Bookmark

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We have been busy, busy, busy.

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With our usual exuberance of planning and ideas, we again find ourselves scrambling to get everything done this summer while still fitting in some mellow relaxation time.

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I’ve had little time or inclination for blogging,

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but things are starting to slow down a bit. I think.

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In the meantime, this post is a bit of a bookmark–a place-holding glimpse into a part of what we’ve been doing.

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Our winter wood is in. The gardens are bursting with more than we can eat and promise of much more.

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We have been drying herbs, digging potatoes, freezing beans, corn, and squash, and planting fall vegetables.

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My new herb drying rack.  I think it’s designed for marijuana growers.

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I have been washing fleeces, obsessively searching for antique flax processing tools, and had a lovely visit with a local farmer and spinner on Maine’s Open Farm Day. I brought home two beautiful fleeces, a bag of interesting wool from a Soay sheep, and some Woad seeds for planting a dye garden next year.

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The small sheep is a Soay and the large curly one is a Leicester Longwool

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The Soay’s wool is pulled off in clumps rather than sheared.

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The glossy locks of the Leicester Longwool.

I finally made it to the the Windjammer parade on Rockland’s breakwater this year.

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In the 1800s, sailboats owned this coast–whalers, traders, fishing schooners.  Maine was a sailing hub–sending its boats and captains to every ocean and building some of the fastest clipper ships in the world.

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Now the windjammers primarily provide entertainment for tourists, but it gives me an ache to watch them.

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Looking down from the lighthouse over the breakwater to shore.

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If I had a bucket list–which I don’t–it would include time-travel back to sailing ship days.  IMG_5219.jpg

Since that will never happen–I really enjoyed the parade.

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Back home, in our yard, the aggressive male bluebird continues to harass us while his mate sits on her birdbox nest looking as if she wants someone to rescue her.

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A noisy nest in the apple tree by the side porch turned out to have baby waxwings.

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Our gardens are full of insects and the hive has the summer smell of honey and brood.

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The ant is moving towards this waspish creature on the tansy …

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as the ant approaches, the waspish creature lifts his leg and then brings it down.  I’m not sure what happened to the ant.

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I had thought that the hive might be ready for honey harvest this week, but it needs a few more weeks.

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These past weeks we’ve celebrated an anniversary, a birthday, and have had several visitors, including blog friend, Eliza, at Eliza Waters.

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She patiently endured a (very complete) tour of our little property, down to and including the compost bin, and we fit in a short hike.  I neglected to take any pictures, but she kindly brought us this begonia,

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which for now adorns the table on the porch where I rock, flick wool, and look at the view.

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37 thoughts on “Bookmark

  1. What a lovely snapshot of your very busy summer. Your vegetables and flowers are flourishing, I guess you must get an abundance of rain in Maine? We need something like your herb dryer to dry and then store our garlic. The sailboats are wonderful, so elegant….however, they must be tricky when bad weather arrives…lovely to look at I think! I love your sheep, all ready to be sheared and then perhaps weaving in winter?
    I enjoyed looking at all your summery photos, especially since it is very dull and windy here. Enjoy the sunshine and the rest of summer.

    • Hmmm. I’m not sure what an “abundance” of rain means to you on the other end of the world. We apparently get somewhere between 40 to 50 inches of rain a year, according to the sites I checked. This summer has been unusual in that the rain has been almost perfectly dispensed at regular intervals in the form of afternoon or nighttime showers, while the days stay mostly sunny. It’s been sublime for us and for the plants. I suspect I’ll never see a summer quite like this again.
      The sheep aren’t mine, they are at Beau Chemin Farm about twenty minutes away, where they preserve rare breeds. I bought my fleeces there. I will be taking advantage of August’s hot and sunny days to wash the fleeces outside and then will spin them through the fall and winter. I suspect most of the wool will go into knitting projects, but I will be using some for weaving once I get my loom fixed up. Stay cozy and warm down there!

      • We get about half your rainfall…we used to live in Sydney where the rainfall is similar to yours…gardening was certainly easier there. Look forward to looking at your fleeces being washed, and dried, and turned into knitting and weaving projects.

  2. A busy life, a good life! Hoping to have a knitting/spinning day here late August, I’ll let you know. Perhaps we’ll both get a break from the tasks of farm life to sit and spin a while! Are you going to Fiber College in September?

    • Oh, definitely let me know if you have a knitting/spinning day. Things should have slowed down by then! I haven’t knitted in forty years, so I’m going to have to puzzle my way through those sticks and loops. I hadn’t thought about Fiber College because I wanted to take a basic weaving course this fall, since I haven’t done that in forty years, either. I thought I’d take one at Halcyon Yarns the next time they offer it. But maybe I’ll take a knitting course at the fiber college. Are you going? Which days? Anything you especially recommend?

      • I will let you know for sure….I’m thinking September. Fiber college is great fun and I think you would love it. The classes are great and easy going. I think I may take the “Vegan Sheepskin” class, that would help with all the fleeces that are piling up. Let me know if you’re going, we will get together for sure!!!

  3. What a marvelous snapshot into your summer activities. I wish I lived down the road so I could come over and work a few hours. We haven’t had any new projects in a while, and I love all yours. And, hooray for meeting with Eliza because I can imagine you had a great time. Beautiful shots of so many lovely plants and the amazing sailing ships. 🙂

    • Ha. Be glad you don’t live down the road. We’d put you right to work. I dug the potatoes today and am harvesting the flax tomorrow. You can really feel the turn in the air up here towards fall. I guess you didn’t get to have lunch with Eliza. Too bad, it was nice to meet her. We should arrange a New England bloggers lunch or dinner sometime. I hope you’re feeling better.

    • Thanks Beth. It feels like paradise to us. Of course, not having to work anymore is a bit of paradise on it’s own! I hope you can fit a trip in up here in the next few years.

  4. I know I say this very time, but, boy, do you take amazing photos! What is the one that looks like a twig covered in ice? Are those water droplets? Fabulous. I understand exactly how you feel watching the windjammers–they stir something within me. I’m sure you know the music of Gordon Bok–he writes the most evocative songs about these sailing days. Oh, and Schooner Fare, too!

    • Well, thanks. I appreciate that! The twig covered in ice is really a smoke bush blossom covered with heavy dew/overnight rain. I actually was photographing a spider web covered with the droplets, but there was such a busy background to the web that I liked this shot better.
      There is something about those windjammers, isn’t there? I’ve always been fascinated by them and almost crewed on one when I was in college. I ended up going to Alaska, instead! I haven’t thought about Gordon Bok in years. I had one of his albums in the 70s but didn’t know that he was still performing. I’ll have to get up to speed on him. I’ve never heard of Schooner Fare (I spent most of my adult life far from New England!) so will look into them, too. Thanks!

  5. You two are the most productive, busy people I know! Wonderful photographs as always. May I ask what the purple flowers are, in your first photo? When we were up in Washington state, I took a photo of that same plant and have been enamored of it ever since. Thank you, as always, for sharing your fantastic journal.

    • We are slowing down, believe me. The flowers are Sea Holly (Eryngium). Aren’t they wonderful? I have no idea how well they’d grow in your heat, you’ll have to do a little research.

  6. I think the patient endurance was on your part, not mine, lol! It was great to see your place and meet you all.
    I would have loved to see the windjammer parade. I’ll have to put it on my calendar for next year. Sailing ships are so beautiful and sleek, built to work with nature, not against her. Aligns with my philosophy.
    Lovely photos, as always!

    • I’m so glad that you enjoyed your trip to our part of the world. The windjammer parade is well worth it. I thought it would be horrifically crowded, but it wasn’t at all. Sailing is my favorite mode of transport. It even beats walking!

    • We are so lucky to have this view. It sold us on this place the minute we stepped out of our truck. We really didn’t care what the house was like! Now that we’ve lived here for two years, the changing aspects of the view (the clouds, the birds, the shadows, the colors) have become so much a part of my life that, even when I’m just gone for the day, I really miss it.

  7. Best wishes re all your celebrations! Lovely catching up, yes, busy, busy, busy sounds about right! I bet those herbs smell delicious while drying, what a great contraption. All is looking rosy in your garden, loved the wasp v ant incident, do you think it stamped on it? Ohhhh…loved the sailing ships, magnificent! Reminds me of the tall ships that sail into Liverpool each year.xxx

    • Thanks! The room with the drying herbs smells incredible–a mix of herbs and woolly fleeces–a garden and barnyard blend that is exquisite perfume to me. It was hard to tell from the final photo of the wasp and ant, but it appeared that the wasp brought his foot down on the ant. We are up to our ears in garden produce, taking advantage of a rainy day today to freeze veggies.

  8. So much beautiful/wonderful life in this post. i was shocked to wake up one morning and discover it was August. I’m still trying to figure out what happened to July!

    • I had the same shock Jean. August? I suspect September will be here in a heartbeat, too. I love all of the activity of summer, but by the time fall arrives, I am ready for some cozy indoor nesting time. That’s what seasons are for, right?

  9. Looks like you are having a wonderful summer! I love your herb drying rack, I might need to get Judy one of those. Also, what are those giant leaves in the veg garden – rhubarb?

    • The herb drying rack is a wonderful invention. I have another one that is smaller in diameter that I use for drying fleece. Those giant leaves are an eight-ball zucchini plant. All of my squash plants look like they are on steroids.

  10. Thank you for providing a wonderful visual smorgasborg. Your pictures chronicle a summer well spent. You’ve inspired me to work to improve my photography, put seeing the windjammers on my bucket list, and to get one of those nifty drying racks – even if it is for marijuana! I wanted to reach out and pluck that peach right off the tree and eat it warmed by the sun. It was interesting to see and hear about the differences in the wool. I had never heard of woad seeds. Now I am anxious to see what beautiful blue color your seeds produce. And the birds and bees sing praises to nature’s beauty.

    • Ha. My blog posts do tend to be smorgasbords–tastes of this and that–going on and on. It has been a summer well spent for us. It’s been very satisfying to make progress on all of our plans and to have so much fun doing it. We will never be bored. The windjammers are well worth seeing and the Rockland breakwater is a splendid place to view them. As for the photography, I am not a serious photographer at all. I just happen to have good subject matter and a very easy-to-use point and shoot camera with a good lens! If I had to do real photography, with aperture adjustments and all that stuff, I’d be a goner.

  11. You have been very busy! I should take a leaf out of your book and allow more time to mellow and relax. It was great to see those windjammers I had recently picked up a book from a car boot sale all about them. Sarah x

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