Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009

Here's my second New Year's Eve post. The saplings and I are spending it home. I chose the coward's way out with my brief romance and stopped returning calls. Much easier than the alternatives. I would rather be inspired and alone than stressed out attending to an immature adult.

Soon enough I will rustle up some grub and riffle through the DVD collection for the evening's entertainment. Or, if I keep cracking away at the champagne, perhaps it will turn into an impromptu instrumental jam with drums, keyboards, guitars, and percussion.

I found a poem I wanted to share. My excursion into poetry is rather complicated. For most of my life I despised poetry, until I met an inspiring singer-songwriter. Totally ignorant of form I pounded out poem after poem of my own. As with most passionate friendships, ours crashed and burned and we went our separate ways a dozen years ago.

Several years ago I stumbled across another source of inspiration. This one was far more advanced and required some study. I started reading poetry-anything I could get my hands on . Many of the poems I have posted on my blog were an etheric reply to poems posted elsewhere. Sometimes they fit beautifully, sometimes only somewhat. Sometimes I just posted a poem because I liked it. Poetry is a very complicated way to communicate! Well, it's been a fun ride. ;)

So, to make a long story shorter, here's tonight's poem:
Looking For a Sunset Bird in Winter
by Robert Frost
The west was getting out of gold,
The breath of air had died of cold,
When shoeing home across the white,
I thought I saw a bird alight.

In summer when I passed the place
I had to stop and lift my face;
A bird with an angelic gift
Was singing in it sweet and swift.

No bird was singing in it now.
A single leaf was on a bough,
And that was all there was to see
In going twice around the tree.

From my advantage on a hill
I judged that such a crystal chill
Was only adding frost to snow
As gilt to gold that wouldn't show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke
Of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue;
A piercing little star was through.

Happy New Year-kisses all around. :-X

Folk lore claims that the first person we kiss on the New Year will be with us all year.
Here is my New Year's Eve wish, for everyone to receive a kiss such as this:

Let me tell you this
about how I like to kiss
with children and pets
just a pursey smack

With the man of my dreams
not soft like whipped cream
but absorbed and with passion
not concerned with fashion

movement and pressure
sharing breath and spirit
and more
do you want to hear it?

Tongue is good darting and searching
swirling and teasing
Teeth are for nibbling
not for cracking on mine

eyes closed or locked
as long as intent is not blocked

The body should feel the kiss
the power runs from the mouths
through the heart and breast
the loins put to the test

the legs, the toes
the whole body knows
the power of a kiss
such as this.

Happy New Year

Monday, December 29, 2008



Sunday, December 28, 2008





Saturday, December 27, 2008


The Firebird slept in exceedingly late again this morning, as did the Willow, but she insisted on helping with the chores while the Firebird slept, oblivious.

Afterward, Willow and I went straight into snow construction.

Willow worked on building her very own snowman, while I started in on a new and improved fort number two, since number one's walls had thinned considerably with the above freezing temps.

In fact, the warm temps made the snow perfectly sticky. I started slicing out blocks of snow about 8 inches wide and straight down with the snow shovel. The snow is about a foot deep right now, and the shovel is about 16 inches wide. So I had some good sized blocks going once I got in the swing of things. I stacked them in a 12 foot diameter circle, minus a small entrance. In about an hour I had the walls well over four feet.

Every so often I would pat handfuls of snow like mortar. Then I found out I could sling shovels of snow at the walls and it was so sticky it would stick like a well shaken can of whipped cream.

Willow needed help putting the middle on her snowman. She did the rest all by herself. The Firebird came out and threw himself down on the snow, eyeballed our creations, and exclaimed, "phew that was hard work!" LOL.

He has (finally) shed the orange knit hat for a black ball cap embroidered with a psychedelic FLORIDA, a Christmas gift from-where else-Florida relatives.

A raw damp day, more movies were in order; Walle and Elf again, Harry Potter 2, and the Princess and the Troll. The latter was a cute little animation, new story line to us girls-The Firebird retreated to his room for that one.

Still finishing off the sugar cookie dough-but aren't they especially good hot from the oven? :D

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lobster Rolls


What a way to top off a great Christmas! Nearing midnight, I decided to get into some of my choicer presents. Not only did I eat BOTH these lobster rolls, but also a third lobster roll; a half a bottle of Bailey's, and a half-dozen chocolate-covered cherries one after the other. Talk about holiday decadence! Pheew! hehehe!

Champagne might have been better, but it is much better if shared. Bailey's is perfectly fine leftover. ;)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Here is a pic of a snow fort we built this afternoon. Just as the timer went off on the cam, the Firebird knocked a snowball out of Willow's mitten. Peko, out of sight in the fort, leaped straight through the middle of the wall in front of the Willow after the snowball, destroying part of the wall.

I was so hoping that the timer went off as he was bursting through the wall, but we missed it. Peko had been dying to jump on that wall for the last hour. Willow was pretty put out-we left off with promises of trying to patch up the wall tomorrow, although it is supposed to be frigid single digits with wind chills.

Speaking of wind, I would be amiss not to mention the storm we had pass through yesterday. The temps broke freezing, and in the wee hours (after 1 am) the tail end of the storm moved through with gale force winds and torrential rain. I was shot out of a sound sleep by a storm- related nightmare to fierce winds gusts and rain or hail pounding on the roof. Maybe we had thunder and that was what woke me up. Crazy stuff.

We lost the power for only an hour in the middle of the morning, just as I was cooking banana bread. I fashioned a makeship oven out of a double pan and foiled it and sat it on a rack over the coals in the woodstove. I torched my finger trying to turn the pan later. I bet that stainless was over 500 degrees. I was afraid the bottom of the bread was burning, so I put it on the top of the stove on a metal trivet. Then the power came back on just soon enough to finish it off in the small oven.

It actually came out edible despite its trials and tribulations, although a bit heavy as it fell when I first moved it-you know, don't bang a pan of cooking cake, not that I dropped it. LOL

That was the day, a series of ups and downs, but the ups were really up there and the downs didn't damper our spirits a bit.

We visited the Boy who Lived in the Tree and his family. In between we watched a bunch of movies:

Elf with Will Farrell

Walle-animated futuristic robot

Santa Claus 2 with Tim Allen

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In Honor of All the Last minute Scurrying...

Sciurius carolinensis Tree1208

Christmas Eve

The hemlock drips songbirds
The sky sifts snowflakes
The candle burns
The coffee becomes cold
The computer digests
The day dawns

Monday, December 22, 2008

Black capped chickadee




You can see by the amount of snow on the PVC chair we had quite a little bit of snow in twelve hours. :)

see previous post for all the details. ;)

We have been getting tons of birds at the ancient feeder. We are putting out black oil sunflower seed, and have had: black capped chickadees, red breasted nuthatches, white breasted nuthatches, goldfinch, pine siskins, juncos, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, a tufted titmouse, and a peregrin falcon (see preceeding post)


Yup, we had a blizzard! The weatherman said on Friday that the snow would start Sunday afternoon, so I was running around like mad trying to get everything set yesterday. Then I headed to the store to stock up on meat and veggies and a pizza to-go at noon.

The car wouldn't start! Our morning temps have been in the tiny single digits. Saturday morning I had spared the saplings the cold and did all the morning chores solo. Yesterday morning they wanted to help, but the Willow didn't last long before I sent her in with cold hands. The Firebird insisted on toughing most of it out. I decided to wait until Sunday morning to go to the store, figuring the snow would hit in the afternoon, and I would have plenty of time.

I cleaned the snow off the car on Saturday, but didn't start it. Big mistake. I didn't have much gas in the tank, and after the car sat for two days in single digit temps, I had a frozen gas line.

Churn, churn, churn, *pump frantically*, churn, churn, *floor the gas pedal*. Uh-Oh.
I realized if I kept cranking on it, I would soon have a flat battery. I remembered I had a can of dry gas in the back-the last one of the pack-and I poured about half of that into the tank, saying a little prayer and hoping I guestimated the amount correctly.

Yeah! I got it going! Phew!!! I have to remember to keep a full tank of gas and to start it up daily even if I am staying in. I hate to get stuck with no transportation!

Just about noon we were leaving the store and the snow started. And it wasn't messing around. It came on furiously. I stopped in for a load of hay, and it was already white-out conditions ten minutes after it started.

I had left the remaining hay uncovered at home, and had some scurrying to do to get the new hay stowed and covered. Then I broke for a late lunch (the pizza was for the kids)and went out to storm proof the goat shelters. It was blowing a gale and single digit temps. I started tacking up tarps, and the nails were freezing to my bare hand as I worked. Sweet.

I pried some frozen clothes off the clothesline to bring them in (boy, didn't they smell like heaven!So sweet from the fresh air), moved some logs for the plow guy, and put up a storm window.

Finally I was ready to settle down, and it was still snowing like mad. I decided to call my new friend back from an earlier message, and he was like, "what have you been DOING?" Geez, get a grip buddy, I DO have a life! I have to let this one down easy-not an simple thing to do before a holiday.

Anyhow, it snowed, and snowed, and blew, and snowed, and was all through by midnight. We probably had about a foot and a half of snow. It's hard to say with all the blowing and drifting. Digging the car out, there was over a foot on the south side, and nearly two feet on the north side. Yeah, I would say, the third biggest snow storm I can remember-and all in a mere twelve hours. WOW.

I shoveled the deck off and cleared to the goose house first thing this morning. Poor Peko the dog didn't know what to do! He had to go *** and the snow was deep!! He ran in and out of the house three or four times, and finally broke a little trail to relieve himself .

Jingle the cat insisted on going out, and when faced with the goose at the door, leaped off the deck and out of sight into the snow. She made it to my trail and came back in.

After a breakfast of pancakes, we headed out for goat chores. We had to trample trails in the goat pens, and feed the poultry. Finally we were back inside, and Willow said "There's a cat at the back, door!" Apparently the neighbor's cat took shelter under the house when the snow hit, and is stuck here until the drive gets plowed out. I opened the door with a bowl of cat food in hand, and he (fled)ran around the house out of sight.

I saw a peregrine falcon this morning!!!!!! We have been feeding the birds, and that does tend to draw hungry raptors. The peregrine was sitting just outside my window-what a beautiful bird! I was trying to get my camera going, and I figured it was broken. I even re-set it. Finally I realized a little while ago that one of the sets of rechargeables has been wreaking havoc on the cam, so I threw in two new AA's out of a 24 pack that came with a Christmas box. Someone sent something that needs batteries!! LOL. Anyhow, the cam seems to be working again, so the next time I put on all the snow gear, I will try and get some snow pix to post.

Looks like a White Christmas here in Maine! Time to make some more cookies and maybe some hot cocoa! :D

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Morning



Just wanted to add to my last post about underground utilities. I had limited my suggestion to the Northern US. Upon further reflection I remembered all the devastation of hurricanes and tornadoes down south. Surely the whole country would benefit from an underground power supply. Possibly lines would even be safe well below ground in wildfire country. Not sure about the effects of earthquakes on underground wires, but most likely they would be more secure than above ground. Just think of the suffering that could be alleviated in times of disaster if people had access to power.


Romance-wise, I am trying to put the brakes on and keep it as friends. I can always use another friend! Unfortunately that message seems to be translating into going slow-which are two different beasts entirely. Hopefully it won't turn into another problem like the last time. I had to sever all contact with that guy, and I still just received a Christmas card from him. Innocuous enough, I suppose-but how about a bit more guilt for the holidays?

Longest night of the year! Winter solstice is exact around 7 am tomorrow. I am not sure if that means tomorrow will be the shortest day or if tonight or tomorrow is the longest night? Anyhow, it's bitter cold out there with lots of white stuff on the ground.

The Firebird and I walked the fence line today. Sir Nick the prick (sorry but it rhymes and also fits) keeps busting into the other pen. A lap of the fenceline showed why. I doubt it was throwing any charge at all. Well, I fixed it all and set myself up to disconnect the bottom two lines with the snow tomorrow night-so I hope Sir Nic gets a nice little zap when he tries that fence tonight! *evil chuckle*

I hope everyone is getting into a festive mood for whatever winter holiday you're celebrating!

Go Obama

It is clear president-elect Obama is not going to follow the Bush administration's approach to Climate Change by burying his head in the sand.

Yesterday Obama appointed four scientists to top posts in his future administration. His Science adviser will be Harvard Physicist, John Holdren; Jane Lubchenko, a Marine Biologist, will head NOAA-leading government studies on Climate Change.

Both Holdren and Lubchenko are recognized experts on Climate Change and have advocated a forceful government response.

Fierce storms continue to pound parts of the US. Another 250 million people are out of power in the midwest following record snowfalls. That storm just clipped us here in Maine last night, dropping another 3 inches of powder through single-digit temperatures.

Not so with another storm headed our way tomorrow-that one is lining up to be a real NOr'Easter with significant snowfall. I didn't catch snowfall predictions, but I am assuming that means at least a foot of snow.

That one is sure to hurt retailers, already sufferring from a slack economy. Less folks will be out shopping this last weekend before Christmas when travelling is treacherous.

Speaking of the economy, Obama is reported to have a plan to create jobs by rebuilding infrastructure. Here's an idea: Why not use that infrastructure money to lay underground utility lines for the Northern half of the country? So many people suffer, and will continue to suffer, as these fierce storms tear down power lines. The utility companies just can't keep up-some folks in New Hampshire are still down following last week's ice storm.

Not only that, but then the utility companies pass on those repair costs to the customers in delivery charges, often exceeding the cost of power itself-more than doubling the cost to the consumer.

The government should take over the power infrastructure-we are paying for it anyhow-and do it right. Lay underground pipes and cable. Once those are in place, the upkeep will be minimal, and consumers are guaranteed to have a consistent source of power even during violent weather. Who isn't tired of hearing the power companies claim that installing underground lines isn't cost efficient? It must be more efficient to hire tree crews to annually trim trees and pay emergency crews overtime to leave customers out in the cold for days.

Step it up, Obama, and set them straight.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ten Questions

I'm just trying to get by
I'm just buzzin on a sugar high
Everybody moves so fast,
No Time to wonder why...
I'm just trying to get by
Is it all in my head?
Is it all in my head
Could everything be so right without me knowing?
I'm just working for the man
I'm just trying to lend a hand
And if I had a rocket ship, I'd never want to land
I'm just doing the best I can
Is it all in my head?
Is it all in my head?
Could everything be so right without me knowing
Is it all just some game?
Where everything stays the same
Is it all in my...
All in my...
All in my head?
Everybody needs a little love.
To make it all work out
But I'm still looking to the stars above
Hey Hey Hey!
It's all in my head.

Shawn Mullins

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Been busy!

Whew! Finally had a moment to take a load off and play some catch up.

Weather update-we had a nice light 4-5 inch snowfall that blanketed everything in a lovely soft white coat today. The storm came as a bit of a surprise-evidence to me that climate change is affecting weather patterns. This one came out of the Southwestern US-very unusual.

Here I was dreading snow and I welcomed it with open arms. Two days ago I was wearing shorts and fixing the roof. The yard had started to thaw and had turned into a huge mud pit.

I have been swept up into a whirlwind romance-so many shocking things in common that leads to hours on the phone and unannounced visits. Today I started to dig in my heels while in the midst of baking cookies, decorating the tree, and helping the saplings revive a chickadee that clobbered a window and was found in the snow with just the tail feathers visible.

The chickadee revived in our warm hands and flew off, the cookies are made and secured in tins, and the tree is decorated to the nines. Now I am just tying up the phone line to postpone a return call. Not that I don't like to talk-but sometimes I just need some ME time to regenerate. Or maybe my heart just isn't in it. Sometimes too much in common can be too much of a good thing. LOL.


Being fans of the show Survivor, we were happy that a Mainer won-Bob from Gorham. Bob repeatedly displayed Mainer fortitude and intergrity and we congratulate him and his family and his students-he is a high school Physics teacher.

Speaking of Physics, the Christmas Big Bang Theory had me in tears I was laughing so hard at the conclusion. I love Sheldon. :D

Lastly, kudos to our president for his quick moves dodging a shoe tossed by an Iraqi reporter. The Firebird commented that Bush moved like Toby MacGuire portraying Spiderman-

"He can move fast for an old guy!"

I hope I can duck a shoe that nimbly when I am that age.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Only 35 hours


he Northeast US was hit by a whopper of an ice storm Thursday night. Above is a pic of the worst of it for us at 7 am. I was a bit worried about one of my large pines that borders the drive. The drive clearing had enabled the tree to prodigiously produce branches on that side-the perfect entrapment for large layers of ice. So it began to lean.

The power had gone out about 5 am, and I spent the better part of 7-8 am with a leery eye out the front window, watching the lean of the tree increase and praying for the wind to remain calm. Luckily the temps increased enough that all the ice was off the trees by noon.

The power company assured me at 7am that they were working on our circuit. At 11 am the Willow and I took a hike up the road to see how bad the damage was. We saw no trees down. Then the second selectman drove by and stopped and asked if we were all set, and said they were doing well being checks on folks. Her report was that the power would be out several days. That is when I learned how badly the state was hit.

Later in the afternoon a friend called from the next town, also out of power, but offering dinner as they have a gas stove. I declined and cooked a chicken in a mixing bowl with a bit of water covered in aluminum foil, perched over the coals on two logs in the woodstove. That came out pretty well, but I melted the potholder to the bowl taking it out of the stove.

I learned from this friend, who is a state employee, that 200,000 customers were out of power in the state. OUCH. We buckled down for the long haul.

The kerosene lamps and candles got a workout that night, but I hooked up the land line and had a long conversation with another friend two towns over to help pass the evening.

We ran errands through several towns today, and found most places had power. We saw little damage and the road and skies were clear. By the time I swung back to the boonies and found out my hay guy had power back on last night I was ready to throttle him. LOL.

Just as the skies were darkening and we were doing the last-bit-of-daylight frantic scramble, the Firebird announced that two power trucks were headed up the road. Twenty minutes later we had power. Yippee!

A couple hours later I went online, and my dialup connection is sufferring. From the normal 52KBPS down to 28K. Sweet. I am assuming the phone lines took a beating as well as the power lines.

Once I read the news headlines, I was stunned. New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire were hit even harder than Maine. All told, 1.3 million customers were out of power at the height of the outage. By this afternoon, over 800,000 were still in the dark. Some might not get back on until Friday-over a week after the storm. I am so glad we were out only 35 hours.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dogs vs Monkeys

A recent study on the ability of animals to judge fairness yielded the following results:

24 dogs were selected that were willing to perform the trick of lifting a paw in response to the command, "paw." The 24 were then paired off into groups of two. Researchers used two different food type rewards: a bowl of sausage for one dog and a bowl of brown bread for the other. Each dog was rewarded with one of the treats, in view of the other. The research showed that dogs did not care if they received the bread or the sausage, as long as they received a reward for the trick.

However, if the researchers rewarded one dog with a treat, and not the other, the dog who did not receive the treat would refuse to participate, and often refused to make eye contact, by turning the head away.

When the same study was performed with monkeys, monkeys refused to participate not only if they did not receive a treat, but also if they did not receive the preferred treat received by the other monkey. A further study placed the preferred treat in sight of the monkeys, but did not offer it to either one, offering a lesser treat instead. If the monkeys could see the preferred treat, but could not receive it, they refused to participate.

The second study was not performed with the canine group, as the dogs had shown that the type of treat did not matter, as long as a reward was given.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

River Roads

LET the crows go by hawking their caw and caw.
They have been swimming in midnights of coal mines somewhere.
Let ’em hawk their caw and caw.

Let the woodpecker drum and drum on a hickory stump.
He has been swimming in red and blue pools somewhere hundreds of years
And the blue has gone to his wings and the red has gone to his head.
Let his red head drum and drum.

Let the dark pools hold the birds in a looking-glass.
And if the pool wishes, let it shiver to the blur of many wings, old swimmers from old places.

Let the redwing streak a line of vermillion on the green wood lines.
And the mist along the river fix its purple in lines of a woman’s shawl on lazy shoulders.

Carl Sandburg

Saturday, December 6, 2008

2008 global temperature

2008 is lining up to be the coldest year in a decade-but the tenth hottest since records have been kept-in the late 1880's.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quarter Moon


Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Gardener XXVIII: Your Questioning Eyes

Your questioning eyes are sad. They
seek to know my meaning as the moon
would fathom the sea.
I have bared my life before your
eyes from end to end, with nothing
hidden or held back. That is why you
know me not.
If it were only a gem, I could break
it into a hundred pieces and string
them into a chain to put on your neck.
If it were only a flower, round and
small and sweet, I could pluck it from
its stem to set it in your hair.
But it is a heart, my beloved.
Where are its shores and its bottom?
You know not the limits of this
kingdom, still you are its (king).
If it were only a moment of pleasure
it would flower in an easy smile, and
you could see it and read it in a
If it were merely a pain it would
melt in limpid tears, reflecting its
inmost secret without a word.
But it is love, my beloved.
Its pleasure and pain are boundless,
and endless its wants and wealth.
It is as near to you as your life, but
you can never wholly know it.

Rabindranath Tagore

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Winter Evening

Hark! 'tis the twanging horn! O'er yonder bridge,
That with its wearisome but needful length
Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright,
He comes, the herald of a noisy world,
With spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen locks;
News from all nations lumb'ring at his back.
True to his charge, the close-pack'd load behind,
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern
Is to conduct it to the destin'd inn:
And, having dropp'd th' expected bag, pass on.
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch,
Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some;
To him indiff'rent whether grief or joy.
Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks,
Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet
With tears that trickled down the writer's cheeks
Fast as the periods from his fluent quill,
Or charg'd with am'rous sighs of absent swains,
Or nymphs responsive, equally affect
His horse and him, unconscious of them all.
But oh th' important budget! usher'd in
With such heart-shaking music, who can say
What are its tidings? have our troops awak'd?
Or do they still, as if with opium drugg'd,
Snore to the murmurs of th' Atlantic wave?
Is India free? and does she wear her plum'd
And jewell'd turban with a smile of peace,
Or do we grind her still? The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh--I long to know them all;
I burn to set th' imprison'd wranglers free,
And give them voice and utt'rance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev'ning in.

Oh winter, ruler of th' inverted year,
Thy scatter'd hair with sleet like ashes fill'd,
Thy breath congeal'd upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fring'd with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapp'd in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urg'd by storms along its slipp'ry way,
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,
And dreaded as thou art! Thou hold'st the sun
A pris'ner in the yet undawning east,
Short'ning his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west; but kindly still
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,
And gath'ring, at short notice, in one group
The family dispers'd, and fixing thought,
Not less dispers'd by day-light and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturb'd retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted ev'ning, know.

William Cowper