June in Maine is a lot like May or April, weather-wise, but the roads are starting to get a little more crowded. It'd be nice if the temps went up and stayed there, but it's really a so-so month. The weather in June is why most folks say that Maine summers start on 4th of July. That's also about the time the highways get so packed full of tourists that the locals stay mainly on the byways. Eight weeks of crowds, honking horns, screeching brakes, curse words, and then we're back to normal. Normal, come to think of it, usually means older cars belching clouds of smoke, no brakes available even if you need 'em, and horns that stopped working right after that night you laid on it for hours when Neil Armstrong took his leap. Some of you younger subscribers will have to Google that one to understand what the heck I'm talking about. Without horns we have to rely more heavily on the cursing than the tourists do, but, fortunately, most Mainers have a pretty good handle on this tactical skill and are able to let forth with a blue streak that'll just about give you laser eye surgery if you stare directly at their mouth when they let it out.
We're kind of having a leather sale - we have a lot of consigned lots in the barn - leathers that we sell for some of our partner (and owner) companies. Some of these companies dictate the price to us, and sometimes they ask us to step on the gas a little to help them get their corporate vehicle up a steep financial hill (I never plan these newsletters - I just drop the reins and let my fingers run, and sometimes they create metaphors that come from who knows where). So, last night we sat around and punched some calculator buttons while eating crab salad (excellent, this time of year), and beat down prices by about 35% on quite a few of the leathers we're offering on our Sides page. Mostly printed suedes and printed finished leathers, but we also marked down some sheep hides, and some odds and ends. Thought you might want to take a look:
The trunk business is booming - having a great year, and we've been fortunate to find time to get quite a few antique trunk refinished and posted on the website. If you've been looking for one, right now would be a great time to look. Here's the For Sale page:
We're heading into Father's Day weekend, so, for the sake of all that's kind and good, do something for or with your Dad if you can. Phone, visit, e-mail, whatever suits your personal relationship with your personal Dad or the person you consider to have served in that role or would play your Dad in a movie some day. Want to know what to give him? Here's an idea that I came up with, and I'm an actual Dad so there may be some credibility involved in this - give him a free day. That's what Amanda and the girls are giving me - a day off. This is huge - and I have it all planned out. I'm taking the truck up to Oquossoc, Maine (look that one up on Google Earth and I think all you'll find is a blank map). I know an old dirt road there that will take me right up close to one of the best trout/salmon rivers in this part of the country - the Kennebago. That's a Native American word that means 'place where Dads go once a year.' The road leads you to a dead end, but the trail continues, so I bring along my bicycle and from that point I pedal my way in, fly rod in one hand, backpack with my stuff, a lunch, and that one bottle of beer that I saved for this trip. The trail is smooth, very easy riding, and it's quiet as can be. No traffic noise, no nothing. A few times I've had to stop and wait for moose to move out of the path, but they're not much trouble. By and by the road meets up with the river again, so it's just a matter of leaning the bike against a tree and wading out, casting to the pools. I've ridden the bike upstream, so I fish my way back downstream, taking the rest of the day to eventually end up back at the truck. The fish aren't huge, but they're there. I always seem to have good luck on the Kennebago, catching/releasing a trout or salmon that's a little north of the three pound mark. Lots of chubs too, sort of like shiners, but they fight hard so I don't mind them. Bugs are thick up there this time of year, so a little bug dope, or one of those nine-inning stinky cigars that they sell at the gas station -the ones that have been back there on the shelf behind the register for about 4 years - can be effective. The river is only about 15 yards wide, really more of a stream, so you wade down the middle, cast easily to each shore. I throw my favorite streamer here - the Black Ghost - because it looks like the little minnows I see skittering along in the shallows. Spruce trees line the banks, reaching up about 80 feet high is my guess, so you're in an outdoor, pine-scented hallway with rushing water about knee deep and I'm telling you it's an outdoor experience that can be so captivating I've fished for long periods of time before I realized that I'd long ago left my streamer on a tree branch behind me, so I'm now casting an empty line, making great casts to excellent spots, wondering why I didn't get a bite. That's one of those moments when I'm glad nobody else is around. That's another thing - in the last couple of decades I've made the trip to fish that stretch of river a lot of times, but I've never seen another human being fishing. They all go to Steep Bank Pool, back where I left the truck, so they can compete for the one salmon that got caught twice there yesterday. That's the pool that's in the guidebooks, so that's where they go. They can have it.
So, on Saturday, I'll be up there, casting away, sitting down when I feel like it, stopping to eat lunch on a rock when my gut tells me it's time to stop, and I'll have that beer after letting ti cool in the stream for ten minutes or so first. When it gets dark, which is about 10 pm up there, I'll pack up and drive back to our camp at Brettuns Pond, meet Amanda and the girlie-girls, and That Dog, to give them the full report. Right about that time I'll realize how much more fun it would have been if they'd come along, so, later in the summer we'll all make the trip and fish together on that same stretch, eat lunch on that same big rock right in the middle of the stream, see that same moose cross by the meadow, no velvet on the horns anymore, and catch some of the same fish. That's something to look forward to.
So, that's what I'm doing. Hope your weekend is a grand one. Happy Father's Day.
Fly Thrasher/Hackle Whipper
Up Maine Way