A to Z Challenge Bonus | Galaxie Salsa finding a delicious new use for zucchini.

One of my favorite non-fiction books is Barbara Kingsolver’s  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. She is a beautiful writer.  I was mesmerized as she journeyed through a year of eating locally. It’s something I fantasize about trying.  However, since I have zero gardening skills, I don’t think I would be as successful as she was eating only foods grown myself or purchased from local farmers. Other than tomatoes and the occasional herb, I have limited knowledge on how I would actually feed myself.

I did consider jumping into the backyard chicken trend when we first moved back to Maine but then I remembered that we own a lab. My understanding is labs and chickens don’t always play nicely. It’s the whole retriever thing. While I might have been able to train my dog to “leave it” when it came to the chickens, overall it seemed too stressful especially for a novice chicken wrangler like me. Continue reading

#atozchallenge | Reflections of a two timer and what comes next.

I jumped in again and am now a proud two-time survivor of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I learned from last year that the majority of my time would be spent visiting and engaging with other bloggers. I didn’t want to have something as pesky as actually writing a blog post get in the way which means that this annual one month challenge was in reality an intense two month process.

I researched, wrote and prepped everything in March while in April, other than some minor edits, I focused on all the social aspects of the challenge which is one of my favorite parts.

Click on any picture to jump to a slide show with hyperlinks to my A to Z Challenge Post associated with that image.

Many of my goals for participating in the challenge were similar to those that I set last year including:

  1. Expand My Content. I recently hit a few milestones on my blog including my first year anniversary and my hundredth post. Just as I celebrated completing my first A to Z challenge, I continue to be proud of and celebrate all the milestones I achieve on my site which now includes being a two-timer for the A to Z.
  2. Write Consistently. I am excited that I have successfully  maintained a regular and consistent blogging schedule (for the most part) but nothing compares to writing 26 days of content in one month. It’s always an adjustment to transition back to a normal blogging schedule but I always approach it with more inspiration after the challenge.
  3. Improve My Writing. I’m confident this goal will remain no matter how long I continue to write. There is never an end to getting better at writing. However, practice does help! This challenge improves my writing skills in two ways – all the writing that I do and all the reading that I do. I love stumbling upon other bloggers during the challenge who have fun, creative writing styles and engaging posts.
  4. Highlight Maine. While I had focused on Maine for last year’s challenge too, this year I drilled down and picked one specific area: Made in Maine. I enjoyed researching and learning more about my theme and it helped me build up another area of my site so it was a double win.
  5. Connect with Other Bloggers.  This is without a doubt my absolutely favorite thing about the blogging challenge. Getting to meet, engage with and learn from other bloggers. It was a little more difficult this year without the Linky List to visit every site as each letter had a new “list” to choose from and in the end I think a lot of those I connected with happened to have similar posting schedules to me so I was able to find them easier. But still, I did meet some awesome bloggers who I will continue to follow and support.

I took a few days off to enjoy achieving another successful year of participating in the A to Z Blogging challenge, but now it’s time to figure out what comes next as I continue to work on expanding and growing my blog.

As I finish up this recap, I wanted to again thank all my fellow bloggers for the support and encouragement they provided during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. As always, it motivated me and helped me stay on track. It really makes a difference when you know someone is actually reading and engaging with your posts. Thank you!

 

Z is for Zeitgeist Factory | Using concrete in unexpected ways.

When my girls were young, I had them make a mold of their hands and feet in the sand and then poured Plaster of Paris into the opening to create a keepsake. It’s one of those quick, easy crafts you can find on mom blogs, and in crafting books. It aligned well with my love of memory keeping. Making the mold in the sand gave the finished product a nice texture. I hung the castings on my wall where they stayed for many years. Sadly, the hanger on the back of one of them broke and it fell to the ground breaking into pieces. I took the other one down because it felt strange to leave only one child’s prints on my wall.

The made in Maine product in this post reminds me of those castings. Zeitgeist Factory makes a line of housewares made from concrete. I love the uniqueness of their products. They are simple and industrial. I think they would make a great contrast to the items with which they are paired such as a colorful handcrafted soap on their soap dish. Or, maybe some wildflowers spilling from their vases.  Continue reading

Y is for Younity | Want to try a blueberry wine? You’ve come to the right state.

While we’re working our way through the Maine Beer Trail, one of my bucket list items for this year, we don’t have a lot of experience with Maine’s wine scene. I have been to Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, and since they opened their tasting room at Thompson’s Point, I have gone to a few of their wine pairings. So far, that is the only winery I have been to in Maine. We do plan to tackle the Maine Wine Trail eventually, but as I said in my bucket list post, it’s probably best to attempt only one alcohol related “trail” a year.

In researching Maine wineries, I learned that there are:

(a) far more than I realized; and
(b) most of them make a version of blueberry wine.

We bought three bottles of local blueberry wines so that we could have a mini-wine tasting and compare flavors.  For our wine tasting, we opted to try the following wines (all descriptions are from the winery’s websites): Continue reading

X is for Xtreme Conditions | STABILicers Maxx make winter hiking a breeze.

Winter hiking is exhilarating, challenging and fun but without the right equipment it can be dangerous. Trails can turn into slick, ice-covered pathways which is what you often encounter in winter, and even much of the early spring, here in Maine. You need a plan to stay on your feet. Fortunately, I have a plan.

Our last few hikes of March fell into this icy, treacherous category. While there were sections that were clear of ice, most areas were not. It didn’t stop us from hitting the trails. We had a newly purchased state park pass sitting in our pocket and were ready to go. Plus, I had finally invested in the right hiking gear for Xtreme Conditions. I own a pair of STABILicersTM Maxx which I had broken in during an earlier winter hike to the Mountain Division Trail in Freyburg. Continue reading