northeast

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 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

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

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

 

 

 

Ketchup Testing Results

27699456

 

I’ve got to tell you one of my insane cravings that I have had for years. Good ole fashion Ketchup. When I was a young man the kids in the neighborhood would sleep outdoors in sleeping bags right smack on the ground. We had no tents and would swat mosquito’s all night. This one friend of mine would invite us to sleep at his place and his mother would always make a huge breakfast for all the neighborhood kids that were brave enough to sleep outside. The one thing that drove me crazy was the fact that their whole family would put ketchup on their pancakes. Ok, crazy I thought at this very young age and I repeated in my brain the word gross many times. The fact is that these people, my friends, were addicted to ketchup. I thought to myself that never in a million years would I do something as crazy as this.

People can do strange combo’s but this one took the clincher for sure for me. I would never try ketchup on pancakes but I have enjoyed ketchup through the years. I will put ketchup on mashed potatoes, and also on my mac and cheese. I like it on eggs just as much and will sometimes catch myself putting it on a piece of bread. Ok I’m not that bad really but do enjoy the flavor.

The FDICACIA Department has now put Ketchup on the top 100 list of reducing all aging on humans. It has been proven to grow hair in the topical form. Doctors say if you have an erection for more than four hours to go see your nearest doctor. This has been proven with a clinical test performed using fifty men. Other test were done on white lab rats and conclusive results were, not to use white rats again when testing with ketchup. Another test performed was using ketchup as a new tanning application but results show that too many test subjects were getting hives, this test was terminated.

FDIMECIA which is located in Maine has determined that as long as Ketchup is used in moderated doses that it will not cause you to have no teeth.  The next test performed in Maine with Ketchup will be in February 2016. This time half will be female and the other half men. They are looking for any aphrodisiac symptoms in woman this time. The foundation has just come out with ketchup packets and will be dispensing them at your local McDonalds outlets in your community. Stay tuned! Ketchup will now be considered right up there with 5 Hour energy drinks. People are talking about these new finds and  you will hearing a lot more about the health benefits of Ketchup. The only thing they don’t want you using ketchup for is fake blood. Doctors have been fooled in the ER room and don’t want this to be confused with real blood.

Everyone! Get on the Ketchup bandwagon! I’m doing my best to let everyone know.

©Bilodeau,D.H.

 

 

Go Away Mother Nature

2014-04-13 13.07.14

 

 

Really strange around here. Temperatures in the low sixty’s yesterday and snowing today. Mother nature just is not finished with us yet in Maine. You would think that us Mainers would be used to this kind of weather but with a teaser of spring yesterday I just couldn’t get it through my head that winter would follow. It is only thirty-five degree’s at 1200 hours EST.

I decided that a nice warm fire in the woodstove will be real nice about now. What else is there to do when it is crappy outside? The tree’s are budding around here, I just noticed today. Signs of spring are here but really just starting out. The sap season is over now that the tree’s have started budding. What is really bothering me is the amount of snow still in my yard. I drive around just a little south of here and people I have been noticing are raking their lawns. My little town is still hanging onto the clutch of winter.

We will survive this day and will be looking at the much predicted warmer temps tomorrow, like seventy degree’s. Even the dog is confused today, I know this because he pooped right on the driveway instead of traveling to the edges of the lawn. Usually an indication of his not wanting to travel in the snow. It’s ok boy I understand this time. The heat is now started to warm the bones, just what is needed on a cool day like today. Argh, have to get the taxes out tomorrow. I wish one year I wouldn’t have to pay them. Darn it I work hard and I still have to payout.

I will get through this mess today and look forward to a greater future. Lots of car accident around today. The scanner is buzzing and the roads are slippery north of us. To us Mainers, be careful in Phillips-Strong-Avon region. I’m going to stoak the fire and stay out of the pucker-brush. Have a great day everyone. This picture was taking today in my backyard.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

The Haunted House

unger_haunted_house

 

 

Tales of the haunted house. I was only nine years old and the kids in the neighborhood had told me that they heard a piano playing in the haunted house one night. That place is spooky said Nard and Unie, childhood nicknames.

I grew up in a very rural country area where farming was a business or necessity for most of the people. From my backyard, or to the edge of the back of my parents property, was a cow pasture. The kids in the neighborhood and I would play in these fields dodging cow patty’s and pucker brush. In the far distance and too far to see from where I lived was an old broken down house we called the haunted house.

The time is winter and my dad had bought an old snowmobile that required changing the spark plugs all the time because one side or the other was always fouling. This was very normal for sleds back in the day. My dad had taught my brothers and I how to change a plug. You get the tool-kit from out of the back and counterclockwise to loosen. He would always say lefty loosey, righty tighty. The other trick was to pull the pull cord several times to get some gas in the cylinder. He always kept a bic lighter in the back and you would put it over the open cylinder and touch it off. It would burn the old gas and then you would put the new spark plug back on and usually it would run.

One night I was driving by the haunted house and the plug started to foul. I stopped right in front of the haunted house. I was getting the tools out to change the plug when I heard music playing. Someone was playing the most beautiful piano I have ever heard. I then heard something bang within the house like a chair tipping over. My eyes widened and I started to get very scared. I thought someone was going to come out and grab me so I started running down the snowmobile trail as fast as I could run. It was about a mile back to the house and it was pitch dark outside. I was running and looking back and not seeing anything. I heard a howl within the woods. Now I’m really scared shitless and my pace increases like no other. I finally got to the fence line behind my parents house and tears are running down my face. I reached the house and start hollering for my parents.

I reached the porch of the house and my mom and dad came out to see what all the commotion was . What is going on son? I broke down at the haunted house and someone was playing a piano. My dad looks at me and tells me there is no such thing as a haunted house. I’m  looking at him and thinking how can I reply to my dad with an answer that would make him believe. I didn’t have an answer. My dad was not too happy because now he had to go to the haunted house in the morning to retrieve the sled which required him to walk a mile up the trail to get it.

The kids in the neighborhood still talk today about the haunted house and one of my cousins who lived on the street came to visit it a few years back just to see it again. He told me someone bought the property and tore down the old house and had a new home built. I don’t blame them for tearing it down, it really was haunted, I know it.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

My Great Uncle Emile

300113_2259254915879_1230782095_nNot many people can boast of an honest to goodness hermit in their family but I’ve had one. My great uncle Emile (which we pronounced “e-mill”) Duguay was my maternal grand-fathers brother and born in the late 1800’s. As typical of the day, many French-Canadian catholic families in Maine were very large. My grandfather Valmore Duguay was one of the younger children within his family when their mother died. When Valmore’s father re-married, the new wife arrived home after the wedding and pointed out to the older children “you – you – you and you….Out!” My grandfather Valmore was then young enough to be able to stay home while his older brother Emile was one of the older ones sent out to fend for themselves. As a teen-ager he made his way doing small jobs and ultimately carving out an existence as a lumberjack.

As years went by he remained unmarried and lived this simple life as a man of the woods.

When my own grand-father became more successful as an adult and owned many acres of rural land in Fayette Maine he wanted to help his older brother out and let him live on this land. Emile had a very small shack no larger than the average person’s tool shed in their back yard. My own memories of this tar-paper shack was that it included a small bed a pot-bellied stove a small table and a few hooks around the room to hold his meager wardrobe.377048_311818555503095_351077047_n

Surprisingly, Emile was a very talented folk artist. He would carve out these wooden doll figures with movable parts. I remember him demonstrating one once where you just turn a crank at its side and it was able to walk. There is a story however that he had life-sized carvings as well situated out by the dirt road that ran past his shack. As the story goes, two young ladies were driving down this dark lonely road at night and became lost. When their headlights came upon these life size figures they became so afraid they drove off the road. As a result, the local town authorities made him remove these figures. I sure wish I could come across ones of these figures today. It would be a real treasure to me.

My father took on the responsibility to checking in on Uncle Emile occasionally. Emile had little visitors out there in the woods so was always eager to show off any accomplishments no matter how small. On one visit, my father brought along myself and my younger twin brothers who where perhaps around four at the time. He was quick to share that he had spent many hours cleaning out his well and lifted the top lid of the well to show my father. My young brothers who where eating apples from one of his many apple trees peered in and quickly threw in their half eaten apple cores. Poor Uncle Emile had little patient with the antics of little boys and threw a fit. My father being the diplomat was able to calm him down quickly enough.386086_311818855503065_1628561557_n

Uncle Emile spent the rest of his days living as a hermit in this little shack. His life was one of simple pleasures but in some ways it’s a life to be envied. He didn’t have the trappings of possessions but never cared to dream outside of what his world was providing for him. It sounds in some ways to have been a sad life but I wonder if his life wasn’t richer than any of us can boast. What I personally remember walking into his abode was on the left when you first walk in there was shelves with many cans of tobacco, Price Albert in a can. I remember they were all red. The remains of this shack are still there, but was modified through the years. It now has two stories but still a shack. Emile was around 83 when he died. I also remember my uncle bringing food to him on occasions.377088_310209495664001_1598166910_n

This story was written by my older brother Steve Guy Bilodeau.

©Bilodeau,D.H.2014