White Friday!

(click to enlarge)

I feel positively un-American today, because I didn’t go shopping.

Dutifully I looked at the ads but I came to two conclusions:  there is nothing I want, and there is nothing I need.

I heard that the weather was supposed to be nasty on Friday (“wintry mix” translates into ice pellets, snow and rain) so I made sure to make the most out of Thanksgiving.  In the morning I took the dog for a nice hike along some old Forest Service and logging roads.  At one point I walked around a gate that was closed to vehicles (meaning ATVs and 4x4s, because these “roads” are pretty rough).  I soon saw why it was closed:  it hadn’t been maintained in years and was completely washed out.  Large boulders, sand and gravel made walking difficult, too.  It was a bit nippy (25 degrees) but the sky was clear so I kept walking, the elevation rising gradually.  After about an hour I came to an abandoned farm.  Mind you, there was no barn, no cabin, no farm implements, no fields.  It looked pretty much like the rest of the woods, thick with pine, balsam fir, and hardwood.  The only clue to its past were hundreds of feet of stone boundary walls, typical of Yankee farms from the time of the Revolutionary War.  I’m asssuming the original settlers were rich enough to own horses or oxen to help gather, lug and stack the large stones to make the walls, but it was quite an amazing feat under extraordinarily difficult conditions, far from the nearest neighbor.  We have a few of these stone walls on our own property, as well.

Later in the afternoon my spouse joined me for a short hike up Hawk Mountain in Waterford, ME.  The view at the top was spectacular.  We saw numerous lakes and ponds, and to the west, far out in the distance, was snow-covered Mt. Washington.  This was the first time all Fall that I saw other hikers and deer hunters – everywhere I’ve walked until now has been completely void of other people.  Everyone (including us) had at least one article of clothing that was bright neon orange as a precaution for hunting season.  The hunters were returning empty-handed, other than the rifles they carried.  The hikers were speaking either Norwegian or Swedish, which is not a surprise since there is a large immigrant population here from the 1800s from Scandinavia, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and Germany, many of whom still speak their “mama loshen” amongst themselves, generations later.

Signs like this are famous throughout Maine.

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These Maine towns were named by the many immigrants who founded them, to remind them from whence they came.  I’m afraid the local versions are not quite as exotic looking as the cities for which they were named!

This morning we woke up to our first snowfall (a week ago there was a light dusting but it didn’t stick for more than an hour).   So while there won’t be a Black Friday for me, it will be a white one.

Our house in snowfall (click to enlarge)

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Our steep driveway: it's a loooong way down (click to enlarge)


Sweeping snow from the solar panels (click to enlarge)


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