Along with the crisp mornings and crimson colors that signal summer’s slide into fall, there are changes occurring in the forests that go mostly unnoticed. Among them is the dispersal of fisher kits from their mother’s territory into their own.
Little is known about the process of fisher families breaking apart, except that it generally starts in late summer or early autumn and unfolds gradually. » Continue Reading.
Oktupperfest originated at Big Tupper Ski Resort in the 1970s, and returned in 2011 after a 10-year hiatus. According to Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce Events Administrator Adam Baldwin, this annual event is family-friendly and fun for all ages.
Baldwin says, “Oktupperfest is a family oriented event filled with live music for everyone. There are tons of things to do. The chairlift is a one-way ride, but it isn’t a huge mountain so people can walk back down from the top. We gear the event toward families, not just kids. We have German food, vendors and kids games as well as adult activities such as the pumpkin slingshot.” » Continue Reading.
As a wee lad I was told a story wherein the bright summer sun would bleach pigment from clothes hung on the line, and save up the colors to paint on autumn leaves. Thinking back on that yarn it occurs to me that solar dryers (a.k.a. laundry lines) and fall leaf color change are similar in how they operate. They’re both elegant and cost-free, but their performance depends on the weather. » Continue Reading.
From the onset of November, periods of mild weather become fewer and further between; however, there are always occasions when hats and coats can be left in the closet, and the fire in the woodstove can be allowed to die out for a day or two.
It is during such balmy spells when several species of hardy moths take to the air and can be seen after dusk fluttering around a porch light or a window next to a lamp. These small, drab gray insects are all closely related, belonging to the Geometridae family of animals, and are best typified in the Adirondacks by the fall cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria). » Continue Reading.
Autumn is coming to a close. The brilliant fall foliage is past peak, if not already layered in the compost bin. The last geese are honking their way toward winter homes. Predictions are proffered (sometimes cheerfully, mostly not) for how cold and snowy this year’s winter will be.
Sources for seasonal predictions vary. The Farmers’ Almanac and traditional old-wives-tales are often cited. How soon those geese head south, for example, is supposed to indicate how difficult winter will be. We trust these bits of folklore because they often have a scientific basis and seem to work. » Continue Reading.
You might think that by mid-October in northern New York there would be little left to do in the garden. I don’t blame weary gardeners for wanting to take a break from tending to their plants and soil, but don’t put down that shovel quite yet.
During the growing season there’s a sense of urgency: pull that weed before it goes to seed, squash that bug before it lays any eggs, water that row before it wilts. In fall, that pressure of time has eased. Now it’s a matter of getting things done before the ground freezes, and that is still several weeks away. So it’s understandable for gardeners to want to escape from their chores and climb a mountain or hike a trail while the fall color is so gorgeous. That’s wonderful, but save a little energy for your garden, too. » Continue Reading.
Early autumn is the time fog frequently shrouds valleys in the morning, and a heavy dew regularly coats unprotected surfaces for several hours after sunrise. As the atmosphere begins to cool with the change in seasons, moist conditions often develop at night and can continue well after dawn. This is ideal for our various terrestrial amphibians, which require damp surroundings for their survival. Among the members of these moisture sensitive vertebrates is the red-spotted newt, a unique form of salamander that goes on the move as the foliage changes color. » Continue Reading.
This has always been my perception of bird migration in the fall: the days grow short and cool and then, one day, I notice a v-shaped caravan of Canada geese flying southward. Then another and another. Within a few weeks of that first sighting, I hear their melancholy call one final time for the season. Then they, and all the summer birds, are gone. It’s a mass exodus for warmer climes, over and done in the blink of an eye and long before the snow flies.
But what of the geese on the unfrozen mill ponds in January? Or the robins at the birdfeeder in December? It turns out that the process of migration is much longer and less predictable than my cursory observations had led me to believe. First of all, for some species, fall migration begins long before the first ears of corn are ready to be picked. Take, for example, the yellow warbler, whose massive breeding range extends from parts of Mexico to Newfoundland and into Alaska. It is among the earliest songbirds to arrive in the spring and among the first to embark on the return journey. » Continue Reading.
There are all sorts of festivals this time of year but as much as I love a good get-together, sometimes it’s the simple things my family appreciates the most. When we get bogged down with school openings and away games, we have to stop and take a moment to look around us.
My daughter’s favorite autumn color is pink. You may think that the trees don’t really become pink, but if you look at the blending of some of the yellows, oranges and brilliant red, the leaves do indeed have a pinkish cast to them. » Continue Reading.
Living this far north, we’re attuned to signs of a waning summer: shorter days, cooler nights, red maples in low-lying areas turning their trademark color. But when the asters bloom, I know the curtain is coming down on summer.
The asters are some of the latest blooming flower species in our region. Not every species waits until virtually the last minute, but many do.
You might think that they’re cutting it close. In an area of the world where a killing frost can come seemingly out of nowhere, a late bloomer might be taking a chance. But evolutionarily, it’s not a bad tactic, said Arthur Haines, a research botanist for the New England Wild Flower Society. By putting off blooming until late in the season, these plants have a virtual monopoly on the attentions of bees and other insect pollinators. » Continue Reading.
The populations of all forms of wildlife continuously rise and fall as a number of highly changeable environmental factors influences the success, or failure of each species. While variations in the abundance, or scarcity of many of our shy and secretive creatures, like the short-tailed shrew, flying squirrel and ermine, go completely unnoticed, the ups and downs in the number of animals that maintain a high profile can be quite evident, especially to anyone that spends a fair amount of time outdoors. In my neighborhood this year, there is a definite upsurge in the population of red squirrels, as there are more of these small, yet conspicuous rusty-tan rodents running around than in recent years.
Regardless of whether its population is peaking, or has crashed, the red squirrel is still described by many naturalists as the most often seen mammal in the Adirondacks. The diurnal habits, vocal inclinations, willingness to live in close proximity to humans, and craving for sunflower seeds make this rodent hard to overlook. » Continue Reading.
The snow is falling quickly and quietly outside. I have a nice fire and a glass of bourbon to keep me warm and dry though, so all is right with my little world.
I love the first real snow fall of the year. Everything looks so clean and neat, and the world is quiet. The birds aren’t making any noise, the few deer that took off running when I let Pico out hardly made a sound, and tree limbs are hanging low, heavy with fresh wet snow.
This is isn’t the first snow of the year, but it’s the first one that might stick and be around for a little while. Every night before now that I’ve had a fire, I didn’t worry about keeping it going all night. The new stove cranks out heat, especially when it’s loaded with the dead elm that my friend dropped off for me. In fact, tonight will the first night that I’ve had a fire where I won’t be going to sleep with a few windows open. » Continue Reading.
Growing up, I lived in only two houses. Both had fireplaces, so fall was always special to me. From eating roasted pumpkin seeds in front of the fire to cuddling under a blanket and watching a movie while the snow fell outside, we usually had a fire going if we were home for the night. I miss those days, but I have taken a big step towards making the cabin more like the home of my childhood.
Last week, my new (new to me) stove was delivered and installed. There’s a shiny new chimney poking up above the peak of the cabin, and gone is the huge black box that was my old woodstove. Of course, on the day the stove was delivered, it was close to seventy degrees out, so I could not get a fire going right away. That did not stop me from sitting and staring at the new stove with its nice glass doors, just beckoning me to get a fire going and sit there enjoying the flames for the first time in years. » Continue Reading.
The northeastern United States is one of the few locations in the world that develops intense fall color (along with northern areas of China, Korea and Japan) and our region is just hitting its stride.
With all the variations in colors and tree species, it can be difficult to determine when an area is truly at peak color. I’d encourage you to enjoy all the transitions as they occur and look for the spots of color and beauty throughout the fall months around the region.
There are many factors that influence fall color. The yellow and orange pigments are always present in the leaves; they are just masked by the green chlorophyll until fall. As the leaves begin to get ready to drop the green fades away, revealing the yellows and oranges. » Continue Reading.
Despite the numerous frosts that our region experienced in September, there continue to be many types of bugs that remain active into the autumn in the Adirondacks. Among these hardy invertebrates, and the ones that are quite conspicuous to anyone that spends time working in the yard, garden or on the wood pile, are the harvestmen, known to most as the daddy-longlegs.
Like spiders, the harvestmen are classified as arachnids because of their body structure, having 4 sets of legs and a set of arm-like appendages near their mouth. (In the harvestmen, these arms, known as pedipalps, are barely visible, yet are still of great use to this creature in grabbing and holding items it wants to eat.) It is easy to understand how these arachnids acquired their popular name, as the lengthy thread-like legs that surround their small body are proportionately longer than those of nearly any other bug. » Continue Reading.
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