What a winter. Not.

Daffodils are poking up in Lincolnville as an early spring is tempting us in too many ways. The weekend saw a lot of folks outside, not skiing, but raking and poking at the garden dirt, as if it were April, not February.

In Lincolnville, the community was out Feb. 20, making a festival of winter at Breezemere Park and Norton Pond, or up the road at the Cellardoor Winery. People played games, went dog-sledding and snowmobiling, and, of course, ate lots of great food.

From the overheard file: a squirrel startled a passerby, described as apparently trapped inside a closed up summer rental. In the mind’s eye, the image of a squirrel avidly rapping at the window, appealing for help to get outside and roam the neighborhood. More likely, the squirrel got in and the squirrel knew darn well how to get out.

An inland friend writes: “It’s been warm lately and a lot of trucks and other automotive vehicles went through the ice, including that belonging to a game warden. I heard a delightful phrase and knew immediately what was referred to: ‘been a lot of truck fishing lately, hasn’t there?'”

Year of the Sardine

This came from Karin Spitfire in Belfast:

For the love of herring: With the closing of the last sardine factory in Maine and lots of wrangling, finger-pointing and politics, poets Karin Spitfire (“My DNA can’t imagine a world without sardines”) and Gary Lawless (“We are all in the same can, arguing whether mustard sauce or olive oil is better”) are calling for 2010 to be the Year of the Sardine, a year of celebrating our fishy roots and raising a ruckus to encourage the proliferation and propagation of herring, with the consequent bycatch of our fishermen and fisheries continuing their livelihoods.

Eastport actually started the year off by dropping a herring from the Tides building New Year’s Eve. We bet events will spawn all up and down the coast. The poets said to stay tuned and visit sardinesong.blogspot.com.for starters.

Spitfire is working with several groups and organizations to create events in Belfast. She seeks folks who worked in the sardine plant for “fish tail” oral histories or folks who worked on the boats for “the one that got away stories.” Spitfire said there are lots of possibilities for fun and creativity; if you want to join in call her at 338-5634.


The Bowdoin Boys aboard the Julia A. Decker

An interesting online art exhibit has opened at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, featuring a group of students who left Rockland on June 27, 1891, aboard the schooner Julia A. Decker bound for Labrador. At the helm was Captain N.P. Spear of Rockland, who was commended for successfully navigating the schooner through rough seas. Also on board were several other young Rockland men — Jonathan Prince Cilley Jr., Mervyn Ap Rice and Fred Simonton — who were students at Bowdoin.

They called themselves the Bowdoin Boys as they went exploring. The exhibit notes that one of the participants wrote on July 2 of that year about the run Down East: “The Julia A. Decker has demonstrated quite satisfactorily that she is not the ‘Flying Yankee,’ and some of the party claim that they could easily have walked from Rockland to Halifax in four days.”

Visit the Maine Memory Network, a digital museum and archive of historical items, to see more about this fascinating expedition.


Jagged edge living

From the Sydney Morning Herald’s Traveler section, Feb. 21, “Life on the Jagged Edge” (that’s us, we gather, living on the coast of Maine, on the edge): “Mainers, as natives are called, are a notoriously stoic and idiosyncratic bunch with a feeling for environmental extremes,” wrote Joshua David Stein, who further described the Yankee predilection for a “turtle-like defense.” He also described our predicament of bitter cold or blazing heat, and raging seas. He is right on that the state’s best treasures lie north of Bath with its dramatic rocky beaches. “The Midcoast waters are cold but navigable and, more importantly, the towns aren’t so infested with twee B&Bs,” he wrote. “One can only take so much floral print.”

A note from Kids to Kids, a youth focused initiative of Infante Sano, which recently awarded a grant to Joshua Hardester, originally from Camden, to support his work in Costa Rica. The grant will fund an educational arts and environment project to create outdoor learning spaces, which will take hands-on learning methods into the school. The project will establish a garden for children to learn about growing local vegetables and plants and a space for them to paint a mural depicting their local history and culture. Hardester is currently serving in Costa Rica with the Peace Corps.