Governor’s Aide Issues favorable report on the Land for Maine’s Future Program

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Despite Governor LePage’s ugly language and complaints about the Land for Maine’s Future Program and its Board, which he called corrupt, the Governor’s aide, Jonathon LaBonte, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Analysis, has issued a very favorable report on the program. The report was ordered up by the Governor and released this week and posted on the LMF website.

This book may be your last chance to see Great Blue Herons

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 Let’s hope that Nature’s Way by Bud Simpson is not the only way our grandchildren will be able to see the beautiful Great Blue Heron.

Bud Simpson is an amazing photographer. Earlier this year I read and wrote about his autobiography,The Cove. Bud grew up in probably the poorest family in Brewer during the Great Depression, and The Cove is a book of fascinating stories about how Bud spent all of his time outdoors, from the Penobscot River to Mantawassuk Cove, making his own fishing rods and canoe, scavenging from the dump when he could walk there across the river in the winter, escaping from his dilapidated house and sometimes-dysfunctional family. He and his brother figured out that the bakery truck threw out old pastries at the dump every Thursday, still in their boxes, and they brought the pastries home to eat.

I thoroughly enjoyed that book, so when Bud sent me his book, Nature’s Way, I expected more outdoor stories. Instead, the book is full of stunning photographs of Great Blue Herons.  

Will Write for Food by J.P. Devine

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 Simply divine. That would be the easy way to describe J.P. Devine’s wonderful new book, Will Write for Food, published by North Country Press. Patricia Newell, the Press’s publisher, does a superb job of finding and publishing great books by Maine authors and she’s hit another home run with J.P.’s book.

If you are a fan of J.P.’s columns in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, as I am, then you are probably already headed out the door to find and purchase his book, Subtitled “True Stories, Half Truths, and 3 Lies.” Good luck figuring out which is which!

Do you know where your snake is tonight?

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 Imagine entering your home or apartment and seeing a 3 ½ foot python snake stalking your parakeets. Well, that’s just what happened to a Fairfield resident who lives in an apartment building in that Maine town. The resident called the police shortly after arriving home at 10:20 pm and spotting the snake, and a local police officer got the snake into a pillowcase and took it to the Fairfield Police Department where a Maine game warden picked it up the next morning.

The snake was apparently taken to an animal sanctuary, disappointed, no doubt, in its inability to chow down on those parakeets.

Well, this was a very unusual event, you might say, so what’s the big deal? Unfortunately, it’s not that unusual these days. In October, a woman in Orrington, while cleaning outside her greenhouse, nearly stepped on a ball python that had been missing since July. Yes, that python lived happily in the great Maine outdoors for three months. The lady panicked and dialed 911 for urgent assistance.

Maine’s new big game plans are all about you

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 The second meeting of a committee overseeing the creation of new big game management plans demonstrated how important the general public and private landowners will be to the process. For the first time, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is aggressively seeking the opinions of the public and private landowners.

In addition to public meetings where all can be heard, surveys and focus groups will be conducted by Mark Duda and his national firm, Responsive Management, which is also working on a communications project and plan for the agency, as well as a project to create new fisheries management plans (more about that in this outdoor news blog soon). Yesterday  the Big Game Steering Committee spent two hours reviewing Duda’s surveys. He’ll be surveying three groups: hunters, the general public, and private landowners.

Great News! Skowhegan’s Pickup Café now offers lunch

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                Whenever I hear Skowhegan’s Pickup Cafe mentioned, I smile. The thought of a cafe that opens its garage door side wall to a wonderful patio and pergola in the summer, then closes those same doors to provide a unique cozy space when the weather turns chilly, is true Maine. The farm to table movement is at the forefront and is the driving force behind this restaurant. The wall listing over 50 farms and local suppliers says it all. You know that freshness and quality ingredients matter here. Adam and Rosa Rosario do a superb job here.

                And here’s some really good news. The Pickup Cafe just started serving lunch during the week, Wednesday through Friday. It didn't take us long after hearing this to set up a time to visit. They still serve dinners on Friday and Saturday nights and brunch from 7 - 2 on the weekends. 

All you need to know about cooking wild game

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              Here’s all you need to know about cooking wild game: Kate Krukowski Gooding. From her cookbooks to her stage performances, Kate is simply the best. She serves the best beaver stew, for sure, and when she prepared and served it at the Maine Harvest Festival in Bangor in 2014, everyone – and yes, I mean everyone – raved about it. At this year’s festival, she made two amazing lasagnas featuring wild game meat and Beast Feast Maine sauces.

               Kate has written four popular cookbooks: Wild Maine Recipes, 50 Ways to Eat a Beaver, Free Range Fish&Lobster, and Simple Gourmet Lamb. In some of the books she includes side dishes and wine pairings. You can order all of Kate’s books online at the Islandport Press website or from your local bookstore. These books would make great Christmas presents

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