Developing a landscape that pays homage to the long view

Cady landscapesmAlong about 1998, longtime friends of Ed and Mary Cady approached the Ann Arbor, Michigan, couple about the possibility of jointly purchasing a property in Blue Hill. “We weren’t sure a joint purchase was a good idea,” recalls Mary, “but it got us thinking about Maine for a second home. The following spring we made a dedicated trip to Maine and met with realtors from Blue Hill to Boothbay and ultimately chose the house in Port Clyde [on Howard Head]. It was the setting and the views that sold us—as well as the low-key nature of the St. George peninsula.”

Renovation of the 1907 Arts and Crafts-style stone house, which they believed had “good bones” to work with, was the Cady’s first priority. “When we bought the house we were hoping to restore it,” says Ed. “However, when we started uncovering things we realized it was beyond restoration.” So they turned their attention to renovating with an eye to bringing maximum light into the dark interior and capturing the views to the water and distant islands.

Ed and Mary Cady

Ed and Mary Cady

The landscaping also needed attention. “The 100-year-old Japanese maple on the north side of the house was the single best part of the landscaping,” Mary says. “It was our sense that the landscaping close to the house at one time had been nicely done with perennials and rock gardens, but was quite neglected. The land going down to the water wasn’t much more than a field filled with rocks. So something needed to be done to enhance the view looking out to the water and to clean up the areas around the house.”

Initially, the Cadys attempted to convert the field to wildflowers, but eventually clover took over. “Mowing became the easiest way to take care of this area, which is why it evolved into a lawn,” Ed explains. But it was when he began exposing outcroppings of ledge that he began to develop a vision of how to make the water side of the property a beautiful foreground to the longer water views.

“My initial uncovering of the ledge really excited me,” Ed says, “and it continues to do so because it adds some drama and beauty to the open area. It has been an evolutionary plan. Each year I look for other ledges to uncover.”

Ed has planted the exposed ledges with perennials. The loose stone wall at the base of the water side slope, which he built in 2014, has been planted with pollinators in mind.

While Ed Cady creates new rock gardens and takes on such tasks as beating back jewel weed, keeping up with blow downs (which have led to the creation of meadows) and developing woodland walkways, Mary Cady focuses on weeding, tidying and dead-heading the gardens close to the house.

“I love the views out to the water and islands and love to see the changes in sky and water—I never tire of sitting at the kitchen table and taking it all in,” Mary admits. “But on the other side of the house the patio under the shade of the magnificent maple, with all the different ferns and other shade lovers is very special… always cool and peaceful.”

Over the years the Cadys have been helped in their efforts to maintain and develop their property’s landscaping by a variety of landscape professionals, but while they are in residence—usually from mid-June to mid-October—they tend to their grounds themselves.

“We’ve both always enjoyed being outside and working in the gardens,” Mary says. “I’ve loved watching the property evolve from its original neglected state to where it is today.”—JW

The Cadys’ property is one of those that will be featured during the 2016 Georges River Land Trust’s “Gardens in the Watershed Tour” on Sunday, July 10. Check out georgesriver.org for information on the other venues on the tour and where to obtain tickets.

PHOTOS: Top, Anne Cox, bottom, Julie Wortman

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Nine years of sharing a passion for writing with St. George

Alice Gorman

Alice Gorman

For Alice Gorman, the founder of the Jackson Memorial Library’s annual literary series (which this year begins July 12), the series is, pure and simple, a labor of love. “It really just came out of love of the library and love of writing. I’ve had a history with the library. I’ve been coming here since 1960. I drove from Memphis, Tennessee every year for 16 years to Hart’s Neck with three children, a dog, a cat and a gerbil. My children and their cousins painted beach stones and sold them to our neighbors and gave the money to the library.  And I’ve always been a writer. I was the co-editor of the literary magazine in high school. I’ve just always written—it’s just been my way of communication. When my husband died in 2002, I went to Spaulding University in Louisville, Kentucky and got a Master’s of Fine Arts in creative non-fiction.”

Most of the writers Gorman began inviting to participate in the series, which is now in its ninth year, were people she knew—and most still are. “So much of life is connections,” she says. “I knew so many people through writing and workshops and graduate school.” She tells the story of attending a workshop in Sanibel, Florida and finding herself in the lunch line next to Andre DuBus III, the author of House of Sand and Fog and Townie: A Memoir. “We got to talking. I knew he lived in Boston so I asked him if he would consider coming to Maine to be part of our series and he said he would. But most of the writers I’ve asked to come I’ve known much better than that.”

And most of the people she invites are writers with a strong connection to Maine. “I love having Maine writers,” she says with evident passion. This year the series will feature Monica Wood of Portland, Peter Davis of Castine, and Lee Smith, a summer resident of Castine. Gorman takes pleasure in explaining why she chose to include these particular writers.

“Monica Wood’s latest book is The One -in-a-Million Boy. It’s about about relationship and miraculous occurrences. It’s about a young autistic boy who is a Boy Scout and his relationship with the 104-year-old woman he tries to help. Peter Davis, on the other hand, is best known as a film maker. He grew up in Los Angeles and Hollywood—his parents were involved with film. His book is Girl of My Dreams, which is full of intrigue and characters.” Referencing Lee Smith, the third writer in this year’s series, Gorman enthuses, “She is brilliant and funny and warm and engaging. Her book is Dimestore, a memoir based on growing up in Grundy, Virginia, where her father owned the Ben Franklin store. The book is pure delight—it points to what Eudora Welty said, that our greatest gift is memory. It is about what created her as a writer.”

Asked to consider what she likes best about the series, Gorman says reflectively, “I think it is a huge privilege to hear a writer speak. All writers are not the best speakers, but most can. When a writer is willing to talk about himself or herself and the process of writing, I find that just so rewarding. It brings another dimension to writing to know that person.”

Gorman cites the example of Lily King, author of Euphoria, who was part of the literary series last summer. “Lily King last year brought her notebooks with all of her pre-writing for the novel. She talked about the fact that she writes in longhand first and that that sort of slow writing allows her imagination to flourish. Then she puts it into her computer and does the editing on the computer. Those things make a lot of sense. I think all of us who are interested in the library are interested in the authors—how did they come to an idea, who are these people? So the series is an opportunity to know them.”

Gorman may be the driving force behind the literary series, but she gives full credit to the Jackson Memorial Library for its enthusiastic support at every turn. “What makes this series work is this wonderful library. The volunteers do everything, they bring the food, they do the flowers, they do the publicity. It’s not a one-man band by any means.” After a thoughtful pause, she adds, “I am gratified that I can bring people that I know who are willing to come without exorbitant fees. Most writers who are well known do ask for that for engagements, but we’ve been very fortunate. I think it is due to the fact that we get wonderful crowds and everybody loves the series. It’s grown to where it has a reputation so that people would be willing to come and hear someone they didn’t know based on that reputation.”—JW

The Jackson Memorial Library’s literary series will take place July 12, 19 and 26 at the Ocean View Grange in Martinsville. Go to jacksonmem.lib.me.us for more information.

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Offering young campers ‘a rich experience of marine science discovery’

exploring CIf there is one thing which the St. George peninsula has in abundance it is the variety of coastal habitats found here. Offering young people a chance to explore these sandy beaches, rocky shores, salt marshes and mudflats is the aim of the five week-long sessions of Herring Gut Learning Center’s annual marine science summer camp.

“This is our third year of offering this camping experience to both local and visiting children,” says Alexandria Brasili, Herring Gut’s Marine Science and Aquaculture Educator. “We have a lot of returning campers from last year, which is a great compliment to our camping program. We also have a lot of kids who participated in our school-year programs and want more this summer.”

2015 Herring Gut marine science campers

2015 Herring Gut marine science campers

Each session is tailored to a particular age group—Session 1 and 3 are for students entering grades 3, 4, and 5; Session 2 is geared to kids entering grades 5, 6, and 7; Sessions 4 and 5 target children entering grades 1 and 2. Each day of each one-week session the campers explore a different habitat for hands-on exploration guided by the Herring Gut staff. They collect what they find and bring it back to the lab for closer inspection. They design and build aquariums that mimic the real habitat. There are also art projects, experiments, games and other activities. On Thursday of each week the campers hop on a boat and travel a few miles offshore to Allen Island, which has marine habitats like the ones they’ve been exploring during the earlier part of the week. Friday, the last day of camp, the students prepare exhibits and then present their findings to their families and interested community members.

“Our goal is for the campers to gain an appreciation for the wonder of the environment that surrounds them in a fun and educational setting,” Brasili says. “We try to make each week a rich experience of marine science discovery.”—JW

For more information on Herring Gut and the summer camp go to www.herringgut.org.

PHOTOS: Herring Gut Learning Center

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Highlights of the upcoming St. George Days!

Friday, July 15
6:30-8:30pm Dance party for families

Saturday, July 16
7-9am Pancake breakfast
8:15am Half Mile fun run for kids
8:30am Marshall Point 5K Lighthouse Loop
9am-4pm Jackson Memorial Library Book Fair
9am-5pm Meet your local fisherman
10am Local crafters’ tables
11am Main Street parade and float contest
Maine St. Andrews Pipes & Drums Band
The Narrow Gauge String Band
Midcoast Community Band
11am-7 pm Annual Firemen’s Association lobster dinner fundraiser
Post parade children’s activities
Visit the Historical Society School House Museum
12:00-2:30pm Dunk tank
12:30-3:00pm High Island Boat Tours
2-5pm Opening reception of Martinsville
Flower Show
At Dusk: Spectacular fireworks over Tenants Harbor!

Sunday, July 17
1pm Second Annual Tim Holmes Memorial slow pitch softball game

For details and locations, see the full schedule in the July 14 issue of The Dragon or Facebook/St George Days.

—Beth Smith

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St. George VANITZ

June 30VANITZ color SMWho served on the diesel submarine USS Ronquil (SS-396) from 1961-1963, but has never driven the iconic Chevy with an engine of the same designation? —Susan Bates

Who’s behind the wheel? Email your answer. The first reader to respond correctly wins a free business-size ad in the print edition of The Dragon.

Nobody recognized Linda Welch’s plate POOK in the June 16 issue.

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New fishermen’s co-op is anything but a ‘business as usual’ venture

IMG_0704 C

The Miller Dock, Tenants Harbor

For the past three years something foremost in lobsterman Hale Miller’s mind has been how to avoid being at the mercy of an economic system in which big Canadian processors control the market for his and other lobstermen’s catch.

“Back in the period between 2007 and 2012, especially, you never knew what you were going to get,” Miller says. “Sometimes you’d end up with less than $2 a pound. There were a lot of sleepless nights when you were hauling 400 traps a day and you weren’t making enough money to cover expenses. So that is what drove me to this new Tenants Harbor Fishermen’s Co-op.”

The new co-op, which at the beginning of June already had 15 boats, is different from other fishermen’s co-ops in a number of ways, but most importantly because it is vertically integrated with Cape Seafood in Saco, Maine, a large processing plant owned by Luke Holden, who also owns Luke’s Lobster, an international chain of “shacks” famous for their lobster rolls. “The lobsters go from the co-op to Cape Seafood and then to Luke’s Lobsters or they are used for freezer pack products,” Miller explains. “Tails typically go to cruise ships, claws and knuckles go to places like Long John Silvers that use lobster meat in salads. The legs and body meat get used in bisques.”

Making the connection with Holden, who Miller’s brother Peter knew through the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, played a key role in making the alternative way the new co-op would operate possible. In the interest of ensuring member commitment and a reliably integrated and transparent operation from producer to consumer,  Holden, who now sits on the board of the co-op, has agreed to guarantee the co-op members a floor price, something Miller says is unheard of.

In addition, Miller, his three brothers (Dan, Tad and Peter) and the others involved in organizing the new co-op, notably Hart’s Neck summer resident Merritt Carey, decided the cost of joining the co-op would be only $100, an uncommonly low fee. “Typically a co-op asks for a membership fee of five, six or seven thousand dollars,” Miller says. “We didn’t want the fee to be a disincentive to join. It’s like everything in the fishing business, whether it’s a co-op or not—its all based on volume. You’ve got to turn in the volume to make the numbers work.”

Another reason the membership fee could be kept low is that the dock facility, which is leased to the co-op by the Miller brothers, is in excellent condition. “My brothers and I inherited the dock free and clear from our parents, Anne and Red. But then we turned around and did dredge work and rebuilt the dock and that we financed through a partnership between Key Bank and Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI).”

Hale Miller

Hale Miller

Looking for a way to reduce the tax burden on the property, Miller was led to apply to have the dock approved as a Land for Maine’s Future project. Through the program the state buys the development rights of properties deemed worth preserving. In this case, the focus was on preserving a valuable piece of the state’s working waterfront. Miller, with the help of Elaine Neville and CEI’s Dick Clime, started working in earnest on preparing the paperwork for the application two years ago.

“They wanted to know about the property’s history, its condition, whether it was actually used as a working waterfront and things like that,” Miller says. “Then, once we were approved, there was a little hitch there for a while when they put a stop on these projects because the Governor didn’t want to sell new bonds to fund new projects. So that slowed things down for a while until I realized there were still funds in that kitty that were just sitting there from bonds that were sold years ago. So I went and met with the Governor and brought that to his attention and then the ball started rolling again.”

The first thing the Millers did with the money from the state was to pay off the rest of the loan they had used to rebuild the dock. “The rest of the money goes into maintenance and upkeep of the property and things like that,” Miller notes, adding, “To keep that dock in the condition it is today is unbelievably expensive.” Now that the dock’s use is limited to commercial fishing, the bill for its taxes can be reduced.

Luckily, because The Cod End restaurant was part of the Miller dock from the beginning, its use as a restaurant was grandfathered into the “forever working waterfront” designation. That has made it possible for it to reopen as “Lukes at Tenants Harbor” under the management of Luke’s Lobster, something that will likely please people who miss the old Cod End restaurant that had operated at the dock ever since the Millers began fishing from it 40 years ago.

“The Miller family won’t have anything to do with the management of the restaurant, but we’re all hoping it will have some of the ambience it had before,” Miller says, noting that in addition to lobster rolls, he expects the menu will include items like steamed lobsters and steamed clams. “An added benefit to the co-op is that, after all the restaurant’s expenses are paid, it will get a half share of any profit that it makes. The other half will go to Luke’s.”

Now that the new co-op is up and running, the Miller brothers are leaving its business operations in the hands of the board, on which none of them sit. “Now it remains to be seen how many fishermen will join,” Miller says. “But now there’s an option to be out from underneath the hammer of the big processors. Now everything is transparent—we can look at Luke’s books and he can look at ours. The flow is back and forth and you can’t find that anywhere else.” —JW

PHOTOS: Top, Betsy Welch, bottom, Julie Wortman

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Greater summertime activity an important ingredient for a busy boatyard

Meyric Matthews and Brendan Chase

Meyric Matthews and Brendan Chase

These days Brendan Chase has been behaving like a goodwill ambassador to the boating community on behalf of the village of Tenants Harbor. As liaison between the new manager of the Tenants Harbor Boatyard, Meyric Matthews, and the boatyard’s owner, Jamie Wyeth, Chase has been working on a new website for the boatyard which showcases the beauty of the harbor and its surroundings and provides links to businesses and institutions such as the  East Wind Inn, Stonefish boutique, The Happy Clam Restaurant, The Jackson Memorial Library, and the St. George Business Alliance. “I have been developing a vision for the future of the boatyard and the new website is part of my strategy for achieving it,” he explains. “We’ve noticed that the numbers of people coming to Tenants Harbor by boat have gone down over the past 10 years, so the idea is to present and promote Tenants Harbor and its many attractions. I feel like the more people we have coming to Tenants Harbor the better.”

Another key way of encouraging more transient boat traffic, Chase points out, was the opening of a new public fuel station at the boatyard last fall, an amenity which used to be provided at The Cod End dock until that business shut down a few years ago. [See front page story on the new Tenants Harbor Fishermen’s Co-op and the reopening of the restaurant.]

Chase also hopes that, in addition to finding the many good reasons for including Tenants Harbor on their cruising itinerary, visitors to the boatyard’s website might also discover that the boatyard offers services that they need, like a place to get their boat repaired or to store it. “Expanding what we can do for repairs here is a big goal,” Chase says, noting that bringing Matthews, an experienced boatbuilder, to the boatyard full time is making it possible to limit the need to subcontract repair jobs out. And storage, he says, is a real focus for the winter. “We have room for some more boats and that leads to more service work.” That includes cleaning boats out, making repairs and upgrades, varnishing and polishing. The heated boat shed also has a mezzanine level that can be used for storing cars.

Managing the rental of the boatyard’s nine moorings (more are contemplated if that is feasible) and dock space is also an important revenue stream. “People call about lining up moorings for July dates as early as January,” Matthews says, noting that the moorings are rented on a variety of terms, whether seasonal, monthly, weekly or daily. Dock space (rented by the linear foot) is usually rented only by the day or two.

While boatbuilding used to be a significant aspect of the boatyard’s business—Matthews actually worked here as a boatbuilder in the mid-1990s—it has been about 20 years since boats were built at the facility. Although for a brief stint of time following this Thomaston boatbuilder Lyman-Morse operated at the yard, “they were mainly building mock-ups,” Matthews says. He and Chase have it in mind that returning to doing some boatbuilding might eventually happen—probably smaller craft under 25 feet—but right now their focus is on making sure that current revenues are at an optimal level.

The marine railway at the Tenants Harbor Boatyard

The marine railway at the Tenants Harbor Boatyard

The two men are especially eager to reinstate a service to the harbor’s working waterfront that went by the wayside when Lyman-Morse occupied the boatyard. “When I was working here we had a railway and winch that we used to haul lobster boats out for a few tides so their owners could make repairs, so we want to make that operational again,” Matthews says. “We want to be good neighbors. We want to make that service affordable and I want to lend a helping hand if I can.” He notes that since he’s been on the job a week hasn’t gone by that someone hasn’t asked about the railway and if it will be up and running soon.

But while expanding the services the boatyard offers and improving operational efficiency are immediate goals, the key to a thriving boatyard, Chase believes, is greater summertime activity—something he hopes the boatyard’s new website will encourage. “We recognize that the boatyard is not going to be a destination for visitors cruising this part of the coast,” he says with a wry smile, “but Tenants Harbor is.”—JW

(For more information on the Tenants Harbor Boatyard go to www.tenantsharborboatyard.com.)

PHOTOS: Julie Wortman

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Port Clyde

George Brown Wharf 2George Brown’s wharf, Port Clyde (now Monhegan Wharf). Photo taken 1942-43 by George French (1882-1970) who was a photographer working for the Maine Development Commission from 1936-1955. Photo courtesy of Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum.

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The Cycle of Water

Dan Verillo

Dan Verillo

Water geologist Dan Verrillo will trace the mysteries of water from rainfall through underground meanderings on Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m. at the Jackson Memorial Library in Tenants Harbor. This family-friendly event will include water testing by Dan and the Herring Gut Learning Center. Folks may bring their own samples from faucet or pond. And even young attendees might be asked to help with the lab testing. Herring Gut provides students with hands-on curriculum involving fish hatchery and plant cultivation as well as seaweed aquaculture. Cookies will be provided. The Cycle of Water is sponsored by the town Conservation Commission, Herring Gut Learning Center, the Jackson Memorial Library and the Friends of St. George. For more information go to www.jacksonmem.lib.me.us and www.stgeorgemaine.com.
—Anita Siegenthaler

Herring Gut students prepare water samples for testing

Herring Gut students prepare water samples for testing

 

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