Days 51, 52 and 53 of summer were the beginning of my one week vacation to Hills Beach in Biddeford Maine. This was our 5th year returning to the little cottage on the beach known as “The Dollhouse”.
After leaving the house bright and early Saturday morning, and successfully avoiding the worst of the highway traffic on our route north, we made our stops for supplies along the way. I’ve told you before about Yummies – this year was no exception for stopping at our favorite candy store. I also grabbed a pint of (expensive! $7!) wild Maine blueberries at a roadside stand.
(didn’t think to take a picture until after helping myself to a few handfuls!)
We arrived at the cottage after doing our grocery shopping and unpacked the car. Low tide greeted us at the beach.
I was happy to spend the last hours of the day in a beach chair reading after the work for the day was done.
I found myself awake shortly after sunrise on Sunday morning with beautiful light streaming in my window.
After starting to read a most appropriate book with my breakfast,
I was off on my morning walk – my preferred way of starting each day on vacation.
The afternoon brought beach time with my family.
On Monday morning’s walk, I brought the Canon along with me.
ducks enjoying the beach
the closest (unfortunately) view I would have for the week of my friend the blue heron
and that strange marker with fortune-telling graffiti on it once again. The last time I took a picture of this marker it said, “Life is a gift” – a message I definitely needed to hear at the time. I found it pretty cool that it seems to say “Everything adventurous” now at a time in my life when I am trying to find the next big adventure!
More to come in the Maine editions of the 66 Days of Summer.
Day 50 of summer – all packed up and ready to go in the morning.
I don’t think I will be writing any blog posts for the next week unless our wi-fi signal at the cottage in Maine is better this year, so have a great week and I will see you when I get back.
These “ings” are the things I’m doing on day 49 of summer!
Yesterday(Wednesday) was day 48 of summer and my count-down to my week’s vacation in Maine began. We leave Saturday morning, bright and early. Preparations are underway. It seems there are always never-ending errands in the days before a vacation, doesn’t it? I did some of them yesterday. I also recently learned that our suitcases were in pretty poor condition, so a new set was purchased.
I did have some time to relax in the afternoon. I started reading The Wrong Right Man by Pamela Wight of Roughwighting, as I sat outside on the deck.
The hummingbirds were active at the feeder again, but a close-up shot was not to be. This little one zipped over to the small trees along the side of my yard and I was able to get this photo of him at rest.
I imagine today will be a day much like yesterday- errands and checking things off my list as I get them done.
What are all of you getting done these days?
Today (day 47 of summer) was a stay-at-home day after our visit to Boston yesterday. I started my morning as I normally do, with a cup of coffee and visiting you out there in the blogosphere. While I did so, I heard some raucous bird-calling out in the back yard. I took my camera with me to try to investigate what might be going on. I followed the sound to the trees in the back near my shed and peered up. The sound seemed to be coming from birds like this one:
That bird was close to the top of the tree so that is a tightly cropped shot – not as clear as I would have liked, but enough to identify as one of two kind of similar birds. I think this is either a northern flicker or a red bellied woodpecker. This scruffy looking thing seemed to be following closely, so I am going to assume it to be a fledgling of whatever type of bird this is.
My day continued in a low key manner. I vacuumed the pool (not very satisfactorily by the way! Any pool owners have some good tips for vacuuming up the super fine silt-like material that gathers at the bottom of the pool and “poofs” up into the water when you approach it with the vacuum?), had lunch, finished reading one of the oddest, but interesting, books I’ve ever read (The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, if you are interested) and enjoyed some time floating around the pool on my air mattress.
Other critters with wings that I enjoy photographing teased me and my lens this afternoon after I got out of the pool. Hummingbirds buzzed and chased at my feeder but never stayed long enough for me to focus a shot. The hummingbird moths and dragonflies, however, were a little more cooperative.
This hummingbird moth still gave me a bit of a time focusing – each time I had it in frame ready to go, it seemed to think another blossom on the butterfly bush looked better, but eventually I got this shot.
I found this friendly dragonfly face on a tomato cage in my garden.
I was really impressed with what I was able to do with Lightroom to improve this shot. I was able to bring out detail that I never saw in my original photo. Normally I don’t like to show you the “less pretty” photos, but I think the difference is really something here.
Although I am continually trying to deny the fact that Sarah keeps insisting on growing up, our search for the right college for her continues. Today (day 46 of summer) we traveled into Boston on a beautifully sunny day. Despite missing a turn that Google maps told me to take, we arrived at Wentworth Institute of Technology without too much trouble.
The summer preview program was from 1-4pm, so we arrived in the city with plenty of time to walk around and find a good spot for lunch. And a good spot we did find! A little unassuming corner spot called Sweet Cheeks Q. It is a southern BBQ style place and the food was wonderful. Meghan and I both had the brisket sandwich.
Sarah chose pulled pork, and both girls had that fabulous looking mug of mac n cheese as their side.
My delicious sweet tea was served in a mason jar.
We returned to campus for an information session and tour. Sarah believes this school will definitely be one that she will apply to. I liked the fact that even though it is in the heart of the city, it still has a comfortable not-so-urban feel to it.
But Sarah isn’t really old enough to be applying to college yet, right? ;-)
Day 45 of summer was another birthday party day – this time celebrating the summer birthdays of my dance teacher’s children.
The theme of the party seemed to be water! Sharks for her son, mermaids for her daughter. Water guns, water balloons, wading pools and the biggest inflatable waterslide I’ve ever seen filled her backyard.
My baby is 17! The 44th day of summer was Sarah’s 17th birthday. In a few short weeks my youngest daughter begins her senior year of high school. How the @#%* did that happen?
Sarah blows out the candles while her boyfriend and besties from school look on.
All the kiddos in our lives are of course growing up, no matter how much we don’t want them to. At the party yesterday, I got to photograph a picture I’ve been wanting to recreate for a couple years now. Twelve years ago, at Sarah’s 5th birthday party, I took this picture of my daughters along with the daughters of great friends of ours. The girls have grown up as friends, getting together with our “gang” of friends as often as possible.
In this photo (from left to right) Eva is 6, Meghan is 7, Sarah is 5 and Brianna is 9.
The tiaras were part of the party favors for a 5-year-old who was into dolls and dress-up at the time (my how times have changed!)
I’ve had the idea to take a picture of the girls all together, all grown up, with tiaras on their heads for a while now. I got my chance yesteday when they were here for the party and I remembered earlier in the week to get the tiaras at the party store.
Eva 18, Meghan 19, Sarah 17, Brianna 21
(I couldn’t take the photo in the exact same spot the original was taken because my hot tub now occupies that space.)
The girls patiently complied with my request and I was happy with the result. I hope these are shots that will become favorites of theirs some day, as they are favorites of mine now.
It’s happening again, the blog posts are stacking up! Today is actually a very special day, my younger daughter Sarah’s 17th birthday. However it is after 10 pm as I am writing this post, and I never posted yesterday’s photo. I will address Sarah’s birthday post tomorrow when my head is a little clearer and my body is hopefully a bit less tired!
Friday, August 1st was day 43 of summer. It was a day of running around, cleaning up and getting ready for Sarah’s party – none of which would provide a very interesting photo. I did get to photograph my first tiger swallowtail butterfly of the summer now that my one remaining butterfly bush is in bloom.
I feel like I’ve been having some issues with focus and exposure lately and I’m not sure if it is my camera or me! I’m guessing it is probably me. I did notice the exposure dial was not set in my normal position of “P” this evening, and I don’t know how long it has been that way. I’ve gotten lazy in my photography technique lately. Time to start paying better attention.
For yesterday and today, days 41 and 42 of summer, I present you with tomatoes!
A vegetable garden can change a bit when you are gone for a couple days. As I perused my cucumber and zucchini plants to see if anything needed picking, I noticed a bit of red out of the corner of my eye.
The first of my early girl tomatoes were beginning to ripen.
That one in the upper left of that photo, looked like it would be ready to eat very soon. And today it was!
I sliced it up and ate it with my dinner. Nothing quite like the first garden fresh tomato of the summer.