Grand Lake Stream

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Town News

Dave McCullough

As I drove past the Baring Irving Station there was a tractor trailer stopped in the road and a red pick-up pointed toward Calais on the left side. After examination it looked like a traffic stop for an animal in the road. There was someone nudging  what looked like an 8 to 10” snapping turtle. As I drove closer our own Grand Lake Stream Tanya Roucsky was completing this task.  Great job Tanya!

Tuesday evening last was the scene where 36 people gathered in “The Gut” on the sandy beach for a pot luck gathering. The Gut is a shortcut between Caribou Rock and Farm Cove. Lance and Helen Rogers had extended an invitation to enjoy their “piece of heaven” on the shore of West Grand Lake. People arrived by water and land.  The temperature was warm and a beautiful sunset was provided and again a wonderful spread of delicious food.   Lance, Helen and son Kaleb were warm hosts in their beautiful  home.

Did you know Grand Lake Stream has its own “Wichita Lineman”? For the past several years our lineman has been instrumental in placing and removing the American Flags that line the Milford Road. It is a special treat to see R. J. Ammerman put on his pole spikes and climb the distance to place the flags. R J spent many years as a lineman in his home state of New Jersey. This past spring with the help of neighbors Lee and Peter the flags were all in place within an hour. Thanks guys!

Here is next week’s ATV Event. September 14 Ride to Dinner at Fox Hill Restaurant on Route 9.  Led by Carole and Bruce Minner.  RSVP 796-5354 by September 7 th. Payment in advance.  Meet at dam at 3:00 pm Dinner at 5:00 pm

Rain date:  September 15    if raining, group will drive to the restaurant.

The Downeast Lakes Land Trust was pleased to welcome writer and forager Tom Seymour for two days of wild food gathering in the Farm Cove Community Forest.  Tom began the weekend on Saturday evening with an extensive classroom overview of the edible plants available in Maine through-out the year.  “Plants like cattails and milkweed can produce different food products across a year,” said Tom as he described how to harvest and prepare roots, buds, flowers and seed pods from plants that are often overlooked as roadside weeds. From “trail nibbles” eaten raw while on hikes, to daylily gumbos and recipes for stuffed milkweed pods, Tom wowed the audience with both his resourcefulness and creativity.

Sunday morning, found Tom leading a committed dozen followers armed with baskets and gathering bags into the forest conserved by the Downeast Lakes Land Trust.  Before even leaving the lawns and waysides of Grand Lake Stream, participants had gathered and sampled plantain, wood sorrel, pineapple weed and opine. 

What began with two boys handing the Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s Education and Communications Manager, Tanya Rucosky a manifesto of “dangerous skills we would like to learn” developed into a summer-long program featuring serious skills that prepared young people to survive in the woods, or even become Junior Maine Guides.

“Last year, we offered a two-day ‘Introduction to Guiding Course’ for young people,” said Rucosky, “The kids wanted to build on that.” Modeled on the Explorations and Adventures classes which the DLLT has offered for younger children on Tuesday mornings each summer, the Serious Skills Program ran on Thursdays through July and August.  Featuring archery, fire-making, map and compass skills, fishing, canoeing, and wild food identification, students learned essential skills which would help them stay warm and well fed while exploring the lakes and forests of the Downeast region.

“I enjoyed the fire making and emergency shelter building the most,” said one enthusiastic participant.   “The classes taught me what to do in an emergency situation. I had no idea how to build a shelter if I got lost in the woods.  Now I know the darker the shelter is inside, the better it is going to be at keeping me dry. In the fire making class, well, I have seen kids using bow drills in the movies, but I didn’t know if a modern day kid could do it.  I didn’t get a spark myself but I saw others get sparks.”

“I always thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I tried, and it turns out that I wasn’t half bad,” was a steady refrain from children as they gathered and cooked wild mushrooms, learned to fly cast, shoot bows and run power tools.

Children ages 6 to 10 spent the summer in Grand Lake Stream exploring the Downeast Lakes Land Trust.   While learning about forestry practices, mosses, trees, animal tracks and water bugs, students made terrariums, nature journals, leaf printed T-shirts, track casts, and imaginary macro invertebrates.

The highlight of the summer was a visit from artist Rebekah Raye who led the children in stories, and helped them create their own illustrated book. “I learned a lot too,” said one of the many adult assistants, who helped the classes run seamlessly across a very busy summer. “I had no idea for instance, that different species of trees succeeded each other as a forest grows older.”

This week’s activities included another visit to the “Book Lover’s Café” held the first Wednesday of the month at 10:00am at the Calais Library.

 The “Hermit” has a story about Farm Cove Mountain.

 Each mountain like us is unique. Seven hundred foot Farm Cove Mountain watches over the cove.  West Grand Lake itself is three hundred feet above sea level

While some people might consider the mountain just a high hill, neither Delaware nor Florida has anything near as high.

The cap of the mountain is all sugar maple. Some twenty years ago the enormous trees were harvested. Some were four feet in diameter. These stumps have produced sprouts but it will be two lifetimes before the return of their equal.

The third layer next to the shore is big pine and hemlock. There is 30’ of deep water right up the shore line.

Legend has it that each spring the Passamaquoddys tapped the maples and boiled the sap down in a large copper kettle which may still remain on the mountain.

The Women to Women group enjoyed a beautiful dinner at Indian Rock Camp in Grand Lake Stream on Wednesday evening.   Twenty five members attended and feasted on roast pork or haddock.  The lemon dessert was delightful.  The food was delicious, the company excellent and the peek into the gift shop was too tempting!  Thanks to Joanne for accommodating this group! 

Sunday evening, September 7th the “Moon Light Ride” sponsored by the Grand Lake Stream ATV Club was held with 22 ATV’s and 30 people participating. People and machines gathered at the west side of the dam and trailed to “Hole in the Wall” on the west shore of Mayberry Cove. Barry and Patty Weeks welcomed everyone and a delightful evening of watching the moon rise, good conversation and delightful snacks including authentic succotash, home-make warm cider and banana or chocolate “moon pies” were prepared by the host.  Remember, being a member of the GLS  ATV Club always ensures seasons of great adventures and a chance to visit new places.  It is not necessary to own an ATV but come and enjoy all the social events.

Your humble correspondent, Dave McCullough at 207-839-4205 or dmccull1@maine.rr.com