Sunday, July 27, 2008

First Harvest / Lammas approaches

Being here in Maine, it is much easier for me to appreciate this holiday, as we really are just beginning the big harvest season. We would likely have tomatoes and such had the garden gotten started earlier, but they are fruiting and will ripen soon. there are peppers and cauliflower, we have been eating lettuce and broccoli and peas... and herbs, oh my!

My little garden here at the trailer park -- several planter boxes and pots with trees waiting to be transplanted at home are outdoing themselves! I have an oven load of herbs in drying by the propane pilot light (parsley, basil, oregano, two kinds of sage and rosemary; I have a jar of parsley and a jar of marjoram from earlier and a large jar of St. Johns wart from along the road; the flowers on my single plant are just past prime and I am going to let it seed, to make sure I have some for home.

And the blueberry patch along the roadside -- which I had thought for sure would have been picked dry -- proved me wrong yesterday when K suggested that we stop for a look. I don't think anyone else had picked since I did, so today I brought a friend back and we picked until her allergies called a halt. plenty of berries for both of us and there are a few yet to be picked on the way home from work later this week.

We can add "fox" to our list of local wildlife that we have spotted; we saw one crossing the road in the dark on the way home yesterday evening; we were on a deserted road, so K swung the car over to the "wrong" side of the road and shined the headlights to follow the critter so we could make a positive ID.

And I have more flowers to get out of the camera and into the 'puter and list... but that will have to wait. I need to bathe (washed Brandi today and I need to make sure I am not coated in Adams. I am hoping that she is done with her heat cycle... in any case she sorely needed the cleaning and attention to her rear where it seems a flea (I almost think she is THAT sensitive to them!) has caused her to start getting scabby places again. She had been worrying her rump -- a change at least from licking her "parts" which was her main occupation while she was bleeding heavily. But now she is -- for the moment -- once again a clean doggy, though not yet quite dry. She will dry over night I am sure and I am not worried about the temperature as we are after all having summer even here in Maine

My cross quarter celebration next weekend will likely include a long session of picking blueberries at a "pick your own" place with friend A... we were discussing it while in the wild patch today and have made a tentative date for next weekend. I have yet to find where we are going, though there are plenty of pick your own blueberries around, just none REALLY close... I am looking forward to getting the freezer set up -- hopefully soon. I can hardly believe that it's only a bit over six weeks until the one year anniversary of my trip to Maine last year.

Anxious to spend more time at Common Ground Fair this year, and I am determined to buy myself a sythe there.

But for now those dreams will have to wait, the bath and bed (and a couple of baskets of clean clothes to be put away) await.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Today I got a job I wasn't looking for -- well not today was I looking for it, but I was months ago, back mid-April to be exact. The application that got me my first client and best local salesman, finally landed me a part time (well, almost full time at present, but that won't last) job as an administrative coordinator and he is paying me $3 an hour more than I was getting for the same sort of stuff in NC.

Which means I will be going into Bangor 4 or eventually 3 days a week, means that there will be continuity of type of employment when we come round to trying for a mortgage again, and means that, when my unemployment runs out (next week) I will not panic.

Now I am tired. What had started out to be a brief orientation turned into a much longer affair and I did not get home until after 9:30 pm. THIS will not happen regularly, but I have learned that when I have a work day, essential errands get run FIRST. NO post office run today, so I do not know if my seeds got here or not. No chance to call back on any homes, but I will do that early tomorrow.

Tomorrow also includes a visit with a Pagan friend over coffee, snagging a prepaid cell phone for emergency calls home before I leave the city, and work.

My first task on the job is to sort out a reservation mess at a hotel in Quebec city. Parlez-vous Anglais?

now that job is accounted for, all that remains is HOUSE!

WHAT a day!

What started out yesterday to be a slow and ordinary day, with me spending an hour spinning in the waiting room while K spoke with a counselor, ended up long and most interesting.

After the appointment K want to head north, he had a push, for no particular reason, to visit Greenville, ME. Now, I had a connection there from some time back -- I had applied for a job with a publishing co. there and while they hired a local, the published wrote a very chatty card as my rejection letter and said they would love to meet me if I were ever in the area (however they gave no street address, so it dropped off the radar as a major focus!)

We drove east out of Dover-Foxcroft, towards Guilford, where we spotted this lovely covered bridge on a cross road to nowhere (this I know because we drove across it to the gravel turn-around just on the other side.) Now, I love covered bridges and much as lighthouses... and this was the first I had ever been able to drive across.. it is not an antique, but a restoration put up after the big flood of '87, so I learned from the information sign. Still it was lovely and I was so glad I thought to carry the camera along. I am still working on my wildflower pictures so pretty much, if I go, the camera goes as well.

We stopped by a marker for the Appalacian Trail, noted that we were quite a ways from its beginning here in Maine and wandered on.

When we got to Greenville, (the gateway to the Moosehead Lake region, and while we did not see a moose, we could not have missed that connection were we illiterate or blind, I do not think. EVERYTHING was named with moose this and moose that. The town seemed t have a friendly face for visitors but its apparent focus on tourism makes me want to visit again late this year, after "everyone" has gone home. We spotted this interesting sculpture, which brought my attention to the Thoreau Wabanaki Trail. I had been aware of the Thoreau connection and this is a site I will explore more in the future.

Since the lake was omnipresent, and it was getting on towards lunch time, I wanted to eat overlooking the water. We wandered on, to Greenville Junction and found Kelly's Landing, where we had a slightly over-priced and somewhat unremarkable lunch with a wonderful view of the lake, an occasional boat and a small flock of Canada geese swimming by. I had to make note of one of their planters! Great idea, especially for herbs that might be brought in of the winter. I waded in the lake (my first time to properly greet the Water since arriving in Maine!) and began photographing wild flowers and berries (this for a later blog) and as we left the restaurant, what did we see across the street but a sign for the publishing company, however no one was in. Guess that means another visit in the future, eh?

After having discovered the major road construction in Guilford, we had hoped to not have to return that way. Their delays made our construction follies here in Milo over the past few months seem like no delay at all! So we headed out on a less traveled road in the direction of Kathadin Iron Works (another area we have yet to visit) only to discover that the road goes through private property (K was not feeling well and overlooked the red barrier in the Gazetteer) and is in fact a toll road, with a $10 fee for non-residents and a $6 fee for Mainers. Cash only, and since I did not have that much on me, back we went. I did not mind the "shortcut" though as it gave me some new flowers to photograph and this bog as well.

We did manage to find a way around Guilford, spotted a couple of properties that I will call on later today out in that area and another one close in to Milo that we had previously missed.

In the evening, one of my clients called -- the one I met as a result of a job posting that had been filled -- to discuss our meeting tomorrow. He had tried to call while we were out wandering, hoping to make connection with me early on so as to determine if I were still interested in a part time office manager position. This may still happen for me, which would be a good thing I think. Despite requiring me to run into Bangor 3x a week, it would give me needed job continuity ( as explained by lenders) that would help with mortgage consideration next year and would allow me to be less paranoid about the ebb and flow of design and hex jobs.

We will see...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Busy Week Ahead!

After not having any hex signs to paint in a while, it would appear they, to, come in cycles. First the order for the small outdoor Love and Happy Home, which sent me to the lumber yard for more plywood and turned the dining room into a wood shop once again, now more. I had the intuition to get both wood for the smaller size and enough of the thicker plywood for a couple of 2' circles as well... and a good thing it was as yesterday brought an inquiry for an exterior of the Inspiration sign, above, in that size and today brought the order. I also found a payment for a 14" Natural Balance in the inbox today as well, so the fabric for that has been stretched and I will start painting shortly.

A "hungry" realtor (that is one who is willing to work with us for what will be a minimal commission) sent several possibles via email and -- as I feared -- he had not previously check to see if they were interested or able to owner fi. I am refusing to get excited until we are inking a contract at this point... He also promoted one that is much too far away, and in the wrong direction (toward the coast) and too expensive -- which was rejected (gently) out of hand for the price and another that is also too far away, but might be do-able, as it is close to the highway and would be a reasonable commute to a larger small town, where a part time job might be found. That one, we may look at. While we are in the area we will check out a vacant one nearby a friend's place though I expect it will be way too dear as well. The Hungry Realtor has a couple more to inqire on for us... we will see what we will see. I am also getting calls from folks now and then from the ad I put in Uncle Henry's print publication but thus far they have all been too expensive as well. I will NOT be "house poor."

This will be a week of "going" as we have a trip to Dover-Foxcroft tomorrow early AM for a mental health appt for K, a late afternoon working meeting with my guide client, Martin Brown on Wed and a mid-morning coffee date with a local pagan lady that I met through an online group. We have been trying to get together for some time, since I realized she lived in Bangor, and it looks like it will finally happen. I just happened to run into her at work Sunday, when I stopped at Sam's club to pick up dog food on my way to the Bangor Witches MeetUp. That had been an interest event the previous month, less so this time, though it was a smaller group and I do hope to be able to visit more with the organizer of the meetup at some point.

Wedensday, also, the Standpipe in Bangor will be open to the public; if the weather is cool and the timing works out I may try to see it... It is only open to climb four times a year.

I hope that the bean seeds that my friend from Seasons Eatings Farm sent me are in the post office Wednesday too. They were not there on Sunday and I need to get them in the ground... And speaking of the farm, I have just completed a new logo for them. Will post it once Robin has used it on her site!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

To town, to town

Today is getting off to a late start. Gods I hate this, when I go to bed at the proper time and yet do not awaken until well after sun-up. But I must have needed the sleep... I was stressed yesterday by the news that one of my favorite sons-in-law had been rushed to the hospital, unconscious, from work, and I spent a considerable amount of time doing a Working for him in sacred space. The report is good, he apparently had pneumonia caused by the virus that also causes meningitis and he is conscious and being treated. I hope to hear more news today. But later in the day yesterday I made the "mistake" of responding to a post on an e-list ... though I had been less than positive in outlook and attitude of late, I decided to take the challenge and try to post some of my blessings, things I had recently enjoyed and was looking forward to... but one of my friends on the list -- not truly understanding my relationship with The Gods -- posted a long response that basically said "bloom where you are planted, it will happen in the Gods timing." I had been questioning, myself, the meaning and purpose of this period of "limbo" while we look for a place to buy... wondering if I "should" spend energy trying to make the "most ghetto" trailer livable, when I should begin in earnest looking for a stable part-time job, etc... and this post just stirred me up worse.

As I was attempting to make supper in the poor excuse of a kitchen, these wondering were on my mind and I had voiced to the Gods, the thought "ok, so do I REALLY need to try to make this place livable." when opening the door of the fridge caused two of the glass tumblers (one of my Crone glasses, so called because 56 of them were used to hold candles for my croning ceremony a while back) to fall off the counter, where they were drying and one to break. NO! resonated in my mind as loud at the shattering of the glass...

So maybe I needed the extra sleep, who knows. But in any case the Words have been received and sent out, a late breakfast is due to be prepared and then we will be off today for an unscheduled trip to Bangor for plywood and loom hardware.

This trip is necessitated as I got an order for the Love and a Happy Home hex sign, which graces the opening of this blog, but in a 1' size, for which I have no plywood "blanks" cut. And the loom needs to be repaired (I bought it last month from someone who had never used it and it came "parts missing." I ordered a manual from the old distributor (no longer really in business though they were able to help me in that regard)... It needs repaired as I am getting a couple of large boxes of wool fabric scraps from [URL=""]Twin Rose Designs[/URL] ... leavings from their clothing business, from which I plan to weave rugs.

So, off to town we go. When we get back I will try to call again on the FSBO that I spotted the other day.

And by the way, if you have green bean seeds that have not been planted, you have GOLD at least here in Maine. I had not known if I would have room for any or not and figured when it came to that decision I would buy some. WRONG. I now have room and cannot find the seeds anywhere.. the hardware store in Milo told me that "everyone" lost the first, and possibly second plantings and the repeated plantings have used up their entire stock. Blue seal in Bangor had none either and when I stopped at Kmart just to see (they were on my route) their entire garden section was dark. Gardening is over.. time for Back To School! Gods, how they rush the season..

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blueberry afternoon

I never did get to the garden yesterday. Instead I got waylaid by a wayside bush. Actually many of them...

When I stopped to see what grew in the area where K had seen a woman and her daughter picking something close to the ground I found blueberries! I knew blueberry season was coming, the wonderful wild kind and had asked at the strawberry farm where we picked earlier in the week if they knew where to find the wild ones and they said we would have to go closer to the coast. Not sure if she thought (noting my out-of-state plate) that we were looking to pick them that day or what...

But blueberry season seems to be here, and after several hours of "blueberry yoga" as a bent, stretched, squatted and for a while, sat perched on one of the hardest, sharpest bits of granite ever to protrude from the Maine roadside, I ended up with a quart of the wonderful tiny berries.

If this is not some Maine woods rite of passage, it SHOULD be... along with seeing a moose, counting the deer in your neighbor's yard and flushing a flock of wild turkeys as you drive home into the sunset.

No, I didn't get anything done on A's garden... but it will still be there today, after a breakfast of oatmeal garnished with fresh, wild blueberries.

"...the way life should be..."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

unexpected garden

I have this first-year plot at friend Anne's house, and since it is 30 miles away, I don't get there every day. I have been there recently, hoeing and picking lettuce and bolting broccoli. Today I finished the hoeing, doesn't look half bad for a first year, mostly untended plot, as far as I am concerned anyway!

However, while I was working today I discovered a surprise. Actually several... There were a few snap peas, one of which I ate and the rest were brought home for salad tonight, along with another couple of baby broccoli. The coles (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) I seem to remember as heavy feeders -- not necessarily wanting fresh manure, but they do seem to need more than this garden -- which was unfertilized lawn last year and for many years past -- has to offer. Well, no biggie... I am glad for anything that grows. This garden was mostly symbolic, to let the Powers That Be know I wanted to stay, to help keep me sane while we look for a house, and so on. I was honestly not sure that the seeds and plants would still know that, when I put them in the ground, they were supposed to GROW... it's been that long since I had a serious garden!

But the surprise... of all the veggies I expected to grow well in Maine ... of all the veggies I have strugged with and had little success in places where they were known to grow well... I would never have expected to find not one, but SEVERAL baby bell peppers on my plants! This little guy is an Ace.

And until recently the tomatoes were looking pretty pathetic. Some of them still do, compared to the best ones in Anne's patch, but these little Celebrities are at least getting ready to give it a go!

The wild things are getting productive too. On the way back from Anne's after a trip to a local pick-your-own strawberry farm, I stopped to take a share of St. Johns Wort flowers that the bees were working.

And I have to share a shot of my berry picking efforts. They are mostly now frozen, though we enjoyed shortcake one night and have a quart in the fridge to eat from. They were great on this morning's oats!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer has come to Maine

After what appears to have been a dry spring (where was mud season?) and a wet early summer, the rain has stopped and for nearly a week the high temperatures have been in the 80s. It's 85 outside now, and the bare ground (dirt, gravel, no grass) under the clothes tree was HOT to my bare feet as I hung the last of the wash just now.

Even the dog is content to lay inside, on the linoleum, instead of wanting out, to dig down into cool moist soil by the trailer, for which I am glad. We have not had her spayed yet, there is evidence she is in heat and there are a lot of dogs which run loose for varying periods here in the Most Ghetto Trailer Park.

But still the ground, down a bit, is cool. I can tell as the wash water was nicely cool and so was the water I just pulled from the tap. And last night, as the sun set, the temperature began its evening drop, the breeze picked up and K was able to grill burgers without even a threat from a mosquito.

I love it that it cools off at night. This should allow us to avoid the dread AC for a while at least. I fear the way K's health is going, that eventually we will have to have a room we can close off and install one of the window units for during the day for him, but as long as it continues to cool off in the evenings we can at least share a bed in a room with "real" air.

It is warm enough that, though I need to look at my garden, I will not go until later this evening or perhaps tomorrow on the way to town. We need to get our own propane tank, as the one, supplied here, that we filled for cooking last March has gone dry. We still expect to have our place and not to stay here any longer than necessary, and so we do not want to "donate" expensive gas to the landlord, as there is no way to know exactly how much is in the tank, even if we could manage to get him to buy it from us when we move. Much better solution -- our own tank, which (admittedly with much huffing, puffing and help of strong arms) we can take with us. And if we hold off and buy it tomorrow, we can get prescriptions filled in town as well.

It is expected to be a warm day tomorrow, too... so being on the road with the breezes blowing will be a good thing.