Tag Archives: cold weather

Cold Weather Settles over Maine

IMG_7205Last night before going to bed, I went onto the front porch to look at the Wolf Moon, the full moon of January. The porch snapped and creaked with cold as I stepped onto it, and the front yard was aglow with moonlight. The Wolf Moon, soft yet bright and luminous, hung high in the sky, away from the trees, and I could see it clearly. Away from the moon, stars glittered in the night sky, and how beautiful it all was.

Cold weather has settled over Maine, and last night the temperature outside dropped to zero degrees. Much to the joy of those who like ice fishing, the lakes have begun freezing. When I go out for a walk in the woods with the dog, I wear leggings under my jeans. I am not one who likes to bundle up, but I wear a neck warmer as well as a hat. What else to do in such cold weather?

This morning, the house was below 60 degrees—our wood furnace has a difficult time keeping the house warm when the temperature reaches zero. Getting out of bed was not easy, and I slept with the covers up to my nose. When I raised the shades, I saw on the windows gardens of crystals, delicate yet hard.

Native Americans named January’s full moon the Wolf Moon. I have read that they also called it the Hunger Moon, and it’s not hard to imagine how this full moon got its names. In the north, January is one of the coldest months of the year. The time of all things good and growing is long gone, and I expect that for many who lived off the land, it was indeed a time when wolves howled at the moon, a time of hunger.

Not so for those of us who live at the little house in the big woods. Clif and I have—ahem—put on some Christmas weight as the result of a little too much ho-ho-ho. Now it is time to shed those pounds and, we hope, a few more as well.¬† Time to cut back on the sweets. Time to eat more fruit and vegetables. And, perhaps, just as important, time to get back on the exercise bike. For Christmas, Clif bought me a new seat for the exercise bike, and it is comfortable, far better than the old one.

As I bike, I will read Pedaling the Ends of the Earth by David Duncan. The blurb on the book reads “Four young men come of age in a great bicycling adventure stretching from Spain to Japan.” Duncan wrote the book when he was young—he had just graduated from college when he and his friends went on their trek in the early 1980s—and even in his twenties, Duncan was a good writer. (Duncan has written many other books, and here is a list on Amazon.)

As I ride my bike to nowhere, I will travel vicariously with Duncan and his friends. Occasionally, I’ll think of my own central Maine bike rides, which will begin in the spring. I won’t go far, but that doesn’t make the rides any less enjoyable.

 

Early December: Winter is here

IMG_7078-1Despite what the calendar might say, winter has settled over central Maine. The ground is covered with snow, which doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave anytime soon. The air is sharp and cold, and by 5:00 p.m., it’s nearly as dark as midnight. The nights are very long indeed.

Clif, Liam, and I do our best to adapt to the short days, but we all suffer from a restlessness that comes from spending too much time inside. Liam actually doesn’t mind the cold weather, and he could be out from dawn until dusk. His humans, not so much. We dutifully bundle up and take the dog for a walk a couple of times a day. But it’s not enough for him, and in truth, it’s not enough for us either.

A few days ago, Liam and I went into the woods to gather pine for an arrangement in an outside deck box. Yesterday, I arranged the pine  along with branches of berries I had collected earlier. I did this outside, where the mess could fall on the ground and where I could throw the ball for Liam while I worked on the deck box. It made me laugh to watch the dog and the ball skittle across the hard snow.

Although my arrangements would never win any prizes, I really do enjoy making them. They might be plain and simple, but they are mine, from beginning to end.

This Sunday, weather permitting, our friends Judy and Paul are coming for an afternoon visit. On Food 52 I came across the decadent idea of baking chocolate chip cookie dough in an oven-proof pan, setting the pan in the middle of the table right after the dough has baked, dropping scoops of ice cream on top, and letting everyone spoon directly iinto the warm, glorious mess. I had thought about making muffins, but this cookie concoction sounds way more fun—more fun than fondue, as my friend Mary Jane has said. So I’ve changed my plans. Pictures will be taken, and if this dessert turns out to be as delicious as it sounds, then this might very well become a winter tradition.

Despite the cold, despite the dark, winter does have its pleasures.