Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scenes from Winter

While we do not have pictures of feet of snow to share with you (because there is little snow at the moment), we thought you might enjoy seeing some signs of winter here on the Island.

Sometime, usually after Columbus Day but before Thanksgiving, floating docks are removed from the water and stored on dry land.

Sometime between late August and before November 1, non-working boats are pulled from the water and either stored indoors or, as is the case with these boats, shrink-wrapped and stored outside.

Lobster pots are stacked on shore and docks until warmer weather returns.

Another dock stored for winter - this one should be easy to return to the water!

All the fire hydrants have these flags on them, to allow them to be found should the snow become deep. These flags are present year-around. With many people using wood and kerosene and oil to heat their homes, there are almost daily news stories of fires that have destroyed homes.

While some of Acadia National Park is open, some parts are closed. These parts are clearly posted.

Southwest Harbor is largely empty of boats though the bobbing white balls hold the promise of a mooring for a vessel when the weather warms.

Bass Harbor, on the other hand, still has fishing vessels present.

Cedar trees along roadways have burlap on the roadway side, and hay bales. This protection helps to keep the road treatments, piles of snow, snow plows, etc. from damaging the trees during the winter.

Markers like these appear along roadways and driveways. They are used to indicate edges to snow plows.

Norwood Cove, a shallow, still, salt water cove, is frozen - until the water becomes deeper near the point.

Lakes - even large ones (this is Echo Lake) - are frozen. Ice fishing rigs are everywhere. The flags bent over mean that there are no fish on the line. The reels are under the ice, and as a fish begins to run with the line, the flags pop up to alert the fisher people. Some people take SUV's onto lake surfaces. If thin spots in the ice or open water are encountered, people die.

Huts provide protection from wind, and sometimes a stove to help make things warm. These sheds are simple - there are sheds that are much fancier, with cheerful colors and shuttered windows.

The Cat loves it when we raise the blinds in the morning. She will sit on the sill, watch the activity on the cove, and allow the heat from the registers beneath the windows to keep her warm.

I think our favorite part of our winter is the beauty of this place - the infinity of the water in all its forms, volumes, and colors, and the amazing sunsets that close the daylight.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Holey Socks!

We are learning many new customs this winter. One of the customs here on the Island is that in winter you remove your street shoes when you enter a home or building. It is done, of course, to keep the sand and salt rock and ice and wet and whatever else you may have on your shoes from damaging the floors. And so many carry slippers or sandals with them as they go about, and remove their boots and put on their "inside shoes" as they enter a dwelling/business/library, etc. Others simply make it a point to wear warm and whole socks whereever they go. We are finding people here to be practical and considerate, as this practice indicates.

This picture is of our new boots resting by the front door. We bought them for our snowshoe adventures, that have yet to happen because we have had insufficient snow. While we await the opportunity to snowshoe, we have used our boots when we have shoveled our walkway and the car parking places. We are using the basement as our "mud room" - entering on the concrete floor, removing our wet things there, then carrying them upstairs to dry and warm. We, too, are trying to be practical and considerate.

Wreck-less Driving

Winter progresses. This winter we have had some snow, some wind, some rain, some cold, some warm. We have had nights in the single digits and days where it never got out of the teens. We have had wind that has howled with a prolonged and fierce song. We have had small amounts of snow that made everything pretty. We have had days in the 20's and 30's and even a few that have made it to the 40's. The Cat still goes out on the porch, but not for nearly as long nor nearly as frequently, opting on some days to simply sit in a window (over a heating vent) and watch the cove. Locals have told us this weather is considered a mild winter.

While we have been enjoying the weather, it has not been so kind on the roads, where water from the rain/melted snow seeps into a crack, freezes, thaws, freezes, thaws and pretty soon, there are pot holes. I have noticed that drivers tend to avoid these creations. I have noticed of late that I avoid them, too. Some choose to drive just to the left of the center line to try to avoid them. That approach mostly works, as most pot holes (though not all) seem to congregate on the sides of the road. The approach fails when there are oncoming cars.

Other drivers (myself included) try to drive in their own lane, but swerve where we know the pot holes to be, which works pretty well, unless a new hole has formed. The good news is that the holes seem to start small. On roads that were paved last summer, there are almost no holes. I am hoping that the places with huge pot holes are slated to be re-paved next summer, and, if not paved, then well-patched.

The holes depicted here are from Tremont Road. They have a certain beauty when you are observing them through the lens of the camera on your smart phone, a beauty that is somewhat difficult to appreciate when your car is jouncing through/over them.