The Edge of Land: Cove Dreams

Drive down Route 129 from Bristol far enough and you get to Rutherford Island in S. Bristol. It’s a beautiful place — frequented by lobster boats and summer renters, it’s not exactly a tourist hot spot but it is exactly what you want Maine to be in the summer. There is a feeling of exclusivity there, exuded by those lucky enough to own a house on the island and those who fish the waters around Christmas Cove. But feel free to go anyway. I’ll let you in on a secret spot there. You can bring a lunch and nonchalantly drive into “town” knowing where to go.

Let me take you on a little drive first…

Down Route 129

Over the swing bridge (closed for the moment).

Packing his catch.

Yeah, did you see that sign? That’s what you’re looking for. Drive past beautiful stately homes, the boats of Christmas Cove bobbing at anchor, and a tennis court and you’ll see this sign when you feel like you could drive no more. When you feel like you’ll drive off the edge of the land, hang a right and go down a steep hill and find this little jewel of a beach…

It really is the perfect place for admiring the sea, sweet baby feet in the sand, and the ripening beach plums, signaling summer’s peak.

You will feel like you are in your own little world — your private piece of the Maine coast. And it is yours. Shhh. Don’t break my reverie.

(Erin)

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Morning Dew

In our neighbourhood, we have an abundance of amazing organic farmers.

Trying to support them all is a worthwhile endeavour, and one that we attempt very lightly on Friday mornings at the Damarsicotta Farmers Market. Generally we try and grow much of our own produce, but this year, like a few before it, have been so loaded with our busyness that that simply wasn’t possible.  Enter in- the CSA.

Community Supported Agriculture is an incredible means of enjoying the summer’s bounty while helping the farmer. With a CSA, you pay up front for a season of goods (there are many around that supply milk, cheese, vegetables, meat, winter vegetables, sea food, etc, etc…) and throughout that season you pick up weekly amounts of the harvest.  It’s an amazing method, and worth the upfront if you can manage it. AND if it happens you can’t, many farmers now have been a part of a grant that allows them to take EBT cards for a half the cost while the other half is paid by the state. For many the ideal of a CSA is unreachable, and this makes it possible. See here for more information.

Bringing local home is what it is all about.

This season our family has a CSA through Morning Dew Farm of Newcastle. I’ve known Brady Hatch for years…(about 15…wow…) and met her husband Brendan about 7 years ago when we moved back from Portland. They were just starting up back then, and have since made quite a name and business for themselves in our small midcoast area. Their clientele includes specialty food stores (like Treats), local restaurants (like the Newcastle Publik House, the cafe at The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Savory Maine), Rising Tide and Good Tern co-ops  as well as  just general everyday folk like you and me who happen upon their lovely goods. (Their salad provencal mix is AMAZING…whilst pregnant with my youngest I bought it by the pound and ate it for breakfast…it was the best cure for morning sickness that I found.)

This past Thursday my wee one and I arrived early to the farm and wandered while we waited. Such a lovely farm. (And, as always, it feels so good to see our food growing and know where it comes from!)

(This will be my last post until September, as we are busily trying to put some hard work in on our new house. I am passing the command over to Erin… See you in September in time for the Common Ground Fair! Happy summer all!  xo, ida)

The Alewives Return

No, not married women who drink ale. Fish. Specifically, this fish.

The  alosa psueodoharengus. Read more about the alewife here.

We are lucky enough to live close to Damariscotta Mills, which is technically located in Newcastle. Every year the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder plays host to thousands of migrating alewives. It’s the oldest alewife fishery in the state of Maine! Watching the alewives return is an amazing sight. The water literally goes black with the fish and the gulls and other birds of prey have a grand time with an easy catch. So, we caught a break in the rain and decided to go welcome them back as they make their journey upstream to Damariscotta Lake.

I really wish I had caught a picture of the bald eagle we saw swooping down to pick up a fish. It was majestic. In a purple-mountained sort of way. Nature at her most impressive.

This makes an awesome field trip for any child fascinated by nature (wait, so any child!), but my one year old was also thrilled by the circling seagulls. We incorporated a study of the alewife into our lessons this week, so Emmaline recited fish facts while watching the action.

Memorial Day weekend will be a perfect time to go visit, as it’s the annual Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival. Their website promises a great time: “Join the fun as local cooks create special food–a pig roast on Saturday, homemade donuts and a chicken barbecue on Sunday, and lobster and crab rolls on Monday. There will be live music, activities for kids, demonstrations…probably even some smoked alewives to try.”

We attended last year and can attest that it IS a great time. There was a fantastic fish-centric puppet show and delicious food. Our favorite fabric store, not-so-coincidentally-named Alewives, also located in Damariscotta Mills, always joins in the festivities. According to their website, “Here at the shop, we’ll be painting faces, showing the Alewife documentary, selling ice-creams and sodas, and helping to raise money for the Fish Ladder Restoration Fund. A wonderful time is had by all on this very special weekend, and we can’t think of a better time to visit the shop!” I couldn’t have put it better myself! Any excuse to pick up some new fabric….

So, get yourself over to the fish ladder and mark the festival on your calendars!

(Erin)

Country Road

The rain in Maine falls mainly on the… everywhere. Is there an end in sight? Despite the general dreariness of late, we did get a bit of sun last weekend and I found myself reveling in the particular luxury of only one baby, one stroller, one Sunday afternoon and one lovely coastal road to meander.

Is there anything lovelier than a country road in the springtime?

The sun-dappled shadows of trees on the road, the stone walls, the green grass, the smell of apple blossoms… balm for the soul.

In springtime in Maine, there is no shortage of newly sprung wild vegetation and flowers along the roadside to entice even the most novice of naturalists. A good Wordsworth-like walk is not complete without noticing the green and growing delights of the countryside. I found emerald moss, trout lilies, bluets (or “Quaker Ladies”), dog violets, blueberry blossoms, apple blossoms, and fiddleheads. And stone walls and old romantic farmhouses.

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I hope you find your  own country road and wish you many peaceful miles.

(Erin)