Monday, December 22, 2008


No sooner had I written that we'd avoided the big snow thus far, a northeaster and a blizzard arrived Sunday afternoon. Monday morning we woke up to fifteen inches of new snow, some of it blown to more than two feet. The town plow, which usually comes up to the end of the road and turns around in our circular drive, for the first time I can recall simply gave up and backed down. And so I had a date with the snowblower to make paths and clear away around the vehicles and then clear the drive down to the town road. This took all morning. In the afternoon I shoveled around the cords of wood stacked on pallets and covered with tarps.

The snowblower is a powerful attachment to the BCS 735 walk-behind tractor, and when everything is working right, as it was this morning, it is a joy to work with. What was not a joy were the 30 mile per hour shifting winds, which got me in cloud of snow from time to time.

It would be nice to be in the South (I have lived in Virginia, Georgia, and Kentucky) instead of northern New England at a time like this. Some of the wealthier residents of this island head south for the winter--snowbirds they are called. You can often tell them by the Florida plates on their cars. I understand they establish a residence in Florida because they then pay no state income tax, whereas the state income tax in Maine is among the highest. Florida holds no attraction for me, at this time.

The next winter difficulty will be ice, as when it warms up the precipitation falls as rain, and then it freezes and stays. This happens in southern New England as well, of course, but the layout of this plot of land and buildings means that the ice stays and walking can be treacherous. I have spent winters here and avoided falls, but as someone who does not care to be indoors all or most of a day, winter here concentrates life unless a particular effort is made to be out. One of the ways to be out is cross-country skiing, and I intend to do that tomorrow.

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