Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Wealth of Water!

We arrived back in Maine, to Katrina's home in Clifton in early April. 

The ice was still thick on Chemo Pond and the Penobscot River was fringed with ice blocks, but the crocus were starting to bloom. Spring was slowly starting to arrive.

When we arrived to spend time with Katrina and family, our first greeting came from Louie and his mother Baby who rush to the door to see us.

They have become special friends.

During our time in Maine, we also wanted to spend some time with Phillip and his family.  He has two "greeters" also, Budget, the Bulldog, and Frankie, the Bug. They would hang out on the couch waiting for their special people to come up the driveway. 

A quick little side story about these two. One morning, Frankie wanted to get into the upstairs bedroom but couldn't seem to push the door open.  He keep trying and trying.  Finally, Budget hopped off the couch, padded up the stairs and pushed open the door for him. After helping Frankie, he went back down the stairs and climbed back onto the couch! The peace was restored and his friend was happy.


The rest of the family...Phillip and son Simon. (Daughter Azure was away.)


And partner Lacey.  We really enjoyed spending time with them.


A line of traps Phillip had just finished getting ready to be put into the water for spring fishing.  Artistic presentation, and lots of work.


Before leaving Maine, we also visited friends In Hancock.  We hauled brush, chopped kindling, and walked around the woods near their home.  We also spent a day bird watching and looking for ducks around various spots on Frenchmen's Bay.

Latona finding another heart rock, as we checked out this cove in Hancock.  Here we saw Loons, Buffleheads, and a small flock of Eiders.

Next stop was down the coast to part of Acadia National Park known as Schoodic Point. 
Here we saw several Common Mergansers and a flock of Common Eiders.

That day we saw a Ruffed Grouse, Song Sparrow, the Eastern Phoebe, and in the water Black Guillemots, Black Ducks and Black Scoters.
The day was Beautiful and the surf was captivating.

As we wrapped up our Maine visit, we can report that the ice is now gone on Chemo Pond and the Loons have returned to nest.

Another lovely evening on Chemo and we said goodbye for the month of May.  We headed for a stop in New Hampshire with Carrie and her family as we begin the trip that will incorporate the Warbler Festival in Ohio and a chance to visit my siblings before returning to New England for the summer months.

Now here are my positive take-always from our Maine visit:
     Katrina has returned to work and is remodelling her salon.  Torrey has her first job at the mall and is waiting to take her drivers test, and will successfully complete her sophomore year in high school in a few weeks.  Mike is doing well driving and will start with a new company soon so he can be closer to home.  Good news!

     Phillip and Lacey are parenting both Simon and Azure and are very happy to have both the teens living with them.  Simon is now over 6 feet tall and doing well in middle school while Azure is also completing her sophomore in high school, and was on the soccer and cheerleading teams. Spring fishing is on and I believe his boat is all set!

     Friends greet us wherever we go and we count the blessings of our life by the names of all the special people in our extended family.

      Now we will spend a week with Carrie, Jay, Sari, Lyla and the various animals here. This is my birthday week so I anticipate a wonderful celebration coming my way.  Here is what we found when we drove up yesterday! My daughter is wonderful to me and to Latona in every way.

As you can, there is so much to nourish a grateful heart.  I am thankful that I have reached 72 years of
age today! My life has been filled with so many wonderful gifts! I am sending a huge Thank You to All!

Friday, April 10, 2015

April Catch-Up!

Information About Mom:  Thank you for all the requests about my mothers surgery in December. Let me answer the inquiries before I go on. Her December surgery was successful and it stopped the progression of glaucoma in her right eye. If all stays as it is now, she will retain the partial vision she has in that eye and will NOT go blind. This was great news for her since her other eye is almost completely blind. We had a shorter but happy visit in March and our return is planned for next fall.

We had also visited friends Pat and Jean in March as well, and captured photos of these bird friends when we visited a special Veterans Memorial Park near their home.

White Ibis


Our next stop was a planned camping trip with Joan and Lucille in a state park/preserve near Gainesville.  It was fun to think about our visit to Paynes Prairie SP and seeing our friends after many months of missing them.

They had visited the area the year before and planned several hikes to places where we could observe the Prairie and see some of the unique wildlife of the area. From the side of the preserve where we camped, we walked to this observation tower and had our first glimpse of wild horses, white tails and part of the herd of American Bison laying in the tail grass of the prairie.  We also spotted several Whooping Cranes and two Roseate Spoonbills too far away for pictures.


We saw at least 20 animals on this particular day, but again from quite a distance for our little camera.

Joan is quite a naturalist and doesn't miss much along any path. Latona is always looking for new things as well so they make any hike quite an adventure. From another direction, on another day hike, we revisited the Prairie and had an amazing chance to see a lot more wildlife.

Boardwalk approach to large wet land area filled with alligators, herons and American Bitterns.

Wolf Spider and Lunch

Alligator hiding...

And moving toward the Great Blue.  These herons had a rookery in the area and we spotted three nests.

Common Gallinule

Immature Glossy Ibis that was feeding in this small pond with a Wood Stork.

Pied Grebe


Two of the wild horses

The camping trip came to an end two quickly. Joan and Lucille were planning to head north and return early April to Maine, we planned to head west for a slower route back to New England through the Midwestern states.  After chasing dragonflies and damsel flies, avoiding bellowing alligators, and birdwatching all along the way with our friends we said goodbye and headed west.  We planned to camp on the Gulf Shores area of Mississippi at Buccaneer State Park for five days.

During this time, we were in contact with Latona's daughter and wondered if we should return home to support her as she continued to heal from her surgery in January.  We had flown home for several weeks after she returned home, but wondered each day after we left if we could be of more help to her. We talked with her on the phone on March 26 and decided we wanted to return to Maine right away.  So we headed north the next day.  It is great to have your home with you at all times so the first night we stayed in Fort Paynes, Alabama at the Walmart. 

We realized that we had friends along the route home that we would like to visit, so we called and sure enough they graciously said "Come On".  So the second night, we visited with Andre and Ruthie, and the following night we made it to Charlottesville, VA to stay with Cathryn and Patti.  From there, we had two convenient northbound stops - Pennsylvania with my brother, and then the final stop before Maine was with Carrie and family in New Hampshire. It worked so well to see our friends and family as we traveled north.  We enjoyed the Redbud in the south, but soon the trees looked like this in northern PA.

Always some fun things to find as you travel and at a rest stop, we met a lady walking her two dogs and her cat. She told us the cat thought it was a dog and in fact was the alpha of the group!

On April 3, we arrived in Clifton Maine and happily reunited with Katrina and Mike, and Torrey and her friend Cammi, and of course, Baby and Louie.

We shared a wonderful Easter dinner prepared by Mike and Katrina. We have also gone back and forth to Bangor since that is where Torrey goes to school.

Still big snow banks and a frozen Chemo Pond in background. Katrina is regaining her strength. She will go on the road with Mike as he drives long-distance truck loads.  This will give her extra time to rest and recover.

On a walk, we found the evidence of a Pileated Woodpeckers labours.

We have also seen Hairy Woodpeckers, Juncos, and Robins working any patches of bare ground they can find.  We really believe Spring is coming but right now it is all a matter of faith.

We hope to visit Phillip and his family as well before we start our spring trip.  Latona is taking me to the Warbler Festival near Toledo, Ohio for my birthday! What a Sweetie! But you all know that already!