Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pizza At The Plumb and Bobber Searsmont

It was cold, no not cold but frigid..a perfect evening for it...

We took advantage of the gracious invite by Deb and Mike to join them for a pizza party at their home in Searsmont village.  Not just any old regular pizza party mind you but this party would have pizza baked in their vintage brick oven located in their basement room, named The Plumb and Bobber .

They discovered the walled in oven during one of their many renovations of their old village homestead. And with painstaking attention to detail, have been adding thoughtful touches to the decor and functionality of this wonderful spot.

Having started the fire earlier in the afternoon..the oven was at a toasty 900 plus degree temperature, nearly attaining critical mass.

 So letting the flames die down to a beautiful bed of coals  we had time to enjoy our appetizer of mussels with smoked butter and garlic.

At this temperature and under Mike's watchful eye it wasn't long before they were on the table.

 After our shellfish it was time to choose the toppings and spices for our pies.
And there were many choices to be had with a well stocked and well thought out pantry.

 Deb was soon putting the finishing touches on what just happens to be my favorite pizza,  green pepper, onion and pepperoni,  which she elegantly prepared on a white marble counter top..

 And this was just the beginning, as one by one the pies were shuffled into the oven for a quick, ( I'll call it flash)  baking.

And in very short order, onto the table..

A perfect, apple wood fired, brick oven pizza..
Now that's what I'm talking about!

Thank you Deb and was totally awesome!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cappy's Chowda'..Time to Dehibernate..

maine matters has been laying low the last couple of months, in hibernation mode. The calendar says february..half way thru winter..but the reality is that spring is still a long way off. And so the "staff" of maine matters (Pat, Big Ray, Andre and me) decided to shake off the mid-winter doldrums for a road trip, to flee south.. to Camden......

One would think that following a road that hugs the Maine coast would yield many views of the ocean but that is not the case. In fact the ocean sightings are few but you are constantly aware of it's presence with a salty smell or the change in the air.

Upon leaving Belfast, the first view you get of the bay is as you cross Little River bridge and between there and Ducktrap, it's pretty much blacktop and fir trees.  But once you get to Ducktrap you get your first real view.  And a fine view it is, looking straight out the western gut to open ocean.

Just down the road from Ducktrap lays Lincolnville Beach, with Islesboro off to your port side. You may even get a bit lucky and be there  to watch The Margaret Chase Smith "steam" out of the ferry landing beginning her 3 mile, twenty minute crossing to the island.
During the summer on her decks will be seen many people enjoying their short cruise but THIS day was definitely not THAT day.  Not with the snow swirling in a very cold wind which had even the seagulls beached. And with a tip of my knit cap for the hardy crews of the Maine State Ferry Service, we continued our southerly ride.

Shortly we made the sharp left into Camden. A different perspective of it's famous harbor was desired, so we turned off the highway and stopped just past the library to check out the scene.  The boat sheds and waterfront looked cold and desolate, with the schooners mummified in their winter wrappings. 
No sails bursting with salt air were to be seen. The warm summer evenings of hustle and bustle in this busy coastal village seemed a long way off.  

But there is much enjoyment to be had if one looks for it in the right places..such as the warmth and hospitality of Cappy's.
In short order we were at a cozy table in the even more cozy pub, enjoying a glass of  Maine's own, Allagash White. 
There were a few folks sitting at the bar and a few others at some of the tables but we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  A fine spot to sit and converse and reflect on how wonderful it is to be living on the coast of Maine, even during the cold winter months.  And as we Mainers try our best to insulate ourselves from these cold days,  they ironically serve as our insulator against the outside world,  soon to overtake us come June. 

And our reward?  Other than the best reward of all which is living in Maine...

A hot cup of chowda' ... thank you very much...
Wicked good!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bailey's Doing Great In College

For those of you who occasionally read maine-matters you would be aware that my wife and I (95%  wife / 5% me) are puppy raisers for Guiding Eyes For The Blind out of Yorktown Heights New York.  "We've" (meaning Pat) raised many potential guide dogs in the past and the latest one to leave home for college is Bailey..

(Of course this is when we first got him..I couldn't resist..)

Our update we got from the training center is that Bailey is doing wonderfully and a pleasure to work with.

So our boy is doing great and making his parents very proud.
Keep up the good work son!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Well, Here We Go Again...Introducing Andre..

 Introducing Andre. Number 16?
This little boy could find no home..sad..sad..sad..
 But luckily, and in the nick of time, Pat escaped with him..
Soon he was home with us, and with his big brother Ray showing him the ropes, Andre is already learning the drill. He's a very good student...
Welcome Home Andre!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Number 15 (or is it 16) Off To College


 It seemed only a few months ago when this little guy joined our family.  He was the 15th (or maybe loose track after a dozen or so) Guiding Eyes For The Blind pups that have landed on our doorstep for their puppy boot camp.

Of course in addition to the everyday honing of his socialization skills and the many training sessions which were provided by my wife Pat, a talented and experienced puppy educator,  Bailey accompanined us almost everywhere. 

He went on our hikes, to our family functions, to our visits to Reny's and L.L. Bean. He went with us on most of our dining out occasions, finding an appropriate spot curled up under our table.  

And of course he went with us on the many boat rides that we made on Penobscot Bay and the various lakes near and not so near our home in Belfast.
And on those very first boat rides, it didn't take long for him to figure out that if he stuck close to Ray there was good potential for a kibble to be coming his way.

It wasn't long before he made himself at home and became an integral part of our lives. And in short time maturing into a fine and very handsome boy...
And now he's off doing his career far things are going good for Bailey and we are anxiously awaiting his first Report Card..

And yes..It was very hard to let him go. As it was for the past 14 or 15. Not all of them graduated but that didn't diminish the joy and love that they added to our lives.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mid Summer Belfast Bay Cruise

With a very light SW-rly breeze, an incoming tide and flat water, conditions were just about as good as they can get for a small boat on Penobscot Bay, a very small portion of which is considered Belfast Bay.  One advantage of small boating is that is can be done quicker than you can say "red on right returning" . A simple hookup to the trailer..a short hop to the boat ramp and soon you find yourself under Rt. 1 looking to Little River Dam...
Moving down shore we were soon abreast of the summer community of Bayside..
with the many upturned, small  boats looking much like sunning harbor seals...
As I said before, flat water, and that means a quick, full throttled hop to Islesboro and Grindle Point Lighthouse and base of operations for the Islesboro Ferry..
Working our way toward Broad Cove, there's no mistaking what this harbor is about (other than transporting flat-landers to their summer places on the island).. And for those of you flat-landery, touristy folks who don't know what this is..
Here are a couple of clues...
and this..
We were soon back into Belfast for some observations of the busy goings on in our now bustling inner harbor.
I wonder if this is where the above is heading (the lobster not the lobsterman) for its  date with the cooker?
The inner harbor is packed with mostly pleasure craft of all sizes, types and shapes..
But fortunately Belfast still retains a portion of it's old, working harbor nature..we haven't given up the ghost totally to the Thurston Howell III types..yet..
And that's it..
Back to the ramp and quickly loading the boat back onto the trailer..
a great cruise was had by all... small boating at it's finest..

Monday, July 28, 2014

Roach River at Kokadjo.."Pop. Not Many"

Earlier this month and on the way to Spencer Pond, for a few days off the grid , we found ourselves in the "village" of Kokadjo.
Lying east of Moosehead Lake  and 18 miles north of Greenville, this tiny outpost's claim to fame is The Roach River. And along with Grand Lake Stream, the East Outlet, the West Branch, the Upper Dam pool and a few others, The Roach is one of Maine's premier fly fishing waters.
It begins at the outlet dam
at First Roach Pond
 which I hear is in itself a great spot to drag a Grey Ghost right after ice out. Check out the trophy fish hanging on the wall of The Kokadjo Trading Post, if you have doubts.
The  nearly 7 mile long river makes it way thru the Maine woods
eventually dumping into Moosehead Lake. (Another great story about fantastic Maine fishing spots..)
The Roach is fly fishing and catch and release only with a convenient starting point being the Dam and Dump Pools..
We found just two fly fishermen only at these popular spots testifying that the fishing pressure during the first week of July is a tad different than May or September.
Much of the fishing can be done by wading, accessing the different pools via bushwhacked trails along it's length. And while you're there,  be on the lookout for one of Maine's most sought after attractions..moose.
But be careful when driving as this sign warns..
This was a short 2 day family outing to the wilds of Maine. And on top of that we spent one of those days  hunkering down during  tropical storm Arthur's visit.  Consequently there was very little fishing done but that will change come September, on my next visit to Kokajdo.
.....population not many.