Grazing is Fun!

City or Town: 
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.

Spending today outdoors today? Don’t forget your tick-off spoon!

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                 Ticks are ticking me off so I’m ticking them off, with my tick-off spoon. Linda and I discovered these spoons a few years ago, thanks to the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, which now sells them.

                Deer ticks are something we have to deal with constantly, and I have too many friends and acquaintances with Lyme disease to ignore the problem. So we loaded up with the tick-off spoons and have them in our vehicles, bathrooms, traveling bag, and home and camp. Linda also kept them in her first grade classroom, because the kids often came in from recess with ticks. I have also started to give away a spoon at every one of my book and other talks.

The view is not the only spectacular thing about Bar Harbor’s Looking Glass Restaurant

City or Town: 
Bar Harbor
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                A new executive chef at the Looking Glass was our excuse to return to one of our favorite restaurants in July, with family in tow, but really, you don’t need an excuse to dine here. Both the outside deck and the inside dining room surrounded by full-length windows provide an amazing ocean view from high on the hill behind the Blue Nose Inn, where son Joshua, Daughter-in-law Kelly, and 16-month-old granddaughter Ada, were spending the week.

                Our daughter Rebekah drove down from Union to spend the day with us. An afternoon at the spectacular Thuya Gardens in Northeast Harbor put us in the best of moods, as we eagerly anticipated a great dinner. New chef Matt McPherson has cooked all over the country, from Alaska to the Florida Keys, and he’s made the menu here his own.

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