If you were in Belfast on Saturday morning, the 6th, you may have noticed a number of people carrying spinning wheels for wool into the Boathouse. The Northeast Handspinners Association held its biennial Open House, and it was my first “post” pandemic group event. There were about 40 of us sharing our fiber projects, hosting Sarah Hunt of Fiber Trek Adventures for a talk. And there were two classes, Embroidering with Wool given by Sarah Hunt, and Navaho Spindling with Alice Seeger of Belfast Fiberarts. Crumbs Provisions provided a delicious(!) lunch. It was a beautiful day to gather with friends from near and far over a shared interest.

So, how about that mail? You’ve probably noticed, if you live in the 04921 ZIP code, that your mail has been arriving at odd times — if at all. I’ve had a few informal chats with those postal employees that I see. I felt bad for the carrier who dropped off my mail at 6:30 p.m. this past Saturday; he’d come from a route in Warren to bring us our mail. Then there was no letter mail Monday. Tuesday’s substitute carrier went by my house three times before stopping with my mail; clearly he’d never been to Jackson before. Chatting with in-office postal employees tells me that, like many businesses, they are short-handed, unable to find new hires, desperately trying to train up those they have managed to hire, and have no coverage for time off for existing employees. As Dr. Shah likes to say, Be Kind.

PFAS in your water?

I noticed the letter to the editor in the Nov. 4 issue of the paper, referencing contamination of well water with PFAS, both in Waldo County and throughout Maine, and thought to myself, maybe it’s time to find out more…. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an in-depth explanation of how these chemicals, Per- and PolyFluoroalkyL Substances (PFAS), are found in water, air and soil. They are absorbed by our bodies and those of our animal friends, and take forever to break down, causing illness and cancer in the meantime. (epa.gov/pfas/pfas-explained). The primary way that PFAS has been spread in our local environment is through the spreading of sludge for fertilizer on agricultural land. On Oct. 22, Maine Public referenced a Maine DEP report naming 34 towns that they consider high priority for testing of PFAS contamination. Jackson and Brooks are on this list. I plan to go down the rabbit hole and see what results I can find while testing my well water for PFAS. To be continued….

Town Office

The next Select Board meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m. The next Planning Board meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m. You may have picked up a Comprehensive Plan Update Survey when you came in to vote. We would love to hear your thoughts on how you see Jackson’s future developing over the coming years. You are always welcome to come to a meeting to share your insights and concerns.

Jackson Food Pantry

With inflation continuing to rise and prices at the store going through the roof, I imagine we’ll continue to see a healthy line of cars over at the Food Pantry. Thank you to Cindy Ludden and her team of dedicated volunteers for continuing to ensure that the pantry is well stocked to support those in need. Next one is Monday morning, Nov. 22, at 9:30 a.m.

Maine History Nugget

We spent some time Downeast this summer, exploring beaches and inlets and the Bold Coast. And, of course, we’ve all heard that the Native Americans fished along these shores, boating up and down the extensive tidal and freshwater banks, but it had never really occurred to me that there were petroglyphs all around Machias Bay. I recently came upon a fascinating article through the UMaine Digital Commons (Digital Commons is this fabulous initiative to digitize vast archives of academic materials and more) — The Machiasport Petroglyphs.

The representations include hunters and shamans, along with deer, moose, turtles and sea mammals. It is believed they were created over 3,000 years ago by the Maritime Archaic people, the Algonkian tribes and their ancestors. Rather than being carved, they were hammered into the rock; each image “was apparently made by repeated blows of a pointed instrument, doubtless of hard stone: not held as a chisel, but working by repetition of hammerings or peckings. The deepest now seen (that is, in 1888) is about three-eighths of an inch. The amount of patient labor bestowed upon these figures must have been great, considering the hardness of the rock and the rude implement with which they were wrought.” (p. 26)

In this same article from June 1985, reference is made to the rising sea level, “The ever-rising sea level has drowned whatever habitation and gathering sites there might have been in the area. Not only has this process destroyed any supporting evidence about the creators of the petroglyphs, it has brought the carvings themselves in contact with the Machias Bay tides.”

I would love to lay eyes upon these sacred images, if, indeed, any are still above the low tide mark. For further reading, the article can be found at https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/, The Machiasport Petroglyphs, by Roger B. Ray