Cool Mornings and Sunny Days Bring Fall Colors

Reader Contribution by Ginnie Baker
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The shorter days and the cool mornings are really bringing out the fall colors in the trees here in the Valley. This is a beautiful time of year. I hope the weather will hold and the trees will have a chance to turn their wonderful colors before the leaves fall.

There are definite signs that the cold weather is on the way. I like to watch the wildlife as the season’s change, especially when cold weather is looming. Today, I saw the first woolly bear! It seems very early for those guys to be looking for a place to hibernate for the winter.

I never remember what the brown band means, whether it’s thick or thin, but this what Wikipedia has to say:

Folklore of the eastern United States and Canada holds that the relative amounts of brown and black on the skin of a Woolly Bear caterpillar (commonly abundant in the fall) are an indication of the severity of the coming winter. It is believed that if a Woolly Bear caterpillar’s brown stripe is thick, the winter weather will be mild and if the brown stripe is narrow, the winter will be severe. In reality, hatchlings from the same clutch of eggs can display considerable variation in their color distribution, and the brown band tends to grow with age; if there is any truth to the tale, it is highly speculative.[5]

The yellow jackets and hornets are also trying to find ways into the house. I have to be careful when I have the inside doors open because they will find the smallest crack and end up in the house.

A Mennonite friend has bee hives and he told me that they bees were swarming … something very unusual for this time of year. He and his wife have a bulk food store and deli that I visit regularly and he has his honey for sale at the store. It’s a beautiful color and is so good!

The birds are also showing signs of cold weather on the way. They are eating us out of house and home! We buy 50 pounds of black sunflower seed every week at Elzy Milling and Trade here in Bellville, along with 10 pounds of peanuts and numerous blocks of suet.

The wild turkeys are regular visitors to the bird feeders and apple trees!

I think I’ve spoiled my woodpeckers! They only like a suet called Nutty Safari. They seem to ignore the other types. The downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers and the occasional pileated woodpecker just love to eat the suet mixed with peanuts and sunflower seeds.

I have a small log with large holes drilled in it that the small woodpeckers love. It was made by an Amish friend’s young grandson and hangs on one of the trees. The woodpeckers cling to it and climb up and down eating the suet stuffed in the holes.

There are at least a dozen different types of feeders. Different birds like different feeders.

The woodchuck is still visiting daily to eat the low hanging apples. Over the weekend, the wild turkeys arrived and they too enjoyed a lunch of apples!

Samson and Delilah are really beginning to get their winter coats on … they’re getting fuzzy.

It isn’t even October yet but my Amish friends are saying it will be a hard winter again. So far, they’ve been right the last few years in their predictions.

The garden is done for this year and I have to admit, I’m glad the canning season is over. Every- thing was so late this year, it was a marathon to get things done.

I’m starting to gather Sweet Annie and other greens around the property to make my indoor fall and winter decorations.

With the cooler weather, the windows are all open and the house has a chance to air out.

I hang laundry out as often as I can … I love the smell of clothes that are dried outside. It reminds me of my mom and grandmother. They always had the laundry hanging on the clothesline as long as the weather was decent.

Today, it’s cool, foggy and a thunderstorm just moved through the Valley. It’s so dark at mid-morning that the barn lights went on!

Summer really is over …

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