My Blogs

I probably diversify too much and end up not giving any of my blogs proper attention. The one you’re viewing now is my catch-all. I might promote one of my niche topics from Hubpages or write about a trip I took.

Here are my other blogs:

Discovering Mom is my blog about facets of my mother’s life. She died in 2013 and I’m working my way through the loss.

Discovering Mom Gail Lee Martin… gone but not forgotten

Finding My Civil War Ancestor follows the searching I’m doing on my great-great grandfather’s life. Hopefully, my search methods will help others in their family history project.

Summer in New Hampshire extolls the joys of summer at the lake and in the woods in that beautiful state.

Then and Now shares the family history of the Martin, Joy, Vining, McGhee family lines. My distant cousin and my sister are helping me with it.

I’ve recently started a photo blog on Tumblr called My Solivita. It gives me a place to share my Florida photos and to tell about the lovely retirement community we live in.

In December 2014, I created my first stand-alone website. The topic is Florida Decorating Ideas. I hope you’ll check it out too.

Another site where I journal is called Niume. It gets all the bits and pieces that are too short, too personal or somehow don’t fit elsewhere.


New Hampshire Summer Home for Sale

I just finished my first real estate page for a friend. It’s for a park model in a three-season resort for snowbird retirees.We’ll see if my description of their New Hampshire cottage for sale gets them a buyer. If you want to spend summers in New Hampshire enjoying the woods and an active retirement community, then check out this cottage. It is just $27,000. The resort is closed during the winter.

Those Cute Chipmunks

Rodents aren’t supposed to be so darn cute. After a mild winter this year, the chipmunks in New Hampshire are having a population explosion. It has given me an opportunity to try out the zoom on my Canon SX20is. Capturing digital images of the little critters has been fun.

What isn’t fun is the interest they’re taking in my strawberry patch. I have a photo series of the brazen culprit turning the large red strawberry around in his paws while nibbling daintily on different parts of the ripe fruit. Then we found they were even abscounding with the smaller green strawberries. As my husband waved his arms and stomped into the garden, a chipmunk took time to stuff a not-yet-ripe strawberry into each cheek before running away to safety.

Chipmunks are great tree climbers.
Chipmunks are great tree climbers.

I have several webpages about the chipmunks. The one about Ten Humane Ways to Get Rid of Chipmunks is proving quite popular. Apparently, I’m not the only one suffering from an over-abundance of these rodents with racing stripes. The second one is Fun Facts about Chipmunks and the target audience is children, but I’m finding that it appeals to adults too. It includes some of my chipmunk photos and observations that I’ve made of their behavior.

Update (July 2011): Since people wanted ways to more permanently get rid of chipmunks, I’ve created a new web page called Get Rid of Chipmunks – The Final Solution. Of course, new chipmunks will try to move into the territory left vacant by any that you have relocated or killed. Be prepared to continue your efforts every summer.

Eastern Chipmunk in New Hampshire
Eastern chipmunk (photo by Virginia Allain)

Photographing Moving Water

I walked down to the lake with my camera, thinking I might get good scenery shots with maybe some fall color. It’s a little early for widespread colorful foliage in late September. Next month is a better time for that in New Hampshire. At the moment I’m seeing splashes of color, but still lots of green leaves on the trees.

Standing by the lake, my eye strayed to a single red leaf resting on the sand. A small wave of clear lake water moved towards it. The leaf did not float away. It stayed in place and let the water ripple across it. I took a number of shots, trying to capture the ripples of the water playing around the scarlet leaf. The contrast against the tawny, wet sand was lovely.

I feared that my shots would be disappointing. So many things can go wrong with a photo. An unsteady hand, poor light, and many other factors ruin a photo. To my delight, the photos of the leaf, sand and moving water turned out quite pretty. Here they are for your enjoyment. Click on one if you want to see it larger.

Observing the Loons

I didn’t take my camera today when we went out for a 45 minute boat ride on Great East Lake in New Hampshire.  Of course that meant I’d see more loons today than ever before.  First I saw three loons together.  Probably it was a parent and two almost grown chicks. 

Shortly after that, we saw a solo loon.  He was busy preening and didn’t pay any attention to us as we cut the motor and let the boat drift towards him.  He would splash with his wings, then tuck feathers here and there with his beak, then rise up out of the water to flap his wings.  This last move showed off the handsome white belly.  This was repeated about three times.  Several times, he rolled over on his side to raise one leg out of the water and tend the feathers along that side.  Again, when he did this, we could see the white stomach feathers.  A video camera would have been best for this scene.

Fifteen minutes further along we saw a number of black heads bobbing ahead.  The threatening clouds overhead turned the water a slate gray.  As we drifted closer, it amazed us to count ten loons swimming together.  I think it’s too early for them to be gathering to head out to sea for the winter.  I just never saw more than two or three loons together in the three years that I’ve been coming to Great East Lake.

watercolor of a loon
watercolor of a loon