Archive | June, 2010

Fredda Paul

Fredda and Leslie were both unpacking their things from a beat up Rav 4 when we arrived at the Deer Isle Hostel. Fredda didn’t say much when Dennis, the owner of the hostel, introduced us all, and after an awkward handshake and a silent understanding that we’d probably be spending a lot of time together in close quarters during the next day, I went off with Kalen on a hike before the sun went down and dinner was to be served.

When we got back from the hike, we washed up, had a few beers, played half a game of Scrabble and walked a few hundred feet from the hostel over to Dennis’ cabin. We brought a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread from Blue Hill, ME and one of many small jars of jalapeƱo jelly that Kalen had bought for me at Reny’s the previous day.

Leslie was standing at the wood stove, heating up a half-opened can of sardines in tomato sauce and cooking a mess of greens from Dennis’ garden. Dennis and Fredda sat at the kitchen table smiling and quietly laughing. When I plopped the bread and jelly on the table, Fredda’s face lit up. “AH! JALAPENOS! YUP!”

I sat in between Kalen and Fredda, and before we ate the massive spread of food that had been waiting for us, we all joined hands and sat in silence. When Dennis finally spoke and told us to eat, I made a comment about how much I enjoyed a canned sardine and Fredda whispered and chuckled through a long story about his life as a sardine fisherman in the 60s. We finished dinner, ate a disgusting homemade cream puff that someone had given Leslie for their drive down to Deer Isle from the reservation, did the dishes and read in bed until we passed out.

The following morning, I woke up around 5 am to the rooster crowing outside my window, walked downstairs and saw Fredda sitting at the table, looking out the window, cane in hand. We made coffee together, talked about his life on the reservation, the smell of sweet annie at Common Grounds, my life in Brooklyn and how he had won several habenero pepper eating contests. (“I like spicy things. Like the jelly. YUP!”) We walked down to the trees so he could smoke a cigarette, a habit that he claimed his wife didn’t know about. He told me the names of plants in Dennis’ garden and which ones you could eat and which ones made the kids on the reservation sneeze. Fredda and Leslie had driven to Deer Isle to give a seminar on native medicinal plants at the hostel that day, so after a few hours of talking and walking, we went back to the house so he could start setting up.

At 7 a.m., Dennis woke up and took me down to the beach and taught me how to dig for clams. An hour or two later, we walked back to the hostel with two big buckets full of the slimy creatures, packed our stuff and started our descent back down to the coast.

Visit Fredda and Leslie’s website and order some red willow bark, that when smoked, helps a man get some sleep.

(I’m pretty sure this is one of the first pictures of myself I’ve ever posted in these parts, so enjoy it.)

June 9, 2010 | Long Hairs | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Camden Hills State Park

Camden Hills State Park is located in Camden, ME, just a few hours north of Portland, ME and a few hours south of Acadia National Park and Deer Isle. It’s a perfect place to go camping after a breakfast at Friendly Toast and a beautiful drive up Route 1 in Maine. On a clear day, you can hike up Mt. Battie and see Cadillac Mountain at Acadia. It’s quite the view, friends. The camping is all done right next to your car, but the sites are big(ish) and quiet if you get there early enough in the season. I can’t vouch for July and August.

Go to Maine. Listen to Thin Lizzy. Enjoy the sun. Sing karaoke with sailors at Cuzzy’s.

MP3: Thin Lizzy – Running Back

June 8, 2010 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Lodge Dutch Ovens

Joseph Lodge began making iron cookware in the Appalachian Mountains of South Pittsburg, Tennesse at the end of the 19th century. If you’ve ever used cast iron while camping (next to your car as it’s heavy as can be) then you know that a) it cooks your chili so that the aroma generates rapture akin to a lover’s kiss and b) it’ll last you a lifetime. It’s also surpisingly cheap. Kleenex is to tissue as Chapstick is to lip balm as Lodge is to cast iron.

Dick Proenneke went on and on about sourdough biscuits and jam in the morning, so if you’ve got yourself a Lodge, and I’m sure you do, then make sure you try making them at least once. Nothing, and I mean nothing, tastes better after waking up from your tent than sourdough biscuits. And of course, Lodge has a recipe right on their website for the beauties. If you don’t have the time or the motivation to make your own sourdough starter, try using this.

The picture above is from Campground Cooking, a book that I’ve been admiring at home for the past couple of months after seeing some scans on Old Chum’s Flickr.

June 8, 2010 | Food | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

I’ll Dance and I’ll Sing and My Heart Will Be Gay

From Mel Bay’s Songs Of The Great Outdoors: Favorite Songs for Camping, Hiking, Boating, Biking, Backpacking and Skiing

MP3: Carter Family – Wildwood Flower

June 7, 2010 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Dorothy Waugh

After graduating from the Chicago Art Institute, Dorothy Waugh worked in a commercial art studio in Chicago. She relocated to New York soon after and became the manager of the children’s book department at Alfred A. Knopf. In addition to her work at Knopf, she was production supervisor of the National Park Service doing copy, layout and artwork. In the late 1930′s she was appointed special lecturer and critic to the New York School of Fine and Applied Art where she also taught typography and design. See the posters above much larger after the jump and then head on over to the Library Of Congress Shop and buy “The Lure Of The National Parks” for yourself.

Continue Reading →

June 7, 2010 | Art/Photography | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Cold Splintas Stickas

Y’all, I’ve gotten several emails in the past couple of days asking where your Cold Splinters stickers are. Many apologies for the delayed shipping on these. The sticker company I used is run by a bunch of SUPER nice idiots who love to either send me poor quality stickers or send said poor quality stickers to the wrong address. Add that to a week long trip I just got back from and you have yourselves some pretty poor excuses on my part.

Anyway, they’ll be there soon. Mid-next week. I promise. And if you still want to order one or two or three, you can send $3 to on Paypal.

MP3: Roy Orbison – Only The Lonley

June 4, 2010 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 5 }


It’s bug season. No question about that. Black flies are-a-biting. And seriously, what else works as well as DEET? Certainly not the citronella bracelet. Right?

June 3, 2010 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

Songs Of Freedom

One of my favorite things about turning 16 and getting my license (and growing up a suburban white kid) was being able to blast the first disc of Songs Of Freedom while driving through the “farmland” of Northern Illinois during the summertime. Yeah, there are better Bob Marley records to turn on, but we all got our musical keepsakes from teenage yesteryears. Turns out that CD sounds just as good in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Shocker.

Enjoy it on the way to wherever you find yourself going this summer. Free anti-depressants for everyone..

MP3: Bob Marley – Mellow Mood

MP3: Bob Marley – Hypocrites

MP3: Bob Marley – Thank You Lord

MP3: Bob Marley – Back Out

MP3: Bob Marley – Mr. Brown

****And one more in honor of Best Made Co’s newest arrival:

MP3: Bob Marley – Small Axe

June 3, 2010 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

Canon In The Parks

The wonderful folks at American Park Network (I spend all day, everyday with ‘em) and Canon have again organized a series of digital photography workshops in Yosemite National Park. They’re going down twice a day from June 7 to June 28. There will be many more stops along the way for the “Canon In The Parks” program, but for now, find out more info about the FREE Yosemite workshops here.

MP3: Bruce Cockburn – Thoughts On A Rainy Afternoon

June 2, 2010 | Art/Photography | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }


Despite all the thrift/antique stores, miles of pristine coastline, and widow’s walks that Maine has to offer, the stars of the show last weekend were the roadside lupins, which kept us ooooohin’ and ahhhhhin’ for hours. If you’re going to be on up in Deer Isle, ME in a few weeks, check out the 9th Annual Lupine Festival from June 18-20th. You can stay with Dennis at the Deer Isle Hostel. More to come on that magical place in the next few days..

June 2, 2010 | Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }