BELMONT, Maine — One minute, Mike Bahner of Bahner Farm was home alone, renovating the family bathroom. The next, after a piece of wood he was cutting bound in his table saw, the 33-year-old farmer’s right hand was jerked into the blade.

It happened in a split second, leaving Bahner’s thumb dangling by a small strip of skin and with his index finger also in bad shape after the saw cut through its tendons, nerves and arteries.

“It’s hard for me when I look into my memory to see what happened,” Bahner said of the Sunday, Jan. 23, accident. “It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Bahner drove himself to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, where he was soon put on a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter for a quick trip to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. There, he endured a seven-hour surgery to reattach the severed thumb and save his index finger. His wife and fellow farmer, Christa Bahner, got there as soon as she could to support Mike in his nearly weeklong hospital stay, during which time he had to stay in a room heated to 90 degrees to help his hand heal.

Meanwhile, back in Maine, the community leaped into action to help the family however they could. The Bahners are well known around Waldo County. They purchased their Belmont farm in 2009 and now grow about five acres of produce. They also have an active CSA program that supplies produce to many people in the area.

Customers and friends shared the news of the accident and volunteered to help care for Lizzie, who is nearly 5, and Nicky, who is 2 years old. A farmer friend set up an account to provide the family with home-cooked dinners through the website, and other handy folks figured out that the bathroom renovation still needed to get done. Prior to the accident, the Bahners moved into a friend’s condo while their plumbing was torn apart, and they need to move back to their 1840 farmhouse by March 1. So a diverse roster of people from professional carpenters to willing learners have stepped up to finish the job.

“It really is amazing how much friendship and love there is,” Mike Bahner said. “When people are willing to take time out of their day to help a little bit. We’ve been a little hesitant to accept the generosity. Our friends just tell us to shut up and take it. And we need help.”

Daisy Beal of Belfast said she started the online meal signup sheet because it seemed like the right thing to do.

“It’s what people do when somebody needs a hand,” she said. “It’s social, and it’s helpful, and everybody wants to be able to rely on the community when they need it. It’s a social insurance policy.”

So far, the meal calendar is filled up until the middle of March, with people volunteering to make such hearty dinners for the family as Yankee pot roast, chili and “Polish comfort food.” More than that, faraway friends clamored to do something to help, too, and have so far raised nearly $1,000 in donations for the family.

Tom and Annadeene Fowler of Belfast have helped out a little with child care. They also hired a local photographer to take family photos recently, and when it came time to pay the woman, she told them to tear up the check and instead send the money to the Bahners.

“I want to help them because they’re part of what provides for our community,” Tom Fowler said. “They provide food. And I know that running a small family farm is a lot of work. If there’s something we can do to help this along, they’ve earned it. They’ve helped us. And it also comes down to being friends and part of the community. It’s not just an exchange. It’s a community thing.”

Beal, who used to lead backpacking trips, said that whenever someone got injured or had a hard time on the trail, the answer was to take some of their weight.

“Meals are kind of like that,” she said. “Whatever the difficulty is, having someone else make you a home-cooked meal is going to help you out.”

Mike Bahner said that his prognosis is hopeful. Although his injured thumb and finger still “look like barbecued chicken” and hurt a lot, the doctors said the digits are alive and seem to be healing well. The right-handed Bahner said he’s probably going to have to learn to be left-handed, because the best-case scenario involves a loss of dexterity in his right hand. The surgeons fused his thumb and the middle knuckle was lost. Also, doctors told him it might be possible in the future to regenerate a biological joint for him to replace the lost knuckle.

“I think it’s a pretty cool prospect,” Mike Bahner said.

Since the accident, he’s learned that the table saw is probably the most dangerous power tool and that every eight minutes in the United States someone gets injured in a table saw accident. He also has realized that it is very important to use a push stick to safely feed wood to the saw blade.

The farmer said that he works with his hands, so he definitely needs to relearn how to do basic farm chores such as drive a tractor. For now he’s concentrating on doing the mobility exercises prescribed by his doctors, and helping his friends finish the renovation project however he can. Right now, that mostly involves simple tasks like sanding and painting wood.

“I’ve got to take it one day at a time,” Bahner said. “All things considered, we’re back to having a sense of normalcy, in large part because we have so many friends who are helping us out.”