As I write this on Oct. 7 I have just picked another small basket of tomatoes, zucchini and pole beans, a good month later than usual—no frost yet! I’ve enjoyed the perfect weather immensely though it may not bode well for the climate.
The lack of frost has also meant wild cranberries, the real ones that grow in the lush sphagnum (peat) moss of bogs, have not been frozen to a pink mush yet and it is a banner year for them. (“High bush cranberries” are really a Viburnum, not related to our plastic bag and native cranberries.) Riverside cranberries are non-existent this year because at the end of June when their flowers should have been getting pollinated, they were underwater--but bog mats float! One pond which always has at least a few cranberries was speckled red with bushels of them throughout its huge bog mat this year. In a poor year, it is still worth paddling out to the colorful mat to stand in the middle of the dizzying, dancing “cotton grass” on a breezy day.
But maybe the most fun for this “nature nut” this lovely autumn has been sitting in my Adirondack (plastic) chair and watching the frantic activity of many kinds of insects collecting pollen and nectar from the garden flowers, using my new Pentax binoculars. With a magnitude of only 6.5 but with a near focus of 1.5 feet I can see every bristle, spot, wing vein, leg, antenna, all of which help to identify the animal. Until these binos were developed, five feet was the limit, and in the swamp that meant sometimes stepping into pools of water to get far enough away to be able to focus on a dragonfly. You can see photos on the internet or in magazines like this, but this is in living, bustling color!