The Maine winter season is beautiful; picturesque with snow frozen on evergreen boughs, skiing, sledding and skating.

Winter fun? Humbug.

After all, winter in Maine is nine months long, with another three months of just tough sledding. It all boils down to a bill of expense in an effort to stay warm and comfortable.

It’s easy to dread the cold because, regardless of how you heat, winter drains the wallet. What’s fun about that?

So tighten your belt, turn down the thermostat, wear insulated underdrawers, and block out weather reports. Who cares how cold it is at The Forks?

A Maine fall ritual, cutting wood is hard work but could save some cash. But you’ll need to invest in a chain saw, wood-splitter, ax, plaid shirt, jeans and sturdy work boots.

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When you go out to chop, split and pile on fall days, eat a big Paul Bunyon-type breakfast with flapjacks.

To cut costs, great-grandpa had his wood cut into extra-long lengths and fed the sticks into a big parlor stove. But his generation had winter measured; they thought of everything.

Survive a cold winter’s day by chucking wood into a fire and curling up on a sofa to read. It’s a good opportunity to review spring seed catalogs and dream about gardening. Maybe you could buy an almanac to see whether spring is really coming.

An inexpensive winter activity would be watching from a kitchen window while chickadees descend on a suet brick. Entertainment from feeding birds is cheap – unlike buying expensive outdoor sports equipment like snowmobiles, skies, or ice fishing gear. I mean, who wants to pay to get cold feet?

The best part of any outside activity would be snacking on homemade molasses cookies while thawing out by a wood fire. Stick your cold feet into grandma’s woodstove oven.

For the working crowd, winter is a real hassle just to get going for a job. Who likes to shovel snow in the cold, scrape ice from windshields, and sand driveways or jump-start a pickup?

It cost money to get a vehicle ready for winter – like buying snow tires. Then, there are trips to the car wash to hose away the road salt before it eats the truck. Consider taking a bus to work.

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So, to get through winter, bundle up, grump about the cold, feed the chickadees and tough it out ’til April. Winter is for the birds.

Robert Lowell — 207-780-9089

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