Outdoors

Our Camping Adventure-Once Is Good Enough

Tent

 

The wife and I spent some time cruising around the campground looking for the perfect spot to put our tent. We were rounding the corner and right in front of us was a perfect all grass spot. So excited, How could anyone of missed this great spot? I told my wife to walk back to the campground office and tell them we were taking spot 28 in the Gold section. We hadn’t been camping in awhile and certainly setting up this new tent we bought from Wally’s World might be somewhat of a challenge. Neither of the two of us were that mechanically inclined. We pulled out the directions,  first thing you have to do,right?  I was looking at all German section, then Japanese, had to be an English version. Ah!Here it is, located the correct language. We were fan dangling with the the poles and then had the tent upside down but we figured it out and the tent was setup.

The first thing I noticed was the amount of blackflies and mosquito’s. I didn’t notice at first but there was a small stream off to the right of the camping spot. This might be a problem if we get a lot of precipitation. Next thing and don’t forget, beer. This is must have after a long process of setup. Now with the first can down we proceeded to get out some bug spray. Honey! You know where the bug spray is? She didn’t have a clue and neither did I. So back to swatting the critters. I noticed my wife was getting welts all over her body. I never knew this to be a problem with her but on this day she was getting affected in a big way. She was starting to swell like I have never seen before. You might want to go inside the tent for awhile, I  think you are allergic. She proceeded inside and I finished up everything else. I put together a Wally world chair we had bought on the way up. I went to sit down in the new chair and the metal legs folded up , head over tea kettle I went. Glad everyone else camping around us were at the beach.

Things just didn’t seem to get any better as the day progressed. My wife decided to take a nap, or at least that was what I thought. I went inside the tent to wake her up so we can have a little time together, We were camping, right? I shook her, Honey wake up! She didn’t really stir that much and her breathing was somewhat labored. I shook her many times and she just wasn’t waking up. Her lips were swollen and getting blue. It finally clicked in that she was having an anaphylactic reaction to all the bug bites. I remember I had my Epi pen inside the center console of the truck. I pushed the plunger into her thigh. I could tell almost immediately she was improving. She opened her eyes and smiled at me. What’s up? She replied, not knowing what was going on. Oh, Nothing, just waiting for you to get up. I didn’t want to make a big scene so I didn’t tell her, I gave her an injection. I wanted a good retreat for the two of us and spending it at the hospital was not one of them. She got up and we decided to make some dinner.

The cooking was another issue. I forgot to bring the Coleman stove that her mother and father had bought us for Christmas. Honey, no problem I know your a little upset but I will make a campfire. You don’t know how to make a campfire, she replied. I was in the Boy Scouts when I was a kid, I replied. I found some loose paper in my truck, put a few sticks together and lit the fire. Phew, diverted this one when the fire took off. I could hear rumbles of thunder way in the background. I hope it misses us.

We are now sitting in the tent and it is raining cats and dogs. Ruff, Meow! The rating on tent stated it was moisture resistant but not rain proof. The rain was coming down so hard and it was very windy. I started seeing water pooling at the edges of the tent and moving closer to the sleeping bags. We couldn’t stop the rain and we tried everything we knew to try and dam up everything around but the water continued its path eventually soaking everything we owned, including the sleeping bags. The wife and I gave up on the tent and slept the night in the pickup truck. I woke up with a very stiff neck and so did she. It was time to find out how bad the tent handled everything. I unzipped the front and water started pouring out the front door. The sleeping bags were under water. We spent the next day at the dry cleaners getting the bags dried out. The sun had come out this day and we aired everything out. The next night, guess what? Another storm came in. There must of been a reason why no one chose this campsite. After further investigation I noticed the stream had overflowed and we were sitting in the middle of a small pond of water.

This one camping trip ruined us for many years until one day my wife told me about a fully enclosed camper for sale that her friend was selling. It was a no brainer. We were never to go tenting again. I do however know that just because a site looks beautiful at a campground it is not always the best.

D.H.Bilodeau 2016

 

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

Christmas Age Calculation

tree xmas

 

I base my age on how many Christmas events I have been through. I can remember mom and dad holding us twins in their arms so we could see the lights on the tree. I remember the years my brothers, two older than my twin and I, were getting matchbox cars and us twins only received a plastic toy which made noises. I remember going out with our dad, trucking through the snow to find a spruce or fir. Those days were so hard.

My memory brings me to the time my mother made meat pies for Xmas and I got sick after eating it. I also remember the time my twin and I got Rock-em-sock-em Robots. Boy did we have fun with that. I remember my brother and I receiving baseball gloves from Wilsons Store, the tag still left on them. I recall the Christmas Mom told dad that she couldn’t truck out through the snow anymore, it was getting to be too much for her. Time is changing and I’m doing calculations of my own age.

I must be in my teen years, well my twin too. There is the year that the new tree comes in. There is no smell to the tree. The siblings and I, start touching the tree. The tree kind of looks real but has no smell. Interesting concept, fake Christmas. The gifts are unwrapped this year and my brothers and I received some matching pajamas.

My Dad this year tells mom he is going out to get a real tree this year. The boys all jump in the International Scout we have. My Dad drives up the road and pulls into “Dons Xmas Tree Farm”. The boys and I are not that excited about getting a tree from a farm. This is the first time I noticed that Dad is getting older. The tree hauling is just getting to be too much for him.

Another few years go by and a few meat pies and homemade candy. My oldest brother is now an adult. My age is calculating to be in my late teens. I have realized by this point that all I have to do is look back, dwell upon, checking every Christmas event and I can find my age. I since have dropped my regular birth date because it hasn’t been a good reminder. I wanted really happy moments and Xmas was a good reminder of time.

My mother and father set the tree up again. One sibling is in California and one is in Minnesota. It is only my twin brother and I this year. Mom tells us it is ok not to wear our matching pajama’s this Christmas. Time sure is flying and a lot of tree setup’s for my dad. Mom cannot help with the tree anymore with her being lame all the time.  No meat pies this year or homemade candy.

This year my folks tell us they are moving to Florida in the winter. I’m thinking what no Christmas with us? I was devastated by this announcement but I fully understand. Time is changing, people are aging. I know my age is calculating out to be and adult now. My brothers and I meet back again at the house, our parents are not present. My oldest brother mention’s to the rest of us about going out and cutting down a real tree. We all agreed with his thought. We made it happen and all of us siblings enjoyed the scent of a real tree.

I know my age is getting older, I have children of my own. They are calculating their own age. This program has now been set in motion for all my children’s children. Mom and Dad are not coming home anymore. They have set their own time zone and marked their own calendar’s of life. I have marked my own this year. I started making meat pies now for my own children, candy to be bought. I know the rock-em-sock-em Robots are long tucked away in some open landfill, between tires and old junk cars, at the bottom of the pile.

I am told this year that we have grandchildren to be happy for. I now have a reason to move on with this cycle of life. I will start this week to train the young ones of this new calculation of age. I look back at this great life of mine and know that many Christmases have been etched into my memory bank. I can be happy that I have been witness to a wonderful holiday. I’m very thankful to have family to carry on. I’m glad I don’t have to go out and cut down Christmas trees anymore, electing for a fake one. The smell of the real tree is gone. My son tells me he is going out to cut down a real tree for his own house this season. I know my age is calculating, clicking away, I’m marking the calendar.

D.H.Bilodeau 2015

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

Disappearing Pine Cones

me

I was out on the front lawn this morning collecting pine cones. I couldn’t believe how many dropped from the pine tree today. I wanted to make sure that I got them before the squirrels took their share. I really didn’t want to take all of them. I wanted to give the squirrels some to stock up for winter. I wanted a collection of cones so that I could do some crafty work with them. I take them and put wheels on them and dip them in paint to give them color but also to cover all the pitch spots. Around this area kids are buying these up at an alarming rate. I really do worry about the fate of the Northern Grey Squirrel. It was very windy and I could see a few cones falling from the tree. You have to be careful because if one of those hit you in the face it could do real damage, take your eye out if you don’t watch it . I was bent over and putting the dropped pine cones into my Scooby-doo bag when I heard a crack and then it happened. The limb fell down so fast I didn’t have time to escape it. The limb hit my shoulder first ,then knocked me to the ground, pinning me hard against the ground. I wasn’t knocked completely unconscious but I wasn’t thinking very clearly either. We live in a very remote area with the nearest house being five miles away. The traffic is very limited in this region, only Reggie and Martha up the road and John and Ruth up the side road. The chances of either of those family’s driving by where very slim.

I knew that I was injured badly but with the pressure from the tree I wasn’t losing any blood yet. I was thinking clearer now and decided I had to McGiver something to get me out of this mess. I knew that if I removed the tree that I had to worry about compartment syndrome. This is when something is closing off the blood then the pressure is released fast. Your blood pressure can drop in a hurry and put you into shock. You can die if fluid isn’t introduced into the blood stream at the same time. The other thing you can do for a last chance is to release  the pressure very slowly. I was going to take the limb I broke off and try to raise the tree off from me, ever so slowly. I was successful in removing the limb but now had to crawl back to the house.

I was about halfway  to the house when I look up and there at least fifty grey squirrels all around me.  They are carrying what looks like rope strands. One larger squirrel is standing on his hind legs and raises what looks like a crossbow. He pulls the trigger and a dart lands on my body. Another,then another, keeps hitting me, all the squirrels are armed and shooting at me. I’m thinking haven’t I seen movie like this, Gulliver Travel, or something like that. It was really happening and I was being tied to the ground. Was I going to be a meal for them? I didn’t know, but I was their prisoner and there was nothing I could do. One larger squirrel jumped up on my chest and walked up to my face. He looked to be the leader of this pack, maybe an officer in charge. Sir, the squirrel speaking up states,  You are now in the position of our control. You will not be harmed, we need some important information that we need to impregnate into your mind. What?  I’m thinking? Ok, I don’t understand, I was just picking up pine cones to be used for craft projects. Listen up! This is the problem we are having with you humans. Stealing our food, we have babies and family, we are not surviving winters anymore because you humans are using the cones for crafts. How would you control this situation? Sir, we have no other way but to impregnate you so that stealing our food is no longer going to happen. We will inject your brain with seminal acid which will wipe out your thoughts of stealing cones.

I opened my eyes, there I was laying on the ground. The sun was shining in my face,  my Scooby-doo bag was beside me, empty. I didn’t know why I was lying on the ground. I stood up, shook my head then went back inside the house. It was going to be a long day. So now why was outside again?

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

Montico Passage

save

I was stationed on a Cruiser Class Ship, our team of ten was giving orders to go to Montico and capture the wife of the ruthless leader of that Country. He was killing his own people with chemical warfare, dropping barrels of cow manure all over the place. The moss in that region was poisonous if it got beyond five feet in diameter. The manure would speed up the process and would grow at extreme rates. The toxin from the reaction would turn into a vapor and would take over whole communities.

We had been traveling for three days in rough seas when I looked out and could see a land formation. It was a very foggy day and we were traveling at about twenty-two knots straight ahead. Ahoy! My mate responded over the Microphone Paging System. The other sailors and I looked out the port side and realized that it was not land but an enormous blob of  moss. We couldn’t turn quick enough to escape the carnage and slammed into the moss with a crunching sound. The hull of the ship was being ripped apart and we needed to get to life boats in a hurry. I ran to the side of the ship and lowered the life boat. It came crashing down into the sea with a loud crashing sound. Splash! Water came flying up into my face and I shook the water out of my face so I could concentrate on getting people onboard. All the sailors and I made it to the life boat just in time, we looked out, our ship was sinking fast. We had survived but now had to find a way to shore, or wherever shore was.

Drifting out at sea with ten other men was very hard, we all had to conserve on water and food if we were to survive. One man hollered out that he could see land, only this to be an illusion of such. A man’s mind can do funny things with lack of food and water. It was my watch and everyone else was sleeping when I looked out over the horizon and could see land. I could also see lights on the land mass, I woke everyone to let them enjoy the excitement I was feeling.

We made it to shore and there was a man dressed in a uniform of some sort, some kind of official of his land. He replied, where do you people arrive from? We are from the United States Navy and my name is Josh Milfred, how do you do sir? The man was not a very friendly person. I told him about our mission to get to Montico. He replied that there is no Montico on this part of the region, and none in any other maps we have in storage. I was dumbfounded by this information, there had to be such a place. Again, I checked the spelling, and again I was rejected in this origin of Country. This man then told his soldiers to arrest these intruders to his country. ARREST THEM NOW! Was the command, his men responded to carryout these orders.

We had been into a cell for years now. There was water and food delivered daily, this was what kept my men and I alive. The commander of this jail came to my cell to have a discussion. Sir, You have been here now for five years, Yes, I replied. It is of this day that I give you information of the whereabouts of where you and your men reside. This is the Country of Montico.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Jay Hill Pass-The Creature Within

creature

It was a very scary drive through the Mountain Pass this morning. I was traveling through Jay Hill Pass when up ahead I see a trucker with his flashing lights on. I slow my truck down to see what is going on, when out of the corner of my eye, I see what the commotion is all about. The trucker has come in contact with this green slimy looking creature. This anomaly is at the back of the trailer when I am frozen with fear of what I have seen.  This animal or creature, has the driver and is dragging him to the edge of the woods.  It is now out of my view so I decided to get out of my truck to see where the creature is taking him. I walk to the side of the trailer, ever so slowly, to witness something I would never dream of.  I am only feet away and I can hear counting, one and two, one and two, one and two, this goes on, over and over. The animal is giving chest compressions and breathing for this trucker. He is actually giving him a chance of life. I watch for quite some time, being of witness to something so fascinating. I can now hear a cough, the man is breathing , alive, the creature moves back into the woods, I am in left in awe.

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

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

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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

Just Another Memory

A kid

 

I have thought  often about times as a young child. I’m glad the memories are still tucked away in the older brain of mine. I can remember in the summer the kids and I would take pine branches and construct a tee-pee in the woods. We would spend all day gathering twigs and bowels for the walls. I can still picture the neighborhood boys all crunched up inside the tee-pee so proud of what we had all accomplished.

The pine tree within this patch of woods was a playground for all of us youngsters. Hey Dewey? You think we can climb that one over there? Geez I don’t know Bernie that is a tall one and the limbs are a little sparse. Maybe that one over there, or maybe not. The greatest feeling is when we found a tall pine tree and we climbed to the tippy top. The person who made it all the way to the top would holler down to the other boys. I have made it, Wahoo I’m the king of the mountain! One of my friends during the Estes Rocket days constructed a rocket that had a camera affixed inside the cone. When the rocket made its descend it would snap a picture. One of the lads was in the tree and the rocket took a picture of him atop the big pine.

We were also bad at times in those woods. The kids and I being the young one’s in the neighborhood would dig fox holes and put branches across them and then spread pine needles over the top setting a trap. We would get the older kids pissed off and they would chase us into the woods. We knew exactly where the foxholes were and the big kids would trip and fall. The big kids were very angry with us. What a laugh we had just watching this . Another trick we would play is take kite string and set trip wires. Oh, we were bad little kids.

We also had some bad adventures for ourselves. We had decided that tipping over old rotten tree’s would be so much fun. Hey! Watch this one fall and crash to the ground. The tree would fall and the dust would blow all over the place and the tree would burst apart. The only problem with the old tree’s was it also homed the bee’s and boy didn’t we get our asses whipped by bee stings.

I also remember, wow, my mind is digging here real hard.  The woods was also a place of rest. Meaning this is where we would bury our dead animals. Our cats,dogs,birds, newts, and about any other animal we could think of . We made headstones with rocks we would find in the woods and make crosses out of pine branches. Oh, Fluffy I wish you was still with us.

It is very sad what time can do to memories, but I do want to say that those nice pine tree’s are now probably in someone’s house because all the tree’s were harvested. I guess nothing last forever. My mind will probably be next.  I would really like to hear some of your childhood memories, we are all still kids in our mind right?

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

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

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

Winter Summerland

HQ-Winter-Fun-Images_3096035There is no time left of summer. The winter has overflowed into spring here and now is on its path to take over summer. The Maine winter has been horrible or great to whoever you talk to. The skiers and snowmobilers are so excited that skiing will be in place July 4th this summer. The lodge at Sugarloaf is hosting an Olympic  Championship ski race July 21st this year.  Snowmobile shops have their doors open and sleds all the way from Lewiston to Carthage are selling out fast. The kids are excited this summer because it is the first time ever that they can ice fish with their dads in August instead of going to double practices for football in the blazing sun. The cheerleaders are excited this summer too, they don’t have to wear those mini skirts when doing summersaults for the August 29th championships in Sanford Maine. This summer they will be wearing snowmobile suits with helmet’s and driving snowmobile’s to practice. The schools around here have closed most of their doors and they refuse to pay for heat this summer. The Area Youth Sports Group here cannot afford the cost of heating the building’s this summer. I have seen a lot of changes around here. Usually this time of year we are swatting blackflies and mosquito’s but this year we are dwelling on the fact that winter will go into winter and we will not get a chance to eat our own garden cucumbers. The only thing leftover from last years garden is the parsnips and carrots. I’m just not sure I will be able to pull them out of the frozen ground. I tried tying fishing line around one carrot and hooking it to my four wheeler but the line keeps snapping and hitting me in the frozen butt.

The scientist have been studying all the effects from the earth shifting in place by .0002365 degree’s and are not sure if we are going to end up like Noah’s Ark in the future.  I hear that Sunny Florida is now the coldest place on earth at the moment. It is very strange that Mt. Washington is the tropics now , Canadians are shinning up their speedo’s in preparation to let it all hang out.

Firestone Tire company had to order one-hundred more sets of winter tires. The people just in my region alone have worn out their treads, most are now putting studs on their tires too. I went for a walk the other day and kept finding all these metal pellets. For the sake of god I couldn’t figure out what these metal pellets were. I finally figured it out, the studs from tires. I’m going to complain to the local authorities of this town and give them a mouthful for what it is worth.

The kids around here or especially the boys have all but giving up on their Tonka Trucks and Hot-Wheels. With no chance to hang outside and play, they have giving up on the most recognized toys of American. GI Joe is still a big seller around here and Barbi has lost her appeal. You know Barbi is Fifty Years Old with a pot gut? Time has not been on her side.

Winter year round is going to drive most of us people around here to drink. I know this for a fact because I saw two old church ladies drinking a PBR at the local Convent. One of them opened the door outside and asked the other one if she wanted a cold one. Maybe they were not drinking and they were just letting fluffy the cat in. I don’t know and really don’t care.

The local plow companies around here are out of sand again for the hundreth time this year. Oh, Smitty? Can you drive down to the Wayne desert and dig up some more of that historic sand? The town roads are in horrible shape and the studs on the tires have been digging up the roads. Winter cannot go on like this! There has to be a break. I have an idea. If everyone on the East Coast goes over to the West Coast that maybe the earth will flop back into position. Come on engineer’s! You can dock a space ship going 26,000 miles a minute cant you? We American’s are smart folks and sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns. You don’t need a doctorate degree to figure stuff out around here, just a little common smarts.

Stay warm folks, I have but all used up my allotted wood for the season. I thought I would be clam digging by now.©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014