From the Office and Backyard to the Road, Boat, or Plane–Backstories and
Side Stories While on Assignment. Updates on Personal Projects, Too.

Archive for November, 2007

little ovencabin Thanksgiving spread

Up at the Maine cabin for Thanksgiving, we put our new (since summer) Sears-bought, 20-inch wide gas oven to the test. It’s a tiny workhorse. We cooked on all burners and both oven racks, from turkey to stuffing to clams. (Earlier in the week, I’d called my clam guy at Young’s Oyster Pound and asked him about getting some cherrystones or littlenecks… of course they had plenty of steamers on hand but none of thick shells. He’d have to dig up my order.) Near a wood stove and with icy mist falling outside, I’d decided I needed to make clams like I watched my Uncle Chic do one Thanksgiving. He’s the one who told me he was “the best quahog diver in New England” when he was young, but then he was known for telling incredible sea stories.

The rest of our menu was, as follows: roast fresh turkey (a free-ranger), mashed potatoes made with those Aroostook County potatoes with papery-thin skins, creamed fresh spinach, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, and a tray of roasted parsnips, beets, rutabaga and carrots.

We served everything on the cabin’s motley collection of plates and pans, along with a few things we bought at All Small Antiques in Searsport just before it closed Wednesday afternoon. The curly-headed, grandmotherly clerk there told us she wouldn’t be serving turkey this year. Instead she’d be cooking an eye roast the next day for her family, she said. “Why? I’ll tell you why. For the simple reason that they’ve had too much turkey already.”

lake viewcuckoo

– Sandy Lang, November 2007

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Food, Maine days



A red wolf so rare


In research for a story about the native wolf of the South, I spent a couple of afternoons last month watching a spry 14-year-old female who’s lived most of her life in captivity. Her wildness was still there, very much there in her aloof and exceedingly careful jaunt. She kept an eye on me, moved skittishly, and always stayed a healthy 30 yards or more away. Her fear of a human was palpable, and warranted.

Known to be immensely shy and people-wary, the long-legged, long-eared wolf is often marked with a cinnamon-burnished coat. At 50-80 pounds they are smaller than the gray wolves of the North and West, and larger than the seemingly-everywhere coyote. Through hunting and loss of habitat, the population of wild red wolves dropped as low as 17 individuals by the 1970s. Now there are about 120+ in the wild and another 200+ in captivity. My story is an update on restoration efforts, and will be the “soul” feature for an upcoming issue of the magazine Garden & Gun,

– Sandy Lang, November 2007

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