Vaughn C. Hardacker here: As most of this blog’s readers know, I live about as far north as one can go in our state as one can go and still expect to encounter civilization. The winters here start in mid-October and we usually don’t recognize the arrival of spring until the passage of our mid-May snow storm. As a result we spend a lot of time wishing for the months of June through September. Well, almost. June is usually a chilly, damp month so our summer truly starts in July and ends sometime in . . . July. (However, this year it may have come and gone already. Last week, May 26 – 28 we had temperatures in the high 80s–hitting 90 on one . . . the night of May 29, as well as June 2, we had record lows and frost. For the first time in the 80 years they have been keeping records at the Caribou National Weather Service we had two June nights with frost.)
You might ask, what does all this have to do with the title of this blog? Here are some possible answers.
First, I live in a 120 years-old house which is another way of saying I have a lot of maintenance work. Since mid-May I have spent five days rebuilding the west end of the porch that surrounds half of the house. The west side faces the weather and takes a beating. After who knows how long, the entire side of the porch was–all I can say is that I tore it apart by hand, using no hand-tools. In winter, I ignore outside projects.
Skipper & Gin early June is a time when grass up here makes up for lost time. It has been dormant for almost seven months and so far I’ve cut the grass two times a week (I live on a .85 acre lot) and with the obstacle course Jane, like most women, creates on our lawn causing me to have to move and then replace all of the lawn furniture, it takes three hours to cut it. This year my tractor rolled over and died so I had to buy a new one. I purchased a tractor for $2400 at Lowes and was told they could deliver in three weeks. That I said was unacceptable. Solution: I bought a $1,200 trailer so I could take it home. In winter I can’t even see grass let alone worry about cutting it.
In non-winter, I walk our two Yorkies twice a day. In winter, due to the cold maybe twice a week if they’re lucky. In non-winter we have fenced in a 26′ by 40′ area in which they get to run and play. In winter, they lay on the back of the couch and stare out the window. In non-winter I can’t even dress my feet without them sitting in front of me expecting to go for a walk. Talk about the ultimate guilt trip!
In winter I have a single chore. To keep the front walk clear using my snow-blower. The drive is plowed by Jane’s son-in-law. We get on average one storm every two weeks. In non-winter . . . Have I mentioned cutting the lawn?
All winter long we sit in the cold darkness (up here in December we are in the dark by 3:00 pm–if not all the time) and think about the warmth of spring. Did I say warmth? Maybe absence of snow is a better choice of words. Then the snow goes and the season of yard work (I have never been able to figure out where all the
stuff that magically appears with the passing of snow coverage comes from), planting flowers, and repairing those areas of the house that have born the brunt of winter is upon us. It never fails that, after a couple of weeks of frenetic springtime activity, I look back on the winter months and can’t help but wish for the laid back time of the year when I have nothing to do but sit, write, and wish for the disappearance of the snow.
I don’t want to leave everyone in a state of depression so I will say that on a personal level I’ve had a good run of late. Last week, May 29, I received the ARCs of my novel, THE EXCHANGE. The publisher also ensured that Bill Bushnell (book reviewer for Bushnell On Books, Kennebec Journal and Publisher Weekly) got a review copy and Lisa Gardner is reading it for the purpose of giving us a cover blurb. The county has thus far dealt with a grand total of ten Covid-19 cases, eight of which have recovered, one is still receiving medical care, and (unfortunately) one died. This past Monday, June 1, local restaurants reopened and the furthest north bookstore in the continental United States (Bogan Books in Fort Kent) is also open for customers to actually enter and browse the books!
Now the disclaimer: Regardless of how I sound in this blog entry; I’ll take non-winter with all of the chores and projects over winter any day!
Oh, yes. Some of you may recall my blog about Ronnie Jay. Ron and I have been in touch. He is in Tennessee, where his life has taken some major turns . . . that’s a subject for a future blog.