August 24 – September 30, 2018 Vol. 20, No. 12

Bluberries for Sal

by Martha F. Barkley

August is blueberry picking time in Maine. I shopped for this children's favorite by Robert McClosky at both Maine Made in the Village and Day's Store: sold out, of course! So back to the public library I go once again...

You open this very delicious blueberry tale to a view of the wide, double page kitchen scene with August calendar on the wall. Sal is standing on a kitchen chair with a wooden spoon, spooling the rubber sealers for canning blueberries. Her mom is pouring blueberries into a canning glass Mason jar. How fun to look around their homey country kitchen, illustrated in deep blue ink by Robert McClosky: an old, wood-burning stove, open drawers, open sugar sacks, an open window to view hillside of pines, open and happy kitchen activity...mother and child concentrating on blueberry business, preserving for winter eating.

Plink, plank, plunk were the sounds I had in my mind for each blueberry Sal picked and threw into her tin pail. When I found the library book, it said "kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk"! The little bear ends up following Sal's mother while she is busily picking. Sal ends up following mama bear while crawling the hillside for blueberries. It is a different kind of coastal Blueberry Hill from our Belgrade Blueberry Hill: look at the McClosky blue ink drawing and find the differences in nature.

All ends safely in Blueberries for Sal with the bears, thank goodness. Robert McClosky has so many Maine tales with his detailed pen and ink art work: One Morning in Maine, Time of Wonder, Make Way for Ducklings, etc. (Sometimes in Belgrade Lakes Village, traffic stops to let a mother duck parade across busy street with her ducklings, but McClosky's story is in busy Boston with a cop blowing his whistle.)

"KA-THUD, KA-THUD, KA-SPLASH!" were the moose sounds as Maynard the moose arrives at the lake in Marybeth Baker's The Adventures of Maynard. All three of her Maine moose stories are signed by her and in our Belgrade library.

"Maynard was a kind-hearted moose. Deep in the forest of Maine's Mt. Katahdin he had many friends...Along the cat-tailed shore of Rainbow Lake, Maynard found a new and very special friend, Lala Loon."

Many moose titles and many loon picture books to select from for August reading and getting ready for school time. The Legend of the Loon by Kathy-Jo Wargin is a favorite, because illustrator Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen really paints lush, richly colored scenes on every page. Both reader and non-reader will be mesmerized. We find Minnesota lakes are wondrous like our Maine lakes.

Lydia Johnson's 85th birthday was recognized in 2003 by a gift of Little Loon and Papa by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Margaret Spengler. William and Joan Alfond gave many children's books: This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers fits into our theme of moose. Thanks to both Brian and Jerod for collecting these fine books about Maine moose and loons...Janet reminded me that McClosky wrote Blueberries for Sal.

I wandered into our son's bunk room and found Homer Price by McClosky, a good read for middle schoolers. Jerod or Brian at the library called out to me when he found a loon AND moose book entitled Maynard and the Loon by M. Baker! We readers do get excited about finds on the shelf. "LA-LA-LOO-OOO-OOON!" from the book sounds like excited readers at the library finding books that are sold out in the village. Yippee!


One summer we watched in our cove on Great Pond a mamma and papa loon diving and feeding their young chick ALL summer long. It was exhausting to watch their diving and returning every time we sat down to a meal of our own and observed...constant care by the loon parents is certainly a lesson for humans, isn't it?

Ospreys and their tremendous care of their young is very similar. We boat to Oak Island to check on the huge two floor condo that has built up through the years with returning ospreys. As we chug by slowly the warning cries and dipping and diving near us warns that we are too close to their young. Little beaks are open for food and parents are constantly feeding like the caring loons. Often I can hear the osprey clear across Great Pond at our camp by Runoia shores.

Moose have actually swum by our shores and "galumphed" up the rocks to Runoia's tennis courts where one was trapped for awhile. Yes, we even saw a moose cross Chandler Road one evening. Early one morning I am having my first cup of coffee on our porch when I notice the rock islands by Oak was a moose swimming from there across to Foster Point. We watched for an hour of slow motion swimming. Then we hopped into our camp boat and zoomed off towards Foster Point. There we found a worker painting and he told us they see moose all the time! Oh, we were excited at such a siting...

Jack McHugh's last summer at the lake in 2017 was very exciting for him and his large, extended family. They had a moose munching away for days along their camp road, McHugh Lane off Point Road. When the moose finally wandered away, Tom McHugh, Jack's son, ran into him on Woodland Camps Road. Have you had a moose encounter?