Scenic drives are a favorite pastime when the sun is out, the roads are clear and by some miracle I’m able to find a free afternoon. Last Sunday I did not have a free afternoon. As a matter of fact I left the house thinking I’d be back in less than a half an hour. I really had a lot of chores to do. Besides that, I was in the mood to bake cookies.

Spoiler alert I returned about six hours later.

The intention was to get a Christmas tree. However the places nearest to home were out and even though we had an appropriate saw in the vehicle, we didn’t wind up taking that particular winter walk.

Follow the leader with Linda Lowell at Powers Farm.

We started heading south towards Farmington. My driver didn’t ask me. He just started driving. Like I said, I didn’t think I would be gone for long so I didn’t bring my most important accessory; sunglasses. First of all, as of late there hasn’t been so much sun that I would think of it, and second I didn’t bring anything I would usually bring on such a road trip. I must have made a face, or said something in a certain tone… Maybe I pulled the visor down with a huff? I don’t know but my driver, ever so observant, rolled his eyes and made a sharp, equally dramatic u-turn in a not very great place. I didn’t say a word. I was happy. I had planned on a nice day at home. Oh, well, no tree, but I would get to go home and putter.

However, my driver did not go back home. Instead, he hit the center of Rangeley and made a sharp right. Looks like we were headed to Eustis. Well I guess that was a good compromise. The sun wasn’t in my eyes in this direction and maybe I could get a picture of a moose for the next Highlander cover. I settled in.

“Oh! Greenfarm Plantworks for a tree!” I said excited. “No crazy”, he said. They’re not open in the winter. Humph… Oh well. We drove on.

No moose.

Power plays at Powers Farm. Hey kids, there’s no need to fight, there’s plenty of food for everyone!

However, I did remember the buffalo! Oh, let’s go there. My driver will go anywhere on a sunny day, so he was up for it. Well, on the way to the buffalo, we saw first one deer, then two. It was around noon and we realized Powers farm was just around the bend. I happily took a slew of photos. Surely one would be good enough for the cover.

However, as we slowly rolled away to leave, we read the sign that said feeding was at 3pm. My driver said it wasn’t something I would want to miss.

To Fotter’s Market for a delicious lunch we went. I had the Thanksgiving sandwich and he had the meatloaf and cheese. Chocolate milk for him and strawberry for me. This was turning out to be a very nice date. As a bonus they were selling trees for a Stratton school fundraiser! Yay! Back to Powers farm we went. Dozens of deer were showing up. Several cars slowly pulled up. A real photographer took his place. He had obviously been there before.

Then as though I had been waiting for Santa, a car drove up and slowly, on crutches, who I came to know as Linda Lowell, got out and proceeded to ring the beautiful sounding bell to let the deer know it was almost happy time.

When feeding time was over I introduced myself to Linda. As my driver is affable and people tend to remember him for one good reason or another, albeit impromptu, we were able to meet with her very welcoming mother Harriet Powers, right then and there.

Seen here, from left Linda Lowell with her mom Harriet Powers after the feeding of the deer was done for the day.

It started with sweet Basil. Okay, that’s not exactly true. It actually started with Harriet and some horses. (I just really like sweet basil…)

In any case, it started way back in 1964. Harriet explained to me that back in the sixties, when they had horses, she noticed some of the leftover horses’ grain being nibbled upon one day. She told her husband Basil Powers. Thus started the tradition of feeding the deer at Powers Farm. That’s over fifty years!

What happy childhood memories Linda must have. She has been lucky enough to enjoy these up close and personal winter visitors since she was a child. Back then no video games or twenty-four seven television. Now she shares her love and knowledge with the kids that visit. She explained how she has them hold up a big antler and a small antler, one in each hand, and asks them which one they think is more valuable. The small ones because they’re harder to find. She showed compared two sets of found antlers. She picks up a big one. “Isn’t that awesome? Look at how big around on the bottom like that. It’s the food that they eat. You know, where they are. Whether it’s out in the swamp or in a good field. When my father was going to Canada to get the good grain that had the molasses in it and the barley and the oats and stuff in it, their horns were this big”. However, after 9/11 there was just too much paperwork to continue to get it.

Linda Lowell explains why smaller antlers are more valuable as they’re more difficult to find.

The money to feed the deer adds from mid-December to May adds up. We’re talking tons of feed. There is a little donation box that when used is very much appreciated. Harriet said that it was either last year or the year before but someone left a folded ten dollar bill in the donation box almost every week. She had no idea who it was. She took a picture of it with a note that said “Thank you!” but she still never found out who it was.

Harriet and Linda both had very many funny stories to tell. Of course, like a lot of Maine stories I don’t think any of them are repeatable but suffice it is to say stories might have included hunters, bobcats, coyotes, city folk with New York license plates and game wardens. Fortunately all of the stories had a happy ending.

Harriet Power’s guiding me through the array of candid photos that have been taken throughout the years.

I’ll end this little profile with this. Basil who passed away back in 2015 used to name each deer. How sweet is that? One deer in particular was named Allie. Allie visited for decades. How pleasant a life for Allie, and how pleasant for all that visit Powers Farm.

As we were about to leave Harriet slipped away. I figured, like myself, she must be winding down from the long day and the unexpected visit and storytelling. The sun was down and Monday morning felt closer. My energy level was low. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get home in time to do chores and make cookies. We gave our thanks and made our motions to say farewell. At this point, like Mrs. Claus, Harriet comes out with an assorted plate of Christmas cookies for us to take home! Oh my goodness was sweet Basil and the decades of visitors lucky to have these two lovely ladies in his life.


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