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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Schoodic Point

     Acadia National Park occupies parts of three of Maine's many southward extending peninsulas. Cadillac Mountain is on the middle one, but on the tip of the eastern one is Schoodic Point. It is a granite-clad outcropping that does not have any other land between it and the Gulf of Maine and the North Atlantic. Therefore, a North Atlantic storm has a thousand miles to build some high seas before they come crashing ashore against that immovable granite.
     So, while most of the Atlantic coast watched with great trepidation as hurricane Jose churned it way up the east coast, Mainers were eagerly anticipating another great show at Schoodic. The storm stalled out south of Cape Cod, so the waves did not reach the heights that were hoped for, but it still made for a good day for a Schoodic trip.

     Coincidentally, it was a day that we were scheduled to meet up with a cousin of Durelle's and her husband, Pam and Jay Anderson, who are Californians making their first visit to Maine. Originally we had planned to take a leisurely drive along the mid-coast of Maine pointing out some of our favorite photo-ops. After the day of touring, Durelle's brother and wife, Mart and Ann Grover, would drive over from their NH campground and join us all for supper. When we told the Andersons about the Schoodic situation, they jumped at the opportunity.

     That's Pam on the left capturing a picture of the exploding surf.

     The Park Rangers were prominent in keeping foolish tourists from venturing too close to the edge where they would be at risk from a rogue wave.

     Later we joined up with Mart and Ann and had a nice supper at the Whale's Tooth in Lincolnville.

      So, while it was not one of the best shows that Schoodic has ever produced, it provided a nice reunion for three Grover cousins and their "outlaws".

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Frogmore Stew Redux

     A few days ago we did another double recipe (two pot) version of the Frogmore Stew. This time the pictures are from Wendy Boucher, who photographs food as well as she makes it. Since I was making two pots, I made one regular spice and the other with a bit less cayenne. Notice that the butcher paper covering the table says, "decaf" while the other says, "regular".

     As you know Frogmore stew is a communal event. Here's a series of pictures with the various ingredients going into the pots. The next picture shows the primordial fluid in which everything is cooked.

     Now we start to add the ingredients. The potatoes go first.

     You can see that I'm supervising with a beer nearby. Fifteen minutes later the sausage goes in.

     After another five minutes, the corn goes in.

     Ten more minutes, and it's time for the shrimp. They only go a few minutes until they are pink. Meanwhile it is a pleasant wait for the rest of the folks.

     Finally it is time to pour


     And the end of the day looked like this:

     The recipe is fairly simple, but it helps to do all the prep work the day before and refrigerate the ingredients in ziplock bags.
     The potful of liquid and seasonings includes:

1 Gal. +/- water
3-4 large lemons halved and squeezed (lemons go in the pot)
2-3 large white onions, sliced
1/2 cup Real Lemon juice
4T Old Bay Seasoning
1C Zatarain's Crab Boil, powder
1 bag Zatarain's Boil-n-Bag
5-6 capfuls Zatarain's concentrated liquid crab boil
8-10 bay leaves
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 can of beer (optional)

Bring the pot to a boil and add the following four ingredients as scheduled:

5 lbs red potatoes, "de-eyed" and halved if necessary
Six ears of corn, quartered...frozen "minis" work well
3-4 lbs smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut on a diagonal to bite size
5 lbs large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, EZ peel, tail on, lightly salted w/sea salt

The clock starts when the pot boils. potatoes-15 min.-sausage-5 min-corn-10 min.-shrimp-3 min. or when pink. Cover tables with butcher paper or newspaper, strain and pour/ladle ingredients directly onto the paper. When done eating, roll up the whole package and discard. Be sure to involve the whole party in the adding of ingredients.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A large lobster boil

     On the first day of Labor Day weekend there was a lobster boil for the whole campground. All the campground staff and some campers pitched in to erect a pavilion style tent, haul and arrange picnic tables, and collect lobster cookers and propane tanks. The campers were generous in the supply of assorted side dishes and deserts. With such teamwork and Debra's leadership the fare came to just $7.00 per person!

     I haven't been to every lobster feed in the world, but for those I have been to, a perennial problem is the fact that the cooked lobster retains a lot of water - primarily in the claws. The result, when you start eating the beast, is a surprising amount of water in your plate, soggy potato chips and too many opportunities to spill in your lap. What Debra is doing in the picture above is snipping the tips off the claws and draining the water before serving them...a nice touch.

     I believe the crew cooked six dozen lobsters. Wendy Boucher saved a number of carcasses to make stock to use on Sunday for an afternoon snack of lobster mac'n'cheese. As soon as we finished eating, it began a steady rain...the aftermath of Harvey, I guess. Good timing Wendy.
     The "portrait" shaped pictures are from Jackie Fare.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Lumberman's Museum

     In Patten, ME, about an hour north of Lincoln, is a wonderful museum to the memory of those intrepid foresters that brought the millions of trees to market during the twenties and thirties. At the heart of the industry were the many Maine lumber camps scattered around within sight of Mt. Katahdin. On Wednesday, Dick Roth, Phil Andrews and I visited that museum. Phil is an old-time Maine forester, so we had our own personal docent.
     There is a visitor's center with many interesting displays and an informative and entertaining movie to set the stage. The bulk of the museum is contained in a collection of actual log cabins. The primary cabin was a two-part structure with a bunkhouse on one end and a cook shack and dining room on the other. The cook (the highest paid guy in the camp) and his helpers served four meals a day. They consisted of: tea, canned beef, ham, beans, donuts, and cookies.

     Look at the rows of charcoal colored spots. These were bean hole pits. There are sixteen of them here. Each one had a fire in it, followed by the lowering of a cast iron pot of beans and salt pork into the hole. It was then covered and let to rest for a half a day. Beans were an everyday meal. 

     Woe be it to the cook's helper who did not keep the wood box full.

     Horses were a big part of hauling the logs out of the woods. Blacksmith's, therefore, were essential to  the operation.


Obviously, I don't have any photographs of the log drivers doing their calked boot ballet on the logs as they floated downstream to the mill in the Spring. We did, however, see a number of movie clips that stagger the imagination. There sure were a lot of ways to get hurt in that business. There were some boats used in the harvest. They were specialized to the extent that the screw and the rudder had to be protected so that the boat could pass over the logs.

          An interesting legacy of the era comes from the invention by Al Lombard in 1901 of a steam-engined, continuous track driven, ski steered behemoth of a tractor to pull a train of log laden sleds out of the woods. They even had watering machines (Zambonis ?) to ice the road surface. That track propulsion Lombard invented enabled the WWI tanks and generations of construction equipment.

 On the way back to Belfast we toured a few miles of the scenic loop of the newly designated Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. It was an overcast day but the views were still impressive.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Busy Weekend

     On Friday, at the usual Friday afternoon Happy Hour, Debra, the campground manager, had a presentation to make. You recall, a couple of blogs ago, I reported the capture of the villainous guinea rooster, and it's transfer to the local constabulary. We decided that it was appropriate to recognize the "great white hunter" that made the capture.

     Richard was presented with a pin that said, "I gave the bird to a cop".

     On Saturday morning we headed south for our 61st and probably last high school reunion. One happy coincidence was that we were able to stop in Richmond, ME to pick up another member of the class of '56 that was visiting her daughter there. We are running out of the few folks in Athol, MA that can host the affair. For the past several years the burden has fallen on the Careys, but more help is needed. Here's our hard working hostess, Claire, in their most accommodating back yard.

     Since it obviously would have been too much to drive back to Maine on Saturday night, Durelle and I spent the night with my sister, Marian. There were posts several years ago with pictures of the expansive, and ideally located, log home they are building. The views and the local wildlife are not what one would expect to find in Massachusetts. Here's a collection of shots from the deck. They are pretty self-explanatory, so there aren't many captions.

     Notice the retro-reflectivity from the eye of a gray fox.

Morning fog in the valleys.

     The bears are so common that their house cat and the bears seem to get along just fine. Below is a shot of the cat stalking the bear.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Cousin Reunion

     Durelle's mother's family comes from central Maine. For the past several years we have managed a "rendezvous for cousins" in Lewiston. The usual venue is the Gridiron Pub and Sports bar. Today we had a party of nine to get reacquainted and swap insults. 

      We have been doing this on an annual basis for several years, and it is wonderful to get the family together. Salty Maine humor and sarcasm seemed prevalent. 

    The meal was informal as would be expected from a sports bar. The lady in the lower left picked up the tab to the dismay of Mark and I. Thanks, Cindy.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


     The following narration covers a few days from Saturday afternoon to Wednesday morning. There are no great adventures, just a pleasant sequence of day to day events. We'll start with a lobster boil on Saturday.

     That's Dick Roth, of course, tending to the three pots of lobsters (and a few steamed clams). We had a few extra lobsters. I took an extra and Durelle and I each had a nice lobster roll for supper on Sunday. Dick decided to eat one of the extras on the spot. Here's Dick finishing his second lobster while folks are cleaning the tables around him.

     On Monday evening we had our regular Happy Hour. There are a dozen or so folks with a fairly regular rotation of new blood to freshen up the conversations.

     On Tuesday eight of us made the two hour drive to Brunswick to pay a visit to George Peck. The nine of us then drove down the length of Harpswell Neck to have lunch at the Dolphin, a seasonal restaurant with a long tradition of excellent fresh seafood. The fish pieces in the fish chowder were almost large enough to warrant a knife and fork. I had the "Seafood fra Diavlo". Outstanding, and the warm blueberry muffins made a nice side.  Here's a shot of the table with George at the head.

     Wednesday morning we learned that the great white hunter, Richard Ray, had captured the guinea fowl that had worn out his welcome. He stuffed him in a cardboard box until the appropriate authorities came to get him. A local farmer who keeps a flock of chickens and some guinea hens was happy to add him to his flock.

     The visiting granddaughters of Steve and Pam got a chance to pet the bird.

     Later in the morning, to conclude this ramble, Dick and Eleanor teamed up to repair the broken accordion style window shade for the small front window of our left front slide out. These shades, which seem to be common to many motor homes, are notorious for broken strings. Replacing the string is an intricate process involving several tools, several hands, and a lot of patience. It's one of those jobs you don't want to do for the first time...start with the second time. Then, after the shade is repaired, it must be reinstalled in the valance and the tensioning adjusted. Here's Eleanor hard at work.

     Now, if that hasn't been an eclectic assortment of images, you'll never see one.