I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

There's a cat in the bed and a Beatle on the wall!

Despite the poor quality of this photo, I couldn't help sharing!  With a resurgence in Ringo Starr's popularity recently, we've seen many news clips of the Beatles from the 60's.  My sister took the creative approach to these new found superstars at the time....she created a construction paper Beatle for her room!  Look at the hairdo and the guitar; there's no denying that this is one of the popular British Rock invaders.  

I laughed however, when I noticed our cat, Bosco (yes, named after the famous chocolate syrup) sleeping soundly on her pillow.  

Those were the days!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Create a beautiful suncatcher with antique bottles.

Perhaps it’s the thrill of the hunt that gives me that adrenaline rush when I see a sign that says Tag Sale, Main Street, 8 - 4 or perhaps I’m hoping to find the next hidden gem to be featured on the Antique Road Show. Maybe it’s just a chance to get inside an old house that has stood the test of time for hundreds of years. A fireplace in the kitchen, a well loved garden that’s been the recipient of years of raking and planting, a loom built into a two hundred year old attic; I love these things!

An estate sale often gives us the chance to step back into time just for a moment. I like to think that I can help preserve history by purchasing something that, at one time, meant so much to someone. I don’t however, usually buy paper items. If I stumble upon a book like the one I found recently, Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us, I won’t pass it by. Letters, maps, books…that’s not really what I’m looking for. It’s the glass that I love.

Have you ever gone digging for old bottles? I used to dig in old foundations hoping to find the bottle that was intact; the one that had escaped the ravages of time. When I found it, I would dump the dirt out and hold it up to the light looking for some sign of approximate age.

If it was colored glass, that was even better! Blue glass was often used in old medicine bottles. It’s a gorgeous cobalt blue that makes a wonderful home to a forsythia sprig. At a former home, I found an old glass milk bottle when digging for a new garden. That bottle always had a home on my windowsill as a tribute to the former occupant. I don’t recommend digging without permission!
You can very often find a box lot of old bottles at a tag sale; make sure they’re not broken. Look for unusual sizes and shapes as well as pretty glass colors. The glass bottle that was such an important part of our everyday life has been replaced by it’s plastic counterpart. There’s a certain mystical quality about glass. The transparent shine and sparkle is a window to imagination.

Combined with an old glass flower frog, old bottles make wonderful sun catchers. They glisten in the sun and tinkle in the wind! It’s the perfect time of year to make one.
3 or 4 small glass bottles (washed)
1 glass stopper (optional)
1 glass flower frog
Fishing line (heavy enough to hang the bottles from)
Copper wire (thin, comes on a roll at the hardware store)
Beads (all colors, shapes and sizes)
The copper wire will become the hanger. Begin by wrapping three pieces of wire through the flower frog. Twist them together and make a loop at the top to hang the sun catcher from. Cut a piece of fishing line approximately fifteen inches in length and knot it around the neck of one of the bottles. String the line with beads in a random manner. Repeat this for all of the bottles you are going to use. If you’re using a glass stopper, repeat the process but attach it to the center of the flower frog. Tie the bottles to the frog at evenly spaced intervals around the edge.
Carefully hang in a safe location where the sun with catch it! You may put a bit of water in each bottle with a flower bud but this requires more occasional cleaning! You can hang them in the garden, but a heavy wind may break the bottles. Makes a beautiful and peaceful gift!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Putting a new dock in the water on the coast of Maine.

We happened to be out for a walk with the camera when the tractor approached the boat launch with the dock!  Do we ever really think about the effort that goes into things like this?  Or do we take for granted the hard work and time involved in keeping the waterfront maintained?  In a working harbor, shore related activities happen all the time.  This activity is necessary for the infrastructure of the harbor and certainly fun to watch!
Against a crisp blue sky, the dock is backed down to the water.
It's unhooked from the trailer and "pushed" into the harbor.
Now that the dock is floating on it's own......
.....the tractor pulls away from the launch.
Awaiting the ride to it's new destination.
The worker jumps onto the dock and prepares for transit.
Two workers climb into the boat that will deliver the new dock.

The boat is brought around.
It's positioned for movement of the dock.

Almost ready to begin the journey.

The trek is underway.
The harbor is calm; a perfect day for this adventure.

They easily maneuver around the boats and other docks in the harbor.

A lobster boat passes behind them.
The jaunt continues and they are past the moored boats.
Getting close to the harbors entrance.
Where are they headed?  We can't be sure.  A neighboring island perhaps!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Picking blueberries with Uncle Bill in 1967.

Honestly, this is one of my fondest childhood memories.  It was a hot summer day in Maine and the blueberries were ready to be picked.  When I pass a blueberry field now, I simply remember this day and smile.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Easy Applesauce Cake from an old Rumford cook book.

On the same day that I picked up the Art of British Cooking, I found The Rumford Complete Cook Book.  First published in 1908, this small and handy tutorial was published by the Department of Home Economics of the Rumford Company in Rumford, Rhode Island.  If it sounds familiar to you it should; you've probably used Rumford Baking Powder at one point or another.  The company is no longer in Rhode Island, but Rumford Baking Powder is now distributed by Clabber Girl.

Full of good old fashioned recipes, the Rumford Complete Cook Book states that "The use of Rumford Baking Powder stands for wholesome food at a reasonable cost." 
I chose this recipe because at one point, the owner of the book wrote "no good" in the margins.  I am pleased to say that I disagree!  I served this recipe for brunch yesterday and everyone agreed that it was delicious!
 Begin by creaming 1/2 cup of butter with 1 cup of brown sugar.  I used the KitchenAid for this.
Sift 2 cups of flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of Rumford Baking Powder (yes, you can substitute another brand). 

If you have a sifter like this, now is the time to use it!  If not, sift thoroughly using a fork.  Add the dry mixture to the butter and sugar, then add 1 cup of applesauce.  Mix thoroughly.
I decided to use this wonderful and rather small pan that I picked up at an antique shop recently.  This does not make a large cake.  It could also be used for apple muffins.
Butter and flour your pan.
Add batter and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. 
I used a small glass for the daisy water.
I served this with quiche and fresh raspberries; the perfect brunch!

Note:  The recipe says to add 1 cup of chopped, seeded raisins if you'd like.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A quiet morning on the harbor in Maine.

The harbor is a different place early in the morning.  It's a working harbor and fishing boats are coming and going.  It was particularly calm on this day; although you'll notice the flag is caught in a slight breeze. 
The sun was not up completely yet.
A splendid morning for a quiet kayak.
Flowers had been set out for yet another busy lunch and dinner round.
The shore gardens thrive! 

Tourists asleep in their cottages.

In a few hours, the parking lot will be full.
The excited children will show up for sailing camp.

If these tables could talk....

The nature of the business.
It doesn't get much more peaceful than this.

Ready for the daily routine.

A ride out to the island perhaps?

This building has been many things over the years and is for lease once again.
The call of the Phoebe is background chatter.

Lots of wild flowers in bloom!
We make the short journey back to town.  A picture perfect day in Maine.