How do you queue?

I do best on country roads where I may see another car every five minutes or so.

This thought came to me as I drove downstate in increasingly heavy traffic. I knew I had to get off the Cross Island Parkway onto the Long Island Expressway. I used to commute here in my earlier days and was accustomed to the road and its traffic patterns.

Like a good doobie, I got into the right lane early so I would be well positioned for the exit. Then I became annoyed, and even a little angry, as more and more cars pulled into the right lane at the last minute. This made me look up queue theory and traffic patterns.

Apparently it is predictable and even preferred that you wait until close to the last minute to merge. If everyone got into the right lane early, there would be a crawling lane of traffic for miles. By pulling in late, traffic is allowed to flow more smoothly. And here I was chalking it up to entitlement and all sorts of negative things.

So please don’t honk at me the next time I cut you off in a merge. I’m just keeping traffic flowing. Or as Tim likes to say, zapping you.

In the meantime, I will stick to the country, where the biggest problems are deer, turkeys, and even bears crossing the road.

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.

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.

Busy bee

We are getting used to the new reality, sort of. Zoom meetings and gatherings are torture because our internet is so slow. There have been various initiatives to bring good internet to rural communities but they keep missing us. We continue to write to those in charge.

With everything else – pandemic, racial inequality, poverty to remain active and vigilant about – it is a minor problem. Like so many others, I am reading, introspecting, and supporting what I believe in. And trying to have discussions.

I returned to Facebook after a long hiatus. I especially enjoy it for weaving and knitting groups. I dropped groups where discussions were not respectful. Then a former colleague reposted a pic of the confederate flag with a statement that she was proud of her heritage and this symbol. I was flabbergasted. I composed a well thought out response as to why this symbol is so offensive and posted it. The next day she responded, “I’ve been hacked. How could you think I support this?” Just why I left Facebook before: propaganda. I’m gone again. I will have to work harder to keep up with the groups I enjoy but it’s worth it.

And I have been busy. I cope by being busy. I am working but when home, I flit from project to project. The latest is a shed for my bee and boat stuff. The process is not unlike quilting, just with heavier material.

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My bees are another story. They were doing well, then they swarmed, and as a newbee I may have responded too slowly to the signs.0BDF2460-98CD-4331-806B-33798ED95D6C One day, while I was working on the shed, I heard a noise like an approaching train. There was a cloud of bees the size of a small car that hovered, as if to say goodbye, then lifted as one and headed up over the hills.

 

And their new queen was a failure – either she did not develop or got taken out in her maiden flight – so I had to buy a new queen or all would be lost. I brought her home in a little cage in my pocket (to keep her at 90 degrees). All that buzzing so close to me was unsettling but she is now safely installed in the hive. She gets gradually introduced and I needed to buy mini marshmallows – a whole bag, although I only needed one (s’mores!) – to accomplish this. There was a cork n the cage’s entrance.  I replaced it with a marshmallow and the bees will eat it to allow her to get out and do her thing.  I’ll check tomorrow to make sure she is free.

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I will need to leave all the honey for them for the winter but managed to harvest extra wax. So far I’ve made beeswax wraps. E9174A8B-638C-43A0-B556-53858E723684

Textile work continues. I have made 3 quilts: 2 baby and 1 king; wove 3 baby blankets; knit a baby sweater, crocheted a baby blanket and who knows what else.

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Our bridge is nearly finished and I baked a cake for the workers who worked through rain, snow, subzero and blazing hot temps. It depicts the bridge and the omnipresent crane.

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Just doing what I need to do to get through each day.

I’m a poster child for self isolation

First of all, self isolation is something we often do by choice. It’s not quite the same when it is necessary and lives are in danger. But … I am already well versed in bread and yogurt making. My victory garden plans are coming together and now I have bees and can call myself a beekeeper.

Since my initial setup, I generally let them bee (hehe) but had to make a grocery run for them! to make more sugar syrup while we waited for pollen to appear. I hope they appreciate it. Here’s what they have been bringing back to the hive.

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Look at those pollen packs. Yesterday, I finally did my first hive inspection, it’s been cold here and I didn’t want to chill them, and I have been a tad nervous. So I started my smoker, suited up and took the hive apart to inspect. First minor disaster was that the nuc package I bought (5 frames of bees already started) had been cemented to the bottom of the sugar water feeder so when I took that off, 4 frames came with it. Not ideal but I made do. I scraped away extra wax and inspected. And it paid off. First I could identify drone vs worker bees. I saw pollen and maybe honey in the cells. And when I got to the original nuc frames, I saw eggs!, larvae! and THE QUEEN!! Ok she was marked with a big blue dot that made it easier to find her but I was stoked nonetheless. Besides that meant I hadn’t accidentally killed her yet. So I put everything back together and will decide if I have to make another sugar run.

I have proven that it only takes six weeks to establish a habit. My daily walks are of utmost importance and now I always make time for them. I realize how lucky I am to be able to go outdoors during this time. Our son in NYC has not left his apartment since March 9!!! Our daughter in DC is an essential worker in construction and only goes to and from work in her car. So hard for them. I am able to walk for hours without seeing another person. The other day, this was one of three horses that came running up to me as if they were greeting an old friend.

We’re also lucky to be able to walk to view points like these.

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I have tried to take control of my life by organizing the house, tidying up and getting rid of things. I just learned that since I started selling items on eBay in 1999, I have sold $9,000 worth of goods, including one old car. So I sold some more. And I cleaned grout, definitely over the top, but who puts white grout in the kitchen. I bought a brush to use with the drill and it made easy work of it. Some parts came out better and now…

Adventures in cooking continue: Latvian piragis, gnocchi, doughnuts, pumpkin pie…and the waistline shows it despite those walks.

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I have sewn masks for family and friends and have tried many different types. I like the fitted with ties, elastic bothers my ears but I also made some button bands for the back of the head.

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And I knit, weave, sew and quilt. I made this darling baby quilt yesterday.

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And finished my tee shirt quilt a few weeks ago. We used it for quite a while before I tucked in all the ends.

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And then I went over the top. I made a video for the grandkids, which may have only confused them as to my sanity but I was trying to recreate a Charlie Chaplin magic trick. Don’t judge me too harshly.

Staying alive.

 

Happy tools

You cannot tell me this tractor from Czechoslovakia is not smiling. It should be sad because it may be leaving the island soon.

Tim thinks this laundry pole is meant to look like a wallaby.

And look at this chess set. Someone with time on their hands carved the entire set. Up until we found this, I thought the handmade cribbage board (Tim is killing me there too) was ingenious. But look at these pieces. Each one is hand carved, the bishop has his face shield carved. And the knights are Cape Barren Geese. Might as well have a smile while you work. The queen has a flower nailed to her head and the king has a star and a screw. So clever.

Once again the universe delivers

I’m an eternal optimist, perhaps bordering on pollyanna-ish. But in my experience if you expect good things, good things happen. Perhaps it’s just about being open. What follows is a very small example, but I assure you I have had bigger examples as well, it happens all the time.

We received some food, including a jar of apricot jam, when our research neighbor completed his work and left the island. Then I received an email,  with a recipe for Almond Puff Loaf, that needed jam(!) and sliced almonds, which I just happened to have on hand. Today I whipped up a loaf to have with coffee. It was simple, delicious and photogenic.

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And now for the birds. I saw this eagle join its buddy at the water’s edge. I’m not sure what they were investigating.

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We spotted these two eagles feeding on a seal when we went out in the boat the other day. A young eagle was off to the side and a third adult was waiting in the “wings”,

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This group seems pretty content. Who wouldn’t be with that view?

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This heron had a surprise visitor with ruffled feathers.

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The house that formerly stood here may have been a little too close to the bluff. This fence now stands at the edge of a 200 foot cliff.

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I liked this vanishing point.

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And that loon we saw the other day is no Common Loon. It’s a Yellow-Billed Loon, identified by people other than me who know. It’s relatively rare with less than 10,000 left in the world. And one is here in our little marina. Ah, the universe.

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