Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jack O' Lantern

Happy All Hallows Eve! Do you know this? Halloween, or the Hallow E'en as they call it in Ireland , means All Hallows Eve, or the night before the 'All Hallows', also called 'All Hallowmas', or 'All Saints', or 'All Souls' Day, observed on November 1. In old English the word 'Hallow' meant 'sanctify'. Roman Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherians used to observe All Hallows Day to honor all Saints in heaven, known or unknown. The nuns always told me it was the night that Satan's friends celebrated before All Saints' Day, a holy day of obligation. Sitting in church that day my mind would always drift back home to my HUGE bag of candy. It certainly was hard to concentrate. Just a side note: I was ALWAYS a devil when it came to costumes on Halloween... surprised? Now, this scary looker will be overseeing our driveway tonight, as our 3-4 goulies venture to the door. No, I didn't carve it but a close and personal friend did.
*ps Pay no attention to that UFO floating in the left hand corner in this image.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Looking off towards South Freeport, there in the distance, these marsh grasses wave in the morning sunlight with lots of color. It's soothing to me. Busy weekend ahead: a controlled burn this afternoon and evening to rid leftovers from the BIG spruce and a Saturday and Sunday of moving some of our split wood into the woodshed will bookend All Hallows Eve for me. That's my weekend; oh, and throw in some pigskin watchin' and there you have it. Busy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baxter Pines

Ah, high school football games in the fall. It's is rite of passage for most males. Well, at least in my neighborhood it was. This is a image of Baxter Pines behind Deering High School. It's a municipal grove and a bird sanctuary donated to the city by Percival Proctor Baxter, Governor from 1921-1924. Many a Saturday afternoon was spent cutting through these trees heading to Memorial Field. It was the most secretive approach to the holes we had dug, under the fence, the night before. Till we reached our high school years, this was how we accessed all Ram football games. I used to live for Saturdays, and in a lot of ways, I still do. Was I a bad boy?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


There are days passing in our lives that we might say are 'big' days. Some are planned, some are anticipated and longed for well before they peak on the horizon and some just ramble upon us. On a recent visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, I caught this pensive moment of MJ looking out at the water. It reminds me that there are moments where we all need some quiet time to be with ourselves, a way from that wild world swirling around us. Peace!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Backyard Sky

Yesterday afternoon the skies out back ended in a watercolor wash. I hate to cut a tree, but somethings in life need to be done for the greater good. I took down the large spruce last weekend that was right against the front of our home and beginning to do damage to the roof. When we moved in back in '77, the tree was about an 8 footer. When it hit the driveway Saturday, and was tackled by two chainsaws, it had reached the height of about forty feet. The last few afternoons I've been busy moving the remnants up back. When I was done yesterday, looked up over the back treeline and there it was filling up my world. A simple backdrop, but so magnificent-- even the camera couldn't do it justice.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Here are some reflections in the pond, on the edge of the Baxter's Woods, just off Forest Avenue. Growing up, it was always a neat place to hang out around during frog catchin' season. We'd grab our lunch, jump on our bikes and head to the ponds. We had a few choices. Sometimes, we'd head to the swamp at the end of Mayfield, seek an adventure in one of the many ponds at Evergreen or once in a while head here to see what we might find--- frogs, snakes, pollywogs, depending on the season. As you can tell, I had a little Huck Finn in me. As a matter of fact, the more times I read those 'adventures', the more I see myself and my friends in those pages. Looking at the water today, the surface actually looks about the same size, with maybe a few more lily pads. Time changes everything they say, but this pond remains basically the same. For me, it's sort of like a place where time forgot. Enjoy a piece of my world!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cousins Island Bridge

An early Sunday ride towards Yarmouth from the city gets you on Cousins Island via the Cousins Island Bridge with little traffic coming or going. It brought back a wonderful memory of a family trip to Great Chebeague Island when I was about eight. We took the 15 minute ferry ride from Cousins and spent the day on the back side of Chebeague. As usual, Mom did all the arduous preparations loading up the station wagon with all the rigmarole needed for a day away from home with four small kids. I'm sure each of us took away a memory or two of this day. Mine were Dad's lobster-red sunburn (he always did it his way... no sun lotion for him!) and my first adventure with horseshoe crabs. Forget about the natural history of the species being around 250 million years give or take a few years, I was just amazed at its look and that there were so many on the beach. Never seen 'em at Willard or Crescent. This fall morning the air is invigorating; the water is calm with nice bridge and island spruce reflections in the distance.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Weather Report: with heavy rain in the forecast for the next twelve hours, I spent yesterday afternoon clearing the leaves off the front lawn. Two huge maples can do a lot of 'damage' when it comes to leaf drop. This rain should bring down the rest of the leaves around here and get us set for those bleak, gray-washed November skies.

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's creeping up on All Hallows Eve, so in Maine that means the start of the end of the fall sports season. Is there a more intriguing fall sport? Cool goggles, colored sticks, orange balls, stupid songs and kilts? I first saw it played by the gals at the once Westbrook College. Their field was in the rear of the campus, along side the old Pine Grove Cemetery, adjacent to Evergreen. Fall afternoons, I'd stop by, often by myself, on my way home from Lincoln to take in some games. I think I might have been attracted by the screaming voices and the ringing sounds of those clashing sticks! The Western Maine Class A Final in Field Hockey is set for tomorrow-- Scarborough vs Cheverus. Ladies, let's get aggressive!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


These two dolphin frolic in the heart of the Old Port. The sculpture is in the courtyard of the old Milk Street Armory, now known as The Portland Regency Hotel and Spa. Besides working second jobs at Casco Bank at Morrill's Corner, Falmouth High School, and the Stevens Stevens Armory, Dad also worked here on Milk Street at the old armory. He often dragged me along to this downtown building on a weekend afternoon. He'd work, doing whatever, and I'd spend the two hours shooting hoops on the old squeaky floor gym. I never really knew why he wanted me with him here. Now, at the bank, high school and the armory up the street from our house, he'd put me right to work. Here though-- nothing. Company, I guess. Today, after an afternoon of fall rain, it smelled so wonderful here! Stop and smell the wet bricks!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wooden Bridge

This bridge through the woods is close by me. I enjoy walks through here from time to time. Soon hunting season around here takes me indoors most days though, til the turkey's on the table.
The name -- of it -- is "Autumn" --
The hue -- of it -- is Blood --
An Artery -- upon the Hill --
A Vein -- along the Road --

Great Globules -- in the Alleys --
And Oh, the Shower of Stain --
When Winds -- upset the Basin --
And spill the Scarlet Rain --

It sprinkles Bonnets -- far below --
It gathers ruddy Pools --
Then -- eddies like a Rose -- away --
Upon Vermilion Wheels --
By Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Off to warmer seas, the Explorer of the Seas visited Portland one last time on Saturday. Stay with me here; there is a connection. It's one of the sister ships of the Voyager of the Seas, that we traveled to the Caribbean on in the summer of 2004. We have so many wonderful memories of our three cruises, and I can't believe it's been five years since our last. Time travels! My fondest memory of that last trip was leaving Jamaica, standing on the top deck, sun setting, listening to a steel drum band aboard ship, smoking a fine cigar and sippin' on a Red Strip. We've tried to live our lives, for the most part, with no regrets. It's the way life should be... with no regrets!

Monday, October 19, 2009


I loves ties! And I do think that, in some strange way, they make the man. Even in this day of 'dress-down' Fridays and all, I try to wear a tie each day. In many ways, I am a man of contradictions, when it comes to fashion. On jeans day, I'll wear some combo with tie and jacket; on a dress-up occasion, I've been known to 'go jeans'. When it comes to tie patterns, I love the paisley influence. Any color's game; the wilder the design the better. And a good bolo tie is sometimes just the thing, when I'm seeking my 'inner cowboy'. My sister bought me a great one, when she was visiting Colorado last year. I love it! Today, because of this tie post... I will not be wearing a tie. I'll go with a pattern shirt and a sport jacket. See? Just when you think you know me... the chameleon changes. By the way, if you happen to see Heidi Klum today, tell her the shirt and jacket look great!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Whatca lookin' at? Never seen a seagull before? This guy was captured picking around the backside of Custom House Wharf the other day. In life, in the BIG plan, I guess they all serve a purpose, but I find this guy and his like a pretty disgusting lot. Am I bad because I feel this way? I hope not. And here's another reason-- I think I remember one of his distant relatives 'stealing' part of my dinner of fried clams one afternoon at the Clambake Restaurant at Pine Point, back many a year. Mess with my fried clams (my all time favorite food) and I have a long memory! Hahaha!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

HS Tosca

One of my all time favorites here. I read it in Ms Storer's English class in eighth grade for the very first time, and it just stuck with me. Growing up around all this 'blueness' and the longing for that gypsy's life upon the sea resonated with me. The life of a ship's captain or the long-distance trucker were lives I could have led and greatly enjoyed. Just the cowboy in me , I guess.
Sea Fever
I must go down to the seas again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song
and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face
and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again,
for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day
with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume,
and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again
to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way
where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn
from a laughing fellow rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long trick's over.
--By John Masefield

Friday, October 16, 2009

Yellow Apples

With seven or eight apple trees down through the back field and the apples falling everywhere, this time of year on Stevens, it was all about apple casting. The piece of equipment that needed to be located first was the perfect caster, not too long, not to whipy, with just enough stiffness to it. The bushes, near our back baseball diamond, held the prime 'models'. Cut it down your jackknife, strip off all the leaves, and test its 'whipiness '. It had to be perfect, at least to survive the afternoon battles. Next, find the right size apples for your model. Crabapples were the best-- small, fast and HARD. You didn't have to pick sides for this fun; you just started firing at anything that moved. I must admit the little kids and the neighborhood girls often became targets, if they were unlucky enough to be venturing up the path towards our house on 'casting' days. But most of the time is was just us, the guys, firing indiscriminately at each other. Fall afternoons, after school, sped by amid all this fun!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


She's my Jersey girl(on left), sis J- on right! Born in Newark raised in northern Jersey, but after a summer at Camp Huckins in NH and one trip to Naples, she was sold on Maine. Lucky me! We've been together almost ever since. This song, our song, just about sums it up for me. Happy Birthday Elenka!

Here, There And Everywhere
To lead a better life I need my love to be here...

Here, making each day of the year
Changing my life with the wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there's something there

There, running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking but she doesn't know he's there

I want her everywhere and if she's beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there

I want her everywhere and if she's beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there

To be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Thoughts while contemplating just about next to nothing-- For example, these gates block off an alleyway to back entrances to a couple of restaurants. In rain, sleet, snow, when I walk by I always see cooks, busboys and the like hanging out, having a smoke, but this afternoon nothing. Sunny day- nothing. Rain and fog- all kinds of hanger-ons. What gives? Maybe I'm just getting there at a bad time. And while I'm on the topic of gates, maybe some local theater production doing Dante's Inferno is looking for the 'Gates of Hell'. These might work! And really, I don't think Christo and Jeanne-Claude left these behind when they visited the city recently!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ax Head

This image takes me back. Back on Stevens this time of year, the driveway was always loaded with small logs that needed to be cut one, two or maybe even three times. Because I was the oldest and biggest, it was me on the other end of the 8 foot cross-cut saw with Dad. No matter the weather, no matter if I had things to do for myself, once the the truck dumped the logs part of my afternoons and evenings were not mine anymore. One year, Dad even had the large tree next to the garage cut down. At the base, it was about 16 inches diameter. Not an easy task, but with cheap labor, the job got done. After the wood was cut, it needed to be split and stacked. Dad did the splitting, but I watched him intently. Never did I think that this would in anyway, serve me in life, but I was wrong. He taught me where to strike the ax and how to use the steel wedges to crack even the toughest of oak. When it was ready to stacked in the garage, it seemed like a mountain of wood. Now, when it came to stackin', I had an extra set of hands. The younger brother was commissioned by my father to help. As I remember, one year we actually made up a 'baseball game' to get the job completed faster. Two cords of winter wood is, this morning, resting and ready to find its way into the woodshed for another Maine winter. What goes around comes around; I guess you could say.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunny Afternoon

Well, it's not summer, but walking on Milk Street in the warm afternoon sunshine, the other day, I couldn't help but hum this favorite Kinks song:
Sunny Afternoon-
The taxman's taken all my dough,
And left me in my stately home,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
And I can't sail my yacht,
Hes taken everything I've got,
All I've gots this sunny afternoon.

Save me, save me, save me from this squeeze.
I got a big fat mama trying to break me.
And I love to live so pleasantly,
Live this life of luxury,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
In the summertime
In the summertime
In the summertime

My girlfriend's run off with my car,
And gone back to her ma and pa,
Telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty.
Now I'm sitting here,
Sipping at my ice cold beer,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.

Help me, help me, help me sail away,
Well give me two good reasons why I oughta stay.
cause I love to live so pleasantly,
Live this life of luxury,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
In the summertime
In the summertime
In the summertime

Ah, save me, save me, save me from this squeeze.
I got a big fat mama trying to break me.
And I love to live so pleasantly,
Live this life of luxury,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
In the summertime
In the summertime
In the summertime
- Ray Davies

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Flagstaff Lake2

Road Trip- Any trip to Flagstaff gets me looking off to the Bigelows and thinking of what might have been. My brother-in-law S- loved hiking this area and along with my sister took me along on a memorable weekend to the Gulf of Hages, an 8.5 mile loop of challenging trails "The Grand Canyon of the East" and The Hermitage, both National Natural Landmarks. Not long after this weekend of joking and fun, S- life was tragically taken in an accident on 302. I must truly say it was one of the most trying moments in my life. The following spring, my sister wanted to climb Little Bigelow, and I wasn't about to let her head up alone. Long story short- we spent a starry night atop the rocky peak and awoke to a dynamic sunrise on Sugarloaf and Avery Peak, the summit of Bigelow Mtn. Before we left, we 'planted' some mementos to S-. I think his jackknife still rests somewhere up there. Since the early 90s, the Appalachian Trail lean-to just down from the top of Little Bigelow has had a plaque with S- name. In the fall of '95, my son(9 years old at the time) and I climbed to the lean-to and spent the night. We each wrote a note to him in the trail book that evening. It was very nice. J- wanted to know all about S-, and I obliged. That night, we had the lean-to all to ourselves (I couldn't have planned it any better)... well J- and I and a few mice that is! I'll never forget those trips to the shore of Flagstaff Lake and beyond!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Flagstaff Lake1

Road Trip- Ever been to a ghost town? Here's another 'adventure' we've taken recently. This one took us to Flagstaff Lake. It sprawls over Somerset and Franklin counties in the north-western part of the state. There's an interesting history here centering around the town of Flagstaff. Back about 60 years, the town's buildings were either dismantled, taken away or just torn down and surrounding area was flooded over and a once Maine town slipped into oblivion. The Lake itself occupies parts of the abandoned and now submerged townships of Flagstaff, Bigelow, Dead River and Carrying Place. The last time we were here we photographed, investigated and took in the stillness of it all. It's a bit eerie to stare out across the open water and remember that a town and people once stood there.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Out back among the ecru and sorrel leaves this diminutive hanging chapel waits for me. I'll be spending some time back there this weekend cutting back some brush and clearing out slash. A revival of my close and personal relationship with my Husqvarna chainsaw , I guess, is in my future.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Outside of Street & Company on Wharf Street, these tables are set in the afternoon sunshine. Here's one of those photos you take, sort of a throw away shot. Later, you look at it and say, "Hey, I like this layered look." These tables will soon be moved inside. Not really a lot of fun if you're a seafood connoisseur and trying to enjoy your evening of Sole Francaise ($15.95), the Scallops in Pernod and Cream ($18.95) or Blackened Halibut ($17.95) in snow flurries.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More Paint

"Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay." -Robert Browning
So I'm walking around the other day, just killing time and out of the corner of my eye I see this. It was a rack of paint cans, spray cans to be exact. I thought the patterns and dull coloring were interesting and rather similar to some trees already in their muted seasonal hues outside my window.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wet Pumpkins

Each fall when the pumpkins get BIG in the garden(and not attacked by deer) or local vegetable stands turn from veggies to pumpkins and gourds, I think about on of my favorite images of 'pumpkin-season'. Now, let me preface this by saying that I'm a big fan of all the Wyeths for different reasons: grandfather NC- and his colored illustrations from books like: Kidnapped, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island and the magazine Saturday Evening Post that I grew up reading, son Andrew- and his classic images of the Maine coast and Chadds Ford, PA, and grandson Jamie and his paintings of Monhegan. Maybe my all time favorite of his is the Pumpkinhead-self portrait. To pay homage to this image a few years ago, when we had a huge pumpkin. I gutted it out, placed it on my head, put on my great coat and had J- 'shoot' me. The picture is around somewhere. I'm still looking for it. It's so--- the season for me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Autumn's Saco

Colors along the Saco River are approaching their zenith these days. Seen here along the Warren Road, this stretch of river is often rolling white water in the spring, but this morning there are lots of rocks showing. This is one of my favorite places to come and just sit along the river and watch 'life' go by. Sometimes, my camera is with me and other times I pull over and roll down the window and just take it all in. By the way, today's photo is #3oo on my photoblog. I've posted everyday since December 31, 2008, with just a few multiple posts when I felt they were warranted. So today, as usual I plan to stop somewhere and take a picture that's part of my world. I try to do this everyday now... it's a very exciting part of my day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Road Trip- In 1920, Philadelphia doctor and summer resident Dr. Elise Rose and her friend Alice Gagnon, both devout Catholics, starting making plans for a church for the community of Onawa.Their quest for a suitable piece of land was not an easy one, and it was long. In 1933, a neighbor, Alfred A. Burke, offered the land across from his home, just up from the lake shore. Donations were accepted and construction began. Long before the 'ecumenical movement' would occur, Catholic and their Protestant neighbors all chipped in with donations and labor. Along with the building of the chapel, other aspects were needed. Dr. Rose commissioned a sculptor, Conway Sawyer, to make the figure of the 'Virgin of the Chapel', had stained glass windows and a pump organ shipped from her home in Philadelphia. Along the way, brass candlesticks and a crocheted lace tablecloth were added. In 1957, Mr. Burke died and the land and chapel were passed to his son. Soon, the beautiful place of worship was complete, but with a interesting problem-- no worshippers to speak of; two Catholics and the Burke family, that was it. Protestants, at the time, were meeting for services at area homes, rotating throughout the summer, with the Rev. Alfred Hempstead. The Burke family offered the chapel to the their Protestant friends for summer services, and in the summer of 1970, the Alfred A. Burke Memorial Chapel held its first service.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Road Trip- Our trip to Greenville, the Moosehead Lake area and later to Onawa Lake last weekend was great fun. A short hike from G- cottage and we reached the Onawa Lake trestle. Built in 1931, it spans the gorge 131 feet below. I hear it is the highest trestle of its kind east of the Mississippi River. We moved across it with no problem; as there is a walkway seen to the right. I can just imagine the 'fun' with some wind blowing or the excitement of crossing it in snow. That's Borestone Mountain off in the distance.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Milk Trucks

Been looking at these classic milk trucks rotting away for years and years, probably 25 to be exact. It's been a long time. They've been in this 'final resting place', waiting for something... anything! Back on Stevens and Coyle, I'd hear their squeaky brakes and the rattling bottles as their drivers jumped out of their trucks and moved swiftly up the driveway. As I remember, Oakhurst, Hood, Old Tavern Farms was the big three-way competition here in southern Maine. I'm just a bit surprised that some collector hasn't swooped down and grabbed these two 'classics' and got them restored and up and running for some local car show this summer.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Today, October 1, 2009, is Theme Day in the CityDailyPhotoBlog community. I saw this last weekend on a walk near Onawa Lake. Our friend G- was taking us down the tracks to the start of the railroad trestle. I was being a bit of a pain, wanting to photograph lots of sights around us. I'm sure he rolled his eyes a time or two. I finally said, just go on, and I'll catch up. And so it went. Later, when we got home, I was thinking... what to do for the theme: "Contrast", and there it was iron and lonesome colored leaves... together.