With Labor Day just around the corner, I’m moved to look back upon the first week of September 51 years ago.

A ranger at Lake St. George State Park, my one-week vacation fell on the first week of September. Back then, as now, a vacation for me didn’t include traveling to distant places. Instead, I fished some local lakes for white perch and sometimes went on leisurely rides around Waldo County.

One of my rides took me down East Waldo Road which, back then, was known as, “Doak Road.” I remember that as clear as day. Except for the two ends of the road, there were no houses, just woods and fields. It was like being far away from town when in fact, Belfast was only a few miles away. To me, the place was heaven on earth.

That week was like a dream, with cerulean skies and comfortable temperatures. Little did I know back then that eventually, I would buy a woodlot on that road and spend the rest of my days there. Of course “progress” has seen big changes in not only East Waldo Road, but the town as a whole. But memories are one gift of God that time cannot take away and so I revel in re-living that golden week so many years ago.

In the garden

It seems as if garden produce is all ripening at once, more than any one person could possibly handle. And so we dust off pressure canners and stock up on freezer bags in order to preserve our precious homegrown veggies for future use.

Some produce doesn’t need freezing or canning. One such, garlic, is ready to pick. Once the leaves begin turning brown, that signals that the time has come. Leaving garlic in the ground after that causes the bulbs to separate prematurely, which in turn leads to mold and rot. So pull your garlic, let it thoroughly dry in a shady, airy location and store it in a cool, dark place.

Perchin’ prediction

Fishing for all species this week should be as good as it gets. Everything is in our favor, so get out for some late-season sport.

I’m now happily eating togue and salmon, brought back from my recent fishing trip to Moosehead Lake. It’s always a memorable experience to find myself in the middle of an inland lake that rivals upper Penobscot Bay in its great vastness.

Under the feeder

Not running a feeder in summer means fewer songbirds to see and enjoy. But one species remains very much in evidence. Ruby-throated hummingbirds work sugar-water feeders like there is no tomorrow. These personable, sometimes aggressive little birds rank among those who leave Maine early.

So keep those feeders full, since our tiny friends will need all the nutrition and energy they can get ahead of their long trip south.

Weekly quote

The time to harvest and dry our herbs has come. This poem, author unknown, says it all:

“The thyme strong scented ‘neath one’s feet,

The marjoram beds so doubly sweet,

And pennyroyal’s creeping twine,

These, each succeeding each, are thine.”