Buffalo’s storm of the century brought rain to the humble farm on the coast of Maine and blew down an ancient, ailing hardhack tree by the east stone wall.

Writing about my storm damage on Facebook, I simply mentioned that the rain gave the grass in the back lawn a wicked pounding. A concerned friend replied: “Do you plan to rebuild?”

If you live on the coast you often see your inland neighbors get snow that passed you by. We now have a radar link on our weather map, so I am able to see from the comfort of my bedroom-office chair what you and I have often seen while driving our cars.

In the summer it is not seen but felt. You are sweltering hot while shopping up in town but on the way home, always in the same place, you very suddenly feel a blast of that cold salt air.

You might quibble about the efficacy of radar maps, but mine very closely approximates what I have seen on the ground. As you know, when you live on the coast, the snow line – and even the rain line – might roar right into your front yard and then suddenly stop. It is as if the different temperature of the ocean reaches up with a giant hand and stops it. For what it’s worth, last week my wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, looked out the front windows and said that it was snowing in the west pasture. I looked out the back windows by my chair and saw rain.

You – and I – might discount that, were it not for the fact that we have often driven on a dry road only to suddenly hit a wet spot where a torrential shower recently passed.


You know that it is traditionally unacceptable for an old Maine man to tell a story without an inordinate bit of digression. And that I would eventually get around to telling you about the great blizzards I’d seen when I was a boy … and you are right.

Over the past 20 years I actually enjoyed seeing my driveway piled high with snow – because I was in Orange Harbor trailer park near Fort Myers, Florida, and I was looking at photographs Robert in Bath and Reggie Montgomery sent me.

But just before that, Marsha was teaching in Lincolnville and I was on my tractor in the wee small bitter-cold hours of the morning, plowing out so she could get to school. Or chipping ice off the granite doorstep so she could get the door open. Oh, I deserved and relished those twenty 80-degree winters in Florida.

Luckily, we sold out and abandoned Orange Harbor; only a few months ago the entire park was 6 feet under water. So there’s things to be said for owning a Maine farm on the high point of a terminal moraine.

One of the more recent big snows I recall must have been around ’66 or ’67. I remember that only because of photographs of me digging out my buried ’64 VW, and of a young Reggie standing in the road beside a huge bank of plowed snow. The Blizzard of ’52 is easier to remember. The Clark Island Road, Route 73, wasn’t plowed for three days. I remember seeing the road being nothing but pure white. They might have finally cleared it with a bulldozer.

My neighbor True Hall told about walking the five miles to Tenants Harbor to check on the freezers in Hall’s Market. He met Giant Davis, who had walked up from Clark Island, and was on his way to Port Clyde to check on his store there. True was probably on skis and Giant on snowshoes.

As I heard tell, there was such a large drift in the road abeam of the Masonic Hall that Rabbit Wiley broke the V blade on his new plow truck by backing up and ramming it. Although I was a junior in high school and went by there every day on the bus, I have no recollection of seeing the drifts once we were able to get through again. If I were to live another five years this would be no problem, because 86-year-old Maine men who know nothing of a matter will suddenly be able to tell you all about it by the time they are 90.

A Monhegan lobsterman usually wouldn’t notice any difference between our recent storm and any of a dozen others. So it must have been bad out there last week when one wrote on Facebook that he caught 48 counters in traps that were stacked on the town dock.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

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