Sunday, April 27, 2008

Beautiful Weather

This past week was a gorgeous one here in Maine. Ron had off the whole week (he has tons more vacation time than I do) but I was able to take Friday off for a long weekend. On Friday we spent most of the day working on the small "pond" in the backyard. The pond is a simple round tub of black plastic. Though it's not much to look at on it's own, it was already in place in the ground and we thought we'd see what we could do with it. That basically meant landscaping around it. Though it is not done yet, here is a look at what we have been able to do so far.

This is pretty much the blank slate we started with. However you can see the first part of the rock garden to come behind the pond.

This is a closeup of the first piece that we constructed for the rock garden. It has a mini rhododendron in the middle with some moss fitted into the cracks as well as some 'hens and chicks.'

This shows the same corner, but expanded to include some more plants including a curly-needled mugo pine to the left along with some more moss. There is still some more work to be done, like adding some flowering and/or trailing ground cover. But we'll have to wait until we're sure we're out of frost danger to do that which may be a few weeks yet.

On Saturday, with the sun and blue skies above, we hopped in the convertible and headed a short distance to the nature trails at Bradley Pond. This was the first that either of us had been on these trails even though they are just a few miles from home. It's a nice walk, some of it in the woods, some along hay fields and some along the shores of Bradley Pond itself. Here's a pic I took of Ron resting along the way.

Since it was such an exceptionally nice day and we wanted to get outside a bit more, we headed down to Popham Beach. Well, not to the beach itself, but right 'next door' to Fort Baldwin. The fort, to quote the Wikipedia, is "a coastal defense land battery near the mouth of the Kennebec River" which "was constructed between 1905 and 1912." It was the first time I had been there and it was very cool to see.

Here is the sign that welcomes you to the fort itself. No horses allowed!

Battery Cogan is the first building that you come to after climbing up hill. The room/tower at the top of the structure allowed soldiers to overlook and keep watch on the water below.

Here I am taking a rest. Though the sky was a beautiful blue, the weather was still a little cool, hence the sweater.

Battery Hardman is the third of the buildings that comprise the fort. You can see the chimneys that rise out of the top of the grassed-over roof. Most of the rooms in the fort had a nice brick fireplace.

The tall and imposing looking building below is the Fire Control Tower. While this is usually open to the public, we were there a few weeks before the official open of the site, so we didn't get to climb to the top.

However the picture below was taken from ground level, at the edge of the hill, looking down on the mouth of the Kennebec River and Popham itself.

LISTENING TO: Belly - "Star"

My friend Barb and I played this one to death when it first came out. It compiled most of the three EPs that Tanya Donelly released as Belly after her exit from Throwing Muses. They were all a great indication/teaser for the direction she was taking for the ultimate release of "Star." Despite the consistently high quality of the songwriting and overall catchiness, most people only remember the especially radio-friendly "Feed The Tree."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Looking for Veda Hille

I am sending out a quick post today which is a pleading request for help finding Veda Hille's first two releases. The first is called "Songs about People and Buildings" and was released on cassette. The second is called "Path Of A Body." Both of these are out of print so I am unable to simply purchase them. If anyone happens to have one or both and is willing to do some kind of trade for a copy of one or both, please let me know! Thanks for any help!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Busy Beavers!

Well, it's been well over a week since my last post, but not without reason. We have been very busy with spring cleanup and some light construction on top of all the normal day-to-day stuff.

To start with, the weather has finally turned warmer (high 50s, low 60s) so we've been out cleaning up the yard...picking up some fallen branches that were knocked down by the winter storms, raking up the last of the leaves from last fall that got buried under the early snow, and clearing the salt and sand that got deposited on the edge of the lawn from all the winter storms. With the exception of some "scars" from the plow digging up some sod here and there, things look pretty good! We also made some changes, like moving the compost pile to another area of the back yard and arranging some low stone circles out front to be used as flower beds.

Last Sunday was especially nice (considering the time of the year anyway...) so we decided on the spur of the moment to tackle a project that we've been thinking of for some time which is adding stairs to the back porch. Well, it already had some, but we removed some things, added others and generally improved everything! Below is a picture tour of what we did on Sunday.

This is the first picture I took, but before it was taken the railing was removed from the edge opposite the door and a set of steps was removed from where Ron is standing.

Here goes the addition of the first set of stairs, the width of the whole porch...

Here they are, complete. Notice the empty ground where Ron is kneeling...

...which will soon have this unfinished extension of the deck on it...

Here it is in place with the new and improved stairs on the narrow edge of the porch.

And here you can see where we ended. All the stairs are done including the diagonal edge which was a pain. Today we put the final touches on the stairs by adding kick boards so you can't see through to the space underneath. Our next warm day off, we'll be power washing the whole deck and giving it a fresh coat of paint. We're very happy with how it turned out and know that we'll get a lot of use out of it...not only for its intended use, but also as extra seating when company visits this summer as well as spots for plants and flowers!

As for the sweater, it's coming along, a little slow but sure. I am probably 80-85 percent done at this point. My goal is to have it done before our trip to visit my parents in PA in three weeks. We'll see how I do!

LISTENING TO: Jill Sobule - "Underdog Victorious"

A great little album from Jill. More of her fantastic melodies mixed with her tradmark wit and melancholy. I love what she does with Chicago's "Saturday in the Park" to make her own song "Cinnamon Park."

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Workday

Today is Saturday, one of the Saturdays that falls into my every other week rotation of having to work. I actually don't mind this and Ron happens to have the same Saturday-On, Saturday-Off schedule. On the weeks where I work Saturday I get a day off during the week which has it's own charms. This has it's advantages and gives me time to pay bills and do errands with businesses that are closed on the weekend. It is also a nice day to go for groceries instead of during the weekend rush.

Then tonight we have been invited to our friend's house for a bonfire. They own a campground on the coast of Maine and during the spring they clean up brush and fallen branches from the campsites for the upcoming camping season. Then in order to get rid of it all, they have a bonfire or two. While it's still a little crisp, it'll be fun to hang around the fire and catch up with friends, maybe have a treat (er...drink) or two...

LISTENING TO: Paul McCartney - "McCartney II"

My friend and co-worker Sandi is a big music fan like myself, but she is especially and without a doubt a huuuuge Paul McCartney fan. She has loved him since she was a wee lass and The Beatles hit it big. She's even gotten to see him live three times! Over the months that we're worked together we've gotten to indulge in lots of great music talk and music sharing. So it was inevitible that I would eventually give Paul a try. She recommended I try listening to a couple of his solo albums. So I started with "Ram" and "McCartney II," two of her favorites. I'll be honest with you, I wasn't sure I was going to like them as I usually tend to steer away from anything overtly commercial (with a few exceptions, of course...). Plus I have tried listening to The Beatles many times and have never gotten into them. I certainly appreciate their undeniable impact on music as a whole, but sitting down and listening to a Beatles album isn't for me. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much I'm enjoying these two albums. They both feature a lot of experimental and just plain odd tracks which is right up my alley. I imagine songs like "Temporary Secretary" and "Check My Machine" annoying the hell out of the general public (which is always an endearing quality for me when it comes to music. Hence my fascination with music that would generally be considered Uneasy Listening and would send your average Joe running from the room...artists like Diamanda Galas, Melt-Banana, Happy Flowers, Droop, and God Is My Co-Pilot are long-time favorites in this category!).

Friday, April 4, 2008


Kylie did not show up on Ellen yesterday, but I've heard that she will be on April 7th instead...we'll see... And she is apparently going to be on American Idol on the 9th! Her appearance on Craig Ferguson by the way was great. She and Craig bantered playfully and "All I See" sounded much better (and she looked more comfortable) than she did on "Dancing With The Stars."

Ron and I made a trip to Bangor yesterday to go to the dentist. For those of you unfamiliar with Maine, that's almost two hours from where we live. But when you find a good dentist, one that has a great demeanor and staff, you're willing to travel! All went well, and from there we had lunch at Bagel Central and did a little shopping before heading home. Then we took a nice walk in the sun(!), did yoga and settled in for a movie, "Monster House." A nice day off!