Ch-ch-ch-changes … and a Super-Duper Overhaul!

A sultry wood frog hangs out on the surface of our pond in Maine.
A sultry wood frog hangs out on the surface of our pond in Maine.

Wahoo!! Spring has really, truly, officially arrived in … Maine! How do I know? Our pond is full of hot, steamy frogs on the make (ew!) and they are broadcasting it to anyone who will listen! Yowza, it’s getting warm in here! (Now I know you’re thinking, but just not saying: Did she get footage of that? Let’s just say … heck yeah!)

Since last autumn, my hubby and I decided to change our traveling lifestyle from full-time RVing to part-time. We had an awesome year-and-a-half exploring the USA (40 States, wow!—check out our Trail Dust Blog for more about our adventures!) and we’ll continue to do so together, just in a more focused way. A home base seemed like the best choice for us, especially considering the huuuge projects we’ve been working on lately, and the amount of travel I’ve done. (Since October, my video production/photography projects have taken me to England, El Salvador, Los Angeles, and Cleveland, Ohio. More about those soon!)

We bought a place with about 15 acres, a pond, and an orchard in the northwoods of Maine just before the first blizzard hit in January (great timing, yikes!). We’ve been hunkered down in our farmhouse all winter (I was here most of the time, really!) and crikey, the fresh sights, sounds, and smells of spring are surely the finest things we’ve encountered since the new washer and dryer arrived. If you hung your hat out here in the Northeast this winter, you’ll get my drift … snow drift that is.

And now for the exciting news: I’m creating an online database of my images. Yahoo! Thousands and thousands of the rangy beasties (images) are going to be wrangled and dragged, kicking and screaming, and uploaded into the web-o-sphere for folks to peruse and soon, to purchase. This winter I spent an unhealthy amount of time researching different stock photo services (some would call that procrastination), and seriously considered the services of Photo Shelter, Zenfolio, SmugMug, and PhotoDeck. I’ve chosen PhotoDeck for reasons that will be detailed in a later post. I’ll let you know how I like it.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be overhauling my website and blog. Eventually my site ( will become the photo database and the blog will be an offshoot of the site. I’m testing a few galleries right now, you can check them out at: or click on the Photo Galleries tab at the top. I’ll be adding lots of images in the next few months … unless I get a gig in Argentina!

See you on the trail!

Wagons Ho!

Ducky in San Angelo, TexasWhoosh—was that summer? Thanksgiving is this coming week?

Wow, it’s been way too long since I posted an update. Sorry about that. It’s been a wild ride since my last post (our visit to Vegas in June). Since then: We sold our house in Maine and about 97% of our stuff, wrapped up a pile ‘o work projects, bought a big Ford F-250 pickup truck (“Big T” to you and me) and an Airstream Flying Cloud (“Ducky”), and we’ve rambled our way to Arizona. We’re in our second month of full-time roving and we are having a grand time!

Why in the world would we sell a house on the ocean in Maine and most of our stuff? Find out at our Trail Dust Blog at

(Gritty Press is a small publishing empire that Matt and I operate, and we’ve got big plans for the coming year!)

‘Til my next post, best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Fresh from the Oven: Maine Home Cooking

Maine Home Cooking
Maine Home Cooking, written by Sandra Oliver, photographed by Jennifer

In the summer of 2011, I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph Sandra L. Oliver’s book, Maine Home Cooking: 175 Recipes from Down East Kitchens. Working with Sandy (and the Down East Books crew) and photographing on Islesboro island was a rare treat. The food was amazing, sumptuous, and beautiful; the laughter contagious; and the surroundings a dream to photograph.

Maine Home Cooking is not only a terrific book to draw culinary inspiration from, it also captures Sandy’s humorous voice and character. She relates entertaining stories about the recipes, shares her passion for food history, gives sound and helpful advice, and connects us to local foods (from her own bountiful gardens to Maine’s local growers).

I know I am slightly biased, but the imagery in the book offers a sense of place on many levels: We explore inside the farmhouse, outside in the gardens, around the island. From the depths of the cellar we spy canning jars residing on shelves; in the garden one of Sandy’s cats is on the prowl; along the shoreline a cairn rises above the stony beach; we bid adieu and depart on the ferry to head back to the mainland.

This delightful book celebrates recipes from the past and new ones from the present. As an avid cook and person interested in learning about the history of food, I find Maine Home Cooking an excellent jumping off point for more adventures in my own kitchen, and I bet you will, too!

From the Publisher: About Maine Home Cooking:

Residing on Maine’s Islesboro Island, Sandra Oliver is a revered food historian with a vast knowledge of New England food history, subsistence living, and Yankee cooking. For the past five years she has published her weekly recipe column “Tastebuds” in the Bangor Daily News. The column has featured hundreds of—from classic tried-and-true dishes to innovative uses for traditional ingredients. Collecting more than three hundred recipes from her column and elsewhere, and emphasizing fresh, local ingredients, as well as the common ingredients found in most kitchens, this volume represents a new standard in home cooking.

(Down East Books; September, 2012; Hardcover; 7″ x 9″; 240 pages; 40 color photos; ISBN: 978-1-60893-180-4.)

Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’s

Available direct from the publisher: Down East Books.

The Boston Globe Digs Our Action!

Maine Icons was reviewed/covered in Sunday’s Boston Globe Books section. Here’s what they had to say:

Maine By The Numbers
By Jan Gardner
Globe Correspondent June 26, 2011

Did you know that Maine’s moose population is second only to Alaska’s? Or that Chester Greenwood, at 15, invented the earmuff? This is the kind of education you’ll get from “Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree State’’ (Globe Pequot) by Jennifer Smith-Mayo and Matthew P. Mayo. It paints a picture of Maine by the numbers: 65 lighthouses, 4,613 islands, 80 million pounds of lobsters pulled from the state’s waters every year. And it is a love letter to what makes Maine Maine, from black flies and Stephen King to whoopie pies and the Big Chicken Barn, a favorite destination for book lovers.

First interview …

for Maine Icons appeared this weekend in the Portland Press Herald online and Sunday’s print edition, the Maine Sunday Telegram. Here’s a short excerpt:

Author Q & A: You ought to be in pictures
What makes Maine Maine? A Northport couple tries to capture its essence in words and stunning images in the new book ‘Maine Icons.’

By Meredith Goad

If you had to pick 50 iconic images to represent what Maine is all about, what would you choose?

Would you stick to the more obvious candidates, like lobsters and lighthouses? Or would you go with something a little more understated – say, the Wyeth family?

That was the task photographer Jennifer Smith-Mayo and her husband, writer Matthew P. Mayo, faced when they started working on their new book, “Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree State” (Globe Pequot, $16.95).

Black flies and Moody’s Diner made the cut. So did the Fryeburg Fair and Baxter State Park. Fiddleheads, the white pine and “Uncle Henry’s Swap-and-Sell-It Guide” were all in the running, but had to be (painfully, according to the authors) slashed from the book.

The Mayos have lived in midcoast Maine for 20 years and are now settled in Northport. Jennifer Smith-Mayo’s photographs have appeared in National Geographic, Down East and The New York Times. Matthew Mayo is the author of novels and nonfiction books, including “Bootleggers, Lobstermen & Lumberjacks: Fifty of the Grittiest Moments in the History of Hardscrabble New England.”

The couple has had plenty of time over the years to explore Maine and get to know it well enough to be able to write this book, the first they have worked on together….

Click here to read the full piece.