Category Archives: News

Ice Storm Follow-Up: All Is Well

All the finger crossing must have worked because we did not lose our power. Oh, happy, happy day! However, in southern coastal Maine, where the storms always seem to hit hardest, around 20,000 people lost their power. As much as I love the ocean, I am beginning to think that in this time of climate change, it is best to live a little inland.

Anyway, here was the peaceful scene in our yard this morning when I got up.

Monsieur Crapaud was smiling his enigmatic smile. I bet he, too, is glad the storm wasn’t any worse. You can see that he is edged with a bit of ice, but he does not seem to be any worse for wear.

Finally, our wonderful neighbor across the street cleared the snow away from the front of our mailbox before embarking on his own driveway. He knows the limits of Little Green, our corded electric snow thrower. So nice, so nice!

Green, Green with EV Envy

Just before Christmas, my friend Dawna called and asked, “Could I stop by for a little while? I have something to show  you.”

“Sure,” came my answer. “I’ll put the kettle on for tea when you get here.”

Dawna is a talented photographer and graphic artist who sells cards at various local shops and online through Etsy.  (Do check out her beautiful work if you get a chance.) I thought she was going to show Clif and me a new line of cards, which I always enjoy seeing.

Therefore, as soon as Dawna came into our dining room, I said, “Let me put the kettle on, and you can show me what you brought.”

“Well…” she said in a hesitating way as I trotted into the kitchen to put on the kettle.

When I went back into the dining room, Dawna was grinning. “I got a new car.”

I’m sure there was a click, click, click as I processed this information, looked out at the new snazzy blue car in my driveway, and understood exactly what she meant.

“Oh, my God!” I exclaimed. “You bought an electric car!”

“Yes, I did,” Dawna said, and if my knees weren’t so creaky, I would have jumped with joy.

Here is a picture of her new EV beauty, a Hyundai Kona:

All thoughts of tea were forgotten as Clif and I went to admire the new car

“After Christmas, ” Dawna said, “I’ll take you for a ride.”

Dawna kept her promise, and last Friday she took us into Augusta, where we had brunch at Downtown Diner, which serves breakfast all day long.

As we ate, Dawna’s spoke about her decision to buy an electric car. Her previous car had become unreliable, and the time had come to replace it. She asked herself, why buy a polluting ICE (internal combustion engine) car? Dawna knew that the range of EVs had  improved, and when she did some research, she discovered that the Hyundai Kona got a peak mileage of 258 per charge. (Less, of course, when the weather is really cold.)

And that was that. Because there were so many rebates available, Dawna bought the car in December, not wanting to take the chance that the rebates wouldn’t be there in 2020. (Let’s face it: The current administration in DC is not exactly concerned about the environment.)

Here is what she got:

$2,500 from Efficiency Maine.

$500 from a Hyundai rebate.

$7,500 from a federal government rebate.

Her Hyundai EV Kona sold for $38,000, and the rebates brought the cost down to $28,000.

And how does Dawna like her new EV? Very well, indeed. As Clif and I noticed, the Kona is smooth and quiet and has great pick-up. Even on a cold Maine January day, Dawna can take the Kona to Portland, about a 120-mile-round trip, and still have 50 miles left on her battery. The Kona’s seats are heated, and Dawna and her husband, Jim, take advantage of this, which means they don’t have to use the car’s heater as much.

While most EVs come with a charging cord that can be plugged into a standard receptacle, charging this way is slow, and Jim has installed a charger that does the job much more quickly.

Southern Maine has a number of places to charge an EV,  but as you head north, their numbers dwindle. Dawna has decided to become an advocate for EVs, and she is writing a letter to encourage Governor Mills to support the installation of more charging stations.

Go, Dawna, go! And kudos to you for taking the leap into our electric future. I hope that someday soon Clif and I can follow your example, and I also hope many others will, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Not Quite Finished, but Here’s a Blurb for Out of Time

Coming in fall of 2020

Out of Time

Book Three in the Great Library Series

by Laurie Graves

Time, time, time. Maya is back in New York City, where she catches a glimpse of her younger self. But as usual, Maya is too busy to worry about disturbing the space-time continuum.

She must find someone called the Accumulator, who will help her defeat her adversary Cinnial. Find him she does, and with a new team—Will, Jay, and Lexie—Maya goes to a place called Elferterre, where magic rules and danger lurks…

 

 

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!