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Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Rauenhorst

Turkey Tracks: Solstice 2015

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Turkey Tracks:  December 22, 2015

Solstice 2015

December 21st is Solstice–the longest night of the year.

Friends Margaret Rauenhorst and Ronald VonHeeswijk host a Solstice bonfire most years.  This event is one of my most favorite events of the year.

Solstice marks the passage from darkness into light.  Solstice is a time of reflection and quiet.

This year, the sky was filled with clouds, so no stars or moon–though the moon will be full at Christmas.

Margaret and Ronald light a HUGE bonfire that warms all who stand about it.  This year, we are experiencing very warm weather on mid-coast Maine.  It will be 60ish tomorrow.  But the fire still warmed our hearts and provided moments of contemplation and companionship.

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The paths in the yard are all lined with lumanaria that guide us down the drive to the house and fire.

See the sparks?  We have to watch for those as the wind shifts because they can and do burn holes in your clothes.

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When the embers die down, we throw our past and future intentions into the fire:

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Holly is for a future intention we want to adopt or experience; hemlock for the past and involves something we want to release/let go/stop.  We make little packets with our intentions written down and wrapped around the greenery.

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The house is lit only by candles and the fire inside the hearth.

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My camera flash illuminates the room for a moment only.

The sideboard is filled with bowls of nuts and fresh and dried fruit.

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And Margaret makes us her dad’s special drink–a Tom and Jerry–which has eggwhites, spices, and whiskey as ingredients.  It is delicious!

Thanks, Margaret and Ronald, for once again bringing your friends together for this celebration you make for us.

 

Written by louisaenright

December 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Turkey Tracks: It’s Arrived!

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Turkey Tracks:  January 27, 2015

It’s Arrived!

Some years back, I gave my Mike/Tami grands an amaryllis.

Talula was entranced with it–watching each day as it grew and the flower bud developed.

On the morning it bloomed, she woke everyone up with the announcement that “it’s arrived.”

* * *

So, this past Christmas season, I gave some amaryllis to several people I know who I thought would get a kick out of them.

A reminder:  I don’t “do” Christmas gifts, but try to connect with all the people in my life in some meaningful way over this season of dark delight.

One amaryllis went to Linda McKinney’s granddaughters, Addy and Willow.

Well, this week, “it arrived,” and Addy, who had been following it with much interest, was delighted.

Here’s the picture Linda sent to me this week.  She’s been telling me for some weeks not how interested Addie has been in this flower process.

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I am so happy that I have, again, participated/facilitated in drawing a child into the magic and power of the plant world.

Margaret Rauenhorst and Ronald VanHeeswjik host a magical solstice night with a HUGE bonfire and special drinks every December.  So I tucked an amaryllis into a sack for them and left it on their kitchen table.

Here’s the pic Margaret sent me today:

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What a cheerful, cheerful, lucious reminder that though a blizzard is coming, that spring will, once again, also come!

I like to give timely experiences…

 

Written by louisaenright

January 27, 2015 at 11:39 am

Turkey Tracks: Georgeanne Davis’s “Purely Pancakes” Can Be Gluten Free

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Turkey Tracks:  March 24, 2014

Georgeanne Davis’s “Purely Pancakes” Can Be Gluten Free

 

Update:  Since I posted this blog entry, I’ve come to realize that ricotta cheese is even nicer in the pancakes.  It’s dryer.  AND, you don’t need to whip egg whites.  I just mix up all the ingredients and fry up the pancakes.  Whipping the egg whites makes the pancakes almost too light…

 

I got back from Virginia on a Monday two weeks ago, and the next day set out to retrieve  neighbor Sarah Rheault from the Owl’s Head Airport in Rockland.

I got there a few minutes early and idly picked up last week’s copy of THE FREE PRESS.

Georgeanne Davis’s column on pancakes caught my eye, and I confess, I extracted that page from the rest of the paper.  After all, it was old by now…

I was drawn to the recipe for Cottage Cheese Pancakes, but thought the Potato Latkes and Asian-Style Pancakes looked good too.   All of these recipes could be made gluten free without much ado I thought.

* * *

So, this morning I made the Cottage Cheese Pancakes–and boy was I happy!!!  They were light, fluffy, and totally delicious and garnished with Margaret Rauenhorst’s maple syrup, local raw butter, and served alongside some bacon.  (I used the bacon fat to grease the pancake pan.)

I HALVED the recipe and used coconut flour instead of wheat flour.  I think I could have used brown rice flour or, even, the gluten free local pancake mix I keep on hand–Fiddler’s Green Fiddle Cakes.  Next time I’m going to try the brown rice flour, just to see.  HALVING the recipe gave me enough pancakes for two people, easy.

For the Asian pancakes, I think I’d use coconut, for the oil and either the brown rice flour or the pancake mix for the flour.  I think coconut flour works ok in small lots rather than a whole cup size…  That’s just me though…

* * *

It’s two hours later, and my tummy still feels warm and happy.  What’s not to like about 3 eggs, cottage cheese, butter, and bacon for breakfast?  Lots of good protein and fats.  Also, apparently real maple syrup has a lot of good minerals in it.  Who knew?  I’ll reheat the three/four remaining pancakes for breakfast tomorrow…  In the oven as I gave away my microwave some years ago.

Here’s the column from THE FREE PRESS, March 6th (17):

 

Home & Garden: Purely Pancakes

by Georgeanne Davis

Call them crepes, latkes, blintzes or just plain pancakes. All are appropriate fare on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Tuesday and more familiarly known as Mardi Gras, which occurred earlier this week. Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday,” is known for its hedonistic celebrations and elaborate parades, especially in New Orleans in the U.S. and Rio’s Carnival. Mardi Gras is in fact the final day of lush living for Catholics before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, at midnight on Shrove Tuesday, the Lenten fast of 40 days begins.

Why pancakes? Starting back in medieval times, pancakes were a way to use up milk, fats and eggs, which were forbidden during the fasting period. Today’s pancakes can be topped with a melting lake of butter or cloud of whipped cream, but they can also be primarily made up of vegetables – perfectly in keeping with leaner Lenten fare. One of our family’s favorite all-time pancake recipes contains no fat. Cottage cheese pancakes, originally from the “Tassajara Bread Book,” the kitchen bible of the back-to-the-land movement in the 1970s, are still unbeatable for any meal of the day.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes à la Tassajara 

6 eggs

6 Tbsp. flour

1⁄4 tsp. salt

2 cups cottage cheese (nonfat, low-fat or full-fat)

Separate eggs. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside. Mix yolks with flour, salt, and cottage cheese, then gently fold the egg whites into this mixture. Fry like regular pancakes on a lightly greased skillet. Serve topped with applesauce, jam, or just enjoy plain with a swipe of butter.

Potato pancakes, or latkes, make a perfect last-minute supper or brunch fare. Starchier potatoes are usually preferred for latkes, but we like to use Yukon Golds or our own Nicolas. Sweet potatoes work well, too.

Potato Latkes

1 pound potatoes

1⁄2 cup finely chopped onion

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 250°. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring them to a large bowl of cold water as you grate them. Soak potatoes for a few minutes after the last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander. Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel, gather it up and twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Ladle two tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into three-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven. Latkes can be made ahead and reheated on a rack set over a baking sheet in a 350° oven for about 5 minutes. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

Another savory pancake is Asian in origin, found in Japan, Korea and China. Hold the syrup and use the accompanying dipping sauce for these.

Asian-Style Pancakes

2 cups flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more as needed 

5 scallions, cut into 3-inch lengths and sliced lengthwise

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated

1 small yellow or green squash, grated

Dipping sauce:

1 tablespoon rice or white vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

In a medium bowl, mix flour, eggs and oil with 1-1⁄2 cups water until a smooth batter is formed. Stir in scallions, carrots and squash. Place an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat, then coat bottom with oil. Ladle in about a quarter of the batter and spread it out evenly into a circle. Turn heat to medium and cook until bottom is browned, about three minutes, then flip and cook for another two minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Drain pancakes on paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Cut pancakes into small triangles and serve with dipping sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

Books Documentaries, Reviews: THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, Don Miguel Ruiz

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  November 6, 2013

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS

Don Miguel Ruiz

One of the books I read when I first got to Maine–at the suggestion of Margaret Rauenhorst–was Don Miguel Ruiz’s THE FOUR AGREEMENTS.

When Melody Pendleton painted the kitchen, I was putting away “stuff” from my kitchen desk and found a little handout I had put there of Ruiz’s four agreements.

The book, of course, explains each one in depth, and I probably need to review it again.  But here they are:

Be Impeccable With Your Word:

Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don’t Take Anything Personally:

Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.  When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Don’t Make Assumptions:

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.  With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Always Do Your Best:

Your best is going to change from moment to moment.  It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.

This recipe is a pretty tall order.  It’s hard to break old family “tapes” where making assumptions and taking actions personally and NOT being impeccable with your word–no matter how hard–is how things have worked.  And how “things” get so messed up so quickly.

But even the small movements I have made in my own life in the direction of these “four agreements” has made my own life better in so many ways.

Written by louisaenright

November 6, 2013 at 10:52 am

Turkey Tracks: September Update

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Turkey Tracks:  September 22, 2014

September Update

Late August and ALL of September are really busy months for me in Maine.

First of all, son Bryan often comes for his birthday, which is September 11th.  Bryan and Corinne like to come visiting in the early fall as most of the tourists have gone home or are taking a breather before the fall foliage gets rolling.  And, it’s cooler.

Second, in Maine, September is the red month (tomatoes), not July, as is true for regions south of us.  Plus, the gardens are cranking out food at alarming rates.  So I am busy blanching, roasting, drying, lacto-fermenting, and generally reveling in all the bounty of our earth in Maine.

Third, MOFGA, the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association fair happens in the third weekend of September.  This fair, also known as the Common Ground Fair, is one of my most favorite things to attend all year.

Fourth, Coastal Quilters starts its new year in September.  I agreed to be President this year, so I’ve had a fair amount of organizing and reviewing to do to get back up to speed.  We had a terrific organizational meeting September 14th, and we’ll have a really good year this year I think.

Fifth, I start the process of putting the yard to bed for the winter.  The flower pots are played out.  The wind chimes have to be taken down.  The hummers are gone.  The porch furniture and kayaks have to be stored.  The chickens have to be winterized.  And, the garden put to bed with the new garlic planted for next year.  I have LOVED having that garden fenced all this summer–especially since I never was able to keep the hens I have now inside their pen.

So….I will do some separate entries on some of these events.  But I will leave you with some fun pictures taken more or less in late August/early September.

Susan McBride of Golden Brook Farm grew these awesome cherry tomatoes.  I experimented with drying these to see which ones were the best.  Hands down, the purple heritage cherry tomato was.  They are like eating candy–and I know I will enjoy having them on hand all winter when the snow is flying.  That bag of highly colored bits is corn from Margaret Rauenhorst and Ronald VanHeeswijk.  I’m going to grind it and make cornbread with it any day now.

Golden Brook cherries

I planted random squash seeds in the blue tubs this year.  One is growing a Hubbard Squash–which delights me so much.  I will go ahead and collect the squashes as soon as it stops raining and put them into the garage to “sugar off” for a bit.  They do better when they have a bit of time to cure.  The Blue Hubbard squash can get HUGE–and is a really great all-purpose squash.  It’s delicious to eat and makes great “squash” pie too.

Hubbard Squash

Here is a typical Hope’s Edge pick-up day–with Giovanna McCarthy.  We have sacks of food and flowers!

Hope's Edge Flowers and Food

I found this picture on John’s computer before we retired it.  It’s one of my very favorites.  He really had such a great eye for a good picture.  LIkely I’ll make some cards from this picture…

Hope's Edge

Turkey Tracks: Blackberry Jam

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Turkey Tracks:  August 21, 2013

Blackberry Jam

When I was growing up, we spent some of every summer with my maternal grandmother, Louisa Phillips Bryan, in Reynolds, Georgia.

I’m sure my grandfather, Sydney Hoke Bryan, was also involved–he was a quiet rock that held the family together.  And he was deeply involved in growing food and in preserving food.  He had a large vegetable and flower garden “out on the farm”–and in the summer he went out there early and returned with huge baskets filled with vegetables and flowers.  One of my vivid memories is the two of them putting up tomatoes in an outdoor kitchen they fashioned in the back yard under a shed.  And, I remember hams hanging in the smoke house too.

But it was my grandmother who made the blackberry jam in the summers.   And, later, my mother.  But mother’s blackberry making was always limited by having wild blackberries nearby to pick.  We were tasked with picking blackberries in the summers–though most of the berries we picked landed up in cobblers for “dinner”–which was in the middle of the day.  Local children used to bring the blackberries they had picked to the house for sale, and that’s when my grandmother made jelly.  I have memories of cheesecloth to drains off the seeds and of melting wax for the lids…  And of discussions about whether to seed the jam/jelly or not.

I have access to a blackberry patch here in Maine–and it has been the greatest joy to pick them and to make jam.  And I am so grateful for the wonderful family who allow me to pick their berries.  What a gift!

Some years are better blackberry years than others.  And, it takes a lot of blackberries to make a jam.  One year we had blackberries, but there had been no rain, and the berries just didn’t have enough moisture to make good jam.  And every three or four years it’s a good idea to mow the patch to retard the overgrowth of other plants trying, also, to grow there.  Eventually they will crowd out a blackberry patch.  So when I make a batch of jam, I never know how far I will have to stretch it so as not to completely run out.

This year is a GREAT blackberry year.  And last Sunday, I picked about two gallons alongside friends Giovanna McCarthy and Margaret Rauenhorst.  I came home and made the jam while the berries were fresh.  I was down to my last jar–and that was dated 2010.

Blackberries

The first thing you need to know is that when you are picking blackberries, be sure to pick about one not-so-ripe mostly red berry (not a hard red one) for about every 30 or so berries.  The red berries have pectin in them that will make the jam jell.

Also, you want to make any jam or jelly in SMALL BATCHES.  I made two separate batches with these berries.

The other thing you need to know is what the jelling point is for your geographic area–and that’s info you can determine from either an internet search or from a Ball Canning Book.  At my house here in Maine, it’s 216 degrees.  Down in town, it may be a bit different.  Obviously you’ll need a candy thermometer unless you have a knack for telling when the batch is ready.  I don’t.

I put all of the berries into a pan, add about a 1/2 cup of water so they don’t burn on the bottom, and heat them to render the juice.

Here’s the pan of berries starting to heat up–note how he berries start to turn red.  I like to use my heavy Creuset pan–the cast iron holds heat so beautifully and evenly.  Use a heavy bottomed pan–not a thin one.   I smash them with a potato smasher to help the juice-rendering process along

Blackberries cooking

When the berries have cooked about five minutes, you need to decide if you want seeds or not.  I put the berries through a mill and remove the seeds–though I always have a few escapees.  Do this process in the sink as there is some inevitable spattering and you don’t want blackberry juice staining surfaces in your kitchen.

Deseeding blackberry jam

Put the juice back into the cleaned pan and add sugar. .  For about 9 cups of berries, I add 6 cups of sugar.  The recipes call for more, but this ratio works fine for me.  Here the rendered juice is really booking along.  It’s RED, isn’t it?  I don’t attempt to skim any of the foam at the top.

Blackberries cooking 2

Watch your heat–you want a steady boil at pretty high heat, but you don’t want the pan to overflow or the batch to burn.  DON’T LEAVE THE KITCHEN.  You will want to start testing for the jell point any time now.  You don’t want tough jam.

While the batch cooks, put your clean jars and caps in HOT water in a bowl in your sink–and arrange a space on your counter where you can fill your jars.  I have a large ladle that I use to dip up the jam.

I LOVE my large canning funnel.  It fits all jar sizes and makes filling the jars easy.

Canning funnel

Fill the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch clear.  I used to top the jam with melted paraffin wax, but I don’t do that anymore.  The jam keeps just fine without it.

Screw on the lids really tight and with a protective towel (they are HOT), turn each one upside down–which creates a nice vacuum seal on each jar.  Watch to make sure you don’t have a leaky one where the threads were just not tight enough.  Be careful picking up a leaky jar–the jelly is HOT.

Blackberry jam, Aug. 2013

Label the tops–using a year date, too.  I also make blueberry jam, so sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between these two jams in the jars.

ENJOY!

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: Counting Joys

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Turkey Tracks:  June 30, 2013

Counting Joys

I am counting joys today.

Sunshine, after days of rain.

The new Corian kitchen counters are in.

And aren’t they beautiful?  I have snagged my sweaters on the shredding formica for the very last time.

The whole kitchen seems brighter and lighter…  The color is beautiful with the oak floors and white cabinets…

Kitchen counters, June 2013Kitchen Counters 2, June 2013

Many, many thanks to Lynn Gushee of Dream Kitchens in Rockland.  She’s amazing and is also helping me with some other details in the kitchen that needed tackling.

The leaky 70-gallon water tank is gone.  Mark and Cappy of Mark’s Appliance said they had never seen the inside of a water tank so corroded.  Friend Meg Barclay, an architect, tells me that was probably due to the acidity of our water from local granite.

We did more than replace the tank–we replaced the whole heating system, which was old and getting cranky.  The old boiler sat on the floor and was about 2 feet by 5 feet.  It took up the whole utility room and put out a constant wall of heat–so that in the humid summer, everything in the utility room was covered with a layer of running, condensing water.

Here’s the new boiler and the new water tank “helper.”  This system is more efficient and will use less propane (my house is heated by water, which I love).  The new helper has a lifetime warranty.

Yes, the new boiler is that little white box on the wall.

BoilerHelper

A new dog fence has been installed.  Penny is delirious and so am I.  She will not be patrolling the street below and nipping at feet peddling bicycles.  Thanks to Sarah Rheault and the folks from Invisible Fence.

The moss has been cleaned off the roof.   Thanks Horch Roofing.

The garage stairs, open to a bad fall from either the stairs or the floor of the attic, has been walled in.  Thanks to Ronald VanHeeswijk.  Neither I nor the grandchildren will fall off that death trap onto the concrete floor below.  Best of all, they can make the attic of the garage their own space this summer.

The back deck privacy wall has been painted and shored up for another year.  It’s pretty much rotten, and I will replace it next year.  Thanks to Margaret Rauenhorst, Ronald VanHeeswijk, and John Marr.

All the leaky faucets have been fixed, thanks to plumbers Wes Avery and Ben Varner.

Mulch and weeding and all the spring tasks have been accomplished, thanks to David Hannan.

Hope’s Edge, our CSA, has started, thanks to Tom Griffin and crew.

The strawberries are ripe in the garden.  The garlic scapes are ready to be cut.  The peas are coming in.  The cold frame is full of lettuce.  And, it’s summer in Maine!