OCTOBER'S LAST DAYS.....We have had a spectacular show of colors, and here is a sample. This is a Sugar Maple tree that we planted a few years ago west of our house here in Maine. Right now, it is eye catching with its beautiful foliage. Set against the green grass, the leaves look even brighter. These trees grow more commonly in Connecticut where they not only provide fall color, but tree sap for tapping in the spring. Here in Maine, they are not as common, but Red Maple also colors the landscape. Its trees are also used for making syrup, but it is not as sweet (or more sap is required to produce good syrup).

Where has October gone? Those days are rapidly slipping through my fingers, though these cute fruits did not! I was in Connecticut last week and found these while weeding in the gardens. What you see is one green seed pod of a Wild Cucumber. I opened another to find the seeds still inside (above). In the bottom middle is one that opened itself and the seeds dropped out to grow new plants next spring. These grow on vines and have a star like leaf and small white flower. The points on the seed pods are weak prickles, but what a cool plant this is.

While cleaning up the gardens, I also found this caterpillar that quickly rolled into a fuzzy ball. When it opened up this is what it looked like. I identified it using my Peterson's First Guide to Caterpillars. In that book these insect larvae are categorized by whether they are smooth, hairy (with tufts) or have branches spines. This is the larva of a Banded Tussock Moth. What a character this one is.

Our trip down to CT was filled with packing and sorting belongings from our 1715 Saltbox which now has an interested buyer. Down there, I am always impressed with the size of the trees on our property, some of which we planted! A White Pine is now looming over the roof with a big production of cones and needles to deal with. Several trees have lost their leaves including the Sugar Maples and Butternuts. There is a story to the Butternuts. They produce a tasty nut that I have eaten. I looked for some that the animals had missed and found one with a dark coating on its hard shell. Finding it, helped solve a puzzle. In our basement there were piles of dark droppings that didn't look like scat that I could recognize. They were in neat piles. I put two and two together, realizing some animal, probably a chipmunk had opened a Butternut and left a pile of the casings on the floor. We do need to set some traps down there, but it was interesting to solve the puzzle.

We are back in Maine, but will be returning for one final emptying of the house. Can you believe it.....we still have boxes of our daughters' dolls to pack up! 10/28/09 Ronnie on the move, while enjoying fall happenings.