Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Fall So Nice We Could Call It Autumn

On the third Thursday of October, the temperature hit fifty degrees here at the lake and we enjoyed another sunny late fall day -- a rare thing indeed. The lake is alive with waterfowl and lies flat without wind to ruffle the surface. The shore vegetation is a brown fringe beneath the deep green of the spruce forest that surrounds us here. The mountains background is snow whitened almost down to tree line.  

Without the typical dark, wet September and October, we have been able to embrace fall.  Embracing fall is one of the last things that we usually do.  Most years we go into October wishing we were somewhere else.  Weeks of rain and even shortening days can make even this beautiful place bleak and depressing. Not this year. These last couple of warm years have delivered lousy winters that are barely cold enough to call them winter, but we got some nice fall weather in the deal.  The wildlife seems especially active as well.

Yesterday, I watched an eagle harvest a muskrat off the shore in front of the house, and today twenty swans rafted up in the north end of the lake.  Oh shore, the brown bears are roaming the neighborhood like Ma Barker and her kids. A sow and three cubs are raiding chicken coops and garbage cans in about a three mile radius. This won't end well for the bears I fear.

Closer to home, the squirrels have been harvesting spruce cones in the yard like it's going to be a hard winter. I had to send a couple to see God when they started caching their booty in the attic of the sauna. An attic of a sauna filled with dry cones is a recipe for disaster, so I cleaned out the attic and made it squirrel proof —fingers crossed. Two days later the loft of my woodshed was loaded with cones. Luckily, my ten-year old friend, Noah climbed up and helped me clean those out. The squirrels had filled ski boots with cones even stuffing them up in the toes. Now I have a couple bushels of fire starters drying in the garage.
We've had one snowfall, and I helped Sawyer build the season's first snowman. Since then the wind and sun disappeared the our sculpture in a process called ablation (Madelyn gives me all those big science words) and only the mountains held their white blankets. That's all suppose to end in the next few days and we can probably expect the typical Halloween snowfall as winter final gets here in November, the month of cold and wind. It was good while it lasted.

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