Tuesday, November 26, 2013

North Woods Buck

You know it's a pretty big deal when he takes a selfie. Wish I had been there with my camera!
Evan is tagged out for the season! I am very jealous, but happy for him. That's what I get for leaving Davy Crockett up in the woods all by himself. He shot him near the St. John River. This buck is his biggest yet, weighing in at 206 pounds all dressed out with an 8 point rack. He had no hunting season at all last year because he was at school so he's making up for lost time. :)
It's very weird to see at least 4 moose a day but never see any deer! I have yet to set my eyes on any, doe or buck in the North Woods. But here's proof that they are around! I'm hoping that I might get a shot at one the last couple of days of the season!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stronger For It

This little guy is not known for excessive snuggling but when we left to come back to Machias this week, he gave extra snuggles to Daddy. Kids can be so intuitive.

We hate spending any time away from Daddy. With a very sporadic schedule, there are plenty of days that we don't see him until right before or after dinner or at bedtime. Some days we don't see him at all. No matter how much time we get to spend with him during the day....we don't care as long as he's home at night.

At this time last year, Evan was packing his bags and shining up his boots for week 15 (out of 18) of the basic law enforcement training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. What a major, MAJOR adjustment for our little family. I realize that there are plenty of people who go weeks and months without seeing their spouses or parents. For us, getting to see him late Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, and early early Monday morning would never seem like enough. For the majority of those weeks I was very pregnant and taking care of our sweet two year old little boy. Every day, several times a day, for months I counted down the days to his graduation. Little did I know that we would get the call from the Warden Service during his last week of the police training, and I would start another 12 week countdown for the Advanced Warden Service training.

Last year was probably the hardest year of my life...30 weeks is a LONG time to spend so much time apart. But in hindsight I'm very thankful that it happened that way. I have no doubt that it certainly made me stronger as a person and made us stronger as a couple. It was awesome preparation for this new life. He may be gone for most hours in a day some weeks, but we had got used to having him gone for most of our weeks! Now, to have him home at night to read a couple of books, start a couple of tickle fights, and tuck the boys into bed is a huge blessing to our little family.
Love this....I felt like when he came home and was sitting right beside me, I missed him because I knew he would be gone so quickly!
Quote from http://www.pinterest.com/pin/268738302737610736/

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Slooow Living

Trapping and hunting have become a sort of family bonding time for us. You would think that every day up here would count as family bonding time because we have only each other to bond with. But, there are distractions in this house just like every other. When we get in the car, the piles of laundry and the stacks of dirty dishes are left in a cloud of dust (or, at this point in time it's more like giant craters of mud)!

Dragging Jackson through some rough terrain! :)
Lots of smiles.
Lots of watching and learning.
Dragging the beaver and Jackson out of the woods.
Starting em young!

On Evan's days off, we pack up the boys and go riding around checking traps and looking for interesting creatures. Heater hunting isn't the hunting style of choice...but it's really the only option with two little boys. We're usually in the car for a couple of hours. We have no wifi and no cell service anywhere. We have a camera and a radio. We hear non stop stories from our little Warden and random pips and squeaks from our other wild man. It's just another way we are able to spend time as a family with no distractions.

This was the first day of snow.

Our chauffer for the day...our little wild man.

I think so much of how we live up here is stress free because we have such LIMITED options. The biggest decision we make when we drive out of our driveway is whether to go right or left. We have no destination. There is no mapped out plan. We aren't going to see something specific. There is no one waiting for us. We aren't in any time crunch. There is NO schedule! Most of the time I don't even know what day of the week it is or where the hands lay on the clock. We're just living slow up here in the great North Woods of Maine.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


  In a world where we are told that we need more, a life of contentment is something that most people will never find. There are "voices" at every corner screaming that we aren't good enough and we don't have enough. What would life be like if you were in a place where you didn't feel the need to compare your life to someone else's? The truth of the matter is that there's always going to be someone richer, someone taller, someone prettier, someone smarter, someone more successful, etc.
I fully believe in bettering ourselves and fighting to achieve goals, but at some point in life wouldn't it be nice if we just lived and enjoyed it instead of running a rat race? What would it be like to sit back and feel satisfied and comfortable in yourself and in your place in life?  
We live in a consumer's world...in an all consuming country! What would the debt numbers look like if we were more thankful and did not NEED all the stuff??!!! Didn't need all the crap??! Didn't need the next new thing....didn't feel the need to get something newer, a something that's better than our neighbor's down the road?
 I believe that contentment isn't something that just happens. It's a constant work in progress. Think positively and practice being thankful. It's a choice!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My First Limit

When you're a stay at home mom with two boys under the age of 4, it's often quite necessary to get some kind of break!!! Jackson is at the perfect age of three for me to send him with his Dad to do some trapping. He's completely obsessed with anything and everything that his Daddy does. Even if it's for a couple of hours...that's plenty of time for me to feel refreshed and find some sense of self!
It's hard though because a lot of the time I want to get out too! This area and all it's creatures are gorgeous but you're never going to soak that up while sitting at home! It's refreshing to get out in the crisp November air and soak up the simple beauty. The boys and myself had been closed up in the house for too long because they both brought colds back into the North Woods with them. I'm so relieved to say that they both recovered with no sore throats or ear infections and no doctors visits!
My parents were coming to stay with us and I had every intention of cleaning the house while the boys were out but I changed my mind and hopped in the car with them. We spent the day trapping and hunting. Quality time spent on dirt roads and in the woods. This won't last forever...when in Rome....:)

Two limits in two hours. Not bad!

Getting ready to run!

Tough bird

And dinner is served!!! Roasted potatoes, parsnips, onions, and garlic and crispy cornflake partridge!

My first limit. :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I Will Remember

In June 2004, I hopped on a plane bound for Eastern Europe as a member of a tiny little children's chorus from good ole downeast Maine. This trip had quite the impression on my 15 year old self. I'm thankful now that I kept a journal the whole time. I came home feeling a great pull to share my story and to express my gratitude to local veterans. After writing a piece entitled "The Memory Lives on in a New Generation" for a local VFW writing contest....things took off from there. Instead of having phone conversations with boys my own age, I was getting frequent calls from World War II veteran Galen Cole. He is quite the charmer and a pretty big deal in Eastern Maine...if you haven't heard of him you can find him on Wikipedeia (haha!!) and  you can check out the Cole Land Transportation Museum's website. http://www.colemuseum.org/  He is a special guy who I share some pretty great memories with.
With Veteran's Day fast approaching, my mind goes back to this experience and to the essay that I wrote about it 9 years ago (I had my Mom go in my closet in her house and dig it out! :P)

 The Memory Lives on in a New Generation

My whole life I have been taught the history of the wars that our country has fought. The seriousness and the reality of the topic never hit me until this past summer. I was able to experience the trip of a lifetime. I am a member of the Washington County Children's Chorus. We were invited to perform in Luxembourg to celebrate the liberation of the country during World War I and II. A few weeks before the trip we performed at the Cole Land Transportation museum owned by World War II veteran, Galen Cole. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the service of our veterans. Men and women who fought in World War II, Vietnam, and the Korean War reunited to remember their fallen comrades and to celebrate the lives that they had been blessed with. My fellow chorus members and I pinned carnations on those who were being honored that day. It was a very emotional day for all of us but we now realize that it was preparation for the weeks to come.
While in Europe I was able to talk to many veterans who fought in World War II, including Galen Cole. He traveled with us on our tour bus through Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. Galen and his Luxembourgish friend, Gene Nichols, gave us a tour through the Ardennes forest. Gene had been a little boy when the Nazis invaded his home and took over his town and school. His stories were like something out of a book.  
At the places we performed, Luxembourgish veterans and American veterans stood to  share their stories. I found it extremely hard to maintain my composure while these men spoke. Raw emotion was heard in their voices, tears flooded their eyes, and their bodies tensed up as they went on about horrific ordeals that took place while they were each serving for their country. I saw men reunite with their American friends whom they had fought with and hadn't seen since the war. I remember one concert in a small stone church on a sunny day in the middle of the country, we sang "In Flanders Fields" and there wasn't a dry eye left in the room.
We visited the American cemetery located in Luxembourg city, Luxembourg. As I walked down the rows of white crosses, I completely broke down. The tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought about these men and boys who had families, lovers, homes, and future hopes and dreams that they planned to return to after they finished fighting in the war. Each white cross marking a mother's son, a brother, a friend, a cousin, a father. They didn't want to die but they did for the sake of their country and for the world. There are 5,076 American men buried overseas at this cemetery alone. White crosses neatly spread over 50.5 acres of land. As I stood beside the graves I asked one of the Luxembourgish veterans, "Why couldn't they have been sent home?" He replied, "You have to understand that most of the soldiers who are buried here stayed in our homes. They were like family, like our own brothers. They protected us and died for us. We fought together and formed a bond that can never be broken. I think this is where they would want to be." 
It's hard to explain the things I saw in Europe and at home in those veterans' eyes. Words will never do it justice. The citizens of Luxembourg treated us like we were famous because we were Americans. At one of our concerts, a veteran came up to me at the end and said, "thank you" and gave me an American flag. I will never forget the look in his eyes. I started to cry and he gave me a hug and made me laugh by saying, "Well, I didn't mean to make you so upset, beautiful."
I feel anger towards those who do not appreciate what the men and women of our country do every day and have done in the past. I was privileged enough to meet some of the bravest men this world has ever known. Most people don't realize the extent of the pain and grief. I recall one man said to me, "Nowadays you see movies that show a man's friend being shot down beside him and the man stopping and not leaving his friend. This hardly ever happened. You had to keep going to survive. You had to fight for the ones you loved and knew you had to return to them. Then for the rest of your life you think, why wasn't it me who died that day? "
I will forever respect the men who fought for the United States and those who are still fighting today. While in Europe, I met General Patton's granddaughter. It was she and Galen Cole who made me realize that it was going to be my generation that was going to have to carry on the memory and respect of these veterans. I will do my very best to carry on the memory of our brave boys.

General George S. Patton Jr. didn't die in battle but requested to be buried here with his men.
Photos from Wikepedia

I can't believe it's been 9 years. It's so strange to look back on it now and to read the feelings that poured out on that paper. I still feel strongly about it today. What I would give to be able to go back and take my camera with me....I had disposable cameras!! :(

Just over the tree line about 1.5 kilometers away, German soldiers are buried in the Sandweiler German war cemetery, with dark stone crosses instead of white. I wonder if there is an aerial shot of the two cemeteries out there somewhere.

Twenty two sets of brothers are buried side by side at this cemetery in Luxembourg. As a mother of two little boys, this is completely devastating to me...more now than it was then. Something I can't even begin to wrap my head around.

When you're at a high school ball game or any event where a flag is shown and the "Star Spangled Banner" is played...do yourself a favor and take those precious 2 minutes (max?) to stop and show your respect. Put your hand over your heart...remove your hat...face the flag and be respectful. If you see someone that you know who has served...say, "Thank You!!"

If my little man can give his attention...so can you!

Thank you veterans and your families for all you have sacrificed!! <3

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fallen Warden Run


For six years, members of the Maine Warden Service and others have come together to remember their fallen brothers. Fifteen miles are run from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to the Maine Fallen Officers Memorial in Augusta to honor the 15 Wardens who died in the line of duty. Members of the Maine Marine Patrol, Maine Forest Service, Maine State Police, New Hampshire Fish and Game, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife were represented in this year's run. The matching red shirts read, "We run for those who cannot." 
The group ran in three rows...no one left behind and no one running ahead. The fallen Warden flag flew high at the front of the line. It was the focal point at each mile mark as the group stood at attention while another banner with a Fallen Warden's name was added to the flag.
When we rounded the corner in Augusta, the capitol building stood tall. We ran to the front of the Maine Fallen Officers Memorial. I do not do well with the combination of uniforms, flags, and bagpipes.  It was a moving ceremony. 

 In the truck on the way to Augusta, I had asked Evan why the run wasn't scheduled in the spring or summer instead of the fall....the Warden's busiest season. Colonel Wilkinson addressed this during his speech. The run is scheduled in the fall, not out of convenience, but because it is the season of the game warden. This time is set aside to remember.
When we returned to the police academy and got into Evan's truck, he noticed that his odometer read 2202, the call number of Daryl Gordon, the last Warden who died in the line of duty. 
15 Fallen Game Wardens. 15 Miles. Never forgotten.
 Lyman O. Hill 1839 - 1886
Charles W. Niles - 1886
Arthur G. Deag 1901 - 1921
Leslie Robinson 1901 - 1921
David F. Brown 1870 - 1922
Mertley E. Johnson 1901 - 1922
Lee H. Parker 1877 - 1927
Jean Baptiste Jalbert 1886 - 1933
Robert Lee Moore 1889 - 1935
Randall E. Shelley 1902 - 1946
George E. Townsend 1919 - 1956
R. Lyle Frost Jr. 1926 - 1968
Richard E. Varney 1931 - 1972
William F. Hanrahan 1943 - 1992
Daryl R. Gordon 1950 - 2011

When we had first arrived at the police academy, there were other women dressed to run and I was devastated (we didn't know I could run!). I had everything but sneakers. Luckily I have man feet and we found a Warden with an extra pair..and they matched! I feel so thankful to have been able to share this day with my Warden and his comrades!

Thanks to Emily MacCabe for the pictures!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Essence of SKUNK

It is so ridiculous but I might be more excited about this post than any I've ever done. I like really gross weird things like those CRAZY cyst popping videos on YouTube. I LOVE those!

This was a first for both Evan and myself. Taking the smelly stuff out of a skunk. Skunk essence is used for lure while trapping. It's something that will get most animals' attention and they like to come investigate when they catch a whiff.

You can find skunk lure pretty much anywhere online. Although, since it's trapping season, the pure essence("pure quill") is hard to find this time of year because of the high demand. So on to plan B, just squeeze it out all by yourself!! :)) There are easier, less messy ways to do this. Evan's Lieutenant got his out with a needle. We didn't have a needle and we don't live near stores so......medical gloves and some good strong squeezes will do the trick! 

One of the cutest pictures I've ever seen!!! Annoyed that he takes the best pictures when he's holding a dead animal.
plain Vaseline

Taking the creature to the other side of the yard....

I was SOOOO terrified that it was going to squirt on me. But we soon found out that this was just poop. LOL

Oh and there it is!!! Squirting right out just like a bottle of French's mustard after it's been sitting in the cupboard for a couple of months!! Yummy!!!!

Those two little ninnies are the glands.

And there's some more!!!

It was a small skunk so we didn't get a lot.

We put boiling hot water in a bowl and put the Vaseline in so it would melt. Every time we went back to work with the Vaseline all I could think of were lip gloss recipes. The only other thing I've ever heard of making something from Vaseline...was fruity flavor lip glosses!!!

Then we dumped the essence into the melted Vaseline and gave it a good stir. Voila! Fisher and Marten Call Lure!