Karenhammond's Blog

November 9, 2015

Late Fall on a Small Maine Island

Leaf peeping season is over for another year as we all begin the annual cleanup of all those once-glorious leaves that are now simply brown and piled up on the ground. The year moves on. This morning we awoke to frost but also to a wonderful clear day with bright blue skies and puffy white clouds. From my office window I can see whitecaps on the water and an occasional lobster boat, but the pleasure boats have long since been hauled out until next spring.
As I’ve mentioned before, fall has never been my favorite season. I love summer and can tolerate winter and always wish we could move from mid-October directly to winter, thus avoiding the unpredictable weather of late autumn. On the other hand, I’d hate to miss Thanksgiving, which is such a great holiday. I’m originally from Massachusetts, where Thanksgiving is a really big deal. It’s refreshing, isn’t it, to have a holiday that has no agenda except getting together with friends and family.
Country fair season has ended in Maine, but now churches and communities are running harvest fairs and will soon be sponsoring holiday fairs. These are always fun….tables filled with baked goods, crafts, wreaths, warm knitted sweaters and mittens, and plenty of other goodies. If you are coming to Maine in the next few weeks, be sure to watch for these fairs as they are a great way to start your holiday shopping and meet some locals at the same time. Wherever you are, enjoy the season.

Lobster buoys decorate an old Maine barn. Some Maine lobster fishermen fish all winter; others will resume in the spring. Photo (c) Karen Hammond

Lobster buoys decorate an old Maine barn. Some Maine lobster fishermen fish all winter; others will resume in the spring. Photo (c) Karen Hammond

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February 24, 2015

Frigid February on a Small Maine Island

It may be the shortest month of the year, but as we continue to deal with mountains of snow and frigid temperatures here on the island, February seems to be lasting forever. This is one of the few times that I can remember stalwart Mainers actually getting fed up with the weather. A few have taken off for warmer climates, but the rest of us are resolutely hanging on and waiting to turn the page on the calendar. We’ve finally had a few days without snow, although we are due for another six inches later in the week. Right now the cold is the biggest problem…well below zero last night and more chilly days and nights expected. Life has pretty much come to a halt on the island. It’s too cold even for the hardy lobstermen to venture out on the water, and pretty much the only people on the roads are the plow drivers, oil truck drivers, and workmen doing odd jobs like shoveling off roofs. So, how does one spend one’s time when it’s too cold to do much but hunker down inside? Those of us who work at home have no problem keeping busy. Deadlines don’t disappear because of the weather, and in some ways it’s good to work without a lot of distractions. When I sit here in my office in summer, looking out at the sailboats and lobster boats bobbing by, it’s a lot harder to keep my mind on my job. When June comes and our summer people return to the island, there will be lots of questions about why on earth we stayed on through such an historically bad winter. I guess the only answer is, “If you have to ask, you’ll never understand.” The stubborn New England personality is certainly part of it…we don’t like to give in or give up. And as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a certain pride in withstanding whatever Mother Nature throws at us. Nonetheless, spring will never be more appreciated than it will be this year. It’s less than a month away, and while it’s still way too soon to pack away the winter woolies and boots, I did a see a robin yesterday. There’s hope!

Dreaming of a summer lobster bake in Maine. Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond

Dreaming of a summer lobster bake in Maine. Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond

Stay warm wherever you are.

March 28, 2014

Spring Comes to a Small Maine Island

Filed under: Uncategorized — karenhammond @ 3:41 pm
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March is certainly not going out like a lamb here on my small island in Maine. On Wednesday high winds blew down trees and took out electric lines for more than 12 hours, as if winter were not giving up without a fight. But I’m happy to report that as I walked around the island today, still bundled in a winter coat, hat, gloves, and two scarves, I could just feel the soft fingers of spring beneath all that bluster. So, maybe, just maybe, we can talk about something besides the weather.
First, though, I do want to give a shout-out to all the small towns like mine across America where people pitch in to help each other. I routinely check in on an elderly widowed neighbor, but it was my turn to accept help during the recent lights-out. My husband was out of town on a business trip, the temperature was in the 20s, and I couldn’t get our cranky generator started. Thank goodness for the mechanically-inclined lobsterman up the street who came to my rescue. When you live in a remote area like this, everyone’s talents are needed and appreciated.
On to April. A few more lobstering boats are showing up in the harbor although our summer visitors are still keeping their distance until the snow disappears and it warms up. We really won’t see most of them until June, although a few will rumble across the bridge late next month and throughout May. Finally, it’s time to at least think about gardening, boating, and all the good stuff that comes with living in Maine or elsewhere in New England. If you’re looking for vacation

Maine lobster boats like this one will soon fill the harbor.  Photo copyright N. Hammond

Maine lobster boats like this one will soon fill the harbor. Photo copyright N. Hammond

ideas, you may find just what you’re looking for in my guidebook-for-people-who-don’t-like-guidebooks: Backroads & Byways of New England: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions. Happy vacation planning, wherever you dream of visiting.

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