LAZY DAYS

WE’VE BEEN COMING TO MAINE FOR THIRTY-FIVE YEARS, TO LIZ’S HOUSE A.K.A. “THE LEDGES”; AN OLD FISHING AND HUNTING CAMP — TWO LOG CABINS ON A WIDE CEDAR DECK OVERLOOKING CUPSUPTIC LAKE.  THE LAKE, WHICH MERGES WITH MOOSELOOKMEGUNTIC, IS ABOUT TWELVE MILES LONG AND ONE TO TWO MILES WIDE.  IN THE DISTANCE TO THE EAST ARE THE WHITE MOUNTAINS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.  OQUOSSOC, THE NEAREST TOWN, IS A TWO-AND-A-HALF-HOUR DRIVE FROM PORTLAND, SO THERE AREN’T A LOT OF TRAFFIC JAMS ON THE TWO-LANE ROADS.

FROM LIZ’S DECK WE CAN SEE ONE HOUSE ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE LAKE.  THERE ARE LOONS HERE, BALD EAGLES, CORMORANTS,  OTTERS, DEER, RABBITS, BEARS, THE OCCASIONAL MOOSE, AND THE FEARSOME FISHER, A WEASLE-LIKE CRITTER WHO THIRSTS FOR THE BLOOD OF PUSSYCATS, WHICH IS WHY LIZ KEEPS HERS INDOORS.

BOATS CRUISE BY, FISHERMAN, DAY-TRIPPERS, CAMPERS IN CANOES, AND LOVERS IN KAYAKS.  A YELLOW FLOATPLANE, CARRYING TOURISTS, LANDS DAILY AND TAKES OFF AGAIN.  OCCASIONALLY, THERE IS THE CLATTER OF MERGANZERS AS ALL TWENTY-TWO CHICKS AND MOTHERS RUSH INTO OUR LITTLE HARBOR AND RUSH RIGHT OUT AGAIN.  CANADA  GEESE FLY BY, LOW TO THE WATER, HONKING AS THEY GO.  LOONS CALL TO EACH OTHER EERILY AT NIGHT.  BUT MOST OF THE TIME ITS SO QUIET YOU CAN HEAR THE QUIET.

WE SWIM IN THE NUDE.  WE TAKE SHORT HIKES.  MOSTLY, WE TALK ABOUT FOOD; WHAT TO COOK AND HOW TO COOK IT.  THEN, OF COURSE, THERE ARE THE DAILY POST-MORTEMS, ALTHOUGH THAT TERM DOESN’T SEEM FITTING.

OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS, SMALL, LOCAL FARMS HAVE PROLIFERATED.  ONCE A WEEK WE VISIT BLUEBERRY HILL FARM, WHERE DAN ALECK GROWS ORGANIC PRODUCE — ONIONS, GARLIC, TOMATOES, LETTUCE, CUCUMBERS, SQUASH, POLL BEANS, AND ALL MANNER OF PEAS.  LAST SUMMER HE STARTED RAISING CHICKENS, SO THERE ARE ALWAYS FRESH EGGS ON HAND.  DAN LETS US PICK OUR OWN STUFF, WASHES IT AND UNDERCHARGES US.

TOBY AND DORIS ALVES BOUGHT GRASSHOPPER HILL FARM IN OCTOBER.  IN ADDITION TO FRESH PRODUCE, THEY ARE RAISING CHICKENS TO EAT AS WELL AS FOR EGGS.  A SIX-POUNDER, SLAUGHTERED THAT MORNING, WAS THE BEST CHICKEN I’D EVER ROASTED OR TASTED.

TWICE A WEEK THE HIGH TIDE/LOW TIDE FISH TRUCK PARKS IN NEARBY RANGELY WITH FRESH SCALLOPS, COD, MUSSELS, SWORDFISH, AND, NATURALLY, MAINE LOBSTERS.

SO WHY SHOULD WE LEAVE?  WELL, SOONER OR LATER THE COLD WILL DRIVE US HOME.  THE HOUSE ISN’T WINTERIZED AND CUPSUPTIC FREEZES OVER, PROVIDING A TWELVE-MILE PLAYING FIELD FOR THE SKI MOBILES.

UNTIL THEN, I CAN DO LITTLE MORE THAN SHOP, COOK, EAT, AND SEND YOU THE RECIPES.

BON APPETITE FROM THE LEDGES…

 

 

 

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