Summer Smiles, Grad Gifts, and Great Giveaways
- May 31, 2023
The sweltering heat and humidity of July and August are finally behind us. The long dry spell, sparingly interrupted by a summer thunderstorm, is finally over. The last several days of much cooler temperatures and less humidity are a welcome sign that fall is upon us. Thursday, September 22, 2024, to be exact, is the
The sweltering heat and humidity of July and August are finally behind us. The long dry spell, sparingly interrupted by a summer thunderstorm, is finally over.
The last several days of much cooler temperatures and less humidity are a welcome sign that fall is upon us.
Thursday, September 22, 2024, to be exact, is the official first day of fall, and it ushers in what many outdoors enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting.
If I were forced to pick one of our seasons as my favorite, it would definitely be fall, with its pleasant weather, numerous outside activities, and the often brilliant colors on display in our nearby hardwood forests. After the last several months of draining heat and humidity, you really feel like getting outside, going for a hike, and getting your lungs filled with the fresh, clean air that is ever-present during the months of fall.
The recent discovery of several purple-spored puffball mushrooms was a great reminder that foraging in nature for edible wild plants is just as productive now as it can be in the spring and summer months. Various puffball mushrooms are edible and quite tasty, but as always, when foraging, make sure you positively identify what you are seeking. Numerous books and an untold number of YouTube videos can help, and foraging is just one more way to enjoy your time outdoors.
With fall just getting underway, it is the ideal time (in between hunting and fishing, of course!) to gather firewood for the soon-to-be-upon-us winter months. Because of the recent infestation of the emerald ash beetles, our hillsides are now left with an abundance of dead ash trees. It is sad to see various tree species being wiped out from time to time, but the upside to all of the ash tree destruction is that ash makes excellent firewood. It cuts and splits easily, easier than most hardwoods, and produces more BTUs than many of the other hardwoods. After the last couple of years of gypsy moth devastation accompanied by recent drought conditions, there may – in the near future – also be a number of the various oak trees that will die and be an excellent choice for firewood. With rumblings about just how cold and snowy this coming winter may be, now is the perfect time to cut, split and stack your winter’s supply.
Over the years, in an effort to improve habitat for wildlife, I have planted numerous soft and hard mast tree seedlings, and this last spring, I discovered a new problem with some of them. Over the winter months, voles and field mice chewed an entry hole in the tree tubes, built a nest of dried grass, and then enjoyed the winter months in their greenhouse-like home. The problem arose when they decided to chew the outer bark of the young seedlings, essentially girdling all the way around the trunk and killing the tree! I must admit that the reason it happened was completely my fault. The previous fall, I had failed to kill or cut down the grasses and weeds in the area at the base of the seedling and tube. With tall weeds and grass surrounding the tube, the rodents felt safe to tunnel across the mowed grass nearby and into the tall cover surrounding the seedlings since they were hidden from view from aerial or ground predators.
So, here’s the remedy and what I should have done last fall. At a distance of 3 feet all of the way around the seedling and its tube, apply a herbicide such as Roundup (no, I don’t like using chemicals if I can help it, but it is simply the best way to save your seedlings from being destroyed) and after the vegetation has died, use a weed trimmer to completely rid the circle of all dead grass and weeds. Creating this circle that is totally devoid of any vegetation will discourage the rodents from making nests in the tubes.
I hope you are one of those folks that love the fall as much as I do. If so, do the final season’s mowing of the lawn, gather your supply of firewood, do a final preparation of your seedlings for the winter and then pick up a shotgun, a fishing rod, or a hiking stick and get outside and enjoy the fall!