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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL: POST IV

MADELINE ISLAND AT SUNSET

TREMBLING ASPEN ON HWY. K

HARBOR RED MAPLE

OLD APPLE BARN ON WASHINGTON AVE.

HERB GARDEN
Wednesday, 8:30 AM,  54 degrees F at the ferry dock, 48 on the back porch.  Wind W, mostly calm with occasional light gusts.  The sky is crystal clear, the humidity 69%.  The barometer has begun to fall, now at 29.75".  High today near 70, the mild weather continuing for the rest of the week, with mixed skies, until thunderstorms Saturday evening.

SONNET 73
William Shakespear 

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
  This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
  To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL :POST THREE

COUNTRYSIDE

RED MAPLE

VIEW THROUGH THE PINES

MADELINE ISLAND

CORNER OF TENTH STREET AND OLD MILITARY AVE.
Tuesday, 9:00 AM.  52 degrees F on both thermometers, wind SSW, calm with occasional very light gusts.  The sky is partly cloudy, the humidity 64%.  The barometer has just begun to fall, now at 29.96". The high today will be near 70, the warm trend continuing during the week, with mixed sun and clouds, and thunderstorms by Saturday evening.
   It continues to be a very colorful fall, although many of the red oak leaves are turning bronze or brown, so late fall color may not be as good as earlier.  Nonetheless, it is beautiful.
   These are the days when one is blessed, who has nothing to do but live.

“To Autumn” by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, 
   Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
   Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
   Or by a cider-press, with patient look, 
      Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? 
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,– 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
   The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, 
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Monday, October 16, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL: POST TWO



BRESSETE HILL ROAD...

...DITTO

RESTING ON THE FLIGHT SOUTH

TOWNSEND ROAD

HWY. 13 AND TOWNSEND ROAD


Monday, 9:00 AM,  43 degrees F at the ferry dock, 40 on the back porch.  Wind SSW, calm with occasional gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 76%.  The barometer is falling, now at 30.17".  High today will be around 60, then warming some during the week with mixed skies and no rain predicted until Saturday.
   Yesterday was a somewhat dark day for photos, but beautiful nonetheless.

“Autumn” by T.E. Hulme
A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.
OFF THE CUFF
   Wildfires have burned thousands of acres of California grass and shrub land,  with the loss of thousands of homes and upwards of 40 lives.  That country will burn in a dry season, it always has and it always will.  If not started by a careless cigarette or campfire it will start from a lightning strike or the hot muffler of a car carelessly parked on tinder dry grass.
   Chaparral is so flammable that it is literally explosive. I remember being in the mountains outside Los Angeles when the volatile oils exuded by the chaparral smelled like gasoline, and we actually worried about someone lighting a match.
   People have built cabins and even expensive homes up fire-prone canyons with only one escape route and then rebuilt them after they were burned out.  Living in fire country is every bit as risky and illogical as living in a flood plain.  It is literally a matter of choosing the element for one's demise.  And that's all right with me, as long as I don't have to pay for the end result with higher taxes, or higher insurance premiums.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL:: POST ONE

CEMETERY ROAD

OLD RED MAPLE

OHIO BUCKEYE
NEIGHBOR'S WOODSHED

PIKE'S CREEK VALLEY

Sunday, 9:00 AM.  Wind NW, calm at present.  The sky is cloudy after last night's rain, which left .3" in the glass.  The humidity is still 89%, the barometer rising, now at 30.23".  High today around 50, then warming during the week, with mixed skies and no rain predicted until next Saturday PM.
   We weren't sure whether this fall would be too wet, or too mild, for the best color.  It turns out it is a beautiful fall and will be at its peak for a while unless we get high winds and pelting rain.  I will spend a few days doing homage, posting the beauty of this  2017 Bayfield fall.

 “Merry Autumn” 
It’s all a farce,—these tales they tell
    About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o’er field and dell,
    Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,—
    I care not who first taught ’em;
There’s nothing known to beast or bird
    To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway
    With countenance distressing,
You’ll note the more of black and gray
    Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around;
    The sky is blue and mellow;
And e’en the grasses turn the ground
    From modest green to yellow.
The seed burs all with laughter crack
    On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
    Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by;
    A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
    Is bubbling o’er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills,
    Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
    And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun
    It really can’t contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
    The heavens seem to rain it.
Don’t talk to me of solemn days
    In autumn’s time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
    And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it’s the climax of the year,—
    The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
    Just melts into thanksgiving.
by Paul Laurence  Dunbar

Note: Dunbar was a nationally acclaimed black poet and close friend of Orville and Wilbur Wright 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

RED OZIER DOGWOOD

RED OZIER DOGWOOD FALL FRUITS

.

...UMBELS OF SMALL WHITE FLOWERS...
...BLOOD-RED YOUNG TWIGS AND OPPOSITE LEAVES AND BRANCHES

Saturday, 8:00 AM.  44 degrees F at the ferry dock, 42 on the back porch.  Wind NE, mostly calm.  The sky is cloudy and overcast, the humidity 67%.  The barometer is taking a nosedive, now at 30.23".  Highs today and tomorrow in the mid-50's.  Rain tonight, then clearing and warming some next week.  Fall color is at its peak but should last a long time.
    The native red twigged dogwood,  Cornus stolonifera, in the Dogwood Family, is a shrub common to much of North America, and is usually found in damp places, on the edges of streams and lakes, and roadside ditches.  It is used in landscaping because of its blood-red young twigs, but as its species name indicates it spreads by stolens, and can become very invasive in the small landscape. It also blooms well,  has good, deep purple  fall leaf color, and attractive white berries (the berries are not poisonous, but are very bitter). There are varieties that spread less easily, and those are probably better used for most landscaping purposes.  
   The dogwood species in general are interesting and colorful trees and shrubs and many should be used more for ornamental purposes.  Almost all dogwood species have opposite leaves and branches and simple, entire leaves, and these are good clues to use in their identification.  The native round leaved dogwood, Cornus rotundifolia, is also very colorful but somewhat larger and not as invasive, and is a great landscape plant where there is room for it.
   Many dogwood species and varieties are of European or Oriental derivation, including popular variegated varieties of Cornus alba, so if one wishes to use only native plants in a landscape some dogwoods are not appropriate.
   For more information on dogwoods, use the blog search engine.

Friday, October 13, 2017

JUST IN TIME FOR FALL

NEW WETLAND CONSERVATION AREA

PARKING REA ON COMPTON ROAD

OLD BEAVER POND

HEADWATERS OF THE NORTH BRANCH OF PIKE'S CREEK
Friday, 9:30 AM.  56 degrees F at the ferry dock, 52 on the back porch.  Wind NW, gusty at times.  The sky is cloudy, the humidity 72%,  the barometer is rising, now at 30.03".  Highs today and tomorrow will be in the low 50's, with rain again by tomorrow evening.
   Bayfield has a new conservancy area, managed by the Bayfield Regional Conserancy.  Located on Valley Road north of Highland Valley Blueberry Farm, it protects 285 acres of the headlands of the  North Branch of Pike's Creek, a trout stream with native reproducing brook trout and important for spawning trout and salmon  migrating from Lake Superior.
   Dominated by black ash, maple and aspen, it is excellent deer, bear, grouse, beaver and other wildlife habitat.  It was purchased with funds from the State of Wisconsin, and private grants and contributions.
   North Pike's Creek Wetlands Community Forest; just in time for fall.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

FALL COLORS CAN ALSO BE GREEN AND GOLD



WHITE PINE OLDER NEEDLES TURNING YELLOW AND FALLING

FALLEN NEEDLES OF LARGE WHITE PINES
Thursday, 9:30 AM.  55 degrees F at the ferry dock, 53 on the back porch.  Wind S, light with slightly stronger gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, and it looks and feels like rain.  Highs around 60, with rain by Sunday PM.
   This is the time of year when pines loose their older needles.  Species vary as to how old needles are when they fall from the tree, but suffice it to say that needles will be two or more years old when they drop from the tree, sometime in the fall.  I often get questions about what is wrong with the pine trees...it is all quite natural.
   Pine trees can be very colorful when the older needles turn brilliant gold, and the golden needles can make an impressive statement when fallen on the green grass. White pines hold their needles for two years, red pines for four years.
   Fall colors can also be green and gold.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

BLUEBERRY FIELDS

BLUEBERRY FIELDS IN FALL....

...HIGHLAND VALLEY FARM, BAYFIELD
Wednesday, 9:00 AM.  48 degrees F at the ferry dock, 48 on the back porch. Wind W, light to calm.  The sky is mostly clear, the humidity 81%.  The barometer is steady for now, at 30.32".  High temperatures will be around 60 today, then cool a bit, with mixed skies, until Sunday morning when there is a chance of rain showers.  Nice fall weather.
   Bayfield's blueberries are an important commercial crop, but they also have great beauty in the fall.  I try to use them in my naturalistic and native landscape restoration plantings whenever possible.
   For general information on blueberries use the blog search engine.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WILD APPLES


BEAUTIFUL, SMALLER RED FRUIT...

...MULTI-COLORED LARGER FRUIT...

...SMALL YELLOW FRUIT AND INTERESTING TREE SHAPE... 

...FRUIT EARLY, PROBABLY AKIN TO  A YELLOW TRANSPARENT 


Tuesday, 9:30 AM.  47 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch.  Wind NW, calm with light gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 62%.  Highs will be around 50 today and tomorrow, then warming some with rain by Friday PM. 
   One of the very interesting aspects of the Bayfield regional landscape is the amount and variety of wild roadside apple trees, which bear a great variety of fruit in almost every size and color imaginable.  There are a number of  Bayfield apple orchards that have been growing apples for well over a century, and there are many abandoned orchards with ancient trees as well.  And of course every farmstead and many town lots originally grew apple trees,  so there has been and still is an almost unlimited seed source for wild apple trees, and plenty of vacant land for them to spring up on.
   Apple trees have been cultivated at least for the last 6,000 years.  The domestic apple, Malus domestica, in the rose family, originated in what is now Kazakhstan in western Asia, and forests of the original trees still exist there. Many years ago I had the good fortune of working with a Soviet botanist from the Kazakh city of Alma Atta, which translates as "Mother of Apples."
   The genus name of the apple is derived from the Latin word for fruit, and the species from the fact that it is domesticated.  There are many species of apples, all of which are native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.  The parent species of the domestic apple is M. sieversii, commemorating the Russian botanist who discovered it in Kazakhstan two hundred years ago.  Apples other than the domestic apples are usually called wild apples, and the smaller fruited wild apples are categorized as crabapples.  Most wild apples are inedible, but some are soft and sweet enough to be palatable.The Malus genome exhibits great genetic variability and hybridizes readily, resulting in continual variation in fruit and other characteristics from generation to generation.
   Apples of all kinds do not self-pollinate, and require pollination by other trees in the genus Malus to bear fruit.  It follows that the only way to propagate edible apples is asexually, by cutting or graft; all Red Delicious apple trees, for instance, are propagated from the first tree to bear that name.  It also follows that every apple seed is a mystery as to what its fruit will be like when it grows into a tree. Thus all the diversity of the wild apples around Bayfield.
   I have often thought that it would be fascinating and perhaps profitable to taste all the different roadside apples of Bayfield, and find one or more that would be a new and superior edible apple variety. Not only the edible characteristics of the wild apples are interesting to contemplate, but also fruit size and color, flowers, and tree size and shape, as there may also be a good landscape crabapple awaiting discovery on the Bayfield back roads as well.
   Years ago, when I was landscaping the first house we built, I found a wonderful wild crabapple in a hedgerow and carefully, with very great effort, dug it up and transplanted it to our new backyard, where it became a fine focal point; I often wonder if it is still there.
    At this point in time I will leave all those exciting opportunities to a younger horticulturist, but the field is ripe for the endeavor, if you will excuse the pun.

Monday, October 9, 2017

WE WIN SOME AND WE LOSE SOME

NORTHERN WISCONSIN FALL COLOR NOW AT ABOUT 75%

SUMAC AT 100%
Monday, 8:30 AM.  51 degrees F at the ferry dock, 47 on the back porch.  Wind NNW, calm with light gusts.  The sky is mostly clear, the humidity 70%.  The barometer is rising, now at 30".  Highs today and the balance of the week will be around 50, with mostly clear skies and no rain.  Nice fall weather.
   Looking for an excuse to get out of Bayfield on a crowded Apple Fest Sunday, we spent the better part of the day traveling to Spooner, Wisconsin, which is southwest of Bayfield about 100 miles. It was a beautiful fall day,  the northern Wisconsin leaf color  at 75% or better, according to my estimation.  Poplars, sugar and red maples , ash trees and most shrubs are at or near their peak, with oaks beginning to color up and tamaracks still green.  Next week should be fall color at its best in the Northland.
   The greater purpose of the trip, however, was to try to get a photograph of a large American Chestnut tree, Castanea dentata, reportedly growing at 214 Elm Street in Spooner.  I have been corresponding with a Russian arborist, Ivan Ivanovich Amelin, from Novosibirsk, in central Siberia, who is attempting to grow the trees in the Altai mountains.  I sent him seeds from some of our Bayfield trees on Friday, and he is interested in the Spooner tree as well, which he heard about through the American Chestnut Society.
   We found the address, but no chestnut tree. If it was there once it no longer exists, and I suspect it was cut down recently and the stump removed, as there was new grass planted in the front yard.  I looked around in the neighborhood, and there are no chestnut trees in the immediate area.
   We win some and we lose some.
   As I learn more about Mr. Amelin's research I will pass it on in the Almanac, along with any relevant comments I may have.  It's always good to have a new interest, and a new tree friend.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

APPLES, APPLES







Sunday, 9:30 AM.  56 degrees F at the ferry dock, 53 on the back porch.  Wind SW, calm with occasional  gusts.  The sky is mostly clear, the humidity 72%.  The barometer is rising, currently at 29.61".  The week ahead should be dry, with high temperatures in the 50's to mid-60's.  Great weather ahead!
   It is hard to imagine a better apple harvest! Even the wild roadside trees are laden with fruit. We stopped at Hauser’s Orchard yesterday afternoon and they had Wealthy, Macintosh, Dudley, Cortland, and Honey Crisp apples, as well as Kerr crabapples for jelly. The Honey Crisp is sweet and crunchy but my favorite is still the Mac for eating, with Cortland best all-around. 
   It appears the orchards will not sell out with Apple Fest, but will have apples at least through October. I well remember the old apple storage cellars, where one could go all winter and buy fresh local apples. They were half in the ground for insulation, and half above for ventilation. Carefully controlled by opening and closing windows and vents, they would stay at 45 degrees all winter without energy cost, and the keeping apples would remain fresh. Few of those are grown any more. The Spitzenberg was a favorite of mine, hard as a rock until after a hard frost and then lasting until spring in storage.

APPLES

Of the genus Malus
Grow from Kazakhstan to Dallas
Red, pink, yellow, green
and almost every shade between
Eat them, juice them, drink hard cider and get high
But best of all I like them,
in an apple pie

  By Art

Saturday, October 7, 2017

WINTERBERRY

WINTERBERRY MALE POLLINATOR SHRUB

WINTERBERRY FEMALE SHRUB BEARING  FRUIT

WINTERBERRY FRUIT
Saturday, 9:00 AM.  55 degrees farrenheit at the ferry dock, 53 on the back porch.  Wind N, mostly calm.  The sky has a very low overcast and it is raining lightly, the humidity 94%.  The barometer is still dropping, now at 29.48".  The coming week will be cooler and drier.
   Winterberry, Ilex verticillata, in the Holly Family (Aquifoliaceae) is a deciduous holly native to southeastern Canada and the eastern US west to Minnesota and south to Alabama.  It is typically found in wet area but on sands and grasslands as well.  I have seen it growing in the Wisconsin River floodplain near Wausau.
   There are a number of selections of the native species, those shown being 'Red Sprite', the female plant with the berries, and 'Jim Dandy,' the fruitless male pollinator. Hollies are dioecious shrubs, the male and female flowers growing on separate plants. At least one pollinator shrub must be planted to produce fruit.
   Although the winterberries lose their leaves in fall, the berries are long lasting and very decorative, and add much winter interest to the landscape and the garden.  They are a great shrub for the rain garden.
   The winterberry bark is high in tannin, and has medicinal astringent qualities. The berries are cathartic and mildly toxic, but are eaten by birds.

Friday, October 6, 2017

APPLE FEST: IT'S STILL ALL ABOUT THE APPLES

APPLE FEST MIDWAY FUN...

APPLE FEST MIDWAY FOOD
Friday, 9:00 AM,  54 degrees F at the ferry dock,   on the back porch.  Wind ENE, calm with light gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 77%.  The barometer is beginning to fall, predicting rain tomorrow morning, then somewhat cooler and drier weather for next week.
   The year slips by so quickly that Apple Fest snuck up on us.  Come to Bayfield and join the fun over the weekend,  the food and entertainment are always good and the parade on Sunday will be great.

Bayfield Apple Festival

56th Annual Bayfield Apple Festival
October 6, 7  and  8, 2017; 10am – 5pm

Hailed as one of the “10 Best Fall Harvest Festivals in the Nation” in 2015 by USA TODAY, the annual Apple Festival is a celebration of the autumn harvest and Bayfield’s agricultural heritage. But what exactly makes it so great? Is it the charming small town atmosphere? The famous Grand Parade featuring a “Mass Band”? The countless booths of fresh apple pies, tarts, caramel apples, ciders and other fall treats? Well, YES! Make plans now to experience for yourself all that makes Applefest unquestionably one of the best festivals in October… well, anywhere!
56 YEARS LATER AND IT'S STILL ALL ABOUT THE APPLE HARVEST

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

NORTHERN WISCONSIN FALL COLOR REPORT

A RED MAPLE STANDS OUT AGAINST BACKGROUND OF STILL-GREEN SUGAR  MAPLES AND OAKS

MANY STRETCHES OF HWY 2 HAVE LITTLE FALL COLOR AS YET

A YELLOW ELM AMID  FIRS, SPRUCE AND RED MAPLES

COLORFUL STRETCHES OF RED AND SUGAR MAPLES AND A FEW ASPEN AMID SPRUCE AND FIR TREES ALONG US  HWY. 2
Wednesday, 9:00 AM.  50 degrees F at the ferry dock, 47 on the back porch.  Wind WNW, very gusty at times.  High today around 60 with mostly sunny skies, continuing through Friday.  Rain again on Saturday.. just in time for Applefest. Maybe it will at least dry out enough for me to get some exterior painting done,
   Joan had an eye doctor appointment yesterday in Duluth that took us from Ashland west to Duluth on US Hwy. 2 along the southern shore of Lake Superior, a 60 mile stretch through far northern Wisconsin that by my estimation is about at 50% fall leaf color, red maples colored up but sugar maples and poplars just beginning, oaks and tamaracks still green.  Sumac, dogwoods and other shrubs becoming colorful; grasses and ferns beginning to look like fall.
   We have had so much rain and high humidity that its may not be a particularly colorful fall, but leaves are turning and it may surprise us and be spectacular; who knows?