George Smith's blog

Benefit dinner for Alewive's Brook Farm featured great food for a great cause

City or Town: 
Cape Elizabeth
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What an excuse for gluttony! On May 16, the Sea Glass restaurant at Cape Elizabeth’s lovely Inn by the Sea hosted an auction and five course wine dinner to raise money for Alewive’s Brook Farm, just down the road from the Inn.

The Jordan family has been on the farm for three generations. And more than 80 supporters gathered at the Sea Glass to scoff up silent auction items and enjoy an elegant dinner. The money raised that night will be used to help build a new farm stand including equipment to allow processing of some foods.

Sea Glass gets a lot of fresh seasonal produce from Jodie Jordan, as well as all of its lobsters. As the Inn’s Rauni Kew told us, “They are a terrific family, and deliver here to the Inn as needed- sometimes 7 days a week!” 

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While Maine’s landowner relations program founders, Mike Michaud and Eliot Cutler promise to do better.

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                For far too long, Maine has ignored the need for a comprehensive program and approach to landowner relations, and we have all paid the price in posted land and lost outdoor recreational opportunities.

                Today I’m starting a six-part series on this important issue. Each column will be accompanied by a question in my Sportsmen Say Survey, and the final column will include a report on the results of those surveys.

I encourage you to read all the columns, which you will find right here in George’s Outdoor News, and answer all the questions, which you will find in the Sportsmen Say Survey section of my website, www.georgesmithmaine.org. It will take a lot of us to fix this problem and assure that private land remains available for public recreation.

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.

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