October to November

IMG_2871Fall lingers. We had expected a more abrupt transition to wintry weather. Instead, our weather has been entertainingly variable–frosty and winter-like for a day or two, followed by stretches of balmy weather, then slow drizzle, with two wild days of high winds that stripped most leaves from the trees.IMG_3240

Except for the oaks. IMG_3208Their leaves turned well after the maples and, even though it’s November, continue to glow with yellow, rust, and reddish brown. IMG_2878Likewise, the blueberry fields remain brilliant, startling flashes of red on the hillsides.

Blueberry fields and stonewalls.  Iconic Maine.

Blueberry fields and stonewalls. Iconic Maine.

October gave us spectacular sunrises, with cold night air creating dense fog over the lakes and river below us. IMG_3078The fog beautifully dissipated into rising mist as the morning air warmed. IMG_3081Moonrises and sunsets were equally dramatic. IMG_2924IMG_3098As the leaves have fallen, we have even more sky to watch.IMG_3431Our normal quiet has been broken by the seasonal sounds of chainsaws, gunshots, and coyotes. Hunting season is underway and this past week we have woken to middle-of-the-night frenzied coyote howls. We have not seen our fox family in several months and suspect that the coyotes have moved in on their territory. I hope not. We miss the foxes.

Our local wild turkey flock seems to be dodging the hunters and coyotes. We have watched the young birds grow up this summer. Here they are in late August, when they first started coming by. IMG_1384By September 18, the young ones were about three-quarters grown.  IMG_1620Now, they are adult-sized (and still shy and hard to photograph).  IMG_3269Over time the flock gradually decreased in numbers but they have survived pretty well and make quite an impressive crew now that they are all full grown.

Our other bird visitors have increased as fall berries have ripened.IMG_3131 IMG_3235Berries, wild and domestic, abound here–currants, cranberries, honeysuckle, winterberries … the list goes on.

This cotoneaster isn't wild, but planted in our yard.

This cotoneaster isn’t wild, but adds color to the rocks along our yard.

To the dismay of our regular bird visitors, the berries attract flocks of robins, starlings, and grackles that noisily descend, feed, and leave.IMG_3115IMG_3142IMG_3156_edited-1I love the berry colors, especially bittersweet, which is an invasive, strangling vine, hated by many. IMG_3170I also am transfixed by milkweed seeds emerging from the pods and drifting on the wind. IMG_3351I even picked a pod I especially liked that was at an angle I couldn’t photograph and propped it up on a stump to get a shot.

Milkweed posing on stump.

Milkweed posing on stump.

I’m sure the local driving by thought I was raving mad.

Here's the same stump, lower down, with an old electric fence insulator embedded like an eye.

Here’s the same stump, lower down, with an old electric fence insulator embedded like an eye.

Aside from appreciating our first Maine October, we’ve been busy putting the garden to bed and clearing land for our spring orchard and garden plantings. Fortunately, we have our new tractor!IMG_2764

More on the fall work in a later post.

Happy November.IMG_3168

38 thoughts on “October to November

    • Thanks neighbor! The shot of the currants is one of my favorites. They were so exquisite glowing in the sun. We LOVE the tractor. And that reminds me, we successfully sold the trailer. I’ll send you an email with details.

  1. Great shots of Maine and your local area. Your last photo especially was fantastic. Since you have set up your new home have you had any urges that you were back on the road?

    • Thanks Steve. Zoe always photographs well! So far, we’ve had no urge to be back on the road. You know, for all of the great things about RVing, there are matching drawbacks: there is little privacy in campgrounds; some RVers are less than pleasant; you use a lot of (sometimes disgusting) public restrooms and showers; if the weather is cold or wet, you are stuck inside a small space for extended periods; it can be hard to find fresh, healthy food in the back-of-beyond; there are lots of activities and hobbies that you cannot do; and, if you have a dog (or several hounds), there are lots of places you cannot go. After a year on the road, we were ecstatic to have our own, private bit of land where we can indulge in a huge variety of interests, take long hot showers, cook absolutely anything, and be part of a real and varied community. We still are. I expect that we will get the itch to hit the road in another year or so. In fact, we plan on a road trip out west next year. But for now, we don’t miss it at all.

    • Zoe is happier than she has ever been. She enjoyed many things about traveling, but you can tell she delights in having her own territory again. When we are working outside, she loves to sit in the shade and just sniff the air and survey her domain. Now that we are getting cooler weather, it’s as if she’s shed about 5 years. She is NOT a hot weather dog.

  2. You’ve shared a stunning collection of shots. What a beautiful season! The colours of the foliage and the misty scenery are very appealing. I also love taking pics of milkweed and one of those people looked on as a little nuts because of it. 😉

    • Thank you Jane. The autumn here in Maine has been stunning–full of color and life. And it just keeps going and going. We’re not sure what to expect of winter, last year was brutal. Hoping this year will be more mild.

  3. This has been an exceptionally beautiful fall and a very gentle transition to November (which is many people’s least favorite month in Maine). I’ve been struck by the vivid hues of the oak and beech foliage this year.

    • It has been a wonderful introduction to a Maine autumn for us, but we realize that it won’t always be this way! The oaks have been a real surprise. They seemed to start out a dull brownish shade and then morphed into spectacular gold, red, and orange. So lovely.

  4. Glorious photos of a wonderful fall! Zooey also looks to be enjoying staying put in a phenomenal place. Sorry about the hunters. An interesting PBS special for you to watch, if you have TV: meet the coy wolves. Apparently wolves and coyotes have interbred, beginning in Canada, but they have moved as far south as New York and into Chicago. They are larger than coyotes, with bigger teeth, jaws, head, tails and extremely intelligent.

    • Actually, the hunters haven’t been intrusive at all. Thanks for the heads up on the PBS show. We definitely will watch it because our “coyotes” are coy wolves and we’d love to learn more about them. Such a crescendo of yips and howls in the middle of night–it’s chilling when close to home. I do fear they’ve taken out our fox family. They had better stay away from Zoe! Happy November Cuz.

      • These coy wolves mate for life and are extremely good about not being found. They are beautiful creatures…much more beautiful than coyotes. Hope you enjoy the program, and happy fall to the three of you. We actually got 4 tenths of an inch of rain and the weather is spectacular. 40s at night, but low 70s during the day. My tomatoes are about finished, but my lemons and persimmons are coming in now. XoxoArlene

  5. I’ve never seen so many turkeys in one place before. I live in Massachusetts, and I probably have seen four turkeys in one place.

    • It was a new experience for us, too. When we first saw them this summer, there were about 4 or 5 adults and 25 young ones. Soon after, they seemed to split into two groups. The numbers in each group slowly dwindled over the summer, but two days ago I saw the combined tribe again in a harvested butternut squash field. There were about 30 turkeys altogether. Crazy. I have heard that your Massachusetts turkeys can be pretty bold and unafraid of people. These are extremely shy and wary. Even if I quietly open the door they will scoot, so I had to take the photos through the windows.

  6. Beautifully written and photographed! Starlings and Grackles (and English Sparrows) are among the banes of my existence. The robins, though, I like. Love all your red berries – here they quickly disappear.

    • Thank you. My mother, a life-long birder, absolutely despised Starlings, Grackles, and English Sparrows–nasty invasive species crowding our her lovelies. After she had a stroke a few years ago, her vocabulary was limited, but when she saw any of those (or vultures), she would mutter, “junk.”

    • It really has been an exquisite, slowly-unwinding autumn. Zoe has always been a happy dog, but she just radiates contentment here. It’s kind of a doggy wonderland. Even the coyotes think so! We haven’t seen them yet, so are not sure how close they are. The howling sounded very close for a time, but lately we haven’t heard them.

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