Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Family of Aroostook County Loggers

I feel very fortunate that both the paternal and maternal sides of my heritage were solid Maine folk. 

The family on my father's side came to our shores nearly 100 years before the Revolution, settling near Marblehead  Massachusetts,fought in both the AR and the War of 1812 and then started to work their way north into what was at that time part of Massachusetts and of course now the State of Maine. My great,great,great,great grandfather farmed  600 acres of land not 15 miles from my home .And there my family stayed for nearly 150 years.

My mother's family were French Canadians from the grand province of New Brunswick Canada having settled there, generations before, from the Normandy region of France. My grandfather must have decided that the logging opportunity was better in Northern Maine than New Brunswick so he made his home in Island Falls where, being woodsman at heart, soon had his own logging crew and operation. As a kid visiting my grandparents we would occasionally have the chance to go out to the camp. I remember being fascinated with it all: the rough looking crew (some speaking French), the piles of logs, the teams of horses and most of all by the cookhouse with its huge wood cook stove , black cast iron cookware hanging from hooks, large cook pots and what seemed to me to be miles of dining tables. 

The old photo below shows a much earlier woods camp than the one that I visited in the mid and late 50's. My grandfather, Dennis, can be seen on the far right with his hand on the shoulder of one of his brothers and another brother standing on the roof.  There's something about this old photo of my grandfather and grand uncles and the others that seem to show a sense of  determination, resourcefulness, independence and daring that made this country great.  I wonder if these qualities are still important in today's "what have you done for me lately" lifestyle. But I digress.  I am very proud of my French, English and German heritage and I only wish that the old timers were still around so I could tell them so.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Puppy Stick Fight - Ray vs Boyd

As I have had nothing to blog about in the past month or so since my fishing has come to it's annual  late fall halt I  decided my computer was in need of some house cleaning, So I've been going thru the multitude of digital photos from the past summer or two that have been dumped onto the hard drive of my laptop. 

You may (or may not) know from past blog posts that our home has been blessed with a number of wonderful dogs. My wife is a Regional Manager for Guiding Eyes For The Blind so therefore we always have two or three exceptional dogs in our household. Dogs in training to be a guide, dogs who have retired from guiding and dogs who washed out of the program. Presently we have two dogs, Tessie , a little female yellow lab who is in training and Ray, my faithful companion, a large marshmellow tempered boy who was one of those washout pups. He just couldn't cope with the increased pressure of decision making so he ended up back home with us. And how wonderful it is to have him here...

Ray is in the photo below with Boyd , who we raised a couple of years ago. Boyd also didn't make it thru the program because of a physical condition. But he too is a fine dog now living with a loving family in New York state.  The photo was taken by my wife on one of our many boating trips two summers ago. It really captures how well the two boys played together and consequently how much enjoyment we get from watching them. I hope you enjoy it too...