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The Season of Wonder

This holiday season is going to be particularly rough on everyone around the globe. The wanting to spend the Eve or Christmas Day with loved ones tugs at our inner most feelings.

Although it is terribly sad that we have to separate ourselves from one another for a bit, one must keep their eye on the reward. The reward of being able to sing, dance, and be merry with our friends, neighbors, and family again may look like a bit away, but in reality it is in the not too far distant future. We just have to keep vigilant for a bit longer.

It is no secret that I love my family and treasure each member and this season will be particularly difficult for me and my family. For me, the gift of Salvation and the gift of Family are the most treasured gifts I have ever received. Christmas is a time of celebration regardless of where we are or with whom we may be. A celebration of life, the baby Jesus, Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Immanual are a few names for Him. It is the Season of Light; so many hopeful words to describe this time of year. It is this wonder of long ago that the Christmas season is created as a time to share and reflect.

I heard a podcast by an Episcople priest say that the story of Mary and Joseph being denied a place in the Inn may not be correctly understood. We may think the innkeeper said “no room” and sent them to the shed or barn to be with the animals. However, at the time of Jesus birth, the Inn was a place where rooms were kept but it was more than a one or two story building.

Commonly for that period, the animals were kept in the lowest section of the house (Inn) in what we would refer to as the basement or cellar. In that area was a loft, for the keeping of hay and feed for the animals. It is here that Joseph and his betrothed, Mary, were given a place to have the baby, Jesus. A warm area and still within the Inn. It may have been no special room at the Inn but there was plenty of privacy and room in the loft near the animals.

Interesting how we each perceive the birth of Jesus. It is magical and mythical but also documented to be true. The baby of Mary and Joseph was born in Bethlehem and was visited by the Magi from the East who presented gifts of gold, frankincence, and myrrh to the King.

With that…..I wish each a wonderful Christmas season. Regardless of how you worship or believe, rejoice for there is great reason to be thankful!

 2 Thessalonians 3:16: Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

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Down to the Sea





Sea Fever

BY JOHN MASEFIELD

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking. 

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. 

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

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Again

I know we have discussed “kitchen art” or at least sort of. Let’s go over it again only this time with an interest why we would like to have some art hanging on the walls of our kitchen.

Kitchens are often the hub of a family. Kids come home from school (or more recently are home schooling) and what is the first thing they look for? They dig around in the refrigerator and cupboards for an afternoon snack.

Children, no matter how old, also love to participate in cooking. I remember when my children were small and the mixing and baking of brownies or pies were their favorite thing. A couple of evenings a week we would spend hanging out in the kitchen and mix up a batch of brownies or molasses cookies. We all loved the anticipation of what would come out of the oven for us to enjoy.

Holidays would be spent getting pies ready to be put in the oven. My son used to love to take the left over pie crust and make mountains and roads and run his Matchbox cars around them on the counter top.

Not only does the smell of baking make the kitchen feel warm and comfortable but having kitchen art hanging on the walls brings it all together. We love color in our lives and what better place to have it than in the kitchen that is filled with conversation and love.

Put some bright kitchen art around to enjoy while the family is mixing up a batch of something good to eat and discussing the day’s activities and plans. Many questions have been answered and problems solved while in the kitchen with family.

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Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Maine is blessed with beauty. Blessed with pines, rock walls, hardwoods, rockbound coastline, and coastal gardens.

One such place is Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in which one can spend a day basking in the creativity of the gardens. This is no small venture…..over 290 acres of coastland forest and tidal land has been transformed into and includes gardens promoting natural history, native plants of Maine, other northern plants and coastal wetlands. The Garden includes a mile long stretch of tidal water frontage which appeals to the romaticism of our Maine heritage.

This year, 2020, the Gardens is promoting Wicked Wetland Wonders. The Gardens alone hosts 250 wetlands in which it is promoting the natural wonder of our link of water and land.

Admittedly, I have not explored the complete acreage but what I have seen is so very impressive. A project created by a grass roots effort of friends joining together to give us the wonder of flowers, plants, forests, and wetlands. The creativity, care and attention given to providing the public awareness to the beauty around us is restorative and leaves one with the wonders of creation.

Check it out……………..

Shasta copywrite LauraMaceRand https://laura-mace-rand.pixels.com/
Yellow and Pink copywrite LauraMaceRand https://laura-mace-rand.pixels.com/

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My Mother’s Flowers

My mother passed away several years ago but she was a person that could tell you the names of common garden flowers and name birds and their calls. My mother was a teacher by training and by personality. She left her teaching career behind to raise a family of 5 children and to share her home with our grandmother. You see, those days (and not really that long ago) we kept the family unit intact and shared the responsibility of life together.

One of the greatest things about my mother, and there were several, was her love for color. She believed that color enhanced ones life and made some of the most intolerable situations more tolerable.

Mother took up a new career after Grammie came to live in the house. She no longer taught but became involved with the health and welfare of the community. My grandmother had very little education but grew up on a farm and married a farmer so her experience with “making do” was valuable. She also loved plants and would tend to the outside ones on occassion.

I don’t remember that we ever had a garden but I do remember the peonies and Mother’s White Flags the most. Of course there were other flowers; geraniums, petunias, violets, viola, begonias, etc.

Today I am thinking of Mother and her peonies and “white flags”.

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Simple Pleasures

It seems that during this time of world pandemic that we may be losing sight of the simple pleasures that we love most. We are finding different ways to enjoy them as we navigate this new world. No one has a specific remedy of how to approach this unseen monster, only that we are to take caution during daily activities.

Has your approach of doing things changed? Are you thinking twice before heading out the door to get something from the grocery store? Do you really need it now? Are you taking part of “curbside” purchasing? And…..do you find you are washing your hands more often, wearing a mask?

Finding things in your own backyard to enjoy is a milestone. Reading a book that you had always intended to read but never sat down to focus on it gives pleasure. Life seems to have slowed down. Is that a bad thing?

Here is a reminder of some simple pleasures now that spring is upon us.

Stay well…….together we succeed!

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Deer Isle Dreaming

Laura Mace Rand Photography

Not knowing where you spend your summers or vacations, there is a place in Maine USA that is a working island with hard working people who know how to live within their means and how to pull it together during tough times. Its rocky coast, slow living, salty air and down to earth people make one yearn to return. Some days are filled with fog and others with bright sun. Sail boats, schooners and tall ships pass quietly down Eggmoggin Reach and through Merchant’s Row…….between granite quarries and passing almost unnoticed. That is the way it was 200 years ago and the way it is today.

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Kitchens

Does it seem strange that we put artwork in our kitchens? I thought so at one time, but then I didn’t realize the warmth that a kitchen provides. Not just heat from cooking, but the joy of coming together in one place where the action is and where everyone seems to congregate.

Big kitchens, small kitchens, farm kitchens, and gourmet kitchens all have the “feel” of coming together. The hanging of “kitchen art” brings additional warmth to your place of putting food together and eating. It is a place of laughter, joy, and family. Hanging artwork only enhances the experience.

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Blue Hill Farm

Farming in Maine was carved out of the woods and along the rocky shores. By the time the European settlers arrived, the Native Americans had been farming beans, corn, and squash in our beautiful state.

Families migrated to this area and developed farms for sustenance. Small and stately houses were built with barns that held livestock and feed.

It seems as though throughout the years that we have lost our “family farm” and the once big barns that held mounds and mounds of hay are slowly running into disrepair.

This stately place was found along Maine’s rocky shore in Blue Hill. A beautiful place that emotes memories of big barns and children shrieking with delight while running through the barn playing hide and seek.

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HOT SHOT

So, took a little trip down back again during a recent snow storm and found “Hot Shot”. Imagine the stories this fire truck could tell us while resting in the back forty.

One has to wonder how many fires it has attended and how many men it carried to save the lives of others. RIP “Hot Shot”

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Pumpkin Island Lighthouse

copywrite Laura Mace Rand

Traveling around Maine in the winter can be a real hazard or a real treat. One special place is the Deer Isle Penninsula. If one searches long enough and is willing to take a few risks driving into secluded spots they can find some of the most awe inspiring beauty that our planet offers.

The Pumpkin Island Light directs those who sail or boat into Eggemoggin Reach. Built around 1855, it was one of the first lighthouses in Maine to use the Fresnel Lens.

Read more here : https://www.lighthousefriends.com/

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DownEast Heritage

Photograph taken at the Maine State Museum https://mainestatemuseum.org

The Maine State Museum is in the State’s capitol, Augusta, ME. If you are interested in the history of Maine and understanding what makes Mainers who they are; a visit is in order.

One particular section of the Museum covers Maine’s rich heritage of fishing, in particular the fishing of sardines and the canning of the delightful bounty. Lubec, Maine was once the place to go if you wanted a job in the industry.

Pick up 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976  by Ryerson and Johnson to undertand the area during that time period.

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You Can Get It Here

There is a general store in Greenville, Maine, USA that is locally known as the Indian Store. I believe it has been renamed to Kamp Kamp or something of the like, however, you can get most any supply you may need or just plain want in order to spend a week trekking along the sides of Mooshead Lake or taking a side trip while walking the Appalacian Trail.

You see, the Trail winds and curves south and east of Mooshead Lake, the largest mountain freshwater lake in the eastern US. But it is worth a jaunt into Greenville to visit the Indian Store where you most likely will want bug spray and clothing to keep you warm on those cool spring and summer nights! After all….it is in the Maine Highlands.

Greenville is an opportunity to experience the Maine Woods and the writing of Henry David Thoreau.

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Into the Woods

Can you see into the woods? Maine has funky weather during the months of November and December. Just when you think it will snow, it rains then snows and goes on like that for about a month. Of course, one wishes for snow on Christmas for it makes the day idyllic and dreamy. However, it often turns warm enough for the ground fog to appear and cast a dreamy haze about the earth. Christmas Day 2013

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Stonington Harbor

Stonington Harbor 2

Most folks, when visiting Maine, usually do not get far enough north to visit the town of Stonington. It is generally considered by visitors that “down east” is York, Ogunquit, or Kennebunkport. However, being a true Mainer, down east is not on the beaten path to southern Maine or Acadia National Park.

Stonington is at the end of one of Maine’s finest penninsulas. It seems a long journey down the Rt 15 to the tip. As one travels this road the sense of having crossed into the land of the hardworking seafarers, lobstering people of Maine; someplace special once the other side the Deer Isle Bridge crossing Eggemoggin Reach.

Keep traveling to the end of the road and you are in Stonington. Small town, hardworking folk, tall ships, schooners, and the smell of the sea will fill your soul.

Special Memories

Chesuncook Lake Northern Maine Woods

I was fortunate to have been married to a Maine Guide and adventurer. We traveled throughout the Maine woods and on Maine waters with our children and together after the children were grown. There is a story with every journey, often humorous and often not so much, and these journeys were often done on the spur of the moment.

Like the time we were spending time at our camp and decided to go to Millinocket to get groceries around 9 am on a Saturday morning. Along the way it was determined that we would first head up the Golden Road and do a little sightseeing and then pick up groceries on the return. Because it was an unintended “joy” ride, we had not planned ahead and were riding in the old Buick and had left the truck at camp.

These particular roads in the Northern Maine woods are roads that are maintained for the use of logging trucks. It is not unusual to meet a large 18 wheeler hauling a full load of logs going what seems about 100 miles an hour appearing not to have regard for any other vehicle. So one has to be aware when traveling and understand it is “Drive at your own Risk”.

It was a great ride. Until we headed up the Telos road…….a road which had just been graded. Any person with any sense at all would have been in a truck with proper tires and a couple of spares for insurance. When those roads are graded they leave sharp shards of stone and we all know what that means. And yes, it happened, right during the worse black fly season in Maine’s history!

We had not been on the Telos road but 10 minutes and we got a flat tire. So, amid black flies swarming around our heads, the spare was mounted and the decision was made to get back so that the tire could be fixed. We had not gone but a couple of miles on the return and the spare tire blew! Here we were, quite a distance from civilization and no cell service!. Riding the tire rim, we headed back to Millinocket praying we could find someone who could help.

Fortunately, we had to pass Pray’s Sporting Camps and a person was there with a satelite phone and called a tow truck. By the time the truck arrived we had to be towed to Medway for it was the only place that would work on tires by that late time of the day.

Two new tires later and no groceries, we returned to camp with exhausted from the adventure.

Please visit my site for more Maine photography.

https://laura-mace-rand.pixels.com/

Today is my Father’s Birthday

Today, August 16, 1911, my father, Frederick Earl Mace, was born in Passadumkeag, Maine. To be more precise, he was born on a little farmstead on Gould’s Ridge.

This is the story of the Fred Maces.

Our USA Mace history began in 1883 when Fred and Irene Nickerson Mace and their son George Frederick Mace (born 1880) immigrated from St. John, New Brunswick, Canada to the United States of America. Although I was never told why Passadumkeag, Maine was the chosen place to live, I believe it was because my great grandmother, Irene, had Nickerson relatives in that area.

My great grandfather, Fred, purchased a store in town (“Fred Mace and Sons”), a partnership with his sons George and Edgar Mace. After a time, my grandfather George left the store and acquired a piece of farmland on Gould’s Ridge where he and his wife, Harriett, raised a family.

My father was born in 1911. He assisted on the farm but raising livestock, potatoes, and oats was not his passion. As was the custom, he and his father cut and sold wood when not farming the land. This is where my father acquired the love of the Maine woods. He and my grandfather cut wood and would stay in the camps during the winter months skidding out the wood by work horse.

Dad had to travel in order to attend high school for his little town had only a one room schoolhouse. I believe this created a love for cars and travel for him for later years he produced a list of vehicles he had in his lifetime and it was very impressive! He attended Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston, Maine and later graduated from Howland High School.

As an adult, he and my mother were of the working class, Dad working in the woods and my mother in social work. There was not much time or money to travel but retirement was good to them and they secured a winter home to which they traveled up and down the East Coast in order to have a warm winter. Trips to the “Ridge” were a common event while living in Maine. Either to visit living relatives or just a day ride of reminiscing.

Frederick E Mace, Sr. High School graduation Picture

My father was known to say he had a great childhood out on Gould’s Ridge. Admittedly he was spoiled. He always admired the independence of the cowboy and was in love with horses.

Dad loved sports, in particular boxing. I can remember staying up late nights and watching boxing and ice hocky on television with him. He boxed at small time events to pick up extra cash on occassion.

Dad passed away in 1999 and true to his wandering, he was laid to rest on Gould’s Ridge, Passadumkeag, Maine.

Frederick E Mace, Sr & Helen Preble Mace

Winter Fishing

https://laura-mace-rand.pixels.com/

It isn’t winter yet (thank goodness!) but the thought of crisp cold air and wood fires is always on a Mainer’s mind. You see, once the wood pile is gone, and this often happens before warm weather appears, it is time to replenish it and get it ready for the next winter season. A chore since time began and a “must bring” if going ice fishing.

One of the favorite sports of a winter fisherman is fishing from the “shacks” along Maine’s rivers and on one of Maine’s many lakes. A good supply of wood, jigs or traps, some food to cook, means a great day in the Maine outdoor. The smell of a wood fire, cooking on an open flame, and a fishing line brings out the age old instinct to seek and gather.

Some of the best times we have had as a family have been ice fishing on Maine lakes. Getting up long before sunrise; packing traps and food; and making the trip to the big lakes. You see, Fisherman was a Registered Maine Guide and loved fishing the deeper, bigger lakes of Maine.

We had an ice shack which was custom made by Fisherman. Althought I personally never spent a night on the ice, it had a bunk bed, drop down table for eating, gas cooking stove and gas heater. A hole big enough to fish from was made under the table and often one would sit inside and jig for fish. He and our son would spend a night fishing on the ice during the dark hours and riding the lakes on snowmobiles during the day. True Paul Bunyans.

The ice shack was set as soon as the ice was strong enough and would involve loading it on a trailer, making sure enough tie downs were included, wood blocks for setting the structure on, split wood for fuel, and a full day of getting it set on the lake. This involved several folks who wanted to take part in winter fishing and join in in using the shack. Men, snowmobiles, and ice shack were on their way early so to get the icehouse set and a day of fishing.

A person could set just so many traps on the ice per Maine law,. We would spend a couple of hours with an ice auger drilling holes for traps and setting them up for the day. A continual watch for a flag indicating a fish on the line or a walk around to check to see if the traps were iced over was necessary. In that case, one would have to spend time breaking the ice away from the trap and “scooping” out the hole from the slushy ice to make sure it stayed clear to bring in a fish.

One such trip was to Mooshead Lake. The complete family went for the day and needless to say, our daughter was bored out of her mind. She enjoyed time with family but this was not her cup of tea. Getting up before sunrise to do something she was not especially fond of doing was just a little much. Luckily she had brought her studies to while the time away. She marked the date on the walls of the icehouse with signature and comment to insure the trip was not forgotten.

That was a good day. Fishing, snowmobiling, family and fun. A good family winter sport.

Traveling Maine

Assuming that it is called the same throughout our country, a Road Trip is always a fun experience whether with family or friends. It can be a day’s outing riding the roads or it can be a small jaunt to someplace special.

I don’t know about you but as a kid my parents would gather the kids (all 5 of us), often on a Sunday afternoon, and we would take a road trip. Often it would include one or two grandmothers depending on the destination. It was an exciting time for we all would compete for the rear seat (a 3rd seat in the back of a station wagon) and then argue about who had that prime seating the last trip.

Not only was it a fun family trip but an educational one also. My brothers, all being older and much wiser than I, would name the year, make, and model of cars we met or passed. They also knew the size of the tires and motor! Those were the years of appreciation for cars and family!

So, here is a Road Trip through Maine. If you have never been here, please come and enjoy the scent of the forest and salty ocean air. We are truly blessed!

All photography is the possession of LauraMaceRand Photography

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