November 1

Wooly Bear
A woolly bear on a rare warm October day. Does the wider red band mean a mild winter? Time will tell.

 

Cold and wet probably best describes most of October yet there were days when it was incredibly warm and sunny. I’ve fallen behind on my garden clean-up waiting for the rain to stop. I did get the garlic and some shallots in the ground. There is space ready in one garden for about another 150 feet of shallots and multiplier onions. If we get a day or two next week without rain then they can be planted. Or maybe I’ll just plant in between rain showers because the safe time for planting bulbs is getting short.

Everything is harvested except the root crops and some kale. That isn’t as bad as it sounds since the weather, although cool, is not cold. Evening temperatures are in the upper 30’s to low 40’s and so the ground does not freeze and lately there has been no frost.

I usually put away 20 or so pounds of broccoli and cauliflower every year. This year I only got a few pounds of broccoli from a small patch and that one grew strangely- 3 feet tall and with small heads. My main broccoli and cauliflower patch has not made a single head. There are signs of head development but it is too late in the season to expect much. I planted my usual mix of varieties that have done well in previous years but for reasons unknown they did not produce. Fortunately, there is plenty of cabbage, kale, turnip, and rutabaga. Lot’s of beets, too, in many varieties each a little different tasting. I had the variety “Cylindra” with my dinner last night and  a yellow-skinned variety the night before.

 

Little Bluestem Grass

 

It has been a colorful October fall but the trees dropped their leaves early after a week of cold nights and strong winds. Fall colors are not just in the trees but in the shrubs, grasses, herbs, mosses, and of course, mushrooms. There are fewer birds passing through now. Lately, I have seen or heard chickadees and bluejays which always stay during the winter. These birds are actually migrants from Canada as our summer residents have migrated further south. There are ruffed grouse in the woods and also coming to my yard where they feed on tiny crab-apples from several planted trees. Some robins have also been feeding on them.

Weather, as I noted above has been cool but not very cold. The coldest temperature was 24 degrees on October 16. Overall, lows have stayed in the 40’s and until October 20 highs were between 50 and 70. Now, the high temperatures are in the upper 40’s to 50’s and the skies are cloudy. So we head into November which can be a strange month for weather. It may be mild and sunny or it could get cold and cover us with a foot of snow. I’m hoping for the former.

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