Archives for July 2015

More Fun in Maine

mapleschool signAttending a memorial in Milo, Maine provided me with the opportunity to drive by my first home in Atkinson, Maine. We purchased the Maple School House and an acre of land for $500.  We also built a two story building out of railroad ties on the property.  We poured the foundation by hand with a cement mixer. Junior and High School friends Don Grant, Lennie Gordon,  Pam and Jeff Johnson (and others, I think) helped us. The things we do in our youth!!!

This was at about 45 years ago. I was shocked to discover that the dirt road was still a dirt road!  As I drove down it in Big Red (my Ford Flex), I remembered my pedal to the medal trips as I plowed through the spring  mud up to the VW Bug’s axles.  I finished my teaching degree from Atkinson. I would arrive at my student teaching placement in Orono smelling of wood smoke!

Syliva and DOn

Don Grant, Sylvia Foster Cindy Broder and Ron Hebert


My shower






The Maple Schoolhouse DID have electricity but no running water. After my time in the schoolhouse (and my 5 years in St. Croix where we had to catch the water on the roof and store it in the cistern or buy it),  I never step in a shower- even to this day- where I do not think , “What luxury!

Stove and Tub

liv room

School House Living Room









MAple tree

The Maple Tree!!


The Maple Tree School House Stump in the Magic Forest in Sandy Point

So…it was very sentimental to visit the site of my “back-to-the-land” days.  We had the garden, hunted and fished, had chickens, geese, pigs and a horse and after a few years decided this was a very diffident lifestyle. It took all day – every day- just to get ready for winter. This experience, however, has informed how I live in the world.

I am sorry to report that the school house was gone. Even more sad for me, they had cut the two signature maple tress (the only trees for miles around) for firewood!  Many stumps were still laying around and I have to admit that I snagged one which is now installed in the Chateau Mer  magic fairy forest.  Everything old is new again.


Fort Atkinson before

Fort Atkinson in 1973 ish

Fort Atkinson now wih jeep

Fort Atkinson now. Guess they did not want the deck looking at Mt. Katahdin

Fort Interia

Inside Fort Atkinson


Barbie B pulling cement to second floor

Fort Atkinson being built from railroad ties behind the School House  and cement is still standing tall and proud (it has a postmodern shack chic going)  .  I think it is being used as a hunting camp (as confirmed by a cell phone photo I took through the door).

I was shocked to see a compound of three McMansions in what used to be a corn field. This is 10 miles in on a dirt road!! I really wanted to go and knock on a door and get the back-story but I had just read “Under the Banner of Heaven” and I was too nervous. I asked Dr. Google and he reported that a Bunker was born in Atkinson, Maine, the youngest of Silas and Hannah Berry Bunker’s nine children.

Compund with fort

Compound behind Fort Atkinson



siloWe had a big farm next door to us on the Atkinson Road. He raised corn and dairy cows. I was shocked as I arrived- only the silo remained.  What would I find next door?




A colleague and I who brought digital learning to my university 17 years ago remarked at how I was able to stand in front of a gang of furious professors who were trying to block the adoption of online learning and maintain my composure.  I took my  Swiss Army knife out of my pocket book and said, ” If Armageddon came tomorrow and I had this, I could walk into the woods and survive. That gives a person confidence”.  A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist!

I was listening to our Paul Stooky  all volunteer sponsored radio station WERU the other day and they were discussing declining population here in Maine and  the aging old hippies and what was going to happen to their Maine land.

“The NARPs will have to save us”, the announcer said.  NARP stands for New Age Rural Professional.

We can only hope.

If not that, we need to make Maine a State Park and be done with it.




Chowda’ Party

J and D

Jeanne and Dustan Rogers



Making an authentic Maine Chowda’ is a very time intensive activity. First you start with a Maine Seafood feast.
You buy the lobsters (contrary to mythology- we Mainers do not pick those arachnids up free on the beach) and clams and steam them- saving the broth. A real Maine chowda’ has no WATER added. THEN you mince (not an easy task)  SALT PORK. Yes, one of the yummy ingredients is no, good, bad animal fat. This is a BIG challenge to many eco-purists and a cultural reality which has saved me from being a liberal extremist embarrassment to myself ; /0


Chowda MAster

Ann the Chowda’ MAster

Chowda Recipie


Zelda and THE table

Zelda and THE table

Wayne, Josh and MArge

The mayor with Josh and Marge

Thumbs Up for Chowda'

Thumbs up for Chowda’











Convening fabulous people from my past, present and future at the table created from a tree rescued and processed over a 6 year period from my Bangor, Maine  was a particularly soulful experience for me.


Lynda and lemons


Kent, Sue and MArty

Kent, Marty and Sue

Jane, Sam and Ev

Sam, Eve and Jane




Chowda' master and Kitchen Queen , Ann and Gail

Kitchen Queen Gail




Hosting my friend and professional colleague, Lynda Milne, from Minnesota and appreciating the kitchen support from my Sandy Point sister, Gail Gannon, made the event a memory for all.

Thanks to Diane and Mark for Orangetini duty. Recipe follows.

Orangetini  recipie

Orangetini and PAt


MARK posing with Orangetini