On Saturday, October 13th, our growing season came to an abrupt end. Our first killing frost arrived as temperatures dropped into the mid-twenties. Not only did all the herbaceous material curl-up and burn, the fall color triggered by the early cold was the brightest in years. Peak color was a bit early.
The average day for peak fall color in our area fluctuates between October 12th and the 21st. The shortness of days, cool nights, and geography contribute to when the leaf and needle change occur. The colder the nights, the more intense the color is. Areas along the Canadian border, such as the Adirondacks, northeastkingdom ofVermont, the great north woods ofNew Hampshire, and the Allagash of Maine have intense, short-lived fall color peaking in late September. Other parts of the planet, such as the mountains ofChina andJapan, parts of Europe and even theGreat Lakes region have beautiful fall color. Because of our wide diversity of trees, shrubs, and micro-climate here in the northeast, we have the brightest fall color in the world.
Last year at this time, long range forecasters were bracing us for a long, cold, snowy winter. This year they are a bit reluctant to give their guess. Based on what I’m observing in the woods, with average nut production and the wooly bear caterpillar’s half-brown, half-black appearance, it should be an average winter.
November is slowly walking up the mountain with my bow in hand just as first light peeks up out of the east. November is wiping the first snow flakes from the wood pile under the sugar maple. November is piles of leaves snow-storm deep. November is a barking fox before the fire whistle gets the coyotes going. November is the hoot of a screech owl, or was it the horned owl or barn owl. Something’s screaming in the woods! November is cups of hot fresh apple cider on a crisp football Sunday and hoping you’ll make it to the toilet early the next morning before you have an accident. November is a moody month. Some days are sunny and warm, others are cold and miserable.
November is the Thanksgiving feast. This American tradition began with the Pilgrims and Indians in 1621. Thanksgiving always falls on the third or fourth Thursday of the month. A true American native, the average bird weighs fifteen pounds. Wild turkeys have been clocked flying at 55mph for short distances. the name turkey came from the early explorers believing North America was Asia. The confusion persisted when the North American turkey was given its scientific name meleagris, which means ‘guinea hen’. The turkey and guinea hen are not related. Now a tradition, the turkey is cooked in forty-five million ovens on Thanksgiving. The average bird weighs fifteen pounds. A proudly displayed bird can get everyone to the dinner table.