Christmas 2008

Santa was good to us this year at 290 High St, Lincolnville, Maine. It was just Marcia and I this time, as Lincoln and Arlo were spending the holiday week together in Bozeman , MT at Lincoln’s place for a week of cooking of Polish food , snowboarding, and having adventures of their own in some of the most beautiful country in the whole world.
Breakfast was special. I defrosted three of my mother Isabel’s home made pancakes, and adorned them with a liberal dose of Maine blueberries and maple syrup. They were accompanied by their old friend, the cup of double espresso from Rock City Coffee Roasters.

I received some great gifts this year, mostly camping related:
– Money from my mother that I could use it to buy something for myself.
-Marcia gave me my own copy of Willem Lange’s Tales from the Edge of the Woods, 18 short stories from the heartland of Vermont.
-I was stunned to find a copy of Marianna Olszewaka Heberle’s Polish Cooking book under the tree as well. My mother loaned me her out of print copy of the 1985 first edition of the book, and Marcia discovered it had been reprinted in 2005. I plan to make a big pot of Bigos tomorrow. It is also known as Hunter’s stew and is considered the Polish national dish.
-A new pair of down booties. This is a sore spot between Marcia and I. I have an old pair that I am now holding together with duct tape.

I mean old, like 30 years old?

One Beat Pair of Booties
One Beat Pair of Booties

Here they are, and I actually have agreed to throw them out and use the new pair. I have a hard time letting go of stuff.  Marcia encouraged me to mention that the substances on the upper fabric are likely some form on organic matter, an additional factor in the exit of these boots from the Jamrog household.
-A new sweater that I chose at the Yankee Swap that we had here at the house Christmas eve when our friends Hank and Cathy came by.
-A framed color photograph from Bad Influence that was taken on our trip this October to the Fundy Footpath.
Three tiny alcohol stoves from Minibull Design of Corrina, Maine. I want a backup system to use when I am backpacking in several days of rain, which happened to me this season. I normally use a wood stove, but one of these will find its way inside the packed stove with 4 OZ. Of denatured alcohol for such emergencies. Any of the three will fit easily inside the woodstove.
– I also ordered a Backpacking Light Beartooth Merino Wool Hoody. Their stuff is normally too expensive, but right now there was a special one day sale for premium members where you received not only the 10 member discount, but also were able to take and additional 40 % of the member price. I have switched over 100 % to wool base outdoor activity garments from polypropeline .

After a leisurely morning, Marcia and I put on the hiking shoes and decided to visit our neighbors Steve and Abbey Horton. Blog readers will remember Steve from our motorcycle camping  trip report this summer up to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I owe Steve big time. He had helped me out of many of scrape in my life here on High St. in the boondocks. It was Steve himself that brought us to this property on the side of Moody Mountain, back in 1976. He found out that the former owner, Carrol Frost, had put a piece up for sale and told us to move on it quickly. Carrol was hot to buy a new Honda 750 motorcycle and needed to get $6000 for the 4.5 acres of field and woods in order to buy the bike outright. The Horton’s only live about a mile away by the way a crow flies, but you can’t get there from here unless you wind your way along High St , then head up the steep Moody Mountain Road, then cut into the woods at French Road South, then take Steve’s long driveway up through his field and you are there, some 2.5+ mile hike there and the same back.

Two Hikers
Two Hikers

Here we are striking out up the icy driveway. We had some appetizers at the Horton’s and the real treat of the day was experiencing Steve cracking opening the wooden box and then uncorking the Bookers Bourbon, Jim Beam’s highest grade  whiskey, uncut and bottled straight from the barrel.
We made it back downhill in 50 minutes. Moody Mountain is over 900 feet high, and Steve’s place is right up there.

We wound up the day after naps and reading spells in the afternoon. I finished off Four Against the Arctic, and you can read my review  here.
After supper, I read aloud the story of Favor Johnson, from my new Lange book. Then it was time for “Sex, Lies and Ed’s Tapes” a episode from 1990’s vintage CBS’s Northern Exposure that we received from Netflix. It is about community life in Alaska.
Today it all came our way:  food, friends, family, being outdoors, and ample reminders of abundance. Beneath it all was the shining of the ever expanding light that the sun itself gives to us this unique time of year.

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