Thursday, July 30, 2009

A day at Leonard's Mills

By Emily Sypher

Recently a friend and I took a visit to Leonard’s Mills in Bradley to enjoy the nice weather. The mill is a living museum incorporating the original 1790’s sawmill and logging site. For a couple of weekends during the summer the mill comes to life with workers in period dress who put the mill to work at a number of tasks.

We were able to watch a blacksmith making tent stakes for his wife. He explained that he needed to make them longer than usual so that his wife could remove them from the ground without ripping the hem of her dress. What a thoughtful guy!

While watching a pair of women spinning wool, a pair of particularly fuzzy socks caught our eyes. When we asked about the socks, we were told they were made of nothing more than dog hair clippings! All you dog owners out there -- just think of all the free socks you could be making!

Other activities at the mill included basket weaving, hatchet throwing, and horse cart rides.

If there is one thing I will do differently on my next visit to the mills, it will be to go with an empty stomach. Between sausage from their very own smokehouse, homemade baked beans, and strawberry shortcake for dessert, I was seriously regretting that peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had for lunch!

For more information, visit the Leonard's Mills website.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good Pickin'

By Melanie Brooks

After a long day of work I like to go out and get a pint -- of raspberries that is! Yesterday the September issue went to the printer. Our graphic designer, Sandy Flewelling and I decided to celebrate by heading to Silveridge Farm in Bucksport for some raspberry picking.

The raspberries were plump -- some were so ripe that they fell apart in my hands!

Here's a photo of Sandy taking a photo of me! She's using an old school Holga camera that photographer Mark McCall let me borrow. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Holga photos we took came out. Thanks Mark!

At $4.00 a quart I was a happy picker. Now all I need is an idea of what to make with them!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bangor in Paint

By Melanie Brooks

Bangor Metro's photo intern, Emily Sypher, her sister, Katie, and I met downtown for the second annual Paint Bangor Day. Since we didn't bring an easel, we decided to sit on a bench in West Market Square and capture the fountain.

There were people all around Bangor on Saturday. There were some painting the Kenduskeag, some at Mt. Hope Cemetery, and some, like us, kicking around downtown.

Artists had from 8 am to 3:30 pm to work on their canvases. At 5:30 pm everyone gathered at the Bennett Gallery for a silent auction. Half of the proceeds for the art went to the artist and the other half to the Bangor Art Society to help fund future projects. It was fun to see what people had come up with and what medium they decided to use. There was everything from oil pants to colored pencils. For more information on the Bangor Art Society visit their website.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Paint Bangor Day

Photo by Andrea Hand

Looking for something fun and creative to do outside tomorrow? You're in luck! It's the Second Annual Paint Bangor Day and it's not supposed to rain (keep your fingers crossed). Bangor Metro's editorial assistant, Ashley, photo intern, Emily, and writer/editor, Melanie will be stationed downtown with our brushes. Stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Canola Fields

By Melanie Brooks

Driving up to The County on Friday I happened upon a gigantic field of yellow canola plants on Route 1 between Presque Isle and Caribou. Against the gray sky it was eye popping. There is a solid market for canola oil for cooking as people are looking for healthier eating habits. The seed meal is sold as a protein supplement for livestock. It’s also a source of renewable energy as it’s one of several vegetable oils that may be processed into biodiesel.

While the northern plains of North Dakota and Minnesota account for over 90% of the 1 million canola acres in the U.S., farmers in northern Maine are seeing it as way to diversify. For more information visit the U.S. Canola Association website.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

By Melanie Brooks

I spent Friday and Saturday up in The County doing some research and reporting for future issues of Bangor Metro. On Friday night I was invited to attend the Annual Maine Potato Growers Dinner, which was lip-smackin' good. I caught a glimpse of all the local Maine Potato Blossom Queen contestants and picked the brains of some local potato farmers and their wives.

The auditorium was decorated with hanging potato sacks, and I took the chance to get photos of most of them. Below are four of my favorites...which one is yours?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eastport to Deer Island

By Leslie Bowman

One of my favorite summer day trips is taking the Eastport ferry to Deer Island. We walk on, spend some time roaming the beach on the island, and then head back before the last boat departs for the day. The ferry leaves Eastport on the half hour and Deer Island on the hour. It’s $3 per person each way.

This time we (my daughter and I) stopped at Quoddy Bay Lobster for picnic sandwiches, which we packed with our sketchbooks, camera, water, and passports. Deer Island is part of Canada so you must pass through customs both ways. Not a problem, but you have to have a PASSPORT. On the way over I was fortunate enough to travel up top with captain Don Leslie, who I have known as long as he has been captain–30 years.

The ferry is in two parts, the boat and the scow, which is carefully pivoted during the trip in order to allow cars to drive on and off in the same direction.

Don told us that they had been seeing Minke Whales, a mother and calf, on earlier trips that day. We saw porpoise, gulls, guillemots, and cormorants.

On the island we ventured to a favorite spot, sat on the beach, and had our lunch. It was hot in our protected cove, but the water was very cold. The best place for a nap was the moss under some spruce trees. Among the species I saw were various lichens among the moss, goose tongue greens, sea orache, beach peas, crow berry, and rosa rugosa. The sea orache was perfect for harvesting, so I picked some to prepare for dinner that night.

Deer Island Point has a provincial campground and various facilities including a snack bar, so we were able to indulge in some Canadian ice cream and candy. As the tides had been running high (average 18 feet between high and low) there was much to find on the beach. The weather was perfect and the company a delight. Traveling back we got a great view of Eastport’s north end waterfront and reminisced about old times and good friends.

Here are some more photos I took throughout the day:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer in Stonington

By Melanie Brooks

This summer my family rented an old farmhouse in Stonington. The location is ideal -- right across the street from a rather private beach -- and close enough to town to make for a nice walk. The house has no television or Internet access. In fact, my cell phone didn't even work which provided a glint of stress at first but was kind of nice as the days wore on.

Today my father and brother-in-law went kayaking while my sister and I took naps on the beach. My mom used my watercolor pencils to capture the lupines that grow in the front yard while my 2-year-old niece took a much needed nap. We explored the island on foot and by car and ended up at Nervous Nellie's Jams and Jellies. If you're ever on Deer Isle you HAVE to stop in.

Here are some photos I took over the weekend:

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Montville Project

Last Thursday's Cool Sounds Concert was the Montville Project. It was a gorgeous night (for once) and people came out and brought their dancin' shoes!

Contradancing is an easy way to enjoy the music!

There's something about a banjo that makes me smile...

There are only three more concerts so if you haven't spent a Thursday night in Pickering Square get on it!

July 16: Evergreen (Folk)
July 23: Spontaneous Jazz (Jazz)
July 30: RetroRockerz (Rock)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Calais or Bust

By Melanie Brooks

Yesterday I had a meeting in Calais with Rob Siegel, the lead designer behind the new Calais Border Crossing. Though I am a Mainer, I had never been to Calais until yesterday...and what an adventure it was!

For starters, it was raining. I hate driving in the rain.

Look how sad I am! Admittedly there isn't much on Route 9 between Brewer and Calais but I did drive by a big Wyman's Blueberry building. I really like blueberries.

Like many of my fellow 30-somethings, I have a hard time to see. So when I drive I wear glasses. But there is a problem. I also have very sensitive eyes so I almost always have to wear sunglasses, too. This poses a problem when I want to see clearly but it's bright out. Here is my invention...

It's not cute, but it gets the job done. I don't think my poor eyesight requires contacts and I refuse to get prescription sunglasses. Even when it rains I squint. And I didn't want to hit any wildlife on the these guys!

Ha! I fooled you! You thought that since I was driving through rural Maine to the edge of the country that these little guys were real! I hate to break it to ya but they're not. They were just lawn ornaments on the front lawn of a Calais home. I like how the buck looks like he's hiding. Moving on....

I was a little bit hungry when I reached the end of the earth...I mean when I saw a sign for a pizzeria I decided to stop in. Unfortunately they were closed for surgery.

Funny, the pizzeria didn't look that sick so I hope it isn't anything serious.

I finally made my way to the border crossing. It's still under construction but I got a great tour and used my imagination. This is what it's going to look like when it's completed.

You can read all about it in the October issue of Bangor Metro! At 5:00 pm it was time for me to head back to Bangor. Calais had been good to me and I hated to say goodbye after such a short visit. Luckily the rain wasn't so bad heading home.

(In case you were wondering...)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bangor on the Fourth

By Leslie Bowman

The weather was our friend on the fourth. The rain stopped and held off almost to the end for the parade. And then after an afternoon and early evening that poured, there was a break that allowed for the fireworks; those who ventured out were not disappointed. Bangor sure knows how to honor its veterans and this photographer gets a little teary eyed when she thinks about the great sacrifices they make for us. Check out my photos below...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts

By Emily Sypher

For those artists out there who are looking for an artistic getaway or just some new inspiration, have I found the place for you! Haystack Mountain School of Crafts is an artists’ heaven on earth. Once you arrive you’ll never want to leave.

Haystack is a year-round establishment, though the majority of its courses run during the summer. There are seven summer sessions of both one and two week courses in a multitude of mediums ranging from beginner drawing to advanced glassblowing.

Founded in 1950 in Montville, Maine (near Haystack Mountain), the campus is now located in Deer Isle. Designed by highly acclaimed architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, the current campus received the Twenty-Five Year Award in 1994 from the American Institute of Architects’ for its design. The studio structures sit on stilts, with stairs and walkways to connect them. The running joke during my stay on campus was that we would all lose five pounds by the end of camp due to the endless amount of staircases.

When I first viewed the summer course options I felt like a kid in a candy shop–I couldn’t decide which course I wanted to take the most! I finally settled on a small metals course during the camp’s first session. Having no experience in metals I was a little nervous at the beginning, but by the end of the session I felt like a pro.

Between the amazing instructors that hail from across the nation and my fellow classmates, the learning curve in our class was phenomenal. In two weeks I could weld, solder, enamel, cold connect, cast, and more. I was truly sad to leave Haystack at the end of my two weeks, but like many of the other artists, I know I made friendships there that will last a lifetime. That sadness was also quickly replaced by excitement about the new skills and inspiration we were bringing home with us, and of course, the already brewing plans for our next summer’s adventure back.

For those who can’t commit to a full week or two-week course, Haystack also provides a number of weekend workshops as well as visiting artist opportunities throughout the summer. Since its first conception the program has grown by leaps and bounds, benefitting everyone from the surrounding community to international artists. For more information on Haystack visit their website.

Week Four: Name That Sandwich Contest

By Melanie Brooks

Welcome to the last week of the contest. I'm happy to say it's been widely successful and future contests are in the works. Like last week I am turning off the comments so no one can see your guess. I hope this one isn't too tricky! Add a comment with your guess and some way to contact you...If you don't include your email I have no way to contact you if you won!