A group of us was sitting on the Notebook deck,
halfway through the season's final session of Earth News, our kid-reporter workshop. I couldn't wait any longer. "Bring out the surprise," I told fellow Notebook team member Eli.
He went inside and returned with a box that was, suspiciously enough, about the size of a shoe box. Despite this clue, half of those in the group, including Pamelia, had no idea what was inside it. After a game of 20 questions (no one guessed correctly), Eli opened the box and pulled out...the world's first pair of Naturalist's Notebook sneakers. They had been designed by Eli and fellow Notebook team members Haley and Julie as a gift for Pamelia.
No, they're not for sale. We do hope to create a number of new and unique items in the months and years ahead, but shoes probably won't be on the list. However, I will keep you posted on any comments the official Notebook sneakers receive when Pamelia wears them in public.
Is That Fall I See?
Hurricane Irene blew a lot of tourists out of the Bar Harbor area. Mount Desert Island has been quiet all week. Not as many children and families have been stopping in at The Naturalist's Notebook, though more retirees and couples have. Just as the leaves change at summer's end, so do the demographics of visitors to the Maine coast.
I always tell people that the best time to come to this area is in September and October. We've had a string of perfect 70-degree days leading up to Labor Day, and more are ahead. Pamelia and I have finally gotten a chance to do some hiking. We went up the Beachcroft Trail, a mountainside route filled with switchbacks and made almost entirely of granite steps. We've done some early-morning exploring in this week's super-low tides, treading carefully to avoid stepping on sea stars and urchins.
We've also begun focusing on Notebook plans for 2012, when I'll be in New York and London for a number of weeks working on the Olympics for Sports Illustrated. We hope to get e-commerce up and running, work with even more young collaborators and create a range of new exhibits. Right now College of the Atlantic student and budding filmmaker Julie Olbrantz is working on some short videos about the Notebook for our website. And we will finally finish our brochure before the end of the year.
We welcome all your ideas for promoting and improving The Naturalist's Notebook. Just spreading the word, in person and online, helps us immensely. We hope to see many of you over the next six weeks, even—perhaps I should say especially—after the detour signs start directing all through traffic around the center of Seal Harbor on Sept 19.
Honey Tournament Semifinals Update
In a match interrupted by Hurricane Irene, Italian Sunflower defeated Maryland Bamboo (actually Japanese knotweed) 32-20 to advance to the Sweet 16 final. The sunflower will face the winner of the much-anticipated match between defending champion Maine Wild Raspberry and newcomer Oregon Wild Red Huckleberry, which has crushed all of its opponents in the tournament so far.
About the Garlic Sauce...
Several of you responded like serious foodies to my mention that our Moldovan-born house guest had cooked us polenta with fish, feta and a delicious garlic sauce. You asked for the garlic sauce recipe, so here you go (it's very simple): Take several roughly cut-up cloves of garlic and a pinch of coarse salt. Smash them together with a mortar and pestle (or some equivalent smooshing device). Stir in enough water to give the mixture the consistency of a watery relish. Voila. You have a potent, delicious condiment.
Coming Soon: The Big Year
Any of you who have read the very funny birding book The Big Year, by Mark Obmascik, will be delighted to know that the Hollywood film based upon it will be released on Oct. 14. Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black will star in the movie. I'll post a trailer as soon as one is available.
Blog to Blog
Speaking of avian matters, VIA magazine has started posting some blogs I wrote for its website last fall while covering the Pacific Flyway bird migration. The first one is available by clicking on this link: http://roadjournals.viamagazine.com/2011/09/02/pacific-flyway-embracing-sights-unseen-and-unplanned-for/
If you would like to read my VIA story about our 3,000-mile trip along the Pacific Flyway, click on this link: http://www.viamagazine.com/attractions/adventures-pacific-flyway