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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie...Camp Style

We were back at pie was our desert while spending the weekend..the Arthur Spencer Pond Cabins, northeast of Lily Bay, Moosehead Lake..
Last summer we tried our hand and blueberry pie..on the shore in front of our cottage in Gouldsboro.  This year it was strawberry - rhubarb. The sweet and tangy combination that cries out ...summertime..
The first thing that is necessary is of course the cooking coals..Begin with separate piles , one which will be used underneath and on top of the cast iron dutch oven. The other pile is to be used as replacements for the ones that burn down as cooking progresses..
Once your ingredients are prepared, according to your favorite recipe, the pie is placed into the dutch oven on top of a strip of folded up aluminum foil which will be used as a hot pie extractor. Of course if you have more discipline than we do.. (more on that in a bit).. and let the pie cool inside the oven you'll be able to skip the foil extractor step altogether.
Next placement of coals..I'm sure there must be a formula correlating the number of coals to get the oven up to cooking temp. 6 underneath? 12 on the lid? More..less?  We don't know..we just wing it..
And of course we yield to temptation..lifting the lid ( a huge no-no) to check on the progress to get a whiff of the fusing, melting, sweet mass of bubbling goodness contained within...
And when it is deemed done..with golden crust and lava like behavior spilling out of the cracks in the crust (pie not earth), we'll set it aside to "simmer" a little longer..but not a lot longer..
Shortly..back into camp and then on the rest further?
I guess that's appropriate but...
(Here's where the lack of discipline comes in....)
We just can't do it...and so instead of a perfectly triangular shaped pie wedge with the fruit just barely oozing out of the open wound..our still hot mass of goodness sits like a blob on our plate..
but man..oh good it is...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Retrieve? I think not..

Retrieve? I think not..

Deciding to get out and about before the hiking trail got busy and before the heat started to build, Big Ray and I took an early morning walk yesterday on The Little River Upper Reservoir Trail.
Labradors are of course known for their affinity to retrieving and consequently,  swimming. 

But try as I might Big Ray decided on a simple belly chill down. As you can see at the end he was rewarded for his independent thinking…

And now that his little brother Bailey is back from his working vacation, and who does stay true to his retrieving instincts, perhaps the friendly competition that develops between them will result in some actual swimming for big marshmallow puppy..

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's A Start...

Once again my annual spring kickoff coincides with the appearance of the lowly but lovely and delicious..fiddlehead

An ever watchful Ray and I


 were off on our quest this week to "our" favorite spot to check on the status of the delicate and delectable early spring Maine morsel.

The conditions this cold and wet spring have been ideal with lots of runoff that has flooded over the beds and deposited a new layer of stream silt and sand in which fiddleheads seem to thrive .


And to our delight we were rewarded with a small area of the protruding, onion skinned covered "greens". I'm not really sure if they are "greens" (like dandelion and beet)  but they sure are green against the browns and greys of an immature spring.

Any fiddleheader , who's worth their salt pork, knows that they are the best when still tightly curled up and still in their fiddlehead form.

In short order we had accomplished what we came for...

Our first mess of fiddleheads..

And soon they were cleaned and ready for the pot and our supper table.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Never more.....

Once upon a snow day dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a  warm day of summer yore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my kitchen door.
“ ’Tis the oil man,” I muttered, tapping at my kitchen door —
Only to deliver more !

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Little Cultcha'...BSO Style

maine-matters has been pretty quiet of late..
There really isn’t a good reason for such inactivity except the late, winter doldrums that have had me wrapped up like a caddisfly in its stony, larva case, bumping along in the currents of January and February.

In an effort to rescue me, my wife Pat, pried me out of my recliner and into the car for a trip up to Orono and The Collins Center For The Arts for a dose of culture.

Our first stop though was a part of Maine culture that has immense appeal to me..
Sunday lunch at Dysart’s Truck Stop. Always a very satisfying experience, at least to my palate but probably not a pre or post performance favorite for the symphonic crowd..oh well..

And after a heaping helping of a hot turkey sandwich (and I mean heaping) we were off to Orono for the BSO performance. On the way up 95 I was wondering… why did I choose turkey?.. with its tryptophan component , it could be a definite consideration sitting on a plush, comfy seat in a darkened auditorium..but too late..the dye was cast.

With the orchestra warming tuning up,  we were ready to take our seatssymphony2
and soon enjoing the performances of Copeland’s  Appalachian Spring (with apologies to a fine composer and that area, I’m really much more interested in a Maine Spring)..a Concerto for Horn and Orchestra performed by renowned French horn player Richard Todd..and for the finale, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, the Pastoral Symphony.

Luckily I had the support of Pat, who in her pre-guide dog training life, is a trained classical musician herself and is definitely in the know about such things. 
And good it was that she was there or I would have been blissfully applauding between Movements, a definite faux-pax among the symphony goers circle.

Such is my ignorance..  
As the performance concluded and with an approving nod from her, my untrained opinion that the orchestra sounded great was justified and soon we were out the door..
So perhaps with the longer days and another shove from Pat, I can extricate myself from the recliner. And soon I’ll be replacing the TV remote with a fly rod. 
Maybe my case of the winter doldrums has been broken. 
Can a Maine Spring be that far away? I think not..