From warm to cold….
There will be upcoming days I will stare at this for strength and resilience if we are battered by bad weather and cold, which we will be. 13 years of being Mexican and avoiding truly Canadian North weather has turned me into a cold whimp, I’m not sure I will be taking off my fleecy long underwear anytime soon;) November is a month of climate extremes. Two nights ago the thermometer sat at -6° Celcius (21.2F) the frost covering the trees on the other side of the lake in a swampy spot behind the small island was beautiful. It’s hard to tell it is an island without paddling around it. Mike said he tried to rouse me earlier when it was even frostier, but I think I just mumbled go away, I’m warm;) FYI…the shame of my wretched canoe seat did finally spur me into fixing it;) ha!
I did get up, eventually, and with my coffee watched a flock of Common Mergansers arrive on the flat calm lake. It makes such a difference that wind at times, it can make it brutal when it’s howling, even if the thermometer isn’t below zero!
The leaves are almost all gone, a few stragglers hanging onto the trees here and there. Is it soil, or genetics that dictates how long those leaves hang on? Something to ponder:) In a matter of a week…almost all gone…
Each ensuing rain and wind storm steals a few more leaves. Now we see where the evergreens reside, and that there are hills and rock cuts, previously hidden from view by the trees in the woods. Somewhere in there a bear is entering hibernation. He/she was walking up the driveway towards me last week as I walked out the front door. I must have scared the poor creature half to death judging from the rate of speed it galloped down the driveway and up the hill behind the house, never even turning back to look at me. Cats had great fun sniffing the depressions it made in the driveway gravel as it spun and ran…Groot’s tail even got big;) Makes you realize you could NEVER outrun one;) Food for thought:)
Not sure if the cats are enjoying the temperature change either;) When it is windy they are like wild thoroughbreds on a racetrack, ripping about, pouncing on falling leaves, but when the raindrops start they make a beeline for the door, or any vehicle sound. Rocket is terrified of the neighbour’s 4 wheeler that drives around checking on the other two three season cottages. The bogeyman no doubt of his small cat world. I am wondering how they will react to the snow. There is a small sled in the basement/crawlspace that no doubt will come in handy for pulling cats around in the snow, or sending them shooshing down the driveway hill…ha! Fun times to come! For me anyway;)
We have a few new visitors as well. A beautiful female Red-Bellied Woodpecker showed up this week and seems to come for breakfast and dinner every day. She holds her own with the squadron of of Blue Jays that descend upon the flat feeder, even taking a peck at them, so she’s a tough one! Absolutely spectacular colour, sometimes it looks deep red, at other times a fluorescent orange. Fingers crossed she wants to spend the winter here! I made a suet feeder out of a piece of paper birch, drilling holes for suet and then smaller ones, I used sticks for small perches. It has been popular already!
The range of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker is slowly creeping Northward but they are not that common. The Juncos have shown up as well in the last week, will try to get a picture on a nice sunny day! These small ground pecking birds are a delight. Amazing how they are found all across North America. The Goldfinches are slowly losing their bright yellow colour, the drab olive maybe protects them in the Winter for camouflage (?) or the bright yellow is simply there to attract a lady friend;) and only a handful of Purple Finches remain…I have my fingers crossed a Cardinal may stumble across us. We have some pines nearby so maybe?
The Woodpeckers, Downy and Hairy are very busy stashing seeds this time of year, I keep telling them the feeders will be full, as well as homemade suet on the menu;) No sign of the Pileated but I have heard them from far. The remains of a small male downy tells me we have owls, the Barred for sure, but maybe something smaller nearby, not sure if a raccoon would get a sleeping bird (?) Hope to see the owls! I look for trees with guano to find perches but nothing yet. We’ve heard the Barred Owls all Summer, sometimes right outside our window in the large maples. We had another visitor early in the morning that attracted the cats attention.
Something tells me I will have to fence in our vegetable garden next Spring;) Right now they are welcome to what is left after a few hard frosts! In the mean time a few flowers seem to be holding their own against the weather. It always amazes me what can survive the frosts. The catmint is still in bloom! Must to the delight of our feline friends:) Time to cut some to dry. I think I may try to plant every variety I can find! It is hardy, and, hey, the deer don’t like it, yet;) When the temperature pops up a bit, even a few bugs appear. A wasp was crammed into the basement doorway trying to stay warm!
As the rain pours down today, the forcast for later in the week in sun and warmth…but that can change;) Weather person…Only job you get to keep when you are consistently wrong at it;) hahahahaha! The clouds and intermittent sun have given us some beautiful skies! Mike says this is an Orca eating a lamb…yup…ah Mother Nature:)
Did I mention we have a waterfall now as well? It is going to be pretty amazing come Spring thaw! The recent rain has filled the many swamps between us and the main road and the small cascade beside the cottage road is a lovely trickle that can be heard from quite far away:) Running water is magical!
We may have a few large puddles to drive out in come early Spring;) Oh well, not that we haven’t faced some bad roads in our past;) hahahaha! People remark about “How we are going to survive winter on this kilometer long gravel road?”…hahahaha…go to Baja for 13 years, there are not many roads that shock us, our current one feels like a wonderful super highway here! We still have to place our sand and salt barrels near the hills, they are ready to go, and with all honesty, if there is a storm coming, you prepare…and stay home once it hits! It is not like we do not get weather warnings here!
And how is there are still mushrooms? Bright orange ones! Pycnoporus cinnabarinus, also known as the cinnabar polypore, is a saprophytic, white-rot decomposer. Its fruit body is a bright orange shelf fungus. It is inedible. It produces cinnabarinic acid to protect itself from bacteria and it’s said is quite rare! Also very medicinal for several types of cancer! In the backyard…who knew? The purple striped ones I still don’t know what they are, and the oysters and wood ear mushrooms I brought in on branch were eaten, overnight, by? a raccoon? a deer? It maybe time for a wildlife camera!! Getting correct ID’s is always a challenge-I upload shots to inaturalist-it gives clues to ID’s, as well as others found near you which is helpful. Also some lovely groups on Facebook: for mushrooms and fungi: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ONTARIOMUSHROOMHUNTERSANDFORAGERS and Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Ontario.Reptile.and.Amphibian.Atlas/?multi_permalinks=10158753667065751
There is always someone out there that can help!
I hope to keep making discoveries of the weird and wonderful even through Winter, even if it just the hilarious cats! Cats with hats, cats on sleds, cats on their backs, yes, the harbinger of things to come….hahahaha…the fireplace insert is going and I think I might share the sofa with a cup of tea and Rocket! Saludos amigos!