2018 – ANOTHER SEPTEMBER SONG – Garry Armstrong

I’ ve asked old acquaintance, Walter Houston, once again, to lead us with his melancholy vocal of “September Song” to set the mood.

September is a bittersweet month for many of us. For the young, it’s the end of summer,  goodbye to the idyllic warm days of endless fun and those first romantic days and nights recorded on songs whose lyrics you now struggle to remember.

It’s adieu to summer camp. I have positive memories of Silver Bay and Camp Wilbur Herrlich,  Kodak memories of Lutheran Summer Camps in the woods of upstate New York.  Roasting hot dogs, marshmallows and chugging “bug juice” around twilight campfires.

Barbecue in the yard

In the far recesses of my brain,  we’re again singing  “We are climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” “Beautiful Savior” (Mom’s favorite hymn) and “Abide With Me.” Some of the mid-teen voices are cracking as we try to go to higher notes.  Boys and girls sneak quick looks at each other, cementing romances that will be “forever.”

September fields

Pastor Herb Gibney, who was a central figure in my life from age 13 to age 48  (He was the lead minister at our wedding in 1990), would regale us with “colorful” stories we were not supposed to tell our parents.  All the hushed laughter in our tents overnight as we watched fireflies light the sky and we swapped stories that had little truth. We always wanted to be the last one to fall asleep.

September also is the pivotal month in sports.  Our baseball teams are in their final drive for a pennant, postseason berths and, if lucky,  a trip to the World Series.  There’s a lot of nail-biting, prayers to the big baseball guy in the sky and sleepless nights as our team struggles.

September by the Blackstone

It’s the beginning of football on all levels — from the NFL down to Junior High School and local PeeWee Leagues.  Here in New England,  we wonder if the ageless Tom Brady can pull off his magic and lead the Patriots to one more Superbowl.  Tom is a 40 something quarterback this year and the Patriots don’t look very super after their first two games.  Yes, I know it’s just September and early for professional football.

September is a big month for weather.

Hurricane season, in particular. Florence is still wreaking havoc with Atlantic coastal cities and there’s no end in sight right now.   We’re happy to be above Flo’s path of destruction.  We just had heavy rain which doesn’t sit well with our furry children.

The 9th month is the beginning for political hopefuls who hope to win in the midterm elections.  We’re hoping all those upset with the status quo, embrace a candidate’s campaign and participate in a BIGLY effort come election day — as in, get out and VOTE.

We’re also about to be inundated with the new season of TV shows. From what we’ve seen in previews,  don’t hold your breath unless you’re watching Candace Bergen as “Murphy Brown” returns to television.

I also noticed the Hallmark Channel is beginning its run of Christmas themed romantic dramas.  I’ll pass.

Walter Houston is wrapping up his encore of “September Song”.

Thank you, Kind Sir.   Same time, next year…

ATTEAN WAY: MAINE, WILD AND WONDERFUL – Marilyn Armstrong

I live in New England and it is where I always wanted to live. I think I originally had a more northern destination in mind, but the requirements of work brought us originally to the Boston area and eventually, out to this valley.

When I dream of the glory of a New England autumn, I dream of Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and Maine. It is beautiful here, too, but up there … it’s breathtaking.

I’m sure the leaves are already changing there.

Up by Jackman, Maine, the weather is changing now and the leaves are turning. Someone asked me about the place and I dug up some information.

Attean View – Sunset – Jackman, Maine

This is one of the most undeveloped areas in New England. It is poor and while there are some “resorts” there, it never developed the other places have. Partly, it’s because it is so far from anything else. Jackman is a tiny town. Not much work. A bit down on its luck.

Any number of attempts have been made to make the place more desirable to tourists, but except for anglers, it’s just incredibly beautiful. And relatively inexpensive, if you don’t mind driving many hours up into the mountains. It doesn’t hurt to have a pretty sturdy little car with four-wheel drive, either.

And some good camera equipment. There are bear and moose are everywhere. There are a lot of signs along the road warning you to be very careful. Moose plus car in a collision will probably kill the moose AND all the people in the car. They are really huge animals and this is one of the places they like.

Moose like bitterly cold temperatures. Any time it gets much above freezing, as far as the moose are concerned, it is too warm. The colder it is, the happier they are.

October near Jackman, Maine

This is what the state of Maine says about the area:


ATTEAN POND
Attean Twp., Somerset Co.
U.S.O.S. AUean (Auburn?), Me.

Attean Pond is one of four large bodies of water in the Moose River drainage to the west of Jackman. More than 40 islands are found in the pond. With 1 exception of a set of commercial C:1mps on some of these islands, the area remains undeveloped. Sally Mountain to the north, Attean Mountain to the west, and rolling hills to the east and southeast complete a scenic background to the pond environment.

The shoreline of Attean Pond varies greatly in composition, providing a diversity of habitat types. Some areas consist of rock and ledge, others are gravelly, some weedy. Among these, several fine sandy beaches are available.

There are a number of good campsites around the pond, which are often utilized by people making the popular Moose River “Bow Trip.” Attean Pond is the beginning and end of this 30-mile canoe trip. A one-mile carry trail connects the western end of Attean with Boleb (?) Ponds, which then provides access to the Moose River and the opportunity to return to Attean.

Wild populations of brook trout and salmon are present in Attean Pond. However, large areas of shallow water are marginal habitat for these cold water game fish during the summer months. Of the total area, only about 600 acres have water deeper than 20 feet. In addition, large populations of yellow perch, suckers, and minnows compete for the available food supply. This further limits the potential for brook trout production.

The best spawning and nursery areas for the salmon and trout are found in tributaries to the Moose River several miles upstream from Attean Pond. The Moose River, both as a tributary and the outlet:

Maximum depth – 55 feet
Principal Fishery: Salmon, Brook trout
Physical Characteristics
Temperatures
Surface – 70°F.
50 feet – 48°F.
Surveyed – August. 1956 – Revised 1977  (** They could probably use a newer version!)
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Published under Appropriation No. 4550
A Contribution of Dingell-Johnson Federal Aid Project F-28-P,

Maine and other small brooks that flow directly into the pond offer few areas that are suitable for spawning. or that could recall large numbers of small salmon or trout.

Lake trout are occasionally caught in Attean Pond. These have moved upstream from Big Wood Pond, where they are stocked. and dwell in a small area of deep water al the western end of the pond. Because of the competition from non-game species, especially yellow perch, brook trout management through stocking is now impractical.

Under existing conditions, wild trout should continue to provide a small fishery. Lake trout can utilize the non-game fish as forage, but it is unlikely that a sizeable lake trout population could be maintained. Management for this species is precluded by the small amount of deep, cold, well-oxygenated water available in the western end of the pond.

Thus, at present, Attean Pond is best suited for salmon. A smelt population provides the forage necessary to sustain this species and salmon are perhaps more inclined than brook trout to travel long distances up the Moose River to the 10 spawning areas in its tributaries.

Small numbers of marked hatchery salmon will be stocked to supplement the wild population. Their growth and contribution to sport fishing will be followed via information from anglers.

Area – 2,745 acres

Yellow perch have become established in the drainage. They have adversely affected the Quality of fishing in Attean Pond in recent years. There should be no introductions of new fish species that could adversely affect the existing trout and salmon populations in Attean Pond, or the management of other waters in the drainage. Minnows, Lake chub, Fall fish (chub), Creek Chub, Common shiner, Cusk, Salmon, Brook trout (squaretail), Lake trout (togue), yellow perch, Smelt, White sucker, Longnose sucker

ATTEAN TWP., SOMERSET CO
AREA 2745 ACRES


This is a fabulous place for a photo vacation. Rough and undeveloped land — with plenty of wildlife and an autumn to die for.

I wish we were going, but it’s too much driving for us these days.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM VARIOUS PLACES JUST BECAUSE – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s were:

Why did you begin blogging? What got you started? What keeps you doing it?

I started blogging because I had nothing more interesting to do. I was retired and I had a lot a lot of photographs which I figured I could post.

October — canal and river

I have continued it because I turned out to be good at it. It gives me something to do with all the weird ideas I get and need to write about. It turns out there are a lot of people who are amused by weird ideas.

What — if anything — do you hope to gain from blogging?

Nothing. I have never been able to consider this a money-making endeavor. To make money, I would have to write what people want to read. Worse, I’d have to write what sponsors want to hear.

For free, it keeps me busy. It also makes me think, requires that I not fall into a depressive slump which is easy when you aren’t doing anything that feels worthwhile. Also, I make friends and communicate with people all over the world.

What do you do in the blog world that makes you feel the proudest?

Sometimes, I can give good advice and every once in a while, I get the opportunity to help somebody.

What makes you follow a blog?

Often because it’s funny, or someone has an intelligent way of looking at the world. Good writing counts for a lot.

Do you regard the people you meet online as real (not-virtual) friends?

Yes.


Marilyn’s Questions are:

Your favorite Season of the whole year and why.

October 13

Autumn. Always Autumn and it’s coming soon. It’s the quality of the air, that “snap” you get. The colors of the leaves. There is an energy to fall you don’t get any other time of the year.

What’s the most mystical or magical thing you ever experienced? 

I’d really rather not say. Or I could say, but then I’d have to kill you.

Do you enjoy a lot of company or are you happiest when in solitude?

I rarely enjoy a LOT of company, but I also don’t necessarily want to be entirely alone, either. With Garry, family, and good friends.

Would you do something dishonest if there were no witnesses?

No. Unless a life was at stake.

What is one destination you’d like to visit before you die?

The south of France, Rome, and the stone circles of England.

LOOKING OUT, LOOKING IN – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Opening

I’ve always loved the view through an opening. Whether it is the exit from a tunnel or the world outside a doorway, there is something magical about it.

A peek inside through a slightly opened door 
From the kitchen to autumn outside 
Through the tepee door …

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Gold

I live in the land of gold, at least for somewhere around a month every year. Autumn is golden time here in the northeast unless we are rudely interrupted by a hurricane or a very early snow. Sometimes, the gold lasts right through November and finally vanishes in December.

Lackey Dam, ducks and a swan
Mallards on the Mumford

Followed about one week later by a major blizzard. I’m not sure why, but that’s the way it seems to work.

LIKE DINNER WITHOUT DESSERT: MINI FICTION – Marilyn Armstrong

Like dirty feet on clean sheets, the dark clouds rolled in, occluding the sun, turning the sunny day gray and dismal.

“There goes Autumn,” said Maggie, looking up. “And the wind’s picking up too.” Her companion nodded.

“Like God’s leaf blower,” he commented as a swirl of bright leaves engulfed him.

Parkland along the canal
Photo: Garry Armstrong

Over before it started. Like a story without an ending, a movie that runs out of plot before it runs out of film or a dinner without dessert. Like … Autumn … without the golden leaves.

Or spring without flowers.

RAINBOWS AND RAIN – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Rain or Rainbow

The rain pictures were mostly taken by Garry and the rainbow by my son. This is a family collection of photography!