Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Archive for July 2013

Turkey Tracks: Gardens of Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse

with one comment

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!

with one comment

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

with one comment

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

with one comment

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

with one comment

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

with 2 comments

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

with one comment

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

Turkey Tracks: Gregory Heath Visits Maine

with 2 comments

Turkey Tracks:  July 9th, 2013

Gregory Heath Visits Maine

My brother-in-law Gregory Heath arrived in Maine Saturday morning shepherding his nephew “Also Gregory” Heath (18) and his granddaughter Fiona Whittle (12) for their first look at Maine and their first sail on a windjammer, the J&E Riggin, our family’s favorite.  Absent was Greg’s granddaughter Emma Bryan Booker (almost 14), daughter of Catherine Heath Booker (deceased) and Jay Booker.  Amie Price, who has momentary legal primary custody of Emma, refused to let her come two days before departure, though she gave permission for this trip earlier and though Greg had paid already for all of Emma’s travel and for the Riggin.

Fiona and Emma are my grandnieces, and Catherine, Emma’s mother, was my godchild and someone I loved dearly and miss dearly.  If you read my initial essays on this blog, you will see that Catherine’s death is how I got to Maine in the first place.  (Life is short and then you die, so you’ve got to live every minute fully and with joy, which for me came to involve moving to Maine.)  In the short year of Catherine’s terrible cancer, I spent every minute I could with her, often sleeping in the hospital room with her for a week at the time.  We all worked together to never leave her alone in that year, and she tried everything possible so she could stay with Emma, who was just a little over a year old when Catherine’s cancer appeared, and Jay.  Catherine and Jay were not yet thirty when this tragedy occurred:  Catherine died at 27 years old.  You can tell by now that I’m not going to “play nice” about Amie’s cruelty to Catherine’s daughter, to Catherine’s family.

I collected the “crew” from the Owl’s Head airport around noon on Saturday.  “Also Gregory’s” comment:  “I’ve never been in such a small airport.”  We went directly to the Owl’s Head General Store for “the best hamburger in Maine,” appropriately called “the seven napkin hamburger.”  We took our food to the nearby Owl’s Head Lighthouse park for a picnic overlooking Penobscot Bay and some of its gorgeous islands.  Along the way we passed a working lobster harbor and wharf’s, which was filled with lobster boats which had returned from their early morning lobster trips.

After lunch we toured the Owl’s Head lighthouse grounds and admired the water and harbor views.  Owl’s Head sticks way out into the bay and from it, you can see a lot of the coastline, the nearby islands, and all kinds of boats in motion.

Greg's crew, Owl's Head

It was HOT, HOT, and humid.  So we headed to my home, donned swimming suits, and went for a swim at Shirttail point, which is on the Megunticook River–which was once lined with dams and mills.

We had a fabulous dinner, which we all helped to cook.  Fiona and I made a green salad from all our local fresh ingredients, including roasted beets and goat cheese–and dressed with a mustardy dressing made with my own garlic.  (In my world, there is no such thing as too much garlic.)  My pictures of the two salads are blurry, blurry, but I’m showing them just so you can get some idea of what we made.

Greg's crew, salad

We also made a potato salad using locally grown purple potatoes (full of nutrients), homemade mayo, and boiled eggs from my chickens.  We added in my herbs and local scallions liberally to everything.

Greg's crew, purplel potato salad

Meanwhile, Greg and Also Greg were cooking steaks:

Greg's Crew, cooking steaks

Greg's crew, steaks

The steaks could be topped with my basil/garlic oil, which I make in the summer and freeze in small containers and enjoy all year on meat, in soups, in salad dressings:

Greg's crew, basil oil


Off and on all that first afternoon, Greg set about helping me with some household chores that had gotten away from me–especially with all the rain.  Among those chores was the sweeping of all the decks and cleaning the glass-topped table and chairs.  Look how it shines!

Greg's crew, clean table

We ate our breakfast out here on Sunday morning:  blueberry fiddle cakes, real butter, real maple syrup, my blueberry jam, almond butter, strawberries from my garden, and cantaloupe.  Afterwards we put on our bathing suits under our clothes and went to Mt. Battie.

Greg's crew, Mt. Battie

Greg's crew, Mt. Battie 2

Here’s part of the view from this point.  That’s Owl’s Head sticking way out at the top of the coastline you can see.  Camden Town is the beautiful harbor you see in the center.

Greg's crew, Mt. Battie View

Next we walked along the mountain top to the tower which was built after WWI.  Prior to the tower, an inn sat on this site.  Carriage trails up the mountain led to it–and they are now hiking trails.  The inn burned at some point.

Greg's crew, Mt. Battie tower

Here’s the crew at the top of the tower:

Greg's crew, atop the tower

And here’s one part of their 350 degree view–which looks out to Bald Mountain and Howe Hill where my house is.

Greg's crew, Mt. Battie tower view

The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay grew up in Camden and once recited the poem “Renaissance” to the Camden Ladies Club at the Whitehall Inn.  One of the women saw to it that Millay went to college afterwards.  Millay used to hike up to Mt. Battie and created the first lines of the poem there.  Here’s the plaque that lies near the tower, featuring the opening lines of the poem:

Greg's crew, Millay poem

All I could see from where I stood

Was three long mountains and a wood.

I turned and looked another way

And saw three islands in a bay.

So with my eyes traced the line

Of the horizon thin and fine

Straight around till I was come

Back to where I’d started from.

And all I saw from where I stood

Was three mountains and a wood.

Again, we were HOT, HOT, so we headed to Fernald’s Neck–a preserve–for a swim.  We hiked this path through the conifers–about 1/4 of a mile–to Balance Rock and the sunny ledges where it’s lovely to swim:

Greg's crew, Fernald's neck path

Fiona was always the first one into the water in both swimming events.  She was fearless and stayed until we had to go.

Greg's crew, Fiona at Fiona's Rock

Our mountains are very, very old and worn–so they seem to be more like big hills.

Greg's crew, Fernald's neck

We swam and sunned for some time–and it was glorious and joyful.

Here’s the crew at Balance Rock–a huge boulder left by the retreating glaciers that scoured the surface of Maine, leaving all the depressions that turned into our many, many lakes.

Greg's crew, Balance Rock

At home, we had a lunch of our leftovers–on the shiny clean table–and the crew dispersed to get ready to go to the J&E Riggin.

When we got there, I was so happy to see Captains Jon and Annie that I didn’t take a single picture.  Captain Jon oriented the passengers on the boat and then we were free to go out to dinner and to see a little of Rockland, which is a charming place filled with art galleries and clever stores.

Greg treated us to dinner at Cafe Miranda–which is a very fun place that has very fun food.

Greg's crew, Cafe Miranda

And now, the crew is out on the bay sailing.  I hope that they are having a good time.  The weather is mixed–and has cooled way off.  I sent them with all my rain gear–I had two sets–so at least two of them are covered.  I’ve been on the Riggin in all kinds of weather and it’s always been fun.

Here’s the Riggin under sail.  She’s big and fast and very stable.

If you search on “images” and “J&E Riggin” you’ll get a page of pictures of what the boat looks like from a lot of different angles.  And, of Captains Jon and Annie.  By the way, Annie has published two cookbooks and has a great blog where she posts lots of recipes.

I will pick them up on Thursday morning.  And we will spend some time in Camden and, weather permitting, will swim.

They fly back to DC on Friday morning, and I miss them already.

Turkey Tracks: “Windows on the World” Quilt

with 2 comments

Turkey Tracks:  July 8, 2013

“Windows on the World” Quilt

We’ve had cool weather mostly up here in Maine this summer.  Yes, we’ve had a few really hot, humid, unpleasant days, but on balance, it’s been cool.  Of course we always say that we don’t get summer until July 4th up here, so maybe we’re right on schedule.

Anyway, I found myself pulling out this quilt at night.


Windows on the World

I was finishing it up when John and I made our first trip to Maine at just this time frame in 2003.  He loved this quilt, so I gave it to him.  He picked out the border fabrics.  We moved into our home here in June 2004, so this June marks the beginning of my tenth year here.  The time seems to have flown by so fast.

I won the little house blocks back in Falls Church, Virginia, in a “block-of-the-month” draw.  You made that month’s selected block, and your name went into the pot however many times the number of blocks you made.

Here are some close-ups of the blocks:

Windows on the World red block

And–you can see I made some of them “fuzzy” with embellishing some texture into the block’s flatness.  And, in places, hand quilted with embroidery thread with big stitches.

Windows on the World fuzzy blocki


Windows on the World blocks

Here’s the backing and binding:

Windows on the World backing and binding

And here it is folded on the end of the bed.  It’s not a large quilt–more of a lap size–but it does cover one at night.

Windows on the World, folded

It’s holding up well…

The down side of a “block-of-the-month” program is that many people do not make their blocks with an accurate 1/4 seams–so the blocks can vary in size.  If you are “off” a sliver for each block, by the time you sew them together, you can be “off” rather a lot–and the quilt will never lie flat.   Using sashing strategies can let you sliver trim so all your blocks are the same size.  Trust me when I tell you that this lesson was a hard-learned one for me.  You can’t “iron out” the differences…

There is a more elaborate house quilt in my future–made with blueberry fabrics I have collected up here in Maine.



Written by louisaenright

July 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Turkey Tracks: What’s Happening To The Atlantic Puffin?

leave a comment »

Turkey Tracks:  July 8, 2013

What’s Happening To The Atlantic Puffin?

Aren’t they cute?


They’re dying.

A story in The Washington Post (1 July 2013, C10) shares that the remaining puffins in Maine, about 2000, are starving to death as the fish they eat are moving away from the warm temps now present off the coast of Maine.

I dropped off brother-in-law Greg Heath, his nephew Gregory Heath, and his granddaughter Fiona Whittle (and my grandniece) at the windjammer J&E Riggin yesterday for a four-day sail.  Captain Jon Finger said the temperature on the harbor entrance buoy was 72 degrees.  Can I just say that that is shocking.  The “normal” temp would be in the 50s range…  And up until a few days ago, we’ve had very cool weather up here in Mid-Coast Maine.

Puffins are not the only seabirds in danger.

Here are more images if you feel so inclined.


Google Image Result for http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Atlantic_Puffin_Latrabjarg_Iceland_05c.jpg.


Written by louisaenright

July 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm