What a beautiful summer we are having on the lake!

Canadian Tiger Swallowtails were “puddling” in our yarn in June. This is a behavior that butterflies use in dry times to get moisture and some nutrients from wet spots in the yard. This is a small group but they’re sure fun to see!

Water activities include teaching cousin Jack to fish, watching the cousin Lili water follies on the t-rex, off the dock and swinging from the rope swing. Jack caught a beautiful specimen of a yellow perch which he also learned to fillet and cook. We have also had a few loon births now that it’s July. We have two pairs of loons who have had three chicks between them. What a wonderful miracle on our lake. Since loons can’t really walk way up on the shore, they nest very close to the water. We have had several loon nest failures over the past couple of years which means the eggs are washed out of the nest, typically by a boat’s wake. If out of the nest, the egg won’t survive.

The yard is abloom once again. The spring gardens have blossomed and wilted and the summer gardens are coming alive. The planters are planted and we’re starting to see the hydrangeas, hollyhocks and bee balm. We’ve also been enjoying pea season. We have shucked and eaten peas three times so far, in increasing amounts. First, 1 1/2 pounds, next 3 pounds and most recently 5 pounds. They’re so delicious! A Maine tradition starting around July 4th … and served with salmon.

Our hearts are full with wonderful and meaningful new connections and memories with family and dear friends. My aunt and cousins, my college roommate, my first friend, and our dear friends from Florida. Making memories is something we are both striving to do more of. We cherish time together and we honor and appreciate the time and money that our visitors expend in order to be here with us. We are so grateful for the efforts put forth to be here with us. Saying farewell is always difficult. This summer, in particular, all of our visits have ended too soon, leaving us wanting more time together.

I’ve been knitting and teaching and enjoying visitors to my knitting classes and to Yardgoods Center. I finished my Sunset Highway sweater after having to knit the body twice with two different yarns. The first colorway, while I loved it, didn’t look at all well with the colorwork yoke. So, frog it, I did. And re-knit it, I did. I am very happy with the new version and look forward to cooler weather so I can wear it. I’m working on several projects, one of which is the Sage Smudging Scarf for my friend and herbalist. It’s being knit in Manos “Allegria” in this beautiful golden curry or turmeric color. The scarf is a free pattern on Ravelry and there will be details on my Ravelry projects page (lindar). It’s a simple 4-row repeat and in some ways, it’s quite a boring knit but I think it’s going to be gorgeous when it’s blocked. And as the Maine Yarn Cruise continues into July, we are getting lots of fun visitors to the yarn shop. I work two days a week. I had a sibling group from Maine and Sweden who were just meeting for the first time and were sharing their love of yarn and knitting, new Colby College employees getting to know their new community, and so many visitors from all over the state and beyond. My knitting classes are on Friday and I had a very special visitor this past week. Little Piper is the daughter of Larissa. Piper is 8 weeks old now and simply edible! She’s such a sweet little nugget. I love babies and the other women in my classes do, too!

My sweet Littles are getting older and they’re having some health problems and aging challenges. Boq (left) has been diagnosed with heart disease. He’s on two medications for the inflammation and fluid on his lungs as well as a heart medication. We go back for a check up on Wednesday and I’m hoping for a good report. Lola (right) has no teeth left and her eyesight must be failing. She’s much more anxious than she used to be and she’s been barking at first light (um, hello! I don’t need to see 4:45 a.m. almost every day!) I am so grateful to them for helping me through some ugly and difficult life challenges and I hope we can continue to provide them with a safe and happy life for the rest of their days. I made them promise to live forever! (I’m only sort-of kidding!)

We are so blessed with a wonderful, full and healthy life! Gone knitting!

Empty Nests

Baby birds have left the building

The baby birds have left the building.

I have been watching a nest full of baby birds this summer.

When I first arrived here in Maine, the nest was active (mom and dad were flying in and out) but I couldn’t see anything in the nest. After a few weeks, the tippety tops of baby heads were visible. In the last week or so the nest has been very full of four little birds who would huddle in the nest together and stare back at me when I peeked out from our bedroom window.

I tried on several occasions to get a decent photograph of the babies in the nest but mom and dad would dive-bomb me and I didn’t dare spend enough time to take said picture.

So, the best thing that I can do is report that the the babies have all fledged as of yesterday morning. The first baby flew into the living room window. Fortunately, not hard enough to harm him or her. Just enough to perhaps stun it for a little while – it sat on the sill for a few minutes before flying off with mom and dad. The last baby fledged (left the nest) yesterday morning. And they haven’t come back. I keep checking the nest. It’s still empty.

My statement to myself was, “The empty nest is a little bit sad” (or something like that) and I realized that it’s true in our house today. Once again  … our nest is empty and we’re a little bit sad this morning.

I was so lucky to have been a full-time stay-at-home mom and as my kids grew up and went on their ways (as they should), it was sad. They are all full-fledged (coincidence?) adults now and they’re happy and productive and I am so proud of them. I’m proud of myself, too. My job was to raise them to be decent human beings and then let them go to build a life of their own making. It’s not easy letting them go. There were (and still are) times when I can get very sad but I love it when we get to visit.

But time flies so quickly. And, today, no longer having my daughter and her boyfriend and little pup in the house, I’m a little bit sad. And I know that they are a little bit sad, too, as they start their long journey back to Chicago. It was a fun visit and we built some new memories. Double-fisted drinking, “binocularing”, sighting a family of loons with two babies, listening to the loons, hearing the osprey overhead, slapping mosquitoes, and sharing this beautiful place that we are so fortunate to enjoy.

It’s good that I can feel sadness because it means that I’ve felt joy. And I’ve had a lot of joy.

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.