"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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moon Over the Bay

The dogs woke me at 5:45 a.m. for their morning feeding. Standing by the kitchen window I saw moonlight reflected beside our dock and remembered it's a full moon. When we went outside, I took the camera with me.

The sun hadn't yet risen above the hills to the east, and the moon was visible through a wispy veil of cloud.

All was silent except the quiet paddling of the ducks who passed by. Ruth was bravely protecting me from them--or wish she could herd them, I'm not sure.

We all went back to bed. And woke again to bright sunshine.

And returned to the Lodge by lunchtime.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Woodland Walking

The dogs and I are thoroughly enjoying what's likely to be our longest stay at the lake cottage all summer. No, we haven't deserted the Chap entirely. He's away...in another country, in fact.

We received a welcome spell of rain and cool, damp weather. Yesterday the high was only in the low 60's and I ran round the house closing windows. Today we're in the 70's and it's brighter and the windows and doors are open again.

Last night, quite late, the dogs raced around the sitting room and bedroom, frantically barking, sniffing the air. I thought I heard something moving about outdoors but assumed it was a raccoon or small critter.

This morning, on our first walk of the day, we found compelling evidence that our visitor was a deer.

Also on the walk, we noticed this very colourful fungus growing in the hollow of a tree.

My culinary blogging friend says it's a "chicken mushroom" and when cooked tastes like--well, you guessed it.

This is my favourite tree. Because it has a face. Eyes, nose, mouth, ears--or antlers, as my visiting friend said, a couple of weeks ago.

I'm accomplishing very little of substance these days, but it doesn't matter: I don't really need to. Sometimes I do light research and lots of musing about the next book. Mostly I'm pleasure reading, knitting, playing mandolin, cooking meals with fresh fruits and veg and eating them at non-traditional times of day. Watching way too much Home & Garden Television, especially when it was raining.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Return to the Water

The kitchen and dining room are (professionally)painted. I painted the porch bookcase forest green to match the wood trim and shelving. I've taken care of some writerly responsibilities. With great patience I endured a seemingly endless household water system repair. And on Thursday the dogs and I returned to the Big Lake.

Yesterday morning my FFTNC rang me up--the cottage is conveniently situated about halfway between her Seacoast pastoral appointment and her North Country home, so she was coming to bunk with us last night.

A short time before she arrived, the lovely sunset drew us onto the hillside.

Ruth is in this picture...barely.

Jewel pauses from excavating a rodent hole to admire the sun falling behind the mountains.

It was great catching up with FFTNC, and the dogs were delighted to see her again, too. We lunched at El Centenario in Wolfeboro, our first time experiencing the lunch menu but likely not the last. You need not ask if we ordered the tableside guacamole!

It's a spectacularly lovely day--sunny with crystal-clear cloudless sky, and a steady breeze. The Chap is arriving later today, so we'll be able to watch tonight's sunset together!

Hope your weekend is a pleasant and relaxing one!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Week Near Water

It's been a busy week and no blogging time. At long last I've got a chance to catch up!

Last Sunday morning the Chap drove off to Montreal, after he and I rang up my mother to wish her Happy Birthday. My friend and I and the dogs hastened to the cottage for a few days by the Big Lake.

Our first order of business was staging a photo op with us, the girls, and the Big White Boat. There's a lot going on in this picture!

Our next order of business was dining at El Centenario. After freshly made-at-our-table guacamole we each enjoyed an enchilada feast. This is my friend's 3 enchilada combo--mole enchilada, rojo enchilada, verde enchilada. I had the same thing, only with 2 mole and 1 verde.

We watched Mad Men that evening.

On Monday morning, we had coffee on the dock with the dogs. Not sure what they were all gazing upon so intently.

We spend a lot of time down by the water. This circle of clouds formed over the lake.

Another really important agenda item was baking. On our way to the lake we acquired some fresh local strawberries. On Monday we put on our almost-matching cute aprons (mine was a gift from my friend, and she brought hers to NH) and baked a blueberry pie with a lattice top. We used the recipe of our kitchen guru, Meta Givens, taken from her cookery book.

Oven ready! (Meta's book is open on the table for easy reference....)

Ready to eat!

It was the best blueberry pie ever baked. Or devoured.

Jewel is 39 pounds of loving lapdog.

At the cottage we've got an ice tray that makes actual-sized golf ball ice cubes. Last year my friend--a golfer--decided that on her next visit she would hit some into the lake from our dock. So, for weeks in advance of her trip I made batches of golf ball ice cubes for her. On Monday and Tuesday afternoon she practiced her swing.

Ruth also enjoyed the ice cubes.

We departed the cottage on Tuesday afternoon, stopping at our vet's office for a quickie appointment for Jewel. We all crammed into the exam room.

Jewel came back to the Lodge with some antibiotics.

My friend left us very early Wednesday morning, 2 days before her birthday but we started the celebrations early. We're already making plans for the next get-together. We attended the same grammar school, high school, and for a year we went to the same college. Probably we met at a children's puppetry class but we really can't remember. It was after a youth theatre class that we started hanging out together almost constantly.

The Chap returned late that afternoon. We had scrupulously--and generously--saved him a single piece of the awesome blueberry pie. He pronounced it the best one ever.

Thursday was mad busy...I dropped off an Oriental rug to be cleaned, met my FFTNC to help her choose new bathroom fixtures and lights, had mandolin lesson, resumed bathroom fixture shopping, went out to Thai dinner with FFTNC.

On Friday I visited friends who live in London but have a summer house in Maine. While on the road I rang the Birthday Girl. It was as spectacular a day on the Maine coast as it had been on the Big Lake--clear sky, cool and comfortable air.

After lunch we went to Popham Beach (not the adjacent State Beach but the other one) and spent the afternoon. The tide was all the way in when we got there.

The teenage boys with us spent a great deal of time in the water. I waded in up to my knees...

...and when my legs went all tingly and then totally numb from the cold (which happened very quickly) I emerged.

Not too many yards away, a seal was swimming in the outgoing tide, completed unaffected by the frigid water or my proximity.

On the way back to our house, my friends stopped off at a local ponds so their boys could swim in "warm" water. While watching them splash about, we observed a large kingfisher repeatedly catching fish, and then an osprey diving for its meal. On my visit to them last year we went boating on the river to see the eagles, so for a second year in a row I've had great birding experiences in that part of the Pine Tree State.

Yesterday I continued preparation for the painter who comes tomorrow and Tuesday to paint the Lodge kitchen and dining room. Everything is removed from the walls, and because I have glass-fronted kitchen cabinets that must be painted all inside I've removed all the crockery and china and glassware and baking things and wipe down the shelving. We're coping with the disarray fairly well.

I learnt that it's possible to spend half a day online shopping for new cabinet and drawer pulls, something I hadn't imagined to be possible. We need a total of 26 pulls/handles. I'm stronging considering this one, called "French Twist."

I haven't yet found the fish-shaped black metal ones I most wanted.

I was so involved looking for the perfect design that I was nearly late to the potluck party at the end of our road, a great chance to visit with our neighbours--especially the seasonal ones we see only in summertime.

We sat beside the little lake till well after dark, chatting with our hosts and some friends. For the past 3 nights I've been watching the Perseid meteor showers before bedtime...it's amazing to see the meteors zipping across the sky over our forest.

We went to church this morning and brought home a big load of Singapore curry noodles from Ping's to microwave for supper, as cooking a proper meal would be impossible tonight. The prep for our painter is complete. By this time tomorrow, the kitchen should be finished and I can begin putting things away--the items I'm keeping, that is. I've tried very hard to thin out our possessions.

Hope you've had a pleasant week and weekend, wherever and however you might be spending it.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Saturday at the Coast with Lobsters

The presence of a visitor from away means that we could make the most of the nicest Saturday of the summmer (except for last Saturday when we had the wedding) and head for the coast.

We drove to Portsmouth and crossed the bridge to Kittery, Maine. A little way farther along the coast is Chauncey Creek and a wonderful waterside seafood restaurant.

We timed our arrivel to avoid crowds and succeeded so well that for the first 5 minutes we had the place to ourselves. Then it began to fill up quickly with family parties.

Looking up the creek...

...and down the creek, while waiting for our order.

We also visited the lobster tank.

We started with the awesome onion rings.

We didn't all order the same beverage.

We ordered exactly the same lunch--lobster rolls!

My lobster roll.

Oh, it was tasty!

Full of food, we returned to the Kittery shopping area, stopping at the Trading Post. My friend found the perfect zip-up sweatshirt jacket, with a Maine lobster on it.

These dogs were patiently and calmly waiting for their owners to finish shopping. My girls would have been pestering all the passers-by for attention, I'm sure.

We drove back to New Castle, paused at Ft. Constitution (where the American Revolution really began). Next stop was Rye, a lovely photo op--so many sailboats on the ocean! It was a perfect day for it.

Me and Mrs. Hamilton.

We can't quite figure out why neither of us can find similar photographs of us together as kids and as teens, but we doing our best to make up for it as adult. More to come!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Taking it Easy

My goodness, the girls have been busy. Many trips back and forth from the Lodge to the lake cottage and back, hosting a wedding, lots of long walks, some swimming, eating blueberries and huckleberries right off the bushes.

It's no wonder that they're in need of some quiet time.

Jewel is in resting mode on the back steps.

Ruth is pretty mellow, too.

They'd better make the most of this calm while they can. On Friday night a much anticipated visitor arrives from afar, one whom they see only once a year. Much more excitement and activity on the horizon!