Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finally Back

I haven't been able to blog for a while because I couldn't upload pictures from my camera. I hate to make an entry without a picture, so I waited until I received a new disk from Kodak. It's more irksome to use that program, but the new version of Picasa won't transfer anything from my camera.
Anyway, here is my newest painting. It is done from a photo Toni took many years ago when she lived in Chili. It isn't quite done, but in case I mess it up, I wanted to have a record of it as it is now.
Thanksgiving has come and gone. I took pictures of the wonderful table set for our dinner at David and Thom's, but I accidently deleted them while trying to get my camera to work. It was a beautiful sight and the meal was delicious. I contributed a pumkin cheesecake, which I promptly dropped on the kitchen floor when I arrived. We ate it anyway. (Luckily Thom and David's floor is literally clean enough to eat off.) I had a great day and was certainly thankful for everything I had, including my great friends. When I got home I had messages from both kids. I returned both calls and had nice holiday chats. My cousin Michelle also called and we spent some time on the phone, too. It made me feel close to my family, as well as my friends, like a traditional holiday should.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chicken Adventure

The girls had quite a surprise when I opened their door this morning (the same surprise I had when I looked out the window). Usually they pile out into the yard immediately, but they certainly put on the brakes when they saw the snow. I wasn't able to coax then out, even with saltines. They haven't been using the ramp, so I had left it on the ground. Thinking they might venture out if they could do it gradually, I put it in place and crumbled some crackers on it. Cautiously, Lily and Lupine made their way down the ramp and stepped into the snow. Evidently it was the sight of it that unhinged them, not the feel. Once they were on the ground they didn't seem to care about it.

Eventually, encouraged by their comrades, the others crept forward and joined them on the ground. It was still snowing a little, and I think they went back inside as soon as the treats were gone. I was proud of them for being so brave and adventuresome.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pennamaquam Painting

I used a photo that Toni took to paint this. I started it at art group last week and finished it today at home. As I said when I looked at it after the first session, it's a pretty painting, but so what? I hoped I would be inspired after looking at Emile Gruppe's work in the latest issue of American Art Review. I was inspired, but I couldn't translate his wonderful brushwork into mine. No matter what, it still looks like I painted it.

What I may do is go over it with oil paint. This is acrylic, and I really don't like the way it looks when I use it for landscape. It's too crisp and clean. Or perhaps I just don't like my landscape painting, except the watercolors I used to do in Rockport. I'll never do those again..........they came out of a time and an experience that will never come again.

The weather has turned very cold and windy. A big piece of foam insulation had blown into the yard from somewhere when I went out this morning. My upside-down flag is flapping on it's head, and the dog gate looks like it could blow down any minute. I parked the car up against it to hold it in place. The chickens hovered near the side of the old garage all day, and went inside early. The dogs still wanted to go out for their walks, which I couldn't refuse, but were glad to turn around and come home after a very short time. The top blew of my propane tank, and off the bird feeders.

Thanksgiving is next week. Winter is here.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Babies Become Women

I've been pondering the problem of making nests for the chickens. I had no idea when they would begin to lay eggs, but I knew I needed to prepare. I couldn't think of what to do, since their house is so small. Trying to give them an illusion of privacy in there seemed an unsolvable problem.

It seems that the chickens' biological clock was ticking faster than I thought. These eight eggs were all together under the shorter ladder I had placed near the door as a second roost. They haven't used it, since they prefer to huddle together on the top two rungs of the other, bigger ladder. I don't know how long the eggs have been accumulating. They were not obvious there in the corner, the same color as the wood shavings around them. In any case, the big event happened without fanfare or even acknowledgment.

Now I know where to put their nests, though, and it happens that I just recently thought of what to make them with. I have an unused medicine chest with a central shelf. If I take the door off and lay it on its back, it makes two chicken-sized compartments. I'll fill them with bedding and stick them under the ladder. Two nests is enough for three chickens, so I've read. I'm sorry I didn't have a nicer place for them earlier, but they seemed to manage anyway.

My girls have grown up.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

I Cook

Amazingly I actually cooked a meal this afternoon. It was such an occasion I had to document it. This is pork tenderloin stuffed with onions, apples and raisins, simmered in a wine sauce, and apple-cranberry pie. I haven't eaten any of it yet, but am looking forward to it with great anticipation.

This is quite a departure from my usual frozen "Healthy Choice" turkey, or cereal and a Whoopie Pie, or crackers with two bowls of ice cream, or Genoa salami and cheese straight from the deli bag. I was inspired by the apples that Sydney gave me from her trees, although I ended up using apples from the store for the pie. I saved the others for the chickens, who are crazy about them. I don't know when I stopped cooking regularly, but most of the time opening a package is all I can bring myself to do.

It's amazing when I remember how I cooked for Phil and the kids, day after day after day. I loved doing it, too, and was an enthusiastic, adventuresome cook. I would have wretched at the idea of a frozen dinner, or worse, a store bought dessert. I still love to eat, but I am not so fussy now. I never sit at the table for a meal, and five candy bars can serve as supper.

Well, times change.
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008


............the first black president. History in the making!
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

I went to vote at the High School this afternoon. It's hard to imagine, but that all-but-dead patriotism surged into my consciousness and I was moved. The voting booths, the wooden ballot boxes, the ballots themselves, all sent shivers through me. Looking at the names on the paper in front of me was overwhelming.......that it all came down to this. Months and months of speeches and ads and travels around the country until the campaign almost becomes a way of life, and then "we" get to decide. It really is an amazing process when you think of it. Suddenly it is real. Suddenly it is personal. It's me standing there with my no.2 pencil, it's me who helps to elect the "President of the United States."

Seeing those words, the choices, and knowing that whichever one I checked would be effected seemed almost too much responsibility. Nevertheless, I marked my X beside Barack Obama's name and came out smiling foolishly with pride. We have come to take for granted that we choose our leaders this way, yet a peaceful transfer of power is something not that usual in the world. In most governments the candidates who want the job do not try to woo those they wish to govern.

Well, all of this has caught me by surprise. I thought my cynicism went to the core of my being. But I've found a reason for today to be glad that I'm American. Stripping the whole system of its ideals and examining the reality of democracy can send one into a tailspin of despair, but I choose to let myself ignore all that for a day and love my country.

Is this sappy, or what???
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Sunday, November 02, 2008


So here we are on Halloween. Thom made this spooky dummy to entertain the kids who came trick-or-treating, though it entertained us even more. I don't like this holiday and never have, but it I have to admit that it was fun being there with David and Thom. We had a wonderful dinner and a great time.
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