George Smith's blog

Road slobs drink Bud Light and smoke Marlboros

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I’d just put someone’s paper plate, tossed out of a vehicle onto my woodlot, into my trash bag, when I noticed an army of ants crawling out of the bag and up my arm. The ants had been finishing up the picnic lunch, I guess.

And that is the moment when I decided to post my woodlot. No trespassing for road slobs!

Yesterday was my second walk up the road to the woodlot to pick up trash. I own 150 acres with almost 2000 feet of road frontage. I’ve filled two big bags with trash so far and have several to go. And I can tell you this: road slobs drink Bud Light and smoke Marlboro cigarettes. They also eat a lot of fast food, which apparently runs out just when they get to my Mount Vernon woodlot.

But the variety of stuff I’ve collected is kind of amazing. Last year I found an empty package of condoms. The wording was in a foreign language but I knew right off what it was. The cover featured a photo of a couple, ahem, well you know.

Ram’s Head Farm is a stunning historic Maine gem – and you can stay there!

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            At Ram’s Head Farm, guests are living in history. My morning coffee was taken in a Senator Bill Cohen blue cup, not long after emerging from the President Richard Nixon bathroom. I am awed by this opportunity to stay in Marion Fuller Brown’s home, the woman who was a Republican icon and hero to me when I was a young Republican.

            Marion served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1966 to 1972 and was the prime sponsor of legislation that banned billboards in our state, of Maine’s returnable bottle law – one of the first in the nation – and of Maine’s Clean Water and Clean Air Act. Over 40 years ago, she was a conservation and political powerhouse.

HSUS blasts bear hunters with $1.2 million in TV ads

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 The Humane Society of the United States has reserved and paid for $1.2 million of TV ads for its referendum campaign to ban bear trapping and bear hunting with bait and hounds. This is nearly twice what HSUS spent on TV ads for its 2004 Maine campaign. And they did this in August!

It appears that HSUS intends to spend the $3 million on its campaign that the group announced earlier this year. There is no way the sportsmen’s campaign to defend bear hunting can match that level of spending. This may be a serious problem. In 2004 the sportsmen’s campaign outspent HSUS on TV and that was a critical factor in the defeat of the HSUS ballot measure.

But that doesn’t mean HSUS will win this campaign. I have been very impressed with the job that James Cote is doing for the sportsmen’s campaign. In 2004 I raised the money for the campaign that successfully defended bear hunting, and my sister Edie managed the campaign. This year James is doing both jobs, a very tough assignment.

Enjoy a whale of a meal in the Pilgrim Inn’s Whale’s Rib Tavern

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Deer Isle
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                We’d drive all the way to Deer Isle to eat at the Whale’s Rib Tavern, but it’s helpful that the restaurant is in a gorgeous and historic inn, because we wouldn’t want to drive all the way home after dinner!

                Last June, with our friends Rusty and Sue Atwood, Linda and I enjoyed a wonderful get-a-way weekend in Deer Isle at the Pilgrim’s Inn. Deer Isle, Stonington and Blue Hill are full of interesting art galleries, book stores, and gift shops, and stunning scenery. We spent a morning hiking to Barred Island and a beautiful isolated beach.

                At the end of June we told you all about that trip. But we saved the best for last: the food! 

Deer Tick News Is All Bad – “Ticked Off” Report should tick you off

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This morning my Kennebec Journal came with a deer tick. I start my day with a cup of coffee and the KJ, seated in a comfortable rocker with a view out the kitchen window to Linda’s beautiful flower gardens. Opening the paper to grab the section that includes the weekly travel column that Linda and I write, I spotted a tick on the edge of the paper. Ticks are everywhere these days! Perhaps the tick was just reading our column.

On August 19 I spoke at a press conference in the Baxter Woods conservation area in Portland on the National Wildlife Federation’s “Ticked Off” report. The conference was sponsored by the Natural Resources Council of Maine. You may have seen a news report in the newspapers, heard it on Maine Public Radio, or seen it on the TV news. The press conference got a lot of attention. If you missed the story, Jackie Farwell of the Bangor Daily News wrote an excellent account that is available on the BDN website.

Maine News Media Tells the Truth About Bear Hunting

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As we head into the last two months of what promises to be an expensive, bitter, ugly fall campaign over bear hunting and trapping, the issues are already getting lots of media attention.

Both Aislinn Sarnaki and John Holyoke of the Bangor Daily News have written recently about bear hunting, Sarnaki offered an excellent run down on current bear hunting practices, and Holyoke just wrote a preview of the hunting season that began yesterday (August 25).

Duchesne Radio Show

I’ve been very encouraged by recent news coverage of the bear situation in states that banned hunting with hounds and bait. Bob Duchesne, on his Saturday morning radio show on Bangor’s sports station, 92.9, is presenting on his radio show – over three Saturdays  – interviews with wildlife biologists in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. The interviews are enlightening, interesting, and very important.

Everything you want (and need) know about Ed Muskie

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 Ed Muskie – Made in Maine 1914 – 1960 by James Witherell

It’s everything you wanted to know about Ed Muskie, and then some – informative, thorough, sometimes fascinating, often entertaining. James Witherell’s new biography of Muskie, titled Ed Muskie, Maine in Maine, 1914 – 1960, published by Tilbury House, is a good read and a book I savored, perhaps because Ed Muskie touched my life in quite a few ways.

He probably touched your life in many ways too, and it’s all here, in detail, perhaps because Witherell grew up in Muskie’s home town of Rumford, giving him a real sense of where the man came from, or maybe just because Jim loves history and writing and was willing to do the tremendous amount of research to capture Maine’s most famous politician in a way no one else has done – even Muskie in his own autobiography.

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