30 June 2013

10th Day of Summer

First sunny day in forever. Or 5 days. Same thing.

My mom is flying into town tonight from Oregon. And she is bringing her little dog. My cats have put their boxing mitts on and they're all ready to go...

I feel hobbled without being able to post photos. Hopefully tomorrow.

I'm reading a good book that was loaned to me by a woman in my writers group. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. I'd read Kingsolver before, so I knew she could write, but wow - this book is wonderful. The metaphors are so rich. Read it!

Off to see my mom who should be arriving any minute.

Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

29 June 2013

9th Day of Summer

The sun came out for 3 hours and there was much rejoicing.

And we did the movie marathon. AWESOME!

Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

28 June 2013

8th Day of Summer

I want to post photos of the rain, but blogger is on the fritz this weekend.

Not that anyone wants to see photos of rain, but at this point, that's all I've got.

We still have our friend visiting from out of town, and the sun hasn't shown itself since she got here on Wednesday. She leaves Tuesday and we're afraid she might go away thinking Maine is ALWAYS like this in the summertime.

However, we're making the best of it, gearing up to do a movie marathon tomorrow - Iron Man I, Iron Man II, Thor, Captain America, and then, of course, The Avengers. Our young friend has not seen any of these. Yes, SHOCKING, isn't it??

So, we've shown her lighthouses, the rocky coast, adorable towns, and many other things that make Maine special. But tomorrow, she'll be taught the really important things. Like superheroes.

Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

27 June 2013

7th Day of Summer



Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

26 June 2013

6th Day of Summer

Once again, I forgot my camera today, so I used my crappy little flip-phone camera. But hey - it's better than nothing.

We went to Boston to pick up my daughter's college roommate who is visiting from Pennsylvania. And of course, as luck would have it, we are having vehicle problems.

One car is having major clutch problems (and gets awful gas mileage) so we couldn't go to Boston in that. Our economy car has been in the shop because of air pump issues. Our jeep, also a bit of a gas guzzler, just had the A/C go out.

Understand that it was in the 90s in Boston today - and humid. So I did the only logical thing.

I rented a car.

Yes, it was extravagant, but it was hot and humid, and then it rained. It's still raining. It's supposed to rain for a week - JUST the thing you want when a friend from out of town comes for a visit. :(

Anyway, here are some shots from our favorite spots in the North end. On my crappy flip phone camera.

Favorite pastry shop...



Favorite pastries!



Outside Quincy Market as the rain began.



A guy singing "Here Comes the Sun," and with a beautiful voice, I might add. It didn't work, though - it only rained harder. :/



At our favorite pizza place... ahh, so good!



Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

25 June 2013

5th Day of Summer

Something popped up today in our vegetable garden.



Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

24 June 2013

4th Day of Summer

Ukulele tunes wafting through the woods behind our home.



Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

23 June 2013

3rd Day of Summer

Years ago, my husband and I began trying to plant things in our yard. Sometimes things grew. More often than not, they didn't.

We blamed it on the sandy soil. We blamed it on the rainy summers. We blamed it on a snowless winter and the subsequent terrible freeze one year that killed off most of what we planted, as well as some other things that had already been there.

We even blamed it on each other.

But in the end, the reality is that we know very little about raising and nurturing plants. More importantly, we didn't realize the immense value of compost, and what it would do to our crappy soil.

So last week, my friend Linda came over, took one look at what had once been a garden next to our driveway, and told me she was giving me some plants to put there.

Understand that Linda's gardens look like something out of a magazine. They cover huge amounts of land and she has been cultivating them for nearly 20 years. She told me that if we would prep our garden, she needed to divide a bunch of her plants and would give them to us.

What about shade? I asked her. What about the crappy soil? What about our general incompetence?

She shook her head - Nope, none of that matters. Just add lots of good compost and your plants will be fine just about anywhere.

So one day, we broke up the garden, which included a 20 foot long Aspen tree root that had wormed it's way in and around EVERYTHING.



Then we spent the next few days planting the fruit of Linda's insanely generous gift to us. About 100 plants, guaranteed to find happiness in our garden. We planted each one, lovingly, with lots of good compost, and then my daughter and I heaped more compost all over the entire garden, for good measure.

In the end, it looked like this.



Some of it will bloom this year. Much of it won't. But the little I DO know about gardening is the old adage of:

The First Year they Sleep...
The Second Year they Creep...
The Third Year they Leap!

So here's hoping. And thank you, Linda!

Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

22 June 2013

2nd Day of Summer

The patio is officially ready for summer cookouts and s'more making. Meaning, we've got all the anti-mosquito-and-black-fly paraphernalia we can afford.

And it's working.



And we have all the important beverages, too. ;)



Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

21 June 2013

First Day of a Maine Summer

Few phrases make me smile more than that one. Summer in Maine is what we live for.

Sure, fall is beautiful - spectacular, in fact - but it is short lived. The leaves are pretty for a couple of weeks, then they drop all over everything, and we scramble to rake them up before it snows or we freeze to death. Whichever comes first.

Winter is long and cold. And YES, there are lovely things about winter. The skiing, the beauty, the nights by the wood stove. But come on. In the end, we're all just pathetically pale and vitamin D deprived.

Spring is fickle. The flowering plants, flowering trees and flowering flowers are a sight for sore, color-deprived eyes. But Spring often also means rain. And mud. And teasers. Teasers meaning, a warm day or two and then weeks of more cold and rain. By the time Memorial Day arrives, SOME of us think summer comes along with it. After all, we're planting our tomato gardens and buying annuals for the window boxes. But we don't dare put away our coats and boots just yet.

Heck, just last week, I wore my WARM rain coat and heavy mud boots. It was 50 degrees, raining and windy. Not exactly a day that felt like summertime.

But now...

Now it's here.

Today dawned early, as expected, although it was cloudy and 60 degrees on the coast. But by noon the sun was scrambling out from behind the clouds with a summertime zeal and the thermometer read 85 degrees. I drove down Main Street with the sunroof open, the windows down, and felt like a teenager again on the last day of school.

Days like this - - - days like this are what we wait all year for.

Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

19 June 2013

Farm Day

We bought a share in a local organic farm this year. I've been wanting to do it for years, and finally the opportunity presented itself.

They have pigs and sheep for the kids to see.





And something new and surprising each week in the way of veggies. We love it!



Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

10 June 2013

Butterfly

Last week my daughter and I were working in the yard and this little guy lighted on the lilacs which were just past their peak. He was squeezing the last of the nectar out of their fragrant blossoms.

I didn't want to miss the moment and didn't have my camera with me, so I took these photos with my phone.

This is an important fact because I do NOT have a smart phone.



These days EVERYBODY and their grandmother has a smart phone that takes better pictures that my very expensive camera.



But I am too cheap to pay for the monthly data plan on a smart phone. Much to my kids' dismay.



Yet if my crappy slider phone can take photos like this, who needs that monthly data plan anyway? (I'm talking to you, youngest daughter...) :)



Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

04 June 2013

Shameless Self Promotion

I have decided to dip my toe into the ocean of self-publishing on Amazon.com. Since I'm still a bit skeptical about the whole thing, I published a short story, rather than a book-length work. The story is now available for download on Kindle, personal computer, and various other such devices that work with Amazon.

From (tomorrow) Wednesday, June 5 to Sunday, June 9, the story will be offered free of charge. After that, it will be available for $0.99, or it can be borrowed free of charge any time, if one is a member of Amazon Prime.

The name of the story is Row Sixteen. It's about a young woman who has lost her husband and is visiting the cemetery for the first time, looking for closure.

If you happen to read the story, would you do me a favor and leave a comment and rating on the Amazon book page?

Here's the link:



Thanks! :)

Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes

03 June 2013

Spring at our House

Spring has finally arrived. In fact, over the weekend, summer flopped down lazily on the coast of Maine, like an uninvited guest. We were just starting to enjoy the idea that winter was finally gone and that the warm weather had arrived, and then BAM - it was 90 degrees and terribly humid.

But one of the beautiful things about Maine is that the intense heat never lingers for very long. Today we are back in the low 70s with rain, and the temp is supposed to be in the 60s for the rest of the week.

We've just about finished prettying up our garden for the summer. Now if we could only get rid of the black flies...











Copyright © 2013 - Paulla Estes