Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 18, 2014

The Maine Thing – part 3

Thursday, day 56 of summer, dawned sunny and windy after the storm the day before. The high tide in the wee hours of Thursday morning came up extremely high.
IMG_1313

It washed all the way up to the beach grass. You can see in this shot two of three kayaks that washed up along the beach. They didn’t get too far from their owners, but they were filled with mud. Our beach stuff was too.

IMG_1314

I’m surprised that tube didn’t float away somewhere. The blue plastic is a sun tent that we collapsed over our beach chairs. It did a decent job of keeping the chairs fairly dry, but the mud holding it all down was very heavy.

In addition to kayaks, I found other things washed in with the storm, like this jellyfish.
IMG_1319

There were spectacular waves for this area as well. The tides at this little inlet beach are usually extremely mild. Even at high tide the waves are normally just very gentle rolls. When I walked near Basket Island at low tide, I was shocked to find loud, crashing waves.
IMG_1320

Here’s a little video I took.

While I wasn’t able to get any close pictures of the resident blue heron, I was happy to once again find a snowy egret.
IMG_1334

Thursday was a good day for finds!

Friday, day 57 of summer, and our last full day in Maine, was “iffy” weather-wise. It was cloudy and cool as I took my last morning walk.
Cloudy cool morning

I normally like to spend my last vacation day basking on the beach all day, but the weather wasn’t cooperating, so I suggested to my family that we take another short jaunt out for a while, in hopes that maybe the clouds would clear and allow us some late afternoon beach time. We headed up to Scarborough. We scoured for treasures at the large Christmas Tree Shops and had lunch at the Sebago Brewing Company. I really enjoyed my seafood chowder and lobster BLT!
Sebago Brewing Company lunch

No visit to Scarborough is complete without a visit here
Famous Maine place
to buy candy and see Lenny the life-sized chocolate moose!
Lenny the life sized chocolate moose
Lenny is made from 1,700 pounds of milk chocolate!

At the end of the day, the girls and I carried out the end-of-vacation tradition: feeding the seagulls any leftover food we didn’t plan to take home.
IMG_1347

The birds gathered in large number quickly.
IMG_1353

Meghan had to check and make sure we weren’t giving away perfectly good potato chips!
IMG_1352

Quite the commotion was caused when a handful of chips was tossed out.
IMG_1354

And Meghan even got one brave soul to take food from her hand.
IMG_1360

Even though the weather was less than perfect, I cherished this time on vacation with my family. I know my years of having my whole family together for this week in the future are running low, so each passing year’s vacation becomes more precious.

Advertisements

August 17, 2014

The Maine Thing – part 2

Or… Bean & Smitty

On Tuesday, day 54 of summer, the fog came on little cat feet.
IMG_1302
The little islands off the shore of the beach completely disappeared in the fog bank.

I still went out for my morning walk, but it was with a bit of a chill as I made my way through the mist.
IMG_1305

And I dreamed about “if only…” as I walked.
I want it!

Deciding it wasn’t going to be beach-sitting weather that day, I suggested a trip to Freeport to the family, home of the famous L.L. Bean flagship store.
Big boot at LL Bean
Size 410 boot!

Clashing moose display
“The Final Charge” – two male moose reconstructed from the remains of a set of locked antlers.

I have no idea why this exists, but it does, and I of course took a picture.
Also from LL Bean

We enjoyed lunch and souvenir shopping and ice cream eating while in Freeport.

On Wednesday, day 55 of summer, most of New England, and I think other parts of the Northeast as well, were deluged by a huge rain storm. The rain started in the morning, not really letting up much throughout the day.
IMG_1308

That made Wednesday our day to enjoy some time at Smitty’s Cinema – a place we discovered a few years ago and have enjoyed going to ever since.

At Smitty’s you can enjoy pub style food, served by a waitress to your table in the theater, where you sit in comfortable high backed chairs.
Annual visit to Smitty's

My family’s choice of movie was “Guardians of the Galaxy”. I’m not a follower of Marvel but this was a fun movie and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

The rain continued and the wind howled and thunder rumbled well into the night. I will show you the results of the storm in my next blog post.

The Maine Thing – part 1

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer,Travel — Karma @ 3:32 pm
Tags: , , , ,

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”.
Path to cottage

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.
Wild Maine blueberries
(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.
Low tide at Hills 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.
Ending of a long day

I found myself awake shortly after sunrise on Sunday morning with beautiful light streaming in my window.
IMG_1284

After starting to read a most appropriate book with my breakfast,
IMG_1288
I was off on my morning walk – my preferred way of starting each day on vacation.

The afternoon brought beach time with my family.
Enjoying my girls' company on the beach

On Monday morning’s walk, I brought the Canon along with me.
I found
IMG_1290
ducks enjoying the beach

IMG_1295
the closest (unfortunately) view I would have for the week of my friend the blue heron

IMG_1294
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.

November 30, 2013

Summertime and the living is easy…

Today’s post is a flashback post brought to you via Scott Thomas’s current photo assignment, “Vacation”. I told Scott I didn’t know if I’d participate because I wasn’t sure I could show you my vacation in a way I already hadn’t. I’ve been going to the same beach every summer for many years, and I’ve blogged about it a lot! Hills Beach has a fairly large size in my tag cloud over there on the right side of this blog.

But I really hate to miss a photo assignment, and looking back at warm days on the beach in August when a nasty chill has set in here in the northeast was kind of nice. In my last blog post, I mentioned how I respond well to music, and I’ve written plenty of posts in the past that refer to music or include music videos from youtube. So in addition to this being my contribution to Scott’s assignment, I’m including a little lyrics quiz for you! Some of the lyrics, I think, are super easy, but a couple are more challenging. See if you can figure out the song title and artist without googling them and leave your answers in the comments section. I’ll post all the answers with music videos in a couple days!

1.
IMG_0467
“Vacation, all I ever wanted, Vacation, had to get away…”

2.
IMG_0424
“That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all…”

3.
IMG_0431
“Ballerina, you must have seen her, dancing in the sand…”

4.
IMG_0457
“She had her drink in her hand, she had her toes in the sand…”

5.
IMG_0369
“Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure, makes me want to go back again…”

6.
IMG_0468
“Beauty in the water, angel on the beach…I would have wished in ’92 for a mermaid just like you…”

Have fun! And you still have a few days to jump in on Scott’s assignment if you’d like to – posts are due on Wednesday, December 4th by midnight your time.

August 24, 2013

Sunrise

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:49 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sunrise on Hills Beach
I took this photo bleary-eyed through the window of the porch of our cottage one early morning in Maine last week. The sun woke me that morning and teased me to go outside with the camera, but my body wasn’t listening. I grabbed the camera, took this less-than-perfect picture, and put my head back on the pillow for another hour.

I’ve been doing a lot of introspective thinking lately and this shot seems to tell a bit about where I am at these days. I realize the sun is rising on a new chapter in my life.

On Thursday, we moved Meghan in to her new school-year home, Clark University in Worcester, Ma.
Meghan's dorm
I don’t know how I will handle not seeing her smiling face and hearing her stories about what is going on in her life every day. I told you I left a piece of my heart in Maine in an earlier post this week, now another piece of it is in Worcester.

Sarah is of course still at home with us for another two years, so I am not an empty-nester, but I’ve been giving a lot of thought as of late to who I am aside from my role as mom. Who am I when I’m not playing mom on a daily basis?

I feel like I need a path to discovery, and I don’t even know where to begin searching for that path. I know many of you reading this have been down this road yourself, and if you have any thoughts or suggestions about a place to begin this journey, I would be happy to hear them.

August 21, 2013

Maine Discoveries

Each morning on my vacation in Maine, I would take a walk on the expansive beach. At Hills Beach, I think I’ve mentioned before that when the tide goes out, it goes WAY out:
Hills Beach, low tide
Low tide allows for long walks and exploration. The tide times lined up beautifully for most of the week for me to wander the sand bars and make simple discoveries.

Fun Footprints
I was focused on these gull footprints ambling up a little incline in the sandbar, and made the happy discovery when I later looked at the photo of the sparkling water in the upper right corner.

Here is a better view of the somewhat “steep” sandbar:
sand dollar haven

This particular sandbar turned out to be a great place for discovering these:
sand dollars
I just love sand dollars. I took home 4 this year. I’m trying to decide what I could do with them to display them.

Continuing down this sand bar, I noticed a noisy group of gulls flocking in one particular area.
snowy egret 3
I figured the fishing must have been good that day and watched them happily dipping in the water and calling out. Suddenly my eyes caught something just a little bit different in this group. Did you see my discovery?
snowy egret 2
A snowy egret! (There are actually two of them in the first shot) This is a new-to-my-camera bird. I’ve of course heard of them before, and may have seen them at some point, but I’d never been close enough to get pictures. I sat down on the sand bar and happily snapped away.
snowy egret 4

snowy egret 1

snowy egret 5

I guess you wouldn’t call these other birds discoveries, since I have photographed them before, but I’d still like to share them with you. I have a bit of a history here on the blog with attempting to photograph birds of prey. I was surprised one morning while eating my breakfast to see a small hawk swoop down right in the neighbor’s front yard:
beach hawk

It landed on the fence and seemed to be chasing a rather cheeky squirrel who didn’t seem afraid. Here’s the squirrel on the lower rung of the fence, and the hawk is on the ground to the lower left of the shot:
Cheeky squirrel & hawk

I also visited with my friend the great blue heron, who I always seem to find hanging out in the same spot near the tiny harbor around the bend from the beach.
great blue heron

One evening when I had taken the camera outside to capture those beautiful colors I showed you in the last post, I saw the heron wading in one of the tide pools. Most of my attempted shots of it came out too blurry due to the fading light. I did get this one of it taking flight, which I think could have been very lovely if I knew how to do it correctly:
heron take-off
I would have loved for the edges of this bird’s silhouette to have been more defined so that you could see it more clearly, but that is beyond my photo editing skills, if it is even possible with this shot.

Discoveries old and new – hope you enjoyed exploring Hills Beach with me.

August 19, 2013

A Piece of my Heart

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 9:35 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

My heart in Maine

Each year when I return home from our vacation in Maine, I feel as though I’ve left a little piece of my heart behind.

After this year’s long and unusually traffic-filled ride, I took that much more pleasure in filling my lungs with the salty air and letting my soul settle in to the place where it feels so at home.
breath deep and relax

The colors of the evening never failed to disappoint…
sunset at Hills beach

stunning color fading light

And the morning light sparkled on the water like diamonds.
water sparkle 1

water sparkle 2

Although Maine is far from the tropics, when I put my head on the pillow at night I’d see this pine tree out the bedroom window that for some reason made me think of tropical breezes and palm trees lulling me to sleep.
"tropical" Maine

To avoid overloading you with photos in one post, I will continue with another post this week showing some of my Maine “discoveries”.

August 31, 2012

Ends of the Earth Photo Hunt

Today is the due date for this month’s photo hunt with the theme “Ends of the Earth”.  I just finished my own photo-taking yesterday, so here I am creating my post on the due date.  It was back-to-school week here, so it has been busy, but I have just started taking peeks at the photo hunts that have been submitted so far.  If I haven’t been over to see yours yet, don’t fret – I will definitely be coming around to see them this weekend, and I hope to have a wrap-up  post completed before the long weekend is over.

You may remember back when I first announced this photo hunt that I mentioned that Provincetown, Massachusetts is the place that I’ve always considered to be “the end of the earth”.  If you are unfamiliar with P-town, it is the town at the very tip of Cape Cod, sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean:

I haven’t been back to Provincetown since I bought my Rebel, but I found a few shots that can help give you that end of the earth feeling in my archives.  A spit of land like this ( did you know this was actually the first landing place of the Pilgrims in 1620, not Plymouth, Ma, as many think of it to be?) needs lighthouses and Provincetown has a couple.

Long Point Lighthouse

Long Point Lighthouse

Race Point Lighthouse

Race Point Lighthouse

I remember wondering once if I could travel east along a line of latitude from Provincetown, what country would be the next land that I would encounter.  In my mind’s eye, I thought England or France.  I was very surprised to find out it would actually be Spain.  Hence the title of this photo looking east across the huge sand dunes of Provincetown:

Next Stop to the East? Spain!
“Next stop, Spain!”

Since this was a photo hunt, I was not content to hunt only in my archives.  While I was on vacation in Maine, I took some photos on a cloudy day of another place that could be an end of the earth.  The beach that we visit has a set of breakwaters that contain deep water for entry into a small harbor.

Breakwater1

I’ve climbed these rocks since I was a child, and there is a certain feeling of isolation and end of the earth here.
Breakwater2

I didn’t want to leave out the other possibility I mentioned for photo hunting in the original post – extremes.  The place that I live in doesn’t have much in the way of extremes, but I’ve always thought the top of our little mountain here in town was a very pretty place.  Our highest elevation is only 910 feet, but it made for pretty pictures as the sun began to go down.

mountain1

These shots were taken on Peak Road here in town – apropos, no?

mountain2

I hope you had fun with this month’s photo hunt.  I’m looking forward to coming around and seeing your posts this weekend.  I hope you get to enjoy the 3-day Labor Day weekend.

August 24, 2011

Mainebows!

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 2:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

On Monday of our vacation week , we got stuck with some pretty heavy-duty rain.  The day was bleak enough that we tried to go to a movie and couldn’t because it was sold out!  We ended up renting one (the re-make of “Arthur” – meh, it was just aw-ight).  Monday night the rain hammered unbelievably loudly, and Tuesday dawned drizzly and overcast.  However, by late Tuesday afternoon we were treated to:
rainbow1

Can you see it?  Just the faintest hint of rainbow?  I discovered this at the far end of the beach where I take my morning walks.

rainbow2

I saturated the color in PSE, but this still wasn’t as vivid as I’d hoped – my polarizing filter was back at the cottage and I imagine that would’ve helped bring out the color.

After I had walked back to the cottage, I spied another delightful sight!
rainbow3

Out by the little island with the puzzling monument on it (I can’t seem to discover the purpose or reason for that structure – it was there when I was child, and I have no idea who built it or why).  I took this shot from the sand dune in front of the cottage.  I also liked the way the sun was starting to shine on the boats in the distance.
rainbow4

(Remember how I mentioned how the tide goes waaaaayyyy out here? )

Rainbow with mysterious monument:

rainbow5

I liked how the rainbow reflected in the small tide pools left behind on the clam flats.
rainbow6

Speaking of rainbows, don’t forget your rainbow of summer is due this Sunday the 28th!  I’ve received links from Nye, Gerry and Scott so far – remember to add yours to the comments section of that post.

ETA: How short my memory is!  Becky discovered the mystery of the monument last year, and I even commented on her blog post that contained this link to an explanation!

August 23, 2011

This one’s for the birds

Filed under: For the Birds,Travel — Karma @ 9:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve found myself drawn to bird photography this year, and Hills Beach was no lack of opportunity for avian shots.  I think most of my photos are of fairly typical shore birds, but I’ve made a selection of some favorites whether it was the bird itself or the situation that interested me.  I can’t begin to work my way through figuring out which birds are which types of pipers or plovers and such – I’m hoping maybe Bob Zeller will pop by and give me some identification help!

First, the easy ones:
gull

young herring gull  The typical “sea gull” found just about everywhere.  Normally I wouldn’t post a gull picture, but this guy just kind of ambled into my shot and I liked it.

On one of my walks, I watched some terns diving for fish:
diving tern

diving tern

kersplash

Splash!

Last year, I discovered a great blue heron making its home in a little cove.  I’d hoped to get some closer shots than I managed last year, but Mr. Heron was still playing shy:

blue heron

Did you know they have two-headed ducks in Maine?  Really! Have a look:
two headed duck! ;-)

😉

Speaking of ducks, a pair swam up near to where I was sitting waiting for the sunrise:
sunrise ducks

They waddled up on to the beach, almost as if to say hello:
ducks say hello

“Eh, how you doin’?”

For this shot, I just have to say, “What the duck?”
strange duck

Strange one, no?

My other shore birds of unknown specific names are in that piper/plover category that I always mix up.  Be sure to speak up if you can straighten me out:
piper/plover?

piper/plover?

These curious little birds would shuffle their feet in the shallow water on the sand bars and stick their beaks into what they shuffled up:
shore birds shuffling feet

They look like little gulls of some sort; here’s how they compare in size to the typical sea gull:
shore birds with gull

I’m going to fly the coop now, but I’ll be watching like a hawk for your wise as an owl comments that I hope will be something to crow about…. okay, I’ll stop now! 😉

Next Page »