Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday to Sunday-Rise and Shine!

On Sunday, the Rise & Shine rests in the Eastern Gut

Jeff and I  work together six days a week, but on Sundays we kick back and enjoy lounging in our screened porch and reading The New York Times. Afternoons are spent exploring, reading, and soaking in the beauty of Maine. I never take a minute of our time here for granted. It is always an adventure.

The little red house belongs to one of my best friends, Virginia. Ginny's home and lifestyle appeared in Country Home magazine about 10 years ago. It was a huge spread shot by my friend Lynn Karlin

Rutherford Island is connected to the mainland by this swinging bridge, the busiest one on the coast of Maine. That is Craig Plummer, bridge keeper, who is waving to us.

Approaching the bridge from the eastern side. Ginny in the bow as we approach The Gut. On the left is our friend Diane's house (it used to be an old dance hall). Diane's house was featured in Coastal Living a few years ago.

 The span between the island and mainland is called "The Gut." Waters on both sides are referred to as either Eastern Gut or Western Gut. I always lower our car windows as we approach the bridge so that I can drink in the scents of the waters and hear the singing of our car wheels as we pass over the old bridge. On one of my birthdays, Jeff hired a lobsterman to usher me under the bridge and around the island. Also, the bridge keeper let me ride on the bridge as it opened and closed. Loved every minute.

Connie, Julie, and Ginny in the bow of the OLIVE, the oldest pleasure boat (still owned by the same family and named after Olive Prescott) in Christmas Cove, where she has always been moored.

Goudy and Stevens are still in the business of building some of the best boats on our coast. The OLIVE was boat number 1 for them.

Approaching the historic town of Damariscotta (which is Native American for gathering place of the alewives) on the river of the same name. Our "Comfort Found-Literary Lodging" faces this little harbor. Damariscotta is an easy walk about town with many restaurants, a specialty bakery,  a great library and bookstore, and wonderful galleries and shops. I love it here and look forward to spending a few nights in our place when it is finally finished. Yes, we will be posting photos, but right now things are piled high, the kitchen is in an uproar, and much more needs to be done.

On Monday a big surprise arrived in the mail. My pal Elizabeth Murray (author and photographer of Monet's Passion) sent the antique yellow pitcher to me as a gift; she called it the "sunshine pitcher." She said that when she was in my kitchen looking around at the yellow pottery she thought to herself, "my pitcher belongs here in this kitchen." I love the pitcher and will use it for one of my favorite cold summer soups (recipe to follow), and it will always remind me of Lizzie and our times together. By the way, I did make the avocado soup for her when she visited, and she pronounced it "the best soup I've ever tasted."

Jeff and I used to roam throughout Maine before we found our cottage. Once we settled in here, we began to dread leaving our home. Last week, we drove 3 1/2 hours north (downeast as it is called here) to the wonderful town of Winter Harbor on the Schoodic Peninsula where I gave a program for their public library Summer Author Series. A lovely couple offered this tiny, but PERFECT, cottage as our home away from home. I loved every minute in this enchanted little place.

As we approached the cottage, we discovered a series of faerie landscapes and houses.

A view out our window that included a great vegetable garden, swing, shoreline, and in the distance, Mt. Desert Island.

I loved this sign that was on the wall in the cottage. So true.

Visiting with children in the Winter Harbor Public Library.

Some of the children I worked with a couple of months ago mailed a few books of drawings and poems they wrote for me. The one on the right side made me tear up. "I say thank you more than the flowers say thank you to the sun. I like you as much as birds like worms." The nicest words ever written to me.

I can't live without 'Heavenly Blue' morning glories in the summer. My first encounters with them was on my dear Gram Mc'Kinstry's kitchen porch in Kokomo, Indiana. They self seeded and were as dependable as the perfection of Gram's pies. They covered an old trellis, and when I walked outdoors they greeted me like hundreds of blue windows. Gram had a "redbird" (cardinal) who thought he owned that trellis of morning glories. He used to scold us when we stepped out to admire them. These flowers always remind me of Gram. 

And on Sunday night-well, who needs words to describe this?

Marilyn's Summer Soup
(this will go into Liz's sunshine pitcher)

Trust me on this one; this soup stops conversation. As people take their first sips, all you will hear is moaning. The recipe was shared with me by my dear pal Marilyn. I've tweaked it and use a different vinegar than was originally called for, and I've added a bit more dill.

Make this 1 hour before serving–no sooner or it will darken–I've sometimes blended everything except the avocado, then added it an hour before serving.

3 ripe avocados
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup fresh dill
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt (flaked)
Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Chill for an hour. Top with fresh dill.

This is heaven, clouds, a dusting of stars!

Thanks for visiting me and thank you for your comments, book orders, letters, and surprises. 

All joys to you,


P.S. Please stop by Lowe's Garden Grow Along for a short visit and leave a valued comment. Wonderful ideas are posted by 8 passionate gardeners. I love the Mimi Glavin chair of succulents. Visit Mimi and her great garden store The Playful Garden if you're ever in Napa, California

P.P.S. A bonus for you. This last Friday I found out that my friend David Berry, proprietor of the Market Boat, will no longer be delivering his organic foods to our Christmas Cove town landing. This link is a tribute to David. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos and reading the story of the Market Boat.


farmlady said...

Maine is one of those places I have imagined all my life. Never having been there,your blog offers me a visit to this charming town, state and way of life, as if I had received a letter from you with photographs or visited there myself.
I laughed at the "eastern gut" and "western gut". California would probably legislate those terms to some other reference that sounded better. We are so radically conscientious here. Wouldn't want to hurt someones feelings... someone with indigestion.
I remember your friend Diane's house in a Coastal Living magazine. What a charming place it was. What a great idea... to make a house out of an old dance hall.

Marilyn's Summer soup recipe will be tried. It's such a summertime kind of soup.
The soup may be.."heaven, clouds,a dusting of stars!" but I think your home and Maine must be too.

Rue said...

What a beautiful post to start my day! Thank you for this.

Maine is on the top of my list of places to see. Your pictures have only reinforced my desire to travel your state!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

You really made mee feel how much I miss the ocean today :-) That´s something I´ll always miss since I grew up by it and used to sail out into the arcepilago in summers.

I have three weeks of vacation left so I think I´ll drive down there as soon as possible, I´ll just have to paint my cottage first that is something I can´t put aside any longer.
Have a great day now!

Vee said...

Looking at some of the clouds in your photos makes me think that you, too, were taking pictures last Thursday. What a wonderful little tour of your corner. The smells and sounds are like none other. Now if that soup makes everyone groan...and what a wonderful description that made me laugh...I may have to try it for the avocado lovers in my family. Thanks for the recipe. Oh, and that letter from a young admirer was just too dear.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

What a life you have Sharon! It's like a storybook! You make me want to go back to Maine so much. I loved it there, such a pretty state. Sounds like your summer is going wonderfully!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i'll trade houses with you. i'm taking teddy with me but i will leave you all kinds of food!!!

Erin | Bygone Living said...

These pictures are so beautiful... Maine is simply breathtaking; my mom wants us all to move there someday (naturally, I can't object!)

You have such an exciting life... would love to step in your shoes for a day! ♥

Noelle Johnson said...

I have always wanted to visit Maine and your descriptions and pictures just make me want to go more :-)

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Hi Sharon, Congrats on your second printing. Well deserved! I'm like Pavlov's dog, but I'm drooling over the recipe! Can't wait to try it! You do live in a beautiful area of the country. I know you and Jeff enjoy it! xxoo Nancy

Unknown said...

Hi Sharon,
Thanks so much for sharing your " piece of heaven" with us! It's all GOOD, as the saying goes, friends, simple living in a cottage by the sea, wonderful food that makes you moan. gifts from a far, honest and pure words from a child...
It truly doesn't get any better does it?
en JOY!
Hugs to you both!

taylorsoutback said...

Your post is a joy to read - living in such a magical place! And the sign you discovered is the best ever for a gardener's soul.

The soup recipe is greatly appreciated & sounds incredible. Thank you so much for sharing.

Pondside said...

It's been years since I was last in Maine - it was on my way home to Cape Breton. I remember the smell of the air - that salt smell that is not the same, here on the Pacific Coast.
What a lovely post - full of wonderful things to look at and try....that soup sounds delicious.

Anonymous said...

I loved every minute of reading this! Maine looks lovely and I thank you for sharing these photos. Love those blue morning glories! When I was growing up, our home had a carport on the side. My mother grew the morningglories on the side of the open side of the house and effectively made it into a garage, a onesided blooming garage! Our place was known as "that house with all the flowers".
Kay Guest

Mozart's Girl said...

Dearest Sharon, thanks for visiting me, so good to be at your blog again...I've had the maddest, best few weeks but now down to earth with a bump and massive brownie orders!! Loved this post, of course...the avocado soup would soothe my sore throat right now, wish you were here to make it for me! Loved the scolding cardinal story & all the beautiful photos xox Happy Week to you, love Rachel

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

I would love to visit Maine. May rent your little space.
Copied your recipe and can't wait to try. May 1/2 just for me.
Your sharing never disappoints. You put a smile my face and give me the desire to plant more flowers!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Sharon, I'm so glad to find your blog! I adore Maine. Mr. Magpie and I drove there in two days once because I was determined not to miss one second visiting there. My seat paid the price, but my soul was happy! ;-)

What a charming cottage you have. I am writing you from our Victorian cottage in St. Augustine. Like you, I am grateful for every second I get to spend here. It is a blessing I don't take for granted.

I'm delighted to meet you and look forward to perusing your blog. Hope you will visit with me again as well. Your stories sound marvelous.


Sheila :-)

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Thank you for visiting us, Sharon.
What a wonderful life you have! I'll definately be back for another visit. Please, put the kettle on!

Vickie said...

Sharon, thank you for this little tour of Maine - it's beautiful and I've never been there, but plan to take it in sometime soon. I'm an artist and I'd love to do some paintings of the harbors and gardens and I'm sure there's tons of other subject matter available!

The yellow pitcher is wonderful - I love it and what a sweet gift to you! I wanted to ask you about that little bright yellow plate up there on your shelf. I have some yellow ones and also a couple of green ones, and I know absolutely nothing about them. I was wondering if you might have any information about them? I found them at a garage sale and I loved the shape!

Well, Have a wonderful week. I'm so enjoying your blog, your travels, your pictures AND of course the recipes!

Vickie said...

Sharon - sorry! I just saw that beautiful plate of pasta and was thinking of another food blog! I'm sure that you DO have some wonderful recipes, too! ;o)

Vicki Boster said...

Hi Sharon - I am a new reader of your blog - a Happy, Happy day for me! I must say - I love it here!

My husband and I spent some time in Maine last summer and we loved every minute of it - what a beautiful place to live - you are so lucky!

Your photos of the water and the homes are just lovely. The pictures of you and the children has touched my heart and that sweet note form the child just made me gasp - that is surely the most precious note and expression of love that you will ever receive.

I have spent some time exploring all around your lovely blog and I am having a wonderful time - so much so that I am going to be your newest follower.

Thank you for sharing your passions and your talents with the rest of us.


Lili said...

Hi Sharon! So nice to "meet" you and I see we both share such a passion for all things Maine. Your place is so lovely over here and I look forward to getting to know you more as I browse through your posts. This is so much fun for me! Thanks so much for your really sweet comment you left me too. ~Lili

Storybook Woods said...

I feel like I just had a little mini-vacation. Sighhh, it is soo stunning in Maine, I have to go someday xoxox Clarice

taylorsoutback said...

Hi Sharon - back again! To answer your question about freezing Snow Peas (Chinese Pea Pods)...they do lose their crispness by the processing. Not much one can do about that. However, they still taste good when used in stir fry or similar dishes - especially on a cold day in January! But nothing can compare with their taste and texture right off the vine!

Jim Longs Garden said...

It all looks so peacefully cool where you are, and gorgeous scenery. You did send me to Google, however, with your, "...Native American for alewives." It conjured up images of drunken housewives, which I assume Native Americans never encountered. NOW I get alewife is a FISH. For heaven's sake, it's a herring. Who knew? I'm so glad you put such wonderful information in all of your writing. Next time I get to your part of the country, I shall order up an alewife for dinner and see just what the fuss is all about. :-) Love reading your adventures.

GailO said...

Just wandered over here from Fearless Nester's site....and discovered I stumbled upon the author of a book I recently bought! I couldn't resist Grandma's Bag of Tricks: Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars and have found lots of inspiration in there for time spent with my grandchildren:)

I am envious of your lifestyle! We manage to visit Maine yearly for one or two weeks...will be there soon!

marcia said...

Hi Sharon,
Happy to hear you are enjoying each day to the fullest in Maine. I love reading your tales.

Busy summer here ...but oh so good!
I'm going to try that luscious soup!

Love to you and Jeff!
happy day!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hello all of you...OOPS, I've gotten more than one e-mail asking me (as Jim Long mentioned above)...WHAT IS AN ALEWIFE? I'll write more about these amazing fish and share some photos Jeff took of the fish ladder in Damariscotta Mills (head of the Great Salt Bay and by Damariscotta Lake. I did an in-depth story about the history of the alewives, the fish ladder, and Damariscotta Mills for a Northern New England Journey Magazine a few years ago.

The alewives swim from the ocean, up the Damariscotta River, to the Great Salt Bay, and then they climb a 42 foot fish ladder, jump over the last hurdle, and land in the Mill Pond. Sometimes there are huge bass, herons, osprey, loon, or a bald eagle waiting for them. One gulp and they're gone after all that work.

For the ones who make it into the Mill Pond it is a short journey to the bridge that separates Newcastle and Nobleboro, and then the relative safety and the depths of beautiful Damariscotta Lake, which is where they spawn. It is believed that these small fish return to the stream and lake where they first hatched. Amazing.

Unlike salmon, they do not die after spawning. They'll turn around and make the journey back to the sea.

What a joy it is to stretch out on the wall above the fish ladder and watch the alewives labor their way up from shallow pool to shallow pool, and then over the final hurdle. You can really feel yourself rooting for them.

So sorry I left you in the dark about these tiny anadromous fish. Come visit sometime in May when they're running and you'll be amazed too.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Okay, I'm now ready to move to Maine! What a beautiful area, I absolutely loved the tour on the boat and of the cottage.
The soup sounds delicious. Avocados are one of my very favorite things to eat. I actually order food from menus just because they come with guacamole or avocado.

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

It all sounds so lovely, and I think I've figured out a way to tweak the soup yet again and make it without dairy. I told Bear I'd like to visit there, and she asked if it's on the way to Florida. She wants to visit the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios. Funny girl.~~Dee

Dawn said...

This post has so much quiet, and magic. I feel my heart is rocking in that boat, pulling up to the Damariscotta shore. I long to be in Maine with you, sweet friend.

I will be one day. :)



Knitting Out Loud said...

It was a pleasure to meet you at the Bread Fair yesterday, Sharon!

Zuzana said...

Beautiful images! Your photography from Maine reminds me very much of the Scandinavian coast.;)
Yes, there is something about traveling, it is adventurous and alluring and infinitely the best part about it is the *coming home* one.;)

Farmgirl Susan said...

Thanks for the marvelous little e-getaway! Maine truly seems like a magical place, and your love of it shines through in every word and photo. Someday I will make it there and see it all myself!

P.S. LOVE that yellow pitcher - and how it came to be yours. :)

The Unusual Farmchick said...

What a wonderful time spent with friends. i truly enjoyed seeing all of your pictures but the boating ones had me transported back in time. :)

Lydia said...

I have always been rediculously attached to Southern California. Your wanderings open my eyes to not let roots grow so deep I would wilt if I needed to be transplanted.