Your yard is part of the natural landscape and can offer food and cover for insects, mammals, and birds. Leaving the leaves where they fall adds nutrients back to the soil and provides great cover for insects seeking shelter from the cold and snow.
The leaf litter also provides an extra layer of insulation and protection for native, ground and cavity nesting bees and wasps. Some native butterflies and moths have even adapted their chrysalis to mimic the look of dead leaves and seeds. They will overwinter in the leaf litter and hatch in early spring, providing pollination services for early blooming flowers. » Continue Reading.
Where I live, autumn typically starts in late August, when pockets of red maples start to turn scarlet around the marshes and lakes. Uh oh. As they say in Westeros, “winter is coming.”
But not before we get to enjoy fall. Yes, a Northeastern autumn is a postcard cliché. Yes, the tour buses and land yachts full of leaf peepers clog the roads. But, really, who can blame them? No matter how many you’ve seen, fall in the Northeast is still one of nature’s most awesome spectacles.
The leaves have begun changing and are expected to change dramatically over the next several weeks. Autumn leaf color is already happening at higher elevation areas of the central Adirondacks. Color will broadly widen through the rest of the Adirondack Park in the next few weeks, ending along the Lake George and Lake Champlain valleys.
If driving on busy roads, do not slow down to look at the leaves. This is unsafe for traffic behind you. Find a safe pull over to view the leaves.
If you are headed into the woods or onto the waters, help protect the Adirondacks by learning and practicing the seven Leave No Trace principles.
Gore Mountain’s 2018 Harvest Fest has been set for October 6-7, and will display an array of premier Adirondack artisans, peak scenic foliage views, autumn-themed food and drink, and a wide variety of recreational activities. There is live music and free admission for all.
Harvest Fest presents an Adirondack slope-side shopping village of 90+ artists featuring: handcrafted items such as furniture made of locally reclaimed wood; NYS wines and spirits; up-cycled book origami; original paintings and photography; all-natural bath and beauty products; Adirondack decor and primitives; hand-painted fabrics, knit scarves and accessories; handmade jewelry and pottery; locally produced specialty foods and more. » Continue Reading.
Seems like competitiveness may be part of human DNA. But it does not always pay to be first.
No prize awaits the fastest car that passes a radar patrol, or the first person to come down with the flu at the office. And for trees, the first ones to turn color in autumn are not envied by their peers. If trees experience envy, which no one knows. The first trees to show orange and red and drop their leaves are telling us to get quotes from a tree-removal company, because they are not going to last.
The reason that some trees turn color ahead of their compatriots has to do with their balance sheets. Trees are meticulous accountants, and tend to be good savers that never live beyond their means. When it’s no longer profitable to operate, they start closing down for the season. » Continue Reading.
In 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.
Last 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.
We 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.
Two 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.
Fall 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.
Last 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.
Winter 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.
Raised 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.
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.
All 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.
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