Monday, March 17, 2014


This year we are going to forfeit spring here in the western mountains of Maine.  We have over three feet of snow on the ground and more expected Thursday and again Saturday.   Normally, we experience a week to ten days of zero or below consecutive nights each winter, but we have been in the single numbers or below almost every night for six weeks.  Tonight the forecast is for five above (on the coast) to fifteen below up north. Here at the cabin we will be somewhere in the below numbers.    

The problem with this winter is the snow cover combined with the low temperatures.  Somewhere between now and June the temps are going to take a seasonable jump and when they do our snow melt is going to cause flooding and an enhanced mud season.  

Mud season here in Maine is not for the faint of heart.   The people on the coast, for the most part, will fare all right; but those of us up her in the rural north that live on dirt roads have to make special preparations.

A neighbor of mine puts one of those big whip antennas on his Honda, even though he doesn’t own a CB.   He figures that if he loses the car in a mud hole he will know where to have his kids dig when the ground firms up.   We all carry extra supplies (just in case) including one of those avalanche beacons.     

Some people strap those beacons to the back of their children’s back-packs before they send then out to catch the school bus.   I have seen others men strap empty fifty-gallon oil drums to each side of their cars – I understand that this also allows you to safely continue ice fishing late into the spring.

We up here in north western Maine are known as resourceful.  Unlike the flatlanders down on the coast it is not unusual to find some old dubber with a 1947 Sears outboard on the back of his boat – the damn thing probably doesn't work but it sure looks good to the ‘people from away’ when he paddles into shore - and if it was good enough for his father and grand father….   Yes we are resourceful: we can start a wood fire without charcoal lighter fluid (gasoline works just as well – and faster) and we know the difference between deer shit and moose shit and bear shit and people shit. 

Speaking of bear shit; did you know that during berry season bear shit is rainbow colored.   It gets these pretty shades of purple, lavender, pink and blue.   I swear that someone could paint with it onto canvasses and sell them through L.L. Beans.    (I am full of ideas: after all I invented the moose turd earrings and worry beads, and a couple of years later found the same thing for sell at Beans.)  

But I digress:  with the winter we have had (and are having) I won’t be able to dance necked in the back yard around a bonfire on the first day of Spring.   Maybe my wife will let me dance around a candle on the living room floor - as long as I don’t get in front of the TV.  

Where ever you are; have a happy Spring  – and dance necked around a bonfire if you get a chance. 

the Ol’Buzzard


  1. We are deep into pothole season with entire roads almost wiped out by them. My tires don't approve and neither does my wallet since suddenly tires are not on sale anywhere. I had to find an alternate route to drive into the city on since the pothole in the middle of the road I normally drive on is getting deeper.

    The county put a sign up that says "Rough Road, Speed limit 35 mph" They haven't tried filling them with anything though. I suppose with all the snow, it won't help much.

    Aaand maple syrup is gonna cost this year. It's not warm enough for the sap to be running yet. Last quart I bought was $20. I'm not planning on buying any for quite awhile. It's gonna be back to the artificial flavored pancake syrup for the duration.

  2. I sympathized even while laughing.

  3. Amazing! You all should try out for the "Survival" show. Drums on the cars and beacons on the kids! Not the place for a whiner.

  4. West is in central Texas,some of the older streets(lie Davis street going behind where Rest Haven used to be flooded every time it rains..and once it rained so bad I had rain right up to the porch. but where West is, we really don't have serious weather.we'd freak out if we did.

  5. And I bitched about having to clean the windshield yesterday from a icy dusting of sleet and snow - 59 degrees today and 70 by Friday...
    Indiana for you.


  6. Sounds much like my former life in rural PA -- without teh bear and moose poop, though.

  7. We're having the same problems. When the weather finally warms up the mud season will be spectacular as the frost went really deep this winter. A lot of places had problems with water lines freezing and told people to let the water run to prevent the pipes from freezing.

    I keep hoping the weather will warm up as I have a number of projects I'd like to do but it is too cold to work bare handed.

  8. I knew a guy once who had a scat collection. He'd bring it to Scout meetings, 4-H meetings, and to school classrooms to show kids which critters left what type of crap in the woods. It was interesting. The kids loved it; their parents were usually grossed out.

    Seeing bear sign around doesn't bother me much, but the fresh pile of wolf droppings and wolf tracks in the driveway earlier this winter did have me hoping I never saw either again -- at least not that close to the house.

    As for winter, I was thinking it was lasting forever. Then I remembered the storm we had in late March in 1996. Think it hit on about the 24th. We were snowed in for 3 days; the county had to bring in a front end loader to open the back roads because the grader couldn't push enough snow out of its way to keep moving. The Mud Season is going to be horrible, here, too. All the roads are so frost-heaved that it's obvious that once things start to melt, things are going to get nasty. I'm giving serious thought to parking my Focus at my cousin's for the duration of break-up; I don't want to resort to the 55-gallon drums solution.

  9. Maine is such a gorgeous place. Lucky you.

  10. Happy Equinox!I've had a very unusual pre spring experience might go up to 75 degrees...but then the fickle finger of fate is pointing at us and by the end of the day a major change is predicted...a week of normal Dordogne, foggy long as it doesn't freeze. At this point in time it would be a catastrophe.

  11. BTW, winter was mud season here. I have to get a few tons of stones for the drive because the stones I had down for years all sank into the bottomless red mud...


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