Canada Geese Take Flight on Casco Bay

(Sunday, October 23, 2011, 7:32 a.m. EST, 40 degrees F)



This morning we timed it to get to the beach overlook a little after sunrise. A few weeks ago I was there at sunset, and the sun reflected oranges and yellows on the water. It was beautiful! It was high tide, and I was hoping to capture the rising sun on the water and the same effect as I observed a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately it didn’t work out quite the way I planned, and although the video is beautiful (and I love the flying Canada Geese!) it wasn’t quite the finished product I was hoping for. As always, I do my best to plan and predict how the “video shoot” will go—to do that I always check the tide table the day before—and decide whether I want to take a video at low-, mid-, or high-tide. Then I check the time of sunrise and sunset.

But still, sometimes I can’t pull off a video I’m pleased with. And that’s how it goes in writing, editing, and in life too—no matter how much we plan and try to make things happen a certain way, reality often intervenes.

Today it was the non-reflective water, a guy sitting nearby in his truck playing loud music (at sunrise! I don’t think you can hear it on the video), lots of cars going by so it was hard to squeeze in a video when a car wasn’t going by (we stayed there for 10 minutes to get about 40 seconds of video), and finally the battery going dead on the video camera so I had to stick with a piece of footage I was less than thrilled with instead of trying again.

This week with my WIP it was the same way: I planned and thought I could predict how things would go. I had everything all set up on the dining room table. But when it came right down to it, I was distracted and had lots of things to take care of in my house and in my life. So the editing of my manuscript had to take a back seat.

This afternoon I’ll sit down with my notebook and try to make a realistic plan for the upcoming week—building in room for distractions and unexpected things that may need my attention. Then tomorrow I’ll sit down and try a little harder.

And meanwhile…. Autumn continues to wane, with the leaves “past peak,” we’re starting to see a lot more bare branches, a reminder that winter is just around the corner!



Windy Sunrise on the Coast of Maine

(Sunday, October 16, 2011, 6:56 a.m. EST, 52 degrees F)

This morning we went to the beach overlook at sunrise—6:56 a.m. The eastern sky was streaked with beautiful pinks, oranges, and yellows. (Unfortunately we don’t face east when we take the videos; we face north!) It was very very windy this morning, so much so that it almost sounds like rain, and there were small waves cresting along the sandy point.

As we stood on the bridge, waiting for the best light for the video, our dog kept pulling MEH (My Engineer Husband) toward the path to the beach. Finally MEH relented and headed down to the beach while I took the video from the bridge…which means on this week’s video, you can see MEH and Abby strolling down the beach. While MEH was down there, he took some amazing photos of the sunrise!

As I took the video, I was excited to see a lobster boat with what we think was a “steady sail” on the back! A steady sail keeps the boat from rolling when it gets windy and the seas kick up—certainly the case today. And believe me, the wind had a definite chill to it, yet another reminder that winter is heading our way. Soon we’ll be standing on the bridge taking videos in the snow and ice, just like in our very first video postcard, Perfect (Maine) Beach Weather.


Finally, here’s one of the photos MEH took of the sunrise. Greetings from the coast of Maine!




Indian Summer on the Coast of Maine

(Saturday, October 8, 2011, 3:44 p.m. EST, 80 degrees F)

 

This week we had two nights of frost—a definite shock to my system. But today’s temperature was back up into the 80s—hitting 87 degrees at one point!

This seasonal confusion can only mean one thing: Indian summer. NOAA defines Indian Summer is “an unseasonably warm period near the middle of autumn, usually following a substantial period of cool weather.”

But here’s the thing…even though the temperatures can almost fool me into believing it’s summer again, I know it’s too good to be true. Several days ago I blogged about winter coming….today I’m taking a video of the beach looking like it’s summer. Later this week it will be fall again. Then perhaps we’ll have another dip into winter before switching back to fall once again.

Such are seasonal changes in Maine, one step forward then two steps back. On one hand, it gives us plenty of time to prepare for the next season—on the other hand, we get almost enough time to get used to one season before it changes again. Of course this can only go on so long before the inevitability of winter settles in.

Meanwhile in the garden, the zinnias have now been hit by a heavy frost, so their colors have faded to brown, but the tree leaves are starting to change colors in earnest. So we continue to have color in the garden!

Great Blue Heron on a Rainy Beach

(Saturday, October 1, 2011, 8:10 a.m. EST, 61 degrees F)



It’s been raining off and on this week, and this morning we went to the bridge overlook in the pouring rain to make our weekly video. Usually we take our videos on Sunday, but tomorrow a half marathon road race will close roads and make it impossible for us to get to the bridge.

What a difference a week makes—last week the beach (and bridge) were totally socked in with thick fog. This week, it was a beautiful, albeit wet, view. We timed our arrival with very low tide in hopes of seeing and recording some seabirds, and we were not disappointed. If you look above the tree on the left, you’ll see a Great Blue Heron (GBH) standing in the water.
But wait for it—at about the 17-second mark the GBH takes flight. It took me a few seconds to figure out why. And then I saw a dog, running down the length of the beach chasing the bird. The dog’s owner comes into sight a few seconds later. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that I didn’t get a longer look at this beautiful bird.

Meanwhile in the garden….we haven’t had a hard frost yet (which will kill most of the vegetables) so we are still harvesting the few non-blighted tomatoes, peppers, and beans. Swiss chard will survive a hard frost, and we’ll be harvesting kale until it’s buried in snow (and if it’s like last year, it will survive until next fall!).

We also had a surprise! A small crop of late new potatoes—which we combined with green pepper, spring onions, eggs, and cheese to make one of our favorite breakfast scrambles!



SLOW. Bump.

I’m telling you, it was foggy. And I don’t even remember this old car passing me. Ghosty, huh?

It’s been foggy lately, really foggy. So this morning, it was pretty audacious to think we could take our usual Sunday morning video of the beach overlook. But it didn’t stop us.
It should have stopped us because I was already in a bad mood. And we didn’t have much time.

Standing in our usual spot on the bridge, in the fog, I began to realize the folly of our way. We made several strategic errors this morning.

1. It’s foggy. Really foggy. You can’t see anything in the video. Nothing. Except the trees right in front of our face.

2. The traffic wouldn’t stop going by. And then, they would slow waaayyyy down as they passed us. For the first time ever, it seemed that people wondered What are they looking at?I was afraid someone would actually stop and ask me something like: Are you that weird blogger who posted a video of me walking my dog on the beach? (Thankfully no one stopped, but at least 10 cars went by and every single car slowed down. Every single one.)

3. We brought the dog. We rarely bring the dog. She (a) would not stop panting, I’m pretty sure you can hear her in the video, and (b) a well-meaning, very nice runner stopped to talk to her in the middle of one of my attempts to make the video. I’m pretty sure you can hear her (the runner, not the dog) talking to MEH (My Engineer Husband) at the end of the video.

4. I was going to wait a few minutes (after the traffic cleared and the runner went by) and make another video. But the camera’s batteries died. And we didn’t bring any back ups.

5. I thought about waiting until the fog cleared and going back and taking another video with new batteries. But instead, we need to return a coffee pot we bought yesterday (it leaks water all over the counter because it has a broken float). And we need to buy a dishwasher because that’s leaking on the floor and doesn’t get the dishes clean anymore. (MEH tried to fix it last night, but there’s too much wrong with it to make it worth the money to repair.)

6. Did I mention I’m trying to edit that first draft?

True confession time. I was grumpy. Really really grumpy. So, finally we gave up and sad to say, stuck with a video that you can see practically nothing of interest in (on viewing it at home, I did notice there is some nice birdsong in it, though!). We turned around to leave. As we did, yet another car slowed down. I grumbled to MEH. “Really? Another car slowing down? If they ask me what I’m looking at, I’m going to say: ‘didn’t you see the 7 moose right on the other side of the bridge?’”
Just then I noticed the sign about 8 feet from where I was standing: SLOW, Bump. And then I noticed the area under construction on the other side of the bridge, that drivers were clearly slowing down to avoid.

So, apparently everything really isn’t all about me. Not today anyway.

Ever had one of those days?

Cheers,

Julia


p.s. Oh, here’s the video.

(Sunday, September 17, 2011, 8:25 a.m. EST, 68 degrees F)

Quiet Stillness on the Coast of Maine

Sunday, September 11, 2011, 7:50 a.m. EST, 50 degrees F



For the first time this late summer, it was colder than 50F degrees when we got up to take the dog for a walk. I’m here to say that 48.9F feels pretty cold after a hotter-than-average summer, and I’m a little nervous about the impending winter.

By the time we got to the bridge overlook it was just 50 degrees on the water. A beautiful, glorious clear day with almost no clouds in the sky. The video is remarkable by its uneventfulness.

We talked to two birders today (first ones we’ve encountered on these Sunday mornings!): one, a young man on the bridge with binoculars and a camera with a long telephoto lens—photographing “migratory birds” he said. I asked him what kind, and he simply responded: “oh, loads.” The woman, who we met on the way down to the beach (we took our dog down to walk by the water), when asked if she’d seen anything interesting, first said…. “oh, a little,” and then casually commented on a “Pileated” (Woodpecker) that was exhibiting “weird behavior.”

I found it mildly intriguing that for the first time in seven months we met our first birders by the bridge—and this time two of them—and both independently were looking in the same direction and seemed to be purposeful in their activities. Yet both were vague with what they were looking for when we asked them and were not very specific in what they had seen. My vivid writer’s imagination kicked into overdrive.

Meanwhile in the garden….wabi-sabi is setting in, and I am trying to enjoy the late-summer overgrown and fading garden. We continue to harvest eggplant, beans, tomatoes, and many other vegetables. We made two large pots of tomato sauce this week. And we will harvest apples from our apple tree for the first time since we moved into the house more than 10 years ago—for some reason it’s apparently a good year for apples!

The row of sunflowers outside our living room window is now about 9 feet tall!


First Signs of Fall on the Coast of Maine

Sunday, September 4, 2011, 8:20 a.m. EST, 70 degrees F




It’s hard to believe what a difference a week makes: last week Hurricane Irene was looming and this week the water was as calm as calm can be. (However, the overall stillness of this week’s video is broken by the cars going by and a guy—out of camera view—arguing with his dog about going up the hill, away from the beach, to his car. I want to make sure to point out it’s a dog, lest you think he’s talking to a child—like I first did!)


“Pepper Pete,” as MEH (My Engineer
Husband) has nicknamed the potted
pepper plants, continues to produce
beautiful green and red peppers!

Fall is in the air. Not only are the leaves changing on some trees, including the ones within camera view, but the days are getting shorter. We hear crickets at night, the birds are flocking and starting to migrate, and school starts on Tuesday. Labor Day weekend is generally regarded as the end of tourist season in Maine, and even though we’ll still get some “outer-staters” coming in, things will start to quiet down and eventually wind down to winter.


Still, that’s a ways off, with leaf peeper season starting soon. Our peak season, when most of the leaves are at their height of color, may be earlier than the average mid-October; if you want to follow along, the state of Maine has a website with the weekly foliage report, starting on September 14.

The sadness of “late blight” on the tomatoes:
ultimately the whole plant will die, but
it’s a race between the blight and first
frost at this point!
Meanwhile in the garden….we still have as many tomatoes as we want (although unfortunately most of the plants have developed something called “late blight,” which will ultimately rot the fruit), pole beans, Swiss chard, lots of basil, winter squash, carrots, turnips, and kale. If the season lasts long enough, we may get a second crop of potatoes and hopefully some beets—it’s not been a good year for us with beets and our first planting didn’t produce even one!

What are the season changes bringing to your part of the world, if any? Does fall bring changes to your writing and household routines?


Cheers,
Julia

Waiting for Irene: Coastal Video of Maine

Sunday, August 28, 2011, 7:01 a.m. EST, 68 degrees F, average windspeed 14 mph


We headed to the bridge overlook early this morning. The National Weather Service just issued a hurricane warning for Maine, and we knew we wouldn’t want to take a video when the wind got any stronger. At the 14 mph wind speed, with a light but steady rain, we could feel change in the air.
One of the worst things about being in Maine right now is that we are at the northern edge of this huge hurricane as it works its way north. The anticipation is terrible, especially because our nearest and dearest, our two children, are in Boston and Philadelphia—two places that are also on Irene’s massive track. We have other relatives all along Irene’s path—in Maryland, New York City, southern coastal Connecticut, and coastal Massachusetts—so we certainly have our eyes on the weather. Hearing the news of devastation and damage and power outages to our south portends things to come but also raises our worries for our dear ones.

Hurricane harvest… it hasn’t been the best of gardening years
as I talked about in last week’s post, here
In Maine, it’s unclear if we’ll get a hurricane or “just” a tropical storm out of Irene. Regardless of its label, no doubt we’ll get high winds and lots of rain. We’re hoping for the best but prepared for the worst: radio, nonperishable food, propane for our camp stove, put away all outside furniture and anything else that could become airborne. Lots of people we know who have boats pulled them out of the water, but there were still many boats left in the harbor that we saw when we went to shoot the video this morning.

We talked about evacuating, even tried to check out evacuation routes (although a call to the town hall resulted in the suggestion: “drive to higher ground.”) Most of the Mainers I’ve talked to don’t seem too concerned, shrugging it off: “A big storm” and “We’ll probably lose power.” Our 90-year-old neighbor is staying put, saying: “I won’t leave my house.” 


Of course if we’re told to leave, we’ll leave.

It seems like I’m the only one who admits I’m afraid. (Thank goodness we no longer have cable TV or I’d probably be a basket case.) And yet the grocery store is packed with people, and all bulk water is gone from the shelves. Not a radio can be found at nearby L.L. Bean.
These pepper plants are the best we’ve ever grown,
and we weren’t about to lose them in this storm!
Meanwhile in the garden… yesterday was hurricane harvest day. We picked all the ripe and almost-ripe tomatoes and as many pole beans as we could easily find. Most everything else—kale, cabbage, root crops, herbs, eggplant—is low to the ground and will fend for itself. MEH (My Engineer Husband) tethered the pole beans so they wouldn’t fall over in the storm, and we brought our huge pepper pot—holding two heavily laden-with-peppers-plants into the house.


How has Hurricane Irene affected you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and sound.

Cheers,
Julia


Foggy Morning Birdlife on the Coast of Maine

Sunday, August 21, 2011, 8:40 a.m. EST, 68 degrees F




The day started out with pea-soup fog. I wanted to capture a sunrise in the video because they’ve been so beautiful lately, but at 5:30 on the foggy dog walk this morning I realized there was no hope. Instead, we waited until later this morning, mid-tide, and went to the bridge overlook as the fog began to burn off. And what a reward for our waiting: just as we arrived we saw an osprey diving toward the water.


Minutes later, as we began the video a large bird, I assume a gull, lands at the very end of the point. Then about 30 seconds into the video, a Great Blue Heron flies into view and lands right next to the large bird. What an amazing, beautiful, and peaceful morning video punctuated only by the sound of a solo runner, one car, and me snapping photos in the background. This is one of my favorite videos we’ve shot because it really captures the feeling, sights, and sounds of the place: its stillness yet life.




And meanwhile in the garden…. it’s looking like late summer. Unfortunately many of the plants (black-eyed Susans, squash, pumpkin, beans, and even the tomatoes) have developed some “late blight” and other mildews—which generally means the plant will die. Harvests have been way down this year as compared to last. Still, we ate our first eggplant this week, and we are harvesting lots of tomatoes, spring onions, a few pole beans, kale, the last of the zucchini, and a few small turnips.


In the photo of the garden this week, the morning glories—volunteers from last year—have made it to the top of the basketball hoop. I love this photo because it represents the perfect garden to me, a mixture of flowers and vegetables, natural yet slightly structured. I also love having the basketball hoop as a garden framework because of the memories it invokes of happy family games.


Cheers,
Julia

Dog Days of Summer

I took today’s video yesterday because bright and early today we left to take our daughter back to college (junior year) out of state.  She’s only been home a week from her internship, so it’s hard to say goodbye! It’s always a bittersweet trip that you can read about it in this post


Saturday, August 13, 2011, 2:09 p.m. EST, 86 degrees F
Meanwhile in the garden…the weeds and everything else (like the vegetables) are growing like crazy. We’ve been harvesting beans, tomatoes, Swiss chard, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, kale, turnips, lettuce, carrots, raspberries, blueberries, basil, oregano, chives, cilantro…I think I got everything—there’s a lot! (Don’t worry, I won’t list all the lovely weeds we’re growing!)



A frequent visiting garden grazer is Abby, our black lab. She will eat
almost anything but especially loves snow peas (which are now all gone
so she’s settling for this yellow bean). Sorry about the poor quality
photo but I only had my iPhone with me!


Cheers,
Julia

Lovely Summer Evening on the Coast of Maine

Saturday, July 16, 2011, 8:44 p.m. EST, 77 degrees F


The weather remains hot this week—so we decided to go to the beach overlook last night at dusk to try to catch a cool breeze. We were not disappointed: it was breezy and beautiful. The leaves rustled and the water moved in light ripples against the sand bar. Even though we only saw one lone personstanding on the point of the sand barthere were eight cars in the parking lot. We heard voices on the other side of the bridge. People were out walking to enjoy the lovely, cool evening.



Meanwhile in the garden….it’s all about the animals: wild and domestic. 


This week we’ve harvested potatoes, spring onions, lettuce, fava beans, basil, peas, and snow peas. I always forget from year to year how much our black lab loves snow peas; she happily munches as many as we’ll let her have—and when we turn our back she chews them right off the plant!


And one morning this week we came out to find all the bean plants nibbled off at the top—and deer tracks in the mud!  Luckily the deer didn’t kill the plants, instead only nibbling some leaves off each plant! Since then new leaves have sprouted and the plants are flowering. Soon we’ll have beans from the garden.

It’s hard to see (unless you zoom in) but deer have nibbled off
the tops of these bean plants!

And here’s the evidence: deer tracks next to the basil and beans.

Cheers (and happy summer!),
Julia

"Vacationland" Real-live Beach Day Video

Sunday, July 10, 2011, 10:34 a.m. EST, 80 degrees F

It took forever, but we finally got one: a real-live beach day! On days like this Maine earns it’s nickname Vacationland! (Sorry for the car traffic sounds; the bridge overlook was busy today so we couldn’t avoid it in the background like we usually do.)

And meanwhile in the garden…


Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) with Coreopsis in the background

Perfect Writing Weather Video from the Coast of Maine

Note to my faithful readers and commenters: If you left a comment to one of my blog postings earlier this week, it is very possible that it was lost in the great Blogger crash at the end of last week! I realized this morning that at least 8 comments that were originally posted on the blog about Marilyn Johnson’s visit to Portland and several to the guest post by Jane Roper are no longer there, and (although I haven’t checked) I assume the same is true for other postings. If you left a comment on my blog and I didn’t answer, I am so sorry; it’s only because I never received it or can no longer retrieve it. I thank you for your continued interest in wordsxo!

Sunday, May 15, 2011, 1:07 p.m. EST, 50 degrees F

A rainy day in Maine, a bit on the parky side (perfect word of the day from wordnik.com!), so once again we had our jackets on as we stood on the bridge overlook in inclement weather. You can even see the umbrella popping into the shot about 12 seconds in!

You’d hardly recognize it from a week ago, when someone walked her dogs on the beach. But that’s the way spring is here in Maine: two steps forward, one back, and then we fall headlong into summer, never knowing what hit us!

Today, everything is green and lovelyalbeit a bit soggy; the leaves seem to have come on full throttle overnight. The ducks are happy as, well, ducks, and if you had smell-a-vision you’d be able to know what a clam flat smells like. Take my word for it, it’s distinctive but “not a perfume that would sell well,” as MEH (My Engineer Husband) says. More of an aquired taste. Out of camera view, there are more and more lobster buoys bobbing on the water, too, marking where the traps are below.

Now back home….because this weather is perfect for writing!

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? Parky? Or balmy?


Cheers,
Julia

5 Reasons to Celebrate May Day (Hint: 1 is a sunrise video)

Sunday, May 1, 2011, 5:35 a.m. EST, 42 degrees F

5 Reasons to Celebrate this May Day
1 This day marks the twelfth wordsxo video at the beach overlook—the first was on February 13 when the beach was covered with snow! At 5:35 a.m. this morning, as the sun rose over Casco Bay, we celebrated the beauty and inspiration of life on the Coast of Maine—it was windy and felt quite cold but it was incredibly peaceful and amazingly beautiful. An early morning low tide coincided with a pink sunrise that reflected on the water and sand. The video does not do justice to the reflective light or the serenity. However, you can see the birch catkins, birds flying and searching for food on the beach, and the tide coming in.

2 This is also May Day. One of the earliest celebrations of this day was in pre-Christian times with the festival of Flora, the Roman Goddess of Flowers. This early celebration continues in modern times with events like dancing around Maypoles, crowning a queen of May, and giving of (often anonymous) May baskets. This morning, in that spirit, I gave two of my older neighbors sweet little May baskets (one is in this photo).

3 May 1 also marks International Workers Day, a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the labor movement. According to Wikipedia, the idea for this “workers holiday” began in April 1856 after an Australian Stonemason’s victory. The choice of May 1 as a holiday date can be traced to 1886 after the notorious Haymarket Affair—a three-day general strike in Chicago (involving “laborers, artisans, merchants and immigrants”) that resulted in a dozen deaths after police opened fire on unarmed protesters.

4 It’s garden planting day! Today we will at long last plant the arugula seeds that have been sitting on my window sill since I wrote this blog. As it is still very early in the spring, and there was actually some frost this morning, we will only plant the very hardiest early spring plants: peas, lettuce, spinach, French breakfast radishes, and—of course—arugula!

5 Today is the kickoff of the 2011 Wordcount Blogathon (4th annual)! During this month, 165 or more bloggers (including me!) will blog every day for 31 days. From organizer Michelle V. Rafter’s blog WordCount: Freelancing in the Digital Age:

The WordCount Blogathon is an annual event that brings together professional writers and anyone else with a blog for the purpose of improving what they do by posting to their respective blogs every day during the month of May.

What are you celebrating this first day of the lovely month of May?

Cheers and Happy May Day!

Julia




p.s. One bonus reason to celebrate (too late to include as #6) it’s the 160th anniversary of the first World’s Fair!

Happy Easter Video from the Coast of Maine

Sunday, April 24, 2011, 7:30 a.m. EST, 46 degrees F






A beautiful tranquil start to the day on the bridge overlook: mid-tide with calm waters. It was foggy first thing this morning, but the fog is clearing and it looks like it will become a bright sunny day. There are birds and ducks of many kinds, swimming and flying; and you can hear a song sparrow singing in the background, just off camera! For the first time, we are starting to see the boat moorings out, but no boats yet. (p.s. I accidentally bumped the video camera while I was videotaping, sorry about the brief shaking!)

Stormy Day Video Postcards from the Coast of Maine

Sunday, April 17, 2011, 9:08 a.m. EST, 49 degrees F



A fast moving storm created one of the most dramatic videos since we started this video postcard series—as we caught the northern fringe of the storm that spawned southern tornadoes. Standing on the bridge, I realized the weather matched my mood and feelings perfectly: wildly unsettled. 


I am amazed at the difference in videos between this week and last! With the low vs. high tide view, combined with the storm, you wouldn’t know it was the same place unless you were standing there yourself. We took a video on the other side of the bridge, too, where the waves were about as dramatic as they ever get in Casco Bay—nothing compared to ocean beaches, but very choppy and rough for the nearshore islands. (Bonus dramatic moment in video: If you listen carefully in the second video, you can hear a startled exclamation from me to MEH (My Engineer Husband), the “videographer.”)


On our way out to the bridge overlook, we had to drive over downed-electrical wires (we made sure it was safe first!). The 40 to 50 mph winds this morning have caused about 15,000 power outages in Maine. I am fervently hoping we avoid losing our power!

Downed electrical wires on the way to the bridge overlook

Beach Day video postcard from the Coast of Maine with love from wordsxo

Saturday, April 9, 2011, 9:30 a.m. EST, 56 degrees F

For the first time since we started making these video postcards, it actually felt comfortable to stand on the bridge overlook to the small island beach. There was no wind to speak of, the sun was shining, and it was in the mid 50s. 


(Here’s a link to the very first video postcard we posted on wordsxo. It was quite a different scene, with snow and ice on the beach. Looking at it makes me very cold (29 degrees with brutal wind chill), but it also makes me very glad we switched to posting the videos via youtube. The quality is so much better!)
On the drive to the bridge, people were out: cleaning up their yards, walking, running, and bikingbut mostly just glad to be out after a long winter of cabin fever! When we arrived at the overlook, besides the sweet family on the beach, we also saw a clammer and a couple walking their dog. A group of bicyclists rode by on the bridge, too.

You can’t see it in the video, but the buoys marking lobster traps are popping up more and more. Here’s a photo of lobster boats we took on a jaunt to Bailey Island, Maine, yesterday afternoon.



Sunny Sunday Video Postcard from the Coast of Maine with love from wordsxo

Sunday, April 3, 2011, 9:20 a.m. EST, 50 degrees F

The video is a little grainy because it’s windy today—it seems like every day is windy on the beach overlook these days! Yet, there’s a distinct change in the air. Many, many more birds of all kinds: gulls, ducks, and even pigeons. A few lobster trap bouys are starting to show up in the water (none on the video). At mid-tide going out, with the wind blowing, the waves are bigger than usual with even an occasional whitecap. People are out walking today on the road and bridge, more than I’ve seen in a while.
We had 8 inches of snow day before yesterday—with a lot still on the ground, so I bundled up in my down jacket and wool hat and gloves, even wore my L.L. Bean boots. But it definitely feels like way too much today. It’s spring!

Here’s a bonus video of a gull we saw eating a fish.



Two Video Postcards from the Coast of Maine with love from wordsxo

Note: We’ve been pretty disappointed with the quality of Blogger video uploads, so today for the first time we first uploaded the video to youtube. I’m glad to say that by doing it this way, the video postcard is of much higher quality. 


Sunday, March 27, 8:35 a.m. EST, 32 degrees F

We went to the bridge overlook twice this morning: once at sunrise and again at 8:35.


The first time (video shown below) reminded me of the old saying: pink sky in morning, sailors take warning; pink sky at night, sailor’s delight. It was very peaceful with gently lapping waves from the outgoing tide. Although the video was beautiful, it’s fairly unremarkable in lack of movement other than the water ripples, with no birds in sight.


By the time we returned at 8:35 (video shown above), the wind had picked up and it felt much colder with wind chill. It’s a little discouraging because it feels a lot more like winter than it does like spring. But that’s the way the seasons are in Maine: one step forward and then two back. I wish the wind weren’t so fierce, so you could hear all the bird life; we’re pretty sure we also heard seals, probably from a farther away rock ledge where they like to hang out. The gulls and ducks and other birds float by in this video, which is fun to watch. Still, I can’t help but shiver as I watch them, glad that I can go home to a hot cup of coffee!


Sunday, March 27, 6:35 a.m. EST, 20 degrees F

Happy Vernal Equinox from the Coast of Maine with love from wordsxo

Saturday, March 19, 2011, 5:40 p.m. EST, 42 degrees F



We missed the official low tide (5:38 p.m.) by just two minutes, but the tide was plenty low—fully exposing the mud flats. Even though it was 5 degrees warmer than last week, it felt much colder because the wind was howling!

Still, signs of life continue to pick up: if you look closely, you can see two walkers with their dog at the very tip of the sand bar. The birds are everywhere, very active: swimming, flying, and feeding in the mud. All the snow and is gone on the beach, and most of it is gone on the pathway to the beach. It’s really starting to feel like spring (which is good because today is the first real day of Spring!!). Happy Vernal Equinox!

One final note, we returned to the bridge overlook during the Super Full Moon rising last night—spectacular—reflecting an orange-red streak across the water. We took a video, but it just did not do it justice, so I won’t post it here. Take my word for it: breathtaking and well worth the second trip to the bridge overlook! Incredibly inspirational!

Sunrise Video Postcard from the Coast of Maine with love from wordsxo

Sunday, March 13, 2011, 6:57 a.m. EST, 37 degrees F

Daylight savings morning at sunrise; MEH (My Engineer Husband) and I stand on the bridge overlooking the “beach.” Although this morning, at high tide, you’d never know there was a beach. The calm, shimmering water covers the sand bar. And it looks more like a lake than an ocean.

It reminds me of a story. When we first moved here, our realtor Dave was driving us around to look at houses. Dave said he was going to take us out to an island where there was a house for sale. Being from the western U.S., I was intrigued: live on an island?

After driving for a while, we came to a causeway (Dave had to explain to me that this is another word for bridge), and we crossed over to the island—past the exact spot we take these video postcards. Used to the Pacific Ocean, the water seemed so incredibly calm and glassy. “Like a lake,” I commented to Dave.

Dave said: “That reminds me of a client I once took around looking at houses, and when we crossed the causeway, she said: ‘What lake is this?’” Dave laughed and shook his head.

That story always stuck with me. Every time I crossed the bridge to our new house (yes, we ended up living on the island for several years), I thought of Dave, his client, and how some of the time Casco Bay can look like a lake. Especially if you’re not from around these parts—and don’t know what to look for.

This morning is quiet, calm, and incredibly beautiful, difficult to describe in words so I’m glad we took the video. It’s overcast, and the sun rises pink behind clouds to our right, casting an even glow across to the main land. The “lake” that is Casco Bay is coming to life after a long winter. Ducks, geese, gulls, and other shorebirds are everywhere: swimming, perching, flying. The sounds surround us—we hear spring: small ripples lapping the shore, flapping of wings, splashes as ducks dive and dunk under water. I was hoping to see a seal, but not this morning.

I enjoy coming to this spot each week to record these videos, to really see and hear my surroundings, instead of just driving by on the bridge. It makes me stop and think about what’s around me, sense it, feel it, and remember the beauty of the place I live. It’s good for my writing and good for my life.

Cheers,

Julia

p.s. Are there landmarks you pass everyday that bring back stories? What helps you see and really notice the things around you?

Video Postcard: Small Signs of Spring from the Coast of Maine

Recorded Saturday, March 5, 4:30 p.m., 42 degrees F



The tide was lower and there were more signs of spring today at the beach overlook on Coastal Maine. No snow on the beach or ice in the water, and if you look closely you might be able to see the birds (white gulls) on both the beach and in the water swimming. They looked cold, but it was good to see life on the beach! You can also see bigger waves and a few small whitecaps–the water was quite rough.

It’s hard to believe it’s the beginning of March and still so cold. The thermometer says 42 degrees F (up 10 degrees from last week), but with the wind it is still no fun to be outside! But spring is in the air: there are buds on the trees, the sun is higher in the sky, and birds are returning after the long winter and we can hear their songs.

Coming up soon in the video postcards: boats in the water, people walking on the beach, children wading, and clammers digging clams on the mudflats. I can’t wait!