In Hancock County, Maine

We didn’t have a snow storm here until December 29 – almost the New Year.  Prior to that, we had a Carolina December, including a sunny Christmas Day in the 60s.  A balmy December has its conveniences, but it just didn’t seem right. 

Nonetheless, December was well worth remembering.  We had the usual spectacular winter sunsets over Eggemoggin Reach. 

Christmas wreaths were hung on houses and barns when we expected to see them, helping to create a holiday spirit and contribute to Maine’s economy.  (Maine is the leading state in producing balsam fir wreaths.)

Holiday lights and seasonal oddities also appeared in timely fashion on lawns, homes, and even in the fields.  Some were elegant, including the ever-changing banners displayed by our neighbor Judith Fuller at the end of her wooded driveway for the benefit of travelers on Naskeag Point Road.

Speaking of travelers, the Common Eiders returned on schedule in December.  These are North America’s largest ducks and thousands of them left the open Atlantic and came into local bays to avoid an open water winter.  It’s not unusual to see paddlings of hundreds of Eiders floating, feeding, or flying near a pond or stream outflow where ice won’t form.  (We also had a surprise visit to Great Cove from a hardy couple on a sailboat trip from Norway; this was the subject of our prior posting below.)

Most boats here have been hauled out of the cold waters.  December was the month that many lobster boats finished their season and became landmarks -- looming large on frames in driveways and back yards, their colored lobster traps neatly stacked nearby. 

December also is the traditional time here for work in the woods when the ground is supposed to be frozen and the bugs are dead.  Well, the scheduled tree and brush cutting and burning was begun on time, but the ground was not nearly frozen for most of the month.  Woodsmen needed tracked vehicles to avoid doing too much damage to wet land.

On the other hand, December’s unseasonal warmth and wetness added a beauty to the winter woods.  Streams leapt and chortled, reflective vernal pools formed, and mosses and lichens produced pockets of brilliant green luminescence that was buried in the snow when it finally came.

The snow that finally blanketed the fields and woods has returned us to some seasonal sense, perhaps presaging a “normal” New Year, whatever that is these days.

Dec 10.jpg

We have more images of December that we’ve chosen to refresh our recollections later.  If you want to see them, click the link below.  We recommend that your initial screening be a full-frame slideshow.  (To make that happen, click on the SLIDESHOW button above the featured [largest] image on the gallery page to which the link will take you.)  Here's the link:

Here's wishing everyone a Happy New Year,

Barbara and Dick