It’s gotten kind of crazy out there. Time to pull into Maine and appreciate it. Shovel the roof. Get out with the dog and roll in the snow. Read about the some Maine things that matter.
Question. What do these all have in common?
Bald Eagles eating things they shouldn’t and Avian Haven.
A caddis fly building a golden pupa palace.
The fight to save the last wild rapids on the Penobscot River.
The Maine Master Naturalist program.
A USA Dept. of Agriculture war on predators.
Humans needing what zoo animals need.
Good Guess! …….the natural world.
This past year I lost my publisher, a small European Indie that just disappeared after not returning my emails. While I scramble to figure out how to publish my next novel, Deadly Turn, I know I’ve been neglecting my wonderful network of readers.
It’s been ages since I sent out a helpful newsletter. (I like to share stories, videos, and news that might resonate.) All or some of these stories will go out to my readers.
In no particular order, here’s what I might share in my next newsletter, Do sign up. There will be plenty of free Kindle copies of novel of Deadly Trespass too!
Avian Haven is an amazing place if you are any kind of hurt bird. In the past few weeks, it’s volunteers and staff have tried to save a number of bald eagles that have fallen ill from eating abandoned kills that have lead ammunition. We’ve made great progress getting lead out of fishing gear so loons won’t die. Seems there’s more to do.
Maine’s Master Naturalists: dedicated volunteers created a rigorous and inspired naturalist certification program, much of it leaning about Maine’s nature in the field. Graduates are asked to donate volunteer time to teaching and leading field trips for schools or organizations. Issue an invitation! http://mainemasternaturalist.org/
(ps: one of the founding members of MMN is Dorcas Miller. I take her small tracks guide on every hike, snowshoe, and ski. It’s perfect.)
Our Dept of Agriculture has an Wildlife Services division. It often helps remove nuisance animals (beavers flooding roads, alligators in the pool, a plague of woodchucks), but it also kills millions and millions of animals needlessly, mostly predators, often at the request of western ranchers. Recently its use of killer cyanide bombs that explode in animals’ mouths has come under public pressure.
In a NPR Hidden Brain audio segment: Ming Kuo’s studies the effects of nature on humans. (Hint: if zoo animals get really healthy and happy when they are moved from confining cages to a natural habitat/environment, what about humans?)
CMP’s current economic argument to degrade and destroy northern forests lands (already under siege from rampant clear cutting) is an old argument. Jobs over Maine’s natural assets. So how did the Penobscot River escape the 19th dam planned for its waters when this argument was much more widely believed? This archive footage frames up the fight between Great Northern Paper Company (now defunct) and those who wanted to protect its last truly wild waters. (A much younger me is in it and I have shared this with you before but not with my network of readers. The river lives.)
How great is it to watch a caddis fly build its own cave? See my earlier post.
Hopefully, I will solve my publisher challenge so I can share good news with you soon. My characters and I are getting antsy for the next Cassandra Patton Conover “Mystery in Maine” where Patton and her dog Pock are hired to collect dead birds and bats at wind power generation sites. When a turbine explodes, she stumbles over one body part of an unknown man. Under a brutal fall heat wave and the unblinking scrutiny of the game warden who is another mystery in her life, she is drawn into a battle that offers billions to developers, a green future to environmental activists, and fear to local tourist businesses.
Adopted by a teenage trapper who moves in and is illegally raising an eagle to hunt over terrain targeted by the wind project’s expansion, Patton is, once again, offered only outlaw solutions to fight for a disappearing world. A world that is also her family and her safe home.
Opening lines: Alone on Eagle Ridge, I clutched a dying bat. Against all rabies advice, I pulled off my gloves to find the animal’s heart and my bare thumb stroked a tiny throb. At the last limp spasm, the bat’s eyes filmed over. My eyes blurred, too. Then I bent and smelled her, hoping she was female and we had something in common.
I liked to think I could smell leaves on animal sides, pond weeds on moose noses, and wind in bird feathers. It helped that I worked odd jobs for biologists who let me get close to wildlife that could no longer run from me. I liked to smell my way back into animals’ lives. I wasn’t sure about wind on the bat, but tiny insect bits crinkled against my nose when it touched her fur. They smelled like ancient parchment.
I closed my eyes and saw her. Almost as dark as the night around her, she turned toward a flying moth, chirping as she closed in on her meal. Cupping her tail into a shovel shape, she scooped the moth from the air, bent herself over, and shoved it up into her mouth. Before she could land and eat, she bent double again and fell, panting for breath, feebly beating her wings against bushes that held her.
I shifted the bat so it was cupped carefully in my hand. I thought the only thing we might have in common was not knowing what caused us to falter and fall. (Read the first three chapters.
Sandy’s novel “Deadly Trespass, A Mystery in Maine” won a Mystery Writers of America award and was a finalist in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” contest. It’s at all Shermans Books and on Amazon. Find more info on the video trailer and Sandy’s website. “Deadly Turn” will be published early in 2020.