You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Snow’ tag.

I was out of coffee pots.

I had broken my 3 cup Bialetti espresso stovetop pot (called a Moka), which I use daily for my morning coffee. I was forced to switch to my rarely used drip pot, one that I keep in case I have drip-drinking guests.

The drip pot hates me. See, I happen to know that big boulders of grind do not espresso-strong coffee make. Every time I grind beans, I try to find that fine line between too fine and just right for a strong-brewed drip. About 5 times out of ten I go over the line, ending up with too fine of a grind, clogging up the filter, and resulting in a countertop, toaster oven, cupboard front and floor full of weak coffee and trails of wet grinds. This last happened yesterday. I had turned on the pot and left the room. When I came back…..well I just described what happens right?

Fed up, I remembered that I had an old French press somewhere, managed to find it, and made a pot. Tried to drink it. It pretty much spit itself out it was so bad.

You know, I know we all know that the French, while culinary geniuses in general….well, don’t make very good coffee. What I don’t understand then, is why there is such a market for their coffee pots.

No angry cards and letters please, I gave you the “culinary geniuses,” you can’t have everything. If any of you actually like a cup of French press coffee, I won’t stop you from drinking it. But I do reserve the right to turn up my Italy-reared coffee-snob nose at you while you do it.

Obviously, I need to go out and buy another Moka pot, which I was prevented from doing yesterday by Mother nature, who in Maine, is currently having an affair with Mr. Snow (who’s first name is “Wholelotta”), and they are both in cahoots with the city plowman to make sure the mouth of my driveway is absolutely not useable as an exit. I had to wait until this morning after my plowman cleared it out so I could run out before breakfast in search of a pot. I stopped at the local kitchen store to find, as a sad reminder of the current economic conditions in this country, that it is closed for good. The Maine Roasters coffee shop I tried was out of stock. And it was through this series of seemingly non-events, that I drove to the next town up the coast for a Moka pot and a serendipitous Only-in-Maine occurrence.

After yesterday’s severe blizzard, we were left with a huge pile of snow and the parking lot for this 2nd Maine Roasters was pretty deep in it although it was plain to see that efforts to plow it out had been made. As I parked, the woman in the car next to mine was pulling out and her wheels started spinning uselessly in the snow. We made commiserating shrugs at each other as she rocked back and forth trying to dislodge and reverse out. I went around her to see if there were any large hard snow clumps blocking her tires, as it seemed (and there were), and she rolled down her window laughing as I kicked at the clumps that she was in her mother’s old car and “gee, I guess she doesn’t have snow tires on it.” I suggested a lower gear and laying off the gas, which she did and she started to move as her wheels finally gripped. Just a quick moment, 2 strangers, barely connecting, over living in the snow. As I walked towards my new coffee pot, she yelled out “wait, I have something for you.” Turns out she was at the coffee shop pushing her wares, and had a last sample.

Eat Me!

Eat Me!

She gave me what looked like an ordinary sesame bagel, individually wrapped. The last in a large sample box she had in the car. Sesame happens to be my favorite bagel and I hadn’t as yet eaten breakfast, having, if you recall, left the house in search of a coffee pot before eating. 

“Take it” she said. They are wholesalers only, so she wasn’t selling any, it was just a gift. A small kindness – 2 strangers. This is the essence of Maine. I had to ask her for a card. This old mailer was all she had (see left) to give me. 

The bagel, I was informed, is made of spelt, is all organic, healthy, natural, and made locally (click on the image on the left for more info – interesting facts on spelt and the bakery too) in an old mill building powered by the Royal River in Yarmouth. Right up my alley. Made locally, I mean. I am a big supporter of local business and am always looking for new ways to make sure that any money I spend stays right here in Maine. Plus, a water-mill powered bakery? How cool is that?

So, I went in to the shop with a big smile on my face, bought my coffee pot, went home, and made breakfast (and coffee – ahhhh!). 

Can you spelt "Breakfast?"Since I had this beautiful fresh bagel, I couldn’t not eat it, right? I’d never eaten anthing made from spelt that I know of and decided to try it. Karma seemed to be flowing in that direction. I cooked up a few egg whites (my favorite, for those of you groaning “ew” – it isn’t about health or diet, I just like them that way), toasted the bagel, spread a little whipped cream cheese on it, and made an open face sandwich. 

IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!! The taste is hard to describe, like regular wheat bread but with a nutty undertone. Crunchy, light (not overly dense) yet quite filling, great texture, like a good bakery whole grain, but didn’t scratch the roof of my mouth the way whole grain breads do when toasted. 

All in all a great breakfast, eaten with a smile due to a stranger and a shared snow moment. And, what do you know, I just discovered that I like spelt. Or, that I like Spelt Right baked goods. For those readers in Maine, look for Spelt Right products at a store near you (too Madison Avenue? Comment and let me know. But Spelt Right has no idea that I’m writing them up here, ’cause that’s the way I roll – no pun intended).

Advertisements

We are all a bit sick of snow I think. The entire country appears to be suffering a particularly brutal winter. I know I’m just about over it myself. As it is March, Maine has a way to go until she sees spring weather, but in the spirit of the Mainers’ usual coping mechanism, I will just act as if we are already there. 

No, I’m not going to go outside in a tee shirt lugging a baseball mitt and bat looking for a pickup game, I haven’t been here long enough to go that far. But I will post this picture, taken last spring not too far from my house.

It's SPRING!!!! (not really).

It's SPRING!!!! (not really)

Doesn’t looking at that make you feel better already? More alive, more full of hope? Less likely to reach for a packet of razor blades? Like spring really is just around the corner? You can thank me later. In the comments section. Under this post. But for now, just enjoy the view.

I’d much rather look at that photo than the current blizzard raging right now just outside my window, so-called not by me this time, but by the National Weather Service.

So today when I light the fire and cozy up in front of the fireplace under no less than four layers of winter clothing, I will be imagining its heat as the sun’s warm rays while I stare very hard at this picture, trying to blot out everything else.

Hey, its cheaper than a trip to the Caribbean, and I don’t have to worry about boarding the dog. Win-win, right?

You have to forgive my prolonged absence (just 4 days!) from the blogosphere recently, I haven’t been feeling so well and was not making much sense in writing (or in any other medium either). As a favor to you, dear loyal readers, I decided not to subject you to my crazier than usual rantings – which is a nice way of saying, GET OFF MY BACK ALREADY! But, as long as I’m here……….

When I first moved to Maine, I was regaled with all sorts of useless advice from a whole cross-section of people “from away,” as if they had anything worthwhile to contribute on coping with life in this remote northern corner of these United States.

The one piece of useful advice I did get was from an older brother who lives in upstate New York. He told me that I absolutely without fail had to buy myself a Subaru Forester if I were going to survive Maine roads in the winter. Not that he’s an expert on Maine, far from it, but he does live and drive in the snow in winter and he happens to have lots of experience with just about every car there is.

In his opinion the Forester, which is All Wheel Drive (as are all Subarus), is the best possible snow car, better than any vehicle for any amount of money, domestic or imported (not that “any amount of money” was in my budget, but you get the idea).

I did some checking upon arrival in Maine, having donated my barely functioning California vehicle into the open arms of Father Joe’s Villages,* and found I could not get a four wheel drive hybrid – so with “green running” off the table, safety and survival became key. Off to the Subaru dealer I went.

I found and bought a barely used (300 mi) silver Subaru Forester, LL Bean model – what else? VW has Karmann, Lincoln has Bill Blass, Subaru has Bean. Price couldn’t be beat, all was well, and I bought the car.

First trip to a rather large Hannaford’s supermarket with the new car, I go inside with my list, do my shopping for the week, come out with a cart full of groceries, and…….Uh oh!

You see, it appears that my dear brother is not the only one who knows that the Forester is the best snow car.

All I can say is thank goodness for remote door locking/unlocking with attendant beeps and light flashes or I’d still be wandering around that parking lot looking for my car, and my groceries and I would all be frozen solid by now!

Who knew that Maine had a state car?

______________________________________________________________________________

*Father Joe’s Villages (St. Vincent de Paul) will take your unwanted vehicle as a donation. Go to http://www.fatherjoesvillages.org/donations.html for more information

Remember The 2 Bushes?

No, not those 2 Bushes. These Bushes:

The Bushes in Fall

The Bushes in Fall

The 2 bushes that stand outside my living room window from my “A fungus among us…..” post. Well, here they are today:

The Bushes - Not much of an approval rating.

The Bushes - Not much of an approval rating.

Uh-huh. We had a doosey of a storm last night, dropping up to 2 feet of snow in parts of Maine (as you loyal readers know, that’s 2 – 3 inches in Mainer-speak).

Here’s the thing. Snow isn’t just snow. You see, there’s all kinds of snow. There is light, fluffy, dry snow – the kind you can’t even make snowballs out of. Then there is heavy, wet, sticky snow. Which is what we got last night. Snow this heavy turns big fluffy pine tress into scrawny telephone pole looking things by virtue of the sheer weight of the snow on the branches. Snow laden birch trees bend over in big arches, their tips almost touching the ground. And bushes, my precious bushes, get flattened like pancakes. Not to worry, as soon as this melts, they’ll pop up again and do something else photo-worthy.

Now along with this blizzard – so named in Onlyinmaineland because all of this snow fell in one overnight session and did so with 20-30 mph winds – we got another phenomenon. Let me see if I can explain. When it snows this kind of sticky snow and the wind is blowing at the same time, the snow sticks to everything, including vertical surfaces, like tree trunks.

It snowed sideways.....AGAIN

It snowed sideways.....AGAIN

Once it stopped snowing, the wind started in earnest, and the most horrible noises ensued. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on and it sounded like the house was being battered by a Mack truck.

I couldn’t not go investigate, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it. So I forced myself out of my toasty warm bed, put on my snow gear and knee boots and waded out into the deep snow and howling wind to see what was going on.

With all that wind, dang if the tall birch tree next to the house that was bent over in an upside down “U” shape under the weight of snow wasn’t bitch-slapping my house!

Giant gobs of snow were flying off of the trees and slamming up against the windows. The dog was going nuts and I spent the entire night feeling like I was being attacked by Visigoths hurling cannonballs…..

Never a dull moment.

A friend of mine asked if she could put in a request for a post on a particular subject. Are you kidding me? Would I be amenable to having the dreaded burden of coming up with a topic taken off of my shoulders???? I most certainly would. I am more than happy to take requests so please feel free to suggest any topic you like. Whether or not I actually write a post on the subject you suggest will, of course, be entirely up to me. Because I am the Queen of Onlyinmainelandia, and my word is law.

So what was my friend’s topic suggestion? I copy it here:

“So do you take blog requests? In Maine, are you living in an igloo or what? When it snows 3 feet, does your electric go out and you have to rely on your wits and a good woodstove? Lets hear how the mainlanders survive like the pilgrims!”

Yes, my friend, I do live in an igloo….

 

MY IGLOO

MY IGLOO

If only it would just snow only 3 feet, there wouldn’t be any problem. The electric does go out every so often due to,,,,,”1 to 3 inches of snow,” and I do have to rely on my wits. Luckily I am a very witty person. 

I have no woodstove, but a very nice fireplace which I use to heat the house and I cook in it as well when the power goes out. Mostly I run over to my neighbor’s house and they feed me and keep me warm with their woodstove. I have very lovely neighbors. I like them a lot.

By “mainlanders” I assume you mean “Mainers.” How do they survive? A Mainer’s answer would be “How do we survive what? A little snow?” 

Just another day to a true Mainer. To illustrate, whenever there is a storm bad enough to knock out power, shelters are opened all over but they usually remain empty, perhaps a couple of nonagenarians (that’s people in their nineties, Erwin) if the power outage is long enough. Because no matter how much denial there is about the winter weather, a lot of houses have either a generator or a woodstove or both. And Mainers are neighborly. They check on each other and help each other out. Very few people have to avail themselves of their local shelter.

The snow does not bring us hardship. It brings business (skiers and winter recreation, etc.) and work (plowing, roof sweeping, road and drive sanding, shovelling jobs, etc.). BRING IT!

I like this topic suggestion thing, and may make it a regular Sunday feature. What do you think? Let me know, leave me a comment here!

OK, I promise that this isn’t going to be a “weather blog” but you gotta go with what’s out there, you know? There will be all sorts of other stuff, I promise, just not today.

This morning, before getting dressed to leave the house, I checked my usual internet weather feed….

 

Today's local weather forecast....

Today's local weather forecast....

So far so good right, “Fair,” “Sunny”….But WAIT! What do we see there up top in red? Does that say “SEVERE WEATHER ALERT?” Why yes, I believe it does. What severe weather could be in store if the powers that be are predicting “Fair” and “Sunny?” Conversely, if they know that severe weather is coming, why aren’t they predicting “Severe Weather” instead of “Fair” and “Sunny” with a side of alerts?  

I hear that a side of alerts is always good with katsup, but I digress.

Moving right along, curiosity and common sense had me immediately clicking on the appropriate hot button which yielded this bit of no-longer-surprising news:

 

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT!

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT!

I say “no-longer-surprising news” because after living here for 2 and a half years, I’ve already figured out how they manipulate their weather findings

To recap:  According to the prediction, today’s weather is going to be “Fair” and “Sunny” with winds topping out at 18mph but I should watch out for 35mph winds and snow so thick, it’s going to reduce visibility to half a mile?????  

How much snow?  

Only an inch, of course!

I’ll write an epilogue for this tonight when I’m snowed in under a foot of the stuff…….

 

Rocky Contemplates Snow

Rocky Contemplates Snow