Photographing Wildlife

I looked outside my window at 6:50 a.m. this morning and saw Cider who also saw me. He gets very animated when we make eye contact. It was going to start raining the next hour followed by at least two days of a mix of snow and ice. I knew it might be my only chance to get my Christmas card photo before he went underground until spring!

It can be challenging working with non-traditional models. You can’t make an appointment with them for a photo shoot because it’s on their terms and timeline. They will NOT work for free. You will have to pay the talent in seed currency as you go, no exceptions.

Although I had just dressed and my hair was still wet I ran outside with my vintage Christmas photo props and jar of seeds. I didn’t even pause to put on a coat despite it being 40 degrees.

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Passing Beauty and My New Friend

Maine’s autumnal show ain’t over til it’s over! There is still much to appreciate right now including my new chipmunk friend, Cider. At first I thought he lived in my neighbor’s yard but I followed him home and see that he’s living on the other side of my house. About four days ago Buster and Ricky went south (a few feet) underground for the winter so they aren’t here to chase Cider away. Sunny is still awake but I know that she, too will soon be in torpor for winter and the passing of summer’s growth will be complete once it’s covered with a cold white blanket. Thankfully that’s not happening in the near future!

Here are some pics I just took to share all this remaining loveliness with you, including Cider’s audition to be a model.

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Late October Gratitude

“A snug and a clean home, no matter how tiny it be, so that it be wholesome; windows into which the sun can shine cheerily; a few good books (and who need be without a few good books in these days of universal cheapness?)–no duns at the door, and the cupboard well supplied, and with a flower in your room! There is none so poor as not to have about him these elements of pleasure.” -Samuel Smiles, Eliza Cook’s Journal, 1850

There was a lone late October rose growing on one of the bushes that I cut and placed in a stem vase today. I came across the above quote minutes afterward! It really speaks to me. One doesn’t need to be poor or have a large, modern kitchen to enjoy the many riches to be found in the simple things! Here are some more gifts I’m appreciating right now:

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Vintage Recipe: 1930s New England Apple Brown Betty

This simple, wholesome recipe for New England Brown Betty is made with a handful of ingredients and is adapted from my 1936 copy of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book. It’s a good way to make use of stale bread, too, which I happened to have handy. Speaking of handy things, I also made my first-ever batch of 100% hand whipped cream with my new rotary beater! It wasn’t difficult at all!

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Beware The Pickpockets Lurking In Your House!

During this past summer our tub with old fixtures and 1950s plumbing behind the wall was leaking hot water. I placed a cup underneath the faucet and based upon the number of cups filled per hour I found an online water usage calculator which revealed we would be paying about $80 annually for that drip! Wayne was unable to fix it himself because of the outdated valve and location of the washers behind the wall. We were able to find an excellent licensed plumber who specializes in older homes who did some major surgery/upgrades behind the wall and then put in brand new fixtures. That $450 repair still saves us $350 since we plan to be in our home for at least another ten years. Also, if a washer goes Wayne can now change it himself instead of having to call a plumber. That’s the good news.

Our gentleman plumber, along in his years, shared a story with us about his rotary phone that at the time seemed crazy: It was literally stealing money from him! It turns out your smart phone might be doing it, too and it happened to Wayne!

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A Chairlift into the Clouds, a Carousel Ride into the 19th Century & More!

What a weekend! This is a long post loaded with pics and videos. 

Early Saturday morning our first stop on the way to Sunday River for the fall foliage chairlift ride was breakfast at Shipyard Brewhaus in Newry. Wayne ordered the S.O.S. and I ordered the corned beef hash omelette which was delicious. 

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Opting Out From Planned Obsolescence

I purchased the vintage 1950s percolator above new in the box at a rummage sale three summers ago for $1 and I’ve made wonderful coffee in it every morning since. It’s a relic from an era when things were made to last. Now planned obsolescence is part of our consumer economy over which we have little control forcing us to spend and trash, spend and trash.

Most recently I had to buy a new computer (and may have to upgrade my Office for an annual subscription fee of $70 [you can’t just buy Office 365], subject to price increases, of course). When I bought my house ten years ago the wall oven died shortly thereafter because a computer component malfunctioned and they stopped manufacturing the replacement. The entire oven was therefore trash. My washing machine stopped functioning properly a few years ago, and that, too, was due to a computer part that was no longer available. The replacement cost for both combined was about $2,000, all due to planned obsolescence.

When it’s possible to not pay into “the cost of living in today’s world” I’m on it! Here are some recent examples:

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Yankee Thrift Foiled by Bill Gates

My desktop computer is an older model that I’m perfectly happy with but it’s running Windows 7 for which Microsoft, in January, will no longer support with security updates. Having antivirus software won’t be enough to protect my machine/hard drive. Because my perfectly good machine isn’t built for updating to a later version, I need a new computer which I ordered online today for $500 (the lower end of the spectrum).

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I Met The humble Farmer!

In the late 1980s I was an undergrad at the University of Maine in Orono and naively believed that because I grew up in Manhattan that I had seen and heard everything. So when I took a break from listening to my Joy Division, Agnostic Front and old school rap cassettes on my boom box in the dorm I turned on the radio–Maine Public Radio. Some farmer with a wicked heavy Maine accent had a show where he talked about Maine things with a very deadpan delivery. I wasn’t sure if he was a kook or a quirky genius. All I knew then is that his voice and program in which his commentary was interspersed with jazz was very relaxing. For me that was valuable because it has taken me many years to unwind and I’m not sure I every will completely. I also appreciated that he was the polar opposite of all I had heard growing up which made him kind of subversive.

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Vintage Recipe: Margaret Chase Smith’s Blueberry Cake

After months of denying rumors that she would seek the top of the Republican ticket or the vice presidential nomination, inspirational Mainer Senator Margaret Chase Smith announced her run for President in January, 1964.

“I have few illusions and no money, but I’m staying for the finish,” she noted, “When people keep telling you, you can’t do a thing, you kind of like to try.”

Although she wasn’t elected, Mrs. Smith was the first woman to have her name put in for nomination for the presidency by a major political party. She also created a winning Maine classic: Margaret Chase Smith’s Blueberry Cake. This delightful recipe is from an undated vintage very well-loved pamphlet in my collection, “Maine Blueberry Recipes…” Seventh Edition, Published by The Maine Department of Agriculture.

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