Sunday, November 15, 2009

As Good As Leftovers in the Fridge...

Can you spot all the little apples still clinging to the tree? They're clustered near the top of the branches (top right of photo), on the side that faces south.

If you're a hungry deer, they're as good as leftovers stored safely in the fridge.

Most are about the size of a kiwi, but round, of course. They've long been a coveted food source for my local deer population, whose presence I'm reminded of daily when I step on the poop that is scattered nightly around my property.

Here's a better view of the apples looking straight up.


With relatively mild temperature in the low 60s, it was a great day to squeeze in some late fall yardwork, and in fact, I've been getting a lot of things done now that I normally don't get to until spring.

Cutting back dead foliage on the peonies, for example, and raking yet more leaves out from under my vast pachysandra beds and from under the rhododendrons, on the north side of the house. I was also able to transfer four wheelbarrow loads of mulch across the yard and deposit it all under the apple tree pictured here. Nothing much grows under the tree, and so the exposed soil tends to wash away during a heavy rain. To prevent further erosion, I spread the mulch around the trunk, though I still need to spread more.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dance of the Falling Leaves

They danced to the
wind's loud song.

They whirled, and they floated,
and scampered.
They circled and flew along.

The moon saw
the little leaves dancing.

Each looked like
a small brown
The man in the moon
smiled and liste
And this is the song he heard.

The North Wind is calling, is calling,
And we must whirl round and round,
And then, when our dancing is ended,
We'll make a warm quilt for the ground.

- Author Unknown

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Red Maple, an Autumn Show-Off

Red maple (Acer rubrum Linnaeus) is exceptionally beautiful this time of year.

Also known as swamp maple, this magnificent tree really ups the ante of fall color with its vivid scarlet show.

According to Cornell University, the tree is commonly found in swamps but also does well on dry slopes, which is where my red maple grows.

I must admit to mostly forgetting about this tree for the better part of the year due to its less-than-prominent location on the edge of the property, on a slope I seldom explore except when picking the Japanese wineberries that grow in abundance there during summer's peak.

But one of the treats of autumn is to pause in my yardwork and look up from the raking or other outdoor chores, and this is the tree that captures the eye. (Those are the wineberries in the foreground.) There's still quite a bit of color in the New England woods, although the brilliant reds of sugar maples, burning bush and Japanese maples are sharing more of the spotlight with creamy orangey yellows, darker shades of burgundy and rust and everything in between.