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Claybrook Mountain Lodge
July, 2015

When I think of summer, July is the month that comes to mind. It usually means hot dry days with sudden, sometimes violent thunder storms. The combination of heat followed by rain makes lush green everywhere. The garden grows out of control, the field fills with Milk Weed and new born wildlife gains strength and confidence. I think of that first smell of the ocean when we crest the last hills on the route to Pemaquid for a coastal vacation.

I was awakened just before 4 AM this morning to the hoots of dueling Barred Owls. Once in a while the rooster would add to the commotion. When I went outside to enjoy my coffee in the first light the owls were silent but the rooster wasn’t. Between crows there was absolute silence… not even a logger on the way to work on Long Falls Dam Road. I am trying to soak up all of this quiet because it probably won’t always be there.

Our first July guest was Bob Westphal. He is a veteran guest and a dear friend from the “Pierce Pond” days. Bob spent a couple of days fishing at Pierce Pond, and I went with him for a day. We didn’t catch anything significant, but it was great to spend a day together. Norma Friedman and friends Peggy and Carolyn arrived during that same time. These women know how to relax and enjoy a summer day, and we are always eager to have a visit with them. Tom Rouillard made his usual trek to Pierce Pond via Claybrook Lodge. I set up the old Grandlaker with the new Yamaha, and he spent four days fishing. For Tom, this is a retreat from the summer hustle of Nantucket.

Just before we went on vacation, Pat took a nostalgia trip to Pierce Pond. Kristen needed a morning off to prepare for her upcoming wedding to Bob McLaughlin. Pat got up early and made that old familiar drive with the rising sun. She fried and scrambled eggs just like the “old days” and visited with friends from the past and present. We loved our 20 years at Cobb’s, but I don’t think we would adjust well to the long hours now.

Vacation at Pemaquid was as good as it gets. We rented two homes next to each other. The old folks got one and the families with children got the other. The house the children were in was big enough to provide all the rooms and space they needed with a little fenced in backyard. We were walking distance from a small beach, so mothers could take children to the beach and get back when they needed to with ease. Kate and Peter, and Pat and I started early and spent two nights at a little cottage in New Harbor before moving into the family rentals. The cottage was one of many Thompson rentals around the peninsula. They were different sizes and the price was right for any combination of families. On our third evening when all had arrived, we met for family dinner at Shaw’s and had some of the best seafood in Maine. My sisters and brother came down with their families, and we all enjoyed a dinner on the deck. For Pat and me this time was ten days of bliss. I did gain a few pounds but it was well worth it.

Now it is back to the garden, raspberry and blueberry picking. The raspberries are average, but the blueberries at the “farm” are going gangbusters. Our friends Nancy Horton and Fred Martineau made our prolonged vacation possible by caretaking at Claybrook Lodge while we were away. On top of all the garden work, chicken and dog chores, they made time to prepare a great welcome home. Fred is a chef with skills we didn’t realize. He welcomed us home with a dinner that was especially interesting to Levi. The center piece was a large turtle made from a watermelon with all sorts of other food sculptures. We had no idea how talented Fred was. Thank you Fred and Nancy!

                                        “Gang Warily”,

Greg and Pat

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