Hello again from Sarah Graves, writing to you once more from Eastport, Maine, where we are in one of the more lovely-to-look at times of year. The gardens are full of flowers and vegetables, the streets are full of people, the shop windows loaded with toys and treats, and even the fish are practically hopping onto hooks, the water is so jammed with them right now.
Speaking of which, there have been a few recipes here lately, so I thought I’d post one for baked mackerel: 1. Catch and clean mackerel. 2. Heat oven to 400. 3. Put mackerel into brown paper bag. Seal bag tightly and place on a baking sheet. 4. Bake for 30 minutes. 5. Remove mackerel. 6. Eat brown paper bag. Apologies to those who enjoy eating mackerel. I think it tastes like used crank case oil, but of course your mileage may vary on that.
Here is a little garden just off the breakwater downtown. It just goes to show that you don’t need an acre of land to grow edibles while looking pretty darned snazzy at the same time. This is just a few feet from the water’s edge, too, so you can’t beat the view. Also, although it’s in the shade for half the day, it gets all that reflected light, so the vegetables are doing beautifully — even corn, which is in a half-barrel. If you’d like to grow corn but only have, say, a small terrace, it could work for you, too.
On the other hand, if you do have an acre (and a picturesque shed, and a water view) you could try something like this. In my opinion there’s nothing like tiger lilies against weathered shingles. I keep saying I’m going to find some and put them into my own garden, but the truth is that I don’t have the right spot for them. What they’re standing against is as important as the lilies themselves, for me. If they’re just sticking up out of the ground with nothing around them, they look gawky. Or something.
Haven’t had my annual lobster roll, yet. Context is important for the enjoyment of those, too. Luckily we have Quoddy Bay Lobster Company, complete with waterside picnic tables, a walk-up window to order at, a little indoor eating area in case it rains, and a refrigerated glass case displaying all the fresh fish you’ll want to take home with you after you eat lunch. They offer two sizes of lobster roll, huge and humungous. I personally am only able to surround the huge one. If you want to be really authentic about it you’ll wash it down with Moxie, of course.
What’s a summer tourist destination without t-shirts, right? This is a window at the Quoddy Crafts store, which in the past few years has exploded with improvements, activity, and creativity. “If you build it, they will come,” has proven true, here – from a sleepy little shop to a center for all kinds of handmade articles from quilts to clothing, pottery & paintings, jewelry, knitting — even scrub suits, so you can go to work wearing ones that no one else will have.
Next weekend is the Pirate Festival, which marks the end of the festival season in Eastport. It’s already quieting down, but after Pirate Weekend there’s going to come a day when suddenly there’s something new in town, something we haven’t experienced for a long time: silence. Oh, we’ll still get leaf-peepers and others who aren’t tied to the school-year schedule, but it’s a long drive to get here and when the weather’s chilly, the beauty of the place gets to be…well, let’s say it’s an acquired taste.