What a long, slow, delicious fall we’ve been having. The autumn colors have been beautiful, too. Last week I took some pictures of shrubs changing color in the nursery. This is Rhus aromatica. (Gro-low sumac)
We haven’t seen a hummingbird for four days. They started flying south around Labor Day, and for a while we’d see just two or three a day at the feeder. On September 10, we had only one hummer here (picture below) and we thought it was almost over, but then more stopped in and we were still seeing two or three a day until Sept 24.
Now the hummingbirds really seem to have deserted us, and the feeders are covered with honeybees. I’m sort of surprised, because that hasn’t happened here before. We’ve had ants, of course, and even hornets attracted to the feeders, but never honeybees. I was puzzled, but then read that the bees are collecting the sugar water to convert to honey to survive the winter. I had no idea that honeybees could convert sugar water to honey, but it turns out they can. Not only that, beekeepers will feed them sugar water on warm days in the winter to help them make it through until spring. I wonder if the bees swarming the feeders means anything about the harshness of the coming winter.
Our apple tree (30 years old and counting) has quite a few apples on it. They are always late to ripen, and seem to taste better after a few cold nights. If we get the frost midweek, that they’re predicting, Thursday might be the day to pick them all. I’m tempted to do it today before some critter finds them, but unlike our grapes, the apples have been ignored by the raccoons and bears. I know many of our neighbors have a problem with bears in their apple trees, but so far we’ve lucked out. Maybe Xander, the dog, is more of a deterrent than he seems.
Xander with Halloween toy.
I always tell people to bring their tender plants inside by mid-September (or earlier, depending on elevation) but I’m better at giving advice than following it. I still have a couple of pelargoniums outside, and some tender succulents that need to be protected from frost. That’s on my list of things to do today. No more procrastinating!
In early August I decided to plant some vegetables for fall and winter harvest. I had such good luck with my container peas that I decided to do them again this fall. And I was really disgusted with the price of potatoes in the summer so I planted an old wooden box with potatoes. I only put in two potatoes, so I doubt I will be able to harvest much. It didn’t cost me anything to do it, except some time. I used a couple of potatoes that were sprouting in my cupboard, and compost for soil. I’ve been mulching them with straw.
Potato plant breaking the soil surface on August 8
And this is what it looks like today, less than two months later.
The sunrise this morning was gorgeous. I caught it just after its peak, but I think it’s still pretty. Two minutes before I grabbed my camera, it was red! I grew up hearing my grandparents say “Red sky at morning, sailor take warning,” so I always expect some sort of exciting weather event when the sunrise is this showy. My grandpa was born in Bangor, Maine, and I guess he had some experience with the sea, although by the time I knew him he was landlocked in the Midwest.
Oh, and two more pictures. Yesterday we had help from friends with our prairie restoration project. This is an area that had been nothing but weeds, and we’re replanting it to native grasses. Now all we need are a couple of bison.