Five Islands Lobster Company

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Five Islands Lobster Co opened this weekend – I guess that the season has officially begun!     For the next month or so, it is only open on weekends, and the menu is limited, but  opening day deserved some attention, so we  went down and  enjoyed some french fries ( missed the chowder since we got there late in the day)   and the view.

When we pulled up, I pointed out the fog bank that appeared to be way off in the distance.     We placed our order and Janet picked up  an application –  just for the fun of it…   and I took another picture.

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is it my imagination, or does that fog bank hiding behind the islands getting closer….

We enjoyed our french fries with lots of ketsup..  and then Janet got down to the business of filling out the application –  nothing like  a summer job that one can bike to!

And then I looked up…

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I wish that I had a video showing just how fast the fog was moving in.. it was a sight to see..

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From clear and sunny to    grey, and misty in a matter of just six  minutes….   mariners beware!

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wasn’t there an island over there just a minute ago?

Do you remember filling out your first job application?   Turning it in with all sorts of anticipation and hearing ” We will let you know if anything is available..”   or some such response.

Janet turned in her application  ( with just a little french fry  grease on it) , met the owner and had a job in 5 minutes..  faster than it took for the fog to roll in..  she starts next Saturday..

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Leader of the Day

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Four months ago, I took a photo from a similar vantage point with snow falling and hints of a long winter to come..   and now the grass is lush, and the students at Maine Coast Semester are walking around campus in shorts and t shirts, and the summer camping programs at Chewonki are preparing to welcome campers for fun and adventure.

One of the many roles that both students and faculty get to share is  that of Leader of the Day.  As a part time faculty member, I thought that I had missed out on this opportunity, but last week a student alerted me to the fact that my name was on the calendar.  I had somehow missed that, but sure enough, when I checked, my name was there.   I immediately began thinking about how to fulfill this commitment.

The leader of the day helps to keep the day flowing beginning with the very first commitment – morning gathering  –  at  6:55 each morning.  This is a quick check in where a quote or a thought for the day is offered by the leader before students head in different directions to complete their morning chores before breakfast.    The next duty is to offer the community a reminder that breakfast is nearly over and that morning meeting begins in 10 minutes and then running that morning meeting.   During this time, the Leader begins by offering a prompt for community members – both students and faculty –  to discuss with those sitting next to them.    After a student shares a current events story, the Leader then shares a personal story which is then followed by some announcements before we all head off and prepare for the days classes.

At lunch, the leader talks about the menu, describes what items at the table are from our own farm or locally sourced,  and then offers a quote before the meal begins.    He or she then manages the announcement period following lunch.    The final duty is at dinner which is much like  lunch.    By the end of the semester,  students and faculty have each had an opportunity to be Leader of the day 2 or more times, but, due to other commitments,  this was my first time to play the part – this was the first day that I had an opportunity to spend an entire day on campus.   I thought I would share here my  experience as Leader of the Day…

Morning Gathering:

I am thinking back to my sophomore year in high school – studying Julius Caesar  with Mr. Vacarro  at Quakertown Community Sr. High School –   I have often thought of a quote from the first act  where Ceasar was talking to Mark Anthony about Casius and describing him as one who … hears no music…    I emphasized to the group how that simple phrase from a much longer quote struck me as a student in 10th grade.   Mr Vacarro went on to explain that  Shakespeare repeatedly used the idea of one who hears no music throughout his writing and that it indicated a person who, at the very least, was very sad, and who more likely was suspect and one who bears watching…   of course, in the end,  Ceasar was correct about Casius..        I then encouraged the students to take time to listen to the music around us.. and I paused,  and we noticed how the air was filled with the sound of busy song birds..  and then I told them that I hoped that they had a song in their heart and wished them a good day!

Morning Meeting:

I opened the meeting by diving in and singing  ” I love you , a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, a hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap,  a barrel and a heap , and I talking in my sleep about you… cows and chickens , are going to the dickens, cause I love you a bushel and a peck, you bet your pretty neck I do.. ”    yup.. i even included the part about the cows and chickens…    and then I said that this was a song that was corny when it was written, and a whole lot more corny today!   ( what I did not say was that  as a new teacher at 25 years of age, I would not have ever considered singing this to a group of high school students in the morning.. but at 58,  who cares! )

I explained that this was the first song that I  taught my daughter, Alison, when she was a young girl, and then I asked them to turn to their neighbor and to talk about the first song that they learned as a child..    it was fun to look around and to see smiles break out as they spoke with one another.

After the news, I shared the story  of  Bill Nash who was the music teacher  at my junior high school.   Although, as a young child,  I used to go with my mother    to a nearby nursing home where she led singing with the residents,  and I grew up in a house filled with  music,  it did not immediately occur to me to join the chorus when I entered junior high.  but one day, early in the year,  Mr. Nash stopped me outside of the library and told me that he had heard me singing in music class and that he wanted me to join the chorus..   and being the person who never wanted to disappoint anyone ( still that way)  I said “sure”.   So I joined the chorus… and the following year he said, “I want you to try out for county chorus. ”   I had no idea what county chorus was, but I said “ok/”    we practiced the audition song and went to the audition and, along with the rest of the group who auditioned, I  was accepted..  how fun was that!     And what followed  from that point on was  district chorus and regional chorus  and state chorus in my junior year..   I got to travel clear across the state of Pennsylvania to Pittsgurgh on my own to go to the state chorus festival.. and I  had a wonderful time and liked being in the city and later decided to go to college there.   And because of my participation in at States, I was invited to join a chorus that toured Europe the following summer…

And then life got in the way, and I did not have an opportunity to sing for a number of years,  but I rediscovered the joy of singing as an adult in a community choir in Wolfeboro NH – the Clear Lakes Chorale.  And, when I moved back to Pennsylvania to teach, I had the opportunity to join a Chorale there where eventually,  I met my wife Janet..

And then I pointed out how all of this unfolded because Mr. Nash took the time to stop me in the hall one day and said “Hey, I heard you sing in music class, and I want you to join the chorus.”

Lunch:

Quote –     “Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.”   George Eliot

by the way..  as always, lunch was great –  the kitchen crew at  Chewonki are very passionate about preparing food,  and meals are a highlight of each and every day!!

Dinner:

I tried to keep this quick.. like every day,  it was long and filled with activity.. But I told the group about listening to  the radio personality  Paul Harvey years ago, and looking forward to the segment at noon when he would share the news and when he would tell us “the rest of the story”  – sharing  some interesting tidbits or twists about stories with which we, his radio audience, were already familiar.    And then I told the group that I had to share “the rest of the story.”

When I returned to Pennsylvania in 2000 to teach at Wyoming Seminary,  I stood for a group picture, along with the other new faculty and staff, and the picture later appeared in the Alumni Journal..   and not too long after that, I got a note from the Alumni Office.   I learned that Bill Nash has grown up in Kingston and was, in fact, an alum of Wyoming Seminary.  He had seen my picture in the journal, and  contacted the office to get my email address.   It was easily 25 years since I had last been in touch with Bill, and he was Mr. Nash then..  but here was the same guy, now taking time to reach out and re-establish a friendship.. and I gladly accepted..    In addition to music,  Bill and I shared a passion for boats, and he got me involved with the  local chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society which was based at Harvey’s Lake where he had a summer home..   He would address me as “my friend”  and we shared numerous warm conversations at Grotto Pizza over lunch or on his porch at the lake.  We enjoyed reminiscing about the days  at  Strayer Junior High and later at Milford Junior High where he finished his teaching career.   Bill rarely said a negative thing about anyone..  he was an optimist who focused on the good in people.

One night in the winter when I was sitting by the stove, I thought about the impact that Bill had on my life, and I wrote him a note, outlining all that I had shared at  Morning Meeting.  A week or so later, I got a call from him.. he had received my note and was calling to express his appreciation, and we agreed to meet at Grotto in the spring when he returned to the lake.    But that was the last time that we spoke..  a month or so later, I learned that he had passed away.   I often wonder if he knew all along that he might not make it till spring as he has been battling illness for quite some time.

Although the story ended on a sad note.. it was really a celebration of having an opportunity to share with Bill the impact that his life and work had on me and on so many other students.   I finished by encouraging those in attendance at dinner to  reach out to others to share thoughts of gratitude.

And then we sat down to another fine meal.. and I rounded out the day by working with my fellow faculty members on the dish crew…   and I left  to return home around  7:30 as the community was settling down to  study hours..     I left with a deeper appreciation for the work that my colleagues are doing on a daily basis..  their dedication to the students and to the program at Maine Coast Semester…     And I feel so fortunate to have had an  opportunity to teach at MCS  and to get a taste for the unique experience that it offers.

chew2The garden is a wonder to watch with each passing day.. signalling the full onset of spring but also reminding us that Semester 60 is quickly drawing to a close.  Tomorrow is the last day of formal classes, and in just a couple of weeks, the students will be saying good bye – they are already becoming sentimental – and so am I…

60 Hour Canoe

60 hour canoe

Well, in fact, the title of the book is   Building the 6 hour canoe , but why would we spend only six hours having fun when we could stretch it into 60 ( give or take a few)!    Two summers ago I was talking with the son of the owner of the campground  where we were working, and I floated the idea of building a boat.  He seemed interested, so I lent him the book which described the project in great detail, and I figured that if he read it over the winter and got inspired, he would say something when we returned the following spring.

It was all I could do to keep from broaching the subject early in the season last year, but I resolved that if he was really interested, he would initiate the conversation…   My patience was rewarded when ,  soon after finishing school, he said that he thought he would like to build the boat!   At that point, I wasted no time and  started to collect materials.   I was thrilled to tackle another boat project, to  putting the shop on the property to good use, and to be working with my new boat building partner !

But, he had a busy summer planned, and we had to work around camp, and entertaining friends, and all sorts of other summer distractions..    In the ideal world, with all of the parts cut out and ready to go,  we probably could fabricate the boat in six hours..    That is the design purpose..  the plans were designed so that young students, with the help of mentors, could put a boat together  and be on the water in a weekend….   a minimum of materials and expense rewarded with a great deal of immediate fun and satisfaction    and, perhaps most important,  an experience which plants the seeds of interest in wood working, boat building and boating that will only grow over a lifetime!

The time table that I had in my mind did not quite work out.. but that is nothing new for me 🙂    The picture at the top of this article is from last weekend when we returned to the camp ground with the specific purpose of putting the final touches on the construction phase.   My young boat building partner was joined by two friends as we fit the keel and  gunwales and then declared the boat finished, save for some final sanding and painting.

6hr6this is from last summer when we first started laying out and cutting the pieces of the boat.

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things take shape pretty quickly when constructing a boat out of  just two sheets of plywood – but we added the steps of covering the boat with fiberglass..  not only an introduction to woodworking but to working with fiberglass and epoxy as well…

6hr4no, this is not an advertisement for West..     always good to have a bottom on the boat.. This is about how far we made it last fall…

fast forward to last weekend !

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when I first walked into the shop three years ago, and saw all of those clamps.. I thought, what a great place to build a boat..  and it is!

that is my wife surveying the progress… I think that she was beginning to feel like the project was going to get stuck in boat limbo..  like some of my other projects  🙂    Of course, I will get around to finishing all of them one day…

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and there it is..     So why is a boat such a great project for kids..   well, we found that we could break the job up into a bunch of  little pieces and spend no more than an hour at a time..  given the demands  and the distractions in the world of young teens these days,  that is about as much concentration as we can get at one time.    But it also teaches the understanding that the way to tackle a big project that seems insurmountable,  is to split it up into manageable pieces..

I would like to think that completing this boat will contribute to building a level of confidence that will  inspire my young friend to dream and to tackle similar and even more complex projects on this own..  time will tell.

The first Spring Weekend!

f1Here is a sure sign that spring has arrived on Georgetown Island!   It is  also confirmation that our time spent last fall  digging and planting bulbs was very well spent..     What joy a simple daffodil can bring to one’s spirit after a long, snowy winter!

We were fortunate to be able to spend this weekend in a number of constructive ways..   spending time  performing actual work around the property is certainly rewarding, and we accomplished some of that..   walking  the trails is another, and we did that last evening as the sun was setting..

Riding our bikes to Reid State Park was another..  How cool is it that we can ride our bikes to the ocean.   It is about an 11 mile round trip ride..    and totally worth it..

b1we are looking forward to swimming here this summer… well, at least one of us is looking forward to that..

b2it is also a great  place to take a picnic lunch..

b3or to just go and sit on the rocks and watch the surf..

This evening we took advantage of  the calm waters of  Robinhood Cove  and spent some time kayaking – this was our first outing here in kayaks.   It was a very different look than our beach day yesterday, but just as beautiful …

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There were lots of  loons out and about…

k3 but I need to take an actual camera next time so that I can zoom in on them better…

k2 these are the bones of an old schooner that was left to rot in the mud many years ago..  apparently, a common practice when a ship had worn out its usefulness.   This one is just a short distance up the cove from where we are living…

k1headed back home  as the mist begins to settle on the water…

Yesterday we  also enjoyed come community spirit at the  monthly potluck dinner that is held at the community center just down the road… what a great way to get to meet our neighbors..

and to top it all off, after we stopped at the  town dump… or transfer station as it is now called,  we headed out to  Kennebec Point Road  to see if we could see eagles ( acting on  a tip that we got from a friend at the dinner last night)  and we were delighted to spot 6 of them!   Something tells me that we will be visiting that spot on a regular basis in the future…     That just might be the destination for our next bike ride.

All in all, it was a  productive and fun packed weekend..  with all that life has to offer, who has time for work????

 

The Lambs at Chewonki

The ewes at Chewonki are now  proud mothers…  the prize goes to the one who had 4 lambs all by herself!    I imagine that was a long day for her…    It certainly is a special time for the  Maine Coast Semester students and the Chewonki elementary students  to participate in the feeding and care of the new lambs.   It is also yet another sign that spring has arrived,  even if we continue to deal with some cold nightly temps..   lamb4 this little guy will never know that his picture is available to the entire world through this blog post!

lamb1 I guess that the moms know which lambs belong to them..  but I did observe two of them butting heads as one  seemed to be protecting  her little one…

lamb3these guys seem to be getting along pretty well..  maybe our politicians could learn a lesson or two if they spent a few hours on the farm at Chewonki!

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nothing like a mid afternoon nap!      The spring semester is well past the half way mark – only about 4 weeks of classes left before the students spend a week working on there capstone projects..  and then very quickly the semester will draw to a close.    My hope is that I will get to spend some quality time on the farm during that time.    It has been a gift to be able to spend this semester teaching at Maine Coast Semester..  I have met some new and interesting friends,  and I have had a chance to work with some great students.

But,  it is just about time to turn full attention to the work here in Georgetown with a number of exciting projects coming out way..  more on that in the coming weeks!

 

Is Spring Here?

We have experienced a few warm days and the sun is certainly climbing higher in the sky each day..  but last night it snowed ..  so,  is it really time for spring in Georgetown?    Even though there are still patches of snow in the deep shadows, there are indisputable signs that winter has lost its grip.  first flowers 1

Just the other day, I noticed this flowers popping up around some new apple trees that we planted last fall.    We also planted a couple hundred bulbs, and these were the first to show themselves.

icesickles I took this photo this afternoon –  a very shady spot that is holding on, but which won’t last too many more days…

And  this is  the most surprising thing that we spotted today..   our first snake of the season!

snake

it was a beautiful day today, and actually, the sun felt nice and warm..  I guess this fellow thought so too!    Yup.. spring is here!

 

We took advantage of the nice day and joined some neighbors  to do some community service by doing trail maintenance on the trail that we hiked last week which is located behind the Historical Society in Georgetown.  There were quite a few trees down on the trail, and some significant clean up was in order ..  always more fun when sharing the workload with friends…    here is a pic of Janet on the bridge which marks the end of the Georgetown trail and the beginning of the  Josephine Newman Audubon Sanctuary.    We are so fortunate to have access to the outdoors through many  preserves on the island..  lots more exploring to do this year..

janet on the briddge

After we finished our trail work this morning, we shared some cookies with our friends before saying goodbye and returning home for a lunch of left over pizza, and then we put the boots back on and set out to do trail work here  at home..   Lots of trees came down here as well, so there was plenty of chainsaw work to be done – and some still remains for another day.      After dinner we were treated to a spectacular sunset…  What a great way to spend a Saturday in Georgetown!

What is new?

Considering the fact that it has been quite a while since I last added to this blog, the answer to that question is –  quite a lot!    But  there is only one answer if the question happens to be “Has anything exciting happened recently?” ..

Wren on erik's lap

If you think that the answer is that my son has lost even more hair..   nope..  but how about that new baby grand daughter that he is holding.. her name is Wren,  and she is quite the cutie!   This was taken yesterday – my second visit to see Wren –  what a wonderful way to  spend Easter..     Her cousin, Maris, lives close by, and we expect that they will have an opportunity to grow up together and to enjoy one another’s company.

Spring has arrived in Georgetown.. at least that is what we think..  all of a sudden the snow is gone, and the day light is noticeably longer.. and folks are smiling…    so Saturday was a great day, beginning with a leisurely breakfast followed by a trip  into the village..  first to the Post Office  and then to the transfer station, where, once again, we might have actually loaded more things into the car than we actually deposited there..   so many treasures!

Then we stopped at the Historical Society where we chatted with the folks who make things happen in the building..  checked out the new display .. and then set off on the trail behind the Historical Society building..    it was a great day for a hike.. no bugs yet.. hopefully, no ticks either..   the trail runs along the back end of  Robinhood Coveghs trail 2

We can reach this area by kayak when the tide is right…  it is on our list of things to do this summer…

GHS trail 1

the trail is nicely maintained, but  there is definitely some spring clean up to be done..  chain saw required!

ghs trail 3

the trail passed by a very old cemetery..

After the hike, we returned home and prepared for the  monthly potluck that is held at the community center..  we brought a chocolate cake this time around..    it was a smaller crowd, but  lots of good conversation and lots of good food!

brunswick march

last week we went to the march for our lives rally  in Brunswick..   it was a moving experience  –  great to see and hear  students speaking…   it felt good to support them, but I was a little disappointed at not seeing more students in the march itself…

five islands walk

We have been talking about how close we are to the wharf at  five islands harbor..  earlier this week we decided to walk there..   all told, it  is about  1.75 miles  one way ..   we had the road to ourselves..   it will be even better this summer when we can reward ourselves with an ice cream cone  at the wharf 🙂

snow 101

not  all that long ago..  this is what it looked like around here…  very beautiful…  but we are ready to see the robins return,  fresh spring green leaves, and boats on the cove!    thanks for stopping by..  any questions?      cp23_1983@yahoo.com  jt