Saturday, November 5, 2016

The View Across the Scarborough Marsh

I grew up in Scarborough. The marsh with all its attendant wildlife was ordinary to me; cormorants and heron and egrets were just birds. I didn't know what an amazing place it was until I moved away.

My first awareness of environmental issues came because of it. I was six, and my family had just moved to Scarborough from Brewer, an inland city in Central Maine. One we drove by an abandoned building - more of a shack, really - bordering the wetland. Someone had painted this graffiti: Save the Marsh! - The Gull.

My mother explained that there were people who wanted to fill in the marsh, to build houses and businesses. I pondered on that: houses and business were good, right? But where would the thing that lived there go? Some other marsh? What if that one got filled in also?

This was before environmental laws protected areas like the Scarborough Marsh, but blessedly the marsh survives. I visit it frequently; my father's ashes are scattered here, and I go to smell the salt air, watch the birds and think of him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Woolie Bear Wisdom

I'm not much of a believer in folklore, horoscopes, fortune cookies, or any other woo-woo - unless it tells me something I want to hear! In this case, this woolie bear is telling me to prepare for the mildest winter ever.

The wives' tale tells us that the broader the brown band in the caterpillar's middle, the warmer out winter will be. I have never seen a wider brown stripe on a woolie bear, ever! Gentle January, here we come.

In actual fact, the brown strip is wider when the previous spring was earlier. But what fun is that? Even the easiest winters in Maine are hard, and long. It's good to have something to give us some hope!

Monday, October 24, 2016


I'm a tomato gardener.Not in a truck-garden, farmer's-market kind of way, but we plant four raised beds, and the largest - 10" x 6" - is full of tomatoes. I usually get short season varieties: Sun Golds, Oregon Springs, Consmonaut Volkovs. But I get my seeds from Fedco, and I always check the box that says if you re out of the variety I ordered, send me something else.

This year they sent me Jubilees. Wow, what a beautiful tomato! Large, smooth, yellow-orange fruit, a little seeter than a regular tomato...and still producing. It's late October, and I just plucked this beauty. My freezer is full of bruschetta, salsa, and tomato sauce by now, so all Ocotber fruit are sliced and eaten. On BLTs, in omelets, in salads, or just by themselves.

My Sun Golds are still fruiting, also. This was one fantastic year for tomatoes.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Favorite Lunch Spot, South Portland

On Monday afternoons, I often find myself in the Portland area with some free time. If it's a warm day, I like to grab a sandwich and head for Spring Point Light. There's a nice shore walk to get there, or you can park nearby the campus at SMCC. The granite block breakwater is about 300 yards long, and provides many spots to sit, dangle your legs, and watch the passing boat traffic. On any given day you can see the ferries on their way to the islands of Casco Bay, and some times The Cat, the giant double-hulled ferry which runs between Portland Harbor and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, as well as innumerable fishing and recreational boats.

As the weather turns, the jetty will become treacherous! Enjoy the Big Light walk before the snow falls. If it's Monday afternoon, I may see you there.

Friday, June 24, 2016

"I Love This Place!"

I had the nicest interaction this morning! I walked the greenbelt to Portland's East End beach. As I was standing at the fence overlooking the water, a young Ethiopian man stopped beside me. 
"Is this the ocean?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, "that's the Atlantic Ocean."
"Is it cold?"
"Yeah, it's pretty cold. "
"Too cold to swim?"
"Probably right now."
"But you can swim? It is safe? If I swim, I won't get sick?" 
"It's clean. People swim in it all the time."
He broke out in a huge grin: "I love this place!"

So do I, friend. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

This Is Why We Live In Maine

I want to hold this moment in my mind, so I can call it up next January when the sun is setting at 4 pm, the snow is falling AGAIN, and the temp never gets about 20 degrees. This is what makes that worth the wait. Sitting on the deck, with my feet up, drinking my (iced!) coffee, watching the garden grow...

...aaaand, here comes my neighbor with his weed whacker. I swear that man has more noise-making devices than anyone else alive. Weed whacker, lawn mower, leaf blower, snow thrower. A motorized whine for every season! Ah, well. It's meant to be 90 degrees today. He'll have to sit down eventually, right?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Then Leaf Subsides to Leaf

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay
. -

Robert Frost

I've been meaning to take photos for this post for over a week, and I almost missed the window: the brief hour of gold. 

I took a walk today on Macworth Island, just north of Portland. A causeway leads to the island, which houses the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf. It's an easy hike, about 2.2 miles, with lovely views. It's good to go early in the season - Macworth has a very small parking lot, and when that lot is full, no more visitors are allowed. Even today, only one spot was open when I arrived, although there were more by the time I left. 

Must Eden always sink to grief? Maybe. But Macworth abides.