Sunday, June 29, 2008


Here's a pic of our favorite swimming hole.

Yesterday I finally succumbed to repeated requests to go shopping in town.

Chinese take out, tobacco shoppe, video game store, and finally, Walmart.

I left the Firebird in the check out line to unload the carts (yes, two again...) and escorted the Willow to the ladies room. I'll not persue that part of the topic, as I personally detest public rest rooms, especially those at walmart. :(

When we returned to the line, the two young men ahead of us caught my eye, as the further one requested cigarettes and they both looked quite young. The cashier and I exchanged looks, and she asked him for ID. ONe has to be over 18 to purchase tobacco products.

There was some confused looks from the young man, and finally he asked in a heavy accent, "passport?", to which the teller shook her head, not understanding him.

I interjected, "passport, can he use a passport?" and she replied , "yes," so he handed it over and she started examining it.

The young man was quite blonde and rather Nordic looking, and a red blush was bursting up his neck to his cheekbones.

Handing back the passport, the cashier looked at the second young man and asked for his passport, as well. He was quite confused, and finally gave her his passport in turn. I asked, "Where are they from...?" and then to the guys, as they turned to me,"Where are you from?"

"Russia" they replied. I thought that was really cool and gave them a nod and a big smile.
The cigarette purchase completed, one pack of Marlboro Menthol-disgusting!-the closer of the two young men turned to me and said, in very broken English, that the pack was much more expensive here in the US than in Russia! At least that is how I understood what he said. But, we have a huge tobacco tax up here in Maine, as well.

As they walked away, I realized that I knew something in Russian, but my mind drew a blank and I was left with my standard, "By-----eeeeee!"

As soon as they were out of earshot, I remembered, "Das Vedanya."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Arctic Sea Ice extent March-June 2008

According to previous climate change predictions, the Arctic had a 1:72 chance of being ice free in the next decade. Now scientists claim that the Arctic has between a 1 in 4 and a 1 in 2 (50%) chance of being ice free THIS summer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From US Maine Senator Susan Collins:
Our nation’s energy crisis is one of the most pressing issues facing America. Current record high energy prices affect almost every aspect of American’s daily lives. At the same time, our nation is debating what to do about global climate change. It is clear that we need a dramatic change in our energy use to protect the nation from dramatic rises of the cost of energy and to protect our environment for future generations.
I have created a ten-point plan to get the nation started on this important effort.
I announced this effort during a speech given on the Senate floor. To view the text of the speech:
1. Terminate Purchases for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

While, numerous causes have contributed to the sharp rise in oil prices, I believe that the nation must be smarter in managing its oil supplies. I do not believe that the nation should be filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) during times of high oil prices, as this only drives prices up further by taking oil off the market. I was joined by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan in passing a bipartisan amendment that directs the Department of Energy to by requiring the Department to avoid filling the SPR when prices are high.

The Energy Information Administration has estimated that the impact on gas prices is between four and five cents a gallon. Other experts believe it is considerably higher. It is a bad deal for taxpayers for the Department of Energy to be purchasing oil when prices are so high.
I have called on the President to stop filling the SPR until prices drop. It simply does not make sense for the Department of Energy to be purchasing oil for the Reserve at a time when oil prices exceed 100 dollars per barrel. The federal government is taking oil off the market and thus driving up prices at a time when consumers are struggling to pay their fuel bills.
2. Extend Federal Regulation to Oil Futures

Excessive speculation on futures markets may well be another factor pushing up oil prices. Unfortunately, there is a lack of publicly available data to track the effect of speculation on prices, and manipulation can go undetected on certain electronic markets that are unregulated. Experts testifying before our Investigations Subcommittee all agreed that greater transparency and better reporting of trades could help prevent abuses such as occurred in the natural gas markets in 2006. One witness noted, “the current high oil prices are inflated by as much as 100 percent... driven by excessive speculation.”
That is why I support expanding the authority of the federal government to provide greater regulation and transparency to guard against price manipulation.
3. End Tax Breaks for Oil Companies and Direct Funds into Alternative Energy

With net profits of a single oil company reaching almost 10 billion dollars in a single quarter, we should not expect taxpayers struggling to pay their bills to continue to subsidize the oil and gas industry. Congress should repeal unnecessary tax breaks for big oil companies and use the billions of dollars instead to fund the remaining proposals in my Ten-Point Energy Plan.
I recently offered an amendment, which provided for the rescission of needless tax breaks for major oil companies. My proposal would redirect that revenue to support renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. My amendment was accepted as part of the Senate-passed Budget Resolution. We need to continue that momentum and quickly take up legislation to enact this proposal.
4. Fully Fund and Restructure LIHEAP

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is a federal grant program that provides vital funding to help low-income and elderly citizens meet their home energy needs. Nationwide, over the last four years, the number of households receiving LIHEAP assistance increased by 26 percent from 4.6 million to about 5.8 million, but during this same period, federal funding increased by only 10 percent. The result is that the average grant actually declined from $349 to $305.. Since crude oil prices have soared from around $60 per barrel in August 2007 to over $100 per barrel today, a grant buys less fuel today than it would have just months ago.
This large, rapid increase, combined with less LIHEAP funding available per family, imposes hardship on people who use home heating oil to heat their homes. Low-income families and senior citizens living on limited incomes in Maine and many other states faced a crisis in staying warm this winter. We must fully fund LIHEAP at $5.1 billion.
For the long term, we also should explore changes to LIHEAP the make it more flexible to allow states to take a regional approach to low-income energy issues, or to better balance direct energy bill assistance with grants for longer-lasting energy efficiency improvements, such as winterizing the homes of low-income families.
5. Improve Energy Efficiency

The first long-term solution in my 10-Point Energy Plan is to make more efficient use of the energy we use to heat our homes and offices, power our lights, and run our automobiles. Last year, Congress enacted and the President signed an increase in fuel economy standards for automobiles that will save 1 million barrels of oil a day. This is a good start, but we can do even more.

I have introduced legislation, S. 1554, which would double funding for the Department of Energy Weatherization Program, reaching 1.4 billion dollars by 2010. On average, weatherizing a home reduces heating bills by 31 percent and overall energy bills by 358 dollars per year. My bill also would provide predictable funding for the valuable Energy Star Program, which helps consumers buy energy efficient appliances.

My energy legislation also includes an Energy Efficiency Performance Standard for utilities. This provision requires utilities to achieve energy efficiency improvements. Estimates note that an Energy Efficiency Performance Standard could save consumers 64 billion dollars in net savings, and avoid the need to build 400 power plants, preventing 320 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Making buildings, appliances and utilities more energy efficient can dramatically reduce our use of oil and save money for consumers at the same time.
6. Implement a Renewable Energy Standard

I believe we need a national renewable electricity standard which would require utilities to generate at least 15 percent, if not more than that, of their electricity from environmentally- sound renewable energy sources by the year 2020. This would boost the production of renewable energy, provide jobs in new industries, and, save an estimated 13 to 18 billion dollars on electricity and natural gas bills by 2030. It would move us away from reliance on coal and natural gas for electricity, and diversify our energy supply to provide more price stability. Twenty-eight states, including Maine, already have a renewable electricity standard. We should follow their lead and establish a national renewable electricity standard. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7. Cellulosic Ethanol and Renewable Fuels

We must insure that as we make these dramatic changes to our energy supply and infrastructure, we do not inadvertently cause more harm than good. That is why my comprehensive energy bill, S. 1554, expands existing tax credits for ethanol to include cellulosic biomass, but at the same time insures such fuels will have a smaller life cycle environmental footprint than traditional fuels. While there has been a great deal of focus on using corn-based ethanol in order to decrease our reliance upon foreign oil, there are other renewable, plant-based energy sources that are more environmentally friendly and have greater potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers at the University of Maine have been at the forefront of developing commercially-viable technologies to produce ethanol from cellulosic sources. Best of all, these bioproducts would leave a smaller, lighter ecological footprint.
8. Tidal, Geothermal, Solar, and Wind Energy

Other clean, renewable energy sources include the tides in ours oceans and the moderate temperatures under our land. The U.S. wave and tidal energy resource potential that reasonably could be harnessed is about 10 percent of national energy demand. In Maine, a consortium of the University of Maine, Maine Maritime Academy and industry is positioned to become a key testbed site for tidal energy devices.
However, tidal energy technologies are still much more costly than traditional electricity production. Thus, we need to invest research and development funding. This research will improve the technologies and make them cost competitive with other sources of renewable energy.

The final portion of renewable energy supplies that I believe we must continue to promote is wind and solar energy. The tax incentives for renewable energy sources like wind and solar are set to expire at the end of this year. It is imperative that Congress pas an extension of these tax incentives to continue to provide an impetus for investments in these technologies.
9. Vehicle Efficiency and Alternatives to Gasoline

Gasoline used in transportation is 9.2 million barrels a day, almost half of our national consumption of 20 million barrels of oil each day. Currently, we import about 12 million barrels of oil a day. Reducing consumption of oil products for transportation purposes would go a long way toward reducing our reliance on foreign oil and decreasing overall energy prices for consumers. Flex fuel vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles can help meet this challenge. We should extend existing tax credits for alternative fuel vehicles, and consider providing a tax credit for consumers who modify their existing vehicles to be flex-fuel capable.
Also, we should put more money into research plug-in hybrid vehicles, and consider expanded tax credits for these vehicles. Plug-in hybrid hold great promise – if all new vehicles added to the U.S. fleet for the next 10 years were plug-in hybrids, an additional 80 billion gallons (almost 2 billion barrels) of gasoline could be saved each year.
Finally, as I proposed in S. 1554, we should repeal the phase-out of the tax credit for hybrid vehicles, which is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2010.
10. Public Transportation
Public transportation is one of the most effective ways we can get more passenger miles per gallon gasoline. My energy legislation would promote the development and use of public transportation by subsidizing fares, encouraging employers to assist their employees with fares, and authorizing funding to build energy-efficient and environmentally friendly modes of transport, such as clean buses and light rail. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pick your own organic strawberries


So I skipped the morning muscle relaxer yesterday and we crawled down a row of organic strawberries for this feast. There's about 5 quarts in this basket and we picked a second basket, as well.
I took some flack from the owner about wearing my Duke hat..he obviously not being a Duke supporter. I had to explain that a relative employed by Duke had sent it as a gift, and that seemed to appease him. LOL.

"Do you remember the taste of fresh strawberries with cream, Mr. Frodo?"-Samwise Gamgee



Last Thursday I had physical therapy on my lower back. For two nights I was in such pain, tears came to my eyes. Finally on Saturday morning I called the Doc's for something, anything for the pain.

The doc faxed in two scripts-one a muscle relaxer, the other tylenol 3 with codeine.

On the way to pick up the scripts, we worked in a stop for a local town celebration and watched the small parade. The horses are always one of my favorites, so I snapped a few pics of them.

I had to laugh at t horse's expression...this is what I must have looked like later after the muscle relaxer kicked in. I have yet to take the codeine..don't dare to since the m.r. knocks me off my ass already. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

good fishing

Tree 608

I heard the loon calling over at the pond this morning. Later, I took the saplings over with new poles and worm and bobber technique.

Yup, they were biting. Final score: Little Willow, 3: two pumpkinseed and one large mouth bass. Young Firebird: 2 Largemouth Bass. This is one of them. We catch and release, although the pumpkinseed had my mouth watering...LOL



two years old

Tree 608

Ok, so I know this blog is not two years old. But its former reincarnation, AATREEO, when I first starting posting as Tree, was two years ago to the month. One of the first pics I posted was of a nesting snapping turtle. June 2006.

I was a bit depressed this am, thinkng of the last two years gone by, and thinking maybe it was time to move on? Gemini rising, I have a habit of flitting here and there...

As is my wont, after spending several hours mucking out part of a goat pen, I took an early lunch and strolled across to the pond. Then I stretched my self out in the lawn chair, no mozzies, watching faces form in the clouds, and even the Dawn Treader made a brief appearance. Ah, vacation for a few hours.

I took some terrific photos, thoughts of taking a break far from reality..this is the cream of the crop, the reason for existence, placate me again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More endangered species

The polar bear is a recent addition to the US Threatened Species list. Not before the government auctioned off drilling leases to seven major oil companies in the Chutchi Sea, off the coast oNortwestern Alaska and home to 2,000 polar bears.

Not to worry, now the administraton -The Fish and Wildlife administration- has issued regulations this week releasing those seven oil companies from liability if "small numbers of polar bears and pacific walrus are incidentally harmed by their activities over the next five years."
"Google" ( http:/ )
"Gov't allows oil and gas companies to annoy already threatened polar bears By DINA CAPPIELLO"
for your choice of AP provider for this story.

Snapping Turtle

Tree 608

Here's a more common reptile in Maine. A female snapping turtle.

This one was nearly in mydriveway a few minutes ago. She was not happy when I shooed her further off road with a stick.

She was a medium sized one at about 18 inches from nose to tail.

Female Eastern BoxTurtle

Tree 608

In all my years Maine, I have never seen a box turtle. They were quite commom father south where I grew up, having lugged several home to live in the backyard as child.

I caught this girl crossing the road, and pulled over to get her pic and shoo her off the road.

Once home I checked online, and discovered that Box turtles are endangered in Maine, the rarest reptile. The map shows a questionmark for possible range-there have only been a few sitings in the last twenty years, nowhere near where I saw this one.

Monday, June 16, 2008



SCENE II. Capulet's orchard.
Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say 'Ay,'
And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries
Then say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown and be perverse an say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my 'havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
My true love's passion: therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.- Hermann Hesse, Wandering

What did the tree learn from the earth
to be able to talk with the sky? - Pablo Neruda

Nevertheless, it means much to have loved,
To have been happy, to have laid my hand on
The living Garden, even for one day.
- Jorge Luis Borges, Adam Cast Forth

Sunday, June 15, 2008

7:40pm 6/14/08


Hen and ducklings on the Kennebec

Tree 608


How do you wite about it? Sitting infront of a blank page at the wee hours, disgruntled, foggy with interrupted well needed sleep, torn from the sanctuary of warm nest and sweet dreams by a ringing phone at midnight.

Cursing the forgetfulness that left the phone in the bedroom, ignoring the rings and hearing the manic slurred voice at the other end begin yet another rambling message, demanding, insistent, which in later calls will lead to aggravated and slightly threatening.

Roll over and go back to sleep to have the phone ring again in twenty minutes-hopes of sleep dashed and replaced by a need to silence the intruder, out of bed unplugging phones, getting a glass of water, knocking glass of water on bed returning to same..

Attempt to return to sleep to hear jangling cat shrieks from the back yard. Leaping out of bed and nearly going through the window at the top of the steps in haste to get down same, half falling and tumbling down steps to knock over and step in the day's eggs that were sitting there..stumbling out the back door through the goose crap barefoot trying to see if the chicken killing fox from two nights ago has returned and killed the cat...

Retreating sounds crashing through the underbrush-all hope of sleep lost and now into the wee hours..

Edit note: 1:30 am the cat came in unscathed *claps*

Friday, June 13, 2008

release of the djinn Tree

Self Portrait 608


Ok, I know a mouse that has chided me for me revealing photos, but since today was my last day at the farm, and walking the bucks, I could not resist.

A late night left me riding the snooze button and all us of draggin rears this am. As it was, I had to scrounge for a camisole to throw on underneath a big t prior to work this am. Never mind digging out the sundress, and good thing, as the story will show later.

R and I were solo on the bucks again today. R said he didn't mind cleaning while I walked, and I grabbed my bag and digi, tobacco, rake, clippers, and a mason jar of cold coffee for the trek out to the back meadow.

The bucks slowly worked their way down the woods road, Zeuss in the lead as usual. Once they broke clear of the field, he kept going, past the solo boulder on the rise of the field, and down, down, down to the edge of the woods, where I understand yet another field lies after another woods walk.

I have never had the bucks so far-having heard tales of the day they got away from boss and came out of the woods two towns over....Not on my watch, thank you very much.

As we passed the boulder, I laid tools and bag aside, and followed through the meadow, snapping wildflowers as I went. Red Clover, Blue vetch, daisies, and what I call hawkweed and Indian paintbrush. Handful after handful, with the intent of braiding a flower crown.

The bucks paused down at the end of the field, and I sat a distance away, and began to make sense of the stems, preparing to braid. By the time I got that far, several stampeeded back towards me, breaking left and right while I sat with my blossoms, ready to roll to the side if needed.

Then theybroke for the other woods, where they are not allowed, but they seemed to know I was watching and stayed just in range, so I bundled the flowers into two groups and headed back for the rock, hoping to draw them to the other end of the field.

They stayed below, spread out in two groups. I decided I would experiment a bit with the timer on the cam-I have been enjoying that challenge-10 seconds to photo.

Not having a tripod, I use whatever is handy, in this case the rock being the only option. Given the lay of the land, if I had been in correct position to the sun, my knees might have been in the photo. I needed to be downhill, which threw the light this way.

Two snaps and I decided it was time to cut the brush to bring back for the bucklings, so I tucked my T behind my belt to throw back on for when R came to collect the bucks, and headed for the stone wall with the clippers.

I saw some nice beech, so I lopped a few chunks. I was further out than the car could reach, so I thought I would drag it to the woods road for picking up later. Halfway there, the bucks realized I was dragging brush, and R appeared to collect them.

No chance to throw the T back on-here I was, clutching beech limbs over my head and sprinting through the meadow, simultaneously avoiding two or three bucks jostling for a bite.

R came to the rescue and held them at bay while I stashed the brush up on some swamp willow-out of site, out of mind.

Then I threw my t-shirt back on. ;)

I was glad I passed on the sundress-that would have been a good one for you-tube. Hehehe.
And the closing shot really happened-one of the bucks thought I had gathered that nice bouquet for him and chomped half it it to the stems in my fist on the walk back, when I wasn't paying attention :D

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Meadow 608 Tree

First and foremost, the US supreme court has decided 5-4 that the detainnees at Guitanamo Bay are entitled to civilian trail. Bush disagrees. Do I really need to make further comment?

Secondly, love a little.

Thirdly, what the hell is the matter with the Energy department claiming that gas prices are not going to come down?? What harm in saying they are going to drop like a rocket and rattle those speculators that are driving up the price of a barrel of oil? Assholes.

Lastly, although I tried my damnedest to tie up the phone line on my dial up ...uploading beautiful pics, I was finangled by boss to work today and tomorrow. I begged off cleaning on Ryan today, and enjoyed walking the bucks in Boss' absense. A day in paradise-what makes me stay here for 72F, approaching the Summer Solstice-still fading dusk at 8:49-nice breeze, no bugs-sunshine and meadowflowers-rose pink afterglows-butterflies, tinkling brooks, snapping turtles roadside laying eggs...only one thing missing...

What do animals dream?

Do they dream of past lives and unlived dreams
unspeakably human or unimaginably bestial?

Do they struggle to catch in their slumber
what is too slippery for the fingers of day?

Are there subtle nocturnal intimations
to illuminate their undreaming hours?

Are they haunted by specters of regret
do they visit their dead in drowsy gratitude?

Or are they revisited by their crimes
transcribed in tantalizing hieroglyphs?

Do they retrace the outline of their wounds
or dream of transformation, instead?

Do they tug at obstinate knots
inassimilable longings and thwarted strivings?

Are there agitations, upheavals or mutinies
against their perceived selves or fate?

Are they free of strengths and weaknesses peculiar
to horse, deer, bird, goat, snake, lamb or lion?

Are they ever neither animal nor human
but creature and Being?

Do they have holy moments of understanding
deep in the seat of their entity?

Do they experience their existence more fully
relieved of the burden of wakefulness?

Do they suspect, with poets, that all we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream?

Or is it merely a small dying
a little taste of nothingness that gathers in their mouths?

Yahia Lababidi

Sgt. Pepper and Tree

Tree 608

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Headed Home the long way Tree 608


Yesterday I was horned, rammed, doused in hot water, and sunburnt. Today went better.

I had agreed with Boss at the Fiber Frolic that I would fill in for P yesterday and today, and woke up yesterday knowing exactly what the day would bring.

I helped R finish graining, then did Moonbeam's hooves. She is a two year old doe that thinks she is better than people. Such as, she has no problem cramming you one with her horns if she feels like it. So, I picked her to start. She was fairly reasonable, only gouging me once in the kidney while I was working on her-when I released her, she turned around and butted me in the leg for good measure and trotted off.

Then I was sent up on the hill to comb Duke, formerly Nix's small star. He is very easy to catch, but jumps around like hell when being combed. Homer took the opportunity to show me how much he loves me by rubbing his head all over me as I kept shifting position to comb his jumping buddy. Finally I had most of the visible cashmere cleaned off, and fearing we were both going to suffer heatstroke, I decided to finish him off the next day (today) as long as R could hold him for me.

R has weedwhacked the fenceline the last two days at Jenny Nash while Boss walked the bucks and I did all the cleaning, collaring, and most of the graining, before taking up Grey (Hippolytus) for combing-a nightmare. All his cashmere was matted up close to the skin and his long silky guard hair-7 inches or so, needed to be teased out to free the cashmere. We mostly finished him off today.

While I was combing him yesterday, he started jumping and all of a sudden, the water pipe the tenant had run from the house down to the cottage started spewing water all over us. I quickly undid his chain and moved him, exclaiming, "We have a problem!!!!"

Yes we did have a problem-turned out there was a board hidden in the grass right there with two 16D nails sticking up, and he had tromped the pipe onto them, piercing it in TWO places-which we found out much later after shutting power, water, and then trying to empty 1000 feet of 1/2 pipe of water for taping, with no success. I mean, the tape didn't work.

The tenant was a bit peeved, so I stayed on did it the right way, and cut out the bad part and spliced it back together with a coupling and a couple of ring clamps...A trip to the hardware store, many trips up to the house to turn the water on and off and finally just cutting the hose full of solar heated water, having lost patience with draining. Yeah, she has good pressure there, as my wet clothes would have testified.

On the way home, my neck and shoulders started burning. OH, what a sunburn! Of course I had chosen to wear a tank top and found myself in direct sun at Nash's from 10:30-1:30. Still hurts today.

I stayed late again today helping boss finish Grey(Hippolytus), and told her if she gets in a jam to call me.

Really, I like a good challenge. :D

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

more naiads


A closer look and a couple rotations of my previously posted water sprite photo has revealed a couple more in hiding. Look for the two blue eyes between my ankles, and then, the one between my feet with one eye larger and a crown of three stones.

They are transforming my feet into gi-normous frog flippers. Really, my feet are not that large. ;)

Chicken Florentine

I was a cook in a past life. Chef, line cook; broiler, fry, saute, expediter. I rocked. :D

One of the last places I cooked I was the only female on a 21 cook line-plus all the prep cook and dishwashers were male, too. I had the lead saute in that place.

Dinners were my specialty. I cooked one professional breakfast in my years of cooking, and quit the place the next day. Well, I had closed the night kitchen down at 1:30 am and had to be back at 4:30am for breakfast, so that might have had something to do with it. ;)

Last night I went out to harvest my baby spinach which had decided this heat wave was too much and had started to bolt. I happened to have a big bag of whole chicken breasts that needed cooking, and I remembered a favorite recipe -Chicken Florentine. Yummy. I imagine my vegetarian readers could put the florentine over grilled tofu...

Here's how to make it:

serves two generously.

Two whole chicken breasts, boned and skinned and split in half, or four boneless skinless half breasts.
Flour, seasoned with salt and pepper for breading. I also used crushed plain cornflakes in with the flour, but just flour is how we did it in the restaurant, and then salted and peppered the top of the chicken after breading.
vegetable Oil for sauteeing.

One bag of spinach, or three or four quart pot full.
One small yellow onion (about 1/3 chopped)
3 TBSP flour
I teas salt
white pepper to taste
1 cup whole milk or half and half if you want it rich.

You can make the sauce ahead of time, as we did in the restaurant, or you can do both at the same time, as I did last night.

soak the chicken breasts in cold salt water for an hour or so. I use about a tablespoon of salt mixed with enough water to cover. you can omit this step, but my grandmother told me to soak all chicken this way to remove the blood and make it more tender. I do it also as commercially bought chicken is really filthy-you don't want to know-and the salt water will kill everything but staph, which should succumb to the heat.

Take the breasts out of the water and dredge them in the flour. Your fry oil , just enough to keep them from sticking, should be heating on med-high heat. Once the oil is starting to heat, put the floured breasts in. Hot grease can spatter-use caution. If a spot of water explodes in it, shift the pan off the heat while you are adding the breasts.

Now leave them alone to golden brown on the first side. you should flip it only once to brown the other side. You don't want to thoroughly cook it, as it will finish in the oven.

While they are cooking, melt the butter in another pan and add the onions. Cook til transluscent. I scorched mine a bit last night-came out fine, but will darken the sauce.
Add the spinach and throw a lid on it to steam the spinach. Last night all I did was soak the spinach to get the slugs off. If you are using more mature bagged spinach,wash and soak in cold water, then pull the big stems off and coarsely chop it before putting in the pot.

Once the spinach is steamed (if you are timing things right, the breasts will have been flipped and nearly done by now), add 1/4 of flour and stir it into the spinach and let it cook a minute or two to bind the flour and kill the raw taste. Then stir in the cup of milk and let that cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch that you don't scorch it-if you wanted a smoke, you should have grabbed it earlier (how do you think I scorched the onions?) Should be pretty thick-if you let it cool for later use, it will be like pudding consistency.

Put the cooked breasts on a pan (I used one 1 inch deep last night-so not too shallow or you will have a mess in your oven), cover with the Florentine sauce, and top with mozzarella or provolone. Finish in a moderately hot oven (375-400). The cheese should get lightly browned. Enjoy!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Waterfalls and butterflies

I decided to saunter over to the dam this morning to update my border photo.


Walking back across the road, I saw the swallowtails were out. For some reason, every year at the end of the driveway, the Tiger swallowtails gather to sip minerals out of the damp earth. It is so magical to walk by and have a cloud of swallowtails take to the sky , fluttering. I took about a dozen pics trying to capture the effect-butterflies are difficult subjects!


Then I heard the fairies call. I decided to take a walk streamside.

faeries, naiads, and a faun

I passed one of the fairy trees while I headed towards the marsh.


The water was so beautiful, the mozzies were sleeping, but not the damselflies. I spent some minutes trying to get a good shot of them laying eggs on the floating marsh grasses. I could resist no longer-time to leave the shoes behind and take the water path.


water walk, cont..

The water sprite, or Nai'ad, does not look too pleased I am standing on her (look for two large eyes in top center of photo).

I waded, watching for the freshwater clams, as they can be rather sharp to step on. There were many, many clams. I saw some small minnows and some 5-7 inch fish. The minnows didn't mind having their photo taken. The fish fled.


water walk, cont...

I had seen a few faint tracks of what appeared to be raccoon, and found this spot with the pile of clam shells tucked under the bank near a hollow tree.


I heard frogs and birds, but all were evasive until this fellow plopped down right in front of me and didn't mind having his photo taken at all. I couldn't kiss him-my heart hangs with a King. ;)


Now I had worked up an appetite, and had brought nothing to eat, drink, or smoke, so I decided to turn around at this point.

water walk, cont...

I had also seen deer tracks; some through a clay bank underwater that still had mud in the track-and I figured they were fairly fresh, and stopped to look about to find nothing.

I did find this deer crossing, with tracks in the foreground mud, and well worn track on the other bank.


On the return, I found the Heron had left something behind:


water walk conclusion

One has to make several decisions on this water trek-several times log jams and deep water left me picking my way through the grass. There was a nice marsh grass island that I had used on the way down. On the way back, I started to step up on the other end, and nearly stepped on this:

Well! That was a suprise!!! A white tailed deer fawn bedded down on the island waiting for Momma. I was just a foot or so away, and it never moved. I took several pictures and left quickly, thrilled for such a find!
Then I saw the dragonflies in love.

I love my backyard, too. :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fiber Frolic 2008

Boer Goats Tree

Hangover without the alcohol

I feel very blurry eyed and headachey this morning.

My co-worker from the farm, P called me last night. One of the Great Pyranees at the farm died yesterday-Boss couldn't find him so P went over and found him dead out back. Very sad.

P had missed me at the farm, and we talked for 3 and 1/2 hours!!!! I used to be quite infamous for my phone stamina, but I think I broke a personal record last night!

I had the chance to tell P that Boss was having me cover for her(P) Tues and Wed this week, and most of the talk was about the farm. P was drowning her sorrows in some type of liquid refreshent-I could hear the ice tinkiling as she refreshed every so often and her speech became louder and more slurred as time went by. Myself, I had forgotten to re-stock the ale supply on the way home from the fiber frolic, so I stayed sadly sober throughout.

P has a nice boyfriend, if that is the term, as they are basically married but not.
The time was interspersed with brief conversations between them, and on my end, rescuing a batch of brownies and tucking the saplings in for the night.

At the end of the conversation, P started seriously choking and had to put the phone down-I wondered if she was going to choke to death while I sat helpless on the other end of the line. Finally she recovered enough to pick the phone up, gasping...victim of an ice cube going down the wrong pipe. Ouch, I hate that!

I figured it was time to close the conversation, and we did.

On the way into the fiber frolic yesterday, there was a couple behind us, and the guy looked very familiar. The woman was dressed very artsy, with fishnet stockings and a colorful scarf among other accessories. As happens at events, I saw them several times, until at one point the guy and I passed each other directly and I said out loud, "J"?

He kept going but sort of reacted, so I said again louder, still walking away from each other, "J"?
Then he stopped and turned, and in fact, we did know each other. We had been out on a lunch date several years ago-set up by mutual friends. We had spoken on the phone a couple times and I had listened to his show on Maine NPR, and he had managed to get me to agree to meet for lunch.

He seemed a bit over-eager to be in a serious relationship, and although we had gotten along fairly well, I blew him off, not too harshly, I hope.

We were lingering around Boss's booth, and started chatting like long lost friends. He is living with his girlfriend, who knew Boss from way back-they even had each other's goats. J told me about getting attacked by the meanest farm goose on a visit. Small world.

His girlfriend was none too pleased, not very friendly, and said she had other committments and backed out of watching Boss' booth while Boss showed the bucks. OOps. No harm intended.

Between that encounter, and hearing P and her boyfriend's domestic conversations from the other end of the line last night, I woke up with relationships on my mind.

I have always been a loner, although I have been in my share of LTR's. I find it difficult to be with someone 24/7. The easy comraderie J and I shared yesterday left me wondering if perhaps I had been hasty in rejecting him-if going it alone is the most satisfying option.

I even asked P last night if she knew any single guys-she replied,"oh, you don't want a boyfriend!" (she and hers have had some rough patches lately).

Hmm-do I or don't I ? I don't have an answer to that important question.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Big Brown loses Triple Crown bid

Big Brown finished dead last to Da'Tara in the Belmont Stakes, the third jewel in the Triple Crown, losing his chance at the coveted Triple Crown title.

Fiber Frolic 2008

Dave Kennard and the sheepdog (border collie) demonstration Tree
We had a great time at the Fiber Frolic today! The first thing we did was to grab an order of the most delicioius french fries (chips for my British reader). Thinly cut, cooked to perfection. Yum.

Then we tucked in to watch the sheepdog demonstration with Dave Kennard from New Hampshire. Dave runs about 200 head of sheep and 50 head of Boer goats on his farm, and brought 4 border collies with him, ranging in age from 7-14. The fifth was home with a broken leg in a cast.

We shared some curiousity with a few bystanders as to how herding the goats would work, and they certainly handle a bit different than sheep, but the dogs knew their stuff, as you can see in the above photo, where they have herded a mixed group of sheep and goats (notice the goats going in last and thinking about dodging away) into a chute.

Only one dog is visible in the photo-on the down command, eyeballing the sheep and goats to keep them from breaking left.

Then we made our way over to the Youth Showmanship ring, to discover there had only been one entrant and they were finished!!!!

We found Boss with a nice table of product, and Clarevonne with her triplets. Boss also brought four bucks to show in the adult buck division. She asked if we would give a hand, and I readily agreed. The young firebird took Grey, I took Hjalmar, Boss took Nishak, and an unlucky goat person took Chris, who spent the whole time in the ring rubbing his bucky head all over the guy.

Boss offerred to switch, but the fellow didn't mind at all. He knew Chris-he had just finished showing two yearling does that were Chris's daughters.

Chris won first and best in show (we knew he would take the first), Hjalmar took second, and it was funny, because when the judge said, "second goes to..." I stepped forward with Hjalmar and then she said, "Nishak" and Boss and I both exclaimed, "Nishak?!?!" and then the judge looked again at the scorecard and corrected herself to Hjalmar. LOL

Nishak took third and Grey took fourth. They were the only four bucks entered.
We had a ton of fun, although the little Tree was quite put out that she was too small to handle one of the bucks. She did get the chance to carry a triplet of a doe that was being shown by another farm from the pen to the ring.

The fiber goat community here is quite laid back and everyone knows each other-especially since Boss really started Cashmere goats in Maine. Even the judges started out their goat farm with Boss' goats.

I did find myself wishing that we had brought our Nicolas-he would have kicked butt in the yearling class, even though he has not totally shed out. I have a huge bag of fiber from him already, and his look is very good. Of course, he also is from Boss' stock. :D

The goats were only there for the day-tomorrow are llamas and alpacas and it supposed to be a very hot humid day, so I think we will pass on the show tomorrow.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Today is not going very well. For starters, when I went to grain my goats this morning, I discovered that a skunk had been in the goat house during the night. The house smelled so bad I was retching-and the goats, some of whom slept in the house, didn't smell much better.

The bright spot? Thanks goodness I decided to wait another year before showing any goats at the fiber frolic tomorrow!!! I would have been pretty upset to be faced with skunky goats and a goat show! We are looking forward to going to see how things are run to be better prepared next year.

Other screwy things include going to the laundry to discover the accounts lady had just used all the hot water-so I drove another 20 miles + to another laundry to have our whites come out dirtier than when they went in-despite the unusual pretreating effort I did, and actually used bleach for a change. They must have hard water, because I kept adding soap but it just wouldn't foam....So now, a lot of the clothes will be permanently stained since they went in the dryer before I realized their condition.

Then on the way home I stopped to buy hay and the dealer was out-so I went to another dealer and while we were loading, ambulances and firetrucks went racing by-never a good sign. The fire was at a dome home I had been in years ago for a child's birthday party...gone now, and I hope the occupants made it out safely!

The Senate squashed a climate change bill today that would have capped emissions and created a CO2 trading deal-mostly aimed at large companies. Although the bill had more yes than no votes, there was not enough to override a Republican filibuster. Because it would have been too costly economically. Hello? How much worse can it be when gas is $4 a gallon ? Oh right, costly to BIG BUSINESS. I wonder how many midwestern senators voted against it-while their towns are being devasted by tornadoes and flooding?

There is some good news. An Eagle named Beauty, whose beak was shot off by poachers has received a temporay prosthetic beak. Quite interesting, here's the link for a slideshow and more information about raptor rehabilitation.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Susana Bombal

Alta en la tarde, altiva y alabada,
cruza el casto jardín y está en la exacta
luz del instante irreversible y puro
que nos da este jardín y la alta imagen
silenciosa. La veo aquí y ahora,
pero también la veo en un antiguo
crepúsculo de Ur de los Caldeos
o descendiendo por las lentas gradas
de un templo, que es innumerable polvo
del planeta y que fue piedra y soberbia,
o descifrando el mágico alfabeto
de las estrellas de otras latitudes
o aspirando una rosa en Inglaterra.

Está donde haya música, en el leve
azul, en el hexámetro del griego,
en nuestras soledades que la buscan,
en el espejo de agua de la fuente,
en el mármol de tiempo, en una espada,
en la serenidad de una terraza
que divisa ponientes y jardines.

Y detrás de los mitos y las máscaras,
el alma, que está sola.

Jorge Luis Borges

Amor es bueno en sí naturalmente


Amor es bueno en sí naturalmente...

Amor es bueno en sí naturalmente,

y si por causa dél males tenemos,
será porque seguimos los extremos
y así es culpa de quien sus penas siente.

El fuego es el más noble y excelente

elemento de cuantos entendemos,
mas tanta leña en él echar podremos
que al mundo abrasará su fuerza ardiente.

Cuanto más si le echáis otras mixturas

de pez o de alquitrán para movelle,
como aquéllas que eché en mis desventuras;

por donde en el ardor de sus tristuras

tan quemado quedé, con encendelle,
que en mi rostro se muestran mis locuras.

Juan Boscán

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


A friend of mine got lost in the woods on Sunday. We had stopped in for a visit and left around 1 pm. Shortly after that, P decided to walk over to the blueberry field to see if there were any blossoms.

This was a spur of the moment thought-he had just opened a beer ( I know, I know, 1 pm Sunday..but hey, it WAS hot and sunny out) and left it on the picnic table. He didn't plan to be gone but for a minute. Me, I would've taken the ale with, personally. :D

Once in the field, he heard some chainsawing out in the woods. The woods go for four or so miles back before they cross the road I used to travel to the farm. To the West they go through the valley another four miles or so to the top of the mountain I love to take scenic pictures from-Candian geese flock was the last pic posted from there (not mates).

That is to give the idea of how large the woods are.

Being curious as to who was cutting what and where, he started off through the woods. Shortly he realized that he was lost. He walked for three hours before he came out. The sun went away and thunderstorms moved in, so he had no idea which direction he was heading. He found snowmobile trails and followed them, but would decide he was going wrong and turn back and retrace his steps.

We figure he walked about twelve miles and lost a pint of blood to the mosquitoes.

He didn't have his cell phone on him, and said, what would I have said, I am out in the woods?

I said, well, we could have gone in banging pots and blowing whistles to give you a direction to head in. (Before we called in air search)

Part of the danger is that he suffers from back problems, and has even had surgery. He could barely stumble by the time he did find the road a half mile from his house. And of course, it's all uphill from there.

He did have a lighter in his pocket-at least I am always comforted if I know I have fire on me.

This story also has a personal story for me involved. I love hiking through woods, and have done so since I was young. Eleven years of age I had permission to walk through nearby woods, as long as I took the dog. (That was the best dog!)

The only time *knocks on wood* that I have ever been lost in the woods was the same woods that P was lost in on Sunday. I think even the circumstances were the same...I heard logging and went in deep to investigate. Both P and I are fairly familiar with the area, but the lure of the noise seems to leave one without the focus to make landmarks to mark the return trip.

Also, the time I was lost, the skies were also cloudy, and difficult to make orientation. (I know the house and road frontage would be South, as the woods are on the North side of the road)

Also, in both our situations, we struggled to hear car engines to indicate where the road was, but failed.

Luckily for me, I had taken the dog with me. Once I realized I was lost (after turning circles and panicking for ten minutes or so), I told the dog, "Let's go home!"

This took another several minutes for the dog to understand that I was not going to lead, and then I followed the dog, even though the direction felt wrong. Sure enough, I was only a hundred yards or so off the trail, and she led me straight there. That was a good dog, too.

I guess I need to actively start looking for another dog if I want to do any woods walking this summer...Thanks for that lesson, Mom. :)

I also want to add that the time I was lost, P was rather derisive as to how one could get lost in those woods. Now, years later, even though he has travelled those woods every summer since (not thoroughly, though) he found himself in the same situation.

And that is how the majority of people get lost- unprepared (see why I would take the beer?:P)
and spur of the moment. Don't follow the fairies into the woods folks..we might never hear from you again.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Under the Milky Way Tonight

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty,
Sound of their breath fades with the light.
I think about the loveless fascination,
Under the milky way tonight.

Lower the curtain down in memphis,
Lower the curtain down all right.
I got no time for private consultation,
Under the milky way tonight.

Wish I knew what you were looking for.
Might have known what you would find.
Wish I knew what you were looking for.
Might have known what you would find.

And its something quite peculiar,
Something thats shimmering and white.
Leads you here despite your destination,
Under the milky way tonight(chorus)
Under the milky way tonight.

Barack is the Democratic Nominee

It's official, Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

"Day by day I grow more knowing in the ways of the trees and the moss and the snow on the ground, and all things are my friends." - --
Knut Hamsun


I am officially on vacation!

I spoke with Boss yesterday, and since cashmere season is pretty much over, I wanted to finish early.

I much prefer to work with the animals than fixing odd jobs around the farm-especially when my own things are piling up around my ears here. I hope to go back to the farm in the fall to see to extending the Prescott pasture-if she doesn't have the boys do it this summer.

I'll miss all my animal friends at the farm, but I hope to stop by the Fiber frolic on Saturday and will be able to see a couple of the young bucks Boss is planning on showing.

Ran some errands today and it was nice to be home and finished by noon. The sunny hot morning has changed to threatening clouds, and we have a good chance for some thunderstorms.

I guess I will curl up with a good book and put my feet up for awhile. :D

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Today's Bitch= OIL

Where do I start? How about a couple evenings ago while watching the National news?
I let out a shocked gasp of exclamation, and clamped my hands over my face in shock. My children came running, asking, "What's wrong, what's wrong?"

How to explain to little ones compassion and the plight seniors and everyone else that relies on oil to heat their homes are facing?

What was it that I heard on the news? That local oil companies are pre-booking winter heating fuel at 4.50-5.00 a gallon.

Now allow me to explain. Here, heating oil suppliers allow customers to prepay this time of year for heating fuel they will need in the winter, usually for a lower price then when the demand increases.

Last year folks were faced with prices around $2 a gallon, and many huddled around their home cookstoves (electric or natural gas) to keep from freezing to death. Homes require a minimum of 100 gallons of fuel of month to heat. That is 450-500 a month at current pre-booking prices, with a five month heating season. That is almost as much as most have to pay on their monthly rent or mortgage.

Scary stuff! I was very worried for folks last year, but thankfully we had a relatively mild winter (although with lots of snow). The snow hurt me more than the cold, as I heat with wood but have to pay to have the driveway plowed. That was 2-3 times a week for quite awhile, as my regular reader will recall.

I digress. What started this blog happened when I logged on to my news homepage. Paulson, secretary of the treasury says, "there is no quick fix for oil" and it is "a matter of supply and demand."

Right, and Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

The price of oil is driven by speculators. We are screwed.

Paulson used this opportunity to encourage oil producing countries to open up to investment, exploration, and marketing. What that means is that a big oil company, such as Exxon, goes in and offers less than 20% for what is pumped in exchange for absorbing the cost of exploration, drilling, and transporting.

Last month, gasoline demand here in the US was down 7% from last year. There was a 4% drop in Memorial day travel at the Maine toll.

Car dealers are offerring 2.99 a gallon credit on the purchase of a new truck for the first 12,000 miles. Gotta keep us consuming....

Because what is going to happen when we all cut back on our oil use? Good things for climate change, we hope, but not good news for those oil companies. The price could drop. Maybe, if we are lucky.

Or there are going to be some cold folks around here this winter.