Sauerkraut is comforting to make, comforting to eat

Fermented veggies in jars

With a name like Zimmermann, it is not surprising I grew up eating sour food–pickled herring, pickled onions, sauerbraten, and sauerkraut. I prepare German and Scandinavian meals regularly, too. While I make a sweet-tart red cabbage, and misshapen but tasty potato dumplings, somehow I had never made sauerkraut. My grandmother made kraut. I recall the […]

Five ways to have fun outdoors with no snow, iffy ice, and freezing temps

Black bread butter, strawberry jam, and hot chaga chai, simple and soul-satisfying.

I avert my eyes from the brown and barren ground, and reluctantly stay off the very unsafe ice at some of my favorite ice walks. This is not a winter filled with powdery snow angels, hours spent crossing a flat frozen lake, or weekends hanging out at the fish shacks. Tempting though it is to […]

Yes, it’s cold–but you don’t have to be

Cold and wind are no excuse to stay inside. (Photo from previous winter, ice is not ready yet.)

It’s here, the cold, the crisp, the invigorating single digit weather that is a Maine trademark. The projected temperatures for this weekend indicate a big chill, and you can hunker down with warm slippers and a good book, or get out there and embrace the cold. Reveling in it is my choice, and I grab […]

Foraging for maitake mushrooms–the time is now.

a seventeen pound plus maitake

Maitake season is upon us. I was mourning that we had not gotten any this year, and that my supply was getting rather slim, and that it was pretty late, and whine after whine. Then, a burst of rain, and they were popping up all over. Now I have to scramble to freeze or cook […]

The learning will never stop–naturalists graduate

Behaviour can help indicate species. These curious creatures are naturalists

The last installment of my progress as a Maine Master Naturalist, Tier 1.   Fireworks end with a grand finale of ear-aching noise and blinding flashes. That is nothing compared to the Maine Master Naturalist finale, Tier One. We followed in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark through field and forest, and then put on […]

Science and Art: A group of naturalists make beautiful bugs

Wally and Carol's bumblebee pancake

Another installment in my progress as a Maine Master Naturalist Tier 1 student.   We are in the home stretch, final assignments are due, and there is some scrambling to finish projects. Nineteen never-say-die aspiring naturalists, who might just possibly all be called over achievers, were given the assignment of building an insect model. We […]

Life behind a nametag: Do you wear your name on your shirt?

" I feel honored, I am wearing the logo of the business I love working for. I become resonsible for making sure our customers' experience is good." Mike Ogilvie, The Terrace restauant at Bar Harbor Inn. (Wearing Jeff's tag because he left his in his car)

In decades of being gainfully employed I have never* had to wear a badge with my name on it. I never really thought much about them. The bag girl at the local supermarket has one, flight attendants wear them, my daughter had polo shirts with her name when she drove a team of horses, and […]

Fun with owl pellets, and a motley crew develops naturalist’s wings.

Page from Tom Adam's journal

Another installment in my progress as a Maine Master Naturalist Tier 1 student.   “Dissect an owl pellet, separate and identify bones, and build and label a skeleton,” was one of the assignments due this week. “Piece of cake,” I thought, remembering seventh grade biology and all the dissections we had done. Earthworms, starfish, some […]

Being a Maine naturalist is risky business.

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Another installment in my progress as a Maine Master Naturalist tier 1 student.   One thing we were not told when applying for the Maine Master Naturalist program were the risks involved. Yes, sun block and insect repellent were mentioned, but vicious flying toe biters and aggressive as-only-a-mother-can-be goshawks were not. Our first field trip […]