All posts by Laurie Graves

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

Little Green, We Have a Problem

Time was when Clif and I and our daughters hand shoveled and scooped our driveway, which is neither long nor wide. For some reason, it was a chore that Clif and I didn’t mind doing.

But then the years passed. Our daughters moved far away, and we—ahem—were no longer as spry or as strong as we were in our younger days. One Christmas, Dee took pity on her aging parents and bought us an electric snow-thrower, which I promptly dubbed “Little Green.”

Here is Clif with Little Green last winter.

Last Friday, when Clif took out Little Green to clean the snow left behind from our first snowstorm, he had an unpleasant surprise as he turned it on—a loud grinding noise and then nothing. Fortunately, the snow was light and fluffy, and clearing the driveway and walks didn’t require much effort. We were done within an hour.

Because we are Mainers, we always try to fix things when they break. Always. This trait has been passed down by our frugal ancestors. It is in our DNA. So Clif brought Little Green into our dining room. (Little Green is light and easy to carry.) When Clif set Little Green down, there was a mighty rattle, as though marbles were rolling around inside.

No, not marbles. Instead, acorns. Lots of them. Some enterprising rodent had decided that Little Green would be the perfect place to store nuts.

Those acorns snapped both belts, which is why Little Green wouldn’t throw snow.

After much measuring, Clif ordered belts.

Fingers crossed that they arrive before we have a major storm.

If not, Clif and I will go back to shoveling.

Oh, that rascally rodent!

Last Day for the Wicked Good Deal on Out of Time

As the title of this post suggests, today is the last day for the holiday discount on Out of Time—in the United States, 20% off and free shipping.  This comes to a grand total of $12 per book, a real bahgain as we Mainers would say.

I want to thank everyone who has bought the book—sometimes more than one! Because of your support and generosity, this season has turned out far better than I expected.

Let’s face it: 2020 was not the best time to publish a new novel. In a normal year, we would go to different fairs and events, where we always sold a goodly number of books. However, 2020 was not a normal year. Covid-19 put a stop to going to fairs, and home we have stayed. (I’ve watched far too many Star Wars movies over the past week.)

But lo and behold, through my blog and social media, I sold more copies of Out of Time than I thought I would, to friends far and near.

Again many, many thanks.

I appreciate your support so very much.

 

Friday Favorites: A Perfect Snow

Yesterday we had snow, but today the sun is shining in a deep blue sky.  To a Mainer, few things are as invigorating as light, fluffy snow and crisp air. I realize this might be hard to understand for those of you in warmer climates. But remember, I was born in Maine and have lived here for most of my life. To me, snow and winter go together like blueberries and muffins.

After breakfast, outside I went to take pictures. I will admit that my bare hands were chilly, but still it was fun to take in the beauty while taking pictures.

Here is a picture of our house nestled in the snow. The red makes it look festive, I know.

Out back, I always enjoy looking at the stonewall, a reminder of when the whole area behind our house was fields, not woods.

Then I turned my attention to small things, which are really my favorite subjects.

A fallen branch,

and a branch still on the tree.

My holiday wish is that winter brings us more storms like this, where the snow is light, and the power stays on.

Good things from fellow bloggers:

Barbara, from Thistles and Kiwis, notes her not-so-small pleasure of being formally recognized as a New Zealand citizen. Congratulations, Barbara!

From The Curious Introvert, The Week in Seven Photos, that features darling Harper, Baby Yoda, and a Christmas Tree made of books, one of which just happens to be my very own Library Lost.

And last, but certainly not least, from Canberra’s Green Spaces, a post that highlights a live koala in a Christmas tree, kangaroos lounging in a park, a generous gardener, an adorable dog named Charlie, and much more.  What a place!

 

Red Cardinal on a Snowy Day

Today is the right kind of snowy day.  Quite cold—17° F—which makes the snow light and fluffy, and there isn’t much wind to speak of.  This combination means that there are no power outages in the forecast. Music to my ears.

Although I don’t usually post on Thursday, I couldn’t resist featuring these pictures of a male cardinal in the snow. I figured blogging friends who have neither snow nor cardinals would enjoy seeing them. And it’s my guess that blogging friends who have both wouldn’t mind seeing them either.

Any way you look at it, winter has come to northern New England, and I love its sparseness every bit as much as I love the vibrant colors of spring, summer, and fall.

Note: These pictures were taken with my wee camera from the bathroom window, which I opened. The feeder is probably twenty feet away. And the light, shall we say, was not the brightest.

Last Week for Wicked Good Deal on Out of Time

Many thanks to all of you who have ordered my new YA fantasy novel Out of Time. I so appreciate it. Because of my wonderful blogging friends, my books have traveled all around the world. No small thing for an indie publisher whose budget is as big as a minute.

For blogging friends in the United States who haven’t had a chance to order the book, the wicked good deal on our website is in effect until December 19. The total cost of the book is $12, no shipping fee. (Don’t forget to use the coupon code.) Naturally, I will sign the book if you would like.

Here is the link to our website: https://hinterlandspress.com/

And don’t you think the cover is a festive color for this time of year?

Friday Favorites: An Ornament, Santa Presents, A Chapbook

In keeping with this generous season when the days are short and the nights are long, I received three sets of lovely gifts from friends near and far.

From my blogging friend Judy of New England Garden and Thread, I received this lovely but oh-so-apt ornament. Even for a homebody like me, 2020 has been a bit much.

From my friend Betsy, whom I met through my blog, came this wonderful collection of Santa gifts. After I grouped them together for this picture, I put them on the shelves in the living room with my other Santas.

And my friend Claire, who lives nearby, brought me this chapbook of pieces compiled from a class she taught on memoir writing. I know several of the people who wrote for this book, and I really enjoyed reading their memories and reflections. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but what a gorgeous cover.

Many, many thanks to Judy, Betsy, and Claire!

To read about other bloggers’ small pleasures, join All Things Bright and Beautiful for a look at Christmas trees and Thistles and Kiwis for beautiful flowers and mouthwatering food.

 

A Review of Out of Time by Shane Malcolm Billings

Normally, I don’t post pieces on Tuesday. (My schedule is—for the most part—Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.) But last night, Shane Malcolm Billings, our town library’s former Adult Services Librarian, posted such a wonderful, thoughtful review of my new YA fantasy Out of Time that I thought I would share it.

Here are a couple of excerpts of the review taken from Shane’s blog, In His Own Words:

Laurie Graves is back with Out of Time, the third entry in her Great Library Series. More straightforward in its progression than its two predecessors, with their skillful time jumps and multiple narrative threads, Out of Time is also Graves’s most well-written book yet.

Out of Time is faster and flashier than Maya and the Book of Everything and Library Lost, but somehow deeper as well. Graves expands her cast of characters, continues to develop her lead, and experiments with ever more elements of magic and fantasy. Her writing continues to shine, and she has become even more adept at balancing the action sequences with the philosophizing, the adventure with the quiet reflection. These are special books, which will appeal to a wide range of readers. In these trying times, escapism is more welcome than ever. You will find great escape as well as much food for thought in Out of Time, the strongest entry yet in the Great Library Series.

Click here to read the entire review.

Many, many thanks, Shane!

Winter Comes in with a Bang

On Saturday we had our first real snowstorm of the season, an actual nor’easter. Here is what weather.gov has to say about nor’easters: “A Nor’easter is a storm along the East Coast of North America, so called because the winds over the coastal area are typically from the northeast. These storms may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April. ”

That, in a nutshell, is a nor’easter. Really, never something you look forward to.

In our area, this storm did not bring much snow, at least by Maine standards—five inches, tops. However, what this nor’easter lacked in snow, it more than made up for in damage. The snow was heavy, and there was high wind. A perfect combination for branches to fall on power lines and knock out power. By Saturday night, around 200,000 households were without power, no small thing in a state with just over a million people.

Fortunately Clif and I did not lose our power, and we were both very, very grateful.

The storm came late in the afternoon, and here are some snow pictures taken just before dusk, when we went out to shovel and scoop for the first time.

The snow frosted the arrangement on the front porch.

The snow coated the hedges, and underneath our Christmas lights glowed.

The snow clung to our trusty winter companions—a bucket of salt for melting icy patches and a shovel.

The snow fell in the front yard, making everything look like Christmas to those of us who live in the north.

The next day, the snow stopped, and the sky cleared. In anticipation of the storm, we had taken in the patio chairs and the little tables. I have a feeling that there won’t be many socially-distanced visits until spring.  To me, the patio looks lonesome.

Finally, here is Clif, looking like a man of the north. He had to use the Great Blue Scoop because what little snow we had was too heavy and packed for Little Green, our valiant electric snow thrower.

In Maine, we must be prepared with all sorts of devices that move snow.