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Claybrook Mountain Lodge
June, 2014

I remember that as a boy June was the first month of real summer weather. Generally it was warm and mostly dry. Rarely was there a frost in June and such is the case now except that June is warm and wet. Jay tried to till the garden spot for planting and the tiller was bogged down in mud. The black flies that emerge from cold flowing water got washed away in high flows, though those not accustomed to them still thought they were bad. Stream fishing was delayed as was the turtle egg laying season because of high water. Even so, June was warm and felt like summer, so I am not going to complain.

Our Bluebirds came early bucking the trend of the smelts and turtles. They selected a nest box at the back of the garden that usually is in the possession of Tree Swallows. I kept expecting them to leave and give up the box as usual, but when I peeked in one day there were young Bluebirds ready to fledge. A few days later they were out of the box except one that died. Since then the pair has been feeding four young ones all around the yard.

We started our turtle tours (early morning ride to nesting spots) on the tenth of June but saw no evidence that they were nesting. By the 16th they were out in force, and we saw several Snapping Turtles and a couple of Painted. We havenít see any Wood Turtles this year thus far, but as often as not we donít see them since they are so scarce.

Dick and Sheri Davis came to do some brook fishing with worms in June and we tried a hot spot the first evening with good success. It was Sheriís first time with a spinning rod, and she caught a couple of nice trout immediately. The next day we spent in a canoe paddling some less accessible territory. Though we didnít do as well as I had hoped, we did catch a lot of trout including one that was 17 inches. It isnít often that we catch one that size in a stream. Bob and Thurza Gibbs stopped in for a night on their way to Cobbís Camps at Pierce Pond. We were so glad to have a visit with them however short. I gave some fly casting lessons to Phil and Nancy Blaisdel, and we fished Sandy Stream wading. By that time the fishing had slowed considerably. The following weekend I did it again with Linda Sommer and Dick Bevins. I had very good students both weekends but not much for fish.

Daughter Maggie came with Flynn for a few days while they were moving from Bath to their new home in Portland. The Claybrook Lodge was busy with both boys and their Moms here together. After they returned home, Pat and I tried to see a Sea Dogs game, and we spent the night in Maggie and Matts new house. The day was hot and humid, and the afternoon was so filled with thunder showers that the game was canceled. At least we got a chance to check out the new house.

The month ended as it had begun with birding. Derek Lovitch arrived with a small group, and we took a tour of good spots with the van. The weather was pleasant, and we got some great birds but not as many as earlier trips. Several of Derekís clients were hoping for a Mourning Warbler, and we searched all around hoping, but to no avail. Finally at the end of the day, I remembered a place close to home that had been logged a couple of years earlier. The Mourning Warblers like cut over land with a tangle of slash and raspberries and some tall stems left standing. There is an abundance of this habitatóso much that the birds are very particular, and when this cover begins to heal the birds simply move to the next fresh cut. A perfect cover that holds multiple pairs will have none a few years later. At this cover we got one as soon as we left the van, and everyone was able to get a good look. Some days the Gods of the birds smile upon you. Eddie Giles came for one night with the Brookline Birding Club. Eddie has made several trips here, but it has been a while, so it was great to catch up with him. The BBC has some skilled and enthusiastic birders, and we always enjoy them.

We had enough dry days in June that I did finally get a garden planted. Most everything is thriving though I am having a battle with cucumber beetles and the potato bugs. I keep them under control with a spray of boiling water, but it is a constant battle. My raspberry patch is about to have the biggest crop yet, and we have some nice blueberries, but the grapes have some sort of affliction; I doubt there will be any this year. All the new growth has what looks like rust patches on the stems. If anyone has any knowledge of blights on Grapes I would like to hear from you.

I spent most of my spare time in June working on the firewood pile. It still isnít finished, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Iím really looking forward to our coastal vacation this year.

                                        ďGang WarilyĒ,
                                             Greg and Pat

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