Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fog Descending On Swamp Maples

fog on maplesIn the Northern Forest, the edge of autumn feels like no other time of year. The cool nights and warm afternoons call mid-May to mind, but the dawn woods are quiet and splashed with yellow and red. As the days teeter between summer and fall, I wonder if they belong to either of these seasons or to a season all their own.

Although our four-season calendar makes perfect astronomical sense, its simplicity masks the constant change of the northern year. In a 1991 New York Times essay, W. D. Wetherell offered a more nuanced approach to classifying seasons, describing springtime in the Connecticut River Valley as a progression of four phases: “the start of Red Sox coverage in the newspapers; maple syrup season; the day the ice disappears on the lakes; [and] the smelt run.” But he also acknowledged the competing chronology of cabin fever, mud season, and black fly season. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Clarkie: The Life of a Northeastern Black Bear

Black Bear and CubsLast week, a black bear in a blaze orange collar showed up in our yard. Two cubs followed close behind. The sow paused to observe the house, then led her cubs up across our field and down into a small stand of apple trees beside the road. There the family feasted on piles of old apples lying in the grass. They appeared to take a methodical approach, working their way from one tree to the next.

Inside our house, the scene was not nearly as calm. There were rushed attempts at photography, foiled by warped window glass. There was my two-year-old son, precariously balanced on the back of a chair by the window, shrieking “BEAR” and occasionally, “SHOES” – his way of demanding to go outside. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Amy Ivy: The Last of the Fall Chores


unnamedWe had such a long spell of nice weather this fall that I should have no excuse for not having gotten all my fall outdoor chores finished by now. But I suspect I’m not the only one with a few more to-do items on my list. Here are some tips and suggestions:

We are at the very end of the limit for getting spring flowering bulbs planted. Check your sheds and closets for any lingering bulbs that you bought earlier but still haven’t gotten in the ground. I have a little more garlic to plant as well. It’s late, but I’m optimistic the bulbs will have time to root in before winter. Dig up any tender bulbs that can’t survive the winter. This includes gladioulus, canna lilies and dahlias. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Preparing For Winter: Chipmunk Game Theory 101

chipmunkTwo chipmunks vie for seeds on our front lawn. One lives directly underneath the bird feeder. Another hails from the far side of the house, address unknown.

The chipmunks appear identical to me: same size, same stripes. Same interests, namely seed hoarding, aggressive chittering, jumping into the bushes and back out again, and brazen stiff-tailed standoffs with the dog.

However, some aspects of these chipmunks’ behavior are probably distinctive. Experiments have demonstrated that a chipmunks’ choosiness about what food they collect, how fully they stuff their cheek pouches, and even how quickly they stuff food in there all relate to the distance between a foraging site and a home burrow. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Adirondack Amphibians: The Tadpoles of Winter

tadpolesFall is in full swing: foggy mornings, cold rains, and falling leaves. Time to talk about…tadpoles!? That’s right, while we may be accustomed to discussing tadpoles in spring and summer, they’re still around and they’re gearing up for winter.

Imagine your local pond. Under a slate gray autumn sky, the pond is mostly quiet. Only an occasional peep (called the “fall echo”) escapes from the reeds, where previously an amphibian chorus declared its presence. Yet despite the chill and silence, frog life continues. Most of the summer’s broods hopped onto land at least a month ago. Others will hibernate in the coming months as polliwogs.

So how do tadpoles “decide” when to change into frogs? And why do some of them stay in tadpole form all winter? » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Adirondack Moose and Winter Ticks

Moose Calf Suffering from Tick InfestationLast week, an article appeared in the Science Section of the New York Times exploring the decline in the moose population in many sections of North America. While several potential causes for this widespread die-off were cited, much attention was given to the role of the winter tick in impacting the health and well being of this large, hoofed mammal.

As a rule, ticks are not considered to be a serious problem in the Adirondacks, especially in the more mountainous areas of the Park. However, the thought of a devastating tick infestation developing across our region is unsettling to outdoor enthusiasts that prefer to hike, camp and explore when the weather is cool. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Mouse In The Outhouse

Fall ColorsWinter is approaching, and rather more quickly than I would really like.  Sure, I’ve got the new stove and a shed chock full of dry hardwood, but I have to admit that I’ve really enjoyed our summer-like fall.  “They” are calling for snow next week, but we’ll see what happens.

I had an inkling that this was coming anyway.  Yes, I know that it’s October and that it’s a reasonable assumption to think that we’ll be getting snow soon.  But last Friday, I got home from work and opened the front door.  I let Pico and the cats out to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.  But when I went inside the cabin, I found a sight that told me winter was right around the corner. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Prep Raised Beds Now for 2014 Spring Planting


5554AmyIvyRaisedBed3004Raised beds are a great way to grow, and now is the ideal time to get them set up so you’ll be ready to plant early next spring. If you’re new to gardening, start with just one, you’ll be amazed by how much it will produce, and how much easier it is to manage.

There are many ways to build raised beds, so let’s cover some basics that you can adapt to suit your own site and needs. Gardening in raised beds lets you concentrate your efforts into a smaller area that makes weeding, watering, and tending a lot easier.

An ideal size is 3-4 feet wide by 8 feet long. You don’t want to walk in these beds, so this size is easy to reach across and walk around. The sides are made with 2×6” or better yet, 2×8” lumber.  White cedar and hemlock are preferred since they are slower to rot, but they may be hard to find. Rough-cut pine is your next best choice, but if all you can find is common pine that’s okay, it just won’t last as long. Use wood screws to build a simple box. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gabriels: The Great Adirondack Corn Maze

I am not one that searches out various ways to be frightened. I have to dial down my 10-year-old’s enthusiastic Halloween decorating, not for lack of creativity, but because I don’t want to be terrified entering my own house.

I’ll compromise with a few fake spider webs draped across the porch because we more often than not have the real thing hanging around anyway. As far as activities go, the Great Adirondack Corn Maze in Gabriels manages to thrill all ages and fear levels of my family. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Wildlife Architecture: Building A Beaver Lodge

Beaver_lodgeAll mammals that employ the use of a shelter in winter instinctively attempt to find a place completely hidden from the view of humans for their home, except for one. When the time comes in late summer or early autumn for establishing a protective enclosure for the coming season of cold, ice and snow, only the beaver places its residence in a spot that can be readily noticed by a person passing through the area.

When hiking, canoeing, biking or driving past a stretch of quiet water, you can often see a sizeable, cone-shaped mound of sticks packed with mud jutting well above the water’s surface. This is the temporary, winter residence of a family of beaver which provides these flat-tailed creatures with shelter from the cold, and protection against their few natural enemies. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Feathered Whirlwinds: Swallow Flock Migration

migrationWhirlwinds of feathered bodies, iridescent beetle-blue on top and snowy below, are touching down all along the eastern seaboard.   Flocks move in a loose collection of tumbles and dives, sweeping across fields and swamps. They pepper the sky, often collecting over bodies of water to skim for insects and catch a drink. As the sun sets, the scattered birds pull together, gathering like a slow-building storm.

At the peak of migration, flocks of tree swallows can contain hundreds of thousands of birds. Doppler weather radar – yes, weather radar – has revealed that staging points are relatively evenly spaced, almost always 62 to 93 miles apart. Migration flows down the eastern seaboard in a multi-month game of hopscotch as the birds make (comparatively) leisurely stopovers one roost after another. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cabin Life: Summer Accomplishments

The ScytheI’m sitting at the table on Saturday morning, looking out the big window at the layer of frost covering everything.  The car has a white windshield and the chicken coop has a good layer of frozen dew on it as well.  I guess now that it’s September, there are going to be more and more days like this.

Now that fall is almost here, I’ve been thinking back on the summer.  At the beginning, I was worried that this would be the summer that never was, what with snow until early June and then nothing but rain for quite a while too.  Then there was the heat wave, followed by more rain.  August was nice though.  It was hot but not crazy hot, with some rain here and there.  Of course, it rained almost exclusively on my days off each week, but what can you do? » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adirondack Wildlife: The Black-Capped Chickadee

Black Capped ChicadeeAs many birds prepare to abandon their summer ranges during the coming weeks and months, others are altering their routine to allow them to better survive winter in the Adirondacks. The regular appearance of numerous, year-round avian residents around homes and camps suggests that the behaviors of these hardy species do not change from one season to another.

However, following the end of the nesting season, many of these permanent members of our wildlife community subtly change their routine to improve their chances of finding food and avoiding danger. Among the birds that experiences a shift in behavior from their nesting season to this non-breeding period is the black-capped chickadee, a friendly and perky bird that almost everyone recognizes in appearance and song. » Continue Reading.