Saturday, February 13, 2010

Signs of spring.... elsewhere than here

My daily blog rounds are become depressing.

I generally check in on the news from four other small farms every day. There's no specific reason for the particular picks, except that one is on an island that I used to visit regularly. I could have picked any of hundreds of interesting farm blogs. But somehow I settled on these four, about the same time I started this blog, during the winter of 2007-2008, and I've kept up with them ever since, on a daily basis. I know that I'm a creature of habit, and that this is boring, to check the same four sites (in the same order too!) every morning. But I do.

Actually, if you think about, having very settled habits is a good trait in a farmer. Livestock need to be fed and watered and checked every day without fail. You can't wake up and say, "I don't think I'll feed the sheep today. I think I'll do something different instead."

But back to these four little plots, all around the northern hemisphere.

Unfortunately, all four get an earlier spring than we do. This despite the fact that all but one are further north.

Life at the End of the Road
can see green grass beginning to show on his highland hillsides. And, judging from the pictures, the snow is all gone.

Musings from a Stonehead
may or may not still have snow, he doesn't say. He's the only one that hasn't reported some obvious sign of spring yet. But I used to live in Findhorn village, about forty miles to the northeast, where February was pleasant enough, compared to Maine. At the very least, you could take a walk outside without encountering any white stuff.

It's definitely spring in Oregon where Throwback at Trapper Creek lives. They have stuff growing again, nettles and rhubarb. Durn.

Finally, Colour it Green Diary in Devon has been sowing seed. Bugger.

And the Guardian is reporting snowdrops, and showing pictures of the same. Double bugger.

I find all this miserably depressing. Call it jealousy, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, or just call it a normal Maine winter.

What an Eeyore. I'd better snap out.

This mood persists despite the fact that our weather has improved here. Instead of dropping down to 0 F or -10 F every night, it's only dropping down to 10 or 20 F. While the daytime has been up in the high twenties or low thirties. This is enough to make the frozen mud on our driveway a little damp in the afternoons, enough to very slowly melt the snow, enough, even, when combined with my household insulation and airflow work (below) to reduce the woodpile consumption to a third of what it was two weeks ago. I now expect our woodpile to last the winter, which is very good.

But it's still bl***dy winter and will be so for another four weeks. At the very least. We could even, as the weather forecaster said last night, adding to my mood only somewhat gratuitously, "...get a three foot snowstorm in April"

AAAAAARGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH! Stupid bl***dy weatherman!

Why'd he have to say that?

Something has got to give around here.

I think this is why our ancient British isles ancestors drank a lot of beer and sang songs and played loud music on things like bagpipes and so on, in the winters.

That would help. A good old RAF Mountain Rescue sing-song.

I've played the wild rover for many a year...

etc, &c

Or even louder, with actions. Fiddles. Bodhrans. Squeezeboxes. Strip the willow or an eightsome reel. That would be fun.

A pity that by the time the English actually came to New England they'd become Puritan and renounced such frivolity. Idiots. And however did they put up with themselves?

What I really need is a good walk in the fresh air, followed by a good dinner, and then a good raucous night in the pub.

We can probably manage everything but the raucous bit. Americans don't sing old folk songs in pubs or have village hall ceilidhs.

Maybe the wifie will oblige me, too. She was talking about going out. And it is Valentines weekend. A quiet dinner and drink with the wifie in a dockside brew pub in Belfast, Maine is not quite playing the Wild Rover the way I used to, but it sure sounds nicer than sitting here in my den reading about spring...

...every ruddy where else but here.


  1. oh I feel so guilty :) it is nippy out there though.. been huddled around the bonfire toasting marshmallows.. not traditionally Brit thing to do at all.. but we do..whenever the bonfire is 'just right'

    as it goes.. himself plays the bodhran and the melodeon..and I the whistle, and we love a good ceilidh.. with stripping the willow to boot... and a pint of ale in the local pub...
    I'm not helping am I? and I didn't even mention the snowdrops are out in force...

    but you don't have our rain do you.. there is always a blessing...

  2. No, we don't have your rain. We get rain, sometimes heavy, but only 45 inches or so a year, and that's including all that snow. And we can grow tomatoes out-of-doors, in long rows like beans or potatoes.

    Aimee doesn't like my penny whistle-playing, and she doesn't much like my song-singing either -- says it's "nasal." Covers her ears, even. It makes me so sad :(

    But she does like British folk music when it's played by pros. So, for instance, when Old Blind Dogs came to town she loved that, and Gaelic Storm too. We're lucky to have a performing arts center in town, run by our college, where we get a lot of good bands.

  3. We've had snow cover several months now. We had another 40cm (15.7 inches) yesterday and still more overnight. It's also very, very windy. More details on my blog, including photos.


Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

The earliest posts, at the very end of the blog, tell the story of the Great Farm, our purchase of a fragment of that farm, the renovation of the homestead and its populating with people and animals. Go all the way to the last post in the archive and read backwards from there to get it in chronological order.

After getting tired of spam comments (up to a dozen or more per day), I required commentators to be Google "registered users". You can write me at if you have a serious comment or question and are not a registered user.

Spammers -- don't bother writing -- there's no way I will post your spam to my blog. Just go away.