Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Friday, June 03, 2005

Summer Begins in Maine

June 1 was an eventful day here in Maine. In the early hours of the day, springtime happened but by noon it was summer. I realize that might sound a little bit strange, but May was one horrible month this year! At our house we have been keeping a wood fire going in the stove nearly every day and most nights because winter would not let go of its grip. We have had cold, flooding rains repeatedly. Farmers have not been able to work their wet fields and wouldn't really want to if they could since the ground has not been able to warm up enough to start most crops. My lilac bush hasn't bloomed yet. I don't remember a year when it has bloomed this late. I've seen apple blossoms, but further south in the state, not up here in the highlands. It has rained nearly every day for the past three weeks.
All of a sudden, everything has changed. June 1 and 2 were both brilliantly sunny days. Yesterday, the 2nd, the temperature was above 80, some reports even of 90! It doesn't get that hot on most summer days here! I tilled the garden yesterday and mowed the lawn for the first time this year. Although I have not yet been for a swim, I did do some sunbathing which was fantastic! I even have the sunburn to prove it.
Everybody keeps saying the blackflies will be bad this year because of all the cold rain. I know they're bad further east of here, like around Howland, and they are out here too, but they don't seem that bad to me yet. Maybe they are and I just haven't noticed it. I take a mega-B vitamin this time of the year to keep the bugs from biting me. And I do have quite a few bug bites on my arms along with scratches from brush cutting and a wee bit of sunburn.
I used my chainsaw yesterday to cut up a couple of pines that blew down in my racetrack field this winter. I broke the saw but not before getting a couple of nice big scratches on my forearm from handling the limbs. Nathaniel and I did some mowing up on the farm where I would like to set up a few rustic campsites for anyone who might wander in and need a place to pitch a tent. That is one of my plans that seem to get pushed back to the next year every summer. Maybe this summer I'll make some progress on it.
The moose are out on the roads now. That happens every year at about this time of year. I think they are moving around looking for places where the flies won't drive them crazy. But they also are drawn to the salt on the sides of the roads. Salt is used to melt the ice and snow buildup in winter. Come summer, the moose linger and feed on the sholders and ditches of the roads. They'll be back in the woods by late July when the flies are gone.
Today looks like another warm day but more humid than yesterday. There's a huge storm front south of New England that may or may not mess up the weekend. We're all hoping it'll pass to our south and leave us on the sunny side of things for a change.
Let the summer begin!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hallucination?

It's the strangest thing. Friday afternoon I was driving down to my brother-in-law's place and listening to Public Radio when I heard the voice of President Bush say something that I have been waiting for a very long time to hear, yet I have been unable to find a reference either in the newspaper or online to those words. Without a reference, I dare not repeat the words for fear that it must have been an hallucination on my part. But here is the gist of it.
On the evening of the first day of the Iraq War in March 2003, President Bush made a speech in which he promised America that the troops would stay in Iraq not one day longer than it took to get the job done, or something to that effect. He has repeated that phrase several times in speeches that have reached my ears. But I have been listening for any kind of definition of just what that job was. At first, we all assumed that it was the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and the removal of "weapons of mass murder" (or WMDs) from Iraq's arsenals. Those jobs were long since accomplished or found to be unnecessary, yet the troops are deeper into the Iraq War now than ever before. Since the removal of Saddam and the discovery that there were indeed no arsenals in Iraq of WMDs, we have assumed that there were other jobs in Iraq that needed to be done before "not one day longer" applied. There was the establishment of "democracy," there was fighting terrorists over there rather than here on our own soil, there was the training of Iraqi police and defense forces, and a dozen or more other essential jobs.
But Bush never seemed to quite link any of those "jobs" with the actual withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. In fact if anything, Bush has seemed to want to justify keeping the troops in Iraq indefinitely. He has linked the Iraq War to the War on Terror which we all assume will continue indefinitely. There has been the hushed issue of the 14 permanent military bases in Iraq that the US has been investing heavily in. Neither Bush nor the Pentagon has ever really clearly stated that the troops would come home once Iraq's defense forces were trained. We only assumed that they might, basing our assumptions on official allusions.
So Friday when I heard Bush's voice stating that the troops would come home once the Iraqi defense and police forces were trained and capable of securing Iraq's government, when I heard Bush himself clearly making that link, it caught my attention. But now I can find no mention of this anywhere so I am beginning to wonder if I was just hallucinating.
If anyone else heard what I heard or has a link to any media coverage of this, could you maybe back me up here? It seems to me that this would be a significant historical event if indeed it did happen. If Bush actually said this, he should be held to his word, don't you think?