Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Leaving New Hampshire, and Texas

Upper Village, Hillsboro, NH

Yesterday morning Chris took a 9am flight to San Antonio.  Rather than roll us all out of bed at 6am to drive him there, as if I even could, I suggested he drive himself to the airport.  Chris and I had a wee bit of coffee and a short time together, and he drove off before the sun came up, which these days could be nearly any time before 8:00 am, sassafrassin' Daylight Savings Time.  Dad and I made plans to drive to Manchester later to retrieve the Jeep.

He was not particularly pleased to be traveling with two gigantic fifty-pound suitcases, and two carry-ons.  Chris is a man who can leave for a week packed with one small suitcase that fits in the overhead compartment.  This is something I think he has to do to strike a balance for the Universe, because when I leave for a week it is with two fifty-pound bags.  Or maybe I'm the one striking the balance, because he so woefully underpacks.  Life's great mysteries.

Scaling Mount Everest at the NH Audubon Society

Back in early September, Chris drove from Texas to New Hampshire in the heavily-loaded Jeep.  He made record time until he came to Vermont, where bridges wiped out by flooding from Hurricane Irene took away all of his gains.  The Jeep did really well on the drive, but its much-abused shocks and its engine have had their share of little mechanical issues.   We will not be taking it back to Texas.  It will serve us better waiting here for the next time we want to fly out for an extended visit.  Hence Chris, and his fifty-pound bags. 

As I write, my children have turned two of our big suitcases into pillowed and portable forts.  Later today, once they've been vacated, I'll be working on packing those bags.  I'll be packing things I don't normally pack, like scooters, and planning to ship some things that couldn't travel in luggage, like a microscope.  At least one of the 4 suitcases we're taking home will be full of craft supplies and books.  If they don't all fit into one, Quinn's stroller will get to relocate to New Hampshire sooner than Quinn, and I'll pack another bag.  Sorry, stroller.  You'll learn to love the winters.

A wry Griffin in front of the grape arbor
We all have mixed emotions about leaving this time.  The boys seem to be 100% excited to return to Texas, and 100% sad to be leaving New England.  I am so thoroughly enjoying myself right now - fall has always been my favorite season - that I can scarcely imagine returning to the unseasonably warm afternoons and blazing sunshine of McKinney. Of course, they're not unseasonable for Texas, they're right on track.  Only unseasonable to my expectations of Autumn.  Chris had no choice but to return, he had a meeting in San Antonio and then he'll fly home to Dallas on Wednesday, where we will join him on Saturday.

We are planning to move ahead with selling the house in McKinney.  Before he left in September, Chris did a walk-through with our realtor and made an outline of what needs to be done.  Some of it will be done, like staining the fence.  Some of it will not be done, like replacing all of the floors (puh-lease).  Once we are able to put the house on the market, our plan is to return to New Hampshire while it is being shown.   We have an outline, but we do not have a timeline.

"Keene Pumpkin Festival" or "Holy Yellow Tree, Batman!"

One of my friends in Texas is a homeschooling Mom to three boys.  As you may imagine, there are as many reasons for choosing to homeschool as there are homeschooling families.  When asked why she does it, Brianna responds, "I want my sons to have a chance to make their avocation their vocation".  I understood the gist of what she was saying, but I'd be lying if I pretended I didn't look up avocation when I went home.  You know, just to get the nuances right.

With apples from Grandpa's trees.

av·o·ca·tion noun
1. something a person does in addition to a principal occupation, especially for pleasure; hobby: Our doctor's avocation is painting.  2. a person's regular occupation, calling, or vocation. 3. Archaic. diversion or distraction.

Making the best of wherever we are in life, making lemonade out of lemons is a laudable personal philosophy and one we all need in our toolbox.  (Or shall I say, in our knitting bag - why should men get all the action imagery?)  The trick is to have the discernment to know when we've crossed from creatively working with our present realities, to accepting our present realities as immutable fact.

I've collected quite a few old address labels over the past 41 years.  Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and now Texas.  (Be forewarned, in order to capture my innate personal glamour more correctly, my future memoir may also include some less well-documented moves I made to Paris, Scotland, Nepal and Manhattan.  Not to say New Hampshire, Nebraska and Texas aren't glamorous.  But they're not.)  

I've made a home for myself in every place I've ever lived, but I've learned that New England is my spiritual home.  I am lucky to have married a native Texan who feels just the same way.  Now we want our everyday home and our spiritual home to be the same place.

Another native Texan
In moving back to New England, we will incur some losses.  We'll lose daily contact with some beloved friends and family we have in Texas.  Quinn will deal with the loss of the only home he has ever known, and Griffin says he will lose the "the home I've grown up in!".  Yes, he did refer to having grown-up as a 'fait accompli'.  He's 8.

There will be some positive losses, too.  Our real estate portfolio will go from 3 to 2 homes, a much more manageable number.  We will lose the need to pay astronomical electric bills from April to September.  We will purge a lot of our unwanted belongings in the process of the move.  I will effortlessly lose 20 pounds, and our dog will lose her ability to shed buckets of hair every hour.  Don't question me, I'm manifesting here.

Of course there will also be gains, but I'll save those for another post. 

So today I'll start the packing that will take us from New Hampshire to Texas.  When I return to Texas on Saturday, I will sit down in a chair with some yarn and and some needles, possibly for as long as 3 days.  I will come to terms with the imminent chaos, and then I'll start packing again for Points Unknown, New England.

Does anyone have a lot of cardboard boxes?

Old County Lane, the road we grew up on.

Best -


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Leaving Maine

       Chris took a business trip to San Antonio the week before we had scheduled ourselves to depart for New Hampshire, and that event signaled the close of what felt like our neverending vacation in Maine.  He came home from the airport, we celebrated his birthday with friends, then Dad packed up his big red truck and headed out, the first to leave.  Chris and I moved into winding-down mode and with that came all of the reflective thoughts that leaving our Maine life seems to bring out in us. I made lists for what had to leave, what could stay, and began the first of what must have been 25 different loads of laundry.The kids carried on as they always do, maybe whining a little bit more because we were preoccupied with packing  Quinn would say, "1st we're going to New Hampshire, then we're going home to TEXAS!".  He always says Texas in capital letters.

Chris and I have a long history of taking our coffee together in the morning.  It gives us a half hour or so to come together before the day gets away from us.  We just chat and fix our ideas of what we need or hope to do in the day.  The children now understand that coffee time is our time, Mom & Dad time that we take every day.  Because we've been so firm about this,  they only interrupt us every 3 minutes, which is quite generous as their normal Interrupting Mom & Dad setting is notched at 45 seconds.  It is quite peaceful, you can really get a lot of words strung together in an extra 2 minutes of kid-free silence.  I know, we're the envy of parents everywhere.   What can I say?  We are paragons of parental discipline.

When we chat in Maine, we are usually talking about what we love about Maine, and about the house that we built there.  I am often talking about how nourished I feel stepping out my front door into nature, being around tall trees, wild meadows and the easy beauty of ocean views around every turn.  Chris is often talking about....well, wait.  I think Chris is mostly nodding along.   I'm also talking about the dozens of small seredipitous events that led to the Maine house becoming what it is, something that so clearly has become greater than the sum of its parts.  It is a house with a clear and inviting energy, sitting on a piece of remarkable land that has been appreciated and used by men and women, native and european, for many thousands of years.  I relax completely when I'm there, and so does Chris.

We are also talking about what we love about our lives in Texas.  Our dear friends there, the home that we've made in the house we live in, being near my mother-in-law, and the way that you can pretty much always find something to do outside the house.  9 times out of 10 it involves visiting some form of retail establishment, but if you've ever lived through a Texas August or a New England February, you do not knock anything that keeps you from being stuck indoors with your children for weeks on end, even if it's a trip to Target. 

We don't really know which way we're headed at the moment.  We know when Chris is returning to Texas, but we do not have a date for the boys and I.  We know we want to put the Texas house on the market, but we do not have a firm timeline.  We know that Chris has been approached about a new job focused 50% on the Northeast, and the rest on the east coast, but we don't have a timeline for that, either.  We do not know when we will see our Maine house again, or who will be living in it this winter.

So, we're in limbo, in New Hampshire.  But you won't hear me complaining,  I complain very little, I am trying not to go nuts from the uncertainty.  Fall in New Hampshire is such a breath of fresh air. 

If you also don't live here any longer, maybe you have also forgotten that wherever you go, leaves are falling. They're twirling above you, 20' above the ground, 10' above the ground, across the ground, in whirling dervishes on the sidewalk.  The drop in front of you and behind you when you walk, hit you on the head, and make surprisingly loud noises as they clatter down branches in an otherwise quiet forest.  Squirrels sound like small bears when they run across the crunchy leaves, more than once my heart rate has spiked thinking I wasn't alone in the woods.  [Sidenote - if I ever find the devil that produced that beeping Sasquatch audio book I watched 14 times in the first grade, I'm going to tie him to Peter Benchley, throw them in my father's root cellar with a cask of red wine and brick them both in.]

Rain, rain, go away.  Dad and I are going to take the boys off to run some errands, and let Chris work upstairs in peace.  I am happily knitting away on a pair of stranded mittens called Fiddleheads.  The forest floors are covered in ferns here in New Hampshire, so I thought they were an apt choice.

More soon.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Shot of Winter

The view from the Frazier's house, that little white thing is an old lighthouse called The Sparkplug
Quinn has a head cold, which I am surely fighting, and so fatigue is setting in.  I wanted to post some photos of some of our fun before I coax the boys into going to bed at 8.  If it were up to me, I'd be asleep now at 7:20.

We spent the past weekend in Bangor.  We really love the city, but our visit was a little wet.  It rained the entire time, and being in one tiny hotel room with two rambunctious boys is a little trying.  God bless Embassy Suites, may we never stay anywhere else again.  We did have a great visit to the Maine Discovery Center again.  Did you know that Bangor has the oldest operating Symphony in the US?  I'm telling you, I love that town.
The homemade wagon train
Chris flew out at 7am Sunday morning to make the 12 hour trek to San Antonio.  That's how long it takes when your first flight is out of Airport 1964, and you have to make 2 connections through Airport 1978.  Unfortunately for all of us, he missed his flight back on Wednesday morning, which meant he arrived at midnight instead of 4pm.  Dad very generously sacrificed himself to the late night pickup, and both of them were home and in bed here by 2am. 

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Possibly my favorite night here.  Tea, music, and a jigsaw puzzle with Griffin
Bangor has what looks like a highly effective 'Don't Locate Your Business Here' strategy going with their airport policies.  American pulled out because their landing fees are so high.  Two flights out a day on Delta means that no serious company would ever headquarter here.  If it's rabid growth they're concerned about, I think they could leave that fear at the feet of the 'Winter Starts in October' gods, and trust.

Quinn and Griffin have become especially creative at making up games and making new toys during our time here.  As the pictures show, they've appropriated the boxes their Lincoln Logs came in and made them into a sort of wagon train by adding on another contraption from their play tents.  They are having even more fun with a bag of my polyfiberfil.  It turns out it is hilarious to stuff your shirts with the stuff and then bounce bellies with each other.  They're sort of like mini anglo sumo wrestlers. 

It seems that weather everywhere likes to do this, give you a little glimpse of what's coming ahead.  In Texas that means that autumn is on its way when you'll find a couple of sweet 85 degree days in the midst of a week at 105.  In New England it means that winter is coming when we leave the 60s and hover in the high 40s for a day or two.  I must still have thin southern blood.  I'm cold!  But I like it.   I turned the heat on in the afternoon twice this week.  Being a child of New Hampshire, I feel a little decadent heating a house above 60, but I'm spoiling myself and running it at 64 for now.  It will be turned off when we go to bed, and in the low 50's in the living room when I wake up tomorrow.  I bought a fleece jacket.
Looking toward Campobello Island, Canada
from inside the chocolate shop.  It's windy.
We visited Lubec today, it was lovely.  I bought yarn.  I bought chocolate.  Lubec is surrounded on 3 sides by ocean, and so you have stunning views at nearly every turn.  The whitecaps were lovely, and the light was amazing.  You could see different colors of blue and green in patches across the bay.  I've said it before, the light up here is just incredible.  So clear, and so soft.

My camera broke, so all of the pictures I'm taking are with cruddy cell phone cams.  They will have to do for now.

Chocolate?  Or bed?  Hmmmmm.

xxxooo Sarah

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Chris

Smalls Cove as seen at high tide, on my blissfully solo walk

Dear Husband -

On the dirt road to Indian Point
Today on your birthday the boys used every spare minute and ounce of energy they had to bicker with one another.  When they ran out of energy, they sucked mine out through my skull and used it instead.  They bickered for good reasons, for imagined reasons, for boredom.  They yelled at each other for talking, for making funny noises, and for yelling.  They yelled at each other for being loud.  One of them napped, the other refused, and then one of them threw up.

I tell you all this because, despite the lovely walks and beautiful scenery you'll see in this post, you should consider that just possibly your birthday was a happier one for being in San Antonio surrounded by business people.  Sure, they're just as whiny as our children, but you can walk away from their whining and they will not follow you on their scooter, whining all the way.  Or, if they do, you can walk straight into the hotel bar for a cold glass of moxy.

We miss you, and I know we all missed having cake today.  But we'll have one for you on Friday night, and if there is a god in heaven, these children will be well rested for your return, and all we'll have to show for their rotten eggs is this blog post.
Griffin carrying Quinn's vest for me


Your Wife

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One Morning in Maine

Bucks Harbor, seen from Smalls Cove
What day of the week is it when you and your entire family have been awake for 3 hours and it is only 8:15 in the morning?  In this household, any given day of the week.

Last week I decided that I would get some quiet time by hook or by crook, and that the best way to do that would be to set an alarm to wake up before Quinn.  The alarm has to be for 5am, based on Quinn's vacation habit of waking up at 5:45.   Quinn, either through his own determination or with the assistance of his pet gremlins, has managed to see to it that no matter when I leave bed, he wakes up 15 minutes later.  He comes bombing out of the bedroom, eyes closed to the lamp I have on, hair pointing in 42 different directions and yelling, "Good Morning Mom!".  The last part might be what ensures us the company of Griffin 15 minutes later. 

It is no mean feat to have all of your family up before first light, especially here in the easternmost tip of the United States.  I'm on my 2nd cup of coffee, a rare amount of caffeine for me these days, and beside me on the couch, Quinn has the nerve to be yawning.  My Personal Charm Meter is reading Low

Indian Point
To glean some benefit from our cranky early morning, I decided to get my exercise by taking a sunrise walk instead of heading into Machias for a swim at the University pool.  The tide was obligingly low, and the air was so brisk I put on sweatpants and my Dad's fashionable red and black buffalo check wool shirt.  I like to look the part when I'm in Maine.

The road we live on is relatively short.  A few minutes to the right takes us past the Salmon plant and dead ends at Bucks Harbor, a picturesque working harbor full of fishing boats, or small dories anchored where the lobster boats will be when they come home.  Big on beauty, short on cardio.    A few minutes to the left gives you the chance to walk past a bait company, 5 or 6 fisherman's homes, a signifant amount of bait containers stashed into the woods, and then finally onto a balsam-scented dirt road.  Bait containers are very good for my workout, as I have to get past them as quickly as possible.  The smell is, well, indescribable. 

Looking toward home on the sandbar
This morning instead of walking on the road, I went across the street, down the steep and muddy footpath and out into Smalls Cove.  We do not own the beach, but we're fortunate that access by the footpath is protected as an ancient clammer's path.  The cove contains a large amount of soft shell clams, and most days of the week we see the trucks of one or two clammers parked near the path entrance. 

I am slightly intimidated by these people.  We have waved to one man, and one woman, both in their late 50s, or early 60s.  They work as quiet competitors on opposite ends of the cove, bent over at a 90 degree angle, digging their clamming rakes into the heavy wet clay.  My aching back muscles are humbled into silence when we watch them.  They fill their wooden clam baskets that they then drag behind them on a mud sled.  Walking through wet clay in big rubber waders alone is a formidable task, and these people do it dragging their muddy catch and supplies behind them. Some clammers then park their sleds on the mud, anchored with giant rocks, to be hidden under the next high tide, and ready for their return at the next low.  It is grueling, unpredictable work, and unavailable to them if the tide should go out, say, at 10pm. 
Bucks Harbor

But today I was the only human on the beach.  Walking east out into the cove at sunrise meant that I needed to keep eyes to the ground, which was just as well because the receeding tide had left the rocks covered in slippery seaweed.  It really is an extraordinary cove.  As the tide pulls out, a perfect footpath of rocks and shells stands about 3' above the muddy cove floor.  It winds its way over half a mile,  out to a pine-covered island.  Because of a low point on the path, dry walking access occurs during a short window.  We have miscalculated the tide in the past and walked home in wet sneakers as a consequence.

Where the cormorant was
The edge of the beach, like so much of this area, is dotted with wild apple trees.  It is against the law in Maine to cut down an apple tree, out of regard for the food they provide the wildlife.  Our own property has 3 or 4 trees on it, none of them particularly palatable to me but fine for, say, deer and porcupine.  Along the beach, piles of old apples sit just below the trees, and some of them bob out on the tide, making a lovely picture of autumn on the Maine coast.

Michaelmas daisies along the footpath
 I passed a large flock of canada geese who fly in every day as the tide is halfway out.  We hear them squawking their way over our house on their way to their dinner.  They land in the same part of the cove every day, and we are not sure what it is that they are eating.  All of the gulls I passed were peacefully standing or floating facing east.  To the right, from Bucks Harbor,  I could hear the boats firing up, and the sound of one of their radios coming over the water.  I watched a water bird, I  believe it was a cormorant, but it could have been a loon.  It would disappear under the waves and come up 10' or 15' away.  It seems to me that loons typically stay down longer and swim farther, so I believe it was a cormorant. 

The Birthday Girl, 5 minutes ago
The pine trees on the islands, the water, the brisk morning air, it was all so lovely.  I could have stayed longer, but the 2nd lowest portion of the path was shrinking, so I decided to turn and head for home. 

Before I did, I took advantage of the cell signal which we strangely have in spades in the middle of the cove, but none of at home.  Today my darling niece Abigail turns 13 years old.  I would scold her for all this endless growing up, but I'm so interested to see who she becomes next, I can hold my tongue.  I called to wish her a happy birthday.

Two days ago I would have paid a king's ransom to get Quinn to take a nap, but he and his gremlins thwarted me.  Today, no nap for Quinn or his damn gremlins.  I want this child begging to go to bed at 7:30, and sleeping for 12 hours in a row.  Wish me luck.

Best -


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our Days in Maine

Fall color is beginning
Two days of fog and intermittent rain have lifted, and we have a gorgeous blue-sky day of 77 degrees.  The leaves have begun to change, and the apples are coming into season now (including some tart varieties in our back yard!).  Chris & Dad watched the Patriots lose this afternoon, and before I left for my swim this afternoon I put spaghetti sauce in the crock pot. We are having a good day!

Since I last posted, I've celebrated my 41st birthday. My Dad was here and my sister Elizabeth drove up from New Hampshire.  As a happy bonus surprise our beloved cousin Sallie drove up for the night from Camden, ME, and our old family friends Bob & Barb Frazier drove down from Lubec. Put them all together, add a Whoopie Pie cake and boom - you've got a birthday party. It was really great, and I received lots of charming and thoughtful gifts and cards from near and far.
At West Quoddy Light in Lubec, ME

Chris has had one business trip since we arrived. He had to fly out of Bangor, a 2 hour drive from our house. As you all surely know, we often wonder if we could ever spend a full year living up here in most eastern Maine. Business trips are always one of the sticky wickets. This one became a bit of a nail biter when his flight was delayed. You miss your flight in Bangor, you are hosed. If you're not familiar with this area because you're related to me, then the only reason you've ever heard of Bangor International is because its where they land airplanes from Europe when they have mechanical trouble or people lighting their explosive shoes on board . He made it, but we learned that he needs to leave himself more margin when flying to Texas from so far away.

While we were in Bangor, the boys and I had a great time visiting a historic Transportation museum, and the Bangor Children's Discovery Center. I could live in Bangor, it is such a charming city. And hardly anyone wants to live there because it is as close to the north pole as you can get without being in Canada, so I have to think property values are low. Also, in the Did You Know department, Bangor Maine Public Library has the highest circulation per capita of any library in the United States in a town over 30,000. As in, either they have 3 books or THESE PEOPLE LOVE TO READ. If I find a similar statistic about cupcake consumption, I'm packing my bags and yelling, "THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!". Forwarding address to follow.

Roques Bluff State Park

I woke up this morning and laid in bed staring out the window. Without my glasses on, I couldn't be sure what I was seeing, but it seemed that one of the branches of a spruce tree was twitching, and losing chunks of itself. I put on my glasses, and could tell that it was the work of a hidden squirrel, and that the chunks were small closed pine cones he was hurling to earth. When he moved to a new more heavily-laden branch I ran for the boys, and we all sat and watched him rain down a steady stream of pine cones. It must have been a two handed job, those babies weren't falling, he was chucking them, but good.

On the Kennebec road, going home

Entering into Machias, ME

We have settled into a very pleasant and relaxing rythmn here.  Any day without rain starts with coffee on the deck.  Chris has started leaving the house to go work downtown at Dunkin' Donuts, where he has Wi-Fi and cell reception.  We typically shop for our meals every day or every other day, since we are always in town once a day, anyway. I would never attempt this in McKinney, where any given grocery store occupies enough acreage for a single visit to constitute a legitimate workout, whether you need 1 or 20 items. The grocery store here is so nicely sized, and so well stocked, it is no problem to visit daily. We also have a natural foods store here that has all of the organic staples we need.
Chocolate in Lubec

We have managed to visit all of our favorite haunts at least once. Most of these involve food.  There is a new donut shop called the Town Fryer, and he makes fantastic raised honey donuts. While Elizabeth was here we had lunch at the Bluebird Family Restaurant, one of the two dueling Family Restaurants that straddle Route 1.  We chose to align with the Bluebird when the other one, Helen's, served me Chicken Parmesan fried into a sphere and topped with cheddar cheese.

We've eaten at our friends Matt &Faye's restaurant, the Fat Cat Deli, once. They make great pizza. We've hit one of the Lubec chocolate shops, spent copious amounts on chocolates, dubbed it so-so and now must return to spend more at the other chocolate shop. It's a hardship.

We are at once sad and grateful that our friends Ed and Diane are no longer making their fabulous bread in Lubec. That's about 2,000 calories per week we can now redistribute to the Town Fryer and other haute cuisine.

In a lengthy discussion of food on the coast of Maine, one might expect the mention of seafood. There, I mentioned it.

My father leaves tomorrow morning to spend the week farther north in Maine with some friends.  He will be back at the end of the week.  The boys and I have been to the pool at U Maine Machias many times, so I imagine we will do that this week, maybe visit Lubec again for the yarn shop, and then Chris and I celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary on Thursday.  I am still working on the babysitting factor there, hoping we can at least grab a quiet dinner together.


Some of our new fall color

Friday, September 9, 2011


It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted. I'm going to go in reverse order, posting today about Maine, and later on about the close of this recent segment in New Hampshire. I have some great pics from the Milford, NH Labor Day parade that I'm eager to post. Next week.

We arrived in Maine on Tuesday, 9/7. We left Deering under rainy skies and hit sunny skies somewhere halfway up the coast. Our home in Machiasport is 350 miles from both my Dad's home and the home we lived in when we were building this house, in Grafton, Massachusetts. We spent a solid 2 years driving up and down the coast during construction, and so we have a set routine in place. We stop at the same locations we've been stopping at for years, eat the same food, and pick up the same dinner for our first night in the house. It was great to be doing all of that again, having been gone for 2 years.

The house looks amazing. We've been very fortunate to have a fantastic lady taking care of it while we are away. She arranges everything lovingly, and keeps it perfectly clean. This is only our 3rd trip to New England since we moved to Texas in 2006. Every time we come back to Maine we are amazed at what a beautiful home we all built. Nearly 60 groups of people have rented this house in that time. We put a guest book in 2 years ago, it was fun to go through it and read the impressions of the renters. We had a builder we all loved, Dad & Chris put a lot of their own elbow grease into the construction, and I spent 2 years decorating it on a dime. We did good.

We have had two days of rain and Chris had to hit the ground running with work. The cove in front of the house is a tidal flat. So, what you're looking out to changes with the tides. We arrived during my #1 favorite tidal sequence. High tide at breakfast and at dinner time, low tide in the afternoon, perfect for hiking out on the sandbar. Griffin and I went nearly all the way out to the island yesterday, and came home with bags of clam and periwinkle shells, which I use for making wreaths. It was grey, but still beautiful.

The field on our property has grown up considerably, so Dad is bringing up his brush hog next week, and Chris is going to give all of the land a good cut down. I like the meadow as a meadow, but several odd bushes are moving in, threatening to stay. We have about 25 giant spruce and blue spruce trees on the land. Chris and I marvel at how much they have grown. I used to see the water out the back from my perch in bed. Two trees have now spread so wide that I can only see a glimmer of the tidal creek. I do not mind, though. These spruce trees are 50' high, and have always looked like guardians to me. They stand encircling the back of the house, and are shaped like massive Christmas trees. They will all stay.

The beach roses along the deck have gone bananas. They are covered in ripe red rosehips, which I intend to use to make rosehip jelly. Chris will trim them back next week so that they stop assaulting people walking up the stairs.

Chris is working today and I hope to get down to the University of Maine Machias for a swim in their indoor pool. We also hope to get together with our builder's wife, Carlene, and their two granddaughers. We have 5 gorgeous days of 67 and sunny in front of us.

Wish you were here!