Spencer Pond Camps – Mid winter preparation

Preparation for spring at the camp continues. The last few weeks of warm weather have made us both anxious and hopeful for an early spring (knock on wood!).  The seed catalogs have arrived in the mail and we find ourselves studying the Fedco and Johnny’s catalog over and over.  The camp garden will undoubtedly be Dana’s pride and joy this summer. He has been blessed with a green thumb. He takes great pride in his vegetable garden, and will be relieved to be in a place that the deer don’t ravage it. Jill had commented last summer that they were having problems with her garden; some sort of pest seemed to be wreaking havoc. So it will be interesting to find out what surprises we have in store for us up there in terms of garden pest prevention. I remember as a child that the garden was a favorite frolicking place for raccoons and they often made midnight raids (I think they especially loved the corn!) 
We are really looking forward to the asparagus patch up there. We have an asparagus patch in our home garden here but it is just getting established and the crops have been meager over the last two years. So we ponder the seed catalogs and try to make decisions about what we as a family would like to have and also what types of vegetables the guests may enjoy!

It will be excellent to have my sister at the camps this summer as one of my projects is to gradually transform the landscaping around the cabins to focus on native plants and shrubs in the woodland theme. Using plants such as chokecherry, cranberry, blueberries, bunchberry, lupine, columbine, jack in the pulpit, marsh marigold, trout lily, violets, asters, and more we hope to continue to attract native birds, butterflies, and wildlife to the camp yard. My sister has some training in landscape design and also has a green thumb and an eye for the aesthetic, so I am sure we will be delighted with the results.

My father has continued work  on the website – adding new sections that include:


I have spent a lot of time thinking about the items in the interior of the cabins that may need some “spiffing up” as my grandmother would say. Luckily I have the experience of having been a guest for the past 15 years so can utilize that knowledge along with the brief transition we had this fall to create a working inventory. Absolutely resistant to any “noticeable” change myself I have been tasked to find new items that still fit into the ambiance of the camps. This basically means I am exceptionally finicky!  One item on the top of my list was new towels and washcloths along with replacing the paper bath mats with real bath mats. That has been accomplished and I am delighted with the results. Flannel sheets and blankets also top my list and I have just recently found the perfect “camp” blanket.

We were blessed with the gift of several cabins worth of furnishings. All in excellent condition, one of my mother’s friends is a great collector of rustic country and antique décor. Fortunately for me, she decided that the cabins would be the generous recipient of many of these items and has armed me with rocking chairs, curtains, quilts, desks, and pillows. This will allow me to replace anything that is damaged or simply needs a thorough cleaning, without disrupting the flow of the cabins! I am indebted to her generosity and thoughtfulness.

Also a wonderful surprise was a Christmas gift from my grandparents. The handmade four-lantern  chandelier that was originally made for their camp on Penobscot pond and hung over the dining room table in the home camp the entire time I was growing up will be returning to the camps, along with “Big Red”  the antique wooden canoe that my grandfather has lovingly restored and repainted green. (But she will always be “Big Red” to me!)

We have had many other friends reach out to us, from help setting up an enhanced solar system, to chopping 14 cords of firewood this spring, to offers to help set up photography workshops,  we have been amazed by our community of friends and how they have embraced us in this endeavor.

Dana has busy sizing up the cabins and compiling a list of items needed to begin maintenance work on the cabins. This first year we hope to start on the Sabotowan which is one of the oldest cabins, built in 1901 and the home of Mose Duty and his wife Lillian.  

 Much is left to do and I must remind myself it might not all happen the first year. But there is certainly no harm in writing down lists and trying to cross off items one by one. From fixing the battered tree swing to furnishing the home camp the list gets longer with the length of the days. One thing is certain, we are putting our love and energy into the camps, like those before us, we will reap the rewards of the amount of effort we invest into the camps through an extended family of guests and the intangible gift of pride we will have in knowing we worked towards something we believed in and truly cared for.


One response to “Spencer Pond Camps – Mid winter preparation

  1. I love the updates and your enthusiasm!

    Can’t wait!