Upta Camp

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I wrote this for Down East magazine in 2002, and included it in my book, A Life Lived Outdoors, published last year by Islandport Press. Hope you enjoy it! 

               Every Mainer has a camp. It may be a place we own. It may be a place our friends own. It may be a place we rent every summer. It may even be a campground and simple tent. But it’s ours, even if only for a week or two each year.

Camp is a Maine tradition – anchored in our imaginations of the North Woods, yet often nearby on a lake or pond, the better to access it on hot summer days. I know one couple whose camp is 100 yards behind their house on a man-made pond.

Answers to Questions Nobody was Askin, by Tim Sample

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Tim Sample’s new book could probably be categorized as a biography, because there are many stories about Tim’s interesting life. But the book is much more than that. And yes, of course, there are some hilarious stories. Tim did not become our state’s most popular and well-known comedian by chance. He’s a very funny guy.

And while I enjoyed all the funny stories, and the special Maine humor, I was particularly captivated by some of the more serious stories.

These six House Republicans changed their votes and killed the Land for Maine’s Future Projects

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Many readers asked for the names of the six House Republicans who changed their votes and killed Senator Roger Katz’s bill yesterday that would have allowed the Land for Maine’s Future bonds to be sold without the Governor’s approval. And now I’m going to give you those names.

These House members initially voted for LD 1378, but yesterday, they changed their votes and prevented the legislature from overriding the Governor’s veto of the bill. The vote to override was 91 in favor and 52 opposed, leaving us five votes short of the 2/3 necessary to override the veto. Yes, these six voted for it, before they voted against it. That may (should) be hard to explain.

If one of these legislators represents you, I hope you will ask for an explanation and share it with me. And if you need more information about this very important issue, read my Outdoor News blog posted yesterday.


A Typical Day in Tuscany

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Italy’s Tuscany region is the Travelin’ Maine(rs) favorite vacation spot – other than Maine, of course!




                A bus, two planes, and a rental car took us from Portland, Maine to Greve, Italy in less than 12 hours. Most surprising, the trip went without a single hitch, everything on time, no problems at all. The flight is an overnighter and we even managed a few hours sleep in the planes.

52 House Republicans Kill the Land for Maine’s Future Program

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Today legislators had to decide which was most important: the will of the people, or the willfulness of the Governor. Twenty five Senators voted with the people, overriding the Governor’s veto of Senator Roger Katz’s bill to allow bonds for the Land for Maine’s Future program to be sold without the Governor’s approval. That was more than enough for the required 2/3 vote to override the Governor’s veto of Roger’s bill.

Sadly, 52 Republicans chose LePage over the Land for Maine’s Future, supporting the Governor’s broken promise rather than the LMF bonds. While 91 Representatives voted to over-ride the veto, those 52 no votes left us about a half dozen votes short of the necessary 2/3, killing the bill and the program. Many LMF supporters, legislators, lobbyists, and private citizens were shocked and dismayed.

It's eat or be eaten - in your backyard!

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 Dozens of snapping turtle eggs litter the roadside in front of our house, dug up and eaten by foxes. A few years ago a neighbor called, hysterical after a Fisher cornered her cat in their basement. An eagle sometimes sits in our pine tree, eyeing the birds in our feeders, eagerly anticipating a meal.

The single Loon chick on our lake disappeared quickly last month, most likely consumed by a snapping turtle. In Florida, I once saw a largemouth bass jump two feet out of the water to grab a songbird sitting on a water plant. Perhaps you know that deer are eaten alive by coyotes.

Yes, it’s eat or be eaten out there. I used to enjoy arguing with Baxter Park manager Buzz Caverly, who liked to talk about “nature at peace.” Believe me, it is not peaceful out there in the animal kingdom!

Shame on Second District Reps for shutting out their constituents from referendum process

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Twelve Democrats and one Independent in the House of Representatives representing districts in Maine’s Second Congressional District have some explaining to do to their constituents. They voted against the Constitutional amendment to require an equal percentage of signatures for citizen initiatives to come from each Congressional District.

The amendment would have been on the ballot this fall, for a decision by all the people of Maine. These fourteen House Democrats essentially said, “We don’t think our constituents need to be part of this process. Go ahead and get all your signatures in southern Maine. The people in our districts don’t need to be involved.” Good luck explaining that!

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