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Sounds of the sea

Maine was so full at mid week that we could not find a place to sleep at the ocean-view places in Ogunquit. The town's name, by the way, is Abenaki for "beautiful place by the sea." It qualifies. Here, unlike most other places in coastal Maine, the panorama includes a beautiful beach and the intriguing rocky coast that the state is famous for. I could say "for which the state is famous," but sometimes prepositions belong at the end of the sentence. Or it sounds pretentious and ridiculous. We walked the Marginal Way, my daughter and I, stopping to look at the view, admiring the folks using canes who were navigating the hilly path and looking for a long time at a veritable village of cairns, so many of them looking like funny little people and all very creative. Some of the coast here is solid rock, but some sections have enough loose stones to create a hundred thousand cairns, and the world is working on it. The sea was relatively quiet on our day there, but surfers were gathering, even at low tide. No crashing waves flying into the rock-lined inlets, no spray calling out as photo ops. Nations filled with fear and hate should walk these kinds of places -- no one we walked with or met was arguing, hurrying, anxious or scowling. Something about the sounds of the sea ..... Read More 
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august time

Bluebs, Grandma Haskins always called them. Her fingers were as gnarled as the branches of an old apple tree, but she would scoop a handful out of a bucket and quickly thumb them into either the keeper bowl or the discard, brushing away the small leaves and stems as she went. It was hard to pick over the pails used by the men in the family, especially my father, who liked to "squabble" them off the wild, high bushes in someone's pasture. Needless to say, "squabbling" meant perhaps a dozen berries picked at a time, along with a dozen leaves or bits of dead branches. His blueberry harvest was huge and a mess. So, the women grumbled a bit as they sat on Grandma's porch and sorted, but mostly they talked about this, that and everything.

With too many cucumbers, many cultivated blueberries to pick, lots of weeds to pull and a lawn that grows even when it doesn't rain, poor Rose is quite neglected in the early days of her marriage. Perhaps she will reappear and I will still be able to hear her when we get to the Cape for two weeks. "Rose Runs Away" is nearly finished, but so far I do not see the finale. So I have to keep remembering Milt saying, "It will end when it ends," a promise that holds little comfort!

With drought in May and deluge after deluge in June, the garden is a mixed bag. The beautiful pea plants, green and starting to attach their tendrils to the fence, went brown and rotten even as the blossoms started to come. The first beans look scruffy and produced warped beans. But carrots, potatoes, lettuce, peas, cukes, onions and tomatoes seem to be thriving. And at least two winter squash are there, along with one sugar pumpkin. Last year, the pumpkins grew vines and no orange globes at all.

Pat's tomato soup is on the stove and needs a stir.
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The Korean lilac, late-bloomer and heavily scented, permeates the night air with a unique fragrance. Its pale flowers are very full, and by day as many as six brilliant yellow swallowtail butterflies flit from cluster to cluster taking in the nectar. They are all over the yard, but it's only at the lilac where they gather in force. On a very wet morning, one of them seemed stuck to a purple chive blossom. It looked dead, but an hour later it was gone. Its wings must have been too water-soaked to fly. The shrew-like tones of the nesting house wrens are a harsh contrast to the sweet warbling of the song sparrow and the repetitive call of the red-eyed vireo or the loud melody of the Baltimore oriole. So many birds, butterflies, toads and (ugh) garter snakes -- all busy with their daily rounds.  Read More 
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Supposedly spring

March was horrid, the first one I've spent in the capricious Berkshires in a half dozen years or more. April was cold and dry to the point where the garden -- with only onion plants above ground -- needed watering. But now, the crabapples are about to turn into cotton candy, the daffodils arepersisting for a long season, grape hyacinths pull the eye to many spots in the garden, the peas have poked their way through our clay, and the spinach plants are working on the third leaf. Unlike the fifth wheel, the third leaf is most welcome. And now it's May and still cold -- 56 that feels like 46, showers alternating with sun, the Mother's Day fuschia still in the garage ... but suddenly, without warning, it will be summer.  Read More 
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Happy sad day

Here's Patriot's Day, one of my favorites of the year, so often a fine spring day when the bikes and scooters come out, along with the sun. The Red Sox play in the morning, and after they lost their lead in the ninth, they gathered themselves and had a walk-off win. A little past Fenway, the Boston Marathon -- grandfather of them all -- is running. It's a grand day in the Berkshires and in Boston. And then two bombs go off. Where are we going? Read More 
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Raking stones is like mowing the lawn or cleaning bathrooms. When you are done, you can see that you've achieved something. The snow plow keeps us from being marooned, and we are grateful. But it also flicks thousands of stones from the driveway onto the lawn and when the snowbanks finally melt, there they are. Little monsters that must be moved with a rake or the lawnmower will be going cling, cling, clank all the way to the road. So the raking begins. If it has a nice side, besides looking at the cleared lawn just up the hill, it's that the air finally has more than a touch of spring in it, the daffodil shoots are poking through leaf cover,  Read More 
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It was a pewter sky. Not plain, but ranging from the silvery, high-polish pewter of our Cape Cod-made salad bowl to the older, dull finish on my mother's teapot. It was sunset, with a patch or two of silver sky open in the midst of the pewter shades. Even the tree branches were pewter their usual November to March blackness softened by a layer of sticky snow that lost its whiteness in the sunset time. It was artist's light, photographer's light. But I was just there, admiring the breathtaking scene and waiting for the dog to find that exact perfect spot where he would deign to pee. Read More 
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March on the march

It's the capricious month. March Madness may mean basketball to thousands of people, but it works for just about everything else this month, too. The clock jumps, for instance, and the body clock -- albeit invisibly -- takes a day or two to move into the change. The weather jumps even more. Blizzard or mud are the extreme choices with a bet on plenty of ice in between. The dog prances along, caring not for falling water, puddles under his feet or dirty paws. If it's white stuff, he leaps into the air with March madness to catch snowflakes -- and succeeds. If it's cold, it's chilly damp; if it snows, the stuff is heavy, wet and perfect for snowmen; if it's a bit warmer and seems colder, it's time to look at the 40 degrees, feels like 30 part of the weather report.

On the plus side, if the  Read More 
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Liking and disliking

You can "like" or "unlike" anything on Facebook, including pictures of yourself and political comments that either delight or disgust you. But most of the time, you don't get a chance to say what you really like or dislike. Those things just aren't among the choices. It occurred to me today when the sun really came out, instead of floating like a ghost behind the gloomy March sky, that making a list of likes (or dislikes) on a sort of impulse basis (no deep thoughts here) would be fun. Add-ons permitted at any time. Discards, too. So here's a start: and the add-ons, as of 3/10/2013, have begun! Just tucked them in there ....

Robert Frost, new snow, cooking with grandchildren, writing, being in bed, Maya Angelou, cooking, walking the dog, reading novels, reading news, reading biographies, reading most anything, reading in bed, talking to Charlotte, kissing my husband on the back of the neck when he's dozing at the computer, making soup, pulling weeds, planting seeds and plants, eating, eating she-crab soup, playing word games with offspring, from Bananagrams to Words with Friends, hitting the road, driving the car, bird songs, E. J. Dionne, blueberries, my computer, knitting ...

Ice (not man-made), putts that miss by a quarter inch, running blood especially if it's mine,  Read More 
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Waiting for Sandy

Waiting for Sandy is much like waiting for Godot -- except Sandy is really coming. So we cook chicken in the morning, knowing we can eat it cold if the power goes out, and we take the dog out an extra time in hopes he'll not want to go when the trees are bending over.

But lunchtime comes and goes, and it's just rainy and breezy. On the coast of Connecticut, two of our offspring and their families are evacuating their houses, the one only minutes before the sea washes over the small stone bridge that is their exit, the other to a residential inn because the high school shelter looked jammed and impossible, especially with the high-strung Jada dog. She's welcome at the inn, and they're thrilled with a kitchen and two bedrooms and the location near the aquarium -- which means the unpredictable power company will be more predictable than on their home street.

The New York state kid is ensconced with child and husband in a ? Read More 
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