The summer has got by me and I think this is only my second “mess” of shore greens. It may also be the last as it is September already. I always loved these greens best as a child, perhaps it’s the saltiness or perhaps it’s because they always came from my very special Grandfather. He would pick them and cook them with new potatoes and salt pork add butter and vinegar when done and it was a true treat. I now leave out the salt pork but use plenty of butter.
I am so glad I made him take my sister and I out to the bay in his later years to get a lesson in which plant it actually is (we had to have our bags dumped once because of picking the wrong thing) and how to pick it.
My own house is right on the bay as I never wanted a time when I could not gather these delicious greens.
Today It was cloudy and windy. I found a horseshoe crab shed. Ducks and seagulls were playing in the wind. One lone red leaf landed on seaweed. I filled my basket and it started to pour! I ran back to the house just in the nick of time.
A Sunday in April in Moss Hollow turned out to be warm and sunny and full of great accomplishments. The herb garden got cleaned out and the chives divided and replanted. The overgrown oregano found a new home where it can stretch out. The soil is ready and waiting for some new plants, but I must be patient and remember April is a fickle month. (So is every other month in Moss Hollow, Maine.) The little kitchen garden under the flower patch is waiting for lettuces, peas, beans, and onions that are just starting inside.
The rest of the day I walked around the mossy woods looking for spring signs of fairies and gnomes. I think they have been here but will know better after the ferns come up. The brooks are still babbling and no black flies yet. The most perfect little blue scillia flowers are blooming all over the place. Perhaps the fairies are here after all.
Moss is everywhere! and remnants of past caretakers of The Hollow in the form of a funny iron face sculpture.
This little barn has been standing in our next door neighbor’s yard for all of my life. As you can see it is falling forward and the windows are broken. What you cannot see is the huge gaping hole through the roof on the back side. It was scheduled for demolition this past summer. While drooling through Pinterest photos of a similar nature, I remembered that we have this beauty just outside my door, so I dragged my props over and snapped these. (I did get permission) I am so glad our local fire department was a bit slow with the demolition. I am going back in an hour or so to see how the sun changes.
They have arrived! A breath of fresh Maine Woods is in the house and barn and dooryard. Really, you cannot imagine the wonderful memories and emotions conjured with just one brief whiff of these beauties. All the worry and stress of shipping costs and moss gathering and bow making and pinecone wiring and box size issues…comes to a halt as soon as the first load comes through the door. http://www.winterwreaths.com
We did this thing last year, we bought a mail order wreath business. It keeps us very well occupied for a few months. We are learning new things and meeting new and old friends. I grew up in what used to be called “The Christmas Tree Capital of the World” so it feels like I have finally joined the ranks of the hard working woods folk of DownEast Maine. It is great to visit with childhood friends. A lot of red and black plaid gets worn around here
Among the old and tattered things in this house is an autograph book that my mother found at an antique store. She was attracted to things like this because of the superb handwriting and lovely sentiments inside the worn pages. I had a fun afternoon looking through this one that was laying on a shelf unnoticed for some years. I bet she bought it for the wonderful velvet cover and the sweet and humorous poems inside. Also, the name of one of the ‘signatees’ has the same name as my Great Aunt that lived with us. This book starts with signatures from “Grand Central Station”? in 1886 and ends with one from 1929. I have no idea what Grand Central Station is referring to as they all had Hancock County addresses and to my knowledge there was no such station here.
Have fun reading (trying to) the pages that I photographed.
Mostly the boys signed with with just their names. I do wonder what all those quotation marks mean, seems as though there were some personal jokes! I also wonder how they would feel all these years later knowing that their words are on the web. I feel some guilt…But not too much.
I need to research more, I have always wondered if these poems were memorized for just such occasion as a friend pulling out her autograph book or how many were made up on the spot. These are such fun looks into the past.
Today is Book Group Day. It is my turn to host. My house is not quite ready for guests, (see Winter Sewing) so I am having it at my cousin’s. Our group is perhaps a bit more about the food than the books we read and being hostess means crafting some sort of fabulous soup to go with all the other pot luck items. We are rarely disappointed so when it is my turn I feel a tiny bit of stress to come up with something a) different and b) edible.
You might remember me talking a little about snow this winter. Well it hasn’t stopped yet. A snow day from school again. While the white stuff was piling up outside and a 40 car pile up was being cleaned up in Bangor (very scary stuff) and my husband took off to sno-blow ours and the neighbors’ yards I pulled out all the things I bought yesterday for my soups (2) and realized it was another blog post in the making! I searched through all my cook books and the recipes I decided on were Asparagus Vichyssoise and Lettuce Soup. Both from this cookbook
Here are some photos of the process, I think you will see why I felt Okay about posting this on Gathering Greens! When life gives you white, go green any way you can.
Oh I forgot to tell you what we are reading this week.
A Maine story and author, no snow involved. (well maybe a little)
I just found this book at a nearby library and decided to bring it home on a whim, after all, it is way past Christmas and we are all a bit tired of winter around here. I am happy that I allowed myself this opportunity. I was attracted initially, I think by the “Little House” quality of the pictures and of course the old fashionedness. (I know that is not a word) I now love it because of the tree. That apple tree is reminding me of my own from my early years, right outside this door. Mine is not doing too well these days but is well over 100 years old and still hanging on, barely.
This book, “Apple Tree Christmas” by Trinka Hakes Noble was published in 1984 by Dial Books for Young Readers, New York. I believe she also did the illustrations as the dedication page says,
‘For my wise and wonderful Father, who made a drawing board for me many years ago… on which I drew this book for him, many years later…’
In this book the family still live in a cozy, barn “apartment” with the animals below as the father has not had time to build the house yet. They are preparing for winter by picking apples to save for cider, pies, the horse and Christmas decorations from the large and lovely apple tree in their yard. Once the apples are harvested the girls can get back to their tree house activities. One likes to swing from a vine that grows with the tree and the other, the author, likes to sit in her special spot that she calls her studio, to draw. As Christmas approaches they must batten down the hatches and stay inside as a three day blizzard comes. (We can relate this year!) The blizzard takes down their tree. The only thing Dad can do is chop it up for firewood to keep them warm. The girls are very sad about losing their friend. Enjoying the Christmas preparations is not easy this year. Ah, but Dad has a plan, as he is chopping away down below, he saves the very most important parts of the tree for special, always to be remembered, presents. He hangs the vine from the rafters for a swing and he built a desk from the “studio” branch.
This picture is what is left of my childhood tree. It is hard to tell with all the snow but it sits close to our driveway, below a stone wall. It had a natural border of bushes and smaller trees so it was close by home but still private. This limb is one of two that used to run parallel. The other is gone now but was right underneath this one and ran along the ground until meeting a large rock and then swung up and over the rock. It was my house, my horse, my garden and kitchen, elephants on safari, whatever we happened to be playing at the time. The best part were the two rocks that were right underneath. The large roundish one made the perfect throne with the flowering limb right above and the other was a flat, moss covered wonder that made the perfect floor to all the games we could come up with. Paradise really.
Someone recently asked if I wanted him to prune and take away the dead parts in return for apples for a cider press. He can have all the apples he wants but I don’t think I will let him do the trimming, yet. Maybe someday I’ll be ready for my own desk or horse made from that branch.
This is the look we are dreaming of these days.