I spoke with Town Clerk Sandra Smith this week and she shared some great information about this year’s election. She said there were 507 ballots cast in total, which is almost 60% of our population. It was noticeably higher than the previous gubernatorial year, which saw 410 ballots cast. This year there were 194 absentee ballots, which is more than the usual 75-90.

Sandra noted that in-person voting went well; there was no pile-up of people and everyone moved through nicely. Occasionally someone would question whether ballots were secure and how they could be sure, but most people thanked the election staff and Sandra for their service.

Sandra has over 20 years of experience running elections here as our clerk, and we are lucky to have someone with that much experience, especially this year. I echo those who voiced their thanks. Lastly, the town used an electronic tabulator this year and therefore folks didn’t have to stay at the Town Office until 1 a.m. counting ballots!

While many of us are still hoping for meat in the freezer, Jennifer Hill told me they have come to enjoy the deer family “sharing” their garden this year, and hope the deer avoid the pressures of the season so they can continue to observe them. I told her I would send the deer eating our kale her way!

In our own wildlife observations, we are filling our bird feeders again and it has brought some new-to-us birds we’re excited to see. A few years ago we bought one of those feeders that attaches to the window so you can see the birds up close. We got it for our cat so she would have something to entertain her while we were traveling. Now it’s also fun for the baby to see the birds come and go.

This week we had a flock of evening grosbeaks. We also had a red-bellied woodpecker, which is my new favorite; they have distinct red caps. They’ve been at the corn cobs in the compost.

If you’re interested in identifying more birds in your yard, I highly recommend the Merlin bird app that Cornell Lab of Ornithology puts out. It’s very easy to use. They also have a great e-newsletter.

Were there ever a year to think of those who may be less fortunate, it is 2020. There are many ways to support folks locally, whether it is through a program like Waldo County Bounty, dropping off a meal for someone, or checking in via call or text with those who might not be able to join loved ones.

Just because our gatherings will be small this year doesn’t mean we have less to be grateful. While most of us no longer celebrate Thanksgiving for its historical origins, we do gather to give thanks for what we have and appreciate the love and family that surround us. Best wishes to you and yours as this festive season kicks off.