This morning I slept in a little bit, until 06:30 (ugh), and I began my mental checklist of things I should probably do today to make tomorrow go smoothly and be slightly less stressful. So far I have got the turkey in brine, the cranberries made, and a pile of recipes on the counter, mocking me. I am making a cranberry apple pie for dessert, because yum.
Last night I started this page up, and I am fortunate because the folks that bought our house in Indiana include a fantastic freelance editor and blogger named Leah. She writes for many places, and has some great things to say over at her page Leah’s Thoughts. She pointed out that I had called Maine the “Granite State”, and that moniker rightfully belongs to New Hampshire. Maine is the Pine Tree State, which makes sense, 85% of the state is forested, and I have pines all over my yard! Thanks for the catch!
Before we moved here, we had discussed the possibility of moving to Maine, and since our oldest had to do a state report, she did hers on Maine. The Maine.gov site has plenty of interesting facts about our adopted home, such as: there is a state fossil, and even state soil! We moved from a state with over six million people to one with just over one million, and nearly the same land area; Indiana has 36,291 square miles, Maine has 30,843 square miles, so there is way more open area here, and the lines are a lot shorter at the grocery stores! Of course coming from California with approximately 38.8 million people, the vast majority of places I go are not nearly as crowded!
Some things here in Maine that I have had to get used to:
- No central air in 99% of the houses, including ours.
- Most heat is provided through heat oil, which is delivered to the house via a big ass tanker truck.
- Septic. While not only a Maine thing, it’s new to me.
- No hot water heater, we have a boiler which is used to heat the house and provide hot water for the house. And when I say hot water, I mean HOT!
- Stunningly friendly people: trust me, folks in the Hoosier state have nothing on Mainer hospitality.
- No traffic on the highways, and folks that get out of the way if you come up on them in the left lane. Unless they’re from Massachusetts, then all bets are off.
- The price of electricity. I had a cow the first time I opened an electric bill. Turns out, it’s the 9th most expensive state in the nation for electricity.
- Maine is like California in that it is nearly two states: Southern Maine, District 1, which includes Portland, is distinctly blue, very liberal, and has the highest population density. Northern Maine, District 2, where we live, is so red it would make the Queen of Hearts envious. It is sparsely populated, fiercely independent, definitely conservative-leaning.
That being said, I am very happy here. I am 45 minutes from the ocean, like I was in California, but with 0.5% of the population, and a whole new host of birds to entertain! In Indiana, I did have the chance to see Wild Turkeys often, and I knew with a fair amount of certainty where I could go to see a flock at any given time, and though they occasionally wandered through the neighborhood, they were not at all a bird I saw in my backyard.
Here in Maine? The list of yard birds is really amusing, some are old friends, some are old rare friends, some are completely new yard birds, though not life birds, for me. I can assure you I never looked out my back door and saw a Ring-billed Gull chilling in the yard in Indiana, or a Bobolink. Here? Eh, par for the course. My favorite part of the Bobolink: it sounds like R2-D2 is in the yard!
My best fly-over birds here in Maine have been: Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Merlin, Common Raven. Most of those stop in the yard for snacks, the added benefit of having a hay field.
I do miss seeing Trumpeter Swans and Whooping Cranes, hopefully when I go back to Indiana to defend my thesis next year I can have a gander at them again.
I suppose I have avoided my responsibilities long enough, and I should get myself back to the kitchen, because these pies and casseroles are not going to make themselves! A new addition to our table this year: a stuffed squash as a main dish for my oldest child, who is now vegetarian. We tried it last week, and it was delicious!
Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving Day dish? A favorite holiday tradition? I would love to hear all about it!