Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kindle No Fires

The season of plenty is upon us.

Oh my, it's getting a bit dusty here ...Maine has grabbed ahold of me again, making me see all of the wildflowers and an earlier than what I'm use to- autumn.  We certainly lack the rain these days, but the colors and coolness and fruit ripening too soon on the vine...well, whew!!!  I have been busy taking it all in.  (That'd be the views and the fruit.)  And just to add a bit of a pickle to the large volume of going's on lately, myself and a small core group of history, farming, spiritual lovers are trying to restart and revamp a pre-civil war Grange hall.
....lest it rains.

Which, may I say- is very much to my liking, one of those labors of love I've gotten involved in.  The old building caused me to fall in love with it at first sight two years ago upon my first visit to Maine.  And now I've attended a few meetings, have actually been inside and felt the years embrace me.  The old place has no bathrooms except, except oh my yes, heaven to be found in a little two-holer out back.  His and Hers.  The building is exactly as it should be except it is not on the historical register...yet.  So for my winter work, I will be historian, interviewer, photographer AND part time traveler...oh, and one more hike in late September to Cutler Maine, once again.  I must see the views there, take the long way around- this time with a hiker friend.  All in all, I'd say I've got some experiencing to do, and you dear reader will be filled in on all the details coming soon.
(The bright yellow chairs over there...............................................>>>>>>>
caught my eye on a recent trip around the Bay of Fundy- marvelous yellow, bright seats sitting atop a rocky ridge and they said to me-"To sit one must first strive a bit...)

Enjoy these threshold days, these deeper hued, richer yellowed  fragrant last blossoms on the vine, sunny eyed sunflower times.  We know what waits to blanket us, all too soon to come...take care-
Busy bees can't decide between the intoxicating buckwheat or the deep red sunflowers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

the black with the blue


The world is busy with itself, creating more than destroying, loving more- I say, than hating...oil in places that keep the whole circle going, but there is a lube job going on- the oil spill that needed not ever be that should have been backed up with every viable back up system in place, with people at the ready to hold accountable every back up with more of a back up system.   I do hold accountable the BPs and the EPA and the governing authorities for not having those safeguards, from A to Z- protecting our oceans and seashores and human life and all of nature.  There is no reason in it- my Granny always said- to allow such things to happen.
  Ah, but the blackberries need picking...

And they are free...

For all...

To take...

While there is still time...

And nature is in it's place...

Safe and wild...

The Blackberry is on the vine, plump and full...

Thorny and oh so ready...

To be picked.

So with a sigh and a surrender, I will take up this bucket- this very homemade bucket and do all I can do today to be grateful for this wild freedom I know here in Maine, that I lay claim to.  And when I put my head down tonight, I will be thankful for the blackberry.  And I'll ask for only- more faith so that I may take the black with the blue, that I might not be so ladened with trouble that I cannot see the good here still, in this world.  I'll remember how it was to walk down that sunny road, dusty and desperate to fill a bucket full of goodness, freedom and all this and all that...free for the taking.  

 In the winter time, my sunny days remembered when others may forget- I will share the jars of jam.  And you might say-"Is it seedless?" and of course I will remark, "No, never...there is always a seed, no matter the process."  And in a way- you'll know what I mean and you won't mind anyway- the jam being free and good.  

And oil spills, being a thing of the past if all the cover ups convey all the lies in the truth...the powers that be will have us believe we were in a bind but the bigiwigs got us out of it by buying more bigwig bonanza, and people will quickly forget about BP and Blackberries and freedom...until those seeds sprout again.  

Take care-

Friday, August 13, 2010

12 states to get here

Watching the shooting stars last night gliding easily, invisibly edging out the dark...oh how I wondered.  And thought.  And recalled...

To infinity and beyond....
The last week of visiting and traveling with three young ladies to the beaches and mountains and fields aplenty of Maine.  That's three young ladies with Facebook pages mind you...meaning- little time for me to post to the blog.
There was bed swapping and cooking, cuddling, adventures!!!  Oh the week went too fast, the time spent- something of an eternal quality in all of it.  These girls, little girls I call them, have always called them...but oh how fast they have grown and evolved into "Amelia" of Earhart fame, "Bess" my own sweet, now redheaded child and "HK" the truly luminous imp who came to know me and I her through her mama, but now completely- I see her as her own, what a joy- this trio.  "HK" had never been to the ocean.  "Bess" became smitten with a pen-pal, holding hands and being beautiful in a way I had never seen before... and- "Amelia" the bold, brazen yet calmest of the three appeared also serene.  Each brought here their stories yet I suspect- each left here with an inkling of a life changing adventure into the heart of Maine while hand in hand into the heart core of young adults.  Wide eyed adventurers with texting ability, yikes!  I was so sure, so very mama-adult-assured-you'll-miss-so-much-while-keeping-tabs-on-the-memoryless-cell phones.  When I'm wrong, I back down.  When I'm right, I stand firmly on sure footed ground...these gals moved me, not so much back but very certainly over a bit.  While texting, talking, giggling, arguing,smiling- they truly saw it all and I, well- I looked too at what they saw.   And yes, I believed it all possible too, the anything goes of youth.  My little girls have wowed me, left me with more and less of concern for their paths.  They may not know completely where they're going (they took on 12 states to get here...my oh my, now that's another story altogether!) but I think they'll get there in the grandest style of their own choosing, my little girls so completely their own.

I miss that door creaking open and shut so much...they- often out on the deck, talking in their circles while under the great circle of sky and stars and wonder...did they take it all in, I wonder...  Did they believe so much in all they encountered or am I hopelessly, romantically dreaming they did and am affected  thus so- hmmmmm, hard to say.
I miss that bathroom brigade, make up artist and blow drying nonsense since the ocean's winds would discourage all that...

I miss the lumpy bumps on the Futon and in the Queen sized bed while the Big Fish and I hunkered down wherever a bed was free...sometimes caving in the old decrepit mattresses in the guest rooms, his old bones and mine- while the youthful ladies spent dreamlike hours upon the comfiest beds.

I miss gathering from the gardens all the fresh herbs and vittles fit for little Queens and paupers such as us too.

I miss most, now hear this- mostly I miss the laughter, the lightness of it all that floated here and there and all around for one week.
Rainbow end to end
My Illinois girls, Hk, Bess and Amelia- ahhhh, your wings so strong yet pliable like soft fresh feathers not yet fully formed.
Illinois Girls
Take care!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

in a pickle

Wanda Wood's Secret Elixir

Good morning, it is August already...but for this Illinois girl in Maine- it feels as though it is September... and September is the finest month ever made.
My garden is plum full of beautiful and wonderful and nourishing things...let me take you on a bit of a pictorial journey with me through a bounty day, and what to do, what to do- with it.

One should get a basket, preferably a homemade, recycled or dump picking treasure.  Place it in between the rows, get a feel for what should be included in it's innards.  Hmmmm....the beans are surely do for some dill and new potatoes but I can't pick too many of them just yet, Calais Farmer's Market Food Club members come first in the harvest there.

Then on to the heirlooms, the Italian Romanos or maybe perhaps the lovely Ruby Red Chard, alas- there are lovers out there of the single most reddest leafed vitamin K packed vegetable, no- I won't pick too much this day as there is one lady in line who is quite fond of all that I can grow for her.  With joy, I do.  Maybe I'll just pick a few leaves, for the vibrant colored veins running through it, to dress up some old drab Fordhook Giant type chard, although in it's crinkly, wrinkly way- it shares it's own fortifying beauty.

Oh the cukes...slicers and canners and European long, elegant eaters to boot.  Why yes, I believe it may be the pickers day for cucumbers.  The coolness of them, the shyness too...cucumbers are such bashful veggies in single digits, but let them spread out their vines and their community becomes a chorus of pickles ready for the canner! And it seems the good time has come finally for the dill, the loveliest of herbs to my eyes- to get what's coming to it- big fat pickles adorned with the crowns of mammoth dill heads.

From my far off land of veggie ville, I heard a tinkling...again, and again- what could it be?!  A bee buzzed, Etta was barking at a snake and I came back to reality- the phone was ringing.

"Terry, this is Foster- your blueberries are ready."               
"Oh my..."
"You said you'd take two boxes...are you ready for them?"

Blueberries, thought I, new berries to me.  I have never had the honor of dealing with fresh blue orbs of pure Maine...so of course I went to pick them up.  And it was only then, after using a wading pool to sort and wash and pick them all (approx. 40 lbs after all was said and done), that I realized that for three, no...make that four days, on the best of measures- I would not sleep.
I found myself in a pickle.
When it rains it pours, and cucumbers and berries don't mix usually- but for the next several days...well, they just better learn to get along.  I commenced to some serious canning people...two hands, four vegetables, one fruit and farmer's market to boot- I had better just get the old canner out and get to it.
And one must also prep well in advance with the utmost respect for sanitation and stuck caps on the bottom of the seriously hot pot that you cannot pry off, even with the best of hovering preservation angels around...no one can get the cap off the bottom, well- never in good time enough.
(Although canning frustrates me at times, I do not cuss...it is a sacred endeavor and I simply love doing it...labors of love must be handled kindly).  With somewhat neutrally gentle words such as:
"Are you freaking kidding me- shewah!"
"I-I-I-I-eeeeeeee......" that is me howling after waiting over thirty minutes for the jam to jell as it splattered on my, um....bosom.  It hurt like a fruitcake bomb.  (For lack of cussing...)

My highlight of the day, as it is always a highlight when I make

  Wanda Woods top secret cross your heart, stick a needle in your eye, holy-holy zucchini relish recipe

 The picture well above is her hand writing, I treasure this recipe as I used to grow, only for Wanda- soft yellow crookneck early summer squash (which truly aren't zukes) and help her can them.  For many years, she shared the relish with me...but never the recipe.  One year, she had to humble herself- which incidentally, she did with more grace and faith than anyone I have ever known or met since- and asked me to help her little independent soul, because she feared she no longer could get the rings on tight enough for proper sanitary canning.  I actually didn't receive the recipe until after she passed...and even then, I had to be a sleuth- first class mind you...and buy her cookbooks from her estate auction.  And inside, in her own hand- were these immortal and everlasting words-
"Real good & good keeper when opened...."
(in her little swirly way she initialed it-W.W)

So, in honor of the redeeming words of Wanda Wood, my blue eyed, blue souled neighbor- I vow to stay open.
(Even to future mass quantities of blackberries and sweet corn, which will probably happen in unison right about the time I should be saying, "AHHHHHHHHH....")

Take care-

(And as a PS~Grandma Hope's Stuffed Mango Peppers were also created, but that goes with me to my deathbed....if you're a Champaign quality kind of person, you might get some as the dearest gift I can give....)