Not to be left in the dark

Is it just me but are power outages becoming more common, more widespread, more severe?

That would fit the forecast of climatic instability, otherwise known as global warming, which is no longer undeniable.

Remember the scoffers who first decried the prophets as ridiculous, denied the causes, spent millions to ensure their profits, and ultimately said there’s nothing we can do about it, contrary to what those insightful prophets had warned?

I’m looking for a better option than paying for a propane-powered generator that further lines the pockets of a source of the problem. Got it?

Those guys should be paying us.

End of this jeremiad, for now.

Miss my bunnies

With my elder daughter’s growing allergies to rabbits’ prolific fur, which flies everywhere, Salty and Pepper had to move on. The Lagomorph duo did provide companionship through two deep winters, as well as constant amusement. In late summer, they received a new home with a then 13-year-old and her 11-year-old brother. From what I seen from a distance since, they couldn’t have been luckier. Those are two happy kids.

Still, it’s surprising how many times I start to do something that might involve them – say bend over to pick dandelion greens while out on a walk or gather carrot ends or parsley stems to feed them while I prepping dinner or move an electrical cord or papers out of their reach – only to realize, emptily, their lusty absence.

Here are a few shots as reminders.

 

Some of my favorite dishes the leading lady in my life creates

As I’ve said, she’s one of the world’s great cooks. Middle-Eastern, Italian, Mexican, French, German, even Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian, she does them all and with flair. Me? Let’s look at some of the more regular things I’ve delighted in.

  1. Anything over charcoal – lamb, peppers, flatbreads, steaks and chops. It never really figured in my life before her. Usually, they were more like sacrificed offerings.
  2. Roast chicken any number of ways – thyme or rosemary lead my list, but Thai and even Indian now come close behind.
  3. Asparagus under a poached egg – ditto for spring dandelion.
  4. Strawberry or blueberry clafoutis. It’s just one of her many creamy desserts that wow me, often with our own berries.
  5. My annual birthday bash of prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, which she says is one of the easiest things ever.
  6. She’s quite fond of pork. One year we even had a whole half-pig to play with, cut up to her specifications. I think I’ve already told that story.
  7. Homemade yogurt. It’s almost like ice cream.
  8. Pho or banh. Vietnamese staples.
  9. Chowders. Sometimes using lobster stock from leftover shells.
  10. Souffles. They taste as heavenly as they look. Even after they deflate.

Now that I’m done bragging, what’s some of your favorite home cooking?

 

Locally, ours is known as the Baskerville House

The broker listed our house as being built in the 1860s, but even then, we thought it went back further. I’ve since seen maps from the mid-1830s showing a footprint for a house like ours, which seems right, confirmed in an 1855 map of town.

We know it was here before 1886, as the charred rafters affirm, reflecting the great fire that destroyed the downtown. (One historian had primed us to look for that touch.)

The 1855 map even shows this as the Estate of J. Shackford, a member of a prolific local family that originated in Dover before scattering to Portsmouth and Newburyport, Massachusetts, and then resettling up here quite successfully.

But to everyone we’ve met, it’s the Baskerville House.

I love the literary allusion, of course, to Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles (and the fact it takes place largely in Devonshire, which plays into so much of my history of Dover). Hound/house are, of course, nearly homonyms. Beyond that, there’s also the fact that Baskerville was a basic serif typeface back in the letterpress days when I entered journalism. It’s an old style that largely didn’t make the leap to digital, though I see it has recently joined my Windows options. (Not so for my beloved Caslon of the same era.)

Facing the sunrise

What we liked about the place, besides its location and TLC potential, was the fact it felt good inside. Close-your-eyes, even when the room’s chilly. I’ve certainly felt comfortable in extended solitude and all the writing that’s come within it.

Something that struck me after moving to New England was how often people – even highly rational professionals – calmly asked new homeowners if their place had ghosts. I’m not kidding. And Maine seemed especially prone to that.

Nobody’s asked us, though. Instead, they confirmed that ours always felt good to them, too.

The Baskerville at the heart of this story is Anna, a retired Black nurse who came to Eastport in 1999 to live with her son and daughter-in-law, also named Anna.

From what I’m told, she was stout, had red hair, and loved to sing – especially in all of the churches, where she was always welcome. And she, too, found this place hard to heat but stayed in it, after her son remarried and moved to the other end of town.

When I said no ghosts but the place feels good, others piped up that’s likely Anna’s presence or spirit. I’ve known similar imprints elsewhere, especially in old Quaker meetinghouses.

Naturally, we want to know more about her.

One story I heard was about her introduction to the town. She had a longstanding fear of deep water, and because her new residence was only a block from the ocean, the family arranged for her to arrive after dark and get used to the house first. Maybe they figured they could deal with any trauma better in the morning.

So, as I’m told, when Anna awoke and opened the blinds and saw the expanse of water, she inhaled and, as she proclaimed later, “I knew I was home.”

Yes, we know the feeling, too. And we still want to know more.

In the meantime, we’re trying to keep our renovations in line with what we hope she would have approved. There are good reasons to respect the past.

What do you know about the place where you’re living?