Yes, there really are snow fleas...
I just love the variety of stories in MBH&H! I wanted readers to know that Milly was correct (“Frost Heave Season” by Charlotte Crowder, MBH&H #124). There really are snow fleas. The members of the family
Poduridae in the order Collembola
are rather commonly seen on the snow in northern climes during the late winter. I’ve seen them in Michigan and also here in Idaho. Tightly gathered in huge numbers on the snow, the dark patch they create at first glance appears like some uncaring person discarded old engine oil at the side of a road.
If you see such a phenomenon, do stop and inspect. These little insects are known for a very specialized part of their anatomy located on the underside of the abdomen, called a furcula. This forked “spring” enables them to jump long distances (for their size) and gives them their other common name “springtail.” Watch how far they can jump—Olympians all.
“Requiem for a Schooner”
Our thanks to the Gano Dunn/Vitelli family for sharing their fond memories of a long and endearing relationship with Niliraga
; a very handsome and seaworthy Alden schooner (MBH&H #120, July 2012). Their love and respect for the vessel, its virtues and idiosyncrasies (weather helm), and its important contributions to their family welled from the pages.
We considered both Niliraga
and her sister ship Blackbird
(309Q) for purchase in 1993, but by that time, sadly, Niliraga
was in a state of neglect that precluded her from serious offers. She was subsequently withdrawn from the market, and we purchased Blackbird.
One early morning in 1994, while docked in Southwest Harbor, our first visitor was Ralph Stanley. His first thought when he saw the rig had been that, by some miracle, Niliraga
had survived, but he recognized Blackbird
as he drew closer. We talked for a long time; a memorable morning with the early fog slowly vanishing under a bright and warming sun.
We have now owned Blackbird
longer than we have been married. Luckily, she has fared better than her sisters due to many years of sensible care by many owners. We got married aboard, and sailed her until 2001 when she came home for a major restoration. After 11 years of work, Blackbird
will be back in the water and sailing this summer.
Wooden boat owners in these parts are lucky. The skills necessary to properly execute really difficult repairs are often just around the corner. For example, when we had to bend in new Angelique garboards as shutter planks, we turned to Joe and Jamie Lowell of Even Keel Marine in Yarmouth. They executed a flawless planking job, economically and with the knowledge and skills that can only be accrued and passed down from father to son through many generations.
So cheers to the memory of Niliraga
a grand and beautiful little schooner that had a long and cherished life. She lives on still in spirit.
Peter and Sandy Thompson
Cuckolds Light Station
Thank you for again turning your attention to the Boothbay Peninsula. We always enjoy Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, and were particularly pleased to read Mimi Steadman’s wonderful story about The Cuckolds Rescue, a project that engenders real pride in the Boothbay Region and surrounding community. Ms. Steadman got it exactly right when she called it “A Rock and A Hard Place.” We are grateful for the participation of so many in this project, and especially so to the past Cuckolds’ President Gerry Gamage who spearheaded this great idea and also to current President, Paul Coulombe for his commitment to bring the final phase of the restoration to fruition. We hope to welcome many Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors readers to the light station when it opens to the public in the months ahead.
Sue and Dave Killian
Georgetown, Massachusetts and Southport, Maine
In the story “A Sum of Several Parts” (April/May 2013) the primary contractor, Charles Marshall, was omitted from the list of contact information. Marshall built the original house, the guest house, and the first addition. We regret the oversight.
Be sure to include your name, phone number, and postal address. Send to Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, P.O. 566, Rockland, ME 04841; fax to 207-593-0026; or e-mail us via www.maineboats.com
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