People love posting photos of food these days, perhaps justifiably proud of their newly-acquired cooking skills in these days of shut-down restaurants and lots of time on their hands. My plate of asparagus isn’t about the delicious breakfast I just fixed myself (toss asparagus with olive oil, sprinkle with a bits of deli ham and parmesan cheese, roast at 400 for 20 minutes). It’s really about 50 years of trial and error gardening, no, make that trial and error life.
Fifty years ago this week, July 2 to be exact, Wally and I finally moved into this house. We’d been waiting since March for the closing, complicated by the VA loan we’d gotten – a no money down loan; good thing as we had no money.
Photos of us at our wedding that April show an incredibly skinny, clean-shaven guy in his good suit and a bride holding her cigarette away from her veil. There we were with no idea of the challenges ahead. This morning’s asparagus breakfast was an impossible dream, though on our wedding day I doubt we were thinking of that. We’d yet to meet our three sons, yet to lose our parents, siblings, friends (most of whom we’d yet to meet in 1970). Wally’s career in teaching, mine as a stay-at-home weaver/writer/mom were still in the future.
TUESDAY, June 30
Lakes and Ponds Committee, 6 p.m. remote
WEDNESDAY, July 1
Library book pickup, 3-6 p.m., Library
THURSDAY, July 2
Five Town CSD Budget, 7 p.m., remote
FRIDAY, July 4
Town Office closed
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at noon, Norton Pond/Breezemere Bandstand
Lincolnville Community Library, curbside pickup Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.
Soup Café, cancelled through the pandemic
Schoolhouse Museum open by appointment, 505-5101 or 789-5987
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway, Facebook
July 14: Town Meeting and State Primary/Referendum Election
Putting in a garden was a priority, for me at least. Wally seemed more concerned about the sagging stable, attached to our barn. He took our new homeownership seriously, although neither of us brought any skills to the project.
So I went down to the Camden Farmers Union, rented a rototiller, and jammed it into the back seat of my car. My nearly brand new Saab 96; this model was so new I didn’t have to mix oil with the gas like in my old one. Don’t be thinking today’s pricey Saab; this was the Swedish version of the VW beetle, the cheapest car you could buy.
The first real rip-roaring fight of our marriage (not the first in our relationship however) ensued when I tore a hole in the upholstery getting that tiller out. It would be several years before the two of us were in sync with the garden.
First the stable had to be shored up, the tangle of alders and raspberries cleared out, a henhouse built (our first henhouse, the one he blew a hole in one dark night trying to hit a raiding raccoon – as I said, we had no skills).
After a few years of trying to live with goats we gave in and got a cow. That meant more land clearing, fencing, learning the rhythm of twice-a-day milking, birthing and raising calves and puppies, countless kittens and chicks. Piglets came ready to go; we never kept a sow, but learned instead the vagaries of pigs and their propensity to escape any pen we built and wander the woods.
He (never me) got good at chopping the heads off chickens, gutting ‘em while I became a pretty fast plucker. The enormous slate sink we found early on in this adventure can hold eight broilers, chilling in cold water while I prepare them for the freezer.
There was a garden every year. The asparagus never amounted to much; a few skinny stalks, picked early, and then the bed would be buried in weeds. But gradually we both became better gardeners. He tilled, I planted, he weeded, we both harvested, though no one could pick beans and peas like Wally. As a child he went out on a bus summer mornings to Farmington’s bean fields where he and his sisters picked green beans for silver dollars. Meanwhile, at the same age, I was following my dad around, watching him cultivate the petunias and snapdragons he grew in our yard.
I guess we had some gardening skills between us.
For some reason, from somewhere, poppy seeds must have blown into the asparagus bed, tall blowsy pink poppies, bread poppies. The tiny, black seeds that fill the pepper-shaker-like pods in late summer are edible, the kind you put on rolls and lemon poppyseed muffins. Wally loved those poppies and refused to weed them out or even thin them. Another kind has crept in, brilliant red with a black cross in the center. Flanders Field they’re called after the blood red poppies that came up in the battlefields after WW I in France.
He’s been gone over three years, four counting the last summer when he was sick. The asparagus just gets better and better. The first stalks appear in May, and I pick some nearly every day. It loves the sun, and on a hot, sunny day the stuff grows before your eyes, inches at a time. I pick until the Fourth of July, and then let all the stalks grow up into ferns, some nearly six feet tall. They play well with the poppies; both thrive. The same poppies are in the canoe up by the road.
That canoe played a role in our personal saga, proving to us both that our water-borne skills were even lamer than our homesteading ones. We took it out once on Grassy Pond, had a huge argument trying to paddle back, got home and hauled it up into the rafters of the barn where it hung, suspended, for the next 40 some years.
It came down a couple of years ago when Sam Cantlin and his crew were turning the upstairs into a house for Ed and Tracee (one of the sons not dreamed of and the daughter-in-law not yet a gleam in his eye) and their three. How we multiplied!
I drilled holes in the bottom, filled it with dirt, and planted sweet peas and poppies.
The upstairs family is, this month and 50 years later, in the process of getting a mortgage on their half of this house. Early July, a good time to become a home-owner.
Selling 33 Beach Road
Election Day, July 14, is coming up, more than a month after the traditional June election and annual Town Meeting. For the first time I sent in for an absentee ballot, though there will be in-person voting as usual in the Lynx/LCS gym, Tuesday, July 14, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. An envelope full of ballots has arrived for me to fill out and return. The Town Office asks that these be returned promptly. They must be returned by July 14.
Ballot items include two state bond issues: one to bring high-speed internet connection to unserved and underserved areas, and another for highways and bridges improvement statewide. If the voter is enrolled in either of the two parties he/she receives a primary ballot of candidates for state and national offices.
For the first time the Annual Town Warrant will be voted on by written ballot. For many years town officials have been elected via written ballot two days before the actual Town Meeting with the actual warrant of budget items and other business conducted in open meeting. In addition to the regular “housekeeping” articles found in the Warrant are two pertaining to particular parcels.
Article 4 asks voters to approve the sale of the old Beach School, 33 Beach Road. This, the last intact one-room school left in town, has been used regularly since it closed as a school in 1947. As the meeting place for the Lincolnville Improvement Association, and maintained by its members, it’s served as a community space for meetings, private events, potlucks, and rummage sales for some 70 years.
The Lincolnville Women’s Club meets there regularly. Most children in Lincolnville (and those who grew up here) will remember it as the place where they met Santa Claus at the annual Community Christmas party that follows the Beach Tree Lighting.
The second floor of the building is home to the Lincolnville Historical Society where the large schoolroom has been turned into a museum of our town’s history. A detailed timeline, displays of domestic life, and of life on the farm and on the Bay as well as thousands of photos, documents pertaining to local families are all catalogued and stored here.
The Selectmen, after receiving a detailed assessment of the building’s condition along with a $650,000 estimate to bring it up to code, decided to sell it. Speaking as stakeholder in this historic building (I’m the President of the Historical Society), I hope townspeople vote “No” on Article 4.
Article 5 puts another interesting decision before the voters. Shall the town engage in a land swap with Coastal Moutains Land Trust, trading town-owned lands along the Ducktrap for an ocean front parcel north of Ducktrap? This four-acre lot includes bathroom and parking facilities, an open field and the shore for what will be a town-maintained park.
If you intend to vote by mail, contact the Town Office, 763-3555, to receive an absentee ballot. Otherwise, come out to the polls on July 14 and vote!
Waking up to the sound of rain this morning was a treat. The gardens are dry, the BTM hairs are floating everywhere, and we’re overdue for a soaker. A lone loon was calling at the Beach at dawn, and not a seagull in sight. The lobstermen are seeing eagles preying on gulls, apparently a significant cause of their absence. This is the second year I’ve noticed. The turkeys have gone into seclusion, sitting on their nests I imagine.
Meanwhile, the Beach is packed every nice day. All five trash barrels are full most mornings, and Cleanwoods Portapotties is servicing the kiosk 3 and 4 times a week. I seem to remember the Route One Committee’s plan for that kiosk included eventually putting in real toilets. I wonder if the L’ville Sewer District will be handling that.
The Lobster Pound opened last week with social distancing, Rick’s Lobster Shack appears to be booming, and the new Beach Store is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Whales Tooth opens its doors this week. The one that’s missing, Chez Michel, closed for good last fall, not a Covid victim. We’ll miss it….