Your cuddly cat is a ferocious killer

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 Every cat lover should read Cat Wars by Peter Marra and Chris Santella. Turns out that cuddly cat of yours is a devastating killer of birds and other critters. OK, Linda and I have a cat too, so we’re with you on this.

One well-researched and professionally reviewed study reported that “cats killed between 1.3 and 4 billion birds per year, with unowned (feral) cats causing the majority of the mortality (69 percent).”

“Annual mortality for amphibians and reptiles was in the hundreds of millions,” according to that study.

Our cat seems to be killing less birds as he gets older. This summer he did quite a job on chipmunks, though. In the past he’s brought two birds into the house and released them alive. One morning Linda got up and noticed a chickadee sitting on her computer!

Cinque Terre is stunningly beautiful

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                We are very grateful to several friends who urged us to visit Cinque Terre, Italy. We fell in love with Tuscany years ago, and haven’t visited anyplace new in Italy in a long time. But the moment we stepped onto the roof top deck above our room at Elisabetta Rooms in Vernazza, we were astonished by the stunning beauty as we looked down on the town and out over the ocean.

                Cinque Terre consists of five towns, all within hiking distance or just minutes from one to another by train. Cars are not allowed here, so we took the train from Lavanto to Vernazza.

Head of Falls is inspiring and remarkable

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                 I had tears in my eyes at the end of this book, an inspiring, remarkable, and very thoughtful story in the voice of a wonderful young girl, a very timely tale of the way life should be, the way we wish life could be, for all of us.

                That’s the blurb I wrote for the cover of Earl Smith’s new novel, Head of Falls, published by North Country Press. It was an honor to be asked to write the blurb, particularly given the outstanding folks who also wrote blurbs for the book.

                I think former U.S. Senator George Mitchell summed up the book very well in his blurb:

Abandoned boat tops list of garbage picked up this week

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 It’s too bad the “Most Unusual Item” monthly contest of the Keep Maine Clean statewide program isn’t in place yet, because I would surely win.

This week, in addition to filling a bag with things the road slobs left on my road-side woodlot, I’m dealing with a boat that floated down from Lake Minnehonk into the brook behind my house last spring. The left side of the boat got stove in on the rocks.

I assume the owner looked for the boat, saw that it was wrecked, and decided to leave it for someone else to deal with. Local game warden Ethan Buuck checked it out for me, but was unable to identify an owner. I did appreciate his effort though.

Oscar Cronk is a legendary sportsman

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Oscar and Edie Cronk have been important people in my life, so it was great to be there at SAM’s annual banquet for DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock’s presentation of a Lifetime Outdoor Achievement award to Oscar. Oscar is Maine’s best known trapper, a true legend, and his wife Edie is right there beside him. In fact, Edie followed me as SAM’s President in the early 1980s and later came back for more terms as President during my tenure as executive director. And Oscar was one of the founders of SAM.

From 1964 to 1978 Oscar also served as president of the Maine Trappers Association. He’s hunted bobcats with hounds for more than 65 years, and is still at it. But he’s best known for his lifelong love of trapping and his work, with Edie, in the trapping supplies business. He’s written great books on hunting and trapping, including biographies of two other trapping icons, V.E Lynch and Pete Rickard. And – of course – Oscar is in the Trappers Hall of Fame.

Has Maine changed in your lifetime?

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That’s the primary topic on the new edition of our TV Talk Show, Wildfire, cohosted by James Cote and me. Our guest is Shawn Moody, an amazing entrepreneur and business/community leader.

Moody Collision Centers is a major sponsor of Wildfire, and I have admired Shawn’s commitment to Maine since I met him during his campaign for governor 6 years ago. I’ve mentioned him often in my talks, including the fact that he is the only Mainer to serve on the Boards of both the Community Colleges and the University of Southern Maine – and he didn’t go to college. That tells you a lot about the man.

I spoke to the Portland Rotary in July, in a speech focused on how our outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, have changed in my lifetime. We talked with Shawn about that, but expanded the topic to include a lot of other things that have changed in Maine in the last 65 years. I think you will really enjoy this show.

A gem in the "middle of nowhere"

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                Linda and I love discovering very special places like Forks in the Air in Rangeley, a casual and comfortable, yet elegant, place. Checking out online reviews of the restaurant before we arrived, I was amused by one that described it as “a gem in the middle of nowhere.” That’s not how I’d describe Rangeley!

                Owner Michael Kupstar first came here at the age of 6 with his Dad who sold boats and sporting goods. And he’s been coming to Rangeley ever since. His son took his first step here. Michael has an impressive resume in the restaurant business, from Kentucky to Florida, and including management of 1000 Long John Silver stores, plus 18 years growing Panera from 52 to 1700 stores.

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