Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recompence Shores

On Sunday afternoon, Joanne and Mark invited the family to their campsite at Recompence Shores in Freeport, Maine. The campgropund was set aside by the Smith Family in 1958 so that others could share the natural beauty of the woods, fields and ocean. Today, Recompence, which means repayment, is operated by the non-profit Wolfe's Neck Farm Foundation. "Recompence is a low impact campground which supports a wide variety of plant life including pink lady's slippers, Indian pipes, and touch me nots. Deer, wild turkey, fox and an occasional moose call Wolfe's Neck home." Joanne and Mark had parked their t@b on a beautiful site overlooking Casco Bay and...the sun finally came out! We celebrated Mark's sister, Nancy's, 50th birthday and Nancy's 4th anniversary of beating cancer. Nancy had baked her famous "Captain's" chocolate cake in the shape of a cancer awareness ribbon to mark the date.

Andi and Joanne showed everyone how to dig clams and, true to form for any Smith family gathering, there was a crisis of sorts. Two girls ran up to Hank and yelled that there was a man stuck in the mud and the tide was coming in. They said he was yelling for help and asked if we had some rope. The girls headed off down the beach to look for him and Kit and his brother-in-law Adam, a big, burly policeman, grabbed a rope. Kit and Adam finally found the man, walking down the road covered in mud from head to toe and drunk as a skunk...crisis averted.
Later in the day, we were joined by Jim DeGrandpre, an old friend of ours who is now managing the campground for the Wolfe's Neck Farm Foundation. It was great to see Jim and to once again hear his famous "pony story" and relive old memories.
Thanks to Joanne and Mark for their - as always - bountiful food and hospitality.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy 4th Anniversay, Nancy!!!

May 23rd, 2005 was the day that Nancy awoke at Maine Medical Center to hear that she had stage 3 ovarian's a day none of us will every forget. One of the first things the doctor told Nancy was to stay away from the internet...the sites about ovarian cancer are pretty scary to read....especially for cancer in the advanced stages. But Nancy has done it...she has beaten the cancer twice and today, on the 4th anniversay of the day that changed her life, she is in remission. All of us who are close to Nancy know how hard this has been for her, physically and emotionally. She has fought through two major abdominal surgeries, two rounds of chemo, two heart attacks, a pulmonary embolism, the loss of her hair, and the reality that she will not be able to teach again. She has walked miles for three years at Relay for Life to raise money for the American Cancer Society and taught so many of us what it means to be brave. only Nancy could do...she inspires us every day by laughing her way through it as she always has. Nancy, we know that sometimes your jokes and laughter are your way of whistling in the dark and we love you all the more for it. You light up all of our lives and always will...Happy Anniversay..You Go, Girl!!!

Memorial Day

Hope everyone is enjoying the long Memorial Day weekend...after such a long, snowy winter, the unofficial start of summer is finally here. It was 91 degress in Portland on Thursday and high 80's yesterday...a little cooler today but still nice whether for being outside. Like everyone else, we've been doing a lot of gardening. Last weekend, we had fun helping Kristen and her housemates plant a vegetable garden at their home. Needless to say, for Kristen, who loves spicy food, we planted jalpeno peppers, banana peppers, and cayenne peppers as well as tomatoes. peas, bean,s cucumbers and...Kristen's choice...watermelon! Here is a photo of the finished garden at the "29 house".

Uncle Ed and Aunt Barbara were in Maine on Monday and took Mom out to DiMillo's for lunch. Reports are that they all had a nice time. On Wednesday, Ed and Barb were going to meet Roger and Rosemary in Haverhill and put flowers on the graves of all of our grandparents there.

Nancy went over to Cavalry Cemetary this week and planted Daddy's grave for Memorial Day. Uncle Ed had put in three beautiful geraniums and Nancy and I added the rest of the flowers for the family this year. As much fun as gardening and cook-outs are, Memorial Day means a lot to us. We're really proud of Daddy and all the WWII vets who left right out of high school to fight overseas to protect the freedom we all enjoy here in America. We'll never forget them.

Joanne & Mark are camping at Recompence Shores in Freeport this weekend in their red "Patriot" t@b camper. Tomorrow we all plan to go up to see them and relax for the afternoon by Casco Bay.

Thought I'd post one more photo - of one of the Jack in the Pulpits that are growing in the woods behind our house. I remember as a kid being really excited to discover of these...brings back memories.

Happy Memorial Day...hope it finds you, like us, remembering the past while creating happy new early summer memories with your own families.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Tractor Just Like Grampy's

I scored on Craigslist! Found this great little John Deere tractor and trailer for Taka and Toshi to have fun with this summer. Now they will be able to help "Grampy" on the farm. Can't wait to post photos of them having fun with this:-)

Toshi celebrated his 2nd birthday on Monday and Taka is 5 so they are just the right size!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh the Places You'll Go!

It was the annual Clean-up at our favorite campground, Searsport Shores, this past weekend and we couldn't wait to get the t@b on the road again! In exchange for helping out on Saturday morning, you get to camp right on the edge of Penobscot Bay, eat homemade food all weekend, and be with great people. What could be better? And did I mention it's all free? Astrig and Steve, who run the campground, have developed a loyal following of friends who join them for this weekend every year and we're happy to count ourselves among them. It's a beautiful spot.

On Saturday morning, Astrig makes homemade donuts for all of us in a big kettle outdoors on the deck. Delicious!

Then Steve gets us organized..or tries! Everyone chooses a job from the big whiteboard to help with on Saturday morning. In his "other life", Steve is a middle school teacher so keeping a bunch of middle-aged campers in line is right up his alley:-)

Hank and "the guys" built two decks overlooking the on site 14 and the other on site 15.

Homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate for a mid-morning snack!

Not many people wanted to organize the green shed but it was my dream job...did some one ask me to organize something???

One of the "jobs" was painting an old out house on the property (yes, there is a nice modern bath house as well). Since creativity is honored at Searsport Shores. two of the ladies decided to decorate the outhouse with a little play on words from Dr. Suess.

Astrig loves to spin, knit and do fiber crafts so of course there are goats at Searsport Shores.

Lunch on Saturday was a cook-out on the beach with a big kettle of homemade french fries. In case anyone was still hungry, we were treated to a pot luck buffet on Saturday night...pork tenderloins on the grill and every kind of salad and side dish imaginable.

What a great weekend...and a wonderful way to kick off the 2009 camping season. Thanks Astrig and Steve!