|When I was a kid, I thought that
one of the neatest jobs to have would be a forest fire lookout. You'd get
to sit up there in your fire tower on the top of some mountain, with the
best view in the world, and someone would pay you to do it! After going
through forestry school, I learned that there were certain down-sides to
being a forest fire lookout, but I've still always been a little jealous
of people who have "jobs-with-a-view" - probably a reaction to
all those years behind a desk in windowless offices.
This weekend Penny and I discovered what must be the best "job-with-a-view" that there is in Sebago - when we went to the town dump (actually a transfer station) for the first time. The transfer station is a five-mile trip from the farm, and is located on Long Hill between Routes 107 and 114. It has an absolutely magnificent view of Sebago Lake, its shoreline and islands! The station operator, Bob Irish, has a control booth with views of the lake for which people would pay a princely sum. The station is a small, compact operation, with recycling bins for glass, metal and paper; a hopper and hydraulic ram for garbage; and concrete bays for metal and wood. Penny and I got to know the road to the dump real well this weekend, and had several chances to pass the time of day with Bob.
If Sebago is like Canterbury, NH (where we used to live), the dump is the social gathering spot to meet your neighbors and pass along the latest gossip. I suspect that a person could even do a little dump-picking if they liked, an inborn trait for recycling that all born-and-bred New Englanders have in their blood.
On the way to the farm for the long weekend, we stopped off at our son Jim's place in Wells and picked up the snowmobile trailer I'd bought from him last summer. The drive from Wells to the farm was pretty foggy, and we had light rain overnight.
Penny and I spent all of Saturday and Sunday cleaning out the second story of the carriage house, finishing the job that we had started a couple of weeks ago (see the Journal for January 30-31 - Carriage House Renovation Begins!).
The weather was warm (44o F), the sun was bright and the sky blue - it couldn't have been a more perfect day to go to the dump!
We filled the trailer to overflowing three times with items going back at least three, and maybe four, generations. The "good stuff" we saved out - things that we might find a use for in the future.
We saved wide pine boards in good shape, every storm window and screen that the house has ever had, and what looks like a complete set of shutters for the house. There were home-made tools and implements including a snowshoe for a horse, a silage knife made from a broken scythe blade, a whiffle tree made from a log with homemade iron fastenings, an old wooden box trap for rats and mice, a wooden window stair-step prop (to prop a window open in the summertime), a wooden box with owner George E. Chessey's name on it (The Chessey family owned the farm for several generations before the previous owners.), and a 15-foot ladder made from a pine tree split lengthwise with hand-whittled rungs.
We also found store-bought items, including two kitchen sinks, canning jars, early liniment and medicine bottles, horseshoes and scraps of leather harness, toys, kitchen utensils, grease guns and oil cans, carburetors and gears and taillights for old cars, wooden pulleys and tackle blocks, a grindstone in wonderful shape ready to sharpen knives and axes, hydraulic hoses and wire cable, tire chains, nuts and bolts and nails, iron hooks and clevises, a wooden barrel and several wooden orange crates, a jungle gym set, an RCA console radio/record player (set aside for Dot), and at least 87 bicycles (or so it seemed anyway). Some store-bought stuff we saved, but much of it went to the dump as broken and not much good even as a collectable, along with broken boards, pipes, a half-bushel of seed corn, a couple of 100# sacks of solidified cement, a sack of quick lime, tin cans, 100's of aluminum TV dinner trays, plastic nursery pots, broken pipefittings and just plain junk.
In addition to the "fun" chore of cleaning out the carriage house, we had a delivery of furniture for the spare bedroom from Portland on Saturday. My first chore that morning was to dig out a path to the front door through the ice that had slid off the front porch. Our new furniture assembled, Penny and I then worked on the carriage house all day Saturday.
The Sebago fire chief, Alan Greene and his wife dropped by to see the place in the afternoon. They are building a new place just north of us and will be our next-door neighbors. His grandmother, Leona, has gathered information on many of the older places in town, so we'll need to check with her and see if she can tell us a little about the history of our place.
At the end of the day, our dust masks were black and we had black marks on our faces from the dirt and dust, but there was noticeable progress - you could even see the floorboards in a few places! That night, after washing the day's grime off and changing into clean clothes, we traveled into Portland and had supper with son Jim and his wife Alison and a couple of friends of theirs at Molly's Steak House in the old town. We also were able to say hello to Jim's stepbrother, Russ, who is a cook there. Jim was all enthused about his successful day - he sells cars at a Jeep dealership in Portsmouth, NH.
There was time on Sunday after church for a short snowshoe hike with the dogs, but the snow was very crusty and icy. The metal cleats on the bottom of the snowshoes made a loud scraping sound with every step, and the dogs slid down most of the hills on the ice. I've had better hikes, and so have they.
We hauled another load to the dump, and then Penny and I slipped off to Tom's Homestead 1821 Restaurant in Bridgton for a well-deserved Valentine's Day supper. On the drive over, we noticed that there is cross-country skiing at the apple orchard just north of us that we'd never noticed before - will have to check it out the next trip.
After hauling down the last of the junk and sweeping up the dirt and bat droppings, the carriage house looked pretty good - and ready for Paul to finish his work on the office and shipping room.
It turned colder during the night, 2o F when we got up on Monday with frost on the windows. Winter is not quite ready to let us go - it is still February, remember.
Paul arrived mid-morning, and was unloading his tools and supplies for his stay this week while we were loading the car to go back. He'll finish framing the pantry and mud room walls and ceiling, insulate, and generally close in the office part of the carriage house. With the warmer temperature, the ice ridge at the carriage house entry has melted and Paul will also be able to pour cement footings if the weather stays mild and the days are warm.
On the way back to Clifton Park, Penny and I stopped off at the Maine Mall to have lunch with Russ and catch up on how his culinary school is coming. Then, back in the car and on the road for what was an uneventful trip. Traffic was a little heavy down the sea coast and north of Boston - people coming back from the long President's Day weekend. All in all, we were a bit stiff and sore, and generally weary from our activities over the weekend, but it was a very productive couple of days. We felt that we'd really accomplished a lot!
Allen and Penny Crabtree
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Last updated March 27, 1999