"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

We Can Help!

I've added links to the right sidebar for donations to Hurricane Katrina Relief.

Here's a message I've just received via email....

Thank you for your gift to Episcopal Relief and Development! Your donation
is delivering critical emergency assistance, rebuilding devastated
communities, and providing long-term solutions so people around the world
can live healthier, safer lives.

And another....

Dear Margaret,

Thank you so much for your donation to the Disaster Relief
Fund of The Humane Society of the United States. Thanks to
you, our disaster teams and rescue vehicles will be in the
hardest hit areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. We'll be
working nonstop to rescue animals and assist their
caregivers. Your receipt information appears below.

We're grateful for your support of this Fund, which helps
animals when they need it the most.


Wayne Pacelle,
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

When people come together, using their resources to benefit others less fortunate, great and wondrous things will result. Together we can turn the bad news into good, so I urge everyone to join the relief efforts, in whatever way possible....

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The most refreshing summer drink

My husband makes the best caipirinha north of Rio.

We scored the special barware in Midtown Manhattan a few years ago. A bartender I was chatting up at a favourite Brazilian restaurant gave me two of them.

The perfect refresher after a morning of doggie makeovers and an afternoon of gardening in the hot August sunshine!

Grooming and Bathing by Shadow (Guest Blogger)

A warm and sunny Saturday morning, and we're all hanging out on the deck. Next thing I know, She whips out the comb. I get excited. Lola runs and hides behind His chair.

Combing is fun!
I love being combed. (Lola hates it.)

Please don't stop!

Please don't stop!

After grooming, time for our bath. Lola goes first, because she has a bad attitude. Which is obvious from her cross expression afterwards.

Lola gets cross at bath time

She doesn't like the way she looks when she's wet. So she positions herself under the herb table pretending she's invisible.

Lola being invisible under the herb table

Then it's my turn. Not as much fun as grooming, but I survive.

Afterwards, I shake and shake but still can't get all the water off.
Maybe if I lick it....

I try licking away the water

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fig, Glorious Fig!

If I'd been Eve in the Garden, and if the Serpent had taken me to the Tree of Knowledge, and if figs had been growing upon its branches, mankind would have been just as doomed as in the Biblical scenario.

Because I love figs. Always have, always will.

One of my grandfathers, an epic gardener of roses and vegetables, flowers and fruits, grew figs. Eating mass quantities of fresh-from-the-tree figs is was a favourite summer pastime during childhood.

That was a distant time, in a very different place. Unfortunately, the harsher New England climate isn't conducive to fig trees growing in the ground. Rumour has it that they can be over-wintered indoors.

Therefore, a couple of months ago, I made a huge investment in a fig tree already laden with 17 embryonic figs. Unsure what these untested Northern birds would do if they saw this unfamiliar new fruit growing on one of my decks, I took the precaution of placing the tree in the sunny screened porch. And waited for the magic to happen.

the cherished fig tree

The first fig to ripen suffered a terrible fate. It tumbled to the floor, unbeknownst to me, and rolled behind the tiny rocking chair(in which my mother rocked me during my infancy...) By the time I found it, the following day, it was dried out and inedible. My heart was broken.

Every day since then, I've watched the remaining 16 fruits, all staying resolutely green--till last week, when a couple of them swelled and began changing colour.

ripening fig

Curbing my impatience to eat a fresh-from-the-tree fig again, I waited as long as I could. But this morning, like Eve, I had to taste, the temptation was too great.

So I plucked.

the fig prior to consumption

And I ate.

And it was Good!

Return to Lobster Land

a lobster tank

As soon as you cross the border into Maine, you find proof that lobsters are a big deal (in case you didn't already know.) Here's a different kind of "lobster tank"!

We had a full agenda during our day Down East, but managed to get to a favourite spot on the water. I love these two boats at the town dock. I don't think they ever go anywhere, because I always seen them. And always take a photo.

boats at the town dock

This collection of dinghies is impressive.

lots of dinghies

a farmstand with fresh produceNot far from the Town Dock, we passed this farmstand and bought local corn, enormous tomatoes, and a cucumber.

Payment is by the "honour system," as at most places like this.

Needless to say, we had a delicious supper!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Lola (Guest Blogger) in Charge

The People went away--back to Lobster Land--giving me, Lola, the chance to take over this blog.

A brief introduction. I’m the beautiful alpha bitch.

I'm the first to wake up every morning, first to be fed at mealtimes, first to pass through any door, first to bark at strangers.

I’m physically symmetrical, in colouring and markings, which makes me a superior being. I’m aesthetically perfect. Highly photogenic, too.

Shadow is bouncy and playful and cuddly and friendly—-and in my opinion a bit of a weenie, easily bossed around. I’m aloof, except around people I adore. Because I adore my People, and they treat me like a queen, I do what they tell me.

Yes, I have a lot of attitude. But I’m also exceptionally sweet and loving.

And beautiful. Did I mention that?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Garden Thoughts

Over at Squawk Radio, the Squawkers have a couple of gardening threads going. Being an avid gardener myself, I joined in.

As proof of my efforts, I submit these photos...

A bouquet picked this morning, containing 3 types of David Austin English Roses, Redoute, Mary Rose, and Heritage. Also some Queen Anne's Lace, perennial sweetpeas (lathyrus latifolius), scented sweetpea (a variety dating from the 17th century), Scotch heather, and a purply-blue annual I forget the name of.

Now for some past glories...gleanings from July.

A selection of Gallica roses, left to right rosa gallica officianalis (Apothecary Rose), rosa gallica versicolor (Rosa Mundi--striped), and Tuscany.

And Shailer's Provence, which my mother sent me some years ago as a rooted cutting. I adore it for its abundance!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lobster Land

I like Maine a lot. Even the parts that aren't right on the ocean.
Not long ago my husband and I visited the art museum in Ogunquit, a lovely seaside community--and a very busy place in summertime. The museum had some Edward Hopper paintings of the local scenery, on loan from museums in New York. And by local scenery, I mean you could walk outside the museum and see the actual rocks and coves the painter painted so many years ago.

The museum is only open part of the year. Its setting is breathtaking, with ocean view and sculpture garden.

what I look like with a boat coming out of my ear
While he was taking this shot, the husband said, "There's a boat coming out of your ear."

It's one of the sightseeing boats carrying tourists back to the dock.

Later in the day we headed for a favourite restaurant on Chauncey Creek--because we were both in the mood for lobster rolls. This place makes really good ones.

Chauncey Creek in Maine

There's no liquor licence, so diners bring their own bottles of wine, and sometimes they decorate their tables with flowers. We didn't plan ahead quite as well this time but had fun anyway. The view from our table was terrific!

So were the lobster rolls...

On the way out, we stopped by the lobster tank. As usual, it was very full.

Lotsa Lobstahs

And dangerous!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

On the Other Lake with Loon and a Balloon

Setting out in our canoe
Saturday, and nothing to do but enjoy our lake. Not the Big Lake where the cottage is, but the smaller one (thirty acres small) across from our house. It's a perfect day for a canoe ride, so the husband and I set out. I ride in the bow and he in the stern.

Along the way, I stick my foot in the water to test the temperature. Very pleasant!

testing the water with my toes

We pull up to a friend's dock for a chat, and as we sit there a dragonfly lands on my husband's hand.

a dragonfly on my husband's hand

Our journey continues. The loon startles us by popping up very close by.

The loon surprises us

This happens to be the day of an annual balloon rally in a neighbouring town. Late in the afternoon, we're alert for the sound of balloons in the vicinity. Sometimes, during the late launch of the day, they float over our lake or house.

the balloon poised over the lake

It turns out to be a lucky year!

After floating several minutes above the lake, the balloon begins its descent...most likely headed for a field behind the mountain in back of our house.

The balloon begins descending

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My trip to the Vet by Shadow (Guest Blogger)

It was a day just like any other. He got up and fed us about 7. She rolled out of bed around 9, showered, and met us on the deck. He was finished with breakfast by the time She started, and as usual She shared her banana with me and Lola.

Around 10:15 She finished checking email and web stuff and drinking tea, and put on her contacts and some make-up. Normally this means She's leaving the house for the day. But I sensed something was up, and that something involved me, because She sent Lola downstairs to his office, separating us. Hmmmmm.

I began considering an escape. Down the stairs and through the front door.

I'm eying the door, thinking about an escape! Suddenly She appeared with my red leash. Goody--a walk! Except--She forgot my extremly cute and very becoming matching red harness. And--here was trouble--She attached that leash to my collar.

Now, I enjoy going places. And if Lola was staying home, clearly we weren't going off to the kennel. So I cheered up and went obediently to the garage and expectantly climbed into the car.

We rode by the field where the 4 appaloosas graze.

the appaloosas who graze in our neighbourhood We went by the hay pasture--the hay has just been cut, and was lying in rows.

We passed the Jersey calves.

We turned onto the river road, went by the dairy farm, and crossed the river.

Crossing the river
It occurred to me then that this is exactly the same route we take to the kennel...whenever They are going to England or Ireland or some other place They can't take me and Lola. But Lola isn't here, so what gives?

At the fork in the road She turned right at the sheep farm instead of left (the way to the kennel). The horrible truth dawned upon me--we were only a few hundred yards from...oh no, not the vet!!!!

Maybe, I thought, we're just paying a friendly call on Dr. Fiona.

Nobody else was in the waiting room but us. Then Dr. Fiona opened the door to That Evil Room and called my name. Seemed like a really good time to get back in the car...but I was on a leash and had no choice. Just give me credit, please, for not peeing on the floor this time, okay?

The vet and her nice assistant don't even try to put me on an exam table any more. They let me stay on the the floor while carrying out their torture. I stiffen up pretty good, but they aren't deterred. My heartbeat is checked, then my ears and eyes. I get poked and prodded to see whether I have any bumps growing or swellings. Nope! Then alcohol is rubbed on me, followed by needle jabs--one of them sucks out blood for a lab test of some sort. Then liquid is squirted down my nostrils.

And to top it off, my toenails had to be cut. I hate that--hate it!

Eventually the bad stuff ends, and the fun stuff starts. Dr. Fiona gives me a treat--two treats. (Maybe I get the extra for not peeing on her floor!) And I do like being weighed. And guess what--I'm down to 74, meaning I lost 2 whole pounds since last year! I can afford to eat 2 treats.

Wagging my tail, I say "bye, and no hard feelings" while She pays the bill. Then it's back out ot the parking lot. I climb into the Mercedes and we're off. Back past the sheep, the dairy cows, the Jersey calves, the appaloosas...up the hill and down the hill and past the lake and we're home.

Lola sniffs me all over to figure out where I've been. All that icky rubbing alcohol--it must be obvious.

She tells Him how truly good I was, and how wonderfully healthy for my age. And that I lost 2--count 'em, 2--whole pounds.

I spend the rest of the day napping, mostly. I deserve a break.

Nap time!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Some Things Don't Change

an old postcard showing my view
Here's my view as depicted on an old postcard dating from the 1920's.
Roughly the era when the oldest portions of the cottage would've been built.