Wednesday, August 07, 2019

An Epic Wildlife Encounter!

"Is that a Bear?"

On a recent fishing trip with the husband, we had caught our limit of brook trout and was headed home. It was a good day, but the fishing was slow. The walk in was mucky, sometimes up to my ankles in nasty goo. The water is always cold when you first step in for some wading. Most of the time over the knees.

I always carry my camera safely zipped in it's case and zipped again inside my Osprey backpack for safe keeping. If it's safe to carry it out of the case - no water crossings - and there's a chance of wildlife crossing our path I like to have it in my hand. 

It never came out until we were done fishing and even then it was a struggle to find anything all that inspiring to take a picture of.    
The scenery is less than spectacular for this particular location.

But you never know . . .

A butterfly was getting it's fill of pollen from pink flowers so tall I could barely get the lens above it. 

The clouds were in and out over the little meadow we had just fished.

Tom cleaned our fish. 

Then back in the backpack for safe keeping.
We walked back to the Jeep, through the same ankle deep (shoe-sucking) muck and over-grown trail, content the day could be counted a success.

Driving home will take us back past Harrington Lake towards the section of the Penobscot river where the white water rafters put in. Eventually a few glimpses of Mt. Katahdin will come into view again. The Appalachian Trail's 100 Mile Wilderness will spit through hikers back into civilization. We were almost there . . . 

We were at the top of a long downhill section of dirt road when we thought something crossed at the bottom. It looked like there may have been a Mama with baby in tow. 

Tom was suggesting bear; I was thinking moose. I picked up the camera sitting at my feet and zoomed in as far as 200mm would allow. It was still too far to tell. And then THAT little face in the first picture came into focus! I started snapping shots through the windshield and Tom came to a stop. In the middle of the road. He was still guessing bear with the naked eye, it was that far away at first.

I watched through the viewfinder as she pinned her ears back and ran straight up the side of the mountain at steady clip. Straight to us like she was on the best exploring adventure ever!

As she drew even to where we had come to a stop in the middle of the road, I quietly cracked the door open far enough to get one foot on the ground and get my head, an arm and my camera outside through the space above the hinges. And click, click, click . . .

Every time the shutter sounded her ears perked up and pointed at me; then they would relax back. She looked as if she might head on up the mountain to continue her run, but then the left ear tipped back towards Mama. She turned her neck until the rest of her body turned in the same direction and off she jogged back down the hill. 

Mama's calling me . . . 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

What's next on your list?

Stained Glass!

My "Happy Christmas ... Merry New Year ... 2019 Bucket List" wish was: 
I want to learn to do Stained Glass. 

I started researching what supplies were needed. Figuring all that out is almost more overwhelming than the actual doing.

In December I lucked out and found a couple in Vassalboro selling their stash. About an hour's drive each way. It had been stored in their barn since moving to a new house and she said "we didn't want to put an outrageous price on it ... we just want it gone."

The more I look through it the more "beyond thrilled" I am!

There was no soldering iron or cutter. But lots of glass, both in scraps and beautiful full sheets. Plus a glass grinder! 

I was a little afraid of the safety aspect of grinding glass. Until I put this long unused aquarium back into use! The grinder sits well inside of it and there's no chance of getting debris in the face.

All the scraps give me the freedom to experiment. Guilt free when there's an oops. There have been a few oops but it's really not as hard or scary as I thought! 

Books came home from the library (two I decided to buy after seeing) and lots of YouTube videos were viewed. A few of them should probably come with warning of what NOT to do.

My greenhouse will make a great place to hang stained glass. My first pieces will go the higher the better - so no one can see the beginner's work.

P.S. I started a new Sheep to Shawl project. May have to over-dye it when I'm finished as a lot of the inner skein barely took the dye for the more solid tones I was going for.

We'll see what happens!

Not Before the Snow Came . . .

but it's a Greenhouse!

How did I not update the greenhouse progress?

Winter came early this year and eventually running 4 extension cords across the ground from the house became problematic.

The project grew and changed as it went along.

As did I.

Power tools are not so scary.
Except table saws. Still a little petrified of them!

I love building things with wood!
Busy now trying to get enough shelves built for growing things on - to fit the randomness of the window placements.

It's still a work in progress on the inside. Waiting for the cold to loosen it's grip so my unheated space can be put to use.

Can't wait to see what the spring holds.
Hope it comes early, too!

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Rafters were joined.

Nephew Kyle took an interest in building and planted himself on the scaffolding. I feared for its sturdiness whenever he and his dad were near the middle at the same time.

For my birthday we decided I really wanted a miter saw that would cut boards thicker than a 2x4. After my spinning wheel, the Ryobi Compound Miter Saw might be my favorite impulse buying decision ever. 

I want to build all the things. 

I cut everything myself until the rafters. My brother's knowledge has gotten this project looking for real! He took over determining the angle of the cuts needed and it went faster with me just setting everything up before he got here and making sure anything needed was right at hand. 

Soon. Windows will be put in their rightful place. Looking forward to that so much I almost put some in on my own. Fear of breaking them needlessly seemed a good enough reason to take the few I had propped up along a wall back out to the waiting stacks. 

I still see windows on the side of the road for free and feel nearly compelled to keep gathering. Only very wonderful offerings will be considered. Hoarding is a thing that should be controlled . . . at least a bit!

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Twelve Birches

How selling birch trees turned into a greenhouse . . .

It all started 2 years ago when an employee on his way to work at Evergreen Farms in Swanville noticed the really *white birch trees sprouting up in our field. 

The field was sadly filling in from lack of use after the farmer who had been renting it became ill. I tried removing saplings as they sprouted each spring but eventually they overtook my efforts. 

So I started pruning the orderly rows of birches that were determined to take root along the last plowed lines from when the farmer left it.

Last year the nursery owner stopped in and asked to buy 6 of the birch trees to put on a ferry and haul across to an island where the landowner wished them.

This year he showed up with a crew and asked how would I like to sell 12 - 15 more? Umm. Sure. Things went much faster this year and within a couple of weeks the semi backed in for the first half. They chose 12 in the end.

Last year I used the extra money for kayak supplies. A roof rack and a new life jacket suitable for kayaking.

This year I decided to use up the lumber and windows we seemed to be stockpiling for "something" and build a greenhouse with this "extra" money.

It's coming along! I designed all the walls around the windows we had, I found for free on trash day. A few came from the Restore. My brother and his boys helped us get walls standing. The walls were finished with stronger headers and the center ridge beam went up last weekend. 
Hopefully rafters this weekend!

*Actually they are the whitest grey birch trees the nursery owner said he had ever seen and they are more resistant to problems, so talked the rich landowner into this excellent deal. I may need to sell a few more if this project costs much more!

There was a rainbow yesterday while Tom was staining the (very high) center beam and supports for me.

Friday, November 10, 2017

This is just a test!

Trying to figure out if pictures I edit actually get saved correctly or if I'm overwriting the original.  I'm not... but the Nikon ViewNX-i software has me scratching my head while I'm using it more often than not!

Except I thought this one got overwritten while I was in the program.
And I didn't know how or why... I guess not. Putting them here on my blog has been the only way I've figured out how to tell for sure, so far. Trust the number sequences?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017



This may take a few more tutorials on photo editing! 
Maybe a class if I can find one. 
Or at least a lot more practice...

Not sure I like what the color boost - or which ever sliders I moved - did to this one. 
(Bottom photo edited.)

Last year I watched this sunset from a camp we had the wonderful good fortune to use for several long weekends. It's for sale now and if I had an extra $170,000 I know where I'd be for most of the year.  

Mt Katahdin. 

Sara wants a large canvas made from one of my pictures and I'm planning to pick out enough for a calendar.  

The Lost File...

Another editing experiment...

Perhaps a little too much color boost? :)
I was trying to get the colors back for the too-dark trees along the coastline. This learning curve may be a steep climb!

Experiment in Editing Pictures

Nikon's free ViewNX-i Software

I don't particularly enjoy editing the photos I've taken - beyond picking the better ones as they come out of the camera to share on Facebook or my blog.
I've only ordered a couple of batches printed so far, with framing a few in mind. I've not yet pounded a nail in the wall to hang them up! 
I had one moose picture put on canvas but it came out a little too green. I feel like editing would have helped, but it looks fine on the laptop screen so maybe it's a symptom of canvas printing.  Will try again.

In this digital age we live in, we have the luxury of taking LOTS of pictures - with the hope some of them will be goodI love playing "Guess how many pictures I took today!" with family members, although most of them have caught on to how high they need to guess now. 

Above is an original and the edited version with a little more oomph! I tried to be cautious with the sliders. I'm fairly satisfied with the changes. My first effort using another picture seems to be hiding ...wherever the computer/software put it?

I'm not really interested in "artistically" editing pictures to the point that they no longer look like what I saw through the viewfinder. But I can usually tell when a picture needs some help. The pictures that REALLY need some help are generally still sitting in a file folder, probably never to be seen again. 

The biggest problem with editing software - aside from cost - seems to be getting past the learning curve of how to use it. My goal is to get over the fear (and basic laziness) of learning a little bit about how to use Nikon's free software. My plan was to purchase Lightroom but it is changing to monthly subscription service, of which I'm not interested. For now it seems like time to experiment more with this free version and just see how it goes. 
Probably need to watch some more YouTube tutorials to figure out how it works!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Back to the Edge of America!

Creatures of Habit

We drove along Route 9 to Route 1, towards Calais for leaf peeking and a little unwinding. 

It seems we took much the same path in October of 2009

The weather forecast promised a mostly cloudy day and that's pretty much what we got.

Road construction kept cars in single file right past the best scenic turnouts along Route 9, although the view was fairly unchanged from the pictures I took back then. 

I had high hopes of finding lots of Letterboxes along the way but we only managed to log in 2 successfully. 

The little park overlooking the bay with the lighthouse was the nicer of the two. 

We drove to the entrance of Cobscook Bay State Park  on impulse. We noticed a nature trail as we pulled into a parking space but the attendant came running over and wanted $8 even though the trail head was outside of his gate. 

We got back in the jeep and drove down the road to explore a little more.

Happened upon a public boat launch. 

The photo opportunities were wonderful. 

And free. 

(Although Tom would have qualified for a free day pass as a new senior citizen, had we known.)

We really didn't have time to walk the mile or two of trails since our dog was home alone for the day. 

We still managed to miss the "short cut" back to Route 9 and took the long way home.

The rock painted with political commentary in the bottom picture was found on the picnic table. 

I had stuffed Attitude Monkey in my pocket with the promise of an adventure photo since he hadn't made it past the railing above the glove compartment since being deposited in the Jeep as mascot. 

Almost forgot to take him out of my pocket when Tom handed me the "collectible art".  It's signed MAINE at the bottom. I wonder if there's more floating around in other states.

Can I keep it? 
Keeping it!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Funny you should ask!

"Are you knitting anything these days?"

I was going to title this post 'Never Not Knitting' but that's owned by someone and they're probably sensitive as to how others use the phrase. 

But it's accurate. 

Or more to the point: Never Not Waiting. Lots of waiting room visits with my parents, so I need something to do!
I would like to say I knit to stay sane but this summer's obsession with the Jacobus Monkey pattern might question my claim to sanity. 

I made a bunch of them! 

They became my take-a-long project because once you get the face done the arms, legs and tail are mindless round and round knitting, only requiring you count rows and at some point recognize you've gone on long enough. 

And I kept knitting them!
And then I decided to try them on size 000, 0, 1 and 1.5. 

I also quilted! Or I should say: I pulled out a nearly finished UFO quilt-as-you-go project and FINISHED IT!

(And then I started another monkey :) 

Most recently I have been working on new felted slippers. Because winter will come. And they either wear out or my knucklehead dog thinks chewing on them is fitting punishment for being ignored.