Friday, July 25, 2008


Toni and I have begun kayaking again. Her new car holds both kayaks easily, so we are not restricted to the river in front of Toni's house. These pictures were taken at Deep Cove, just a few minutes from my house. The kayaks are so small they feel like an extension of ourselves. It's like walking on water. The scenery is breathtaking. There's no way to describe the experience except to say that it made life worth living.

That's all.

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Too Much Excitement.

The past week has been full of difficult and unnerving events that now seem too complicated and boring to go into. Without money, things that would be merely inconvenient and irksome for the those with disposable income become major catastrophes. Once again, though, I have come out of it all relatively unscathed.

Life goes on and the chickens finally got to go outside. I had to coax them with dandelion greens, but once they experienced the great outdoors they were very reluctant to go back inside. I haven't dared to let them out alone, and so I sit in the pen in my chair and watch them. There is a cat in the neighborhood who comes into the yard to hunt for the birds at the feeders (unsuccessfully). I don't know if he would be able to take down a chicken, but I'm not taking any chances. It's a problem that I haven't really dealt with yet. It's too problematic.

I have spent so much of my time dealing with and worrying about the chickens that it must seem that there is nothing else going on in my life. It's pretty much true.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feathered Friends

Because the smell in the guest room was becoming unbearable, I decided to put the youngest chicks out in the chicken house. I spent over an hour stapling wire fencing to seal off part of the coup for the newcomers. I was afraid the older ones would feel invaded and pick on the babies. I didn't take individual personalities into account. Poppy, Pansy, and Petunia have always shown a lot of bravado and this situation was no exception. When I tried to get them into their own space, they darted out of my grasp and took over the coop. They strutted around, kicked up the sawdust, ate the food and drank the water. Lily, Lilac, and Lupine cowered in the back corner, watching the newcomers make themselves at home. When they were chased, the older girls fed to the area I had set aside for the new occupants, trying to become invisible.

I must admit I felt bad for the older ones. They are so kind and gentle, leading a quiet, serene life. Then suddenly a band of ruffians comes along and upsets the calm. I sat in the doorway of the coop and watched for quite a while, ripping out all the chicken wire I had just stapled. It was obvious that separate quarters were not necessary. Gradually they all began to eye one another, tentatively circling. In an amazingly short period of time it was as if they had always been together. I didn't notice and bullying. They seemed to settle in as equals.

This has been a very engrossing and wonderful experience. I'm predicting sadly that before long they will cease to be my babies. Without the numerous daily visits to insure their well-being, the constant experiments with different ways to provide food and water, the worry about temperature and light, the delight with every new feather, the thrill of having them eat out of my hand......... will they melt into a single entity called a flock? Will I become unable to tell them apart? stop noticing their individual personalities?

Hopefully not......probably not.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Reworking and Adding

I decided to cover the cliff painting with a blue wash to calm the color down a bit. I don't think it shows in the picture, but I do like it better. The other painting I did yesterday. That scene is also down by Clark's Ledge. In the distance you can see the marker that divides the United States and Canada........a triangular red and white shape. Before I lived here I saw it while visiting Richard and Frieda. They were staying in the house on Todd Head in exchange for carpentry work. The two of them manipulated people all over the state and beyond, offering services in exchange for accommodations. There was something very endearing about them, but at the same time I disapproved of their constant trying to to get something for nothing. They were very invasive as well...........but, they were charming, too, in a very unconventional way.

My memory of the border marker is of Frieda agressively reminding me that there was a cliff nearby and I shouldn't let the kids play there.
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Friday, July 11, 2008

Paintings of the Cliff

I spent yesterday and today painting with Diana. I used the same photo for both paintings. Yesterday's is the more conservative, except for the long narrow shape. Today I wanted to improve what I thought was the the lack of good watercolor technique. In fact, I used gouache to cover up some mistakes in value. I was determined to do better today. I did do a better job with the watercolor, but I think the exaggerated color really doesn't improve things much. Also, the addition of the gouche gives a solidity that watercolor alone doesn't have. I may experiment more with the combination.
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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Clark's Ledge

How could I live where such a place is just a three-minute walk from my house? I have been taking the dogs down there often and marveling at the peace and beauty that still survives in the world. The cliff is high enough so that the town seems non-existent once you descend to the beach. The remains of the old wharf is like a ghost of what Eastport used to be like. There were canning factories all along the water to package the sardines that made Eastport thrive and prosper. I read that the population has gone down every year since 1950. I am selfishly glad that it is as small as it is now, that there is no industry except fishing. It is becoming a city of old people, many of them retirees. Most of the younger people are poor, eeking out a living on seasonal work. Many people are artists of one kind or another, neither young nor old. They simply are.

The beach at the foot of Clark Street, discovered anew, feeds me nutritiously and pulls me up from my somber mood precipitated by the 4th. It removes everything but the basic earth, ignores how we are treating it.
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Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day

I chose not to participate in the 4th of July activities this year. Somehow all that blind patriotism seems innapropriate in my case. I can just see the crew of the Navy ship that is sitting at the breakwater as they march in the parade wearing their blindingly white uniforms. The crowd will turn itself inside out cheering and clapping. I am singularly not in favor of supporting the troups. They are proud, and to me they ought to be ashamed. It is certainly an unpopular view and I don't dare say it in company, but most of the men fighting our war support it. Or they are made idiots by unquestioning loyalty to a country that doesn't deserve it. Or they joined the military for selfish reasons that had nothing to do with patriotism.

Well, I am not interested in trying to change the opinions of other people in this case. Besides, speaking against the government is becoming more and more dangerous. Imagine it.......the land of the free.

Anyway, I celebrated the day by putting the three older chickens out into their house. The move itself was traumatic. I had to put them in a cardboard box and carry them from the upstairs room that is the only home they have ever known. Once they were there, though, they felt at home almost at once and began exploring their expanded space.

Believe it or not, I actually cried when I left them there.
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