Make time to look at clouds

It’s well worth it. Try to spend a few moments every day, wherever you are, looking up at the sky. It does a world of good.

Clouds following the shape of the inlet
I looked at a tree and found the moon

A walk in nature does wonders as well. Maine trees are so tenacious their roots grow up.

And on the home front, here’s a great technique to know your pan is the right temperature to sear anything. On a medium high setting, put a tablespoon of butter and oil in the pan, when the butter stops foaming, it’s time.

Sometimes it helps to look down as well.

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.

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.

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.

Eyes on the ground

We hope to continue dodging bullets. Another employee had to quarantine due to secondary exposure so we haven’t met yet. We had last week to ourselves and spent time exploring. Sometimes it’s the small things that matter. I found a way to bushwhack to the beautiful shore without crossing any roads. Small victory. But the other day, I lost my oldest face mask. One that I sewed early on and carried with me during my daily walks since March. It wasn’t necessarily my favorite, but we’ve been together through snow, rain and heat and a good part of the pandemic.

While I was exploring the rocky coast, I saw another person! I took out my mask but we stayed far apart and it wasn’t needed. Then I bushwhacked back home. Somewhere along the way, I lost my mask. I was actually mildly distraught. Not really, but it was the mask that I had kept looped on my phone holder (made from a cross stitch project I made in my teens, with a new tablet woven band added) for all that time. So yesterday, we retraced my steps. On the way out, nothing. It had been very windy when I lost it so I looked in the bushes surrounding the trail. While Tim wandered further down the rocks, some of which were icy, I kept looking. Nothing. So we headed home.

The beginning of the walk is a little uncertain and we had to backtrack, just like I did the other day. And then…there frozen in a puddle, was my missing mask. My day was made. If we hadn’t become a little turned around, it could still be lying there. Small victory.

I saw this heart rock while hiking the other day and it cheered me up.

Nature’s colors are often inspirations for art and crafts. I think this rainbow hat mirrors the ground covers.

A lot of research is conducted in the park. I took a closer look at these garden plots because they had some colors I was surprised to see in nature and wanted to see what little plants they were. Instead they turned out to be tiny plastic swords – markers for a plant project? Or perhaps signs of an end of season party.

Windswept, rocky coasts sing to me.

Reunited.