Backyard Report: October 3, 2013

Cilantro in bloom
Cilantro in bloom

What a beautiful fall it has been so far. We’ve turned the corner to October, and the lovely warm weather continues with sunny days and cool nights. I do believe that September and October have made up, to some degree, for the 20 straight days we had of rain in June and July. Despite living in Maine, I love warm weather, and every day that it is warm means that there is one less day that I will be cold. (Sorry, Shari—you lover of cold weather—to borrow and twist your words.) More important, every day that it is sunny and warm means there is one less day that we have to use the heat, and with the price of fuel, this is no joking matter. Not for Clif and me, who live on a modest income, and not for the many Maine families who live on far less than we do. So may the warm weather continue through October. There is plenty of time ahead for colder weather and high heating bills.

Despite the warmth, things are definitely winding down in the yard at the little house in the big woods. The gardens look frayed and tattered, and there are few blooms to cheer things up. If I had a sunnier yard, then I could plant more colorful annuals to tide the gardens through this period, but alas, there is simply too much shade here for most annuals to thrive. Well, I live in the woods, which has its own beauty and consolations. Cool, green, and mysterious. Full of creatures that cautiously skirt our house as well as birds that are regular visitors, drawn by the feeders. The squirrels also fall into the latter category, and I must admit I am not as enthusiastic about their visits as I am about the birds’ visits. Still, squirrels are creatures of the forest, and they, too, must earn their living. I just wish their appetites were not so robust.

Thanks to the warm weather, I still have lunch on the patio every day, and I have noticed the absence not only of the hummingbirds, which have left for warmer climes, but also the yellow jackets, which are a real pain, sometimes literally, in the fall. They are drawn by sweet food, and usually in the fall I have to eat quickly—not a hardship for this good eater—and set my plates on another table when I am done. But not this year. What could have happened to the yellow jackets? Did the rainy weather kill them off? While I can’t say that I miss them, their absence does make me uneasy. They are part of the natural cycle of things here in Maine.

Today, another sunny day, I will have my lunch on the patio. There are clothes drying on the line, and after lunch, I’ll clean the big feeder, so that it will be ready for winter and the constant refilling of birdseed. Tonight, there will be homemade chicken soup and cornbread for supper, and I have to admit that even though I love warm weather, it is a fine thing to have soup on a cool night.

Scenes from the backyard with a quick trip down cellar:

Tattered bee balm
Tattered bee balm
The last of the tomatoes
The last of the tomatoes
Leaves on fire
Leaves on fire
Sherlock on the patio
Sherlock on the patio
The last, brave snapdragons
The last, brave snapdragons
Stocked up for the winter with vegetables from Farmer Kev
Stocked up for the winter with vegetables from Farmer Kev

 

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3 thoughts on “Backyard Report: October 3, 2013”

    1. Kate, although the yellow jackets are usually a blasted nuisance, their absence does make me uneasy. You put it beautifully. Shannon, me too!

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