Autumn brings with it a host of jobs and projects. My fall “to-do” agenda includes getting the rest of my firewood under cover (sound familiar?), at long last, having my driveway graded and installing a new patio door. This all must happen quickly, because snow and ice can arrive sooner than we might wish.

The part about grading the driveway comes as the most worrisome. I contracted with two different people over a two-year period, to have gravel hauled and then graded. Both said they would do the job, but in fact never meant to, putting me off and putting me off until it was too late.

But at least this year I succeeded in getting gravel hauled and spread. The hauler, not one of the two mentioned above, took pity on me and hauled the gravel. But the hauler’s dozer was out on another job and I feel fortunate just to finally, after two years, get the gravel delivered.

But the loosely spread gravel has turned the driveway into something resembling a roller coaster, with lumps and bumps galore. Fortunately, a friend has promised to come over and grade the driveway. With that accomplished, it will be a great load off my mind.

Gravel roads and driveways need constant maintenance. But contractors are so busy nowadays that getting someone to do a job is like pulling teeth without the benefit of Novocain. So if you can find someone who will, in fact, work on your driveway, don’t scrimp on gravel because it may be several years before you can find someone to haul more. Thus ends today’s lesson.

In the garden

I’m happily eating fresh green beans. While the beans in my garden beds are long gone, I planted some in an EarthBox back in July and they are coming ripe now. This somehow feels like cheating nature, but whatever we can do to benefit ourselves in this regard is certainly a good thing. Next year, God willing, I’ll plant two EarthBoxes' worth.

Did I mention last time that the hummingbirds have finally left? It’s sad to see them go. Also, the phoebes have left, and a good thing too. Phoebes nest in my little barn and roost on the phone wires outside, messing everything beneath them. They are a real nuisance and so their departure comes as good news for me.

Pa’tridge prediction

Game is hard to come by at the moment because the foliage still clings to trees and bushes. Another week or so should see things opening up.

Storm Central

Have any Waldo weather-watchers noticed that all the predicted, violent storms have missed us? Threats of dime-sized hail and 60-mph winds never materialized. Other towns got nailed but to my knowledge, Waldo escaped pretty well unscathed.

It’s tempting to hope that this trend continues all winter but in truth, we need a certain amount of snowfall in order to recharge the aquifers next spring. An open winter brings other problems as well. Without snow cover, frost can dive deep in the ground, freezing water pipes and killing shrubs and perennial flowers. Keep that in mind when blizzards howl. Perhaps it will help to endure another Maine winter.

Render to Caesar

Tax bills should arrive in Waldo mailboxes soon. So if you aren’t prepared to lay out your hard-won cash, better start saving now.

Weekly quote

Here’s a Scandinavian folk tale that I find interesting:

“High up in the North in the land called Svithjod, there stands a rock. It is a hundred miles high and a hundred miles wide. Once every thousand years, a little bird comes to this rock to sharpen its beak. When the rock has thus been worn away, then a single day of eternity will have gone by.”