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NewsFromHome         November 2002 


“Gray is the color of Maine’s November.  Gunmetal skies, rain or spitting snow.  In the North Country the slush runs have begun on the rivers; the back ponds are caught.  There is snow calf-deep in the high country.  The snowshoe rabbit is changing his coat from brown to winter-white.” ---- Lew Dietz

Hello Mainers In Exile and Friends of Maine

It’s been a while since we’ve written a Maine Exiles NewsFrom Home Letter.  Much has happened.   The store in Freeport closed and we are now growing accustomed to the joys and frustrations of operating in cyberspace.  The frustration is that we miss the visits in person with all who stopped in at the store to say hello and share stories about a favorite Maine place or book or recipe or event or experience.  The joy is that we now have a way to share those favorites with an audience spread out around the world.  And so do you.  We invite you to email us about all those wonderful finds and anecdotes that you so generously shared in the store.  We’ll pass them along  through this NewsFromHome Letter and on the Maine Exiles website at www.exiles.com .

Today’s Weather:    Bon Hiver!  First snow of the season here.  We all awoke to a dusting of snow on the fields and in the back of the pickup, and a very chilly 20 degrees.  Snow will probably be gone by noon if the sun stays out, but it serves to get us in the mood for the holidays just around the corner.  The folks up in Presque Isle have apparently been getting ready for a while and already have enough snow to plow.  Take a look.  

Wicked Good Band goes www
Speaking of the holidays around the corner, have you been looking high, low, and in between for Wicked Good Band tapes and CD’s for holiday gifts?   The Wicked Good Guys only play a few fairs and festivals each year, and until now haveonly sold their merchandise at those live performances.  Seemed a shame to make Wicked Good Band fans go without their favorite Maine musical satire the rest of the year, so we struck a deal and helped launch the Official UN-Official Wicked Good Band website at www.wickedgoodband.com .  Now you can order their tapes, CD’s, and video online, through the secure e-commerce system of Maine Exiles.  And wonder of wonders! You can also order their official Wicked Good Band tee shirts, previously available only from the Band Van after a show.  Great stocking stuffers.  Make it a Wicked Good Christmas!

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John Gould Celebrates
A couple of weeks ago, Maine author John Gould celebrated several truly remarkable milestones in his life.  He turned 94, began his 71st year of marriage to the lovely Dorothy, and was questioned and congratulated by fans from around the world via an online chat.  For countless readers, John's books and essays have been their first introduction to Maine and the joys of life Down East.    He literally wrote the book -- Maine Lingo --  the primary reference for authentic usage and derivation for much of what we consider the real Maine language ---- “Begin with B” to “Wreck Island”.   His total of thirty books give insight into the events and customs that have molded the Maine so beloved by so many today.   

John’s essays have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor every week since October 21, 1942 .  Owen Thomas, his editor there, said of John, “He’s a good storyteller.  His stories are based in Maine, but they speak to universals, I think.  If you think Maine is friendly and open and humorous --- those are all qualities of his writing.  And they all transcend Maine.”.  

Treat yourself to the writings of John Gould today, online at The Monitor, and bookmark it so you can get there each Friday with no waiting. 

Need unique gifts for friends and family in Exile?  Visit the Maine Exiles online store for our own logoed items and lots of very special treasures that celebrate the spirit of Maine.  Rumor has it that this is where Santa finds the best gifts for Maine Exiles who have been nice.  Wicked nice.   
Treasure Found
We were out wandering around looking for good foliage pictures last week.  It was getting cold and dark – that happens about 3:45pm now with the time change – and found ourselves on Rt 4 in Hollis, right there at the Salmon Falls Library.   Followed the smell of woodsmoke just past the building and discovered a little treasure of a teahouse beside the Saco River.  Aunt Bea’s Gift Baskets & Tea House serves tea, coffee and pastries in front of the fire with all the cozy charm of yesterday and long ago.  Which is not surprising since this little teahouse by the river has been operating since the 1940’s.  This is one of those wonderful “finds” in Maine, tucked away in a picture perfect setting, carrying on a tradition that has been delighting customers season after season.  Visit them Wed thru Sun 11-5 or call 207  929-3888 to reserve a table in front of the fire.

Pumpkin Time
And  what’s been going on in the kitchen here at Exiles Central you ask?  Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere.  Dwight was in charge of soliciting and gathering pumpkins donated for the carving contest at the Middle School.  The weather had been so warm going into Halloween that he waited till the last day to collect them, wanting the firmest possible.  After the third pickup truck load, it was clear that Dwight’s powers of persuasion had been proven beyond all reasonable doubt, and it worked out to about 9 pumpkins per carver at the school. 

We sent Dwight over to his Aunt Dottie’s kitchen for some pumpkin recipes and got the usual pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice cake, and several versions of pumpkin pie.  Here’s the pumpkin pie we liked best.  Was it because it contains ice cream or because it doesn’t require cooking?   Both.  This would be an unusual (and easy) pie for a pot luck supper or to take to Thanksgiving dinner at Uncle Chester's.  Believe us when we say there wasn't a crumb left of the samples we made here.

Frost-on-the-Pumpkin Pie

2 cups pumpkin (canned works fine)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 quarts vanilla ice cream
Combine pumpkin, sugar and spices.  Stir in softened ice cream.  Spoon into chilled shell and freeze.  Makes 2  9inch pies.
Gingersnap Shell
3 cups gingersnap crumbs
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
Mix and pat into 2  9 inch pie pans.  Chill about 45 minutes before adding filling. 

And one last reminder.  It’s time to put those red-eyed  markers in along the driveway so Biff will know where to plow.  And you’ll know where to aim to get out  to work if you have to leave before Biff shows up. (Better get the 4 footers.  Farmer's Almanac says we're in for a real old-fashioned winter.)  Once the ground starts to freeze you’ll break more than you don’t, trying to pound them in.  Dwight, who has made a life’s work of procrastinating, has this tip for dealing with frozen sod.   Wait till a real cold snappy day.   Drill a hole in the ground larger than the rod of the marker.  Set the marker in the hole and pour in water.  The water will freeze and hold the marker.  This method is a trade off.  It will probably ruin a drill bit – but has the dubious advantage of announcing the Spring thaw when one day you look out and your driveway appears to be lined with red-eyed drunken sailors.

Forward this NewsFromHome Letter to at least 3 Mainer-In-Exile friends, so you can hash it over with them.  For best results, use the Forward To A Friend button (your friends won't be added to our subscriber list unless they choose to opt-in).


Quote from the Maine Exiles Message Board

“I was so homesick two nights ago that I made doughnuts.  There’s something about a homemade, crispy, hot-from-the-grease doughnut that puts a piece of my soul right back in Grammie’s kitchen (or perhaps a piece of Grammie’s kitchen in my soul).           
10/17/02 --- Cookie,  Ithaca, NY

To read more MESSAGES FROM EXILE, visit the message board

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There.  Now it's time to go get the mail and check on the state of the world as interpreted by the afternoon crowd at the post office.  Things should be hopping with all the election results to discuss.

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FinestKind Greetings from the Maine Exiles Staff

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