Getting caught up!

The past week has been filled with activity..  lots of these in the evenings..         20150717_203713we have  had more than our fair share of SMORES , and we are just a little past the middle of the summer!    Last week our co workers took us to the Abbey Rockefeller Gardens.. what a treat that was!  the follow pics represent a feeble attempt to capture the experience …

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In addition to the routine chores during the work week, I got to build new doors for one of our bathroom buildings at the camp .. it is always fun to open the tool bag! We continue to meet interesting folks through our work at the campground..

Yesterday we started off the day with a visit to the gathering place where we eased into our first day off with a second cup of tea and a bagel..  then back to our site where we took some time to reorganize  our site.. I worked outside…  and janet inside..   I washed RV  and tidied up a bit.. then we did a trial run of baking little blueberry tarts which we plan on taking to a staff gathering later this evening..  we made six.. and there are none left 🙂   20150729_105212Janet has had a wonderful time picking the berries at various spots around the campground..   all of which are top secret!

The highlight of the day was meeting fellow blogger Mary and her husband who happened to be hiking in the area..  in the cool of the morning, meeting for tea sounded like a great idea.. in the reality of the afternoon, lemonade made a lot more sense!   After a delightful chat, we headed towards the ladder trail which took us to the top of Dorr Mt.   This trail represents a huge effort on the part of the folks who built it and who continue to maintain it..  There are 1200 plus stone steps in addition to other cool sections on the hike..  20150729_161140like the ladders for which it is named!   Along the way, Janet was hugely distracted by the abundant ripe blueberries… 20150729_173707we saved the gorp that we brought along as a reward for making it to the top.. 20150729_171847 we then followed the south ridge trail and hooked up with the Canyon Trail which led us back to our car..   then home for nice warm showers and  a dinner of corn on the cob, hot dogs, and salad..   and the last of the blue berry tarts..   time to head back to the kitchen to bake some more!

The weather has been beautiful!

bald mt summit

well, we did have some rain this week, but just enough to settle the dust on the roads in the campground… nothing wrong with that!    It has been a different kind of week, because my wife left  Sunday afternoon to meet up with her daughter for a college orientation.. and then on down to PA  to drop her daughter off and visit with her parents..  she is now headed back to Maine and quite anxious to get here!   So what does a lonely husband do in Maine?   well it took me a little longer to complete our job on Monday and Tuesday without my helpmate, but the cat and I have fared pretty well overall.

I finished a book on the Lusitania – “Dead Wake” by Erik Larson..  that was pretty awesome.. the cat spent some time sitting outside with me as I read…    On Wed. I was invited to a lovely dinner with  my neighbors and co-workers, Art and Sue –  a nice campfire followed by  scallops  and water melon salad and  fresh scones for desert..  served in the ambience of an airstream trailer!   that was a special treat..

Yesterday  I  spent the morning in the shop working on some projects  and then continued to read a second book that I recently started about  the story of the western movement through the eyes of women as revealed in their diaries..   fascinating book.. not sure it makes us guys look too good.  If I came home to my wife when she was 4 months pregnant and said ” honey, we are going to pack everything up into a wagon and commence a harrowing  trip  through  Indian territory and the desert and the highest mountains you ever saw.. which we might not survive – get ready we leave next month..”    she might simply respond.. ” no we aren’t” .. but 150 years ago, I guess that just was not an option for a wife..    it has been a fascinating and instructive read..

Last night I joined some co-workers Art, Sue and Cort,  and we went to a lecture at the Claremont  Hotel in Southwest Harbor..  the speaker was  Bill Yeo,  who related through story , pictures , and video,  his attempt, along with a friend, to do an unsupported hike up Mt Everest..   what an interesting evening that turned out to be..   we all left thinking, ” who in their right mind would want to climb mt everest?”     It turns out that Bill did not  quite reach the summit, but his friend did..  and looked terribly beat up by the experience!    We hope to attend more of the lecture series sponsored by the hotel.. what a neat tradition..  they also have concerts there.. just might make it to one of those as well..

we were so inspired by the lecture that this morning Cort and I  did a hike 🙂   Bald mountain and Parkman mountain  bald mt 3  this is the first photo that I took on the way up Bald Mt.   looking off toward the islands.. bald mt 2lots of blueberries on the way up..  most will be ready for picking in the next few weeks.. but we will have to time it well.. this is a rather popular trail…

bald mt 1  view from the top..    I can’t identify all of the islands yet, but i am working on it!

bald mt blueberries this is a great hike..   nice loop..   good parking at the trail head.  but get there early.. at 8 am when we left, there were plenty of spots..   by the time we got back,  it was pretty crowded..

tools of the trade

tools of the tradeour job at mount desert campground has lots of benefits..   first of all – we get to live in a beautiful part of the world from May till mid October… folks are driving 15 hours and more to come here to visit.. and we get to call it home for almost half of the year!    a close second is that we get to drive a golf cart 🙂  ok.. maybe a very distant second..  but it is handy to have the cart to carry the tools we need on a daily basis..  shovels and rakes and barrels for cleaning camp sites in the morning,  and cleaning supplies, brooms and paper supplies for cleaning the bathrooms in the early afternoon..  and yes, that is a plunger..  for whenever it happens to be needed..  even in a nearly perfect world, toilets get clogged!

A co-worker recently blogged about the joy of instant gratification as it relates to our jobs..  in essence, she said that when we see something that is broken, we collect the appropriate tools, and a short time later we leave with the issue fixed..   we happen to be living in a community where we make a difference every day..  turning dirty bathrooms into sparkling clean ones..  fixing tent platforms, offering advice on where to go for dinner , what trail is most appropriate, where to kayak..   and lots of smiles and thank-yous…  not to mention a boss who appreciates every thing we do..

When the work day is over.. we get to play..  on Saturday we joined our colleagues, Art and Sue for a paddle on the sound..  as we were headed back to the campground, I spotted a flock of gulls circling over some commotion on the water..  we headed towards them and soon determined that a group of seals were feeding on the surface..   it was amazing to watch as they passed by our position..  two of the seals when right under Art’s boat.  jason on the soundit sure is a luxury to be able to walk down to the water with our kayaks and be afloat in a matter of minutes..    last year at this time, I was writing about building the tiny house and our anticipation of working at the orchard…  who would have imagined that life would bring us here in such a short time.. no complaints 🙂

Getting behind!

We just started our next 3 day hiatus, and I have yet to post on last week, and already it is becoming a blur… on Wednesday we decided to  take the Island Explorer into Southwest Harbor to explore..   what a wonderful gift to have free bus service around the island.. and it picks us up right at the campground 🙂   On the bus we met a nice couple from Delaware ( formally from Bucks County  where I grew up in PA) .. we got off the bus and they continued out to Bernard..    Our first discovery was a stand outside someone’s house where we bought lettuce and  cinnamon bread 🙂    we found so many lovely properties..  adorned with flowers..  flowers southwest harborhope these guys don’t mind their house on my blog!     next a little backyard tiny house..  these are near and dear to our heart, having lived in one most of last year!

tiny house southwest harbor  we  headed into town  and checked out some of the stores and then found some  chairs on the sidewalk where we enjoyed our packed lunch, while watching folks walk by..  Janet commented on the West Chester  t shirt that one girl was wearing and that precipitated a conversation..  it turns out that the family was  from Bucks County and that the  parents had lived in Quakertown when they first were married.. just around the corner from my childhood home…  so many connections!

We caught the bus just before some rain showers hit.. a few stops later the first couple that we had met re-boarded the bus, and we enjoyed their company all the way back to the campground…   Although I can’t remember exact details of the evening, chances are strongly in favor that they included a camp fire and smores 🙂

Thursday we decided to travel to Phippsburg to  scope out our land and to talk to the code enforcement officer..  we stopped in Belfast along the way.. what a pretty town..  at the docks a noticed a flicka tied to the dock .. I started talking to the owners and lent a hand as they were rigging their outboard..  it turns out that they also own a compac 23  .. just like our own..   I left them my phone number and offered to serve as crew if they ever needed an extra hand..  this is probably the smallest blue water capable boat  available..  i love it!  flicka Belfast

after the stop in Belfast we drove to Bath where we visited the bank before heading down to  the Phippsburg town office where we chatted with the code enforcement officer..   every interaction that I have had with the town office has been pleasant and welcoming..  I think that it will be a lot of fun working with him once we get started on the house project..  but that is at least a year off..   in the short term, we hope to get some clearing done on the land..  I think that my son and I can handle most of it, but we did meet with a neighbor who has the equipment to  pull the stumps after we do our thing..   perhaps one of the highlights was stopping at 5 Islands Lobster Company for dinner..   view from pier at 5 islands the view is incredible, and the fish and chips were great.. we met a couple there and shared some conversation..  she is an accomplished vocalist so she and Janet had a lot to chat about..   on the way out to the lobster company , we stopped at 5 Islands Farm Stand  janet at five islands market

it was a late night by the time we arrived back at the campground, but it certainly was a productive day!

Friday was made for exercise…  we headed out for what I called the great circle route on the carriage trails..  covered about  22 miles in all..  we started at  Eagle lake and rode to Aunt Betty’s pond.. then  on to  Upper Hadlock pond where we stopped for a short hike.. janet on carriage trail bridge  and a photo opportunity 🙂    then on to Jordon Pond where we enjoyed our picnic lunch…bubble - jordan pondand then over to Day Mountain where we enjoyed the view from the top..  and really enjoyed the ride down the mountain!   view from day mountain

on our way back towards bubble pond, Janet saw a deer..  I was looking off into the woods to spot it, but it was right next to her!   It turned out to be a rather tame deer, and she allowed us to watch as she sauntered across the road in front of us and began munching fresh greens along the side of the path..  she was in no special hurry…deer on carriage trail

During our ride, we found out that a close friend and co-worker and her dad were going to be spending a few nights in Southwest Harbor 🙂    We ended up connecting with them for the fireworks on the 4th,  and they joined us for dinner on the evening of the 5th..  we took them for a walk down to the floats..  the tide was out, so there was lots to see, and the kids were having a blast  catching crabs…   some adults were too 🙂   kids crabbing on the dock

Amidst all of this activity, perhaps one of the most special moments that we enjoyed was an impromptu campfire that we ended up having when the folks camping next to us came over to chat..  before we knew it,  their kids were there..  our co workers and their kids stopped by,  the campground owner showed up..   and fantasies of all fantasies.. we had smores for dinner!   With all of the beauty that Acadia has to offer,  and all of the options for adventures..  we have been reminded over and over this week that the most important opportunity that this move in our life has created is the gift to connect with interesting folks from all over…

and that brought another week on Mount Desert Island to a close..    time is flying by..  work is great.. playtime is even better … life is good..

The thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat.

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For those old enough to remember ABC’s Wide World of Sports,  you certainly know that this is not an original quote 🙂   but it is one that came to mind last evening..   My original attempt at using the oven in our camper was minimally successful – the cake burned a bit on the bottom, but we salvaged it ..  second attempt was much better..    the third attempt was the masterpiece 🙂  .. I am still recalling that  shortcake!   I could not wait to cut into that!

So what happened last night?  Well,  I wanted to try a favorite recipe passed down from my grandmother..  she called it poor dutchman’s cake..   ( which, as a kid, I always got confused and called  poor man’s dutch cake)   But, what ever the name, I have a vivid memory of walking into their apartment  one day and immediately smelling the cakes which she had just pulled from the oven.. they were sitting on a table in the hall, cooling..  did she know what she was doing?  did she understand that she was creating a memory that would last 50 years and beyond?   I am beginning to think so 🙂   As I get older, I have begun to realize that one of the most precious things that we can pass on to our kids  ( no grandkids here yet 🙂  )   is a series of fond memories…

But, I am losing focus!  The recipe makes two cakes which I typically put in pie plates..   But I don’t have any pie plates in the  camper, so I opted to use the 9 by 13 inch baking dish instead.. PDC-failure #1 I should have listened to my wife..  she said ” that looks like a lot of batter for that dish”..   she was right…  half an hour later when I opened the oven door, I found, instead of a cake just about ready to come out,  a liquid mess,, overflowing the dish..   The optimist inside of me said.. maybe it needs 10 more minutes 🙂    After 20 more minutes,  it was apparent that the cake was going to be a flop.. I had to face my wife and hear.. ” I told you so”  maybe not quite in those words, but the message was clear 🙂    An attempt to save some face was successful as I pointed out that around the edges the cake was done..  we took the dish out to the picnic table and shared what we could salvage…   we both enjoyed the dessert .. and smiled..  and harmony was restored to the Thatcher household …