Monday, October 16, 2017

Hilltop Farm, Dayton, Maine

Hilltop Farm, Dayton, Maine / 18x18

Southern Maine holds small treasures of surprise. Outside of Portland, outside of the ring of bedroom communities that surrounds Portland - a ring that has enlarged visibly since we left Maine 15 years ago - west of that ring, you begin to find what I think of as the real Maine.

Coastal Maine is just not the real Maine, at least, not in my mind. It's a wonderful place, beautiful and lively - but at least in the southern part of the state, it's almost a different country.

Along the coast, there's money, big houses, culture, entertainment, lots of roads, lots of choice.
As you travel inland, all that wanes. It is replaced by these surprises - a green field lined with blazing maples. A charming village, with homes that might need work, but that stand loved and cherished along a short main street. A small herd of cows in the shade of an apple tree. A moose blinking in the morning sun.

Life is not easy in inland Maine. The mills that brought jobs and people to the area are closed, by and large. The downturn in the print industry has taken a toll on lumbering and on the paper mills, which both were major arteries of Maine's lifeblood. The old workers are retiring, or dying, or moving away, and there's little new industry to change the fortunes of the small towns. In some places - Saco, for instance - they are being rebuilt into shops and restaurants, apartments and studios, but mostly, they stand, lonely and deteriorating.

Still, there are farms, small stores, livestock, little villages standing on their own in the autumn light. This farm looked big, healthy, thriving. I enjoyed watching the farmer mow one of these big field while I painted.

At the Flea Market

I STOPPED AT a fun outdoor flea market and swap meet in Arundel one day. I'd noticed it on a Thursday, and went back on a Friday, and found out that it goes on every day, as long as the weather is good.

Becky, above, wearing the blue hat, worked in some corporate job for decades, and when she retired, decided to start buying and selling a swapping junk, er, antiques. She lives in Maine in the summer and Florida in the winter, and seems to enjoy this new life of hers.

Becky's sister (in the red jacket) does the flea markets with her. They stay - or at least Becky does - in a nice old RV. Every day they go to the market, they have a different table, and they set up and take down their boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff every single day.

There was all kinds of stuff at the flea market, from buttons to glassware to knives, to a very cool set of hangers, about the size of toenail clippers, that unfolded to hang shirts or pants. Four of them came in a leather case about the size of a large matchbox. They were patented in 1815, but never took off. The guy in the photo above is showing the pants hanger.

 Left, Becky and her sister show off their 1940s mannequin, dressed a little creepily as a bride. She was $75, dress included, and would make a great Halloween decoration! 

Above, me in a pair of sunglasses I clear should have bought. What was I thinking, leaving them at the flea market??? Below, the strangest tray of stuff I saw at the market, with items ranging from a dried chicken foot to a Super Bowl ring. 

Above, a bunch of watches, cheap! A friend who knows about such things says that newer watches have plastic parts, not metal ones, and that's one of the reasons 
they're so inexpensive. 

 Above and below, more stuff. The market seemed to draw pretty many people, but Becky, below, admitted that there's a lot of barter among vendors.

Dog of the Day

Met this cutie at the flea market. He was a little shy, but eventually 
came up to me and gave me a little bichon kiss. 

A Final Thought

"Aprils have never meant much to me.
Autumns seem that season of beginning, spring."

  • - Truman Capote

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