Monday, July 31, 2006

Lady of the Lake

Sunday found us gathered at Damariscotta Lake surrounded by family, friends, food and perfect summer weather. Richard's brother, Gregg and wife Lisa are vacationing here for the week with their boys Jackson and Jake, and invited everyone to join them for a day at the lake... THANK YOU for sharing your beautiful cottage!
Spending time with Richard's family is one very interesting way to get to really know him. Watching interactions, listening to conversations, observing facial expressions... all are glimpses into his soul, clues that help me gain better understanding if not acceptance. We are all of us a fine mixture of our parents, their parents, and generations gone by... all blended with our own lifetime of experiences. What a mystery, with so many clues! Another fun and interesting observation is to watch all of the above as it begins to unfold in the development of the next generation. Life... how exciting, mysterious, fun and absolutely grand!
Lady of the Lake, in different versions, can be found in the Portland Collection and Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Last Days in Georgia

The recent heat and humidity sometimes remind me of my travels in the south in years past, which is why this tune name seemed to be good for this post. I love that we're getting such a great summer, and I love that our tent-mahal is getting good use. The photo used here is archived from our June weekend at Maine Fiddle Camp. We certainly feel like we're camping in style with this two room tent complete with main room for sleeping and the screen room to hold extra gear. For an overnight trip it's a little too much, but for camping any length of time, I like the space.
Jen, Jason and Avery will be using the tent-mahal this coming week while they are on vacation... they'll be investing in a pop up camper next spring and that will make their family camping much more enjoyable for everyone but for this year they're camping in canvas! The following week Richard and I will be using the tent for Maine Fiddle Camp's August session. With the air mattress, camp chairs, and other accoutrements, we camp in style! And we're getting the weather... Georgia style heat with Maine atmosphere... just perfect for enjoying the high days of summer!
Last Days in Georgia can be found in the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Monday, July 24, 2006

And the Cat Came Back

Little came to live with us on Murray Street. She hid under the bed for two days, afraid to come out... finally she acclimated to the house, and to us. She was always a little skittish though. We were away a lot last summer, and she didn't adjust to being alone so she went to live with Karen and her family (friends of Richard). After we settled in here in Wayne, and after a lot of time thinking about Little, we decided it would be good for her to 'come home'. SK was here when Little made the move. What a difference! Little explored, rubbed against furniture, followed people around... we were not sure it was the same cat! But, indeed it really is Little, and she really is happy here. I think it helped having SK here, but even once she left, Little continued to behave as though she owned the place. She'd been an indoor cat for a long time... but SK introduced Little to the big outdoors here in the woods. It took a little getting used to, but over time Little has come to LOVE being outside. In fact, it's hard to get her in at night, but we really try hard because when she stays outside, she almost always wakes us up crying to come in... from the roof outside our bedroom window! She's quite a climber, and quite a hunter. She's the cat that came back... and we're happy to have her.
And the Cat Came Back is from the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Waves on the Ocean

Monday afternoon we decided to head to the coast for some relief from the heat and also to take a break from working around the house! What a treat to hop in the car and go on an unplanned, spontaneous "date night" with my favorite guy :)
We chose Popham Beach, a favorite for both of us. The slightly cooler air did give us some relief from the humidity and high temperatures inland... but the sound of the waves, the sand beneath our feet, and having the freedom to just "be" are what really set the stage for releasing our "inner child". We took pictures, watched children and families, speculated on methods of fishing (and whether people who sit on the shore with poles ever really catch anything). We also played our fiddles on the rocks near the fort... we did this last year too, and it may become an annual event... to offer ourselves musically to the universe and to whoever is around to listen... what fun!

The sun was just setting as we left the beach. We had a not too memorable dinner at Spinney's... hopefully we remember it next year and choose another place to eat! As we were looking at, and then eating, our dinner we were reminded that LAST year we were not impressed with our meal either! All in all though, it was a fabulous date night.

Waves on the Ocean can be found in the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

After The Storm

Our electrical service has just been restored this evening, hooray! We lost our power Tuesday afternoon when a very strong and violent storm ripped through central Maine. I was working in Augusta, and the storm came on suddenly... darking the sky, wind bending trees over, torrential rains dumped, and anything not nailed down being hurled through the air.
We lost power at the office, and after closing things up I headed home. On the way, I saw numerous trees either broken off and shattered on the ground, completely uprooted like the one in the photo above, or broken and hanging over utility lines. The latter is what caused most of the power outages I believe. We were quite fortunate at our home not to have incurred any damage from the wind or rains... but we were subject to downed lines between here and Augusta.
We have a generator capable of running the refrigerator, and that saved our food. Candles and lanterns provided light, the regular Tuesday jam happened and provided entertainment... the barbecue grill cooked our meal last night, and I went in to the office early to shower this morning before work. No problems! We went out to the Liberal Cup with friends, and that provided this evenings meal and festivities... when we got home the party lights were on in the house, what a nice greeting!
What we learned is that we can comfortably survive quite nicely out here without power, and also that we really appreciate that we have power here rather than living totally off the grid. Not a bad day or so, other than minor inconveniences. What did I miss the most? Blogging to my family of course!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Warm Summer Night

We've been having quite a few warm summer nights... and days! There's something really special about the heat and humidity, the blue sky and bright sunshine, the songs of the birds and the slight breeze in the air... these things all bring back memories of the summers of my youth. My sisters and I would spend endless amounts of time playing in the field, in the "little woods", going to the store for penny candy, riding our bikes, floating things through the culvert... so many things. As an adult, it's easy to get caught up in the chores and projects that realistically need to be done in order to have the lifestyle we've chosen. But, it's good to have some fun too! This evening Richard suggested we go swimming, and we decided on the little beach near our town office... which is also only a mile from our house. What a great idea this was! The water was comfortably cool (a few cooler spots deeper down) and refreshing. I got to see a woman I'd met years earlier when I lived in Wayne, and met her friend who lives a couple of miles from us, and their daughters. We're quite fortunate to have this little swimming place so close by.

not Dry and Dusty

Jen and Avery stopped by for a visit last night. They're visiting in the area with friends from high school... and took time to pop over for a quick hello and a bath for the little guy. Avery's favorite thing at Grammah and Grampah's house is to sit on the John Deere and bounce on the seat... it squeaks! Grampah says we should oil it but Jen and I simultaneously responded "No! Avery likes it like this!" He just bounces, squeaks, laughs, reaches for the steering wheel, babbles on and on, reaches down to touch the gear shifter and then bounces to squeak the seat some more... I think he could stay there for hours! He is certainly growing up fast.
Dry and Dusty is a tune from the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Year of Jubilo

This is closing out my birthday week for this year, and marking the beginning of my fiftieth year! Now, I know I'm only forty nine, but this IS IN FACT my fiftieth year of 'being' and I've decided to declare it a Jubilee, like the queen :) So, though I know not every day can be most special, and I know that I am NOT the center of the universe, there will be occasions throughout this coming year when I may elect to proclaim a JUBILEE EVENT, and I'm counting on all of you to help me celebrate! I promise not to overdo it... much!
Well, that being said, I have to let you in on some special information... Jubilee's are celebrated by monarchs... and monarchs almost always have no term limit, and they are more or less absolute rulers. Oh yeah, they also are often figureheads with very little power, bummer. Like I said, I won't overdo the Jubilee thing, but I will appreciate your attention whenever I send out a little invitation or proclamation during the coming year for special events!

Split Level

We split the firewood today... hooray! We prepared better this weekend by having a day completely clear of any other things to do, and by calling ahead to reserve the wood splitter at S.E.T. Rental in Manchester. We picked up the splitter at 7:45 and started splitting as soon as we got it back to Wayne, just before 8:30. We worked steady until about 10:00, took a short break and drank a lot of water... and went back to work until about 12:30 when we stopped for lunch and more water. The job was finished at 3:15, just in time to get it back to the rental place which closes at 4:00, and also get to the transfer station with our trash before they closed at 3:45. Whew! What a day! We accomplished so much though, and it feels so good to have this job behind us. I really like using a wood splitter, and after a little bit of thought about whether to purchase one of our own, we have decided that it's not such a bad idea to rent it once a year. The cost is $50/day. Multiply that by however many years it would take to break even on a purchase. Then figure in repairs and storage when not in use. The factor that doesn't really have any financial bearing is the one that actually weighs heaviest in making my decision to rent... when we rent it for a day, it all gets split in a day! I'm sure that if we owned a wood splitter, we would NOT have gone back to task after lunch. As it is, we are both VERY tired, have taken a nice hot shower, will unwind and rest for a little while, and probably be a little sore tomorrow from all our muscles being used differently. Still, we don't have to split wood tomorrow, so I still think it's worth it to JUST DO IT :)
I shared with Richard on the way home from returning the splitter, and going to the transfer station, that I feel blissfully happy about having such a productive day. Work agrees with me in a way that is hard to describe, but bliss is pretty close!

Long Hot Shower

That's what we're going to want at the end of this day! Or maybe a cool swim in one of the local lakes... or maybe even both! Temperatures are predicted to be in the 90's with an appropriately high level of humidity... for all of us here in Maine to KNOW that it is summer. There are some years that we joke "Yeah, we got two weeks of summer right between black fly season and fall" but not this year. Granted, we did get a long stretch of rain, but now that's over it's definitely SUMMER and time to enjoy it for all it is!
Our agenda today includes renting a wood splitter to work up all the firewood Richard hauled here last weekend, we think about 4 cord but won't really know until it's split and stacked. Working up firewood is actually one of the chores I really enjoy. We'll be working under some nice shade, and we have beautiful flower gardens to gaze upon when we take a break... and there's the promise of a swim later on... and of course, the
which is a tune from the Portland Collection, Volume Two. We tried this tune briefly at a jam recently, but it's a little tricky in the 'B' part of the tune. I've tried it again at home with the fiddle but this is one of those tunes that I really need to sit down at the piano to chord out with the melody. Maybe later this afternoon when I've spent all my physical energy but still have some mental stuff kicking around... after my shower of course!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Market Town

For those of you wondering how the Farmer's Market went yesterday, I have a full up-close and personal account of the afternoon!
There were a few vendors present with fresh vegetables... and there were a few customers. Not a big turnout. It rained off and on and we wondered if that might be the reason for the low attendance, but there are other factors at work here.
This Farmer's Market in Lewiston's Kennedy Park has been a regular occurance for about three years now. Initially, there were more vendors but it was not well attended so many farmers chose not to continue their participation. Then, even when there might have been more people coming to shop at the market, there wasn't the selection of booths. One of those vicious circles that needs something great and amazing to change the direction of things. New faces and fresh energy in the organizational areas may help, there are certainly some good ideas worth working at.
Conversation continued when we got home. Some possible solutions might be to make it into a one time only veggie-fest and invite as many vendors as possible, not charge them to set up their booths... and publicize heavily in the community. I think this is a great idea. Once people, on both sides of the veggie table, can see the benefit and value of fresh, locally grown produce being sold directly to consumers it is hard to believe it wouldn't take off.
There are other farmer's markets in the area... Augusta holds market at the Sear's parking lot and Winthrop holds its market on the green in town... usually on Tuesdays and Saturdays through the growing season. I'm not sure how well attended these markets, or others, are and besides actually going I guess I wouldn't know. Many people work during the week, and I wonder how much volume can be expected on a Tuesday afternoon... again without actually going it would be hard to know first hand.
There was a reporter from the Lewiston Daily Sun present and he took a lot of photos, and spoke with a lot of the people at Kennedy Park's market yesterday. I'll be looking for the article on-line, and will let all of you know what information gets printed.
On a personal note, Richard and I had a fabulous time playing tunes. There were two guitar players present along with us, Jeff and Paul. Jeff's 'Easy Up' made for dry playing even during the heavy rains. We are considering going back to play again, partly because we enjoyed it so much but also because it is a way to support this worthwhile venture.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Farmer's Joy

Tomorrow, Tuesday, afternoon Richard and I will join our friend Jeff in Kennedy Park, Lewiston to play at a Farmer's Market. This has been organized as a supportive effort to encourage gardening and farming as an economic benefit, in part to help refugees and other displaced and less fortunate people. We will be playing some tunes at a moderate and comfortably fun tempo... a small jam session if you will. This is exactly the kind of thing I've been so wanting to do! I love playing at the dances... the pace is fast and the time goes by fast, and it's a stretch and a growth experience for me, and for Richard. We also love the jam sessions with friends because we get to practice the old favorites and standards as well as learn a few new tunes while we visit with people. But, when I think about the kind of music I love (jigs, reels, old-time fiddle tunes etc) and the kind of environment that I want to share that in, I think of Farmer's Markets, community gatherings, and barn events... very comfortable, sometimes slower and sometimes a little faster paced, but all for the listening of those around. It's fun to dance and it's fun to play for dancers, but it's also nice to play for the pure joy of making music, and that's what I envision our time in the park tomorrow... for those of you out there sending good thoughts to the higher powers that be, whoever or whatever they are, think of fair weather and a good attendance of market vendors as well as customers... it will serve as a good foundation for future markets in central Maine as well as the broader community!


Spin the salad greens and get a healthy glow from eating food that is fresh and good for you! That will be easy now with our new Good Grips Salad Spinner from my mom & dad for my birthday. We had a fun visit, with little Riley (the Springer pup) along for the ride. I'm not usually one for a lot of gadgets, but when I saw a similar model at my parents house recently, I was sold... and happy to know I was getting one too. Word is that you can even dry your personal laundry in one of these things when you're out camping in the wild :) The birthday week continues on....
Spin-n-Glo can be found in the Fiddle Music of PEI.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cake Walk

The birthday festivities have begun!
Though my official date of birth is not until this next week, the celebrations started on Friday at work with a carrot cake, and a gift bag filled with Smarties, a cool Smartie dispenser, a big box of Nerds, a candy necklace and candy watch, and a personal size can of Spam all from Justine!
This morning, my sister Deb arrived with a beautiful card and a delicious Boston cream pie which we enjoyed after dinner this evening! Deb is one of the very best cooks I know.
Richard's mom and dad (Betty and Dick) gave me a gift certificate toward a new music stand that I've been wanting... I'm looking forward to checking out this store called the Music Center in Brunswick. We had a nice visit with them this afternoon too, the first time I've been to see Dick at home since they've come back from Florida... somehow I didn't realize that until today :)
And as we were finishing our dessert, Richard asked if I'd like my birthday gift, and of course I said "Well... okay, sure". He got me this awesome new fiddle case! My old case is in pretty worn shape... the strap won't stay on and the inside pieces are starting to come unglued. This new case is beautiful, a deep reddish purple velvet interior with a place for the shoulder rest, fiddle and two bows. There's a covered compartment for the rosin and tuner, and there's a humidity gauge built into the case too. Inside the top zippered compartment is a place for personal stuff like a stash of cash, a piece of plastic, pens, paper etc. I've moved all my gear into the new digs already :)
So, even though there are a couple days before I turn the big __, it's been a great weekend of getting into the swing of the birthday hurrah. Gifts, cake, and mostly all the LOVE... what more could a girl ask for?

Saturday, July 08, 2006


This morning, these fiddlers are starting their day with a trip to the local library! The Cary Memorial Library right here in Wayne is having a book sale... and we LOVE book sales! Both Richard and I are avid readers, though Richard makes more time for that pasttime than I do. Most often my reading is done at the end of the day when I go up to bed... taking some time to read as I mentally unwind and get ready for sleep.
One of my favorite authors is Chris Bojhalian, write of Midwives, Trans-Sister Radio, Water Witches among others.
Another favorite is Bill Bryson who wrote A Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Small Island, Neither Here Nor There, The Lost Continent and others.
And I love reading Helen & Scott Nearings accounts of rural living in Vermont and in Maine, as well as any information about them.
Reading for pleasure or for practical knowledge keeps any fiddler well informed and much more interesting when in social situations. And the books we choose to read help to build our character and shape our perspectives I think.
What are your favorite books?
Which authors do you seek out at the book store or library?
Waynesboro is a tune from the Portland Collection and is billed as 'an American version of an old Irish reel'.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Belfast Jig

This evening we'll be heading to Belfast to play in the 'All Comers Band' for the Community Dance. This is a local contradance evening that has been organized by one of our favorite callers, Chrissy Fowler. Generally the 'All Comers Band' consists of some core musicians and then whoever else can make it and can play the tunes on 'the list'. We know most of them, and can play along pretty well. We don't live close enough to Belfast or have strong enough connections to have involvement with a practice group there, but it's still fun to be able to go play once a month. Our friend Jim will be meeting us to car pool there. After the Community Dance, there's an intermission and then starts the regular contradance... that has an intermission about halfway through where there is a potluck dessert table... yummm! We don't usually stay the whole evening, but we do have a good time while we're there.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Off She Goes

Off with the old (red paint) and on with the new (green paint) for a fresh new entrance to our home here in Wayne. The bright red door was never my favorite , though we've seen a lot of homes with the front door this color once we moved here (funny how you notice things like that all of a sudden). The paint was flaking, the knob kept jiggling loose, and it just didn't make for a nice feeling of "Welcome!".
This being our first full weekend home without other things on our 'HaveToDoList', I chose a few high priority projects that had been on my mind... the first of which was to UPDATE THE FRONT ENTRANCE.
The result is a beautiful freshly painted green door, a new lockset, and some lovely pink flowers to greet all who enter... and just as important, to greet ME when I come home 'cause it's all about setting the mood before you get into the house! Richard likes this new color too, by the way! This color is called 'Campground' and is put out by Glidden. I scraped the flaking paint, wire brushed and then used steel wool, vacuumed up all the dust and then wiped the door down before priming it and putting two coats of paint. I was quite proud of myself for changing out the lockset unassisted... we chose an antique brass finish Schlage brand, and will use the same products on the back door.
The flowers came from Gingerbread Farms here in Wayne, my favorite place to look for annuals, perennials, herbs and shrubs. With the help of Sue, we chose some pink daisies and an assortment of pink petunias. I also have some pink geraniums (which you can't see in this photo). I got another light pink geranium but I think it might go out by the back door.
What's next on the agenda? I'm not sure. I have, as mentioned, a mental 'to do' list, but I choose from it as the mood strikes me and the weather presents itself rather than being rigidly attached to anything written on paper... that method suited me well in the past, but I like the way things happen these days with more consideration of what I FEEL like doing. Lots more fun! Well, off I go to see what I can do today!
Off She Goes is a nice jig that you can find in several resources including the New England Fiddler's Repertoire, the Fiddler's Fakebook and the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes. It's a tune that we played at Fiddle-icious this past year too.

Monday, July 03, 2006

High Dad in the Morning

This one's for me dah...
to show him what his girl's made of these days :) There was a time when I would not have thought it possible for me to climb this high on a ladder for any reason (other than rescue my children, but thank goodness that was never necessary). When we bought the place, I knew (and I believe I shared with Richard) that I would NOT be going up high to do ANYTHING. I didn't want to build up his hopes that he'd have a willing partner in these home maintenance high wire acts.
Today I decided I wanted to put sealer on the siding and trim on this part of the house. And Richard was going to be working on the new building. That left, oh yeah, me. So I started with the lower area and got that done easily with a step ladder. Then I progressed to go up the ladder (that R had been so sweet to set up for me) to do the part above the roof of the porch. That only left the middle section... the hardest section... the highest section. But, I just kept at it, doing what was comfortable, being careful, stretching as much as possible. Only one small corner where the trim juts out beyond the wall was just too much... Richard did that for me. It's nice to have this part of the house done! Tomorrow I'll finish up a few odds & ends of projects from the weekend... it's been nice weather in between the rain showers, and it's been really nice to not have to go anywhere!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Devil in the Woodpile

Firewood is a devil of a chore... known to keep you warm while you're cutting, while you're stacking, when you bring it in, and finally when you BURN it. Richard has been busy this weekend cutting firewood for our winter's fuel, and he's done a really great job. While he's been out doing that, I've been catching up on household chores inside and out... cleaning the house, painting the front door and changing the lockset, mowing the yard etc. We took a little break this morning and went to Home Depot, which we did NOT enjoy and were both HAPPY to get out of that place... we didn't get everything we wanted or needed. And for some reason it's not a happy place to be... dark and a din of noise. Much better to be home on the property being productive and using our time wisely. After a quick dinner, we're off to read for the evening... enjoying being home! The picture above is only a small sampling of what R has been up to for the past two days... he is some hard working man and I'm lucky we share our lives with one another.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hull's (non)Victory

The hull's were defeated today by the huller!

Strawberries are in season! Last year I didn't make time to go pick berries, and I regretted it quite a lot. True, they take a little time to pick, and then when you get home they need to be hulled, rinsed, sliced, and frozen (or however you choose to keep them) but it's so worth the time and effort. I went to the local strawberry fields here in Wayne (Stevenson's) and picked with my mom, my sister, my niece, and my great-nephew, Gavin, this morning. We had a really nice time together.
One thing that I got recently as a gift was a strawberry huller. Up until today, I'd always removed the hulls with my thumbnails (which always ended up being uncomfortable from being pulled so much) or by using a knife (which is a little awkward). This huller rocks! Quick and easy, and no annoying discomfort aftward.

We'll freeze our berries in zip lock bags. This makes them easy to thaw and easy to use... a tasty treat no matter what time of year!

Hull's Victory can be found in several books including the Fiddler's Fakebook, the New England Fiddler's Repertoire, and Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.