I Maine Winters - Part I
by Lill Hawkins

You know winter has gone on too long when your spouse says "Good morning, Sweets," and you snap, "Do
you have to be so sarcastic?"

When your son says, "Mom, we're getting low on milk" and you snarl, "No problem. I'll just shovel the
driveway and three or four roads and whip right on into town and get some."

By the end of a long winter in Maine even the sunniest optimist is a little edgy. In my case, by March, the only
safe question to ask me is, "Would you like some more Jim Beam to go with that cheesecake?"

By about April 1st, if there's still snow on the ground, I find myself throwing snowballs at the snow and
shrieking, "I am NOT a bipolar bear" at the gray sky. It doesn't help, but it gets me some exercise to counteract
the fifteen pounds I gain from December to March. It's not so much that Maine winters are snowier or colder
than winters elsewhere. It's just that they go on for way too long.

The first snowfall is beautiful and we all ooh and ahh at the trees covered in snow that glistens like diamonds
in the sun. By February, the trees just look stupid covered in snow. The evergreens look like dunce caps and
the hardwoods look like firewood piled vertically instead of horizontally. And speaking of firewood, if the
price of oil goes up any further, we'll be burning our furniture in fifty gallon drums to heat the house.

We do have a pellet stove, which we cleverly bought two years ago when pellets were $4.99/bag and
plentiful. Now, they're $6.99/bag if you can find them and getting scarcer. So we go from pellet store to pellet
store, like beggars cadging alms. I feel like Oliver Twist holding out his bowl at the orphanage and asking for
more, and I get about the same result.

I've even thought of trying to chop down some of our trees and turn them into pellets, but I'm having a leeetle
trouble with the part where you apply massive amounts of pressure and steam to the pellets to create the
resin that holds them together. I have a feeling the two quart kettle and pressure cooker just aren't gonna
make it.

We could go solar, except that it costs so much that it'd take about 25 years to recoup our costs, and I'm not
sure I can live through 25 more Maine winters.

Not to mention that if I did survive to get it, it'd just go to pay for the health care I'd need after making it to 81
yrs old in Maine. Of course when the geek retires, we could do what so many other Mainers do and head
south for the winter.

But what with global warming, and rising ocean levels, we figure that we might be able to just move to
Southern Vermont or New Hampshire year-round, or back to Rhode Island where we grew up. Although on
second thought, there are worse things than long winters, like Rhode Island politics and living in one big
parking lot for the malls that ate a state.

Guess I'd better get a bigger kettle, a bigger pressure cooker and a bigger cheesecake. (They don't make a
bigger bottle of Jim Beam. I checked.)

See " I Love Maine Winters" Part II...

About the author: Lill Hawkins lives in Maine and writes about family life, home education and being a WAHM at Hawk
Hills Acres Blog. Get the News From Hawkhill Acres: A mostly humorous look at home schooling, writing and being a
WAHM, whose mantra is "I'm a willow; I can bend."
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