Saturday, April 29, 2006

More Things I Found

Well, I just spent a half hour writing philosophically about gardening and the other people who have contributed to my garden here. I talked about former gardens and made it all analogous to my life. I was very clever, as you can imagine. Then I lost the whole post somehow and I don't have the wherewithall to do it all again. You will just have to imagine it for yourselves.

Suffice it to say, here is my one tulip. Then there is a bleeding heart coming, and another tulip bud. Posted by Picasa
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New Bedroom

Why would I leave my pretty upstairs bedroom, with its adjoining bath, to sleep on the narrow converted sunporch next to the kitchen? Why would I exchange my queen sized bed with its dust ruffle and matching comforter and pillow shams, its three hundred dollar iron headboard and footboard, for the cast-off double bed abandoned at Sydney's falling-down house in Quoddy village? Why use a beat up three drawer bureau rescued from the cellar of my Washington Street house instead of the heirloom seven-drawer maple piece from Phil's family? Well, I suppose there are many hidden reasons known only to Alice, though she has shared some of these with me. The others involve my desire to recreate the one-story atmosphere I had in my last house, the ease of letting the dogs out when I get up in the morning, and the idea of saving money on the heat next winter (assuming the room is still there then). It is a non-permanent, camp-like feel that for some reason has always apealed to me. There is something unnerving about permanence, something scary about the idea of forever. I like to have my eye on the exit door.

If you allow yourself to think about forever, you will either kill yourself or be agonizingly disappointed. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Additions to the Family

Yesterday I drove to Dennysville to see my chicken supplier, Bob Brown. I had the idea to get a blonde chicken like Annie. On the way I decided that I might possibly get two. Then Bob convinced me to take three. So I am back to my former high of five, which I find to be a very pleasing number--enough to seem like a flock without being too many to seem like individuals. Instead of trying to think up more names, I gave them the names of their look alike predecessors, Annie, Mary, and Esther.

The new chickens had never been outside, since Bob keeps his in a dark and dreary barn without so much as a window. They must have been quite shocked by the whole event, being dragged by their feet and thrown into a box, driven in a car for many miles, and released into the outdoors with two strange chickens. Hannah and Demeter did not exactly welcome them with open arms either. The two of them, who have become inseparable, made an ominous pair as they defended their territory. They flew at the newcomers, squawking and pecking at them. I left them to work things out while I went to a gallery meeting.

At the end of the day when I went to put them inside, Hannah and Demeter were standing in the doorway of the house, blocking the entrance. The other three were wandering around the yard looking confused. It was more difficult than I anticipated to persuade those two to back off when I tried to herd the newcomers through the door. They stood there like a couple of bouncers at a bar, refusing to budge until I physically pushed them out of the way. Even then theydid their best to make each of the new chickens feel unwelcome as she reluctantly charged through the door with me on her heels. They were all still alive this morning, though, and everyone seemed to have worked out whatever problems there were. They spent the day in harmony and all went into the house tonight with only a little argument from the two guards at the door. I did add another bowl of food and a second waterer in case Hannah and Demeter were not allowing the new ones to eat. I saw new Annie eating as I left, and new Esther having a drink, so I think all is well. Before next winter I will have to do a little redecorating in the chicken house. I think the floor space is a little small for five chickens to be "cooped up" in all the time. I'm visualizing some sort of loft idea--a second story. Posted by Picasa

Latest Painting

I've been working on this for several weeks off and on. It's the painting I started when Lisa and I went outside to paint. I disliked it most of the way through, but in the end I put oil paint over the acrylic and now find it acceptable, even pleasing in some ways. It will be my entry for the first theme show at the gallery, which has something to do with local scenery. I've forgotten the exact title. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What I found

Late, because they were hidden under the rhododendron, these crocuses are blooming beside the house. It's a wonder I even saw them at all, since I rarely go that far down the driveway(the old car is in the way). But here they are, almost gone by but still beautiful. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hot Cross Buns

How can I not post a picture of these beauties? I made them using my old recipe, but mixed the dough in my bread machine and let it do the work up until the second rising. Then I took it out, shaped the rolls, let them rise, and baked them in the regular oven. They were just as good as if I had done them the old fashioned way. In the interest of weight watching, I made half the recipe. I ate one right out of the oven, froze one for later, and took these four over to David's for dinner. Posted by Picasa


Thom sent this bouquet of flowers for Easter and they arrived through a cooperative effort of several nice people in Eastport who hated to see them spend the holiday in a restaurant cooler. I wasn't home when the florist tried to deliver them. When David and I came in from shopping for Easter dinner, two different messages on the machine lamented the fact that the flowers remained unclaimed. The shop was going to be closed for the rest of the day, and I would have to pick them up Monday. They were to be left in the cooler of the restaurant next door. David knew that Thom had sent them, and we were very disappointed that we wouldn't have them for Easter.

The next morning I got a call from John Pike Grady, who was at the resstaurant cleaning up. He noticed the flowers and called me up. He said he would wait for me to come get them if I wanted to, so I got in the car and went after them. On the phone he had told me it was a "very handsome bouquet" and he was right. I took this picture before I took it over to David's where we used it as the centerpiece for our dinner.

David has been here since last Thursday. I was very happy to see him and made quiche from Demeter and Hannah's eggs for his welcome dinner. Yesterday we had a traditional Easter meal of baked ham with pineapple,sweet potatoes, asparagus, and hot cross buns. For desert, strawberries with cream and sherbet. Both of us are trying to keep the calories down, so we opted out of a more elaborate and fattening feast, though the one we had was far from one of deprivation. Everything was delicious as usual. The silver candlesticks and linen tablecloth were resurrected, the seagulls wandered around the back yard, the lights twinkled on across the water on Campobello. Spring has come to Eastport. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Near Disaster

Yesterday morning I finished making the chicken pen secure by placing the garden staples I had bought last year around the bottom of the wire. They are just what they sound like, huge staples that stick into the ground, holding the wire in place. I let Hannah and Demeter out, where they happily spent the day. As I came home from buying milk at about six o'clock I saw Lynn walking Mike along the street. We had talked about getting Mike and Patrick together for a "play date" so I thought I would hurry home before she passed my house and get Patrick outside to meet Mike.

I rushed into the house and snapped a leash on Patrick. The other dogs, of course, thought they were going, too, and leapt at the door. It takes only a modicum of imagination to imagine what happened next. Benny bolted through the door and headed around the house and straight for the chickens. I managed to keep Lytton from following and ran (yes, RAN) after Benny, Patrick in tow. I found him snarling and jumping against the chicken fence, certainly putting my security measures to the test. Demeter and Hannah were in a state, clucking and screaming, but flapping around the yard rather than running in the house. I managed to get Benny by the collar and pull him away, though he resisted and struggled, trying to bite me until I talked him down. Just as I was rounding the corner of the house toward the front, Lytton streaked past, having opened the front door himself (it doesn't latch). I watched him go toward the back yard helplessly, my hands full of dogs already. Either he didn't see the chickens or he wasn't interested, because he took off behind the neighbors' houses down toward Water Street. It's the first time I've been happy to see that happen.

I dumped Patrick and Benny in the house, closing the doors securely, grabbed another leash, went out to the back yard and put the chickens in their house, and went after Lytton. By that time he had run back up the street and was running up toward Mitchell street, where he was apprehended without much of a struggle. I took him back home, got Patrick and walked down to Lynn's, where we had a peaceful visit over a cup of tea. The dogs got along well.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

New Chicken Pen

I decided that today was the day to expand the chicken pen. The weather is getting better and the chickens need to be able to get outside. Last week I bought the materials I needed to make the fence, but they were still in the back of the car. At about three o'clock I dragged the rolls of wire and the eight posts out to the back yard. It took about five trips back to the house to assemble all the tools I needed, but at least I had the tools, thanks to David's Christmas presents last year. I also had to take out my kitchen step stool. I am too short to pound in the posts without standing on something.

I let the chickens out while I worked, which meant that I had to keep the old fence in tact while I erected the new one. It's a tecnique I seem to favor in many chores that I do, such as changing sheets one corner at a time so that the bed is never exposed to the ravages of the dogs who dive for any exposed portion of the foam mattress pad. Animals don't seem to notice that changes are being made if they occur this way. Of course it takes twice as long to do things.

The new, taller, posts went into the ground fairly easily because the ground is muddy and soft this time of year. In fact, the whole job was pretty easy. My new wire cutters worked so much easier than scissors. I even liked the fact that the handles of all of the tools are yellow and therefore easy to find once they inevitably disappear. After the new perimeter had been established, I removed the old boundary. No children could have rewarded their mother more than Demeter and Hannah as they immediately raced into the new space as if they had been waiting in great anticipation. They explored every corner. Over in the dog yard hysteria reigned as the chickens moved into new territory. Benny dug furiously under the gate, Patrick stood on his hind legs with his front feet scratching the fence, Lytton ran to the porch for a better view and barked. They all lost interest when I mentioned supper, though, and I'm sure it was only the newness of the situation that stirred them up. They have come to accept the chickens pretty well at a distance as long as protocol is observed by all concerned.

I picked up my trash, put the chickens in, fed the dogs, and felt good about my accomplishment. I was glad to be where I am and chose not to think of the future. Posted by Picasa