Maine

The Robin Exclusion

 

robin

I just witnessed a group of Robin’s in my backyard all huddled up. I got closer to see or hear what was going on. I overheard one, the larger one of the flock, whispering something, tweeting to the other. Here is what I presume he was saying. Look you guys, I know it has been a long trip from the South, I know Tiny, your wings are sore, we must move on. The map showed this as to be Vacationland, Maine, pictures were divine. The last I checked, temperature is now 28 degrees F. One smaller bird replies, ” I want to go back”. Again the leader tried to gather all of them but it looked from my vantage point that all of the birds were turning their back on their leader. Sad thing, April 3 and so cold in the North. Look fella’s, I know we went through that snow storm this morning but look it’s not snowing right now, correct? Some did looked his way but decided he was hogwash. The other birds decided to take flight and move south again. The little bird with the sore wing came back to the leader. Sir! I will stay with you if you believe it’s going to get warmer around here. We need to find a warm place, have any ideas? Well son, Let me think about this for a moment. I know of a nice place just North of here, You want to go? The little bird puts his head down shaking it back and fourth. Absolutely not Chief, I’m out of here.

D.H.Bilodeau 2016

Fear! The Rock

 

spruce

The boys and I were skiing like Jean Claude Killy, maneuvering the knolls of Spruce Mt Ski Slope. We all had conglomerated at the top of the slope. One of the boys took charge at the moment. Ok I’m going first, everyone follow me, ok? We are going to hit the “Rock”. Being only a ten year old at the time the Rock seemed like a very scary thing to do. I can remember the bigger kids hitting the Rock and flying the distance of Lucien’s Field. Some boys tried to do tricks in the air but the skis back in those days had the cable that went around the backside of the ski boot and snap down binding on the front above your toe. The problem was the attachment point on the back of your heel. Sometimes the spring would wear out and the boot was not secure enough on the ski. When a lad would jump the spring would let go and you would either eat snow or have a yard sale. The Yard Sale, is when you lose everything on you. You lose skis, boots, hat, goggles, poles and your dignity. You might as well sell everything.

Here we go, Ron starting at the front of the pack of boys. Yahoo is heard from all the skiers, I’m still thinking I am Jean Claude Killy, or Billy the Kid. We get down into a tuck, lowering our resistance. More speed! someone hollers out. We are cruising now and the Rock is getting close. Fooosh! One skier makes it across the top of the “Rock”. The other boys ahead of me are mid air when Warren, The manager of the hill hollers out my name. Hey You! Pointing a finger at me, I’m watching him as I was in mid air. Being the wise arse I was back in the day, I try to do a Daffy Duck. My ski pops off and I said my first swear word ever. Oh CRAP! I really think I shit my pants at this moment. The ground I hit was frozen ice, my body just kept tumbling down to the Flats of the Orchard Trail. I lie there, still for a moment, lungs only partially functioning. Standing above me holler my name was Warren. I thought I was seeing a beautiful Movie Star, Marilyn Monroe above me, kissing life back to me. Things were not so foggy now, I coughed, standing upright above me was Warren. “You are coming down to the Barn right now,” he stated sternly. “In an emergency sled,” like it was a threat of some kind. I was wrapped up real cozy in a felt blanket, donated from the local paper mill. Warren put his finger in my face and told me sternly. “YOU ARE BANNED FOR THE SEASON,”. I was so devastated, my friends were all going to be able to ski, I was to be stuck watching,” I LOVE LUCY,” or “GILLIGANS ISLAND,” all day.

The “Rock” was destroyed or pushed into the bushes after these adventures. Just remember that taking chances do have consequences. Sometimes an exciting result can happen if things go your way. Warren was a real person and the kids and I skied the small mountain day and night during the winter month. I’m sure most children of these local communities have stories just like I depicted in this story. Memories are etched forever. Here is a link to the slope that still does exist. Rope tows. http://sprucemountain.org   D.H.Bilodeau 2016

The Smart One’s

 

 

 

 

The smart ones. I cannot remember what the year was but it was time to take the ice shack off Brettuns Pond. I came over with my dad and we met up with my uncle Maurice who lived right next to the lake. I was still a teenager and full of piss and vinegar.  The problem that existed was the ice shack was way out toward the middle of the lake and in probably two and a half feet of slush. The slush was surrounding the ice shack. Being with the two smart guys, I was instructed to go out and tie a rope around the structure. They coiled the dryer rope around my shoulder.  I went to be the hook up man, tying it down for a pull. We didn’t have walkie talkies back then so hollering was a must. My dad and his brother used hand signals which they learned in the paper mills. I was looking up and my uncle is pointing this way,  my Dad is pointing the other way. I later found out this means pissing it in or out the deckle on a paper machine, or the edge of the paper. So my journey didn’t go off without some issues. During my excursion I slipped and fell, completely soaking my backside. It was a rather cool day so I was starting to get very chilled. I looked out and both my dad and uncle are sipping on a glass of snake bite they called it. I finally made it to the shack and secured everything. I look up and see the hand signs again. This time I understand they want me to get the hell out of the way. Ok, No problem, I give them both the piss in and piss out instructions. I looked out and both my dads International Scout and my uncles Dodge Ram Truck are pulling from the shore. They were taking the stretch out of the rope. Both vehicles have now gone the length of the driveway and not an inch of shack has moved. This is not going to be good, some smarts coming out of me at this point. It happened, SNAP, POING! The rope broke and like a sling shot it went completely to shore. The SMART ONES didn’t figure on this . Sip of the snake bite again, scratch of the chin from uncle Maurice. Lets do it again,they replied. I went again and this time they put block and tackle on a large spruce tree. Who knows, maybe this was the smartest thing of the day. I walked out, not falling I must add. I hooked the rope on again, gave the hand signals and off they went, two trucks hauling ass. POING- PING! The rope snapped again. I came back to the shore, again to meet up with them. I needed to find out what the third plan was. Can you make it again son? I replied no. They both looked at each other and looked at the level of the snake bite in their glasses. Both of them nodded in agreement that it was time to give up. This was the smartest thing I saw all that day. Who am I to decide when enough is enough, I respected my elders and would do anything for these two men. Good Day folks. D.H.Bilodeau 2015

The Solitude of Writing

33980_3887727172115_1911327579_n

 

Nothing like early morning hours and writing. The solitude I get when the house is quiet and I’m sitting here next to the fire, well pellet stove. The German Shepard is all curled up on his couch, snuggled in for a quick nap. The holiday Christmas is coming up real soon, I need to get myself motivated to go to the big city and buy some gifts for the family. I live in a small town and to find any shopping malls one has to travel thirty minutes north or south to find any half decent shops. That is alright with me, stay away from the city limits, on the county line either direction. Anyhow, I must find the strength to move forward so I can get the shopping experience completed. The rest of my worries at the moment, is that my own children are healthy for the holiday’s. There is a lot of sickness going on around these neck of the woods, Maine. I have to knock on wood, so far, cross my fingers, I have stayed healthy so far. I usually eat those words. Did I mention the solitude I’m having at the moment. One can write from the mind with ease. The mind needs an outlet, a place to discharge its thoughts, I found this in writing. Oh, where did that scratch come from on my right hand, never noticed it before. Oh yes that was from wiring the service box in the cellar the other day. A wire snuck up and got me, darn those wires hurt. Oh did I mention that Christmas is coming up real fast and that I got to get a move on? Oh well, maybe I did mention that. The weather in Maine, or Central Maine has been moderate. We have had a few snow storms but rain has been following these and melting most of it. The snowmobile riders are not happy, at least in this part of Maine. I guess the Northern part of the State is getting a good amount of snow and the Southern Part is probably bare of snow. We have been getting days of freezing rain and this has made the roads very slippery. Darn itch in my ear, nothing to scratch it with. My fingers are too big to fit into the canal, guess I will have to go upstairs and find a Q-tip. Why did I get up at 0230 hrs Local EST? No reason, other than the fact I was not tired and had a little hunger thing going on, also the coffee kick needed to be taking care of. I will take a nap later today, maybe go lay back down in a few. I did however find a great morning of writing. I will find something to take care of the rest of my day for sure. Enjoy your work day folks, I might be shopping today. Happy holiday’s

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

 

Winter Bliss

maine pic

Oh my aching back. The de-winterization process is what I call it. Here in Maine we had our first real snow storm and it was a pretty good one or bad one. It all depends on how you look at it. Mainers all around are waiting for winter in different ways. My spouse looks at the beauty of it all. I see red and only red. What it means to me has me really become a confusing mess in my little brain. I have to clean both trucks off then scrape the windshield. I then have to get the old plow truck running which gives me troubles every time I try to use it. I have to jump start it, there must be a ground in there somewhere but it is old right? I then clean the driveway with the old truck stalling a few times. Then I have to get the snowblower running which gives me a headache as well. Usually after getting it started then proceeding to clean the walkways I always seem to hit a rock on the first few storms. The shear pins break and then I have to do some mechanical work to get new pins installed. After finishing the process of driveway erratication and walkway cleaning I proceed to clean the large deck we have. This is quite a process which usually takes a toll on my back. I’m glad my spouse came out to help me. It really is pretty around here in Maine with the snow but you can see how one might tend to start disliking the winter process. If we get anymore snow than what just landed it will be time to clean the roofs. All I see around here is work, work, and more work. Where is the winter wonderland, I guess I missed that boat. Enjoy your day folks and I hope you have had time to digest that turkey dinner. Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Highway 95-Gobble Gobble

high

I was traveling from Virginia to Central Maine to spend some time with my folks during Thanksgiving. It was raining real hard so driving was becoming very difficult. I was not getting any help on the driving front because my spouse was sleeping. The sky was becoming very dark and I was getting a feeling that things were going to turn sour real fast.

It was the smell of the Turkey, time spent with my siblings that I was thinking about. I really do believe this is the best holiday of any of them. Family getting together and having a great dinner. The folks will be so happy to have their children and grand child for Thanksgiving. The smiles on their faces, the drinks, and football. I heard a screech and the car in front of me is going sideways, fishtailing, roads are getting slippery now.

The road were getting horrendous and I was slowing the vehicle down to keep safe. We were moving into Southern, Maine over the Portsmouth Bridge when the snow was coming down so hard on Highway 95. The traffic was still moving at a clip when off to the side I noticed a speed limit sign. Wow, when did they move the speed limit up to 75 mph? I asked my wife. Can you believe that, people are going to kill themselves going that fast. I nodded and agreed with her. Still moving North and traveling very fast the car in front of me started slipping and crossed the centerline. The vehicle crashed into a semi, blowing the car into pieces, debris flying through the air.

The debris kept flying and smashed my windshield and something hit me hard. The lights went out. I woke up with dust flying through the air. It was the dust from the airbag. I instantly thought of my wife, how she was doing. I look over and only see her starring into nowhere. Her eyes not blinking. The debris had gone through the window striking her in the chest area. I had lost my love, the only one who understood me, my hugger. What was I going to tell my family, it was going to tear me apart.

The ambulance and fire personal came to our assistance. They dragged her out of the car, looking with a sad face, I knew there was nothing they could do. I was brought to a police car to be questioned and checked to see If I had been drinking. No officer, I told you I haven’t had a drink. The officer responds with me having to walk the line to check for sobriety. I think you need to settle down Mr. or I’m going to take you to jail. I guess I didn’t settle down and I was looking between bars in a jail. Where had everything gone wrong? I was alone, no family and in Jail.

I can tell you people and insist that you do not drink and drive this holiday and make other arrangements if the snow make traveling to bad. No person in this world would want to see anything happen to you, Turkey or not. Enjoy the holiday folks, be smart, don’t drink and drive.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

A Public Message

2014-03-14 07.49.13

I can hear the alarm ringing, I’m having a hard time coming out of this dream. I’m trying to reach with my arms, stretching it out like the toy Stretch Armstrong, hitting the button for the second time. Something is wrong with me this morning, I cannot wake myself up. Someone has done something to me, I do not feel well and my vision is all blurred. I’m starting to panic inside my mind. There is a pungent odor inside this bedroom of mine. I can still hear the alarm sound but cannot get to it. There is a glow of light, ever so flickering, within the walls of this room. I can feel the heat upon my face, too much for me to handle, I tuck myself under the covers. I am awakened again by the sounds of sirens, I wonder what has happened, I go back to sleep. The door is crashing down inside the room, two men in suits are hollering something, I cannot hear them. The alarm is still going off, I feel dizzy, I cannot see, I cannot breath.

Please be aware of your surrounding’s. Do not leave candle’s burning at night. Make sure the smoke detectors all work and the batteries have been changed. Have an escape route and a meeting place outside, And NEVER GO BACK INTO A BURNING BUILDING.

A story here in Maine. A young mother and three of her children perish in a fire. A smoke detector was found with the battery removed. We all have to have an alarm system. I also recommend using a Carbon Monoxide detector on each floor. It never hurts to be a little on the ball with this stuff. Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer. No odor and the vapor density is about the same as the air we breath. In other words it floats around just like air. This deadly gas is formed from improper burning. Stay Safe folks and be smart when it comes to your family and heating resources.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

The Pepere’ I Never Knew

valmore

Growing up in rural Maine was not an easy life for a young man back in the 20’s. My grandfather Valmore Duguay, one of twelve siblings ,was told by his mother to get out of the house. She replied to the older children, You, You, and You! Get out and find a job I cannot support you kids anymore. Pepere’ one of those children was pushed out to survive on his own. He was living in Canada, Three River region of Quebec. At the time the United States was employing men to work on the railroad so my grandfather chased this chance. In his travels he ended up in Arizona working hard days laying rail. Word was spreading that a man named Hugh Chisholm was building paper mills back in Maine. One of these mills was in his home town of Jay. My grandfather moved back for a chance at working in the mill. He did get employed and worked there for over 40 years also raising his family in this small town.

My mother and her siblings were raised in this small town of Chisholm which was filled with lots of Canadian family’s which migrated from Canada. Hugh Chisholm died in 1912 but the paper mill thrived until 2009, the Otis Mill which was owned by Wausau Paper. I have some small memories of my grandfather, the only grandparent left alive when I was born. Most of the people in this region worked at the mill, myself included, following the legacy of my grandfather and father. I only remember my pepere’ from the Sunday lunches at the house which he would come all dress in his Sunday’s best, after returning from Church. He was a lonely man after my grandmother passed. He spent many day’s  watching the television is his kitchen. He was struck with cancer and had his leg removed and spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair.

I wish I knew more of him. I do know that he was a hard working man and  provided very well for his family. He also was into real estate and was known to own lots of land. There was also a story that he owned land in Arizona, this was never found to be true and no record was ever kept of this. I know that during the depression he helped others in trying to keep their homes from being taking away.

He died when I was around ten years old.  The only other times I remember of him was in a nursing home. The cancer was still in him and they wanted to take away his other leg. I believe in his mind that he didn’t want to live like this and he passed shortly after. The only thing I do know is he loved to work and watch Mutual Omaha. He also would smoke cigarettes and stop about halfway through, taking scissors cutting the end to save the butt for later .

I really missed out on having a grandfather around in my life. I do limited memory of him. I just wish I was born ten years earlier to be of witness to a wonderful man.

Here is a bio of Hugh Chisholm, this guy was very interesting – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_J._Chisholm

 

A Peaceful Time

pic 1

At peace with the mind. It is this, that most people wish could have. Solitude is what a person needs from time to time to rest the mind ,body, and soul. This picture reminds me of many times fishing in Maine. There is many mornings or evenings that are just like this. One can be fishing for trout or salmon in the day or white perch and hornpout in the evening. There is such a calm about being in the boat, canoe, or kayak floating about with mirrored lakes. There is times when every stress that has been bothering you will be washed away during one night on the lake. Really, you should try it sometimes. Enjoy the day- I’m going out fishing.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Dragon vs Firefighter

t fire

 

The dragon and I were in a battle during a structure fire the other day. Fighting fire is quite a challenge at times. Our department was toned out to a structure fire with a garage totally involved and a trailer starting on fire from extension. I jumped into my POV personal operating vehicle and drove to a neighboring town for a mutual aid call. The call came in during the day and was on a week day. Usually in these parts trying to find enough SCBA certified firefighters can be a real challenge.

I heard our own fire chief report that he was picking up the Engine to respond and I told dispatch that I was reporting to the scene. As I approached the scene I could see a large plume of black smoke. This garage was a working auto repair garage and many tires were outside between the garage and trailer. The residents in the trailer were out of the house and two people that were working in the garage sustained burns on their hands. I approached another firefighter that was laying water down in the garage section. There was only two guys and I at first and the one firefighter handed me the inch and three quarter hose so that he could hitch up with the other firefighter from his town to start an attack of the main house. So here I am, the back up man and the attack man on the garage which was totally engulfed at this time. Me and the dragon were in a fierce battle and I was hoping that more firefighters were going to respond soon. The water supply was in short order because only the two firetrucks at the time was the only water we had at first. The two firefighters were going to start an attack of the trailer when a call was made that the water supply was down. We had to wait until another tanker showed up or water supply set up.

I was looking at the fire from end to end of this garage and with the small hose I had it didn’t really seem to knock anything down. There was a car inside which was roaring and everything else inside was cooking. I sprayed water from end to end with the hope of keeping the flames down so that it would hold off from torching the trailer. I kept water on the oil tank from time to time and also removed a propane tank. I would jump from side to side, keeping water between the garage and house as best possible.  Other firefighters started showing up and I handed the hose to two other firefighter from another town who responded mutual aid.

The structures were destroyed and multiple family members, like twelve were left homeless. The dragon slayer won the battle but not without I giving it my best shot at the beginning. It is so hard living in a rural community with dwindling numbers in the department. It really is hard during the day time when most people have regular jobs. I’m sure this is a problem all over the country.  It also makes it hard to get water established since we are out of a hydrant district. Every fire in our community has to have a rural water supply or rural hitch setup for water at a fire. Sometimes five or six towns are called to have tankers coming. We do practice fill sites and dump site setup but it is still hard when you do not have enough first responders in the first place.

I just wish that more people would join their local fire departments. Some of us are getting older and we need some young guns to help out. Most of the brothers on my department have been on our department for 20 years or more. I am 53 years old and have been on for only twelve years, a young pup when it comes to service time. My days of being a structural interior firefighter are coming to an end soon. I hear of too many firefighters going silent and I do not want my spouse to get a call saying I expired from a heart attack fighting a fire. I do not want the dragon to claim another. Have a good day and feel free to respond in any way about your feelings on volunteer firefighters or departments and some of your stories. Good Day!

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014  The picture featured is from Sun Journal in Maine.

Maine As I Know It

pic 1

Born and raised in the State of Maine. Most people often associate this State with Downeast Maine and the coastal region. Everyone know’s the fact we are quite famous for our lobsters and clams. There is some really great places away from the coast that people do not hear about. This State is beautiful with the country area’s as well. The northern part of the State is where a lot of crops are grown, especially Northern Maine, in the County they say. Towns like Van Buren, Houlton, Caribou, New Sweden. The central part of the State is more populated with local farmers growing crops and tending to their milking cows. pic 2

Some of the jobs that I encounter growing up include working in these farms. I picked chickens out of the barns and put them in cages to be shipped out for processing. I also worked for a big company which most of the eggs this part of the country come from. Decoster’s Egg farms. The company has been bought out since. Many of young kids in this area worked these egg farms. I also could be seen working in the local cemetery’s digging graves. We would get two dollars an hour, not bad pay for a young kid.

Maine has a huge history of papermaking. Big companies like Verso, IP, Wausau, Sappi, New Page, Boise Cascade, Champion, Bucksport, Otis Mill, Georgia Pacific. These mills employed many of people throughout history. Loggers, and many of businesses that support these companies.

Shoe shops, woolen mills also were a larger part of the community. Lewiston and its Bates Mill employed thousands. You should do a search on Bates Mill. It was amazing the size of this cooperation during the day. Many of the buildings stand today in Lewiston and are a site to witness. pic 5

Maine has many of beautiful rivers and Lakes that pass through the State. You can see many of fisherman along the banks or out in powerboats trying to catch a salmon, brook trout, browns, bass, and many other species of fish. Fly fishing is very big here. LLBean company in Freeport, Maine is one company that has supplied the outdoor enthusiast for many years. Hunting is also very big in this State. Whitetail deer are plentiful also Maine Black bear, and Moose. You have to have a permit for moose. Turkey’s are plentiful also and many of hunters take advantage of this season. pic 4

Maine also is a great place in the winter. There is many ski area’s that are very popular. Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and Saddleback Mountain are some . You really can find just about anything to do in this State if you have the time. I have lived here just about all my life and at this moment I couldn’t think of any other place I would rather live. I have traveled to my workplace many times without even meeting one car. I like the easy life and the country. Maine the way life should be. Enjoy your day everyone. pic 3

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Last Moment With You

car r

 

I was driving down an old country road in Aroostook County, Maine. It was a long days work and the travel home was going to take me two hours. It was starting to sprinkle out so the visibility was starting to get worse. I was kind of day dreaming when I looked off to the side of the road and saw rear lights from a car. The car was burrowed into the woods and upside down. My heart started racing, it was going to get much worse.

I stepped out of my vehicle and ran toward the car. It was very dark outside and I remembered I had a flashlight stashed into the side of the door. I turned around real quick to retrieve it when I heard a loud scream. It sounded like a young girl crying. I grabbed the flashlight and went over to the car. Inside was a young women with blood all over her face and by looking at the position she was in that she was jammed inside and just under the dashboard.

I told the young lady, or Corinth later I found out, that she was going to be ok and help was on the way. I looked down toward her legs and noticed that she had broken both legs. I could tell they were broken by the disfigurement in her legs. She was screaming for me to help her. I was almost losing it myself but knew I had to help her. I told her I had to run to my car so I could call for more help. I squeezed her hand, she responded back with a tight grip.

Talking with the dispatcher was killing me because I wanted to get right back to Corinth. I still could hear her screaming from a distance. I told the dispatcher I had to get right back to her after I told her of what injuries she had. I made my way back to the wreaked car, tripping on a piece of debris before I got there and slightly spraining my ankle.

Corinth told me she was eighteen years old and a cheerleader and in her senior year of high school. She looked at me in the eye and said, Sir? Am I going to die? My heart about melted at that point. I had no way of knowing the outcome but she had some serious injuries with loss of blood. I told her she was going to be alright. I started to hear the sirens in the distance, help was soon to be here.

The firefighters had to use the jaws of life to extricate her from the vehicle. I could see the color going out of her face, a very parlor look. They had her out of the car and onto a stretcher. I went up to Corinth and squeezed her hand one more time. She responded with a tight squeeze.

I will never forget this moment. I found out later Corinth died in the hospital from multiple trauma. I’m glad someone was there in her last moments, glad it could be me.

From this experience I quit my job and started taking classes to become a paramedic. I know I can help someone else again, Cant I?

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014  Fictional Story, but could be true to so many responders like myself. Lieutenant D. Bilodeau, Livermore Fire Dept

Nothing Better Than Family

smiling face

 

The older I get I realize that nothing is more important than family. You can have cars, a house, motorcycles, boats, or whatever but really family is the most important aspect to life period. I have wondered through this journey with my wife and have two children. I am however very happy for the fact our kids were able to grow up having grandparents. I only had one grand parent alive growing up. He spent the last remaining years in a nursing home so that is all I remember of him. Our children and our granddaughter has been very lucky to have their parents, grandparents and great-grandfather and mothers alive.

Life now at this stage. Our children are all grown up and moving in their path of life. I hope that my wife and I have instilled into them the value of family and that in dire needs they will be there for us. We are so happy that our children are living within the State of Maine with us so visits happen on a regular basis. Oh, how have they grown. Both are college graduates and both have partners of their own. Taking care of business in their own path of life has come with struggles. Haven’t we all struggled in our path of life. That is what makes life a book, something to write about. I remember that when our daughter called me into a her room in second grade. Dad? I have a boyfriend and just want you to know that I will always be with someone. Wow, to think that way at such a young age. Well, she wasn’t kidding, she has been with someone all her life. That one their is such a loving person, who wouldn’t want to be with her. Our son decided to be a rough and tough boy and decided to slam a door one day. I told him with a strong view, that he better go out that door right now and get a job because he was paying for that door. He started working that day and has not skipped a beat to this day. A very hard worker who knows how to take care of himself.  The children have been everything to us. Their life does come with struggles today. What child doesn’t have these problems with their life today?

Oh, life’s picture can really paint a pretty picture though. We all have worries about our children, parents, brothers, sisters, and spouse’s. If we really dig into that little brain of ours, we realize that we have had everything we wanted all along. Who cares about anything else when we have life in general? We can complain about everything but in the end who really cares? So hug yourself first, then your children and family because that is all we have. It is worth a million dollars. Have a great day everyone, I’m going to celebrate my mother-in-laws birthday today. She is 80 years old and has been there for everyone. Family! That’s what I’m talking about.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

My Little Stretch of Country

liverThe area where I live is such a nice quaint place that everyone should get a taste of the country living I have enjoyed. The area is surrounded by three lakes so fishing, snowmobiling, and hunting are real big in this region. The town consist of one Library, two convenient stores, Fire station, and  a few churches. There is not a lot of excitement in this region but this is what I have been accustomed to. The local landfill is a place for local’s to gather and chat. Hey how is so and so? I’m glad your brother is doing better. Small talk, but this is a place to bump into maybe some old co-workers from the paper mills.

There is one major road that passes through our community which is Route 4. The road is better than any other in our region so that tourist can make it to their Northern destinations on their weekend getaways. I am just plain happy to live where I do. I can grab a fishing pole and go down to the local boat landing, or find a stream that enters her. Life here is simple. The way life should be right? I could not stand living in a city in this stage in my life, not to say that I haven’t lived the city life. I lived in Phoenix, Arizona as a young man. One would give up their current life in their hectic lives if only giving a chance. I remember when I graduated tech school. The companies I interviewed with were in the tech triangle in California and one guy stated this to me. Sir, Are you prepared to drive two hours to work everyday in bumper to bumper traffic and to have an apartment which cost you 1000 a month? I came home from that interviewed and re-evaluated. I could move back to the East Coast and have more for the money and wouldn’t have to travel in bumper to bumper traffic. I moved back to the East Coast and have enjoyed every minute.

Sometimes you have to re-evaluate. Is this stressful life worth it or not. I’m glad I was wise enough at a young age to think out of the bottle sort of speak.

I can hear the loons this morning down at the lake, the barred owl made his appearance last night. The eagles are nesting in the tall pines near the lake.  The best part today around here is free fishing for anyone that doesn’t have a license. Life really is important- I’m going to the landfill this morning to go see my neighbors. See ya, Enjoy the day.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

The Old Shed

2014-05-24 08.22.54

The old shed in the yard is about to become firewood. It took a contractor to tell me it better end up on a brush pile to be burned later. I am about to embark on new beginnings and get rid of the shed that has become an eyesore. Why do I keep things so long in the first place? I like most people have a hard time of letting things go. I have saved old things around here just because someday I would need them. I haven’t used a lot of this stuff and it just sits around and rots. I have saved old nails and screws, old metal hinges from doors, every lawn mower, weed whacker I have owned. I know on some of this stuff I saved for the fact of having another piece of equipment around just encase the one I was using broke down. I have been without a riding lawnmower and had to push mow about three acres and decided that would never happen again. So today I have two of everything just about. Maybe it is the Mainer in me that I am a holder of stuff. I am not a hoarder by no means, but do like to have back up for equipment.

The old shed has been some cover for some stuff but it is falling down and needs to be cleared for a project that I am about to have done. The contractor needs to have the shed area because of bringing a dump truck into the area where the project is about to happen.

I am kind of sad to see the old shed gone. It has been a fixture around here for a long time. I have memories of that structure. Our kids have played around it and it has been a holder of my woodpile for many years. I will never forget the time our daughter went to get the riding lawn mower and a snake was hanging from the rafters. She sat on the seat of the mower and something caught her eye. It was a garter snake and was just above her head. She came out of the shed faster than lickity split and she never went in the shed again. I remember the time I started up the snowmobile and the throttle stuck. I pulled the cord and it lurched forward smashing through the wall in front. I remember the times I went in and bumble bee’s were everywhere. They were going down a crack in the floor and I had to put them to sleep. Probably a crazy thing now that I look back on it but I used starter fluid which has either in it. I never did see the bee’s again. Good thing I didn’t start the lawn mower for a couple of days either. I remember the winter that we had tons of snow which piled up so high and the shed held on for what she was worth to hold the weight. The shed didn’t do so well and now I have a good curve in the building. It is time to tear it down but I do have a lot of memories with the shed.

It is time to let her go and go back to earth where she came from. I’m going to miss her. See ya shed, you have been a good girl.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Country Boy Not County Boy

Country-Feeling

 

I was born in a small town in Maine and have lived most of my life in the country. I played in the cow pastures, dodging the cow patties in the summer time to avoid the squish through your toes. I played in the pine woods with the abundance of needles on the ground. There was nothing like the smell of silage in the summer time as you pass by in your mom and dad’s non-air conditioned car.

I remember hitch hiking at 10 years old almost every weekend to visit my friend. The people in town would pick you up and usually you always knew who they were. Hey aren’t you Norman’s boy? The kids and I in the neighborhood could pick up a game of ball and holler down the street to any other kids who wanted to play. There was many of times we would get called in the summer to pick chickens in the local farms during the summer. This was a process of snatching the chickens and placing them into cages to be shipped off to a market somewhere. We were country boys and girls!

Most of the kids in around where I grew up also had to help with the wood. I remember my dad borrowed a Farmall tractor from the neighbor. This had a large circular saw blade that was powered off the power take off. That was a monster of a machine but it would cut some firewood. The stacking of the wood was not the fun part. We always did what we had too in the country. When we talk about being from the country and not the county it means by location. The northern part of the state or town’s like Van Burean, New Sweden, Houlton, those are Northern towns and it is called the County. The north is even different than here in the foothills or central Maine. The business is potato’s in the County and all the family work to bring in the crops. Kids are let out of school to help the family’s bring in the spuds.

I have loved being in the country and not living in the city. I did however spend 3 years living out west. I went to school in Phoenix, Arizona and also lived in Lake Tahoe. I did love both of these locations but it was not country living. I received my diploma and booked it back to the East Coast and settled back to the location I grew up. Most people I have grown up with have gone there own way or moved out of state. The country living has really been so peaceful and I highly recommend this lifestyle to anyone. We do not go out a lot but have come accustomed to watching wildlife for our entertainment. Most time for me, personally, is preparing things for the next winter. I will keep my country over living in a city any day. It is ironic that both of our children live in the largest city in Maine. Maybe when they get older they will realize how serene living in the country really is.

I will move on in time and enjoy every bit of the country living I have selected. I am not a farmer but could enjoy that kind of living if someone else was doing the work. Enjoy the day folks. I have a nuthatch on the tree I have to view. I have been waiting for the Barred Owl to come back into the neighborhood.  Come on big dog, come inside, it is raining outside.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

The Succulent Fiddleheads

fiddlehead

 

The Fiddlehead is a type of fern that grows along the banks of rivers and streams. A succulent species for any dinner plate. This is a type of fern and locals around here go crazy gathering them to make a little profit. I have personally gone out and gathered them myself but noticed that my special top secret patch had been gone over, someone sniped my patch.

There is nothing like the taste of a fiddlehead and my personally best way to eat these ferns is sauté with butter and salt and pepper. Some people like to pickle them or just process them for later use. I have tried to freeze them before but they just are not the same as freshly cooked. You can also cook them with salt pork or bacon. I also like them cooked with Italian Seasons salad dressing mix. There is really a big hype about these ferns around here. They really are not hard to identify but someone would confuse them with a regular fern. fernfiddlehead1

A regular fern does have the signature curled up leaves but will have a lot of fuzz all over the stock. The fiddlehead looks pretty much the same but with a dark green, shiny stock, with no fuzz. I cannot wait to have my supplier of the fiddleheads give us a call. How much do you want this year? We usually buy them these days because I really hate gathering them today with all the ticks in the forest and fields. We usually will get about five pounds or more all processed. What I mean by processed is the fact that the fern also has a skin that has to be removed. One method I have used in the past is to take an old screen from one of your windows and put the fiddlehead on the top. Take a fairly windy day and keep moving the screen up and down letting the wind take away the skin. Also to use a garden hose and wash them through the screen. Continue this process a few times and the fiddleheads will be nice and clean. These people are inline for their fiddleheads, I saw them down the street. gather

I cannot wait to get our fiddleheads, the call should be coming soon.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Abundance Of Life and Sun

A new day with abundant sunshine brings a new color scheme to the outdoors. I was looking out the window this morning and notice a flicker. This is a fairly larger bird with spots and an orange or red patch on the back of its head. A master in the art of worm eradication, beats out the robins that are all over the lawn this morning. Colors are vivid I guess as one could say. The sky is very blue and the leaves on the trees around here are about to make an appearance. flicker

This is also trout season with the ice just going out a week ago. The brook trout are hungry and a good fly or a worn will do them fine. I always like this time of year just before the blackflies and mosquito’s are out in full force. You can also hear the rumbles of motorcycles which are coming out of hibernation, a good sign spring is here to stay. The children are starting to play softball and baseball in the local ball fields. Sound of laughter and the smack of a ball is also a sign spring is here. base

The children are about to be done with school and kids will about playing in their yards. Folks, be careful of children playing because you never know if they will run out into the road to chase a ball. This reminds me of a story I had when I was a kid. My cousin who lived down the street was so excited that he just received a Hobie Skate board and wanted the neighborhoods kids to see his new toy. We all assembled in his driveway and my cousin started to show us a few tricks. Hey! You want to try it? I jumped right in. Of course I want to try it. I moved down the driveway and was floating and enjoying the ride when I fell off. The skateboard went flying like a rocket and went into the roadway when a big logging truck ran over it. The look on my cousins face when he picked up the parts, he was so angry with me. I ended up buying him a brand new board and I repaired this one to keep for myself.hobie

The sun is warming up the air and the lawns are starting to green up a little. I think the sounds of lawn mower will be purring real soon.  The snow finally just came off my lawn like five days ago and the raking is complete. I’m really looking forward to all that warm weather brings. You probably wont see me laying on the beach but might catch me with a fishing pole or maybe wearing my cutoff jeans and jumping in the local swimming hole for a quick dip.  You might even catch me next to a campfire at night if I can get my spouse back into tent camping. Who knows what all this wonderful day is going to bring but I’m going to enjoy it anyhow. 73  De N1mua- 2011-07-10 03.18.17

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

One Degree Away From SUMMAH

untitled

 

We still have frost on the pumpkin around here. The furnace is still running to keep some heat in this house. The woodpile ran out weeks ago and most people are just plain fed up with these cooler temps. For instance, I saw a very sad picture the other day of two children standing on the shore of their great fishing hole. They hiked through the woods with their dad to only be disappointed by the lake still skimmed over with ice. The law states around here in Maine that it has to be open water. They were able to fish because they tossed a ball out on the lake and had their dog fetch a few time. I saw fisherman the other day using a PVC pipe contraption the other day too. They stick this device under the ice from shore and the line goes through the pipe.

The other day I saw a couple driving a motorcycle with snowmobile suits on. They were also wearing their old ski jumping helmets and goggles from Lady Wellingham. Funny seeing people wearing the old snowmobile boots with the felt liners. I could have sworn I saw bread bags around the edges of the boot. This was used back in the day to keep the feet dry. Most of the boots in those days had leaks.

It is very sad to see the lumberjacks around here sitting on their front porches rocking in the chair and taking selfies of themselves with their Skidda’s in the background. The poor lumberjacks have nothing to do around here right now because they are between seasons. One being WINTAH and the other MUDD. There is not going to be SUMMAH season this year because WINTAH was extended.

The Firefighters around here have been so busy putting out stove fires and chimney fires. Most people ran out of firewood weeks ago and people are burning, literary, their undies. Really!  I saw a woman the other day burning her Ames Brand underwear in her outdoor wood boiler. A lot of people around here bought outside wood boilers and it makes no friggin sense to me why anyone would want to go outside in the freezing cold to stoak the fire. I wonder how Ames Brand underwear burn anyways? I have quite a few around here.

The farmers will have to have their cows warmed up this year by artificial insemination with heat modules inserted. The milk has been coming out creamy because it has not warmed up this SUMMAH so far. It is pretty weird driving down the road and seeing the lumberjacks and the farmers sitting on the same porch drinking Five Hour energy drinks mixed with Templeton Rye Whiskey. They really look like a bunch of goofs if you ask me.

The ladies around here have giving up on putting laundry out on the line to dry. We have so many ticks around here that the clothes on the line are starting to become an attractant. Also, it is so cold that I saw icicles hanging from one pair of jeans the other day from the crotch area. It was funny because it was hanging in a fashion that is looked like a weiner. Just no one getting a break around here.

I went out the other day to get some worms for fishing. My dad taught me when I was a kid how to fetch these little slimy things. You put water on the lawn after supper and then when it is dark you go out with a flashlight and the shiny slimy suckers will show up. You have to be quick and snatch them real quick or they will pull back in and go back into the earth. This one night I went to get them I could see ice crystals on the tops of their heads, or is it tails? Darn cold around here!

I know we will get a chance for SUMMAH sometimes, maybe it wont be until the flies are filled on the fly strip. Good day everyone-I’m going out to get some tick poop, I hear it burns good.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Old Man Jones

images

 

I was riddled with rock salt from the old man in Jones’s Field. The big kids in the neighborhood told me about this man who lived in a farmhouse next to the pasture not far from my house. One cold and blustery day I decided to take my moto-ski snowmobile into the pasture and with a curiosity I pointed the snow sled toward the edge of where he lived. I looked up ahead on the trail and I was coming up on the dwelling. I just about got to where the trail opened up to his lawn when I heard a pop sound and something stinging in my chest area. The old man had shot rock salt at me to get me off his property. It was a good thing I had my full face helmet , I would of taken the shot into the face without it.

I turned my sled around real fast as to get a quick escape when out of the corner of my eye I see three dogs running full tilt toward me. I was only about twelve years old at the time I am  about crapping my pan’st at this point. Pop! I hear another shot but this time he missed me. I’m thinking in my head this guy is a lunatic and I’m about ready to get eaten by a wolf pack. I looked back for a few seconds and the dogs were right at the back of the sled and I’m punching the throttle right to the pin when it happened. When I was looking back, I forgot to also look forward and I collided into a cement slab that was probably there from where an old silo sat. I went head over tea kettle and landed on the other side of the slab. The dogs stopped right in their tracks and didn’t even come at me. The dogs sensed that I was done in for and walked slowly back to the farm house.

I stood back up, checking myself, when I looked at the damage on the snowmobile. My god, dad was going to kill me, my quest to be a snowmobile racer was never going to happen. I can see my dad now, Son?  YOU WILL NEVER RIDE A SNOWMOBILE AGAIN!  I knew my dad well. He didn’t take equipment failures and stupidity very good. The skis on the sled were in a v-shaped pattern, or snowplow pattern now. I have skied before and you know with snowplow it is a method of slowing you down. I had about eight miles to get back home with this sled. I started up the snow machine ,very slowly limping back to my home. My chest was still stinging from the rock salt attack. I was so afraid to report to my dad of the encounter with the farmer that I had to make up a story.

His eyes lit up when I showed him the damage to the sled. What in the heck happened? Dad, I went around a corner when going through the woods and smacked into a tree. He didn’t need to know the right story, right? I still to this day will have nightmares about being shot at from this old man. It kind of gave me an “Wizard Of Oz feeling”, he was like a character in a movie. The wicked farmer of the East, all the pigs are singing and the horse’s are talking. I come upon his land and I’m walking up a white road, I presume is salt blocks.

Old man Jones passed away a few years back, I wonder what kind of a person could do this to a young child. I certainly was not out to cause harm to this person. I was not there to steal anything. I was only being a twelve year old kids with an inquisitive mind.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014