Life as I know It

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Notes from the Fresh Air Camp

Summer isn't summer without 'Heavenly Blue' morning glories on our front porch.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

Hello dear friends,

I hope you are all enjoying these last, fleeting moments of summer. I love the summer here in Maine because it is not about hot weather, but about changes in the weather. One minute sunny and blue skies, the next moment foggy and gray, then thunder and lightning, rain, and mists. I love, love, love the changes in the light, and the scents and sounds.

Inside the popcorn misty outside that I can't see the ocean

Our living room has a peaked roof so the patter or pounding of rain is magnified. Oh, and the red squirrels, who run up and down a tall fir that we call the "elevator tree," drops green cones onto the roof throughout the day. Sometimes it sounds like we are living in a popcorn popper.

Sou'wester and rain boots for our walks (rain or shine)

I don't know if I ever mentioned that our tiny cottage, which in Maine is referred to as a "camp," was once the bunkhouse for the Miles Fresh Air Camp. In the 1920s, children were given the opportunity to have a camp experience/vacation beside the sea. I love the history of this old place and recently learned that Babe Ruth stopped by to visit with the kids. Imagine, the great Babe Ruth may have walked these floors.

I am so happy to be here. Every day holds new adventures, meetings with old and new friends and family from far away. We share meals on the porch, crackling fires, and walks under the stars. Last week we could see the star showers (Perseid Meteor Showers), and we reveled in the beauty of the full
moon over the sea.

We walk a couple of miles every night. Here is our goal, our touchstone; we stop where we have a view of Hay Island on the left and my favorite little Crow Island on the right.  Look at that moon!

For many of us, it is a big deal to visit the post office everyday and today WAS a big deal. Waiting in our post box was a gift all beautifully packaged and wrapped from my girlfriend Susan (My Mother's Apron Strings). Inside was a bag of fabulous cookies, a gorgeous California poppy (my favorite flower) necklace made by Susan, who is a well known paper artist, designer, author, chef, gardener, and great mother and grandmother. Tucked inside was also a jar of her own freshly made cherry cranberry jam. How did I get so lucky? Thank you, Susan, for being so giving!

Susan's box of goodies

I received an e-mail from a lovely young mother who wanted me to stop by her garden and see the sunflower house they planted for her daughter. It is a small one in great shape, and it has the requisite morning glory roof. Every summer I receive lots of letters and photos of sunflower houses planted throughout our country and abroad. It is hard for me to believe that my first book Sunflower Houses will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in just a couple of months, and it is still in print.

A bit of canvas cloth for the flooring, a chair, a table, and lots of imagination.

And now my friends, will you forgive me for posting a random group of photos that I think you may enjoy seeing? These are all bits and pieces of why I so love New England, but especially Maine.

This new barn is down the road from us at Bittersweet Landing. I had to include this "topping out" tradition found on homes and barns in Maine (and in many European countries). See the skeleton of a pine tree atop the barn? This is placed on the peak of the building when the last beam is set into place. It is supposed to bring good luck to the owner of the home or barn, but I have heard different versions of this story, too.

Found these great vintage signs (from Cherry Gallery) to hang in the kitchen at our Comfort Found Literary Lodging.

It takes a village? In this case, a village for the birds.

A great visit with a garter snake.

The potager at Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit. I want this garden.

The sweet, front garden at Arrows. Look at that edible windowbox! Well, the windowbox isn't edible, but the contents sure are.

Pie in the Sky Bakery...simply yummy. You'll find it in Cape Neddick, Maine. The aromas will draw you in if the gardens, windowbox, and sign haven't already grabbed you.

The Walpole Barn on the road from our house to Damariscotta. That is Jeff at the counter. You can buy fresh local oysters, wine, local art and handcrafts (my friend Sara Hotchkiss has the big star rug on the wall), gifts, candles, cards, candy, gourmet items....and more. Love this place. 

Our Island Grocery has a great sitting deck and flower baskets and pots that will make you drool.

Our farmers' market is surrounded by meadows, gardens, apple trees, and, in the distance, you can see the Great Salt Bay.

And the offerings at our fabulous farmers' market at the Salt Bay Farm in Damariscotta will make you drool, too. Fridays at the market are some of my favorite times.

Although I am managing to work every day, I am also enjoying LOTS of company, lots of cooking, lots of sitting on our porch and enjoying friends, the sea, the birds, and the gentle passage of time. I hope that you are finding your own special peace.

Thanks for your letters and e-mails. You help define my life, and I love you being a part of it, just as I love dropping in to visit with you on your blog postings. If you have the chance, please visit my newest Lowe's blog posting. I value your comments and thoughts both here and at the Lowe's site.

Love from the Fresh Air Camp,


P.S. And the Grimy Handed Winner is...

Carol Samsel from Wright City, Missouri, of

Congratulations! We'll mail your book out this week. Thanks for joining in.


Pondside said...

Beautiful images from that wonderful part of the world. No wonder you love it so much!

Mozart's Girl said...

Dearest Sharon, so wonderful to see these pictures and anecdotes from your world...can you believe that it's almost a year already since we met? Amazing how the months zip by. Everything looks adorable, especially YOU! Enjoy the rest of August & love to Jeff too xoxo Rachel

Darla said...

My first thought after reading this post was a quiet, "Wow, Maine looks like a great place." Thank you for sharing a peace of your heaven on earth. We in North Florida have had a brutal dry summer. Not as bad as Texas although we are over 20 inches behind on rainfall. It is so nice to recieve gifts in the mail, sounds like you received a good one. Have a blessed day.

Darla said...

Okay, it 5:14 a.m. a piece of your heaven...sigh

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful place to call home, if only for the summer,, a little slice of heaven for sure.I think the sunflower houses are so sweet, from reading your work we had one for our grandson years ago,, we always call it Sharon Lovejoys house,, he still does , you have touched our hearts and we keep you there with your beautiful work and writings,,thats a great shot of the snake by the way!Thats one thing we have lots of here, that and bears!

Vee said...

Oh such a moon! Beautiful shot. We rose early hoping to see the showers...didn't work out this year.

Thank you for sharing all these Maine treasures with us. I keep thinking that you blog is a great resource for such things and the next time I have the chance for a daytrip, I'll be checking back here for some tips.

Enjoy the fresh air!

Robin Larkspur said...

Hi Sharon, your postings from Maine make me want to jump in the car and come right there. So many great things you have shared. As one of your Grimy Hand Gals, I would like to congratulate the winner of your super giveaway. BTW, I have been blogging all summer about the Wedding Garden and planters I made for my daughter's wedding. She just got married this past Saturday and it was beautiful. Gardening is so joyful, and your blog and books inspire me every day. Thanks a bunch for all you do!!

nana pam said...

always love your posts and pictures-this time esp. the vegetables-yum! I love Maine but it has been way too many years since I've been there. One of these falls my hubby and I will have to take a short trip there again.

Jennie Brooks said...

beautifully written about an obviously magical place. it's now on my list. thank you for the great escape from Oklahoma.

Larkrise garden girl said...

Maine is beautiful. I love your pictures and the way you describe what your seeing. It's so hot in southern california this week. I can hardly wait til fall.Cheri

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

We have a squirrel that scratches on our roof almost every morning! The Herbal Husband gets the sling shot out and tries to discourage it! Ha! I need a video of that for my blog! Would love to go to camp where you are! Thanks for sharing your world, Sharon! Always very entertaining, charming and delicious! xxoo Nancy

Lili said...

Oh Sharon what a lovely moonlit walk you had, that shot was so dreamy! I enjoyed getting a glimpse of your place and learning a little of the history too, what a little slice of heaven you have there. I can certainly tell you are enjoying your time here immensely, you so deserve it for all the hard work and joy you always give to others. Thanks for that tour of those exciting sights down your way. Those veggies growing in the window boxes are just fabulous! xoxo ~Lili

Marguerite said...

Sharon, the image of the moon over the water is stunning. Thanks for the tour of Maine, it looks like a lovely place to rest and relax.

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

Sharon, if I could follow you on some days like this "I would think I had died and gone to Heaven"
What beautiful surroundings....

Pat said...

All your images are so evocative of what a summer must be like on the coast of Maine (except for that curled up reptile - ugh! I am so paranoid about those)

This summer I have morning glory vines - completely covering my climbing trellis and blue solar globe...not a flower in sight - just vines.

My Grama's Soul said...

Dear Sharon ........ Looks as though you have your own little bit of paradise.
Thanks for sharing it with us.



farmlady said...

I think I need to live on the ocean. I can smell the fog and feel the ocean breezes.
We just had a bad fire on our property and almost lost our home. I love the mountains but the fire hazard during the summer is so great.
I could learn to live in a damp environment where it's cool most of the time.
Love all the photos. Really love the Sunflower House. Wonderful!!
Good to hear from you.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

as if i wasn't already excited for my fall trip, now i really am! i love ogunquit! we are house hunting this year on our trip!

Farm Girl said...

So nice to see what you are doing in Maine. I just got back from the central coast and it was so nice to be at the ocean. I want to visit Maine someday, and I think it would be wonderful. I can't believe Sunflower Houses will be 20 years old!! I was a young mother when I found that wonderful book and I credit it and you for giving me my love of gardening as well as all of my children today. We grew so many gardens from that book.
It is nice to see what you have been doing.
I always enjoy your updates, I will check out your Lowe's page.
Have a wonderful fall in Maine.

Susan said...

Dear friend-I'm happy the box arrived safely and with all your travels, maybe a cookie or two sustained you! Thank you for the tour; I only wish I was there in person to share it with you (maybe one day). Glad to see you're enjoying your holiday in Maine. Love you, Susan

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Another lovely post accompanied by your gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing your enviable life with the rest of us.


Hi Sharon. What a wonderful post. First I have to tell you that I have this quote of Marcel Proust in my kitchen. It is one of my all time favorites and so true isn't it?

It sounds like you're having a delightful time in Maine. Your photos are gorgeous. I love the 'Heavenly Blue' Morning glory. How apropos! And the moon glowing on the water...outstanding. Your friend Susan sounds like a real jewel. The sunflower house is adorable. Yes, I can believe your Sunflower Houses tome is 20 years old, actually. It was years ago that it was the inspirational book of choice for my now-grown children! And I'm keeping it for the future grandbabies. Love the vintage sign and "Pie In the Sky" bakery. What a great name for a bakery!! Thank you for sharing your day with us. It's always a pleasure, dear friend.

Casa Mariposa said...

Someone told me once that because I've moved so much (17 times in 34 years) I never learned how to attach myself to places. She was so wrong. I spent 5 days in Maine 8yrs ago and and always dream of going back. Everyone here vacations in the Outer Banks of NC but all I want is Maine, Maine, maine! Love this post!!!!

Thea said...

Dearling, you make me miss Maine so much! Next week I'm swinging round to pick up my college roomie and we're heading up your way! I need some ocean. I need some cool wind in my hair. Thanks for all your photos. I yearn! hugs, t

Zuzana said...

Dear Sharone, I always savour your posts, saturated by images of natural beauty and simple pleasures. And I love all the culinary treats you always post about.,)
The moon image is a stunning one and I envy you the fact you saw the falling stars recently.
I think summer in Maine must resemble quiet a lot our Scandinavian summer. And here it is fleeting too...
Have a lovely weekend,

Sunny Simple Life said...

Such a lovely post. You are indeed in a wonderful spot there. Have been in Heart's Ease many many times over the years. My husband's family has a home in Cambria. Another lovely spot

Carol said...

It's ALWAYS a joy to read your blog and look at all of the fantastic photos you share! I've added Maine to on of the places I MUST visit soon. I'm Super Excited to win the book and can't wait until it arrives and I can share it with my grandchildren!

jean said...

And, the photos are lovely! Thanks for visiting and commenting!! Your "camp" looks like a delicious place to spend at. Please do stop by again.

jean said...

I forgot to say, no, I have not read Elizabeth Goudge's "The Pilgrim's Inn" but, it sounds intriguing. Maybe if I can find it...

jerilanders said...

Oh, it really does look a marvelous place. New England, home of my ancestors! The birdhouses! Fresh oysters! The moon over the ocean! I Love it.
It is so wonderful that your 1st book has been in print for 20yrs, that is a great accomplishment and serious sign of a successful book. I am very happy for you.

kj said...

i know this life, sharon. JB lived in scarborough for five years and i worked in portland for just as long. it's all so, so, AUTHENIC!

why can't i grow sunflowers? i plant the seeds in good soil, put cut down paper cup around them and wait with such excitement. i'm on my third season of failure :^)

sunflower houses? i'm intrigued.

enjoy, enjoy enjoy ♥

Anonymous said...

Even though baseball is a tiny sport over here lots of us know about Babe Ruth, Him walking around o Your property long ago is great!

Beautiful photographs of beautiful places! I can´t say we have anything similar over here unfortunately.

I´m expecting first frost here the first week in September and it´s closing in way to fast now. But we usually get a period with warmer weather after that first frost and most flies dies those nights so I don´t mind that much :-) :-) :-)

And after the first nights of frost its time to make Rowan jelly and we have lots of rowan berries this year (and according to old folklore that means we´ll get a nasty cold winter again´. I do hope that´s wrong :-) :-) :-) ).

Have a great day!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hello dear KJ,

EVERYBODY likes to eat sunflower seedlings. Squirrels, chipmunks, birds, you name 'em. So I grow my sunflower seedlings in those plastic containers that salad greens come in (for when I don't have my own). They're about 12" wide and about 3 or 4 inches deep. I can flop the lid down at night and then lift it in the morning. I got a great crop of sunflowers this year and so did my granddaughter Sara May. She was thrilled.

A sunflower house is the BEST playhouse in the world.



Storybook Woods said...

Sighhhhh, some dya I HAVE to go to Main, well the whole Eastern coast!!! But for now I will live vicariously through you. It does sound like we are having the same summer weather though. Enjoy Main for me xoxo Clarice

suzanne said...

Dear Sharon

What a beautiful post on Fresh Air Camp. I love the way you love your homes. So do I...Always a feast for my eyes when I visit here. So lovely to see another Sunflower house. Another couple of weeks and we can plant our sunflowers for Summer. This year not only am I making another sunflower house, I am dotting sunflowers all over my garden. I I just love looking out at those beautiful big yellow faces..We grow sunflower seedlings for salads too. When the seedling developes it's first two leaves, that is when it is at its most nutritious. So lovely to see your parcel from our dear friend Susan. I too received one from across the miles. She has such a kind giving heart.

What a beautiful peaceful place to live and write.

Love to you Sharon
Warm regards

Diane said...

Thank you so much for your visit and now I am happy to have found you. I love this post and that photo of the moon is just stunning. Love all your photos this is a great post. Diane

From the Kitchen said...

Thanks to you, a few other blogging friends and my daughter-in-law (who did her undergraduate studies at Bates), I am being drawn to visit Maine very soon!

I am in love with the sunflower house. I need to find out more about that--I suspect in one of your books?

Please let me know when you want to come for lunch. I would love to have a visit with you.


Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Your post was just like going on vacation. The sunflower house made me smile as ours was just about that size and type. How Diva loved that little house. She still talks about it. Oh to be in Maine in the summer and spend a little bit of it with you. Well, I shouldn't be whining. I did get to spend two weeks in Seattle. Much love to you my dear friend.~~Dee

betsy said...

What a delight this post was. I used to spend my summers at lake camps in New Hampshire. I remember the mists, and the all day rains, and the beavers slapping their tails on the water. I loved the garden pictures and the sunflower house. I am happy to have found your blog.

rebecca sweet said...

I know I tell you this all the time, but I absolutely treasure spending the early weekend mornings reading your posts and daydreaming with your photos. I am falling in love with Maine, thanks to you! And I'm definitely envisioning a trip there next year. And when I'm wandering the gardens at Arrows Restaurant (with you, hopefully by my side) I'll no doubt have a tear of gratitude in my eye! Have a wonderful, wonderful day. Oh, love the new look of your blog, too! Darling bird!! :)

La Table De Nana said...

Lovely photos!

Both daughters were one week Mainers this summer..:) We used to do that with them..

I love your post office also:)
Love your home.. and the edible flower box! I ahve tried and never succeeded that well..This summer I have an edible boat:) (From the Cape)..It's worked well I'll try and capture it..the background is not pretty..

Sharon..would you know where you Roots Shoots Buckets and Boots is available in Canada? Thank you..
My friend has it,and I love it..the store she bought it in has closed..

Let me know..Thank you~

Pom Pom said...

Hi Sharon!
Thank you for stopping by my blog. I have sad news about my sunflower house: my hubby must have thought the beginnings were weeds. Sad! Oh, well. I'll have another go next year!
Guess what? When I have my fall break, Bill and I are going to Bar Harbor! I have never been to Maine and want to go, so YIPPEE! It'll be our first taste. I loved this post with all the lovely Maine details!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Sweet Rebecca,

Yes, we'll prowl through the vast gardens at Arrows. And save $$$ til we visit there. MUCHO $$$.

Come to Maine! YOU will love it. You must research the gardens at Asticou etc. up Martha Stewart way, well, uh, really the Rockefellers were there first.

Thanks for your dear words.



La Table De Nana said...

I've ordered it..thank you..

Anonymous said...

All wonderful images... the sunflowers are such a favorite of mine... and those carrots? my my my. Need to get to our nearby farmer's market before they are done for the season. Thanks for this reminder!

Here I Am Carrie said...

Oh I miss the soothing sound of rain falling on our roof as we are in a dry spell. Life sounds wonderful where you are. I love the sunflowers house. I grow a lot of sunflowers I will have to try that next year. But your quiet walks is what I wish I could do. I did enjoy the wonderful moon we had though. Well have a great week.

Lori ann said...

dear sharon,

i feel as if i've taken a little holiday, you are the most generous blogger! thank you for all that you share and for giving me dreams (did i tell you i grew a sunflower house for my children soon after your book came out, it was not by experiance either, quite by luck i think!)

enjoy every little maine minute. and thank you so much for your words on my yellow post.

xxx lori

p.s. books and birds, what could be better!!

Folkways Note Book said...

Hi Sharon, Where do I start? Your posts from Maine are filled with all kind of goodies that I throughly enjoy. At one time, when I was a bit younger, I taught Adult Educational classes on country antiques and cottage gardening -- this was when I wasn't doing my day job. I taught in about 20 different metro school districts and gave lectures. I guess I am telling you all this as your post would have been a great reference to the folks that took classes from me. Alas, blogging was not invented yet. Read every bit of your post today and also checked out the Lowe blog -- wonderful. Reading all of your thoughts about gardening and looking at your photos makes me very melancoloy for the connectiveness I found with gardeners in my classes. I will continue to read you with a big smile on my face -- you truly are a fantastic blogger.-- barbara

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Friends,

Your messages mean the world to me and I so enjoy reading your thoughts. Lori Ann always good to touch bases with you!

Barbara, talk about "a big smile on my face." Thank you for your kind words. Blogging gives us such a deep connection and I love the friends I've made through this strange new medium.

All joys to you,


sarah-jane down the lane said...

Hello camp Popcorn! ( I love that description!) Once again a bumper post. I am so envious of your porch. As a girl I was obsessed by the Waltons and always wanted a porch to sit on with Zeb and Reckless, and most especially Jim-Bob ( Swoon!).
Mad about potagers too, thanks as always Sharon,

Sarah x

kj said...

sharon, to quote a certain two year old, with as much sincerity:

ta ta kiss kiss


Bonnie K said...

I love the Pie in the Sky! Wow, I will put a visit there on my bucket list. My niece's birthday is in May and I always give her sunflowers and morning glories. Once in a while I am lucky enough to be around to help them plant the house. I'm always amazed how I'm lucky to get a sunflower 1 foot tall and she always has the perfect house. Thank you for planting that wonderful 'seed'!

LindyLouMac said...

An interesting post in which you have shared so much information with us, my favourite has to be the stunning moon photo you took on one of your walks.