Full-circle with Beauty and the Beast

The movie Beauty and the Beast has a special place in my heart and in our family. Hannah has never been an over the top girly-girl.

As a kid, she enjoyed Legos more than dolls. She was never into princesses but rather thought she’d be a firefighter. Yet there was that one Disney movie that fascinated her – Beauty and the Beast. She watched that movie until the DVD wouldn’t play anymore. She had all of the characters and would line them up on the window sill and sing the theme song at the top of her lungs. Just last Christmas we replaced that DVD and at age 17, I still find her watching it now and again.

You can imagine her enthusiasm with the release of the new Beauty and the Beast movie this past week.

Hannah's First Movie

Hannah’s First Movie

On Thursday night Hannah learned that she wasn’t admitted to one of her favorite colleges, and she was feeling quite low. So, we had an impromptu girls day and went to see the new movie on Friday. For two hours we were captivated. Neither of us checked the time wondering when it was going to end (which I often do during movies – I’m not good at sitting for that long).

The movie was magic and lifted Hannah out of a sad place. She’s a movie geek – fascinated with the whole of the movie – the script, music score, production, computer graphics, etc. She said that Disney fleshed out the story in this movie and filled in the plot gaps from the animated version. She particularly liked that Belle was portrayed as strong, smart, take-charge woman.

Looking back, I feel like we’ve come full circle with Beauty and the Beast. It was such a memorable part of Hannah’s childhood and the movie has “grown up” to be part of her adult life, continuing to bring her joy.

The movie and our mother/daughter day lightened Hannah’s spirits. As did the late-day email from Denison University with an offer of admission. All-in-all, a perfect day!

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The Bodacious Beaver

During my travels Downeast I’ve seen many beaver lodges – the pile of sticks peeking out of an estuary, pond or marsh. On occasion, I watched a beaver swim along, but I’ve never seen one actively working on their home. Yet it’s clear that they’ve been busy, I’ll spot new branches on top of a snow-covered lodge proving they’ve been at work. I know they’re often considered pests, but I always find myself watching for them as I travel by their homes. Enjoy!

Right-click here and select “save target/link as” to save this printable beaver pattern to your computer.

printable beaver pattern

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The Downeast Thunder Farm European Robin

This one is for you folks across the pond – a European robin to help welcome spring. It wasn’t until Nancy from the Netherlands shared a picture of her robin did I appreciate that the American and European robin varieties differ so much. The trick here is having just the right colors of felt – which I did not. I feel a felt order in my future.

The trick here is having just the right colors of felt – which I did not. I feel a felt order in my future. Enjoy!

European Robin printable pattern

Right-click here and select “save target/link as” to save this PDF pattern to your computer.

robin redbreast pattern europeak

 

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The First Robin of Spring

Enjoying my first cup of coffee while watching the flurry of activity at the bird feeders is a lovely way to start the day.

I just about spilled said coffee scrambling for my camera when I spied this newcomer.

My first robin sighting of the season sparked a bit of joy that stayed with me all day.

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The Bonny Budgie

Although spring is all but around the corner, it was entirely too windy and bitter cold today to venture outside for long. I opted to play with a pattern and thought I’d try something that brings warmer climates to mind. This little Budgie pattern is simple, but getting the stitches just right is a bit more challenging. I used two strands of black floss for the decorative stitching throughout this bird. I think he would have turned out better if I’d used one strand at the head, increasing to two and then three strands as I worked my way down the back and wing. Play with the colors and patterns to create your own Budgie. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Right-click here and select “save target/link as” to save this printable PDF Budgie pattern to your computer.

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In Search of Serenity

In a week overloaded with challenges, stress, and entirely too much work, where the ordinary suddenly goes off track, I’ve been in search of a bit of serenity.

Thankfully, I’ve found it in stolen moments.

The sun rising over ice shacks on a quiet river.

The meandering path for snow melt working its way into the sea.

Contemplation on a spring-like February day.

The shadow of Cadillac Mountain through the stark frame of winter trees.

Stolen moments with my daughter – the best balm for my soul.

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Who’s Walking in my Woods?

I hadn’t thought much about who’s walking in my woods lately. Until I took out the garbage this afternoon and found this.

There were two sets of tracks running side-by-side down the drive, bypassing the duck and chicken coups without a pause. Too large for a fox, I suspect they’re coyote tracks.

I followed the tracks backward and found where they came out of the woods. At night we often hear the yip-yipping of coyotes in the distance, but this is as close as I’ve seen them recently. What I find curious is that they didn’t show any interest in the chickens and ducks. Although Paul spied what he thought were fox tracks in the snow earlier in the day.

We have experience with fox, deer, mink, skunk, squirrel, and bear, but for the most part, our woodland predators keep to themselves. Unless they spot an easy meal!

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A Winter Beach Walk

I’ve got a case of cabin fever. I felt the need to get out and about today, but with all of this snow, there aren’t many places to hike. Pondering where to go where I’d have some space to move, I thought of the beach.

Roque Bluffs in the Snow

Hannah and I headed to Roque Bluffs. I hadn’t thought how we’d get to the beach – or where we’d park! You can just see the top of the stair rails peeking out of the snow here.

atlantic ocean winter

Thankfully, some kind soul had shovelled a path to the shore.

downeast maine beach winter

We’d almost expected a beach full of ice, but there was plenty of space to walk where the tide had removed the snow.

ocean in winter

There was a slight breeze, but the temps were above freezing; it wasn’t a bad day for a beach walk considering it was February.

camera winter beach

I enjoyed watching Hannah take over the camera. She survived in a couple light jacket layers.

bundled up for winter on the beach

I, on the other hand, was bundled from head to toe. And, with my Muck boots, I was able to stroll along in the surf.

hannah at roque bluffs

Ultimately, Hannah did complain about the cold. I offered to treat her to a Dunkin Donuts coffee after our walk. What did she get? Iced coffee. Go figure.

mother and daughter selfie

I love these weekend walks with my girl!

snowy tree

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Downeast Thunder Farm “Honey Do” List

I know I’ve mentioned before how fortunate I am to have such a handy husband. Paul, a marine engineer by training, describes himself as an engineer, designer, fabricator, and maker. We joke that he’s the idea guy. I, however, have veto power.

I always seem to be the one with the camera around the house, but lately, he’s begun to document his projects over at his site Downeast Thunder Creations. Here are a few of the videos he’s created from photos

wrought iron pot rackRecently, I shared the pot rack he fabricated for me. Here’s a quick video he put together showing the basics of how he created it.

mobile computer deskThis fall, Paul designed and built a standing, mobile computer desk for his laptop. It’s built for his height and comfort and he can easily move it to where he’s working.  You can see his images of building this here.

Paul designed my greenhouse a couple of years ago – which still stands strong even with the crazy 40 inches of snow we got this last week. He’s put together a quick look at the building process here.

These are just a few of the pictorials/videos he’s put together on his projects and he’s got many other plans on the drawing board.

My concern is where my projects fall on the “Honey Do” list. So, let me take this moment to record my list for posterity.

  1. Turn my 6″ baking sheet cabinet into a pullout spice shelf.
  2. Build a new duck coop with a concrete floor.
  3. Finish the windows in the revamped hen house.
  4. Dig a new garden bed just for garlic.
  5. Put the door casing and trim on our office door.
  6. Install the screen doors on the French doors leading to the porch.
  7. Finish the trim in our bedroom.
  8. Help me put new kitchen tile in – once I finally figure out what I want!
Paul Bennett's Downeast Thunder Creations

Paul’s Downeast Thunder Creations

Not to worry, honey. You’ll note that this list is taped to the fridge, too!

Stop on over to Downeast Thunder Creations and see what Paul’s been up to!

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Snowy Morning Visitors

Storm three of the week was still going strong this morning. I spent a couple of hours on the sofa with my coffee contemplating the real world. Today was Hannah’s third snow day of the week. I had to decide if it was going to by my third snow day as well. All I wanted to do was hibernate, yet guilt set in, so I headed into the office.

It was a very slow and slippery four miles to town, but worth it in the end. By the time I arrived home tonight, Paul and Hannah had the whole place plowed and shoveled out. Happy day!

Here are a few of the visitors I enjoyed watching over my coffee this morning.

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The Roseate Tern

I used Monday’s snow day to finish up this Roseate Tern that I started weeks ago. Summertime you’ll find these little birds scooting across the surface of the water and then diving for fish. I’m not sure where they spend their winters – if they’re smart it’s not in Maine!

roseate tern printable pattern

Right click here and select “save target/link as” to save this Roseate Tern PDF pattern to your computer.

roseate tern pdf pattern

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The Morning After

We’ve had snowy winters before. It seems like every couple of years we get a doozy – snow up to the eaves. Yet, this last week has been one for the record books. Eighteen inches last Thursday and then yesterday, we got 30 inches in 30 hours. It didn’t seem as if the snow would ever end!

We have a winter’s worth of snow in just a couple of days.

The winds were not as bad here as predicted. I think the trees sheltered us a bit.

Gidget doesn’t know what to think of it all. We’ve shoveled a snow pen for her. It’s like having a fenced in run.

I’m glad I filled the bird feeders before the snow started falling. These mourning doves were jockeying for position during the storm.

When I woke to the moon shining in the window I knew the weather had broken.

The front yard just as the sun was beginning to break through.

The view of our cozy house as we started to dig out this morning. I’m ever so grateful that Paul plowed once yesterday. It made today that much easier. Hearing that plow truck start up was music to my ear!

I spent a good bit of the morning raking snow off the roof – in preparation for the 8-12 inches that will be coming tomorrow evening.

I tucked a yardstick in the snow to measure the depth but had to scoop snow away to be able to see the top; 36″ in that spot.

Note my lilac bushes beneath the bird feeder. Just a few twigs peaking out of the top. The top of those bushes are above my waist!

As crazy as the last couple of days have been, it was worse in other areas. Some spots got as much as 40″ of snow. Some towns lost electricity for almost a full day.

We’ll see what they weather man has in store for us tomorrow!

 

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With February Comes Winter

We have had a very mild winter to date. With temps bouncing from frigid to moderate, the little snow we’ve had has quickly melted. Until today. It seems that with only 38 days until spring, winter has finally arrived.

We woke with 18 inches of snow on the ground. Yes, there is a driveway out there somewhere.

 

Gidget is a little bewildered by this new reality.

A two-hour school delay gave us ample time to dig out, but the plow truck decided it was too cold to work. Hannah and I half shovled, half slogged a path through the knee deep snow so she could catch to the school bus. Why do we have such a long driveway?

Snow drifted in the open window of the hen house and the Girls wanted nothing to do with this white stuff. I found them huddled on top of their nesting boxes.

I love the beauty of these wing tracks from a mourning dove.

And at last, the view from my sofa with a cup of coffee.

We have two days to prepare for the next round of snow – which Paul is calling Snowmagedon – possibly twice as much snow as yesterday with blizzard conditions.

Can you say Snow Day No. 4?

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Barred Owl on the Barrens

If you’ve been visiting me here at my Downest Thunder Farm blog for any length of time, you know I’m passionate about owls. I have yearned to capture one on camera.

When I finally spotted an owl that stuck around long enough for me to snap a picture, it was with my cell phone. After that missed opportunity, I pledged to never leave the house again without my camera. It was my New Year’s resolution.

maine barred owl

Today, that dedication to dragging my camera along finally paid off! Within 1/2 miles of the location where I found a dead owl a couple of weeks ago, I spotted this wonderful creature.

a barred owl in Whiting

She was perched on a power line perusing the blueberry barrens.

barred owl on a power line

I watched her from the car until she flew off, only to land 20 yards or so down the power line.

beautiful barred owl

I slowly followed her and we played that game a few more times.

barred owl in flight

She watched me watching her and then she flew off again putting a little distance between us.

barred owl on a power line

I could have spent the entire afternoon watching her.

barred owl in downeast maine

She startled me when she swooped down off the power pole,

barred owl on the blueberry barrens

intent on something in the field bordering the barren.

barred owl in search of prey

She pounced.

barred owl on the hunt

And hopped.

barred owl in the field

And finally settling without her prey. When ultimately I lost sight of her, I continued on to my meeting.

barred owl at sunset

I was surprised when over an hour later she was back at the same spot on the power line. This time I turned the car off and ventured out. She studied me for just a moment.

barred owl flying in Maine

And I managed a few last pictures before she flew off into the sunset.

I did the Dance of Joy the entire way home!

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The Superb Fairy-wren

I receive more suggestions for patterns to create than I will ever have time to design. This is a hobby for me and if there isn’t something about a bird or critter that I find appealing, designing feels like work rather than fun. This week I received a suggestion for a Fairy-wren. Having absolutely no clue about Fairy-wrens (as I don’t live in Australia!), I Googled them. Wrens are just plain cute, but photos of these birds were so endearing that I knew I wanted to make them (check out some pics here). To my friends in Australia, enjoy!

australian superb fairy wren

Right-click here and select “save target/link as” to save this printable Fairy-wren pattern to your computer.

male female fairy wren

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The Surf at Schoodic Point

I had great ambition for a hike today. The thermometer was above freezing and the skies were blue. Then I stepped outside and realized the wind was whipping. Brrr. My hike plans instead turned into a lunch outing and an afternoon drive.

I did leave the car to pick my way across the rocks to watch the surf. Paul joined me for about 2.5 seconds. Hannah never did venture from the car.

blue skies at schoodic point

big waves at schoodic

winter at schoodic

surf at schodic point

The surf at schoodic point

winter tidal pools at schoodic point

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The Woodland Barred Owl

Owls have been in my thoughts lately. Although I created a pattern for one a few years ago, recent Barred Owl sightings and the sad loss of one piqued my interest to design another. I only wish I had just the right colors for her, these felt choices are a little off. Hope you enjoy!

woodland barred owl plan pdf

Right-click here and select “save target/link as” to save this Barred Owl printable PDF pattern to your computer.

Downeast Thunder Farm Woodland Barred Owl

 

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When Worlds Collide

Cruising along US Route 1 today, I spied a bundle on the edge of the road. As I passed I processed what it might be and my curiosity got the better of me. I turned around and headed back. It’s rare to see a bird on the edge of the road, but in this case, it was a small Barred Owl. My heart felt so heavy.

dead barred owl

Over the past few weeks, there have been many owl sightings in this neck of the woods. Knowing my affinity for owls, friends have reported their sightings in Milbridge, Cutler, Columbia, and Harrington. Just yesterday, Hannah excitedly shared that as she and Paul drove home from ball practice, an owl swooped down and flew beside the truck with them for a short while before swooping up to rest on the power line. They’ve all been daytime/early evening sightings including my own sighting a couple of weeks ago.

Owls are so striking, yet elusive, teasing us with their “who-who, who-who” at night. Why so many owl sightings in such a short period? Are we simply becoming more aware of our surroundings? Is there a reason why the owls are on the move during the daylight? Are we seeing more owls because the population is growing? Or something else altogether?

I’d hoped the little owl on the side of the road was just injured, but she was dead. It appears as if she collided with a vehicle. Is it morbid to snap a picture? Maybe, but she was so beautiful that I wanted her to be remembered.

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Bird Tree Revisited

My post-Christmas recycled bird tree crashed and burned in the first snow storm after I set it up. I rescued all of the orange cup feeders and sunflower heads and simply hung them on the birch tree in the background here.

In the dark of night, all of the ornaments disappeared except for this one that I wired onto the branch. This morning I was finally rewarded with a flurry of chickadees enjoying the treats.

It’s the simple things that make my day!

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The Watchful Western Screech Owl

Meet the tiny watchful Western Screech Owl. Owl number 18 of my collection, she may be one of my favorite owls so far. I like the way she turned out. She was a good project for a winter day that was entirely too cold to venture outdoors. Enjoy!

Right-click on this link and select “save target/link as” to save this printable Western Screech Owl to your computer.

printable western screech owl pattern

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Hannah's First Movie Full-circle with Beauty and the Beast

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