Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Trip Long Planned

Almost 11 years ago my sister and her husband moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. They went for 3 years so he could do research and teach at the University. They loved it. When the grant ended, they moved back to the States. Then there was an opportunity for them to move back to Edinburgh; they took it.

Since their first trip I have wanted to go for a visit. This is the summer to go. I fly tonight.

I bought my ticket in April and have been mentally planning for weeks. There were phone calls to make to the bank, credit card company, and cell provider; money to exchange; check-ins with AAA to make sure I had my ducks in a row; lists to write, check off, and write again. I have laid out what I'm taking, and now it's time to pack.

I will take a bus from Portland to Boston. From there I will take a straight-through flight to Edinburgh. I'm taking the leap to check my luggage, a first since another airline lost my bag five years ago. I trust it will arrive with me since we'll be on the same flight, but I'm not packing anything I can't live without just in case.

I love the idea of travel. I'm good at getting everything lined up. I always have a good time once I'm at my destination. It's the 24 hours right before take-off that are nerve-wracking. Moving through that time now, I keep my eye on the prize of seeing my sister and brother-in-law and visiting someplace new.

I figured out how to create blog posts on my phone but I'm not sure I'll take time to work on the small screen. I will post photos on Instagram @ owlinmaine.

I will definitely post here when I return. The journey continues....

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Different Kind of July

This time of year is usually prime motorcycle-riding time for Ken. May was cold and rainy, and it wasn't until summer actually started that June turned warm and sunny. July is guaranteed to be good riding weather. Ken rides back roads, up and down the coast of Maine with an occasional foray inland. It's his time to be out and about and to stop for a slice of pie at some town's diner.

Ken's outings came to abrupt stop on June 28. He had stopped for a few groceries and was on his way home when a woman rolled through a stop sign and hit Ken's motorcycle. He was okay, though the bike went down. The back fender was dented, the tail light was cracked, and the roll bar was slightly bent. A police report was filed and he rode home. We knew the bike would be out of commission while it was repaired. We were not prepared to hear that the bike was totaled. Because of its age at 21 years and because of the way Harley Davidsons are constructed, it would cost more to repair the bike than the bike is worth on paper. Aside from the costs, some parts are no longer available. The settlement is not enough to replace "Hiatt" but will be put aside in a motorcycle fund and added to until the amount meets the purchase price of a "new" used bike.

This year the usual push and pull between riding the open road and working outside is not an issue, so this July became the month to address long-neglected landscaping. Ken dug and dug, and I helped where I could when it came time to fill and fill. I haven't yet bought any new plants but have put back what was there and transplanted from the next bed that needs to be dug out. Ken has gone so far as to rebuild support for the driveway and put in railroad ties for a new raised bed for blackberry bushes. For the first time since we've lived here I feel like it's possible to have a real shade garden. Ken plans to replace the rubber squares on the steps with stone pavers this fall.

Here's what it looks like so far~


The plaque on the stone is from Quebec and says Le Jardin. The flamingos are solar lights. All the border rocks are from our property. There's more to do but this feels like a good start.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


On June 19 school ended on a high note. Twice in the last two weeks of school the principal told me how well my students had done on assessments. She tracks data for all students in the school, and while I knew my students had made progress academically I didn't realize how much improvement they had shown. I was their teacher for two-thirds of the year and it mattered that I did a good job. I was pleased they had matured socially and felt they were all ready for second grade. Students were happy. Parents thanked me for being there. It was a good experience, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to teach in that particular school.

I hit the ground running the minute school vacation started. Day one I cleared out the family room to clean and declutter. Two days later I tackled my sewing room, cleaning and organizing and pulling out fabric for my next quilt. I've tried to make time to sew at least a square each day and almost have enough to lay out to see how it looks.

The rest of the house was put in order just in time for our Boston grandchildren to come for a visit. It had been exactly a year since my son and daughter-in-law moved east. They have been incredibly busy so it was nice to relax and visit for a couple days. Piper turns three on Saturday so we will be there to celebrate with family and friends. We went down in early June to see our grandson graduate from preschool. It is pure joy to have family living close enough that we can see them regularly. Since our younger son and his wife bought a house in February, we have our choice of places to stay, which is a luxury we never imagined.

We also relish the time we spend with our daughter and granddaughter who live locally. Whether at our house or theirs, we enjoy the chance to visit and play and share meals.

Back on the home front, I decided this was the summer to attend to the flower beds. They have been neglected since I went back to teaching because I haven't wanted to spent precious summer days weeding and fertilizing the clay soil that is everywhere. As luck would have it I had a long conversation with a local gardener in early July. We have talked before but I hadn't shared the full story of what I was up against. I was startled when she said it is impossible to amend clay soil enough to make it able to support plants and flowers. She advised me to use that soil as a base and build up twelve inches with loam and compost. That's a lot of dirt! And our house is on a slope which presents another whole set of problems. Ken and I have been hard at work, and I'm almost ready to share photos of the first flower bed we have completely rebuilt.

Summer is here and anything seems possible. I love that feeling~