Category Archives: Nature

Weather Report: In which Progress Is Made but Then Is Ruined by Freezing Rain

Spring is quite the little trickster, she is. On Friday, she brought us weather so warm that Clif and I raked part of the back lawn, and we didn’t even need to wear our jackets. But Saturday arrived with a cold rain. On Sunday it became even colder, and the rain turned to a freezing drizzle.

This is what our car looked like this morning, with one window scraped and the other left untouched.

But progress has been made. Here is a shot of the Kennebec River.

There are still ice chunks along the banks, and I wonder if they will be there until the end of April. They are so thick! The one below looks like a mini-iceberg.

Here is another view of horizontal ice chunks.

Despite the miserable drizzle, our yard is nearly snow free, and snow-gauge Clif’s job is coming to an end. Next week, perhaps, depending on what Spring has up her sleeves.

Come, Spring, Come! We long to see your pretty face.



Weather Report: One Down, Two to Go

I am happy to report that the three or four inches of snow that fell on Friday is gone, gone, gone. Goodbye, and don’t come back until next winter! But Winter is not quite done with us yet, and she has given us a blast of cold weather that is more than a little brisk: 25°F  and very windy. Although he put a brave face on it, Snow-gauge Clif shivered as I took his picture this morning.

But I am getting ahead of myself. On Sunday, we went to Hallowell for a picture of the Kennebec River. Despite the snow, despite the cold, the Kennebec is nearly free of ice. Oh, the blue of that sky and water!

But the ice chunks aren’t gone. Not quite yet. I’m wondering how many weeks it will take before they finally melt.

Now, back to Narrows Pond Road with a ta-dah! The snow is nearly all gone from the backyard, and thus Snow-gauge Clif’s job there is done. Not enough snow to worry about. In fact, it’s time to think about raking.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the front yard, which is much shadier than the back. Snow-gauge Clif’s job is not quite done.

But let’s return to the backyard, where I saved the best for last. Another ta-dah, ta-dah!

The snow is nearly gone from the patio, and it’s not even close to April 22, Shannon’s birthday.

What do you think? One more week? Such excitement on Narrows Pond Road. Stay tuned!



Ho, Ho, Ho! April Snow

Yesterday afternoon, Clif and I went to Augusta to do some errands. After that we had planned to go to a panel about truth and poetry at The Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival at the University of Maine in Augusta. We knew that snow—yes, snow—was in the forecast, but we thought it would come later in the evening.

Turns out, we were wrong. The day started out nice enough, but by the time we left home to do errands, the sky was overcast. When we came out of the grocery store, it was spitting snow, as we say in Maine.

“What do you think?” I asked Clif.

He shrugged, and we both squinted at the spitting snow.

“We probably should go home,” I suggested.

“Good idea,” he said quickly.

So home we went, a little reluctantly. We are both—ahem—at the age where we have a hard time driving not only at night but also in bad weather, especially snow. In addition, we were worried about slippery roads.

As dusk came, we were very happy we had made the decision to go home. Here is what it looked like outside our front door.

And here is our old trusty friend, Green Shovel. Clif had brought Green Shovel down cellar, and we had thought that would be that until next winter. Silly us!

A little while later, we heard the roar of the snowplow and saw the flash of its yellow light flicker through the closed shades in our living room.

In fact, neither Clif nor I are too worried about this snow. (As long as we are home, of course.) This is April, after all, and the snow will soon be gone. The only shoveling that had to be done was the front porch.

Nevertheless, I could swear the snow was laughing  at us this morning. Mother Nature is quite the trickster, isn’t she?


Five for Friday: Our Own Little Yard

I know this will probably make me sound like a boring fuddy-duddy,  but one of my absolute favorite places is my own backyard. We only own an acre of land, and our backyard, fenced in for Liam, is probably about one-half acre. But our property, modest though it is, abuts a watershed for the Upper and Lower Narrows Pond, the primary source for Winthrop’s drinking water. So behind our house is a big woods, full of life and mystery.  It’s not ours, but it gives us an expanded feeling, especially as no development is allowed on this land.

From December through March, our backyard is snowed-in, and except for the shoveled paths, it is not accessible to us. (To our great delight, the birds and squirrels, however, still come and go. ) But as soon as the snow melts, the yard is open to Clif and me, and I never get tired of looking around to see what’s going on. Spring, summer, or fall, there is always something to notice.

The goldfinches, who are making a sound and a fury most days, are flocking to the feeder, and the males are slowly beginning to show their beautiful summer plumage.

And speaking of slowly…the irises are starting to poke through the layer of leaves in the garden. Perhaps next week, I’ll clear those leaves and see what else might be coming up.

When I’m  in the backyard, I always like to look into the woods. Right now, I can actually see a little ways in, to the stone walls that once bordered this land when it was all fields and no woods.

Most of the trees have yet to bud, much less leaf, so last year’s beech leaves still provide a subtle yet shimmering beauty.

Finally, I like to look up at the huge pines that border our yard.

After a long winter of mostly looking out the bathroom window—my blind—it is such a pleasure to be out poking around my backyard, watching as spring gradually shows her pretty face.


Weather Report: A Miraculous Week

In Maine, the velocity of change in spring is nothing short of astonishing. So much can happen in seven days, and here are the pictures to prove it. Because the changes have been so dramatic in just a week’s time, I thought it would be good to feature last week’s pictures along with this week’s.

Last week overlooking the Kennebec:

This week overlooking the Kennebec:

As you can see, the ice has really receded, and there is a lot more open water. However, the ice chunks, made thick and stubborn by winter’s extreme cold, still hover by the shore. I wonder how long it will be before they are completely gone.

Now to our front yard. Last week with snow-gauge Clif:

This week with snow-gauge Clif:

There is quite a change in the front yard, but most dramatic is the backyard, where we get more sun. Here is last week:

Drum roll, please! Here is this week:

And all in seven days. Seems almost like a miracle. The patio has begun to emerge, and next week I’ll include pictures of the patio, which we always hope is clear by Shannon’s birthday on April 22.

Last week, I was very doubtful. But now I have  hope. Shannon, it just might happen.


Weather Report: A Softening, but Still a Lot of Snow

Here we are, at the end of March. Finally, finally, the weather seems to be softening. We still have plenty of snow, as the following pictures indicate, but the days have been sunny and if not exactly warm, at least not quite as cold.

The mud and grit have arrived, a little late. All those March snowstorms have put us at least two weeks behind where we usually are this time of year. All we can do is hope that the thaw is quick. Such a mess, inside and out.

However, rather than brood about the mud, I’ll turn to the Kennebec River, which is beautiful and fascinating no matter the season.

Here is a picture Clif took on Saturday. While the middle of the river flows clear, the edges are lined with some pretty impressive ice chunks.

Here is a closer look. Luckily, a bird (a crow?)  decided to fly by just as I was snapping the shot, and this will give you some sense of the scale of those massive ice chunks.

I can’t even begin to guess when those chunks will be completely melted. Mid-April? End of April? I suppose it depends on how warm the weather is.

Meanwhile, back at our little homestead, with snow-gauge Clif.

Here is the front yard. Still a lot of snow, but the driveway has begun to make an appearance. In our yard, that counts as progress.

This week, I’ve also decided to add the backyard, and this, too, will be a regular feature. Over the years, our daughter Shannon has come up with a birthday wish—that all the snow will be gone from the patio before her birthday, April 22.

As you can see, the patio has a long way to go, and it looks very doubtful that the snow will be gone by April 22.

But we shall see.

Finally, here is a picture to show that although it looks as though central Maine is still in winter’s frozen grip, spring is slowly, slowly coming. Note the red buds on the tree.

Perhaps the finches are even discussing when nest building should begin.

Not quite yet.

Weather Report: Snow-Gauge Clif and a Special Day

The Kennebec River

On Saturday, we went to the lookout spot by the Kennebec River, and while we could pull in to the drive-through, the snow was plowed so high that I couldn’t get onto the platform. This meant I had to stand by the car to get a picture. (As soon as the snowbanks go down, I’ll be back on the platform to take pictures.)

Here is what the river looked like last week, when I was standing on the platform.

And here is what it looked like this week, when I stood by the car.  You can see that there is a bit more open water on the river.

Our Yard

We live in the woods and have a such a shady yard that the snow melts very slowly. It really seems that our yard is one of the last in town to emerge from winter. After living here for thirty-four years, we are used to it. Nevertheless, each spring we impatiently wait for the snow to go.

Here is our yard today, March 19. I’ve decided to use Clif as a reference point next to the snow, and Clare Pooley, a blogging friend, has dubbed him “snow-gauge Clif.” Perfect! Snow-gauge Clif and his red yardstick will be making regular Monday appearances on the blog until the snow is melted. Here he is today.

Sure looks like we live in the frozen north, doesn’t it?  No surprise, as Maine is north of north for most people in the United States.

And here was the temperature this morning. There was a brisk breeze, making it even chillier. Hard to believe that two weeks ago, we were eating ice cream outside at Fielder’s Choice. I do believe that day was the warmest of the month.

Today also happens to be a special day for us. It is our forty-first wedding anniversary. Why in the heck we decided to get married in March is something I’ll never be able to figure out, but we did. And, I must say that it perks up this dismal month.

To celebrate we are heading to Bath, Maine, a small city about an hour from us. Bath is on the Kennebec River and not far from the Atlantic Ocean.

I’ll be posting pictures tomorrow.