Dad breaks out of Veteran’s Hospice Unit to catch brook trout

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It’s no accident that much of my career was spent as an advocate for Maine sportsman, or that I am now writing outdoor news and cohosting a TV show focused on conservation and environmental issues. My Dad, Ezra Smith of Winthrop, set me on this course from birth.

In 2013 Dad and I hunted together for the 53rd year, a wonderful privilege for me. I guess we must have fished together for 60 years.

But Dad is now in the Hospice Unit at the Togus V.A., with serious health problems. He is actually thriving there, thanks to the wonderful professional staff and amazing volunteers. We’ve set up a corner of his room with his painting supplies, and he’s doing a lot of painting. His room is stuffed with his paintings and carvings, and last week he had me bring in his keyboard so he could play some music.

New products from blankets to insecticides provide tick protection

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 Sitting at my desk this morning, beginning to write this column about products that protect us from deer ticks, I felt something on my leg under my pajamas. Pulling up the right leg of the pajamas, sure enough, there was a deer tick, making his way up my leg!

Did it know I was writing about it? I carefully picked it off my leg, transported it outside, and crushed it between two rocks.

Tick removal is almost an everyday task these days. So I’ve been collecting products that promise some relief and protection from ticks.

Blankets

Food and fun featured at El El Frijoles

City or Town: 
Blue Hill
Deer Isle
Sargentville
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 The Mexican food is creative and flavorful and El El Frijoles is also a whole lot of fun!

George

With a weekend planned in Deer Isle, we were searching for a Friday night dinner in that area when I discovered El El Frijoles in Jillian and Malcolm Bedell’s Eating in Maine book. The Bedell’s were effusive in their praise. Jillian reported, “The crab quesadilla, a menu item I would not ordinarily think to order, was incredible, and it got better with every bite.” Yup. I wanted to eat there!

And boy, was that a good choice. In an old barn, Michele Levesque and Michael Rossney have created a popular and fun place to eat their impressive array of Mexican cuisine. Their story is a good one too. Michael’s family has had a house in the area since 1905 and he spent summers here.

Eating in Maine (At home, on the town and on the road)

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Two of our favorite Maine chefs praised Eating in Maine effusively on the back cover of this exceptional book, and boy, did they get it right.

Eating in Maine is a dazzling, intelligent, invaluable resource for the home cook and for anyone wanting to know more about the booming culinary scene in Maine,” wrote Shannon Bard, the owner/chef of Portland’s amazing Mexican restaurant, Zapoteca.

“Jillian and Malcolm are the real thing. From hot dogs to haute cuisine, if it tastes good, they let the rest of us know about it,” said Kerry Altiero, the very creative owner/chef of Rockland’s Café Miranda.

What the Maine legislature did do, didn’t do, and ought to have done

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                By anyone’s definition, the 2014 legislative session was ugly, partisan, and disappointing. But under the radar off the field of battle, some things were accomplished of special interest to sportsmen.

The only remarkable achievement for the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee was the extension of protection to another 235 wild and native trout waters. Eight years of contentious debate was ended with a thoughtful compromise – an especially good job done on this one by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Also interesting was the shifting of half of DIF&W’s revenue from the invasive species sticker to the DEP’s invasives program. That money was going to the Warden Service, and the loss was made up by taking money out of the DIF&W’s surplus account.

Naked guy and other abuses cause landowner to post her land

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After posting three columns about the sad state of landowner relations in Maine, it’s time to start telling the stories of some long-suffering private landowners. After reading the initial columns in this series on landowner relations, Pam Wells emailed me her story.

Pam and her husband Bryan are members of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine. Pam is also a very talented photographer. I’m including a few of her recent photos with this column, to brighten up what is otherwise a very distressing story. Here it is, just as Pam sent it to me.

Pam Wells

My name is Pam Wells and my husband (Bryan) and I own around 1000 acres of forested property in the Milford/Greenfield area.  The Sunkhaze stream runs through the center of it and into Sunkhaze Meadows NWR.  As you can imagine, we have a lot of people who like to use our property.  As a rule, we allow people to hunt, walk, fish, and enjoy our property, but it becomes more difficult each year.

Gather * Eat * Be Merry at 11 Central in Bangor

City or Town: 
Bangor
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 Gather * Eat * Be Merry – the slogan on our take-home bag from 11 Central, tells you all you need to know about this wonderful Bangor restaurant.

Linda

We have been hearing wonderful comments about 11 Central, a downtown eatery in Bangor. Open just about a year and a half, the word is certainly out if the number of patrons pouring in throughout the evening is any indication. And this restaurant deserves kudos for a charming atmosphere, great service, and delectable fresh food.

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