All posts by Laurie Graves

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

Visit Elferterre

I am happy to announce that last Friday, I finished the first draft of Out of Time, Book Three in my Great Library Series. What a happy, joyful feeling! There are months of hard work ahead as I work at getting the book in shape, but it really is a thrill to have that first draft done.

Here is the promo poster that Clif put together for Out of Time. This illustration won’t be the cover of the book—the talented James of Bookfly Designs will be creating the cover just as he did for the first two: Maya and the Book of Everything and Library Lost.  But several blogging friends expressed interest in Elferterre, and this picture by E. Adveno Brooke captures how I envision the magical dimension where Maya and her friends go to find something that will help free the Great Library from the iron grip of the tyrant Cinnial.

Now onward, ho to getting Out of Time in shape for its 2020 publication.

Exit, Destroyed by a Bear

Two days ago we had a visitor in our backyard who was drawn by the sunflower seeds. The visitor, unseen by us, came at night and with a mighty strength broke the pole and knocked over the bird feeder. As far as we know, there is only one animal in our woods that has the power to do this, and that animal is a bear. Black bears live in the woods all over Maine.

We have had an ursine visitor before, with the same results. Clif and I stopped feeding the birds for a while, and that took care of the problem.

We will do the same thing this time. Bears hibernate in the winter, and as soon as the snow and cold come, we’ll start feeding the birds again.

In the meantime, Clif will have to put in a new pole before the ground freezes. The actual feeder is in good shape, but the top was smashed into many pieces. We are hoping to be able to find a new top. Being frugal Mainers, we figure there is no point in replacing the whole thing if we don’t have to.

Living in the woods brings its excitements, and bears are one of them. Fortunately, black bears are rather shy, and we hardly ever see them. But every once in a while one emerges from the woods to snack on sunflower seeds.

And so it goes.

 

 

That Golden, Dazzling Time of Year

Here we are, heading toward late October, a special time of year for us as this was when our eldest daughter was born forty-two years ago. (Oh, my!) What a darling beautiful baby she was. I suppose most mothers think this about their babies, and rightly so. They are our best beloveds.

Speaking of beauty…in Maine it is all around us even though the storm took down many of the leaves.

When I look up

and when I look down.

Even the black-eyed Susans, which have dropped their petals, still glimmer in October.

In October, the landscape positively glows, partly because of the brilliant leaves and partly because of the way the sun, low in the sky, sends its dazzling light at a slant. As I sit at my desk, the month’s golden loveliness flickers in my peripheral vision, and I find myself gazing outside far more than I should. (Fantasy novels don’t write themselves.)

Well, October comes but once a year, and it would be foolish not to drink in this glorious month. As with May, I wish I could hold onto October’s coattails and implore her to stay longer. “Don’t rush, don’t rush.”

But Nature is on her own schedule, and luminous October must give way to the muted russets of November.

Until then…

 

 

After the Storm

Early this morning, a fierce storm blew up the coast of Maine, knocking out power to more than 217,000 homes. (A notable percentage in a state that has a little over one million people.) In coastal communities, especially in southern Maine, trees came crashing down, roads were filled with debris, and schools were closed.

In central Maine, where we live, there was wind and rain, but the storm lost steam as it came inland. As far as I can tell, there are no widespread power outages in our area, and there was nary a flicker of lights at our cozy house in the woods.

We knew the storm was coming, and we were ready. The larder is well stocked with cans of baked beans, soup, cookies, crackers, and peanut butter. We have a little camp stove to heat the soup and beans.  In our cellar, we have big covered buckets filled with water because for us, no power means no water. Fortunately, we did not have to resort to our stash of storm supplies.

I am an ocean person, and once upon a time, I longed to live closer to the coast so that I could go for frequents walks on the beach. Not anymore. In these days of climate crisis, the storms along the Maine coast have gotten stronger and more frequent. Once upon a time, when I was young, October in Maine used to be a placid month, known more for its brilliant foliage than for powerful storms that would surge up the coast and take down trees. But for the past several years, October has been a month that has brought at least one corker of a tempest that has knocked out power, primarily in the southern part of the state right by the sea.

Occasionally, in central Maine, we get hit, but not with anywhere near the frequency that southern Maine and the coast do. I am glad I live sixty miles inland, and even if I suddenly came into money, I would not move closer to the ocean. Sad, especially for someone like me who loves the sea, but this is our new reality.

Around our house, the wind—thank goodness—did not take down any trees, but it did take down more than a few leaves, and there is now a carpet rather than a sprinkle.

Some of the trees are downright bare.

But a peak through branches at our house reveals that despite the wind and rain, there are lovely leaves left on some of the trees.

And best yet, the crickets are still singing.

 

Twisted Sisters

On Saturday and Sunday, Clif and I took our books and prints to a craft fair sponsored by the Friends of the Wells Public Library. Wells, Maine, is quite a distance from where we live in central Maine, but this craft fair is well worth the trip. We went last year and sold lots of books. While we didn’t sell quite as many books this year, we sold enough so that we were satisfied.

One of the pleasures of going to various craft fairs is meeting and talking to the other vendors. Last year we were across from these three charming, lively women who have dubbed themselves “Twisted Sisters.” Their business card describes them as “Three Sisters Practicing Old Crafts.” This year, we were again lucky enough to be across from the Twisted Sisters. Aren’t those aprons snappy? I heard one customer ask if the aprons were for sale. Unfortunately, they were not.

From left to right: Cynthia Hatfield, Cheryl Pomerleau, and Dianne Pomeroy -Hathorn

Here are some of the lovely items from Cynthia’s table,

Cheryl’s table,

and Dianne’s table.

During the two days of the craft fair, lots of fairgoers clustered around the three booths, and I expect many lucky people will be getting Christmas presents handcrafted by the Twisted Sisters.  (I, too, bought something for a special friend.)

The Twisted Sisters don’t have a website, but this time of year they pop up at various fairs in Maine. If you should come across the Twisted Sisters, don’t hesitate to  buy a wonderful handcrafted item from these sisters who practice the old crafts.

Sure beats anything you could find in a big box store.