The villain raiding our suet feeder

I thought I was done with winter feeding of woodpeckers, grackles, and even crows, but all the action around the suet had me continue well into spring, allowing us to watch closely from the kitchen table. And then the holder started appearing open and empty.

I doubted that deer were doing it again, since the tube feeder next to it was still full. Deer, as I’ve discovered, detest a hint of cumin there, so the main birdfeeder’s gone pester-free for months.

Finally, I nailed the culprit, a raven that’s learned to pop the holder open, spilling the block of suet to the ground.

Well, this has given me a good way to get a close look at the large shiny-almost blue black bird, skittish though it may be. I keep thinking male?

The species is more imposing and beautiful than a crow. Somehow, I’m guessing it would take pride in being labeled a villain. Crows seem sociable by comparison.

Does Poe really sway our thinking here?

Pennamaquan falls and fish ladder

During their three-week run each year, 30,000 alewives a day press up this fast-moving fish ladder beside the small dam and waterfalls on their way to breeding grounds upstream.
The current is strong but the six-inch fish are stronger.
The added touch of the birdhouse makes me smile.
The Pembroke United Methodist Church overlooks the lake just above the dam, with some much bigger ones miles ahead.

Deer are everywhere in this city

Eastport is a city, after all, and many of the homes are packed in close together. Not that it matters to our local wildlife.

Here’s one in our driveway.
And crossing over to our neighbors.
They frequent a large lawn overlooking Shackford Cove and the sea.
This yard’s only a few blocks from downtown.
And these critters are just a block from the Breakwater.

They’re so much a part of the place they even have their own Facebook page, Deer Eastport, and it is very active.

No matter how cute, though, they’re a gardening challenge. As are the raccoons.

 

Why L.L. Bean started making all those kayaks, canoes, and duck boots

Maine is bigger than you’d think, and half of it is still unpopulated.

In fact, the easternmost county in the USA is more than twice the size of Rhode Island or New York’s Long Island – or, if you prefer, bigger than the two of them put together. And it’s merely half of Downeast Maine, with Hancock County comprising most of the western flank.

Washington County, aka “Sunrise County,” has a population of only 32,000 – about the size of Juneau or Fairbanks, Alaska, or Dover, New Hampshire, my home of the previous 21 years. You know, the one I repeatedly referred to as a small city. My, how my perspective’s changing!

Most Downeast folks live near the rugged coastline, with the largest municipality in Washington County being Calais, the connection to mainland Canada, followed by Machias-East Machias, Eastport, Lubec, and Jonesport.

The four largest public high schools have about a hundred graduates a year – combined.

One of the many streams and wetlands.

There are many reasons Downeast reminds me of the Far West, though it’s generally much wetter. In fact, 21 percent of the county is covered with water, much of it as big ponds running along the valleys between the low-elevation mountains. Many of these often island-specked bodies extend two to five miles in length and at least a mile across. And that’s before getting to the bogs and fens or wild rivers and tide meadows or marshes and swamps or prolific beaver ponds. The technical definitions vary, depending perhaps on how wet your shoes get. Quibble as folks might, the northern half of the county seems to be more lakes and wetlands than solid ground. I’m not sure if the Atlantic bays and coves even count in this tally. Quite simply, we’re surrounded by a lot of liquid, so watch where you step.

Lake Meddybemps

What also strikes me is how little development rings the shoreline of the lakes. Many have only a few “camps,” as we New Englanders call the cabins, trailers, or cottages and their docks, with the remainder in full, unspoiled forest. Make a bid, if you must.

It does make for a lot of unspoiled tranquility, for those who are so inclined, if you can deal with black flies and mosquitos. Moose often come as a bonus.

Often you’ll even see a beaver lodge.

Sandals on men

When you see sandals on an American man, thank a beatnik.

In the 1950s, it would have been nearly unthinkable for a man to dress that comfortably.

Really, we were that uptight.

Now?

They’re everywhere.

At least in summer.

Remember, where I live, we get snow – lots of it, some years.

Can’t blame a beatnik for that.

Ten reasons I love my electric lawnmower

  1. Starts easily. Just push a button rather than trying to yank that cord.
  2. There’s no cord to break. (Ever had that happen?)
  3. I don’t have to buy gasoline.
  4. It’s far less polluting. Lawnmower emissions are notorious.
  5. It’s quiet. I won’t wake the neighbors.
  6. Lightweight and easy to maneuver.
  7. And it folds up easily, for storage or transportation.
  8. If it needs to go in the car, there’s no gasoline to spill.
  9. Never needs sharpening. The blades are designed with rounded edges. For that matter, there’s no annual tune-up.
  10. The rechargeable battery also fits my weed whacker and other yard gadgets I’ll likely be adding. I’ve heard some good things about the chainsaw.

 

Anyone else running on rechargeable batteries?