Friends who have lived in the area for nearly 30 years have put a deposit on a place in the Southwest for the first three months of 2004. The wife says it’s not the cold, snow, sleet and ice she’s avoiding so much as listening to her husband’s complaints about it.

Ah, Vermont weather!

As I write this rain is coming down in sheets worthy of a scene from “The Perfect Storm” and we have no electricity. The falling leaves hurl by my window rather than drift, as in the song. Our little brook, as it has been doing all summer, roars torrentially rather than gurgling happily as befits its size.

These are the weekends when weddings, arts shows, crafts fairs, all take a chance that there will be deep blue skies and bright red foliage. If this weekend was their choice, they lost.

We can handle it; we’re used to it.

The leaf peepers will soon clog the highways, and that’s a good thing for the local economy. Plus it’s their antics that fuel local “flatlander” stories. Like the people who stopped one day in Newfane and asked, “Can you please tell us where we can view the leaves?” My sister once made a couple of bucks from a roadside stand where she sold “Native, organic leaves” for 50 cents apiece.

When Earl Morse was alive it was worth a visit to his store just to listen to him dealing with the tourists. He played Vermont “character” to the hilt. I think his customers went away happier only if they had been the target of one of his vintage insults. And there were usually some locals stifling giggles back by the Bisquick. It just isn’t the same without him.

I once saw a bright red Ferrari left on the grass parking area during the Newfane Heritage days. A bunch of people were standing around saying, “Wow! Look at the Ferrari!”

But these are truly beautiful days of the whole year when it’s not raining. The sunsets are more golden; the air is sweet smelling and wafty.  The frosty nip in the air is ever so much more beguiling in October than it is in April. Even the chore of getting in the wood has its appeal. A friend once remarked how much lighter is a stick of firewood in the gold of autumn than early spring when the weight of each piece strains at the back.

I used to thrill at the sound of the Canada geese suddenly appearing in the sky, honking like New York taxi drivers as they headed south. But they’ve lost a bit of the romance as they increased in number in recent years and their bathroom manners leave a lot to be desired.

It’s time to take down the screens and window boxes and maybe throw a little mulch on the garden. It’s time to clean the chimney; we learned that lesson the hard way many years ago, prompting a late night visit from the fire department. We’ll also put on snow tires before January. We’ll rake the leaves. I don’t really mean “we,” my husband does about 97 percent of the job.

The snow blower will get a tune up. To neglect that operation is to fly in the face of the weather gods. The last time we skipped it, there were record-breaking snowfalls.

It’s time for Sunday afternoon naps by the fire and maybe a football game if there isn’t a power outage. It’s time to make soups and apple pies.

It’s a great time of year.