Here we are, just at the halfway point between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That means that summer is just at its peak, with mostly sunny skies and mostly warm weather settling in as the default setting for the weather report.

Boring times for meteorologists are pleasant times for the rest of us, so as a guide for visiting tourists, let’s explore where the average Mainer stands as backyard barbecues simmer and beaches fill with bodies slowly turning from white to brown (or, more often, red).

* First, neighborhood yards are starting to fill up with cordwood, as those who burn wood for heat stock up. (And it seems like there are more making that choice every day, as fuel prices enrich the Saudis and impoverish the rest of us).

* The small-engine repair guy has worked his way through all the local lawn mowers and garden tractors, and is starting to contact his client list to begin tuning up snowblowers.

* Department stores are putting the bathing suits on sale and moving displays to make room for sweaters, boots, scarves and mittens.

* Likewise, L.L. Bean already has printed its catalogs filled with well-bundled (but still demurely attractive) models wrapped to the ears in wool and flannel, including the ever-popular fleece-lining option.

Wait, says the average tourist. This sounds as if you folks are busy preparing for winter when summer is just well under way!

The average tourist would be right. Mainers comprehend that those who do not prepare for winter — unless they are lucky enough, or desperate enough, to be able to flee it — have to prepare for it well in advance.

Mainers know that summer’s fleeting hours, fine as they may be, are really just another snow job.


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