May 9 – fascinating flora

Today brought fewer fauna sightings, but we were treated to some fascinating flora: a tree with large orange flowers, sprouting pink lady slippers, and many trees, like the shag-barked hickory (whose range extends into New England, but which I’ve never seen in Maine). We also learned about more wild edibles, including the ubiquitous creeping green briars, whose new leaves and climbing tendrils taste faintly of asparagus.

Today, Avery’s girlfriend Christina was joining us for a night before she and Avery headed back north. Christina is a boat builder and island caretaker, who became the recent owner of a thirty-foot sailboat that will serve as her living quarters for the summer.

Prior to her arrival, uncle Avery was describing the fancy Hinckley Yachts that Kristina had recently been working on. Cartwheel, who has plenty of familiarity with boats but little familiarity with yachts, was full of questions: “Do they have steering wheels?” (Yes); “Do they have wood floors?” (Yes); “Are they fast?” (Yes). Then, finally, comprehension dawned: “Oh, like uncle Dick’s motor boat!” This brought a chuckle to the adults, because Cartwheel’s great-uncle Dick (who even in his seventies has twice the strength of a normal person and expects similarly superior performance from his mechanical tools-including his boats) has a number of boats, all of which are ship-shape, but none of which (even Dick would agree) would be considered a yacht. Cartwheel’s reference was to the aluminum skiff with the twenty-five horsepower Yamaha that Dick drives hard and uses to haul lumber and other materials for his island projects. It does indeed have a steering wheel and a small wooden deck covering the bilge, and is noticeably faster than Cartwheel’s grandfather’s eight-horse skiff, but probably appeals to a different demographic than the one targeted by Hinckley.

We arrived at the road crossing shortly after Christina, just as it was beginning to drizzle. This led to a spontaneous decision to use the magic of the automobile to head quickly into town for fajitas and margaritas. The rain never materialized, and after eating our fill, we we back on the trail to make our way to another forested sleeping spot.

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4 Comments on “May 9 – fascinating flora

  1. Pretty pictures! I still haven’t seen a lady slipper up here this year. I’d love to see a yellow one!

  2. I have been enjoying your blog a lot. I t just dawned on me that if you are using an iPad, you might be able to use an app called Swype which has a great voice activated capacity, and might make it easier for you to ‘write’ your blog.

    Jim Goldman (Richie’s bro)

  3. How are the bugs? The ticks and black flies have arrived here in Maine.

  4. I’m surprised greenbriers don’t taste like blood. They have certainly collected enough of mine over the years as I walked through them while delineating wetlands. In NJ, the wetland line was usually where the greenbrier (which will grow in a wetland) transitioned to multiflora rose (which normally doesn’t grow in wetlands), neither of which is easy to walk through. The thought of eating them would give me a sense of revenge.

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