Tag Archives: Fryeburg

Women find niche in woodsman’s competition | Bangor Daily News

FRYEBURG, Maine — Laurette Russell decided after showing horses for 20 years, she needed something else to fuel her competitive fire. So she started entering woodsman’s competitions.

“Throwing an axe at a bull’s-eye and chopping a piece of wood is very satisfying,” said Russell of New Gloucester. “There’s no cookie-cutter type of person to do it. It’s not like when you’re an ice skater, you’re a tiny little ballerina. Anyone of any size, of any age, can do this sport.”

Russell was one of 39 women in a field of 193 people at this year’s Woodsman’s Field Day held at Fryeburg Fair. The daylong event attracted more than 6,000 spectators.

Click to read the rest of the story and see photos by Robert F. Bukaty  in the Bangor Daily News.

In Greenwood, a turn for the better: Mills offer new opportunities | Lewiston Sun Journal

GREENWOOD (AP) — Many people gave the Saunders Brothers manufacturing plant up for dead when it closed its doors and went to auction last spring, a victim of the sour economy and cheap imports flooding in from overseas.

Less than five months later, machines are humming and the smell of sawdust is in the air again as a skeleton crew puts out rolling pins, brush handles, dowels and other wood products.

Maine’s wood products industry has been on the slide for years. Numerous plants that made hundreds of everyday things — toothpicks, tongue depressors, Popsicle sticks, pepper mills, checkers pieces, clothespins, you name it — have gone out of business.

Now, a Portland woman and her partners have bought not only the shuttered Saunders Brothers factory, but three other plants as well in hardscrabble areas of interior Maine. Louise Jonaitis says she intends to bring the plants back to life in regions where times are tough and jobs are scarce.

“I grew up knowing a mill of any size was the life of a community in Maine,” said Jonaitis, 49, whose father worked in a paper mill when she was growing up in Rumford. “What I’ve been seeing as plants close is the decline of the social fabric in Maine. And I thought, ‘What else do we have?’”

Click for the rest of the story by Associated Press Writer Clarke Cainfield found in the Lewiston Sun Journal.


Fryeburg to remember grad who left school $15 million | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Fryeburg to remember grad who left school $15 million | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Farm families find fair experience valuable for children | Lewiston Sun Journal

FRYEBURG — What kid wouldn’t want to spend a week at the Fryeburg Fair?

Jaylee and Brayden Bean did — and they got to skip school for the whole week, too.

They came with their parents, Jenn and Lance Bean, leaving their farm in Woodstock on Oct. 1.

But it wasn’t seven days of Ferris wheel rides and candied apples. It was pretty much all work in the draft horse barn until Friday when Jaylee, 8, and Brayden, 11, got to go play.

“They’re out of school, but they worked harder this week than they would have in school,” their father said. Like many farm families, they stay at the fairgrounds for 10 days in their camper.

Click to read the rest of this story by Paula Gibbs in the Lewiston Sun Journal. Also enjoy the photos and video.

Old-time farm machinery shows what it can do at the Fryeburg Fair | Lewiston Sun Journal

Old-time farm machinery shows what it can do at the Fryeburg Fair | Lewiston Sun Journal

Fryeburg Fair opens | Lewiston Sun Journal

Fryeburg Fair opens | Lewiston Sun Journal

Bridgton wins Firemen’s Muster | Lewiston Sun Journal

Woodsmen’s Day is underway at the Fryeburg Fair | Lewiston Sun Journal

Fryeburg Fair opens Sunday for eight days | Lewiston Sun Journal

Fryeburg Fair opens Sunday for eight days | Lewiston Sun Journal

Additional information may be found at www.fryeburgfair.org.

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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Maine stuff in my California apartment No. 6

Here's another Maine thing in my California apartment -- a Fryeburg Academy sweatshirt. It was a gift from my nephew Max and niece Sophie.

Today’s photo is of a Fryeburg Academy sweatshirt I received as a present from my nephew Max and niece Sophie. The long-term plan is for Max and Sophie to attend Fryeburg Academy, a private preparatory school located in Fryeburg, Maine, the White Mountains. I say “long-term” since they are not quite old enough yet to attend.

Fryeburg has a long and rich history. John Hancock – yeah, a signer of the Declaration of Independence – signed the charter in 1792 and Daniel Webster was a headmaster of the school.

Here’s Fryeburg Academy’s mission from the school’s website:

“Fryeburg Academy is an independent secondary school that serves a widely diverse population of local day students and boarding students from across the nation and around the world. The Academy believes that a strong school community provides the best conditions for learning and growth. Therefore, we strive to create a supportive school environment that promotes respect, tolerance, and cooperation, and prepares students for responsible citizenship. Within this context, the Academy’s challenging and comprehensive academic program, enriched by a varied co-curriculum, provides the knowledge and skills necessary for success in higher education and the workplace.”

And here’s a link for the school’s history.

This is an occasional multipart series of photos of things related to Maine that can be found in Keith Michaud’s California apartment. All photos in this series are shot by and are the property of Keith Michaud.

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Fryeburg Academy’s offense is a hit | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Fryeburg Academy’s offense is a hit | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Canoe season in Maine on hold despite nice weather | Lewiston Sun Journal

FRYEBURG – Maine Registered Guide Fred Westerberg is in no hurry to get his canoes and kayaks on the river.

It may be costing him money in the pocket, but he’s been around the Saco River long enough to know you don’t rush Mother Nature.

“This is an outdoor business. You rely on the weather. It’s the chance you take. You don’t cry about it,” Westerberg said as he and his wife Prudy and their daughter Beth began cleaning up their Saco River Canoe & Kayak store on Main Street during a sunny, 80-plus degree day.

If it were a month or two later, he would be fielding calls from hundreds of people wanting to rent one of his canoes and kayaks that go out as many as 160 times during a summer weekend. But Westerberg, an Auburn native who opened up the canoe business in 1972 with his wife, is satisfied to wait it out.

Click on the link to the rest of today’s story by Leslie H. Dixon in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Columns on Maine visit revisited

A friend not long ago suggested I go to Maine for a visit and write a few “Letters From Maine,” rather than “Letters From Away.”

I had done that years ago as a newspaper columnist and promised her I would try to post a couple of the columns here.

For several years I was the opinion page editor at The Reporter, the daily newspaper in Vacaville, Calif. I was responsible for the daily comment and opinion pages and the Sunday Forum section. Besides editing local and wire commentary and shepherding the page production, I also wrote a weekly column.

Because of the size of the operation, there was no option for columnists but to write commentary in advance or to e-mail columns when on vacation.

That is what I did in 2005 when I returned to Maine for a visit. I had done the same a few years earlier.

Here are the 2005 columns. It is not my best writing. I blame that on the stress of preparing for a cross-country trip and then the relaxing effects of having arrived. Enjoy!

If it all goes as it should

By Keith Michaud

If all goes as it should, I fully expect to be awakened this morning by a tousle-haired 5-year-old and his precocious 3-year-old sister.

If all goes as it should, I should wake to the smell of coffee, pancakes, fresh paint, and air freshened by pine, fir, spruce and the White Mountains.

If all goes as it should, I will be towed to the kitchen table by those toddler-alarm clocks, and I will drink that coffee, eat those pancakes, tour again the new home in which I will be a guest. And then be guided by the tousle-haired 5-year-old and his precocious 3-year-old sister on a tour of the grounds where they will point out the various features of their new home.

You see, if all goes as it should, I landed at the Portland International Jetport Tuesday evening and was greeted by my mother. And from the Portland, Maine, airport, we should have traveled to my sister’s new home in the quintessential New England community of Fryeburg, just on the border with New Hampshire.

This is where my sister, her husband and their two children call home. It is where they hope the children will attend some of the finest schools in New England, including Fryeburg Academy founded in 1792. Yeah, 1792. New England has a lot of old in it, too.

After a day or two in Fryeburg, my mother and I will travel the seven hours north to the Deep Dark North Woods of Maine to the tiny town where I grew up, Portage, situated on the southeast corner of Portage Lake. I am guessing that not a lot will have changed since the last time I visited three years ago. The ribbon of state Route 11 will come over a rise and into a clearing, and after an easy curve and descent down the other side of the hill, Portage will come into view.

If the weather holds – it is New England, after all, and it rains nearly every week and the humidity is always suffocating – the sky will be a hazy blue, the lake will be dark and spotted with white caps, and the surrounding hills will be emerald green and lush. It will be lovely. Homes are sometimes separated from neighboring homes by hundreds of feet, not mere inches as they are in California.

If all goes as it should, I will settle into a natural, comfortable routine that will involve mostly reading from a perch on the deck of my mother’s cottage, chatting with my mother, cooking for her, and playfully taunting her two Pomeranians I dubbed Fat Boy and Devil Dog. I will golf on the course where I learned to play the game many years ago.

If all goes as it should, I will be reminded of my youth. I will recall friends and events. For two short weeks, I will be in one of the most peaceful places I know. If all goes as it should. And it should.

(The author was the opinion page editor at The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., when this column was first printed on June 29, 2005.)

Sharing a place of peace

By Keith Michaud

There is no arguing about the grandeur and spectacular beauty throughout California and the West, from the coastline to the Sacramento Valley to the Sierra.

That beauty has been recorded in words and images for all to enjoy.

But it is impossible with mere words to describe the haunting beauty of Maine sunset over a glassy flat lake – the blinding orange of citrus fruit afire, the red of pomegranate, the muddy purples of the coming night, the pastel greens of the tropics grown into the Northern sky, and the deep blue of childhood dreams.

I am vacationing in my childhood home – Portage, Maine. My apologies, but I must subject those who have never been to New England to a travel column on perhaps the most peaceful place on earth.

This peaceful place puts most people’s definition of “casual” in the same category as frantic, where the pace of life is, as they say here, the way it should be.

On an evening just days ago, there was the most spectacular sunset and the pace of life here dictated that a moment be taken to appreciate it. There is no gauge for measuring the beauty of a sunset, but this one ranked among the best. And the beauty of it, the grandeur of it, was made so as much by the people with whom it was shared as the influences of nature and God.

I have lived in California longer than I lived in Maine and I have not been back to visit here in a few years. But this place, this soil, these trees, this air, these people, these sunsets, make up what I am. In many ways, they are me. They are my blood.

I love this place. I wish with all my soul that I could visit more often, but I cannot. My life is across the nation in Vacaville for now.

It is perhaps that distance and that separation that makes me think of this place nearly every day. It is those things that make me wish I could somehow transport it to where I am, or that I could transport all that is important to me in California to this spot in the Deep Dark North Woods of Maine so the best of the two worlds could collide here with me in the middle.

There are good people wherever you travel. Trust me on this. And if you have lived a half-decent life, finding those people will never be a problem. They will find you.

It will not be long before I will have to return to Vacaville and the routine and obligations that are my life. But for a few moments, the tranquility of this boyhood home provides the comfort of a lifetime.

(The author was the opinion page editor at The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., when this column was first printed on July 6, 2005.)