Tag Archives: cigar

Mosquitoes, lobsters and smudge fires aplenty in the Pine Tree State

There are several ways to have Maine-style lobster. The postcard version, of course, is to boil up some water over an open fire on a beach and serve with steamed clams, fresh corn, and lots and lots of butter.

Another Maine style is to set up a newly purchased Coleman camp stove on the driveway of your sister’s Fryeburg home, boil some water, and light up a cigar.

That’s right, light up a cigar.

The last time I visited family in Maine, that’s what happened.

My mother and I had traveled from her home in Aroostook County where I was visiting and we stopped along the way at the Bangor Walmart to pick up the stove. I cannot recall exactly the occasion for the purchase. It might have been a wedding anniversary gift for The Sis and Brother-in-Law Mark.

No matter.

Lobsters were purchased and the water was set to boil on the camp stove set up in my sister’s driveway. (My sister did not want the smell of lobster to linger for days and days in her fairly new home.)

My sister’s home is set back in the woods outside of Fryeburg with plenty of nooks and crannies and ponds and leaves and blades of grass for mosquitoes to flourish. I describe Maine mosquitoes and blackflies this way to my friends “from away” – the mosquitoes and blackflies are so large in Maine that the Federal Aviation Administration issues tail numbers. And requires flight plans.

I do not use “swarm” often, but we were attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes shortly after starting the lobster bath.

At one point I flashed to a memory of my father and mother lighting “smudge fires” in metal barrels and buckets to ward off mosquitoes and blackflies in order to continue outdoor activities. Despite thinking that my sister or mother might object, I offered to retrieve an Arturo Fuente cigar from a stash I had with me on the trip and light it up to be a “human smudge fire.”

“Yes, go! Go get a cigar!” I seem to recall my sister saying.

“Yes, Keith, go!” my mother added. (At least, that’s what I recall now them saying then. I could be wrong.”

So, there I was, standing in my sister’s driveway overseeing the cooking of the crustaceans with a stogy sticking out of the corner of my mouth providing a smudge fire protection for my Mom, The Sis, and her family.

What started all this? The DownEast.com trivia question for the day.

How many species of mosquitoes are native to Maine?


Although sometimes it seems like millions, Maine is home to about twenty species of human-biting mosquitoes.

I am of the belief that scientists have not classified all the species for 20 seems like a very, very low number. Trust me on this.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 106

A young, bright, stylish couple is on the coffeehouse patio. She is online and glancing at a fashion magazine. He lit a cigar and is puffing away while also glancing at what I think may be another fashion magazine. To his credit, he is reading a story about Mr. Potatohead. … OK, so it may not be a fashion magazine.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.