Saturday, October 31, 2015

Maine Resident Day

Unless you are a hunter, it is advisable to avoid the woods as today is Maine Resident Day. Stay home, have a cuppa hot cocoa, and carve a pumpkin!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Raking Leaves Business Sign

Now, this is an enterprising youngster! I think I might just hire him/her just to see the face behind the sign;-)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Youth Deer Day

That's not a deer! That's Toby;-0
Today, is Youth Deer Day, and it is not a good idea for us to be in the woods. Toby must have known so, because he only walked a short way through the woods, with Drew, and wanted to go home. As soon as they turned around, they saw a hunter go by wearing his orange vest. Good call, Toby!

Mom's view of the natural world through painting

I love looking at artwork, but have no talent for drawing and painting (due to never having pursued it.) Mom, however, is another story. She has always been artistic and has dabbled in all things artsy throughout her life. I envy her many talents. One of my favorite periods of Mom's life was the oil painting period. Mom painted for a period of about 10 years; she use water colors and dabbled in oils. I love her work. It is simplistic, yet beautiful, and shows a love of nature.  Now, at the age of 84, I wish that she would take up painting again. 
I miss the hand painted cards she used to send me. They are so special.
This card, of Woodbury Pond, was painted after we took Mom and Dad canoeing. We saw quite a few loons as we traversed the pond and Mom sent me this card soon after. What a great memory of a fun day together. The cards sit on a shelf downstairs where I can see them when lounging in front of the wood stove.
Once, I mentioned how much I enjoyed watching the nuthatches who favored the maple tree outside our kitchen window. And, not too long after that conversation, I received this painting. I liked it so much, that I asked her to paint another one for me.
Chickadees are my all-time favorite bird. They are so brave, and allow me to get within inches of them for photographic purposes. They are great models. Mom painted this snowy picture for me, of a chickadee on a hemlock tree.
Well, to make a trio of small paintings, I asked for one more...that of the Cedar Waxwing. These birds often hang around the north end of the pond, and give me lots of company as I sit for long periods of time waiting for subjects to photograph. I love, love, love it!
And, my favorite painting of all is the one of Peggy's Cove lighthouse, in Nova Scotia. Mom, Dad, and sister Jane took a trip to Nova Scotia together many moons ago. They fell in love with Peggy's Cove. And, this painting is a result of that trip. It graces a wall in our dining room. It symbolizes our collective love for the ocean. Moms are awesome, and I know that I have the best Mom in the world! I love you, Mom...forever, and ever, and ever...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Work day sunrise

We always bring a camera with us, just in case there is something interesting to photograph, on our daily travels to and from school. This morning, the sunrise was pretty in pink. As my neck was rather stiff, I could not twist my head around to look behind me, so I used the rearview mirror for the first shot.
Then, as the road angled into a better position, I was able to shoot through the window opening for the second shot. While not great photos, they do show the beauty of the sunrise. What a great way to begin my day;-)
Fall Colors Still Present in Maine Augusta, MAINE (October 21, 2015) - Peak and past-peak conditions are taking place throughout the state with moderate to high leaf drop (50 percent to 70 percent), according to the final fall foliage report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
“The oak trees are just starting to reveal their oranges and golds, amid the still-vibrant reds, yellows and purples, making for a picture perfect backdrop, along with sunny skies in the tracking zones 1 and 2 covering the immediate coastline,” according to Gale Ross, fall foliage coordinator.
 Go to for more information.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sunset light through the trees

'Twas a pretty end to a chilly autumn day...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

First wood stove fire & First Freeze Warning

We finally broke down and had the first wood stove fire of the season, this morning. The indoor temp. was 61F, and the outdoor temp. was 30F. When Toby wanted to crawl under the bedcovers at 3:30 am, that was our signal that it was too cold inside. We've got to keep the dogs comfortable...we did it for the dogs:-) Yup, it's all for the dogs...the dogs made us do it!

We also had our first freeze warning of the season, beginning at 1 am.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Dempsey Challenge

Team LHS Blue Lightning members
walked, ran, and biked over the weekend.
I walked the 5K race for the Dempsey Challenge, today. This weekend is a huge fundraiser for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing. Generally, this weekend sees fundraising in excess of 1 million dollars. I was part of the LHS Blue Lightning team, and we raised over $1,800. Other groups and businesses raised in the 10's of thousands of dollars each. This is such a worthwhile cause as I don't think there is anyone on Earth who isn't affected by cancer in some way. I thank my teammates for helping to make this day so special.
The race from start to finish! Some of our group posed after the race.
We started the races at Simard-Payne park, traveled down Lincoln street, went over the Androscoggin River twice, and ended back at the park. Fun, fun, fun!
A few of my favorite shirts are shown here.
I decided to concentrate some of my photography on the tee shirts that people were wearing. There was such a variety of shirts all honoring people affected by cancer.
Here is another coworker of mine, with her team, honoring her mother. I also added in a few more tee shirts that I saw.
Teen helping teens, at the Dempsey Center, really touched my heart.
And, here are a few more of my favorite shirts. I was truly impressed with the Teen Group. We have such great teens, at the local high schools, who volunteer at the Dempsey Center to help others their age who are affected by cancer. 
These words say it all...
Near the end of the race, there were hand-made signs along both sides of the path. This was the part of the race where I fell apart and wept...for my sister and my cousin, as well as several of my friends and coworkers who have all died from cancer. Too many much grief...
There is always beauty to behold even through suffering and sadness...
But, all was not sadness as I soaked in the gorgeous scenery along the way. I thought of Mother Nature filling our senses with beauty even with all the suffering in the world. I think of her as trying to soften the devastation we often feel with illness, and I hope that I am always able to appreciate the beauty of Earth, from the minute to the grandiose, no matter what happens in my life.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Winter weather prediction under El Nino

Winter Outlook 2015-2016: Cold, Wet South and Warm, Dry North, Says NOAA.
"A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter," said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player. Cold-air outbreaks and snow storms will likely occur at times this winter. However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale."
Other influences that may play a role this winter are the Arctic Oscillation and the Madden-Julian Oscillation. 

It is important to remember that this forecast is for the winter season as a whole and does not project when and where storms may occur."

As far as precipitation goes...Our neck of the woods might be on the cusp of wetter than average or drier than average:-)"The East Coast, from the Southeast into portions of the Mid-Atlantic and into southern New England, may also see a wetter than average winter."

Of course, for Maine, the Arctic Oscillation plays a huge role in climate. "The Arctic Oscillation is a climate pattern characterized by the strength of counterclockwise winds around the Arctic. Its positive phase confines cold air to the polar regions, while its negative phase is associated with cold air penetrating farther south, as well as an increased chance of nor'easters."

So, only time will tell as to what our winter season will be like this year. I think it is safe to say that climate prediction is still in its infancy and Mother Nature is full of surprises...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Maine Foliage Report

Well, the trees are changing rapidly all over the state, and the pattern seems unusual when seeing that even the northernmost locales are still at peak color. You can drive everywhere in Maine and see jaw-dropping beauty. Click here to read more about this week's Maine Foliage Report.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A misty day on Caesar Pond

These trees line the eastern shore of Caesar Pond
'Twas a misty day on Caesar Pond, and I went pond prowling as soon as I got home from school. I spent the better part of two hours puttering around. There was a light breeze that continually pushed me around, sometimes in circles, as I tried to photograph the autumn colors. I was thrilled to see that the dark sky yielded a vibrancy of leaf color that I have been waiting for. (Click on the photos for larger views.)
The maple trees were absolutely gorgeous as the leaves change from green, to yellow, to red. I found this combination of leaves and lichen to be stunning.
The beaver was a tad ticked off at me as he doesn't know how to share!
As I was paddling toward the north cove, I heard a splash and saw a beaver swimming ahead of me. He was letting me know that he was none too happy about me invading his end of the pond! Hmmm..."Tough on you, Mr. Beaver, I can be on the pond if I so desire..." (We have this conversation often, all over the pond.) He high-tailed it back to his lodge and I actually heard him vocalize loudly from within it, so I backed off. As you can see, I was far away from the beaver when photographing him (about 60 feet), and I never got close to him, hence the fuzziness of the photo (also due to being pushed around by the wind and the fogginess of the air.)
I love the north cove. There are two wood duck boxes situated there, and the background of colorful trees is always so pleasing to my eye during the height of autumn.
While I was admiring the duck boxes, I heard an osprey vocalize. I looked up to see the osprey chasing a bald eagle! Wowee! I couldn't get much of a photo of the birds as they zoomed by. I had a rather slow shutter speed as nighttime was approaching and the fog was thickening. I also heard a belted kingfisher calling as well, and it flew behind me (no photo of it.)
After the chase, the osprey made a u-turn and landed on a white pine branch far back in the north cove. I paddled quietly and got close enough to get a recognizable photo of him before he flew off.
Looking south along the eastern shore on my way to the dock.
The fog became thicker toward the end of my outing, and I was forced to head for home at 6pm. Ahhh...there is nothing like a peaceful pond to rejuvenate me at the end of a work day.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hay Field Kaleidoscope

I photographed these hay bales in a tree-lined field on the way home from work. Drew created two kaleidoscopes of it for me.
Here is the stylized version of the photo that the kaleidoscopes were created from.

Kaleidoscope Craziness - Gazania

I'm in a kaleidoscope mood. Drew found an app that works in Photoshop to create these great kaleidoscopes and kaleidoscope animations! I watched the app take many slices of the kaleidoscope "pie" and then create pattern, after pattern, after pattern. All the patterns got stitched together to make a moving picture. Neato!
Here is the original kaleidoscope that Drew surprised me with this morning.
And, here is the original photo that I took of a Gazania flower!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wagg Rd. Wetland Colors

Drew walked Lady Flame and Toby along Wagg Rd. this morning. The wetland to the south of the road (probably created by overflow from Caesar Pond) was beginning to show some nice fall coloring.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Low color change on Caesar Pond

Our neck of the woods isn't very colorful yet. We know the colors will increase with intensity over the next few weeks, and I am hoping for some nice pond photos. This was the state of the pond near sunset, today, and the "golden hour" was just beginning as the sun started dipping down below the trees.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Current Foliage Conditions

Things are looking good for leaf peeping this coming weekend. Colors are slowly changing, and if you want to see some deep colors go to northern Maine. See the full foliage report here.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chilly Autumn Temps

You know we are progressing into Autumn when the nighttime temps begin to drop. This morning, it is around 40F outdoors (and indoors, the temp is 64.9F...Brrr....) But, the daytime highs are still balmy from the mid-50's to the mid-60s. The sun is still tracking high enough in the sky to give us strong heat on a sunny day, but the breeze and shady areas are cool. 

This is the time of year when you bundle up in layers so as to shed some clothing when in the sun, only to put them on a few minutes later when entering the shade. And, this transition toward winter leaves us desiring a nice, toasty wood fire, but settling for a fast walk on the elliptical with a weight-lifting session thrown in for self-warming. 

There is no way we are turning on the indoor heat or cranking up the wood stove until November! At least, that is the plan. Whether we stick to it, only time will tell;-) The reason is that we don't want to "waste" the wood as most of it was hand-chopped by Drew, and that was a lot of effort. We'll use it when the outdoor temps tank.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Colorful Wetland

This wetland is off Academy Road, in Bowdoin. Drew was walking the dogs and was taken aback by the beauty of this area. As you can see, there are lots of young maples, both sugar and red, lighting up the landscape with their brilliance.

Autumn Begins in Maine

The trees, they are a changin' rather rapidly, it seems. Each day brings a few more leaves morphing from green to yellow, red, and orange. Some days it feels as if we are part of a kaleidoscope with colors blending together and changing shape as our car races past the landscape. We are reminded that we must enjoy it while it lasts, as our favorite season is very fleeting...

Turkey Trot

A rafter of turkeys dashes across the road on the way to school.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Post Storm Whirlpool

Yesterday's gully washer created a whirlpool draining a low area on Academy Rd.