Oaks up in the weeds

November 1 brought frost and bursts of gale-driven snow to signal the winding down of farm color for another year. The low angle of Fall sunlight enables vivid reds and oranges but yellow, brown and faded green will soon be the dominant landscape colors.

Our Bluecircle hens already know Winter is coming – we’ll be buying eggs while they take a sabbatical leave until March. The plastic panels that shutter their coop windows aren’t required yet but already they roost huddled together for warmth. A few more pleasant afternoons are forecast this week.

The Bluecircle recently celebrated a birthday; 10 years have passed since the first spruce and arborvitae were planted on the north property line. Most of the acreage is filled with conifers and hardwood but a few projects remain. A bare-root planting intended to be red oak turned out to bear hybrid chestnuts instead of acorns, presumably because of a shipping error at the nursery. Hybrid poplars from one of three suppliers were disease-prone and 23 died off in the last year. And the Japanese beetles that plagued Pinot Gris grape vines are equally fond of red raspberry leaves.

In a prickly cocoon this hybrid chestnut is definitely not an acorn.

So there will be room for a little more planting and a new trail site in the new year. For now its time to break out the leaf blower!