The Love of a Mother

Wednesday December 17, 2014

The lobster traps are all ashore. The boat is getting hauled out tomorrow and winter soon is going to arrive in Maine. It's been mild. Warm, even. This can't last for long. Captain is talking of going to the camp on the island in Florida.

It's a small camp. On a remote, offshore island near the Gulf of Mexico. Ibis, heron, wild boar, bear, racoon, deer, turtles, blue crab and the like. Full of old cedar and cabbage palm. The gators are sleeping this time of year and the snakes should be, but one never can be too careful around snakes. It's a great place to paint art, contemplate life, and to while away the hours with someone you love.

My mother went to walk with the angels a week ago last Sunday. Nothing could ever have prepared me for it. She was a wonderful woman who taught me my most important values in life - honesty, integrity, compassion, and bravery. There is nothing quite as sweet as the love of a mother and I will miss her dearly.

Haven't felt much like painting lately and haven't had the time if I had wanted to. Finished one that just needed two or three brush strokes yesterday and offered it for sale. Not sure what I will be painting next but thinking of the view from my mother's house at West Point, Maine. She always loved that view and I always did, too.

Well, the captain is awake and there is always lots to do. Haven't seen much of each other lately but that will change soon and the Scrabble games will begin!

So much to do, so little time (and how much clearer this is to me now). Thanks for following the journey. More later :)


Windy, Cold, Maine Coast, Fishing slow

Friday November 21, 2014

That's just about enough wind around here for awhile. The guys can't get out to haul the lobster traps and it's too cold to work outside for more than a short spell. We don't have any snow on the ground which is better than a lot of places right now and the birds are loving this wind but I think they are the only ones.

Working on a new three part Popham, Maine series of graphic illustration art which may not be finished until the spring. There's a lot of detail in these with Popham Village in the first one, the beach, old Coast Guard light station in another, and the thickest of pines in the third which is the view as you drive up over that rise just beyond the entrance to Popham Beach State Park on the way to Spinney's and Fort Popham. Made a similar series a few years ago which were very popular but are now discontinued. Here's the one of Fort Popham I made in the previous series.

Need to get up  to The Barn and get some canvas and my oil paints and brushes. Have two paintings here at the  house I'm working on (in acrylics) but not into them right now. Want some blank canvas available for when the mood strikes. When I get on a roll I can paint up a storm but if I don't want to work on something I put it aside and work on it again when the time is right. I found art is one thing that can only be rushed if you are in the mood to work on it right then and there.

Getting my workstation set back up in the bedroom. We're fortunate enough to have a big enough bedroom that about half of it is my work space. Getting the sewing machine oiled, the craft supplies sorted, and my idea wall updated and the entire area ready to start getting creative. It's necessary to have a place away from the cats who are always very curious about anything I'm working on (reading, eating, etc.). The bedrooms are the only place in the house that are off limits to them, and the only place safe for an in progress wet painting.

Of course I want to do about a million things and I think we are going to the island in Florida in about a month or so (not positive, but pretty sure). If it doesn't warm up down there I won't want to go at all, though. I get working on projects like quilts, dolls, sachets, sweaters and such and I won't want to go anywhere!

Made the captain some home made biscuits this morning from a new (old) recipe. OMGOSH, they were the BEST biscuits I ever made in my life. I'm sure it must have had something to do with the fact that it was a little chilly in the house this morning (anything below 68 is pushing it on the cold scale for me) and the butter stayed nice and firm while preparing them. These are even better than my fail safe old Bakewell Cream biscuits that women around here on the Maine Coast have made for at least as long as Bakewell's been making it (like a hundred years?).

Anyway, these are even better and the flakiest I've seen. The recipe is in a little cookbook titled O Taste and See! Psalm 34:8, A Collection of Debbie Peck's Favorite Recipes from Africa to Italy, printed April, 1988 by Jumbo Jack's Cookbooks, Audubon Media Corporation, Audubon, Iowa. My former neighbor, Trudy gave me the cookbook and it has some fabulous recipes! Here is my shortened version of Debbie Peck's Cloud Biscuit recipe.

PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees.

Combine 2 c flour, 1 T sugar, 4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.

Dice 1/2 c (one stick) real butter and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender (or two knives, or scissors) until it is about the size of small peas.

Make a well in the center and add 1 egg and 1/3 cup whole milk. Stir just until blended. May seem a bit dry (not to worry).

Dump all onto a floured surface and knead, pushing out the dough then folding it over and repeating (adding a bit of flour or flouring your hands as necessary).

You want to create layers (this is how they get their flakes) so roll it out, fold, repeat - but, no more than a dozen times or so. You do not want to overwork the dough or it will make the biscuits tough. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. You should get 10 to 12 from this recipe.

Bake them in a 450 degree PREHEATED oven about 10 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and when you pull one apart the insides are done enough.

These are super easy to make and they are awesome.

So much to do, so little time. Getting hungry after all that talk of biscuits. Should get on the treadmill instead. Might just do that. Been meaning to for awhile.

Have a safe and wonderful week friends and family. Thanks for following the journey. More later :)


Almost Winter in Maine

Monday November 17, 2014

Well, we've had a wee bit of snow here on the southern midcoast of Maine and the temps have turned cold. The captain and other fishermen are only getting out to tend the traps once or twice a week as the winds have been picking up, too. Winter is indeed upon us.

Just as soon as Captain can get those lobster traps out of the water and get the truck packed we are going to the island in Florida until it thaws back out here in Maine. Even though we don't have electricity (except for 12 volt) and it almost three miles from the nearest civilization, it is almost always quiet, comfortable, and soothing. I love painting there. I love painting any time the sun is out and it's warm enough! If you like art you might like my video with lots of my paintings and graphic illustrations, mostly of Maine but abstracts and sculptural work, too.

So, I just put some Phippsburg, Maine calendars and some cool 3 Chicken doormats out on facebook and made some extra money for the holidays. I still live in a small enough town that when a local buys something from me it can be left at Bisson's Center Store for delivery at no charge. Now, that is Small Town America, indeed.

Couple of fishermen here right now telling stories of catching giant Bluefin Tuna and wild hogs in Florida. Once the captain saw a hog so big he wasn't sure if it was a hog or a bear. I know he is telling the truth because I was there and heard him tell about it first hand just after he saw it. He leads an exciting enough life he doesn't have to stretch the truth, just the actual stories are more interesting than most books. Never a dull moment around my kitchen table. Never a lack of stories, either.

Time to get busy and get some work done. Two paintings to finish and some other art to get working on.  Really like this one I'm doing called Dirt Roads that Lead to the Sea. A bit worried I might ruin it if I do much more to it. Might call it good just the way it is. Trying to take advantage of the internet, power, and lights while I have them. Once on the island I'm practically off the grid except when we go to town for supplies once or twice a week. My phone works, though, and I'll be posting excerpts from the campfire while having coffee early in the mornings.

Have a wonderful day, friends & family. Thanks for following the journey. More later :)