Direct Aid for Ukraine

The power of community and networking is wonderful. Through a connection with local residents, Dr. Roy Miller and his wife, Lisa, there is a way to send funds to a Ukrainian volunteer group, “Help me help Brian.”

Here’s the story: Roy and Lisa’s son, Brian, has worked in Ukraine for years doing recovery work after the 2014 war there. Now he’s raising money for a volunteer rescue team to supply food for people in bomb shelters and to buy fuel for vehicles that have so far evacuated over 9000 people from bombed cities. For information and pictures check it out here:

A GoFundMe account is set up to allow Brian to receive money to help these volunteers at We have been encouraged by Brian’s family to spread the word, which we do, because we are familiar with these people. It feels good to help in a way we know works.

Pumpkin Vine Kid Hugging Day

This Sunday, May 15, is Kid Hugging Day at Pumpkin Vine Farm in Somerville. The barn will be open for all to meet the 58 baby goats — called “kids” — that were born in April. Of course, there will be plenty of baked goods, veggies, mushrooms, fiber, local meat, plants, goat cheese and smoothies from local vendors. There’s also a special visit from Uproot Pie Company selling their amazing wood-fired pizzas. Come enjoy a truly warm and fuzzy visit in the new roomier layout, and more parking, Sunday, May 15, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Pumpkin Vine Family Farm — 217 Hewett Road — just over the line in Somerville.

Photo Contest entries wanted

Here’s a reminder Washington Lakes Watershed Association is conducting its Second Annual Photo Contest (2022) which is accepting entries until July 30. The purpose is to highlight the beauty, diversity, and uniqueness of the Washington area’s woods, waters, wildlife, and character. Submitted photos will be expertly critiqued, and a winner named from each of four categories: 12-years-old and under, 12 to 18 years, Adult, and Family. The photos will be displayed at the Corner Gallery starting Aug. 10 and featured at the WLWA Annual Meeting Aug. 17.

Complete instructions are on the website at https// Don’t lose out because of not following directions. Enter photos by mailing to WLWA Photo Contest, c/o Peg Hobbs, POB 146, Washington, Maine, 04574.

Grange Italian supper Saturday

Evening Star Grange will be presenting their annual Italian-themed supper this Saturday evening from 4:30-6 p.m. They will have many different dishes from the great cooks of our Grange. It seems I have to say chefs or cooks — there aren’t a lot of synonyms. “Chefs” doesn’t seem to suit these people at all, but “cooks” just doesn’t sound that special. We’ll anyway, the food at Evening Star Grange is always well-prepared. So, come on over to the grange and have a delicious meal, with dessert, for $12. See you there.

Browntail caterpillars

This is the beginning of browntail caterpillar season. These 1.5-inch caterpillars are brown with a lengthwise white line and two red dots which make them easy to identify. Recently, I was able to capture eight packets absolutely stuffed with tiny caterpillars still within the covering. These bundles of bugs were all on the tips of higher branches, which made them difficult to snip out, but plopping them into a bucket of warm soapy water was worth it.

The water treatment kills them if you leave them in the water long enough. Dump most of the water and put the caterpillar corpses, bundle and all, in the trash. Their hairs can stay toxic for three years, so you don’t want to toss them aside or even bury them if you plan to till that soil anytime soon. Experts say this will be another heavy crop of them, but on the map the town of Washington looks to have fewer than our adjoining towns.

Nearby town’s alewife success

Last week, I traveled with some other Washingtonites to Vassalboro to see alewives swim into China Lake for the first time since at least 1783. The China Lake Alewife Restoration Initiative made this possible over many years of research, negotiation, planning, and finally achieving an unobstructed water flow.

There are many media items about this work — a good starting place is The China Lake initiative and our local alewife project — Medomak Brook Connection — are among the many access restorations underway along the U.S. east coast.