All posts by Laurie Graves

I write about nature, food, the environment, home, family, community, and people.

Proof, Proof, Proofing

I would like to say that I am enjoying the glories of October while getting yard work done, but that would not be the truth. Instead, I am working like a busy chickadee getting my second book, Library Lost, ready for publication.

It is intense, picky work. I go over the book line by line, squinting at formatting errors and checking for those dratted typos that always seem to slip through. I am happy to report I am making good progress. I also have other readers who are helping me.

In all likelihood, Library Lost will be ready sometime mid-November. But before then, I hope to be out with my wee camera recording the glories of late autumn in northern New England.

I also have a funny story to tell about Clif’s cataract surgery. How often does that happen?

In the meantime…

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The Last Butterfly of the Season

This still beauty will soon go in the basement, or down cellar as we Mainers put it.

As for the live butterflies…they are gone, along with the dragonflies. Last night, I listened for crickets but couldn’t hear any. I’ll listen tonight, too, but they might be gone as well.

October, with all this loss, it’s a good thing you’re so beautiful.

The Glory of Mid-October in Maine

All right. I know I am prejudiced, but it seems to me that there is no finer place to be in October than Maine. (I can already hear the cries of protest coming from readers in other New England states.) Best of all is the light, which now comes in at a slant to make the landscape glow, and the changing leaves just add to the glory. Most of the humidity is gone, and on good days, the sky is a brilliant, cloudless blue.

But along with the beauty comes loss. Gone are the hummingbirds, and Clif and I miss those whirring beauties. Yesterday, we took in their feeders and gave them a good scrubbing before storing them down cellar.

We don’t hear the ethereal song of the hermit thrush anymore. In the summer, they tend to sing in the morning and evening. According to Audubon, the males are singing to defend their territory. Whatever the reason, it is an enchanting song that brings to mind little sprites playing their pipes.

We no longer spend nights sitting on the patio, and in a week or two, we’ll be bringing in the tables and chairs. How lonesome the patio looks when it is empty! But yesterday the day was sunny enough and warm enough for us to have lunch on the patio.

However, while some birds have gone, there are plenty that stay year round—the true blues, I call them. The jaunty chickadee is one of those hardier birds. And they, along with the finches, woodpeckers, and nuthatches, are hungrier than ever. It seems like we need to fill the feeders every two days.

The gardens are pretty much spent. There are, of course, modest sedums, but they are overshadowed by the general droopiness of the rest of the plants.

Then there are the begonias, those valiant bloomers that look good from late May through mid-October. Once upon a time, I was iffy about those flowers. Somehow they weren’t showy enough for my taste. How wrong I was! A annual that looks trim and pretty—in its understated way—for nearly five months? Who can ask for anything more?

Having seen the error of my ways, next summer, I plan to go all out with begonias—along the edge of my garden, in pots, everywhere.

From now on my rallying cry will be, “Bring on the begonias!”

Farewell to Hostas

For the past week, it has been unusually warm—in the 70s. It hardly feels like autumn in Maine at all.

But the the hostas know that summer is over.

I’ve begun emptying and cleaning pots. This weekend, I’ll start bringing in the garden ornaments.

Somehow, it is always more fun to bring them out in the spring than it is to put them away in the fall.

On other matters…I have done major editing on my book Library Lost, and I will soon be receiving the first proof copy. Always exciting, but the work is not done. I’ll be going over the proof copy line by line. Onward, ho!

A couple of days ago, a terrible hurricane slammed the coast of Florida. What devastation! I wonder what will become of coastal communities, especially in the South, as the oceans continue to heat up and the storms get worse and worse.

In North Carolina, where our daughter and son-in-law live, the hurricane notched itself down to a tropical storm. Nevertheless, the winds were strong, trees were toppled, and there were widespread power outages. In fact, my daughter and son-in-law don’t have electricty. At least they have water. But as a veteran of power outages, I can attest to the fact that they are no fun at all. For us, what a happy day it is when the refrigerator whirs back to life as the power comes back on.

But how horrible to lose everything in a storm. Somehow, when compared with such destruction, a power outage doesn’t seem that bad.

 

Sharing Our Horizon by Xenia Tran

One of the great pleasures of blogging is the wonderful, creative people I have met, not only in this country but also around the world. I always start my day reading posts from my blogging friends, and no matter what is happening in this country, I come away feeling better.  And that is  no small thing.

Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to announce that one of my blogging friends, Xenia Tran of Whippet Wisdom, has published a book of poems and images featuring her adorable whippets in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, where they live. Here is the book:

Xenia writes: “We will donate 60% of our net profits to animal rehoming shelters. The more books we sell, the more charities we will be able to help. The remaining 40% will be invested in future fundraising projects….Our book is now available in paperback and can be ordered from your local bookstore, online bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Fishpond and any other store connected to the Ingram Spark Global network….For further details on where to order, please visit ‘Our Book page.”

The Scottish Highlands, dogs, lovely poetry, a wonderful cause. I just ordered my own copy and can’t wait to get it.

Good luck, Xenia. I hope you sell a lot of books.