Written by William Butt, reproduced from the Fortune Teller
Are we into an Indian summer? The weather has sure been good, some very hot days and nights for the month of September. We are blessed indeed. Our summer was not all that great so the Gods looked down on us and must have said those people should have a very nice autumn and we did.
Most of our green foliage and flowers are still in bloom. I noticed a few days ago, while I was Caribou hunting, that the leaves are hinting at taking on the fall look but we know that that time of year has come. Not too many hunters were successful on the first day of the season in getting their Caribou but then again it's like Bingo or any other game of chance - it's pure luck.
September has a lot of hype on the Burin Pen. with the coming of the Targa race through our town. I don't think it's as much of the race that got us all excited as it was to see those very expensive and old cars; for some of us it's the first time. I do think we should have made arrangements with Targa to have a car show in our Town. We have the space to line up the cars for people to have an up-close look at those beauties from the past and dream of owning something like a Porsche, Viper and other fancy name cars. Maybe next year we should have a think tank early on in the year with things we would like to see coming from this event, to make our town reap some of the benefits from it. There are many volunteers from the Town hoping to make this a success; we hope it will be accident free.
Are we going to have a good winter? There are very few dogwood berries, the crab apple trees didn't bear very much, if any, fruit; the birds like the robins, junkels and fox sparrows all had two broods this year. I'll make a prediction and say we are going to have a mild winter with not nearly as much snow as last winter. Do you think it's wishful thinking on my part or do I see changes to things that others don't? Let's wait and see. Mother Nature gives us clues - we just don't take the time to observe them.
The day of the Targa car race is here, lots of people running around town to get the tapes in the right places and the right order so the navigating driver can put their car to the finish line without an accident to themselves and the onlookers.
It was a very good run through the town. I heard one driver say it was the hardest one he had done but he said, 'I can't wait to do it again.' So they have plans to come back again. This time we have learned a lot. We will be looking for some returns for our town, little spin offs here and there. It looks like our neighbours to the East are making quite a bit from it, hotel, bed and breakfast, meals, gas and the list goes on. We need to cash in on some of this. With a little planning -a year to do it- I know we can get something out of it other than selling the idea that we are a great place to do a race. A special thanks to all the amateurs; Targa officials said we did it very professionally.
The food fishery went well; that's another thorn in our side - why we are treated different than the rest of Canada. We need to take up the fight long before the time comes again to catch our supply of fish for the table.
With all of those things happening around here we do have a fine place in and around Fortune outdoors.
As summer comes to a close we are all wondering how much longer this beautiful weather will continue. My walks through the country; smells of aging foliage; the witch hazel trees are giving off that smell that tells us the fall is approaching. The big game tracks are seen along the tree line; itís mating season so they are out in full force trying to pass on their genes to future generations of the species. Not too many small game birds have been seen this year, I only saw one partridge. I do think they are over hunted; we need some down time so they can multiply.
I wonder how many gallons of partridgeberries were brought down from the hills around Fortune? We want to thank Council for leaving the gate open so the seniors could travel the road to the berry picking barrens without that strenuous walk up hill. There is nothing like a fresh bottle of jam for the morning toast that most of us enjoy.
The puffy white clouds can be seen every morning or sometime through out the day. It reminds us that the white stuff is not too far away. With it comes many hours of enjoyment; going to our favourite spots in the country to have cook ups and meet up with our friends that most of us rarely see only at wintertime camps. We are looking forward to that time.
The fall fair went off very well again this year and it attracted many visitors to the arena; a good showing of produce was on display and many prizes were won.
For those of us who spend a lot of time outdoors: have you noticed that the sea gulls are taking to the barrens in great numbers? The food chain is down, they are hungry and, would you believe, they too are berry picking. I watched them through the glasses from a distance and they are eating the berries to supplement their diet. I knew the grouse and the partridge ate berries but this is the first time I saw sea birds eat them. On my walk along the shore line today I saw the gulls at low tide collecting mussels; taking them up in the air about thirty or forty feet then dropping them on the rocks below to expose the flesh inside so they could eat it. Nature has a funny way of teaching us how to survive under extreme conditions. We have learned a lot from .just observation alone of how the birds and the bees do things to survive,
A bite of chill is now in the morning air; it seems to linger longer; another good sign of fall weather. The sky takes on that almost forgotten mackerel sky; cold winds and thoughts of snow; we look to the winter storage closet for warmer jackets ,sweaters, mitts, and socks. A closer look at the school kids in the early morning air shows they all have that apple red cheeks; arms and hands are drawn up into the sleeves of their coats as they head off to school. The little things we see this time of year tells us that old man winter is not far off. Even the colour of the sea has taken on that dark blue sheen to remind us of colder temperatures and higher winds.
Have you thought to have one more hike up your favourite trail? If so pick up the little bits of garbage that you see, take it with you and dispose of it when you get home; it will be your little bit to make the trail way cleaner in and around Fortune outdoors.
As the wind sweeps across the now wet and murky wasteland on a cold November morning, the air is crisp but that bit of harshness is there and itís a reminder of things to come. A flock of Canada geese that up until now havenít fully made up its mind to head south to warmer climes can be seen in the sky ever climbing skyward to catch the updraft, to make the long flight a little less effort; by now they have taken on extra fat for the long trip to a winter home in the south.
The winter birds can be seen in the trees, their feathers fuller and fluffed up to protect them from the cold winds of winter. They will have a month to get use to the cold nights. As the sun comes up they can be seen on the southern side of the trees taking what ever warmth it has to offer. Their food will change from insects to dried buds; a scattered insect that might be caught under some dry twigs or the bark of the trees will be a special treat. A downy haired woodpecker can be heard hammering away at the dried bark of a tree where he hears an insect or larva moving inside the tree that was deposited there by the depository fly. I guess some of you that walk in the woods have heard that slap in the quiet air and wondered what it was; it was no doubt the long black fly with that spike on his tail making a loud smack sinking in the spike and laying its eggs deep into the tree.
An almost white flash caught my eye, the snowshoe rabbit has its winter coat almost to the colour to where he would be hard to see if the snow had fallen; now he sticks out like a sore thumb. He is very nervous and he should be; the population of lynx and coyote has multiplied in this area quite a bit in the last few years; they are a force to be reckoned with. The sightings of rabbits are not as good as last year; it may be the down cycle but those predators sure help to decline the population.
Every now and then I get a phone call as to the sighting of some different bird in the area. I guess they think I am some sort of authority on birds but nothing could be further from the truth - I have two bird books of eastern birds that show pictures all in colour.
Thatís where I get my information on the birds that I see that are different, but Iíll be happy to help out in any way I can. So, if you see a rare one, take a good look at the colouring and the size; it might help to find out if we get a new visitor to this area. Keep a good look out in your bird feeder this time of year; you may get a surprise some day. Itís time to get a new bag of winter feed for your feeder, it will only set you back about $7.00, or less if you watch the sales for a winters supply. Our first bit of snow graced the ground on Sunday morning. My flowers looked so cold peeping up from the boxes through the snow, but then again the colours blended in nicely, the orange and mauve with green stocks looked lovely on a white background; their heads bowed in anticipation of a long winters sleep and dreaming of warmer days of next years summer, when they will proudly push their way up through the soil to begin life anew. The dropped seeds of now will bring forth new growth to make our gardens look even better than the year before in and around Fortune outdoors.