George Smith's blog

I’ll bet you don’t know what gleaning is

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You may not know what gleaning is, but you’ll want to participate in Maine gleaning day, just one of the many interesting and exciting projects in the new  fall edition of the Sustainable Maine quarterly newsletter, a project of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

In the newsletter, which you can access here, you’ll read about the state’s effort to nip nips, and a foam and bagging initiative in Belfast. I was very impressed with the report on a group of 30 stakeholders working to reduce food waste.

I enjoyed a seafood feast in the north woods!

City or Town: 
Millinocket
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 George

          The Big Moose Inn just west of Millinocket, enroute to Baxter Park, is an amazing place with two campgrounds, plus lovely cabins and comfy rooms at the Inn, just upstairs from their pub and Fredericka’s restaurant. We love historical places and this place got started 165 years ago. History still hangs here on the walls.

          The current owners have been here for 40 years, and now include their grandchildren in the management team. Linda was threatening to sit in the pub by herself, because that’s the menu that appealed to her, while I preferred Fredericka’s menu. Fortunately, no matter where you sit, you may order for either menu.

Crossing Northern Borders by Patricia Leach

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 The poems and stories about Maine and the Maritimes in Patricia Leach’s book, Crossing Northern Borders, is almost as good as traveling that same path. Published by Maine Authors Publishing, the book is organized into stories and poems about farming and community, fishing and discovery, Cape Breton, and my favorite: Gratitude.

The best way I can share my enthusiasm for this book is to share some of it with you. Here’s a bit from an inspiring story about Patricia’s house raising.

“In these first years in Maine, the kindness of the people I had met was amazing.” Including friends from out of state, “There were more than fifty people for the house raising… A day filled with work, laughter, and picture-taking, and by its end, the frame stood tall and strong. The evening, under a starlit sky, was filled with great food and wonderful music from guitars.

New Group Tackles Native Brook Trout Issues

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 The first meeting of a new group focused on protection of our native brook trout was very encouraging. The group was organized by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in reaction to two legislative bills that I proposed.

One bill called for protecting tributaries to brook trout waters on the state’s Heritage List, and the other bill would have placed more brook trout waters on that list. Although DIF&W originally opposed both bills, they eventually stepped up and promised to achieve those goals and report back to the legislature’s IFW Committee in January on their progress. The agency’s written memo to the IFW Committee included a promise to establish a Heritage Brook Trout and Charr Working Group.

Although the promise was made in early May, the group’s first meeting was not scheduled until August 31, leaving little time to achieve the department’s promises.

Go to the Pine: Quoddy Journals 2005-2010 by Mark Pawlak

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 My heritage is centered in Lubec, the most beautiful place in our state. So I was pleased to receive Mark Pawlak’s book, Go to the Pine: Quoddy Journals 2005-2010.

The book is a collection of poems and narratives of his experiences along the coast of Maine, which he captures in all its glory and grit. You will hear the fog horn, see the waves lapping the shore, and oh yea, see the rusty draggers and tired motels too.

If you have never been to Lubec and Quoddy Bay, you will want to go after you read this book.

My great grandfather was the keeper at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec for 32 years. My Mom grew up in South Lubec, and I often visited my grandmother there when I was a kid. My wife Linda and I visit Lubec and Campobello two or three times a year, relishing every trip and our time there.

I am honored to receive this award

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 I am very honored to be receiving an award at this year’s Evening for the Environment sponsored by the Maine Conservation Voters. The award is the 2017 Harrison L. Richardson Environmental Leadership Award for “writing, speaking, advocating, and inspiring all of us to care for the nature of Maine and her wild places.”

 

The Other Island: Ben’s Story by Barbara Kent Lawrence

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 Now, we get the rest of the story. Ben’s story.

I loved Barbara Kent Lawrence’s novel, Islands of Time, and immediately after finishing it, I picked up the sequel, The Other Island: Ben’s Story. Both books were published by the Maine Author’s Alliance.

In Islands of Time, Becky Granger tells her story of love, loss, and a lifetime of incredible sorrow. Her family members are “summer people” on a Maine island when she falls in love, at the age of 14, with Ben Bunker, an island boy. Everything goes wrong, and Becky mourns that lost love for the rest of her life, through two unsuccessful marriages. And then she moves permanently to that island, and reconnects with Ben, although he is very happily married.

There’s a lot more to the story, of course, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. For sure, you should read Islands of Time before you tackle Ben’s Story.

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