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THE TREES OF MAINE
WE suspect that when Maine was called the Pine Tree State, the word pine was made to do duty in a general way for evergreens. we know that much furniture, said to be pine, is often spruce or cedar in parts. There is a loose manner of thinking of all evergreens when wrought into lumber, as pine. whatever may once have been the case, we very much doubt whether the pine is now the predominant tree of Maine. A lady of some discrimination declared to the writer that she journeyed over two hundred miles in Maine without seeing a pine from her car window. We wonder whether she might not have taken at least a few naps. A surprise, however, awaits the traveler who supposes that he is about to drive through interminable pine forests. The spruce is very much in evidence, fir is common, hackmatack usual, and hemlock more than common.
Perhaps a pine, at its best estate, is the most picturesque of trees, but it is seldom that great pines are symmetrical. The gnarled growth of a pine may be more picturesque, but it is a question whether the pure beauty of a perfect cone is not more attractive. while it is doubtless true that the pine was culled out near the shore, it probably was never as predominant as it was popularly supposed to have been.
The most valuable wood economically in Maine is perhaps the spruce. It is being cut away so rapidly that without careful restrictions the state is likely to be denuded. The spruce is a tree of very great beauty both as to color and form. It is also an ideal wood for ship spars as well as its more common use for paper pulp. In its different varieties it is found almost everywhere in Maine. Evergreens are found more particularly on a light soil. It is, indeed, a very happy provision of nature that pines will grow in almost pure sand. we have seen splendid forests of pine on land worthless for anything else. The fact may serve to bring out what modern science has shown us, that everything can be used. There are no barren soils, especially in eastern America, since we find here no deleterious chemicals in the soils, and every bare tract can be converted into a valuable plantation. The importance of pine is on this account coming much to the fore just now.
A curious condition regarding tree growths is that trees growing in the open, with limbs on all sides, are of small value commercially, while esthetically they are far finer than forest trees. Indeed, a lone tree, left after the forest is cut away from it, is rather unsightly, since it has only a small tuft in the way of foliage. We are indebted to the darkness for the goodness of timber. In the forest the lower limbs cease to develop and leave no trace except small knots. Yet we have an admiration for the beauty of forest trees, since they complement one another, growing in the mass. Their foliage is so far away that we hear only a distant sough. We walk like pigmies among the mighty boles, and lay our hands affectionately upon them. Sometimes, even in the deep forests, the ferns make a fine growth. Near Moosehead Lake we came upon a good half acre of maidenhair ferns, the most extensive tract we have observed. Near the streams, also, either on the trees or on the rocks, within the reach of wind-blown spray, fine mosses thrive, and we have shown a detail of such moss, on the banks of the Penobscot.
The fir tree is not very familiar in the lower temperate zone. Its foliage somewhat resembles the hemlock, except that the short needles grow out in every direction from the stem. The rich color and the exuberance of the foliage has a fine effect. This is the tree which supplies the balsam so highly regarded in the last generation as a pulmonary remedy. The odor of the balsam is still supposed to be healing. Whether, there is a direct benefit, or that better indirect benefit derived from wandering in the forest and living outdoors, we do not know.
The gums of evergreens, especially the spruce, are best collected where, as not seldom occurs, a lightning stroke has left a long seam in the bark from top to bottom. In this wound the tree exudes its gums to save itself, and affords a fine harvest for the gum hunter. At first the crystal globules are mere pitch, and it requires some years for them to become good gum.
A QUAINT OVERHANG, PORTLAND-STANDISH ROAD
The interest of a forest lies largely in the superimposed growth. The ancient trees that have fallen and gone back into the soil are the source from which the new growth arises. Where this process is often repeated, we obtain the fine depth of wood-mold so stimulative to plant growth. It affords no end of sweet imaginings to see a recently fallen tree lying upon another that is moss and punk, while this tree, in turn, rests upon still another which has wholly disintegrated. It is not often that forest fires have allowed this condition. It is the underlying punk wood which carries the fires, sometimes for a half mile, in a wholly invisible manner. The flame will then break out again at great distance. This is why fire fighting is so difficult, dealing as it does with an elusive element in an ancient wood. The old punk burns like a slow match, with a dull glow. We suppose that the cigarette smoker will continue his vicious habit, until the time comes, as it may in some generation, when men seek higher pleasures than that of nicotine. The campaign against fires is pretty vigorously waged, by warnings to extinguish all camp fires, but so long as it does not constitute a crime to smoke cigarettes, little headway will be made.
A SUMMER SHORE - NEAR BATH
AWAY DOWN EAST - DRESDEN
A CRYSTAL LANDING - GRAY
SABBATH DAY LAKE - NEW GLOUCESTER
BIRCHES IN SUNLIGHT - CAMDEN
A SABATTUS SHORE
THE RIPPLES' EDGE
UNDER THE CREST - CAMDEN
AT LEISURE - CAMDEN
THE BOAT UNDER THE BOUGH - WISCASSET
A DIVING POOL, CRYSTAL LAKE - GRAY
FERN, BLOOM AND ELM - DRESDEN
There is something back of forest fires that lies in uneducated natures. There is an abundant number of city people who seem to recognize no property rights in the country. They freely break down lilacs and the blossoming boughs of apple trees, and make use of the land wherever their fine fancy prompts. They could own this earth on which they tread for a very small investment. They prove, however, that their interest is not serious, and their admiration not honest. The love of nature is shown by the respect we show to her. To build a fire against a dwelling is not nearly so dangerous as to build a fire in the forest, unless a site with wide areas of clean earth surrounds the blaze. A forest fire is like a bitter word, left to rankle. when we consider the slowness of the growth of a character or a tree, it is no less than a miracle that we have good men and good trees. The Indians were accused of setting fires for various purposes, in the old days. Sometimes they wished to drive out game; sometimes they wished to encourage the growth of grasses or shrubs for deer and moose to browse upon. But since they used little timber, in their crude civilization, they were not as blameworthy as the present day barbarian who is destroying the ancient forest. Nothing is more unsightly than a burned-over tract. Nothing is more delightful than an undisturbed woodland. We are slowly learning that to call a man civilized does not make him so, and that the savagery of the twentieth century is far more dangerous, and in many instances more complete, than was the case before the days of Columbus. If we can't be lovers of beauty, let us at least try to be decent in ourselves. Fire does not belong to us by any right that we can claim as human beings. Nothing belongs to us. We take everything on sufferance. Even when we buy, we simply enter into an agreement with another man to quit his claim to the thing we purchase. Back of his claim is no indefeasible right. We may get our deeds from the Indians, but judgment on us for our use of the lands is decided by an older and mightier power. Twenty thousand acres have just been burned over in Maine, as we write. The state pays a great sum to its fire fighters, and in addition it suffers the loss of its forests and its reservoir of waters. That a characterless man should handle carelessly the mystery of fire is one of the anomalies of civilization.
The hackmatack, or American larch, is one of the anomalies among trees. Though a conifer, it is not evergreen. The irregularity of its branches gives it an airy grace. We have not seen elsewhere than in Maine rows or clumps of hackmatack planted as windbreaks or decorative trees. Occasionally one sees a whole forest of them, usually on the lowlands.
The hemlock, much despised in the early times, is so common that it is now much used as a cheap lumber, though it affords shaky boards. In its growth, it is often graceful. One of its important values is its bark, used for tanning, though the oak bark is better, and modern chemical methods are likely to supersede both barks, and leather itself, for that matter.
The poplar is another common wood, cut for pulp or for spools. We were accustomed to think of it as a somewhat plebeian tree. Now, however, when we see the hard woods, such as maple and birch, passed over as valueless in the back forests, we must revise our opinions. It is said that a quarter of a million cords of pulp wood will be floated this year, down one branch of the Penobscot river. It is surprising to see how well trained the sticks are, keeping generally in the middle of a strong current, where the stream is of fairly uniform width. In the broads, however, and where the eddies form, it circles about several times before it is willing to proceed. In times of high water, tossed up on the bank, it remains, and in parts of the river shows a definite line of numerous sticks on the sands or the crags. From these positions it is cleared every year or two, in the autumn, by a process called "picking the river." Beginning at the highest and most remote tributary streams, every stick is started on its way by the deft river man, and followed down until millions of feet are gathered at the final point. The life of the river men, while dangerous, is not so much so as it appears, to one who watches them from the bank, leaping from log to log.
The workers at this trade acquire a love for it. In fact, it would seem that the more dangerous an occupation out of doors, the more ready are men to go into it. This promises well for a hardy race. So long as men are ready to take up dangerous callings, which nevertheless give health and quick, iron muscles, it indicates that the spirit of manhood is not on the decline. The life of the camp has developed a type. The food is of the best, but woe to him who finds fault! By the discipline of the camp, the critic or the cook must go, and it is not, as a rule, the cook. The quantity of food consumed is enormous, since the activity of the lumberman and the cold weather require great interior fires. We have heard of one foreman who rapidly took on board nine fried eggs, as the introduction to his breakfast. In addition to the meats, of which there are all sorts, and all good, there was at least one instance when rich baked beans were also served for three hundred and sixty consecutive meals. This is the total number of meals during which the cook-house was in operation. Do not imagine there was a change in diet. In putting up dinners for the men who go too far to return for them, there were, in this camp at least, always added a dozen cookies, besides the dessert. A cook informed me that such trifles do not count, and that he never knew a cooky to be returned.
THE RIPPLES' EDGE - WISCASSET
THE SWIMMERS' DELIGHT - DANVILLE
MEETING THE TIDE - ROCKPORT
THE ROADSIDE TROUGH
INTO THE VALLEY - EDGECOMB
ORNAMENTAL AND FRUIT TREES
THE maple and the birch and the elm are the usual trees along the walls. The elms, though not so old as those of Massachusetts, are scarcely less majestic. In many towns they form a wonderful canopy over the streets. In the smaller places, as Randolph, Dresden, Union, and a hundred others, their great trunks lend dignity and character.
The maple is a favorite, largely, probably, because of its quick growth. It requires but a few years to cast a dense and broad shade. This very early maturity, however, betokens an early decay, as we have elsewhere pointed out. The basswood is in some neighborhoods a favorite. The buttonwood scarcely occurs in Maine.
The birch tree, with its velvety pink bark, of the sort growing in northern latitudes, flourishes in Maine very extensively, though there are regions where we see it seldom. When at its best, it has an individual charm unlike any other species. we have been happy in finding at York and Damariscotta, in New Vineyard and other quarters, a large number of delightful specimens or groups of these trees, which light up the twilight roadsides and form an artistic marker. The great wood piles of white birch are a feature of the farmhouses. At Lincolnville, the children of a family built them a fort in the woodpile, while the buttresses were round sticks with their white rims, and the guns were large and fine salmon-colored logs. The bright eyes of the defenders peeped shyly over their ramparts. we left them as dangerous persons, who would captivate our hearts and keep us in bondage if we remained long.
The beech woods of Maine, always winning us by their fine trunks, supply another source of fire wood. The oak is not so common nor so majestic as we find it in Connecticut. The distinctive and frondlike foliage of the locust appears here and there, and, of course, the horse chestnut is highly honored. The nut trees of Maine are confined mostly to the beech and a few sporadic specimens of other varieties. Beach nutting was the usual excuse in the autumn for a frolic in the woods.
The cherry trees of Hallowell, of the great blackheart variety, were long a well-known product. The wild cherry remains as a pest of the wayside, since it is a dangerous and favorite host for worms. Since the wood is of some value for furniture, a campaign ought to be begun against all wild cherries. This tree is quite distinct from the sour cherry of Pennsylvania, so much cultivated for its fruit.
The choke cherry, so appropriately named, is another product, almost as dangerous as poison to the small boy. It remains for some genius to find a use for its fruit.
Maine are beautiful in the autumn with the elderberry, growing by the
walls and ancient fences. Wild blackberries grace the spring and enrich
autumn. The upland pastures and roadsides are well spattered with
THE love for apple blossoms, which has become so evident in the writer's life, seems never satiated. This year has been wonderful for the fullness and general diffusion of these pearl-white, myriad petals that fill the air with fragrance and the eye with delight. To this we must add that by rough computation, carried on throughout the spring, we determine that at least nine out of ten orchards in Maine are neglected, and more than half of them grossly neglected. The apple is alive only through its own persistence. There is no general sorting or rating of the fruit. The Maine apple is equal to any that grows and superior to all that grow south of it, hard and luscious even into the spring, when we so much crave its deliciousness. It exists on tolerance, without half a chance. Here and there, as in Monmouth, there is serious attention paid to it. we have in mind an orchard that once made its owner rich, but that is dying now that he has died. The juniper and the evergreen, beautiful but fatal, are springing up to choke out the forlorn trees, many of them not past a rich usefulness. If one-half of the skill or enthusiasm that we see in California were devoted to the Maine apple, it would be grown in the greatest profusion and would make its qualities widely known. Emphasis should be placed on the keeping qualities of these apples. It would be easy to prove, by the fruit itself, how superior it is to that brought from the west. We have seen in northern Maine cities, in the fruit shops, great quantities of mealy, tasteless western fruit, that sold purely for its skin-deep beauty, while the unsought, but delectable native fruit could not be had except on insistent demand. The crying need of Maine, at the present time, is first a belief in its own products, and then the fostering and exploitation of them. Great areas in Maine, where the soil is somewhat light or gravelly, are perfectly adapted for successful apple culture. Strangely enough, we note many apple orchards on heavy clay soils. Some farms have no other soil. If apples will flourish under such conditions, how much more might they be a source of delight and profit on those farms which at present yield a meager living. Along the shores of Maine, and all about the lakes, apples thrive. They seem to delight in slopes above water.
THE SPARHAWK HOUSE HALL, KITTERY
We have been traveling in Elysium for months this year. The blossoms have told their silent story most eloquently. They came late, but lasted long, and many a tree seemed bent on outdoing itself. At least, it was bent! Never have we seen so many great branches sweeping the ground. Redolent, multitudinous, aromatic, the delight of the hillside, the fence corner, the gable of the shed, and the roadside, it has filled us with joy. The apple blossom is the most attractive form of prophecy. If asked if we believe in prophecy, we answer, yes. Shall not the intelligent men of Maine protect these blooms from blight, and meet half way this most luxuriant and beautiful overture of God to men?
THE SPARHAWK DOOR, KITTERY
Among the hundreds of blossoms, the pictorial record of which we have made, we find ourselves in a delicious uncertainty which to choose. We have therefore laid the abundant feast before the reader. Eat, and be filled! We must, however, say that the view of a gable decorated by blossoms at Edgecomb, where we looked down upon a bay, was among our finest experiences. Again, where we looked up at the old block-house through wild-apple blossoms, we felt that charming combination of youth and age, of which the world never tires. In an orchard in Camden, while we were making adjustments for a picture, we found a wood snake twined about the post of the camera, and within striking distance of our eyes. This is the only instance in our experience of a serpent's interest in art! The poor, harmless creature, he has gone the way of all snakes!
The pyramidal form of the pear tree and its early bloom give variety and a longer term to the white billows of the spring. This year also, for the first time, we have found the wild cherry of use, peeping over its diffused abundance from the shores of Boothbay. We have also made our initial studies of effective horse-chestnut blooms, and have recorded the dogwood in its luxuriant and widespread brilliance.
THE steadiness of the Maine winters, in spite of exceptional January thaws, provides good sleighing. The modern method of rolling the roads affords a very much better surface than we used to enjoy. In some parts of the state, as on the fine route from Greenville to Ripogenus Dam, a sprinkler is sent over the road after it is rolled. The result, so far as the ease of gliding is concerned, can hardly be understood by those who have not had a recent sleigh ride. For sleigh riding is the king of winter sports, because it may be so generally enjoyed, and enjoyed for so long a period. We have shown two or three pictures in this work of ski jumping and snowshoeing, furnished us by the courtesy of the Maine Publicity Association. The modern tendency in sports seems to be for a few to enjoy them by actual participation, while the many stand about in the cold. In this respect we think the old way was better. Then everyone participated. It would have been a poor creature, subject to raillery, if not contempt, who would in those days have stood at the side of the road while the coasters went by. Any girl is pretty in the winter, with her pink cheeks. It would have been an exceptional girl for whom no place was made on the double-runner.
THE SPARHAWK HOUSE PARLOR, KITTERY
While perhaps we strain a point if we reckon gathering maple sap as amongst winter sports, we nevertheless considered it in that light in our childhood. Two pictures, one showing the sap house, and another the gathering of the sap, were also furnished us by the same source.
Undoubtedly it is a good thing to induce city people to go into the country in the winter, though it should require no inducement, other than the splendid tonic of the air, the sparkling snow on the hills, and the winter festoons over the fence rows and the farm buildings. Any measure that tends to call the attention of the public to winter as an asset, rather than a liability, is commendable. Maine offers the only large area in the east open to settlement. Many persons from northern Europe settle in the Dakotas and contiguous states. In Maine they might enjoy the windbreaks supplied by the fine forests, and the ranges of hills. They would be certain of a crop, and would not require the weather bureau to tell them whether enough rain would fall. Maine has never called on the outside world for food. She has enough and to spare, and in sufficient variety, so that life is still agreeable on many thrifty Maine farms. We have this year visited such farms where optimism was a habit, and where plenty abounded. If those persons who sometimes go under the name of radicals, were to study the methods of the successful farmers in Maine, they would not require to press for laws asking farmers. bonuses. Maine is one of two states in New England where farming is still carried on extensively and seriously, with the idea of obtaining one's whole living from the land. Bangor is no colder than Burlington. Probably the thick blanket of winter snow in Maine is in part accountable for the sweetness of the corn which has given that product supremacy in the markets of the world. Everywhere, we think without exception, races who have made good where cold winters occur, were good races, in the sense that they possessed good physique, persistence, thoroughness, stability, and in general, admirable characters.
A DRESDEN RETREAT
FROM ANOTHER CENTURY - RICHMOND
OVER THE HILL - DRESDEN
ALL JOY! - DRESDEN
A WILDWOOD DELL - ALNA
POLAND SHADOW PLAY
INLET AND OUTLET - BIDDEFORD POOL
A CAMDEN ARCH
ATTRACTIVE MAINE VILLAGES
EXCURSIONS ending at the point of departure from many Maine villages and small cities may be made very attractive. From Fryeburg one is under the shadow of the White Mountains. A route north past upper Kezar Lake is altogether beautiful. Roads easterly skirt fine streams, and roads southeasterly pass through evergreen woods. Fryeburg is of the right size, and its people are of the character, to give pleasure in such summer acquaintances as may be formed. The Saco, in its quiet stretches, is nowhere more beautiful than from the bridge nearest the village, though there are two other bridges somewhat farther away which show the stream in much beauty. A great boulder in this town has the reputation of being one of the largest known. At Lovell's Pond, also, is the site of an old Indian battlefield. The pleasantest summer of the author's youth was at Fryeburg, how many years ago we don't care to say. We will say, however, that a week's exploration over the old haunts this summer afforded all the joy of the past.
Bethel is a village quite given up to summer visitors, and abounding in attractions. The Androscoggin shows us here many fine curves. The stream which flow into it are even better. One of these we regard as almost the most beautiful of our Maine discoveries. The location of Bethel, accessible from many other interesting points, must continue to foster its popularity.
Farmington has for many years enjoyed distinction for its quieter surroundings near the upper Kennebec and the Sandy river. Its intervales mark the appropriateness of its name. Its old and notable school supplies an atmosphere agreeably classic.
Guilford is a large village close to some of the most distinguished lake scenery in New England. Its river also is not without many windings, punctuated by the grace of elms.
Foxcroft-Dover is in a region more completely given up to open land farming. It is a good type, if we may use the pronoun "it" of a twin settlement, where a certain amount of manufacturing in a market town diversifies the life of the people.
Newport is a meeting place of roads and the base for visiting the beautiful shores of Sebasticook Lake. It is prepared to entertain visitors who go away with pleasing impressions of an open landscape without great inequalities of elevation. The same may be said of Skowhegan and Phillips. Phillips, however, is not far from distinguished mountain scenery. Saddleback attains the respectable elevation of four thousand feet, and Mt. Abraham is almost as lofty. Wilton, with its pond and its background of hills, is a village which, together with Weld, also supplied with a fine body of water, may attract the guest. Indeed, both these towns have that beauty of which we never tire, the conjunction of mountain and lake. Mt. Blue, near weld, was for long a favorite resort in blueberry time, so much so that in our childhood we supposed that blueberries were named for the mountain!
Belgrade has become a famous lake center. Its proximity to Augusta and Waterville has been availed of locally, and visitors from afar swarm in the region. The town of Rome, which was once synonymous for rocks, now has a broad highway through it from Augusta and Waterville to Farmington, and its sharp hills have become a joy. The lakes of Belgrade have so many intricate windings and touch one another in such unexpected fashion, that those who sail upon them would require years to feel at home, and even then losing the sense of newness, they acquire the sense of familiarity which is even dearer.
The lakes of Winthrop have long been a favorite resort from the cities of the Kennebec and from Lewiston and Auburn. The road to these lakes in spring or autumn, whether in blossom time or in the time of painted leaves, is equally enjoyable.
Cornish, while mainly perhaps thriving by its industries, and as a local market, is a very pleasing headquarters on the Saco, for excursions, in which may be included Sebago Lake. Everybody knows the water centers of Bridgton and Naples, and the features of Poland are too distinctive to require elaboration. we have been happy in finding pictures of fine woodland drives in this vicinity.
We have already mentioned, though our minds constantly revert to, the charms of Wiscasset and Damariscotta. If we were to speak of a red letter day in Maine, perhaps the most enjoyable we have had for years, we should say it was a spring day in and about Wiscasset. There is a little ice pond near the village, whose borders are studded with blossoms, at intervals, producing most artistic effects. Then the drive to Dresden, returning through Alna, supplied us with delightful scenes.
We have discussed already the villages of Camden and Castine, and the attractions of Bar Harbor.
Belfast is a little city whose country roads, though not all very smooth, are dotted by cottages and skirted by farms and decorated with lakes and streams so as to hold our attention.
Eastport and Calais should be sufficient with their waters and their inland drives to the lakes and streams behind them, to hold attention for a long time. Princeton and its lakes, among the largest in Maine, when all attendant smaller lakes are taken together, is the center of a very important and fascinating district.
Aroostook County, in Houlton, Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield, Caribou and Fort Kent, has villages which are headquarters for a study of a fertile and magnificent farming district. Here, in a rich soil and in a strong way, the people of Aroostook carve their fortunes from their broad lands. In Schoodic Lake, and Grand Lake, at the southeast corner of the county, and in the very extensive Eagle Lakes at the northern end of the county, canoeing at its highest estate calls to the water lover. In fact, the Eagle Lakes offer perhaps a longer unbroken water route than any other lake route in the state. All this district is yet capable of very much larger development. It holds virgin forests and farm lands, so extensive, and watered by so many fine streams, that this county alone is worth, and perhaps ought eventually to receive, a special volume. Possibly if we unite Aroostook with northern Penobscot and the whole of Piscataquis, and the greater part of Somerset counties, we should have a district unrivaled in the world for its lake attractions. The villages from which one could set out are somewhat remote from one's destination. But these villages are largely experienced in supplying the needs of the traveler. They are not yet beautiful in themselves, not having had yet the age and necessary development to secure mellowness. They should be thought of more as points of departure, just as western villages are regarded.
APPLE AND DANDELION FLUFF - NORTH EDGECOMB
A MAINE CORNER - LINCOLNVILLE
LEANING TO THE SHORE - CAMDEN
FAIR BANKS - LISBON
KENNEBEC BLOSSOMS - WHITEFIELD
WHERE THE LAKE SHOALS - WISCASSET
PITCHER POND - NEAR BELFAST
A BURDEN OF BEAUTY - ALNA
THE CAMPUS OF BOWDOIN
A RETIRING COTTAGE
NINE SISTERS - TOPSHAM
MAINE IN SPRING - OXFORD COUNTY