Succulent Blooms

Here in Maine, things outdoors are very frozen, white, and not blooming! But indoors, the succulents are flowering; they were an unidentified group won at an auction by my friend here, so she has no idea what they are, but they are cheerful and pretty in the midst of winter.

Portland, Maine – and SNOW!

I got to Portland about mid-afternoon on Sunday, after a dry (but very gray) drive over from Vermont. But I beat the snow – it started snowing that night, and by evening we knew life would be closed on Monday. The Quaker Knitting Goddess with whom I am staying works for the State of Maine, and all state offices were closed. So we had a quiet and peaceful Monday, knitting, visiting, knitting, mending knitting, warm and cozy.

Today had some sun, and the beginning of melting; to go out and run errands meant cleaning about 10 inches (about 25 cm) off the car. Here I’ve cleared to the center line of the roof, on one side:

What I Did in 2022

I traveled, although not as much as previous years – no trip to Florida, New Mexico, Texas, Canada – but much through New England (the above photo Portland, Maine), and down the eastern seaboard to Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina. I usually travel with at least one kayak; I paddled in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont (of course; I live here!), Connecticut, New York State, Maryland, and South Carolina, usually twice a week or so through the season. The most open water was on a bay on the coast of Maine; most of the rest was rivers and lakes and ponds, and the northern reaches of the Chesapeake Bay. There were a few outings to pull invasive water chestnut in New Hampshire and Connecticut, and I helped out with the Great Northern Canoe Trail Peddle/Paddle event on the Missisquoi River.

And of course, there is knitting, always – scarf and shawl:

Sweaters for cousins, and one dog:

Fingerless mitts and mittens:

Hats – one for me, the rest gifts or donations; three adult, two for children:

A couple of pairs of socks, these for me:

Two sets of Christmas stockings:

And a couple of toys:

I have requests to start off my knitting for this new year – there are a couple of outstanding Christmas gifts to granddaughters (a pair of socks, and a large bee to go with the little one), another monster for an infant to be born in March (and baby booties and socks, but they are so small they hardly count!), another cousin sweater – and then maybe I’ll get to one of the three sweaters for me for which I have yarn set aside. 

It’s less than an hour until the new year turns over here. Wishing you all safe, healthy, rewarding and productive lives in 2023!

Kayaking Narraguagus Bay, Maine

Tuesday, 4/14: If it’s Tuesday, I must be kayaking – but not with my ORFS friends this time! I, with my hosts, paddled out to Foster Island, in Narraguagus Bay. It was WINDY – much windier than forecast, and I really had to work to keep my inflatable kayak pointed where I wanted to go; I was pushing the limits of what it’s designed to do. Around the northern point of Foster Island, there’s a sandy point; we put in on the back side of it to stop for lunch.

View from lunch spot:

A UFO landing pad? Well, no – Matt pulled up a dead tire and moved it above the tide line for later removal.

Leaving out lunch spot. Across the way is Pinkham Island, where we headed next. It’s a preserved area, and has lots of eagles on it – we were looking for nests, although we didn’t see any there. We did see one on Foster, as we were leaving.

Taking off the skeg was a solution to the lack of turning; It was much better following the lunch break when I took it off!

Along Pinkham Island:

We watched a seal riding the falling tide between Pinkham and the mainland; I was focused on controlling my kayak, so didn’t get any photos of it – but it sure was cute!
Lupines along the way; further around the point, the hedge of roses appeared.

We settled in the sun on lounge chairs; Tasha the dog was freed from her prison in the house, and was very glad to come down to be on the beach with us!

Hanging Out in Milbridge, Maine

Saturday, June 11 – Monday, June 13: These days were spent hanging out, with a lot of knitting. The above is the view from my knitting chair on the porch. There was some rain, and a lot of sun; the rugosa roses were just getting going. These are different shades of pink, and white, and the area buzzes with pollinators and hummingbirds.

It is such a rough life! Those first few days, the most ambitious I was was to walk down to the beach with my hosts, and share cooking.

I think of these shaggy rockweed covered rocks at low tide as heffalumps, creatures from the “Winnie the Pooh” books.

One name of the full moon for this month is the “Rose Moon” – appropriate, given the great wall of them blooming now!

The Roadtrek on the Road Again

Friday, June 10: As soon as I could get the food and kayaks loaded in the Roadtrek, I headed out. My first stop was in Laconia, New Hampshire, where I visited one of my Quaker Knitting Goddess friends for a couple of hours. Then it was on to Orrington, Maine, where my goddaughter and her husband have bought a small house – which houses the above four cats (and one more I didn’t get a photo of), and a dog, as well as the two humans.

Saturday, June 11: After breakfast with my hosts, and an e-mail check, and visiting, I headed off to the coast of Maine. Missing the first turn meant that I had to turn around – and this was the most convenient place to do it! Serendipity – it meant that I will plan on kayaking on another trip; it is so very close to their house!

It is peak lupine season in Maine; here the field next to the parking area was full of them!

I went back to the last intersection, taking the road I should have taken in the first place – and not far along that road Audubon has another access for kayaking, so I have two places to explore when next I visit.

Great Northern Yarn Haul #4

Tuesday, July 27: Leaving Portland after lunch, I headed for the next stop on my Great Northern Yarn Haul tour. A Wrinkle in Thyme, in Sumner, Maine, is full of hand dyed yarns in gorgeous colorways. I followed the sound of voices, and in the back room were several women knitting, so I joined them for their regular Tuesday knit group. And I had permission to camp in their parking area overnight, so I was in no hurry to leave, and settled in with knitting and a book after knit group was over, and I’d had plenty of time to drool over the yarn! It rained that evening, and overnight, but the morning was crisp and clear, and I reloaded the kayaks and headed out. 

Guinea foul serve as tick control.
A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm shop

Wednesday, July 28: The next yarn haul stop was in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. LYS (Love Yarn Shop) is easy to find, and have a great collection of breed specific yarns, as well as some wonderful hand dyed sock yarns. Then it was on to St. Johnsbury, Vermont (New Hampshire is not very wide that far up!) and The Yarn Bank. As the name suggests, it is a recycled bank; one can still admire the workings of the vault door. After a survey of what they had for yarn, and admiring the items people were working on, it was over to Ball and Skein, in South Albany, Vermont. Oh, wow! Luscious fibers, hand dyed, but what they have that is no where else is their own line of skein winders and swifts. The setting is stunning, remote, and overlooking a small pond – but most business is on line or at festivals, so don’t assume they are open! The neighborhood had some quirky creativity everywhere, it seemed:

Cloverworks Farm was right around the corner, relatively speaking in that rural area. Another not normally retail farm, their collection of hand dyed, breed specific yarns was in bins, in the truck, ready to go out to yarn shops!

View from back yard at Cloverworks. And then their geese and sheep:

Then I headed on to Two Sisters, in Jeffersonville, Vermont – getting there seven minutes late! Between road construction, thinking they were open until 5 and I didn’t have to hurry, and stopping for wonderful views, I missed out. Oh, well – then it was on to visit my sister and brother-in-law in northern Vermont.

It was a day of stunning scenery (I had to drive past Mount Washington, and untold numbers of wonderful lakes and ponds, long views, winding twisting back country roads) and gorgeous weather, with pleasant temperatures and puffy clouds. And lots of wonderful yarns to resist!

Great Northern Yarn Haul #3

Thursday, July 22: The previous night I’d gathered with a flock of other knitters in Boscawen, New Hampshire, near Concord. We’d eaten extremely well, with several of us contributing food. That morning I headed out, aiming for Elegant Ewe, in Concord, the first yarn shop of the day. On the way, I was amused by this sign – I like when a business exhibits a sense of humor! From Elegant Ewe I continued on to Rochester, NH, and Smitten. This was not my favorite stop – hard to spot while driving, my directions had me pull on to a side street with no parking, and, once I had figured out I could park in back of the shop, the steps up to the entrance were very steep for my aging joints! In all these shops, I was looking for two yarns that would be right for two cowls I want to make, in the perfect weight and perfect colors – but mostly I’m interested to see what local yarn shops choose to carry, and how they display it. And so I cruise through, making sure I see everything – there’s a lot out there I’d love to knit, but don’t NEED right now, and I’ve been very disciplined about not buying.

Next on the list was Spinning Yarns, in Dover, New Hampshire. This one was easy to find – but there was sewer construction tying up the area, the policeman directing traffic was no help at all in suggesting where I should look for parking (“Just find any legal spot.”), but I was able to find a spot not too far away in a public lot. And I did find one of my target yarns. Then it was on to Maine, a very pleasant drive on back roads across to York and

This is a great shop, right on US Route 1 and with a lovely large parking lot where it was easy to park the camper. There I found a yarn that I hadn’t realized I was looking for, but I like to keep on hand something in safety orange, and they had it.

My last yarn stop of the day was in South Portland, at Knitting Nook. This was also easy to find, and while I did like their small but carefully curated collection, I resisted purchase. Then it was on to Portland, my destination for a few days. Portland has a gorgeous park, Eastern Promenade, on the north eastern edge of the city, overlooking the harbor. There I met a friend I’ve watched grow up, and we sat on a bench and enjoyed all the people out on a perfect evening, sailboats racing in the distance, kayakers in the harbor, and a full moon rising as we left.