Comment

In the Right Place: Well-Connected

There are many attractive “Connected Houses” here, including the two in this post that are both on Back Road.

i-kssjtpR-XL.jpg

These houses evolved from the renowned New England “Connected Farm” architecture that was a 17th Century adaptation to our winter weather. Typically, most of these farm structures consisted of a “Big House” (for family living), connected to a “Little House” (mostly for a kitchen), connected to a “Back House” (for wagons and/or carriages), connected to a Barn (for livestock). The “Privy” most often was in a corner of the Back House or nearby out back as an “Outhouse.”

This early architecture was banned in many areas due to its being a fire hazard. But, most bans were lifted in the 18th century, when fire prevention was better understood, lightening rods invented, and fire ponds had become more common.

Here’s another modern connected house on Back Road:

i-sbmFJ2M-XL.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Sustainability

Maine lobster traps hibernate in plain sight during the winter, often clustered cubistically in a fisherman’s snowy yard.

i-vSxqWtL-X2.jpg

When submerged in summer, the traps attract the night-strolling lobsters by the smell of their bait, which preferably is salted herring. Lobsters smell it with their antennae and enter an open funnel into the trap’s “kitchen,” where that raunchy dinner is waiting.

01.jpg

The funnel discourages the pricey prey from turning or backing out. When the lobster moves forward, it must go through another funneled opening into the larger “parlor,” where it usually is trapped, unless it can escape through one of the exits for small creatures. By regulation, lobster traps also must have an escape hatch with a biodegradable door, which will dissolve if the trap becomes lost at sea.

02.jpg

Lobster traps are notoriously inefficient; it’s been estimated that only 1 in 20 trap-visiting lobsters is caught. On the other hand, this built-in inefficiency helps to maintain lobster sustainability. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Jubilance

Yesterday was wonder-weather time. Most of the day, fat snowflakes fell slowly. In the afternoon – while it was snowing – the sun burned through the overcast to set Great Cove aglow. And, at dusk, we received this little Thumbs Up Rainbow as a jubilant goodbye.

i-vnWScbJ-XL.jpg

As we speak today, it’s eye-squintingly sunny and nose-bitingly cold, with deep blue seas and snow-covered fields. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Pointy

Most of our fields here are covered with snow that is topped with an inch or two of ice meringue, which is hard enough to hold sharp-toed deer.

01.jpg

The images here were taken yesterday, a beautiful sunny day.

02.jpg
03.jpg

That has changed; it’s gray and trying to snow again as we speak. Soon, we may have fields of old snow under old ice under new snow, which can be tricky to walk on, even if you have four pointy feet. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

1 Comment

In the Right Place: Upon Reflection

Here we see Great Cove a few days ago, restless in her finest silver-stitched silk. She’s in one of her “ocean glitter” moods, a light-manipulating phenomenon that has attracted scientists and poets for centuries.

01.jpg

The sun must be at the right angle, the water must be moving at the right speed, and we must be in the right place to get the full glittering effect. The small waves break the Cove’s reflective surface like the shattering of a mirror, each broken piece reflecting the sun.

If the water were virtually still and the sun at the right angle, the Cove surface would be an intact mirror that reflects clouds and islands.

005.jpg

If the sun were low and the water moving slowly, the maritime mirror could be distorted and a narrower “glitter path” might reach out to us. Here’s one near dawn at Naskeag Harbor:

02.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

1 Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Rx

Dog 02.jpg

It’s mid-February and there’s snow and ice everywhere: time to check whether your zest-for-life prescription needs to be refilled.

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Moods

Yesterday’s snow and sleet storm laid down about six inches of wet, heavy snow here in a storm that created many moods. Here are three of them, as we look across the North Field to Great Cove and Babson Island: the first is yesterday morning’s falling snow and sleet; the second is yesterday afternoon’s sun trying to break through, and the third is early today, when bright sun returned to take command:

02.jpg
12.jpg
01.jpg

The lanes to hidden houses and the out-back woods became black-and-white etchings:

05.jpg

There was some color and contrast among the houses and barns, although a cord of wood nearly disappeared under snow

13.jpg
14.jpg
08.jpg

The deer didn’t seem to be bothered; they mostly munched on bushes and small trees rather than nose through the wet snow looking for grasses.

15.jpg

The Town Office provided some color and the Cemetery was picturesque in a Poe-like way, although Naskeag Harbor was a bit bleak..

18.jpg
19.jpg

By dusk yesterday, the sun was breaking through and the deer were cautiously entering the North Field.

20.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

1 Comment

In the Right Place: Brrr

A scallop diver was diving off Babson Island while his sternman circled their Novi-style fishing vessel, yesterday. It was raw and gray and signs of last night’s snow storm were already in the air. The ambient temperature reportedly was 25 degrees (F), and the water temperature 38. Here, the diver is returning to the boat after his last dive:

05.jpg

The images here were taken over a long distance through misty air; hence, they’re not great. But they’re probably good enough to make most of us realize that we’re not cut out to be a scallop diver or sternman, not to mention being either in February. Here, the diver reaches the boat and hands up his mesh bag of scallops that he has just picked off the bottom:

01.jpg

Next, the diver’s oxygen tank is taken up by the sternman:

02.jpg

You can’t be graceful climbing aboard through a vessel’s open transom into air that is more than 10 degrees colder than the cold water:

03.jpg

Most Atlantic Scallops are dredged, these more expensive “Divers’ Scallops” are hand-picked. and well worth the price, considering the extraordinary efforts it takes to harvest them. Usually, they’re shucked on board and only their abductor muscles (what most of us call “scallops”) are brought to shore.

04.jpg

Many of us here have annual standing orders with neighboring divers for gallon packages of this food of the gods and of coastal Mainers. Usually, Barbara prepares them simply so that their mouth-watering natural flavor is foremost. However, it’s impossible to pass up renowned local Chef Devin Finigan’s exquisite fresh scallop and lobster bouillabaisse.

06.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

1 Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Blimey!

Here, living amid yesterday’s ice crystals, is a Maine native that only those with the keenest eyesight have ever seen without help. It’s a tiny fungus called British Soldier Lichen (Cladonia cristellata). Its name derives from a British military uniform immortalized in an old New England alarm: “The Redcoats are coming!” BSL stalks grow to about ¼ an inch and the red caps are slightly larger than pin-heads. Yet, this lichen is nibbled by White-Tailed Deer, Wild Turkeys, and other wandering salad lovers.

01.jpg

As you may know, lichens are two symbiotic organisms in one entity: fungi and algae. Basically, most of the body is a fungus that brings in water and minerals; the alga makes sugar from sunlight. Because their bodies are mostly fungi, lichens are classified as fungi. Thanks to neighbor Werner Gansz, a fine eagle-eyed photographer, for warning us that these British Soldiers were bivouacking on a nearby tree stump. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Chilling

Posted on FaceBook February 11, 2019

What a difference a season makes. Here’s a Fall image of a local spring-fed stream taken October 14, 2018, above a Winter image of that same spot, taken yesterday.

02.jpg
03.jpg

If we keep getting cold spells, this stream may not thaw until April. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Vanilla

It’s been a good winter for seeing Bufflehead Ducks here. Sorties of them regularly fly just above the surface of Great Cove in high-speed, close-order formations.

02.jpg

They get their names from the shape of their heads (especially the males’ heads), which look like the heads of American Buffalo (technically, Bison). The males are mostly white with a black head on which it looks like a double scoop of vanilla ice cream has been dropped:  

04.jpg

The females are darker overall with a dab of that ice cream on their cheeks.

Buffleheads are the smallest diving ducks in North America, seldom larger than 15 inches in length. They eat crabs, clams, and water vegetation in winter and (unusually) nest in abandoned cavities of large woodpeckers.

01.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Choice

Here we see a lowering tide in Eggemoggin Reach being frothed early this morning by west-north-westerly winds of 12 miles per hour with gusts of 25:

01.jpg

Here’s a similar tide in Naskeag Harbor a few days ago, when there was no significant wind:

02.jpg

These are the kinds of things many of us around here take note of each day. Such scenes might appear wearisome to some people, but they’re one of the reasons why others choose to live in Maine on a small peninsula (Naskeag) jutting from a slightly larger but still small peninsula (Blue Hill), which juts into small bays bordered by a big sea. (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Speedster

In the Right Place: Speedster

Below is a female Merganser patrolling Patten Bay earlier this week. Judging from her hairdo and lipstick, we think that she’s a Red-Breasted Merganser, but she has traits of a Common Merganser. (She’s not a Hooded Merganser, the third type of this family.)

i-pcjSGHJ-XL.jpg

“Merganser” means “plunging goose,” according to its Latin roots. These birds plunge to 15 feet deep in the water in search of fish, their favorite food, but they’ll eat mussels, crabs, tadpoles, frogs, and salamanders in season. Mergansers also are called “sawbills,” due to their thin, serrated beaks that help them hold slippery prey. The Red-Breasted Merganser holds the record for fastest flying duck: 100 miles per hour, well ahead of second place Mallards that can reach 72. (Surry, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Sprinkle

We awoke this morning to a landscape that had been lightly sprinkled with snow last night, just enough to brighten things up and make the early morning deer more discernible.

01.jpg
02.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Disgorgement

Here’s Patten Stream, disgorging our snow-melt into Patten Bay on Sunday, February 3:

Pat 01.jpg

We’re in a warm phase again; it’s quickly thawing the most recent snow and ice that was created during our last freezing phase. This temperature back-and-forth is not good: tree and bush juices get confused, small mammal snow tunnels disappear, hibernating animals stir and even awaken, and septic systems solidify when the cold returns to freeze the ground that is no longer insulated by snow.  But, the melt has made some of our streams magnificent. Here’s Patten Stream again:

Pat 02.jpg

(Surry, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Softness

A fog-like haze came in from the open sea at sunset yesterday to paint Great Cove and Eggemoggin Reach in nocturnal pastels, a shadowy softness before the night.

i-gR7bz7q-XL.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: In & Out

Inside, looking out from her pedestal at the window, our tropical Hibiscus has now gifted us with three dessert-plate-sized flowers this winter, and it appears that there are more to come. She loves snow and cold – if it can be admired through a window.

01.jpg

Outside, looking in from under their deer netting, our ice-encased Rhododendrons stoically sleep soundly. They’ll awaken and present their gifts in the spring.

02.jpg

(Brooklin, Maine) Congratulations, Champs! (Phew – what an ugly tug-of-war.)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: Super!

We hope that all our football fan friends enjoy Super Bowl LIII. Neighbor Judith Fuller’s Naskeag Road banner is flying high as we speak, indicating the choice of most of us around here. 

i-bBfbnDH-XL.jpg

Go Pats! (Brooklin, Maine)

Comment

Comment

In the Right Place: R.I.P, G.B.H.

This famous Great Black Hawk that was wintering in Maine died Thursday (January 31). Here is an image of it when it was healthy on December 14, 2018:

RJL_4107-Edit-XL.jpg

The young male was found severely frostbitten in its claimed territory, Deer Oaks Park, Portland, Maine. It was taken to Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine, where it was determined that the raptor could not be rehabilitated for an acceptable life; it was euthanized. Here is another image taken on the same day:

02.jpg

Great Black Hawks are natives of Central and South America. This one’s unprecedented winter residence in Maine created a sensation among birders who travelled from many states and Canada to see and try to photograph their first GBH. (Yours Truly and FB Friend Steve Lauermann were among them.) Here’s another image taken the same day:

For more information and images of the courageous raptor, click here: http://www.5backroad.com/journal/2018/12/16/in-the-right-place-fame

Comment