Reid and Leo’s science project shows when Orono smells

Reid and Leo did a neat science fair project this year. They used citizen science to demonstrate that the smell of the Nine Dragons paper mill in Old Town correlates with the weather patterns. This supports the common claim of residents that you can smell the mill before it rains.

This was a super cool project, for which the kids downloaded weather data and learned about correlation. Here is the video awards ceremony from the 2023 Maine Middle School Science and Engineering Fair. You can skip to the Grand Awards, about 5/6 of the way through.

Liam makes under 16 Northeastern States Nordic competition

Laim placed 17th overall in the under 16 category at a qualifying nordic skiing competition at Black Mountain in Rumford on Sunday. The Pursuit style competition has a classic race first, followed by a freestyle race in the afternoon. But the finish order of the classic race determines the start order (and at this race even times down to the second) of your start times for the freestyle race. This way your final results are the sum of both. Liam’s results. Classic: 20:39, freestyle: 9:29.7, Total:30:08.7 Results here.

Classic race pictures, and more from the same race.

Now he will compete as part of the Maine Nordic Team at the Northeastern under 16 competition in Fort Kent on the 17th – 19th of this month against teams from NH, VT, MA, and NY. VT often dominates.

Nordic Ski Season 2023

MVC States February XXth, 2023


CLASSIC DAY ONE: Winning: Alden Reardon from Fort Kent – 17:13. 12 – Liam Waring (20:56); 16 – Ben Arsenault (22:14); 22 – Chris Bisson (24:37); 30 – James Wheeler (26:37); 32 – Henry Beutens (27:05)

PURSUIT FREESTYLE: DAY TWO: Winning: Alden Reardon from Fort Kent – 15:09 12 – Liam Waring (18:34); 16 – Ben Arsenault (19:41); 25 – Chris Bisson (23:07); 26 – Henry Beutens (23:08); 31 – James Wheeler (25:03)

TEAM SCORES: 1) Fort Kent – 792; 2) Wayneflete – 755; 3) Mt Abram – 731; 4) Orono High School – 727; 5) Ashland – 727; 6) Spruce Mountain – 705; 7) Mountain Valley – 673; 8) Madawaska Middle/High School – 360; 9) Maine School of Science and Math – 176; 10) Telstar – 174; 11) Winthrop – 167

Boys 5k Classic Results

5k Freestyle Results

KVAC/MVC Regional Championship, 5K Freestyle

Black Mountain, Rumford Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

BOYS: Winning – Jeff Warnock from Mt. Abram with a time of 14:10. 4th – Liam Waring (16:19); 5 – Ben Arsenault (16:51); 6 – Will Stoner (18:40); 12 – James Wheeler (21:30); 13 – Henry Beutens (21:57); 17 – Gabe McIntosh (23:52)

GIRLS: 1 – Ruth White (15:06); 2 – Clara White (15:44); 3 – Megan Gerbi (18:46); 4 – Maureen Tyne (20:14); 5 – Lida Kanoti (20:35); 12 – Rheannon Mabee (27:37); 13 – Jessica Murphy (31:20)

MVC Championship Results

MVC Championship Photos from Tom Bartol


BOYS: 5 – Liam Waring (36:38); 6 – Ben Arsenault (37:38); 11 – Will Stoner (44:33); 14 – Henry Beutens (46:31); 15 – Chris Bisson (47:39); 18 – James Wheeler (52:20); 21 – Gabe McIntosh (56:32)

GIRLS: 1 – Ruth White (33:03); 2 – Clara White (34:49); 3 – Megan Gerbi (40:45); 6 – Maureen Tyne (46:46); 7 – Lida Kanoti (47:01); 12 – Rheannon (1:00)

Roy Varney Hornet Classic race

Maine Outdoor Wellness Center in Turner, Jan 31, 2023

GIRLS Winning – Ruth White. 1 – Ruth White (19:13); 4 – Clara White (19:48); 35 – Lida Kanoti (26:54); 36 – Sophie Reuter (27:10); 43 – Kelsey McCrum (28:22); 50 – Abby Bergmark (31:24); 53 – Rheannon Mabee (32:32).

BOYS Winning – Logan Ouellette from Leavitt HS with a time of 15:37. 22 – Liam Waring (19:42); 33 – Ben Arsenault (21:16); 54 – Henry Buetens (26:15); 55 – Will Stoner (26:55); 58 – James Wheeler (28:00); 61 – Gabe McIntosh (29:32)

Roy Varney Hornet Classic Results

Roy Varney Hornet Classic Photos from the Sun Journal

Roy Varney Hornet Classic Photos from Tom Bartol

The SASSI Classic

Chisholm Ski Club, Black Mt., Rumford, Jan 28, 2023.

Hosted by Chisholm Ski Club, [the SASSI] is the premiere classic race of the season. 360 men and women from across the state participated at Black Mt., Rumford. Warm temps were predicted but changing conditions made waxing difficult. Although we didn’t hit the kick wax the way we wanted to, glide was terrific and our team did a fantastic job against stiff competition. Downhill tucks were fierce! The women’s race in particular was extremely tight for the top 15 racers as each finisher was within 1-2 seconds of each other. Also check out some of the close finishes within our team!! Pretty impressive.” – Coach Ann

BOYS: Winning: Zach Ross from Quarry Rd with a phenomenal time of 13:58. 95 – Liam Waring (20:21); 98 – Ben Arsenault (20:37; 136 – Chris Bisson (24:46); 137 – Will Stoner (24:48); 152 – Gabe McIntosh (30:57)

GIRLS: Winning: Nyla Scott from Gould with a time of 16:15. 4 – Ruth White (17:14); 12 – Clara White (18:32); 46- Megan Gerbi (20:18); 105 – Lida Kanoti (27:22); 106 – Kelsey McCrum (27:27); 108 – Maureen Tyne (27:31); 119 – Abby Bergmark (31:24); 125 – Rheannon Mabee (33:39

SASSI Mens Results

SASSI Mens Photos

Sugarloaf Classic, Jan 18, 2023

WOMEN: 1 – Ruth White (20:52); 3 – Clara White (24:07); 7 – Megan Gerbi (26:22); 15 – Carly Hayward (30:36); 19 – Maureen Tyne (31:21); 24 – Kelsley McCrum (33:41); 25 – Sophie Reuter (35:02); 28 Lida Kanoti (37:07); 29 – Abby Bergmark (37:37).  Rheannon Mabee – DNS

MEN:   Winning: Jeffrey Warnock, Mt. Abram – (18:31) 14 – Liam Waring (25:17); 15 –  Ben Arsenault (25:31); 28 –  Chris Bisson (34:21)

Sugarloaf Classic Results

Sugarloaf Classic Photos by Tom Bartol

Quarry Road Scrambler Race, Jan 7, 2023

BOYS:  Winning- Ben Condit from Quarry Rd – 13:54, 61- Liam Waring (20:04); 71- Ben Arsenault (21:54); 74 – Will Stoner (22:20); 86- Henry Buetens (25:28); 90- James Wheeler (27:15); 92- Gabe McIntosh (27:41); 99- Chris Bisson (42:11)

GIRLS: 1- Ruth White (17:28); 8- Clara White (19:11); 27 Megan Gerbi (23:11); 37- Maureen Tyne (25:42); 44- Kelsey McCrum (27:25); 50- Lida Kanoti (28:31) 71- Rheannon Mabee (39:23)

Quarry Road Scrambler Results

Quarry Road Scrambler Photos by Tom Bartol

Maine High School Skiing website results and photos

New Years Eve, December 31, 2022

We were in Vermont over the holidays and Reid and Liam wanted to stay up late and celebrate. Liam especially was looking for intensity and ritual. It was earnest and sweet. They had never stayed up to celebrate the new year before. We’ve always gone to bed. But they stay up past midnight with friends multiple times a year. So I happily obliged.

The family went to sleep at 10. So we started with a free-for-all, everyone for themselves game of laser tag in the mists of the stream, which roamed through the glade, across the bridge, up the hill and back down. It was tense and excellent. We then decided to cross the stream on a fallen log. In the dark. With no flashlights. Liam suggested it was a rite of passage. I agree. It was.

We returned inside and played a good game of Cosmic Frog, and then got in the hot tub to spent the final few minutes of the year, and the start of the next. I brought some snacks and we counted down the last 20 seconds together. We then reflected on the year past, it’s ups and downs, and chose something to pursue ourselves this next year.

It was the most fund I’ve had with ritual in quite some time. Indeed the most ritual I have had in a while too. So it is a pure delight to be doing such things with my kids, because they asked!

May this next orbit around the sun be a good one, for you, for us, for our little planet and all the life that depends on it!

Reid takes fourth in State science fair, second in life sciences!

Reid worked very hard last year to develop and carry out a really interesting science fair experiment. He conducted an artificial evolution experiment using yogurt and yeast microbes. He exposed them to increasingly high concentrations of vinegar. By doing this he was able to gradually increase their tolerance to vinegar which he demonstrated scientifically.

Here Reid is setting up the experimental vinegar concentrations.
Reid records the progress of the experiment in the lab notebook

Here is his final poster:

Well, Reid also did very well in the state science fair competition last year. He took fourth overall in the entire state of Maine, and was given the second place prize for the life-sciences category. This is amazing!

Official results here:

Solar power, online!

By the luck of good timing, we were just barely able to join community solar farm in the end of 2021. The farm, built and operated by ReVision Energy, is on Mount Desert Island, near Long Pond. We’ve been offsetting our monthly electricity usage since February, and here’s what it’s looked like. It’s a beautiful sight to see.

Our net usage, in blue, is not total usage, but the amount we are billed for. As you can see we have hit the minimum 100 kWh charge every month since April. This costs us about $6 to $7 a month. Not a bad fee. On those months, we produce more than we consume. This is amazing, and was our goal! So Yay!

What you don’t see is the amount of energy we are actually using, the excess production. That excess production is carried over for one year. So, for example, excess production from the summer can count against our winter “Usage.” We do not have that data pulled together just yet, but, based on 2021’s total consumption, here’s what we expect to have already saved, above. Many imperfections here, but this is a nice first glimpse.

Thanksgiving in Montreal

We spent American Thanksgiving in Canada, and it was a wonderful change of pace! Of course this means it was not Thanksgiving at all. Instead we got to visit Montreal and all of its wonderful metropolitan delights.

The metro. Any real city has a metro. Montréal’s metro is awesome.

We absolutely splurged in terms of food. We had crêpes for breakfast in the Jean Talon market. We ate at the blind and dark restaurant called O.Noir, we are our experience of food and our relationship to our senses were fundamentally changed. We had pastries whenever possible. And we discovered a gluten-free patisserie that creates chocolatine aux amande nearly indistinguishable from the regular thing.

We enjoyed the places and spaces of Montreal too. Our Airbnb was in Little Italy near the Jean Talon market. we walked downtown to the Basilica. We took the bus around town. We hiked up Mount Royal, as far as the ice would let us. We visited the impressive art museum, and made sketches. We enjoyed countless pieces of street art and holiday decorations. We got to “Faire du patinage” in a central Mall.

Being in Montreal was special, too, because of the diversity, the language, and the history. So, we settled into the Cafe Italia to watch a World Cup football game, and enjoyed not just the coffee and lunch but also the conversation of the locals which switched between Italian, French, and English on a slow rotation.

And, of course family history was with us the whole time, as Katie was thinking of grandpa Jim in his time in Montreal and McGill University. Seeing the spaces that he once knew makes it special in an entirely different way.