Halloween in Camden


Good morning everyone. We celebrated All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, last night in fine fashion. We have never been big on the trick or treating thing but have for the last few years celebrated with our school community at an evening walk through the woods. Most of the students at school carve a jack o’ lantern the day before and these are sprinkled through out the woods to light the walking path. Fairies, gnomes, elves, dragons, and all manner of wood folk are seen as passersby stroll the path under the tall pines.

So this is more of a pagan event than some may be used to but the kids love it and the lack of candy does not seem to dissuade them. Saywer, dressed as Robinhood, handed out glass beads (his idea) to his friends. Nadie, a water fairy, was content to run with her friends, drink cider and nibble pumpkin cookies. In the pagan world this holiday marks not only a thinning of the veil between worlds but also marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter. For the kids it is just fun and, yes, we did visit a few houses to trick or treat.

As I see it, the entire concept of marking the year with holidays based on our relationship with the seasons and each other makes a whole lot of sense. I am not a pagan nor do I spend much time in church. The whole world is church for me, every square inch of it. I feel just as many goose bumps sitting in the church on Isle Au Haut as I do sitting in the woods near our home or watching the moon rise over Cadillac Mt. from the deck of the schooner or singing with all of you in the main cabin. It is all good energy to me. And as I watch costumed children running with joy through the gardens and woods of our local Camden nature park I know I am witnessing a far greater power than myself. Now that is cool.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Welcome Home Cap


Good morning everyone. I am some glad to be home. As I stepped out of the car the smell of crisp autumn leaves upon the ground and the kiss of temperatures in the low 40s was quite welcome. We wandered down to the field last nite to watch the comet 17P/Holmes just below Cassiopea in the NE sky. It took a while but with Jen’s laser pointer the kids were able to see the comet through binoculars. In the distance we could hear coyotes and owls and Martha, the donkey that lives down the street.

As beautiful as Texas is I sure did miss Jen and the kids and autumn in Maine. I can’t wait to get down to the schooner in Camden today and see all the activity. Mary, Jen, and Elisa have been very busy. Since the docks are coming out soon there is a ton of stuff to do. I am only home for five days before I return to Texas to help bring Elissa back to Galveston. So give me a couple of days to get back up to speed with our whirlwind windjammer world.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

The Return of Fall


Good Morning!

It’s finally starting to feel like fall here. Temps are in the 30’s as we start our workday on the boat. Jack Frost has been seen playing in the fields. The leaves have finished showing off their brilliant colors and are now playing “capture me!” with all the children as they float downward from their branches. This change can bring sadness to some, but for us it means a time for rest and peace. We’ll be done soon with working on the boat and the docks come out in a few weeks. It’s almost time to walk away and let her rest as well. And as we drive home every day we have been graced with the most beautiful road home…worthy of a poem.

“My leaves are turning crimson,” the giant oak tree said,
“It’s almost time these children should seek their winter’s bed,
But how they still cling to me and gleam with crimson hue,
They truly are more lovely than cirrus clouds of blue.

“And now throughout the forest – list! hear their voices ring,
But ’tis in tones of sadness and sighing they now sing –
‘Alas! ’tis gone, fair summer, and winter’s reign is near,
He cruelly strips the forest of all her summer cheer
By killing all her lovely leaves and likewise flowers gay
And driving all her fairy folk to homes of far away.'”

A Song of The Woods by Winifried Sackville Stoner, Jr.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Thanks for believing


Dear Tooth Fairy,
Thank you for the kind letter and $5! We must share with you (who ever you may be in Austin, Texas!) that special moment upon arrival….

Nadie ripes open the letter and hands the card to Mom to read and upon hearing that it was from the tooth fairy starts to jump up and down exclaiming, “Oh my gosh! Oh my GOSH! How did she know? I can’t believe this! Mom, Mom, look at this!”

Mom’s reaction after reading the oh so cute letter, “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! How did she know? I can’t believe this! (who sent this….)”

Sawyer upon overhearing all this, ‚ÄúOh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I can‚Äôt believe this! THAT‚ÄùS NOT FAIR! I‚Äôm the one who lost the last tooth!” (nothing is ever fair to Sawyer and Nadie). And the chase was on throughout the house‚Ķwith Mom left in the dust still pondering it all‚Ķ

Final outcome: they have decided to split the bill and have planned a trip to the Village Shop’s candy counter when next in town!

Thanks to the Tooth Fairy of Austin, Texas for another “treasured moment”…we still believe and it’s nice to know others do as well.

Now word has it at school that there is a hob globin who leaves a bag of candy on your doorstep on All Hallow’s Eve….we’ll let you know if one does exist…

Thanks Austin Tooth Fairy! You’re the best!

Sailing Monarchs


Good morning everyone. We enjoyed a terrific overnight passage last
night. The full moon was brilliant as it stood overhead during my
0000-0400 watch. The shadows of the rig and sails were as clear as
if it were daytime. We were thankful for the helping hand from Mr.
Moon as we threaded our way through numerous oil and natural gas
platforms, mostly lit with a dozen or so exceptions. Dark in the
shadows of the waves one could occasionally glimpse out of the corner
of ones eye the faint image of an unlit platform. My advice to my
watch mates… look with the sides of your pupils as well as the
centers. I call this the intuitive eye. You swear you saw something
but when you look straight at it, there it is, gone. For those of
you who really want to read into that one, life lesson #237, trust
that what it may, take energy to see what really is there. It takes work
and your life may depend on it!

The other great thing we have seen off shore in the Gulf of Mexico
are monarchs….everywhere by the thousands. Monarch
butterflies…gotta go, gotta go, gotta go to Mexico (I stole that
from a favorite childrens book). I swear I saw many of these
butterflies just up in Maine while we were sailing about a month
ago. How cool is that! We were also visited by a winter wren that
flitted between our feet searching for crumbs on deck and a few tiny
insects. I am not sure where the wren is headed but it hitch hiked
150 miles with us. It did not sing its song, one of my favorites and
the longest of any bird I know of lasting a full 30 seconds or more
on a single lung full of air. So I will have to be patient and wait
until next windjammer season when the monarchs and wrens return to
Maine.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Harvest Moon Regatta


Hey Y'all! Writing to you from the Gulf of Mexico where the sun is
shining and the wind is up. A perfect day for windjamming in the
Gulf. The term windjammer was actually was used in a derogatory
manner by the early steam sailors to describe square riggers. Of
course we use windjammer as a term of endearment today and to see
Elissa sailing would make any heart beat a little faster. As you
know I am down here on the tallship Elissa where we are sailing along
with a fleet of 260 small sailing vessels racing in the annual
Harvest Moon Regatta. It was an incredible sight here this afternoon
as all 260 vessels converged on the starting line (and Elissa too,
at times). The wind is from the NW about 15 knots and we are off to
Port Aransas, 150 miles distant.

A cold front blew through the Texas coast on Monday when we arrived
just like it does in Maine. The wind went from southerly to
northerly in a matter of minutes and kept us pinned to the dock on
Monday. We finally eased out Tuesday afternoon to the face of the
dock, took on a few thousand gallons of fuel Wednesday morning and
sailed that afternoon.

We will be racing all night long with the rest of the fleet nearby
(we are currently winning in the 3 masted barque class!) We should be
arriving at Port Aransas early tomorrow afternoon and then on to
Corpus Christi on Monday. I get to fly home for a few days in
between venues here. I miss Maine but this is a very beautiful place
to be. The Harvest Moon should be up in a few hours when I take the
watch at midnight.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Happiness of a windjammer family


Good Morning. Our summer days have vanished, and in exchange wind and rain. It had to happen sometime. Mary and I are taking today as “office days” resting our backs from a day spent with the ole Makita’s. It’s official, the dust storm of 2007-2008 has begun. The hum of the Makita sanders and vacuums filled the day. Mary and I were actually excited to sand the cabin houses. We’ve spent all summer looking at the scratches and patches of paint waiting for this moment of destruction. It felt good to be rid of all those marks. At one point both Mary and I stopped for fresh air and remarked, “this is fun!” It takes a rare breed to enjoy endless hours of backbreaking sanding and Mary and I must be from that breed. We’ll be back at it for the rest of the week with hopes of ending Friday with all cabin houses sanded and primed. It’s a huge goal, one we’re willing to put our backs into.

Speaking of rare breeds, Sawyer and Nadie spent the afternoon at the barn. What a pleasant moment for a parent, seeing your children being bounced around on a huge horse learning to trot and having huge smiles on their faces. Sawyer jumped down at the end of his lesson only to exclaim, “that was gallons of fun!”

Barry is busy trying to keep the daysail schedule among windy weather. They are due to load on 2,000 gallons of fuel today in preparation for tomorrow‚Äôs departure offshore to Port Aransas. He’s excited to get some offshore time in.

And through all this Gussie is happy to be holding down the carpet at home, watching us all run in and out the door without her.

Have a good day. Do well. Be good.

A Bearformation


Good Morning. I hate to say it in fear of jinxing us, but we had another wonderful ‚Äúsummer‚Äù day here yesterday. Temps were well in the 70‚Äôs. Just too bloody hot! Lately I‚Äôm feeling like a bear preparing for the great winter hibernation. My food source (Mary‚Äôs cooking!) has vanished. Each day is spent wondering what‚Äôs for dinner. Working under the cover, sheltered from the Camden ‚Äúfishbowl‚Äù is like the cave or a hollowed out tree where a bear may cuddle up in, safe from the dangers of winter. I too hope this cover provides us safety and doesn‚Äôt end up in Canada! In order for bears to survive, they build up their body weight by accumulating fat. That‚Äôs definitely happening here! In months before a bear hibernates they can gain up to forty pounds of fat PER WEEK. As Barry would say, ‚Äúnot so much‚Äù. I hope that won‚Äôt happen! Bears can also lose from fifteen to forty percent of its body weight just by sleeping! Now that would be a dream! I‚Äôm trying to catch up on all the sleep I missed out on from this past summer‚Ķ.wonder how long I‚Äôd have to sleep to loose a few more pounds??? Bears tend to go into hibernation in early October and emerge sometime in April/May which is same time period we live under this cover. I read once that the hibernation cycle is just another unique adaptation of nature that allows many animals like the bear to survive‚Ķ.many animals‚Ķhumm…I think, or better yet I know I am that animal. So I‚Äôll remain in the hollowed out tree for now and enjoy the ‚ÄúWelcoming‚Äù view. It‚Äôs not a bad tree after all‚Ķ

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Capt’n finds his goose…


Good Evening! A quick note from Barry. Upon arrival to the Elissa, the welcoming committee consisted of 20+ cormorants standing at attention on the footropes of the Elissa and one lone Canadian goose swimming in the water next to the boat. Meer coincidence? Could this be one of the geese Barry saluted as they flew over the Mary Day in late September with a “see ya in Texas!” I’d say he’s found his goose in Galveston. (Kinda sounds like a hit line in country western song. Take it from here Al & Ed!)

Have a good night.

(Post Note: Ed did take it from here, be sure to check out the comment!)

Autumn Fairies


Good Morning. A quiet Sunday was had by all here. Barry left in the early dawn light and the kids and I found ourselves digging thru the many piles of schooner gear here in the house. After a few more chores and a few more, “Ahh, Mom, do we have too?” the day warmed up to a high 60 degrees! It’s amazing to think that it’s late October! If Autumn is a second spring and every leaf is a flower , then we are in full bloom here in Maine! The leaves are coming down faster than we can rake. Sawyer and Nadie gave it they’re all yesterday. A little nudge from the chocolate fairy who hid chocolate pumpkins in the pile gave a surprise ending to a day’s work. (Now all the leaves are scattered on the lawn again….oh well, we don’t want Daddy to miss all the fun of raking!).
And as Rachel Carson once said, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” It’s a good thing I was there or they would never have found that last chocolate pumpkin! (of course it’s the one Sawyer stepped on and wouldn’t eat!)
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.
PS. If anyone has seen the tooth fairy, send her this way again.