Monday, July 30, 2012


Our beloved Zaydeh passed away on Friday.  On Saturday Miss B and I drove to PA to be with her Papa, Uncle and Bubbe.  We lit candles.  We told stories.  We tore black fabric, to symbolize our pain.  We wept.  We laughed.  We shared a wish for Zaydeh's spirit.  Sunday we spent some time at a Zen monastery.

Zaydeh loved mashed potatoes.  Miss B's wish for him is that he be somewhere where everything is made out of mashed potatoes.  Fluffy and white and delicious.

I would miss this space if I didn't post this will see what feels right.  Maybe something brief or maybe just images.

Take care friends.  And a huge thank you to all the friends who made leaving our house for a week and in a hurry such a manageable feat.  Good friends indeed.

Friday, July 27, 2012

This Moment

This Moment - A Friday ritual inspired by Soule Mama
A simple and special moment that I want to hold onto and cherish.
If you feel inspired to do the same, please 
leave a link to your moment in the comments.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cousin Time

Miss B and Cousin H have an incredibly close bond.  He can get the big guffawing laughs out of her by the simplest antics.  When she was a baby he seemed to understand exactly what she was saying and what she wanted.  It was like he still spoke the language of babies, himself being still quite young.

With her dad away this week Miss B has been a bit out of sorts, that and the whole realization of death I'm sure.  As I look back on candid photos of she and a little girlfriend who came over to play poor Miss B looks quite distracted and like she's got the weight of the world on her shoulders.  It pains me.  We've been taking it slow, snuggling a lot and spending much of our time by the sea.  The best of which was with Cousin H and Auntie yesterday.

It is so rare that there is a day that all four of us are together and one of us doesn't have some responsibility or obligation to rush back to at some point.  We were completely free agents.  The weather was, as the weather people say "the pick of the week."  Absolutely gorgeous and we headed to the beach.  Now in Maine when we say beach, there might not be a grain of sand at the spot we have in mind.  Mudflats, rocky crags, possibly a low bridge, basically anywhere you could potentially get wet (with salt water in our case) could be referred to as a beach.

This particular "beach" was actually a enormous tidal pool in New Harbor and it was amazing.  H had been there for an environmental camp fieldtrip earlier this summer and he spent the ride there telling me things I wouldn't see: hermit crabs, fish, etc.

Then when we got there he proceeded to find and in some instances catch, for a moment, everything he had insisted wouldn't be there.

He is so good at finding crabs, no small feat as they blend in so well.  Hearing him singing to clams to get them to relax and open their shells, just so he could take a little peak inside before he released them, well that is pretty special. 

The children with other families were smitten with him.  Our crab whisperer, our own dear Dickon.

H sporting empty quahog shells on his forehead.
We said he looked like a young bull calf just growing horns.
Lazy day at the seaside with a cousin and sister, followed by ice cream at a childhood favorite, Roundtop in Damariscotta.  A perfect day, and just what we needed.

Did you have a favorite cousin as a child?  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Talking About Death with a Four Year Old

The other day I noticed that one of the nets from our blueberry bushes had drifted across the yard, and thought wow, it must have been really windy.  I went out to put it back on the bush and saw that about four feet from it was a dead bird : (  The fabric was fairly open at the bottom so I imagine that's how the bird got in, ate berries, panicked and then couldn't get out.  What a super strong bird to fly across our entire yard covered in fabric with two clothes pins to boot.  Then to escape and die four feet away from the cloth...very sad, and strange.  The timing however, really couldn't have been better.

My father-in-law is in stage four of his battle with cancer and we had just spoken with Miss B over breakfast about how he is so very sick, sicker than the last time we saw him and that he might actually die.  She seemed to take it in matter of factly, and we talked a bit about what different cultures/religions think happens to us after we die.  We talked about taking some books out at the library about Egyptian after-life ideas and the conversation ended.  Two hours later I found the dead bird.

Talk about a teachable moment.  I told Miss B what had happened and then we talked about what we should do.  Leave it on the lawn for bugs and possibly other animals to eat or put it in a shoe box and bury it.  She said she wanted to bury it. Then all on her own, she filled a box with flowers, making a little pillow at one end and a flower "blanket" out of a giant hydrangea.  I wrapped the bird in toilet paper and set it in the flower bed inside the box.  Together we decided to bury it in the shade of our favorite rose bush so that the nutrients in the body could go back to the earth, feed the soil and in turn feed the rose bush.  Then every year we enjoy the roses we can remember and honor the bird.

Digging a shoebox sized hole was a bit more work than I expected.  But we did it and then we said a few words about how we were sorry the bird got caught in our net and then shared some wishes for the bird if it was going to an afterlife.  I said I hoped it had tons of berries.  Miss B specified that there be no nets.  Then she leaned down and kissed the box and we pushed the soil back into the hole with our hands.

The whole experience was beautiful really, and came at the time when we most needed it.  I am truly grateful.

We're heading up the coast for a couple days, for some much loved cousin time. It may be quiet here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Flower Girl

We were up the coast at my cousin's wedding this weekend.  That's her as the beautiful bride.  It was right on the water, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. My dear Miss B was the flower girl and she was in seventh heaven about it.

She and cousin H got to bust a move on the dance floor and eat cake of course.

Is it me or does wedding cake just taste better than "regular" cake? I was swooning about the cake and was told it had almond paste or almond meal in it.  Need to find out more about this.  Auntie?

Check out the cute little bottles of sand on the tables at the reception, and pastel mints of course.

Friday, July 20, 2012

This Moment

This Moment - A Friday ritual inspired by Soule Mama
A simple and special moment that I want to hold onto and cherish.

If you feel inspired to do the same, please 
leave a link to your moment in the comments.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beach Garb

With beach season upon us I am noticing that Miss B is taking more notice of the differences in required bathing attire between men and women, girls and boys. When questioned, I explained that in this country men can go without a top, but women can't. She took this in without too much of a comment, then later that day declared that if boys could go without a shirt, she would go without pants! There is a certain logic to this and a braveness of spirit that makes her papa and I swell with pride.
Rocking "baby" summer squash to sleep.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In My Garden

We've got zucchini and summer squash coming in beautifully.

Green tomatoes getting bigger by the minute.  
Oh how I can't wait for a sun ripened, 
sun warmed tomato from the vine.
The sunflower house is coming along pretty nicely.  
Miss B seems pleased and her little friends enchanted with it.


Squash bugs, Japanese beetles, earwigs (not seen in photos) 
and stink bugs are also loving the garden.  

The squash bugs squish easily
Japanese beetles can't swim.  
Birds will supposedly eat them.  Welcome birds!
The weevils seem to love the beer I brewed last summer 
that we didn't particularly care for.  
In fact the guzzlers have drunk it all! 
I am actually on the cusp of buying alcohol for earwigs.  
I know that if I buy a single bottle of cheapo brew I am going to feel weird 
and then be compelled to tell the clerk, 
who couldn't care less that it's for the earwigs.  
Yeah, sure earwigs.

I received the lab results back on the three soil samples I sent off to the state lab a couple weeks ago.  One bed is highly contaminated with lead and the other two have minor contamination.  Yikes!  I should receive more quantitative test results in 2-4 weeks.  Agh!  I think it's safe to say we will not be eating any squash or cukes from the highly contaminated bed. Ironically this is the only row of squash the squash bugs have yet to discover - maybe they knew something we didn't?  My plan with the other two beds is to not consume anything in the flower bed...sure we planted some edible flowers but not a huge loss.  We could call it a mild disappointment.  The other bed has berry bushes and onions, black beans, squash tomatoes.  Will plan on harvesting and then either storing (onions) or freezing (everything else) and being sure to label it as to it's origin so that I can dispose of it if need be.  I am so, so, so amazingly thankful that I decided to have the soil tested! And so glad that the majority of the vegetable garden is in raised beds with imported soil.  Will plan on doing a follow-up post with more info on lead contaminated soil and food grown there.  From my initial research it seems that greens are the worst, but that fruits (cukes, tomatoes etc.) are    better in terms of not containing lead.  I do want to thank the folks at Root Simple for sharing their own struggles with lead contaminated soil, and my friends in my permaculture group.  I'm a country gal. I would never have thought to test for lead. Of course I've never grown so close to an old house before, or close to a road for that matter.

We seem to be puttering about in the garden every evening after supper.
Miss B. begs for snap peas, or sheep's sorrel.
A great way to end each day.  
Weeding, picking, pinching in this jungle that we've grown.  
Miss B had a new little neighborhood friend over the other night.
The girl gasped when she saw the back raised beds.  
My little one shrugged and said "Yeah, my mom likes to garden a lot."  
And I do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tractors for Tuesday

My dad Fourth of July 2012. Driving his father's 1943.
I don't know what it is about parades of men on tractors.  It just tears me up.  Maybe because I know some of these fellows, or men a bit like them.  Some who are short on words and long on works, and others who could talk to you for an hour or two at Ames Supply feed store on a Saturday.  With calloused hands that can fix anything that is broke down, they may surprise you with big, big hearts, and a sensitivity to match. To be in a parade seems so flamboyant and joyous and that perhaps is why it kills me, in a good way.  Am I the only one who is tearing up at parades?  These images are all from the parade in Wiscasset, Maine a few weeks ago.
My Uncle John, not a tractor but in the same spirit!

This fellow is smart. He has a fire extinguisher.

This fellow had set up a float showcasing an engine that appeared
to be run by stuffed monkeys. Obviously a big hit with Miss B.
Anyhoo, every summer in a nearby town there is an Antique Tractor and Engine Show.  Last summer we enjoyed seeing all the tractors around town. It was awesome. It felt like we had slipped back in time. Antique tractors at the gas station, on trailers parked along Main St.  This year we are hoping to actually go to the show, July 27th-29th in Eliot, Maine.  Maybe this is just the ticket to get my dad to pay us a visit.

And while on the subject of tractors who could forget the Tractor Chicken scene in Footloose?  Happy Tuesday folks!

Monday, July 16, 2012


Saturday morning - dancing in the kitchen to WUNH Durham's Polka Party with Gary Sredzienski.  Honestly, Gary is amazing!  He's full of history, and lore and is just a delight to listen to.  Saturday around our house is always a polka party!  And it's the 25th anniversary of the show next week.  Give it a listen if you get the chance 9a-11a Saturday morning.

Sunday is donut day.  Really, it is.  At our local bakery, Monkey Business Sunday is donut day.  I get to sleep in while Miss B and her dad go out for donuts...although oddly enough what we really want are the spinach (aka mediteranean) croissants.  It started out with hubby and I wanting the croissants instead of a donut...and then suddenly Miss B was on board too.  I love it, a four year old who will take a spinach croissant over a donut!  Not to say that she doesn't love donuts too!

Wowee what a hot day!  After croissants (and donuts) and the paper we schlepped our sweaty selves into the car and scooted over to Long Sands in York Beach.  Nice people, not too crowded, a nice breeze.  Pretty much the perfect day.

I hope you had moments of perfect in your weekend too.

Friday, July 13, 2012

This Moment

This Moment - A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule. A simple and special moment  that I want to hold onto and cherish.
If you feel inspired to do the same, please leave a link to your moment in the comments.