Despite the excellent job the town did on grading our dirt roads, frequent rains coupled with increased traffic and a near-constant stream of heavy trucks hauling hay and driving way too fast on East Waldo Road have undone all the good work. Potholes have returned, big-time, and things are back to “normal” once again. Were it not for this ill-treatment of gravel surfaces, we could have gone into winter with nice, smooth roads.

Under the feeder

But with bad news comes good news too. Some birds not seen since last winter have returned to my suet feeder. Northern cardinals and tufted titmice have once again become regular visitors.

My knowledge of titmice could fit in a thimble, since these adorable songbirds have only recently made their way to Waldo, Maine. Titmice disappeared from my place last spring when I stopped setting out suet. And all summer, I wondered where they went. Well, it appears as though they didn’t go far at all, since they showed up the day after I first set out a batch of suet.

Cardinals, though, were infrequent visitors throughout the summer. An adult pair, male and female, presumably the same pair that entertained me last winter, are in evidence every day now. But I wonder if this pair had a brood of chicks and if so, where are they?

Truckin’ Tom

My car lease expired this month and consequently, I leased another new vehicle, this time a Chevy Trax, an all-wheel-drive, compact SUV, from Dutch Chevrolet in Belfast. This comfortable, well-made vehicle ranks as my first SUV and thus far it has exceeded my expectations. The only negative aspect of the whole thing is the outrageous cost of registering a new vehicle. Now I know why people having dual residence in Maine and Florida choose to register their vehicles in Florida. By doing so they avoid the usurious Maine excise tax. Can anyone blame them?

Pa’tridge prediction

As of yet I haven’t heard a single gunshot, meaning that deer hunting isn’t all that red-hot right now. Warm, rainy weather tends to keep the animals bedded down and pretty much unavailable to hunters.

So instead of rolling out of bed at dawn to go deer hunting, I’ll sleep in and perhaps later, visit Weaver’s Roadside Variety on Route 137 to partake of their excellent breakfast menu. Matthew Weaver has done an excellent job and his presence is an asset to our small town. Heat up the coffee, Matt, ’cause I’m headed over.

In the garden

Our unusually warm November sees some garden veggies making a desperate last stand. Volunteer lettuce has sprung up, the result of self-seeding of open-pollinated varieties. And only last week I finally got my garlic in the ground. If you have yet to plant your garlic, don’t worry because it will do fine, as long as you get it in before the ground freezes.

Weekly quote

From “Autumn,” by Carol L. Riser:

“When the squirrels hide their acorns

And the woodchucks disappear;

Then we know it is autumn,

Loveliest season of the year.”