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You Might as Well Jump

For six days of the week, Clif and I eat a healthy, plant-based diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit, legumes, and salads. However, on the seventh day, we rest and eat what we want. We find that a regular splurge once a week keeps us on the straight and narrow the rest of the time.

This week, our splurge was at the incomparable Red Barn, where the fried food is so fresh and so reasonably priced that it has almost become a landmark in central Maine. All right.  Maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit, but I’m not kidding about the quality of the food and the prices. For a treat, the Red Barn is the place to go.

On Saturday’s trip to the Red Barn, we had mixed veggies—I guess we can’t totally get away from our plant-based diet—and homemade chips. Oh my, they were good.

The place was packed. All the tables were taken, and we had to sit on stools at the long counter in the new addition.

A woman who worked there was wiping the counter, and I asked her, “Is there any time when the Red Barn isn’t packed?”

“Not in the summer, ” she said. “It’s like this all the time.”

And why not? For the veggies, the chips, a drink that we shared, and a whoopie pie we split, the bill came to $11. Plus this is a very local business that pays its employees well. What’s not to like?

While we ate, it rained. The counter where we sat runs below a long bank of windows overlooking the parking lot, and we watched people hurry back and forth from their cars. Trees line the edge of the parking lot, and we saw two small birds—we couldn’t tell what they were from that distance—harass a crow.

By the time we were done eating, the rain had stopped, and we decided to go to Hallowell, to the long concrete deck by the Kennebec River, to see if the sturgeons were jumping.

Sturgeons are a fish that has been around since prehistoric times, and they do indeed look like ancient ones. They are an endangered species, but but according the website Maine Rivers. “the Kennebec River has some of the best habitat for sturgeon in Maine. When Edwards Dam was removed…the sturgeon regained access to their full historic range on the river. In time, these spawning grounds may help the fish to recover. ”

In late June, early July, the sturgeons spawn and jump. Did they jump for us? They did not. All we saw was were some big ripples and an occasional flash of white. But no leaping prehistoric-looking fish.

For some great pictures of jumping sturgeons, here’s a link to a website by Linwood Riggs, a Maine photographer.

And to the sturgeons, here’s a song for you, a blast from the 1980s by Van Halen.

Yeah, sturgeons, you might as well jump.




Winter Wonderland

I got up this morning to a most lovely sight—the little snowstorm from last night left a fluffy covering on the branches, the fence, on everything. I immediately grabbed my camera and went out to take some pictures. As I was surrounded by this winter beauty, my spirits felt buoyed by the white, quiet landscape. Yet again, I reflected that I am a true Mainer—five generations on my mother’s side, and before that they came from Canada. I belong here spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Maybe in ten or fifteen years I’ll feel otherwise and want to head to warmer climes. But for now, at least, Maine is the place for me.







This last one is for Ruth, who works with my daughter Shannon. I wanted her to know that we can still see outside our window.


Still It Snows

But so far we haven’t lost our power, and for that Clif and I are very grateful. We’ve had about ten inches of snow, but it’s still snowing hard, and I’m guessing we’ll have over a foot before the day is done, but we probably won’t get twenty-four inches.

Nevertheless, this means two clean-ups—Clif with Little Green and me with my trusty blue shovel.  We’ll be heading out pretty soon—at around 10:30—and we’ll go back out later this afternoon.

Clif has already been out once this morning to clear paths for Liam so that he could do his morning business. Here is what our yard looked like at around 8 a.m.

Clif plows a path to the backyard for Liam.


The path.


Our front steps.


Will the snow reach the bottom of the lantern?


Clif standing in the front walkway.


Winter has certainly come to Maine, but as long as we have our power, we are happy.

Here Comes the Snow Again…

Gray sky over the house,


crow by the feeder,


and the flying pig nearly buried in snow.


Here comes the snow again, this time a blizzard, with up to twenty-four inches of snow predicted. Clif and I are hoping we don’t lose our power, but we are ready, just in case. We have pails of water in the basement, cans of soup in the pantry, plenty of bread and milk, plenty of peanut butter.  Clif hauled in extra wood for the furnace, and we have several bottles of lamp oil.

We are ready. But man oh man, we hope the power doesn’t go out.

After the Snow

Yesterday, we got about eight inches of snow, and more is expected on Sunday and then again next week. It’s shaping up to be quite the snowy winter. Thank goodness for Little Green. Once upon a time, Clif, the girls, and I shoveled it all by hand. Those days are gone, gone, gone, especially since it is just two of us here at the little house in the big woods.

Cleaning up after a storm is a lot of work, but the snow does leave our yard and home looking like a winter wonderland.


Our cozy home tucked in the snow!



Ariel, the flying pig, is about to be buried.



A frosted arrangement on the deck.

Today, I’ll be making apple pie, and our friends Cheryl and Denny will be coming over for an afternoon tea.

Nothing like pie on a cold winter’s day. (The one below is from another time.)



The Snows of February

On Tuesday we had a nice little snowstorm where the snow was light and fluffy, and we didn’t get too much—five inches, maybe.

This meant that on Wednesday, it was time for Clif to put on his warm clothes, plug in Little Green, and do some cleaning.



After a snowstorm, it is always so pretty at the little house in the big woods. I love the blues on the snow and the sweep of it across the yard and into the woods.



In my arrangement on the porch, it looked as though the dried flowers were wearing a snow cap.


And a pileated woodpecker decided the tree at the end of the driveway was the perfect place to search for lunch.


Clif and I discussed whether the tree should come down, but, in fact, in the backyard we have several trees with similar holes, and they have been standing for years. But we’ll definitely keep an eye on this one.

We’ll also be keeping an eye on the weather as a nor’easter blows up the northeastern seaboard. New York and Massachusetts are supposed to get the worst of it, but the Maine coast will probably get its fair share. In central Maine, the prediction is for six to eight inches of snow. We shall see.

One thing is certain. Tomorrow, Clif will be out with Little Green, clearing the driveway and the various paths.