Tag Archives: Messalonskee Chronicles

Thanksgiving

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We just celebrated our third anniversary in the new house. We can’t believe it hasn’t been longer because it feels like we’ve been here forever – in a good way! We wake up here in the morning and thank our lucky stars that we get to live here.

Winter came early this year and Ned is outside snowplowing the driveway for the second time. This is our second “measurable” snow so far and we had a couple of other days when we had s light dusting of snow. Luckily we have the snow tires on and we are ready to meet winter in Maine with whatever she has to dump on us! Our house is warm and dry and such a special place …

… Even when it’s gray!

Dock to Dock and Door to Door

It was hazy today. They’re saying that it’s smoke from the fires burning out west. It’s stories like this that make me so grateful to live in Maine. We may have had a hotter than “normal” summer but it’s beautiful and green!

This weekend is our lake association’s Dock to Dock and Door to Door event. It’s an opportunity to spread the good work that the Friends of Messalonskee is doing for our lake and a chance to educate our neighbors. We donated to another lake association for several years and were fooled because they don’t represent our lake.)

This is the second year that Ned and I participated in the Dock to Dock and Door to Door outreach. It makes for a fun few hours and it was a beautiful day to be out on the water. Our friend and neighbor, Janna, has been doing this for several years and asked if we’d like to go with her. We both believe very strongly in caring for our lake – It’s our “million dollar view”! This year we picked Janna up and went up the west side of the lake visiting several camps/homes and met several neighbors who didn’t know about our lake association. Tomorrow I’ll visit the neighbors on our street and I’ll be done with my commitment for this year!

The Friends of Messalonskee is approximately 200 members strong but there are around 700 properties around the lake so we have room to grow! FOM hires and trains Courtesy Boat Inspectors (CBI) for our Oakland and Sydney boat launches. We also work to remove milfoil from our lake. We hired a team of divers to pull milfoil and lay benthic barriers to smother it, too! We’ve seen a lot of success and areas of our lake are now milfoil free. An interesting note, if you live along the shore of the lake and see milfoil attached around your property, call the FOM office and report it (844-476-6976 ext. 906.) We will send someone over to inspect the area and add it to our data base of infested areas. Our 2018 season has ended but we’ll be back at milfoil removal in 2019!

Our annual loon count was a big success. We had five loon chicks and 30 adults counted on the lake this season. FOM placed a loon nesting platform in one of the coves for the first time this year and it was occupied in two weeks time! Ned and I love watching the loons and listening to them, too. We’ll miss them when they head to the coast when the lake freezes again this winter.

FOM is having our annual meeting on September 5, 2018 at the Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sydney (a.k.a.New England Music Camp) at 5:30pm. It’s just before the Fab Four concert (it’s the Beatles!) We’d love for any interested neighbors to attend and learn more about us. You can also check out the FOM website http://www.friendsofmessalonskee.com. I think we’re going to go to the concert, too! It’ll be a fun evening!

If you’d like a packet of information to be delivered to your house, let me know. I’ll get you one!

We hope all of our lakeside neighbors will become members and get involved! It’s a lot of fun!  

 

Ice (almost) Out

We are watching the lake and waiting for ice out. The water is getting wider every day. Last night we made a bet. I think ice out will be 4/29. Ned says 5/2. We’ve bet a nickel. We’ll see who’s right.

The last two days have been warm here on the shores of Messalonskee. We have spent the better part of both days in the sunshine working in the yard and getting ready for spring cleanup. There is a lot of spring cleanup to do – we lost a tree last winter in the high winds and there’s a lot of raking to do. We never got the flower pots in before the dirt froze so we have that to finish, too. We could use a full time gardening crew! (Not likely  to happen!)

Ned has also been planning and chipping away at some granite that he found under the old house. He’s going to make a bird feeder. When the demolition of the old boathouse was complete, he used the backhoe to move the boulder to the front corner of the house. Now he’s decided to move it to the center of the garden nearest our driveway. He’s been “noodling around” a plan to move a 1000 pound rock … yesterday he worked it into its spot. Using a winch, some chair, a sheet of plywood, and some logs he moved the rock across the yard. I watched!

Ned is rebuilding our boathouse with Tom and the Chore Store. They’ve completed the platform on top of the old concrete foundation (a slab was poured late last fall under the old garage end) and then up went the walls. Another day and we had a roof. Watching a building being stick-built is really amazing. Tom and his crew do a great job and Ned is thrilled to have a sturdy building again. He will use the back end as a workshop and the front will still be our boathouse in the spring, summer and fall. We hope the big dock spiders have gone out into the woods never to return.

Today Ned went for his first “swim” when his waders weren’t as long as the water was deep. It was a cold shock for sure! Never the less, he persisted in getting the scaffolding up so that he could wrap the front of the building with whatever-the-wrap is. I wish I could tell you that I have been involved in the process, but I haven’t. I’ve been busy working at the Yardgoods Center while my boss is out of town.  I’m tired from being on my feet and sore but I still love working in the yarn shop!

Our Florida friends are still asking us if we are ready to leave Maine in the winter and if we regret moving up north. The answer is still and unequivocal “NO!” We are so thrilled to wake up in this beautiful place every morning. We love watching the birds return to the feeders, watch the ducks arrive back on the lake. We loved watching the Bald Eagles on the ice all winter long. The feathered loons should be returning soon. The human loons have taken their ice fishing shacks off the ice for another season. It was a good winter and we continue to feel so lucky to live here.

March 2018 – In Like a Lion

IMG_2532The snow started last night around ten o’clock (pm). I woke up at some point during the night – maybe it was when my husband, dreaming, kicked me in his sleep? – and wondered if our power was still on. I didn’t hear anything but didn’t want to get out of bed either.

IMG_2533This morning when we woke up, the snow was falling heavily and several inches were on the ground, although, with the wind, it’s hard to know exactly how much we have. The porches are all snow-covered. The lights and screens are, too!

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As of ten o’clock (am) it’s still coming down and we’ve (the royal we, I have to give credit to my husband who takes care of my little dogs!) cleared a “spot” for the little dogs to go outside and husband has gone out to fill the bird feeders. We have feeders around the yard and have recently added a thistle feeder for the finches and a cracked corn feeder for the squirrels.

IMG_2537We have seen our first flocks of goldfinch and red-winged blackbirds. We have lots of birds in the winter … juncos and our year-round chickadees and all sorts of wonderful woodpeckers. Watching the birds is something I’ve loved since childhood. My dad was a bird watcher. He taught me everything I know about wild birds. I know he’d be thrilled to know we are carrying on his tradition … and the tradition of “fighting” with the squirrels!

March has come in like a lion! It’s beautiful!

 

Time Flies!

I can’t believe that there’s a crispness in the air already! The summer is flying by … and this weekend is Labor Day already! How is it that time flies by so quickly? I decided to choose a few pictures of the summer from beginning to end to show you what’s been going on at our house this summer.

It always makes us happy when the loons return to Messalonskee!

Duck family! We had two families this year.

Kids visiting … tubing is always a favorite activity!

Little cousins visit from the West Coast. They all loved visiting Blueberry Hill with Uncle Ned.

The rope swing is a lot of fun – even for the adults!

One Early Morning

A bit of knitting on the dock.

Another visit from the kids and the grand-dogs. Their favorite activity may be an evening “cocktail cruise”.

The BBD (Big Brown Dog) is happy in the sun on the porch. So are we!

8/28/17 The first morning where there is fog on the lake. The evenings are getting much cooler.

It’s been a wonderful summer and we look forward to the rest of the summer days. And the cooler weather of fall.

We are so fortunate to live here!

Ice Fishing Season

img_7877It’s here!

Well, actually, it’s been here for several weeks if not months, but this is the first time I’m writing about it (or anything) here.

Ice fishing huts have popped up all around us on the lake. The ice is more than 18 inches thick according to Ned’s last drilling attempt this morning. His drill bit is 18 inches long and he didn’t get to the water this time. Amazing!

Last weekend we saw a pickup truck drive across the lake from the Sydney boat landing to just in front of the Lakeside Adventist Christian Campground. Several people got out of the truck to set their traps. Brave souls!

It sure it beautiful!

40 Years Later

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The Warners 7/30/16 with all five of our children!

Well, we have finally done it.

On Saturday July 30th at 11:00 in the morning we were married in the yard here at our beautiful home. With our children and family in attendance, it was a spectacularly special day full of love and laughter. The weekend stretched from our only boy’s arrival on Tuesday through to the last daughter leaving the following Tuesday. It was everything that we had hoped it would be.

Late nights, beautiful days, water skiing, tubing, swimming, wine drinking and a lot of laughs. We are so blessed. I’ll write more as we come back to the “real world”.

Now for our honeymoon … at home on Messalonskee!

Life is good.

Wow! Lots of Activity

"Warner's"

“Warner’s”We have a lot going on here at “Camp Smedley”! 

 

We have a lot going on here at Warner’s “Camp Smedley”! Our house is nearly finished although I’d argue that it will never really be finished. Homes are a work in progress. Right? Ned and Tom have been working on the porch railings and the steps down to the yard. It’s wonderful to have our coffee on the porch again!

Last week the landscaping was started and it should be wrapped up on Wednesday with our sod going down. This is a huge project! As far as we know, there’s never been any “real” landscaping done here and many of the plants that we planted have not survived.

We hired Native Notions from Belgrade Lakes to do our landscaping. Matt’s design was creative and the plants were appropriate and hardy (and low maintenance). He really listened at our first meeting and delivered a plan that was just what we asked for. Thursday the crew arrived and went to work scraping the old gross yard away and then began to fill it back in with loam and the flower beds began to take shape. A couple of things that we particularly appreciated what that they installed a silt fence to protect the lake and were thoughtful of re-purposing the hosta and day lilies that were planted by Ned’s mother all those ages ago.

Here’s what it looked like before …

The yard on the railroad side of the house ... before

The yard on the railroad side of the house … before (with a little bit of Ned in the top corner)

Helen's Garden Before

Helen’s Garden Before

Lakeside Garden Before

Lakeside Garden Before

Every day when I came home after work I  was pleasantly surprised by the changes that I could see. It’s already a huge improvement and I can’t wait to see the finished project! I hope I took enough before and after pictures so that you can see what a wonderful job they did!

Day 1 - the yard on the railroad side after

Day 1 – the yard on the railroad side after

Day 1 - Lakeside Garden - After

Day 1 – Lakeside Garden – After

Day 1 - Helen's Garden - After

Day 1 – Helen’s Garden – After

One of my favorite parts, oddly enough, is the pathway of rocks around the house that will serve as a drip edge. It’s so pretty!

We are getting ready to have the whole family here for our wedding on July 30. Lots to finish up and clean up in preparation for our big event. I figure if we can live together in our little guest cottage for ten months and build a house without detesting each other we figured it’s time to make it formal!

Every day we thank our lucky stars to be here!

Eagle Games

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For the past several mornings (and the days that follow) we have had the privilege of watching a family of Bald Eagles on the ice in front of our house. While they are almost a mile away, they’re HUGE birds and appear to be even from a distance.

The first morning we spent an hour watching them with the binoculars. They were huddled on the ice in a large group around the closest ice fishing shack. As our day progressed, we watched them again and again. They’d fly off, come back, re-group but always the same five eagles. Two with full adult plumage (white heads and white tails) and three all brown (immature).

Never did we imagine that we’d get to watch them for days … and days! Our Marblehead family came up for an overnight and the eagle family thrilled them, too. Even with people playing out on the ice, the eagles remained. A neighbor was kind enough to tell us that the eagles are waiting for the left-over fish that were caught. It was a lightbulb moment for us but, man, those birds are patient!

In the afternoon and evening we’ve watched one or two of the eagles fly off. Once down the lake right toward our house, several times toward the Advent Christian Campground next-door. Every time it’s thrilling to watch.

Ned and the dogs and boys were out on the ice on Wednesday morning having a blast. The eagles were just beyond them on the ice. Amazing!

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For most of my life I had never seen an eagle in the wild. They had a spectacular eagle habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo. I saw pictures of them in books. I even watched “nest cams” on the internet. When I moved to Florida, though, I started seeing them in the sky, along the side of the road (for real!) and on airboat rides. We saw one one winter when we came to visit Maine for a couple of days in the old house. It has always been a treat to see eagles but this day-after-day-on-the-ice-in-front-of-the-house thing has just been awesome! (In the truest sense of the word.)

IMG_6276We had a bit of snow overnight and it’s raining now and relatively warm (39 degrees at 8am). The ice in front of our house is all broken and there is open water this morning but the eagles are out on the ice.

It’s Saturday and there are a lot of ice fishermen out on the lake. In my humble opinion, our view is spectacular but adding a family of eagles to the mix ups the game by several million!

We are so lucky to live here!

We don’t miss Florida even a bit.

 

Snow!

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Winter has finally arrived in Maine

Winter has finally arrived in Maine.

We are fully enjoying every day on our lake, even as it gets colder and snowier! Each day the vista is a little bit different and equally beautiful. We can sit up in our bed and look out to see the early morning … sometimes with a sunrise and sometimes before the sunrise. Not often after the sun is up.

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We are early to bed and early to rise here. Perhaps because we don’t want to cover the windows (or haven’t yet). Or maybe it’s because we don’t have cable TV.

We were “worried” about getting in and out of our driveway and have been lucky so far. We seem able to get out after we clear the drive. The scariest part is making the turn on the hill. We each have a couple of hundred pounds of sand in our trunk and that may help. I have studded snow tires on all four tires, and am convinced that was a good investment. I think we’ll be going the 4-wheel drive way when we next purchase vehicles if, for no other reason, it will make us feel better.

Today the granite artist is supposed to be coming to “fix” our granite joints in the kitchen. I sure hope he can make them acceptable. We’ve been waiting forever to get it finished and I want to get the backsplash installed!

For now, suffice it to say that we are settling in and life is good. No question that we made the right move for us! We are so grateful to live in Maine!

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We did it! We live in Maine!