Sunday, December 31, 2023

Expectations

I spent ages looking for the lid of this jar of coconut oil (left). After searching the expected location (of it being on the countertop), I was flummoxed that it was nowhere to be seen. I thought I must have done something absent-minded like throw it into the kitchen recycling skip, put it back in the cabinet, dropped it on the floor and it was lying under the open door of the dishwasher, or put it away with the zip lock bags I was using. Nope, nope, nope and nope. 


I decided to give up for the time being, to leave the jar on the counter until the lid revealed itself - after all, how difficult would it be to spot a green, plastic lid that matched the green accent on the jar?

Expectations! They are what lead us astray, that take us in the wrong direction. With expectations blurring my reality, I overlooked what was actually in front of me  - look again at my photo: the lid is right under my nose! 


The lid was black, not green! My expectation had obscured my vision.

So, what is your expectation or vision for 2024? Will you be open to reality, and not be misled by what you think it should be? It makes life a lot smoother!




Saturday, December 30, 2023

Still Standing

This amazing, enduring old tree, home and supplier of food to many, withstood the forces of nature that took many healthy trees down recently. 


Fibrous and punky,

Withstanding hurricane winds,

Holey tree stands tall


And yet, this slim tree beside our boardwalk could not stand straight after the winds, something that happens to pines often because of their shallow root system. 

This pine broke off and fell into the road in between me driving off for an appointment and returning home. Road crews had moved it to the side before I even knew it was down - otherwise, I'd not have been able to get my car home (it was close enough to home that I'd have been able to park and walk). 

 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Thwarted

What a lovely warm day we had right after Xmas: 47°F. Time to see how getting into a kayak felt with my new knee.

Well, the embarking and disembarking was no problem at all, but ... the surface ice in my cove caused too much difficulty for it to be any fun at all.


My paddle just slid over the top until I made a concerted effort to 'chop' downwards more strongly. Still, the chunks that broke off were large and troublesome enough to deter me from leaving the cove - the main part of the lake is fluid, but it would have been a lot harder to return home once the temperatures and the sun began dipping lower. I was also not enamored with the amount of effort I'd have to expend just to get out of my sheltered cove.


As I broke the surface ice, it sounded like a whole lot of elastics being released and vibrating - it was magical! I loved the sound.

What interesting, jagged shapes it created



The ice was thick enough to support the weight of an American Marten, which I was lucky enough to see walking across the cove later - lucky me to have seen it!

Ha ha ha! The next day the ice was gone, but it was too rainy to want to be out in a kayak.


Thursday, December 28, 2023

Reflecting Swing

Time spent on a swing can be a time to reflect, but this gives the concept a different swing - floodwaters reflecting a swing.



Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Sticky Windows

Pine needles are 'glued' to our windows after the hurricane force winds drove them up against any surface - we'll need Goo-Gone to clean this up


Still, they look pretty - like diamonds (or snow crystals) after the rain







Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Morning After

The serenity of the morning after the damaging storm of Dec 17/18 was a sight to behold, as we checked neighbors' properties for damage.



Our cove and headland sans lighthouse

Meanwhile, the floodwaters were thundering over the top of the dam, causing spray, turbulence and foam in its wake. We were lucky the flashboards didn't give in - there was a lot of debris (branches, docks, paddleboats) being washed towards the dam.




Monday, December 25, 2023

Storm Review

A week ago all our snow and ice melted away during a major rain- and wind-storm. This year's Xmas is therefore not a white one (lucky I took photos when I did!). Our lake's ice-in status is no more.

Like many other Mainers, we lost power and Internet during this event - for us it was only 34 hours. For many people it was much longer. 


Flooding from the storm event of Dec 17/18 meant many shorelines on Lake Arrowhead were underwater after 3.5" of rain filled our reservoirs, and melted snow (plus, our feeder lake had all their valves open as they planned to freeze out an invasive plant).

Our BBQ area became the edge of the lake at this time.





     



After a few days, the water level receded, returning our land to us






Parts of our boardwalk were under water for a day or two as well  


This marks the highest we have seen the lake rise - the kayaks on the lowest rungs of our storage rack had floated off their supports. The only way to rescue them was to walk in the water (we have Waders) to retrieve them.

Our lighthouse installation (now a year old) had to be rescued when the waters rose to about a foot below its top, but it has since been returned to its location. Here it is seen through the water that is usually our land access to it.

Our neighbor's lakeside swing





Sunday, December 24, 2023

Grinch-o-meter

How extreme has your Grinch-o-meter been this year? I hit my peak whilst out shopping during our power outage last week ... 


Not only were Xmas jingles being played to death, over and over again, but ... some people were singing along to them, actually enjoying them, making no secret of the fact that they didn't mind (or loved) hearing the same carols on repeat. How dare they??

I had tried to drive to the store and an X-ray appointment the previous day, during a major windstorm, but had to turn back 3 times for road closures due to wires and trees down all over the place. After an hour on the road, I was nowhere near my destination, and the sensation of pine cones and twigs hurtling loudly against the windshield whilst trying to negotiate pine cone- and branch- riddled 'roads' made me return to my dark, cut-off-from-the-world, home without having achieved my purpose. I watched other drivers continue driving under trees suspended by wires across the road, or doing some off-roading around obstructions, only to encounter broken wires on the other side - thank goodness, without repercussions. It was quite a hair-raising adventure and I was glad to be back in my powerless home!

The next day, all was calm, so I revisited my previous day's goals, and got to my destination without incident - there was free Wi-fi and electricity, so I indulged and spent a lot of time 'shopping' and browsing. It was better than that feeling of sitting at home ... waiting, hoping, expectant. But I guess it meant I spent more than my usual share of time out in the real world, and the customers cheerily singing along to the looping, cheerful songs hit a nerve. (I don't mind hearing carols, but not commercially for a whole month on repeat. In my upbringing, it was reserved for the season of advent, where these special songs were sung in church, not piped through every grocery store or consumer-location). It was almost too much for my straining reserve, especially for someone who'd quietly been enduring a power outage without complaint.

I'm happy to report that for once, I managed to keep my Grinch quiet whilst out in public, but saved it for a blog post instead!






Saturday, December 23, 2023

Predatory Winds


Fierce winds hunt and seek,

Like a stealthy predator,

Striking down the weak.

Pic taken by community member on neighborhood road



Friday, December 22, 2023

Toasty Toes

I was caught in this compromising position a few days ago ... making it look as if I was warming my feet up at the microwave.


I can assure it, it isn't what it looks like, despite the photo evidence. What do you think I'm up to? 


I was trying to relieve myself of back pain, and needed to find floor and wall space that were contiguous, without heaters and furniture obstructing the 90° angle that was needed.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Effulgence

What better day to toast to effulgence than the winter solstice, the day we anticipate having more light, and welcome back radiance and brightness.

Effulgence 'comes from the Latin verb fulg─ôre, meaning "to shine," it's reserved for shininess that dazzles, inspires', according to the Merriam Webster online dictionary.

Vocabulary.com describes it as 'usually used to refer to the sun or some other mega-star ..."



Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Squirrel Cache

 Really? A squirrel thought this might be a good place to stash a pine cone?


Or is it a set up as a trap to get our hands full of pine sap?

Monday, December 18, 2023

Blender Incident

This is not what is meant by "incorporate with wooden spoon" - adding wood splinters to the dough! I got my wooden implement a little too close to my blender blades when the dough wouldn't form and got this little nick in my implement ... silly me, I should have known better, but at least it wasn't my finger, so there's that!


I couldn't find a big, single piece of wood in my dough ball, so I pressed it all out flat onto a baking tray, until I was able to see little brown flecks which I could remove with the tip of a knife. It meant that this delicious little cranberry crumble was of necessity confined to family-only sampling.

On second thought, maybe cutting my finger may have been less obvious!


Sunday, December 17, 2023

Iced In

Sealed closed like a tomb,

Incredulously to me

Life persists beneath







Saturday, December 16, 2023

Nature's Gnashers

Look at how sharply nature's teeth are showing this winter - ferocious!




I can't tell if this is a smile or a grimace!



Friday, December 15, 2023

Ice Ants

These icy outlines along the thin branches make me think of ants in a line carrying goodies to their nests!




Thursday, December 14, 2023

Potato Wedge

I found what looked like a piece of a potato on my lawn before it snowed last week - I thought some little rascal rodent had dragged it from my compost pile, but when I lifted it, it was light as a feather, weightless. It was more like a leaf, but shaped into a wedge.


I then started to think of a cocoon ... a search with Google Lens suggested this might be the overwintering phase of a Polyphemous moth, widely distributed across the U.S. From what I can tell, this seems to be the most likely identification. I put it back outside amongst the leaf litter - maybe I'll spot one of the silk moths next season ...


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Celebrating Light

This day marks the earliest sunset on our calendars as we approach the solstice. So our days will not end any earlier than this.

In Scandinavian countries it's also celebrated as St. Lucia's day, when a young girl lit her way through the catacombs with a candlelit wreath on her head to bring food to persecuted Christians. It was also the day on which the solstice was marked in the old "Julian" calendar.

I cannot help but see similarities between this natural phenomenon and the story subsumed by Christian faith, as described here: "After converting to Christianity sometime around 1000, the Norse incorporated the legend of St. Lucia into their celebration. The modern festival of light combines elements of both pagan and Christian traditions." Britannica




Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Scintillating Snow Scenes

A few days with no sun after a snowstorm yields incredibly frigid, yet scintillating scenes of moodiness. It's incredibly beautiful to look at, but too bitter to be outside. The cold temperatures kept the snow holding onto the tree cover for a few sunless days.