|Winter in Maine|
|Thursday, 21 February 2013 00:00 | Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry|
It's almost the end of February. Still the dead of winter in Maine. Night time temps regularly dip below 0º. Nothing but snow and ice as far as the eye can see. Skin gets all pasty white from lack of sun. (Not being the most racially diverse state in the US, most Mainers start the winter fairly white anyway.) People resort to desperate measures to help them through the rest of the winter: TV, alcohol, garden catalogs, full-spectrum lighting, ice hockey, you name it.
Although I'm in no real hurry to be done with winter, I suppose I'm as happy as the next guy to mark the baby steps of approaching spring. Most notable at this time of year is the steadily increasing day length. Back on the winter solstice (December 21), two of my friends exchanged their wedding vows amidst a blizzard of swirling snow, just as darkness fell, right around 3 p.m. It seems like just yesterday, but it’s hard to believe that was almost two months ago. Now, as I write this at 4:15 p.m., I can see those afternoon shades of red on the maple trees in the yard, telling me that the sun will soon set. Of course, I'm not the only one to notice such seasonal changes.
Bald eagles are pretty common in this neck of the woods. All winter long, they've been social, gathering happily anywhere near available food. It's an easy time for eagles near the shore. They can fish and hunt for ducks, but there is also much scavenging to do, with deer and other competitors succumbing to the cold or predators. Vultures flew south and bears are asleep, so eagles and ravens are left to enjoy the grisly spoils of the season.
Loafing about with your chums isn't bad for a few months, but all that is about to change for both the eagles and ravens. The latter part of February is when they start to think about renewing bonds with their mates, sprucing up the old nest or building a new one and getting on with the real business of being a bird, which is, of course, to make new birds.
My dog, Dennis, has teamed up with the local ravens to lay waste to the frozen heap that is my compost pile. When some guests braved our skating rink of a driveway the other day, Dennis greeted them, happily hauling around a colorful “composticle” made of broccoli, apple cores, lobster shells and coffee grounds. Spring cleanup will come soon enough.
Help the Earth, Spread the Word: Share this content with family and friends by clicking on the "Email This" or "Share This" link below right. Then see TODAY'S TOP STORIES.
Copyright EcoHearth. All rights reserved. Reprint Policy