I'm talking about the mental toughness you need to call yourself a true Mainer.
Because by February, every person north of Kennebunkport, or what we call "northern Massachusetts," is ready to throw in the towel. I'm sure if you checked Google Analytics you would see a spike in searches for real estate in Florida coming from Maine IP addresses during the first three months of the year. Every year I vow I'm going to move away, at least for the winter months, every year.
And then August rolls around and it's been so hot that the thought of crystal clear icy cold air is appealing.
Until February comes around again, and it's back to self-hatred for allowing yourself to be subjected to this frigid cold for this long a time period.
Our lambs were born in the depths of it. The first two Collinson lambs came on Valentines Day in the middle of blizzard Neptune. Hence we named them Neptune and Romeo. Luckily, being the experienced farmers that we are, the lambs just appeared between periods of checking on the mamas. We brought each one in to the basement to warm it up, but then felt horrible returning them to their mom in the below zero barn. We gave her and her babies a heat lamp, which seemed to throw as much heat as a 15 watt exposed light bulb.
Here's how we kept tabs on the babies, our very own "Lamb Cam";
Similar to their human fellow farm inhabitants.
We humans are fortunate to have two wood stoves going round the clock. It keeps the house cozy, but does provide a stark contrast when you have to go outside and clean stalls, feed the animals their hay and grain, and chop up all the frozen water buckets multiple times a day. And then load wood from the barn and bring in enough to get through the evening and next day. I don't know how Davyd does it. In and out, in and out. He is out for hours at a time tending to the animals or getting us more wood.
So why do we live here again? In this freezing tundra that makes it hard to breath outside for months upon months. In a place where you do a little inner happy dance when you see the temperature on your drive to work is on the plus side of zero. Where you can't access your front yard without becoming a snowy mountain climber destined to get stuck from your waist down while trying to fill the bird feeders.
But then this amazing thing happens where one day you go outside and can't believe that the snow has almost disappeared. You can pack away your ankle-length down coat into the storage closet. You can enjoy your first meal on the deck you knew was out there somewhere. You can re-acquaint yourself with the space known as the outdoors.
And it's wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. You have made it through the depths of winter and are rewarded with the most refreshing spring that you can remember.