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In the Right Place: Value Added

This little Alpine Goat, a cousin of the French mountain goat, is one of our friendly neighbors. Many people here keep goats for milk, which often can be turned into butter, cheese, ice cream, and even soap. Goats also are kept as pets, especially for children.

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Choosing these frisky and friendly animals as pets should not be surprising. Goats – not dogs or cats – were the first wild animals domesticated by early humans, according to researchers who reviewed primitive cave dwelling artifacts.

Goats have quite a history. They were among the most valuable assets of migrating peoples and provided milk and meat on long sailing voyages. America’s first goats reportedly were brought in by Spanish settlers in the 1500s. English pilgrims brought goats over on the Mayflower and considered them to be very valuable property, according to the 1630 census of the Jamestown Colony. (Brooklin, Maine) Click on image to enlarge it.

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In the Right Place: Sultry and Shy

We know that we’ve reached High Summer when the Daylilies crowd each other at the roadsides to wave at us as we drive by. Although trumpet-shaped and widespread, these groupies are neither lilies nor natives. They’re colonial-era Asian immigrants and, unlike true lilies, grow from hearty roots instead of delicate bulbs. Daylily flowers also are edible, unlike those of true lilies.

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Wild Daylilies come only in tawny orange and yellow. Thanks to industrious cultivators, however, domestic versions can be purchased in colors that border on the outrageous. Wild or domestic, Daylilies, seem to us to be sultry as they open slowly to the sun and shy as they bathe in gentle rain; their rustling leaves seem to whisper: “Ssssummer, Ssssummer, Ssssummer.”

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Heated

Here we see the Mary Day in Great Cove last week. It’s so early in the morning that none of her passengers and crew is on deck

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Mary is a 125-foot-long vessel overall with classic mercantile coastal cruiser lines, but she was built in 1962 just for vacation cruises. (She has heat in every cabin!) Eventually, the passengers helped the crew raise the yawl boat and then the sails.

She then elegantly sailed out of the Cove into the haze of Eggemoggin Reach

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Spotting

This is one of our most recognizable insects due to its spots, yet there is confusion over its name for the same reason.

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The scientists who do the official bug-naming decided that this must be called a 12-Spotted Dragonfly, because he and the female members of his species have a dozen dark brown spots.

On the other hand, white spots are easier to count in the wild, where Dragonfly wings often are whirring blurs.

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Therefore, many people call this a 10-Spotted Dragonfly due to the number of his white patches. The problem is that only males of this species have white spots, while both sexes have 12 brown ones. Here’s the female:

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. (Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Skin Art

We’ve had one of the most robust Peony seasons we’ve seen in a long time. Apparently, the plants like cold and wet spring seasons.

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There reportedly are about 30 species of Peonies, a few of which are native to the Northwest United States. These species produce at least six recognized flower types: Single; Semi-Double; Double; Anemone; Bomb, and Japanese.

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Peonies (“PEE-uh-knees”) are named in honor of Paeon, the Greek god of medicine; and, indeed, their flowers and other parts have been used in Asian medicines and teas for centuries.

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The flowers also traditionally have been one of the most popular subjects for human skin art (tattoos) in Asia. (Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Bear Sightings

Coincidence met culture in Great Cove this week: Two very different historic vessels – both named Little Bear -- moored there. One was this sleekly spare wooden launch, which is a resident vessel owned by neighbors Cynthia Stroud and Susan Shaw:

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It was designed by the renowned Maine naval architect and miniaturist Murray G. Peterson and was built in 1965 at the Hodgdon Bros. Yard in Boothbay, Maine. She reportedly is 22 ½ feet long overall with a 7 ½-foot beam and a 40 horsepower Westerbeke engine.

The other, much larger Little Bear is neither sleek nor spare, but she’s certainly fascinating:

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She’s reportedly out of Rockport, Maine, but we’re having trouble getting more information on her. She appears to be a restored “sardine carrier.” In days of yore, such motor-and-sail vessels seined herring and mackerel and/or were “carryaway” boats that ferried fish from vessels at sea to coastal canneries. Many of these canneries packed sardines, the young herring apparently named after Sardinia in the Mediterranean, where the fish were once abundant. (Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Sweating It

Our rainy spring and early summer seem to have been agreeable to the small Yellow Flag Iris plants (Iris pseudacorus) in our damper areas. They were imported into this country from Europe and Asia as ornamentals in the latter half of the 18th Century. Since then, they’ve become a beautiful invasive problem, even squeezing out cat tails.

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Yellow Flags need small pollinators, such as the Sweat Bees seen in the images below.

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As you may have known or guessed, Sweat Bees get their name from their attraction to the salt in the perspiration on summer travelers (who often are also dusted with pollen). When the light is right, the metallic green under the thorax hair of Sweat Bees shines through brightly:

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Catching and Keeping

Summer school often is hated by students. But not at the WoodenBoat School. WBS is in its 39th season of classes in boat building, sailing, and much more on its beautiful 64-acre seashore campus.

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Above, we see members of an intermediate sailing class in three of their four 12 1/2 – footers, trying their best to catch and keep yesterday morning’s light breezes in Great Cove. That’s the School’s Friendship Sloop Belford Gray watching over them. The class’s gaff-rigged and red- (tanbark-) sailed fourth 12 ½ was off on a jaunt of its own:

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Summertime

This is a moment from yesterday morning. Through green cat tails surrounding a marsh pond, we glimpse a luminescent water lily opening itself to the sun’s early warmth. Pure summertime.

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Fetid

Here are a 19th Century cupola (“KYU-pullah”) atop David’s Folly Farm’s barn in Brooksville, Maine, and a newer cupola on Deer Isle.

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Cupolas, old and new, are fascinating features on many New England barns now, but they do have fetid origins that some people would rather not hear about.

Before their use, New England farmers built their barns very tightly with no or few windows to save on the costs and efforts of winter feeding of livestock. Unventilated waste gases accumulated and created an unbearable stench in these dark structures; wall-creeping slime built up, and livestock became sick. The solution was to create ventilation in which the warmer foul air rose and escaped through louvers in the roof.

Soon, the louvers were placed more efficiently in small wooden air chimneys, which New Englanders called cupolas, from the Latin word for “little tub” or the Spanish word for “dome.” Then came cupolas with hung sash windows to let in more light and summer air. Then came fancy weather vanes above and cupolas on residences to view in coming ships, as in this struicture in Stonington:

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Then came cupola-loving tourists. (Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Spinkers

The Bobolinks came to us late this year, but the important point is that they came again. Their species has been decreasing drastically, apparently due in significant part to the disappearance of suitable unmowed fields for nest-building. Shown here is the male, with his strange yellow hoody; no other bird – including his mate – looks like him.

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Below, we see the sparrow-like female.

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The species received its name from the sound of its bubbling song. In 1855, William Cullen Bryant wrote a popular children’s poem that formalized the bird’s name to help youngsters remember its song: “Robert of Lincoln, is telling his name / Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link / Spink, spank, spink….” (Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Mainely Charming

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In the Right Place: Mainely Charming

Among other things, Brooklin is known for having one of the most charming Independence Day celebrations you’ll ever experience. It starts at 9 a.m. with the amazingly good Brooklin Town Band playing uplifting music in the shade of the large maples on the Library lawn, across from the General Store.

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At 10:30, the parade starts with military veterans leading the way, proudly guarding Old Glory as they march.

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After them, there’s usually a grand display of how some of our taxes are spent locally – fire trucks and ambulances from Brooklin and nearby towns come with sirens on and lights blinking.

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Then, there are imaginative floats and displays created locally. These, unsurprisingly, included many with water themes this year, including synchronized swimming and a yellow submarine that played the Beatle’s song of the same name.

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Some fine antique cars and trucks that live up here are always a dazzling part of the parade.

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Jeeps and All Terrain Vehicles. usually are among the motorcade, as well.

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Interspersed are all sorts of people promoting their causes or who just decided that they wanted to march. As usual, dogs get priority seating.

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The parade ends at the Town Green, where delicious food and children’s games await and neighbors (full time and summertime) get to enjoy each other’s company. Our teenagers volunteer being targets in the Wet Sponge Toss , where even a near miss can be an uncomfortable experience..

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The Dead Chicken Toss also is popular with youngsters., as are the Wheel of Fortune, Ping-Pong Ball Tossinf=g, and really miniature golf.

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The food, alone, is worth the trip: barbecued chicken, hot dogs, and locally made potato salad and coleslaw, with watermelon. as dessert.

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But, of course, friendly conversations on the Town Green and at the food tables under the tent are what make the day special.

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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Independence!

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We hope that you have a meaningful, happy, and safe July 4th. The images here are a wonderful reenactment of maneuvers of the Continental Army commanded by George Washington.

It’s performed by the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment (“The Old Guard”) during one of their famous Twilight Tattoos at Fort Meyer, Virginia, a while ago.

Also, as part of the Tattoo, the U.S. Army Band ("Pershing's Own") performed martial music of the era in their Continental Army red ceremonial uniforms.

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In the Right Place: Typical

Here, we’re looking at Cadillac Mountain and the rest of Acadia National Park from Brooklin across Blue Hill Bay. It's July 1 and a typical Down East summer day, unlike most of the days in June’s dismal rain-o-rama. (Weather records show that our precipitation this June was over three times the average.)

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Yesterday was sunny, except for a wind and rain tantrum in the afternoon that came and went in 15 minutes. This morning dawned sunny and clear, with delicious fresh breezes wafting up from the sea. Tomorrow, Independence Day, is supposed to be sunny, but unusually hot. Oh well, that’s better than the gods raining on our July 4th parade. Let’s hope that a real Down East summer has come to stay.

(Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Reckless

We’ve seen this White-Tailed Deer fawn twice in the past week.

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It and its Mother have stayed mostly in the shadows, so it’s been even more difficult than usual to tell its sex. It has one characteristic of a buck fawn: it cavorts around recklessly, usually in 50- to 100-foot circles around Mom, who often has to pursue it when it refuses to come.

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The other two major characteristics of buck fawns are a flatter head than doe fawns and white spots where the buck’s button antlers will appear. We haven’t been able to check these out carefully. White-Tailed fawns reportedly weigh between four and eight pounds at birth in the late spring or early summer. By November, the bucks reportedly weigh up to 85 pounds and the does up to 80. (Brooklin, Maine)

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June Postcards From Maine

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June Postcards From Maine

June is when bright summer wild flowers mysteriously flood many fields and the lush field grasses reach deer bellies.

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New tree leaves fill most of the woods’ canopy in June, creating pools of light and dark. Record-setting rain and fog during the month seem to have made this year’s greens greener, the streams deeper, and tourists wetter.

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The June ponds are high, much to the satisfaction of Arrow Arum, but perhaps a little too high to please the Painted Turtles that have trouble finding basking space. The Water Lily pads come out during the month, but most of their flowers wait until July to appear. In the darker bogs, Jack-in-the-Pulpits and Lady’s Slippers enjoy their chosen solitude.

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June is when the WoodenBoat School returns most of its fleet of small boats to Great Cove, where they are floating classrooms for lucky sailors.

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Of course, June is when much bigger sailing vessels also appear in Great Cove. Among them are Angelique, with her red (“tanbark”) sails; the gray-hulled Lewis R. French, and the broad-beamed Stephen Taber.

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Most of the lobster fishing here starts in June, when traps are loaded in fog and sun during high and low tides.

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In the air, a pair of Ospreys nested in a Balsam Fir overlooking Great Cove this year. They raised one fledgling to full size by late June. Even though their nest is huge, it’s not big enough for Mom, Pop, and the youngster at the same time. Usually, the youngster gets to keep the place to himself during his summer vacation, but sometimes there’s a reunion that just doesn’t work.

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A wide range of pollinating insects are frequent June flyers, including Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies and Bumblebees.

Among the wild native flowers that are the beneficiaries of these pollinators are Wild (Blue Flag) Iris and Yellow and Orange Hawkweed.

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Cultivated blossoms appearing this June included Japanese Crab Apple; Early yellow Day Lilies; Poppies; Peonies; Azaleas; Beach Roses; evergreen Rhododendrons; Quince, and Lilacs.

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Finally, June also is the month that we start preparing for Independence Day. The Fourth of July is a big deal here, complete with our own parade, own band, and own celebration on the Town Green, not to mention Old Glory flying in the most unexpected places.

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(All images above were taken in Brooklin, Maine, during June 2019.)












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In the Right Place: The Last Chance

This image, taken yesterday, is poignant for two reasons.

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First, it’s the final sail by the women in the first sailing class of the year at the renowned WoodenBoat School. They were ending a five-day basic course for women only called “Elements of Sailing I,” which was taught by super-sailors Jane Ahlfeld and Robin Lincoln. The sailboats used are 12 ½-foot Herreshoffs and Havens, usually shepherded by WBS Waterfront Manager Greg Bauer in one of the School’s motorized skiffs.

The second reason why this image is poignant is that these four little boats are tacking out of Great Cove into Eggemoggin Reach on a fair (albeit hazy) afternoon. The weather has been miserable here most of the week, forcing these sailors to stay in the Cove, often in fog and/or drizzle – which they didn’t seem to mind! But, the weather gods smiled on them for their last WBS sail yesterday.

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Above, we see the class at an early, show-and-tell stage of the cours:

(Brooklin, Maine).

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