Tag Archives: Maine trivia

Surrendering in the face of overwhelming odds | DownEast.com

Frankly, I hadn’t heard this story, but the locals seemed to understand the concept of fighting another day. Here’s some Maine trivia from DownEast.com

What gained Fort Sullivan fame in 1814?

Answer

Built in 1810 as a battery and blockhouse in Eastport, the fort gained fame in 1814 when a dozen British warships loaded with two hundred guns came into sight. Against such overwhelming odds, the fort’s six officers, eighty men, and nine guns surrendered upon demand.

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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?

Answer

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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Maxim, mousetraps and machine guns

So, what do Sangerville (Piscataquis County), the mousetrap, and the machine gun have in common?

Well, answer today’s DownEast.com trivia question and find out. … OK, enough of that, here’s the question and the answer.

Who invented the common mousetrap?

Answer

Sangerville native Hiram Maxim, who also invented the machine gun.