s@%t!

Well, we’re up to our eyeballs in it!

A summer home on the lake is lived in for a few months a year. We were here last summer for five months – a rare gift of time in a very special place. This year, we’ll be here two months. Between the times that we’re here, many little critters call it home. And those critters leave feces. Yuck! So, when people move back into the house, cleaning has to happen … especially in the kitchen but I’m a bit of a clean freak and I like to clean all over because we have dogs and I don’t want them eating yucky stuff. I had a miniature panic attack/meltdown when I finally decided to clean the bottom cabinets in the kitchen. Thank goodness N. took pity on me and finished the worst part for me. Ugh.

Mouse-infested before ... clean now!

And then there’s the age of the house which contributes to its awkward angle on land. The house is about 100 years old and it’s been sinking on its “fishing camp” (negligible) foundation for 99 of those years. So, you walk into the house, up over a rock, down into the bedroom. Up over a rock, down into the bathroom. Don’t drop anything in the living room that might roll … or you’d best be ready to chase it toward the lake!

View over the septic tank

The result of the sinking house is that the septic tank doesn’t work properly and despite having had it pumped three times in the last 12 months, we had some lovely water in the shower. And now we’re having a new “platform” added to the bathroom (we will have a true throne) so that we can “fix” the problem. (Long-term fix is lifting the entire house up about 24 inches and putting a more sturdy foundation under it … at a frighteningly high price tag and with a huge permitting question as the “new” set-back is over 100 feet from the lake front.)

Throne in progress! And you thought I was kidding?!

So, there you have it – we’re happily (most of the time) dealing with s@*t …

Gone knitting!

The Crane in Maine Stays Mainly on the … Messalonskee

Sandhill Cranes

This afternoon we were on an errand run and we drove past two young men standing by the side of the road, we thought they had cameras but they were binoculars and telescopes. They were looking out over the marshy area at the bottom (or was it the top?) of the lake; our lake! … In the snap of an eye, Ned had the truck turned around and was out of the door. Luckily it was put into park or I’d have been trying to get over into the driver’s seat! The men, apparently, were looking to see Sandhill Cranes  … who are known to roost here on our lake!

I got on the Internet to research this phenomenon and it seems that while they’re common all over Florida, Sandhill Cranes are rare in Maine. In fact, they’re listed as a rare bird sighting on the Maine Audubon Website. Suffice it to say, I am shocked and amazed that our Florida bird friends are also here in Maine.

You may not know that I’m a (almost) life long bird-lover. I grew up in Avon, Connecticut on top of Avon Mountain. Much to my mother’s chagrin, we moved from suburbia with sidewalks and neighbors, close to everything, to the woods … and with three young children mom became a taxi driver! We grew up watching the birds with our father and our most wonderful babysitter, Lucinda (Lou) Kehoe. We learned to identify birds and some of their songs and lots of wildflowers and other woodland plants.

Pileated Woodpecker

It should not be a surprise, then, that we love the birds here in Maine (and also in Florida). There are so many birds that bring me back to my childhood. The day before yesterday, we were out taking a walk with the dogs and we saw a Pileated Woodpecker.

Dad always shushed us as kids because he’d heard a Pileated.

Dad searched see the Roseate Spoonbill. These birds, to the best of my knowledge, never showed themselves to my dad but since I’ve been living in Florida, I’ve actually seen some at the Canaveral National Seashore! They remind me a bit of Jimmy Durante (if you don’t know him, look him up!) with their long proboscis! Dad would be so proud of his ornithologically-inclined daughter!

Roseate Spoonbill

The Maine Audubon guys had also seen a Bald Eagle – I’m never going to get over the excitement that I feel when I see an eagle. Once, in Florida, when on an air boat ride with my two younger kids, the driver of the boat did one of those over the grass wide turns and up from the marshy land flew not one but TWO bald eagles … side by side. Oh. My. Goodness. That was an amazing sight! (And because I pointed them out to him, he let me drive the air boat for a bit!

We’ve seen Bald Eagles here in Maine – the winter we came up, there was one circling over the woods at the top of the driveway where we had to park the car because the driveway wasn’t plowed (and the snow was thigh-high!) They are magnificent birds and thrilling to see outside of captivity. (The only eagles that I’d seen before moving to Florida were in a huge flight cage at the Cincinnati Zoo; magnificent in it’s own right … until I saw a wild one in flight!)

Wildlife is so much fun to witness … loons, hummingbirds, gulls, common mergansers (the boy and the girl barely look like the same species!), great blue herons, moose, deer, ground hogs (aka woodchuck) and others too numerous to mention. And right now, before the real summer season begins, we’re able to see more nature and without the aggravation of boats on the lake or noisy neighbors! It’s wonderful to get away from the “real world” and sit and watch the lake and the sky. We’re so fortunate to be able to live in this wonderful spot … even for a few months.