Tag Archive: maine

One Photo Each Month – 2012

I may have failed miserably in taking one photo a day, but I do at least have one for each month. This really does capsulize my year…:

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1. January: A pretty little downy woodpecker in the Whooping Crane Pond Conservancy on Hilton Head Island
2. February: A great blue heron up in the tree in our back yard in Hilton Head – calling to his mate. He built a nest there, and I got to watch it throughout the spring
3. March: Before the bluebirds found the bluebird box, the nuthatches were checking it out…!

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1. April: The bluebirds ultimately tried to raise their babies in the bluebird box. Unfortunately they did not make it…
2. May: The HMS Bounty — at the Tall Ships Celebration in Savannah, GA. The Bounty ultimately sunk in Hurricane Sandy off of North Carolina
3. June: A cardinal at a tree near our feeders – on Long Island

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1. July: Kezar Lake — view from the dock out to the islands
2. August: An amazing sunset and crescent moon off Wickapogue Road
3. September: At Operation Migration Crane Fest. The whooping crane chicklets after training behind an ultralight aircraft – taken from the blind in White River Marsh Wildlife Refuge in Berlin Wisconsin, where the birds had their training this summer. They are being fed grapes by their handlers. they have since migrated behind the ultralights and are now at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge in Florida.

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1. October: Storm Sandy wreaks havoc in our back yard. Our cedar tree is gone
2. November: a short hike to Valley Green over Thanksgiving week – this is the covered bridge
3. December: Christmas in Hilton Head – with Misty kitty looking on.


Kezar Lake, July 18-28, 2012

Our time this year at Kezar was nothing like the vacations of my youth where my grandfather called the shots, the routine was exacting, and the life style, rustic. Up until this trip, my husband and I had a busy summer filled with unplanned medical issues, (which have mostly been resolved), as well as trips and events that I wouldn’t exactly call “relaxing”. We were so ready for some rejuvenation time, and 10 days spent “in camp” on Kezar Lake is just the ticket! However, preparations for the trip are a little more involved than going to a “resort” where all your creature comforts are taken care of for you. Although there are blankets in camp, we have to bring up our own bedding. We also need to roughly plan our menus and figure out whatever other necessities we need prior to leaving home. On our way into camp we shop at a major grocery store to purchase these things. The local store nearest camp, The Center Lovell Market, carries a good many things, and I’m impressed with it’s selections. However, it still is a small store, and often an item or two is not carried. This one shopping trip basically holds us for the duration, and we supplement our groceries as needed from the Center Lovell store.

Once we settle into camp, with beds made and groceries put away, it’s time to get serious about the main reason for being there … “chillin'”! And that is just what we did.

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Good Morning, Kezar – as taken from our bedroom upstairs!

Morning coffee was either on the porch or the dock. We lingered – and breakfast often blended into lunch.

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If not on the dock, most of life is lived on the porch!

Dock time! Swimming happened anytime we felt the need for a cool, refreshing break. I had my camera nearby — usually with the 100-400 zoom lens attached — with me to record our time and whatever wildlife we might encounter…

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1. A loon pops up not far from the dock. I think this is what kept me so vigilant with my camera, as one never knew when a loon would appear close by in photography distance. It happened more than once during our stay. They are such beauties! I love their breeding plumage!
2. We have these spiders who live under the dock and either in or under our canoe – not sure. This fear kept me from taking the canoe out at all during our stay, as I didn’t want to get out in the middle of the lake and find one of them crawling around inside the canoe with me! I don’t know what kind of spider they are, but don’t believe they are harmful. However, they *are* are large. I also know they are more scared of us than we are of them because if I leaned nearer them to get the photograph, they often would scamper away.

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1. There seemed to always be a spider on the edge of the canoe!
2. The dragon flies were most beautiful – and there were many of them.

There are things about the view from the dock that I often would zero in on in my photographs:

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I am intrigued with this boathouse that is on one of the islands across the lake. The sunlight catches the roof at mid morning giving off a bright glow on both the roof and the reflection on the lake. But – in the afternoon, one can see it’s pretty green color.

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1. Wouldn’t you like to live in this cabin – sitting on top of this hill looking down over Kezar? Nice boathouse, too!
2. Cloud cover was often the subject for my photographs. I enjoyed how much it changed.

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Water fun: water skiing, sailing and kayaking!

At the end of the day, we either had cocktails on the dock, on the porch, or inside the cabin, then dinner. We ate in camp most of the time, but also had a dinner out at Ebenezer’s Pub twice (for some great microbrewery beer!) and Pleasant Point Inn once. On one occasion we had breakfast, and then another time, lunch at the little restaurant at the Center Lovell Market. It was a nice interlude, and a place to quickly check email on our phones, as they have wifi! There is next to no cell phone service, nor do we have internet or TV reception in camp.

We had one of the most gorgeous sunsets at Pleasant Point Inn…

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Salad presentation is everything!

As I think back on our 10 days in camp, we didn’t “do” all that much. In a way I wish we had done more like take rides in the canoe / kayak, or taken a road trip to Portland, or another place of interest in Maine. Bottom line: we were so incredibly lazy! However, we left feeling much better about life and ourselves. Sometimes it’s good to swear off technology (like TV and internet) and live simply with just a camera in hand, and a good book to read.

Returning to “civilization” is not always easy, although, for this technology junkie, I was glad to return to internet and TV! In addition, it’s interesting how one is so attuned to hearing background noises of civilization – like traffic sounds, horns beeping, ambulances, TV noises, household air conditioning, etc. We blot it out from one’s conscious attention. However these sounds are not present when one is on Kezar, and are replaced by the nature’s sounds: loons, an occasional bull frog, wind in the trees, rain on the roof, the lapping of lake water against the shoreline rocks, and just plain silence. Returning back to “civilization noises” is almost too much stimuli. Until one begins to again blot these sounds out, it can be a bit overwhelming.

I have so many stories of many other years at Kezar, and I’d like to compile them in a few entries here. As I think on them, they will become entries of their own… Later on that.

While the summer is still here, and memories of our vacation time on Kezar Lake, Maine are still (fairly) fresh in my mind, I want to post about it. But – this time I want to go into much more depth about the history of our “camp”, my childhood experiences there before I mention how we spent our time in camp this year.

There is something very special and “lasting” about vacation memories made as a child. They are the kind of recollections that create new “brain wrinkles”, so to speak, which are so strong that they become part of one’s soul. It’s so special, that I’m struggling now to find the right words to describe how it feels! Our time at Kezar Lake may only have been for two weeks a year, but the memories have taken over a lot more space in my heart than the actual time spent there. The views from the dock on Kezar are seared in my memory. I can “see” them always – without a photograph….

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Our camp, consisting of two rustic cabins located on the north end of Kezar Lake, used to belong to my grandfather, then to my parents. Now, camp is owned by my three siblings and I. The South Cabin, with it’s 2 bedrooms upstairs and living area downstairs, including screened in porch, is our main living space. The North Cabin is used mainly as bedrooms – including the living room area downstairs. It also has the same configuration of bedrooms upstairs and porch, but with a third bedroom located off the living area downstairs. When we were kids, we slept on army cots out on the porch “under the stars” and to the sound of the loons. The kitchen was never set up as such, and only has an old wood stove which I suspect was there when my grandfather purchased camp, and hasn’t been used in many years.

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1. South Cabin – where the living happens
2. North Cabin – a place to sleep

When we were children, the chemical toilets in both cabins were “yucky”. One must remember, however that this was CAMP, and “part of the experience”, or so I told myself ~. The waste had to be manually lifted and dumped in a pit which was dug first thing at the beginning of each summer – not a pleasant job. In the mid 1990’s my mom finally installed flush toilet facilities in both cabins, as well as hot running water, which we pump up from the lake. However, that is just for bathing and use in the toilets. For drinking and cooking, we have (and have always had) running spring water in both cabins. We have a personal stake in making sure that Kezar Lake remains a pristine, clear lake, because of how we use lake water! I’m grateful to Mom for making these changes, which weren’t simple to implement, as town codes had to be followed and approval had to be given to ensure the lake water would not be harmed.

With the exception only one summer (right after my youngest sister was born), our family went to “Maine” each summer during my father’s two week vacation. It was a 10 hour trip back then – and our car was crammed full – with the family and often a friend or two and everyone’s luggage, making it double the fun! My grandfather was usually in camp, as well, as it belonged to him at that time. It was he who called the shots as to how our daily life would be “in camp”. He told us when to get up – and when to go to bed, when to eat, when to swim, when to do chores, when to shop for groceries, when to rest. Our time in camp was amazingly structured, almost military style, but not so rigid that it was unbearable. However, I admit that I have no desire to recreate that kind of regimen anymore!

We had an old army bell which still hangs outside of the South Cabin which he’d ring when it was time to get up (about 8 a.m) – and again when it was breakfast time (about 8:30 a.m.). For a few years, my brother, who played the trumpet (and bugle), would play both Revile in the morning and Taps at sunset. My grandfather would raise the flag each morning before we sat down for breakfast, and take it down at sunset. At breakfast my grandfather had morning devotions with numerous Bible readings, and would ask each of us to read them. It was a good 15 or 20 minutes long – (or so it seemed) – too long I thought. It was was frustrating, as we “watched our orange juice get warm”. After breakfast came chores – – dishes had to be done, and Grandpa always wanted more kindling (for fires in the fireplace). This was was our job, and we’d spend about an hour or so looking for dead twigs in the woods, which would find their way into a fire in the fireplace on a cold morning. Finally at about 11 a.m. (and no earlier for sure!) we finally were allowed to get in our bathing suits, hang out on the dock and swim. I love my memories of the black inner tubes we played on. We’d bunch them in half, shove them between our legs, jump in the lake, and ride on them like horses! Kezar Lake was where I learned to swim, and the “rite of passage” was swimming across the lake, with my father along side in the boat. At about noon my mom would leave the dock to make lunch, and the rest of us had to be ready (and dressed – no one came to the table in bathing suits) by about 1 p.m. for lunch. Yes – the bell was rung again when lunch was ready! Following lunch was “rest hour”, no matter what our age. We didn’t have to sleep, and could read or play solitaire, but we could not talk. After our rest we often had free time, and sometimes we got a chance for another swim. However, on many days groceries had to be purchased at the North Lovell store. Most times we drove there, but sometimes on really nice days we’d take the motor boat to the town landing, then walk to the store, pulling a little red wagon to carry the groceries back to the boat. That was always fun. Dinner was about 6 or 6:30 and that bell was rung for that, too. Following dinner – and after the dishes were washed – we’d spend our evenings playing cards or reading before going to the “other cabin” to bed.

The Bell that told us when to do what!

There was only a few times when this schedule was changed. After breakfast on Sunday morning, we’d change into our good clothes for the worship service at the Center Lovell church at 11 a.m. That was the only day when I didn’t care if it rained. To sit inside the (usually hot) church building with the sun shining through the windows meant that we were losing precious time on the dock swimming. At least we got a brief chance for a swim after church and before a slightly later lunch.

About once (or twice) a summer we would also change our schedule if we took a day hike or climbed a mountain: Baldface, Chocorua, Speckled, Blueberry Mt. Then there were short climbs up Sabbatus Mountain where we’d take a picnic dinner, watch the sunset from the top, then climb down.

Rainy days were actually fun in camp. They were lazy as we’d read, play cards or board games (my favorite was “Clue”) to the sound of the rain on the roof. Sometimes we chose those days to go into Norway, Maine to do laundry and have lunch out. It was relaxing – and especially relaxing to go to sleep to the rain sounds at night. However, if it went on for more than two days, we’d all get antsy.

These childhood memories are what make the lure so strong to continue the traditions there each summer. Things are different now, as Grandpa is not around to invoke his regimen. For that I admit I’m glad. We linger over morning coffee on the dock now. No one is there to tell us we can’t eat a meal in our bathing suit! The bell doesn’t ring anymore, nor does anyone play Taps and Revile. Before dinner we have cocktails on the dock (or porch), something Grandpa wouldn’t have allowed. And – meals are when we want them – not at specific times. As I’d mentioned, The family has made improvements to the cabins in the form of flush toilets, running hot water, as well as replacement of those old army cots – to name just a few things. But – the basic mood and ambiance of camp and the surrounding area remains mostly unchanged. The North Lovell store has been closed for many years, forcing us to travel a little further for groceries, but the store building remains as a landmark. We eat out a lot more now, as a few more restaurants have opened up nearby.

Next post I’ll mention some of the specifics of this years time on Kezar.

Kezar Lake is Vacationland!

It’s been a crazy summer, and I admit I haven’t been all that happy in it and with myself as to how I’ve chosen to spend these months.  In short, I’ve lacked organization and motivation.  Quite frankly, I blame it mostly on the heat that was relentless and went on for days with what seemed to be no relief in sight.  I’ve alluded to my lack of tolerance for it a few posts ago.  Nothing excited me about my days, and I spent way too much time holed up in one of our two rooms which have a/c units.  I didn’t get enough sunshine, and exercise, and lacking those things breeds sluggishness and lack of focus.  I guess that pretty much sums it up…

However, there were a few bright spots – and that’s where I’m headed in this blog entry.  I am grateful for our 10 day trip to Kezar Lake Maine in mid July (17-27).  I shared a few photos from that week in my last entry here.  It was our first time there in 2 years, and it was a breath of fresh air (literally!) to finally be back.  The weather was cooler, though still warm for several daily lake swims.  It was also one of the first times Ray and I have been there alone without other family members.  This allowed us to do exactly what we pleased without worry that we’d break some sacred Maine tradition that would somehow send us “straight to hell”.  Of course I exaggerate when saying this, but it’s time that Ray and I forage our own Maine traditions suited just for us.

We had a motor boat ride….

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1.  Out in the main part of the lake headed south to Center Lovell

2.  Inside “north bay” – looking towards the islands

3.  Mountains that can be seen from within north bay – I think that is Evans notch and Speckled Mountain

4.  View of the old Cliffwood boathouse – in shambles.  One of these years it will fall into the lake!  When I was a kid, there were people living there in a house up on the hill – and we used to water ski off that boathouse!  That house has been torn to the ground.

…and a canoe ride down one of the brooks

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1.  Purple flowers gone wild!

2.  yellow water lily – and lily pad

3.  white water lily – and lily pads


We also read several books each, especially on the one rainy day in camp.  I like rainy days in camp as long as there is only one.  It’s cozy reading on the porch with the sound of the rain on the roof.  Our meals were simple – and we went out to eat on several nights to a new pub that is there, Ebenezer Kezar Pub in Center Lovell.  Great beer selections there….!

We also took one side trip to Portland.  I’d never been there before – and went to Freeport to L.L. Bean, then to the Portland Head lighthouse…

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When we arrived at the lighthouse – it was crystal clear.  Then we went into the museum to see – and read – some of the history about the light – and in only 20 minutes a very thick fog appeared!  What a change!

Then we went into Portland to have dinner – on the wharf at DiMillos, a restaurant that was a ferry that had been converted into a restaurant.  It had a great ambiance where pretty much every seat had a great view of the outside.  It was probably what would be considered a tourist trap, but – admit it – we WERE tourists!  Besides – the food was good and the atmosphere was fun.

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1.  Outside view of DiMillos

2.  Inside view of DiMillos

The weather really began to get bad while we were eating, and clearly a good sized thunderstorm was brewing.  We had a few blocks to RUN to get to our car and we barely made it before the skies opened.  Our trip back to camp was wild – with hail and tornado warnings in all the places where we were.  Later we found out there were some twisters – but we managed to not be there when they were!  there also had been quite a thunderstorm in camp, but we didn’t lose power, nor fry my computer, which had been plugged in while we were gone.

Next entry:  My trip to Atlanta – and a side trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway!

This is the best way I know to let you know what I’ve been up to – – and why I haven’t been posting!  Kezar Lake was the “vacationland” of my childhood, and it’s ranking pretty high as an adult.  Let the pictures do the talking for this blog entry….  🙂

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Ever since the beginning of July, my brain has been like sludge.  There are pretty much no ideas springing forth for blogging, as my focus has been on my personal comfort level, which means – in short – basically finding innovative ways of keeping cool.

It’s been unseasonably hot.  Although this has not happened daily, we have had some actual (not heat index) triple digit temperatures in our coastal climate.  Ocean breezes usually temper the hot weather.  However, there were times when all was quiet on the sea breeze front giving us the heat that is normally reserved for inland areas.  With the humidity that is normally present, that made for horrible heat indices.

Part of the explanation for my whining is that our house has no central air conditioning.  We do have window units for our two upstairs bedrooms, and it’s a good thing because they are rooms converted from attic space.  There is not much insulation between the roof and the room, so when the sun beats down on that roof – the heat can soar inside to unlivable temperatures.  Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the a/c that we have.  However, it’s been getting a little annoying feeling imprisoned in a small room.  Frankly I miss the REST of my house!

With sun blazing into our kitchen’s west windows, cooking in this heat has become an unpleasant activity!  Adding more heat from the oven or top-of-the-stove burners raises the temperature to an already steamy room.  I’ve used shades to block the sun off to some extent – but there’s only so much you can do.  Therefore, Ray and I have been grilling outside, and going out to eat a lot more than usual.  Salads of all kinds have turned into main dishes, and I try to make them up in the morning when the sun is scorching the other side of the house.

Our pool is a godsend and we’re blessed to have it!  However, It’s only a quick fix.  Because I do not like to hang out in the hot summer sun endlessly, I don’t stay out there for too long.  I remember in my younger years when I’d burn to a crisp – on purpose.  No more!  We didn’t know the dangers of skin cancer back then…  Plus – I really do not enjoy sun bathing anymore.

I go back to old posts where I talked about longing for snow.  I guess that’s odd request this time of year.  Interesting how I’ve heard others long for those snowy days of only a few months ago.  I need to bottle their words of disdain for the white stuff to remind them how much they hated it at the time.  But – really, I get it.  It’s a matter of perspective how we feel in any given situation.  I think the relevant saying here is, “Be careful for what you ask for – you might get it!”.

I think back on my childhood and air conditioning was a luxury that most households didn’t have.  It was mostly reserved for stores, movie theaters, office buildings, and other public places.  Most people didn’t have window units, either.  We sure didn’t – and only had a few fans which we moved around the house to where we were living at the time.  My parents were always reticent to allow us to leave the fans on all night for fear of a fire, so we just sweltered.  I remember going to bed and squirting water on my face from a spray gun to get cool, and dreaming of having a pool in my back yard, knowing full well that I’d never see that!  Kezar Lake, Maine, where our family vacationed each year, was also on my mind – and in my mind’s eye, I was swimming in that clear water….  In the end, squirting water all over me was not the most comfortable of experiences, as the sheets ended up soaked.  Yet – most mornings, I’d wake up and the house *had* cooled down.

We survived.  Everyone else was in the same boat, so we didn’t expect any differently.  I think it all has to do with expectations, and expectations were different back then.

It has also occurred to me that having air conditioning at one’s disposal can make you “feel” hotter once you’re removed from it. Your body has more difficulty re-acclimating to the hotter temperatures after you had gotten used to the a/c.   Also – I wonder if people have less tolerance for the heat as you age.  And – aging is what I seem to be doing best…

I have some photos from a few other ways we have managed to keep cool – but that will come in a post to come.

However, as Ray and I experience this July heat wave, we are now seriously considering installing central air conditioning for this house.  Not sure when – or even if – but it’s at least a serious conversation.  We’ve considered it other years, but, despite the expense, this may be the year that we actually go through with it.   Call me a wimp – but I’m so ready!

Meantime – we’re headed to Kezar Lake, Maine in a less than a week….!

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