It Must Be Spring

Good morning everyone. We have big doin’s here in our world. The weather has continued to be magnificent with temperatures soaring in to the 50s. The sap has been running and we boiled our first batch of syrup on Sunday. The sweetest taste you can imagine comes from your own homemade maple syrup. If you have any kind of maple (or even a birch) in your door yard, tap it and boiled down just a gallon. You will probably only get a half cup of syrup but the taste will amaze you.
Down at the harbor the docks were launched on Friday and rode out this weekend’s storm just fine. Many thanks go the harbormaster and the Camden town crew who made this possible. Yesterday chief mate Rob was up for a visit and we ran the power line and did a quick clean up aboard the schooner. After a few months in Belize Rob has some good stories to tell and the corn rows in his hair to prove it.

Tomorrow I am off to Texas for my annual trip to sail aboard the tallship Elissa in Galveston. The sailing is fun, the volunteers great, and they have Mexican food like nothing you can find here in Maine. I will try to get a blog or two in while I am there. I will miss spring time in Maine and with so much to do to get the schooner ready I will be dreaming of projects back home. It is all very exciting.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Many thanks to Meg Maiden, photographer to the stars, for use of these photos.

A Day at the Mill


Good morning everyone. The weather has been absolutely spectacular these past few days… a harbinger of summer weather to come. There is so much we want to do now that the snow is melting away. Sawlogs that have been buried in the snow drifts are ready for sawing.

Yesterday Bruce and I built a brow for the mill. In the past we have had to roll the logs up a couple planks to get them on the mill. With the new brow we can keep logs off of the ground and roll them straight from our tandem axle trailer onto the brow and from the brow onto the mill. It all goes pretty darn slick. And all of this was built with logs that Bruce and I milled ourselves.

I also fired up the mill expecting to have a number of cobwebs to have to clean up after a year of idleness. She started on the second pull with gas that I put in a year ago! That Briggs and Stratton fuel stabilizer is amazing stuff. I highly recommend it. I whittled out one small pine log and the mill ran just fine. Bruce has some more spruce logs at Burnt Island, victims of the recent storm. I hope to travel down to retrieve them very soon.
Pictured here is a red oak log that came from a tree I felled last fall when we were building the chicken coop. That log is 17 clear feet long. It makes my heart go pitter patter to see such a beautiful log. How many growth rings can you count? (Hint: Click and enlarge the photo.) The spruce log in the background is twice as old. The stories it could tell of a time when Burnt Island was probably barren of many trees. I can‚Äòt wait until I am an old spruce and, good Lord willing, able to tell folks about a few of the changes I have seen. People we meet on the schooner or on the street are not all that different from trees… filled with stories, amazing swirling twists in the grain, and roots that spread further than any outsider might suspect.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Up and Running


Good morning everyone. We are up and running with several projects this week. Jim Dugan has been hard at it again and built us a new website that we can begin to manage and update on our own. That means fewer visits to the “cave” where all things great in the publishing world originate, on and off-line.

Check out the new website. While it may look a whole lot like the old one there are many subtle differences that the creepy crawlies of the web will recognize and a few that even you may recognize. The website may begin to take on a little more of our voice over time but Jim swears he will be watching like a hawk for anything that does not meet his gold standard. Jim knows I can get a little carried away. But we look forward to being able to keep the website up-to-date at 3 in the morning instead of waking up Jim. So here is where we need your help. Are there any glaring mistakes that we (don’t hold Jim responsible) have made? Email us and let us know so WE can fix it. Or at least we can go crawling to Jim on hands and knees with hats in hand. So a big thanks goes to Jim Dugan, web guru and design expert extraordinaire. There are still many changes to come so keep an eye on us.

Also on tap this week…. maples! The spring run is on. The sap run started a few weeks ago in some places and we have seen a local sugar house boiling down already.We put out our usual 2 dozen taps and hope to do some boiling this weekend. Cool nights and warm days are on order and we will look forward to serving pancakes with our own maple syrup this summer.

Colby had her first puppy training class last night. Socialization being a big part of the process a good 20 minutes was spent letting the pups maul each other. There was a 17 week old Rhodesian ridgeback that towered over the small pups but they set their boundaries. Colby had the ridgeback running for cover at one point. Those little teeth are sharp! For you folks worried about Gussie… she can take of herself as poor Colby is learning.

We are Nuts

Good morning everyone. Well I just had to say it before you did. Yes, we are truly nuts. Now we have gone and added one more adventure to our already full lives. As you can see she is some cunnin’. We have named her Colby. We had a sign… literally. We were in the car brainstorming names on the way to get her at WalMart (yes, you heard it right) and there at the Waterville exit was a sign for Colby College. Colby just happens to be dear Mary’s alma mater. It is also the name of one of my favorite ledges in Jericho Bay, the Colby Pup. It just seemed to fit just like the way she came to us. Nothing about our Sunday was going to be different than any other except that I just happened to be helping a friend get her generator back in the barn while Jen and the kids met her new puppy Sherman. They fell in love… so easy to do. We called and there were had two pups from the same litter available… no commitments yet.

We had been having the long family debate for weeks about the kids involvement where they swore allegiance to the cause nineteen ways to Sunday (talk is cheap). Finally late in the day Jen called only to discover that another family was going to adopt her, now the last in her litter. Long story short, after several heart wrenching phone exchanges seems that Colby was meant to come to Appleton. And we have some very happy campers on our hands… Colby included. Now Jen will have an office friend for the summer and the real work of training begins.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.