Down East

Trip Start Nov 15, 2009
Trip End Apr 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
Brady's home in Monroe, and with Joe Godfrey in S. Thomaston

Flag of United States  , Maine
Monday, December 21, 2009

Greetings from Monroe Maine,

    Travelling via Amtrak from East Lansing to Portland, Me has been  an enjoyable experience.  I am grateful to Meg and K'anna for help in getting to the train and for a nice evening prior to departure in Lansing; Thankyou.  
      The train is not fast!  Freight cars on the same shared tracks often disrupted  our speed, and some times stopping us altogether.  My first Layover gave me six hours to tool around Chicago.  There is no snow in Chicago, but the buildings are still very tall!  Lucky was I to discover the baggage storage lockers in the train stations. Apparently, following 9-11 all lockers for overloaded travelers with large layovers, like me, had been removed from transport hubs.  I would not have done so well sitting put in D.C. for 9 hours in order to watch my bags, and luckily there was a bag check, though not at all cheap; $40 for five plus hours.  

    Rolling into Maine, I was sure I was in the right Portland, as I started seeing the brightly painted lobster buoy quickly become common porch decoration.   Portland had almost no snow cover.  Here in Monroe, two hours north, however it is white and 0 degrees this morning.   For the last two mornings, Brady, good friend, and aspiring bread baker, has spent time under the house amongst shaggy insulation, with a propane heater thawing frozen pipes! The house is a lovely old Maine farm house on six acres, . It has the common, for this part of the country, attached barn and cedar shakes where most houses sport vinyl. The house is long, and also drafty, with two ferrel cats making residence underneath.With time and bread money, and Brady's steadfast dedication, and two supportive aunties, the house will be very hommey some day, and be the location for Brady's homestead Bakery, or whatever he choses to name it.   .

    Work commences now on the structure that will house the oven and also taking the time for bread building. Luckily we have access to a well supplied wood shop and the Belfast COOP for good flour. We spent the day today cutting mortises into live edge Locust, that with it’s natural grown shape, will create the frame work for each end of the hoop house structure.  I lined the kitchen range with fire bricks yesterday as an attempt to simulate a brick hearth.Despite these efforts,  we pulled two sad, dense loaves out for dinner last night after a 2 hour pre heat ( the wood fired component will help with efficiency and oven spring), and upping the starter % in our cold bakery should help stimulate Sourdough activity, but for now, it doesn’t feel like the electric range can heat the new brick hearth hot enuf.

     In DC:  I walked up Delaware Ave from the big train station towards the White House.  In a park surrounding  the capitol was an enourmously large and noisy group of conservatives that sounded  passionate about keeping the nations insurance companies afloat in these hard economic times.  I got my fill pretty quickly, and I was on my way to tour the city. For those of you who haven’t been, Washington’s city is a big walk thru museum,  with statues and memorials everywhere you happen.  Most enjoyable for me was strolling, at night down the central Mall that connects the capitol and the Lincoln memorial; half way down the mall towards the memorial  there was a public art piece called “World Climate Change Plan B” and it was a recreation of Noah’s ark with passionate blurbs of graffiti covering the boat.   I had time for one other visit. For this, I found and  viewed one little section of the Smithsonian  Museum of Art; unfortunately, I had a train to catch!

    From Monroe, I migrated to S. Thomaston Maine.  It is a small coastal town 7 miles from my old stommping grounds of Rockland, and home to friend Joe G.  Catching up with old friends and making them new again is so much fun!!  Together we would make the trek to Vermont in the days following New Years , although there was a lot of snow forcasted to whiten everything. For NewYears, I accepted a sweet invitation from Joe to rendevous a top Borestone Mt for a gathering and to welcome the new year in full force.Despite the forcast, we went for it; tucking ourselves into  a little log cabin in the woods far away from home because,   afterall, what better place to be snowed into than atop a mountain in a log cabin with a burning fire, singing Aud Lang Sein, eating coffee cake for breakfast, and meeting goofy and sweet people .  The gathering that braved the storm was fewer than those who rsvp'd (8).  To get from the road to the cabin, it took a snow shoe through the woods and up to a series of frozen lakes that you traversed to get to the cabins.  Borestone Mt, is a nacture sanctuary, built many years ago  as a private retreat for a Maine family.  Since then it has changed hands, but now resides in the care of the Maine Audobon Society.  Wilderness Guides and friends of Joe ( Alexandria and Garret Connover ) now care take the mountain and host an annual barn dance. This year it was atop Borestone Mt.

     Next stop, Bread and Butter Farm of Burlington Vermont...
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