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Friday, August 31, 2012

A Visit to the Gardners in New Harbor

     Today we drove down to New Harbor, ME to visit Harold and Diane Gardner who were staying at the family cottage.  They are busily clearing brush and dropping trees to recreate the view that I established for Harold's parents some thirty years ago.  Durelle and Harold (Harry) are cousins in that their parents were siblings.  Before we stopped by the cabin, we visited Pemaquid Point.  It is always a special place except that Durelle always manages to buy a new cross-stitch.
     As you can see, the Sea Gull shop where she finds the cross-stitch kits is very well named.  While she was inside , I took a few pictures of the Pemaquid Light.
     Then we went to Shaw's Fisherman's Co-op in New Harbor to get some lunch.  Durelle had a lobster roll and I had a steamer clam plate with three (!) pounds of clams. I have always said that the harbor at New Harbor was nothing but working boats.  The next few shots confirm that, but then I have a picture that shows that there is an occasional pleasure craft in the harbor.


     But, believe it or not, there was a pleasure craft tied up at one of the moorings.
 After lunch we went over to the Gardner cottage, where Harry and Diane were recreating the ocean view from the porch.  Thirty years ago I cleared out all the brush and trees so that the view from the porch would include Long Cove Point and the Rachel Carson Salt Pond.  With significant effort Harry and Diane have cleared out the view again.
     With the area opened up one can see Long cove Point.

     We got back to Belfast in time for the last Friday campground happy hour of the season.  Our local happy hours will continue until the last dog dies.
     It was a busy, pleasant day that only tells us that the summer is rapidly disappearing.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why we do this

     Summer is winding down.  This weekend is Labor Day Weekend.  Tonight was a special evening.  First of all let me disabuse you of the idea that this is a bucolic bay populated only by lobster boats and day sailors.  There is some serious commercial shipping that comes up the Penobscot Bay and River.  Below are a couple of low tide shots of a tanker and another cargo hauler with a tugboat astern.
     There have been a lot of references to our evening happy hours...some have even been a bit disparaging, but take a look at the picture below.
     There is a circle of ten chairs and a table full of hors d'ouevres.  Someone said tonight that she could hear six simultaneous conversations.  That would be difficult with only ten people, but who's to say?  Notice several things.  There is plenty of room and lots of grass.  Tonight we assembled in front of our bus, but that depends upon whether we need shade, sun, or wind or rain protection.  You might think that we would run out of topics, but that seems not to be the case.  I will concede that there may have been a few replays, but our memories being what they are, that's OK.  Some of you readers may have experienced events such as this.  If not, you should give it a try.  It is a large part of what makes this lifestyle what it is.  There is nothing fancy; just good friends having a good visit...and we do it (almost) every day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We All Visit Lincoln

     An integral part of the camping community here in Belfast, ME is the wonderful couple from Lincoln, Phil and Carole Andrews. Lincoln is north about 80 miles.  Today they invited eight of us up for a dinner of "bean-hole" beans.  The idea is to build a fire in a hole in the ground, lower in a pot of beans and let it cook for 24 hours. My father and I once did it to feed a bunch of Boy Scouts after we had lost a wager on a canoe race.  There is a facility in Lincoln that has eighteen bean holes that has fed as many as 1200 souls.  Phil used one of them.  We all arrived around noon and went over to the bean holes about one-o-clock.  The first shot is a picture of the array of bean holes.  By the way, I forgot my camera today, so all of the Lincoln and Orono pictures are courtesy of a long time faithful reader, Jeri Johnson.
      This first picture shows the row of hole with their lids.  Once a fire has been built in the hole and has settled down to coals, it is time to lower the bean pot.
     When we got there, Phil lifted the pot out and put it in the back of his truck to take it back to the house.
     When we got back to the house, Carole had the table set for ten with many other items on the menu, including some of her own baked beans.  It was a good thing because, while the bean hole beans were tasty, they were a bit too al dente.  
     A segment of their back yard is a wonderful oasis for birds.  Their array of feeders is surrounded by a thick border of woods which provides immediate cover for the birds.  
     Baxter enjoyed their backyard as well.
     On the way back south the other car stopped back in Orono at the sculpture exhibits that I photographed for the blog on 23 Aug.  As you can see, they are now nearly done.
     When we got back to the campground, we had our usual happy hour, again with no food.  We sat out in front of the Roth's rig and watched as an almost full moon climbed up out of Penobscot Bay.
     All in all it was another fine day on the coast of Maine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Morse's Saurkraut

     Today a bunch of us took a one hour drive south to Morse's Sauerkraut and Euro Deli in Waldoboro.  But before I talk about that, I'd like to include a picture which portrays "A Lobster Feed, the Morning After".
     Morse's Sauerkraut and Euro Deli is a unique institution about seven miles west of route 1 in Waldoboro, ME.  They have been around for nearly a hundred years with initially a word-of -mouth reputation for the best sauerkraut around.  Today, this nondescript place, almost in the middle of nowhere, had a waiting line at two-o-clock on a weekday afternoon.  The menu features all sorts of German fare with an emphasis on sausage, spaetzle, schnitzel, etc.  A main part of the place is a delicatessen to end all delicatessens.  Would you like some sugar beet syrup?  They got it.  I dropped 65 bucks in the deli before we sat down to eat, and I didn't get any sugar beet syrup.
     After we left Morse's, we headed over to Dorman's, a legendary ice cream stand in Rockland for over fifty years.  While I passed, three of our party decided that they could still hold a banana split.  As I sat in the car they enthusiastically consumed a few more calories.  Below is Eleanor Roth and Bernie Dunn with theirs.
     Dick Roth also indulged.
     We got back to the Moorings just before our usual 1700 hrs Happy Hour.  Tonight there were NO hors d'ouevres.  I barely had room for an olive in my martini, and I hadn't had any ice cream.
     Durelle, unfortunately, did not accompany us.  Baxter is on Prednisone for his healing hotspot which means a lot of water and frequent urination.  Since Durelle had not had access to the surfeit of food that we had, I fixed her a nice hamburger sandwich for supper.  Hey, it was the least I could do.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday afternoon...let's do lobster

     Here we are on the last weekend in August.  Summer is definitely winding down.  With the Dunns and the Roths as motivators we geared up for another lobster feed.  We visited our old friend and local lobsterman, Walt, to pick up eleven lobsters.  He said that he had been out this morning to pull fifty traps.  The first five yielded 31 keepers.  He was astounded.  He has his unscientific theories, but he has never seen lobsters in such good shape and so plentiful.  He speculated that the lack of rain raised the salinity of the onshore waters which is good for the lobsters.  He is selling them for $3.50 per pound.  The eleven weighed 20 pounds and he threw in an extra small one for fun.  Combined with a bunch of steamers, corn and chips, we had a top of the line feast for ten bucks a head.  Below is a shot of the chief cooks, Dick Roth and Bernie Dunn as they scramble to serve the lobsters,
     The next shot is one of the table of hungry lobster eaters.
     The next and final picture is a shot of my plate.  I realize that these pictures are repetitious, but they reflect what we are actually doing.  
     We are aware that the world, and the country, has its share of significant difficulties.  We are equally aware that those issues have not yet intruded on our activities.  For this we are grateful. I'm told that one of the most popular acronyms in the world of young texters is YOLO...you only live once.  I think we are following that precept.  We take comfort in the fact that we have paid our dues.  We hope that in November our fellow citizens will make the right choice so that we can resurrect what was once the most vibrant economy in the world.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Pleasantly Cool August Saturday

     After a few days that involved some 300 miles of touring, today the Jeep was never started.  It was a clear cool fall day.  I did some minor chores like putting a few more layers of polyurethane on the carved sign I have been building.  I spent a couple of hours reading "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln" by Stewart.  Durelle watched some golf.  There were a few walks around the campground, but a lot of just sitting.  Happy hour was augmented by the Pecks who drove up from Brunswick.
     Supper was a sirloin strip that was unusual in that it was as thick as it was wide.  I rubbed it with some Traeger steak rub and let it sit for a couple of hours.  I started the grill before happy hour.  Our travelling grill is a small Weber kettle grill.  Below is a picture of the finished product.
     What do you think, Tim?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sculpting Maine Granite

     Starting in 2007 the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium has brought together sculptors, visitors and communities to create a public sculpture collection in eastern Maine.  The sculptures are commissioned by towns and institutions in the area.  An international community of sculptors assembles in Maine for six weeks in the summer where visitors can watch (at no charge) as they create their works.  When completed they are transported to the various Maine communities that sponsored them.  They are currently scattered from Deer Isle to Machias.  You'll have to check a Maine map to see the range.
     So, today, eight of us drove up to Orono on the U Maine campus to see this year's edition.  
     When you are working with multi-ton chunks of Maine granite, there are times when the artist's touch must be supplemented by some brute force.
     Teams of folks combine efforts to create lasting sculptures.  Notice the hearing protection, breathing masks, and the Penobscot river in the background.
     I don't know what this one signifies...perhaps it was commissioned by a newspaper recycling facility.
     We watched them work for a while.  The noise was intense.  There were diamond saws and grinders plus the polishing machines.  Baxter was not impressed.  (He is much better, by the way).  
     When we left, we went our separate ways for a late lunch.  We found a "hole in the wall" place on route 9 on the south side of the Penobscot river in Brewer called the "Eagle's Nest"  We ordered a pair of lobster rolls and a small order of onion rings to go.  I watched the order being assembled.  It was all made to order.  We then headed west for a couple of hundred yards to a boat ramp area that had a covered picnic table.
     We have had a lot of lobster rolls during our extensive times in Maine.  Never have we had a more generous one.  I believe that, in addition to other lobster meat, mine contained at least six whole claws!
     We returned to the campground, and I made a quick grocery run in order to get back to our usual Happy Hour where we solved most of the world's problems.  Life is good.  Have I said that before?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Visit from the Dills (400th post)

     We have known Jim Dill for over forty years and JoJo for nearly as long, so when they agreed to pay us a visit Monday and Tuesday, we were very pleased.  They arrived just in time for our Happy Hour and quickly joined in the conversation.  After the Happy Hour we put together a nice supper of baked haddock, corn on the cob, and baked potatoes.  Tuesday morning I picked them up to do a bit of touring.  Unfortunately Durelle had to stay behind with Baxter to be sure that he left his "hot spot" alone.
     Our first stop was the top of Mount Battie, just northwest of Camden and overlooking the well-known harbor.  The morning showers had quit, and the sun came out just as we reached the top of the mountain.  
     Just above Jim's head is Curtis Island with the Curtis Island Lighthouse tucked out of sight on the seaward side of the island.  Our next stop was that little point of land that offered a view of the light
and of a normally elusive loon.
     Since it was too early for lunch, we took the beautiful shoreline drive from Camden to Rockport and visited the "Children's Chapel" and its gardens as well as the Rockport Harbor.
     Now, it was lunch time so it was back to Camden and the Waterfront restaurant where we had a dockside lunch of oysters, clams, shrimp and other appropriate Maine fare.
     The final shot shows a covey of conventionally-sized ( 30 feet or so) pleasure craft and a couple of the larger ones...one sail and one not.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Another Boring Lobster

     It was another pleasant day highlighted by some lobsters, corn on the cob, and blueberry pie a la mode.  Below is a shot of my plate.
     On the way down to Hannafords to get the corn and pie I spotted a sign on a marquis at a health club across the way.  I thought it was worth preserving.
     If you go back to my post of 17 Aug 2011, you will find the heartwarming story of a seaside wedding.  This past week Mike and Maureen were here again.  Several of us got together to present them with a bottle of champagne, a "Happy Anniversary" balloon and a card, and made their day.  There were good feelings for all of us.
     During our meal of lobsters, a three-masted sailing ship came cruising into the harbor by the century+ old channel marker.  I thought it made a nice picture.
     Although there are three masts, there are six sails set.  That is more than the usual seamanship.  By the way, the USS Constitution sailed under her own power today in Boston Harbor for the second time in a hundred years.  It commemorated the 200th anniversary of her victory over a British frigate for the first such victory over Britain in the war of 1812.
     Later in the day I took a picture of a group of families enjoying the day.  I don't know any of them, but the scene was so typical of a pleasant day on the Maine coast that I decided to include it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A quiet day on the Maine coast

     Today was the middle day of the annual Harborfest in downtown Belfast.  There were arts, music, boat-building (and racing) and lots of entertaining festivities.  We didn't go.  Instead, we relaxed, had a great breakfast and watched the changing harbor.  Part of that decision was driven by our faithful pup, Baxter.  Almost overnight he developed a "hotspot" on his throat.  The vet did a nice job of shaving the area, washing it with alcohol, giving him a shot of cortisone, an oral antibiotic and some prednisone.  He has been pretty quiet, but one of us stays with him so that he doesn't start scratching it.
     As a result, we had to decline when the Dunns and the Roths invited us to join them for supper at the "Whale's Tooth" in Lincolnville Beach.  Fortunately, Ann brought us back a serving of their tomato/basil soup and a fish chowder.
     Durelle and I took separate walks as the other stayed with Baxter.  The sun setting behind us gave Penobscot Bay a gentle hue.
     There are all sorts of tweaks that can be made to digital pictures.  This has none of them.
     The second picture is a view to the northeast at low tide.  There is at least a hundred yards of beach that is exposed at low tide.  It ain't sand, but it does expose some nice rockweed covered rocks that always yield a nice harvest of mussels.
     Durelle and I took turns with our evening walks.  In both cases we stopped to visit with fellow campers.  Sometimes the gentle life is all you need.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lunch at the Bagaduce Diner

     One of the mandatory stops each summer is the Bagaduce Diner on the Bagaduce River in Sedgewick, Maine right next to the small town of Penobscot.  You pick up your order and take it to one of the many shady tables along the river.
     The river in the background is flowing left to right into a low tide situation.  At high tide the water flows in the other direction.
          Below is a view of Durelle's lobster roll, my haddock sandwich and the order of onion rings we shared.
     As you can see, the bun was not quite big enough for my piece of fish.  It was a pretty day, with a seagull perched on top of the flag pole surveying his domain.
      On the way back, after stopping for ice cream for some of us, we went down to enjoy the view from French's Point.  It is a popular spot for elegant weddings.  I took a shot of a particularly pleasant sitting area.