Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Best Nature Sites Midcoast Maine

 Here's an interesting tidbit for an icy day...did you know that the hippocampus of a black capped chickadee grows over 30% as winter comes on?

It does, researchers feel it might be so they can better track where they've stored food.  Not sure that applies to humans as well, but there should be some reward for making it through the cold.

Here are a couple more questions:

Which U.S. state is the only state in the lower 48 to have a breeding population of eiders?
(can you guess based on the blog title?)

How did Native Americans use false hellebore to help select the most worthy candidates?

If you enjoy having bits of trivia on hand to add to a conversation, or like exploring a series of ecosystems, Best Nature Sites of MidCoast Maine might be the book for you.  It covers public locations along U.S. Route 1 from Brunswick to Belfast, but it's real strength is in the interesting details it includes about the many flora and fauna found in these locales.

We found this book at MaineSport in Rockport, but it should be at many other locations.  It is also available  online.
Answers to the questions in the comments.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Another Old Kayak Picture

     As I rummaged through the collection of clutter which makes up our estate, (looking for a decent calculator) I happened to glance up at the wall and noticed we had another old kayak picture displayed there:

 This is a drawing by Luther Bradley, one of Mark's distant relatives.  I'm not sure it's an accurate portrayal of kayak construction, but it's an interesting depiction of intrigue at the polar cap.  "Stefansson" is Vilhjalmur Stefansson, a Canadian Arctic Explorer who helped establish the US Army Cold Region Research and Engineering Laboratory at Dartmouth.  Luther Bradley was a cartoonist for the Chicago Daily News from 1899-1917.  This cartoon was initially published Sep. 20, 1915 while Sefansson was in the midst of his Canadian Arctic Expedition.  In fact, Stefansson has just spent 14 months exploring the ice pack. 
     In addition to editorial cartoons, Luther Bradley also wrote two amazing children's books:  Our Indians: A Midnight Visit to the Great Somewhere-or-other and Wonderful Willie!  What He and Tommy Did to Spain.   I especially wish I could share Our Indians with you. Our Indians has illustrations of a flying canoe pulled by birds.  I've haven't been able to find a full copy, but a few illustrations for Our Indians are here.  They are marvelous pictures, well worth scanning down the page.

A few Luther Bradley Resources:
A Tribute to Luther Bradley by His Boss at the Chicago Daily News
A digitized version of his book, Cartoons by Bradley,
A short biography of Luther Bradley  Another post by Allen Holtz on Luther Bradley
Scared Motherhood Poster by Luther Bradley

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Old Photos

Winter nights are perfect for reviewing old photos.  These pictures come from my grandfather's collection.  In the early 40's he signed on as a cook on the Alaskan Highway Crew, then found work as a cook at a gold-mine in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Pictures of Kayaks and Canoes:
The caption on this postcard reads: The Seal Hunter Returns.  It was taken by Jacobs/Nome.  I believe it was also taken in Nome. 
These two pictures are from:  The Alaska Sportsman Book:  Pictures of the Last Frontier by the Alaska Frontier Publishing Company.

Some miscellaneous pictures:
Henry Dreier, "Gen Del" in a wonderful sealskin coat and rather hasty put on boots.  This picture was approved by the Army Examiner, so its probably from the Alaskan Highway.
A wonderful Christmas card from Maurice, though I'm pretty sure that's not what you're supposed to do with bears.

I wish I knew the story behind this picture.  I never asked my grandfather about his photos from Alaska.  As a kid, I was mostly interested in seeing if my grandfather had any spare gum.  Beyond the gum, I loved looking at his display of ivory figurines, small polar bears and geese, he'd brought back with him.  And on an especially good day, he might pull out the coporlite, mammoth teeth, tusks and other treasures he'd found with near the gold mine.

And speaking of the mine; here are a few pictures:
The smelting process
My grandfather is the one on the right.  He believed in basic food and plenty of it.  His recipes were for 200 biscuits, gallons of beans etc.  He was a frugal man who believed in saving.  He could not understand why any of the men at the mine might chose to go into town and pay for meals when they were given free meals at the mine.  When he moved back home, he kept a huge garden for vegetables (loved his tomotoes!), fished and clammed for other meals.

   I hope your winter memories are keeping you warm!