We finally closed for the season the other day because the wind and the rain made life outdoors too inhospitable for everyone involved…but it’s always with a mixed emotions. Sure, we’re happy to move into a quieter time where we have long, uninterrupted stretches to focus on tasks at hand but conversely, it’s more fun to talk with guests than it is to dive into the stacks of paperwork we’ve
put off for months postponed until the appropriate time.
When the weather turns colder, we turn our attention towards the gardens, getting the flock shorn and the yarn dyed, winterizing the park and doing yard work on steroids (a few of the numbers: 140 picnic tables to contend with, about 15 building to maintain, seemingly miles of waterline to empty and fill with non-toxic antifreeze, and more tractors than a girl should know about that need to be sorted and stored for winter).
When we’re tired, it can seem a bit overwhelming but we’ve adopted a mind tool that’s helped enormously over the years. I’ve seen it called reverse gratitude and basically, instead of groaning at the task at hand (like covering umpteen garden beds with seaweed), you remind yourself and (each other) that it’s a blessing to live on the coast where seaweed is readily available to amend the soil. Instead of groaning over the buckets of apples that need to be cleaned off the playground before the lawnmower can pass a final time, you find gratitude in knowing that the apples will provide treats to the sheep and goats for months and that always makes us smile. You get the picture 😉
Pictures and thankfulness…I wish I could tell you that I planned this clever segue but I didn’t. When we welcome people into our world, it’s always with the tiniest bit of trepidation the first time we meet because we put our heart and soul into all of Searsport Shores and if someone doesn’t like it, it’s very hard to be mature enough not to take it personally. But we know we’re a business and every year we welcome our guests and most serve as reminders that we LOVE owning a campground. Occasionally someone really leaves an imprint on our hearts because they “get us” better than we can explain ourselves. Ellen, @noticedwhilewandering, is one of those women. First she visited the park with her sister, then she came with extended family and later returned for the Old-Time Music Campout. In the spring we didn’t know her, in September we considered her a friend. Last week our mailbox was stuffed with a gift, a book that reminded her of us…Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney has been a favorite of ours since the cover drew us in years ago. Words can’t say how proud we are that when Ellen reads Miss Rumpius’ advise to her niece “You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” she thinks of us.
Our world is more beautiful because our shepard’s flock has increased by one :). We’re thankful to Denise of Fernwood Nursery in Montville for gifting us one of her gorgeous Bluefaced Leicester ewes. We call her “Esther the Leicester” and she’ll be growing incredibly shiny long curls of wool for me to blend with the goats’ mohair. I’ve been spinning and weaving longwools for a long time now, but from this day forward, all of the wool will be raised here at the Shores . To celebrate Esther, I used some of that yarn to weave fabric for a new winter coat. In between sessions in the studio, I’ve been mending
all some of the holes we manage to make, harvesting the fall vegetables from the garden and dyeing up enough yarn with seawater and cochineal (dried bugs from Mexico) to weave a crimson blanket by Christmas…don’t you just love these long autumn afternoons?
With the waterlines winterized and the gardens put to bed, tomorrow Steve and I are off to Madawaska (North of Baxter State Park) and New Brunswick to meet with Acadian Fiber Artists we hope will teach at Fiber College next September. We intend to catch up with some old friends, eat lots of poutine, ployes and potatoes while we’re there and carry back loads of inspiration for the months ahead. If you follow us on Instagram, we’ll be posting daily pictures of our adventure, I (Astrig) am @campingwithart and Steve is @campmaine
Until next time…