Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pottery and Lilacs

Here's the fruit of the kiln from Monday's bisque firing.  I used underglazes on some of the pieces.  I've got a lot of glazing to do.  

I cut some lilacs from a tree out front of Chris and Sara's new apartment.  I'd been jonesing for some lilacs and the minute I saw their tree, knew I'd found a way to satisfy my craving.  I love lilacs!  We planted a couple of bushes last summer but only one flowered and I wasn't sure if I should cut the flowers yet as the bushes are still so small.  However, when I got home today I noticed one of the major branches of the bush had broken off - probably during the hail storm we'd had earlier, so I finished the break and cut the flowers and added them to my bouquet I'd gotten last night.  Our lilacs are a much brighter purple than the typical lilacs.  They are so beautiful and they smell so great when you walk into the house!

Memorial Day Weekend - 2011

I got home from camp about 10 a.m. on Friday to help Rick get the new camper hooked up to his truck, backed down our driveway, and packed up.  I anticipated the hooking and the backing part to be more difficult than it turned out to be.  It all went pretty smoothly and we got it all packed up and drove it out to Glen and Holly Bowman's in West Gardiner for their annual Memorial Day Weekend picking party.  No hired bands - just 50 or so campers, tents, etc., and lots of people hanging out and playing music all weekend, predominantly, though not exclusively, bluegrass music.  We had dinner plans with Lance and Regina - (Lance is new faculty at UMF) so our plans were to just set the camper up on the site with the rest of the band and head back home to get ready for dinner.  The weather started out drizzly but by the time we got to the site it was very hot, sunny, and humid.  

We got it set up and everything was go except the water didn't work.  There was water there, the pump was running, but the water just drizzled out of the faucets, at best.  We messed with it with help from Woody for a while without great results.  We knew if anyone could figure out what the problem was it would be this crew as they all have a great deal of experience with campers but we figured we'd bring back enough water for the weekend in case we couldn't figure it out.

We were hungry by then so decided to make a short stop at The Fat Toad to visit with Robert and have some lunch.  We were out of there within an hour, made a stop at The Evil Empire to get a new camp table (Rick stole last year's camp table for his music equipment in the new room) and some other things.  Got home in time to take a short snooze and showers and headed out to Hallowell about 5:30.

We met up with Regina and Lance at The Liberal Cup and had good conversation and a nice meal.  It was the first time I'd met either of them and it was fun getting to know them.  They were in town to find a home before heading back to Illinois on Monday.  Apparently they found a nice house on a small pond in Weld that they took a year's lease on.

After dinner we took them on a tour of Hallowell, walking down to the river, pointing out all the pubs along the way, showed them the interesting artistic display of junk down beyond The Wharf, stopped into The Wharf to briefly check out the early show, then walked back to Hoxter's and listened to Pat Pepin's band for a couple of beers.  We then went back to The Wharf for the later show with Stevie Jones' Dirigo Band and some more conversation.  We parted about 11 p.m.  I think they quite enjoyed the night out, as did we.

We were back at the campsite Saturday about noon and after a bit of tinkering, Richard discovered a plugged filter in the water line, removed it, and our water was working fine.  He's a genius!  They picked most of the afternoon and evening with lots of people stopping by, many with instruments, many just to listen.  We slept well in the camper and repeated the events on Sunday, making a nice dinner of spaghetti and Italian sausage and a bottle of Clos du Bois.  Somehow managed to stay up until about 3 a.m., slept well again, woke up Monday morning and headed back home.  Again, we were worried about having to back the camper back into its spot off the driveway but it went in there much slicker than anticipated.  Even the dumping of the poo into our septic system wasn't nearly as gross as we'd expected.  All in a day's work.

Rick mowed the lawn and then we watched Black Swan and the latest episodes of Treme and Game of Thrones we'd taped while away, and I ran a load of bisque in the kiln.  

Chris and Sara got the keys to their new apartment Tuesday afternoon so we took a truck load of their things up for them Tuesday night.  A nice college student's apartment - a little dingy, but spacious and a great location just a quarter mile from campus.

Friday, April 27th

I came out to camp Wednesday after work and a trip to the farmer’s market on the Gardiner Commons where I picked up some greens, fresh new baby carrots, fresh baked rye bread and a sweet zucchini bread.  Unpacked and put my things away, refilled the feeders with the last of the seed, and brushed down all the kayaks, some of which had been setting unused since fall.  It was very windy and the stream was fairly rough.  I went for a quick paddle across the stream to the marsh that is only accessible during early spring.  The water was much calmer there but there was little wildlife other than the red winged blackbirds singing and flitting around.

Justin and Keeley texted me they had arrived to kayak with me so I paddled back.  I was a little worried about Keeley going out for her first time in the windy conditions but we decided to give it a try.  By the time they got all sorted out with paddles and life preservers and got into the water the wind had died down some.  She caught on very well after a few tips.  We paddled downstream into the wind, keeping close to shore until we got to the narrower part of the stream and crossed over. Not a lot of wildlife about still except for a pair of loons playing further down the stream and a few of the other usual characters – red-winged blackbirds, swallows, etc.  On the way back there was a bald eagle overhead being harassed by a couple of osprey. 

We returned and the mosquitoes and black flies became very aggressive so Justin and Keeley headed home and I went inside and toasted a slice of rye bread, piled on some greens and cheese with a little mayo, the fresh baby carrots, and a Beck’s made a lovely dinner.  

I read for a while but the music from peepers and other unknown night critters serenaded me to sleep fairly early, waking to a foggy morning but a brightness overhead that promised some sun.  It became very windy by mid morning and stayed that way throughout the day.  I took another paddle around the osprey island and down to the early spring marsh returning to camp and my book for the reminder of the day and into the evening.  The poor little red squirrels are sitting on the squirrel box, empty of seeds as I only had enough to fill the bird feeders.  Occasionally they’ll jump to one of those but caution doesn’t let them remain there long.  I suspect Cobby (who was by last night) has been terrorizing them and keeping them on their toes. 

So it’s Friday morning and it feels like Sunday morning as I’ve been here for what feels like two days, not seeing a single person yesterday.  Nice.  I woke up a little before 5 and had to take some photos of the stark beauty.  I would love to stay a couple more days but other plans call.  We’re to load the new camper this morning and drive over to Glen and Holly Bowman’s for a weekend of bluegrass jamming.  It’s only a few minutes from camp so maybe I’ll escape back to my fortress of solitude here if the need arises.  I completely understand Rick’s love of bluegrass picking but it’s quite another thing if you have no musical talent and remain but a spectator.  I need to remember to bring my djembe out to camp where I can drum with only the non-judgmental critters as my audience.