Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pretty Quiet Around Here Lately

maine-matters has been pretty quiet as of late..the warm days of 10 days or so ago got me really fired up about spring and getting my boat out of winter storage

  but now weather reality has slapped me in the face..there's snow on the ground again from a nasty storm that came through last night and the temps look to stay seasonable ( i.e. cold in my opinion) for the next few days to a week. so even though there is no ice on the local lakes, The Rebel Sport will stay under cover for a bit longer until it warms up just a tad..i guess the waiting game is still on for those lake dwelling silver backs.  But open water fishing is set to start on Monday so my 3 wt fly rod may see some  brookie action..

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


We took advantage of another beautiful day on Monday to hookup with some good friends, Glenn and Martha,  for a road trip up Rt. 1 and then down Rt. 15 to Deer Isle / Stonington. 

It wasn't long before we were leaving the mainland and crossing the Eggemoggin Reach. I've been under the bridge many times by boat, not so often by car. The center rise is striking. It's quite the climb. Fortunately there was no wind but I couldn't help but think of the Tacoma Narrows bridge as we were rounding the top.
Once we got into Stonington we drove thru the village to the end of 15 and swung back around. The tide was falling exposing the backbone of the island and leaving some interesting sights such as this unusual craft..
Once we got back into town we decided to have our picnic lunch so we settled in at the public landing to enjoy our meal and the waterfront views.

The village is such a lovely, quintessential
Maine scene with it's Main St. stores hanging over the harbor on pilings, the Opera House and old homes climbing up the ridge.

Being it March and we were there well before the flat-landers muck up the place,  it was just us and the fishermen who were busily doing their thing. Even the seagulls didn't notice that there was food there for the begging.

After lunch we did a little wandering and part of that was introducing Zed to some locals who were at the landing in their boat "Islander" and getting ready to return to Isle Au Haut.

Good guys. Maybe they sensed that we weren't from away..

The harbor was pretty active with a good number of fishing boats coming in to the working pier across the way. It's so nice to observe a true working harbor , one hasn't completely given up to the whims of the rec boaters.  We're pretty lucky to still have a fair number of working waterfronts left, especially in this part of  the state.

Speaking of working..the guy up in the rigging of the lift in this picture is definitely earning his pay!
Moving on, we wanted to find a place to hike off a bit of lunch. There is no shortage of trails to enjoy in this area but we decided on a shoreline, mile and a half loop..

The Shore Acres Preserve...

This is a very pleasant walk thru the evergreens and moss covered landscape, opening up onto Greenlaw Cove.  As you can see there are various access points to the shore along the trail.

Zed was extremely interested in all the recently, low water exposed sniffs. Now if we can only train him to dig out some of the clams that lay at the bottom of these holes..

Of more immediate concern to him was how he was going to negotiate the rugged terrain..
Our day was done except for the scenic ride back to the mainland. Leaving Deer Isle we were already planning out our next adventure.

That boat from Isle Au Haut got us thinking...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hiking The Ducktrap Preserve

We decided to take advantage of the great day yesterday to do a little hiking with our newest guide dog candidate, Zed. 

Not far from home is an enjoyable set of trails on lands of The Coastal Mountains Land Trust. One of these trails in its care is The Ducktrap Preserve which follows a ridge line not far from  where Rt 52 crosses the Ducktrap River. This trail is not to be confused with the fishermen's trail that follows the river itself.

We chose this path, it's really more of an abandoned wood's road, because of it's gradual elevation change and it's excellent footing. 

But little Zed did find some intimidating sections on it, such as finding a good spot to cross one of the many runoff brooklets that we encountered in our path. After a few of these challenges and with his confidence building,
he was soon finding his stride.
The trail leads thru some very nice softwood stands and the piney perfume that permeated the warm air was magnificent.

 One portion of the trail is highlighted by this rather large tree leaning across the path. I wonder how long before it comes down, either by nature or by the hands of the trail caretakers?

On the way back to the parking area we spotted this interesting hollowed out tree. It reminded me of those old black and white cartoons that I used to watch as a kid that would have swaying, singing trees. It's funny how these kinds of observations can dredge up long buried memories of childhood. I guess it true about our life experiences are all stored subconsciously in our minds just needing a little stimulus to pop out.

On the ride back home we stopped at the boat landing for Pitcher's Pond to take a peek. (The pond itself is just on the other side of the treeline.) It looks like it's about time to pull the boat out of storage and start getting it geared up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

L.L. Bean Guaranteed to Last

That’s the promise and the title of a wonderful new book by Jim Gorman about “the” icon of Maine outdoors businesses, L.L. Bean.  Not only has L.L. Bean lasted for 100 years but it has shown the same resilience, imagination and strength in its business philosophy that is reflected in the character of our traditional Maine Guides and sportsmen and women who call our state home. For it was these same people that Leon Leonwood Bean decided to serve those 100 years ago.  And today the company that he started still serves the present day advocates of those original customers.

 Starting with the cover the reader gets a “feel” for the book with its stitched, canvas covering, reminding one of the famous boat bag, and an attached Bean label, the same that you would find in its products today.


Mr. Gorman’s 224 page missal pays homage to the company through old photos, hand written letters, artwork from past catalog covers, product innovations, and an interesting timeline that runs throughout the book that highlights timely events in American history with corresponding company history. For example, in 1924 Flapper dresses are all the rage.   Ever faithful to his core philosophy and not straying from that, L.L. Bean introduces the Hudson Bay Blanket in its catalog that year. 

  Beginning with the humble Maine hunting shoe that turned out to be the bedrock of the company,  the book progresses through time and the many successful  product lines, and some not so successful,  that L.L. Bean introduced.  And the descendants of these successes are displayed to this day on the shelves of its flagship store in Freeport. 

Of interest to me was the constant tinkering of product improvement, including the venerable hunting shoe which at first failed, but from which was born the famous Bean guarantee of complete customer satisfaction.


  The reader is treated to backroom strategies and opposing opinions of company direction, early photographs of original employees and work areas, Bean’s family and friends, the introduction of the small women’s department at the insistence of Hazel Bean  (and we know how that turned out), letters from presidents and housewives,  and much more.  All thoroughly researched and presented in a very informative and entertaining manner.

  For what it’s worth, I highly recommend “Guaranteed to Last” to any L.L. Bean customer, devotee or fan.  More than just a store, L.L. Bean is a Maine experience and Mr. Gorman’s book offers the reader added appreciation to that experience.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sealing The Deal...

Just another lazy, hazy, crazy, day of summer...2011

If Only..

If only I could fish like this.. taken off the Northport shoreline summer..60 degrees here..and I'm feeling the feeling...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mother Mabel's Baked Beans

I often post about my family traditions of hunting and fishing which were all on my  father's side. But growing up we also had traditions that were passed down from my mother's side.  And one of the biggest was our meal of baked beans that Mom always cooked for us every Saturday night, without fail. Even attending Saturday afternoon Mass wouldn't deter her. Both my parents are gone now but I am very fortunate to have a few treasured, family items that were near and dear to their hearts. Such things like a favorite fly rod, an octagon barrel hunting rifle, and my mother's bean pot.
I have no idea of how many hundreds of meals we've had from this pot but since it's Saturday I thought that it would be nice to add another one to the total..
Of course the bean pot is of no use without the beans...
I prefer pea beans but also have been known to use yellow eyes. Either one will do. Once the dry beans have been soaked over night into the pot they go and covered with warm water. Into this goes..
1/3 cup of dark molasses..
1/4 teaspoon of ginger..1 teaspoon of salt..1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Then..
A nice chunk of salt pork..the leaner the better for me as I love the tasty lean pork portion.
And all assembled you have...
a pot of beans that are ready for the oven..325 degrees for 5 or 6 hours..Now this is very important..check them often to replenish the water..nothing worse than dried out bullet beans.
About an hour before they're done add..
1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of cider vinegar (this I've been told removes the snappers)..  And again..... make sure you keep checking on the water. Even more often if the day is cloudy with rain. The weather factor can easily ruin a good evening's bean supper..There you have it..Mother Mabel's Baked Bean recipe.
Check back later to see the finished product including, what else..

Fait accompli...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hocomock Hike plus Moody's

Recently on a lovely late winter day here on the mid-coast the spirit moved us to explore new get out and about and do a little tramping about the Maine coast. So picking up the trusty Delorme we settled on a new triail down Waldoboro way, The Hocomock Nature Trail in Bremen. And an added bonus to the ride would be a stop over for lunch at Moody's Diner.
Having had our mid-day meal consisting of a cheeseburger, a hamburger and two piece's of pie, we headed a bit further south to our destination,
The Hockomock Point nature trail.
Now it was a bit confusing once we arrived as the road leading to the trail head as it looked much more like somebody's driveway than a public way. However once we figured out it was safe to continue and not be confused with unwanted intruders,  it was soon very evident that our choice for our hike was going to be well worth our gas money.  That is if the view at the head of the trail was an indicator.
The trail, which reminds me a lot of the shore trail at Moose Point State Park in Searsport, follows the shoreline of a portion of Muscongus Bay and the views are classic Maine coastal scenes . Mostly ledge, evergreens, seaweed and the occasional very small gravel beach.
The trail is a loop about 1 mile long and easy to walk. A little bit hilly but with very gradual grades.  Some of it goes through woods interspersed with old stone walls  but most of it follows the shore.
A hike of this length, even if a somewhat easy trek, seemed to be as much as Zed's little legs would co-operate,
so after a bit of a rest , some sun therapy and of course training kibbles, we turned the corner and headed back to the start.
It was a half a day well spent and comes highly recommended.
Wicked good!