Flander's Lane, Washington Maine

Flander's Lane is named after my grandfather, Roland Flanders. It is a short dirt road with a few camps set on Washington Pond. There are tales that Flander's Lane is haunted. At least that's what my grandfather says.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Identifying Poison Ivy

Poison IvyDown by the lake, along the shore one will find a little green plant with three leaves known as Poison Ivy. Being the great outdoors man that I am (I give pause for those of you that know me to stop laughing), I took my family down to the lake and showed them what to avoid this summer. Luckily all the poison ivy is off to the side, near the rocky edge where we never go.

For those of you that enjoy a good swim or hike, look out for little three leave green plants that have smooth edges. Don't be fooled by look alikes that have rough saw tooth edges, they are not poison ivy. One would end up avoiding the entire great out doors once you are unlucky enough to get poison ivy. Suddenly everything becomes poison ivy to the victim. Learn what it looks like, and step with caution.

The evil little plant grows here along with the beautiful purple iris inviting you to come in closer, but look around you. Once you get poison ivy, washing, showering, and bathing can spread the oil. Hot summer heat and an itchy rash make for a miserable vacation. Many try to put Bandaids over the location in order to keep it dry and from spreading. I hope this entry keeps a few of you enjoying your summer a little more. Now just avoid the mosquitoes and have fun.

Can you find the Poison Ivy?

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed

Bald EagleI decided to go out with my camera today, and I just could not believe it when I saw a bald eagle. The most amazing thing is that I got this shot with my digital camera. One can almost make out his white head and tail, just click the image to see the full size photo. This is a really big bird.

I told a few people around here that I got a great pic of an eagle, and each of them told me about their sightings. It seems that there is a nest here in the Washington Pond area, and everyone is excited to have them here.

I have only seen an eagle once before, and it was canoing on a camping trip many years ago on the Saco River. That time we were very close when the giant bird took off from his nest just over us. I also remember that the mosquitoes were about the same size during that trip, but that's another story. I came out of that sighting only with memories and bug bites, so to have gotten this photo is quite a treat. Maine rules.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

That's Just Gross

Slugs eating watermelonWe put a watermelon rind down by the brush pile I use for kindling so the critters could have a snack, and today when I went down there all these slugs were eating it up. The worst part is, they seem to get all drunk and drown in the juice.

A chipmunk ran off, so I know the chipmunks like the watermelon, but what will eat the dead slugs? It's just so gross. The only thing worse than a slug is a dead slug soaking in juice. I thought I'd share some photos so you can puke too.

If you have a snail or slug problem maybe a watermelon rind out by your garden would draw them away. I remember the old farmers would put out little bottle lids full of beer. The slugs would crawl in, get drunk, and drown. Well... why waste your beer when an old watermelon rind could do the same trick? Let me know if this works for anyone... or if it just draws more pests to your garden. Who knows?

Maine Slugs

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Cooking in a Dutch OvenSo here's the finished cement deck, fire pit, and Dutch Oven I cook in. So far I've cooked outside every night, and it's been great. Dad made me a little bench out of the wood from an old crab apple tree he had to take down at his place. I intend to carve some wood spoons and forks out of the apple wood as well.

I've ordered some more Lodge cast iron cook ware, and I just can't wait for it to get here. This is heaven. Outside, by the lake, cooking up a storm feeding my family in my brand new fire pit.

My cousins visited last weekend with their kids, and we all grabbed a hand full of clay out of the lake and made little clay pots and critters, and fired them in the fire after I made burgers for everyone. It looks like I'm going to have lots to do here. Sure, we don't have hot tap water (we need to get a new water heater), or a working shower, but we have the lake which is tested to be safe for drinking water. There are three summer camps on the lake that drink the water as well. We just boil it, then ozonate it with our fancy ozonator. I'm really happy living this way. Well, it's getting late, better hit the hay.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fire Pit

Building a Fire PitThere are a ton of cement blocks here, so I decided to dig a huge hole and line it with the blocks to make a nice fire pit to cook on. I didn't want it to look ugly, so as I dug up rocks, I just used them to decorate the outside of the fire pit. That way it looks a lot more natural than the cement blocks. On the side that faces the lake, I have the blocks set so that the holes allow the breeze to come through to feed the fire air. Plus when the grate is on top cooking, it's easy to slip wood through the cement blocks to feed the fire.

There are so many blocks that I intend to terrace the hill a bit so that there is a cement patio to stand on, and make the whole thing a lot more spark proof. I have many years working at summer camps learning first hand from local fire chiefs how to set up a proper out door fire pit, so it's great to have the resources to build one here. Now I have to get some cast iron cookware so I can cook outside in style.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Maine Futon

Dad builds a  Futon FrameIn California it's easy to find a Japanese Futon shop on any block in any town. They start at $99 bucks frame and mattress. Here in Maine Futon means $500, with a giant head board. All I want is a basic slat frame with cotton futon mattress, but no matter where I go, or who I call, it's just not here.

Once again my Dad comes to the rescue with his amazing wood working skills. We got a $99 dollar futon mattress at Marden's (that place has got the deals - it's the nicest futon mattress I've ever owned). And then the next day he has me draw out what I want, and he whips it together like it's nothing. The frame is indestructible and the coolest thing is that the legs end with perfect pyramids that create a mysterious shadow that makes the bed look like it's floating.

When we put the frame in on the new barn board floor, it was absolutely flat, not a wiggle. I now imagine shipping this frame to every home I ever live in for the rest of my life. It's a family heirloom made of spruce and cedar. We all agree that it's the most comfortable bed we have ever had the pleasure to sleep in. Thanks Dad, from us all.

Maine Futon

Monday, June 11, 2007

Barn Board Floor

Pergo FloorDad took me to Marden's where I found some Pergo that looks like old barn board. We showed the fella there our specs, and he told us that we were about one box short of what he had in stock. Dad says, how much are you estimating for mistakes, errors, and cut aways? The guy says 10%. Dad looks at me and says, we can do better than that, so we took the chance and got the barn board.

Working on the floor was fun because Dad is such a carpenter. The guy is a master at math, and wood working tools. We did both rooms in two days, with three boards left over. It was close, but the place looks amazing. Any other style of Pergo would have not looked as good. The best part is getting to spend time with Dad, and learn some carpenter techniques.

Here's a funny thing. He always says, "ah... I only know just a little of what my old man knew." and I told him that I feel the same way. In fact, some where several generations back, there must have been an amazing great great great grandpa that knew it all, as Dad says his father said the same thing.Barn Board Floor

Friday, June 8, 2007

20 Year Old Trash

Heeps of TrashCleaning the cabin has been like archeology. I took down the musty curtains, only to find a garbage bag on the bottom of the shower stall full of the really old curtains that were there before these. I mean, they must have been 20-30 years old. I have no idea why they were saved... I mean... ah... there's no making sense of it. Broken chairs, bags of dry rotted life preservers, it just never ends the amount of useless items that were stuffed into the bathroom shower stall. My dad and I took it all to the local dump, and now the place is empty enough to start on the floors.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Little Dead Things

Mouse SkelletonSo I decided not to bomb the place with chemicals, but instead remove the carpets, couch, and stuffed furniture that are so musty and gross. I figured that way any creepy crawlers that lived inside the carpet would just get rolled up and go away to their new home at the dump.

Behind the front door when I removed some old returnable bottles I found a couple dead mice. On further inspection I realized the place was full of Decon rat poison. Now I knew the rugs had to go. I could not have my 2 year old crawling around on a carpet full of rat poison. I moved all the furniture into the living room area and rolled up the bedroom carpet, which went outside easy. Then I put all the furniture into the bedroom so I could get started on the big carpet in the living room/kitchen. Getting the rug out from under the sink, fridge, and gas stove was a task, but now it's done.
Heeps of stuff

Sunday, June 3, 2007

We Are HERE!

Clean up begins
It was an amazing trip, and now the work begins cleaning up the cabin. At first glance, when I was moving some furniture, I found 3 wood ticks which freaked me out. I mean, I plan to live in this space with my wife and 2 year old. I'd like to keep as much blood in my family as we had when we got here, so I guess we need to insect bomb the place. I hate the idea of saturating our space with deadly chemicals, but I must weigh the dangers of ticks/chemicals. I'll let you know how it goes...