Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Christina's birthday 2014

We got together with the kids this weekend to celebrate Christina's birthday in Montréal (while spoiling the grandkids), spending a few days enjoying the last days of summer before heading back to the mountain on Monday. On the way we stopped in Sherbrooke to have lunch with Marie's cousin André and his wife Michelle, brother Michel and his wife Iona, from Orford, Quebec. André and Michelle have been in Canada for a few weeks now and were planning to come up to visit but their plans have changed. So we got together at one of Michel's favorite restaurants, La Vieux Duluth, a Greek restaurant, for a late lunch, and spent a few hours reminiscing about our trip to Europe and their experiences here in Quebec. It has been cool lately, the leaves rapidly changing color, but warmer weather is on the way and I intend to finish all my outdoor projects this month. Happy fall to all! gws
Christina and Amy, tasting the cake

Jesse, Joshua and Lara

Mom and Dad, cool as a moose!

Marie and William

Joshua and Jesse

Me and William

Amy moose have a hug!

Birthday Girl Christina
Fer, William and silly Amy


Dropping off Amy at her daycare


Michel, Michelle, me, Iona, André, Marie

A Walk Through the Woods (part 2)

After finishing the walkway through the woods up to the hours it was time to continue these steps up to the main entrance of the house. As the sand that had been put down during the construction of the  foundation was constantly washing away down the slope during heavy rains and/or being tracked into the house I decided it was time to rethink the walk up from the parking lot by the cabin. Firstly I had to sink a retaining wall at the foot of the entranceway using treated 6x6 lumber, then terrace the slope at the same time I was building up the steps with 4x4s and crushed rock. I had a plan in my mind that was fairly simple but decided to let my imagination deviate from a straight line to a curved walk with lots of angles that would eventually join up with the house and the path around the patio. I needed to build a drain at the very top of the wall, anchor the first row with rebar and use 12 inch nails to secure it all together. Three loads of crushed rock were needed to level everything out at the top of the driveway as well as fill in the areas between the steps. I plan to plant grass in the steeper parts where I have terraced and put in a tree at the triangle intersection. Next I will be replacing the temporary stairs with steel stringers and 60 inch steps. But for now no more sand on the floors and a easier, safer walk up to the house! gws

measuring level for 6x6s

building retaining wall

placing drain behind retaining wall

T-section to add stability to wall

View of wall at house

filling slope with rock

Another 10 steps to go

view from deck, with drainage area for roof runoff

Time to terrace

“You could start at a path leading nowhere more fantastic than from your own front steps... and from there you could go… well, anywhere at all.” 
    Stephen King, It

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bath, Maine

After a beautiful day and night at Sebasco Harbor Resort we left next morning, driving up highway 209 to the town of Bath, home of the Maine Maritime Museum and, it's chief employer, the Bath Iron Works. This great little town of 8000 or so people on the Kennebec River is renowned for shipbuilding, which began here around 1743 and has over the years launched more than 5000 vessels, from wooden clipper ships that sailed around the world to steel warships for the US navy. Which also sail around the world and keep you and me safe in our warm beds at night. While we were there three Zumwalt-class destroyers were being built at BIW, oddly shaped ships that are designed to better deflect radar from their angular hulls. Unfortunately since 911 security has become tight and there are no longer tours of the dockyards. So we walked instead up onto the Sagadahoc bridge that crosses the river to get a better view of the ships and to take some photos. An amazing place building amazing looking war ships!
View of the Bath Iron Works from the Sagadahoc bridge (US 1)

Bath waterfront

Kennebec River, Bath
 After breakfast at a small café downtown (Betty's Homestyle Cooking) on Front street we drove over to the Maine Maritime Museum. This well laid out (and one of the world's best museums of it's kind) is set on a scenic and active waterfront on the banks of the Kennebec River. We spent a good part of the day here as it was so interesting - full of sextant, spyglasses, captains chests, maps, ship models and every conceivable exhibit about Maine maritime heritage, culture and the role the State has played in global and regional maritime activities. Outside on the grounds of what was the historical Percy and Small Shipyard there are five original 19th century buildings as well as a Victorian-era shipyard owners home, and a large building housing a vast array of lobsterboats, dorys and artifacts from the very beginning of this fishing industry. My favorite sight was a huge, white steel sculpture, built to scale, representing the 6-master Wyoming, the largest schooner ever built in the USA. It overwhelms you as you stand beneath it, on the same spot this huge wooden ship was launched from. I even found part of the old wood slipway by the shore amidst some weeds where the Wyoming had slid down into the river in 1909 (shown below, one of the few surviving pictures of this coal carrier).

view of Bath Iron Works from Museum


After taking lots of photos (Maine and the coast is so photogenic especially in the morning and late afternoon with that special light you only find by the water) we had a late lunch at the Museum, trying their delicious and fresh lobster (as they say here "wicked good, Maine lobstah!") rolls, before leaving for Brunswick, our next stop for the night. We had been there before but had decided to stay an extra 24 hours in the US to be able to maximize our duty-free allowance. I highly and enthusiastically recommend a visit to Bath and this area to anyone who wants to get that "down home Maine" hospitality.  gws

Miss Lobstertrap, 2014

Marie and lobsterboats

me and capstan
 Maine Maritime Museum, Bath

Marie & Moose, Brunswick, Maine


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sebasco Harbor Resort, Maine


Chain of Ponds Lake, Maine, 30 minutes from home, 8am
Marie and I spent a wonderful time last week at the Sebasco Harbor Resort, in Sebasco Estates, Maine. It was a beautiful morning when we left home, crossing the US border at Coburn Gore and following route 27 past the Chain of Ponds Lake, through Farmington, and on towards Augusta. Sebasco  Resort is on the Phippsburg Peninsula, a half an hour drive south from Bath, and was originally a playground for the rich and famous in its heyday of the 30s and 40s. It hasn't seemed to have changed much over the past 80 years and still keeps it's pure Maine charm : boat cruises aboard the old Ruth, canoeing and kayaking, tennis and golf, hiking trails and great food. We mostly had the place to ourselves what with school back in and summer almost over but the weather was warm and sunny - a typical early September day by the Atlantic. We swam in their huge salt water swimming pool, played croquet, canoed on Wattuh Lake with the gulls and Canada geese, hiked up through a pine forest to Mount Merritt for a great view of the Resort and harbor and watched the sun set from the Pilot House restaurant. When we left the next morning we headed to Bath for the day to explore the "city of ships" on the Kennebec River....gws

our room

outside the lodge

lunch on the patio, Ledges Pub

Beautiful pool (73 degrees) warmed only by the sun

view from the pool

Marie on jetty, with lighthouse

Canoeing, Wattuh Lake, Sebasco Harbor Resort

Poster from 1961

view of Resort from above

Merritt Mountain, view of Resort

Sunset from Pilot House Restaurant and the "Ruth"

Grilled water salad

Fresh local oysters

Marie, jetty and boats

Next morning, off to Bath!