The Northeast Bank on upper Main Street has a small but exciting exhibit of local Maine minerals and gems. The items are from the Ray Woodman and Theresa Bilodeau collections that will be part of the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, which will open soon on Main Street. The Woodman collection has more than 5,000 specimens, which were collected over 65 years. Most of the minerals in the exhibit at the bank are mica specimens, including ones from Mica Nubble No. 1 in Greenwood and the Wheeler Brothers Mine in Gilead. There is a mica lampshade and a mica camp lantern made in 1908. There is also a card with tiny gem and mineral specimens from local mines. The cards were made by Perham’s and were popular when I was a child in the 1960s. Included are also pictures of the old Mica Shop, which was located next door to the Cole Block on the site where the Northeast Bank is now. When I was young and my family owned the Bethel Citizen, my sisters and I sometimes spent Thursday afternoons (waiting for the paper to be printed) playing in the mica chips outside the shop. The driveway and street glittered with flecks of mica. Bank employee Lloyd Sweetser told me that plans call for an exhibit at the bank until the museum opens. The exhibit will be changed every few months.
The Farmers at the Market 2013 opened for the season on Wednesday, June 19. The market, which is located beside Café DiCocoa, is open to growers and licensed food producers free of charge. Some of those present for the first market day were Anna Sysko from Anna’s Garden and Greenhouse in Newry, Tourmaline Hill Farm from Greenwood, and Alium Farm from Sumner. Produce included organic eggs, garlic scapes, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, baked goods, herbs, and pepper and tomato plants. The market is every Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m.
I have seen dozens of Luna moths in the past few weeks. This beautiful species, which was once considered endangered in some areas because of the use of insecticides and herbicides, seems to be making a comeback. The large green moths are almost 4.5 inches wide and have long tails down each hind leg. The caterpillars are bright green and are almost 2.5 inches long. The caterpillars turn red before pupation. The moths emerge from their cocoons in the morning, allowing all day for their wings to dry and fill with blood so they can fly off that night. The moths live only about a week; they don’t eat; they don’t even have mouths. Their sole purpose is to procreate before they die. If you see one hanging motionless from a tree or building, don’t touch it or assume it’s injured; it is probably just waiting for its wings to mature.
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