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hoop-coop noreaster

I’ve shoveled around the hoop-coop as a precaution, but there’s still a lot of snow on this structure and she’s holding up well!

We were up early this morning to face the Nor’easter that has descended upon Maine. Paul threw a few pieces of wood onto the still glowing embers of last night’s fire and went out in the dark to haul snow off the roof. I woke to the scraping sound of the roof-rake above my head and got up to make the coffee and nursed the fire to life. Outside the day brightened to reveal fluffy white flakes falling from the sky in an endless cascade, and a snowy landscape that is something akin to a fantasy-world.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a Nor’easter is a New England term for a storm which possesses north-easterly winds. Storms tend to gather off the east coast and New England gets pummeled with severe winter storms that can dump 2 feet of snow or more on a given region. Many of these storms become blizzards with driving wind and white-out conditions that can make driving perilous, can cause power outages and hazardous conditions.

Here at Runamuk, it’s essentially been snowing since late Wednesday night, when we received 6-12 inches; and another 4-6 on Saturday. This particular system wasn’t supposed to start until later in the day on Sunday and run into Monday, but it never really stopped snowing from Saturday’s storm so it’s just been one long snowy weekend. I drove to and from Johnny’s Saturday and Sunday on snow-covered roads to varying degrees, but my trusty Subaru gets me there safely every time so long as I am slow and careful.

When I got home last night, and after I had made my rounds to see the critters wearing my head-lamp to illuminate the dark, I took the time to make a few precautionary preparations in case the power should go out. I gathered my candles and the old fashioned oil lamp so that we won’t have to sit in the dark, and filled a number of jugs with water (because the pump wont work without electricity-so no water). We are fortunate to have plenty of food laid in from the summer gardens─though I did make sure to stop at Trade Winds in Norridgewock on my way home last night. We needed milk for the morning coffee─and a 12-pack of PBRs─a #snowmageddon staple.

hoop-coop blizzard

Murphy stands outside the coop looking in on the activity. It was a smart idea to have the door open inwards.

The snow was knee-high as I made my way along the paths to the little shed where the rabbits are living, around the Subaru and over to the hoop-coop to take care of the chickens. I’m pleased with the way the hoop-coop has held up this winter: rain, wind, snow and ice and the structure is sound, the plastic is still attached, and my chickens are cozy as can be with a berm of snow to insulate their coop. As I returned to the farmstead with the first eggs of the day the cold wind blew snow in my face and took my breath away, but I was not dismayed. It is all beautiful to me.

I must be some kind of sick and perverse individual, I suppose─for secretly I love storms. Shhhhhh. Rain, snow, hail─you name it. I find them exciting. The energy and the power of nature that is displayed in a storm is an every day sort of marvel that never ceases to amaze me. It moves me. After a storm the landscape is refreshed, renewed. Yes, there is clean up, there may even be damage, but perhaps it should serve to remind us that there are greater forces at work on this planet than even the president of the United States can control. Perhaps it should serve to humble us.

For me, Snow Days are something of a holiday. Government offices, schools, and many local stores and offices─including Johnny’s─have closed due to the weather. It’s safest just to stay at home and be with the ones you love, soak in the energy of the storm and marvel at the beauty and the power of this amazing planet that we are fortunate to call home, and just be grateful.

I am grateful. I’m grateful I have a roof over my head. I’m grateful for a woodstove that will keep me warm even if the electricity goes out. I’m grateful that my livestock and pets are all comfortable, fed, watered, and happy. I’ll dig my way out and be grateful that my body is still young enough to do the work. I’m a Mainer, born and raised right here in Somerset County and I’m damned good with a shovel. I’ll brave the wind and the cold to move the snow and be grateful that I’m strong enough to do it. And when I’m weary with exhaustion, when my back is sore and I’ve pulled that one damned muscle in my right upper arm that I’ve already torn twice and which just doesn’t seem to heal─I’ll retreat to the warmth and the sanctity of my humble abode and I’ll be grateful still.

What are you grateful for?

Share your thoughts, comments or questions!