French lessons

I had just started studying French before the pandemic shut everything down. Luckily my teachers transitioned to Zoom with mastery. I live in a rural setting and the classes were 1.5 hours away. Now I take my class in the guest bedroom cum office (one of only two rooms in the house with a door).

I recent discovered this. You may already know it but somehow I missed most of English grammar. Tout le monde (all the world, everyone) is singular. We are all in this together and everyone is united. Just think about that. People are individuals but noone is an island.

Summer weather is here. I took my gear and scoped out a new fishing spot.

And got the boat set for this year’s maiden voyage.

Bonne journée tout le monde.

and then there were three, maybe

Wildcamera

More bee stories, my latest passion. My hive survived the winter and it looked so strong, I decided to split it into two. In the meantime, I had also purchased a package (roughly 3 pounds) of bees with a queen.

I bought lumber to build a couple of hive stands and a new step for my she-shed-bee-shed.

Grandkids were here and we literally spent hours watching the bees bring back pollen. And they made me wear a tiara all weekend (doesn’t everyone have one in their bag of tricks) because I was the princess bee and they were the brother worker bees. I decided not to delve too deeply into the drones’ (male bees) role and demise.

All looked honky dory until I did a hive inspection today. I knew I would have to wait a month before the split hive showed evidence of a new queen laying eggs.

First, the worker bees have to “create” a queen by selecting and feeding a young larva royal jelly. Then it takes 16 days to hatch a new queen and about a week for her to fly off into the sunset with as many drones as she can find. And she has to make it back to the hive without getting snatched up by a bird as a tasty snack.

Well the original hive and the new package have no new eggs or larvae. But the one I thought was forming a queen, had fresh eggs. I must have mistakenly put her in the new hive. The original hive is trying to make a queen. And the package has some young brood I put in from my original hive so maybe they will make a queen. If not, I’ll put it atop one of the other two. Yikes!

They and the hummingbirds loved our rhododendron, which I could watch from the comfort of my living room chair.

This is quite a learning curve. Tim demonstrated his true love by driving an hour north to pick up my new package of bees when I was out of state visiting my daughter. Then he drove home with them in the car! My hero.

I’ll give them a week and see what happens.

No pets, lots of critters

Since September, I have been without a pet for the first time in my life. After our cat died, we were scheduled to caretake Seguin Island and Acadia National Park and it wasn’t the right time to adopt kittens. And now…

Life at home is a little lonelier but it’s a lot easier to leave. Although I often ask myself why we leave.

We are surrounded by critters big and small with little or no work and we are free to come and go without having to arrange housesits, which is always the most stressful part of taking a big trip. Alas, we have no big trips planned at the moment but still…

As I write this, our first hummingbird just returned and is sipping that pink rhododendron in the first photo. We also have goldfinch, blue birds, cardinals, purple Finch, blue jays, nut hatch, eastern towhees and a pileated woodpecker who likes to rat-a-tat-tat a metal sign.

And deer and bear wander around as well.

And the bees, tens of thousands.

This weekend we hiked a new trail in the Adirondacks to Wolf Pond. It was a lovely pine needle lined path, with new bridges for dicey river crossings, and great views of the mountain as a reward.

And I found a new friend. There were rocks at the edge of a pond where we sat and enjoyed the view. A few salamanders were in the water by our boots. I put a finger in the water and sat still. One little guy swam to me and hung out under my finger. The first time it approached, I pulled back while I contemplated whether they had big teeth.

I don’t think they do, do they?

We’ve had lots of wind at home and my neighbor’s birches are permanently listing to port.

And of course with big wind comes falling trees and an exacerbation of dendrephobia. Then on my way home from work the other day, this reebar jumped from the road and pierced my bumper!

This was after I read about a turtle that had smashed through someone’s windshield when it was sent flying by another vehicle. Now I have road debris-aphobia..

I’m not grounded

There have been a few possible bear events on our little road. I set up the electric fence again to protect the bees and their honey. But I wasn’t convinced it was working and our multimeter died last fall.

I tried to test it with a screwdriver but nothing happened. I sucked it up and grasped hold of the net. I could feel the little piezo spark but nothing more. Last year, I got the full voltage shock and this was not it.

I called the guy I bought the solar energizer from. He suggested I test the energize itself. I ordered the tester.

Tim was concerned we would lose the bees so he was in the process of moving the deer fence over to the bees. I tested first the controller and then the fence and they both were getting 19,000 volts. I called my guy again. I confirmed I still didn’t feel anything.

Then he asked me the most important question, “What shoes are you wearing?” To which I replied, my Muck boots, of course. I always wear those boots with the bees.

Voila, that was the answer. I wasn’t grounded! He told me I could confirm this by holding the fence in one hand and sticking my other hand in the dirt. Or even better, get Tim to touch it in his non-rubberized boots.

I declined. Maybe I am grounded after all.

From zero to fifty in one day

I just spent five months with only Tim to talk to. Then we returned to our home in the Adirondacks. Yesterday, I volunteered for a Covid vaccine clinic where I administered 50 doses, and conversed with 50 + people in one day. My brain was fried. But I felt good, I could finally do something.

We wrapped up our time at Schoodic with a flourish. Tim and an old colleague performed Schubert’s Wintereisser to a small, socially distanced, rapt audience. it was beautiful, despite the unheated barn on a snowy day.

I walked my favorite walks one last time.

Our trip home ended with a ferry ride across Lake Champlain, which was so calm it could have been called Lake Placid!

Next island gig?

There was a lot to catch up to at home. Most importantly, my bees were still alive. We had a couple of warm sunny days and they were out gathering pollen. I did a quick inspection, saw new brood, unwrapped the hive and took out the winter insulation. They were quite docile.

Then it snowed and the temperature dropped. Oops. Such an amateur.

This is no surprise. Every year we get spring snow, sometimes as late as May.

So, I will wait and see. And talk to Tim.

reflections on sky and sea

When we moved from our boat to a permanent home, I had one request, well actually two. The first was that I wanted to be able to see lots of sky, wide expanses to watch weather fronts sweep by, with the occasional rainbow for good luck. The second was that the kitchen be bigger than the boat’s galley. We found both but the kitchen is only barely bigger than the boat’s. And in fact, the storage on the boat was better.

Home has open sky and mountains around us. The mountains limit our views of the actual sunrise and sunset, we see it when it appears over or sinks behind them. Alas, it’s not quite the same as open expanses of sky and sea. Here on Schoodic point, we enjoy a vast view of the sky, the clouds and the sea. And our spaceship, water tower.

Even the reflection of sunset on Little Moose Island is striking.

The ice is finally all gone. The ponds in the rocks can once again reflect the clouds and sky. I’ll enjoy these views for a few more days before we head back to the mountains and home.

the sky isn’t falling, it’s on fire!

Every day for the past 5 months we “do the rounds” at Schoodic Institute. We walk the campus and make sure all is well: all the doors are shut, the lights are off and water isn’t leaking anywhere. Up until now, it was often dark and icy when we walked the mile and a half around the grounds. Now that the clocks have sprung forward, we get to do it in the light. And sometimes just around sunset.

The other night was spectacular.

who needs northern lights?

We couldn’t get to the point in time to view it over the ocean but what we saw was mind blowing anyway.

Even a shed looks striking in this light. That’s the gym, where Tim works out most days.

And then on the way home, I found a tribute to Tim and Lynne (T & L) in the grass.

The park’s way of saying goodbye as our days here draw to a close.

a day like any other

So true, If my kids ask me what I did, I can’t distinguish one day from another. Got up, ate a little, surfed too much, saw nature, created something, made dinner, went to bed, repeat. The high points of course are seeing nature and creating and I have had plenty of time to do both here.

Spring in Maine, cold, wind and fog with a day or two of sunshine to entice. We’ve enjoyed walking the local trails on Schoodic peninsula again, right out our front door.

I have a renewed interest in geology. The formations on the point give some insight as to how the earth and its shoreline was formed.

These veins of black magna rose from the center of the earth and filled faults in the granite.

When the Navy was here, they installed a fence, right into the water line, along this fault to protect their secret operations at Schoodic Point. I only just noticed that RD left their mark too!

And I sat on a wet rock and left my mark as well.

I choose to avoid the rocks covered in wet seaweed. I have been eating seaweed in various forms though. Dulse last night, some sort of fried, very salty “sea vegetable”.

While Tim enjoyed getting close to the breaking waves.

We’ve seen the first couple of boats working the waters.

When we can see through the fog.

I cook and cook…

And create…

Just another day in the life.

Elementary back stroke races

This thought just tickles me. We are taking a few swimming lessons to improve our strokes. I pretty much swim freestyle, always, and Tim does this and the backstroke. While giving us tips about our strokes, our teacher is intent on teaching survival skills as well, and the elementary backstroke, which used to be a favorite of mine when I was young, is really a survival swim. Since gliding and doing nothing is one of the most important aspects it made me chuckle to imagine a race with everyone doing nothing.

My concentration ebbed. The instructor asked me to count my strokes for the length of the pool – and I forgot to. Then when I remembered to count my strokes, I forgot to kick, because we had been working on another drill. It’s a good thing I wasn’t chewing gum as well, who knows what might have happened.

Back on terra firma, I have finished a lovely merino shawl for a friend. It is Print o’ the wave stole by Eunny Jang and the second time I have knitted it. Very satisfying. And I did memorize the patterns so something is still working up there.

Then I got carried away and decided I needed to weave a ribbon for the package. I hope to finish and mail it tomorrow.

We walked on the sand bar over to Little Moose Island which is only accessible at low tide. The day was glorious, 50’s and sunny, and we were not alone. But we always find secluded places to enjoy the sea and rocks.

I thought lobsters only turned red after they were cooked. Who cooked this one?

I saw a mitt in this rock. How about you?

Ah, how the mind wanders.

Me and my backstrap

This little loom has traveled around the world with me. It is so compact because I am part of the loom.

It is made up of a “C” clamp, a backstrap, which is, like it says, a strap that goes around my back, cards and me. My backstrap is a little crooked but it was my first attempt at weaving without a loom from an article by Laverne Waddington and holds a special place in my heart. I encourage you to look at the amazing pieces she creates with only a backstrap and dowels!

I can recall my long gone cats wandering around as I sat on the floor weaving it. A Swedish modification is the two pieces of wood on a wire I use to attach it to me and my backstrap. My modification is I no longer sit on the floor. I can always find a place to attach or tie the end of my weaving.

Those square cards are what make this a four shaft loom for card weaving.

This little device has brought me hours of fun wherever we may be. I needed a diversion last week so took it out of the drawer and wove a tencel band from a photo I saw on Pinterest.

Now what to do with it?