Thursday, November 20, 2008

Northern Maine Update : 112008

A little update for you... temps last night: -5 to -10 with windchill... temps today: 17 when we got up this morning; about 25 now... we're having a good time here... hope you all are well... we so appreciate your kind words, prayers, and comments... you are such an encouragement... grace and peace.

Here are some fun pics for you!


Summer enjoying the snow... even though there isn't much of it yet!


Little Viking Girl
This was at a Scandinavian gift shop where Nicol was shopping. We are (partly) Swedes on my dad's side. There's a community just north of here called "New Sweden" and it became home to a lot of Swedes who came here for potato farming and free tracts of land. Among them were my great-great-great-grandparents.

You guessed it... momma was shopping again!


Summer and Kermit!

These pictures were taken by a guy who lives here in my hometown (Washburn... did I already mention that?). His name is Paul Cyr and you can check out his photography here. I don't know him but my parents do. His work is pretty amazing. Anyway, thought you'd like to see some pics of the moose. People usually ask if we see them when we're up here. Haven't seen any yet on this trip, but we usually do. When I was in high school, I was standing in our kitchen, looking out the back window while eating a bowl of cereal, and a moose walked right up to the window and stood there for a brief moment staring at me. We used to see them all the time at our first house, which was located near the Aroostook River; the moose used to cross the road in front of our house there to get water down at the river.



It's not uncommon to see moose crossing the road. It's also not uncommon for vehicles to hit them. One of my high school friends hit one the summer we graduated (I think) and it peeled the top of his car right back. Fortunately he was ok. Another friend hit one a few years ago and he's glad to be alive. His injuries required quite a bit of facial reconstruction because it sort of crushed his face. Bad scene. He's fine now.



This is my favorite. It wasn't taken by the same photographer. My aunt sent this to me about a year ago. The story is below... it's a little lengthy but you may be interested to read it.
Moose Logging Story
>>Lew and the rest of the gang- We had been trying to keep this under wraps as we knew this would happen once folks found out that with some effort you can train moose to harness. Once this picture got out, it's been e-mailed around like crazy but no one has bothered to fill in the rest of the story so before any rampant rumors get going, I better write down what I know. If folks want to extrapolate on that, then Lord only knows where this picture and story will end up.
>>The man in the picture is Jacques Leroux who lives up near Escourt Station and has always had work horses, first for actual work and then for show at Maine's many summer fairs. I think he had two matched pairs, one Clydesdale and the other Belgium's. He would turn them out to pasture each morning and then work them in the afternoon dragging the sled around the fields. Three springs ago, he noticed a female moose coming to the pasture and helping herself of the hay and what grain the work horses didn't pick up off the ground. Jacques said he could get within 10 feet of the moose before it would turn and move off.
>>Two springs ago, the moose foaled(?) at the edge of the work horse pasture and upon getting to it's feet had not only the mother in attendance but the four horses. The young moose grew up around the horses and each afternoon when Mr. Leroux took the teams for their daily exercise the yearling moose would trail along the entire route next to the near horse.
>>At some point, the yearling got so accustomed to Mr. Leroux that, after he had brushed each horse after a workout, he started brushing down the moose. The moose tolerated this quite well so Mr. Leroux started draping harness parts over the yearling to see how he would tolerate these objects. The yearling was soon harness broken and now came the question of what could you do with a harness broke moose.
>>As you may or may not know, a great deal of Maine is being bought up by folks "from away" and some of them understand principles of forest management. Well the folks buying small parcels of land up in the area of the Allagash have it in their mind that they don't want big skidders and processors and forwarders on their small wood lots. Enter Mr. Leroux with his teams of horses.
>>Every morning, when Mr. Leroux loaded the teams into the horse trailer to go off to the days job, the yearling moose got quite riled up and one day loaded himself right into the trailer with the horses. At the job site, Jacques unloaded the horses and as the moose stayed right with them, he would take the Clydesdales and his brother Gaston would take the Belgians and off into the woods they would go with the moose trailing behind. They would put the harness on the moose in case they encountered someone who they could kid with the explanation that the moose was a spare in case something happened to one of the horses. The work required them to skid cut limbed and topped stems to the landing where the stems could be loaded onto a truck for the pulp mill.
>>All morning long the two brothers brought out twitch after twitch of stems with the moose following the Belgian team for the most part. At lunch break Jacques had the bright idea of putting trace chains and a whiffle tree on the moose's harness and all afternoon the moose went back and forth following the Belgians in and out of the woods dragging his whiffletree along the ground. As there were no stumps in the skid trail, the whiffle tree never hung up on anything and that first day in harness went great. So next day, they hitched on first a small stem and the moose brought it out just fine following the Belgians.
>>Mr. Leroux told me they were up to four small stems now and the moose was doing just great. He cautioned however that there were a few problems with using a bull moose. Come June, when the new antlers start, the new bone is "in velvet" and must itch like crazy as the moose stops every once in awhile and rubs his rack against just about anything to appease the itch. Once, before the brothers learned to tie him off by himself while they had lunch, moose was rubbing his antlers against the hame on the Clydesdale called Jack and got it wedged there for a bit. Jacques said he wished he had a camera as it looked like moose was trying to push Jack over.
>>The other problem is the rutting season. The brothers learned quickly to leave moose in the barn as he was constantly on red alert in the woods during this time. The brothers are also considering trying this with two females to make a matched pair which would become an instant hit at the Maine Fairs. The trouble with the bulls is their racks. They would be constantly rubbing and hitting each other and yes they would have to be gelded as I just couldn't imagine getting the two bulls anywhere near each other, let alone in harness.
>>So now that this picture is going all over the place, the surprise has been let out of the proverbial bag. The Leroux's want to continue the work of trying to get a pair of females in harness but they may have to end up breeding moose to do this and that's where they will run into trouble with the State of Maine IF & W. I'm sure they don't like the idea of the brothers "keeping" wild animals.
>>Thought you should know the rest of the story. If any of you doubt this please contact Tom Whitworth in Ashland , Maine . I think he said was a second cousin to the Lerouxs and has seen this anomaly many times.
>>Regards from your frozen Northeasterly most state.

































9 comments:

Angie said...

Love the pics thanks for the update!
Ang

Mrs B said...

It sure is beautiful. I think I would enjoy it from inside a warm house, but walking outside in those temps, No Thankyou!!! :)

kristacomis said...

Hey there! I love that Summer got to see snow! Who knows with the cold weather we are having she may get to make a snowman while she's Grammy and Grampa's. I remember a moose story, Dad was out burning trash when a moose came up to the tree line that separated our yard from the Giberson's, Dad was nearly face to face with it-he came in white as a ghost! They are huge animals that's for sure! Glad you're enjoying your time. Love you lots.
xo
Krista

georgia tarheel said...

That was...ummm....well....pretty funny! Thanks for the pictures! I love to see pictures!!!

Take care and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Glad to know that you all are enjoying your time in Maine. I feel like I live in Maine right now. I live in COASTAL NC and we had snow blowing around. IN NOVEMBER! WOW! It even made the news. Slow day I guess. You sound like you are having good family time and that you all smiling some. Thanks for posting. You are NOT obligated to us but it is reassuring to hear from you. Makes the prayers more focused and (is this okay?) rewarding!
Jennifer in NC

Julie D said...

Hi Greg! You have to be tough to live in Northern Maine! I hear we are going to get a storm before you leave, 7 inches I think, so maybe it will "warm" things up a bit. It always seems colder when there is no snow! So glad you put in some pictures! Summer is adorable!! Especially in the viking hat! Monica's is a fun shop! Enjoy the rest of your trip and maybe I'll bump into you again.

I know that Thanksgiving day will be the 6 mos mark and I will be praying and thinking of you all always, but especially that day. Today is the 6 mos mark for Mary & Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter Maria. Have a great time visiting family and friends!! '

Take care!
Love in Christ, Julie Doody :-)

Sun said...

Now that is COLD! On Wednesday we had our air on and today we have our heat on...gotta love Oklahoma weather! Sunshine

Anonymous said...

Welcome "home" to Maine. Cute pictures of Summer. I am sure you're enjoying time with your family. Love seeing the moose pictures - they are amazing creatures. Enjoy the snow!
I live down in central Maine and went to college at UMPI. A piece of my heart is still in "The County", too. If you're traveling in the China Lake area, toot your horn and I'll know it's you and your family :-)

Anita - from Maine

Stephanie said...

Where have I been... No. Maine got snow? Now I'm getting jealous; its been cold enough for snow in the "south" near Portland!

My first trip to Caribou was January 2004 on the coldest day there in like forever... it was -50 on the thermometer but the wind was howling! It was like living on another planet compared to western Cumberland County!

I hope you and the family have a soothing and comforting sojourn in "the county" and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I'm going to forward this post to my sister-in-law; my niece's favorite thing in the world are moose. She'll love the pictures. (They are beautiful; Paul Cyr has a great eye!)

~Stephanie in So. Maine