Friday, October 10, 2008


High: 61° F
Low: 37° F
Conditions: Mostly sunny and calm.

Autumn is as much an occupation as it is a season here in New England. There are plenty of apples to harvest and firewood to stack and hay to bale this time of year. Good pursuits, all of them, but Ari and I decided they could wait a few more days so that we could participate in Maine’s favorite recreational sport: leaf peeping.

As the most forested state in the union (90% of our total area!), Maine takes its foliage very seriously. The state has an entire webpage devoted to the subject and also boasts a 1-800 foliage hotline and interactive map, which is updated daily:

According to this site, we’re not yet at peak, but you’d never know it looking outside, where the hillsides are a garish and fiery display the likes of which usually make understated, puritanical New Englanders blush. Not this week, where the only red hue are our local favorites, the red maples, and this stunning sumac:

Even though scientists have proven that dogs can see certain shades of red, I get the distinct impression that Ari could care less what color the leaves are. But, ever since she was a puppy, she has been a huge fan of any leaf turned brittle by weather and age. We used to joke that, since she was raised in a family of cats, Ari suffered from a species-identity disorder. She’s always been a pouncer and back-of-the-couch percher. Now almost three, she may be a little more grown up and a decent amount more dog-like, but she still relishes the feline, like here, where she’s trapped an oak leaf in her front paws and isn’t about to let go.

Speaking of going, we’re both a little sad to see the familiar V-shape of migrating geese. Each afternoon, our sky is filled with the brush of feathers and the sound of geese triangulating towards warmer climes.

By dusk, many have taken up residence in our local fire pond, where they’ll rest until just before dawn and then continue southward. I have to admit, I hate to see them go.

I was cheered, however, by a story that ran on NPR today about the epic New England pumpkin:

Apparently, intrepid pumpkin growers have become so competitive that some of the champion specimens grow up to 40 pounds a day. That’s all fine and good, but if the pumpkins grow too fast, they are prone to some pretty impressive explosions. You can see the aftermath of one such disaster by clicking on the NPR page here.


Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

My mom said the kholours are furry beaWOOtiful!

Thanks fur sharing your fall with us!!


Anonymous said...

It sure looks peak in Waterville, too. It's almost too beautiful to bear, even just driving down my street, smelling woodsmoke and seeing the russet trees against the tall, white houses...sigh.

thanks for posting twice in the month...miss you!

Jen said...

The foliage is breathtaking!

Lorenza said...

Hi, friends!
I agree. Those colors are pawesome!
Autumn is great. Not too hot. Not too cold!
Kisses and hugs

Southbay Girl said...

Mom is so in love with the autumn colors you are getting in Maine right now....she so misses them. I on the other hand don't really care-kinda like Ari!!!


John Theberge said...

Now if only the wind holds off we'll be able to enjoy these beautiful colors for a while longer.

Booker the Treeing Walker said...

Oh you have made us homesick for the Midwest and our beautiful autumn colors. The palm trees here are stuck on green, lol.

Marigold said...

Wow! Those leaves are SO beautiful...not to mention delicious looking. The pumpkin is pretty awesome too. I think I would like to be in on an explosion. Yum. It isn't Peanuts, but it would be a nice change of pace.

Country Girl said...

Maine is very beautiful now. Tomorrow the kids and I are headed over to Colby College to take pictures, a yearly tradition. I like the NPR website and I listed to the audio, I'd like to get a hold of a couple of those seeds.

Naturegirl said...

Kathryn and Ari: It is always wonderful to hear from you at Nature-Trail! The leaves in our area have yet to turn their fiery flaming colors..we have some like the sugar Maples putting on their show but with exceptionally warm Autumn weather the best is yet to come!I trust that your "Thanksgving in Canada" was a treat as we still have many Canada geese to would do fine here with my two feline ladies!

Pippa said...

That is very pretty. We still have lots of colourful sub-tropical flowers out around here rather than colourful leaves.


YourFireAnt said...

My Niles [Sussex Spaniel] is a leaf hunter. He absolutely loves it when the leaves fall, and wind blows them along the ground. His favorite toy.

That and water.


JB's Big World said...

JB's mom here....I just can't keep up with blogging...I wish I could visit more often, but just started a new job. The foliage is gorgeous! What beautiful reds!
And how funny that you mentioned geese as I just posted about them lining up.
Hope to come back soon to visit!
JB's mom and JB

Eve said...

Beautiful fall color Kathryn! Ari a couch percher????? Wow!!! Good balance girl!!
"LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT PUMPKIN!!!" That is a family joke of mine...years ago we took the my and my brother's kids to a pumpkin patch on Cape Cod. My brother yelled that out to all the kids as we stood in awe of a thousand pumpkins in a field....the kids were all looking in different directions and scrambling to find THAT PUMPKIN!!
Now to go check on that explosion!!

Kess And Her Mama said...

The autumn colours of gold and red are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the pics with us.

lil' bro said...

Ok, so you win round one of "who has the prettier leaves", but we are a resilient lot here in NC.
There will be more leaf posting, just you wait. A wise man once said..."you'll rue the day..."rue the day, who talks like that?'"

Me and my puppies said...

Oh we love leaf peeping. Our leaves are just starting to turn.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Beautiful scenery. Enjoyed the exploding pumpkin story. But most of all, we enjoyed the close-up of Ari.

Island Rambles Blog said...

You sure get the vivid colors there in your leaves...lovely photos, soon will be snow.

umekotyan said...

Good evening ari.
The beauty of autumn is felt, and it is in the forest, and I feel
And, when it adheres to the skin contrasting it, japan gets rough
with a beautiful appearance.
And, it is used as high-level dyestuff.
I feel beauty and fear.
It is an identity joke.
The pumpkin ..a lot.. is a symbol of Harouin.
It is difficult to raise it.
What starts from the experience of the burst, too.

Henry David Thoreau is an interesting person.
The book that wants to read when there is time is being written.
It was felt that the woodsman's life looked like me. :)

from loved ume tyan

Quincy said...

Madison and I live in a rainforest and most of the trees stay green all year round. There are some red and yellow leaves to be found. I like walking in them.

Charity, Gary, Katie and Louis said...

Autumn has not shown itself in our area yet. Thanks for letting us live vicariously through your beautiful photos.

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

That is a HUGE pumpkin! Wow! Some of our leaves are falling too, but mostly we have evergreen trees.


Kathiesbirds said...

Wasn't there a man from Lewsiton- Auburn who won the largest pumkin contest one year? I didn't know that pumpkins could grow that fast! 40 lbs in one day? Oh my goodness! No wonder they burst! Love the autumn foliage! I am missing it right about now.

The Daily Echo said...

Exploding pumpkins? I have to say I never knew that could happen without the help of some mischievous neighborhood boys.