Monday, September 23, 2013

Barn renovation starts this week!

This week starts the long awaited redo of the back of our barn. We spent the whole weekend, burning piles of wood, cleaning up the debris and demolishing the room underneath that used to be an animal stall-all in preparation for the new 20 foot 8x8 beams coming in today. First the beams will be put in place, then corners shored and steadied, posts installed (used from the hemlock floor beams), the roof beam fixed (eek!), windows framed out (that will a post in itself-very excting) and then we plan on putting up shiplap (pine or cedar still TBD), cutting out a doorway for two carriage doors we will make ourselves, and then the gravel pads for the whole length delivered and pushed around. The project has already taken the advice of many people all with tons of experience, and will be a process with many judgements along the way. Can't already has been an incredibly fun puzzle that is endlessly interesting to figure out. Keep posted!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nothing better than picking apples

If my daughter is home, and it is apple season, I know she will pull me out of whatever project I have going and make us go apple picking. This is something that she has loved her whole life and goes back to her earliest childhood. Eating right from the garden or off a tree is something I taught her at a young age. Before she could even talk, she could run to those things edible in the garden. At the time my focus was creating an edible eden in the backyard of herbs and fruits. She could show you the scented geraniums, pineapple mint or gooseberries- even if she couldn't say their name.
Today she is still interested in food (she was a cook all summer), and so off to Rocky Ridge Orchard we went last Sunday for some apples, cider and pumpkins. A gorgeous day, the parking lot stretched the whole field, and families towed excited kids in carts.  We chose a few each from many varieties; Macoun, Macintosh, and Honey Crisp. Walking through the rows, the crowds disappear and it was just she and I, trying to find the biggest and ripest, tasting as we went. The air smelled sweet and slightly fermented. From there we went back to the main house, where the pumpkins were laid out.
Orange, pink, white, green... tall, flat, warted, and ribbed...we took a long time picking three for the front door that went together. Another memory made- to add to all the places we've gone apple picking.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Phoebe Porteous: Artist, Gardener, and Arts Patron

Continuing the series of profiles about women in my art group, here I wanted to share the gorgeous late summer garden of Phoebe Porteous. Phoebe is a wonderful painter whose work sells often before it is even off the easel. Last year one of her works was the cover piece for the L.L. Bean Summer 2013 catalog and she was a featured artist in the November 2010 issue of Coastal Living.

But this is where I rave about her garden. I asked if I could take pictures this year of her garden as I remembered from a meeting in August last year how miraculous it is. When everyone elses (mine) looks tired and dry, her backyard oasis blooms in abundant fervor. Small but expertly thought out, Phlox davidii and Rudebeckia hirta bloom tall. Gallardia and an unusual Penstemon ("Ruby") catch your eye. Her mix of foliage is what I suspect keeps it all smart all season though, such as her two Daphne's that creeping along the edge of the patio and her Chocolate Joe Pye Weed. That Joe Pye Weed was the secret to every arrangement we made early in the summer for a friend's sons engagement party.

She and her husband Bob have lived in the house for nine years. They made some beautiful changes to the 1850's cape in downtown South Freeport. Adding an extension off the garage/barn for bedrooms and studio and opening up the downstairs of this antique cape, you get a contemporary spacious feeling within the classic structure. Phoebe's exquisite eye for detail, color and visual
impact complete the experience.

Looking down on the patio from the walkway above, you see the great way the patio incorporates the granite block she found on a rock hunting trip with her friend Mary Ruth Hedstrom. Though from this angle the rock looks cut in half, in fact it is not and was offered a ridiculously low price because it wasn't perfect! From this perspective I see the genius of the small and well defined spaces, the careful placement of plant matter, stone and furniture. Always uplifting and also, the iced tea is fantastic!