After the ice storm

icy evergreens

This is what my corner of northern Washington County looks like after the ice storm, and before yesterday’s snowfall. These are the most recent photos I have. We lost WiFi during the storm so I’m using the limited service on cell phone’s hotspot. It’s going to be a while before the ice melts from the tower and the damage can be repaired.

Losing WiFi has been my biggest hardship in the storm so I am not in any way complaining. The power went out for 15 hours. With a bathtub full of water, propane stove and wood heat, it was a minor inconvenience. Power was restored around three o’clock Christmas Eve morning. Power is out in half of Talmadge this morning so the tub has water and my phone and laptop are plugged in to stay charged. It’s snowing again and there’s morning coming. Did I miss January? I think someone dropped me into the middle of February.

icy asparagus

Icy asparagus berries

icy sunflower

icy chicken wireSunday’s forecast says we’re going to get six to ten inches of snow. I don’t remember a December this cold, icy and snowy in my lifetime. It’s beautiful!

I am hibernating, kind of. I’m content to be at home, tending the poultry, cleaning snow off my high tunnels, and sitting by the fire as I look through the Fedco Seed catalog that I practically know by heart. I’ll start planting seeds in one of the high tunnels in late February or early March. They’ll germinate and start growing quickly.

High tunnel: unheated greenhouse; plants are grown in the ground. This one is 13′ tall and overs 1,000 square feet.

I’m eager to go ice fishing. It will be nice to have fresh bass on the supper table. My favorite pond to fish is full of big yellow perch (Oh don’t turn up your nose, it’s good!) we’ll bring home to eat. We don’t like pickerel so some will go back and others will be fed to begging bald eagles. Kristin and Matt will be home for a weekend of fishing and outdoors fun. Taylor will be coming home from college with a house full of friends for another weekend of fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and home cooking.

We’re in the long process of bringing some very old wild apple trees back into production so I’ll be doing a lot of pruning this winter. The deep snow makes it a lot easier for 5′ 4″ me to reach higher into the trees. I’ll pile up the branches to save for fall. We’re going to raise a couple of pigs next year and I want to smoke some of the meat using apple wood.

I’d like to do a little hare hunting, and there’s a coyote determined to get to the poultry that’s pushing its luck. I found ermine tracks around the hen house but it doesn’t seem to have found a way in to bother the chickens and ducks. A very big bear left tracks in snow a few weeks ago when it walked out of the woods, past a high tunnel, past the hen house, around the pond and back into the woods. On the same day, I also found bobcat tracks. One of our dogs found part of a deer buried under leaves and a few inches of snow in typical bobcat style just 150 feet from the house. The only thing I seem to be missing this winter are the winter birds. American goldfinches finally showed up at the feeders a few days ago.

When I’m not outside I’ll be here by the fire, either writing or knitting. Kristin gave me two skeins of beautiful wool yarn and Taylor gave me with a skein of yak silk. They’re enabling my new knitting habit. When I write I’ll be telling you about life in the woods. There’s more to this lifestyle than the hunting and fishing I write about most of the time, and a lot of it takes places outdoors. Oh! And recipes. I’ll be cooking bear, moose and deer thanks to generous friends!

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.