Hats off to MIFF!

In central Maine, mid-July chiefly means one thing—The Maine International Film Festival (MIFF), held in Waterville, the fair city where I was born. (We now live about twenty-five miles away.) For ten days, the little city of Waterville—population about 16,000—hosts this wonderful event that features 100 movies in ten days. In addition, directors, writers, actors, and even cinematographers come and talk about their movies. The streets are thrumming with moviegoers, and the local businesses are thrilled to have the extra customers. Because while coastal Maine draws in the tourists, central Maine does not, and MIFF is a boon for the area.

Yesterday afternoon, Clif and I headed to Railroad Square Cinema, one of MIFF’s venues, to buy our tickets and pick up booklets to help guide us through the selection of movies.

Railroad Square has now gotten modern and offers beer and wine to moviegoers as well as the traditional popcorn and candy.

Clif posed in front of the MIFF backdrop.

Our friends Alice and Joel also posed, all kitted out for MIFF.

After business was taken care of, it was on to Mainely Brews for drinks and dinner. We were joined by other friends, and a jolly time was had by all.

Then, off to the first movie—Blow the Man Down–a snappy little thriller centered around women and filmed in Maine.

Tonight we will be picking up our daughter Dee in Portland, and tomorrow, the real move fun will begin.

In between, we will eat pizza, talk to friends, go to happy hours, and generally have a terrific time. There probably won’t be much time for blogging.

As always, I am amazed that a small rural area can host such a vibrant festival.

Hats off to MIFF!

 

Alas, Poor Cabbage

On Wednesday, Clif and I set up our canopy and book display at the Gardiner Farmers Market, held at the lovely, expansive common on the hill above downtown. The Gardiner Common—or Green, as it is often called in New England—is a wonderful place for children.  The Common is large enough so that parents do not have to worry about children  running into the road. There are swings and slides, and on hot days, a fountain to play in.

We were next to a vendor—Mike from Andrews Farm—with the most gorgeous array of veggies.

Here is a picture of Clif staring pensively at one of our purchases.

All in all, it was a relaxing day. There were no mosquitoes—praise be!—and the day was fine, warm but not too hot. We sold some books and prints. We listened to children play. We watched people walk their dogs. We bought a cabbage and some sugar snap peas, both of which we used in a stir-fry last night. Utterly delicious.

We have reserved another date in August to return to this farmers market, and we are looking forward to going back to the beautiful Gardiner Common.

 

 

Farewell, High Heat and Humidity!

Over the Fourth of July weekend, the heat and high humidity cracked down on us, and we had four fairly miserable days. But then on Saturday night came a booming thunderstorm that knocked out the power in some towns—not ours, thank goodness—and also knocked out the heat.

Now the weather is delightful. Yesterday was warm and sunny but not too hot, and the night was so cool that we had to close the windows when we went to bed. Blankets were in order, and I was actually chilly when I woke up.

Today promises to run the same course. In my memories, this is how Maine summers once were all the way through September, with maybe a few hot, humid days  at the end of July.

How long this delightful weather will last I do not know. But I’ll take it, and tonight will definitely be a patio night.

My gardens are July gardens, where there is actually a bit of color—primarily yellow—tucked in among the green. Here is a view of the front yard.

Several readers asked if I have astilbe in my gardens. Yes, I do, in the few patches of moist shade that I have in my beds. Astilbe is such a delicate, ethereal flower, one of my favorites.

Hostas are not known for their beautiful blooms, but this one might be the exception to that rule.

Here’s another shot of the ferns, hostas, and a daisy. Just because.

Finally, out back to the patio, where the evening primroses—or sundrops, if you will—are in glorious bloom by the fountain.

Ah, Summer! Such a beautiful season even when it’s too hot.

A New Way to Look at the Fourth

It was another scorcher of a Fourth with temps in the 90s in the shade, and the humidity was high, too. Fortunately, the week before the Fourth was cool, which meant preparing for our annual  get-together was not as arduous as it has been in past years. (On Facebook last year, I wrote that July 3 was so hot that I felt like one of Dali’s melting clocks, which by the way I have seen at MOMA. The picture was much smaller than I had expected. Life is often like that, isn’t it?)

The heat did have one good effect—it kept the mosquitoes down so that we were able to gather on our patio rather than in our dining room. Here is a picture of the table filled with good food made by my friends and me.  A tip of the hat from Diane.

And because of the heat, we had plenty to drink, kept cold in ice.

On the Fourth, it is customary to honor the past and the hard work of those who came before us. At our gathering this year, we did something different. Instead, we praised the younger generation for their grit, courage, and levelheadedness. We have left a terrible mess for them to deal with, and it makes my heart ache to think about it. While every generation has its slackers—ours certainly did, too—so far I am encouraged by the upcoming generations that are rejecting cars, McMansions, and food chains such as Applebee’s. (Let’s face it. The food is terrible and overpriced at Applebee’s.)

Therefore, let the bells ring for the younger folks, the promise of a better future. And know that in this corner of Maine, in the woods, Clif and I will be living as lightly as we can to “be the change we wish to see.”

We will also vote, of course. That almost goes without saying. And in September of this year, Clif and I will join the youth in their Global Climate Strike.

Onward, ho, and creaky knees be damned!

 

 

 

 

Welcome, July!

July is here, and what a beauty of a day with sun, low humidity, and a temperature that is just right, warm but not too hot. The window by my desk is open, and as I work I can smell the sweet air coming from the trees and the woods. The birds are singing, and when I look outside, I see green, green, green. Nature is calling “come outside.” Unfortunately, I must work at my desk.

June was a cool, rainy month, and while it didn’t bother me personally—I am comfortable in a broad range of temperatures, from 65°F to 82°F—it has not been good for vegetables and hay. Everything is late, late, late, and farmers are worried about how they are going to feed their animals. The fields are too saturated, and the hay can’t be cut. This sounds like an old-fashioned concern from bygone days, but Maine is a rural state blessed with farmers young and old. We have plenty of goats, sheep, cows, chickens, and horses as well as tourists. While drought is never welcomed, I do hope that July, August, and even September will bring abundant sunshine so that the hay can be cut, and the farmers can feed their animals this winter.

The perennials in my gardens are doing well, and here is the view of our front yard.  Still mostly green, with a touch of yellow. I have made my peace with having a garden with subtle colors and have even learned to love it. (But, oh, how I still drool over the gardens of some of my blogging friends. You know who you are.)

Here is a closer look at some of the yellow against, of course, a hosta.

July is the time for fledglings, young birds that are mostly grown up but still follow their parents around and depend on them, at least to some extent, for food. I have an extremely soft spot for these fledglings who are on the cusp of independence. Such a harsh, dangerous world for them, and it touches me to see how the parents tend to clamoring offspring that are no longer small.

Because we live in the woods, we have the opportunity to see the fledglings of many birds—crows, nuthatches, gold finches, to name a few. The other day, it was a woodpecker, eating from the bird feeder and then feeding the fledgling who waited patiently underneath.

Best of luck, fledgling woodpecker! May you thrive and mature to raise families of your own.

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