Saturday, May 24, 2014

Spring in the far Downeast

We have backed up a few months in terms of the seasonal bloom.  Our visit to Cincinatti started off being summery with dark green foliage, bugs, humidity and very hot and ended up the week cool and wet and it has been that way ever since!

Here in downeast Maine and the Canadian Maritimes by the Bay of Fundy the daffodils are out and the tulips are beginning to bloom.  Most of the leaves are beginning to come out.  Lilacs are several weeks from blooming at our house.

Even the horse chesnut candles have a ways to go.  The catkins were on the alders at the Eagle Hill bog today and the tamarack was just beginning to show some green.

Come for a plein air painting class with Michael Chesley Johnson and Paint Lubec, Maine and Campobello Island, NB or do an unstructured painting, music, or writing retreat at Artists Retreat Studios & Gallery in the summer of 2014.   My favorite quote for those of us who don't often indulge in what we actually want to do is "If not now when"?  Indeed...

And a special prayer for my friends who have been evacuated from scenic Oak Creek Canyon because of the Slide Fire.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Driving through the Dust Bowl on the Way to Spring in the Midwest

After a memorable week in Zion National Park with 5 painter friends and two of their spouses, we began the traverse east.  Our scheduled route was I-70 west of Denver, but they were expecting a blizzard with 15 inches of blowing snow and chains required for commercial vehicles so we scrapped all our reservations and decided to head to a tried and true route through New Mexico on I-40.  However, since we had to get to near Chicago we decided to cut up through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa on our route to Chicago.  Well, we went from the possibility of driving through a blizzard to driving through an amazing dust storm near Dalhart, TX. If you read the economy section of this entry you will see why it is probably in the state it is regarding dust!

We saw motorcyclists abandoning their bikes and tow behind RV's toppled on their sides. Our car felt like it was being sandblasted while we rode a bunking bronco with very little visibility as everything was dust colored--the sky, the road, the street, and the tumbleweeds were pouring over the road and the fences on the side of the road. After this 3 hour nightmare where we drove about 150 miles in these conditions, we emerged in Kansas into slightly better, but still tremendously windy conditions.

After several more stormy days, we finally are seeing blue skies again.  The daffodils and tulips are out here as are flowering magnolias, the peonies and hostas are inching upward, and there is lots of GREEN GRASS.