anyway, I think Eastport will still be a place I want to live for long enough.  I recently applied for a rental in my old home town.  Eastport, I thought, was no longer where I wanted to be.  I have lost everything that brought me here in the first place.  Seeing Bangor again as I went to finish my application for housing there, I realized that Bangor isn't my home anymore, either.  When I returned from my trip there, Eastport looked like paradise. 

Then there is my own garden, and this is the lilac I brought from Wilson St when I moved here.  It was a shoot coming up near the huge lilac that grew in that yard.  I didn't even think it would survive, but look at it now.  So lupine and lilacs seem to have put me in the right place.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Watercolor Attempt and Anticipating the New Car

I haven't painted as much as I might have due to my recent doll obsession, but yesterday I finally put myself to the task.  I like this painting even though it lacks the spontaneity I'm trying to regain.  It's pretty hard to just let go when you are so focused on technique.  To relax when you are working to relax is pretty much asking the impossible.

My "new" car ought to be ready today after weeks in the garage.  It evidently hid a lot of flaws behind its (to me) pretty face, and needed several repairs.  Also, the mechanic has missed a lot of work lately because of a sick wife, which extended its stay considerably.  Dennis is the only mechanic in town, and the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, so there was no question that I would wait for him.

Tomorrow I am going to Bangor and I hope to be driving my van.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Painting and new Doll

 This is the first painting I have done outside for a long time.  I sat in the driveway and painted the front of the house with the garden in front.  I keep thinking I can do watercolor again if I just find the right combination of factors.  I decided that being out in the environment might help.  Certainly my best watercolors were done on location.  I am pleased with this one, not because it's a good painting, because it isn't, but because it is at least acceptable watercolor technique.  It gives me hope that I am on the right track.  Going outside has rarely been possible because of the weather...........cold and rainy most days.  We have had some beautiful days, too, though, and all that snow is just a remote memory now.  June in Eastport is the best of all possible worlds.  I have spoken of it every year, I know, but I can't help but be surprised again at the overwhelming scent of Lilacs, the purple Lupine, the intense green of the world.  Memories and pictures don't do it justice.

A faint desire to make another doll crept into my consciousness about a week ago.  Yesterday it had grown to the point that I couldn't ignore it.  I found a pink T-shirt that was expendable and went to work.  It was a short-lived obsession and I finished this doll in record time..........all in all no more than four or five hours over two days.  I don't think I will need to make another one now, but I can't be sure.  This one is cute.........yes, cute.  I guess there is room in my psyche for producing cute.  It may be a genetic variation inherited from my mother, who made many beautiful dolls.  They were very different from mine..........small, perfect ladies with clay heads, arms and legs she made herself.  The bodies were made of cloth, and she dressed them in authentic period clothing made on her treadle sewing machine.  She created their hair using embroidery thread which she would around toothpicks to make specific hairstyles.  They usually carried baskets filled with flowers of fruit and vegetables made out of clay and painted.  An apple would be only slightly larger than the head of a pin.  Once there was a spot on TV about her and the dolls..........I remember her showing off their underwear, complete with lace trim and ties, saying "Ladies always need beautiful underwear."
My dolls are another species altogether.  At times a fleeting idea crosses my mind to make a doll like hers, but I don't have the temperament for it.   And I have the good sense to know I don't have the temperament for it.  My work is sloppy and makeshift, with thoughts like "that's close enough" and "that won't show anyway" guiding my technique.  This doll's shirt is the top of a dirty sock I got out of the hamper.  Her pants are made from my own old pants that I was getting ready to through away. Her skin is, as I said, a T-shirt with "First Light Farm" printed across the chest.  I never would have sacrificed it, except that I have 8 or 10 more in many different colors.

So, aside from planting a vegetable garden and building a new door for the chicken house, that is the extent of my activity since my last post...........although I think I failed to post a picture of the car I bought with the money I made from my art show.  It was cheap, and is now spending a lot of time at the garage waiting for parts.  I'm happy though.  I'll put its picture in a new post.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mundane Life

I've been spending most of my time trying to weed out the unnecessary clutter that fills every nook and cranny of this house.  So far I have filled fifteen trash bags.  Other items too big for the bags have stood on the sidewalk their own...a cooler, a lawn chair, etc.  On the left is a pile of USB cords, cable wire, telephone cord, extension cords, and a few miscellaneous connectors I didn't recognize.  I spent some time separating them into categories and placing them on a shelf in the closet.  How could I dare throw any away since I had no idea what they were for?  What if I needed them?  Otherwise, I was merciless.  Anything I hadn't needed for at least a year went into the trash.  Mostly it was junk that I have kept for various reasons and never used or looked at. 

The next room I tackled was the "guest" room.  It's also the room where I store most of my artwork.  Since so much of it was in the show at the art center I took the opportunity to go through the rest and throw out what was really meaningless.......proofs of various prints, failed paintings and drawings, etc.  I went through the drawers of the chest in there and tossed towels and sheets and curtains that have been there unused for years.  In my own bedroom I tossed old clothes and shoes, and hundreds of cassette tapes that aren't usable anymore.  Downstairs I cleaned out the closet in the dining room, which was full of sheet music from when I was playing the recorder, musical instruments, old tablecloths, napkins, wrapping paper, boots, gloves, hats, skeins of yarn, etc. In addition, I put down a new tile floor in both the upstairs and downstairs halls.  The kitchen and living room didn't require quite as much work, since I maintain them fairly well and keep the excess to a minimum.  When I began this cleaning frenzy it was because I had decided to move back to Bangor if I could find a place to live. I wanted to weed out my belongings to make the move easier.  For awhile I was obsessed with the idea and spent days on line looking for apartments and dreaming of the city life of my home town. I applied for subsidized housing.  As time went on, though, my enthusiasm died down, as I had predicted it would.  I have moved so many times, looking for nothing other than something different.  I love the novelty of a new place to I made my house new.

Today I made bread using the first recipe I had tried.  I've tried two or three others since I got my new stove, but this is the one I like the best.  As you can see by the picture, these loaves were quite enthusiastic and practically overflowed the pans.  I put two balls of dough in each pan to make them easier to store and freeze, but I'm not sure it was a good idea.  The two balls bulged out over the ends rather than rising in the middle.  Nevertheless, it is delicious.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My New Boots

I have wanted some fringed boots ever since I can remember, but they have always been too expensive and too frivolous.  Thanks to I found this pair for a fraction of the prices I've seen in the past.  I couldn't click the "buy it now" option fast enough.  The best part is that they met every expectation I have ever had.  So what that I am 70 years old and this is 2015.  So what that it is May.  Don't anybody try to take my boots off my feet........

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Horse Show

Kendall and I went to the horse show in Pembroke Saturday.............partly because her horse Charlie was participating and partly because it was dedicated to one of the volunteers at FLFES who was killed in an automobile accident a few days ago.  She was a lively, lovable girl of 19 we all knew well because of her presence there before and after she adopted one of the horses.  There was a ceremony in honor of her, but we arrived after it was over (thankfully).  Immune from the mood that no doubt prevailed prior to our arrival, we visited happily with people we knew from the shelter.  I hadn't seen Charlie for many months and I had forgotten what a pretty boy he is.  He lives with a family with three teenage children, and Kendall lets them ride him as if he were their own.  Most of these pictures are of Rebecca and Charlie in the barrel races.  By chance, though, I found out that another shelter horse was there, too.  It was the black mare, Abby, who was so sick and traumatized when she arrived she had to be isolated.  I was appointed her caretaker because the other volunteers were afraid of her (with good reason), and I didn't have the sense to fear her.  Gradually she got better and the last picture is of her and the little girl who now owns her.  I could have cried with happiness when I found them and saw how well it had all turned out.

I posted a few other pictures of the general ambiance, mostly for my Michigan blogger friend Pamela.  She has vowed to see horses every day now that she is back from the southwest.  If no live horses are available, perhaps she can take some pleasure in seeing these.  I certainly had a good time at the show............though it brought to the fore how much I miss working at the shelter.  Luckily I am still in touch with the people I met there through facebook.  It keeps me connected to that time and that life...........