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The Loping Journalist: South Freeport, Maine

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On one of the mornings we were visiting, Phoebe would be in class until 1 pm. Bill had work to do so I took off on a long lope through South Freeport, Maine. The first thing I did was put some brand new birds on my Running List. How's about hooded merganser, greater yellowlegs, herring gull and Bonaparte's gull?
Those are hard to get on a run list in Ohio. 
The little silver vee in this pond is a fleeing female hooded merganser.

In this beautiful gut, a foraging greater yellowlegs left its work and flew directly at me.  Which was weird, because I was standing inland, on a road. Why would a yellowlegs want to fly toward a road and a person standing alone? We made eye contact, and it turned right around and went back to the mudbank. It was uncanny. It flew purposefully, as if it had something to say to me. It was the kind of thing a territorial breeding bird might do if it was concerned for wandering youngsters, but it's almost November.  And they breed in Canada, anyway. 

I wondered if Dear Old Dad was having trouble scaring up a hawk that morning, so he sent a yellowlegs. Gratefully accepted, DOD.

Boathouses here aren't for luxury vehicles. This is a fishing village, and there were boats being worked on, winches grinding. There is always work to do on boats. 

I was delighted to find my way to the Freeport Town Wharf

where some lobstermen were loading up on bait: redfish heads in sloppyjuice.

The younger guy on the pier warned the fisherman below because this barrel has only one suspension point, ergo it slopped redfish juice all the way down to the deck. Splat! Splat! Sploosh!

The lobsterman said to me, "Might wanna step back. You don' wanna get this stuff on yuh sawks!"

He had some beautiful lobsters in the bin already. I just rolled around in his Maine accent. I asked him a few more questions actually, just to hear him talk, but he was busy and pretty taciturn to start with. Friendly, though.  Everyone I met was so friendly. 

I told this man to turn his sign around for me, because that's what I am. SLOW.

I found the free breakfast they were serving in the village of Old South Freeport. Tart, winy, only a little wormy. Mmm. Sure beats nothing!

A Farmall Cub for sale. I love those spindly little machines. Nice house it went with, too. I could live in a house like that, as long as it was in the middle of nowhere. I wonder if I'm going to be the same way when I'm really old. As opposed to merely old, which is what I am now. Probably. That could be a problem.

I started a conversation with Susan by asking if her beautiful dog was part Newfoundland. Yes indeed. We fell into conversation and couldn't get out. She was awesome.

Rugby stole my heart. 

Really, what a grand dog he is. A superb animal. And a rescue. Rugby was left on the doorstep of a humane society after he'd been hit by a car. All busted up. Owner didn't want to pay for putting him back together, so she surrendered him. He's perfectly trained. And he seems to understand that he's gotten the granddaddy of all second chances. Happy to be alive, and well-loved. He wouldn't need a leash, but there's a law in town. I could happily have taken him home, but the 27-pound faux Newfoundland back in Ohio probably would object.  Wouldn't they make a matched pair, though?

The whole time Susan and I talked, and it was a long time, Rugby leaned on me. Then I started messing with him and I got him play-bowing and frisking and mouthing my hands. And you want to see a dog like that frisking. It's like elephants dancing. He'd run away, ears flapping, then charge me, veering off at the last second. I was laughing my head off.

Finally, I took reluctant leave of my new friends and jogged on. Came around a corner and saw a castle with a crenulated top sticking up out of the woods. What in the Sam hill....?

I had to find out about that! 

I mulled it over while photographing some stunning viburnum and maple leaves

and some rain-spangled Rosa rugosa blossoms.

This Asian import is probably the only one that's naturalized in the U.S. that I kind of like. It smells like classic attar of rose, and provides wildlife shelter and food in the form of vitamin C-rich hips. Just a hearty, good, salt tolerant plant, part of the dune scene from the Carolinas to Canada. Most people probably assume it's native, it's so integral to dune vegetation.

But that castle...hmmm. A big No Trespassing sign stopped the Loping Journalist. Derr. I hate those signs. All I wanna do is poke around.

Thank goodness my guide had circled around on her morning Rugby walk. I caught her emerging from a secret passageway carrying a startlingly large blue bag of hot Rugby poo and started peppering her with questions again. Susan also had the poop on that tower. I knew she would. 

Castle story anon.  The Loping Journalist cannot be hurried.

Hey! It's 11/11! Do something over the top today and tell me about it. I may let the 7.7 mile run I did today (the 10th) stand for my over the top deed. 


You've never met a stranger. It's one of your many extra special qualities. Thanks for sharing your run today and introducing us to those you met along the way. I'm loving the Maine excursion, glad you went. Looking forward to the next installment. Kim S. in PA (formerly Marietta, OH)

Posted by Anonymous November 11, 2014 at 4:52 AM

I hope you buried your face in Rugby ruff.

Hi Julie,
Thanks for the challenge. All day I've been asking is this over the top? Well, I think my seal photos on my blog are a little over the top. I also revisited my children's story today making a few edits, and am going out soon to try and photograph a huge red oak. I don't comment often, but I always read and enjoy your posts! Thanks

Blew into Mt. Auburn at about 4:40, big sign (since last weekend) pronouncing the gates closed at 5PM sharp. Okay, that'd give me enough time to plant a flag for my favorite Civil War vet, snap some cell phone shots of his newly tidied up gravestone, and sneak through the dell to say howdy to the owl (sure he was there, even if it was getting too dark to tell for sure) and grab a couple more shots of the western sky going all pink over Charles Bullfinch's memorial urn. Then had to rush back to the front gate at a clip, because it was fricking dark out!

Love that you love Maine. Love that you've found the part of Freeport that most visitors never pay any attention to. Can't wait for the next installment!


Posted by KH Macomber November 11, 2014 at 3:19 PM
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Posted by Anonymous November 11, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Wither thou goes, dear one. Thanks.Lovely.xxoom.

Posted by Anonymous November 12, 2014 at 5:04 AM
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