I was thinking of Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game" today. The change of seasons has set in hard, finally. We had a stiff frost this morning, and a temperature of 26°F. It is definitely November in Pennsylvania.
After some other work, I got Thomas to work on mowing the lawn. Only...about ten minutes after he started, he comes in and tells me the mower quit and it's smoking. Damn. Burning oil? I go out...and the damned thing's still smoking, curling right up out of the spinner. WTF! I tried starting it, and it fired right up. Okay...and then smoke poured out. Dammit. I'm picturing buying a new mower, and this one only three years old, I was not a happy camper.
Then I stopped, and smelled the smoke. Smelled like autumn, like...burning leaves. "Thomas," I said, "we've got a mouse nest." Sure enough, once we got the plastic hood and the metal shroud off the engine, the space inside, up against the cylinder head, was stuffed with dry leaves, shreds of cardboard, and pine needles. The heat made it smolder. Half an hour later, he was mowing happily away -- well, I was happy -- and when he finished up, we went to Austrian Village for lunch (and a nice glass of DAB). A good fall day.