Owls Head Revisited by Jim Krosschell

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 You may have visited the Owls Head lighthouse, or Lucia Beach, or even eaten one of those famous burgers at the Owls Head store, but you’ve never seen Owls Head as Jim Krosschell has seen it. Jim’s book, Owls Head Revisited, published by North Country Press in Unity, is both interesting and provocative.

Jim has lots of opinions about Maine, politics, the environment, and most especially everything in Owls Head from the airport (doesn’t like it) to the mansions of summer people (doesn’t like them) to the hard-working Mainers (likes them) to the ocean and forests and wildlife (loves them), to the very relaxing and reformative state of our State (that’s why he’s here).

Blazing into Bangor for a great meal

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                Several friends recommended Bangor’s Blaze restaurant, so when we discovered they also have a Blaze in Bar Harbor, we reserved for dinner there during an August visit to Mt. Desert Island. Our son Josh and daughter-in-law Kelly had eaten lunch there that day and raved about it. And were they ever right!

                That great meal motivated us to schedule a travel column visit to Blaze in Bangor while we were at the always-wonderful American Folk Festival. Blaze was within walking distance of the festival, right in downtown Bangor, and as we approached the restaurant we were greeted by the very friendly hostess, Meghan, who had thoughtfully set tables for us both inside and outside. We opted for inside because it was cooler and beautiful with wood and brick walls.

Grazing is Fun!

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New Gloucester
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 An amazing dinner in an amazing place


                I had no idea just how big Pineland Farms is until I read that it encompassed 5000 acres of land. Trust us, it is big enough to get lost in. It became much clearer once we found a large model of Pineland’s layout on display at The Market. This diverse business campus and educational and recreational venue is impressive.

                We visited Pineland for one of their Graze Dinners and had arrived early to explore. I insisted on finding the Garden I’d read about. The perennial, herb and vegetable Garden at Pineland Farms has wonderful paths winding artfully around the plantings. Seeing artichokes happily growing in Maine was a sight! Vegetables grown here are sold at The Market and gardening seminars are offered in the summer.

You better pay attention to these new hunting and fishing laws!

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 While you may think the legislature didn’t accomplish much this year, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee churned out a whole lot of work, resulting in dozens of law changes that govern our favorite outdoor pursuits. Thankfully, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has provided us with a summary of all those law changes.

They range from the transfer of any-deer permits to junior hunters and moose permits to family members, to increases in fees for hunting licenses and snowmobile registrations. There’s a good explanation of how the elimination of the concealed weapon permit requirement impacts those who are hunting. There are a lot of changes in licensing and registration laws.

And then there are the major changes, such as eliminating the minimum age for hunting and a complete rewrite of the laws governing possession of exotic animals. I have written extensively about both of those issues in previous outdoor columns.

History Matters

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                 History matters. And we’re losing too much of it. I was reminded of this last year when Linda and I visited the new library on Swan’s Island for one of my book talks. The Island librarian lamented that their old library burned and they’d lost a lot of valuable historical items and records.

                I was reminded of this again when I recently spent an hour with Adam Fisher at the Maine State Library, where Adam is doing a superb job of collecting and digitizing old books, brochures, photos, and other records from long-gone Maine sporting camps. Adam had suggested I have a look at these items for the book on sporting camps I am writing for Down East Books.

No Flies on Bill by Darcy Wakefield

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 This is a delightful book about a woman whose lifetime spanned most of the 20th century, written by Ethel “Billie” Gammon’s granddaughter, Darcy Wakefield, who subtitled it “The Story of an Uncontrollable Old Woman.” Billie was all of that and much more.

For all of her adult life Billie was a teacher, but not always in a school setting. And she spent a good deal of time at home, with her children, something women were expected to do in her time. I found many of the stories fascinating, such as her early dating years in the chapter titled, “You Kept Your Legs Locked Together.” Her even earlier years in Nova Scotia, before her family returned to Maine, are defined in this chapter, “A Happy, Happy Life.” If you didn’t live through the depression, you may be surprised to discover how little it took to create that happy happy life. Billie’s family was forced to give up their Nova Scotia farm when the depression arrived there in 1926.

Hunting accidents leave blood on the leaves

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 As we open the fall hunting seasons in Maine, it would be a good idea for all of us to read Blood on the Leaves, published by Rowman and Littlefield, to remind ourselves of how one brief mistake with a firearm can cause such tragedy. The authors of this book, Rod Slings, Mike Van Durme, and B. Keith Byers, were hunting accident investigators in their states. And the stories they tell about the hunting accidents they investigated are sobering.

One of the authors actually got shot himself – twice. The first time he was crawling through the grass to get a look at someone who was hunting a stream. He thought they were illegally hunting ducks. But they were actually shooting frogs – legally, with a .22 rifle.

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