Life as I know It

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

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Morning Tea with the Loons

A few mornings ago the soft tremolo of loons woke me. I sat up in bed, saw the most amazing sunrise, and ran out to the porch to take a photo. The loons called, I called back, they called again, I made my attempt to call just as they did, and they paddled in close to the rocks and woof, woof, woofed quietly to me.

The loons leave the inland fresh water lakes and arrive in John's Bay during September. They usually arrive in pairs (they mate for life), but this year a group of three showed up and they stay very close together. When one paddles too far away, or disappears in the trough of a wave, they begin their soft woofing and looking for the missing bird. I never tire of watching them scull through the water, sometimes with their heads submerged, and then they disappear in a wave and bounce back up hundreds of feet from where they dived.

Jeff and I always eat our breakfast on the porch unless driving winds, salt spray, and rain keep us indoors. This time of year, as our days edge closer to leaving, we make our meals last longer and longer. We take such joy from talking with the loons and seeing how curious they are about us.

Tea for us, coffee for Virginia, toast and cereal with a helping of leftovers for the squirrels, chipmunks, Blue jays, crows, and chickadees.

This morning, after two days of heavy rain and winds, our dear friend Ginny dropped by and ate with us. None of us could believe the size of the waves, the warmth, the beauty. Ginny said, "I am so grateful to be here." We feel the same way.

The Pumpkinfest in Damariscotta was a HOOT! Here are some of my favorite pumpkins, but I am missing some. The one carved by the DeLisle family is great, but when I went to photograph it the mold (from all our rain) had started to form all over it.

Wedding cake pumpkins (see the cake topper?) with books of love sonnets around base.

Outside the bookstore

Debra Arter's teapot.

The little tag on the map says, "you are here."

This is one panel from the pumpkin above.

Another side of the one above.

Humpty Dumpty Pumpkin from artist Susan Bartlett Rice.

Outside Skidompha Library

Inside Porter Hall the contenders are lined up and ready to go. Ginny and Michael are two of the judges.

The four judges pondering the choices (did we ever get sugar highs!)

The cake won first prize of $150.00 and a trophy. I would love to share the recipes, but the contestants did not want to give up their secrets.

The winner of the giant pumpkin contest is smaller than the winner last year, but we had strange weather here all summer and many pumpkins rotted on the vine.

I can't describe the wonderful community spirit of the festival. We had a pumpkin regatta (giant pumpkins hollowed out and were used as boats), we had a pumpkin drop, a pie eating contest, and a parade. On a side street volunteers had pumpkin activities for kids. This small town life is a joy.

I have been out of touch lately and I apologize. So much going on here and now we are packing up for the season. I do not want to leave here and am trying to absorb as much of this beauty as possible. I will try to catch up when we return to California. Promise.

The winner of the Grimy Hands Girls' Club Give-Away of Planting the Dry Shade Garden by Graham Rice (Timber Press) is Lemon Verbena Lady, Nancy Heraud. Congrats dear Nancy!!! 

Although I normally only post once weekly I plan to post an amazing art wall I saw in a home in Damariscotta. It is do-able, fun, and creative. I'll post it the day before we leave here.

Sending love across the miles,


The Harvest Moon rising over the Eastern Gap in South Bristol, Maine.


Kay G. said...

Dear Sharon,
I love your posts so much. The peace that I feel when I read your writing and see your photos is something that I truly treasure.
Thank you.

Susan said...

I'm always amazed by the pumpkin carvers--your photos are very impressive. I just got home from seeing "The Big Year" about birding and loved the scenery and all the beautiful birds that were featured. It was lovely to visit with you and your loons ;-D! XOXO

Blondie's Journal said...

The weather here has been wonderful, too! The mornings are perfect for coffee outdoors.

I'm so happy you enjoyed your festival. These pumpkins are incredibly awesome!! A lot of talent and creativity went into the carving/painting of these. I love the one with the map and the one with the bride and groom! All were just amazing! How fun!


Anonymous said...

thankyou for sharing these wonderful pumpkins, amazing the creative talents all in that area.Our loons have left for warmer climates, they woke us everymorning,, i miss them, snow is in the air here, whispers of winter, I'm looking forward to the art wall you spoke of.I'm slowly losing my vision and I feel like the bears gobbling up all they can, i do that with my eyes,, gobbling and banking all the beautiful sights to traesure in my mind and just remember them with my minds eye when I want.Thankyou for sharing

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

WOW! Can't believe my great fortune! Love the skies, hearing the loons in my mind. No I'm not going to do the looney joke! Always enjoy the pumpkin fest and I'm feeling the sugar high with you! Thanks for doing such enjoyable posts and I will look forward to receiving my prize! xxoo Nancy

Vee said...

Oh too quickly the days draw to a close, especially when you already arrived a little late in the season.

Loved the story of the loons. I knew that they traded out from the fresh lakes to the sea and lose their spots, but had no idea that they court the folks on shore nor that they "woof." We adore them at the lake and are very protective of them and their little ones.

Can't imagine eating breakfast outside these days. You truly are reluctant to let any seaside time go to waste. It's been brisk in the mornings and wasn't that rain fierce? The winds are howling a bit even now.

Pondside said...

That pumpkin festival looks like a whole lot of fun. It sounds like you're enjoying your last few weeks on the east coast - squeeze every drop of pleasure from it!

Bonnie K said...

Oh how I would love to hear loons. The cranes are flying over here. Their calls take my breath away. I love the harvest moon photo. I'm sorry to hear you are packing up. Enjoy your trip back to California.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hello dears, I feel guilty enjoying your comments when I have been so out of touch and neglectful of keeping up. Thanks for caring.

Laurie, your words make me value everything even more (although I already treasure every second). Please start carrying a recorder with you to memorize every sight for the future. I will be thinking of you.

The loons seem to have left us now. The surf has been huge today and the storm was fierce. I hope they return.

Ahhh, the cranes, we hear them when we visit our family in Albuquerque (they're on their way to the Bosque del Apache), and we hear them on the Carrizo Plains in California. Love their sounds.

Love to all,

Sharon (Nancy, we'll mail your book (booty) on Monday before we leave. Congratulations!

Unknown said...

Dear Sharon,
Your Maine life is just wonderful! Love the loon story, the breakfast on the porch and your being able to wind down some... I hate the thought that you'll be on your way westward soon! Just loved the pumpkins too... So fun and creative!
much love,
Deb and Boz

rebecca sweet said...

I know it must be hard to leave your beautiful Maine, but we're awaiting your return. Safe travels to you and Jeff! XXOO

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Reading your posts is like sipping wine in front of the fire inside my favorite Irish Cottage in County Clare. It is completely hypnotizing in the best way.

Darla said...

These pumpkins are incredible! Such talent. I'll enjoy seeing bits and pieces of your life in California as well. Congrats to the winner of the book.

Pat said...

Hooray for Nancy! The book will have a good home.

Enjoyed seeing all the pumpkin art on display and reading your description of the loons at sunrise
was so lovely - with all the materialistic offerings we are bombarded with, one of the greatest gifts is simply embracing our own surroundings.

A lovely post as always.

nana pam said...

right back at you with the love-bet you are sorry to leave, but then again another kind of paradise awaits you.
safe journey

Jimmie said...

Hi Sharon,

I loved your telling us about the loons. Do you remember the movie with Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn entitled "On Golden Pond"? Katherine called to the loons and flapped her arms about while calling them. It is one of my all time favorite movies, partly because I so enjoyed her love of the loons and nature. I think I'll watch it again this evening, thanks to you!

BTW, my husband walked away from me at the local fair when I commenced to "gobble" at the turkeys and they gobbled back at fun to talk with them. If I'm a little loony, it's okay because now I know you are too!!

Love from Diane in North Carolina

Farm Girl said...

I so enjoy looking at all of the things you see and the sounds you hear. It is just beautiful. I love all of the pumpkins. What fun!!

Dog Trot Farm said...

Sharon, how quickly summer sped by, it seems as if you just arrived in Maine. I guess all good things must come to an end, even the loons have vacated Hancock Pond. Safe travels, Julie of Dog Trot Farm.

kj said...

Loons and lakes and love and levity and large large pumpkins in a small small town. Blessed are those who talk to birds and judge pumpkin sweets :-)

Sharon, you know, I love that you love Maine. Your california home is so beautiful your admiration makes me appreciate new England all the more. That sunbreak photo is stunning

wishing you a good transition, my dear friend

Lori ann said...

i'd love to hear the loons, what a lovely image you painted with your words.
and all those pumpkin activities, i like the one with the toadstools and leaves. and i can never understand why people won't share recipes.
i hope you won't be too sad to leave maine :(
california loves you.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Those are by far some of the most fantastic pumpkins I've ever seen!

scottweberpdx said...

Lovely post, that sounds like such a great way to start the day! I always had a dream of growing a championship pumpkin someday...I certainly will need a larger garden to undertake that!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Sharon ~ What a lovely post and I can hear your sweet, gentle voice as I read. That pumpkin festival looks so delightful and the carved pumpkins are wonderful.

Thank you for showing and sharing with us all your gentle, peaceful way of life.


Nan said...

Such a lovely posting. I can feel your tear between two homes. Each has their special wonder and beauty but it must be so hard to leave each one, each time.
Not living near water, I have never heard a loon.

Vicki Boster said...

Hi Sharon- I love how you "love" that little town. The pumpkin festival is surely one of the most fun events that this little town hosts. The photos are delightful- so much work is devoted to the carvings! I can only imagine the pumpkin festival calories that were floating around that town. I can not resist pumpkin butter or pumpkin cake or pumpkin cookies---- ( you get the picture!) My latest favorite- pumpkin risotto!

Sharon your front porch is so inviting. The sunrise photo is out of this world beautiful- that sky is magnificent! With my cup of tea, I could sit there all day--- I know you do hate to leave. I know exactly how you feel- I am so happy when we are at our beach house--- when it's time to leave my heart is so heavy that I think I can't stand it. I'm always in tears for the first 20 miles up the road.

Safe travels as you and Jeff journey to the other side and your other lovely home. I'm sure your garden there is anxiously waiting for you!


jerilanders said...

Sharon, Parting with Maine is such sweet sorrow, I am sure. Back to Sunny California for you! You are so lucky, you get to garden all year long!
Love those pumpkin people!

camp and cottage living said...

Your beautiful sunrise resembles my sunsets here on Lake Superior. It sounds as if you are having similar weather there with high winds and rain too.
I love the music of the loons-so soothing. Ours are gone already.
The pumpkin festival sure looked like a lot of fun!
May you have a safe journey-Kimberly

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

So much talent and would love to have the recipes :)
Always when I visit I feel as though
I have been on a trip and had a visit with you.
Loved sitting on the porch and having breakfast :)


Looks like a truly fun pumpkin festival. I'm always amazed at the talent I see. That painted pumpkin is really something. And your observations of the loons is so fascinating. I wonder what happened to the other mate. It's sweet that the couple took it as one of their own.

Lili said...

The loon calls are so comforting aren't they? And your little town there, everything right now to tug at your heartstrings as you leave here this time of year. You at least will have beautiful gardening weather ahead of you, as we tuck ours to bed for the long winter Sharon! I will miss knowing you are just down the pike from us and will hold down the fort, so to speak, until your return. xoxo ~Lili

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Our strange weather this summer resulted in one of the best autumn color months we've seen in years.

At least something good came out of it, my garden was overtaken in weeds and then most of it died when we were on vacation (when we could have USED some rain it turned dry).

My daughter said the color in her area of New England was dismal this year... lots of browns... also from their unusual weather.

Haven't commented much but I LOVE YOUR BLOG. :)

Here I Am Carrie said...

What a wonderful way to start the day. My hubby and I also love having breakfast on the deck. Just wish we had loons to listen to. But right now we have our resident heron that sits in a tree above us catching the first morning rays in the valley who talk to us sometimes. I can't believe how creative people are getting with their pumpkins, there is no end to what they are coming up with. Thanks for sharing.

Carol said...

Stunning sun and moonrise Sharon! It must be so hard to leave your magical retreat. Loons . . . how lovely! Quite the pumpkin parade! said...

I am amazed at the talent displayed here. Thanks for sharing this. I love the tea pot pumkin!

Lydia said...

How lonely the loon whose love leaves long before the other.

joey said...

Aw, how lovely Sharon. We too are blessed to have amazing sunsets/moonsets and loons on our lake ... Some nights are too beautiful to say goodnight too, so often sleep in a hammock on my screen porch and simply watch the fishing boats troll by and listen to the awesome sounds of evening. We both are indeed blessed.

BusyLizzie said...

Hi Sharon, thank you for your visit to my blog (and comment). loving all your postings. lizzie

Mim said...

Pumpkins and Loons and sunrises. Just perfect.

And back to CA - even better (in a way says the faithful new englander)

Sharon said...

Happy Autumn to you! Thank you for stopping by my blog. It's always nice to meet a fellow Mainer. A perfect summer day includes a drive to the coast.

Your blog is a feast for the eyes ~