The Edge of Land: Cove Dreams

Drive down Route 129 from Bristol far enough and you get to Rutherford Island in S. Bristol. It’s a beautiful place — frequented by lobster boats and summer renters, it’s not exactly a tourist hot spot but it is exactly what you want Maine to be in the summer. There is a feeling of exclusivity there, exuded by those lucky enough to own a house on the island and those who fish the waters around Christmas Cove. But feel free to go anyway. I’ll let you in on a secret spot there. You can bring a lunch and nonchalantly drive into “town” knowing where to go.

Let me take you on a little drive first…

Down Route 129

Over the swing bridge (closed for the moment).

Packing his catch.

Yeah, did you see that sign? That’s what you’re looking for. Drive past beautiful stately homes, the boats of Christmas Cove bobbing at anchor, and a tennis court and you’ll see this sign when you feel like you could drive no more. When you feel like you’ll drive off the edge of the land, hang a right and go down a steep hill and find this little jewel of a beach…

It really is the perfect place for admiring the sea, sweet baby feet in the sand, and the ripening beach plums, signaling summer’s peak.

You will feel like you are in your own little world — your private piece of the Maine coast. And it is yours. Shhh. Don’t break my reverie.

(Erin)

The Lincoln County Animal Shelter

For months now my oldest has been begging for a dog.

We just aren’t in a place (both physically and generally) where a dog makes sense for us. Although, having grown up with a dog, I’m with her. I miss the happy and abundant joy of arriving home to a dear face that has missed you and will happily smother you with licks.  My husband and I remind my dear little one that she has a cat that equally needs her love and would love to be the focus of this unbridled attention (well… maybe…) but she says, “Yeah, but SHE has claws and doesn’t like to play the same way a dog does. And she bites me when I try and pet her.” Too true. Our cat has an affection for bare feet and unguarded legs that is…well…unnerving.

After a calm quiet morning at home, both girls had a bit of cabin fever. The sun was shinning, and I was trying to dream up some fabulous homeschooling adventure. (Hard work when the biggest thing you planned on all day was going into the kitchen and mixing up the ingredients for home made coconut milk ice cream… and then putting it in the ice cream maker and walking away. SIGH.) So, with out a real agenda, I bustled two little girls into the car and backed out the driveway without a real plan. Where were we going? Hm…

As we pulled in and parked, she could barely contain her bouncy joy. We’d talked about this possibility a few times, and we had never quite gotten the day together.

A chorus of barking ensued as we neared the doorway, much to both girls’ joy. The youngest squealed in excitement and pointed with her crooked little pointer finger saying “OOOOH…..ABBY!!” (Abby is our kitty’s name, and funny enough, the word she uses to every animal we come across. Sheep, Abby. Chicken, Abby. You get the idea.)

We walk in the door and greeted by an incredible group of very happy and friendly people who work there. We tell them we’d like to volunteer, and they sign us right up and are quite sure of the perfect dog for us when I say “Probably no one who is too jumpy and nervous with two little girls…”

When they bring Brooke out, I have to laugh. She is a Saint Bernard with drool dripping off her chin. I check myself in the mama-sense that we all find ourselves doing ten zillion times a day and act like this is a walk in the park. I coo. I pat her giant head and puppy talk to her. I take the lead and off we go. My daughter holds the “extra” leash they gave her so she can “help,” but without a  doubt, Brookey weighs more then the two of us together and quite honestly it is she who is taking us for a walk.

Down the road we go, chatting and trying to manage walking with a dog this huge. A hilarious and adventuresome task, and not without a huge amount of excited joy. My daughters are thrilled. We talk about how dogs have a very alert sense of smell, and Brooke must check out each nook and cranny of this road as we walk down it. We talk about how she spends a big chunk of her day in a wired in cage so it is very important to let her enjoy this walk. The wired in cage is not uncomfortable, by any means, it is definitely large enough and has her food and water in it. A soft place to lay down. Without a doubt, the animals at this shelter are loved and cared for in a way I haven’t seen too many shelter pets be. They are not miserable, which is a relief. I have been witness to too much animal sadness in my life, and this is a breath of fresh air.

The workers are kind, respectful and loving to their animal compatriots, as well as the volunteers who come at regular intervals. From what they told me, the volunteers who come to this shelter in Edgecomb are plentiful and regular.

When we returned Brooke to the staff, my girl spent a good fifteen minutes playing with the kitties. She threw the ball and giggled and chased them around. Many of them hid. (My daughter has a bit of squirrel energy in her….) But the kittens thought she was wonderful, watching her and the ball with wide and curious eyes.

We left with promises of returning soon.

“Can we come every week, Mama? Every day?”  She asked and I smiled.

Lessons learned for each of us.

(For more information on the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, visit their webpage. They encourage volunteers and visitors at any age. Donations are also accepted in the form of pet food, dishes, leads, or other goods.)

in the cat room…

(ida)

The Alewives Return

No, not married women who drink ale. Fish. Specifically, this fish.

The  alosa psueodoharengus. Read more about the alewife here.

We are lucky enough to live close to Damariscotta Mills, which is technically located in Newcastle. Every year the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder plays host to thousands of migrating alewives. It’s the oldest alewife fishery in the state of Maine! Watching the alewives return is an amazing sight. The water literally goes black with the fish and the gulls and other birds of prey have a grand time with an easy catch. So, we caught a break in the rain and decided to go welcome them back as they make their journey upstream to Damariscotta Lake.

I really wish I had caught a picture of the bald eagle we saw swooping down to pick up a fish. It was majestic. In a purple-mountained sort of way. Nature at her most impressive.

This makes an awesome field trip for any child fascinated by nature (wait, so any child!), but my one year old was also thrilled by the circling seagulls. We incorporated a study of the alewife into our lessons this week, so Emmaline recited fish facts while watching the action.

Memorial Day weekend will be a perfect time to go visit, as it’s the annual Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival. Their website promises a great time: “Join the fun as local cooks create special food–a pig roast on Saturday, homemade donuts and a chicken barbecue on Sunday, and lobster and crab rolls on Monday. There will be live music, activities for kids, demonstrations…probably even some smoked alewives to try.”

We attended last year and can attest that it IS a great time. There was a fantastic fish-centric puppet show and delicious food. Our favorite fabric store, not-so-coincidentally-named Alewives, also located in Damariscotta Mills, always joins in the festivities. According to their website, “Here at the shop, we’ll be painting faces, showing the Alewife documentary, selling ice-creams and sodas, and helping to raise money for the Fish Ladder Restoration Fund. A wonderful time is had by all on this very special weekend, and we can’t think of a better time to visit the shop!” I couldn’t have put it better myself! Any excuse to pick up some new fabric….

So, get yourself over to the fish ladder and mark the festival on your calendars!

(Erin)

Rain, rain, rain

It’s been raining for days. Well, seemingly.

Enough so that we feel soaking wet, through and through and the laundry won’t dry.

I’ve been laying in bed for what feels like hours before finally at four am, I slowly sneak out from under the covers and try not to wake anybody up.

This mama has an early morning almond butter and jam sandwich addiction.

Sitting at the computer, listening for the rustling of sheets, I eat my sandwich. Sip a cup of tea. Think how sometimes I wish I could sleep just a bit later so the pounding in my head would go away.

Thinking about this site, as I look over our pages. Realize that we agreed to keep the extreme personal to a minimum. Not very good at keeping to that, am I?

Thinking we need to get back our joy of the just beginning- that inspiration and drive to make changes in it and the creativity of a project.

Two mamas working out the bits and pieces of brand new homes (building, moving into, finding, repairing…etc…) and one mama drowning in working from home  and the challenges of single motherhood. Making this for a challenging project. No need for excuses, but the simple of facts. Making ends meet has always been a dilemma. We are nothing new.

Watching our children, day in day out. The adventures of homeschooling and of early toddler hood. With it’s many and very different bits and pieces. Us mamas on similar paths, but oh so very different when it comes down to the passing of days. Our menus are always different, just like our shopping lists.

The rain keeps falling.

And I listen for my wee one. Wondering when she will wake. We’ve slept terribly these past nights. One more spring cold, keeping her head full and me just from sleeping deeply.

I imagine the garden seeds I planted just before the rain. And the plants I delivered to a friend’s doorstep yesterday afternoon. He said he would put them in before the rain.

Feeling the damp soaking into our roots. Nourishing, quenching and fulfilling.  Our days full of this, the growth and sweetness of spring.

Country Road

The rain in Maine falls mainly on the… everywhere. Is there an end in sight? Despite the general dreariness of late, we did get a bit of sun last weekend and I found myself reveling in the particular luxury of only one baby, one stroller, one Sunday afternoon and one lovely coastal road to meander.

Is there anything lovelier than a country road in the springtime?

The sun-dappled shadows of trees on the road, the stone walls, the green grass, the smell of apple blossoms… balm for the soul.

In springtime in Maine, there is no shortage of newly sprung wild vegetation and flowers along the roadside to entice even the most novice of naturalists. A good Wordsworth-like walk is not complete without noticing the green and growing delights of the countryside. I found emerald moss, trout lilies, bluets (or “Quaker Ladies”), dog violets, blueberry blossoms, apple blossoms, and fiddleheads. And stone walls and old romantic farmhouses.

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I hope you find your  own country road and wish you many peaceful miles.

(Erin)