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The Unsung Maine: Fiddle-Playing Gypsy

July 13, 2017

Fiddle-playing gypsy

She tells me she would have worn her gypsy outfit if she didn’t think I might think she was crazy. Are you kidding me? She had me at gypsy! In a tiny Northern Maine town, with her backyard overlooking Mount Katahdin, this gypsy-spirited woman makes her life exactly as she chooses. She has lived on this farm for many years, first in a tent, then a stock trailer, and now in a tiny house which once was only a basement. She fills it with her art, and her animals that are not yet old enough to live outdoors. Everything is as neat as a pin and has its own place, an ability I envy as I’d love to live in a tiny house but I am not organized or a neat knick. I am invited into her home through a common friend, another horse lover, as she is. I feel honored that she is wiling to share this world she has created with me.

Each piece of art has a story

Made from a birdhouse gourd

Gorgeous artwork

vignettes of color

succulents

 

artistic succulents

“Kitty”

Each horse has a name

spotted goats

Her several acre farm is home to special chickens, spotted goats, sweet kittens, and many horses. She shows me around explaining how it all came to be, and there is a story behind everything. I love it. I already know we are kindred spirits. The cat named “Kitty” follows us everywhere. What strikes me is that it’s not a perfect farm, or perfect house, or perfect land, or a perfect life. I think life has not been easy for her here. She has to work very hard maintaining it all. But, alas, she has retained, no not just retained but flourished, her creative and child-like gypsy spirit. She tells me that being poor may have helped her become creative, but I think the opposite. She has to fulfill Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs all by herself, and she still has the energy to be creative. This concept interests me greatly. I think she is ambitious, and has set her purpose to live a full, rich, creative, and independent life in spite of life’s imperfections.

She shows me her art, which is everywhere inside and out. It is succulents growing in and on work boots, it’s redesigned clock innards to look like an owl, its an old wooden chest full of unicorn fantasy objects that she has collected for children. And the colors! Color is everywhere! Then she introduces me to all of her animals, collecting eggs from the chickens, helping a goat who has poked its head out of a fence, and talking to her horses and calling them each by name, as we walk around the farm. She loves them all.

Over a lunch of soup she has made from her own chickens, we talk non-stop about how to live a life where we can spend as much time as possible, every day, doing the things we love to do. How do we do that and still pay the bills? Its the Universal problem of us free-spirits who love to do so many things, and have a hard time settling into one routine for very long. Is it possible? We think so.

Just before its time to leave, I ask her a question. Would she be willing to put on that gypsy outfit she thought of wearing but was afraid I might think she was crazy, so I could take her picture? Much to my delight, she says “Yes!” and quickly begins digging around in her closet. She tells me she has so many gypsy clothes but doesn’t wear them often here in Northern Maine. She comes out looking like a beautiful, barefooted, red-headed gypsy. Her corset is the gorgeous color of brass, her petticoat is a bright white, and her long skirt is the most beautiful colors and print I have ever seen. She has her prized bobcat skin draped around her neck. The one she shot after he got into her henhouse, and killed all of her chickens. She leaves her hair down, and we head outside to take a few photos. She turns to me and says, “I should have brought out my fiddle.” Wait, what? She plays the fiddle too? My mouth drops open as she begins to play for her animals…first for Kitty, then the goats, and then we let the horses out into a back pasture, and she runs along with them as she is playing. One of the tunes I recognize is from “The Last of the Mohicans.”

I think she is my “spirit animal.” The person I have always thought I am in my head. The personification of the person, that if life, and fear, and society had not had such a great hold on me, maybe I would be. But then I know…

gypsy player

beautiful music

the woods trail

helping one of the little goats

sweet friends

the audience

Kitty leads the way

those colors!

her gypsy outfit

the prized bobcat

playing for the horses

free spirit

The Last of the Mohicans

playing in the field

portrait of a gypsy

running with the horses

billowing skirt

artistic interpretation

gypsy necessities

 

 

Contrasts in Living

July 6, 2017

I haven’t written for a while and have really missed the getting down of words from my head to the paper. Life has been a whirlwind of movement, which it usually is for me this time of year. I leave my little winter rental for a gypsy summer…just the way i like it.

Sitting here on my sister’s 100 acre organic farm, I am looking at the windmill humming along and the pink peonies blowing in the wind. It’s quiet except for the occasional trucks that are cutting wood down the road. I have brought in the eggs from the chicken house and have them on to boil for our evening meal of hard-boiled eggs, greens from the garden, and whatever else we can dig up. No one goes hungry here but we buy very little from the grocery store. She has delicious canned raspberries from last summer that I mix with yogurt in the morning, and she has a yummy canned tomatoes, zucchini and onion mix from last summer too that we use for all kinds of dishes. She has started some of her own black, Negra beans on to soak and then cook on her little two burners, for a chili she’ll make tomorrow.

The pace is slow here.. We sleep till we feel like getting up, or the dog wakes us up, we have coffee and discuss what we will accomplish on this day ahead of us. We take a walk. I only go for about half the time as the horseflies drive me back home, and I am not in nearly the shape of my sister who is 10 years my elder. Then, we work on our list of things we want to do. When I first arrived a couple of months ago, we worked on creating our summer list which includes many things that need to be done around the farm; plant the gardens, clean out the chicken coop, sell some old wood stoves no longer being used, and then there are things we want to do for fun…plein air painting (maybe naked, if we dare), photographing local people and writing their stories, visiting my grandmother’s old home, and visiting another organic farm recently started by an old friend, and skinny dipping. I know, I know…but we are trying to stay in the free and easy mode, and heck, no one lives around us here anyway. We eat a late afternoon dinner and go to bed before the sun sets most evenings.

The hard part, is that this little farm isn’t really a place I can stay too long, although I adore this special time with my sister. My feet get itchy to keep moving, and the social part of me needs to be with friends, go to some noisy restaurants, and walk some city streets. So, I head south for several days. And it’s a culture shock, but I like it. I see things with new eyes, in a different way than I did before I left the city. I do some work photographing and meeting with clients, I visit with friends and family. It’s hard for her here as she is alone now that her husband passed away in December but she will go and spend wonderful time, about a half hour south, visiting her kids and grandkids.  She is trying to decide where to go from here…. does she stay on the farm that she and her husband created, or does she leave this beautiful, but chore-heavy farm and buy a little place in town. This is one of the reasons I think I am here…to provide some space for her to be here on this sweet farm, without being so lonesome, so maybe she can figure out what comes next. And to just spend time together..

After several days in the city, I head back north to the Northern Maine woods. I feel happy as I hit the dirt road that leads to my sister’s farm. Again, with the strong contrast from where I have been, I am able to see the this slow, rural world through new eyes. I appreciate the quiet, and the days that circle around chores, the sound of the hum of the windmill and the wind chimes, and the sun. She waves to me from the garden as I pull in.

Lots of love from this Northern Maine neck-of-the-woods.  Only one image, as I don’t have internet here on the farm, and this hot spot sure uses lots of data!  More soon…

N

If you would like to follow along on Instagram, I would love to have you! Nanette Faye

I don’t know where I’m going

March 29, 2017

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”

~  C JoyBell C

Maine rocks, gypsy, gypsy life, maine photographer, maine photography, not all who wander are lost, maine

Maine coast

 

If you’d like to see more of my work, connect with me, or inquire about a session, I’d love to hear from you.  Please follow me on FB, Nanette Faye Photography, and Insta @nanettefaye.  xo

 

The hair on his chin. Living and loving through cancer.

March 14, 2017

cancer, chemo treatment, love, waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia

It’s 3am on Tuesday morning. He rises in the dark to begin his 3 1/2 hour trip north after a long weekend with me, as he needs to be in the office by 7. This long-distance relationship certainly presents its challenges but also has so many rewards.

I came in on the tail end of his cancer journey, and he, at the beginning of mine.  He was looking to “give back” for all the support he had been given during his two and a half year battle.  I welcomed a kind man to my support team, as, besides my brothers, I didn’t have a strong guy to lean on after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  He understood the cancer fears and wasn’t afraid to talk about them. And he provided a safe place for me to share my feelings around what I was experiencing, by sharing his own experiences, feelings and emotions with me.

Each morning, he would send me a quote or thought for the day, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational and sometimes just heart-felt.  In the afternoon, he would call to check in and see how radiation had gone.  In my cancer story, he is an integral part. In his, I am thankfully in the afterword. Although, in reality, his story is never-ending.  So, maybe it’s more like Chapter 2 as he has a rare blood cancer called Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia. He will always carry it with him but has been keeping it at bay for three years this July.

During his many months of chemo treatments, he lost the hair on his body.  His chin was the first place it started to grow back.  He says he keeps it as a reminder of this, but I secretly think it’s because he knows I think it’s sexy. (wink, wink)  This is really his story to tell but I will say, I am happy that today he is strong and healthy, and with me, even if only on the weekends.  We are a great team in many things, besides just fighting cancer.  Yesterday, we were at Dana-Farber in Boston for his semi-annual work-up.  We got great news that he is doing very well. Our life plans go forward to wherever this long-distance relationship takes us. We are thankful.

I love this hair on his chinny chin chin, and what it represents for him, and for us.

 

 

This Charming B&B was our prize for flying by the seat of our pants!

August 6, 2016

Yesterday, I had planned to review this lovely Bed and Breakfast we found in Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, Canada but I got a little sidetracked talking about the two amazing days we had before on the Bay of Fundy! If you want to catch up on those, you can read it here.

So, continuing…we neared the end of the business district of Saint Andrews, and we spied a little sign with an arrow pointing to the ocean that read, “Bed and Breakfast.” We decided to check it out. One house off the water and it is adorable! Yellow, quaint, and a “Vacancy” sign, it was the Sea Haven B&B!  We headed back to Main Sreet to check what Google said about it, and the prices. “Organic, spotless, friendly, delicious breakfast….”  It was a little more than we had planned to pay for the night but we decided to go for it!

 

Sea Haven Bed and Breakfast

Sea Haven Bed and Breakfast

As soon as we  graced the front door, Liz and Gary warmly greeted us. We chatted a bit, and they offered to show us the room. We, so far, were the only ones there for the evening.  They have two upstairs rooms they rent. They showed us the front room with a beautiful view of the harbor.

View of the harbor from our private deck

View of the harbor from our private deck

We said we would take it, and dropped our bags.  Liz left and came back with homemade humus, some yummy crackers, a freshly squeezed lemonade for my honey and lemon water for me.  Exactly what our parched bodies needed.  We sat on the little deck overlooking the harbor and enjoyed the view.

The room was beautiful with fresh flowers, lovely local paintings,, beautiful sea glass and shells decorating the surfaces, and everything was spotless. Liz let us know that she only cleans with organic products, and the sheets and duvet cover are dried on the clothes line! I was in heaven.  We asked for a dinner recommendation, and we were close enough to town to walk to Gables Restaurant. 

On the deck with extra blankets for warding off the chill.

On the deck with extra blankets for warding off the chill.

canadian porchcanadian sitting area w paintings

View from our deck

View from our deck

After a delicious dinner and sunset, we snuggled on the deck and watched the boats come in for the evening.

The next morning, my honey went downstairs and came back with delicious coffee to have in our room before breakfast. At our arranged time, we headed downstairs for an amazing organic breakfast, and great conversation with Liz and Gary as they prepared our breakfast. The blue willow china made me feel very at home, there was a lit candle on the table..at breakfast, and the view was to die for.  Gary made me a perfect latte, and our cups overflowed with delicious coffee. The breakfast was more than I usually have but it was so good, I ate every bite. All the while, we chatted with our hosts. They were very willing to share information about the area, and we also willingly ventured into more personal conversations. They are very interesting people!  It felt like having breakfast in a friend’s home.

canadian blue willow with toes

Organic breakfast on blue willow

Organic breakfast on blue willow

Our breakfast view of the harbor

Our breakfast view of the harbor

After breakfast we took a short stroll down to the beach in front of the B&B as Liz mentioned you usually could find pottery shards washed in from sunken ships. I was all over that!  We spent about an hour scouring the beach and came away with some beautiful pieces.

IMG_1628 IMG_1629 IMG_1631IMG_1621We hated to leave the beach but it was time to check out and head home. There were some really nice beach rocks on display in the room and on the bureaus downstairs. They had been drilled out to hold a candle. Gary told us they are made by a local disabled veteran who wants to do something to support himself, and he sells these at the local farmer’s market. They were very plain but so nice. I love bringing something home from an adventure that was made by a local artist, and this seemed like the perfect thing.

Local artwork

Local artwork

signed

signed

We truly enjoyed our visit at the Sea Haven Bed and Breakfast, and we’re talking about making a winter trip back to experience Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea with snow.

Thank you, Liz and Gary for a very memorable visit!

Cheers!

Nanette and Warren

You can find me on Facebook, Nanette Faye Photography.

 

Traveling by the seat of our pants! Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada

August 4, 2016

canadian flagIt was our first adventure, traveling by the seat of our pants, together, flying without reservations… literally! Summertime can be tricky to travel like this, and you must have some faith because sometimes you don’t find what you are expecting. Sometimes, it’s even better! It was HIS first time heading out for an adventure like this but he was willing and excited about it.

With passports in hand, we headed across the Northern Maine/Canadian border. The woman at the New Brunswick Tourism Bureau was an excellent help! The first evening, we landed in Saint John, New Brunswick. A small, seaside town a little over 2 hours from where we are in Maine.  It’s located on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy, at the mouth of the Saint John River.  I hadn’t been there for over 20 years. We had a late lunch in a little restaurant down on the boardwalk. It was good but even better was that we got our first taste of  Picaroons beer, with their main brewery being in Fredericton, NB! Yummy! saint john, NB, lighthouse

The next morning we were off to parts unknown. We headed north toward Hopewell Rocks with the understanding we would stop anywhere along the way that one of us wanted to. I was driving and my first detour was out to a point of land called Enrage Point which houses Enrage Lighthouse!  It was a gorgeous ride out!

Seaside village of Alma

Seaside village of Alma

Lobster roll and Bay of Fundy scallops for lunch with this view in Alma

Lobster roll and Bay of Fundy scallops for lunch with this view in Alma

Cape Enrage cliffs and beach

Cape Enrage cliffs and beach

Cape Enrage beach which you have to be off an hour before the tide changes or no way out.

Cape Enrage beach which you have to be off an hour before the tide changes or no way out.

Good thing his legs are strong! Long steep stairway to safety from the beach

Good thing his legs are strong! Long steep stairway to safety from the beach.

It was a tad windy and cold but our favorite stop of the day! Enrage Lighthouse

It was a tad windy and cold but our favorite stop of the day! Enrage Lighthouse

We made it to Hopewell Rocks!

We made it to Hopewell Rocks!

Just before sunset we made it to Hopewell Rocks where the biggest tidal change in the world happens. It’s a pretty spectacular place.  After exploring for a while, we found a funny, little motel with a room left open. We had a couple of cold drinks on the back porch, watched the sunset and hit the hay early.

The next morning we headed southwest on the Bay of Fundy Trail.  We retraced a little of our tracks but found some cool spots to stop. It was hot, and after a long, active day the day before we were looking for a good beach.  And…we found one! INcreDible place!!  New River Beach Provincial Park! Wow! We loved it!

New River Beach

New River Beach

We spent the afternoon here walking, swimming and relaxing before deciding we needed to keep heading down the Fundy Trail to find a place for the night.  We pulled into Saint Andrews, NB, and drove through town. He remembered staying here with his boys when they were younger and playing hockey. I had never been here. The most famous hotel is the Algonquin Hotel and Resort, and while grand, was not really what we were looking for. We drove to the end of town and just before the residential area began, I saw a little sign with an arrow toward the water….Bed and Breakfast.

I will tell you all about it tomorrow… I hope you have enjoyed this mini Canadian adventure along with me. Anywhere in Canada you think we shouldn’t miss next time we head over the border?

xo

Find me on Facebook, Nanette Faye Photography

 

How and Where to Print Images that are sitting on your iPhone

August 3, 2016

Artifact prints I am doing Darren Rowse’s, at Problogger, 7-day blog challenge. A blog post a day using a different format each day. Today’s challenge is to create a blog post that answers a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ).  I was like, “hmmm….,” then bumped myself on my forehead remembering just earlier this morning, I answered an email from a client asking a question that I get asked a lot!

“How and where do I get prints made from all the photos I have on my phone?”

People are worried!  They have images they LoVE on their iPhone, they know they could lose them if it crashed, and they really want prints that they can hold in their hands of those adorable grandchildren, sweet dogs, pretty flowers, and gorgeous sunsets!

There are a couple of different ways depending on whether you want to send them to;  1.) print directly from your phone, or if you want to;  2.) download them onto your computer and upload them into a print company’s site.

  1. I print a lot of my Instagram images, many square, through a company called Artifact Uprising directly from my phone! But you can use this company for any images in your phone’s camera roll.  I love this cool company! Their motto is, “Off your device, and into your life!” They offer a square print package, 25 prints for $21.99! And sometimes, if you sign up for their emails, you can get this package for the price of shipping. Yup!  The paper is textured and beautiful!   You an order directly from your phone, with the Artifact Uprising app for iPhone, just download the app from iTunes. Here is how it works! This video shows them creating a photo book from the app but the same concept is used for ordering prints.  
     I order these prints to be used as postcards and/or giveaways through my business, or sometimes attach one of my business cards to the back. Great size for framing or for the refrigerator!  🙂    Sometime, if I want to see my Instagram images larger, I go to Artifact Uprising’s website on my MacBook, and then I can scroll my Instagram’s website and order from there.   This is what the Artifact Uprising ordering page looks like! It’s very intuitive and easy to use.  You can search for images on your computer, or through Instagram.

2.    If I have downloaded my images from my iPhone onto my laptop or home computer, I can also order from another more local company that I really love working with, Hunt’s Photo and Video, in South Portland, ME. They have other stores around New England but I am in Portland often so I can pop in and pick up my prints. They will also send you your prints.  When you connect the USB to your iPhone and into your laptop, your images from your phone should flow directly onto your laptop. Or if they are connecting through bluetooth, you don’t even need to plug it in.  You images will be saved onto your computer and then you can order prints from there. These folks print each print by hand with lots of attention to detail.  They have online ordering, which I also think is very intuitive, where you can create an account and upload images into their site. They will provide very personal service and I think their prices are great. Another super company to order iPhone images from.  Please, please don’t order prints from big box stores or drug stores! That is not the business they are in, and printing is an art in and of itself. If it’s worth the effort to print, it’s worth the effort to get the most for your money and enjoyment.

If you have been wondering how the heck to get your iPhone images off your phone and into your hands, I hope this helps.  Please feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comment section! I really feel passionate about getting images onto paper and on our walls, on our desks, and into our hands, and the hands of our children.

Happy Printing!

Do you have other  burning questions I might be able to help with?  Let me know!

xoArtifact prints