Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scenes From Sand Beach

Today we spent some time at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park.

A beach less than 1000 feet long, nestled between mountains and rock bound shores.

The sand here is actually made up of fine shell fragments created by the pounding surf.

There have been scenes from a few movies filmed here.

The water temperature in the summer rarely rises above 55 degrees F. When our girls were young, we would all hold hands and then run wildly into the surf screaming at the top of our lungs. Except for Henri. He would just watch us from the beach and shake his head.

So there's not a whole lot of swimming that happens here.

This beach also has sand dunes. The mountain in the background is known as the Beehive Trail. A short, but strenuous hike that will find you pulling yourself up via iron rings embedded in the rock as you peer below at sheer drop offs down a rocky cliff. You never forget climbing this one.

This is the scene from where we approached the beach today from a parking lot trail that leads here.

Such a fun time we had today, and we didn't even get our feet wet either!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fun In Our Backyard

Low tide today, down on our shore.

There are plenty of places to just sit and take in the scenery here.

Today, I discovered a sea lavender plant that I did not realize we even had.

We sat and watched a clammer hard at work across the cove from us.

No gym membership required with a job like this.

The gulls were all hanging out waiting for low tide too, lots of food for them here.

We are fortunate to have many blackberry plants along the path down to our shore.

Henri sure is a fast blackberry picker, but I can guarantee there are insects, twigs and over ripe ones in his bowl. My job will be to clean them up and sort them out. Of course I will be forced to eat all the over ripened ones too!

Since the path down to our shore is steep, Henri put in a rope for us to use to pull ourselves back up with (and to hang on to when we're descending too.)

He's clever like that with rope. Any place we've ever lived, he's always put in a swing too. We have two of them in our backyard right now.

I hope I always feel young enough to swing.

Doesn't the sight of any empty swing just make you happy?

Unless of course it's empty because someone just fell off. Which thankfully was not the case today!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Painted Words

I love making up signs from things I bring home from the shore, or in this case from a day spent out thrifting.

It started out as an old sled that I had found at a barn sale for cheap.

I like the way it looks with my watering can.

That silver area on the wood is glitter, but I need to work on how to make it show up in a photo.

Here's a boat-shaped flower box that I painted up in aqua. I just painted over the boat's original red and blue color, and then I decided to give it a Maine boat registration number

I decided I would give a special name to this board that I found washed up on shore. This is the name that Sorrento used to be called before it became a town in 1895. It actually still shows up this way on some maps.

When I found it, the board was already painted yellow, and was perfectly distressed from it's time spent in the ocean.

This green birdhouse came from a thrift store. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would pair nicely with this piece of driftwood that was once a tree.

Also, attached is a driftwood board that I painted aqua and decoupaged imperfect lettering on, cut out with an X-acto knife.

Here you can see the bottom of the driftwood tree.

It already seems right at home in the middle of our tiny flower patch.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lillian Grows Pickles

A side of my Mom's bread & butter pickles that we had for lunch today.

From the jar that she recently sent home with us. They are so good.

So good, in fact, that I asked if I could take home the leftover pickle juice from the jar we had finished up together the other day at lunch. Because I had a plan.

As I went out to my garden this morning to check on the progress of my Japanese cucumbers I had planted, I suddenly remembered something my Uncle Bill used to ask me during one of our visits to Maine, long before we finally moved here. He would jokingly ask me, "Lillian, did you know that your Uncle Bill can grow pickles?" Then he would walk me out to his garden and show me his crop of pickling cucumbers.
This year in my garden, I planted the longer Japanese cucumbers, because they have very little seeds just like the tiny pickling cucumbers that came from my Uncle Bill and Aunt Joyce's garden.

Anyway, my plan was to pack my cucumbers into the jar of my Mom's leftover pickle juice, because, did I mention how amazing her pickles are? (My Uncle Bill was my Mom's brother.)

And although I'm quite sure my Uncle Bill and Aunt Joyce never used my little shortcut when they were growing their "pickles," it occurred to me that I, Lillian, had just grown some pickles too. Sort of. Because here they are right in the leftover pickle juice from my Mom's jar.

Here's a picture of my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Bill of whose memory I will forever hold in my heart.

And in case you have some "pickles" you have grown this year, here's my Mom's recipe for bread & butter pickles.

Bread & Butter Pickles

6 quarts cukes, sliced
1 quart onions, sliced

Make a brine of 1 cup of pickling salt into 9 cups of water, stir,
add cukes and onions and let them set for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Drain and discard brine.

Make a syrup of 5 cups of white sugar, 6 cups of cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, 1 teaspoon celery seed, and 1 stick of cinnamon. Stir and heat up just to boiling and then drop the vegetables into the syrup and make sure vegetables are heated through without boiling.

In the meantime, put your canning jars (pint size) into hot water and bring them to a boil for about 5 minutes, then pick them up out of the water with tongs. Separately, put your lids and screw caps into hot water (do not boil).
Fill jars with hot cucumbers, make sure you wipe around the rims before you put on the lids and screw caps and turn them upside down on a towel to seal them.

When cool enough you can turn them right side up and make sure lids are properly sealed and do not pop up.

Makes about 6 pints, more or less depending on size of your vegetables.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bucket of Truth

Early this evening we made a trip over to Bar Harbor to celebrate a milestone.

We sat at an outside table right next to the entrance to the bar.

Tonight we made a toast to each other

in celebration of 27 wonderful years together!

Henri started off with a beet salad.

And then a lamb burger (with fries.)

My McKay's house salad.

And 2 yummy, crispy crab cakes.

One of the scenes from our table in the garden.

After dinner we took a stroll around Bar Harbor, and ended up at an ice cream place, standing in line behind a couple that we found out were also celebrating their anniversary. They both ordered the same flavor which was called "Bucket of Truth" and then with a wink told us it was their anniversary. When we told them we were celebrating ours too, and then decided to follow suit and order the same flavor, we all had a little laugh together. In case you're wondering, bucket of truth ice cream is chocolate and caramel swirl with pecans. It was sooooo good.

And so very appropriate

For another sweet toast together at the end of our day!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Night Spent At Kamp

Our Kamp is a revamped RV tucked into nearly 4 acres of woods at the end of a lake, in a quiet cove filled with lots of wildlife. Here's a shot of Simon stretching out and enjoying his private view of the woods here yesterday.

Last night's campfire.

Daylight in the woods.

That's Henri walking down the path that leads to the lake.

Last night's golden sunset.

Enjoyed from the quiet cove.

A natural wildlife habitat.

Pie half eaten or half a pie yet to eat? Either way, it was a whole pie when we first got here.

My latest Kamp project. An attempt to make a vintage-look yo-yo, something or other.

Kamp is a place where I may even get a glimpse of my secret, inner quilter side.