Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Eat a Mussel (if you are a seagull)

Dead Low Tide 01

It was a day to lull the unwary into thinking spring was here when the temperature inched a little higher and the sun warmed the mud flats at low tide. Ice was disappearing in the bay and the seagulls were hungry. One by one, the gulls flew back to the rocky shore with mussels.





This gull gets a prize for originality by carrying a mussel in its claws!


The gulls flew in wide circles across the bay and over the far shore...

Seagull's Flight 02

...looking for the right rock, an isolated rock to drop the mussel.

Hungry Seagulls

Then, soaring upward, the gull drops the mussel to crack it open on the rocks below. The next time you walk along a rocky shore and see broken shells, think of the hungry gulls!

If you click on the above photo and run your cursor over the image, you can see the gull and the falling mussel.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Before it Melts Away

I really liked our recent cozy snowstorm with very little wind that didn't knock the power out.

Snow Plow Light Trail

A 24 second exposure, taken using a tripod and shutter release cable. The streak of red is from the lights of a passing snow plow.

Last Night's Snowfall

The only available light in this shot was from the windows across the street and a lamp post further down the road. You can't see it, but the snow was coming down quite hard. A 20 second exposure...I cut it a little shorter to emphasize the utter quiet and peace of that beautiful snowy night.

We woke up to a foot of snow the next morning! These photos are much better if you click through to Flickr and click again on the image to view in light box!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Winter Interlude

Winter's Return

Image taken and edited with my Ipad using Pixlr Express+ on this very snowy day in Maine.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Low Tide

Dead Low Tide 01

When I took this a few days ago one could almost believe spring might actually arrive. The wind was biting, but the sun was warm. The tide was very low in our shallow bay and for many people, that is when water views are less attractive...even smelly from decaying plant and animal life. It's actually a time when the shore is alive with wildlife. As a fellow Mainer and Flickr friend wrote, Heh, that was essentially my playground as a kid. Any wonder I became a biologist?

Dead Low Tide 02

The view looking toward our small village and the firepond that is fed from the millstream seen a previous post.


It is a haven for birds and already the ducks are pairing off, the drakes loudly advertising their charms!


Despite the 8 to 10 inches of snow we may get tomorrow, our world is waking up. Next...the gulls!

You can see more detail by clicking on the photos.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The Rock of Cashel 02

Not the best angle of The Rock of Cashel, but I loved this wall painting of St. Patrick! Taken in Ireland, 9 September, 2009.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Land

Old Snow, Salt and Sand

This is the time of year we see patches of old snow by the roads and in the shady recesses of our yards. Plumes of sand and salt, left by the plows, billow in the air and our eyes are red and watery. In another month trucks with huge brushes will come by to clean up. Signs of spring!

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R Donaldson is a fantasy series I read too many years ago to count. Covenant discovers an alternate universe called The Land, a place that is alive and beautiful, but the land is threatened by Lord Foul who wants to destroy it. Much has already been laid waste and the seasons are out of kilter. It is a scenario that sounds all too familiar today. What remains with me now are Donaldson's descriptions of the land and its sheer loveliness. I always think of The Thomas Covenant Chronicles at this time of the year when there is a stirring of rebirth.

Spring Melt ~ The Millstream 02

Spring Melt ~ The Millstream 04

Spring Melt ~ The Millstream 03

It begins with the sound of melting ice, the slow plop of water drops, rushing water in a stream, cheery birdsong and that magical night when we hear tree frogs at last. We happily greet the first dandelion...only to do battle with them later in the summer. But I'm racing ahead of myself, this is only the beginning...


The signs of spring, as I used to know them, are often hidden in Maine.


Slowly melting ice in the firepond, fed by the millstream above.

"I only have eyes for you.."

A Mallard pair happily swim toward the reflection of my small village while disgruntled drakes go their own way. An image titled I Only Have Eyes for You taken 26 March, 2009.

The nursery! Aldermere Farm

A Belted Galloway mom gives her young calf a loving nudge at Aldermere Farm in Rockport, Maine. Photo taken 14 March, 2009.


Gardens will soon be raided by hungry deer. Photo taken on Mount Desert Island 28 March, 2009

We will wait another month for this bit of sunshine brightening the landscape and roadsides.

Good Honest Bones 02

Photo of an abandoned house in Brooklin, Maine, taken 28, April, 2012.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Continued ~ A Year Ago in Scotland

Fort William 01

The mist lifts for a moment and clouds part to reveal shimmer on the water in Fort William, Scotland.

A friend posted photos on Instagram this morning of Edinburgh. A light blanket of snow covered the city in scenes that looked cold and wintry. A year ago bright daffodils dotted grass that was the color of emeralds and a pale haze of pink softened the trees. On 11 March, we left spring in Edinburgh to drive through the highlands and on to skye. Below are more photos from that starkly beautiful journey.

Warm and Cozy ~ Seafood Restaurant

The neon red roof of the Seafood Restaurant was a welcoming beacon as we pulled into Fort William. It was warm and cozy inside and the food was delicious and fresh.

Eilean Donan 02

We drove on to Eilean Donan after lunch. I can't think of a more atmospheric or romantic place, no wonder it is the most photographed castle in Scotland. We didn't linger because we were anxious to get to Skye before dark, but we did have a chance to spend more time there on our return trip.

Isle of Skye

The view that greeted us just after we crossed the bridge to Skye.


A sparkling morning after a brief shower. JCB enjoys the view and Skye's pristine air.

Morning in Dunvegan 01

The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye, Dunvegan, Scotland.

Morning in Dunvegan 05

Morning view in Dunvegan.

Pretty Farm Near Carbost 02

And off for a day of exploring, a little whiskey tasting and lots of photography. Along the way we passed this pretty farm near Carbost.

On a Narrow Twisty Road 01

A twisty narrow road beckons us forward! More of Skye later!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

We're Out of Basmati Rice!

I used to despair over winter's paltry offerings in our local markets when we moved to rural Maine. The selection has improved over time. Perhaps it is the result of a blossoming, and very welcome, new foodie culture that celebrates our delicious home grown produce. Creative chefs are also adding ethnic twists to old favorites and Mainers with adventurous tastes are responding enthusiastically, trying out new restaurants and searching for new herbs and spices not seen in our stores in earlier times. Even so, Peter and I are hopeless rice snobs and we could not find our Bombay Original brand of Basmati rice anywhere. Our dilemma required a trip to the bounteous Co-op in Belfast.

I love Belfast and have written about and photographed this seaside town before. I decided to bring just a small 50 mm prime lens which easily fits in my handbag. I love this lens for its portability, clarity and the way it makes me think about my shots. The following photos show some of the exceptional details in Belfast's lovely brick work.

Belfast Details 02

Belfast Details 04


Peering into the windows of the Lost Kitchen which unfortunately won't be open until dinner. You can read more about this remarkable bright spot in Maine's culinary offerings here.



Lunch at Chase's Daily with its airy space, excellent vegetarian dishes and sculpture exhibition provided a haven from the damp March sea air.



...and finally, not so lingering views of the waterfront on that cold raw day, wind whipping up surf and freezing my fingers!



At last we head home with two huge bags of rice not unlike the tubes of sand we carry around in the trunk when mud season is upon us!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring is an Abstract Notion

It's March 1st and snowdrops, daffodils and tulips are bringing cheer to gardens everywhere it seems, but not yet in Maine. It has been snowing all day, tiny flakes drifting down but not sticking. The days are noticeably longer, the sun higher in the sky and winter's tight brittle grip is loosening. Our signs of spring can be seen in dancing sparkly bokeh and the audible tick tick of melting ice.

Spring's Teasing Dance 01

Spring's Teasing Dance 02

Spring's Teasing Dance 03

Spring's Teasing Dance 04

And so we wait...

Spring is an Abstract Notion

until Winter's sharp edge begins to soften.

Winter's Sharp Edge Begins to Soften

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