Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Leaving Nantucket

My friend Polly left yesterday.  It was great fun to take her class at the 1800 House and to hang out and share a meal or two.  If I'm lucky I'll catch up with her again in Oregon in November.

I leave for Colorado in the morning.  It's going to be so hard to leave here.  Not just because of all the
beautiful flowers and pretty houses and the beaches.  It's hard to leave because somehow I feel so at home here.

I feel very "me" here, if you follow my thought.  It's not a deja vu thing, it's a recognition of a place that fills me up rather than sucks me dry.  It's a tonic being here.  I can hear myself think while I'm on Nantucket.  I breathe a little deeper, I sleep a little sounder and I definitely laugh louder and longer.....oh, that part may be Bee's fault, not Nantucket, now that I think of it.

I see things more clearly.  I couldn't take my eyes off these trees yesterday.  Bee and I had a late lunch outside at The Brotherhood of Thieves (isn't that just the best name for a restaurant?) and I looked up and was mesmerized by the late afternoon sun slanting through the leaves way above my head.

For one thing, I noticed that we are definitely in the midst of summer, maybe even heading into the last innings.  The colors are changing from the pinks, purples and whites of early summer to orange, red and bright, bright yellow.  Louder colors. Full on high summer colors.

The rose hips are coloring up and this year they are huge.

And yet, that gorgeous afternoon light, coming through the leaves, ever changing as the soft breeze ruffles the leaves and changes the light patterns----endlessly, quietly.  Beautiful.

Good bye, Nantucket.  Thanks for filling me up with such good things.  Thanks for the fun and the rest and the laughs.  Thanks for everything.

I am so grateful for my time here.

"Just a sandy wind-swept island!"
What more would you have it be,
With a turquoise sky above it,
Around it a sapphire sea?
Mary Starbuck

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beautiful Blooming Nantucket

Nantucket is the prettiest place I think I have ever been.  All the gray shingled houses, most with white trim and the beautifully manicured gardens make for wonderful walks.  Everywhere you look there is another gorgeous hydrangea in full bloom or a window box with eye-popping combinations I would never have thought to use together.

So many of the houses (and many of the shops, too) have window boxes.  They all look so wonderful it makes me wonder why more of us don't use them?

Even at your feet on the sidewalks, things are growing and blooming----and beautiful.

 If you look closely into the center of the white Rose of Sharon in the picture above you'll see a fat and pollen-covered bumble bee.

I love the shape of the window above.  The lush, over flowing window box just adds to the charm.

How's this for curb appeal?

I am definitely going to be planting more hydrangeas when I get home!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Keeping Busy on Nantucket

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I took a class at the 1800 House on Nantucket from Don Carpentier, who is not only an internationally renowned preservationist, a master potter and an all around can do sort of fellow.  The six or seven students in the class all made a very personal weather vane.

My fish was borrowed from a gyotaku print by Chris Dewees, a member of the Nature Printing Society. The rock fish image I used was on the NPS calendar for 2011.

Don helped me figure out how to make a very dimensional eye for this 'vane, and Don did all the soldering on the piece.  He also made the arrow pointer on the crossbar.  The rest is my work.

I love the color of this old copper.  I decided to let my weather vane age and patina naturally rather than give it a head start with an aging product.  I think my local weather ought to be able to add more than enough patina in a fairly short time period.

This fish looks deceptively small.  The cross bar is actually about 24 inches in length.  That makes for a very nice sized 'vane, I think.

My friend Bee and I spend a very happy (and somewhat messy) evening in her studio doing discharge prints on black fabric.  It's not use bleach!  We had the best luck with Soft Scrub.  Paint it on an object (leaf, shell, etc.) and then print it.  You let the bleach product completely dry, then rise it off.  We then washed the fabric and the next day we ironed it.

I'm not sure just exactly what I'm going to do with my fabric, but the technique was fun and easy to do and I think I will be experimenting with it further.  I can see you could make some very interesting fabrics to use in quilting and other crafts.

On Friday I took a rug hooking class from Polly Minick at the 1800 House.  Polly has a wonderful book, available on Amazon, called   I met Polly last year when I took a two day class in hooking a bag from her.  The little evening bag design for this year is much smaller than the big tote from last year, and hence, much easier to get completed.  I will only hook the front of this little bag and will use the same dark blue as in the canton (the stars area on the flag) as the backing.  It's really cute!  I think I was truly her remedial student as i was, by far, the slowest at hooking, but I was finally getting the hang of it towards the end of the four-hour class.  (Slow learner!)  I can see that once you are really comfortable with the process it could be extremely relaxing and a fun way to do something while sitting and "watching" a movie.

I am having the best time trying new things.  I really can't believe I made a weather vane!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dead Whale at Smith's Point

July 20, 2011 update:  There is more specific information on this whale at the WDCS blog.

The big news on Nantucket this weekend is that a humpback whale washed up on Smith's Point.

Lowie, my friend Bee's husband, saw it yesterday from the air when he flew to Hyannis to run an errand.

The whale is on it's back, so the view you  have is of it's underside.

Just a few feet away is a big chuck of baleen.  I've never seen a piece of baleen this large before.  I remember buying a little piece in Alaska for a friend and it was (as they would say here in Massachusetts) "wicked pricey."  I can't imagine what a chunk like this would go for on the retail market.

 This close-up of the fiber that makes up baleen will give you an idea of how it's used for filter feeding.  (The krill and caught in the fibers and the water passes through.)

Great white sharks have been feeding on the whale while it is afloat.  (No, no Jaws sightings this afternoon on the beach.....thank God!)  I wonder if the missing hunk near the tail was the work of a shark.

Here's a close-up of the underside.  Isn't it interesting?

There are some seriously large barnacles attached to this whale's carcass.

Bee and I had a grand time getting a million shots of the seagulls.  The wind was blowing strongly and the gulls, of course, were there to scavenge.  They were much more interested in the possibility of a free meal than in the humans pointing cameras at them.  We were able to get pretty close and had time to get our shots in focus.

found this whale sighting fascinating, but smelly....I enjoyed it much more when I was up wind!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nantucket Bound

photo by Bee Shay

I am leaving you, Dear Reader, for my annual pilgrimage to the home of my friend on the island, the Gray Lady,  that has won its way into my heart.  No, I am not overstating my feelings for Nantucket; I really do love it there.

I am going to go on walks with The Boyz, one of whom is pictured above.

I am going to stroll the cobblestone streets of the village and maybe buy some flowers or take Bee to lunch, or linger in some of my favorite little shops.

I know I'll spend a lot of my time on one beach or another, at different times of the day. While I'm there, Bee and I will probably draw silly pictures in the sand....

...and I may well chase seagulls, wildly waving my arms in the air while screeching at the top of my lungs, like the three-year-old who still resides inside me.

I may just stand on the shore and let the ocean waves mesmerize me.  Again and again and again....

I'll be having fun taking some classes at the 1800 House, sponsored by the Nantucket Historical Association.  I love their classes!

I plan to do a lot of dog scratching and dog cuddling.  How can you resist this face?  I can't!

I'll be gone a long while because after my two weeks of bliss on Nantucket, Bee and I are off to Fort Collins, Colorado, for the Nature Printing Society annual workshop.  There I'll be trying my hand at gyotaku and I'll be printing this fish and that octopus and who knows what else.  Bee and I will also be reunited with another dear friend, FishBoy himself----the one, the only....Fredly!

Sigh.  It just keeps getting better and better.

When I get back, let's get together some late afternoon and have a cold ice tea, sit on the deck amongst the pots of blooming annuals and share photos and stories of what we did on our summer vacation.

Is it a date?