Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Visit to Beau Chemin Preservation Farm

Today was an absolute delight! We had a chance to visit with long-time friends Jo and Wayne at their farm, Beau Chemin Preservation Farm, near Waldoboro, Maine. Our lives intersected in the arena of rural health care many years ago. 

The house is a combination of very old with some new. The original house was moved up onto the top of the hill from where it had stood at the bottom of the hill. The planks of the floors are original boards more than a foot wide! Jo had a quiche in the oven when we arrived -- made from their own duck eggs. The three kinds of egg-laying ducks they have are some of the endangered domesticated species they are trying to preserve.

After a few hours of visiting and catching up, we went for a walk along the ridge and down to a pond at one side of their property.

Their poodle, Mutton, enjoyed the walk as much as any of us!

It was quite hot today, but it was a great deal cooler walking through the woods. I could hear several frogs along the edge of the pond, but couldn't spot a single one. And they sounded like they were BIG ones!

Looking across the pond to some of the trees -- and snags -- on the other side:

These are two of the endangered sheep varieties on the farm. The lady with the horns on the right is a Suoy, believed to be one of the earliest known sheep. These sheep are not sheared, their wool is pulled or plucked for spinning --

I tried to get these three kids and the momma to turn around so I could get a picture of their cute faces, but they definitely were not cooperating with me.

This "frog" is actually an oven, designed to be a community baking oven. Made by Wayne, it will be put into operation as soon as its door (which is being custom made) is delivered. In the background you can see some of Jo's flower cutting garden. Out of the picture to the left, are the raspberry and other berry bushes that will be sold towards the end of July as U-pick berries. Listed on the Maine web-site of organic gardens, Beau Chemin Preservation Farm is a favorite family summer excursion.

This will definitely not be a late night. After hiking down the ridge to the pond and back up again, we are both ready for bed!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Lighthouse at Pemaquid Point

This post is dedicated to my friends Cathi (who has been our virtual tour guide to Maine) and Ann (whose encouragement and whose love of lighthouses I cherish).

Today we went to New Harbor to take an evening cruise with Hardy Boats out to Eastern Egg Island to look for puffins -- a subject for another post...

A few miles further down the peninsula from New Harbor stands the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, probably the most famous of Maine's 65 lighthouses. It's the one depicted on the Maine State Quarter. The lighthouse was commissioned in  1827 and rebuilt in 1835 due to poor workmanship. The light was originally fueled by sperm whale oil.

The lighthouse is 39 feet tall with walls of stone that are three feet thick at the bottom tapered to two feet at the top.

The original circular staircase was made of dressed pine, but it has been replaced with a metal one --

From one side of the tower you look down at the granite and pegmatite rocks. The little house was built to hold the oil for the lamp and the tower house the fog bell.

This is the original Fresnel Lens that lights the still-functioning lighthouse (it comes on automatically at dark every night). The light flashes every six seconds and can be seen for 14 miles.

There are two 1000 watt bulbs in the light. When one burns out, there is a mechanism that automatically switches to a new bulb.

Forry decided it was a bit easier to go down the narrow steps backwards --

 As we left the lighthouse, we saw this lovely schooner in full sail in the distance --

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Maine Lighthouse Museum

In 2006, a group of enthusiasts opened The Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland. The gathered up many smaller collections of lighthouse gear in a building they now share with the Rockland Chamber of Commerce. The museum is located just across the street from where Captain Jack's lobster boat is moored at the city pier.

The museum has an incredible collection of lights. They range from this size, which was probably on a buoy --

to the large glass prisms used in the actual lighthouses --

Maine has over three thousand miles of rocky coastline with many islands. One of the most interesting exhibits was this topographic map of the coast with lights lit for every warning device on every outcropping.

This display had a variety of all the different types of lights used --

Even though the US Coast Guard now manages all the navigational aids on both of our coasts, there used to be an actual service of lighthouse keepers, the US Lighthouse Service  with their own uniforms and traditions.

The museum also has collected a nice selection of the huge bells and horns used as warnings during fog --

The Lighthouse Museum is young and seems to be run entirely by volunteers. As time goes on, I can foresee them getting some assistance from curator professionals to better present their displays. But, even for now, it is a fascinating place to browse.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I read about Captain Jack's Lobster Boat in the Lonely Planet's New England book. Going out with a lobster fisherman sounded like an interesting thing to do, so we gave him a call. He docks his boat at the dock in the little town of Rockland.

For $30 each, he will take people out for an hour and a half  with him when he tends some of his 150 or so traps that he has in the bay.

Even though it was an overcast day, we saw several beautiful sailboats going out for the day --

Each lobsterman has individually colored buoys attached to his traps --

The traps are in waters that range from 20 to 65 feet deep, The Captain has a measuring caliper in his right hand  --

In Maine, you can only catch the medium-sized lobsters. The little ones and the larger ones -- the breeders -- are tossed back overboard.

This is a nice one -- it might be the one I ended up fixing for supper. The yellow bag hanging in the trap is the bait. He was using frozen whole ocean perch.

This little guy was going back over board --

The lobsters he kept had their claws banded and were tossed into the bait box with the perch until we got to shore --

This is the light on the end of the Rockland Breakwater that extends 7/8 of a mile out into the bay. The light is 39 feet high and is visible for 17 miles.

You can't get dinner much fresher than this! We paid $5 each for him and a buddy (wholesale dock price). The Captain's recipe for cooking: Bring an inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a pot; put the lobster in on its back; bring it back to a boil; steam for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Jaunt to Freeport

I think it's one of those necessary things. You cannot visit Maine without a trip to Freeport and L.L. Bean.

We decided to take the back roads instead of the freeway so that we could see more of the country-side. As we were driving by one of the farms, we saw something rather large, but not as large as a deer in the field. So, birders that we are, we turned around to take another look.

We have seen several hen turkeys during out travels, but this is the first time we've spotted a wild Tom Turkey --

He was absolutely gorgeous in his breeding colors. I was hoping he would spread his tail feathers, but no such luck --

Then just as we were getting ready to drive off, another one popped out of the grass. They were totally ignoring each other, so no rivalry display...

This is another thing we have seen a lot of, both here and in Vermont --

There are lots of these low rock fences with the stones piled up without the use of mortar --

The first thing we noticed when we got to Freeport was all of the blooming flowers. Instead of the usual hanging baskets, there were planter after planter of flowers along the sidewalks.

This is the entryway to the L.L. Bean Flagship store --

Which is ringed around by stands full of colorful kayaks --

L.L. Bean is "Celebrating 100 years of Roughing It in Comfort!" The store has been open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year for 100 years! The original Mr. Bean kept it open all hours to accommodate hunters and fishermen. We were successful in finding two short-sleeved shirts for Forry with a pocket. (Not easy to find!)

After that we needed a break before we went to the Rockport store to look for shoes for him. Even though they had a deal where if you bought two pair, the second pair was half-price, we were lucky to find him one pair of sandals. (You remember the cartoons with the lady in the shoe store that has the shoe boxes piled as high as the salesman's head? That's Forry trying to find a pair of shoes that he likes, that fit him!) But, there was a Starbucks on the way to the shoe store, so we were able to gain some sustenance ahead of time.

We did stroll around the downtown area a bit after the shoe store. I have never seen so many high-end
discount and factory stores. Many of the original buildings and houses have been converted into unique shops and new construction conforms to the architecture of a century ago. Even McDonalds!

I tried hard to think of something we needed to buy in some of those shops, but I guess our life style is a bit too casual for most of the wares offered for sale. We ended up going over to Linda Bean's Maine Kitchen for lobster rolls. The toasted roll was absolutely stuffed with chunks of lobster!

A VERY nice way to end our visit!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Out an' About

This KOA Kampground, Augusta/Gardiner, is one of the smaller KOA parks that we've been at, but probably has one of the most personable owners. Henry Grover and his wife have only been the owners for about a year and you can tell they have been working hard. I had said earlier that they actually got us a site amongst all the trees where we could get satellite reception.

We are right across the road from the old, but nicely painted concrete swimming pool. The smaller connected pool is shallow and seems to have been very popular with the younger children. It was chilly and rainy today, so it's the first time we've seen the pool empty.

If you looked closely at Auntie Violet's picture above, you may have notice a couple of tree stumps. Henry says he has cut down a lot of trees that were impinging upon the RV sites, but that he's got a lot left to go. He has had a couple of his buddies make chainsaw art out of some of the stumps. This eagle is a couple of sites away from us --

I really like this owl that is up the road aways from us. The belly feathers look almost real --

We have gone from the trees in the deep south almost covered with Spanish moss to these Maine trees that are decorated with colorful lichens --

We went out this afternoon to find a post office so that I could mail an early birthday gift to Granddaughter Claire and a CD of the Newport Mansions to Son Sean. It was a pretty rainy drive, but we checked out the little towns of Richmond, Gardiner and West Gardiner. There are some absolutely gorgeous old homes (even if seen through a rainy windshield!). This one had these four sided tower-like structures on each corner...

I'm not sure what style of architecture this one might be, but it is certainly ornate. I think I'd like to have that room on the top floor -- but it doesn't look very big.

I think this one may be what they call Federalist style. It is beautiful!