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Archive for July 2013

Turkey Tracks: Gardens of Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse

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Turkey Tracks:  July 16, 2013

Sunday July 14 was the annual Georges Valley Land Trust Garden Tour:  “Gardens in the Watershed.”  It was such a treat to see this year’s seven gardens–each one special and wonderful.  So, come along with me for some of the highlights of the day.  I am listing each garden separately as there would be too, too many pictures otherwise.


Gardens of Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse


A few years ago, I noticed that someone up the hill was creating a whole lot of new gardens.

Over the years I slowed the car, complimented the tall, slender, dark-haired woman on her project, and waved.

Sunday I met her close up and enjoyed that meeting so much.  She has been watching a crow family over the last weeks as they raise their one chick.  We could hear him crying in the background for food from his parents  all the while we talked.

Tina Marriner is growing sunflowers for the market.  She will plant 15,000 sunflowers this year, of 39 different kinds.

They are spectacular, of course.  Here’s a bed of one kind–the house belongs to Tina’s neighbor across Howe Hill Road.

Marriner- Pearse 2

Here’s Tina herself in the volunteer tent:

Marriner, Tina

Here’s some sense of the scale of her sunflower gardens.  There are also beds behind me, including a huge round one filled with sunflowers just about to bloom.


There are lots of deer on Howe Hill.  Tina is using mothballs in small red cans mounted on sticks to discourage them:

Marriner-Pearse 4

Here’s a close-up of the arrangement:

Marriner-Pearse 5


To the left of these beds is a small pond.  Big fat frogs were sunning themselves on the surface.  The house is on the other side of the trees to the right.

Marriner-Pearse 3

Here’s the house–note the solar panels.  We’re seeing more and more of them up here in Maine.

Marriner-Pearse house

Here’s the gorgeous view from the house:

Marriner-Pearse 6

Look at how Tina is growing Sweet Peas–which are probably my all-time favorite flowers:  Plastic ribbed sheets hung with wire for the peas to climb.

Marriner-Pearse 7

What a treat to see this property.  Tina’s Facebook page is “Tina’s Cut Flowers” if you want to see what she’s up to.

Written by louisaenright

July 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Turkey Tracks: A Mouse in the House!

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Turkey Tracks:  July 16, 2013

A Mouse in the House!

A few weeks back, Maryann Enright and I opened the new little grill I bought this year only to find a very extensive mouse nest.

I had used the grill only a few nights earlier, so it always amazes me that a mouse can bring so much material into the grill in such a short time.

We cleaned out the grill and proceeded with dinner.

But a few days later, I realized I had a mouse in the house–a mouse that was traveling all over the house actually–and leaving evidence of its travels.

Off I went to get mouse traps.

Mouse Traps

OK, this job is one that John always did.  And it took me some time and a few scary “snaps” before I finally got one loaded.  It’s been years since I put set, empty mouse traps on our couches back in Virginia to discourage our Springer Spaniels from getting on them.  (That works really well, by the way.)

The next morning, the mouse was dead.

I dealt with that too.

And I reloaded as “where there is one, there is often a family…”

I caught  No No Penny next.  (My female rat terrier.)

She spent the next day plastered to my side like my shadow, having learned some new vocabulary words like “hot” and “bad.”

The lone mouse must have run into the house when the doors were open a lot from the kitchen work.  Or, the night we found the nest…

Written by louisaenright

July 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Turkey Tracks: The Georges Valley Land Trust Garden Tour

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Turkey Tracks:  July 16, 2013

The Georges Valley Land Trust Garden Tour:

“Gardens in the Watershed”

Sunday was the GVLT annual garden tour.

The gardens are always along the St. George River valley–which covers a big area.

Giovanna McCarthy and I headed out at 10 a.m., dressed for walking, for heat (hats), and with water and our lunches iced down in a cooler.  It was a beautiful day to explore gardens.

We started just up Howe Hill, where two gardens were located:  the gardens of Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse and the gardens of Eilene and Leonard Ames.  I’m going to do the gardens as separate entries, starting with my “up the hill” neighbors Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse.

We had lunch at Fernwood gardens, a nursery specializing in shade plant.  What a treat to see Fernwood in its new location.  i really enjoyed all the whimsical touches in their gardens.  But more on that later.

Giovanna and I ended the day by stopping by John’s ice cream on Route 3, above the St. George Lake state park.  That’s Giovanna, now hot and tired and ready for an ice cream.

John's Ice Cream

I got peach, and Giovanna got coconut–and boy did that coconut ice cream look good.  John’s ice cream is all homemade.  We each took home two quarts in the cooler.   My son Mike is bringing my two grandsons tomorrow, and they will all be delighted to see John’s ice cream in the freezer:  rocky road and butter pecan!

Turkey Tracks: 100 Watt Light Bulbs vs. (ugh!) CFLs

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Turkey Tracks:  July 15, 2013

100 Watt Light Bulbs vs. (ugh!) CFLs

I just bought 20 100-watt light bulbs on Amazon.

They are gone, gone here in Mid-Coast Maine.

I hate the new CFL bulbs.  They don’t have much light.  And it’s a weird feeling kind of light.

So, imagine my delight to see John Moody take on this subject in the Spring 2013 Wise Traditions, the journal of The Weston A. Price Foundation:  “Let There Be Dark:  Turning Off the Dangers of CFLs.”

John Moody is a Kentucky farmer with kids, a “beautiful wife,” chickens, a huge garden, and is an administrator for the Whole Life Buying Club and has written THE FOOD CLUB AND CO-OP HANDBOOK.  In other words, he’s a regular guy who just started poking around to learn about the new CFL lightbulbs that he, too, dislikes.

Moody notes that the phase-out of the incandescent bulbs (the 75 and 100-watts are virtually gone) has destroyed many American businesses.  The CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) is made in China.  And it was “known to have significant issues even before rollout.”

What issues? Oh, there are many.  We can go so far as to say we have been lied to and “managed” with regard to these bulbs.

The CFL bulbs contain mercury vapor–which is a real problem if you break one. 

Breaking one of these in a small closet is a real catastrophe!  “In the hour immediately after each breakage, the team recorded mercury gas concentrations near the bulb shards between 200-800 ug/m3.  For comparison, the average eight-hour occupational exposure limit allowed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is 100ug/m3” (http://www.nebi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2535642).

Moody notes that Wikipedia states the following:  “Compared to general-service incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power, and last eight to fifteen times longer.”  Moody notes that “unfortunately, researchers and reporters have shown that these claims are at times wildly false and inflated.”

CFLs do not produce the same amount of light–even after they warm up.  It takes two of them to equal the fire-power of the incandescent bulbs.  And they cost more–as much as FOUR TIMES more.  And, that’s the key to understanding why this change has occurred. 

Nor do they last eight to fifteen times longer than the incandescent bulbs.   The act of turning them on and off diminishes their lifespan.  And think how many times you go into a room and turn on and off the light switch before 10 minutes are up:  the bathroom, a closet, the kitchen for a drink, etc.  Only about two percent of these bulbs are recycled.

So, the CFL bulb doesn’t provide light, it takes 10 minutes to warm up to provide its inadequate light, it burns out with use, it’s FOUR TIMES more expensive, and it’s dangerous to dispose of safely.   Hmmmmm.  Do bear in mind this outcome is exactly how the so-called free market works when it is unfettered from the real needs of people and communities.  CFLs bring in more money.  Period. 

In addition, many people don’t like the light–they say it gives them headaches, causes eye strain, etc.  Turns out the coating on the bulb wears thin, which allows a harmful light that causes damage to eyes and skin.  In short, they are unhealthy. 

Amazon’s price is going up as the stock goes down.

Act now.

You might think about writing your congress people too.




Written by louisaenright

July 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: Margaret’s Rag Rugs

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Turkey Tracks:  July 15, 2013

Margaret’s Rag Rugs


Friend Margaret Rauenhorst just made the two prettiest rag rugs I’ve seen yet.

First, husband Ronald VanHeeswjik made her the hand-held loom–using the original stacked method, not the method that miters the corners which makes the loom totally flat and, we think, harder to handle.  They figured a way to make a stand that allows Margaret to prop it over a radiator as she wanted to stand to make the rugs.  Along the way, they made some other improvements in the loom and in the braiding that I think are really good.

Margaret collected her fabrics from Good Will, The Salvation Army, and local quilting stores with fabric on sale.  Just remember to choose fabrics that don’t ravel easily and that will wash and wear–that probably means cotton sheets, tablecloths, curtains, and the like.  (And wash everything you bring into the house to prevent bedbugs.)  Margaret divided her fabrics in half so that she could keep the rugs similar in color.

First before anything, look at these beauties:

Margaret's Two Rugs 2

The one on the left is made by banding the same colors; the one on the right is more of a herringbone pattern, where you keep switching colors when a color runs out.

Margaret's two rugs

I love the clear colors Margaret has used–the rugs shimmer in the light.  So pretty.  And of course Margaret checked with the bride to see what colors she and her groom liked together before collecting her fabric.

Here’s Margaret braiding/weaving on her loom.  Note how she’s using a dowel to separate the background strands–I like that idea a lot.

Margaret's rag rug frame

Here’s another improvement:  the side bars slip up and down until you get enough tension on them–and can slip all the way out if you are not careful to grip them when you lift the loom.  Ronald and Margaret solved this issue by drilling a hole in the bottom of each bar and attaching a clip that keeps the bar from sliding.  They’ve promised to drill mine when I finish with the rug that’s on the loom now–which will be a winter project for me maybe unless one of the kiddos or Tami gets interested.

Margaret's rag rug frame catch at bottom

As part of the wedding gift, Margaret put together a little book of all the “sayings” she said ran through her head about healthy marriages and relationships as she stood and braided.  She told me some of these one day when I went to see the first rug.  I thought them wonderful–and still think she should maybe do something more formal with that book.  (The bride loved it–how could she not?) Many of them speak to how lives get woven together as we live:  the bride and groom, of course.  But, also, Ronald, Margaret, and me as they took up this rag rug project.  And, of course, all the lives woven together on this blog.

I can pretty much bet that those two rugs will be with that bride and groom throughout their lives together.

What a gift–on so many levels!

Earlier entries on this blog give more information about a good rag-rug book and how to make the loom.  It’s pretty basic.

Written by louisaenright

July 15, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Turkey Tracks: Green Camden Hills Beauty: Thanks Bonnie Hunter

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Turkey Tracks:  July 13, 2013

Green Camden Hills Beauty:  Thanks Bonnie Hunter

Look at this beauty!

I think it’s one of the prettiest quilts I’ve ever made and its ALL from my green stash.

I saw Bonnie Hunter’s “Blue Ridge Beauty” in her ADVENTURES WITH LEADERS AND ENDERS and started piecing four-patch light and dark green patches as a “leader and ender” project fed into the machine when I needed to remove blocks from another project I was working on–that way, you never break your sewing thread and are working on two projects at once.  (You can read more about this method on Bonnie’s web page, www.quiltville.com.  You can get to her blog from the main site if you want to–and I have to say I love getting her posts.)

Green Camden Hills Beauty, 2

Of course, I had to piece some of the half-square triangles just to see how the block looked.  And then I had to see how multiple blocks were going to look.  Soon, I was piecing this quilt and NOT working on my original project.  I became, quickly, obsessed with this quilt.  And of course, I needed to sprinkle in some blocks that had green, yes, but also had some orange, some pink, and some blue.  They effect is very pleasing, as if there are polka dots scattered across the top.

It’s a BIG quilt–easily king size–and I didn’t make it quite as long as Bonnie did.  She took the pattern down one more row for the length.  I could make the quilt this wide since son Bryan helped me put four more feet into my long-arm–so now I have the full 12 feet.

Green Camden Hills Beauty

Here’s a close-up for you.  I quilted it with “Deb’s Swirls” in the big version.  (I smiled when I saw that Bonnie Hunter was also using this pantograph on her “Dancing Nines” project.)  I’ve later also gotten the medium version for smaller quilts.  It’s a very nice all-over swirling pattern.  I used a dark teal thread, which is pleasing to the eye I think.  We have such dark greens in our forests and on the hillsides in the spring–all mixed up with every shade of green imaginable.

Green Camden Hills Beauty blocks

Here’s a close-up of the border and a corner–that greenish stone-looking fabric has been hanging around my stash for years.  It’s PERFECT in this spot–echoing all our granite and rocky ledges on the Camden Hills–which are very old  mountains.

Green Camden Hills Borders

The back is all taken from my stash–which used up yards and yards of, again, green fabrics hanging around without a purpose.  I mixed in some orphan blocks that were going nowhere–and it all works really well for a scrappy quilts.  That saved me probably $80.  Or, used $80 that I’d already spent–however you want to think about it.  This backing works well for this scrappy quilt.

Green Camden Hills Beauty back

I pieced a line of the three-inch half-square triangle blocks to see what they might look like in a bar quilt.  They’re nice–and I might have gone that direction a year ago.  But after finding Bonnie Hunter’s work, I know there is a more complicated, complex way to use those blocks.  I’m piecing more of them as a leader ender project now…

Green Camden Hills Beauty back detail

This project has been so much fun for me!  And I really love this quilt.

Turkey Tracks: Greg Heath and Crew: Last Night

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Turkey Tracks:  July 12, 2013

Greg Heath and Crew:  Last Night

They came; they visited and saw our coast; they sailed; they flew home.

I picked them up a bit late from the boat–due to a time mix-up.  They were ready for warm showers and naps.  They were not hungry:  Captain Annie sent them home with full and happy bellies.

After dinner, just at dusk, we went down to Camden for an ice cream cone:

Greg and crew, ice cream

Here’s a picture of Greg and namesake “Also Greg” looking at our harbor from the “harbor green” that lies at the harbor’s head:

Greg and Also Gregory

Here’s what they’re viewing:

Greg and crew, Camden Harbor

They all got a good night’s sleep, and this morning dawned clear and blue.  We had breakfast on the deck, Greg mowed my lawn (yeah and thanks!!!!), and off we went to the airport.

Written by louisaenright

July 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm