The last time Maine saw three consecutive 90 degree days in a row was in Portland in 1999, according to the Bangor Daily News. So that makes this the first heat wave of the millenium. I'm not sure what that means exactly except that it's hot. I, along with many others, fled the Down East offices in search of some-place cooler to work. I ended up at Zoot in Camden, where I am writing this, which is air conditioned and which has delicious iced cofee.
And to think, at the beginning of this week I was imagining picking apples and sitting in the cool evening air, wearing a fleece, building a fire in the fire pit. Down East's facebook users are feeling the same way as I am too, it seems. Most of them say this is too hot too late in the season, and they too were wishing for a calm, cool, and quiet looking-foreward-to-fall kind of weekend.
On Thursday afternoon I was working at my desk, looking out at the absolutely stunning late-summer sky and thinking how great it was going to be to get out there at the end of the day, when one of the other editors sent me an email. It said: Want to go sailing this evening? That was at 3:29, and of course I said heck yes. An hour later (we took off work a little bit early), we met up at the public landing in Camden Harbor amidst the wonderful hubub. Sitting in the dingy, rowing out to the mooring, the sky was still that amazing luminous light blue, but out around the island a light veil of fog had started to settle, wrapping in and out between the bits of land.
I trailed my fingers in the water. I watched the commotion of the shore slowly fall behind, and soon we reached the boat and set sail. And as we head out into the harbor, the islands that were so vivid when we'd left shore were starting to fade away. By the time we'd been out an hour they were gone, the fog had taken them, and slowly it crept around us, seemingly avoiding us, leaving us in perfect sunshine, and began to hide the mainland as well.
There are days in a magazine editor's life when you don't see the sunlight, and this was almost one of them for me. Work kept me in the office for close to eight hours. The phone kept ringing, email poured continually into my inbox, instant messages were constant distractions. It was only toward the end of the afternoon that my wife emailed to say that a friend of ours had spotted a rufous hummingbird at her feeder.
Maine has only a single native species of hummingbird—the ruby-throated—so this sighting was of real significance. Rufous hummingbirds normally spend their summers in the Pacific Northwest, meaning this little guy was seriously off course.
Heirloom recipes rule at Camden’s newest pizzeria.
Thirty-nine years ago, Yvonne Drown of Hope was a contestant in the Maine Wild Blueberry Queen pageant, and nine years ago her daughter, Janelle, was selected Crown Princess, or first runner up. This year mother and daughter are once again involved with the competition, Yvonne as the organizer and Janelle as a judge.
I met with Yvonne this week because, as part of my research for The Wild Blueberry Book (to be published by Down East Books in 2011). I am interested in the ways we celebrate this beautiful and delicious fruit. The pageant is the cornerstone of the Union Fair’s fifty-one-year-old Maine Wild Blueberry Festival, scheduled for August 21 to 28.
Last night, dozens of people came to Rockland for the Maine Art & Design Dinner, presented by Thos. Moser & Down East Magazine. The opening reception took place at the beautiful Eric Hopkins Gallery in downtown Rockland.
August 6-8 is the Maine Fairy Festival at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. It's a truly wonderful event with thoughtful and fun programs like fairy house building, a fairy photo workshop, a parade of fairies by the Shoestring Theater, book signings, and a beautiful setting. Last year I took my children (then 1 1/2 and 4 1/2) and they had the most magical time. And that's why, when the CMBG asked Down East if we wanted to build a fairy house for this year's fairy house competition, I jumped at the chance.
We assembled a crack group of Down Easties, gathered materials from the woods, the beach, the farm, and then last week, we set to building.
A former island teacher who has fallen in love with Matinicus (as people occasionally do) returned for a visit last week and was amazed at how much there was to...attend. The little community was buzzing with the goofy summer socializing we enjoy — perhaps a sophisticated tete-a-tete hanging around the grill at the Farmer’s Market (sorry, no farmers this year, but wicked good sausages).
If you go to the hospital with an earache, and wait, and wait some more, and then somebody comes in with an ax in the back of his head and he is invited to skip ahead of you in line, are you rightfully indignant?
I hope not.
You could say, “Hey, I was here first. I’ve been waiting for quite some time. I deserve to have my discomfort taken seriously. Who the hell does that fellow think he is?”
The storms last winter howled and smashed and tore and the old spruce trees easily gave way. We live surrounded by Picea Mariana, the black spruce, identified by that well-known silvicultural scientist Edna St. Vincent Millay (who mentioned these specific shoreline trees in her poetry). The Internet says otherwise, but I was told by a forester once that these trees don’t usually make 100 years. A black spruce does not become a venerable and ancient tree.