really enjoying the kitchen!


Posted: May 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: fun, kitchen, life | No Comments »


cooking dinner

It feels like such a luxury to finally have a real kitchen, with a sink and oven and everything. I can finally cook! We still have a lot of work to do on the kitchen, but we’re feeling so happy with what we’ve got so far.

dinner!

family brunch o wonderful vegetables


spring clean-up


Posted: April 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: life, slow progress, yard | No Comments »


before

yuck.

Now that the snow’s melted, the yard is looking ghastly. Mud, dead grass, all that crap and garbage we forgot about when the snow hid it in the fall. There was just a lot of flotsam and jetsam scattering the yard when we moved in last year – dozens of big plastic toys, two deflated swimming pools, all kinds of old tires, metal roofing pieces blown off from the deteriorating barn, etc. We started hauling away some of it last year, but there’s still a lot left. Anyway, we decided this summer’s going to be the summer of cleaning up the yard! Last week we made a few good trips to the dump…

spring cleaning

headed for the dump

Definitely still need to haul a few more big truckloads off to the dump. Also next week we’re planning to rent a brush hog mower to tackle the explosion of brambles and wild jungle in the back forty (last summer we tried to tackle it with a big-time mower and had to give up as we nearly broke the machine!) and hopefully our little wilderness of thistles and burrs will become a nice soft barefoot-friendly lawn. We’ll see how that goes – although we might not be able to improve the exterior of the house just yet, I hope we can make some progress on cleaning up the land.

We also took the first warm afternoon to work on our underground dog fence, which got messed up by the snowplow near the end of winter. The dog fence is such a blessing when it works, but it’s been a hassle to maintain – hopefully we dug it deep enough this time that it won’t need to be fixed again for a long time.

digging up the driveway

digging up the driveway to replace a section of the underground dog fence


saturday seaside


Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: dogs, fun, life, nature | No Comments »


saturday seaside

we only live like 45 minutes from the ocean, so why don’t we go there more often? this summer i swear i’ll go to the beach more!!
this is Scarborough State Park beach, we went over there one Saturday morning because our usual dog walking trail through the woods got so yucky with punky crusted snow, seas of mud and lakes of snowmelt. So the beach seemed like the best place to let the dog frolic off-leash without having to slog through crusty snow and mud. Beach was indeed perfect, Laika had a great time, made new friends, played with lots of seaweed, chased gulls, jumped on surfers, and only drank about 2 gallons of sea water.

saturday seaside

beach = best cure for cabin fever

saturday seaside

laika met a lab puppy and they frolicked in the frothy waves together.


meet the kitten


Posted: March 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: kitten, life | No Comments »


Puss

she is so glamorous

Please meet the newest member of our family, Lina the Kitten. We went to get haircuts at the local barbershop (The Hair Saloon!) and our hairdresser happened to mention that her son had brought home a stray kitten who was going to need a new home. The kitten was found scampering down the middle of the road, with a snowplow coming down the street behind her! She was just a skinny little thing and wearing no collar, so of course her son scooped her up and brought her home. Mike’s been wanting a cat, though I’ve been a bit reluctant. Anyway, we asked if we could meet this kitten and she was SO BEAUTIFUL we could not resist her charms and brought her home immediately. She turns out to be a great housemate. The first few days she hid under the floorboards in one of the torn-up bedrooms upstairs and wasn’t too sociable, but then she started getting really bold and coming down to hang out in the kitchen, despite the constant threat of being badgered and chased by the dog, who is frankly being a real jerk to her new colleague. The dog just can’t even begin to comprehend that the cat doesn’t want to be best friends and wrestling buddies, no matter how many times the cat hisses and punches her in the nose she just keeps on trying to play. During the first week the cat clawed the dog in the eyeball and the dog yowled and retreated for a few minutes, and then just went right back and kept on trying to play with her, even with one eye swollen shut. Anyway I think things are going really well between them now, all things considered. The cat is being pretty relaxed about things, and knows how to evade or rebuff the dog’s advances and sometimes the cat is actually the instigator, playing with the dog’s tail when she’s looking in the other direction or smacking the dog’s ears while she’s asleep. They spend a lot of time flirting in the kitchen, making eyes at each other and pawing at each other and then falling asleep at opposite ends of the couch.

kitten / puppy politics kitten / puppy politics

cat and dog share couch!

frienemies.

We took the kitten to the vet and it turns out she is actually around one year old! She only weighed five pounds when we got her, so we thought she was a tiny young kit, but I guess she’s just a small cat. She’s not spayed, so we have an appointment to get her fixed sometime next week or the week after. I feel terrible about cutting her up, but I know it’s the responsible thing to do. She will need to be confined in a private, quiet place for her convalescence so we are going to have to hang up doors on one of the bedrooms and convert it into a cat infirmary to keep her safe, and keep the dog out, while she recovers.

new unnamed kitten Lina

Lina the kitten

look at that tail.

Lina seems to have a perfect feline personality, I love that she’s bold and sociable but quite independent, she doesn’t actually require much attention – she just likes to be in the same room with us and sleep in a chair nearby while we work. She lies around sleeping and looking fabulously comfortable and leisurely and purring like crazy all the time as if her whole existence is so exceedingly pleasurable that she can’t contain her satisfaction. At night she sometimes snuggles in bed, or sometimes sleeps on top of the dresser in her fuzzy little cat bed. So far she’s not doing the crazy needy cat thing where they try to roll around on your keyboard while you’re typing or sit on your book while you’re reading or trip you every time you walk up the stairs, hopefully this is not in her nature, which means she is the perfect cat for me. Here’s to our glamorous new friend!

UPDATE: We never managed to call the cat “Lina.” It just never stuck. Her name is Kitten, and I know some people think that’s not a suitable name for the cat, but it’s just what happened. Sorry guys! She’s cool with it. She knows her name, responds to “Kitten” and even comes when called!


the winter


Posted: January 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: heating, life, nature | 1 Comment »


snow!

snow! snowy woods

snow!

morning walks with Laika in the woods behind our house

puppy in the snowy woods

snow pup by the frozen stream

The last time I spent a whole winter in Maine was seventeen years ago. I mostly remember hating it a lot, always stepping in slushy puddles with bad shoes and being freezing and miserable and counting the minutes until I could move away and never come back. I’m cold-blooded and can’t do anything when it’s chilly, I really just want to be warm all the time and lie in a hammock, sweating gently and drinking lemonades. Spent most of my winters perched on the kitchen counter with my toes on the woodstove, or else sitting on top of the furnace vent with a fleecy blanket and a good book, waiting for the furnace to roar on and inflate my fleecy blanket into a puffy tent of hot air. Always thought I’d end up living my life in some hot and steamy place, but for some reason I love people who love winter, so I’m back in Maine and it’s winter and it turns out it’s OK. We must be near the half-way point now, and I think it’s not going to be so terrible. Snow is the best part of winter and we’ve had a few really good snowstorms and a lot of pretty flurries. We’re lucky enough to work from home so we don’t have to drive around in it. We’ve got this beautiful path through the woods out back and it’s been awesome to bundle up and stomp through the snowy forest with the puppy. Also I think being an adult makes the winter more bearable. I don’t hate the world for making me live here because now I could drop everything and move to the tropics if I really wanted to but instead I’m staying here with my boo and my dog and my loving family and my crazy house and my path in the woods, because I like all those things. Also I don’t care about looking like a dork in puffy jackets and boots and whatever. Totally used to looking like a dork by now. I just want to be warm and dry in my enormous winter jacket and hiking boots and layers of long underwear and woolly socks and hats and mittens and scarf and gloves and everything. I think when I was a silly teenager I made the mistake of trying to look cute in the winter and ended up with frozen toes and fingers and hating my life all winter. Now I am a hermit and I only hang out with people who love me no matter how many pairs of long underwear I’m wearing. Also the winter is probably more bearable because I’ve been gone so long! We never really had a real winter during four years in Argentina, not like this! So it’s kind of new and fun all over again. I really want to get a pair of snowshoes now, so we can tromp around the forest with greater ease.

snow!

We had originally thought we’d be closing off the 2nd floor for the winter and moving our bed into the diningroom or something, only living on the first floor of the house. But we just never really got so cold that it seems worth the bother. We hung a transparent butcher-shop curtain (you know, like in the dairy or meat section at the grocery store?) in the doorway of the livingroom, to keep the woodstove heat contained to the central core rooms, and keep the drafts out. Hung more plastic over various doors and windows to stop the drafts. Upstairs, we have a little electric heater in our bedroom, we close the door and turn it on at bed-time and it keeps our noses from freezing while we sleep. We have a little electric heater in the upstairs bathroom and it keeps the bathroom toasty warm (we keep it on low all the time to make sure the pipes don’t freeze in there). It’s totally manageable. We have a few cozy warm zones, and then you just have to jog through the cold rooms to get from one warm spot to another. And then bundle up and go outside to stack firewood or play in the snow.

snow pup


office / kitchen / livingroom / dining room / construction site


Posted: November 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: kitchen, life | No Comments »


mike at work

mike at work.

kitchen insulation is all done now, we have someone coming to put up blueboard and plaster the walls within a week or two! at the moment we are spending every waking moment in this room, working and cooking and eating and living and trying to stay warm!


fall forest


Posted: November 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: life, nature, photos | 1 Comment »


fall forest

The fall leaves have been so incredibly spectacular for the past month. Every single day, rain or shine, I go outside and think “I can’t believe we live in the middle of all this! I feel so lucky!” The only unlucky thing is that Laika tore a ligament in her knee last month, and is on bed rest until it heals (locked up in her little crate all day every day, poor thing!) so we haven’t been doing our wonderful long walks in the woods with her. Anyway, in the past two weeks a few fall storms and windy days have brought down a lot of the foliage, but here are some photos from a walk near the orchard in Hiram earlier in the month. It’s a little sad to think that all this wild color is a bright farewell to the season and soon there will just be bare branches and snow and howling winds. Sigh. Time to put on a Nick Drake record and another sweater.

fall forest

leaves

fall flowers

the back field

nice stone walls


moving in!?


Posted: September 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: bedroom, dreams, excitement, life, slow progress | No Comments »


the new house fall leaves, sunset, saco river

dining table, fall foliage

On August 25th we finally got the HOT WATER turned on! It took a long time because first we had to fix all the plumbing and get the correct pipes replaced and connected to carry hot water up to the 2nd floor bathroom (and not to anywhere else – we did have a little mix-up where a six-foot geyser came spurting out of the floor downstairs!) and then once we had the plumbing ready it took a few weeks to get our plumber out to set up the hot water heater. We have this fabulously complicated, fancy furnace that is equipped to heat the whole house with hot-water radiators (too bad every single one of those radiators is broken at the moment!) and the hot water heater is hooked up to this furnace. So finally the date came, the plumber came, we finally got the furnace serviced and started up, and the hot water heater started to do its magic. And with that… we were able to move in! Just in time to enjoy the bright fall foliage and plummeting temperatures.

We already had moved a lot of our stuff in, so it just took one car trip to bring a bunch of clothes and dog beds stuff. We’d already been sleeping over on weekends, but now that we can take showers so we get to sleep here all the time. The bedroom has gotten kind of homey and cozy, we hung up some tentative curtains and tacked a few pictures on the wall. And now we live here!

kinda moved in

kinda moved in

We still don’t have a real kitchen, just a microwave, toaster, hotplate and fridge, so we’re eating lots of apples, toast, soup, Amy’s Organic frozen dinners, takeout salad bar, italians, pizza, etc. The worst thing at the moment is that our well water still has high levels of bacteria – we’ve tried to shock it with bleach but it didn’t work. We need to mess around with the plumbing a bit, and try bleaching the well again. Til then we have to use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, cooking, etc. And we can’t wash our dishes with the tap water! Ugh. So every few days we pop over to my mom’s house with a basket full of dirty dishes and a bag full of dirty laundry, and do our washing-up at her house. It’s not so bad but it’s not exactly a convenient arrangement

Temporary makeshift kitchen

My sister Amy gave us a fridge so we were able to set up a little temporary kitchen!

Mike’s got a new job now, he’s working from home too – so that’s pretty perfect! We each have our little office, side by side upstairs, the puppy sits under our desks while we work (or destroys everything in the room, depending on her mood) and we get to take breaks and go walk the dog in the woods together, it’s so cute and nice!

guest room

guest room

It feels good, and also a bit weird and tentative, to be finally living here. It’s great because we have our own space and that’s awesome. It feels like the house progressed slowly over the summer – there have been so many distractions and other things to do, we are hoping that now we actually are LIVING here it will help us to get more work done on the house. But it’s not exactly the Ritz, we’re definitely roughing it. The water thing sucks. We don’t have glass in all our windows at the moment. The weather’s getting chilly. We do own a woodstove and we just need to build the hearth and hook up the stove to the chimney, so it could be running within a week or two if we get to work! And as the weather gets colder we will hopefully get the electric wiring finished in the kitchen, so we can start to put in insulation on the walls, and then it should start to get cozy and warm in there.

We’re racing against the cold now, and I’m not entirely certain that we’re going to make it – if we can’t get the insulation in the kitchen, get the downstairs bathroom functional (right now it’s just an empty room, nothing else!), and get the second floor closed off for the winter, then I guess we’ll need to just pack up our goods, drain all the pipes and move back in with my parents for the winter. Which wouldn’t be so terrible – but we’re hoping we can stay here and make it through the winter! So… the race is on. Next steps: hearth, woodstove, electric wiring in the kitchen, then put up insulation and wallboard… and start putting down a floor in the downstairs bathroom… and on and on and on!


visiting friends!


Posted: May 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: fun, life | No Comments »


Andrew and Vickie (and Shea) from Troy, New York, AND Drew from Montreal, all came up to visit for a weekend and we had a great time and got lots of work done! It was just great to see them at a moment when we were feeling really sad and needed to be cheered up.

andrew & vickie at diana's baths drew & mike at diana's baths

andrew & vickie at diana’s baths

We spent some time in Limington, had a leisurely lunch at our favorite spot, Krista’s in Cornish, and finally explored one of the hiking trails in the local Francis Small nature preserve. Next morning everyone helped us drag off a few loads of junk to the dump and then load up the truck with firewood to bring up to Intervale. We had a really nice day and night in Intervale, cooked good food and relaxed, unloaded and stacked that firewood, dragged an old washing machine out from the basement and off to the dump, then went to visit Diana’s Baths for a lovely splash in the very cold river. Not quite swimming season yet! Back to Limington the next day, Andrew helped Mike and Richard install extra support beams above the kitchen doorway while Vickie and I laid waste to the upstairs apartment in the ell, dragging out years of garbage and debris and ripping out the shower stall, then moving on to my studio, where we did some ceiling repairs and then to our bedroom where we ripped out a bunch of particle board from the floors! Thanks to all for the great help and good company! :)


dogs


Posted: May 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: dogs, life | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »


oh god how do I write this. on sunday may 16th, both of the dogs were killed in an awful freak accident. i don’t think i can write the story here, but it’s unbelievably hard to lose them both at once. they’re gone and we miss them more than any words can say. life is so different now, sadder and quieter and emptier. it’s been a month now and we’re still crying and grieving but we are also starting to think of finding another rescue puppy to take in. maybe sometime this summer. and we’ve still got my parents’ two sweet and lovely dogs to lick our ears and console us. but of course no other pup can ever be quite like cuddly little emmylou or our beautiful wild inga. we miss you an awful lot, girls.

forest dogs cuddle pups

running in the park couch time

quiet pups happy emmylou


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