The Garden Is Dead, Long Live The Garden!

You might remember that I got my garden in recently.   If not, you can review my progress here:  Blood, Bug Guts, and Cow Manure

It was with great satisfaction that I put that last plant in.  Such anticipation!

But this morning the garden was a devastating sight.  The plants were black and wilted.  The garden is dead.  At least most of it is.  It just doesn’t seem fair that a few days ago it was 90F, but this morning we had frost.  A June 1st frost!  That is insane, even for Maine!

So now it’s time to find some replacement plants and try again.  I’m going to wait a few days, though.  We’re supposed to have frost again tonight.  My father would have been furious with Mother Nature if this happened to him.  I have to admit, I’m not too happy with her, either.


News From Cornville…Bits and Bobs

I was going to write my usual “oh no, Winter is coming” post where I lament the colder weather, but I’m not going to do it.  I know, it’s a shocker, so I’ll just wait for the gasping to subside.  It was such a fabulous summer weather-wise that I have nothing to complain about.  That’s not entirely true, I do have things to complain about but certainly not about the weather.  Did I mention that my county has a frost advisory tonight?  Still not complaining.  Aren’t you proud of me?

I know, you are all wondering if the boat is as great as we thought it would be.  The answer is:  “How do I know?  We haven’t gotten it, yet!”  That’s right, we ordered it 2 1/2 months ago and they say it’s made, but no boat has arrived.  No dock either.  They have made one excuse after another.  Finally, I texted the dealer and told them we’d take delivery in the spring.  No response.  So I’m not sure what’s happening, but I do know the thing isn’t going in the water this year.  So I could complain about that, but I’m still riding high on the ‘it was a beautiful summer’ thing so I won’t say a word.  Even though I could.  Even though I’d be justified.  I still won’t.  Yet.

In other news for Cornville, I just saw the cast list for an upcoming movie a friend of mine is directing.  He’s been working on this concept for ten years and I’ve been helping him with some dialog along the way.  I was amazed to see that he’s credited me as a writer for the film.  That was a total shock!  I was happy to help where I could, but never expected to it to be so publicly acknowledged.  Big revelations in the mainepaperpusher household today!

The only other big news in Cornville is that I have ordered some new devices.  I watched the Apple Event a couple of days ago and of course, I wanted all sorts of Apple-icious stuff.  Last night I drank the Kool-Aid.  I drank a lot of it.  At the end of this month, I’ll be drowning in Apple-flavored goodness.  Ask me if I’m excited!  Just ask!

And for those of you Walter fans out there, here’s a pic I posted on Instagram a couple of days ago.   I have to keep Walter’s adoring public happy, after all!



Ice and Mud…It Must Be Spring!

You know how I grouse about winter?  If you’ve spent any time at all reading this blog in the colder months, you know that I complain about it…a lot!  I know you’re all rolling your eyes but I don’t care because spring has arrived!  Mud season is in full swing!  It might pose some inconveniences, but mud season accompanies ice-out, and that is a much-anticipated event.

I was perusing my Facebook feed today, as I sometimes do.  Is it ‘feed’ or ‘wall?’ Hmmm, I never know what to call it.  So let’s just say I was perusing those posts on the parts of Facebook that are supposedly mine to peruse.  Anyhow, while I was scrolling through the pics of food porn and grandkids, I came upon this one that was taken by my good friend Debb Heald.  It seems to sum up this time of year nicely.  Snow in the woods and washed out roads…ice-out can’t be far behind!

I’ve often talked about our camp (tiny cottage) on our pond (lake.)  There are always parentheses that go with that description because Maine is weird and we tend to downplay stuff when we describe it.  You should see the ‘cottages’ on the coast that sell for 4 million dollars, but I digress.

The pic you see above is the road to Debb’s camp, which is across the pond from us. You may notice the tire tracks.  Mainers are an intrepid lot.  We don’t let a washed out road keep us from camp!  Especially when we are waiting for ‘ice-out.’

Ice-out is the much-anticipated process of, you guessed it, ice leaving the surface of the pond.  You can even hear it!  Take a look below and you will see the pond’s transformation from winter to spring.  Debb got some great shots starting with snow-covered ice right on through to open water.

This is what we look forward to all winter long.  This is the Super Bowl of pond life.  Touchdowns are great, but open water is sublime.









Deer and Dogs in Springtime.

Snow makes for some interesting behavior when spring comes around.  Animals aren’t quite sure how to deal with the receding snow.

Years ago, I was quite amused by the fact that the dogs would pee only on the snow that was left over until it was melted and they had no choice.  It still strikes me as odd, even after all of these years of witnessing the behavior by one dog after another.

This week I’ve been watching the deer quite a bit.  We have a lot of them in the field behind the house.  I rarely see a deer lying down, but this week I’ve seen a number of them all resting on the last bits of snow.  The field is mostly bare, though there is plenty of snow on the shady parts.  That is where I saw the deer in repose.

I suppose that behavior is like that of the dogs peeing on the snow.  They do what they’ve done for months until the circumstances change.  I suppose we humans are much the same.  Short-term memory makes for easy decisions on what to do next.  Long-term memory makes us who we are.  I wonder if the deer and the dogs would agree.

Not Tonight, Deer

It’s not an uncommon occurrence for me to complain about cold weather.  There is an old Maine expression saying that there are “11 months of winter and one month of rough sledding.”  That might be a little extreme, but today it seemed to be a little too close to the truth.

It was a beautiful day, yesterday.  We enjoyed 80F temps in the sunroom.  The field was covered by grass turned brown by snow and cold weather.  The snow had finally gone, the temps were lovely, and spring was here!  You might notice that I said ‘was.’

As we watched the deer browse the field, eating the long brown grass, it was hard to imagine that the weather folks were talking about a storm.  I wanted to tell them that it wasn’t going to happen. “Not tonight, deer!”  There would certainly be more grass to nibble today.  There was no way that storm was going to hit here after such a gorgeous day.

I was wrong.  It came.  It continues to come.  4 inches of snow, and more on its way.  It doesn’t seem fair, especially to the deer who are struggling to find every calorie they can after a long winter.  This afternoon they came a little closer to the house trying to find whatever they could.  This one was right outside my bedroom window munching a twig Bill cut last fall from a crabapple tree in the front yard.



Mailboxes and Maple Syrup

It was a fairly typical night here in Cornville, Maine and I was watching an episode of Shameless.  There was a particularly loud street party scene so I didn’t really connect the dots when I heard the big screech and thump.  Hmmm…it’s not often that I can practically feel a thump coming from the TV so I went to investigate.

I can’t say that I was particularly surprised to see a truck all fetched up in the snowbank.  I had contacted the DOT earlier in the day to let them know the road was a sheet of ice here.  Bill had seen a car do a 360 just a few hours before. When I looked out, I saw debris all over the driveway.  Oh look, there’s our mailbox…and all sorts of other stuff that I didn’t recognize.  That wasn’t the scary part.  What concerned me was that the truck was inches away from the big spruce tree and I wasn’t sure if it came close or bounced off.  I was very much hoping it came close because if it bounced off, the occupant(s) would not be in very good shape.

Luckily, it was a ‘came close’ situation and the driver exited the truck with nothing more than a slightly injured back.  Come to find out, the guy was coming from Vermont on his way up north of here.  Yes, I know Cornville is at the edge of the universe, but up north there are a few places teetering on the very brink.  He was heading to one of those places.

We had him come inside so he could sit and keep warm.  Dan is the nicest guy you could meet.  He makes maple syrup over in Vermont and we talked about trees and his sugar bush.  Yeah, that’s what you call acreage populated by maple trees.  For those of you thinking it was something else, shame on you!  Anyhow, he has a big operation and showed us photos of his sap house and some of the 17,000 taps he has.  Taps are the little spigots that are literally tapped into the maples to catch the sap. Then it’s boiled down to syrup.  It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of the syrup you put on your pancakes.  You didn’t know you were going to have a lecture on maple syrup production, did you?  Just know that the stuff they call pancake syrup in the market is nothing like the 100% real maple stuff.  As far as I’m concerned, Aunt Jemima can take a hike.

Just to show you how things work in backwoods Maine, this is the conversation I had with the dispatcher for the county’s sheriff department.  “Hello, I’d like to report a car off the road here on Route 150.  The road is really slick.”  The reply was classic:  “Is that the fella from Vermont?  Is he there with you?  We’ve already sent a deputy out to make sure he’s ok.”  News travels fast here, and people really care.

It wasn’t much later when the deputy sheriff showed up to assess the situation and get Dan’s info for his report.  I really appreciate the work they do in this area.  There are two deputies who cover our county.  One county might not sound like much but it is just shy of four times the size of Rhode Island.  Granted, Rhode Island is a small state, but still! These poor officers can drive hours north to answer a call, only to get another call back down this way.  A deputy’s life in this neck of the woods isn’t easy.

It was about 11PM when Dan’s girlfriend showed up to get him.  She had a long drive here but she came to wait with him, hoping to see the wrecker soon.  By midnight they called AAA and told them to send the wrecker in the morning to pick up the truck.  They drove the long way home, knowing they would have to be back in the morning.

Dan returned this morning, apologizing all over the place that he hadn’t made a sawhorse for us.  You see, in this climate mailboxes live a precarious life.  If they aren’t close enough to the road, the mailman won’t deliver.  If they are too close to the road they will get clipped by the snowplows.  Many Mainers just put their boxes on sawhorses hoping they won’t be decimated when they inevitably get ‘plowed.’  Our mailbox, however, was on a post the leaned back just enough to be mailman-accessible, yet somewhat plow-proof.  However, now our mailbox is a crumpled piece of metal and the wooden post has been transformed into a scattered mess of toothpicks.  As apologetic as he was, Dan might not have made a new sawhorse, but he came here with a brand new mailbox and even the adhesive numbers to put on it.  He also came with maple syrup and maple candy.  This story goes to show you how New Englanders repay one good deed with another.  And talk about a sweet ending!




DON’T! Just Don’t!

Around this time of year, I tend to go into a rant about cold weather and snow.  I lament the fact that the days are short, the temps are low and there is just too much of the white stuff swirling around.  You might think that I would spare you the pain of hearing the same thing I spew every winter.  You might think that, but you would be wrong. This is going to be a good and proper rant.  I’m unhappy and I’m taking you right along with me.

Tonight we are going to get a foot of snow.  That’s the minimum.  Maybe up to two feet.  I know, I know…yes, I live in Maine.  Yes, Maine is a very cold place in the winter.  Yes, we get a lot of snow here.  That’s what Maine does, and it does it exceedingly well.  But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.  It certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t complain about it.  That’s what I do exceedingly well.

I have this theory about Snow.  It’s out to get me…and it knows where I live.  It knows that I reside in a cold climate and because of that, it has free rein to depress me.  Come to think of it, Snow is the ultimate bully.  Maybe it has anger management or self-esteem issues, I don’t know.  Whatever the reason, Snow thinks it’s cool to make me miserable.  Yes, I know that was an unintentional pun, but if you know what’s good for you, you’re just going to pretend it never happened.

They say that the Inuit people have a bunch of words for snow.   I should probably Google it and tell you the exact number but I’m in a ranty mood and I just don’t want to.  Suffice it to say they have a lot of them.  I have one word for Snow.  Snow, are you listening?  DON’T!  Just don’t. Just.don’t.snow.  I don’t want squalls or blizzards or freezing rain or fresh powder.  I don’t want slush or snowball snow or snow that makes for “good sleddin'”  Snow, are you hearing me?  Just don’t!

I realize that if I wanted to, I could be all talented and make all of those snow words into a Dr. Seuss kind of thing to make you smile.  Too bad.  I’m too peeved for that.  No Dr. Seuss for you!  I’m not going to make clever wordplay or attempt to wow you with my non-existent poetry skills.  Nope, this isn’t about that.  The is a rant, damn it!  Rants are not eloquent or articulate. Rants are ranty and you’ll just have to deal with it.  If I’m getting nearly two feet of snow, you are going to suffer right along with me.





Building Terms

We’re having a garage built and I’m learning some building terms.  Apparently, the first bits of concrete they put down are the footings.  After the footings are set, they pour concrete into forms to create a frost wall.  Yeah, my frost wall is literally frosty!


garage frost wall