Texas is awesome!

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                Glacier National Park, in far northern Montana, was our favorite national park for decades, until we first visited Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas in 2012. This high mountain desert is stunningly beautiful and loaded with birds we Mainers never see. This year was our third visit here in five years.

                On our second visit, we discovered Cynta de Narvaez’s three wonderful rental houses, varying in size, in Terlingua, and settled into her smallest house, a one room everything-you-need-is-in-it place, and also everything-you-need-is-outside-it too, including a sink, shower, tables and chairs, and even a bed. Yes, these folks live life outside! The large house can take 10 or more people if you are traveling with a group. And the view of the mountains from Cynta’s houses is – well, amazing doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Amazing stories from an exceptional Maine game warden

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                 Roger Guay was a great game warden, and his book, A Good Man with a Dog, contains thoughtful, insightful, frightening, and entertaining stories of his 25 year career. With the help of Kate Flora, one of my favorite authors, Roger has delivered a book that you will read and share with friends, and then put upta camp to read again.

                One of my favorite chapters involved wild animals, from blind owls to sick moose. The moose was actually leaning on a car when he arrived. The owl was attacking people. Wait until you read his story of the raccoon that attacked him! Roger had several impressive dogs in his career, and those stories are really good too.

The Maine Angler’s Logbook is a march down memory lane

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 Paul Reynolds is a good writer, and his latest book, The Maine Angler’s Logbook, proves this once again. Subtitled Tips, Tales, and Tactics, it is all of that and much more.

For me, it was a march down memory lane. Some of my all-time favorite fishing adventures occurred in Alaska, Montana, and Labrador. Paul’s did too, and his stories about his adventures there brought back a lot of my own wonderful memories.

Mediterranean journey a short drive from home

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                You need go no further than Portland to take a journey through the flavors of the Mediterranean. When I think of the tastes of the Mediterranean I think of tomatoes, olives and olive oil. TIQA offers a much broader view including cuisines I have not been exposed to.

                Sure, you've tasted foods from Italy and France, but how about Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel? The welcoming staff, including our experienced server Kelsey, made us feel right at home and, thankfully, was fully prepared to explain the dishes on their menu. 

Are Maine game wardens out of control?

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 Colin Woodard is an outstanding award-winning reporter, nominated last year for a Pulitzer, and we are very lucky to have him in Maine. After more than a year of research, and a lot of frustration, his report, North Woods lawless, published on May 8 in the Maine Sunday Telegram, is outstanding, provocative, and worthy of lots of discussion, hopefully leading to significant changes in the way the Warden Service does its job.

Over the years I’ve shared Colin’s frustration with the refusal of the Warden Service to provide requested information. Last January, for example, I asked Colonel Joel Wilkinson to update me on a list of initiatives he launched when he took over as Colonel. I’m still waiting for that, although Joel did, after a couple of months, send me a description of the process that they now use to investigate complaints against game wardens. And I was disappointed, but not surprised, to find that they still investigate themselves. No outside impartial person is involved.

Gobblers and Bass make a great day with my grandson

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 What a morning! My 9 year old grandson, Vishal Mellor, stayed overnight so we could get an early start on our morning turkey hunt. We didn’t get out there before sunrise, but arrived about 6:15 at Steep Hill Farm in Fayette. We walked a trail towards the roosting spot, and when we got close, V started calling with his hand held turkey box call.

He’s really good at this, and he got an answering gobble immediately. We figured the gobbler was with hens, and would be moving away from us, so we dashed up the hill and hid behind a stone wall overlooking a tote road. There was another stone wall on the other side of the road, with a forest behind it.

Every time V did his call, the gobbler answered. And he was coming towards us! But I thought he was still 100 yards down in the woods when V said, “Grampy, there he is!” And there he was, head poked up over the stonewall on the other side of the road, looking right at me.

You won’t be able to stop reading Straw Man by Gerry Boyle

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 I couldn’t wait for Gerry Boyle’s new novel, Straw Man, so I ordered up an uncorrected proof review copy, and read it in two evenings. Couldn’t put it down actually. Stayed up the first night well beyond my normal bedtime.

Gerry is one of my very favorite novelists, and this is the 10th in his Jack McMorrow mystery series. He once worked for the Morning Sentinel. He told me back then that he got up at 4 am to write his novels, before heading off to work. I’m afraid anything I wrote at 4 am wouldn’t be worth reading!

But boy, this novel is that and a lot more. It’s set in Prosperity, Maine, a place that could be any town in rural Maine. Gerry does a wonderful job with his characters and plots, and the plot in Straw Man is intense. Very intense. There’s lots of murder and mayhem, intrigue and mystery, and, as another of my favorite novelists, Paul Doiron, wrote on the back cover,”this book is lean, mean, and packed with action.” That it is.

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