The Unstinking Pigs Were Running Loose

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 In 1985, my daily newspaper trumpeted a story about loose pigs in Mount Vernon. This was my response, in a letter-to-the-editor.

                Yes indeed, we’ve gone hog wild out here in Mount Vernon. It is always gratifying to know our daily newspaper is taking a real interest in local affairs out this way, and we’re glad you appreciated the serious nature of our problem, placing it on the front page of your January 18 edition.

                The headline, “Wild Hogs Cause Stink,” was somewhat incorrect, however, because pigs do not stink. They’re very neat and clean actually. But you city slickers wouldn’t be expected to know that.

What can you shoot and when can you shoot it?

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 This is the first in a series that will answer the questions: What can you shoot and when can you shoot it?

Are those greedy gray squirrels crowding the birds out of your bird feeders? Well, you’ve got just one day left in the squirrel hunting season to shoot them, unless you hunt them with a falcon – and I’m not talking about the Ford Falcon. For those hunting with a falcon, the squirrel season extends until February 28.

What? You say you don’t hunt but you’ve been shooting those darned squirrels off the bird feeders, and you certainly didn’t know there was a hunting season on them? Yes, indeed, and you can’t shoot them without a hunting license. But don’t worry, I won’t tell.

According to a survey by Responsive Management, the wildlife species causing the most problems in Maine are skunks and squirrels. Deer, raccoons, and woodchucks are not far behind.


Herring Nights - Remembering a Lost Fishery by Joe Upton

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 My grandmother Edith Johnson Searles packed sardines in Lubec at a time when that prosperous town hosted 23 sardine (herring) packing plants. My grandfather, Henry Searles, was a native of Canada’s nearby Campobello Island, who moved across the sound to marry my grandmother and live with her in South Lubec. For a while, Henry was a fish inspector in those sardine packing plants.

Neither would have ever imagined a time when Maine would pack no sardines, in Lubec or anywhere else in the state. The plant where my grandmother worked is now a museum.

So when I learned of Joe Upton’s memoir of the herring fishery, published initially in 1986 and republished in 2015 by Tilbury House in Thomaston, I grabbed a copy, eager to learn more about what happened to these fish and this industry.

Blown Apart by M.E. Brinton

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Linda and I had a great visit with Margaret Brinton-Collinson and her husband at the Mount Vernon Christmas Craft Fair, where they were selling products from their very popular “Beehive Bakery” in Farmington. You can check that out at The Collinson Family has two locations - the Bakery & Orchard in Farmington, Maine, run by Jonathan and Margaret Collinson, and the Farm with Veggies & Meat in Litchfield, Maine, run by Davyd, his wife Jenny, and daughter Guinevere Collinson.

I was drawn to two books Margaret has written. She worked for years as a feature/news writer for the Lewiston Sun Journal, Franklin Journal, and Daily Bulldog, and has taught creative writing to adult education and English composition classes at Central Maine Community College. She’s even studied abroad in Canada, Ireland, and Switzerland. So yes, she can write!

Fishing for a skunk in the back yard

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                 The skunk was in the garage when Judy Dutremble of Saco, my sister-in-law, returned home from work. She opened the door and there he was, rummaging in the garbage. Judy tipped over a garbage can, leaving some garbage in it, and stood outside.

                Sure enough, the skunk walked right into the can, and Judy rushed up to clamp the lid on it. A quick capture! She left the skunk in the can for husband Tony to dispose of when he got home from work.

                So far, not an untypical story. Skunk visits home. Skunk is captured. Skunk is removed from the premises. Well, it was in the removal that Tony established himself as a major league fisherman. Yes, that’s right, I said fisherman.

PR Works! By Nancy Marshall

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Nancy Marshall presents herself as “The PR Maven” for good reason. She’s won many awards for her work in marketing, communications, and public relations. And now, she’s sharing many of her secrets with us.

Every job I had involved some level of public relations, but I still learned a lot from Nancy’s new book, PR Works! Nancy writes, “I wrote this book as a guide to help small businesses increase their profitability by implementing their own public relations programs,” but every organization will profit from the advice, including the nonprofit community.

Treat yourself to a Christmas present at the Danforth Inn

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                Described as a “luxury boutique inn,” the Danforth in Portland is all of that and much more, starting with the beautiful brick exterior. A stunningly beautiful federal-style building constructed in 1823, the Inn was extensively renovated this year by new owners Raymond Brunyanszki and Oscar Verest.

                Raymond and Oscar own the Camden Harbour Inn and Natalie’s restaurant, both of which we visited and wrote about in 2011. Raymond and Oscar offer the very best in comfort, friendliness, and yes, pampering. Oh yes, they know how to pamper their guests!

                As soon as you enter the Inn, you are likely to encounter Ibby, the manager, who is as friendly and gracious a host as you will ever hope to find. Ibby made our stay especially nice.

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