Sunrise, Sunset

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As if to compensate for the fading leaves, our late October skies exploded with color. Morning temperatures drew gauzy mists up from the lakes or created fog banks hunkering over the shore.

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The sky became a brilliant contrasting backdrop to the mist and fog, as the sun rolled up over the blue Camden hills.

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We have an unobstructed view of sunrise, but being on the southeast side of a ridge, do not see the sun drop under the horizon at sunset. No matter. We get a show just the same. As the old day heads toward nightfall, colors so extreme as to best be described as lurid or garish light up the western, then southern, then eastern skies. Honestly, this photo looks muted in comparison to the real thing.

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October’s variable weather, golden light, and temperature inversions contribute to these remarkable bookends on the day.

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Typical for this time of year, the weather has been fickle–summery one day, scudding clouds and rain the next, followed by a bit of frost and wintry air.

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The poor honey bees do not know whether to hunker down or get out and forage.

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There are still a few lingering flowers, but the bees go quickly from one to another, finding little on offer.

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Some are still bringing in pollen, however. I fed them sugar water for a few weeks to help them shore up their winter honey supply. I likely will slip in a fondant patty in a week or two, strap the hive down, build a straw-bale windbreak, and the bees will be on their own until early spring.

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Whether it is due to the bees’ pollination, the summer drought, or something else altogether, the fall berries are especially abundant this year.

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The milkweed is bursting out of its pods.

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The geese are migrating so high overhead that we can hear them well before they become visible.

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All kinds of mushrooms are springing up in the lawn after it rains, making me paranoid that Capp will eat some (he eats everything), vomit profusely, twitch a little, and promptly die.

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We continue to put the gardens to bed, and ready the orchard for winter.

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Capp helps cover the strawberries.

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The last of the carrots and beets.

I am absurdly proud of my little orchard nursery. All of the apple grafts that I clumsily attempted at the spring grafting workshop were successful and grew into impressive little apple trees.

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The grafted apples in May.

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The same grafted trees in October.

Next spring we will replant them in various places on the property. We will have more area cleared and ready for fruit trees, flowering shrubs, another vegetable bed, and a sitting area with some scattered perennial and annual flowers.

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Thanks to George’s hard work, the fence is almost finished. It looks like arms enfolding our garden and orchard.

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We still need to do some post leveling, attach the screen, and hang the gates. Once the fence is done, we will start looking for another dog to keep Capp company.

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It has been a busy fall, tempered and bounded by very bad and very good news from loved ones. Grief, happiness, and change all mixed up together. Bring on winter.

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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