Saturday brought the farmer's market and fresh kale, lettuce, peppers, carrots, corn and people-watching.
I biked over and worked in the Audubon store on Sunday and took part in "staff day" Monday. This involved my circle's normal 6am bootcamp class (ouch) followed by Shannon, another coworker and I making our way to the Diamond Street location of Coffee By Design. This place is great because they carry Holy Donut, Maine Pie Line, Bomb Diggity Bakery, and Standard Baking Co goodies as well as "Captain Redbeard" and the rest of the gang can make one hell of a good vanilla latte. I love that people come in with own ceramic cups to be filled with coffee. There is a comforting (and historic: rescued from a mill and old milk barn) dark wooden bar and incredible scent of coffee in the air with each grind of the espresso. The space is also a welcoming work location, and if my favorite Local Sprouts wasn't just steps outside my door, Diamond Street CBD would be my go-to location to write/read/ingest caffeine/slack off.
After our caffeine kick-start (where I couldn't stop exclaiming "ooooh man this latte is soooo good!!!"), we took off for New Gloucester and our new Executive Director's home. It was a beautiful drive with changing fall leaves and "that" smell in the air. We arrived to an old, grand house and barn built in the 1820's. This was our workspace for the day. Tough life. A two-hour bird walk (where we spotted vireos, chickadees, red-breasted nuthatches, a kingfisher, turkey vultures and much more) was brought to a close with the finding of a Galium Sphinx moth caterpillar (Hyles gallii) in the middle of the trail. We had seen a female wood frog at the beginning of the walk was a lovely sight as well! We took a break and then came back together for a talk about public lands and education. Woooo......But then it was time for LUNCH! If you ever find yourself in New Gloucester, try to make your way to the Village Store. Everything on their menu looked tasty and I got a Royal River salad with turkey, which contained fresh greens, cranberries, chevre, roasted red pepper and walnuts with a red wine vinaigrette. It was so tasty and huge that even the dog, Moby, helped me finish off what I couldn't fit in my tummy.
After we were released, Shannon and I made our way down the road to Thompson's Orchard (http://www.thompsonsorchard.com/) to pick apples and consume multiple cider donuts (see action shots below...). A trip to Bradbury Mountain to view more birds, burn off said donuts and general fun would have followed this orchard trip, had my car not decided to essentially loose steering ability. We quickly headed back to town to get her fixed...
Tuesday brought a lovely bike ride to work, my first after-school program of the year with the Presumpscot Elementary children and the most epic sight I've ever experienced while teaching. I was sitting in a circle with ten kids and one of them looked up and said "birds." We had spotted dragonflies and squirrels before so I figured it was a crow flying over us. But when I looked up I was shocked to see 80+ Broad-Wing Hawks in a kettle riding the thermals on their way South. I told the kids to lay down and count them but it wasn't long before they were bored with this. One or two asked me a question about something non-bird related and it was all I could do to not hold up my pointer finger in a sign that said "hold on child, this is so freaking amazing, you don't even understand" and "I'm counting here!!! at the same time." There was also a single Monarch Butterfly, once so abundant and now...not so much, in attendance for our program that day. We were lucky indeed.
Tuesday night brought a wonderful surprise of getting to sit by a fire in a friend's back yard. You know it's fall when you get a fire going and the air is chilly but the heat is all around. The fire pit was situated below a large striped maple tree and the heat currents from the flames were causing the leaves above to wave about. The whole scene was intoxicating. This was not helped by my expired orange juice and Tito's vodka Screwdriver. Note to self: taste OJ before creating cocktail...
I woke up the next morning to the comforting smell of campfire in my hair and a long day of work ahead of me. The Presumpscot kids came to see me in the afternoon for a two hour walk and games on our Falmouth property. It was another dazzling fall day and when it was time for them to leave, one girl cried because she didn't want to go. I ran to get her a brochure to ensure that her parents would know how to find us again.
Wednesday evening, another incredible surprise happened. Jessie and I were invited to Leslie's apartment for butternut squash and apple soup and a salad from Jessie. I contributed cave aged cheddar from Trader Joe's and a baguette from Standard Baking Co. You can find the recipe for the soup we enjoyed here: http://www.food.com/recipe/curried-butternut-squash-apple-soup-crock-pot-113002. It was so good that we had it for lunch the next day too! The salad was simple with greens, pan-toasted pine nuts in olive oil, lactose-intolerant-friendly cheese (poor Jessie...) and tomatoes. It was topped off with a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. Mmmm fall.
Thursday brought our weekly pub run. But before this fun, I just had to go to the ferry terminal, look for seals and read my Stephen King novel in the fresh air. After that, Leslie, Shannon and I went to Local Sprouts to job-search (anyone hiring?), read and work on our PhD (poor Leslie!). Then we rewarded ourselves with manicures and pedicures ("shellacs man"). This was followed by a small nap and then I made my way down to Commercial Street to meet the running club. It was a fast one, with Shannon, Karoline and I finishing with close to 8:30 minute miles. We always reward ourselves with booze and have moved locations from the dark and rude Kings Head Pub to the beautiful furnished and accommodating Infiniti. The drinks are works of art in themselves. I had water...Drinking after working out has never appealed to me but eating pizza sure does! Portland Pie on York Street was having a charity night where $1 from every pizza and $1 from every Shipyard beer was donated to the Maine Children's Cancer Program. We left feeling pretty good about ourselves with leftovers from the best pizza place in town. See previous posts to discover my favorite pie!
Today is Friday and I started my day with bootcamp. It is upsetting that the sun doesn't rise until after 6am no. My bike ride to class is chilly and dark but when I leave, sweaty and proud of myself, the sun greets me so it's not all bad! I'm about to go down to the ferry terminal to read again, perhaps visit Standard Baking Co and generally spend as much time outside as possible today. For anyone reading this that doesn't live in Maine right now, I'm terribly sorry for you. This weather is indescribable! Tonight will bring a Wine and Cheese party (so cool that I had to capitalize it) at my place. Mmmmmm cheese...Enjoy your day! And get outside. Now.