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As of May 3, while I write this column, snow and ice remain in the woods near my place. Neither is a welcome sight and that, coupled with near-constant cold, clouds and rain, make this the “spring that never was.”

Maine had a summer like that back in 1814. We had a frost every month throughout the summer. Crops failed and a large percentage of the population pulled up stakes and headed west. It can happen again, too. After reading Gregory Wrighttestone’s book, “Inconvenient Facts,” my concern has risen. The current geological period has the lowest CO2 levels in the history of the earth, which brings a threat of global cooling.

Also, each of the past four interglacial periods was significantly warmer than our current temperature. Interglacials typically last between 10,000 and 15,000 years. Ours is 11,000 years old. So things could change any time now and potentially plunge us back into another extra-cold period.

The long and short of it is that we should be grateful for what warmth we have, since things could change for the worse at a moment’s notice. The old saying about Maine having two seasons, winter and Fourth of July, may become reality.

Under the feeder

A flock of chipping sparrows has taken up residence at my feeder. I find these small but attractive birds hugely entertaining. And among the chipping sparrows are a few white-throated sparrows as well as song sparrows.

A pair of mourning doves also figures into the mix, along with cardinals, chickadees, jays and nuthatches. Also, robins are out catching earthworms and phoebes are much in evidence as they begin their nest-building. All in all, this makes for a great time to observe songbirds under the feeder.

Perchin’ prediction

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife has stocked a number of local waters with catchable-size trout. Also, salmon continue to bite on streamer flies and sewed smelts. In other words, fishing season is here in full force and it’s time to get out there and go for it.

Recyclables time change

Beginning this month, Waldo recyclables pickup will be on the last Tuesday of each month, so take note. Trash pickup continues on Mondays except for when Monday is a government holiday, in which case it will happen on Tuesdays. Got that? Now say it three times, fast.

Roadwork continues

The town has begun grading dirt roads, much to the relief of residents. East Waldo Road has yet to see the blade, perhaps because they like to save the worst for last. For my part, I am anxious to take my boat out trolling for salmon but don’t dare because the shaking might break my motor mount. It has happened before. This shaves several weeks off of the fishing season for me, but at least I’ve taken some trout from the brooks.

Much of the problem with our dirt roads is due to increased traffic. As more and more people move into our rural areas, pressure on unpaved roads increased incrementally. Also, many of these folks drive way too fast, thus adding to pothole problems. My thoughts are to post lowered speed limits on dirt roads. Most people won’t obey the law, but perhaps enough would to make at least a little difference.

In the years before the exurban boom, dirt roads were bad during mud season but after a grading, remained good the rest of the year. That is no longer the case, unfortunately.

Dandelion time

Finally, dandelions have become large enough to dig. This is several weeks late, but regarding dandelions, better late than never. For my take on dandelions on your lawn, see this week’s From The Ground Up column in this issue of the Journal.

Weekly quote

“Warmer weather means many fewer temperature-related deaths.” — Gregory Wrightstone