Category Archives: Notes from the HInterland

Labor Day 2012

Notes from the Hinterland

Labor Day was surely one of the most beautiful days of the season, which is edging from summer to fall. The day was warm and dry, and the sky was a brilliant blue. For my husband, Clif, and me this could only mean one thing—a long bike ride. We decided to ride what we call “the big Monmouth loop,” with a stop in the middle at Cumston Hall for iced tea and a granola bar and then on to Winthrop and an ice cream, at the end, at Tubby’s. The loop is about 17 miles, and most of it is on back roads lined with trees and fields, on roads where there isn’t very much traffic. The route, like most routes in central Maine, has its fair share of hills, but Clif and I have gotten to the point where most hills really don’t bother us that much. I never thought we’d get to this point, but when you bike long enough and push yourself to go up hills, this does indeed happen.

We made it to Monmouth in good time, and here is where we bought the iced tea. It’s a general store with an old wooden floor and various items ranging from milk to iced tea to used books.

Then on to beautiful Cumston Hall, home to the Theater at Monmouth and the town library, where we could rest in the shade and admire this spectacular old building as we drank our iced tea and ate our granola bars.

Through Monmouth we went, down busy 132, which doesn’t have a breakdown lane. This was our least favorite part of the trip, but then we were back on country roads, and we biked by many gracious homes that have been around for a couple of hundred years.

All too soon, our bike ride was over, and we pulled into Tubby’s for an ice cream.

Clif with his bike in front of Tubby’s

And what to do after Tubby’s? Why, return home and make pizza on the grill. The roasted tomato sauce and the topping of peppers and pepperoni all came from central Maine farms. I hate to boast, but Clif makes great pizza.

Then with rum and Coke, we said farewell to summer and welcome to autumn.

And we hope there are many more bike rides before the snow falls.

Busy at Home

Notes from the Hinterland

As I’ve written in past blogs, I am a homebody. While other people yearn to travel and see new sights, I prefer staying home, working on my various projects and being involved with my community. My backyard, with its patio and its woodland setting, is one of my favorite places to be.

Our backyard—one of my favorite places

Somehow, I am never bored at home or around town. There is always plenty to keep me busy.

Consider the events of last weekend, and Monday as well.

On Saturday, Clif and I celebrated the second wedding anniversary of our daughter Shannon and her husband, Mike. In the morning, I went to the Winthrop Farmers’ Market, where I would pick up most of what we needed for our celebratory meal. From Wholesome Holmstead I bought rib-eye steak; from our own Farmer Kev, I bought, among other things, potatoes and garlic; and from Jillson’s Farm, I bought corn on the cob. What a treat to be able to buy so much local food. As the day was sunny and warm, we were able to eat on the patio. We stayed there until it was dark, and we were surrounded by a sweet chorus of crickets, punctuated, from time to time, by the call of a loon.

The garden—a little frowsy this time of year

On Sunday, another beautiful day, Clif and I decided to challenge ourselves and bike to Augusta to see, very appropriately, the excellent Premium Rush, a movie about a New York City bike messenger who rides like a crazy person, especially when he’s being chased by a corrupt cop. The cinema is only 12 miles away, but there are some very challenging hills as well as a stretch of road with no bike lane that goes right through the city. At least twice, I thought I was going to have a heart attack, but we made it safe and sound to the the cinema, where the popcorn and soda tasted especially good. On our way back, we took another route. The hills were steeper, but there wasn’t as much traffic, and I’ll take steep hills over traffic any day. When we rode into Winthrop, we both felt exhilarated and proud that we are strong enough to ride like this. After all, Clif is going to be 61, and I’m going to be 55. We are not exactly spring chickens.

On Monday, I met with a friend in Winthrop to celebrate her birthday. I’m not sure if she would want me to reveal her age, so I’m not going to do so. However, I don’t think I’m giving too much away to state that I am completely inspired by her. I gave her a picture—a 5 x 7—of a Maine daylily, one of my own photos. Lately, I’ve been taking lots of flower pictures, and with Clif’s help, I feel as though I’ve improved enough as a photographer so that my pictures make a nice present. And where did I find that flower? Right up the road.

So much is right around us, if we take the time to look, listen, and appreciate.

 

LATE JULY GARDEN

NOTES FROM THE HINTERLAND

In Maine, summer is two thirds done. On our bike ride last night, my husband, Clif, and I lamented that we really only had one more month to go on long bike rides when he comes home from work. The older we get, the more we love summer, with its long, hot days and lovely warm nights. Unfortunately, much of the country is suffering from extreme heat and drought, and I expect more than a few people in the Midwest will be happy to see the end of summer.

However, in Maine, the season is sweet, and the crops are growing. Last week, Farmer Kev delivered new potatoes, baby carrots, garlic, sugar snaps, and other vegetables as well. “Corn is coming,” he promised.

We are waiting.

Here are some photos from my own little garden:

Tomorrow's lunch
A visitor
In bloom
Lots of hardy sage, which survived the winter