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20 December 2014 @ 04:54 pm
Some of the things that have worked out well for us to keep in stock at the cottage :

Rolled oats and dried fruit make breakfast. Cans of soup and chili make lunch. Boil-in-a-pouch Indian food from Trader Joe's is great, either with their pre-cooked pouch of rice or by fixing our own.

I just picked some kale to mix in with the frozen veggies I am about to cook for dinner. I had some frozen fish here as well, and I will cook rice to go with it. Being able to supplement each meal with fresh kale has been remarkably pleasant in a world where fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce.

I did go to the store this morning. I bought bananas, coffee cream, eggs, cheese, mesclun mix and an avocado. For lunch I made a salad with a can of tuna and my favorite dressing from our store room.

I love eating food made of food. The soups and pouches of food are delicious and nutritious and adding some kale or a store bought salad or fruit gets the missing fibers. I come to the island empty handed and feel like I eat well.
16 November 2014 @ 03:08 pm
I just put four packets of bulbs in, so these are my notes to myself for next spring.

I put 3 or 4 bulbs of giant daffodils over in the tiered garden near the irises I planted on the upper tier earlier.  I also put 3 or 4 from that same package in the west garden on the flower bed that is, technically, the neighbor's little strip of land.  I'm risking that they object to four daffodils.  I'm willing to risk it.

Meanwhile, over in the south bed I put another 6 of the same thing over near the compost bins because that still gets a fair amount of light in the spring before the trees over there are in leaf.

Then I put a bunch, about 18, of "heavenly bluebells" over near the rose bush in the south garden.  Again, they're up in April and May and there isn't much shade there then.

In the new bed by the house/east deck I took out the mum (just set there to hold the spot for "seasonal flower to be rotated") and put in four hyacinth bulbs.  They should smell heavenly next to the sidewalk/deck.  That same spot will get planted with zinnia seeds next spring and be a stand of summer color, I hope.

Meanwhile, B. cut down two limbs that were blocking some of our south light (and theoreticallly our ocean view) from a tree on Mr. Tanous's yard.  I asked his permission, but I didn't discuss it with Denise, and the limb I targeted for removal actually extends far enough to hang over her house.  I had hoped to kill it before then, and now it's too big for us to dare.  The limb just bothers ME, because it blocks our south light, but it stands on the edge of Tanous's and Denise's property, so I really have no idea how to proceed.  If I tell Denise the limb is a risk to her house she won't take it down, she'll just gripe about it to Tanous.  But Tanous doesn't care, it  neither blocks HIS light nor endangers HIS house.  Trees.  I hate trees on the island.  They are so tortuously complex when everyone's ocean view is involved.
05 October 2014 @ 12:12 am
I had intended to work this afternoon, but the thirty procrastinators I need to finish weren't willing to schedule this early (they have ten days yet!) so I was just going to be kicking around doing nothing. May as well go to the island and scrape paint!

So that's what we did. Up early, drive three hours, park in Old Port (always tricky, particularly hard because cruise ships were in port), ferry to the island, and, voila, time to climb up on the roof and scrape the second floor.

Oh, and do the other errands. My fitbit hits the goal steps pretty much every time I go to the island.

I am super fast about leaving home for the island by now. I have a dock cart in the garage that I use for staging stuff that is supposed to go to the island. I use Evernote to keep track of stuff I need to bring up, and as I shop and clean at home I gather stuff for the island just as I go.

I also have a backpack in my bedroom that I bring back and forth. I hardly bring anything in it, though. I have toiletries, old clothes and a nightgown, good, etc at the island. Mostly I just bring whatever reading material I am in the middle of.

We finished all the scraping we can do either on the ground or standing on the porch roof. Darn. Because now it's going to involve ladders. Small Boy did not enjoy working on the roof, I suspect he will be even less fond of ladders. I know I will be.

This is a miserable job, trying to paint the exterior of a house four hours away from where we live. We are getting it done, though, one section at a time.
24 September 2014 @ 10:26 pm
Today was a good day.

We had unexpected last minute renters wanting the cottage, but they needed to use the double/twin bunk bed that we recently bought (and advertised as having), even though I still had a twin bed installed there.  I figured I'd bring the new beds up some winter weekend after the car ferry rates dropped.

But car ferry rates are low on Wednesdays, too, albeit with very limited availability and long lines.  It turned out that Eldest Son was available to drive the two hours to our house and go up with me on Wednesday.  He arrived Tuesday night.

We got up at 6 this morning to make the 9:30 ferry onto the island. I only just made it because I already had a ticket in my pocket and I ran. Eldest Son stayed behind to try to get our pickup truck full of furniture onto the next ferry.

Once on the island I took apart the old bed, washed the floors and baseboards, and waited for the new beds to arrive.

Eldest Son made it onto the very next ferry, so he arrived within about five minutes of me being ready for him.  Next I washed the bed frames and got started putting them together with allen wrenches. E.S. kept going on that while I did some mattress deodorizing and vacuuming.

Once the beds were together and the mattresses were installed, we made up beds everywhere for updated pictures.

Eldest Son, like his younger brother, is really professional about bed-making. (He literally is, having worked in housekeeping in a grand hotel!) Having his help turned a chore into a joy.

Then we had lunch on the deck. We opened cans of soup from our shelf stable store of food, and I picked some herbs and kale from our planters to healthy them up.

Eldest Son spoke of his interest in going to grad school for accounting. We talked about the merits of an MBA program, too. (I am not surprised by him but his sister surprised me by applying to an MBA program. Apparently my children took something away from being raised in a family business.)

It was a gorgeous day. Eldest Son mowed the lawn while I did some outside work next. I found and killed all Black Swallow Wort that is about to go to seed. A call went out on the local listserv telling all the residents to spend some time eradicating this invasive from their yards this week, and I was glad to be able to oblige.

Next I cleaned out the basement, taking a summer's worth of redeemable bottles and cans to the grocery store since I had the truck. My next stop was the transfer station to leave all the recycling..
Back at home it was time to climb out onto the first floor roof to start scraping the exterior of the second floor to prep for painting. We worked until our shoulders were about to fall off. Then it was Blueberry Beer O'clock.
I had a nice moment out on the roof watching the ocean on a warm sunny clear blue sky day.

We went out to dinner at the Pub. I can be done with the Pub now. The food is so much better at the Gull.

I did my nails, had a luxurious shower (and then cleaned it from inside) and ice cream for dessert.

It was a good day.
14 September 2014 @ 04:50 pm
Goldenrod, butterfly Bush and phlox going by. Itea about over.

Spirea reblooming. I wish I had hedge-trimmed it so it would be dead-headed already.

Still some balloon flowers and hydrangea, but both past their peak.

Russian Sage, black-eyed Susan, bee balm and purple coneflower (echinacea) going well.

White blooming vine (clematis paniculata?) is just starting. Montac daisy doesn't even have visible blooms yet.

Rozanne and pink hardy geraniums doing great. Lantana still good.
28 August 2014 @ 06:35 pm
I am so proud of myself. It is stupid and silly how proud I am of myself. But, nevertheless, I am.

I used my compost. That's it. I have been growing a compost bin since we bought the place, but it wasn't until I got a second one that I could close one up and let it ripen into black gold. Today I dug it all out, top-dressed the greedy plants, and then combined it with container mix in a wheelbarrow to create a planting mix for my new garden.

I have a lot of planting notes, and no way to add ljcuts or pictures from this app, so I will clean it up later. For now I just want to note the changes.

On the east side of the house had been a rose bush that never did much. Last week I rudely dug it up and moved it to the middle of the south side of the house. I am not a fan of roses and didn't really care if it lived, but it is already doing better there than it ever did on the east side.

That's because it had shitty soil. I expanded that bed down the south facing slope and added five plants. Where the rose bush had been is now an everblooming hydrangea called "twist and shout". Just in front of that is a Montac daisy for fall color. To the right of that is a Russian Sage, then room for a bit of zinnias next year (I put a mum in it for now) and to the right, alongside the sidewalk, I put in a lovely two toned correopsis.

Meanwhile, in the rock garden I got brutal with the white yarrow and pulled it all out. I put a nice yellow and red one in, instead. I threw the other ones in the compost pile.

Over in the tiered gardens I made three changes. Well, four. I made a final ruling on how I feel about goldenrod there. Nope. I yanked it all out. I put a sedum in one place for fall color after the phlox stops doing its beautiful show. I also divided some of the ostentatious pure white German iris from the cutting garden and transplanted it into the lower garden, too.

Meanwhile, my aunt wanted to divide her purple German iris, so I grabbed my shovel and took that which she wanted to give. It is now safely tucked into the upper tier.

The soil here sucks. It is mostly sand and crumbled sedimentary rock, when it isn't simply rock. I dig holes for these plants on my hands and knees, wriggling rocks out of their ancient puzzle configuration.

This is why I am so very proud of myself for creating compost. Week after week, month after month, I throw kale stalks and egg shells and tea bags into the compost bin and one day I can - did! - use it to improve the soil quality for ever. Every plant I put in has its own bit of improved-forever soil.

I am serious when I tell you that I feel like I have made a permanent improvement in the world.

When I was finishing up my planting I saved a bit of the soil mixture for my aunt. She was so delighted to get it! She uses miracle grow when watering plants some times, but nothing is as nice for garden beds as actual organic matter. I resolved to bring her a few bags of composted cow manure when I come on-island with the truck next spring.

It will be another year before I get another barrow full of compost. I capped and watered one side today and the newly-emptied one will be the active one now. We aren't here enough to get more than a barrow full a year. But. Woah. I created a cubic meter of dirt. I am so proud.
26 April 2014 @ 02:22 pm
It's easier to record when they ARE open rather than when they aren't.  So here's when they're open:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

From 7:30 AM until 8:59 AM
From 9:15 AM until 11:59 AM
From 12:45 PM until 1:59 PM
From 2:15 until 2:59 PM.
23 April 2014 @ 10:27 pm
Brussels sprouts for breakfast

Went on my first road bike ride of the season

Cleaned up garden beds and took a load of leaves and brush to the transfer station; yard looks great

Planted lots of pansies - and kale

I am still in love with hunting rocks from the beach. Small Boy is in tune with what I am attracted to and we ooh and ah over the same ones.

I keep finding intifada rocks. I have way more than I know what to do with. But I love them so. (That's what I call the round ones that nestle in my hand that are perfect for throwing.) I mostly use them under drain spouts back home, figuring someday when Massachusetts is completely disarmed this will be all we have, may as well stock up. My husband hates it when I say crazy things like that. But I still bring them home. They are so beautiful, I try to give them a purpose but perhaps they don't need one.

Every day I hit my fitbit goals. A couple of days I have hit the 15,000 step goal. There is nothing like being on the island for walking everywhere.
22 April 2014 @ 07:37 pm
My husband was off-island yesterday and I texted him a shopping list.  I asked him for a pack of kale, either a six pack or a four-pack.  Either I typed that wrong or he read it wrong - doesn't matter - and he came onto the island with a flat of six-packs of kale.  Most of the six-packs had second starts in their cubes, so I have something like 70 little kale plants on my hands.


I like a challenge.  So I started putting kale places.  I planted it as a border in one flower bed.  I put it in container pots.  I snuck over to my aunt's house and planted some there.  (I also plant some pansies for her every year, so she's going to guess who her guerrilla gardener is.)  I gave a six pack to a neighbor.  And I ate a bunch of the second starts that I pulled out as I planted them.

I used half of them.

I will probably end up taking them home and putting them in my home garden.  It's an embarrassing amount of kale.

He also got me an entire flat of pansies, and I actually DID mean a flat of those.  So it's all good.  It got me thinking about how my containers on the island should contain more vegetables.

Do you grow edibles in containers?  If so, what?
19 March 2014 @ 12:16 pm
I am instantly asleep each night when my head hits my pillow. But I am troubled all night by anxiety dreams of tax returns I can't finish, of clients unhappy, of to do lists I can't get to.  I'm trying to retrain my mind to go to a neutral place, if not a happy place.  Something that I can refocus on besides the anxiety.

So I've chosen this rock.  It's one I picked off my closest beach to my cottage in Maine.  It's smooth, it's got interesting features, and it's palm-sized.  Sort of flat, not round like my "intifada rocks" I collect to put near my downspout at home (I live in Massachusetts, that's pretty much all our population will have to combat armed invaders with) and it's not slim enough for skipping.  Just a worry stone for my worries.  (Googling "worry stone" just now I discovered both a wikipedia entry AND that they are for sale on eBay and Amazon.  Of course they are.)

It's a form of meditation, I suppose, to bring this rock into my mind's eye.  But it's also a way to get to my happy place in Maine, because the rock is linked inextricably with the memory of walking on the rocky beach collecting pretty rocks.  I have many piles of pretty rocks.  Besides as last-resort defense for TEOTWAWKI and for drainage under downspouts,  I use them as heat sinks in southern windows and as door stops and as book-ends and as tactile things to do in my office.

Here is a picture of this particular pretty rock.  I carry my smartphone when I don't have my rock, so this picture will serve as a proxy when I need to put down my worries and pick up my rock.