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In the Right Place: Curses!

These Great Cove visitors curse and chatter loudly when they’re disturbed, which is why they’re commonly called “Yelpers,” “Telltales,” and “Tattlers.” However, the official name-givers for birds decided that these fish chasing Sandpipers should be called Greater Yellow Legs.

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Their official name, of course, begs the question of them being “Greater than what?” The name-givers covered themselves on that by calling a shorter yellow-legged sandpiper a Lesser Yellow Legs. It seems to us that calling these birds “Larger” and “Smaller” would be less demeaning and more accurate.

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The common names of flora and fauna vary with language; that’s why we need unchanging and universal scientific names for them. Nonetheless, we’ve never heard someone who spots a Greater Yellow Legs shout, “Look! There’s a Tringa melanoleuca!” (Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Thrill

Here we have a good-looking couple at rest after they spent a night together in Great Cove last week. But, not to worry: this is not a piece on the boring sex lives of Tugboats. It’s about the interesting limited collection of Lord Nelson Victory Tugs, such as these. They were built as recreational yachts, not as working vessels.

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Only 86 LNVTs were built. All were produced between 1983 and 1997 for Seattle-based Lord Nelson Yachts, Inc. Virtually all these yachts were 37-footers, as are the ones shown here.

The vessel on the left in the two-boat image above is Salty Paws out of Boothbay, Maine; she’s the 66th LNVT built. On the right is Tugnacious out of Burlington, Vermont; she’s the 7th one built. All of the other images here are of Tugnacious.

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It’s always a pleasure to see one of these ruggedly graceful boats; to see a matched pair is a thrill. (Brooklin, Maine) See also Tugnacious alone in the first Comment space.

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In the Right Place: Trading


Poppies have had a good season here this year and some still are in business, as was this one on Friday (July 21). The four colorful, crepe-like Poppy petals attract pollinators into an efficient trading room. In that room, the rings of the flower’s male stamens offer up anthers that carry thousands of pollen grains.

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These grains attach to visiting pollinators that, while looking for nectar, rub against the female stigma in the center. There, the grains fertilize the bulbous, star-crowned ovary that is coated with the sticky nectar and hairs. The ovary swells and gives birth to the seeds that will produce more plants. In opium Poppies, it’s the ovary that contains the milky latex that is extracted to make raw opium for drugs. (Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Angels and Prayers

Here’s an image of a summer school room that might seem odd to students engaged in traditional academics.

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But, not to the many students of boat building and boat restoration, or to those who just love to work wood with basic tools. For them, that image and the one below are previews of a heaven in which angels come in the form of hull jigs and prayers are said with plank fasteners.

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These are images of three of the many (and varied) teaching and storage spaces at the renowned WoodenBoat School here on the coast of Maine. It’s summer school heaven.

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Waiting

This female Monarch Butterfly was part of a quartet of three females and a male that we saw yesterday during short walks. This is good news, considering that the species has had ups and downs in recent years.

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However, we’re still waiting to see Monarch cocoons and caterpillars in our milkweed bed. We appear to be running about two to three weeks behind our usual natural cycles due to this year’s wetter and colder spring. Here’s an image of one of last year’s Monarch caterpillars:

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Yesterday’s male meanderer is shown below. Males have a small black spot on each hind wing; usually and less obviously, males also have thinner black wing veins.

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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In the Right Place: Stillness

This is Wild Rose in Great Cove last week during one of those moments when sun, haze, and still air and water transform craftsmanship into fleeting works of exquisite art.

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Rose is a 14-foot “Maine Coast Dory” and part of the WoodenBoat School’s fleet. That notch in her stern is for a sculling oar with which a standing person can propel her similarly to the way gondolas are propelled in Venice. Fishermen on the high seas, however, mostly sat among the lines and fish and pulled two long oars.

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(Brooklin, Maine)

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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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