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Searsmont News

By Joyce and Mickey Sirota | Jan 09, 2020
Photo by: Joyce Sirota Some of the 19 hikers who participated in Searsmont Town Library’s Jan. 4 Georges River walk.

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Searsmont in Winter

It looks beautiful outside (woodpiles topped with so-far-not-too-much snow, snow-dusted conifers, far views, ridges with white open-field coats, red winterberry highlighted against white). It smells good (clean snow, wood smoke). It sounds good (wind in trees, winter birds). We complain about moving white stuff around, dealing with ice, banking foundations with brush or straw – waiting for “poor man’s snowy insulation. But Searsmont is really beautiful in the winter.

A shout out from local Scouts

Jim Robbins tells us Searsmont Cub Scout Pack 35 is reorganizing. Several boys (Cub Scouts welcomes girls, too) want to be Cub Scouts, and there is some leadership in place. To make this happen, they need four adult leaders, some of whom would be willing to be den leaders. “Boy Scouts of America is an outstanding youth program that teaches leadership and life skills while having fun both indoors and outdoors,” Jim told us. If you are interested in making Searsmont a better place for boys and girls, call Jim Robbins at 745-1482, or email jimsret@rlco.com to find out more.

Town Library

The library’s free Ensemble Concert Series began Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. (snow date Thursday, Jan. 23) with Mes Amis, a gypsy guitar trio that will be heating up the library with some hot guitar chops. The next concert in the series is the Jordan Benissan African Drum Ensemble on Feb. 18. Thank you, Onion Foundation.

Story Hour is every Saturday at 10 a.m. Tuesday at 2 p.m. is a “Movie Matinee.” On the horizon (so to speak), “Looking Up! The Searsmont Night Sky” astronomy program will be on Friday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m.

Historical Society

Maine Public Television broadcasts “We’re All in This Together: A Searsmont Documentary” Thursday, Jan. 16, at 9 p.m.and Saturday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. DVD copies are available at the Town Office and library for only $5.

Town Office

The office will be closed Monday, Jan. 20. For weather closures, check WLBZ-TV, WABI-TV, or searsmont.com.

About 200 dog licenses for 2020 are late. Contessa in the Town Office says that after Jan. 31, the license fees of $6 for spayed/neutered dogs and $11 for those not spayed or neutered go up to $31 and $36. “It’s a state-mandated fee,” Contessa says. She tries to call you about license renewals, but needs to know your new number. So if you’ve changed yours, call 342-5411 and give her an update.

Goings-on about town

Bright red northern cardinals are at Searsmont bird feeders in the snow, but as fellow town correspondent Tom Seymour notes, not many hairy or downy woodpeckers have joined the chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, mourning doves and juncos. Let us know what birds to add to the “Searsmont Bird List.”

Support your local Scots. Tickets are still available at mainecelticcelebration.com for the Maine Celtic Celebration’s Robert Burns Dinner (and optional pre-dinner whisky tasting) on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Belfast. This project is overseen by Searsmont’s Claudia Luchetti. Searsmonter Chris Brinn will be one of the Celtic music performers. Wear tartan or recite a Robbie Burns poem and you could win a prize.

'Explore the Wilds' of Searsmont January walk

Nineteen people (and two energetic dogs) enjoyed a three-mile walk in the woods Jan. 4, when Sarah Crosby and Bill Evans led “Explore the Wilds of Searsmont!,” part of the Searsmont Town Library’s year-long “Maine Inside and Out Project.”

Your correspondents were there, and were reminded once again how beautiful Searsmont is, how varied the landscape, how filled with history over 200 years it is, and how pleasant it is to spend time with neighbors.

The group entered land owned and opened to hikers by the Robbins family on School Street (the uphill continuation of Ghent Road) at the gated section west of Appleton Ridge Road. Most walkers had never been there before – it was our first visit in our 30 years in town. Walking past old home sites on what is now a woods road, we followed a cross-country ski and snowshoe track to the Georges River on the Georges Highland Path, and gathered at one of the wooden benches built as part of an Eagle Scout project.

It was a magical sight. The river rushed past, the rocks in its bed covered with mushrooms of snow, the water so clear you could see the bottom. The firs and hemlocks were dusted with snow, the blue blazes on the path’s trees standing out clearly. We walked along stone walls and the remains of mills and bridge anchors.

Did you know that the Searsmont stretch of the river had 17 mills operating in the mid-1800s? Searsmont mills made shingles and barrel staves, and made lumber for window sashes, blinds, barrels, and water pumps (think “butter churn” with a rubber valve inside)? Did you know that Searsmont made carriages, coffins and bedsteads? There was a tannery, a shoe factory, a hotel, and with the river as the center of local industry, nearly 1,700 people living here.

We stopped to admire, to take a picture or two, and to chat with each other about what is going on in town and in our lives. When we got to our guides’ end point, we turned around and walked back to our hike’s trail head atop Appleton Ridge.

It takes a village to put on a program like this, so the library wants to thank Sarah and Bill for leading the walk, Charlie LeRoyer, and Maria Salvaggio and Bill – and many others – for their trail work, the Robbins family for making the land available for hiking, and the Rudman Library Trust and Moosewood Funds of the Maine Community Foundation for their financial support.

The next free “Maine Inside and Out” program will be Friday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. at the library. Keith Dunson of Belfast will present “Looking Up! The Searsmont Night Sky,” an explanation and exploration of what we see in the winter sky at night. This family-friendly event will begin in the library and, weather permitting, will move outside for viewing through Keith’s 8-inch telescope.

And while we’re at the library, some people have asked how much it costs to be a library patron. Free for Searsmont residents, for non-residents it is just $5 a year. Library hours are Tuesday from 9 a.m to 7 p.m., Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m., Friday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

A scene from the Searsmont Town Library-sponsored walk Jan. 4. (Photo by: Joyce Sirota)
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