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Maine Scenes

Since it's my biggest brother's birthday today, and less than two weeks from elections, I figure it's time to share a little bit about Downeast Maine.

I took a lot of pictures while I was home in August.  Mostly all in the last 2 hours that I was there.  I realized when going through them that I captured a lot of the Downeast lifestyle that might not register when/if you visit.  I also managed to capture a lot of family history at the same time.  And some of these, they were just neat.

Lobster fishing, clam digging, and scalloping are all big parts of the economy of the area.  Small towns in the area like Machiasport and Cutler or Lubec and Jonesport thrive on the fishing industry.

Another big part of the community?  Wood.  Logging.  Lumber.  Trees.  This one hits a little closer to home.  Literally!  I took this picture of my dad's old tractor at his sawmill.  When I was little, I would look out the window and see my grandfather driving it up the road to haul logs with.

The first time I got my daily pie at Helen's, I noticed this old school winnering machine in the corner.  A fun fact that I learned many years ago about Washington County, Maine:  it produces something like 95% of the worlds wild blueberries.  That fact may not be completely accurate now, and it may be country and not world- I was informed of this little tidbit from a place mat at Helen's probably 20 years ago.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure "winnering" isn't actually a real word, but how the machine works is quite simple.  After having bent over for however long and raked a bucket full of berries, you dump the bucket into the machine, and it blows all the leaves out, leaving the berries to drop into half bushel boxes.  The boxes are plastic now, but the owners have displayed some of the original wooden box handles that were used.  Gaddis Bros. and Jasper Wyman are a couple that again, hit close to home.  My grandfather used to haul berries between the two operations, and he'd bring my grandmother and me or one of my brothers along for the ride.  Once a year I got to tour Wyman's and listen to my grandfather teach me about the process.  The last time I did this, was just a few years ago when living in Tennessee and came home for a visit.

Continuing my tour of nostalgia while I was home, I swung by my old high school for a few pictures.  Washington Academy has grown considerably since graduating 12+ years ago.  They've expanded the gym, added tennis courts and football fields, and have like 3 different dorms for boarding foreign exchange students.  However, when my grandparents attended the school in the early 1950s, the building above was it.  When I was there, the top left window was an office/storage area that had copies of old yearbooks.  I had to do a makeup test in that room one time, so naturally I went on a hunt of my dad's, aunts', and grandparents' years.  It was fun to see that my grandmother was "most often seen: with Hooker." (My grandfather- a nickname that he still has to this day, and one that goes back to when he was a very young child helping his father logging.)

Now that I've given you a glimpse into the history of Downeast Maine, my life growing up, and the livelihood of my family, I leave you with a fun picture I snapped down by the river.  I finally got the whole "blurred background" thing right, and absolutely love how this picture came out.  These (dead) little flowers were interspersed with some wild raspberries.  Unfortunately the bees and briars kept me from snatching a few to taste!

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