In the Right Place: Choices

Comment

In the Right Place: Choices

Three fabulous desserts were offered after Tuesday’s scrumptious annual Pot Luck Dinner given by the Brooklin Garden Club and generously hosted by Sue and Ted Clayton. Here’s what the sweets looked like before the guests attacked them (clockwise from top left): Bread Pudding by Nancy Brown; Chantilly Cake by Sue Clayton, and Pistachio Cake by Jean Eysenbach.

i-jdrzhCM-L.jpg

Most of us had difficulty choosing among them, which of course meant “a little of each.” Judging from the talk, it looks like the Club will have a busy agenda this year, including community service, education, and garden touring. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

In the Right Place: Corking

Comment

In the Right Place: Corking

Barbara and I are getting in the Olympics spirit. We’ve bolted our walkers to snowboards and plan to do switch-frontside-1080-double-corks off our neighbor’s barn roof here. Unfortunately, we keep getting delayed by melting snow.

i-kWpwTkN-L.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

In the Right Place: Pinafore!

Comment

In the Right Place: Pinafore!

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Maine’s annual production this year was the rousing H.M.S. Pinafore, G&S’s first hit and the model for comic operas for many years. The Society, one of the best G&S repertoire companies in the country, gave six performances this month at The Grand in Ellsworth. All performances were dedicated to three of the Society’s talented company members who died recently: Margaret Ames, Phyllis Gibson, and Brooklin’s Jean Porter.

GS 01.jpg

Above, prior to the two-act comic opera, Society players put on a home-grown skit in which lyricist Sir W.S. Gilbert (Aidan Pasha) and music composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (Brooklin’s David Porter) discuss and try out some of their favorite comic opera ideas with members of the company.

Act I of the real play takes place at Noon on the quarterdeck of H.M.S. Pinafore, which is anchored off Portsmouth, England.

GS 02.jpg

The commander of the ship, Captain Corcoran (Roland Dube), is trying to advance his career. He’s arranging the marriage of his reluctant daughter, Josephine (Eileen York), to Sir Joseph, the First Lord of The Admiralty (Maurice Joseph Marshall). The Lord is expected to board the ship soon.

Meanwhile, there are several other mismatches in the making. First, Raif [Ralph] Rackstraw (Peter Miller), an ordinary sailor, adores Josephine and she has eyes for him. But, class differences make Josephine feel that a loving relationship with a commoner would be impossible and she discourages Raif. Second, Little Buttercup (Debra Hangge) is attracted to the Captain and he to her, but, again, their class differences get in the way. She’s a bumboat woman who has boarded the anchored ship to sell ribbons and other wares.

Sir Joseph arrives resplendently by barge accompanied by a covey of dancing and singing “sisters, cousins, and aunts,” much to the joy of the crew.

GS 07.jpg

In the show’s most famous number, When I Was a Lad, the Lord Admiral steps to the fore and gives the Pinafore crew advice, a few expurgated stanzas of which follow:

GS 08.jpg

When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney's firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.

***

I polished up that handle so carefullee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

***

Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into the partnership.
And that junior partnership, I ween,
Was the only ship that I ever had seen.

***

Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule.

***

Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee!

After jubilant celebration, Sir Joseph and the Captain exit to plan the Lord Admiral’s marriage to Josephine. At this point, Raif and Josephine are alone and he confesses his love for her and seeks her hand. Josephine pretends that she is shocked and insulted. Raif then puts a gun to his temple and announces that he’s going to commit suicide. This gets Josephine’s attention and she agrees to elope with Raif.

GS 11.jpg

After a brief intermission, Act II of the play takes place in the same location, but during the moonlit night. Josephine’s reluctance to marry Sir Joseph has become obvious, Captain Corcoran has been informed by Buttercup that she knows a secret that will change everyone’s lives (but she does not disclose it), and the Captain has persuaded the Lord that Josephine is merely nervous about marrying such an exalted personage as he. Sir Joseph agrees to assure Josephine that “love levels all ranks.”

GS 13.jpg

There's glee when Sir Joseph tells Josephine that love levels all ranks and she responds positively to the notion. She misunderstands (or pretends to misunderstand) and takes away the message that she is free to elope and marry Raif and he thinks she's agreed to marry him.

Dick Deadeye (Irv Hodgkin), a disgruntled crew member, reveals the elopement plot to the Captain, who disrupts it with improper curses. Sir Joseph orders the crew to throw the Captain in the ship’s brig for cursing and to take Raif into custody for his elopment plot.

Then, Buttercup reveals the long-kept secret from her days as a nurse: When they were babies, the Captain and Raif were switched and given to each other’s family; actually, the Captain is low-born and Raif is high-born.

GS 15.jpg

Thus, Sir Joseph couldn’t possibly marry the low-born Josephine; the Captain and Buttercup being of equal rank may do so; and, if Raif wishes, he may condescend to marry Josephine. Being left out, the Lord reluctantly decides to marry Hebe (Demelza Ramirez), one of the well-born and more active cousins in his entourage. Suddenly, the Captain reappears in an ordinary seaman uniform and Raif appears in a Captain's uniform. All celebrate the changes.

All swarm into a patriotic finale, waiving the Union Jack.

GS 18.jpg

.As the curtain goes down on the clever set of Artistic Director Sandra Blanchette, the memorable Arthur Sullivan melodies are reprised by the excellent orchestra, led by Music Director and pianist Scott Cleveland, who also is from Brooklin:

GS 19.jpg

(Ellsworth, Maine)

For larger versions of the above images, as well as many additional images of special moments in this comic opera, click on the link below. (We recommend that your initial viewing be in full-screen mode, which can be achieved by clicking on the Slideshow [>] icon above the featured image in the gallery to which the link will take you.) Here’s the link for more:

https://leightons.smugmug.com/US-States/Maine/Out/2018-in-Maine/HMS-Pinafore/

 

Comment

In the Right Place: Tussled

Comment

In the Right Place: Tussled

The Winter winds tussle the Japanese Silver Grass the way quick fingers can tussle a good haircut into something that looks right even when it’s not, but that falls back into place when left alone.  Although not a native, the plant thrives here and is attractive all year.

i-sD8gD4V-L.jpg

In the Winter, the plant is virtually gold, as shown above. It gets its silver name from the tassels that appear in Fall, when the  leaves are just starting to turn gold:

RJL_9158_edited-1-XL.jpg

In the Summer, when the leaves are lush and green, it forms a good background for more colorful plants in the garden: 

RJL_4891 edit 1-XL.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

In the Right Place: Surprise!

Comment

In the Right Place: Surprise!

It’s snowing – the sticky kind – as we speak. A surprise snowstorm crept into the area in the wee hours of the morning, and it refuses to leave. The weather forecast says that it will deposit only and inch, but the meteorologists don’t explain how we’ve already gotten four to six inches accumulated on our decks with no wind.  Here's what it looked like at about 6 a.m. this morning (taken with a flash):

i-n2RXWbg-XL.jpg

The forecast also states that the snow will end around 11 a.m. We’ll see. In any case, it’s a nice change of pace that came on the day of rest. (For some, that rest will have to wait until after shoveling and plowing.) Another 6 a.m. image (taken without flash):

i-hD9Zqw8-L.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Contrast

Our little part of the world is bathed in cheery sun and crispy cold as we speak. It’s a remarkable contrast to the almost spiritual scene below, which we saw a few days ago:

i-Q4zXL6n-XL.jpg

As the tide left Great Cove, its floating ice clothed the sea floor and the fog rolled in while the weak sun tried to reach through to us. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Sleepers

Dormer windows are popular here. They stand out. Literally. If you paint them red, they really stand out, as you can see from this neighboring pair of dormers:

i-dhXZNbx-XL.jpg

The structure has been used in English architecture since at least the 16th century. Its name, “dormer,” comes from the French word for “sleeping room,” which is apt because the design often is used to provide light and air to upstairs bedrooms. Sometimes, the majority of the upstairs is "dormered":

i-WTv7D2c-XL.jpg

Many New England settlers could not afford homes with dormered bedrooms. Their house of choice was what became known as the Cape Cod style – a simple “saltbox” with plain windows, central heating (fireplace), and a roof that did not slope sharply. As settlers prospered, they could add onto the house “out back,” maybe even put on a porch, a winter vestibule entry, and – for modern settlers – a satellite dish. Here's a neighboring variation on the saltbox theme:

i-xJk9XtT-XL.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: The Freezing of the Queen's Lace

No one knows for sure how or why this wild carrot became known as Queen Anne’s Lace. The most famous – but unlikely – reason involves Anne, the queen consort of King James of English Bible fame.

i-3wpJBRK-XL.jpg

According to this tale, Anne sponsored and participated in a contest for the creation of a lace pattern similar to the flower of this plant, her favorite; while working on her design, Anne pricked her finger and a drop of royal blood fell onto her lace, making it look like those wild carrot flowers that have a reddish floret center. In any case, the wild carrot in winter remains regal even when entombed in ice. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Valentine's Day

We celebrate and share with you the mystery of love, which can be found in many forms, not only in pairings. We celebrate the pair of Tree Swallows that raised two families here last Spring:

RJL_4615 edit 1-XL.jpg

We also celebrate the love of neighbor Judith Fuller being given to everyone who comes by. 

i-3M7hkNm-L.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Scratch

It’s mating season for Raccoons and the weather here has been alternating between warm (for February) and frigid, a combination that disrupts the daylight sleep of these nocturnal mischief-makers and provokes them to take occasional strolls during the day. They don’t hibernate.

RJL_8788_edited-1-L.jpg

These masked mammals were given the strange name “Raccoons” by the early English settlers, who transliterated the Powhatan (Virginia Algonquin) name for “animal-that-scratches-with-hands.” Their masks are thought to reduce glare in daylight and concentrate light in darkness. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Proverbial

The forces of warmth and rain have won the latest battle here against the forces of cold and snow, forcing a retreat of most of the snow occupiers to their dark hiding places. The winter’s meteorological war is scheduled to resume tomorrow with a counterattack by the cold forces. During the thaws, however, the sleeping woods seem to awaken briefly.

i-ZF4pcTx-L.jpg

The image above shows that the mosses, especially, can be resurrected from their frozen, almost gray winter dormancy into temporary vibrancy. It also provokes an odd thought: Maybe the old proverb ought to be modified to read: Rolling stones gather no moss, but leaning trees can. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

1 Comment

In the Right Place: Gear

For centuries, good sailors have taken care to stow their gear (especially ropes and chains) in ways that are efficiently safe and useful, yet artful. Sometimes this reminds us of the Art of Assemblage.

i-XQfnTrS-XL.jpg

In Assemblage, among other things, three dimensional objects not originally intended as art materials are collected together in a way that creates a symbolic meaning or spirit that is important (at least to the artist).

i-rLzwTB5-XL.jpg

The images here, taken last week, seem to us to show instinctive Assemblages. They show a collection of boat mooring gear stowed near Great Cove on the WoodenBoat Campus; but, to us, they predict summer joy. (Brooklin, Maine) (Click images to enlarge them.)

1 Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Roars and Gurgles

The hills are alive with the sound of … fast water. Snowstorms, followed by thaws and rains, followed by more snowstorms, thaws, and rains, have raised our water table and engorged our woodland streams. We may have a very lush spring. Here's Patten Stream roaring into Patten Bay yesterday after a snow flurry the night before:

i-kd2fvdM-XL.jpg

Here's an image taken February 5 after a thaw; it shows a spring-fed stream starting to ice up as it gurgles through a patch of mossy Brooklin woods:

i-TjRsdtg-L.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Puzzle

We share this image primarily because it shows one of those wonderful but momentary collages that Great Cove high tides create and destroy. If the image were sawed correctly, it could keep jig-saw puzzle fans busy for quite some time.

i-2BB4JPX-XL.jpg

As it is, it kept us busy for more than an hour trying to identify the types of seaweed under the Blue Mussel and Oyster Drill shells. We weren’t very successful. Our best guess is that it’s almost all Rockweed (Ascophylum nodosum) in its various colors, with a dash of Dulse (Palmaria palmata). (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Differences

Here’s one of our tough winter birds, the Downy Woodpecker, and we can tell this is a male because he has red taillights.

RJL_6041_edited-1-L.jpg

The female lacks the red taillights:

RJL_5310_edited-1-L.jpg

The Downy often is confused with its equally-tough cousin that has the same colorings, the Hairy Woodpecker. The best way to tell which cousin is which is by the bill: if it’s small (much less than the length of the bird’s head), it’s a Downy; if it’s large (about the length of the head), it’s a Hairy. Here's a male Hairy:

RJL_1408_edited-1-L.jpg

Another way to differentiate the birds is by overall size: the Downy is about 6.5 inches; the Hairy is about 9 inches. However, when you see one of the cousins without the other beside it, it’s hard to tell a 2.5-inch difference.

By the way, both birds are named after a patch of white feathers that appears on their backs: the Downy’s patch is smaller and finer; the Hairy’s is longer and often looks like a ponytail. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Aw Shucks

Before reading further, you should know two things. First, if you’re not interested in scallop fishing equipment, stop reading this esoteric and overly-long post now. Second, I’m far from being an expert on that subject, but I keep getting questions about it and we have here an opportunity to try to identify a few things.

RJL.jpg

Above, is the fishing vessel (“F/V”) Tarr Baby, which is owned by neighbor David Tarr. She’s now “trawler” rigged with metal “mast” and “boom” (aka “outrigger”) and “winched” for “dredge” scalloping.

021716 186_edited-1-L (1).jpg

The dredge is a steel-framed, chain mesh “net” that has a twine top for unloading; it’s dragged along the sea bottom. (See below.)

RJL_4185_edited-1-XL.jpg

As you can see in the first image, Tarr Baby also has a drop-down diving/boarding platform on the stern that David can use when he’s hand-harvesting “divers scallops” in SCUBA gear. Just above that platform is a stack of perforated plastic “fish baskets” (mostly orange) in which the harvested scallops can be collected before their muscles (what we eat) are shucked out and possibly for temporary onboard storage of those shucked muscles.

Behind the baskets in the first image is a metal “trap rack,” which can be used to secure stacks of lobster traps when Tarr Baby is transporting them at the beginning and end of her lobstering season. Here's an image of her during the early summer with stacked traps that soon will be taken out to sea and submerged:

RJL_7452-1_edited-1-XL.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine) If I made any mistakes, I welcome corrections.

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Super

In the Right Place: Super

We, of course, prefer real Maine fish-hunting Eagles, such as this one, to the faux Philadelphia footballing variety that will be flapping this evening.

RJL_4705_edited-1-XL.jpg

In fact, we’d go so far as to say that we would have no objection to those Philly birds being shot down tonight. Even with a Tommygun. Our neighbor Judith Fuller apparently has similar feelings; that’s her Naskeag Road banner below.

i-j7bjnpm-X2.jpg

Go Pats! (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Steadfast

Yesterday, Punxsutawney Phil predicted a long winter. We don’t have our own Town Rodent to confirm this for Brooklin, but we don’t need one: we always have a long winter. Whether that’s bad depends on your attitude. For example, it snowed a pretty snow here most of Thursday and yesterday morning, then turned beautifully sunny yesterday afternoon and today.

i-2JpzgXt-XL.jpg

Yesterday morning, while annoying for some, was beautiful for others: Mostly fine snow arrived in rippling white veils; toward noon, the sun tried to break the snow’s will with piercing beams of soft light that silverized the landscape. As the snow valiantly fought a losing battle with the sun, the tide came home strong and very high. The image above is of the steadfast Town Dock during all that. Below, we see several feet of water submerging the nearby beach and rocks as it snowed.

i-mtw9mLk-L.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment