08/27/2012

Mitt Romney: My Second Cousin and Second Choice

Rosetta Mary Berry
(Mitt’s great grandma)

Willard Mitt Romney’s mom Lenore LaFount was the daughter of Alma Luella Robison who was the daughter of Rosetta Mary Berry. Rosetta’s half brother was Eugene Berry (1851-1923). Eugene was my great granduncle and after his wife died and her brother, my great grandfather, also died, Eugene married my great grandmother late in life (1915). So my step-great grandfather’s (and my great granduncle’s) half sister was Mitt’s great grandmother. There’s too many steps and halves in this to qualify as a real second cousin, but it explains why I found several ancestry trees claiming my great grandmother, who died a Methodist or maybe a Baptist (she married Mitt’s granduncle in a Baptist parsonage), became a Mormon after death(!) In fact, the Mormon story in my tree, thanks to Eugene’s dad Robert Berry (1823-1905) and his first wife Elnora Lucretia Warner (1822–1865) is one of the most amazing, almost Shakespearean epic in my family tree.

Elnora Lucretia Warner
(Mitt’s great great grandma)

When their two kids were small (Rosetta and her brother Charles), the young Berry family decided, along with Elnora’s parents and siblings, to leave southern Michigan to relocate to the center of the Mormon universe at the time, Nauvoo, Illinois. This was around 1845, just after the murder of founder Joseph Smith in Nauvoo. Upon arriving they discovered little work, so Robert offered to return to Hillsdale County, MI to make some money and send it along to sustain the family. He did so for a period of time, but in Nauvoo things were becoming unraveled. The residents decided to make an orderly migration to Utah under threat from non-Mormon locals. Meanwhile, Robert was puzzled as to why he hadn’t heard from his wife. He decided to make the trip to Nauvoo and find out. When he arrived he found the city deserted and his family gone. He was told his wife married another man and joined the Great Migration.  It is claimed that so great was his grief that his hair turned white overnight. Robert Berry returned to Michigan with a broken heart. He later married my great granduncle’s mother, Nancy Bailey, in 1847.

Robert Berry
(Mitt’s great great grandpa)

Years later, Mitt’s great grandmother Rosetta showed up at Robert’s doorstep. She was on a mission for the Mormon church and took the opportunity to visit her dad. She explained that Elnora married Nauvoo’s postmaster Simon Dalton, after he intercepted Robert’s mail (and his money) and Elnora’s letters back. He convinced her that her husband had abandoned her and that she should become his (plural) wife. He even married Elnora’s sister in the bargain! My guess is that Mitt may not have a fondness for Simon Dalton or for plural marriages.

I am not about to make the case that Mitt Romney is an evil dude. In fact, I admire his dad George for telling the truth about the Viet Nam war. He said we were being brainwashed. This killed his hopes of becoming the 1968 Republican presidential candidate, in fact, it ended his political career.  That took guts and I hope that rubbed off on Mitt, although I have my doubts. Ironically, George was born in Mexico while his parents were on a mission, but he never had to face the “Birther” issue. A good question  for Mitt! (Governor Romney: Your father was born in Mexico. Do you think he should have been disqualified as a presidential candidate in 1968?) Anyway, I think Mitt is the least wacky of all the Republican contenders this time around and if he wins I will probably not hide under the bed. But I won’t be voting for him. Remember, that’s coming from a family member. Sort of.

Filed under Acadia, colorful characters, History by on . 2 Comments.

08/23/2012

Fall in Acadia and Shameless Promotion

SeaCat’s Rest, our modest but beautiful oceanside suite has some fall vacancies. For the after-labor-day reduced rate of $750/week we have available September 8-15 and September 22 to October 12. It always amazes me how we can be so chock-a-block full for July and August and then the perfectly good months of September and October are hardly booked.  I know the kids are back in school, but at least half of our guests are kidless.

Fall is the season of color. Not only from the trees, but also from the lowered sun angle bouncing light off water, rocks and trees. It’s gorgeous! Everything is still open but the crowds are reduced. Here are some of the things going on:

Bar Harbor Fashion Night Out;  September 6, 2012.  Join the fabulous Second Annual Bar Harbor’s Downtown Fashion Night Out 2012. Started in New York City in 2009, Fashion Night Out now happens in 1600 cities worldwide including Bar Harbor! Website: http://www.fashionnightoutbarharbor.com

The 14th Annual MDI Garlic Festival; September 8, 2012, 11am to 5pm at Smugglers Den Campground. More info about this fun local harvest and food fest at http://www.nostrano.com/garlic.html

The 10th Annual Medieval Tournament at Fort Knox;  September 8, 10 AM to 4 PM. Knights will have armored combat, medieval music played, arts and science displays will be on hand and an archery demonstration will take place. Regular Fort admission and a $5 event donation per vehicle requested.

Acadia Night Sky Festival;  September 13, 2012 – September 17, 2012. a community celebration to promote the protection and enjoyment of Downeast & Acadia’s stellar night sky as a valuable natural resource through education, science and the arts. Visit www.acadianightskyfestival.org for a complete list of events.

Art in the Park;  September 22, 2012 – September 23, 2012 Painters, photographers and sculptors will display and sell their original works on the Village Green at the corner of Main & Mt. Desert Streets. Rain or shine. http://www.barharborinfo.com/events/art_in_the_park_show

Hawk Watch; Acadia National Park —Visitors can join park rangers in identifying hawks that migrate south over the summit of Cadillac Mountain here beginning on Aug. 19. On average, 2,500 raptors are counted each year. Weather permitting, the hawk watch takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the end of the North Ridge Trail, which is about 200 yards from the summit. Hawk Watch runs through Oct. 9. For more information, call Angi Johnston at 288-8810.

Cranberry Picking; Oct 1-20. This is my own addition. We can show you where to go and lend you the kayaks (sorry, guests only) for all the wild cranberries you can pick, subject to a good crop and good timing.  Read about it here.

And finally the best for last:

The 17th Acadia’s Oktoberfest on October 6 and the 3rd Wine & Cheese Festival on October 5. The Brewfest has been noted as “one of the spots not to miss” and one of the “top ten festivals in New England” by the national RV Magazine and New England brewery magazines. One of the largest and most popular Festivals in Maine the 2009 attendance was 4000. http://www.acadiaoktoberfest.com/

Medieval Tournament

While I’m at it I might as well give a shout out to all my friends and relatives (you know who you are) to claim their free Maine fall lodgings before one of the twelve or so people who read this page makes a reservation. As for you twelve who might possibly consider a fall visit to Acadia, now you have no excuse not to.

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08/14/2012

So What Makes New England Unique?

from http://wikitravel.org

No other region of the US is so geographically and culturally contained as the six states of New England. We’re a little different here in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. We are environmentally conscious, politically independent, stoic, self-reliant, not very religious and we talk funny. We are hands-on when it comes to community decision-making and responsibility, reluctant to change our ways and suspicious of new ideas and sometimes, people “from away”. We believe in higher education, libraries, historical societies and preservation. We try to help the less fortunate by taxing ourselves or by placing a collection jar at the local general store. Our town representatives are called “Selectmen, Assessors and Overseers of the Poor” and we pass (usually with changes) the town budget once a year at a big town meeting by show of hands. We dislike cookie-cutter housing developments, urban sprawl, garish attractions and flaunted wealth.

William Brewster, Puritan Elder, Mayflower passenger and my 11th great grandfather.

Undoubtedly, much of this character comes from our Puritan origins, but so many other parts of America had Puritan origins, because they were settled by New Englanders. The difference was that our Puritans didn’t move away after the “west” (upstate NY, Ohio, Michigan) opened up in the early 1800′s. They liked it here. The finiteness, the community, the traditions, maybe even the weather.

Puritans had the problem of self-governance of their church once they made the crossing, and this they settled according to their beliefs. Harry S. Stout in The New England Soul explains it in terms of covenants (contracts) church members made to each other to govern the affairs of the church according to the laws of God, without the hated English hierarchy. This model of self-governance naturally expanded to local non-church politics with the core features of small autonomous units (the church and town) and the commitment (covenant) of the individual to the unit. Additionally, the Puritans encouraged literacy, education and reverence of history. Thus we come to modern New England, with its many universities and population mostly in small towns with an unspoken responsibility to participatory democracy. Those who left for the untamed frontier in the early 1800s had had enough of the New England Way.

Portland Head Light, commissioned by George Washington

What we have created here is both good and bad. Our crime rate is low because we take community seriously. Anonymity is hard to find. But our population is flat-lining, and aging. With the aging population comes a shrinking tax base. Schools are consolidating and closing and abandoned houses are burned for fire department practice.  Our small unit identity means we are sometimes reluctant to cooperate with neighboring towns, cities, counties or states.  Our Puritan-inspired rules, regulations and tithing (taxation) stifles new business. These, along with a lack of cheap immigrant labor, hurt our competitiveness with the Sunbelt. As former governor (and now US Senate candidate) Angus King has warned,

In today’s global economy, the historic rivalries and differences between New England states are luxuries we can’t afford. Virtually every job we do is subject to global competition: in 20 years the only jobs that can’t be outsourced will be those that touch a person or something they own. The world wants our standard of living. It will take a massive effort at education and innovation to maintain it….We’re in peril. We New Englanders must strengthen ourselves, break historic precedent, find new and innovative ways to maximize our joint strengths, work together. (from http://newenglandfutures.org)

Fine, but lets stop a minute and remember why we live here. We just had a Great Recession. Red-hot growth areas like Florida and Nevada went bust. People who played the Ponzi housing game lost everything. Our New England home values did take a hit, but most of us knew our houses were overvalued because we saw the nuttiness and greed in the rest of the country, and our reluctance to allow big developments limited the carnage. If massive, leveraged development, housing or otherwise is “innovation” we should tread carefully. If growth means more CO2 and record breaking temperatures, droughts and hurricanes, be glad you live in cold(er) New England. And maybe flat population growth is not such a bad thing, it’s one important component to curbing global warming and not a bad example to export. Besides, my gut tells me that we will see an influx of “sunbirds” soon….

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08/09/2012

Electric Boating: The Range Issue

Probably the number one question I get asked about Eleccentricity, my electric lobster boat, is, “How far will it go before you have to stop and recharge?” Until now, I only had a vague idea. It’s like driving a car with a broken gas gauge. You develop a feel for when it’s time to stop for gas, but with an electric boat, you don’t even know how many “gallons” you put in. Now all that has changed with my latest semi-expensive gizmo, the Trimetric 2025 battery meter.

from www.bogartengineering.com

Batteries are rated by amp hour capacity, and that rating depends on how quickly they are discharged. My batteries are rated at 180-220 amp hours, fast discharge to slow discharge. Since I have six batteries that’s about 200 amp hours at 36 volts, or 7200 watt hours. So that’s 100 watts for 72 hours or 1000 watts for 7.2 hours.  There is no way to poke or prod a battery to find out how many amp hours are left. True, the rest voltage drops as the batteries are depleted, but once the batteries are put to work, voltage measurements no longer work as a measure of remaining capacity unless left undisturbed for a while. Inconvenient. The Trimetric solves this by keeping track of every amp used and how long, and maintaining a running total, starting at zero after a full charge. So if I go for three days without a charge (I normally charge once a week) I can instantly read what percentage of my battery bank still remains, based on the numbers I programmed into the meter unique to my system.

Refer to the top curve for Eleccentricity’s battery bank.

This brings up an important point about batteries (and you thought the complexity was over?), that you can’t drain the battery bank 100% without it shortening the life of the battery. The life of a battery is defined by the number of discharge/charge cycles it can go through, and if you discharge it below 50% on a regular basis you will be buying a new battery bank in a few years. I like to draw down no more than 30%, which should allow me 2000 cycles or 10 years. The new gizmo will help me with this.

Now that I have completed sea trials I can accurately answer the range question. The thing about electric propulsion is that slow is better. Double the speed and you will triple or even quadruple the power required. At low speeds the range is great: 200 miles at 1 MPH. With a modest 30% battery drawdown that range is 70 miles, not bad. Even at 3 MPH the range is around 28 miles, but with electric power it’s not like you stop abruptly after 28 miles, remember, you can always slow down a little and extend your range and even increase the discharge to 40% or 50%.

Things get interesting when we add solar panels (virtually, at this point). The new roof I added has the capacity to hold about 400 watts of solar. This alone has the ability to push the boat at around 4 MPH, giving infinite range at this speed…as long as the sun shines. By the usual standards of figuring solar gain, this would happen between 4 to 5 hours per day. It also means greater range at higher speeds, and the chance to recharge when at rest. But that’s another big chunk of change, not one I’m quite willing to part with at this time.

So why go electric? You can easily put an outboard on your boat and be like everyone else. I spent a little more and got a quiet ride, a recharged battery bank for less than a buck and smoke-free boating no matter which way the wind blows. And soon, my range will be extended…as long as the sun shines.

8/10 Update: I can now report that one circuit of hauling my 5 traps took 3 amp hours of battery reserve. That’s 1.5% of my total battery capacity, 5% of my drawdown goal of 30%, and 3 amp hours X 36 volts = 108 watt hours. If we assume a charge efficiency of 93% then it will take 116 watt hours of utility power, which sells for about $0.18 per kilowatt hour.  So the fuel for this 5 trap haul (round trip) cost .116 X .18=

 

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08/05/2012

Finding Remote Acadia

My best guess based on the article. Google maps.

In the Sunday, August 5th Bangor Daily News there was an article about a couple from Florida who make it their pastime to find the remotest spot in every state. They worked out that a spot six miles north northwest from Mt. Katahdin is Maine’s most remote spot.

But what about here in Acadia? Is there any place in Acadia National Park where you can really find solitude? Based on some comments from guests and our distant view of the causeway leading onto the island, people seem to be everywhere. Guests have expressed appreciation for our remoteness at SeaCat’s Rest, but I don’t think they should give up so easily on the park.

Admittedly, you’re always going to have to fight traffic to get to the remote places, but there are quite a few. Most folks, when they come to the island hit the top ten spots: Cadillac Mountain, the Park Loop Road, Thunder Hole, Bar Harbor, The Jordan Pond House and so on.  So here are my suggestions for avoiding the madding crowd, in no particular order:

  1. Northeast Creek cranberry bog. Not actually in the park itself, but public land. You need a kayak or canoe. I wrote about it here and here.
  2. If you want a quiet ocean drive head to the Schoodic Peninsula for a 90% drop in traffic. This is the detached eastern portion of Acadia National Park, off the island and 19 miles east of Ellsworth on Rt. One and then six miles south on Rt. 186. You can also take the ferry from the pier at The Bar Harbor Inn for $29.50 and then rely on the free bus service to get around in Schoodic.
  3. With a little more planning, get to ANP’s Isle au Haut. You take the ferry from Stonington for $37 round trip. Stonington is worth a trip in itself, as it is a no-nonsense honest-to-gosh fishing village where more lobsters are brought in than anyplace else in Maine. It is also not on the island, requiring an almost two hour drive from Bar Harbor. The planning comes in if you wish to camp on Isle au Haut. Ferry schedule here.
  4. There are several trails within the park which are much less traveled. As a general rule, the further you get from Bar Harbor, Cadillac Mountain and the shore, the fewer people. Longer trails are also less popular for obvious reasons. This brings us to the west side of Echo Lake, where you can access the Beech Cliff Trail from Beech Mountain Rd. I wrote about it here.
  5. West of Echo Lake is Long Pond, and west of Long Pond is a network of trails circling Western Mountain. (Note: there are TWO Long Ponds, this is the big one). One of these, the Mansell Mountain Trail is said to be worth the ascent and, “not heavily used. In fact, during our afternoon hike we saw only one other couple on the trail, despite being at the height of the season.” More here.
  6. If you want an easier hike, and would prefer to walk on one of Acadia’s famous carriage trails, first of all, avoid the super popular Eagle Lake Carriage Trail. Save it for winter, or summer at sunrise. Try instead one of the private carriage trails, like the one near the other Long Pond. Bicycles are not allowed, and traffic is light. This trail network can be accessed off Rt. 3 just 1.8 miles east of the intersection where Rt 3 joins Rt 198 in Northeast Harbor. The day we went it was one of the few trails where there was lots of room in the parking lot. We encountered few people.

Finally, realize that by getting out of your car you are already leaving most of the throngs behind. Anyplace on foot is going to be more remote than getting there. The hiking and carriage trails were designed by people who loved this place many decades ago, so you won’t be disappointed, no matter how popular it is. Check out the map of Acadia to reference these places here.

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07/31/2012

Cooking with Lobsters

Our new floating crates have allowed us to accumulate lobsters and crabs for future use.

Now that we have an almost-steady supply of lobsters coming from our five traps in front of SeaCat’s Rest our challenge has been to try all the various way of cooking them. The starting point is the old standby of boiling or steaming and simply eating out of the shell, but this can get messy and makes it hard to have other foods along with it. To do this extraction in the kitchen allows more varied combination with other ingredients. And let’s face it, even something as exotic as Maine lobster can get tiresome if only cooked in one way.

Professor Jim

My friend Prof. Jim has paid a visit every year in summer since time immemorial and has bugged me mercilessly to get my lobster license. He and I create culinary masterpieces involving local ingredients and ethnically warped techniques, so lobsters were an important goal. So far this visit we have indulged in lobster and cabbage tacos, peekytoe crab cauliflower soup, lobster thermidor, lobster ravioli with garlic cognac sauce and lobster spring rolls. During one night of a lobster drought we had to settle for Julia Child’s beef bourguignon, but that’s off topic.

Lobster bisque

A old standby has been lobster bisque. I blogged about it here. It’s a good first step away from boiled lobster and like the others, a good way to stretch your lobster dollar. The lobster tacos were pretty simple, just boil and cut up the meat into small chunks and top with  a blended sour cream, garlic and  jalapeño sauce, with the usual taco vegetables on a flour or corn tortilla. I’ll save the crab recipe for another post.

Now we get to the lobster thermidor, a major star in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The important first step is to make an herb and wine stew to steam the lobster with. This steam stew is later strained and reduced into an awesome cream sauce which is combined with chunks of lobster meat and mushrooms cooked in butter and cognac. We opted out of the recipe’s tomalley (lobster liver) inclusion on the advice of the US Food and Drug Administration. The whole assembly is loaded into lenghtwise-split lobster shells and topped with parmesan cheese  for a final broiling in the oven.

lobster thermidor

I don’t want to reprint the recipe here since there are so many on the web, like here. I can report that the result was a big hit and has the SeaCat seal of approval!

If the thermidor was guilty indulgence, the ravioli was no penance. In fact, we made 24 pasta packets containing 4 lobsters, so a six ravioli serving was a whole lobster! Making the pasta was a big part of the fun. Jim brought a crank pasta roller with him and we motorized it by hacking a bread machine. The finished product looked like something

out of the steam era, but it did work. The filling was crafted with sauteed onions, garlic, parsley, basil, an egg and bread crumbs and of course the meat from four lobsters. The sauce was another seat-of-the-pants cognac cream and scant tomato paste creation. The ravioli was boiled until it floated, drained and presented with a little sauce on top. Ooolala!

Finally we made some lobster spring rolls on our final lobster indulgence night. Lightly pickled vegetables, rice noodles, hoisin sauce, diced lobster meat, whole basil leaves and some killer chile sauce mixed with sesame oil and Thai fish sauce. Ahhh, summer in Maine!

 

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07/22/2012

Small Reach Regatta 2012, Lamoine, ME

Our guests at SeaCat’s Rest sailed this elegant yawl.

Paradise was oozing from the sea and sky for the 2012 Small Reach Regatta at the Lamoine State Park. Our electric lobster boat Eleccentricity was invited to tag along on Saturday, July 21 for the day’s trip to Bean Island. Bean Island is wedged between Hancock Point and Sorrento, about 6 miles due north of Bar Harbor. The day started with little wind, a problem for the majority of participants since they had sailboats. But by 9:30 or 10:00 the wind had freshened to the extent that sailing was possible and even exciting.

We counted 30 boats under sail and a few more rowed. I felt like I was surrounded by butterflies. We kept Eleccentricity at about 4 mph with occasional bursts to get out of the way of a tack and kept up with the fleet just fine. Time commitments  prevented us from going all the way to Bean Island so after rounding the bottom of Lamoine we turned around and headed back. Sadly, this is the last year for the near future that Lamoine State Park will be the venue for the Small Reach Regatta. We will miss it! Happy to meet, sorry to part.

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07/17/2012

Learning from Lobsters in Lamoine

Crabs invading? Eat them!

Slowly I seem to be getting the hang of catching lobsters. At first I used too little bait and only caught crabs. These are the crabs locally known as “peeky toes”, aka rock crabs. After pulling traps and finding only crabs I decided, what the heck, why not eat them?  I collected only the largest and managed to get a few. After boiling, and then an hour of picking the meat out, my six peeky toes yielded 1/2 pound! A lot of work but the crab meat was awesome. I started not feeling so bad about not catching lobsters. On this haul I spontaneously decided to do a little mackerel fishing. I caught one fish and decided to see if the mackerel would do a better job of attracting lobsters. I pulled up a trap I had baited and dropped less than an hour before and there were already 5 crabs in it! The crabs at the bottom of Frenchman Bay are countless and ravenous. They seem to be the main competition for lobsters for bait.

The other important part of this puzzle is that lobsters are mostly nocturnal, so they’re sleeping or chilling out while crabs are actively eating their food. By the time the lobsters are feeling peckish, the crabs have finished off all but the heads and bones. No wonder the lobsters stay away from my traps! The remedy is to put out more food so that there’s enough left for lobsters after nightfall. This means at least one herring in the parlor and two or more in the kitchen (lobster traps are divided into two halves, the parlor which is easy to enter and exit, and the kitchen which leads off from the parlor and is more challenging to enter—and exit). In addition, I have started to leave mostly-eaten bait bags behind so that it will still contribute to the smell of food. This seems to have done the trick, even to the point that the lobsters move in in groups and chase out the crabs. Now we’re talking! The other possible explanation is that the crabs realized I was starting to eat them and decided to leave my traps alone…..not likely.

Success!

Another approach would be to bait my traps at night. So far I have been pulling traps in the mornings so that I can avoid the wind which appears like clockwork as the sun heats the land. The wind in the evenings is less predictable. Still, I may try this.

Today I took my daughter out and she was armed with a camera. The fog was enough to make the distant shore blend into the sea and sky. We had significant numbers of lobsters, but ultimately only two keepers. The commercial lobster fishers are, according to rumor, on “strike” (not going out) so that the price will get higher. We therefore had the bay to ourselves.  It was a great time.

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07/14/2012

A Real Zero-Carbon Maine Lobsterman

Last week I wrote an article predicting I would be the only lobster operation in Maine which was (or will be, when I get my roof panels) operating with a zero-carbon boat. I was premature! Matinicus Island fisherman Nat Hussey beat me to the punch, he’s the real deal, fishing 150 traps. The video below tells the story:

From the Penobscot Marine Museum website, http://www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org. Drawing by Thomas Bernardi.

His approach is different in several ways from mine. First, he started off thinking his craft would be mostly  rowed, so he had a peapod built. The Matinicus peapod is a classic rowing craft and has no resemblance to the modern lobster boat. Nat later added electric propulsion and a trap winch. My boat is more inspired by the modern Maine lobster boat, and power was integrated from the start. I would be hard pressed to row my boat to all my traps, even though I only have 5. My plan was as off-the-wall as Nat’s was traditional. He is intent on recreating the old lobstering ways while I’m thinking high tech. Still, our results are similar: we both get lobsters off the bottom and bring them home without diesel fumes!

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07/08/2012

Electric Lobstering in Lamoine, Maine

Almost two years ago I announced my plan to obtain my recreational lobstering license and build a boat to go with it. I had the audacious plan to power this lobster boat with electricity using a built-in battery bank.  I envisioned the batteries to be charged by solar energy, making it possibly the first zero-carbon lobstering craft in Maine (with the exception of rowed or sailed craft, which I have never seen used for hauling traps).  I am about 2/3 of the way to my goal. I have the license, the traps, the bait, the boat, but not the photovoltaic panels to complete the package. Last winter I built the canopy on which to mount the panels, but because I wanted to see how stable the boat was before adding more weight on the roof, I stopped for the year.

About mid June I relaunched Eleccentricity and she now floats at her mooring in front of SeaCat’s Rest. Around her float five brightly painted buoys marking the locations of my traps. The roof does change the handling characteristics of the boat, and not for the better, but with the advantage of a hauling boom, shade and shelter from rain the trade-off is acceptable. Now if only I could find really light weight panels…

I had imagined, based on the reports heard from other five-trap people, that I would be hauling in huge amounts of lobsters. I have not had that much success. Some claim an average of one lobster per trap. I have been seeing about 1-1/2 lobster per five traps, making the whole enterprise rather hard to justify. I spend an hour and a half putting bait into bags, rowing out to the boat, pulling traps and cleaning old bait bags for about ten dollars worth of lobsters. Obviously, I’m doing something wrong. I have gained a new respect for the hard work of commercial lobster fishers!

My friends remind me, “Hey, you’re catching lobsters. How cool is that?” They’re right of course. To pull tasty seafood from one’s front yard is rather cool. Let’s not forget the clams and mussels on the way to the lobsters. So all I need to do is to keep experimenting: try different bait, different trap locations, different hauling intervals. I will watch and learn from the pros. As for my limited haul, I am planning to build a partially submerged crate for storing live lobsters to allow the accumulation of enough to feed more than one or two people. I’m also planning on fishing for mackerel to see if it is a better bait.

The peak of the lobster season is still ahead. So far there has been a “glut” (not my word) of soft shell or shedder lobsters on the market. One newspaper article claimed the price is below that of bologna. Hmmm. Hopefully, more of them will find their way into my traps. Lobsters, not bologna.

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