Sunday, September 14, 2014

Autumn's ways

I am extremely pleased to report that the Honeycrisp Apples are in. My Better Half [BH] bought some and I've already eaten two, one yesterday and one -- so far -- today. Fortunately, she bought a bunch, or, for apples, something more like half-a-peck.

first Honeycrisps of the season
Photo by J. Harrington

The BH also claimed to have seen a woolly bear the other day and asserted that it was all one color. If so, I suspect that's either really good or really bad news, depending on whether the color was all brown or all black. Of course, ff she did see an all black "woolly bear," it actually may have been a Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar (Ecpantheria scribonia) or, if it was all brown, it could have been a Yellow Bear Caterpillar (Spilosama virginica). If it was either of these, we can't craw any conclusions except that more study of caterpillars is needed. Today, I'm just back from a short stroll along our road looking for a woolly bear or two. No luck whatsoever. The one that I found last year would seem to confirm the folklore, that a relatively narrow brown band equals a severe winter.

woolly bear, October 2013
Photo by J. Harrington

The cooler temperatures we've been having seem to be affecting at least some of the dragonflies. Yesterday, while walking one of the dogs, I almost stepped on a dragonfly that was perched at the edge of the road. I bent over and started to pick it up by the wings. It said NO, thank you, and thrashed, then settled on the tip of the index finger of my right hand, in which I also had the dog's leash. I didn't try to use my left hand to reach into my jeans pocket for my smart phone. There was no way I was going to try to punch in the code, turn on the camera and take a photo using only my left hand. We walked toward the house and the dragonfly stayed perched until we were almost inside, at which point it flew up and over the garage roof. I think it was one of the blue darners, but I'm not sure which, just as I'm starting to wonder if the "ruby meadowhawk" I photographed the other day is actually a cherry faced or a white faced meadowhawk. Sigh. At least we can be sure of some of Autumn's Way.

Autumn's Way

By Charles Ghigna 

In their yellow-most goings,
leaves of maple
ride breezes to the ground.
You can hear their sound
each autumn afternoon
as the crisp air cuts
through the trees
and hurries us along
the golden sidewalks
home.


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