Late last week we finally saw the first vestiges of fall color, the latest that I can remember in 23 years. The red maples (sometimes referred to as swamp maples) are leading the color parade, but will soon be followed by the sugar maples, birches, oaks, and others.
The weather cooperated beautifully for the Harvest Fest on the Common, and folks from all over flocked to the various vendor booths and stood in line for the chowdah tasting. I was spinning alpaca at Mo Libby’s booth and had a chance to talk to lots of people who were interested in the animals and their products. Mike greeted visitors to the Moses Mason House barn, which was on the barn tour this year.
We have a rose-breasted grosbeak who is visiting our window feeder fairly regularly, and a hairy woodpecker has appeared, the first woodpecker we’ve seen at the Garden of Eden. The purple finches, goldfinches, nuthatches, etc., are inhaling the sunflower seeds, and the squirrels have, at least temporarily, given up on trying to leap up to the feeders. Fingers crossed.
On Saturday ten Pleasant Valley Grangers went to the Rumford Grange for a joint installation of officers. Pauline Applin allowed as how that was an excellent turnout, considering that there are only thirteen officers.
Tonight at the Grange’s regular monthly meeting, there will be a speaker. The “Basket Lady,” Mitzi Sequoia, will talk about her work in Oxford County, helping those in need. She provides baskets of cheer to people, hence the nickname. She also connects with people who have items to contribute with those who need them. Anyone who would like to hear her speak is welcome to attend. This is not a “members only” activity. After the potluck supper, the meeting will start around 7 p.m.
A group went to the Oxford Fairgrounds Sunday to dismantle the Grange displays there. They were able to learn the results of the judging and found that Pleasant Valley earned a second place for their agricultural display and a seventh place for the domestic display. Pauline says they would do way better in the latter if they had a member who made toys of any sort. (How about stuffed animals?) That is a required category worth 100 points, so getting a zero in that area makes it difficult if not impossible to make it up elsewhere.
John and Pauline want to give a big thank you to new members, Marge Winsor and Shannon and Charlie Kelly, who were invaluable help on the set-up of the displays. Thanks go also to the “dynamic duo,” Jane Hosterman and Barbara Mahler, for all their help at this and fairs of many years gone by. In addition, Sue-Ellen Richardson was very helpful in making labels for all the canned goods. As Pauline says, the group is small, but everyone contributes. Many hands make light work.
We have a lot of Russian olive trees/shrubs growing on our property and nearby. Right now they are in full fruit and looking very pretty. One book says the berries are edible, and that the birds like them as well. Does anyone out there know if they have a use in making jams and jellies? I tasted one, and it had a pleasant sweet, tangy taste. Let me know if you can add any information about this plant.
Our friends, Hank and Shirley Bowen, from Philadelphia, arrived on Sunday evening for a few days’ visit. We headed to New Harbor on Monday for a two-night stay and a trip to Monhegan on Tuesday. On the way home Wednesday it was our plan to stop at the botanical garden in Boothbay. Will let you know next week how that turned out.
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