The Mountain and Me

After a series of curveballs, I’m delighted to announce that my newest poetry collection, The Mountain and Me, will be released on August 28th, 2021.

This little book of poems and photos is near and dear to my heart as it touches on some of my personal struggles over the last few years.

This is, primarily, about my mountain. Mt. Abram is my safe place and my solace and the place where I feel most at home.

I can’t wait to share this with you all! I’ve been working on this collection for a couple years now, but in many ways I’ve been working on it for my entire life.

Pre-order signed copies on my website here: https://annielouisetwitchell.com/product/preorder-the-mountain-and-me/

They’ll get shipped out to you within two weeks of publication.

E-book copies will be available on Amazon.


With all my love,

Annie

Where the Rocks Grow Wild

Originally published on April 10, 2021

View the original post here.

In Maine, growing things have to fight to survive, and even harder to thrive. Old Mainers say that the only thing that grows here is rocks. My dad tells me sometimes about pulling rocks out of the hayfield every year when he and his brothers were kids. And me and my brothers grew up playing at my best friend’s house, perched on top of a glacial skree pile from when the last of the glaciers melted off from Canada, dragging rocks and gravel and sand in their wake.

But the rocks grow, and other things grow too in the gaps and spaces left behind. The trees climb up the mountains until the water runs out, and wild blueberries keep going past that up towards the summit. Way up there the moss grows, softened by rains and the snowmelt.

In roadside ditches as soon as the snow is gone, little yellow flowers turn their faces to the sunshine. The maple sap runs and flows and then leaf buds forms and spread into full-foliage.

In the hidden spaces in the woods, Jack stands in his pulpit, preaching to a congregation of ferns and blood root and trillium.

These are the soft spaces and the quiet places where old souls wander undisturbed.

Animals live here too, and most don’t want to see you or harm you. They are content to pass by like shadows in the night. The jays and crows are exceptions; they like to scream loudly and frequently, just because they can. Scaring the living daylights out of passersby is a fun hobby and I swear, they laugh at you if you jump.

Sometimes if you wander the woods you’ll find long stone walls running straight as an arrow through the trees. Covered in old leaves and half consumed by the forest, the stone walls remind you that sometimes, despite the hardship, people grow here in Maine.

The people here are rough around the edges, and it seems like even the babies come out looking a little weathered, and there’s a few bad apples in the bunch, but the people that grow in the rocky coastline and the equally rocky mountain ranges are most often, simply, “good people”.

They are my people.

There’s an ice breaker question I have seen many times that asks “Who would you want on your team if the world was ending?”

Often the answers are various fictional superheroes or celebrity figures. For a while that was my answer, too. “Captain America, obviously.”

My answer has changed.

I choose my brother, who comes to rescue me every single time I call him, and doesn’t ever complain.

I choose my neighbor, who plowed my driveway all winter and refused to be paid or even to take cookies, because he was “right there” and “it ain’t no trouble”.

I choose the two strangers in Phillips who came across my truck in a ditch one winter and, working together and with language as colorful as the sunset, pulled me out and set me back on my way.

I choose the people who don’t let me slip away unnoticed, who say my name when they greet me in passing. I choose the people who don’t know me but still nod acknowledgement and greeting. We are together in the same space and time for just a second, and it is good.

I choose my people.

This is my Maine. These are my people. They’re not perfect and they make me angry and hurt and sad sometimes, and lately I’ve been seeing things that I don’t recognize, traits that don’t seem to fit in very well. But under all the technology and civilization, this is still the woods. This is still Maine, and some things never will change.

Here, in the places where so much struggles to grow, kindness thrives. There are still good and kind people and I am blessed to be surrounded by so many of them.

💜

-Annie

Website Maintenance

Good evening friends! 

 

 

I’ve spent the day tightening up security and removing thousands of spam accounts and posts from my website. These spam posts have been bogging down the site and I’m glad to have it cleaned up.

However, in the process of cleaning, some of my legitmate followers may have be inadvertently removed. If you find this is the case, please accept my deepest apologies. This was not my intention and I would love to see you again. You can follow the blog here:

 

Pandemic Portraits

Pandemic Portraits
By Annie Louise Twitchell

Author’s note: my best friend says this requires a tissue warning. Mom, you’d better listen.

These are fictional snapshots, but many are based on the stories I have heard from my communities over the last fifteen months. While I am a journalist, this is not journalism writing; this began as a way for me to let go of some of the stories I have carried in my heart for so long, but the stories are not mine to keep and I think it is time to share them.


The child is nestled underneath a heap of blankets in the corner of the couch, peering through the screen at her classmates she cannot join. Learning this way feels distant and disconnected but she tries anyway because Mom needs her to try.

Mom keeps calling Gram, as often as she can, but she can’t always get through. She used to visit every week and now they drive by the nursing home and wave out the car windows, knowing deep down that Gram can’t see them. Mom can’t stop crying. The child wonders if she will ever stop, and loses track of the lesson once again.


He pulls a covering up over his mouth and nose before climbing out of the cruiser and approaching the house. Another call. Another isolated and hurting individual.

He knocks on the door and the weary man shuffles to open it, dressed in a worn flannel robe. They stand in the in-between space created by the doorway and they talk — it seems like hours — until the man decides he does need help. He shuffles back inside and comes back with his shoes in one hand and a blank expression on his face.

“There’s no one here to tell where I’m going,” he mumbles, seeming lost and small. “There’s no one here.”

“I’m here,” the officer says in a quiet voice. “It’s going to be okay.”


The baby won’t stop screaming. There’s no more formula on the shelves and she’s hungry. The young mother feels ready to give up, sit down, and scream along with the baby. She takes a jug of milk to the checkout line and waits, six feet away from the next person.

A pair of bright eyes smile over a colorful floral mask as the older woman takes four cans of formula from her cart — already bought and paid for — and holds them out. “Here, sweetie,” she says. “I think you need it more than I do.”


She hasn’t hugged her husband or children in weeks. She works in the hospital with patients on ventilators and she lives in the in-law apartment over the garage. On her days off she sleeps, wishing she could forgot how much her patients are suffering. Wishing she could bring them back. Wishing it was different.



He fought overseas and now he’s fighting here at home, but this time his weapon is an N95 mask and a thousand crates of gloves and gowns and hand sanitizer, and his enemy is a microscopic virus.

He’s dropping off the last shipment of the day at a rural fire station. In the mountains, they’re the frontline defense. They’re the first ones on call and they need to have protection.

He meets the chief and they exchange a handful of sentences as they unload the truck, but mostly they let the silence fill the spaces between them. There is so much to say that it’s better to say nothing.

“Thank you,” the chief says as the soldier prepares to leave. “Drive safe.”

The soldier nods to him and climbs back into the truck. Everything that needed to be said has now been said.


She spends hours among the shelves, more time than her salary compensates for, but it’s better than sitting at home. She fills dozens of bags a week with a hand-picked selection of books for the people who would normally flood the library. She needs this as much as they do.



The dirt road is impassable with the school bus, but he has a few minutes extra in the schedule, so he parks at the bottom of the hill and carries the box of food through the mud to the house perched on top. The kids run to the door, screaming happily, and he sets the box on the porch. They’re tearing into the bags before he’s gone a hundred feet back towards the bus and a smile breaks out on his face.


She was laid off and the company only paid two weeks’ wages; not enough to make up for the loss of her husband’s income and not enough to pay for his cancer treatments, which are harder than ever now. She’s pinching pennies and counting dollars and praying that they can make it through until some form of relief comes through.


The cafe was their dream. When the people left, so did the money, and now they’re standing in the middle of their space making the hardest decision of their life: to try and stay afloat, or to fold. They don’t have many options and in a few weeks the virus has killed their dreams and crushed their hopes.


She’s been recovering from the abusive relationship and slowly learning to trust people again, and now she’s thrust back into a world of isolation and fear. It’s so hard not to let it drown her. It’s so hard not to give up. It’s so hard…


They’ve been bouncing around from home to home for years. She’s stubborn and overprotective, he’s autistic and nonverbal. They have to leave another home but there’s nowhere for them to go now.

This time it really does seem hopeless.


He’s tucked away in the office late almost every night, tracking the case counts and outbreaks and research, and trying to get the information out there. People want to know. People need to know.


She’s going mad, stuck at home all the time, but the boys are at very high risk and she can’t put them in danger. She can’t. She tries to stay connected through Facebook and phone calls but it’s not the same. The boys, too, are restless and hurting. They’re rays of sunshine; they’re not made to be cooped up in a box.


Normally he’d hang out with kiddos at school, watch their sports games, read books in class, join them for a game at recess, but he can’t right now so instead he answers every call for a birthday parade that he can, and does his best to give the kids a good day even in the middle of a sea of bad days.


He doesn’t know how to help. He’s not much good at talking on the phone and he doesn’t have much money to give, but he has time and tools and his hands, and he builds a mini food pantry and watches with quiet pride as the community pours in to fill it.


They’re here. They’ve been holding onto each other with everything they have and they’ve been fighting for each other every moment of the way.

The loss and grief will color their souls forever and they will remember what it felt like to be so alone and so powerless, but they will also remember the tiny sparks of light and the warmth of a smile and the knowledge that they are stronger together.

They are humanity.

They are us.


Twenty Four Years: reflection

Today is my twenty-fourth birthday. Cricket and I left shortly after dawn and went to hike my mountain.

We spent almost eleven hours on the mountain and it was both the best and hardest day I’ve had in a long time.

The last time I was here, I was twelve. That was half my lifetime ago, and it was before all the bad things happened.

Last night I wrote out everything bad — everything — from the last twelve years. I wrote it out and then I burned the papers and collected the ashes in a bag. I carried all those ghosts of myself with me up the mountain.

I sprinkled the ashes on the wind at the tree line.

I felt as though I was standing with the child I was before. The child who climbed this mountain twelve years ago had no idea what her future held. She was full of life and she felt like she could conquer the world.

I lost that feeling somewhere along the way, but I realized I had it again as I stood there today.

Hiking my mountain this time was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I’m still dealing with chronic health issues that made the seven-mile hike tricky at times, but the mental and emotional elements wrapped up in the trip were the hardest things to deal with.

Coming back down my mountain, my heart was full of light. I felt present and connected and I was so full of joy I couldn’t stop smiling.

I’m a writer. A storyteller. But I’ve never known how to tell my own story.

I don’t want to be seen as a victim. Even to be seen as a survivor often makes me uncomfortable, because I rarely see myself that way. I mostly see myself as a human who had hard battles to fight. There is more to my existence than the trauma and I’m at a point where much of my existence is outside of those experiences.

Some time ago I wrote a poem with this line; I don’t remember the rest of the poem but this line is engraved in my mind:

“Survival is not who I am; survival is what I did. When you speak of me, call me by my name.”

I am Annie.

I don’t know what lies ahead but I do know two things for certain: one, that I am loved beyond comprehension, and two, that at the end of this incredible journey called life, I’m going home.

No Smoke Alarms Were Harmed

A few months ago I went to the hardware store to find the fire chief to ask him a question, and ended up seeing two of the fire chiefs I work with regularly, so I got dual input on my particular problem.

(In rural Maine, if I need a firefighter for non-emergency reasons, odds are good I can find one by wandering into the nearest hardware store.)

My problem went like this: one afternoon I realized the smoke alarm in the kitchen did not work. This was mildly problematic so I climbed up on the step stool and did some troubleshooting.

The problem was that the smoke alarm was unplugged. I, being a tech genius, plugged it back in.

It began squawking like nobody’s business.

I, being an annoyed tech genius, unplugged it and went to the hardware store and got a package of batteries. I replaced the battery and thought all was well.

It was all good, for a little while. Until I began heating the tea kettle.

The kettle hadn’t even begun to hum before the smoke alarm had a meltdown and began screaming in earnest.

I, being a short and annoyed tech genius with a high ceiling, grabbed the nearest cooking implement and jabbed at the smoke alarm reset button to get it to be quiet while I made tea.

The nearest implement was a chef’s knife.

I did NOT damage the smoke alarm and I DID get it to be quiet for a few minutes, but before the tea kettle was properly whistling it went off again.

THAT was the point at which I went back to the hardware store to find Fred.

“I have a hyperactive smoke alarm–” I said and before I offered further explanation, both fire chiefs informed me that I needed to replace the unit.

So, I did. Two different units, one return, and twenty-five dollars later, I had a new smoke alarm.

For the most part, it behaves. Every so often however it takes great offense to whatever I’m cooking, and sets off screaming like I’m trying to kill it. I keep a spoon handy to jab the smoke alarm when it does go off, but it’s been pretty good for a few weeks.

This week, while attempting to make avocado toast and baked fish, the smoke alarm decided that the scattering of crumbs browning in the pan while I made toast presented a life-threatening hazard to everyone and everything in the neighborhood.

After I recovered from jumping out of my skin, I grabbed the spoon, stabbed the ceiling, and went back to making my toast.

This sequence was repeated three more times while I made my supper.

When I made avocado toast again the next day, I was speaking with Missie on the phone and really didn’t want to set off the smoke alarm; it has really awful sound effects through speaker phone and I didn’t want to blow out her eardrums.

Avocado toast, round two, was made without harming any smoke alarms.

No smoke alarms were harmed in the making of tonight’s supper.

There is a good chance that the reason for tonight’s success was because I microwaved a bowl of pasta and made a much larger bowl of green salad, but that’s beside the point.

(Note: I am a good cook and rarely ACTUALLY burn things, I just have bad luck with smoke alarms.)

Perspective: “The Media”

Two years ago, sitting on a slightly lumpy bed in a medical hostel in Portland, I sent in a query for a job writing at my local paper. I had no experience in journalism and I was scared stiff of the prospect, but I also knew that I needed a job that would allow me to be a part of my community, and I figured it was worth a shot.

Before I began working as the sole journalist at the paper, regularly covering a dozen municipalities and nearly all of the unorganized territories in Maine’s north western mountains, I’d heard vague chatter about “the media” and how awful it is.  There was plenty of chatter but no details; no specific examples or instances of what was so terrible. I’m still hearing a lot of that chatter, and still without specific examples.

I want to take a minute and share some of my own specific examples of what my life is like as a journalist. I don’t expect to change anyone’s opinion but if I’ve learned one thing in the last two years, it’s that information can lead to a greater understanding; there is value in understanding another perspective, even if you don’t agree with it.

I do understand that there are differences between myself and many other reporters and journalists, and I cannot speak for their experiences, but I can speak for mine.


I’m always “on duty”. When I want to take a vacation? I have to shut off my phone and leave the county. I wish I was exaggerating. I’ve tried to be deliberate in making connections and relationships, and I’ve tried to make myself accessible and available. Most of the time that works in my favor, even if it’s not related to work; when I take vacation time, it is often challenging to truly take time off if I’m still in my territory.


All the bad things you read in the news? I put them there. Sometimes I rewrite a press release from the sheriff’s office, but sometimes I’m building the story from the ground up with gathered information and conversations. Regardless of how I received the information, I have to be sure I’m understanding it thoroughly so that I can correctly communicate it to others. I have to do my research and know my topics before I can begin writing the story. Imagine that your homework assignment is to thoroughly evaluate, process, and understand all the available information about the death of a child you knew, and then figure out how to explain it. Imagine the toll that takes on you.


Sometimes people aren’t nice. I have been harassed, yelled at, threatened, mocked, and abused by people in my communities. I have had people come into my office and yell at me about how to do my job. I try to interact with everyone in a friendly, open manner, but that doesn’t always get reciprocated. Sometimes I can set it aside and not worry about it; sometimes I end up sitting in my truck in the driveway after work, crying because it’s all too much.


I get to see and hear and know about the worst of humanity, without the ability to do anything to help. This is a hard one for me sometimes because every fiber of my being wants to help, and most of the time there is absolutely nothing that I can do except stay out of the way.


I have to make it make sense. I have to write about the inexplicable and find a way to explain it. I have to turn chaos into a line of orderly words on the page. And I’m pretty damn good at it, but sometimes this is what it feels like for me:

“The Media”

As the only reporter at the office, I covered everything from festivals and celebrations to municipal meetings to school events to accidents and fatalities.

As a reporter I wear hundreds of hats and they’re all being juggled at once to make sure that everything gets covered. I’ve had to flip a switch from writing about a horrific snowmobile accident to writing about the kindergarten class having a play day at the sledding hill with no space to breathe in between.


I wanted to be accessible and available, and it worked. Sometimes I wonder if it worked a little too well. Folks have told me stories that can’t be told to anyone else. They feel better afterwards and I am glad that they feel safe enough to trust me with their stories, but sometimes I wish I didn’t have those images in my head.


I don’t even want to talk about COVID-19, because that would take up two or four more pages, but that is a massive piece of the puzzle too.


I love my job, and as a general rule I wouldn’t change a thing, but it is not an easy job. I care about my people far too much for this to ever be easy.

It’s not easy, but it is worthwhile.

I get to go to the best places and meet the most interesting people and I have a whole book’s worth of my own stories that happened alongside my news articles. I get to be connected and engaged and part of these communities in a way that I haven’t been before, and it is so satisfying for me.

People have this fundamental desire to be connected with each other and to know what is going on, and meeting that need is one of the things I get to do.

I can understand, to a degree, the skepticism and mistrust of “the media”. I, too, struggle with vague and faceless entities that seem to have no connection with my world.

My advice, which may not be worth much, is twofold.

For those who are not in journalism, consider supporting your local media and avoiding national news for a few days. Local or even state media is more likely to provide you with connections, instead of just information. I think that a lot of the time we’re experiencing an information overload and that is hard to cope with.

Secondly, for my fellow journalists, I don’t know much about how you do this job, but I know that we are a part of this world and that we need to be connected and integrated. How can we expect to be successful, trusted, or respected if we treat ourselves like outsiders and like we don’t belong? These are our communities too.


With love,

Annie

Travel Log: Northern Franklin Loop

Earlier this week I had an Impromptu Rangeley Day. I needed to take some time away and had limited options, but I had a full tank of gas and the afternoon was free, so I grabbed my dog and we headed north.

Carrabassett River with part of the Bigelow range in the background

Our first stop was the Maine Department of Transportation rest area on Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley. There’s a picnic area and bathroom facilities, and a tiny little trail that leads down to the river. This was my first visit this year; the rest area is closed during the winter months and opened in just the last few days.

The river water was pretty cold still. How do I know? I stepped in it and soaked my shoes, obviously. I was wearing the right shoes for it, so it was all good.

The entire trip was unexpected and I didn’t really have any structure. We headed up to Stratton and then through to Eustis, and stopped to take photos at Pines Market on Flagstaff Lake.

Flagstaff Lake with the Bigelow Range

Flagstaff Lake is gorgeous, and one of the largest lakes in Maine; I have a love-hate relationship with it that I don’t entirely understand.

As a teenager I learned about the history of Flagstaff Lake. It is a man-made lake, created about seventy years ago when the Long Falls Dam was built, causing the Dead River to flood the valley. There were several small towns in the valley; the property was bought, many of the houses were moved, graveyards were exhumed and relocated, and the lake replaced the townships of Flagstaff, Bigelow, Carrying Place, and Dead River.

I’ve been told by local pilots that on a clear day they can still see the roofs of some of the houses under the water.

I know how strongly some people are bound to the land here in New England and I can imagine the grief of having to unearth more than a century of community history for the sake of a corporation.

I think in some ways the story of Flagstaff touches on my own grief and my own feelings of un-belonging. I have Native American ancestry, but I don’t know much more than that. Many of the records were destroyed when my great-grandmother Annie’s house burned down, and others were lost or obscured or forgotten about. I know that my ancestors lived in what I know as Maine and Canada, but I don’t know what tribes they belonged to and where they called home.

I often find myself standing in the woods, knowing that I know this place, and not understanding why or how. I feel invisible threads pulling me to the woods and the waters and the mountains, and I feel two conflicting things: I feel like I belong and that I know this place, and at the same time I feel like I am completely and entirely lost and that I don’t know where I am.

This spring I had the unexpected opportunity to listen to a man singing at the ocean. The words, the tune, and the rhythm were unfamiliar at first but as I sat on the rock and listened, I suddenly felt as though I knew what he was singing: he was singing about healing, and being, and part of the song was a prayer. I still couldn’t understand the words but I felt the same way I feel when I come home from a long time away and see my mountain for the first time; I felt like I was in a space where I belonged. It made me cry, sitting there on the rock.

I spoke with him briefly afterwards, and I asked what he had sung. He told me that he had sung healing songs, and spirit songs, and prayer songs.

When I think of Flagstaff and the villages that were destroyed, I remember my own history that holds so much that has been lost or destroyed or erased.

All of this was rattling around in my head while we were at the lake, so I decided to leave and head west to Quill Hill. It was my first trip there this year, and the day was lovely and I thought I would be able to get some good photos.

Quill Hill was created by Adrian Brochu. He engineered and designed the road up the mountain and the overlook at the summit, which gives 365 degree views of the entire Western Maine region. He also created the Ira Mountain overlook and picnic area.

I met Adrian once, while I was working on an article for the paper. He and I got to chatting and he asked about my writing. I explained that I write books as well as news articles, and he got excited for a moment. “Well,” he said, “I want someone to write a book about Quill Hill and Ira, and why I made them.”

Saddleback

I gave him my business card and he said he would get in touch in a few months when he was prepared to tell the whole story. He wanted to tell the story so his grandchildren would know it.

Adrian passed away a few months after our conversation. When I go to Quill Hill, I still wonder what stories he could have told me.

From Quill Hill we continued west into Rangeley. By that point I was pretty tired out and Cricket was getting a little warm, so we actually didn’t stay in Rangeley for long. We picked up snacks and headed south towards Smalls Falls, where I knew Cricket could get out and cool off and relax.

Smalls Falls is one of my favorite parts of a good Rangeley Day. Standing on the foot bridge over the river and listening to the water rush down the rocks into the pool is one of the most emotionally healing and cleansing experiences I’ve ever had and I always leave there feeling stronger and brighter.

There were people at the lower pool, so we crossed over the river and went up the other side to take photos of one of the upper pools.

Smalls Falls

One of the reasons I love Rangeley Days is because I get to see so many of my favorite places. Another is because I always find something unexpected. Sometimes it’s something external, and sometimes it’s something internal. Sometimes, it’s both.

On this Rangeley Day, which had started out so badly, I found a little bit of peace. I felt that I was part of this place and this place was part of me. When I got in the truck to drive, I felt like I was falling into a black hole in the universe. I didn’t know what else to do with myself, so I drove, and I took photos, and I tried not to think too much.

And by the end of my day I wasn’t anywhere near a black hole. I was here: in my world, where I belong.

It was an impromptu Rangeley Day but it was exactly what I needed.

Travel Log: Freeport Maine

Cricket and I went to the coast for a mini vacation this week. I was careful to pick weekdays, not the weekend, when there would be less traffic. I picked Freeport because of Wolfe’s Neck State Park, which is open year-around and allows dogs.

Wolfe’s Neck State Park

My family and I went to Wolfe’s Neck last year and I fell in love with the place. Given the pandemic and everything going on, I was looking forward to some time away in an outdoor setting.

Walking trails lead throughout the parking with a variety of terrain and lengths of trails. One of the trails is wheelchair accessible, which I love. It follows along a ridge to the overlook where you can watch the ospreys nesting on the island.

Our first day there I intended to buy a season pass to get into all the Maine State Parks. The website said I could buy one online and have it mailed to ne, which obviously wouldn’t work out since I was already a hundred miles away from my mailbox. Or I could buy one at the park.

I decided to get one at the park. We arrived and I found a park ranger emptying the self-service payment container. As it turns out, while the park is open year round, it’s self service for part of the year.

I had pretty good timing, however. The ranger was there when we got there. He was very helpful and went off to get me a season pass from the office since the park station wasn’t open and didn’t have any passes. We waited in the parking lot for him and he brought a whole bunch of goodies along with the pass, including a Maine State Park Passport and Geocache record. I’d never really heard of geocaching so the passport was a good excuse to get into it.

It was a rainy sort of day but we went for a long walk on the trails. I made the mistake of letting Cricket take the lead and she went off at a jog for two miles. She wore me out!

We found this painted rock and seashell hidden near the parking lot.

We didn’t see too many people all three days we were there. The first day, we met a family with small children. Cricket wanted to keep them and they wanted to say hello. Their grownup was very sweet and told them to wave hello to the dog.

A couple hours south they’re well into spring. Things are green and soft and warm, and it makes me happy.

Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Factory

I accidentally scared the living daylights out of two of my brothers so I had to buy chocolate to make amends. That called for a visit to Wilbur’s of Maine to get homemade chocolates for the boys and a few for me.

Island Treasure Toys

I didn’t pack any kind of art supplies and realized it was a terrible idea, so I hopped over to Island Treasure Toys and got watercolor paints and paper. Honestly it’s the first time I’ve had real watercolor paper, and it is AWESOME. The rest of the shop was a lot of fun to explore and I will probably have to do some birthday shopping there for my nephew.

Two Brothers Books

My mum and I found Two Brothers Books in Freeport and have been checking them out regularly on our Portland trips over the last couple years. We usually find something good hidden away in the shelves, and I just had to stop in and take a peek while I was in the area.

It was a great trip. We had lots of time to relax and rest, and we got to explore and check out different places and reconnect with favorite places.

More Photos!

Travel Log, April 3 2021

Good Places

I borrowed my youngest brother and we went off wandering. We did have a specific goal in mind and we didn’t make it that far, but we had a good time anyway.

Shiloh Pond is the brand-new conservation land in Kingfield, and we went up to get some photos for work. It’s not necessarily ‘open’, but there’s an easement on the road, so we could get in.

By “get in”, I mean, we could trudge in. The last section of road is dirt and in early April in Maine, that means mud. I don’t want to destroy the road so I parked at the end of the pavement and we walked in halfway before the boy decided he was tired and didn’t want to brave the rest of the walk on the snowy, muddy road.

“Leave no trace” is a phrase I’ve been taught my whole life, and I try to follow that rule. I tread softly.

We packed in a snack; the brother had cheerios and I had a cookie and milk from my favorite little shop in town. We stopped and snacked before we headed back out. As we started back out an eagle glided overhead, wings spread wide to catch the breeze.

Several turkeys had been through before us, and a chipmunk rustled the leaves, and dog prints led in towards the pond ahead of us and back out again.

I’m so excited that this little pond will be part of this community. I’m going to enjoy visits up there and wandering around the pond. Cricket loves it up there. Last summer she found bear droppings and it was the very stinky highlight of her week.

It was fairly warm, but the wind was rough. That was one of the bigger reasons we didn’t go all the way in, but we will another time. There will be plenty of opportunities later on.

Good People

Being outside was such an important thing of my growing up and I’m so excited that the kids in this community will have the chance to go get lost and be wild and adventurous. I think it’s really important for a healthy and balanced appreciation and interaction with nature, and this is going to be good for the whole community.

I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

Good Eats

Had to stop in and get a Fatty from Rolling Fatties on Main Street. Next weekend is their last weekend before they close for the spring, so I had to get one more Fatty in before the break.

Rolling Fatties

Fatties are burritos, made with local ingredients as much as possible. The basic Fatty has oat groats and black beans wrapped in a fresh tortilla with salsa and creme. I usually add lettuce and chicken or beef to round out the meal. You can get the Fatty in a bowl if you prefer and the options for customization are almost endless.

If you’re feeling super adventurous, go with the Freedom Fatty, which is just whatever the cook fancies. I haven’t tried that one yet because I’m still working through the rest of the menu, but one of these days I’m going to have to check it out and see what’s what.

Rolling Fatties is run by Polly and Rob MacDonald, and I love their enthusiasm and energy in taking care of their community.

Check them out on Facebook, Intsagram, and online at RollingFatties.com

For our snack, I had a cookie and chocolate milk that Kate gave me when I delivered some stuff for her. Kate and her husband Brian run the Maine Beer Shed and they carry local groceries and produce from local farms, including baked goodies from Nicole up at Bigelow Fields.

Once I started the cookie, I realized that just one was simply not acceptable. These cookies are INCREDIBLE and I had to go buy more for later this week.

It’s getting to be evening time and the girls are herding me off to bed, so I’d best sign off for tonight.

💜

-Annie

Blooper Reel

As it turns out, I’m not necessarily super good at talking. I have a tendency to transpose my words and put them in the wrong order which sometimes means that I very seriously and earnestly say things like, “Here in Maine, the hills grow on the trees, and that really limits the visibility.”

I’m sure it’s very bad for visibility if the hills are on top of the trees.

I dozed off no less than three times while finishing this post and when