Monday, December 23, 2013


Ice. So inconvenient, yet so beautiful.

Usually the Machias River sings a solo of snaps, crackles, and pops of ice moving out with the changing tide, but every sliver of grass, every rose bush, and every alder has joined in this week since being encased in a layer of thick ice.
Maine's weather is obnoxious, it's fascinating, and it's everyone's favorite topic. The Ice Storm of 98' left me with some pretty great memories. Friends and family came to our house almost every night to make dinner out of everyone's quickly thawing food. We read books during the day, played board games by candlelight at night, and stayed connected to the outside world with a battery operated radio tuned in to the local channel, WVOM. There were no cell phones, no television, and no internet. Maniacs were unplugged.

Did we survive? Yes, we did.

Scrolling down my newsfeed on facebook, I couldn't help but notice that most of the comments (mine included) were about the weather, the power outages, and the overall stress that this storm has caused. Just days before Christmas. Everyone wanted a white Christmas but no one wanted an ice Christmas.
I am right there with everyone else. Power outages are a little exciting at first but the rush wears off real quick. Everyone enjoys a hot shower and all the amenities they're used to. We are creatures of habit and do not enjoy anything that screws with our daily routines.

As much as I sympathize with the annoyances and inconveniences, I do not enjoy the hyper-negativity that comes with the power outages and the storms. It is Christmas Eve day and we are alive. We are alive to hear the ice crack from the slightest nudge of the wind. We are alive to see the beauty in all the shades of gray. We are alive to celebrate the holiday with loved ones. There are so many who are not able to say as much.

Go outside, take a deep breath of that fresh Maine air, and step back from all the negativity that the storm has brought....simply because you can.

River3 River4  river6  river8

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Change in Scenery

I have been in the woods since the 31st and have left the house/yard once, to go check traps with Evan. I have seen three humans other than the ones that I live with. The fuel man, a retired Warden, and a forester who works at the logging depot.

A change in scenery was much overdo. This afternoon we packed up and got ready to head out in search of moose.
We got lucky and spotted around 20 moose. Five bulls, several cows, and a couple of cows with their calves. Most of them did NOT want their picture taken, but there were a few who stood pretty for me for a couple of minutes.
Otter tracks. Evan told me tonight that the otter will run and then slide...so those are the drag marks that you see.
Otter tracks. The otter runs and then slides...so those are the drag marks that you see.
Momma and her baby
Momma and her baby
There were several times that I looked back at the blazer and asked Evan if I should stop walking closer. Even though they tend to act a little numb, they intimidate me a little! I was very excited to get these shots.

Beautiful afternoon with my boys....now bring on this storm!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Evan was two days away from graduating from the Police Academy. I was sitting on our couch in the living room of our house in Marshfield. Both boys were asleep in their beds. My phone rang and I could tell by Evan's voice that something was up. He proceeded to tell me that he'd just gotten the call that he had been hired by the Maine Warden Service. He probably won't like me for saying it but we both started bawling. Relief, excitement, pride, joy, disappointment (that I couldn't share the moment with him in person), and fear raged through my body. A paralyzing fear. I knew that this moment was going to change our lives. I am not a fan of the unknown. I'm not a fan of change. I'm not a super spontaneous person. I like a plan. I like to know what's going on. I like to have a say. I like to be grounded and planted in one spot. I like to be in control. With that phone call, all control slipped through my fingers.

My facebook status on 12/12/12. :)

The state is divided up into 87 Warden districts and out of those 87, our house was not located near any available district. It was something we knew would be an issue the first time Evan applied. In the end, the Clayton Lake district made the most sense for our family. Besides being Evan's dream place to live, it is one of the last districts left in the state with housing. We had discussed what it would be like for him to live away and for us to spend every other week with him until a district opened up. After 30 weeks of police training, I made my decision that we would absolutely be going with him wherever he went. I am a home body and am VERY close to my large family, but in the end the decision was an easy one to make. I had spend those 30 weeks going through motions...doing things by myself with the boys that we had done as a family. I hated the feeling that had become all too familiar of being completely alone in a room full of people. In today's world it's not a very popular thing to depend and rely on a man and to love him fully, but I am proud to say that I do. I didn't want to spend another minute away from him if it wasn't necessary.

Three years before this phone call, Evan made a decision that he wanted to become a Maine State Game Warden. His passion was in the woods. It made sense that he should choose a career that revolved around the Maine woods. At the time I didn't think he was all that serious. Maybe it was a phase he was going through, just toying around with an idea. Knowing him, I should have known better.

Sometimes it drives me completely insane, but Evan is a perfectionist. Everything he has ever done, he has done it to the best of his ability. Every job working up to this position, he has taken so seriously, using every opportunity as a learning experience. After he went through the extensive hiring process for the first time, the Warden Service told him that he needed some kind of law enforcement experience before they would hire him. Two years later, he was working for the Calais Police Department when he was sent to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. It was there that he was named top shooter, top academic, and the Valedictorian of his class of sixty. Being his biggest supporter, of course I kept having thoughts, "Oh wow, they better hire him this time!!!" When I met Colonel Wilkinson for the first time, I shook his hand and said, "I want to congratulate you on hiring my husband." Aaahaha. It was a great moment. :)

Looking back now, I might be a tiny bit thankful for the long period of time it took for him to get that phone call. The wait certainly made the moment SO much sweeter. Timing is everything. If I had not had two wild boys to focus on and keep me busy while he was away it might have been easier for me to lose focus. I had no other choice but to keep it together for them. If it had not been for two police academies back to back, I might have been able to say that we would be fine to stay in Marshfield and visit him every other week in whatever district he was assigned to.

There have been plenty of times this year that I have felt like a rag doll. It has easily been the most challenging time of my life so far. It has been a year of substantial growth for me. I have learned that plans are overrated, things change, and control is only an illusion. There is a plan for my life and I know who is in charge of it. There are 25 townships in Clayton lake and we moved here on my 25th birthday...Evan said it was his birthday present to me. :) My God has a sense of humor.

My facebook status on my 25th birthday. My grandfather who has since passed away from cancer, was one of Evan's biggest supporters in this venture. He would check in and see what the news was with the hiring process and was always there for encouragement. He bought Evan the first couple of Paul Doiron books, just another way to scratch the itch. His nickname for me was Dizzy Lizzy and he was just tickled at the thought of me becoming a warden wife up in the woods. Almost every time he saw me he would say, "Dizzy Lizzy, you're gonna make a great Warden wife up there in Clayton Lake!!!" It still gives me shivers to this day. I thought he was completely crazy and at the time the thought of being a Warden wife seemed completely absurd. I had married a painter, not a law enforcement officer.

Our little family on the day of Evan's graduation from the Advanced Warden Academy.

It was sooooooooo hot that day.

A very happy day with our biggest supporters. My Mom and Dad. <3

Wicked shaaaap looking group!

Monday, December 2, 2013


Sometimes we need reminders. We need subtle or not so subtle taps on the shoulder or better yet, slaps in the face. Those things that wake us up in our selfish world and highlight our blessings. This era in which I'm raising my kids encourages selfish pity parties. You're ENTITLED to whine. You're entitled to a rotten disposition. It is an EASY thing to be a negative person. It is an EASY thing to find something to complain about. It's easy to go to that place, but once you're there it drains so much life out of you and everyone around you!!! Don't let yourself go there. It's such a waste of precious time and energy.

A couple of weeks ago, I had my first "selfish pity party" up here in the woods. It was Evan's day off and he had been out all morning hunting. It had been a pretty stressful day with the boys. Jackson is a three year old yet still adjusting to his needy teething (all four two year molars at the same time) little brother. With no one to visit and no one to invite over and an absent husband in the middle of hunting season...there was no one to help alleviate some of the stress.

I've mentioned Evan's passion for everything outdoors before in other posts. He loves to be outside. Loves to trap, hunt, fish. Soooo when you enjoy something, you like to spend your time doing that on days off and in your free time. When animals are trapped...they need to be cleaned, skinned, and stretched. The process is very time consuming. Much more time consuming than I would like. This was not the first time in our 7 years of being together that I felt jealousy toward his time with animals. Dead or alive.

Every stay at home Mom knows...that after a full day spent with the kiddos, an hour of alone time at the end of the day can feel like a spa day and a shopping spree and a gourmet meal all at the same time. That is, if you don't fall asleep in the first five minutes of that alone time. Sometimes I miss reading. I love to read. Some days I miss being able to sit down for hours on end to just read and then read some more. For my 25th birthday Evan bought me some very Warden wife appropriate books. My Life in the Maine Woods by Annette Jackson, Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup, Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron, and Nine Mile Bridge by Helen Hamlin. I've started reading all of them but have only finished one.

After having my little diva moment, Evan packed up and took Jack to go check traps. Andrew went down for a long nap and I sat down on the couch and opened up Here If You Need Me for the first time. Let me tell you, I haven't cried so hard in a long, long time. What an emotional roller coaster it is!!! I'm not sure any book has ever made me bawl hysterically on one page and laugh hysterically on the next. Being a wife and a mom and a fairly new member to this law enforcement life....this book hit home. It captured some of my biggest fears and some of my loudest thoughts. This book was my slap in the face. It was the interruption of my little pity party.

I sat on that couch and bawled like a baby for a full 90 minutes or so. When Evan got home and opened the door, he stopped mid step with his eyes wide and said, "What happened??? What is wrong??"
I am well aware that at this point in time, I was a wreck!! I held up the book and said,
"It's this damn book you bought me!!!" I ran to him and gave him a huge hug and a sloppy sad faced kiss and told him he could hunt and trap and live in the woods...he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted!!!

After you read the book, you'll know why I said that to Evan. Any sense of entitlement I felt that day flew out the window. I felt guilty for some of the negative thoughts that had crept into my head that day. Guess what....I'm not entitled!!! I have two beautiful, healthy, growing little boys. I have an amazing, patient, loving, and supportive spouse whom I'm lucky enough to call my best friend. I am thankful.

Kate Braestrup is the chaplain for the Maine Warden Service. I look forward to meeting her one day. :)

Order it. It's amazing.