A few weeks ago, Steve and I took our trucks up into the hills. These are the same hills that I’ve been writing about since we moved to Maine. I first drove up there with Laura and her parents and then once again with Steve. While the adventure with Laura was wonderful, the adventure with Steve pushed me further than I would have gone if I were alone.
There were two areas I wanted to conquer when I was with Laura, but I chickened out. I’d like to say I had the safety of my passengers in mind when I became chicken, but honestly, the chicken reared its ugly head – and would have whether or not I had passengers at all. The two areas were 1. climbing the mountain, and 2. making a right at the end of Coffin Road and 4-wheeling through the woods to get back to Rand.
[FUTURE PICTURE HERE]
Steve has a special way of making things happen. He just does them. When I finally made it to the base of the mountain, he pulled up next to me in his truck and asked if the dirt road I was looking at was the correct one to bring us to the top. When I said it was, he was off. He drove straight up the mountain and I had no choice but to follow. I’m happy I did too, because I really wanted to. Thank you for that Steve.
Later on, when we made it to the end of one set of logging roads, I was faced with another decision. Make the right and head back to civilization, albeit a treacherous route, or simply take the easy way home. Steve led the way again and brought us to the middle of mayhem. We made it through and we’re all the better for it.
This past weekend, Laura and I visited the area that the last leg of my previous journey led me to. While Steve and I were there, we found a cluster of small waterfalls and many, many large rocks with water running between. Needless to say, it was very pretty, if I may be so bold to use that word.
I think Steve would agree that we should all start calling the area we discovered, “Jay’s Falls.” Currently, I’m not sure if it has a name and since “Lemon Stream” isn’t very descriptive, Jay’s Falls (after the leading man who found the falls) is probably more appropriate. Until someone challenges the name of Jay’s Falls, I declare that all future history books and the ancient book of wisdom will include this name. I do decree and I do declare. On and on and on.
We took some pictures this weekend. I’ll post them below. If you’ve visited this area, you can browse through the photos and tell yourself, your spouse and your children, “Hey guys, come over here and look at the great pictures of Jay’s Falls, the one and only legal name of the falls that Jay found.” Enjoy.
I found a video about a month ago and had intended to write a post about it, but apparently life got in the way. I began doing other things and unfortunately closed the browser window I had the page saved in. Last night, while searching through various TED talks, I stumbled across the video once again. I watched it and I felt good – kind of like I was at home. That’s when I decided it may be worth sharing.
Introvert is almost a bad word these days. As Susan Cain describes in her talk, introverts are being squeezed out of society. It seems as though people simply don’t like them, or at the very least, feel uncomfortable around them. I suppose those who are “out there” more are more engaging and are more pleasurable to be around. I’m really not sure, but Susan claims many ideas in her talk and they make a lot of sense. More sense than I make.
I suggest you watch the video. It’ll shed light on a large part of our population and may educate you on why introverts act the way they do. As Susan says, “…at least one-third of the people we know are introverts,” so getting yourself up to speed on the basis of the actions of our friends and neighbors may turn out to be a noble endeavor.
Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts
This post is way overdue. It’s an adventure Laura, her parents and I went on weeks ago. Since I’ve been busy moving posts over from my old blog to this one, I got in a sort of writing funk. Seriously, one can only blog so much. It takes a lot out of you.
Anyway, we didn’t get tons of great photos during our visit. For some reason, while in Bar Harbor, I didn’t feel much like photography. Perhaps it was all that driving, I’m not sure. We did manage to get some decent pictures though and I’m thankful for that. What we did get is a culmination of both Laura’s and my efforts. Is that a sentence? Laura and my? Mine and Laura’s? Please comment.
I’m going to post the pictures below. I’ll also write a short description of what you’re looking at below each picture.
Bar Harbor is much like any other New England coastal town. It’s got its main street and its great lawn. Probably the most famous area of Bar Harbor is its center where the fountain is.
Bar Harbor Fountain
Bar Harbor Trellis
Bar Island and Sheep Porcupine Island, Maine
Sheep Porcupine Island, Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Island, Bar Harbor, Maine
Agamont Park, Bar Harbor, Maine – Looking at Downtown
Agamont Park, Bar Harbor, Maine – Looking at Downtown
Agamont Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
Another famous thing (I’m sure) is the clock along one of the streets. Laura snatched a picture of this bad boy.
Clock in Bar Harbor, Maine
While we were in the “Habah,” we ate lunch at a really great restaurant called, “Paddy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant.” Since it was a heavy meat eating establishment, Laura and I opted to try the fish and chips. That choice fed us well and gave us the energy to check out more of the area and to drive through Acadia a tad bit, although, now that I think about it, the two Guinness probably didn’t help on the energy front that much.
Paddy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
And here are two photos of across the street from the restaurant.
Now listen, I had no idea that one was supposed to purchase some sort of a visitor’s pass while driving around and stopping at the sights in Acadia National Park. I thought that since I’m none other than me, I would able to visit Bar Harbor, eat some lunch and then head out to find a quiet place to take a nap. Well, apparently, the long arm of the law had other ideas.
Right after lunch, we got back in the car to drive south along Schooner Head Rd. I found a sweet little loop turnaround on my phone that I thought would give us a taste of what Acadia was all about. We drove and we stopped in a parking area that had our names written all over it. Thing is, right before parking, I noticed a sign that said something like, “Jay, you need to pay to stop here. Don’t be a dirtbag.” Whatever. I stopped and figured that the world would survive our five minute escapade. While we were there and while I was guarding the car from the fuzz, Laura grabbed these shots.
Sign Off Park Loop Rd
Trail Down to the Water in Acadia National Park
Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park
Winter Harbor, Maine
As it turns out, not more than three and a half minutes after we got out of the car and were enjoying the sights, a park police guy drove by. I got all sorts of freaked out because I know how “on the edge” we were living and I started calling everyone back. They had no idea what was going on until I had them in the car and explained that the 5.0 was in hot pursuit. It wasn’t until we passed the cop checking out the interior of a pickup truck parked somewhat past us that they knew what was up. I boogied out of there, zigging and zagging, and broke the shackles that were sure to bind us if not for my maneuvering. Thank you me.
Drama, I know.
The visit was good. For the uninitiated, Bar Harbor is much like Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island. If you’ve been to either of those, you’ll know what to expect. Peace.
Big life change for me today. I decided to move my little computer table to a more appropriate area. I used to sit in somewhat of the middle of the house – no windows, no breeze, not much light. Now, I sit in the log cabin room.
Honestly, getting away from the dull area wasn’t my main motivation. My motivation had more to do with getting out of the way when people come to visit. During our last few house guest experiences, I felt as though I was in middle of a high traffic area. I would sit down to do what I had to do and I felt as though people were looking at me. Not that I mind all too much – I just thought that removing myself from an area where conversations were going on and beer was being consumed was in order. So, today I picked my table up and left.
I really like my new spot. I’m perched at the top of the stairs in a room that’s off the main house. I get to look out the front window and the rear window almost at the same time. I’ve got a wonderful cross breeze and tons of light. And in the winter, I can play with the wood stove all I want because it’s sitting right behind me. Of course, I may sweat a little, but that’s the price to pay for prime location.
Laura even moved her area this afternoon. No longer does she use the upstairs bedroom. She now takes advantage of a suite that has views of the pool. What a change we both have to look forward to. Yee haw.
Wow. It’s been less than an hour since I finished typing up my last post. You probably won’t believe it when I tell you that we caught the mouse. Good thing too – because that mouse was starting to get under my skin. I was beginning to fear something bad was going to go down.
Here’s what happened – After I finished writing my previous post, I started watching videos of mice in walls. It only took a few videos to realize that the mouse we have in the wall may be trapped. One video I watched showed a dead mouse that was stuck in the wall. They had to cut away some sheetrock to get at it and eliminate the stink. In the second video, there was a mouse trapped in a wall cavity as well. The guy in the video demonstrated how to dangle a glue trap down into the cavity. He eventually got the mouse to stick to it and pulled both the trap and stuck mouse out. This one was live. I’ll never understand how people use glue mouse traps. They are probably the most barbaric methods available to man. I know, the poison isn’t much better, but every time I see someone catch a mouse using glue, it’s almost like they’re enjoying themselves. Freaks. You have to keep an eye on people like that closely.
After I watched these videos, I went back up to the closet with my hole saw. I cut a hole in the sheetrock in the approximate area of the mouse. Seconds after I was finished and pulled the material out of the way, I saw a little nose stick out. Here’s a picture of the hole.
In the second picture, you can see some gray fur. I don’t know how long this mouse was stuck or if it’s his or her fur. I do know that it smelled of urine.
The mouse really didn’t want to come out. I had an old yogurt container held up to the wall, covering the hole, in hopes that the mouse would walk into it and make things easy, but that didn’t work. After a while, I decided to drill another hole. And then another. I ended up with three holes and no place for the mouse to hide.
It was right after I drilled the third hole that the mouse flew out of one of them causing me to scream. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is for me to scream in front of my lady? Thanks mom. Genetics.
Anyway, the mouse ran out of the hole and the closet and zoomed right into the bathroom. Laura followed it and closed the door. I gave her the yogurt container and lid and she trapped the mouse. What a pal.
In order to deal with this beast, we decided to drive it up the road and let it go in the woods. Probably a good half mile away. Here are some pictures of the mouse.
It ends up that this is a house mouse. Cute little guy, right? I’m glad that we were able to amicably bring this ordeal to a close. I really didn’t want to smell a dead mouse in the wall and wonder how long it was going to last.
Note: There is an update to this story here.
This is one of those posts I don’t want to write, but feel I have to. It’s not like everyone else out there has perfectly clean wall interiors – no mice problems anywhere. That’s simply not the case. Pretty much every house we’ve lived in has had mice running around one area or another. Not of epidemic proportions or anything, but in our first house, we had them in the basement and in the second house, the issue was mostly in the garage. In that house, we also had them in a closet in the kitchen. They love closets. In the last house we lived in, I remember hearing a mouse scratching under the kitchen sink. I opened the door to see what it was, the mouse popped his head out over the edge, I got nervous and slammed the door shut. Unfortunately, I closed the door right across the poor mouse’s neck, killing him instantly.
It was during our stay in the Connecticut house when I finally learned how to deal with mouse problems effectively. The solution is to kill them. I know, I know, I’ve tried everything. Havahart is my middle name. I tried those traps with some success. The problem lies with human nature. Most of the time, I set a trap and checked on it daily. There were occasions, though, when I forgot about the trap. The mouse died in it and I felt awful. Actually, I always feel awful when I’ve got to get rid of a mouse in the walls.
Every time I’ve taken the “nice” approach, I got a couple. It seemed, though, that the little critters had a way of multiplying behind my back. I’d trap one, let it go, only to return to seven more setting up shop in the garage. Frustrating can’t even begin to describe the feeling. Especially when I’m worried that they’re going to chew on the wires of the cars. It seems that we transport the mice from house to house in those very vehicles.
Starting last week, I’ve been hearing scratching in the walls near our bed. The scratching and chewing actually woke me up this morning. I can’t tell you how close I came to putting my foot through the wall in an attempt at catching the mouse and wringing its neck. I told Laura in no uncertain terms, “I want it dead.” Sort of like a nemesis.
The way I successfully dealt with the mice problem in Connecticut was to use place packs. These are small paper packets that have poison laden bird seen inside. You just lay them on shelves or where ever you see evidence of mice and let the mice chew the packs. They get dizzy and go outside to die. Strangely, I never found a dead mouse. I sure did find some nests though. They loved to shack up under my miter saw.
When we moved to Maine, I knew I would need to bring out the big guns. I went ahead and ordered a bucket of Tomcat mouse bait chunks.
Within a week of getting here, I started hearing and finding evidence of mice in the basement. I threw a few of these mouse bait chunks around and within a week, stopped finding the evidence. so much so that I actually forgot about the mice all together. Well, guess what. They’re back. I’m not sure if they know autumn is coming up and they’re trying to build nests in preparation for winter, but I’ve so far heard a mouse upstairs near the bed and another one in the log cabin room. You see, I think they’re making their way up the inside of the house siding.
There’s a gap under the siding that I’ve got to get out there and seal up. I believe the mice are coming from the woods and either moving into the house or just coming in and stealing the fiberglass insulation. No matter what they’re attempting to do, they’re unwelcome guests. And being so close to the woods, things get exponentially more difficult.
I though about the best way to get to the area where I heard the mouse. I figured that since we’ve got a closet in the hallway, right next to the bedroom, that would be the most inconspicuous place to create an opening to see what’s going on.
Since it was simple enough, I cut a square hole in the back wall with my utility knife.
I only made the hole in the back of the closet; the other two were here when we moved in. I think there’s a water pipe in there or something.
We’ll see how things go. The bait smells pretty good. Sort of like cake batter. I plan on checking the bait in the wall tomorrow and if it has little chew marks, I’ll know the mouse won’t last for long. The worst case scenario is that the mouse eats the bait and then dies in the wall and stinks for a week. I’d prefer that over the scratching and chewing, which is going on right now as I write this post, by the way.
If you’re interested in reading a pretty good article called, “How to Get Mice Out of House Walls,” check out this one.
This was probably the most fun I’ve had since Steve and I went ATVing up in the logging trails at the end of our road. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do – to drive my truck up there as well. To see how she would handle and to see if there would be any significant obstacles for us to work through if one day – ah…one day – someone (such as myself) decides to pick up a nice big piece of property up there in those woods. I think I may be some how, some way, subconsciously laying the groundwork for our next great adventure. To get a glimpse of what I’m talking about, please read this post:
I wrote that about a year and a half ago and have moved significantly toward the goal I hinted at. Things have changed dramatically for Laura and me and I intend to nudge things along for our next dramatic change. One can’t simply go through life without ever living off-grid – can they? I mean – you have to try – right? There really are far too many yurts, cabins, cottages and everything else available to give the average fellow an opportunity to see if he and his mate can make a life in the wild.
Anyway, the truck did very well. I can’t really give you an accurate distance of how far we traveled, but I will tell you that we zigged and zagged throughout the entire system. We drove further than I thought we would. The one place I had to turn back from, though, was the big mountain and lookout that Steve and I visited. The trail to the to top of the mountain was washed out and the left side of it was reduced to a somewhat deep ditch. I probably could have made it through, but I sensed some nervousness in the truck, so I turned back. Far cry from what I would have done when I was a kid. I would have just jumped on it and plowed ahead.
Laura managed to take some pictures of me driving around down in the valley near the brook. The same brook that we’ve got running along the back border of our property. It’s Laura’s favorite area, so we stopped and hung out for a while. I knew she wanted to show her parents around a bit.
If you want to see what these logging roads look like in late spring, check out this post:
There’s a picture in the post above that shows me riding Steve’s ATV in the brook. Take a look at that and then take a look at the two pictures below. What a difference a change in season can make.
This shot is looking south.
And this one is looking north.
The water is also as clear as it’s ever been. What an odd phenomenon. I actually had to delete a few pictures like these because it didn’t look like there was any water at all. Just rocks laying there.
This is a picture of what the bridge looks like up there. If we hadn’t seen two old dudes driving into these trails a few days ago, I wouldn’t have crossed it with my truck. After talking to one of the guys, I learned that the bridges are very strong and can easily hold the weight of the truck.
And since I knew the bridge was strong, I just had to run back to the truck to give it a shot.
Okay, I hopped in the truck and drove it over the bridge.
But of course, once I made it over the bridge, I had to turn around. I didn’t want to have to take the long way back. Plus, we had berry picking to do. Man I love driving that truck up there.
So there you have it folks. A plan in action. From getting an idea while sitting in Florida to getting it done a year later in Maine. Sort of gives me a good feeling. Just bulldoze through all the crap and go where you want to get to. If you want to see pictures of the truck a few days after I purchased it in Jacksonville, Florida, check out this post:
Earlier this week, Laura’s parents came to visit. We did a bunch of fun stuff, such as visiting Bar Harbor, driving my truck up in the hills north of us and making our way toward the back of our property to visit the brook. I have posts on the stuff we did together and what you’re currently reading is the post for our brook adventure.
It’s much tougher getting back to the brook ever since the grass and weeds have grown in multiples of feet. We used to easily stroll back there. Now, we’ve got to wonder where we’re walking and wonder if we’re going to trip over some sort of branch or piece of wood. Luckily nothing terrible happened and we all made it out in one piece.
I think they liked the brook. I understand that Laura and I are definitely into nature more than most people out there, but even with that in mind, her folks enjoyed getting lost in the thick. They didn’t walk up the center of the brook like it did, but we really didn’t expect them to. Actually, I didn’t expect to do that myself. It just sort of happened.
The water isn’t too high back there. I’d guess that it’s about a foot deep in most places. The beavers really haven’t been working as hard as they used to. This makes for some good river walking – which is defined as basically walking up a river.
There is one thing you need to be careful of when walking up a brook like this – and that’s broken glass. My trip on Wednesday was short because I was bare footed. I went as far as I could before I remembered that I wasn’t wearing any foot protection. Once that occurred to me, I headed back. I did make it far enough to know that I want to go back there with my Crocs on and walk much farther. I think it’d be cool to see what the brook looks like upstream.
Almost every time I check Laura’s camera to take pictures off it to post here, I find odd photo shoots of Voleman. These shoots hide themselves between trips to Bar Harbor and adventures up in the mountains. I guess they aren’t too terrible because our little orange cat is the cutest thing ever, but still…
Maybe you should be the judge. Would you be lured into taking pictures like the ones I posted below? Could you resist? Will you admit that Voleman is cuter than anything you’ve ever seen in your entire life? He is a bad cat though. He jumps on Flipper’s back and chases him around the house all night. Don’t be fooled by Voleman’s seduction. Don’t be fooled.
People don’t believe me when I tell them Winter is coming. Perhaps they don’t realize how short the warm season is here in Maine. And to think, friends of mine who live up in Rangeley and Jackman have an even shorter warm season – about two seeks shorter. I overheard a conversation just last night where one of my buddies was talking about how the leaves are changing in Jackman. It’s no joke either because I’ve been noticing some of the same here where we live. Leaves falling all over the place. And we even have a Red Maple tree that’s in the midst of its full change over. I just took a picture of it.
Now, it’s not like we’re in the middle of Autumn or anything. The leaves are still green all over the place.
But I will tell you that it was so chilly last night that I thought I was going to have to make a fire in the wood stove or get something going in the pellet stove. The crisp, cool air certainly is welcome though. I thrive in the cooler temperatures.
Raspberry bushes are beginning to change.
I wonder how much longer Summer will last. I think the most noticeable changes are in the nighttime temperatures. Things go from the high 70s during the day, down to the low 50s at night. When things get down to the 40s, I think I’ll put my dancing shoes back on.
Oh yeah, I took this neat picture as I was outside grabbing the one of that Maple tree. Just throwing this in there for you.