Thursday, May 26, 2011

What a Week!

There's been a lot of avian excitement around here this past week.

We've been able to keep the bedroom window open at night recently (while snuggled under a blanket and a comforter) and have thrilled to the tremolo and wail calls of the common loon. They're two of my favorite sounds in the whole world.

I was driving alongside a lake last Sunday afternoon and spotted a coal-black bird with brilliant spots of bright color on each shoulder, flying low over the water and headed straight towards first red-winged blackbird! Then, lo and behold, a few days later I spotted one in our forsythia bush.

Caught a glimpse of the first hummingbird of the season at our feeder this week. It was a brief encounter, but I'm excited to know they're back.

And then this beautiful guy turned up at the feeder as well...which unfortunately is not suited to his dietary needs. MaggieRaye made an interesting discovery...squirrels eschew the bread crumbs that delight songbirds like the goldfinch, so I'm going to give it a try and see if I can lure them back without having to re-implement my squirrel relocation program.

This afternoon held two great surprises. I was walking by the windows at the back of the house and saw, out of the corner of my eye, a rather plain dark gray bird hopping around our backyard. I started to ignore him, as I am wont to do, but I stopped and turned around for a second look, just to see if I was missing something interesting. I was: the beautiful iridescent blue head of a common grackle.

A short while later I spotted a family of geese in our side yard, complete with three little ones. I spent close to an hour kneeling beside my bedroom window with the camera, trying to get a good shot through the screen. :)

Thanks, MaggieRaye, for helping me see the beauty of stopping, looking and listening more mindfully.

Please click on the links for photo credits. I took the last photograph, but I bet you already knew that. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

I've Done Good, Haven't I?

While I've been trying to be discreet about the number of grandbaby pics posted here, I've been unashamedly mooning over them at home.

This little beauty sits right by my desk and I've glanced at these exquisite pictures dozens of times (if not hundreds) and lingered over them almost as many.

This beautiful frame was a birthday gift from our friends Lois and Jim. The pictures are from Charlotte photographer extraordinaire Cheyenne Schultz...I borrowed them from her blog temporarily until I receive originals to replace them. Cheyenne, if that's unethical please forgive me! It's honestly not a bribe for me to say that they're two of the best pictures I've ever seen...they are heartbreakingly precious to me.

And not to be outdone by mere copies,
my dear friends
is the
real deal.

Talk about heartbreakingly precious.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bathtub Clues

Apparently his logbook isn't the only thing Jed remembers about letterboxing...he's been working on codes and clues lately too.

This one in the bathtub was beyond my comprehension, even with the hints he gave me. They include:

1. The colors of the letters are meaningful, not the letters themselves.

2. It's one of his favorite lunches.

Since this particular favorite lunch is his creation, it's not likely anyone else is going to figure it out either. But just in case you're itching for a challenge, there will be a generous reward for the brilliant soul that gets it.

Monday, May 16, 2011


The long-awaited return of my postal letterbox reignited my long-latent passion for letterboxing.

We just broke a 3 year hiatus!

There weren't many letterboxes planted in the area of Maine we first moved to, and of the few that were there, we didn't have much luck actually finding them. We also didn't have much luck connecting with other letterboxers in the area, and as I discourage easily, that was pretty much the end of that.

Until now.

When I thought about giving it another try, it dawned on me that there might be quite a few more letterboxes in the area we're living in now, because of its proximity to the coast and tourists. Sure enough, I was right. :)

Our first adventure so far has been practically right in our own neighborhood, and the stats are good: 2 for 2, and we picked up 2 hitchhikers as well. The best part, though, has nothing to do with the's Jed's logbook that I'm really excited about.

Jed's Aunt Melody and her girls made him a logbook for Christmas in 2008. Unfortunately, that was the year we had given up, so the book has sat unused for three years. Jed actually remembered it, though, when we told him we were heading out recently, and he had a good time stamping in it for the first time.

The exciting thing is that he had a good time writing in it...mostly because it's the first time he's had a good time writing anything. I've been struggling with that in our school time, trying to find subjects that would interest him enough to write a little about.

I think we found his passion too. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Welcome Home!

I recently had the delightful pleasure of welcoming home my Favorite Music postal letterbox after 4 years in circulation. I can't tell you how excited I was to see it again!

We started letterboxing 6 years ago in Missouri, and this postal letterbox ring was created just a few months before we left Missouri to live in Maine. The premise was to create a letterbox based on our favorite music, and include a CD sample of it as a way of introducing it to the others in the ring. I listened to lots of music I probably wouldn't have ever heard of otherwise, and I enjoyed all of it because of the personal connection. Even the Grateful Dead. :)

I sewed the pouches that hold the logbook and the stamp with leather reclaimed from a coat I inherited from my great uncle years ago. It is soft and worn to perfection.

The logbook is a piano hinge book covered with textured paper and painted with Lumiere's metallic acrylic paints.

The inside cover holds the CD which was burned with 8 tracks from Caedmon's Call's album "In the Company of Angels." I used alcohol inks to dye the CD and adhered a print of the stamp image to the first page.

This is the inner, smaller pouch which holds the stamp.

The stamped image is glued onto the wood block which backs the rubber stamp.

The stamp has to be carved in reverse, which is hard enough without all these intricate lines. :)

I found this design on the Caedmon's Call website and modified it slightly for my stamp image. The carving is nowhere near perfect, but it's by far the hardest one I've attempted to date.

Cædmon’s Call attributes its unusual name to Cædmon, acknowledged as the earliest (7th century) known English poet. An Anglo-Saxon monastery herdsman, he never participated in his fellow herdsmen’s communal feasting and singing, citing his ignorance of “the art of song.” While asleep one night, he had a dream in which he was asked to sing principium creaturarum, "the beginning of created things." After initially refusing, Cædmon wrote a short poem praising God as the creator of heaven and earth. Upon awakening the next morning, he remembered everything he had sung in his dream and added additional lines to his poem.

This was the beginning of what many considered to be a call to a miraculous gift; Cædmon went on to become a prolific religious poet, widely regarded as divinely inspired. Drawing on this inspiration, the group’s music is a blend of folk, celtic and alternative...but the lyrics are the best part of their songs.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On the Pond

While we were out Sunday afternoon, we paddled upstream to the end of the pond beside our house and got out to hike a bit.

It was hard to keep Jed away from the water, though.

It doesn't look much like spring in these pictures, does it? And right now, it doesn't feel much like it either...a cold front moved in this afternoon and we're back into the 40s.

But I can hear the peepers as I type...that makes me know it really is spring, even if they're the only sign we have at the moment.

Monday, May 02, 2011

More Signs of Spring

Birches are my favorite sort of tree, mostly because of their gorgeous bark. Finding a good-sized sheet of birch bark was a fun surprise on our hike yesterday. I think that's the beginning of a little burl attached to it, maybe?

Whatever it is, it makes a nice little conversation piece. Not that I know anyone who likes to talk about birch bark...but you never know. ;)

I was shocked to see what the moles did to our yard over the winter. I can't for the life of me figure out how it is even possible for them to dig in frozen ground.

They're starting to catch up to the status of squirrels in my opinion.

The weather was nice enough by the end of last week to get our little deck set up for the summer. I can't wait to hear the wind chimes through open windows.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

May Day

It's been a long time coming and it's got a long ways to go, but spring is finally arriving in Maine.

These forsythia bushes in our yard just started blooming three days ago. It's incredible how quickly things change this time of year!

We took the kayaks out today for the first time and reveled in the sunshine and signs of spring popping up in the woods.

I wish I knew what kind of flower this is...they were everywhere we walked.

And so were these cute little berries.
Time to do some research.