There is a saying in Maine: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a moment.”
And that pretty much sums up our early Spring. As of last week, even the most stubborn ice melted from the lakes and ponds as temperatures ramped up to the 50s and 60s. The woods came alive with sound: Canada geese and various wood ducks mating and nesting; Spring Peepers; beavers emerging from their dams and whacking the water with their tails; a long, harmless garden snake emerged from the rock in front of me and slithered away; the newspaper warned homeowners to put away their bird feeders as bears emerge from hibernation. And then, today, a “polar vortex” swooped down and splashed us with violent winds and fierce cold. After this past week of warmth, tonight’s temperatures will see a low of 4 degrees F.
While still warm, I took the opportunity to empty a year’s worth of discarded fruit and vegetable peels, spent coffee grinds, and crushed eggshells – – now turned into rich, earthy soil – – from our compost bin. It filled two huge wheelbarrow loads and I transported it to my orchard, where after aerating ground near the trees’ roots, the compost provided some fertile food for the apple trees and there was even enough left over for the blueberry bushes. It was great to touch the warm earth, and feel the sun on my face, but best of all, it was a pleasure to work the soil and complete all my early gardening needs without the hum and sting of blackflies, deerflies or mosquitoes.
Inspired by a week of beautiful days, Truman (our new puppy) and I hiked and bushwhacked in the woods near our house.
On one of these walks I met a new neighbor who built a cabin last year on land that her grandfather had bought when he was in high school, back in the early 20s. Now all the descendants of this man – a son and daughter, cousins, nieces and nephews, are slowly reclaiming parcels for self-sufficient homes and cabins of their own. It’s a wonderful legacy and I’m sure he’d be thrilled that the extended family remains close, and that it’s his large, remote parcel bought so long ago that brings them together. All of them see themselves as stewards of the land, ensuring that its natural resources will not be misused, but will provide them with the wealth of clean air, pure water, and fresh produce from the earth to their tables, and a lasting appreciation of the glory, beauty and power of nature in these woods.
Although I’m not a fan of daylight saving’s time, I did appreciate the ability to take evening walks with my husband after his workday ended at 5.30 pm, knowing it would still be light when we got back, even if we walked 3 or 4 miles. Away from the city, it’s such a pleasure to be less distracted, live slower, to breathe deeper, and be able to focus more easily on sights, sounds, and the ones we love.