Be prepared

The snow had been glorious here in Acadia, until the sky dumped a few inches of icy slush on top of it this week.

Rockefeller Hall, Schoodic Institute

We got to shovel that mess while it was still raining sleet. With the right protective outerwear, including hand knit wool mohair gloves, I remained dry. Well my hands weren’t dry but they were still warm.

When the snow was still fluffy, we skied the carriage roads here on the Schoodic peninsula and on Mt. Desert Island (referred to as MDI if you don’t want to worry about how to pronounce dessert as dessert here).

Schoodic trail

Tim whisked me away to Deer Isle for Valentine’s day (I made him another mask, three layers with two layers of cloth sewn around a surgical mask) and we skied and walked in the woods.

I came upon this memorial bench. Apparently George is still kicking but they are prepared to remember him.

More improvising

My quilting project continues. I taped the fabric backing to the kitchen floor and layered it (backing , quilt batting, and the quilt top) without much difficulty.

I started machine quilting it and realized I forgot to bring the gloves I usually wear to grip the fabric. No problem. Luckily I brought work gloves ( and a tool belt). One work glove came in handy. Looks very strange. And it’s fleece lined.

Tools of the trade

My favorite follower wants to know how I spend my time when I am not taking photos of the gorgeous scenery that surrounds us. I get crafty.

I couldn’t bring all my toys with me when we first drove to Maine because they wouldn’t all fit in my car. During my last trip home to work, I returned my loom and picked up one of my Sewing machines, a 1951 singer featherweight.

I bought fabric during that trip and planned a quilt. My grandson has requested a rainbow quilt for his new “big” bed.

I use a pincushion made by my daughter when she was in elementary school.

There is a circa 1970 iron from when the housing was occupied (as in lived in, not commandeered) by the Navy. It still has its General Services Administration label and is marked as property of the US Navy. It still works.

I did a lot if prep work when I was home and today I assembled and ironed a rainbow quilt.

And I’m feeling rather chuffed with myself.

Snow here and there

I left Tim in Maine to shovel out wet, sloppy snow. I had my own work to contend with back in the Adirondacks. The northeaster hit us worse than Maine and we got about another foot of dry powdery snow, which landed on top of about 8 inches of crusted snow. I returned to work for a couple of days, but the storm shortened my work day and lengthened my time at home.

We have someone plowing our driveway but with no thought as to how one would navigate the mountains he creates. I spent a good amount of time getting reacquainted with the snow blower and wore a hole in one of my gloves that I now have to darn, darn.

I created only the paths I needed to navigate to the garage, the woodpile, the electric meter and the propane fill. And did some hand digging as well. It looks like a rabbit warren now. And I spent a lot of time jockeying cars around. I was too tired from my second vaccine to ski and a snowshoe to the cabin plum tuckered me. But it was beautiful.

The night before I left, the local coyotes were in full force. I decided to wait until morning to load my car!

Coyotes in the field, although they sound like they are in the driveway

My trip back through the Green Mountains of Vermont was spectacular, if not a little nerve wracking on the mountain road that winds along the river. The trees were completely white but I was not in a mood to stop and photograph them.

Now I am back and happily ensconced in our townhouse in Acadia. Tim left some shoveling for me, so sweet.

My phone played a cruel trick on me this week and reminded me of lovely Deal Island in Tasmania, where it never snows!

Does a lone loon sing ?

This one doesn’t. Loons call to communicate between a pair or to report threats. This one seems to be alone, unthreatened and mum. Audubon reports that, “in winter, they are silent and more subtly marked. They are solitary when feeding but may gather in loose flocks at night”. Although we are in a National Park, the only animal sound I hear is from squirrels chattering in the woods or from a tree in front of our townhouse.

Rockefeller Hall is on the grounds of the Schoodic Institute. This was part of the Navy Base that was here after John D. Rockefeller donated his land to the National Park Service.

Wayside image, audio description provided

Today it contains upscale housing and exhibits about Schoodic Point. We make sure it’s secure when we do our rounds.

Swimming at the closest YMCA continues to soothe me, twice a week. It’s a breathing meditation that goes by quickly, calms me, lets me sort my thoughts and get a little exercise to boot. I’m certainly breathing a little easier today. Since Tim is recovering from a broken wrist, I like to go early and the morning seascapes always catch my breath.

We haven’t had much snow that lasts yet and I appreciate the dry surfaces. I walk the peninsula with a camera, which I can use with gloves, and iPhone, which I can’t. Oddly enough, sometimes, the iPhone captures the best pictures. This is a new favorite.

I’ve packed up my loom to bring home and switched to spinning cotton again on my book charkha wheel. Such a simple clever design. They became widely used in India when Ghandi encouraged people to spin their own yarn to weave into cloth. Under British colonial rule, they had been growing and exporting their cotton, which was then spun and woven into cloth and sold back to them, heavily taxed, and many people could not afford it. When things go well, it’s another form of meditation.

I see some hand spun towels and maybe a shirt in my future.

We like to pack light for our trips. I brought two heavy sweaters and the yarn and pattern for a new one. It was a kit from Ysolda Teague called Bleideag and worked up quickly. A new classic and my souvenir from my winter at Schoodic Institute.

Add it to my good memories.

I like my ice in a glass

There’s a New Year’s tradition downeast, wherein people hike Cadillac Mountain In Acadia National Park on New Year’s eve to see the sun rise. It is the first place in the United States the morning sun touches from November to March. Sunrise here is late but not that late. We would have had to hike at 0500 or so. We chose to see the sun drenched mountain at noon instead.

We started up a path, which looked interesting, but encountered sheer ice right away. Tim acquiesced to my fears and we turned around and walked the road to the summit instead. I don’t like ice under my feet and there wasn’t enough of it to be managed with micro spikes.

This was the view of ice we saw from the road. I could get spoiled walking in National Parks, so well maintained. There was a trail around the summit that even enabled handicapped access.

After my trip back home, Tim whisked me as far east as we could go while remaining in the United States, to Lubec, Maine and the West Quoddy Lighthouse. This has to be one of the most photogenic lighthouses if only for its red stripes. We stayed in a small cottage, where the wind shook the house but never made it inside.

On our drive to the lighthouse, we stopped and walked in a wildlife preserve, where I once again turned back after we found patches of black ice. Tim found it the hard way, he slipped and fell, but didn’t make much of it. After we got to our cabin, his wrist swelled (this wrist has about $7,000 of hardware in it from a meeting with the ice in 2018) and the next day he went to the local emergency room. He hadn’t brought our insurance cards with him so we found the numbers and drew them on a piece of cardboard. It worked.

Turns out, he has a small avulsed fracture, a piece of one of the many wrist bones has broken off. It was much less painful than the first fracture and he has full range of motion. He’s off to a specialist on Wednesday and already communicated with his surgeon back home. But he didn’t let it interfere. We hiked all around West Quoddy Head with our micro spikes and a good time was had by all.

Red paint goes a long way in these parts.

So cute from any angle.

I joined the herd

The vaccination is the first step in creating herd immunity. Finally a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel, even while infections surge worldwide. I urge you to do the same when you get the call.

I learned Thursday I was eligible and drove 16 hours there and back to get it. Another whirlwind. But worth it.

In the brief hours I spent at home, I finished two projects: napkins for us to use in Maine; and a baby sweater. That’s a wrap for 2020 works in progress.

I drove from sunrise to sunset two days in a row. I left Schoodic peninsula shrouded in frozen fog! Whoever heard of such a thing. It leaves a thin shell of slippery ice on everything.

Starbucks cold brew made my trip possible. Caffeine in a can. Great sipping during a 9 hour drive.

Back in Maine, we can hear the whistle buoy from home. Reminds me of a mourning from my other home in the Adirondacks.

Serendipity

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that this might happen, we all knew it would, but it came as a total surprise to me. I had painted during the day until my hand was a claw and quit work and walked to the point for sunset. It was windy and cold and I kept trying to tuck in under the cover of rocks while I waited. The days are already growing longer, sunset is at 4:00 pm.

I’m reminded I have to return to this site at high tide, and when it’s windy, to see the waves crash in this cut. The ground covers catch my eye, especially since I spend so much time looking at my feet when I walk on rocks.

But back to the sunset.

Here’s proof that the sun really is a star. Every shot I took captured a six pointed star.

I hiked around the point, still trying to keep out of the wind, and after I found a stable place to stand, I turned around and was stunned to find this handsome fellow.

What a treat. Full moon should make our night rounds easy, no flashlights needed.

It is written in the sky

There is no doubt about it, things will change. And to confirm it, I saw a sun halo yesterday while we hiked at low tide out to an island. A very brief internet search called this a sun dog, sun rainbow and a whirling rainbow. It was thought to be a sign of change by Native Americans.

Specifically, weather will change while a front blows though today but I can only hope that a lot more will change. My Christmas wishes: the pandemic will ebb and we can hold our distant loved ones again, safe and healthy; people will get along respectfully, listen to one another and be kind. During my eight hour drive the other day, a John Denver song, “Country Road” came on the radio. It made me think what a different time that had been. So much gentler.

Tim asked me to walk across the great abyss with him. He found a way over large slippery rocks and boulders with seaweed and streams thrown in for fun. I began, then said no way. You have fun. I often balk at his adventures and sometimes rightly so. I’ll admit this time I was wrong. After I gave up and walked along the road and he continued onward, I saw a much more reasonable path over small gravel. So after he disappeared, I too made it to Little Moose Island.

And as usual, it was worth it.

Here’s the view looking back to where we are living. There is a water tower on the shore and our townhouse is back in there.

The island with its rock formations, surprisingly reminded me of Barn Rock (my favorite place) on Deal Island – on the other side of the world and in a different hemisphere. We are all from the same core after all.

I watched these clouds form a heart and it filled me with gratitude.

Or, now that I look at them, maybe I was already thankful and thought I saw a heart.

We made it ashore before the tide washed away our path. I look forward to more adventures with this guy.

Happy holidays and to wishes for a healthy, happy, peaceful New Year.

There and back

I committed to return home to work a couple of days a month. I should be committed. It has taken ten days of travel and quarantine and three Covid tests to work two days. Needless to say, I won’t be working in January in the hope that travel restrictions may eventually ease again, they have to right?

Before heading home, we took a lovely hike in Acadia proper, around Lake Juniper and up the South Bubble. It included a at least a half mile or more of “board” walk. There was a lovely bridge around the inflow/outflow?

Beaver activity was evident.

Pacman tree

There were some rocks to climb at the end, as there always are, and the views were spectacular.

South Bubble, Acadia National Park

We drove by the Thunder Hole, but the tide wasn’t quite right. We heard little burps instead but will return again two hours before the high tide. A low cave captures air and then releases it in a burst of sound when conditions are right.

This is one of the few working boats we have seen since we arrived in Maine.

There were some gnarly trees along the way.

Determined to take root

We returned home to one of my better quiches. I don’t have power tools in the apartment in Maine so I made a pie crust by grating the butter. It was pretty crisp.

Then I hit the road for the eight hour journey home. The ride went by fast, as I drove through the White Mountains of NH and the Green Mountains of Central VT to arrive home to our mountains in the Adks.

To my shock and dismay, critters quickly moved in. When the cat’s away… This porcupine came lumbering out from under my front porch. I think he thought he was invisible by ducking his head on the other side of the tree he climbed.

He left plenty of sign: footprints all over the deck and some scat!

We had problems with mice in Eddie, our 2004 Ford Explorer, all fall. I had to replace Eddie’s battery this trip (in 8 below 0 temp) and checked the glove box where I had placed a dryer sheet, to dissuade the mice. A few droppings but…they had eaten the plysplit woven key holder I had left in the car. It was shredded and unwoven.

While I did my laundry, I looked for the handwoven bag that holds the clothes pins. I found it in the outside basement alcove, also eaten.

As I reflect on it, this must mean my textiles have good taste, or at least taste good. I cut away the shredded part of the bag and put it back in the alcove in case it comes in handy for a mouse house.