Big Deal(s)…

Winter is a big deal in Maine. Like a boogeyman almost. Many times we’ve mentioned we’re new to Maine only to have people grow a little quieter and ask “Have you spent a winter here?” From some of the looks in their eyes you wonder if they’re thinking “Are these people going to go crazy? Or die? The poor fools!”

We’re trying our best to get ready for winter, but there’s just too much to do and we don’t have the expertise to complete (or even begin) everything that ideally would be done. We will finish the bare minimum, yet the spectre of winter still hangs over everything even as summer transitions to fall. In late August, even though we had highs into the 90s, colors began changing in the leaves as soon as the nighttime lows began to drop. Way to ramp up the pressure, Nature.

We have a hoop house skeleton built on our large bed, but not the two smaller ones (yet). Dani is on her third round of canning. We’re dabbling in seed saving. I’ve been prepping for my first foray into tree felling and chainsaw usage so I can take down and remove the dead trees before the snow does it for us and makes a mess. And every day with each outside task done or errand ran we see the leaves changing more and more. There are now streaks of red like flame in the otherwise green arboreal vistas around our place. There are leaves beginning to fall on our property.

Headed out to water the garden and found the first sign of its ultimate fate. #fall #ithasbegun #itwas91yesterday

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Very late on the night of Monday, September 21, 2015, we arrived in Maine after the hardest push of the whole Ambling Full Tilt journey: from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Dani’s parent’s place in Waldo. Driving through Vermont and New Hampshire that day was the first time I ever laid eyes on the fall colors of New England; I was spellbound.

The Saturday after we arrived Dani’s parents took us to the 39th Annual Common Ground Country Fair. We were among 65,000 visitors that descended on that tiny patch between Thorndike and Unity, Maine (where only 3,000 people live). This fair is a big deal, too.

Now as we close in on the one year anniversary of our AFT (and my first) visit to Maine, we are combing the pages of this year’s Common Ground fair guide making a plan to attend every workshop we can over the three days of the fair.  But this year we are not visitors. As we set up home in this small, out-of-the way rural Maine location, I turned 40. Common Ground is also tuning 40 this weekend. We get to celebrate that as Mainers. As residents.

One year later we have a home and the beginnings of a farm. Even though the home needs work and the beginnings are very humble, Dani recently said:

This year, for the first time, I went from saying “I want to…” to “I am…”

Humbled. Amazed. Profoundly grateful.

Better words could not be spoken.

We spent four weeks here last year. We saw the trees progress through all their autumnal splendor. As we left Maine we were sad to be departing the first place that felt like home since leaving Boise.

Now, one year later, we are entering into that same beloved season in that same beloved place. And it doesn’t just feel like home – it is home.

Humbled. Amazed. Profoundly grateful.

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