One More Time

With the end of summer comes the end of boating for us, and that always makes me a little sad.  I love cruising the Maine islands noting and appreciating their differences.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll have rocky shores, some craggy,

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some with stones worn smooth by years of the sea smashing against them.

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Others are forests of green

flag/maine/North Havenor lichen covered

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAor bare but for a lighthouse standing guard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAImages of all are etched in my heart, especially those of my favorite, Brimstone, where one end is rocks of all sizes and shapes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand the other is layers of stone with one lone stubby tree

cimg1722and grasses swaying in soft wind.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat makes this island special to me are the rocks, dark and shiny in the water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand on a beautiful sunny day warm enough for a hot stone massage.

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A path leads to the top of Brimstone and standing there looking across the sea, one can imagine Europe’s coast in the far distance.

It is exploring the islands on days kissed by the sun and gentle seas that remind me Maine is the way life should be.

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Found!

Have you ever put something away and not been able to find it?  I do that from time to time, and the hunt makes me crazy!  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor two years I looked high and low for these candelabra that fit so nicely into a bottle and are terrific on any table. Finally, they’ve been found  hiding in a basket under some books.  How did they get there!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIroning a tablecloth from Provence, I noticed a border of sunflowers which are the last flower to bloom in Maine.  Right away a tablescape that would combine the found candelabra, sunflowers and the cloth began taking form in my mind. What I liked was the notion that the table would have sunny summer colors and at the same time be a lead in to fall.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom there it was easy to make the table happen.  Yellow plates, yes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was was a no brainer to accessorize with the cranberry tones of the tablecloth. I’m crazy about the square shape of the cup and saucer….so contemporary looking but from a set of dishes popular in the 1940’s.  Some things just don’t go out of style.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese little guys, cigalles they are called in Provence, are supposed to keep a table cloth from blowing off the table, but here they are used as napkin rings.  They are fun finds from a street market in Gordes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn a matter of minutes, the table is set, and I’m off to the kitchen to prepare gazpacho with which to fill those cups.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATomatoes are at their best right now, and gazpacho is one of my favorite ways to use them.  I throw all the vegetables in the blender with Clamato juice (1-2 cups) and blend until they are smooth. Here I used a mixed selection of tomatoes (4-6 depending on size) and a zucchini in place of the more traditional cucumber.  You can be creative with your vegetable choices.  When the ingredients are well blended, add a teaspoon each of red wine vinegar and sugar and salt and pepper to taste.  If you like a bit of spice, add a touch of Tabasco or red pepper.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like to top the soup with diced veggies and a dollop of sour cream and when I have it I throw in some chopped lobster.  Hmm, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

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Hydrangea Inspiration

hydrangea_macrophylla_-_hortensia_hydrangeaI am amazed by how the colors on this one hydrangea bush change from first blooms to last.  They start out pink, change to blue and by now they become a showcase for a plethora of wonderful hues.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was impossible to resist cutting some of the blooms and arranging them in square vases lined with hosta leaves.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey were perfect backdrops for a few of my cranberry bells and on the table they, of course, became inspiration for a tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt started with  lovely Johnson Brothers plates, but there was something that just wasn’t right which is a sure signal to look in cabinets for something else that will work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese square cranberry plates provided the answer and fit perfectly in the middle of the patterned ones.  You just never know how different pieces become complements.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALaundered napkins from last week’s table were laying on the counter, and it hit me they had the same colors as the hydrangeas.    On the table they go!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far this table defined itself in a nontraditional manner so it made sense that the flatware placement not follow rules either.  With the addition of cranberry side dishes and King’s Crown thumbprint glasses, a table setting was created, a very fun one for sure.  Then the question became will it be just the hubby and me who gather here or should I issue one of my last minute invites for someone to join us so that we all might enjoy what the hydrangeas inspired.  Guess the decision!

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Simple Things

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen it comes to boating destinations, there are some places I never tire of.  One is Perry Creek, a peaceful inlet on Vinalhaven that is a favorite for our overnight get aways.

Perry CreekI love the quiet of the tree lined banks, 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe drama of a setting sun,

Perry Creekthe beauty of moonlight on the water

Perry Creek, fogand fog drenched mornings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes we are lucky enough to be the only boat in Perry Creek, but that doesn’t mean we are all alone.  No, we have for company a couple whose floating summer home is  eye candy.  Can you think of a place where plants could be happier?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASmall it may be, but there’s everything one could need for a simple life.  There’s no question these folks have got that figured out.  You know, there’s something to be said about keeping our needs to a minimum and focusing on what is all around.

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Fading Away

As summer fades away, so do the flowers in my garden. That makes me a tad sad as I’ve loved going out and cutting a few blooms each day to place all over the house.  I guess now the grocery will have to be my source for nature’s color.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThough they are less abundant, there are still enough flowers to fill a few containers.  I don’t know what it is about old milk bottles, but I’m always drawn to them.    These were leftovers from a yard sale on Isle au Haut happily given to me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe colors of the blooms were all that were needed to inspire tonight’s table setting when neighbors are joining us for a simple dinner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFifteen years ago we bought our house in Maine, and these placemats and napkins were among my very first purchases.  As you might guess, they’ve been used time and time again as their colors make them a versatile backdrop for so many dishes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis time around the dishes are neutral accented by multi colored glasses (are they really glasses when they are metal?) that were special finds in a local antique, maybe junk, shop. They remind me of some my grandmother had though I think hers had a flared top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinished the table is alive with happy color and again shows how a simple setting can enliven a table.  It just doesn’t take much to put together something that makes any meal seem more special.

P7276266.jpgSpeaking of the meal, our local fish market got a freshly caught halibut this morning so it was impossible to resist getting four steaks that make for a very easy dinner.  The hubby grills them and then the steaks are topped with homemade pesto.  It doesn’t get better than that!

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Out With a Bang

Windjammer FestivalSummer is a very short season in Maine.  July 4 marks its beginning, and when Labor Day comes it’s pretty much over. Summer does go out with a bang at least in Camden where it’s Windjammer Festival weekend, and crowds gather for the last big events of the season.

The midcoast of Maine is home to a number of these beautiful old boats, and many of them come sailing into Camden Harbor.  Some will take passengers out for a sail on Penobscot Bay

while others allow visitors to come aboard to get a feel for what it would be like to live aboard for several days.

windjammerThis year I joined friends on their boat in the harbor to view the windjammers as they came in.  What a sight they are.  In the distance, their sails catch the wind,

but as they near the harbor entrance sails are dropped.

P9021179.jpgKeep in mind these ships have no engine so they are met by a small boat called a pusher that aids them in safely navigating the harbor.

One by one the magnificent ships pass by with excited passengers aboard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand maybe a ship’s dog taking it all in.

The schooners may be the main attraction, but there’s plenty more activity for people of all ages.  I get a big kick out of the lobster crate races.  The key to success here appears to be youth and light weight.  Me, I’d be right in the water before getting started!

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No festival would be complete without fireworks that illuminate the sky and draw shrieks of delight from the crowd.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow I enjoy all that is so quinticensial Maine.

I’d love to know how the end of summer is celebrated in your area.

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