In the more than four years of this column, I have written few words about ornamental grasses. I have a “been there, done that” feeling — the plants and the garden style that brought them into vogue just don’t interest me anymore. Read more →
In the more than four years of this column, I have written few words about ornamental grasses. I have a “been there, done that” feeling — the plants and the garden style that brought them into vogue just don’t interest me anymore.
I went through a period of infatuation with ornamental grasses during the 1970s when they were first introduced to gardeners in this country, when species from Asia and Europe, and cultivars of those species, were massed in borders across the South and mid-Atlantic states while being touted as the backbone of the “New American Garden.” Garden magazines (as well as a book by Carole Otteson titled “The New American Garden”) published images showing tall clumps of variegated miscanthus or pennisetum exploding from expansive drifts of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm.’
There was nothing American about these landscapes. Having destroyed our native prairies, we responded to our collective genetic memory and the innate desire to look out over wide expanses of grassland by filling our landscapes with non-native grasses and forbs.
Then we learned that some of the non-native grasses that we had planted, including species of Miscanthus, maidengrass, Pennisetum, fountain grass, Imperata, Japanese blood grass, and Cortaderia, pampas grass, were invasive, colonizing roadsides and the shores of reservoirs, establishing populations in forests and old fields following fires. Sadly, this knowledge has not stopped the production, promotion, or planting of invasive grass species, but some of us have taken another look at what would be growing in a truly native landscape.
There is a native grass in Marjorie’s garden. I don’t know its name, but at the moment it sends its slender flowering stalks about two feet into the air to be stirred by the slightest breeze. Over the years it has formed a respectable patch surrounded by a colony of rough-stemmed goldenrods topped with bright yellow tassels, several mapleleaf viburnums with terminal clusters of small green berries that will soon shrivel to raisins, and a stand of common elderberry with fruits just starting to go purple, all native species. I can look down on this landscape from the porch and realize that it scratches that genetic itch for me.
I can look a little farther out to a group of summersweet clethras, Clethra alnifolia, the pink-flowered cultivar ‘Rosea’ in full fragrant bloom, and in front of these shrubs, growing out of my dragonfly pot, a fountain of slender bronze-colored leaves, Carex comans ‘Bronco.’ A non-native member of the sedge family, this single grasslike annual provides the perfect contrast in texture and color to the pink flower spikes of the native summersweets.
Still farther out from the porch, in the sun of the perennial garden, is an old terra cotta pot, weathered to a patchwork of green paint and raw red clay, planted to three non-native annuals: a deep pink twinspur, Diascia, a purple-leaved sweet potato vine, Ipomoea batatas, and the fiber optic grass, Isolepis cernua, another fine textured sedge with arching wiry leaves and tiny white flowers at the leaf tips that resemble fiber optic lights set at the end of thin wires. I selected the sedge first, intrigued by its habit and texture, and then chose the sweet potato vine and twinspur to provide contrast.
I found both of these sedges at Everlasting Farms in Bangor, the garden center to visit in early spring for unusual annuals. With no record of invasiveness in any region of the world and cold hardy only to USDA Zone 7, there is little risk to natural areas when using either of these sedges in a Zone 5 Maine garden. At the end of the gardening year, I will toss them on the compost pile with a clear conscience.
Send queries to Gardening Questions, P.O. Box 418, Ellsworth 04605, or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include name, address and telephone number.
Under blue skies, five U.S. combat veterans picked their way over the rough granite of Katahdin on Sept. 12, to complete their 2,185-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. As participants of the “Walk off the War” Warrior Hike program, these men chose to embark on the arduous wilderness journey as … Read more →
Under blue skies, five U.S. combat veterans picked their way over the rough granite of Katahdin on Sept. 12, to complete their 2,185-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. As participants of the “Walk off the War” Warrior Hike program, these men chose to embark on the arduous wilderness journey as an alternative form of therapy, a way for them to come to terms with their wartime experiences.
“It gives your mind the time and space it needs to process all of it,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Sean Gobin, Warrior Hike founder. “It’s definitely a process, but at the end, you’re in a good space to start the next chapter of your life.”
In 2012, Gobin returned home after three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He had long toyed with the idea of hiking the National Scenic Appalachian Trail, a footpath that spans from Georgia to Maine, so he decided to give it a try with fellow Marine Mark Silver.
“Initially, for me, it was just a physical challenge,” Gobin said. “It wasn’t until about two-thirds of the way up the trail that I realized what a profound impact the experience of hiking the trail actually was.”
Gobin certainly isn’t the first soldier to find solace in hiking the Appalachian Trail.
In 1948, Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to “walk off the war” to reflect on his army experiences and mourn the loss of friends during World War II. Four months later, he became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.
“My leaving the Marine Corps so abruptly and coming back from Afghanistan was a very jarring transition mentally to go from the battlefield to back at home,” said Gobin. “I really didn’t have the time and space to process and transition into civilian life.”
About 20 percent of Iraq veterans and 11 percent of Afghanistan veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a recent report from the Department of Veteran Affairs, which lists four symptoms: reliving the event in memory or nightmares, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and feeling keyed up (jittery, always alert or on the lookout for danger).
A research team from Georgia Southern University is studying the therapeutic effects thru-hiking (hiking a long-distance trail from end to end) has on post-traumatic stress disorder. The team has released preliminary findings on how the long term wilderness experience combined with therapy can provide veterans the necessary time needed to recondition their behavioral and emotional responses.
Gobin believes three aspects of hiking the Appalachian Trail contributed to his healing process.
First, the act of hiking nonstop for days on end, without the distraction of media, forced him to process his experiences and come to terms with the past, he said.
Second, hiking with another veteran made it so he wasn’t going through the transition alone.
“And the third thing is the connections you make with people along the way, especially in trail towns,” Gobin said. “It helped you re-establish a basic faith in humanity that you may have lost on the battlefield.”
After completing the trail in 2012, Gobin founded Warrior Hike and the “Walk off the War” program so he could help other veterans experience their own healing thru-hikes.
In 2013, the organization sent its first group of 14 veterans to the Appalachian Trail, providing them with all their equipment and support along the way. The participants, which applied for the program online, came from all over the U.S. and had served in many branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.
And this year, Gobin expanded the program to send veteran hikers to two additional trails: the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail and the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, which both run across the western half of the U.S. from the border of Mexico to Canada.
“We’ve had so much support over the past two years and had a lot of people asking if we were going to send veterans on the other trails, so it just seemed like a natural progression,” Gobin said.
Supporting hikers on all three trails has been challenging, Gobin said, especially because the Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail have a reputation for being more challenging and dangerous than the Appalachian Trail.
“On the [Appalachian Trail], everyone knows us now,” Gobin said.
On average, 20 percent of the people who start the Appalachian Trail thru-hike each year are successful in walking the entire trail, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The terrain is mountainous for its entire length, with an elevation gain and loss equivalent to hike Mount Everest from sea level and back 16 times.
Of the 14 veterans participating in the Warrior Hike Appalachian Trail expedition this year, just five completed the entire trail. The other participants left the trail early because of a variety of difficulties, physical and mental. But that doesn’t mean the hike wasn’t successful for them, Gobin said. While reaching the end is the obvious goal for any thru-hiker, a person doesn’t need to reach the end in order to have a healing, meaningful experience.
“It was very relaxing to get back to the basics, worrying about your basic needs like shelter, water and food, getting back to the simple life,” said Matthew Donnelly, one of the five Warrior Hikers to complete the Appalachian Trail hike this year.
Donnelly, originally from Shohola, Pennsylvania, served in the U.S. Navy and was deployed to the Persian Gulf off the coast of Iraq. His favorite part of the Appalachian Trail was the mountains of New Hampshire and Maine.
“Maine was great; we had a bunch of stops,” Gobin said. “Our big stops were Andover, Monson and Millinocket.”
After the Warrior Hike, veterans finished their climb of Katahdin on Sept. 12, and they led the march at the annual Trails End Festival in downtown Millinocket. They were treated to a barbecue dinner by Cooking with the Troops at the American Legion Post 80.
Next year, Gobin plans to expand the program further and organize a five-month paddling trip down the Mississippi River for veterans whose injuries don’t allow them to hike for hundreds of miles.
To learn about the “Walk off the War” program or donate to the cause, visit warriorhike.org.
BREWER, Maine — When the general manager of the Vacationland Inn in Brewer got a call from the producers of “Hotel Impossible” on the Travel Channel, she thought there might have been a mix-up or someone was playing a joke on her. It was all true, though. Producers had chosen … Read more →
BREWER, Maine — When the general manager of the Vacationland Inn in Brewer got a call from the producers of “Hotel Impossible” on the Travel Channel, she thought there might have been a mix-up or someone was playing a joke on her.
It was all true, though. Producers had chosen the Wilson Street hotel, owned by Cheryl and Ross Bradford, to receive renovations and world-class advice from the show’s host, renowned hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri.
“At first it was hard to believe, but then as we got going, we realized this would be an incredible resource for us. It’s just been incredibly exciting,” said general manager LeeAnn Hewey.
Production crews from the show and a number of local contractors spent Sept. 16-18 at the hotel, doing top-secret renovations and lending their skills to train the staff. The fifth season premiere of “Hotel Impossible” is set to air Oct. 7, and the Vacationland Inn episode is expected to air in late November.
Though what the renovations are exactly will remain a closely guarded secret until the show airs, producers did allow one little sneak preview: It’s one large room in the hotel, and it’s being completely transformed.
What Melchiorri is focusing on are other problems, including staff training, communication and customer service.
“The renovations of this hotel aren’t as important as the story about what we have to fix to take it to the next level, because they’ve done a good job renovating it themselves,” said Melchiorri. “It’s more about the internal workings of the hotel. Communication is always key. … There are always serious issues in any hotel with the dynamics between management and employees. I have to come in and understand those dynamics very quickly.”
Melchiorri has been all over the world and in almost all 50 states for the show, but he had not yet been to Maine.
“I get a call, the producers tell me, ‘You’re going to Maine, you have a hotel to save,’ and I show up and I save the hotel,” said Melchiorri. “It’s beautiful here. It’s funny, I really like going to new places, but I live in New York, and I’ve never been to Maine. I was on a lobster boat in Bar Harbor yesterday. It was wild.”
The “Hotel Impossible” team found the Vacationland Inn after looking for a worthy candidate in New England. The show has filmed in countries all over the world, from Africa to Europe to all over the U.S. and Canada.
“It really depends on what the hotel has to offer,” said Blanche Garcia, lead designer and co-host of the show. “Anthony looks at the dossier to make sure that from the standpoint of a hotelier, that he can help, and that they need help and can be honest with you and want to work on their hotel.”
The local team of electricians, carpenters and builders assembled to complete the whirlwind 72-hour transformation includes Electric Works of Old Town, Violette Builders of Old Town, Brian Moore Carpentry of Eddington, Applicator Sales and Service of Bangor and Viking Lumber, as well as the lead contractor of the team, Ryan Francis of Maine Construction Group, out of Hampden.
“When Blanche called me I almost fell out of my chair,” said Francis, a 2010 graduate of the construction engineering and technology program at the University of Maine. “We’ve been working together for almost a month on this project. … A project like this would take weeks, but working this quickly has been really exciting. This is our high point right here. This is the dream job.”
Though Vacationland Inn staff are hotly anticipating the reveal of the renovations, the counseling from Melchiorri will perhaps be the most important help they’ll receive while “Hotel Impossible” is on site.
“You always see this on TV, but now that it’s actually happening to us, we’re trying to absorb as much of it as we can,” said Hewey. “We’re picking Anthony’s brain and learning from him about what we can do better. … Even if this didn’t end up on national television, this would still be such a great experience.”
UNITY, Maine — From low-impact forestry to Scottish Highland cattle to contra dancing, the 38th annual Common Ground Country Fair is a celebration of Maine’s rural and agricultural traditions. Tens of thousands are expected to gather this weekend on 50 lush acres in Unity for the three-day fair that captures … Read more →
UNITY, Maine — From low-impact forestry to Scottish Highland cattle to contra dancing, the 38th annual Common Ground Country Fair is a celebration of Maine’s rural and agricultural traditions. Tens of thousands are expected to gather this weekend on 50 lush acres in Unity for the three-day fair that captures the essence of Maine and the bounty of the harvest season.
“We strive for community and education while highlighting agriculture,” April Boucher, fair director, said.
Run by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the fair unites leaders in agriculture like Ben Falk, author of “The Resilient Farm and Homestead,” with locals like Lisa Fernandes, who runs The Resilience Hub, a permaculture center in Portland.
Both are speaking about permaculture, this year’s theme, which focuses on designing ecological landscape systems that work in harmony with nature to restore balance. As more and more people embrace the do-it-yourself lifestyle across Maine and the country, these age-old practices of homesteading and low-energy use are being re-examined for modern times.
“These techniques are ancient, done by indigenous people. But permaculture really synthesized in 1970s,” said Fernandes, who teaches classes on ecological design, which she described as “an extremely practical and hands-on way to take action outside your kitchen door.”
Beyond conserving and preserving the land’s dwindling resources, Fernandes said, “we can make this place sing with abundance” by creating optimal growing conditions and planting harmonious crops.
In her talk, “Eat the Suburbs! A case study in edible landscapes,” held Friday and Saturday, Fernandes will share tips on how she turned one-third of an acre in Cape Elizabeth from a lawn into an edible, perennial ecosystem.
The specialty talk is among many held under tents and in open air this weekend. Others tackle topics like cider making and goat rearing. An estimated 60,000 people are expected to come together for the celebration of the land.
“A large part of why people want to come to the Common Ground Country Fair is to find that community,” Boucher said. “If you go to a talk, there are so many people that are interested in that topic, be it on tinctures, herbalism, textiles — it’s a shared enthusiasm.”
Just beyond the fair gates, farmers showcase the fruits and vegetables of the season.
“As soon as you come in, you are greeted with the bounty of Maine,” Boucher said, adding that many shop at farm stands and picnic on the fairgrounds.
Some come to relax, others to get edified or learn a new way to stay warm during the upcoming winter. Dedicated zones, such as energy and shelter, showcase new and sustainable heating methods, and a fiber marketplace provides a window to the weavers and the woolers among us.
A host of others come to relax, meet their neighbors and sample all Maine has to offer. Food and entertainment is a top draw.
There are four stages with live performances, from Vaudeville acts to puppeteers to roving performers. This year, a group will attempt to pull off the largest drum circle in the world on Saturday at 10 a.m. They are going for the Guinness Book of World Records. All are welcome.
And, of course, there is food, too. Nearly 50 food vendors, from a local tofu producer to farmers selling raw food wraps, nori rolls and strawberry shortcake, will be on hand.
“All food at the fair has to adhere to the MOFGA food policy. Many vendors source the food for the festival,” Boucher said.
Days before the fair, first-timer Kate Seaver was feverishly cutting vegetables from her organic Up-Beet Farm in Porter. Seaver and her husband, John, will create an “all raw menu, [with] nothing cooked over 118 degrees,” for the weekend.
Look for Seaver’s The Raw Food Mobile, where you can find hummus made with summer squash, lettuce wraps and raw noodle dishes consisting of cucumbers and zucchini drenched in raw coconut curry sauce that will keep fair-goers sated.
“People will be surprised at how filling these meals are and the clean energy you get from eating raw,” Seaver said.
For more food entertainment, two Bar Harbor chefs also are competing in a reality show-style mystery fish throwdown on Sunday.
“People come to keep that community going through the year. It’s a big refresh. A highly anticipated event to get excited for the winter and keep refueled with new energy and ideas and share what you have to offer,” said Boucher. “People just inhale it.”
The Common Ground Country Fair takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 9 a.m. Vendors close at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults in advance and $15 at the gate. For more information, visit mofga.org.
FORT KENT, Maine — Earlier this summer I had cause to pause and reflect on A) why, after earlier this year saying otherwise, I was staying in mushing, and B) what on earth possessed me to get into the insanity that is dogsledding in the first place. These questions were … Read more →
FORT KENT, Maine — Earlier this summer I had cause to pause and reflect on A) why, after earlier this year saying otherwise, I was staying in mushing, and B) what on earth possessed me to get into the insanity that is dogsledding in the first place.
These questions were posed as part of an interview conducted by Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition that aired last month.
As I have said before, there is kibble where my brains should be. At some point last winter I decided I wanted to run the 2015 Can Am Crown 30-mile sled dog race which, in turn, meant some new blood was needed for the Rusty Metal Kennel team.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce my newest leader, Mars, and team dogs, Pi and Torus.
All three are Alaskan Huskies from Lone Wolf Guiding Services outside of Greenville and will form the core of my Can Am team.
The veteran Rusty Metal dogs welcomed the newcomers with excited barks and wagging tails and the introductions were enthusiastic.
Perhaps a bit too enthusiastic.
After being here just two days, Torus managed to slip free for a little one-on-one time with all the other dogs.
Now, a loose sled dog is a musher’s nightmare, especially if it’s a new dog who really has not had time to learn this is its new home.
Luckily Torus was far more interested in the meet and greets than running off, but it still took a bit of time to capture him given a sled dog’s uncanny ability to somehow have every part of its body pressed against you for petting, but manage to keep the part with the collar just out of reach.
Eventually, I was able to grab the collar and was just congratulating myself when Torus decided he wanted to go for a walk and thus gave me an inkling of what I was in for when I harnessed these new dogs up.
He whipped his head around and that motion alone pulled me off both feet and I suddenly found myself face down, being dragged across the driveway.
Yes, I thought, I am definitely getting too old for this.
Eventually I got us stopped, myself back on two feet and Torus back to his spot in the kennel.
The rest of the summer was spent hanging out with the dogs, getting to know them and talking about the upcoming race training strategy.
Finally, last week the temperatures in northern Maine were cool enough to hook up a team for the first run of the season.
Not unlike a parent laying out their child’s clothes and supplies the night before the first day of school, I organized all the harnesses, untangled the gangline and made sure the ATV was gassed up and ready to go.
Six of the 10 Rusty Metal dogs were selected for this maiden run and, after having all summer off, there was a lot of doggy energy to control.
One by one I took the dogs to the picket line, harnessed them and attached them to the gangline connected to the ATV.
The process this early in the season was really slightly controlled bedlam, as the dogs jumped, pulled and lunged their way from the dog yard to the picket line.
Eventually, as I add more and more runs, they will calm down. At least, that’s my hope. For the time being, I’m just happy if my arm stays in the shoulder socket after each dog drags me from the kennel.
The barks were deafening as I started the ATV’s engine, took a deep breath, offered up a silent prayer to whatever gods protect fools and mushers and gave the command, “All right, let’s go!”
We were off on our big 3.5-mile start-of-the-season training run, which lasted roughly 25 minutes, about a third of the time it took us to get ready.
But it’s a start.
To date we are up to about 20 total training miles on our way to the roughly 650 miles I’d like to have on the team when we take off down Main Street in Fort Kent at the start of the Can Am just under six months from now.
This translates into months of early mornings in frigid temperatures making sure the dogs are properly hydrated for running. It also means countless hours spent being bounced around on an ATV with next-to-no suspension and then, when the snows come, standing on the dog sled runners or hanging on for dear life those times it flips over and I find myself being dragged face down. This is when ibuprofen becomes one of my main food groups.
My fingers will start to crack and bleed from working gloveless with cold, metal clips on gangline.
I will obsess about the dogs’ feet and their overall conditioning as I count every kilocalorie they eat while calculating percentages of protein to fat in their daily diets.
Hours will be spent first tapping down the training trails on snowshoes and then grooming them with a snowmobile and praying I don’t get it stuck in a snowdrift.
I’ll watch my bank account go down as dog food is delivered by the pallet and required gear is repaired or replaced.
Why do all this?
Honestly, I’ve not the foggiest idea.
Julia Bayly of Fort Kent is an award-winning writer and photographer who writes part time for Bangor Daily News. Her column appears here every other Friday. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
NEW YORK — A biography of legendary comedian Joan Rivers, who died earlier this month, will be published in 2016, publisher Little, Brown and Co. said on Wednesday. “Joan Rivers: A Life” will be penned by Vanity Fair and New York Times journalist Leslie Bennetts and will also be available … Read more →
NEW YORK — A biography of legendary comedian Joan Rivers, who died earlier this month, will be published in 2016, publisher Little, Brown and Co. said on Wednesday.
“Joan Rivers: A Life” will be penned by Vanity Fair and New York Times journalist Leslie Bennetts and will also be available as an audio and e-book.
“Joan Rivers was more than a comedian — she was an icon and a role model to millions,” Judy Clain, editor-in-chief of the publishing house, said in a statement.
Bennetts described Rivers’ life as a roller-coaster ride with its share of highs and lows that is “both wildly entertaining and deeply moving.”
Rivers, 81, died on Sept. 4 at a New York hospital after she stopped breathing a week earlier during an outpatient throat procedure at a Manhattan clinic.
The cause of her death is still unknown, pending further tests. The State Health Department is also investigating Yorkville Endoscopy, the clinic where Rivers was treated.
Rivers, a pioneer for women in stand-up comedy, was known for her quick wit, cosmetic surgeries and classic put-downs. She had a long career as a stand-up comedian, author, talk show host and reality TV star.
CBS yanked the song “Run This Town” from its “Thursday Night Football” telecast for the rest of the season after Rihanna, who is featured on the track, expressed anger with the network on Twitter. CBS first pulled the song last week, saying it wouldn’t set the right tone given the … Read more →
CBS yanked the song “Run This Town” from its “Thursday Night Football” telecast for the rest of the season after Rihanna, who is featured on the track, expressed anger with the network on Twitter.
CBS first pulled the song last week, saying it wouldn’t set the right tone given the ongoing domestic violence scandal involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. The network was going to bring the song back until Rihanna accused CBS of penalizing her with its decision.
“CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, F*** you! Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this,” Rihanna said in a Twitter posting.
The network, part of CBS, devoted half of its pregame show last week to covering the Rice accusations, and the National Football League’s much-criticized response. To temper the upbeat tone of its first Thursday night game on Sept. 11, New York-based CBS removed “Run This Town,” a Jay-Z song featuring Rihanna and Kanye West, as well as a comedy sketch with Don Cheadle.
The singer was assaulted by her boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009. TMZ, the same website that published photos of a battered Rihanna, posted a video of Rice beating his wife in an elevator. Rihanna’s history with domestic violence was a factor in the decision, CBS Sports chief Sean McManus told the Associated Press, saying it wasn’t the primary reason.
Rihanna performed in a song and video about domestic violence in 2010 with rapper Eminem.
CBS, which had planned to bring “Run This Town” back this week, will now use a substitute theme for the rest of the season.
“Beginning this Thursday, we will be moving in a different direction with some elements of our Thursday Night Football open,” CBS Sports said in a statement. “We will be using our newly created ‘Thursday Night Football’ theme music to open our game broadcast.”
The NFL is grappling with negative publicity from a number of domestic violence incidents.
On Monday the Radisson hotel chain suspended a sponsorship deal with the Minnesota Vikings over accusations involving one of its players, Adrian Peterson.
Professional football is the most popular and valuable programming on broadcast and cable television.
Last week’s “Thursday Night Football” ranked as the second most-watched prime-time show, with an audience of 20.8 million, according to Nielsen data. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was first with 22.2 million viewers, while “Monday Night Football” on Walt Disney ‘s ESPN led cable ratings with an audience of 13.7 million.
CBS paid $250 million to $300 million for rights to eight Thursday night games, Michael Morris, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities in New York, estimated earlier this year.
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — A bumper crop of tomatoes from Martha Washingtons to romas shine like jewels from wooden bins. Blueberry pies from Portland’s Two Fat Cats Bakery surround a display of mums and pumpkins. Anchoring the back of the store, a butcher bends over the hind leg of a … Read more →
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — A bumper crop of tomatoes from Martha Washingtons to romas shine like jewels from wooden bins. Blueberry pies from Portland’s Two Fat Cats Bakery surround a display of mums and pumpkins. Anchoring the back of the store, a butcher bends over the hind leg of a cow, slicing blood-red meat from a tendon.
When customers approach inquiring about chicken, Ben Slayton tells them to come back tomorrow.
“We process chickens on Monday, so they will be fresh on Tuesday,” he says.
Transmitting such intimate knowledge of the food people purchase and consume is one motivation driving The Farm Stand, a month-old store that operates like a year-round farmers market with walls. The joint venture between Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth and Farmers’ Gate Market in Wales aims to make buying locally raised and grown food easier for shoppers while helping farmers and food producers in the state find a year-round marketplace for their goods.
Consumers get fresh, grass-fed beef cut by a butcher, who not only knows the farms where the cows, pigs and chickens were reared, but where they were slaughtered. Sometimes the butcher even owns the very steer he is cutting. A majority of produce is grown 4 miles away on rolling, sea-scented acres by farmers who come in regularly to restock the bins with whatever is fresh.
“We are a very nimble operation,” says The Farm Stand managing partner Joe Fournier, who formerly worked for Rosemont Market in Portland. “There is nothing on this side of the bridge for fresh produce.”
A production kitchen in the back produces salsa, available this week because of the tomato bounty, and soon, ready-made meals. The vegetables being sold “changes hour to hour,” says Fournier.
As modern consumers embrace the local food movement, the concept of the neighborhood market is changing. Shoppers no longer satisfied with products trucked in are willing to pay a bit more to know where their food comes from.
“I am fired up about it,” says Ashlea Blais of South Portland, who has shopped The Farm Stand 10 times since it opened. The 47-year-old buys chicken, greens and eggs because they are additive-free and humanely raised. “It’s about getting back to the basics. I’m all for it.”
The concept and location of The Farm Stand is no last-minute brainwave or slapdash scheme. It’s a way for farmers including Penny Jordan of Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth to secure a path for the next generation of farmers, both in her family and young entrepreneurs that are moving to Maine to work the land.
“My dream of dreams is to create as much opportunity for farmers across the state as possible,” says Jordan, who tills 60 acres with her siblings and runs a popular farmstand that closes in the fall.
Jordan had her eye on South Portland for four years.
“There are no farm stands or farm-fresh markets there. No businesses that focus on the accessibility of Maine-produced meats and other products,” she says.
And the city’s makeup — young families and thirty- to fiftysomethings plugged into the Portland food scene — is a captive audience.
When she met Slayton, who has a growing reputation as a conscious-minded meat purveyor, everything clicked.
“We didn’t just plop down anywhere,” says Slayton. “We’ve listened. What we want is to re-create the neighborhood market.”
Slayton engages with customers all day long, telling them whatever part of the animal they crave, he can deliver, from whole animal bones to offal to pig’s head for head cheese.
When a Cape Elizabeth man in a Red Sox jacket buys a flat iron steak, he receives more than a slab of beef to slap on the grill.
“They are getting all the knowledge; where it came from, how the animal was treated, the breed. We know what’s going on with these animals,” says Slayton, making precise cuts with a sharp knife. “We are trying to take the anonymity out.”
An impressive array of short ribs, breakfast sausage and brats in the case before him originated from two dozen Maine farms, including Oaklands Farm in Gardiner and Old Crow Ranch in Durham, not a feedlot in the Midwest.
“It’s a great way for us to trace our meat,” he says.
Located a few short blocks between Hannaford and Shaw’s, The Farm Stand is taking a stand in Maine’s growing locavore economy. During the peak summer and fall growing seasons, a majority of produce at The Farm Stand will come from Jordan’s Farm. In the winter, Jordan will source from four-season farms.
“There is a lot of market out there, it’s getting to the market with a diversity of product that is the hard part,” says Jordan.
Increasingly people want to “eat healthy and support local farms,” but lack the time it takes to shop farm stands and farmers markets regularly, she says. At The Farm Stand you can “get in, get out and get home with a meal.”
Though farmers markets are on the rise across the country, those studying local food systems say there are some drawbacks.
“It’s not the most efficient way to get food out on tables,” says Slayton.
Time, which growers have in short supply, is critical. Traveling to markets can take hours and days away from their fields. Also, weather can be tricky. If a market is washed out, no money is made. On top of that, keeping meat, fish and fowl refrigerated outdoors for hours is arduous.
At The Farm Stand, there is a bounty waiting seven days a week, rain or shine.
“We needed to expand to grow the business and keep it viable for the next generation,” says Jordan. “South Portland is the opportunity.”
The Farm Stand, 161 Ocean St., South Portland, is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
STOCKHOLM, Maine — Hempfest, a three-day music and camping festival that was to be held this weekend in Stockholm to demonstrate how vital hemp can be to Maine’s economy, has been canceled, according to multiple sources. Music Mountain Hempfest was scheduled to take place Sept. 19-21 at 146 West Road … Read more →
STOCKHOLM, Maine — Hempfest, a three-day music and camping festival that was to be held this weekend in Stockholm to demonstrate how vital hemp can be to Maine’s economy, has been canceled, according to multiple sources.
Music Mountain Hempfest was scheduled to take place Sept. 19-21 at 146 West Road in Stockholm ,Mark Ward, founder of Local Noise Entertainment and promoter for Hempfest, said late last week. Jack Sargent, owner of the property in Stockholm where the event was to be held, was responsible for securing the proper permits prior to advertising for the event, according to Ward.
On Sept. 4, the town of Stockholm released a statement saying “no permits had been applied for or approved” for the event. Town officials said that the host would need a special amusement permit from the town, as well as a fire permit for the campsites.
Ward, who is from Rhode Island, said two weeks ago that he left several messages for Sargent and was trying to work out the “miscommunication” and correct whatever had gone wrong. He told the BDN that he previously had been informed the permits had all been taken care of.
Efforts to reach Sargent for comment have been unsuccessful.
T he Music Mountain Hempfest Facebook page since has announced that the event has been canceled due to “circumstances beyond our control.” The announcement indicates how ticket holders can get refunds.
On Tuesday, town officials in Stockholm said that no one from Hempfest ever attempted to apply for any permits to host the event within the municipality. Officials said that even if they scrambled to apply for permits now, it would be too late for selectmen to hold a special meeting to issue them.
Ward said earlier this month that he had been contacted by Sargent, who markets the property as Mainiac Mountain Motor Sports and Music Mountain, about having the event in Stockholm. Ward said that Hempfest previously has been held farther south, such as in Boston, and organizers had never attempted to have it so far north.
According to Hempfest’s Facebook page, groups planned to use the Stockholm event to spread awareness concerning legalization for both recreational and medical marijuana use. Others had planned to spread information about how hemp can be used to make food, clothing and medicine.
Joe Sample, a soft-spoken keyboard player and composer whose blending of funk, blues, jazz, gospel and the Zydeco music of his childhood lent a distinctive sound to his well-known group, the Crusaders, has died. He was 75. Sample died Friday at a Houston hospital of lung cancer, his manager, Patrick … Read more →
Joe Sample, a soft-spoken keyboard player and composer whose blending of funk, blues, jazz, gospel and the Zydeco music of his childhood lent a distinctive sound to his well-known group, the Crusaders, has died. He was 75.
Sample died Friday at a Houston hospital of lung cancer, his manager, Patrick Rains, told The Associated Press.
The musician had struggled with serious health problems over the years, suffering two heart attacks and a lengthy bout with Epstein-Barr virus, a condition that results in crippling fatigue.
Even so, he took his recently formed Creole Joe Band on tour last year and was planning a musical based on the life of Henriette DeLille, founder of an African-American nuns’ order that started orphanages and schools, including one attended by Sample in Houston’s Fifth Ward.
Sample also was an advocate for her canonization.
As a teenager, Sample co-founded the Jazz Crusaders with trombonist Wayne Henderson, bassist and saxophonist Wilton Felder and drummer Nesbert “Stix” Hooper. The childhood pals played bebop at bars and strip clubs before heading to Los Angeles in 1958.
Within a few years, they produced their first album, “Looking Ahead.”
“In the Sixties, we had emotion, passion and feeling in our music and I wrote a composition to support the sit-inners and marchers in the civil rights struggle,” Sample told the Jazz Times in 2012. “The Freedom Sound” swiftly made its way into the Top 40 pop charts.
As jazz grew discordant and more challenging for many listeners the group became, simply, the Crusaders. They also added various electronic instruments, including keyboards for Sample.
One of the Crusaders’ pieces — Felder’s “Way Back Home” — became notorious. When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in 1974, the radical group’s ransom demand was on a tape recording that started with “Way Back Home” — which, it turned out, the SLA had adopted as its anthem.
“The FBI definitely contacted us and wanted to know what was our connection to the Army or Patty Hearst,” Sample told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. “I had no idea what they were talking about.”
His band frequently performed at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California, where, he said, it seemed “like every activist group loved the Crusaders and they were always trying to indoctrinate me to become a Black Panther or this or that.”
After he parted ways with the Crusaders in the late 1980s, he recorded a solo album, “Ashes to Ashes,” a collection focused on African-Americans struggling to save their communities.
Born in Houston on Feb. 1, 1939, Sample grew up with music. An older brother played piano in a Navy band and Sample loved it when his mother prepared big Creole meals for the visiting musicians. Sample, who started music lessons when he was 6, attended Texas Southern University in Houston, where he studied piano.
In Los Angeles, Sample and his group backed up another Houston friend, bluesman Johnny “Guitar” Watson.
As the Crusaders gained traction, they attained national renown. They were among the groups playing at a 1974 Zaire music festival celebrating the historic Muhammad Ali-George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle.” They were the first instrumental band to open for the Rolling Stones on tour.
As a composer, Sample wrote many popular songs, including “One Day I’ll Fly Away,” and “Street Life,” both collaborations with lyricist Will Jennings.
Sample had homes in Mammoth Lakes, California, and Santa Monica but moved back to Houston in 2001.
He is survived by his wife, Yolanda, and his son, Nicklas, a bass player who performed with his father in the Creole Joe Band.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
BUCKSPORT, Maine — After nearly 30 years and 10 million feet of film safely stashed in the Northeast Historic Film archive, founding director David Weiss said it is time to retire. “It’s been a great deal of fun,” he said last week while reminiscing about his accidental career path that … Read more →
“It’s been a great deal of fun,” he said last week while reminiscing about his accidental career path that has helped preserve the celluloid history of the region. “It’s been a lot of years, and it’s been a long haul.”
Weiss, 59, originally came to Maine from Boston in the 1980s with his then-wife, Karan Sheldon. The two television producers came north to see if they could make it in Maine with their own company, but after a year, they found it tough going and figured they’d have to go back to Boston.
“There just wasn’t a lot of money to underbid TV stations doing commercials,” he said. “We thought we’ll just wind the year up with this cool, fun project.”
That project was “From Stump to Ship,” a 1929 silent film from Washington County that depicted the lumber industry. The two worked to preserve and exhibit it, expecting only a few people to come see the showings. But more than 1,100 people showed up for the premiere at Hauck Auditorium at the University of Maine — a venue with just 600 seats. Eight hundred people attended the showing in Machias, and 600 people were on hand in Farmington.
“We just showed it until we were sick of showing it,” Weiss said. “During that time, it naturally occurred to me, this one worked. Let’s do another one — I wonder who has all the old films? An innocent question, which led to all this.”
They soon learned that just about everyone seemed to have a few boxes of film tucked away in their basements or attics and no real plan to do anything with them. Weiss and Sheldon knew what to do with film, but first they had to learn how to run a film archive. They drove to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the closest archive they could think of, and asked for advice.
“They were super nice,” Weiss recalled.
Eventually, he and Sheldon got advice on how to make a basement vault on a tight budget, complete with climate controls and a fire suppression system.
“We sent out a press release and got a lawyer,” he said.
They were in business as Northeast Historic Film and began to get calls from people looking to clean out their collections. The film archive grew, thanks to such gifts as the Bangor Historical Society’s WABI collection. The organization also received a series of silent adventure films that featured Maine guides as heroes who rescued lumber barons and their heiress daughters.
“It really is exciting to get a new batch of films,” Weiss said, adding that they never knew what surprises might lurk in a new reel. “People’s experiences in life are so different — you just have no idea. We’ve got film of some disturbing things, like harpooning whales, but they could be moving a house on a barge. Whenever there was a big storm or a big event, people would get their cameras out. It’s a whole chronicle of the 20th century, really, and it’s all unlabeled and jumbled around. Every piece is part of the jigsaw puzzle. You never know what the next one is going to be.”
Eventually, their collections outgrew their basement, and then a second home at the Henhouse — singer Noel Paul Stookey’s converted chicken house in Blue Hill.
In 1992, the Alamo Theatre in Bucksport was abandoned and for sale at a foreclosure auction, and Weiss bought it for $37,500.
“It was the end of the hangover after the savings and loan crisis,” he said. “Everybody was broke. I was the only bidder.”
Thanks to grant funding, the duo was able to renovate and reopen the movie theater. The film archive also had to weather a big challenge when technology shifted in a major way.
“I don’t think our mission will change — to preserve and keep the moving image history of our region,” Weiss said. “If that’s going to be delivered to people, it’s got to not be on VHS tape anymore. We switched to DVDs, and now people want a digital file to put on their computers.”
In the late 1990s, they worked hard to raise funds to build a big vault building — now a three-story silver cube right behind the Alamo. The organization has diversified its funding stream by selling space in the vault, and it has about 40 clients up and down the East Coast who pay to keep their films there.
The nonprofit also gets income from the Alamo Theatre, from selling DVDs, from individual donations and from grants. Northeast Historic Film supports the equivalent of five-and-a-half full-time positions — collecting, preserving, cataloging, digitizing and providing public access to old films from northern New England — and has an annual operating budget of $524,000.
Richard Rosen, the president of the Northeast Historic Film board of directors, said that Weiss and Sheldon’s contributions to the region’s history are critical. Sheldon, the co-founder of the nonprofit, remains on the board of directors.
“David’s contribution really has been as a pioneer,” he said. “In terms of collecting and preserving the moving image history of the Northeast, and for having the vision to save it. There was no model. This was a creation formed out of necessity — having to invent the box.”
He said that transitioning to a new executive director will be a significant change, and to do so, the board has hired a consultant and is working to develop a “transition budget.” Weiss expects to stay long enough to help the next director, once hired, get rolling.
“The search will be a terrific opportunity to attract and secure the leadership for Northeast Film for the first next phase of the future,” Rosen said.
To contact the organization for more information about its resources or preserving films, call 469-0924.
Goldfish: the reluctant carnival prize, the fish you don’t expect to live more than a year or two, the pet you resign yourself to flushing down the toilet once it meets its maker. But wait a minute — you don’t need to give up on a sick goldfish. George, a … Read more →
Goldfish: the reluctant carnival prize, the fish you don’t expect to live more than a year or two, the pet you resign yourself to flushing down the toilet once it meets its maker.
But wait a minute — you don’t need to give up on a sick goldfish.
George, a 10-year-old goldfish in Australia, had a relatively large tumor on its head. So George’s owners brought the fish to Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, where a veterinarian successfully performed surgery on the pet. According to the hospital, the procedure last week went … “swimmingly.”
How do you operate on a goldfish? Well, first you call someone like Tristan Rich, head of Lort Smith’s exotic and wildlife veterinarian team.
Rich set up numerous buckets with different levels of anesthetics, as the hospital’s Facebook post described. Once George was knocked out, Rich ran a tube into the fish’s mouth to pump water with a smaller dosage of anesthetic so it remained under.
Next, the doctor removed a “large tumor” from George’s head, using a specific type of medical sponge to help control George’s bleeding. The size of George’s wound made it “difficult to seal,” according to the hospital. Rich managed to put in four rows of stitches, then used tissue glue to seal the rest of the wound.
George was then placed in a recovery unit and given oxygen, pain relief injections and antibiotics. The goldfish took a couple of breaths on his own, and he was back swimming in no time. The entire procedure lasted about 45 minutes, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The brain tumor had grown over the course of the year, and Rich told Yahoo7 News of Australia that “the fish was having trouble eating, getting around and he was getting bullied by other fish.”
Rich told the Sydney Morning Herald he gave George’s owners “the option of trying to take [the tumor] off, or putting him to sleep.” But the owners were “quite attached” to George, he said, and wanted to do everything they could to save his life.
George’s owners, Lyn Orton and Pip Joyce, have 39 goldfish, some as old as 18, they told the Herald Sun, which reported they paid $200 for the surgery.
The procedure “was so impressive, everyone was just amazed,” Orton said. “Now he could live for another 10, maybe 20 years,” she added. Her beloved fish, she said, “are not just things in the water … they’re characters.”
Rich told 3AW radio in Australia the procedure was “high risk” and said he has performed goldfish operations a few times before.
Charles Martin Smith would have walked over hot coals for George Lucas during the filming of the seminal 1973 hit “American Graffiti,” in which he was sweetly endearing as the nerdy Terry “the Toad” Fields. And even 41 years later, the actor-director believes that he and the rest of the … Read more →
Charles Martin Smith would have walked over hot coals for George Lucas during the filming of the seminal 1973 hit “American Graffiti,” in which he was sweetly endearing as the nerdy Terry “the Toad” Fields.
And even 41 years later, the actor-director believes that he and the rest of the cast, which included Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark and Paul Le Mat, would still be willing to hot-foot it for the director.
“We had so much respect for him,” said Smith during a recent interview. “We were happy to be doing that movie because the script was so good.”
The camaraderie on the low-budget film was especially strong among the young and talented cast, he recalled. “American Graffiti” was set in the Central Valley town of Modesto but was shot mainly in Petaluma and San Rafael.
“We were all staying in one hotel. We were shooting nights, and we would sleep all day. Paul Le Mat and Harrison got in a lot of trouble. Gary Kurtz, the producer, would come and pick us up in his car every day. It was kind of like we were making a student film. I remember Cindy Williams one time saying, ‘I just hope [the film] gets one week in Westwood.’ We were worried it was going to disappear.”
Not only didn’t it disappear, “American Graffiti” put the filmmaker and his young stars on the map.
Smith, 60, and though he has less hair than in his “Graffiti” days, hasn’t changed much in the last four decades. Besides Lucas, he’s worked with such acclaimed directors as Brian De Palma (“The Untouchables”) and Carroll Ballard (“Never Cry Wolf”). Though he’s continued to act, Smith also has been working behind the camera since making his directorial debut with the low-budget 1986 horror film “Trick or Treat.”
Three years ago, Smith scored his biggest success as a director with the family film “Dolphin Tale,” which told the story of a plucky bottlenose dolphin named Winter, who was rescued from a crab trap by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida, whose motto is “Rescue. Rehab. Release.”
However, since the crab trap line cut off the circulation to her tail flukes, Winter lost her tail and was outfitted with a prosthetic. Her story of determination and bravery has inspired many people with disabilities — most notably children and veterans — to meet Winter.
Martin also has written and directed the sequel “Dolphin Tale 2,” which opened Friday. The original cast of Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson and Morgan Freeman returns, as well as Winter and Hope, a young dolphin that was rescued the night of the original’s wrap party. Smith also appears in the film as an Agriculture Department official.
“Winter knew I was the director,” said Smith, who also used animatronic and computer-generated dolphins for the film. “She is a total ham, and Hope is like a little kid.”
“Charles had a great deal of artistic sensitivity,” said Connick. “It is like when I sing a song, no notes are sort of superfluous. He is like that. When he approaches a situation, whether it is shooting a pelican or shooting Morgan Freeman and everything in between, he treats it the same way. He applies the same amount of integrity and intensity to everything he does.”
Smith isn’t the only director in the family. His father, the late animator Frank Smith, directed episodes of the “Mr. Magoo” TV series and was an animator on “Gerald McBoing-Boing” shorts and the beloved “Charlie Brown” specials.
“I grew up sitting next to my dad drawing,” said Smith. “He instilled in me a love of films.”
And in a story that could only happen in Hollywood, Smith was discovered by a talent agent when he played Sancho Panza in his high school production in Reseda of “Man of La Mancha.”
“He asked me if I wanted to go out on interviews,” said Smith. “I was thrilled, but I never thought I would make a living at it. I thought I’d act in movies as a teenager and then I’d direct theater or teach theater at a university.”
While studying acting and theater directing at Cal State Northridge, he landed a role in the 1972 western “The Culpepper Cattle Co.” with Gary Grimes. About a year later, he was cast as Terry the Toad.
It was his “Never Cry Wolf” director Ballard (“The Black Stallion”) who inspired him to direct feature films. Smith shared most of his screen time in the haunting 1983 drama with movie-trained wolves and real caribou.
“I learned so much about filmmaking in that movie,” Martin said. “I was like a sorcerer’s apprentice.”
He learned an invaluable lesson from Ballard about directing animals, which served him well on the “Dolphin Tale” movies.
“You let them be themselves,” said Smith. “Then you almost become like a documentary filmmaker, which is how I approach it. I want to see what the dolphins do and then adapt that to my story. Otherwise, you are just turning them into puppets.”
ALLAGASH, Maine — The best part about being a folklorist and not a strict historian, according to Faye Hafford, is the freedom from keeping track of specific dates. “I always said that’s why I don’t do genealogy,” Hafford said last week, sitting at a table in the community library that … Read more →
ALLAGASH, Maine — The best part about being a folklorist and not a strict historian, according to Faye Hafford, is the freedom from keeping track of specific dates.
“I always said that’s why I don’t do genealogy,” Hafford said last week, sitting at a table in the community library that bears her name. “If I did, I’d have my grandmother born after me.”
Over the years, Hafford has been a stitcher, a teacher, a gatekeeper for North Maine Woods, a receptionist for Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a historian, an author and a librarian.
In fact, at 89 years old, genealogist may be the only project Hafford — known around town simply as “Miss Faye” — has not taken on.
Few things slow Hafford down, and those who know her count themselves lucky if they can keep up with her.
“I know I can’t keep up with her,” her best friend, retired educator Clara McBreairty, said. “She’s always two steps ahead of me, and I slide back one step every time.”
Over the years, because of her jobs and projects, Hafford has become somewhat of an ambassador for the community of 200. But she said many of her fellow residents often are surprised not only to learn Hafford is not a native of Allagash but that her early years were tinged with great sadness.
Born Faye O’Leary in the Wheelock area of St. John Plantation, Hafford was the youngest of five children. By the time she was 4 years old, both her parents died and her siblings went to live with relatives, first in St. Francis and then in Allagash.
Eventually, Hafford was sent to live with other relatives in Fort Fairfield so she could attend high school — the school in Allagash only went to the eighth grade.
“They wanted to send me on to the college in Presque Isle to become a teacher,” Hafford said. “But I didn’t want to be a teacher, so they sent me to Colby, instead.”
After two years at the college in Waterville, Hafford decided she had enough and went to work as a stitcher at the Hathaway shirt factory where, it turned out, she was a teacher after all.
“They took me and taught me how to train the other workers on how to be a stitcher,” she said. “So, for four or five years, I was a teacher.”
After helping workers unionize and negotiate better wages and conditions at Hathaway, Hafford eventually moved back to Allagash, a place she said might have been at the end of the road but one that never lacked for something to do.
“We didn’t have things like cellphones or computers back then,” Hafford said. “We’d communicate with each other by walking a lot, [and] we’d always end up at someone’s house and have a party.”
Among the more popular party spots was the home of her friend Dean Pelletier.
“He was always having parties every week,” Hafford said. “If he was not planning one, we’d get after him to have one.”
It was at one of those gatherings where she met Lee Hafford. The two were married in 1949.
When Lee Hafford got a job working in mechanics, Faye Hafford turned to teaching. For a woman who said teaching was something she never wanted to do, she ended up spending 25 years in classrooms, from Brunswick to Allagash.
When Lee Hafford got a job as a ranger on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in 1976, which kept him away from home for extended periods of time, Faye Hafford decided she did not like being alone. She retired from teaching and got a job as a waterway receptionist, working with her husband at the Michaud Farm ranger station.
For the next 16 years, Hafford greeted every canoeist paddling on the Allagash River.
“That was just wonderful, and I talked to people from all over the world,” she said. “They all came because they loved the outdoors.”
Despite moving to Michaud Farms to be closer to Lee, Hafford did spend some time on her own and remembers one occasion vividly.
“These two boys showed up with Elvis [Presley] haircuts and city clothes,” she said. “They wanted information about going to the [Allagash Falls]. And I don’t know why, but they made me pretty nervous.”
Hoping to buy some time, Hafford told the young men her husband would be back “any moment” and could help them out.
“Right then, we heard Lee calling me on the radio saying he’d be back in two hours,” Hafford said with a laugh, adding the two young men wandered off and never caused any trouble.
As a waterway receptionist, it was Hafford’s job to keep track of people who passed by her station and alert them to the natural obstacle of Allagash Falls not far down the river.
Lee Hafford passed away in 1993. The loss of her husband and best friend devastated Faye Hafford, who said she spent the following two years “feeling lonely and sorry for myself.”
But after a while, Hafford decided to get up and out of her house and got a job as a gate attendant for the North Maine Woods.
For seven years, she again was keeping track of visitors to northern Maine — this time on dry land — and on any given day could pinpoint the approximate locations of all those visitors who passed through her gate.
“It was really a good time at the gates,” she said. “The work was easy, and I talked to so many people who came through.”
Be it on the waterway or in the North Woods, the best part of the job, Hafford said, was passing along her love of Allagash.
If she’s not talking about the community, she’s writing about it.
“When we had the centennial here in Allagash, some people asked me to write a book about our history,” she said. “I started looking around and discovered there was not a thing written down anywhere about our history [and] that all of our history was in oral stories or songs, and I decided it needed to be written down.”
That was 28 years and 20 books ago. Somehow along the way she created what is the Faye O’Leary Hafford Library at the former Allagash Consolidated School, which is where she can be found three afternoons a week.
There, she works on a community newsletter mailed four times a year to people around the country, helps residents find books or use the library’s computers, councils residents on Medicare and runs the local book club.
“That book club can be tricky,” she said. “I tell everyone you don’t have to like every book, but you do have to read every book.”
For those who can’t get to the books, Hafford organized a book delivery program, which sends reading materials directly to elderly and homebound Allagash residents.
When stopping to drop off the mail, Allagash Town Manager Patty Pelletier exchanges some light banter with Hafford.
“She’s the matriarch of Allagash,” Pelletier said.
Up the road at Two Rivers Cafe, Hafford and her “partner in crime,” Clara McBreairty, are a common site. Residents will say you rarely see one without the other.
“One time someone called my house looking for me, and my husband said, ‘Only Clara knows where Clara is,’” McBreairty said. “One of the children piped up, ‘And Faye and God know where, too.’”
She uses a cane to walk and has moved from her family home into a smaller apartment, but Hafford shows no signs of slowing down — despite her vow to “retire” in April.
“I’m going to be 90,” she said. “Don’t you think it’s time?”
Klara Vestman, 18, of Umea, Sweden, has on her phone a list of things she wants to experience during her 10 weeks living in Maine. It includes eating lobster and a Fluffernutter sandwich, watching “American” football, seeing a movie in a theater and attending a hockey game. She checked off … Read more →
Klara Vestman, 18, of Umea, Sweden, has on her phone a list of things she wants to experience during her 10 weeks living in Maine. It includes eating lobster and a Fluffernutter sandwich, watching “American” football, seeing a movie in a theater and attending a hockey game. She checked off the first — trying a smoothie — in Boston late last month before she took a bus north to Bangor to meet her host family and work on the rest.
She is settled and is living a fairly typical teen life. She moved into her new home — a modest shingle-sided, single-story home owned by Earle and Calista Hannigan in Holden, with a view of Mount Katahdin on clear days — started classes at John Bapst Memorial High School and joined the cross-country team.
Part of the family
To prepare for their new, albeit temporary, family member, the Hannigans cleaned out their daughter’s former room, putting her old pictures of hockey games in boxes and throwing other things away.
“We’ve been empty-nesters for quite a while,” Earle Hannigan said with a laugh.
This isn’t the first time their “nest” hosted another exchange student. A picture of a student from Chile, who they hosted about 20 years ago, still sits on a living room shelf, alongside those of family and close friends.
“It keeps us young,” Earle Hannigan said of hosting students. His wife agreed, adding it helped the couple expand their “horizons and explore different cultures.”
Vestman is one of three Swedish exchange students who have swapped homes with three students from John Bapst. She is staying with the Hannigans because the parents of the student who went to her home in Sweden live too far from the school.
“Basically, the idea of the exchange is to swap families,” Vestman said. “I thought it would be nice. My parents could practice their English. … I could practice mine [and] use the things I’ve learned in real life.”
The international student program at John Bapst has three slightly different tracts. More than 50 students from China, Vietnam, South Korea, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany, Egypt and Ecuador live on campus or are part of the homestay program, staying with teachers or other John Bapst families. This year, three additional students from Dragonskolan school in Umea are part of the nearly decade-old Swedish program: Students in Umea exchange families and schools with three students from John Bapst for the first couple of months of the fall term.
The purpose of the program is two-fold, according to Mark Tasker, the social science department chair at John Bapst. The students in Sweden are in English-speaking high school programs, so coming to the U.S. helps solidify what they’re learning, and John Bapst students get to study abroad in their native language while immersing themselves in another culture.
When the Hannigans hosted a student from Chile more than two decades ago, they were discouraged from allowing her to call home too often. Nowadays, with the advent of smartphones, email and social media, one would be hard-pressed to keep a teen from contacting friends or loved ones overseas.
Vestman calls home regularly via Skype. Instead of framed photos of family or friends adorning her simple bedroom at the Hannigan’s home, her phone is full of pictures and videos.
“I think it’s very good for her to have that communication with her mother,” Calista Hannigan said. “I know she enjoys it, and it lets her have the best of both worlds.”
Not only does technology allow her to stay in touch with family and friends, she “met” several members of the Hannigan family and the student taking her place in Sweden before she even arrived in Maine. Through emails, Facebook and video chats, she came to know Earle and Calista’s grandson, Sam Lander, and exchanged emails with the student traveling to her home.
Bringing Sweden to the US
The Hannigans were somewhat familiar with Swedish culture before Vestman joined them this fall, having traveled there a few years ago. They were excited to have a reason to buy some of their favorite Swedish foods, including crisp bread and lingonberries.
Vestman also brought a bit of Sweden with her. She gave her host family a book, towels, candy and a set of measuring spoons with metric measurements as thank-you gifts. The latter recently came in handy when she introduced the couple and Lander to raggmunkar, a type of potato pancake.
Vestman said she learns or experiences something new almost daily, whether it’s how classes are structured at John Bapst, how to pack a lunch or riding a bus to a field trip.
“We don’t have yellow school buses, so that was something to cross off the bucket list,” she said. “Everyday is a new discovery.”
There’s plenty of similarities too.
The trio recently attended a midsummer celebration at the University of Maine, similar to one Vestman would attend in Sweden to celebrate summer. Several favorite pastimes are similar. Vestman and Hannigan family play the American card game “Golf,” though the Swedish version is slightly different.
“A lot of things are almost the same. They can have different names, but then you start to do them and find out they’re actually the same,” Vestman said.
On the weekends, the family tackles the Hannigans’ list of quintessential Maine experiences they want to introduce to Vestman, like visits to Bar Harbor, the American Folk Festival in Bangor and, of course, a trip to Marden’s.
KENNEBUNK, Maine — Women lounging in beach chairs with their toes in the surf and a “chick lit” novel in their hands may well have been studying sociology this summer, if the author of their summer read was Patricia Leavy. The sociologist and former professor spent years conducting studies and … Read more →
KENNEBUNK, Maine — Women lounging in beach chairs with their toes in the surf and a “chick lit” novel in their hands may well have been studying sociology this summer, if the author of their summer read was Patricia Leavy.
The sociologist and former professor spent years conducting studies and writing journal articles that “nobody in the real world would understand,” she said Thursday.
She’s the author of 14 nonfiction books about innovative approaches to research methodology and is editor for five book series.
But when Leavy switched to fiction and “embedded” novels, such as “Low-Fat Love,” with her research, the Kennebunk woman stumbled on a groundbreaking form of “arts-based research,” which takes those studies to a new audience. It earned her the title of “ the high priestess of pop feminism.”
Leavy was honored in Philadelphia on Friday with the 2014 American Creativity Association Special Achievement Award, which recognizes innovation and creativity in all fields. Previous winners have included astronaut John Glenn and companies LEGO and Pixar Animation Studios.
Leavy’s novel, “Low-Fat Love,” was published in 2011 as part of the social fiction series from Sense Publishers. She followed her fiction debut in 2013 with “American Circumstance,” in which Leavy said she discusses “the things women say and don’t say about each other.”
“ Low-Fat Love,” Leavy said, “looks at the psychology of dysfunctional relationships — how women settle because they have self-esteem issues.”
In her blog for The Huffington Post, Leavy described low-fat love this way:
“In all areas of life women often settle for less. I think of this as a low-fat version of love, including self-love, by substituting what we really want for what we think we can get and then trying to pretend we’re more satisfied than we are. We take butter substitute over butter and pretend we can’t tell the difference, smile when someone says something catty and act like we don’t mind when our significant other forgets to call.”
The novel follows New York City editors Prilly Greene and Janice Goldwyn. “Ultimately, each woman is pushed to confront her own image of herself, exploring her insecurities, the stagnation in her life, her attraction to men who withhold their support and her reasons for having settled for low-fat love,” according to the publisher.
Leavy said the response to her novels “has been incredible.” Professors across the country have incorporated them into their courses on gender studies, sociology and psychology, among others.
“I spent about 10 years interviewing women about relationships, body image and self-esteem,” Leavy said. “But you’re spending all this time learning about the world, and you can’t really share that with anyone because the traditional format doesn’t allow you to. Social fiction is more engaging, more accessible. … When people read a novel, they can relate to it in their own way.”
LONDON — Britain’s grand dame of fashion Vivienne Westwood on Sunday urged Scotland to vote for independence ahead of a historic referendum next week that could see it break away from the United Kingdom. The designer, who is as famous for her political views as her bold fashions, said she … Read more →
LONDON — Britain’s grand dame of fashion Vivienne Westwood on Sunday urged Scotland to vote for independence ahead of a historic referendum next week that could see it break away from the United Kingdom.
The designer, who is as famous for her political views as her bold fashions, said she did not believe there was any democracy left in England and encouraged Scotland to end the 307-year union.
“It would be absolutely great if there is a ‘yes’ vote. … The future could be just amazing, and Scotland would be very important and a influence on the world,” Westwood told journalists backstage at her fashion show.
Earlier in the day, thousands of independence supporters took to the streets of Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, as polls showed the rival camps running desperately close just five days before a referendum.
The 73-year-old Westwood, who started selling clothes in London in the swinging 60s and has shops in around 15 countries, centered her spring/summer 2015 collection around the theme of democracy in Britain, sending models down the catwalk with “Yes” badges pinned to jackets, skirts and hats.
“We just hope that Scotland can be a model for future hope and development where we have a people’s democracy instead of only everything for profit and for business and for destruction,” she added.
However, Westwood also said it was unlikely she would relocate her business to Scotland, as it was too large for her to move in the short term.
“I’ve got 200 people working for me. I just can’t relocate just like that. I will just have to keep making lots of tartan and use the Scottish mills,” she said.
But not all of London Fashion Week designers are keen to see Scotland break away. Scottish designers Holly Fulton and Jonathan Saunders said they opposed independence.
Fulton, who showcased her collection Saturday, said she felt that a “yes” vote might hurt the chances of new designers and students in Britain’s fashion capital.
“I think it would slightly ostracize new designers and students from maybe having opportunities down here, which I think would be a terrible shame,” she told Reuters.
HANOI, Vietnam — Americans will soon be able to follow celebrity couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in adopting Vietnamese children after alleged baby-selling led the U.S. to halt adoptions for six years. Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice will make an announcement about overseas adoptions Sept. 16 in Hanoi, U.S. Embassy … Read more →
HANOI, Vietnam — Americans will soon be able to follow celebrity couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in adopting Vietnamese children after alleged baby-selling led the U.S. to halt adoptions for six years.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice will make an announcement about overseas adoptions Sept. 16 in Hanoi, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Lisa Wishman said. Adoptions will be limited to children five years and older, those with disabilities and others with siblings.
The resumption comes as the two countries, once enemies, engage in a rapprochement with increasing high-level government visits, military cooperation and trade. U.S. adoptions from overseas have fallen 69 percent since the 2004 peak because of government restrictions.
“This creates a better overall environment for new strategic agreements,” Alexander Vuving, a security analyst at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, said in a phone interview. “The U.S. initiated the suspension of the process. It added to the distrust between the two countries. Now the trust has resumed over the years.”
Vietnam has put in place a new legal framework under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, said Tad Kincaid, founder of Ho Chi Minh City-based Orphan Impact. Among the Hague stipulations is that governments have a single authority regulating the adoptions, he said.
“Both countries know that adoption is good for these kids,” Kincaid, whose nonprofit has partnerships with Intel Corp. and VMware Inc. to provide technology training to orphans, said in a phone interview. “Vietnam doesn’t have a foster care system, and there are not a lot of domestic adoptions.”
In 1987, the U.S. Congress passed the Homecoming Act, which gave children fathered by U.S. servicemen who were born between 1962 and 1975, and their families, the opportunity to resettle in the U.S. As of November 1992, about 66,000 of them had resettled in the U.S., according to a U.S. General Accounting Office report.
The U.S. State Department said in 2008 that investigations into Vietnam’s adoption system uncovered abuses, including forged documents; mothers who were paid, coerced or tricked into giving up their children; and children offered for adoption without the knowledge or consent of their birth parents.
Jolie and Pitt, who adopted their son Pax in 2007, created a publicity stir in the southeast Asian country in 2011 when they returned with their boy to his homeland while the U.S. adoption ban was in place.
The couple’s overseas adoptions highlighted the existence of orphanages in developing countries to many Americans who might not have known they existed, said Becky Weichhand, interim executive director with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington D.C.
“It elevated the world’s awareness about children living in orphanages,” she said in a phone interview. “The American people in general have very positive views toward adoptions, not only at home but overseas and of special needs children.”
The process to adopt overseas children, always lengthy and costly, has become even more difficult for American families as agreements between the U.S. and other countries have been curtailed, Weichhand said. The U.S. has barred adoptions in Cambodia since 2001 and Romania, Guatemala and Russia have restricted or prohibited them, she said.
Adoptions by Americans of overseas children peaked at 22,991 in the 2004 fiscal year and reached only 7,092 in the 2013 fiscal year, according to State Department data.
About half a dozen State Department delegations have visited Vietnam to evaluate the country’s ability to manage overseas adoptions, Kincaid said. Under the agreement, only two U.S. adoption agencies will be licensed in Vietnam, he said. Previously, there were about 40 American adoption agencies in the country.
Vietnam’s Central Adoption Authority will authorize Dillon International Inc. and Holt International Children’s Services Inc. to operate in the country as adoption services, according to a State Department statement issued Sept. 12.
“The upcoming announcement serves as an example of yet another success in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Vietnam in light of the 20th anniversary of the normalization of relations between the two countries,” Wishman, the Embassy spokeswoman, said in a statement.
The chosen agencies were required to have operations in five U.S. states, which is unusual, Kincaid said. Most adoption services are licensed for just one state, he said. The Vietnam government also said the agencies must have a history of working in the country and promote humanitarian programs to help children, Kincaid said.
“I would hope they would be willing to expand it to other agencies once the system is proven,” Weichhand said. “There is a lot of interest from the U.S.”
Limiting adoption services to two providers is a form of “tit for tat” by the Vietnamese bureaucracy, which was embarrassed by the allegations of corruption and the lack of trust displayed by the U.S. in the slow pace of restarting adoptions, Vuving said.
The adoptions first will focus on children who have the greatest needs, Kincaid said.
“They are starting with the hardest kids to place,” he said. “Most people who sign up for adoptions request infants and one child.”
Some impoverished parents believe orphanages can provide for their children better than they can, while some single mothers abandon newborns in hospitals, Kincaid said. “There is still the underlying issue of poverty,” he said.
The average monthly wage in Vietnam was $194 during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to government statistics. Vietnam may fail to reach its 2014 gross domestic product growth target of 5.8 percent, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said during an Aug. 7 investment conference. Vietnam’s Central Bank devalued the dong June 18 for the first time in a year by weakening its reference rate by 1 percent to 21,246 per dollar to spur exports.
“Many of the orphanages are filling up,” said Kincaid, who has three sisters who were adopted from Vietnam. “We see the little kids in the nurseries. There are a lot of kids there. Inter-country adoption is not a perfect solution. But it is an option for some kids.”
CASCO BAY, Maine — From teachers in a one-room schoolhouse on Cliff Island to an alewife harvester at Nequasset Dam, Casco Bay provides a spectacular home to many Mainers who live, play and work along the coast. Working to ensure that the bay endures for generations to come, the Casco … Read more →
CASCO BAY, Maine — From teachers in a one-room schoolhouse on Cliff Island to an alewife harvester at Nequasset Dam, Casco Bay provides a spectacular home to many Mainers who live, play and work along the coast.
Working to ensure that the bay endures for generations to come, the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership this summer resolved to “reach people on a more emotional level” and remind them of the importance of a clean bay.
Funded by a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the partnership this summer launched Casco Bay Stories, a series of multimedia stories, photos and videos sharing the lives of people who work and play in and around Casco Bay.
The idea behind the project was to engage the community and share the knowledge of how people interact with Casco Bay, according to writer and producer Galen Koch.
“By asking questions about what people care about and by displaying the stories, hopefully we’re getting across the message that it’s important to have a clean bay, in a different way,” said Julia McLeod, former communications director for the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.
A graduate of the SALT Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Koch worked throughout the summer as part of a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Meeting with organizations such as Friends of Casco Bay and the Maine Island Trail Association, Koch set out to find interesting stories about the bay.
Koch met with Vinnie Marotta, the caretaker of Jewell Island in Casco Bay, and Paul Rollins, a commercial and recreational scuba diver.
After spending a couple of days “hanging out” on Cliff Island, Koch met someone who introduced her to Heidi and Josh Holloway, who both teach at the one-room schoolhouse on the rugged island about six miles off Portland in Casco Bay. During the summers, the Holloways live on their 28-foot sailboat, “Tiny Bubbles II,” with their two young boys.
“Just getting to cruise around Casco Bay is so fun,” Heidi Holloway told Koch. “We love to go Down East, but there are so many places to visit in Casco Bay that you can’t really get bored here. It’s pretty fun.”
The Holloways “are emblematic of this alternative lifestyle” found on the Bay, Koch said.
Another “gem of the summer” was Koch’s time with Steve Bodge, an alewife harvester at the Nequasset Dam in Woolwich.
“It’s a really great story of a fisherman who’s protecting the fish that he’s harvesting,” Koch said. “And it’s a new perspective on the fishing regulations from the person who’s doing the fishing. … I think there’s a benefit to just allowing people to speak about what their values are, and what they do, and how they live.”
I could spend all my genealogy time just looking at United States Census records, and really, that’s not a bad use of researching energy. Take one family and follow them up through the census records every 10 years, as far as you can, keeping in mind that 1940 was the … Read more →
I could spend all my genealogy time just looking at United States Census records, and really, that’s not a bad use of researching energy.
Take one family and follow them up through the census records every 10 years, as far as you can, keeping in mind that 1940 was the most recent census that has been made public. Do you find all the children listed that you expect to see? Were there perhaps more children than you realized were born to this couple? Was the father employed as you remembered, or did he have a different occupation at one time or another? Was each family member born in the state or country that you thought?
Another approach to census records is to pick a year, and look up all your ancestors who were living at the time. In 1940, I had the Steeves family in Sangerville and the Moore family in Abbot, plus various grandparent families of my parents, such as Bennett and Roberts. In earlier censuses, there were more ancestors whose births reached farther back into the 19th century.
Censuses reveal surprises, too. As I’ve mentioned before, my great-great-grandmother Mary (Cummings) Bennett Lord was Mary Cummings in the 1880 Census and Mary Lord by 1900. The 1890 Census was burned, so no census lists her as Mary Bennett, the name by which she bore children Rena and Silas.
Sometimes I look up people in a census just for the fun of it — people such as Donn Fendler, the senior citizen who, for us Mainers, will be forever the 12-year-old he was in 1939 when he was lost on Mount Katahdin for nine days and subsequently co-wrote “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” with Joseph Egan.
Though I already saw Donn this year during the Wallagrass Summer Festival on Aug. 10, I expect to join 200-300 people who will turn out for his annual program on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Cole Land Transportation Museum at 405 Perry Road in Bangor. He will begin signing books at 11 a.m. and give a short talk at 1 p.m.
Last year, I took my mother’s 1940 copy of “Lost on a Mountain” for him to sign for my son, who in 1986 wrote Donn Fendler a letter about reading his book — and we still have the letter he wrote back.
Oh right, the census. In 1940 Donald C. Fendler, 39, and Ruth R. Fendler, 37, lived on Newbury Place in Rye, N.Y. Their five children were: Donn C., 13; Ryan D., 13; Thomas P., 11; Patricia A., 10; and Nancy, 7.
Donald C. Fendler was listed as a salesman for an “outfitter to the church and clergy.” That company was and is C.M. Almy, founded in 1892 in New York by a cousin of Donald Fendler’s.
Ryan and Thomas Fendler moved the company to Pittsfield, Maine, many years ago. Donn Fendler made his career as a colonel in the Army, including service in the Special Forces. In retirement, he spends summers in Maine, where he is one of our treasures.
Speaking of military careers, I am pleased to solve the question of why Bangor’s Carl Holden, a student at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1914, was listed in a local newspaper as visiting Europe.
BDN historical columnist Wayne Reilly sent me the original reference from the Bangor Daily Commercial in August 1914: “Carl Holden, a student at Annapolis, is with the United States warship Illinois off the coast of England on the annual midsummer cruise.”
Wayne added, “Thus he was doing more than sampling European culture at the time the war began. Of course, the United States did not enter the war until 1917, so Carl was just an observer like everyone else.”
Sandra Burke will give a program on“DNA”at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, at the Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the corner of Grandview Avenue and Essex Street in Bangor.
This is the September monthly meeting of the Penobscot County Genealogical Society and will be held in the Relief Society Room. All are welcome to attend.
The Bangor Family History Center will be closed Saturday, Sept. 20, due to a church activity being held that day. Check the Bangor FHC page on the FamilySearch research wiki at www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Bangor_Maine_Family_History_Center for the latest information regarding the center in Bangor..
For i nformation on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.