Tag Archives: Ashland Community High School

Mount Katahdin in the sky

Mount Katahdin can be seen in the distance. The photo was taken from Maine Route 163 near Haystack Mountain on the road between Ashland and Presque Isle, Maine. (According to Google Maps, the road is also known as the Presque Isle Road, Haystack Road, Main Street as it goes though Mapleton, Maine, and then the Mapleton Road as it nears Presque Isle.) Kelly McInnis, a classmate of mine from Ashland Community High School Class of (mumble, mumble), took the photo. It must have been an incredibly beautiful day when this photo was taken since Mount Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine and the official end of the Appalachian Trail, is more than 100 miles away as the crow flies. Photo by Kelly McInnis

Mount Katahdin can be seen in the distance. The photo was taken from Maine Route 163 near Haystack Mountain on the road between Ashland and Presque Isle, Maine. (According to Google Maps, the road is also known as the Presque Isle Road, Haystack Road, Main Street as it goes though Mapleton, Maine, and then the Mapleton Road as it nears Presque Isle.) Kelly McInnis, a classmate of mine from Ashland Community High School Class of (mumble, mumble), took the photo. It must have been an incredibly beautiful day when this photo was taken since Mount Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine and the official end of the Appalachian Trail, is more than 100 miles away as the crow flies. Photo by Kelly McInnis

[I found this story after I originally posted the photo.Frankly, I think these guys were nuts for going up Katahdin in those conditions. Crazy! There is video with the story, but the way. — KM]

Taking on Mount Katahdin in the winter | Bangor Daily News

Advertisements

Potato blossoms are out early in Maine

 

A tractor and hay roll sit in a field in Aroostook County, Maine. Photo by Kelly McInnis

Potatoes are big in Maine, especially in Aroostook County where I grew up.

And when I say big, I mean BIG. After all, they even have a Potato Blossom Festival and there’s a festival queen and everything, so it has to be pretty big.

Potatoes are big for the economy and the cultural experience of Maine. For some farming families and communities, potatoes are king.

A fellow member of the Ashland Community High School Class of 1980 Kelly McInnis takes photos that I’ve shared here before. Here are two of potato blossoms and a nice rural image of a tractor and hay. The photos were taken Wednesday in record temperatures for Aroostook County — 93 degrees.

“The potato fields are in Mapleton just as you hit that turn headed to Ashland, Willard Doyen’s Farm,” Kelly wrote of the photos. “I just wanted to get a shot because the blossoms are beautiful. They are a few weeks early this year due to the mild winter and (farmers’) ability to plant early.”

“The tractor was out … somewhere,” Kelly added. “My boyfriend is a photographer and likes to just ride and see what he may come across, so I tag along and bring my camera, too.

“I’ve always had an interest in photography, but it really takes a commitment to get anything good. I’m getting back into it.”

The photos are shared here with Kelly’s permission. Enjoy!

Potato blossoms were out early this year. Here is a field near Mapleton, Maine, in Aroostook County. Photos by Kelly McInnis

Here's another shot of the potato blossoms.

 

Revolutionary women and a 16-mile trek through the woods

DownEast.com’s trivia question for today proves Maine women are pretty tough.

Who was Hannah Weston?

Answer

Hannah Weston was a Revolutionary War heroine who carried ammunition sixteen miles through the woods to Machias to aid patriots who had captured the British ship Margaretta.

I cannot imagine carrying ammunition 16 yards let alone 16 miles through the woods, especially to Machias where the terrain is uneven and certainly brushy and swampy since is located on Maine’s rugged coastline.

The Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in Machias is named for Hannah Weston, who was 17 or so when she and another woman lugged powder to Machias, according to a recent Bangor Daily News story. There’s even a festival.

By the way, the battle to capture the HMS Margaretta is called by some the “Lexington of the Seas” because of its role in the American Revolutionary War. It was the first naval battle.

Here are links to Wikipedia pages on Machias, which has a line about Hannah, and the Battle of Machias.

Oh, and for full disclosure, I played soccer on the Ashland Community High School varsity team and occasionally we played Machias in early rounds of the state tournament. But I won’t hold that against the people of Machias or Hannah Weston.

Bookmark and Share

Essence of Maine in a Facebook post

Mitchell Montpetit,  who graduated high school with me – Ashland Community High School, Class of 1980 Go Hornets! – may have summed up Maine for this time of year. This is his Facebook post from yesterday.

 In a 4 hour period today I went from sunny and warm, to windy and rainy, then into a snow shower and ended it all by being bit by a mutant blackfly that only got mad when i smacked it, you’ve got to love Maine!

Actually, I do love Maine and for some of the very reasons in Mitch’s post.

Maine’s official dessert? | Bangor Daily News

[Just a quick note on this somewhat funny story in the Bangor Daily News. The high school mentioned in the third paragraph is the one I attended years ago. (Class of 1980) Go Hornets!! And the teacher, Sarah Brooks, is a longtime local educator and I believe she still owns horse stables in Nashville Plantation, just south of Portage, Maine. And for full disclosure, I thoroughly enjoy whoopie pies and blueberry pie equally, so I’d be interested in a compromise. Clicking on the link below will bring you to the story and there is a recipe for whoopie pies in the story. I pasted the recipe below in the event you are not interested and going to the story. Enjoy! Or not! It’s your choice. – KM]

A lover if whoopie pies

campaigns for state action

Amos Orcutt is so passionate about whoopie pies he’s taking it to the governor. Well, not quite yet — but eventually. Orcutt earlier this year filed the paperwork for a bill to recognize the chocolate and cream confection as Maine’s state dessert.

 “It’s a sense of pride for Mainers. We need to promote products from Maine and focus on those little niches that we have,” said Orcutt, president of the University of Maine Foundation. “We have all these great foods and products that come out of Maine, and they’re part of what makes us unique. Whoopie pies are definitely one of those things.”

Orcutt recently enlisted the help of a group of Ashland High School students, led by teacher Sarah Brooks, to support his measure in last weekend’s mock legislation session in Augusta. Part of the Maine Youth in Government program, the students from Ashland traveled to the Capitol to debate with fellow students from around the state several items — including the whoopie pie bill.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Emily Burnham in the Bangor Daily News.

 Sandy Oliver’s Whoopie Pie

Makes about 14 to 16 3-inch whoopie pies This whoopie pie recipe ran April 14, 2007, in the Bangor Daily News.

 2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup milk

 Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together dry ingredients. Cream together shortening and sugar, beat in the egg and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients and milk alternately. You will have a fairly stiff cake batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving room for them to spread somewhat. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing them to a rack.

 Whoopie Pie Filling

 2 egg whites

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla

 Beat the egg whites until they are fluffy, gradually adding 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar. Then spoonful by spoonful add the shortening and the rest of the sugar to the egg white mixture until it is smooth and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla. When the cookies are cool enough to handle, make pairs of similarly sized ones and spread the filling on one half and top with the other half. Wrap in plastic wrap or put into an airtight container.

Dear deer in a snowy Maine field

Deer in a snowy Maine field

This photo of deer in a snowy Maine field was taken by Kelly McInnis.

Not long ago I posted a link to stories about how the take by deer hunters was down significantly this year, indicating that the deer population, especially in Northern Maine, was down.   

This was confirmed by The Mom, who occasionally works at the small general store in my hometown of Portage, Maine, where they register deer.    

And if The Mom said it, it has to be true.    

But a high school classmate of mine – Ashland Community High School Class of 1980, Go Hornets! – took this photo in a field just off state Route 11. Kelly McInnis on Sunday was travelling from Fort Kent, Maine – it has a blockhouse fort erected in 1839 that is now on the National Registry of Historic Sites – through Portage to Ashland when she spotted these guys in a field across the road from a cemetery just up the hill from where I grew up.    

I used to snowmobile in the field and beyond. And in the summer I would hike up to the forest edge just for fun. I’d be gone for hours and my parents did not have to worry about the things parents do now.    

It is very, very nice to see a nice grouping of deer. Hopefully, these guys will help prove the deer experts – and The Mom – wrong about the fate of the white tailed deer in Northern Maine.    

Thanks, Kelly!  

Connecting dots from Fryeburg to the northern boundary

It is amazing sometimes how things just sort of fit together in a weird cosmic sort of way. Today, I am able to connect the dots between Maine’s first-ever school, a leading pre-Civil War politician, and some wily northern Mainers who wanted to avoid British rule.

I am a Facebook fan of DownEast magazine, the Maine-base monthly publication that carries stories, commentary, Maine humor and more. The magazine today posted a trivia question about Fryeburg Academy, the first school built in Maine and the school where my sister and brother-in-law intend to send my niece and nephew. The history is rich. John Hancock – yeah, the “place your John Hancock on the dotted line” John Hancock – signed the charter for the school in Fryeburg, Maine, in 1792. Yeah, 1792. There are some pretty old things in Maine and the rest of New England.

Anyway, the trivia question was about the academy’s most famous headmaster. Turns out it was Daniel Webster, a leading American politician before the Civil War.

OK, I know that might not impress anyone other than people into pre-Civil War U.S. history, but I found it interesting. The answer that DownEast gave was: “Daniel Webster, politician, pundit, and hard-drinking diplomat who settled the northern border of Maine over a bottle of brandy with a British negotiator.”

The last part of the answer caught my eye, too, since I was born on that northern border and lived my entire childhood about an hour’s drive south of it. It also reminded me of a story my Ashland Community High School history teacher, Ron Stevens, told class one day. If I recall correctly, surveyors were sent to establish the boundary after the agreement between Daniel Webster and the British negotiators. The surveyors reached the confluence of two rivers and the locals – my Mother has relatives there – invited the surveyors to partake in “adult beverages.” The locals then sent the surveyors on a northern tributary of a river rather than the southern route agreed upon by Webster and the British negotiator over that bottle of brandy.

Anyway, once the surveyors sobered up and realized they had been sent down the wrong river, instead of backtracking, they simply put down two straight surveyors lines to reconnect with the route set in the agreement. If you look at the northwest portion of the state of Maine on a map you can pretty much see where the surveyors were steered down the wrong river and where they decided it was best to make it back to the established route. It also means several thousands of acres of land more for Maine.

See, weird cosmic sort of way to connect some dots between the oldest school in Maine, a leading politician and the state’s northern most boundary.