Enjoy an African safari – without leaving home!

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 I’ve always wanted to visit South Africa to see all the amazing animals there, and I will probably never get there, but Vonne Martin’s new book, Southern Africa Safari, published by AuthorHouse, gives me an astonishing, spectacular, close-up look at the animals I’d hoped to see in person.

Martin has been an underwater photographer for 35 years, and this book represents her first photography adventure on land. It’ll be tough to top this, an over-sized limited edition account of her month in the grasslands of South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia.

“It is my hope that the images of the magnificent creatures inspire readers to fall in love with the different species and become involved in conservation efforts,” Martin said. “This was a labor of love and it added so much meaning to my life.”

My Maine - Changing Maine

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Maine has changed a lot in my 66 years here, but in many of the ways that count with me, it’s changed very little.

I was born a Maine sportsman, raised a Maine sportsman, and will die a Maine sportsman. My heritage is wild and native brook trout and white-tailed deer.

I didn’t need today’s Hooked-on-Fishing-Not-On-Drugs program offered by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. I became addicted to our colorful brook trout at an early age.

Hiking deep into the woods up and over the hill behind our Winthrop home, I’d drop a worm on a small hook into the cold free-flowing alder-choked heavily-shaded brook and pull out really nice trout, all of which came home for dinner.

Rebuilding Maine’s hunting economy is a tough challenge

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 While we were able to – again – defend Maine’s bear hunting industry, other types of hunting continue to decline, and we have no strategy to regain the state’s reputation for quality hunts that once attracted lots of nonresidents. Most Mainers don’t hire guides to hunt, so guides and sporting camps have always depended on nonresidents to sustain their businesses.

The decline in deer and moose populations has been devastating for businesses that depend on those game animals to bring hunters into their regions to hunt.

The challenge of reversing a 60 percent decline in Maine’s nonresident hunters was tossed to a Task Force in 2011 by the legislature. That Task Force issued its report with a list of thoughtful recommendations on January 23, 2013, after which the report was promptly shelved.

Federal Jack's and other favorite brewpubs

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 It all started here, at Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk.


                Shipyard Brewery’s Export Ale is one of my favorite brews, and it was brewed first at Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk in 1992. That history drew us to Federal Jack’s Restaurant and Brew Pub for dinner in April of 2013 and Linda and I loved it so much we returned the very next day for lunch.

                So it wasn’t a hard sell when I suggested that we host some of our kids and grandkids here during our August visit to Ram’s Head Farm in nearby York. Joining us for lunch at Jack’s were son Josh, daughter-in-law Kelly, and new granddaughter Ada, along with daughter Rebekah and grandsons Addison and Vishal.

Old Saco Inn and Stone Mountain Arts Center

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 A Celtic concert at Stone Mountain Arts Center and a stay at the Old Saco Inn made for a great 24-hour-hour get-a-way.


                She sings, she plays, she cooks, she inspires. Carol Noonan does it all. Eight years ago she turned an old barn into the best place to listen to music in Maine.

                We’ve been blessed to attend a couple of events a year at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, just below Fryeburg, and they are always spectacular. Our most recent visit in October featured an Irish band, Gaelic Storm, and they created a storm in that old barn, for sure.

Celebrating Octoberfest at the Brunswick Tavern

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Octoberfest’s wine and beer dinner at the Brunswick Tavern brought back fond memories.


                An invitation to The Brunswick Tavern to celebrate their 3rd annual Beer vs Wine dinner was a welcome one. But the fact that this one focused on German Food and was celebrating Octoberfest made it even better for me. Fond memories of visiting Munich, Germany many years ago during Octoberfest came back.

                I love German food and now find myself craving sauerkraut. I grew lots of cabbage this year with that in mind and have preserved a gallon of this delicious stuff for the winter ahead.

Best bucks: The Day-After-Thanksgiving Buck

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                 Dad introduced me to deer hunting on his old farm in North Wayne when I was just 12 years old and in 2013, we hunted there for the 53rd year. That’s where I shot the Day-After-Thanksgiving buck, my favorite deer hunting story. It happened about 20 years ago. I was sitting on a bucket in the woods, behind an old cemetery, and Dad was hunting his way up over a ridge from the farm, towards me.

                It was a very cold and icy day, the ground was frozen, and I heard the tromp, tromp, tromp of a deer coming from a long way off. I got the gun up, aimed for a small opening in the thicket of small fir trees, and when the deer – a huge buck – stepped into the opening, I shot.

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