Last week’s snowstorms had most of us feeling as if winter would never end. This late winter has affected our dispositions, making us glum. But now with what we hope will be a true beginning of spring, we can all begin to feel better about things.

If there is any silver lining to the black clouds of lingering winter, it is that just perhaps, the late snows will help to cut down on the tick population. When ticks fall off their host preparatory to mating, so I read this correctly, they will die if they fall on snow-covered ground. And this year the ground was certainly snow covered. So let’s hope for fewer ticks this season.

Also, for the last several years, Midcoast Maine saw drought conditions in summer and lasting into fall. But throughout the winter, rain would follow snow and this allowed moisture to seep in the ground, adding to the water table. So perhaps we won’t see drought conditions this summer. At any rate, it’s always better to look at the positive side of things.

Under the feeder

Prior to last week’s snowstorms, robins had returned to Maine in droves. And then it snowed and the poor birds were dumbfounded. I watched as robins hopped along on top of the snow, hunting in vain for something to eat. They even scratched around beneath my suet feeder, pecking for crumbs that other birds had missed. Nature can be cruel and there’s no way around that. But all the same, I often feel sorry for wild critters that have to contend with such adverse conditions.

Besides robins, I had a report, again pre-snowstorms, of woodcock returning. Woodcock live almost entirely on earthworms and need thawed ground to find their prey. They will take insects, but right now pickings are slim. Hopefully these early arriving woodcock will make it through.

One tough bird

Cliff Mink of East Waldo Road dropped by with in interesting tale. For the past four years, a crow with a physical handicap has visited Cliff’s place.

This crow, while not quite one-legged, may as well be, since one of its legs never touches the ground. So instead of walking this crow hops. Cliff described the antics this crow goes through as it stands on a seed-feeding platform and tries to scrape seeds toward it. The crow eventually succeeds, but has to work hard for its bounty.

The crow is back at Cliff’s place this year but that’s not all. While at Belfast McDonald’s, cliff noticed a familiar-looking crow that stood on one leg. It seems reasonable to presume that this was the same crow that visits the Mink place.

So here’s to a tough, perhaps even heroic, corvid, the (almost) one-legged crow of Waldo.

Gas reminder

In another week or so homeowners will take to doing outside chores and, for many, that includes the use of gasoline-powered tools. But before filling that mower or tiller, remember that Ethanol in gasoline does terrible things to fuel lines and carburetors. Because of that, some outlets have taken to selling Ethanol-free gas.

Fortunately for Waldo residents, Matt Weaver offers Ethanol-free gas at Weaver’s Roadside Variety. This gas costs a bit more than Ethanol-containing gas, but the slight extra cost is well worth it, especially considering that using Ethanol-free gas will cut down on expensive trips to the small engine shop.

While on the topic of power tools, I recently bought an electric chainsaw. This will save me from having to deal with mixing gas and oil, and while electric saws don’t have the gusto that larger, gas-operated saws have, they are fine for light to medium work. For me, the fewer gas cans around, the better.

Book debut

My new book, “Getting Your Big Fish – Trolling Maine Waters,” is almost ready for the printer, so I’m told. The book will be released some time in May and when that happens I’ll note it here in this column.

For those new to trolling, this book will be a great help, since it gives explicit instructions as to how, when and where to go trolling for big trout and salmon. I wish I had had something like this in my early years.

Weekly quote

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” — From Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare