We live in rural Massachusetts, but it’s hard to think of it as “the great outdoors.”
There’s something a bit enclosed about New England. Trees and stone fences. No big open areas, but smaller sections. Fields, valleys, rivers, lakes … and an amazing Atlantic coast. We are less grand than the west but cozier. Greener.
Less grand than the west, but friendlier. And we get more than enough snow to make up the difference!
Every conversation about the weather — which has been rainy and windy all the time since last March — ends with someone saying “Well, at least it’s not snowing.”
When we moved here, our very first winter, it snowed all the time. We were charmed by the beauty. Everyone shoveled and we bought a really huge snow blower.
By the second year, we were less charmed, the snow blower was huge and heavy. The snow never stopped falling. Driving down our road was like driving through a tunnel. The height of the snow on both sides of the road was well over 6-feet.
We also discovered why no one cements their mailbox in place.
If you cement it in the ground when the snow plow knocks it down, you need a whole new mailbox. If it’s just stuck in the dirt, you stand it back up and push the earth back around the post, and voilà. Also, it pays to get a rubber mailbox. They survive longer and keep your mail dry.
So you talk lovingly of Jack Frost and I think “Who’s gonna plow us out THIS year?” It’s never the same guy twice and half the time it’s some kid who takes out a garden or half the backyard. We’ll get through it, but it’s always a hassle.
I have thousands — literally thousands and maybe tens of thousands of more than 100,000 photographs — of snow. Blizzards. We get a lot of snow. I mean really — a lot of snow. I get depressed thinking about it.
We are the kind of people who need a 4X4. For some people, it’s a style. For us, it’s how we get out of the driveway in the winter. Without one, you get stuck until spring.
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.
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.
This is what the state of Maine says about the area:
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
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.
When we used to spend a month or more on the Vineyard and became “summer people,” our vacations were completely lacking in substance and that’s the way we liked them.
You lost your watch on the third day. You forgot to wear underwear by the end of the first week. By the middle of the second week, you had no idea what day of the week it was and were probably at least a little tipsy.
If you made it to week three, by then you forgot what you used to do back on the mainland.
The Vineyard was where you went and nothing happened. There were no events. No parties. No concerts except usually one around the end of August to raise money for the food bank — generally the Taylor and Simon families propped up the event.
Since 1884, islanders have enjoyed the beauty of this magnificent carousel. Built by Charles W.F. Dare, it is the nation’s oldest platform carousel still in operation. Acquired by the Preservation Trust in 1986, the carousel is a National Historic Landmark. Children (and others) may enjoy a ride from Easter Sunday through Columbus Day. Rides cost just $1 and if you catch the brass ring, you ride for free. Video games and refreshments are also available.
Unless a president came to visit, or a plane crashed somewhere, nothing happened. Oh, right, one year, there were fireworks in the channel behind the house. There were two Clinton parties, one hosted by the Simons (that was when Clinton played the saxophone) and the next held by the Taylors, which is when I met Kate (I had no idea who she was until later). She was the only woman I met who dressed like me in long Indian dresses and beads.
One year it was really hot.
One summer it was surprisingly cold.
One summer, a novelist I liked did a book signing at “Bunch of Grapes.”
One of our friends made an amazingly good daiquiri. I made frozen strawberry daiquiris using real strawberries and brown sugar that tasted so good, even people who never drank got wiped out.
Garry commented considering the alcoholic stupor many of us were in, our real question should have been “Do I know who I am?”
So what made it so special? Probably the same thing that makes boating special. Nothing. You slept, you hung out on the dock. Read a book. Roamed through Oak Bluffs looking for bargains. Wandered around Edgartown. Had a burger. Had a drink. Bought something useless but pretty.
No substance. Doing nothing and loving it.
Strolled over to the Flying Horses carousel. If you got lucky, you might catch a gold ring and get a free ride while the calliope played.
Watched pink sunsets over Nantucket Sound.
If it rained, maybe we’d go to a movie.
There was no schedule until you had to leave. Then, you had to find your watch, make sure you could find your ferry tickets. Hope the bridge was not open so you wouldn’t miss your boat. Missing the boat could mean a very long day in the parking lot of the Steamship Company.
Nothing was special or substantial about the Vineyard. That’s what made it special.
That’s what grownups used to say to us when we got angry about whatever it was about which they weren’t angry. I don’t think people say it anymore.
There are so many things to get angry about. I think I’m more puzzled by people who don’t have a temper and seem to think “Oh, everything will work out fine, dear …” Like some kind of mentally deranged auntie who thinks a cookie and milk can solve everyone’s problems.
I say it to me, though. Because there really are so many things to get angry about. Unlike days of yore, everything is important.
Cuts to Medicare will make it less likely we will get proper medical care and considering we aren’t getting any younger, that is a terrifying prospect. Reductions in Medicaid — what we call “Mass Health” — will mean more sick people everywhere. Other cuts will ensure more people living in the street.
In this climate, people freeze to death.
Our desertion of any attempt to control the environment bodes ill for everyone living thing, no matter where they live. If you can’t breathe now, wait a couple of years and you will really be choking.
I try to keep it in check because otherwise, I’ll be ranting and railing about everything. We are living on a planet spinning backward, trying to recapture the “perfection” of a time that was anything but perfect. Some kind of mental breakdown is convincing people they should go back to those non-existent days when we lived in a world of smiles and rainbows.
Except we didn’t live there. We just saw it in the movies and on television. I certainly didn’t live in it. I guarantee Garry didn’t live there either.
The world has always been terrifying. All these things going on are intended to make the world safe for the 240 remaining Very Rich White Men. It will not make the world safer for me, you, or anyone we know.
All of us struggled to make a decent life. Everything happening now will increase the struggle and make life harder for us.
I was reading through Rich’s story of ye olde days of vinyl records and remembering when we had probably a thousand pounds of them — between all of mine and all of Garry through 30 or more years of collecting — and how getting rid of them was really easy after they were all soaked when the basement flooded.
As I was remember fancy sound systems with speakers all of the room so you’d get the sound “just right” — if you sat right in the middle of the room which was pretty much impossible because there was inevitably a table or something else already in the middle of the room.
While thinking about this, what should pop out of the bottom drawer of my night table, but …
I was pondering whether I should call a museum and see if I could get a few bucks for it … and whether or not it might work, assuming there wasn’t an exploded battery inside it. I had to take a picture of it anyway. I mean — who has an almost perfect Sony Walkman anymore? I remember when this was THE device to have. Before cell phones and a thousand versions of listening thingies, this was the one to have. Now, they are trash. So goes the world.
And then, Garry found this one. What is most interesting is the question: you mean, we have water slides in Uxbridge? Where?
I also took a picture of what has to be the very last cactus flower.
On one of the many long rainy days of the past couple of months, a wistful picture of the Duke, looking out the window into the gloppy, muddy yard.
And finally, a laboring gardener, optimistically assuming that we are going to have a summer … if it stops raining. Any day now …
Happy Sunday. Since I started writing this, we have had rain and sun, rain and sun. Right now, sunny … but I see the clouds coming back so soon? Who knows?
To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!