Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mapleton Farm Festival

We drove out to the Maple Meadow Farm Festival in Mapleton, Maine. This is the 5th year for the festival. It was a pretty small festival but they had a large crowd.

There were beautiful draft horses demonstrating farming techniques, antique tractors and lots of hand-made items for sale.

Plowing the fields demonstration

Hand made baskets

Angora Rabbit

Cute Alpaca

Wagon rides

These beautiful draft horses have enormous feet!

Mark's size 11 on the right, draft horse on the left.

It was a lot of fun. We’ve found these little small town festivals all over the country and go to as many of them as we can. They’re always interesting!

The end!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Haystack Mountain

On one of our days off we drove to Haystack Mountain. It’s out by Mapleton and not too far from here.

It was a very steep walk up to the top. The view was very nice once we got up there. Coming down went a lot faster!

Haystack Mountain was an active volcano for about 50,000 years. The elevation is 1,142 feet (straight up, no switchbacks!).

View from the top

Another view from the top

Squa Pan Lake

We had seen a beaver pond from the top and once we got back down to the parking lot we saw a trail that went that direction, so we followed it. It was nice and peaceful there. The sun was out and there were a lot of dragonflies. We didn’t see the beaver but we did find the lodge.

Beaver pond

Beaver lodge

Common Whitetail

Chalk-fronted Corporal

Orange Hawkweed (Devil's Paintbrush)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Long Lake and Square Lake

On one of our days off this week we drove up to Long Lake. It’s about 45 miles from here. On the way there we started seeing lots of signs about moose in the area. As I was commenting that we sure weren’t seeing many moose, we drove right by this one!

Long Lake is up close to Madawaska, which is the northernmost town in New England. The lake is really beautiful.

Bald Eagle

Cliff Swallow nests

Canada Geese

American Widgeon

Cedar Waxwing

We also drove out to Square Lake where we came across this pair of Ruffed Grouse.

The male jumped into the roadside as we approaced in the truck. Apparently to protect some babies. We saw at least one chick going into the grass but didn't get a picture.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Canadian Butterflies

Our location in Northern Maine has given us the opportunity to see some unique butterflies normally found in Canada. A couple of these are similar to Texas species but occur only in the northernmost US and Canada.

Northern Crescent (Phyciodes selenis)

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio Canadensis)

This little Arctic Skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon), doesn’t have any close relatives in the Southern US. Jeffrey Glassberg, in his book Butterflies Through Binoculars-The East, comments that the Arctic Skipper is “A small, but choice, gift from the north”.

Arctic Skipper

As the weather gets warmer we expect to see more species of butterflies in this area.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fatty Ground Score, McLobster, Pimento Cheese, Eh!

Well, we’re sure not in Texas!

The park manager has this very strange saying “Fatty Ground Score.” I thought he was just making up stuff!

So, I looked it up on Urban Dictionary. [Ground Score is something you find on the ground that makes you so happy that you yell out "SCORE!".]

Hummmm, sounds strange to me.

We’ve also hear Eh! a lot. We’re very close to the Canadian border and see a lot of New Brunswick license plates on cars in our area. “Eh” is equivalent to the American "huh?" or "right?"

Pimento cheese - nobody knows what I’m talking about! They’ve never heard of it (even at Walmart). When we asked about it at one grocery store they showed us what they call “pub cheese” which is like thick Cheese Whiz.

And, of course, no Mexican food anywhere! We are really missing our favorite Mexican food restaurant in Elgin (Morealia’s) and our favorite Mexican food restaurant in Fredericksburg (Mamacita’s) and our favorite Mexican food restaurant in ...

Well, you get the point. But we sure can get lobsters and lobster rolls everywhere we go. Even the McDonalds advertises lobster rolls (McLobster).

The black flies are about over with. The mosquitoes come and go and the moose flies are starting to come out.

It hasn’t rained for a couple of days and the high got all the way up to 72 today!

We saw this cutie while driving around a couple of days ago.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh! The people you'll meet!

While we were at Rocky Mountain National Park last year we got to know the volunteers there (John and Karen Cockrell). They are super nice folks and we enjoyed chatting with them. We’ve kept up with each others travels through the year by e-mail and hope to run into them again sometime.

In our mail a couple of days ago we received this beautiful sign that John had made, just for us!

John's business is Really Neat Carvings, Rustic Signs by JC.

Give John a shout if you’re interested in his work. He has a lot of wildlife patterns to choose from.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jupiter with four moons

The scale model of Jupiter is 61.4 inches.
The Moons are:
Io - 1.6 inches
Europa - 1.3 inches
Ganymede - 2.3 inches
Callisto - 2.1 inches

Jupiter, the largest planet in the System, has a mostly gaseous composition. The atmosphere shows many storms, the most visible known as the Great Red Spot.

Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. As Io travels in its slightly elliptical orbit, Jupiter's immense gravity causes "tides" in the solid surface that rise 300 feet high on Io, generating enough heat for volcanic activity and to drive off any water.

Europa's surface is mostly water ice, and there is evidence that it may be covering an ocean of water or slushy ice beneath. Europa is thought to have twice as much water as does Earth.

Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system (larger than the planet Mercury), and is the only moon known to have its own internally generated magnetic field.

Callisto's surface is extremely heavily cratered and ancient -- a visible record of events from the early history of the solar system.

Jupiter with four the it's largest moons.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The day we've all been waiting for!

Today was the 3rd annual Aroostook State Park Birding Festival.

Guess what? - Yep, it started raining about 3:00 a.m. and didn’t quit. The festival was suppose to be from 5:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. Not many people showed up. It was mostly people from the local bird club, who were putting on the festival.

A few people went on the bird walks.

Pretty cool sign. The person with the live birds didn't come due to the weather.

The local bird club had a table set up.

Not very many showed up in the rain.

Bird Banding Station - Mist netted a Robin and a Veery

Optics Station with duck decoys in the lake.

Ceres, dwarf planet

The scale model of Ceres is 0.4 inches.

Ceres is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the Solar System and the only one in the asteroid belt. It was discovered on January 1, 1801, and for half a century it was classified as the eighth planet. It is named after Ceres, the Roman goddess of growing plants, the harvest, and motherly love.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday: For our two days off this week we headed to Moosehorn NWR to visit with Carolyn and Wally who are volunteering there for the summer.

On the way there we stopped at a few viewing areas on the road. We got great looks at this Bobolink.

This is a very far off picture of Mount Katadin. It is the highest point in Maine.
It is also the northern end of the Appalachian Trail.

Moosehorn NWR has several of these platforms for Bald Eagles. The Eagles haven’t used the platforms for nesting in several years. This one was just sitting.

Carolyn and Wally gave us a private tour of the place! The trails are only open to foot traffic for the public but we were able to drive into all the good spots! It was cloudy and a little misty throughout the day.

It wasn’t a very birdy day but Carolyn is very knowledgeable about the trees and flowers and we learned a lot.

Quoddy Head State Park - 2 lifers!

Wednesday: On our second day at the coast we got up early and headed to the Edmunds Division of Moosehorn NWR that Carolyn had told us about. We hiked in for a while but it was really starting to rain so we decided we would come back some other time. We then headed over to Quoddy Head State Park. There is a beautiful lighthouse there. The visitor center didn’t open till 10:00 am. So we waited around and took pictures for about 30 minutes. It was really starting to rain and get ugly!

We did get 2 lifers - Common Eider and Black Guillemot

Common Eider - digiscoped with my little camera

Quoddy Head State Park is located in Lubec, Maine, on the eastern-most point of land in the United States.

[Offshore, the Bay of Fundy formed along the Fundy Fault, as Europe broke away from North America, and the Atlantic Ocean opened about 200 million years ago. Strong tidal currents between West Quoddy Head and Campobello Island drive what is said to be the largest whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere.]

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grade A Maple Syrup

When we were in Vermont we picked up a little bottle of Vermont Maple Syrup. There are different “grades” of syrup and we didn’t know which we would like best. The helper in the shop told us that she liked the Grade A Dark Syrup the best. So, that’s what we bought. It is outstanding! We were almost through our bottle when we came across Maine Maple Syrup a couple of days ago. We bought a bottle and came home for a taste test.

We used biscuits for our taste test.

Mark was willing to be the guinea pig. He didn’t know which syrup I had put on which biscuit.

Turns out, he couldn’t tell the difference. They are both really, really good! When it gets closer to time for us to leave this area we’ll have to pick up several jugs to take home.