CARMEL — Neither bitter cold nor heavy ice and snow could slow life in Carmel Village over the holidays.
With the thermometer reading a balmy 10 degrees around noon on Saturday, Jan. 4, customers visited Fine & Dandelion at 4 Plymouth Road, and cars filled the parking lot at the adjacent Simpson Memorial Library. Inside Fine & Dandelion, described by owner Sherelle McIntyre as “a vintage resale and gift shop,” the Christmas merchandise was marked down, and the Valentine’s Day merchandise was on display.
And McIntyre was busy waiting on customers.
She opened the shop in 2013, so the holiday season was her first in Carmel. Despite the pre-Christmas ice storm and repetitive snowstorms, business was good.
“It wa pretty steady all seaon,” said McIntye, who along with her husband, Alfred, makes many crafts sold at Fine & Dandelion. “Just this past week, it was like someone turned on a light switch; a lot of people came in.”
The steady snowfall and ice have not created problems in the shop’s parking lot, which Alfred plows, or on its metal roof. One day recently the heavy load atop the shop decided to come down; “it sounded like a freight train coming through through,” recalled Sherelle McIntyre. “It was right after the first ice storm we had.”
Quite a bit of ice and snow had built up atop Dick’s Mini Mart, the busy convenience store and gas station located within the triangle formed by Routes 2 and 69. Carmel residents Joshua Burris and Gary Rylance spent a frigid, wind-blown Friday, Jan. 3 and a quiet-weather Jan. 4 clearing the roof.
“The ice was 2 inches thick, and the snow was a foot deep,” Burris said after he finished pushing the last of the snow off the roof on Saturday. He handled the roof work while Rylance kept watch on the ground and removed the snow and ice that Burris had pushed down.
While Burris and Rylance cleared the remaining snow around Dick’s Mini Mart, Romeo St. Pierre pulled alongside a gas pump aboard his 1953 John Deere Model 40U tractor. “My wife (Betty) isn’t home, so I figured while she’s gone, I’m going to make my escape,” chuckled St. Pierre, originally from Fort Kent.
“She went to Wal-Mart [in Palmyra], and I escaped up to Carmel,” he said.
He refueled the John Deere, equipped with a twin-cylinder, 29-horsepower gasoline engine. The tractor has a long pedigree, according to St. Pierre.
He explained that “this tractor originally came from Canada.” Owned by a St. George, Quebec farmer, the John Deere was sold after the man’s death to a Turner resident. The tractor remained stored in a barn for 15 years; St, Pierre understood that the tractor had not been run during that time.
He acquired the John Deere last year. “I took it home on a trailer and fixed it up, cleaned the carburetor out, put in a new 6-volt battery, and she started right up,” he said.
Just this morning the official temperature reading at Bangor International Airport had bottomed at minus 18 degrees before sunrise. St. Pierre, who keeps his tractor “in a cold storage shed,” wondered if the John Deere would start; it did.
Still sporting a bright Deere green-and-yellow paint scheme, the Model 40U is “a low crop tractor,” equipped with a front axle that can be widened or narrowed to accommodate the widths of various crop rows, St. Pierre said.
“It’s my toy,” he said with a big grin on his face. “I’ve got five acres, and I like to ride around on the back property.”
The engine putt-putt-putted as St. Pierre talked about the tractor. “I just love the sound of these things, the twin cylinders,” he said. “It’s like music to me.”