ode to mary, II ::::
On my last post about a great corn salad and my favorite one-eyed dog, I talked about soon traveling to Maine to visit family. We are still enjoying outdoor playtime with the view of the ocean, the smell of pine, and spending time with family. I hoped to do a lot of cooking and baking, given the crowd and willing taste-testers. I hoped to run along my old marathon training routes. I wanted to walk through Bar Harbor and see what storefronts remain from my childhood and what has transformed from one tourist trap to another.
My visit this time is very different than any of the other ones, not just because transformation of old haunts. This is the first time that any of my kids have been to Maine to visit. My sister’s four children are also in cottage with us. (Our husbands stayed behind to work.) My brother was visiting for a week out of our trip. A dear friend, Rebecca, from long ago also drove up from the Boston area to visit for a weekend. We picked up just where we left off seven years ago when we saw each other last. She and I did some yoga, and she led our usual maelstrom of children in modeling clay techniques (using puff pastry leftovers), water coloring painting, and kept them still for more than 30 minutes, the younger ones peeling off sooner. What a gift!
And we are doing all of this staying in my parents rented cottage. Accommodations include two small bedrooms plus one loft housing seven children, between the ages of 10 months to almost 8 years, and five adults. Without a doubt, there is always an undercurrent of chaos if the chaos is not already there, swirling swiftly at the eye of children, adults on the periphery. The cousins dote on the crawling and cruising babies. Their daily free play is consumed with devising treehouse fort plans and construction, ways to score more ice cream, fragrant concoctions of hand sanitizer gel-mustard-soap to “poison” fire ant colonies, swimming in Lake Wood, and, inevitably, trying to purposely annoy each other. Grub caught two stretchy, black leeches at the lake, the first I’ve seen there. We watch one undulate in a lake water-filled jar on the porch, and other times still like a glistening stone. We visit Grandpa at work at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, researching mummichog (cutest name for a fish, ever) and exposing students to basic wet lab research. We visited Little Cranberry Island to see the work of artist and humanitarian Ashley Bryan, a man with a rich life and colorful creativity. My kids are full of wonder for the sea. They have constant playtime with cousins. We work on lots of conflict resolution in the age groups. It has been full.
While there are added differences, there are also omissions that make this trip different. I have not gone running as I had hoped. The long expanses of field and green along Norway Drive in Salsbury Cove invites me often but I do not go, instead tending to a sleeping baby, scraped knees, and generally trying to advise the children to not hurt each other or themselves. I occasionally have walked the road alone, with the non-jogging stroller, the only one we have here, trying to lull Sky-Girl asleep for naps away from the chaos at home. I also have not had the chance to make blueberry jam with my mother. This is been a ritual but the eddy of children, that high and low tide of their interactions, has kept us from keeping our feet squarely planted long enough to do this. Baking also seems somewhat redundant given that my sister leaves very early in the morning before dawn, four days a week, to work at the Morning Glory Bakery in Bar Harbor. She brings home pastries, bagels, and an occasional flavored cream cheese. We are carb laden this summer, bloated but happy. Our cooking is mostly survival mode, with a little flair thrown in. Keeping seven children fed every two hours takes more energy than I imagined, even if it involves just cutting up a melon — we just can’t keep up with their appetites and present the food fast enough. There is no time for food photography, little downtime to blog, or time without constant interruptions (even at night — those babies!). The food blogging is for naught, despite the inspiring location.
So my time is child-focused, as mediator, and well spent with friends and family. I’ve had some beer, I tasted some good wine, drunk lots of tea. And dreamed of my grapefruit cocktail, somewhat misplaced in the forest bounty of wild Maine blueberries. And so here is my promised post to pair with my corn salad. I’ll save new posts for August when Peach is busy in school, Grub is rolling around the sand in preschool, and Sky-Girl and I have some time alone — to cook.
Two years ago: chia honey limeade and caramelized pluots with mascarpone, honey, and thyme
Three years ago: kaiserschmarrn with peaches and blackberries
- 1 ounce tequila
- 4 ounces triple sec
- 3 cups grapefruit juice
- a splash of seltzer
- lime wedge, for garnish
- Place all ingredients except lime wedge into martini shaker with ice and mix.
- Pour into glass with lots of ice. Twist lime wedge's juice into drink and use rind as garnish. Serve with a good corn salad.