Lake Living vol. 25, no. 2

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Life Beneath the Ice

FREE fall / winter 2022 • vol . 25 , no 2
plus chasing arrows the bookshelf fast and affordable
2 lakelivingmaine com C U S T O M B U I L D E R & D E S I G N E R M A I N E C O H O M E S . C O M 2 0 7 . 6 4 7 . 3 8 8 3 • 1 7 5 P O R T L A N D R O A D , B R I D G T O N

editor’s note

In this issue’s book reviews, Perri Black’s description of summer closing down perfectly captures my state of mind and being as we slowly shift into another Maine fall and winter: bittersweet. While my mood is usually wistful at summer’s end, this year is different. As much as I feel a sense of sadness for the passing of another summer, I find myself looking forward to the muffled calm that winter affords. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

After two-plus years of pandemic alteration and a summer of uncertain resurrection, it’s not surprising that some of us long to go back into our holes. Which is why Leigh Macmillen Hayes’s article Life Beneath the Ice so resonated with me. She had me at, “A lid placed on the ecosystem below. And all aquatic life goes dormant. Or does it?”

The idea of life continuing in an alternate atmosphere, at a much slower pace, intrigued me. It reminded me of the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, in which Persephone is obliged to spend six months of each year with Hades in the Underworld, during which time Deme ter spreads a blanket of white over the ground above until her daughter’s return in spring. When I read it as a child, I felt there was something necessary in the pro cess. Even then I understood there was a connection between loss and renewal.

So as another summer ages into fall and eventually does a slow snowslide into winter, I’ll savor the last sweet bits without my usual sense of sadness, and endeavor instead to appreciate the com plex quiet calm of another Maine winter.

Laurie LaMountain

life beneath the ice

chasing arrows

welcome back pleasant mountain

guardians of garcelon

18 fast and affordable by laurie lamountain

22 the bookshelf

from bridgton books

26 one potato, two potato by laurie lamountain

Editor & Publisher

Laurie LaMountain

Staff Writers

Leigh Macmillen Hayes


Dr. Edwin Barkdoll, Dr. Ben Peierls, Louisa Attenborough, Tracy Emanuel Photography, Pleasant Mountain, Leigh Macmillen Hayes, Pam Ward

Graphic Designer

Dianne Lewis

Proofreader/Copy Editor

Leigh Macmillen Hayes

Lake Living is published quarterly by Almanac Graph ics, Inc., 625 Rocky Knoll Rd, Denmark, ME 04022 207-452-8005. e-mail: lakeliv ©2022. All rights reserved. Con tents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without written consent from the publisher.

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by leigh macmillen hayes 12
by laurie lamountain 14
by leigh macmillen hayes 16
by leigh macmillen hayes cover Whirligig Beetle under ice By edWin Barkdoll 1216 6 14
20 creative housing solutions by laurie lamountain and thea hart


Beneath The Ice

Acalm winter day. Freezing temps.

Thickening ice. A lid is placed on the ecosystem below. And all aquatic life goes dormant. Or does it?

Water is unusual in that its solid form is less dense than its liquid form (Think: ice cubes float in a glass of water). For most substances, the solids are denser (heavier) than the liquids. If that were the case for wa ter, when it freezes the ice would sink to the bottom and then start to pile up, thus crush ing all aquatic life in our lakes and ponds.

Thankfully, that’s not how water chem istry behaves. Instead, in late fall, the at mospheric temperature starts to dip below freezing. This causes the upper layer of water to cool. When the surface water temperature falls to 4˚C (39.2˚F), the water acquires max imum density and sinks. The water that sinks displaces the water below and the lower lay ers simultaneously rise toward the surface, get cooled to 4˚C, and the process repeats. As the surface water cools below 4˚C, density starts to decrease and the water no longer sinks. The surface water finally freezes at 0˚C, while the water below remains at 4˚C.

The ice that forms creates an insu lated cover that actually helps the water

underneath to retain its relative warmth throughout the season, relative mean ing 4˚C, except the water immediately below the ice is on the order of 0.5˚ to 1˚C. Also, oxygen gets trapped be neath the ice. As a result fish, and other aquatic animals find it possible to survive.

But it’s what is going on below that in trigued Dr. Ben Peierls, Lake Environmental Association’s research director, to take a closer look. Early in his career, Ben partici pated in a trip to study below-ice conditions. That project remained on his mind and sub sequent research by the scientific community further compelled him to conduct a study.

LEA has compiled extensive data regarding the annual cycles of our area’s lakes and ponds, but Ben notes that there is a gap in that knowledge when it comes to winter.

According to Ben’s 2022 Winter Moni toring Report posted on LEA’s website: “Climate change plays a large role in the increased interest in winter lake conditions. Long-term records of lake freeze and breakup dates show that ice cover periods have decreased significantly for many places. Less time with ice cover has and will lead to a reduction or loss of cultural and recreational

activities. The impact on water quality throughout the year from a reduction or loss of ice cover is not as well known. So to fill that void, researchers have increased efforts to study lakes during winter and improve basic understanding of winter conditions and how those might link to open water periods.”

“That gap and the neat factor were the impetus,” he says. And so, in 2018, he and a couple of other LEA staff members trudged across Highland Lake in downtown Bridgton to reach its deep spot. That’s where summer water quality tests are conducted.

Using an ice auger, a seven-inch hole was created, big enough to lower a multiparameter sonde connected to a handheld data logger into the water column and measure a depth-based profile, dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, pH, and turbidity. They also measured the thickness of the ice, amount of snow on it, and noted its layered structure, sometimes clear, other times black or mushy depending on recent weather events.

Over time and subsequent years, Ben added new tricks to the research, such as sawing dumbbell or key-shaped holes to accommodate larger gear like a Secchi Disk (flat disk with two black and two white quadrants) to measure water clarity.

In addition, he measured light levels above and at several depths below the ice using an underwater quantum sensor. That meant covering the hole with layers of window screens to prevent any ambient light from affecting the reading.

One of the surprises,” Ben notes, “was learning how snow played a role. Light is an important resource that algae need to grow. Without light, they sometimes won’t grow.”

Snow melt or slush on top of the ice, which occurs more frequently with warm ing winter temperatures, make the ice less transparent and therefore allows less light to reach the water below.

Overall, however, Ben is quick to point out that the data he and his team have gathered so far is only a baseline and Secchi readings have been comparable to summer; they have not noted any major changes in winter water quality.

The basic conditions were confirmed. There’s still a healthy algal community and the zooplankton, like copepods, seem happy.

By winter 2022, Ben was visiting thirteen local lakes and ponds two or three times (LEA conducts testing on 42 ponds in the summer). He was a bit surprised to discover the the oxygen in some declined to zero.

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“Organisms that use oxygen for respiration are going to use it up if there isn’t aeration,” he explains to me. “If we see a period of low oxygen in the winter, does that have an implication for the next season?” That question still remains to be answered. Though he tried to choose days with low wind and less brisk temperatures to conduct the research, he’s grateful to the people who live closest to the deep holes because it can be a long trudge from a boat launch as you drag a sled full of equipment. On board the sled: the ice auger, sonde, Secchi, and light meter, plus a saw to widen the hole into that key or dumbbell shape, a homemade ice measuring gauge, portable depth finder,

“If we see a period of low oxygen in the winter, does that have an implication for the next season?”

That question still remains to be answered.


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GPS, Aquascope to look into the water and spot the Secchi Disk, collection bottles for chlorophyll and phosphorus water samples, core tube to collect water, ladle to keep ice chips out of hole and ice picks in case someone accidentally falls in.

In addition to the water quality data col lection, Ben has seen springtails, aka Collem bola, in the middle of a hole, and occasional high density of zooplankton and algae.

“This is all information that’s not been collected in the lakes region previously,” says Ben. “We’re not the pioneers, but we’re following the steps of others. That’s how science works.” And hey, he gets to gather important data in a variety of beautiful winter settings.

Since it’s not uncommon by mid-winter to see a near absence of oxygen in bottom waters, ice fishermen are well aware of the manner in which many fish species rise to higher levels in a lake.

Bill Robblee, co-owner with his wife Coreen of Willy C’s Bait and Tackle shop in Brownfield explains, “The water is the same temperature throughout most of the column so the fish can move around more. You can catch multiple species with a jig pole.”

Lovewell Pond in Fryeburg is one place that he enjoys fishing with family and

friends because it’s easy to catch Pickerel, Perch, and Black Crappie there.

“Once,” he says, “I had a camera in the water and had a piece of dead bait on the jig line. When I turned the camera on, the bait was gone. I could see a puff of dirt where the fish had grabbed the bait off the bottom. Someone used a jig pole with a piece of bait, started jigging and caught a lake trout.”

Likewise, Dr. Edwin Barkdoll, veterinar ian of Surry, Maine, chose to examine pond life in the winter, a project which he turned into a twenty-minute film entitled “Pond Life: Under the Ice” for his Maine Master Naturalist capstone in 2017.

“If you are anything like me,” says Edwin, “you might have thought that as winter deepened, pond life enters a dor mant phase under the frozen surface just waiting for spring to start a renewal cycle.”

In early February of 2017, Edwin cut a two-by-four foot hole in the ice of a local pond. The air was -6˚C (20˚F) and ice 8-inches thick. The temperature of the water below the ice was 1˚C (34˚F), just right for cold blooded animals (their internal temperatures adjust to match the temperature of their environment). At this low temperature, their metabolism slows down, they don’t need as much energy, they

move more slowly, and they require less oxygen—all adaptations, but life still goes on and predators still find prey.

Having heard Edwin give his presenta tion several times, I can only imagine his initial delight and surprise when he looked at the photographs and videos captured on a waterproof Olympus Point and Shoot Camera that he’d attached to a long pole. Also cobbled onto this home-made piece of equipment were two underwater lights.

Suddenly the world below came into view and he watched micro-invertebrates such as copepods and Daphnia swarm ing through the water column in a show of their own. The copepods’ movements ranged from drifting to rapid jumps and the Daphnia used rhythmic beating of many small legs to capture food.

Another time he took a photograph of a one-square foot section and with keen eyes noted between ten and twenty macroinvertebrates partially camouflaged on the bottom sediment—admitting he may have missed a few. Most abundant among his findings: Caddisfly larva feeding on organic matter or detritus on submerged rocks, logs, and plants. He even found one foraging on the underside of the ice.

Water Boatmen, Back Swimmers, and Whirligig Beetles, all species we observe frantically moving about on the water’s sur face in the summer, swam more slowly in the colder water. Leeches were present as well, though Edwin is quick to note, “Not all leeches are blood suckers. Many are preda tory—eating mosquito and other larvae.”

Among the vertebrate species he ob served larval salamanders, Bullfrog tad poles, which take two years to mature, and adult Eastern Newts.

“The first day I went out,” says Edwin, I didn’t have neoprene or long gloves. After lying on the ice for maybe ten minutes, I was actually stuck to it. And my arm was basical ly a block of wood. You get cold really fast.”

This winter, as you venture out from the comfort of your cozy home and journey across the ice, take a moment to consider the life beneath the ice. The action may be different from summer, but despite the ice, it’s still an active environment.

Read LEA’s 2022 Winter

Report: www.mainelakes.

View Edwin Barkdoll’s Pond Life: Under the Ice on YouTube:

Visit Willy C’s Bait and Tackle Shop, 941 Pequawket Trail, Brownfield, or on Facebook

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org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/ LEAWinterMonitoringReport2022.pdf watch?v=G5r5wXq_4VM
Ptilostomis and
Salamander larva
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lakelivingmaine com 11 (207) 647-RENT N O W A C C E P T I N G A P P L I C A T I O N S & R E S E R V A T I O N S R E N T B R I D G T O N . C O M

Chasing arrows

Four months into the pandemic, I drove down to Florida and brought my mother back to Maine. We converted a post-and-beam art studio in our backyard into a cozy cottage so that she could have her own space, including a make-shift kitchen with a two-burner cooktop and a microwave oven. It was then that my mother, who had always made her own meals, discovered the ease of frozen dinners and packaged foods. And it was then that it dawned on me that the recycling bin in the garage was filling up three times faster than it had in the past.

The fact that we previously generated so little trash was something of a point of pride that came with very little effort. For one thing, I cook. Cooking from scratch in itself is an effective means to reducing waste. I also make my own yogurt and preserve what I can of summer’s bounty. Sharing a compost bin with the neighbor further reduced the amount of waste we brought to the transfer station. Finally, I live with someone who is

Instead of reducing per-capita waste disposal by 50% as the decades-old law intended, Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reported in 2019 that we’ve actually increased the amount of waste each of us produces annually by nearly 10%.

adamantly opposed to on-line shopping.

But then came those frozen dinners. Who knew that in addition to the outer card board box, there were two plastic “bowls” inside containing the dinner? They were what made me more aware of, and subse quently obsessed with, the level of single-use plastic in our culture. Frozen dinners were just the tip of the iceberg. I began to pon der the amount of plastic waste generated from one plane trip, one outdoor concert at Thompson Point, one day at Maine Medical Center, or, because I had a lot more time on my hands, one pandemic. It was daunting, but at least I was doing the right thing by re cycling, right? Let’s just say, it’s complicated.

The town I live in is one of more than seventy participating municipalities in Maine whose recycling efforts are met by ecomaine, a nonprofit comprehensive waste disposal and recycling organization based in Portland that introduced single-sort re cycling to Maine in 2007. Since then, they have by their accounts recycled more than one billion pounds of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass (which translates to 540,000 tons that didn’t end up in land fills) into paper products, cardboard boxes, hardware, bike parts, cans, plastic bottles, jugs, shirts, and even park benches. More than 1,300 waste items in the ecomaine Recyclopedia are among the 35,000+ tons of recyclables they process each year.

Maine has consistently been on the fore front when it comes to enacting legislation to protect the environment. The Maine “Bottle Bill,” enacted in 1978, is a hugely successful recycling program for glass, aluminum, and plastic beverage containers that has gone a long way to keeping Maine’s roads and highways litter-free. And on July 1st of 2021, a bill banning single-use plastic carry-out bags was signed into effect by Governor Mills. Twelve days later, the governor signed LD 1541 into law, making Maine the first state to pass an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packag ing law, requiring big corporations and manufacturers to help pay for the cost of recycling their wasteful packaging. Nate Cronauer, who is one of three environmen tal educators at ecomaine, says they sup ported the EPR bill, along with the Natural Resources Council of Maine, because it incentivizes manufacturers to produce less packaging and in doing so supports Maine’s solid waste management hierarchy.

A somewhat forgotten law passed in 1989 is Maine’s Solid Waste Management

Law, or “An Act to Promote Reduction, Recycling, and Integrated Management of Solid Waste and Sound Environmental Leg islation,” that established an ambitious goal of diverting 50% of Maine waste away from landfills or waste-to-energy plants where it’s incinerated, to recycling or composting it in stead. And this is where it gets complicated.

Instead of reducing per-capita waste disposal by 50% as the decades-old law intended, Maine’s Department of Environ mental Protection (DEP) reported in 2019 that we’ve actually increased the amount of waste each of us produces annually by near ly 10%. According to a Maine Public report from February of 2021, the average Mainer disposed of more than 0.6 tons of waste in 2019, and as the pandemic pushed demand for masks, test kits, cleaning products and other goods delivered in cardboard boxes, that number has almost certainly gone up. On the flip side, Maine’s recycling rate has decreased. While we’re slightly ahead of a national recycling rate estimated at 32%, the 36.46% average reported by DEP is a long way from the state’s much earlier goal of 50%. Factor co-mingling contamination into those averages, and the true rate of recycling is almost certainly less.

There are a number of reasons contribut ing to the lag. Not all that long ago, the U.S. exported and sold millions of tons of plastic waste to China, where it was recycled into new products that they then sold back to us, but as the amount of valuable recycling material they were getting from us went down and the amount of contaminated

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waste went up, they stopped buying it. Then in January of 2021, the United Nations adopted new rules that ban the export of contaminated waste to developing nations. Lack of a market and rising costs in general have driven the cost of recycling up, forcing towns and cities to reevaluate whether they can even offer recycling to their residents. Add to all that the fact that we’re simply generating more waste per capita and you can see where the scale tips. According to the earlier cited Maine Public report, “The volume of rubbish annually going to Maine landfills and waste-to-energy plants has mostly been growing for at least six years.”

Landfills are considered the most waste ful means of trash disposal under Maine’s environmental laws, and waste-to-energy plants don’t rate much higher, which is why they finish last and next-to-last in the waste management hierarchy. Recycling, when done right, is a better and more valuable way to preserve resources. Which brings me to another reason we’re not reaching our recycling goal—us.

In a 16-minute NPR documentary that everyone should watch titled “Is Recycling Worth It Anymore? The Truth is Compli cated,” a public works employee explains “wishcycling,” which is when people think everything, including the kitchen sink, can be recycled. It can’t.

“They just think that the recycling cart is a portal to another universe, and it’s not.”

Another recycling specialist in the docu mentary offers the following insight, “The one thing about the public is when they are done with the material, they’re done with it. They’re not connecting the dots that there’s a journey that that item is going to take and it’s going to become someone else’s responsibility.”

The reason we’ve shirked our responsi bility is also complicated. At the dawn of the plastic age, there were a lot of manufac turers who realized there was a huge profit margin in marketing single- or limited-use products to consumers and almost overnight the landscape was awash with litter. When the federal government demanded manu facturers address this growing problem, they came up with a rather ingenious plan to avoid restrictions on their production. Several companies, Coca Cola among them, got together to form an organization called Keep America Beautiful, whose first order of business was a media campaign against littering. While it was mostly successful in getting us to stop littering, it did nothing

to solve the overarching problem of excess production. Then came the ’70s and the first Earth Day. Environmental activists weren’t buying a hokey marketing campaign begging them, “please, please don’t be a lit terbug.” They knew the real problem wasn’t litter—it was too much waste—and they began exerting pressure on manufacturers to take responsibility for it. In response, Keep America Beautiful went from hokey to hard-hitting. Who among us over the age of 50 doesn’t remember the commercial with a tearful Indigenous man being pelted by trash thrown from a passing car?

It was also about this time that Keep America Beautiful switched its messaging away from littering to recycling. Recycling offered a way to assuage consumer guilt and keep the profit margins ticking for manufac turers. Giving consumers a feel-good way to dispose of the increasing volume of stuff they were purchasing took the focus off them. I’ll leave it to someone in the recycling industry to better encapsulate it.

“Recycling, it’s one of those things where not only does the public kind of depend on it emotionally to relinquish their guilt about buying things, but it has been kept alive by manufacturers, and there is long history of this.”

Make no mistake, recycling is an es sential means to combat the overburden ing of the Earth, but what it doesn’t do is discourage consumption. Crazy as it sounds, recycling may have actually added to disposability by virtue of easing consumer guilt. We need to have a come-to-Jesus conversation around the consequence of our consumption. As another person in the NPR documentary facetiously noted, “Put it in the blue bin and your job as a citizen is done.” But we all know it’s not.

It’s up to all of us to make better choices as consumers. Switching from liquid laun dry detergent that comes in a rigid-plastic

container to Human Nature powdered laundry detergent that’s made right here in Maine and packaged in a brown paper bag is just one way. Registering with DMA and catalog to opt out of junk mail is another. Challenging yourself to avoid single-use plastic purchases (and it is a challenge) is yet another. We can’t solve problems on the backend that were created upstream. If enough of us hold manufac turers accountable through our buying decisions, it will send them a message they can’t ignore.

Composting is another way we can cut down on waste. It’s estimated that as much as 25% of waste in every trash bag is organic. Turning it into soil is a win-win proposition. If you can’t compost in your own backyard, find out if there’s a drop-off location near you. More and more transfer and recycling stations are accepting organic waste for composting.

But we cannot give up on recycling. Re duce. Reuse. Recycle. It may be the third R in the chasing arrows logo, but it may also be our best hope when it comes to dealing with our waste dilemma. We just need to do it better.

Cronauer shares an apt analogy: “Think of our waste stream as a bath tub filling up with water. When it overflows, do we want to reach for a mop or turn off the tap? The first thing we need to do is turn the water down or off. We’re still going to need to clean up the overflow, so that mop is part of the solution, but our first step should be to turn off the tap.”

Education is key, and even if your town isn’t one of the municipalities served by ecomaine, I would encourage you to visit their website at to learn more about how to recycle responsibly.

In the meantime, because I will always be my father’s daughter, I strongly recommend focusing your efforts on the first R. R

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Welcome Back Pleasant Mountain

Skiing history dates back to the 19th century in Bridgton. According to Bridgton Historical Society’s Bridgton, Maine 1968 - 1994, “As far back as the late 1800s, a few brave souls were pioneering ‘on boards.’ After a good snow storm, three young men of the town, Norman Libby, Richard Cleaves, and Perry Murphy, used to climb Mt. Pleasant by way of the old carriage road on the west side and ski down. It was a half day’s venture, but they considered it well worth the effort . . . By 1935, there was talk of a ski trail on Pleasant Mountain and the town bought the Douglass pasture on the northwestern slope for that purpose.”

In 1936, the Civilian Conservation Corps created the top to bottom “Way shego Trail,” which is called Jack Spratt today. The following year, some locals and Bridgton Academy students built a 16’ x 32’ shelter. “A big boost to this enterprise was given in 1937 when a WPA project [Works Progress Administration, an American New Deal agency, that employed millions of

jobseekers (mostly men who were not for mally educated) to carry out public works projects], under the supervision of Claude Meserve, laid out new trails, improved the entrance to the slope, and enlarged the parking area,” wrote Irma Morris in the “Recreation Then and Now” chapter of the history book.

Pleasant Mountain Ski Area officially opened on Sunday, January 22, 1938, with a 1,100-foot rope tow. In 1943, ski enthu siasts Russ Haggett, Ray Riley, Luke Evans, Jack Spratt, Wes Marco, and Sid Russell started the Pleasant Mountain Ski Club, which continues to provide children with ski lessons through an after-school program.

Russ Haggett became the general man ager of the ski area in 1946. During his tenure, additional trails were developed.

In 1982, Ed Rock took the helm as gen eral manager. Ed’s accomplishments were many including overseeing the installation of the ski area’s first snowmaking system, modernizing ski lifts and adding night skiing.

The 1980s and ‘90s were difficult fi nancial years for the ski area. New owners came on board in 1984, but sold the resort to Shawnee Mountain Corporation in 1988. This company owned another ski resort in Pennsylvania and changed the name to reflect their holdings, thus Shawnee Peak at Pleasant Mountain was born. Unfortunately, operating two resorts didn’t pan out and in 1992, the ski area fell under bank ownership.

Chet Homer, a former financial advisor at Tom’s of Maine in Kennebunk, purchased Shawnee Peak in 1994. Ed Rock remained as general manager and improvements included replacing chair lifts, cutting new trails, and enhancing snowmaking.

Fast forward to 2018 when Ed retired and Chet hired Ralph Lewis as general man ager. “Chet owned the area for 27 years as a single owner,” Ralph recently said. “He did a great job at keeping the ski area success ful. He invested in the right places: lifts and snowmaking. These are the areas that most guests would not notice but made the opera tion run smoothly and efficiently. Not the easiest decision to make for a single owner. The ski business is very capital intensive and Shawnee Peak was very fortunate to have the Homer family for 27 years.”

Boyne Resorts purchased the ski area from the Homers in October 2021. “Right after the announcement we received many emails asking us to consider changing the name,” said Ralph, “We decided to send an email out to all of our guests and ask their opinion. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive for changing the name back to Pleasant Mountain. Being the first ski area in Maine, having the first T-bar in Maine, the first ski patrol in Maine, the first chair lift in Maine, created a great ski tradition; it felt right to revert the name.” On September 14, 2022, the announcement was made that the name had been changed and a new logo was revealed.

“All Boyne ski areas are somewhat dif ferent, not necessarily meaning size or loca

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“You can ski, but please put the fences back up for my cows in spring.” Harry Douglass, circa 1930s

tion, but most importantly personality. Dif ferent than other large ski companies, Boyne allows the management team at each area to make their own decisions about most things when it comes to operations.” said Ralph. “Yes, there are best practices that are company wide, which we all adhere to, but by letting the team onsite make day-to-day decisions, each area keeps its personality, which I believe is extremely important. It also gives employees a much better sense of ownership and the Boyne brand does not get homogenized. We want Pleasant Mountain to be Pleasant Mountain. We attract many young families that want to learn and have fun skiing. As kids get older they will move on to larger areas, but in a lot of cases they return with their own families.”

And as always happens, during the eight months that no one is skiing down the slopes, maintenance and infrastructure work occur. Several big projects are almost

complete for the 2022-23 season. The base lodge sports a new roof and the bathrooms have been remodeled and enlarged. In the rental department, skiers will find lots of new equipment.

Outside, a heated patio means that snow and ice won’t build up and cause slippery con ditions in front of the lodge. The patio was built to accommodate more outdoor seating capacity, which seems to be in demand over the last few years. On the hill, there have been many new snowmaking improve ments to make the system more efficient.

“Climate change is always a concern for us and consequently much time and effort continues to go into snowmaking,” said Ralph. “We strive to make the snowmak ing system not only more efficient, but safe as well. Our goal is automation, but this takes time.” Ralph, who learned to ski here, remembers simpler and colder days when the Pleasant Mountain was open

Christmas week with natural snow. Today, that wouldn’t happen without snowmaking.

Despite all these physical changes, one thing that will stay the same is the full-time employee team. Well, there is one change, as Shawn Rock, son of former general manager Ed Rock, will return to lead the grooming operation.

Ralph is excited about the capital im provements and name change. “We have a great loyal customer base,” he said. “I think they will enjoy coming back and seeing some of the changes we’ve made.”

One of the perks that Boyne announced last spring: Unlimited Season Pass holders now get benefits at the other New England Boyne Resorts; Loon Mountain, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf.

Once again the ski area on its northern end has returned to its roots and been renamed for that mountain it calls home. Welcome back Pleasant Mountain. R

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Guardians of Garcelon

Upon Charles retirement in 1906, the Garcelons returned to North Lovell, where he planned to build a mansion. ”It is likely it was built by the same Italian craftsmen who built Robert Todd Lincoln’s mansion ‘Hildene’ in Manchester, Vermont. Robert Todd Lincoln was president of the Pullman Company when Charles was its chief oper ating officer and they worked together every day,” wrote David C. Garcelon.

The mansion, built in 1908, was the pride and joy of Esther Garcelon, so much so that she had granite chairs and benches engraved with the letter “G” arranged on the lakeside lawn to face the house rather than the lake and mountain vista. Current homeowner Louisa Attenborough reminded me that Es ther’s family didn’t have a lot of money and so she probably loved to admire the house.


ymmetry, tall columns, elaborate doorways, geometric form—all key ele ments of the Neo-classical architectural style. And one grand example of the style sits on the northern end of Kezar Lake in Lovell, the Garcelon Mansion.

The house was built in 1908 for Charles and Esther Coffin Garcelon. His story be gins in November 1842, when he was born into a prominent Lewiston family. Accord ing to an article written by David C. Garce lon in Lovell Historical Society’s Fall 2010 issue of “Yesterday’s News,” Charles’ father, Alonzo, was a surgeon in Lewiston who went on to become Surgeon General for all Maine soldiers during the Civil War. Later, Alonzo served as Mayor of Lewiston and then a one year term as Governor of Maine.

Charles, at age 19, enlisted in the Civil War and entered the battle as 2nd Lieu tenant of Company 1 of the 16th Maine Infantry Regiment, a company he and his uncle formed to recruit infantry. Eventu ally, he reached the rank of Captain in the U.S. Volunteers Quartermaster Department Infantry Regiment. It was during his wartime career that he met Stephen Coffin of North Lovell as the two worked closely, Charles as an ambulance driver because he was adept at horsemanship, and Stephen as a field nurse. Upon their return to their home state in 1865, Stephen invited Charles to visit his family’s farm on Kezar Lake. It was here that Charles met and fell in love with one of Stephen’s cousins, Esther Coffin.

Following his service to the country, Charles worked for the Wabash Railroad

and became conductor for the Pullman Palace Car Company. He worked his way up through the company, becoming District Manager in St. Louis, Missouri, where he and Esther were married in 1872. They later moved to Chicago when he was appointed Pullmann’s Chief Operating Officer.

Back in Maine, the Coffin family was struggling to survive. According to David C. Garcelon’s article, “Charles devised a solution to which Esther quickly agreed. He provided the money and Esther purchased the 140-acre Coffin Farm on November 24, 1890. The purchase of the property gave the Coffin family a new lease on life. They were also given lifetime tenancy rights and paid generous sums to operate the farm.”

The Attenboroughs purchased the man sion in 2013, after Wilda Taylor had owned it for forty years. “We had raised our kids on the lake, spending summers and vacations here,” said Louisa. “The lake is our family’s happy place, but we only had a seasonal camp at Westways. We had no intentions whatsoever to buy a house. In fact, I looked at it reluctantly.”

But as they say, location, location, lo cation. The mansion’s location spoke to Louisa and once she learned the history of the house she fell in love with it.

“It had been lovingly used, but not as lovingly cared for,” she said. The first phone call the Attenboroughs made after the pur chase was to local painter Allen Dotson. Wilda’s taste had been for dramatic colors, especially red and gold. Louisa wanted to begin with a clean slate of white.

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Allen quickly realized the house needed more work than a coat of paint could cover as there was a lot of rot and damage. He suggested Lovell contractor Mark Conforte. Also pulled into the scene was architect Paul Attardo, interior decorator Joe Ferigno, Lovell landscaper Dan Woodward, and gardener Kristin McDermott.

With a team assembled, thus began a journey of house renovations and fixes. “The process of renovating the house has been so enjoyable because of the people up here,” said Louisa. “They’ve taken it on as if it’s their own. They feel really invested in it. It would have been a hard process if not for them.”

The purpose of the house is to accom modate not only the immediate family, but also an extended family. The plan has been to enhance the house to fit the family’s de sires, but not make any significant changes in order to preserve the history.

Originally, the house had a kitchen in the back that was not connected to the liv ing rooms in an easy to negotiate manner. “The people doing the cooking back then,” explained Louisa, “were not the people do ing the living in the house.”

Mark Conforte cut through a 20-inch wall to create access between the kitchen and the rest of the house. In so doing, he reconfigured some of the geometric work

bordering the fireplace so that it matched the other side, adding to the symmetry that fits the house’s style. “Sadly,” said Louisa, “we had to take out an old cast iron stove.”

It jutted too far into the kitchen and by removing it, the stainless steel replacement provided space to build a large island for the family to share the cooking scene.

A staircase that led to servant quarters was removed to create a pantry with two dish washers, stainless steel countertops, and a huge sink. It’s a space where the kids can don shucking aprons and have water fights as they clean up after a Thanksgiving meal. “As long as they clean up,” said Louisa, “I don’t care.”

The house features a front porch and interior staircase accentuated by Corinthian columns. Upon entering the center doorway from the porch, there are living rooms on either side. In one, former owner, Wilda, had built a staged area upon which she created a bathroom with a claw-foot tub. Red, of course. The tub was moved upstairs and painted white.

In fact, the entire house is white. Louisa wanted to start simple. It took Allen three years to paint the entire interior and exterior. For the most part, the wood beneath the paint was in good condition. “Everything was built with such incredible materials,” said Louisa.

All together the house features two living rooms, two dining rooms, a large kitchen with pantry, coffee room, one bathroom, a water closet (still red to honor Wilda) and bar on the first floor. There’s also a bedroom suite with private entrance. The railing of the outdoor staircase features a graceful curve to match all the other railings on the house.

Upstairs are three more bedrooms and an office space that had been the maid’s room. Another small bedroom was transformed into a master bathroom to create a suite.

Also on the property are a sugar house, bunk house, and three-car garage. The latter is about to undergo some changes as the attic space will be turned into more guest quarters.

And those granite chairs that Esther Gar celon had positioned to face the house now look over the lake and mountains.

This is a family home and though it is a grand example of Neo-classical architecture, it has that lived-in feel. Louisa has made de sign decisions to aid that, including the fact that all the furniture is slip-covered. “I didn’t want anything to be precious,” she said.

“We’re one in a line of owners,” said Louisa. “It’s got such a history that goes far beyond us.” For now, the Attenborouhs are the guardians of Garcelon. R

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“Our economy as a whole depends on everybody being able to not only access the internet, but to have the skills and equipment to do that. We no longer live in a society where it doesn’t really matter if half the people don’t have access or don’t know how to use it.”

Fast and Affordable

If you live in, commute through, or vaca tion in a Maine town located in MSAD 72, you’ve probably noticed signs at several intersections asking if you want high-speed internet. And if you’re like me, you may have dismissed it as yet another company seeking to sell you something, but it’s quite the opposite. Eastern Slopes Regional Broadband (ESRB) is a coalition of volunteers doing the hard work to achieve affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service for all of us. Their mission is “to improve our regional network to deliver broadband internet to all citizens and busi nesses, both now and into the future.”

The pandemic put a spotlight on how important broadband and internet access is for business, education, and well being here in rural Maine. At the same time it put a glaring spotlight on how slow, intermit tent, or in too many cases, non-existent it is. If you’ve ever taken a speed test to mea

sure your internet download and upload speeds (and I hope you will after reading this), there’s a good chance you know that you’re not getting high-speed internet. The download speed for my Consolidated Com munications internet service is right around 4.2 Mb/s and the upload is right around 1.01 Mb/s. Trust me, the latter is really frustrating when you’re trying to upload a magazine to your commercial printer.

Most of us who live and work here have grudgingly accepted it as the price we pay for living in paradise, but when the pandemic revealed the extent of the gap between digi tal haves and have nots, it prompted a hand ful of Denmark residents to seek solutions to the problem. In May of 2021, the group wrote a request for funds from ConnectME, which has since integrated with Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA), to conduct speed tests, map the results, and develop a “future proof” broadband plan. They were

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awarded the grant in July with a condition.

“As soon as we got the state money, we were told to get bigger,” says Jamie Ritter, a member of the Denmark group and now ESRB chairperson.

Denmark already knew they weren’t alone in their quest to improve internet connectivity and this feedback served as confirmation that they could accomplish so much more by joining forces with neighbor ing towns. The ESRB coalition held its first official meeting on August 8, 2021. Select board and school board members from the district towns were invited to attend. Though MSAD 72 is not directly involved in ESRB’s mission, it provides geographical context for the group. The IT person for MSAD 72, Jeremy Hammer, also happens to be a member of ESRB.

The goal is to attain reliable access to at least 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload speeds for as many community mem bers as possible. To put this in context, for internet service to qualify as “broadband,” the FCC requires 25 Mbps of download speed and 3 Mbps of upload speed, which is what it takes for one quality video chat Zoom session. That FCC definition is very quickly used up if there are multiple people or devices in a household online at the same time. This was a huge problem during the pandemic when everyone was working or schooling from home or, worse case scenar io, from the parking lot of their local library.

Fiber optic costs something like $50,000 per mile, which is probably why our area is such an internet desert. Companies like Consolidated Communications and Spectrum don’t want to invest that much money in areas where there isn’t the popu lation density to make it profitable, so DSL and coaxial cable are our usual options. Unfortunately, copper cables such as those used in DSL phone lines and coaxial cable TV based internet have limited bandwidth and can degrade over time. Fiber optic is a better solution because it is high speed and won’t degrade, but it depends on our towns moving as quickly as possible to take advantage of federal and state funding for rural broadband development.

“We are currently technology neutral. We’re not pushing for one particular kind of solution. Our goal is to talk with pro viders and other experts in the field and understand what the options are to get this 100 Mbps symmetrical service to everybody, and what are the costs and the benefits of those options, so that the townspeople

and the select boards can make informed decisions about signing on to something that’s adequate, affordable, and future-proof,” says ESRB member Patrick Bryant.

The state recognizes there are places where the 100/100 goal will be a challenge, but ESRB has chosen to stick with that goal for now and let MCA guide the ultimate process. Identifying where connectivity is good, bad, or non-existent through speed test results and mapping will give ESRB all the data they need to pursue grants and funding for “a modern network that can deliver up-to-date options for internet connections to all residents.” The plan is to present a comprehensive recommendation to the MSAD 72 towns as soon as early 2023. So far, they have col lected data from 25% of the district and will continue, mostly through grassroots interaction, to encour age participation from the remaining 75%, which is why it’s so important that people speed test regularly. Those who don’t have internet service can also help by contacting their town office with that information.

“It’s to the point where internet service is a utility that every home needs. It’s like water. When we talk to the plumbing in spector if we’re building a house, we need to make sure we’ve got everything at both ends of that water line and the water line is substantial enough. But here, in broadband, our water pipe is too small,” adds Bryant.

Amy March, a dedicated member of the ESRB team, sees things from a little bit dif ferent perspective. She sees connectivity as just one leg on a three-legged stool called Digital Equity.

“Our economy as a whole depends on everybody being able to not only access the internet, but to have the skills and equipment to do that. We no longer live in a society where it doesn’t really matter if half the people don’t have access or don’t know how to use it. The Digital Equity part involves three parts: one is connection and affordability, another is a device to access it, and the third is the skills. That’s also part of our commitment is to help people fulfill all three of those.”

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program that works in conjunction with a participating internet provider. Income-qualifying households

could receive up to $30 per month discount on internet service; a one-time discount up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50); or a low-cost service plan fully covered through the ACP. If you need help applying to the ACP, you can reach Amy March at 207-452-2493.

The education leg of the stool is an evolving one. Education without access is wasted time, as is access without educa tion. Libraries and local organizations are critically important entities when it comes to moving the education process forward. Thanks to the Public Library Association, there are grant monies available that can be used to conduct workshops and other educational opportunities. At the urging of ESRB member Eric Gulbrandsen, Charlotte Hobbs Library in Lovell applied for and received a grant and will likely spearhead the regional education effort.

If you belong to a local organization that you think might want to host ESRB for a workshop or educational event, you can contact them by email at info@ ESRB virtual meetings are scheduled every second and fourth Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public. Just visit and click on the calendar button to launch the meeting via Zoom (if you have a connec tion!). While you’re there, be sure to take the Maine Broadband Coalition speed test. R

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Creative Housing Solutions

This group came together in May of 2021, partially out of my own struggle to find adequate housing, through conversations with friends ex periencing similar housing struggles, and through connections with folks at CEBE who had their own ideas stewing for a while about ‘eco-villages,’” says Thea Hart, Proj ect Coordinator for the Norway Equitable Housing Cooperative (NEHC).

The core of NEHC is made up of Hart, four other local renters, and two support ing members at the Center for an EcologyBased Economy (CEBE) in Norway. They have been meeting twice a month since July 2021, and weekly since the beginning of this summer around a shared need and vision for equitable, energy efficient, inspired housing that meets standards that current rental housing and federally- and state-subsidized affordable housing do not.

“We also have a steering committee of local folks who advise our project—some do community work locally, live in local affordable housing, work in the neighbor hood, and develop sustainable affordable housing elsewhere in our state. The steer ing committee and CEBE have really been instrumental in facilitating the development of this project. Renters rarely have the re sources to do this alone,” says Hart.

This last point is an important one. The Rural Affordable Rental Housing Program (RARHP) from Maine Housing provided a great opportunity for NEHC when it opened an application period for funds to facilitate the development of affordable rental housing in late May of this year,

but other developers were much quicker on the draw. In fact, as Hart points out, resident-developed projects are few and far between because those who are in need of quality, affordable housing rarely have the resources (time, energy, money, and connections) required to create it. While there’s the potential for the RARHP to have another round of funding, the group is in the meantime focusing efforts on preparing applications, crowd-funding, and seeking a private investor in the project. They are also considering applying to the Affordable Housing Program from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston that would only pro vide funding at the tail end of the project, unlike RARHP which would see the project all the way through.

“One of the issues we’re up against is needing pre-development funding (thou sands of dollars) to pay architectural con sultants, building engineers, and site plan ners to even be able to put together viable applications for funding programs like this. The RARHP was a first come-first serve pro gram without much funding to begin with, and despite us being perfect candidates, the reality that we’re resident-driven, and not commercial developers, really put us at a disadvantage.”

The site they are looking to develop into 12 net-zero units split between two build ings is a half-acre lot in a residential neigh borhood within walking distance of Main Street, Norway. The group feels it’s essential the cooperative is located within walking distance of Main Street to make it acces sible to older and disabled renters, as well

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Thea Hart
Existing site

as those without vehicles. In mid-May of this year, they secured a 6-month agreement with the owners that they would not sell the property, allowing NEHC time to develop plans and secure funding. The project has the added advantage that it would replace dilapidated buildings currently onsite.

The design of the building has gone through several rounds of brainstorming with input from potential renters, members of the steering committee, and Bethel-based builder Maine Passive House. The plan is for a variety of studio, two-bedroom, family-sized, and accessible units, all de signed for efficient use of space and energy and contained within two south-facing buildings. A separate building will house a shared laundry, storage area, a gathering and dining space, and industrial kitchen. Exterior plans include shared garden space, EV chargers, and bike storage.

The cooperative model NEHC is refer encing is a limited-equity housing coopera tive (Raise Op in Lewiston uses this model). Tenant-owners buy a member share in the corporation of the cooperative, which may vary depending on the size of the unit they occupy. The corporation is democratically

run by tenant-owners, usually with a hand ful of committees for specific needs/tasks. Monthly-membership fees to cover main tenance and utilities would likely decrease considerably over time with near-passive, energy-efficient construction. But what Hart finds most notable about the model is its social significance.

“What makes a limited-equity coop erative really unique is that the resale of shares is limited because shares can only appreciate at the rate of inflation. This removes real estate speculation from the equation and allows tenant-owners to make a stable investment that builds equity over time. This is one of the only models we’re aware of that creates a potential path to homeownership for renters. Not only is the cooperative model a business model, but it’s also a social model that puts people and relationships first. For a corporation or neighborhood to function democratically, relationships and communication need to be functional, and ideally healthy. We hope that the special attention that cooperatives give to relationships can also help address the crises of isolation and polarization in our community.”

“Not only is the cooperative model a business model, but it’s also a social model that puts people and relationships first. For a corporation or neighborhood to function democratically, relationships and communication need to be functional, and ideally healthy. We hope that the special attention that cooperatives give to relationships can also help address the crises of isolation and polarization in our community.”

Upon reaching the one-year mark on the project this July, the group presented their concept to the Town of Norway planning board, where it was well received. There were specific concerns about setbacks, parking and square footage minimums, but ultimately the board decided they “think cooperative housing would be great in our town.” They also voiced concern about affordable housing or smaller units being synonymous with rising crime and poor maintenance of buildings. Once the cooperative model was outlined to them, however, they understood that tenantowners are incentivized to take care of their homes and their neighbors. In light of some pushback in the rural community to zoning reform within LD 2003, a recently passed bill that addresses Maine’s affordable hous ing crisis, this last point is an important one. This project offers a creative alternative to accessory dwelling units.

The group also did some canvassing in the neighborhood to get a pulse on how potential future neighbors felt about the project. Hart describes it as a politically diverse, working class neighborhood.

“I’m glad that, regardless of any political affiliations, we’re having those conversa tions. It was overwhelming how supportive folks were, especially of the idea that we aren’t commercial or out-of-state develop ers, and our model allows tenants to own their homes. Everyone is feeling the weight of the housing crisis, and it was really heartening to see how our maybe-future neighbors want to support people-centered, effective solutions over outdated, profitcentered models. There was one woman who after we told her about the project got really emotional, and said it gave her hope. I was struck by the realization that we’re not alone in the need for this or the desire to find solutions.”

At the end of September, The Norway Equitable Housing Cooperative secured their half-acre site thanks to a grant from an anonymous donor. Now, the group is raising funds to demo the existing buildings and continue to develop the cooperative. This project is largely volunteer-driven and estimated at $2 to $5 million dollars to complete. If you have a question, want to get involved, or would like to make a donation, visit norwayequitablehousingcoop. R

Existing site render

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justin’s list

The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn is a special novel. Set on the coast of England beginning in the twenties and continuing through World War II, it follows the ad ventures of Christabel, Flossie and Digby, three siblings left largely to themselves and their imaginations on the dying Chilcombe Estate. They construct a theater made of whalebones in which to hold plays until the war begins. Then their acting skills are better put to use by the King and country as espionage agents in Nazi-Occupied France. Christabel, the precocious heroine, is unforgettable, and the author’s polished writing is so superb, it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel.

The source of the Nile River was once the crown jewel of the Victorian Explora tion Era. Interior Africa was a huge, impen etrable question mark where few outsiders dared to venture. In The River of the Gods by Candace Millard, the author recounts the life of Richard Burton and his ultimate quest to discover the origins of the river with his compatriot, John Hanning Speke. The resulting dispute between the two men over the source is probably one of the most famous controversies in explorer archives and resulted in tragic consequences. Millard is a favorite author of mine, and you may remember her outstanding earlier works such as Seabiscuit and River of Doubt

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary try Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. This unique, debut novel is a breath of literary fresh air and features Elizabeth Zott as a chemist in the early 1960s, when women were expected to be homemakers or secretaries. Refusing to be relegated by the Old Boy network, Elizabeth is a fierce advocate for herself, and refuses to play by the establishment rules. She has her share of heartbreak and misfortune but perseveres not only for herself and daughter, but for all womankind in this touching and sometimes humorous story.

all set on the reservation, and feature David as a pre-adolescent boy, and also as a young man. Life is not always easy in this world, with poverty, addiction and abuse all preva lent. Talty, however, will be the first to tell you that the inspiration for his work repre sents only a small subset of the Penobscot population. Throughout these dark stories, the author masterfully intersperses humor, hope and humanity, and that’s what makes his work so heartfelt and authentic.

Always on the lookout for a good mys tery that is a little different or unorthodox, my Macmillan sales rep suggested Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney. I was very skeptical as the blurb on the jacket made it sound like a redo of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but what a great twist at the end . . . I never saw it coming!

Sue and I both loved Broken by Don Winslow; a fantastic collection of crime no vellas. Just know the first story is probably the weakest, and don’t let it deter you from reading the rest of these wonderful vignettes. Winslow’s new novel City on Fire, is also entertaining, and is about the Rhode Island Crime families during the 1980s. The arrival of a beautiful woman wreaks havoc and upsets the power balance of the syndicates.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Haw thorn is a quintessential American novel,

and the first to have a woman heroine in Hester Prynne. If you missed it in high school, Hester gives birth out of wedlock in Puritan Massachusetts, refuses to name the father, and is sentenced to wear a scarlet “A” on her chest for the rest of her life. It is said when Hawthorn’s wife first read the story, she shut herself in her room for days in anguish. There has been speculation that his classic story could have been somewhat autobiographical. Laura Lico Albanese has written a fictional account of what might have inspired Haw thorn’s great work. Hester is historical fiction at its best; highly entertaining and traditionally accurate as a period piece.

You don’t have to be a big gamer to enjoy Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomor row, a story about video game designers by Gabrielle Zevin. This novel contains so much more than video games, with themes of love and friendship, tragedy, betrayal and success. Sam and Sadie were best friends as teenagers until a horrible falling out. After a chance meeting in Boston where they both attend college, they reunite and agree to collaborate on a new game. This is a love story, just not in the traditional sense, and the backdrop of the computer game industry and its artistry and development, was actu ally really interesting and definitely a bonus.

Bridgton Farmers’ Market

This year, I had the honor of introducing Morgan Talty as winner of the New Eng land Independent Booksellers Association 2022 Fiction Award. Talty, a member of the Penobscot Nation, won the prize for his work of interconnected short stories entitled Night of the Living Rez. These stories are

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perri’s preferences

As I write this, I am enjoying the last evening of summer—the back porch door is open, the sun shines gently, but even so, the soft ness of July is absent, my houseplants have been moved inside, and a tinge of harsher weather is in the air. The light instills a poignancy; a sadness for the passing of the season coupled with memories of easier times. This feeling, this poignancy, is the subject of Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain. Drawing from wide ranging sources span ning time and cultures, Ms. Cain explores why so many people love sad music and rainy days, are deeply moved by old pho tographs, and experience what C. S. Lewis called the “sharp, wonderful stab of long ing.” She explains that “bittersweetness” is at the core of creativity, thoughtfulness, and kindness, and grief is an inevitable part of life that fosters compassion. “Poignancy is the richest feeling that humans experience” and it is ultimately the factor that unifies people across the world.

In his memoir, Born a Crime, comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah recounts his peripatetic upbringing as a biracial person in apartheid South Africa when his very existence was literally against the law. His strong-willed black mother raised him

on her own while working her way up the social ladder, defying an oppressive system with tremendous faith and fortitude. Fluc tuating between hilarious and heartbreak ing, Noah’s comedic genius flows through his extraordinary storytelling, exposing the absurdity of apartheid while creating an ode to the amazing woman who raised him. The book will make you laugh out loud at times and the ending will take your breath away. Elizabeth Becker wrote You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War to pay tribute to the first female jour nalists who broke the gender barrier and proved that women were fit to be foreign correspondents. To report the American war in Viet Nam, French photographer Catherine Leroy parachuted into combat with soldiers, taking thousands of pictures capturing gritty, horrific battles; Australian journalist Kate Webb was captured by the North Vietnamese and presumed dead but survived to continue reporting; and New York socialite Frances Fitzgerald travelled in both elite diplomatic circles and among local Vietnamese, gaining unique, in-depth knowledge of Viet Nam’s history and cul ture to write her classic book Fire in the Lake. Becker herself began her journalistic career serving as a war correspondent in Cambodia in the 1970s. You Don’t Belong Here reflects her extensive knowledge of the region and firsthand experience of what these groundbreaking women reporters

endured to convey their perspectives on the male-dominated field of war.

The Ministry for the Future, the recent novel by sci-fi giant Kim Stanley Robin son, will keep you up at night. Set in the not-too-distant future, it begins with an unprecedented heat wave blistering India and killing millions as the impacts of climate change begin to take effect. The global Ministry for the Future has been established to try to reverse, or at least mediate, these events and is facing the monumental task of trying to change attitudes and behaviors of key players at the root of the problem. New ideas and technologies are employed to help slow glacial melting, produce rain for parched landscapes, and convince “powers that be” that considering the fate of future generations is economically viable, while rogue eco-terrorists implement their own methods to get their point across. Although this is fiction, it rings very true on many levels and it’s not far off a lot of what we hear on the news today. Scary stuff.

Much less scary, and even soothing, is Breaking Bread: Essays from New England on Food, Hunger, and Family, collected and edited by Deborah Joy Corey and Debra Spark. Dozens of New England-based au thors, including Lily King, Richard Russo, Phuc Tran, Wesley McMair, and Cathie Pelletier, contributed short essays to this delectable collection divided into sections on Taste and Distaste, Hunger and Plenty, Love and Loss, and Family and Community. Like the Best American Food Writing series, the pieces in this book cover a wide range of food related topics but with a distinctly Northeastern flavor, from fiddleheads, lob ster, and scallops to bottles of local milk, overabundant rhubarb, and wild mush rooms and ramps; a little taste of something for everyone. And proceeds from the book’s sales go to support Blue Angel, a Maine non profit founded by Deborah Joy Corey that purchases food directly from local farmers and delivers it to families in need.

I had very little time to read over the summer but I hope this winter will allow me to catch up on some of the unread books piling up around the house. The line-up includes A Gentleman in Moscow by Amore Towles; Summer over Autumn by Howard Mansfield; Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel; and a biography of Edward Gorey. I may even revisit some of my favorite children’s books. One can’t go wrong reveling in the subtleties of Winnie the Pooh, right?

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“This present moment / that lives on / to become / long ago.” – Gary Snyder


pam’s picks for kids & young adults

Lizzy and the Cloud by the Fan Brothers Ages 2+

Every Saturday Lizzy and her parents walked to a local park that offered enter tainment and vendors for all to enjoy. While other children lined up to ride the carousel, watch a puppet show, or buy cotton candy, Lizzy headed straight for the Cloud Seller.

Cloud balloons in all shapes and sizes billowed over the Cloud vendor. Without a minute’s hesitation, Lizzy selected a small ordinary cloud and the care manual.

Follow Lizzy and her cloud, Milo, on a windy journey and an unexpected fairweather friendship that grows from love and Mother Nature.

Sydney & Taylor and the Great Friend Expedition by Jacqueline Davies Ages 5+

Sydney the skunk and Taylor the hedgehog have been best friends forever. They reside in a cozy, well-decorated burrow under Miss Nancy’s potting shed. While Sydney is content drinking tea and solving crossword puzzles, Taylor is itching for a new adven ture. He excitedly declares that it should be to find new friends. Even though Sydney is quite fine staying in their cozy burrow, if his friend wants to expand their friend list, then that is what they will do.

Follow Sydney and Taylor on a friendfinding mission that includes danger, humor and most importantly the value of new and old friends.

Wallace and Grace and the Cupcake Caper by Heather Alexander, Illustrated by Laura Zarrin

Ages 5+

Wallace and Grace’s game of “I Spy” was abruptly interrupted by a distant voice yelling, “Thief, thief.” Best friends and detective partners, Wallace and Grace quickly investigate to discover a disgruntled chipmunk named Monty who exclaimed, “Someone stole my cupcake.” Without hesitation, Monty pointed to Sal, the groundhog, who was waking from a long slumber and yelled, “Sal is a thief.”

Wallace and Grace were disappointed that the mystery was solved so quickly, but after hearing Sal’s side of the story, there were more questions and investiga tive work that needed to be done. Can you guess who is the cupcake thief before the end of the story?

Pixie Tricks Sprite’s Secret by Tracey West Ages 7+

This staff and customer favorite series went out of print years ago, and was recently rereleased for the next generation of readers. Updated text and new artwork graces the covers, but the story about a cast of mischie vous fairies, wizards and dwarfs is the same.

Violet accidentally discovers a portal in her backyard that leads to an underground fairy world. In book one, fairy Pix escapes and tricks the children into playing. The problem is Pix wants to play ALL the time and the children are tired and want to stop.

This addicting series will keep kids read ing long after the lights go out.

The Girl In The Lake by India Hill Brown

Ages 10+

This ghost story goes deeper than tradition al horror and frights, it stirs up our haunt ing history during the time of segregation.

Summer is approaching and Celeste, her brother and cousins are going to their grandparents for two weeks. While they are excited to be staying at their cabin on the lake, Celeste is petrified of water after she failed her last swimming test.

While the rest of her family enjoys time in the lake, Celeste stays in the cabin to catch up on her journaling and reading...all excuses to avoid the lake. What used to feel like a safe place is now starting to spook Ce leste. Who is haunting the cabin and why?

The Agathas

by Kathleen Glasgon & Liz Lawson

Ages 15+

Fans of One of Us is Lying will love this whodunit mystery that is full of twists, deception and characters whom you will prove guilty before innocent.

The local police, full of crooked, good old boys, are determined to have it their way until they meet Alice, a young teen with a passion for Agatha Christie novels. After a high school girl named Brooke goes missing following a senior party, the police are determined to point the finger at her boyfriend Steve, with little investigation to back their suspicion. Steve surprisingly admits he killed Brooke, but Alice and her new friends are convinced he is innocent. Armed with bookloads of mystery solving skills Alice has acquired from her idol Ag atha, and a new group of detective friends, find out how Brooke met her demise. Court adjourned!

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One Potato, Two Potato

Do we have potatoes?” This is a question/response I’ve received countless times when I’ve posed the question, “Can you think of anything we need?” over the course of the past eighteen years. To say that it often contains a faint note of desperation or ancestral angst would not be that much of a stretch, considering the respondent is a native son of Ireland.

Make no mistake, I like potatoes and I’m not Irish. But the first time I visited Ireland and ordered a meal in a restaurant, I confess to having been somewhat confused when the meal clearly came with boiled potatoes, and the server asked, “Would you like chips with that?”, chips being the Irish equivalent of French fries.

To appreciate the Irish appetite for this common tuber, you have to understand the prominent role it played in their history (and you thought you were getting a bunch of recipes, which you are, but you’ll have to suffer through a history lesson beforehand).

The Irish Potato Famine, or the Great Hunger, began in 1845 and didn’t fully end until 1852, after as many as one million Irish men, women and children died of starvation, and at least another million were forced to leave their homeland as refugees. The deadly blight, caused by a mold known as Phy tophthora infestans, decimated nearly half of the potato crop the first year, and about three-quarters of the crop over the next seven years, but that’s only part of the story.

From the ratification of the Act for the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801 (until the Irish War of Independence ended in 1921), Ireland was effectively governed as a colony of Great Britain. Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom as a constituent country today.

Prior to the onset of the Famine, English and Anglo-Irish families owned most of the land in Ireland, and most Irish Catholics worked as tenant farmers, basically share croppers, who were obliged to pay rent to their “landlords.” When the potato crop began to fail due to P. infestans, Irish leaders petitioned Queen Victoria and Parliament to act on their behalf. They did, initially, repealing tariffs that made other food items prohibitively expensive, but these changes weren’t enough to offset the impact of the blight. Adding insult to injury, Ireland was obliged to export large quantities of food to Great Britain, even as its native people faced starvation. Research reveals that Ireland was actually subject to increased exports of butter, livestock and other foodstuffs during the Famine.

Naturally, this ignited a renewed desire for Irish independence from British rule, which as current events in Great Britain suggest, may yet come. As the Irish say, Tiocfaidh ár lá! In the meantime, here are a number of potato-based recipes to satisfy your belly and, if you happen to be Irish, your soul. R

celeriac and potato soup

Serves 6

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large celeriac, peeled and cubed

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

1 leek, trimmed and roughly sliced

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, sliced

4 c chicken or vegetable stock

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the celeriac, leek, potato, garlic and onion. Season with salt and pepper and gently sweat the vegetables until the celeriac starts to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the celeriac is completely tender. Let cool slightly (at least 10 minutes) before adding the parsley leaves.

Transfer the ingredients to a blender in batches and purée until smooth. Be sure to vent the lid to avoid a blender explosion.

Return the soup to the pot and bring it back to a simmer. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into warm soup bowls and finish with a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of yogurt. Adapted from

irish potato bread (boxty)

3/4 lb russet potatoes, peeled

1 c cold mashed potatoes

1 large egg

1/2 c milk or light cream (plus more for glazing)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 c all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 scant tsp coarse salt

Preheat oven to 375˚ and grease a baking sheet.

Grate the raw potatoes, using the large holes of a box grater. Place the grated potato in a clean kitchen towel, gather up the edges, and squeeze to eliminate as much water as possible. Combine with the mashed potato in a large bowl.

Stir the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry in gredients to the potato mixture and stir to combine. The dough should hang together.

Flour your hands and transfer the dough to the center of the baking sheet. Lightly flatten it into a 7” mound and score an X into the surface with a sharp knife and brush the top with milk or cream.

Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve, ideally with Celeriac and Potato Soup!

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From One Potato, Two Potato: 300 Recipes from Simple to Elegant by Roy Finamore with Molly Stevens

fennel-potato gratin

Serves 6-8

1 garlic clove, halved

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cores removed, and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter coarse salt

1/4 c dry white wine

1 3/4-2 lbs yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced

8 oz Gruyere cheese, grated

2 1/2 c whole milk (substitute cream for some of the milk for added richness) freshly ground white pepper

Preheat oven to 325˚. Rub a large gratin dish or 3 quart baking dish with the garlic halves. Once the garlic juice is dry, butter the dish generously.

Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of the butter, the fennel and some salt. Cook for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine. Cover and cook until the fennel is tender, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a tablespoon or two of water if the pan is too dry. The fennel should be tender but not browned. Remove from the heat.

Toss the potatoes with about two-thirds of the cheese, the fennel, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread into the casserole and pour in the milk. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top and dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter.

Bake until well browned and bubbling, 75 to 90 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

From One Potato, Two Potato: 300 Recipes from Simple to Elegant by Roy Finamore with Molly Stevens haddock and potato casserole

Serves 4

1 lb fresh haddock fillets

1 1/2 lbs potato, peeled, thinly sliced and parboiled for 4 minutes

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced

6 Tbsp unsalted butter

1.5 c light cream, heated slightly flour for dusting salt and freshly ground pepper

Place a baking dish with five tablespoons of butter into the oven while it preheats to 350˚. Add the sliced onion to the baking dish once the butter has melted and while the oven continues to preheat, allow the

onion to cook until softened (it may take a few minutes beyond reaching 350˚).

Remove the baking dish with onions from the oven and arrange the haddock fillets on top. Layer parboiled potatoes on top of the fish as you would scalloped potatoes. Add salt and ground pepper between layers. Pour the slightly heated cream over all and return to the oven. Lightly dust the potatoes with flour before pouring the milk over all.

Dot the top with the remaining tablespoon of butter, tent lightly with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil during the last 5 minutes to allow it to brown a bit. Serve immediately.

3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 springs of thyme or 1/2 tsp dried

1 tsp tomato paste

3 carrots, peeled and diced

14 oz chicken stock

chopped fresh parsley to garnish

For the topping:

3 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed

7 oz light cream

4 oz butter

1 egg yolk

Heat the oil in a large skillet and gently sauté the onion for about 10 minutes, until soft but not browned. Add the ground meat a little at a time and cook until browned. Drain liquid if necessary. Add the Bovril water, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, tomato paste, carrots, chicken stock, salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for 45-50 minutes.

While the base mixture is simmering, preheat the oven to 350˚ and boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain, then add the cream, butter and egg yolk. Mash well and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the base mixture with the mashed potato and run a fork over the top for decoration. Bake for 20 minutes or until the potato is nicely browned. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

From the Avoca Café Cookbook ©2000

avoca shepherd’s pie

1 onion

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 lb ground beef or lamb

1 tsp Bovril or Better Than Bouillion, dissolved in a little hot water

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