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Mainely Tipping Points

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Turkey Tracks: It Feels Like Spring: February 2016

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Turkey Tracks:  February 22, 2016

It Feels Like Spring:  February 2016

Temps have soared up here in Maine.  In places over this week, some temps will be close to 60 degrees.

I have daffodils coming up through snow patches.

We are to get two days of rain again this week.

Is winter over?

Hard to tell.  We usually get some spring snows, even into April.  But it has just not been a cold, snowy winter this year.

I have been hard at work on so many quilt projects–each and every one a joy to produce.  And more on that later.

Yesterday I took down the Christmas wreath and installed this lovely thing:

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How fun is that???

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I have another bare branch wreath that I also love.  It lives in the garage in the winter.  I’ll find another spot for it for right now.  Or, rotate it “in” later in the year.

 

Written by louisaenright

February 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Turkey Tracks: Windjammer Angelique

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Turkey Tracks:  September 24, 2014

Windjammer Angelique

 

I almost forgot this little video of the ketch Angelique, who, on our last night, joined much of the windjammer fleet in Rockland, Maine’s, south harbor.

She came right across our bow, so we had a great look at her dropping her foresails and gliding into her chosen anchor spot.

One of the really joyful things about sailing on the windjammers is seeing the other windjammers out on the water.  They are like large graceful birds in motion.

John took a gorgeous picture of the Angelique taken during the windjammer races many years ago.  I reframed these pictures this past winter.

 

She dropped her sails just after I stopped recording.  But I got this shot:

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Written by louisaenright

September 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Turkey Tracks: Flower Pots and Arsenic in Well Water

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Turkey Tracks:  July 11, 2014

Flower Pots and Arsenic in Well Water

 

I have well water.

I love it.  The taste is terrific.

But, the arsenic levels have always been borderline in our regular tests–and so I decided it was time to get it out.

I say borderline as the water is right at the edge of the state mandates.  BUT, those mandates are probably too high, and we know now that very small quantities of chemicals can have a big impact.  Also, the state levels are–and again this is an ongoing problem in this country–a political decision, not a scientific one.  Lower the mandate, and a lot of people would have to filter their water, which means lots of $$$$ and lost votes and charges of “big brother.”

The new system went in yesterday.  Good heavens!!  Look at this!!!

I could have chosen to get out “most” of the arsenic, but decided if I were going to do it, I’d get it all.  Getting it all required two separate filtering systems–one for each kind of arsenic.  (There are two different kinds of arsenic and each must be treated differently.)

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Haskell’s Water Treatment, Inc., were recommended by Mark’s Appliance as “they will do what you need and will not try to sell you what you don’t need.”  That’s a pretty good recommendation from people who would know.

 

* * *

The flower pots I planted are so pretty these days.

Take a look–see also the Annabelle hydrangeas, which are just turning white now.

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Annabelles die back totally into the dirt each winter, and it always amazes me that they come back from seemingly nothing to put on such a show.

Here’s the pot that sits on the wall that is, now, rotten and will be replaced in the next few weeks–with materials that will take our winter better.

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On the front porch, the Lantana in the pot on the right is gearing up.  I really like the pink-tinged ivy in the big pot too.  The raspberries in the background are just starting to produce fruit.

 

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Here’s a view down the front porch.  It’s so pretty.

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The day lilies are awesome this year.  (Thank you Tom Jackson Landscape.)

Hope’s Edge, my CSA, is in full swing.  Last week was the first strawberry week.  Here’s Farmer Tom laughing as I sample one of the strawberries I picked.

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There were enough strawberries left this week to get one more quart.  These are tiny and so incredibly sweet.  The smell and taste like some exotic perfume.

When I think that so few people any more will get to taste strawberries like these, I want to cry.  You have to know an organic farmer or grow your own with all the right amendments in place.

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My own home patch of strawberries had a banner year.  I think I picked the last of my berries yesterday.  I have at least six half-gallon bags frozen now.

 

The garlic scapes are lush this year.  I made a soup with some of the heads and chopped and froze the rest to add savoryness to soups and stews.

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I’m reading Kate Morton’s THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN at night.

I just finished the audio book MERLE’S DOOR, Ted Kerasote, and really enjoyed it.  If you are a dog lover or like to hear tales of living in places like Wyoming, with all its wilderness and grandeur, this is a book for you.

I just started an audio book called IN THE MOON OF RED PONIES, James Lee Burke.   Don’t ask me why.  It was available on the library audio books list.  The beginning is interesting…

And, there’s Michael Pollen’s COOKED in the mornings.

Life is good these days…

 

 

 

Turkey Tracks: My Bowl Runneth Over

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Turkey Tracks:  June 29, 2014

My Bowl Runneth Over

My strawberries are coming in!

Here’s the first day’s pick–Friday.  Something over two quarts.  The bowl is large.

These berries are, if I remember right, called “Sparkle” and are renowned for their taste.

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The second day was even bigger.  I took a bigger bowl out to the garden.  Got around three quarts.

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Today, Sunday, a smaller pick, but the berries are still large, and the bushes are loaded with developing strawberries that are still green.

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I also cut the garlic scapes (delicious!) and will make a soup with them.  I made a chicken bone broth over the past two days.  And, I picked the heads off of each of the broccoli plants–now they will bush out and grow more heads.  Or so I hope.

Our first CSA pickup out at Hope’s Edge was last Friday.  We got the loveliest sack full of lettuce, greens, herbs, green onions AND three pounds of wintered-over potatoes–a tasty treat.  Get out the duck fat for frying some up!

It’s swimming HOT today.  But not so humid.  It’s the first solid summer heat we’ve had.

Yeah Summer!

Written by louisaenright

June 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: Beaver Dam 2014

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Turkey Tracks:  May 16, 2014

Beaver Dam 2014

Camden, Maine

 

I put up a video of the beaver dam just below my house about a year ago.

Here’s a little video showing how this dam has developed over the past year.  What used to be a stream is now forming into a small pond.

 

Also, the fall after we moved to Maine in June 2004, I planted a lot of daffodils around the property.  They have done the best in the little postage stamp meadow below my house.  They are naturalizing so nicely.  This year was the best yet.  (Clearly the camera focused on the trees, but you get the idea here anyway.)

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Written by louisaenright

May 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Turkey Tracks: House Projects

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Turkey Tracks:  May 12, 2014

House Projects

 

With spring, I’ve sprung into house projects–with a lot of really good, cheerful, help.

First, Stephen Pennoyer replaced the rainguard over the front door.  Isn’t it nice?

It’s pitched to run rain off into the garden.

I would be way too embarrassed to show you what lived there before now…

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Stephen has now finished the new fence panels that hide the propane tanks and generator.  (See the garlic up in the garden?  And the strawberries?)  And you can also see the new gutter coming down the back of the fence panel next to the garage.

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And another view:

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Busily coming up in these little gardens are the white lily bulbs that Bellevue High School friend (class of 1963) Kay Rood sent me when John died.  I planted them last year, but they didn’t “take.”  Now, here they are like a lovely spring surprise.

Stephen also rebuilt the clothes line–and I had clothes on it yesterday!

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Stephen had to dig through all of this rock–and he dug down about 4 feet or so–to install concrete that will hold these new fences and the clothes line steady through winter ice and spring heaving.

He also dug a long trench between the generator and the back post of the clothes line to sink the new gutter that’s on the drive side of the garage–our effort to redirect water away from the garage floor.  (I had real flooding issues this spring when it rained and the ground was frozen.)

Now I have to get the generator rebalanced–it’s looking a bit tilty.  That generator runs all the power in my house when we lose electricity–and has made life pleasant many times and saved me this winter when it was so cold and an ice storm took out all power and cable here for days and days, including Christmas Day.

Stephen bought a power washer and kindly power washed all my moldy decks and rails and trim.  This whole house is shiny clean outside at the moment.

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Plumber Ben Larner was also here installing the new sink.  We first discussed this project back in the fall of last year.

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And now, here’s the new real cast-iron sink and faucet.  (The old sink was a composite porcelain–not cast iron–and was badly chipped.)

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Meanwhile, I made a dump run to take all the old lumber from the fence panels and the clothes line–where the nicest Camden, Maine, dump employee unloaded the whole lot for me.  That part of the dump was ankle deep in mud, and I had on “good” shoes.  I had determined I’d have to go home and put on boots when he said “No, back her up right here, and I’ll take care of it all.”   LOVE MAINE!

 

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Penny is on the front seat, sucking her blanket and waiting to “go in the car””

Meanwhile, I have installed the temporary chicken fence I use in the summers AND extended it’s height up to about 6 feet.  The whole thing is held together by those plastic ties where you slip one end into the apparatus on the other and pull it tight.  Once on, those ties have to be cut off, so dismantling all in the fall will be…fun.  The chickens are staying put, which means I am winning this round and fox can’t get them.

The refrigerator went belly up last week.  The new one is being installed as I write, and I am glad as it’s a long trip to the garage every time I want a slice of lime for a cup of tea, not to mention any serious cooking.  The good news is that the new refrigerator is gorgeous–French doors and a slide out freezer drawer below.  I HATED the side-by-side GE Profile–it had to be designed by someone who never cooks or stores food.

Here’s a frig for someone who cooks, puts up food, and has a lot of visitors:

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Look at the amazing inside:

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It has two icemakers.  One in the fresh food section that is attached to the controls on the front of the door–for cubes or crushed.  And one in the freezer for heavy-duty use–such as I have in the summer.

 

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As hard as it was to absorb the sticker price, I feel like I’ve died and gone to refrigerator heaven.

And, look at what got its borders on and is ready to load onto Lucy the Longarm:

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I think I should have made the borders 9 inches–as called for.  I did 6 inches.

The backing fabric is cut, matched, and ready to be ironed and sewn together.

This quilting project from Material Obsession 2 has been so much fun and has provided many lovely hours of hand-sewing at night.  For me, it’s all about the work of the hands…

 

And, now, the grass is dry, so the lawn will get its first MOW.  And the black flies will try to feast on me.  I’m not swelling up much this year, so it must be true that one builds up a certain immunity over time.

Turkey Tracks: Spring Peepers

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Turkey Tracks:  April 26, 2014

Spring Peepers

 

I’ve been really busy with spring projects and spring clean-up.

So you have not heard from me much this week.

The amazing Stephen Pennoyer has taken on many of the projects neglected for the past five years.  He is a meticulous carpenter and all-around building expert.  And he’s been the most wonderful gift in my life as he has taken on jobs that most people would shudder at doing–things like digging drainage ditches for underground pipes and digging big and deep holes to sink new fence posts in–all into earth covered with gravel and littered with land-fill stones.  Always, he is cheerful–no matter the frustration.  And, always, he figures out a way “to do it right.”  I’m “the helper” and am called on to hold posts steady.  Or, help lift something that needs more than two hands or just a big more carrying poundage.

I’ll start posting pictures as he finishes the many jobs we have underway.

Meanwhile, Melody Pendleton was here painting a big downstairs room.

And Riteway Rugs picked up the big Karastan downstairs.  It’s been over 11 years since it has been cleaned.

Those are only A FEW of the ongoing projects.

Meanwhile, I cleaned out (and repaired rusted out chicken wire) on the chicken coop and cage.  That always a HUGE spring job.

I am thankful that it’s a rainy day.  My body needs a rest…

* * *

The peepers–tiny, tiny frogs–have  had a terrible time this year.

First they emerged out of the icy mud only to have a serious refreeze.  Many of us were afraid they had been killed.

Here are some images:  Peepers image – Google Search.

And here is a video I did the other night so you could see how LOUD they are:

Written by louisaenright

April 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Turkey Tracks: Mid April Update

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Turkey Tracks:  April 18, 2014

Mid April Update

 

I’ve had a busy few weeks, and it’s been fun.

First of all, Rosie, my Copper Black Maran has decided to lay her super dark brown eggs again.  Aren’t they pretty?

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Rosie is the last CBM I have.  Remember that we lost her rooster to the fox last spring…

CBMs are not great layers, but they are big, happy hens and very social.

It might be time to think about getting some more from Tom Culpepper in Georgia…

Along with the beef broth–which is on the blog post just before this one–I made a shredded veggie lacto-fermented mixture, as mine is all gone now.  I used cabbage, including a red one which will make the mixture such a lovely red in a few days, garlic, carrots, and a bunch of kale.   Here it is in the bowl, all kneaded until it is juicy and ready to load into jars:

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I have two kinds of jars I like to use–a regular old wide-mouth Mason jar and a fancier Fido jar with a bailer and rubber sealer.  I thought I’d have enough mixture for a half-gallon jar, but no.  Thus the quart jar:

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Here’s a little video of Pumpkin, my rooster, who is amazing with the hens.  You can hear him telling them to “come eat this food,” and if you watch carefully, you’ll see him pick up food and hold it up for them to see that it’s “ok.”

 

 

I make a run up to Belfast to the Belfast Coop every ten days or so.  The Coop carries the dog food I use:  raw ground WHOLE chicken–bones, skin, organs, the works.  The girls THRIVE on this food.  You’d never know to look at them that they are 11 and 12 years old.  Here’s what their good looks like:

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I have an old pair of boots that I bought for $10 at a kind of shoe-thrift store back in Virginia over 15 years ago.  They are my “chicken boots”–and survive ice and mud in rough weather.  I think I’ve gotten and will continue to get my money’s worth.  I’m still using heavy gloves when I go out for chicken duty morning and evening:

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Remember this rug I braided on the fashioned loom?  It’s still going strong…

The wild turkeys have broken up into small bands now.  I have one male who is hanging around with his band–probably because they are still feeding on discarded coop bedding and the odd treats I throw to the chickens.  At night he roosts in one of the pines just beyond the stream.  And he calls to me when I come out to lock up the chickens.

Here’s one video I took of him the other day.  He’s perpetually “puffed up” these days:

And one of him with some of his hens.  His tail is looking a bit ragged.  I heard two males fighting at dusk up on the hill last week–they seemed to be hitting heads/necks/wings.  Hard to tell :

 

Soon the hens will sit on eggs, and I will not see much of them until next winter–except for the odd crossing across a road here and there.

Turkey Tracks: April Update

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Turkey Tracks:  April 7, 2014

April Update

 

We are finally getting some warm weather, and near me, the Megunticook River is thawing out fast.  I was a little shocked when I went by Megunticook Lake Sunday on my way to see Rose Thomas as the Lake is still pretty frozen.  This view is from the top of Barrett Cove, looking north.  (This lake is 15 miles around and filled with interesting islands and “necks” that jut out into the water.)

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The ice looks bluer towards the middle though, suggesting thinness.

Chickie Diva Queenie has been healed up for some time.  I have only been waiting for the night temps to get warm enough to risk her in the coop.  She can’t take any more frostbite probably ever in her life.

She did not seem unhappy in her kitchen box, but on a bright sunny day last week, I put her outside.  She prowled the yard, scratching and digging, but not getting near the other chickens, who did not seem to notice her.  That night, she came to the back door and when I opened it, she came right in, and hopped in her box.

The next day, I put her out again, and she wanted to come right back inside.  I had planned to clean out the coop, so I gathered up the buckets and the shovel and started to work.

What followed was shocking!

The chickens found her and immediately attacked her.  Even the rooster.  They weren’t trying to dominate her.  They were trying to kill her.

I rescued her from where she had wedged herself behind the sandbox and the house wall.  Her comb was torn again, and she had wounds on her feet again.  She was dazed and stunned and so happy to be put back into her box.

I consulted with the chicken whisperer Rose Thomas, and we formulated a plan to integrate her into Rose’s flock, which is larger and far less territorial.

So, on Sunday, I took her to Rose.

Rose’s chicken house is a lot bigger than my little coop, and there are MANY egg boxes.  Diva Queenie put herself into one and seemed quite happy.

 

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Rose has three roosters at the moment–Guy, the father of my rooster Pumpkin; the brother of Pumpkin; and Merlin, a guina rooster who is ferocious.

Rose distracted her flock by throwing them some scratch feed to them while we put Queenie into the chicken house.

 

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I called Rose this morning.  Queenie is just fine and is out in the yard with the rest of the flock.

* * *

Look at these–I have 12 out of 15 done and have another one half done now.

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Here’s a close-up of one:

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This large “hexie” is made from the kite shape you can see with the dark blue.  I first saw a quilt made with these medallions at Alewives, a quilt shop in Damariscotta Mills, Maine.  The hexies get linked by big diamonds, and the pattern comes from the book Material Obsession 2 by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.  Other blog entries here show their TWO quilt versions using this block.  Rhea Butler made the quilt at Alewives.

I’ve finished the red/green quilt, which remains nameless so far.  It’s loaded on the long arm.  It’s pretty big–I used 7 yards of fabric for the backing–a Kaffe Fasset I bought on sale about a year ago.  And I had to piece a column of about 20 inches to get enough width for the long arm–which was fine as I used up a lot of orphan blocks.  I really draw the line at buying 9 yards of fabric for a quilt backing when I’m only missing ten or so inches.  With the long-arm, I need about 5 extra inches of width on the sides, but I could always put on a temporary outside border that would come off when the quilting was done as well.

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I  am going down to Manchester, New Hampshire, with Gail Galloway Nicholson this week to the big MQX show (Machine Quilters Expo)–where we will both take some classes.  I am taking both pantograph and free-motion quilting classes for the long arm.  So…it seems to make sense to wait until I get home to quilt this quilt.  The pantograph class may change how I currently quilt with a pantograph.  Also I ordered a different green quilting thread as I did not like the color I thought I would use.  Funny how that happens…

So, here’s my current project:

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I am sewing together colorful 5-inch blocks from my stash.  I will put a 3-inch border on this grid and use it to cut out “Lil Twister” blocks.  Here’s a clue of what I am talking about:

 

Lil Twister block images – Google Search.

 

Canton Village Quilt Works has a very nice tutorial on how to use the Lil Twister tool.

 

Turkey Tracks: Winter Deer Eating Evergreens

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Turkey Tracks:  March 28, 2014

Winter Deer Eating Evergreens

 

Here’s a familiar sight from my kitchen windows any time in the late afternoon these days:

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Sorry about the blurry picture, but you can see how bold these deer are these days.

They are eating all the junipers along the wall–which had just started growing and drooping artistically over the wall after being planted TEN YEARS ago.

There are eight deer in this group:  two mothers and five young ones.  Did one mother have triplets???

I went outside and talked to the ones who did not immediately flee up the hill.  You can see how healthy they look.  Their winter coats are plush, and their eyes are bright and alert.

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The junipers have been reduced to nothing but bare sticks.  They look like an infestation of gypsy moths had flown through.

And all the small white pines sprouting alongside the creek bed have been munched up to their tops.  They look like lollipops.

Critters have to eat…

 

Written by louisaenright

March 28, 2014 at 11:42 am