Mondate with Pam and Charles

Don’t tell her husband who wasn’t able to join us today, but Pam fell fast and hard for another guy. His name is Charles.

It was supposed to be just the three of us kayaking when we launched this morning, Pam, my guy, and me.

But it soon became apparent that this other guy was trying to woe her with bouquets of wildflowers, including Cardinals so red,

Turtleheads so white,

Arrowheads with broad leaves,

and those whose leaves overtopped the flowers.

But I think Pam was most wowed when he presented her with Ground-nut, its maroonish flower with a pair of upper petals forming a hood or keel, a pair of lower lateral wings, and a lower keel that curled upward.

And then Charles made a point of inviting his friends to meet Pam, though we wondered if the Painted Turtle always grimaced or if perhaps he was jealous of all the attention bestowed upon her.

The male Emerald Jewelwing Dragonfly was much friendlier and happy to say hello in its lighthearted manner.

And the Dragonhunter Dragonfly made frequent visits to get . . .

to know . . .

Pam better. We’re grateful he didn’t decide to gobble her up.

But perhaps Pam’s favorite moment was when Charles presented not just a Pickerel Weed in flower, but also a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth pollinating it.

Oh, he wasn’t one to make things super easy, that Charles.

But he’d asked my guy to help us portage around the dam, and so we never had to get out of our kayaks. Chivalry at its best.

Continuing our paddle, we began to think of Charles’ estate as Brigadoon for such were the colors each time we rounded a bend.

Around a final corner, Charles revealed his mansion with promises of many happy days to come.

It was so large that we knew it was an example of a big house, little house, back house, barn, which made sense given that Charles’ family had long lived in the area.

On one of the walls inside, he’d painted a scene that reflected the outdoors, including the mountains in the background.

From the backdoor it was a straight shot and suddenly we emerged onto his pond. The man was wealthy, but we told Pam that if she was going to fall for him, she had to do some serious thinking for her guy Bob is really the one who holds the strings to her heart.

In the end, though she thanked him for sharing his place with us today, Pam did inform Charles that they could remain friends, but not get any closer than that. And she added that the next time they meet, Bob will be with her.

My guy and I were thankful that she introduced us to the kind man as the three of us explored his property: Charles River and Charles Pond in Fryeburg, Maine. But we’re equally grateful that their relationship will remain merely aquatic.

Propinquity

I slipped into a kayak this morning and rather than paddle two miles north into the islands, decided to turn the bend round our point and search the shallows closer to home.

c-stump garden

It is there that the old stumps remind me once again that this water was once land until it was dammed back in the early 1800s. The stumps have given way to gardens and I have to wonder about the age of the mosses and plants that call them home.

c-fragrant 5

In a water garden below the stumps, fragrant water lilies added grace.

c-fragrant with visitors 2

And within, they offered a feast for those who foraged.

c-feather

Nearby was evidence of another foraging expedition. It didn’t bode well for the young bird that sacrificed its life, but I suspect a larger bird gained a few jules of energy.

c-cove views

Everywhere I turned, there was another garden to inspect.

c-spider 1

And friends to meet, be they spiders . . .

c-dragonhunter exuvae

dragonhunter exoskeletons . . .

c-meadowhawk 2

or meadowhawks.

c-spatulate-leaved sundew and insects

Among my favorites were the sundews and I watched several insects approach a spatulate-leaved bent down to the water.

c-round-leaved sundew

Among the spatulates, another showed its face–the round-leaved sundew standing tall above its family members.

c-pickerel 1 a

As I continued to swoon over those beauties, a different color caught my attention.

c-pickerel frog 1

As still as could be, a pickerel frog posed and waited . . . I suppose for me to move on.

c-bullfrog 1

Eventually I did, and then I met a large male bullfrog–its external eardrum or tympanum larger than its eye. This guy was certainly all ears. 😉 (The female’s eardrum is about the same size as the eye). He sat in wait . . .

c-bullfrog youngster

while a young bullfrog of two or three years tried to hide about eighteen inches away. A bullfrog is a carnivore and while its diet consists of crayfish, water beetles, snails and dragonfly larvae, they also dine on fish, small turtles, young water birds . . . and other frogs. Beware little friend.

c-bullfrog reflection

For a while another bullfrog and I took a stab at a starring contest. He won.

c-beaver scent mound

Again I moved on and at last found one of the reasons I headed around the corner. I’d been  wondering about beaver works in this area–and found a scent mound that looked rather fresh.

c-beaver lodge

Across the way was the lodge–that’s been in place since I’ve frequented Moose Pond, which means for just over thirty years.

c-beaver lodge garden

I noticed that the beavers have their own kitchen garden from which to choose–and poking out from it were a variety of sticks. Which ones came from our property? And how many more will be added in October, for I know that’s when they’ll come shopping.

c-camp from south side

Finally, it was time to head back out of the cove to our humble abode on the point.

c-camp 2

It was there that I would finally join my guy for some time in our  rocking chairs.

Propinquity.

Blue Gold Mondate

Thunder rumbles in the distance, while clouds mask the setting sun, creating a golden blue/pink/purple sky. We need a word for that. Just as I made up Mondate to describe the Monday dates my guy and I share, I feel obligated to describe tonight’s sky as golden blinkle.

After a rainy weekend, we awoke to another gray morning. But . . . there was a bright spot. Our yard was filled with mats of spider webs.

webs 1

OK, so maybe “filled” is an exaggeration, but they weren’t here yesterday.

web 2

My initial intrigue was with the water droplets sitting atop these finely woven blankets.

funnel 2

And then I spotted a hole in the center of one.

funnel 1

A look at the others, and I knew we had a yard filled with funnel weavers.

funnel 3

Imagine the industrious nocturnal work it took to complete this masterpiece.

spider 1

As I stood watching, one of the weavers appeared.

spider 3

I saw something land, I know not what, and he quickly scampered over to snatch it, and then moved into the funnel to dine. That reminded me that it was time for breakfast.

My guy had been out for a morning run and when I pointed out the webs scattered about the yard, he said he’d seen them all along his route. So . . . why today? Why so many? Will they be here tomorrow. As the day wore on, it became more difficult to see the webs.

spider web dock 2

This masterpiece, however,  has been gracing the dock for weeks. I keep waiting for Charlotte to leave a message.

We had some errands to run in North Conway and then decided to head off in the kayak. I wish I could take a selfie of our paddles as we work together in unison. It reminds me of our relationship–we’ve always prided ourselves on our ability to think things through and come to an agreement as one. Oh yeah, sometimes we get a bit out of sync and one paddle dips into the water ahead of the other or the water splashes one of us, but all in all, we lower and raise the paddles together–and as Robert Frost would say, “That has made all the difference.”

beaver mound

As we paddled along the edge of the islands, we discovered one large beaver scent mound–it had to be three feet high.

beaver mound disturbance

While this was probably created in the spring to mark a boundary, it appears to have been visited recently.

buttonbush

Numerous buttonbush plants bloom along the water’s edge. In all their manifestations, they are spectacular.

bluegold3

Spadderdock continues to offer a brilliant reflection of gold on blue

water garden

in the water garden.

female red-winged blackbird

But it’s the birds we follow today. Here, a female red-winged blackbird.

out on a limb

Her guy is out on a limb.

kayak

They don’t give us the exact information we want, but the catbirds are nearby. We hear their mews emanating from the shrubs and know that it’s time to abandon ship.

blueberries

This is blue gold. A happy afternoon spent foraging together. We made sure to leave some for the birds in thanks for their guidance.

And now, the thunder continues in the distance and occasionally lightening flashes  across the sky, but nothing can shine brighter than a blue gold Mondate.