Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 8.294: Halloween!

With Halloween being a Saturday this year, we left our pumpkin carving to this morning and then, as soon as we'd had some quick dinner including one of the last beers from the selection my Dad bought while he was here - appropriately enough a Halloween Ale - it was time for the trick-or-treaters to start arriving.

We were better prepared than last year for the craziness of our neighborhood on this day of the year - our next door neighbors counted 415 kids at their door.

After I escorted Team Rocket around to gather their share of candy, E5N1 took a turn giving out some more of ours to the stragglers.

It all looked something like this:

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 8.293: Hipster with bacon

This evening I was at church with the kids because the middle schoolers (including the girls) were throwing a Halloween party for the elementary aged kids including E5N1. It was chaotic fun.
Fortunately thanks to this:

I was well fueled. I declared it the most hipster salad ever - being mostly baby kale and quinoa. Exile #2, thinking I was commenting on its healthiness, countered that it had bacon in it. It was good in any case.

I'll wait until tomorrow to reveal the kids' costumes - it's another team effort.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 8.292: An extra hour...and a bit

It's been a rather busy week - and Thursday, as usual has taken the biscuit. After work, I drive to the dojo to collect Exile #4 from her sparring class, then as soon as I get home, I trade out my daughters to take Exile #3 to her dance class. That gives me just time to get home, have dinner and go back out to get Exile #3 again.

Well, that's how it usually happens.

This evening Exile #3 had a dance rehearsal after her class, so she was there from 6 until 8 giving me plenty of time to go home, have dinner, get involved in something and then get a text at 8:02 pm "Are you here?"

Actually no, but I'll be there soon. Oops.

Anyway, no harm done and here's a cormorant.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Day 8.291: A baby porcupine

I've yet to see a live porcupine in the wild - although like the moose, they are around not far from here.

However, someone brought a baby porcupine in a cage to the festival on Saturday. It turns out they eat with their hands just like squirrels. Very cute. Sadly my hasty cell phone photos did not do it justice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day 8.290: The drainage in the lower beach

The beach is a constant source of fascination for me. When we were walking there the other day I noticed the water draining from the beach at low tide was forming ribbon-like streams:

and then I noticed the place where the streams start:

<remember to insert profound thought here before posting>

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 8.289: Reflections in the sand

From our walk on Sunday afternoon...

We walked from Ocean Park to the Old Orchard Beach pier and back - maybe two and a half miles total.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Day 8.288: Exile #2's Sunday Column #78

Exile #2 writes...

We caught our breath a little this weekend. Apart from the flash mob that Exile #3 helped lead yesterday, we didn't have many commitments. So we got some jobs done, such as fighting back the tide of leaves, and the younger Exiles tested out their Halloween costumes.

This afternoon we blew away the cobwebs at the beach. You can tell that all the season is over. The fairground is partially dismantled and closed, the beach treasures are more plentiful - we are finding sand dollars now - and there were so few walkers that a local riding school could set up for a photo shoot with half a dozen horses.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Day 8.287: Saco Pumpkin Harvest Festival

We had a nice, brief visit to the Saco Pumpkin Harvest Festival to break up or otherwise lazy day.

E5N1 played some games and blew some bubbles (rather seriously) and claims hat this was his first cotton candy (candy floss). Later, Exile #3 and her dance company helped lead a flash-mob style dance.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Day 8.286: The tide goes out...

...and then it comes in again.

This evening Exile #4 was complaining that there were no mugs and glasses in the cupboard. The kids went upstairs to see what they could find.

There was one in Exile #4's room and these were in Exile #3's room:


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Day 8.285: Loon, sanderling, wave, ...

These pictures are from our brief stop at Goose Rocks Beach last Saturday. It was rather cool and windy, but we saw this loon:

and a group of sanderlings in the shallows. Including this one that got caught by a wave:

Caption anyone?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 8.284: Getting back

My parents made it home safely and sent this from Sunday afternoon:

You would think that things would be back to normal here, but after I said goodbye to our visitors I plunged into a two and a half day meeting at work which finished at 5 pm today and Exile #3 was sick and missed nearly two days of school, so it's been a bit crazy.

I think we might (perhaps) start to get back to some kind of normality now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 8.283: Sunrise over Saco Bay

Unlike the sunrise photos I posted yesterday, these were taken with my phone in the middle of my run on Saturday morning. I happened to be at Old Orchard Beach at low tide as the sun came up.

Earlier in the run I'd seen some lightning lighting up the insides of these clouds near the horizon. It was quite spectacular in the pre-dawn darkness. By the time I got to the beach, it was clear that they were a long way away.

I kept putting the phone away to get on with running and then seeing that the light had changed and getting it out again.

And again.

Eventually, the sun made an appearance from behind the clouds:

and the magic started to fade.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 8.282: Sunrise over Penobscot Bay

On our last morning in Rockland, I got up early to run then came back in time to pick up my camera and photograph the sunrise. This is how it looked:

 My parents left today to drive down to Boston for their flight tomorrow morning. Safe travels!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 8.281: Exile #2's Sunday Column #77

Exile #2 writes...

Temperatures have been steadily dropping during the visit of Exile #1's parents. Last night we received the following weather alert:


and today, we saw our first couple of snowflakes. Seems as if they are heading home not a moment too soon!

We did give them the opportunity to "enjoy" the chilly temperatures this afternoon, however, when we headed to Pumpkin Valley Farm for some classic pumpkin patch fun. It was slim pickings, but we found some pumpkins, rode the hay wagon, and spent a good half hour getting turned about in the corn maze. Then we made a quick visit to the play area for a bounce, and some turns on the corn cannon before heading home to thaw.

We wish them a safe journey home, with thanks for a lovely visit.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Day 8.280: Fort Foster Park

We visited the southernmost point in Maine today - Gerrish Island south of Kittery. The town park there contains the remnants of the 20th century defences of Fort Foster and some waterfront on both the ocean and on the Piscataqua.

In addition to the remains of the fort, and the nearby lighthouses and fall colours, we saw a number of interesting birds including a northern harrier, wood ducks and a huge number of cormorants flying along the coast as part of their migration.

The most surprising migration we witnessed was going on all around us - as we were surrounded by monarch butterflies - at times literally.

Afterwards, we broke our journey home with a very nice lunch at Federal Jack's and a quick visit to Goose Rocks Beach.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Day 8.279: Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

This is a sunrise photo from outside our hotel on the Rockland waterfront. You can see the breakwater with a low lighthouse on the end.

After our morning at the transportation museum on Sunday, we ventured North to Rockport to find the end of the breakwater and embark on a bracing walk along the nearly mile-long construction to the lighthouse.

Pictured: a double-crested cormorant, a gull eating a starfish, some happy faces having warmed up in the lighthouse and cottage - both of which were open when we arrived.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Day 8.278: Owl's Head Transportation Museum

After our rather strenuous hike on Saturday, Sunday started with a rather more gentle activity - a visit to the Owl's Head Transportation Museum. It was their last day of flying and driving their vehicles for the season and we had a great morning there.

Pictured: A display about racing on the sand at Old Orchard Beach, some of the vehicles that were operating, my Dad in conversation about his RAF days, the kids in various vehicles and a ride in a Model-T Ford for E5N1 and Grandpa.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Day 8.277: Date night (on Mars)

A brief break from our weekend catch-up because, thanks to my parents, Exile #2 and I had a night out. We had a quick dinner and then went to see The Martian.

Thoroughly enjoyable - but I need to be up for an early start at work tomorrow, so it's bedtime!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Day 8.276: A day in Rockland in the rain

We had pretty much perfect weather for our long weekend away, but it did start with a rainy day on Friday.

It didn't matter much because we had two meals, a planned visit and a surprise one to fill the time. The planned visit was to the Farnsworth Art Museum where we all enjoyed the collections of Maine art: paintings from the likes of Andrew Wyeth as well as photography, historic maps and sculpture.

E5N1 found a painting of a mountain we have climbed:

some art-based activities in the library:

and this room which - much to his delight - is an elevator:

Our other visit was to Project Puffin - a small center about the successful project to reintroduce puffins to several breeding sites on islands off the Maine coast. We watched a film about the project in some pretty illustrious company: