Day 587: Annie, The Orphan Duck

My sister in law Kathie had rented a boat for the summer, and it was finally water ready. I went with her to Stonington, where the boat was set to be launched.  She and a friend, Phil, were going to bring the boat over to her mooring, and I was going to drive her car back to the house.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Just as the boat was about to be launched, a small duck came running up to Kathie, yipping away in great distress.  Kathie has this amazing ability to calm even the most distressed beings, and she immediately picked up the duck.  Here she is with the little one:

KK the Duck Whisperer

The rest of us went looking around for the duck’s family, since it was obvious that this duckling had strayed.  But there were no other ducks to be found. There had been a sighting of a weasel-like family in the area, and speculation is that the duck family must have been decimated.

With no family reunion in the cards, a brilliant plan was hatched that I should take the duck, in Kathie’s Saab, to Oceanville, an area of the island where Dean, the boat launcher, had just seen a duck family near the crossover.  Luckily, I knew where he was talking about, and off I drove (oh, so reluctantly)  with the duck on the back seat:

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When we bring Hobby, our cat, into the truck with us (in his carrier), he is vocal for at least the first hour of the ride.  Not this duck!  As soon as I started driving, it just settled in, and quietly cruised with me around the island.

As you can expect, there was no duck family to be found at any of the waterways that I searched.  Plan C was to bring the duck back to Kathie’s, and she would look into what to do next when she arrived home.

I decided that the duck is a girl, and that her name is Annie, since she is a little orphan. So, Annie and I hung out in the studio while David worked on the kitchenette that he is installing.  When I tried to leave, Annie squawked like crazy, leading David to make endless “imprinting” jokes.

Handyman David adding a cabinet, countertop, sink, fridge to the “Studio”:

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When she returned, Kathie and Grandpa contemplated what to do:

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Isn’t she a cutie!

With feedback from local animal rescuers, it was decided that Kathie would keep the duck, and that the duck would fly away when it was ready.  So, we took Annie down to the garden to root around, to the shore for a swim, and then settled her into a temporary cage inside.  The three foxes that live around here cannot be expected to pass up this gourmet meal, so Annie will have to be indoors at night.

The next day, David and Grandpa Harold built a nifty pen for her in the boat house:

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Repurposed Screen Doors

And she spends her days growing, chirping, and digging for worms in the soil that I brought up from the garden:

Worm Buffet
Worm Buffet

Yes, I am bringing up worms from the garden.  Yes, I dig through the dirt for Annie and she gobbles down the worms.  And yes, I am bringing Annie up to the shower in the cabin for the night.  This does have me questioning whom imprinted on whom.  

When Kathie gets back from her boat trip, she is going to assume the role of surrogate mom.  I have to get ready to hit the road next week, and boy, do I have projects to finish!

So, we have made way for a duckling.  We have picked wild blueberries.  And we have truly enjoyed this magical island.  But the leaves are starting to turn on some of the trees (already) and Aztec Soccer ( is calling.  It must be time to wrap it up here, and start on the trek back to CA!

Shameless plug:  I really need to move this soap inventory!!!  Tell your friends that it is awesome – because it is!  Thanks in advance!

Happy Camper Soap Co. products can be found here:

~ Nancy

Day 586: Belfast Art Market

The morning started off quite foggy and cool, but the Belfast Art Market had been my planned destination for weeks, and I wasn’t going to let a little fog get in the way.  It was expected to burn off, and once I made the 1 hr 20 min drive around Penobscot Bay, wonderful humid Maine air, art, water views, and maybe a nice lunch would be my reward.

I was lucky enough to have my sister-in-law, Kathie, as my adventure companion, while David stayed back working on a home improvement project (yet another future blog post subject).

I have been watching The Belfast Art Market’s facebook page and website ( which lists 30 vendors and was excited to see that it was also held adjacent to a farmer’s market.  I have managed to visit local markets as we travel across the country, and have at least one to choose from 5 days a week around here. Just look at this map:

Each market has it’s own particular feel.  I am pleased to report that the Belfast Art Market was filled with wonderful artists, all of whom were friendly and ready to talk about their art.  Kathie and I lingered at each booth, admiring the work, chatting up the artists, and discussing technique and just enjoying the beautiful day.

There were some artists whose works really stood out.  First we visited the booth of Nora Flanagan.  Her nautical-themed quilts and pillows were just stunning.  You can see them here:   Kathie and I are both taken with her plaid lobsters, and of course, I loved her use of the color orange.

River Wind Woolies can be found at several of the local Farmer’s Markets, but today was my first chance to check out her work.  Robin Kronish-Byrne has created a wonderfully colorful product line of felted wool bottle covers, wallets, soap, and whimsical color dreads hair ties (of which Kathie purchased one and wore proudly all day to many compliments).  Here are samples of her works:

So much color!
So much color!

We spent a good deal of time with Neale La Salle of Clay With Me (is that a great business name or what?)  I could not resist picking up a new soap dish, and Kathie purchased three nesting plates.  While this picture shows some of the various pieces he had to offer, if you can’t make it to Maine, you can check out his Etsy store:  The details on these pieces are just lovely.

That's my new soap dish in the middle!
That’s my new soap dish in the middle!

Continuing on the theme of artisan pottery, we visited with Kelly Kelsey-Davis, who happens to be the contact person for the entire market, as well as a talented artist.  While I believe her focus is on textiles, and her husband, Bill Davis, focuses on pottery, their booth had many items, very reasonably priced, that I was interested in.  I just loved the fabric banners, and Hannah will be receiving a little unique piece of Bill Davis art when I am finally reunited with her in August. Here is a sampling of their works:

Whimsical and Smile Inducing
Whimsical and Smile Inducing

For more detailed pictures, see their website:

There were other booths that I admired as well.  Sew Friendzied (, with truly unique fabric earrings, bracelets, and headbands showed the craftsmanship of Diana Delaney.  I especially admired an orange headband, but it was just a tad too wide.  I will be following up with her to order a slimmer version.  Susan Cobb, of Circle of Stones (where Kathie purchased an amazing pair of lime colored stone earrings) was so knowledgeable of the stones she presented, we walked away educated and dazzled!  Here is some of their handiwork, along with a photo of the talented singer who provided just the right level of background sound.

Circle of Stones and Sew Friendzied

Upon leaving the FM next door, our bags contained a blueberry pie and a piece of baklava from Sweet Henry’s (guilty!), along with bleu cheese and blueberry cheese from Appleton Creamery (Kathie’s indulgence, not mine).

A not-so-quick lunch at Chase’s Daily, a zip through the Co-op, and a walk onto the pedestrian bridge afforded a tour of old Belfast.  This was a full day of fun and adventure, and if we could have stayed for the Celtic Festival which was starting tonight, we would have.  There is always next year!


As we drove back to Deer Isle, we stopped at a local farm stand to pick up a box or two of fresh raspberries.  Again, the honor system was hard at work.


And to top off an already wonderful day, we were surprised to see that blueberries were ripe for the picking when we stopped at Caterpillar Hill.  We, of course, had to eat two for every one that made it into our bag.  After all, this is Robert McCloskey country (

~ Nancy

Day 583: Island Business

I don’t know the exact numbers, but it seems that just about every one of the 2,400 year-round residents in this area works for themselves.  Deer Isle is a mere 29 square miles, and one does not have to travel far to find an entrepreneur.  Whether making pottery, paintings, baskets, or jewelry, area inhabitants certainly have an artistic flare.  There are 52 artists listed in the Deer Isle Artists Association’s website alone! (

Island business is carried out in many instances on the honor system.  Those of us who have been city dwellers may marvel at the concept – choose your purchase and leave the money in the jar (or tin, or cigar box).   While I have posted an image of the Tinder Hearth bread at 44 North Coffee on facebook, here it is again:

Tinder Hearth Bread

At $6.50/loaf, the bread is pricey, but tastes amazing.  Delivered fresh twice a week, it is addictive (Raisin Spelt is a particular favorite).  Of course, one must not include those croissants in their weekly bread run.   The bread is made in Brooksville, a short drive away.  More on that later.

44 North Coffee, my getaway haunt, also has their own self pay station.  While their roasting and pour-over operation is located on the second floor of the old high school (the principal’s office, to be exact), they offer a quick-fill as well. For those customers that just want to run in and grab a pump-pot fill, and a biscotti or two, they offer a table just inside the door, at the base of the stairs.  Note the cigar box for payment:

Roadie choosing a snack
Roadie Choosing A Snack

But Deer Isle Clams really takes the honor system to another level.  Located on the road to Sunshine, they have set up a refrigerator which is stocked daily, with what I am told are the best steamers for miles around.   Take a look at this setup:

Making a Living
Making A Living

There are also strawberry stands, blueberries, farm stands, eggs, even pottery shops that aren’t manned, just leave a note and payment…everyone sharing the bounty of hard work and creative spirit.

It’s just the island way.

~ Nancy

Day 582: Getting Started

How can we be 582 days into our full time adventure, and I have yet to get the website solidly established? Or consistently documented the sights and sounds of our wanderings?

I would love to say that it is because we have just been having too darn much fun.  Now, that may be true, but I think it is really the procrastinator in me that has taken over.  While it was a prominent trait when I was younger, I kept that tendency buried for a good 30 years as I established a fine-tuned routine of family and work.  Once that routine was blown away by this new lifestyle, I struggled to establish any sense of order in my daily life.

Yesterday, as David and I were talking and walking with his sister Nancy, we reflected on some of the diverse locations we have found ourselves in during this past year-and-a-half.  A feeling washed over me like a wave – if I had kept this journal up properly, I would have these places documented with pictures, and words, readily available to revisit.  And to share with whoever happens upon my ramblings.

So this morning, I awoke with a new plan.  Since I cannot trust my brain to remember yesterdays properly, I vow to post my daily journal entries each night.  Some days will absolutely be more interesting than others.  But as I get more comfortable with this medium, and find my voice, I hope to have something to contribute each time I sit down and marvel at how pushing buttons on a keyboard make letters magically appear on my screen.

~ Here’s to finding a witty signoff… Nancy

I never get tired of this view
I never get tired of this view