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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Quiet Sunday

     The Maine Maritime Academy, which is just across the bay in Castine, has an interesting annual tradition.  This year it occurred on the Sunday morning of Labor Day Weekend.  The freshman class participates in an "Abandon Ship" drill where everyone jumps off the deck of the "State of Maine", the freighter that has become a training ship for MMA.  I estimate that it is a 25 foot jump, but the water is cold.  We left the campground at about 0930 and got there at 1015.  We walked up to an appropriate vantage point and heard a cheer as the LAST jumper hit the water.  I guess next year we will have to leave earlier.  Below are a couple of pictures of wet jumpers and the venue they used.

     So, I did not get any pictures of jumpers in the air.  It was a bit early for lunch, Dick Roth drove us around the pretty, picturesque, and historic town of Castine.  What would a coastal Maine town do without a lighthouse?

     Note that gnarly hunk of driftwood in the lower right corner.  There is no end to the list of elegant homes in Castine.  Here is one taken through the car window.

     After we had killed a bit of time enjoying the old homes, we went to lunch at Dennet's Wharf, a classic seaside, seafood place.  I appreciate the fact that their bar is made from the lumber of an old bowling alley.  It is a handsome thing with interesting jars of bar snacks such cod jerky and smoked herring displayed along it.  We chose to eat outside.  

     I took a couple of shots of activity is the harbor.

     Before we left I took a picture of the "State of Maine"

     For those of you following the state of Baxter's health, he is much better.  He is interested in food...he actually played with his pet snake...he is no longer wearing the Elizabethan collar (although he may wear it for one more night) and he seems to be getting up and down the stairs with less difficulty.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sailboats and Lobsters

     It seems that we haven't had as many lobster feeds this summer as usual, but we had a good one Tuesday.  Everyone chips in with corn on the cob, chips, pie and ice cream.  Dick Roth is the main(e) man with the lobsters.  We do have to use my cooker if the group is as large as it usually is.  Below are a couple of shots of Dick cooking his favorite food.

     We just pull a few picnic tables together and enjoy some al fresco dining.  It's a tad on the informal side and occasionally gets a bit messy, but it is always fun.

     Yesterday Dick Roth yelled over,"Frank, get your camera."  It seems that the BIG sailboat we have been watching as it was getting an overhaul at the shipyard was pulling out of Belfast and heading to Newport.  They used a tall crane to mount and install the 150 (!) foot mast.  It was heading out of the harbor into a stiff northeast breeze, so the sails were stowed and the diesels were doing their thing.

     There is very little in the picture to give you a sense of scale.  If you have a sharp eye and a good sized screen, you can see some people standing just aft of the cabin/wheelhouse. The mast would be about 13 storeys high.  There are three big red tugs that are berthed in the Belfast harbor to assist the freighters going in and out of Searsport.  One of them was returning as the sailboat was departing.

     I guess you could call that picture, "The Beauty and the Beast".  There is the brute strength of a tug and the elegance of a large single-master.  There are a couple of caveats to that analogy, however.  First; there are many who would find that tug to be handsome if not beautiful.  And, second, the diesels in that sailboat are no slouches, either.
     All of the pictures in today's post were taken right here in the campground.  Just think...we've got another month here!

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Road Trip"

     Guess where we went today?  Morse's is a one-of-a-kind combination of small, iconic German restaurant, charcuterie, delicatessen, and sauerkraut maker who uses a hundred year old recipe.  If you want sausage, cheese, crackers, or odds and end of assorted sauces and mustards; this is your place.  Plus you can get a wonderful meal.

     I restrained myself and only bought a pound of pancetta, a half pound of seven year old cheddar and some bratwurst.  The total including the meal and tip was $73!

     Saturday was another short road trip.  Down in Thomaston there is a Maine prison store.  There are woodworking facilities at the prison for use as occupational therapy.  Some of their better output is available for sale.

     This ship model is about three feet long and sells for about $10 per inch.  From there we came back by Dorman's, of course, for some ice cream.  Then we took a back road into Camden and ventured down a short trail on foot for a wonderfully pleasant view of Curtis Light.

     At the end of the trail is "The Log".  It makes a nice seat from which to view the lighthouse and the Camden harbor.  In the picture below Eleanor Roth is holding down the west end of the log.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back in Maine


      That's not a current picture.  I just wanted to get your attention.  That is Dick and Hilda Brann's fifth wheel RV enduring its lonely mid-winter stay at the Moorings.  This is NOT a four season campground.
     We returned to Maine three days ago.  It was a non-stop, four and a half hour trip.  Set up is getting easier especially with help from our many friends here.  Thursday was a veterinary day.  For the past week or so Baxter has actually needed encouragement to eat.  Thursday morning he refused.  The local vet, who has seen him before, did a thorough exam and faxed the results back to SC for comparison with the April tests.  No "smoking gun" was obvious.  By mixing a little canned food with the kibble, he has resumed eating normally.  He's an old dog, most likely fourteen.
     Our Happy Hours are the site of laughter and friendship.  It's good to be back.

Monday, August 18, 2014

From My Chair

     Today all of the pictures shown were taken while sitting in a lawn chair with a martini and visiting with Durelle.  She went in and retrieved the camera and strongly implied that there were some photo-ops that I was overlooking.  As usual, she was right.  You know the rules:
         Rule 1.  The wife is always right.
         Rule 2.  When the wife is wrong, refer to Rule 1.
     The first picture is a campground shot that shows the seasonal (four seasons!) campers arranged around the periphery of the campground.  We "short-timers" use the interior sites; some of which are pull throughs.  All have 50A, sewer and a good WiFi.

     You can see the late afternoon sun...after all it was happy hour.  That same late sun made for a nice sky color.  The picture below is unaltered except for cropping.

     When all else fails, take a picture of a dog.  See previous post.  Baxter, as you can see from his coloring, is getting old.  This shot will remind longtime readers of a similar picture of Belle.

     Tomorrow is a busy day.  Durelle leaves at 830 to play golf with grandkids et. al. Cohorts/coworkers are visiting at 1030.   In the evening we will be taking our granddaughter and her Aussie husband out to supper. During the afternoon I'll start packing, closing, etc. as we leave Wednesday morning.  It will be good to get back to the Maine coast.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Re-fighting old battles

     Whenever we get to spend some time in this neck of the woods, I try to connect with some of the folks that worked with me as we struggled to develop the communication, navigation and identification antennas for the F-22 back in the 90's.  At the head of that list is Leslie Jelalian, who was then a junior engineer with Sanders and is now a senior executive with BAE Systems.  I took the camera when we went to their (with Bob Banks, her husband's) house for pizza.  Who wouldn't take the camera when she had a 14 week old Samoyed?

                                                                     This is Max. 

     It has been twenty years or so since Leslie and I fought those battles together, but you wouldn't know it from the picture below.

     The RV lifestyle makes visiting old friends very easy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Visit with sister, Marian

     On Tuesday Cindy and I made a short trip down to Royalston, MA to visit my sister, Marian Taylor.  She and husband Eldy have been building their dream home for retirement out of twelve inch logs.  It has been under construction for several years.  Although they are living in it, it will be several more before it is done.  Eldy is still working with a two hour commute, so progress is slow.  There aren't many Massachusetts homesites with hundred mile views.  See below.

     The view of the "cabin" is just as impressive as the view from it.

      You can get a sense of scale from my Jeep in the lower right corner.  They have black bears, coyotes, fisher cats and a porcupine that will take bread from Eldy's fingers.  Deer and turkeys are plentiful.  I did not climb the hill to the stable, but Cindy went along with Marian to "help" feed her two miniature horses.  Many of the inside features are notable as well. Check the medicine cabinets in one of the bathrooms.

    On the way back we stopped at Lickity-Splitz for some ice cream.

     A sign proclaimed that all of their ice cream was homemade on their premisses (sic.).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Grover Reunion

     A century ago three siblings grew up in Athol, Massachusetts: Bob, Ruth and George Grover.  This past weekend ALL of their seven children, spouses and several of the grandchildren assembled in North Norwich, NY.  It was no small achievement.  They came from California, Georgia, South Carolina and New England.  For some it was the first meeting….EVER.  It was hosted at the lovely, upstate New York home and grounds of Harry and Diane Gardner.  Below is a shot of the view “down the valley”.

     There were no get acquainted games, no musicians, no entertainment…there was nothing but food, multiple animated conversations, food, sentimental reminiscences, and food.  Did I mention “food”?

     Marty Grover and I brewed up a couple of pots of Frogmore Stew: a low-country boil of potatoes, sausage, corn, and shrimp that is flavored with onions, lemon, assorted Zatarain spices, Old Bay seasoning and a “touch” of cayenne.  It was consumed, as you can see, most informally.  The weekend, except for Saturday’s breakfast at Bill’s Diner, was totally agendaless.  There were great collections of old photographs and videos.

     There were dozens of hour-long conversations amongst cousins who had previously met rarely if ever.  Although it was a first time event, it may not be the last.

     Above are the seven cousins.  The two brother-sister pairs are Mart and Durelle Grover and Greg and Pam Grover.  The other three boys are (L to R) Harry, Rob and George Gardner.  Next is a nice picture of Durelle and her brother.

     It was an easy, one day (285 mile) trip from Brookline, NH. The bus worked fine for four days without hookups except for a 20A electrical connection through more than 150 feet of large gauge extension cords. Unfortunately, I plowed a few grooves in Harry's freshly mowed sod.

       It was a great weekend which was made all the more convenient by our Tiffin motorhome.

Friday, August 1, 2014


     OK, not that eagle...this Eagle.  This Eagle is the 295 foot, 78 year old training ship of the Coast Guard Academy.

     Today the Eagle sailed (motored?) into the Rockland Harbor to help the city celebrate their lobster festival this weekend.  I tagged along with the Pecks to watch it come into the harbor past the breakwater and lighthouse.  George spent a couple of summers aboard the Eagle back in the late fifties and has spent a lot of time along those yardarms furling the topsails.  It was disappointing that they saw fit not to raise a stitch of canvas for us folks looking for a great photo-op.
     We later wandered over to the Rockport harbor for lunch.  The harbor contains an interesting mix of pleasure craft and working boats.

          Since this was Friday, we had our campground wide Happy Hour.  It was even more convivial than usual, if possible.  We met some new folks and invited them to our follow-on Happy Hour which lasted until nearly eight.  Tomorrow five couples are going out to supper together to a place none of us have been before.  The spirit of adventure is alive and well.