News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 21, 2022
Seaside Cemetery in Blue Hill reported as overgrown
Local business now working hard on upkeep

Pelletiers weed whack

Kirsten and Caleb Pelletier, of Flower Hounds Farm, weed whack at Seaside Cememtery in Blue Hill.

Photo by Maggie White Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Maggie White

Even those who are no longer physically with us are impacted by the current dearth of what Ellen Best, Blue Hill select board chair, describes as a “time when almost everyone is finding it difficult to find enough workers.” Indeed, Seaside Cemetery in Blue Hill was recently reported as being overgrown by longtime resident, Dave Chase. Chase, whose family traces its local lineage back for centuries, makes an annual trip to the Greenes Field Lane cemetery to “see how his ancestors are doing.”

On July 4 weekend, he made such a sojourn and found the area to be uncharacteristically overgrown. “I can only describe it as a sea of knee-high grass. Which was beautiful in its own way, but not the standard,” said Chase. “I think of Blue Hill as a town who really cares about those who came before and our history. It seems a complete anachronism for the cemetery to be looking like that.” He added that Bob Carter “took care of it for years and years and it looked beautiful…You’d have lawn envy when you looked at it.”

Best verified that Carter is now retired, saying in an email, “Our long time caretaker for the cemeteries and his crew retired at the end of last year.”

Post Carter, Best said that some miscommunication among the town administrator and the staff resulted in the delayed advertising, and thereby hiring, of a new groundskeeper/mower.

Flower Hounds Farm steps in

Regarding the new hire, a July 19 visit to the cemetery found husband and wife Caleb and Kirsten Pelletier weed whacking near where they had parked their Flower Hounds Farm truck at the back of the cemetery. When asked how things could have become so overgrown as to be noticed by residents, Kirsten said, “Yes. We’re aware. It’s just that we get here whenever we can get here.”

She explained that they cover other cemeteries for the town in addition to their many home accounts. “We’re such a small business. We had to let our one worker go because we couldn’t cover workers comp,” said Kirsten, nodding at her husband. “It’s his business, I’m helping because I need to.”

Said Best, “He has been working hard but started after the mowing season was well-advanced (about five weeks late he tells me) and therefore has been at a distinct disadvantage.”

For Chase, the issue is close to his heart. “I have a 98-year-old dad up in Orono and he likes to visit his wife. My dad walking into that cemetery in that state would break his heart.”

Thanks to the hard work of the Pelletiers of Flower Hounds Farm and the town of Blue Hill during these trying times, it’s hopeful that Chase’s father’s heart will remain intact.