Boating, Maine

A Beautiful, Beautiful Bay

There are many reasons I enjoy time in Maine.  Primarily, it’s the natural beauty of the coast, especially as seen from the water which is my happy place.

Penobscot Bay is our cruising ground, and it is one of the most perfect boating places on either coast. I like nothing better than setting out in the early morning when the sea is calm and the sky a brilliant blue.

winter/lobster boatsExcept for an occasional lobster boat that left its mooring long before us, it is not surprising for there to be no other boats around early in the day.

Out in the bay, there are islands, hundreds of them created thousands of years ago by volcanic action.

islandMost are uninhabited, covered with spruce. Looking at them, I am reminded of the Tlingit stories having to do with regrowth that were heard recently in Alaska. How is it that nature can recreate without help from man?

Here and there a building is spotted, giving indication of life there now or in an earlier time.

Pumpkin Island lighthouse

Many of the islands have lighthouses, some still active but most not.  I always try to imagine the life of the lighthouse keeper whose job it was to keep boaters safe.

Some islands are connected to the mainland by a bridge.  This recently constructed one goes to Deer Isle where the much visited Acadia National Park is located.

Heading north from Rockport Harbor, islands are not all we see. High above Camden are the rolling hills which is why Camden is described as Where the Mountains Meet the Sea. What a wonderful combination!

Pipe DreamsAs we go along, I study the charts which identify the islands and make notes about islands that may hold possibility for picnics and new discoveries.

Moon over Penobscot 2 - Version 2Yes, Penobscot Bay is a beautiful, beautiful bay, Spruce covered headlands jut boldly from its shores, jewel like islands float on its surface and the gentle, glacier rounded contours of the Camden Hills look down on its broad reaches. 

Louise Dickinson Rich, Coast of Maine.

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Inner Peace, musings

A Special Place

IMG_1557Roughly 11 miles from home down a curvy road leading to the woods where the only sounds are bird songs is a special place.

IMG_8977Arriving at this little cottage slows my heart and calms my spirit.

IMG_1555I love walking beneath the arbor where the sweet smell of roses perfumes the air.

IMG_1556All around is a profusion of colorful blooms that last until leaves fall and there is a hint of frost.

IMG_1558They are tended by the same loving hands that know all the secrets of my body.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Carrying outside images in my head, I enter the cottage, take the stairs to the second level and nestle on the massage table beneath a light cover. I close my eyes and a peacefulness washes over me as I await the touch of those hands.

As they begin their work relieving the tightness and tension of muscle and joints, my mind stills.

I breathe. I sometimes cry softly when I remember my brother or a friend or wonder how to resolve a troubling brokenness that from time to time occurs in the family.  The hands stroke my hair with understanding.

Two hours fly by and when they are over I am renewed and so appreciative of those tender loving hands that exist in this very special place.

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Maine

Think Maine, Think Lobster

IMG_9061Mention Maine and it seems the first thing people think about is lobster.  It is true that lobster is plentiful in Maine and at a lesser cost than in many places so people do indulge when visiting.

lobster shackWhere do you find these tasty crustaceans?  Along the coast, they are available at any number of roadside shacks selling lobster in all its forms.

Red's EatsPerhaps the most well know is Red’s Eats in Wiscassett.  

Red's EatsI’m not sure how it got so famous, but rain or shine you can be sure there is a line of folks waiting to order.

IMG_7293 (1)Red’s may draw the crowds, but I like best the shacks that are on the water.

lobster boatsThere you can eat outside and watch the comings and goings of the lobster boats.

IMG_7309You can be sure there is competition among these lobster shacks with each one claiming to serve the best.  Now, I can tell the difference between lobster rolls, but with steamed lobsters it’s  hard to distinguish among them.

  lobster rollWhen it comes to lobsters, there are two places I enjoy them most.  One is on the boat anchored off an island enjoying a picnic with a good lobster roll, one that is mixed with a little mayonnaise and nothing more.

The other is at home where we serve up some pretty good lobster be it steamed or as an ingredient in a tasty dish. 

lobster mac 'n cheese
Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese

No matter how it’s prepared, I never get tired of it and hope those lobsters continue to abound off the Maine coast.

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Flowers

Peony Heaven

peoniesIn our family, when something is abundant we call it _________ heaven.  For the last couple of weeks, peony heaven describes the bounty that has existed in the garden.

peony bouquetThese beautiful blooms don’t last long especially if there is rain that weights them down, so I cannot resist cutting a few every day.

IMG_1497In a variety of containers, they are placed on every flat surface in the house

IMG_1509from the kitchen

IMG_1508to the bathrooms.

IMG_1446Their variations amaze me.  There are tree peonies the blooms of which remind me of a ballerina’s tutu.

Peonies come in  shades of pink ranging from bubblegum pink to luscious fuchsia.

white peonyThere are whites, some with layered petals reminding of ruffles,

IMG_1435others flat with yellow centers and tinges of pink.

IMG_1565What is sad is that these beauties last for such a short while, but even as they fade and petals drop I see them as works of art.

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at home, happy place

First Things First

Changing houses takes a little time to settle in, but there is one thing that has priority, and I don’t mean unpacking suitcases or going to the grocery.  I mean getting the porch ready for the hours we spend there.

IMG_0592The porch is where we often start our day enjoying morning coffee

lobster boats/Rockport Harborand watching the lobster boats heading out for or returning from the day’s work.

It is where we relax with a book,

observe the birds that come to the feeder

enjoy time with friends and family

IMG_1523and have afternoon tini time.

IMG_1359Once the furniture is in place, the next step is to go to the nursery to replenish the potted plants that did not make it through the winter.

IMG_1364Now all is done and that means I can sit and rock. 

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Flowers, Maine

A Look Around

For the next few months, the hubby and I have left Houston behind for Rockport, Maine. The two places are oh so different with a major difference being the plant life.

rhododendrons/flowersArriving in Maine, the first thing I do is walk around the yard where so many varieties of  blooming plants color the landscape. This year we missed the azaleas but were in time for the rhodendrons to be in full splendor.

lilacs/flowersAlongside them, the sweet smell of lilacs fills the air.

IMG_1365I was pleased to see the viburnum blooming more profusely than in recent years, but they also remind me how important it is to keep them trimmed or they can crowd out everything else.

peonyPeonies are staked thanks to advanced help and are filled with tight little buds that won’t pop for another week or two.  Just the thought of those beauties makes my heart race.

flowers/bachelor buttonTo my surprise, bachelor buttons had sprung up among the ferns.

flowersBeautiful alliums are hanging in there, but it will be only a matter of days before they are done and ready to dry for fall arrangements.

IMG_1355It is too late in the day to do more than look around, but that’s time enough to plan what needs to happen next.  And, with all this beauty, it’s impossible to resist cutting a few blooms to take inside where they add color and joy.  It doesn’t take much to make me feel right at home.

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Food, Recipes, Tablescapes

Foodie Adventure Revisited

Several of our Maine gourmet group joined us in Cortona for the April Foodie Adventure, so when we met for our first summer meal it seemed right to recreate some of what we made.

IMG_1487Setting the table to inspire memories of Italy was easy.  The centerpiece was a $3 find from the local Goodwill.

IMG_1488Clusters of red grapes repeated the look of the clusters on the candelabra.  Talk about an easy creation!

IMG_1394Dishes, each with a different Italian landscape and wine, bought some years ago at TJ Maxx completed the theme.

IMG_1393It’s hard to imagine a table coming together more quickly than this one.  With the plates having so much color and energy, there was no need for more than a simple background.

Now for the meal.  We prepared so many good dinners that it was hard to pick favorite dishes, but I finally decided on mozzarella with prosciutto and tomato confit for an appetizer and seafood pasta for the main course.  The appetizer was a big hit, and you might want to give it a try at your next Italian themed dinner gathering.

IMG_1400PROSCIUTTO BAKED BUFFALO MOZZARELLAWITH GARLIC & TOMATOES

2 T. olive oil

6 thin slices prosciutto

Tomato & Garlic Confit

6 6 oz. balls mozzarella

2 T. basil, coarsely chopped 

Brush the insides of small ovenproof ramekins with olive oil.  Line them with prosciutto, allowing some of it to extend to the top of the dish so it will crisp when baked.

Add 2 T. of the confit and top will a ball of the mozzarella.  Top with another tablespoon of the confit and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Tope with basil and serve with crisp crostini.

Tomato & Garlic Confit

10 plum tomatoes

5 T. olive oil

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

1/2 c. finely chopped yellow onion

4 large garlic cloves, minced

8 oz. tomato sauce

1/2 t. sweet paprika

1/2 t. sugar.

Core and halve the tomatoes lengthwise.  Place them cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle them with 2 T. of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350.

Heat 3 T. olive oil in a medium pan and sweat the onions for  2 minutes over medium high heat.  Add garlic and cook briefly.  Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, paprika and sugar.  Cook for 30-35 minutes or until the mixture becomes very thick.

Place the mixture in a food processor and blend to a fine paste.

Note:  I suggest using only 1/2 mozzarella ball or 3-4 little ones as this is quite filling.  Also, when you bake be sure to put the dishes on a cookie sheet to avoid trashing your oven with grease from the prosciutto.  I wouldn’t let the meat overlap  the sides of the dish.

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Joining

Tablescape Thursday