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Posts tagged ‘maple sugaring’


Maine Photos – Autumn, Winter, Spring & Music – the marcrescue blog


Greetings All,


I’ve been so neglectful about posting an updated blog that….


A: Most people have forgotten entirely about me


B: A few have actually reached out and asked about the blog


  1. Not because they miss me  – they miss the photos


Life is so chock full of busy that I didn’t even realize it’s been a touch over six months since I sent an update.


So here in a nutshell – or rather photos….is what’s been happening.


(With a music update at the end – so you don’t have to wade through that to get to the photos)



Last fall was – as always – a great time to hike. Here’s what our town looks like from the top of Mt Battie as the leaves are changing:



Acadia National Park is not far away and hiking there is always good for the soul:







The annual Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) is a huge event in town. It’s rated as one of the top 12 documentary film festivals in the world. Quite nice for a town this small and so far off the beaten path.


But for good reason – it’s exceptional:

CIFF 09-18-2015




We had a great time at the anniversary showing of “Back To The Future” at a local theatre that showed it when it first came out (The Strand was built in 1926 – and is totally restored today).


BTTF pic four

Even better – a mysterious DeLorean showed up in front of the theatre for the film:

BTTF bw Delorean 10-21-2015


Can’t beat Halloween in a small town. The town closes down a number of blocks for a Halloween block party – and this year we had a flash mob show up to the tune of “Thriller”:

Halloween Flashmob 2015


These weirdo’s were out trick or treating::

Halloween Selfie 2015


One of our favorite challenges – Beth’s Farm Market’s Corn Maze.


Beth's Corn Maze 2015


For the second year in a row we split up – me against the family – and they won.

I kept finding this sign over and over again – arghhhh:



Before you know it – it’s time for the annual Christmas parade….does yours feature a lobster…with Christmas lights on it?


How about a Lobster Trap Christmas Tree!



It was a year of weird weather patterns this winter.

But as always some interesting snowpeople appeared in the yard:

12241222_915179435214973_6339907384695931134_n (1)

Cap America Snowman 03-21-2016


One great thing about winter is that the snow covers all the brush in the woods and with snowshoes you can hike places you can’t get close to in summer…..for instance you can find a tree that’s been ravaged by woodpeckers – hard to believe they can do this – but they do:

Woodpecker Tree - Copy


The hardest part about winter for us….it’s not the snow….it’s not the cold….it’s when the annual box of See’s “Nuts & Chews” box that my Uncle and Aunt mail to us from the West Coast every holiday season – turns into a box of empty wrappers….sighhhh:



Before you know it – Spring is here and it’s time for one of our favorite days in Maine – “Maine Maple Sunday”. The day when all the maple sugar houses open their doors for tours, free samples and the best maple syrup you can buy – straight from the tap.

We hit three houses every year. The first is Sparky’s ( – close to us and besides great maple syrup – they also produce the best honey from their bees:




We also head to Simmons & Daughters ( for fresh “maple” cotton candy. Once you’ve had maple cotton candy you’ll never go back to the weird colored stuff they sell at fairs and circuses:



They really are two of the “daughters”:




Then it’s over to see Mark at Bradstreet Maple Farm ( Always a party with great samples (Didn’t get a photo of the maple fudge – the line was too long)

Waffles, ice cream with fresh maple syrup:


Great maple baked beans:


Mark always has a crowd around him because he’s always teaching people about making great syrup:


You cannot believe how wonderful the aroma is inside a maple sugaring house.

Can’t wait to walk in the door again next year:



A weekend trip to Portland is always fun….and it’s a wonder to take in the “Lock Fence” in old town by the harbor. There’s a chain link fence where people are allowed to put locks on – most with written or engraved messages:


I’ve already got a lock picked out for our family to attach next visit:


But spring time in Maine means it’s time to leave.


Well for a few days – our favorite family trip / vacation is to New Orleans for Jazzfest:


The fest as always was terrific – even after some pretty heavy rains – and we forgot our rain boots this year – which is essential for muddy grounds….but a little washing and a hair dryer in the hotel rooms dries out even the wettest and muddiest sneakers:


Everyone always asks who was our favorite act….and I always say – no matter who the headliners are…when we were there Paul Simon, Tedeschi-Trucks etc….

(Here’s the lineup for all 7 days – we were at the Fest 2 days:)


…my favorite moments are hearing artists that I’ve never heard before and are amazing.

This year my wife and I agreed that our fav this year was the PresHall Brass – led by 82 year old saxophonist Daniel “Weenie” Farrow. They are the resident brass band at Preservation Hall….and soooo good:


A great reminder – however – of how fortunate and lucky the musicians are that have had great successful full time music careers – are the bands that are playing outside the gates….in the street….for tips.

These two bands….of kids…..were amazing:




In New Orleans it’s like that every year. In the streets around Jazzfest, in the French Quarter – the quality of the street musicians is just stunning.

Besides the Fest itself….and of course the food…..can you say “Oysters at Felix’s”?

Oysters at Felix's 2016


There’s nothing better than wandering through the French Quarter admiring the architecture. Such a beautiful, historical place:







A lot of the buildings have historical plaques that tell the story of the building:


It’s now an art gallery.

But my favorite find was this one.

A red house with a nondescript store:


Even the plaque was sorta dull…..until you got to the end… never know what you’re going to find in New Orleans:




Speaking of streetcars…..we’ve discovered if we time it right.

We can spend the day at Jazzfest,

Hit the French Quarter for dinner afterwards.

Finish the night at perhaps the best place to end any night – no matter what time it is (they’re open 24 hours a day – every day of the year):


And then catch the last streetcar of the evening on the line heading towards our hotel:



A wonderful end to a wonderful trip.


A word about music.

Most everyone I work with at Mishara Music has spent the year touring, writing, exploring but not recording.

So we’ve been working under the radar – marketing and building the audience for our artists.

Streaming….although some might feel angst about it….frees us up to do some very dramatic promotions.

As streaming replaces downloads – we realized that we have even more freedom to give more music away.

So….our 7th Mishara Music free song sampler at…..which contains some of our biggest selling tracks:


The free download is at:


Listen on Spotify at:


Listen on Soundcloud at:




PS Talk about tough decisions – my wife took a photo of me making one of the most difficult of the year (and truth be told – she took a lot of the photos above as well – probably the ones you like the most)….what boxset to buy on Record Store Day….so many boxes….so few funds!

Box Sets Record Store Day 04-16-2016


Marc Ratner

Mishara Music














Change – Winter wraps up / Busking in Maine / Song Stories – the Marcrescue blog

Greetings All,
Change is in the air.
I’m back from my 11 day road trip on the West Coast.
That involves a 3 hour time change.
When I scheduled the trip I didn’t realize that it returned me to Maine right as Daylight Saving Time arrived.
Which means I was adjusting to a 4 hour change.
My apologies to anyone I spoke to at the beginning of the week that wondered why I was less articulate and coherent than usual.
Which in no way infers that I’m ever articulate and coherent so don’t have any expectations that any conversations we have in the future will be any different.
But other changes are happening as well.
Our neighbor has maple sap collection buckets hanging on his trees:
Which means in Maine in two weeks we celebrate Maple Sunday – all the maple sugar houses in the state open their doors for visitors and you can taste and buy maple syrup warm right out of the tap – here’s our visit in 2012:
Maple Sunday 2012
While I was gone Ethan and Kim built what will most likely be the last snowman of the year – but with a design looking ahead to Spring:
Snowman 2013
As soon as I got home we got out on our favorite method of winter transportation – snowshoes – for also perhaps the last time this winter:
March Snowshoe 2013
But some things don’t change.
Mishara Music is a music company that is all about songs and singer – songwriters.
I might surprise you with some thoughts about why we’re that kind of a company – because we don’t do publicity – we’re always “under the radar” and our team markets constantly direct to the fans – but our belief in songs is a wonderful thing.  More in a moment about that.
In the meantime.
Chris Ross still has the best posts on Facebook:
Chris Ross FB Mid-Life Crisis
Chris Ross FB Trees
Chris Ross FB Cassettes
He has the perfect solution to not having any green clothing on St. Patrick’s Day:
Chris Ross FB Green
Chris – like Mishara – is all about songs:
Chris Ross FB Pick Up Trucks
He’s right.
Songs are weird.
Songs are also the key.
Songs are everything.
No matter how well you sing, how well you play guitar – without a great song it’s all for naught.
Which is why – even though his album “Halfway To Wonderland”…..
Chris Ross Halfway To Wonderland
…..has been out at radio since November – radio stations keep adding Chris Ross.
The song they’re adding is “Mostly Sober”.
Because listeners are responding.
Every time a new market adds “Mostly Sober” Chris starts getting posts on his Facebook page and his YouTube pages that mention hearing it on the stations.
This is extraordinary response and it’s all because of the song:
CR emails thru March 2013
Chris just posted a new house concert version of “Mostly Sober”:
I’ve also always believed that music attracts people but the key to great songs is great lyrics:
Chris Ross Mostly Sober lyrics
Barnaby Bright is getting the same kind of response from their new album “The Longest Day”
The Longest Day Cover jpg 09-14-2012
They were on air at WNKU Cincinnati the other morning.
Artists hate getting up to do radio early in the morning but at Mishara Music but live radio is a great way to reach people. Here’s how Barnaby Bright posted about the visit on Instragram – with a bonus pillow shot of Nathan:
BB Twitter Cincy Instragram
WNKU loves Barnaby Bright:
BB Twitter Cincy 5
WNKU fans agree:
BB Twitter Cincy 4
More radio love from WUMB Boston:
BB WUMB Sold Out
 BB WUMB sold out 2
And what about the songs?
The first two songs that people are responding to from  “The Longest Day” are “Highway 9” and “Castle Rock”.
Here’s live video of both – watch these and you’re understand why their concerts are selling out and their live visits to radio are so compelling.
“Highway 9”:
“Castle Rock”:
More radio love – from TJ – music director at KYSL:
One more music mention.
Clarensau’s “This One’s For You” is out now:
My favorite songs are “Dance With Me”, “I Need Changing”, “Hollywood” and “All Over Again”
Here goes the twitter world about it:
Clarensau Twitter album sale 2
Clarensau Twitter album sale 1
All this activity is because of songs.
Here’s a YouTube listening channel for the new Clarensau album:
Here’s a question to think about.
Do you think it makes a difference that Chris Ross’ song “Mostly Sober” was released to radio last November and radio stations are adding it in March months later?
Doesn’t make a difference to me.
The great thing about the digital music world (call me a veteran music biz person who’s absolutely cup half full about digital music) is now the world of music is endlessly available and people can discover songs that they love no matter when they were released – even if they’re years old.
The first time someone hears a great song it’s just as special no matter if the song is a day old or a decade old.
Here are some examples.
Our first Mishara Music release was by Kat Maslich (formerly of eastmountainsouth).  November 2010 or thereabouts.  One of the great songs on the “The Road Of 6” EP was “Sky Falls”
Here’s a listening channel video of the song:
And here’s a comment on the YouTube page from just one week ago:
YouTube Kat Maslich Sky Falls comment
Connor Garvey released “Where Ocean Meets Land” at the end of 2011 and my favorite song was “Western Wind”.
Here’s the YouTube listening channel link:
Someone just discovered the song – and here’s the YouTube comment from just a month ago – even though the song has been out for over a year – he’s excited about discovering it!
YouTube Connor Garvey Western Wind comment
“This One’s For You” is Clarensau’s 2nd album for Mishara.  The first was “Until Our Lungs Give” from over a year ago.
The song “I Would Trade” is a song that Tyler wrote while sitting in a hospital waiting room.
Here’s a YouTube listening channel version of the song:
Here’s a comment from the YouTube page that blew me away – this says it all about the power of songs:
YouTube Clarensau I Would Trade comment
“I Would Trade” is one of our Top 5 selling digital tracks every week – week in and week out – because of the powerful message of the song.
The interesting thing to watch  – is how these songs and albums gain in sales over time. This truly is the age of music discovery more than ever before.
A great example is Peter Bradley Adams.
Most remember Peter from the band “eastmountainsouth” (his duo with Kat Maslich).
Peter’s had 4 solo albums since then and his latest “Between Us” was released on Mishara Music in the middle of 2011.
We started outside the box internet marketing for Peter years ago – his audience has continued to grow….and grow….and grow….and grow.
“Between Us” the title track from Peter’s album was never a focus track at radio.  I don’t remember it ever getting a single spin on the air.
But it’s the viral track on the album.
Every day we see tweets like these:
PBA Twitter BU 3
So much so that Peter’s verified on Twitter now:
PBA Verified Twitter
But what’s really amazing is “Between Us” on YouTube.
We have listening channel videos and there are many, many fan videos using the song….but one takes the cake.
Here’s one of those tweets from above with the video they’re mentioning expanded into view:
PBA Twitter BU 2
Here’s another tweet just sent with the video expanded:
PBA Twitter BU 1
The video they’re tweeting out is a fan video just posting a photograph to play the song.
Here’s an expanded view:
YouTube PBA over a million Between Us
Did you notice the views?
Since I did the screen shot a few days ago it’s gone up over another 16,000 views:
PBA YouTube BU latest #'s
This from just a fan of the song who’s uploaded 5 videos on their channel.
It’s not magic or marketing….it’s simply the song!
Here’s the link to the video to listen:
Here’s another big number:
One of the wonderful ways to build our audience is to invite people to download selections of our songs for free.
We build our audience by giving away songs so people will discover the company and the artists and then word of mouth takes over.
Our 4 free song samplers on have had over 749,000 free song downloads:
4 Amazon Samplers
Does it work building our audience?
It does for Chris Ross:
Chris Ross YT Amazon sampler
Here’s the link to the Mishara Amazon samplers (my apologies to our many international fans – they’re USA only – I have to discuss how to make them work internationally with Amazon):
So what does all this mean?
Mishara Music is a modern music company that is all about old fashioned artist development instead of short term “throw it against the wall” tactics.
As some things change other things stay the same.
You’re more likely to hear about our music and artists than you ever will about the company.
Most likely from your friends.
We like it that way.
As in music there is endless change in the world and thankfully some things that never change as.
Sometimes the change is a small thing but very important…..and very expensive… you have any idea of how much the Tooth Fairy is handing out these days…..big $$$$$:
Tooth 03-04-20`3
Other changes?
In California one you can predict – gas prices continue to rise way above the rest of the country – and if you’re out on 395 way in the middle of nowhere – I hope you brought your Fort Knox credit card:
Thankfully some things are no different than they ever were – and you’ll get this only if you’re in Los Angeles – but it’s a personal favorite of mine – as the world changes – one place never does – my favorite burger place of all time:
Hasn’t changed one bit since the 1940’s when it opened  – except for the prices but that’s okay.  The sign says quality forever and they deliver what they promise.
Much like Mishara Music – A Home for Singer – Songrwriters.
Lastly with winter on it’s way out…’s time for the harbor to come to life.
Soon the wraps will come off the schooners and sailing ships from all over the world will be tying up at the docks.
This year it begins with music.
Our first busker of the year.
We do it differently in Maine than they do in NYC and other big cities.
They’ve got singers…..and keyboard players…..and violin players…..and horn players…..and guitar players busking in the subways and on the streets.
I’ve seen some really talented people in those places over the years….and often have given up one of the last dollars in my pocket for the treat provided… of my favorites was this sax player in a doorway in the French Quarter in New Orleans during Jazzfest a couple years ago….he did a stellar impromptu version of “Elmo’s Theme” for Ethan:
But if you want to hear a great busking bagpipe player…..
… gotta come to Camden Harbor:
Let’s all spring ahead!

A Family “Maple” adventure – more than you ever wanted to know & odds and ends – the Marcrescue blog

Greetings all,
So after all the serious things life threw at us in the past month or so (read about them in my blog post “The Best Of Times – The Worst of Times” dated 03-20-2012 @ we’re back to being a family unit enjoying all the things that the state of Maine throws at us.
For instance – a week ago virtually all of Maine had 80 degree temperatures and two days ago we woke up to a a temp of 19 degrees and 35 mph winds which brought the windchill down to about zero – and today it’s snowing:

But the great event during the 4th weekend in March is “Maine Maple Sunday”.
A whole bunch of the Maine maple syrup producers open up their doors to visitors and offer treats and great prices on maple syrup.
We spend a bunch of hours driving around checking out different sugar houses and found a new favorite this year – the Bradstreet Maple Farm in Searsmont Maine.   (69 Peters Road, Searsmont, ME.  04973  (207)-441-8801)
So of course I barged right up to Mark Bradstreet – the owner and starting asking a bunch of questions about maple syrup, it’s production and took a bunch of photos.
So if you want to learn more than you ever wanted about maple syrup production – read on.
Here’s the sugar house:
Perfectly picturesque – Mark said that’s his wife’s doing and I believe him. The sugar houses I’ve seen where guys are totally in charge don’t look this good!
You might wonder why maple syrup is so expensive?
Here’s why.
This is the old fashioned way to collect maple sap:
The more modern way (that Mark uses) is using tubing running from the taps that connect to 5 galleon water jugs – just like the ones on the office water cooler.
That helps a whole bunch because Mark puts about 500 taps on around 250 trees over 50 acres.
That’ll produce in the 4 to 6 week sap season somewhere between 2000 to 2500 galleons of sap.
When the sap runs it’s time to work – it has to boiled right then down to make the syrup.
So during the season Mark is working 18 hour days in the sugar house.
He can boil about 25 galleons of sap down into syrup per hour depending on the sugar content of the sap.
In the beginning of the season the sap can have a 3% sugar content which declines down to about 1% later in the season.  (Remember that figure to compare it to the finished maple syrup figure below).
So first you need a lot of wood to keep the fires burning for weeks on end boiling sap – about 4 cords for the season (Mark cuts and stacks it all including another 8 cords a year to heat their house):
Then it’s time to light the fire and boil the sap:
And the great thing about hanging out in the sugar house with the boiling syrup:
Is the aroma – ohh it’s great.
And then once it’s boiled down it’s time to pour out of the evaporator and get ready to bottle it:
It may have to be heated again & the temperature checked – it’s maple syrup at exactly 219.1 degrees and at 66% sugar – it’ll foam up at that temp:
When it’s ready:
It’s time for a taste:
And the verdict is perfect!
Then it’s time to rate it – the different colors are the different types – from left to right:
Light / Medium / Dark / Extra Dark and “B” syrup.
Our favorite is Extra Dark which has the most intense flavor and is almost impossible to find at retail stores – it’s rare.
But that’s what was being produced and bottled that day:
So what do you end up with after all that work?
50 galleons of sap makes just one galleon of syrup.
Mark says he started doing it as a hobby when his kids were young.  He tapped a couple of trees and boiled it down to syrup on the back deck in a lobster pot.
Then it sort of got our of control.
His wife calls it “Sugar Fever”.
He said someone somewhere figured out their sugaring time vs income and their maple sugaring income was about 22 cents an hour.
You don’t make a living at it.
Hmmm, reminds me of the music business these days.
Mark’s real job is an aerial mapping business.
His explanations about that world got real scientific with stuff I couldn’t spell so maybe we’ll learn about that business another time.
I’m very glad he’s got “Sugar Fever” though.
His syrup is delicious and the great thing about Maine Maple Sunday is that in addition to the syrup tasting the sugar houses make other things out of the syrup that you can get.  Maple flavored donuts, Maple fudge (Mark’s is the best I’ve ever had) and we make one special stop each year to get the a treat that is to die for.
Maple Cotton Candy – still have a bit left:
Remember the pink regular sugar stuff from the fair when you were a kid?
There’s no comparison.
I’m already mad at myself for not buying a second bag.
Next year.
And if you’re wondering why there’s no photo of Mark’s Maple fudge?
I ate it all.
I’ll take a photo next year.
Odds and ends.
Connor Garvey good news and bad news.
Last week radio station WBSD traded up Connor Garvey tracks and added a new track –  “Pencil Frame” which is amazing in that it makes EIGHT different tracks from his album “Where Ocean Makes Land” that have been reported to the radio / records trade magazine FMQB:
I’ve never seen that many tracks played from a new artist’s album before – but I understand why – it’s a wonderful recording.  You can hear the entire album on our “Where Ocean Meets Land” YouTube channel:
Connor’s bad news?
For some stupid reason – the gate check people put his guitar in regular baggage instead of the gate check area….and as soon as he didn’t receive it at the front door of the plane when they landed he knew he was in trouble.
He was right:
Clarensau’s new album was released a week ago on Mishara Music and is already selling well thanks in part to our 3rd Amazon free song sampler which they’re a part of:
We use our free song samplers to build audience for our artists.
It works like a charm!
The new sampler is doing gangbusters on Amazon.  It’s # 6 as I type this on the all format Top 100 free album chart on Amazon:
And we own the Top 100 Free Folk chart:
The best thing about it are the reviews Mishara Music is getting – we’ve established a brand:
You can get the new Mishara Music free song sampler at:
I do want to take a moment to make note of two songs that are demonstrating some strong viral action – one from the sampler and one from the Clarensau album.
Both songs are written about a real family loss and they seem to resonate with people because of that.  It seems to me that with so much sharing on Facebook I’m aware so much more than before of when friends are going through the family lifecycle that we all must go through (and our family has gone through twice in recent months) and these songs speak to that.
“I Would Trade” by Clarensau was written by Tyler Clarensau about his grandfather:
You can hear “I Would Trade” here:
The first track on the new Mishara Amazon sampler is the title track from the upcoming Barnaby Bright album “Made Up Of”.
It’s the heartbreaking true story of a friend of theirs who lost her husband unexpectedly at a young age.
You can hear it here on YouTube:
Once again both songs reinforce how important music can be in our lives.
Surprise someone in your family or a good friend – call or visit them for no reason whatsoever except that you love them…..and share some meaningful music with them!
PS One other artist note – Peter Bradley Adams had three songs used in three different tv shows last week – it’s amazing how much music supervisors like his music.  “One Tree Hill” gave us a great visual at the end of the show was broadcast:

And another great placement on the “One Tree Hill” website:
And two final “Odds and Ends”.  While in California a couple weeks ago I had to make one trip that was off the beaten path a bit – and boy – do they charge for gas when you have to buy and you have no other choices:
And lastly this weekend I’ll be enjoying this new crop of maple syrup on my wife’s amazing french toast – can’t wait.
If you’re in the neighborhood – c’mon by – we’ll set a place for you!