The smaller berries are sweeter

June 25, 2014

   I was hired by Max Phinney to sell strawberries down at his roadside stand: One day I had 125 boxes of the smaller native berries. These berries were 3 days old (refrigerated). They would be good and very delicious if they were bought and eaten that day, but they would not keep. I also had 25 boxes of the larger ones which were picked that morning but were less sweet. As the berries age, the flavor develops. Well, I had to sell all of them at the same price and the larger ones looked a lot better. So I had to think of something. I told everyone who came the difference between the berries – that the larger ones looked better, but the smaller ones were at their peak of flavor. I also told them that the smaller ones would not keep, they had to be eaten right away. I sold every one of the smaller ones before I sold the larger ones. I thought I was a pretty good saleswoman. I told the truth and still sold the ones I had to sell.


The wheel is going to fall off

June 5, 2014

   I was working at Ellis Paperboard on Thompson’s point in Portland (the large brick building near the new train terminal). It was June. I knew that I had a two week vacation (plant shutdown) happening in July. My 1978 Dodge Powerwagon started having a very loud problem with the wheels. I was not sure what the problem was but I knew that I had a vacation coming in two weeks so I thought I would try to keep the vehicle going till then. I had asked Eric’s brother who knew about cars what the noise was. He said that my wheel would fall off. I didn’t believe him . . .

   Eric was living on the 13 acres behind my 10 acres. He had just moved up there and was living in a tent with his pregnant wife and three children. He had found a mill in Bridgton that was to be torn down. He bid on the contract to tear it down for the lumber it contained. He got the contract. He had no vehicle so I drove him. Well, we were driving back from Bridgton with the truck LOADED and I mean LOADED. I have no idea how much weight we had on it, but we had 12 x 12 and larger beams some of which were 24 feet long. I was in the front with Eric, Crispy (his 8 month pregnant wife), Scott, Harmonie, and Angela. This was a truck with a bench seat which supposedly held 3 people Neither Crispy nor I was thin.

   Well, I started driving. A few minutes later I saw my wheel rolling behind the vehicle and off to the side. The truck was going along just fine, but I thought it might not be the greatest idea to keep driving. So I stopped. Sure enough, my wheel fell off. OK, now what were we going to do? I had to be to work in Portland in a couple of hours. Eric said you guys head home, I will stay with the truck. So I started walking with Crispy, Scott, Harmonie and Angela. Angela was a year old. Scott was around 6 and Harmonie was 4. A lady stopped and told us she was not going to have us thumbing, where did we need to go? I told her we were headed to New Gloucester, but would accept anywhere along the way she would take us. She said no, I am taking you home. And she did.


Gee, the engine sounds funny

June 5, 2014

I was driving up Rt 140 toward Canton during the winter. As I approached Anasagunticook River, I noticed a VERY strange sound, a thumping kinda, coming from my engine. I was two miles from Canton Village ( I measured it on the way back) and it was a Sunday. If my car died now, I would have major problems. Well, I kept going, slowly and carefully over the snowy road. The engine kept going. I kept going. Wondering what I would do. This was before the era of cell phones and I had no one I could call anyway. I kept going.

I crossed the bridge and started down the road looking for an open service station. I found one. I drove in fearful of what might be found. I stopped, got out, and found out what the problem was. Nope, not in the engine. Do you have any idea how shredded a tire can get when you drive on it completely flat for two miles?? I had dented the wheel, but it was deemed still usable. I got a new tire and was on my way.

When you loose a resident . . .

June 5, 2014

   I was working at Orono Nursing Home when we were called to the main desk for a short meeting with the owner Bill Shirley. I think there were about 60 of us present. Bill started telling us of a new rule from the State (Maine). From now on, he said, When we loose a resident, we have to call the forest ranger first. I immediately raised my hand. (Since I was an aide, this had nothing to do with me anyway, I would not be contacting anyone). The forest ranger? How about the MD?, the family? Why on earth would we call the forest ranger? They are not endangered species!

  Well, it turned out that we were thinking of different meanings of the word. He didn’t mean if they died, which was what I was thinking. He meant if they got outside, wandered off, and got lost. The reason for contacting the forest ranger was because of the mental issues they could be having or the drugs they could be on. OK. Well, after the meeting, several people came to me telling me that they had the same question, but I was the one who asked it. It has been that way much of my life. Many people will have a question, but I will be the one who asks.

   On another note, Mr. Shirley who was NOT a male chauvinist pig, tried very hard to appear to be so at times. At the end of the meeting, he mentioned the fire sirens going off about a week earlier. They had found the cause, A LADY bug. He emphasized the LADY part. 

When you HAVE to have a job

June 4, 2014

In 1983 I was not working off my property (which wasn’t technically mine, you’ll see). I was working full time and then some cleaning a property that I had sold previously to another person. This person I will call Mr. Clean. Mr. Clean bought the property from me with a warranty deed and a mortgage. After about 3 months he decided that he did not desire to pay me any more for the property. He had almost nothing into it at that point because I had not required a down payment and the payments were only $125 a month. Well, then he decided that he no longer wanted to live there so he gave it to his son, Mr. Clean, Jr.

Mr. Clean Jr. was a very interesting character. Very interesting, and NOT VERY CLEAN! He did such things as draining the septic system overflow through a ditch to the roadside OVER the well. The entire property was a very big mess. Most of my life, my properties have also been messy, but this guy outdid me by a lot. The town finally decided that they had had enough and condemned the property. Since it had been condemned, he moved out. At the time I was living in my truck for a lot of reasons, one of which was that I had no income coming in. Well, I went to the town and asked them if it was possible to get a property uncondemned. They told me that if I cleaned it up, they would uncondemn it and I could live there while I was working on it.

So I moved up there with my mother and started cleaning. We were living on Mom’s social security and what my farm produced. I got the property cleaned up, met someone and we decided to get married. I was not working outside of my farm, because at that time, I didn’t need to. Or so I thought . . . The town uncondemned the property. The owner (remember, I had given him a warranty deed!) came over a week before I was supposed to get married. He said thanks for cleaning up the property, you have a week to get out. A week to get OUT what do you mean get OUT??? I called my lawyer who told me I had the right to foreclose, but it would take a year and in the mean time I had to get out. I had goats, rabbits, pigs and chickens. I had 2000 bales of hay. I had no job. Where in creation was I supposed to go?

I started looking hard for a place to go and found an old farm in Buckfield I could rent. I could bring most of the animals with me. Couldn’t bring my boar. Couldn’t bring the hay. So I had to leave the hay and the boar behind. A month later I found that he had slaughtered my PURE BRED boar and he offered me the meat for $5 a pound. NO  way was I paying for the meat of a boar which I had not even given permission for him to kill !

AS I said in the title, I HAD to get a job. No choice and immediately. I was living near Norway, Maine. There were very few jobs available back then. Maine Wood Products Co. was hiring. I had had woodworking factory experience so I went for the job. He said NO. He had hired people with experience before and they had a tendency not to do as he asked. There were no other jobs available. I was desperate. I went over there the next day. I went again and again. Five days and five tries later he hired me. When we were all laid off just before Christmas, I asked if he was sorry he had hired me. Nope.

Are You Nuts?

June 4, 2014

My employer’s family has a party every Christmas to which I am invited Last Christmas we were all sitting around opening our presents one at a time. I realized that every gentleman in the room had received at least one jar of nuts. Various kinds, but they all had nuts. I was even guilty. Since I knew that my boss liked pistachios and a certain brand of pistachios,  I also bought him nuts. Almost all he had for Christmas was various containers of nuts. So, bright me, I said “All of the men have nuts!” Complete sileAlice 2013 3 Ooops,

The Phone Booth (not what you might think)

June 2, 2014

  In 1970 I was a member of the Univ of Southern Maine Outing Club. Didn’t get as many outings as I expected, but did learn a few things. One weekend we (three girls and two guys) had a chance to use the camp belonging to the Outing club from the Univ. of Maine in Orono. This camp was at Sugarloaf Mt. in Maine. Sugarloaf is very near Stratton where I had lived in 1963-64 so I hoped that while we were there I might get a chance to go to Stratton and see whatever I could. I did not have a driver’s license yet so I was dependent on others.

   The weekend did not turn out to be what I had expected for several reasons. First, we did not do any climbing which was, I thought, why we had gone up there. Nope, The two guys and other two girls had other ideas. I was offered the chance to partake, but was not interested. Nothing to read. Nothing to do, So I just sat there wishing I had not come. At one point one of the men said that he was going to make a phone call. Since we had no phone in the cabin, I assumed that he would be driving to Stratton to make the call and started to follow him. Right to the outhouse which had a phone booth sign on the outside. Oh well . . .

They love her

May 18, 2014

Years ago I asked Heather Phinney if I could watch her train her steer. Later I went to the Topsham fair to watch her pull them. Heather won. The gentleman sitting beside me told me to notice something. All of the other handlers were whipping their animals to get them to pull harder. Heather had a whip, but NEVER used it. As he told me, those animals were pulling because they loved her, not because she was hurting them.

The real Peter Rabbit

May 8, 2014

In 1976 I started my farming enterprise. First I got a goat, later a pig. I started working at Cornwall Ind. and there met rabbit breeders Gordon and Ruby McLaren. Gordon is the one who named Buffalo Billy Well, before I moved over with them, I got them into goats and they got me into rabbits. When my first rabbit was ready to give birth I brought her in the house for the event. With the goats I always removed them from their mothers at birth which in many cases is the best for all. Well, with rabbits, not so much. And rabbits only feed their babies twice a day which I didn’t know either. I figured that the baby rabbits (which are actually kittens) would need to feed more frequently than a goat kid which nurses about every 3 or 4 hours. So, every half hour I got the mother out and put the babies on her belly for her to feed them. After a few tries, she got very sick of that and with the kittens still on her belly, kicked her feet hard scattering the newborns (9 of them) all over. I put her back and retrieved the kittens. One was slit all the way across the stomach with the intestines hanging out. Oh O. Well, I put the intestines back inside, pieced the skin together as best I could and put a round bandaid on the stomach. They are about the size of half of your little finger at that age.

Eventually I put the kittens in a nest and let their mother feed them. I am surprised, really, that she continued raising them and did not reject them, but all 9 lived. It can be difficult to sex a baby kitten. So I called Gordon and asked him how to tell. He told me where to push and said if it looked like a slit it was a girl and if it was round it was a boy. So I sexed my rabbits and separated them. The baby who had been treated with the bandaid had a slit so he went in with the girls. The he is NOT a misprint here. By the time they were 4 months old he was acting very much like a he. I brought him over to Gordon to look at. Well, besides the fact that he had very prominent testicles, when pushed properly his equipment poked out about an inch. Sure enough, the end of it was shaped like a slit. Gordon’s comment – if it sticks out that far, I don’t care if it is square, it is NOT a girl.

So, since Peter (renamed) had become a pet and was not a purebred, it was unwise to use him for a stud so I neutered him. I already knew how to do that from a Cooperative Exchange handbook and practice I had already had with goat kids and calves. I put him back in his cage and the next morning he was out running around. I put him back in the cage and he got out again. I went out to the barn, felt something on my foot, and looked down to see Peter standing on my foot. Well, it was obvious that he wasn’t going to run away so I didn’t put him back in the cage again, I simply left him free. He had been neutered. Well, about a month and a half later I saw a wild rabbit in the back of the yard with several kittens following her. Three of them were pure white. Oh O.

Praise God in everything

May 7, 2014

   I had been hired as a mother’s helper/babysitter. This mother had never been away from her 2 1/2 year old daughter and was planning to return to work so she thought it was a good idea to hire someone to stay with her two little girls for periods of time to get them used to having someone else there besides Mom. Well, this particular day she was driving her car with her 4 year old, Me, and the 2 1/2 year old in it. She ran out of gas. Immediately she lowered her head to the steering wheel and thanked God. I asked her why she was thanking God and she said she thanked God for whatever happened good or bad.

   After she said her prayer, she took the 4 year old by the hand, got out of the car, and started walking. This lady was very pretty and so was the 4 year old. She had bright red hair and a bright yellow knitted poncho on. The younger girl and I were both fat and the girl had a bad cold so she left us with the car. She only walked for about 45 seconds. A young man stopped, gave her a ride to the gas station, bought her gas, came back, put it in her car, and asked her for a date.