1 The day after Thanksgiving, we headed to Skylands, my home on Mt. Desert Island in Maine. My driver, Carlos, helped get G.K., Peluche and Francesca, onto the plane.
2 Jude and Truman are wonderful travelers. Here, Jude is patiently waiting for the plane to take off.
3 Soaring above the clouds - the view was so beautiful, but the flight was very bumpy.
4 A group of pumpkins greeted us at the front door. It was decorated with part of the Maine pumpkin harvest. The big copper pot is one of a pair flanking the entrance to Skylands.
5 This is the back front door onto the terrace. The ancient kiwi vine above lost its leaves. I had just walked around checking the mortaring that Freshwater Stone had done on the terrace and the stairways. http://freshwaterstone.com/site/
6 Aristide Maillol's 'La Riviere' was all tucked away for the winter in her glass and copper house.
7 These steps lead up to the the landing where my 'La Riviere' is "resting". Continue up and to the right, and you'll end up on my large terrace. The lower stones in the forefront have yet to be restored. You can see that roots, plants and moss have actually moved the heavy rocks out of place.
8 This is the view from my Skylands terrace. The water is Seal Harbor, looking out onto Sutton Island, and the Cranberry Islands.
9 These beautiful pink granite cliffs are at Raven's Cleft on Cooksey Drive - it's one of my favorite spots.
10 These great spruce trees cling to the rocks with shallow roots.
11 Inside Skylands, an impressive great hall filled with seating areas, tables, and planters. The doors open out onto my large terrace.
12 The center hall table was made by faux bois master and concrete sculptor, Carlos Cortes. On top, a guestbook Jude used as a personal coloring book - her drawings are exquisite.
13 Chinese lanterns, Physalis alkekengi. They are easily identifiable by the larger, bright orange to red papery coverings over its fruit. It makes a very popular ornamental plant.
14 On one end of the great hall, we had a fire going all weekend long. On top of the mantel are two brass chargers from the 1700s. In the winter, I cover the sofas with these old fur blankets that were already in the house when I bought it. On the faux bois coffee table, imported brass objects.
15 A bird's eye view of these larger than life brass figures - a crab serving dish with abalone inlay, a giant prawn and a scalloped shell. I often find these items at consignment shops, antiques fairs and garage sales.
16 My favorite faux bois chair - isn't it beautiful? It looks so real, but in fact, it was made in the 1930s - out of cement.
17 My silver food domes on top of a faux bois table. I have a lot of faux bois pieces at Skylands.
18 This is an old galvanized boat, probably from a store window. It holds a collection of the island's round rocks - all sitting on another faux bois table.
19 Brass on brass. I just adore brass trays. I use them for both practical and decorative purposes.
20 The children love playing with marbles.
21 Pumpkins and squash from my garden on a recent find - a monumental brass tray, likely from Turkey or Morocco.
22 On Saturday, I served turkey leftovers. I like the leftovers as much as the actual Thanksgiving meal, don't you?
23 This was Kevin's sandwich. He toasted some of Balthazar's pain de seigle - a chewy-crusted loaf made with a blend of organic whole-wheat and rye. Then, Kevin made himself a dagwood sandwich with turkey, mayonnaise, cranberries, stuffing, and lettuce - so delicious.
24 My house guest for the weekend, noted photographer, Douglas Friedman, had just returned from Oman, a nation on the Arabic Peninsula. He brought me some sesame cardamom scented dates. They are delicious. Dates are considered the most important crop in Oman.
25 What a lovely treat. I sliced some seedless oranges for the dates and served them as dessert after lunch. Eating 15-dates satisfies the daily requirements of essential vitamins, and minerals for one adult.
26 Over the weekend, we discovered that Douglas was a very good kitchen helper. We had many oysters left over from Thanksgiving dinner. They were from Copps Island Oysters in Norwalk, Connecticut. We brought them to Maine in a cooler to enjoy while we were there. http://coppsislandoysters.com
27 Oysters should be kept very cold until they are shucked.
28 As it turned out, Douglas was also an excellent shucker.
29 These are three different shucking knives, all with very heavy blades - they're great kitchen tools.
30 Place the tip of the blade into the pointy end of the oyster, and using a twisting motion, remove the top shell, cutting the muscle. You will feel the hinge pop.
31 Scrape the oyster and preserve the precious liquor.
32 Here were the shells of the oysters.
33 And here were all the oysters - plump, sweet and delicious.
34 I used tongs to lift the oysters one by one. Alexis and Kevin were craving fried oysters, so I made up a recipe and fried up a batch.
36 Lightly flour the raw oyster.
37 And then gently drop it into the batter. My recipe: one cup flour, one bottle of good beer, half-cup of water, salt, pepper and two tablespoons of baking powder. If you like, you can also add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
38 Fry the oysters in oil that's 180-degrees Fahrenheit until they are golden brown.
39 Look at this perfectly cooked oyster, golden on the outside and succulent on the inside. Do NOT overcook. We wanted tartar sauce, so we made some of our own using mayonnaise and Heinz pickle relish with a bit of lemon juice, and had them with a dry white burgundy - doesn't that sound good?
40 My dear grandchildren - Jude and Truman. They love Maine, the woods, and exploring. Here they were out on the front drive which is in need of leaf blowing.
41 On Sunday, I took the children on a two-mile hike to Otter Cliff in Acadia National Park - one of the most spectacular sights along the North Atlantic Seaboard. We also took G.K. and Peluche.
42 The rugged coastline was pristine, the sea gentle and the sun so bright.
43 I also took the kids to Thunder Hole, which is best viewed two-hours before high tide. We saw some impressive sprays, but no geysers.
44 Truman and Jude waited patiently for a geyser to appear.
45 When we returned to the house, we saw the setting sun through the leaded glass windows that open out onto the terrace. The reflections were stunning.
46 The leaded glass windows are so beautiful - they let in gorgeous light.
47 And create such nice shadows.
48 The sunset was extraordinary - as it often is on this island. Tomorrow, more photos of the delicious food from my Thanksgiving Day meal.