George Smith's blog

Too late for fiddleheads but there is lots more food in the Maine woods!

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 When Linda got the call from a neighbor with a back 40 that has a nice patch of fiddleheads every spring, she rushed right up. Unfortunately, the fiddleheads were almost gone by. She got one nice picking and that was it.

To overcome our disappointment, I pulled out Tom Seymour’s newly revised Wild Plants of Maine guide, published this year by Just Write Books, and we checked out our own back 40.

Wow. We’ve got lots of edibles out there!

Tom’s first guide, published in 2010, has been updated with lots of new plants and mushrooms.  Not all the plants in the book can be eaten, but those have been our focus so far since we got the book a few weeks ago.

It’s easy to use. Requires no special skills. A sharpener for dummies!

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  “It’s portable and easy to use. It requires no special skills. You just lightly run it along the blade. It’s a sharpener for dummies!”

My in-house designated-critic, wife Linda, tried out the AnySharp Edge (anysharp.com), a tool and knife sharpener, that the manufacturer sent me, and was ecstatic about it. “It’s genius,” she told me, “so easy to use that I’ll use it a lot.”

That probably tells you all you need to know about this sharpener. But I will say a bit more.

Loon story is beautifully illustrated and written

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 I once played the haunting cries of a loon at a legislative hearing, to emphasize the importance of banning lead sinkers and jigs that poison and kill this iconic bird. The good news is that the legislature did just that.

My Dad is a wood carver and his carved loons have always been his most popular. He’s carved over 100 and they are stunning. Everyone in Maine recognizes the beauty and importance of our loons.

That’s just one of the reasons I expect The Lake Where Loon Lives by Brenda Steeves Sturgis to be a bit hit. Published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, this children’s book is beautifully illustrated by Brooke Carlton. Maine Audubon hosted a special event on May 17 to launch the book. It’s getting a lot of deserved attention.

Monhegan Mother's Day birding adventure

City or Town: 
Monhegan
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While most visitors schedule their Monhegan trips in the summer, May is the time to see the amazing bird migrations.

George

                I would love to stay at Shining Sails B&B for the entire month of May, every year. But Linda will have to retire from teaching for my dream to come true.

                In the meantime, our annual Mother’s Day weekend bird watching trip to Monhegan, with our friend and neighbor Dona Seegers, is something we look forward to. We had a nice first floor apartment, looking out toward the ocean. We enjoyed some meals on our outside deck. The Inn provides a nice breakfast of fruit, juice, coffee, and muffins, but none of the island’s restaurants are open this time of year, so the apartment’s well- supplied kitchen was very helpful.

When do the turtles cross the road? Now! Don’t run over them!

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 Decades ago, whenever I saw a snapping turtle alongside or in Blake Hill Road, I’d run over it, sometimes backing up to do it again. Snappers kill too many baby ducks to deserve life. That was my thinking at the time.

Eventually I got educated about the value of all wild critters, and stopped killing snappers. And then one night, I was able to achieve a bit of redemption.

Driving home in the rain, approaching the bridge over Hopkins Stream in front of my house, I noticed a bunch of small turtles in the road. Emerging from the car, I discovered about a hundred tiny snapping turtles, apparently just hatched, and laying all over the road. Many had been run over and killed.

I searched through the lot of them and picked up the live ones, moving them to the grassy bank by the stream. It took quite a while. Actually, they were kind of cute.

When do the turtles cross the road? Now! Don’t run over them!

Blog Showcase Image: 

 Decades ago, whenever I saw a snapping turtle alongside or in Blake Hill Road, I’d run over it, sometimes backing up to do it again. Snappers kill too many baby ducks to deserve life. That was my thinking at the time.

Eventually I got educated about the value of all wild critters, and stopped killing snappers. And then one night, I was able to achieve a bit of redemption.

Driving home in the rain, approaching the bridge over Hopkins Stream in front of my house, I noticed a bunch of small turtles in the road. Emerging from the car, I discovered about a hundred tiny snapping turtles, apparently just hatched, and laying all over the road. Many had been run over and killed.

I searched through the lot of them and picked up the live ones, moving them to the grassy bank by the stream. It took quite a while. Actually, they were kind of cute.

Time to make your voice heard on private land access, deer, bear and brook trout issues

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 The Sportsmen Say Surveys on my website are off to a great start. Thanks to all who have participated so far. If you haven’t voiced your opinions yet, there is still time on a host of key questions including private land access, any-deer permits, deer yard protection, wild and native brook trout, and spring bear hunting.

This new survey, sponsored by Moody’s Collision Centers, gives sportsmen and other outdoor recreationists an opportunity to voice their opinions on key issues. The survey questions can be found on at the top right of  this website. The survey is named for long-time outdoor newspaper reporter Gene Letourneau.

One of the best things about Gene’s column, called Sportsmen Say, was the way he let his readers and fans speak, by constantly soliciting and printing their comments. This is exactly what I hope to do with this survey – help Mainers make their voices heard.

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