How very foolish of me! How could I so badly err? Me, a native ‘Main-a’
at that! Some time ago I think I mentioned the fact that Maine has not
four seasons but five, the 5th one being the all-too-familiar
(to us, anyway) "mud season." This, being the time between winter and
spring when, before we are graced with a single crocus, we are subjected
to anything that is not covered with cement or asphalt being engulfed in 6
inches of boot-sucking, dog- paw-tracking mud. And, unfortunately, our
dogs, our kids and our spouses will not agree to being hosed off in the
dooryard when it’s still 25 degrees.
Well, there is a sixth season that apparently skipped my recall as I’ve
whined, in several articles, about our, uh, peculiar weather here. This
season does not start on a pre-determined date. It cannot be anticipated
with any strict regularity. This year, however, seems to be shaping up to
be a prime 6th season year.
Actually, all the pieces began to fall into place around mid-December,
before Christmas. After two record snowstorms within the first two weeks
of December, each followed by record warmth and downpours (a total
abnormality), the temperature dropped to the Arctic comfort of –20F…and
stayed there, for the next 6 weeks. As if we were laughing in the face of
the weather gremlins, the wind also blew…nonstop…honestly…the entire 6
weeks. The wind chill factor was consistently –45F. My house has never
been cleaner; what else was there to do but clean when taking the trash
out to the garage required an entire polar expedition force from National
Geographic? I swear, a chickadee, our cute, little, state bird, was
reported as having demanded a re-count of the election that put him in
Here it is now, the next-to-the-last day of February, and that
previously unmentioned 6th season is starting to raise its
little head. In grocery stores, in the post office, in the coffee shop,
its rumblings have been heard.
"My gawd, it’s been cold!"
"Cold? My gawd, it’s been wick-uhd cold!"
"Good gawd, I ain’t nev-uh seen such gawd-awful cold!"
From here, this rhetoric gently slides into the next phase of Season 6.
"Heard it was s’posed to reach 25 degrees tomorrow. Gawd, I hope so."
"Well, good gawd, man, I heard this weekend would get up to 30
"Gawd-all-mighty, first person I hear complaining about the heat this
summer is gonna find my scarf wrapped up-round his head!"
Finally, the segue into mud season chatter;
"Gawd, Ma, I lost them boots you got me for Christmas just gettin’ from
the truck to the house!"
I think you get what I mean…basically, any weather related
conversation, which pretty much describes what passes for spontaneous
exchange here in Maine, requires lots of "gawd-ing". Only our slow,
drawled, Down East accent keeps people from thinking we’re actually
sprinkling our commentary with the name of a Deity, and thank ‘gawd’ for
Welcome to a new season of "Gardening in Little Siberia"! In the coming
months, I look forward to sharing a new and exciting experience with you,
along with companion planting tips. I will be helping a neighbor, working
as a small crop sharecropper. He and his wife run a 30-acre farm, a farm
market, and a popular and successful café/gift/deli/wine shop. I’m
actually thinking of it as being more of a volunteer job on my part, as
I’ll get lots of information as well as share some, I hope. As long as I’m
outside and the work is physical, I’m happy! And besides, he may let me
drive their beautiful, new, Kubota tractor! Until then, get those seed
catalogs out and happy garden planning!