The tarnish on the bracken ferns has darkened to a beautiful warm brown as the ferns, shrubs, and trees continue to show off more and more of their fall wardrobes. As Jake and I walked the ski trails through the woods, we spotted brilliant crimson leaves of the red maple; the more orange/gold of the sugar maples; the bright yellow of the big-toothed aspen; the yellow and brown of the quaking aspen; and the golden brown of the beech leaves. Of course, there is still quite a bit of green around, but Mother Nature is taking seriously her job of creating a riot of color now that it is officially autumn.
We also found all sorts of interesting-looking mushrooms, some of which I recognized, some not. I always take a few home to look them up in our mushroom books. So far we have not found any tempting edibles. There are a few killer fungi, but they are easy to recognize, and one avoids anything even vaguely resembling them. Some listed as poisonous will give you a bad tummy-ache, but won’t kill you; however, we avoid these as well. Generally, we stick to oyster mushrooms, chanterelles, and one or two others.
As I reported last week, we headed to the coast on Monday with our friends, the Bowens, for two nights in New Harbor. On Tuesday morning we took the Hardy Boat cruise to Monhegan Island for the day, and what a beautiful day it was. We did a lot of hiking and pretty much wore ourselves out by afternoon. Mike and I had been there 15 or 20 years ago and walked all the way around the island. In the intervening years the island seems to have grown larger, for we couldn’t finish more than a third of the trail. Go figure.
We enjoyed seeing all the flower gardens, which were brilliant in color as only seaside gardens can be. I think it has something to do with the salt air. There is a fine historical museum at the lighthouse, as well as a lovely art gallery which showcases Monhegan artists, whether visitors or locals.
A somewhat rock-and-roll ride back to New Harbor in the late afternoon had us sliding on the benches on the top deck, but no problems otherwise. We were fortunate to see several gannets flying around our boat. The French call them “fous” de Bassan,” which means “crazy ones” of Bassan. They didn’t appear crazy to me, just beautiful.
As we headed back to Bethel on Wednesday morning, we sidetracked to Boothbay to visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens there. Let me recommend this spot to you. It is open year-round, but of course is most interesting when things are blooming. It is big, beautiful, well-maintained, and filled with all sorts of flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees, and shrubs that are native to, or can be grown in, Maine. There is also an interpretive center, a lunch room, and shuttle cars if one’s feet get tired. Can’t wait to return next spring.
Last week I asked about the possibility of making jam or jelly out of Russian olives. John Applin e-mailed with the suggestion of looking online. This I did, and there are indeed recipes for same. When I muster the courage and ambition to try some, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Last week’s Grange meeting was well attended as “The Basket Lady,” Mitzi Sequoia, shared her experiences with her project of providing needed items to needy folks. She gives baskets of cheer to those in need and also helps others to contribute as well. She is certainly an inspiration to all.
Last Saturday was an absolutely perfect fall day, and Sunday pretty nice as well. Then we returned to clouds, mist, rain, and gloom. Maybe by the time this sees print we will have some sunshine again. End of September, and still no killing frost. This is a new record.
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