24 November 2008

6:00 a.m., 9 degrees F

Isn't it too early to have weather THIS cold?

It feels more like January than November.

What do YOU think?

P.S. - and it still hasn't even snowed yet. Weird.

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

20 November 2008

What I Love about Autumn in Maine

* Stacking firewood.

* Cold winds.

* Grey skies.

* Raking leaves.

* Hauling said leaves to the town dump.

* Coming home from the dump to find out the cold winds blew all the neighbors' leaves into our yard.

* Did I mention stacking wood?

We still have a LOT of wood that needs stacking. The plan/hope is to finish it this weekend, if the weather cooperates. Next week we have rain and snow forecasted, and since for some reason, I still believe the weather man, I'm insistent that we finish the wood RIGHT NOW.

Ok, back to work...

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

13 November 2008

At long last...

Our firewood delivery arrived yesterday.



Thankfully, we've had a rather mild fall, and our oil tank still has oil leftover from last year (we'd like to hold off having it filled again as oil prices continue to go down.)

My arms are nearly useless from all the raking and now the wood stacking, but let me tell you, this is a welcome site in our basement - especially as the night-time temps are now dropping well below freezing.



As an aside, you may remember we cut down a HUGE OAK TREE back in the Spring. In fact, we used our firewood money to cut down said tree, because we intended to cut it up and burn it this winter. But it was only AFTER the whole thing was done did someone bother to tell us that the wood needs at least a year to dry out properly.

We ignored that bit of information and planned to burn our tree anyway, but just last week, we checked it again, and yes, the logs from the tree are still far too green.

So, not only did we get to pay for firewood ANYWAY, we also waited until too late in the season to buy it, so we pay extra for seasoned wood. I might add that the seasoned wood which arrived yesterday isn't much drier than the wood from our tree.

But hey, at least we're warm.

And if that doesn't work, we can just keep moving the wood around all winter, like we've been doing for the past 24 hours. Nothing like that to keep you warm.

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

12 November 2008

Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves

Yesterday we began the arduous task of removing them from our lawn. The front lawn, anyway. Since everyone was home for Veteran's Day, we made use of the nice weather. Today I get to continue in the back yard. Alone.

Here is a little photo-journal of our day...

BEFORE...



DURING...



AFTER...



RAKING...



BAGGING...



LOADING THE TRUCK...



ARE WE DONE YET?



Yes, dear, we are finished - for now.

I find it to be slightly annoying that all the leaves don't really fall from the trees until very LATE in the fall. By that time, it is either too cold and windy to be dealing with dead leaves, or everything is covered in snow and it is a moot point.

After all the leaves we raked up yesterday, I'm amazed how how many are STILL ON THE TREES.

Case in point...



Ok, off to rake some more on this last forecasted sunny day for a while.

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

09 November 2008

Autumn came. The leaves fell.

To say the least.



Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

04 November 2008

Election Day in Maine


Today my 21-year-old son voted in his first presidential election. I remember my first presidential election. I was living in the Washington, D.C. area and it was 1988. My dad took me to the polling place and we stood in line together. He joked with me before I walked into the polling booth, saying I needed to "vote the right way."

As I stood in that booth for the first time, I was struck by the power I had. I could vote any way I wanted. Or write someone in. Or leave some blank spaces. Or not vote at all. I could do anything and no one would ever know how I voted.

Today, I much preferred going to our little polling place in Maine rather than standing in those long lines in D.C. I know most of the local candidates personally and I enjoyed seeing them, shaking their hands, and talking to them about their kids, my kids, and where we're going on vacation.

One local candidate lives on the next street from me. Another goes to my church. Still another lives next door to a good friend of mine, and I can walk to her house on a trail through the woods. It is so much easier to vote for real people that I know, rather than just names on signs and faces on TV.

It is still too early to know how the big races will turn out... but either way, today we all came together as Americans and did our civic duty. Regardless of the outcome, my hope is that we will all come together, put away our differences, and support our leaders.

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

03 November 2008

GO VOTE!

Ok, so I'm still of the secret ballot notion that we don't have to TALK about whom we are voting for.

So I'll just say - go vote tomorrow. And so says this little guy...



Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

02 November 2008

Do you say "Soda" or "Pop"?

I found this neat map today:



CLICK HERE to see the large version, and the site where it originated.

I find it interesting because I've lived in various parts of the country at different times in my life.

As a child in Colorado, most people said "pop." I grew up calling it "pop," but there were a few rebel "soda" sayers living among us.

My mom and dad tell stories of growing up in the 1940s South, calling it "soda water."

When I went to college for a year in Texas, everyone said "coke." It didn't matter if you wanted to go get a Dr. Pepper or a Sprite, you just said, "Let's go get a coke," or "Do you want a coke?" or best of all, "What kind of coke do you want?" I still slip back into this one sometimes with my kids, and of course, being teens, they quickly correct me, explaining that it is illogical to ask what kind of COKE they want. Sheesh!

My years on the East Coast, most of them in Maine, pushed me over the edge into "soda" territory. I've been saying it for so long now that "pop" sounds funny.

Of course there is also "sodapop" but when I hear that, I only think about Rob Lowe's character in the movie version of "The Outsiders." But I digress.

How about you? What do you call it?

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

01 November 2008

Things are always changing... and my attitude needs to.


When we had been in Maine a couple of years and my children were all out of diapers but not yet teens, I wished that time could stand still. Parenting had finally become fun, everyone got along, and the kids loved doing things with the whole family.

My how things have changed.

When our youngest daughter was about 10, she was delightfully cheerful - all the time. One day she asked me if I thought she would turn into a grumpy teenager like her older brother had done. I told her she probably would, as teens seem to lose part of their brains for several years, but I hoped she would not. She told me that she, too, hoped she wouldn't become like that; in fact she promised to try very hard not to be a typical teen. I assured her that I'd love her anyway, and that I'd wait patiently until her 20s, when the lost part of her brain came back again.

Well, suffice it to say - I'm waiting now.

Those years are all gone. We live in a house full of people who look like adults and who can surprisingly act like adults at a moments notice; but who also can act like toddlers, deranged psychotics, or angels of death - sometimes all at the same time, which is quite a feat, if you ask me.

I try not to take it personally. I did tell one of them recently (I won't say who) that even if she hates me, she is required to pretend that she likes me - it's the law. I don't think she bought it, but she shaped up momentarily.

With these teen years come changes in Halloween festivities. We've always loved Halloween. It's the one time of the year that all our neighbors are out, kids can run around pretty much unattended, and everyone is buzzing with excitement for the holidays. Of course, the candy-high and subsequent sugar-hangover is also part of the deal.

Each year, since before they could walk, we've taken our kids trick-or-treating. In the early years, we took turns with neighbors; they took their kids out while we handed out candy, and then vice versa. When our son got into high school, he opted to have a party at our house, so he was able to hand out candy while my hubby and I took the girls around the block. Last year, our son even came back from college for another party, and our girls wanted to trick-or-treat... so still things were the same.

This year was totally different. Our son stayed at school and the girls weren't interested in trick-or-treating. One daughter had a party invitation, but we made her stay home because she's going to another party tonight. You know, family time trumps all, whether or not the kids like it.

We set up our fire out front and we greeted the little goblins of the neighborhood, but somehow it wasn't the same. Only one of our daughters dressed up in a costume. We had only about half the trick-or-treaters we normally have. Most of our neighbors were off at parties or away for the weekend. By 8:00 it was all over and we went inside - still with candy left-over, which is rare.

And yes, today I have the head-pounding sugar hangover. But at least winter is almost here. Frigid cold, darkness and color deprivation. THAT is something to look forward to.

I think I'll go back to bed now.

Thank God Halloween only comes once a year.

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes