Bright October afternoons of oak and maple leaves swirling in the wind are gone for another year. The last red raspberries and tomatoes have frosted away so only b’sprouts, tiny broccoli and milkweed pods persist in the garden beds.
A few yellowed needles drop from the Bluecircle pines but it will be many years before they make a layer of mulch under a mature canopy. On a recent hike near Gun Lake fallen needles from the tall pines decorated the still-green maples.
But now the first gusts of lake-effect snow have brought shivers to the hilltop. Bronzed leaves that evaded the mulch pile blow randomly between the trees, finding company in the piles that grow by fences and shrubs. And the sun sets low in the almost-winter sky.
The months roll by on the Bluecircle and soon the last of the Fall colors will be under the first blanket of lake-effect snow. Mowing is almost done for this year and both the machine and mower are ready for a break. The red oak grove and Douglas firs pictured here hide the spruce and pines behind, but the last leaves remaining at the top of the poplars show them towering over the field. After six years of planting, sun and rain this area of the farm is beginning to mature.
North Watervliet Road at the bottom of this hill marks the east edge of the property. Two-year tulip poplar, maple and oak seedlings here will eventually define a path into the older plantings above. White plastic “grow tubes” around some of the maples are needed to discourage grazing by the doe and fawns that traverse this entrance to the farm.
Looking northwest over a recently cleared and planted area with hybrid poplars and tiny pines in the foreground. Taller Scotch pines and wind-bent poplars are beginning to hide the storage barns. Behind this clearing rows of white and blue spruce seedlings will mark a corner of the Bluecircle.