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Archive for July, 2011

I am a desultory gardener.
In late January when the holiday madness is over, when the light is low in the sky, when the days are shorter and quieter, I sit with a pile of seed catalogs envisioning colors in my garden.  Then, I am a diligent gardener.
My garden is beautiful.  It is full of healthy vegetables, herbs and flowers all happily thriving and feeding us. Weeds are just a flickering shadow of an idea.  Everything is well watered, planted in succession, thinned to the proper spacing, mulched.
Spring always begins with the best of intentions for me.  Beds are lined with rows of seeds. Weeds are kept in check.  With the first of the spinach, salad greens and fresh peas come the flush of satisfaction. We really can grow our own food.

Garden 2011

But late July and into August, well that  is a different story.  I start to slow down on harvesting by late July. I mean really,  just how many types of squash can two people possibly eat?  The heat of the summer sun is the perfect foil for my laziness.  Things get a little out of hand.  We try and stay on top of the pole beans but inevitably some get missed only to be discovered later, pods just bursting.  Zucchini.  Need I say more? 🙂  Tomatoes, if we are so lucky as to have fruit ripening at this point (which we do this year), are begging to be picked.  The garden is looking tired, or maybe it’s just me.  I’m finding out that all that llama, chicken and cow manure that went into the garden in early spring appeals to many weeds as well as veggies..  ugh ugh the weeding!  This is when I discover the bumper crop of cucumbers/zucchini/beans that need to be dealt with.  We have eaten our fill for the moment and need to find another outlet for this plenitude.  So that’s when I haul out my recipe box and the canning books.  Pickles. Dilly beans. Italian giardiniera,  Zucchini relish. Hello winter stash!

Bread & Butter Pickles

  Giardiniera

Dilly Beans

 

 

In spite of the bean beetles, we’ve had the greatest bean season ever this year. How have your gardens been growing?

 

 

Edible Nasturtiums

 

 

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Portland Head -- Cape Elizabeth

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Wow! Scorching record breaking temps that I haven’t seen in many moons..103 degrees!  Wasn’t it oppressive?  I was able to squeeze in my walk, but not  before I jumped in to the water for a swim first. Our beaches were jam packed this week and this morning’s overcast was a welcomed relief.

How did you stay cool these past few days?  Here’s how a few here beat the heat.

 

Keeping cool

 

 

Stopping time.. keeping cool

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Piccolo's 1st lobstah

Well it was only a matter of time before Piccolo would get to sample a little crustacean around here.  Poor little guy missed me while we were away, but his babysitter took mighty good care of him for us. We picked up some lobstah’s on our way back down the coast from our weekend away…  Piccolo doesn’t know what to make of them here.. but his curiosity got the best of him.  Good thing their claws are banded.  LOL

Nosey bones Piccolo

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Monhegan Hiking Trail

We just returned from a very peaceful and gorgeous weekend on  Monhegan Island and we returned with more memories,  definitely more relaxed, darker tans,  great sketches,  many photos and some lobsters we picked up on our way back down the coast. All-in-all a super get away weekend.

Monhegan is a stunningly beautiful island.. 11 miles off the coast of Maine, shaped like a whale, with 150 foot headlands on the north side sloping down to low coves on the southern end. There are 17 miles of hiking trails through the wilds of of Monhegan, with hundreds of species of wildflowers and seabirds. The island is also an artist colony, with as many as 20 studios open during the peak summer months. Monhegan  holds a special place in American art history, having been the part-time home of  Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, George Bellows and Robert Henri.  Jamie Wyeth, the youngest of the celebrated Wyeth clan, owned a studio here for many years, a shake shingle-clad home on the island’s southern shore.

Monhegan Island

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the ferry crossing went quite smooth.  I got many shots,  walked the many lovely trails to view the cliffs and wildlife, bought some lovely lupine pottery for my collection while  my painter got much  sketching done and one finished watercolor piece piece.

Monhegan Island

We took one of the small cottages overlooking the harbor if for nothing else but some solitude, one of the reasons this lovely place draws me back every year.  It’s almost as if time has stood still here on the island–you’ll find no paved roads, nor city street lights–at best gas fired lanterns or kerosene to light your path.  One thing these residents can’t complain about.. the high price of electricity over here.

Monhegan Light & Power Company

This is the Island Inn, and elegant old establishment that only gets better over the years.  The spots below the Inn are Adirondack chairs.  Yes there are a few people there with a big bucket of ice, a chilled bottle of wine and some cheese.  We relaxed on the lawns before we had dinner Saturday evening at the Inn.  I felt like we were in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel for a bit of time. 😉

Monhegan Harbor & Island Inn

This really is a  no-brainer. The island is one veritable postcard after another.
There are 400 species of wildflower on Monhegan, gnarled pine trees and fields
of waving grass, set against the Atlantic. The houses have picket
fences and gardens filled with flowers that have benefited from the
morning fog.  Lobster pots are stacked against 19th century homes, the
sea turns colors you simply can’t imagine, and the light is sharp ocean light
– you are 12 miles out to sea, after all.  From the compact village hub of
humanity on the island, you can branch out on half a dozen paths that
bring you to the edge of the cliffheads, to ledges where seals and puffins bask and
make noises, to promontories where you can look for whales, and if you’re really lucky you might even spot ‘Angry Birds’ right here on this little island paradise.

Angry Gull

I made the mistake of nearing this gull’s nest and did she ever squawk like the dickens at me!  Bring a stack of books, a sketchpad, clearly your camera and your hiking boots and step back in time yourself, which is one of the better definitions of“vacation” that I can think of in the 21st century.

Monhegan Light

 


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My favorite color is  periwinkle blue.  Not  sky blue, or baby blue, nor robin’s egg blue — just the lovliest periwinkle blue will do.

Sheesh, I’m beginning to sound like Mrs.  Blandings again. 😉

Hydrangea #1--beginning to color

Hydrangea #2 - such a tease

  My hydrangea
decides for itself
which blue to be
or not.

This growing season
brings many hues–
.. pinks  into purples
and purples into  periwinkle blues.

This is periwinkle Mr. G. 😉  Do you remember?

True periwinkle blue

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Maine Weather Guide

 

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