We’ve been busy. We spent several weeks cleaning up the incredible mess that the road crew left after their sloppy tree-cutting and trimming rampage early this spring. Incredibly, they left a portion of a brook on our property that runs parallel to the road almost completely filled in with piles of their chipped wood and small felled trees. More long piles of tree branches and more piles of cutting debris were strewn… and left… on both sides of the road. And then we spent even more time dealing with the damage that had resulted from the overflow of water that normally would have been rushing through the brook.

At garden planting time the temperatures were abnormally low, and because of the previous weeks of rain the ground was much too wet for planting. We compensated by planting in raised beds. Then the weather changed and for weeks and weeks the temperatures were abnormally high and this area had no rain at all. We carried water every day from a well overflow about a quarter of a mile away and managed to keep the squash and cucumbers thriving, so despite the weather fluctuations… the heat, the cold, the rain and the drought… we ended up with amazing crops of both cucumbers and squash. It was wonderful to have such abundance… I made lots of pickles and relish too.

Yesterday we finished cleaning up all of this year’s vegetable and flower gardens… the shed is full of firewood that we cut and split this spring… everything that needs to be is raked, trimmed, protected or stored. There will be more raking to do as more leaves drop, but physically it looks like we’re really ready for fall and… as much as I don’t want to think about it… the onset of winter snowstorms and freezing cold.

Emotionally… not so much.

It doesn’t seem possible that it’s foliage time already. We’re just about at the point where there are almost as many leaves on the ground as there are on the trees, and the leaves are falling fast. I took these pictures yesterday when the sky was that vivid blue, the sun was shining, and the trees were especially beautiful. We had rain again last night and this morning many of those same leaves are on the ground. Oddly, we have not yet had a killing frost.

I can’t forget to tell you about two interesting visitors we’ve had just this past week. We’ve seen several bears this summer, but always at a comfortable distance. This one was just a few feet away and moving rapidly… and directly towards us. I don’t think he saw us until we saw him, and it was quite a surprise for all concerned, I think. Happily the bear changed course, speeded up, and disappeared into the woods.

And then yesterday there was a very VERY large moose… crossing the road just below that same garden. We watched the moose and the moose watched us… I was getting close enough for what I think would have been a really good picture when two cars came barrelling down the road, and judging by the yelling, honking, and swearing, neither driver appreciated the unusual opportunity for a close view of such a magnificent animal. After being nudged along and almost hit several times by the first car, the moose put on a burst of speed and disappeared into the trees.

I did get photos of a porcupine and a huge pileated woodpecker, but those are stories for another day!