Five for Friday: When Bad Weather Comes, Eat Pie and Muffins!

Another week, another nor’easter. This mourning dove illustrates how we Mainers felt as we  cleaned the snow from our driveways and walkways.

Yet not all hope is lost. Do you see what I see when looking at this picture? Snow and branches, yes, but also little buds. Clearly, the tree thinks spring is coming even if the weather says otherwise.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that nor’easter number four is predicted for next week. How much bad weather can one region get before it starts to feel like showing off?  I think we crossed that threshold two storms ago, and still the storms come. Right now, there is some debate as to how fierce the next nor’easter will be. It all depends on how close to land it is. May it be far out to sea, away from ships and people.

At this point, some readers might be wondering what the heck a nor’easter is and why we dread them so. Here is a definition from  AccuWeather: “[T}he main difference between a hurricane and nor’easter is the size of the wind field. According to NOAA, a wind field is the three-dimensional spatial pattern of winds…Hurricanes have a narrow field of strong winds with a concentration around the center, whereas a nor’easter’s winds are spread out…For example, a hurricane may only have a 30-mile radius of a strong wind field around the center, while a nor’easter may have a 100-mile radius of a strong wind field from the center.”

Simply put, a nor’easter is a winter hurricane with a very large wind field that can cause a lot of damage. We are right to fear them.

But let us turn our thoughts away from nor’easters and instead focus on one of my favorite subjects—food.

In the U.S., because of the way we order our dates—month and day rather than the reverse—we had pie or pi day on Wednesday, March 14. Pies are one of my favorite things to make and eat, and in honor of pi day, I made an apple pie. I bought local apples—McIntoshes—that had been perfectly stored so that they were still slightly tart. Our friend Mary Jane came over to have pie with us, and I even convinced her to take a slice home. After all, one pie for two people is a bit much. Not that we couldn’t eat it all, but we certainly shouldn’t.

Another kind of pie is pizza. Before digging into the apple pie, Mary Jane, Clif, and I went TJ’s in Monmouth to have some beautifully cooked pizza.

Then, to gild the lily, Mary Jane gave us some donut muffins, which we had for breakfast the next day. With a hint of nutmeg in the batter and the sugar and cinnamon on top, those muffins were utterly delicious. Many thanks, Mary Jane!

To conclude: The weather might be frightful, but when the food is good, somehow things don’t seem quite as bad.





The Narrows Pond Road on a Snowy Day

The nor’easter—couldn’t find the name of this storm—has arrived in central Maine. I just came in from shoveling the steps and taking pictures, and it seemed to me that the snow was much lighter than the snow from the last storm.

Turns out I was right, although as with so many things, this is a mixed blessing. Light snow is easier to shovel and is less likely to cause branches to fall on power lines. However, according to the Portland Press Herald, lighter snow “could cause even more treacherous travel conditions. A fluffier snow will blow around, limiting visibility and creating whiteout conditions when winds gusts.”

Given the choice, which of course I never am, I would go with the lighter snow. And stay home. (Easy for me to do as I work from home.)

In central Maine, the winds are not supposed to exceed thirty miles per hour, which makes me cautiously optimistic that we won’t lose our power. To be on the safe side, we had our big meal in the early afternoon. That way, clean up will be done in case we do have a power outage.

Other places on the Eastern Seaboard are not so lucky, and there are already about 150,000 homes without power in the Cape Cod region.

But here on the Narrows Pond Road, we are snug and warm. We still have our power, the snow is light and fluffy, and we don’t have to be anywhere.

Here are some snowy day pictures.

Our little home, tucked in the woods.

Our very snowy mailbox.

Finally, our snowy road. There was so little traffic that I felt safe standing in the road to get this picture.

The prediction is still for about a foot and a half of snow. Clif will be out with Little Green more than once before this is over.

And with any luck, I’ll be able to make an apple pie tomorrow because we all know what March 14 is, don’t we? Why, pie (or pi) day of course!


Weather Report: Another Nor’easter and the Thawing Kennebec River

Another week, another nor’easter is blowing up the East Coast. The snowstorm is supposed to hit us tonight and tomorrow, leaving between a foot and a foot and a half of snow. March snowstorms are not unusual in Maine, but this year takes the cake, as the saying goes. Three nor’easters in two weeks is a bit much, even for us. In short, it’s been a doozy of a March.

Instead of brooding about yet another major storm, I have decided to focus on the Kennebec River, which flows through central Maine as it makes its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Yesterday, in between doing errands, I took pictures of the Kennebec, and the river shows how slowly, slowly spring is indeed coming to northern New England. Nor’easter be damned!

But first, as a reminder of just how icy things were, I am going to post a picture of the Kennebec River in January, when there was a deep freeze and then a quick thaw. Frozen river as far as the eye can see.

Here is what the Kennebec River looked like yesterday. All right, there is still snow and ice, but note the open water. For a Mainer, that counts as real progress toward spring.

Still, there are plenty of fascinating ice chunks. They almost look like rocks, don’t they? Those ice chunks are pretty darned thick.

Here is a closer look.

And then there is this for a mini-iceberg look.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be taking more pictures as the river continues to thaw, and spring, in its fitful way, comes to central Maine. I’m also thinking of taking weekly pictures of my little patch of land so that readers unused to deep winter can watch with amazement as our snowbound yard is released.

Somehow, this cycle of freeze, thaw, and rebirth never seems stale or repetitious to me.  Each year, with amazement, I note the changes, and although it is the oldest story in the world, it always seems new to me.

Rivers, ponds, lakes, forests, and even yards all have their stories to tell for those who care to look.


Winter Holds on

Ice, snow, and trapped leaves. Winter is still here. While I’m looking forward to spring, I’m dreading what comes next—mud and grit.

At least the snow and ice are clean and beautiful.


Five for Friday: Storm Quinn

I know. Today is Thursday, which means I’m one day early with my Five for Friday. But Storm Quinn arrived last night, a little later than expected, and he has thrown our schedules off kilter.

Yesterday, we spent a good part of the day getting ready for Storm Quinn. In the evening, Clif fretted about us losing our power, and he got up in the middle of the night to put wood in the furnace. Not knowing this, I got up early to tend the furnace, and I was mighty grateful to see a nice bed of coals. Then, before breakfast, Clif and I had to clean the steps, driveway, and walkway so that Liam could do his business.

All in all, a hectic morning. Nevertheless, I still found time to take some pictures, and I found five worth sharing. “Why wait for tomorrow?” I asked myself. “Why not share them today, while Storm Quinn is still news?” Hence Five for Friday on Thursday.

But before I share the snowy pictures, I’ll provide a brief weather report for Winthrop, Maine. We got about a foot of snow—not too heavy—and hardly any wind. Really, for us, it has been an average snowstorm. Thus far, we haven’t lost our power, and I am cautiously optimistic that we won’t. As has been the case with so many storms, southern coastal Maine got hit the hardest with wind, and there are thousands of people in that part of the state without power.

Also, I understand that New Jersey and parts of New York got walloped with too much heavy snow and power outages. Sigh. I hope the sun comes out and melts away the snow. And I certainly hope that people get their power back soon.

Here are my five snowy-day pictures from our early-morning clean-up.

Clif, of course, was out with Little Green.

Liam explored his reduced kingdom.

Gideon, our little guardian of the backyard, has been pushed sideways. He looks unhappy, don’t you think?

Our feathered friends, understandably hungry, flocked to the feeder.

Finally, my clothesline is waiting for spring.

And so am I!




A Marsh in March, Plus Getting Ready for the Nor’easter

Today is Wednesday, and on my blog that usually means “Wordless Wednesday,” where just a photo is featured. I had it all planned, with this picture of a marsh, which really needs no words. Such a lovely place, and right off a busy highway, too. You never know where you’re going to find pockets of beauty.

However, we have another storm blowing up the East Coast, a Nor’easter, as we call such a storm. Maine got lucky with the last storm, which veered out to sea and just scraped our coast. But Maine is right in the path of this one—dubbed Storm Quinn—and it’s supposed to hit us tonight, dumping a foot or more of heavy snow, followed by wind. And a foot of heavy snow with wind means…power outages.

So on Friday, I’ll either be back on the computer with pictures of the storm, or I’ll be posting from my phone. (We bought battery back-up chargers for the phones this week, and they are all charged and waiting. What timing!)

At any rate, we are prepared as usual. I made bread yesterday, and Clif went to the store to stock up on other things we might need. Tonight, I’ll fill big pots with water because, as I’ve previously written, in our house, no power means no water.

March certainly marches on. Onward, ho!


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