Frank’s food is as good as the scenery

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                We love Frank’s Dockside in Lubec for lots of reasons including the awesome views tables inside and on the outside deck, all overlooking the ocean channel and Mullholland Lighthouse on Campobello Island. Chef Frank cooks in the smallest kitchen we’ve ever seen in a restaurant, while his wife Wanda Corey, a Lubec native, keeps things flowing smoothly.

                And if you hope to have dinner here, you need to know that they close at 7 pm.  I really love the way so many guests stop near the entrance to speak to Frank, both coming and going. And he usually has something funny to say, no matter how busy he is. This is a very friendly place.

Invasive fish and poor water quality challenge central Maine fisheries biologists

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 “Central Maine is the invasive species headquarters for the state.” That’s the sobering conclusion of DIF&W Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders, one of the three biologists in Region B which includes 4000 square miles, 370 lakes and ponds, and 3500 miles of flowing water in central Maine. Yes, these folks are busy!

But not too busy for Jason to present a very interesting talk at the Maine Lakes Conservation Center in Belgrade Lakes on July 14. Local game warden Ethan Buuck, who lives down the road from me in Mount Vernon and covers five towns in our area, also spoke. Ethan’s short talk focused on boating law enforcement during the summer months. It was good to hear him say, “Most people behave very well.” And he said he’s often told, “We’re glad to see you guys out.” I was surprised to learn that the Warden Service employs boating assistants in the summer with federal funding from the Coast Guard.

Sixty seven pages of fishing rule changes are proposed

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DIF&W is proposing sixty seven pages of fishing rule changes that, if adopted, will take effect in 2017.  All of the rule changes are available on the agency’s website, and public hearings on the proposals will be held in July and August.

The changes impact both ice and open water fishing, and some are designed to simplify the fishing law book. Commissioner Chandler Woodcock informed members of the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee that his agency would simplify the rule book for 2017, and simplify the rules the following year. That seemed backward to me, given that the rule book would be simpler if the rules were simpler.

Bintliff's is the Best!

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                 Bintliff’s in Ogunquit surprised us. From the outside, the white-sided building looks fairly modest. Inside, it is stunning, with several rooms, all beautifully decorated. I felt underdressed in my shorts! Thankfully, the table cloth covered my legs. And actually, although this place is elegant, it doesn’t feel “fancy.” You can come as you are.

              Owner/Chef Norm Hebert is a very friendly guy, and he came out of the kitchen to greet us and give us a brief tour. We met Norm at the annual awards dinner of the Maine Restaurant Association, at the pre-dinner reception where he was preparing and offering a very tasty appetizer. It convinced us that we needed to dine at his restaurant. And sure enough, it turned out to be a very memorable meal.

We should be so lucky as to celebrate our birthday on a Maine island!

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 The mail plane from the mainland hasn’t arrived for days, due to bad weather, and young Riley is getting very anxious, awaiting a birthday package from his grandmother. “If we lived on the mainland then I’d get to have a normal birthday,” he tells his Mom, “with a bunch of kids my age and presents from a toy store.”

Well, yes, there is that, but life on an island is idyllic, although it might be hard to convince Riley of that. He doesn’t even have milk for his cereal, because they are all out and won’t get more until the plane arrives.

As time goes by, Riley’s neighbors step up to make sure he enjoys all that island life offers, from a night swim in the dark when there was phosphorescence in the water, to walking on a deserted beach and finding a perfect moon shell. Riley spends time with a local lobster lady, a phone line worker, and Harv, a local guy who is seen painting a truck bright colors.

Any-deer permits increased a stunning 60%

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 Deer hunters will be happy to hear that 45,755 of them will get any-deer permits this year, a 60 percent increase over last year’s 28,770 permits. The permit numbers must still be approved by DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock and the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council, but that is a sure thing.

Kyle Ravana, DIF&W’s deer biologist, says that “Last year’s winter was more moderate in many areas of the state, and the increase in the number of any deer permits reflect that.”

I applied for a permit last week. Applications for 2016 any-deer permit lottery are online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Online applications are due by 11:59 P.M. on August 15, 2016. Paper applications may be submitted in person or by mail no later than 5 P.M. on July 29, 2016. To apply online, or print a paper application to mail, visit

Everything you want to know about vernal pools and estuaries – in wonderful childrens’ books

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 The Secret Pool and The Secret Bay by Kimberly Ridley are cleverly written and beautifully illustrated books, with poetic stories that appeal to younger kids, factual sidebars for older kids, and additional information that is both interesting and informative.

The Secret Pool, which won many awards, was published by Tilbury House in Thomaston in 2013. It’s all about vernal pools, those special habitats that are so important to so many critters, from spotted salamanders to wood frogs. I loved this description of wood frogs in the sidebar to the story: “Wood frogs survive the winter in an amazing way. They crawl under the leaves and freeze into frogsicles.” Yummy!

I enjoy hearing the wood frogs in the early spring. Follow their calls and you may find your own vernal pool. We have several vernal pools in my Mount Vernon neighborhood, including one big one in my woodlot, and I thought I knew a lot about them until I read this book. The book is actually an excellent guide for a walk around the forest in your neighborhood.

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